Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (PS3)

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Borderlands has become the signature franchise for Gearbox. Enough so that their other projects have suffered from such prioritizing. The first Borderlands came out in 2010. The following year, the horrid Duke Nukem Forever was released. The studio rebounded in 2012 with Borderlands 2. Then, they relapsed with Aliens: Colonial Marines. With the upcoming Battleborne being the next Gearbox hot property, I should have learned from the past. Because Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel clearly got the short end of the stick under the development of 2K Australia.

As far as a “story” for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, you must help Handsome Jack stop an aggressive military figure from endangering Pandora and its moon. You partake in various missions and side quests to help various characters. You shoot, loot, and repeat. If you’ve played the other Borderlands games, then you know what to expect, much to the game’s detriment. And having one of gaming’s best villains as your ally kills the mystique of the character, coming off as desperate fan service.

There are a slew of new gimmicks added to the series. Yes, I said gimmicks because these new elements are far from innovative. There is less gravity for you to bounce around in. Lasers and cryo are the new types of weapons. There is the O2 for the human characters, but is a non-factor should you play as Claptrap.

The cast of characters and their abilities are uneven. Some are basically useless until they’re leveled up, like the Gladiator’s shield ability. Meanwhile, you have the Gunslinger who can dual-wield like the Gunzerker, Wilhelm (before he became a giant robot) has drones to aid him, and Claptrap who copies his abilities from other Vault Hunters. Other than Claptrap, the characters are void of any interesting personality.

The writing has none of the wit of Borderlands 2, nor the cleverness on display on the Borderlands DLC like Secret Armory of General Knoxx. For the first 15 hours I played the game, I hardly laughed once. When Handsome Jack and the Hyperion bots came into play, then I got some laughs. But, anyone expecting the absurdity of the previous Borderlands game will only be met with mediocrity.

The graphics look nice, but are no different than other titles in the series. There are even recycled elements from the previous game. Character models have some nice detail, but the world they inhabit is bland with nothing striking to see. After seeing Pandora in the sky for so long, it lost its awe.

The controls are the strongest aspect of the game. They are responsive to the player’s command. There was no lag at all between the button press and the action taking place on screen. But, why should I compliment this? This is a basic necessity to any video game.

Some may be wondering if there is any remote fun to actually playing this game. To that I say, “no.” Playing this game feels like work. When I’m done clearing out an area of bad guys, I start to leave and a ton of them spawn – halting any progress and momentum. The Fight for your Life aspect is now made null when enemies run away when you in this stage. Why bother putting this in if the AI won’t accommodate the player? If you want a game that makes you feel weak and miserable and far from a total badass, 2K Australia was all the more happy to oblige.

Borderlands was the favorite child of Gearbox. Now, with the upcoming Battleborne, its been pushed aside for the new family favorite. Playing this game yielded no joy and no number of gimmicks could make this game any fun to play. This game is the poster child for buyer’s remorse.

Giallo (2009)

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Dario Argento returns to the giallo genre since The Card Player. While Mario Bava and Umberto Lenzi made giallo films in the 60’s, Argento made the genre well known to international audiences. Argento showed himself to be a master of blending murder mysteries with psychiatric overtones. This fairly recent effort recalls his previous entries in the genre.

Celine is a model and visiting her sister, Linda. One night, Celine is abducted by a stranger. Linda turns to detective Enzo Avolfi, a former profiler. Together, they track down the person responsible for Celine’s kidnapping as well as for a series of brutal murders.

We also have a chance to learn the back story of the killer. The trauma and pain they experience would normally warrant sympathy. Yet, the brutality of the murders prevent viewers from feeling remotely sorry for the killer.

Despite returning to the giallo genre, Argento brings in a new cast and composer. Adrian Brody gives two amazing performances as both detective Enzo and the killer, known as Yellow. Do the role of Enzo, he gives the anti-social character quirks much like David Hemmings in Profondo Rosso and Karl Malden in Cat O’Nine Tails. Emmanuelle Seinger fulfills the female supporting roles, normally reserved for Daria Nicolodi.

