Thursday, December 20, 2012

The End of the World?

It is December 20th. About 7:30 pm. The doomsday clocks say that the world will end tonight.

There are lots of parties going on as an excuse. Sex, drugs, alcohol, binging. Recklessness.

All I know is that in 9 months, there will be lots of "unexpected" babies born. 

See you all tomorrow. 

Oh, wait. No you won't, because if you aren't in the room with me right now, it's because I dislike you intensely.

I'm going to go watch From Russia With Love now.  

Love,

E. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Silent Hill Homecoming-Short Review

*Minor Spoilers Ahead!
Welcome home, Soldier...

I don't want to do a whole review for this. Quite frankly, I like it a lot. Yes, we all saw the end coming. I think it's more pertinent to make Alex realize the truth, and the player needs to find out why Alex can’t see it like we can. The graphics are great, I liked the interaction with The Order, and I liked the story with Shepherd’s Glen. I’m tired of people exclaiming, “OMG YOU LIKED THIS GAME?!” Yes, I do. It’s why I got all the achievements for it. It’s why I’ll play it a billion more times before I die.

There are a few things I'd like to post though. You know who my favourite character is? This guy:

Curtis Ackers
People cite him as one of the main antagonists, second to Judge Halloway. I don’t really consider him a main, more like a mini-boss, and I’m not convinced he’s always been evil. I don’t think he was part of The Order until after you find his shop all locked up. I think they took him then and he converted.

What I find intriguing about him is his focus on fixing and maintaining. He runs the scrap yard/repair shop and he sees how people can neglect their possessions. With The Order, he “finds clarity.” I’ve been wondering what his clarity is. He isn’t part of the four families of Shepherd’s Glen, so I am uncertain if he was part of that religion too. His clarity might have been religion. And since he seems to be a grumpy guy who prefers to be alone, perhaps he found the people of religion to be of his social taste. And they gave him a new job-to fix...broken people. With a circular saw.

You know who I hate? This lady:

I'm busy looking for my son. Oh, wait..no I'm not.
Totally useless. Yes, I get her emotional trauma. She had to pick one son, but she gave birth to both. She’s mentally unstable now, but you know how short/different the game would be if she was like, “Oh, hey, about your brother...you know [insert plot reveal], right? Remember? Oh yeah, I guess you’ve forgotten [other big plot reveal]. Guess you have to go to Silent Hill now instead of meandering all over this town. Bye!”  

I could go on, but I think I'll leave it at that. 


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Silent Hill Downpour, Post Patch


There Be Spoilers Ahead!

Silent Hill Downpour has been out since March 2012, and I intended to do a review around that time. There were some lag issues and Vatra promised to patch that. And because I love the Silent Hill franchise that much, and because I strive to be a fair person, I decided to wait on the patch. I didn't think that it would arrive only a few weeks ago, about eight months later. Last night I got all the achievements for the game, which is huge for me. I usually don't bother. I did it for Alice: Madness Returns on the old account that I once used, and that's it. Until now.


Patch

The patch was designed to fix the framerate issues, save issues, and bugs concerning the "Homeless" mission and the subway system. I've only had a save issue happen once, and since the patch, it has not happened again. I didn't do the Homeless mission or use the subways before. However, I did post-patch and I noticed that passages that were supposed to be open in the subway were not. If I found locked doors and I had to leave the area and come back on the reload and the door would be opened. That was annoying.

The above issues are minor annoyances, considering the frequency of occurrence. My concern is the framerate issues. The patch didn't eliminate them all, no. But it lessened the degree of lag. There still is lag. It's not the end of the world though. I didn't consider the pre-patch game unplayable, and less lag is still better. Although, I might have to remind the world about why I hate the way the gaming industry relies on patches instead of making a functioning game to begin with.

Praise

I do have to say that I did enjoy the game. Downpour gets a lot of unnecessary hate, especially from old fans. And I am an old fan (from about 2001) and I enjoyed it enough to play through it multiple times for the achievements, and I am not an achievement whore.

I am a cult enthusiast. Cults fascinate me. Especially magic cults. If someone invited me to a cult that claimed they could do magic, I'd totally hop right into the sketchy van. Yet, I do like how Downpour did a story set in Silent Hill, a town basically run by old gods and the cult that follows it, without the cult element. Yes, DJ Ricks alludes to it when he says that they are always listening. Though he could be alluding to the monsters in general, or the old gods. But no where in the story does anyone stop Murphy and say, The Order is behind this. Mostly because, I think, they aren't. Yes, the old gods have deemed it necessary for Murphy and Anne to figure out their issues. The Order is busy doing other stupid shit. I like to think that they aren't concerned with Murphy and his troubles.

Officer Anne Cunningham 

After playing through this game over and over, a few things have become apparent to me. And as a disclaimer, you can disagree with me. The great thing about the SH universe is that most of it is unexplained spookiness. I tried to watch the first Silent Hill film with my friend and with all his questions about how the universe works, I had to give up. It's magic, ok? The normal laws of our world don't always apply. It has its own rules. And he was totally fine with that answer. Or at least he stopped asking questions.

Anyway, I've been thinking about the meat of the story. It is about revenge.

Anne: "My father was a good man. He didn't believe in revenge. But I do."

Murphy also wants revenge. It's what got him in prison. His deal and development is super easy to see. What I've been thinking of is whose story this actually is. Today I am feeling that it is really Anne's story and Murphy is tangled up in it, in his own way. That the gods of Silent Hill wanted to give the darkness festering in her heart the opportunity to get revenge, or forgive. She mentions the "sick" things she had to do to get Murphy under her watch. Murphy already got his revenge and he was probably going to rot in prison. Anne had yet to get hers, but she had to pay for it before she even got the opportunity. Yet he was already technically "paying" for his crimes, but it wasn't enough for her. As with the sequence of final scenes when Anne shoots Murphy in the showers, he is her Boogeyman. She is fighting her monsters. Murphy is fighting himself, running away from himself.

What would be really awesome is if Anne could get her own game, or at least some DLC for her story. It's alluded to that she hasn't just been frolicking in the streets until she runs into Murphy or DJ Ricks. Too bad this will probably never happen. This definitely sucks because the series needs more strong female leads.

Old E3 Trailer 
Does anyone else remember the old official E3 trailer from 2011? It's interesting to see the changes that they made. I remember first playing it and waiting for the kids to push me and run past me. I guess they were supposed to be the kids you keep seeing in the paintings? I thought it was dumb that they were never really given a mention, they just appear in the art all the time. They were probably supposed to be part of something and they were cut completely. I'd love to play a version  of the game before the changes.




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Mentalist Season 4


So what have I been up to? Watching The Mentalist. Season 4. BAM.  

You'd think with the way season 3 ended that there couldn't be anymore episodes. That it would be dragging out a story that should die. I am pleased with how the story is continuing. Enthralling. 

Patrick Jane is as awesome as ever. There is tea drinking, crime solving, tricky mentalist hijinks. Oh, and Lisbon's hair is going away from those bangs that I hated. Jane is in my top 10 fictional characters I would drop everything for to run away with. Beyond hawt and clever and he wears sexy suits. And he drinks tea and looks fine doing it. Ok I'm done. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Video Game Girlfriend


This video is from swoozie06, who has lots of awesome videos and you should check him out!

The best part of this video is when she says "-Disarm the Metal Gear."

I'm not even going to confirm that I am, or am not, a girl. You probably couldn't handle the truth anyway. We are better in bed though. Obviously.

You know what sucks though? When you're a gamer girl and your boyfriend only plays sports games. Not only do I not have any interest in sports games, but I suck at them. I can look at him and be like, lets get Chinese food and Pringles, and play the Xbox until tomorrow morning, and we'll sleep in and play when we eventually get up. I can't play NHL or NFL or N-what-the-fuck-ever-L-or-A for all that time. Hey, let's play Halo. No. FEAR? No. COD? No. Metal Gear Solid? Deadly Premonition? Silent Hill? Deus Ex? The SNES or NES? I only have a bazillion games in my apartment. No. Frakk me.

Also, if a girl plays one or two video games only, she's not a gamer. No matter what you tell yourself, she's not. If she only plays games with you, she's not. You can dress her up to be one to show her off to your friends and family, but she's not. If you find a girl who has the same interests, who won't belittle you for playing games in your pjs for three days, eating nothing but chips and not leaving the house, she's a keeper. I hate meeting my male friends' new girlfriends and they say proudly, "She's a gamer." And since they want me to like her, I get some alone time with her and I start asking her what she likes to play. "Oh you know the one, where you shoot people. And you get grenades. And you can duck behind walls and stuff." Uh huh. What else? "I like the one where you can fight people. And the driving game! But my bf always wins heehee!" I want to throw them out a window. So then I hate the girlfriend. So, don't lie to yourself. I had a point in writing this and I've since forgotten. Now I want Chinese food and Pringles.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Deadly Premonition Director's Cut Video And Release Date





Ok, so the video does not show a thing. Except that it will be released only the PS3 and in 2013. Some internet sources random people are saying March 2013, but since I can't find a terribly reliable source I'm not going to say that we should even take March into consideration.

Publisher Rising Star told Eurogamer that it will be released 2013. That's some reliable info right there.

I know Japan got a PS3 release for this game, but we didn't. Which makes me kind of bitchy when it comes to the Director's Cut only being released on the PS3. You know why I played Deadly Premonition on the Xbox 360? Because I don't own a bloody PS3, damnit. I do know people who are more than willing to let me use theirs, but still. If the PS3 dramatically drops in price I'll pick one up. But nothing beats fucking over one console's user group over another.

Now, shut up while I listen to my imaginary friend tell me what letters are in my coffee...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Courtney Alsop in Surreal Grotesque Issue #6: Urban Legends

The Surreal Grotesque Issue #6: Urban Legends


It's time to get your Halloween on! The wickedly awesome lady Courtney Alsop is in this month's issue of Surreal Grotesque with reviews of the recently popular Slenderman games and a book she won't stop raving about called The Architect by Brendan Connell. In her defense, that book is beyond awesome...
If you like the Slenderman mythos go check it out. Plus it has other great writing in it, especially if you like the weird side of horror.

Over here you can get the handy PDF with a contribution of $5. Pretty snazzy for a lovely magazine.
And here is where you can view it free on the web.
The Surreal Grotesque official site is here.

(Sorry I scheduled this to appear at 9:55 pm. Seriously, I'm just stupid and assumed it would appear at 12:01 am. My bad.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Devilish By Maureen Johnson-Discussion Questions and Answers

I haven't been reading much for myself lately. Mostly for book clubs that I organize. I've decided to start doing review/rants about the teen lit we read for Teen Book Club at the library I work at. My group is still pretty small, as we are relatively new and getting new teens to come in is like pulling teeth. Lil Bunny is one though. I've decided to post up my discussion questions, my answers, the answers from my group of clever little cookies, and some ranting.

*Note: I did some research on the ol' internet and it seems that people either loved this book or hated it. There are a few questions that I asked them if they agree with the criticisms or not.

Devilish by Maureen Johnson


Teen Book Club Discussion Questions, Some Answers, and Some Ranting.

Summary: Quirky outcasts Jane and Ally are seniors at their Catholic high school. On Little Big day, the day when seniors get younger girls to mentor, something so horrible, so unfortunate, happens to Ally that she is embarrassed enough to just want to die. And out of the blue comes the younger Lanalee, who offers to be Ally's Little despite the shocking display. However, once Lanalee arrived on the scene, Ally begins to change. She stops hanging out with Jane, she gets a new haircut, new clothes, and a new phone. Jane is confused, and eventually hurt. What follows is a tale we are all too familiar with: Ally has made a deal with a devil, and only the highly intelligent Jane can figure it out.

Spoilers Ahead!  

Did you find Jane's character to be believable? Did you connect with her?
On the internet I've read lots of criticism about Jane's character. I found her to be believable as far as any character goes. She didn't touch my heart like some characters do, but she seemed more believable than a lot of characters. For instance, she tells the reader that she has totally gotten over her ex, Elton. But she hasn't. Not really. She has her faults-she talks too much and is a bit of a know-it-all. The teens had no problem with her; they liked her and thought she was believable. Our verdict: The Internet Is Dumb.

Did the story seem unoriginal? 
The teens didn't even know what I was talking about. As teens, they have yet to encounter the vast field of literature of the "deals with the devil" type. They liked it, and they said that they had no idea that it was going to happen, nor who the devil was. I saw it coming a mile away, and I chalked it up to being an "adult".
I got to rant a bit about Dr Faustus (oh lord, I heart Faustus!), who had a similar encounter and a similar contract, and this mythology is entrenched in our culture, and has been since around 1590. Deals with the devil are not new, and maybe not so scary since we've lost the "OMG every stranger could be the devil trying to temp you-even if they are really nice and good looking men OMG stranger danger!" attitude.
I also tried to explain the trope about "the new student" (you can find info on that here) who just comes in as the new kid and suddenly they stir up all the events of the story. Side note, anime needs to think of a better plot device, damnit!

Would you have signed the contract to save Ally after everything she had done? 
The big "everything" was threatening to kill herself and then say that she didn't do it to make Jane look like a complete lunatic. To be honest, I wouldn't have given too much thought to her after this. I would have wiped my hands dramatically, thrown them up in the air and been like "Nope, I don't care. Have fun in hell, I'm going to be awesome over here, without you two losers." I thought I would have been alone in my view but the teens had the same view as me. Why go out of your way when she did that? There is the whole matter of Ally dating Jane's ex, but we came to the conclusion that while it might seem bad, we could get over the idea with time. Turns out my teens in my group would also have walked away from her and not given a damn either. We suppose it makes Jane a much better person than us, and that works to her benefit.

