Tuesday, October 11, 2016

So, as it turns out...

Whelp, Devin Faraci has been accused of sexual assaults he had apparently done in the past. As I have said before, I never agreed with a lot of what he said, but I respected his opinions. Now I must withdraw my respect of him. Why?

Because it's my personal choice to do so. The reasoning behind my decision doesn't really matter, but as a human being I cannot condone what he has done. And no, I will not discuss my reasons here. This is a nerd site, and I am determined to keep it that way. No politics & no religion. I created this blog to be a safe zone for us nerds. 

However, one of my blog posts has dealt with Devin, and I felt I needed to address that. While it dealt with his profession and not him as a person, and while I believe in my readers' ability to tell the difference, there may be those who may choose not to parse out that difference due to personal belief. 

So I wrote this so that I may assure new & longtime readers who come to this site that I don't tolerate this kind of behavior in myself or others.  

That post will remain up, as a reminder that I make mistakes, but this post will also remain up, as a reminder to me to own my mistakes, and apologize for them.

Thank you for reading.


Friday, September 2, 2016

No Man's Pie In The Sky

It has been 2 weeks since No Man's Sky came out, so let's look at the state of play in this particular part of the nerdspace. According to Steam, it was the top seller before it came out, and player count topped 212,000 before it dropped to it's current 3,000 player count. I expect that type of drop on a game like Evolve or Star Wars: Battlefront, because both those games were multiplayer only, had only 10 maps, maybe, and not a lot of content to keep the player's interest. But this is No Man's Sky. It has 18 quintillion planets and procedurally generated wildlife (you can name the planets & wildlife), crafting mechanics, and a story that takes you to the center of the universe. These sound amazing.

That is, until you found out that the names you give the planets and wildlife disappear after a while, the crafting mechanics are a little weird (you can feed iron to animals & you have an extremely limited inventory), and the story is dependent upon you keeping Atlas Stones that you may mistakenly sell to free up inventory. And new problems keep cropping up , such as preorder bonuses breaking the game. 

Add to all of this the fact that Hello Games, the developers of No Man's Sky, at the least were communicating their overreach in their goals for the game or at most outright lied about what was in their game during the hype that preceded the launch of the game.

Everybody has had their say about this game, but I don't see my viewpoint being communicated, which is why I'm posting this. My view is that this whole thing has been a disappointment. In fact, I warned about this very situation in my facebook post from May 27th:

And surprise, here we are. 

Do I believe that Hello Games' reach exceeded their grasp? Yes. That's not a bad thing. But do I believe they lied about what the game would contain? Also yes. And that is a bad thing. Certainly the features the game has now was not worth $60. Minecraft had just as many features as No Man's Sky (possibly even less) but sold for $27 (the same price it is now). That's another problem right there. If the game had sold for $30, no one would have felt ripped off. 

And let's not leave the fans off the hook. As I warned in my post, we as gamers must remain vigilant, and part of that vigilance was not buying too much into the hype that accompanies any potentially good game. Fans did not heed that lesson, and we had groups on both sides arguing loudly about whether the game was good or bad. I didn't even know about this game until it almost came out, and even as the fervor reached a fever pitch I never bought into the hype. I've been burned by too many bad games, and I don't have the money/time to do it. 

The sad part about all this is that there are people who have enjoyed, and still enjoy, this game (warts and all). And I applaud them. And I now join my voice to those who enjoy the game. This game actually has potential. If this gets frequent updates like Minecraft did as it went alpha, No Man's Sky may potentially be just as enjoyable and just as awesome as Minecraft. And on that day, I will buy it, and reward Hello Games for their hard work with my money. 

But for now, this game feels like Star Trek without anything interesting, like the characters, the aliens (humanoid or not), story, plot, or anything else for that matter, though it does look pretty.

[For the record, yes, I know it has aliens and a story. But the key word in that last statement was interesting. Felt the need to point that out, sorry.]

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

PokemonNO TRACKING

Niantic recently disabled the tracking feature on their PokemonGo game app. After a few days of silence, Niantic finally explained why, saying that the feature was “confusing and did not meet our underlying product goals”. They also said that they had “limited access by third-party services which were interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users”. You can read the whole statement here.

A lot of articles have been written about this, and I have a lot to say about a few of them. First, some context.Here is the original PokemonGo game trailer when it was first announced last year.

Notice at the 25 second mark that the video promises that the app tracks distance to a pokemon clearly and accurately. That’s not what we got though. Instead we got the app showing how far pokemon were by how many footprints (called steps) was shown underneath the graphic. The more steps there were, the farther they were, as this article shows.

But then the 3-step glitch happened, which showed all pokemon were three steps away, no matter how far they actually were. People turned to third-party apps that accessed the PokemonGo app and showed where pokemon were relative to your position and what they were. Pokevision was one of these apps. Soon after Niantic CEO John Hanke voiced his displeasure at the existence of these third-party tracking apps, Niantic released the update that not only disabled the PokemonGo tracking feature, but all third-party apps that accessed it. People were angry at this, to the point that many were requesting refunds for any in-app purchases that relied on PokemonGo’s tracking feature (some got their refunds).

Articles started proliferating on the net, some decrying Niantic’s actions, some applauding them. This article talked about how the third-party apps allowed people to track down the most powerful pokemon quicker and use them to defend gyms. This is cheating in the article’s opinion. The article also states that these apps also reduced or eliminated the sense of wonder that comes from exploring a new place and searching for new pokemon. This one had a letter from Yang Lui, the proprietor of Pokevision, one of the 3rd-party apps that was shut down. In this letter, Lui states that using Pokevision was not cheating, but was a band-aid on the bigger problem of PokemonGo’s lack of a workable tracking feature.

Now that all sides have had their say, let me put in my two cents. As for Pokevision being used to find more powerful pokemon easily, that is true. But what is equally true is that in order to evolve these pokemon into more powerful forms, you need to level up your trainer avatar, collect stardust, collect pokemon and trade them in for candies (this is an oversimplification). In other words, people still need to go out and travel in order to get powerful pokemon. It takes a lot of work. I don’t see how work translates into cheating.

As for removing the sense of wonder, wonder is for people who have time to go to new places and find new pokemon. There are PokemonGo fans who work and have other commitments that take time away from playing this game. If these people have limited time to play, they could remove some of the randomness that came with finding pokemon by using Pokevision. And they still have to perform the steps I laid out above to create more powerful pokemon. And at least Pokevision was a tracker app that worked, better than PokemonGo’s tracking feature, which was itself a weaksauce version of the one Niantic promised in their original trailer last year. So Niantic didn’t have the moral high ground here.


