Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Strange #2: Micro Review

This mini-series keeps getting more and more interesting with some great character development. Issue #1 made me want to buy issue #2 and issue #2 makes me want to buy issue #3. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Web of Spider-Man #3: Micro Review

Three strikes and you are out Marvel. Stay away from this one unless you are a huge Spider-Girl fan. I will be dropping this title. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

God of War Collection: Review

This will not be a review of the games per se, as both God of War and God of War II were last generation games that received multitudes of stellar reviews. I will, however, review how these PS2 classics translate to the PS3 and its trophy system. 
First off, I will say that you still get a lot of game for $40. There is at least 20 hours of solid, solid gaming here and you get value for your money.

The games look fantastic; they are presented in full HD glory, but I do have one quibble: the in-game cut scenes for God of War look awful. GOW II doesn't have this problem, but the in-game cut scenes from the original game look grainy and washed out. This difference isn't totally surprising because GOW II did have HD capabilities (it was originally released in 2007), but I would have expected a bit more from a PS3 re-release.

This collection also highlights a fundamental shift in gameplay from last generation to the current one. In a vast majority of current-gen games the story mode is divided into chapters or missions, and you can replay these chapters or mission as many times as you want. This makes getting trophies (secret or otherwise) much easier. However, in both GOW games you only have the option of restarting where you made a save file. So it is very easy to miss a trophy and have no recourse in going back to acquire it. The only choice you would have is to start another game from the beginning. Normally a current gen game would have 0-2 missable trophies. But GOW has 8 and GOW II has 11! As a result you need a careful playthrough to ensure that you don't miss any trophies.

If you loved the games on the PS2 you should be playing them right now, but if you have never played these game before and if you enjoy gory action hack and slash games you should pick this up. For me, it will hold me over until God of War III comes out in March.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #613: Mini Review

A bit better. Some good Electro stuff, but we still don't have a sense of why we should care about this Gauntlet storyline. The art still doesn't work. This issue continues to highlight is the problem of having rotating creative teams; there is no sense of continuity on the book. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thor Giant-Size: Bill, William the Warrior: Mini Review

I am not really sure why there is a consistent stream of giant size one-shot issues for this title when the story should really just be part of the actual numbered issues. Shame on you Marvel for the money-grab. All of that aside, Doom and Loki's plans are finally revealed and the creative team begins to set up the Siege storyline. If you are a fan of Thor the issue is great and you probably already own it, but if you have not picked up any Thor comics in a while (or ever) this should not be your first issue unless you love begin introduced to stories in media res

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #612: Mini Review

So the big Spidey event The Gauntlet starts off with... a yawn. Not a lot happened; Electro is back and a victim of a Bernie Madoff like scheme. He speaks out for the little guy at a series of demonstrations while secretly working with the Mad Thinker on removing his powers (that are killing him or something). What really is needed is a bit more about the mysterious force behind the Gauntlet (which we only really know about thanks to the text synopsis at the front of the issue), and a different artist. The art is fine, but doesn't fit Spider-Man and would be more suited to edgier stuff like Daredevil or Punisher. I'll stick with it to see where it is going, but it is not off to a good start. Great cover though. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dragon Ball: Raging Blast Demo

I just tried the demo for the new Dragon Ball game. It makes no sense and has lots of punching. Just like the television show.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Apparently, he can't defend the earth from bad spelling.

So Defenders of the Earth was an 80's cartoon that brought together Mandrake the Magician, the Phantom, and Flash Gordon together on a team. One of the characters was Lothar, who was superhumanly strong, a technical wizard, and totally badass. He was not, however, a Caribbean Ninja. Note the misspelled Carribean on the package. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What is going here?

Okay, I am not an Iron Man scholar, but did he just kill that guy? (Click on the image to make it larger).

Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody

I'm sure that you've all seen this, but if not you should check it out here. It is nice to see something that isn't a cat playing piano go viral. 

BlazBlue is hard!

I have always enjoyed fighting games and, consequently, I have played a lot of fighting games. So I am reasonably good at them. I am good enough to beat the computer on at least the medium level (impressive, I know), and I can normally hold my own in online competition. I understand combos, I can perform all the moves, and I can even use concepts such and zoning and the wake-up game when I play. All of this means that when I play Street Fight IV online I win about 25% of the time. Not great, but pretty good.
However, when I play BlazBlue online I only win about 10% of the time. BlazBlue is a harder game to play than SFIV; it has a harder moveset, combo system, and wake-up game, but why should my win ratio be so different in the two games?
I have a couple of theories. SF IV is in many ways a classic Capcom fighter and is the same kind of game that I have been playing since SF II hit the arcades 1991. I understand what I have to do. I get what I need to do in BlazBlue as well, but probably need more practice on the intricacies of the game. I am better at SF IV than I am at BlazBlue, but not 2.5 times better.
Both online modes have a ranking system, so you can play people approximately your skill level; however, while SF IV forces you in G1, G2, or G3 categories, BlazBlue only allows you to search for opponents at your level. I am current at level 16 in BlazBlue and could not find anyone at my level using a search. In fact, I could not find anyone worse than level 26, and most where at level 45 and up.
I am not complaining that I get beaten by better players online; I do, however, think that Askys games should funnel players into mandatory skill levels.
My other theory is that because BlazBlue was generally purchased by hardcore fighting fans, most of these fans are very good at the game and now are at a higher level. There are fewer players, but more skilled overall than say the average SF players.
These are simply my ruminations on my defeat. The moral of the story is I need to spend more time in training mode.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Collection Update: Atlantis Attacks Complete!

