Cross-Media: The Simpsons Movie

30 07 2007


Sorry for the delay. We had a blackout last night in the Dorm i’m in.

Oh The Simpsons. For eight years, the World’s favorite cartoon family brought laughter, crude satire, and witty banter to the warm glow of television. For the following two-to-four years—depending on who you talk to—the humor and satire began to wane, becoming not only less funny, but repetitious. And now, going into its’ 18th year, The Simpsons has become a shell of its former self, an emptied out clusterfuck of rehashed jokes written by people whose only inspiration comes from the show’s golden years. So when it was announced there was to be a movie, a feature-length silver-screen version of Springfield, I, like many others, was more than skeptical.

I’ll get this right out of the way: this movie his funny. I mean really funny. There are more hilarious moments and witty satire in this film’s 87 minutes than most full-length comedies can dare to muster, not to mention in the last six seasons of The Simpons outright. And while a lot of the humor is more fan service than originality—though there’s originality a-plenty—it still works very well—mostly because these moments are paying homage to the show’s golden age.

It’s not all great, though. While the TV show has almost always casually trotted across the line between hilarious and indecent, there are moments in the movie that are obviously intended to remove the line all together. Anyone who reads the internet has already heard about Bart’s penis, but that’s just one of many other moments in the film where old jokes are taken to new levels. The problem here isn’t the jokes themselves—there’s actually very few jokes in this movie that don’t hit—but the fact that, because the show has already taken this family and city so far, these scenes seem just a little too obvious.

As a man known to live in extremes—which is not the same as too the max—this movie was make or break for me. Had it been a terrible movie, I swore that I would rebuke the series entirely, to the point where I’d stop randomly spuing non-sequitor quotes. But this movie, while not entirely redeeming the last few years, has reminded me why I loved the show in the first place. While it’s not nearly as funny as it used to be, The Simpsons Movie is definitely worth watching.

kefka.gif — Persopolian


Oh Sony……Sony……Why are you so stupid? [UPDATE 2]

13 07 2007

Remember how big the news of the PS3 price drop was? Well, It’s been negated

Sony Europe today announced that by the end of this month, the 60GB PS3 model will be taken out of production in North America, being replaced by the new, technologically inferior (emotion-less), 80 GB model. The 80 GB model will remain at the current price of $599 US Dollars.

Hooray for a week of cheap PS3s?

[UPDATE]: As usual SCEA has denied the rumor. I guess we check store stocks at the beginning of August, to see if it pans out or not

[UPDATE 2]: What a wonderful day this has been, eh? Well, It seems now that SCEA has confirmed that the 60 GB model is no longer in production. However, they have “ample supply”of the 60 GB to last for the next few months. Why, Sony, why? Now I have to shell out an extra $100 for an 80GB when MGS4 comes out next spring ūüė¶

img_sprite1.gif–Kyle “Jastrick”

Sony Presser: ImpressED

12 07 2007

Sorry for the delay, I’m currently in Montreal for a French Immersion program, so I’m a little behind on my contributions.

However, I did want to spend a little time on what is inarguably the best presser of E3 2007. Sony’s had a very hard go of it pretty much since they launched the PS3. With the shitty production cycles of the console, and not being able to sell many of them—even in their home base of Japan—and their terribly uncoordinated PR, Sony had a lot to prove this year, and I think they succeeded for the most part. The announcements were impressive and the demos worked well, but most interesting was how subdued Jack Tretton and Phil Harrison seemed. Or maybe humbled is the better word.

So, they started by showing off a bit of PS Home. Kaz shows up and makes a Ridge Racer joke. I continue to understand the intentions of Home while being totally unconvinced by it. Don’t get me wrong, I love that they’re essentially bringing Xbox Live to life, but the Second Life aspect of paying real money for fake mansions? Go away.