Having said all that, let me applaud Niantic for taking steps to address fans’ anger and concerns (finally). They put out a statement saying they’re working on the problem (though it’s mostly corporate speak). They have hired a community manager to speak to fans more directly and quickly.  They have given refunds for in-app purchases that took advantage of the borked tracking feature. But Niantic needs to do more to gain back the fans’ respect. To Niantic, I say this: Fix these problems quickly. Stay in constant contact to let us know what you are doing to address our concerns. And don’t hate on others who created better solutions for your fixes than you have. Learn from them. To the fans, I say this: I understand the anger, and if all this was enough to put you off this game, I don’t blame you. This game has been a dissapointment. For the rest who are hanging on to this game in spite of everything, give Niantic time (but not too much time). They are clearly working to fix their problems, so let’s ease off them so they can concentrate. In the meantime, continue to catch ‘em all.

Thanks go to Kotaku, CapitalFM.com, The Mary Sue and Youtube for providing the works I cited*. 

*All linked work is care of their respective authors, none of them are owned by me, yadda yadda, copyright law, legal phrases, fair use, etc. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Why Him?

Recently Devin Faraci (columnist and Editor-In-Chief of Birth Movies Death) was invited along with other film critics to the Justice League set, currently filming in London. You can read the article on his visit here. According to him there was a subreddit on his visit, with people wondering why he was invited, despite the fact that he was a hater of the Batman v. Superman movie (hereafter called BvS). Devin says his reason right in the article that it was precisely because he was a hater of BvS that he was invited. It was to show Devin that Warner Bros. was learning the lessons that the last film taught them, and that those lessons were being implemented in Justice League.  
I find this very interesting. Warner Bros. could have invited any of a hundred film critics who didn’t like BvS to the set, but they invited him. Sure, it’s because he’s a hater, but I think there are additional reasons that go beyond him being a film critic. Before looking at the reasons below, read his review of BvS here. Short version: He didn’t like it.
Devin is a knowledgeable nerd. That is, he understands film and how it’s made and the language film uses to entertain people. And in the case of BvS, he has also read the source material from DC comics. He can engage with, and criticize the film with a more complete understanding than other film critics who may not have the comics background he does. So his reviews of these types of movies will be somewhat more insightful. This is proven by the additional articles he’s written that expands on why BvS is a terrible movie. He wrote this one about Superman’s place in popular culture for the last few generations. There’s one about why the death of Jimmy Olsen was stupid. He also wrote one about Wonder Woman’s origins when she shows up in BvS. He even wrote one about the parallels between BvS and the graphic novel Kingdom Come. Because he can engage with the DC Movieverse with this level of knowledge, Warner Bros. would need to convince him, and through him, convince the majority of the movie-going public.
On that note, another reason is that a lot of people read his columns, enough to convince others that any DC Movieverse film he doesn’t like to not go see. Whether or not he has a wide-enough influence to affect ticket sales, the fact that Warner Bros. invited Devin means that Warner Bros. thinks he does. Nerd culture is now popular culture in America. And a big reason why people go to these comic book movies is that nerds are excited for these movies and are convincing the non-nerds to go. Convince Devin that Justice League is a good movie, and he may tell nerds to go. Nerds convince non-nerds to go, and boom! One billion dollars in the bank. Or so Warner Bros. thinks.
So that's why I think they invited Devin to come see the Justice League filming. A lot of this is conjecture though. While I haven't always agreed with him (Star Trek Beyond, for example) I have always respected his opinions. Go read his articles. They're great. And read the rest of Birth Movies Death while you're at it. If you like the site, whitelist it, so the contributors can be paid for their work. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

I Have Seen It's True Face

It's a weird time to be a DC Comics fan. The movies based on those comics aren't all that great; the constant albatross that keeps hanging around the company's neck is bad for their PR image; the majority of the stories told in those New 52 comics aren't compelling; and doing line-wide reboots every few years keeps fans confused about which timeline to invest their money, time, and energy on (though DC is not calling this a reboot).

But the big secret behind this Rebirth reboot-not-a-reboot is that Dr. Manhattan (from Watchman) was behind the creation of the New 52 DC Universe. This means that Watchman is now canon in the DC universe. 

So the entirety of New 52 universe stories are a huge giant sequel to Watchman?

Does this mean grim-gritty-grimdark New 52 DC universe?

Will the Joker be the Comedian in disguise? 

Will Owlman in Earth-3 secretly be Nite Owl?

Will Silk Spectre kill Wonder Woman and take her place?

Will Rorshach fight Batman (and win)?

Or will DC Comics come up with stories far more stupid than the ones I just came up with (smart money says this will be the route they take).

This is the kind of idiocy that keeps me buying Knights of the Dinner Table comics.


The accumulated filth of all their reboots and price increases will foam up around their waists and all the DC comics executives and stockholders will look up at the fans and shout "Save us!" And they will whisper "no".


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Still On About This

I sit here, wondering why I'm so angry over Batman v Superman (hereafter called BvS). You see, I saw Captain America: Civil War (hereafter called CA:CW), and I thought it was a great film. I began to wonder, how could BvS be so bad, but CA:CW be so good?

It's not like Warner Bros. set out to make a terrible film. I'm sure nobody there sat down and thought "I am going to greenlight this movie, spend money on this project, and produce a bad film that will insult not only the intelligence of the fanbase, but general audiences everywhere! This will produce a profit for us!" No sane person thinks this. But BvS comes out, then CA:CW comes out, and suddenly we have a basis for comparison that either amplifies the goodness of CA:CW, or amplifies the badness of BvS, or both. 

How could this happen? A few theories come to mind. It may be any, all, or none of these theories. Pick whichever one that fits your worldview. Please note that I have no special knowledge or insight that explains these theories. Most of them actually reflect what I believe about business & human behavior. I reserve the right to be wrong, and to be called out on my bullshit.

1. Philosophy. Warner Bros. makes movies to make money. Marvel makes movies to EARN money. Notice the priorities inherent in those philosophies. Warner Bros. doesn't care how the movie is made, as long as it makes money. Marvel cares about how the movie is made so they can earn the money. This may be why CA:CW has earned more money in 10 days than what BvS made in the past month and a half.

2. Careless Hiring Practices. As a corollary to the Philosophy theory, Warner Bros. looked at Zack Snyder's resume, saw that he did well not only with adaptations (300 & Watchman) but in a film involving superheroes fighting each other (Watchman again). So they hired him for BvS. Then they looked at David S. Goyer, who wrote the screenplays for all three Batman films made by Christopher Nolan. Those movies made money, so of course Warner Bros. hired him for BvS. Not once did it ever cross their minds that almost all the movies Snyder & Goyer worked on were grimdark in tone, which fits when adapting Watchman and Batman, but doesn't fit with someone like Superman. And Snyder & Goyer tried the grimdark Superman gimmick twice (Man of Steel was the first attempt). 

