Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Nerdy News Blog - November 20th, 2010

Forgive me, folks, for failing to write up last week's Nerdy News, so here we go for what happened this week.

FOX Announces That Fringe Will Be Moved to Fridays
 Normally, I wouldn't find a change of day and time for a show to be anything remotely newsworthy. But let's take a look at the facts here. Fact: Fringe is a science fiction show on FOX with critical acclaim that's currently on Thursday nights. Fact: Starting on January 28th, it will be on Fridays. Fact: Firefly was a science fiction show on FOX with critical acclaim that aired on Fridays and was quickly canceled. Fact: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was a science fiction show that aired on FOX that was moved to Fridays in its second season and was quickly canceled.
Opinion: Oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crapohcrapohcrapohcrapohcrapohcapOHCRAP!
FOX might as well have put out a press release that said we're thinking about canceling another awesome show because we're a bunch of morons.

Cryptic Studios and CBS Will Let The Fans Design The Next Enterprise

I realize I'm probably the only person you know who plays Star Trek Online, and hell, I don't even play it as much anymore. But I think this next bit is pretty cool. The game's developer, Cryptic Studios, along with Star Trek license holder CBS Studios and Intel have announced a contest that asks for fans to design the next starship Enterprise. I'm assuming it will be the Enterprise-F, since, according to the game's timeline, the Enterprise-E had a significantly longer life span than some of the other ships in its line. The grand prize is kind of lame, though - an Alienware laptop, the collector's edition of Star Trek Online along with a lifetime membership, the new Enterprise will appear in STO and you'll get a replica of your design. Personally, I'd rather have the replica and royalties for the use of my design. Oh well. The contest starts on December 9th. Check here for details.

 Darren Aronofsky To Direct The Wolverine
 That's right. The guy who directed head trips and arftsy flicks like Requiem for a Dream, Pi, The Fountain, and The Wrestler, is directing the sequel to the abysmal X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Aronofsky has worked with big screen Wolvie Hugh Jackman on The Fountain and it would seem that it was Jackman himself that got him the job. One of the things Aronofsky has done already is to change the title from something that probably would have been awful, like X-Men Kinda Origins: Wolverine Goes To Hollywood, to the simple title, The Wolverine. Supposedly, Aronofsky is looking to really separate his film from the Gavin Hood-directed nightmare that gave us magic adamantium memory-erasing bullets and the horribly realized Wade Wilson/Deadpool. He's called it a "stand alone" film, that "isn't connected" to its predecessor. Frankly, I don't see how that's possible since you still have Hugh Jackman playing Logan (though I actually still think he's great in the role). But combine this with the fact that they're rebooting Wade Wilson's origins for Deadpool, which should film soon if Ryan Reynolds' schedule ever frees up, and the craziness that seems to be involved with X-Men: First Class, and it's pretty obvious that FOX doesn't give a rat's ass about maintaining continuity in its X-Men film universe.

Oh, and for your amusement here's an image from a mid-90's Star Trek/X-Men crossover comic. I actually own a copy of it.
Yeah, that's Spock owning Wolverine with a Vulcan Nerve Pinch.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Zelda Retrospective: Part VI - Majora's Mask - Day 6

Sorry I'm late, I had a busy weekend. Anyway, on to Zelda!

