Test Drive

Long before I had the luxurious job of emptying out hot tubs and scrubbing them by hand on Paradise Island, I grew up in a small town. One of those one stoplight towns – the type of place you read about in Stephen King novels and such. But no killer clowns stalked us as children and we didn’t form some sort of killing cult in the cornfields surrounding the hamlet.

No, we did basically what all the other city kids did and still do. Be discontent, listen to punk rock, drink, do drugs and walk around at night like the little miscreants we were. But there were a few perks to rural life – at least in the absolutely forgotten (but not forgettable) Upstate New York.

Small race tracks permeate upstate – from the western frontier to the mountain ranges of central and north east New York. While never being thought of as anything more than “NYC” – the state of New York is gigantic. Sprawling woods, The Catskills and Adirondack mountain ranges. Even Appalachia runs up through the southern part of the state.

Weaving in between all of this ski country are little towns and villages and many of them have their own little hometown arena of sorts: A racetrack. Usually dirt, some times pavement. Growing up in rural New York the races are just sort of rite of the land. Even if you’re not into them you’re well aware of them.

While easy to dismiss as just a muddy oval with a bunch of hicks driving around in circles (which it is) I challenge the most disinterested to not feel the rise in heartbeat and rush of adrenaline when the roar of thirty cars greets a green flag. The tension and white knuckle competition of dozens of men and women just going for it. That drive is intoxicating and in a small way still apart of me.

FANCY INTRODUCTION VIDEO

Now don’t get me wrong. I am about as far away from a country boy as you can get. Immediately moving to a city weeks before barely stumbling across the high school graduation stage. Fifteen years ago you would have seen me vehemently deny any such upbringing. But times change.

And in the gaming world nothing has changed more than my feeling towards the Test Drive series. A series I loved growing up with, enjoyed immensely and played regularly.

A month or so ago I received a big bulk package of games I purchased from Goodwill. There were a few titles I was very excited about adding to my collection (X Files: Resist or Serve being one of them) As I was going through doing inventory of repeat games and checking discs I saw Test Drive. I was overjoyed with seeing an old favorite. Sure that it’d be an enjoyable arcade racer that I could waste hours on.

I was wrong

Now to explain why I have to take you back in time a little. You see in the 90’s there were plenty of racing titles, arcade or simulation that featured American muscle, British luxury, German engineering marvels and Japanese speed. Typically these games were set in a few iconic places around the world where you would race beautiful rare cars against one another on lush English back country roads. Occasionally dodging livestock or a police car. It was sort of like some unspoken millionaire racers club.

This was just kind of the way it was. No one even questioned it. You just sort of assumed that anyone driving a Jaguar XJ-220 around was probably just some rich dickhead.

Until 2001 rolled around and the first of two hundred Fast and Furious films came out. Once that happened – arcade racing games would be changed forever.

Ha! This old thing? This is just my winter car.

“The Fast and Furious effect of 2001” or “FAFE 01”(as I would refer to it years later in my college thesis at Yale University) not only changed the landscape of racing games dramatically but the entire world around us.

First off, men the world over shaved their heads. If shears weren’t an option then men and women rushed to their nearest skull cap store. Donning the new Diesel look. Vin Diesel mania had kicked off.

Real time photo of him driving to my house to kick my ass.

By the winter of 2001 not only was most of the world bald but they were pumping iron as well and even more damning for the Test Drive series – the globe was demanding less luxury and pomp in their racing games and simply more Diesel.

So video games developers had to respond to the rapidly changing market and fast and here is where Test Drive screwed up. Instead of doing any sort of research whatsoever on street racing culture, the long storied history of street racing in iconic locations like SoCal and Tokyo (“The Midnight Club”) or I don’t know, even just watching a movie about racing they said the hell with it. We’ll figure it out as we go and it’s pretty damn obvious.

The plot is pretty simple. You are some guy named Dennis Black and you are contacted by some guy named Donald Clark. Clark is a rich idiot that reminds me of Elon Musk. He’s rude and mean and apparently wheelchair bound. I give the writers credit here for making a handicapped character a total dick. That’s all the credit they’re getting from me, though.

Basically Donald is injured and wants you to race for him. Never mind the fact that we’re assuming at this point he is some sort of ridiculous millionaire that is wasting his time street racing – which the prize is a measly $1000 per victory. I just feel like a guy that could afford to own Dodge Vipers and a Hemi Cuda would be interested in higher stakes money wise.

But what do I know about being a millionaire street racer? The answer? Absolutely nothing. I’ve never been a street racer and I’ll never be a millionaire so maybe these people do exist. Who knows?

So the story sucks but that’s of little consequence. The game ultimately is just not fun. The cars take no damage whatsoever – I hit a semi truck going 210 miles per hour and the semi truck flew backwards. The racers on the track are supposed to be these characters from cutscenes but they don’t drive with any personality. It’s a very dull, repetitive and lonely experience.

It’s sad to see what once was such a strong racing series fall from grace at the turn of the century.

SHOP TIL YOU DROP

Are you kidding me?

DESERT ISLAND SONGS

The soundtrack is probably the best thing about the game. But it’s not great. It’s a strange mix of Saliva, Ja Rule, Moby and DMX. Being an old lame ass dude my favorite of these artists is Moby. So, alas the Moby banger, “Bodyrock” is my favorite song on the game.

PERIWINKLE’S LOW HANGING FRUIT PUNCH INGREDIENTS V. 2.0

1.) Vin Diesel Skull Cap (Test Drive)

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Me the day before Fast and Furious
Me the day after.

Pretty Princess Pinkie – The Phantom of the Face Off Superhero Movie- Darkman

Hear ye Hear ye!  Princess Pinkie is here with a new movie post!


Greetings my loyal guests and subjects! If you are a bit like me you will have watched Taken and thought “That is a pretty good action movie with Liam Neeson….. but that whole daughter being captured is kinda cliché.. it would be so much better if he threw a temper tantrum over a pink plushie!” If you are not like me, there is a chance this movie might have flown under your radar! So no matter if we are different OR alike, today we will take a look at Darkman!

Behind the mask

Darkman is a superhero movie that was released on the silver screen in august of 1990, it starred Liam Neeson as Dr Peyton Westlake, who would later take up the moniker of Darkman. The movie is directed by Sam Rami, and is co-starred by Frances McDormand, a name people might recognise despite her kind of lacking any iconic roles. A quick IMDB search gave me no real “iconic roles” but she has played in Fargo, Burn After Reading and did a lot of voice works such as the Mamma Dinosaur in The good Dinosaur. The Antagonist of the movie, and it’s sequel is played by Larry Drake… who is best known for Darkman and Darkman II, but also was the voice of Pops in Johnny Bravo! See there you go!

The movie scores a respectable 6,4 on IMDB, which I think is a really good score for a 1990’s Sam Raimi directed superhero movie (and yes it has a Bruce Campbell cameo). While Liam Neeson played the role of the titular character in the first movie, the character was played by Arnold Vosloo in the sequel, which  would not be a big objection this time around since the movie is about switching faces… but for some weird reason in the sequel they replace Liam Neeson as if he was Vosloo all along. If nothing else this movie ins an interesting peek into Neesons earlier days of acting, which was .. a bit different, and with the early 90’s direction AND Raimi at the helm.. we see Neeson’s version of “Bully Maguire” or Symbiote Suit Spiderman from the Raimi trilogy… just done a lot earlier… and this time involving a pink elephant and let me tell you it is great.

Flim

Julie Hasting (played by McDormand) is ..I think… in real estate, or a real estate lawyer  When she discovers a big player on the real estate market is doing some illegal things trough a document, a crimelord by the name of Robert G Durant begins looking for these papers, for he is in the real estate market as well and with this document he can put pressure on his competitors and own the city! By mistake or plot convenience this document ends up in the possesion of Dr Peyton Westlake, boyfriend of Hastings and the man who one day wishes to be her husband.  He is researching a synthetic skin solution that can be printed into any face based on a few photos.  However the chemical compound of his masks degrades by exposure to light!  The masks are fine…in the dark but can survive about 100 minutes when exposed to light.  Durant finds Peyton and kills his lab assistant, electrocutes Peyton so hard his hands char up completely then traps him in an explosion ruining his face.. in a very similar style as to how Harvey Dent lost half of his face in The Dark Knight.

With many burns over his body Westlake can no longer face the woman he has proposed to.. he lost his scientific work  and his assistant, he lost his hands.. he lost everything, so now he swears revenge…which is amplified because the hospital severed all his nerves. Peyton no longer has any input of pain in his senses.. which causes everything else, including his emotions to overload! Drapped in bandages , a raincoat and a wide rimmed had.. he plans revenge.. rebuilding this face printing lab in an abandoned factory.. and using  these masks to take revenge on those who wronged him… unknowing it will cause his old love Julie to become tied up in this once again.

Face *Flourish* …..Off!

So in this movie we get Liam Neeson with enhanced emotions, and all sorts of B-Grade actors having to play Liam Neeson playing them, but Liam Neeson with Soap Opera emotions! This concept is amazing… When you watch Face-Off it’s great to see two of the most over acting Hollywood stars, playing the other playing them..in all their overacting glory. This movie.. let’s a handful of Hollywood Redshirts, play Liam Neeson.. who is forced to over act. Which is great because we know him as someone who is very stoic and composed.  This is mixed with a very strong Phantom of the Opera Influence throughout and supplemented by the camp that is 90’s superhero movies!…And it’s directed by Sam Raimi! How can this NOT be good! This concept is just so amazing!  What makes it even better is that a lot of the technology that is used in this movie, kind of, is relevant in this day and age. Sure we don’t have skin that dissolves in the light.. but the whole 3d printing and phone apps that can extrapolate a lot of data on your face make this movie all the more delightful to watch.

In this movie Liam Neeson infiltrates the Crime Network of Durant by making himself look like the henchman and of course like the head honcho himself. Now this already is a very fun criminal organisation, with your classical bald bruiser type guy, the sunglasses wearing cool dude with long hair,  and the scruffy looking guy with an artificial leg that can be detached and used as a weapon!  We have seen machine gun legs in a few movies.. but the way how this movie handles it is the GREATEST weaponised limb I have seen in movies. What’s different?! Well normally we see the owner of the weaponised limp use it… but not this time the cool guy just yanks the limp from the other guy and uses it.. or the scruffy guy hands it over to him.. but than just stands there.. hopping on one leg… that’s ALL he does!  He takes of his leg and gives it to someone else to shoot it .. while hopping! Hilarious.. but it also makes a lot of sense.. cause you can’t aim when hopping! It’s things like this that really show me the movie isn’t afraid to have fun with itself. 

Have you ever wondered how the phantom of the Opera just happened to find  one of those half masks .. and also the right half for his face?!   Well in this movie Neeson tries to print his own face.. but because his lab exploded the one photo he had of himself is damaged in the exact same spot as his real face! He tries to make his mask.. but he can’t he has to extrapolate.. and because he only has an old junky computer which was old in the 90’s.. turning that into a 3d model takes hundreds of days. Which sounds legit but nowadays it sounds hilarious! However it also shows us a bit in what timeframe this movie takes place it helps us feel the alienation, Peyton Westlake must go trough and it offers interesting challenges.

 Every mission he does..which later in the movie includes dating his former girlfriend again.. has to be done in 100 minutes or his new face will melt! So when a Carny refuses him a price he won..with only a few minutes left on the clock… with his enhanced emotion Peyton just loses it, with over the top rage eye effects added in and mind snapping animations to boot.. it’s just the flavour of bonkers I am looking for!  Honestly this movie makes Face/Off seem like a nuanced movie. Take the damned Elephant.. is something I never expected Liam Neeson to say in such a threatening voice, and it gets even better when we get into the classic, Shoot Him.. No Shoot him I am your real boss moments when a character is forced to shoot at one of the two similar looking characters.  I normally find that something for a Cartoon but there are little moments and motions that really sell this for me.  For example Peyton is super afraid the masks comes off so he is constantly tucking in his neck, it’s so weird to see a real actor.. straighten their own face.. but it really helps sell the illusion, it makes everything silly at the same time but I really love it.

