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Strip 327, Volume 3, Page 196


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< Seraphim >

what are you looking at?

"freaking freaky freakfest"

Friday - October 25, 2002

[Seraphim] - 07:55:02 - [link here]

Piro and I took a well deserved few hours of relaxation and went to see Spirited Away last week. That movie was the most freaking freaky freakfest I have ever seen, and I even like the macabre.

I enjoy reading Roald Dahl and the traditional fairy tales where Cinderella's sister cuts off her toes. American fairy tales are too sanitized. I think children should realize that there are people in the world so greedy they'll hurt themselves to get what they want and they are even more likely to hurt someone else! God forbid an American child should read that the little mermaid died when the prince didn't choose her and she lived the rest of her life as a spirit on the ocean breeze. The moral of the story ladies is it to never lose your identity or your voice for the sake of any man. You are never going to get anywhere if you don't speak up.

I have even read Irish Mythology which is just plain cruel. Paddy O'Rourke marries the bonnie lass Colleen , they have three children, and she dies. So Paddy marries her sister who turns her nieces and nephews/stepchildren into swans for 900 years. After 900 years the children return to human form and instantaneously realize that everything they have ever loved is dead and the next moment die of old age themselves. That is just depressing. Piro and I recently watched Time Bandits and yet Spirited Away is by far the strangest I have encountered. It didn't help that the tiny theater in Royal Oak was packed with Evil Dead fans who had come to meet Bruce Campbell and get an autograph.

The movie itself gave me nightmares. What was with the gigantic, ugly baby and the WB frog? Or the excessively grotesque big headed lady and the projectile vomiting spirit? I just have to be thankful it wasn't a musical. Just don't tell me that they have merchandised this like the Lion King and everyone in Japan is wearing clothing emblazoned with those disturbing images.

Yet, as a movie it was at least more entertaining than Shallow Hal or Hollywood Ending. If you want to read some classic fairy tales and myths go to the reading room of the Internet Public Library which links to online texts that are in the public domain. Be sure to look up Ashputtel by the Brothers Grimm.

[note: seraphim's website has it's own domain name now - I figured it was about time she had a real domain for her site. :) - piro]

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< Dom >


"Machine Gun Talk"

Monday - October 21, 2002

[Dom] - 01:30:00 - [link here]

Okay, so I haven't ranted in a while. You'll have to forgive me, I've been riding a World Series roller coaster (two one-run games? My heart's gonna explode!), while balancing old deadlines, new responsibilities, upcoming events and, of course, The Book.

Alright, first The Book. Looking back at the early MTs, I've realized just how much things have changed since the first days of this sucker. God, has it been two-plus years already? I still remember where the sun was when I was looking at the first MT scripts--and trust me, with all the time I've since spent in cubicles, around demos, and under tables, that's an achievement.

But as Fred also discovered, it's a great way to touch base, no matter how much we think the early days sucked. I go back and think "Hey, we need to tighten that up soon"... so I guess this is a good thing. But it won't really be a Good Thing until we're done, and even then we'll probably complain about it. But it'll be done and we'll be ready to go on. Greeeeat... oh, and to answer your questions, yes, there will be SGD in the book. I won't say what ones, though I will say that most likely, Abstract Art Day won't make the cut. The original version was self-censored two years ago, and it'll be censored now.

Oh, right, and games. I work with those, so I might as well talk about them. But I warn you now, just as I won't touch BMX XXX with a ten-foot pole, I won't touch the subject either. I don't like dealing with Acclaim much, with their growing history of tasteless grabs at media attention, so I'll just leave it there. If you think it's funny, you think it's funny, and if you think it's crass, you think it's crass. I think it... is.

Super Monkey Ball 2 and Animal Crossing are ruling my world right now. My GameBoy Advance, once a $99 machine that existed solely to run Castlevania, has become a $60 or so controller for Animal Crossing that lets me go to Hokkaido. Meanwhile, I've lent Super Monkey Ball 2 to a friend with much greater patience for the single player game than I, so she can give it back with the tasty treats that are Monkey Tennis, Monkey Dogfight, Monkey Shoot and Monkey Baseball. Anything my 4-year-old niece can play her aunts and uncles at a nearly equal level of skill and fun deserves props... and of course, the magical spell is ei-ei-poo.

