2015-03-01

Concerning Shatner's Charity Commitment vs. Attending Nimoy's Funeral


Couple thoughts.

Look, I know how it's important to US, as fans of the Star Trek franchise, for him to attend Nimoy's funeral... but when you get down to it, this is a REALLY personal thing. Nobody has a right to tell another person how or when to pay their respects.

Myself, I have never attended a funeral, and I don't expect to do so...ever. Not because they're meaningless to me, or because I'm insensitive. I just choose not to stand on ceremony and grieve in public. I absolutely MUST deal with these things in private. If you ever gave ME shit about it at a very vulnerable time, like some of Shatner's fans are on Twitter, they'd probably be putting TWO people in the ground. :P

I'm not suggesting that's what Shatner is dealing with. We don't actually KNOW what his true feelings and motivations are. I'm saying don't put so much weight on being physically present somewhere in order to pay your respects.

...

That said, there's another angle to this that I don't think many people really think about.

Personally, I never got the impression that Nimoy and Shatner were quite as like-family close as we'd all like to imagine. Undeniably, they have a famous, shared history, and they seemed to get along well.

But, behind the scenes, who's to say Leonard wasn't just this guy he worked a lot with over the years and occasionally meets up with to promote stuff together?

Being at his funeral might not be as important for him, personally, as it is for US. If that's the case, that disappointment is ours to bear, not his. That's not to say it won't be a terrible PR move. He'll definitely catch shit from his audience over it, if that's how things really are for Bill.

Anyway, the guy tried to get head of the wave by admitting his inability to attend via Twitter, and tried his best to improvise, staging a virtual memorial through his account.

There's not really much more you can ask, except for us to just move on.

UPDATE: Turns out he DID go. Hopefully on his own terms, and not because the disgusting media and incredibly rude fans were pressuring him to do it.

2013-03-21

For those upset over the action focus of Abram's take on Star Trek...



Every Trek movie, save for perhaps The Voyage Home, has been an action movie.
  •  V'ger probe threatens Earth; boredom threatens audience
  •  Khan escapes exile, steals a ship and plots revenge against Kirk
  •  Kirk steals the Enterprise and goes rogue 
  •  Spock's secret "half brother" hijacks the Enterprise; religious fanaticism ensues
  •  Kirk and Bones are framed in a massive peace-threatening conspiracy
  •  El-Aurian survivor kills Kirk, destroys the 1701-D, threatens millions to get high
  •  Borg attack earth; use time travel to destroy the Federation; plastic ships break
  •  Picard goes rogue to thwart unethical blah blah blah over immortal hippie planet
  •  Picard's secret twin, Bane, builds a warship; fails to reenact Wrath of Khan plot


None of these really fit the traditional high-concept ideas usually attributed to the television version of Star Trek.
Insurrection comes close, mostly because they did that plot once already ("Homeward"). But it's still boils down to a rebellion and combat sequence by the end.
The original Motion Picture is another close one, however glacial the pace. Definitely the most cerebral of the franchise, if you can take enough caffeine to keep yourself awake through to the end.
The Voyage Home is the least violent, yet possibly most generally well-received out of all of the pre-Abrams movies.  Combat generally comes down to Gillian Taylor slapping that guy at the aquarium, and a mannequin of Chekov being thrown off the edge of a platform.
Wrath of Khan is the undisputed fan favorite.  And that was a bloody, violent war flick.
Complaining about Abram's take on Trek because of it's focus on action is basically damning the majority of the movie franchise. Star Trek movies are a completely different animal from it's television incarnation.

Mini Review: DLC Quest


DLC Quest is a humorous jab at the game industry from the perspective of a retro platform game that requires the purchase of downloadable expansions to perform even the most basic functions. 

The game begins with no sound and no animation.  In fact, you aren't even able to jump or move left!  These features aren't included out of the box, of course. Instead, you are granted the privilege of purchasing these advanced gameplay features from an in-game vendor.  All of the gags you would expect to see are here, including the infamous expensive horse armor.  Thankfully, as the game reassures us early on, no ACTUAL real-life currency is involved. All transactions are conducted using coins collected inside the game.

