Josh News: WTF?!? Edition.

     So I put up a post yesterday about the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and this was a comment that was left on it.

     Seriously!?!?  This is ridiculous.  Sure, I support their ability to say it, but please not on something meant for TMNT fans or kids.  So in response I will be deleting it, as it is probably just spam.  My apologies "anonymous" but this isn't the place for that.

     I am about equality regardless of a person's gender, race, or even just a crappy personality.  Everyone deserves the same rights and respect.


Nickelodeon: TMNT: Bebop & Rocksteady on the Show and Toys.

     The Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been a spectacular run, constantly adding things for fans of the original series and TMNT enthusiasts everywhere.  Now we will be getting old time fan-favorite goons Bebop and Rocksteady.

     By the looks of it, we already know who becomes Bebop!  I'm a little disappointed that I hadn't picked up on the clues that are so obvious- Anton Zeck.  Who is voiced by the amazing J.B. Smoove, who played my favorite character in Curb Your Enthusiasm- Leon Black.

     Update: We already actually know who both Bebop and Rocksteady are.
     After a little research, apparently Ivan Steranko will become Rocksteady.  He's the weapons dealer that Anton Zeck accidentally hurts causing the loss of an eye that he replaces with a diamond.  Interesting that the creators to thread these stories together into one nice plot.

     For more of my Turtles posts [ TMNT ]


Avengers: Age of Ultron: Extended Trailer: Lifting Thor's Hammer

     How'd I miss this posted yesterday?  The extended trailer showing the Avengers attempting to lift Thor's hammer, and I even saw Captain America budge it just a little.  Hopefully he'll fully pick it up at some point, as I've been complaining about forever.  He is worthy so when will it happen?

     Avengers: Age of Ultron arrives in theaters May 1, 2015.


TMNT: Danger of the Ooze: Launch Trailer!

     Today is the release of the newest Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles licensed game, subtitled Danger of the Ooze.  Sadly, it looks to be less impressive than the early still shots made it look, but I'm going to pick it up to play for review anyways because I am a lifelong TMNT fan.

     Once again we get a 2D game with no apparent multiplayer.  I mean the best part of this launch trailer is Michelangelo's dancing and the funny noises he makes during it.  There is always a chance Danger of the Ooze could be decent, but my hopes will remain low for now.

     TMNT: Danger of the Ooze is available now for PS3 and Xbox 360.
          ...and it will be available for the Nintendo 3DS on Nov. 11.

     For more of my Turtles posts [ TMNT ]


The Legend of Korra: PS3 Review

     I've been waiting for a decent Legend of Korra game for some time now, and well...  it looks like I'm really going to be waiting much longer, as this is only decent at best.  Platinum Games seems to have put in just enough effort to create a playable, but not really good game.  It's barely tolerable at points but has a lot of faults that take away what actual fun there could've been.

     Most of the game is spent being funneled through corridors towards groups of palette-swapped clones in one long repetitive motion.  I'm not even kidding, even the 3 generic mini-boss benders are all repeated multiple times.  It is a monotonous mess.  Korra gets boring long before you even unlock all 4 of the elements for her to use, which is just about at the 70% completion mark.  You get two attack types, a dodge, and a block/counter and that's about it.  There is nothing to the game.  This game feels empty.  Devoid of people and filler, the world here is as dull as it gets.

     Mechanically speaking, there's a lot of unfair things that happen- poorly handled and highly inconsistent platforming, the Naga running sequences are ultimately a test of frustration in trial-and-error, and the block/counter is the only thing that does damage to some bosses- making them a huge pain waiting for the few counterable moves they do.  I had one mech tank boss go nearly 5 minutes without giving me one creating a distaste for the gameplay.  The block-counters would be less of a problem if they worked consistently, but they don't and that is a problem.  For what could be considered a kids game, this is far too difficult for many kids, and just as annoying for adults.  The difficulty feels too high for a game of this kind.

     The dialogue is horrendous, repeating every minute or so if you don't do exactly what it says.  The story itself boils down to bad guy wants revenge for a previous Avatar's actions...  and that's it.  He somehow gets a whole bunch of followers and some chi blockers to stop Korra's bending.  It's like a poorly written single episode stretched into about a 4 hour game.

     Being a $15 downloadable game allows a measure of forgiveness for the issues this game suffers, but really- when will we get a game that puts to use the extremely wonderful source material?  Where are all the supporting characters?  Where is the drama?  Where is the humor?  Where is the depth of story and emotional impact that encompasses the The Legend of Korra television series itself?

