Thursday, January 31, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#78)

771. Nightmare Demons. These beings have human skull faces, and use their telepathy to debilitate people with their own worst fears. Apparently the telepathy can be blocked by lead; I'd assume that in a galaxy with technology as advanced as that in Star Wars, there'd be plenty of other ways to block it.

They were supposedly extinct at some point in the past, but one existed in the movie era, so who knows.

Rating: 4/5, because that's rather amusing.

772. Nikto. The Nikto are the last part of the in-joke related to the better-remembered-than-it-deserved The Day the Earth Stood Still. (Actually, they're two-thirds of said in-joke, because the first part is an individual of their species.) The Nikto are reptilian guys who signed a contract with the Hutts a long time ago that made them slaves forever. They apparently have five really strongly distinct races because of accelerated mutation or some such silly thing. They apparently are pretty content with this, because their homeworld is worse.

Their homeworld is worse than slavery. Think about that.

Rating: 3/5. That's... kind of horrible.

773. Nimbanels, or Nimbanese. The Nimbanels look like walruses, but in a droopy-faced way rather than an angry way.

They are my least favorite walrussy Star Wars aliens. That's more meaningful when you consider that there's a fair number of those.

Rating: 2/5.

774. Niordi. All we know about the Niordi is that they're pretty humanlike, and that a guy whose head was surgically replaced by a laser cannon was one of them.

Rating: 2/5, because D'harhan was awesome, even if the book he was in... wasn't so much.

775. Nish. The Nish of Nishr are "near-human" and have a lot of basic information on the structure of their world and society, but that's about all.

Rating: 1/5. Said information isn't the interesting kind.

776. Nixor. The Nixor didn't get along with the other inhabitants of the Nixor system.

Rating: 1/5. TLI.

777. Noehons. The Noehons have a brutal society involving slavery and slave trading (and harems), but if raised in other societies, are well-adjusted and show excellent talent for organization, which served them well in technical and bureaucratic functions.

They're also bug people and like to mark things with territorial scents.

Rating: 3/5. There's something about all that which I find amusing.

778. Noghri. The Noghri (the "gh" is sort of silent and indicating that the "o" should be long and soft) are short and deadly as heck (they're comparable to the reputation of ninjas). They're supposedly possible to mistake for Jawas (when wearing Jawa robes) or children, though their official height range is listed as rather taller than quite makes sense for that.

My sister is annoyed at artistic representations of them, because they're supposed to be smallish and slender and they're usually drawn as what she calls "tiny football players."

Anyway, the Noghri have another interesting trait: They can actually smell bloodlines. This helps them verify people, and this causes them to have an unusual relationship with the Skywalker family, because they believe that Darth Vader is the only reason their planet survived.

They also have a subspecies found on a different planet than their homeworld (an ancient empire took some as slaves) who have crocodilian heads.

Rating: 5/5. The Noghri are great.

779. Noolan. This species has female members.

Rating: 1/5. What a shocker.

780. Noorians. They have striped eyes. Also, one was Qui-Gon Jinn's sexy girlfriend who pretty much got stuffed in the fridge.

Rating: 2/5. I rather like the eyes.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Desperately Dug Back Into My Favorites For Content

I don't think I've posted this before, but it's been a while since I originally saw it, so I can't be absolutely sure.

In China, it's illegal to depict human remains in art. So what is someone who wants to play Plants Vs. Zombies to do?

Make a patch to change the zombies. And... everything else?

I don't know why the people who made the patch felt the need to change up the plants, but I think the surreal purple crystals and stuff are kinda awesome.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

He Probably Still Hasn't Quit His Day Job

So apparently, there's going to be a series in Japan that involves a character called Fire Leon traveling around and teaming up with Japan's local heroes, which are people who put on costumes and do stuff in public and sometimes publish their own adventures and/or do community service and/or get involved in commercial campaigns. (There used to be a series of commercials on YouTube involving a few such characters, but somebody got all copyrighted up in that, and they were taken down.)

This promises to be highly entertaining, but there's a way they could ensure its perfection: Get this guy, Teahouse Man MidNight Hero Scramble Sun!

Truly, it would be the crossover to end all crossovers.

-Signing off.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Okay, We're Done Here

I am not at all sure how to respond to this.

The "Dinosaur Samba Sentai?" Transforming through samba?

I give up.

-Signing off.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#77)

(This entry excludes "Nelwyn" because they're an April Fool's gag. Well, their inclusion as inhabitants of the Star Wars galaxy is.)

