All that is wrong with the world…

August 18, 2011

Thoughts on sexual orientation and identity

Filed under: Issues...the world...etc.. — allthatiswrong @ 10:12 pm

I think sexual orientation is a very interesting subject, not least because of the controversy surrounding it and the amount of people trying to push their opinions or hopes as fact. It’s also something that many people seem to describe as hugely complex and unable to be limited by simple labels, when I don’t think that is true at all. For me, its actually a very simple thing. To be fair I don’t know much about this are specifically and have just gone by what I have read, however everything seems to be supported by evidence and current studies.

Simply, for the most part opposite sexes are attracted to each other because this is necessary for the species to reproduce. Other orientations are for the most part not choice, but are more than likely the result of development in uteri due to a chemical imbalance or something similar. Either men get wired to like men the same way females do, or vice versa. I don’t think there is anything more to it than that. This is somewhat supported when looking at the physiological differences which are thought to be a result of the same cause of whatever causes the different orientation. This makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t think it would be genetic, although there may well be genes that perhaps contribute to the likelihood of a particular orientation emerging.

If this turns out to be the case, then it is interesting for people with a non commonly accepted orientation. If homosexuals are simply wired the wrong way (no insult intended), then is this also not true for people attracted to children or animals? Obviously such orientations can not be accepted by society and should be harmed from hurting children or animals, however they should be helped and coached rather than persecuted for something they can’t help. Transsexuality is another interesting area. Male to female transsexuals outnumber female to male transsexuals by a vast ratio. Considering the default template for a fetus is female, it is perhaps possible that while a body may be a perfectly functioning male body, the brain was not completely masculanised.

If this is the case then perhaps a ‘cure’ could be invented. No doubt that would be controversial, but would it be the correct thing to do? For people attracted to children or animals, there would seem little doubt. Even for Transsexuals who are not happy with the current progress of sex change technology, feeling at home in your body would probably be a welcome change. What about Homosexuals? That is the most interesting topic of discussion, as they don’t hurt anyone and are proud of their culture. What about if you were having a baby and could prevent it from being homosexual, would it be right to do so? I would think so, simply because there are greater advantages to being straight. The ability to have children naturally with the opposite sex, a greater population of people to date and interact with etc.

I would think arguments against correcting a sexual orientation in uteri would meet many of the same arguments the deaf community has against repairing the hearing of children. When people have a culture and community they want that preserved, even through future generations. If the culture and community is based around a defect, does it still make sense to harbor that when the defect can be fixed? It’s not an easy question and while on the surface I would think it makes sense to do so, I know there are far more complex arguments on both sides.

So far I have not mentioned bisexuality as an orientation, because I don’t really think it is one. I think more or less it is a conscious choice where people have an orientation, but then decide to have fun with both. A straight person can decide to do stuff with someone of the same sex and find it enjoyable without having the same instinctual attraction for their primary orientation. Which isn’t to say bisexuality does not exist in a physical sense, I just think it being due to a true physical cause is negligible most of the time when compared against people choosing to be so.

Asexuality is also interesting. I thought for a long time that I was asexual as it took a long time for my orientation to manifest. When I started noticing women…it was crazy to see them in a different way. To notice curves and to have that attraction all of a sudden. It was so strange and subjectively, the only way I have to take it is as an instinct. Obviously with myself it was more of a psychological block but I see no reason it couldn’t exist also due to physiological factors. In which case surely it would make sense to correct as well, as being able to experience and enjoy sex is something that should not be denied to anyone.

While I firmly think that there is a physiological cause for pretty much everything, this is not to diminish the psychological component. Humans are very complex and there are many different ways they may manifest sexual attraction or desire. Any physical urge or orientation can be augmented, supplemented but not overridden. When it comes down to it, sexual orientation is a simple thing likely determined by a mishmash of chemicals while your brain is still developing. All these people saying sexuality is too complex and is a manmade construct have it wrong. We simply assign labels to what exists for convenience. I may well be wrong, but if I am right I hope that we can finally stop complicating the issue and just accept it as well as stop persecuting those who were simply born differently and indeed, try to help them as much as possible.

