For the uninitiated, when Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 console way back in 2005 they included a new twist that would revolutionize the way people with lots of free time would enjoy games: achievements. Microsoft would then attempt to “revolutionize” gaming further by offering both HD-DVD and Kinect support for their console and we all know how that turned out (expensive paperweights that can occasionally play a dead media format or take your picture and upload it to Microsoft’s YouTube). Achievements are so commonplace these days that most of us can hardly remember a time when you’d turn on a game and not have explicit directions on what you’re supposed to do to “beat” it; you knew there was a credits screen of some sort and that’s basically where you set your goal marker when you started playing. The first few games released for the Xbox 360 featured only a small number of achievements where confused developers would issue you a 200 point award for throwing a football or for managing to sit through a loading screen; they truly didn’t know what in the hell they were supposed to do with this (especially the developers who did nothing but release trash for the original Xbox).
Regardless, once developers figured out that you didn’t have to give players a thousand points just for pressing the B button they began getting creative with their objectives and goals using achievements to give otherwise straightforward games new missions and such for players to explore. Games are now no longer measured by an RPG completion percentage or whether or not you collected all of the Chaos Emeralds and stuffed them up Robotnik’s ass; if you don’t have 1,000G in an Xbox game and all of the achievements unlocked then guess what? You didn’t beat it.
With that said below are six achievements who’s sole purpose in life is to make your gameplay experience a living hell. These are the achievements that, for whatever reason, are almost impossible (or in some cases are absolutely impossible) to unlock. They are “Completionists’ Nightmares”.
Hail to the Chimp is a game that strives to cash in on the lucrative “party games” genre of titles. The only problem here is that this genre was over-tapped about six years prior and by developers touting bigger and better franchises such as Mario Party and Microsoft’s Fusion Frenzy series. Hail to the Chimp features no franchise characters of any sort, just a bunch of random animals with ridiculously hard to pronounce names such as Ptolemy and Murgatroyd which sounds less like an animal’s name and more like something you’d see a proctologist for. The whole game itself is based upon a fake “presidential run” where each animal apparently beats the shit out of one another for votes. The game never mentions if this is a WWF presidency or a domestic presidency.
Between a bunch of insipid and uninspired minigames we’re treated to carryovers that make the game appear as a “GRR News” broadcast. The game is so generic and unfunny with its humor that it literally took me about fifteen minutes to realize that “GRR” wasn’t some creative or witty acronym but is literally just the “Grrrrrr” sound. Hail to the Chimp doesn’t even make an attempt at being cute, it just gives you a bunch of tired and unfunny jokes and expects you to either never have heard them before or be completely retarded. This begs the question of who the game is for. Is it for kids? Surely it’s not because this game is ridiculously hard after the first few rounds. Is it for adults then? No, because the jokes are such painful groaners that hearing them after a certain age will guarantee permanent erectile dysfunction.
The cutesy characters are so one-dimensional and generic that even feral representations of actual animals are more original than this game. That didn’t stop MTV, though, who said this game was funnier than The Colbert Report. MTV doesn’t even know what the fuck “music” is and it’s in their company name, anything they say about video games is a lost cause because when it comes to video games they might as well stick their thumbs in their asses and renew Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory for another 29 seasons. I’d rather listen to Atari Corp’s Jack Tramiel talk about proper video game industry etiquette than ever take advice on entertainment from MTV.
Animal’s Choice is an achievement that requires you to “win the single player campaign without losing a primary”. The description is already vague enough to allow for at least three George W. Bush jokes but what the game is literally asking you to do is beat the game by coming first place in every single round of which there are over fifty. Each round takes about five minutes to complete so with the addition of loading screens you’re looking at about five hours of gameplay. If the game was a cakewalk this would be inconvenient at best but after a certain threshold of “primaries” the game drops its cutesy feel and becomes insanely difficult to the point where it reaches controller-smashing proportions.
To put the difficulty of this achievement into perspective here’s a link to this achievement on an Xbox gamerscore website that “weights” achievements based upon how many people actually have it. This achievement, literally worth only 50 points, is worth 1,614 points when calculated for its “Bullshit Factor”. There are over a thousand logged gamers who have this game and out of all of them only one guy has it. This achievement is so goddamn ridiculous that out of every achievement ever created for an Xbox 360 title this one is sixth for weighted value. Earning this badge is the only way to ascend to true furry nirvana.
Borderlands is one of those games that people either hate or love. In my experience the game is just an exercise in how far a developer can go before they piss their players the hell off. Between what seems like endless collection missions and DLC about as broken as the aftermath of a monster truck rally this game is just a mess. It’s tolerable at its best and completely infuriating at its worst. Upon its release this game had an insanely high number of glitched achievements that simply would not unlock even if you met the requirements for them. Because of this I never unlocked the achievement for leveling up to 30. I had to start a whole new game to get that achievement and for the longest time a handful of other menial achievements were all glitched and locked as well, but this one right here was the very last achievement I unlocked for this game.
The requirement is painfully, and deceptively, simple: “rescue enough Claptrap robots to earn 42 inventory slots”. A “Claptrap” is a robot that drives around on one wheel and spouts out phrases that Gearbox desperately tried to make the new “Cake is a lie”. Claptraps are among the worst video game characters ever conceived and are right up there with Oblivion’s Adoring Fan on the “what the fuck were you retards thinking” list. They never shut up. Ever. They all universally spit out the same unfunny shit and each Claptrap literally only comes with like four action phrases before they all start repeating. Broken Claptraps are hard to pass up, because you just want them to die, but the catch is that the only way to shut them up is to find a toolbox and fix them. Your reward for your troubles is a “Backpack SDU”, an item that grants you three more inventory slots.
The issue here is that you don’t always get a Backpack SDU, it’s just a random chance. If they don’t give you an SDU they’ll give you a worthless grenade mod that’s about 15 levels under your current one and drive away. There also isn’t an unlimited supply of Claptraps to fix either, once you fix one they’re gone from the rest of the game. Borderlands has two playthroughs available (“easy” and “hard” if you wish), each one has the same story and missions and each one has their own set of Claptraps. I played through both playthroughs and rescued every single Claptrap and was stuck at 39 inventory slots and mind you if you rescue every Claptrap in just one playthrough you can get to 42 slots; I went through both and was stuck at 39 because the little shits wouldn’t give me my required final SDU. After beating the game I was forced to turn to the DLC where only three more Claptraps existed and the first two dispensed a worthless grenade mod as well.
I was down to my last Claptrap who appropriately enough was broken down right beside a sawmill. If this little shit didn’t give me my SDU I was going to summon the powers of the dark lord and throw this son of a bitch straight into the decorative spinning saw blades that I could see in the background.
He didn’t give me the SDU. The second this happened I shut the 360 off as to not let the game autosave. I loaded my file three more times before he finally gave me the SDU. If I had missed this achievement the only way to get it would be to start a new file from scratch and play through this monumental waste of time yet again, and frankly there was no way this was happening.
And remember, this wasn’t the only bugged achievement in the game; this is just the one that pissed me off the most. There were at least six others that would not unlock for me that I had to either start a new save file for or do over until it gave it to me. Screw this game.
Mega Man is a legendary game from the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Sure, the box art was terrifying but the game went on to be the only NES game to have five sequels released for it in the console’s lifetime. In the late 80’s and early 90’s this was completely unheard of for a game. Super Mario Bros had one sequel (I refuse to acknowledge the existence of Super Mario Bros 2) and that was enough as did The Legend of Zelda but five for Mega Man? What can I say, the formula works. Mega Man is an incredibly fun and engaging game that has a difficulty that isn’t too steep but also isn’t completely easy either. It’s a winning combination and that’s why there’s more Mega Man games than there are pesos in Mexico.
To celebrate the success of the games that started it all Capcom released retro-inspired sequels to the NES games in the form of Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, two games that were made to look and play exactly like an NES game but without the hassle of fellating your cartridges to get them to work. Each game is a reasonable and affordable 800MSP ($10) and to be honest I don’t have a single bad thing I can say about either one, well, except for the achievement “MR. PERFECT” (caps required for emphasis most likely). What’s the requirement?
Beat the game. Without taking any damage.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Mega Man as much as the next guy, but seriously when was the last time you made it through any level in any Mega Man title without getting hit from a stray bullet or cheap shot from an enemy that just randomly appeared? I grew up playing Mega Man 1-6 and even though I know each game better than I know most of the members of my family I still can’t make it through even the Robot Master stages without getting hit.
Was Capcom high when they created this achievement? Were they not aware that one of their Dr. Wily bosses is basically the equivalent of that goddamn yellow blob goliath from the original Mega Man who has attacks that are almost impossible to dodge? Part of the reason why Mega Man is so difficult is because every enemy, not just bosses, have attack patterns that you have to memorize and keep track of because the game will quickly throw multiple enemies and multiple kinds of them onto the screen all at once.
And you’re expected to not get hit a single time while all this is going on.
No thank you, Capcom.
You cannot have a list of “worst achievements ever” and not include this one, the grand-daddy of all frustrating awards. See the guy in the tile? That’s Otis. He’s a genuinely nice old man who works as a security guard at Willamette Mall. He’s like a black and not fat version of Paul Blart. Otis keeps tabs on everybody in the zombie-infested mall via the building’s security cameras and is kind enough to let you know when he sees survivors so you can go rescue them. He sounds like a decent enough old man so how does he reach you? He calls you on a yellow industrial cell phone that he gives you in one of the game’s opening cutscenes. It can’t be that bad, right? So what do you have to do to get this achievement?
Otis calls you when he sees any survivor and he generally doesn’t seem to tell you whether they’re a psychopathic boss or a stranded shopper. You have to answer every call, not just the ones where he says “so I saw a lady getting double teamed in the women’s restroom in the East Wing you should go check it out”. Otis will call you about story-related events pertaining to the game’s main plot. If you fail the storyline you fail this achievement because you won’t get all of Otis’ calls. You also have to save certain survivors because they will request things later. If you answer the calls and just show up and just murder everybody with the rake you found in the hardware store you will fail this achievement because Otis will not be able to call you with their follow-ups. There is more to this unlockable besides just sitting in the storage room for three days answering a phone. This is Dead Rising, not a Dell Tech Support simulator.
