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Grim Fandango Remastered….

Dear Reader,

I recently got a game, which was first published more than ten years ago on PC. By the looks of it, the graphics were less than passable, at least by today’s standards. I can understand why so many people were upset that the graphics didn’t look much better. With today’s console capabilities, it’s understandable that they expected more. I myself, played this game on the PlayStation 4. It was one of their free games. So far my favorite. Can you imagine if they had updated the graphics and the controls? It would have been an entirely different game for sure, with a price tag to match.

One thing that I do before playing any game is check out the trophies list. On this game, I was glad I did. There is a particular trophy required to get Platinum called “The Right Way”. This trophy requires you to play the entire game with tank controls enabled and they do mean the whole game. The tank controls come disabled of course, so if you even move a centimeter as soon as the cut scene is over you won’t get it.

The only things I have against this game are as follows:

1. There is not enough save slots. You get a total of 8 which in my opinion are not enough.

2. This game does not auto-save, which leads me to my first point not enough save slots. So, if you are hoping not to need a walk-through, let me save you sometime, you will end up playing the game more than once, because it’s not obvious where to save..My best advice is save at the beginning of every year. That way if you mess up, you only have that year to do over.

3. There is only one annoying part in the game as a whole and that is the forklift. When you get to it you will understand it is annoying as all hell.

4. This game has no semblance of a usable map. It relies heavily and solely on the in-game conversations. If you have never played it, just know this…. It is definitely the opposite of hand-holding to the extreme.

In the end, I was happy to have played it as it made me appreciate mini maps, and way points, and many other features added to games nowadays.

Now, I saved the most common gripe with this game as I saw in forums. Some people had an issue with if you stop playing a few seconds the characters start to smoke. I thought it was fitting, and unlike some I’m not insulted; after all, they are already dead. How much worse can it get. All in all the voice acting was awesome and the story actually is interesting which is more than I can say for other games of today, that just look pretty.

In closing, I would like to take this time to congratulate myself for a job well done. *Congratulates self* I got a Platinum trophy on Grim Fandango. However, unlike some that report the game takes no more than 10 to 20 hours. I am here to tell you that if you have never played it, and know nothing about it, the best you can hope for is 30+ hours. I would still recommend it.  Happy gaming.

The Oscar Goes To…

Dear Reader,

So, it has come to my attention that the Oscars took place last month. I have not been so busy that I would not notice the most important award show in the movie industry. It was not that for sure.

For a long while now, I been out of the loop. The last movie I saw in theaters was Tangled.  Since then, though, the Oscars have not been a priority to me. They seem as out of the loop as I am. Gone are the days, when all a took for you to consider a movie, for movie night was the words “Oscar Nominated” or “Oscar Winner”. Now granted, I stopped going to the movies, but there is always Netflix and such other services. When I eventually get around to watching the winners, I can’t say that I agree. Maybe, I’m not as old as the voters, so I cannot understand. Some things are better understood with age, take Golden Girls for example, when I was younger, I found the show boring. Now, that I’m older, and understand the subject matter I actually laugh, and enjoy the show very much. So that must be it. Then, I have to remind myself, not all movies in Hollywood are the Golden Girls, some movies require the review of the target audience. I doubt Sony Pictures, Paramount, 20th Century Fox and the like made movies targeted to people over 60, which is the average age of the people who decide who gets every award. Sometimes, I doubt they even watch or give the same level of attention to every actor, movie, and song among other categories that come to their attention.  I am not alone in thinking this either.

To further state my point on how little attention span they give to the once honorable Academy, here is yet another example: They usually have a section of the awards show dedicated to the recently departed, “In Memoriam” and more often than not, it’s executives and people that are members of the Academy, and not the celebrities themselves, which is suppose to be the main focus.  This year they forgot Joan Rivers, along with 23 other celebrities with outstanding contributions to Hollywood. This is not the first time, it happens practically every year.

What could be the cause of this? We are left to wonder, but the Oscars are certainly not what they used to be. So it is no surprise the the ratings dropped to a record low, yes, we all want to blame the host. Granted, in the past it was a good way to go, but this year, seeing who won on each category, I can understand why it has very fast become a royal waste of time. It does not reflect the young, old or in between generation. Their supposed rules for winning are more contradictory and misleading than a politician. I highly doubt even movie studios know what it takes to make an Oscar worthy movie. Thank heavens for that, otherwise movie studios would be putting out something far more worthy of a Razzie than an Oscar.

To be honest, I think Netflix does a better job at guessing what I would like to watch or own, than the Oscars do. No longer are the words, “Oscar Nominated…” or “Oscar Winner” synonymous with a good movie or a movie worth owning. There is no denying it, the Academy is in dire need of an overhaul and fast.

