Friday, December 30, 2011

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #25

241. Dubravans. The Dubravans essentially look like humans with green skin and noseless faces, and with some features (webbed fingers or something) that suggest they're amphibious, although they are not mentioned as potentially being able to breathe underwater. Despite their obvious resemblance to humans in pictures of them on the page, the article's author felt the need to mention that female Dubravans are distinguished from males by their breasts by the third sentence of the first paragraph, and felt the need to mention it again later.

I don't know what's worse for the Dubravans, the Wookieepedia contributor's apparent obsession with their breasts, or the fact that their planet is apparently popularly known as "the armpit of the universe."

Rating: 3/5. I kind of like their design, and I think I added a point out of pity for them. Also, while I think the article's tendency to mention certain things about the female Dubravans is creepy, I have to admit that the example picture of a female Dubravan is pretty hot.

242. Dugs. The Dugs are the species from which Sebulba from Episode I comes. (Momentary aside: Anytime I think of Sebulba, I remember a gag song that someone put together which included the phrase "Who can? Ana-can [Anakin, geddit?]!" Gaaa. Even if I remembered what it was called, I wouldn't tell you what it was, because I wouldn't inflict that on anyone. It's still going through my head.) Their bizarre build (using their arms as legs and their legs as arms) makes them instantly memorable. It's interesting to note that they're second class citizens on their homeworld, which was colonized by another species; that Sebulba was so vicious probably had to do with him having to claw his way up from that.

It's also interesting to note that during the Episode I podrace, one of the other competitors was a member of the species that had subjugated the Dugs, and Sebulba was up close and personal with that one when he killed him.

Rating: 4/5. The Dugs are distinctive. While I don't care for the fact that they're basically all high-strung and aggressive, considering their history and the fact that they're one step less removed from their equivalent of monkeys, it probably makes sense. (Did you know that many chimpanzees' favorite food is monkey?)

243. Duhma. The Duhma are blind because they live on the dark side of their planet, and use tribal tattoos to help them distinguish themselves between their numerous tribes.


Wait, what?

Rating: 2/5. Because the obvious lack of thought here cracks me up.

244. Duinuogwuin. The Duinuogwuin are also known as Star Dragons, presumably because it's frikkin' hard to keep track of all those vowels. And, of course, because they're essentially dragons. They can survive and fly in space (and can reach orbit from planetary surfaces), breathe fire, range from about thirty to three hundred feet long, and are mostly serpentine, with rather mammalian heads and numerous arms, legs, and wings. They can live for at least two thousand years, and while they are found throughout the galaxy, they apparently have a secret homeworld where they go to die. They have only one sex (i.e. any Duinuogwuin can mate with any other and produce offspring), and apparently rarely breed because there is a very high risk their offspring will be ravening unintelligent monsters or devious and cunning sociopaths. It is also thought that some of the other many-limbed serpentine or draconic species that live throughout the galaxy may be descended from them.

One was also apparently a Jedi Padawan that was killed by General Grievous. I would say "How?!" ('cuz, y'know, supersonic flight and fire breath) but Grievous was in a starfighter at the time.

Rating: 5/5. The Duinuogwuin are a great alien species by virtue of being interesting and mysterious. They would probably break an RPG in half, though. TIP: Play Duinuogwuin if they're available in an RPG.

245. Duloks. Duloks are green-haired furry people from Endor, and are one of, like, fifteen sapient species who coexist with Ewoks there. Like most of Endor's inhabitants, they had access to at least some magic (yes, really-the Ewoks cartoon and TV movies are why), and even allied at times with a witch who could summon hordes of demons or something.

And that's why the Ewoks trounced the stormtroopers: After dealing with armies of magic-wielding enemies, most of whom were bigger than themselves (in a few cases, bigger than scout walkers-yes, there's a justification for Ewoks having weapons for use against giant enemies), stormtroopers are just pests with weird sticks that burn from a distance.

Rating: 2/5. I've never watched the Ewok cartoon (though I have watched the TV movies), but I hear it's fairly boring compared to the Droids cartoon (which I thought was pretty great). The Duloks are from it, and they're mangy and ugly too.

246. Duors. Duors are essentially dolphins, and that's all I know.

Rating: 1/5. Dolphin aliens are only mildly less indicative of creative bankruptcy than human aliens. Also, as this is one of my favorite images of a dolphin from pop culture, and I find it to be an accurate portrayal of dolphin nature (seriously, dolphins are vicious), you would suppose correctly if you guessed that I find dolphins rather less cute than most people.

247. Dur Sabon. The Dur Sabon are huge mildly anthropomorphic amphibious eel things. This is awesome.

Their sole fictional appearance was when they gave asylum to a princess whose parents were killed in a coup. That they look that distinctive and this is their only appearance is also rather awesome.

Rating: 4/5. Considering how little we know about them, this is rather generous, but I like 'em.

248. Duros. The Duros are the aliens who look a bit like Greys (albeit tall and green-skinned, and wearing spacesuits) from the cantina scene. They're one of the species who, along with humans, have been spacefaring the longest, and some believe they were the first race to use the hyperdrive. They're known as traders, and (because this is Star Wars) many are also known as bounty hunters or thugs.

They also have a legendary historical queen whose name apparently means "dark cloud," which is cool.

Rating: 4/5. The Duros are an important fixture of the Star Wars universe, even if there haven't been too many major characters who are members of the species. Heck, they're even closely related to the Neimoidians (the Trade Federation guys), whom they despise as cowards and child abusers (seriously).

249. Duu'ranh. Apparently humanoid.

Rating: 1/5. At least they've got a cool name.

250. Ebranites. Ebranites have six arms and are honestly rather ugly. They apparently get tattoos on their uppermost left shoulders at birth that mark them as members of particular clans. When the Empire arrived on their planet, they decided to destroy their traditional authority in order to get at the planet's supply of a mineral useful in medicine, and so they shipped any suspected dissidents off to the region where most of said mineral was mined and enslaved them there. They once had large-scale clan feuds, but this mostly ended when the Empire showed up.

They are described as having a "combat rage" that is "similar to that of Wookiees, but less uncontrollable."

Y'know, I've never been under the impression that Chewbacca ever had any trouble controlling his anger in combat. When he starts grabbing stormtroopers and tossing them around during Empire Strikes Back, that wasn't exactly combat circumstances. Why the heck do people talk about Wookiees having combat rage?

Rating: 3/5. The combat rage thing annoys me, but the rest of it is interesting and useful information.

I notice two things happened twice this time around: I took the opportunity to talk about how nasty animals that most people believe are nice are, and I ranted about how people treat certain species who are mentioned in the context of other species. Hmm.

-Signing off.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Game Review: Creeper World 2

Creeper World 2 is a sort-of sequel to Creeper World. (Read that review for some basic information. Also, note that the link is to a specific variant of the game and that there's probably a bunch of variants out there.)

It has a significant gameplay change from the original, although it also is quite similar.

The Creeper still flows downhill (most of the time-ironically, the screenshot represents a time where that isn't the case), but "downhill" is now, well, down.

That's right, it's no longer top-down but a sidescrolling game of sorts.

Your home base this time is a ship that has been tasked with wiping out the Creeper. Apparently, in the time since the first game humankind's technology and knowledge of the Creeper have both advanced, and instead of being forced to fight a battle for survival, you can destroy the Creeper's emitters, which had once been thought indestructible.

More features are added to gameplay, including "anti-Creeper" which you produce yourself, enemy drones, and others, while old features have been changed-for instance, your base now generates "wireless packets" so that you don't have to worry about connections, just relay devices called beacons. I have to admit that being able to make a "friendly" version of the Creeper is a great addition-it's much easier to track the danger level when you have your own field of control that cushions you. (As one might expect, Creeper and anti-Creeper are mutually annihilating.)

