I don’t really know how to explain this, so I guess I’ll follow the breadcrumbs from the very beginning.
Barkley Shut Up and Jam! was a basketball game released in 1994 for the Sega Genesis and SNES starring (of course) Charles Barkley. It was pretty much just an unremarkable NBA Jam clone with Barkley’s face on the box. Nothing worth writing home about, although obviously it struck a chord with some people or I wouldn’t be recounting this history to you now.
14 years later, a small group of amateur developers put together Tales of Game’s Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa – better known as Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden – using the RPG Maker and Game Maker software.[ref]For those of you not in the know, these tools are the game development equivalent of stone knives and bearskins.[/ref] It gained considerable notoriety due to being ridiculous, hilarious, and completely batshit insane.
So that brings us to today, as a Kickstarter campaign has begun to fund a proper Gaiden sequel dubbed The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 – Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie – Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa. Or, y’know. “Barkley 2.”
If any of this made sense, go throw a few dollars at the project, assuming post-apocalyptic basketball-themed Japanese RPGs not made in Japan are your thing. Maybe it’ll scratch an itch you never knew you had.
Pledge $100 and you’ll even score yourself this amazing body pillow!
Yep. This is happening.[ref]For real! Barkley 2 was officially funded as of December 28th 2012, earning $120,335 in pledges. The goal was a mere $35,000.[/ref]
Nicolas Cage is one prolific dude. With over 60 films under his belt since 1980, he’s probably even more deserving of that old Samuel L. Jackson joke on Family Guy than Mr. Jackson was, though cameo appearances in older or more iconic films have often escaped him. Not being born yet carries certain professional disadvantages.
Well, no more! Pleated Jeans has the solution with the re-edit above. As always, Wrath of Khan is woefully underrepresented, but whatever. This is still a pretty good start.
Welcome back to RAW Rambling, brothers. This week I’m going to try something a little different in the interest of context. If you’re not a regular follower of this wacky wrestling thing that I’m ranting about here every week, check out the new Quick ‘n’ Dirty paragraph situated right below last week’s recap. There I’ll provide a basic rundown of the show’s developments so that when you make your way down to the meat of the column, it might make a little more sense – as if wrestling was ever sensical to begin with.
When we last saw our heroes: The squick quotient was upped into the stratosphere by John Cena and AJ Lee with an extended in-ring slobbering session. Dolph Ziggler, perhaps on behalf of the audience, took that moment to pounce, which led to Cena reinjuring himself in the ensuing chase. That’s what happens when you try to run with a boner; the low-top sneakers probably didn’t help either.
Meanwhile! CM Punk and Paul Heyman celebrated Punk’s 365th day as WWE champion. A wild Ryback appeared, but so did the uplifted NXT trio of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and ALL-CAPS DEAN AMBROSE, allowing the beatdown finish from Survivor Series to be repeated for the benefit of those smart enough not to spend money on pay-per-view events. It was super effective.
The Quick ‘n’ Dirty: This week, the aforementioned trio was packaged as The Shield and their goals established as “correcting injustices” and “fighting dishonours”. I guess my next Klingon character in Star Trek Online will have to be named Dean Ambrose now. They took out Daniel Bryan, Kane, and Ryback (again) to close the show, much to the bewilderment of onlooking CM Punk. The John Cena/AJ Lee “scandal” storyline also continued to sputter along. No closure there. In romantic angles that haven’t been ruined yet, Rosa Mendes and Alberto Del Rio are still chasing each other. Elsewhere, Big Show and Seamus are set to beat each other silly with chairs at TLC; Tamina Snuka knocked Alicia Fox down a peg (so that’s -1 pegs, if you’re counting); Damien Sandow killed a little time taking Zack Ryder apart; Khali and Hornswoggle are a wacky pair, but can they get along in the suburbs?!
• Ryback functions pretty well as a curtain-jerker, but he might be even better as a Mortal Kombat-style overseer who just sits at ringside and randomly yells slogans at people. “Wake up” and “finish it” just need a bonus stage quote to complete the triad. This would be preferable to letting him shout/pant into a live microphone. Very few people here would benefit from a manager more than Ryback. Apparently, chanting three words over and over throughout a commercial break exerts him enough to start sweating all over the place.
• Vickie Guerrero’s title of “managing supervisor” is the new “assistant to the regional manager”. Dwight Shrute would own this place.
• Memo to Michael Cole: “swoggled” is not a thing, so please stop trying to make it a thing. Bonus drinking game rule: drink whenever the WWE tries too hard to force a talking point into popular usage. “Wildcat Kofi Kingston” alone could put you in a coma these past few weeks. A nice, comfortable, warm little coma.
