This Week In Hilariously Ill-Advised Facebook Campaigns: Square-Enix vs. ZOO Weekly

Inside baseball: normally these two items would carry enough weight to be separate articles, but the timing is just too close for me to resist squeezing them together. That and the winter gloom has me almost completely sidelined from my usual routine. Bleh.

Thankfully, nothing cheers me up faster than an opportunity to mock major corporations and their gross irresponsibility with social media. I’ve also grown to hate said social media more and more these last few months, Facebook in particular. Protip: I’m more than just a buffer for your goddamned Farmville stats.

So really, there’s a lot for me to like about these two disasters. I get to be all punk rock and make fun of two big companies for their inane bullshit and Facebook for creating the atmosphere that allows the bullshit to exist. Double whammy.

First up to bat: Final Fantasy developer and sudden owner of everything, Square-Enix.

square enix hitman facebook

Quoth Rock, Paper, Shotgun:

Square have launched an advertising campaign for Hitman in which you can threaten people on Facebook using bullying terms, mocking people for their looks, and the size of their breasts. I murdered the puppy-faced Emily Madeupname because she’s cheating on her partner! That’s a reason it offered me. I threatened to kill someone on Facebook using this advert, telling Agent 47 to identify her by her small tits, and to kill her for cheating.

All glory to RPS for curating this debacle before Square-Enix (wisely) pulled the plug and apologized for it. Still, you have to wonder what the mindset is like at Square if such a headscratcher was allowed to exist in the first place.

Would this have happened if Square’s Japanese head office was paying the proper attention to their western branches, a situation akin to Sega of Japan vs. Sega of America in the 90s? Is this the unfortunate result of Square’s rapid-fire acquisition of foreign studios, perhaps too many to exert proper control over? Maybe outsourcing your marketing to external agencies is a bad idea and if you must do that, you should at least have some oversight on it?

Whatever the explanation, it’s fucking baffling that these things keep happening. Apparently no one learned anything from Sony’s disastrous PSP viral campaign or Tecmo’s creepy obsession with tits. Games still get a bad rap in a lot of circles and this really isn’t helping.

Speaking of creepy! Take us home, ZOO Weekly.

zoo weekly facebook

This one took months to get dragged offline like a screaming child on the first day of school, thus allowing plenty of time for it to spread it everywhere. Australia’s media watchdogs finally dealt the killing blow this week.

At first, the removal feels like a blessing considering how many human-shaped cockroaches it managed to attract. However, the action does get close to setting off my internal censorship alarm the more I think about it. Did this one really need to be nuked while stuff like Tecmo’s boob-shaped wall installations remain intact? Would this kerfuffle have happened at all if subject to another country’s regulations? Is the image itself actually less brazen in its misogyny than the comments it received? Would anyone even have noticed otherwise?

zoo weekly facebook comments
Cat pee and the internet. Once it’s in there, it’s in there.

The part that really gets me is the publisher’s attempted “editorial” defence. Quoth mUmBRELLA:

Zoo’s publisher ACP Magazines tried to claim that the Advertising Standards Board should not adjudicate because its brand page was editorial rather than advertising.

Sometimes I like to imagine that every wacky or poorly thought-out misadventure inflicted upon us by Australians is the result of living their entire lives hanging upside down from the underside of the planet. That much blood rushing to the head can’t be good for anyone.

Seriously though, editorial content? What could they be editorializing on here? You can’t make that claim without a statement that qualifies it. Call a spade a spade. Own up to it. This is a stupid image published on a stupid Facebook page with a stupid tagline, posted for the benefit of the stupid people who are stupid enough to drop stupid comments on it with their real names. This is no more of an “editorial piece” than the random-ass photos of cats that receive thousands of lazy-ass upvotes on Reddit.

I run a Facebook page for Caffeine-Fueled where I sometimes drop random images for laughs. I would never in a million years try to elevate any of that fluff to the level of actual, proper, legitimate written content for the same reason that I never pretend any of my silly YouTube posts are on an even keel with John’s review articles or Thor’s drinking games. I’m not even a professional and the idea of that pisses me off. It’s almost as insulting as those comments.

Thankfully, if there’s a silver lining to any of this, it’s the power of the internet laying everything out there for all to see like heads impaled on stakes as a warning to future trespassers. It’s just too bad that large corporations and individuals alike continuously fail to understand the give/take involved. But at least we can make fun of them for it.

The Streisand Effect. Keep it going, spread it around.

Game Of Thrones To Be Immortalized In Beer Form

We may not have a Game of Thrones drinking game ready quite yet – until then the aliens will just have to suffice – but at least we’ll have official drinkable merch to inebriate ourselves with when the time comes.

Quoth The AV Club:

According to a press release, HBO has partnered with New York’s Brewery Ommegang to launch a series of Game Of Thrones-themed beers timed to the March 31 third season premiere, beginning with the first entry, Iron Throne Blonde Ale. The 750ml, $8.50-per-bottle beer is the first of four to come that will “directly tie into themes, characters, and nuances” established in the show’s universe.