There are also variable gameplay paradigms. Probably the most entertaining of these is the "zero G" environment (an example of which is shown above) where the Creeper tends to move around chaotically and cling to objects instead of flowing down predictably.

While I don't know if I like this game as well or better than Creeper World (which I like quite a lot), it's a fun little game so far, and you could find plenty of worse games. I can recommend it.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Greatly Belated Book Review: Towers of Midnight

I've followed the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan for probably eight years or so. Compared to many of its fans, I'm a newcomer (little wonder, as I was pretty young when it started coming out), but I've been well aware of the series' staggering length and the increasing size of its volumes since I first caught up with its progress a short while after I got the first book. (I got two books from the series for my birthday one year, and was finished with the series by that fall, a couple of months later, and thus had to wait for the later books to come out.)

The series, I've discovered, has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism for becoming slow, bloated, and meandering. I'll agree that there was a certain amount of that in the last couple of books that came out while Jordan was still alive.

But thirteen books in, Towers of Midnight has turned things around, and I'm excited for the last book again.

I should explain a little. The author Brandon Sanderson, a long-time fan of The Wheel of Time, and also the author of The Way of Kings (which, in case you don't recall, is a book that I have said you need to read), was tapped to finish the series by Jordan's estate and publisher after his death from a long struggle with illness. (Jordan always said that he would keep writing until they nailed the coffin shut. Well... He pretty much did.) While Jordan literally plotted the series out to the end on his death bed, pretty much this entire book was written by Sanderson.

Now, I'm not saying that Jordan wasn't a good writer. He was; he got both myself and Sanderson (and plenty of others) hooked. However, the stretch which readers most often complain about seems to have been a rough patch in his overall plot.

But there's a payoff.

At the end of the previous book, The Gathering Storm, which was largely written by Sanderson, there was a Moment. It was one of the most defining scenes in the entire series.

Basically (I pretty much need to go into spoilers, so you should probably stop reading if you haven't read it but intend to), the main character, who is a prophesied and messianic figure, is on the verge of committing suicide and taking literally everyone else with him. He's been brutalized by his role, with a severe unhealing wound in his side, losing a hand, unable to use his magic powers without vomiting, and insane, with a voice of one of his past lives in his head that he must battle for control of his body. It's rather understandable why he's tried to cut off all his emotions, tapped into dark powers he shouldn't have, and set to murder his enemies with nuclear blast-sized bolts of energy that warp reality itself. And, oh, yeah, his messianic main character powers have turned to corrupting things around him.

And then, he gets better.

Just what this means isn't gone into until Towers of Midnight, but this is the point where things change. And the opening scene of Towers of Midnight shows us just how drastically things have turned around.

I don't want to go into it because details would ruin it, but it is seriously a brilliant exploration of how, within the world of The Wheel of Time, a messianic character works. Any meandering or padded narrative in previous books is forgiven, because much of it, ultimately, set up for this.

Towers of Midnight is the best book in the series for me. Part of the reason it works so well is because the character changes from narrating many to most of the chapters about him to being a mysterious figure that the others don't understand anymore, and don't even understand why they don't understand him. It is seriously one of the most dramatic transformations of a character I've ever seen in a narrative, and it works.

I have a difficult time recommending this book to a general audience. It's a great book, but there are twelve books of prerequisite reading you have to get through to read it. Also, many people would see the main character as too much of a power trip character, i.e. a Mary Sue of sorts. They're actually totally right in my opinion, but the thing is, there's actually a place for such characters.

And this is that place.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Belated Christmas Junk

First up: I found both of these on Major Spoilers, which is where I actually find quite a few of the embedded videos I post. (Very useful for low content days like this one.)

Second: This is awesome. I want a snow globe based on this.

Apparently, those are actual sculptures (though presumably not snow sculptures); the only "fake" part is the snow.

Third: I don't know anything about this band or the song, but I think that singing snowman is incredible.

Especially the blinking.

Delivering holiday content days late for years. Go me.

-Signing off.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cool Old Dude Dancing

Was visiting with family literally all day today, so I don't have much to post.

Just this video of an old guy dancing.

I wasn't able to dance like that when I was a teenager, much less now, so this guy is pretty impressive.

-Signing off.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Very Megatron Christmas

This is great.

I think the best part is how he only gradually moves into the Megatron voice. If you listen to this without knowing who he is or the title of the video, but know the Megatron voice, you'd probably have a sudden realization that "Holy cheese, that's Beast Wars Megatron!"

Who, by the way, is still the best Megatron.

There's another great thing: In the comments on the video, David Kaye thanks people for complimenting him on the video, saying that they've made his Christmas by being his fans, and then says he needs to go shave off his five o'clock shadow.

Kaye is a class act, man.

-Signing off.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Digimon Distraction

Sorry, got pretty distracted by listening to various different language versions of the Digimon Adventure 01 openings.

I'd embed them, but for some reason that's not allowed with any of the videos I've found, so I'll link a few instead.

This video has seven versions, and includes all three different original songs associated with the series, those being the original Japanese, the English intro's song, and the Italian opening song. All the other versions are based on the Japanese or English versions. (Apparently Italy always has to be different.) My favorite rendition of the English song is the French version, because the way they pronounce "champion" just kills me.

And because it's also funny, here's the Hebrew version.

Why was I looking at these things? I fell victim to nostalgia for a moment, I suppose. Pokemon is such a big thing right now, but Digimon was the better show. (Also, to my disgust, the spellcheck recognizes "Pokemon," even though it's strictly misspelled, but of course it doesn't recognize Digimon. Gr.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #24

231. Draedans. Draedans are sapient amphibians who apparently have skin that ranges from silver to green, can survive in fresh or salt water to a depth of two kilometers, and can live on land as long as they stay moist.

Why they still look so much like humans (albeit with fuzzy-looking tails) is anyone's guess.

They're explicitly mentioned as lacking access to hyperdrives, meaning they have trouble leaving their homeworld. They're also described as usually being "high-strung."

Rating: 2/5. If their appearance was more creative, they'd have gotten at least one more point, but looking that human when they apparently have so little in common lifestyle-wise is, well, increasingly bothersome to me.

232. Draethos. Draethos are apparently very long-lived, with a lifespan ranging as high as a thousand or more years, and aren't considered elderly until they're roughly 700 years old. They are naturally predatory and also naturally possess telepathy which apparently can only be used to communicate with each other.

They also have the funniest-looking mouths ever.

Rating: 4/5. Their rather grandiose uberalien nature contrasting with their goofy overbites makes me smile.

233. Draflago. Apparently, the Draflago enjoy dips in mud tanks.

Rating: 1/5. Are they pig people, amphibious, or something else? We don't know, because all we know is that they like mud.

234. Drall. The Drall inhabit the planet Drall in the Corellian system, i.e. the same solar system where Han Solo was born. They are short, furry, and known for being orderly, serious, and apparently usually a bit stuffy.

Rating: 3/5. Drall have appeared in a few different books, and they are clearly a reasonably complex society. Their insular nature (the whole Corellian system is itself isolationist, and none of the system's inhabitants really like each other, either) means we don't know too much about them, though.

235. Drells. Drells build starships, and apparently these starships are frequently used by pirates. Enough so that a Drell ship is obviously a pirate ship most of the time? Who knows?

Rating: 2/5. At least it explains where pirates might be getting their ships, I suppose.

236. Dressellians. Dressellians are kinda ugly. One was, at least according to Expanded Universe material, going to be the leader of the Endor strike force before Han Solo was chosen for the role; he apparently figured that it was racism against Dressellians that motivated Han's selection, as he was a skilled guerrilla from the protracted subversive warfare that had occurred on Dressel, and there's no way that Han Solo could have the same skills he did.

Also, the old action figure nickname they gave Dressellians was "Prune-Face."

