Well earlier in the week, Nintendo dropped a bombshell with the reveal of their next console … formerly known as the Nintendo NX, now named Nintendo Switch … a great name and I’d say a great concept. Give the video below a quick look…
I love the idea that it’s both a home console you hook up to your HDTV and also a portable console, seamlessly transforming just from removing the device from it’s docking station and going wherever to continue your gaming. How the control pad transforms allowing the user to remove the two ‘joy-cons’ and then attach them to the portable version. Very clever and something I could easily see myself utilising, for times someone either wants the TV I’m using or I simply want to sit elsewhere and carry on with my game. From the video things I can’t see taking off is the two-player bits where people use those tiny controllers and game on the same screen … er no, Nintendo nobody’s going to be doing that. Also unconfirmed reveals of ‘The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim’ and ‘NBA 2K17’ running on the system, is a slight concern despite both games being shown in the video – why is 2K and Bethesda being so cagey?? Also that footage of ‘Mario’ looks worrying like a run-into-the-screen mobile game and not necessarily the Mario 64 successor some people are hyping it to be. Yet I don’t think anyone can dismiss how good the new ‘Zelda’ looks.
Questions still remain though. We have no price as of yet. We don’t really have any confirmed games other than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and well, is that a touch-screen? I’m guessing it will be. Third party support has been confirmed as having all the big publishers like Activision and EA (see below), which could mean the usual drought of games for a Nintendo system may not be a concern this time … only time will tell.
For now I’m optimistically excited for what Nintendo reveal next and the initial reveal of the system has me waning a Nintendo system again. So they’re doing something right.
I went into this fairly blind, other than seeing the trailer a couple of times and thinking … hmm, looks fun. You see, I never played the long-running MMORPG PC game on which this takes it’s inspiration, and well sitting down to it I was presented with a colourful if unremarkable fantasy adventure movie. The story has a race of Orcs who travel from their world which is apparently dying into the human world of Aseroth after their powerful wizard opens up a doorway powered by, it seems the souls of innocents. At the same time we meet a conflicted Orc and his pregnant wife who don’t seem totally in approval of the wizard’s ways but follow him anyway. Once in Aseroth the Orc race start attacking the humans in a bid to take over, which brings forth seasoned warrior Lothar (Travis Fimmel), a reluctant mage and a powerful warlock ‘Medivh’ (Ben Foster) who must figure out a way of saving their world.
Adaptations of video games (or even computer games) have rarely gone well, with a couple of exceptions (Silent Hill, Tomb Raider?). In the hand’s of director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) however I was hoping for more. Sadly we don’t get that. This avalanche of hit-and-miss CGI and surprisingly wooden performances is only marginally helped by some exciting battle sequences and vaguely interesting character development especially from the conflicted Orc and a half-human, half-Orc female. Yet this fails to really hold it’s head either alongside or above similar fair like The Hobbit or even Game of Thrones and is a little too pretty and safe. Hardly any blood is shed for that family friendly rating and it really grates especially when the movie would have benefited from some gritty violence. The final act does liven up proceedings, what with a magically animated ogre and some fun effects and tense showdowns. However that can’t help a very weak story, a world I was left knowing very little about (it begs for an explanatory prologue) and characters only had a fleeting interest in.
Perhaps fans of the game will be spotting references and nods throughout for added fun, but anyone else should get their fantasy-adventure fix elsewhere.
As soon as I heard about this I wanted to see it. Director Richard Linklater’s as he puts it ‘spiritual sequel’ to one of my all-time favourite movies; Dazed and Confused. This like Dazed follows a group of high school students but is now set in 1980 rather than that movie’s 70s and on the eve of starting college as apposed to the last day of school. It primarily follows baseball pitcher Jake (Blake Jenner) as he arrives at a frat house and becomes acquainted with the rest of the college baseball team; a group of guys who seem obsessed with getting high, partying and getting laid.
It’s hard to not make comparisons with that earlier movie, as I kept being drawn back to it for everything this one lacked. Jake is the only particularly likeable character here but even he has very little ark but for a tacked-on romance towards the end. Everyone else are simply obnoxious stoners or loud-mouthed jocks who despite being believable … I really wouldn’t enjoy being in the company of. Also Jake’s story is the only one we follow, nobody else has a ‘journey’ or any real defined personality and frankly several of the characters are very similar to one another. Also situations rarely had any pay off, like an early scene with a water bed and a little later on one character having to leave for the weekend because his girlfriend might be pregnant … but when he returns, it’s never mentioned again.
