Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Simpsons Shorts: Bart the Hero, Bart's Little Fantasy Reviews

Short #36: Bart the Hero

This is one of those shorts that feels like what The Simpsons would do once it became a 30 minute show. Bart is forced by Homer to exercise. He enjoys it and stops for some candy, only to confront a thief robbing the candy store. It's one of those shorts that doesn't exactly translate well to a minute long short, but it certainly is practice for bigger episodes once they wrote 30 minute scripts. You'll get a few chuckles out of it

Score: 6 out of 10

Short #37: Bart's Little Fantasy

You wouldn't think rehashing the first 20 seconds of a short would work, but it does here in Bart's Little Fantasy. The kids are forced to clean up a mess of toys. Bart tells a story which has Homer and Marge in the kids role of cleaning. It is pretty funny, since you could see Homer acting the same way as his son if he were a child. There isn't much to say. It's one of the shortest shorts of the season and run on Tracey Ullman. That being said, it's executed well and a good one to see.

Score: 7 out of 10

Next week, the kids go see a movie, and Homer tries out hypnotism.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Simpsons Shorts: Simpson Christmas, The Krusty the Clown Show Reviews

Short #34: Simpson Christmas

I know it's four months until Christmas at the time of this blog, but it still needs to be given a thought. The one word I would describe this is sweet. Even with Bart telling his version of "The Night Before Christmas", he tells it in a good manner while it stays funny. Groening captured that feeling of what a kid might think during the holidays. A solid way to end 1988.

Score: 7 out of 10

Short #35: The Krusty the Clown Show

If the title didn't give you a clue, this is the very first time we see Krusty the Clown. For a first appearance, they got it down well, though the voice would take some time to get perfected. As far as the short goes, it's funny. I'm not sure if most kids would react like Bart when being in the audience, but it could happen. Although this predates the movie Elf by over a decade, some can be disappointed by what they see if they have their own version of someone. Either way, it's the start of many moments where someone gets embarrassed by something that happens on TV.  Solid to begin 1989.

Score: 7 out of 10

Next week, Bart becomes a local hero, and has a fantasy of his own.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Difficulty of PC Collecting

Despite the title, I am not a PC game collector. I am not alone in this as many others don't dabble with older computers in today's age. The only YouTube channels I've seen that have huge interests in computers are the channel Lazy Game Reviews, which has picked up steam in the last two to three years with game and hardware reviews despite doing that for seven years, and Roadgeek, who is into Packard Bell type computers, mainly Windows 95. Why don't people get into this?

What can work?- This can be applied to any piece of ancient of technology like running a VCR or wood grained television set. When you deal with a computer, you have to ask yourself if it will still work. Certain drivers and cards could still work or be dead when you pick one up. Finding the required parts could have you spending way, way more than what you paid for today. Not to mention monitors depending on if these were required, keyboards and mouses, peripherals. Either way, some may not find it's worth the effort at least in the United States. Europe might have it easier due to PC being a bigger deal.

Formats- Certain computers ran on multiple formats. Say you had a Windows 3.1 or 95 computer. You could run games on CDs and 3.5 inch floppy disks. If you had a Commodore 64, you could run floppy disks, tapes, and cartridges if you had a few of the peripherals. That's one thing to be a little careful of, but it could frustrate a number of people.  This is one aspect that you should do research on as some games can work on multiple computers like Doom, which could run on PC's that had Windows 3.1 up to XP (although some glitches like the invisible Demon) and games that are only workable on one operating system.

Settings- Sure, it might be easier to use settings on DOSBox and Steam for some games today, but back then and even today, getting games to work is still a problem. Something like Doom pushed an early 90s computer to its limits, so there were options to lower settings to get them to work smoothly. No doubt in my mind, all games will work one day in the future on modern PC's, but it's going to take a lot of effort and time to make sure every game gets the care it deserves to be 100 percent on a computer.

There's a few other things such as games not being easy to find (what isn't as far as consoles and PC's go?) but that pales to those three reasons. Barring certain systems like NES, consoles are easier to maintain. They run on one format, don't have compatibility issues unless otherwise (unlicensed games for example), games working without tweaking settings. It's much more convenient to use abandonware sites and DOSBox. Even though it won't replicate what made them magical on the older computers, it will save you a lot of trouble.