For a guy who mentions that he can see everything on the mall’s security system he really doesn’t understand the concept of being appropriate with the timing of calls. On numerous occasions during boss battles Otis will call you and ask you to bring him some KFC or whatever. Not really, but you get the idea. While an insane photographer is trying to shove a zombie larva inside of a survivor’s spread eagle ass for a good photo op (this actually happens in the game but I may be exaggerating certain details) Otis will calmly ask you what you’re doing and tell you there’s a perfectly safe woman hiding in a record store because since she’s already safe there’s apparently a pressing need to call you at the very moment when you’re about to get the kill shot on your enemy.
Oh, and by the way if you’re thinking about waiting in a location where he’s going to call about a survivor so that you can get there quickly? He won’t call. You will fail the achievement.
Capcom, you assholes.
At least they have a sense of humor though as in Survival Mode where every survivor is an enemy you must fight to stock up on food and items. Otis is the very first survivor you fight and there is nothing more rewarding than using the disembowel move on him 50 times in a row.
<string test> is not an achievement. Well, it is but you can’t unlock it. There is no way to obtain the achievement because its unlock parameters are never defined anywhere in the Osmos game code. Really, with a name like <string test> it already does just look like a piece of messed up placeholder code and that’s exactly the issue. This secret achievement is a last-minute insertion by Microsoft when they realized how badly the developers of Osmos screwed up the way their game would work with the gamerscore and achievement system.
A brief rundown of the standards and practices for achievements in an Xbox 360 game for those who don’t know: Console and PC titles are allotted 1,000G to divide up between up to 50 achievements (99 in special cases such as The Orange Box). If DLC is planned for the game the developers are permitted to increase the game’s total gamerscore by 250G each quarter of the year not to exceed 1,750G total. With Arcade and Windows Phone 7 titles developers have 200G they can divide up between a required 12 achievements.
Osmos has only 11 achievements.
Somehow in a fluke miracle of mathematics Hemisphere Games can make a list of numbers that add up to 200 but they can’t count to 12. Rather than make a 0-point achievement called “Thanks For Buying!” that unlocks at the game’s title screen Hemisphere Games’ developers looked amongst themselves with shifty and nervous eyes asking “do you think they’ll notice”. They submitted a game with 11 achievements and the moment Microsoft’s quality assurance department (like that really exists but just bear with me here) looked at the game they said “okay, which one of you didn’t pass second grade?” It’s not Microsoft’s job to come up with achievements for games, that job is given to the developers to carry out assuming they know how to perform basic math, so when Hemisphere Games shifted their gaze down to the ground and started kicking rocks I’d like to imagine Microsoft let out a long exasperated sigh and stamped their game with this unobtainable achievement.
<string test> is included in this list because it’s a great example of the first real demonstration of developers not knowing what the fuck they’re doing. Perhaps a mistake of this caliber could be tolerated at the launch of the console when the achievement system was brand new but we’re about six years into this system’s life. The only excuse here is “ourbad we am no count good”.
It is possible to get the full 200G on this game with the 11 “real” achievements, but depending on how you want to gauge true completion you can go by gamerscore or total achievements. If 200/200 and 11/12 is fine for you then that’s great, but for the gamers out there who focus more on keeping their achievement completion percentage as close to 100% as possible this is a game that will forever screw up your ratios.
If there was ever a definition of a truly worthless game genre it’s the sports genre and yes I’m just going to be right out with it. Sports games are a shameful disgrace to video games and their presence is just a long filthy blood-tinted skid mark on the face of the gaming market. There’s a new sports game every year and honestly when all you’re doing is playing football is there really anything more you can do to your games before you’re playing XFL? The same goes with basketball; basketball is basketball and we don’t need one game every year. We also don’t need a bunch of FIFA games or NHL titles, how about making one good game instead and just sticking with it? Environmentally the system we have is wasteful and economically it’s its own mini disaster. NBA Live 1994 is worth so little money that if you try and look up its trade-in value at a GameStop you’ll crash the system and cause a rift in time because you cannot display a number that is both zero and negative simultaneously.
Because sports games are a dime a dozen, and because 99% of them are shit out by Electronic Arts, it goes without saying that their online play is tentative and fleeting at best. EA knows so little about maintaining quality with their products that their website shamelessly boasts almost 450 released titles, about 400 of which are sports games. This section isn’t devoted to just EA alone, I’m not ragging on them specifically, they just happen to be the “most guilty” since the last time they ever had an original idea for a video game that didn’t involve some kind of inflated ball was sometime in the 1990’s.
The catch-22 with sports games is that their achievements are notoriously simple; the first few rounds of “2K6” and “Live 2006” games literally showered you with achievement points for performing completely inane tasks. Their online achievements are no different; most of them have requirements as mindless as “don’t fall asleep“. The problem here is that the window of time for obtaining these online achievements is insurmountably small to the point now that most of them only have a window of about a year to be completed so that server resources can be put toward the next worthless sports title. There are some games whose online servers will never be shut down (Halo 3, Reach) so their achievements are obtainable no matter how late you arrive to the show, but when it comes to sports games it’s not a matter of “if” the servers will shut down, it’s literally “when”. The only thing more worthless than sports games themselves are the achievements contained therein. They are the crowning example of “not giving a shit” when it comes to developers being in touch with their customers.
Today the UPS delivery guy brought the correspondents here at GatorAIDS HQ a wonderful surprise, something we had been waiting to get our hands on for some time now: our orders from Naughty Dinosaur!
Oh, and we also loitered around the local GameStop and got to try out Nintendo’s newest handheld: the Virtual Boy II.
Yes, we finally got to give the much anticipated follow-up to the legendary 1990’s stereoscopic futuregoggles a test drive and we’re just as excited to bring you our award-winning* and hard-hitting coverage of breaking news in the gaming industry! We’ve got a lot to dive into including a breakdown of our experience playing the re-re-release of Street Fighter IV as well as how much fun we had dicking with the depth gauge on the side of the unit. Unfortunately that’s about all we bothered to do before the call of Quiznos beckoned us to do something more productive with our time.
*GatorAIDS has not won any awards unless you count the time we put “GAT” as the high score on the local arcade’s Street Fighter II.
Every legacy begins somewhere and the road to Nintendo’s 3D gaming venture began with the best-selling Virtual Boy released in 1995. The system, which teetered between not being big enough to be a console and not being portable enough to be a handheld, enjoyed notable success as a paperweight that would occasionally give bystanders headaches if they stared directly at it for longer than fifteen seconds. The Virtual Boy was home to many memorable titles such as Teleroboxer and a collection of Magic Eye puzzles that actually didn’t show anything but it is perhaps most well known for its flagship title Waterworld, a video game adaptation of the box office smash movie starring Kevin “Vagina Neck” Costner. The Virtual Boy sold literally dozens of units with the release of the much anticipated adaptation and Usenet groups were abuzz with Waterworld fanfiction and rumor mills.
Nintendo left the 3D market in 1996 citing that the technology was merely too awesome for Japanese developers to understand; in their time off they created the landmark Nintendo 64 console and promptly bowed out of the console wars in the following generation with the Gamecube. Nintendo stepped up their game as a force to be reckoned with and delivered what consumers wanted with the Wii, a console that not only lets you make masturbatory jokes about Bowser but also boasts a huge library of games comprised almost entirely of third party compilation titles. The Wii’s runaway success was matched with their dual screen handheld the Nintendo DS whose variety of Imagine titles and lack of effective copy protection led their handheld to conquer the PlayStation Portable. Their next step in market domination was unveiled at the latest E3 conference but only recently could gamers get a hands-on look at the beastly power that is the Virtual Boy II.
Among the launch titles that we had a chance to sample included Street Fighter IV 3D, a 3D re-release of the Xbox 360 console title that has already featured a re-release “Super” edition setting an unprecedented bar in the gaming industry: a developer releasing the exact same game three times in a 12 month period. What we enjoyed the most about the Virtual Boy II is how much it cuts the fluff and doesn’t feature developer titles that blatantly “fly out of the screen” at you. [Editor’s Redaction: The Virtual Boy II actually does this, our apologies.] While playing Street Fighter IV 3D we were floored with how intense the experience was; it was like Ryu was actually letting loose a hadoken directly into our faces! We had to squint to see it but we’re pretty sure that’s what happened and it blew us away!
The Virtual Boy II isn’t without its flaws however as there have been stark warnings not to let young children use the handheld’s 3D function for fears that it may put too much strain on their developing eyes. Nintendo of America COO Reggie Fils-Aime explained it better by saying to gaming blog Kotaku: “The Virtual Boy II is just so [fucking incredible] that its true effects simply cannot be comprehended by the developing brains of young children. Seeing our memorable Nintendogs in 3D is something they cannot quite wrap their minds around so the strain placed on them may possibly cause their heads to explode.”
This warning, an industry standard, has been something brought up in every instance of 3D entertainment dating back to even the original Virtual Boy. The original 1990’s futuregoggles utilized an oscillating mirror to project what amounted to a Pink Floyd laser light show directly into the eyes of anybody looking into the console’s eyepiece; the technology was cutting-edge at the time but the motorboating mirrors were eventually phased out with a new idea that didn’t require players to put anything on or near their faces to enjoy the 3D effects. While movie theaters hand out pairs of “Avatar Glasses” Nintendo spent millions of dollars figuring out how to achieve this amount of three-dimensional depth without making players wear ridiculous RealD glasses. After months of R&D their solution was to take the lenses out of a pair of RealD glasses and use them as the screen of the Virtual Boy II, a genius move! The first prototype of this model was demonstrated by Fils-Aime at the 2010 E3 conference where he reached into his suit jacket and pulled out what appeared to be an original Nintendo DS with a pair of RealD glasses taped onto the top screen (the ear pieces had been snapped off).
Players can adjust this RealD lens with the use of a sliding switch on the top screen (one of what appears to be forty such sliding switches located on the handheld). There are parental controls rumored to be installed on the handheld for parents of young children where activating the 3D switch will instead traumatize kids by showing footage from a Faces of Death video (Japanese versions of the Virtual Boy II tell children that they are a dishonor to their family and that they will be submitted to the Porygon episode of the Pokemon anime). Nintendo has stated they hope these controls help parents make the right decisions in letting their children experience the thrill of using the Virtual Boy II. With the 3D function disabled the handheld goes into a “lockdown” mode and becomes a handy talking calculator.