So I managed to pick up the last few issues I needed for Atlantis Attacks, and I even managed to grab What If #25 (what if the heroes had lost Atlantis Attacks).

Now I need a new, cheap, cheesy series to collect. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Little Big Planet PSP

I just tried the demo. It is pretty much what you would expect. Neat in the same way that the PS3 version is neat, but much smaller and, consequently, with less detail. The different costumes don't quite come off as well on the small screen though, so some of the more detailed costumes from the PS3 version will look like multi-coloured sacks. If you are on the fence about picking up the PSP version, this demo will help you decide.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai: Micro-Review

All I have to say is wow. Just wow. Stan Sakai continually does a great job on this completely underated book. For its 25th anniversary he has created a special tale using Japanese monster mythology, and he works entirely in watercolours. This book really shows how underused a medium it is for comic book work. This should be on everyone’s shelf. 

To Rent or Buy?

When I was younger renting a video game was a consistent go-to form of entertainment. However, that was back in the days when games cost $5 to rent but $80 to purchase. Therefore, renting video games made excellent economic sense. But does it still make sense today?

In examining video game rentals we will use two industry giants here in Canada, Rogers Video and BlockBuster Video. Both offer video game rentals and sales for today’s gamer.

Rogers has its rental fees split into 2 categories: new releases and favourites. New releases are newish games (there are a lot of games that have been out for more than a year though) and cost $6 for a 3 day rental. Favourites cost about $10 for a week long rental.

Blockbuster also has 2 categories split by rental fees. You can rent any game for 1 week for $9 or you can purchase a monthly pass for $30. With this monthly pass you can rent 1 game at a time for as long as you want. So if I rent a game and don’t like it, I can bring it back after 2 days and then get something else.

But are these a good deal? Rentals are a good deal for movies; it costs $5 to rent or $25 to buy, and in most cases we only watch the movie once. However, video games take up a lot more time than 2 hours.

Let’s use Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction as an example. Total completion of the game (with bonuses etc.) would take about 20 hours. For argument’s sake, we are assuming that you have 20 spare hours in a single week.

Now if you rented it from Rogers it cost you $10 for a week. You don’t have a choice to rent it for a shorter time. So it cost you about $0.50 per hour for your fun.

If you rented the game from Blockbuster it cost you $9 for a week. Again, you don’t have the option of renting it for a shorter time. So it cost you $0.45 per hour for fun. This is obviously very economical entertainment.

However, currently you can purchase this same game used for $20. This game also has a trade in/resale value of approximately $8. So this game cost you $12 for 20 hours of fun at the more expensive rate $0.60 per hour, but you don’t have a time limit on when you need to return the game. Maybe you like to do something else besides playing games? Maybe you want to take a month to finish this game? For only $0.15 more per hour you can have that convenience.

Another example: Tekken 6. This game is a new release that would take about 30 hours for 100% completion. If you rented it from Rogers you would most likely not finish it in 3 days, but, again for argument’s sake, let’s say that you are very dedicated uber-nerd. The Rogers rental cost you $6 for 30 hours of entertainment or $0.20 per hour. A Blockbuster rental costs $9 (but you get it for a week) or $0.30 per hour.

Buying it would cost $65, but it has a trade in/resale value of $35 so we are looking at $30 for 30 hours of entertainment or $1 per hour. Again, this is more expensive than renting but you don’t have to return it after a week. You could use Blockbuster's monthly pass but that would still be $30 for 30 hours and you don't get to keep the game.

So what is the final verdict? Rentals are still useful if you are on the fence of whether or not you will like a game. If you hate the game $9 is a much better investment than $20, but if you like the game (or know that you will like the game) you are much better off purchasing it. For example, I would never rent any Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Metal Gear Solid, God War, or Final Fantasy (main series) game. I know that I will like them enough to keep for longer than 1 week.

So rent if you like, but do it wisely. Read reviews online, talk to friends, and see if you are making a good investment.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tekken Platinum

I got the Platinum for Tekken last night. The Nightmare Train level is crazy hard. Take that Devil Jin!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #611: Micro-Review

A nice bridge issue with lots of humour. Fans of Deadpool will not be disappointed and should add this to their collection. The frenetic art style really suits the story but the inking could have been a lot tighter (several panels look unfinished). This issue provides an interesting lead in to "The Gauntlet" storyline. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

I just read that the sequel to BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger comes out in arcades in Japan on November 20th. The orginal game is one of the best fighters of all time with excellent graphics, tight gameplay, and a complex combo system.

You can watch the opening sequence from Continuum Shift here.