I’m the guy who keeps interesting specialty bottles as decorations so I can’t wait to add one of these to my collection. I’m sure the Iron Throne Blonde Ale will look pretty awesome next to my Cascadian Secession Dark Ale.

A blonde, though? I can only assume that there’s a Targaryen or Lannister connection there because otherwise “Iron Throne” makes me think of the darker stuff. But while we’re on the subject of oh-so-apt Game of Thrones beer names, how about a “Varys Targaryen Golden Ale” or a “Melisandre Flaming Amber” if those aren’t too obvious?

“Triple-Slap Chocolate Stout.” “Tyrion Lannister’s Dragonfire Lager.” That would be a St. Patrick’s Day special, of course. Any old Arrogant Bastard with Joffrey on the label might work too. “Well-Hung Impish Ale.” Okay, I’ll stop now.

The Wiik That Was: Japanapes and Bear Blowback in the Miiverse

It’s actually been two weeks since I’ve taken a look at the Miiverse here for Caffeine-Fueled but that’s not due to a lack of happenings on Nintendo’s own island of bliss. An island more in common with that made famous by Patrick McGoohan than with Ibiza but an island nonetheless.

Of course, the big news is that the Wii U came out in Japan, hooray! Possibly chomping at the bit, being the last major territory to receive the console, Japanese artists were out in full force.

Drawn by アッチ (Japan)
Drawn by アッチ (Japan)

Bowser’s off to have a fun-tastic day in Nintendo Land. The last time Bowser tried to have a vacation though he was attacked by Mario while sitting in a hot tub on Delfino Island. I hope this works out better for the King of the Koopas.

The wait didn’t make everyone eager to please, however. Some people just have to rub in their fancy new Wii U apps in our faces.

Drawn by kazuki (Japan)
Drawn by kazuki (Japan)

Yes, the Wii U now has Google Maps and allows you to use the Game Pad as a window to explore Google’s vast, privacy-shattering photography of the world. Let’s see how many people throwing up on the streets of the world the Japanese fanbase find before the rest of the world can catch up.

Luckily, the Japanese weren’t allowed to run amok across the Japanese section of Miiverse. One brave user took up the fight.

Drawn by Vidya4chan (United States)
Drawn by Vidya4chan (United States)

Don’t think we forgot about Pearl Harbor! You’d think two nuclear bombs and a horrible Michael Bay movie would redress the balance somewhat but this is one one-sided feud that may continue for quite a while. Of course with the upside down American flag and all, this all may be ironic or trolling or whatever you need to call it to cheer yourself up.

The Miiverse isn’t all happy times and hipster-styled nationalistic frays however. People come together to share and recommend games to each other. Let’s look at the reception Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade has been receiving.

Drawn by Jacob (Denmark)
Drawn by Jacob (Denmark)

Okay, so it’s not very fun according to this scientifically verified graph, complete with helpful X and Y axis markers. Family Party gives hope to those of us who pray that the great Wii shovelware era will continue on into the life cycle of the Wii U, like how Sephiroth infected the Lifestream with Geostigma in Advent Children.

Still, like many games, things aren’t black and white. A lot of great games are surrounded in controversy. E.T.Superman 64, Ninjabread Man. All fine examples of once-loathed games that in hindsight were pinnacles of their craft. Let’s take a look at a more positive post regarding the title.

Drawn by VJ (Finland)
Drawn by VJ (Finland)

Hey, now, let’s calm down a little. This game may be sub-par but chasing Santa? Besides, I’ve never seen Santa actually hang around to open my presents. He usually just empties the liquor cabinet and leaves without dropping off my gifts.

Isn’t this all a bit of an overreaction anyway? I mean, maybe it’s a poor game but it’s not like it’s explicitly evil or anything, right?

Drawn by Epsylon (Spain)
Drawn by Epsylon (Spain)

…moving on.

Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed continues to be a popular game across the Miiverse. What with it being the unnatural child of Sonic Drift, Sonic R and all those wonderful IPs that made the Saturn and Dreamcast such roaring successes how could it not?

Still, not all the characters are equally popular. As you can imagine, everyone loves the Sonic crew, especially Shadow is so cool and bad ass and cool but Danica Patrick, below-mediocre professional driver and at-least-average professional female has about as much to do with Sega as a healthy profit margin so enthusiasm for her inclusion was… lacking.

Drawn by Mumzy (United States)
Drawn by Mumzy (United States)

While some, like above, are merely unimpressed by her presence, others are going so far as to avoid unlocking her completely. I haven’t seen such a denial of reality since the 32X.

But, hey, I don’t write this article just to make a bunch of jokes about Sega while hiding the fact that I love them dearly. So let’s take a look at some other titles. What’s going on over at Disney and their lacklustre Epic Mickey 2?

Drawn by Nadrim (Sweden)
Drawn by Nadrim (Sweden)

scorge plz

While an Epic Ducktales game featuring Scrooge and three Scrappy Doos, just remember the sheer amount of Dolan meme-ry such a concept would unleash on the world. Put the lid back on that box of locusts, Disney, before it’s too late.