I guess I'd be bitter too, if I was called that.

Rating: 3/5, if only because that one story is kind of funny in a slightly grim way.

237. Drivoks. They come from a planet called Faket, which seems like its name might be inappropriate to say aloud. They apparently are hairless and mauve-skinned, and have no apparent gender distinctions that humans can detect, and also can "sense others," whatever that means, and are often bounty hunters or trackers.

Rating: 3/5. There's not too much substance, but some of the details (their planet's name not matching theirs, the fact that their sensory abilities cause them to be happily employed in certain jobs) add some value.

238. Drochs. Woo hoo, the drochs!

This one is great, okay? The drochs are widely believed on the planet Nam Chorios to be mostly harmless (though intensely repulsive) parasites. And on Nam Chorios, this is largely true. Just get a little sun, and you'll be fine, even though the little blighters dig under your skin and stay there-in fact, they'll die, and you'll actually derive nutritional value from them.

However, drochs also have a dark secret. Anywhere else, they're so darned deadly that the symptoms of their parasitism are called the Death Seed plague. And nobody knew this until there was a modern resurgence of the plague.

That's not even the best part: Drochs get significantly bigger as they age and feed, and they can apparently naturally reach a size comparable to some of the larger land crabs. In areas of Nam Chorios where the sun doesn't shine, they get darned big. And the big ones are smarter than the little ones, and guide them to attack larger prey en masse.

And it gets even better-one droch that appeared was actually a mutant droch genetically engineered by an insane cook (seriously) that could, thanks to a mask, robe, and drapey clothes and stuff, pass as human.

It doesn't get much more awesome than that.

Rating: 5/5. This doesn't even go into just why the drochs were harmless on Nam Chorios, which may or may not have actually been their real homeworld. And yes, there's a reason more complex than "they don't like this particular sun," which has always been kind of a dumb reason for that sort of thing anyway.

239. Drovians. Drovians are big ugly brutes who got addicted to another species' cake flavoring agent, and then turned said cake flavoring agent into a more hardcore drug.

Rating: 3/5. I don't like planets of hats, especially when the hat is something negative like drug addiction, but this one makes me laugh enough that I'll forgive them a bit.

240. Druulgothans. They resemble lizards somehow, and they have an awesome name.

Rating: 2/5 for the name alone. I suppose I should be forgiving of a race created for a pick-a-path book... Nah.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sith... or NINJAS? Or Sith Ninjas? Sithjas? (I give up)

(Hopefully, I'll have the time and energy to put up one of my Star Wars alien posts tomorrow or the next day; today's not the best day for it. I put up a little article over at my sister's Yu-Gi-Oh! blog, though, in the relatively unlikely event that you're interested.)

This is a pretty fun little video.

I particularly like the ending.

-Signing off.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Same Song, Same Reaction, Different Series

I've heard a fairly significant amount of negativity about the band My Chemical Romance.

I don't particularly know or care if they deserve it-I've listened to exactly one of their albums, "The Black Parade." And what I do know is that basically everybody loves music videos done to the same-titled song.

Case in point: This video is referred to as "indisputably the best anime AMV of all time" by the poster (who didn't make it). (Warning: Significant Gurren Lagann spoilers, although you've probably gotten significant Gurren Lagann spoilers just by having an internet connection.)

Pretty much the same sort of thing has been said about this one. (Warning: While I don't particularly know, seeing as how I haven't seen more than a fraction of the series, probably pretty significant Teen Titans spoilers.)

So is this song just made especially for intensely emotional music videos, or what?

(It totally is.)

-Signing off.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Escape Is Impossible

So apparently there's a game where you play as Sherlock Holmes, and Watson follows you around.

But, like God Mars, he never actually moves.

Whereas God Mars' seeming immobility is a source of amusement and occasional actual "oh, hey, him moving has actual impact," Watson's not moving is... a source of amusement and sheer terror.

As noted by many, it's essentially just a result of lazy programmers not wanting to come up more than the bare minimum of animations for him. I think this has unexploited potential, though-what if there was a game where an otherwise normal-seeming NPC was always doing this, and it turns out that said NPC is actually Nyarlathotep or baby Cthulhu or something?

It'd be better having an explanation for it than this, anyway.

-Signing off.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Paranorman? Seriously?

I don't know how interesting I find this preview in and of itself.

However, I find the story concept to be very interesting. A ghost medium versus zombies? I can't imagine those powers being immensely applicable against the old infectious mindless plague zombies, unless perhaps anyone who was turned into a zombie automatically was also a ghost, but how zombies relate to ghosts would make or break a concept like this.

Um, yeah.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wait a Minute, He's a Robot...

Y'know, I miss this show (Medabots, or in Japan, rather hilariously "Medarots").

It's kind of unfortunate that they chose to dub Metabee here with what is generally considered a "black" voice, because it brings up questions of whether the dubbers were stereotyping.

But then, a very large number of the children watching the show would never have heard of the stereotype (I know that I'd never heard of it until sometime in the last year or so while perusing TVTropes), so it feels more like political correctness obsession ruining things than anything for me.

In case you want the negativity inherent in the first part of this post flushed out, here's one of the series' more awesome moments.

The awesome part isn't actually that three robots suddenly tapped into their secret powers to fire off giant blasts of energy which nothing could survive. It's that (while you don't see it here) their target ultimately shrugged it off.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Best Transformers Related Thing...

...since at least Praise Be To Decepticon (in sequence of my personal experiences with them, not release order). This one could be subcategorized as "Best Transformers Trailer Ever." (And yes, it tops that one with Grimlock in it for the same game.)

I don't know why that folky song ("The Humbling River," by Puscifer, and yes I just linked another Transformers music video set to the same song) works so goshdarned well, but it does. It's frikkin' perfect. (One of the top YouTube comments on the video quotes the first line ["Angel, angel, what have I done?"] and replies "JUST MADE THE MOST EPIC [expletive] MUSIC VIDEO EVER!!")

My sister says it works because Transformers has always been, despite its trappings, about a primitive, spiritual people-it's just that they're primitive, spiritual people who have access to awesome technology beyond easy comprehension. I can buy that-Transformers don't so much have nations as they do tribes built around their charismatic chieftains. (I don't think this is a function of trying to rip off the various cultures that have tribes, despite that sort of thing being rather popular these days-it's more to do with the way that little boy logic runs. Younger kids see leadership as having to do with being the toughest and/or coolest. That's why Optimus and Megatron kick so much butt, you know.)

At least part of it, I think, is because it implies a father/son relationship between Optimus and Bumblebee, but doesn't smash one's face with it. Optimus is pretty much every Autobot's dad, so that's a positive.



I think my favorite part of Grimlock in this video isn't his awesome entrance or his awesome transformation or his sheer huge presence, but this simple little exchange of nods that he has with Optimus. Why?

Because I think Grimlock and Optimus work better as two awesome guys who respect each other, instead of distrusting and/or hating each other. Come on, guys, the kind of infighting that we usually see between those two was worn out by X-Men decades ago. I think it's time we move past it.

-Signing off.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Actually, I've got a few questions.

1. Why are there such huge gaps between the movies? (I mean, I'm not complaining, really-the movies are decent to good, not great or anything, but it's just weird.)

2. I don't know anything about the comics that inspired the movies and cartoon, but I would assume that the cartoon was closer to the comics than the movies are/were. ... Was it? Perhaps more specifically, the lost memory plot of MIB2 and this apparent time travel plot for MIB3-I remember that there were episodes of the cartoon with more or less exactly the same plots, to greater or lesser degrees. Were they also comic book plots?

3. Does anyone else remember the cartoon fondly? Because I thought it was pretty great. (It was probably the first cartoon where I really felt sucked in by the art style, by the way. Really darned slick. And yes, I know it has a lot of competition [Batman:TAS, Gargoyles, Superman:TAS, the Superman Fleischer cartoons {THOSE WERE GOOD TOO DARN IT}, the list goes on...], but something about the muted colors and stark contrasts set it apart.)