August 11, 2011

A defense of American tourists

Filed under: Travel — Tags: , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 10:15 pm

In all my travels I have noticed a common recurrence. Namely unfounded criticism against American tourists. I hate this because it’s just so hypocritical. Europeans tend to be the worst, followed by Australians and New Zealanders. Despite never having gone to the US, they feel they can know the country authoritatively and by extension can judge people from that country. It was amazing to me when traveling through Europe how rude people would be when they assumed I was American by default, only to suddenly be helpful and apologetic when I made it clear I was not. A good example of this is when I was in Rome and ran out of money to get my bag out of storage. I managed to get access to my bag to get a carton of cigarettes which I sold outside the airport to get enough money to get my bag back. I tried selling to taxi drivers who simply insulted and laughed at me, however when proving I was not from the US they all bought a packet and so I was able to get my bag back.

It’s pretty bad in the UK and Australia as well. When American tourists ask questions or remark how things are different they tend to be insulted, like they should be expected to know these things. Yet, most people from the UK or Australia have no idea about the US except from what they learn from each other and the media, which is to say they have a wholly inaccurate depiction. Yet, despite not traveling they somehow feel superior to these American tourists being exposed to a different culture for the first time. The fuck?

When I’m in New York, I deal with tourists every single day in my job selling comedy tickets. There are a great many idiotic tourists from Europe or Australia. People who can’t figure out how the streets are numbered on Manhattan, people asking for directions to a store that has huge signs lit up right behind them, or the worst is people being convinced that selling comedy tickets is illegal despite us doing this every day and police standing near us and being on friendly terms with us. Honestly Australians can be the worst as xenophobic as they are in a city as packed and diverse as NYC.

The anti-US sentiment is some of the worst groupthink and idiocy I have encountered in my travels. Only 30% of Americans even have a passport, yet those who decide to travel and learn tend to be criticized by those who haven’t even left their own countries. I assume part of it is just being defensive….a lot of these countries are smaller and many of the people feel the need to prove a point, that their countries are not small or backwards as they think Americans might think, when that isn’t necessarily the case at all. It’s far less likely to be the opinion of those who actually travel.

Another example of this irrational US hate is a Taiwanese guy I met when I was in Canada in January was terrified of the NYPD despite never having been to NY. He was very happy with the Toronto police despite the huge criticisms against them and their history, such as the G20 riots. The NYPD in my experience have always been helpful and friendly. Sure, people will have different experience but on average it seems the NYPD have a better reputation than the Toronto PD. Yet, simply because it was American, this guy thought the NYPD were going to be far far worse.

Another example would be an Australian kid on a forum I used to frequent, who was convinced that Americans were offended by the word mate. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, but he was convinced of this after he called someone mate and they punched him. I’m sure there was more to the story as this kid tended to be ignorant and argue for the sake of arguing about things he didn’t comprehend and someone probably had enough. To draw the conclusion that any American will be offended by calling them mate is just idiotic.

It’s amazing how little people know of the US yet they feel they can criticize it as an expert. Most Europeans or Australians have no idea just how diverse the US is with climate, culture, laws, language, cuisine and more. Many areas of the US have a strong dislike of other parts, to the point they act like different countries sometimes. The US is more than twice the size of the EU and the third biggest population on the planet, yet all too often people dismiss it as a homogeneous cauldron of stupidity lacking in culture what so ever. It’s this that I don’t understand.

Not to mention the ridiculous political criticisms. Yes, the US has many problems when it comes to politics, but so does the EU. From mass surveillance and limiting photography and journalism in the UK to out of hand censorship in many countries, France banning Burquas and privacy concerns raised by the Data retention Directive? The EU acts like a country without any of the checks and bounds a state provides, so I consider it worse in many respects. However, that is another discussion (and post) entirely.

I just wish the hypocrisy and unfounded criticism would stop. All countries are different, and many countries in Europe are backwards in several respects. Just as the US is. If a tourist makes an observation it can start a discussion or be a chance to provide information or correct an incorrect assumption. People need to stop the thinking all Americans are idiots and their countries are better than the US because they have socialized health care and lower crime rates. The issues are a lot more complicated than that and in any case, why does it make sense to judge people from a country because of the government that represent them? When someone travels and wants to learn about the world that is a good thing and should be encouraged. At the moment it would seem that many Americans might have the idea that people of other countries are ignorant, backwards and insecure. If people keep acting the way they do towards American tourists, then they would be right.

