Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Investing in Last Generation Consoles

No doubt, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are about finished. There might still be a couple titles coming out for each of those systems, but when, I don't know. Most stores will try to get whatever remaining stock they have of the older systems software, so with that in mind, let's get into the main discussion. Should you be going after the last generation consoles?

Personally, I would get into it now. There are a lot of titles that you can find for relatively low prices, especially for some of the base games. One of these examples is Grand Theft Auto IV. Not every store will be like this, but I saw it at GameStop for practically nothing. You can find a lot for PS3 and 360 for 20 dollars and under. There are exceptions like Ghostbusters from Atari and even kids games like Toy Story 3. For the most part however, the local stores and some GameStops should be fair enough with these two systems, both hardware and software.

What about Nintendo systems? To be honest, it's hard to discuss this company. The systems they have are the hardest to deal with due to expensive prices. No average person is going to waste 60 dollars on an N64 Mario Kart or a GameCube Smash Bros. Melee. For the Wii, it might be an exception for now. If you're dead set on getting that system, invest now on those games that are coveted. Odds are most of the shovelware and certain ports will stay very low, while something like a Zack and Wiki or Metroid Prime Trilogy will get higher prices. I wish I would recommend getting the system purely on the Virtual Console and its physical library, but with Nintendo shutting down the ability to add Wii Points in March, I can't put it high on the must buy list.

With handhelds, it shouldn't be too bad. The problem is finding all sorts of licensed junk. That is one of my gripes with the Game Boy Advance. It seemed like the later half of its life was littered with just about every Disney, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network show getting a game adaptation if it weren't a 16-bit port. The DS still has that problem, but there's still a rich library that you can have. Outside of some Nintendo games, it shouldn't be cost prohibitive. Try finding them at the local used stores. Finding them in the cases is critical.

In regards to the PSP, it's going to be very tough. Despite 70 million in hardware sold, it's library had a tough time finding audiences. Your best bet is seeing if the local used stores have them. Even then, it could be slim pickings with some baseball titles, a Syphon Filter game, and maybe some UMD movies typically seen in a small section. I'm not sure if price will be a huge problem as much as finding any games. You can still download some games, but not on a PSP. More so with a Vita or maybe PS3 if you can find anything or if they are compatible such as PS1 Classics.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Psych: The Movie Review

Now for something a little special. For a movie based on a TV show to work, you have to hope it stays faithful to the source material. Luckily for Psych, it had it's creator Steve Franks and main star James Roday writing the screenplay for what is an enjoyable Christmas fest while staying funny with the made the show a huge hit over a decade ago. There are gags that you remember, the banter between the characters, etc... All while solving a crime, it still feels down to earth compared to most ultra serious crime shows.

It certainly gets a good start to laughing when Shawn Spencer (Roday) has to deal with three gangster type guys while looking for jewelry, which if you get a chance to watch it, you will understand if you've seen the show. Cue a chase scene and the fake psychic relying on his old pal Gus (Dule Hill) to help him out of a jam. However, the real plot begins after that when a group lead by the Thin White Duke (Zachary Levi) does real damage to the police partner of Juliet O'Hara (Maggie Lawson) that lands him in the hospital. What does Duke want? Is he sending a message to the San Francisco Police Department? Or is there something that Juliet knows that warrants going after the partner?

Without getting too deep ruining the film and its story, Psych knows when to let loose and when to be serious. It's still Shawn and Gus bantering with each other, helping out both Juliet and Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson), the latter having a quite a bit screen time compared to the show. There are a number of callbacks to the show, especially with a big twist that you wouldn't think would happen. These guys know when to surprise people, and I find it to be really effective.

This isn't just Roday and Hill leading the way withe comedy. There is quite a bit from their coroner friend, Woody Strode. (Kurt Fuller) He is still the same kind of the character like he was when introduced midway through the show's run, especially with what happened after the events of the series finale. Like Vick, Shawn's dad Henry (Corbin Bernsen) has a bit of screentime as well when he wants to help his son and future daughter in law rid of Duke and his cronies. He also gets himself a few funny bits, typically jabs from Shawn. We also get a chance to see Iris, Vick's daughter. as a bit of a troublemaker who doesn't want Juliet to tell her mother of the petty crimes she commits.