Hopefully we will see this hit home consoles in the summer of 2010.

Strange #1: Mini-Review

Marvel has given Dr. Strange a rough go of it the last few years. The Hulk crushed his hands, he became addicted to dark magic, and he gave up the title of Sorcerer Supreme. You should skip this book if all of that exposition was new to you as Waid does not fill in the blanks for new readers. The art suits the story, although I am not normally a fan of manga style art for North American superheroes. The final verdict is that those fanboys out there who know Dr. Strange and his history will be interested enough to try this and see where it leads in issue #2, but other should pass this book for something more accessible.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #610: Micro Review

An awful end to a z-grade storyline. I wish that they would return to publishing this book once a month.

Sometimes I just don't get DC: Superman as Nightwing

Despite being the King of Nerds, I am not the Emperor of Nerds and even my uber-nerd knowledge, while vast, has its limitations.

Take for example this action figure of Superman as Nightwing. It has something to do with the Bottled City of Kandor but I'm not really sure.

I also don't understand how this was even popular enough to get made into an action figure.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ninja Assassin

A friend of mine mentioned this movie to me. Isn't the title a bit redundant. After all, aren't all ninjas assassins?

2010 in Video Games

2010 is shaping up to be a huge year for games. Will all major consoles really hitting their stride and having price drops, gamers should be getting very excited. Here are some of the 2010 games I am looking forward to:

  • Metroid: Other M
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
  • Super Street Fighter IV
  • God of War 3
  • Epic Mickey
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • Resident Evil Portable
  • Final Fantasy XIII
  • The Last Guardian
It is only November 2009 and my wish list for next year is already way too big! What are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Challenge Mode

So I completed all the Ridder's challenges last night and now I must master challenge mode to finish up my trophy collection. Wow, this mode is crazy hard. I have only about 6 medals in the predator (stealth) challenges and 1 medal in a combat challenge. I have to get 24 medals in each to ace the game! I'll keep giving you updates, but my quest for the platinum could end here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum

I finished Batman: Arkham Asylum yesterday. It is a solid, solid game that is much better than the standard super-hero fare that you see on consoles. If I am being honest, it is actually the best super-hero game ever (and that is not hyperbole). Excellent story, great voice-acting, nice use of powers and super-hero abilities, and a great secret riddle campaign. The game plays like a meld of Metroid Prime and Metal Gear Solid with a tight combat system thrown in. Check this game out you will not be disappointed. While we are at it here are some other great super-hero video games:
  • Marvel VS Capcom 2 (multi-platform)
  • X-men (arcade)
  • Spider-man (PS1)
And here are some to avoid:
  • X-men (NES)
  • Wolverine: Adamantium Rage (SNES)
  • Marvel Superheroes: Rise of the Imperfects (multi)
  • X-men/Spiderman: Arcade's Revenge (SNES)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Take that Jin!

I finished scenario mode last night in Tekken 6. Now I need to replay some of the levels to unlock more trophies. The Nightmare Train level is ridiculously difficult though, and as such the Platinum Trophy might elude me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Full Review: Tekken 6

Platform: PS3

Price: $65 CDN

Release Date: October 27, 2009

2009 is definitely the year of the fighter as another franchise sees its latest installment with the release of Tekken 6. Tekken first burst on the scene in 1994 and it has established itself as one of the top series in the genre.

Tekken 6 takes the tried and true formula and heaps (at times unnecessary) additions on the game for a home console release. There are several modes of play: arcade, online, and scenario campaign mode. The first two modes are standard fare, and as usual for Tekken the control scheme is tight and movesets seamlessly transition into killer combos. Where the game succeeds and fails miraculously is in the scenario mode.

This mode is a beat-em up style 3D adventure that puts you through 40 levels of nameless ninja pounding. The story, while incomprehensible at times, keeps you interested level after level. However, the controls are garbage; hit detection is brutal and movement is clunky at best.

The mode also has some rpg elements to it as well; you can upgrade clothing for added status effects. The problem is that every item is accurately displayed on your character. So while the character design looks great normally, once you upgrade your items you look like some 10 year olds’ design a wrestler from an N64 WCW game. For example, my character currently has a knit cap, aviator glasses, a puffy orange vest, power gauntlets, stretchy pants, and two Chinese swords at his belt. He has great stats, but he looks like a total douche.

The real problem is that scenario mode is uneven. It could have been great but the execution doesn’t quite work. That wouldn’t matter (it is a fighting game after all, not a beat-em up), except for the fact that 80% of the trophies are from the scenario campaign. Namco Bandai forces you to play this silly mode much longer than you would wish.

All of these issues aside, I actually have found Tekken 6 to be the most fun game I have played in a while. It will not replace SF4 or BlazBlue as my favourite current-gen fighter, but it is a fun ride. However, for $65 you should already be a fan of the series to make the purchase. All others wait until it goes down to $30. If only so you too can have your own cowboy hat, pirate shirt, leather vest, checked pants, lightsabered hero.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story

Platform: Nintendo DS

Price: $40 CDN

Release Date: Sept. 14, 2009

When I played the first Superstar Saga game for the GBA I was impressed. Nice graphics, tight gameplay, excellent use of RPG elements, and a comical story all added up to a fun and fulfilling gaming experience. The subsequent release Partners in Time continued with that tradition while further exploring the DS’s capabilities. Bowser’s inside story nicely continues on this trend, adding some new elements, but mostly using the tried and true formula that has made the series a hit worldwide.

