Podzilla 1985

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

See You on the Other Side, Egon....

I delayed writing this. I didn't want to write this.

I'm still going through my news feed on Facebook and sharing all of the wonderful posts dedicated to the memory of Harold Ramis. I still feel a sting every time I like another picture, another editorial, and another testimonial of just how important he was to the entertainment community.

If you grew up in the 1980's you knew his work. If you were as obsessed with his work as I am, you know everything he had a hand in. He will always be remembered for his catalog of comedy blockbusters, but like so many others, I will always remember Harold Ramis as Dr. Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters is the greatest movie ever made. I say that with absolutely no hesitation or reservations. I saw Ghostbusters before I could even comprehend movies, and I've watched it so many times that I can literally quote it forwards and backwards. I've never lost interest in it or been bored by it. The jokes still have the same impact, the ghost still look just as cool, and I still watch it with the same kind of awe and wonder as I did when I was a child.

Ghostbusters has influenced my life more than anything else I've ever experienced. I mean that. It has influenced my personality, my writing style, and more than anything, it has fueled my belief in the paranormal. Anyone that knows me knows that I have a fascination with the paranormal that borders on obsession. It all began with those cool guys in the gray uniforms, who saved the day with their fantastic proton packs while cruising around in the insanely awesome Ecto One. Watching Ghostbusters 1 and 2 made me want to become what we would now call a ghost hunter. Unfortunately, the technology isn't quite there yet to actually bust them. Still, there is nothing more that I would rather do than chase ghosts. I thank Ghostbusters for expanding my horizons.

And I owe Harold Ramis for the gift he gave me. Once upon a time I just loved his movies without ever actually attaching him to them. As I grew older and became more cognizant of the inner workings of films, I began to appreciate Ramis more. He wasn't just Egon, after all. He was a fantastic actor, writer, and director. His films truly defined a generation, and they're still leaps and bounds ahead of the tripe that Hollywood puts out yearly. His humor, wit, and self reflection were prominent in his films, and it's that personal touch that I'll remember Harold Ramis for the most.

His influence on me extended far past his professional work. I never met the man, but I felt like he was a part of the family. I never had much family, and the heroes that filled the silver screen were always closer to me than anyone I shared blood with.

I never thought I would have to write this, or share why this hurts so much in a public way. I assumed he would never die, but if he did I was positive it would be so far into the future that I wouldn't be doing this kind of stuff anymore.

But here I am with tears welling up as I have to speak my peace about the immortal Harold Ramis. I feel like a child who has just learned about death for the first time, and it brings back those kind of awful feelings that I discovered when my mother passed away. I wish I could think of the right words to say to convey how important his loss is for me, but the poetic farewell I want to write is lost in a sea of memories and emotions.

I will miss Harold Ramis. He was a true talent, a legend, and a personal hero of mine. I only hope that there is something on the other side, and maybe some day I can speak to him in death the way I always wanted to in life.

God bless you, Harold Ramis. Thank you for everything you've done for me.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WoW Updates - Female Orc Art and Pay to be 90 (And don't bitch about it!)

What better way to christen the new MECHABLOGZILLA sister site than with an article about the MMO that is most near and dear to me very own heart? No, I'm not talking about Ultima Online.

But I will be in a few paragraphs.

The official World of Warcraft site released pictures of the new female Orc models that will be implemented some time around the new "Warlords of Draenor" expansion. Like the previous releases, this one is both familiar enough to the characters you've grown attached to over the past ten years, while being clearly superior to the point that you don't want to play as your avatar until they upgrade her.

Assuming anyone even plays as a female Orc. Seriously, do they? Male Orcs are impressive for their huge muscles and fearsome look that gives credence to the notion that they are war mongering beast men.

But female Orcs? Gussy that lass up all you want Blizzard, no one is buying it as beautiful or intimidating. To be fair, I feel the same way about female Worgen. Male Worgens are jacked and look like fearsome werewolves, while the female variety kind of look like something your douchebag high school girlfriend would carry in her purse. Seeing these races brings to mind a quote by our president Barrack Obama. Something about lipstick on a pig, which I think was referencing the election but might have just been about Rosie O'Donnell.

Actually, she kind of looks like an 80's punk rocker, but she certainly is not Linnea Quigley in Return of the Living Dead. My advice is to NOT Google that unless you're ready for a lot of nudity and awesomeness from one of the greatest zombie movies ever made.