For this post, I delved deeper into Ikana Canyon. Frankly, I meant to play through the Stone Tower, but I didn't make it that far.
Appalled that I had done the Ocean Spider House on the wrong day and not received the Giant's Wallet, I went to the ocean once again to complete that task. Actually, I began that bit twice because there was a game crashing freeze once again. That's the second time that's happened. I had to restart the system and redo what little I had done on that day cycle. I'm once again wishing that I had downloaded Majora's Mask on Virtual Console rather than play it on the GameCube disc.
So, with thirty Gold Skulltulas dead and the morning of the first day all used up, I obtained my big ass wallet and proceeded to Ikana Valley to tackle the Gibdos' Well. Now this is one of the more annoying sections of the game. For some reason, a bunch of mummies regret that they never got to have some Deku Nuts and bombs, or never got to eat a fish. So they've spent eternity standing guard next to doors in some underground chambers. Its only when you give them what they want that their souls can rest and the doors will open.
Also, the mummies find bugs creepy.
The only tool you need to fool a mummy.
Unfortunately, there are a couple things that you can't get a hold of inside of the Gibdos' Well, like a blue potion, that forced me to go searching around for one. I didn't want to fetch the ingredients for it to take the witches in the Swamp, and I couldn't remember which Business Scrub would sell me a blue potion. I checked in Lulu's room in the Zora Cape before I remembered that he's right there in Ikana Canyon. So I dropped 100 rupees (And thanks to the Giant's Wallet, I made it back and then some) to buy the potion. I did have to break down and look at my old player's guide at the map of the well, if only to remember where I needed to go with the time-sensitive hot spring water. Yes, a mummy's only regret was that it had no scalding water to look at.
Once I wrapped up (Ha!) my business in the well full of mummies, I obtained the incredibly creepy looking Mirror Shield - much creepier than a bug, thank you - and made my way into Ikana Castle.
Since there are only four main dungeons in Majora's Mask, it's kind of nice having the small sub dungeon that is the Ikana Castle. It involves a lot of ReDead, which are pretty easy to kill when wearing the Gibdos Mask, Captain's Hat or Garo's Mask, since they begin to dance and not attack when you wear one of those masks. And because ReDead drop about fifteen to twenty rupees each, that new Giant's Wallet filled up quick. The goal of Ikana Castle is to get to King Igos du Ikana, a skeletal warrior king who looks like the winner at last year's Day of the Dead costume contest.
The runner-up didn't think to carry a sword.

After dispatching his two henchman, a murderous, skeletal version of Laurel and Hardy, you get to take on Igos himself. I always find it's fun to wear the Captain's Hat that is given to you by Captain Keeta, Igos' military commander. This brings about a quick, but rather funny cut scene that shows that Igos might have had a little too much royal blood in his system. Cue "Dueling Banjos." He isn't the sharpest of skeletons. Once you defeat him, he realizes how much he and his kingdom had lost its way, that their failure to trust in each other led them to a long war that destroyed their kingdom and their lives. He then teaches you the Elegy of Emptiness, a song that creates statues of whatever form Link is in, so you can create up to four statues at once as Hylian, Deku, Zora and Goron. Unfortunately, the Hylian Link stature is creepy as hell.
That's going to haunt me.
And so, with the Elegy learned, and midnight passed (my time, not game time), I played the Song of Time, saved the game and called it a quits.
I might double up on the Zelda blogs this week, since there's not much to this one and I've probably got a good three blogs worth of Majora's Mask left at least. I'm eager to finish and move on to Wind Waker and then Twilight Princess.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Zelda Retrospective: Part VI - Majora's Mask - Day 5

