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We Don't Listen to People Who Don't Like Us

5/13/05 10:12 pm - molrak - Commercial Programming

Last night, MTV devoted at least 30 minutes of their 'valuable' programming to the launch of the next generation Xbox, called Xbox 360. While I admit that this move may have elevated the quality of MTV's programming for the evening, something still rubs me the wrong way about this whole ordeal.

Let's be realistic--the hardware is usually moot. You could stuff a game system into a rotting Tauntaun and gamers would still buy it, and even write online about how their rotting corpse has more maggots than their best friends'. As long as the controller is usable, people don't care about the hardware. The PS2 arguably has the worst graphics of any of the current generation consoles, and it certainly had the least developer-friendly SDK, yet it's still the best selling console, by a fairly wide margin.

What intelligent, non-fan boy gamers care about is having fun games to play. While the Xbox has had some enjoyable games, it hasn't really had that killer game or application to make it stand above the others. The closest the Xbox has had to an exclusive is Knights of the Old Republic, and even it made the journey to the PC only a few months after. Supposedly developer support will be better for X360, but I still don't a Final Fantasy (or any sort of rpg franchise of that caliber) headed the Xbox's way. Their in-house software product has been almost entirely derivative and uninspired. The only killer application the Xbox has really had is its Live online content, which is a good step above Sony and Nintendo's varying levels of online support.

But even if the Xbox 360 becomes the best thing since the NES, why should I, a person who already has a disposition to dislike Microsoft, give a rat's ass what their console will look like? Sure, it's coming out early, but early is still 6 months away. Besides, the Dreamcast beat the PS2 by a year, and the Dreamcast had a far superior catalog to back it up than the Xbox 360 probably will (although realistically, EA killed the Dreamcast before Sony did). Microsoft still hasn't found a way to emulate Xbox1 games on the Xbox2, and unless they add a chip to the design, I would guess they're not going to be able to make it compatible with their old library. Nintendo's Revolution will have backward compatibility, and I'm not sure if there's an official line on the PS3.

But after all that, the question I still come back to is simple: why do should I care? Is this just a case where the media will show anything, for the right amount of money? Or am I missing some greater part of the picture? Microsoft says the want to make the Xbox360 your media hub in the living room, and it may have a better slate of games than the original. But I've got to tell you, the PSP would work a hell of a lot better as a media hub for me, provided I actually could afford one and then was able to buy enough memory for the damn thing.

5/8/05 11:17 pm - molrak - Quick Question - Regular Viewing

Just out of curiosity, how often do you watch [adult swim] nowadays?

4/30/05 12:58 pm - molrak - First Question

First, thanks to robot_roll_call for the review of the h2g2 movie. I'll be seeing it shortly, and will probably comment on his review with my own thoughts (as well as whining and praising it in my own journal).

There's an interesting article by James Pinkerton up on TCS about how Video Games could/should take over movies as the dominant form of popular culture. He does get some of his facts wrong in the article on a few minor points (for example, video game sales did exceed box office receipts, but not total film sales,ignoring film rentals and dvd/vhs sales, as well as related toys and movie tie-ins), but overall, I wouldn't be shocked if in 10-15 years, video games were more popular than films.

That said, I don't think movies will ever go away, and I highly doubt that a 'choose your own movie' system will ever become popular (think the Futurama episode when Bender became a wrestler--the crew saw 'All My Circuits' in the theater and had to choose what Calculon would do). However, we're already seeing more and more 'event' excitement over video games and video game systems than we are for films. I know there have been line-ups for some of the Final Fantasy games, as well as Halo 2, and even for Madden 2005 for some ghastly reason. While we haven't had the 'I have no life so I'm lining up for Episode 3 for 8 months' levels of insanity in the US, people have been known to venture freezing cold temperatures to pick up the latest and greatest systems and games in Japan (as in the recent PSP launch).

So essentially there is the interactive media camp, and the passive media camp. These two groups haven't gelled that well together. In my opinion, the majority of the games based upon films, especially tie-ins, have been terrible, and I can't recall a single video game translated onto film which has been rewatchable (although the Silent Hill movie may have some promise, but it's too early to tell). There hasn't been much success in trying to bridge the gap between the two mediums.

I also doubt that TV fits into this equation. I haven't been watching as much tv as I once did, especially with many of my favorite shows available on DVD (or bittorrent). Even old mainstays like The Simpsons have become dull and almost a chore to watch. My TV viewing habits consist of Battlestar Galactica (the remake), the occasional Cubs game, and the occasional night of Adult Swim. I couldn't even get that excited about the new season of South Park this year. There seems to be a general 'dumbing down' trend on television shows, in large part thanks to the way the industry creates television shows (but I'll cover that in a later rant).

This all leads to my question--do you think that video games and interactive media are the future of the entertainment industry, or are they just a part of the entire future entertainment mish mash, where no one component of the entertainment industry can never hope to gain the dominance films had in the 'golden era' of film?