Argento utilized a traditional symphonic score. While Marco Werba’s score works fine for the film, I can’t help but imagine alternatives. Goblin is out of the question, given co-founder Claudio Simonetti refuses to work with his former bandmates after Sleepless. Simonetti’s knack for electronica would seem out of place. The only other recurring composer would be Ennio Morricone, yet he has dramatically slowed down in recent years.

Overall, the film is average. Brody is great in the lead. There is some genuine tension. But, other than that, the film is pretty unremarkable. The stylish camera work and lush set design of past Argento films is missing from this piece of work. There were times when it felt more like Eli Roth torture porn than the slaughtering beauty associated with Argento. While not as bad as Mother of Tears, Giallo still leaves much to be desired.

If you’re a fan of Argento’s extensive body of work, then Giallo would be worth watching if you’re a completest. Other than that, you might want to stick with his earlier films. Going to his latest effort will only remind you of the quality he did decades ago and how far the quality of his work has fallen.

Repo: The Genetic Opera (2008)

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This film is considered by many to be the heir to the throne of The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a campy, horror musical. Maligned by critics, by loved by its devoted fans, it has gone on to be a contemporary cult classic. This edition looks at Repo: The Genetic Opera.

In the future, replacement organs will be loaned out to needy patrons by the for-profit transplatation company, GenCo. They must pay back their loan. Should they fail to do so, they will be hunted by organ repo men. The organs will be ripped from their bodies, killing them in the process.

The film juggles two main plots that intermingle with one another. Shilo is suffering from a rare blood disease. She is kept in isolation, locked away from society by her protective father, Nathan. Shilo harbors a bitter grudge against her deceased mom because of her sensitive condition. The details of her continuous state with the disease is disclosed at the climax of the film.

Meanwhile, the head of GenCo, Rotti Largo, is dying. He must contend with the fact that his three children (Luigi, Pavi, and Carmela) are not the kind of people he wants to leave his company with. He sees Shilo and intends to have her be the next head of GenCo. To add to the plot, Rotti was in love with Shilo’s mother until she left him to be with Nathan.

Nathan and Rotti already have a business relationship, but it comes to the last straw when Rotti has Nathan repo the eyes of Blind Mag, the popular singer of the Genetic Opera. The assignment is a way for Carmela to become the new singer for the opera. It all comes to a head when Shilo learns the truth of her mother as well as the link between Nathan and Rotti.

To be honest, for a musical, I don’t recall a song that stuck with me or any one in particular that was catchy. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the movie or that it didn’t work as a musical. What did draw me in was the energy that the performers put into their vocals. Anthony Head has a ferocity to his singing as Nathan that brings much life to the film. Alexa Vega has come a long way from when mass audiences saw her in the Spy Kids movies.

The acting, in general, fits the atmosphere of the film. Paul Sorvino as Rotti Largo adds much gravitas and credibility. The trio of Bill Moseley, Nivek Ogre, and Paris Hilton play off of each other as the thre children to Rotti. Sarah Brightman dominates the screen as Blind Mag. While none of the roles stand out as much as Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter did in Rocky Horror, they are entertaining nonetheless.

The lighting, set design, and editing make this more than just a musical, and brings in league with other sci-fi dystopias. The comic panel segments recall Creepshow and serve as a nice break from the live action. Director Darren Lynn Bousman utilized these diverse elements into a well-shot, decently acted gem of an underground, musical, sci-fi, horror movie.

Repo: The Genetic Opera is as out there a musical you will find. While the Rocky Horror faithful might get defensive, there is plenty of room for another genre-heavy musical. Repo will satisfy the campy tendencies of Rocky Horror fans as well as giving gorehounds quite a bit of blood and guts.