Thoughts on comic book characters and race

Filed under: Entertainment, Issues...the world...etc.. — Tags: , , , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 4:13 am

I think the issue of comic book characters and race is very interesting. Specifically with changing a characters race when adapting for film. There are quite a few examples of this, such as Kingpin being played by Michael Clark Duncan in Daredevil, Nick Fury being played by Sam Jackson in the Marvel Universe movies and most recently Laurence Fishburne being cast as Perry White in the new Superman movie. Nick Fury being black is an interesting situation because when Marvel started their Ultimate series, a parallel continuity they modeled the new Nick Fury after Sam Jackson. Only for Sam Jackson to then be cast as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which seems to be based on the normal continuity rather than the Ultimate continuity.

A less recent example and actually the reason that inspired me to write this, was Donald Glovers campaign to be the new Spider-man before Andrew Garfield was cast. I love Community and think Glover certainly has the comedic skills and I’m sure he could play serious as well. I do think he would be a terrific Peter Parker, except for the fact that he’s Black. Being familiar with the character, that matters to me quite a bit. I don’t want a black Peter Parker anymore than I want an Asian Superman or a Black Captain America. It’s nothing to do with being racist, it’s just about wanting beloved characters to be portrayed accurately. You can’t just arbitrarily change race just like you can’t arbitrarily change a characters gender or sexual orientation.

The interesting thing to me is how certain people take this. Apparently it’s racist to want characters to be portrayed accurately. Dan Harmon, the creator of Community referred to a ” previously unknown demographic of racist comic-book readers”, which is simply bullshit. I repeat, there is nothing racist about wanting a character to be portrayed as is. This i09 article asks why can’t Peter Parker be a different color, then saying that simply because Peter Parker is white isn’t as good a reason. Yes it is, it’s a perfect reason. Race is as much a part of a character as gender, physical appearance, personality, sexual orientation and a multitude of other factors. I think a good example is Superman. Superman needs to be white. To the best of my knowledge there are not black families in Kansas that have owned farmland for generations like the Kents have. Nor Asians. Growing up Middle America is how Superman came to be. Now, it’s fine to change that, but then you have essentially created a different new character riding on the success of the real character.

Among the comments I’ve read on this issue people have made the point that a black youth growing up in NYC would be a different person from a white middle class youth growing up with his aunt. While I could easily see that being the case, I don’t think that has to be the case. Oddly enough, Stan Lee gave his blessing to Donald Glover playing Spider-man. Since he created Spider-man, I would think that would settle the issue, but it doesn’t. All that says is that Stan lee doesn’t think anything of essence would be lost by casting to a different race. Even so, the fans disagree. What good reason is there not to make Peter Parker something other than Caucasian? How about because there is no reason to do so? Why change his race just for the sake of it? Especially if race doesn’t matter as people say, then why the big push to change his race? I’m really sick of the hypocrisy from people who feel the need to make things equal when they are not, because they have fooled themselves into thinking it is fair and “progressive”.

Oddly enough there seems to be an outcry when a white actor is recast, but not so much when non white characters are played by white actors. It seems like this would be more cause for outrage, yet people have been mostly silent on the issue. Some good examples are Ras al Ghul and Bane in Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. Ras al Ghul is meant to be Middle Eastern, but is played by the Irish Liam Neeson. Bane is meant to be Hispanic, from a comic book equivalent to Cuba, and is now being played by the English Tom Hardy. I suppose part of this is peoples lack of familiarity with these characters, still it is frustrating. Bane grew up in a Latin American prison hell hole, being punished for his father’s crimes. That was a big part of who the character is, something that is lost when a white actor is cast.

So far it seems to me there is rarely a good reason to change the race of a character and often good reasons not to. Sometimes how well known or developed the character is plays a big part. Perry White being black isn’t going to change anything about the character or how he deals with Clark. Bane not being Hispanic is going to change a lot of details about the character, for no good reason. Why not use a different character? A friend of mine believes that we should be casting vastly more minorities as well known characters to even out the odds. I think that’s just bullshit. White people in the USA…nay the west are a majority. That’s just how it is. Why would a world based on ours not reflect that? If 10% of the US population is Black, shouldn’t roughly 10% of the US Super-Hero population be Black? Why should it be artificially inflated to say, %25 ? To try and pretend minorities are not minorities and they are every bit as common as a majority? This is political correctness gone insane. Don’t change the race or other core details of characters without good reason and don’t artificially boost minorities to paint some bullshit false depiction of reality.