Scribblenauts is getting some serious play lately and has even branched out into real world merchandise. You can now buy Maxwell’s hat, for real, at stores. I still have to send about $200 to Japan via syphilitic carrier pigeon to have a 30% chance of getting a Suikoden action figure but kids can now look like Adventure Time 2P costumes? It’s not fair.

Still, how would you describe Scribblenauts to someone who has never played it? You could just say “you write stuff then the stuff done appeareds” but that doesn’t quite get across the fun. One person may have found a way.

Drawn by Luke (United Kingdom)
Drawn by Luke (United Kingdom)

That is exactly how I feel about the game too, mate. Scribblenauts is so much like a train/bus/plane/tampon about to run over someone whose first instinct is to block the vehicle/sanitary product with an open palm. Exactly.

It’s not all AAA titles, or FFF even, on the Wii U. The indie games section is getting off to a good start, even if it features about 6000% less tits than its Xbox counterpart. So before we go, let’s take a look at what people are saying about Mighty Switch Force! HD.

Drawn by Mike (United Kingdom)
Drawn by Mike (United Kingdom)

The Queen’s English has a way of making even simple statements like that seem classy, doesn’t it?

Mighty Switch Force! HD is yummyyy. – IGN

Pacific Rim, or Jax Teller & GLaDOS vs. Giant Alien Monsters

That is one of the stranger headlines I’ve thrown together but it does have the virtue of being surprisingly accurate. I think I can go even further with it, though…

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim appears to be a tale of GLaDOS from Portal teaming up with a G.I. Joe power armour-clad Charlie Hunnam (Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy, still using the American accent but presumably not journaling these events for his sons) to fight alien Godzilla/Cthulhu-esque creatures with the aid of Transformers-ish giant robots.” How’s that?

And if the trailer is any indication, the entire score will just be BWRAAAAAAAM. BWRAAAAAAAM. BWRAAAAAAAM. What is it with that, anyway? Apparently, the Inception noise became the new “in a world…” so gradually that I didn’t notice. There’s even a supercut of that below!

Beyond just the crazy-ass trailer, I don’t really know what to think of this. Will the movie be too ridiculous, or just ridiculous enough? Will I ever be able to take Sons of Anarchy seriously ever again now that I’ve seen Charlie Hunnam in a “future linebacker” suit?

The Giant Bomb crew may have accidentally predicted this trend long before that supercut, as the noise has also found its way into game trailers.

Oh Hai, The Room: The Musical Review Readers!

2003 saw the release of The Room, Tommy Wiseau’s seemingly semi-autobiographical clusterfuck of a movie, concerning a man named Johnny, played by Wiseau himself, whose seemingly perfect life is destroyed by betrayal from evil women who “change their minds all the time” and the men in their thrall. It’s pretty much the movie version of every shitty break-up song some lead singer has ever forced on their poor, unsuspecting band.

With that in mind, maybe it was always obvious that the next step for the now-cult classic would be a musical. Chicago’s pH Productions have rushed to realise this grand idea with aplomb and The Room: The Musical currently plays weekly at the pH Comedy Theatre. How does it all work out? Is it any good? Spoiler: The answer is yes. You can keep reading though.

When attempting to skewer something as obnoxiously awful as The Room, there’s a temptation to just play off the audience memories of the movie and have that do the heavy lifting for the performance, like when Family Guy gets lazy and goes “Remember this thing from the 80s? Is that funny?” Luckily, The Room: The Musical sidesteps this potential pitfall and produces something that is legitimately funny and entertaining in its own right.

The musical combines details and dialogue from the original film with its own brand of humour and awareness of the film’s shortcomings that allows the production to have greater continuity and depth in its characters while maintaining the same almost endearingly-awkward atmosphere that made the original such a belated-hit.

[vimeo 46010557 w=500&h=280]

 

Matt Gottlieb leads as Johnny, looking just right in an ill-fitting suit, which goes well with his bad hair and stilted talking. He doesn’t quite get the accent right because, you know, no one in the world has or ever sounded like Tommy Wiseau. Gottlieb makes Johnny sound more like a confused, naive generic foreigner from a fake European country in some comedy movie about fish out of water foreigners coming to America whereas Wiseau sounds like a Frankenstein monster with a cold impersonating Otto von Bismark. In fact, Gottlieb portrays Johnny so well and so clueless and simple that he comes off as much more sympathetic than the original character. This is pretty commendable as Johnny, the character, is a sinew-y ball of misogyny, impotent rage and bare ass.

Jess Herron, meanwhile, takes Lisa and makes her a much more fleshed-out and interesting character while keeping her a complete bitch and when paired up with Nick De Fina‘s hilariously clueless Mark (“I mean… the candles, the music, the sexy dress? What’s going on here, Lisa?”) and Tristan Tanner‘s fantastically obnoxious and cancer-ridden Claudette the laughs come hard and fast. The song Men! by Herron and Tanner, may be the entire productions stand out track, although act one closer I’ll Show Them All gives Les MiserablesOne Day More a run for its money (hey, I’ve never seen Philip Quast doing jumping jacks during on-stage simulated sex) so it’s a close call.

