Thursday, March 31, 2016

YPB: Vidya Game News – March 31, 2016

Yearly reminder: Friday is April 1, so any of these stories have a chance of being false in the future, unfortunately.

- From a site called MEL, Sam Stecklow has a great read on Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill, a cancelled video game for the SNES and Genesis based on the Clintons’ cat… OR IS IT CANCELLED?!?! There might be a Kickstarter campaign to get it properly released.

- Sam Machkovech of Ars Technica has a long write-up of some of the cooler panel talks at the Game Developers Conference. Among the revelations: Ms. Pac-Man began as a speed-up kit, and Diablo was originally going to be a turn-based game.

- Atlas Obscura has a good, long read from Eric Gundhauser on the non-rise and quick fall of the Phillips CD-i.

- Speaking of failed systems… Deuce of WRRV 92.7 and 96.9 links to a 30-minute Atari Jaguar informercial, which is crazy go nuts.

- And speaking of Atari, Joey Morona of has a slideshow of their ads.

- Seth G. Macy at IGN has a neat piece on some trivia about classic NES games. Covered are The Legend of Zelda, Castlevania, Mario, Mega Man, Metroid and the Konami Code.

- In current events news, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has done about $193 million at the domestic box office, and $501 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. This means we’ll probably get more of them, despite the 29 percent rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Yaaaay… Esquire’s Tyler Coates has a piece that is titled perfectly: “How did Batman go from being fun and gay to sad and boring?

- Depending on the platform, Lego Star Wars came out this week in 2005. It was the first of many Lego games by TT Games, and almost all of them have been well-reviewed. They’re perfect for your sweet baby boys and girls at home to get into!

- Although the SNES rightly gets a lot of credit for popularizing the RPG genre, the PSX probably remains the platform that just had the most “what the hell?” RPGs, and a surprising amount made it to the U.S. Such as… Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure, from Nippon Ichi, the makers of the Disgaea series. It’s the same sort of tactical, turn-based RPG game as later Nippon Ichi titles, but it came out in 1998, four years before La Pucelle: Tactics and five years before Disgaea.

- StarCraft came out for the PC in 1998. For way more on that game, check out our episode from November!

- In 1997, Doom 64 came out for, you guessed it, the Nintendo 64. While it didn’t get much attention, it is Steve’s favorite version of Doom because it adds some weapons and looks a bit nicer than some of the older PC versions.

- And oh yeah, Resident Evil came out in 1996. I guess it’s kind of a big deal, too.

Video game history information comes from GameFAQs and Moby Games. And as always, if you’d like to support the show, do so via our Amazon link.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Inexplicable TV Review: Jessica Jones (and her interesting co-stars)

Note: Season one spoilers for Jessica Jones follow. It’s been on Netflix for a couple months though, so I imagine I’m one of the last people to see it anyway…

One of the issues with Netflix being a provider of shows now is that they don’t air commercials. Now, commercials are usually just kind of annoying, but I must admit that after binging on Jessica Jones and the second season of Daredevil this past weekend, it’s nice to have a few minutes to catch my breath and to decompress.

I think the problem is more pronounced with Jessica Jones, which is a bit slower paced and drawn out as compared to conventional network shows and even Daredevil. The noir, detective elements of the show are cool, but I don’t feel like they’re utilized as well as they could be. This is a show that really could have used some lighter, “mystery of the week” episodes, a la The X-Files, as a bit of a break-up from the dark, season-long arc of Jessica’s pursuit of Kilgrave.

However, I’m being a bit needlessly negative at the start here! Overall, I thought Jessica Jones was a continuation of the fine foundation set by the first season of Daredevil. You don’t have to watch one to appreciate the other, but they both have the same sort of tone to them. They feel like well-planned, developed projects, as opposed to the ultra-aggressive (and seemingly stupid) D.C. movies.

While Ritter does solid work as the title character, I thought she was more of a B, B+ in the role. It’s tough, because I’ve seen Don’t Trust The B****, probably one of the five people in the world who has. That show remains one of my favorites, and features Ritter at her snarkiest, so Jessica Jones just seems like a more badass, less humorous version of The Bitch in Apartment 23.