Sidequests, sidequests and more sidequests! Unfortunately, I didn't do much in the main quest this week. I logged in a little time earlier in the week and started up in Ikana Valley. This is another point where I wish I'd never been given that damned player's guide. I can't remember anything! And what do I do? Instead of trying to work everything out for myself, I keep deciding to steal a peek at the guide. But hey, it does cut down my play time so I won't be playing Majora's Mask for the next 6 weeks.
Anyway, I forgot how much I love the Ikana Valley section of Majora's Mask. It has such an excellent atmosphere. The whole area is set up as a land of the dead, where a mighty kingdom that ruled Termina fell to ruin during a war with a far off nation. Now the spirits of the soldiers are trapped in the land of the living as ghosts and ghouls of various kinds. Combined with the prominence of the falling moon, the Ikana Valley is probably the most moody and eerie portion of the game.
The other sections of Termina all feel so full of life, whereas Ikana only has a handful of living people - just Dampe, the researcher and his daughter, the thief, Sakon, and a soldier who's so boring that he's invisible. Everyone else is dead. Maybe it's just my fascination with skeletons (it's very evident in all the doodles I draw as ideas for band logos and such), but all the roving skeletons looking for solace and release for their souls just sucks me into the story. I guess I just have a thing for the macabre. Crap, does that make me emo?
"Yeah, you're totally emo," said the vanishing, stick-wielding hooded cyclops. What a prick.
Anyway, I played a little ways into the Ikana Valley quest before deciding to go after some more heart pieces and upgrades. First off, I made Captain Keeta feel like a little bitch, despite the fact that he is a huge skeleton with a killer hat - which he then gave to me once I played him a ditty on my ocarina. Then I hung around the graveyard each night and ordered some Stalkids/Former Ikana Soldiers to dig up the graves so that I could get at the goodies, as well as healing the researcher to get the Gibdo mask.
There's another screwed up thing in this part of the game. The paranormal investigator guy dragged his little out into a section of the world where there are ghosts and the undead surrounding them at all times if their house, which doubles as a giant music box, doesn't have the water power to play the song that wards off the walking mummies. Good job on the parenting skill there, dude.
From there it was collectormania!
I saw that I had a measly nine hearts and decided that, rather than go on to conquer the hazards of the Ikana Valley further, I would pump up Link further. Thus today was spent with minigames and trading quests galore.
I managed to collect thirteen or fourteen of the game's fifty-two total pieces of heart. With only four bosses to collect heart containers from, you have to do a lot of collecting to get all twenty containers. I also managed to upgrade to the biggest bomb bag and the biggest quiver. In the case of the quiver, it involved playing some minigames that would have the Terminan version of PETA ready to kill somebody. See, in Hyrule, the target shooting games were innocent, involving targets like moving rupees and giant dartboards. In Termina, they use living creatures, trained to appear at the blow of a whistle only to be shot down by twitchy archers looking to win a prize.
The shooting gallery's proprietors at least tried to replicate their natural environment, so they can feel more at ease while they're being shot at by blood thirsty elven people.
What makes it worse is that the Swamp Shooting Gallery has Deku Scrubs as targets. We've already established that the Deku Scrubs are sentient beings with a language, monarchical government and even a bureaucracy. At the shooting gallery, they're being round up and murdered for sport. Seriously, this world just seems more and more screwed up the more I play this game. Termina has a moon with an angry face, big rock-eating bipeds who can roll around in balls, sentient plants, fish people with poor taste in music a land where the dead roam about and can't get any rest and pointy-eared humans who don't mind wantonly killing their neighbors. I know it was water pollution that caused all of Hyrule's problems. But what about Termina? I haven't figured that out yet.
I'm blaming this guy though.
He's freaky.
Coming next week, Ikana Valley and Stone Tower Temple.

As a side note: I'm moving these posts to Sunday nights, since I seem to play more Zelda on the weekends. Or in this post's case - early Monday morning.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Nerdy News Blog - November 4th, 2010

The Avengers Delayed?
Perhaps Nick Fury will educate Thor in the do's and don't's of foot massages?
Is Joss Whedon looking to spend too much money? According to, Marvel Studios has delayed the pre-production process on the movie that will cause millions of fan boys to quite literally die from the excitement of seeing Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk all on one screen. I might be one of them. And by might, I mean almost definitely. But it's okay, the new Star Trek should come out before The Avengers hits the screen. But the film's shaping up to be pretty expensive, with big name stars like Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, combined with what will surely be massive amounts of CGI and filming on location in New York City. So Marvel's accountants are understandably freaking out. With any luck, the movie won't be delayed. Cross your fingers, true believers.

James Bond to Reappear (Maybe) in Late 2012

Thanks to MGM's keen desire to blow all it's money like a drunken frat boy in Vegas with his daddy's credit card, many of its big properties, like the James Bond series and The Hobbit have gone through development hell due to lack of funds. In the case of The Hobbit, some iffy rights issues led to the film being a joint-venture with Warner Brothers. Agent 007, however, has not been so lucky. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's money problems have left it looking for another company to make it their bitch. Yesterday, however, MGM filed bankruptcy - otherwise known as a Financial Get Out Of Jail Free Card. Now that they've got some breathing room, MGM is aiming to get Bond 23 out in November 2012. Daniel Craig currently has a pretty tight schedule, so it looks like they may not get to film until late 2011 at the earliest. Luckily, the current Bond series doesn't rely too much on CGI, so post-production shouldn't take too long. Woo! Yay for big Hollywood companies going bankrupt!

