Archived entries for lists

100 Romantic Couples from Video Games

Note to readers: re-publishing this list from last year! :)

It’s Valentine’s Day!  And what more could you want than YET ANOTHER list about video game couples?  I know you’re excited. Don’t try to hide it.

I realize there’s no shortage of lists out there about video game couples.  I’ve seen them all:   “Best Couples”, “Greatest Couples”, “Top Couples”, “Worst Couples”, and my personal favorite, “Probably Gay Couples.”  (Etc, etc, etc.)

But on my list you’ll find romantic couples spanning decades of video game history: couples from huge, well-known franchises to small indie games,  as well as rare, older games you’ve probably never played or even heard of.  There are married couples, doomed/ill-fated romances, couples you know/suspect are more than just friends, cute couples, dead couples, on-again/off-again couples, and a few silly ones thrown in as well.

I began this project with a simple mission: put together the biggest and best unbiased list of canonical, romantic video game couples that I possibly could.  And what did I learn from all this?  That romance is alive and well in video games, and I’ve got a list of 100 video game couples to prove it!

(Listed alphabetically by game/series.)

Alan & Alice (Alan Wake)

from Alan Wake 

Alan & Alice - Alan Wake

Elc & Lieza

from Arc the Lad

Elc & Lieza - Arc the Lad

Ezio & Sofia

from Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Ezio & Sofia - Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Darren & Angelina

 from Black Mirror II

Darren & Angelina - Black Mirror 2

Ryu & Nina

from Breath of Fire

Ryu & Nina - Breath of Fire

Eddie & Ophelia

from Brutal Legend

Eddie & Ophelia - Brutal Legend

Alucard Tepes & Maria Renard

from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Alucard & Maria - Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Vincent & Catherine/Katherine

from Catherine

Vincent & Catherine/Katherine - Catherine

Chrono & Marle

from Chrono Trigger

Chrono & Marle - Chrono Trigger

Max & Monica

from Dark Cloud 2

Max & Monica - Dark Cloud 2

Isaac Clark & Nicole Brennan

from Dead Space 2

Isaac Clark & Nicole Brennan - Dead Space 2

Dante & Trish

from Devil May Cry

Dante & Trish - Devil May Cry

Laharl & Etna

from Disgaea

Laharl & Etna - Disgaea

Donkey Kong & Candy Kong

from Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong & Candy Kong - Donkey Kong Country

Diddy Kong & Dixie Kong

from Donkey Kong Country 2

Diddy Kong & Dixie Kong - Donkey Kong Country 2

Kite & Black Rose

from Dot Hack

Kite & Black Rose - Dot Hack

Hero & Lady Lora

from Dragon Warrior

Hero & Lady Lora - Dragon Warrior

Dirk & Princess Daphne

from Dragon’s Lair

Dirk & Princess Daphne - Dragon's Lair

Earthworm Jim & Princess What’s-Her-Name

from Earthworm Jim

Earthworm Jim & Princess What's Her Name - Earthworm Jim

Monkey & Trip

from Enslaved

Monkey & Trip - Enslaved

Cecil & Rosa

from Final Fantasy IV

Cecil & Rosa - Final Fantasy IV

Locke & Celes

from Final Fantasy VI

Locke & Celes - Final Fantasy VI

Cloud & Tifa

from Final Fantasy VII

Cloud & Tifa - Final Fantasy VII

Squall & Rinoa

from Final Fantasy VIII

Squall & Rinoa -Final Fantasy VIII

Tidus & Yuna

from Final Fantasy X

Tidus & Yuna - Final Fantasy X

Gabriel Knight & Grace Nakamura

from Gabriel Knight

Gabriel Knight & Grace Nakamura - Gabriel Knight

Dom & Maria Santiago

from Gears of War

Dom & Maria Santiago - Gears of War

Kratos & Aphrodite

from God of War

Kratos & Aphrodite - God of War

Ryudo & Elena

from Grandia

Ryudo & Elena - Grandia

Dr. David Stiles & Laura Stiles

from Gray Matter

Dr. David Stiles & Laura Stiles - Gray Matter

Manny & Mercedes

from Grim Fandango

Manny & Mercedes - Grim Fandango

Gordon Freeman & Alyx Vance

from Half Life

Gordon Freeman & Alyx Vance - Half LIfe

Master Chief & Cortana

from Halo

Master Chief & Cortana - Halo

Ico & Yorda

from Ico

Ico & Yorda- Ico

Lucas & Carla

from Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit

Lucas & Carla - Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit

Jak & Keira

from Jak & Daxter

Jak & Keira - Jak & Daxter

Roger & Jeanne

from Jeanne D’arc

Roger & Jeanne - Jeanne Darc

Sora & Kairi

from Kingdom Hearts

Sora & Kairi - Kingdom Hearts

Edgar & Rosella

from King’s Quest VII: The Princess Bride

Edgar & Rosella - King's Quest VII

 

Maxim & Selan

from Lufia

Maxim & Selan - Lufia

Alex & Luna

from Lunar: The Silver Star

Alex & Luna - Lunar: The Silver Star

Hiro & Lucia

from Lunar II: Eternal Blue

Hiro & Lucia - Lunar II: Eternal Blue

Nall & Ruby

from Lunar: The Silver Star, Lunar II: Eternal Blue

Nall & Ruby - Lunar

Mappy & Mapico

from Mappy-Land

Mappy & Mapico - Mappy-Land

Max Payne & Mona Sax

from Max Payne

Max Payne & Mona Sax - Max Payne

Zero & Iris

from Mega Man

Zero & Iris - Mega Man

Solid Snake & Meryl Silverburgh

from Metal Gear

Solid Snake & Meryl Silverburgh - Metal Gear

Samus Aran & Adam Malkovich

from Metroid 

Samus Aran & Adam Malkovich - Metroid

Guybrush Threepwood & Elaine Marley

from Monkey Island

Guybrush Threepwood & Elaine Marley - Monkey Island

Liu Kang & Katana

from Mortal Kombat

Liu Kang & Katana - Mortal Kombat

Atrus & Catherine

from Myst

Atrus & Catherine - Myst

Junpie & Akane

from Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Junpie & Akane - 999

Ryu & Irene

from Ninja Gaiden

Ryu & Irene - Ninja Gaiden

Oswald & Gwendolyn

from Odin Sphere

Oswald & Gwendolyn - Odin Sphere

Oki & Ameratsu

from Okami

Oki & Ameratsu - Okami

Pac-Man & Ms. Pac-Man

from Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man

Pac-Man & Ms. Pac-Man - Pac-Man

Kyle Madigan & Aya Brea

from Parasite Eve

Kyle Madigan & Aya Brea - Parasite Eve

Don & Adrienne

from Phantasmagoria

Don & Adrienne - Phantasmagoria

Phoenix Wright & Maya Fey

from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Phoenix Wright & Maya Fey - Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Ash & Misty

from Pokemon

Ash & Misty - Pokemon

James & Jessie

from Pokemon

James & Jesse - Pokemon

Popo & Nana

from Ice Climbers

Popo & Nana - Ice Climbers

Chell & Companion Cube

from Portal

Chell & Companion Cube - Portal

Prince & Farah

from Prince of Persia

Prince & Farah - Prince of Persia

Hershel Layton & Claire

from Professor Layton

Hershel Layton & Claire - Professor Layton

Jack Russell & Ridley Silverlake

from Radiata Stories

Jack Russell & Ridley Silverlake - Radiata Stories

John Marston & Abigail

from Red Dead Redemption

John Marston & Abigail - Red Dead Redemption

Chris Redfield & Jill Valentine

from Resident Evil

Chris Redfield & Jill Valentine - Resident Evil

Leon Kennedy & Ada Wong

from Resident Evil

Leon Kennedy & Ada Wong - Resident Evil

Claire Redfield & Steve Burnside

from Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Claire Redfield & Steve Burnside - Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Jaster Rogue & Kisala

from Rogue Galaxy

Jaster Rogue & Kisala - Rogue Galaxy

Brian & Gina

from Runaway

Brian & Gina - Runaway

Yuri & Alice

from Shadow Hearts

Yuri & Alice - Shadow Hearts

Wander & Mono

from Shadow of the Colossus

Wander & Mono - Shadow of the Colossus

Ryo Hazuki & Nozomi

from Shenmue

Ryo Hazuki & Nozomi - Shenmue

James & Mary Sunderland

from Silent Hill

James & Mary Sunderland - Silent Hill

Vyse & Aika

from Skies of Arcadia

Vyse & Aika - Skies of Arcadia

Sonic the Hedgehog & Amy Rose

from Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic & Amy - Sonic the Hedgehog

Shadow the Hedgehog & Rogue the Bat

from Sonic the Hedgehog

Shadow & Rogue - Sonic

Spyro & Cynder

from Spyro the Dragon

Spyro & Cynder - Spyro the Dragon

Fox McCloud & Krystal

from Star Fox Adventures

Fox & Krystal - Star Fox Adventures

Ryu & Chun Li

from Street Fighter

Ryu & Chun Li - Street Fighter

Mario  & Princess Peach

from Super Mario

Mario & Princess Peach - Super Mario

Toad & Toadette

from Super Mario 

Toad & Toadette - Super Mario

Lloyd & Colette

from Tales of Symphonia

Lloyd & Colette - Tales of Symphonia

Jackie Estacado & Jenny Romano

from The Darkness

Jackie & Jenny - The Darkness

Link & Zelda

from The Legend of Zelda

Link & Zelda - The Legend of Zelda

Neku & Shiki

from The World Ends With You

Neku & Shiki - The World Ends With You

Johnny & River

from To The Moon

Johnny & River - To The Moon

Derek & Angela

from Trauma Center

Derek & Angela - Trauma Center

Nathan Drake & Elena Fisher

from Uncharted

Nathan Drake & Elena Fisher - Uncharted

Lucien & Lenneth

from Valkyrie Profile

Lucien & Lenneth - Valkyrie Profile

Amon & Sara

from Vandal Hearts

Amon & Sara - Vandal Hearts

Sandor & Elin

from Vay

Sandor & Elin - Vay

Thrall & Jaina Proudmoore

from World of Warcraft

Thrall & Jaina Proudmoore - World of Warcraft

Fei & Elly

from Xenogears

Fei & Elly - Xenogears

Shion Uzuki & Allen Ridgely

from Xenosaga

Shion & Allen - Xenosaga

Did your favorite couple make my list?

 

 

11 Mildly Amusing Pie Charts About Video Games

Not gonna lie–this collection of video game pie charts is filler content. That’s why it’s only mildly amusing. Enjoy!

 

Maybe things would be different if he were a Level 85 Paladin.

Level 80 Paladin

 

 

Clearly this pie chart is about Mario Kart.

You Lose! Good Day Sir

 

 

Sad but true.

The Rock Band Effect

 

 

I do this too, except afterwards I cry a little on the inside for having wasted two hours of my life.

Level Fail

 

 

Fact: 100% of all movies based on video games suck.

Video Game Movies

 

 

I’ve choked a bitch for a lot less.

STFU Already

 

 

Since when is dying in video games not a legitimate reason?

Reasons I Use Profanities

 

 

This is the worst kind of pain.

Reasons I Stopped Playing an RPG

 

 

This never gets old.

 

Pac-Man Pie Chart

 

 

Are there really people who don’t know who Pac-Man is?

Never Heard of Pac-Man

Bonus Pie Chart

This one isn’t about video games (unless we’re counting virtual Simon) but I just love it to pieces so I’m posting it anyway.

Simon

5 Retrotastic New Games for Old Platforms

Retro Games - New Games Released for Old Consoles

As my generation of gamers, and those who came before us, pass into our thirties, forties and beyond as the so-called “next gen” continues to disappoint, we yearn for the simpler, less extreme gaming experiences like the ones we grew up with. Games don’t need “cutting-edge” graphics and eleventy thousand hours of gameplay and “replay value” to be fun. These days there’s rarely a new release from a major publisher that truly excites me. Like Hollywood, the major players in the gaming industry seem to be suffering from remakeaholism and sequelitis.

Thankfully, there’s a ton of cool things happening in the retro gaming scene lately: Nintendo’s 8bit Summer promotion that starts next month, KickStarter’s recent revival of classic point-and-click adventures and other retro games, and the recent trend of brand new games with old school aesthetics like WizorbOniken and Retro City Rampage.

And then, perhaps most interestingly, there’s the retro gaming revival happening in the homebrew scene of your favorite old platforms like Atari 2600, NES and Commodore 64, among others. Indie developers making new games for old consoles gives you a reason to hang on to those old pieces of plastic (or in some cases wood and metal).

