Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I watch too much TV

To start things out, below is my little montage assignment for Editing class featuring the vocal stylings of Vince Offer of Sham! Wow! fame and special guest appearances from Marvin's Magic, Oxyclean, Set it and Forget It and The Power Juicer.

Also, as long as we're on the topic of advertising, check out these two Japanese fast food ads if you want to see a combination is disgusting and delicious fast food products. I'll probably have that Japanese Pizza Hut "SAUSAGE ROLL" song stuck in my head for ahwhile, they should totally bring that here alongside the inevitable return of Dominos Oreo Pizza.

Yesterday marked my first college snow day, which included tons of Luigi's Pizza and three or four B-horror movies back to back (Demons, Killer Klowns from Outerspace, Bloodsucking Freaks and Ghoulies 2). I still had to return my copy of The Iron Giant to avoid an overly expensive late fee of $12 a day (you can probably buy that movie for $6 at a Costco) but otherwise it was a pretty fun day and I had enough time to finish my Editing assignment and push over my half broken rig that I'm probably going to start over anyway. I also finally got to live out my dream of watching Heroes with a live

Apart from those musings, I've currently been playing a ton of Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection on the Xbox 360 alongside bouts of Castle Crashers and Braid. Its weird how 75% of all my current generation game playing has been downloadable or retro titles off of Xbox Live Arcade or the Wii Shop Channel. Despite consoles now having "teraflops" of processing power and whatever else the marketing executives are trying to throw at us, they seem to be forgetting the reason why most people play games...for fun. With a lot of retro titles there's a certain degree of depth but the titles are simple enough where a non-gamer can pick it up and do relatively well. In one sense, this was the point Nintendo was trying to make with the Wii console but after the console caught on with casual markets most of the Wii titles on store shelves are low-rent rush jobs from hack developers trying to get a quick buck. The most depressing thing about this is that now, even Nintendo is jumping on that bandwagon with titles such as Wii Music and the forthcoming ExciteBots (seriously...). I guess Super Mario Galaxy was awesome and my 180 hours of Super Smash Bros. Brawl made the console worth the price of admission alone, but I want just more simple and fun titles like what Mario Kart Wii was promising to be.

After getting used to spending $8 a pop for a Sega Genesis title on the Wii shop channel (or consequently a slightly more reasonable $5 on XBLA), thirty bucks for fifty Sega Genesis titles seemed like a no brainer to me. Apart from the lack of Sega titles like Gunstar Heroes (which I got on the Wii Shop Channel anyway and its omission is probably foreshadowing its Xbox Marketplace release) the collection is surprisingly solid and polished with enough special features that you are getting a much more refined experience than playing the titles for 10 minutes off of a ROM.

My favorite thing about Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection would be how it handles the Xbox's achievements. While I don't exactly want to say all the achievements are easy, they're all perfectly attainable by just about anyone and they encourage you to play through a lot of the obscure "non-Sonic" Sega titles. Few of the games achievements force you to spend more than 10 or 20 minutes with each Genesis title and it adds a nice little meta game to the title. Alongside each achievement that you unlock, you also get video interviews and some arcade and Master System titles. While, with the notable exception of Space Harrier, none of these arcade titles are really THAT phenomenal, its a nice touch, especially for those who don't really care too much about their GamerScore.

I'm already five or six hours into Castle Crashers which reminds me of what you'd get if you mixed together Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles and Golden Axe. Like Crystal Chronicles, this game is painfully boring alone and despite featuring a level system, each incremental stat boost is miniscule enough where a beginner could easily drop in at any stage of the game and catch up pretty quickly. Its a huge time suck and an obvious improvement over the Bahemoth's Alien Hominid, which I played quite a bit of on the Gamecube. Also I picked up Braid with it being reduced to $10 as opposed to $15 last week. Despite the critical acclaim, I could never see myself paying $15 for a game that could be essentially beaten in a day but pair the price reduction with Best Buy's 2 Free Watchmen tickets with purchase of $20 in Microsoft Points and Braid could consider itself bought. I've only just started playing it and my impressions are a lot stronger than they were with the one level demo they had of it on Xbox Live. The game is a lot more surreal than I was expecting and the puzzles are pretty mind bending. I see the real length of the game comes from trying to figure out how to get all the puzzle pieces, which I'm desperately trying to avoid reading the walkthrough to figure out.

That's it for this post, now I'm off to fill out more paperwork for Pratt and get a jump start on my next batch of work for Storyboarding.
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