Thursday, 14 May 2009

Adventures In Miscellaneous Pointlessness: Shopping With No Money

The fifth season finale of Lost aired in the US last night, but it's still hanging in the air for us UKers. To a lesser extent, so did the finale of America's Next Top Model (go Allison and/or Aminat!!!). Therefore I'm hiding from the Internets in order to avoid spoilers, which I've managed to stumble upon for the past two years running. Easier said than done, as Digital Crack is unavoidable in our home, even with a computer that breaks down more often than a car in a horror movie. (Tip for readers: never buy Dell!)

So I stepped out this morning to buy broccoli (The Fart-Inducing Green Brain of the vegetable world), and browse in shops, rather than run the risk of absent-mindedly opening Twitter and seeing something spoilery. Browsing in shops is fun when you have money. When you don't? Not so much. Anyway, to pass the time I took bad pictures of things that caught my eye, using the iPhone. And now I'm sticking them on the Internet to distract myself from the excitement about the finale of ZOMGLOST, which I'm hoping will be ten times better than the finale of Fringe and twelve times better than the finale of Dollhouse.

How in the hell did this become so cheap so quickly? Hasn't it only been out for about six months, and it's being sold for tiny pounds? I thought this would be much more successful. Everybody likes horror games based loosely on almost-competent Paul W.S. Anderson films, right?

Maybe it would have been more successful if it came with an in-game option to throw Sean Pertwee out of an airlock. Of course I'm being terribly glib. I know this was partially written by Warren "Evil" Ellis, and so has the mark of excellence branded on it. More than anything else I saw today, this almost convinced me to spend money on something that wasn't essential, like bills, or medicine for me and my cat, or Allman Brothers Band downloads for Rock Band, or broccoli.

Usually when I browse in game shops, the prices never seem to come down. Today? It seemed like the recession finally convinced shops to drop game prices, which is one good thing about the crunch, I guess. There were bargains everywhere, and not just in the Pre-Owned racks. This caught my eye, however.

Yet another Red Storm game, only this time one that is based on a movie adaptation of a Jack Ryan novel instead of being directly developed by Tom Clancy and his team of macho pro-army coders. Clancy is a total gaming whore (in a good way), developing dozens of average-to-great games over the years. Something tells me that a first-person shooter based on a very dull movie by an otherwise intriguing director (Phil Alden Robinson, improbably enough) is not going to be listed up there with Splinter Cell or Rainbow Six. It did make me wonder if there was scope to develop games based on other Phil Alden Robinson movies:

  • Sneakers - Give me the controller, right now, or I will shoot you, right now! Guide your team of hackers, security experts, and piano teachers through a series of heavily guarded facilities in search of gadgets and doodads that do very exciting things to computers. Levels include: avoid a trace on a phonecall for one whole minute! Solve multiple anagrams using Scrabble tiles! Drive a van across town with no visual aids whatsoever (the first entirely pitch black game level ever devised)! Try to convince Sidney Poitier to explain just why he was thrown out of the CIA! Have long chat with Sir Ben Kingsley and his stylish ponytail! Bonus level includes first-person-shooter scenario inside the Setec Astronomy moonbase.

  • All Of Me - Get out of my mind, Lily Tomlin! Guide Steve Martin through LA while the controls on your joypad are randomised to mimic the disruptive influence of body-sharing crank Tomlin! Bonus level includes first-person-shooter scenario inside Steve Martin's brain.

  • Field of Dreams - You've built it, but will they come? A baseball simulation featuring many famous disgraced players of yesteryear. Featuring voicework from Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Billy Crystal, Ray Liotta, Amy Madigan, Jimmy Smits, Patti LuPone, and Timothy Busfield, and expanding on the franchise campaigns of Football Manager and the Madden series, you are given the task of earning enough money to keep a baseball stadium and a farm going over several years. Bonus level includes first-person-shooter scenario where Costner has to shoot the tears caused by the heartwarming final shot of a million hippies visiting the farm.

I can say, with full confidence, that those games would be better than this.

Fuck you for allowing this to happen, Nintendo. (ETA: I just noticed the title of the game isn't even grammatical. GAH RAGE!)

It wasn't all browsing for games. Zack Snyder's movie adaptation of Moore and Gibbons' Watchmen split nerd opinion down the middle, often within the same nerd. I liked some of it, but was utterly unmoved by it in the long run. A shame, as Snyder was obviously expended a lot of effort to recreate the shell of it, though he didn't seem to have figured out what was supposed to go inside, i.e. a point to the whole thing other than slavish imitation. Even if you really hated the movie, however, you could console yourself with the thought that the original book was still there, and remained unsullied by the film. Until now.

I don't know if that t-shirt design is really drawn by Dave Gibbons, but the thought that his wonderful character designs are being slowly replaced in the popular mind by the faces of these actors upsets me greatly. Far more than is deserved, I'm sure, but still, it's a dick move by DC and Warners. If Gibbons did draw it, I hope he got paid well.

Speaking of movie adaptations, here's something for every miserable emo teenager in your family; yet more Twilight merch!

Here is an exclusive excerpt from the book, just to give you a taste of what's inside:

Monday 3rd. Just got back to my trailer after a hard day half-assing it. Much harder than I thought it would be. The director of photography kept making things harder by putting the camera in some really interesting places, but that's missing the point. Teenagers see the world as an ugly place, and so we have to make sure that the movie is as ugly as possible. If I could switch off the lights altogether, that would be perfect, but no one will let me even though I'm the fucking director. Even so I've managed to drain the film of as much colour as possible. The rest can be removed in post. Director of photography is unhappy about this, but I'm in charge, dammit!

Tuesday 4th. My teenage stars were wonderful today. Almost none of the dialogue was audible, with Kristin doing a great job of turning all of Melissa Rosenberg's words into exasperated noises and facial twitches. Robert was even better. There was one shot where his eyes bugged out of his head for about two minutes straight! I think it was acting, though he might have been expressing horror at Stephenie turning up on set to stalk him again. She's getting really good at avoiding security.

Wednesday 5th. Big effects sequence to be filmed today! I'll let someone else handle that.

Thursday 6th. Robert keeps giving interviews about how stupid Twilight is, and how much he resents being in the film. If I wasn't so entranced by his beautiful hair and unnecessarily complicated face, I'd fire his ass. Kristin is much easier to work with, though it's getting harder and harder to keep her awake during takes. Oh, the glamourous life of a film director!

I have a terrible feeling there will be some poor emo girl who will stumble across this blog and be very very upset. It will look something like this picture I spotted on the way home.

Don't cry, little emo girl! I'm sure there will be another Paramore album coming out soon.

And now, LOST FINALE!!! You'd better rock my world, TV show.

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