Sunday, July 29, 2007

they're from texes, mac.

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Since somehow Fat/myself have managed to open up the full can of worms regarding our proclivity of "tex" messaging, I figured I'd dig out these particular gems, from about the summer/fall of '04.

One.
Gin the Hard Way Part II: Shot in the Place with Who's to Blame. Chapter Seven.
- fat C.Collision.
Two.
"So the Rock comes home one night and finds Vin Diesel's little brother in bed with his wife. Rock shoots him in the place, he bleeds out, dies. Vin has to get revenge, even tho' his brother was sleeping with another man, cause, you know, its family."

"Then what?"

"Dunno, chili cookoff, prob'ly."

- fat
A little context. Fat & me, we used to... do things. Things like rent A Man Apart (starring Vin Diesel), AND Walking Tall (starring the Rock!!) & watch them back-to-back. Or Catwoman & Elektra. There are others, which, ....blur... to one another... [shakes head as if shaking off a deep sleep] Anyways, we haves this standby joke for getting through the tougher segements of these... things. We make a self-propagating joke about "I can't believe the director butchered yr original script like this" & so forth, which is both kind of funny because it places the blame for a movies' suckiness DIRECTLY on the person SITTING NEXT TO YOU. Anyways, like I said, its self-propagating, which leads to Fat texing me movie titles & treatments which are these sort of frankenstien bastard lovechilds of all these other movies.

"Shot in the place" is a ref to A Man Apart. Diesel's (Vin, not Shaq) wifey is shot. In the..., uh, place. Its very unclear in the scene exactly WHERE she's been shot. This is pretty common in film, I s'pose, I mean, all that matters is (a) the character's been shot, so they can
(b) begin their death scene. The plot is advanced. Mission accomplished. Simply shot them in the place.

Gin the Hard Way, though, that's is all Fat Collision.

-d.d.

texes is the reason

My own ambitions for the site aside, it's probably pretty clear that posts here are iceberg protrusions of conversations vast, cool, and implacable between DDT, yrs truly, and longtime site contributor Bob Macajew. Being modern folk these three of us, many of these invisible conversations are conducted via technology, taking the form of asynchronous bleats and blats between men.(1)

It's happened before, us explicitly mining these tex-blasts for post material, but before to-night, no post had taken the form of JUST one such interaction. Anyways, thought it would be fun to blort out a bunch of the ones that've stayed in my inbox for a while, b/c they rarely fail to make me fucking chuckle. Annotated where appropriate. In chronological order, because history is important.

One.

DDT:
Glad to hear yr pink handheld is firmly grasped.
(11apr2007, 7.03.07)

Heh. I'd gotten trapped on a bus or two, needing to visit bike shops w/ (duh) non-functional bikes. Been struck by the intensely awful nature of public transportation. As Collision pointed out to me once, public transit combines no fewer than three intolerable things:
(a) waiting
(b) other people
(c) unavoidable smells

I communicated much of this, prompting the above response.

Luckily, a little River City Ransom took the edge off of that rotten bus time.

Two.

DDT:
I found my sister's GB Color today, along with Mario cartridge. Kife!
(19apr2007, 13.42.27)

Three.

DDT:
JGR's got its hooks in me like Advance Wars 2. Stupid capt. Onishima!
(23apr2007, 16.33.57)

Four.

Canada:
Yeah, sure, I'm into Nintendo pride. I don't hate the other consoles, I just don't think we'll ever get along and are better off living in different rooms.
(25apr2007, 16.00.56)

The joke here: the in-house Nintendo rag is called Nintendo Power. (I subscribe.) Anyways, to a lapsed punk like Canada, the phrase "[blank] Power" is always going to trigger thoughts of the contrast between "white power" and "white pride", because punks are ever involved with skinheads, who make such a distinction. The distinction takes EXACTLY the form limned here, with Nintendo Power meaning "Nintendo consoles are superior to other consoles and should control all other consoles, possibly owning (pwning?) them".

I regard this tex as one of the subtlest amazing jokes I've ever had in my life.

Five.