3. Ego. I write my thoughts on this blog, but that doesn't make me Shakespere. I have no illusions about being a great writer (or even a good one). I know I have a lot to learn, so I keep writing to hone my craft. I wonder if Zack & Goyer let their egos run wild, since they pretty much had a free hand when it came to making BvS. They probably felt they could write and film any scene and it would fit. This is probably why BvS has one of the weirdest scenes in any movie, ever.

4. Corporate Directive. Warner Bros. wanted Avengers money, but didn't want to do the work necessary to attain that goal (making multiple movies to introduce different characters over a 10 year period) so instead they told Snyder & Goyer to fit the other planned heroes into BvS somehow. Maybe this is why Wonder Woman gets a bunch of youtube videos hacked from Luthor's database showing herself, Aquaman, Flash & Cyborg. Oddly enough, there are no videos on Batman or Superman, which would have went a long way to explaining how Luthor knew Batman was Bruce Wayne and Superman was Clark Kent. 

5. Stupidity or Willful Blindness. Mistakes happen. Even otherwise smart people can make mistakes. That I could understand. What I can't understand is why they released BvS in that state. A film goes through many screenings before it's released to critics or the general public. That means Warner Bros. executives had to see the finished product beforehand. What did they think when they saw the Jolly Rancher scene? Or the Luthor in prison scene? Or the Knightmare sequences? Did they think to themselves "This is the worst movie we ever saw." Or did they not care? If they did care, the least they would have done was told Snyder to reshoot scenes or edit out those scenes that didn't fit. If they didn't care, that makes them either stupid or willfully blind to the film's flaws. 

I know that I've written a lot of posts concerning BvS. This is one of those films that sticks in my mind. I hope this post finally frees me from the mental tyranny of this movie, and you, the reader, from my mad ramblings about this subject.






Maybe not.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Redemption

It's amazing, in this current age of superhero movies, how many people who sucked in one superhero movie would be great in another. Just off the top of my head, here's some examples:

Chris Evans
Anybody remember him in the first 2 Fantastic Four movies made by 20th Century Fox, when he was the Human Torch? No, because everyone remembers him as being the awesome Captain America.

Ryan Reynolds
Wasn't he in that dumb Green Lantern movie? I don't know. I can't recognize him in his amazing Deadpool movie (currently the 2nd top grossing R-rated movie ever).

Ben Affleck
Say what you will about Batman v Superman (I know I have) but everyone now pictures Ben Affleck as cool-as-fuck Batman and not dumb-as-hell Daredevil.

Amazing how good an actor can be when he has a good director bringing out a good performance from him. Or when the actor is reading from a script written by writers who know what a good story is. If all these actors did was their first superhero roles and quit immediately afterward because they were bad experiences, would we get a good Captain America: Civil War movie? Would we get a good Deadpool movie? Would we get a good Batman in an otherwise terrible Batman v Superman movie? I'm glad we don't live in a world where we had to find out.  

Bonus: Elizabeth Olsen was in the latest Godzilla movie that was awesome only when Godzilla showed up. But here she is, Scarlet Witch, in Avengers: Age of Ultron & Captain America: Civil War, both great movies. 

Know other great examples of actors & actresses in terrible movies but redeemed themselves in awesome movies? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Zack Snyder v Public Record: Dawn of Quotes

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (hereafter called BvS) is not a good movie. Most of us have either come to terms with this fact, or have begun to forget about the movie entirely. The underperformance of the movie has had several effects, from rumors that Warner Bros. will release the R-rated version of BvS, to the director Seth Grahame-Smith leaving the Flash movie over “creative differences”.

Blame for the movie is being spread around, of course. But the ultimate responsibility, for my money, lays on Zack Snyder. Hundreds of people worked on the movie, but he was the one that made all the creative decisions that made the movie what it was. The thing of it is, it’s not like we didn’t have ample warning.

Let’s look at a Zack Snyder interview with EntertainmentWeekly, from July, 2008. When asked about if he was always a comics fan, he said that he had a subscription to Heavy Metal magazine, but when a friend tried to get him into normal comic books, he said “No one is having sex or killing each other. This isn’t really doing it for me”. When told that grim and gritty could work in the Watchman movie’s favor, Zack said that Batman was cool, and got to go to a Tibetan monastery and be trained by ninjas and also said “Okay? I want to do that. But he doesn’t, like, get raped in prison. That could happen in my movie. If you want to talk about dark, that’s how that would go”.

Is this what Zack Snyder thinks is “grim and gritty”? And the Warner Bros. executives never saw this interview and told themselves that maybe hiring this guy to do their DC Comics movies may not have been the brightest of ideas?

Then there’s the constantly shifting justifications he made for the creative choices he made in Man of Steel, from Superman learning how to not murder by murdering, to lame mythology excuses. If he had just said that it was his creative choice for Superman to be an uncaring monster and that the next movie would deal with the consequences, and stuck by that statement, the Superman fans would not have liked it, but we would have lived with it. Instead, he piled on excuse after excuse until we no longer knew what he was thinking.

Finally, there’s the reasons he gave for killing Jimmy Olsen and Robin in his latest “masterpiece”, BvS. When asked about why he murdered Jimmy Olsen, he said “we don’t have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?” As for Robin, he said “In my mind, it was that Robin had died 10 years earlier, during some run-in with a young Joker. So there was a fun backstory there to play with”.

Zack Snyder equates the murder of various DC Comics characters with “fun”.

You know what really hurts? It’s the fact that the movie probably had a far better director right there in the cast. Ben Affleck was an Academy Award-winning director (for Argo). He probably knew, better than almost anyone in the production process, what Zack Snyder was doing, and how totally Zack was destroying the movie. Don’t believe me? Look at his face during an interview (which was funnily done to Simon & Garfunkel):



You can almost hear what he was thinking: “I tried to help. I tried mightily to keep this movie from becoming a train wreck. I talked to Snyder. I acted my ass off. I tried to save this movie.” And he failed. That is what's written all over his face.


Failure.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Not-So-Jolly Rancher: The scene in Batman v Superman that ejected me from the movie

Shamus Young, in his Twenty-Sided blog, talks about the different types of disbelief that forces a person out of the fictional work he or she is reading, watching, etc. For one person, it could be something technical. For another person, it could be some discontinuity in the sequence of events. For still another, it could be simple boredom. But they all have the same result; complete ejection from the fictional work into the real world.