761. Nelvaanians, or Nelvaans. The Nelvaanians are a group of primitive tribal wolfish people. Their primary appearance appears to have been in Genndy Tartakovsky's Clone Wars shorts, where the Separatists kidnapped a vast number of their men to transform into ugly hulking cyborg mutant troopers. (Apparently they were sick of their battle droids being defeated by stiff winds and swarms of insects.)

They called Anakin Skywalker "Ghost Hand," which is a really cool thing to call someone with a prosthesis, all things considered.

Supposedly, the mutations rendered unto the Nelvaanians were passed on, but only to their boy children. ...Righteo then.

Rating: 3/5. Eh, they look interesting, even if I'm having trouble with the mutations thing (both believing it being passed on and the thought of it now being their default appearance).

762. Neo-Bespinians. Neo-Bespinians are ambiguously canonical gaseous people (what did I tell you about laughing?) who are obviously from Bespin and who can suffocate living beings by sucking the air out of their lungs. In Bespin's atmosphere, they're invisible, but in other atmospheres they become visible and detectable, and must periodically find isolated places and purge themselves of the effects of other atmospheres or die.

Rating: 4/5. That's a pretty interesting consequence for a weird species to have as a weakness off their homeworld.

763. Neolians. They're from Neoli.

Rating: 1/5.

764. Nerrians. They're from Nerria.

Rating: 1/5. Can't waste time on these guys.

765. Nessies. The "Nessies" are twenty-five races of essentially human beings from the Stenness Node, a cluster of mining worlds in the Outer Rim. Their main claim to fame is using the corpses of gigantic space wasps as spacecraft hulls.

Rating: 3/5. Riding around in the remains of half-mile-plus-long space predators is pretty awesome.

766. Neti. The Neti are (or perhaps were) incredibly long-lived plant beings. They seem to be able to shapeshift extensively and in short periods of time, and can be human-shaped and human-sized or tree-shaped and tree-sized. Or presumably many combinations of the two.

They're apparently originally from Myrkyr, which is an interesting planet because it's got at least two native animal species that use the Force naturally, and the Neti continue that trend, having a large proportion of their membership if not all of them as Force sensitive. (Basically all known members of the species seem to be Jedi or Sith.) They apparently moved to a planet named Ryyk, which was destroyed in a supernova at some point, and so the species is extremely rare and possibly on the brink of total extinction (in the post-movie era, there's only one known individual, who dies, and then there's an infant sprout left behind who might be able to survive, but we haven't heard anything about it in a while-over a real-world decade and multiple in-universe decades). They don't eat, being plants, and clearly can spend much of their time inactive.

Of course, they might not be extinct, because they're so long-lived, and even one individual might possibly be able to bring the species back to the brink over time; also, while apparently reproduction is rare, their seeds can survive for at least a thousand years. So, yeah, I'm not counting them out.

So what else? Oh, they're just one of the coolest-looking alien species I've ever seen. They're depicted as always being made of gnarly branchy stuff, and their faces and whatnot come across as the almost-sorta-not-really faces you might see in an old, twisted plant. This is really neat.

Rating: 5/5. I've seen very little of the Neti, but I like them quite a lot.

767. Nevoota. The Nevoota were an insectoid species who are "disdainful" of death. They apparently were considered to be really dangerous.

Note I said "were." Apparently, in a three-year-long war four thousand years before the movie era, the Mandalorians killed 'em all. Supposedly, this shaped Mandalorian culture extensively.

Rating: 3/5. There's something about the phrase "disdainful of death" that amuses me.

768. Nharwaak. The Nharwaak teamed up with the Habeen to build a hyperdrive that could fit in a normal TIE Fighter; this didn't end well for the two species because the Empire liked that idea, and just beat them up and took it.

Rating: 3/5. As I said when talking about the Habeen, multi-species collaborations ought to show up more often.

769. Nhoras. The Nhoras and the Clatear didn't get along. Five generations' worth of Jedi tried to get them to, but it never worked. Eventually, the Empire conquered the Clatear, and the Nhoras laughed, because they were ignored. Then the Empire fell apart, and the Clatear kept the military hardware that was used to keep them in line. The Nhoras stopped laughing (and hired some mercenaries and stuff during the Caamas document crisis, which was a generally unhappy time).

Rating: 3/5. Incidentally, "Nhoras" is apparently both singular and plural.

