Friday, April 29, 2011

Another Terrifying Nature Video

This is the sort of thing that makes you never want to walk barefoot outside ever.

Of course, most people in their right minds wouldn't do that where these things live anyway...

-Signing off.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I don't remember a specific instance of titling a post "Distraction," but it sounds like something I'd do.

Gotta love those aliens.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dynamic Entry

I really don't know (or care) what this is from, but it's kinda funny.

Somebody in the comments said "Smoking kills!" I think it'd be more appropriate to say "distraction while fighting giant robots kills" myself...

Although according to some other comment, the guy is a robot or something. So I dunno.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Game Reviews: Mardek

I'm not going to go into an extensive review of the Mardek games, which can all be found here. They're solid fantasy RPGs (in the "JRPG" style) with an ongoing interlinked storyline and...

...a unique sense of humor.

They're fun (usually), funny, and thoroughly enjoyable.

-Signing off.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Golden Age Moment of the Day (72)

From Fantastic Comics #9 comes a fascinating piece of brain-melting "reasoning."

What reasoning is it?

For some reason, that villain guy thought, when Stardust emerged from a crater left by his evil villain death ray, that he had created Stardust, unknowingly and accidentally, and believed it when Stardust told him he'd do his bidding.

That's a whole new-or rather, old-level of "too dumb to live."

-Signing off.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Game Reviews: Robot Dinosaurs That Shoot Beams When They Roar

Robot Dinosaurs blah blah not gonna type all that again is a silly, lazy game. Pretty much the only reason I'm going to talk about it at all is because of this image from the intro movie.

I don't know why, but I find that image hilarious.

Anyway, there's not really much to the game-it's a simple shoot-em-up sidescrolling game such as usually involve spaceships, but with dinosaurs. Probably the most interesting aspect of gameplay is that your weapon is a huge beam that can wipe out lots of stuff, but you can't fire it constantly because you have a weapons gauge that runs out faster that way than it replenishes. So if you just hold down the firing button continuously, you'll get a few moments of a potent weapon, but then you'll just get a weak, useless fizzle, and will have to wait longer for it to work again than you would if you used it more carefully.

Short game, not much depth, but you could blow half an hour on it. That's all it's supposed to be, and it does it.

Oh, yes, one other thing: The intro movie has a bit that's not quite appropriate for children, although the rest of it is reasonably kid-friendly. Just so you know.

-Signing off.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Great Moments in DVD Cases (#2)

Oh, dear, it's been forever since the first of these...

Here we have a case where its flaws probably weren't the manufacturer's fault...

Can you tell what's missing?

Half of that little push-tab assembly doohickey that holds the DVD in, that's what. We have to be very careful to store this darned thing on a level surface.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Iron Man Anime Trailer Thing

Hey, look, a trailer thing for some Iron Man anime thing!

I dunno, I'm not much in the mood for blogging.

And I just reminded myself that I haven't done nearly as much blogging involving the Iron Man cartoon as I wanted (two or so posts is woefully inadequate).

-Signing off.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Anime Review/Profile/Whatever: Escaflowne

I'm a fairly big fan of anime (and manga), but ironically, I don't watch a huge amount of anime. (I read a decent amount of manga in Shonen Jump, as I've noted in the past.) I'm also not familiar with a lot of "big name" anime, whatever that means.

My first experiences with anime were largely name-changing dubs such as Voltron and Teknoman (most people's above a certain age had the same experience, of course), but the first one that sticks out in my head was a series that was aired spottily many years ago on network television, Escaflowne (TVTropes page here) (also known as The Vision of Escaflowne and "Escaflowne of the Heavens"). The network in question, Fox(Kids), actually put together a pretty cool introductory segment, although they also rather mauled the series.

Not enough to make it unenjoyable, but definitely enough to "ruin" it, as they skipped the first episode and then stopped after a few episodes when they realized "Hey, this show has huge amounts of blood, violence, and other adult themes in it!" So you can't really blame them; the studio that dubbed it apparently wanted to put it on cable first. Eventually, it saw more proper releases, and it's apparently much more popular and well-known in western countries than in Japan.

