Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions or a Fan-boy’s Wet Dream

So what happens when you mix the fantastic ideas in the Marvel Universe and merge it with the visual capabilities of the newest gaming systems? A game that can only be explained as what is craved by every fan-boy ever to exist. The resulting product is Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions.

The game is set up with Mysterio trying to steal a magical tablet, which Spider-man shows up to stop. But in the process Spidey shatters the tablet, ending with him having to live as several different versions of himself in other dimensions. Campy? Yes. Pure Marvel? Hell yes, and would not want it any other way.

The different Spidey’s have to collect the shards of the tablet from different villains, and eventually bring them together to keep all the realities whole. The four dimensions are the Amazing, normal Spider-man. 2099, a futuristic version of Spider-man. Noir, a 1930’s version of Spider-man. Finally, Ultimate, an alternation version of the normal Spider-man.

Each of these heroes have to fight either iconic villains or alternate versions of classic Spider-man foes. These villains are very well represented as well as the levels in which you confront them. The different personalities of these characters are shown well in both the way they act and the way you fight them.

Overall I highly recommend this game and hope that the next Spider-man outing will be as good.

[Yes a short review, just getting used to this style of writing again]

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… And I’m Back!

*slowly meanders to the desk and blows the dust away coughing*

Well I know it has been a while since I have posted something on here. The move and other things have kept me rather busy. Though now I am facing a new way to organize my time and it looks like I will create a schedule for blogging, or at least a quota (which will probably work out more for the best for me personally). So without much further ado here we go.

The Move

This went very very well. We were done within eight hours, even though we are still unpacking some things as we go. I wish to thank everyone who turned up to help, it was greatly appreciated.

The house itself is wonderful and we have more room than what we know to do with, though we have managed to run out of media shelf space. So if you have any interesting ideas on how I can show off my movie and show collection that would be great.

The Reviews

There will be more in the future, but I think I will also be adding game and book reviews to the list. The first book review will be The Child Thief and the first game review may either be Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions or Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. I thank a few of the other bloggers I read for this, as their posts have inspired me to try other venues as well.

Everything Else

Lets say I have not been this calm or happy for a long time and am doing everything to keep it that way. Mind you thats not taking much as I am sleeping comfortably, keeping my health under check, and keep surrounding myself with friends and family that matter.

Also a big shout out to my friends Kent and Sarah who will be married 12am October 31st.

Remember folks, gaming is for fun not rank!

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Must Feed Brain

Well after a month of reading nothing but Dark Sun setting novels my brain is fried on mind bending nomads in a desert world and in search of something new and tasty to sink my teeth into.

A friend of mine started a list of books that have been recommended to her. I personally would love that, but at this time can’t due to the large collection currently taking up a third of my apartment. Last time I did a quick check I have over 700 books and have only read a third of them. Mainly due to re-reading some and being introduced to others by friends.

So right now I am considering some books to read, I have some sort of a list but its not really big as there are only a few that have captured my interest.

But I think the book I am going to go for is called The Child Thief by Brom. Its a reinvention of the Peter Pan story and seems rather intriguing. Instead of Neverneverland its a version of Avalon where Peter is trying to save a certain woman, and he recruits children of broken and abusive homes.

The other book that has my attention is the Book of Joby by Mark J. Ferrarri, which is a modern take on the story of Job. It turns out that the Devil and God have the same bet every century or so to see if the Devil can win in the end. But it seems more than that from what I have seen of the book and seems to be very well written.

Also it seems I like modern retelling of stories or sequels like the one written by Dacre Stoker which is the official sequel to Dracula. I am not fully sure why I am drawn to these stories but I do truly enjoy them.

Have you run into stories like this? Or even have the same issue I have with a large collection?

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44 Inch Chest or Whats In the Closet?

44 Inch ChestI randomly came across 44 Inch Chest about six months ago or so. I saw it there on a site one time and read the synopsis of the film, nodded my head and picked it up. Then it sat there, never in the mood to watch it, or my company was not in the mood for it either. So there it sat, gathering dust, until tonight where I decided to pop it in and give it a whirl.

The movie starts out with a camera flowing through a ruined house, pictures in shambles, tv with holes in it, everything is a mess. Then the camera moves up an unmoving body in the middle of the living room, making you think that maybe there was a murder of some sort, then he blinks. All of this done to the song Without You by Harry Nilsson, setting up the theme and actual mood of the movie.

Colin, the man on the floor, has just found out that his wife of 21 years has been sleeping with another man because she can not keep living the lie of loving her husband. This, of course, breaks Colin in ways that most people do not understand. So here enters the friends of Colin, who in turn grab him and capture the man who has been sleeping with his wife. They then put him in a closet in an abandoned building and begin to plot the torture and death of the adulterer.

Now before you leave thinking this is another torture movie, no it’s not. The movie actually follows Colin through his different modes of grief and pain. The characters growth and destruction through the actions of his wife and his own hands. All to end with him facing off with the man who has sullied his supposed happy life.

Colin’s fall through grief and depression is actually very hard to watch throughout the movie as you truly begin to feel for him. When he states “But a smile never the less. And it’ll mean the world to ya, the whole incredible world. The fucking universe,” you begin to understand fully how much he is hurting inside. How much this man wants to just have the pain removed, but he can’t as he knows he has to deal with it. This clip is his monologue about love and it shows just how much he believes in it:

Now his friends on the other hand believe he should destroy this man who has befouled his existence. They goad him on, even in the scenes that play out in Colin’s head, taunting him to not let the adulterer win. In their own way they are amendable and want to see his pain gone in what they believe to be the fastest way possible, but do not realize what they are actually doing to the poor man.

The following scene truly shows the depths that these men will go to to goad Colin into doing what they believe he should do, but also how much they truly despise what the man in the chair has done to Colin. Their hearts are in the right place through the movie, but they know it does not have to be that way either. They just wish to see Colin whole again, something that both, as a viewer, despise and love them at the same time.

Now the movie does not pan out the way most people would expect, and I am not about to actually give it away. Though the ending does make you think. I sat on my futon after watching the movie and actually thought about what transpired and what I would have done in the same situation, I have been in a familiar place as Colin but had not been put into his situation. Would I go ahead with the killing of this man? Would I put all the blame and anger towards my wife Meredith? Would I do it to help my friends feel they have helped or take the higher road and move on?

This movie is one of the best “screen play to film” movies I have ever seen and highly recommend this to anyone who likes a good dramatic film.

Now try to think about your next break up, was it this bad?

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Panda With a DM Hat: To Wipe The Party, Or Not To Wipe The Party?

[Recently I have decided to start another type of column within this blog that will help present some of my opinions on certain aspects on running various pen and paper role playing games. Now as to my lack of posting as of late there have been some various stresses personally I had to get used to.]

One of the biggest choices I have ever come across from running various games from Dungeons and Dragons to the more violent Rifts to the more social Vampire: The Masquerade, is when running a combat scene that has gone horribly horribly awry. The players have either set themselves up in a fight where there is little to no chance of actual survival or the dice have just decided to give the party the metaphorical bird. So you sit behind your screen thinking of what should happen. Do you let the party perish due to these horrible circumstances or do you pull them out of the fire with a plot hole?

I have run into this a lot throughout the games I play, in the beginning it was due to my inexperience running the game, later it was to come down to the choices the players made during the scene. Now this is easy to fix when it comes down to a mistake on your part, you can fiddle with the dice rolls, have an NPC pull something out of their ass, or use some sort of other plot twist that is common in most pieces of fiction. But when it comes down to party choice or action its harder to control the situation or pull it from the flames.

Yes you are the person running this game, you have the golden rule behind you (the golden rule basically states you have final creative say in what goes on basically) but sometimes its almost too easy to go “You got yourself in this mess, now what genius?” Let me tell you though, that should never be the answer to this situation.

You have to remember that people put effort into these characters, that they have actually taken the time to create something and run with it within this wondrous, or dark, world you have created for them.  The loss of a character can be felt deep for some people, like destroying their created manuscript or code for a game they are creating.

The easy way out it is always the worst choice, a full party kill is nothing to be proud of. You are not there to be against these people, you are there to tell a story or set the adventures up for the party. Your goal should always to create a fun experience as best you can.

Try to figure out a way for the party to get out, or take a quick break so the party can think of something that may just surprise you like one time the party was able to actually convince a dragon to let them take its hoard so that they could protect it better for him. I actually had to step back for a second on my own on that one.

So remember, the answer is always: Not to wipe the party.

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Vampires: Give Them Their Fangs Back!

Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person.”

At least that is what Wikipedia defines a vampire as. Something to be feared due to its intelligence and only goal, to suck the life out of you. Not something that has deeper feelings towards its victim, nor something that would want to start a family. These are beings that have ruled European countries in a tyrannical grip. Beings that have bathed in the blood of the virgins within their city walls. Creatures that have scoured country sides in packs just to wipe out towns in a feeding frenzy.

Though there have been recently tales of another sort of vampire. Beings that feel for humans and do not wish to see them harmed so drink of the life of animals. Creatures who have fought for and regained their souls to become truly martyred. Also beings who have been hiding from the sun so that they do not incite a disco rave.

From all the media I have read and watched there are three variations on the vampire. The first variation is the atypical monster without much humanity, born to feed and control those around them. The second variation is a repentant creature whom coddles humanity, trying their best to fit in with what should be their prey. The third variation is a mixed version of the two, a predator that walks within humanity like a wolf within a sheep herd.

FIRST VARIATION

These are the vampires that make people fear the dark again. Rushing home so that they do not get pulled into the obsidian shadows screaming. The type of vampire that has no remorse for what it does or what it will do. Though there are varying degrees of this type. From the suave but monstrous Count Dracula to the alien Vincente of 30 Days of Night fame. The source of the nightmares humanity has been suffering from for centuries.

Count Dracula

These were predators of several types. They would, naturally, track down people and either seduce them or take the blood by force. They would go through social circles and reap the benefits of the rich and powerful, sometimes getting enough power to alter the governments and countries around them to what they see fit. The most terrifying of these types would even convince the populace to give up their own sons and daughters for the cravings of the unholy flesh.

These are now the hardest type of vampire to find throughout the media today. This may be due to fact that we have to humanize everything that is presented to us, to make it more believable. The idea of doing this to a fictional creature is rather confusing as we as a race have done more horrible acts than these things, and some individuals have been deemed not human for these acts. So why take away the fangs, so to speak, of something that is not human to begin with?

SECOND VARIATION

These are the romanticized versions of vampires whom are continuously fighting within themselves against the hunger to protect the humans around them. The anti-heroes who are protecting humanity against the rest of their kind. Two prime examples of this are the Cullen family from the Twilight series (sorry I refuse to call it a Saga) and Selene from the Underworld movie series. They are beings that fall in love with humans (or other species) and are trying to change what they are in either subtle or obvious ways.

Edward "Disco Ball" Cullen

These are the vampires made for the tweens of the world. Something they can relate their angst and confusion to. Instead of these monsters that crave blood they are misunderstood outcasts that were not given a choice of what they are. These beings sometimes find a kindred soul that they must protect so that they can have that piece of humanity they have been trying to keep within them.

Its this type of vampire that has been running more and more rampant within the media, mainly due to the large audience within the young adult arena. Replacing fangs with poorly done Gothic make up (not a dis on actual Goths where its a culture not a style) and bad emo music. Not to say they are not entertaining, but where is the bite?

THIRD VARIATION

This is where it actually gets fun. These are the vampires that are both monsters and chameleons. Living with humanity at the same time as they are haunting them. Creating some of the more interesting characters within the vampire mythos of the modern day media. They range from the amusing but brooding Angel and Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame to the pompous and entertaining Lestat and Louis from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.

Lestat de Lioncourt

These are the vampires that have shreds of humanity still within them, but do embrace what they are. If they do not they find ways to actually reach redemption but not without the loss of the beast within them. They run the duality of an angel and demon within the same body, and leave the readers and watchers feeling drawn to them because of this.

These type of vampires are slowly becoming prominent in the media circle, but are still being overshadowed by the second variation. This being that the target audience is not as focused. Shows like True Blood are for a more mature audience, where Buffy was something aimed at everything. I am hoping that more can be seen from these types in the future.

I think its about time that we begin to ignore the emotional type of vampire that feels for humanity, and begin to allow the monstrous and manipulative types back in. Bring back the fear and the mystique. Get rid of the disco balls and the love triangles. Emotions can be done easily with the other types, and is set more believably in some of those settings. Be kind and do not force the undead to wear caps on their fangs.

Now you have seen my opinion, I want to hear yours. There is a poll to vote on and you can leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

Remember, wash your necks, its a sign of respect to those that want to nip.

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Why Must a Cherub Fall?

The man put down his drink with a dull thud and looks up at you. “Did I ever tell you ’bout my ol’ friend? No? Well I’ll make it quick.”

“See he has had terrible luck in the what you would call love. No matter how hard he tries, he falls flat on his face while others move into bliss.” He pauses to laugh and take another drink. “Damndest thing too. See it starts with his first who decided to fly to him. Then turns out she was using him to be better for this guy on the side.”

“Now he truly loved her, so this hurt him. Hurt him enough he went cold. Now I don’t mean the ‘I’m down so I won’t show emotion’ cold, I mean the type that you will feel a spiritual chill.” He shakes his head as if to clear it. “So this lasts a year or so til he meets another that does almost the same thing, except she goes another step and calls him a monster, sub human.” His eyes grow a bit soft, as if in sympathy. “Now trust me, he ain’t a monster, just has had a life full of pain and loss. Too much at times.”

“Now not too long after this though he did find some light. Wonderful woman that would change his life, in many ways. She shows him love and what it can mean to someone, but at the same time shows him how fickle things can get without meaning to. See she goes back to her first love, through the support my friend gave her. No blame in it all really, just the way shit happens.”

“Now of course this brings him crashing down. Three so far have either thrown him down or away. But he finds shelter in another, only to again find that she uses his support to find her truer love at the time.” He sighs long and heavy and downs his drink, putting it down on the bar upside down. “But this one would do more damage than what people would think possible. He almost ends it right then and there several times.”

He pauses to laugh a bit, it seems a bit awkward the way he does it. Like it is forced. “But he pulls through, goes numb. Then finds another who, like him, has gone through pain and loss. He does fall for her greatly only to find she, again, leaves him for a friend.” His smile has a creepy edge to it, as if he seems to enjoy this.

“Now we call him Cherub. Know why? Cupid. He is always portrayed as a cherub, helping those find their way, but never finding his own.” The bar tender brings him another drink, seems to be heavier on the whiskey this time, the smell stinging the air.

“Now let me ask you something. What should we tell him to help him? Move on and find another, cause this can’t possibly happen a sixth time? Give up all hope and slip away? Or just suck it up as if there were no pain or coincidence?” He finishes the drink in one go and closes his eyes.

“Boy I wish you would tell me. Cause I have no idea why Cherub must fall.”

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