Monday, June 30, 2014

Separating the Game Boys from the Men: Street Fighter II

Street Fighter II on the original Game Boy, this my friends is the definition of a bad idea. While I can see from a business stand point why this might seem like a good idea, after all surely there was a demand to play Street Fighter II on the go, anyone who knows anything about Street Fighter II and the original Game Boy would instantly realize why this game would be garbage. The Game Boy just simply can't handle a game like this without watering it down to nothing. Hell, even the two button control scheme of the Game Boy seems woefully unprepared for the likes of this game.

And yet, amazingly enough, this game really isn't all that bad. Oh, it's bad. The lag issues alone cause this game to occasionally skirt along the edges of being flat out unplayable, but this game really isn't as bad as it should be. The graphics look about as good as could possibly be squeezed out of the Game Boy, all the major characters are pretty much here, and even the control scheme does a decent job of adapting to the two button scheme while still having combos be intuitive enough. In some respects this game shows why Capcom was at one point the greatest third party developer in the industry. Street Fighter II on the Game Boy should not have happened, but market pressure at the time, both from the big wigs at the top and the consumers themselves, forced it to. The team of developers who worked on this could have just phoned this in, realizing it's a bad idea from the start, but they didn't. They tried their best to make this a good game, they tried their hardest to somehow push water up a hill, and damned if they didn't almost succeed. Almost.

If you're a big Street Fighter fan it actually might be worth checking this game out. It's certainly not expensive and it's an interesting chapter in the history of the franchise, if only for the fact that it's not nearly as bad as it should be. In it's own way it truly is a testimony to what made Capcom so great back in the day. But it is still a bad game, so if you're just looking for something fun to play on your Game Boy, you should probably pass on this one.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 12

In my latest podcast indie game developer Jennifer D'aww stops by once again to talk about the state of the video game industry. Check it out here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review of the Week: Deadpool vs Carnage #4, and Mega Man #38

If you haven't already check out my reviews for issues 1, 2, and 3 of this mini. In this issue Deadpool, now equipped with a symbiote as well as a symbiote bearing dog, have a final showdown with Carnage and Shriek. Carnage is going nuts over what Deadpool told him about there being no such thing as chaos and a higher power pulling his stings so he's bound and determined to prove he's truly free. After accidentally almost killing Shriek, Carnage does the most random thing he can, he gives up. He just waits for the authorities to take him away, all the while thinking that once he's proven he's no pawn he will go after Deadpool.

This was a great end to a fantastic series. The writer clearly gets both the title characters and did a good job of exploring Carnage's nihilistic chaos worshiping philosophy. So many writers have a hard time doing that with Carnage. Mostly because they're too busy trying to kill him off because they think he's stupid, when in reality, he's got more depth and character than any of the Venom's ever had. This series sets up a really great connection and rivalry between it's title characters and I hope it gets followed up on again in the future.
Well, it turns out Mega Man wasn't crushed last issue, just him helmet which came off for some reason. I gotta say I'm a little disappointed, I was hoping he was dead. I mean this is a time travel story so it's not like they couldn't have reversed it. But anyways in X's time the Wily crawler reactivates and goes berserk and Sigma calls in Zero and Vile to help take it down. Meanwhile in Mega Man's time they continue to fight the Wily crawler. Then we see Xander Payne, leader of the robot hating terrorist group who last issue had jumped in a time machine, bounding around seemingly at random through the time stream catching glimpses of evens, including events from the Sonic/Mega Man crossover, which is odd as that was all undone by the second Genesis wave in part 12 of that crossover. He finally arrives in X's time to see X, Vile, and Zero fighting Wily's robot which Xander seems to think it the "Robot Apacalypse".

Not much really happened in this issue. It felt like one of the typical filler issues you get when things are written for a trade paper back. Mind you, I wouldn't say it was bad, just a little weak. I kinda wish we would have killed Mega Man, it would have been interesting and like I said, easily reversable given the nature of this story. Also interesting that someone in the Mega Man universe now has some knowledge of the crossover with Sonic. I wonder if anything will come of that. All and all and OK issue to a fantastic series.

