2.28.2014

Pavilion Coming to PS Vita and Playstation 4

      Visiontrick Media and Sony Japan have teamed up to bring the "4th person" game Pavilion to the Playstation gamers.



      Henrik Flink has said this about the game:
“Pavilion, the fourth-person puzzling adventure from Visiontrick Media, throws you directly into its mysterious world without any text tutorials or beginning explanations. It is a puzzle game portrayed through exploration and audio-visual imagery. By interacting and observing you gradually, bit by bit, learn things about both the puzzling gameplay and the world itself.”
      From what little is available about the game, you don't control the character, but rather you control the environment and circumstances around them in order to guide or force them to do things you would like them to. I look forward to experiencing this strange new way of gaming.

      Sony is really bringing some interesting games to the Vita (They recently announced that The Swapper is coming to the Vita as well), and I certainly hope they continue with this trend.


      Source [ Playstation Blog ]

2.25.2014

Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart DLC Trailer & Release Date (Batman & Mr. Freeze)

     The latest Batman Arkham game has finally released the teaser trailer for the Origins DLC story campaign add-on.  Of course it features my personal favorite Batman villain- Mr. Freeze.  So far the small teaser is looking really good, and I am extremely excited for this DLC.


     I see in this short teaser we get a couple very quick shots of Mr. Freeze, showing a much clunkier version of his suit.  A shot of his boots and one of the back of his helmet, which appears to be a call back to his bubble helmet of old DC Comics appearances.



     Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart will be available 04.22.14

     Source [ Arkham's Official Facebook ]

2.23.2014

Heroes Reborn: Show Set to Return in 2015 #HeroesReborn

"It's amazing how it comes right back..." -Samson Gray

     NBC has announced the return of our beloved show Heroes.  A 13 episode stand-alone story arc is set to be released in 2015 with no known details yet under the title Heroes Reborn.



     In addition to the TV mini series NBC has said it'll have a social marketing tie in:
     "With the return of “Heroes Reborn,” NBC will launch a digital series prior to the 2015 premiere that will introduce the characters and new storylines. This leveraging of social media is a way for fans to re-engage with what was one for the true pioneers in multiplatform storytelling."
     #HeroesReborn
     Personally I've been waiting for something like this for years.  In fact I've blogged extensively on how they could set up the show's beginning.  They really have so many options- Samson Gray seeing Claire's healing on TV could start a new serial killer, Hiro could time travel back and completely change history, or Sylar could stop flip-flopping and stay on "one side" to make things less confusing.
     After they announced the Heroes comics (Dynamite Comics) continuing the story where TV left off I'd hoped they'd do a show, and apparently enough of the fanbase spoke out as well, so we are getting it.  I would humbly like to ask that they don't mess this up, they have a chance to get back to the show's roots- return to what made the show wonderful in the beginning.  Don't focus on a huge world changing event, instead look at the small scale lives effected (that may cascade into bigger things itself)- but rather, be like season one.  We want to discover that awe inspiring mystery, power, and drama again.

     A side note: If you readers come across my really old Heroes posts, my apologies to the poor format and massive rants and rambles.  I hadn't acclimated myself to blogging at the time.
     So if you're still interested in my other posts click here [ Heroes ]


     Source [ NBC  Heroes ]

2.21.2014

Aladdin: Sega Genesis: Replay & Review (RE)2


Genie of the Lamp

     Starting right away, we get amazing graphics with the Genie shooting in the air at the Sega logo and Iago falling past.  The sprites are clean and fluid- absolutely stunning animation work.  They look like they were ripped right out of the film.  The looks are perfectly paired with highly responsive controls.  Only the music is lacking, but I would chalk that up to Sega's sound capabilities being less than optimal.


     The story is the simple rags-to-riches-with-the-help-of-a-magical-bring tale of Aladdin we all know from the Disney movie.  There are a few deviations to make the game playable without confusion on its own.
     And this game has one of the most brilliant set of instructions (back when instruction booklets were commonplace) I have encountered.  One screen with all you need to know in one place.  It's so simple and effective, why more games don't do this is beyond me.


A Magic Carpet Ride

     Being a typical 2D platformer, they have you running and jumping, slicing up bad guys with a sword, or throwing apples for a long range attack.  The levels are littered with collectibles (hearts, apples, emeralds) and if you find the vendor you can buy more lives and continues.  There's also a couple of mini games by collecting the Genie and Abu tokens.  The Genie's minigame is a slot machine and for Abu's mini game you get to actually play as Abu... with a sword.

     I really enjoyed games like this, with enough production value, that if left alone Aladdin will toss himself an apple.  There are also plenty of Disney related Easter Eggs to be found- like positioning Aladdin under items on a clothesline will give you an extra life by giving you Mickey Mouse ears, and another adventurer in the dungeon level is a skeleton with the Mickey Mouse ears.  There's also some familiar looking statues in the desert.  It's in the subtle details that this game shines.  It's in the face of a camel when jumped on, it's in the way an apple splits in half when an enemy's sword cleaves it, it's in the 3 outhouses (men, women, genie)- all those little things really add up.

    The level design itself is amazing as well.  There is an absurd amount of effort put into the levels.  They aren't just go left to right, plenty of them are so creative and open new avenues of play.  One level if you collect a certain amount of flutes, it'll unlock various lying ropes that bring you to different ares in the level.  If you search there are tons of hidden jokes, and secret areas to explore.  A huge variety of things to see that fill them up like statues, flamingos and a dog with a key in its mouth.  Some are even interactive, like the camels.  You can jump on them and they'll spit which damages enemies, a very useful tactic in the early stages.
     The Genie makes frequent appearances to guide and assist you on the path.  He's a balloon, the moon, a referee, and even the doorway out in one level, where you need to scale steps that are made out of his tongue.  That is creepy and gross, but hilarious.

Wishes

     I do have to be honest the enemy variations are a slim.  Only a handful of repetitive enemies does get a little old over the course of the game.  But the bosses are distinct enough to make it great.  Although Jafar himself seems to be too difficult in comparison with the rest of the game.  The challenge skyrockets for that one boss, but is fairly moderate for the rest.

     In the end nothing in Aladdin is too bad.  The negatives are so small they are easily tolerable.  The difficulty isn't too bad, but an option for saving or continues could've done wonders for this game, as some levels drag on pretty long, and the intensity gradually gets higher toward the end- not too tough, nor too easy, it rides a delicate balance through most of the game.
     Maybe a few more stages (there's only 10) would've been nice as well.