     Perhaps if Platinum had focused on a purely beat-em-up game it might've been better, but they tried to cram in Temple Run copycat levels and some Pro Bending Tournaments which effectively eat up resources from the main draw of the action game.  Don't get me wrong here, the Pro Bending is fun, but should've been left as a side mini-game in the larger scheme of things, but the Naga levels shouldn't have been here at all.

     Since this seems to be purely a bashing review I want to throw in some good comments as well.  I think they've done very well with the cell-shaded art, keeping true to the television show.  The best playing moments were all in fighting horde waves.  They nailed the way the elements differ from each other, despite the lack of combo variance.  Water is weak but works long distance, earth is super slow but super strong, and so on.  The items are primarily useless, with the exception of the life regeneration item that makes the game a little less frustrating and much more tolerable.

     The Pro Bending is pretty fun on its own, and if Platinum would've added multiplayer to it, both team play and competitive, this could've easily become the highlight of the game.  The unused potential here was a great misstep on the creators' part.  This is a massive missed opportunity.
     There are also very short clips of animation that are exactly like the shows' style, but are so quick that I believe just watching the show might be a far better alternative to playing the game.

     Oddly enough my wishes for a good Korra game are the same as another Nickelodeon property, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I want a decent open world game.  Think of Lego Marvel Super Heroes' open New York City area.  Something like that but with multiple cities in large locales with a main story and various sub-missions and mini-games to fill out the world.  The Legend of Korra game we got was a mediocre foundation and mostly a shell of a game.  I sincerely hope that Platinum can really get behind another Korra game and make one worth the time to play it.  The Air Bender universe is ripe with stories to be told, so where are they?

     Being a huge fan of both Avatar: The Last Air Bender and The Legend of Korra can't help my displeasure at how terrible this game is.  It's a sore disappointment when this is so terrible, while their other release, Bayonetta 2, is so great in comparison.
     Dear creators, give us an Avatar game of the Platinum quality we've known so well, and definitely take the time and effort to make a game worthy of the Avatar legacy.


Comics: Wrecked Ship (by Valentin Seiche) Review

     I ordered this from Peow! Studios after seeing it listed on Cory Walker's Tumblr way back in May.  It looked very interesting so I took a chance.  When Wrecked Ship arrived I was more than surprised.  This small volume (roughly 5.5 x 4 inches) is such wonderful find collecting 5 issues.

     Wrecked Ship is a simple tale of a space scavenger named Andre Melchoir.  His job is to find oddities for people, a kind of deep space Private Investigator, but more specifically he finds missing bodies, ID or documents, and various other things to provide information on what happened to the person in shipwrecks- he's hired find answers and collect the dead.  It can be a lonely job, but he needs the money.

     Things get a bit more complex when his newest job is a lot more than it first appeared.  He is hired to find a robot's head.  Not just any robot, a lady robot that was made to assist the lonely men in space.  An outlet for all their emotions, from love to anger.  She was made to feel, it appears that she saw and experienced the worst type of things from the owner.  Andre doubts both the sanity and trustworthiness of his current client leaving him in a state of questioning the ethics of this particular job.  This is a hugely disturbing situation for him, and that makes Andre rethink his job.  He feels for the bot, and not for the cruel and abusive human.  It makes him question what the employer wants with the head.

    What Seiche has done with Wrecked Ship is make a good argument for the life of robots, and a good case for feelings that aren't necessarily human.  It makes a wonderful statement about what defines someone as a real person- and it doesn't simply mean being human.  Wrecked Ship is about what constitutes a life.
     The story really gets good when Andre decides to do some good to help the robot woman at the cost of more than his job.  I can't say anything more without potentially spoiling the story, but it takes a very heartfelt turn.  What Andre does and what happens is quite emotionally moving.  That being said, I would highly recommend this comic, Valentin Seiche has made a fan of me with Wrecked Ship, and I'll be buying all his future works that I can.

     Valentin Seiche's Tumblr [ AirFortress ]

     Post edited from 09/21/2014


Avengers: Age of Ultron First Official Teaser Trailer is Unbelievable

     Once this thing dropped online, it's been watched nearly 10 million times in less than a day.  Damn, that is very impressive.

     Avengers: Age of Ultron arrives in theaters May 1, 2015.

Josh News: Sociological Images Featured a Picture I Took!