They followed that with the PSPslim reveal. This was kind of a disappointment to me. I think—and Jastrick will flame me for this—that the change should have been much more drastic. Maybe it’s best they didn’t add a second analog stick, but making it a smaller version of the exact same product is…dull. Also, the fact that they didn’t give exact length of battery life is pretty shitty. That being said, the Dexter pack is pretty good. $199 for the newer version, plus a good game, plus a memory stick, plus family? If I didn’t think it was worse than the NGage, I’d totally buy that. The Chewbacca thing was really cheesy, but I know plenty of people who will buy the Darth Vader PSP.

Next were the PSNetwork games that are coming. Wipeout HD was anticipated, but they could have showed a little more. Or rather, they could have better emphasized the “HD”. But what was most impressive to me was essentially Relativity the game, Echokrome. The way you manipulate the world to change not only how you solve the puzzles, but the puzzles themselves, was very interesting. I’m excited for that. They also showed Warhawk and SOCOM, and there wasn’t anything really new there. Then Phil took a picture on his Sony Erickson and posted it on the wall of his “Home”. Boring.

But lets get to the meet of this presser. Where MS was all about what was coming between now and Christmas, Sony seemed to really be saying, “The future is coming, and it’s going to be PS3.” They showed a lot of interesting new IPs, like Infamous—which Jastrick and I agreed looked like advanced crackdown with story—and a little more of Haze, and also tantalized racing fans with GT: Prologue. Also, using the actual in-game engine to recreate the E3 ’05 Killzone 2 video was a very nice touch, and so far it’s really winning people over.

They also made a couple announcements that heavily peaked my curiosity. The first was announcing that they would work with NCSoft to make a PS3 exclusive MMO. Now, console MMO’s aren’t a new idea—FFXI is currently on Xbox 360, and MS has said they’re working on another MMO—but next to Blizzard, NCSoft is a pretty big name when it comes to MMO’s. It’ll be interesting to see what they have going on.

The second announcement was that Unreal Tournament 3 would be coming out on PS3 exclusively this year. Timed exclusives seem to really be the big thing this generation, and since losing Assassin‚Äôs Creed and GTA IV, UT3 seems to be Sony’s biggest exclusive. What was most interesting about it was that Sony will be allowing User Created maps from PC players to be used on the PS Network. This is especially huge considering Epic has gone on record to say that MS won’t let them do it.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Sony presser without Kojima—whose translator had the stage presence of an ashamed concubine—and this year’s MGS4 trailer was probably more impressive than the TGS one. This game, more than any other, is really showing what the PS3 can do with those in-game videos. Also, Raiden is so fucking bad ass! I’m so glad/surprised they’re bringing back Vamp for this game. As much as people want to deny that this will be a console seller, at the new $499 price, people will buy PS3 in droves for this game, myself included.

Which brings me to my final point, the PS3 price cut. Personally, I am one who agrees with the outlook that the PS3 is a great value at $499 because it is a hi-def game machine that does Blu-Ray. I am totally sold by Sony’s marketing when they say that. So the price cut is a smart move for them. What isn’t so smart is making an 80gb Motorstorm-packed PS3 with software emulation for backwards compatibility. I don’t understand the need for it. 20gb is nothing in the console space right now. 360 has proven that 20gb is space enough, let alone 60. This second pack will do nothing but drain money from their production.

So, that’s the Sony presser. Easily the best press event of this year.

Nintendo Presser: Impressions

11 07 2007


¬†Well, Nintendo’s E3 press conference has just wrapped and I must say, was infinitley better than Microsoft’s showing last night. At this conference, new stuff was actually revealed!

¬†A lot of new info, Such as release dates for Super Mario Galaxy and Smash Bros Brawl, Nov 12th and Dec 3rd, respectively.¬† The Nintendo Wii Zapper (Not just a casing for a Wii-mote and Nunchuck anymore) was shown, and will be launching this holiday season, for an MSRP of $19.99 USD. Will be compatible with Resi Evil: UC, Sega’s Ghost Squad, and a new, Online Enabled MOH.