770. Night-Soarers. The Night-Soarers have a dopey name. (I'm sorry, but it's true.) They're winged, bald, mostly humanlike (other than wings) flying battish people. They originated in the silly ol' Marvel Star Wars comics, and I reckon that pretty much explains that.

Supposedly, they have a reputation as cunning assassins or somesuch.

Rating: 2/5. Kind of... all over the place, and not in a good way.

-Signing off.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Here, Have A Silly Axe Cop Motion Comic

...Once again, essentially no time to blog, so here's a motion comic.

I think the motion comic treatment actually adds a little to Axe Cop's surreality, but I'd just as rather listen to this video while reading the comic, honestly. Maybe when I have a bit more time, I will.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

...Um... Yeah, I've Got Five Minutes To Do A Post

I mentioned recently that I've been browsing a website called The Chess Variants Pages.

It's kind of an old, deadlink-riddled place, but as a huge nerd who loves chess and fairy chess, I've been having fun at it.

Two of my singular favorite things I've found there are Chess with Different Armies, created by the always imaginative and entertaining Ralph Betza (an inactive but ranked chess master) and Litrof Litrôf Litròf Litróf.

Chess with Different Armies uses Betza's assessments of piece value to allow chess players to use different pieces in chess setups from the traditional ones against the traditional pieces and each other without having unbalanced games. (Apparently, two of the teams are slightly too strong, but their unique nature and the fact that people haven't learned how to use them as well just yet makes the difference negligible unless you're playing against a computer, which doesn't need to "learn" the pieces to play well with them.)

Litróf is a chess-like game which uses Icehouse pieces (little translucent colored plastic pyramids) to construct your army at the beginning of a game. While I don't think Litróf is perfect or anything, it's a fantastic framework for a game, and that alone makes me want some Icehouse pieces or a reasonable substitute.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I'm not really a fan of Evangelion (why? I prefer characters who are halfway functional human beings, that's why), but it's awfully hard to dislike the music.

By which I mean "darned near impossible." Seriously, this is a fantastic song, and I spent way too much time today randomly hunting down versions of it to listen to on YouTube. (This version is the one I listened to the most because it's eleven minutes and that means I don't have to scoot back to the tab and start it over again as often.)

-Signing off.

Monday, January 21, 2013

No, "Dratp" Is Not A Typo

So I found out recently while looking into chess variants (yes, really-turns out that I'm a huge chess nerd, and this is surprising how?) that there was a commercial board game called Navia Dratp that was heavily inspired by chess and shogi, but playing into the then-current anime monster craze and the popularity of miniature wargaming.

And it had promos in Japan which apparently were not only for the game, but a possible planned anime.

And they're modestly cool and completely hilarious. (Note: Some moderately intense and cartoonishly bloody violence and at least a little bit of fanservice.)

(I am aware that I may be the only person to find this actively funny. I don't care.)

So what does all that anime stuff have to do with a chess/shogi-based board game?

Other than the fact that the monsters therein are the same character designs as the collectible pieces and the "Navia" are the "royal" pieces (i.e. you lose it and you lose the game), not... anything, that I can tell.

If you're wondering what "Navia Dratp" is supposed to mean, in-game the pieces that are less like pawns (which aren't collectible pieces) need resources in order to be promoted or "Dratped" (pronounced "dropped" or "DORAPPUUED") to activate their abilities and enhanced movement. If you gather enough resources to "Dratp" a Navia (which is quite a large amount), it's an instant win-hence one of the important features of the game is a "Navia Dratp." (Elegantly, the pawn-type pieces generate your resources. Also, I presume that crazy big magic thing that the Navia did at the end of the first segment in the video is supposed to be a "Navia Dratp.")

It's interesting enough that I might well hunt down a couple of sets.

-Signing off.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#76)

751. Nautolans, or Nautiloids (Wikipedia link for the sake of informing you of what that's referring to). Nautolans are amphibious, oddly humanlike beings (Nautolan women are really obviously women, if you get me) who have a huge mass of tentacles on their heads. The super-cheerful Jedi who appeared in the prequels and various EU material, Kit Fisto, is a Nautolan.

Some long time ago, I mentioned that the Nautolans share a homeworld with the Anselmi. The Anselmi have poor relations with the Nautolans and are vastly outnumbered by them because their mutual homeworld is also a decidedly watery world and the Anselmi aren't amphibious.

The Nautolans have a native language and social cues that are largely useless out of water, and thus adopt others for use on dry land, but otherwise aren't significantly affected by dry-land living (though one must presume they're less hardy in deserts). They have multiple hearts with some level of redundancy, as apparently they beat "separately."