Not so Dark….Man

This movie feels quite different from other Superhero movies as well, as Peyton does not really have much super powers, other than not being able to feel pain. He has to outsmart the villains, has to stake them out and thus he doesn’t patrol the streets at night, no he constantly stakes things out and goes for the slow burn. He learns routines, practices their voices, their quirks, and since Raimi wants to make the timer element much more of a thing, almost the entire movie , except for the grande finale, takes place during daytime. It’s the light that adds the suspense rather than the dark, and while I would not call the movie suspenseful, it really does add something that all fights take place during the day and we can see the doppelgangers in full colour rather than in a dim lit room to polish out some bad effects.  While some effects clearly do not hold up.. the movie really commits to it’s style!

You can see the movie was released at the back-end of the 80’s as a lot of the criminal stuff kind of reminded me of miami vice, the bright coloured suits the gangsters wear, the over the top.. cutting your finger off with a cigar cutter thing, the fact the movie has to have a helicopter chase. It feels really dated….but in a good way. Sure lady in this movie is a pretty helpless damsel in distress, their is not as much representation in this movie and the technology this movie was based on now almost is a joke, but that’s also what’s so likable about this.  It is not something that could exist in this form in this day and age, in almost any perspective. There is no real development for Peyton, the name Darkman is way to on the nose, the damsel is way too helpless  and durants gang ALMOST look like Jojo’s characters, fashion wise. Even the way chinese restaurants look feel dated..  which made me feel like I was watching something that has gone extinct.. like the Buddy Cop genre. .. It had a lot with that genre in common in the cinematographic style as well.

There is something about the way this movie is shot, not a lot of fancy tricks, not a lot of dark broody hero poses making the hero look cool, no! He gets the job done and is nervous, keeping checking on his watch,  At the ending we are shown there is another guy besides Durant who is all part of this whole construction situation scheme and he jumps around those metal girders of a construction site with ease, he has been on so many he developed a feeling for it, while Neeson’s character wrapped in a heavy coat and bandages has trouble. Never does he feel cool, or all that hero like..the camera really shows this as well.  Feeling very VERY basic for a Superhero movie, the action doesn’t feel “cool” or stylised. We really get the sensation that this is just a guy out for revenge..with a lot of enhanced emotions. 
Only those emotions are stylised which is neat because that fits the silly tone of this movie so well but also never makes the hero seem immortal. He does not feel physical pain..but he can be ashamed..he can be so nervous he is forced to run away and that’s just such a neat take on the genre.

Pink Elephant

I LOVED this movie! I still love it, even though I know the IMDB score of 6.4 is probably fair, to me it is so much more than that.  Yes the acting is hokey at times and McDormand really isn’t good in this movie but for some reason it blends so well. Because the movie wants Liam Neeson and the “duplicates” to lean so much into soap opera acting, the hammy acting of the rest of the cast really works as well, they fit in the same universe. Darkman somehow is extremely cliché YET  has this “pragmatic”  style of film making to it that really sells it for me. The big bad doesn’t get taken down  in a big epic satisfying way, it’s more like as if an opportunity arises and our hero takes it. That goes for all the takedowns. It goes for the movie making as well. It doesn’t come on screen as spectacular as you might want, sometimes even a bit clunky..but it feels very much intentional.

In the end I’d have to compare the movie with the a pink elephant plushie. Sure it’s not a giant bear , it also is made with some cheap looking plastic eyes and some overly bright fur and it’s not an iconic toy such as Pikachu plushie or whatever is on your Dakimakura and in many way it’s just a generic plushie.. but once you hold it and hug it, you can really appreciate how soft it is, how good it is to hug!  It might not be something you display with pride.. but whenever you are feeling blue you can pull it out of wherever you hide it and have a great time and let it and all of it’s flaws and camp cheer you up!  Great entertainment even if it’s nothing else.

Amazon.com: MaoGoLan Big Pink Elephant Stuffed Animal Soft Elephant Plush  Toy 20'': Toys & Games

Have you seen this movie?! Did you like it?! What is your favourite cheesy Superhero movie?! Let me know in the comments! The Princess would like to know the thought of her subjects! If you liked this post please consider supporting me on Kofi! I am currently working on tiny projects to bring more content to the blog!

Pretty Princess Pinkie Plays: Pokémon Xenoverse Per Aspera Ad Astra

Hear ye hear ye! Princess Pinkie has returned with a new Pokémon Post

Salutations my loyal subjects and island guests. Today I bring good tidings, I feel enamoured,  I feel buzzed… and I also cried a bit when it was over! For the past two weeks or so I have been playing a Pokémon fan game that is SO GOOD, that it without a shadow of doubt in my head is now my favourite Pokémon fan game EVER. Yet keeping it at that would be an understatement, this game might be one of my favourite Pokémon games ever…and I just might get some more after game in the future. Today I introduce you to the second item in my treasury (Phantom Menace being the first one)  today I introduce you to Pokémon Xenoverse.

Story

Did you know that the Italian word for Download…. is Download?!  With this knowledge I was able to downloaded the greatest Pokémon Fan game… the very best like nothing ever was.  I stumbled around an Italian website and found the download button. After fumbeling around for a bit I got the game downloaded for free.  This game has rose to prominence in the Pokétubing community  recently being picked up by more and more english people. What caused this strange event, I do not know. Perhaps it was the game being finished, perhaps it was the english version being fully available and kitted out. I do not know nor do I care. I got to play this game spearheaded by a man calling himself weedle.. and his team of italian geniuses. Spending over 70 levels with my Pokémon and almost every moment with them was great. It even began with a cool anime style opening and would feature a much more fleshed out story than regular pokémon games.

Afbeelding

The game begins showing a red haired man walking nervously in a hospital. This is the happiest day of his life.. but his heart is burdened with a secret.  None of it matters though when the nurse calls him to the bedside of his wife.  She asks her husband by the name of Versil to guess the gender of the baby. The player picks the gender.. so I chose a girl.  He guesses it’s a girl.. and Clover smiles. “Just like we always dreamed off”  she then asks Versil what he thinks is a good name for the baby. I can type in a name, and he says Pinkie.  Clover thanks her husband for coming up with such a wonderful name and we skip four years ahead in time.  Versil is playing with his daughter showing her around the area of her house that really lies in the middle of nowhere.  It is beautiful and serene, the visit the grave of Pinkie’s grandfather. Versil does not tell her a lot about him as it is not the time.

Xenoverse: Per Aspera Ad Astra - GameList

In the distance a sound can be heard and Versil goes out to investigate , his daughter tagging along. It did not sound dangerous so it was fine for her to tag along. Three pokéballs can be found abandoned by the road. A lizard with a mask, a cheeky fire lizard and an adorable blue baby dragon.  Versil tells his daughter to grab one.. just in case something dangerous is along. Of course his daughter would grab the blue cutey called Shulong…it has an adorable cry!  After she had chosen it, an ominous voice can be heard.  A man stands in the shadow addressing Versil.  They talk about something little Pinkie would not yet understand..but very quickly the man orders his Tyranitar to use a Hyper Beam on Pinkie.. Versil steps in front of the blast and everything goes white.

Pinkie wakes up…. that was a horrible dream. But it felt kind of different. Today is her 15th birthday. It has been years since her father left on a business trip… did she just dream up of a way to say goodbye to him? Walking downstairs her mother wishes her a happy birthday, gives her some gifts but as they start talking about the dream Clover goes silent. It was not a dream, it seems Pinkie has finally remembered what really happened.  The Pink haired girl wants to go find her dad!  Her mother sends her to her room angrily! “You are not going anywhere young lady”. Pinkie is upset in her room as her Shulong tries to comfort her. She named him Mooch! .. When Mooch finds out he can not comfort her he suddenly acts all brave and makes noises gesturing the two should flee trough her bedroom window.  As Pinkie picks up Mooch Pokéball , something he never been inside of much before.. the two set out  on the greatest journey of their live to find Pinkie’s dad!

Design

Afbeelding

With a story that seems a lot like the story of Fallout 3 , you go on a Pokémon Journey that is not like the others. Though sharing similarities with Pokémon Uranium, the pokémon Gym challenge is an afterthought here, a means to an end.  Everything is part of a bigger narration. Most gym leaders you defeat because you need a favour from them, even if it’s only the right to pass trough their town, sometimes you require their insight. All gym leaders in this world have second jobs. Most of  them like Drayden are the leaders of their respective town, yet others are the sheriff or even hiphop icons. It allows your journey to rely on them much more and give them much more characterisation. The same goes for  your rival who may turn out to be an actual love interest.  The same goes for the pokémon professor, who like Sonia in Gen VIII has a much more personal journey in this story and the champion whom you meet very early in this game so you can really grow to appreciate his strength.

Afbeelding

This game feels like an anime, and I don’t mean the Pokemon anime. I mean this feels legit like an exciting anime story, a story that can hold itself on it’s own but is increased 10 fold in efficiency if you have played through at least  the Kanto and Johto region stories. This game is a tribute to Pokémon and much more Geekiness.  The fact that beating  the Champion gives you the Plus Ultra! Achievement already will tell you something! Yet you will encounter so many colourful characters that many of them could hold an anime show on their own.. like the Pokémon variant of Ghostbusters “Geist” Or the Hiphop Gym Leader Wallace Daddy, who adopts a lonely Pokémon even though it ruined his big concert. There are so many great characters in here… and what is even better, the Fakemon are also great.

Afbeelding

Fakemon is the official term for fan made pokemon so do not think that the term is derogatory or anything. In fact I think these are the best starters  since Gen III (excluding Rowlet). There are a lot of clever ideas. How about a Habanero styled Pokémon that is a Grass and Fire type or how about a Hercules Beetle that is a Sumo Wrestler.. as it is a chunky warrior beetle from Japan?! It is awesome! How about a Vulture that also takes design elements from the Grim Reaper?! There are great ideas in this game troughout! It also offers Xenoverse variants of certain types.. like Regional Variants but often a bit beefed up to be more relevant as well. Like an Ice Type Galvantula or a Ghost type Sharpedo. Well over 75% of them looks truely amazing with very little stinkers in the entire lineup. And this game has 3 separate Pokédexes so that is an achievement.  If you do not like using fakemon, there are plenty of pokémon in the game as well, but why would you use a Pidgey when you can use a Bremand. A pokémon that is actually four pokémon all based on one of the Town Musicians of Bremen…all carrying my wished to be real “sound type”

Mechanics

Afbeelding

The game is not afraid to introduce new mechanics and it does so on many levels starting with this new , and by fans desired, sound type. And though I do not like how the typing is flavoured and the new moves lose the ability to bypass substitutes it does really balance the game out pretty nicely. The sound type is super effective against water, flying and fairy types, while being weak to Dragon and Electric types. This gives us a tertiary typing core. After Water, Fire Grass and Dark , Fighting, Psychic we now can build our teams around a Fairy , Sound and Dragon core. It gives Fairy types a bit of a nerf which isn’t a bad thing and boosts Dragons up a bit again. The Dragon Typing has become a bit of a dud since the introduction of fairies. A lot of classic pokémon that now have the sound type appear in the game as well. Jigglypuff, Ekans, Drowzee, Loudred and Chatot just to name a few.  Really giving the usage of electric types a boost as well!  So while the typing makes much less sense then it could have, the way it works makes the game really smooth and balanced to play!

Afbeelding

From the beginning of the game you can choose to use the old individual experience thing or the newer party experience style. I chose the latter because frankly I wanted to have this game beat by the time New Pokémon Snap Rolled around. Plus I want to see as many Pokémon as possible…and Fan games tend to be a tad difficult so I did not want to do needless grinding. As a result I always ended up somewhat overleveled, yet because the typings are so smooth and the movesets Pokémon learn great moves and Tm ‘s are so plentiful it doesn’t matter much either way. Individuals will give you more of a challenge , but I found myself in tough battles anyway. Your lead Pokémon gets more experience as the rest so I just had fun by going with more creative movesets rather than pressing the super effective button all the time.. and I had a wonderful time with it.  There were times I really needed to step up my game.. but I was also allowed to use a team I really wanted which is great.