With that being said, one of the major things with this film is the relationship of Shawn and Juliet. Things are addressed very early about whether they are getting married or not though both perspectives. Juliet doesn't want to rush things, while Shawn still holds on to the past of his grandmother's ring. Still, through thick and thin, they still love each other and will help themselves together as they looked for the bad guys. Shawn will always be by her side, even if it means facing death right in front of them. I wish I could say more things about this film, but it's so hard not to spoil the important moments. Really, they develop the characters well enough to show that they are there for each other and willing to take on evil.

Also, one of the morals is about doing the right thing. It's something you have to consider. These characters are detectives, even if some aren't qualified. Throughout Psych's run, Shawn relied on lying, even though his photographic memory and ability to find the details typically netted him the bad guys. I find it amazing that they are willing to flesh him out more, though we do see a few funny things with doing the fake psychic act. With Juliet, she is someone that has to make the hard decisions. It is something they do show throughout the movie. She is a by the book detective in the show. A few mistakes here and there, but she does not mess around with following the rules. Still, they develop her a bit more and you see how it is gnawing at her and seeing how scared she is. They don't overboard with anything sappy or over dramatic, and I think the ending will leave you satisfied enough.

There are nods to the 80s with some of the references. Outside of the crime, Gus has himself a relationship with a woman (Jazmyn Simon, Hill's real life wife) who really can't keep her hands off of him. It is cute, but funny considering his track record with women. Obviously, headlining the guest starring group is Levi as Duke. He is evil, but funny at the same time. There is a bit of shallowness, but Psych has always been known for making humor in dark situations regardless of the bad guy. Other notables are Ralph Macchio reprising his cop character from the show and some WWE wrestlers, one of which includes Charlotte Flair as one of the bad guys. One disappointing thing is not seeing much of Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson), but the crew didn't have much choice. Omundson suffered a stroke before filming, but his character still served a big purpose for Juliet and her attempts to solve the crime. Other than a couple awkward moments, this is A plus material.

If you can find it on the USA Network during this month, this is a no-brainer. Watch it. It is exactly like the show. You are going to laugh your ass off with some gut busting moments. This is almost like they didn't stop doing the show, which I will be gladly anticipating another movie if they continue to do more with these guys. A great way to finish off 2017 for television and film.

Score: 9 out of 10

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Why I Don't Feel Bad For Most Women Accusers

I know when I do this blog, I'm not going to win everybody over. Nobody does. My main focus has been video games, TV, film, and sports. It's not easy trying to get these done a few times a week. This might be the easiest to talk since these are honest thoughts for this. Time Magazine considered their Person of the Year to be The Silence Breakers, women who have gone on to say they were sexually harassed by men. I find it to be a crock of shit, and a bad black eye.

It goes back a few months ago to the Harvey Weinstein incident, which might be one of the very few things that I'll actually believe. It wouldn't surprise me if he did rape and harass women. And I've played the game L.A. Noire, where there's a case of a producer trying to kill and rape a 15 year old at the beginning of it. Then came the floodgates, which increased following the Me Too hashtag created by washed up star Alyssa Milano. Now a lot of women are saying they got sexually harassed. Even the people you wouldn't think is ridiculous such as Dustin Hoffman and Charlie Sheen, the latter accused of raping the late Corey Haim back around 1985/86.

I've had a hard time believing anything since hearing the story of Brian Banks, the football player who got exonerated a few years ago for a rape crime he didn't commit. Losing five years of his to jail because of some idiot woman cost him a chance at college football and even the NFL. The other story in my head is reporter Erin Andrews. I've never liked her. She is one of the most useless sideline people who fits the stereotype of dumb, blonde, and a body of a model. I think she's stupid, and I didn't buy into her sob story a couple years ago. Back in 2007 when she was at ESPN, a peeper supposedly filmed her naked (it was hard to know if it was Andrews due to how the video looked) Personally, I think she underestimated her popularity. Most people aren't going to watch her for her reporting. Someone with a body like hers, big breasts, wardrobe, and hair color is going to lead to some having stalkers.