A Diamond in the Rough 

     Aladdin stands as one of the best 16-bit platformers ever, and will forever remind me of why I loved the Sega Genesis system so much.  Aladdin displays such an undeniable use of creativity in every aspect of the game, it's fun and loaded with personality.  This is what licensed games should strive for, becoming a classic.  There's just so much here, it makes replaying it a joy just to stop and see what little touches they put into the background.  When it comes down to it, Sega's Aladdin game is every bit as much a masterpiece as the Disney film was, and won't soon be forgotten by those that play it.



     Draft from 01.12.2014

2.18.2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: First Trailer

     After seeing this first full trailer I'm quite ecstatic.  It's a bit more lighthearted than I'd expected, but it may be a great thing for this film- absolutely loaded with action and humor.  I mean seriously, look at this screencap I nabbed.

OBSCENE GESTURE ALERT!
     Here's the Trailer, courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel on Youtube:
     

     And for a bit more info (from USA Today):
     "The movie teams five disparate personalities: Peter Quill (Pratt), aka Star-Lord, was taken from Earth as a 9-year-old, possesses a mysterious orb artifact and pilots the Milano, a muscle car of a spaceship. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is connected to Thanos, arguably the cosmos' biggest baddie. Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) is a muscular dude you don't want to upset. And then there are the aliens Rocket Raccoon and Groot (computer-generated characters voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, respectively), who are best pals and potentially the biggest things to happen to pop culture since Chewbacca.
Their stories converge in the space prison Kyln. After the characters break out, they venture to Knowhere (the severed head of a celestial being that serves as a hangout for aliens) and visit the weird menagerie of the Collector (Benicio Del Toro). They also have to avoid two villains, Ronan (Lee Pace) and Nebula (Karen Gillan), who are in hot pursuit of Quill's orb, which has the power to destroy the galaxy."
     I think Guardians is going to be a massive hit with a younger audience than Avengers, but will hold it's own.  It's going to be fun on a galactic scale.

2.16.2014

Game of Thrones: Season 4: Trailer 2: Vengeance

     We've received the 2nd trailer for the 4th season today, and it is good.



     The anticipation is mounting, and each new look makes me even more eager for this.  And oh my- the dragons are getting quite large now.

     Season 4 begins Sunday April 6th, 8pm Central time on HBO.

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice... 2! According to Michael Keaton & Tim Burton

It's showtime!!!
     After hearing rumors for years, we might actually be getting somewhere.  In a recent interview with MTV for the Robocop reboot Keaton has said this:
     "I've e-mailed Tim a couple of times, talked to the writer a couple of times, but all really, really preliminary stuff," Keaton said. "I always said that's the one thing I'd like to do again, if I ever did anything again. But it kind of required Tim to be involved some way or another."
     "Now it looks like he is involved," Keaton continued, "And without giving too much away we've talked to each other, and e-mailed each other, and if he's in, it's going to be hard not to be in."
     As a long time fan of both Keaton and Beetlejuice- I'm pretty excited.  I've always wondered what became of both the living and the dead families from that film.  I wonder if Beetlejuice's head is still shrunken?

     It makes me curious as to why Zach Snyder didn't cast Keaton as Alfred Pennyworth for Man of Steel 2: Batman vs Superman?  He's the appropriate age and has the right look, not to mention his history with the Batman franchise...

     Source [ MTV ]

The Last of Us: Left Behind Review

     The highly anticipated The Last of Us story campaign expanding DLC, Left Behind, has finally arrived and I can say it was worth the wait.  It is extremely short- only a couple hours in length, but it is much more filled DLC than Bioshock Infinite's Burial at Sea Part 1 was, so length of playtime isn't a complaint for me here.


***SPOILERS AHEAD***

STORY

     In this tale we get 2 interwoven stories, the first being shown in the trailers and articles, is about Ellie and her friend Riley and their time together at the end.  The second story is what happened after Joel was severely injured and Ellie had to take care of him.  It is a simple, but moving picture of the lengths she'll go to save him, and consequently, exactly how strong a bond they share from the main game.

     Where the focus is, the interaction of Ellie and Riley, and their last day of fun together- is told as good as could be.  This is done with typical Naughty Dog flair.  They've given us another experience instead of a mere game.  We have humor, emotional tension, and down to Earth human drama between two people.  I found it to be quite moving as far as short stories go- the relationship these two have is something hard to nail down properly, but Naughty Dog has done it superbly.
     The dialogue between them is pure genius in writing, and stands as a great contrast to the bleak world and dangerous combat found around the next corner of the game.  It's a gem of love and hope in a world of desperation.  And it fully gives us insight into Joel's final dialogue in the end of the main game's campaign.  It shows us not only that Ellie fully understands what he is doing, but why he's doing it.


     As Riley says:
We fight.
There are a million ways we should've died before today.
And a million ways we can die before tomorrow.
But we fight...
     for every second we get to spend with each other.

    It really drives home the point of these people clinging to what little good is left in this world.

     In addition, we have bits of supporting story told with things found in the game.  There's the well known collectibles that give us small insights into the story through notes or recordings left around.  But there were also some Tweets if you spotted them.  Small tie ins you could look up on the net that expanded the story into the real world.  A nice small addition that adds a little bit more to the story for those that are looking for it.
   
COMBAT

     My only complaint is really with the combat.  The game has scarce resources, and only being able to collect limited resources limits your capabilities.  That in itself isn't the issue, it is when the game forces you to think ahead and plan your way through situations with stealth, then at the end bombards you with an absurd amount of enemies all at once feels counter to what they've been building to.
     Realistically speaking, Ellie would've been slaughtered without a problem in the "now" story trying to protect Joel.  But in the game after dispatching the first wave of enemies, a second wave spawned to both sides of me, and trapped me in an inescapable place- causing imminent death.  It happened a few times in a row, in 3 different places in that last stand, which is semi time sensitive as well- if the enemies open the door to Joel, game over.
     So it just felt a bit unfair to force players into open combat as the easy to die Ellie (she's not nearly as durable or strong as Joel), when a larger stealth option seemed more fitting, planting traps and misdirection might've been better.  And on top of the forced combat- that last section is 2 waves of heavily armed humans, and a 3rd wave of infected.  It's dropping you in the middle of two sides, and hoping you survive.  Some may argue that it's more realistic, but then just plain hiding and waiting it out could've worked as well.  It did help to have the infected and lure them into the 2nd wave of humans, then methodically take out the infected afterwards.  Personally I like to throw a brick into a corner, and when the infected gather for an inspection- molotov the group, easy clean up.

OVERALL

     This is a perfect way of making DLC, a tightly drawn story with just enough action combined into a neat package.

2.15.2014

Gearbox: Borderlands 3 Not Currently Being Developed, and That's a GOOD Thing.

     Over at Polygon, Randy Pitchford made some comments sure to dishearten all of us Borderlands fans, but I would like to say, "Hey, this is a GOOD thing."