The story goes like this: Fawful (veterans of the series will remember him) wants to take over the Mushroom Kingdom. He tricks Bowser into eating a vacuum mushroom, and Bowser, in turn, vacuums up our heroes into his belly. Fawful takes over Bowser’s castle and now the trio must work together to defeat this new villain.

You control either Bowser or Mario and Luigi (game shifts during the story) and each has a unique control scheme. The controls are great, with one exception. There is quite a bit of mandatory touch screen action that is imperfect and annoying (I was eating a giant carrot for a long time). I don’t mind the touch screen when it works, but every time you use the touch screen it could be done easier, faster, and better with a button combo.

That aside, the game is a solid, solid title and will keep you busy for at least 20 hours. That works out to a very reasonable $2 per hour of entertainment. Mario and Luigi is a must have for any RPG fan, but others will enjoy it as well. If you have ever liked a Mario game you should give this a try.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Micro-Review: Daredevil: The Return of the King

Brubaker does not disappoint in his rendition of The Man Without Fear, and the Return of the King storyline is no exception. Solid storytelling, excellent use of forgotten characters, and a surprising ending make this tradepaperback a must have for any DD fan. If you enjoy gritty crime stories with ninjas, this is the comic for you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mini-review: Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty

As the first downloadable only Ratchet and Clank game, Quest for Booty faced pretty high expectations. A lot of gamers were hoping for a robust R&C story to hold them over until the new disc based game hit the shelves.

Quest for Booty is fun, but really short. I don't have a problem with short games, but this will take you 4 hours tops. It is a fun 4 hours, and you are never bored while using your various gadgets to take down zombie robot pirates (I know, I know).

However, the price tag of $15 isn't really worth the experience. It is a good thing that Sony periodically puts it on sale for $10. If you are a Ratchet and Clank fan pick it up for $10, but if you have never played a R&C game before rent or buy an older title in the series first. If you like it shell out the $10.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Micro-Review: Web of Spider-man #1

Just awful. The Kaine storyline is too long and unnecessary and the Spider-Girl story is incoherent for new readers. The only decent part was the Frog-man story, but it was the shorter joke story at the end of the book. I will give this new Web a bit more of a chance, but you should avoid.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mini Review: Amazing Spider-man #609

Making ASM a thrice monthly publication has done nothing but ensure inconsistency in Marvel’s flagship title. Some storylines are great, some mediocre, and some downright horrible. This month’s issue falls into the middle category; the art and writing are fine, but the overall story is lacklustre.

Also, why are we talking about Kaine and Ben Reilly again? When you have run out of ideas and you need to reach into the mid-90’s for sub-par characters there is a real problem.

I also have to wonder why Kaine knows Spider-man’s secret identity? Spidey simply states that “it makes sense” that his clone knows who he is. No, it doesn’t. Mephisto changed reality so Aunt May would be alive and no one knows who Spider-man really is. This deal with Mephisto was a ridiculous plot fix and Marvel will forever be cleaning up the mess.

If you are a Spidey collector this will find a place in your comic box, but others should just wait until an actual storyline comes along.

Bad Naughty Dog

So apparently in Uncharted if you start a new game your chapter select disappears. That does not make me want to play this game any more. I assumed that this was like RE 5 and I could start a new game and retain my chapter select for picking up extra trophies here and there.

Naturally I saved over my game that had chapter select enabled (how was I to know?) and now I feel little incentive to continue on my trophy hunt.

Why did you leave such a design flaw in the game Naughty Dog? RE 5 does the chapter select, new game plus, and unlockable items much better.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Finished Uncharted over the weekend. Now the trophy hunting really begins.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mini-Retro Review: Preacher

I recently had the chance to re-read Garth Ennis' magnum opus, Preacher. For most of the late 90's this was the comic that I looked forward to every month. While it is still great, I no longer think that it is the greatest gift to all of comicdom.

Some of it seems quite dated and very 90's (e.g. Arseface and Kurt Cobain), but it is still a compelling story. Unless you find a cache of issues for cheap the complete tpb run will cost you $180, so If you are a fan of horror or the western genre this is for you, but if dislike stories with graphic violence, mature situations, and sacrilegious plotlines, steer clear of this title.

Mini-Review: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

As Uncharted 2 hit the shelves this week, I figured that I should see what all the fuss was over the original Uncharted. Currently a greatest hits title that costs $30, Uncharted provides you with at least 10 hours of Indiana Jones style adventure.

I am currently about half way through the game now and I can see why this title is a favourite of many gamers out there. The controls are tight (I only have a complaint on the grenade controls) and responsive. Death will occur frequently, but you start almost exactly where you left off.