Interestingly, I like what Marvel has done with the new Spider-Man. In the Ultimate continuity the new Spider-Man is mixed race, Black and Hispanic and potentially gay. I have absolutely no problem with this because they are not fucking with Peter Parker. Peter Parker is the character people are attached to. Spider-man can be anyone who wears the suit and has a spidey sense. What I don’t get is why people were upset about this. Peter Parker is white, Spider-man doesn’t have to be. A Superman who isn’t a Kent or a Batman who isn’t a Wayne can be any race they want and may well be interesting characters in their own right. It does feel a tad forced, with him being 3 minorities in one…but still. I have no problem with diversity in characters – as long as it’s not forced and as long as it’s not screwing with characters developed over several decades just for the sake of it.

August 7, 2011

Thoughts on Moon and Source Code

Filed under: Entertainment — Tags: , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 9:42 pm

Moon the debut directorial effort of Duncan Jones was released to much praise and acclaim in 2009. I knew the film captured the tone of other space movies such as 2001 and Solaris, however I wasn’t too sure what to expect. Ultimately I didn’t really like Moon very much, although it was hard to say exactly why. Or at least it isn’t hard to say why but my criticisms of the movie shouldn’t bring it down as much as it does in my mind.

The movie does a very good job of establishing the atmosphere and situation of the protagonist…however the whole film feels like a setup for something much grander. We ultimately find out that Sam is one of many clones, with imprinted memories. If one is damaged or dies there is a whole supply ready to be activated and take over. For such an interesting premise…I don’t feel Moon takes advantage of it. Questions of who we are….who are we if an exact duplicate exists… what extent do our memories define us….is death meaningless if we can be exactly replicated…all these things could be examined but they are not. Even The 6th Day did a better job of examining these things.

Instead after the reveal we have two Sam’s finding out more about their situation before deciding to send one back to earth. The audio at the end of the movie makes it clear that the clones were illegal and that the company is held liable for criminal activity. Which I suppose is a happy ending of sorts. Although I wonder why the choice was made to make cloning illegal…I would have thought by making it legal that it would have provided a greater opportunity to commentate on what humans are capable of and perhaps where we are heading. I enjoyed the movie I just think it too to long to setup, and that not enough was explored.

Source Code seemed a lot more interesting to me, with the previews reminding me strongly off 12 monkeys. It isn’t really a similar movie at all beyond the time travel aspect, given that it lacks the predestination aspect and takes place in an alternate reality. That is perhaps the most frustrating thing about Source Code, in that the technology is never explained. Aside from the weird name why can you relive a short period of someone’s life, but in an alternate reality? Why would it not be in this reality if memories were harnessed? What are the differences in the alternate time line? Anything?

I also thought the love story was odd given that he only talk to Christina for a maximum of 8 minutes at a time. He didn’t seem to go in less than 10 times, so that’s 80 minutes max, not even considering much of that time he is running around looking for a bomb. 80 minutes is enough to be attracted to someone, but not enough to want to risk everything to save someone, especially if you are a soldier and have a higher duty. The love story was dumb….but it’s the premise that I don’t get. You can relive someone’s life from an alternative universe that is similar enough that the information is useful in this one. Since what happened already happened you can’t change things, only interact.

The exposition in the movie made it seem like it was an advanced simulation, yet as we saw obviously the alternate time line can be affected. Was a new timeline created from Stevens actions? Infinite time lines? The movie doesn’t pay much attention to these details focusing on the love story and damsel in distress, which I think is a shame. Fleshing out the details of the source code would have provided for a richer universe and allowed examining the ramifications of playing around with another universe of people. Whatever. The movie was entertaining which is one of the most important things. I think it was a step up from Moon in terms of pacing and fleshing out the story, but I would like to see a little bit more of the premise explained in his future films.

One thing I found interesting is that Moon and Source Code seemed to have some themes in common. An external force putting the protagonist into a dire situation. The protagonist not realizing it straight away and having to discover their predicament. The protagonists being limited or feeble in some way and having to overcome that. What we are capable of doing to people and what we consider acceptable. In Moon we have clones which are considered expendable and efficient, so less than human. In Source Code we have a veteran being used essentially as a processor without his knowledge and later without consent, for the good of the people. I think these are interesting themes and I would like to see the director develop them further, rather than just have them as background commentary.

