Archive for August 1, 2010

GRIMACE JJL’S VIDEO GAME NEWS AND REVIEWS

Keep thinking you're safe. You're not.

Grimace JJL is the Swear All You Like Blog’s 1st regular Contributor! Show him some love (and some episodes of Felicia’s Day’s The Guild) and he’ll be your friend for life!

Monday August 2, 2010

First off, never forget you get what you pay for…

Sniper: Ghost Warrior

Let’s start with some, *ahem*, garbage. Even though I was somewhat looking forward to Sniper: Ghost Warrior– I ended up classically disappointed. Sniper held the promise of being the next great FPS– but instead it simply justifies its’ Bargain Bin Price of $39.99. (Yes, that’s the brand new price.)

To snipe or not to snipe... An EASY question to answer with Sniper!

Sniper had the potential to give the gamer a fantastic experience– just like the sniper levels in the very impressive Call of Duty: Modern Warfare– but jacked up a notch… Because Sniper lets you snipe enemies for the entire game.

To be blunt: labeling Sniper a “cheap knock-off” would be a compliment. Bad AI, last generation graphics and uninspired game play make this bargain-priced title a great candidate for an even lower price– in the clearance aisle. Check out the full GameTrailers review here.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Recommendations

Is your PC up to snuff? Mine isn’t! At long last, the game StarCraft fans have

Some of the hot action in StarCraft II

been waiting for since 1999– StarCraft II– is almost here! I’ve had my PC since April 2004 but it looks like StarCraft II might just get me to break the Piggy Bank on a new PC… Even before the onslaught of the yearly day-after-Thanksgiving retail sales day Americans call Black Friday. (Maybe I’ll just buy the new PC in August and get a new graphics card during Black Friday… That way I’ll feel like I saved some cash.)

StarCraft II looks like it will pack a nice graphical punch without taxing most consumer’s personal computers… So, what are you waiting for? As the Marine infantryman in Starcraft would say, “Go! Go! Go!” (And then tell me if it’s worth buying a new PC for!)

Excitement, Thy Name is Xbox 360 Slim

Priorities must be set.

First, I need a new clothes dryer. The one my family purchased in 1995 is more efficient at noise pollution than drying our clothes. Second– as mentioned above– I need a new PC. Although one of my best friends commends me for being “green” and saving the planet, I can assure you that it isn’t my intention to save the world by keeping my old ass computer! I’ll just have to save the Earth some other way.

OH MY! Look at all those PORTS you have!

Now onto the topic: The XBox 360 Slim with the Valhalla chip set. What do I do? This baby has built-in wi-fi and also has an ethernet port for those who don’t like wi-fi (watch IGN’s comparison here). The Slim also packs 250 GB of RAM, has less power consumption–and fully supports third-party flash drives! No more carrying hard  drives back and forth when you can just slap in the flash drive hanging from around your neck!

Insideman wants a story about me trading in my Xbox 360 Arcade with the Jasper chipset (which I’m very happy with) for a Slim. Unbeknownst to him, one of our gaming cohorts mentioned that there will probably be a Xbox 360 Slim “Holiday Bundle” showing its’ face on Black Friday… So it looks like Insideman will have to wait until after Thanksgiving for that story!  (Sorry, Bud!)

As for trading in my Arcade– I’ve got a junior high-aged cousin who wants a 360 but my Aunt staunchly refuses to pay for a brand new machine. I figure I’ll grab a 120 GB hard drive and package it along with my Xbox Arcade and sell it to him for $200. That $200 will be about 66% of the 360 Slim’s price– so I will be good to go. But for now, I need to find some good deals on dryers and a brand new PC. (Any suggestions?)

Green Lantern? More like green jello or…

Apple flavored fruit roll-ups!

And the award for the Worst CGI goes to...

That’s what I think about Green Lantern looks like in his new suit. I think everything but the ring looks terrible. So terrible that I decided to interrupt my first SAYL Video Game Column to talk about a movie costume!