     This morning The Lady informed me a picture I took of her was put up on Sociological Images.  It's about the ridiculous differences in men and women's Halloween costumes.  In fact, I was disappointed that I couldn't find Sexy Duck Dynasty Beard to go as this year.  I suppose I'll settle for something in Star Trek, maybe my old favorite Dr. McCoy... *Grumble grumble* ...doctor...   ... not an escalator...

     Source [ TheSocietyPages.org ]


#GamerGate: A Post I've Been Fearing for Weeks

     I have been off lately for this blog.  It's been a hellish last few weeks and I'm super tired from both work and homework all day so this post might be a bit lacking in quality.  Any long time readers will know that I make no effort to hide who I am, or what I like.  I am a liberal, equal rights individual, believing everyone deserves the same stand.  I am a comics loving, cinema fan, and lifelong gamer.  Also, of course, if you are reading this you've probably heard something of the GamerGate situation in the media.  It has been eating away at me for a long time, and I'm coming under fire for supporting a movement that is largely misunderstood in the media.  People I don't know have harassed me, thankfully it's been mild so far, and I'm just a nobody.  It's been bothering me a ton.  The general populous have blown up about this recently and I don't believe the Pro GamerGate side has even remotely gotten a fair word in.  Any time it gets mentioned someone has to throw in about Feminist Frequency and Anita Sarkeesian, which is NOT what it is about.  This is a very disturbing trend to have come about.

     What makes this better is the GamerGate supporters I've talked to are all nice.  I'm not going to say they all are, but plenty of the ones I've had the pleasure of conversing with have all been cordial, and I thank them for it.  Which oddly enough brings me to the few encounters with Anti-GamerGate people I've met.  They have all been hostile, tossing around terms of hate left and right.  Seriously people, calm down and we can discuss things.

     Honestly, this is the best comic representation that I've seen of it, being a GGer since the beginning (you may check my twitter feed if you like):

    First off, I have been a supporter for GamerGate since it began.  It was NOT about misogyny then, it is still NOT about harassment or misogyny.  Sure, the inciting event was about Zoe Quinn (note- it wasn't about her actions per se, but the fact they MAY have been a factor in journalistic integrity for articles about her game and the people she might have had an influence upon them, much like the whole Phil Fish and Fez fiasco), and of course we have had the ever present Anita Sarkeesian and much more recently, Brianna Wu jumping in and pushing mass media to believe this is all about harassment.
     Here is a great bunch of coverage to show you that the major media outlets are lacking about these 3 ladies: Realgamernewz.  Another great link: The Males of Games.  And a Quinn post/article from yesterday I believe- questionable actions.  All the media seems to cover is all the "oppression" that is happening, despite having mass groups of minorities speaking up for and supporting GamerGate.
     Now, mind you, I firmly believe that any harassment these women have faced is wrong, and should the harassers be found, they should be dealt with appropriately through whatever means the legal system has.  Harassment is not to be tolerated.  Death threats are not to be tolerated.  Simple as that.  What I disagree with is the fact that they keep taking all their problems and saying GamerGate is the cause.

     This next part was the last straw for me, the one that spurned me to action.  As two of my nerd heroes, Patton Oswalt and John Scalzi, recently tweeted things that are absolutely astounding considering the subject matter.

     Well, two clicks of the mouse would've brought this up:

     Even, before this video was made, looking through Ms. Wu's tweets shows that NONE of the threats were even tagged with GamerGate.  Seriously, neither of them bothered to actually look into it.  How disheartening is this- to have two very awesome people make a mass judgement and declaration about something they don't actually know anything about.  Talk about leading the public to false conclusions.  It's just perpetuated the hate going around.
     Because I am getting hate mail already (part of my reasons for not posting in a while) and I have a lot of other things on my plate, such as school, a full-time job in health care, and I've been super sick lately- I'll leave some links to people that are smarter and have far better information than I can provide at this time. I've been dealing with this for, what, something like 2 months now, and it is getting sickening to continually hear that all these problems are my fault because I'm a gamer.
     Wu accused GamerGate and has since, continually accused us of doing all manner of ridiculous things.  If Mr. Scalzi and Mr. Oswalt had taken the time to actually investigate this stuff a little further, they might have found some interesting information, such as Ms. Wu treating others with the same disrespect she hates.  Including a pretty derogatory tweet about autism, which she has since deleted.  Seems a bit one sided to me.  I'm sorry but it was unfair for either Scalzi or Oswalt to make those cruel statements without at least looking into the situation a little.
     It has become damn near impossible to actually discuss things with anyone now because any response or criticism gets automatically labelled as misogyny.  If anyone brings up anything in the way of criticism of any of these 3 women, regardless of what it might be, it is deflected with labels.  It halts the conversations that need to be had.  Without a dialogue this cannot be fixed.  We need to talk about this.  As people not constantly forced to defend ourselves on both sides- if you don't think the GamerGaters get harassed, here's a great compilation of some of them on GamerGate Harassed on Tumblr.  

