The deterioration of my command over the French language depicted in today’s comic is an exaggeration made for your (hopeful) amusement, but in truth I didn’t realize quite how much ability I had lost in the seven years since la dernière fois j’ai parlé en français. That’s French for… something. Look it up.
I was never fluent in French, although at one point I was conversational with a speech impediment that refused to allow me to speak proper French “R’s” and syntax abuse that could cause someone flashbacks of a certain green muppet Jedi. When I found out a friend was moving to Montreal and visiting an apartment, I offered to go along because I figured I could at least get around. By the end of the weekend, a lot had come back to me, but for the most part people didn’t even give me a chance to mutilate their beloved language. With the exception of some of the waiters at the microbrewery Dieu du Ciel, everyone we met spoke English on a sufficient, or better, level.
Montreal, though. It was not what I expected. It’s a very attractive city, even though the weather wasn’t great while we visited. I could actually live there, and I don’t think it would bother me aside from the annual apocalypse that reportedly occurs every year during the time known as winter.
Those of us who have been gamers for awhile have suffered through some pretty bad games during our slavish devotion to our hobby. When 3D on home consoles first began to appear regularly, this was especially true. Many consoles, while capable of 3D graphics, were not able to pull this off with the polish consoles today have, and as a result the occasional video game related death would occur. The truth is, I do believe video games will make people violent if the game is so frustrating that it inspires acts of violence in real life. In this case, who is the criminal? The murderer or the game developer?
Among the bad video games, one N64 game stands tall to represent all the other bad games from all the ages. I only know of it by rumors and hushed, frightened whispers from gamers too terrified to speak the name, lest they only increase it’s potency. Brothers and sisters, I will break this silence and in the process obliterate the game’s fel power.
As I said, I only know of this game through friends. I never played it myself because I skipped the N64 generation of video games. In order to truly understand just how bad this game was, I interviewed our good friend Marc. These are his words.
Kevin: So. Superman 64. I hear it’s bad.
Marc: Yes. Superman 64 is to video games what colonoscopies are to routine medical procedures.
Kevin: Perhaps you would care to elaborate on that? What kind of nefarious devices are being used in this routine medical procedure intended for men over 50?
Marc: Let’s start with the horrible visuals. Granted this was the N64, but the first thing you’ll notice is how blocky and awkward the Man of Steel is. He has chubby legs and he sometimes appears as if he’s trying to swim through the sky. Then there’s the pathetically short draw distance and notorious fog. At least 50% of the game is flying, but you can hardly see where you’re going.
Kevin: On the subject of the poor visuals, would you compare the game to rubbing sandpaper, dry wall, or scouring pads against your eyes?
Marc: Dry wall is far too soothing, so I’d have to say sandpaper. They aren’t quite scouring pad bad. They’re sadly the best part of the game.
Kevin: Would you say the short draw distance has any use to it? For example, could it be used at alcohol awareness events to allow people to realize what driving under the influence is like?
Marc: I’ve never really thought about it, but I’m sure this game is being used somewhere as either what you speak or as a terrorist interrogation device. I can hear them screaming, “Not the rings AGAIN! My eyes!”
Kevin: Okay, so describe the gameplay for me a little bit. If you were to compare it to a sexually transmitted disease, which one would you compare it to? AIDS is not an option.
Marc: As hard as it may be to believe, I don’t have a lot of experience with STD’s. Some, yes, but not enough to give a real honest answer here. I can safely say, however, that it’s anything with open sores and festering boils. But in all seriousness, the controls kill the game. The flying is so unresponsive that you actually lean with the game to try to alter gravity and pull him in the right direction. But then he turns too far and you’re forced to do a wider turn than a buick to get back to the infamous rings.
Kevin: Are you required to perform these tasks within a time limit?
Marc: Yes. Evil, evil time limits. Rings upon rings upon rings for hours on end.
I have a feeling that the game was planned for something more, but the developers became rushed. What should have been training levels turned into an entire friggin’ game.
Kevin: So what do you think are the significance of the rings? Are the Metropolis police force out of donuts and Superman is doing his civic duty and getting the boys in blue fresh oversized pastries?