Escaflowne is a really great series. It has giant robots (which I'm obviously a sucker for) in a medieval setting, and they're powered by magic rocks that are the internal organs of dragons. There are great characters (my favorite minor character is a guy who dies early in the series who jumped around only in normal armor while carrying a large sword and cutting arms off of giant robots) and strong and original writing. And it's even got a moving (if goofily shojo-esque) romantic plotline which is the crux of the series-which led to an episode where the villains plot to break the characters up because of how important it is. (Saying how and why would be huge spoilers. And it's much better than it sounds.) The primary villain of the series is also a historical figure, and there are a few really unexpected twists along the way.

It also has some incredible music.

There's also an alternate continuity movie and two or three manga adaptations out there, all of which take out crucial aspects of the story or otherwise make changes that mean I have no interest in any of them. (The movie is dumbed down to be a movie, and also makes things darker, edgier, and bloodier merely for the sake of doing so [and the anime was already pretty darned bloody, which means that it was pretty awful], although there was a cool fight between organic giant robots at the end. Each manga version took things in an opposite direction, one going more in the shonen direction and changing the characters to match [read: giving the boyish female protagonist more pronounced curves], and the other going in the shojo direction and removing all the violence, which means it probably was pretty boring.)

All in all, Escaflowne is probably the objectively best anime I've ever watched the whole way through.

My only real problem with it is that the characters are drawn with these crazy-looking big, pointy noses. That can be forgiven, though.

-Signing off.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Golden Age Moment of the Day (71)

From "The Origin of Mekano," which you can find in the form of individual JPEG files here, comes this panel:

Yeah, I don't think that robot's from Mars if its operator is named Tommy.

...Also, how is it a wave of destruction, exactly? A trail or a path of destruction, sure, but...

-Signing off.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Some Old Robot

I actually mentioned Elektro the robot at some point in the distant past on here; it honestly wasn't an inspired post, so I'll let it remain anonymous.

Elektro was rather hilarious, because he was designed to do several rather... oddball things, such as inflating balloons.

The other major purpose of the mouthpiece? Smoking.

Yes, probably the most distinctive feature of this "technological marvel"* was being a bad role model.

No references to retro robots are truly complete without mentioning Elektro. Elektro, and this guy.

Truly, he is the pinnacle of robot design.**

-Signing off.

*Technically, he was only a remote-controlled dummy, and while he inspired at least some comic book robots and helped usher in the idea of robots being a potential part of society, he was really just a relatively complicated remotely controlled device that is exceeded in complexity by numerous modern children's toys, e.g. anything made by WowWee-and heck, more impressive similar feats of engineering were achieved long before then.

**Obviously, I'm being facetious, but I do love that little guy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Robo Force: The Revenge of Nazgar (Part the Fifth)

When we last saw those silly-looking robots, they had just gotten out of a big sludgy lava substitute.

This means they need to go back to base for repairs-their power packs have been depleted or some such thing. (They probably also want all that squishy "lava" scraped off.)

Meanwhile, Hun-Dred and company arrive at the final location, which they really should have known about in the first place...

...but we'll let it slide.

Not only does it contain Nazgar's brain, it's also actually a giant frikkin' tower fortress that's been camouflaged with rock and is armed with a gigantic death ray capable of targeting Celestia (the big happy techno-city from earlier) from miles and miles away, even though it probably ought to be beyond the horizon line.

And Nazgar is happy to have his new body, courtesy of Dr. Fury (remember him?).

Mark Fury breaks in by himself and breaks his father out, beating the ever-living heck out of some of Hun-Dred's robots in the process.

I reiterate: A dude took on two heavily armed killer robots without a weapon. And neither he nor his father got hurt.

This is about when the death ray starts bombarding the city... Deena and the robots head in.

