Saturday, March 9, 2013

Armchair of Anger: Punch-Out, downloadable, for the Nintendo 3DS

With the utmost respect to one of my all-time favorites...



I recently purchased a Nintendo 3DS although I already had purchased several of the system's predecessors – I was basically made to buy it because the game New Super Mario Bros 2 was only available on the 3DS and not the DS Lite, so if I wanted to play the game without purchasing a Wii, I had to buy the 3DS.

The 3DS has been a worthwhile purchase. The internet browsing is far from ideal, but was a great help when my laptop wasn't working properly. Also, it has the ability to purchase download games, such as Punch-Out.

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out is quite possibly the greatest video game ever made. Punch-Out, which is available for download is the exact same game, except that the final fight is not with Mike Tyson, but instead with a fictional boxer called Mr. Dream.


This is probably due to copyright issues, but I like thinking it's because Nintendo didn't want to put him in a game after he bit some guy's ear off.


Whatever the case, this is not a complaint about the 3DS, or the lack of Mike Tyson in the Punch-Out available; it's a complaint about the controls itself.

The original game was on the 8-bit Nintendo, or NES, system. This controller featured a four-directional D-pad, A and B buttons, select, and start. The Nintendo 3DS has MANY more buttons than this. Yet on the NES, the controls were simple. Left and right punches, high and low, and a special attack of an uppercut. The uppercut was accessed by pressing select on the original NES controller, which you would usually tap with your left thumb, just a hair away from the D-pad.


For whatever reason, not only did the 3DS NOT choose to keep the uppercut as “select,” or to use it as a combination of the two punch buttons (which are not where they should be anyway), or either the top R or L buttons - which are easily accessible by your forefingers while not removing your thumbs from punching and the D-pad. Instead, they put the uppercut on the Start button, which is very far from either of your thumbs, and nowhere near accessible to the left thumb which would have usually pressed select. Beyond that, the start button is next to the home button, which can take you out of the game completely.


The bottom line – this is poor planning. They should've kept the uppercut on the select button, or made it accessible through one of the top bumpers. Even without Mike Tyson, it's a great game to have on the go, but the placement of the uppercut was a very poor choice. The first time I played the game, I quit because I couldn't figure out where the uppercut was. Why use the start button which would usually pause the game? They should've used the select button like always. If they wanted to move it, they should've moved it somewhere better, NOT somewhere worse.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gangsterism: Me vs Lil Wayne

Hello folks! I am spending St. Patrick's Day, like most other days, reflecting on how awesome I am. However, in what is bound to become an annual event, I am focusing on my level of gangsterness, or gangsterism if you will, as held up against an actual gangster rapper.

Lil Wayne and I have some things in common. We both have first names that start with D. We both had fathers who didn't really come through for us and who we both want nothing to do with. We were both recognized as being bright as kids. We both really like candy. We both have what it takes to rock the mic right. Neither of us are actually named Wayne. Now that we've established some common ground....

THE GANGSTERISM FACE-OFF SHOWDOWN!!!!!!!!





Lil Wayne grew up in New Orleans. I grew up in Flint. Point - me.

Lil Wayne was in a gifted program in elementary school. I was roped into tutoring other kids in my regular-ass elementary school. Point - me.

Lil Wayne met the owner of Cash Money Records in 1991. In 1991, I was working under the table at a comic book store moving heavy boxes while underage. Point - me.

Lil Wayne accidentally shot himself at age 13. A lot of people would think this makes him more gangster than me because he's been shot, but those people would be wrong. Real gangsters don't accidentally shoot themselves. Point - me.

Lil Wayne was an honor student at a magnet school. My school district didn't have a magnet school, likely because they couldn't afford one. Point - me.

Lil Wayne got taken to the hospital (when he shot himself) by an off-duty police officer. Not only would a real gangster not shoot himself, but on the off-chance he did shoot himself, he would probably not go to the hospital, and definitely would not go there with the police unless he was being taken there in handcuffs. Also, a real gangster would not trust the police. I'm issuing myself a minimum of 2 points on this one.

(Score so far: Lil Wayne 0, Me 7 or more)

In 1999 Lil Wayne was featured on Juvenile's Back That Azz Up. In 1999, I was trying to get chicks to back that azz up onto me while dancing to Back That Azz Up and various songs by Bootleg and The Dayton Family in Churchill's in Flint, Michigan. DRAW.

In 2005 Lil Wayne started wearing dreadlocks. I cannot grow dreadlocks. Point - Lil Wayne.

In 2007 Lil Wayne was named Rapper of the Year by The New Yorker and Workaholic of the Year by GQ magazine. Real Gangsters do not get complimentary write-ups in The New Yorker. And since the G in GQ does not stand for Gangster - that's Two Points - me.

(Score so far: Lil Wayne 1, me 9 or more)

In 2009 Lil Wayne was on tracks with Madonna and Weezer. I wasn't. Two Points - me.

In 2011, Fred Durst said Lil Wayne will be on Limp Bizkit's new album. Point - me.

The label Lil Wayne is on has Drake on it. Point - me.

Lil Wayne is a practicing Christian. Point - me.