     Firstly, there's this:
     "We are not working on Borderlands 3," he said, "We have more to do in the franchise, but no there isn't a Borderlands 3."
     "When you think of what Borderlands 3 should be, it should be massive," Pitchford said. "It should be bigger and better than Borderlands 2. It should carry forward the story. It's probably crazy multiplatform, depending on timing. It would have to be a next-gen game and a current-gen game, if it was coming at any time in the reasonably near future."
     I cannot argue with this at all.  They want to make something worthwhile to both us the gamers, and worth the brand name they've built.  Why focus a ton of money on making a game on 4 major consoles, PC, and possibly handhelds, when you can make it for just 2 major consoles- eliminate the time and effort of multiplatforming for PS3 and XBox 360.  It's a poor use of resources.
     They are waiting to provide us the better, more excellently produced game we all want.

     Then Pitchford follows with this nice tidbt:
     "We love Borderlands, and we know customers do too. So we will be doing more in Borderlands. But the thing that, when you think of what Borderlands 3 should be... No. We are not developing that right now. We don't know what that is yet. We can imagine what it must achieve, but we don't know what it is yet. I'm not going to fuck around with you like Valve does with Half-Life 3. Look. We know we want it and we know it should exist, but we don't know what it is yet. But we are doing things in Borderlands that we'll announce soon, that are good, and that I think people will be really excited about if you love the franchise."
     Preproduction work and early conceptualizing might be done, but not much more.  Taking a break from it is a good thing to do.  Monetarily they might want to milk the teats off this, but waiting is the smart thing.  They are focusing on their other IPs like Homeworld, Brothers in Arms, Furious 4, and 2 as yet unnamed IPs.  Sure there is a small chance one of them is Borderworlds, but really- we need a break from Borderlands 2.  Let the creators do other things, and come back with fresh eyes to the next installment.

     We have one more bit of DLC coming for the Borderlands franchise with Sir Hammerlock vs. The Son of Crawmerax, and then some time away.  Besides, there are some Borderlands related things that'll be announced soon enough (as mentioned in Pitchford's quote above).  Some things to tide us over and keep us interested while they are away.  We certainly don't want to have an over-saturated market for the game, and subsequently get burnt-out developers creating less-than-great work.

     Personally, I would rather wait, and have a 3rd game arrive in like 4 years, once the new systems are hitting their stride and pushing the limits of what can be done.  A good, comforting thought- take advantage of the new hardware without needing to limit it to the old generation's capabilities.

     There's plenty for them to add and build from- A complete overhaul on the loot system- more companies, more parts, and MORE VARIANCE!  I have so many guns that are too alike despite being completely different.  Even in the first Borderlands, at least the weapons all had different "feels" if they were similar.
     There's the "only 6 Sirens at one time in the universe" statement.  There's the Seraph's.  The Cult of the Vault.  Companies like Atlus returning to wreak vengeance on other companies.  There are a plethora of things they have to expand on, and I'd rather they take their time to craft a story and game to fit our expectations, so we don't end up with a pile of Skag-crap.

     Considering that Borderlands 2 essentially made them a bazillion dollars, there's definitely something in store for the future of the series, it's probably just in the ideas stage right now.

     Source [ Polygon ]

Batman: Mr. Freeze 2014 Action Figure By Greg Capullo


     I found a video on IGN this morning announcing DC Comics' Collectibles Lineup.  Among those toys listed there is a new Capullo designed Mr. Freeze.  Being my favorite Bat-villain, I am excited, however, this is not even close to my favorite version of the character.
     Why is half of his torso showing- he'd be losing a lot of heat, or burned by the outer temperature being too much for his skin's required low temperature.  It seems to be a kind of preposterous design for his character.  That being said, I'll still be picking it up to add to my Freeze collection.

     Source [ IGN ]

2.13.2014

Borderlands 2: Sir Hammerlock vs. The Son of Crawmerax Final Headhunter Pack DLC Preview

     I am a bit surprised that this video was released so soon after Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day Massacre came out (yesterday).  Apparently instead of an April Fool's we'll be getting an Easter themed pastel laden DLC pack.  After seeing this video, I don't know how Eastery it'll be, but oh well- I'm sure the Easter eggs and Holiday nods will be loaded with the typical Pandora-based humor involving strange takes on tropes and plenty of shooting to fill out the rest.

     Thank you Gearbox and IGN for this video:




     It's said to be the largest Headhunter Pack by far to be their Borderlands 2 swan song.  Another surprise is the return to pirates from Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty and the Craboids being similar to the craw worms from the first Borderlands game.  I notice they mention Mordecai will talk about his new bird- the one shown during the credits at the end of Borderlands 2.


     Well, it looks to be quite entertaining anyway, and I look forward to this a lot, especially because the end boss will be, as stated in the video, an ACTUAL RAID BOSS!  Perhaps a connection to the Seraphs?


     Hammerlock vs the Son of Crawmerax will be available April 15th.

2.12.2014

Borderlands 2: Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day Massacre Headhunter Review


A Valentine's Innuendo... Bot 5000

     Love is in the air on Pandora.  With the Holiday of Valentine's upon us Moxxi has tasked the Vault Hunters with bringing the long feuding Zafords and Hodunks together- in the form of marrying a pair of star-crossed lovers and creating peace and stopping the clan war.  Two goliaths have produced a giant child and are trying to call off their wedding!
     Along the way you get commentary from Moxxi (Love), Ellie (KILL 'EM ALL!), and Innuendobot 5000 (My hat looks like a penis.).  Nothing too amazing, but still, for $3 it was a decent reason to return to Borderlands 2.


     That is a slightly different take on the previous Seasonal/Holiday-themed Headhunter DLC Packs (TK Baha's Bloody Harvest, The Horrible Hunger of the Ravenous Wattle Gobbler, and How Marcus Saved Mercenary Day) where we were sent in to take out a specific boss that was terrorizing the area- we are supposed to be bringing people together, but in true Borderlands spirit we end up causing more havoc and fighting a boss anyway.

     In Wedding Day Massacre we get a bit more than Mercenary Day gave us.  Sure the enemies are all re-skins of previous enemies, but they are entertaining still.  There are drunken Threshers that give you a "contact drunkenness," a really tiny Leprechaun to chase and loot, and a mini-game that involves fishing for mini-bosses.  We also get a few individual lines from Vault Hunters which I would like more of- as I picked Axton for this one, and immediately regretted not choosing Krieg to hear his responses.  The writing here feels much better scripted than the last Headhunter Pack.

An Expected Red Wedding

     Obviously, I would recommend this to any Borderlands fans with the note that combat is just mundane, and this is just a small excuse to play the game for an extra hour- culminating in a way that anyone that is familiar with the universe should see coming.  It's short and sweet.  A couple short missions in a new area, new heads and skins, and a nice Easter Egg.  Not much, mind you but it's still something.