This happened to me while I was watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. One scene occurred that was so out of place, so unbelievable, that it violently ejected me from the movie and planted me squarely in the real world. And this scene is in a movie that has a guy that flies and shoots eye-lasers, a woman with a magic rope, and a murderous thug in a winged rodent cosplay.

It was this scene: around half-an-hour into the movie, Senator Old Guy talks to Alexander Luthor (the young son of a far more interesting supervillain), saying “We can help each other”. Luthor asks for two things while reaching for a bowl of Jolly Ranchers; access to the kryptonian ship and Zod’s body. The senator agrees to this. Luthor pulls out a Jolly Rancher, unwraps one, and offers it to the senator, saying “It’s cherry”. Luthor then SLIDES THE JOLLY RANCHER INTO THE SENATOR’S MOUTH AND THEN LICKS THE FINGERS HE JUST USED TO FEED THE SENATOR. 
  
What the hell did I just see? What was the sense of that scene? I screamed these questions as I was being thrown out of the movie into the real world. After the movie, I ruminated on that one scene for weeks. I went to TV Tropes to see if I could derive some meaning to that scene. This scene is not even mentioned there. And none of the other tropes which involve feeding (Romantic Spoonfeeding, Food as Bribe, Through His Stomach) were even close to helpful. I scoured the internet, trying to find something that would explain the jolly rancher scene. Nothing. So, the scene had no cinematic meaning, suggested no deeper plot (like maybe mind-controlling jolly ranchers), wasn’t a setup for something later (like “Granny’s Peach Tea”), did not have characters who acted like human beings, and didn’t even make sense within its own universe. 

I have a feeling this scene was where a lot of people mentally checked out of the movie. What’s more, this scene raises a lot of questions:

1) Why did Zack Snyder waste time, money and effort making this scene? What was he trying to say? I subscribe to the notion that everything added to a book, movie, whatever, was deliberately put in. So why was it put in? It added nothing; it explained nothing; if the scene was deleted, the only part of the movie that would be affected would be the running time.  

2) Did no one involved in the making of that scene point out how ridiculous it looked? Remember, there were hundreds of people involved in the production. Want proof? Look at any end credits part of any movie. So how did no one speak up?


3) Did the Warner Bros. executives, when they screened the movie before it was released to audiences, looked at that scene and said to themselves “Holy crap, we made a mistake hiring Zack Snyder to direct all our Justice League movies?” Or did they say to themselves “A young idiot feeds an old dude candy! That’s what the people want!”   

This movie has a lot, and I mean A LOT of problems. This was just one of them. But it was the one that stuck out the most for me. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

This Movie is Rated F For Fun

So I had a discussion regarding superhero movies in the wake of a certain superhero movie, and the subject of fun came into my head. A lot, and I mean, A LOT of the criticisms (mostly by moviegoers) leveled against that certain superhero movie claim that one of the reason it failed was that it wasn't fun.

I was about to claim the same thing, but thought about this wonderful article. To be sure, it was a thought-provoking piece. Should superhero movies be fun to watch? Certainly fun would be inherent in the genre, isn't it? 

None of these comics were "fun" in the normal sense: Watchman, The Killing Joke, Supergod, The Walking Dead, the later Daredevil runs...I could go on. And yet all of these are good ideas for movies and TV shows (and some are there already).

Fun should not be the only metric for a superhero movie (or indeed, any movie). Granted, a big reason for going to the movies is escapism (because real life is boring AND it sucks).  Superhero movies have escapism built into it's DNA almost by default. But that doesn't mean these movies also can't be dramatic (The Dark Knight), thought-provoking (Winter Soldier) or emotional (parts of Batman v Superman).

A better metric is whether the movie was either an enjoyable experience or a boring slog? Because if there's one sin a movie (or any media) should not commit, it's that it should not be boring. 

And in my opinion, that the only metric that counts. 


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Best Comment Ever This Week (March 27, 2016)

This comment was made by Eight-Bit Hero, concerning the beginning of the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie:

Dear Literally Anyone Who Ever Makes A Batman Film In The Future,

We DO NOT need you to re-tell Batman's "origin story" ever again. Seriously, even if, somehow, somebody is seeing your film without ever having heard of Batman before (right?), you do not need to show us Bruce's parents getting murdered in the street for a fourth (fifth? sixth? I lost count) time. Let them look it up. Convey Bruce's motivations in some other more meaningful way. 

Sincerely, 

Everyone

(all bold text is the author's emphasis, not mine.)

Marvel once again proves why they are better than Warner Bros. at this whole storytelling thing, by announcing last year that Spider-Man will NOT get an origin story in his next reboot. 

How refreshing.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Turn ON Your Brain

The embargoes have been lifted and the early reviews for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are in the wild. But I will not comment on those. What I will talk about is a comment said about one particular review. This was said by ReburnsABurningReturns:

I feel like people are watching these movies for all the wrong reasons. Like, turn off your fucking brain and enjoy the superhuman slugfest for what it is, and then turn your brain back on afterwards. 

Or don't. (Cruising) through your day off in brain free (mode) is far more relaxing than worrying about being "cultured" or having complex social interactions with the most horrifically overrated thing on the planet, other people. 

( ) = edited by me for clarity

This reminded me of an article posted by Matt Singer called Stop Telling Me To Turn My Brain Off During Movies. For me, the most relevant portion of the article is this:

"Turn off your brain" is less of a defense of a movie than admission of incredibly low standards for entertainment. Why ask so little from something you paid to watch? It's odd that in an age where people complain so ferociously that movies are so much worse now than they used to be, that some of those same people would turn around and defend those same inferior products with the excuse "Eh, it's fine as long as you don't think for even a moment about anything passing in front of your eyes." When that's all you require from Hollywood, why is it shocking when they churn out nothing but garbage?

THIS is why Hollywood turns out crap movies. If the movie audience "turns off their brains" while watching a poorly-made movie and say they like it, then that's all Hollywood will continue to make. 

How can people like ReburnsABurningReturns fail to understand this simple concept?

Now to be fair, there probably is a percentage of people who will accept and enjoy any piece of bad media that is shown to them. And if they enjoy that media, then more power to them. I wish them well. 

But if they turn around and say to me that I should turn off my brain while watching that piece of bad media, then I have the right to call them out on that clearly wrong statement. Because my life is far too short to waste it on bad movies, books, TV shows, etc. And I will never "turn off my brain" to enjoy them. I will keep my brain on for good media, though. 

So keep your brain on, fellow nerds!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Shaka, When The Walls Fell (DC Comics)

DC Comics will print comics based on Hanna Barbera properties. To be fair, I actually like parts of this idea. To see some of my favorites (Space Ghost, Birdman, Galaxy Trio, The Impossibles) get the comic book treatment is a good thing. Some of these properties are a good fit for comics and in fact some of them have been in comics before. 