This causes the villains to unleash their defense system: GIANT METAL PTEROSAURS.

It doesn't work very well, and the good guys are inside in mere seconds. (And with good reason: There's only a couple of minutes left before it will be over forever!)

As they enter, Maxx Steele is confronted by Hun-Dred, who is determined to take the other 'bot down. He whips his robot-killing drill out and proceeds to-

-break it on Maxx's shoulder?! What?

And then, Maxx punches him-

-CHEESE! Across the room?

And then he explodes.

What was that?

Wait, here's an excerpt from an "Official" Robo Force page's Maxx Steele bio entry:

With the motto "Any mission, any time, any place," [Maxx's] primary assets are his brute strength and his almost total invulnerability.

You don't say?

Anyway, Nazgar is preparing to escape, and that flunky guy who betrayed the security council in the second part wants to escape too.

He isn't allowed to get into the escape... doohickey, and after it closes, all the good robots but Maxx Steele and Coptor (who carried out Dr. Fury) show up. The flunky points at it and shouts "Nazgar's in there!" and Deena and the robots shoot the heck out of it.

I mean, they seriously mess this thing's stuff right up.

Granted, this was just open-ended enough that Nazgar might have been using a teleporter or even a more mundane method like a trap-door to escape, but it's not going to be followed up in later episodes, because there aren't any.

The death ray can't be shut off, so Maxx (remember, he went off by himself) goes and breaks it with his bare hands robot gripper things.

And then, in celebration, he and the robot boys have some nice refreshing suspicious beverages.

Just like that one time in G1 Transformers, although we don't see the part where they all get drunk and start using their robot abilities in hilariously inappropriate ways.

I guess that's probably for the best; better they go out on a high note.

As I've said, this is a fun little cartoon; it was probably helped by the fact that, being only one segment, it couldn't afford to waste a second, so it just goes by at breakneck speed.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Game Reviews: Ether of Magic Cards

Ether of Magic Cards is another card-themed flash game, but a little different than the last few: It has elements similar to a TCG, but doesn't actually pretend to be one. (At least, it isn't a direct imitation of any TCG I've ever seen, though I've also seen a few other similar flash games...)

You play as a wizard with an array of spells represented by cards; these cards are loosely color coded by power level, and have various somewhat diverse effects. You fight other wizards who are... pretty much you with palette swaps and a mirrored character model.

The white-colored cards are pathetic; yellow cards are stronger, and a few have useful utility purposes (Antidote for removing poison, Dispel for eliminating positive status effects on enemies), red cards are stronger but rarer, and black cards are very rare and obscenely powerful. (With two copies of the most powerful card in the game, God's Wrath, in your opening hand, you'd need only one other weak card to definitely win the game without your opponent making a successful move. I've done this more than once, although it's admittedly unusual.) The game is pretty simple overall-one could probably play it with mocked up cards and only a sheet of paper or something to track health.

The gameplay is not enormously engaging; it ranges from brutal curbstomping as described above to grueling and annoying drawn-out battles where your opponent just keeps healing himself over and over and over again. It's also rather short overall-perhaps half an hour or forty-five minutes of gameplay will take you to the final boss (above), and that's on hard. You only "retreat" when defeated, so you just have to be persistent.

I like this game, but acknowledge that lots of things about it are dumb and annoying, and can't wholeheartedly recommend it. I can say that having fun isn't impossible with it, but it takes more work than a lot of games.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Golden Age Moment of the Day (70)

Stan Lee has apparently stated that J. Jonah Jameson is "modeled... after (a much grumpier version of) himself."

I almost wanna vote that he based him on this (probably) pseudo-Nazi guy from Fantastic Comics #10...

I mean, not really, but the resemblance is a bit uncanny...

-Signing off.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Don't Cheat at Soccer...

...or Mr. T will throw a Snickers at your head.

...after threatening to run you over with a tank.

(Sometimes, you just need to post a video of Mr. T smashing stuff and threatening people with a tank while advertising a candy bar.)