HM’s have been replaced by holograms you summon from your gloves, fishing at times can be a minigame and other cute things like that can really enhance your gameplay experience.  You can play as you like with whatever monsters you like. This is how modern pokémon games do it and this is how it should be. It allowed me to bond more with my team.. and for the first time since a long time… I super bonded with my starter.  This game FORCES you to use your starter all throughout the game. Because much like you, your starter is involved in the story. It’s as much it’s journey as it is yours.  This is shown in the fact that it can enter places called Den’s , these are puzzle rooms your unevolved starter can access throughout the game, here you play your stater trying to find treasure or switches and avoid being kicked out by the den’s owner…. but how can you play the cute little guy if your starter evolves? Well the truth is your starter doesn’t evolve… it digivolves…. well kinda!

Presentation

Afbeelding

It became clear to me that your starter could not just evolve from the get go!  That is because your starter is involved in cutscenes, not only does it’s model show up on the overworld sometimes, it also has a portrait in dialogue. Everyone you talk to does, making the dialogue in this game feel much more like a visual novel in terms of presentation. This makes dialogue a lot more present to read. Important characters show expressions making dialogues seem dynamic. Like your starter padding it self on the chest to show it is brave! Or give it a worried look on it’s face once the protagonist is struggling.  It would not make sense that they would draw all those portraits for all evolution stages for your starter at the beginning of the game right? Yet SmallAnt or another Pokétuber would just grind it out jut to give it a try! However this game makes the briljant choice to “evolve” your starter .. narratively. 

Afbeelding

The evil team of this universe is called Team Dimension, which is basically the sequel to team Rocket, but since they lost so much influence they use robots instead of criminals. These robots take on Daft Punk designs (even their theme does)  but when facing their elites, you end up getting washed. Faced with inevitable defeat a passion burns inside you as an item you found suddenly overflows with energy, and equipping it’s sister item to your Pokémon allows it to transform shapes. It’s a sequence that feels extremely much like Digimon. The fact that your starter does not just happen to have 3 forms  but 4 enforces that Digmon feeling even further. Your Starter can go back to it’s base form by losing it’s item.. so if you enter a den with your stage 2 shulong you just take it’s ring for a moment and send the little guy for a adorable stroll. This does mean your starter has to be on your team for all important story moments and those dens… which  makes the bonding so much stronger. 

The game goes for a Gen IV like look, much like Pokémon Uranium, but it does an even better job at it. The Eldiw Region has a very spiritual aspect to it. A religion differently then Arceus, one that feels much more in line with nature worship and a lot of villages you visit seem to be based on ancient times. There is a medieval Fairy Town, with knights in Pink Armors and a Gym puzzle where you have to entertain and host a tea party for a princess. There is an ancient egypt area where you have to bring down a false god and the gym puzzle is to explore a pyramid, and there is a Wild West style area  where you have to clear a haunted  Saloon and where the gym puzzles involve hunting some criminals as a deputy.  It all feels unique and much more deep. Every town plays a role in your story, every location has a story line and routes are often much longer and less throwaway than in official Pokémon games.  Not all Pokécenters look the same, they blend into their towns,  every time zone and area has unique wild Pokémon battle music to fit it’s current theme.. and so much more, the presentation of this game is truly sublime.

The Flaws

Of course this still is and always will be a Pokémon Fan game, which means it is not as polished as a main Pokémon game…even though we do not get floaty trees. The game can crash so it is important that you save often.  The English patch is not flawless and on four or five separate occasions I found characters suddenly speaking italian in half of their text to me as some dialogue simply was forgotten to be replaced. Awkwardly it happens in one of the final battle scenes against the dark forces, yet otherwise it’s not as bad.  The Daycare guy does it repeatedly but most times these are just one offs. Nothing too horrible. It is just these tiny things that made me remember I was playing a fan-game.. and if these did not happen along with some slowdown (which you can reduce by playing in the old engine by clicking on settings in the launcher)  I would have probably crowned this my favourite Pokémon game. 

It does have some flaws that did actively annoy me though. The first one is the inventory system.  For some reason the bag has been given separate controls of sorts to flip through. Being Q and W , which just doesn’t feel right to me! I hated using stuff in my bag during the entirety of my run. I never fully got used to it. The second issue I have with this game is not even a gripe as I can fully understand WHY they did it.. I just do not like THAT they did it.  A great many Fakemon in this region do not evolve by level up, which makes sense given how easy it is to actually level. However since the game is moderately hard, using unevolved pokémon will not get you that far. You need the power. There are a LOT of stone evolutions and a LOT of item evolutions in this game. Vroombug for example only evolves if you give it Spare parts, while Eevee can evolve into its new Eeveelutions Scaleon the Dragon Type and Bandeon the Sound Type by learning its Sound of Dragon Pledge moves. You hear the rumor from one guy while having to find the other guy to teach it the move.  If you want a fully evolved team you better talk to everyone!  There is a Wiki that tells you how pokémon evolve but it’s Italian only… I luckily have an italian friend who helped me or I would be one Pissy Princess.

To make up for that you have to talk to everyone though , they really went all out to make all dialogue interesting. If characters have boring things to say their names are oftenly references like Peach and Mario being two scientists that establish some world lore. Yet there are also some references that go very far. For example in one house I saw two couples at a table. A girl named Robin sat next to a guy named Barney who said his favourite Pokémon were Legen……wait for it ….dary.   While on the other side of the table Lilly set next to her partner Marshall, who was bummed out his friends made him give up his beloved hat.  While Upstairs I saw a depressed boy named Ted , wondering if he will ever find a special someone… on his desk, without explanation and without the model EVER being used elsewhere in the overworld was a Pinap Berry. Which is a reference to a very specific How I Met Your Mother episode. 

These references are everywhere, for example in an ancient temple I encounter Jojo’s Battle Tendency’s Pillar men!  That does not change the fact though that the evolution system gave me some anxiety. You can buy evolution stones fairly late in the game and by then you might have fallen in love with a new Fakemon and that other one never gets to live up to it’s potential, what if I missed a house and missed how to evolve my favourite team member. This anxiety was also there surrounding the crashes and the bag system felt like treading a needle at times… but if you play the game with google translate  and google to look up the evolutions you will have a blast. This is a pokémon game I would recommend to anybody! Even if you do not like Pokémon and just want a nice story based/anime esque game.. this is great!  This is the ultimate pokémon fangame and I honestly think that it shall hold this title for years to come. It might face some challenges, but through challenges it becomes stronger. Per Aspera Ad Astra.

Afbeelding

This genuinely is the best fan game I ever played, and since it is free, if you haven’t played it but like playing Pokémon I absolutely MUST recommend it to you! Just be sure to turn on “use old engine” in settings. This game really is THE pokémon game I always wanted. What is your favourite Pokémon Fan Game?! Have you played any?! How do you feel about Fakemon?! Tell me in the comments or dream about your ideal Pokémon. Because remember my sweeties! Friendship is magic but dreams are even more wonderful! Oyasumi!

SLEEPING ON 'EM - A Super Smash Bros. Wii U Jigglypuff Montage - YouTube

Kuro’s Horror Hour: :The Lost Anime Saki Sanobashi

 Hello there, Kuro the Bartender here. I hope you enjoy this new line of drink series here today. Today’s drink is a drink filled with mystery, horror, and brutal violence. So this drink is meant for an audience of 18+. Viewers Discretion is advised: Contains mentions of Violence. 

   Today’s story is something I saw over the internet and it piqued my interest very very much. It’s the story of the Lost Anime Saki Sanobashi or also known as Go For a Punch. It’s a mysterious urban legend of an old 80’s or early 90’s anime OVA that might have existed. It was first brought up in a 4chan paranormal board in 2015. The person describes the anime they have seen on the deep web and how it was traumatizing to them. The title of the video was called Go For a Punch, or so that’s what they remembered the title being. The name Saki Sanobashi comes from a comment that was a guess to the name but not its true name, but for some reason it just stuck to it. 

   So what is this anime OVA about that made it scar this person. Well let me tell you. It supposedly was about nine girls who were locked inside of a bathroom and they couldn’t get out. They have a philosophical talk about not getting out and after losing hope they begin killing themselves. Clawing their throats out, one girl helps another girl drown herself, and one bangs her head against the floor and it busts open. They said it was highly graphic. And one thing that stood out to me was that they mentioned one of the girls had a white Hime Haircut. As someone who loves the hime hair style of course this piqued my interest. The anime was only like 30 minutes. And apparently it had no music but some ambient sounds to it. And it had an 80’s or early 90’s artstyle.  

  There are a few things about this that have everyone including me thinking. Did this really exist or is this some internet bullshit story to get famous or to start a rumor. If it is that route, then I will be very very pissed and very sad. But this has a very high chance of being real because this was the era of overly violent OVA’s such as Violence Jack, Genocyber, Devilman, ect ect. So this could have existed. Also this could be an amateur work that was sadly lost to time and the deep web. No one knows and hopefully one day it will pop up. 

    I know this isn’t a short story as you all know me for but I will be doing some fun new blog posts besides stories so I can expand. Including a new series called The Kuro Suffers Series, where I will be consuming the darkest and weirdest doujinshi, movies, anime, and will play dating games/Eroge. Of course I can’t show NSFW content on here but I will do my best to “nicely” say what the stories are about. I am doing this so you don’t have too. You’re welcome. 

Thanks for reading and if you enjoy this content and want to donate, click the pic below and buy me a kofi.

What if Thymilph killed Simon: A Gurren Lagann What If

My dearest guests and subjects! For the most loyal readers it may be known that one of the anime I hold in the highest of Regards, is Gurren Lagann , prime candidate for my favourite anime, despite my adversity to the Mecha Genre. The themes are a perfect fit for me and I draw inspiration from Kamina’s word.  His vision of his drill piercing the heaven, a message I found inspiring. Yet what would happen if this prophet of my evangelion had stuck around?! What if Simon got killed in the battle with Thymilph.

Disclaimers and Stuff

So before we dig into this story let me make a few things clear, obviously this post will be filled with “spoilers”.  As we will see how the orginal story changes by performing a role reversal of sorts! Secondly I will not write this as a story.. but more how the story would conceptually change. Given what we know, how I envision these characters and  based on things like story motivations etc. I love the original story and do not think this story would be better in any way, I just think it would be an interesting post to theorycraft. As the lawful ruler of Paradise , the only holiday resort located in between reality and imagination I will use both character motivations as well as narrative structure as a guide to come up with this concept.

This means it can happen that characters suddenly change their character quite a bit, as will be the case with several characters in this scenario but this is because some personalities will not fit this new story, I will always try to find a motivator for this but as lesser anime have proven, characters are often pliable to fit a story if the need exists. I fully intend to utilize this.  No custom characters will be inserted but some designs may vary due to how things unfold. Unlike a Dragon Ball what if , this scenario would drastically change the tone of the story, but many major events. Where in Dragon Ball, making an extra character turn good, will alter the scenario..it will still feel like the same series. The events in Gurren Lagann though are pretty inevitable so the main story changes much less than the tone!  With that being said , let’s get into the story.

Episodes 1 Through 7

First let’s look at any changes that need to happen prior to the big event. I will not change any persona’s here. Things would change a bit cinematography wise. We would things a bit more from Kamina’s perspective…maybe even seeing what the man sees in Simon trough a vision of sorts… The first episode would air mostly unchanged but the introduction would look a bit different. Rather than a somewhat casual looking figure we see a more stern hero, clad in black instead of a blue glowing radar we see a more reddish colour scheme as the war across the galaxies proceeds.  A man shrouded in darkness clenches onto a tiny little drill making a tsk noise. Gurren Lagann.. Spin On!   Who the hell do you think I am, is being said… but at a Much Different Tone.  Other than that.. not a single change happens in episode 1.

Episode 2  has a bigger change, in this episode Kamina doesn’t find out his father is dead yet.  He finds his stuff.. but no bones.  Instead there is this little box that looks like it needs the Spiral Key. Kamina believes Simon is the only one that wields it’s power and he asks Simon to try and open it.. but nothing happens. He tries it himself but this time around the key doesn’t even glow. A little mystery towards Kamina’s fathers mythos.  As the character might need something of a story arc to continue on right now. He thinks his father might be dead.. but this also looks a bit like a dead drop! Other than that the episode will remain largerly unchanged.