Denny, meanwhile, played by Dan Wright, takes Wiseau’s (after the fact) intentions for the character and spins that into gold all by himself. Turning Denny into a complete mental regressive with a fascination with balloons may not be the most subtle characterisation but it certainly makes you laugh, and plays well into the ending. Wright is also responsible for some of the musicals best visual gags and, man, is he strong. Either that or De Fina is made of hollow bird bones. Go see it, you’ll see what I mean.

They invited all the main cast of the musical for this photo. Good thinking!

Steve Hund and Mary Walsh don’t have much to play with as blow job-fixated Mike and clearly-on-prozac Michelle but then, that’s the point, isn’t it? What they do, they do well and their intrusion into a plot which really doesn’t involve them is always welcome. Symbol of Love and Act 2 Opener give them the chance to bust out their singing skills and they’re damn good but the comedy lies in their superfluousness and they can really riff on it. They really make what could have been a one note joke work well throughout the show.

Eric Oren, as the Sexy Troubador, makes The Room‘s painful R&B tracks bearable and I dare you to watch the movie after seeing the musical without wishing he was there to capture your attention during the awful sex scenes. Gottlieb, Herron and De Fina, meanwhile, make the musicial’s rendition of Tommy Wiseau’s chance to write himself into the sex he clearly feels he is owed fully necessary and vital love scenes (trimmed in this production to You Are My Rose and Crazy) much more tolerable. There’s certainly more dexterity and passion involved and unlike Wiseau, everyone involved knows that the belly button is not, in fact, where the vagina is located.

While I could destroy the meaning of the phrase “single out” by giving particular praise to De Fina, Wright, Herron and Tanner for their amazing work, if I were forced to pick just one stand out performer from the night I saw the performance I’d certainly have to consider Brett Mannes. As Chris-R, Peter and Steven (also, almost as himself, befuddled by the switch from Peter to Steven), Mannes is extremely impressive in his roles. He shifts between the mannerisms of his three roles pretty seamlessly and shines in two of the productions best songs, I Want My Money and Reefer Madness. Besides which, if nothing else, his outfit as Steven is worth the price of admission alone.

“Oh yeah, sorry about that whole pot and murder thing.”

While I’ve mentioned the performers, the songs are the key, aren’t they? Brad Kemp and Wally List draw from a variety of influences, including some skilled variants of The Room‘s infamous main theme to create a wonderful musical backdrop to director and writer Jason Geis‘ skilled work. Even the chorus get more to do than just waft around in the background awkwardly and I know for a fact that Jamie Jirak, Scott Hogan and Sharla Beaver, in addition to Patrick Serrano and Ben Palin drew out some of the loudest laughs on the night from the eager audience.

From the opening song, Oh Hai, which reveals the phrase to be the lazy script-writing it is to the jaunty Thinking & Girls and onto Tanner’s fantastic showtune turn in You Can’t Live On Love and into the wonderfully surreal Finale that will surely leave everyone going home happy, The Room: The Musical is a labour of love in the most literal sense. With the aid of Thayer Greenberg, Michelle Marquardt and Drew Current, Geis has put together a fully realised work, full of depth and craft and care. It’s amusing to think that if Tommy Wiseau had put half as much effort into his awkwardly surreal, laughably egotistical star vehicle (for himself, of course), then there wouldn’t be such a cult movie to base this wonderful musical on.

The Room: The Musical is currently playing at the pH Comedy Theatre in Chicago, every Saturday at 10:30 PM. Visit their website for details.

Trailer Dissection: Star Trek Into Darkness

This has been a very Trek-heavy week. The plot synopsis and one-sheet poster for Star Trek Into Darkness hit early, followed by the Season 2 blu-ray for The Next Generation on Tuesday, then came Star Trek Online’s winter event, and now the first teaser trailer for Into Darkness up above. Kind of an overload.

Nevermind all that other fluff, though. The trailer is why we’re here, so let’s pull this thing apart and see how it ticks.

The first major consideration is that Benedict Cumberbatch’s lead villain remains unidentified. Earlier reports stated that he’s someone we’ve seen before, presumably from either the original series or the first six movies, with the word “iconic” attached. Khan is the obvious first suspect – too obvious, and too not-British. Gary Mitchell (an American character originally) is generally the second most common name floating around. Reimagining him to be from England in this timeline is less of a head-scratcher than reworking a Vader-class villain like Khan.

Our second consideration could be a clue in disguise: the blonde woman seen here being mentally undressed by Kirk. If she turns out to be a young Carol Marcus, then Cumberbatch could indeed be Khan. However, she also strongly resembles Elizabeth Dehner from the classic TOS episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, which was Gary Mitchell’s story. It’s also possible that either Marcus or Dehner could appear independent of whoever Cumberbatch is playing, which throws this avenue of speculation out the window.