• Rosa Mendes swaps between languages so frequently she could be a character in a bad episode of Firefly. If there were bad episodes of Firefly. Does “Safe” count? That one had by far the thickest and most awkward uses of bilingualism on that show.
• While I’m dropping old TV references all over the place: The Great Khali is Kramer and Hornswoggle is Mickey. That’s the only way I can accept this pairing. Have Hornswoggle start flying off the handle at people for no reason, it might work. Anyway, keeping Khali around only makes sense if he’s used to make Alberto Del Rio and others look good, so all’s well tolerable at the moment. Anything more than that and I’ll just let Barney Stinson here explain my feelings for me.
• Paul Heyman’s “innocent until proven guilty” was perfect. This cat could act circles around a lot of people in Hollywood if he weren’t so firmly entrenched in the wrestling world. Is it too much to hope for that he’ll be around in a highly visible, dialogue-heavy role until the end of time, and somehow not get himself on the wrong side of management like he usually does? Watching this guy chew scenery is one of my only reliable excuses to keep tuning in every week.
• The interview with Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose accomplished exactly what it needed to: they exposed Ambrose’s speaking abilities to that 95% of the audience who never watched FCW; Rollins as the vaguely CM Punk-ish figure (some very similar inflections and mannerisms there; hopefully the Jeff Hardy prediction doesn’t come true); and Reigns was very wisely reserved, which I suppose makes him the Batista of the group. Bonus points for referencing Nexus and shooting down the annoying NWO meme that’s been going around.
• Oh, and those three collectively are now called The Shield, and their philosophy is somewhat Lawful Evil. As usual, the supposed bad guys on this show make a lot more sense than the good guys. That tends to happen when you write actual characters as opposed to walking merch tables.
• I was hoping that Tamina Snuka would keep her Turks bodyguard suit as ring attire. Her old music also doesn’t mesh terribly well with this new twist on her character, so why not go all-out with it? Even just the theme from Reservoir Dogs would be an improvement. I guess what I’m saying here is that she rocked that suit.
• This week in appropriate “what?” chants: any usage during the “scandal” segment of the show. It’s normally one notch below Smackdown’s canned heat on the scale of shit I hate about wrestling, but if they were used as a barometer for crowd opinion (which they aren’t, obviously) I could tolerate the chant’s continued existence. But only because the far more direct “this is boring” fell out of common usage years ago. Too many syllables in “boring”, I suppose.
• Daniel Bryan making fun of CNN’s magical map graphics may be a few weeks too late, but it’s still damn funny anyway. He and Kane should do that every time “the universe” is tasked with a Twitter poll, because it’s an impossible gimmick to take seriously so they may as well have fun with it. Also, I love how Bryan somehow has the ability to manipulate random backstage TV monitors with hand motions. It’s just as ridiculous as Kane’s “fire powers” but far more mundane. That tickles me a bit.
• Memo: any future matches between Daniel Bryan and Rey Mysterio need to be at least twice as long as this one. These two work well with just about everyone, so of course they’re great against each other. Put ’em in there for an hour, I’d watch that.
• Seeing John Cena go into Hulk Hogan mode while trapped in Dolph Ziggler’s sleeper hold, then immediately segue into an STF like nothing happened, makes me more of a Ziggler fan than ever. Cena’s superhuman act is annoying enough under normal circumstances; watching him pull that while he’s also supposed to be selling an injury just makes my brain hurt.
• If you didn’t watch The Soup’s little WWE crossover episode, it was worth 30 minutes of your time, so go find it. Go figure, it was was much less PG than anything the WWE has produced on their own in the last few years, so that novelty alone was pretty fun. Joel McHale and Daniel Bryan in one room was almost too much hilarity for me to handle. Combinations like these almost make up for McHale’s tiny and overhyped role on Sons of Anarchy this season.
• Seamus the character continues to make no damn sense at all, but Seamus the fighter is getting more and more fun to watch, especially pitted against Antonio Cesaro. That said, Cesaro’s style has already begun to eclipse anything Seamus is doing based on those uppercuts alone. I have to wonder if Cesaro has something on his gloves that go *clack* whenever he punches the air, like the stories I used to hear about Tajiri’s boots, or if he’s really working that stiff. Whatever the case, there are very few spots in the WWE that look better than Cesaro’s badass uppercut counter on a flying opponent, or the one he does while he’s flying.