My fondest memory of it is probably the first episode, which wasn't necessarily the best, but had a plot that felt like it should have (in ways) been a series-changing story that would result in everything being different afterward. And also was really funny.

J ticks off an entire race of aliens by killing one of them-all of them are now hunting him and have locked onto him. ("You aren't supposed to blast Skrullbians. They blow up." Which is a pun that I only just figured out.) They pursue him everywhere, bursting Alien-style out of hot dog vendors and descending in flying saucers to get at him. So eventually, K decides that there's only one way to get rid of them: Make them even madder at K than they are at J. And the way he does it is by blowing his nose into a handkerchief and showing it to them. It has a kind of Silver Age Superman ending, but that doesn't ruin it.

Gee whiz, but I do miss that cartoon. At least the first season.

... Yeah, those were my only questions, and they weren't very much. FALSE PREMISE!

-Signing off.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Will This Battleship Sink?

(Because if it's a bomb, you know all the review headlines will be "Battleship Sinks." All of them.)

I'd thought I'd commented on this, but I guess I haven't. (If I have, whatever, I don't care.)

(There's a newer trailer you can see here. I'd have gone with that one because it has much more in the way of Bayhem-style action, and I seem to recall it having more Liam Neeson, but my attempts to use the non-YouTube embed tools did not end well.)

Obvious attempt to cash in on your own success, Hasbro? Really?

Because seriously, what are most people going to think when they see a movie based on a "toy" product which has enormous, intricate mechanical things tearing into major cities?

Whereas even the movie Transformers take a lot from preexisting material, this just comes across as a completely daft way to use a familiar name.

(Momentary aside on Battleship the game: My mother talks sometimes about how she and her classmates used to play it with sheets of paper. Ironically, I suspect that in a proper legally checked-on statement, she'd have to say that she and her classmates used to play a naval conflict representation game on sheets of paper. That kind of thing peeves me.)

-Signing off.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #23

221. Donadi. The Donadi are described as being best-known for their meditation techniques which allowed them to "see deeper meaning in images." This is central to the way the famous Donadi stain-paintings are created.

In other words, they're more likely to come up with something from a Rorschach blot, and sell Rorschach blots as fine art?

Rating: 3/5. There's no accounting for taste, and so I can totally believe that such a thing would exist-I'd be amazed if it doesn't in the real world, actually.

222. Doneers. Doneers are one of several sapient insectoid species known as being excellent shipwrights.

Yes, one of several-there are also the Verpine (who I'll talk about much later) and the Givin (who I'll talk about sooner) are a borderline case.

Rating: 3/5. I like smart bug folks. It's interesting to note that the Doneers are actually only noted as the "superior shipwrights" of their local sector, which at least theoretically sets them apart from the Givin and Verpine. However, they're probably the least original of the three groups (albeit also the most poorly known and the least thoroughly described).

223. Dorandeans. Dorandeans look like bald guys with stupid earlobes.

Rating: 1/5. Go away, Dorandeans. You are unnecessary and unpleasant to gaze upon.

224. Dorneans. The Dorneans are described as "humanoid," an awfully vague descriptor, have "leathery, purple skin," and have quills on their eyebrow ridges and their shoulders. Their facial structure in the provided image remind me of walruses and seals to some degree. Apparently, they were able to maintain independence from the Empire with only a small standing fleet thanks to their long military tradition, which dated back to their time as marine sailors on their homeworld.

Rating: 4/5. Kind of, erm, fillery, at least to some degree, but they're distinct. Also, their independence would make them potentially useful in Empire-era stories.

225. Doruns. Doruns have tentacles where others would have arms and eyestalks capable of independent motion.

...Well of course the eyestalks can move independently, that's kind of the point. If they couldn't, it means somebody tied them together, most likely.

Rating: 2/5. Very basic info, but at least they sound reasonably interesting in appearance.

226. Draags. Draags are large reptilian guys who apparently wear temperature regulation suits on most worlds because of their cold-bloodedness (gack), and whose "aggression, intelligence, and pushiness" result in them being "natural supervisors." Hah. They also are supposedly frequently skilled in the use of blasters (uh... couldn't most species capable of holding blasters potentially be skilled in their use?). They have a rather distinctive and somewhat rotund appearance.

Rating: 3/5. Natural supervisors: Best planet of hats ever. Well, not necessarily, but it ranks.

227. Drach'nam. Drach'nam are reptilians who are known for having a slave consortium.

Another reptilian supervisor race?

Rating: 2/5. I kid, I kid. At least they look kind of cool.

228. Drackmarians. A Drackmarian named Omogg lost a planet to Han Solo in a high-stakes card game.

Of course, the planet was in Imperial territory, and the Imperials didn't recognize her deed...

Rating: 3/5. It's pretty awesome that some random alien happened to have a planet as collateral in what amounted to a poker game. Note that I haven't even mentioned that they "breathe" methane (which is ultimately a goofy old-fashioned science fiction thing that makes no sense).

229. Dractuvians. Dractuvians have red skin, are humanoid, and are fairly primitive.

Rating: 2/5. They're pretty much just there.

230. Dradan. The Dradan were peaceful humanoids who offered refuge to Jedi fugitives after the Clone Wars.

Note the past tense? The Empire killed 'em all in response.

Then, a fallen Jedi of some kind used illusions of them to mess with other people who visited their planet, which apparently had a dark side Force nexus on it.

Rating: 3/5. The Dradan illusions appeared to be primitive, but it's interesting to note that there's no way for us to know if they actually were primitive or not. I think that's interesting.

A very average bunch this week.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The people who try to show you why you need products...

...are doin' it wrong.

(Still under the weather, spent most of the day reading [I'm ready to read the last Wheel of Time book when it comes out now], and it's possible that I've posted this before, but I don't think I did. Whatever.)

-Signing off.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Game Review: Steamlands

Steamlands is an entertaining strategy game.

Its central premise is quite simple: You build a (completely ridiculous) tank using parts found in each mission and overwhelm your enemies.

What makes it truly delightful are its setting and graphics. It's a post high-tech war Europe (said war apparently involved robots larger than skyscrapers, surely the best kind of apocalyptic war) which has reverted to Victorian culture and steampunk-type technology. There are tutorial movies at the beginning of many levels styled after silent films.

The gameplay is admittedly fun, but it would be better as a more RPG-like system, allowing you to continue adding to and upgrading your tank over numerous missions. Also, the difficulty curve spikes radically after the first few missions.

All in all, Steamlands is a good strategy game that, with tweaks, could be a great one.

(A brief review, to be sure, but the game is pretty simple and I'm mildly ill and rather tired.)

-Signing off.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sanagiman To Inazuman: Best Transformation Sequence Ever?

I know next to nothing about Inazuman other than his ability to repair buildings by pulling on them with ropes (he did so in his series opening) and his ability to turn into "Sanagiman" before he then transformed into Inazuman.

But that's pretty awesome, for reasons you can see here:

They seriously seem to have just blown up a thing made of foam for that.

-Signing off.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cool Little Engine

I had a hard time coming up with a title, because my first impulse was to call this post "Tiny Things That Retain the Functionality of Big Things Are Cool," and it can be hard to get rid of that first impulse.

Anyway, this is pretty neat.

-Signing off.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tales of Two Fishies

Illustration from a 1987 children's book featuring fish:

(Image obtained here.)

Illustration (or more properly, a derivation of a derivation of an illustration-it's a screencap from a YouTube video) from a 2008 children's book featuring fish:

(Image obtained here.)

I'm sure this says something about societal changes...

-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Some Kind of Creepy Things

Here, have a video of creepy things.