Marc: No, supposedly they are Lex Luthor’s doing. I can’t recall exactly, but I believe he makes you fly through them in order to save your friends and the city.
Kevin: So I guess we should talk about the story.
Marc: That’s the story. My memory is hazy, but as bad as the game is, I’m sure there couldn’t have been a very well thought-out plot.
Kevin: The story is Lex Luthor runs on Dunkin?
Marc: In this particular version of the Superman universe, perhaps. There was no product placement that I can recall.
Kevin: What kind of person would someone have to be to enjoy this game?
Marc: Superman fanboy, Nintendo64 fanboy, remedial class president, sadist, Fox News enthusiast, high school football coach, or Gollum.
Kevin: Interesting. Why would Gollum enjoy Superman 64?
Marc: Because of all the rings, obviously.
Riot Games’ League of Legends is the game that finally broke my World of Warcraft addiction. Of course, this is a little like treating a heroin addiction with meth, so I’m not entirely sure how helpful this is to my life. I’m still sitting in front of my computer not absorbing important vitamins from sunlight, advancing my career, or doing anything that is ultimately worthwhile, but after only a month or so of playing I am level 18. That’s an impressive accomplishment, right?
League of Legends is a free role playing strategy game where two teams of players attempt to fight their way into the opposing base and destroy the other team’s nexus by controlling one of over 50 champions, each with unique abilities. Players fight computer controlled drones known as minions and opposing players along paths defended by towers to increase their level and become more powerful while gaining gold they can use to buy equipment and boost their character’s combat prowess further. Every round is unique and the ability to adapt and revise strategies on the fly is vital to success.
The game allows you to create a team of friends or use an automated matchmaking service to find your team.
The matchmaking service is technically effective but occasionally leaves a few things to be desired. This has nothing to do with Riot and everything to do with the quality of people to be found playing the game. When League of Legends gives you teammate lemons, what can you do? I made my very own misanthropic lemonade, a completely separate game called Grief the Wanker.
Grief the Wanker is a viable alternative game within the game itself, because played correctly there is no way you can lose. You refuse your whiny teammate the ability to surrender, so either he rage quits (and you report him) or he throws a temper tantrum and says unkind things (and you report him anyway). It’s impossible to lose, which is good because you probably aren’t going to win the actual game itself.
The classic Star Wars trilogy was my obsession during high school. I wrote so many longwinded articles about Star Wars novels, games, and reviews of the Special Editions that my journalism teacher eventually forbade the subject’s appearance in our student newspaper entirely. Despite Lucas’ three attempts to engage his self destruct sequence, I still love the universe. After all, I’m the guy who was nearly thrown out of the midnight showing of Revenge of the Sith for having a lightsaber battle in the aisles of the theater while waiting for the movie to begin.
Despite my enthusiasm, however, I was never enough of a fan to create something like this. We looked it up after the comic was already more or less finished just to see if such a thing existed. I wonder if there will ever come a day when the internet ceases to surprise me. If you would like to e-mail me and let me know that I got the ranks for my Imperial officers wrong, then follow this link. I anxiously await your comments.
Don’t ask me where stuff like this comes from, because I don’t know what to tell you.
Okay, I do know what to tell you, it’s just very uncouth. I was having a conversation with my family about breast feeding in awkward places. In order to reassert my position as a giant weirdo, I brought up age limits. I just happen to know someone who nursed their child slightly longer than good ta5te perhap5 deem5 appropriate. I won’t say how long, but perhaps you can pick up the hint.
From the blog of Emo McFangface:
Some days, I just don't know how I can stand it.