However, this is all just based on my own prejudice against Horde races. I'm an Alliance player, not because I like losing or having RP sex in Goldshire, but because I'd rather play an honorable underdog knight than a power hungry monster who enrolled in a free course at the Kratos School of Character Development.


So my own personal racism aside, it looks really good. It retains the overall look, but you can really see the improvements they're making to the aging client. The changes are great so far, and when you combine this with the new expansion dropping later this year and the increase in subscriptions, it looks like it will be a very big year for WoW.

And that brings us to the new elephant in the room.

I saw this leaked on WoWInsider.com first, but I'm pretty sure it's making the rounds on most of the major sites. When the servers went up recently someone noticed and snagged a picture of what appears to be a new service option that lets you instantly upgrade a character to level ninety for a staggering price tag of sixty dollars.

And soon, the darkness.

Players were livid. It didn't matter that this was an apparent accident that wasn't supposed to go live yet. When "Warlords of Draenor" releases, players will be able to upgrade one character to level ninety for free and it seems like this service goes hand in hand with that. I've gone incognegro in some of the forums and listened to an overwhelmingly negative response to the service. To be honest, I kind of jumped on the fury bandwagon at first but soon found myself conflicted and hungry.

On one hand, how dare Blizzard offer up a paid service that basically renders a players time and progress pointless when they can just click click click and become an insta-hero? It's bad enough that Blizzard offers microtransactions on top of being a strictly pay to play service, and as far as my memory goes I believe they're the one of the few companies with the hearthstones to do so. You can play for fifteen dollars a month, and for just ten to twenty five more you can purchase some great pets or uber mounts. It really gives off the impression of "why work yourself to death when you just swipe a card and receive instant gratification?"

That dog won't hunt, monsignor.

The very essence of an MMORPG is the time and love you put into your character. It may be an online game, and the player base of an online game may have devolved into an arena zergfest filled with entitled assholes with inferiority complexes, but it's still an RPG. The reason to play an RPG is to build your character, go on adventures, and create a memory of living as another person in another world far from the sad existence you call your life.

It's an escape, but now we're looking for shortcuts to help escape the escape. Do players really want to just upgrade instead of experience? What about when that player upgrades to level ninety on a class he's inexperienced with, and you're running a raid with him and he doesn't know what the hell he's doing.

Blizzard is running the risk of destroying all the positive attention they've been getting this year.

Once I started to think about it though, and ate some pizza, I reconsidered my stance. Yeah it does belittle the entire point of playing an online role playing game, but it won't change my life at all. In fact, if anything, it would greatly improve my lifespan as a player.

I'll tell you why. I'm going to let you in on a secret. I've been playing WoW since launch, and I don't even have one character at level cap. I did once, before Cataclysm came out, but once they raised it again and I had to drag my feet underwater for what felt like fucking forever I gave up and stopped playing. My warrior, who I've been going to war against the Horde with for years, sits at an embarrassing level 84 while day in and day out I hear the simplest idiots in gaming brag about how many level nineties they have. Rednecks, grandmas, meth addicts, douchebag college kids, you name the stereotype and I can tell you how often they dangle their superiority in WoW in front of my very unimpressed face.

The free level nineties I get from the new expansion will allow me to play the new content without devoting all of my busy time to leveling my proud warrior. Managing two game stores, a dying father, a fiancee, a violent cat, and the other trials and tribulations that always seem to pop up in my life leaves little time for hardcore gaming.

And there are WAY more people out there with rougher lives than me. Do you think parents, college students, religious snake handlers, and other like minded individuals have the time to devote to virtual characters when real life is so demanding? They shouldn't be punished for not having the same time to put into a game they love that your asshole friends who mooch off of their parents money and contribute nothing of their own to society do.

It isn't the first game to offer this kind of service, either. Even my beloved Ultima Online, now a hollow shell of its former self, offers the ability to buy an advanced character instead of, you know, earning one.

I'm going to try to reserve judgment on this service until I see how it plays out. I feel like it won't reflect me at all, and people are just looking for a reason to bitch because that's what gamers are conditioned to do now. It's really a reflection on the industry, where DLC and paid services are all the rage now. It's a sign of the times, and as long as the money is there so too will there be a market for it. I hate it, I always have, but I let go of that lie about one person making a difference a long time ago.

If you disagree with WoW's direction, you could always try FFXIV. It's a nice throwback to an old style with just enough new car smell to feel different. You could bore yourself to tears with Guild Wars 2, or try one of the upcoming titles - ESO, EQNext, Wildstar, and a plethora of Asian F2P titles that seem to come out despite the fact that no one cares.