(If you're interested in Yu-Gi-Oh!, I have a few thoughts on a recent character over on my sister's Yu-Gi-Oh! blog.)

-Signing off.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #22

211. Devaronians. Male Devaronians are devil-horned devilish guys. (One was in the cantina scene, smiling and moving his eyes in very obvious fashion. Supposedly, he was really enjoying the music. Also, he was wanted for war crimes and was known colloquially as "the Butcher of Montellian Serat.") Female Devaronians are furrier and lack horns, and from pictures may be larger on average.

Somehow, Devaronians are similar to the devils or demons of hundreds of mythologies of the Star Wars galaxy; this might have something to do with them being among the first species to leave their homeworld, some 27,000 years before the series present. Male Devaronians are considerd violent and are not permitted to have political power in their own society. Also, males are primarily carnivorous, with only some individuals being able to live on diets with large amounts of plant material, while females are omnivorous.

Rating: 3/5. There are lots of interesting details in there, really. Of course, the reason they exist is because they needed an extra costume for the cantina scene, and they were able to pick up a secondhand devil costume on the cheap.

212. Devlikks. Devlikks 1) are ugly, and 2) don't live very long-they apparently are prone to going senile by age 9.

Rating: 2/5. There's not too much to go on, and I find them unpleasant to behold, but the idea of a super-short-lived species is the germ of something interesting.

213. Dhuryam. Dhuryam are Yuuzhan Vong-created lifeforms also known as "world brains." They are designed to maintain the ecosystems of Yuuzhan Vong "Vongformed" (i.e. terraformed) worlds by controlling nearly every living thing on the planet. One was placed on Coruscant after the Vong conquered it.

And Jacen Solo, Han and Leia's son, befriended it. (He turned all Sithy later, but when he was a kid, he was always befriending animals and other strange things. Sadly, it died, and that probably didn't help Jacen with the whole Sith thing.)

Rating: 3/5. I don't like the Yuuzhan Vong generally, but the dhuryam and its relatives amuse me. Especially since Jacen talked Coruscant's dhuryam into causing bugs to bite all the Yuuzhan Vong. All of them.

214. Diamala. The Diamala (singular Diamal) are another group who protected the Bothans during the Caamas Document crisis (I've talked so much about this it'd be easier to say "just read all those other posts-they explain it). At the time, they had a large trade network and some of their least favorite people were also the most vocal enemies of the Bothans, so that might explain it.

Rating: 3/5. They've got some interesting things about them.

215. Diathim. The Diathim are the "angels" of the moons of Iego that Anakin mentioned in his smooth-for-a-nine-year-old pickup line in Episode I. And that means that this post has angels and devils in it. Huh.

They're also capable of flight, do not eat, and can survive in space.

Rating: 3/5. Perfectly understandable why there would be superstitions about them.

216. Dilonexans. Dilonexans apparently suffer from a specific kind of food allergy.

Rating: 2/5. Normally, I would not be so kind to such limited information, but that's rather amusing.

217. Dimeans. We know little about the Dimeans except that they are apparently big, mean, and have scary teeth. One threw a Jedi into his ship's reactor core and accidentally blew up his ship that way.

Rating: 3/5. It's funny; there's no picture of them, even though they were mentioned in a computer game. They're kind of amusing.

218. Dimoks. Dimoks are native to Dimok. They had a war with some other guys, and then the Empire showed up and stomped on both of them, prompting them to ally with their old enemies... and they both still got stomped.

Rating: 1/5. Stories like this are a dime a dozen, really.

219. Diollans. Diollans are featherless avians. They have sensitive enough senses of smell to notice Rodian pheromones are repulsive, but since smelliness is considered an unsavory trait of most Rodians by most species, that doesn't mean much of anything.

Rating: 1/5. Fail.

220. Dolandu. They have white fur, and are known to respect Jedi.

Huh, don't most folks at least sort of respect Jedi? It's a good idea to respect somebody with a laser sword, after all...

Rating: 3/5. This is consolation for me not having time to really go over them carefully, because I'm in a hurry.

-Signing off.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Terror

Here, have a video of a good-sized crab.

"Tatos the Terror" is apparently this crab's individual name, as it is somebody's pet.

I don't know if I envy or feel sorry for people who live in areas where it's possible to keep coconut crabs and other unusual animals as pets.

-Signing off.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Specifically, what is up with candy commercials for the UK?

I mean, really? (I figure it must be for the UK because I've never heard of this stuff. Correct me if you know better...)

-Signing off.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Greatly Belated Book Review: Empire From the Ashes

Empire From the Ashes (find it for free here) is a trilogy-turned-collected-volume that is one of the earliest works by David Weber, who is probably best-known for his Honor Harrington series. (His earliest credit on Wikipedia's list of his published works is for some book in 1990; his next is Mutineer's Moon in 1991, which was the first part of this story.)

It's pretty good, especially since you can read it for free, but its quality in and of itself is not specifically the reason why I felt like reviewing it.

No, that would be because it reads like a checklist of his favored plot points and story features.

Here's just a few of the things I've noticed, based on things entirely off the top of my head and only from books of his that I've randomly read:

Numerous and extremely powerful ancient aliens who nonetheless never advance technologically in time periods spanning millions of years. (This book has the Achuultani; the later Safehold series, of which I have read one book, has the Gbaba, which may be an even more extreme example of this. It should be noted that Weber does not use many advanced aliens in his works.)

Humanity has fallen back from being extremely advanced spacefarers to stuck on a single primitive colony world. (Notably, Empire From the Ashes has two worlds shown which this applies to, and it actually happened at least two more times; this is the central precept of the Safehold series.)

A contrast between huge-scale combat between spacefaring civilizations and smaller-scale warfare in medieval/Renaissance-class cultures. (Earth's moon turns out to have been destroyed by Dahak, a massive warship from an ancient human civilization, in order to camouflage itself as the moon, and it was a ship tasked with picket duty [it was also stated that it could have vaporized Earth itself]. On the other hand, the planet Pardal was stuck in a sort of medieval stasis for about 45,000 years. Safehold, again, has a lot of this; a certain amount of it can also be found in the Empire of Man/Prince Roger series.)

Characters are apparently killed and believed missing for a period of months or years, but they're protagonists and still alive, struggling for the entire time to make their way back with limited resources. (Five of the characters were nearly assassinated by the self-destruction of a ship similar to Dahak, mentioned above, but the ship jettisoned them beforehand because it had special programming not to harm them [it's too much of a story to explain], and they spent about two years traveling to the nearest solar system, and found that it was inhabited by primitive humans who were controlling a quarantine system [ditto], but which had what they needed to get home if they could just get a hold of it. In Empire of Man/Prince Roger, a trilogy's worth is about the journey across a planet with varying levels of cultural sophistication to get a spaceship, only to discover that they're now wanted outlaws. And in Honor Harrington, the titular character was once thought dead but managed to escape to a prison planet, where she was able to stage a prison break.)

Religion is used as a tool to hold back technological development. (I'm not going to go too deeply into this, but it's a feature shared, again, with Safehold. It's almost as if the Pardalian sequences intrigued Weber enough that he wanted to do more with them than he had space for, and so he decided to write an entire series about a variation of them. It should be noted that these religions were generally ironically paired with technology to help maintain them.)

Extensive explorations of the implications of differences between the less advanced cultures and both our own counterparts to them and the advanced cultures encountering them are a must. (The planet Pardal, stuck in medieval stasis, had a number of native animals that made for differences in military development between their cultures and ours. Safehold, surprisingly, doesn't explore this aspect much [as far as I recall], but it's a pretty big deal in Empire of Man/Prince Roger. As for advanced versus less advanced, there's usually a lot of adding to the primitive side's tech base in sustainable ways and limited, careful use of the advanced side's limited technological resources and transhuman abilities. It should be noted that this was usually hidden in Empire From the Ashes and the Safehold series and given a mystical explanation when revealed to the "primitives," but in Empire of Man/Prince Roger, they don't bother doing anything but using it. Of course, the people of Marduk, who happen to be the only nonhuman example of "primitives," know a bit better than those others, but still...)