This doesn't mean that Kit Fisto lived through being stabbed with a lightsaber, by the way, because he was stabbed through the stomach. Nothing special about Nautolan durability there, apparently.

Rating: 3/5. The Nautolans are reasonably pleasant and have one or two very memorable representatives.

752. Nazren. Apparently enslaved at some point, they were later freed by anti-Imperial efforts.

Despite the sparseness of that, I like them because they look neat. (Although I find myself wondering if the illustration is of an individual with missing fingers or if the artist simply wasn't paying attention.)

Rating: 3/5. It reminds me pleasantly of a rancor, though only generically.

753. Nazzar. These horse-esque aliens are described as contemplative, philosophical, noble, spiritual, xenophobic, and judgmental.

I love when multiple descriptions have no apparent awareness of their own irony when combined with each other.

Rating: 3/5. Here's a suggestion for a description: They're just like people.

754. Nduuati. ...They're reptilian. One of them was a bounty hunter and (probably) general lowlife.

Rating: 1/5. Although you can never have too many reptilian aliens.

755. Nebalites. Nebalites are massive cephalopods (i.e. something like a squid or octopus) whose sheer size means that they have their ships built around their bodies, as it would presumably be impractical to purchase a built-to-spec ship that could house them normally. They send droids to meet people face to face, as doing so themselves is a bit impractical. Apparently, one was kidnapped once.


Rating: 5/5. Please, please, pretty please, somebody use one of these as a crime boss?

756. Nediji. The Nediji are birdlike guys with azure down (light fluffy feathers) and who apparently are quite insular (they're supposed to be extremely rare off their homeworld). They prey on a humanoid species, which rather suggests that interaction with other species might occasionally be... tricky.

Their entry states that they're excellent at disguise and surgical strikes, but as the primary known individual was a criminal agent, I'm inclined to suspect that those were individual skills.

Rating: 3/5. Interesting possibilities there.

757. Neelabi. Neelabi are water-breathing tiny fish/whale/something bipeds. They are darned adorable. One was a podracer, which seems like a poor choice of profession for a water breather, especially since said individual apparently couldn't have escaped a crash.

Rating: 3/5 on sheer presence of appearance alone.

758. Neimoidians. Neimoidians are the cowardly, child-abusing, greedy offshoots of the Duros.

To explain, the Neimoidians apparently put their children into a situation where they need to fend for themselves and must carefully ration their own food and often steal it from other children in order to survive and prosper. Many of their children die in such conditions, and the rampant emotional neglect means that all of them are greedy, cautious-to-spineless, and totally self-centered. (And also good businesspeople.)

They were the subject of some controversy, because the accent that the Neimoidians had in Episode I was modeled after the accent of Thai actors. Unfortunate.

On the other hand, as far as I can tell nobody complained that Greedo was actually speaking Quechua in Episode IV...

Rating: 3/5. The idea of a subspecies/race turning out differently because they adopted a different method of raising children is interesting.

759. Nejma. The Nejma are probably the most hilarious-looking members of the Iskalonian school. They're known as the "Honored Ones" and renowned for their coral sculptures, though this art also is known for attracting thieves.

Rating: 3/5. Have I mentioned I quite like the Iskalonian school concept? Because it's pretty great.

760. Nekghouls. The Nekghouls are a subspecies/subgroup/something that's decidely related to Rakghouls, which are basically zombies (the modern plague kind, though their heads are monster alien heads regardless of starting species). The thing that distinguishes them is that they're Force-using zombies, and it's suspected that they were Jedi or Sith before being converted.

Rating: 1/5. It's not that I have anything against zombies as such, even if they are rather played out lately, it's just that... How is this a species?

-Signing off.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Here, Watch Some Giant Robot Fights

Limited time + Being easily distracted = Hey, here's a video for you to watch.

I am not familiar with the above game.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Axe Cop Becomes President; Bad Guys Emigrate

Such would be the headline if Axe Cop was real.

I think that my favorite thing about this is the apparent implication that presidents get new superpowers.

Also, that Axe Cop gets bored easily.

It is to laugh.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's Apparently "R 'ha" With A Space (The Space Is Important When Searching Your History)

Okay, the plot for this is simple (albeit interesting), but for something animated by one dude?

This is amazing. I particularly love the character designs (the alien and the robot).

