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What I’ve Been Doing 24 Sept 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Sep 24th, 2012 by Dan

Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation Lino Block Print

Ron Swanson and friends are back! (Photo by andyrama)

Not everything’s back yet, but TV! It’s back!

Movies

Cabin in the Woods – Watched about 20 mins while Scarlett was napping. I wonder what Danielle’s gonna end up thinking of the movie. I’m a huge fan. Love Fran Kranz

TV

The Daily Show – The Romney gaffe-fest made for some interesting commentary this week. Love the bit about how being Latino would make everything easier. Yeah, try being a minority for real Romney…

Fashion Police – Thought it would be milder because it was being filmed in front of a live audience in NYC, but they didn’t hold back as much as I thought. Still happy to not have to see Giuliana Rancic. She’s a weak link on this show.

Project Runway – Designing for the Rockettes seems tough. Turns out I was right because everyone was really shitty at it. The pandering, “NY is Awesome!” design won because, duh, haven’t you ever seen this kind of thing before? How was Christopher the only one to think of that?

NTSF:SD:SUV – Robots! Bob Odenkirk! Decent ep.

Childrens Hospital – British episode! Absolutely brilliant. I’d watch that version every week too. Great writing.

SNL Weekend Update Thursday – It’s election season. Can’t pass up SNL mocking the election.

Up All Night – Lot of changes, wow. No more Ava show, new supporting character (Reagan’s kid brother), no more Missy (sad, but she belongs on the broader UAN from last year), new film stock or something (it looked really different), and a new direction for Chris. Talk about a massive retool. The show is, for all intents and purposes, a completely new animal. I’m not sure if this will benefit it…

Parks & Recreation – Loved all the DC stuff. Didn’t care so much for the Pawnee BBQ stuff. I could watch Aubrey Plaza be Aubrey Plaza all day long.

Glee – Is this season less bad than last year? I think it is so far. Will it remain so? Not sure…By the way, I bet Rachel hooks up with what’s-his-face next episode and Finn returns in E4.

SNL – Hypnotist sketch was hilarious! Liked Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s monologue too. The cold open and the Finer Things sketches left me a little cold.

Sherlock – When your series are only three episodes long, do you have to spend so much time reminding everyone of all the dynamics and situations? I love that these are little Sherlock movies since they’re 1.5 hrs long. If you took a shot every time Irene Adler said something along the lines of, “I know what they like,” you’d be dead by the midpoint…That character is just a little too much. Still, I found myself fascinated with the Holmes brother relationship and I rather enjoyed the first episode.

Music

New Oneups disc. The PvZ track is solid

Also this more experimental album by Sweet Valley is a rather fantastic/challenging listen:

Books

This week. For real. I’ve got a flight and everything.

Video Games

FTL: Faster Than Light – Filmed a nearly two-hour episode on Sunday. Look forward to it by the end of the week. Still love this game. Can’t wait to try some new ships.

Mark of the Ninja – Still working on that S-Rank. It’s just perfunctory playing now. So close, about two levels left.

Borderlands 2 – It’s like Borderlands, but more. I like it, but it’s lonely without Min and Lee.

Torchlight 2 – Ok, to be completely honest, I didn’t actually play this. I just tried to create an account for an hour while chatting with Min and his cousin. That was arguably more fun.

Devil Survivor 2 – TRPGs get bogged down when you get stuck on an encounter. DS2 has a rather conventional (for SMT games) anti-grinding mechanic, so I’m at an impasse. I’ll break through on the flight, I bet.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy – Everything I wanted it to be (and more!). Play with headphones because the music is incredible. I’ve been putting off getting to FF VI because I love that music so much.

Kirby’s Dream Collection (Kirby Super Star) – One of the best SNES memories that I’ve got is playing Kirby Super Star with David. This game still holds up. Min and I beat Spring Breeze and Dynablade, but I’m going all the way, man. Gonna get to the Boss Rush.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 – Why does everyone hate on this game so much? It’s more Mario. That’s fun, guys. Remember what fun was like? It’s playing Super Mario Bros.