4/29/05 06:45 pm - robot_roll_call - Hitchhiker's Guide Review

I know Molrak was concerned about this film from that dumb review that jerk wrote. So here is my own personal review after getting back from the movie (ps I am going to post it in my lj as well):

Just got back from seeing the movie. While it wasn't quite as good as I was hoping, it certainly wasn't the trainwreck that many reviews suggest.

It was funny. Not hilarious, but it make me laugh a few times and smile throughout most of it.

Things I Liked:

The dolphins' song: A funny little tune that reminded me of Monty Python, which is exactly what this movie should do.

The guide entries. They were right out of the book, and the little animations that go along with them are excellent. I only wish there were a few more.

The overall visuals: The movie has a great design aesthetic. I really liked The Heart of Gold, Marvin, Deep Thought, and of course the Margrathea factory floor was spectacular.

Mos Def as Ford: He didn't have a lot to do, but he makes an excellent Ford.

The new scene where they visit the Vogon homeworld: I thought it was very funny and fit right in with the established material. It worked well to add a second act to a story that didn't really have one.

Slartibartfast: Wow. The best performance in the film, very charming and funny.

The changed ending: I know a lot of people will bitch up and down about the changes made to the ending, but I honestly liked (most) of them, except for the little bit when that love story subplot comes creeping in.

Things I did not like:

The love story subplot: it's not necessary, it doesn't work, but it doesn't ruin the film either. It'll make you roll your eyes a little bit, I'm sure, but it's mostly harmless.

The John Malkovich part: Pretty pointless. But it's hard not to like John Malkovich.

Zaphod: Sam Rockwell was great, but they could have toned him down juuuust a bit.

General incoherence: They rush some stuff and don't really explain some other stuff, so the movie feels kind of disjointed.

So what we have here is a very likeable film that's on the edge of being really good but never quite crosses it. I know I'll go see it again though. If you were forcing me to grade it, I'd give it a B. High marks for effort, but it could have been just a little better. Nonetheless, I think Douglas Adams would have walked out of the theater satisfied.

4/10/05 11:42 pm - sxemooninite - alright

I hate to admit when im wrong
but im going to go ahead
and call robot chicken shit

so yea...
sorry for claiming it good and all
ive lost favor for this show
`wrong

4/8/05 09:39 pm - robot_roll_call - Let's bitch about some shit

So here we are in our fancy monocle-wearing gentleman's club. What better way to christen this community than a tirade about Robot Chicken?

Robot Chicken is the worst show I have ever seen. It's like they took that shitty Mad TV claymation and added the stunning anti-talent of Seth Green. The result is nothing short of a war crime.

Here is how you make a Robot Chicken sketch. Take a wacky concept. Now add a pop culture reference from the 80's to pander to the Family Guy demographic. Voltron got Served! The Passion of the Lion-O! One of the Ninja Turtles being the pope or something. I don't know. If it's on a shirt at Hot Topic, run with it.

Now that you have your half baked idea, squeeze every fucking drop out of it. Just keep squeezing. I don't care if the idea wasn't funny the first time, it needs to fill 5 minutes! Why isn't it filling 5 minutes? It took 5 minutes to write! JUST. KEEP. SQUEEZING.

Well, now that we have stretched Ewoks Gone Wild! out to a length eclipsing the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, it's time to end this travesty. But how? How about making it a PSA! That's always good for a laugh, right? (If PSA does not work, just make one of the Ewoks shoot all the other ones. Make sure there is lots of blood and some bleeped out swears. It worked for Sealab, right?)

What really pisses me off about Robot Chicken is that people never review the show on fair terms. All the reactions I read are just people going "Optimus Prime! Oldschool! Hey, was that Bumblebee, too?" Everyone is so distracted by the nostalgia, they don't notice that the show is less funny than a rejected Sealab episode.

I remember a time, long ago, when the Brak Show was the worst show on Adult Swim. Not that it was a bad show, but Adult Swim was just that good. Nowadays I think Brak would be one of the best shows on AS. Thank Christ for Tom Goes to the Mayor and Venture Bros.

Anyways, welcome to the community everyone.

TRANSMISSION ENDS

4/8/05 07:56 pm - molrak - Welcome assholes!

This is the first post in the newly christened group, theangrydome. This group is an elite off-shoot of adultswimfans, where old-timers can gather to pine about the good old days of adult swim, and to bitch about all the pop culture-referencing crap that adult swim now airs, which will be completely unfunny to everyone in 5 years (like watching old episodes of SNL, repeated a million times over). We also hate Seth McFarlane, both the man and as the person responsible for churning out his continuous stream of crap.

Prospective new members should first reply with a comment to this post that they wish to join the group. They should then proceed to join the group. It is important to place your comment, as that will determine your membership number. The member number masterlist is available in this very special, friends-only post to theangrydome.
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