Sidetrack aside, the media is going to give sympathy to a woman. They get more coverage and platforms to speak on while the man gets nothing. The idea of innocent until proven guilty is a joke. If an incident didn't happen, it doesn't matter. A guy's life is finished and he can't go back to the same everyday routine because of the false accusations. With the big name people, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth because there's actual harassment that goes on that doesn't wind up being heard on NBC or CBS or any network. I view it as women mostly wanting either 15 minutes of fame, or quick money because of it escalating since Weinstein. As I said, it's a bad black eye, and it makes actual harassment cases go unnoticed where something actually did happen and it wasn't a get rich quick scheme.

Until then, I'm just going to be a non-believer in most of these stories. I'm more inclined to believe the local papers than I would what is said in Hollywood. And a number of women need to be held accountable for their actions.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Bad Rep of Pittsburgh

No review this week. Last night's NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals will be one to remember, but for the wrong reasons. First was early in the game when Steeler linebacker Ryan Shazier was injured tackling and wound up in a hospital with a back injury. Whether this is a paralyzing one, I don't know. That will be talked a lot along with what receiver Juju Smith-Schuster did.

Late in the game, Smith-Schuster hit a defenseless Vontaze Burfict, a Bengal linebacker who had his share of controversy against Pittsburgh in this rivalry. Burfict went down to the ground and the receiver stood over him, resulting in a taunting penalty to go with the unnecessary roughness penalty. With ESPN broadcasting the game, both their main guys, Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden were disturbed by the hit. Watching it, Gruden was surprised that there wasn't an ejection. There was another bad one but it was the Bengals George Iloka delivering a hit to the head at Steeler Antonio Brown, who later said it was karma regarding the Burfict hit. Brown was hit viciously a few seasons ago in the playoffs by him and some might say that cost them a Super Bowl run in 2015, losing to the Broncos.

Steeler fans wonder what they get such a bad rep. Last night's game is a very good indication. Especially in the wake of Sunday where Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski was suspended a game for a cheap shot on a Buffalo Bill, this should be an easy suspension to put on Smith-Schuster. It's the kind of thing the league does not want to see. This simply adds fuel to the fire that Steeler players are dirty. Shazier himself had a rule named after him following a helmet to helmet hit on Bengal Giovanni Bernard that was legal in the playoffs a few years ago. Not to mention some of the other players involved in the rivalry since 2005.

This is a huge black eye for the league. You have to hope Shazier's injury isn't a paralyzing one, but your guess is as good as mine. With stuff like Schuster, however, that crap needs to stop. Refs can't keep giving teams like the Steelers and Seahawks a break. Not much else to say other than Steeler fans can cry all they want, but the rep they have, even with being one of the older franchises in the NFL, will only get worse if they keep doing things like this.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

NY Enemy No. 1.

If yesterday's responses mean anything with the overwhelmingly negative responses, it means Eli Manning is probably the most loved guy by people who played for him. Amidst a very forgettable season where the New York Football Giants are 2 and 9, he had started every game this year. That will change late Sunday afternoon when the decision was made to bench him in favor of backup Geno Smith. That will mean his 210 consecutive game streak as a starter is over, leaving him second all-time for quarterbacks behind Brett Favre, who had 297. Ironically, the first game Favre did not start in when it ended was when the Minnesota Vikings faced the Giants in 2010.

I think it says a lot that a number of responses showed a lot of support for Manning and the way things have been handled by coach Ben McAdoo and the management of the Giants. Former players who were with the signal caller voiced extreme displeasure such as center Shaun O'Hara (Part of the 07 Super Bowl team) and Justin Tuck (07 and 11). Others like Plaxico Buress, (07)and Antrel Rolle (11) showed disappointment. Even radio color commentary man Carl Banks, who has called games since 2007, showed a lot of anger. Outside of the team, there's London Fletcher showing the disappointment. Marshawn Lynch even said his thoughts about it, and also mocked his time in Seattle with his former team's Super Bowl gaffe a few years ago.