TIE Fighters Will Soon Be In Your Living Room And Everywhere Else You Go
I don't think Homeland Security saw The Galactic Empire one coming.
So, file this one under "Now I Wish I Had An iPhone." This really isn't all that important, I just enjoyed the thoughts of thousands of people all over the country saying to their neighbors, "Hey, you've got a TIE Fighter on your face."
THQ is working on a new augmented reality game that has you shooting down TIE Fighters with whatever your camera sees as a background. It's a simple arcade shooter of little consequence, it just lit up my eyes with nerdy glee when I saw it.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zelda Retrospective: Part VI - Majora's Mask - Day 4

Sorry this didn't go up on Friday, I was busy with Halloween plans.
Holy three days of accomplishments, Batman! I got a lot done in this three day cycle.
Before we go into said accomplishments, let me point out once again that if you want to play Majora's Mask, either dust off your N64 or download it on the Virtual Console for your Wii. The emulation on the GameCube collector's disk that I'm playing the game on is terrible. It only seems to be Majora's Mask that has issues. I started playing this cycle earlier this week, but had the game lock up. All I could do was reset and lose all the progress I'd made since the last cycle reset, that included nabbing the hookshot and first egg from the Gerudo Pirates.
Heh, all female pirates. The guys must really enjoy it when the pirates come to rape and pillage.
Had Link been a day earlier, he might have been exposed to the filming of Gerudo Casting Couch 17.

Luckily, on this play through, despite some paranoia that I would suddenly lose hours worth of game time due to another game crash, I got through without losing any progress. Yay!
So once again, I met Mikau, who enthusiastically cried "Baby!" several times in his death throes. Maybe if he hadn't used up so much energy singing to Link, then Link could have gotten him to a Zora doctor? That old dude in the big hook-for-a-hand-shaped building seems like he could have helped. Oh well. Now Link gets to assume the life of another famous guy who no one knows is actually dead. Really, I find that kind of messed up. Link is compressing these people into masks, though it supposedly heals their souls when he turns them into masks, and then stealing their lives. And what happens once Link's quest is over? The moon won't fall and all, but as far as the Gorons and Zoras are concerned, Darunia is dead and Mikau just plain disappeared. Maybe the Zora's will find Mikau's grave... oh, wait, no. Link buried him in sand. All it will take is one good high tide, or maybe a hungry scavenger that's willing to dig to make that body disappear. In ten years, there will be an episode on the Zora version of Unsolved Mysteries, Lulu and the rest of the band will have moved on and Mikau will be utterly forgotten because Link turned the poor guy into a mask.
Oh, here's a scary thought. What if the Mask Salesman lied and the "Song of Healing" doesn't heal at all? Maybe it just turns everybody into masks and steals their soul or something? Link could be stealing people's souls without even knowing it. I wouldn't put it past that Mask Salesman. He's creepy.
And let's not forget that this "innocent" mask salesman happens to carry around a mask that can destroy the whole damn world. That's all kinds of screwed up. 
Anyway, I got the Zora mask and then went on to the whole pirate fortress thing. I've never once done the fortress without the Stone Mask. So I made it a point to run over to the entrance to Ikana Canyon to find the poor dude who was just so damned boring that you couldn't even see him without the Lens of Truth. I mean, when you have to practice being noticed, then you've got some serious problems. I'm talking intensive therapy, not just a bottle of red potion. Poor schmuck. The main problem is I received a player's guide when I received the game, so I always played the game with a bit of a crutch. I've never made a crack at the fortress without the mask. I told myself I'd try it this time, but truth be told, I was feeling too damn lazy and I wanted to get all the eggs before the dawn of the second day.
After the fortress, I took a picture of one of the pirates to the horny dude who lives alone on the beach. Thanks, Nintendo, for making me provide that guy with something for his wank bank. He gave me a talking seahorse in return, but then I had to take the seahorse out to Pinnacle Rock. There, I had to commit the genocide of what seems to be an endangered species of Giant Sea Snake so that I could rescue some eggs and free the talking sea horse's girlfriend. I was given a piece of heart in return and then left to deliver the last of the eggs. I assume the sea horses started boning after I left.
I delivered the eggs, then learned a song from some tadpoles. Sperm symbolism here? I think whoever designed the whole Great Bay area must have been horny. Then I rode a big ass talking turtle with palm trees growing out its shell - not quite Discworld sized - to the Great Bay Temple.
I found this temple to be relatively easy. It involves a lot of redirection of water flow, but so long as you pay attention to the network of pipes, it's pretty easy to reason out what to do in this temple. You might forget a step or two and have to explore to find the proper room, but it's really not that hard. I also really like the giant waterworks design of the place. The whole temple is essentially a big water-powered machine, which lends itself to the semi-steampunk elements of Majora's Mask, such as motorized boats and such.
After a lot of valve-opening, I made my way into the lair of Gyorg. This is where I think the Great Bay Temple is weak. For one, I couldn't remember what the boss was. I can remember the bosses from the other temples clearly, but when it comes to Gyorg, I didn't remember him until I saw him.
To me, you're just another ugly fish. Sorry, dude.
Because of this, I thought maybe he'd be a fun challenge. But, no, this boss is horrible easy. Hit him with an arrow, turn into a Zora, jump in the water and zap him with my electricity shield. Repeat. Then he changes it up. He swims around spitting out the tiny Gyorgs he keeps in his mouth like an archerfish, while I spam the electricity shield until he's dead. Boringly simple. Oh well.
I actually had more challenge trying to play the horny fisherman's platform jumping game. I just kept falling off the platforms and into the water - at one point with less than two seconds left in the clock. And he just kept laughing that "Heh heh" laugh like some kind of rapist. Weirdo. But I got a piece of heart out of him. Oh god, I hope he didn't rape the seahorse.