Episode 3 & 4 will not change at all, there is no need for them to change and it introduces major elements that are told in great ways already. In the fifth episode though we will notice a few changes to the character of Rossiu Adai. The character that was depicted as a fairly devout/pious follower of Gunmen Worship! This time around is not AS pious He is Devout still but he sees something in Kamina.  A Prophet of some kind. A man who can talk to gunmen! Much like how Kamina looks at Simon in some way, Rossiu will look at Kamina in a similar way.. except with the perspective flipped. This initially will lead to Kamina bullying the boy a bit more. “Forehead Boy”  because more of a slur Kamina uses to keep Rossiu at a distance.  With this theme moving forward trough episode 6 and 7, which remain largely unchanged. Yet we do see the religious boy giving Kamina a even bigger hero status. He is the apostille of Kamina after all.

my gif kamina gurren lagann Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann TTGL Simon The  Digger | Anime, Gurren lagann, Gurren lagann kamina

Episode 8

The big moment.. the episode of the first Giga Drill Break and Kamina’s Last Certain kill move! At least in the orginal run! This time we will see a slightly more fearful Simon although rather than fearful, perhaps the better worth is anxious. Rossiu would have talked to him about the hero he thinks Kamina is.. and Simon agrees! He is convinced the world needs Kamina. He looks around him more.. and then he spots the beastmen general trying to make a surprise move on Kamina. We see the original scene play out fastened,  as Simon realises Aniki might die. Overcome by stress.. we see Gurren starting to run and as the attack is about to hit Kamina, Simon’s little droid takes the hit instead.  Kamina immediately reacts and damages the Gunmen of General Thymilph badly in an attempt to shelter his buddy!  Kamina tries to reach Simon through the radio, but there is no response.  As he thinks he hears static come to live he realises it’s rain hitting his window. There is no response from Gurren at all. With Lagann holding the badly damaged Gurren he knows. A rain puddle on the ground right below Gurren colours red. For the first time in his life.. Kamina gives the order to retreat. As Lagann picks up the heavily damaged Gurren, the general laughs, allowing them to leave. His beastmen ask him why he did that to which he simply replies. I want them to feel this pain! Their spirit is broken.

We then cut to a defeated team Dai Gurren , Kamina exits Lagann and opens the pod to find a mortally wounded Simon. Simon  tells Kamina he didn’t want to die.. but he could not let his Aniki die either. His body moved on his own. He apologises to Kamina, telling him.. Aniki is the hero anyway and as Simon hands him the tiny little drill that started their adventure.. he passes on. Kamina falls to the ground distraught, his sunglasses topple to the floor, shattering.  Yoko cries, Rossiu tries to act big, as outside the rain pours we see a lonely Kamina digging a hole. Yoko looked from some distance, distraught but clearly pushed away by Kamina for now.  He then takes of his cloak and uses it as a shroud for Simon, for a moment he thinks of burying the Spiral with him as well.. but he doesn’t he puts it on his neck, as the episode simply ends in silence.

The Remainder of Part 1

From here on out, I will not take this episode for episode anymore as we get a different story.  So who knows where the episodes begin and end. In the 9th Episode we see Yoko comfort Kamina, he is in a funk and unable to fight.. but we see him snap out of it.. yet instead of Simon, who became the idealist in Kamina’s stead.. this change would change Kamina and his beliefs. In its core Gurren Lagann had been the story of a boy trying to fill impossibly big shoes to fill! A story of amazing heroes that try to shatter the limit of what people think is possible, showing that our only true limitation is our shortsightedness.  If we think outside the box enough.. if we follow our own path instead of comparing it to what came before, we can reach new heights!  Kamina has been a beacon for this ideal and the story was about how his will was passed on. That can not happen now.. so instead of Simon, he has to go through change. Yet I feel Kamina would not give up his goal, it is to much connected to him.. so we will go with the hero turning “Dark Saviour ” trope. 

Rossiu will pilot Gurren for now but the boy has to weak of a will to save them all. Kamina realises that if he can save the world  with team Dai Gurren, Simon will not have died in vain.. If they fail.. THEN Simon will have died in vain. He shall be the drill that Wil Pierce the Heavens.. NO!  He will be the drill that MUST pierce the heavens. As Kamina realises this the Spiral Key glows red in his possession. Lagann and Gurren merge into Gurren Lagann, but the greenish/blue elements of fire and power have been replaced by a reddish element with some blue accents (like the yellow speed lines now being blue)  to reflect Kamina’s old colour scheme. Kamina’s energy and catchphrases become much more grim.. like his Drill MUST pierce the heavens.. and “who the hell do you think I am” being said much more menacingly. He also takes a few extra tattoos to look more menacingly! Like a Samao or Maori Warrior.

The key now unlocks his fathers lock-box and in it he  find his father’s diary. With it he finds  out that Lordgenome and his Father once were allies, fighting a force that is greater than them. Yet Lordgenome betrayed the Spiral-Warriors, something that is heavily implied in some side lore for the series, now becoming an actual plotpoint. The Diary said that if Kamina found this, he (the father)  would most likely be dead, but one day he would find a way to get back to his son. Kamina remade his fathers cloak.. in black this time..as well as a much more deeper shaded set of sunglasses. Lordgenome got Simon killed and now he found out he also killed his father. Kamina wanted revenge! Nia would still be found but not a lot of people would bond with her. Rossiu would seem to enjoy talking to her a bit , but Kamina said that they might have to use Nia as bait .. to weaken Lordgenome!  He will avoid it if he can.. but if there is no other way he WILL sacrifice her to see the blight of beastmen end.

The next series of transformations we would see would be grittier and darker. Rather than the insanely abundant designs, the new combinations had something more visceral to them. Stil insanely over the top.. but more functionally so. Think extra drills for defence. Kamina would also ask for some wair paint on all the gunmen!  The other humans would all change as well, as Kamina had this sort of natural charisma , they would all accompany him in his journey to a darker place. While never going villainous, Kamina’s tactics became much more pragmatic. He lost Simon.. so people die in this war it’s just facts people die! So as long as they don’t die for no reason they are allowed to die! While  Kamina would never sacrifice anyone there would be times he comes close to do so to generate tactical advantage.  A few gunmen get sacrificed and replaced though and rather than destroying all the general Gunman he would focus more on trying to obtain those. We also see Dai Gurren putting all their faith in him, very willing to throw their lives away, never questioning his orders. His natural charisma and their need for revenge clearly shaping them.

Except for of course the monkey General! Who begs for mercy after LordGenome has been defeated.. He will only show up in the last battle, not earlier because he is much more directly linked to the person Kamina has become.. he is a bigger villain this time around whom Lord Genome employs to distract Kamina but Yoko would use her sniper to disable his Gunmen and leave him stranded. When the defeat of Lordgenome would be complete and the general begs for mercy, Kamina shows him none! The monkey gets out of his gunman and on his knees and begs to be spared. Kamina lifts Gurren Lagann’s leg and squashes the monkey while the humans simply cheer him on blindly.

Part 2

Just like in the original we make a time jump, towards the time Anti Spiral has appeared.  A few major changes will occur here. Humanity has flourished much like it did with Simon. Though we see a few changes. Gimmy and Darry would not be piloting any gunmen. We see Kittan instead, hunting some beastmen in their machines. As the Star shaped Gunmen lands in front of it’s enemy it and it’s allies do a little Haka!  One one these Maori war dances meant to intimidate their enemy! I feel that is exactly the amount of intimidating but weird that I want this civilization under Kamina to have. His tatoos always remind me of that a bit and I think it would make for a great cinematic element. These Haka’s would return for the “who the hell do you think we are “ type of scenes. The Beastmen would surrender.. and as a result they would get blasted to bits!  Humans do not take kindly to beastmen!  They would do so in the name of Simon and Kamina. In another scene we would see Yoko teaching full time.. but she would look a lot more respectable.. less Bikini look,  instead she would have her hair loose. Looking a lot like Kushina from Naruto. The reason why she looks so homey is soon revealed as Kamina enters his house, the same Simon would have had.. but decorated a bit more garish!

He walk in saying “honey I am home” after which a squeaky voice says that Mrs Litner is not home yet, she had some parent teacher night. It is Nia, who now works for the family as a maid. She smiles at Kamina and tells her she put Simon to bed. Revealing Kamina and Yoko had a kid that  they named Simon. She drops the exposition that Mrs Yoko had been trying hard to find Simon his first Birthday gift. Kamina gasps.. “Oh I have to give a great gift as well, what will I do”  Nia laughs and tells him there is still a fair bit of time. Not long after that the anti spiral things begin to happen and Nia turns into an agent for Anti Spiral.. this time taking Baby Simon along with her as a hostage. I feel that just Nia turning into an Anti Spiral agent would not be strong enough this time around , so we need a character like Baby Simon.  As for her reasons to take him, Anti Spiral believes it would break the human resistance and prevent them from striking at Nia, whom never was really beloved as she was the “daughter of the devil”

MWAHAHAHA - GIF on Imgur

No betrayal and dickbag moves this time from Forehead boy ! Kamina’s rule is already more pragmatic than Simon’s and he is much more idolised than Simon, no one would ever doubt him. Everyone is loyal to a fault even our backstabber priesty boy!  Like I said before the group has this Maori like feeling around them this time and they will walk into war more akin to War-Brothers and more primal as a society. Simpler though not persé worse ..Not a whole lot would change during the Anti-Spiral wars. We’d see those Gurren Lagann clones being used by a few more faceless people, that Kamina and the rest are more willing to sacrifice, we also seem them cope with death a bit differently. Where Kintan instead of a sad goodbye is more or less saluted by everyone for his bravery and sacrifice. The group is still fairly tight knit..but  with Kamina’s undiluted ideology without the childlike innocence added to it.. it would result in a much more zealous team Dai Gurren. So we would probably see a few extra characters die. Including Rossiu because of course for the final part he has to be replaced with Viral.  Death now is not as sad anymore. People have become much more like Kamina, and the warrior culture that grew makes it all feel very different.

Near the end of the story Kamina notices his transformations barely have enough power to defeat the enemy, which would be a factor leading into the death of Rossisu, his trusted copilot. Having used all those fake Gurren Lagann’s as sacrificial fodder now came to bite Kamina back in his ass well.. as there was no real suitable pilot for Gurren. He did not want Yoko to risk it as she is the mother of his child. Yet he knew of one beastman he had left alive.. a man to which he shared a strange sort of connection with.. a Parallel of sorts. We see the scene from the beginning unfold right before the search for Viral. Kamina butchering a lot of anti spirals as if it was nothing. Yet when Viral confronted him with how much he had changed Kamina began to think… perhaps that is why he could not get everything out of his Gatai?!

The final fight begins and he argues with Vidal a lot, at one point Yoko shows up in her Yoko Tank and tells Kamina to shut up. He begins to realise he might be the one in the wrong here indeed.  This revalation is used as a speech to snap Nia out her control from anti Spiral. Kamina tells her that he was a man that would never sacrifice others before, that he met a boy who saw the good in him, calling him his big brother.. and that team Dai Gurren was family as well.. he was their big brother and a big brother takes care of his family. He tells Nia is family and if she lets him he will take care of her, no one else has to die. Nia returns baby Simon to Yoko and tells Kamina that she thanks him for finally welcoming her in the family. While she was staff before Kamina always shut her out due to her origin! She was so grateful that she had one final gift. Nia would now take the role that LordGenome did in this final fight. She would sacrifice herself to give the rest of the group a chance.

3109367-1348556995-sttgl | HeroMachine Character Portrait Creator

Kamina feels horrified.. yet another person he got killed. Then the box of his father glows.. granting him a vision, much like the anti spiral did with Simon with the false Kamina.. but this time it would all be from within Kamina himself. He would not have a vision of Simon… but of his father. Basically a Bardock Version of Kamina who just widely smiles at Kamina telling him “So You Finally got your own head out of your ass and stopped moping, you know you can do this… I just wanted to say… I am proud of you son, you have grown into a fine man.. and an even better hero, but liven up a little!  Life is to short to be so gloomy..trust me I can know”  Then Simon would appear and he would ask Kamina why he thinks Simon found that key? Kamina answers saying he felt Simon was the chosen one.. it came to him.. as with all heroes. Simon denies this and he tells Kamina to give him the tip to dig there. The Spiral was Kamina’s all along, Simon was just the way to get the key to Kamina. The latter is relieved to hear this but he says no Simon, you were more than that. You were my brother. The shot would return to reality and Kamina’s key would turn bright blue.. with some red accents.. and as he turns it, the final Gatai happens.. forming the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann from the movie.. the Blue Flamey one.