Spelunked – What I’ve Been Doing 9 July 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jul 3rd, 2012 by Dan

The cutest game to ever make you want to murder your entire family (Photo courtesy Giant Bomb)

Spelunky finally arrived last week and it was GLORIOUS! So good, as a matter of fact, that I managed to rack up 21 hours in it while taking a day off to go to Pennsylvania to celebrate the 4th. Spelunky is razor sharp, guys. Razor sharp.

Movies

21 Jump Street – I can’t think of another trailer in recent history that has inspired more ambivalence upon the people I know, but I was secretly amused by it. It turns out that it’s because it’s an amusing movie. It’s not as funny as The Other Guys, but it’s got a similar vibe. Plus it’s got almost every comedic actor working today in bit parts all over. It’s funny, but I wouldn’t spend more than $5 to see it. Oh, also, Dave Franco is like a little James Franco clone. It’s so weird!

Goon – Watched this again with Min since it was on Instant. The major reason this movie works is because it doesn’t make fun of Doug for being a oaf. He’s lovable and he means well and he just wants a place to belong. It’s really quite touching, just very, very violent.

TV

Louie – I’m honestly shocked that something as surreal and arty as this show can be is on FX and is doing as well as it is. I don’t know how the man on the street feels about Louie, but I know that I’m constantly impressed by its reach. Great show. That speech to Pamela in episode 6 was beautiful.

Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine – Speaking of arty shows, how crazy is the opening theme to this one? I mean, it’s called “New Wuthering Heights”, for Christ’s sake! I wonder how much of the look of the show is based on budget, but that’s actually the show’s strongest point. It doesn’t look like anything else on tv and it’s certainly more mature than most of the other anime I’ve ever seen. Fujiko is an interesting character, but, seriously, there’s not a single episode without her topless (nor can there be! She’s nude for the entire opening song).

Music

Heard a track by The Oneups this morning. Reminded me that they’re pretty good (if you like vidya game music)

Books

1Q84 – Haruki Murakami has never met a plot that didn’t need metaphysical, sometimes bizarre sex to advance it. Not a problem, more something to mark on your Murakami checklist. I do wonder what this means for Tengo and I worry about Aomame. Will she make it through the narrative or will Murakami use her to further motivate Tengo? What is Tengo now? Is he going to be cursed like Leader was?

Video Games

The Walking Dead – If Spelunky didn’t also come out this week I’d be drooling over this to everyone. Telltale has really figured things out and they’re knocking it out of the park with each episode. Pick it up now!

The Binding of Isaac – Came so close to knocking out the penultimate challenge. I’ll get you soon, BoI. I’ll get you…

Penny Arcade Ep 1 – Finished off a replay of this to prep for Ep3. The game has decent writing, but I think it’s less funny than the other Hothead episode (that or it’s less fresh for me?). Still, easy-ish S-Rank.

Spelunky – Gaming perfection, guys. Perfection! What Spelunky has that very few modern games do is fearlessness. Derek Yu is so confident that his game is good and that it makes sense that he refuses to put in handhold-y player incentives to coddle and usher along gamers. No, you lose “everything” when you mess up and die…everything but the knowledge that you obtained on the previous run. You’d be surprised how much you learn from each death and how things behave. Obstacles that seemed tough to deal with for me are trivial now. I’m starting to see two or three reactions ahead (chess style) of everything I do. Death only comes when I’m careless. Spelunky is hard and it wants you to move quickly, which also makes it harder, but getting that knowledge allows you to just fly confidently

Skullgirls – I picked this up to check out a sweet fighting game and support Min’s cousin msh. The first thing we did, I kid you not, was watch the credits to look for her name. Congratulations on the game credit, msh. It’s a fine game with fine art and I think it’s super cool that you worked on it. Now if only they could put the move lists, you know, in the game proper…That would be nice. I’m glad they got an official tournament at Evo this year, but I hope they’re a bigger part of the tournament next year. It’s a sharp game.