Linux – The worst platform for video editing

Filed under: Tech — Tags: , , , — allthatiswrong @ 6:16 pm

Proponents of Linux often tend to misrepresent Linux as a leader in video editing. Whether this is intentional or just due to being misinformed, nothing could be further from the truth, with Linux potentially being one of the worst platforms for video editing. There are no decent software packages for editing video on Linux and it is one of many prime examples of why Linux is not anywhere ready to be a replacement for OS X or Windows on a large scale. The idea that Linux is the most popular platform for video editing seems to come from the fact that it is used on server farms to do 3D rendering. However, this is not video editing. For actually editing film, doing post-processing such as adding in sound, visual effects or even just playing with scenes there is no software on Linux that can do this reliably.

Often you’ll see people quoting statistics such as 95% of the computers in Hollywood are running linux or some crap. Even if that’s true, it doesn’t mean Linux is being used as the platform that film is edited on. As it stands there are no decent video editing tools for Linux, or for any OSS platform. Kdenlive, PiTiVi, OpenShot, lives, Cinelerra and Kino have all been in development for many years ever languishing or forking. Either way at the moment there is not a single OSS video editor that provides anywhere near the functionality of say Final Cut Pro. Not only are all the available video editors lacking in basic functionality, many of them have horrendous stability issues, segfaulting when trying to import video for example.

Many people of bring up stuff like Maya or Pixar’s RenderMan, but ultimately this is 3D development software that’s use is not limited to film, at all. The fact that films can be made with such software is incidental and does nothing to detract from the point that there is no quality video editing software for Linux. This shouldn’t be surprising, as it is the nature of the beast. The way OSS works is that people develop out of personal motivation or because they are paid to. There are very few people working in video editing who are also programmers, so there is a lack of quality video editing OSS available. Until more people contribute or a company funds development, that’s how it will stay.

Hopefully this will help to dispel the propaganda that Linux is prominent in the film industry. It certainly is as far as CPU hours goes, since it is ideal for rendering. If you expect to see it being used by the people actually editing the films on desktops, then think again. Perhaps one day….probably before Linux gets decent audio applications at least. Also, this isn’t an anti_Linux article. It’s an anti-bullshit-propaganda article. Linux is great, no need to misrepresent what it is capable of or how it is used.

Thoughts on Hanna

Filed under: Entertainment — Tags: , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 3:58 am

I had been looking forward to watching Hanna for some time. At the time it was released it was getting high praise and so seemed to be the most interesting film to be released so far in 2011. Add to the fact it was being compared to Leon the Professional and had a cast of very talented actors, I was very interested. Unfortunately I just felt the movie ended up lacking, being a lot less than it could have been.

The story was interesting and the acting was excellent, it’s just that the story was not fleshed out nearly enough. I think only getting surface details hurt a lot. It was an interesting backstory but I don’t know that it was motivation enough to hide in a cabin in the woods for all her life. I mean…with Heller’s resources would it have been so hard to disappear into society somewhere? Although I wonder what his motivations were to raise the child in the first place as opposed to just dropping the baby off at an orphanage somewhere.

Cate Blanchett’s acting is fine, although her southern accent is a bit much. She never has seemed to pull off accents particularly well. I do think this is one of the better films of this year, although I have yet to see I Saw the Devil. I don’t think it is very much like the professional at all, aside from the fact you have a young girl somewhat paired with an older mentor, but even that is only the beginning of the film so I don’t think it’s really an apt comparison.

The biggest fault I have with the film is Hanna’s learning about the outside world should have been a much bigger ordeal. It is made a point in the cabin to note that she has never heard music, yet the bustling marketplace of somewhere in Morocco doesn’t faze her? I would have thought the family would show her compassion and love and music and all sorts of things, but not really. It’s brushed on very briefly but not really touched on. Instead the movie ends up being somewhat of an ordinary manhunt. There are also a few unanswered questions like what happened to the family and how did the merc track them down in the first place?

Mainly though I wonder where she would go from there. Her only mentor and person she could trust is dead, so she is alone in the world with no resources. She is highly trained and resourceful so I don’t see that as a problem, still I wonder how she would now choose to define herself. It was an interesting premise but as it didn’t emphasize the parts I thought it should, it turned out to just be OK. Before Hanna Joe Wright had only made Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. I think he did a good job of branching away from those types of movies with Hanna and it will be interesting to follow his career, as well as that of Saoirse Ronan.