There are probably (well, definitely, actually) plenty more comparisons that could be made, but I don't want to list everything because 1) you could read it for yourself quite easily, and 2) I'm tired right now and I think I'm pretty close to done.

Empire From the Ashes is definitely a good read; if you don't mind reading a long text on the computer and like military science fiction, it's a darned good deal.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #21

201. Dantari. The Dantari appear to essentially be cavepeople with wonky proportions (sometimes). That's pretty boring, but these cavefolk worship Imperial war machines and stormtroopers. (They apparently witnessed a battle of some kind, and were particularly taken with the big walkers.)

Rating: 3/5. That's an awesome cultural tidbit.

202. Dashade. The Dashade are cool-looking guys who are resistant to the Force (presumably mostly the mind powers) and to radiation. (Yay, randomness!) They are thus often recruited as anti-Jedi assassins. (It's debated as to whether or not one of them was in the cantina scene.)

Rating: 4/5. Eh, I just like 'em.

203. Dashta eels. Despite being regular little old eels, some Dashta eels are sapient. Also, many non-sapient Dashta eels are Force-sensitive, and supposedly "the first species known to be so."

I guess I could believe that some of the other ones are too obscure...

Rating: 3/5. They're mostly just weird, but not in a bad way.

204. Dawferim. Dawferim are known for having a five hundred year long feud with some other guys. ...And other than the fact that they formed a defense coalition to handle said feud, that's it.

Rating: 1/5. I've got nothin' to say.

205. Dazouri. The Dazouri are little guys who are generally supposed to be shrewd and rational, but when upset they get huge and become homicidal maniacs. So they're a species that literally hulks out.

Rating: 3/5. I'm forgiving them their blatant defiance of mass conservation.

206. Dbarians. Dbarians are apparently essentially asexual octopus/cuttlefish people. They are described as "a worrisome race." As in "cause for others to worry" or "worry a lot themselves?" Based on the fact that they apparently also spend lots of time "evaluating" things, I'd guess that it's the latter.

Rating: 2/5. It'd be nicer if less ambiguous words were used in this kind of thing, although I don't think that affected the rating. (There's just not quite enough there to be exciting.)

207. Defel. The Defel are also known as wraiths because despite being huge hairy types, they usually look to most other species like they are merely shadows; i.e. they border on invisible in most conditions. The most notable Defel is probably one who appeared in a couple of Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire books. Who was he? Some random thug.

Rating: 3/5. Something interesting that I think was lost later on is that Timothy Zahn also indicated that Defel (and a number of other species, most notably the Noghri) were more difficult for most to sense with the Force.

208. Delorf. The Delorf... may have been a myth.

Rating: 3/5. I find the idea that there are mythical sapient beings even in an ancient, well-explored, and highly advanced place to be entertaining.

209. Delphanians. The Delphanians sound very ugly, and apparently frequently pierced their lips, sometimes to the point where said piercings jangled.

Incidentally, I find lip piercings unpleasant.

Rating: 3/5. They have a bit more info than that. Incidentally, they were created for Death Troopers, a Star Wars zombie story.

210. Delrakkins. The Delrakkins apparently resemble lizards and live underground. (Is that just a clumsy attempt at describing them as reptilian? Because not all reptilian creatures are lizards, and except for snakes, in fact, most creatures we call reptiles aren't very closely related to each other or lizards. Crocodiles are much more closely related to birds than lizards and snakes, and turtles are off by themselves somewhere. End zoological nerd rant.) The Delrakkins also were once given poisoned bacta (that stuff that was used to heal Luke up in Empire Strikes Back), although the Delrakkins were saved.

Rating: 3/5. I think they get a point because their name is aesthetically pleasing to me.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Game Review: Ghost Hacker

Ghost Hacker is one of a multitude of tower defense games that I've played.

It's of the "non-mazing" variety, i.e. the enemy moves on a preset path (which, I would suppose, makes it much easier to program). These are my less favored type of tower defense, although I still enjoy them.

What sets this apart from the average tower defense game is the tower customization system. Each tower has two or three "hard points" on it that you can attach an upgrade to. Whereas in most tower defense games, an upgrade is just a perk, here they're half the point or more of the game. Each one grants a special benefit. Each tower is also unique in where it can be placed and what it does. A lot of gameplay is figuring out what combinations are coolest or most effective. (Hint: Splash damage modifiers stack.)

Enemies in a game like this can also make the difference between being generic and interesting; the enemies here are definitely unique and interesting. That said, they're also total (expletive deleted) to deal with.

I think Ghost Hacker is a very interesting game, although it's a bit of a pain to play at times. I can recommend trying it.

-Signing off.

Monday, November 21, 2011


What do you want to bet that there was a sudden plummet in popularity for the candy that this ad is for once it aired?


-Signing off.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Violin Video Game Music

Violins are pretty cool. So is this chick who is playing one.

I don't have anything else to say on the subject, I guess...

-Signing off.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sesame Street Martians Investigate Mysterious Device

I think the surest sign that Sesame Street has gone in a direction I don't like is probably the rarity of segments like this on the modern program.

I mean, those guys are awesome.

It gets funnier if you imagine that this must be playing in their heads starting around 2:27.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cool Animation

I don't have too much to say on this other than "this is cool."

Well, aside from it being pretty good for a student animation.

Also, that ogre/troll/whatever reminds me of the Hulk and Doomsday-how tough is that guy?

-Signing off.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #20

Finally hitting the letter "D" and also #200. (Note that I skipped "Dalek" because unlike E.T.'s species, there's no evidence that it was ever intended they were really inhabitants of the Star Wars galaxy-they're just an easter egg.)

191. Crokes. Crokes are tiny invertebrates (never larger than the hand of a large individual such as a Wookiee) who are reputed to resemble three-legged hairy snails or slugs. They're naturally aggressive and acquisitive despite this, and will apparently ruthlessly eliminate others who stand in the way of their personal gains. This lead to the Crokes suffering greatly when they made war on each other using large, carnivorous, and none-too-picky fast-breeding creatures, apparently all but destroying their populations on many of their worlds.

How, you are probably asking, did they manage to get many worlds if they're so tiny? Apparently, at least part of it comes from the fact that they could pretend to be much bigger than they actually were using Force-based techniques (Lando Calrissian Adventures villain Rokur Gepta was actually a Croke), and they may have naturally had extremely long lifespans, which would presumably be very useful in long-term plotting. How long? Rokur Gepta was 20,000 or so years old when he died of severe injuries (said severe injuries involving Lando Calrissian grabbing him and squeezing until he went squish).

Rating: 5/5. The Crokes are more implausible than a lot of Star Wars species, but in a good way-isn't it a hilarious thought that these teeny tiny things would be scheming and trying to take over planets and whatnot? (And are pretty good at it, considering?)

192. Crotok. Sapient. Alien. A species.

Rating: 0/5. AAARRRGGHHH.

193. Cthon. Cthon are basically H.P. Lovecraft-style ghouls who live on Coruscant, deep in the ground-level areas that are almost inaccessible. Some were goaded into attacking Darth Vader once. It did not end well for them.

They may have gone extinct during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, since those jerks wrecked the place and filled it with their own preferred brands of horrible roving predators and such.

Rating: 4/5. They're pretty amusing, and more logical than their Lovecraft fiction counterparts (if the entire planet is a city and has been for millennia, it's a bit more plausible that there would be creatures like them). Ironically, there's a somewhat similar probably nonsapient species called corridor ghouls that live in the same areas.