Here’s a sampling of some of the more rad-looking new or upcoming “faux-stalgic” games I’ve seen that I’d really like to get my thumbs on:

Fairy Well

Platform: Commodore 64
Developer: Wide Pixel Games

Fairy Well is a unique and ambitious flick-screen collect-em-up arcade adventure of epic proportions squeezed into a tiny 16KB of ROM space. It was the winning entry of RGCD’s 2011 C64 cartridge game development contest. Guide your fairy through the labyrinthine underworld on your quest to rescue the captured princess and restore peace to the forest!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWUlM5_elCs

Nightmare Busters

Platform: Super Nintendo
Developer: Super Fighter Team 

An upcoming run and gun game for the Super Nintendo, Super Famicom and all compatible video game systems, Nightmare Busters will be the first new game to be released for these machines in the United States since 1998! Developed by Super Fighter Team, who has also developed “old” new games for the Sega Genesis and Atari Lynx.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1wAEDRD2wE

Knight ‘n’ Grail

Platform: Commodore 64
Developer: Wide Pixel Games

Knight ‘n’ Grail is an epic arcade adventure that features a brave Knight on a quest to find the only thing that will release his beloved from a curse that has turned her into a dragon – the magical Grail. Many dangers await as you explore over 200 screens on your quest to find the Grail. Along the way you’ll find various weaponry and armour upgrades and you will even discover new powers that allow you to reach previously inaccessible areas.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PnHWoSYPqU

Super Bat Puncher

Platform: NES
Developer: Morphcat Games

Super Bat Puncher is an original homebrew game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Explore the deep, dark caverns of a mysterious planet and find out about the plague that threatens Earth. The game features special moves, a 2-player mode, a great soundtrack and “explicit bat punching.”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2DJrr2iBXc

Lead

Platform: Atari 2600
Developer: Simone Serra

Lead is a fast paced Atari 2600 shooter that will keep you on your toes! There are four types of stages: “Fire”, in which you must shoot enemies down. “Dodge” where you must dodge asteroids plummeting towards you. “Scramble” where you must avoid sentinels. And “Catch” stages where you must catch satellites. There are Smart Bombs and Power-ups you can capture to help you in your goal to stay alive!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJuJIqd1Uhw

 

 

 

My Top 10 Beach & Ocean Themed Retro Games

Beach Themed Video Games

I know, what an oddly specific topic for a Top 10 list. But here’s the thing: I’m taking my annual beach vacation as of today, so all of my posts this upcoming week will be related to the beach or the ocean in some fashion because that’s just the frame of mind I’m in. And since I typically blog about retro games anyway, I thought this would make for a fun cross-section of my interests since I love real beaches almost as much as I love pixelated ones.

So here are my Top 10 favorite beach or ocean-themed games from the 8- & 16-bit eras. Surf’s up!

#10 – Adventure Island

Year: 1988
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System

Adventure Island

This game is SO FRUSTRATING, but every now and then I play it as if one of these days there’s going to be a different outcome. Actually, this game kind of sucks. That, or I just suck at it. Regardless, I suppose it’s considered a classic Nintendo game, even if it is just an adaptation of Sega’s Wonder Boy. However, I’m only including it for the benefit of having ten games on this list, because without it I’d have only had nine. Ha! Take that, Adventure Island, you piece of crap.

#9 – Puggsy

Year: 1993
Platform: Sega Genesis/CD

Puggsy

Puggsy is a weird-looking orange alien whose spaceship crash lands on a tropical planet, where the object of the game is to get back to your ship. It’s a cool little platformer with some puzzle gameplay elements requiring you to pick up and use objects to get past obstacles. I can’t remember exactly how I discovered it (probably through Sega Visions magazine), but I remember renting it several times when I was young and having a blast with it.

#8 – Jaws

Year: 1987
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System

Jaws

Who says all video games based on movies suck? Jaws was a rare exception for the Nintendo Entertainment System (although the game does have its haters, but to those people I offer this simple math: SHARKS > YOU). The gameplay was a weird blend of overworld boat navigation and underwater shoot ‘em up. You’d basically sail around until you hit “something” (sometimes Jaws himself) at which point the game switches to diver mode where you’d do your best to avoid being hit while shooting at anything that moves–hopefully Jaws.

#7 – Town & Country Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage

Year: 1988
Platform:  Nintendo Entertainment System

T&C Surf Designs

Just hearing the chiptune waves on the decidedly minimalist title screen for T&C Surf Designs (which is what I’ve always called the game despite its retardedly long full name Town & Country Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage)  takes me back to childhood. The neighbor’s boy had this game and I didn’t, so naturally I was jealous of him. And he never let me be Thrilla Gorilla either, the stupid jerkface.

 

#6 – Cool Spot

Year: 1993
Platform: Sega Genesis
Cool Spot

Cool Spot was a surprisingly decent game for basically being a 7-Up advertisement. This side-scrolling platformer had bright, beautiful graphics depicting cheerful beachy backdrops and a pretty cool soundtrack with surfer-style tunes. And Spot himself (as well as all his little Spot friends who all looked exactly alike) was pretty freakin’ adorable.

#5 – Greendog the Beached Surfer Dude

Year: 1992
Platform: Sega Genesis

Greendog the Beached Surfer Dude

Not a terribly original game concept, or game for that matter, but Greendog the Beached Surfer Dude was tons of fun. Despite its terrible name–which was probably conceived at the pinnacle of surfer “dudestalgia” when movies like Point Break were all the rage–Greendog was a side-scrolling adventure game that had a lot going for it, like its cool calypso soundtrack, skateboarding levels, and vine-swinging action. (For some reason I love games where you get to swing on vines; I blame early exposure to Pitfall.)

#4 – Star Tropics

Year: 1990
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System

StarTropics

Oh Star Tropics, you magnificent bastard. Rarely does a game manage to be so effin’ weird but so much fun at the same time. It’s like The Legend of Zelda meets the top-down phases of Blaster Master, with bizarre characters and an even more bizarre plot. Oh yeah, and aliens.

#3 – Rainbow Islands/Bubble Bobble 2

Year: 1990
Platform: Sega Genesis

Rainbow Islands - Bubble Bobble 2

I’ve only ever played the port of this game for Sega Genesis (titled Rainbow Islands Extra), but supposedly its exactly the same as the original arcade game with a few minor differences. Rainbow Islands makes up for the fact that its protagonists aren’t the cute dragons you remember from the first Bubble Bobble (here’s why) by being a truly fun game. It’s challenging, has bright, colorful, over-the-top graphics and chintzy music; all the things an arcade game from this era should have. And what’s not to love about shooting rainbows?

#2 – Ecco the Dolphin

Year: 1992/1993
Platform: Sega Genesis/CD

Ecco the Dolphin

I probably wouldn’t hesitate to put Ecco the Dolphin on my list of all-time favorite Genesis games, let alone an overly-specific list like this one. The game is just freaking cool, as well as weird and trippy as hell (and I won’t even get into how strange the sequel is). And yet it was beautiful and peaceful at the same time, with a soothing, synth-heavy soundtrack not unlike something you might hear in a PBS ocean documentary. The gameplay was fun and challenging too, with some unique elements like the sonar system that helps you navigate your way through treacherous ocean depths. All right, I’ll just come right out and say it: I LOVE ECCO THE DOLPHIN!

#1 – The Secret of Monkey Island

Year: 1990
Platform: PC  (DOS)

The Secret of Monkey Island

The LucasArts point-and-click adventure game that has spawned a number of hit sequels and a devoted following. It’s a masterpiece; what more can I really say about it? If you’ve never played this game or any game in the Monkey Island series, we can’t be friends anymore you’re really missing out on something great.

 

11 Fictional Movie Bands I Wish Were Real

This is a list about fictional bands. There are a lot of lists like it, but this one is mine. And I might as well tell you up front that it doesn’t include Spinal Tap.

Here goes:

#1 – Crucial Taunt

“I hear they can really wail!”

I’ve wished Crucial Taunt were a real band ever since I first saw Wayne’s World and always lamented the fact that their covers of The Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” were never included on the soundtrack.

And while we’re on the subject of Wayne’s World, I’ve always been curious what The Shitty Beatles would have sounded like, too…

Crucial Taunt - Wayne's World

#2 – Prestige Worldwide

Because “BOATS ‘N HOES!” should be injected into every song. I would totally hire these guys to play my next wine mixer. However, I don’t know if I’d be able to resist Uptown Girl, a band who only plays ’80s era Billy Joel… I do love me some ’80s Joel.

Prestige Worldwide - Step Brothers

#3 – The Eradicators

Doctor Vader may have eradicated The Eradicators from Rock and Roll High School Forever, but she can’t eradicate them from my list of awesome fake bands. Corey Feldman has done a lot of embarrassing things for his “music career” but I’ll give him a free pass for his performances in this movie because The Eradicators’ songs (like this one) are surprisingly enjoyable and his singing actually isn’t half bad. For once.

The Eradicators - Rock & Roll High School Forever

#4 – The Lone Rangers

Brendan Fraser is a bit of an enigma to me. I don’t understand how he went from his amazing performance in School Ties to doing stuff like George of the Jungle, but I’ll save that musing for another blog post. Outside of School Ties, one of the only films I can tolerate him in is Airheads, which had the ironically-named fictional grunge-rock band The Lone Rangers. I would pay actual money for tickets to a show where Steve Buscemi dry-humps his guitar.

The Lone Rangers - Airheads

#5 – Sex Bob-omb

You just have to love a fake band named after a Super Mario Bros. enemy. The fictional indie rock outfit from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World had a couple of pretty kickass tunes, too.

Sex Bob-omb - Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

#6 – Hey, That’s My Bike

“I have the occasional run-in with an anti-Hey-That’s-My Biker and to those people I say nobody… nobody can eat 50 eggs.”

I love Reality Bites for many, many reasons and one of the biggest ones is that it has an awesome alternative rock soundtrack on which Ethan Hawke and his fake band Hey That’s My Bike perform a cover of Violent Femme’s “Add it Up.” It’s enough to make me forgive him for being  a total dick in this movie.

Hey, That's My Bike - Reality Bites

#7 – The Weird Sisters

One of the coolest things to ever come out of the Harry Potter movies was the fictional band The Weird Sisters, who were played by members of these four, very awesome non-fictional bands: Radiohead, Pulp, All Seeing I, and Add N to X. I must have listened to “Magic Works” thirty-seven times when it first came out. Just one of the many reasons why Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is my favorite film of the entire septrilogy. (Or is it octrilogy?? Someone help.)

Weird Sisters - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

#8 – Sexual Chocolate

Coming to America has got to be hands-down one of the funniest films to come out of the 1980′s. It was from the golden era of Eddie Murphy’s career,  before it digressed into a long string of shitty family-friendly movies. And it gave us two epic examples of pop culture fakery: Soul Glo and Sexual Chocolate.

“GODDAMN that boy can sing!”

Sexual Chocolate - Coming to America

#9 – Steel Dragon

Rock Star is a sorely underrated movie, which I suspect is because a lot of people seem to have an irrational hatred for Mark Wahlberg, as well as the film having a stupidly generic title that’s easily confused with the energy drink.

Admittedly Mark Wahlberg’s career has been a mixed bag of good and bad performances, but his role as Chris “Izzy” Cole of the fictional hair band Steel Dragon is one of the better ones (although it’s a shame he didn’t do any of his own singing). Songs like “Stand Up and Shout” sound like they came straight out of the mid-80′s glam metal era.

Steel Dragon - Rock Star

#10 – Ellen Aim and the Attackers

Streets of Fire was one the weirdest movies to come out of the ’80s, but it had a lot of awesome things going for it, like a creepy-ass Willem Dafoe (when is he ever not creepy?), sexy Diane Lane, and a glorious soundtrack that featured two Wagnerian rock songs by the short-lived Fire Inc., which were performed in the film as the fictional band Ellen Aim and the Attackers. Just listen to this Meatloaf-esque “Nowhere Fast” and tell me it’s not totally rad. I dare you.

Ellen Aim and the Attackers - Streets of Fire

#11 – Robbie Hart, The Wedding Singer

If I ever get married again, I want to have an ’80s-themed wedding where all the bridesmaids wear big, puffy dresses with ass-bows and Robbie Hart is my wedding singer. I won’t even complain when George does his signature cover of “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”

Robbie Hart - The Wedding Singer

Y U NO SPINAL TAP!?

Just in case you’re wondering where the hell Spinal Tap is…

While I love This is Spinal Tap and its music, I had to disqualify it for two reasons:

  • Spinal Tap appears on EVERY GODDAMN LIST about fictional bands ever.
  • Although Spinal Tap started out as a fictional parody band, the actors have since gone on to perform as Spinal Tap and release albums under the Spinal Tap name; so technically they’re not even a fictional band anymore. Technically.

Besides, I paid tribute in a different way. See the number of bands on this list.

My Top 10 Obscure But Awesome Teen Movies of the ’80s

Yesterday I took a big step forward for my nerdy little corner of the web here–I joined The League of Extraordinary Bloggers. You could call them the Super Friends of pop culture bloggers.

This week’s assignment (my first!) was to come up with a Top 10 Movies list using any of our own themes or qualifiers. I jumped right on it because I’ve been dying–DYING–to have an excuse to mention some of the obscure but awesome ’80s movies that I’m about to show you.