     As a bite-sized piece of add-on content, I found this one more fun than Mercenary Day, a little better than Wattle Gobbler, and just less than Bloody Harvest.  The fact they are still putting out DLC a year and a half after the main game was released is, quite frankly amazing.  

     For the last piece of Borderlands 2 DLC release coming up- Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax- I really hope it's a bit longer and is a massive April Fool's Day joke.  Like Claptrap making up "The Son of Crawmerax" to be friend's with Hammerlock because of Hammerlock's general distaste for ole Clappy- but somehow, I would think Claptrap's made up creature would turn out to be real anyway.  I mean, hell- maybe we'll even get to return to a ruined T-Bone Junction?  That would be an end to Borderlands 2 worthy of General Knoxx's great legacy.

2.08.2014

Pete Holmes: Ex-Men: Nightcrawler Outtakes: "You are focusing merely on my moistness."

"You are focusing merely on my moistness"



     As a long time fan of Pete Holmes I've enjoyed plenty of his work- especially his since his fat lesbian Val Kilmer days.  His Badman series for College Humor was great, but it feels a bit less than they were now that he's got his own show.  But, with his Ex-men series, he has some nice little skits going with that.  In particular I thoroughly loved the Wolverine being fired.
     But, for some reason this one, the outtakes from the Nightcrawler bit has me in tears.  No matter how many times I watch it, I still laugh until I cry.  The "You are focusing merely on my moistness" line is absolutely brilliant, and when he does the teleporting face and I lose it every time.  Maybe he should've been called Shartcrawler instead.

"Oh, Candym√ľnschpieler!"

     Honestly, Pete Holmes and Thomas Middleditch are pure hilarity in these, and for some reason the outtakes take it to a level unmatched by most shows.  Seriously, these are better than all the movies combined.


"Ah! Now who is the moist one?"

The Last of Us: A Potential Sequel


     According to Naughty Dog writer and creative director Neil Druckmann, they are currently considering ways of approaching a sequel to The Last of Us.
     "We have started brainstorming some stuff. To be honest, some of them are sequel ideas, and some of them are brand new IP - we've spent the last few weeks brainstorming new IP. So we have to get some good steps and see... It's kind of like how we approached Left Behind. Can we tell people a story that's really worth telling, and that's not repeating itself? And if we can't, where can we get inspired - what is something that's really going to challenge us, and push storytelling in this medium forward?"
     I would absolutely love another game in the world of The Last of Us, but I don't want it to be anywhere around Joel or Ellie.  Maybe a cameo, but leave their story be.  It was so perfectly handled, that messing with it could be a problem.  
     In an interview with the Playstation Blog Druckmann has said as much:
How expansive is the universe and mythos you’ve created. Have you left space for more stories?
Neil Druckmann:  I think the world is ripe for more stories, but as far as the journey Joel and Ellie goes on it ends with this game. We were very conscious that we didn't want to leave this story dangling. If we never do a sequel we’re ok with it, because we told the story we needed to tell.
     He may not have meant Joel and Ellie's stories per se, but at least their story with the Firefllies- as he clarified with Kotaku:
"I can clarify that quote, because I've seen it misquoted," Druckmann told me yesterday. "I said this journey for Joel and Ellie is complete. In a spoiler sense, I was referring to the journey with the Fireflies and what they're after with the cure and all that. We're not continuing that.
"But as far as whether we come back to Joel and Ellie or not, or whether we come back to the world or not, that's all up in the air. I can tell you there are people in the studio that would love to come back to these characters, but the only way we would do it would be if we had something new, something meaningful to say. Because the last thing we would want to do is repeat ourselves."
     What would be great is to be able to marvel at the wonderful scenery of the in game world from other people's perspectives.  Same world, different stories.  There's an entire world to explore outside of our two former protagonists.  Even a game from Bill's view would be great- maybe something telling of what he went on to do after helping Joel and Ellie.  He had a sad story, and I would like to know more.

     All I know is they crafted something so perfectly, it is a touchy thing to return to.  As it is, The Last of Us stands solidly on it's own and doesn't need anything added, but if they do decide to revisit that world, they've got me on board.  The mostly derelict countryside is strange and beautiful in that frightening way, where you know there is something, somewhere waiting to kill you, but you just can't help but want to see more.

     I even think a short new 4-6 hour game set in this world would be a great exclusive for the Playstation Vita.  It would fall in line with Naughty Dog's Uncharted: The Golden Abyss.

     Sources [ Eurogamer ] [ Kotaku ] [ Playstation Blog ]

The Last of Us: Hope in Desperate Times: The Ending

***SPOILER WARNING***



IN THE END

     It's been quite a few months since I beat The Last of Us, and I still haven't written anything of substance about it.  I figure with the Left Behind DLC slated to arrive next week, now's a good time.  Naughty Dog has created a masterpiece of a game and an ending that will not be soon forgotten.

     It bothers me that many see Joel's decision to be dooming humanity.  In the Fireflies' Lab Joel has a chance to do what he failed to do in the beginning of the game- save a daughter.  If the cordyceps has mutated, maybe it is mutating in more people.  Changing over time- it is a good response for things to adapt to stop killing it's hosts- to eventually live in a symbiotic relationship.  They should theoretically be able to biopsy the cordyceps without killing her and getting the information they need to make their vaccine.
     "The doctors tell me the cordyceps, the growth inside her, has somehow mutated.  It's why she's immune."-Marlene
     "Apparently, there's no way to extricate the parasite without eliminating the host. Fancy way of saying we gotta kill the fucking kid. ... I need you to know that I've kept my promise all these years... despite everything that I was in charge of, I looked after her. I would've done anything for her, and at times...
     Here's a chance to save us... all of us. This is what we were after... what you were after. They asked me to kill the smuggler. I'm not about to kill the one man in this facility that might understand the weight of this choice. Maybe he can forgive me." -Marlene


     Joel did something so important here- he is giving Ellie a chance at a life she wouldn't have had.  A choice she really didn't get to make.  Ellie wants her life to mean something, but how can she make that decision at such a young age?  Was it really a choice for her if the Fireflies preyed on her survivor's guilt to make her believe her only value is in the potential to save lives.  If it didn't work?  What then?  Joel's actions killed plenty of people, and may cause the death of thousands more if the vaccine would've worked.  But like I mentioned earlier- if Ellie had contracted a cordyceps that mutated, maybe Joel was right to save her.  Give her a real shot at a life without the burden of guilt.
   