Some gamers may remember that the incredible success of the original Virtual Boy ended in tragedy with the untimely passing of Gunpei Yokoi, the creator of the system. Due to his status as an instant celebrity in the gaming world, and after having reclaimed himself from creating the financial disaster that was the Game Boy, he was unfortunately target of a hit carried out by the Yakuza in 1997 during an assassination that was staged to look like a traffic accident. Reggie Fils-Aime stated that the true creator of the new Virtual Boy II will never be known for this very reason, as they anticipate incredible success and don’t want to lose any crucial R&D members, but he has stated that they are going on a campaign of disinformation and crediting the creation of the handheld to Steve Jobs.
When asked about the possibility of cross-platform compatibility Fils-Aime stated that he had in-depth experience with all of Nintendo’s products, “even the Superscope” (which was a handy accessory used for discharging D-cell batteries using your Super Nintendo), but he mentioned the only exception to this rule was the original Virtual Boy for reasons yet unknown by GatorAIDS news correspondents. We had intended to ask Fils-Aime why he had never used the original Virtual Boy but after having not blinked for approximately 17 minutes we decided it would be best to leave him alone and not push the subject further.
In closing we feel that the Virtual Boy II is a force to be reckoned with and we anticipate huge opening sales for the console and a subsequent boom in the market of corrective lenses for children. Nintendo’s surgical stimulation of the American economy could not possibly come at a better time and we here at GatorAIDS simply cannot contain our excitement not only for gamers but for optometrists all over the country who are about to get a much needed boost in their clientele!
TOKYO, JAPAN (via GatorAIDS) — “Legendary” Pokemon Red and Blue cast member MissingNo was officially relieved of his duties by developer Game Freak with the North American release of Pokemon Black and White, officially ending his 15-year streak as a back-end crew member of the games. His Pokedex slot, #000, has been commandeered by the promotional Pokemon “Victini” effectively replacing the space occupied by the Red/Blue veteran. MissingNo, whose name is a truncated version of “Missing Number” (with accompanying Japanese name Ketsuban having the same literal translation), was perhaps most well known for his appearances at Cinnabar Island that fueled intense speculations and rumor mills in the budding Generation I online Pokemon communities. At the peak of his popularity MissingNo was featured in special segments of Nintendo Power‘s Pokemon Corner and the official Pokemon website with stark warnings to aspiring trainers mentioning his game-ruining “powers” which were later proven to be untrue by industrious researchers. [Editor’s Note: The editorial staff at GatorAIDS cannot actually ascertain the gender of MissingNo so we have defaulted to the generic “he” to refer to it.]
With the release of Pokemon Black and White starting “Generation V” of the Pokemon franchise a special giveaway was held where trainers could download the new Pokemon Victini onto their Nintendo DS handhelds at select GameStop and other video game retail stores. Victini’s Pokedex number is that of MissingNo’s (#000) effectively filling this slot with a “more complete” file seeing as how MissingNo’s employee record was curiously devoid of personal information and seemed forged considering a mis-match between his height and weight. MissingNo originally assumed his role as the original #000 with the release of 1996’s Pokemon Red and Green where he was known under the aforementioned Japanese moniker Ketsuban, a role he reprises in the North American translations with his more well-known pseudonym. Trainer encounters with MissingNo were a rarity, usually involving discussing the finer points of capturing Pokemon with elderly people before taking an immediate vacation to the nearest beach, though with the advent of the Internet such “battles” between MissingNo and his accompanying cohorts became far less of a rarity even being encouraged by other Pokemaniacs and bird watchers.
It is unknown whether or not MissingNo will be receiving a severance package from Nintendo but our correspondents at PMZ have received word that the angular Pokemon has recently filed for government-based unemployment assistance and the impact his lay off has had on his credit rating is said to be severe but expected for such an intense lay off. During his 15-year stint as a back-end hand for Red & Blue MissingNo ran interference with fatal errors from garbage encounter data, effectively maintaining the integrity of the franchise’s virgin installments. MissingNo is one of about 40 such Pokemon all occupying the same slot and purpose, however the category also encompasses three MissingNo that are able to maintain their jobs through special loopholes brought upon by their highly specialized work. These three MissingNo (Kabutops Fossil, Aerodactyl Fossil, and Ghost) were spared in the layoff due to their duties in the art and graphics department of the franchise, though without official Pokedex numbers it is uncertain if they will be eligible for standard Nintendo employee benefits such as health and dental.
“It’s a damn shame,” said Ernest Friarson, better known under his unofficial nickname as The Man on the Cinnabar Island Gym Roof. “I was there when MissingNo was first signed onto this job. His specific department, the eastern coast of Cinnabar Island, was basically caddy-corner to where my position was, which was on the roof of the gym. Doesn’t seem right that [Nintendo] is giving Missy the boot but I guess it’s just a sign of the hard economic times we’re all currently facing. I was laid off at the release of Pokemon Yellow and since then I’ve been living off of my retirement… but Ol’ Missy lost his pension plan when the banks started closing.”
“[MissingNo] was a part of the family, the original founding family of the Pokemon games, and it’s always hard to see another one of us underappreciated folks go by the wayside,” stated Chris Feasly. Feasly was also left without a job when the truck he left parked at the deck of the SS Anne was towed for being in a no-parking zone for an extended period of time. Police confiscated a Poke Ball found underneath the truck at the time of the towing.
Sarah Anderson, a resident of the valley behind Bill’s House, also stepped up to offer condolences and even a place for the wayward and estranged Pokemon to stay, but due to the housing market bubble her home was foreclosed on by her bank and she is now presently living with her friend from the town nicknamed “Glitch City”, named as such after a flood caused by a missed Surf attack submerged the town and left heaps of destroyed houses and uprooted trees strewn about everywhere that have yet to be removed from the properties due to high expenses.
Despite the unfortunate turn of events for the popular “glitch” Pokemon, MissingNo is not the first to lose his place due to replacements relieving him of his duties. “PokeGods”, as they were called on the Internet in the late 1990’s, such as lesser known stand-ins “H POKe” and “4B 8 4 8” immediately lost jobs to Gengar and Poliwrath, respectively, with the release of Red & Blue. Both stand-ins, as well as others from the same generations, vanished from the radar never to be seen again. They are presumed dead and if alive are most likely living in impoverished conditions getting by only by cashing in on their shortlived appearances in the hit Pokemon franchise. Also affected by the layoff was M (also known as M Block), another installment to the MissingNo category occupying only one data slot: the very first one in the cartridge. Though he’s known by a slightly different name M is another unfortunate soul roped into this newfound bout of unemployment. He faces even harder times as his name is virtually unpronounceable and the spelling of it changes inconsistently.
Professor Pine, the inventor of the Mist Stone, commented on the news regarding MissingNo stating “he and I worked together on many occasions, usually by means of manufacturing. That was something MissingNo was always good at: making things. He could build you a copy of anything you gave him assuming you had at least five other things to keep him interested long enough. Thanks to his virtually indefatigable work ethic when it comes to building things I have high hopes that MissingNo can find new employment in an industrial setting.”
MissingNo’s legacy certainly left a memorable mark on the Pokemon franchise as future back-end cast members such as “??????????” and “Bad Egg” are frequently referred to as “MissingNo” despite being completely different counterparts. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind as to his importance in the long run of Pokemon and its ongoing history after having become an integral part of the franchise folklore by cementing himself in the inner workings of Red & Blue. For all of his work, however, Nintendo never welcomed the L-shaped figure as an official member of the company family; MissingNo’s name was left untrademarked and he was not cut royalties from sales of the game. MissingNo was also not offered a merchandise deal despite the allure of having a possible “double zero” Pokemon jersey to go with the Pikachu/25 and Charizard/06 clothing line in the late nineties. With the release of the Pokemon Trading Card Game the triple-zero hero found himself with the short end of the stick once again and did not make an appearance in the card series’ Base set, Jungle set, Fossil set, or any other release. Despite being left out of such lucrative options MissingNo managed to keep his head above the water with the support of his underground fans using his almost cult-like status to secure him a stable source of income and even professional-looking mock-ups of what his merchandise could look like despite his unfortunate corporate label as “non-canon”. Not one to be forgotten, MissingNo was also remembered by Pokemon porn aggregate AGNPH and is featured in exactly one instance of “Rule 34”.
GatorAIDS field correspondent Payton made a trip to Cinnabar Island, home of the newly laid-off Pokemon, to hear his side of the story. MissingNo was late to the encounter by approximately one second but upon his arrival he was more than approachable to questioning, though the only thing he said was a long and unintelligible string of strange sounds. Upon returning to the GatorAIDS news van Payton discovered the vehicle had been filled with exactly 128 coffee cups identical to the one he had picked up during his break in Viridian City.
Stay tuned to GatorAIDS News Network for future updates on this current issue.
Depending on what decade you were born in the Activision company was one of many things: the “first third-party video game developer in the history of gaming” (the 1980’s), the “hardened team of veterans who knew how to keep their old classics alive” (the 1990’s), the “old school company who liked to cash in on their old titles but also created Guitar Hero so that’s okay I guess” (the 2000’s), or now most recently “that worthless shovelware publisher who very rarely puts out anything marginally worthwhile and just shit all over Spyro the Dragon” (the 2010’s). Activision, like the more infamous Electronic Arts, isn’t so much a developer anymore as they are more or less now portals for third-parties to pipe their awful games directly onto store shelves. Rather than actually having to posses some amount of technical finesse and knowledge to create a game these “developers” can just copy tech demos from back issues of PC Gamer magazine and release them as games so long as they fork over a handsome amount of money so Activision can make a profit and then press copies of such grand titles as Guitar Hero 17: The Best Tracks from the Performances at Woodstock that Weren’t Rained Out or Canceled Due To Rioting, Hippies Having Sex on Stage, or Hell’s Angels Raping Their Guitarist. Where would we be without such memorable titles?
In a less crap-saturated market. That’s where.