McAdoo has said to the media about evaluating the positions. I think theoretically, he is looking to the future, whether or not owner John Mara keeps him on as coach. Come next year, he could be gone along possibly with GM Jerry Reese. The question was asked to Manning about starting the game for a half, but he declined to start. I think it says a lot on Manning's character. You can tell from his talk to the media how hard it was for him to know that he was going to be benched and that there was no point to playing a half just to be gone for the second half.

Something tells me the Giants will have a new guy under center for the 2018 season. Who it is, I don't know. I could see Smith being a starter, but only as a temporary guy until either rookie Davis Webb gets his due, or they draft a quarterback for the upcoming NFL Draft and have him back up Webb. The odds of Manning being back are there, but options could be set to see him in another organization. Some think the Jacksonville Jaguars would be a place to go to. It helps that there is some New York personnel there, including former Giant coach Tom Coughlin, who was there at the start of Manning's career, and current coach Doug Marrone, who coached Syracuse football and the Buffalo Bills. Coughlin talked to the media and was upset and showed a lot of praise for his former QB.

This year was supposed to be a hyped one for the Giants. At first it was offense, and then defense that showed issues. Losing practically the entire receiving corps in early October didn't help. Manning has had nobody for almost two months. Still, his stats aren't as bad as the record. He's thrown for 2,400 yards, 14 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, which will be the lowest for him in a season as a full starter. When it's all said and done, he has shattered a lot of team records that won't be broken for a long time. The Super Bowls will be remembered because of the late heroics and throws that cement his legacy. Odds are Manning will be in good company with quarterbacks Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, and receiver Larry Fitzgerald, all of which were part of that 2004 draft. (Manning was first overall, Fitzgerald third, and Rivers fourth) All four will be in the Hall of Fame when their careers end.

Phil Simms' last game ever was an embarrassing loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the 1993 playoffs. I don't think Manning is finished yet, but if Thanksgiving is to be his last game as a Giant, it marks an end of an era that has been a big roller coaster ride that has gone way downhill this year. The next five games will determine who is in and out. Any way you slice it, management is going to clean house and possibly set up a new coach, general manager, and a new set of players with a different style of play.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Wolfenstein 3D (PS3) Review

With Thanksgiving out of the way, it's time to get back on track with new blogs and reviews. Wolfenstein 3D made its way to the PlayStation 3 around 2009. The closest version that resembled the PC original was the Game Boy Advance version in 2001, but suffered quite a bit in a few aspects. While this isn't a perfect port, it's a great one considering how well some of the Doom ports were handled on other systems and that not many played the other versions.

As in the original, you are B.J. Blazkowicz. A spy for the Allies in World War II, he is thrown into a prison cell. Now he must find a way out of Castle Wolfenstein and finish his mission of stopping a new form of weapon capable of Germany winning the war. He also had other missions, which included stopping a general hell bent on wanting chemical warfare. Id Software has never been good with stories, but it's doable here and competent without sounding over the top.

Nothing changed with Wolfenstein 3D's graphics. Everything is the same. The textures, enemy appearances, and animations all follow the PC original. It looks a little primitive today, but still a technical achievement considering how computers were back around 1991 and 92. Audio, while the same, is a bit different. The music goes at a slower pace, and the sound effects and voices are lower pitched. That's the thing with porting over computer games from a long time ago. You don't know how well they will be on modern systems.  It's not anything to worry, but purists might not like it. Still, it's not as big as Doom, so caution is needed when encountering enemies since they can attack from behind without you knowing.

As for the gameplay itself, nothing changed. As Blazkowicz, you have to find your way out of a floor by finding an elevator exit. Typically, there is a key or multiple keys to find scattered in a level. Find those and you can get out and do the same thing again and again. There are six episodes with 60 levels altogether. Nine regular levels are in each one and a secret one as well. The end of each episode features a boss and defeating it either gets a key to finish the level or you get an interesting death cam showing the boss dying again.