The story is compelling, and Uncharted is the only game in recent history where I didn’t try to skip the cutscenes (MGS4 is a great game, but some of those cutscenes are brutally slow). You will get great value from this game and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good solid action title with great puzzle elements.

New Review System

In an effort to post more often, I am instituting a new review system. A full review will be the normal in depth posting that I have created in the past. A mini-review will be a couple of paragraphs highlighting the key features of a game, movie, or comic book. Finally, a micro-review will be a sentence or two giving the bare essentials for a review. I hope that this structure will aid in more frequent postings while allowing me to stay on top of all the great nerdy products out there.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Take that Ndesu!

I finally managed to beat Ndesu last night with the help of a friend in co-op mode. The fight is ridiculously hard and I will post strategies later.

My friend and I also managed to steam roll though the rest of the game on Professional mode and, therefore, I now have my first Platinum Trophy!

Take that Capcom!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ndesu Update

I died another 9 times. If it wasn't for this platinum trophy I would not ever try again.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Comic Book Daily

Face front true believer! I have discovered a great new website for all you comic book lovers out there. It is called and I strongly encourage you to check it out.

I read a lot of comic book sites, so a new site has to be quite different to catch my eye. What I enjoy about CBD is the wide variety of comic book related articles and blogs. If you want to know what is new this week, or how the comic book market is doing, or how to prep your books for grading, or which twitter feeds you should be following, don't worry, the folks at CBD have your back.

All in all a great site with a lot of industry info. Visit them today.

Ndesu, from Hell's heart I stab at thee

I have been trying to beat level 2-3 from Resident Evil 5 on Professional Mode for some time now. I loathe this level. I know, I know, pretty strong language, but it infuriates me and my hatred burns with the fury of a thousand suns.

I am trying to get my platinum trophy, but I fear that this level will stand in my way. The giant Ndesu boss is near impossible. For those of you who do not know, level 2-3 is a rail shooter (the only one in the game) that forces you to use a Gatling gun mounted on a jeep. No healing items, no different weapons, just a stupid gun that overheats when you fire too much.

The boss has a series of attacks which are difficult to dodge every time. This would not be a huge problem except that his attacks take off about 50% of your life. That’s right folks, two mistakes and you are dead. Oh and there are a bunch of other enemies shooting and throwing bombs at you. You can kill them, but while you are killing them Ndesu is crushing your jeep.

The AI partner is only sort of helpful; sometimes it will stop firing or shoot at some other target for no reason. You can do co-op with a human partner, but I swear that Ndesu has even more life if you play with a friend.

All and all if Capcom removed even one handicap this fight would be manageable. If the gun didn’t overheat, or if you could heal yourself, or if those jerks on the side of the screen didn’t throw stuff at you, or ….. you get my drift.

So far I have died 14 times against Ndesu. I will post when I finally beat him. Any tips would be great appreciated. Rage.

I know I haven't written in a while.

I know that I have been amiss in creating new posts lately, but, as many of you know, September can be a busy time. I will endeavour to post more frequently, and, to this end, will be posting shorter pieces that will not necessarily deal with reviewing a piece of pop culture. These shorter postings will be updates on my current nerd activity and hopefully will provide you with some insight into the choices I make with my recreational time.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

How to collect video games the Nerd Alert way

Following up on how I collect comics, I thought I would share with all of you my method and madness in collecting (and enjoying) video games. It will not surprise to discover that my collection is quite small, but it wasn’t always that way. I used to hang on to anything and everything on the premise that I would one day play the game again. Not true. There were several games that I finished and never played again, but I did keep them so long that they had zero trade in or retail value on the secondary market.

If you know that you are not going to play a game again, get rid of it. Games today are too long to replay again and again. Even relatively short games (let’s say God of War) will still take you 7 or 8 hours to play again. Plus you will have your game saved to a memory card or hard drive and thus can purchase the game again once it is super-cheap. Example: let’s say you bought Metal Gear Solid 4 at launch ($70) and played it through and beat it (about 20 hours) in about a month. If you traded it/sold it at that time you would get about $40 which you could use to buy a new game. Now lets say that a year later you wanted to play MGS4 again; not a problem as you can re-buy it for $25 (or rent it for way less).

So in short, I keep games that I know I will play at least once a month. If it is a long RPG or action type game I generally trade it in. Below is a list of what I have currently. Any game with an asterisk is one that I do not plan on trading in.


Street Fighter IV*
Resident Evil 5*
Little Big Planet
Metal Gear Solid 4
Fight Night Round 3
Burnout Paradise


Super Smash Brothers Brawl*
Mario Kart Wii*
Punch Out*




New Super Mario Brothers*
Brain Age

So I will be looking to pick up the new Professor Layton and Dissidia at the end of the summer. I’ll try to be finished with enough of my games to make some trades in order that I will not need to pay one red cent. However, I am sometimes cautious about trading for handheld games as I will most likely get better value by waiting until there is a great trade in 3 get it free deal at the local EB Games/Gamestop. It is a good bet that God of War 3 will be part of this deal so I will keep a some games around to trade for that in early 2010.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

100 Bullets

So the end has find come for one of the longest running Vertigo titles. I remember first reading a preview for 100 Bullets in Preacher, and I was quite unimpressed. However, I did give the series a chance once the third trade-paperback was released. I was hooked.