• Best moment of unintentional comedy: watching Big Show awkwardly rip apart a chair as a show of strength – shades of TNA-era Ric Flair – followed by Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler bending over backwards for the next two segments trying to sell it.
• Damien Sandow is still awesome. Until Cody Rhodes recovers and they can get back to whatever was planned for them originally, that’s all that needs to be said. Each and every week.
• I like how they’re keeping CM Punk on the periphery of The Shield’s antics for now. While there’s obviously an expiration date attached to that holding pattern, it does allow two story branches to be considered: first, they could align The Shield with Punk and Heyman as most are predicting, thus forming the next big heel stable the internet is always clamouring for, which is the most likely choice.
Alternatively, they could use The Shield as a mechanism to turn Punk face again, since his heel turn obviously isn’t working too well and no amount of Jerry Lawler heart attack jokes seem to be helping.
That’s all for this week. Tune in next time for another round of tweaks and tucks, if need be.
In case you missed it the first time around, Persona 4 was an RPG for the Playstation 2 in which you followed a year in the life of Souji SetaYu NarukamiCharlie Tunoku, a Japanese high school student sent to live in the tiny mountain town of Inaba while his parents worked abroad. A series of paranormal murders began upon his arrival, pushing Charlie and his new friends into forming their own “investigation team” – one that involved physically entering television sets and fighting the shadowy aspects of mankind’s collective unconscious.
It was perhaps the biggest hit for Japanese developer Atlus ever, one that has seen its story retold in an array of different media since then, including its own anime series. Now, the remastered Persona 4 Golden has arrived for the Playstation Vita, becoming simultaneously the definitive version of Persona 4 and also the only truly compelling reason to purchase Sony’s troubled handheld aside from the recent expansion of their Playstation Plus service.
Having read those introductory paragraphs, you’ve most likely (and very correctly) guessed that our review for Persona 4 Golden will be almost entirely positive. Congratulations, your Understanding has greatly increased. So with that in mind, let’s focus mainly on Golden’s changes and additions from here on out.
First, the big stuff. There are two new Social Links for players to indulge in. The first is with Marie (pictured above) who falls somewhere between Elizabeth and Margaret on the Persona scale; an outsider who, while naive, isn’t completely removed from the real world. Marie is thankfully the beneficiary of some very strong voice work. The second is Adachi, a familiar face for P4 veterans. Both are important to the overall story rather than being mere side characters.
Both Chie and Teddie have retained their new voices as introduced by Persona 4 Arena and the anime’s English dub. This is a good thing, as both those products are still very recent and switching up the actors any further would be an awkward blow to continuity. That said, I will always prefer the somewhat more mature portrayal of Chie in the original Persona 4, though I do realize that recasting her was a necessity which also opened up new dialogue opportunities with Golden that would’ve been impossible otherwise.
Online functionality has also been added in the form of the Voice and SOS options. It’s not true multiplayer – which is a good thing as such a mode would never fit into Persona 4’s existing structure – but something more akin to Dark Souls and its predecessor. Tapping the Voice button will fill your screen with speech bubbles that indicate what other players did in your current position, which can be useful for weighing your daily options at a glance instead of wandering around town looking for something to do. However, as different players progress through the social aspect of Persona 4 Golden in different ways, there will usually be a few bubbles that won’t reflect your own situation, and you’ll likely have avenues of your own that aren’t shown either.
Touching the SOS button while in a dungeon will send a distress signal over the Playstation Network, which will provide HP and SP regeneration at the beginning of your next battle if responded to by another player. This works basically the same way as the Invigorate skills already in the game, but depending on how many players respond it can be dramatically more effective. If used liberally, SOS could allow your party to remain in the TV world indefinitely without spending any yen or items on healing, depending on your play style. It could also be a huge boon to players using the Very Hard difficulty setting.
Unfortunately, SOS pauses the game for a moment while the signal is going out, which delivers a slight hit to immersion. This naturally becomes more of an issue if your Wi-Fi network is prone to interruptions or if PSN is on one of its little sabbaticals. Of course, Voice and SOS can both be disabled entirely at any point and the game prompts you to make this decision on every startup.
Voice and SOS are also Persona 4 Golden’s only use of the Vita’s touch capabilities, which could be good or bad depending on your outlook. No one likes control gimmicks that feel tacked on, yet minor uses of such functionality often feel like missed opportunites or wasted potential. Personally, I just dislike getting fingerprints on the screen. It’s for that reason that I wonder if this feature could’ve been mapped to the rear touchpad instead, which like most Vita titles, sees no action at all in Persona 4 Golden.