Part of me hates hating on Activision and EA because while they’ll go on a binge of releasing nothing but absolute trash they will once in a while put out something good like Blur or DragonAge and suddenly I find myself questioning my hatred but that usually ends around the time the next Madden is released. My loathsome attitude toward Activision is fleeting at best but recently I caught wind that Activision is planning on releasing the eleventh installment to the Spyro the Dragon franchise. Now, I didn’t say that they were creating it, no, they are just responsible for letting this get published and that’s where I draw the line. After Vivendi Universal thoroughly gutted and castrated Spyro into an absolutely worthless franchise I was suddenly thrown into hating a character I once loved but I realized “at least it can’t get any worse”. Oh my, how I was wrong. I don’t quite understand how you can possibly go any worse than The Legend of Spyro, because there isn’t a term or some kind of qualitative value that exists at this time to explain just how terrible of a series that was, but this new title — Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure — is in such a whole new dimension of time and space of awfulness that Stephen Hawking popped a science boner in an alternate universe when the game was announced. And Activision gave it the green light.
How the fuck do you even pronounce that name? What the fuck is “Skylanders”? Is it a person named Skylander? If so, is this plural or possessive? Is it some kind of world named Skyland? If so why is is Skylanders? It makes no fucking sense. I can understand “Spyro’s Adventure” on its own but when you pair it with an ambiguous noun like Skylanders it sounds so phonetically bad that simply trying to say it aloud causes the same reaction with speech therapists and English teachers that blowing dog whistles has on canines. It’s a name you can’t say properly, and when you do actually say it you feel retarded for saying it because immediately afterward you find yourself asking “what the hell did I just say?” [Fact: 78% of the people reading this just said “Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure” out loud. The remaining 22% said it mentally and suffered a stroke.]
“Okay,” you might be saying, “so far all you’ve complained about is the fact that it has a bad name. But names change during development, what is the game itself like?” I’m glad you asked. When I first read about the features this game has I learned about how the game features 32 little collectible figurines based upon characters in the game that you can place on some magic mousepad (called a “Portal”) which are then rendered into the game presumably as playable characters. Yes, it sounds like a composite fail of every single time this gimmick has ever been attempted by a game developer but it’s different this time because it’s Spyro right? Part of me wanted to believe so much in this game because it’s Spyro and despite what his creators have done to him I still have so many fond memories of him on the PlayStation and it would be awesome to have a new Spyro figurine to go with my PS1 era collectibles.
And then I saw what they did to Spyro. Behold, God’s mistake:
I saw this photo in a second press release about the game and for the first time in all of my years as a gamer, as a writer, as a dragon lover, and as a combination of the three I was at a loss for words. I wanted to crack a joke, but I couldn’t think of one. I wanted to shout “NO DO NOT WANT”, but I couldn’t speak. I wanted to facepalm but I couldn’t move. I had an expression on my face somewhere between just having watched a box of puppies be fed into a wood chipper and sitting on the toilet after having eaten Taco Bell for lunch and the only sound that came out of my mouth was a stiff grunt that tapered off into a puberty-broken scream.
Look at him. Don’t even say a damn word just look at him. Look at that face.
Spyro wants to die. He wants you to kill him. That expression is him begging you to pick up the nearest object and beat him to death with it no matter how much you start crying in the process. He is standing there begging you to put him out of his misery and if he could speak he would tell you exactly what terrible experiments “They” are probably doing to Crash Bandicoot too, but Spyro can’t tell you who “They” are. He can only show you what they did to him. He is dead on the inside, and he yearns for the day when his soul can finally be liberated from its fleshy prison.
I looked at that picture and a very specific and frightening urge was injected directly into the reptilian part of my brain: I suddenly wanted to find the CEO of Activision and strangle the life out of him with my bare hands. I felt like a Manchurian Candidate and Mutilated Spyro was my activation key. I can understand the idea that nothing but pure profits fuels the vast majority of the gaming industry today but at a certain point there has to be a limit where things aren’t profitable anymore. I stare in amazement as I see the sheer number of shovelware titles clogging the market and I cannot help but wonder as to why the market hasn’t crashed again like it did in the 1980’s, and this time I’m hoping Activision doesn’t survive the crash. Who in their right mind thought this was a good idea? A follow-up question to that: Who the hell is “Toys For Bob” and why are they producing this game? The last title they created was the game adaptation of the latest stupid Madagascar movie, and while I haven’t played it I’m sure it won Game of the Year from every publication and convention when it was released and is a game that will live on in the annals of history right next to Tetris and Metroid.
The game is intended for kids, and by the time Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure is released I will be 23 years old so perhaps it’s wrong of me to stand here and beat a children’s game into the ground, but in that respect what does it matter? Why does it matter that this is a kid’s game? The bigger question is why destroy the integrity of a franchise (moreso than it already has been) and kill the lovable factor its main proponent once had regardless of who its intended audience is? I have yet to discover what was so bad about the original Spyro character design and world probably because there was nothing wrong with it. Characters change and evolve, yes, but they don’t have to turn into Toothless the Dragon’s “after” picture from a Faces of Meth poster. Super Mario has lasted decades with only so much as a change of clothes and he’s still sitting pretty as a mostly unscathed franchise character. Why Spyro? Was How To Train Your Dragon really that great of a movie? (Hint: No.) I don’t think it’s a matter of basing a character design off of another one, I think Spyro’s new design is more or less irrefutable proof that originality in the gaming industry is a rare sight these days.
But how can I scream “unoriginal” when this is the “first game” to feature this Portal technology to change characters? Because the developers basically took the purpose of a Character Select screen and came up with a half-assed way to make a profit on it. Their “creative” twist on the game is not unlike playing Mortal Kombat and then realizing all of the locked characters are unlocked by paying actual IRL Kredits for them instead of in-game ones. It’s fucking stupid, not to mention ridiculous. The character figurines themselves also contain a little memory storage unit to hold your progress effectively undermining the point of your console having a hard drive which appear not quite to save only your progress but also as a means of having some underhanded digital-rights management thrown in for added flair. Perhaps the best part is that the game comes with three random figurines meaning that there’s a pretty decent chance you won’t even get Spyro, the “star” of the fucking game, with your copy.
The cast of characters, if you can even call these third-trimester abortions that, aren’t original either. Each and every one of them look like uninspired and generic characters from every single design convention in video game history. A fire-element character made of magma and rock is such an unoriginal cop-out that I’m quite sure the first time such a character was ever conceived regardless of when it happened that the creation was met with sighs, rolling eyes, and affirmations of “gee, couldn’t think of anything less obvious?”
But best of all Activision’s CEO Eric Hirshberg (whose hobbies include seeing how many testicles he can fit into his mouth all at once) had this to say about the new “game”:
“These are more than action figures. They are inter-action figures … pairing world class character design, world class video game design and world class story telling into one…”
Fuck you, Eric Hirshberg. There’s a “world class buttfucking” waiting for you. In Hell.
[Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on RFSHQ.com on May 13th, 2007. It was re-written and posted to GatorAIDS in 2010, the article below is the GatorAIDS version.]
My job as a game columnist is to be able to play games, take screenshots or other footage of said games, and then blast the holy hell out of them. This is incredibly easy to do when it comes to using console emulators on a computer and the first time I was made aware of them in middle school started a fire that’ll likely burn the rest of my life. Emulation is a godsend for those of us who want to play classic video games but either A) cannot afford to spend $50 for The Legend of Zelda on eBay, B) don’t feel like blowing into a cartridge ten times, or C) both A and B except instead of Zelda the game is Action 52. My answer choice is C. There is a certain threshold however wherein at some point playing console games with a QWERTY keyboard becomes cumbersome and difficult and the Nintendo 64 marked this point by featuring a controller with an analog stick, a D-pad, a trigger, two shoulder buttons, and six face buttons all wrapped up in a design that required at least three hands to hold.
Certain retailers online have been offering USB interfaces for use with authentic console controllers for years but it was only at this particular time that I discovered I really needed one. After some shopping around that consisted of me looking for the absolute cheapest deal on eBay and nothing else I found an adapter that would suit my needs perfectly. For reasons unknown it is colloquially known as the “Boom Adapter” and features support for not only a Nintendo 64 controller but a PlayStation one as well, you know, for all of those times I say “you know what would make Super Mario 64 better? Some Spyro the Dragon.” I was floored because just prior to mashing the BUY IT NOW button I had downloaded an entire Blockbuster Video’s worth of games to play and I eagerly awaited my package; however when the actual box arrived I tore it open only to stare into a portable version of Hell itself. As I gazed into the abyss, this gazed back.
If the suffering of mankind could be summarized in just one picture (and with a smattering of broken English for good measure) this was it. What had I gotten myself into? What exactly is going on with this box? Furthermore why in the hell does this even include a floppy disk? Does anybody even use those anymore? Why all the colors? Why the Comic Sans MS font? Why? Why? WHY? “Highly compatibility”? “Extra stable”? The box provided more questions than answers so I did the only rational thing I could think of. I flipped it over and read the back.
In hindsight I don’t really know why I flipped the box over. I guess I was hoping the other side would say “haha just kidding” and would have instructions and details printed in perfect fucking English… but no, just the same wacky show except with even more graphics for added redundancy. (You mean that with this PSX+N64 converter I can actually use PSX and N64 controllers?!) It’s like the people (or person most likely) that put this together has no understanding of how either console works; I know of no Dance Dance Revolution pad that plugs into the Nintendo 64. Why bother explaining how you don’t need a power source for this device — why would you need one to begin with? It’s an over-glorified plug converter not a god damn multi-port hub. You just plug it in, that’s what “Plug & Play” actually means. There is no reason to complicate it and there is absolutely no way that I believed the phrase “Plug & Play” when I saw it.
Scanning the back of the box I finally find the system requirements and much to my dismay it appears I have the completely wrong operating system for this thing; I don’t have “Eindows 95”. Not all hope is lost, though, because for what I don’t have (Eindows) I make up for by having about forty-eight USB ports so the “any USB port” requirement is satisfied. If I can meet this adapter halfway perhaps it can compromise too and only let me use one of the two adapter ports (Nintendo 64 please).