Kind of like Michelle Rodriguez.

Keep your goddamn hands off of my sweet Cara.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

BZ85 Has A Sister!.....site!

A giant mechanical one that really has no defined sex, just like transsexual pop star Miley Cyrus!!

For everyone who sometimes gets tired of the "heavy" stuff here dealing with death, politics, and Tim Gunn, we offer you safe haven at our new site.

MECHABLOGZILLA is another step in the long term goal perceived a few days ago. It will offer the best kind of news, reviews, opinions, lists, podcasts, and everything else dealing with games from the perspective of a man who's played a lot of games.

And probably some other people too, once he (I) loses focus as I'm almost guaranteed to do!

The site isn't quite finished yet, but we're going ahead with plans to open it now for public consumption. Enjoy, leave us some feedback, and get ready for hours and hours of content based on the politically skewed views of a jaded gamer.

Also, inevitably there will be Kate Upton photos!


Your new one stop shop for gaming. Assuming you make one really quick stop a day and you're not too picky with what you read.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Amnesia... What a Head Ache

I go up and down with my love and disinterest in anime any more. I just can't seem to get into as many titles as I use to, or rather most of what's easily accessible holds little interest for me. The few that have caught my attention over the past couple of years all seem to fall into few small categories.

*Slice of Life
*Based on Otome Games

The shows based on girl's video games have been more of my most resent choices, but they have one major problem. They don't really have an ending. Since the games are based on the player's decisions the out come varies. Every fan girl has her favorite and it creates essentially three possible out comes if an anime is produced.

1: They want the main character to end up with their favorite, because they are the obviously the best choice. They want to cheer for their favorite and see him end up the winner no matter the situation.

2: They HATE the main female character and want them to stay away from their favorite because he belongs only to them. Who cares that he's 2D, he's still hot and dibs have been placed. Touch and you will die. Seriously some fan girls can be very possessive of their bishies.

3: They don't give a crap about the girl or who they like best. It's all about shipping! I'd also like to throw out there that I hate the term shipping, it was pairing when I discovered the world of fan fiction and in my eyes it will remain so. Shipping is what you do with mail, not characters..... well unless you're buying figures but that's different. Any way most of these shows are designed for pairing and naturally the fan girl brain is going to have a hay day. Generally endless matches can be made, some more favorable than others, but more often than not it's guy on guy action rather than with the heroine of the series. As long as there are fan girls there will be yaoi.

But back to my point, since they have no real end they leave me wanting more. Personally I want to see the heroine end up with someone, even if it's not my choice for her. I just finished watching Amnesia, and though I did enjoy it, the ending left me disappointed.

WARNING: if you have not watched the series and don't want spoilers stop reading now. I'm not holding back this time around.

The show was a little hard to follow at first since our heroine wakes up with no memories on August 1st. She starts to understand where she is and who the people around her are only for some kind of accident to happen and then she wakes up and it's the 1st again but everything is different. The same people are there but her relationship with them are different and sometimes they even act differently. It's all a mystery to find her real memories and sort things out.

I actually have a few complaints about this series. First of all being the cloths. Yes they're kinda cool but who really wears that stuff every day? That and other than their work uniforms they don't really wear anything else. Do they just have a closest full of the same club gear? I get that they wanted to associate each guy with a card symbol and a color, but they took it a bit far. They all look like they belong in a visual goth punk band rather than college and high school kids that work at a maid cafe. Yes you heard me they work at a maid cafe on top of it all. Though that doesn't bother me so much.

The other thing that bugs me is that each of the guys have some personality issues all around. Shin is the first "boyfriend" we encounter. He's kinda cold and calls the heroine an idiot a lot. He's also still in high school and studying for his college exams so he's pretty busy most of the time. He's probably the most normal of the guys though, he just is very impatient and is tired of only being seen as the child hood friend. Other than wanting to be seen as a man, his big hang up is that his father accidentally killed someone, so those around him wonder if he's a killer too. Maybe if he stopped dressing like he stole his cloths from Harley Quin he'd be taken more seriously.