Happy Halloween (there's still nine minutes left!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Nerdy News Blog - October 28th

It's Thursday, that means it's time for this weeks updates! This was the week for rumors and denials, it seems!

Batman's Got His Next Title and Won't Be Fighting The Riddler in 2012
What they didn't tell you is that Christian Bale broke a glass milk bottle over the photographer's head at this photo shoot. He claimed the man was being "so f***ing unprofessional."
On Wednesday, director/writer/producer Christopher Nolan, who brought us the wonderful awesomeness that is the last two Batman movies, gave us a couple tid-bits about what to expect with the third and final part of his epic Batman trilogy. We'll be seeing The Dark Knight Rises on our local IMAX screens (there will be absolutely no 3-D) in the summer of 2012. Nolan also told us that the script that he wrote with his brother, Jonah Nolan, and David S. Goyer does not involve The Riddler. So much for everybody expecting that the recent casting of Tom Hardy (Inception, Star Trek: Nemesis) in an unnamed role would end up with him as Edward Nigma. Oh, good God. Don't let it be Robin.

George Lucas to Convert the Indiana Jones Movies To 3-D Too? Wait. Nope. Nevermind.
Damn you, quit messing with my childhood! And making me pay $3 more on a $10 ticket!
For a brief moment on Tuesday, I thought I was going to have a coronary. It's ridiculous as it is that George Lucas is going to convert all six Star Wars movies into 3-D and release them into theaters over the course of six years. I call it "ridiculous," but I'll still go see every one of them. Anyway, rumor broke like wildfire all over the Internet that Lucas was also planning to convert the four movies in the Indiana Jones series as a ploy to further enhance our rage as a fan base. Luckily, within a couple of hours, a Lucasfilm spokesman let it be known that it was all utter crap and we should pay them all our money to see Star Wars 3-D Spectacular on Ice.

Entertainment Weekly Is Kind Enough to Give Us A Glimpse At Captain America: The First Avenger

The people who pissed and moaned about Chris Evans not being a blonde won't like this...

