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I'm sorry to have to report this, but Das Keyboard Ultimate just wasn't "clicky" enough for me. Call me a snob among snobs if you like. OK, yes, it's "clicky" in the noisy sense, which is pleasing, but there wasn't enough springy resistance in pushing down the keys, which is the part that allows me to type faster than on a "soft" keyboard. I wrestled with this disappointment for a day or two, since Das Keyboard Ultimate is allegedly some kind of nerd status symbol, but Ultimate-ly I had to send it back.
Oh, sorry, this might only be funny if you write code. And if you read.
People don't know what "zaftig" means. No, it doesn't mean "fat". It means "juicy", literally.
That means you only use it to talk about a girl that fits the description and that you think is hot. You never use it to talk about a dude. (Unless you're into "bears", I guess.)
Likewise, people don't know what "tomboy" means. No, it's not a woman with short hair. It's a little girl who likes boyish activities instead of playing with dolls.
I guess it doesn't help that people are forbidden in our culture to understand what "fat" means in the first place. And do girls even play with dolls these days? Maybe in our world of ubiquitous hand-held video games not just for boys, "tomboy" no longer has any meaning. But still, just... go outside or something before you open your mouth.
I understand that language must evolve each time Snoop Dogg makes up a catch phrase out of thin air, and it spreads faster than gossip via MTV, but there's a difference between keeping up with whatever's "trending" on YouTube and being ignorant of everything everywhere. Stop trying to embarrass me.
Yes, I realize the irony that kids don't know what Snoop Dogg is, either. He and Ice Cube are reduced to using Groupon to get middle-aged parents of 2.4 children to show up at their gig.
The reason the Republicans won't win the 2012 election is plain & simple: Mitt Romney has the demeanor of the villain from a Disney movie. And he doesn't seem to notice he's doing it, and that's funny.
Some years ago I was working on a video game, and during a discussion I argued that the protagonists in development were "unlikeable assholes." Somewhere along the way since then, in my mind that label got reapplied to politicians.
If you're a huge organization comprised of some of the richest people in the world, such as the Republican Party, shouldn't you be able to produce a champion that people can at least imagine voting for? It's not just sad that the Republicans are blowing their chances on the election, it's that they nominated a fucking cartoon character.
Verdict: So retarded, it's funny. But still retarded.
I'm having trouble sorting out my feelings about this game (which makes it a great thing for me to write about).
The basic premise is that it's a "remake" of Double Dragon, a popular video game circa 1987. But that would be like saying Conker's Bad Fur Day is a video game about a cute cartoon squirrel.
The developers have stepped way outside the boundaries of what's expected of the phrase "Double Dragon remake." Calling it a "reboot" would be incorrect. It's more like a parody of itself, although even that is questionable. At some point someone decided to make this game into a delivery mechanism for a lot of 80s references (you know, as if Family Guy was funny). I guess just because the original game was made in 1987, the main characters are now members of an imaginary hair-metal band à la Bill & Ted, complete with Valley-speak. (Games that talk to me, especially if the protagonists are stupid, automatically turn me off.) Casette tapes, also last seen in the 80s, are dropped throughout the game, and for some reason these represent magical bonus weapons. It's also apparently important that you have to hear parodies of songs from the 80s for each of these casette tapes. It almost sounds like what we know as Double Dragon is being re-painted in a new cohesive theme, but not really. It goes on from there in a lot of directions that have nothing to do with anything. There's a reference to Little Shop of Horrors, 'cause that's from the 80s, I guess. And a reference to Star Wars is almost appropriate. But a reference to the Rocketeer doesn't quite follow 'cause that's from the 90s. And a reference to Mega Man? A reference to Diablo? A bear holding a shark? And now zombies? What?
Everything about this game is "just plain wrong." Only after the first level or so does it finally become obvious that the game's definitely not just about Double Dragon any more, and you must accept that it's a comedy. It would have been much more fitting to call it Captain Commando, or maybe Big Trouble in Little China: The Game, 'cause those names would more accurately describe the fucked-up mismatch of themes present. Even PuLiRuLa is more consistent. The game is funny, not because of all the references, but simply because it keeps becoming more and more ridiculous.
Double Dragon was never a "serious" game enough for any of this to really matter (it's not like that time they turned off "serious" Zelda fans with that unexpectedly childish cartoon iteration called Wind Waker). So this can easily be thought of as a parody of all the corny "beat 'em up" games we've forgotten about. Indeed, if it were to appear in an arcade in the 80s, it wouldn't be much weirder than a lot of other stuff we took for granted at the time.