Slender: the Arrival (PS3)

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When the original Slender: the Eight Pages was unleashed in 2012, it garnered praise for its involving, yet simple approach to the survival horror genre. Many a YouTuber recorded their experience with this PC title, much to the general public’s amusement. Two years later, in time for Halloween, the game has been updated for consoles as Slender: the Arrival. While part of the game maintains its basic roots, the new bells and whistles hinder the overall experience.

You play as Lauren as she investigates what happened to her friend, Kate. The prologue has you going through Kate’s house, to find that Kate has been obsessing over the infamous Slenderman. You exit the house and start the first of eight stages in the game. You go through a park area, mines, and other environments. Here, Slenderman is only one of the threats to your life.

Slender: the Arrival expands on the 2012 Slender: the Eight Pages. The prologue is some of the best minimalistic storytelling in a game. Each level after adds to the suspense and looming terror that is associated with this particular series. The park area of Eight Pages is re-created in The Arrival’s first level. The mines level is tougher because you have to contend with both Slenderman and a demon child out to kill you while you have to turn on six generators to escape.

The mines level showcases the problem with multiple villains. You need to use stealth to sneak past the demon child, yet such tactics don’t work on Slender. Running exposes you and the flashlight makes for a pitiful defense from the demon child. You will die many times from this compromising one method for another, often unfairly.

The graphics are nice overall. The environments have a lot of detail, despite many taking place in near dark. There is some jerky animation to the demon child as well as odd coloring for Slender. Is his head supposed to be bluish-green?

The controls respond well for having been adapted from the mouse and keyboard set-up. They’re smooth and responsive. This effective transition gives me hope for a console adaptation of last year’s Gone Home.

Mark Hadley and Brenden Frank deserve much credit for their work on the music and sound of The Arrival. The ambiance and minimalist music score adds chills while playing. The signature static chime as Slender draws near never fails to disorientate me. If you liked the music of Silent Hill, this is an avante-garde soundtrack worth giving a listen to.

Despite a few technical hiccups and some questionable additions, this is a solid gaming experience. For ten bucks, I got a “Haunted House” experience: a few jumps and tension in a virtual environment. With this game, all you need to do is turn off the lights and put on a good pair of headphones.

Sweet Home (1989)

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Many people may know this title as belonging to a cult favorite Nintendo video game. The video game and the film share the plot and characters with a little known haunted house movie. Not a gonzo as another Japanese haunted house film, Hausu, this film still has its moments and a creepy atmosphere. In addition, the whole movie can be seen on YouTube.

A TV crew ventures towards the abandoned mansion of renown artist Ichiro Mamiya. They hope to find and present fresco paintings that Ichiro was working on until the death of his wife, whom was mourning the death of their infant son. The death of Ichiro’s wife was an act of suicide out of shame for murdering local children to make them playmates for her dead son.

Despite the warnings of a gas station attendent, Yamamura (Tsutomu Yamazaki), the TV crew goes to the mansion. The crew is lead by Kazuo the director (Shingo Yamashiro). Along with him is his daughter, Emi (J-pop star Nokko), Akiko the producer (Nobuko Miyamoto), Taguchi the womanising cameraman (Ichiro Furudate), and Asuka the art restorer (Fukumi Kuroda).

During their time in the mansion, bizarre poltergeist happenings occur. They discover the body of Lady Mamiya’s infant, thus bringing her back into the world of the living as a vengeful spirit. With her supernatural powers, she poses a serious threat to the lives of the TV crew. She enables the shadows to burn people like acid among other abilities. Could the body of her infant son be the key to halting her vengeance?

This is very much a conventional haunted house story, not unlike that of Robert Wise’s The Haunting. If it wasn’t for the Japanese actors, this could easily pass for an American production. Toho Studios clearly wanted a film that was the polar opposite of their cult classic, Hausu.

The cast does a pretty good job playing the material straight. There isn’t a lot of overacting. I saw this on YouTube with Japanese subtitles. There is a rhythm to the language that I prefer to the horrible dubbing that would ruin the genuinely frightening spirit of this film. While there is some humor in the beginning, it is quite brushed aside for the horror elements.

