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Transcendence | Stupid Sci-Fi Movie Review

  
  
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“Why don’t you just turn it off?” Rebecca Hall’s character, Evelyn, chides during TRANSCENDENCE’s opening.

part i | TRANSCENDENCE is full of bad ideas

What high school sophomore scribbled this story, eyes leering in bored desperation at the stains on the classroom ceiling, searching for a clear thought as his math and home-ec classes ooze and BLORP together? Truly, if a high school sophomore conceived of the story of a man that dies and is reborn again as a godlike computer through his wife’s pants-on, lights-on, Facetime-on-iPad love-facsimile, then it was most certainly proof-written by his gluten-free former-missionary Earth Sciences teacher.

I don’t think that anybody will ever like this movie, ever.

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge | Review

  
  
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"The last of his people comes to a strange land."

part i | Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge is a suicide note


As a reminder, only sociopaths take full, physical glee in videogame violence.

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge positions the series' main character, Ryu Hayabusa, as an outdated, barbaric relic. All he does is slaughter. He's kept his face hidden, hardly talking at all. His favorite weapon is a sword, one sharp enough to hack off limbs. You can't track him, he's inhumanly agile. Other global forces from outside Japan whisper tall tales about the ninja and just how many people he has killed in his life. The actions of a videogame character are being dragged into a realer light—what, did you think nobody would notice when you just spent two full games leaping over rooftops, summoning demons to modern cities, killing the demons, beheading people, and then vanishing off into the secluded hills of Japan. It's like, man, Japan is full of psychos, isn't it?

In games and in real life, I mean. Right? There is a western videogame producer somewhere snorting over his early-morning Monster Energy Drink, wondering who makes a game where your avatar is a masked, remorseless bladestorm in this day and age? When will the Japanese learn that that isn't what videogames are about anymore?

Ryu the super-ninja is outdated.

The Best PS3 Games of the Generation (Alphabetical)

  
  
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It was not difficult to decide on the best games on the PlayStation 3.

The first test was to try to remember which ones I really liked.

The second test was to try to write about them. Some couldn't summon strong memories. Others were pungent with feeling, really slathered in emotion, you know? The PS3 was a strong system. If somebody asked me which games they should buy for it. This is the list.

These are the essential PS3 games.

In Defense Of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

  
  
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With the two Hobbit movies, we, the people that bother to think, and wonder, and hope for good movies set in worlds other than our own, are living the life. We are not living well, though.

The movies are so long. They serve so many masters, standing trial accused of Being A Chopped-Up Hobbit Movie and three charges of Being A Lord Of The Rings Movie. There are a lot of places for them to go wrong and send out ripples of wrong across all of that real estate.


Phrases And Memes That Need To Disappear From The Internet

  
  
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Hey, everybody! It's the Internet! It's that galactic, pirouetting party that never gets shut down—because the sun never comes up in the Internet, dummy, Al Gore programmed it that way—full of conversation, debate, shouting, threats, and dicks, literal and metaphorical.

Quick Question #5: What Is The Best Zelda Game? (Part 5)

  
  
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The best Zelda game is the one you compare all the others to. For years and years.

   
     
     

The best Zelda game is familiar until you catch a glimpse of it in a mirror, or from a different altitude, or at a different time of day, or at a different time in your life, and then it becomes a very unique creature. If you play Ocarina of Time, it is timeless and does not necessitate embellishment. The Wind Waker is a boy against nature, against a world, against an ocean. The growing love in Link's Awakening, and its dreadful, predestined destruction at your hands is hurtful to carry out. For Majora's Mask, being overwhelmed by the moon's descent drives you to the game's human side, where you discover that the world's inhabitants need your help, beyond saving the very earth they walk upon.

Quick Question #4: What Is The Best Zelda Game? (Part 4)

  
  
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The best Zelda game wants you to know it better than you know yourself.

     

The best Zelda game is the one that shares your air-tight values that you always had in the back of your head, evoking a, "Yeah, of course, what else would a Zelda game look like?" Majora's Mask and the two Nintendo DS games, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks, cast their lots at this task. Calculated, they understood the nuance that could be in a Zelda, presenting their offerings graciously.

Tangential, though not apocryphal, these are extended epilogues that became adventures all their own, leading the player along more intimate adventures that concern the fate of the world, and the fate of people in equal standing. Though their art-style may be borrowed from other games, they don't suffer. The games' worlds are spun instead of copied. They are slathered in familiarity when you ought to be comforted, just as they are warped when having a sure thing taken from you is going to cut you off at the knees.

Quick Question #3: What Is The Best Zelda Game? (Part 3)

  
  
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The best Zelda game is the one that you can smell in your brain.

     

The best Zelda game is sculpted, painted, pruned, and sanded until an urge to go forward is all that remains in your heart, no matter the obstacle. The Wind Waker's tossed oceans, Skyward Sword's heavenly skies, and The Legend of Zelda's poetic, between-the-lines imaginativeness all share that polished emotion that a Zelda game personifies.

