Friday, November 30, 2012

Red vs Blue: Genre Jumping

Red vs Blue: Genre Jumping

Recently, I finished entire run of Red vs Blue, from season one all the way to ten. RvB was one of the first great web series that went viral and gave Machinima more of a household name. Well, namely in the geek and Halo fan circles. What made RvB so great, and popular, was it nonsensical comedy with snail-pace advancement of the plot. This lasted until season five with the conclusion of the Blood Gulch Chronicles. When the series restarted in season six, it began the transformation from comedy to sci-fi drama. Something many fans, like Dogfish, were not happy.

And why it was so great.

This genre jump was not exactly jumping the shark. It still kept some of the original comedy that made the series so popular but moved into the more serious themes; effectively becoming a dramady. Although, it tried to recaptured the original comedy in season nine. RvB descend to darker and heavy themes was not bad. Well not as bad as transforming Urkel from a nerd to mad scientist. The latter tried to explore areas never part of the original world in a desperate, yet somewhat successful, attempt to hold on to its audience. The former delved into a wider world, outside that damn box canyon, hinted in the Blood Gulch Chronicles. Although, it was not cheap move to hold on its audience as Family Matters.

Seriously, once you're able to transform yourself and a donut-loving cop into Bruce Lee clones, you do not belong in either category

The sci-fi and darker themes in the later seasons were not that developed in it's own right. The themes revolved around A.I.s, dealing with loss, and such. Granted this is not a novel or TV series, but there are webshorts that seized the mood and carried the themes and than later RvB. But why did I still watch and enjoy RvB? Because the comedy established the characters we're familiar with and liked. It was the hook that kept some of the audience interested in RvB. And the writing, voice acting, and to some degree the character development, was still there in the new seasons. Which was what made RvB in the fist place.

My kind of Brony

Another great web series that genre jumped was Ryan Sohmer's Looking forGroup and did it awesomely. Looking for Group started as a parody of D&D and WoW but the writer eventually decided to take to the dramady level. The difference between the two series is how they handled this transition. RvB introduced new characters for the heavier themes while somewhat awkwardly putting in the old cast; most of which really did not belong in this new direction. Granted, this led to great comedic situations and showed that the series was self-aware of this clash. In a sense, RvB was weaving two different stories into one and did it decently. Looking for Group kept its focus on the original cast and just shifted its plot to darker themes. And it was great.

Oh. Hell. Yeah.

Season ten ended with the possibility of a new season or all together new series. To some degree, I would like to see this continue but it would not be the same RvB. If Rooster Teeth do push a new season or series, I wanted a direction that is natural to one or more of the original cast. Perhaps a back story to the ones who did not get one. Rather it is a comedy or dramady, the writing will keep it interesting so long as we have the characters we came to love.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sony, Playstation Store needs to change… again

When hurricane Sandy blew through the Tri-State region, it took away a lot of homes, cars, boats, and in my case, electricity for a week. As a result, during the day, I would go out to get water, food, and hit up a friend for a shower. This lack of power required me to walk 40 blocks to a part of the city that possessed power to charge phones, laptops, and my Vita. After about 2 days without power, I wanted an Assassin’s Creed fix, and as the PS3 was out of the question, my only other option was the AC3 Liberations for Vita. I spent the better part of a Tuesday in a coffee shop, Vita tethered to my phone, waiting for the PSN to update. It was incredibly frustrating.
Sandy Smash!
This is a very fortunate problem to have, especially after a hurricane, but at night, when the natural light has gone, and holding a torch in one hand and a book in the other becomes a delicate balancing issue, it’s time to preoccupy your nights with something else. The only games for Vita I had were Uncharted and Motorstorm, both of which were beat. On Tuesday, I went to the coffee shop to charge a bunch of electronics and expected Liberations to be downloaded by the time all my items were charged. I started the hotspot, hooked my Vita up to it and loaded the Playstation Store. I was expecting to see Liberations under the ‘New Releases’ tab but was sorely disappointed.
I live in a first world country, so yes, first world problem.
Sony had not updated the store, and this caused me to wait the better part of a day, buying items that I usually don’t care for just to have an excuse to stay there. The flip side of this was seeing some of the more interesting characters that came to the store. There was the hipster douche that said, very loudly to the two girls he walked in with, that he doesn’t drink coffee, he likes to detoxify his system (whatever the hell that means). There was some other guy furiously typing his screenplay while he mostly looked around to make sure women were watching him. There was the cute waitress who kept coming up to me every twenty minutes or so to see how I was doing and ask about my storm experience. She was great, and we have hung out after my exiled week at the store, but she insists on wearing glasses that clash with her afro and would only suit Clark Kent. I got writing material that week, so I wouldn’t take it back for anything, but I really wanted to play Liberations.
This place smells weird, but it might be me.
Eventually, at about 3pm, the store finally updated, and the hour long download began. This would not have been as frustrating an experience if the store had updated midnight on the dot so that people can start their downloads as soon as they wake up, or even automatically. I don’t know how things work on X-Box Live or whatever Nintendo has, but I would have thought it common sense to update your store at midnight the day you update. I know there are things that have to be done to make sure the store updates properly and the items available are at the right prices, but surely it can be set up so that all T’s are crossed and I’s dotted before 12:01am Tuesday. If updates are rolled out on a schedule, as opposed to the haphazard release it goes through now, then there would be no need to wait half a day to get a game that I could easily get from a brick and mortar store with ease.
Where have you been? I've been waiting all day.
I like my Vita a lot. Since Liberations, I’ve played All Stars and Gravity Rush, but the Playstation Store is still unpredictable. It should be instant, smooth, and updated with ease. My understanding is that in Australia, and possibly Europe, when you pre-order a game off the store, by the time you wake up on Tuesday, the game is on your system. That’s how it should be in the USA too. I don’t know why this is lagging here as opposed to other regions of the world, but I would assume it is a fairly easy fix. Look, I don’t have knowledge of how this is done, and I’m not offering any fixes, but I can voice my frustration at how the service is currently run. Playstation Store has some great games, and as a PS+ member, I’ve been getting games for free, but it would be nice to wake up in the morning to look at the store and see what’s new, that’s all I’m saying. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

1 Sentence Review: Ted

Ted is like a 1 hour 45 minutes episode of Family Guy back when Family Guy was still good, you know, 1999-2002. 
Live Action Family Guy with flashbacks and everything.

Friday, November 9, 2012

1 Sentence Review: Skyfall

Home Alone meets Batman Begins in Bond’s 23rd entertaining, smart, and surprisingly touching outing. 

50 years and still looking good.