Tweaks to Persona 4’s existing mechanics are almost too numerous to mention although several stand out from the pack as critical. Chief among them is the ability to cherry-pick your new Persona’s skills before fusion, rather than “The Nose” giving you a random assortment of inherited abilities as he did before. This means that the days of backing in and out of the fusion screen until you get the skills you want, a frustrating limitation of this system since its introduction in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, are finally at an end.
Another welcome addition to the fusion system is the Fusion Search screen, wherein a list of all the Personas you can create with your current stock are given to you straight up. You can still select two or more of your Personas blindly the old-fashioned way, but with Search, there isn’t much reason to unless you’re intentionally going for a huge multi-Persona fusion job. This isn’t as big a deal as the skill picker, which had me jumping out of my chair and DX crotch-chopping when I first read about it, but it is nonetheless very nice to have.
Skill cards have also been added to the mix. Obtained via the revamped Shuffle Time minigame, you can register skill cards in the Velvet Room in the same manner as Personas which allows you to purchase them later and apply them to any Persona on your active roster. These cards contain skills ranging from the expected staples to exotics that I don’t recognize at all, some of which could be new to Golden.
In battle, Persona-based combination attacks can now be triggered by All-Out attacks, forming a one-two punch capable of laying-out most basic enemies. Furthermore, S-Link progression now unlocks new skills for your party member’s Personas; for instance, Yukiko’s Persona can now learn Mudo fairly early on, which only helps the never-ending search for enemy affinities and weaknesses. However, a lot of rebalancing has also been done to prevent the player from steamrolling over everything, particularly in the case of bosses, though rest easy knowing that Chie is still perfectly capable of punting a mid-boss into orbit.
A balance pass has also been made over the non-combat gameplay to account for all the new timesinks. New books, new jobs, and new side activities have all been added, many of which can raise more than one social characteristic at once, and the options in this area which already existed have also been improved. Finish reading that Knowledge-boosting manual early on and every subsequent study session will be doubled. Being able to explore the town at night also grants new methods for boosting stats like Diligence and Courage, as does taking a ride on the scooter to neighbouring Okina City.
With so many enhancements made to Persona 4’s already winning marriage of story and mechanics and with nary a strike to be made against it, Persona 4 Golden becomes the definitive edition of P4 – and the strongest weapon in the Playstation Vita’s wanting arsenal – pretty much by default. Fans of Persona in particular and RPGs in general, with a “J” or otherwise, should consider this a no-brainer addition to your library if you happen to own a Vita already. If not, it’s your best justification yet to grab that new chunk of hardware.
For non-fans or the unfamiliar, consider the following words and phrases: steak; TV world; the Meat Dimension; luchador masks; Mysterious Fox and Funky Student; “the secret animal cracker.” There are so many more, and so much depth beyond just the comical aspects. If you want to discover what any of that means for yourself, Persona 4 Golden the best way to do so.
If our children and posterity yet to come look back upon the Wii U for any reason, chances are it could be for Nintendo Land. It is to the Wii U what Wii Sports was to the Wii: that little packed-in curiosity that kept the kids happy despite not getting any real games for Christmas along with it; or for the more casual consumer, it pretty much was the Wii.
So if indeed the same thing ends up happening with Nintendo Land, be ready for the musical selections above and below to play a significant role. November 2012 could be forever remembered as “that month when everyone on Earth had the same ringtone.”
Apologies in advance if either of these tunes get stuck in your heads. I’m a doctor blogger, not a escalator musician, so don’t shoot the messenger! Blame Nintendo!
Adolescent Delsaber should’ve seen this coming. Despite spending a ton of my yout’ watching Fresh Prince reruns nearly every weeknight and playing Sonic 3 – that’s 1/2 of the best Sonic game of all time, by the way – combinations like this one never occurred to me.
But now that it has, there’s something about the Fresh Prince theme’s beat that I figured would lend itself more to other Sonic levels. I just can’t quite place which ones. Marble Garden, maybe? Mushroom Hill?
Whatever. I should be happy that Sega Genesis mashups are happening at all. It almost validates the mid-90s version of me who was always arguing with the SNES kids.
So, like many people out there, I’ve managed to get my hands on a Wii U, on the condition that I write words about it. This isn’t a game review, so I’m not really going to base my findings on how fun Nintendo Land is or how ZombiU is clearly bullshit, no matter how long I keep playing and starting over.
