Friday, April 29, 2016

Fund It! Ultraman!*

Okay, this appears to not be a trailer for an actual movie or anything (at least not an official one), but it's pretty sweet. (If you aren't yet aware that I would watch the living hell out of an Ultraman movie, you haven't been here very long.)

I have to say, Zaragas wouldn't have been my first choice for an Ultra kaiju from the original series (though when you get down to it, generic-yet-iconic wasn't something the original Ultraman had much of**), but that's a pretty sweet redesign for a monster that's 1) a bit derpy, and 2) has somehow never really had an official redesign that I can tell? At least it's not frigging Gomora***.

*"Fund it" is now my sister's go-to phrase for "I need this in my life," and I kinda like it for the purpose myself.

**Corn Godzilla Red King would have been a generic-yet-iconic choice, except that once you get past the fact that he's basically a copyright law friendly corn Godzilla, he's actually got an awful lot of personality and stands out from the crowd by virtue of being a tremendous frigging jerk. Like, even by kaiju standards. He's basically a literal schoolyard bully right down to the mannerisms.

***I hate to call any episodes of the original Ultraman "bad," but there were a couple that get no other reaction from me, and the sole two-parter, The Monster Prince, may be the single part of the series that makes me actively angry. Most of the time when the show gets stupid, it's good for a laugh, and then there's Monster Prince stupid. "Oh no Ultraman dropped his transformation device while he was Ultraman WAITAMINNIT HOW IS THAT A THING THAT CAN HAPPEN I CALL BULLSHIT!" And being in this spectacularly stupid episode won Gomora a special place in kaiju history as "the first kaiju that defeated Ultraman." Uh, I watched that episode too, he just kind of... fought until Ultraman had to leave because he was out of time? That's not the same. Let's not even get into the silliness that was the fact that somebody in this episode thought it was a good idea to airlift a giant monster into the middle of urban Japan. I'm giving the kid appeal stuff a pass even though it was the worst kid appeal plot in the series (and there was some competition by virtue of sheer volume, I can tell you).

-Signing off.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

You Got Some MTG In My D&D

Okay, so pretty neat thing I've seen in my regular trawl: Wizards of the Coast has published a small free PDF for adapting Dungeons & Dragons rules for gameplay in their Zendikar setting (which is a Magic: The Gathering setting).

There are a few reasons I'm all in for this. One of them is that Zendikar's the Eldrazi setting, and I love Eldrazi. (True story: I've never played Magic, but since the first Mirrodin block I've followed the Daily MTG site on and off because I found I enjoyed reading about the game's mechanical structure and the story and worldbuilding stuff seemed interesting. I stopped reading for a while around Ravnica, because it bored me for reasons I couldn't put my finger on*, checked in a few times without quite getting back into it, then got back into it aggressively when they started doing Rise of the Eldrazi previews. Ahead of even Mirrodin [still my actual favorite MTG setting and one of my all-time favorite fantasy settings] and the Phyrexians [who are hilariously cartoonish gruesome villains and not for the faint of heart; neither are the Eldrazi, for that matter] and Innistrad** and Kamigawa [both fantastically flavorful settings], the Eldrazi are my single favorite thing about MTG.)

Second is that this free PDF seems to be inspired by a lot of ideas I've seen where someone adapts a creature design into another creature using a set of cosmetic changes and some relatively minor ability alterations. This is a fantastic idea and a very useful one (that I've seen thrown around by a lot of D&D fans who homebrew a lot), and seeing it used in an official WoTC document is neat.

...Though I kinda feel the need to call a bit of BS on some of the choices made:

Honestly, part of the problem is that MTG and D&D are differently scaled games from each other, but these are generally "Colossal-sized" creatures, and "Colossal" is a D&D descriptor with some serious problems. Which is to say "MTG 'colossal' is completely different from D&D 'Colossal.'" A "Colossal" creature in D&D can be just 30 feet in one of its dimensions (the PRD for reference; it's effectively a different version of the game published by a different company, but the size categories are probably still about the same***), but a "colossal" MTG creature is something more on the order of big kaiju. (You know those scenes where you can see kaiju towering over bridges? Like that. MTG "colossal" is EFFING MONOLITHIC.) Obviously, everything in D&D is ultimately intended to be hypothetically killable by some guys with nice swords and a bit of magic, and the big Eldrazi, who are definitely big kaiju big, are kinda hard to approach that way.

(Art is a cropped version of the art of Witness the End, which I found on some Daily MTG page I'm not hunting down sometime last year or so.)