Like the original we get the scene where Anti Spiral keeps impaling these giant robots with a tinier form coming out but instead of Gurren, the final one this time would be Lagann. Throwing his Sunglasses, shouting out Certain Kill Move, before being impaled. Kamina jumps out as his hands turn into a drill as he yells, finally my drills have pierced the heaven .. but before Kamina can land a killing blow he is pierced as well. Kamina slumps over and seems to have died. His black cloak floats away on the wind.. outside the bounds of the universe. Then the logo of Dai Gurren is shown . Anti Spiral makes a comment about Kamina being strong for a mortal but in the end no one can stop him and he is just another failure. Then he jolts as he suddenly sees he is mortally wounded, Kamina has just pierced his chest with a grin on his face. Still alive, his arm turned into a drill. “Who the hell do you think I am? “ he asks.. before Anti Spiral is shattered and team Dai Gurren is victorious.

The series would end with Simon’s first birthday.  His heavily bandaged father walks into the room holding just the tiniest gift.. while his mother gave him a giant plushie shaped like Gurren Lagann.  Kamina bends over and pats his son on the back. Happy Birthday son.. Happy Birthday Simon he says, as he holds out the little drill key that started his adventure.  As Baby Simon’s tiny hands grab the shiny looking thing. Kamina gives his son a kid on the forhead. He sits in a chair looking tired. Then he slumps over…dead.  Yoko picks up her baby and sheds a single tear. She knew this would happen. As the audience is baffled she explains “Kamina was mortally wounded in the final battle, but somehow he managed to keep himself together until his son’s first birthday, to give him this gift” We pan out to a blue haired boy and a red haired woman standing at Kamina’s grave. She smiles at him as Yoko concludes her story with, and that is how you got this little thing.  As the boy looks at his necklace that holds a tiny drill he is in awe at the story he just heard. She hands the boy a birthday gift which he opens to find a bigger drill. We see the boy smile widely zoomed in he is covered in dirt. His mother hugs him if only to hide some tears from him. She whispers in his ear “Happy Birthday Simon the Digger”

And that is my take on what would happen if Simon got killed in Kamina’s stead. I know most events did not change much but with treats this big and wars going on, the events would seem rather set in stone! This tale would function as a cautionary tale not to blindly follow another, and that sometimes even the deepest beliefs can be misguided. While they may not be wrong in what they say, they may also not be right! Always keep asking yourself the question if you believe. Kamina would still be a hero but a pragmatic one rather than an idealistic one and society would change a lot because of it! I like doing these what if scenarios! Do you now a good one for any series? Let me know! Don’t be afraid to sleep in it for a night though! Because remember, Friendship is Magic but Dreams are even more Wonderful! Oyasumi!

I am on my Couch, yet I feel Lost: Pinkie Watches Labyrinth

Hear Ye Hear Ye, Princess Pinkie is here with a new Movie and Shows Post!

Greetings my Loyal Guests and Subjects! It may not be a surpise to you that I really dig the strange and unique and seek out these movies , games and anime on regular basis. One weird product in the movie industry had eluded me for the longest time.. but today I finally managed to get that film under my belt. In this movie David Bowie plays the Goblin King, a baby stealing , delusion of a man who creates several musical intermezzos in this oddball of a fantasy movie.  Today I shall tell you of that time I watched Labyrinth.

The Wizard of Wonderland…with Puppets

In 1986  Jennifer Connelly starred in her breakout role in the movie Labyrinth, a Jim Henson movie that pits the ,then still a child, star against a pop singer. Which usually isn’t such a great idea. Child actors are known for their hokey acting.. and how poor children are written in movies, and singers…. well… just name a well acted movie starring Justin Timberlake… It is a movie that has the audience and the critics sharply divided on Metacritic , scoring only a 5 out of 10 from critics and an amazing 8.4 out of the audience. So  such a bit difference is already weird… What’s weirder is.. I kinda agree.. with both sides. In their own way each is a very fair way to look at the movie. The first thing you need to ask yourself is, do I like Jim Henson’s work?!  Jim Henson , should you not know the name is the big name behind the Muppets and Sesame Street, he is the master of puppets and his creatures are recognised all across the world, and while these creatures may not be anywhere near as Iconic as some other Jim Henson products, you can tell this movie is his. Which I find a huge boon! 

The plot follows character Sarah who is rehearsing for a play about the Goblin King, however she has fairly recently gotten a stepbrother, her stepmother being over protective over little Toby forces Sarah to take care of this little brother much to her chagrin, she feels like the forgotten child, remembering a rhyme from her play she wishes that Goblins come and take her little half brother away, That they do!  Immediately Sarah regrets her actions and tells the Goblins to give her brother back, the Goblin King , Jareth played by David Bowie floats to her window and tells her he can not undo the wish. She has 13 hours to travel trough an amazing fantasy land that is one giant Labyrinth to go to Jared’s castle and reclaim her little brother before he is turned into a goblin himself and stays with Jareth forever.

The movie clearly targets a young audience, with little consequences and stuff like death or injury being replaced by less harsh, but way more looney consequences.  Like falling into the bog of Eternal Stench.. an event that will cause you to stink for the rest of your life.   Amnesia or turning into a Goblin replace death as well, and the risk of injuries is often being played for jokes, such as creatures who can rip of their own head and toss it , put it on another creature and just have fun with it.  When someone is crushed by a rock they just fly off like a bowling pin, and more like that. It makes the movie quite whimsical and delightfully lighthearted. However the dialogue has been written to appeal to a younger audience as well, which can at times feel a bit unnatural, like you are watching a high school play. Since the movie kind of sets this in a twisted version of a high school play though, I am not sure if it is an actual downside. It just is presented in a rather unnatural way.

The movie has a lot of similarities with the Wizard of Oz, in the sense with that there is a path to follow.. more or less but events constantly throw the journey off, and it even has more in common with Alice in Wonderland, with characters being extremely strange and the riddles and puzzles that have to be overcome are tackled in a manner that Alice oftenly would.  The characters that join the main character however  do really resemble the party format of Oz again.. with an ugly treacherous gnome/dwarf that finds friendship along the way, a ogre like creature that becomes braver as they go, and a dog knight that learns some humility and that fighting is not ALWAYS the answer.  Very cute, and pretty well executed. The biggest trouble is that it kind of falls short when compared to it’s greatest inspirations, but those are pretty much masterpieces so I don’t really hold it to that standard. I can see why a critic would conclude it’s an inferior product though..because it is… however there isn’t that much in the genre anyway and as general entertainment I could not help but be slightly enamoured with this flick.

Twists and Turns

The moral of the story is where the “problem” of this movie lies. I will explain why I write “problem” in quotation marks a bit later on.  The moral of this story and that the main character has to learn is “Life can be unfair sometimes, we just have to deal with it when that happens” .. or something like that. It is indeed unfair if a parent favours one child over the other, but it happens especially if one child is newborn and the other is in their teens. It is unfair that some pappa’s and mamma’s don’t stay together and you have to allow another person in your life. These are troubles Sarah has to face before the movie even starts.. but throughout the journey this theme is forced in pretty hard. The Labyrinth cheats!  If she is smart enough to mark the route, little creatures will change it.   A worm.. which by the way is the most adorable thing EVER .. tells her that sometimes she can walk through a solid wall!  Sometimes solving a riddle and clearing an obstacle will immediately resolve in a new punishment. For a movie about making progress that can feel a bit lackluster.. and make progress feel more like a Deus Ex Machina than earned.

For example at one time Sarah is solving lots of mysteries in a row, some hubris sets in and she tells him, this is super easy. He then fast forwards time to give her 4 hours left instead of 8.. or something. Why not fast forward it all the way so you win?!  Why  give her a chance?  Why come up with a riddle segment and have Sarah solve it.. if you give her the punishment for failing it anyway.. on a fundamental level it feels wrong.  The movie isn’t satisfactory in that regard. Stuff happens because it happens, and normally I would HATE a movie for that. I hate a lot of anime who do that.. but this one gives clear hints on what is going on, you just have to assume something, something most people really do not like to assume these days. To enjoy this movie you have to watch it .. as an analogy rather than an adventure.. because while the events are fun, the actions taken end up being inconsequential due to the chosen theme. 

I did not end up minding it all that much in retrospect when I saw the big picture but there where times I felt very frustrated.  The character of Sarah is a big offender in this as well.. for the first half of the movie she is extremely whiny. She complains how unfair the maze is and how everything works against her. She vents this to characters who do not deserve it and the whole idea of wishing her brother away because she is studying a play and hates his crying noises already makes her feel quite bratty. An argument can be made that Jareth, the Goblin King is more appreciative of the baby than Sarah is and he’s the better choice. The movie fixes that later on but at several points in the movie I found myself rooting against Sarah! If you close your mind off because of that before the midway point, this movie might indeed suck. I don’t like children and Sarag began to annoy me just as a child would .. and then I realised… she is annoying but most children who would not be crippled by crying would react like this.. I as a child would have probably reacted like this.

The movie makes the odd choice to leave a lot of responsibility at the mature viewer, you have to poke through some things, if you take everything face value and “as seen on screen”  this movie might not satisfy you. Like a fairy tale, we seem to walk across a beaten path with a cookie cutter morality and a clear sign of who will be the victor at the end. However if you poke a little deeper there  a lot there. Do these events really happen? Or is it Sarah’s mind trying to cope with how unfair life is and allowing her to grow enough to learn a lesson. Do we sometimes need to let go of reality and it’s unfair to escape.. so we can later on face that unfairness.. that to me is what this movie is really about. What we see MIGHT have happened… but if she imagined it.. all those silly things that did not make sense before make sense.. after all she is creating the scenario and it also all feels very much like the mindset of a child, every single event even how the story sometimes derails into something so fantastical that it does not make sense… maybe Sarah ‘s true labyrinth is that of the feelings in her own mind. Kids get a cute little adventure, yet there is something for a mature audience as well. You just have to work your grey matter and imagination a bit to find it.

And then there’s Jim

The creatures we encounter on this adventure are so fun! I especially enjoyed Ludo the ogre , stone summoner and the worm! Oh I loved the worm so much!  It had like 3 lines of text but it was great.  It just tells Sarah there are doors that she can sometimes not see and she can move through some wall!  But he also keeps inviting her over for dinner! Inviting her to come inside.. there is no clear indication of what he means inside, nor what’s for dinner. There is just a worm… in blue with a scarf that tells her you can go to a wall or come for dinner. I do not know why I love it so much but I absolutely adored it. Then there is a wise dwarf, with a talking hat who bestows wisdom on passersby. The hat looked a lot like the minish cap from zelda, even speaking in the same sarcastic tone. Two door knockers, gargoyle like by design one with the knocker in his ears the other in his mouth. One can’t hear one can’t speak! Find out which door is correct.  I love this kind of stuff. Sir Didymus being a dog riding on a dog was great as well, especially since one is a puppet and the steed an actual dog! It is also quirky and even all the goblins felt unique! 

This movie, while an original story feels very much like a fairytale.. but also like a hodgepodge of fairy tale tropes.. like a kid or young girl trying to write her own story, including moments where the story derails… a great example of this is when Sarah loses Ludo as her guardian, he just falls trough the floor for no reason, nor is a reason ever given after reuniting with him.. he just comes out of a tunnel… but while alone Sarah comes across creatures that look a lot like Kowakian Monkey Lizards from Star wars..but bigger.. in pink and yellow and orange fur. They sing a song and toss their heads around to tell Sarah they want her to play as well and will rip of her head. It feels so extreme for this story, very Alice in Wonderland.. and very much like I used to write when I was young.

There is an encounter with Jareth on some MC Escher like stairs, where trough camera choices I got absolutely confused which was the point and it felt great. For a movie about a Labyrinth I truly felt lost, Henson made most of his characters so insanely quirky that they become self aware of their quirk. Like the guardians with one always speaking the truth and one always lying, by all the questions they have been asked in the past and all the mystery they forgot who is who themselves.. and aren’t even sure if they should lie or tell the truth thus if Sarah goes trough the door and falls trough a hole we aren’t sure.. did the creatures accidentally flip roles, is the hole actually progress, you can feel lost if you allow yourself too and if you immerse yourself.. and a lot of it is due to the wonderful cinematography, amazing creatures and fun effects.

