State(s) of Emergency

 Ah, memories…

Since 2002, whenever I read or hear the words ‘State of Emergency’, my brain automatically triggers a little earworm of a title tune from the game of the same name released back then. It can’t be helped either, and goodness knows, I’ve tried hard not to get this song starting up in my head when those words come into eye or ear reach (I guess this video may trigger some out there? Or at least get them a case of earworms):

(Thanks, PAL!)

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Timely, I guess?

Back at that time, I worked in a small independent game shop here in NYC and that game was one we ran as a demo for a few weeks on and off.That attract mode is what, two minutes and nine seconds long? Imagine what that does to one if you’re watching that intro a few hours a day. Would anyone like a slice of baked earworm? It’s quite tasty and there’s more than enough to go around.

Rockstar Games (which was about a 10-15 minute walk away from the store) was coming off a rather massive 2001 with the release of DMA Designs’ popular and controversial multi-million selling Grand Theft Auto 3 and many gamers were expecting State of Emergency (and there goes that tune again in my head) to be the next big thing from the studio. It both was and wasn’t, but an explanation is in order here. By the way,  I liked the game overall, warts and all.

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Elevator (In)Action

(Thanks, HAMSTER Corporation!)

A few days ago, I got stuck in the elevator here with another guy who, after we let Security know of the issue via intercom and they said they were on it, started asking me about sports. Well, that was a dull, but enlightening (for him, I think) mercifully brief conversation. I told him I didn’t really watch sports except when I popped by a friend’s place and a sport of choice was on TV. If I’m asked who I like, I almost always counter ask “which team is winning?”, which by the way, has gotten me a few mean looks over the years, but quite a few more laughs. Like a perfect pitch, it’s all in the delivery, I guess. Well, and it depends on a good mix of catchers and not some folks who want to hit you hard with bats, as well.

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It’s a mugging, I say!

Anyway, I think the guy looked at me as if I was a space alien visiting from somewhere, but my joke about the elevator being a busted TARDIS went a few feet above his head. It’s a good thing I made no jokes about needing a new companion in my travels, as if you don’t get one Doctor Who joke, you certainly won’t get a second one. I did mention that I have played some sports-themed video games and still do from time to time, so at least he was looking at me a lot less suspiciously after that information.

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(Not So) Random Film(s) of The Week: The Thing (1982)

The Thing JB_RJ

With his trusty bottle of J&B to keep warm, R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell) and Vance Norris (Charles Hallahan) try quite unsuccessfully to make snow angels.

THE THING sfSo, what did YOU do during last week’s too damn hot weather? Me, I dragged my slightly sickly self out in that nasty, unbearable heat to go sit in a nice, well-chilled home with seven other people with the express purpose of making some of them scream. No, I didn’t do my *legendary* crowd-pleasing Chippendale’s act, people (wait, I have a Chippendale’s act?). I simply put a very old plan into action I’d successfully executed a few times in the distant past in introducing a fine horror film to some friends who had either never seen it previously, have only seen a heavily edited for TV version or yes, just disliked scary movies.

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that I’ve actually previously reviewed an older DVD version of the 1982 John Carpenter film and I’ve also deconstructed the 2011 prequel which I found okay, but lacking in some respects (I think the studio meddled a bit too much with the film, turning it into less than what director Matthijs van Heijningen intended to be a more solid horror experience). Now, I didn’t just show up unannounced, tie seven people to assorted furniture and force them to watch the movie, so there. Nope, as a matter of fact, I was actually asked to host a little screening party by a friend who borrows movies from me on a semi-regular basis.

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Odin Sphere Leifthrasir Hands-On: Vallhalla Yeah, Vanillaware is BOSS

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Back in 2007, Odin Sphere came to the PlayStation 2 as a gorgeous yet flawed masterpiece. Developed by Vanillaware, the game’s sumptuous visuals and challenging gameplay were only hampered by rather pesky slowdown and a few clumsy design choices. When Vanillaware announced it was bringing the game out on PS4, PS3 and Vita, one of the concerns expressed by fans was whether or not the game would be a straightforward HD update that didn’t fix some of the issues. Well, let’s just say after about two weeks with the Vita version of Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, any concerns about those problems can be erased completely.