The characters were interesting, the art was great, lettering tight, and the colouring added to the film noir hard crime style of the story. What I didn’t realize was that the story only reads well if you take the time to read it all in one go.

There are simply too many characters that are too similar in personality and design. You have to keep track of 13 families of the Trust, 7 Minutemen, and all the extra gang characters while trying to remember who is who and what is that painting and why should I care?

Don’t get me wrong the story is great, but Brian Azzarello really painted himself into a corner with a 100 issue run. The series should have been about 70 issues. There is a lot that could have been cut out of the series that would have made the plot tighter and flow much better. While it is good the whole Counterfifth Detective bit could have been cut. I would also remove the majority of the juxtaposed gang stories (especially the one from the last story arc) and the first Jack Daw story.

I only ever bought trade-paperbacks, so that means there were breaks in-between when I last read anything about croatoa, Lono, or Mr. Graves. During this time you forget who is who and when old characters are re-introduced after 40 issues you strain to remember who they were, especially if they are drawn pretty much like everyone else.

Before writing this I read all 13 volumes over a two-week span. I remembered every character and got a lot more out of the series than I had previously, but not everyone will have the inclination to show such dedication to the craft.

If you are a fan of pulp crime as a genre you will love 100 bullets, but those of you who are not already a fan of the genre or Azzarello’s or Rizzo’s work may find the series inaccessible, tedious, and a bit of test.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Arcade Fight Stick

So I broke down and bought an arcade stick for the PS3. Don't worry, I did not buy the official $200 job from Madcatz, but I did find a nice bargain on Ebay for $35. I am sure that the quality of stick makes a difference, but not when you don't really know what you are doing. Using the stick is supposedly a must have to truly master any fighting game. We'll see. So far I can tell you that I am nowhere near as good with the stick as I am with a normal PS3 controller. So mostly I have been frustrated that I have been losing a more than usual. I'll keep you posted on how I am doing and if a fight stick is worth your cash.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Street Fighter IV

I remember the first time that I played Street Fighter II; it was the fall of 1991 at a local arcade and my friend obtained a definitive victory over my E. Honda with a fire-ball throwing, dragon-punch using Ryu. The game was so different from anything that I had ever played. There was such a variety of characters, moves, and potential outcomes, enough to keep a player busy for several dollars worth of quarters. It was, is, and ever will be the greatest fighting game of all time; the Citizen Kane of fighting games, if you will.

Needless to say I loved the game. I was even more excited when I could purchase the game for my SNES in the summer of 1992. Countless hours were spent with friends playing a SFII full of combos, cheap moves, and trash talk.

But with the infinite deluge of Super Street Fighter EX Alphas Beta Gamma Plus Final Strikes that came out after SSFII Turbo Capcom complete lost me. However, I was very excited to read reviews on Street Fighter IV. I was hearing that SFIV was just like 2, but with better graphics!

So I picked up a copy for the PS3, and let me say that I am impressed. The graphics are top notch, the play control is the tight scheme that we all know and love, and the additional moves (focus attacks) add some great depth to an already deep and complex game. If you loved Street Fighter II you will love this game.

That being said there are some issues that some fans might find difficult. The last boss, Seth, is completely impossible on any level other than very easy. The unlockables and trophies range from very easy to achieve (like unlocking all the characters) to ridiculous (I will never get the trophy for unlocking every title because I will never master every combo in challenge mode for every character). This is not the game for a platinum trophy-seeking perfectionist.

The online mode is where the game really shines. It is a lot of fun to face off against players from around the world. You might win, you might lose, but you will always be able to try new tricks or learn a new combo. You can play in a free mode (where players of all skill levels can play), or you can compete against people around your own skill level in Championship mode. I say around your own skill level because the various rankings can still have a wide range of skill abilities in them.

For example I am currently in the lowest category (G3) so I only face other people in the G3 level. You get 1 point for a loss and a range of points for a win (maybe 10-100). But the G3 level is from 0-2000 points. So if I am starting out with my 0 point and I get to face the guy that has 1999 points I will probably lose. Once you get yourself the middle of the pack (900 or so points) you will have a better sense of being able to win with some regularity. I can only imagine that it is even worse in G2 as that level runs from 2001 points to 15000 points. So if you are awful and loose 2000 times in a row you will be bumped up into the G2 level and killed over and over again (however, if you lose 2000 times in row you should just give up and sell this game anyway).

If you are a fan of fighting games buy this game now! You will not be sorry. If you only sort of like Street Fighter I would recommend waiting until the game goes greatest hits. There is also some downloadable content in the form of extra costumes, but shame on Capcom for charging for them. Some of them are great (I especially like how Zangief can wear Hagar’s costume from Final Fight), but an extra $14 on top of a $70 game is a kick in the teeth. Content like extra costumes should be unlockable in game, or at the most $5.