The controls are simple. Analog sticks control your movement. Upper shoulder buttons allow running and using weapons. Face buttons switch weapons and do stuff like open doors, push walls, and exit a level. All four weapons are present. The guns share the same ammo, so caution is needed and strategy is important before holding down the button and going on a rampage of 10 plus bad guys. Speaking of which, the roll call includes dogs, officers, and SS. There are a few other interesting ones, but overall, you're seeing the same ones over and over. You got health and lives, so healing includes medkits, (which were altered because of the Red Cross complaining) dinner plates of chicken, and even dog food. There are a few other methods of healing, but it's usually when health is very, very low. Lose a life, you are stuck with a pistol and 8 rounds. Lose all lives and you are sent back to the title screen It plays like most other genres since you're scoring points for beating the par time, collecting treasure that is scattered around, killing enemies, and how well you did a level. Do well enough, (which you will) and you can put your name on the high score list.

Wolfenstein 3D's level designs are not altered. They are the same as they were in 92. Anybody with excellent memory will know where the enemies are and when to attack. You do feel like you are in the bowels of Germany. There are a lot of Nazi stuff on the walls, which is a big negative for the country. It has a labyrinth look at times, but it's smart with placing enemies, their movements and when they go after you if they hear shots. Finding all the secrets gives the game a little bit of replayability. Maybe the first time, you didn't get everything, but you could the second time or whenever you want to play. Options include changing volumes of music and sounds, screen size change, and loading and saving games.

As I said, it's not a perfect port. It's still easy to get lost, especially in some of the later levels of the game. There might be times where the game is unforgiving, but it's not like they deliberately made it that way. I noticed the movement being a little slower, but I'm not too bothered by it. Other than those complaints along with maybe enemies sneaking up on you, it's still a great port. You are going to get some hours out of this, whether just going through the levels, trying to beat the par times, or seeing how quick you get 100 percent on every level. Check out Wolfenstein 3D on PS3. It's very cheap for a digital download. You will not be disappointed with the content.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Big Trouble in Little Ball's World

An incident in China not too long ago lead to three UCLA college basketball players winding up in jail. With some help from President Trump, who had been doing a visit through Asia, they were released and brought back to the United States. One of the boys was Liangelo Ball, son of frequent loudmouth LaVar. LaVar criticized Trump for not making an effort to get them out, with the President now thinking he should have left him in jail.

LaVar is going to hurt his kids futures, no matter what. He's a big mouthed loser who wants things his way. Someone needs to tell him to shut the fuck up and be happy his son is back from China. Most countries are not like the United States in terms of punishment when you commit a crime, and even shoplifting in the 50 states could have someone serve a lengthy sentence. They are not as lenient, and some are quite strict. Stuff like firing squads and even hard labor for even the smallest crimes are things to expect in other countries. The last thing anyone wants to hear that their child was killed abroad or did something to get themselves in trouble. LaVar should be grateful for Liangelo not coming back in a body bag.

I wonder how much this affects Lonzo, the rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers. So far, he hasn't had too bad of a first year. He is averaging 7 plus rebounds and assists per game. A few turnovers and fouls per game, 8.9 points. He's putting up decent numbers. The team is still struggling somewhat, but I would think within a few years, they could cobble up a group that can get them back in the postseason. Obviously, he was going to be in the spotlight. Los Angeles is not an easy place to win in. A lot of extra pressure is on him to win over the city, but also all the crap his father is saying.

Liangelo's stock value (if there is any) for the NBA draft could drastically be affected by not only his shoplifting, but how LaVar acts. Organizations don't want head cases. Unfortunately, it might be too little, too late for this kid. Lonzo could actually last a number of years in the league if he improves season after season. If LaVar can't change the way he acts, the Ball family could find themselves ousted from the social pipeline. Shame on this no hearted prick for not being thankful his son came back.

Investing in Last Generation Consoles

No doubt, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are about finished. There might still be a couple titles coming out for each of those systems, but ...