Some events have this level of theater effect to them.. like a stone coming in rolling very slow based or a pebble clearly on a wire being moved towards the main character. It feels like one of those old stage plays, like the Muppets is supposed to be I guess.  It feels intentional yet hokey, it takes you out of the movie enough to give it a proper thought.. but also allows you to enjoy the wonderful creatures more. Like the hooded goblins with numbered helmets.. we see them several times but never see why their helmets are numbered.. not until way later where they end up being bowling pins to Ludo’s special attack!  A super simple joke but long before that they were on my mind as to what the secret of thiose numbers could!  It is all some great work and because it’s so hokey and forced at times.. it doesn’t age as poorly some effects feel like they were intended to feel wooden and forced.. so even the puppeteering that aged worse.. can be seen as semi intentional! Great work Mr Henson!

We are all mad here

If you asked me if I enjoyed this movie I would say yes! If you ask me if I had a good time while watching it, I’d be a bit more reluctant to say yes.  The second half of the movie is a great ride so would a rewatch of the first half.. but the first time you watch this… or the first time in a long while … eeeeh…. Sarah is a brat and that ends up being great as we really go on a journey with her towards a better version of herself..but she comes across very abrasive from the start and only when she accepts the maze ins unfair, she becomes a remotely likeable character That is relatively late in the movie to start liking a main character. That’s the whole thing I think.. if you hold it to normal movie standards this is odd! Maybe to odd  It doesn’t fit the normal criticising format. So if you review it as just a movie.. maybe it is bad. Reviewing by your normal, story, music, acting etc standards you can easily rate this a 5/10! Sure there is plenty of things wrong with this movie.. at least in the sense with how one normally reviews movies.

If you see it as a quirky visual fairy tale made by Jim Henson… that is a childs day dream about coming to term with the fact that she has a new family now and has to accept her new little brother as well as him getting more a spotlight than her you are in for a great time! This is NOT a movie that you measure by the normal standards, it can’t… well it can but in doing so you’d already be missing the essence of this flick! It doesn’t fit the standard bill. For once I do not really have a weird analogy for you this time because this thing is really unique! Labyrinth is not just a movie… Labyrinth is Labyrinth. If you can watch it with the goal of understanding or experiencing this wonderful product, rather than “put on a movie” a great time awaits you, that you will remember long into your happily ever after. The Bowie songs though will fade away rather quickly.

Did you see Labyrinth?! What did you think? Who is your favourite character? Let’s get lost in the comments but be sure to bring your Bedroll in case we really get lost! Because remember folks!
Friendship is magic but dreams are even more wonderful!
Oyasumi!

Celebrating Badass Video Game Moms

No bad games this week, peeps! Just some serious mom love. Not like that either you, deviants. I am far from being the only person that has realized that mothers are pretty underrepresented as far as video game characters are concerned. This doesn’t surprise me in the least. Let me explain:

In an industry that, until pretty recently, has been overwhelmingly dominated by males its not very shocking that programmers and writers are not out there writing about maternal badasses. It’s probably less a “stick-to-what-you-know” situation as it is a “write-for-who-you-think-is-playing” situation.

As we all know by now non -male gamers have always been out there but historically have been treated as a silent – if not completely forgotten – minority. That’s not to say just because you are a woman and a gamer you don’t totally love a badass male protagonist. But diversity is the spice of life!

So in honor of Mother’s Day weekend, here is a completely silly and random tribute to video games moms throughout the years. As diverse as all of our real mothers – these badasses prove that blood doesn’t always make family – in fact you don’t even have to be a human to be a good mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

THE BOSS (METAL GEAR SOLID 3: SNAKE EATER

Alright alright – a few things right off the bat. For those of you who have been reading Periwinkle posts from the beginning I just want to say, “thank you.” Secondly, if you are one of those readers and are asking yourself, “can this guy just do a damn list without mentioning a Hideo Kojima game?” The answer is a hard no.

I can’t because it is nearly impossible for me to talk about my love for gaming without pointing towards something he has done. I’m a fan boy. You know this, I know this, once he finally accepts my love letters even he’ll know this – ahem – moving on.

The Boss is not winning any “mom of the year” awards and is a very far cry from your typical soccer mom. A hardened soldier, a World War Two veteran and Naked Snake’s mentor, their relationship is very, very complicated.

Every confrontation the two have throughout the game she teaches Snake another harsh reality not only about the battlefield but about human nature. Basically whooping his ass repeatedly until he stops making the same mistakes. Their final battle is haunting.

And even after all that Snake isn’t even her son. Her relationship with her real son, Revolver Ocelot is just as complicated in an entirely different way. What is for sure however, is The Boss’ legacy as a complicated badass being cemented in the hearts, minds and conscious of Metal Gear fans the world over.

Wrinkly Kong (Donkey Kong Series)

Alright so I have to admit that up until today I thought Wrinkly Kong was Donkey Kong’s mom. I was wrong. Turns out, Wrinkly is actually Donkey Kong’s Grandmother. Whom regardless still seemed to raise “DK the third” as her own with her husband, Cranky Kong. And anyways, Grandmas are still moms and grandparents still make great parents. So here we are with the not dangerous but unbelievably cute, intellectual and spry, Wrinkly Kong.

Making her first appearance in the unbelievably fun and still totally killer, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Quest she runs her own Kong College educating her little Kong grandchildren about the game’s items and tossing them hints. She also offers her place as a safe respite and a save point for the little ones so seeing her cute little face on the map always accompanied a sense of relief.

By the third DK Country she had retired from her career as an educator but still offers game tips and a save spot for Dixie and Kiddy Kong.

Sadly by Donkey Kong 64, Wrinkly appears as a ghost. We learn that she passed away due to her accelerated age yet she still finds a way to make herself valuable to her family with hidden doors, hints and bananas. Proving that lessons and guidance outlive the greatest of teachers.

SONYA BLADE (MORTAL KOMBAT SERIES)

Sonya has had a rough go. Following trash bag ozzie, Kano into some sort of hellish underworld. Her and her military partner Jax are split up, captured, freed, captured again, ignored by the US Government and eventually she gets cut in half.

BUT luckily (sort of) Ms. Blade or should I say, Mrs. Cage was granted new life with the “current MK timeline”. Eventually marrying Johnny Cage and giving birth to their daughter, Cassie Cage. They eventually divorce and The Cage family is constantly being pulled in and out of the Netherrelm and yet time and time again she always sets a good example for her daughter and never thinks twice about sacrificing herself for her family no matter what hellish obstacle stands in her way.

KARA (DETROIT: BECOME HUMAN)

I know you think we’re just machines… but since I met Alice, I know I can feel things… I care for her, I fear for her, I can’t be happy if she’s not… This probably doesn’t make any sense to you but… I know she changed me somehow”

Created by CyberLife as a common household maid android, Kara lives with and serves Todd Williams. She also takes care of his daughter, Alice. During her assembly she is tested by operators on her physical and cognitive functions where she begins to realize she isn’t a human. Learning she is to be reset and sold, Kara panics claiming, “She thought she was alive.” As a gesture of mercy after Kara pleads with the operator they don’t reset her and she is shipped off to a store to be sold with her sentience intact.

It is there where she is purchased and brought to the Williams home. Without a mother figure in the home, Kara fills the void for Alice, Todd’s daughter and it’s in response to Todd Williams abusive personality that Kara takes Alice and runs away with her. Showing that true love can break any cycle no matter how impossible or deeply programmed it may seem.

LULU LULU (FINAL FANTASY X)

Ah, Lulu. Technically not a biological mother yet in Final Fantasy X – she might as well be. Guardian to Yuna on her pilgrimage she has not only sworn an oath to protect her but guides her emotionally as well. Also a prime example of a protective mother-like figure in battle, Lulu’s dark magic and fury overdrive is devastating when used correctly.

Seemingly stiff and stoic to protagonist, Tidus at first as the story progresses you get a true glimpse into the grieving process of a woman trying to hold it all together not only for herself but for her friends and family as well.

One of the darker more moody characters that develops beautifully throughout FFX, Lulu has been a fan favorite since the release of the game and for good reason. Free thinking (one of the only Yevonites to question the religion) powerful and beautiful – Lu is the epitome of badass video game moms who are as compassionate as they are deadly.

I’m sure I missed a bunch and I’m excited to hear who. Let us know in the comments who you think are the best video game moms/ mother like figures in gaming. Thank you for reading and happy Mother’s Day to everyone out there!

If for some reason you’d like to read more of my thoughts, follow me on social media or my website: https://linktr.ee/BuffaloRetro

OH AND – Id like to point out the fact that I made it through an entire post without using vulgar language. Since I was fined by Paradise Palace for my last entry. I can’t afford to swear anymore. Until next week!

Cowboys, Giant Robots and a Pink Dame! Pinkie plays Wild Guns

Hear Ye Hear Ye  Princess Pinkie has returned with a new gaming post!

Salutations my loyal subjects and island guests. As you might know I love retro games and especially the SNES era of gaming.   I have done a fair few reviews in the past! Recently with Covid rules becoming a bit more lentient I have been meeting with a friend to play some cool SNES Co-Op titles using my Nintendo Switch Online subscription.  Today I will talk to you about a game we recently beat! A game that is about shouting cowboys and giant robots. Steampunk meets Cyberpunk in the SNES cult classic. Wild Guns!

Clint and Annie’s date at the Saloon

Wild Guns - Wikipedia

Wild Guns was one of those SNES titles that saw a very diverse release date. Released in Japan in August 1994, the US in  July 1995 and finally in Europe due October 30 1996 Wild Arms is a classic game in the very obscure shooting gallery genre.  While the game has an incredibly arcade feel Natsume developed and published it exclusively for SNES. It would not be until 2016 and later that a “remaster” was released on anything else but a Nintendo platform. But nowadays a four player variant of this game with new characters and new stages is also available for pc and playstation 4. Of course the updated version is also available on Nintendo Switch. Wild Guns Reloaded is available on steam for around 13 euro. While I would love to play as a dog on a drone (which is an reloaded exclusive character)  I will talk about  the  base game.. because if you pay for Nintendo Switch online it’s free!

I have no idea what the story is of this game! I don’t remember if I skipped it or if I needed a manual to read it .. but   in the base game you play Clint .. a gruff classical looking cowboy or Annie a blonde in a pink dress and a fancy hat! Guess which one I insisted on being!   Each character comes with four colour variations which also change your crosshair. I played better as Blue Annie then Pink Annie because  I lost track of my crosshair less! White Annie I found unplayable.. but that might just be me!  The game has  6  stages of which the majority consists of 3 parts.  In the end you have to defeat.. some chinese/japanese looking guy. The stages and subsections are pretty varied and most enemies are unique to each stage.. though the classic SNES colour variants show up. The game features 3 difficulties and a versus mode, so there is some replayability. 

SNES Longplay [243] Wild Guns (a) - YouTube

My friend and me started at the normal difficulty, which had Clint and Annie already die quite a bit. The first stage is themed after a saloon. With the first part being a shootout against cowboys outside the saloon with enemies shooting at your from windows or behind barrels. It was pretty neat and the cowboy vibe clearly can be felt.  The way this game work  is basically as follows. The first two subsections of a stage you fight against a clock, you have to survive against an onslaught of enemies until the timer runs out after which you face a mini boss.  If you score enough points you can earn more lives , better weapons and screen wiping bombs to make the rest of the stage easier, so you always have to balance how much risk you take killing people versus. Risking how much you want to upgrade versus how much you want to live. Which is easier said then done.. because this game comes at you , guns blazing.

After you have survived against your first wave of cowboys you have to face a giant robot cowboy with machine gun arms which  tries to mow you down remorseley. Luckily Clint and Annie have some sort of spider sense and they will tell the player to watch out and make them dodge when projectiles fly their way. In their jump they are also near invisible. If you listen to your character you have a good chance to survive , and with a bit of learning you can take down this first mini boss pretty easily. Clint and Annie beat this stage after only one game over. The second bout of this stage takes place inside the saloon!  This one is already a bit more tricky, not only do bullets fly your way, there is also dynamite to deal with.   Which limits in what directions you can block.  Jumping into an explosion will end up getting you killed and if you do not kill enemies quickly they will keep piling up turning the game into a true bullet hell.  

