Barnestorming #928- Smash Up in Review, Aquaman, Diamond Dogs

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Barnestorming #928- Smash Up in Review, Aquaman, Diamond Dogs
There Will Be Games

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This ain't rock n' roll...this is board games!

On the Table

I hate to double us up on reviews, but this is moving week and I’m not really prepared to write about anything other than Smash Up, which Ken reviewed yesterday. It’s a fun game, but I really, really don’t like the whole nerd juxtaposition thing. It’s not funny. Having just been at Dragon Con last weekend, I saw enough of that shit on any number of T-shirts and bumper stickers. The “This is Zelda” shirt combining 300 and Legend of Zelda has to be the absolute lowest point. Or “Star Wars Gangnam Style”.

I’ll have a full report on Dragon Con soon. I didn’t play a single game, I spent about 20 minutes in the game room, and I was Steve Avery for about two hours. I saw people playing Cards Against Humanity, which I had never even heard of before. And I still have no idea why 2000 people were lined up to see some panel about a show called Warehouse 13.



On the Consoles

Out of nowhere, I got back into Halo: Reach. After years of hemming and hawing, I think I’ve finally realized that it is the multiplayer FPS that I like the best. None of the leveling bullshit, none of the silly killstreaks, none of the crap where there’s guns with slightly different ROFs, and it’s not really all that macho. It’s a little goofy, very much a video game, and I love the “schoolyard” style gametypes.

I’m really interested to see how 4 goes. Hopefully it stays very different than the COD games.

I have review code for Legasista, a new action JRPG on PSN. It’s weird. I dunno. Don’t rush out and buy it.




Back into IOS hibernation.  Not really interested in anything on it right now.

I did play a little Hunters 2 last week, it’s a good game, but it just made me want to play Warhammer Quest on my iPad. Now.


On Comixology

Final Crisis…what a mess. I liked it, but man, was it hard to follow. It’s all VERY Kirby, very tied into Fourth World. I really couldn’t tell you what it was all about. Some really neat concepts, and Batman shooting Darkseid was pretty bad ass.

Of course, Batman’s “death” lead me into reading The Return of Bruce Wayne, which I got halfway through and got bored with.

Green Arrow Year One wasn’t all that great. Nice artwork, but the story didn’t hold my interest. Green Arrow is a lot like Hawkeye. Not just the bow thing. Both are characters that I’ve always wanted to be awesome, but they never quite are.

The big winner this week though, amazingly, is the New 52 Aquaman. It’s Geoff Johns with pencils from Ivan Reis. Five books in and I’m totally loving it. It kicks off with some great action and a really funny scene with Aquaman going to a fish restaurant. Johns doesn’t shy away from the lameness of the character or the fact that he’s “nobody’s favorite superhero” and builds on those ideas. There’s some good comedy, but more importantly Aquaman is, for the first time that I’ve read at least, an interesting character with dimension. The first storyline is really cool, involving these scary Deep One-like fish people from the Marianas Trench.

Starting on Seven Soldiers of Victory, trying to finish All-Star Superman, and picking up Archer & Armstrong, The Incal, and Red Lanterns this week. Maybe I’ll read all of the Doom Patrol books too.


On the Screen

Watched part of Batman Returns, which I haven’t seen since it was in the theater. Other than the production design, which is frequently amazing if very stage-bound, it looks like my initial assessment of “this movie sucks” holds up. I am not a fan of the Tim Burton Batman films. Or the Joel Schumacher ones for that matter.

I’m watching Beverly Hills Cop right now. Bronson Pinchot. Whatever happened to that guy?



On Spotify

I decided this week that “Rebel Rebel” is the greatest rock n’ roll song ever recorded. It’s perfect. I think it’s Bowie’s best and most “concise” song (to borrow from Trouser Press), and it completely encapsulates everything about rock n’ roll that is great. It’s about sex, make up, dancing, playing it hard, and pissing off adults.

Diamond Dogs has been on heavy rotation, which is why it’s come up. My favorite Bowie record rotates, but I seem to always come back to it. There’s so much going on, so many interesting threads. There’s that incredible intro, which is probably the best lead-in on any record ever- the spooky, cryptic “Future Legend” leading into “this ain’t rock n’ roll, this is genocide!” into the opening guitar lick of the title track. Devastating. Then you’ve got the “Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (reprise)” tryptich, which is one of Bowie’s personal favorites of his career. “Big Brother”, “1984”, “Dodo”…transitioning from glam to post-glam to plastic soul, all with an arch, avant garde approach that knows when it’s time to swing for the fences. It’s not as coherent or direct as Ziggy or Aladdin Sane, but I think it’s a more artful, compelling record in some ways.

And jesus, that wonderful, twisted gatefold cover. It just occured to me the other day that Bowie is on every record cover.

I think I’m going to listen to Lodger next- it’s probably my least-listened to record of 1970s Bowie catalog, despite the strengths of some of its best tracks (especially “Repetition”, “Look Back in Anger”, and “Boys Keep Swinging”).

There Will Be Games

Michael BarnesFollow Michael Barnes Follow Michael Barnes Message Michael Barnes



Sometime in the early 1980s, MichaelBarnes’ parents thought it would be a good idea to buy him a board game to keep him busy with some friends during one of those high-pressure, “free” timeshare vacations. It turned out to be a terrible idea, because the game was TSR’s Dungeon! - and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael has been involved with writing professionally about games since 2002, when he busked for store credit writing for Boulder Games’ newsletter. He has written for a number of international hobby gaming periodicals and popular Web sites. From 2004-2008, he was the co-owner of Atlanta Game Factory, a brick-and-mortar retail store. He is currently the co-founder of and as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Miniature Market’s Review Corner feature. He is married with two childen and when he’s not playing some kind of game he enjoys stockpiling trivial information about music, comics and film.

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