(Score so far: Lil Wayne 1, me 13 or more)

Lil Wayne is involved in philanthropy. Real gangsters do not give hard earned money away. Point - me.

In 2007 Lil Wayne was arrested for getting high in NYC. I am currently contesting a ticket with the NYPD - DRAW.

In 2010 Lil Wayne was doing a term on Rikers Island. Real gangsters don't get caught. If they do, they buy their way out, or pay their lawyers to get them out of it. Point - me.

He then got let out early for good behavior. How many gangsters do you know who are known for their good behavior? Point - me.

Lil Wayne didn't show up to another hearing because he was already doing time at Rikers. Point - Lil Wayne.

(Score so far: Lil Wayne 2, me 16 or more)

Lil Wayne has been sued many times for things like copyright infringement and unpaid royalties. That's got to be some of the least gangster stuff there is to get sued for. Point - me.

Lil Wayne had a beef with 50 Cent. 50 Cent is also not gangster. Point - me.

So, all-in-all, that brings us to a tally of me being statistically proven as being 9 TIMES AS GANGSTER as Lil Wayne. I'd thank you for reading, but that would not be very gangster of me.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Little Writing Exercise (Trust Me, This is Dumb)

Well, something got stuck in my head (as is a somewhat regular occurrence) and I wanted to see if I could flesh it out, just as a sort of writing exercise. I wanted to see what sort of result I could come up with if I "translated" Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" into bastardized old-timey English.

Keep in mind, this is coming from the guy who wrote the country song "Tell Me if You Love Me 'fore I Spend $400 on Cheap Whiskey Again." I also rewrote 50 Cent's "In Da Club" as though the paraplegic leader of the X-Men was rapping about his material wealth and sexual proficiency (WITH rhyme scheme, thank you very much!). My brain just likes to stretch out and play sometimes. I didn't go for rhyme scheme here at all - this was just a one-off and I wanted it to be overall clunky but generally singable to the original melody. Here goes!

(Also, please note I could do much better with the photo below if I had anything but just MSPaint on this computer.)



Sir Curtis of Aberdeen







SCENTED IN A MANNER OF PUBESCENT VIGOR


Hold fast to thine armaments, rally thine fellows.

‘tis joyous to suffer loss and masquerade.

The lady’s listless and rather cocksure.

Egads! I’ve knowledge of filthy designation.

Greetings! Greetings! Greetings! (Fairly contemptible.)

Greetings! Greetings! Greetings! (Fairly contemptible.)

Greetings! Greetings! Greetings! (Fairly contemptible.)

Greetings! Greetings! Greetings!

With yon candles snuffed, ‘tis less frightful!

Where we are presently located, make us merry!

Perchance I am a transmissible cretin!

Where we are presently located, make us merry!

A half-breed! One devoid of pigmentation!

Sanguinary insect! My nether urges!

Yea! Yea! Yea!

I’m least proficient in that which I excel.

‘tis as if I were anointed on high.

Our bantam band has existed eternal,

and will continue until things cease.

Greetings! Greetings! Greetings! (Fairly contemptible.)

Greetings! Greetings! Greetings! (Fairly contemptible.)

Greetings! Greetings! Greetings! (Fairly contemptible.)

Greetings! Greetings! Greetings!

With yon candles snuffed, ‘tis less frightful!

Where we are presently located, make us merry!

Perchance I am a transmissible cretin!

Where we are presently located, make us merry!

A half-breed! One devoid of pigmentation!

Sanguinary insect! My nether urges!

Yea! Yea! Yea!


I fail to recall my rationale for savoring.

Eureka! It draws my mouth open in a winsome gesture.

Observing stiffness, stiffness observes.

Anyhow, whatsoever, pay it no heed.

Greetings! Greetings! Greetings! (Fairly contemptible.)

Greetings! Greetings! Greetings! (Fairly contemptible.)

Greetings! Greetings! Greetings! (Fairly contemptible.)

Greetings! Greetings! Greetings!

With yon candles snuffed, ‘tis less frightful!

Where we are presently located, make us merry!

Perchance I am a transmissible cretin!

Where we are presently located, make us merry!

A half-breed! One devoid of pigmentation!

Sanguinary insect! My nether urges!

Yea!

A negation! (x9)


Friday, December 30, 2011

Please note:

The scorpion has more than just eight legs.



Friday, November 11, 2011

Freewrite from July (rough)

The man at the coffeebar hovers his touchscreen.
No click-clack of the keyboard necessary,
just fluid motion, smooth, over glass, skimming this digital skin -
that wraps the new machines that guide us
through our electronic surrogate lives.
We stroke the inbox, caress the message, trace the photo's edge.
There are no contours, but it is safe.
And we need to touch something.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Comic Book Guy?" Not So Much

If you talk to me for even like 15 minutes at a party, you'll probably find out I know some stuff about comic books. But if you've talked to me in the last couple months, you'll probably know that I'm also realizing "comic books" are not exactly my thing.

"Blasphemy!" said the nerds and the geeks! But I don't mean it like that. Let me explain.