One quick note: Cumberbatch’s character is seen wearing Starfleet duds a couple times in this trailer. Khan and his people only really did that in the same manner as hunters wearing the bones or skins of their prey. Mitchell however, was a Starfleet officer. That said, it was only flirting with the galactic barrier that drove Mitchell to the dark side, so to speak. The mere glimpses we’ve seen here are very different in tone from that old story. Less action-adventure, more thriller.

On the subject of story themes, most of this teaser takes place planetside with our only ship shots being sea-based for once. Who knows if the real deal will really be so down to Earth, of course; but it could be an early indicator of the subject matter we’re in store for. Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if one of those ships messing around underwater is the Reliant despite Khan having nothing to do with this movie?

A proper extended version of this trailer opens with The Hobbit on December 14th (pray not to get stuck with one of the 48FPS versions) and Star Trek Into Darkness is out May 17th, 2013.

RAW Rambling 12/3/12: It’s Not A Lie If You Believe It

Welcome back to RAW Rambling, peeps. This is your weekly not-at-all-meant-to-be-taken-seriously look at the wacky wrestling sports entertainment circus that is WWE RAW. The real meat of this column are the stray observations to be found just beyond the first image below. Before that is a rundown of last week’s happenings and a quick ‘n’ dirty recap of this week’s show. Just in case you’re reading but not watching the episodes. Which is wise.

When we last saw our heroes: The Shield (not to be confused with S.H.I.E.L.D. but drawing from the same costuming department) made their interview debut. They’re here to forcefully eliminate injustices and dishonours, such as the same dudes getting title shots over and over for no reason… and rigged Twitter polls, apparently.

John Cena and AJ Lee continued their extremely awkward in-ring makeout sessions, which means that Dolph Ziggler has the honour of losing to Cena at the next pay-per-view. Because reasons. In less “High School Musical”-level romantic developments: Alberto Del Rio and Rosa Mendes exchanged a few subtle winks and nudges, like the grown adults they are.

Beyond the big-two angles: Big Show and Sheamus circled their calendars for a chairs match at TLC; Wade Barrett and Kofi Kingston will also meet in a title match; The Great Khali and Hornswoggle entered into a Cosmo Kramer/Mickey Abbott relationship.

This Week’s Quick ‘n’ Dirty Results: Team Hell No defeated the Prime Time Players in a match that only existed as a prelude to another Shield beatdown; AJ did a great job folding herself into origami shapes to sell Tamina’s offence and still won their match together anyway; The Miz solidified his face turn by jumping on CM Punk’s monologue, which resulted in a polygraph later on; John Cena/Sheamus were Teddy Long’d into a match against Dolph Ziggler/Big Show and won; Alberto Del Rio defeated Sin Cara just ’cause; Damien Sandow beat Santino just ’cause; Vince McMahon put the puzzle pieces together for Cena/Ziggler at TLC with Ziggler’s magic briefcase as collateral; Brad Maddox returned, lost to Randy Orton, who himself got jumped by Shield; US and Intercontinental title unification was teased with a great fatal four-way, but Antonio Cesaro prevented it for now; Shield reconvened to interrupt CM Punk’s polygraph session, but were routed by Hell No and Ryback.

…and now, the Rambling!

wwe kane daniel bryan hell no

• Unless he’s returning from a lengthy absence, what purpose does the huge delay between Kane’s pyro and his music still serve?

• The Shield’s calm and collected silent treatment is very effective, especially when looming over the arena from a skybox, not speaking or acting until necessary. Sometimes there’s only one of them in the skybox, sometimes they change positions while the camera is away, like house spiders or Weeping Angels. Even if the ultimate outcome is a foregone conclusion, there’s a chess match feel to it that I really enjoy. This is how you build suspense on a wrestling show and you don’t even need words to do it.

• Hey, remember the Kane who casually sauntered down to the ring and single-handedly annihilated the McMahon family, DX, and the Radicalz? Hard to believe that was almost fifteen years ago. These days, two Shield members are enough to take Kane apart. This really is the era of wrestlers who are just dudes, even the ones who were around back when wrestlers were supposed to be comic book characters. I wonder if the same thing would happen to Great Muta if he ever appears outside of Japan again.

• Thankfully, Kane and Daniel Bryan in deadly serious “let’s get shit done” mode could be the best they’ve ever been together and a totally necessary evolution of their team, since wacky Odd Couple hijinx can only last so long. Just ask Head Cheese or Booker T and Goldust.

wwe aj lee

• AJ is still extremely popular despite all the recent character assassination attempts made by the writers. She really doesn’t need John Cena. Putting her up against someone like Tamina Snuka for narrow squeaked-out victories by roll-up after getting tossed around like a rag doll may not be 100% ideal, but it’s certainly preferable to the alternative. There was hardly even a reference made to the “scandal” bullshit for the entire time that AJ was onscreen this week. Keep that up, please. Let Cena have his rivalry with Ziggler and AJ can have her thing with Tamina, and toss the root cause out the window for all I care. Some continuity should be ejected.

