It's a family affair.
On the Table
Let’s kick off two weeks of Portal coverage with Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy. This is a fantastically interesting game with a cool genealogical theme. In multiplayer, you develop a family tree over the course of three generations. The solitaire game literally flips the script and you kind of play it backwards to trace your gamic lineage to its earliest ancestor. The not-really-all-that-bad news is that it’s a fairly standard worker placement game and all that entails. I like the game, I think it’s a fascinating concept, but it’s a game that I don’t think is going to have much longevity. Regardless, it is a great example of the kinds of games Portal is putting out- interesting titles with compelling, unique themes and great production. Next week- Theseus.
I got in a couple of games of Relic over the week. It’s easy to just say “40k Talisman” and it really kind of is…but I think I’m gradually, very grudgingly, starting to admit that it is probably a better game than Talisman. It has some really neat improvements. The corruption thing is great (“enlarged body part”), the greater flexibility in choosing encounters, the mission-based relic/talisman acquisition, the slightly shorter development curve…I’m really kind of excited about the expansion, it sounds like it might make for a pretty dynamic experience with directly hostile opponents and so forth.
On the Consoles
Lots of Steel Diver: Sub Wars when I get tired of Bravely Default. It’s really fun, another fine example of how Nintendo is keeping classic video gaming alive. It’s such an odd, weird and fun game. I still haven’t tossed them a tenner for it, but I think it’s totally worth it.
Bravely Default is slow going, but it’s enjoyable. I really like my Merchant character. You can force monsters to buy potions and such from you and then throw their money back in their face, doing a ton of damage. Some of the features of the game are oddly vague, like all of the online friend stuff.
I had an odd hankering for a match-3, and everybody knows that Puzzle Quest is the best match-3 ever made. So I thought I’d check out the free-to-play Marvel Puzzle Quest. What a fucking rip-off, I’m disgusted that such a thing even exists. Offering DLC, add-ons, and so forth is one thing…but limiting how much you can actually play and then charging RIDICULOUS amounts for extra “energy”, characters, and so forth is another. This is why F2P sucks, and it’s a shame that people don’t just shun this shit into the grave. I used some of the free scrip they give you to buy characters and I got some that I actually did not even know who they were. Oh, I could spend like TEN DOLLARS to get a “guaranteed” Daredevil…
It’s a shame, because it’s a good game- smoother and sleeker than Puzzle Quest. But fuck the whole marketing scheme behind it, all based on psychology and roping the player into foolish purchases.
I did get Puzzle Quest 2, which is pretty good so far if a bit easy.
On the Comics Rack
Still reading Apocalypse War. So, so good.
On the Screen
Took the kids to see the Lego Movie, and we all loved it. I was really surprised at how smart the writing was even if the story wasn’t very good. There’s a ton of problems with it if you dig too deep. But like they say in Cloudcuckooland, there’s no consistency. Just childhood anarchy.
I really liked how the movie was actually ABOUT Lego in a lot of different ways…squint and you’ll see a pointed commentary about Lego leaving behind the old fashioned “build it yourself” pile-of-bricks concept celebrating creativity and toward fixed models focused on collectors. It definitely wasn’t a 90 minute toy commercial- it was too heartfelt and clever for all of that, but the writers were still totally aware that at the corporate level it is exactly that.
The handmade look was awesome, the attention to detail and Lego history was sometimes overwhelming…two Fabuland references (!) and they even put that particular crack in Benny’s helmet…and the writers also poked fun at the Space-dominated 1980s with all of the wings and rocket boosters. What else were you supposed to build with all of that stuff other than spaceships? Totally hit close to home, that gag.
Batman was great. Between his song, Emmett’s line about Batman being the “worst person” he’s ever met, and his leaving aboard a spaceship of “bon vivants”, some of the best jokes were on him.
River just about lost his mind during that spaceship cameo, FWIW.
Overall, the picture was just plain fun…and it’s always great to see smart, slightly subversive kid films. This was definitely one of those with nothing in common with all of the jiggling fat people/sassy animal/potty humor trash out there that passes for family films.
Now, I promise I’ll stop ranting and raving about Clone Wars…but man, I gotta tell ya. This show pulled off a GREAT Seven Samurai homage dedicated to Kurosawa and then followed that up with an amazing two-part Star Wars KAIJU story full of sly Godzilla references. I mean, they even rolled out those useless radar trucks to tickle the monster with energy beams. I’m into the “young Boba Fett” story now, which is actually far cooler than you might expect. There's this really cool conflict between his seething vengeance and his nature as a clone...which gets into some of the more interesting thematic material in the show about the clones since they are effectively just artificial humans raised to be soldiers and nothing else. But Boba has some other issues going on, and it actually makes him into a character rather than just a dude in cool armor. Who knew he was practically raised by Aurra Sing and Bossk. Bossk! It's about time Bossk got some respect, what with his short pants and all. I love that guy. He actually has a SPEAKING role, too!
Watching the 2010 documentary about Fishbone put me in the mood for the antics of Angelo Moore and co.- I haven't really listened to Fishbone since...I dunno, the early 1990s. They are a VERY hit or miss band for me. Some of their material is just incredible- a large part of "Truth and Soul" and "The Reality of My Surroundings" for example. But then there's stuff that just isn't very good. Their early ska stuff is fun and shoot fire, "Party at Ground Zero" and "Ugly" are stone classics. But they're just such an inconsistent band. They could have been HUGE. They could have ruled the world. They deserved all of the success and accolades the fucking Red Hot Chili Peppers (one of the worst bands of all time, BTW) got. But instead, they just sort of plateaued 1988-1991 and that's it. In some ways, the band is a tragedy even though they still play, still write, still do shows...because they had so much potential to do more.
I saw them around 1991, Primus was opening for them. It was one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen. They were really kind of at the peak of their power. The show was just insane- giant pit, stagediving (back when it was actually allowed)...man, I miss crazy-ass shows like that with kids just flying EVERYWHERE.
Moving on, I'm trying to get these kids ranking and skanking so I'm firing up some Two-Tone this week.