Y’know, despite my past intentions to get a job as a legitimate “gaming journalist” (a term that is almost meaningless nowadays), I rarely actually follow gaming news. Anyone who’s taken even a cursory glance at this blog can figure out my journalistic style: Make a small, silly observation and blow it up to ridiculous proportions. That seems to have worked out pretty well for me so far, so I’ve never felt the need to keep up with game stories that I wasn’t personally involved in.
And yet, there is one piece of games-related news I have indeed been keeping up with lately — and it’s somehow managed to get much bigger and far more astonishingly stupid than anything I could ever concoct on my own.
Welp, today is Christmas Day, and like a lot of you I decided to binge on some of my favorite holiday movies. There are certain titles I just can’t resist, such as A Christmas Story, The Santa Clause, Iron Man 3… (Yeah, forget the Die Hard controversy, Iron Man 3 is my holiday action flick of choice.) And of course, we can’t forget something as classic as How the Grinch Stole Christmas — a story that’s getting yet another movie, this time in CG. I can’t exactly say I’m looking forward to that one, so I’ve personally opted to ignore its existence for the moment and binge on the animated and live-action iterations instead.
The 2000 live-action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas tends to split audiences on whether it’s a blessing or abomination, but good or bad, it gave us several additional insights into the beloved holiday story. We learn where the Grinch came from, why he has beef with Christmas and the Whos, and even why he lives on Mt. Crumpit. In the same vein, we’re also shown additional glimpses into Who culture and how their society works. Granted, most of these tidbits specifically reflect Christmas rituals, but there are elements that one can assume are a constant in the lives of the Whos.
Among these details, the most important revelation by far is the “Dumpit to Crumpit” chute.
Whenever the topic of parenting comes up in Dragon Ball Z, there are a few talking points that can always be counted upon to surface: Piccolo is the best father, Vegeta probably spoils Bra, it’s weird that Krillin named his daughter after a shitty ex-girlfriend, aaand most commonly of all, Goku is a horrible parent, particularly to Gohan. He regularly abandons him, puts his life in danger, assumes his willingness without asking, and never, ever considers that his methods might be harmful. Goku doesn’t hurt him intentionally, but it doesn’t change the fact that he is doing damage, and the fandom rightfully calls him out on it.
The Son family in general is a dysfunctional mess, largely thanks to Goku’s haphazard and aloof attitude toward his wife and children. Although heartwarming and tender moments do happen, they’re disappointingly scarce. Even the most diehard GoChi fans readily admit that there are some very serious and deep-seeded problems; Goku and Chi Chi never seem to be on the same page, which not only sabotages their marriage, but also results in wildly different parenting styles. This creates an inconsistent home environment, which is always rough on children. But hey, at least there was that seven year gap following the Cell Games when Goku stayed dead! That means the Son household became more stable since there was only one parenting philosophy in action, right?
Well, maybe not. While I do agree that Goku’s absence probably meant fewer problems overall, it also quietly created another huge one – and this time, Goku’s not the culprit, and Gohan’s not the victim. I’ve always been surprised (and kind of disturbed) that no one ever seems to notice that Goten probably has a paper-thin relationship with his mother.
Are you a gamer? Of course you are, that’s probably why you’re on this blog in the first place. But are you a PlayStation gamer? Are you a PlayStation gamer that likes titles such as Katamari Damacy, Tekken, Sam & Max, Twisted Metal, Mega Man X, Wild Arms, or other amazing franchises like them? If you said yes to these questions, then
you’re probably a little weird for talking to a blog it’s your lucky day! The PlayStation Network is having a gigantic flash sale, reducing dozens of popular games to less than a dollar.
As of this writing, there are 81 titles on sale, and there’s currently no indication of just how long these prices will last. For all we know it could run all weekend or it could expire in a couple hours. If you’re a PSN user with a dollar burning a hole in your pocket, now may be a good time to look into titles such as Back to the Future or Monkey Island while they’re less than 1/20th of their regular prices.
Obligatory Legal Crap
I am not a representative of Sony or the PlayStation Network in any way. I just like posting about gaming sales because I’d appreciate someone spreading the word to me if I were on the other end.
…That said, if Sony WERE willing to pay me to plug their sales, my inbox is always open.
I love all types of games. Video games will always be close to my heart, but that doesn’t mean I have any less respect for board games, card games, sports, reality competitions, or game shows. And hey, on the note of those last two, Ru Paul’s Drag Race has finally kicked off season 7 this week! As the nation’s biggest competition for drag performers, the show has aired annually since 2009 and has become a staple of the Logo TV network. It’s been such a success that it even managed to find its way onto an episode of Jeopardy.
Although each episode contains its own brand of humor, creativity, and unpredictability as the queens duke it out in a test of showmanship, one particular task keeps fans talking every year, even before it airs. It is perhaps the hardest challenge in the game, and is definitely one of the greatest tests of skill and focus.
Attention, Funkotronian aficionados: A fourth installment of the adventures of the beloved 90’s duo, Toejam and Earl, is officially in the works — or it will be in a month, assuming the Kickstarter campaign meets its fundraising goal by then.
Greg Johnson, co-creator of Toejam and Earl and head of his indie team of four at Humanature Studios, has officially set plans into motion for the series’ next game, Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove. According to the Kickstarter, the game will make use of mechanics popularized by the first and second games in the series — and thankfully, makes no mention of the third other than to say that the project won’t harken back to it.