Unfortunately, there isn't much of a "game" here.  Unlocking DLC is required in order to progress the purposely generic, but ultimately uninspired "story".  Once you get going, it's pretty much a straight path to the finish line: Collect enough coins to unlock  the next DLC pack, rinse, repeat until the credits roll.  There is no death.  In fact, there is no way to fail. In that respect, DLC Quest is, in a sense, closer to old Lucasarts adventure games.  Enemies function merely as passive roadblocks that only additional downloaded content can alleviate.

Ultimately the only real replay value is in doing speed runs, collecting coins, unlocking the DLC as fast as possible, and comparing your times against a leaderboard.  Currently the top 10 is filled with people who finished the game in 12 minutes.  I believe I spent just over twice that amount of time playing.  The recent addition of a second quest ("Live Freemium or Die") helps extend the value, but this is still a short game.

DLC Quest is a genuinely funny commentary on the state of micro-transactions and downloadable content in gaming.  It may run the joke into the ground by the end, but at roughly $3 in most digital stores, it's worth a look.  Just don't expect any sort of serious challenge.

Rating: 3/5 (Good)
Platforms: Steam ($2.99), Desura ($2.99),  XBL (80 MS points per quest), Mac App Store ($2.99)
Developer: Going Loud Studios

2013-02-08

Retro Scans: Columbia Video Game Club

Omni, July 1983
I was flipping through some old Omni magazines that I'd dug up while cleaning out some boxes, and I found a treasure trove of awesome retro goodness.  So, I'm going to start scanning!  The first one is the Columbia Video Game Club, much like it's scammy cousin the Columbia House Music Club, except for video game cartridges.
At $4.95 A Game You Can't Miss. 

Take any one of these video games for only $4.95 when you join the Columbia Video Game Club and agree to buy just 2 more games at regular Club prices in the coming year 
Just look at the video games offered here... all available for home enjoyment on your Atari® Video Computer System™! They retail anywhere from $26.95 to $34.95 each, yet you can have any one for only $4.95 -- with membership in the Columbia Video Game Club!  This is an exciting new service that offers you the newest home video games on a convenient shop-at-home basis -- and at great club savings!
How the Club works: approximately every six weeks (up to 9 times a year) you will receive the Club's colorful Video Game Magazine.  It announces the Hit Game Selection...generally a brand-new arcade winner. In addition, the Magazine will picture and describe many other video games, new gadgets to upgrade your own Atari® system, helpful hints on how to improve your scores, a poster, and much more.
If you want the Hit Game Selection, you need do nothing -- it will be sent to you automatically.  If you want one of the alternate games offered -- or nothing at all -- just tell us so on the response card always provided and mail it by the date indicated.  You'll always have ten days to make your decision.  If you ever receive a game without having had ten days to decide, return it at our expense.
The game cartridges you order will be mailed and billed to you at regular Club prices -- which currently range from $24.95 to $29.95, plus shipping and handling, and appropriate sales tax.  Remember, you don't have to buy a video game every time you hear from us -- your only membership obligation is to buy as few as two games in the coming year, and you may cancel membership at any time after doing so.  If you decide to continue, you'll be eligible for our generous money-saving bonus plan.
10-Day Free Trial: we'll send complete details of the Club's operation with your introductory cartridge. If you are not satisfied for any reason whatsoever, just return everything within 10 days for a full refund and you will have no further obligation.  So mail the coupon now! 
WANT STILL ONE MORE GAME for $4.95? You can have ANY TWO of these video games for only $.95 each -- if you agree to buy four more (at regular Club prices) in the coming two years! Just check box in application and enclose $9.90 for your two games. 
All applications subject to review; Columbia Video Game Club reserves the right to reject any application or cancel any membership. 
Columbia Video Game Club, Dept. 2CQ, 3000 North 35th Street, Terre Haute, IN 47811, 1-800-457-0866 (In Indiana call 812-466-8125 collect.)
GC18/F83