But I worry about whether they will be handled correctly. We have been given almost no information, and what little information there is has been in pictures done by various comic book artists. And if you want proof of how badly they may be handled, let's take a look at what they have planned for Scooby-Doo:

Scooby-Doo? Where are you? Because I don't see you here!

Since I don't have any other info, I can only go by the picture presented to me. And I have a few questions:

Are the gang ghostbusters now? Because in another picture Fred's guns suck a monster into what I guess is his proton pack?

Was Daphne ever in the military? Because she seems to be wearing purple khaki fatigues. 

Does Hipster Shaggy have a mystical tattoo on his left arm?  Does he do bullshit shaman magic now, pulling material components out of his man purse of holding? 

Velma is flying a drone. That's ok. What's not ok is the way she's drawn. From the perspective of the picture, she is in front of all the other humans. She should be at least as large as the others, but instead she's smaller. If you compare the length of her body to everybody else's, she looks WAY shorter. Either the perspective is wrong, or she's a midget. So which is it? Yes, she was shorter than the others in the original cartoon, but not a midget.

Scooby Doo is wearing an eyepiece which has the ability to shoot out what appears to be bubble emojis. Does that mean he no longer talks? He can only make his feelings known by bubble emojis?

Ruh-roh Raggy!

Of course, I'm looking at this picture out of context. There may be reasons for these changes. There may even be good reasons for these changes. And I'm not saying the comics should be a slave to the source material. The Big Hero 6 movie made changes to almost all the characters across the board. But those changes were made in order to tell a good story. Also, at least 90% of that movie audience never heard of the original comic, so it was easier to justify those changes. And even though I knew and owned the original comics this movie came from, I didn't mind the changes. The movie was very good and I enjoyed it.

But thanks to syndication, reboots and various TV movies, almost 90% of the potential audience of these comics HAVE heard of Scooby-Doo. If you make too many changes to the core characters without any justification, you risk alienating your audience. I know I'm confused by  all these changes; and I don't even like Scooby-Doo all that much. 

So I'm not liking where all this is going. But who knows? The comics may be good. They may even be great. But DC Comics is not putting it's best foot forward with these properties. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Possible (Fictional) Future of Content Creators [UPDATE]

Youtube has responded to the #WTFU movement. It's the usual PR and doublespeak expected from a corporation. I will take it at face value and assume they are on top of this problem, but I won't be surprised if nothing gets done. So far there is no incentive for them to do so (one good incentive is that there is actually a rival for youtube, but there is none). Does this sound cynical? Yes. So, youtube, the ball is in your court. Prove me wrong. Surprise me by actually doing something about your Content ID problem.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Shaka, When The Walls Fell (Venom Movie)

Sony wants to do a Venom movie. There is nothing wrong with the idea of doing this movie. While I don't think this is a bad idea, there are indications that this idea will be badly executed.

For one thing, the same producers that were behind the bad Amazing  Spider-Man movies will be attached to this movie. Remember, those movies made so little money Marvel had to step in to make him awesome again (just how awesome we will all get a chance to see this year in Captain America: Civil War).

For another, Venom will apparently be divorced from the Spider-Man franchise. So, Venom will just be some guy with an alien parasite as a costume, instead of either Peter Parker's journalist rival Eddie Brock or Peter's former bully Flash Thompson? Both those guys are attached to the Spider-Man mythos, and are integral to Venom's origin and motivations (both the costume and the people in them). Given Hollywood's recent terrible record with origin stories I'm willing to bet Venom's will be this: a lightning strike will spill unknown chemicals onto Dr. John Generic Smith while he's wearing his black pajama onesie, endowing the costume with intelligence. That equals boring.

They are also planning a franchise around him. He is a one-note psychotic villain with Spider-Man's powers. He's going to look and sound like grimdark Spider-Man. That equals double boring. There's no franchise to build around him.

Fortunately for me, Venom was never a compelling character, so I don't particularly care if this movie will be good or not. But for every bad movie like this that gets made, there a good movie NOT getting made. That depresses me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Possible (Fictional) Future of Content Creators

The latest trend on YouTube is #WTFU (Where’s The Fair Use?). This refers to the content bots on youtube flagging videos created by content providers despite the fact that all the flagged videos follow the guidelines of the Fair Use doctrine.

Better people than I have explained what's going on here. These people have also explained how the content bots hurt the content providers’ business model. I am not here to add to any of those conversations. What I will do is try to show how this may have affected content creators living in the fictional world of Star Trek
in the 24th century. I can already hear the cries of Wait, WHAT? Yes, I’m about to postulate how youtube’s draconian measures may have already affected a fictional future.

Has anyone else noticed the lack of content creators in the world of Star Trek? Because I sure have. Think about this. They have the holodeck, which has the potential to be the greatest content creator ever, but very few people actually create good, original content with it. Most people in the Star Trek universe use the holodeck to experience content already made. Let’s name the few content creators in Star Trek:

Reginald Barclay – He made at least two holographic works (the garden in which the Enterprise crew is depicted differently, to say the least; and he helped Alexander create a depiction of the Ancient West).

Felix – Doctor Bashir’s friend who also created two holodeck programs (Vic Fontaine’s Lounge, and the Secret Agent program in which Bashir is a super spy).

The Voyager Crew – They took a holonovel (Insurrection Alpha) originally created by Lieutenant Tuvok and expanded on the story, each crewmember putting their own spin on the story.

The Doctor (Voyager) – He created a holonovel (Photons Be Free) about the struggles of a holographic doctor on a fictional starship (obviously based on his experiences on Voyager, which paints the rest of the crew in an unfavorable light).

Various authors of children’s holonovels and Quark’s holosuite programs.

Notice how all of the above holographic programs are original works. Almost all other holodeck programs depicted in Star Trek (and there are many) are either adapted from other works (Macbeth, Sherlock Holmes, Captain Proton, Dixon Hill, etc.), training programs, games, or various people, places, and things.

You would think that given access to the holodeck, almost everyone on board these starships and space stations would be creating tons of imaginative, original content. But we are never shown this. I postulate that the punishing of today’s content creators by youtube have crushed creativity and the imaginative spirit to such a degree that there would be fewer and fewer independent content creators over the centuries (and the possible future conflicts of the Star Trek future, such as the Post-Atomic Horror, and the wars with the Klingons and Romulans would not help matters). In fact, notice how, other than research papers, very few Star Trek characters (major or minor) have published or otherwise distributed original works such as books, art, music, etc.