The game (set for a retail and digital release June 7 for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita) has been redone using the same art assets, but with enhanced backdrops and *many* new major to minor gameplay tweaks that make this the best version of the game you’ll ever play. Combat has been made more fluid and accessible, blocking actually works, item, magic, and potion use is simpler and the game is running at a beautiful 60 frames per second. If that wasn’t enough, Vanillaware has updated the leveling and skills system, polished up the cooking stuff, and overall has made what’s going to be forever known as THE definitive version of an instant classic. Oh, and for those who want to compare, the original version is also included as part of the package, making this an even better must-buy deal.

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Fans of the original who own PS4s can, should and NEED to get the demo from PSN. Like NOW. There’s a Vita demo coming soon and yes, it’s going to be a must download and play experience. I’d say more, but that’s dipping a toe into review territory. Just mark the date, get your wallet ready or if you’re into pre-ordering, go do that stuff you do best and hope all your omake gets shipped in a BOX as it shouldhttps://fanboydestroy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=31367&action=trash&_wpnonce=a79f89fd60. Yeah, I’m talking to YOU, Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy, EB Games and anywhere else stuff just gets tossed in a flimsy bubble mailer and kicked onto the back of a truck. A game this stellar deserves the kid gloves.

Back in a bit with more on this gem. Now, about a proper Princess Crown remake… hey Vanillaware and Atlus, can we talk?

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir PS4 Demo Out Now: A Dish of VanillaWare For Dessert Sounds Grand

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If you own a PlayStation 4, you can do yourself a HUGE favor today and download the demo for Odin Sphere Leifthrasir NOW on PSN. The game isn’t arriving until June 7, but you’ll see that this revived and remastered PS2 game looks absolutely gorgeous and runs at a wonderful 60fps. There’s also a VERY nice surprise for those who remember the original release, but I shall let you see for yourself what that is. I’d say more, but the embargo isn’t over until tomorrow and I don’t want to get smited by my favorite PR guy. This pairing of Atlus and Sega is a match made in gaming heaven.

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir: Plain Vanillaware Is Awesome, Omake Makes It Even Tastier

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I don’t believe in magic at all, but whatever George Kamitani and Vanillaware are using for creative energy, it needs to be packaged and sold at cost just so more game developers can reap the rewards. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, the upcoming HD reworking of the PlayStation 2 classic looks as if it will introduce a new and larger legion of fans to the game when it ships out for PS4, PS3 and Vita on June 7, 2016. While North Amrican PS4 owners looking to collect the most omake luck out big time with the limited Storybook Edition at $79.99, PS4, PS3, and Vita-only owners in NA who pre-order can score a softcover version of that hardcover 64-page art book in the Storybook Edition. Continue reading

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir: This Remake’s Not Plain Vanillaware At All


 

Atlus and Vanillaware are teaming up to bring a very beefed-up HD version of 2007’s PlayStation 2 classic action game/RPG hybrid Odin Sphere out for the PS4, PS3 and Vita sometime in 2016. Take a gander at this gorgeous key art and set those calendars for whenever the game ships out next year:

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Atlus has even made this upcoming release an educational experience in at least one way. Leifthrasir is pronounced “LAYV-thra-sheer,” and that weird-looking “d” in the poster above isn’t a “d” at all, but a thorn þ, meaning you’ve learned something useful and Nordic today! Hmmm. hopefully that weird letter turns out alright in the actual post.