But first, let’s talk about what it is that makes these films “obscure.” When most people hear “80s teen films” they immediately think of John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off), popcorn flicks that star Michael J. Fox (Teen Wolf, Back to the Future) or raunchy sex comedies like Porky’s and Fast Times at Ridgemont High–all awesome films, by the way. But for this teen movies list I wanted to focus on those little known (and consequently underrated) hidden gems that I think deserve more attention.

So here they are, in no particular order:

‘Three O’clock High’ – 1987

Three O’Clock High is probably the most well-known movie on this list, but I think it’s just obscure enough to still qualify. It’s exactly the right amount of obscure, if you will.

In case it’s not glaringly obvious from the poster, it’s about a high school geek taking on a high school bully. In other words, it’s a film we’ve all seen many times before.

3 O'Clock High

The film takes place over a single day in the life of Jerry Mitchell (Casey Siemaszko), who offends transfer student and rumored psychopath Buddy Revell (played by douchebag extraordinaire Richard Tyson, whom you’ll probably recognize as the bad guy from Kindergarten Cop) when he accidentally touches him. Buddy tells Jerry he’s going to beat the shit out of him in the parking lot at–you guessed it–three o’clock. What follows is a series of desperate acts where Jerry tries to do everything and anything in his power to avoid the confrontation.

Why It’s Awesome:

In short, the way it’s filmed. There’s all kinds of unusual camera angles, odd close-ups, slow-motion sequences, and other zany camera effects you wouldn’t expect but which are all used to great effect to magnify the sense of dread that Jerry Mitchell feels. The Tangerine Dream soundtrack helps, too.

‘Just One of the Guys’ – 1985

This is one of those movies I’m always surprised when people tell me they’ve never heard of it, which is a thing that happens so often to me (probably because it’s my “go-to” ’80s movie discussion icebreaker) that I felt obligated to include it. Just One of the Guys stars the beautiful if androgynous Joyce Hyser as Terry Griffith, a popular high school student who wants more than anything to be a journalist. When her article for the school’s contest to win a summer internship at the local newspaper is rejected, she believes the school’s sexist teachers–who don’t take “pretty girls” seriously as writers–are to blame. Her solution? Transfer schools and dress up like a guy!

Just One of the Guys

With the coaching of her sex-obsessed younger brother (played by the adorable Billy Jayne) and a wad of rolled-up socks, Terry (who conveniently has a unisex name) gives herself a transsexual makeover that could give Hilary Swank’s Oscar-winning role in Boys Don’t Cry a run for its money. Hilarity ensues as Terry ventures into forbidden places like the men’s bathroom, gets bullied by the local jocks, hit on by other girls, and befriends–and eventually falls in love–with shy music nerd Rick Morehouse (Clayton Rohner).

Why It’s Awesome:

The big reveal scene at the prom. It’s the best “TITS OR GTFO” moment ever in a movie, and Rick’s reactionary quote is one of my all-time favorites. Plus, for you Karate Kid fans, there’s William Zabka (Johnny of the Cobra Kai!) doing his trademark tough-guy douchebag thing.

‘Old Enough’ – 1984

Old Enough is your typical “two friends from opposite walks of life” coming of age story (think Little Darlings) but has enough charm and realistic innocence to make it a standout; something that’s largely due to the chemistry between the two leads. Sarah Boyd stars as the wealthy but naive Lonnie who meets scrappy but streetwise Karen (Rainbow Harvest, whose parents I suspect must have been hippies) one summer day on the streets near her home in New York City. There’s an almost immediate infatuation between the two girls, who quickly become unlikely friends.

Old Enough

Lonnie ditches summer camp to hang out with Karen, who teaches her about things like boys, make-up and shoplifting, and in return Lonnie tries to impress her own morals and upbringing. The whole film only takes place over a couple of days, but in that time each girl does quite a bit of growing up and the experience feels genuine. Along the way they have a few misadventures, disagreements, awkward social situations, and laughs. Nothing really earth-shattering ever happens; the film is simply a chronicle of a few days in these two young girl’s lives.

Have you ever gone away somewhere and met someone you felt you really connected with only to never hear from them again–but you’ll always look back and remember them fondly? That’s kind of what Old Enough is like. If you don’t like slowly-paced character studies, steer clear of this one. But if you give it a chance, you just might find yourself becoming mesmerized by the acting and scenery as I did.

Why It’s Awesome:

Old Enough is filmed entirely on location in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, so you’re treated to a great summertime walking tour of this part of the city. I love, love, love movies that take place in New York City, especially movies that take place in the eighties in New York City (blame my Ninja Turtles obsession if you must). Also, you get to see Alyssa Milano in her first movie as an adorable eight year old. She plays Lonnie’s little sister and lends some much-needed cuteness and light comic relief, as some of the scenes get pretty angsty. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the seriously synth-tastic score!

‘White Water Summer’ – 1987

Speaking of summer camp and coming of age stories, White Water Summer is another teen movie you should know about if you enjoy that sort of thing. It stars Kevin Bacon as Vic, a rather creepy wilderness guide hired by the wealthy parents of a young, introverted city boy named Alan (Goonies-era Sean Astin!) to accompany him and and three other boys on their first wilderness experience. Vic is a skilled “survivor man” who’s good at what he does, but has something of a pushy camp counselor/big brother complex that he takes to extremes. He wants to make men out of his sheltered, socially awkward recruits but his ego and over-abuse of authority turns what should be a fun hiking trip into their worst nightmare.

White Water Summer

Why It’s Awesome:

It’s Kevin Fucking Bacon.  Even better, it’s creepy Kevin Bacon which is exactly how I like my Bacon. It also has a great soundtrack featuring music from Cutting Crew, Bruce Hornsby, The Cult and Journey that evokes exactly the right feeling of “Hey, look at us young, virile bunch of guys hiking around in the woods and doing cool outdoorsy stuff in the summer of ’87!” feeling you’d expect from a film like this. If you’re a nature enthusiast you’ll also appreciate the rugged scenery, as much of it was actually filmed in New Zealand (surprise!).

‘Nice Girls Don’t Explode’ – 1987

Wow… Where do I even start with this one? I’m going to go out on a limb and estimate that at least 95% of you reading this have never heard of Nice Girls Don’t Explode. I know you’re already thinking “Holy crap that’s an awesome movie title!” and you’re right. The premise is even more awesome: April Flowers (great name, huh?) is a teenage girl with a very “special problem.” That is, when April gets intimate with men she explodes!

Except not really. You see, April’s mother, who loves her little girl more than anything and doesn’t want her to be swept away by some man, has convinced April from the time she was a child that her hormones are all out of whack. She tells April she’s a “fire girl,” whose hormones can ignite fires when aroused and therefore she’ll never be able to get too close to men. How does she manage to convince April of something so ridiculous? By igniting the fires herself, of course.

Nice Girls Don't Explode

April’s mom isn’t exactly what you’d call normal, either. She has abandonment issues and something of a June Cleaver complex, spending her days meticulously keeping house and baking oatmeal cookies. Oh yeah, and crafting bombs in her kitchen! She stalks April on her dates and uses a remote control to set off fires whenever things get too steamy, usually to the effect of April never hearing from her dates again. But things begin to change when Andy, April’s childhood sweetheart, comes back into her life.

Why It’s Awesome:

To really appreciate this movie, you’ll need to keep your expectations in check because I must warn you that it is extremely low budget. That being said, there is still plenty of awesome here. For one thing it stars Michelle Meyrink (whom you might remember having a nerd crush on in Real Genius) as April; she’s an actress I always wished did more things. “Mom” (you gotta love that she has no other name beyond that) is played by an extremely coy Barbara Harris who is so good at being such a smug bitch and at the same time you can’t help but love her. But the best part has to be Wallace Shawn (“Inconceivable!”), the quirky, socially awkward pyromaniac whom I guess you could describe as April’s mom’s bomb dealer. His scenes are hilarious and completely steal the movie.

I also think it’s worth mentioning that the set design and decoration for this movie (if you’re the type who appreciates such things) is fantastic. I love the little details like the cookie magnets on Mom’s fridge, her mid-80s era orange Tupperware, and the ballerina dolls in April’s bedroom.  The film is like a perfect time capsule of 1980s suburbia, and you can tell they they did the best they could with it.

‘The Last American Virgin’ – 1982

Attention ’80s music fans: please direct your eyes to the below poster for  all the reasons you need to see The Last American Virgin:

The Last American Virgin

For the rest of you who came for the tits and cheeseball comedy, The Last American Virgin is like an early American Pie–it’s about a couple of horny high school guys who just want to get laid.  Gary and his buddies Ricky and David are looking for love in all the wrong places until Gary meets a beautiful new student named Karen (Diane Franklin, who despite having an overgrown almost-unibrow was blessed with incredibly alluring eyes–JUST LOOK AT THEM!–and manages to somehow be insanely attractive) who isn’t as innocent as she comes off.

Gary soon finds himself competing against his best friend in a love triangle for Karen’s affection, leading to some of the most angsty teen melodrama (you know, the good stuff) you’ll find in a movie that’s supposed to be a raunchy ’80s teen comedy. What sets TLAV apart, though, is that it has a completely unexpected “WTF!?” ending that will ruin your day. It’s like the filmmakers were all, “Oh, you were expecting a happy ending? Well fuck you.”

Why It’s Awesome:

Didn’t I just tell you?

‘A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon’ – 1988

Unless you’re a die-hard River Phoenix fan, A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon probably won’t be familiar to you. (By the way, if you do describe yourself as a “die-hard River Phoenix fan,” say hello or something because I need to know you). Like I alluded to in my Last American Virgin synopsis above, Jimmy Reardon is a film that suffers from being marketed as something different than what it actually is. I mean, just look how stupid happy everyone appears to be on this poster:

A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon

The actual movie is kind of a downer in the same way that What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? is. It’s a mature coming of age film, not the shiny, happy but mindless teen film the packaging leads you to believe. There’s quirky characters and funny dialogue but everyone’s kind of an asshole with depressing life problems.

Jimmy is a rather jaded young man who’s trying to figure his life out while he smokes and sexes his way through it. He’s actually kind of a jerk, but he writes poetry (see? he’s sensitive!) and doesn’t want to end up like his dad. The movie chronicles a night (and unfortunate accident) that will become a major turning point in his life as he tries to find love and make peace with his father.

Why It’s Awesome:

How many directors do you know who wrote a semi-autobiographical novel and then directed a movie version? William Reichert did.   He made this movie at the height of River Phoenix’s career and although it wasn’t a very popular or successful film (for many reasons beyond the director’s control) it’s an impressive demonstration of his acting range and ability. Plus, you get to see two incredibly attractive young people, Ione Skye and River Phoenix, getting it on. So there’s that…

‘Seven Minutes in Heaven’ – 1985

If you think Labyrinth was the only awesome film Jennifer Connelly made in the ’80s, you probably haven’t seen Seven Minutes in Heaven (I’d also point you toward Argento’s horror film Phenomena from the same year).

Seven Minutes in Heaven

Jennifer Connelly stars as Natalie, a mature and studious teen girl whose father is away for a few weeks on a business trip. Her good friend Jeff (Byron Thames), who’s kind of a dork, talks her into letting him move in because his home life sucks. Meanwhile, Natalie’s other good friend Polly (played by Maddie Corman) is obsessed with boys and throws herself at a famous baseball player. You might think this all sounds like a wild house party just waiting to happen, but you’d be wrong. Rather, the film is an examination of the types of situations young people encounter on their way to becoming adults. The performances are outstanding and surprisingly honest.

(Sidebar: What’s with all these idiotic parents in ’80s movies leaving their teen kids home alone for weeks at a time? I’m looking at you Risky Business and Just One of the Guys! I’m not complaining, though, because it makes for interesting plots.)

Why It’s Awesome:

Seven Minutes in Heaven is a great little slice of ’80s teen dramedy that explores the friendship between three high schoolers and their blossoming sexuality. If you love movies like Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful, this is right up there with them.

‘For Keeps’ – 1988

An ’80s teen film starring Molly Ringwald that isn’t directed by John Hughes or called Fresh Horses? DO GO ON!

For Keeps is the one about high school pregnancy where she gets knocked up by her boyfriend and they have to decide what to do about the baby. It’s a film that tackles young love on the rocks, a promised career cut short, abortion, adoption, postpartum depression, family drama, and all manner of other unpleasant things that go along with losing your childhood too soon.

For Keeps

Why It’s Awesome:

Because it’s a much more accurate and honest depiction of the realities of teen pregnancy versus films like Juno where wealthy young couples magically materialize to adopt your baby and all is forgiven by being a cute, quirky hipster. And Molly Ringwald’s performance is phenomenal.

‘Teen Witch’ – 1989

Teen Witch is one of those movies you watch because it’s SO AWESOMELY BAD that it’s somehow good.

