Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chicken Little Does Entitlement

Ah, the Wrestler Unstoppable app on Facebook does it again.

They've only gone and changed something! Actually, they've changed quite a lot - the page layout, the addition of daily rewards, 'missions' (i.e. quests) and some other cosmetic stuff. Buttons have moved and you might take maybe almost ten seconds to work it all out.

So the natural reaction is a massive movement to go to the page's facebook page and give it One-Star reviews in order to nose-dive it down the app rankings and thus 'send a message' to the devs that they have not listened to the fans and introduced a trash talk board (like you would ever create that cesspit of bile willingly) or tag teams (again, imagine how quickly they would change and consider their worth). 

The level of idiocy that says 'the way to express how much we love something is to try to destroy it' is so high, so mind-numbingly dense, its hard to comprehend.

Sadly, this is common place on Facebook. Remember the old facebook layouts?

No, I don't either but at the time these changes were the sole reason fro the destruction of Facebook, the depletion of the ozone layer and your ability not to pull on a Saturday night! Change and Facebook do not mix well. Ever.

Time will tell whether Wrestler: Unstoppable will survive having some buttons moved....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In Brightest Day....

Well, this has been a long time coming but I finally got to see Green Lantern on the big screen. I have tried my hardest to keep away from too many spoilers and comments but generally, the scuttlebutt that I have heard is that it was going to be a bit of a turkey. I've a very high tolerance for bad films, with my baseline now being the truly snore-inducing Pirates IV, so what did I think?

It was ... OK. I'd go as far as to say 'Good' but only as a rabid Green Lantern fan, and that I think was the films problem.

One of the issues I see with the GL franchise is that it deals with a lot of 'big ideas' - immortal beings, Oa at the centre of the universe, splitting said universe into 3600 sectors, using the power of Will through rings which are charged from lanterns which gain their power from a big lantern which in turn harnasses the power of a being of immense power called Ion but also has a being called Parallax in it which is Fear but also makes the rings immune to yellow unless you have learned to overcome great fear and then.... you get the picture?

Compare that to ' Boy sees parents gunned down and grows up to be extreme vigilante' or 'last survivor of dead world comes to Earth, has cool powers, is awesome'. Note in my diatribe above we haven't even started on Hal Jordan yet?!

So there is a lot to work with and a lot of baseline understanding that makes the franchise tick. Once you understand it, fine, but until then its quite complex and daunting.

I did like the way they cherry-picked the best of the new stuff and some of the classics too. Having Hector Hammond as the first villain was very cool, especially noting his obsession with Carol Ferris. Indeed, how everyone fell in love with Carol was nice too, because she does have the power to instill great love and the nod to this, in her 'sapphire' call sign made me smile. Amanda Waller and the D.E.O., yep, nice. Having Hal, Parallax and the Sun all put together like that was a nice nod to Final Night as well. And I'm told there is a post credits scene with Sinestro becoming the man we all know and love. Excellent. Oh and one head-scratcher for the non-initiated is kept - why does Abin Sur, a space-faring Green Lantern - need a spaceship to travel around? Who knows... We also had nods to Hal's father's death ala the recent storyline and his dysfunctional relationship with his family. All good.

I can also see where they made some decisions to not complicate things. Leaving out the old yellow problem was good as it would have become a distraction. Hammond as a non-stunted form was probably a decent call too, as they did manage to get some of his transformation included. Even Parallax as a renegade Guardian  was a decent call as I think it might have been too much to include the seven beings of the emotional spectrum and then the concept of the seven corps at this early stage.

Special effects were fine. Lots of CGI in this film, some better than others. I could have done without the animated costumes etc. Actually, the one thing that really did put me off was that when he has his mask on, Ryan Reynolds looks a lot like Ben Stiller and I kept seeing Green Lantern as Zohan! The story was ... exactly what you would have written for this sort of movie. In fact, thats probably the biggest downside of the film - the story is so cookie-cutter, by the numbers Hollywood blockbuster, that it makes it quite a dull viewing when you are not looking for the next Easter egg. I don't think that makes good cinema. There's just no tension!

Oh and the visual treatment of Parallax? Another galactic entity reduced to a giant fart, ala Galactus in FF2. *shakes head*

On the flipside, check out the trailer for the new Transformers film. No set-up in this one, it just looks like two hours of what Bay does Best. BOOOM! I'm actually quite looking forward to it for the spectacle. That is if I can hold back my Harry Potter excitement any longer.

Green Lantern. Its OK. Better if you like the comics, worse if you cannot parse exposition quickly.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Emperor Protects!