Seriously, GL’s horrible threads almost make Daredevil’s new abomination look decent. I’m really at a loss for what else to say. I like Ryan Reynolds and I’m sure he’ll do Green Lantern justice– especially with his humorous acting style… But this high fructose corn syrup based suit may make the Green Lantern movie look more like an inadvertent comedy than a thrilling action film… and Warner Bros could end up a box office dud. (Especially considering the massive cost involved!)

At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Producers of the supposedly upcoming, much rumored Superman movie end up consulting with Lady Gaga’s fashion designer for the Man of Steel’s new look!

Sony still playing “Catch-up” with their Failure Fries.

Something’s truly wrong when an older American video game system– known early on for acute hardware failures– is still beating the Sony PS3 on the worldwide sales charts. No surprise– Nintendo’s Wii is still way ahead of everybody. They’re also finally catering to the hardcore market with new Zelda, Metroid and Donkey Kong games– plus a Goldeneye remake later this year. And don’t forget that these likely blockbusters all follow on the heels of the best-selling Super Mario Galaxy 2, of course.

There’s no way Microsoft or Sony’s hardware sales can catch Nintendo in this generation– even if no new consoles emerge until 2015. Second place is still up for grabs… And with Sony slowly lowering prices and adding more features– they may finally get us “Wii60″ (Wii/360) owners to buy a third console. I know I won’t jump until they put full PS2/PS1 compatibility back into the machine. There’s no way in Hades I’m going to let a PS3 Slim and PS2 Slim share the same shelf space!

Have you been watching The Legend of Neil?

Neil is like a real-life Link... If Link were a loser.

No? Then get to it! This web series is exactly what you’d expect to get when a man in his 30′s becomes Link from Legend of Zelda. Unfortunately for Neil, he’s such a loser in real life– he can’t even manage to keep his gas station job! (Wow. Should have gone to college, buddy.)

Anyway, Neil plays Legend of Zelda on his NES (can’t afford WiiWare with gas station pay) gets drunk and ends up becoming Link in-game! That’s all I’m going to say for all of you “TLoN” virgins. Just know that Sandeep Parikh (aka “Zabu” from the hugely popular web show The Guild) created and directs– and the series features The Guild creator/star Felicia Day as the fairy who replenishes your health… But only by having sex with you. If that isn’t the ultimate video game nerd male fantasy then I don’t know what is!

DC Universe Online

Pee yourself multiple times while watching this stunning preview for Sony Online Entertainment’s mega hyped, hotly anticipated MMO DC Universe Online. Who needs World of Warcraft when you’ve got comicdom’s greatest

Is DC Universe Online ready to rock?

and most powerful superheroes? Marvel experienced an EPIC FAIL moment when they pulled their license from the MMO that eventually became Champions Online. Hopefully, Sony learned from their Star Wars Galaxies mistakes and will ensure that their upcoming MMO brings DC Comics’ Crisis on Infinite Earths to life– with the proper gravitas it deserves… The Justice League deserves it and long-suffering fans of current MMOs deserve it too.

Wow. Look. Your Head’s on the Floor!

Mortal Kombat’s Top Ten Fatalities of All Time! Very controversial but also very entertaining. Any true MK fan will have seen the #1 choice from a mile away. Enjoy, bloodhounds!

And finally, why I’m drunk all the time on GameTrailers Kool-Aid…

Why am I such a GameTrailers nuthugger? It’s simple, really. I no longer have as much time to peruse the internet as I’d like.

Grimace JJL likes them! He REALLY likes them!

School, family and social responsibilities take up the majority of my life so I need a website that gets to the point and gives me video news updates in five-to-ten minute bursts. GameTrailers does that.

Instead of having to surf and read through a bunch of crap to get a little bit of information, I simply have to click on one of GameTrailers superbly produced video clips and my news is there. Period. The internet is now my television– in addition to being my digital newspaper.