But there is hope. By the time Star Trek: TNG started, holodecks were only just starting to become widely used.  By the time Voyager ended, holographic technology has been around for 15 years. The Federation may look forward to the biggest burst of creative output in history, thanks in part to the popularity of The Doctor’s holonovel “Photons Be Free” (in the Voyager episode "Author, Author"). A lot of sentient beings throughout the Federation may be thinking “if a hologram can create a popular holonovel, why can’t I?” Remember, youtube was created in 2006. Look at what it’s become in 10 years.

Aside: note how "Author, Author" is the only episode, that I recall, that indirectly addresses artists' (which I extrapolate to include content creators') rights to their works, and how and when it should be distributed.  


I know that all of the above is absolute, total head-canon. I merely present this as an extrapolation. But I also present this as a cautionary tale to everyone who is involved in punishing content creators. Also as a plea to content creators to never give up the fight for fair use, and as a message to everyone else who is even mildly interested in this issue to learn more about the Fair Use doctrine, and persuade lawmakers to strengthen and uphold the doctrine.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Shaka, When The Walls Fell (Konami)

Konami recently instituted a policy whereby all in-game money (earned in-game or purchased with real money) in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain must be used within 6 months or disappear forever. 

This brings up so many questions. Let me ask a few...actually let me ask just one:

1) WHY? No other game I heard of even does this. The closest real-life example was when Microsoft switched over from points to money.

2) WHY? Does this policy track each and every portion of the money earned or purchased? For example, if I earned 10 MB one day in-game and I bought 100 MB the next day, will the game tell me when each of these will expire? Will it be different dates, or will it be within a set 6-month window? 

3) WHY? Will the money accumulated by players fill up the memory on the servers quickly, slowing them down and potentially crashing? Does 10 MB take up a gigabyte of memory? Does 100 MB fill up a terabyte of memory? Is that even possible?

4) WHY? Remember, someone actually took time to code this into the game with the last patch. Why couldn't they just saved time and effort and NOT code this, when they could have just made DLC instead. 

5) WHY? Will this force players into playing the game more? Or spending more of this fake money so that they can spend more actual money to get more fake money to spend in the game?

Konami has given no reason why they are doing this. I wish they did, so I don't have to map out in my head why this was done. I literally can't tell if this is some Lex Luthor-type master plan, or if this is some Wile E. Coyote blueprint for failure.

This is why I named this portion of my blog the above title (the Tamarian language for failure from Star Trek: TNG). There will probably be more entries in this blog portion in the future.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Best Comment Ever (This week: February 18, 2016)

This was for the Street Fighter V game recently released, said by Maomao on Metacritic:

"Where's the game? I want to make a review but i just buy a disc with a promise, will be more useful if dropped my money on some underpants"

There's more, but I'll stop here, since this pretty much says it all.

Friday, February 12, 2016

I Wonder...

So, I've been threatened with 3 more Transformers films, and it turns out one of those movies' release dates falls on the same date as the Wonder Woman movie. Devin Faraci opines on the significance of these dates here:

http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2016/02/12/paramount-has-declared-war-on-warner-bros


So, my movie choice on June 23, 2017 is between:

1) A movie I have been waiting 41 years to see since I first saw the original Wonder Woman on TV?

OR

2) The 5th consecutive bastardization of a beloved cartoon franchise whose last good movie is still the animated version from 30 years ago (Transformers: The Movie)?


Decisions, decisions....

Thursday, February 4, 2016

All Eyes On: Jimquisition

Here is another blog worth paying attention to, though in this case I may be preaching to the choir. Jim Sterling is very popular, having worked at Destructoid & The Escapist first, then striking out on his own. He praises games and games developers that treat him like a human being, and thumbs his nose at those that insult his intelligence (right now Warner Brothers seems to be his favorite target, and believe me, after Arkham Knight they deserve his rancor).

He does game reviews, podcasts, youtube videos; the amount of content he puts out is truly amazing. You can find his main blog here:

http://www.thejimquisition.com/

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Pile On The Goofy/Awesome

I recently talked to a friend about how the Legends of Tomorrow TV show is piling on the 2nd and 3rd tier heroes and villains. Before now, not a lot of people outside of comic book nerds would know Rip Hunter, Atom, Captain Cold, Heatwave, Hawkman & Hawkwoman or Vandal Savage. But now we live in an age where lower tiered comic book characters are viewed on TV and film. And now Hollywood is doubling down on this trend.

On DC's Instagram account, they are teasing the appearance of other barely-recognized characters like Doctor Midnight, SGT Rock, Sandman, Hourman and Ma Hunkel (the original Red Tornado who originally appeared in comic books in 1939). 

In the new 20th Century Fox film Deadpool, there is a woman hanging around the main character called Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who only appeared alive once, in New X-Men #115 before she was killed. What, did the X-Men movies burn through the more-famous mutants already? Oh, and Colossus is in this movie too.

If you told me 10 years ago that not only would superhero movies and TV shows starring major heroes happen, but also give the lower tier heroes and villains a chance to shine, I would have laughed in your face. Now, I'm about to see Ma Hunkel on TV. This makes me so happy.  

But if DC ever shows live-action Ten-Eyed Man, I'm out!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Knights of the Dinner Table Bundle of Trouble Volume 3 Issue 7

At this point, the comics went from just having comics to having various articles interspersed throughout, becoming a full-fledged gaming magazine. The Bundles have mostly comics but have other things, such as funny fake ads for Hard Eight products. Also, the stories have become denser. This requires a change in the format of these reviews. I will give the summary, then give my thoughts on each individual story.

Issue 7 – The Dice Man Cometh

Five Green Towels – the Knights grab everything from a dungeon that isn’t nailed down and split up the goods, and Brian takes advantage of the situation. Again we see how Brian treats life like a zero-sum game. He wrote down everything they collected in the dungeon in large letters, but the stuff he wanted for himself was in very small letters so no one would notice. It’s humorous, but it’s kinda sad that he would do this to his only friends.

A Call for Heroes – the Knights head for the city of Krandaneer, where they save the city from a joyous event. Here we run into humor that may be problematic for some. Obviously humor is subjective, and I found the jokes here funny, but some may find that the Knights using a female NPC like a pack mule and making her wear a chainmail bra and leather thong so no one would know she was a princess would probably not find that funny. 

The Lord of Steam – Nitro Fergueson makes his first appearance, replacing B.A. as guest gamemaster with his own home-brewed adventure. Here we see how big he is, and how lucky Bob wasn’t totally destroyed by this guy. And we also see how he runs his adventures, which is completely off the rails. We will see more of this when his RPG group, the Black Hands make their appearance in the comic.

The Boy Could Play – the Knights reminisce about Johnny Kizinski. This was a big reason why I never described this early member of the Knights. This comic does a pretty good job of doing that for me.