DDT:
I got the dog back! Take that Noise Tanks!
(4may2007, 11.52.55)

Somebody's playing Jet Grind Radio!!

Six.

DDT:
I just realized that what Phantasy Star is thrift on is TALKING. No blah blah blah HERE. At least not as far as I've gotten.
(9may2007, 14.57.05)

Somebody's playing Phantasy Star!!

Seven.

Responding to my valentine to River City Ransom:

DDT:
I understand where you are coming from, but RCR remains a port. Best port, maybe. Best overall's not saying a lot about games more specifically designed for the GBA.
(16may2007, 6.46.48)

That valentine itself was a drunken fleshing-out of a series of texes I sent from fave hangout Beulahland:
The 'nets are right. In a certain mood--when willing to treat the low as high--River City Ransom is as full of delight as any GBA Game. Thus it's the...
(16may2007, 00.13)

Official game of Reviewiera!!
(16may2007, 00.15)(2)

Eight.

The following is his side of a conversation DDT and I had while I wandered around the mall, looking for video games to buy.

DDT:
Also, True hoop ran a piece about Tim Duncan being into D&D and asking his teammates when he was a rookie to call him Merlin and that he likes fantasy video games. Duncan a JRPGer? Fucking with my head!
(31may2007, 16.53.25)

Now I just want an interview where, I dunno. He says he thinks Penny Arcade is awesome, or something.
(31may2007, 16.59.56)

I pointed out that this was unlikely, and posited another unlikely desire: Duncan's got like three Dreamcasts and thinks the PS3 is for morons.

What if it's 4 'casts, and he won't stop talking abt Shenmue?
(31may2007, 17.05.34)

Well, clearly, this would make me cream my jeans.

Eventually, I called him up and freaked out over "who the fuck reads the Arthurian tales and identifies with MERLIN!?!".

Nine.

DDT:
Holy Shit. Just got on the bus in Shenmue. Disk 2!
(21jun2007, 22.42.54)

The warehouse district. Kind of a letdown.
(22jun2007, 6.44.30)

Somebody's playing Shenmue!!

I have often referred to this section of the game as the 'most accurate warehouse district loitering sim EVAR'. I agree that it's a hair tedious. But I insist that this (sort of thing) is what makes the game as a whole so incredible.

Ten.


Devastatingly slow one day at work, I throw out to Canada--my housemate--something like "shitty day to forget my DS".

Canada:
Where be it, lad? For I shall take on the adventurous quest to bring it to you! It will start in some fell dungeon, no doubt...
(22jun2007, 13.06.41)

I live in the basement. "Fell dungeon" is a little harsh, but not exactly unfair. He'd been playing a lot of Oblivion, I think, explaining his verbal style.

Eleven.

Canada:
Just finished Drilldozer. Great game. Thanks. Yer right tho, couple levels short...
(28jun2007, 1.58.50)

He got a DS Lite for his birthday. I shopped and shopped for an appropriate DS game, but in the end just had to support Drill Dozer with one more purchase. Such a wonderful game, such a marketplace failure.

Twelve.

DDT:
Try the bars after dark! SEAMAN is pretty great, btw.
(1jul2007, 17.41.37)

Sometimes, apropos of NOTHING, I send somebody something that I think is funny. DDT had recently (over drinks) reminded me of the amazing dialogue sequence in Shenmue where Ryo has to wander around asking people "do you know where I can find some sailors?", so I sent him that question one afternoon. Predictably, his response was perfect.

I believe my response to the second sentence of (t)his tex was "Huh huh."

--Fat

(1) My loser buddy Collision is lately obsessed with linguistics and Thomas Pynchon.

Re: linguistics:
He got the nerdiest tattoo I have ever seen: Saussure's speech chain above a fIREHOSE quote: "very important, two dudes talking. everything ain't just two dudes talking."

Re: Pynchon:
He often quotes with much approval and relish a line:
"men who saw this as a chance to rattle at length at a world that was ignoring them".

Collision no doubt believes our tex habits are us, ratt'ling at length at those small parts of our worlds that maybe won't ignore us...