Wild Guns: Reloaded adds an adorable dog who controls a machine-gun drone  to its chaotic roster | TechnoBuffalo

It took us two attempts.. but when we found out we can use a Lasso to stun dynamite throwers, while the other would gun them down  we cleaned out the saloon and took down the wimpy Miniboss.  The final area of this stage put us on the roof of the Saloon where we take down a Mecha equipped with a missile system that rains death from above.. and gatling guns that sweep half the screen.  Playing smart we saved up a lot of our bombs which made short work of the boss. Clint and Annie finish their date at the saloon after dying only like 40 times (21 times Annie and 19 times Clint) ! Hey I have been on worse dates!

Crazy Cowboys

Amazon.com: Wild Guns - Nintendo Super NES: Video Games

After this the game lets you pick one of four stages,  A goldmine, a train,  a canyon and an arms depot.  Each stage pits you against a crazy mix of cowboys and robots.  Each stage gives you a point total which you can see as bounty for taking down the boss. Not every stage has the same bounty and of course the stages with the higher bounty offer higher difficulty! Yet bounties also go up if you beat a stage, so if you are interested in score there are some tactics to have fun with… for me bullet riddled Annie, we just decided to play the stages from high to low! Only to give on medium difficulty after 4 attempts of desolation canyon. We really wanted to beat the game and play through it and despite having unlimited continues that keep track of which stages you beat, having to do all three subsections of a stage on 3 life each.  Now Normal is a doable difficulty but we did not have enough practice time.. and due to the world state we can’t play this as often as we would like.. so we would just try easy mode, hoping the game would not insult us at the end.

It gave us a perfect insight at what difficulty would do. The higher the difficulty the higher the health pool of enemies is  and thus how smaller your window to dodge becomes. This will also result in you having more enemies on screen to deal with at the same time, as you can’t kill everyone quick enough to keep your screen rather clear.  The higher the difficulty the more likely enemies are to use their special abilities, like drones throwing their own lasso or one of those deaths from above missile barrages. All in all easy was a lot more manageable, though still not  very easy. There is a lot on the screen to manage. Powerups, your dodge notifications, enemy placement, the placement of your crosshair and the missiles falling from the sky , powerups and ground traps.  Funnily I discovered that me and my friend struggled with different things. He kept getting hit by traps and missiles while I failed to see a notification of a bullet.  Which helped us get a flow where we warned each other of one of those. 

Voyeurism – Wild Guns | Games and Junk

The single player mode of this game as such is a bit tricky, there is so much happening I am convinced you will always have a weakness and there is no one to polish it out, and it is not as fun either. The action is a bit repetitive, even though all stages offer a pretty diversive, way of approaching things. The mine has enemies as tiny dots in the distance, the  train has enemies zipping past and changing positions, the canyon has a lot of enemies that can stun! So each stage is different in how you approach it .. but it is all very samey in it’s pacing, which is  why you really need a friend for this.  Competing for the higher score is also a  lot more fun than getting a highscore in some random list.  The set high scores are super easy to beat.  We beat the game and already set the high score.. while we actually did pretty terrible.  So just beating high scores by yourself would not be fun at all! Maybe if you beat the game once or twice to beat your personal best.. but with how many games we have access to nowadays , no one will do that.  So it really is a game for two.

This also helps with the game’s biggest appeal. Finding out what craziness is next. The enemies are really crazy and most bosses are really fun!  There is one really boring flame tank thing but there are also some bizarre bosses that are super fun to learn and face.  The mid stage bosses are fairly fun as well, though unfortunately these are the ones that are reused the most. In a way there are some similarities with Cowboy Bebop ..but without the break. Think Bebop meet’s Gurren Lagann, while graphically reminding me a bit off Final Fight mixed with Metal Slug.  That feeling and craziness is also the biggest appeal. You don’t play this game for the challenge , you might not even play it to beat it every single time you play it for the fun, in a similar way why you play Pacman or Tetriis.  There is just something fundamentally fun about this game. 

Wild Guns - Retro of the Week

That same appeal is unfortunately also it’s biggest downfall.  Because it has that arcade appeal it’s linear/level based setting makes it less repeatable than it’s competitors.  Where you can play a Pacman a bit every day, this you will put down for a fair while after you beat it. It feels more like a beat em up with guns. However where  Beat Em ups let you play another character that does really play differently as the other, here it doesn’t feel that way. Because you walk on a 2d plain instead of a 2.5d plan your actions are much more set and because enemies target you in specific ways , knowing how they will  react will get you past them each time. At least in Beat ‘m ups they will move slightly differently.  This makes Wild Guns a perfect game to beat once a year with a friend. I really like this game a lot but I also don’t want to play it again any time soon, maybe I want to get the reloaded version someday so I can play the dog on a drone trough the extra stages! Now  I just need to hope the Dog on a drone comes with a pink skin!

Wild Guns Reloaded no Steam

Did you ever play Wild Guns?! Do you have a favourite arcade like title? What character would you play? I have so many questions for you I might have to sleep on it! In the meantime you can already babble in the comments! Because remember, Friendship is Magic but Dreams are even more wonderful! Oyasumi.

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Pink Princess Uniduck Tagging the Rainbow! Tagging Stories With Colour Challenge!

Hear ye hear ye! Princess Pinkie has returned with a new Geeky Lifestyle and Blog-tag post

Greetings my loyal subjects and guests, Meg from A Geeky Gal tagged me for the Tagging Stories with Colour Challenge.  Be sure to check her blog out if you haven’t already! She is amazing!  Truly an inspiration to the blogging and vlogging community!   Her let’s plays on YouTube are very entertaining, she has cute doggo’s AND she can decorate her house very well! By the rules of this  tag I have to fear her superiority.. so I HAVE to make this post worst then hers…luckily I think I can do that. I think I was also tagged by Anime Rants for this a long time ago..or someone else tagged me , but back then I was going trough major burnout and writers anxiety… so whomever tagged me in this before! I am very grateful and let me know it was you so I can pay you some tribute as well!

The Rules

  1. Share your favorite stories—movies/books/anime/manga/drama/songs/games—by classifying them on these seven colors’ traits (listed below).
  2. Send this challenge invitation to at least one of your friends. Let them fear your superiority, as you—decide their fate.
  3. Link back to the original post here! And, enjoy!
  • red: passionate, exciting, invigorating
  • blue: peaceful, calming
  • pink: romantic, caring
  • orange: warm, motivating
  • black: mysterious, thrilling
  • green: fresh, unexpected
  • white: random

The Colours

Since I do movies, games, anime and stories on my blog I will feature them all in here. Pokémon is an odd one to place as it isn’t really known for it’s storytelling. I would place Pokémon Snap under blue, but it really doesn’t have a story and I haven’t progressed enough in New Pokémon Snap to tell you much about that story. Shadows of Almia is a funny and light story which I could place under white… but I talked about that in my previous post. So let’s focus on more story driven stuff for this one and I might do this one especially for Pokémon if I ever get tagged in it again.

Red is for Mirai Nikki

Passion at least in the lustful sense is an emotion I am severely lacking! I am passionate about things… but I don’t think we are talking about that kind of passion. So today I am talking about Future Diary.  I think the series is exciting as well but the story from Yuno’s perspective is one of passion. It’s not a romantic series by any means but the lenghts Yuno goes trough for her Yuki is certainly some kind of passion! Sakura Trick is another very passionate anime.. but a bit too slurpy for me.  Since I do not really relate passion to the physical , the actions of Yuno to me embody trough passion.. overly much so but passion non the less. She is willing to bend reality itself for her to be with the man *cough*  she is passionate about.  There isn’t even that much  connection throughout their entire time together.. but sometimes the heart just wants what it wants and that to me is why this story is definitely red.. the blood helps a lot as well, and made me fantasise about a yandere girlfriend! 

Blue is for Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley Secrets You May Not Have Found Yet - Page 5

So I know that Stardew Valley might not really be relaxing for it’s story! Yet sometimes.. the true story is the one we create ourselves.  So while I could say that the story about Stardew Valley is the story about a kid, inheriting their grandpa’s farm and they have three years to save  some pear like alien creatures called the Jumino’s in order to prevent your grandfather’s spirit being eternally everlasting disappointed in you, that is not the true blue story of the game. The true story is about you…or your proxy moving to a rural place.. building a farm back up, and finding your happiness in this new little lifestyle. Stardew Valley is that game I can play when I am super sick and lack the strength to do anything else. Stardew Valley is me living a life without worries, a blissful state of being. Me romancing Abby, who apprantely is very stinky… or Lea , the artist who punches her old love in the face because she likes me better. It’s about me helping my neighbour make some jam by giving him 3 apples I kept in a crate for 4 years.  Stardew Valley lets you be who you want to be.. if you don’t want to be a farmer you could be a dapper adventurer…if you don’t like working the land you could just have some cows… or become a full time fisherman!  It’s about something we have lost.. a bit of simplicity and it will always calm me down.

Pink is for Bloom into You

Floral Symbolism in Bloom Into You

The biggest problem with romance is .. it is over romanticized.. which is weird.. and sounds close to me saying that pink is too pink… But it is true.. the idea most of us have about romance is way to fairytale esque it’s. Love is great.. but it is not the beginning or the end of anything. One anime which got that wonderfully well was the anime Bloom into You.  A girl discovers she isn’t romantically attracted to anyone and feels alien. When she discovers a girl who is like her, that girl falls head over heels in love with her and lusts for her. While our protagonist doesn’t really mind most times and does appreciate this person… she can not feel that amazing feeling we all describe as love… yet trough the little things we do see her care for this other person, we see her struggle with expectations versus reality but trough it all there is this connection that shines through.. and I do think that is true romance and love.

It isn’t about candle light dinners, it isn’t about roses between your teeth. True romance is knowing things aren’t perfect.. but knowing that this other person makes it good enough!  To be it is a perfect pink as well.. it’s not the red of passion..but the cooled down version! Also this series has my main anime waifu… so how could I not mention it.

Orange is for School of Rock

School Of Rock! - School of Rock fondo de pantalla (25392514) - fanpop

I love Jack Black, not in the Pink or the Red form .. but in the Orange form!  He is extremely typecast, and he basically just plays himself. When School of Rock first came out I thought , this is going to be a super generic movie. In many ways it is.. but is something warms my heart and motivates me. It is movies like this… This one in particular. It’s about finding skills outside what is conventionally acceptable, it is about having fun in what you do and it is about being you even if it’s a bit odd.  Too me , being kicked out of his own band for being to much him  didn’t just provide Jack a lesson to learn.. it also  showed it was a place where he was not appreciated. While by the end he did  leave the spotlight to his kids rather than himself.. it doesn’t matter anymore because they already appreciate him as their teacher. That to me is what is motivating.. sometimes we are forced to move down a different life path, but that doesn’t destroy everything! Sometimes changing lanes allows us to find what we are looking for in unexpected places. That sounds like an orange story to me!

Black is for Layers of Fear

Layers of Fear Is A Splendid Haunted House Devoid Of Chills | Time

Horror lends itself perfectly for mystery and thrills, and many games lends themselves perfectly for exploring this. The Silent Hill series has some very good examples like with Silent Hill 2.  Yet there is a strength in experiencing this all in first person! I love these types of horror , where you solve a mystery through your own eyes. Few horror games impressed me as much as Layers of Fear,a very artsy game in more than one way, where the house you traverse is constantly shifting , you do not trust your own senses, did you really misremember or are the game playing tricks with you. Building up this sense of dementia to a grande conclusion that is great yet very subtly told through hints you find yourself. If you do not figure out enough, the mystery will consume you. While the story itself isn’t all that earth-shattering sometimes a story doesn’t have to be. Sometimes what matters is HOW you tell a story and it can completely shift how we experience it.. and because of how we experience it in this game I opted to make it my choice for Black.