That’s not to say the movie doesn’t have it’s merits. Linklater’s keen observations of the era and setting are well done and the soundtrack on the whole is decent (the movie starts off well with The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’). And well, It all looks pretty good too, shot with an early eighties vibe that works a treat. Just a shame the wafer thin characters and lack of interesting situations means that unlike ‘Dazed it’s unlikely this one will achieve anywhere near the same cult status.
As I started work, got money of my own my history with gaming gets a tad cloudy. I think the very first videogame system I obtained from my own hard-earned cash was the original Sony PlayStation. I saved up to afford it and even remember buying a walkthrough guide to Resident Evil 2 in the weeks leading up to getting the system. To say I was excited was an understatement. For a long time the PlayStation was my only system (I think I got a Gameboy somewhere along the line but my interest in that was limited to simply playing and completing The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening).
I played a lot of games on it and recall a firm favourite was Tekken 3 which I enjoyed endless nights playing against a friend and well, those bouts were legendary! Some of the best games on the system for me were of course, the first Metal Gear Solid and also I’d say Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (a series I really wish would come back). I also think Gran Turismo was a particular highlight.
Following the advent of PlayStation that made gaming much more of a mainstream hobby, I did get hold of more systems, firstly the Sega Dreamcast, which I’d say pioneered the online gaming revolution we take for granted these days and was seriously ahead of it’s time. The Dreamcast I’d say had one of the strongest games catalogues around with such gems as Jet Set Radio, Virtua Tennis, Soul Calibur, Dead or Alive 2 and Powerstone as well as many more. It was a short-lived system and really deserved to be more successful – but as at the time the PlayStation 2 had just been released, Sega’s final console didn’t stand a chance. It was around this time I also got a PS2 and a little later an Xbox.
The PS2 was of course my gaming system of choice for a good while but I did like my Xbox too even if the advent of Microsoft didn’t really hit it’s stride until the Xbox 360 came out. During this era I also managed to get a Nintendo Gamecube which I think back to fondly and well, it had Super Mario Sunshine and Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker on it, but as with Nintendo consoles in the post-PlayStation era the only decent games were Nintendo produced (mostly) so quickly having games to get for the system became few and far between. I sold it somewhere down the line and think that pushed me onto the last generation of consoles before we find ourselves where we are today.
I am a big fan of the movie Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and consider it one of the career highlights of Robert Downey Jr. The same could also be said for Shane Black, who penned the script to Lethal Weapon amongst other accolades and also directed said Downey Jr vehicle. So coming to this latest written and directed effort from Black, you could say my expectations were dialled on the high side. We won’t mention Iron Man 3 (oops).
With a very similar vibe to Bang Bang, this sort-of homage to 70’s detective shows has somewhat amateur detectives Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling on the trail of a missing girl who is somehow mixed up in the shady world of the porn industry and the death of a famous starlet. Immediately this is Shane Black on blistering form; at least dialogue-wise, which leaps off the screen and is delivered with no end of personality and charm by the principle leads. This has many very funny lines and even funnier situations (that rotating car display) as our bumbling duo go from one crazy encounter to the next, topped off with some surprisingly thrilling moments. Along for the ride is Gosling’s character’s daughter who it seems understands how to be a detective ten times better than her adult counterparts do and you could call her the Inspector Gadget’s niece of the trio. Also we have a not-ageing-gracefully Kim Basinger as some department of justice bigwig sporting Botox or plastic surgery, but fails to really bring anything but familiarity to the party.
The plot takes a step back to Black’s flair for dialogue and moments and it shows, as what it all ends up being about is rather ‘meh’ and well, just what was all that with Misty Mountains? The movie also threatens to spiral out of control with a bit too much slapstick and occasionally really stupid humour … but is held together by a likeable trio of performances and a great sense of time and place. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang suffered similarly but again that didn’t detract from what was otherwise solid entertainment – and the same can be said here. One to check out.