Well, I have to admit, the boy cleans up well. I didn't like the idea of Chris Evans playing Steve Rogers at all when I first heard. Not because he wasn't a blonde, but because I just couldn't picture Chris Evans as being this legendary hero that the likes of Iron Man and Thor would view as a leader. Just listen to this phrase: "Robert Downey Jr. admires Chris Evans as a hero and leader." Did you scoff? I've got to hand it to director Joe Johnston, though. These pictures make me feel a little better about how respectable Chris Evans looks in the role. At least he doesn't look like the slacker skateboarder next door - kind of like his Scott Pilgrim role (only the second time I really liked him in a movie). Now hopefully I can wash out the bad taste of his take as Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four movies... Yuck.

Kieth Richards Cut From Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides? Wait. Nope. Nevermind.
Keith had actually just tried to smoke the little guy prior to this picture.
So this is another rumor that was circulating the ol' Intrawebs this week. The word was that Kieth Richards was going to be removed from his role as Jack Sparrow's father, Captain Teague, due to, get this, his alleged drug use. Wait, what now? People have been making jokes about how Kieth Richards has smoked every substance and object known to man at some point for decades now. They were making those jokes before he played Captain Teague in the previous Pirates movie, At World's End. So what's the big deal now? Well, Richards just released a new autobiography that apparently shows that he was even crazier about smoking stuff than anybody even knew. Lucky for all of us Stones fans out there, Disney had a spokesman come out and deny the rumors. Kieth Richards will definitely be in the next Pirates of the Caribbean. Thankfully, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are still out. I don't see how this movie can fail. Well, unless Keith smokes the film reels.

As usual, there's a ton of different things I could also tell you about, but you'll just have to look them up for yourself.

The Greatest Scary Game You Probably Never Played

In light of Halloween, I've been trying to present some alternatives for your scary celebrations. Tonight, I bring you one of the best, most unplayed horror games ever.
Screw Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark and all those other old classic horror games, as well as the newer stuff like Dead Space, which I admit has scared me so bad at times that I've yet to finish it - plus I'm horribly stuck in this one spot. Why do I keep admitting the things that scare me on the internet?
File under: Things I know that scare Nate.

I wanted you all to know about a game that I've been playing for about seven years, totally riveted every time I play it. It's a sweeping epic of a story with a great, Lovecraft-inspired mythology and a truly inventive gameplay system that effected the player as much as what would happen in the game.
You might ask, "Where can I play this game?" Well, sir or madame, dust off your GameCube - if you ever owned one - or find a controller and a memory card so you can boot it up on your Wii. That's right, this gem was an M-rated Nintendo exclusive. And people said the GameCube was a kiddie system.
It's name: Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem.
Oh, thank God, finally. Something with good cover art.

Released way back in the summer of 2002, Eternal Darkness was developed by Silicon Knights - then 2nd party developer for Nintendo and now 2nd party developer for Microsoft. It originally began life as a Nintendo 64 game, but Silicon Knights began to rework it once the GameCube's hardware was released to developers. The game came out to stellar reviews from critics and the few consumers who played it. In terms of sales, the game was a total flop, which is probably why many of you have never heard of it.
So let me tell you why you need to play it. In short, the game is about the struggles of twelve different people in different locations over the course of two thousand years. Their fates, both in life and death, are destined to intertwined as they fight against the minions of three different ancient Chuthlu-like creatures that fight against each other to gain dominance in our world.
To go with this epic story is a wonderfully inventive gameplay system: the sanity meter. As your character stares down the shambling zombie that's fully intent on sucking your intestines up like spaghetti, he or she loses a bit of sanity. As your sanity meter drops, crazy ass things start to happen. Yeah, the walls are bleeding. That fly on your TV screen? That's not really there. Oh, I didn't tell you? The sanity effects don't just screw with your character, they screw with you. Try playing this game in the dark with a surround sound stereo on and tell me that the whispering and crying going on around you doesn't get to you. It will.
That's no hug...
Mix with that stellar writing and voice acting, and you've got yourself one hell of a game. Still not convinced? It's been on several top 100/200 games of all time lists from the likes of Game Informer and IGN. It won Outstanding Achievement in Character or Story Development at the 6th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards in 2002, along with being nominated for Console Game of the Year, Innovation in Console Gaming and Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction.
The problem with my recommendation? Well, the game is kind of hard to find these days, considering it's eight years old and that it didn't sell well enough to warrant a lot of copies being manufactured. Sorry about that.