BTW, "tex" is my slangvreation for "text message". It's necessary because I find it difficult to pronounce "texted", a verb I need to use CONSTANTLY. I drink a lot. I have a thick tongue.

(2) I immediately backed down a bit. Not because I wanted to back down. I was just being nice. This site is a collective (project); it's not simply my sandbox.

Well, I prolly don't get to just declare that. It's perfectly in line w/ our, ah, steez, tho. But likely it must cede pride of place to Advance Wars II, Super Robot Taisen, Astro Boy, and Drill Dozer.
(16may2007, 00.18)


I regard the first two texes I sent that night as the purest exponent yet of my conception of Reviewiera.

That third tex is interesting mainly because I for no clear reason (I was fucking obliterated) limited the field of 'possible official games of Reviewiera' to GBA games. Almost certainly the official game would be a Dreamcast game. Almost.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

a conversation...



fat: did you know 'Helsinki branch mail room' from a DDT post is also a V.Bros joke?

d.d.: Which episode is Helsinki mail room from?

fat: 'guess who's coming to state dinner'. The consensus pick for worst episode of season 2.

d.d.: Hey, even the best stolen material can't save you all of the time, right?

fat: I had more in mind another data point indicating our 4 minds think muchly alike. Along the lines of the shrinking-table gag ...

d.d. At this point I've decided to start erring on the side of outright theft.

fat: Yes, because our stuff is so richly documented and accessible. Why, it practically exists!!1

d.d.: My point exactly [nods authoritatively to self]

fat: I hate getting ripped off! They're RIPPING US OFF!! Taking beer right out of my little girl's mouth!

d.d. : glad you came to yr senses.


-transcribed by d.d.


1 Fat's referring to an extravagant & richly planned, but never executed, puppet show. We both swear that jokes from THAT conceived series keep cropping up in VentureBros. SWEAR! At 1st we thought, well, great minds, & all that, & at the least, WOWS, there's OTHER PEOPLE who think the shit we think is funny, IS ALSO FUNNY. WOW. As recorded above, though, I've re-evaluated that, in fact, we're somehow being ripped off. We're bugged, or there are spies under our bar-stools furiously scribbling down our ideas as they drunkenly spill off our tongues. If a VB episode shows up w/ a FUMO-KINETIC (the power to control smoke w/ 1's mind), I better getta writer's credit & a paycheck!!

hittin' up Big Go for retro OR a note on Custom Robo

I note that touchstone Racketboy has late done a post on under-regarded Xbox games. Initially I wondered whether this isn't a pernicious over-extension of the notion 'retro'.

After a couple more diet cokes, tho', I chillaxed and started to use this 'retro' notion as a way to limn certain threads of gaming pleasure(s). Por exemplo, the delightful Drill Dozer, tho' new, counts as retro because its gameplay, while technical and highly demanding, is strictly within the confines of 2-d platforming tropes. That is, Drill Dozer does what Super Mario might have done, had those coders known certain manuvers were possible.(1) Drill Dozer does what Super Mario'nt!

As a fairly retro-oriented guy, it's clear that I often chase old pleasures in new packages. Lately I stumbled over a demo download for Custom Robo, which finally--finally!!--scratches my itch for Virtual On.(2) This giant-robot wargame was one of my greatest arcade pleasures(3), and I've long lamented its inaccessability. Custom Robo offers the same kind of fast-action, robot-on-robot violence, tactics-on-the-fly experience, and it contains massive customization options. The key similarities: it's batt'ling robots, and there's lots of jumping around with hiding behind boxes. I'm of the opinion that with these characteristics in place, it's hard for a game not to be good.(4)

Optimized for multiplayer usually does little for me. I've recently realized I'm a partisan of Nintendo's point that playing games with people you know, sharing the same space, is an experience of a different kind than playing with remote strangers. For donkey moons, I've thought I didn't like multiplayer gaming--I play games because I don't have any friends. Turns out, I just don't care to share my play with strangers. Or my porn, or my goddamned Oly, Canada! Buy yr own twatlapping beer, you cheap bastard!

