Archive for the ‘sci-fi’ Category

The 3rd Birthday – Late-Term Abortion

April 5, 2011

Aya's sick

First Samus Aran, now Aya Brea. In Parasite Eve and Parasite Eve 2, the former NYPD detective kicked monsters up the Bronx and down the Battery with her mitochondrial super powers and customizable weaponry. Now, in The 3rd Birthday she’s kept locked in a prison cell and only let out to get her clothes ripped off.

How the mighty have fallen.

The same could be said for developer Square, which disappointed the entire damn world Internet for their recent Final Fantasy games, not to mention the Final Fantasy games stuck in development hell and Final Fantasy games with goofy titles. Square and I had our run-ins in the past (I like Final Fantasy VII just fine, by the way, did that not come across?), and I’ve defended them many times before (Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light is a damn good time), but that gets difficult when something like The 3rd Birthday comes along.

Announced way back in 2007 for Japanese cell phones, it made the leap to PSP in 2008 before landing with a thud here in the present. That’s an awful long time, longer when you consider Parasite Eve 2 came out in the year 2000. So, it’s been a decade. And this is what we get.

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TRON: Legacy – Despite Some Hang-ups, I GOT IN

December 17, 2010

Wow, been a while since I talked about a movie. Good thing it’s a movie about video games.

The original Tron was a slow, plodding sort of Star Wars rip-off with a few interesting concepts and a light performance from Jeff Bridges. Though it lacked in entertainment value, it provided the first foray into cyberspace on film, something that the sci-fi and cyberpunk subgenre would build upon for 27 odd years since. The Matrix, Ghost in the Shell and, if anyone remembers them, cartoons Reboot and The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest all used variations of the Grid, designs that relied on neon and skintight leather, and rogue hackers who changed the system and fought soulless corporations and/or machines. Tron helped pave the way for all that. It showed that past the monitor there’s a whole other universe inside the computer. Alice in Wonderland for the digital age — “a digital frontier.”

It was also among the first movies to portray video games in a positive, interesting way. Bridges’ character, Kevin Flynn, was an arcade hero who used his video game prowess to survive the disc and cycle games in the gladiatorial world of The Grid. And games have come a long, long way since Flynn’s Arcade. They’re the most innovative, lucrative entertainment medium there is today, and everyone plays them from Angry Birds to Plants vs. Zombies, to titles like Heavy Rain and Call of Duty that arguably push and blur the boundaries of what a game could be, making billions of dollars in the process.

Movies have responded in kind. Inception, Speed Racer, Avatar, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World — not to mention those unmentionables based on actual video game franchises — all emulate the kinetic imagery, rhythms and instant gratification video games provide, and most prominently, Tron‘s pioneering use of CG. Today, CG is so common that special effects are hardly special anymore. In a strange turnabout, practical effects like puppetry, prosthetics and — gasp — actual sets are novel once more.

So, with the history lesson out of the way, and a TRON: Legacy review to get into I have to reveal something first.

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Mecha Scramble! – Macross Zero: Return to Zero

September 9, 2010

Welcome to the first in a new series we’re going to try out here on Grump Factory: Mecha Scramble! We’re fans of anime on this blog, and one of the enduring genres of the medium is mecha. What is mecha? Mecha is a Japanese term describing animation that focuses on robots (giant or otherwise) or complex machinery in general. Mecha is the place where mechanical designers are king! A good example of a mecha show is the original Mobile Suit Gundam; so iconic that it’s become as inextricable with Japanese pop culture as Star Wars or Star Trek is here in America!

But Gundam and all its myriad offspring shall be dealt with in due time. Today the focus is on the origins of another revered series: Macross. But not the original Super Dimensional Fortress Macross series, but the chronological origin story, Macross Zero! Macross has been mentioned before on this blog, but now it’s time to go back in time and uncover the shocking beginning of the Macross timeline!

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Notes From a Review That Never Was: Terminator Salvation

August 5, 2010

Duhhh

What a mixed bag. In some ways better than the jokey third movie, in other ways, worse. It’s all pointless of course, a cash-in,  begins nice and bleak with a man’s execution.

clumsy. intro with worthington and carter…. drrrr. then thrown into the future.

bale grunts and screams.

worthington stumbles out of the wreckage ALIVE!! and screaming. who could he beeeee?

jumps off a chopper into the ocean – why?? oh to rendevous with a submarine somehow. meets his superiors.

MICHAEL FUCKIN’ IRONSIDE shows up and brings some 80s sci-fi credibility.

finds out he’s gonna meet Kyle Reese – “a civilian.” meets his fellow soldiers. and Bryce Dallas lookin’ chunky.

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(First Impressions) Metroid: Other M – Samus, You’re Breakin’ my Heart!

July 29, 2010

Metroid: Other M realizes my worst fears. That this Team Ninja-developed sequel to Super Metroid would be an overdone turkey with all the corn and gloss of a Ninja Gaiden game but none of the panache and class of a, well, a Metroid game. The warning flags were all there: the announcement of Team Ninja as the developer, the early footage of fractured-looking gameplay, the none-too-encouraging promise of  a “story that will explain things”, and the constant reassuring from Nintendo that they’re involved and that means everything will turn out okay.

If the 45 minutes I played of M:OM is any indication of how the game is, well, everything is not okay. If there was a disclaimer at the very start that said “This preview is an early build” or something then I didn’t see it. I get the feeling this is it. With a month to go until release this seems to be the final build. Which is distressing.

Look at all those hopes crashing...

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E3 Day One: Stranger in a Strange Land

June 25, 2010

DISCLAIMER: Does not actually change anything.

For someone who grew up seeing E3 through the pages of EGM and later through the web pages of IGN you’d think it’d be a dream come true to actually be there at the Candyland of video games. Well, let me tell ya. It was an exhausting, mind numbing experience. Sensory overload the likes of which I’ve rarely seen, felt, smelled, touched or heard. Remember that episode of Batman Beyond where the bad guy goes deaf from the all the sounds of the city piercing his brain all at once and he screams in agony from it all?

Sorry, I got Batman Beyond on the mind since that Splice review. Great show.

But anyway, that was me. For three days! Surrounded by sweating nerds, servile booth babes and sycophantic industry types in a bombed out section of L.A. no one wants to be in, except for this one giant convention. Seriously, otherwise the place is a ghost town, which is a very weird (and scary) place to be in coming from New York friggin’ City.

Not that any of that matters really. E3 is about one thing: games. Lots and lots of games. And I got my grubby hands on all of them. Well, a lot of them. Not all of them. Off the bat I’ll say I missed Zelda: Skyward Sword, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Microsoft’s and Sony’s Wii-too nonsense. So if you’re looking for the umpteenth amount of armchair punditry for those — whoops. This is just one simple chump’s first visit to E3, trying to find something that wasn’t a derivative arm-waving simulator or a FPS about shooting foreigners.

But boy, does that Move controller look like a luminescent dildo or what?

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Splice – Sugar, Spice and Everything …

June 13, 2010

… Everything awful! Jeez! What a movie Splice turned out to be.

Scientists/lovers, Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrian Brody, in the first movie I ever liked him in), break laws and bends morals to create the Ultimate Being, Dren, a cocktail creature consisting of various animal DNA including human. A modern day Frankenstein’s monster born of hubris and just plain craziness (science? feh!) , Elsa asks of its birth — frequently — “What’s the worst that could happen?”

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