-Signing off.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Game Review: Monsters TD 2

Monsters TD 2 is... wait, seriously? Mere weeks after I finish reviewing these games, there's another one? Sorry, I'm not changing the label just for you. If it's inaccurate now, it's your fault.


Anyway, Monsters TD 2 is the, uh, "sequel" to Monsters TD. As such, it's essentially an expansion and refinement of the other game.

What that means is that you get some more towers, but mostly, it looks like new enemies. And you know what I think about the enemies from the previous game?

They're awful (as in, GO AWAY LEAVE ME ALONE WHY ARE YOU SO CRUEL?!). And seeing as how this is a guy who turns off your towers, well, ew.

There's one fix I appreciate beyond the little touches like improved graphics here and there, terrain effects, and the improved skill point system: The spells no longer wreck your economy. On the other hand, sadly they now keep you from using more than one spell at a time, so you only get one spell every few minutes.

Quick conclusion: If you liked the first (which was a pain), you'll like this (which will probably be more of a pain). (I haven't had time to do more than skim it, but the game follows a distinct pattern set by the first.)

-Signing off.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Have A Silly '90s Commercial

I've been keeping an eye on my kid brother, who has a fever, so I've been distracted. (I've also been busy working on projects that keep me about fifteen miles from my internet connection for large chunks of the day.)

So here, have a stupid old commercial. (Since when are things from the '90s old? Dang, the "aughties" were a quick decade.)

Um, yeah, I don't know what else to say.

-Signing off.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

(Quick) Greatly Belated Book Review: Alloy of Law

I recently did a quick review of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. As I've labeled Sanderson among my favorite authors, it shouldn't be a surprise that I thought it was very good.

Alloy of Law is a book set in the same world as the Mistborn trilogy, but three hundred years later, with a changing setting leading to different features of the world. Unlike Mistborn, I can talk about some (though only some) of the things that make this book fantastic without ruining things:

1). Sherlock Holmes expies.

2). Magic gunfighting is awesome.

3). A relatively light-hearted story. (The Mistborn trilogy is a little bit dark.)

4). Callbacks.

The last of these is particularly interesting because in my first reading, I didn't pick up on the callbacks because I hadn't read the Mistborn trilogy just yet.

You can read Alloy of Law without having read any of the previous books; in fact, I think this book stands alone very well for a book that technically is a sequel to a trilogy.

But reading it after knowing what all that stuff is about makes it that much better.

There's only one problem with the book as a standalone or as part of a series: It's clearly part of a larger set of books (it ends on an open-ended but not urgent cliffhanger). But that's not a problem, because I really like the characters and I'd be happy to visit their bit of the setting again.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Game Reviews: Bubble Tanks 3

Bubble Tanks 3 is the game that the recently reviewed Dead Metal's engine comes from.

Whereas Dead Metal involves being trapped in a single area with hordes of enemies, in Bubble Tanks you roam from bubble to bubble, taking out various enemies and collecting bubbles to upgrade your bubble machine. The above tank is your basic one; the below has been upgraded several times.

This tank might look pretty big, but the interesting thing is that it's possible to get a tank so large and powerful that 1) you can barely see what's happening, and 2) it takes out most enemies by itself while you're trying to figure out what's going on. I've only done so once because of odd problems my computer's been having with saving data on game sites (I've lost the data for Incursion, for instance, about three or four times now).

So my (brief) conclusion is that it's entertaining to play because you can get tremendous unstoppable juggerdreadnaughts of mass destruction to cruise around in, and that's always fun for a little while. My simple tip is to stick to the central areas for a bit, as you'll need to gather up resources before fighting any serious enemies.

(Incidentally, the game seems to spontaneously generate what enemies you fight as you explore, with the only fixed aspect being the rough strength level of said enemies. Which is also neat. You can also apparently design tanks for yourself and enemies, but this is partly limited by needing a membership with the site.)

-Signing off.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#75)

741. Mykes. The Mykes... is that name pronounced "Mike?" Because if it is, that's hilarious.

Ahem. Anyway, the Mykes have fleshy chin... things... and this plus their written language are suspected to connect them to the Sith (there's a species called the Sith as well as a group, and the two aren't exactly the same). Implicitly, they're somehow descended from Sith/human interbreeding.

Rating: 2/5. Does the Star Wars galaxy have proper monkeys? This makes me ask that question.

742. Myneyrshi. The Myneyrshi are four-armed blue guys with sort of anteater snouts. They're really stealthy and perceptive. They don't get along with their neighbors on their homeworld of Wayland, heavily armored beings called Psadans (who will receive their own entry in due time) until the Empire invaded and conquered both groups, at which point they decided to work together (it didn't help much).