Meanwhile, in case I haven't talked about Steel Battalion before, I will again. It is awe-inspiring. There I am, sitting behind my editor in a darkened room, and I'm awestruck just by the ignition sequence. I love all the aspects of the game that I've seen so far. It looks gritty, plays at a nice, deliberate place, and there is no such thing as a debilitating leg shot. After much thought on this, shooting for the legs in a mech combat game, while effective and all, is no fun for the man you just shot down. At least you can appreciate a good head shot--especially if it's using the pistol in Halo. All you can appreciate with a leg shot is your new view of the sky or the turf. But if there's anything lacking, it's more games using the controller. While I enjoy my Twin Sticks, and had fun with the Maracas, I wouldn't mind too much if I could use them for more than one game, and those were less than half the price of the Steel Battalion controller. Feasible multiplayer wouldn't hurt, either.

And because I'm a big Sega fan, I have to give them some love for the spooge-inducing trinity of Panzer Dragoon Orta, Toejam and Earl 3, and Shinobi. All of these franchises have made great memories of three different systems, and I'm happier than a wet pig that the updates are as fun as I remember the originals being. Orta looks good in the preview builds I've played, though I can't help but wish it was Panzer Dragoon Azel/Saga 2. The Panzer Dragoon RPG had the best combat system I've ever had the privilege to get my grubby little mitts on. It was real-time and much more active than other games where you just watch a time bar build up, the maneuvering was simple yet intense, and it had more plans of attack you could shake a stick at.

Shinobi, meanwhile, is one of the better 3D action games I've played. Unlike certain 3D games, many of them platformers, the enemies are actually harder to fight than the camera. Most 3D action games haven't yet perfected the camera yet, and the number of times I was ready to kick Kingdom Hearts into the street-even though I wasn't playing it, my roommate was-just proved to me that it's still damn hard to get active cameras to feel right. But I haven't yelled at the Shinobi camera yet, so hopefully that'll hold up. Then again, I held the same hopes for Devil May Cry for a while, and that disappointed me a bit too, so we'll see.

Toejam is a peanut. That's all I have to say about that. (That's a good thing, by the way)

And finally, my sense of perversity (not perversion, though that sense is keen as well) has led me to playing Bistro Cupid, the game I linked up above. Some of you may have heard of this game, then promptly forgotten about it. I wouldn't blame you, but the sheer strangeness of this game led me to buy it.

The best way I can describe Bistro Cupid is as the mutant offspring of one of those Tycoon games, an RPG, and a girl get game. You see, the main character runs a restaurant named, unsurprisingly, Bistro Cupid. He's just graduated from cooking school, and many of the people in his graduating class, who happen to be young females designed to attract the fanboy eye, are also running their own establishments. He has to run the restaurant, and... er... run the restaurant.

This is where things start getting weird. Y'see, he starts out knowing one recipe, Spaghetti. To learn new recipes and become a better chef, he needs to... go out into the world and fight villainous monsters with his giant cleaver. He can bring two girls who like him into combat with him, and as they level up, they gain the ability to learn and equip more recipes. And the recipes don't just help you out in kitchen mode, no sir, they count as spells, too. Every recipe is assigned an MP cost and an element, and people who know the recipes can cast the recipe card as a spell. Weirded out yet? It gets better, the enemies that you fight are quite villainous, ranging from apples and eggplants to monkeys and ducks. My personal favorite enemy so far is the circus panda, who was a pushover but got quite a few laughs the first time I saw him.

Apparently, there's a dating game of some sort in there too, but who cares? I get to cast Vacuum Spaghetti at the enemy sheep, then follow it up with a slice from my mightily oversized, yet still SD blade. What's not to like?

Out for now-have some deadlines I have to make, and some of them are even ones that I can't push.


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