Through a strange mixture of circumstance, it has come around to me being 'in the chair' for roleplaying again soon. Well, soon being next, as our schedule is as random as ever. And indeed, the game I am going to run has come around by a strange mix of circumstance as well - adopted from another GM no less! Its going to be 'The Emperor Protects!' - a Warhammer 40k hack for Duty & Honour.

I have to say, this is a game that I never thought I would run or that I would enjoy the prospect of so much. Back when I was a lad, I did 'play' WH40k a few times. Just a few. I used to paint the figures a lot more often and had myself a canny little collection of space marines, eldar harlequins and squats. Poor old squats. However, as I grew up these things were deemed too expensive and well, dull, and I abandoned tabletop gaming before it became the behemoth it is today. And thats the way it stayed for literally decades until Dave suggested that D&H was made to run something called 'Gaunt's Ghosts' - a sort of Sharpe in Space apparently. I wasn't convinced, not because of the concept but because I viewed the WH40k fiction as somewhere just above the Beano in quality of content and I thought that the Warhammer universe was just a trap for the dread lore wars.

Anyway, Dave persevered and it looked like his time was on the horizon so I thought I would have a go at the hack. To do so however, I had to do some assimilation, some research. So I started reading the huge volumes of the Ghosts omnibuses. Little did I know that I would become so absorbed by them and that they were every bit as good as the other military SF I have read, if not better in some places. What I also discovered was that a lot of the 'lore' is simply fluff. You can do an awful lot with a few words here or there, a few phrases etc. Thats exactly the same mechanism I usually use to build the flavour into a game of vanilla D&H. Good stuff.

Once I got my head around that, everything just fell into place. The game itself is an almost straight fit for the genre, with some small changes and introductions. New weapons, new traits etc. were a given. Armour has been introduced and some complications for weapons as well. A slightly more granular Mission system allows for objectives to be included in the challenges. Its looking quite nice - so nice that I have booked two games of this into Furnace, my favourite convention in October.

Of course, none of this is ever going to result in a saleable product without some radical reworking to remove any hint of the GW IP, but it has been a fun experiment and in many ways has reawoken both my love for my own system and my interest in the WH40k universe.


I'm knackered.

Not just in a 'a bit exhausted' way - in a 'oh God, yesterday I passed out asleep whilst reading' way. Its quite scary as I simply cannot lie in whatsoever and I hate going to bed early at night as I tend to be at my most awake around 10pm. Really, I could do with a life of four six hour periods rather than two twelve hours ones. But this is just an aside.

I'm also coming to the conclusion that I am tired of many things. Things that seem to be ever present in the world and have annoyed me for a while, but now I just cannot be arsed. Like comics. The new DC Universe reboot has hit me like a large wave of 'meh'. I've told Glenn at FP that I'll just let my order end when it happens. I can't be bothered with the constant re-inventing the wheel, the constant need to chase the new readers at the expense of the old. The need to fiddle. Nope, thats knackered me out. I can't even be arsed to get riled up about politics anymore - and considering the tenderhooks that my job has me on at almost every turn, thats like turkeys forgetting what month comes after November.

I'm tired of 'fans' as well. One of the more intriguing parts of the latest half series of Dr Who has not been the show itself, but the reaction of the fans - on facebook, twitter etc. What a bunch of entitled fools. Two messages stick with me. The first one condemned the entire show as 'fail' because the poster had managed to guess the identity of River Song earlier on. Boo hoo! You guessed, you won, well done. That doesn't make the show a failure. The other one was one early on that condemned the show as an utter disaster because of one set of overnight ratings that made it the 'least watched Nu-Who' of some such. A week later when the official figures were announced, this changed substantially, but that mercenary poster was desperate to have his pound of flesh.

I've seen this before in wrestling - when the comparative ratings between the WWE and TNA were scoured over, quarter hour by quarter hour, to see whether the observers could glean some meaning - like modern day soothsayers picking through the entrails of a dead sheep. It just ends in ill feeling and tribalism.

I'm tired - so very tired - of being made to feel like I should apologise for the TV I watch and the books that I read.  Not by people who watch radically different shows, or read radically different books. That would be understandable. No, its by people who are essentially forcing a cigarette paper between two things and then calling one side good and one side bad. I'm tired of people telling me how bad Green Lantern will be next week - I'm going to watch it regardless, you know?

Moreover I'm tired of the relentless need to pronounce things 'Awesome!' or 'Terrible!' with no middle ground. Can nothing just be 'Good','Acceptable','Perfectly Acceptable Viewing'? Why does it always have to be the most erection inducing thing EVER or so utter disdainful that its mere mention kills puppies.

And I'm tired of puppies. Because I want one and too many people have them.

I yearn for a world of positivity - where the ability the internet and the communications revolution has given us is tempered by an old Mam's saying ... 'If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all.'

Right, time to go to sle...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz