As I first mentioned on mah Twittah machine, I finally managed to actually make a custom design in a computer game that I feel proud of - in this case, turning my beloved Nina into (also my beloved, as it happens) Carol Danvers in her new Captain Marvel togs. This was done with the Superhero Top and Leather Pants & Boots items, with their colours correspondingly switched, and three separate decal applications on the upper body to add some more red and also simulate Carol's eight-pointed star emblem.
Comparison shot - from comic (left) to my TV (right)
More pics after the jump - apologies in advance for stuttering quality, I don't currently have any video-capture hardware so I've basically just been photographing my TV with a camera.
James Bond. You can't really start talking about a new Bond movie without addressing basically ALL the old Bond movies, and frankly I'm surprised I haven't spoken on the series here before now, as they're some of my favourite movies. That said, I don't have the polarized view a lot of fans do towards the various actors who have played Bond himself; to date, I like all of them, and appreciate the ways their films tried to capitalise on the strengths of how each chose to personify Bond.
When it comes to Daniel Craig, I like the rough-and-tumble physicality he brings to the table, not to mention the uncouth,cocky edge he employs for his humour. His Bond is basically a gorilla in a sharp suit pretending to be a gentleman, and his films have been at their best when they've been putting him in high society locations full of extremely posh people, and letting him bounce off them. There's also been an increased focus on 'humanising' Bond recently, which mostly means ripping away a lot of the elements fans were used to and rebuilding the character from the ground up. Casino Royale was a great 'year one' film, where the small scope of the villain's operation and aims mirrored the limited scope of Bond as an agent with a lot to learn about accountability and his role in the grander MI6 scheme. Unfortunately, Quantum of Solace just didn't know where to take Bond next, and its lack of focus soured virtually everything else in the film (does anyone even remember what the bad guy was up to?). Now comes Skyfall, coinciding with the film series' 50th anniversary, with a lot to live up to, thanks to both the occasion and the failings of its predecessor. And hoo boy, it doesn't just live up to expectations, it blows them right outta the water.
WARNING: I'll try to be gentle, but even so, potential spoilers follow.
To say that I was a fan of Smallville when it was still a TV show is, I suppose, half-right. Much like the rest of the world, I ignored it for the majority of its run; however, thanks to Comics Alliance and their sterling work reviewing each episode of the final (10th) season, I got interested in seeing what it was they found so confusing. Picking up the BR set of season 10 on its first week of release, I devoted an entire weekend to watching it from start to finish - and oh, I got my answers, and then some. Navel-gazing introspection, naff music cues and mawkish sentimentality was being made to share the screen with Hawkman, a transparent rip-off of The Matrix (in the year 2011?), and Darkseid - Lord of Apolokips, most foul of the New Gods, one of Jack Kirby's most enduring villains - redesigned as a malignant cloud of smoke. And that's before we consider this as a retelling of the origins of Superman, which meant that it spent 10 years with a superpowered Clark Kent running around Metropolis not actually being a superhero. It was, is and may always be the ultimate example of car-crash TV.
And yet, it had viewers. A shade over a million per episode, in fact, even into the later seasons. So I suppose it wasn't much of a surprise for DC Comics to greenlight a new ongoing series picking up where the show left off - if even half as many people who watched the show could be persuaded to buy the comics, they'd be the best-selling Superman books since, well, since the absolute WORST Superman books ever. Makes sense from a business perspective.
At this point, saying I'm a bit excited about the impending (hurry up next month!) launch of Nintendo's next home console is a pretty big understatement, and anyone who knows me and my gaming habits will find that only slightly less surprising than the facts that, yes, I've pre-ordered one, and no, I haven't even started to plan out my big purchases in advance to make sure I'll have the money for it. :P
Even so, I feel like I should try to put some of my thoughts regarding the system, its games and the ramifications of its existence down here for posterity, if nothing else to prove my fanboy credentials.
Fighting games seem to have seasons, I've noticed. You can go for 3 years with not a single new arrival outside of small-time indies on Steam and other such services, until all of a sudden a whole bunch of them arrive, practically tripping over each other's over-muscled bodies in their attempt to sweet-talk you with their expanded rosters, shinier graphics and thoughtful tutorial mode for stupid people. So while Team Ninja can talk all they like about an organic process of growth over the many years that Dead or Alive was dormant leading up to its well-plotted-out reappearance, the fact that it's riding in on the coattails of Tekken Tag Tournament 2's worldwide hype train - which itself rose from the shadows cast by Street Fighter X Tekken - seems a little too convenient to be coincidence. Still, there's no rule saying we can't have more than one solid fighter to choose from at any given time, so I was more than ready to welcome a return to the DOAverse. And having been wearing my thumbs down with it for a week or so now, it's time to take a more in-depth look under its shirt. I mean, boobs. Bonnet, dammit!
One of the joys of Minimates that I'm only beginning to tap into is their uniform nature and simple construction; with every figure sharing largely the same body, held together the same way, and none of it glued or bolted in place, it's both easy and fun to mix and match parts across multiple figures, winding up with neat custom replacements for characters not yet created by Art Asylum - or, if you're anything like me, a load of abject nonsense.
Today, it occurred to me how much this reminded me of the character customisation features in the more recent Tekken games - which means it's time for more Nina love!
Starting off with one assembled purely from the Street Fighter X Tekken first wave, it's Boxing Nina! Or maybe Kickboxing Nina, I don't know:
Parts used: Nina's head and hair, Poison's torso and arms, Steve Fox' gloves/hands,
It took me a while to decide whether or not there was much point in doing a write-up of my experience watching Retribution, the latest in what is still, mind-bogglingly enough, the most successful videogame-to-film series of all time. This is mainly due to fatigue with the series and the attitude of its architects - every time a new film comes out, professional critics and simple fans alike express in many cases the same grievances, and every time series overseer Paul W.S. Anderson politely sticks his fingers in his ears, smiling mildly at the okay box office returns which more than double whatever the film cost to make. Then it's back on the merry-go-round for another whirl, with the script blithely tying itself in knots to explain (or not explain) the absence of characters from the last film and sudden appearance of replacements.
That said, after leaving this blog to rot for far too long, I feel the need to continue my current activity levels, and while Retribution certainly fell into a few of the same pits as its predecessors, it also found new, hitherto-unknown ways to fail, too. And who says innovation is dead?
So my Street Fighter X Tekken Minimates finally arrived (or the first wave of them, anyway), and although the presence of plastic Lili on my shelf inflates my room's tramp factor by 300% I'm generally pleased with them. Most importantly, though, wave 1 included Nina Williams, my first love in videogames and, along with Tricia Helfer, one of the two greatest women in history, constantly locked in battle over control of my soul. (I kid - they're not fighting, I don't want either of them getting hurt) Since this is a pretty special occasion, I shall be celebrating the only way I know how - with crappy pictures! So here's Nina strutting her stuff and beating up some lesser blonde whose name I forget.