In the end, it's up to you on whether you want to go the route of going after old PC computers or not. Just be prepared to have a good amount of time and money to take care of some of these.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Simpsons Shorts: The Bart Simpson Show, Punching Bag Reviews

Short #32: The Bart Simpson Show

This is the very first appearance of the Tom and Jerry inspired duo of Itchy and Scratchy, except with deadlier violence. It is kind of a weird short. I find it more so on the sense of Homer not wanting his kids to watch violent stuff. Then again, he is a victim of injury in Itchy and Scratchy and Marge two years later. Anyway, this is a funny short. Bart tries to make up his own TV show and pleases his sisters. A way to end it is both him and Homer strangling each other because of the boy taking out the TV parts. This is a solid one in humor and the animation looks identical to what the show would have as far as characters go.

Score: 7 out of 10

Short #33 Punching Bag

I'm not sure how much "play friendly" was used in the show, but another first here is Homer going "D'oh" in the short. It's a basic one. The kids want to play rough and goes with the stereotypes of how guys and girls should be. Bart and Lisa hit a punching bag with Homer's face drawn on it and it annoys their father. Props to Matt Groening for getting Marge involved, and its hilarious, especially with those last 20 seconds of the short. The Simpsons look a little more fleshed out and developed better, and shorts like these show the momentum of why it got a show.

Score: 8 out of 10

Next week, Bart tells a Christmas tale, and the kids get to see a familiar clown as audience members.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

2017 Miami Dolphins: Kaep or Cut?

For the Miami Dolphins, they haven't had much success at quarterback since Dan Marino retired following their 1999 season. The closest they have had was Jay Fiedler for a four year span from 2000 to 2003, in an era before the Cheatriots became a brute force. Even with drafting Ryan Tannehill in 2012, they didn't get to the playoffs with him until last year despite him missing the last few games of the season and postseason.

Issues have come again for Tannehill as he may need season ending surgery on his left knee, which buckled during a practice in training camp. Interests have been in finding someone to be backing up or starting. The Dolphins still have Matt Moore, but there has also been interest in Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler. The former still hasn't been signed by anybody and the latter was set on joining Fox for broadcasting.

Starting with Cutler, he's far from the worst quarterback in the league, but he is one that is never consistent. He is a guy that has a few games where he throws 250 yards and a few touchdowns. Then there is a different version of him that either gets picked off two to four times in a game or his accuracy is below 50 percent. He would have definitely struggled at times against these AFC East defenses like he did in the NFC North. He also would have had guys similar to what he had in Chicago except at tight end, so he could benefited a little bit to play devil's advocate.

Getting into Kaepernick, he is still a lightning rod of controversy following his antics last year taking a knee during the National Anthem. Most teams decided not to sign him and questions are if the Baltimore Ravens would get him or if the Dolphins would even want him. Some players like Malcolm Jenkins and Richard Sherman have spoken in support of Kaepernick, but I don't think they get the clear picture of the situation. NBA owner Mark Cuban believes he would fit in with the basketball crowd with his protests. I don't think he's far from the truth of saying that despite being a loudmouth, but protesting someone getting killed, even if they were a criminal, is a lot different than kneeling during a National Anthem. It's not the same, and fans would get pissed, regardless of sport.

The last thing regarding politics is Kaepernick being a Fidel Castro supporter. That is something you don't want to hear, especially in the Miami area. All these years, people have escaped from Cuba. There would be a lot of people and immigrants that will not be pleased if he goes to the Dolphins. He better have a home somewhere else, because he will face a lot of hate for what he did last year and what he said.

Teams aren't sure what kind of guy Kaepernick could be. Could he tone down, or will he continue his political stuff? That's what most wonder about. The last thing they want to see is something going on behind the scenes or in the locker room that disrupts a team or season. That's what is going on with Baltimore with the owner having his concerns about it. I also do think it has to do with the results of the last few years. His stats are not mediocre, but they are not translating into wins. He benefited a little bit with the offense that Chip Kelly had, but the 49ers went 2 and 14. Could a team change their gameplan to fit Kaepernick? I'm not sure if Miami changes it. Adam Gase helped the team go 10 and 6. The run game was big. Their defense played a little better, but could improve a lot more.

I don't think Miami has much choice. It's not like any of their choices are the best options. Either way, they are going to have to live with that decision for the next six months. Along with the defense, the quarterback they pick is going to make or break their season. They have a long way to go if they want to stop the Cheatriots and the rest of the AFC.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Simpsons Shorts: Shut Up Simpsons, Shell Game Reviews

Two seasons of shorts reviewed since mid-April. Let's continue on with the season 3 set of shorts, 19 in total.