How did you feel about the snarky remarks about the popular girls?
I thought I could get some "Jane seems to be unjustly hard on them" out of the group, but nope. They see the A3 as the mean popular girls. I see them differently. While they don't ever include Jane or Ally, they don't seem to outright antagonize them either. Instead I found Jane to come off as mean as she related to the reader that they are constantly putting moisturizer on. And I, an admitted addict to scented moisturizer, don't really see a problem with this. I'm probably worse, as I've been caught a few times at work putting moisturizer on my hands and elbows. I have an obscene collection now, to the point where my male friends scratch their head in confusion. What am I getting at? Well, I don't see much reason to really despise the A3 on their behaviour. I feel that Johnson just told the reader that they are the popular ones that need to be hated. If you hate the A3, lets face it, you hate me too because all we see the A3 doing is moisturizing.

116-year-old love interest? Is it creepy? 
The answer, a resounding YES! We even discussed if we are Team Elton or Team Owen. Turns out, we are all Team Neither. While my sister said that Owen was better, she was also a team Neither. They couldn't really explain why they didn't like Elton, and I say it's because Jane realizes that she doesn't like him either. I told them that Jane realizes that he buckles under pressure and that he is little more than the "nice guy". So, then there's Owen for the love interest. He's 116-years-old, with a 14-year-old's body. Creepy? This was met with a resounding: "OMG YES! EWW!" Gross that he looks 14 and she's about 17-18, and gross that he's much older inside and going after a minor.
Side note that we talked about: Why didn't anyone just tell Elton to kill Jane so Ally didn't have to enter the second contract?! Argh!

What did you think about the "dream" with Mr. Fields? Do you think it was necessary?
I thought it was kind of boring. It didn't really add anything though. If we really needed confirmation that Lanalee has had dealings with other terrible people in history, it could have been done in a different way that didn't take up so many pages. I got some agreement on this one.

Did you like how Ally broke Jane's contract with the "kiss"? 
I liked it. I didn't see it coming and I was like, AWESOME! Why didn't I think of that?! So bloody clever.
And the teens thought it was ok. Shot down, QQ.
We talked a bit about the intelligence levels in the book, which I don't think they gave much thought to. Jane is the uber intelligent one. Cassie is just under her. Ally is the "average" student. Joan, Jane's sister, is pretty and has lots of friends, but is sadly considered to be dim.
I want to talk about Ally and Joan.
Neither are considered to be bright. No colleges are fighting for them. But in the end, they make all the difference because they think differently from Jane. Ally gave Elton the "kiss" to save Jane. Ally alone broke Jane's contract. Joan was the one who brought it to Jane's attention that she could very well go after Lanalee with a steak knife if she wanted. Also, I hate it that "the pretty sister" is also surrounded by friends but ultimately dumb as a door nail. Why is this also so formulaic? I dislike it, but I also liked how Joan got her moment in the end with Jane.

Did the devil seem just too easy to defeat? 
Jane is exceptionally intelligent but educated adults who know the bible inside and out AND a 116-year-old couldn't figure it out. Yes, the rules. That apply to them, not her. The teens didn't have much to say about this. I think it's something they didn't really think about it much. In the end it's Joan and Ally that are breaking contracts and putting Joan in the right direction.

Did you really think that either of them (Ally or Jane) was going to die?
Jane really did cut it down to the wire. In the end she doesn't die, but Lanalee still does some damage with Ally's contract. The teens were like, "main characters never die." I was nice enough to burst their bubble and say that sometimes main characters, even the protagonist, do die. I couldn't give examples without destroying the plot of some fantastic books. They said it couldn't work, and I said that killing off the main character has a different affect on our minds and our reading experience. "You know," I said, "sometimes people that we are attached to do die in real life." Snarky-snark-snark.

Lets talk about Jane cutting off Ally's toes!
CLEANEST MUTILATION SCENE EVAR! I got lots of agreement with this. First off, Jane cut off all 10 toes in one swipe with a steak knife. No. That's not happening. You have bone to go through, and to get off JUST the toes you would have to curve your cut. This would take more than a clean swipe through butter. Ally/Lanalee would have LOADS of time to, as one girl put it, "use my other foot of toes to kick her in the face!" I thought maybe they would be too squimesh to talk about it, but my group is awesome and weird like me and got into it.
We've read gory scenes in YA lit. That's not a new thing. But why is this so...unrealistic?

Have you read any other Maureen Johnson books? How does this one compare to the others? 
And they hadn't so it was just me talking to myself. Johnson is probably better known for her other novels like Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, The Bermudez Triangle, and Girl at Sea. These are all based in reality and revolve strongly around human relationships. In reviews from even this year, I see criticisms along the lines of "why is she writing paranormal fiction? Where does she get off doing that? She writes slice-of-life stories! Blah blah..." However, she also wrote The Name of the Star in 2011 which deals with ghosts.Why does no one go look at her bibliography before writing such dribble? Yes, I can excuse the reviews that were actually from 2006 when Devilish was published. But the newer ones? No, stop reviewing and hang your head in shame for not even looking at her bibliography. Second, stop saying that people shouldn't step into another genre just because YOU don't like it. The teens were kind of lost on my rant but I think they understood. My sister said something along the lines of, "if they don't like this kind of story...just don't read it." Exactly! I have some very beloved authors whom I follow, but if they release something that just isn't my cup of tea, I a) don't read it, or b) read it and take it as is. Let's take Anne Rice. I LOVE her Vampire Chronicles. I haven't read her Christ The Lord series because...er, it just doesn't float my boat. Would I criticize her for writing something other than paranormal fiction? Nope. You don't need to read everything, you don't need to love everything, but you sure as hell don't get to dictate what an author writes. Bam.
Side note: I would LOVE to read The Bermudez Triangle when I get more teens in the group, but I fear the conservative nature of this small town. It could only lead to me being run out of the town by torch and pitchfork wielding illiterates.

A criticism is that this book isn't "deep" enough. Do you agree?
I don't think they really understood what I meant here. Here's how I tried to explain:
High schools have you write essays basically about "deep" stuff, called themes. Themes are the big issues of the work, such as racism, sexism, sexuality, political issues, poverty, social status, etc. In Devilish we have some social issues with the A3s as they tend to dominate, and I'm sure you could write an essay about the intelligence levels of the characters in this novel. But other than that...there's not much. There's a lot of "because friendship!" and that's the main driving force for Jane.
I compared it to The Hunger Games. There we have poverty, social injustices, human rights issues, political issues, etc. They got that. THG is HUGE with them. They understood that completely and they seemed ready to write essays on it if given the chance. But for Devilish? They couldn't really do it.
So I asked, does this novel NEED "bigger issues?" Response: No. The story was great and it held our attention and made us care about the characters. Inserting bigger issues would have been weird. Verdict: The Internet Is Over-Thinking.