Against my better judgment I opened the box and pulled out the translucent blue adapter and with it came a purple floppy disk; the kind you can buy in a 50-pack at Office Depot. The vendor I bought this from guaranteed this was indeed a “Plug & Play” device so I plugged my controller into the adapter and plugged the adapter into my computer and… wait for it… nothing happened. There’s a little diode and a switch on the side of the adapter so maybe it just wasn’t on the correct setting. I fooled with the switch and watched the little light go from red to green and back to red again as I turned it left to right. From what I collected green is “not working” mode and red is “not working even more than green” mode. I tried using another program to map the controller buttons to the keyboard but it was no use, the adapter lay silent and deaf much like the 14-year-old child laborer who probably assembled it.
Desperate for help I went to the last available place I could think of to fix my problem: the dreaded purple floppy disk of death. Knowing full well if the adapter didn’t work at all there was a solid chance that putting this disk into my computer may actually send it back in time. Contained on the diskette was a worthless configuration file made for Windows (Eindows) 98 and a readme file in Microsoft Word. I knew that opening the readme was a dumb idea but I did it anyway just for the hell of it if not for actual help by this point. Upon opening the file I was greeted with painfully generic instructions telling me that the adapter should have been recognized immediately along with some other equally worthless tips that include, and I quote:
“But we STRONGLY SUGGEST you to download the Microsoft DirectX 8.1 and install this Microsoft driver, it’s best solution for you! Your computer can automatic detect ALL the USB convertor / USB joypad / USB steering wheel ……etc!”
“If you have installed the OLD version DirectX before, you can use this DirectX Uninstall Software – ” DirectX Buster V2.1 Beta 4 ” to uninstall your old version DirectX then reinstall the newest version late.”
“When you have installed the DirectX 8.1 already but your SONY joypad is not working well, it’s your SONY joypad compatible cause, please replace another brand PS joypad to test it again.”
And finally at the very bottom of the document I find this:
“BUT for the N64 joypad, isn’t ALL joypad can working steady since the structure of N64 joypad is very complex, so we can’t 100% guarantee your N64 joypad can 100% work.”
Even they admit the Nintendo 64 controller is fucking insane and use it as the scapegoat for why their adapter is nothing more than a glorified drink coaster. Despite all of this they were nice enough to end this document quite ironically with something that should have been emblazoned on the front of the fucking box:
“You have to think over it before you decide to buy this device.”
Well gee, thanks a lot you assholes. Before you advise me to not buy your product I have to actually buy your product first. I could go on and on about how that kind of recursive loop could destroy the space/time continuum but instead I think I’ll just unplug this godforsaken “adapter” and fix a wobbly table with it. In the end I got shafted out of a total of $15 for a piece of crap that I didn’t want to pay a lot of money for. This fixed absolutely zero of my problems so I decided to pony up the money and spent $35 on an Adaptoid. It’s made in the USA and wouldn’t you know, the second I plugged it in my computer said “hey you’re doing something with a game controller aren’t you? Let me help you with that.” My computer is so friendly.
Fuck you, Boom Adapter.
No, I’m not about to rip into the (many) problems with the modern-day era of Pokemon. As much as I’d like to do that I don’t even know enough about Gold/Silver/Crystal to even begin to fabricate an argument higher in thought than “it sucks pretty bad”. This article is about a peculiar video of the same name, specifically the November 30th, 1999 episode of the television show In Focus, a religiously-charged broadcast that airs on WVCY TV30 in Wisconsin. This shoddy public access tape traveled all the way from Wisconsin down to the bowels of South Texas to meet me, like a stroke of destiny, in a Goodwill store. I always lurk the VHS section of any second-hand store because I have a knack for the awkwardly cringeworthy and that’s simply the place for the best pickins. Nestled in between a copy of The Land Before Time 45,713 and Popeye cartoons in Spanish lied this VHS — a simple black tape with a homemade type-written label reading “THE PROBLEM WITH POKEMON”. I bought it with a smile on my face knowing this would be superb, and it was.
I don’t know much about In Focus but according to the VCY America website it’s still in production and the hosts are still as hilariously stupid and biased as always. Essentially In Focus is your run of the mill church-based call-in show programming full of “JESUS DID IT” as an excuse for everything and their response to anybody who thinks otherwise is to, quite literally, hang up on them. Pokemon was a “big thing” in the late nineties and as you can imagine these Bible-thumpers were all over this opportunity to tell the world how Satanic and evil Pokemon were because church-going kids were yet again distracted from a boring as hell book by flashing lights and a naturally awesome video game that can only be described as “badass”.
Here’s the opening sequence to the show. It’s going to blow your fucking mind:
After having seen that I want to remind you that an actual human being had to sit down and put that together and someone else thought that was suitable for their show. No less than two people were involved with this monument of fail and for a station that boasts “broadcasting to all 50 states” that means the entire country is going to have to see what you make… and this is the best they can do. You can see what level of crazy we’re dealing with here just by watching the intro. It starts out simple enough with important faith-based issues like “abortion”, “politics” (so much for that separation of church and state, right?), and “faith” (for added redundancy). Somewhere along the line, though, the guy who put this together was clearly so impressed with that “swoosh” effect that he threw in as many possible topics that he could think of and we are left with “law enforcement”, “education”, “news”, “divorce”, “pornography”, “justice”, “creation/evolution”, and my personal favorite: “inner city”.
If you’re keeping track with me than we aren’t even a minute into this show and it’s already spiraled down into insanity and then the actual broadcast starts wherein we are greeted by… nobody because the anchor fails to introduce himself at all until a graphic shows up a full minute later informing us of who exactly is talking. Our fantastical unnamed host runs through a plethora of Pokemon franchise information such as “maybe you’ve seen the recent movie” to the term “Burger King paraphernalia” to basically any other phrase that could be replaced with “if you’ve been living under a rock, here’s Pokemon”.
After tumbling through at least 15 different places one may have heard about Pokemon our host Jim gives what is quite possibly the worst handoff in television history to their “local expert”… who apparently is also named Jim and is also a host of- oh wait, no he’s not. Someone just dicked up the graphics. Jim… or shall I say THE REAL JIM states that he’s going to be getting into a lot of Pokemon-oriented topics including “where they get their power” and somehow tries to meld that sentence with an invitation for you to call your friends and have them tune into In Focus as well because, as Jim claims, “it’s going to be a great show”. The end result is an English sentence that sounds like it was translated to Spanish and then back to English until it made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Bizarro Jim (his real name is actually David Brown) is quick to start rambling on about how “new age” Pokemon is in its efforts to replace the Bible’s teachings of morality with… well, Boulderbadges and Thunder Stones I guess; he too never completes that thought. If either of the two of these hosts had any TV broadcasting education whatsoever they must have gone to the equivalent of DeVry University to get said “education”.
David makes no hesitation to rain on everyone’s parade by reading off a laundry list of criteria that someone of equal religious disillusion can use to gauge how Satanic Pokemon (or anything for that matter) is by comparing the media in question to a battery of observations that clearly aren’t impossible or biased in any forseeable way. After this soapbox speech of crazy you’d think David would summarize his point by showing the camera a piece of Pokemon merchandise that broke these magical declarations of the Bible, but no he flashes to the camera an NWO Sting wrestling figurine… then Darth Maul from Star Wars along with some Star Wars books… then some Star Trek nonsense… then a Marvel Comics Ghost Rider and Venom figurine… then the obvious candidate, a Harry Potter book. Jim tries to step in and make some relevance out of what Old Man River is babbling on about but David goes right back along showing a package of the ill-fated Mythos trading card game followed by Magic: The Gathering until Jim finally tries to summarize his seemingly Anti-Christmas speech by asking David about the Pikachu plush toy he brought with him.
Jim introduces the Pikachu as “cute and cuddly” which gives David the opportunity to start talking about how Satanic the iconic character is and “not to be fooled” by its cute appearance. David goes on a miniature tangent rant about Time magazine featuring Pokemon on their cover which is then revealed to be a lead-in to “magazines devoted entirely to Pokemon”, which is said as David simultaneously flashes a Game Boy player’s guide to the camera… something more akin to a book and not a magazine. David has brought all of these little artifacts into the studio with the sole purpose of blasting them but I feel that he fails to realize that he pretty much bought copies of everything he intended to label as “demonic” effectively adding money into said “new age” companies and further perpetuating their products.
David takes a moment to explain the origins of Pokemon, correctly attributing the name to “pocket monsters” and then linking it straight to Japan. You can almost see the glimmer in his eye as you feel this bizarre wave of xenophobia take over the broadcast; you know David hates the Japanese because earlier in the broadcast he calls Eastern religions “incorrect” — those “Oriental” countries… as he calls them, come on David just be out with it already and say “Chinamen” you know you want to!
David then whips out his trump card, a VHS tape of Pokemon episodes called Psychic Surprise. He is floored to be able to show this and he tells us to get ready for the first clip and they show… wait for it… wait for it… the theme song. They then proceed to meticulously rip apart the lyrics to it and only analyze the parts that kind of resemble anti-Christ doctrines like “being the best” and somehow twisting “travel across the land” as a means of conquering worlds which if these jackasses are paying any attention is exactly what members of their church did to “spread the gospel”, and by “spreading gospel” I of course mean “crusading”. They confuse the marketing term “gotta catch em all” with a demand for kids to ACCEPT SATAN INTO THEIR LIVES.
Basically these winners ignore the phrases in the theme song that talk about “defending the world” and virtues like having courage in favor of blasting only what their agenda-riddled… agenda… can apply to. Reverend Gary Oak (for lack of a better name for David) flexes his Internet prowess by showing the camera that he has printed out a character sheet from the Pokemon website and talks about how Brock is a bad role model because he likes girls; “hormonal” as the paper says. Really? He’s 13 years old and he likes women? Holy shit sound the alarm there’s a kid going through puberty who found out he likes girls! Clearly this is reason for alarm and David cues up his Pokemon VHS tape to specific scenes where Brock is seen macking on the ladies. Utterly disgusting. What is wrong with this young man who clearly doesn’t want to make love missionary style and through a hole in a sheet? For shame, Nintendo, for shame.