Brian’s Challenge – Brian challenges Rotgut the dragon to a wine-tasting contest, Brian slips the dragon a polymorph-to-insect potion, and the dragon gets stomped on (literally). This was really funny. If I thought for one second this would work on any roleplay session, I would have used this tactic long ago.

Armload of Trouble – a trap lowers the fighting power of Bob and Dave by half, but moves Sara and Brian up several tax brackets. I love the fact that a simple trap can lay low even the greatest of player characters if they’re not careful. And this is all played straight. There’s no cheating on B.A.’s part. Just lack of control on Bob and Dave’s part. This is a game session done right.

Coward of the County - an NPC torch-bearer calls out the Knights’ cowardice, and the town of Fern Forks pays the price. I like the humor in this comic, but there’s no getting around the fact that B.A. basically goaded Bob, Dave and Brian into wiping out the entire town and its inhabitants. But let’s not forget that their reaction to the situation was excessive, to the point that Sara thinks solo adventures are looking pretty good.

Best Line:  I am the Walrus!! I am the Dice-man!! Koo-Koo-Ka-Choo!! – Nitro Fergueson

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Road Less Traveled Moment

I read an editorial in Knights of the Dinner Table about how a person rolled up bad stats for a character in a D&D game and was about to reroll, when he had what he called a "road less traveled" moment. Instead of rerolling, he kept the character and wrote in his biography "He is a coward". In his words, his character was mortal and damn well knew it. When a fight happened, he would drop his sword and run away, and would only come back when the fight was over and the spoils would be divided. Despite this, the other players liked this character. 

I had a similar moment in Skyrim. I installed a mod that changed the standard beginning of the game (you're a prisoner about to be executed) into just dropping you into a random spot in the world and beginning the game from there. Well, after choosing my character, I was dropped into a dungeon with no way out. I was trapped, and had to go through the dungeon to get out. Along the way I saw the body of a woman. I started my character's backstory there. I was the last survivor of an expedition through the dungeon. After fighting some undead, I found about 10 to 15 bottles of wine. Right there, I had my road less traveled moment. My character was traumatized from his experience and became an alcoholic. He will pick up every wine bottle and, after going through each main and side quest, go home, read through the books he collects, and drink himself into a stupor every night. 

I told this to my girlfriend, and she asked me a good question: After learning how important he is as the Dragonborn, will my character shake off the alcoholism right away, or do I, as a player, personally hope my character will shake off his alcoholism as part of his character development? 

I am choosing option 2. I hope he will shake it off eventually, but I will roleplay him as honestly and realistically as I can, and if he can't shake it off eventually, he probably never will. 

We'll see. If anyone is interested as to how this plays out, ask me in the comments below.

Friday, January 22, 2016

SuperDefense

At io9, there's an article about Zac Snyder defends his ending in the movie Man of Steel. Here's the link:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/zack-snyder-will-defend-man-of-steels-miserable-ending-1754485965

I use this article, and the following video, as a foundation for the points I will make later, so read the above, and watch this:



I get where Zack Snyder is coming from, and the article makes some good points as to why he's doing so, but I'm going to agree with a LOT of people that the ending to Man of Steel didn't work, because Superman caused a lot of damage, and because he killed Zod. Now, let's look at the 2 usual defenses people bring up about why the Man of Steel ending was good:

1) The Avengers had a bunch of people, while Superman was just one guy. You can't expect him to save people AND defeat Zod!
2) Superman was just starting out. He didn't know his powers, and the limits to those powers completely.

Actually, yes I CAN expect Superman to do both things at once! As Moviebob said in the above video, the only point to Superman, even a Superman just starting out his superhero career, is that he can do ANYTHING. He has superspeed, superstrength, and invulnerability. In every piece of media we've ever seen (print, TV, even previous movies) not only can he do both at the same time, he's willing to do both at the same time, because protecting humanity is his mission statement. In Man of Steel, he COULD do both. There's nothing in the movie that says he couldn't do both. He just DIDN'T, not even sequentially. He didn't bother to save civilians, and THEN defeat Zod, or the other way around. On that note, why din't he care about civilians? He focused on punching Zod a lot. The only time he did care was when Zod was about to laser-eye a family to death. That's when Superman does the whole neck-snapping thing. Oh, NOW you care about civilians, Superman? That's when a lot of people were confused, I'm sure. Superman didn't care until then, so WHY does he care now?


Anyway, that's my take on the whole thing. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments.


Best Comment Ever (This Week)

At Birth.Movies.Death.com, there was an article about a Die Hard prequel movie by Scott Wampler. He posits that this may not be the best idea in the world, to put it mildly. The best comment ever (this week) came from Jams:

"If this movie isn't called 'Old Habits Die Hard', I don't even know"

Funny, but dammit internet, what have I told you about giving Hollywood ideas? There's a good chance they'll use this!

Here's the link:

http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2016/01/21/heres-the-first-not-very-encouraging-details-regarding-the-plot-of-that-die

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

All Eyes On: Moviebob

The purpose of the All Eyes On section is to expose my readers to other blogs that might be interesting. Today it's Bob "Moviebob" Chipman's turn. He is ostensibly a movie critic (and a good one) but he is also a nerd with a wide range of interests (Nintendo, comics, etc). But he comes off a few times as extremely liberal (even though, by his own admission, his political affiliation is "Whatever benefits me the most"). That rubs some people the wrong way. But he makes no apologies, and I can respect that. In any event, he is very interesting to me, and I enjoy his columns and videos. 

Here is the link to his blog:
http://moviebob.blogspot.com/

And look up his videos on youtube. He has A LOT, so there's plenty of content to go through. Here's a sample:


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Knights of the Dinner Table Volume 2 Issue 6

Issue 6: Plays Well with Others

Luck of the Macaw – the Knights play HackBeard, the RPG about piracy on the high seas. B.A. Felton’s failure to railroad his players into his prepared adventure leads him to trick the Knights. Bob’s macaw Half-Pint gets lots of words in edge-wise.

Can We Talk? – the Knights kill the only person who knows where the end of the quest lies, but Sara beats the odds (or so she thinks).

Wherever You Go, There You Are – The Knights’ greatest enemy is Dave’s mapping skills.

Silver Things Upon His Chest – Brian’s medals provide the Knights with a way to boost their gaming status (and egos).

The Safety Lecture – B.A.’s lecture about player absenteeism leads to a story about Bob and his fight with Victor “Nitro” Fergueson.

The Great Intervention – Brian’s girlfriend, Alexis Marie, sounds too good to be true.

Carvin’ Marvin – Here we see the initial members of the Knights. B.A. is GM (after replacing Brian), Bob, Brian and Johnny Kizinski are players, and Dave just recently joined. His wish for a “big-ass sword” leads to the group questing for an intelligent sword with a bad attitude.


