You know what I love? Nutrition information labels. I love the ones where there’s none of something they measure in milligrams. You read down the list:
Protein … 5g
Carbohydrates … 8g
Fat … 0mg
That’s my kind of food! Though I’d prefer it more like:
Fat … 0mg
Sodium … Wtf
Cholesterol … Srsly
Sort of like that, but with more jokes. (Image courtesy of whichever web site I ripped it off of years and years ago. Thanks internet!)
Kidnapping the Princess (or equivalent; the President’s daughter works fine in a modern setting) is one of the real objectives of nearly any video game villain. It is important to note that the kidnapping itself is the objective – the kidnappers almost never have any idea what they’ll do with the Princess once she’s kidnapped. q.v. Bowser.
Almost all RPGs contain a spell or set of spells for bringing dead characters back to life. Almost all said RPGs also contain at least one story scene where a character is killed, because the hacks who write video game scripts just can’t get enough pathos. It is never possible to bring a character who dies in a story scene back to life using the resurrection spells; sometimes games will try to explain this phenomenon (usually with stupid results), but usually it’s just taken for granted that somebody who dies in a cutscene is dead forever.
I’ve thrown a few more hours into Super Mario Galaxy now, and I really like it. It’s the first game in the Mario 64 series that’s really true to its Mario roots – whereas the other games had a major focus on puzzle solving and scavenger hunting, Galaxy, insofar as I’ve played, appears to be mainly about jumping. There are some interesting things to jump on / over / around, and some odd jumping mechanics. The control isn’t 100% there in the "weird planetoid" sections (the parts with a very small planet of an odd shape – Ratchet & Clank’s "spherical worlds" except not necessarily anything like spherical), but it’s not far off.
There are, of course, the minigames. They’re pretty tiresome, but I must admit they do gain some entertainment value due to being Wii-ish and therefore not the exact same minigames I’ve suffered through in every 3D platformer ever. That’s well into "thank heaven for small favours" territory, though; it’d be much better not to have them at all. At least there aren’t many of them, and the normal parts of the game have some really enjoyable actual platforming, even if Mario’s inertia is still very high.
So Barry Bonds has been indicted for perjury as part of the ongoing BALCO investigation. I guess there’s something the jury found unconvincing about his testimony… nineteen times. Perhaps it was the fact that he stood there in front of them and his dialated eyes bulged out of his giant swollen pumpkin head as he told them he never took steroids. You know, allegedly. I for one have no idea – for all I know he’s as pure and innocent as the new mown snow. But, man, sucker has a great big head, and sure didn’t back in ’98. Odd how some people just get that late-30’s head growth spurt.
So I have this bottle of mustard what lists its ingredients as "vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, spices, turmeric." What these people got against my nigga turmeric that they gotta single it out? It’s not good enough to count as a spice? I see how this is.
Our first foray into the shiny new Zul’Aman was quite successful. Going in totally blind – no preconceived notions whatsoever – we dropped two bosses in a little over three hours, which I consider a job quite well done. Now that we know what we’re doing, I expect we can get them much more quickly next time we’re there, and then move on to some new stuff.
Now, there’s still the matter of that pesky flaming bone dragon…
In Kindgom Hearts 2, when you’re fighting mobs (most notably bosses, but seriously just about every mob), you’ll frequently see a thingus pop up on the top of your menu that says "Triangle: Something Cool." when that’s showing, if you hit the triangle button, Sora will automagically flip way high in the air, cut down the chandelier, drop it on the boss, and then set it on fire. And probably slash the dude’s tires while he’s at it.
I can sort of picture the strategy meeting that went into that decision. One guy says "you know what this game needs? Really large, spectacular combat moves," and then another guy says "yeah, but a lot of our players are crap," and the first guy’s like "yeah, fuck it. Let’s just do what we always do and throw in movies of cool things happening instead." Because that’s the net effect of this strategy: instead of doing something awesome, you’re watching a movie of something awesome happening. You don’t actually have to jump Sora up there and knock the thing down, it just happens on its own.
Now, it may sound like I’m splitting hairs, but that’s the exact thing I’m getting at: the two things do sound pretty similar in theory. I mean, either way you’re sitting on the sofa pressing a button to make the little man on the screen do something, right? But in practice the cinematic reaction method makes the game seem remarkably uninteractive. No matter where you were or what you were doing before, Sora can magically reach to do what he’s going to do. There’s no working to get in position needed, there’s no moment of "hey, look at this awesome thing I figured out" because all you did was press one button when the game explicitly told you to. It’s a serious letdown, and it’s a total violation of my Third Rule of Cinematics, which states that the coolest things in the game should never happen in the cinematics.
Because you know what? My remote control has buttons on it that I can press to watch a movie, and I don’t consider that to be riveting gameplay either.
Bigfoot has been spotted in Florida! No, really, it’s definitely Bigfoot. Except for being small and orange instead of large and brown. Oh, and except for how he steals your donuts instead of kidnapping Joan Crawford.
Maybe someday I’ll write an article for this category that’s not about Bigfoot. Maybe something about the Chupacabra or the Loch Ness Monster or the Mhungazonga Mubuntu or whatever it is Dave was talking about in the comments for this entry.