On the Table
Manhattan Project is under the gun this week at NHS, and it mostly passes muster. It’s a fun, cool-looking worker placement game with enough bite and blowin’ shit up to separate it from the pack. I’ve got a couple of design-level issues with it mostly regarding the last quarter and an odd degree of redundancy in game elements and process, but overall I liked it. The upcoming expansions look pretty interesting so this one could have some legs.
City of Remnants continues to track well, had a brutal four player game the other night at the Hellfire Club. Big hit with the gang. Also on the Plaid Hat tip, I’m wading through Mice & Mystics at last and mostly enjoying it. If you thought Ravenloft was too simple and not strategic enough, stay far away from M&M. I like its simplicity, I love its focus on storytelling more.
Getting back into Mage Knight thanks to the expansion. What a great game
My “Try Dominion again” campaign is kind of flopping. Nobody wants to play it, even with all the expansions. I swore never to play a non-IOS deckbuilder again, but there’s no other way to experience Dominion in full flower. Looks like it may not be happening at all. Guess I’m too late to the party on that one.
Thinking about re-assessing Death Angel with its add-ons.
On the Consoles
Finished DMC, it had a great boss fight with Mundus and then a terrible one after that and a sorry ending. It’s too bad it didn’t follow all the way through. Loved the game as a whole, some really incredible sequences in it and some very creative visual concepts.
Next up? I dunno, not feeling anything right now. Probably Revengeance next week, but I can’t even be arsed to play Colonial Marines right now.
Eurogamer.net ran an outstanding article today about the rather secretive relationship between gun manufacturers and video games publishers. It’s funny because the gun companies are quite forthcoming about the fact that they license their products to game manufacturers (although there are apparently contractual obligations to not name specific games), but EA, Activision, et. Al. won’t comment on it.What makes this particularly interesting is that it’s a seen as a way to market and sell guns, just like how including the newest Toyota in the latest Forza game. But the audience that’s receiving this market is mostly 18-25s…and younger. Pretty fucking sick. But yeah, when you see a Barrett in a video game, the company that makes that gun has licensed its likeness and gets money- and advertising- for having it in the game. Great article because it inculcates games in gun proliferation in a very direct, non-psychobabble way. Very matter-of-fact and clear of any “don’t talk bad about my hobby” crap. Worth reading.
Out of boredom one day I got that Heroes and Castles thing. It’s pretty good, sort of a third-person tower defense/action RPG hybrid. Walk around and smash things, build stuff every now and then. Worth a dollar.
All the talk about rail games, I re-installed Wabash Cannonball/Chicago Express. I forgot that’s a really well-done IOS board game. It’s a little old fashioned looking, but the AI is decent and the interface is good, even on the phone.
On the Comics Rack
The big read this week was the first couple of story arcs of Brian Wood’s DMZ. I’m liking it a lot more than I thought I would. I really like the concept, and the survival of the New Yorkers (“insurgents”) is inspiring, scary, and kind of awesome. I just read the story with the Ghosts, that was pretty great.
Also reading Technopriests, another Jodorowsky space opera. Lady gets raped by a gang of space pirates and uses the animals they leave behind to become the best cheesemaker in the galaxy. Seeks revenge, and sends her unwanted kid (the white one, the others were black and red with four arms) to Technopriest training, where they learn to make super sci-fi future video games. Great line- “the more of a failure he is, the more games a citizen will buy to artificially make for himself a life of pleasure and triumphs”. Yikes. Too true, too often.
River is really in to He-Man (and She-Ra) right now, so I read the most recent Masters of the Universe books. Wow, they were terrible. No surprise. James Robinson and Keith Giffen are the problems. Sloppy, dumb writing. Not that I expected Alan Moore out of a He-Man book, but it didn’t really capture any of the colorful fun of the original material.
On the Screen
So yeah, of course we’ve been watching TONS of He-Man and She-Ra. God, I love those shows. They’re so ridiculously innocent compared to stuff now…no sassy, back-talking characters. He-Man never really fights, stabs, or shoots anything. Skeletor is really just a nitwit with goofy schemes, not really “evil” at all. And I love that She-Ra is a show for little girls that’s not about the kinds of typical consumer training/social indoctrination that little girls are subjected to now. Really surprised to see Paul Dini’s name in some of the writing credits.
We watched some of the new (well, 2002) show. It was OK, better than I thought it would be. Definitely more modern and with a more violent tone, but it still has that MOTU silliness.
River’s also been watching Hotel Transylvania, Genndy Tarkovsky’s big-screen Adam Sandler sell-out. I thought it would be horrible, but it’s at least sort of cute. And hey, it’s got my kid going around saying that he wants to watch vampire movies and wear a cape, so that’s fine.
Listened to a little Dr. Feelgood in honor of Wilko Johnson, great proto-punk stuff…fun, R&B rave-ups, pretty clear influence on The Damned and similar acts. But other than that, kind of a weird mix this week that included The Human League (“Dare” is such a great record), The Knife’s new one as well as some random singles and remixes, Niki & The Dove, Purity Ring (did _not_ like at all), and a bunch of classic OMD. “Enola Gay” is a perfect synthpop song. “Tesla Girls” is pretty amazing too.