When reading The Great Intervention I actually felt for Brian. Here he is, a nerd with almost no social skills and no life outside the Knights (we see more of this later on) and so lonely he made up a girlfriend just to ease his loneliness. It goes too far when he tries to include the Knights into this reality he built for himself. I’ve come close to doing this myself when I was young and had no friends, so I understand. Otherwise, most of the other stories are members of the Knights again undermining the group’s collective efforts in their adventures. But the Safety Lecture story is an oddity. Here Bob’s high-strung nature and love of his dice combine to form a violent personality. Sure the violence is the funny bit and these are comic book characters, but like I said, I do begin to care about these characters. So I must think harder about the kind of people the Knights are. And Bob is like 2 or 3 steps away from that William Foster character in the movie Falling Down. At least that’s what it seems like to me (and to be fair, the more about his life we learn, the more his actions become understandable). 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Why Writing?

How many writers wrote the story for Mass Effect 1? Including the lead writer, 5.

How many writers wrote the story for Mass Effect 2? Including the lead writers, 10.

How many writers wrote the story for Mass Effect 3? Including the lead writer, 9.


Much has been written about the Mass Effect series'  stories. I will not reiterate them here. What I will focus on is the fact that there are stories in these games at all. When EA acquired Bioware, the intention was to make money off their intellectual properties and their reputation. This is understandable (from their point of view) but it has resulted in the loss of some of Bioware's reputation. Only the future knows if Mass Effect: Andromeda can save Bioware's reputation. Part of this reputation was built on the strength of their writing. Jade Empire, Mass Effect 1, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age. All great stories. All these games speak to their mastery of storytelling. Still, when failures like the ending to Mass Effect 3 is brought up, defenders say that the story doesn't matter. Those people don't think that argument through, however. If the story doesn't matter to gamers, then writers don't matter to EA, and the writers at Bioware would have been fired a long time ago. EA could hire a bunch of hacks to bang out a generic storyline for these games for one-third the salaries of the Bioware writers. But they didn't. Ea apparantly believes there's still value in good storytelling, at least from Bioware, and if a greedy corporation knows this, then surely gamers should know this too.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Knights of the Dinner Table Volume 2 Issue 5

Issue 5: Master of the Game

Spaced Out – the Knights play SpaceHack, the sci-fi RPG. B.A.’s lack of scientific knowledge crashes against Brian’s rules-lawyering.

Conquer and Deny – the Knights play the board game Risque (a Risk riff) with nuclear weapons, shaky alliances and Sara’s tactical genius coming to the fore.

Beating the Odds – B.A. tells the story of Tar Markvar, an average PC with average stats, which sails over the Knights’ power-gaming heads.

Can’t Buy Me Luck – Bob’s bad luck at dice-rolling prompts the Knights to do a dice-purging.

Agent of Evil!! – The power of the Hand of Vectra tempts the Knights into a hand chopping contest, and only Sara can save them.



For my money, this issue is one of the funniest ever. B.A.’s fear of losing control over his SpaceHack game comes to the point that he completely ignores basic science. Sara proves that when given the chance, she’s smarter than the other Knights. As for Agent of Evil, after the comic there is a story about the Head of Vecna. Long story short, the DM tricked half the party into chopping off their heads so they can gain the power of the Head of Vecna (which turned out to be fake). I ran a similar campaign, and tricked one PC into doing just that. It was hilarious. Boy, did the group hate me, though they laughed it off soon afterward. Also, no one loves dice more than me, so I have a bad-luck cleansing ritual of my own, involving burning sage under the light of a full moon. A lot of my love of playing RPGs with friends is reflected here in this issue.

DOOMSDAY!!!

Zack Snyder hinted at a larger mythology for Doomsday in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie (a title which, for my money, is no longer the silliest thing about this film). 

The director said that we have Doomsday, who didn't just crawl out of the ground, he has his own mythology, and that has to be explored. He hastened to add that now that Doomsday is introduced, audiences need to think about a bigger world, and that just because he's introduced in this movie, doesn't mean we know everything about what the movie will be about.

Okay, I have some thoughts about this. But honesty demands that I tell you where I'm coming from with this, so, upfront, let me say the following things:

1) I know a lot about comics and comic book characters, both DC and Marvel, and what I don't know I can look up on the internet and get a mostly correct answer, since comic book continuity is one of the most meticulous ever made by fans, even when compared to other intellectual property like Star Wars or Star Trek.

2) I know something about writing in general, though obviously not everything. But I know enough to see where a story hangs together despite plot holes or other mistakes, and I can see the failure points where the story collapses and sends me flying out into the real world. And yes, this knowledge extends beyond just skimming the TV Tropes page. 

3) I know what works for me, not for everybody. These are opinions, not fact (though I can use fact to base my opinions on). So agree with me, or don't. In fact, I rather you didn't agree with me. If our opposing ideas couldn't be hashed out in the court of public opinion, how can either of us know our ideas have merit?

Now that's settled, here's my take on all this.

Doomsday's inclusion in the movie is a HUGE deal. He's only done ONE thing that made him famous, and now Zack Snyder is telling us that just because he's here, we DON'T know everything about the movie? That means that Doomsday WON'T kill Superman by the end of the movie? That's somehow MORE stupid than killing Superman by the end of the movie. 

What I was given to understand was that Luthor clones Doomsday from Zod's body, Doomsday kills Superman, the rest of the heroes kill Doomsday, and honors Superman's memory by forming the Justice League. Okay, it's a stupid way to go, in my opinion, but if that's the way they're gonna go, I have to respect that. 

But now, from Zack Snyder's statements, he's trying to walk back that perception, and hint at a larger mythology for Doomsday, and that we don't know what the movie will be about. This means that you're bringing in Doomsday, and NOT HAVE HIM DO THE ONE THING HE'S FAMOUS FOR?

The only way for this to work is the following scenario: Luthor clones Doomsday from Zod's body, Doomsday gets his butt kicked by Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, and just before he's destroyed, Doomsday's teleported by some mysterious being who will use him for a future movie appearance to wreak havok (I have some ideas, okay ONE idea, who the mysterious being will be, but lets not cloud the issue). In any case, this blunts Doomsday's menace to the point where he shouldn't have shown up at all. The reason to use Doomsday at all is to show that there are menaces and dangerous beings that one hero can't handle alone. This gives the reason for the Justice League to exist. If the main heroes could kick Doomsday's butt easily enough so that he needs rescuing, then where's the danger? Where's the menace? What is the point? This scenario is more stupid than killing Superman outright, story-wise.

That's my take on all this. Feel free to disagree in the comments.