     A call for civility and peace in GamerGate:

     Let me tell you something about myself.  I grew up a nerd.  In the 80's when getting beaten up for liking comics, cartoons and video games was the norm.  I got bullied all the time because I was a scrawny nerd.  But you know what- that doesn't matter.  What does is the fact that nerd culture is now embraced, so why is gamer culture being vilified?
     Out of GamerGate, I've found an amazing number of new friends.  Of all ages and backgrounds.  Before this started I had friends of all over the place- a 60 year old Irish friend that plays Pokemon Soul Silver with me, a group of Physicians that I play Diablo 3 with, and a bunch of co-workers kids that I give my games to .  Do you know what the common denominator here is?  Gaming.  It brings us all together.  
     It would be madness to think people don't want ladies in gaming because more gamers means more games, more games means more opportunity and fun.  Many of us GamerGaters welcome everyone- it's more people to meet and have fun with.  This is a way of socializing.

     Now I fully acknowledge that I am essentially a nobody blogger, but this is an issue that needs to get sorted out.  It is staggering how much hate is being slung in both directions, and yes, most of it are the internet trolls out to get riled up at the misery and suffering of others.  As a culture we have an amazing ability to talk about this and work it out.

     For a more thorough group of evidence that GamerGate is not about hate I will list a bunch of people that are great to follow on twitter for information.  I mean think of all the charities that we GamerGate supporters have donated to, I personally put my money towards ExtraLife.org as I have for the last few years.  The news won't tell you that, but harassers and doxxers on both sides are being reported by the GamerGate supporters.  Suicide prevention and bullying prevention is being aided.  #NotYourShield is proving that diversity is great among us.  #NotYourShield 

     Anyways, here's list of people that are far better informed and have a great base of information:

     Before commenting, please keep things at least decent.  No hateful or spiteful comments and no name calling.  This blog post is off the cuff.  I didn't plan it, just sat and cobbled this together.  If I get some more downtime I'll try and get a really good piece worked out for it.  And for the purposes of full disclosure- I do get "advertising money" on this site.  I put that in comments because after a couple hundred thousand views in the last 6 years I've made exactly $31.02 as of just now (I just checked).  Please, keep things peaceful.

    Then lastly, here's the extremely level-headed, kind-hearted Boogie2988 as seen above, with a call to #EndTheHate:


Josh News Update: Holidays, Horrible Sickness, and the Wasp-ocalypse!

Worst News First

     First off, to any frequent readers, I would like to apologize for my relatively lengthy absence.  It was a myriad of things all coming down at once.  I had a Family Emergency with some very serious consequences as a result, then I had an abnormally large amount of homework that same week.

      Following that I came down with a particularly nasty virus that knocked me out of school and work and right into some hospital care- out for roughly an entire week.  Oof.  It was no good at all, to the point of losing a whopping 10 lbs. in a mere 4 days  For my slight build, that's a problem.
     Anyways, I'm on the tail end of that and on the mend.  Still feel like crap, but I am now up and about, so that is some sweet optimistic news for me.  As I should be back to regular posting soon.  And I may even start putting up video reviews finally.


     On to some good news, I'm really appreciative of the fact that Minneapolis, of which I live in the suburbs of, has changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day!  That is an awesome start for some serious work towards helping the Native American/American Indian Movement.  I've been in an American Indian Lit class, covering a wide range of subjects from, thankfully, their point of view.  Getting some history from their side is both refreshing and horrifying at their poor treatment over the years, and having Columbus Day is one extra kick in the junk on top of a bad situation.  So thank you Minneapolis, I hope this trend continues.


     Then we've got the highly volatile #GamerGate going on.  If you are a follower of this blog, I'll be putting up a post devoted to this singular topic most likely in the next couple days.  I've been involved in it on the periphery since it began, and it isn't what the mass media is making it out to be.  It is not a hate campaign, if you make a nice look through my twitter feed, you'll see plenty of evidence that it is not about hate or misogyny.  Please keep the comments peaceful. 

On to Wasp-ocalypse!