But even though this kludgy "remake" in particular was mostly harmless, the principle of the matter is still worth discussing. In short, this game epitomizes everything that's wrong with remakes today.
Yes, I am exaggerating. As I said, Double Dragon isn't important enough for anyone to really care about its artistic merit, so no harm done, mostly. Double Dragon Neon is silly and fun, and who cares? But in principle, this very obvious example must serve to illustrate the problem with remaking other games that are important to us. If you're willing, think about what I've said, except apply those assertions to a game that's more "sacred" to you.
Moving on, I want to say that I don't care for collecting the casette tapes and "leveling up" the magical bonus weapons. While I'm playing a "beat 'em up" game, I couldn't care less about playing Diablo, so I'm not sure why every single fucking game today has to have Diablo on the side. But this is excusable if we think of it as yet one more obscure reference, this time to another Technos game, River City Ransom.
The mechanics of the game are actually OK and strike a fair balance between the simple pummeling of foes that we remember in the original game and just barely enough new moves to keep things from getting tedious. The presentation is quite polished, and some of the boss fights are particularly well executed. The overall difficulty of the game is pretty tame, although I once beat Double Dragon in the arcade on two quarters, so perhaps the amount of difficulty here is accurate. Nonetheless, there are increasingly difficult modes available in case you wanted to play the game more than once.
The animation is passable, nothing special. The characters are exceedingly skanky, which adds to their appeal, probably, though they could have at least made Abobo look like Abobo. (In the 80s, my friends and I used to call him "Beans" ...I guess 'cause we were a little bit racist.)
One more thing: I like the 80s because I used to live there (and yes, it was indeed totally awesome at the time). "The 80s" is not just a label you can put on something to invoke my feelings like a commodity. It's much more than that, and you obviously don't understand. So cut it out already.
Google no longer lists stuff for sale on Amazon, nor many other stores. It was pretty obvious when they made this change right in the middle of the Giftsmas season. I'm trying to compare prices, but Google isn't useful for that any more since stores now have to pay to appear in Google shopping results. The prices displayed on Google shopping are now ridiculous compared to the stores they aren't showing any more.
Wait, actually Amazon stuff still shows up if you do a normal search, but then it's absent if you do a shopping search. Ingenious⸮
I guess they feel sorry for their competitors, and they want to give people a free business opportunity. Seems strange when sites like Bing are already lined up to replace them. Maybe Google is super confident that Microsoft won't get their act together for at least 10 years (based on the way they develop their web browser).
Update: Google added a message to their shopping results sort of apologizing for being assholes, but not really.
Also they hid the ability to sort the results. That's an "advanced search" feature now, even though I sort the results every single time I do a shopping search. Fuck you, too, Google.
Hey, I've got a great idea! Let's take an IP we've been sitting on so long everyone's forgotten about it, and let's make a new game in the series. Except let's not call it Syndicate 3 or anything like that; instead, let's just drop the suffix altogether like they did with Sonic the Hedgehog. Because, um... I guess the whole point of holding on to the name forever was so that we could cash in on an established audience, but fuck that. The only people who play video games are 12-year-old boys, right? And also by the way let's make it a FPS, even though that would be a totally different kind of game, inherently unfaithful to the rest of the series, just because FPS is what we think the kids want right now. Maybe the only people who will recognize and remember the IP will just go along with it instead of being insulted. Or maybe the IP will be strong enough by itself that those people will buy it anyway because they're stupid. Like with that Transformers movie, yeah! Maybe the game won't go straight to the bargain bins and used bookstores for $5. Maybe it won't be a big financial loss for EA, a company that's supposedly been around for 30 years and therefore should've been able to predict all of this.
Before you submit the dumbest words ever put in writing, think about how they might sound out loud. It's called "accountability," eh? Or you might end up on WhiteWhine.com, among other things...
This is only going to make sense if you're old enough to have played Zork, a computer game circa 1980 with no graphics, only text. Its text parser (its ability to understand English commands) is still today more advanced than any other game I've played (although there are probably a few good MUDs out there). But the confusing layout of the rooms in the game required the player to draw a map and even still could drive one to madness. I lent my copy (indefinitely) to a kid in high school whose computer couldn't do graphics at all and therefore couldn't run any other game. I'm only sorry that I lost the feelies in the box. There's a reason I collect the original boxes...
This is just a glimpse of the nerdery you can enjoy if you buy your very own copy of the documentary Get Lamp. (Although if you're going to buy a nerdy documentary about the history of pre-Internet computer culture, The BBS Documentary is way better.)
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