Unfortunately, IMDB doesn’t have a credit for the set designer. Whoever or whatever team was responsible should be commended for a stellar job. It mimics the typical haunted house of American productions to every detail.

The real star of the film is the effects work by the trio of Etsuko Egawa, Kazuhiro Tsuji, and Dick Smith. Egawa’s other effects credits include Ghostbusters and Dune. Tsuji’s work as an artist has made him a major figure in Hollywood effects, notably for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s look in 2012’s sci-fi hit: Looper. Dick Smith was one of the most revered effects artists with credits including The Exorcist, The Godfather, Little Big Man, and the 1999 remake of House on Haunted Hill.

Director Hiyoshi Kurosawa does a great job at bringing the American haunted house horror film to Japan. It surpasses some of the American efforts it emulates, notably the horrendous 1999 remake of The Haunting. Despite being conventional, the effects work wonders and atmosphere really make this a solid horror film. Much like The Driver and Return of the Blind Dead, you can catch it on YouTube.

Series Review: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975)

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Before Supernatural, before the X-Files, there was one show that paved the way for such programs involving the paranormal. With a pair of successful TV movies building momentum, actor Darren McGavin spearheaded a weekly series continuing the adventures of news reporter Carl Kolchak. Despite its flaws, it does have its charm and its influence on genre TV shows is undeniable.

Darren McGavin reprises the role of Carl Kolchak from the pair of hit TV movies, the Night Stalker and the Night Strangler. After the events of those films, Carl and his editor-in-chief Vincenzo (Simon Oakland) set up shop in the Independent News Service in Chicago. On a regular basis, Carl gets involved in supernatural hijinks with all sorts of creatures and entities. Why these bizarre events occur is never explained. They just happen.

Before I get into the show’s shortcomings, let me express that I have a soft spot for this show. First, Darren McGavin is fantastic as Kolchak. He’s witty, confident, and as stubborn a character can get. Other than his movie role as the Old Man in A Christmas Story, his role as Kolchak is his most recognizable TV performance. Despite only lasting a season, people still talk about this show and McGavin was a huge factor.

The supporting cast and guest stars played into McGavin’s chemistry with many an actor/actress. Oakland as Vincenzo is tragicomic, in having to deal with a maverick like Kolchak. Jack Grinnage as Ron Updyke could have made for an amusing rival for Kolchak, but he doesn’t appear on a frequent basis. The guest appearances include the likes of Richard Kiel, Scatman Crothers, Phil Silvers, Carolyn Jones, Tom Skerritt, and Erik Estrada.

While there were episodes that didn’t work, but when they did work they worked to the nines. There are a few episodes off the top of my head I can think of where the show shined. The Zombie was one of the more legitimately creepy episodes. Mr. R.I.N.G. has a great performance by Craig Baxley as the android at the center of the episode. One of the standout episodes was The Vampire, that hinted at a victim of Janos Skorzeny terrorizing Las Vegas, which was executed perfectly. My personal favorite had to be Skerritt as a politician who sold his soul to the Devil to advance their career. These episodes are worth seeking out on your streaming service of choice.

Despite those positives, the show was far from perfect. The biggest issue I have with the show was the lack of an arc throughout the season. You look at later shows like The X-Files, Millenium, Supernatural, and the reboot of Doctor Who, and their seasons have a common element that builds throughout the episodes. Kolchak just adhered to the monster of the week schtick that was common with Scooby-Doo. McGavin himself was unhappy with this approach, but bowed to demands from higher-ups to maintain this limited take.

For only lasting one season, the show remains a cult favorite akin to the likes of Twin Peaks and Night Gallery. TV shows like the aforementioned programs as well as the likes of Warehouse 13 and The Dresden Files owe a lot to Kolchak. Director Guillermo Del Toro is a huge fan. Even recently, there was buzz for a Kolchak movie with Johnny Depp rumored for the role (NOOOOOOO!).