As far as ’80s movies go, Teen Witch arrived at the tail end of the decade after all the good teen movies had come and gone, the hungover house party guests were leaving, and the more serious era of the early ’90s were upon us.  It’s as if the ’80s were desperately clinging to whatever was left and hurled themselves directly at this movie. Teen Witch is an ’80s fantasy movie that has the hair, the fashion, the requisite flimsy premise, and a bunch of terrible, terrible, pop songs you should never listen to outside of watching this movie.

And it has this God-awful poster and tagline, too:

Teen Witch

Louise Miller (Robin Lively–hey, remember her from Karate Kid 3?) is a shy, nerdy high school girl who learns one day that she’s descended from the witches of Salem and has inherited magical powers…which disappointingly only seem to work when she’s wearing her magical amulet. With the help of an experienced witch/fortune teller Madame Serena (Zelda Rubinstein), she uses her powers to make herself more popular and win the heart of the high school football captain. But her upgraded social status almost comes at the price of her best friend Polly’s friendship, and Louise begins to question if its right to cheat her way to popularity.

Why It’s Awesome:

Because it has outrageously cheesy song & dance numbers like this, this, and this. And who doesn’t love Zelda “Come into the light Carol Ann!” Rubinstein? Nobody, that’s who.

Final Thoughts

Yes, I realize some of these movies are way more obscure than others, but that’s okay. If this list of ’80s teen films has introduced you to at least one movie you’ve never heard of that looks even mildly awesome, I will consider my mission accomplished!

Other Top 10s from The League:

8 Mini-Games that Should Have Been in Wii U’s ‘NintendoLand’

Nintendoland

Yesterday Nintendo turned out another epic yawn of an E3 presentation this year, to nobody’s surprise. We didn’t get a Wii U announcement for Zelda, Metroid, or any of the cool Nintendo stuff we Nintendo fans actually care about (besides the obligatory Mario game), but we did get a demo of something called NintendoLand.

Just what the hell is it? Wired explains:

There’s no theme park called NintendoLand, but one of the key launch titles for Wii U imagines what life would be like if there were. NintendoLand, set to be one of the key launch titles for Nintendo’s new game machine that it will launch later this year, is a collection of 12 minigames that each feature a unique spin on the console’s most distinctive new feature: The “GamePad” controller, which has a large tablet-style screen in its center that can be used to interact with the TV. Each of the games is a twist on a classic Nintendo franchise; some well-known and some obscure.

Great. So basically with we’re getting a cross between Mario Party and Wii Carnival set in a theme park and featuring characters from Nintendo’s B-list. For example, there’s a go-kart like attraction called Donkey Kong’s Crash Course, and Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, a haunted house multi-player game (okay, I’ll admit this one actually sounds kind of cool).

Being a disgruntled Nintendo fan, as well as a theme park ride enthusiast, I have a few of my own ideas about the types of mini-game attractions NintendoLand should include. And here are some badly-Photoshopped images to illustrate them!

Samus Aran’s Super Space Gravitron

Metroid Gravitron - NintendoLand

Many Miis enter Samus Aran’s Super Space Gravitron, only one Mii ever comes out. It’s a battle against metroids and centrifugal force as you try to cling to the Gravitron’s walls to avoid certain death. If the metroids don’t kill you, the bottomless drop into deep space will.

Little Nemo: The Dream Master’s Dark Ride

Little Nemo Dark Ride - NintendoLand

I love dark rides like Disney’s Pirates of the Carribean, and Little Nemo: The Dream Master is a Nintendo game that would fit the bill perfectly for such an attraction. I mean, it’s about a kid having surreal fever dreams as he journey’s off to Slumberland where he encounters all manner of strange, talking creatures. In the Wii U minigame, you’d guide Nemo’s flying bed through a 2D side-scrolling dark ride with scenery representative of levels from Little Nemo to collect as many keys as you can while this music plays.  Oh wait, I think I just described the original game.

Ice Climbers’ Drop Tower

Ice Climbers Drop Tower - NintendoLand

In Ice Climbers Drop Tower, it’s a race against time and your opponents to climb and club enemies out of your way to the top of an icy tower where you’ll strive to be the first one to hit the release switch on a drop tower carriage full of angry, sweaty riders who are pissed off they just waited in line over two hours for an experience that lasts two seconds.

Blaster Master’s Bumper Cars

Blaster Master Bumper Cars - NintendoLand

It’s just like regular bumper cars, except there’s a giant gun mounted on your tank-like vehicle which you’ll use to blast the everliving shit out of anyone who gets in your way. And there’s also an unlockable level where you get to play as Fred.

Mappy-Land Log Flume

Mappyland Log Flume - NintendoLand

A fast-paced, log flume chase that’s also part obstacle course inspired by Mappy-Land’s jungle level.  Ride the logs down the flume as you jump to collect giant pieces of cheese and set off traps to throw the Mewkies’ log off-course.

Castle Shadowgate Funhouse

Shadowgate Castle Funhouse - NintendoLand

A first-person, adventure-style mini-game where you use the Wii U’s touch screen with commands like “Look,” “Open,” and “Use”  to explore a haunted funhouse reminiscent of Castle Shadowgate. It’s not terribly exciting, so there are lots of pointless and unforgiving “Surprise!” deaths just to fuck with you.

Mega Man’s Blast Coaster

Mega Man Roller Coaster - NintendoLand

Mega Man and roller coasters are two of the most awesome things I could think of to combine. This mini-game is exactly like playing Mega Man, except you’re on a roller coaster. Pretty self-explanatory.

Birdo’s Spinning Teacups

Birdo's Spinning Teacups - NintendoLand

Why? Because every theme park needs a spinning teacup ride. It’s like a rule of theme parks or something. The twist here is that Birdo randomly shoots explosive eggs at your Mii’s head, so you’ll need to do a lot of dodging and praying.

I know there’s a bigger chance of seeing an Anticipation remake for Wii U than there is of Nintendo ever including any of these games in NintendoLand, but hey, it’s fun to pretend.

9 Beloved Children’s Movies that are Also Porn Parodies

It was brought to my attention today that there’s an actual porn called Shitty Shitty Bang Bang, clearly inspired by the classic Disney children’s film starring Dick Van Dyke. At first I thought it was a joke because it was one of those conversations where you sit around and throw out the most ridiculous fake porn titles you can think of (don’t act all classy like you never do that).

Once I’d verified for myself that Shitty Shitty Bang Bang is indeed an actual film, it got me wondering what other beloved children’s films are also porns because that’s just how my morbidly curious mind works and I don’t get out much and quite possibly need therapy and stop judging me already.

(See also: Rule 34.)

So, for you pervs who are still reading, below I present nine examples of classic children’s films that also happen to be porn. And just for fun, I will be grading them on how well they evoke the spirit of the original.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Parody: Titty Titty Gang Bang

I bet you thought I was going to mention Shitty Shitty Bang Bang again, didn’t you? Please. I have more integrity than that.

Grade: C -

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Titty Titty Gang Bang

Mary Poppins

Parody: Mary Pops In – The Magical Nanny

There’s a good spoonful of sugar joke in here somewhere…

Grade: A

Mary Poppins - Mary Pops In

Honey, I Blew Up the Kid

Parody: Honey, I Blew Everybody

Not very creative, is it?

Grade: D

Honey, I Blew Up the Kid - Honey, I Blew Everybody

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Parody: Whorrey Potter and the Sorcerer’s Balls

There’s probably a zillion Harry Potter porn parodies out there, but not all of them star Marky Mark.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Whorrey Potter and the Sorcerer's Balls

Grade: C+

E.T the Extra-Terrestrial

Parody: E3 the Extra Testicle

This doesn’t look as disturbing as that other E.T porn that has been making the rounds, but it has some of the worst cover art I’ve ever seen, even for a porno. This probably took two minutes in MS Paint.

ET the Extra Terrestrial - E3 the Extra Testicle

Grade: F-

Miracle on 34th Street

Parody: Miracle on 69th Street

This too could become a cherished holiday tradition…in bed.

Miracle on 34th Street - Miracle on 69th Street

Grade: B

Annie

Parody: Little Orphan Sammy

I’m pretty disappointed in this one. “Annie” rhymes with so many dirty things and Sammy is the best they could do?

Grade: D

 

Annie - Little Orphan Sammy

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Parody: Who Stole Roger Rabbit?

A porn parody of Who Framed Roger Rabbit that doesn’t star a Jessica Rabbit look-a-like? I mean how hard is it to put on a red haired wig? Such wasted potential.

Grade: B

Who Framed Roger Rabbit - Who Stole Roger Rabbit

The Goonies

Parody: The Poonies

I saved the best for last. The Poonies looks like the year 1985 had a wet dream.

Grade: B+

The Goonies - The Poonies

Hopefully this list hasn’t landed me on some kind of FBI watchlist.

5 Geeky TV Shows I Wish Were Real

I’ll admit it: sometimes I sit around and dream up fantasy TV show concepts. When you consume as much television as I do, it takes a lot for a show to really grab you. ‘Course, it doesn’t help that I grow more cynical and jaded with each passing year, but I digress.

Now, I’m not a producer or anything, and I’ve never pitched a television show in my life, but I’m pretty sure that if any of the following show ideas were to suddenly exist tomorrow, it would be an instant success.

Here are five geeky TV show concepts that I wish were real:

“Pickers” for Gamers

Pickers for Gamers

You know the show American Pickers on the History channel? Well this would be  pretty much the same thing except a pair of nerds–the less socially skilled and more awkward, the better–would go around to yard sales, liquidations, private collectors’ homes, maybe even Craigslist and Ebay in search of rare and valuable video games and gaming collectibles. You know, stuff like the Medieval Madness pinball table, Air Raid for Atari 2600, or the Virtual Boy (just kidding about that last one–nobody really wants one of those things).

On the real Pickers, the two hosts negotiate to the point of highway robbery. This show would be the opposite because gamers are sentimental fanboys who are known to put things like rare, ridonkulously expensive Neo Geo cartridges ahead of their financial future–which is part of the appeal too, so that we at home can all have a good laugh about it.

Working Titles:

  • Epic Looters
  • Shit Gamers Will Pay Obscene Amounts of Money For

Project Photoshop

Like Project Runaway for Photoshop

Think Project Runway, except replace the wannabe fashion designers for wannabe graphic designers. Actually, the contestants don’t even need to be skilled graphic designers at all–the show would be funnier with randomly selected netizens with amateur Photoshop skills. The contestants would face off against each other in extreme Photoshop challenges, timed of course, in categories such as Meme Generation, Fat Celebrity Makeovers, Motivational Posters, Fake Products, Movie Poster Mashups, and the other highly creative but ultimately useless art forms that Photoshop has become infamous for. It goes without saying that use of Comic Sans would result in an instant elimination.

In keeping with the spirit of the original show, the designers could still present their masterpieces on the runway–except it would be a virtual runway where home viewers would be able to participate in the eliminations via live social media-based voting. Holy shit this show sounds awesome.

Working Titles:

  • Photoshopping with the Tards
  • Clone Stamp for the Win

Hip Service

Lip Service for Hipsters

Remember that show Lip Service that used to be on MTV in the early ’90s? If you’re too young (or too old) to remember it, Lip Service was a game show where the contestants  divided up into teams and had to lip sync their way through a grab bag of randomly selected popular songs of the day. The in-house DJ (who was Spinderella of Salt ‘N Pepa, by the way) would mix the music live. You could get Ice Ice Baby, Vogue and Unskinny Bop back to back, or it could be Come Baby Come, I Touch Myself, and Blame It on the Rain–it was anyone’s guess! The team that lip synced the most convincingly is the team that won.

Similarly, Hip Service would follow the same format except all the contestants would be hipsters and all the music would be from obscure bands that you’ve probably never heard of, like St. Agnes Charm School, Crotch Mittens and Zebrapants (and don’t bother Googling those bands because I just made them up). See, hipsters take their music very seriously and there is nothing funnier than some fucking hipster who doesn’t know the words to obscure, shitty music that only hipsters are supposed to like. Isn’t it deliciously ironic?

Working Titles:

  • Music Is Too Mainstream
  • I Was Into Lip Syncing Before It Was Cool

Win Mark Zuckerberg’s Money

Win Mark Zuckerberg's Money

You’re familiar with Win Ben Stein’s Money, right? Well, since Mark Zuckerberg has more money than God, I figure he could stand to give a little bit of it away. And just like Ben Stein, Mark would be a contestant on his own show in a sporting attempt to protect his assets and ward off competitors. Here’s the fun part, though: all questions will be related to Facebook’s murky privacy policies, sketchy terms of service, and barely-there technical support that even The Zuck himself doesn’t get. So pretty much everyone stands a good chance of winning.

