Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Whatever you do, don't answer the "Call of Juarez"

I had my first encounter with RedBox over the Labor Day weekend. Impressive. The entire process of renting and returning a movie or game from a RedBox unit is intuitive, simple and, best of all, cheap. I rented a PS3 game for one night for $2.12. No matter how terrible the game, you're pretty likely to get $2.12 worth of fun out of it.

Sadly, I put that idea to the test right off the bat by renting 'Call of Juarez: The Cartel'. I thought I was renting a western-themed game. As you can see, the front artwork features an old hardcase in a wide-brimmed hat and duster aiming a double-barrelled shotgun at the 'camera'. Western iconography all over this thing. "Oh good," I thought. "A 'Red Dead Redemption' rip-off." Even warmed-over imitation 'Red Dead' would feed my hunger for more old West video game action. At least until the next Rare-produced 'Red Dead' title comes out.

Much smaller though, are the lady and gent on either side wearing contemporary clothes. Wish I'd noticed them before I'd rented.

From the press release: "As with past Call of Juarez games, Call of Juarez: The Cartel is from inception to execution, a Western shooter."

It's actually not. It's a crime game. Instead of running your avatar around saloons and liveries and ranches, your avatar runs in and out of the ghetto, the barrio, strip clubs, and gang hideouts. Blecch. Not to mention the hazy backgrounds, the repellant characters you either play or run with, and sub-par shooting experience. So I got took a little bit. But with Redbox, even the terrible video-game rental experiences don't sting so bad because it's only one night, and it's only $2.12. So to sum up, Redbox: good. Call of Juarez: The Cartel: bad.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Song of Ice and Entitled Jerks

Just finished reading a fascinating article about George RR Martin in The New Yorker. Martin is, of course, the author of 5 novels that will eventually make up a 7-part series called 'The Song of Ice and Fire'. As some of you already know, I've been obsessed with these books for the entirety of 2011. My poor, put-upon wife has borne the brunt of my fixation. She's had to endure, among other things, incessant playing of the Game of Thrones soundtrack, constant humming of the 'Game of Thrones' theme, rambling discourses on the differences between the HBO show and the book it's based on, forecasts on the scenes likely to play out in season 2 and how well they'll play, filling every other stray silence with updates on characters from the new book, "A Dance with Dragons" which I am sipping one chapter at a time, and more than a few times, my taking on the patois of the series, affecting a Renaissance festival-y faux-English accent, and holding conversations in this voice. Even though I can see how deflating it must be for her to see her husband this way --- after all, it's not possible to get farther away from the Alcide-ideal than a grown man drawing a Nerf sword from his thumb and index-finger scabbard and shouting random character names from the series -- I'm helpless not to do it. So yeah, I need to get out more and read other things. I know.

Anyway, the New Yorker article. It's a profile of Martin written shortly before the publication of book 5, and it focuses on his relationship with his fans, particularly those who've become not just ornery at how long they've had to wait for this latest tome to land, but highly critical. Some of them so annoyed as to start their own websites (like, "Is Winter Coming?") where posters and commenters bash Martin and his work ethic. It's a fascinating look at where the relationship between popular genre authors and their fan-base stands, how it can sour, and asks some interesting questions. Like, what exactly does an author owe his fans? Anything? And is the sense of entitlement that creates this frustration generational?

Worth checking out.

Monday, January 03, 2011

You Got Served by a Fiddler on the Roof

I haven't actually seen either of these movies, but mashing these two movies together seems pretty inspired.

Enjoy it, ya herd?