-Signing off.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Za Warudo

I'm going to throw this at you with no context.

This odd thing is derived from a game which itself was derived from a manga (with rather little anime to its credit) called JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.

It wouldn't be inappropriate to call JoJo's Bizarre adventure a saga, as the first volume involves a vampire in Victorian England, the second involved a bunch of super vampires and Nazis, and so on (well, the vampire angle gets mostly dropped after the third volume), and the second main character is the grandson of the first and the grandfather of the third. (In consecutive volumes, it gets a bit convoluted, with an illegitimate son who is the younger uncle of his predecessor, a guy whose relation to the family is really messed up, and then swings back around to protagonist number three's daughter. Then the universe gets reset. Yeah... Apparently, it's the longest-running manga without a televised anime adaptation, going since 1987.

On a slightly unrelated note, apparently the character designs and other aspects of the manga inspired at least some of the characters in the early Street Fighter games.)

The whole thing with the steamroller is apparently a sort of simplification of something that volume three's main villain was known for-hitting people with large, heavy vehicles. For some reason, the thing that stuck in everyone's mind was the "roadroller" (apparently the Japanese word for a steamroller), and so it's reached seriously memey levels.


-Signing off.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Robo Force: The Revenge of Nazgar (Part the Fourth)

When we last saw Hun-Dred and his goons, they were about to embark on a quest to find the other two message crystals.

They start out by threatening a woman, in one of the rare speaking roles by a villain robot other than Hun-Dred ("Vulgar," in case you're wondering).

It's not necessary to threaten, though, because she's actually an android (!) who can be made to tell them through code words, making her the first non-standard robot to appear, and also kind of hard to listen to, because her voice is grating as all heck. She hands the crystal to them, they listen to the message, which tells them they'll find the next in some volcano or something, and they head out.

This is where the volcano is.

Somehow, from the tip they got from the guy they threatened last time, the good guys have caught up enough to know where to look, and so they aren't far behind (though the robots force the humans to stay behind because the air is poisonous).

Hun-Dred and goons find the last message crystal on this odd rock formation in the middle of a huge pool of lava-ish stuff. (It doesn't act much like lava, which is why I say that.)

By spinning all three message crystals at the same time, it plays another new recording. Wouldn't these be nifty RPG quest items?

Then the good guys parade in.


...they promptly get knocked into the "lava."

This is, of course, where the commercial break goes.

After the baddies leave, they try to fly out, but the "lava" is too sticky. So one of them fires up his handy grappling hook, and they human robot chain their way out of there.

The final proof, by the way, that this stuff probably isn't lava:

It makes me think of cake frosting, but it might make you think of something... less wholesome.

Anyway, they get out of there, and...

...and that's all I have for today, because I intend to wrap this up next time in one fell swoop.

Business get serious.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Game Reviews: Monster Master

Monster Master is a flash game that, like Mytheria, simulates a TCG in shrunken, simplified and less diverse format.

The model for this one, though, is Yu-Gi-Oh!, the TCG associated with an anime and manga that my sister is doing an extended fancomic for (and for whose Yu-Gi-Oh!-related blog I have done a couple of posts), which is based on Magic: The Gathering in very loose fashion, but has radically different rules.

Monster Master's (and by extention, Yu-Gi-Oh!'s) paradigm is quite simple. Once per turn, you can play ("summon") a Monster from your hand. In Yu-Gi-Oh!, stronger Monsters are limited by various restrictions, the simplest being requiring sacrifices; in Monster Master, it's a little bit simpler-Monsters have extended "summoning sickness" based on their strength. Dragons and Hydras take three turns to shake it off, while Rats and Leprechauns (yes, really) can attack immediately.

However, where Yu-Gi-Oh! has a very simplified "strongest wins" combat system with overflow damage, Monster Master has a sort of weighted "dice roll" combat system.