Working Titles:

  • “Like” Mark Zuckerberg On Facebook to Win
  • Win The Winklevii’s Money

The Biggest Loser: Zombie Edition

The Biggest Loser - Zombie Edition

I don’t watch The Biggest Loser, mostly because it depresses the hell out of me, but I can tell you for a fact I’d watch the shit out of The Biggest Loser if the show was anything like the pic above. I got this idea after hearing about Run For Your Lives, a zombie-themed 5K event/obstacle course that is as every bit as bitchin’ as it sounds. Getting in shape is much more effective when your very life depends upon it, say, when you’re running from a horde of brain-lusting zombies. It doesn’t even matter that zombies aren’t real (…yet). I’m running the hell away from anything that looks like that. By the way, don’t forget it’s Zombie Awareness Month!

Working Title:

  • The Running Dead
  • The Biggest Meal

 Just for fun…

If any of these show concepts had any shot in hell of becoming a reality, which one would you want to watch the most?

15 Dope Sega & Nintendo Rap Lyrics from Back in the Day

(By the way, are white girls allowed to say “dope”?)

Rap’s love affair with video games is nothing new. Rappers have been dropping video game references since back in the day, which for me began in the late ’80s and lasted through 1999, the year I graduated high school. During that time I was raised on a steady diet of Sega and Nintendo, and when my parents weren’t paying attention (which was often) I listened to a whole hell of a lot of explicit rap and hip hop. (I think I turned out OK.)

Back then it wasn’t nearly as cool to be a “gamer” as it is today–especially if you were a girl. It was amazing how quickly the popular kids would scatter when you said things like “I’m really into RPGs.”  That’s why I always found it interesting (or perhaps it secretly made me feel a little cooler) whenever I heard video game references pop up in my favorite rap and hip hop songs.

Biggie Super Nintendo

That was the era of Nintendo vs. Sega–much like the East Coast/West Coast feud –where kids had to choose their alliances carefully. It’s no surprise, then, that Nintendo and Sega made frequent appearances in rap lyrics.  Without them, rappers wouldn’t have anything cool to rhyme with “innuendo” and “Schwarzenegger.”

Here are fifteen of my favorite Nintendo and Sega lyrics from rap & hip hop songs back in the day:

Warning – Most of these audio/MP3 clips are NSFW!

House of Pain “Jump Around”

Year: 1992
Album: House of Pain

House of Pain - Sega

This song, particularly this version of this song, never fails to get me up off my ass to dance like a total idiot while rapping along. And I nerdcrush a little every time Everlast drops the Sega reference.

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

I’m the cream of the crop, I rise to the top
I never eat a pig ’cause a pig is a cop
Or better yet a Terminator, like Arnold Schwarzenegger
Try’n to play me out like as if my name was Sega

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo “Bad to the Bone”

Year: 1990
Album: Wanted: Dead or Alive

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo - Sega

Man Schwarzenegger was a popular rap lyric. That, or House of Pain totally ripped off this rhyme.

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

I run the game like Sega
Go to war like Noreaga, hit like Schwarzenegger
Excitin’ when I’m fightin I’m frightenin’
Stick chicks slick in quick like greased lightning

K7 “Come Baby Come”

Year: 1993
Album: Swing Batta Swing

K7 - Nintendo

This is one dirty, dirty song. And you know something? It’s fucking great. I don’t know whatever happened to K7, but before he faded into obscurity he at least gave the world one hell of a sex anthem–and a new pickup line for gamers everywhere.

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

Come and get some of this
Don’t forget the innuendo
Play me like Nintendo
Never ever let go

Notorious B.I.G. feat. 2Pac “Juicy”

Year: 1994
Album:
Ready to Die

Notorious BIG - Super Nintendo & Sega Genesis

Biggie had so much money he owned both systems AND played them on a 50″ screen. Probably pretty impressive for back then. Too bad he didn’t live long enough to see the next gen.

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis 
When I was dead broke, man I couldn’t picture this 
50 inch screen, money green leather sofa 
Got two rides, a limousine with a chauffeur 

2Pac “Fake Ass Bitches”

Year: 1997
Album:  
R U Still Down? (Remember Me)

Tupac Plays Sega

Finding this picture of Tupac playing Sonic the Hedgehog was worth the effort of this blog post alone.

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

Fly how I fade her
Played her like a game of Sega
Fuckin’ with the player that done made her

Ras Kass & Coolio “Drama”

Year: 1996
Album:
Soul on Ice

Ras Kass - Sega CD

This song is already awesome, but it’s made even more so because Ras Kass admits to liking Sega CD. I keep telling people there was once a time when Sega CD was awesome, but nobody believes me.

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

On a three story house, drive a four door Ac
Favorite song of all time Mobb Deep’s “Hit it from the Back”
Then jet, I turn a bitch into my favorite
She know my name cause I got more game than Sega CD

Das EFX “Somebody Told Me”

Year: 1998
Album:
Generation EFX

Das EFX - Sega

From the group who gave us the sage advice “Chiggedy-check yo self before you wriggedy-wreck yo self.”

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

In the crib I bought the leather, plus a movie screen
So my team can play Sega 

Dr. Dre “Shittin on the World”

Year: 1996
Album:
Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath

Dr. Dre - Sega

Dr. Dre is totally an old school gamer. He doesn’t need no muthaphukkin 32-bits.

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

Eat me, freak me, take your hand and leave me
All I wanna say is I don’t really give a fuck
‘Cause most he be mega
Copped the PlayStation but still play the Sega

Jermaine Dupri “Get Your Shit Right”

Year: 1998
Album:
Life in 1472

Jermaine Dupri - Sega

Or, the demise of Sega as told by rappers.

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

Goin once, goin twice, everyday, livin nice
In the grey wit the ice, makin money rollin dice
Livin the life, that y’all dream of
Puttin niggaz outta business like Sony did to Sega

LL Cool J “Clap Your Hands”

Year: 1989
Album:  Walking with a Panther

LL Cool J - Sega

Or, the demise of Sega as PREDICTED by rappers.

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

LL Cool J, and the J is for Jeremy
So BUFF ME, James Todd the earthquaker
That’s right my brother, you’re goin out like Sega 

Method Man “Elements”

Year: 1998
Album: Tical 2000: Judgement Day

Method Man - N64 to Sega

Well that’s definitely an N64 reference, but what Sega console is Method Man referring to? Saturn? Dreamcast? THIS IS IMPORTANT INFORMATION I NEED TO KNOW.

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

Ya’ll brothers laugh now and cry later
I rap from Alpha to Omega, sixty four to Sega
Whoopin’ that ass, walk you dogs through the lookin’ glass
Been burnin’ MC’s since cookin’ class

Ice Cube “Friday”

Year: 1995
Album: Friday (Original Motion Picture Sountrack)

 

Ice Cube - Super Nintendo

Oh yeah–Super Nintendo also rhymes great with “smokin indo.” Leave it to Ice Cube. (Sadly I couldn’t get the explicit version for this MP3 snippet so you’ll have to make do with “like a Pinto.”)

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

Smokin indo
Playin dat Super Nintendo
Hear a rat tat tat on my window

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince “Then She Bit Me”

Year: 1989
Album: And in This Corner…

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Nintendo

Remember when Will Smith made good music? I don’t either.

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

No, really I saw him. 
He was playing checkers. 
No, Nintendo. 
Ok, I’m lying. 

Public Enemy “Bedlam 13:13″

Year: 1994
Album:
Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age

Public Enemy - Super Nintendo

Hiding weed inside a Super Nintendo? GENIUS!

Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

Good e nuff to know no indo
Threw it out tha window
Along wit tha Super Nintendo

Eazy-E “Sorry Louie”

Year:  1996
Album:  Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton

Eazy-E Nintendo

I got nothing interesting to say about this lyric, so I’ll just leave you with a public service announcement in Eazy-E’s honor:

Wear condoms, kids.

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Sega/Nintendo Lyric:

I grabbed my bat and ran around the back yo
He’s at my window, thinkin I’m playin Nintendo

25 Cool Factoids from the First TMNT Film Director’s Commentary

Turtles: Der Film - German TMNT Movie

This past weekend my copy of the German edition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Turtles Der Film, as it’s called in Germany, finally arrived in the mail.

I had to order it from Amazon.de using Google Translator every step of the way, and the shipping and handling actually cost more than the DVD itself (14 EUR vs. 12 EUR).

So why did I drop about $35 USD on this thing? Because it’s the most complete version of the first TMNT film.  There are 2 deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and the real reason I bought it:

It has a director’s commentary–in English!

Here are 25 of the most interesting things I learned:

#1 – That’s not New York City.

Raphael overlooking NYC.

Well, okay, the above picture actually is.

Although TMNT takes place on the streets and rooftops of New York, the film was only shot on location in the city for 4 days–a small percentage of the overall film. Most of the interiors and many of the exteriors are sets that were shot in Wilmington, North Carolina. For instance, April’s news station is a real local news station in Wilmington, and most of the sewer system we see throughout the film is actually an elaborate set.

#2 – The man to thank for giving us “dark and gritty” Turtles.

Director Steve Barron likes the use of darkness and shadows, which he feels “leaves more to the imagination.”  However, the Golden Harvest studio execs were worried that the film would be “too dark,” predicting that kids would want the movie to be bright and colorful (a’la Secret of the Ooze). But Steve fought back hard, resulting in the film’s “dark and gritty” aesthetic that most of us fans would agree is just perfect for the Turtles.

#3 – Filming was chaos.

Barron often had to rely on his gut when shooting the film because everything was completely out of sync due to the complicated animatronics, multiple actors per Turtle, and audio that would have to be dubbed in later. “The dailies were a mess,” he says. “You had to suspend your belief and go with your instinct as to how it would all come together.”

#4 – No peeking!

The performers inside the Turtle costumes were only able to see through tiny slits beneath the masks. If you look very closely, you can see the openings–and once in a while you can catch a glimpse of the actors.

The actors inside the Turtle costumes could see through slits beneath the masks.

#5 – “Where do they come up with this stuff?”

Remember when Raphael goes to the movies to see Critters? It was a joke (as well as a terrible movie).  Barron chose Critters as a snarky in-joke about the Turtles themselves being outlandish creatures.

#6 – “You gotta know what a crumpet is to understand cricket.”

The fight between Raph and Casey Jones in what appears to be Central Park is actually taking place on a hot, humid night in rural North Carolina. There were tons of crickets, which had to be edited out of the sound mix. And now you can have a good laugh when Casey whips out his cricket bat during the same scene.

#7 – “It means you’re afraid of enclosed areas.”

Occasionally Josh Pais, the actor who plays Raphael, would get claustrophobic and the crew would have to rip the head off his costume to free him.  And because it was such a delicate process, they weren’t able to do it very quickly. Poor Josh!

Josh Pais as Raphael

#8 – De plane! De plane!

There was a commercial flight path over the North Carolina farm where much of the film was shot. Sometimes radio signals from the planes flying overhead would interfere with the Turtles’ facial animatronics causing them to break out in unpredictable, involuntary spams.

#9 – They’re ready for their close-up.

During Splinter’s heartfelt talk with Raphael, Barron gets the camera very close to make the scene feel more intimate.  The Henson team was nervous that the close-ups would reveal too much of the puppetry and animatronics. It’s a testament to the artistry of the Jim Henson Creature Shop that the scene works as well as it does.

#10 – There’s a good Tortoise & The Hare joke in here somewhere…

Barron often had to use more FPS (faster camera speeds) while filming because the Turtles walked really slow from being weighed down by the heavy costumes and the 60 extra pounds of animatronics that were stored in their shells. It’s especially noticeable in the scene where Raph carries April home after getting jumped in the subway station.

#11 – Who needs diets?

The performers inside the Turtle costumes all lost “at least 20 pounds each” because the suits were so hot. The heat was especially unbearable during the farm scenes, which were shot in the humid southern state of North Carolina.

The stunt actors inside the Turtle costumes.

#12 – Maybe they should stop eating so much pizza.

The Turtles were too big to fit through standard-size manhole covers, so the ones you see in the film were all custom built.

TMNT Pizza

#13 – Every studio that passed on TMNT should kick themselves in the face.

Barron said filming TMNT was very “touch and go”, particularly during the first few months when they were filming without a deal. No American studios wanted anything to do with the property (until New Line eventually came along) which was considered risky.  However, the franchise continued to steadily gain in popularity through the cartoons. By the time the first teaser trailer landed, people were going crazy over it.

#14 – Bad horror movies ruin everything.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles earned over $135 million at the box office and was the highest grossing independent film–until The Blair Witch Project surpassed it nine years later.

#15 – There’s no crying in Ninjutsu!

For the scenes were Splinter is crying, Steve Barron kept demanding more water for the puppet’s eyes, to make the emotion more believable. But he had to put up a bit of a fight with the Henson team to get his way, since the water eats away at the costume’s latex.

Splinter Crying

#16 – “I think he’s actually turning red.”

In the scene where Raph throws his sai at Donatello, the crew used an invisible wire to keep the weapon pointed in the right direction and ensure it didn’t endanger any of the actors.  If you pause the screen and look really closely, you can see it.

#17 – Good thing they got it right.

