After a few stumbles in their latest outings, Telltale’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 1: Tangled up in Blue (“GOTG” from here on out) harks back to their last truly excellent offering of Tales From the Borderlands, with the familiar action-comedy setting of the latter to tell… a tale.
These things are episodic, so any review at this point may not be necessarily useful. For what it’s worth though – it’s pretty good. If you’re a fan of Telltale experiences or Guardians of the Galaxy, then you’ll probably enjoy this, as I certainly did.
However, there’s enough here to get me pedantically analysing the thing, and that’s always fun!
Don’t tell your friends that HOTSUPER is the most innovative story I’ve interacted with in years!
The gameplay sucks though.
Last week, I picked up a lovely neon-coloured Nintendo Switch. It’s the first time I’ve bought a console so close to launch, and I’m usually more pragmatic before committing to purchasing a piece of hardware, but two things about the console really made me want to check it out. The first was the positive response surrounding Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While it sounded like a fun adventure game in it’s own right, I became very interested after hearing conversations about the different systems of the game interacting in interesting ways. I’m a Zelda fan, and it sounded like a good Zelda game. Secondly, I bought a New 3DS about two years ago, and I really love it. The Switch, while touted as a console/handheld hybrid, seemed to me to be primarily a handheld, and that made me want to check it out more so than it being a TV console. Also, and perhaps the main reason that tipped me over to buying the Switch, is that I’m 30 and my wife and I don’t have children. We can afford to buy toys for ourselves sometimes.
Initially I had been very skeptical of the Switch. It looked to me to be something that would have been popular and cutting-edge back in 2012. From the 720p screen with large screen-bezels, to reports of 30 fps caps and limited internet functionality in the typical vein of out-of-touch Nintendo; this seemed very much to be portable technology that had been left in the dust years ago by the mobile phone and tablet industry. On announcement of the Switch, I thought that everyone already had something better; whether that be the 1080p smart devices in most of our pockets, the 2K/IPS tablets many people use on a daily basis, or our consoles and/or PCs already attached either to giant TVs or LCD panels on our desks. Nintendo has it’s dedicated fans, but what about the Switch would make the general public want to buy it?
However, the biggest revelation for me was actually using the Switch for the first time, and realising how forward thinking its central design actually is. This is a device that I want all my other devices in the future to model themselves after. Except for the use of Friend Codes. Oh, Nintendo!
Last year my wife and I watched a movie called Begin Again (2013). It has a loose romantic-comedy-drama framework but was produced by Judd Apatow, so all the characters say “fuck” and the leads don’t get together in the end. The movie is fine, but would otherwise be forgettable if not for it’s own internal contradictions with the themes it’s trying to convey. It stars an actual pop musician in a surprisingly subversive, self-parodying role that borders on performance art, and for this reason I find this movie really fascinating.
While my esteemed colleague Adam is playing with his new VR-gadget and no doubt preparing some more riveting articles about his experiences in The VR Zone; I’m going to recount the story of a forgotten movie and critically analyse it for no-one’s enjoyment but my own.
Begin Again stars Keira Knightley as a Real Musician™ called Gretta, who at the start of the movie is on a stage in a noisy music bar playing an acoustic guitar and doing that whispering-her-lyrics thing, in that style that’s really popular on corporate indie radio and Youtube. This movie exists in an alternate reality though, and no one is paying attention to the beautiful musician playing popular music at a bar for watching live music, except for Mark Ruffalo; here playing a down-and-out music producer called Dan, who is captivated by Gretta’s Real Music™ performance.
A few days ago RPS reported that Firewatch is getting a movie adaption. It looks like the rights to this movie adaption and other “future projects” have been bought by a production company, for what that’s worth.
I’ve already written about how I liked Firewarch (and hated the introduction), and I’m pleased that the game has been as popular as it has that media production companies have caught the whiff of a potentially money-making property. It’s always good to see something different receive acclaim and find an audience, so good-going developers Campo Santo!
However, let’s pretend for a moment that this isn’t just film-studio speculative purchasing of a potentially popular brand-name (are there plans for a Firewatch franchise?) and have some fun doing some speculation of our own!
How could a Firewatch movie be handled if it were actually going to be made?
It had started like any other job. Some Pablo-Escobar-wannabe in Chile and his son were in the coke trade together, and had stepped on the wrong people’s feet. I’d been called in to dispense some high-roller justice. Discretion is always the plan, but sometimes things don’t go to plan.
The tabloid rags reported my failing like the salivating lapdogs they are; 15 dead and one injured. I’d hit the targets, sure, and I got out of there relatively unscathed, but there was a civilian casualty and another poor mook laid up in the hospital. Worse, I’d been seen and a cool fifteen-gees were needed to keep the gawker from flapping his yap to some upstart investigators.
Just another day, but I could’ve done better. I don’t need to admit that often. In my mind, I couldn’t stop replaying the moment that the bullets started to fly and when it all went south. I was never this rattled; what was going on?
Then Diana called.
“Agent Forty-Seven” her cold, sophisticated voice did things to me.”I think I’ve got just what you need.”
“Listen baby – This ol’ Hitm’n isn’t what he used ta be!” I told her matter-of-fact-like.
Suddenly her voice changed. It was warmer and slightly amused, “how would you like to go to the opera in Paris, Forty-Seven? Tickets on me. You could use a vacation!”
Vacation… that was the plan…
Massacration were a parody heavy metal band from Brazil, originating as a sketch on that country’s comedy show Hermes e Renato. I didn’t know this when I found them back in 2006, when my friend and I in Australia typed “metal” into Youtube, and were greeted by the Metal Milkshake music video. From there we watched the rest of their videos; Metal Bucetation, Cereal Metal, Metal is the Law, and of course Evil Papagali. We were hooked.
Massacration obviously loved and understood heavy metal so well that they didn’t come off as pandering, annoying or insincere. They poked fun at heavy metal sub-cultures and the overall pomposity and grandeur of so-called traditional heavy metal with such love – and actual decent songs – that metal fans embraced the band, especially in their native Brazil. Actually, I’m not sure how many people know of the band outside of Brazil, and that’s a real shame.
I was inspired to write about Massacration for two reasons. Recently I went out for some drinks in Beijing, and I saw a bottle of Cachaça behind the bar, reminding me of the epic Massacration break-up song, The Bull (NSFW)
Tragically, I also recently learned that lead guitarist and video director Fausto Fanti (aka Blonde Hammet) took his own life in 2014. So, this is also a way for me to pay respects to him, and bring a bit of recognition to his great band and sense of humour. RIP Blonde Hammet.
So how does this all tie into nominalisations? Does it? Let’s explore!