A criticism is that there is no enough action. Do you agree?
My favourite part of the novel is when the devil gets a cupcake smooshed right into her face! I wish I someday will have reason to smoosh a cupcake into someone's face. One girl said that she had-"Did you have a good reason?" "Kind of. He was trying to take my cupcake away so I squished it into his face." "Then I fully endorse your actions."
Is this really considered "action"? Not really in the right sense of the term. Just like the "deep themes" discussion, does crazy heart pumping, car explosions, chase scenes, etc, fit in here? Response: Um, no. It is a story that takes place in high school. Although we have deals with the devil here, it is basically a slice-of-life high school story. I asked, don't the days just blend in to one another? One girl's response-"I saw four kids get pushed down the stairs all at once today. That was exciting." But admittedly, these things don't usually happen. You go to class, there might be typical drama between students, and that's basically it. Jane had to deal with the situation in the realm of her universe, which is very similar to our own.

And that's it. I enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it. Everyone seemed to like it and that makes me especially happy! Next up is Neil Shusterman's Unwind.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Persona 4 Arena!

I know that I've been a very bad blogger lately. Every time I sit down to write a review, I get a text from someone who wants to hang out. Considering how I had been completely alone in the sticks for about 6 months, I like all the attention I can get.

This week, my friend gave me the flu. He only had a slightly sore throat, he said. And only in the morning. I haven't been actually ill for about 3 or 4 years so I got hit with a full body aches and pain, shivering and fever, flu.

With my forced containment, I cracked these babies out:
I caved and bought Persona 4 Arena new. I had to buy myself my own copy of Persona 4. I got it for a good price and $1.99 shipping. Can't complain...and I HAD to buy it so shut up.

Persona 4 Arena!

I've been playing for two days. I don't have a full review in mind for this one. I'm not done, but more than half way done story mode. There is a bit of a spoiler section at the bottom that I marked. Beware if you haven't finished the game yet! Also, did I not buy a second controller?! People come over to my apartment,  I finally have a game for us to play, and where the hell is my second controller?! I rarely lose things. Now I have to play this by my lonesome *forever alone*  


Story Mode

Too much boring dialogue. Hey, I like reading. I like it so much, I fucking advocate it daily. In fact, I think I'll marry it, I love it so bloody much. But story mode is so repetitive. My problem also is that if you've played Persona 4 this is just ridiculous. It also goes into Persona 3's story as well. And I just finished playing that game, again. I don't need a recap, stop it! I've feel like I've played it so much I was there myself watching from the sidelines.

Pro Tip
I read way faster than the dialogue goes, even on the fast text speed. I learned the hard way that you DO NOT want to keep pushing the A or X buttons without being sure that there is another line of text already started on the screen. I did this blindly with Chie, and I accidentally chose the option to make her jump out a window chasing Akihiko because she smelt steak. Serious. I got her gag ending. Which was cute, but I didn't even know there were gag endings. I saved past where I could have gone back and gotten her real ending. This game still pretends that it's an RPG, and you can occasionally choose certain responses. Don't blindly click away.

Voice Changes 
The only voice change that really stands out to me is Chie. Dear lord I hate her new voice. It's not that the voice is bad, it is just isn't terribly close and at times it just sounds so bad. I really wish they had her voice. Miss President's accent is AMAZING. However, I got sick of it super fast. Luckily the harshness of her voice goes away as you go through everyone's story mode. Makes me think that Yu's story was the first they recorded and she was getting used to the role.

Ending (SPOILERS!!)
Seriously? This is what the Arena is?

Can we please get away from the whole "robots with a heart" thing? Please? Please think of different things for future Persona games.   

I don't like what the truth turns out to be. It's just dumb.

I'd really like to see more of "The Shadow Operatives"-the Persona 3 team after the events of their story. Akihiko is pretty badass in college. It also makes me less of a creep when people ask who is my favourite Persona 3 guy.  


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Revenge Season One!


Maybe you remember my rant of Revenge, over here.  I went on and on about how Emily Thorne is so badass and that I love her to bits. Well, today my copy of season 1 came in the mail! I pre-ordered it, but I didn't think I'd get it one day after release. I have a 62 hour work week this week, but I'm going to be glued to the tv every moment that I have free :) The only criticism I have is of the image that is always used for this series- the one with Emily in the black dress that goes to thorns at the bottom. Maybe it's just the fit of the dress, especially the top part. Gah. But season 2 is definitely coming. I didn't get to see all of season 1 when it was on tv, as my city kept having power outages when it was on. No kidding, for like three weeks in a row. And now I get to watch Emily being badass to my heart's content!  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Silent Hill: HD Collection-No Xbox 360 Patch Rage

(Updated with new from August 12th 2012 at the bottom of the page.)
(Updated August 22nd 2012 below the previous update.)

I originally found the news here at Inner Fear and double-checked with Joystick over here.



The Xbox 360 version of Silent Hill: HD will NOT be getting a patch. But the PS3 version will. What the flying ass fucking fuck?
They can’t because of "technical issues and resources."
Ok, let me take this over. I got this one. You can all thank me later.  

Dear Konami,

Are you telling me that I used my resources (money) and traded for a product, a flawed product at best, and now you're telling me that you don't have the resources to fix this? But you have the resources to fix it for the PS3? 

Fuck you.

Love,
Ester York.

If the fact that SH3, my favourite, most beloved SH game of all time, got the SHITTIEST, MOST ANNOYING redub WITHOUT the option of switching to the original voices was bad enough, this is. SH3 of the HD Collection is broken as fuck. Not unplayable, no. Some will say that it is, but it isn't. But I'll tell you one thing. I WILL be playing my PS2 version. It is my "go-to" game that never gets old. I don't particularly give many shits about it being HD. Maybe just one shit, but definitely not two. If it never happened I would not have noticed. I'm not one of these pre-pubescent pansies who have nervous break downs over pre-HD quality game graphics. SH2 of the HD Collection is broken to a shit- filled hell too.  Unlike most of the Silent Hill fan base, SH2 isn’t my favourite SH game. Not my least favourite, but it’s down there. It doesn’t hold a particularly special place in my heart. Do I still want to see a glitch filled pathetic HD update of it? No. If you’re going to make something, do it right.   

Why the fuck do game companies release broken as fuck games? Yes, we can download patches. Though I have to remind you that there are, in fact, places in the world that have shitty internet connections. Up until a few months ago my parents, and therefore my younger siblings, had dial- up, and it was the slowest dial-up I’ve seen and completely unreliable. For a while they had no internet at all. They bought a game and played it as is. Game companies have to stop releasing games full of bugs to patch it later. Why don’t they, I don’t know, make a product to the best of their ability? Something that they can be proud of? If a game is rife with bugs, here’s a radical idea: DON’T FUCKING RELEASE IT. DON’T TAKE MY MONEY. Hang your head in shame and hold it back. Let’s face it, SH games are pushed back all the time. Video games in general are pushed back all the time.

What also pisses me off is that they don’t have the fucking RESOURCES. Oh, and there are fucking TECHNICAL ISSUES. Well then. Those are totally good reasons </sarcasm>.