194. Cuvacians. Cuvacians apparently have a difficult-to-translate language, because an advertiser for a translation device used their language as an example of what it could translate.

Rating: 2/5. Establishing some languages as harder to translate than others makes sense, I suppose.

195. Cyborreans. They're from Cyborrea, which is in Hutt Space. They breed Cyborrean Battle Dogs, also known as neks, which do not so much resemble dogs as tiny reptilian hippos with gland problems. Neks are frequently used as hunting and attack creatures, as they are designed to be highly resistant to weapons and stuff. They're also apparently illegal in most of the galaxy.

Rating: 3/5. I suppose it wouldn't be timely to make a Michael Vick joke at this point... Whoops.

196. Cyrillians. Reptilian guys as tall as Wookiees, they invented the DUM pit droids, those little saucer-headed robots that had all those crazy antics in Episode I.

Rating: 2/5. Eh, I liked those pit droids, although I'm sure plenty of other people didn't.

197. D'farians. The D'farians protected the Bothans during the Caamas Document crisis.

That's about it.

Rating: 2/5. Minimal information, sure, but the fact that they protected the Bothans, who were at rock-bottom in terms of popularity at that particular moment, is an intriguing suggestion of possible traits of their culture.

198. Dabi. All we know is that one of them had purchased a droid to serve as a waiter, and that droid was extremely obnoxious, leading to the owner praising a Mandalorian (who happened to be Boba Fett's granddaughter-yes, really) who destroyed its voicebox with a blaster.

Rating: 2/5. At least it's an amusing incident, but it tells us nothing about the Dabi.

199. Daimlo. Daimlo come from Daimla. (Ha!) They're fat, are probably short, have long horns and faces (although they don't resemble the Iktotchi beyond their horns, despite what the article says), and are among the species known for podracing.

Rating: 2/5. Amazing how there's a decent amount of of information there, but it says almost nothing as a whole (except that they're really ugly-my observation from the page picture, not Wookieepedia's).

200. Daltarri. They're plant things who look amusing. They apparently don't like it when their allies question them about aiding them (their allies aiding the Daltarri, that is).

Rating: 3/5. I'm not entirely sure what their cultural feature means and attempting to convey the meaning of the sentence that describes it is driving me batty, but it's there and they made an effort. Plus they look amusing.

Yaaayyy, #200.

-Signing off.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Too Many Crabs

Nature is wonderful, isn't it?

While I wouldn't enjoy walking around there, those baby crabs are genuinely adorable.

-Signing off.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles In Japan

Y'know, for a long time, I kind of forgot that the original TMNT cartoon was extremely comedic. (I was a kid [and often missed a lot of subtle things when I was a kid], I didn't get to watch a lot of episodes for various reasons, and my clearest memories of watching the show on TV involved the "red skies" seasons, which had less sunlight than Batman: The Animated Series and mostly took themselves more seriously.)

Of course, in Japan, they made "Mutant Turtles" (no "teenage" or "ninja," so far as I know) even sillier. (I've mentioned it before; if you hit the "tmnt" tag, you should find it pretty quickly.)

(Hilariously, in the second episode of this OVA, when Darth Vader Shredder and the turtles travel to Japan and encounter ninjas, they freak out-because in this version, neither group had anything to do with "actual" ninjas.)

And of course, in the UK they dropped all references to ninjas as well, calling them "hero" turtles. They also took away Michaelangelo's nunchucks in later seasons and replaced them with a rope, supposedly because 'chucks were too violent for the kiddies (like a kid is more likely to copy violence involving a relatively rare weapon than violence involving a rope?).

-Signing off.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I used to think that Rom from Marvel Comics was the talkiest space knight ever.

I was wrong.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Starring Robosaurus

Y'know, if you're going to make a clip about something obscure like this, you could at least explain that the special effects giant robot dragon thing is a real thing that appears at monster truck rallies and whatnot.

It sounds like it would have been a pretty dumb series, but I don't know that that's a bad thing.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

China Still Loves Giant Robots

(I'm being self-referential, just so you know.)

Y'know, this looks like a decent CGI anime-type show from China here...

...but my favorite part is probably the song. (It's definitely my sister's favorite part.)

-Signing off.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #19

181. Cosians. Cosians are described as having beaks and clubbed tails, which makes me think that they're a bit like bipedal ankylosaurs.

More importantly, a Jedi Cosian uses the lightsaber equivalent of a sword cane.


Rating: 4/5. Sure, the species itself has little information, but an ankylosaur alien with a lightsaber cane makes me smile.

182. Courataines. Courataines are known to be squishy and to need help breathing in what we would consider normal atmospheres because of their homeworld's low gravity and thin atmosphere.

Rating: 3/5. For some guys who appeared in the background of one of the Han Solo Adventures briefly (so briefly I don't even recall them), they've got some decent material to work with as a starting point.

183. Covallon. The Covallon basically resemble big hairy reptile dogs, but are just as intelligent as humans. Since Imperials are speciesist jerks, a few Covallon used this to their advantage and were "adopted" as "pets" by high-ranking Imperial officers in order to spy on said officers.

Rating: 5/5. All power to the opposable-thumbless master spies who are cool-looking reptile lion dog things.

184. Coway. The Coway are big tough primitive types, for the most part. They look relatively human, but are covered in red down and all of them have these hilarious feather mohawk crests.

Hilariously, the entry for them claims that their foods would be poison to them if their digestive systems weren't so powerful. No duh, any foods that you can't digest will at the very least be inedible and poison-like.

Rating: 3/5. They're basically bigger, meaner Ewoks who are easier to take seriously. (Seriously, the first story to feature them was actually published years before Return of the Jedi, and they were basically exactly like Ewoks but lived in caves instead.)

185. Coynites. The Coynites are a rather typical dumb warrior race for the most part ("ME HATE WEAK PEOPLE! WEAK PEOPLE ALL DIE!" etc.) but have two interesting notes.

First, they have a physiognomy that would result in a possible 250-year lifespan, but because they're all idiots who constantly tear into each other, their actual average lifespan is 53 years. Good gravy, but they're dumb.

Second, despite a very humanlike shape and general appearance, they are described as giving birth to "litters" of two to six, implying that six isn't an unusual litter. Ouch. (It also notes that each litter is made up of only one sex.)

Rating: 3/5. I hate dumb warrior races (just because they're violent doesn't mean they'll be dumb), but the biological details amuse me.

186. Cragmoloids. Cragmoloids are elephant people. Elephant people who spent time entirely enslaved, and who lost their homeworld to heavy stripmining by a megacorporation.

More relevant to the modern Cragmoloid is the very real issue of being poached for his or her valuable tusks. While they think it's humiliating, most of them saw their own tusks off to ensure their own safety.

Rating: 4/5. I find their delicate societal position rather unrealistic for the most part, but also hecka funny in a grim sort of way.

187. Cranscoc. The Cranscoc are slow-breeding insectoids who communicate by changing their own colors. Cranscoc own Spaarti Creations, which those familiar with the EU will note as sharing the name of the cloning apparatus used in the Timothy Zahn-penned Star Wars novels.

Not surprising, as they appeared in a Zahn-penned story to explain why Spaarti cloning cylinders were in his books when the prequels used guys named Kaminoans instead.

Rating: 3/5. I think this is the lowest I've rated a Zahn book species, although it was more of a Zahn short story species. (Could be wrong.) The thing about Zahn, though, is that even his obvious continuity patching is great.

188. Cratniks. Cratniks are apparently a grossout species, because they're described as large insectoids who are "repulsive" in appearance to humanoids, eat live rodents, and get mad if you impolitely refuse to eat the rodents they offer you. And don't think they won't offer you live rodents to eat-they will. (They will excuse you if you are polite and a vegetarian or don't want to eat raw food. Yes, that's a "polite and it's not part of your diet," not "polite or it's not part of your diet.)