“Will it be like game one or game two, you ask? Well… (holding breath)… mainly like game one. We plan to go old school with this one. Fixed isometric camera, 2D sprites, simple controls, and an emphasis on coop [sic] play. It will also pull in some of the more beloved elements from game two… Things like the Jam Out, hidden presents, and buttons and coin meters. Maybe we’ll even be able to bring back the Hyperfunk Zone! … Don’t worry we won’t make you sick and confused with an over-the-shoulder POV camera like we had in game 3.”
In addition, the upcoming game will bring all new elements to the table, such as a 4-player co-op mode, randomly generated levels, character customization, and headwear that modifies the characters’ abilities — or “hats for stats,” as I’ve decided to call them. The project currently has plans for a PC release, but hopes to spread to other consoles once a foothold has been established.
Of course, all of this depends on the Kickstarter reaching its $400,000 goal by March 27th at 3:00 PM EST. Over $150k has been pledged so far, and some truly amazing incentives have me wishing I could throw caution to the wind and empty my bank account. If anyone out there pledges enough to get those TJ&E vinyl figures and for some reason doesn’t want them, my ever-collecting hands are always open.
Obligatory Legal Crap
I am not associated with Humanature Studios and do not own Toejam and Earl — nor does Sega, I learned over the course of researching this article. Toejam and Earl is entirely the property of its co-creators, Greg Johnson and Mark Voorsanger.
I am, however, calling dibs on “hats for stats.” C’mon, that’s catchy as hell.
Well, it’s certainly been a while, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss this place. Between a much-needed foray back into creative writing and concerns over that-which-shall-not-be-named, the Nerdy Activities this site promises have been a bit quiet. Luckily, it’s not been for a lack of inspiration, and I have all sorts of stories and ideas I’m looking forward to sharing with you guys, starting with a tidbit I tripped over in an unlikely place.
Among the various gifts I received over the holidays, one category that saw a noteworthy influx was plushies — 9 new dolls in total, in fact (due largely to one friend getting me an entire collection of Pikmin). In lieu of simply jamming them into my existing nets and calling it a day, I figured it’d be wiser to start a new one. TO GOOGLE!
Honestly, there’s not a lot to say about searching for a toy hammock; they’re essentially all the same item and sometimes even share stock photos of gently cradling a dozen or so generic stuffed animals that nobody wants or has ever heard of. Perhaps it was due to this slack-jawed parade of blandness that something unusual managed to stand out when I checked out Target‘s online selection.
Upon closer inspection of the center of the net…
Yyyyyep, that’s a Banjo-Kazooie plushie.
Considering that all I was interested in were prices, I’m still not sure how I even noticed this. It was an fascinating enough surprise, but even more astonishing was what the minimal amount of research I happened to put into the discovery uncovered. According to Video Game Memorabilia Museum, this particular doll was released back in 1998 to promote the original Banjo-Kazooie for the Nintendo 64. The entry lists this particular doll as “scarce,” and upon a quick search to verify this, I found a single doll on Amazon for $100 and one auction on eBay whose bids have already pushed it over $30.
The obvious question then becomes, how the hell did a 15+ year old super-rare doll end up in a generic toy hammock photo shoot? Obviously the plushies have to be supplied from somewhere, but where IS that? Did they just grab a bunch of dolls from a thrift store and didn’t realize what they had? Did someone bring in a bunch of old plushies from their kid’s toy box? Was someone on-staff a fellow gaming collector and sneaked in a gem from their private collection just for the laugh of an Easter egg?
Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to check the product reviews to see if any shenanigans had gone down; after all, not all companies go out of their way to state that the supplementary items shown with their product are not included with said product, and I could easily see some smartass complaining that their net didn’t come with a vintage Banjo-Kazooie plush. Unfortunately, it seems that the two people who’ve actually bothered to leave reviews either didn’t see it, didn’t know what it was, or don’t have anywhere near as lame of a sense of humor as I do.
However the doll got there, I suppose we’ll never know if it was put there on purpose. I’m still not sure if it’s funnier if they knew or didn’t know, so I’ll leave that for you guys to decide.
Obligatory Legal Crap
I do not own or have any affiliation with Banjo-Kazooie, Target, eBay, or Amazon. I don’t even own the net this article is focused on, let alone the dolls inside of it.
I do, however, own Pikmin. In the plushie sense, that is, not the licensing way.
Humble Store has officially turned a year old! If there’s one thing we all know about first birthdays, it’s that they’re pointless and no one ever remembers them– Er, I mean, that the gifts are usually more entertaining for the attendees rather than the birthday kid. As part of its birthday celebration, Humble Store has acknowledged this trend and is offering some gifts for their customers — including a free copy of Metro 2033.
The massive sales discounts — ranging form 40-85% off — will last all weekend, but the free Metro download is only for 24 hours. Get in there and download it by 10 AM PDT tomorrow morning, and if you have a few bucks to spare, take advantage of some of the deals while you’re at it. 10% of every Humble sale goes to charities such as Child’s Play and The American Red Cross.
To review: The Humble Store 1st Birthday celebration sales end Tuesday (11/11/14) at 10 AM PDT. Metro 2033 will only be available for free through 11/8/14 at 10 AM PDT, and the steam keys must be redeemed by 11/21/14 10AM PDT.
Obligatory Legal Crap
I am not an affiliate of the Humble Bundle website or any of the charities it affiliates with. If anything I would’ve put a free download on the 11th too, as that’s my mom’s birthday, and she actually has a Steam account.