DVD Review: Children of the Stars (2012)

CotS DVD CoverWhile the focus on solely letting its members speak without interruption or analysis from outside commentators debating the merits and downsides of the Unarius Academy of Science might seem unusual to those seeking a more opinionated documentary, Children of the Stars has an overall earnestness that works in its favor.

The 2012 documentary from director Bill Perrine (available on DVD through MVD Entertainment) isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect debate material for sure. Yes indeed, the spiritual group’s strange takes on science and history will seem bizarre to anyone not on their wavelength. But as home-brewed belief systems go it’s one of the more benign yet creative ones you’ll ever encounter. Continue reading


Unconventional Games of The Year Choices Incoming. You’ve Been Warned.

(Thanks, movieclips!) 

As some of you may know, I hate making “best of” lists, as it’s always a case of what one DIDN’T experience not making the cut almost always being as good or (or better) than what was chosen. That goes double for public choice where popular seems to outstrip good by a few leagues. That said, if you kidnapped me, tied me to a couch with a bunch of random strangers and submitted them to some rather strange blood testing to see who was infected with an alien virus, I’d fess up beforehand that yes, I’m one of those Things just because I hate me the hell out of needles and sharp objects (unless I’m in the kitchen cutting up stuff to cook). I’d also probably admit that out of all the games I’ve played this year, I probably put MORE time into a few than most did because I liked them a lot more than most did. Okay, that and my backlog is insane and I no longer review too many games in a “speed to the finish!” manner, as that’s how you miss some important stuff… Continue reading

Random Indie Game of the Week: Last-Last-Last-Last-Last-Gen Isn’t Dead: EPIC ELF 2 Is Out!

EE2_battleLittle in-joke there, but yeah! Spirit Young is BACK with the sequel to his ridiculously amusing RPG parody/satire/whatever he wants to call it that got improved with an update he did later, Epic Elf, a RPG Maker 2003 game that I liked because it made me laugh a wee bit too much. I’ve only put about a half hour into EE2, but it gets the grins going early (specifically if you’re a fan of old school JRPGs) and it looks as if they’ll keep coming for as long as the game is. Oh yeah, the PlayStation 4 came out today. I don’t have one (yet), but it’ll get here eventually. Heck, if SCEA puts in a RPGMaker.net channel on PSN, I’ll get one sooner than later. Anyway, check this game out if you recall the days of 8 and 16-bit RPGs eating up your weekends and free time like a termite nest taking out a cheap Ikea table.

Onechanbara Z Kagura With NoNoNo! Promos: Sexy Zombie Killers Are OK Any Year…

With all this fuss and bother in the news here about Halloween costumes for ladies getting TOO (and ONLY) sexy this year (yeah, you can buy “sexy” food and other bizarre outfits from any costume shop wanting to make a fast buck), I say the ONLY outfits that should never be criticized are the many sexy zombie killer get-ups worn by the digital dolls in any Onechanbara game. Hell, who’s going to tell a lady in a bikini with two VERY sharp swords she knows how to use that she’s not dressed correctly? That, and these gals have earned their stripes long before this “controversy” kicked into gear. The Onechanbara games have been around for about a decade already and while it’s not a big AAA title, it does have a loyal fan base of male AND female players. Granted, that top video will be seen as intentionally sexist and stupid to some, but it’s not an actual documentary and your sense of humor needs a tune-up if you try and take it too seriously.

I missed posting the second promo video a few weeks back because I’d forgotten to set alerts for D3Publisher’s YouTube page (oops). That’s been rectified and it’s above. Given that the third promo is entirely in English as are some of the game’s menus… my grubby little fingers are indeed crossed tightly (and it’s hard to type this way, mind you!) that D3Publisher of America is perhaps considering a localization of this one at some point. Onechanbara games are pure fluff and bouncy bits, but the over the top gore quotient combined with the ridiculous amount of hours of gameplay, costumes and characters to unlock make them strangely addictive once you get past the jiggle factor. I’ve always found it amusing that nearly all of the males in this series of games are either zombies, other hideous monsters or rescue bait, so in a weird way, this is a sort of Otaku version of “girl power” complete with cosplayers popping up in some places.

Anyway, D3PUS? What’s up with Onechanbara Z Kagura with NoNoNo!? Any plans to bring this sexy slashy thing over to the PS3 sometime soon? I sure hope so, as I’d hate to import another game I won’t have the chance to play otherwise…

Monster World RPG Finally Gets An Update!

EDIT! Oops. There’s also a gameplay video up that I missed in my hurry to post this news, so it’s now below.

More precisely, I finally got back around to checking up on the boys at Max Team and they’ve posted that video slideshow you’re watching above with one eye as you read this text with the other. How DO you do that, I have to ask? It would sure make my job easier if you could teach me! Anyway, As you can see in that slideshow, the game is coming along really nicely and according to a post on the dev blog, the game is pretty much done save for the long and arduous process of debugging the game so it plays as great as it looks with no pesky issues slipping into the finished code.

