Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wii Virtual Console Overview Part II

Let's continue on.

One of the first new systems to come along was the Neo-Geo in 2007. Anybody that knows about it knows how expensive it is to get the hardware and the software. The total costs would be the equivalent of buying a house. Still, there was a steady stream of releases going on until 2013. Just over 50 made it to Virtual Console. It has the Metal Slugs, King of Fighters, and whatever else made it to the system back then. It's got a good majority of the library. I would try to look for compilations immediately before figuring out what games to go after. Either way, you want to save yourself from spending hundreds, if not, thousands, on the system.

A year later came the Sega Master System. Like the Turbo, it's not an easy system to find. Unfortunately, it only has 15 titles. It's arcade ports, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Alex Kidd as it's lineup. This system died on the service in less than two years. Still, I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to get some of these games considering the prices. Anybody looking for Sonic for this 8-bit console knows exactly what I am talking about.

The Arcade selection started in 2009. It only got just over 20 games from four companies altogether. I really don't have much to say on it Like the Neo Geo, I would look at compilations first immediately, and then figure out which ones to target. You don't want to miss out on the arcade versions of ones like Golden Axe, Super Hang On, and Ghosts n Goblins.

Virtual Console did have one other system. That was the Commodore 64, which lived and died in 2009 and got delisted in 2013. So what's my assessment on this? The systems to target are the SNES, Turbografx-16, and Neo-Geo. There are some select titles you should try to get from the Genesis, N64, Master System, and Arcade. Make sure you have enough space to download and maybe get an SD card to store your data and games. Each system is varied in price, so make your choice before buying. Happy hunting, and enjoy the last of the Virtual Console.

Wii Virtual Console Overview Part 1

The only times I have ever played Virtual Console was on the Wii over a two year period from 2010 through 2012. It was mostly Mario Kart 64 and Mario 64. Not to mention I saw others playing Rondo of Blood and a few other titles from other systems. From the get go, Nintendo had the service at launch with five systems. Three of theirs and two competitors. As time went on, they expanded to a few other systems. Some survived, while others were discontinued very quickly. Before it shuts down the ability to use Wii Points, let's go through the systems and games it had through the North American market.

Let's begin with the Nintendo Entertainment System. It had a steady flow of games from launch up until 2012. This one had quite a bit of support from different companies. Obviously, Nintendo with their vast array of titles. Tecmo put a lot of their releases on Virtual Console like Mighty Bomb Jack. Konami had their heavy hitters in as well as Taito and Jaleco. Capcom surprisingly didn't have many. It was mainly Mega Man. There's a few others like Namco, but overall, it is your last chance to get titles that are cheap to download. You got just over 90 games to choose from.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System had the most varied of the Nintendo systems. Most of the same companies put their heavy hitters on Virtual Console. Capcom really gave it their effort to put Street Fighter, Final Fight, and a few others on. Unfortunately, most of their games were delisted a few years ago, so no chance of getting them cheap. Out of all the systems on the service, it lost quite a bit of games, leaving you with just over 60. Nintendo still put up the effort, though there are some notable omissions. Konami and Tecmo went all out. LucasArts were in with their titles, including the Star Wars games. Overall, there is variety, and you might want to buy the few essentials since some of the cart versions go for an arm and a leg.

Last of the Nintendo systems is the 64. It's disappointing that it only got 21 titles. Nearly all of it is Nintendo games. Still, there's most of the Mario stuff, Zelda, Smash Bros., Pokemon. There's also Bomberman, Ogre Battle, and Sin and Punishment, a Japan only release back then that made it to Virtual Console. The system is a victim of companies going bankrupt which includes quite a bit of games from Acclaim and Midway. I know Konami and Capcom didn't release much for it back in the 90s, but they could have at least tried to put something on the service. Obviously, Rare games can't be put on board since Microsoft owns them. Like the SNES, try to get the few essentials because of high prices for some of the carts.