D&D has occasionally flirted with monsters on this sort of scale, but only for extremely high-level characters, who are generally essentially physical gods. (For instance, the draeden from BECMI/Mystara, which is something like a thousand miles long and has forty comparably sized tentacles, is immune to mortal-cast spells and will shrug off even Immortal-cast spells 99% of the time, and can cast every mortal spell at will [yes this includes wish go ahead and start crying]. While draedens don't get talked about much in later D&D, there was a reference to a draeden's body actually basically taking up an entire level of the Abyss and its mouth being used as a garbage disposal, which is amazing. Obviously this is a rare case of being much bigger than even the typical MTG "colossal" size, but it's a useful counterexample because it's definitely the exception that proves the rule. The only other major example of a "serious" monster on that scale I can think of is Spelljammer's stellar dragon, which can be millions of miles long, can cast all spells at will and combine or alter other spells or basically invent new ones on the spot, will "only" be completely unaffected by 70% of magic, has a sphere of annihilation in its gut and a tractor beam breath weapon, and can do other stuff that's probably irrelevant because why the hell not at that point these stats only exist to try to terrify you into not picking a fight/tempt you into picking a fight because you're really into Lord British Postulate gaming. And in Spelljammer you'll be meeting this thing while riding a spaceship.) And therein lies a part of the problem: MTG's protagonists, while they're less over-the-top than they used to be, are naturally equivalent to at least very-high-level D&D characters most of the time, and players themselves are still essentially the old-school really ridiculous versions. MTG's kaiju big monsters exist to be cool things for what amount to gods to summon and attack each other with.

Too long, didn't read version: Eldrazi titans would eat the tarrasque for lunch, so at least slap some extra HD on there guys I mean really.

Third, I love seeing intellectual properties being converted to different formats than what they're specifically "intended" for, and a gaming company converting one of its own properties for a different gaming system is such a slam dunk in terms of product synergy that I'm kinda amazed they haven't done this before. (I actually had mentioned this exact subject-that is, using D&D to play MTG settings-to my sister sometime in the last year or two.) It might not take off, but hey, you didn't have to burn money developing a setting or creating a new game, so the development costs are probably just whatever you paid the person who whipped up the PDF.

So I kinda hope to see a bit more of this.

*I eventually did figure out the problem: An ecumenopolis is boring when it's in the context of being the norm. It's only interesting when it has more normal worlds to contrast, and in general Ravnica is basically an extremely isolated ecumenopolis, thanks to the rarity of planar travel in MTG for anyone but planeswalkers. If it was part of a multiverse with more open travel, e.g. Planescape or Spelljammer (to give D&D examples, since I'm on the subject), I'd actually think it was pretty cool.

**Digression: I love Innistrad, but I've been pretty lukewarm so far on Shadows Over Innistrad block. Biggest issue: They killed off Avacyn, perhaps my favorite part of the setting. Why do I love Avacyn? Because she's an angel who's a bit gothy because she was created by a vampire. That's astounding. (Also, she was created by said vampire because he realized that the vampires would have overrun humanity and eventually gone extinct without her influence. In effect, he created an angel to be a sheepdog because he thought the figurative wolves were thinning the figurative herd too much. I love that, too, in a sort of darkly funny way.)

***Assuming 5ED D&D even uses size categories; I've done some admittedly minimal searches and I don't see references to sizes in some of this stuff.

-Signing off.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Excuse My Science Nerd Humor Moment

So apparently science has demonstrated that insects have consciousness and egos.

And I can't help but nitpick (at the news site)...

You forgot a few digits there, guys.

I mean yeah, technically it'd be correct to say "more than six hundred years ago," but leaving out the "million" makes it a kind of misleading statement. Even better, that's the correct order of magnitude that if you scaled all of history that way, it'd be legitimate for some grandparents to say "back when I was young during the dinosaur days..."

There's also a joke in there about medieval people not having developed conscious thought yet, I think.

-Signing off.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Don't See This Movie (Even If You Want To)

I'm sorry, but please don't watch Doctor Strange when it comes out.

(I realize there's irony in just giving the trailer more hits, but...)

Casting a woman as the Ancient One? Yeah, sure, guys. But couldn't you have cast, I don't know, an Asian person? And it would have been really nice if you'd cast an actual Tibetan, for that matter (I doubt this casting choice was actually intended to cover up the nasty real-world bullshit (pardon my pottymouth) that Tibet's had to deal with over the last few decades [what with China taking them over, trying to take their name away, and killing a bunch of Tibetans]*, but yeah casting some white person is pretty crappy of you guys).

And as my sister has said, if you're going to cast someone to be Doctor Strange, it had darned well better be somebody who looks good with facial hair, not Benny D. Cobblingblock.

Best YouTube comment on the trailer:

Sadly, no, Robert Downey Jr. is not in this. He'd actually have made a pretty decent Doctor Strange, and then they could have done bluescreen gags with Strange and Tony Stark and everybody insisting they look alike and both of them going "no we don't, what are you talking about?"