     The fact humanity has become more monstrous than the infected makes me seriously consider the question of should we be saved?  I mean, none of the infected are killing each other to survive.  With the Fireflies willing to kill a girl for the mere chance of a vaccine shows the hasty decision of desperation.  They were willing to kill a young girl at with the hopes it might provide a viable vaccine (no guarantee it would actually work)- and without her consent.  Joel had to have realized that humanity was so lost already and the potential vaccine being so slim it wasn't worth sacrificing Ellie for.  As Marlene said, Joel may be the only one that understands the weight of this choice.

"NO MATTER WHAT, YOU KEEP FINDING SOMETHING TO FIGHT FOR" -Joel

     The moral choice of saving one versus the possible death of many is a difficult one to make, but I believe Joel made the right one, even if his motivation is originally selfish in saving the daughter he once lost.  But as a man that has lived with survivor's guilt for years, Joel knows what it can do, and how it can ruin lives.


     Joel has gone the extra step- "I got you."  He says it over and over in the last chapters.  In taking the role of responsibility, and being a type of father, he's taking that guilt off of her.  She believes it's her fault she's immune, that she holds the blame for the deaths of Riley, Tess, and Sam.  That's a hell of a thing to live with, especially as a kid.  The infamous lie in the end is giving her a chance for a real choice later- one Marlene and the Fireflies would've made for her (one that isn't overwhelmed or influenced with the "why did I live, and Riley die?" mentality hanging over her)- and as Joel said, "That ain't for you to decide."


The Hobbit: Fantasy Literature Formal Paper: "It Lies Behind Stars"

     Here's my first formal paper for Fantasy Literature.  I originally wanted to do a paper on the way a bunch of the group's encounters were in slowly darker and darker settings, and how that gave a kind of indication of how dangerous the adversary was, but I ended up focusing specifically on Gollum's Cave.  A strange place he lives far below the goblin's dark regions, and has a few other unique things about the setting- such as Bilbo being primarily blind through it due to pure darkness.  Maybe not completely, but close enough.


     Anyway, I titled it after a line of Gollum's riddle of the dark, which I believe ties in to most of his riddles and the situation at hand.  I also feel that this is possibly the most important scene in the book- when Bilbo faces both the physical dark, and the dark of his inner being.  Helpless he faces a challenge unknown to any of the others he's been separated from and he comes back a different person.

It Lies Behind Stars

During the reading of The Hobbit, I was struck by an interesting piece of setting and how it affected a specific character.  Originally I planned to do it on a type of setting- the dark.  All the adversaries the troupe of The Hobbit faces are in a form of dark such as the trolls at night, the spiders in the dimly lit Mirkwood, and Smaug in the Lonely Mountain itself- but the one that intrigued me the most was a different dark- the dark of Gollum’s cave.  The less light available, the more dangerous the situation, and the more profound the outcome.  I think the particular darkness of Gollum’s cave was something that heavily shaped Bilbo.

INTO THE DARK
     What initially sets this darkness apart is that Bilbo awakens into it.  “When Bilbo opened his eyes, he wondered if he had; for it was just as dark as with them shut. No one was anywhere near him. … He could hear nothing, see nothing, and he could feel nothing except the stone of the floor.” (68)  This sets up something more than just plain old dark.  He isn’t just deprived of his senses either.  He is now alone, without the aid of Gandalf or any of the Dwarves.  He starts out groping and feeling around on all fours, confused and lost, he is literally crawling in the dark.  Absentmindedly he picks up a ring, which comes in later after leaving the cave.  He couldn’t light a match because of potential threats being drawn to him, but he does find a small light.  His sword Sting- “It shone pale and dim before his eyes. … and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” (69)  He is forced to go on his own, no other choices, and he doesn’t just accept it- the only thing to do in his mind is to go forward.

SEEMINGLY ENDLESS DEPTH, ROOTS OF THE MOUNTAIN
     "On and on he went, and down and down ... It seemed like all the way to tomorrow and over it to the days beyond." (70)  Bilbo was passing deeper and deeper into darkness, pushing through fear, “long he kept on like this, hating to go on, not daring to stop, on, on, until he was tireder than tired.” (70)  Physically draining him, and even Sting’s light was fading, leaving him at a pool in a cave.  I think Bilbo came across an external representation of something like Mimer’s Well in Norse mythology- a source of wisdom and knowledge.  He’s worn out and tired and come to a strange place under great circumstance, where he comes across a very curious being, Gollum.  Gollum is described with a few very important features here- he’s “as dark as darkness” and has big “lamp-like” eyes. (71)  I believe the references to Gollum’s eyes being like light’s in the dark, or his ability to see in the dark, is very, very important.  Bilbo is practically blind and he has come across something that can not only see, but uses the dark as a weapon.

     The fact Gollum doesn’t cause the water to stir, “but never a ripple did he make,” is of note as well, because that means Bilbo is up against a mirror of sorts. (71)  A match against something described as “quick as thinking” in what will be a battle of wits and cleverness. (71)  Bilbo is facing a creature that represents his ultimate villain, the darkness inside- which Bilbo picked up.  You see Gollum refers to himself as “my precious” at first, then the ring is called that a bit later (72).  Gollum can be seen as being part of the ring and the ring is a part of Gollum.  A piece of darkness made solid which Bilbo now carries.  So the pool has become a reflection of what he could become- namely a lone individual far from any society on an island in the dark.  A symbolic piece of himself being shown in the odd creature Gollum, displaying the fact he must overcome the dark and gain insight into the world.

THE ANSWER WAS ALL ROUND HIM
     Bilbo meets the challenge of the dark.  He cheats the one that wants to cheat him in a game of riddles.  Fighting the dark with dark’s own weapon.  Gollum poses this riddle:

It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter. (75)

     Bilbo knows without even thinking what the answer is.  He has instant recognition of the situation somewhere subconsciously.  ‘"Dark!" he said without even scratching his head or putting on his thinking cap.’ (75)
     Bilbo could sense “that the darkness had sharpened” and “Though he was only a black shadow in the gleam of his own eyes” he knew he had to get out of the dark. (86)  “He must get away, out of this horrible darkness.” (86)
     His initial urge is to kill Gollum.  But he rises above the easy way, the dark path of simply killing Gollum.  “He must stab the foul thing, put its eyes out, kill it. It meant to kill him. No, not a fair fight. He was invisible now. Gollum had no sword. Gollum had not actually threatened to kill him, or tried to yet. And he was miserable, alone, lost. A sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled in Bilbo's heart: a glimpse of endless unmarked days without light or hope of betterment, hard stone, cold fish, sneaking and whispering.” (86-87)

     But in coming out of the dark a ways, on the way back to the light- he brings that light into his actions.  He takes a leap of faith and jumps over Gollum and into a new life.