Change the Fate of the World When the End of Days Draws Near in Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

The Perfected HD Project from ATLUS and Vanillaware Remakes the 2007 Original

IRVINE, Calif. – July 23, 2015 – Vanillaware, the team behind the hit side-scrolling title Dragon’s Crown is working on a new authentic HD project with ATLUS to recreate and perfect Odin Sphere – the 2D action RPG with Norse Mythology roots. Told in five tales from the perspectives of five unique protagonists, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir expresses the original game with glorious HD graphics in Vanillaware’s renowned style, expanded worlds with new monsters, fully voiced story scenes, and a fine-tuned refreshing combat and RPG system to perfect the gameplay. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir will be available as a physical and digital release for the PlayStation®4, PlayStation®3, PlayStation®Vita in 2016 in North America.

You probably want some screenshots to ogle that feature some of that new HD art, correct? Well then, here you go:

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Lovely. I now have at least ONE game I can look forward to at some point in 2016 and thankfully it’s supporting old and newer Sony consoles.

PSN Flash Sale: Break Your Backlog With 81 Great Game Deals

PSN Flash Sale Madness 

As soon as I saw this PSN Flash Sale page, this scene from The Bridge on the River Kwai popped into my head and made me cackle madly for a few seconds:

(thanks, The Dork Knight!)
 

Anyway, wow. Don’t pass this one up, folks! It’s ONLY available to US PSN users, doesn’t require a PlayStation Plus account and as you can see, covers PSOne Classics, PSP, PS Vita, PS2, PS3 and even four PS4 titles! I had measly $1.82 sitting in my account for a while doing nothing. Now, all but 3 cents is left because I couldn’t pass up two older PSP games I missed out on. I was tempted to spend more money, but I’m needing to save up for a new TV and some other stuff that can’t wait. That said, YOU know you need about a dozen or more of these games for under a buck each, right? RIGHT? Yeah, I knew it. Go spend frivolously and report back on what you bought so I can live a bit more vicariously than usual.

PlayStation Store’s Sale of the Dead Brings You Some Scary Good Bargains…

PSN Sale of the Dead Banner(shakes fist at monitor)… Stupid Sony. Having another PSN sale on some stuff I might want just when I’m poking around for something light and kind of fluffy to play between bigger games. Yeah, I got Dead Nation (finally) for under 4 bucks, but stopped there because I do have some things to take care of here outside the gaming sphere. Anyway, check out the long list of games, movies and TV shows (okay, mostly movies and TV shows, as the game presence is a bit limited this week) for some decent deals if you’re looking to stock up on content for one of your consoles or that Vita you’re not telling anyone you own for some oddball reason.

Or, hell… at least get Dead Nation if you own a Vita. It’s a ton of fun so far and I just may want someone around to hop online with in the not too distant future…

Some Silly Stuff I Have Discovered This Week…

Mr. Bagel 2

1. Yeah, it’s a fuzzy picture of a cinnamon raisin mini bagel with two raisins that look like eyes and a big grin. Amusing and kind of creepy if you can imagine it suddenly talking or singing or something. This made me laugh because it wasn’t the ONLY one in that bag of bagels either. I think I saw three more, meaning someone at the factory was having a clever day and wanted to share, there’s a bagel-making robot that’s creating not so sentient life in an effort to try and start some sort of revolution, or there’s REALLY something funky going into those bagels that turns them ALIVE before they’re bagged. Well,I never did find out if the darn thing could speak, as I ate it before it could do anything funny.

Rez Plus2. Yep, that’s a copy of Rez for the Japanese PlayStation 2 and yep, that’s the infamous Trance Vibrator peripheral next to it. While I’ve played the game numerous times to completion, I’d actually never used that Trance Vibrator until earlier today when I decided to crack open the box and plug it into my Japanese PS2 to see what all the fuss was about. In a word. Oh. In another word. My. Yeah, I can see why it was marketed as and written up as just what some of you think it is. Shocking! Well, not in the least, because we could all use some good vibrations every now and then, right? Throbbing! Yeah, that’s more like it.

3. Uhhhh.I forgot what number 3 was and I blame number 2 for that. Back in a bit…