While the series is inconsistent from episode to episode, the solidly produced ones are worth watching. McGavin put his heart into the show, yet was held back by external factors. If you can appreciate cult programming and TV horror, Kolchak: The Night Stalker is worth watching.

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

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When George Romero released Dawn of the Dead in 1978, a wave of Italian zombie films followed. Yet, this was not the first time a Romero zombie movie influenced a country’s movie output. After Night of the Living Dead came out in 1968, Spain released a few horror films to capitalize on its success. There were two big films that stand out. One was Tombs of the Blind Dead in 1971. The other was a British-Spanish co-production made in 1974.

George is on his way out of London to enjoy his holiday weekend. At a gas station, his motorbike is doomed after being hit by Edna’s car. Edna agrees to give George a lift since they were headed in the same direction. On the way, they stop to ask for directions with Edna staying at the car while George asks the nearby residents.

In a farmer’s field is a machine being worked on by a pair of technicians. The device serves as a sonic pesticide, irritating the central nervous systems of the insects into killing one another. A farmer agrees to help out George with directions and they head back to the car.

Meanwhile, Edna is attacked by a stranger. He comes at her as she gets in the car. The farmer and George hear from Edna about the man who attacked her. The farmer jokes that it might have been Gutherie, but he’s been dead for the past few days.

We soon find out that Edna is visiting her sister, Katie. She is trying to be detoxed of heroin cold turkey with Edna helping her as well as her husband, Martin. Katie and Martin are attacked by Gutherie. Katie survives, but Martin is killed. After the police arrive, the investigator suspects Katie of killing Martin.

After Katie is moved to a hospital, George and a local doctor find out that the newborn babies in the nursery are attacking the staff. The doctor and George talk and suspect the machines in the farm fields has something to do with it. Could the machines be responsible for the odd incidents occuring in the English countryside? Will Edna and George be able to clear Katie of the investigator’s suspicions?

Director Jorge Grau already made a name for himself with with a film based on Elizabeth Bathory. Grau was offered Let Sleeping Corpses Lie due to the success of his film as well as from the international success of Night of the Living Dead. Grau added his own creative touches to the script. In the process, he ended up making one of the best horror films of the 1970’s.

Ray Lovelock gives viewers a socio-economic cynic as the film’s protagionist. Lovelock almost comes off as satirical in his scenes, pointing out stark differences between the city and the country, or even making a snark comment about DDT. He’s not the established hero-type from the beginning, which lends a lot of believability to his character. He’s a pacifist as long as he needs to.

Cristina Galbo as Edna is essentially the film’s version of Barbara, the Judith O’Dea character from Night of the Living Dead. She is the damsel frequently in distress who must bu rescued by George. Her characterization as weak and vulnerable plays to horror’s cliches. Yet, Edna isn’t as easily forgivable given that there isn’t a reason for her frequent distress, not at least as understandable as Barbara seeing her brother killed right in front of her.

Arthur Kennedy, a frequent actor for Arthur Miller plays, stands out as the authoritarian antagonist for George. George is the cynical idealist while the detective is an embittered realist, restlessly trying to maintain the old world view of order. You can see some of Kennedy in the role. He was frequently cast in the premier performances of Miller’s plays like The Crucible and Death of a Salesman. But, Kennedy was often stuck playing supporting films roles with few chances ever to be a lead.

Horror fans may be surprised by the gore of this film, given its not the campy Herschell Gordon Lewis blood and this was before Lucio Fulci’s bloody horror films. If it feels like a Lucio Fulci movie, you’re not far off. Gino De Rossi helped with the film’s make-up effects. There’s something about De Rossi’s gore that is unique to him much like when you know you see a Tom Savini or Greg Nicotero effect.

The music by Giuliano Sorgini might be some of the most underrated horror music. The tracks range from moody ambiance, vocalizations, and a band/orchestral mix. Cues from this particular film score would influence the music of horror films like Suspiria, The Beyond, and Beyond the Darkness. It makes for great Halloween party music.