EA has gotten behind Nintendo’s online strategy in full force, with their full lineup of ’08 sports titles being online enabled, beginning with Madden and Fifa. Mario Kart for the Wii was announced, will be launching in Q1 ’08, and will come packaged with Nintendo’s own version of the Wii-l, one thats not a shell of useless plastic.

Other than that, there was not much else new. New footage was shown for Soul Calibur Legends, Metroid Prime 3, Brain Age 2, Phantom Hourglass, and Ninja Gaiden DS.

Wii ware was only briefly mentioned, and a new channel was confirmed, the “Check Mii Out” channel. This is indeed the rumored mii popularity channel mentioned at the Nintendo event last september.

The biggest announcement of the show, however, was Wii Fit. It is an excercise game that comes with its own “Wii Balance Board”. Kind of a lame way to end the show if you ask me. All in all, this was much better than Microsoft’s showing at this year’s E3, but it all kind of pales in comparisson to last year. This new E3 just isnt the same.

¬†img_sprite1.gif–Kyle “Jastrick”

Microsoft Presser: Impressions

11 07 2007


Well, It sucks if you’re an American and you just watched the Xbox 360 Press Conference. Why? Because the biggest news out of Microsoft today was that Video Marketplace will be available outside of the USA. I dont mind this, as I’m canadian.

¬†However, what I do mind is how poor the Microsoft press conference was. All the games, save for one, shown during the event will be released this year. That being said, there were no major game announcements. A few new titles were revealed, like Viva Pinata Party Animals, which is Viva Pinata meets Mario Party, essentially. A couple Live arcade annoucnements as well, such as Marathon 2, as well as Sonic and Golden Axe which were both released this evening. PC announcements as well, Viva Pinata and Gears of War heading to PC (You get to fight the Brumak in this version of Gears, ooh). Also, a new Halo 3 trailer, although I’m fairly certain we all saw that one coming. Oh, and that “4th SKU”? Limited Edition Halo 3 Xbox 360. Meh.

¬†Now, two things really irked me about this evening. Both were major teases that never truly came to fruition. The first, which was a video of the only game to not be released this year shown during the event, was Unnamed by Peter Moore, Saying that It was the 360 version of a “Major Title” from a “Major Japanese Developer”. My first thoughts: MGS4. The trailer begins, Desert Scene. Current Thoughts: MGS4! HELL YEAH!. Trailer Continues, Zombies WTF?

The trailer ended up being for Resident Evil 5, which we already knew was headed to the console. The only problem is, this was completly unnecessary. Why? The trailer was unfinished, and was only about 10 seconds long, with the full trailer to be released July 26. Why even bother adding this in?

¬†The next thing that really made me angry was when Peter Moore showed us a video from Weta Studios, and Diretor Neill Blokampp. Gets me all hyped up, thinking Halo movie has been revived, but turns out just to be a “Live Action” ad for Halo 3. Pure annoyance.

 All in all, the Microsoft E3 2007 press conference was a MAJOR dissapointment for me. I can only hope that this is not a standard of whats to come from both Nintendo and Sony. I will post my Impressions of them after they air tomorrow.

img_sprite1.gif¬†–Kyle “Jastrick”¬†

“It’s like he kicked his nuts with journalism…”

10 07 2007

Poor, unfortunate Jack Tretton.

While the PS3 $100 price cut for the 60gb SKU has been rumored and talked about for months, I’m glad at least someone called bullshit on it. I didn’t expect it to be CNBC, though. Little Jackie soldiers on, of course, in classic Sony PR fashion. While I do think the price cut is a good move for them—though the 80gb MotorStorm bundle is definitely not—I find it funny that the first news affiliate to question the move and motives behind it—and I mean really call bullshit—was not, say, a gaming magazine, but rather CNBC, from a completely monetary stand-point. I mention this because, as N’Gai Croal pointed out a bit ago, Sony’s timing of the announcement allows for it to be completely pummeled by the mad rush of gaming info coming out of E3. By the end of the Sony conference on Wednesday, most industry rags and sites will completely overlook it. Not all, mind you. But most.