Twilight: Eclipse is coming out this week. I thought that now that the entire world has vampire desire in their veins, that maybe, just maybe, I could finally win over a girl with my dangerous creature of the night routine. As I approached Chloe, rare confidence beating in my chest (in place of the wounded heart that never will again), Kenny tripped me and I fell face first into the bucket the janitor expels his chewing tobacco into. They laughed, I cried, and then spent the rest of the day in the nurse's office with a "headache.". :'(((((((
Twilight puts a lot of unfair pressure on us less fortunate vampires. Edward and the others are all so perfect and all the rest of us are expected to follow suit. Everyone gets very angry when a young girl kills herself with anorexia trying to look like a supermodel, but no one cares that I haven't eaten pretty much ever simply because no girl will have me because I'm not Edward. Why does nobody see the hypocrisy? The pressure to be perfect and sexy at all times is killing me! Not literally, of course, because I cannot die ever at all,unfortunately.
- Emo McFangface
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was this week as you may or may not know. As far as pretty much everyone is concerned, Nintendo stole the show, although Microsoft and Sony didn’t really put up much of a fight. Microsoft announced Kinect, a revolutionary motion control system with no interesting games and so many bugs a bug zapper would be lost beneath the unrelenting assault. Sony announced Playstation Move, a poorly named motion control system that was revolutionary in 2006 when Nintendo announced precisely the same thing. Nevertheless, Nintendo’s offerings would have been formidable even in a year not ruled over by the cruel galactic overlord Disappointing Announcements From Their Competitors. The official unveiling of the 3DS, the successor to the immensely successful DS (but with 3D!), and a lineup of delicious software flavors the gamers everywhere be a-cravin’? Yes, please. Now more than ever I want to taste Nintendo’s baste.
By the way, if you missed our midweek E3 special update, well, this is the internet and we have an archive for a reason. Have at it!
E3 2010: the show where Nintendo made the world collectively require treatment from their family doctor for a certain something that lasted longer than four hours. Still, Nintendo hasn’t always amazed their fans, and there have been some dark years for the faithful. Today, Marc and I thought we would take you through Nintendo’s history as a gaming giant… E(3): True Hollywood Story style!
Also, it’s vital that I comment on what a great job Marc did with the art this week. All this from the guy who used to make me draw any women who ever appeared in the strip. Nice work!
An excerpt from the forthcoming Sunday Smash Parenting Book, by Marc Matters and Kevin Seibert:
Spare the rod and spoil the child is a well known proverb associated with raising an heir that has become less popular in modern parenting. Spankings may be a great deterrent to misbehaving while assisting children with their transition into healthy adults who respect the rules of society, but it is not the best method of preparing them for adulthood and can occasionally lead to undesirable predilections. Instead, may we suggest the art form of eroding a young human being’s spirit.
Attention parents: stop telling your child that they are special, unique, one of a kind, or so-very-talented, because when it comes down to it, none of that is going to matter as soon as they mature and enter the real world. Hard work and skill does not matter as much as being a mindless sycophant. Don’t believe me? Observe how many seasons Friends was on TV versus the vastly superior short-lived Arrested Development. This is all the evidence you need that talent is irrelevant in the real world.
Anyway, you’re raising up a child, and having just read these last paragraphs are afraid you may have given them false expectations for their future. Fear not! There is still action you can take.
Cease all that molly coddling! When they approach you, face aglow to present a finger painting that isn’t up to snuff, let them know. Even if your caustic words result in tears and the child losing all interest in art forever, at least they won’t pursue a career in visual art or art education. This is in their own best interest.
Furthermore, children these days have a sense of entitlement. They seem to think that the world is their oyster and that hard work isn’t even necessary to achieve anything. This is only true under one circumstance: if they were born into money. Unless you, their parent, are independently wealthy, it’s time to stop buying them toys and turn their play time into your leisure time. Simply put, how much time do you spend cleaning and cooking every week? How would you like to transform that dull, undesirable chore time into your you time? Turn that lazy former-gleam-in-your-eye into cheap (slave) labor. This is useful in preparing them for the real world because they observe you feet kicked up, watching your stories while they develop blisters and are powerless to stop the daily routine. And if they dare sass you? Well, that’s just a dark day for everyone involved, now isn’t it?
This has been only a small excerpt. The full book will be available later this year with helpful advice on toilet training, reforming out of control teenagers, and how to cope with hippies who tell you the way you parent after reading our book is wrong. Kindle versions will also be available.