The Wii U has been out a few days now. It’s purportedly selling well and although it is not a complete sell out like its predecessor, at least as far as “Basic” units are concerned, neither is it a flop. Without sustained hyperbole, such as Sony’s initial bullish reactions to the notion that PS3s were not selling out across the land in 2006, this seems palatable. Even Sega’s much vaunted 9/9/99 Dreamcast launch was touted as the most successful console launch in history at the time, and look how that turned out. From a casual perspective, there’s not much to worry about, unless you were one of those speculators, hoping to sell your console on eBay for a small fortune.
Cosmetically, the Wii U is sleek and smooth, as is the Game Pad which comes packaged with it. They also absorb fingerprints like the damn things were made of half-melted chocolate so if that’s a concern for you, you’d be wise to invest in some sort of covering for your Game Pad at least. Size wise, the console itself rates about 0.25 Xbox 360, which is roughly 0.01 Sega Game Gear or 0.0001 original Xbox for those using older measurements and is smaller than my Hori fight sticks for the PS3 and 360. You’ll be hard pressed not to find space for it whereas my ancient backwards-compatible PS3 is large enough to cause shelving nearby to creak ominously.
The Game Pad is large, but well designed, which means it never feels too big for your hands. The screen in the middle may space the left and right hand sides from each other but the pad itself is thin, and unless you have wee T-Rex arms that makes all the buttons easy to reach. It syncs well with the Wii U’s menus and has been used at least adequately in the games available so far. I believe there is far more real potential in the notion of the Game Pad screen than in motion controls, but that’s just me.
The Game Pad screen responds much like the DS/3DS screen, for obvious reasons. Nintendo will be missing a trick if they don’t eventually release a Game Pad that can accept DS/3DS carts. Think of it as the old Super Game Boys, except good. I haven’t experienced much problems with responsiveness but then I naturally pound away at the bloody thing like I was playing Donkey Konga. Do note though that I don’t use capacitive touchscreens much myself so I’m sure I’m “missing out” on the feeling of being downgraded to a resistive model. Score one for the Luddites!
The user interface is similar to the Wii. And the Nintendo DS. And the Nintendo 3DS. I think you have to accept that this is the Nintendo look now. The Playstation line goes for black and blue a la the beating the Vita is taking, the Xbox is aping whatever the current Microsoft OS is and Nintendo is grey, white and blue, the washed out American flag you shouldn’t have left out in the sun all the time.
The transfer of original Wii to Wii U data is much the same as it is for the DS to 3DS transfer, down to the adorable Pikmin helpers carting off your data for newer horizons. It’s more difficult, due to the need to have your Wii and Wii U both operational simultaneously with much switching between inputs but once you get going, it’s not the most inconvenience you’ll suffer.
No, that goes to the 10-15 second loading time whenever you select a menu option. We’re not talking the short loading bursts that drive some gamers into an apocalyptic rage in 2012 where one can only imagine their reaction to seeing the original Tomb Raider load times. This is pretty irredeemable by comparison. It stalls your progression and train of thought and, worse, can actively discourage you from exploring aspects of the Wii U.
On another note, the first day (or not by now, I guess) updates right out of the box are apparently an issue right now. Many people seem to be upset as the worlds of console and PC gaming continue to collide like when Gohan and Cell had that awesome Kamehameha duel in Dragonball Z. Updates! Patches! Energy beams exploding the moon! DLC! Really though, the Wii has had system updates for yonks, not to mention those other consoles. Yes, it’s more annoying than not needing a system update but I think we need to accept this burden in the current marketplace.
It’s a big update though. While not the hour plus download times I’ve seen reported elsewhere (again, because I’ve missed the rush due to tardiness), it’s more comparable to one of Sony’s large fireware updates than one of Microsoft’s tetchy 40 second jobs. Calm down, you can wait half an hour to play Nintendo Land, it’s not like you have 1080p New Zelda Adventure in your hands.
Graphically, the Wii U holds up well against the 360 and PS3. I’m not a huge specs guy, but the overdue leap to HD visuals is wonderful. From what I can tell, there’s nothing to suggest that the graphics won’t improve further with time but, yeah, expect the Wii U to be outclassed graphically by the newest Microsoft and Sony consoles once they come out. If you’re not hung up over graphics too much, just know that the HD output makes things clear and easy to follow.