When April’s apartment catches fire, the heat from shooting those scenes was so unbearable that the Turtle actors could only stand to do 1 – 2 takes max before quickly having to move on.

#18 – No wonder TMNT is such a great film.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was editor Sally Menke’s first film ever. She went on to become the award-winning editor and collaborator for Quentin Tarantino’s films–the only editor with whom Tarantino ever worked. In an interview for his Grindhouse film, Tarantino notes, “I write by myself but when it comes to the editing, I write with Sally. It’s the true epitome, I guess, of a collaboration because I don’t remember what was her idea, what was my idea. We’re just right there together.”  Sadly, Menke died in 2010.

#19 – Special effects aren’t everything.

Of TMNT’s low budget (which was only $9 million) and other constraints, Barron wistfully notes that “sometimes restrictions are a benefit because it forces you to focus on character.”  When it comes to film making, huge budgets and lots of special effects can cause you to “overboil it.”

#20 – Green body parts were frequently sacrificed.

The Henson team frequently had to touch up the texture and coloring of the Turtles’ latex costumes, which constantly deteriorated.  For instance, there were over tens sets of arms for each Turtle and total body part replacements were frequent.

Turtle Costume Deteriorated

#21 – Steve Barron has good taste in music.

The Sid Vicious t-shirts Danny wears are a nod to Steve’s musical tastes.  He wanted the film’s soundtrack to have more of an indie vibe–punk, new wave, The Clash–but the producers wanted something more commercial.  I guess that’s why we got MC Hammer instead.

#22 – Hey, that set looks familiar.

You know that huge fight sequence at the end of the film where the action wanders through the streets, scales buildings, and over rooftops?  That’s actually taking place on an elaborate New York City set. Guess what movie it was re-purposed from? Big Trouble in Little China.

#23 – Not only does Elias Koteas look like a young Robert DeNiro…

…he also once had a gig writing for The Wonder Years, which is probably why his one-liners and comedic timing as Casey Jones are so great.

Elias Koteas as Casey Jones

#24 – Suck it, Casper!

Soon after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was released to unprecedented success, Stephen Spielberg asked Steve Barron to come and meet him and offered him the opportunity to direct Casper: The Friendly Ghost. Steve turned it down.

#25 – A ray of hope for Michael Bay’s TMNT Vision?

Here’s something fans who are concerned about producer Michael Bay’s upcoming Ninja Turtles film will appreciate:

If he could do it all over again, Steve Barron said he would use a mix of live-action (e.g. people in Turtle costumes) and CGI to animate their movement and facial expressions–similar to the method used in Where the Wild Things Are and rumored to be the same method for the upcoming TMNT film.

WANTED: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The Director’s Cut

Is that asking too much?

The Softer Side of Kenny Powers: His Top 10 Kindest Moments

There’s nothing worse than good TV shows that lose their edge and outstay their welcome.  I’m happy that Eastbound and Down isn’t one of them.

Kenny Powers - The Soft Side

Last night’s episode of Eastbound and Down was most likely the last one. As in, ever.  While I’m sad to see the show end, I do believe there’s such a thing as “too much of a good thing” especially if the “thing” we’re talking about is Kenny Powers–one of the most obnoxious, egotistical, sexist, racist, classless douchbaggiest characters on television. But we love him for it.

As we all mourn the passing of one of the funniest shows on television, the interwebz are rife with Kenny Powers compilations today: his best insults, his funniest quotes, his biggest dick moves.  But even Kenny Powers has a soft side. It’s not often during the show that we get to see Kenny being anything other than a giant dick, but every now and then he shows us a few tender, soul-bearing moments. Would we still root for the guy if he didn’t?

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! You’ve been warned.

And now, a look back at the kinder, softer side of Kenny Fucking Powers:

#10 – Kenny Bestows His Nephews with Kenny Powers Memorabilia

Season 1 – Episode 3

Kenny Powers lets his nephews each have one piece of memorabilia.

JUST ONE!

#9 – Kenny Promotes Steve from “Assistant” to “Friend”

Season 1 – Episode 6

Kenny Powers promotes Steve from assistant to friend.

Actually, Steve never knows what’s up.

#8 – Kenny Thanks His Family, Acknowledges His Niece’s Existence

Season 1 – Episode 6

Kenny Powers has a heart-to-heart with his baby niece Rose.

It’s OK, Kenny. So did we.

#7 – Kenny Treats April to a Romantic Evening in Myrtle Beach

Season 3 – Episode 1

Kenny treats April to a romantic evening in Myrtle Beach.

Cruisin’ on the Redneck Riviera.

#6 – Kenny Gives Mexican Kids a Donkey

Season 2 – Episode 6

Kenny gives Mexican kids a donkey.

He’s serious.

#5 – Kenny Convinces Steve to Stay with Maria, Waxes Poetic About Love

Season 2 – Episode 7

Kenny waxes poetic about love.

 He then proceeds to grope Maria’s breasts.

#4 – Kenny Says a Little Prayer for His Fatally O.D. Friend

Season 3 – Episode 4

Kenny says a little prayer for his dead friend.

After snorting the rest of his drugs and wiping away all traces of his being there, of course.

#3 – Kenny Decides Not to Send His Baby Down the River

Season 3- Episode 2

Kenny decides not to send his baby down the river.

Poor Toby.

#2 – Kenny Blesses Steve’s Decision to Retire, Unborn Child

Season 3 – Episode 8

Kenny blesses Steve's decision to retire and unborn child.

Followed by an extremely awkward group hug.

#1 – Kenny Quits Baseball and Gives Up his Life for April

Season 3 – Episode 8

Kenny gives up baseball for April and Toby.

 And with that hair, he also completely quit dignity.

My Top 10 Favorite Nintendo Game Soundtracks

Top 10 Nintendo Game Soundtracks

Someone asked me on Twitter today what one of my favorite Nintendo game soundtracks is. And true to form, I couldn’t really make up my mind. My favorite NES game soundtrack?! You might as well ask me what my favorite episode of Dark Shadows is (Answer: all of them.)

Anyway, it got me thinking. If someone were about to cut my heart out with a spoon and I HAD to make a list of my all-time, absolute favorite NES soundtracks, which games would make the cut?

It was a tough series of decisions, but here’s what I’m going with:

#10 – Batman

And “The Soundtrack is Better than the Game Award” goes to…Batman. Not that Batman was a terrible game, though. It was actually quite good for a NES game based on a popular franchise (see also: #1 on this list), even if it was sometimes frustrating as hell.

I never actually owned Batman until I was an adult and started collecting NES games, but when I was young there was a boy who lived a few doors down from me who had this game. We spent countless hours in his basement playing this and Dr. Chaos (which also has awesome music). That story didn’t really have a point, sorry.  So anway, yeah… Batman. The music is really good.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1u0fh2doG4

#9 – Shadowgate

Ahhh good ‘ol Shadowgate, the first adventure game I ever played! This game is full of memorable music–dark, mysterious and disturbing music–but memorable.

Confession time: When I was a little girl, Shadowgate used to scare the hell out of me. Especially when your last torch is burning low and the “OH SHIT!” music starts playing. To be honest, Shadowgate’s music still gives me the creeps a little bit. Especially this theme, which is a piece of music I’ve heard more times than I care to admit.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmGp_uMqAoo

#8 – Dragon Warrior

The music of Dragon Warrior is actually pretty good, but any music gets annoying after you’ve had to listen to it a few thousand times–and if you played this game you undoubtedly did. Once that repetitive overworld theme burrows into your brain you might as well go kill yourself.  But the rest of the themes are really quite enjoyable, especially the Town music. Hast thou seen Nester?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ntmk5aHaPQ4

#7 – Little Nemo: The Dream Master

Bet you didn’t expect to see this game on the list. You may not have even heard of it. Back when video rental stores were around, Little Nemo: The Dream Master was one of my top Nintendo game rentals. It’s not the greatest game, but it’s super cute, fun to play and has really wonderful, whimsical music.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ogs_syP2lHY

#6 – Metroid

The Metroid music gets under your skin the moment you power on the Nintendo and hear those unmistakable low-frequency tones that sound like a distress signal from deep space.  The entire game is full of weird, spacey music that really makes you feel isolated and uncomfortable–even more uncomfortable than when you found out you were playing as a girl the whole time.  It’s dark, deranged and completely awesome.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZnQT97A2kk

#5 – Gauntlet

I don’t know what it is about Gauntlet‘s music that makes it so great, but man is it fucking great. Maybe it’s the light classical, faux-harpsichord ditty that’s starts off all prim and proper but out of nowhere goes totally fucking bananas, lapsing into an arpeggio of rapid fire bleeps and blips before completely composing itself and carrying on as if nothing ever happened. It may be repetitive, but it’s catchy as hell. Just ask MC Chris.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KQkBXjk6w4

#4 – Blaster Master

Two facts:  1) Blaster Master is an amazing NES game.  2) Blaster Master has truly awesome music. It would have ranked higher on my list for just the music alone, but I have to factor in things like nostalgia and number of times played (according to meaningless rules I just made up), and the games in my Top 3 have this one beat–but not by much.

Everything about Blaster Master is cool, from its nonsensical premise (I lost my pet frog down a hole and now I’m driving this badass tank around battling mutants! LOLWUT?) to its curious combination of sidescrolling and top-down 2D action.  It is one of the most memorable gaming experiences I’ve ever had on my NES and its music holds a special place in my heart.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-Ebsa_Pc9U

#3 – The Legend of Zelda

It was unavoidable. The Legend of Zelda’s music, alongside that of Super Mario. Bros., pretty much defines Nintendo to me, as I’m sure it does for everyone else. It’s an instantly recognizable classic and thus deserves a high spot on my list.  Just hearing the Hyrule overworld theme brings me back to childhood and puts a huge smile on my face.  It’s also the greatest mobile ringtone in the world, especially when paired with the “Secret!” noise for incoming text messages.

It’s a secret to everybody.

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httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jElFHhfIrY

#2 – Mega Man 2

True story: I had a boyfriend once who was really obsessed with Mega Man 2. Like, I mean really obsessed. He played it all the time and forced me to listen to enthusiastically extolled the virtues of the game’s soundtrack.  I remember he was particularly fond of the Bubble Man theme, which still plays in my head whenever I think of him.

The funny thing is, I actually suck at Mega Man 2. In fact I suck at most Mega Man games. Without having witnessed said boyfriend beat the game over and over again, I might not have ever developed the fond appreciation I have for the music of Mega Man 2, which is really quite fantastic–even after it’s been drilled into your brain several hundred times.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7MiDyPEw_k

#1 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

An odd choice? Perhaps; but I’ll attempt to explain. Aside from the fact that I was obsessed with all things Ninja Turtles as a kid (and still am), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on NES was one of those rare games based on popular franchises that didn’t suck.  No, it wasn’t a GREAT game, but it was decent and the music kicks ass. It was also unreasonably hard–as if the developers were purposefully sticking it to all the crazed little kids who loved TMNT. “Haha you dumb shits will NEVER be able to beat this!” And to this day, I never have.*

So why does this game deserve the #1 spot? Because for me, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the NES game, not the actual Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) represents the ultimate–but ultimately elusive–victory. It is the game I would play over and over and over again just trying not to get my ass kicked. And when you’ve played a Nintendo game that many times, the music does things to your head. And in my head, this game’s music plays relentlessly on repeat, even today, over 20 years later.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUHei0vtrZo

*But I sure beat the shit out of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game!

Extra Boss Stage!!!

Super Castlevania IV

Yeah I know, this is technically cheating because it’s a Super Nintendo game.  But the music of Super Castlevania IV kicks so much ass, if I didn’t somehow include it I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjuSIUKdnjA

Top 10 Gloriously Cheesy 80s Songs to Get You Motivated

Motivational 80's Songs

It’s been a while since I’ve done a music post, and this is one of those fun topics that has been lurking in my subconscious for quite some time, because:

A)  I’m on a diet.
B)  I want to start to work out more.
C)  Lately I need some extra motivation to power through my workday.

My criteria for putting this list together was to skip the really obvious choices (e.g. “Eye of the Tiger,” which is a song so terrible that it’s become ironically cool to like it) and focus more on those underrated or lesser-known 80′s gems you’re embarrassed you actually still enjoy listening to.

Time to put on your legwarmers and come with me on a magical journey back to the 80′s where we’ll review ten of the most gloriously cheesy but damn motivational songs ever made.

#10 – “I Can Fly” by Rainey

Remember when Sarah Jessica Parker was really hot? Before the huge wart on her chin was was all you can focus on when you look at her face?  Well that was back in 1985 when she starred opposite Lee Montgomery in the classic teen dance flick Girls Just Want to Have Fun (which is criminally underrated, in this 80s queen’s opinion).