#1. RESOURCES. I gave you my fucking money. You gave me a piece of shit not worth my time (as stated, I’ll be playing my PS2 version instead). I gave you my fucking resources in exchange for goods. Suck it the fuck up. At this point, this is your fucking fault. When I worked in a coffee place, if I made your coffee wrong and you brought it back, I apologized and made another one. You eat the fucking cost because YOU royally fucked up. I didn’t go “Shit, no can do, yo. That would cost more money.” You know, I didn’t shrug my shoulders and give up because I have an IQ above a fucking shoe box full of rocks. And because I’m not a morally deplorable dip-shit.   

#2. TECHNICAL ISSUES. The whole fucking product is a technical issue. IT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU RELEASE A PIECE OF SHIT. Did they port it and not even test it? Did they get a four-year-old to test it? Who the fuck can’t see these glaring issues? Who the fuck at Konami looked at the final product and thought it was passable? Fuck you and your technical issues. Oh, these are just too fucking hard to fix, eh? Boo fucking hoo. Why don’t you release a game FREE OF ISSUES so you don’t have to fix these TECHNICAL ISSUES AFTER WE GAVE YOU OUR MONEY? Oh, fuck, is this concept just too hard?      

So what, all Xbox 360 owners are shit out of luck? Sure, we could trade in (taking a loss, btw, because trading in NEVER gets a decent return) and get a PS3 version. Except, you know, for those of us who don't own a PS3. And I guaran-fucking-tee that if they don't have the RESOURCES to fix these issues, they don't have the fucking RESOURCES to buy me a PS3.

Conclusion: Making a patch just for the PS3 and not the Xbox 360 is ass-fucking Xbox 360 owners with something long and sand-papery. Don't release broken pieces of shit to begin with. Thank you Konami for taking my money and giving me a piece of flaming rat shit in return.     

Update: Konami has released that they will exchange the Xbox 360 version. IF YOU HAVE YOUR RECEIPT AND BOUGHT IT NEW. Not only that, it isn't a refund. It's an exchange. 90% of the games on the list (you can find it here along with the news) are crap (at least to me). It's like you buy a new TV. You get it home and it's ok, but you look at the resolution and it just isn't that great. Not as sharp as it claims to be. The audio kind of sucks. It's not worth the money you paid. Maybe it's just broken. You bring it back and instead of giving you your money back or fixing it, they offer to give you something else. A radio. Well, fuck me, that's not what I want. If I wanted a crappy game from your list, I would have bought them myself. Hell, some of the games, like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, I already have and it was a disappointment too. If I order a burger and you make it wrong, don't offer to take my burger and give me only an apple pie. Apple pie is fantastic, but it isn't what I paid for. It isn't what you promised to deliver when I gave you my money.

Update: Konami still has not offered to buy me a PS3. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Surreal Grotesque Issue Four

Courtney Alsop 2012

The 4th issue of Surreal Grotesque is here! Friend Courtney Alsop has reviewed the video game Catherine, and the books After and I Didn't Mean To Be Kevin.

The issue can be read here, though you have to sign in to read it, as this issue is a tad more risqué than usual (the theme is sex and death, what do you expect?). Everyone at Surreal Grotesque takes a lot of time to produce such wonderful writing, and I hope my audience here can take the time to check them out.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises-Catwoman


Yesterday I went on a date and I got to see The Dark Knight Rises. While [T]he date was a bust was the start of something great, at least [and] I got to see the newest Batman film. The film was ok. Just ok. Way too long, yet on the top of my head I can't think of anything to cut out. Bane wasn't a terribly scary villain. However, I also acknowledge that a new villain will never outshine Heath Ledger as Joker. The main thing I want to talk about is Catwoman.

Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises,
played by Anne Hathaway. 

When I was a kid, I loved Tim Burton's Batman Returns mostly because of Catwoman, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. I know the character has appeared before this, and that she is always evolving. I get it. But TDKR’s Catwoman is not so much a cat. Just a lady cat burglar named Selina Kyle.

Catwoman in Batman Returns, played
by Michelle Pfeiffer

No whip, no claws, no crazy meowing, no licking herself. Even the Batman: Arkham City Catwoman is more Catwomanish. I liked Anne Hathaway’s acting, and I think her looks were perfect for the role. But other than her little cat ears that go over her eyes when she needs them, what is so “catish” about her? Sure, maybe the way she seduces and then strikes. But is that enough? She doesn’t have to be crazy like Michelle Pfeiffer’s character, though it give a much more interesting aspect to her, especially concerning her relationship with Batman.



I wonder why they decided to make her less cat like? I wonder why they decided to go so far away from the Batman Returns kind of Catwoman? I think it might be because her mental instability would be too jarring for the sensitive minds of today’s audience. What is the new Catwoman’s motivation? A clean slate. Good enough, though it makes her seem regretful and less badass than she should be. But what about the old Catwoman? She wants revenge on the jerk who pushed her out the window in an attempt to kill her. Don’t we all, Catwoman? Don’t we all...





Thursday, July 26, 2012

Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft Review


Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft by Jody Gehrman



Spoiler Free!

Bree Ogden, Jody Gehrman’s agent, asked on twitter if bloggers would review her book, and I volunteered. Soon I was sent a pdf of awesomeness and I was sent to reviewer heaven.

This book is, as the title announces, the guide book to Audrey’s life as she is introduced to an unexpected magical life. Perhaps best described as a supernatural thriller, it is definitely a coming of age story. It begins the day her journey beings, and that is the day that her mother goes missing. This is the story of Audrey discovering her identity and her new abilities. Instead of other YA lit protagonists who adamantly refuse to accept the changes associated with young adulthood, Audrey wants it. Now. Not because she wants to be more mature and have all the responsibilities-she wants to save her mother from the big bad that threatens them.

Characters
Audrey is a believable protagonist. Not perfect, but protective. She makes mistakes. A lot of them. Her heart is always in the right place. She has a talent for baking and science, which help her very special talent. Snarky. Intelligent. Fierce. Funny. 

Without her mother, Audrey has to learn from another witch, Sadie. Sadie is cool, beautiful, and has a thing for animals and plants. But she is not the same type of witch as Audrey. It’s slow going, especially considering that Audrey was not raised with the knowledge of her mother’s hidden past. And really, nothing is known about Sadie other than she just showed up...          

I like Meg, the little sister. Instead of being the secondary character of blah place-holding, Meg has her own unique characteristics. White-blonde hair, beautiful, seductive, and she's in a band that leaves audiences rapt. She’s not pinned as the annoying character, the sweetheart that everyone loves, or the obvious character to be killed off dramatically. I would have to say that she’s probably more emotionally complex than Audrey.   

Other Things...
The “Canadians had only slight accents” bit made me giggle, eh?  

The cover is gorgeous! Not really sure where to place Audrey in that red dress, but I will let it slide.

The incantations are not corny but still mysterious and believable. The way that Gehrman writes the alchemy that goes on inside of Audrey is rich with details that make it so convincing.   