This is INSANELY frustrating, as a Monster with one defensive point can repeatedly fend off a creature with twelve offensive points, and other times, a significantly weaker critter can totally thrash a strong one attacking it. (Or whatever they're called.) A likable bit is that each Monster also has its own individual hitpoints, which is lacking in the Yu-Gi-Oh! combat system. However, Monster combat is incredibly frustrating and is like slogging through deep, squishy mud-not much fun.

What is fun are the spells. Yu-Gi-Oh!, because of the game's size and age, has a lot of diverse cards, the strongest of them being heavily restricted or banned. Monster Master has only a handful of cards, and a lot of its spells are based on cards that were too powerful to be allowed in tournament play, or sometimes even too powerful to be printed.

Which means that one can open with an insane advantage over the other. If you draw Gift, for instance, which draws two cards, there's a chance that you'll draw another Gift, and I have drawn three (the maximum possible number) on the first turn, and drawn an appropriately unhealthy number of cards with which to do unpleasant things to my hapless opponent. (Which, thanks to two-player mode, was often me. Ouch.) If you've ever played Yu-Gi-Oh!, you know that Gift's equivalent, the Pot of Greed, is generally considered one of the most powerful ever printed; it was one of the first ten cards to be banned.

Anyway, this is where most of the enjoyment of Monster Master comes from: Playing cards whose power levels make you wince. The "ground combat" is a horrible slog and not very much fun. The highest success rates I've had are with decks where I clear the path with removal cards and then call out strong monsters and use relevant cards to get them ready to attack sooner and more often. The Combine card used with a Dragon and a Knight to get a Dragon Knight (followed by a Summon to remove summoning sickness and a Charge!, which allows an extra attack) is a devastating combination, as the Dragon Knight has an enormous (for the game) twelve power-which is more than half of a player's health.

All in all, not the best game, but you might get some enjoyment out of it if you enjoy TCGs.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Probably Not Brain Food

Look! It's proto-Cookie Monster!

Y'know, now that I'm not a stupid teenager, I can honestly say: I love Sesame Street. Not everything in it, and honestly, the older skits are usually better than the last ten years or so...

And those aliens are awesome.

-Signing off.

Monday, April 4, 2011

An Appreciation Of A Doctor

Three days before I was born in 1983, my dad had a rather nasty accident at his job.

As a repair foreman in a factory, he was inspecting a portion of a boiler that wasn't working correctly. As he reached out to turn a valve, the pipe it was on exploded without warning, embedding shrapnel in his arm.

Had he attempted to inspect the gauge on the pipe visually, he very probably would have died. As it was, he had a deep, severe wound in his left arm that had severed arteries. (He had the presence of mind to press the wound, and to continue doing so even though others wanted him to take his hand off to look at it.) An injury like that could have cost him his hand.

But it didn't. He was rushed to the nearest big hospital, in Toledo, Ohio, where his arm was operated on by a Dr. John Howard. He still suffers from stiffness and a lack of motor control in his left hand, but otherwise he retains full use of his arm. (He also used to charge my siblings and I a nickel to see his scar.) If his hand had been lost, it is very possible that he could have lost his job and had a hard time finding a new one, which would have dramatically affected literally my entire life.

Dr. Howard died in mid-March, a world-famous surgeon known for greatly improving surgical techniques used on battlefields and in emergency rooms, and in numerous diseases of the pancreas. It is very likely that he touched the life of someone you know, though presumably far less directly than in my case. (On another note, it has also been rumored for many years that he inspired aspects of the character Trapper John from M*A*S*H. On a semi-related note, Dr. Howard doesn't seem to have a Wikipedia entry.)

I doubt I could muster the eloquence that he deserves, so I will simply say: While I never met Dr. Howard*, he will be missed.

*Technically, I did, and he was probably one of the first people who was neither family or maternity ward staff to come into physical contact with me, but as I was less than a month old, my memories of it are... less than perfect, shall we say.

-Signing off.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Oh, Internet Ad Service Algorithms...

...don't ever change.

Aren't advertisements on the Internet just special?

-Signing off.