The cinematography by Francisco Sempere adds to the charm of the film. He captures the beauty, as well as the isolation, of the English countryside. This mix of love for set design and the serenity of the British rural areas make for a strong visual appeal. Not only is the film violent, but its beautifully shot.

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, also known as Living Dead at Manchester Morgue and Don’t Open the Window, is one of the best known and well-respected Spanish horror films. You have a decent cast, great effects, and the best blend of visuals with music. It is also one of the more accessible Spanish horror movies to be found, thanks to Blue Underground and Anchor Bay. The film can be found at various retailers and on Netflix Instant.

Ghostbusters (1984)

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During the 30 years of my life, I’ve seen a lot of films. I could wax nostalgia regarding my family video collection. Universal’s Frankenstein and Monty Python & The Holy Grail were frequently in my VCR. I saw A Clockwork Orange before I was 14 years of age. Only one movie has stayed at the top of my all-time favorites list.

After losing their jobs at Columbia University, Professors Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Egon Spengler start their dream business: professional investigation and extermination of paranormal/supernatural entities. Dana Barrett, a musician, is their first client, and Venkman is head over heels in love with her. Shortly after, they get their first call: The Sedgewick Hotel and the first appearance of one of the franchise’s signature ghosts, Slimer.

Business increases and more ghostly phenomena are reported. Spectres and spooks are seen all over New York City. The team accepts a new hire, Winston Zeddmore. Venkman finds out more regarding the ghost haunting Dana. Meanwhile, the team’s success and methods have caught the attention of the EPA and one of its agents, Walter Peck. Peck believes the Ghostbusters are frauds and accuses them of disposing dangerous chemicals. Venkman mocks him and ignores him.

Unfortunately, Dana is possessed by a spirit known as the Gatekeeper. Louis, her neighbor, is inhabited by a specter called the Keymaster. They wait for the arrival of Gozer. Due to actions perpetrated by Peck, the ghosts are unleashed and signal the arrival of Gozer. After a meeting with the mayor, the Ghostbusters must go to the rooftop of Dana’s apartment to challenge the forces of Gozer and save Dana, Louis, and the world.

One of the strengths of the film is its ability to juggle multiple genres without the audience realizing it. You have comedy blended with horror. There is a screwball-type romance between Dana and Peter. There are elements of a Western in the climax with Gozer. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is a parody of the classic giant monster movies. For a movie made in the mid 1980’s, the special effects still hold up today.

The cast is some of the era’s top comedians. Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson have almost a Marx Brothers-esque chemistry. After being a strong female lead in Alien, Sigourney Weaver is believable as Dana, the damsel in distress. Rick Moranis, William Atherton, and Annie Potts are fantastic in their supporting roles. Some of the minor characters have their moments. For example, there’s the guy waiting for the elevator at the Sedgewick, played by Murray Rubin: “That’s gotta be some cockroach.”

Ramis and Aykroyd wrote the screenplay with the right build-up, pace, and climax. Ivan Reitman does a great job of keeping the effects from overshadowing the comedy and make them palpable with the actors. Elmer Bernstein’s music has the right quantity of quirkiness. Ray Parker Jr. hit it big with the catchy theme song. The effects by Entertainment Effects Group are caricature, but still scary.

After all these years, the movie still has some of the most memorable lines. My uncle thought he was St. Jerome. Somebody blows their nose and you want to keep it. You’re right, no human being would stack books like this. We came, we saw, we kicked its ass! He slimed me. Don’t cross the streams. If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say. That’s a big Twinkie. Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria! I may as well post the whole script at this point. Dare I say that this is as close to perfect a movie can be. Seriously. What flaws are in this film? I can’t honestly think of any.

Even with the sequel and the upcoming female cast reboot, the first one’s stance as a classic will never be questioned. All the elements came together with nothing holding it back. Over 25 years later, many filmmakers and comedians hold this film in high esteem, and justifiably so. When looking for a film that is perfect, you can’t go wrong with Ghostbusters.