Until then the Oscar goes to…. not a movie I’ll be watching anytime soon.

What is influencial?…

Dear Reader,

Growing up, and that was not too long ago. I always thought of Time Magazine as the Holy Grail of sorts. You weren’t somebody until you made it into Time Magazine, that’s when even the serious people took notice.

Fast forward to the present times. I find myself greatly confused. I always figured that Time’s 100 Most Influential People of the World, would be made up of people who positively influenced the world we live in.

When I read this year’s list, I thought that was still the case, I mean with such people as Pope Francis, Megyn Kelly, Jeff Bezos, and Malala Yousafzai, I figured they meant influential in a good way.

However, then I kept reading. I found the list also contained, Richard Sherman, Kim Jung Un, and Miley Cyrus. The cover that up until very recent years was made of a lot of very tiny photos with a huge 100 in the middle. Recently, that changed last year it had Jay-Z on the cover, so it’s no surprise that this year his wife is now on the cover. Yes, both of them make up covers that came in sets. The musical side, the serious side and so on.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover indeed.

Time Magazine, no doubt is showing the change of the times. The outlook is bleak.

They put Kim Jung Un and even worst Miley Cyrus, in the same issue as people who have actually contributed to this world more than selling sex and depravity to the young generation, or a “worship me or die” mentality to the people.

Time, should call their list Top 100 Most Influential, as well as Trash Talking, Viral, Trashy People of the World.

Maybe that way, when they decide to put Pope Francis and Miley Cyrus in the same issue I won’t be surprised or even mildly insulted.

Lego Lord of the Rings…

Dear Reader,
I will finally write that review I promised. “Lego: Lord of the Rings”. I will confess, I was, at first going to rip the game for a plethora of reasons; not limited to the game being frustrating, tedious, and at time monotonous. I was conviced until recently, that this was in fact the worst game Lego had ever brought to life. Then enter “Lego Movie Game”. Worst game EVER! However, this is not a review on the latter, so back to the subject.

Given that I’ve seen the worst Lego can do so far, I will give credit to “Lego: Lord of the Rings” for at least not being annoying. If anything it was semi educational, (yes, games can educate) in my case it gave me the short version of Tolkien’s massive work. I understand the over used phrases like “…My precious!”.

So that being said, I will say this. “Lego Lord of the Rings” will be a test of patience for sure. I get it, the whole book is about some guy or group of guys walking to a really far, far away place. Point taken, seriously, I see where Lego is going with their games and frankly I like the idea of the open map. I had some experience with it in “Batman 2” and even a bit on “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Those games did it well, in fact, so far, my favorite on that end is Batman 2. My problem has never been that the map in Lord of the Rings by comparison is huge. That… I actually liked. The part that I hated was the fact that even with the teleporting there was still an unnecessary amount of walking. Slow walking at that. I mean, at least in other Lego games you had, The Flash or Superman among others.

I understand, the games are intended for a young audience, but children are not as infantile as we would like to believe and their attention spans are definitively not what they use to be.

Let me be honest and say, that the subject matter was not exactly my favorite. I was not one of the fans that ran to the movie theater to watch The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Nor did I read the books by Tolkien. So maybe that is another reason to stick to the things we know. I mean there are certain subjects like super heroes that even if you didn’t read every last comic you still get the subject matter.

This game was also one of the first Lego games to use voices. Quite frankly I thought I would hate it. I was pleasantly surprised how well they work not only as comic relief but in my case to understand a game’s subject matter. So over all, this game is worth playing, and if you are a fan of Tolkien it will be as pleasant an experience as it was for Potter fans when Lego Harry Potter came out.

Art or Not….

Dear Reader,

As the old saying goes “… a place for everything and everything it it’s place”. It is this thought, that gave me hope, that websites would remain age appropriate. Yesterday, while wondering the Facebook network. Yes, I have returned to it but not as an active posting member. It’s just simpler to communicate with family and the few good friends I have. Anyway, I came across a page dedicated to “big butts”. Gasp you should. Now cultivate those images running through your mind and that is exactly the content you will find in that page. So, I did what anyone reasonable enough would do, and I reported that page, under “Nudity/Pornography”.  It took Facebook less than ten minutes to reply back.

In short the response was that this page would not be removed because it fell under “artful nudity”. In case I was stupid, they gave me examples in which they mentioned “Michael Angelo’s David”.

Now, you can imagine my jaw fell to the floor.

Before I continue, let me tell you as an adult, I don’t have a problem with nudity nor pornography, they serve a purpose. Yes, I also agree, that in some circles it’s considered art.