Lee Montgomery as Jeff - Girls Just Want to Have Fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most essential components of any dance film worth its salt is “The Practice Montage” and the one in this film happens to be exceptionally great because  it’s set to “I Can Fly,” a dancey, upbeat leg warmer anthem by Rainey Haynes.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Listen to the full track below and step into Jainey and Jeff’s world as they practice for the big D-TV dance-off by doing The Lift—the signature move that Dirty Dancing totally stole a few years later.

 

Motivational Power Lyric:

Now I’m stronger than ever; I’m gonna reach for the sky!

Most Appropriate For:

  • Training for your next Olympics.
  • Overcoming your fear of flying.

#9 – “Far From Over” by Frank Stallone

Who likes to strut? Tony Manero. Who rocks a head band like it’s nobody’s business? Tony Manero.  Who doesn’t take any shit from anybody? Tony fucking Manero.

John Travolta as Tony Manero

In Staying Alive, the 1983 sequel to Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta returns as Tony Manero to do what Tony Manero does best: dance his sweet, everliving ass off.  Frank Stallone’s disco-infused “Far From Over” perfectly scores the intensity that defines Tony Manero’s struggle as a no-name dancer trying to make it on Broadway.

Watch out for the breathtaking keyboard solo at 2:35:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4coXoMjcJ4

Motivational Power Lyric:

Back in the race, I’m movin’ in ’cause I am getting closer.

Most Appropriate For:

  • Winning back your confidence after you get fired.
  • Getting kicked out of your parent’s basement.

#8 – “Free” by Kenny Loggins

Also known as the Kenny Loggins song that isn’t “Footloose” or “Danger Zone.”

With tracks like “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Let’s Hear it for The Boy,” 1984′s Footloose is already a goldmine of motivational music, but “Free” is the standout track that cements Ren McCormack’s victory over the small, God-fearing town of Elmore City, Oklahoma.

I mean, who in their right mind wouldn’t allow this?

Footloose

It’s also the song that Kenny Loggins made this delightful video for:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vORYIaKiD_4

Who knew he was such a tremendous actor?

 Motivational Power Lyric:

Heaven helps the man who fights his fear.  Fucking A, Kenny Loggins. Fucking A.

Most Appropriate For:

  • Riding your dirt bike through the middle of town while high-fiving every person you pass.
  • Telling your boss to go fuck himself/herself.

#7 – “I Still Believe” by Tim Cappello

If an oiled-up, well-muscled man playing the sax while sensually thrusting his pelvis doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will.

Greasy Sax Man from The Lost Boys

During the concert scene in 1987′s The Lost Boys, Tim Cappello’s “I Still Believe” helped an infatuated Michael work up the confidence he needed to chase after the beautiful but mysterious Star, as seen in the clip below:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5IWCl0XfbQ

But I much prefer this re-edited concert scene that reveals the true source of Michael’s infatuation.

Motivational Power Lyric:

I’ll march this road, I’ll climb this hill; upon my knees if I have to.

Most Appropriate For:

  • Working up the nerve to call the guy/girl you’ve been crushing on, or perhaps making a booty call to an ex.
  • Polishing your sax, if you know what I mean.

#6 – “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship

If it can compel Andrew McCarthy to marry a mannequin, this song can do anything.  Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” made for a memorable ending to 1987′s Mannequin and is the perfect power ballad to round out my list.  It also reminds us why freeze frame endings are awesome.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRZ1fzGWQz4

Motivational Power Lyric:

Take it to the good times, see it through the bad times; whatever it takes is what I’m gonna do.

Most Appropriate For:

  • Getting back together with your ex.
  • Anyone who got married in the 80′s.

#5 – “Hip to Be Square” Huey Lewis and the News

Finally! Someone tells us it’s okay not to be cool. Though I’m not sure how cool it is to be named Huey…

American Psycho

This is the song that gives Patrick Bateman the boost of confidence he needs to validate his existence–by putting an axe through Paul Allen’s head.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvBAEp3Znn4

Motivational Power Lyric:

They tell me that it’s good for me, but I don’t even care! Oh that Huey. Such a badass.

Most Appropriate For:

  • Nerds.
  • Murdering your co-worker with an axe.

#4 – “St. Elmos Fire” by John Parr

St. Elmo’s Fire wasn’t just the quintessential college movie of the 1980′s, it was also the name of this incredibly inspirational rock power ballad by John Parr written for the film.

Motivational Power Lyric:

You know you can’t quit until it’s won
Soldier on
Only you can do what must be done

Most Appropriate For:

  • Figuring out your life after flunking out of college.
  • Yuppie version: Figuring out your life after not being accepted to an Ivy League school.
  • That drunken moment right before you do something incredibly stupid.

#3 – “The Moment of Truth” by Survivor

As the ending song to 1984′s Karate Kid, “The Moment of Truth” by Survivor teaches us that you can do anything you set your mind to (especially if Mr. Myiagi is your bitch) and also that adding synthesizers to rock songs is always a good idea.  Not quite on the same level as Joe Esposito’s “You’re The Best”  but it certainly gets the job done and I’m not ashamed to admit I like this song better.

Here’s some horribly-edited Karate Kid fan video so you can hear it in all its glory:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIrlry2gSQQ

Motivational Power Lyric:

If you really believe you can make it, then the power is in your own hands.

Most Appropriate For:

  • Celebrating your football team’s victories.
  • Juicing up before the big game.

#2 – “Gloria” by Laura Branigan

If the lyrics don’t move you, the power vocals and those sweet, sweet synth beats will. “Gloria” is Laura Branigan’s powerful early 80′s opus that never fails to make me feel like I can go out into the world and grab it by the balls.  Sadly Branigan passed away in 2004, but her motivational musical legacy lives on.

Watch Laura do her best impression of a disco ball:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbh7vqjDHaI

Motivational Power Lyric:

Gloria, you’re always on the run now
Running after somebody, you gotta get him somehow.

Most Appropriate For:

  • Single, unattractive women who constantly get rejected.
  • Working out with your Thigh-Master.

#1 – “Flashdance…What a Feeling” by Irene Cara

Is it bad form to use two songs from the Flashdance soundtrack in the same list? Oh what the hell, I don’t care.  It’s the song that practically defines the dance movie genre and, if you’re lucky, wins over stuffy, blasé judges.  You can’t do a list about motivational 80′s songs without including “Flashdance…What a Feeling” by Irene Cara, and that’s why it gets my #1 spot.

Watch Jennifer Beals dance her heart and soul out in the film’s ending:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jma4LTHhNJY

Interesting factoid: The song was originally intended for Joe Esposito.

Motivational Power Lyric:

Take your passion and make it happen.

Most Appropriate For:

  • Getting ready for the big audition.
  • Strippers with lofty aspirations.

13 Unique Etsy Finds Inspired by ‘Labyrinth’

I was cruising around on Etsy today (as I often tend to do when I have  money burning a hole in my pocket) and came across some pretty awesome handmade creations inspired by the greatest 80′s fantasy film, Labyrinth.  Below is a sampling of the most interesting items I could find, which range from cute to creepy.

Now hurry up, because you’ve only got 13 hours left to solve the labyrinth.

Custom ‘Jareth’ Doll

Sure it’s a little creepy, but kinda cute at the same time.  At least CavingInn managed to get the size of David Bowie’s package correct, which I’m sure is the primary reason why someone would purchase this one-of-a-kind Jareth doll in the first place.  Er—that is, from what I hear.

Custom OOAK Jareth Doll inspired by Labyrinth

“You have no power over me!” Framed Artwork

With this framed typography quote from BearAndRobot, you’ll never have trouble remembering this line again.

You Have No Power Over Me framed print inspired by Labyrinth

‘Sarah’ Costume

Sarah was rocking the puffy shirt long before Seinfeld. FaerySpellCreations made this billowy custom blouse and vest inspired by Sarah’s outfit in the film.  I recommend pairing it with jeans and cheap plastic jewelry to get the full effect.

Sarah's Shirt Vest Costume inspired by Labyrinth

Adorable Stuffed ‘Ludo’

This little guy is a handmade creation of felt and fur by Peludossa, who somehow managed to make Ludo even more adorable than he already is.

 

Plush OOAK Handmade Ludo inspired by Labyrinth

Hand Sewn ‘Wild Gang’ Plush

With one of these hand sewn fire goblins by Peludossa, you can “chilly down with the Wild Gang” (whatever the hell that means) until you remember you’ve  got a baby brother to save.  Sadly, the stuffed version doesn’t have a removable head.

Wild Gang Firey Plush inspired by Labyrinth

‘Junk Lady’ Handmade Art Doll

The Junk Lady was one of the coolest goblins in the film, and happens to also be one of the coolest items on this list.  For $100, JunkPunkshop will handcraft an original, one-of-a-kind goblin hag made of polymer clay who carries around all sorts of miscellaneous household objects on her back.

Junk Lady OOAK Art Doll inspired by Labyrinth

‘Jareth’ Pendant & Masquerade Pin

There’s such a sad love deep in David Bowie’s heavily lined and mascara’d eyes…  These beautiful jewelry pieces by TheBlackEmporium were inspired by the film’s dreamy masquerade scene.

Jareth Masquerade Pendant inspired by Labyrinth

‘Hoggle’ Doll Knit Pattern

Knit your own vertically-challenged, anti-social goblin companion with one of AprilDraven’s Hoggle knitting patterns.  This one won’t try to poison you or pee in your fountain.

Hoggle Knit Doll Pattern inspired by Labyrinth

“‘Ello!” Worm Handmade Ring

Now here’s a Labyrinth worm accessory that’s more to scale. With this adorable handmade,  hand painted ring from ArtByAelia, you can literally wrap Labyrinth’s cutest character around your little finger.

Ello Worm Handmade Sculpted Ring inspired by Labyrinth

Disenchanted ‘Door Knocker’ Pin

Knock and the door will open! (Provided you haven’t pissed it off.)  Be a wonderful conversational companion with this hand sculpted goblin pin from froudian artist Trollflings.

Door Knocker Sculpture inspired by Labyrinth

‘Magic Dance’ Cat Colllar

What’s more fun than watching Labyrinth? Watching Labyrinth while humiliating your cat. You and kitty can dance magic dance in style with one of these bitchin’ cat collars from FurButtons.

Dance Magic Dance Cat Collar inspired by Labyrinth

‘Bog of Eternal Stench’ Scented Oil

I’m not sure I want to know what The Bog of Eternal Stench smells like, but for a mere $3.50 you adventurous types can purchase a vial of scented oil from rosemarygrace that smells just like…like…OH WHO CARES WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE, IT’S THE BOG OF ETERNAL STENCH!

Bog of Eternal Stench scented oil inspired by Labyrinth

‘Stupid Baby’ Pin

This hilarious Labyrinth pin by TheCarbonCrusader says it all. Now go say the magic words again.

Funny Pin inspired by Labyrinth

Honorable mention:

In what can only be described as the most majestic work of art I have ever laid eyes upon, “The Goblin King’s Crossing” is a custom oil painting by Unicornatopia of Jareth riding a unicorn, holding aloft his mighty power crystal while familiar Labyrinth dwellers look on with unabashed awe.
"Goblin King's Crossing" Framed Print inspired by Labyrinth

10 Reasons to Buy a PlayStation Vita Right Now (and 10 Reasons Not To)

10 Reasons to Buy a Vita vs. 10 Reasons Not to Buy a Vita

With the North American launch of PlayStation Vita just days away, 1up has put together this in-depth evaluation, which serves as a scorecard of sorts to help you decide if Sony’s newest handheld will be a worthy investment of your hard-earned gaming dollars.  Like many gamers, I too am weighing the decision of whether or not to drop $250 or more on this little piece of plastic, however slick and beautiful it looks at first glance.

After reading through 1UP’s four page’s worth of exhaustive hands-on review and commentary, I’ve distilled the main talking points into pros and cons to help me (and hopefully you) decide if Vita is the must-have, can’t-live-without gaming portable you should rush out to the store and buy immediately—of if you should save your cash and take the “wait and see” approach.

First, let’s get the fanboy hype out of the way…

10 reasons to buy a Vita right now:

1.  The screen is drop-dead gorgeous.  At 5 inches with a display resolution of 960 x 650, games look amazing even at oblique angles or from a distance.  OLED technology means richer colors and pure, deep blacks.

2.  Clunky UMDs are a thing of the past.  For game software, the Vita drops universal media discs (UMDs), which were extremely clunky (due to all the moving parts required in an optical drive), in favor of proprietary, solid state flash memory cards. No more accidental disc ejections!

3.  Decent battery life.  Vita’s reported battery life is good for up to 5 hours of interrupted play. 1Up observed 3.5 – 4 hours of playtime running a high-performance game at full screen brightness. It’s not amazing battery life, but it’s certainly on par with most other devices.

4.  Left AND right analog sticks for the win.  The Vita is the only handheld that boasts proper left and right analog sticks (versus PSP’s weird little sliding analog nub thingy). Most modern games like platformers and FPSs are designed for dual analog sticks, so playing these types of games on Vita will be more comfortable and enjoyable.

5.  Rear touch pad and two cameras. It’s a hardware combination that should make for some very interesting games, if developers integrate them wisely.

6.  Simple, elegant, multi-touch user interface.  It’s clear Sony was inspired by iOS when designing Vita’s interface; except instead of little square icons with rounded corners, Vita’s are circular. Multi-touch lets you flick and swipe the screen to move between home screens and launch and close apps.

7.  Multitasking is now possible.  Unlike the PSP, you don’t have to quit your game to jump into another app. And there are sure to be plenty of 3rd-party Vita apps coming soon that you’ll want to have the ability to switch between.

8.  Vita’s PlayStation Store rocks.  According to 1Up, it “easily ranks among the best content stores anywhere.” Navigation is easy and more direct than on PS3, and the store is simple and clutter-free.

9.  Exciting launch titles.  The launch game line-up for Vita, though not extensive, includes several hotly anticipated, noteworthy gems like UNCHARTED: Golden Abyss, Little Deviants, and Gravity Rush.

10.  The (somewhat) affordable pricetag.  Yes, it’s $250, which isn’t a drop in the hat by any means. But this is Sony we’re talking about. $250 for a technologically superior portable gaming device doesn’t seem so bad when compared to, say, 3DS’s $250 launch pricetag.

And now for some harsh realities:

10 reasons NOT to buy a Vita (or at least wait a while):

1.  You’ll have to buy your PSP games all over again.  If you want to be able to play them on Vita, that is. Vita only supports PSP games purchased from the PlayStation store. So if you have purchased an extensive library of PSP games and expect to play them on Vita (which upgrades their graphics quality significantly), guess what? You’re shit outta luck.

2.  It’s not truly “backwards compatible.” Even though Sony’s pushing this as a selling point.  Yes, you can play PSP games on Vita and they look amazing with upscaled graphics, but with no way of playing your PSP UMDs on Vita without having to re-purchase your games, is it really fair to make this claim?

3. The analog sticks are likely to break.  Having dual analog sticks on a portable is great, but not when they jut out so far from the device that they could easily break off. 1Up recommends purchasing a hard-shell Vita case to help shield them from accidental drops, or being snagged on something (like when you’re stashing it away in your bag).

4.  The rear touch pad is awkward, uncomfortable.  Gamers with large hands may have trouble holding the device comfortably, since merely grazing the rear touch pad accidentally with your fingers can trigger “back touch,” Sony’s new touch-based sensor on the back of the system. You’ll most likely need to constantly adjust your grip while playing games, which doesn’t sound very comfortable to me at all.

5. Vita’s storage media is ridiculously expensive. Sony only uses proprietary (read: expensive) storage cards for Vita. A 32 GB PlayStation Vita memory card costs $100.  For comparison’s sake, you can buy a 32 GB SD card for about 30 bucks.  And according to everything I’ve read, you’re going to need a lot of storage for Vita’s library of games.

6.  The touch screen controls are inconsistent.  Rather than giving gamers a choice between touch AND D-pad controls, you’ll be forced to use only touch screen controls when navigating the Vita’s menu systems.  This is counter intuitive and inconsistent with some games like UNCHARTED: Golden Abyss, where players have the choice to use either/or.

7.  The Vita games library is promising, but not stellar.  Other than a few key Vita titles, the library at launch time mostly includes ports and re-worked games from other platforms.

8. That $250 pricetag is actually more like $400.  By the time you purchase a memory card, a protective carrying case (which you’re going to need, due to the analog stick design flaws mentioned above), and a game, you’re looking at a total spend of around $400 or more.

9.  Other than looking impressive, what does Vita really offer?  Apart from the rear touch control (which, from the sound of it, is less cool in reality) there’s not much in the way of innovation here other than being able to play beautiful-looking games on a handheld.

10.  Is there room in our lives for another portable gaming device? Most gamers already own a DS (maybe even a 3Ds) and a PSP in addition to their smartphones, tablets, Kindles, and other expensive gadgets that can also play games.  That begs the question: where does PlayStation Vita fit in?

The main question for me is:  Do I really need this much gaming power in my pocket?  Being realistic about the price, am I willing to drop around $400 for a device that doesn’t offer me any significant value other than looking slick and being able to play a small handful of beautiful-looking games?  The thing that would be most likely to get me to change my mind at this point is offering more exclusive, must-have titles that would justify and support my purchase.  UNCHARTED: Golden Abyss is a good start.  But what else?

As I did with the PS3, I think I’ll take the “wait and see” approach for PlayStation Vita.  How about you?

Gaming to Death: 6 Woeful Tales of People Who Died Playing Video Games

Yesterday’s news of a young man found dead at an internet cafe in Taiwan is just the latest case of an increasingly common occurrence: dropping dead while playing video games.

People Who Died Playing Video Games

With the rise in popularity of “never ending” games like World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and other online games that design their entire business models around keeping players hooked, video game addiction is an issue that’s getting a lot of attention lately.

But are the games themselves to blame, or does it come down to individual gamers who just don’t know how to take care of themselves?  While many of us are able to play a lot of games and still lead (relatively) normal lives, it seems we’ve all known at least one other gamer who struggles to maintain a healthy gaming/life balance.

In my former WoW life, I never knew anyone who died as a direct result of playing the game—but I did witness firsthand how players’ addictions led to other terrible things happening in their lives.  I knew people who lost their jobs, neglected their children, dropped out of college, and got divorced.  And though they’d deny the root cause of these problems, it wasn’t hard for the rest of us to understand the consequences that go along with spending 15+ hours of every day logged in to a virtual environment.

Below are six woeful tales of people who died playing video games:

Gamer’s Death at Internet Cafe Goes Unnoticed

Just yesterday, Chen Rong-yu, a 23 year old Taiwanese man, died while playing League of Legends, a free online MMORPG, at an internet cafe in New Taipei city this past Tuesday.  His body was found slumped over in a chair with his hands stretched out towards the keyboard and mouse.  The most horrifying part is that none of the cafe’s other patrons noticed until NINE HOURS LATER. The ongoing investigation into his death reveals the gamer may have suffered from cardiac arrest triggered by a combination of tiredness, lack of movement, and cold temperatures.

Xbox Addict Dies from Blood Clot

Budding computer programmer Chris Staniforth, who was only 20 years old, died from playing too much Halo.  His 12-hour marathon Xbox sessions caused a fatal pulmonary embolism, a type of blood clot that can occur when someone sits in the same position for several hours.  Chris had just been accepted to Leicester University to study game design when he collapsed outside a UK Jobcentre after complaining of a low heart rate. He had no previous medical conditions.

Online Gamer Dies After 3-Day Session

An unidentified 30 year old man in Beijing died after spending three days immersed in an online game at a local internet cafe.  He lost consciousness and was rushed to a hospital but could not be revived.  According to reports, the man had spent more than 10,000 yuan (approximately $1,500) on gaming in the months before his death.

Man Loses Job, Dies After Gaming for 50 Hours

A 28 year old man from South Korea died while playing Starcraft for 50 hours with only few short breaks. The cause of death was presumed to be heart failure stemming from exhaustion.  The man, who had eaten very little during his marathon gaming session, only stopped playing to go to the toilet a few times and for brief periods of sleep.  He had recently been fired from his job because he kept missing work to play computer games.

WoW Gamer Kicked from Guild, Too Dead to Log In

Jerald Spangenberg, an avid World of Warcraft player, died while raiding with his WoW guild after getting into a heated argument during the raid. His cause of death was an abdominal aneurysm, presumably brought about by long periods of sitting at the computer combined with the stress of the argument. After Jerald suddenly went silent during the raid, he was auto-logged out of the game after 10 minutes of inactivity and did not log in again.  His guildies assumed he was  being childish and had deserted them, so they kicked him out of the guild and kept on raiding.  It wasn’t until three weeks later that they learned what happened from Jerald’s daughter (and felt horrible about it).

Young Girl Dies After Playing WoW for Several Days Straight

A young Chinese girl known by her nickname “Snowly” died after playing World of Warcraft for several days straight during a national holiday.  Snowly was a key member of her WoW guild, who said the girl had been preparing for a very difficult raid and had had very little rest in the days prior.  An in-game funeral was held for Snowly in the week after her death, but sadly the event was overshadowed by the death of another popular WoW player during the same week.

Yes kids, it is possible to literally game yourself to death.  May these stories serve as a warning to you, fellow gamers, to put down the controller every once in a while to eat and sleep.  And for shit’s sake, get some exercise!

5 Awesomely Bad Sega CD Commercials

Terrible  Sega CD Commercials from the 1990sI happen to love the Sega CD dearly and hold a special place in my heart for it, but holy shit did it have some terrible commercials.  It’s a tough job marketing game consoles that have a maximum of 64 colors displayable simultaneously, but somebody’s gotta do it.

Today I’m waxing nostalgic about my favorite full motion video peripheral with this round-up of five awesomely bad Sega CD commercials:

“WHOOOOOOOA…NOTHING ELSE MOVES LIKE IT!”

Apparently Sega CD’s most bad ass feature is…that the disc spins.

This 5-minute long in-store commercial/demo reel for the Sega CD is a typical example of early 90′s teen-centric marketing: choppy “in your face” editing, subliminal text messages, kids expressing themselves in ironic sound bytes, and employs what I like to call the acid wash jeans filter.  It could easily be mistaken for an episode of Nickelodeon’s Roundhouse.  I won’t blame you if you can’t sit through the whole thing.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jypqNSZMgnM

Hey, was that Lucas at 1:28? (“Sega  CD? SO BAD!”)

“Still don’t have a Sega CD? What are you waiting for, Nintendo to make one?”

I hate it when angry black men break the fourth wall and fuck up my living room.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCQRcinZYH8

“There is no Nintendo CD.”

Jesus, didn’t Dwayne Wayne have anything better to do?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6fSeJ50As4

“Now that’s tight.”

Promo spot for Sega CD featuring Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch: Make My Video. This is about as 1990s as it gets, kids.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2OT71hDRPc

“Just when you thought you’d seen everything…”

Explosions! Fire! Sharks! Cannons! Caution: may be too EXTREME for some viewers. Only watch this if you can handle how EXTREMELY EXTREME it is!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdoVjrhJn8Y

I hope you’ve all learned some valuable lessons today.

 

5 New Midseason TV Shows for Geeks & Comic Book Fans

Via Scoop.itShezcrafti
Comic Book Men - New Show on AMC

ComicBook.com has a good round-up of 5 new(ish) TV shows that comic book geeks would probably enjoy.

The holiday season is over, which means the Charlie Brown Christmas specials are done, and new episodes of returning shows and midseason replacements are starting.  Of course among returning TV shows, comic book fans have The Big Bang Theory, Fringe, and The Walking Dead.

However, the exciting news is that there are several brand new midseason shows that should be of interest to comic book fans. Here’s our list of the top new TV shows for comic book fans.

Via comicbook.com

Here’s what’s on the list:

  • Napoleon Dynamite (premiered Jan. 15 ) — The quirky animated comedy series based on the popular movie, voiced by the original film’s actors.
  • Celebrity Apprentice (premiers Feb. 12)  — Why is this on the list? Mainly because this season stars Lour Ferrigno & George Takei.
  • The River (premieres tonight/Feb. 7) — A new paranormal/horror adventure-ish series that takes place along the Amazon
  • Comic Book Men ( premieres Feb. 12) — Another new AMC show, produced by Kevin Smith. Must-see TV for comic book fans.
  • Alcatraz (premiered Jan. 16)  — This JJ Abrams & Jorge Garcia “Lost-esque” show is based on the disappearances of over 300 inmates and 40 guards, and government cover-ups surrounding the mysterious prison. Looks awesome, but I haven’t had the chance to see it yet.

I’d also add to this list Touch, the new supernatural show on Fox that stars Kiefer Sutherland. It premiered on Jan. 25 as a “special preview” and will begin regularly on March 19.

Are you watching or do you plan to catch any of these? I want to know your thoughts about them.

5 Favorite Literary Quotes, Visualized

Today was one of those cold, dreary, wintry days where you just want to stay curled up in bed with a good book.  I don’t know if it was the bleak weather, the chillwave music I was listening to, or the fact that I’ve been spending way too much time on Pinterest lately, but I was suddenly inspired to do something—anything—creative.

It started with the Lewis Carroll quote, and I like the way it turned out so much that I decided to make a few more.  These were created in Photoshop using a combination of found images, custom brushes, filters, recoloring and retouching.

Feel free to re-post these images elsewhere, but please do link back to this page.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

- J.R.R. Tokien

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”

- Edgar Allan Poe

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

- Lewis Carroll

“Where you tend a rose, a thistle cannot grow.”

- Frances Hodgson Burnett

“The sooner you fall behind, the more time you’ll have to catch up.”

- Steven Wright

(Okay, so I cheated a little bit with this last one.  Steven Wright isn’t exactly a writer, but a brilliant comic. Still, it’s a great quote!)