IT COMES FIRST AND FOLLOWS AFTER
     Bilbo entered this cave in the dark (unconsciously), and in escaping back to the light (knowledge/wisdom), he waged his life and came out alive.  Bilbo was knocked unconscious and faced an almost warped mirror version of himself on an island, in a pool under the misty mountains- and when he emerged he carried that darkness with him along with a newfound perspective.

     When returning to the light Bilbo maintains his humanity (Hobbitmanity?) by sparing Gollum in recognition of the overwhelming darkness that he's trapped himself in.  Bilbo could allow the darkness to overwhelm, but he held the darkness at bay inside him- by sparing Gollum.

     But the darkness follows him.  He carries the ring which has a unique ability, “…and if you slipped that ring on your finger, you were invisible; only in the full sunlight could you be seen, and then only by your shadow, and that would be shaky and faint.” (81)  He becomes a faint darkness himself in the form of shadow.  He’s mastered the darkness he faced under the mountain, much deeper and darker than the dwarves with the goblins when they got separated, and came away with a ring and, much more valuable, a lesson that resulted in courage and bravery.  While all of the group went into the Misty Mountains and faced dangers in the dark, only Bilbo faced that inner darkness, without relying on physical strength or prowess, in the cave and reaped the most from it.


Works Cited:

Tolkien, J.R.R.  The Hobbit.  1937.  Revised Edition (1982)  New York: The Ballantine Publishing Group, 1997.  Print.

2.05.2014

Borderlands 2: Headhunter Pack 4 Announced! Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day Massacre

     In another installment of subverted Holiday humor- our our friends on Pandora get a new Holiday surprise with Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day Massacre.


     Zafords, Hodunks, and Innuendobot 5000- Oh MY!  We are getting to see Moxxi and a lot of commentary by Elle.  Then a couple of lovestruck Goliath's one of which is now knocked up- a Romeo and Juliet story in a way that could only happen in Borderlands.

     Here's the official announcement from 2K:
"Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day Massacre was inspired by one of our favorite holidays and is full of love and cuddles, but with a Borderlands twist. This add-on features the return of Innuendo Bot 5000 and its creator, Mad Moxxi, as they try to bring two rival clans together with the help of the Vault Hunters. They think love and understanding will bring peace to the clans, but as you know, things don’t always work out the way you’d hope on Pandora – especially when it involves the Hodunks and the Zafords.  Ellie also makes an appearance and tries to help out too, but she isn’t very keen on keeping things civil.
     Did I mention there's a baby Goliath, complete with helmet?  And drunken Threshers that will give you contact drunkenness.

     I would like to point out that I fairly accurately guessed not 1, but two of the Holiday themes back when they announced Marcus's pack on Dec. 11.  (But- because St. Patrick's Day is so close to Valentine's Day they combined them into this one Moxxi Pack.)  (Clicking the pic will take you to the post)


     And lastly- and possibly the greatest news of all-
     "With that said, we still have one more Headhunter add-on planned. So, make sure to look out for the fifth and final Headhunter add-on for Borderlands 2, Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax, coming in April and featuring the offspring of a fan-favorite enemy from the first Borderlands!"
     It is an odd and amazing thing that they've continued to put out new content long after the game has been released, but I love it all any way.  The son of Crawermax?  I wonder if we'll get a cameo from a revived from the dead again version of General Knoxx?

     Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day Massacre will be available Feb. 11 on Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and Mac/PC via Steam,  for $2.99.


     Source [ 2k Blog ]

2.04.2014

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Part 2: Release Date and it'll be 5-6 Hours Long

     My love of the Bioshock universe is great, and with Infinite, I loved it despite it's flaws.  Then we got Clash in the Clouds- a story-less series of combat challenges, which I honestly had no interest in.

     A while after that we were given the underwhelming Burial at Sea Part 1, which ultimately felt like a prologue to something.  It was like the Bioshock version of a Borderlands 2 Headhunter Pack- minimal content passing itself off as full DLC.  (note: I did enjoy it, and just wished it were much longer, maybe have more stuff to do, more enemies, and places to search)  It was too short to hold enough substance, making it feel less than worthwhile- it took me well under 3 hours to complete and I'm a very slow player.  I like to take the time to search and look at posters and background elements, to really dig in, but the return to Rapture made it feel like it was mostly empty.  There just wasn't enough substance.
     Those were my 2 biggest complaints about Burial at Sea Part 1 - brevity and emptiness- which I mentioned in my review of it.

     But Ken Levine Tweeted this:



     Which gets my hopes revved up again.  I always want more Bioshock so I'll be buying Burial at Sea Part 2 to finish the story, and hope they find a way to get a new Bioshock Infinite on the PS Vita.  The Infinite name should provide ample ways of telling stories with the same characters in new and interesting ways- they have INFINITE POSSIBILITY!  Where is our full on evil Elizabeth as a main baddie?

     Burial at Sea Part 2 will release March 25th globally.

2.03.2014

The Hobbit: School Reading Response 3- "I AM LUCKWEARER" & Hobbitually Lucky

     Here is my 3rd and final reading response to the Hobbit.  It actually is something, that as far as I've found no one else has considered yet- the Bilbo does in fact have a sort of magic.  It would also explain all those moments that were all too convenient to save the group, or finding items like the weapons or even being just in the right place and time to see the moon-runes.
     Here you go, I may do another cleaned up and better written version just because.