Apparently, their lives are dominated by ritual-a Myneyrsh will go through some form of ritual just to walk. Their technology level is quite low, and they spurn off-world technology unless they live off-world, presumably out of necessity.

Wayland was invaded by the Yuuzhan Vong and brutally terraformed; the Myrneyrshi resisted until parasites designed to kill them were introduced into the ecosystem, and even then a few apparently persisted. The rest would flee offworld. Eventually, there was an effort to use adapted Yuuzhan Vong techniques to repair the world, but some jerks sabotaged the effort, causing Myreyrshi who had returned to the world to mutate into spiky things, and they understandably got really mad about this.

There apparently was some success in healing them from this, but how much is unclear.

Rating: 3/5. They're modestly interesting.

743. Nagai. The Nagai are pale and dark-haired virtually human beings. They are described as "looking dead," which I find hilarious and improbable. They apparently like knives a lot, to the point where one of their early "reporting names" when first encountered was "Knives." This is also hilarious.

The Nagai were in the early stages of faster-than-light space exploration when they encountered the Tof, a much more advanced and powerful race. The Tofs followed their explorers back to their homeworld and eventually conquered it, but a great number of Nagai escaped. The Nagai made several allies, such as the Maccabree and the Faruun, but were still on the run.

So they left their home galaxy of Firefist and came to the Star Wars galaxy, eventually getting pursued by the Tof.

Their invasion was a big plotline in the old Marvel Star Wars comics, and generally was supposed to be a big deal even though these guys took knife fighting seriously. This is, once again, hilarious.

Rating: 3/5. I find the Nagai funny for reasons unrelated to the super robot creator Go Nagai; that bit is kind of a freebie of amusement, if you will.

744. Najib. The Najib are diminutive but physically powerful, to the point where one illustration of one basically depicts him as the Najibian Hulk, complete with absurd veining and skin stretched so tightly it ought to burst. Otherwise, they're relatively typical roughly humanoid sorta-primate guys.

Rating: 3/5, at least a little bit because of the amusement value of that one stupid picture.

745. Nalrithians. Nalrithians appear to be ugly four-eyed guys. I'd have judged them to be reptilian, but their entry calls them insectoid. Apparently, they're hatched from eggs in largish clutches, and eggmates (those from the same clutches) have some kind of telepathic thing which causes them to share memories (i.e. each member of the clutch will have all its eggmates' memories as well as its own).

One was a bounty hunter who bothered Han Solo on Ord Mantell.

Rating: 3/5. Despite the discrepancies in their appearance and traits and the fact that technically, information on them is pretty sparse, they're somewhat interesting.

746. Nalroni. The Nalroni are doggish people who use hunting instincts in their trading and negotiations, which sounds distinctly unnerving. They apparently are suspicious of outsiders, but are still willing to purchase prefab housing and droids, because hey, prefab housing and droids.

Their homeworld sits on an important trade route. They apparently very vehemently contain outsiders in the city set up to facilitate this trade in order to minimize contact between their culture and outsiders, and only carefully selected individuals of their own are allowed in.

Sounds fairly reasonable of them, actually.

Rating: 3/5. It's interesting to see a group who is neither too xenophobic nor too happily accepting of outsiders.

747. Nami. All we know for sure is that they could pilot human-built starfighters, which puts some constraints on their size and body types. In other words, they're probably essentially human.

They caused a mess by stealing some TIE/D Defenders, the overwhelmingly powerful starfighters used by the Empire in the TIE Fighter games, and then tried to sell them to the Rebel Alliance. (Overwhelmingly powerful as in "they're so strong in these games that one questions how the Rebels survived their invention.")

Rating: 1/5. Meh.

748. Naplousean. They're described as "tangles of flesh," have "many" glittering eyes," and apparently emit some odd smell when they're angry, causing speculation that they may have emotional pheromones.

Rating: 2/5. They sound vaguely interesting in appearance, but the description's also darned vague.

749. Nartians. Nartians are 1) a little smaller than humans on average and have four arms, and 2) should not be mistaken for Martians, no matter how funny that might be.

Rating: 1/5. There's only one known Nartian character.

750. Narvath. They're long-limbed and humanoid.

Rating: 1/5. I'm long-limbed and humanoid; does that make me a Narvath?

-Signing off.