The Miiverse, Nintendo’s new friendy-friend system thankfully abolishes friend codes to the trashbin of history along with the Virtual Boy, Daikatana and that bit in Suikoden II where it totally looks like Teresa’s betraying you in Muse. It’s counter-intuitive to set up and I admit I needed to look up that I had to open the menu, select the friend icon and set up my already set up account for friends before I could actually accept or reject them but once I got that sorted out, it seemed pretty easy. Right now, I’m a fan of the “boards” for different games, where questions, discussion and stupid pictures can be shared although that could change as the trolls stream in. We’ll see how that develops.
Some people are upset that TVii has been delayed until December. While this is a blow to Nintendo, as they had hyped it as a day one feature, honestly, another attempt at making a console “the entertainment centre of my living room” isn’t what I’m holding out too strongly for, especially when no one games console can claim to be the damn video game centre of my living room. We’ll see if Nintendo can bridge the gap, but I won’t be betting my soon-to-be-defunct Wii points on it.
Any other flaws? 32GB “deluxe” storage is a joke and Nintendo have probably kneecapped their online store from the start by doing this. Asking players to invest in additional external hard drives is a tough sell. The need to boot up what is essentially a Wii emulator worse than Dolphin to play Wii games is staggeringly ignorant and really, shouldn’t the Wii Shop and the new Nintendo eShop be merged? No? Am I the only person who finds it weird that there are no Virtual Console games on the eShop and that I have to boot up a fake Wii on my new Wii U to access a relic of a store to buy games with a (perhaps) soon-to-be-obsolete points currency? No? Okay.
Right now, the Wii U is a flawed machine. Nintendo’s autocratic attitude means that this is unlikely to change very much. Things will be tweaked and improved here and there but for the most part, this is the Wii U people will be playing for either the next few years, or until next year when the latest Sony and Microsoft offering will murder it like it was so much Dreamcast (I’m sorry, Sega. Power Stone was pretty cool!).
The Wii U is a sequel in the truest sense. It’s an update of the original Wii console, rather than the whole new world the Wii proved to be in comparison to the Gamecube. Evolution, not revolution. This isn’t a bad thing, but it seems Nintendo is having a hard time presenting what the Wii U is and isn’t to consumers. Time will tell how that may affect its prospects.
The Deluxe package is the only one worth considering and $350 is a relatively decent price for a new console out of the gate, especially with a free title and 10% back on downloaded titles, but if you don’t desperately need to play any of the admittedly large selection of launch titles (remember that the Nintendo 64 launched with your options being Super Mario 64 or a wet wipe coated in swine flu), I’d hold off for now.
Then! Survivor Series happened, during which Team Ziggler narrowly defeated Team Foley to finally settle no grievances in particular. Seamus carried a 500lb man on his shoulders. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and ALL-CAPS DEAN AMBROSE pulled a three-man Nexus routine on Ryback, thus ensuring the undying loyalty of both /r/SquaredCircle and NeoGAF for years to come. Dean shot Lucifer in the head with the Colt, but it had no effect. Now!
• According to Ryback, he is the hunter, and CM Punk’s alleged triad of conspirators are the prey. That never worked out very well for the Hirogen, if memory serves.
• If Tensai is still here for any reason, it’s to be fed to guys like Ryback the day after a big loss, to avoid making a big star appear weak. In Ryback’s case, only Tensai or maybe Brodus Clay work as such; having him squash local indies and Heath Slater wouldn’t do the trick. It’s such a situational role that it almost seems pointless. Or, it’s The Worf Effect.
• Ever noticed how many wrestlers in the WWE these days do something similar to Ryback’s shoulder-pump-thing whenever they’re waiting for an opponent to stand up? Seamus, Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, and Zack Ryder all have some variation of it, and that’s just off the top of my head. I’ve started to liken this to an RPG boss switching idle animations to “charge up” a big attack for a few turns. Kill it before the timer runs out!
• The WWE is still pushing that “longest running episodic television series” line on us. Take that, Gunsmoke! Really, does anyone care about that statistic? Show of hands.
• I wonder where Wade Barrett would be on the ladder had he not been sidelined for so long with that injury. Probably not in little non-title matches with Kofi, I’d bet. And he’d probably have renamed “the souvenir” to “the bullhammer” a long time ago too, or just switched to a different finisher entirely. Maybe there’d be a magical briefcase in the picture. Alternate universes, tons of fun! By the way, there’s something on your back…
• “I’m A Paul Heyman Guy” t-shirts are now a thing that exist. I sort of want one, but I also kind of see it as something that I could just wander down to the local Dog’s Ear and make from scratch myself. And there’s no way that’s not going to be another puzzle piece in all this speculation over a new Heyman stable. Unless they’re doing it just to troll the internet, in which case I’m onboard even more.