The dynamic duo of Massimo and Fernando plan to pump up things in a big way once the game is ready for release and I’m betting fans of Sega’s classic Monster World games (I know a few of them including myself) will be all over this in a heartbeat once that download is posted. I still can’t believe they’re doing this in RPG Maker 2003, but such are the wonders of doing all your artwork by hand and not using only the assets in the program, folks!

MUSIC! Retro City Rampage Soundtrack Will Rock Your Ears To Bits…

virt, Freaky DNA and Norrin Radd - Retro City Rampage Soundtrack - coverYeah. You NEED this download NOW. Your gamer side will squeeze you hard and your music side will grin as its head bops up and down to these pleasing bloops and bleeps from the not terrible at all trio of virt (Jake Kaufman), Freaky DNA (Leonard J. Paul) and Norrin Radd (Michael Creamer). 35 tracks, available on Bandcamp as a digital download or CD. That very limited edition 23-track Vinyl LP (Holy K-Tel, Batman!) is all sold out online (booo!). But I’ll bet you a nickel if you poke around your nearest or farthest hipster record shoppe that still does mail order (or is within traveling distance), you MAY be able to score a platter for not a king’s ransom. Unless Prince buys that last copy… then it’s going to cost you more…

Happy Birthday, Retro City Rampage (Yes, This Means A Nice SALE)!

OK, where’s my CAKE? You can’t have a par-tay without cake and screw that Portal nonsense about the cake being a lie. I’ve got over 40 birthdays that say otherwise, grrrr! Anyway, yes, Brian Provinciano’s awesome mash-up of pure 2D bliss, Retro City Rampage, is a whole year old today and to celebrate, you get that video above and a BIG sale below. OK, not below… just click HERE, have that wallet (and a smile) ready and you’re all good to go. And if you already own the game, good! Get it for someone else or even yourself if you pre-ordered the PC version and happen to own a PS3 or Vita. Whee! Can you tell I just LOVE sales. And cake. WHERE’S MY CAAAAAAKE! Seriously, I have none here and really want a slice. And some ice cream. And a cuppa coffee. And a pony…

BUY!: The Elder Scrolls Anthology Out Now, Dishonored GOTY Coming in October

TES_anthology front (Custom)As noted in my earlier post, Bethsoft is making sure you KNOW The Elder Scrolls series is a force to be reckoned with (or they at least want you to stay home a LOT more that you normally do). Their awesome $79.99 box set, The Elder Scrolls Anthology stormed into retail on the 10th (here in North America, $89.99 in Canada, European territories this Friday for €59.99 / £49.99 / $89.99 AUD) and YES, you need to buy this just for the hundreds of hours of adventuring plus the chance to make some of your own content if you so desire.

There’s a ton of stuff in that box to discover, so make this one your big gift to that favorite RPG fan (or for yourself if you want to become one).

In other Bethsoft news, October 8 marks the release date of Dishonored: Game of the Year Edition (whee!), which means I need to pick this one up as well:

Dishonored GOTY

As for what’s in THIS box, well, read on (below the jump!):

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REALLY Quick Take: Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward

I finally got around to playing this excellent Vita sequel to a Nintendo DS and 3DS game (999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors) and I had to chuckle a bit because there are two ways to describe the game and as I’m busy with a ton of stuff, I’ll take the shorter route and potentially tick off some people who think this game is the greatest thing since sliced cheese bread. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it a lot, being a cranky old fan of point and click adventure games and all. But as I was finishing it up, I just so happened to be in the library last week and overhear two kids talking about the game and one of them offered up an unintentional ten word review that made me almost burst out laughing because Yahtzee with his awesome Zero Punctuation videos is supposed to be KING of the ten-word review. This kid nailed the game without even realizing he was doing a Yahtzee impression.

His take (and mine, if you have a short attention span and just want to know what the game is about or similar to) when his friend asked him about the game:

“It’s like SAW… but with anime characters and better writing.”

Yeah, that’s about right. Damn kids… I should have hired him on the spot, but I don’t think he was old enough. OK, so the game IS a bit more complex and cerebral than a SAW flick, but there are a few more than amusing parallels that if you describe the plots of the game and one of the movies, someone who knows one and not the other might get a little confused.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs: Pre-Order NOW (And Prepare To Hide Under Something Later)

webpage_headerFrictional Games is teaming up with the VERY great and talented hands of the fine folks at The Chinese Room (who did a marvelous job with Dear Esther) to get horror and horror game fans some spine-shaking true scares in this upcoming “sequel”. If you’ve yet to play the original Amnesia: The Dark Descent, drop something and do so this weekend or so, as it’s quite a ride from start to finish…

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