Jamestown – Hadn’t tried this game multiplayer until this past weekend with Min. Lots of fun, but the final boss is so hard!

Penny Arcade Ep. 2 – Funnier than Ep. 1 and a little more creative in its puzzles and areas too. Didn’t dig the final boss/puzzle, but it was fine. Really pumped me up to keep going with Episode 3 even though it was midnight on Sunday.

Penny Arcade Ep. 3 – Had to play this on Insane, did you, Dan? Ugh….SO HARD! I fought the Crabomancer like 20 times, but I finally beat him. Finished playing at 2AM. Whoops! This game has razor sharp RPG mechanics that I LOVE and even sharper writing than the previous two episodes since they’re not leaning on the art or voice acting as much as they could before. Loving it so far, just wish there were steam achievements.

The OneUps and SMB [Feedback/ER]
Feb 25th, 2010 by Dan

It’s pretty funny in an intentionally cheesy way.

New The Oneups Album [Embedded Reporter]
Feb 15th, 2010 by Dan

Video blog update about The Oneups new Super Mario Kart album coming out soon. I love these guys.

Video Game Music [Game Overview]
Mar 12th, 2009 by Dan

Inspired by a Rebel FM podcast, I found myself seeking video game remixes and music again, starting with my absolute favorite track from the Mega Man 2 soundtrack, Flash Man. Having seen a video on Youtube before, I started my search with The Minibosses.

The Minibosses

Ever wonder what your game themes would sound like played by a rock band with real electric guitars instead of synthy squeals? The Minibosses are for you. Their catalog is not large, with only two CDs available right now, but the benefit of their music is that you can get most of it free at their website. I’ve yet to listen to their full CD, but let me be the first to say that their Mega Man 2 medley is fantastic.

Wikipedia provided me with more links from there, one of which pointed me in the direction of a site I’d already been to, OverClocked ReMix.

OverClocked ReMix

I’d been to OCR once before seeking the soundtrack to Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, a project the were commissioned for not long ago that they provide for free on their website. What I discovered was a varied catalog of game music remixes that I wasn’t quite ready to download yet. I’ve since downloaded the rest of their 12 albums and the large torrents of miscellaneous songs, but it will be a while before I’m able to say anything definitive about those. I can say that their Street Fighter album is fantastically done.

Albums:

Relics of the Chozo – Super Metroid – 2003
Kong in Concert – Donkey Kong Country – 2004
Hedgehog Heaven – Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – 2005
Rise of the Star – Kirby’s Adventure – 2005
The Dark Side of Phobos – Doom – 2005
Chrono Symphonic – Chrono Trigger – 2006
Blood on the Asphalt – Super Street Fighter II Turbo – 2006 (Inspiration for the HD Remix album)
Project Chaos – Sonic 3 & Knuckles – 2006
Voices of the Lifestream – Final Fantasy VII – 2007
Thieves of Fate – Radical Dreamers – 2008
Delta-Q-Delta – Doom II: Hell on Earth – 2008
OC ReMix: Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Official Soundtrack – Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix – 2008
Summoning of Spirits – Tales series – 2009

The Rebel FM podcast and wikipedia also led me to The Megas

The Megas

What if the old Mega Man 2 songs had lyrics and a story weaved in? That’s precisely the ground that The Megas tries to cover. I’ve only heard part of their rendition of Flash Man, but I think the premise is promising and I will try to listen to more.

Which leads me to my final Wiki discovery, The OneUps

The OneUps

There are lots of metal and rock video game music bands out there, but what do you do if you’re not a fan of metal or rock? That’s where The OneUps come in. With two albums jam-packed with jazz covers of video game music, I’m sure that you’ll find a really interesting and cool arrangement of a song you’ve heard many a time before. Standouts for me include Terra from Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger from…Chrono Trigger. Check them out if you get the chance.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but if I run into more cool stuff, I’ll be sure to let you guys know.

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