For a very long time, one of the shortcut qualities that people would use to introduce me was that I was a comic book guy. Not THE comic book guy, but A comic book guy. Was this somewhat accurate? Definitely. I own comic books. I own comic book t-shirts. I go to comic book conventions. Hell, I've been known to collect comic book artwork. But was I, am I, a "comic book guy?" No. This was not entirely accurate for quite some time.

THIS IS NOT ME.

Comic books and their fandom in the modern day have a lot to do with blind loyalty. They have a lot to do with buying into hype. They have a lot to do with undying favoritism. They have a lot to do with 20 and 30 and 40 year old fans (and older) arguing with others over what books and publishers and creative teams are better. It's almost like watching a political debate, where no matter what decision anybody makes, there's someone to say it's great even if it's incredibly stupid. It's almost like a religion in some ways. Blind loyalty and "spin" do not appeal to me in any way.

A SCENE FROM THE FIRST EVER COMIC CON.

Furthermore, comic books in the modern day have often become more about shock value and getting a blurb on a newsreel or creating a fervor with the fans with hyper-violence or hyper-sexuality. It comes down to, "Let's kill a hero. Let's make a super-heroine a super-slut - again." These are NOT things that I love. Often, it feels like comic books have become little more than fan-fiction for the folks who grew up reading them. That, and proving grounds for comic book movies.

I, generally, do not love the comic book movie. The last comic book movie I saw that I really thought was good was Batman with Michael Keaton in 1989. And I was 9 years old.

YEAH.
To me, movies are to comic books (quite often) the same thing that they are to fans of fiction. Ruiners. Someone I know has (or at least had) a shirt that said, "Movies, Ruining the Book since 1920," and the general sentiment of that sums up my feelings on comic book movies pretty well.

I DO love what comic books were to me growing up. Namely, stories that encourage kids to try, to persevere, to believe in themselves, that can give kids a progressive counterpoint to the smalltown worlds they grow up in, that can help get them through hard times, that can help tell them to hope. Namely, stories where the good people win every time if they try hard enough and believe in themselves - because that's what's supposed to happen in the real world even though it often doesn't, and it's nice to remember it CAN happen at least in a fake world on paper. If that starts being what comic books are again, that's when I'll love them. But it still wouldn't make me a "comic book guy."

See, we are all much more than the shortcut qualities we know each other (and ourselves) by. We are more complex. We are not just bowlers or karaoke lovers, writers or sisters, jazz dancers or experts in wine. We are not just uncles or people who quote Monty Python, not just guys who are good with a grill or people who might drink too much socially. We are people. Incredibly complex people, with layers of depth and gravity we often have no idea are inside us.

Over time, if we're not careful, we can come to see ourselves by the qualities and limitations that others (and we ourselves) put upon us - but we do ourselves and each other injustices by choosing to be so simple about it.

That's not to say we're bad people. The ability to make snap judgments or general guesses is part of how we get to know people - but when we forget to stop learning and we simply see them, or ourselves, as those generalizations we already know or accept, we make both ourselves and them something lesser. I think that everyone needs to let themselves really get to know themselves. I believe it's only then that you can ever really get to know others.

So no. I'm not a comic book guy. I worked at a comic book store for eight years growing up, and comic books got me through some hard times. But I'm not a comic book guy. I AM a guy who knows a lot about comic books - and that's something I can live with.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thinking of Spock, or Logic Isn't Everything



Me and my Mom watched a lot of TV when I was growing up. One of the shows we watched a lot was the original Star Trek. I don't remember all that much of the plots or whatever, but I remember the characters.

Star Trek had Spock -- the pointy-eared and kind-but-awkward Vulcan who often commented on things being either logical or illogical. I found myself thinking about Spock tonight.


I remember asking my Mom what "logical" meant, and she told me something like, "Logic is when you make decisions without letting your heart get in the way." As maybe a four-year-old, I thought this was the smartest thing I'd ever heard. What I heard was, "Logic is making intelligent decisions. Don't let your feelings cloud that." Remember, I was around four -- but to me, Spock was the template that all humans should aspire to.

The thing that nobody bothered to tell four-year-old me - is that logic isn't everything. Your life will not play out in a predisposed A-B-C-D event list with checkpoints and logical progression -- no matter how much you hope for it, fight for it, or how well you plan it to happen that way. The path to success is not a straight line. (It probably isn't even a line.) And the path to knowing one's self, and therefore making the best decisions, isn't going to come about by following a rubric, or a syllabus, or a checklist, or a five-year plan. Sometimes you have to say, "I know I shouldn't want this, but I do." Sometimes you have to say, "I know I should want this, but I don't." I could give other examples, but you get the idea. What it ultimately comes down to is a need to figure out what is right to the self, what is right to the individual.



As I grew older, I realized Spock was played as a counterpoint to show human qualities in others. But it took over 25 years for me to realize that Spock should never have been a template.

Logic has its place. People who live 100% heart and 0% logic are probably tough to deal with (and possibly homeless, though probably very nice). But the mind has to be able to figure out not only whether something is a logically good idea but whether or not something is a personally good idea. And when it comes to the personal? Well, logic's got nothing on that.