However, consider this: This network, is open to people as young as 13. I’ve also know people under 13, who fake their age to join. Like it’s hard right?

So imagine my surprise, when they dared to compare sexually suggestive photos of a women in barely there thongs to Michael Angelo’s David, and further more consider that acceptable. Now, I’m not surprised why millions are going to other networks such as Twitter.

Art is in the eye of the beholder, however, if what you consider art is best suited as the cover of a porn film/magizine. Then chances are, it’s not suited for the eyes of an under age child.

Blurring the line between pornography, sexually suggestive nudity and true art, cheapens the work of people like Michael Angelo, because last time I checked no man or for that matter no woman was having happy private time to the photos of Michael Angelo’s David.

Insidious…

Dear Reader,

It’s been quite sometime since I’ve done a movie review.  Mostly because I don’t know what to say that would differ from the general consensus.

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time on Justin.TV. One of it’s users highly recommended the movie Insidious. Even warning me not to watch it alone.  That it was not recommended. Thinking of it, most everyone speaks highly of it, after all it’s done by the creators of “Saw” so it’s not hard to take the leap into thinking this will be just as good.

The movie started with a very classic Omen type feel to it. I was excited to see what James Wan and the others had cooked up. The scenery was great. Then the nails to chalk board came in when they had this incessant cry baby, literally crying and it made it a little difficult to focus.  First half the movie was was just noises and a few glimpses of what was to come.

When the scares did come, it felt more like Scary Movie. It was so laughable, I wondered why so many people were talking so highly of it’s “spine tingling horror”. For me it felt like too many ideas dropped in the bowl and not a single one explained fully to excuse it being there.  The paranormal terms were well used I suppose, but even they opened questions that were never addressed. Throughout the story you see other movies referenced and all that accomplished was making you yearn for  a good scare.

The ending was light and hardly left it open ended.  I sat there thinking, I’m watching the same movie right?  I did see the light minutes of action and the hardly scary ghosts. Is there something in the scare factor I was not seeing?  I’ve seen shows like “Once Upon a Time…” They are experts in that show at making short spurts of action look awesome. So I know that can be done. This movie had 103 minutes to deliver scares and action to the max on a Hollywood budget which we all agree is greater than that of a TV show, so why was the action and the scares so cheap? Then it hit me. It’s rated PG-13. I suppose that movie could scare a 13 year old, then again, kids that age now see far more gore than that in the video games they are allowed to play.

The person that insisted I watch this movie came to the conclusion that maybe I just don’t scare easy, and the thing is I do scare quite easily, for instance I have not been able to watch Saw or Hostel all by myself it’s way too much for me, while I am aware the rating of this movie is perhaps what caused it to lack in so many ways, it is also true, that kids younger than that are exposed and to some degree understand or at least can tolerate a far better scary movie.

So if you are hoping to watch Insidious thinking maybe that at least the story if not the scares will be worth the 103 minutes. Don’t waste your time, this movie’s story so plain and the scares so laughable, that it feels more like the work of a 13 year old and not the creators of Saw.

Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7…

Dear Reader,

I’ve done it! After nearly a year of having Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 I finally got all the achievements and completed the game to 100 percent. It was a bit trying to get back in the game after not having touched it for months, but in about 20 minutes it all came rushing back to me. At times I almost started over from nothing, but then I found out I was nearly done, so I just stuck with it until the end. There are something in it that confused me, such as the 200 gold bricks. I was short one and operating under the assumption that the old rules of the other game applied. In this instance, however, the Bonus Level can be completed as soon as all the spells are unlocked,without all the bricks and it is that level that gives you the final brick, that allows you to build a Hogwarts Castle replica in gold. Then nothing else, other than an achievement you can only get once. So it’s a sort of a blink and miss. I know, not so impressive.

Another thing that could have been made simpler is the Hogwarts Crest in the level titled “Magic is Might”. You have to play through the whole level at least once and the second time you must have Fang with you. As you near the end you must run like all hell and remember to keep to your left and jump at the exact time to get a Crest Piece; which is hidden behind a statue. If what’s chasing you catches up to you, you will need to start over. Such a pain if you ask me.

It’s not all bad though, I mean now they  have ghosts telling you what you are missing in each area, however helpful that is, it’s also a distress since I found a spot known as the Wisley Garden where there is a Student in Peril yet he is nowhere to be found, but he is there according to the ghost.  I suppose is one of many game glitches, but still the game can be conquered and all achievements can be gotten.

Other than those three cons against the game. It’s still enjoyable to play and try to figure out. The game still has humor and a certain level of difficulty but nothing to horrible as to make it unplayable.  I look forward to the next installment by the Lego Franchise.  I am sure it will be better than their work so far.

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