A response from Captain Capitalism

Back in episode 10 of my podcast I mused about the difficulties of dating in the church. Well, Aaron Clarey AKA Captain Capitalism had an interesting video response to it. He makes an especially good point of the tendency of Churchian girls to use their faith as a weapon against whoever they date or marry.

"Well I don't see Jesus in your heart."

He was dead right on that. I knew a guy from church who actually had a little crisis of faith because his girl hit that with him at just the right time to get right under his skin. So thanks for the response Captain.

Monday, June 23, 2014

I fight for geek culture because Mega Man fought Godzilla

I found these the other night while surfing the net. They're by MegaRyan104 on DeviantArt. You should check his page out, he's got a lot of really creative and well drawn pieces on there. This guy wanted to see Mega Man fight Godzilla, and no doubt realizing how unlikely it was that IDW and Archie would make such a comic book happen, he went ahead and started making it himself. And they look fantastic. The penciling, inking, and coloring are all top notch and the fight is dynamic and conveys just the right sense of movement, energy, and emotion in each scene. This is absolutely professional quality. In fact it's considerably better than many successful artists, I'm looking at you in particular Liefeld. Mega Man fighting Godzilla is not something I likely would have thought of, but I'm glad he did because it is undeniable cool, and I look forward to seeing page three.

Now looking at those two pages got me thinking about something. You see, there is a reason I fight against the likes of Lindsay Ellis, Anita Scumskeesian, and the rest of the social justice left wing thought police who poison geek culture. And there is a reason I defend geek culture to some my fellow red pill K-types who see it as a pointless and degenerate waste of time. Geek culture is just so damn awesome and beautiful. There is this amazing, downright magical, creative energy flowing all through it. I don't dispute there is a degenerate side to it, but there is also so many wonderful things being made out there. Sure the current leadership of DC comics might be running nearly every character it owns into the dirt, but at the same time a guy named Yale Stewart is doing the web comic JL8, which takes all of DC's great characters and interprets them through the lens of a classic Calvin and Hobbes type comic strip. Sure 90% of what's on DeviantArt is garbage, but there are guys like MegaRyan104 or Trunks24 doing amazing amateur art that's equal to what the pros do. Sure your average comic con will have some of the fattest landwhales you've ever seen squeezed into some of the saddest attempts at costumes you've ever seen, but it will also have cosplayers who look so convincing you could swear you were on a movie set. Hell, half the time they can put the over designed costumes of super hero movies to shame.

Geek culture is an incredible community of enthusiastic, creative, and often times brilliant people that aren't afraid to have some damn fun in life, even if others think it's stupid or silly. Geek culture certainly has its flaws, but it's still precious and worth fighting for. Because it's art, and as Aurini pointed out recently, art is extremely valuable to the human soul. And as long as I can help it I'm not going to let soulless busybodies likes Scumskeesian snuff that flame of creativity and art out.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 11

In my my latest podcast I talk about what the owner of the Redskins should do, why my new WiiU pissed me off, and the futility of the modern mission trip. Check it out here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

What the Redskins owner should do, but no doubt won't.

By now I'm sure you heard that Patent Office took away the trademark on the Redskins logo because it made the pussies of some social justice warriors hurt. This is of course a massive overreach of government power, an assault on free speech, and as Captain Capitalism pointed out is likely to have massive negative effect on the very nature of copyright law in this country.

But I think my readers are of high enough caliber of person to know all this already. I want to talk about what the owner of the Washington Redskins should do in response this. Two simple words friends; go Galt.

The owner of the Redskins should immediately fire every single employee, from the players on the team to the janitors, he should have the stadium knocked the fuck down, and then take his money of which I'm sure he has plenty, and get out of the country Snowden style and hide in Brazil like a Nazi war criminal. Then he should release a video online saying "If the government won't let me protect my brand then I guess I can't run my business anymore. Look how many jobs you just destroyed Uncle Sam."