Sega got into the mix from the start of the system's launch with the Genesis. It's got the second most titles with just over 70. A number of titles are ones you see in compilations. Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, Columns. The list goes on. It's mostly a Sega library list, but there are some ones that made it to Virtual Console. Capcom had a few like Street Fighter and Ghouls n Ghosts. Namco put out a couple games. Interesting titles include some Interplay games like Boogerman and Earthworm Jim. A few exclusives outside the US are the Game Freak developed Pulseman and Sega's Monster World IV.  What you do with this system for Virtual Console, I don't care. Personally, I would try to go after the ones you don't typically see in compilations. A prime example is M.U.S.H.A. A copy goes for literally hundreds of dollars, so try to get ones that you know will disappear for good.

Last of the launch service systems is the Turbografx-16. It's not an easy system to find in terms of hardware and software. Hudson Soft bought into this and brought a good chunk of the library over. The list is just shy of 60 titles. There's shooters like Galaga 90 and system sellers such as Splatterhouse. Other notables include Falcom's Ys, and Konami's Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. This is a system to target since you don't see them out in the wild. Try to get what you think you will like before you can't add more points.

Part 2 includes the additional systems.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Seinfeld: The Revenge Review

When Larry David worked on Saturday Night Live, barely any of his skits made it to air. If they did, it was very late in the airing. He would quit and try to come back the next day and act like it never happened. With that in mind, his script of Seinfeld's The Revenge is his incident in the form of George, although a little different.

This is the start of George without a steady job over the next few seasons. He blows up in front of his boss for what seems like no reason and then explains to Jerry about the reason why. Everybody in the real estate office uses the bosses private bathroom and he gets a memo. He blows up in front of his boss and quits. Unfortunately, he feels like he has made a big mistake. The two discuss what to do with other jobs and Jerry comes up with the decision to go back as if nothing happened.

George goes back and his boss doesn't buy into him raging into his quitting. He decides to get his revenge by giving him a Mickey Finn at a party. The set up to do it, quite honestly, is pretty weak and not too funny. This is also the only time Elaine is given screen time. She plays the role of flirting with George's boss quite well, and it's the highlight for the scene. The lengths she goes to be decent until saying something to catch his attention is a nice feat to try.

Jerry and Kramer's storyline is getting ripped off at the laundromat. They both do a set and after the weekend, Jerry has a meltdown. He had a lot of money in his laundry bag, and smooth negotiations go sour with the guy running the place. Kramer decides to get back by putting concrete in the machines. It becomes a sight to see with the mannerisms and movements. His other story, while small but important is dealing with Newman. When it first aired, Larry David voiced the unseen character, who was thinking about suicide and jumping off the building. When they got their guy a year later, they dubbed over it with Wayne Knight doing David's lines.

Overall, it's a good episode, but the second half of it is carried by the laundromat plot.

Score: 7 out of 10

Next week, reviewing the last episode of the second season.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

SC6: What Went Wrong

Not too long ago, SC6, the 6 P.M. hour of SportsCenter for ESPN had its last broadcast. When it debuted last year, it was looking to cater to a younger generation of people and a different set as well. It was hosted by Michael Smith and Jemele Hill, two that have worked on other things for the network. However, it never clicked and endured controversy. Last month, Hill finished and left SportsCenter. Smith has since followed suit. So, what went wrong?

When you have a sports network, you are looking for highlights of games, scores of certain teams, the whole package. In an era now where it seems every big name athlete is speaking politically, ESPN tried to cash in on it. It went beyond sports. However, that did not convince viewers. I don't get why they had to retool. Just regular SportsCenter was fine. I didn't have any issue watching Lindsay Czarniak and whoever else they had if I had it on the channel on that hour before it became SC6.

Of course, we always hear people criticize presidents. With Donald Trump as the new president, that didn't sit well with Hill. She created controversy with racist comments about him and criticism towards Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones over the National Anthem protests. She would be suspended for a few weeks. That's good enough to convince audiences to give up on SC6. Hill has been known to create certain racial controversies and the network had enough of her.