I kind of wish she wrote in her book more. Even if she just mentioned that she was writing something down in there. She writes down spells and recipes (like one for a killer chocolate cake) and other “How To” lists.

Maybe it is because I am, in fact, not a teen, that I saw the big reveal a mile away. I’d like to ask some teens one day if they saw the trope before the big moment.

The ending has so many loose ends, making it not enough of an ending for me, but it definitely sets itself up for a sequel, which I would be more than overjoyed to read.

Judgement!
I would love to do a book club with this book in the future. It does not have the crass and crudeness that this conservative community might run in fear from while making the cross symbol with their fingers. Okay, it has witchcraft, and that might get them in a tiff, but its good witchcraft! Overall, it is a fantastic book that I highly recommend.

Jody Gehrman's  blog is over here, and her website is here
   
The author is giving away free copies of her book every dark moon, the next being August 16-18, so get in on it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Catfish Review

Spoiler Free!

A little while ago I was watching a DVD (might have been Paranormal Activity 2) with someone and the previews for Catfish came on. We both thought it looked pretty cool-documentary style (more on that in a minute) horror about meeting someone you met online in real-life. I had my fingers crossed for the person to be a serial killer. 

The previews lied-it's not a horror movie. It's a...sad but sometimes funny film.
Painting of Abby's mother, Angela.
Yaniv (Nev) Schulman
   
It starts with Yaniv (Nev) Schulman getting a painting in the mail from a little girl named Abby, who is a prodigy artist. This painting, of one of his photographs of two dancers, sets off a pen-pal relationship. It's very cute and lovely. And then social networking becomes involved. Everything is peachy and he begins to friend all of Abby's family, including Angela, her mother, and Megan, her sister.


Message from Meg
Things roll along and he and Meg become close. They've never met at this point. Things get more involved. They start to fall in love.

And then he catches her in a lie. And another. And a few more. He doesn't know how to feel anymore, so he decides to go meet her, face to face. After all, he has feelings for her still.

The reveal was pretty good, I'll give it that.

Documentary?
Some quick Googling will bring up some different opinions about the authenticity of this film. To me, I don't particularly believe that it is real. That three friends would start filming the pre-stages to the entire relationship, the moments with Abbey and her paintings, doesn't make much sense to me. Does it really matter? I still enjoyed it with my doubt.

Final Verdict
It was a pretty good film. Had the warm and fuzzies, sadness, and some funny moments. If you like soft drama documentaries I recommend it. For me, it was a good, non-serious movie to watch. I certainly wouldn't buy it, but worth the watch.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Big Brother 14

I was at someone’s house on Thursday and we were just hanging about and on the satellite listing I saw it: Big Brother 14. No one else in the room had much of an idea of what it was. “It’s like Survivor but they’re in a smallish house and the challenges are fun and there is a lot more lying and deceit going around and sometimes they think they can date each other and it's funny.” It was a hard sell but everyone was nice enough to humour me.

And we had an awesome time watching the first episode.

Boogie!! <3
Dan

Britany

Janelle



 






I don’t really have a favourite HG at this point. Jenn is cool, but I'm not a fan of obnoxious and loud people. But Boogie is a Coach! I can honestly say that I’m 90% sure that one of Boogie’s people will win. If it isn’t one of Boogie’s, it will be one of Dan’s. Brittany is a stupid bitchy blonde who got played and who doesn’t have much of a place as a Coach. Don’t even get me started at the huge joke that is Janelle. I was hoping that Evol Dick and Will (with Boogie, of course) would come as Coaches. Having Janelle and Brittany is a joke. I would HATE myself if I got on Big Brother and got either of them. With Boogie, as long as you listen you have a great chance of winning the social game. Dan is a close second. But the girls? I’d just pack my bag because I could play a better game than them and I can’t stand lying to people.

Jodi
Jodi was evicted first. I don’t feel bad at all because she kept pushing her whole “I’m so FIT and IN SHAPE!” attitude. Sorry, but she has WAY too much jiggle in her wiggle. Normally, I don’t give a shit if someone has some extra pounds. I don’t like people who are deluded. If she was in such great shape the first challenge would not have been so hard for her. Good riddance.

The next episode is tonight, but at my own apartment I don’t have cable (let’s face it, I don’t watch much tv). I can get it through various internet sources, but the power has been going on and off today. In the worst case scenario I can watch it later in the week. Also, I won’t be blogging about BB every week or episode unless something HILARIOUS happens and it’ll be a short post. 

All pictures are from Big Brother Buzz.  


Friday, June 29, 2012

Courtney Alsop in Surreal Grotesque!

Courtney Alsop 2012

This lovely lady has two articles published in this issue of the horror magazine Surreal Grotesque (which can be found here)! In this issue (#3) she has reviewed the video game Alice: Madness Returns and the novel Seed by Ania Ahlborn. She’ll be reviewing newer videogames and fiction there and the magazine as a whole is packed with superb writing.

In a friendly effort to avoid overlap, I’ll be reviewing older or newer non-horror video games here and she’ll take on new releases and recently released games for newer consoles. If you like my writing you’ll enjoy hers, and I urge everyone to support this wonderful magazine. She’s a pretty cool lady who has been up to a lot recently, including being swarmed by hornets!

Surreal Grotesque’s website can be found here.
The direct link to Issue #3 is here.
Surreal Grotesque’s Facebook is here.


So what are you waiting for? Get reading!  



Xbox 360 + Kinect

I know I haven't been posting lately. First and foremost I want to say that I have been working 45-55 hours per week. I basically go home, eat a banana, and go to sleep. But before this started, I picked up something for myself:


I finally have people who will play Kinect games with me! The best person to play with happens to be my little sister, which is convenient since she lives somewhat near my new place. The games I have so far are these:

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012
Kung Fu High Impact
Just Dance 3
The Black Eyed Peas Experience
Kinect Adventures (came with my console)

Yes, a fitness game, and I plan on getting more eventually. There is a gym here that I go to, but with my schedule sometimes I only get free time at night. Do I really want to be walking to the gym on an unlit street at 10 pm at night? No. Anyway, so far we’ve played Kinect Adventures, and despite what people say about games that are included with consoles, we are enjoying it. It was a great introduction to the Kinect. The only other one we have cracked into is Just Dance 3. It’s too bad I don’t have more time to play with her, because everything gets pretty epic. Especially the song where you get to be the Power Rangers knock-off. Hellz yes. And The Black Eyed Peas Experience was bought on a whim because I thought their songs might be more catchy than the ones on Just Dance 3. I’m looking forward to it.

My precious...precious...   
I’m glad I actually have people to play with me. My librarian friends in my last city weren’t exactly the video game type. There were people who should have played with me, but they sucked and I hope they read this and bask in their lameness.