Monday, June 8, 2009

E3 2009

So another E3 has come and gone. Here is a list of stuff that I was pretty excited about. What did you think was noteworthy this E3?

New Super Mario Brothers Wii

Kingdom Hearts 358/2

Tales of Monkey Island

Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Mario VS Donkey Kong: Minis March Again

God of War III

Boy and his Blob

Final Fantasy XIII

Resident Evil PSP

Metroid: The Other M

Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow


Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

The Last Guardian

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Time Travel and The Terminator

I know that you must suspend your disbelief during any type of time travel story, but the Terminator movies make it really hard by throwing paradoxes right in your face. I abhor a paradox, and therefore have tried to explain time travel in the Terminator movies in this way:

1. At some point Sarah Conner meets someone else and has a baby, John Conner. The father is not Kyle Reese. This John Conner still becomes the leader of the resistance and as he is about to deliver the final blow to Skynet in 2029, discovers the plan to send a T-800 back in time to kill his mother, he sends Kyle Reese back to protect her.

2. Reese going back changes the timeline in 2 ways: first, he is now the father of John Conner, and, second, Cyberdyne now has the hand from the original T-800 to speed up its work.

3. Now there is a different John Conner who is trained by his mother to lead the resistance, but, as Terminator technology has advanced significantly, Skynet has built a T-1000 by the time John Conner is about to win, again in 2029, and sends it back in time to kill John as a teenager. John sends a reprogrammed T-800 back to protect himself. Miles Dyson helps them destroy his work, this slows down Judgement Day, but does not stop it, as Cyberdyne would have some info backed up offsite and the Airforce takes over. But this does alter the timeline enough that John does not win in 2029 but later in 2032.

4. After John has defeated the robots and he is killed by a T-800, his wife finds out that, though defeated, Skynet tries one last effort by sending the T-X back in time to kill as many of the Resistance leaders as possible. The T-X fails because Conner's wife reprograms the T-800 that kills John and send it back to protect John and the leaders in the past. The T-X is defeated, but Judgement Day cannot be averted as Skynet is satellite software and cannot be shut down.

5. Terminator Salvation takes place in 2018 before John Conner (son of Sarah and Kyle) manages to get the upper hand on the robots; however, we must assume that John Conner is a significant enough thorn is the side of the robots that they feel the need to kill him now. In another 9 years John will be about to win, send a Kyle back, send the T-800 back and then 3 years later he will win, die, and his wife will send the T-800 back.

6. The Terminator timeline ends with the machines defeated but John Conner as a martyr.

So the events would look something like this:

1984 - John Conner born

1991 - Cyberdyne building blown up, Air Force takes over research

2004 - Judgement day (pushed back from 1997)

2018 - events of Terminator Salvation

2029 - Kyle Reese sent back, 2 T-800s and T-1000 sent back

2032 - Machines defeated, T-800 sent back after killing John Conner, T-X sent back

It is not a perfect explanation but it is the best one I could come up with.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nosferatu - Black Sabbath Style

The Web can be a funny place; one day you are surfing for the newest in pop culture phenomena, the next day you discover a fascinating labour of love. 

Much respect goes out to a bloke named Neil Swint; he has painstakingly given the 1922 silent horror classic Nosferatu a score using Black Sabbath music. 

I encourage you all to check it out here.  You will be amazed at how well the song selection complements each scene choice and you can see the care taken on this project. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Punch Out (Wii)

We all have a favourite something that can instantly take us back to childhood. Maybe it is a smell, or a movie, or a favourite food that reminder you of when you were ten. For me it is the thought of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. Punch-Out was one of the first games I had for the Nintendo Entertainment System (the other being the Mario/Duck-Hunt combo) and it still is one of my favourites. The character design was great, the controls perfect, and the challenge could go from pathetically easy (Glass Joe) to impossibly difficult (Tyson himself).

So it was with great enthusiasm that I purchased the new Punch-Out for the Nintendo Wii. Being a huge fan of the series, I was cautiously optimistic when approaching this “remake”. The game features 14 different fighters: 12 from Punch-Out and Super Punch-Out, 1 new character (Disco Kid), and one unlockable character. I was surprised at the inclusion of only 1 new character. If you are going to bother with new blood in a game series why would you only create 1 new face? It may have been better to use all known faces or add 2 or 3 more new ones.

The control scheme is either motion controlled (nunchuck and remote) or the normal way of playing video game (remote held sideways. The motion control method is good for a laugh; it is clunky, tiring, and apparently a prerequisite for any first-party Wii game, but you can’t actually play the game properly using these controls. Try it out once or twice and then switch to the way that most people play videogames.

The normal controls are great with a tight scheme and quick response, drawing from both Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out and Super Punch-Out and taking the best of both games. Stars are much harder to come by and require a trick to acquire them. They can be saved up so you can do a 1, 2, or 3 star punch with incremental levels of strength. This adds some variation on speed knockdowns and trick TKOs which fans of the series will appreciate.