• For all I know Aksana could be far better in the ring than she appears, but without a little more time, who would know? The length of these matches do their participants no justice. The crowds would probably start to care more if that time was provided, and therefore the product given room to develop, otherwise the reasons are few. Time = exposure + energy. The talent is there, even with the recent exodus of skilled workers like Beth Phoenix. It just has to be booked properly.
Of course, the longer the women’s matches become, the more of Jerry Lawler being Jerry Lawler we’ll have to put up with.
• I’m perfectly fine with Brodus Clay only existing to be deadlifted by Antonio Cesaro like a boss. Fun fact: that is something Cesaro has done in two consecutive matches with Clay, while Ryback could only manage to get Tensai up once. Allegations of sandbagging or not, it’s a feat that shouldn’t go unnoticed just because Cesaro is the guy you’re supposed to chant “USA!” at as if he were Nikolai Volkoff and the Cold War was still happening.
• Anyone who complains about Vickie Guerrero needs to realize that no one else, not even the guy who’s supposed to be your top heel, can attract her level of crowd heat simply by opening her mouth. I can’t even remember the last person who pulled that off night after night. Whoever is capable of that needs to be front-and-center.
• I had a good laugh at the sight of Vickie’s witnesses clearing the ring when John Cena’s music hit. No doubt they’re aware of how WWE babyfaces act in 2012, via Seamus herp-derping his way through a Z-grade Han Solo routine. If you’re a civilian, you’d actually be safer with the heels. The only thing funnier was watching Cena trip over his own shoes trying to chase down Dolph Zigger.
• If any part of AJ’s former character survived her run as general manager, it finally died along with the John Cena makeout skit. The reason the “Summer of AJ” happened at all is because she carried herself with a slightly enigmatic and potentially manipulative air of puppetmastery that no female wrestler (hell, very few male ones) have ever approached. Was she really into Daniel Bryan, Kane, or CM Punk? Was she crazy, or was it all part of her act? Even when she left Bryan at the altar for career-minded reasons (more fun facts: wrestling characters are incapable of multitasking) there was at least some sense to it in context with what came before. That AJ would’ve reacted to her demotion and Vickie’s attacks with more mind games, she didn’t need John Cena or anyone else to prop her up. This AJ has instead lost the “self-rescuing” prefix on her geeky t-shirts and is now simply another princess.
• The only potential J. Michael Straczynski trap door left for AJ’s story to take would be for John Cena to unintentionally resurrect that same ambiguously insane side of her personality that had us all speculating over the summer. That should naturally lead her towards either A) Jedi Mind Tricking John Cena into killing himself with Triple H’s sledgehammer, or B) linking up with Daniel Bryan and Kane again, the possibilities there being too awesome to dare dream of.
• When Paul E. Heyman wants balloons, you’d best find the man some damn balloons.
• Compare this version of Babyface Miz with the original goofhawk’d version from several years ago. It’s amazing how much he’s improved since those days, and how little I want to see him stuffed in a duffel bag and mailed to the Kaiser. Time heals all wounds, apparently.
• One little point I forgot to make on the forums about Smackdown (since generally speaking nothing worth mentioning ever happens there): Damien Sandow holds a microphone like a glass of brandy. Fantastic.
• I like Tamina Snuka as the silent bodyguard type. She could be the missing Turk.
• Not to question the internal logic of a wrestling universe where people routinely attend important meetings in their underwear, but is there a reason why almost everyone in the locker room is standing around in towels despite not competing on the show’s card? Also, take a look at how easily those shower stalls fell apart during the brawl. They weren’t double-bolted!
• The Prime Time Players with the referee whistles = Edge & Christian with the kazoos. Now that A.W. isn’t around to throw shoes at people, they need to be on those whistles approximately 110% of the time. Incidentally, those two are surprisingly great on commentary. #millionsofdollars
• Further issues of internal logic: how is it that people aren’t simply gently rolling away from Rey Mysterio’s 619 set up all the time? It’s a finisher predicament that any functioning human being should be able to escape by accident.
• CM Punk looks to the future, 2018 in particular, and sets his sights on Bruno Sammartino’s WWE Title reign record. The real joke here is the insinuation that Main Event and ION Television will even still exist in six years. For that matter, by then the bombs will have fallen, the Vancouver Canucks will have won a Stanley Cup, and Ted Mosby will have finally hit the mental breakdown that leads to him telling his invisible children how he met their nonexistent mother.