Bilbo has more luck than all of the rest of Middle Earth combined
     The Hobbit has a strange underlying magic that I believe has gone long overlooked.  It has  to do specifically with our tiny friend Bilbo Baggins.  There is something mentioned constantly through the book and runs through it's entirety. 
     In the beginning of the story we get to hear that the highly revered wizard Gandalf has chosen a burglar for a group of dwarves, in the hopes he will help them retake their home from the dragon Smaug.  I had to go back and look up a bunch of things to make sure I caught them properly, but this is what I believe to be the initial idea- when the dwarves are all questioning why Gandalf would have chosen Bilbo, his response is, "You asked me to find the fourteenth man for your expedition, and I chose Mr. Baggins. Just let any one say I chose the wrong man or the wrong house, and you can stop at thirteen and have all the bad luck you like, or go back to digging coal."   
THE LUCKY NUMBER 
     Many people seem to have hinged the bad luck on the number, which very well could be partly true, but I believe otherwise.  I think Bilbo has a subtle form of magic- an aura of luck that surrounds him.  He was chosen specifically as the lucky number.  Gandalf didn't choose a great leader, or an amazing elf hunter, or even himself as a wizard- he chose Bilbo.  For being a burglar of all things!  He chose a little unassuming Hobbit to join the dwarves.
     After the party's first antagonistic encounter with the trolls, the signs have already begun.  Sure, when he tried to burgle a troll a talking purse gave him away, but things went oddly well, and Gandalf had arrived in the nick of time to turn the trolls to stone.  But in this encounter it gets a little bit better when they are attempting to locate a way into the trolls' stash:  "Would this be any good?" asked Bilbo, when they were getting tired and angry. "I found it on the ground where the trolls had their fight." He held out a largish key, though no doubt William had thought it very small and secret. It must have fallen out of his pocket, very luckily, before he was turned to stone."
     That seems like an awfully convenient occurrence. 
     Later when they are travelling in the mountains and the storm giants are fighting the group is once again blessed with luck as nothing crushes any of them. ("Boulders, too, at times came galloping down the mountain-sides, let loose by midday sun upon the snow, and passed among them (which was lucky), or over their heads (which was alarming).)  
     Then Bilbo just happens to find a ring, and not just any old ring either- the magical One Ring.  It happens that he finds clues and accidentally answers riddles with Gollum correctly.  A bit later than that luck saves Bilbo again when having the riddle contest with Gollum when he accidentally cheats (again, as the question posed was an unfair question that Gollum couldn't know) by asking himself what's in my pocket and Gollum guesses "Handses!"
     "Wrong," said Bilbo, who had luckily just taken his hand out again. "Guess again!"  If he hadn't pulled his hand out he would've been a much worse cheater because Gollum's answer would've been accurate. 
     The luck strikes again when fleeing the goblins ("There will be a bit of moon, if it keeps fine, and that is lucky."-Gandalf) and the Wargs ("For a time they were safe. Luckily it was warm and not windy.")
     Perhaps it is an indication that Gandalf may know about the luck, maybe even subconsciously, when he has to part ways with Bilbo and the dwarves and says, "I always meant to see you all safe (if possible) over the mountains," said the wizard, "and now by good management and good luck I have done it."  Maybe he suspects favor is on their side, but not the root cause of it. 
     The advice Beorn gives has a touch of it as well, "That is all the advice I can give you. Beyond the edge of the forest I cannot help you much; you must depend on your luck and your courage and the food I send with you. "  Do the magical type beings have an instinctual feel for magic somewhere deep inside them?  Like small magics calling to each other? 
     Gandalf makes a habit out of mentioning the luck.  "We may meet again before all is over, and then again of course we may not. That depends on your luck and on your courage and sense; and I am sending Mr. Baggins with you. I have told you before that he has more about him than you guess, and you will find that out before long."  And again when he says, "Stick to the forest-track, keep your spirits up, hope for the best, and with a tremendous slice of luck you may come out one day and see the Long Marshes lying below you, and beyond them, high in the East, the Lonely Mountain where dear old Smaug lives, though I hope he is not expecting you." 
     Bilbo passes out due to elven magic in Mirkwood forest and is saved due to, you guessed it, LUCK!  ("They were just giving up hope, when Dori stumbled across him by sheer luck.")
     A bit later his luck is shown a bunch with the spiders.  ("Then the great spider, who had been busy tying him up while he dozed, came from behind him and came at him. He could only see the things's eyes, but he could feel its hairy legs as it struggled to wind its abominable threads round and round him. It was lucky that he had come to his senses in time. Soon he would not have been able to move at all.")  When dealing with the spiders, it appears his luck is in overdrive.  Maybe it's effects were enhanced by the One Ring- it could've been somehow compounding the luck.
     ("In the end he made as good a guess as he could at the direction from which the cries for help had come in the night - and by luck (he was born with a good share of it) be guessed more or less right, as you will see.")
     ("With that he turned and found that the last space between two tall trees had been closed with a web-but luckily not a proper web, only great strands of double-thick spider-rope run hastily backwards and forwards from trunk to trunk. Out came his little' sword. He slashed the threads to pieces and went off singing.")
     ("I don't suppose he would have managed it, if a spider had not luckily left a rope hanging down; with its help, though it stuck to his hand and hurt him, he scrambled up-only to meet an old slow wicked fat-bodied spider who had remained behind to guard the prisoners, and had been busy pinching them to see which was the juiciest to eat.") 
     Now for a slight proof that the ring and luck are separate, because some think it may be the ring itself.  ("Knowing the truth about the vanishing did not lessen their opinion of Bilbo at all; for they saw that he had some wits, as well as luck and a magic ring-and all three are very useful possessions.")  Just a tad bit more proof that the luck has been with them since Bilbo joined the group. 
     When he is trying to rescue the dwarves it is especially mentioned.  ("When he heard this Bilbo was all in a flutter, for he saw that luck was with him and he had a chance at once to try his desperate plan. He followed the two elves, until they entered a small cellar and sat down at a table on which two large flagons were set. Soon they began to drink and laugh merrily. Luck of an unusual kind was with Bilbo then.")  Not just any sort of luck, but an unusual kind.  An extraordinary kind.  It keeps popping up- over and over.
     His luck manages to save both himself and all the dwarves in the barrel escape section.  ("I do hope I put the lids on tight enough!" he thought, but before long he was worrying too much about himself to remember the dwarves. He managed to keep his head above the water, but he was shivering with the cold, and he wondered if he would die of it before the luck turned, and how much longer he would be able to hang on, and whether he should risk the chance of letting go and trying to swim to the bank.
     The luck turned all right before long: the eddying current carried several barrels close ashore at one point and there for a while they stuck against some hidden root. Then Bilbo took the opportunity of scrambling up the side of his barrel while it was held steady against another. Up he crawled like a drowned rat, and lay on the top spread out to keep the balance as best he could. The breeze was cold but better than the water, and he hoped he would not suddenly roll off again when they started off once more. Before long the barrels broke free again and turned and twisted off down the stream, and out into the main current Then he found it quite as difficult to stick on as he had feared; but he managed it somehow, though it was miserably uncomfortable. Luckily he was very light, and the barrel was a good big one and being rather leaky had now shipped a small amount of water.)
     Then after losing the dwarves he ends up finding them once again.  (He scrambled down as fast as his stiff legs would take him and managed just in time to get on to the mass of casks without being noticed in the general bustle. Luckily there was no sun at the time to cast an awkward shadow, and for a mercy he did not sneeze again for a good while.
     As he listened to the talk of the raftmen and pieced together the scraps of information they let fall, he soon realized that he was very fortunate ever to have seen it at all, even from this distance. Dreary as had been his imprisonment and unpleasant as was his position (to say nothing of the poor dwarves underneath him) still, he had been more lucky than he had guessed.) 
I AM LUCKWEARER 
     The Lonely Mountain shows that the luck continues.  Thorin says, "Now is the time for our esteemed Mr. Baggins, who has proved himself a good companion on our long road, and a hobbit full of courage and resource far exceeding his size, and if I may say so possessed of good luck far exceeding the usual allowance-now is the time for him to perform the service for which he was included in our Company; now is the time for him to earn his Reward."
     Part of Bilbo's reply is this, "Perhaps I have begun to trust my luck more than I used to in the old days"
     Then later Bilbo says, "I have no idea at the moment - if you mean about removing the treasure. That obviously depends entirely on some new turn of luck and the getting rid of Smaug."  And this does come to pass.  As the Thrush that overhears him passes the information to Bard the Bowman, who uses that information to slay the dragon. 
     While Bilbo, still thinks it isn't himself causing all the luck (Hurriedly Bilbo stepped back and blessed the luck of his ring.) but he thinks it's the ring doing it.  He has so much of it that it effects everything and everyone around him.  He has an inkling that it's there, but to how great an extant- he has no clue!
     When he starts his conversation with Smaug, and is asked his name he says, "I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number."  Something I think is far more important and completely goes right by everyone.  "I was chosen for the lucky number."  Of course the conversation goes on- 
     "Lovely titles!" sneered the dragon. "But lucky numbers don't always come off." 
     "I am Ringwinner and Luckwearer" 
     "If you get off alive, you will be lucky." 
     "Why not say 'us fourteen' and be done with it. Mr. Lucky Number?" 
     Then Bilbo makes a break for it.  One in which he is saved yet again by ridiculous luck.  (It was an unfortunate remark, for the dragon spouted terrific flames after him, and fast though he sped up the slope, he had not gone nearly far enough to be comfortable before the ghastly head of Smaug was thrust against the opening behind. Luckily the whole head and jaws could not squeeze in, but the nostrils sent forth fire and vapour to pursue him, and he was nearly overcome, and stumbled blindly on in great pain and fear. He had been feeling rather pleased with the cleverness of his conversation with Smaug, but his mistake at the end shook him into better sense.)  He escapes by luck and circumstance!   
     After the battle of 5 armies- which Bilbo very luckily avoids any harm in against the Goblins and Wargs he meets up with Gandalf, who mentions again the luck of this Hobbit.  (When Gandalf saw Bilbo, he was delighted. "Baggins!" he exclaimed. "Well I never! Alive after all - I am glad! I began to wonder if even your luck would see you through!")
     The adds a nice little touch to the idea of Bilbo's luck- which makes me wonder- is Gandalf truly aware of it?  And Bilbo himself would probably just believe it was the ring- as he is quite content to be a little fellow of no esteem. 
     "Of course!" said Gandalf. "And why should not they prove true? Surely you don't disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don't really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!" 
     "Thank goodness!" said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar. 
     This luck would also explain all the coincidental occurrences throughout the story.  Each occurrence that happened in the nick of time, how everything fell into place just right, and how stuff like being in the right place and right time happened for the moon-runes.  It would explain how salvation was quite convenient. 
     In the end we readers happen to be just like Gandalf and the dwarves- we recognize there is something special about Bilbo, and there must've been a reason he was chosen.  The problem is we are all constantly failing to see what that something is.  His all pervading luck is just as unseen and overlooked as Bilbo is himself.  Could Gandalf see it truly?  Or was he aware of that odd something, like a fish not seeing the water that is surrounding them. 
     Smaug was right- Bilbo's luck didn't come off- time and again, it held through the entire journey, from there and back again it never faltered- it carried him the whole way.