There are 3 game modes: career, title defence, and last stand. In career mode you face 13 other fighters to gain all the belts. In defence mode you must defend your championships against the 13 fighters again. This is a great addition as every fighter is much harder than their championship mode counter-part (even Glass Joe is tricky at first). The final mode is a sudden death type mode where after 3 losses you quick. It is only notable for helping you unlock the hidden character.

If you are a veteran of the series you will have no problem with career mode (I actually finished it in within the first day of playing), but you will find they real game begins in title defence mode. Those who have never played a Punch-Out game before and have no sense of the timing required to stop the Bull Charge will find the career mode enough of a challenge.

At a $60 CAN price-tag they aren’t giving the game away, but Punch-Out fans will get $60 worth of fun out of this one. For those of you who have never played a Punch-Out game before I would suggest renting or waiting until it hits the $30 mark.

Friday, May 8, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I must admit that I was pretty sceptical when I first heard that Hollywood was considering making a Wolverine prequel to the X-men movie franchise. Wolverine is a great character, but his origin has become so muddied and convoluted that adaptation from comic book to feature film would be fraught with pitfalls. I do think that a Wolverine solo movie is a great idea (he has been able to carry his own monthly title for some time now), but his origin should always be shrouded in mystery, maintaining his loner mystique for a legion of fans.

Mysterious characters with an unknown past are, unfortunately, all too common today. More distressing is the current predilection of revealing the background of these uber-cool pop culture icons (remember when Boba Fett was silent, super-cool, and NOT a ten year old kid). But I digress, this is a review of the Wolverine movie.

First of all, I did see the leaked version and I went to the theatre and paid my $11. It was actually sort of fun to see the differences and note where special effects, music, and sound make a much more polished product. For anyone who enjoys any of above-mentioned aspects of movie-making, I suggest you watch both versions of the flick.

I was pleasantly surprised with the film. The characters were well cast, Hugh Jackman does a great job in his fourth outing as the character, and Liev Schrieber has a great turn as Sabretooth, but, for me, his performance was slightly marred by the fact that somehow he will become the monosyllabic giant seen in the first X-men movie.

The plot hums along, blissfully taking bits and pieces from 25 years of comic book storylines and weaving them into an enjoyable, but nonsensical tapestry. Those who study the scriptwriting art will especially cringe at the plot device used to explain Wolverine’s memory loss. The movie does suffer from the all too common “too-many-character-itis” that is found in several super-hero movies (e.g. Spider-man 3, Batman Forever), and would have been better served scaling back the number of mutants solely in the movie to appease slavering fanboys .

However, when all is said and done the movie is still a fun ride and a great way to kick off the summer blockbuster season. This is not the Citizen Kane of superhero movies, but you already knew that. At $11 for two hours of entertainment you are getting your money’s worth, but just barely. Let’s hope the sequel in Madripoor ups the ante with less random mutants and more ninjas.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Collection Update

So I thought that I would fill everyone in how my collection is going. I know that a lot of you look to me for guidance, and I can’t blame you; there is plethora of garbage out there.

Firstly, here is a list of the issues that I collect every month: Amazing Spider-man; Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8; Thor; and Agents of Atlas (a great new read, pick it up). I also collect a bunch of titles only in trade-paperback format: Superman/Batman; Green Lantern; 100 Bullets; Ultimate Spider-man; Fables; Daredevil (if you aren’t reading this shame on you); and House of Secrets (best new Vertigo title out there).

I also have been collecting the Atlantis Attacks! storyline and putting together a run of early Thanos appearances. My big push is trying to get a complete run of Marvel Team-Up (volume one, c’mon people). I always want to be collecting something that I can get for $1 or $2.

Additionally, I always keep my eyes peeled for a great deal on a key book, and recently I managed to score a very nice copy of Uncanny X-men #13 (the second half of the first Juggernaut story). A great book.

Now remember that my collection is constantly in flux; I sell all of it at regular intervals to make room for more stuff. This is the only way to collect, everything is new and fresh, and I only keep the really great stuff.

So I hope that this has been enlightening for you all and keep reading the funny books.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Over the holidays I managed to complete my run of every Acts of Vengeance cross over. At twenty years old the story is showing its age, but it does make for an entertaining read. The main problem with the cross-over (and with every comic book cross-over ever made) is the varying quality of product from title to title.

The Amazing Spider-man and Uncanny X-men issues are great, but the Avengers Spotlight and Alpha Flight issues are almost un-readable. The best issue by far is Captain America #367 in which Magneto faces off against the Red Skull to make him accountable for his war crimes. Fantastic. Also great is the Loki vs. Apocalypse street fight in X-Factor #50.

The worst issue is the Power Pack one, with Dr. Doom (who is apparently a psychiatrist) giving mental health advice about sons and fathers to Typhoid Mary.

AOV actually probably would have worked better as a mini-series (the main storyline is sort of hard to follow) that would have allowed for a consistent artist and writer. I mean, the final battle with Loki is actually in West Coast Avengers!? West Coast Avengers? My disdain cannot be accurately conveyed in this forum.

All in all it was a fun read though, and it does not break the bank by any means. So if you are up for the challenge try to find the issues yourself. It is definitely better than DC's Final Crisis. Worst cross-over ever.