Now DDT doesn't have a DS, and I doubt that's changing anytime soon. And Canada buys like one game a century.(5) Noway is Custom Robo gonna be one of those, and I'm done picking up games for that pigfucker just so I'll have somebody to play with. But I dunno. I actually had a bit of fun playing Metroid Prime: Hunters online against strangers, maybe Custom Robo'd be similar. In any case, for thirty wing-wangs, reckon I could cobble together a custom robot scrapper I could love.(6)

-Fat

(1) Hinting at an extension of this point, it would be interesting to consider Viewtiful Joe. My initial response would be that VJ is not properly considered as a 'retro' title, tho' it's explicitly a return to the 2-d side-scrolling brawler style. It doesn't fit because it relies on intensely novel moves that actually comment on on the standard ways of playing video games. If there's anything alien to retro, it's meta...

(2) I'd try to score Virtual On's sequel for my beloved 'Cast, but I wouldn't want to play it w/out the special controller which is scrotum-shrivellingly spendy out there on the 'nets. Plus, the only person who'd ever play it with me would be DDT, and:
(a) he never really comes over to play anymore;
(b) I'd really have to buy two scrotum-shrivellingly spendy special controllers to play it right.

His arcade dominance of me in this game remains second only to his mastery of me at NBA Live. In some ways it felt worse, tho', as it seemed so effortless. I'm frantically boost-jumping and trying to hit him w/ a special to buy some time as he snipes quietly, knowing where I'm going to be before I flail toward the place of my doom.

(3) I liked the Atari tank game T-Mekk a little better. Maybe I'll buy the Milestone-developed Tank Beat instead? It's getting abysmal reveiews, but I dunno. I trust Milestone. Mostly.

(4) Kinda slutty, also an idiot, that's me.

(5) 'Sides, we're pretty happy with Star Trek Tactical Assault. I'm a dominant, crushing 1-0 lifetime against him--Klingons FTW!!--and have begun practicing in secret single-player skirmishes. When I unleash the Awesome Power of Special Manuvers against him? He's gonna shit a big Canadian brick.

(6) During Giant Robot Month 2006, Tycho pointed out that his Chromehounds experience was entirely bound up in customizing his mech, creating a device that served as a portrait of his very soul. Rather doubt Custom Robo'd allow that, since I don't forsee any robot components corresponding to my core soul constituents of alcoholism, pornography enthusiasm, and all-consuming rage. Worth a shot, tho', yah?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tokyo-to is My Babylon.

I SWEAR I remember being completely SMITTEN by the commercial for Jet Grind Radio prior to November 2000.1 It vexes me,2 for my nascent memories of, & attraction to, the Dreamcast fall squarely prior to the acquisition of my PlayStation. If anything, this confusion is a testimonial to the PS's mass market appeal, due mainly to cold rational AFFORDABILITY.3

Chronology aside, I thought this advert for JGR was the fecking bee's knees.



Observe:
1. The name of the store is BIG GO! This is a brilliant use of Japanese-English transliteration. I want to shop at BIG GO! If there's ever a Reviewiera store, it will be called BIG GO! Also, from the get go, this commercial is skewing heavy into wierdo country: middle American gamer might be thralled by the bright colors but laid-on thick Japanese TV stylings probably too "exotic."

2. Can anyone tell me what the lady says?

3. "Jet Grind Radio! Headquarters!" Ah, our 1st instance of stilted English...

4. Spray-painting a Japanese women's denim-skirt-clad derriere. Over the shoulder bashful look in response. I'm in love.

5. "Groovy is the music."

6. "[unintelligible] the skates!" Old man crashes into a store display. I still remember watching this part the 1st time. WHAT IS THIS!?!?

7. Hey, actual game footage! "You skate, you groove, and run from the man." Wait wait wait, you mean this is A GAME?!
Toss on top of this the experience of being of an impressionable age when cyberpunk was synonymous w/ anything Japanese, leading one to not only watch but ENJOY rather drab bullshit like Bubblegum Crisis, & this JGR ad resonated deeply w/in me.4

So, when I acquired my (1st) Dreamcast (of 3), & after acquiring Space Channel 5 via the infobahn to make sure the DC, y'know, worked, I set around to the task of procuring myself a copy of Jet Grind Radio.5 I actually had to order it TWICE off the 'bahn because the 1st copy was just too scuffed to play.