Green is for Kyousougiga

Kyousougiga–Anime Early Impressions – FunBlog

In essence Kyousougiga is a story about family!  A very strange family! It is a story about how everyone is so different from each other that they often drift apart. It’s also about classic buddhist mythology and Alice in Wonderland blended all together in a very strange mix. There series has some action elements but also some weird slice  of life’ish mentality. It’s also an Isekai with buddhist mechas and two episodes that are kind of a travelling show with real  people, voice actors showing you all locations they used in order for the mythos to make sense or be appreciated more.  So it’s super strange and silly while deep and philosophical at the same time. There is very little rhyme or reason to the plot and there is no 3 act structure here. Not even the Kabuki 7 style structure. This tells a tale whose episode 0 begins at episode 4 then moves chroniclogically back up, makes some twists and it ends with a girl falling trough all sorts of worlds while her mother kisses her kinda in a way a mother should not kiss her daughter. Well it doesn’t end there stuff happens in between..but in the end all that matters is that family finds it way back together again.. and this was a very interesting way of telling us this.

White is for Curse of Strahd/Ravenloft.

Mists of Ravenloft | Curse of Strahd Campaign | Obsidian Portal

I am not a big book reader anymore, I want a broader experience and though I love making things up and imagining a fantasy world before my very own eyes, books don’t always do it anymore for me.. but there is a kind-of-book-like medium , that I reallly like. That is D&D , both homebrew as well as modules.  One of the most iconic D&D stories is. Curse of Strahd.  Otherwise known by the name of Ravenloft. It is this D&D module that actually serves as the inspiration for the Castlevania video game series.  I had the pleasure of playing trough it once, and the characters that are there, the side stories and the twists and turns truely were amazing.  In Ravenloft , a group of Roma, known ast the Vistani task you with defeating an evil in the great country of Barovia.. a nation you find yourself trapped in with endless mist. By finding relics and traversing the region you discover the secrets behind Strahd and his castle and of one of the coolest vampire campagins ever! I love vampire stories and because of the D&D format the story is yours to give shape.. like a blank sheet of paper.. Which is white! 

The Tags

And that my loyal subjects are the colours of the rainbow!   Now I have to tag a minimum of one person, but do a few! 


Iniksbane is the first person I will tag. His website has featured me a great many times! I used to do this with my sunday posts  but do summaries anymore..because I heard people might not be wished to be associated with bloggers at times. Though  in honesty chronic migraines and large energy dips made it tricky for me to constantly browse the blogosphere anyway. I read a lot, but I might hurt people by thinking someone’s post is better than another. What I am saying is.. I really respect what he does, and even though I can’t do it myself anymore I want to show I respect him as a writer and think he can turn this tag into a clever story! So even if I can’t repay his kindness directly, maybe this will help.

SushiRainbow is a website that deserves more love! It has a lot of very personal style updates and that is actually my favourite style! I don’t interact with Sushi enough because when I read their posts it’s always on mobile and WordPress won’t let me interact on there properly! Same goes for a few other people, the ones that are part of my morning routine. I guess I gotten my life long dream, Sushi for breakfast.. anyway with Rainbow in the name, how could I not tag them.

SpaceWhales is a blog WordPress won’t let me follow without e-mail subscribing. I thought I subscribed but you know how techy stuff works! I haven’t seen much blog tags from them before, so I wonder if they take them on but I would like to give it a try!

Winst0lf is an amazing blogger that loves video game stories and I think he can turn this tag into something neat that is a bit less on the anime side of things! He deserves it and he comes over to shuffleboard on Paradise very regularly…the only problem is he always brings along Barry Manilow! So maybe by giving him this tag we can talk less about Copa Cabanna and more about his answers!

Naja is someone who I just know will nail the pink and the red colour… but are there Otome games that follow the other colours! I am curious! Of course she could go with a different route and answer those questions with anime or other stories…but then I will forever be left to wonder if there are those who meet the colour requirements.. so I challenge her to a special version of this tag with otome games only! Of course is free to ignore the challenge, but it would be a fun way to see the tag be used.

Olive Unicorn shall be my final tag! She is a make-up blogger that is pretty geeky herself! So I would really love to see her take on this. Maybe it will help a few new people connect more and we can expand our community a bit beyond just staying in our niche! Olive often has fairly similar tastes , except she looks quite a bit better in bright make up! Yet I would love to see more of the person behind the make up! What stories touch her! That would be a neat thing to behold.

FPMV: "PFUDOR" GIF | Gfycat

Tag done! Princess fatigued! Time for you guys to make yourself heard about my picks in the comments! What is your favourite colour, would you like to see a pokémon edition of this tag? I’d love to talk to you about these because remember! Friendship is Magic! But dreams are even more wonderful! Oyasumi!  *Quack*

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Sadness

POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE

Recently I’ve been traveling off the island quite a bit. The pools have maintained their chlorine freshness with the help of my faithful companion, Cookie. For a few fish and cigarettes a day he doesn’t mind cleaning out the filters and even performs a little Sea Lion show for the guests in the afternoon.

So on these long turbulent flights back home to try to take my mind off of Monsoon season I usually comb through the movie section aboard each flight. Most flights have the same movies and almost all of them are bullshit. They know it and you know it. But what are you going to do? Not watch them? Stare at the suspicious guy two rows over for eleven hours? Sleep? HA! Right.

But on a red eye back to Paradise from Siberia West I found myself basically alone in the cabin with drink in hand and my headphones plugged into the auxiliary jack. I had found an old favorite. A movie that I fell in love with so many years ago. (A movie I actually paid for on Pay-Per-View back in the day). The feudal Chinese fantasy, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Let’s spend this space celebrating Ang Lee’s cinematic achievement, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon based on the novel of the same name written by Chinese author, Wang Dulu.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is actually book four of five in Dulu’s Crane-Iron Series. Crane-Iron being named after the first characters in the first and last installments of the series. The series’ five novels chronicle the struggles of four generations of youxia (simplified Chinese: 游侠; traditional Chinese: 遊俠), often translated as wandering heroes. Each novel contains elements which link it with the others. (Wikipedia)

He did not write the novel for it to become this game

Wang is not only considered a pioneer of the modern wuxia genre but a writer that perfected it. Wuxia is a genre of Chinese fiction that literally translates to, “Martial Heroes”. Usually blending fantasy with martial arts and romance – characters are often from lower social classes and are driven by chivalry or righteousness.

Born Wang Baoxiang 王葆祥 in Beijing 1909 he was said to have written as many as fifty novels between 1931 and 1949. Thirty six of those novels being wuxia novels. Sadly after the Chinese civil war Wang was denounced as “reactionary literarti” by the ruling Communist party and sentenced to hard farm labor where he would die from an unknown illness.

Wang’s legacy in the west was cemented by Taiwanese screenwriter and Director Ang Lee’s adaption of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Ang Lee OBS is a cinematic powerhouse. Born in Pingtung County, Southern Taiwan he was educated in both Taiwan and the United States. His works have found international acclaim and he is a critically and commercially celebrated writer and director. His notable works include: Life of Pi, Sense and Sensibility, Hulk, and Brokeback Mountain. Aside from winning a multitude of awards he has also been awarded the Order of Brilliant Star – the second highest civilian award bestowed on citizens by the Government of Taiwan.

He did not direct the movie for it to become this game.

In 1995 the LA Times named one man, “The coolest actor in the world”. It wasn’t Samuel L Jackson or Speed Star, Keanu Reeves. It was the face of Gun-Fu. Total-stoic-badass-John Woo-regular, Chow Yun-Fat.

Chow Yun-Fat did not come from nothing to be in this game

Born in Pok Liu island, British Hong Kong, Chow Yun-Fat SBS was raised by his mother Chan Lai -Fong, a cleaning lady and vegetable farmer and his father Chow Yung-Wan who worked on a Shell oil tanker. He grew up in a farming community with no electricity waking up early each morning to help his mother sell herbal jelly and work in the fields during the afternoons.

At 17, he took odd jobs to help the family any way he could. It was around this time his actor-trainee application was accepted by the local television station. He was signed to a three year contract and made his acting debut in 1980. Working his way through TV as a rising star and heart throb and on to the silver screen with John Woo Chow Yun- Fat has carved himself an extraordinary career. Even being awarded the Silver Bauhinia Star – the second highest rank star in the honors system of Hong Kong. Awarded to those who have taken a leading part in public affair or voluntary work for a long period of time.

Starring alongside Chow Yun-Fat in the film is the dazzling, Michelle Yeoh PSM. Ranked the “greatest action heroine of all time” by Rotten Tomatoes in 2008 – Michelle Yeoh – known for performing her own stunts and fight scenes has been dominating screens for nearly four decades.

Behind that smile is a stone cold killer that has already killed the game’s developers and soon me for bringing the game back up.

Born in Malaysia, Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng PSM to Janet Yeoh and Yeoh Kian Teik, a lawyer and MCA politician respectively. At an extraordinarily young age Yeoh was keen on dance and began ballet by the age of four. In her teens her parents and her would move to the United Kingdom where she would attend UK’s Royal Academy of Dance.

A natural beauty at the age of 20, Yeoh won the miss Malaysia beauty pageant and even move on in competition to win an international, “Queen of the Pacific” pageant. But she is hardly a delicate flower. She has cultivated a reputation for a legendary work ethic, and expertise in choreography. She would become world renowned not only for her acting prowess but her physical capability as well.

I was going to go even further on about the lovely accomplishments of both Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen but do we even have to? Did either of them work their entire lives only to have their likeness exploited in this dumpster fire on disc?

The answer is no. No they didn’t and none of these people deserve this. These are real human beings with real feelings and aspirations. They don’t deserve this. No one does.

FANCY VIDEO INTRO

There really isn’t that much I can say that I haven’t already said about really sad games before. What is extra infuriating about this game is that:

1.) It’s actually based on a good movie. Most aren’t.

2.) The movie’s fight scenes are breathtaking. The movie literally has done everything for you. All you have to do is take a super entertaining movie fight to watch and add buttons.

I mean.. HOW can you fuck this up?? They’re like three back drops in the entire game.And yes I understand that a majority of the film takes place in the same area but is it so absurd to ask a room full of writers – whom I would have assumed enjoyed the movie (before I played the game) to use their stupid imaginations and get creative with the game’s plot??

Instead of playing the same exact three areas with three different characters like nine times maybe we could branch out a bit? Like say I don’t know – make the game about Jen’s eventual trek to Mount Wudang? Boom. There ya go, guys! Make a game about that. Fucking idiots.

But fine – say they had to follow the film to a tee. That’s fine to. Just do a better job at it. When the game begins it doesn’t introduce anyone – or anything. It assumes you already saw the movie and thrusts you into a hoard of stupid AI ninjas that constantly swarm and overbear you because the controls are fucking impossible.

Even when you do somehow learn how to defend yourself and awkwardly jump from wall to wall – none of it is remotely fun. I spent hours with this game and aside from mounting frustration I felt absolutely nothing at all. I’ve had more fun sitting at the DMV next to crying children.

In fact this game was so bad – I have felt nothing since. It has taken all of my abilities to feel anything away. Maybe it’s for the better.

SHOP TIL YOU DROP

If a general overwhelming sense of sadness isn’t quite your enough then fear not! Like most things the internet also has overpriced copies of the game – the perfect way to find yourself on that long road to financial ruin completing your self loathing sadism.

But really- the game can be found at bargain bin prices – around $3-5. The insane part to me, however is the DVD of the movie itself can be found even cheaper! Which is a crime against humanity.

If you absolutely must – I suggest buying the DVD of this film and holding a game controller while you watch it.

DESERT ISLAND SONG

PERIWINKLE’S LOWING HANGING FRUIT PUNCH INGREDIENTS

1.) A small chunk of fur from Parka (Cold Winter)

2.) A thimble of Jack Bauer’s sweat (24: The Game)

3.) A can of Reservoir Dog Food (Reservoir Dogs)

4.) A handlebar mustache (American Chopper)

5.) Blood of a Backstreet Boy (American Idol)

6.) An impossible to control Q-Tip (CSI)

7.) The tooth of a terrorist (Fugitive Hunter)

8.) One Mona Lisa Smile (The Davinci Code)

9.) One Copy of, “Night Rocker” by The Hoff (City Crisis)

10.) One blood stained trucker hat. (Silent Hill: Origins)

11.) One handful of crushed Peony petals (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)

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