All it would really take to rein this socialist bullshit would be a few major business owners deciding if the government won't play fair they will take their ball and go home. And if the owner of a major NFL team did it, now that would really get people's attention. After all, if people wake up to find "muh football team" has been destroyed by Big Brother's shenanigans, maybe, just maybe, they would really wake the hell up.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review of the Week: Thunderbolts Vol. 3 #27

I can't say I've been reading this series much. I like the line up and the concept of this covert super hero group lead by Red Hulk, but the terrible art of Steve Dillon early on kinda drove me away and I didn't follow it much longer after issue one. But just like last week, this was a slow week for my pull list so I figured I would give this book another shot.

This issue shows the team saving the Avengers from a secret assassination attempt on them without the Avengers even noticing. Once the team catches up with the asshole villain responsible the Punisher of course wants to kill him, but Red Hulk takes him prisoner because he could be useful. The Punisher has a hissy fit and quits. Later we see him in his safe house, and when he gets a beer from the fridge there is a bomb with a note that says "You don't quit us. You're fired", and then we see Punisher's place exploding.

This was actually a pretty good issue. It was a great jumping on point and was full of several solid character moments for the various members of the team. I'll be interested to know how Punisher survives this and what his counter strike will be. But I really don't get why Red Hulk would do that to him. So Punisher quit, big fucking deal. Get another teammate. Why start a fight with him when there is no need. I get that Red Hulk figured this would kill the Punisher, but it still seems pointless and stupid. All and all though this was a decent enough issue, and I would say if you're a fan of any of the characters in this book it's worth checking out.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Thank you Mr. Morris

The vast majority of teachers I had going through the public school system ranged anywhere from mediocre and forgettable to outright worthless sacks of excrement. But there were a few exceptions to that. One such exception was a teacher from my high school, Mr. Curt Morris.

Curt was a sharp, kind, engaging, and challenging man. After spending an after school detention arguing politics with him, I found myself stopping by his classroom after school on my own from time to time to verbally spar with him. He was a traditionally conservative Christian and I, at least at that point in my life, was a libertarian agnostic with slight objectionist leanings (whereas now I'm a libertarian Christian with slight reactionary leanings). I don't have much emotional attachment to my high school. I only remained friends with two people I knew back then and in fact cared so little for it even then that I never purchased year books or a stupid class ring. In fact I didn't even go to my graduation ceremony, I just picked up my diploma from the school office. But nonetheless Mr. Morris was an extremely positive influence on me in some of my very formative years. Which is why it absolutely broke my heart to learn today that this kind, witty, and Godly man is suffering a fate worse than death.

At the still young age of 50 Mr. Morris, and yes he will always be Mr. Morris in my mind, is suffering from advance Alzheimer's which he was diagnosed with at 46. This man I respected so much is now a shell of his former self, unable to recognize his own family, his own wife describing it as though everything that made him who he was was "falling down a black hole". I cannot think of a more horrifying fate in this world than that disease and if I was ever diagnosed with it I think I would find out what the end of my .45 tastes like.

I don't know if Curt Morris would remember me even if he wasn't suffering from this nightmare, how many kids had he dealt with over the years after all, but I remember him. I remember him fondly and well. He could have phoned it in like most of his colleges, he could have shooed me away when I wanted to debate some political issue with him, he could have just been another public school teacher. But he wasn't, he was much, much more. And I thank him for it.

Thank you Mr. Morris. It saddens me to no end that you're suffering this fate. My prayers are with you and your family.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 10

In my latest podcast I talk about the difficulties of dating in Evangelical culture, and why I think Nintendo dominated at E3 this year. Check it out here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Review of the Week: Angry Birds Comics #1

Well, this comic book existing seems rather unnecessary doesn't it? But it was a slow week so I figured it wouldn't hurt to pick it up and give it a shot. This comic is split up into three short stories, like for example the first one where the explosive bird named Bomb has the hiccups and is exploding uncontrollably. Honestly, do you really need a plot synopsis for the other two?