#30: Shut Up Simpsons

What other way to begin this set than having a bickering family? Homer, the kids, and Grampa are all on each other's nerves. It's so easy to consider this a cliche, but it's done well. There's a certain level of animosity shown in each character. Not to mention seeing Grampa hit Homer with a newspaper and strangle him. That will seem out of touch for anyone that watches the show's take on him. A little improvement on the character modeling and they all seem almost identical to their show counterparts. A nice way to begin this final set of shorts. Funny and worth watching

Score: 7 out of 10

#31 Shell Game

Lay off the cookies. Bart wants to have one, but the family is set on him not having one. Tattler Lisa catches him with a bunch, and he puts all but one back in the jar. Cue the title. It's not so much the game that's amusing. The payoff in the beginning and end is what makes it a funny short. Having Bart fooled by Maggie (another cookie antic like The Perfect Crime) is icing on the cake. That's what makes it another solid short

Score: 7 out of 10

Next week's reviews include Bart doing his own TV show, and the family doing a little stress relieving.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Overrated Games

Before we get into this, I have a disclaimer. These are my opinions on games that I consider overrated, so please don't blow a gasket.

Like any form of entertainment, there are games that people are very excited for and enjoy. You give it a shot and you don't think of it as highly as others to where you might consider it overrated. Here is games that I consider overrated beginning with this.

Super Mario World (SNES, 1991): Mario saw a good jump from the original Super Mario Bros. to the third one on NES. With the Super Nintendo on its way, it seemed wise to have the plumber on the new 16-bit machine. Obviously, he didn't disappoint many, but other than a few things like battery backup saves and introducing Yoshi, Super Mario World does not impress me. It's Mario 3 with 16-bit paint splashed over it. I was more impressed with Sonic the Hedgehog's graphics than this one. The soundtrack is mostly forgettable. To me, it didn't add much. Even with the secrets, the levels and new powerups didn't impress me. If you're looking for a Mario game to play on SNES, play Yoshi's Island.

Donkey Kong Country (SNES, 1994): I think people are realizing this game is style over substance over the years. That's the first DK Country in a nutshell. It looks great, but the gameplay is boring. Sure, the secrets keep it from being very stale, but it's left to right, reach the exit, and you're done. That's not exciting. Add in a soundtrack that is okay, and it's another forgettable overrated game. Play the second one. It feels a lot more refreshing and doesn't get stale very quickly.

The Simpsons (Arcade, 1991):  The Simpsons will remain one of my top shows of all-time, but the game from Konami is severely overrated. It's a good game, but there's people that act like it's that good. This is a cookie cutter game that is basically Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but with Matt Groening's yellow family. It does have a quirky soundtrack and graphics that got the look of the show's first few seasons. However, add in bosses that take way too hits to beat, health that is scarce and doesn't replenish when going to a new level, and not enough variety in moves, and this is a game that gets too much praise. The two Turtles arcade games and X-Men are Konami beat-em-ups you should try over this.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES, 1992): Along with some of the Final Fight games, Turtles in Time is at the top for SNES beat-em-ups. As far as 16-bit era stuff goes, this is extremely overrated, especially for the prices it goes online and in used game stores. That doesn't mean you shouldn't play this because you should be. It looks great, has a nice 90s soundtrack, and plays well with two player. That being said, it's a game you can blow by pretty quick, and with only a few moves, I wouldn't be it high on a list of beat-em-ups. It's not going to make me stop playing Streets of Rage 2. This and Hyperstone Heist on the Genesis are not worth the prices they go for unless you find them at a yard sale.

Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360, 2008): I'm going modern on this last one. This was one of the first titles I played on the 360 when getting one back in 2010. Rockstar brought their biggest franchise to the new generation and it was good. They tried a serious story, it got the look of New York City down right. It felt like you were in it from the car soundtracks to the replicas of stuff like the Empire State Building and Times Square. What was replicated was done well. You can still do the same stuff that was done in the other games on PS2, but why do I consider it overrated? The missions took forever and if you failed, you had to re-do it from the beginning. Friend aspects were cool, but it being mandatory (Let's go bowling) is borderline annoying. There wasn't much activities to do or added. The wanted system was like Driver, but much worse, especially if you wound up with a three star rating or higher. If I'm recommending a GTA game from this last generation, pick up GTA V. It improves on just about every aspect. I wouldn't skip on this game though, especially with the DLC content they had that felt better and tried some new things.

This wraps up this first set of games I consider overrated. If you have games you consider overrated, send a comment about games that would make your list.  There could be more of these blogs in the future.

The Simpsons Shorts: Bart the Hero, Bart's Little Fantasy Reviews

Short #36: Bart the Hero This is one of those shorts that feels like what The Simpsons would do once it became a 30 minute show. Bart is f...