...That's probably why I'll never make a Marvel movie.

*EDIT: Apparently my worldview is too optimistic because somebody... admitted that appeasing China was an actual intention behind the casting? Darnit you guys.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Here's Shere Khan

Okay, somehow I'd managed to basically completely miss that a new Jungle Book movie was coming out. Which is funny, because I always did enjoy the old Disney movie, and also enjoyed a fair bit of Kipling's work.

And after some preliminary investigation, I have two things to say specifically about Shere Khan in the new movie:

1. Casting Idris Elba as a tiger is a pretty great idea. (Granted, casting Idris Elba in most roles is at least a good idea, but still...)

2. I actually really like that they gave him a blind eye, because the original Shere Khan had a crippled leg and had actually been nicknamed "the Lame One" by his mother (ouch); obviously, there's a big difference there, but I think it's a nice nod to the original source material.

-Signing off.

Monday, April 18, 2016

This Raises So Many Questions

So there used to be a robot on Sesame Street that needed things explained to it.

You know exactly where this is going to lead, right?

CALM DOWN, Sam, this is a kids' show.

-Signing off.

Friday, April 15, 2016

This Almost Makes Me Want To Watch The Movie

Apparently, for at least some of the Star Trek movies just watching the ships is almost as good as watching the actual movies*.

One could argue that using Wrath of Khan as the example is cheating, but the guy who did this did it with all of them, so...

*Biggest benefit: Watching just the ships takes a lot less time than the movies, which are long.

Biggest drawback: The soundtrack sounds mincey.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Latest Godzilla Trailer Hits

...This is the objectively best Godzilla trailer I've ever seen, and tied for best kaiju movie trailer I've ever seen with every Pacific Rim trailer.

Also, that thing with the tail sweeping overhead at the beginning? Awesome.

-Signing off.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Internet Subpar Day

(Dear Google, why is Chrome so bad compared to Firefox? My Firefox install's been crashy and I decided to let it be for a couple days because of reasons, so Chrome it was, because IE is the devil*. So why is Chrome only a little better than IE?)

I've listened to a lot of Megalovania covers, and this one is sorta weird for me, because out of them this is the one that sounds most unambiguously like the original.

Except with physical instruments instead of the ol' electronic thing.

*And also crashy, usually specifically when I tried to use Google to find the Firefox installer to grab it. What the flip, man.

-Signing off.

Friday, April 8, 2016


On the one hand, I'm still occasionally a bit salty about the death of the old Star Wars EU. On the other hand...

...the fact that "Rogue One" is apparently now a teenaged girl who spied for the Rebellion around the time of the Death Star?

Yeah, okay, that's good.

*This is a reference to 1) the fact that there are (sexist) people complaining about this (of course), and 2) there's a rather infamous screenshot of Bandora/Rita Repulsa saying "Cry harder, baby!" to, well, a baby.

Other Bandora quotes from the Zyuranger super sentai subtitles include:

"Dora Argus, go to Earth right away and harm the children!"

"Humans live too long already without the elixir!"

"The magic spinning wheel! Send that baby to hell now!"

...Bandora really hates babies (and all children, really).

-Signing off.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Still Posting Undertale Music Covers

Despite still not having played the game.

Honestly, I think enjoying media peripherally rather than directly (through things like Let's Plays, or through listening to a part of it, or just things like appreciating the design aesthetic) is a perfectly legitimate form of enjoying said media; I've been doing it through the Internet for oh, over fifteen years now, and I was doing it before that through other means, like reference books for shows I never watched or for games I never played.

-Signing off.

Monday, April 4, 2016

This May Remind You That Making Shipping Choices Is Premature For This Trilogy*

Second favorite thing about the "How It Should Have Ended" series is still the "I've got a son!" gag**. (Although the alternate take on the death scene in this skit is close competition.)

I might have posted this closer to when I first saw it, but 1) I sorta forgot, and 2) I'm a little irked, actually, that the Starkiller base was depicted as just a bigger Death Star.

Yes, it's a bigger Death Star (which can fire beams at plus-c velocities), but it's a bigger Death Star that's wrapped in a planet, not just a generic gray sphere.

*Because who knows who might be related to who. This is Star Wars, it's basically a soap opera/space opera hybrid.

**The favorite overall being the whole Pacific Rim skit.

-Signing off.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Happy Day That Should Be More Normal

Hope your April Fool's wasn't too stressful and annoying this year. Have a classic Muppet skit.

I'm kinda glad that major April Fool's Day gags seem to be mostly going out of style on the Internet, Google's recent faux pas aside.

-Signing off.