But then came the functional copy, &, in the words of Fat after playing Jet Set the 1st time, w/ which I fully agree, "BELIEVE THE HYPE."

-d.d.

1 Nov. 2000 being the release date of Jet Grind Radio in North America.
2 It vexes me greatly...
3 Ergo, I had sampled the waters of the river FinalFantasyVII, & thirsted for more. In 2000, brand spanking new PlayStations could be had for US$150, & FF7, being part of PlayStation's Greatest Hits collection, a mere US$19.99. And, in fact, it was @ the 82nd FredMeyer I went 1 day & purchased these exact 2 items, & nothing else. Then I went & got a burrito at UruapanTacquiera, as was the fashion of the time. Then I went home, played FF7, & then went back to the FredMeyer & got a memory card.
4 Tho, I fondly recall finding that some Japanimation nerd had spraypainted 'Bubblegum Crisis' on a wall down by the Blitz Brewery, back in the mid-90s.
5 Tho' I almost always call it Jet SET Radio, which is weird because I'm not sure where I first heard it called that...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gamera

d.d. tinzeroes: See now, the KAIJU SESSIONS1 began in late July or early August of 2002. Ultratom(!) & I, we had a play-date.

Ultratom(!): Yeah yeah, you were living in the Clinton neighborhood. We were going to go see Master of the Flying Guillotine, versus the One-Armed Boxer, no less, at the Clinton Street Theatre.

d.d. tinzeroes: Wish it was versus One-Armed Swordsman. Tho' Flying Guillotine is entertainment of the highest order. Anyways, one of us or both of us screwed up...

Ultratom(!): Man, & I was all pumped up to see Flying Guillotine, too. But, yeah, both d.d. & myself misread the schedule, & faced a troublesome decision: watch a film about D.I.Y. culture starring Ian MacKaye, GWAR, JG Thirwell (one of our mutual heroes), & a bunch of people we never heard of, OR see what kind of entertainment we could find across the street, at Clinton St. Video.

tinzeroes: Rather crestfallen, we retreated to the Video store, &, typically, began wandering around aimlessly. And then, Ultratom(!) sheepishly shuffled from across the store...

Ultratom(!): d.d. had been telling me of his new-found fascination w/ these "kaiju" film thing. I had not had much exposure to these, save for when I was 10, & had seen Rodan, Godzilla's Revenge, & I believe a Mothra film, all of which were hosted by Elvira. Oh yeah, & I saw Godzilla 2000 in the theater.

tinzeroes: Yeah, I'd been devouring kaiju films off the rack at Clinton St. for a few weeks already. They have this tape called Godzilla Fantasia which is all the best clips from the Gojira flixs of the 1950s-1970s2, set to select soundtracks from the same movies. I'd also been reading some or another b-movie/bad movie review site which had sang high praises of the '95 Gamera.3

Ultratom(!): YES! And it was Gamera: Guardian of the Universe which had been staring at me since I walked into the store!!

tinzeroes: And when Ultratom(!) walked up w/ those puppy dog eyes I knew the evening's entertainment would involve a giant turtle.

Ultratom(!): I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In retrospect, though, when the girl at the checkout counter told d.d. he had a free rental accumulated from "all those Godzilla films," I should have suspected something...

tinzeroes: Oh, the movie. Right. Well. Giant reptilian turtle. Midair showdown. [shrugs, dusts hands]

Ultratom(!): Months later I showed this movie to my pal Peat. He liked it so much he changed the name of his business server to 'Gamera.'

-transcription & annotations by d.d.



1 Originally appearing as "KAIJU-0: Gamera ('95)" in d.d. tinzeroes & ultratom(!)'s collaborative volume, the KAIJU SESSIONS (Kuloma-Jokerit Univ. Press, 2003).
2 These films are known as the Showa period.
3 The pretty excellent Shrine of Gamera fansite is run, coincidentally, by a dude in Portland.

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