Monday, January 7, 2013

That Megatron Is Still Pathetic

That's actually a pretty neat Devastator set.

Those Autobots sure are mean to that Megatron, especially since...

...he apparently just wanted a sandwich.

(Presented with minimal commentary because I can't currently watch the videos for some stupid reason.)

-Signing off.

Friday, January 4, 2013

(Quick) Mildly Belated Book Review(s): The Mistborn Trilogy

I've waxed poetic about really liking Brandon Sanderson's work in the past.

The Mistborn Trilogy is the set of books that helped him build his reputation as an author; prevailing opinion is that more people get into his work as a result of reading Mistborn than any of his other works. I'm the odd duck here, seeing as how I got into his work with his currently largest single published book, The Way of Kings, which (aside from being the book I've reviewed previously) is comparable in size to Lord of the Rings yet is only the first book in a ten-book series (note, of course, that I'm generalizing and comparing my large softcover LOTR with thin, glossy pages to the heavy and sturdy TWoK hardcover... and doing it from memory, no less, because I'm not even sure where my copy of LOTR is). And because I'm a guy who likes thick books and long reads, TWoK is right up my alley.

I was a little worried, therefore, that Mistborn would fall a little short by comparison, because I like big books and Mistborn is less so... and I totally spoiled the heck out of myself on various websites beforehand, and thought it sounded less interesting as well.

I can happily report that it was not in any way a disappointment.

Even all together, the Mistborn Trilogy is not very comparable to TWoK, but on the other hand, it doesn't need to be and it shouldn't be, because it's its own thing. Mistborn was written to be accessible; The Way of Kings was written to be the kind of book that Sanderson himself loves to read and write.

I don't know that I have much else to say about it, because it's a hard series to talk about without spoiling stuff, other than the fact that it rather strongly reminds me of anime in general, and the story in Mistborn proper reminds me of one anime in particular. (If you know about certain plot points in only one of the series, then the link I'm about to provide will be aimed at a spoilery destination.) Most especially, Kelsier and Vin remind me of a couple of other characters; if you're familiar with both, you'll probably get what I'm talking about.

I can recommend the Mistborn Trilogy more wholeheartedly than The Way of Kings because reading the first book is a considerably smaller investment of your time to decide if you like the author or not. Which one is "better" is a matter of opinion.

-Signing off.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Yo Yo/Buy These Toys

(Whoops, dangit, I put the same video up twice instead of the second video to compare that I intended.)

Yet more parallels between Transformers and Bionicle:

Silly rap commercials.


-Signing off.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Game Reviews: Dead Metal

Dead Metal is a spaceship shooter game based on the Bubble Tanks 3 engine. (Bubble Tanks 2 is mentioned here.)

You move around a spaceship with the "WASD" keys (or a custom arrangement) and aim your ship's weapons with the mouse, and click hold down the left mouse key to fire your primary weapon. (There is no point to doing anything but hold down the fire key for the primary weapon, because most of the primary weapons have a sufficient fire rate that there's not really any strategic purpose for timing.) There may be extra weapons fired by hitting the space bar. Other than that, the only things to learn are individual ship features.

The character you sort of play as is one of the meanest-looking female characters I've ever seen anywhere, and her dialogue in game is sufficiently vicious to match.

She makes cracks comparing her enemies to four week old kittens, five year old children, and her great grandmother, and her enemies are found wanting in all of these comparisons. (She also makes at least one vaguely sexual remark.)

When you hear that the game is based on the Bubble Tanks 3 engine, you might wonder about the graphics. They're pretty nice, and don't involve bubbles.

The orange ship there is the most powerful and expensive ship you can use, though it's a tad disappointing because you can see the maximum potential of a ship looking at a few of the others, and this one falls short of that. Still, it's pretty nice. I'd recommend skipping over a lot of the ships, as the most effective strategy is darting around and spraying fire in whatever direction the most enemies are in, and some ships are slower-firing or shorter-ranged. My favorite ships are the Bullet Storm, the AI 3100, and the Demo Man because they fit into this strategy well (the Bullet Storm is notably more effective than two ships that cost nearly twice what it does, for instance), and the Demo Man will hold you over until you can afford the Crusher, the most expensive ship.

Dying will happen rather frequently, especially in stages with the purple ships, which belong to the Chosen, who can inflict status effects on your ship. It's not too big a deal until such time as you've topped out your ship purchases, as then there's no possibility of getting better weapons. Still, the difficulty level isn't too extreme, and I've managed to unlock all the levels, even though I haven't finished all of them.