I don't really know much about Angry Birds. I've watched some Let's Play footage but I don't own a smart phone so I've never actually played it. That being said, this book did actually get a few mild  laughs out of me, so I'll give credit where credit is due. And I applaud IDW for taking risks and getting as many odd properties on the shelf as they have. I don't remember what article it was in but I seem to remember the IDW President or Editor saying in an interview that IDW had the most diverse line of books as any other publisher and that's probably true. But do the Angry Birds really need a comic? Can they really sustain a comic? I really don't think so. Mind you, there's lots of video game franchises I would love to see get comics. Mega Man is probably my favorite comic book right now, and if a Zelda, or Metroid, or Mario comic was coming out I know I would be amped.  But Angry Birds? Is there really enough story or character there? But at least this book isn't trying to be more than what it is and is just doing goofy little short stories. I'd hate to think how unreadable it would be if it was all decompressed and written with a trade in mind. 

So is this worth getting? Well I guess if you really, really, and I mean really love the game you might get a kick out of this. Like I said, it did have a couple of laughs in it. But for 99% of you out there, I would just say pass on this. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bechtloff Movie Night: Frozen (2014)

I missed this when it came out in the theater, but I've heard so many people rave about it I just went out and bought it the a while ago. I mean I even heard a lot of people call this the best Disney animated movie ever. People just seem to love this movie. It make tons of money and the one song from it is even lighting up the charts. I gotta tell you, I'm just not seeing it.

Alright, before I get into dissecting this mess, I suppose I gotta get the obligatory plot synopsis out of the way. Elsa and Anna are sisters and the two princesses of Arendelle. Elsa was, for reasons never explained, born with magical ice powers. One night while playing though Elsa hits her sister in the head with an ice blast and the King and Queen rush the two girls to the Troll King to heal her. A young Kristoff and his reindeer Sven accidentally witness this, and we will come to find out later the Trolls ended up becoming a surrogate family to Sven through this. The Troll King heals Anna and removes memory of Elsa's powers from her. The King and Queen decide to keep the girls isolated until Elsa can control her powers, and Elsa distances herself from her sister for fear of hurting her. Well, the King and Queen both die at sea leaving Elsa to assume the throne. So we cut to the coronation ceremony for which Elsa must come out of her solitude and fears she will lose control once more. Her sister Anna, excited to simply be allowed out of the castle ends up meets and falls for Prince Hans who is one of the visiting dignitaries for the ceremony. The two decide to get married and when Anna tells Elsa of this rash decision she loses control and exposes her powers. Fearing she will be considered a monster she flees to the mountains and builds herself an ice castle. This outburst has inadvertently trapped Arendelle in an eternal winter and even frozen the harbor so no one can leave. Anna heads out to get her sister and the Duke of Weselton, top trading partner with Arendelle sends some men up as well telling them to be prepared to kill Elsa if need be to undo the spell. Anna makes her way up the mountain, along the way meeting up with the now adult Kristoff and Sven. They make their war up to confront Elsa and tell her she needs to fix this mess she's caused. Elsa refuses saying she doesn't know how and accidentally hits Anna in the heart with an ice blast. Kristoff takes Anna to the Troll King to heal her but he tells her only an act of true love can do that, so Kristoff takes her to her fiancee Prince Hans. But it turns out Hans doesn't love her and only wanted the throne. He leaves her in her room to die then tells everyone they said their marriage vows just before she passed and he is King now and he orders Elsa to be found and executed. Kristoff returns to see how Anna is doing and finds her barely alive. Eventually Anna succumbs to the ice spell and is frozen solid and Elsa cries over it which is an act of true love and reverses it.  Elsa manages to reverse the spell on the Kingdom, and Hans is arrested for his treachery and Elsa orders all trade with Weselton stopped, because I guess the Duke didn't take Elsa's bullshit with a smile so that makes him a jerk.