• Not only does Suited-Up Miz work surprisingly well as a babyface, he’s playing the good guy role better than any of the supposed “pure” babyfaces on the show. I actually kind of want to cheer for this guy rather than rolling my eyes and muting the TV whenever his music hits, which has been the case with both John Cena and Sheamus since I started watching this stuff again at Wrestlemania. He even wears pants!

• That said, the “walrus” insult against Paul Heyman is dumb (Be A Star!) and it’s entirely possible that I’m only giving Miz the thumbs-up because who the hell knows when Chris Jericho’s coming back.

• If the WWE insists on continuing their Teddy Long tag match routine with pairs of faces and heels in separate angles, at least make sure there’s an extra dimension to it somewhere, as was the case this time with Big Show (World Champion) and Ziggler (his eventual rival just waiting to cash-in). Not that anything was going to happen with that on free television, but still. Baby steps.

wwe brad maddox
Once again: Brad Maddox is the future.

• Brad Maddox returned to make sure that history never forgets the name Enterprise. I mean, Brad Maddox. And there’s my throwaway geek culture reference for the week. Maddox plays an amazing Hollywood-style sleazeball and even if all he ever does is talk and get fed to guys who don’t need minor victories like Randy Orton, I still consider that a win. Team Maddox!

• There’s an opportunity for an awesome outcome to this Cena/Ziggler Money in the Bank defence at TLC, and that would be to put Ziggler over Cena, thus reassuring everyone that they haven’t completely lost faith in the guy. That said, giving the magic briefcase to Cena might not be a total loss if it gets Hulk Hogan 2012 chasing the World Title instead of the WWE Title, even for just one PPV cycle. If he ultimately wins the World Title, great; it’s a secondary belt that could actually use a slight uplift, though the usual talk of a title unification is probably a pipe dream and I’d rather see someone other than Cena pull that off, obviously. If he loses, also great; Cena doesn’t really need it anyway and might be best used as a fall guy for someone who does, whether that’s Big Show or anyone else. As usual, the only loser is Ziggler.

• Free idea: if the WWE has their own iOS/Android app thing, then what the hell do they need Tout for? They could do all of that themselves through their own app with just a few nips/tucks. All they’d really need would be a profile system and camera functionality, which should be babytown frolics for any professional smartphone developer in 2012.

wwe wade barrett

• Now that I’ve raised the spectre of title unification (and not for the last time; I really want to see that happen someday) I wonder if that’s the plan for the United States and Intercontinental titles. Do we really need both of them now that the brand extension has all-but disappeared? Unification would be a nice short-term boost for whoever gets that push and the current roster isn’t quite large enough to require both.

• Kofi Kingston and R-Truth had a brief RVD/Tajiri moment there. I’ve missed that.

• Missed opportunity: have CM Punk pass the polygraph test, but reveal later on that it was a set up, with Miz and the random non-cop being just another cog in Paul Heyman’s machine. At the rate that The Shield makes new enemies, it can’t remain a three- or four-man crew forever unless the WWE truly plans on pushing the current members to the moon, plus a fake-out like that with Miz would be pretty cool, not to mention rare in an age when wrestling characters can remain stuck on one end of the Paragon/Renegade scale for years at a time. The finish we got was serviceable, with Punk’s exact involvement still a (rather shallow) mystery, but there’s always room for improvement.

wwe miz meme
Hiimdaisy really is everywhere these days.

Of course, it’s always possible that The Shield was never intended to be limited to just those three guys, regardless of what happens with Punk and Heyman. Maybe there are other folks down in NXT about to be called-up and mixed into it. Arguably, Kassius Ohno probably should’ve been slotted into Roman Reigns’ position right from the start, and other dudes like Big E. Langston or Leo Kruger could also work pretty well.

That’s all for this week. Stoke the flames of my ego with a comment below, or perhaps a Like or a Tweet if you truly care about my mental well-being. Until next time, I’m Del, and this is all my fault.

This week’s imagery courtesy of The Great Barrett Uprising, elpatronlordcris, wrestlingshowon, and rawsmackdownnxtdivas. Go give them a follow… and us, too!

The Week That Was 12/2: On Impostors

Funny story! I was planning on getting another The Week That Was up last week, buuuut then a little game called Persona 4 Golden game out (only $39.99 for the Playstation Vita, available now! *ding!*) and suddenly a good 40 or 50 hours of my life vanished, like so many “missing time” cases on Coast To Coast AM.

On the plus side, a rather lengthy review did happen to appear on this very site, so it wasn’t a total loss, right? …right? And we do have something of a double-header this week to make up the shortfall, as John Layfield has put together his own “Wiik That Was” for your perusal. See? We’re totally professional!

The Weekly Haul

neil gaiman hostess ad
The world of the now-defunct Hostess, as imagined by Neil Gaiman. Naturally.