Mack Rant: Barbarians at the Gamergate…

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Up until a few days ago, this whole Gamergate mess was outside of my radar. I was too busy enjoying my gaming hobby to really get myself into this divisive atmosphere. Then, I decided to catch myself up on this situation. I’m sorry for the unfounded claims set against Zoe Quinn and for the women involved the industry who are trying to do their part to make gaming better for everyone. I was not set to take a side in this issue since there are people who on both sides who have legitimate concerns. Women in gaming shouldn’t have to deal with such immaturity and insecurity, yet expecting gaming journalism to be ethical and without a feeling there’s conflict of interest is something applicable to all press.

Yet, my ire over the whole thing isn’t with the bullies who first harassed the female gaming populace. They’re a small minority. We’re talking about a few hundred, a few thousand to be generous. This is out of a community of millions, a minute percentage. My resentment is reserved for the gaming media, for they had the audacity to lump all gamers together as being of the same ilk as the bullies. To that I say, I have no intention of ever supporting another video game media outlet.

Personally, I have every right to be angry at gaming media for generalizing all gamers as being bullies. Just look at the Gamasutra article, “’Gamers’ Don’t Have To Be Your Audience. ‘Gamers’ Are Over.” Other media outlets included The Financial Post, Ars Technica, The Daily Beast, The Stranger, Beta Beast, and Polygon. Not only were gamers targeted, but those who presented arguments in favor of gamers, such as Christina Hoff Summers, aka The Factual Feminist.

To be fair, there are those of the Gamergate side that are keen on addressing the issue of journalism ethics.  Unfortunately, there is a noticeable number of people who have bastardized the Gamergate tag to share their own narrow-minded stances towards women.  Here is when the Gamergate proponents must make it clear they don’t share these boneheaded ideals.  Sure, its not all members of this side of the internet conflict, but its grown enough that not standing for such behavior needs to be stated.  While you may not share such notions, it would only harm your cause to not address such.

As pointed out by Luke Plunkett in the article, “We Might Be Witnessing The ‘Death of An Identity,” he said the tag “Gamer” doesn’t refer to all gamers, just the people being jerks. To that I say, then use the term “jerks” or “bullies.” Of all your journalistic prowess and mastery of linguistics you can’t use a more fitting word? You have to use the most inclusive of titles to address the dickish fringe element?

Imagine if all of a community were labeled as antagonistic because of the actions of a few. That’s the logic perpetuated by gaming media. Imagine if I exclaimed, “Anita Sarkeesian’s threat against her life in Utah was a hoax for publicity because she’s associated with Meg Lanker-Simons, who pleaded no contest after police found threats against her to be fake and interfering with a police investigation.” Not fair, is it? Then why should all gamers be slandered because of the actions of a pathetic, vocal minority?

In fact, Anita Sarkeesian in a tweet said that one person threatening her admitted to be associated with Gamergate, so she concluded that all who support Gamergate are accomplices after the fact. Its okay for her to accuse all people of a group as evil, but present even the slightest criticism against her and you’re banned from Twitter, as what happened to Dr. Phil Mason aka Thunderf00t. If it wasn’t clear enough, all sides of the issue of Gamergate reek of hypocrisy.

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Also, it would be bitter irony for these media outlets to propose the end of the gamer label. Why? Because studies show that the number of women gamers is on the rise! The Daily Dot, CNN, The Entertainment Software Association, The Guardian, The Washington Post among others have reported that women make up the majority of the gaming population. As stated in her video, Ms. Summers noted that gaming is becoming more inclusive. Even the label of gamer not only refers to those who play on consoles and PCs, but also on smartphones and table top games.

Many women have taken steps to provide gaming alternatives.  Today, we have Zoey Quinn and Brianna Wu continuing the foundation set by the likes of Roberta Williams, Carol Shaw, Dona Bailey, and Amy Briggs.  The more they can contribute to gaming, the more people can see how the likes of Duke Nukem Forever, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, The Guy Game, Rumble Roses, Leisure Suit Larry, and Custer’s Revenge are not what gaming should be.  Gaming will change for the better and it will happen organically.