     Lastly.  This is possibly the most disgusting thing I've had to do in recent months.  A while ago, a roommate had heard some stuff in the ceiling of his room,  After some investigating we found there were wasps moving in.  Those freeloaders!  Or would they be "Beeloaders!?!"  I know I'm lame.  Whatever.
     Because the dropping temperatures of fall season, they were moving in at an alarming rate and flooding the house.  Hundreds of them a day.  Two weeks ago, we had a pest control come out and spray them.  Then a week ago, we did another spray ourselves, and then last night we (roommate and I) tackled the hive nest removal.  It turned out to be a much larger situation than we had originally anticipated it to be.  So here's are a couple disgusting pic I got.  To give you an idea of the size it turned out to be enough stuff to fill a 13 gallon garbage bag.  An added problem was the fact that at least a couple hundred of the things were still alive.  Sluggish, but still alive, so we bagged them and tossed them out.  The animal lover in me feels bad about it, but these things are dangerous to have in this quantity in my house.

     On a good note the Bumble Bee nest way over behind my shed is untouched and will remain as such.  They are always pleasant and offer a ton of entertainment for me to watch them fly around like happy drunkards.  Their big, fat, and round bodies continuously bumping into everything and swinging in funny circles.  Plus with all the honey bee deaths there is quite a plight for them, I would very much like to keep them alive for more than their honey.  They are nice company to have around.


Styx: Master of Shadows: Launch Trailer

     Styx's clones might not break your bones...

     The release of Styx: Master of Shadows is a mere 5 days away.  With Focus Interactive and Cyanide Studio's new game so close they've released a nice compact little launch trailer.

     ...but his blade'll never fail, you'll see.

     It isn't often that I get this excited for a game like this.  I'm preparing for some sweet stealth-and-strategy gaming with my soon-to-be friend Styx, the Amber-addicted assassin on his way through the Tower of Akenash to find the heart of the World Tree, the source of his power and addiction.


Goat Simulator: Review (Steam)

     When I first played Goat Simulator I figured it would be as ridiculous as it sounds. And of course, it most definitely was, there was certainly no disappointment in that fact.  But it also had something else, an odd bit of fun.  A moronic charm that kept me wanting just a little more.

My angel, muscle, skull-masked, jet-pack goat.
     The whole game is predicated on the fact that it was made to be absurd.  Out of all the strange things to play, this is one I come back to purely for comedic relief in a time when #GamerGate is flooding all my game related feeds and the video gamer climate is as volatile as I've ever seen it.  There is something very relieving in being able to pick this game back up and not have any worries at all.  Mindless fun can be of great value in some cases, and we could use it right about now.

Sometimes it rains goats.
     That being said, Goat Simulator isn't something that takes anything seriously, and to its credit, that is a wonderful accomplishment.  It'll never win awards for its technical merits, or its depth of storytelling achievement.  The game was made to be enjoyed for its stupidity.  Plain and simple entertainment.  It has a lot of small bugs, but none of them are so terrible I stopped playing.  Wonky physics be damned, I'll continue to run amok as a steroidal devil goat wreaking havoc among the seemingly idyllic town I inhabit as a nice getaway.

I found some Ninja Turtles down in the sewers...
     There are a ton of small homages and secrets to be found, such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I came across in the sewers beneath the city.  A couple mini-games like Flappy Goat are in there as well.  With your goat-born powers of bleating, ramming, and licking you are dropped into a sandbox world with no real goals.
     Sure, there are points and points multipliers, but does anyone really care about that at all?  I found all the fun I could want simply sitting back and enjoying the physics-based hilarity from going all out and trying new and ever-more-idiotic-than-the-last-time shenanigans over and over.  But really, that's all it needs to have.  A couple hours of laughs every so often.  Being abducted by aliens, sent flying through the air from an exploding gas station, and finding the Dark Goat Lord's altar were enough for me.  There won't be any lasting impact, but the brevity is appreciated.  I never expected this to have weeks of replay time- this is the video game equivalent of a candy bar.  Short and tasty.

     Goat Simulator is a game comprised of solely nonsensical silliness and it's all the better for it.  Now that it's also out on Android devices, I am actually considering carrying around this huge amount of novel stupidity in my pocket.

Styx: Master of Shadows: Assassin's Green Trailer 2

     With the release only a week away, Styx: Master of Shadows has released another gameplay trailer.  On October 7th we'll be able to scale the Tower of Akenash poisoning, stabbing, and silently infiltrating our way to the World Tree for a sweet dose of Amber straight from the source.

     In this installment we get to see a multitude of ways we can use Styx's skills and stealth to dispatch enemies.  Clever use of the environment will be a necessity.

     Styx: Master of Shadows will be available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.