I don't know what else you can really say. ESPN did not like how it was going. Smith has been vocal about them getting rid of certain parts of SC6. While he is within his rights to not be pleased, he has to realize the issue. Controversy and change is not always a good thing. The point of a sports network is to watch what went on in different sports leagues during the day or night before. They are not watching to hear when whiny brat LeBron James has to say politically, or how some NFL player got offended so easily over something stupid. With viewers cutting the cord on cable, it came at the wrong time and the hosts ruined it themselves.

ESPN has a long way to go to get back to being the way that they used to be.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Seinfeld: The Heart Attack Review

Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David must have put a lot of confidence in Larry Charles to write episodes during Seinfeld's second season. He was at the helm for the last one, The Statue. Here was another with The Heart Attack, This one is mostly a George and Kramer plot with small ones from both Jerry and Elaine. We also get a look at some of the wackiness of Kramer and the unseen friends he knows about.

Jerry, George, and Elaine eat at Monk's when George starts thinking he is having a heart attack. His two friends don't buy into it, especially Jerry. With a trip to the hospital, it's not a heart attack. Instead, it is just a need to remove his tonsils... again. The gang visits him, and Kramer finds out the about the tonsil removal. He advises against it with a mention of Bob Sacamano having a botched surgery for a hernia. A suggestion is made to a holistic healer, Tor. Of course, George accepts that.

The guys go to the healer. Tor, played by Stephen Tobolowsky, fits in that eccentric kind of person that only Kramer would know. He wants George to try or stop using certain things, does a few rituals and attempts to help with the tonsil issue. All three have different mindsets and that is where it is funny. Jerry doesn't buy into it. George is a little concerned about the methods. Kramer will believe anything. The second half of the episode is a bit out of control and will have you laughing until the end.

B-plots for this one are pretty small. The episode starts with Jerry watching a cheesy movie with Larry David acting out the character in the film. He thinks he has material for his stand up and writes it down during the middle of the night. However, he can't figure out what he has written. No one can describe it. Not even Tor. Elaine's plot is meeting George's emergency doctor and going on a date with him. It's not a normal one as he holds on to her tongue to describe parts of it and the taste buds. Both of these stories will net a few chuckles.

This is a very funny episode. Leaps and bounds, probably the funniest of the second season.

Score: 9 out of 10

Next week's episode review involves Mickey Finns and concrete revenge.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Trades of the NFL Pre Draft

The last 72 hours have been an interesting one for the NFL regarding players getting traded to other teams. Yesterday was a crazy one. Some non ones include the Seattle Seahawks releasing a few of their secondary, making it seem like the Legion of Boom era is over. Let's get on to what happened.

Speaking of the Seahawks, they traded defensive lineman Michael Bennett to the Philadelphia Eagles and a draft pick for a backup receiver and a draft pick. It would be interesting to see how he fares in his tenth year in a different division. Philly sent receiver Torrey Smith down to Carolina in exchange for Panthers corner Daryl Worley. Unless someone on their secondary is a weak link, I don't know. The city of brotherly love seems to want to avoid the Super Bowl hangover most get after winning one. For Smith, he could still be a home run receiver, but how many more chances will he get?

Alec Ogletree seems like he will fit in with Big Blue. The LA Ram linebacker was sent along with a draft pick to the New York Giants in exchange for two draft picks. He can get tackles and that is something the dreadful defense needs. Outside of 2015, he has been a lights out player despite no Pro Bowls. Last month, The Rams have also gotten corners with Kansas City's Marcus Peters and just recently, Denver's Aqib Talib. If anything, this team is getting serious about making that big push to the Super Bowl next year. How they handle Talib is a different story.

With how infamously bad the Cleveland Browns have been the last two years, they are making waves with their trades. DeShone Kizer, who had a pretty bad rookie year, was sent to Green Bay in exchange for corner Damarious Randall and both teams swapping picks in the middle rounds. They also got Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor for a draft pick. Last was getting Miami's Jarvis Landry in exchange for a couple draft picks. It seems like desperation to cobble up something for this year. That being said, it could be a decent offense, but that's wishful thinking. Adding Randall could help their abysmal defense. It's a wait and see situation and who they get in the draft.