So, 55 hour work weeks. Stressful, but I like it. I came from a city where I was very fortunate to find a part-time job but I could not find another to fill in those missing hours. That city has an extremely high unemployment rate and I feel better having so much work now. Anyway, I have two reviews about half done that I’ll get around to at some point. There is also the little matter of something that I mentioned before with my brother. And I do ask all the people who know me in real-life-if you want to pick a fight with me, do it another time. Picking a fight with me the day before my brother had tumours surgically removed from his head is immature.  

On a better note, want to hear an extremely sexy song? Yes, you do.



Saturday, June 16, 2012

$600 Accident

This post will be a little graphic, so if you can't stand a little blood you should probably just leave now. This happened a little while ago, but I thought I would remind pet owners how quickly their beloved pets can injure themselves if we're not careful. This is what happened:

^A cat head...Between the jaw bones...
I'm in the process of moving, so I was in town all day buying new apartment things. I came home to my parents house. It was a long day. I had just gotten out of the shower and I turned on my laptop. As it was booting up I heard my mom screaming that the cat was choking on something. Not to be mean to my mother but she totally overreacts. This cat likes to eat tuffs of hair off the floor that is left behind from one of the other many animals in the house so he has been dryheaving like crazy lately. We thought it was just him hacking up a hairball. We finally found him and he was freaking out. It took me and my little brother to hold him down so my mom could pry open his mouth.

"There's a needle in his tongue!"

And there was. She tried to pull it out herself but couldn't do it. And then my mom just stood there and started to cry and she sobbed that he was going to die. My brother is too young to know what to do. I did something I didn't know I had in me-I had to direct everyone. I told my mom to call a vet that is closer than our usual one and get them to accept him right away. My brother stayed with me in the room. After about 15 minutes she didn't come back up. This was an emergency that couldn't be put off until the next day. I told my brother to get the cat carrier and then to get my purse and check that it had my wallet with my debit card and my cell phone. He was really fantastic through the whole thing-I'm super proud of him. He didn't freak out, which is excellent because my mom was barely functioning. And he listened to me and did everything as quickly as possible. Cool kid.

When he was gone the cat was cuddling with me and shaking. It was a sad moment that I'll never forget because I couldn't just fix him. Then he threw up blood and saliva on my hand, one of the most disgusting moments of my life. Then he cuddled with me more and spat more blood on my t-shirt. I thought with all the blood that he was going to die in my arms. Even with these thoughts and all the blood on my I kept calm for him. When my brother came back the cat kept looking at us and making weird movements with his jaw, and that made the grossest noise I've ever heard. My brother kept asking what that noise was and I had no idea.

With no word from my mom we put him in the carrier and brough him downstairs. No one was just accepting him-they kept giving my mother different vet numbers. WTF vets? It's an emergency. I had to tell her to tell them that he was coughing up blood. This isn't a "My kitty-witty is in pain" (like he stubbed his paw or something) kind of situation. We got in the truck and we passed my father who had my older brother in the van with him. They turned around and the cat went in the van with my older brother and I. The cat was really quiet, and he's a very vocal cat. We ended up going to our usual vet that is an hour and a half away, and we made it there in thirty minutes, which must be a record. My brother has a history of totalling cars, almost killing himself once, but he handled that van like a pro and we didn't even get pulled over.

When we got there he had some x-rays, but by looking down his throat no one could see the needle. It became a "Are you sure?" situation. Please remember that my t-shirt under my sweater had blood splattered all over it still. And my hair was still wet and dishevelled (I can't even brush it when it's wet). My brother, a mechanic, was in his dirty work clothes. We didn't do this for fun, jeeze. It turns out that through the eye of the needle was still white thread. Fatty probably found the string, which was connected to a sewing needle, and ate it. That gross sound we heard was the needle pushing through whatever is between the bones of his jaw. It was peiced through his tongue at one point, still visible if you opened his mouth, but he pushed it himself right through. Gross.

Instead of going through his mouth and pulling it out the way it went in, they sedated the cat and made an incision on the outside and just pulled the needle, complete with thread, right out and stitched him up. They gave us the needle after in a little jar too. One thing we can't figure out is where that needle came from. No one here actually sews. And the type of needle is short and thick, more like a quilting needle. The fat troublesome cat is always on the kitchen table when you aren't looking, so yeah, that's probably where he found it. But why was one just randomly out? We think it may have come in with all the new stuff we bought, and some of it was second-hand work clothes. Some stores use sewing pins on tags. Even before this I hated it when stores used pins to attack tags, and now my hate is perfectly capable of setting them on fire. The needle is currently MIA (not surprising in this house). When I find it I might post a picture of it.

Anyway, the vet looked at my brother, and said in a low voice, "So...about the cost..." and he then quoted "a few hundred." My brother laughed, saying that it sounded like he was going to say several thousand! We're big animal lovers here, and seriously, "several hundred" isn't an issue. I was totally prepared to pay for it.

In the end it cost a little more than $600 to fix him up and to buy the pain killers and the antibiotics. As my brother was saying after, it was an accident. A mistake. A mistake that cost $600 and pain to a poor little animal. Old fatty is totally fine now. Same grumpy, tubby male. The vet assistant had to pick him up to weigh him and she commented that he was like a bag of potatoes! He weights 17 lbs, btw. After the surgery the vet asked how long the cat was breathing with his mouth open after the needle went in. My brother and I looked at eachother and we laughed. He sits around breathing with his tongue hanging out all the time. He's goofy. To see how fat he really is, I'll leave with more of the x-ray:


Fatty-fat-McFat-fat-cat.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

USB SNES Controller+Exciting News!

I wonder why I would be needing a USB SNES controller? Hm...?

I've been writing my new manuscript furiously lately, and my pinky, index, and middle fingers of my left hand are all messed up. It doesn't help that my actual job keeps me on the computer for about 6-7 hours a day. The three fingers are getting so bad I'm going to see a doctor about it, meaning that it has to hurt pretty badly before I have to beg someone for a ride into town. I finally got an old horror SNES game on an emulator on my PC. I don't do any gaming on the PC, but using the keyboard all bloody day is seriously damaging all my fingers. I figure it'll be less pain inducing. I haven't played anything in weeks and I really need to breathe once in a while.

When it gets here I'll be posting a review of a game I've wanted so badly for years. Hint: it was never released outside of Japan.

Extra news: I have been working with a library to get a teen book club going, and it sounds like I might take over the adult book club that has recently fallen apart because they lost their leader. Can you imagine? Me, in charge of impressionable minds! World domination is almost in my grasp...or I'll just corrupt them all and send them home for their parents to deal with. Ha. Of course my little sister, Little Bunny, will be in the YA club, and together, let's just say our weirdness is infectious.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Battle Royale-Spoiler Free!

Battle Royale (Batoru Rowaiaru in Japanese)
Spoiler Free!



Cats sleeping on lap? Check. One monster of a German Shepherd next to me? Check. What does all this mean? It’s Japanese horror movie time!



This movie has a lot, and I mean a lot, of similarities between The Hunger Games. I’ll go through them as I feel like it, but I’m not doing a whole comparison because, well, why should I? Maybe I will one day, if I feel like it. And this is going to be spoiler free because I don’t think this review/rant needs them. Apparently there is an extended version of this film, but I don’t have that one, unfortunately. It’s tragic, actually, as it sheds light on my favourite character. I'll seek it out one day.      