GameTrailers has most everything I need to satisfy my electronics-related entertainment fix. I hope you discover and enjoy this very cool site. For all of you old-school people still watching television, GameTrailers also has a weekly show on SpikeTV every Friday night. Check your local listings to see why GT has blown past many other gaming sites in both content and quality!

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading my very first installment. I look forward to hearing what you think.

Seize it... Or lose it!

Take that, Tiger!

Vijay Singh- 2009 Masters- Hole 16

Even if you don’t like Golf– you gotta love this golf shot!

Imagine if this was the only way to your local comic book store.

Sales of overpriced DC Absolute Editions and Marvel Omnibi* would plummet!

(*The plural for Omnibus)

Yeah, an iPad has all kinds of bells and whistles-- but can it fit on a Spinner Rack?

The SAVIOR or the DEVIL… Depending on who you ask.

Apple may take a 30% vig on those millions of applications offered for sale in their APPS Store– but they earn PENNIES for each iTunes track or “album” purchased. This is well-known. Why is Apple willing to do this? Because they want to sell more iPods. They are willing to have the iTunes store “break even” (I’m sure it does better than that) to make the majority of their ca$h on their hardware.

Apples used the “pennies per track’ defense fighting the Music Industry… Whose major players insisted that they be allowed to up the price of individual songs from .99 cents to $1.29. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was afraid he would sell

Ice will tell you it's ALWAYS been "All about the Benjamins"

less iPods because of the price increase. This was also the same reason Amazon fought the book distributors over selling Digital eBooks for more than $9.99. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos worried he’d sell less Kindle eReaders. Jobs would be having this exact BATTLE with book publishers now that Apple has released the iPad– except Bezos already lost.

Neither titan had to worry. Digital content prices went up and their hardware sales still increased… As more and more consumers decided to indulge in the new gadgets.

Unfortunately, it seems that many Comic Book Store Owners are under the pie-in-the-sky impression that Marvel, DC and the other comic book publishers will somehow use this new platform to aid their retail stores. Some retailers are so deluded, they’ve actually convinced themselves that the major 2 comic publishers (Marvel & DC) will use digital comic delivery as a means to “help” them “recruit” new customers for their comic stores.

And maybe they will– initially– if it makes the right economic sense for them. But if Marvel & DC can make more money on digital comics by foregoing all PHYSICAL distribution– meaning every single “Brick & Mortar” comic store would go “poof”… They would do so tomorrow in a gnat’s heartbeat.

We’re all dealing with DISNEY now. The same Disney that opens retail stores by the thousands, then runs the same stores into the ground– and closes 3/4 of them tomorrow without batting an eye. (That’s how little something like retail sales means to Disney’s massive bottom line.)

Disney entering the comic game– coupled with the SUPERHERO MOVIE BOOM– has finally awakened Time-Warner… And they are suddenly treating DC like a more significant Corporate Cog. In fact, given recent rumors, I can easily predict that DC Comics will be moving their headquarters to Los Angeles any day now. Disney Studios has lots of land and lots of cash to build more buildings.

HOPE YOU LIKE DRIVING IN RUSH HOUR, DC EMPLOYEES!

Former DC Publisher Paul Levitz was the linchpin in keeping the old comics distribution paradigm alive. Since he’s not there anymore– and since the SUPERHERO MOVIE Can no longer be ignored… Everything is going to change. Things will change so much– that I’m afraid a previously unreleased, unpublished Warren Ellis Hellblazer comic finally seeing print is not going to make up for all wacky new stuff we’ll be forced to do if we want to keep reading these things.

Luckily for me (and every other retailer and collector)– most of this (except DC’s cross-country move) is a ways away from now.

Which is good for me, as I simply refuse to read comics on a computer or any other electronic gizmo. (I can barely stand to view short comic book previews on a LCD screen of any kind… So digital comics are definitely out for me as a reading option.) I like the tactile sensation of holding a book. I like being able to bury my nose in the paper pages (unless the book was printed in China of course).