Swordplay is pivotal in these three. Link is a swordsman, after all. Wind Waker's combat devolved into cartoonish brawls with debris flying from choking smoke clouds. Enemies eyes bugged when stabbed or counter-attacked, accomplished by a button-press ages before context-sensitive dodge mechanics were common parliance. The original Legend of Zelda was nuianced in how it required player placement and patience to strike at unintelligent, yet vulnerable monsters. There was no true instruction in the NES original, only the occasional hint translated into broken-English. The game and its world were a rolling conversation consuming years of your life. Skill could take you as far as it could, then rumor in person-to-person discussion took over.

"Did you hear there's a path through the Lost Woods? I'll draw it on your hand, if I can remember it."

Skyward Sword put the sword in the player's hand, asking to communicate with the world through subtle swings and stabs. It respectfully disagreed with modern game design in 2011, chosing a nobler, more creative path. Combat relied on true visual cues and you needed to chop and slice accordingly. 

Quick Question #2: What Is The Best Zelda Game? (Part 2)

  
  
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The best Zelda game is the one that you want to hang out with.

     

The best Zelda game leaves you daydreaming about her when you're apart. They force you to prepare mentally, something only made possible because of your constant engagement with its challenges. You think, chewing on a drinking straw, "Well, it's been a week. I've checked everywhere. Have I really checked everywhere? Have I really tried everything?" Later that day, you explore a section of woods you hadn't before.

Exploring those woods, a man youn find there tells you he is Gabu.

Your adventure is renewed. It's shit like this that forces us to discuss Zelda II's diamond-caked brilliance. See how it shines!

Other discoveries are more observational. A portable Zelda game like two being considered today afford one luxury of, "trying everything." Even the stupid ideas, try everything, there is no giving up! It's highly-likely you have nowhere better to be, and nothing better to do besides focusing on Zelda. There was always the possibility a dungeon was under THAT ROCK in games like Link's Awakening. It was a portable cartridge. It was waste-nothing data management. There was a density that had to be trusted. That trust was returned. The player was expected to dive into the game's furthest depths.

Certain Zeldas are considered black sheep. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link most of all, perhaps putting The Minish Cap a nearby neighbor. We cannot discount Link's Awakening, either, the literal dream-world brimming with soul that Link must destroy in order to escape. These are all oddly-shaped in betweeners in the Zelda family and examine their worlds with unusually-powered microscopes.

Zelda II was entirely about survival, asking if Link could endure and traverse the wilds with a sword and not much else. The ancient NES sequel demanded you be rock-hard and determined or you would never even earn the game-changing down-thrust attack—a feature vital to the game that doesn't come into play until just before the third castle. The Minish Cap brought together generations of design. Perspective from SNES, world-building from N64, and artistic confidence from GameCube. Link's Awakening was a MacGuyver-style effort to make an adventure from scratch, while tied up in the Game Boy's restrictions, and the result was magnificent.
 

Quick Question #1: What Is The Best Zelda Game? (Part 1)

  
  
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The best Zelda game is the one that you love the most.

     

The best Zelda game is the one that you can live comfortably inside. No two Zeldas are identical.

To celebrate the release of Wind Waker HD—and A Link Between Worlds later this year, one supposes—we present our five-part head-to-head comparison. We will be condoning violence, daring to apply decades of Zelda experience to make a final judgment on which is the Best Zelda Game. This will be a bloodbath as much as it will be a celebration. There will always be ambiguity and personal preference, that is a strength that an individual always possesses, and it is good to have strength, and to express it when it is important to understand why one feels that strength has been earned. In this case, strength in knowledge about what makes these games, their stories, their messagesintended, or otherwiserelevant to a modern conversation.

These are the important ones to us. Objectively, they are the best games in the series. In them, we see ourselves. We see ourselves as brave explorers getting lost in the mountains, or in dreams, or trapped in vulnerable, cursed, wooden bodies, and then we engage that fear, just as Link does, reaching out arms to become stronger for it. Zelda games are good like that, fearless. Find a solution. Find an answer. Find courage. Refuse to be outsmarted. There's always a way.

This discussion begins in the center. It will work outwards from there. The obvious place to start is with Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past, and Twilight Princess. They are cut from the same cloth. They all concern altered-states for Link, they all strive for a Kingdom-wide threat, they are the grandest adventures. These are main-line Zelda games.

The stories are similar in these three. They are exemplary of the Zelda mono-myth.

There was once a kingdom full of knights and horses, and there was a forest full of magic, and a royal family that was loved, most of all a very important princess, Zelda, named for her ancestors. There was a boy with a sword in his left hand, coming from humble beginnings, that fought a piggish beast to recover a golden magic that human hands struggle to fully grasp. The golden magic could be used to create, rather than destroy, if it could be respected.

These three games are the big ones. Each lives in another's shadow. It's the plotting for the story that makes them different and makes one superior to the others.
 

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