OK, where to begin? Well let's talk about the good first I guess. The animation and character designs are all absolutely gorgeous. And the voice acting is all top notch too. Also there is a goofy comic relief snowman character who could have been really annoying but is actually really funny. And Let It Go is a damn good song. But there is a whole lot wrong with this movie. Aside from Let It Go all the songs feel really tacked on. Disney songs should be big huge spectacles that really help define the characters. These just felt like afterthoughts. But the biggest problem is this movie suffers from that Fireproof problem where I am suppose to feel sympathy for a character who is extremely unsympathetic. The moment Elsa refused to come down and fix the mess she made, I had zero sympathy for her. At that point I agree with the people who say let's cut her head off. Also, what exactly did the Duke of Weselton do? Other than get upset over what Elsa did and order her killed, which is really just self defense at this point. I mean, let's not gloss over things, what Elsa did, trapping all those dignitaries in an frozen wasteland, with the docks frozen so there was no escape, that's technically an act of war on those nations. But Elsa never once takes the least bit of responsibility for her actions. People complain that The Little Mermaid had no moral center, that Ariel learns nothing in that movie. But Ariel is an absolute perfect role model compared to Elsa. I mean I feel really bad for the people of this kingdom. Your Princess is an irresponsible twat, and your Queen apparently doesn't really care if you all live or die.

I talked about this a bit in my 6th Podcast episode, but I thought a written review was in order too. I really don't get why people like this movie so much. Mind you, it has some good parts, and I can see if you like it as a guilty pleasure, but the amount of praise it gets boggles my mind.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 9

Davis Aurini joined me on my latest podcast. We talked for a little bit about our Vegas trip, how red pill people get blacklisted in the entertainment industry, and even a little bit of theology. Check it out here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Review of the Week: Batman '66 meets The Green Hornet.

Remember when the 60's Batman and Green Hornet shows crossed over? Well, since DC has a comic based on that old Batman show why not revisit that story for a crossover comic? This story involves the second meet up of our two pairs of heroes. This issue has our two pairs of heroes try to stop the theft of some priceless fossils from a train headed from Gotham to the Green Hornet's city and at the end of the issue they end up with their feet glued to the top of the train as it heads for a tunnel in typical Adam West Batman style death trap cliffhanger.

Doing this crossover is actually a pretty good idea and there is a lot of fun that can be had with it, at least in theory. This is co written by Kevin Smith and he is a damn fine super hero writer, has a strong love of the 60's Batman show, and has done some Green Hornet already so I really expected a bit better. There was nothing wrong with this, but nothing really grabbed me either. Mostly I think the pacing is the problem. There is absolutely no reason this needs to be a six issue mini. Well, actually there is a reason, so it can be put in a trade paper back. I swear, the rise of the TPB market has been both the best and worst thing to happen to comics in the last decade or so. But really this should have been a prestigious format oneshot, like inter company crossovers of the 90's were, like Spider-man/Batman for example. Plus given the man's infamously abysmal work ethic, I don't know how much I trust Kevin Smith to finish a mini on time, if at all. Should I expect issue two to come out around the same time as the 3rd Avengers movie? Also, and I guess this is a bit of a nitpick, but should we really be using "meets" in the title since these characters have already met?

All and all I can't say this is a bad issue, just not all that good either.  If you're a big fan of the 60's Batman show you might get a kick out of it, but otherwise I would say pass, or at least wait for the trade since it's apparently been written for that anyways.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 8

I hadn't done a Podcast in a while due to being sick last week and going to Vegas the week before, but here's my latest. I talk about my Vegas trip, Elliot Rogers, and, because people have asked me, a bit more of my thoughts on the Channel Awesome crowd. Check it out here.