This is a pretty fun game if you like "arrow and mouse" shooters or any kind of top-down shooters, so you should probably give it a shot.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#74)

(This list omits the article "mutant" because mutants aren't a single species. You Wookieepedia guys ought to refine your lists a bit. It also excludes "Murakami orchid" because of a bit of ambiguity.)

731. Multopos. They're winged beings who eat plants and small animals. They're apparently at war with the other natives of their home planet, Baralou, the Krikthasi.

We don't know a lot of details on them, however, the most blatant omission being whether they're expected to be able to fly or glide (which is rather improbable for the size of their wings, and unfortunate for them, as they're rather awkward-of course, their enemies the Krikthasi are even more awkward...).

Rating: 3/5. They look cool, and that gets them far.

732. Mungra. They apparently have orange eyes and fur. They're also noted to have a strictly tiered caste system which is compared to the Adarians, aliens I covered briefly in my very first post in this series.

Rating: 2/5. They're not as interesting as the Adarians.

733. Murachaun. Murachaun have dragon/dinosaur/bird heads. They're pretty tall and lanky, and the overall effect of their appearance is rather interesting. This creates an interesting contrast with the fact that the pictured individual is casually smoking and dressed in rather grungy work clothes that you might expect to see on a steampunk character.

They apparently co-ran a pretty substantial region of space with two other species, one of which, the Ktilacs, were conquered by the Yuuzhan Vong at some point. (The Ktilacs are in the same article as the Krikthasi. How convenient!) They suffered under the Empire, and took every opportunity to make things hard for their oppressors.

Rating: 4/5. I rather like that picture of one.

734. Mustafarians. The Mustafarians, inhabitants of the lava world that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader fought on during Episode III, are hardy beings who supposedly don't have much water in their bodies. They're divided into the slender and fragile "northern" Mustafarians and the short and stocky "southern" Mustafarians.

All known examples wear heavy protective gear, since they're primarily seen working near the lava flows. This means that the northern Mustafarians particularly look like they're from a nightmare involving distorted gas mask-wearing Slenderman-esque beings.

Rating: 4/5. The Mustafarians are interesting based on visuals alone-quite a bit of that this time, I think.

735. Mutant mynocks. Okay, this is one of the most hilarious articles I've ever seen on Wookieepedia:

A group of mynocks mutated and achieved sentience. On the planet Graador, these mynocks controlled exogorths.

Exogorths, for reference, are the "space slug" monsters that live in asteroids, one of which had the Millennium Falcon in its gut during The Empire Strikes Back.

Look out for space slug-controlling bat monsters! AAAAAAH!

Rating: 4/5 for the humor value.

736. Muttani. They're ugly and smell funny (seriously, the article says these things, though not in so many words). One of them was able to escape the supposedly most secure prison in the galaxy, though Jango Fett brought him back in.

Rating: 1/5. Uncool, guys. (I actually somewhat like how the picture of one looks, but it also looks a bit like a caricature, which is uncomfortable territory.

737. Muuns. The Muuns are known for their prowess in banking, and despite their involvement in the Separatists as the heads of the InterGalactic Banking Clan (yes, really), the Empire exempted them from persecution of nonhumans for the sake of financial stability.

Interestingly albeit strangely, the Muuns have a pair of extra hearts that they can consciously control, and use to increase blood flow to maintain body temperature in the cold.

Muuns would often flout the spirit of the law and contracts, but always obey the letter of it, making them a kind of honorable. Apparently, their language is made up of "ums" and "ehs" used in a fashion analogous to binary, which is hilarious.

And oh, hey, the Emperor's Sith Master, Darth Plagueis, was a Muun.

Rating: 4/5. That's a strong 4/5, by the way.

738. Muur. They have a large number of strong tentacles. One of them worked for somebody, but I can't really say who that is, because the individual has no article.

Rating: 2/5, because "large number of strong tentacles" is an amusing phrase.

739. Muza. The Muza are apparently large, strong beings with ugly teeth and small, retractable eyes who wiped out all large predators on their planet to maintain their dominance. It seems they respect courage and perseverance, for they wouldn't respect a Jedi as a negotiator until said Jedi retrieved an artifact from an isolated and presumably dangerous area.

Rating: 2/5. They sound interesting to look at, but they also sound like dopes.

740. Myill. They have blue fur and were enslaved by the Ghawem.

Rating: 1/5. Even being associated with a technically interesting group won't keep me from going "meh."

-Signing off.