• Review: Persona 4 Golden – Addition Without Subtraction. Persona 4 was at the top of its class when it was first released in 2008, and this new version for the Playstation Vita is all that and more. With that in mind, my review mainly covers the changes and additions made by Golden, most of which are very positive.

• RAW Rambling 11/26/12: Not Quite The Avengers Initiative I’m fiddling a little bit with the format of these articles on the behest of Mr. Layfield. More context? More weird Tumblr pics? Star ratings for matches like it’s 1999 or something? Let me know what you want in the comments.

• Nicolas Cage Really Is In Everything It’s true, he really is.

• That Charles Barkley RPG Has A Sequel On Kickstarter I wonder if Mr. Barkley himself is aware of these games? He seems to have a pretty solid sense of humour, so I’m sure he’d be down with it.

• Game Of Thrones: The Lost Seinfeld Episode It’s pretty safe to say that Ned Stark wasn’t the “master of his domain”, unfortunately for him.

• The Wiik That Was – 10 Miiverse Images of the Past 7 Days I suppose Mr. Layfield felt the need to get my ass in gear with a “Wiik” of his own. Will this become a running feature? Who knows! You’ll just have to keep your eyes peeled.

News We Missed

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been paying as close an eye to my usual news sources these last couple weeks. Still, here are a couple items for you anyway.

• There was a Walking Dead swimsuit calendar, and it was horrifying. No, it doesn’t feature the show’s female cast. It’s all zombies in bikinis. Really. On the scale of disturbing ideas for calendars, this ranks somewhere between that fireman thing my mother tried to give me once (presumably as a test of my sexuality or something) and that one a bunch of old nude ladies did for some kind of medical research benefit. Brr. (via io9)

• Patrick Stewart pulled a Stephen Colbert impression for PBS. Now here’s fundraising I can get behind! Looks like Stewart’s recent appearances on The Daily Show rubbed off on him. (via TrekMovie)

Community Things!

CF-XCOM has been underway for a while now. Here’s the latest mission report straight from our forums’ own Falcon Critical:

We shot down a medium UFO, it took both our interceptors to do so, and we’re going to have to clear the insides of this thing. Thor takes another break, despite the last time he did so going disastrously.

The team spots high ground to one side and moves to secure it. Estranged sets herself up the elevated position and the team moves forward. Two thin men stroll into line of sight, HunterF and Est both miss their overwatch shots, but Est doesn’t the second time around. Squad sight snipers on high ground are pretty OP.

caffeine-fueled xcom

Estranged drops the thin man and HunterF retreats to better cover… uncovering two sectoids. Pontiff run and guns his way over and shotguns one, the other remains at large along with the thin man in another direction. With a couple of troops on overwatch, a suicidal sectoid charges at Pontiff and DHerder guns it down before it can get close.

Another two sectoids show up and one brazenly sits behind a tree daring us to shoot at him. We do, and we miss. The thin man from earlier has swung around to back up the sectoids as well, but Est puts him down. Pontiff moves in to get a shot at the sectoid, but it is overwatching.

caffeine-fueled xcom

It hits for 4 damage, meaning Pontiff’s going to be in the infirmary for a while. DHerder continues to lead by example, lasering the sectoid through a tree for the kill. Pontiff darts back to DH for a little healing spray, and HunterF finishes off the other little grey immigrant.

No other aliens appear on the way into the ship, and even inside the ship it’s in the control room that we find one Outsider. Everyone misses him and he responds in kind. Again most of the team miss, but HunterF claims the kill.

MISSION SUCCESSFUL
7 Aliens Deceased
—————————————
Lt. “Drifter” Estranged (Sniper) – 12 kills, 8 missions
Sgt. “Prophet” D Herder (Support) – 7 kills, 8 missions PROMOTION
Cpl. “Loco” Pontiff of Zargos (Assault) – 8 kills, 4 missions PROMOTION WOUNDED (5 days)
Cpl. Hunter “Thunder” Friar (Heavy) – 7 kills, 4 missions PROMOTION
Sq. True Perception (Support) – 3 kills, 2 missions

Pontiff earns the nickname “Loco”, probably due to running into battle with a shotgun when facing plasma toting aliens.
HunterF steals some of Thor’s “Thunder” by proving his match as a heavy.

Want to help save the world? Sign up!

Ard, C-F’s artist du jour, may or may not be rendering myself and a few others as Persona characters. So look forward to that, should it really happen. You’ll just have to check out the forums for more!

One More Video!

Another shout-out to Ard for this one. See? Video games are beneficial! Take that, old people!

See you next week!

The Wiik That Was – 10 Miiverse Images of the Past 7 Days

The Wii U has been out about two weeks now and people are getting used to the features of the Miiverse; Nintendo’s social network which is run by a bunch of fascists who enforce fun, just like that one Sylvester McCoy Doctor Who episode, except everything is grey and blue instead of pink.

What’s been going on in the past week or so in the Miiverse? What are the concerns of players and, more importantly, what have they doodled for us to be entertained by?