Jessie and James cross-dress as a disguise and that’s bad. Brock likes girls and that’s bad. There’s sex in my pokeyman and that’s satan. David quotes his favorite relevant Bible verses to make a point so just to counterpoint I am going to do the same. What, you think someone of my caliber doesn’t know the Bible? Well that’s an inappropriate assumption now isn’t it? Fuck you. And as I quote Ezekiel 23:20:
There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
I’m not going to really explain that quote in detail because it has an air of prostitution with just a hint of bestiality thrown in for good measure but seriously, from a morality standpoint which of those is the lesser of evils? Bad guys being cross-dressers… or comparing cock sizes and cumshots with livestock?
The best part of this broadcast, however, is when they open the phonelines to viewer calls. Now normally I’d find hilarity in them sitting in silence for the next 25 minutes while nobody calls because nobody is watching their stupid program but then again we’re dealing with humans here and when humans are in a large group they tend to lose intelligence exponentially so yeah there’s a lot of callers. Despite the assumed intellect of the people calling in there’s such an amazing spectrum represented ranging from insane grandmothers rambling about Stephen King to young children doing their best to defend Pokemon and politely telling the hosts of this show to “suck it”.
The very first caller is a man who seems like he thought his example through but he makes the mistake of saying you should make your children aware of Pokemon so they do not fall for it. David steps in and literally calls BS on that (he says “Yeah, I’m not buying that”) because he knows that a giant turtle that can blast a sea at you has more kid appeal than some dickhead who can simply part a sea and even telling a kid about how monumentally awesome that is will effectively sell him to the dark side for good. More and more people who call in take the same stance much to the despair of the hosts. The second caller is my favorite in the entire tape, perhaps because I can understand what she’s talking about but the hosts clearly cannot. She calls in and acknowledges that the psychic type Pokemon can use telekinesis and connects to the Stephen King movie Carrie, a story of a girl who has pyrokinesis (she sets things on fire with her mind). Jim has no idea what she is talking about and it’s such an epic moment that I felt the need to go through the over-complicated process of transferring the segment to digital video. Enjoy.
All of the kids who call in do so to defend their interest and believe it or not for kids they raise some mature points that the hosts of In Focus blast down with the type of logic that belongs to preschoolers. Eric, the very first young caller, skips no beats in pointing out that David has been incredibly exclusive in his choice of Pokemon to attack noting that he’s stuck primarily on the psychic types and absolutely none of the others. He challenges David on live television asking where Pikachu gets his “occult powers”. David’s response? He hangs up on the caller, badly rehashes some nonsense about fighting, and they take the next one. The next kid who calls, Casey, insists that it’s not a bad game because it teaches responsibility and says that you have to take care of your Pokemon, to be a good keeper in other words. I was rooting for Casey to take it home for us and tell David where he can shove those anti-Pokemon pamphlets but her argument quickly falls apart and they kick her off the show as well. Mark, another caller, flat out acknowledges that the bad guys are the ones who cross-dress so he asks “why would people want to do that if that’s what the bad guys do?” David is taken aback and once again has to drudge up the same “BUT TEH GOOD GUYZ HAS TEH OCCULT POWARZ SO DEY BAD TOO”.
Forget what I said about Iesha though, because a caller named Jason is my true favorite caller. The first thing he says is that he is disappointed with the Poke-bashing. Jason notes that it’s a passing fad and then goes on to question what the difference is between the violence and antics depicted in Pokemon compared to those in Looney Tunes, raising a bunch of questions in the process and effectively bringing the roof down on WVCY’s fun house. Jason summarizes his call by saying that claims from shows like In Focus are indoctrinating parents to stifle the creativity of their children by blocking them from otherwise harmless media. David tries to quickly pick up the pieces claiming that Looney Tunes never have “occult” powers and that Bugs Bunny never cross-dresses. You can see where David just made a mistake because Bugs Bunny cross-dresses as a disguise gimmick in a number of cartoons and Jason jumps on that immediately. David, defeated, arrogantly declares that it’s clearly different because Bugs Bunny is an animal… somehow making it okay? Jason doesn’t say it but come to think of it isn’t Pepe Le Pew a lot like Brock in that all he does is chase after women? You know what, screw it. Here’s another video just because Jason is my hero. Godspeed, Jason.
In summary these religious nutcases are just that, religious nutcases. They’re looking for a reason to be crass and belligerent and to rain on people’s parades by injecting one book of fairy tales into another and claiming that their stories supersede those of all others. They claim that kids being mean to younger siblings and begging for Pokemon cards from their parents is a sign of falling for Satan but I say that’s simply a phenomenon called BEING THIRTEEN YEARS OLD. Replace “Pokemon” with any other fad in the history of forever and you will have the same exact stories of bullying and average pre-teen mentality. These people are just butthurt that no sane kids except for Moral Orel think that Christ is radical enough to warrant the attention that everything else popular with kids gets. Party poopers will always be party poopers and so long as the First Amendment covers this insanity then people like the fine folks at In Focus will be able to talk out of their asses for an hour each week about whatever topic they feel is brainwashing kids into worshiping the Devil be it Harry Potter, Pokemon, or the entire decade of the 1990’s.
It gets better, though. The wonderfully inept company behind this production, Logos Communications (Logos pronounced “low-goss”), said that they have a pamphlet of information about Pokemon available for a “minimum” donation of $5. That seems a little steep for Xerox’ed copies of “ITZ TEH DEVAL” but just for the hell of it I sent Logos a “donation” of $6.66 and asked for their “Problem With Pokemon” information. We will see how that goes. During the credits of the show they say you can have a copy of the broadcast for $20 meaning somebody paid twenty bucks for this damn thing and I got it at a Goodwill for ten cents; that’s a bargain, folks. I should also mention that even though this was taped a decade ago I still tried calling the phone number to the show and it rang. And rang. And rang. Somewhere out there is a lonely telephone in a television studio ringing, and nobody is there to answer it… and that’s kinda scary if you picture it in your head.
vaporware (vay – poor – where) n. A term used to describe massively hyped or advertised software that is excessively delayed and ultimately never released.
Yes this is an article about a dragon-related computer game, and yes I am actually satirizing it. Just because my name is “Dracophile” doesn’t mean that anything with dragons in it instantly gets five gold stars and a Dracophile Seal of Approval. Quite the contrary, actually; I have taste in what I like. Simply dropping a bunch of random dragons in front of me actually won’t keep me occupied unless you’ve managed to find what I like. DragonPlay, a game that can best be described as “a complete Club Penguin rip-off with dragons” and worst described as “Yahtzee with letters on all the dice”, does not fall into the category of things that I find pleasing.
Of course, I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t originally on the game’s development team at one point in time. When the project was announced in 2006 by the dev team they asked me if I’d like to hop aboard and do graphic design work for the game which I agreed to do and also offered to design the website and host on my own servers. Normally I’d charge for a service like that (because graphic and web design is my job) but I waived all of those fees because “hey, dragons!” They kicked me out about two weeks later because it was readily apparent I was the only developer with a head on my shoulders and a generous helping of common sense and Internet business practices.
I feel that I might be getting a little ahead of myself, though, so I’ll reverse gears and give you a little introduction about the game. DragonPlay was announced in 2006 by the dev team and was set to be released in 2007. 2007 showed up and you know what didn’t? DragonPlay. 2008 rolled on by as well and they said “it’ll be done in 2009”. 2009 is here and almost over and the dev team recently announced this past summer that the title was canceled. Naw, really? You don’t say? After having been in “development” for four years the plug was mercifully pulled and DragonPlay can now rest in Internet peace as a boon-doggle of everyone’s time and resources.
DragonPlay was entirely a byproduct of the “me too” generation of kid-oriented MMOG’s that Club Penguin jump started in 2005. You would be hard-pressed to find one single aspect of DragonPlay that wasn’t Carlos Mencia’d from Club Penguin and rebranded with a different name and/or color scheme which was a hobby that many other “me too” game developers were all about. At its heart you got to walk around in a medieval themed world as a little dragon and you could customize your avatar and decorate your living quarters. Actually, you know what, stop. Full stop. I want you to open another browser window and log into the Club Penguin game. I don’t even care if you don’t have an account just do it for the sake of this article.
You there? Good. Now cut out the glasses pictured above and put them on. They will let you “see” Duke NukemPlay while you are really only playing Club Penguin. Now that you’re in the game’s virtual world just take a moment to take it all in. Look at those luscious environments that were totally not drawn in Microsoft PowerPoint (I am seriously not making that up, FYI). Hey why don’t you try clicking those buttons by the chat bar that let your guy sit down or dance, and after you’re done go walk towards the edge of the screen – look! – a new part of the map! Hey, click on your character while you’re here and look at your player card; there are places for clothing but you don’t have any because you need to buy them with Scales, the currency earned from playing mini-games. And once you’ve decked out your dragon it’s time to pimp out your pad by buying furnishings for your iglo-I mean castle. While you’re at your castle, make sure to feed and take care of your Bugz otherwise they’ll run away!
Do you see where I am going with this? The DragonNukem Forever dev team defended their completely unoriginal “original” game by saying their ideas were wholly of their own conception when in actuality the difference between DukePlay and Club Penguin is the same as the difference between every song Ace of Base has ever recorded. Certain members even had the audacity to attack and criticize New Horizon Interactive (the Club Penguin development company) for “stealing their idea of a stage” in the game.
Are you fucking serious? Please, allow me to identify just how incomprehensibly retarded that line of reasoning is. DragonNukem basically pulled an Eric Bauman with Club Penguin and gave it a new coat of paint with the serious intentions to pass it off as a new game. Despite their claims of grandeur their title was virtually unknown because generally when you never release anything people eventually start ignoring you in hopes that you’ll just go away. So please, correct me if I am wrong, what would a well-known Canadian company with an entire department of artists and thinkers be doing on a crappy free phpBB forum full of “programmers” who probably get confused by the opening credits of Look Around You? Do you seriously believe that the idea of a stage perhaps wasn’t so uncommon of an idea that two people can’t come up with it on their own? And on top of that since New Horizon Interactive isn’t some fly-by-night company who can’t tell their asses from a hole in the ground it would be safe to consider that Club Penguin‘s stage was planned out well ahead of DragonPlay Forever‘s likely “hey u kno wut wood be cool a STAEG :D” announcement.