But I’m an old man by today’s standards. Sooner than I’d like, kids will grow up not knowing what paper periodicals are.

Many comics have long been printed as loss leaders for merchandising sales anyway. I once had a DC Bigwig tell me that the Wonder

It's "Do or Die" with the Benjamins.

Woman comic hadn’t made any real profit (or had lost money) since the ’60′s… But DC couldn’t afford to stop publishing it because of the huge yearly windfall they received from merchandising the only RECOGNIZABLE Female Superhero. DC felt (and rightly so), that if they didn’t show they were making the effort to publish at least one MONTHLY Wonder Woman comic– that they would seem to be abandoning the character… And they would severely harm Wonder Woman’s merchandising potential.

As stated above, Brick & Mortar Comic Book Stores will CEASE to EXIST (as we know them) if the Big Two decide one day to go all digital, all the time.

But I don’t need to tell retailers any of this. The smart ones already get it. DISNEY could care less about them– and will violently jilt every comic book retailer the MINUTE they figure out how to make more money on comics utilizing the DIGITAL MEDIUM.

As costs for physical distribution– including gas, paper, ink and other essential materials continues to rise– comics (especially floppies) will eventually price themselves out of the market. (Hell, they’re almost there now.)

I’m not relishing this occurring in the least. But it WILL happen.

Pissed off about comic book quality now? Wait until you have to spend $80 of your own paper and printer ink to print out some great comic you’ve just read on your iPad… Because one day soon– that’s the only way that– you’ll be able to hold a new paper “comic book” in your hands.

I see only one silver lining to comics entering this new digital age. At least people won’t be paying exorbitant amounts to CGC to “slab” their new comics before they even read them. No physical comics– no new books smothered in an unnecessary protective plastic shell. Sorry fans that favor idiotic wastes of time, natural resources and collector’s money!  No more slabs for you!

But then again,  if you bought into the overly hyped marketed “necessity” of CGC grading– without questioning why you should have to pay someone else to grade your comics… Then reading a comic on an iPad probably seems “cool” right about now.

People actually think ALEX ROSS came up with the idea to put images into the interior of letters for the MARVELS book... Like this 1950's era postcard. Didn't you know? Alex Ross is a genius!

THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN TWICE IN MY LIFETIME

Went to the bank yesterday to make some deposits in the ATM. My friend hates ‘em. Warns me away from ‘em. Tells me that Beelzebub designed them. But I love these new NO DEPOSIT SLIP, NO ENVELOPE machines. Then got so caught up in making sure my deposit record slip was correct (they now have those cool check images printed on them) that I walked away LEAVING MY CARD IN THE MACHINE.

Kept walking from the bank, all the way across this huge parking lot. Start to enter a grocery store when I hear this guy calling, “Sir! Sir!” I turn around. Guy tells me that I left my card in the ATM and this woman took it inside the bank. I thanked the guy profusely and went walking swiftly back to the scene of my crime.

Get inside. Tons of people. Walk up to the security guard and tell him my problem. One of the bank managers overhears, asks my name and then hands over the card. The card return occurred so quickly because I have one of those personally designed picture bank debit cards. There is an image on my card that I guarantee no one else has on theirs.

I say, “Thank you so much! I can’t believe someone in LA would be so nice to do such a thing.”

And I still can’t.

And if you’re going “What?!? That’s it?!? Where the fuck is the pithy ending we’ve come to expect as the end of one of your posts? The sarcasm?”

The answer is, There isn’t any. Come live in the Big City sometime and you’ll understand in 10 minutes or less why this simple act of human kindness was worth mentioning in a Blog post. Los Angeles does not bring out the best in people.

I typed "Welcome to Los Angeles" into a Google Image Search and received THIS photo for my trouble. NOW you know why I just posted the story above.