First Edition, Japanese
edition, 1999.
Ugly. Jus' sayn'.

This film is based on a novel of the same name (Batoru Rowaiaru) written in 1999 by Koushun Takami. Just like The Hunger Games, Japan has created a game that pits young people against each other in a death match. In Battle Royale, it is done because kids have no respect and are basically running rampant, though I don’t think the film illustrated it enough. In the beginning it is explained that The Battle Royale was created after 800,000 students walked out of school. The main character’s best friend, Yoshitoki Kuninobu (called Nobu), stabs a teacher in the butt, though it’s not explained why he does it. But the teacher doesn’t even seem that mad about it; he goes over to a sink and washes his hands.

This is Nobu's "Face of Rebellion".
What the hell is he doing?


So, students are being naughty and the government decides to do something about it.

Premise

So instead of having some kids who might straighten up, let’s make one psychopathic killer. This is a victor of a game shown at the very beginning of the film:

"Look, she's smiling! Smiling!" (So says my subtitles)

One whole class is chosen to participate, and while they are on a bus they are gassed and taken to an island that seems to have once been inhabited, but is now abandoned. This typical Japanese lady gives the students a run-down on how the game works:

They have collars on that monitor their vitals. They must kill each other in three days with one remaining victor. If the three days are up and there is more than one survivor, all collars explode, taking off the head of the owner. In this game, you have to fight. The time limit is a fantastic idea, as you can’t hide and wait for everyone else to die (which is what I would do if I had to be a tribute in the Hunger Games).

My problem with this set-up is this opening scene. The reporter is talking and there is a film crew. So this is televised, right? We learn later that this isn’t the first game. So why are all the students so surprised that they are in the game and they need everything explained? The students are confused, asking if this is real. If they already knew about this, a great tactic would be to wait at the enterance of the school as the students are leaving and killing them all off. But the kids are scared and just run into the night. 

The Characters

One thing that The Hunger Games does better is establish the characters better. There are just too many in Battle Royal, and since it is a horror movie, much of the movie is focused on who kills who. Too bad I had no emotional connection to most of them. I do have to say that even with very little character establishment of so many characters, there are some moments that really stand out because the characters know each other. Especially in the world of girls, things between people can get pretty dirty, and when you have to kill each other these issues come out. There are some touching scenes of love and friendship though.  

 
Noriko was bullied before, locked in a bathroom stall.
She is an idolized character for staying so pure in
The Battle Royale. Cliche, but she's nice.

And this is why you don't mess with other peoples'
relationships. Because later they might have a gun
and a chance to kill you, and they might still be pissed. 
The main character is Shuya Nanahara, his best friend is Yoshitoki Kuninobu (Nobu), and the main female character is Noriko Nakagawa. What is interesting about this story is that Shuya and Noriko are not in love (Noriko likes Shuya, and she tries to give him home baked cookies on the bus), but they are working together. I won’t say why because it will spoil what is supposed to be a big moment in the film that happens early on. Because the film moved so fast in the beginning (with good reason) I just couldn’t particularly care when this big moment happened. However, I do see how the two of them would work together after that.  
Noriko Nakagawa

Shuya Nanahara

Yoshitoki Kuninobu (Nobu)
  
   
*sings* Best friends...
But this scene has TERRIBLE
fake laughter.
There are a few memorable characters, and my favourite one happens to be Mitsuko Souma. She’s crazy and sexual and she aims to win not by waiting, not by escaping, but by killing everyone, and getting some action while it’s available.


Mitsuko Souma
Can I come in?
No.


Confrontation.



















There are two transfer students, Kazuo Kiriyama, and Shogo Kawada. Kazuo is smoking hot but damn, he’s crazy! It’s apparent that they are different from the other students: they are almost like soldiers, knowing exactly what is going on already, and how to play this game.

Random Bits

The whole “Let’s lose our virginities before we die!” bit comes up. Hilarity ensures. How could not? 


Clearly not the time for that...
Unlike The Hunger Games, there is still hope for these students to escape the game. Early on two girls try to rally everyone to their spot to figure out an escape, but that’s just a terribly stupid plan. Others try too different methods of escape.

Uh...what exactly is dangerous about the danger zones? Do the collars just explode?

I appreciate that the film gives the students guns, but no one is particularly good at shooting them with the exception of the transfer students. I hate it when kids get guns and they turn into the Point Man from FEAR. I have some experience with guns, and even if you line the sights up for that perfect bulls-eye, there's the probability that you won’t hit the bulls-eye because of the gun itself. Guns aren’t perfect, and neither are people.

There is a point when a weird dream scene occurs with Noriko and the teacher Kitano eating popsicles by a river in the city. I am seriously confused by this dream. Their lips move but there is no sound, so there are no subtitles. I have no idea what they are saying! Noriko says that Kitano seems lonely in the dream, but why she says this is eluding me. 

They're like the kids from Kingdom Hearts II.
I’d like to know about the text that appears on the screen. At least twice it was voiced, but other times it is not.  It is probably something that happens in Japanese cinema that I’m unaware of, but I would like to know more about it.




American Remake?

There once was talk of making an American remake. At one point I believed that American remakes were a good idea, but I was young and foolish. To make an American version would probably make it PG-13, cutting out much of what made it interesting. And I’m not talking about just the violence and the blood. There are a lot of issues that have to deal with sex that will probably be cut. For a story that focuses on young people in high school, I don’t think that you can realistically cut out the sex talk. When you start maturing in high school, sex is a big deal. It creates bonds between people or destroys people. These feelings come out in Battle Royale. Unlike in The Hunger Games, all of these people know each other, not just the two who are from the same district. Emotions run much higher.

My verdict is that an American remake isn’t needed, nor appreciated. With The Hunger Games out and the sequels in the making, we don’t need one. Watch the original. It is crazy good, probably one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year. Yeah, I know it’s only May, but it’s that good.   

One of the best moments of the entire film:




End Comments

I’m not going to deem one better than the other. Psh. I don’t need to.

And there’s a sequel to this film titled Battle Royale II: Requiem, with the extended version called Battle Royale II: Revenge. There is also the original novel that has been translated into English, and I would LOVE to get my hands on the extended edition. It’s seriously on my “to buy” list. Lastly, there is the manga. I’m not so big on manga anymore, but I’m interested in reading this if it isn’t too long. I’d have to find a translation and a cheap set to buy.

Battle Royale is definitely worth checking out. This film is gory and tragic in circumstance. It was banned in several countries because of the subject matter, which makes it impossible to resist, right?

If you want a great resource, there is a wikia here.

Below are some more captures that I collected that I think are worth sharing:


Nobu has a hair clip...is this normal in Japanese culture?
Mitsuko curles her eye lashes after she washes her hair.
Not really the best time to be doing that...