Maybe it’s safe to say I am coming off as a little offensive towards the dearly departed since there are so many other “me too” clones out there that actually saw the light of day, but there is a specific reason that I chose Duke Play Forever and that simply dates back to the very short time I spent on the development team. The head of the dev team was a “visionary” in the sense that he had a vision of something that already existed and access to a Xerox machine. They took themselves way too seriously for a project that was already being done a thousand times better both by New Horizon Interactive as well as the “me too’s” that were staffed by competent people. There was also no sense of how anything worked, it was all just one big cluster of misunderstandings about how a MMOG actually functions, and I spent a good portion of my time typing up long diatribes to try and point them in the right direction because at one point in time I wanted to see this game completed and did everything in my power to aid the ill-fated development.
Perhaps I am being a little arrogant here but even back in 2006 I had game developer credits to my name alongside a small but still formidable list of erroneous game credentials and on top of that I was employed by Miniclip which is the largest online game website in the world. If there was anybody on that team who wasn’t speaking 100% bullshit it was me and instead of heeding my advice all of those years ago they basically canned me and kicked me out of their flaccid community. I’m not saying I could have saved that game but look at what happened to them without a sense of development direction; they all went their own ways until they pulled the project apart at its seams.
And frankly, they deserved it. Congratulations, Duke Nukem Forever, on your Vaporware Lifetime Achievement Award.
(PS: Take the glasses off and look again. The power to see through DragonPlay‘s facade was inside of you all along.)
I was going to originally wait until next month to publish this article but once the true weight of this piece made its presence clear in my head and wouldn’t leave I decided it would be best to go ahead and write it. On Friday November 12th, 1999 a very peculiar event took place. A movie came out actually and — I’m sorry Kevin Smith, this article is not about your movie Dogma — this article is about none other than Pokemon: The First Movie.
Yeah, that one. If I told you that I wasn’t a fan of Pokemon when I was younger then my nose would probably grow to borderline inappropriate lengths this very second. Holy crap did I live for that game when I was in middle school. I was in 5th grade when Pokemon Red and Blue were released for the Nintendo Game Boy in September 1998 and on a whim I picked up a copy of Blue (just to spite all of my friends who got Red). Prior to Pokemon’s North American release my first encounter with the game came with a passing reference to it in a 1995/1996 spoken-word comedy album I took part in wherein I mistakenly referred to one of the characters (Charmander) as “Pokemon”. We wrote the quick joke from a “sneak peak” in a Disney Adventures Magazine issue we read looking for bits to write about and perform.
When I sat down and started playing Pokemon Blue some crazy stuff had to have gone down in my head. The game shut me up from being all gay about Spyro the Dragon just long enough for me to become engulfed and addicted to the game and one year later when I heard there was a movie coming out I proverbially crapped myself. In hindsight I don’t even know why I was so into Pokemon, truth be told now that I look back on it it’s kind of silly and whenever my friends (toting their fancy DSi’s) ask me if I want to “play Pokes” I just kinda give them that “ewww, no” look. The newest Pokemon RPG game that I have played is 1999’s Pokemon Yellow, and I would very much like to keep it that way. Believe it or not in some strange sense when Gold and Silver came out I saw it more as a hasty addendum to make a quick buck on rather than a truly inspired game, which is something that I have since carried with me this past decade and the current “generation” of Pokemon definitely reflect that notion.
Pokemon Snap, Pokemon’s debut onto the Nintendo 64, was no exception. Good god was that game terrible. Whoever stood up in that marketing meeting and shouted “let’s make them take pictures” needs to be taken outside and put down. Furthermore who could forget Hey You, Pikachu!? I mean, I can’t blame you for wanting to forget it but still, there’s a special kind of awkward that comes with shouting at a yellow rat on a TV screen when he won’t open the magic treasure chest or whatever. In its history Pokemon has had a fair number of trainwrecks but there were a few that were solid gold to me and that’s all that really mattered.
That’s beyond the point, though, because this article pertains specifically to one movie and one movie only. Not a present-day dull franchise or any two-bit spin-off series in the game’s legacy either. I kept a journal off and on during my 5th and 6th grade years (and partly up into 8th grade) and I actually remember keeping track of the days until that movie’s release. I made a big deal about it too and the Friday it came out in theaters I was planning to see it that day and at the 12:00 showing. I was always a good student but I was willing to sacrifice that lame Perfect Attendance award in exchange for seeing Pokemon. The cinema where I live was actually getting the film which was a surprise because they usually pick up a lot of crap movies. I convinced my parents to let me skip school to wait in line to see the Pokemon movie and to top it all off I arrived at the theater somewhere around nine in the morning just to make sure I was the first in line.
Nobody showed up, including the employees, until around 11:30. A few of my friends played hookey as well but all in all they didn’t sell that many tickets for the first showing; it later sold out for the evening showings and I would know because I paid to see those too. I saved my ticket all these years and I really feel that a scan of it would make this article more personal, but for the life of me I cannot find the damn folder the thing is inside of so instead I will simply inform you of my intentions and hope that you will forgive me and my lack of mental categorization of seemingly unimportant artifacts and just pretend that the next picture is a scan of that ticket.
That movie was easily the greatest thing that I can remember happening to me when I was younger, which probably sounds incredibly pathetic but when I was younger I had a difficult time making friends and by just playing that stupid game I managed to make quite a few of them, some of whom I still talk to on a regular basis. Everything about the movie was almost magic as it unfolded before me on that giant screen. I remember hearing that now-godawful “Vacation” song by Vitamin C in the Pikachu’s Vacation mini-movie while everyone else around me in the theater took leisure in pointing out and identifying every single Pokemon as they appeared on the screen. The second the television show’s theme song remix played in the film, though, that’s when my mind was blown (and then was subsequently blown a bunch more times in the remaining 92 minutes or so of the movie). Ever since I had beaten Blue a million times it seemed I always wondered what was up with Mewtwo and what he was doing in the Unknown Dungeon (and also what was up with the destroyed lab at Cinnabar Island). This movie answered that and then some. It’s worth noting that although I have been writing for almost 15 years Pokemon was my inspiration to take a break from comedy and work on short fiction and by that I will say through gritted teeth that I once wrote Pokemon fanfiction.
I think now that I look back on it and watch the movie for the purpose of this article I see how so much of it definitely hasn’t aged well and is rather cringeworthy but this was “my thing” back then and as goofy as hell as it is I respect that. The plot was so predictable and cliche even down to Ash getting blown up and he being revived by everybody crying (do I even have to mark that as a spoiler anymore?). It was kinda lame even back then but I didn’t let it bother me because like I hinted to earlier I saw that movie again. And again. And again. I spent a substantial portion of my 6th grade fortune on seeing that movie four times that day and then of course that weekend when my friends who were too cool to skip school went to see it I was invited to go along… so I happily obliged.
I didn’t pay for all of those tickets, of course. Many of those showings I theater-hopped to attend which was evident especially when it sold out because there were curiously more people than seats in the room and some of us were standing. I paid for probably about 12 tickets to that movie but I remember seeing it a lot more times than that. When we theater-hopped in between shows my friends and I usually hid in the bathroom and just played on our Game Boys until the next showing was ready, then we’d all just trickle into the movie while the previews were starting. Worked every time.
I capitalized on that movie, too. People dropped their promo cards on the floor during every showing so stuck around after the credits when the lights came on and picked them all up. When all was said and done I had a giant stack of those cards that I later just sold off to other people or traded away.
Holy crap. TRADING.
Burger King, dear god. Burger King had that plethora of Pokemon toys and also had their “official trading night” where everyone met up on Tuesday nights while the movie was in theaters to trade Pokemon and battle each other. That was social networking before shit like MySpace and Facebook existed. The Pokemon community was so alive where I lived that trading night carried on for an entire year until the Burger King in our town closed. I was there, without fail, every Tuesday night. We were fortunate enough that the employees didn’t actually care that we showed up every single week because we mostly kept to ourselves and let’s face it if we’re buying sodas and burgers at least they’re making money off of us and everyone’s happy when money is involved. I ate so many of their kids’ meals in the name of collecting toys and cards it’s a miracle of modern science that I am not grotesquely fat today. I own the original Burger King promotional poster with all of the toys on it as well as the cardboard standee of Mewtwo that was on display (among others). Almost a decade later my talking Pikachu still emits a re-assuring “PIKA-CHU!” whenever I squeeze him.
On November 12, 2009 it will have been ten years since this all took place. A whole decade. I will admit it truly doesn’t “feel like yesterday” like many people say, but in that same respect to me it feels like, at maximum, like two weeks ago. Ten years is such a long time and I just don’t know if I will be able to really fathom the gravity of it all when that day comes and goes this year. It sounds so trivial to mark “the release of an admittedly bad animated movie” as such a major point in my life but it was just that to me. I lived. When I went into high school I really just kind of fell off the radar socially; I became quiet. I didn’t go to very many parties (none, actually) and I didn’t really have a special someone to take to mostly all of the school dances. That quietness still lingers with me today; I’m in my 7th semester at college and I honestly cannot recall “hanging out” with a single person from any of my classes. Ever. I’m just “that guy”, really. The one who everyone knows is a little off-kilter and means well but the one who people just disregard… and I have been “that guy” my whole life.
I fit in with a lot of people back in 1999, I had a lot of friends. I went to “parties” even if said parties were just get-togethers to make a pilgrimage to the theater to see Pokemon: The First Movie or to just watch it on VHS and enjoy snacks and games. I’ve heard of a lot of people having difficulties coping with turning 20 and “growing up” and whatnot, but I didn’t; to me 20 was just another year, so was 21, and 22 will be as well. No, what really pulls on the strings of my heart and my very existence is how fast it seems time has passed since I was sneaking into screenings of Pokemon or hanging out at a fast food restaurant trading cards and shooting the shit with my friends. It doesn’t feel like 10 years have passed and I don’t want to believe that 10 years have come and gone. I don’t want to look back on some of the fondest memories I have in my life in terms of double digits. I don’t care that I am in my twenties these days, I just care that a lot of the things that made me happy are moving farther and farther away, like Wilson in Cast Away.