What do I propose? For painting gamers with the broadest strokes, I say stop supporting video game media. Don’t get your news from the likes of Kotaku, IGN, Gamespot, GameTrailers, Polygon, The Escapist, Game Informer, or any resource other than your gaming retailer and the gaming developers/publishers themselves. For the any of the aforementioned outlets not involved in Gamergate and may feel wronged for being dragged into the conflict, I can only say this: welcome to my world.

 

Gamergate image courtesy of avoiceformen.com

Mack Rant: Second Chance is the Charm…

Movies based on comic books often share similar habits to their source material: If something doesn’t work, give it time before repackaging it and reselling it. Just look at Captain America. Reb Brown, Matt Salinger, and Chris Evans mark an upward trend for Marvel’s famed patriot. Another example: The Punisher. What started with a generic action film with Dolph Lundgren led to Thomas Jane’s fun, but inconsistent, turn and the “as perfect as it gets” take by Ray Stevenson. There have been reboots for the likes of the Hulk, Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four. What about the lesser known heroes with infamous movie turns?

As a moviegoer, I’m willing to give a second or third chance. Whether it applies to actors, directors, or licensing properties if its an earnest attempt to make a movie. I’ll wait until the final product is set before making a judgement. In the wake of San Diego Comic-Con and the recent release of Guardians of the Galaxy, I was impressed with cinematic prospects from two unlikely characters, one of which has been recently announced as set for release in 2016.

With the disaster that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, rumors and development Hell have stalled the production of a Deadpool movie. While Ryan Reynolds was promising in the beginning of Origins, the genetic clustermuck they turned Wade Wilson into at the end likely killed whatever momentum the character had to get their own film. Despite this lackluster turn, Deadpool remained a popular character in comics, video games, and animated works. Even the short film, “A Typical Tuesday,” showed the cinematic possibilities, albeit on a small scale.

Deadpool-leaked-test-footage

Thanks to the widespread, positive reaction from the footage at San Diego Comic-Con, a movie is now happening. The six minute proof of concept footage cut down to two minutes was enough to build buzz. That buzz turned into a vocal demand for a full Deadpool movie. There was some question as to why four minutes were cut, but what we saw was enough to convince us that they can take our money.

Given the popularity surrounding the character, one would think a movie on him would be a no-brainer. In the hands of the duo of Lord & Miller (The Lego Movie, the Jump Street films), I would be very comfortable with them getting their hands on the Merc with the Mouth. My one qualm is the casting. Ryan Reynolds is not my top choice. I would much rather see Sean William Scott in the role. Still, as long as an earnest Deadpool movie happens, I’ll take Reynolds.

The other character that might be prime for another shot at the multiplexes is one with a serious stigma. The last time he was in a movie was back in 1986 under the productive supervision of George Lucas. While it was a financial and critical bomb, it has gone on to become a cult classic. Yes, I am referring to Howard the Duck, who made a surprise return in the post-credit sequence for Guardians of the Galaxy.

Howard-The-Duck-In-Guardians-of-The-Galaxy-Teaser

After all, why shouldn’t Howard get another chance? In the decades since, Howard has been involved in noted story-lines like Civil War and Marvel Zombies vs Army of Darkness. He made a surprise appearance in Lego Marvel Superheroes. With Marvel having greater control over some of their properties, I say give Howard another shot on film! Bring back Seth Green to do the voice while we’re at it!

I don’t see why it would be far-fetched for either character to come to the big screen. If lesser heroes like Jonah Hex, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and members of the Justice League who aren’t Batman or Superman can make it to the big screen, give Deadpool and Howard the Duck a turn. If both X-Men: Days of Future Past and Guardians of the Galaxy are any sign, they would be given justice for a change.