Friday, May 27, 2011

New at Robot Geek

I've got some new articles up over at Robot Geek. Sadly, my work there is hamstrung by proprietor Dan O'Connor's expectation that I provide actual commentary about games instead of just making things up, but nevertheless, please to enjoy:

Chilling tales of gaming horror presents: Daikatana
  • Lengthy apologia for gameplay mechanics everyone else hates!
  • The hottest, most up-to-date industry news of the late 1990s you'll find anywhere on the web!
  • Absurdly convoluted metaphors involving the First World War!
  • Motorhead!
  • My nerdy-even-by-the-standards-of-people-who-blog-about-video-games childhood!
  • Muscular post-apocalyptic warlords clad only in tiny shorts and their unabashed confidence in their own masculinity! 
And so much more!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The one. The only. Tetris.

Japan has traditionally enjoyed a dominant position in the lucrative Discomfort-Inducing Store Display market, but now Italy is apparently throwing its hat into the ring. Sure as hell hope it's a hat, anyway.

More specifically, there are now  Tetris-themed Tampax displays advertising feminine hygiene products in Italian stores, and... OK, this is sort of awkward, because 1. My attitude towards the human body, its various activities, functions, and constituent components, and the emanations and effluvia thereof has not changed appreciably since I was about 8 years old, and  2. I write this blog with voice-recognition software and thus have to say all of this out loud. There are stacks of Tetris blocks arranged so that they only need one more properly placed piece to clear three lines, and the tampon is a long vertical Tetris piece descending towards the... well, gap.

Which is very bothersome, because if we accept the display's conceit that the tampon is somehow analogous to a Tetris block the tampon's arrival at its destination will cause several full rows of adjacent blocks to simply vanish into oblivion.

And even if we leave aside the ad's grisly suggestion that Tampax products somehow have the power to annihilate the user's lower torso, Tetris blocks seem like a remarkably unappealing thing to compare the product to. Most of the advertisements for feminine hygiene products I've seen over the years revolve around comfort and softness and freshness and women carefully avoiding any clear references to the actual product or its function as they converse while engaging in various outdoor recreations together. There's nothing wrong with trying to break from the formula, but I'm not sure “It's a tampon with the comfort and convenience of a brick” is the way to do that.

That said, I wish Tampax luck with this effort, and I'm sure that in the years to come video game-based promotions will be helping break down the taboos and awkwardness that so often surrounds items of such a personal nature. I especially look forward to seeing the “16-bit Link returning the Master Sword to that altar at the end of A Link to Past”-themed displays Trojan will no doubt be unveiling in the near future.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

PLAYSTAPOCALYPSE 2011! Days 12 to 18: New releases for the week of 01-05-11

Bugger All (PlayStation Network)

This has been tearing up the PSN sales charts for the past few days. Gets kind of repetitive after a while.

Moon Diver (Xbox Live Arcade)
I actually own the PlayStation 3 version of this, which- much like a young Kal-El launched from a dying Krypton, or Keanu Reaves refusing to appear in Speed 2: Cruise Control- was released shortly before PlayStation Network was snuffed out. It's a side-scrolling action game, and it's quite good; it feels sort of like a suped-up version of classic 16-bit action games, and it pulls that off quite well.  If you enjoy action games and own a console with an online service that isn't a nonfunctional bag of ass, I recommend it.

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