In the next world our heroine wakes up in she's dating Ikki. He's a nice enough guy, even carries her bag for her when they're out. He's a "butler" at the cafe they both work at. His biggest down fall is that he's a playboy. Or so it would seem any ways. He's got a large fan following and they're not above bullying those who get to close to their idol. He also never seems to date anyone for more than 3 months at a time. He's pretty jaded and admits that he doesn't understand women to our heroine. We learn that he wished to be popular with girls when he was little and that his jumping form girl to girl is actually the fan club's fault. They have a pact to only date him for three months so they can all have a turn, and make daily reports to the group about they time they spent with him. Ikki is clueless to this and started to figure over time that if they're going to leave any way what's the point of being in love, playing around is fine. Our heroine makes the change in him since she doesn't seem the same as the other girls. She actually disliked him at first so he saw it as a challenge. Over the first two months he actually started to love her, but he knows that the fan club is an issue. Oddly enough Ikki's look doesn't bug me too much. It's still a bit eccentric, but not as bad as Shin's. If it wasn't for his bitchy little fan girls causing her trouble he'd be a pretty good match for our heroine.

Next up on the dating block is Kento. He's a math guy, who's kind of awkward since he bases life more on calculations than emotions. Communication is a big issue with this guy. He's kinda quite and doesn't really get how feelings work. That aside though he understands that he likes our heroine, who if you haven't figured out by now is never given a name actually, and has started dating her. He's actually very calm when he finds out she doesn't have her memories and is surprisingly open to the idea of supernatural causes. Kento's very hard to judge since his expression never really changes nor does the tone of his voice. I guess they were going for a lab coat feel with his jacket, but really do you know any one going for their masters in mathematics that dresses like that? I don't think so. It's an awesome jacket but not for 24/7 wear.

Finally we have Toma. I went into this thinking he'd be my favorite for her to wind up with. He's nice and worries about her a lot. He looks out for her well being, trying to shield her from bullies and such. He too was her childhood friend along with Shin, so he's very close to her. Then they threw a freakin' curve ball. He's way too protective. Some one pushes a flower pot off a ledge a few stories up trying to hit our heroine and that set's him off. He insists that for her own good she stay at his place until things cool off. While he's out she goes to a near by store on her own and he scolds her for not listing to him. Then he starts drugging her so she's sleeping most of the time, partly to keep her safe and partly to keep her to himself. After she realizes about the drugs he starts locking her up in cage, a large dog kennel that he's filled with plush toys. What the hell Toma! You were supposed to be the good one. Truth is he does feel bad about his actions and knows that it's wrong, but he doesn't know how to shield her from the escalating bullying by Ikki's fans. He and the other girls were under the impression that our heroine and Ikki were dating, when in truth Ikki was helping her sort out her feelings for Toma. She'd always loved him but didn't know how to get out of the "little sister" zone with him. So they both like each other and despite his terrible actions she still wants to be with him. Battered woman much? Well I guess he never hit her, he just incapacitated her.... either way I still didn't see that coming.

And now for the true twist. NONE of these were supposedly her real world. There's one more party we see several times in each of these worlds. His name is Ukyo. Sometimes he's good and some times he's literally killing our heroine. Who the hell is he? Another boyfriend. Technically the first boyfriend. As we meet him for real he saves the heroine from dieing on several occasions, but there's still something off about him. He's got duel personalities. His true self wants nothing more than for her to live. In their world she died in an explosion on their college campus. He couldn't bare with the lose of her and he wished to go to a world were she was still alive. As he was jumping worlds he found that he didn't exist in them and as such the world tried to force him out by killing him over and over again. She was alive but he couldn't be with her. A part of him started to hate that is she was alive he couldn't be. As a result that part of him would take over. It started killing her in the various worlds so that he didn't have to die any more. His true self would still feel guilty and want her to live and so the world jumping continued. This time he was determined to see her to live. So he warned her of danger and told her to keep her distance from him. If she could stay alive until the 26th she'd be fine. Ukyo means well I know but I don't like him. His bad side got shown first and dirtied his image to me. Even if he really does love the heroine I don't like the idea of her with him. Sorry Ukyo, get a hair cut and some psych work and maybe then I won't mind you with her.

Long story short our heroine lives, Ukyo dies for her, but she stays with him till the end. Since his wish was finally granted the game could end. She's told her memories will return to her and she can go back to her world. she goes through a door and it opens to a white space with five doors in front of her. Such a bullshit ending! She's given the choice of who she wants to be with but you don't get to know what she picks! It just ends with five white door each with a symbol representing the guys. Oh it pissed me off. So now I'm left up to my own devices on what the out come was. Open ended stuff is a cheep way out without the risk of pissing off fan girls. Well guess what you're indecisiveness pissed me off.

I kinda feel bad about it, but I still would rather see her with Toma or Ikki. Maybe just work on some control issues and ditch a fan club.