Fortunately for the show, every other actor is on-point, especially David Tennant as Kilgrave, the mind-controlling master villain. I was at a bar last week and my buddy Matt essentially called him the creepiest motherfucker ever, and that’s a pretty apt description. He is manipulative, disgusting and evil, but because it’s Tennant, there is also a carelessness and frivolity to his actions that somehow make them worse. (Side note: Don’t look up comic book panels with Purple Man, the character he’s based on, unless you’re looking for nightmare fuel.)

The two besties of Jessica Jones are Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), who work well when paired with Jessica because they’re seemingly functional human beings. Yes, they have some demons, but both are able to work normally, and as a result, deal better with Jessica’s shit. Luke Cage already has a spin-off, set to debut in September, and the trailer is friggin’ awesome. And slight future spoiler – Trish is a superhero in the comics, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they go that way with future seasons, since Taylor and Ritter have great chemistry with one another.

Once you get past the four leads, you get to dicey side characters. Will Simpson, Hope Shlottman, Jeri Hogarth, Malcolm and Pam all have moments, but they all have farcical scenes as well. (Okay, Pam, not so much, but wow, those dresses she stole off the curtain rods left little to the imagination.) The melodrama between Jeri, Pam and Jeri’s ex seemed especially drawn out and forced, and there were probably better ways to establish Jeri’s ruthless nature.

Again though – minor complaints. Tennant’s performance alone is reason to binge the ole Jessica Jones. It’s on Netflix, probably until the end of time, so there’s no rush at this point. (And in the next few weeks, I’ll also have some reviews of Daredevil’s second season, and Gotham.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Steveats: Little Caesars Bacon Wrapped Crust “Deep Deep Dish”

Not posted - the layer of grease on the top half of the box.
Debuting a new, semi-regular feature! I tryout questionable food items so that you don’t have to in… Steveats. (Note: Title developed in about 10 seconds of brainstorming.)

Today’s Steveats is done at the request of my pal Fatts, and it’s probably not a coincidence that my girlfriend is currently spending a week in Iceland. Eating a bacon-crust pizza from Little Caesars by yourself is pretty much the embodiment of sadness. The only thing I was missing was a big Mountain Dew from 7-Eleven to wash it down with, followed by devouring a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

But I digress. If you like salt, bacon, salted bacon, salted tomato sauce and a cheese product with salt, then you’re in luck! The Little Caesars “Bacon Wrapped Crust Deep Deep Dish,” as they call it, is the perfect product for you. As the advertising and my posted pictures suggest, the pizza is literally just bacon strips wrapped around the edge of one of their conventional pizzas. While they suggest that this is a “deep deep dish,” I didn’t think it was any deeper than their normal pizza, or something from Pizza Hut. (By the way, I agree with Jon Stewart. I find deep dish delicious, but it isn’t a pizza.)

However, guys, gals… Is this a safe place? Can I confess something? … I kind of like some cheap chain pizza from time to time. Now, I’m not saying that I would eeevvverrrr opt for Domino’s, Pizza Hut or Little Caesars over a proper, good pizza. To me though, there is a hierarchy of pizza, and it goes something like this:

Proper Restaurant Pizza > Chain Pizza Place > Frozen Pizza > School Pizza

As someone who survived his tween and teen years on a heavy diet of Friday pizza days at school and Mama Celeste frozen pizzas, pretty much any chain pizza place is still delicious to me. Plus, it’s cheap. Sometimes, I just wanna get four medium pizzas for $20, or to visit the Pizza Hut buffet to stuff myself full of a disgusting amount of disgusting pizza. (I think the young Hollywood actress dating Jon Lovitz has a form of this going on as well, although in a different way. Well, excited that that was a faked publicity stunt.)

Anyway though, when it comes to Little Caesars specifically, there are only about five stores in all of Rhode Island, so it’s not part of my regular rotation. I did really like the ads as a kid, and the Crazy Bread. (I doubled down and got some of that with my pizza, and it was salty and breaded and OK.) It might be because I didn’t have one near me growing up, but I generally prefer Little Caesars over Pizza Hut and Dominos, in that order. I’m a big fan of square-cut slices though. (Unranked: Papa John’s and Cici’s, which we didn’t have.) However, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between them to my taste buds – Just a ton of salt, jar sauce, fats and sugars. They’ll do in a pinch, but I’m always picking a better option if I’m eating with other human beings.

If you have a request for a future Steveats, leave it in the comments on here or on my Facebook.


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