     And if you've made it this far down here is a meme I adapted from one I made up for the Desolation of Smaug post I did.  A CSI: Middle Earth Meme, if you will.

Throughout There and Back Again,

It looks like Bilbo is...

( •_•)
( •_•)>⌐■-■
(⌐■_■)

Hobbitually lucky.

YYYYEEEEAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

2.02.2014

Marvel Agent Carter One Shot Mini Review

     ***Small Spoiler Warning***



     Well, I was privy to see the Agent Carter One Shot, and I can only say- I want more.  We need more Agent Carter for many reasons, but I'll stick with she's effin' awesome.

     In fact I really like how they gave her some stuff to do.  And by gave her stuff to do, I mean, she took it upon herself to get some serious sh*t done, because all her male peers are idiots.  Agent Carter secretly solves a time-sensitive case with such intelligence and efficiency that Tony Stark's father Howard Stark invites her to run S.H.I.E.L.D.  Absolutely brilliant!  And would serve to be a wonderful jumping off point for a television series or movie.

     And there's a nice little cameo from another recognizable face from the first Captain America.

     One thing that kind of makes me angry is after the credits we get the message: Steve Rogers will return in Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  No note of more Agent Carter?  As I mentioned above, we need her in something more than a One Shot.  We want her in more stuff- come on Marvel, listen to the fans here.  Hell, even a couple flashback episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the period piece style of Captain America or this One Shot would be tremendous.

Captain America 2: Winter Soldier Trailer 2

The Winter Soldier either cries a lot, or struggles with applying guyliner.
     We are getting a plethora of great trailers today!  In the second Winter Soldier trailer we get a bunch of revealing shots- lots of Black Widow doing crazy flips and action, much better looks at the Falcon and his sweet wing-suit, and a bit more story info about the Winter Soldier himself.
     Just like the new Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer, this film is looking great.  Taking everything from the first and making it better.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 New Trailer Looks... Well, Amazing!

     With the SuperBowl commercial fest going on, and me occupied with homework (and disinterested in sports) I have been keeping a page open on the side to watch for new trailers.  Right before this I posted about the next Transformers film, and now a great new Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer.  This one we get a few more sneaky shots of Rhino, a glimpse of yellow-green haired Harry Osborn, and a ton of good stuff for Jaime Foxx's Electro.
     It truly looks much better than the first, and I am hopeful this one'll end up with a better story overall.  The last one wasn't bad, but it could've been better.  Hell, we might even get a turn of heart good Electro if Rhino and Osborn are too evil, and Spider-Man pleas to Electro's sensibilities.

Transformers: Age of Extinction: GRIMLOCK Revealed!


     With the release of the first teaser trailer I have to ask- is this badass picture of Optimus Prime riding Grimlock and holding a sword?  I certainly hope so.  As someone that generally thinks Michael Bay Movies are ridiculous, I do have to admit I've enjoyed their simple explosion-fest spectacles.  And this looks to be a definite popcorn munching piece of entertainment.

     

Philip Seymour Hoffman: Found Dead: Drug Overdose

     Wow, just read that Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead with needle still in his arm.  What sad and shocking news, as he was a tremendous actor.  The Oscar winner was only 46 which makes this loss even sadder.  Makes me wonder how they'll finish The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 without him as Plutarch Heavensbee?


     While he was an amazing actor with great films such as Pirate Radio, Synecdoche, New York, and even Twister, but I think I'll always remember him best as Sandy Lyle from Along Came Polly.

     Source [ NY Post ]