Some Miis tend to stick to the straight out homage to classic games.

Drawn by Zockrates (Germany)

This drawing ponders what would happen if the irresistible force met the immovable object. The answer? Hilarity! (and concussions). Bowser always get a bad rap, but you’ve got to feel bad for his minions sometimes. All this trouble just to get their boss a date? They must really like the guy. I can’t even get Del to be my wingman because he always takes it literally and turns up dressed like Maverick from Top Gun and singing Take My Breath Away.

All this high-paced Mario action (and Tom Cruise based non-sequitirs) are no match for the power of nostalgia, however and this next image basically summarises 50% of the posts about New Super Mario Brothers U.

Drawn by RupeeClock (United Kingdom)

Hey, remember when the past was the present? Wasn’t everything better back in 1985 for Nintendo? No hour long updates for the NES right out of the box and Duck Hunt never needed any balance patches. Then again, I haven’t had to blow into a console to get it to work since the N64 and neither my Wii U nor any of my games are in danger of rusting any time soon.

Nintendo has been making slightly more of an effort to court third-party developers thus far. Although it’s a bit up in the air whether that attitude will last, it at least allows for one of the favourite hobbies of any fanbase: Nonsensical crossovers!

Drawn by speedpop (Australia)

Of course, if you don’t want to see Luigi throw fire balls at the non-distinct shojo-riffic cast of both Dynasty and Samurai Warriors, starring in their own crossover game, then I don’t know what to tell you.

While a lot of people would like to see Nintendo go all Kingdom Hearts as regards third party interaction, right down to having Bowser voiced by someone from *NSYNC, not everyone envisions these franchise mash-ups as working out for the Nintendo crew.

Drawn by Mikytosh (France)

Stop! Stop! He’s already dead! Mario isn’t even British, Connor, leave him alone. Perhaps it’s a comment on how Nintendo’s attempt at flirtation with third party developers will lead to their ultimate demise. Or maybe we just get a kick out of seeing the happy go lucky characters murdered in the name of realism?

Speaking of crossover appeal, both Nintendo and Sega are fond of their own intra-company franchise crossovers. Nintendo has the Smash Brothers franchise and Sega is making some headway with its SONIC (and some other guys no-one cares about) All-Stars Racing series. However, although many of your unprofitable favourite characters are available for selection not every one is satisfied with the roster.

Drawn by Viral (United States)

Why no Phantasy Star Online racers or tracks? Well, that’s because everyone knows that the only Phantasy Star game worth mentioning is Phantasy Star Universe. Technically, the entire game could be taking a place on a distant planet in one of the Phantasy Star galaxies though. Besides, who needs classic Sega game references when you can race as Danica Patrick, NASCAR driver, right?

So people talk about games a lot on the Miiverse, and rightly so. But what about when you’ve got little to say about the games themselves and just want to relax and pursue intelligent conversations with your fellow gamers? What then? That’s right: add memes!

Drawn by Garrett (Italy)

We tried to contact 2005 for a quote but I couldn’t hear anything over the sound of Bo Bice’s Inside Your Heaven. Of course, the real problem is that “taking the Nabbits to Isengard” works so much better, except of course no one takes Nabbits anywhere in New Super Mario Brothers U.

ZombiU is set in Britain and is, in fact, so British that you end up with a cricket bat in fairly short order. Just the thing for keeping hordes of zombies at bay, along with tea, the queen’s corgis and a lingering longing for the days of empire. Obviously, the memes follow suit.

Drawn by AJ (Panama)

Of course, the real problem with swinging a cricket bat is that no matter how effective it is, most of the world is going to see it as the more boring, sweater clad version of swinging a baseball bat and when someone is comparing you unfavourably with baseball, you know you have problems. Still, they have Doctor Who over there, as well as about half of the PBS line up, so they can’t feel too bad.

So while Britain is getting to grips with the new phenomenon of cricket hooliganism, what’s going on in the former colonies as regards the Wii U? Not much, as a national emergency coincided with the Wii U’s launch, throwing millions of American’s peace of minds in jeopardy.

Drawn by kludge (United States)

Yes, Hostess, makers of Twinkies, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs and other brand names which are not at all sexually suggestive has closed down for the time being, blaming labour strikes amongst other factors for their total bankruptcy and mismanagement for decades. While consumers will have to turn elsewhere for their oily, chemical-infused death treats at least we can take solace in the fact that their wonderful comic advertisments remain.

Although America was left reeling as shares in insulin dropped, the ship was soon righted through the power of anime breasts.

Drawn by guek (United States)

As Ayame (who does not appear in ZombiU, at least to my knowledge) is the teenage boy’s fantasy, she helpfully labels her underwear as she’s always looking for it due to a propensity for taking it off. Of course, dressed like that maybe she turns up in ZombiU thinking it’s the set of Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad. If so, things are going to get very messy in London, very quickly.

That about wraps it up. But before we go, let’s check out what’s happening in Scandinavia.

Drawn by zukans (Finland)

fonland plz