I got a feeling we're not finished with seeing trades yet.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Unworthy Oscars

Sunday's Oscar nomination show happened and the awards were given. It's ratings are the real story however. Just over 26 million watched, and there are many reasons why this is a huge low for ABC. Ultimately it comes down to all the stuff that has happened the last few years that has built up into this steep decline.

First is politics. Personally, I think Hollywood is still not over Donald Trump being president. It's been over a fucking year since he was elected. When does it stop? When is it time to let it go and get over it? Add in diversity (which could be a little better), all this MeToo crap and all this sexual harassment stuff, something has to give. At some point, false accusations are going to get tiring, ruining it for the few that actually were harassed. Also, if some people did better films, surely they would be nominated for their roles. The quality of a movie is not just judged by the overall film, but the stars that actually commit to it, cinematography, and a few other elements.

Obviously, length of time as news websites have talked about as well as the Internet. It's not a surprise that ratings take hits on prime time networks due to cable (which even that struggles as well) and people going in on the Internet. Websites are cashing in on people watching via whatever they have on them like a tablet. For something like the Oscars, not everybody wants to stay up until 11 or midnight to see every award given. That's a given in today's world.

The one that piques my interest a little bit is what gets nominated. At this point, it seems more like an invitation for independent or artsy stuff that either is a surprise hit or barely does well but gets nominated for awards and might win one. Think about it. Do people really care about Slumdog Millionaire now these days? No. Those kind of films get a few years exposure and then die off without getting reruns. The same will apply to stuff like The Big Sick and Mudbound. People are more interested in comic book films, live action remakes and sequels. Last year was no different. That doesn't mean they are giving up on original films because there are still some that were a big deal like Split and Baby Driver. Right now, Black Panther is doing very well and because of Logan getting some nods, maybe pressure might be put on Academy people to put in the mix for certain categories. Artsy and independent films are still an important factor, but you can't just rely on those and expect viewers to tune in just to see those win instead of others.

There's probably other factors into this, but something will change. It will come down to how people anticipate 2019's Oscars. If it's anything like the last few years, it could dip below 25 million viewers if there is no change to how ABC does things. The same can be said for the Hollywood celebrities. I don't know if it will come down to things crumbling before them or some huge enforced rules. Whatever happens will dictate the future of this awards ceremony.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Seinfeld: The Statue Review

The Statue is an interesting one for Seinfeld's second season. They manage to give all four characters a chance to shine in the episode. Jerry and Kramer bring out a big box from the apartment basement containing stuff from Jerry's grandfather. It's just clothes and hence the name of the episode, a statue. George becomes enamored about it since a bad moment in his childhood involved it. A quick game between Kramer and George results in the pint size guy winning.

Jerry has a show and needs his apartment cleaned. He relies on the help of Ray, a guy that is with a Finland author whose book that Elaine is looking over at Pendant. One to notice is Jerry's clean freak persona as it is cleaned very well. Just the amazement at it is funny in itself. Jerry and Elaine go visit Ray and author Rava. Everything seems normal until Jerry notices a statue similar to what he and his friends saw. Cue the accusation ideas and injustice about it.

Really, the second half is trying to prove the statue was stolen and trying to get it back. This is the first we see Kramer used very well and the kind of mannerisms and emotions that Michael Richards would bring to the show. Jerry, George, and Elaine all have this cynicism and it blows up right in their faces, making the whole thing come funnier than what you would expect out of Seinfeld.

They got it rolling for the episode and it was nice to have all four involved in the main plot. No B or filler stories. Just an effort to get a statue and a funny ending that seems like what the show would have. Do you think Ray stole it?

Score: 8 out of 10

Next week's review is George's heart attack from hell.

Wii Virtual Console Overview Part II

Let's continue on. One of the first new systems to come along was the Neo-Geo in 2007. Anybody that knows about it knows how expensive...