They also attack with their jaws in combat.

Rating: 4/5. I find it hilarious that they were apparently designed with the intention of making them freaky as all heck.

189. Crintlians. Crintlians have a hilarious name.

They're also "territorial" (over their furniture? Over their food? Over the remote? Over their lands? Over their planet?) and "known for their technology" (advanced technology? Primitive technology? Cheap imitation technology? Fancy and with all the bells and whistles technology?).

Rating: 1/5. No good. Please avoid vagueness in your descriptions in the future.

190. Critokians. The Critokians, from Critoki (fun to say and to type), are intended to be giant spiders, although the existing illustration is... odd. They're the canonized entry in the "Under 16" category of the "Design an Alien" contest, which I've mentioned in the past.

They can kill prey with their large claws.

They also apparently have a population on Yavin 4, the rather lush moon that the Rebels put their base on in ANH.

Rating: 4/5. I find the statement above ("They can kill prey..."), which is paraphrased rather closely from the article on them, to be hilarious. Also, I tend to rate spider guys high here...

-Signing off.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lots of Cartoon Insults

I love the fact that there are people with enough time on their hands to do stuff like this. (Note that the video is just shy of eleven minutes.)

There are places where this has a kind of mind-blowing cadence, aren't there?

-Signing off.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Great Moments in DVD Cases Cracker Packaging

I opened a box of Wheat Thins today, and discovered that something was a bit off. And it made me think of the fact that I've had a few posts commenting on poor quality control and other things in DVD packages, and I thought, "Hey, why not blog about a bad cracker bag?"

Yes, it came like that. I was worried that the crackers would be bad, but in fact they were still fresh, and I transferred them to a resealable plastic baggy.

It looks kind of like the sheet of plastic was too short for the machine to seal the proper way; I'm just amazed that the crackers were edible.

And yes, I ate a few handfuls to make sure.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Batman Does Not Conform (To Batman's Expectations)

I don't know.

Batman apparently likes contradicting Batman.

(And whoa, I didn't expect this one to not match the width of the other two so badly.)

And, of course, the MIND SCREW version.

I'm sorry.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Game Review: Cube me I am a transformer

Cube me I am a transformer (sic) is a game that's trying hard to be delightful, but falls more than a little short.

Which isn't to say that it isn't a good effort.

The story seems to be a lighthearted jab of sorts at the MacGuffin of the first live-action Transformers movie, the Allspark Cube. The gray stickblob is running with a yellow cube, the green one is chasing him, and then the gray one trips and a chip comes off the cube. The green one picks the chip up.

Then the gray one shoots the green one dead.

The chip from the cube turns the green stickblob into a more rectangular stickblob (and brings him back to life, obviously).

If left alone, your character will jump rope.

Gameplay is basically the ancient Super Mario Brothers paradigm-run, jump, squish, and no hitpoints (although the game's "respawn" system is lazy and your lives are more like hitpoints most of the time)-but by pressing a certain combination of keys, you can turn into a tank, which you can acquire ammunition for.

Sadly, this doesn't make you any tougher-the same things will generally hurt you for the same number of lives.

If you acquire fuel, then you will gain the ability to transform into a helicopter, which can fly.

Sadly, you lose even minimal offensive capabilities (despite what looks like a rocket pod on the side there) and can't move very fast, although that balances it out quite a bit-or it would, if you didn't have such a strict time limit.

I can't get past the second level, which is intended to be the first "real" level.

Why not?

Well, there's a timer.

The ammo and fuel supplies are quite limited.

Fuel lasts for far too short a time.

If you run out of ammo and fuel, the enemies and environments-which include gigantic helicopters that hover over enormous crevasses-are such that they would make even the most hardcore of gamers cry to face them as a functional Mario clone, even if the game had some kind of oneup sampo, which it doesn't. The game is just literally physically impassable if you're not using these skills which have super-limited durations (and since the durations are so short, you won't be using these skills for long enough).

It's a game with quite a bit of potential that I want to like, but I can't. Play it for a couple of minutes, but don't get too furious when it gets to be a pain in the butt.

-Signing off.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #18

Every now and again, there's a whole bunch of guys with too little information to go on in a row. This post may hold the record for that.

171. Clawdites. The Clawdites are shapeshifters. This is why a hot chick in Episode II turned into a nasty thing when she died-she was a Clawdite.

Most Clawdites, from what I've read, can't change their forms as extensively as a lot of shapeshifters; they essentially can only use it as disguise powers. And that rather makes me wonder what the point to Zam Wesell (the aforementioned Clawdite) shapeshifting really was-she went around "disguised" as the same hot actress all the time.

Rating: 3/5. As shapeshifters go, the Clawdites are fairly boring and mildly plausible. They have kind of a fun name, though. Clawdite Clawdite Clawdite.

172. Codru-Ji. Codru-Ji are four-armed people. Their most amusing feature is that they go through a form of metamorphosis-they start as shaggy six-legged doglike creatures, and then form cocoons and emerge as extremely humanoid (and fairly attractive) beings.

Needless to say, visitors on their homeworld often are embarrassed by social missteps. (And outsiders are rarely aware of the Codru-Ji life cycle because not many of them travel abroad.)

Rating: 4/5. I love the idea of completely vertebrate creatures going through insect metamorphosis.

173. Colicoid. These guys designed the droideka, i.e. the "destroyer droids" that mostly showed up in Episode I. And they modeled them after themselves.

That means that they're big vaguely buglike creatures that can roll up into balls.

They also are cannibalistic (by the science fiction/fantasy definition of "cannibalism," which is "eats things that can talk") and will capture passers-by in and near their solar system and kill and eat them.

Rating: 4/5. I like the Colicoids a fair bit. While I don't care for insectoid/reptilian creatures being typecast as ravening beasts who will kill you and eat your flesh for jollies, the fact that they are murderous creatures who also are smart enough to design and build effective weapons systems gives them a good boost.

174. Columi. Columi are tiny-bodied, huge-headed people who ride around in hoverchairs. In effect, a race of MODOKs.

They also are described as being a "very old" species, which is kind of meaningless as a phrase, but intended to indicate that they are highly advanced.

Rating: 4/5. Only because they're basically MODOKs.

175. Conjeni. [EDIT: Whoops, for a while there the link was to the wrong article.] Conjeni resemble red-furred cartoon starfish.

And that's it.

Rating: 2/5. I'm amused by the description, anyway.

176. Constancians. Short, telepathic, mammalian humanoids.

Four out of five of whom are disturbing as heck. (Look at that picture.)

Rating: 1/5. Aaargh no.

177. Cor. Cor are described as "feline" but look suspiciously like rats (a bit like this guy does). They apparently had some kind of mystic powers that let them contain some sort of giant monster. A big space corporation wanted to utilize the land some of them lived on, and forcibly relocated them, causing the huge, invincible monster to wreck everything they tried to do there. And so the Cor were allowed to move back, yay the end.

Rating: 2/5. All that kind of annoys me. At least they got better information than most of this batch...

178. Corasgh. The Corasgh had a terrible name. I say "had" instead of "have" because the Yevethans, another alien species who, like the later Yuuzhan Vong, slaughtered a bunch of people and caused general havoc and annoyance, and who were almost certainly another of the Yuuzhan Vong's inspirations (alongside the Charon).

Rating: 1/5. I must thank the Yevethans for ensuring that I'll never need to type "Corasgh" ever again.

179. Corragut. The Corragut live in the Corellian Sector and are "treated as a client species" by the Corellians, whatever the heck that means in this context.

Rating: 1/5. Don't be holding out for something better, because...

180. Corthenians. They're from the Corthenia system. That's it. As if we couldn't have guessed that without being told.

Rating: 1/5. ...

Half of these guys had practically no information in their articles. That's astonishing in one respect, and predictable in another.

-Signing off.