• The finish to Survivor Series is repeated with a nary a diversion. Ten currency units of your choice says that when Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose finally remove those combat jackets they’re wearing for whatever reason, they’ll have Paul Heyman Guy t-shirts on underneath. It’s been long enough since Big Show’s Team ECW swerve for that to fly, right? What is it that Jim Cornette said about the seven-year shelf life of wrestling angles?
That’s all for this week! Join me next time when two palette-swapped AJ Lees will battle to decide the fate of the multiverse. That is why the cloister bell keeps ringing, right?
Been a long time since I last activated The Week That Was, C-F’s weekly recap post, so here’s a quick rundown on the format: I’ll begin with an aimless preamble for padding (like this!), segue into a recap of our writings and ramblings from the previous week, and then a few words on stories we didn’t have time to cover.
Did you know that we have a forum attached to this site? Well, now you do! Should something really awesome have happened over there, I’ll toss props in the community section below. There may also be random images or videos peppered here and there for colour.
The Weekly Haul
Slim pickings this week, but sometimes less is more. Right? Right! Give these a read if you missed them earlier.
• RAW Rambling 11/12/12: The Scripting Is Busted It only took three weeks of my doing this column for the show to start nosediving again. New theory: wrestling is only truly watchable in the summer, post-Wrestlemania and pre-Survivor Series, at most.
• Reminder: Twilight’s Robert Pattinson Is One Of Us As much as I personally can’t stand Twilight or anything attached to it, I can’t hate Pattinson, thanks to this. Dude’s savvy and self-aware and I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours.
• Yay Mashups! Michael Jackson Meets Streets of Rage Thor brought us this follow-up to his Best of VGM debut. Something about that old music video for Bad just screams Streets of Rage… or The Warriors… the crossover potential is endless! Altered Beast/Thriller? Okay, I’ll stop.
News We Missed
• That Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Ain’t Goin’ Anywhere. We already know that American judges can grandfather-rule internet videos into permanent online residence, and I’m not disputing that ability. I just have to wonder about their taste. (via WithLeather)
• The Dole/Kemp 1996 Campaign Website Is STILL ONLINE. All caps because, well, IT’S STILL ONLINE, SERIOUSLY. This is like the American political equivalent to those old Japanese soldiers found on deserted islands in the South Pacific who still thought the war was going on. Yes. Exactly like that. (via The AV Club)
• People Are Already Disappointed With The Wii U’s Graphics. Because of course they are. After seven or eight generations of video game hardware, you’d think most people with memories longer than last week’s episode of Survivor would remember that a new platform’s potential is never reached straight out of the gate. Why would the Wii U be any different? (via Kotaku)
• Coffee Could Be Extinct By 2080. Phew! I should be dead by then. Technically it’s just the arabica strain that’s expected to die off, so only all the coffee worth drinking will be affected. The other stuff, robusta, is mainly used to make that freeze-dried stuff, which barely even counts as coffee. So unless this can be averted, our younglings will just have to develop a taste for matcha. Poor bastards. (via NY Post)
• Catherine/Caffeine-Fueled fanart by ard! You may have noticed all the sheep people floating around in the background, plus other minor stylistic touches. It would seem that our merry band of femmes and fellas has grown to the point where myself and other pillars of the community now have their own sheep people. Of course, unless you’re familiar with Catherine and post on our forums, it may fly right over your head. This can be remedied! Get in there!
Again, huge props to ard for all the hard work. Once he has a portfolio online, be sure to check it out via the credit links in the footer.
One More Video!
From forumer DHerder222.
I don’t know what the hell champale is, but I want some.
Champale: for when you’ve completely run out of anything else even remotely alcoholic. I imagine it tastes like Crystal Light drink crystals mixed into an Old English 40oz. Yum!
In case you missed it: remixes of Yuzo Koshiro’s Go Straight from Sega’s classic Streets of Rage 2 are everywhere, and we collected several of the best renditions in The Best of VGM earlier this year. But this mashup with Michael Jackson’s Bad is on a whole other level.
Maybe you already knew this, but Michael Jackson was a huge Sega aficionado back in the day. Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker was a Sega Genesis exclusive, designed at least partially with the King of Pop’s input, and legend has it that a few of his uncredited compositions found their way into various Sonic games (Ice Cap Zone, perhaps?) He also made a cameo in Space Channel 5 on the Dreamcast, which was already completely insane without “Space Michael”.
If chiptune had been a thing back in the 80s, perhaps this mashup could’ve been the true version of Bad, knowing Jackson’s affection for video games. That would be an interesting alternate universe to live in.