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.