I never would have thought that a stupid movie would be what would teach me my lesson in growing up, but it did. It doesn’t quite matter how many times I make that wish to be waiting in line at the ticket booth at 9:00 A.M. on November 12th, 1999, because 1999 was a one time event and really, all things considered, I’m glad I made the best of it when I had the chance.
Perhaps I am not properly enculturated in the world of how to be a manly man. I’m not a fan of football (or sports for that matter), I could care less about NASCAR, I think hunting is pointless, and any kind of outdoorsy activities bore me to hell and back. UFC (or Ultimate Fighting Champion-something-or-other) is the latest “craze” amongst overly aggressive men and how they choose to spend their weekends and Pay-Per-View credits. UFC has been around a while but it’s only recently gotten popular as the “in” thing to do. Spike Network adopted the series into their programming lineup and since then they’ve also produced a crappy reality TV show akin to “The Next Greatest UFC Fighter” or some other pointless manufactured nonsense. You know the kind of show I am talking about.
However what’s a popular franchise without a sub-par video game based off of it? Yes, that’s right there’s a UFC video game out there. Honestly, I don’t see how it’s any different from every other fighting game where you beat the everliving hell out of somebody but I’ll just bear with the developers and agree that its GROUNDBREAKING FIGHTING COMBAT totally blows my mind. And speaking of things being blown that’s a great trantsition into the point of this article: UFC is the most in-the-closet homosexual thing I have come across since the last time the forbidden love between Republicans and health insurance providers was big in the news. Just as a forewarning to cover my own rear, I personally am not a fan of saying something is “gay” when I mean it sucks or is stupid, because that is quite unacceptable. When I call UFC “gay” I don’t mean it as “it sucks”, I mean “gay” as in “hey man you wanna go shower together after this and rent a copy of Brokeback Mountain“.
What is my proof of this claim, you ask? Or rather “what you be sayin’ you stupid (expletive deleted)” as the average UFC fanatic will say shortly before punching his wife and asking for another Bud Light. Allow me to point to one single solitary achievement in the UFC: Undisputed game as the source of my information:
Yes, you get an achievement in the game for watching the “Round 2” card girl prance around in her bikini before every fight without skipping it. Now, seeing as how I have played this game only once I don’t exactly know how long this cutscene is but I am willing to bet it is anywhere between fifteen to twenty minutes long and features an accompanying soundtrack by Kid Rock and Lynard Skynard and a tribute to Dale Earnhardt right in the middle of it all.
Seriously could there be anything less insecure about the average fan’s sexuality here? I seriously can’t think of anything else than being rewarded for asserting your “male superiority” by watching a bikini model hold up a card. Even down to the name of this achievement (“Two of my favorites!”) it screams “YES I AM TOTALLY STRAIGHT NOW SHUT UP AND LET ME WATCH THESE KNOCKERS.”
Perhaps it’s just the fact that I have been clinically diagnosed as being “permanently seven years old mentally” when it comes to certain things but I watch this show or play this game and I always wonder if I am the only one in the room who is really picking up on these vibes. I mean, I know everyone else is seeing what I’m seeing, last time I checked I wasn’t wearing my Elton John FABULOUS VISION shades and I had left my copy of Top Gun at home. Look at that pose, seriously look at it. I’m not even going to take it out of context because 70% of every UFC fight is that. Picture watching that for fifteen minutes and throw in some dry commentary from Joe Rogan (yes the guy from Fear Factor) and you have your average UFC bout.
Basically every UFC fight boils down into two almost naked guys punching each other in the face repeatedly until one of them has an aneyurism and has to be wheeled away to the nearest hospital. Between Point A (the start of the fight) and Point B (the ambulance ride) lies a bunch of awkard groping, pinning, sweating, and grunting. Seriously folks the jokes write themselves. I wish I could say more about it, but that’s it. That’s what’s popular amongst the “look at me I’m so tough” guys these days; a show where after each fight where both competitors clearly showed how impressively not-gay they both are secretly talk about their favorite songs by Aretha Franklin and consider adopting a toy poodle as a pet.
I went to a UFC “party” whenever everybody was making a big deal about UFC 100. I spend a hell of a lot of time driving around during the week and on the radio without fail every single commercial break was about some local sports bar that was going to have UFC 100 “ON THE GIANT PLASMA SCREENS” (Sidenote: Putting UFC on 60+” TV’s does not make it any less homoerotic.). I remember specifically the big deal was about Brock Lensar and this other guy whose name I didn’t actually care to remember because the fight was the Heavyweight Title Bout meaning whoever won would be King In-The-Closet, I guess. I don’t know, really, but I bet he got a fancy golden belt that said “CHICKS ONLY, NO GUYS, I MEAN IT. SERIOUSLY” at the end. Brock Lensar won in literally the least engaging way possible: he sat on his opponent and punched him for the entire duration of the fight.
That’s all he did. From what everybody was raving about for weeks prior I was expecting the two fighters to at least whip out some chainsaws or battle axes or something, anything to make it worth watching (and spending $100 for on Pay-Per-View). Nope, instead I was subjected to watching a bunch of littler people fight (Lightweights, not midgets) before this “monumental fight” wherein Lensar demonstrated his ability to do impressions of a blanket made out of fists.
I don’t even follow this lifestyle of misplaced testosterone but I felt somehow letdown by that fight and I’m pretty sure if the squirrely reptile geek who isn’t interested in UFC was letdown by UFC then everyone else in the room who kept a mental encyclopedia of how big every fighter’s biceps are were certainly angered as well. In short they basically spent $100 to watch a glorified version of that scene from A Christmas Story where Ralphie beats up that bully with the yellow eyes.
Except more gay.
If you’re this far into this website and my articles you may have picked up a subtle hint that I’m a dragon fan. Actually, this is still a pretty new website so maybe you haven’t been able to really read into this place yet but regardless of that my penname is “Dracophile” so that has to be worth something. If I told you I didn’t have the gayest man-crush ever on Spyro the Dragon then I would be lying to you and liars go to Hell. When The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon was released in 2008 a bunch of various merchandise tie-ins came out with it including a couple of theater-sized poster prints of Spyro the Dragon himself. I wanted those posters. Really bad. Various online retailers and sellers on eBay had some for sale but at the time I didn’t have the funds to acquire them.
When I finally had the disposable income I had put away specifically for “super smexy dragon posters” I found that not a whole lot of people were selling them anymore which was depressing. I dug around and then I finally found a seller on eBay who had not only both of the posters but had them at a few bucks cheaper than I remember them being. I was floored when I checked out the listing; it seemed like everything matched up and that I was going to get those nifty Spyro prints I wanted.
Problems arose about a week into this ordeal when I contacted the seller and asked where the posters were since if they were being shipped inside the country I should’ve had them by then.
“All of my merchandise is sent out of a warehouse in Hong Kong,” he replied.
At that very moment in time I realized that this whole transaction was going to be some kind of trainwreck of bad and when those posters arrived it would be beneficial to my well-being to just mark that thing “RETURN TO SENDER” and get my money back. However against my intuition I decided to open the poster tube when it came in a week later just for the hell of it. This is what was inside.
You might look at that and say “That looks like Spyro to me, Dracophile. Why are you whining about it?” I’m glad you did, because let me ask you to re-observe the actual image at the beginning of this article. Have a look at that color fade; yeah, it looks like someone hit the Sepia tone button in Photoshop but didn’t quite slide the intensity bar over all the way. The second poster is equally as bad if not moreso; but let’s not harp on the color intensity (or the apparent lack thereof) because this party bus has only just begun its journey out of the fun station. Check out the vertical lines going through these babies. There’s more vertical nonsense going on here than in all thirteen X-Games combined.
The auction listing touted these as being “professionally printed”, no joke; but I’m a forgiving person so I’m willing to blame this one on something lost in translation. In the United States “professionally printed” means just that, it’s something that came from a well-maintained press; hell, you could even claim the $5 Jonas Brothers posters at fucking Wal-Mart are professionally printed but I’m going to take an alternate route and just say they’re value-priced dart boards. “Professionally printed” in Hong Kong actually means (and this is 100% true because I used Google Translator on it) “when we sent this to the print queue that little message popped up about the printer being low on ink but we just clicked ‘OK’ and printed it anyways hope you don’t mind”. How anybody could take a look at that poster and mark it anything other than “Scratch N’ Dent clearance sale” is simply asking for more negative feedback than eBay will allow someone to give for one transaction.
I’m going to pull a Billy Mays here and say that if you call right now I’ll triple the offer. Yes, you heard me right there’s a third major point here that I feel is going to complete the sell to you that this is one of the best articles currently hosted on this website. Take a look at this:
Yes, those are copyright-fucking-watermarks. I mean, I know it goes without saying that when things are coming out of Asia there’s a solid chance they might be counterfeits or knock-offs but to what extent do they make it glaringly obvious? Seeing two watches side by side with one named “ROLEX” and the other “ROLEK” might actually appear to be the same to an unsuspecting person until they eventually spot the letter “K” and make the connection and likewise there’s a plethora of iPod knock-offs that look almost identical to the real thing but not quite. Whoever is forcing nine-year-olds to make these posters decided to take a hint from the guy who did the box art for Okami and not even bother to remove the original watermarks. Let’s look at it this way, at least we can’t give him the same grief we gave Eric Bauman in the early 00’s with his stupid eBaum’s World watermarks. You know which ones I’m talking about.
This story does have a happy ending however, despite the near 900-word chunk of dragon nerdrage up above. After contacting the seller and basically sending him a carbon copy of this article minus the witty anecdotes (I put the words “PayPal claim” in their places) he refunded me the money I had spent and said I could hang onto the posters. Actually wait, I lied; I think I said something along the lines of “I can’t justify hanging these in a garage” and then I CTRL+V’d the phrase “PayPal claim” about fifty times. “PayPal” is the magic word when it comes to eBay drama because PayPal actually couldn’t give any less of a crap about their customers, especially those who get enough negative feedback and complaints because they can and will kill your account and not give you your money. Saying “PayPal claim” is like putting an e-gun to someone’s head and demanding something. It works.
So here I am now back where I started… plus two posters. I think I’ll go hang them in the garage.