Thoughts on Back to the Future The Game – Episodes 4 and 5

Episode 4 was fun enough, but it was much of the same so I didn’t feel there was reason enough to make it a separate post. All the same criticisms still stand, so I thought I would wrap up the last two episodes in a single post. So…observations. I seem to remember a reference to Marty’s Calvin Kelin underwear, which I thought was a nice nod to fans. I thought it was odd when he was playing the guitar that there seemed to be a wireless guitar amp. I know nothing of music, so perhaps there is these days. I think I took around 2hours to finish episode 4, which was a nice change.

Episode 5 seemed more promising. The very start was annoyinh, simply because I knew exactly what was happening with Doc in the divers suit and such, and it took a long time to go through the motions for an expected result. I guess that can just be the problem with these types of games. I also thought it odd that Doc could be erased by suffocating Emmet. Surely Doc would alert authorities before Emmet could suffocate? Eh…whatever. I also really didn’t like the alternate version of Doc. Yes….he had spent 60 years with Edna and was a different person, but would he really be so nefarious as to try and keep the timeline for selfish purposes?

I also thought it very odd that Judge Brown is German, with oversized ears. The physical characteristic is odd enough…but I really liked that they kept him German, keeping with Doc’s family history from the movies. There was a period where you had to mediate which was just boring. Going back and forth isn’t solving a puzzle its going through the motions. I thought it odd that Doc disappeared…it seemed arbitrary, since he was already around he should have disappeared earlier, not because it was convenient for the plot. Also…what was with Edna fucking up the timeline? Why would Marty and Doc be left behind? Why wouldn’t they disappear? Granted they were from an alternate time line originally, but with what Edna did Doc would have never invented the time machine in the first place, so they shouldn’t have existed at all. Another random observation for the whole series in fact is why if the Delorean they are using is a “temporal duplicate”, why are there not two duplicates of doc?
I guess such things are too much for a simple game like this to explore.

It was nice to see Michael J Fox do some voice acting as Marty’s distant ancestor as well. Overall the games were fun and it was nice to see the universe extended a bit after the movies. We won’t ever get a fourth movie and inevitably they will be remade at some point, so it was nice to see some continuation with the original cast.

Thoughts on Duke Nukem Forever

Filed under: Entertainment — Tags: , , , — allthatiswrong @ 2:03 am

I played Duke Nukem Forever recently, which was refreshing. It was odd to actually be playing it given the insane amount of time it had been in development and how unlikely it seemed that it would actually be released, but there it was. I was curious to play it as I had been dissatisfied with PC games recently, what with single player campaigns being an afterthought more than the main point. The game had not really scored any good reviews, with the best reviewes considering it a mediocre game and many more reviews considering the game downright bad. I was prepared for a bad game considering another studio had come in at the last minute just to finish up and get the product out the door, which didn’t bode well for the quality of the finished game. Surprisingly…the game wasn’t too fun.

The main thing about the game is that it is the strangest mix of old and new. The graphics are very obviously out of date, yet there are a whole host of modern gaming “innovations” such as only being able to carry two guns at once and regenerating health. The regenerating health is perfect… more avoiding a room full of enemies with only 2 health. The gun limit is simply frustrating for a game of this type however, especially since you can’t anticipate the type of enemies you will be encountering. To be fair it didn’t really hamper me from getting through the game, but it would have been nice to have been able to cycle through many weapons to use. It also would have been nice to have a secondary fire on some of the weapons, but whatever.

The loading times were a mixed bag on my PC, taking a long time to load initially which is surprising since outdated graphics should equate to smaller sized textures. However once initially loaded it was fast every subsequent time. I found it someone annoying you can’t shoot humans…even if everybody turned on me. Although I guess they can’t have Duke taken out by a single human. The premise of the game is fun, with Duke now being…well more popular and richer than any human being who has ever lived after single handily saving the world from aliens. The twins in his penthouse seem poorly done and somewhat forced in. In fact, the tone of the game is kind of odd. At first the game is semi-serious, then it turns very serious where in one level you have to kill girls taken hostage and being forcibly impregnated with aliens, and shortly after that you get to ride a monster truck while being shrunk. It’s quite an odd mix, with some levels seeming out of place depending how you want to take the game.

At the same time it is well designed in that you constantly feel that you are moving forward and progressing through a story. Some games manage to fuck up such a simple thing these days, feeling like you complete level after level without real progression. I do wish there were more movies or cutscenes – one of my favorite things of 90’s PC games was the cutscenes, it was like a reward for getting through the level.

Some of the levels were frustrating more than fun, namely fighting the Queen Bitch where there was a lack of ammo, and Underground Part 2 where having to fight many fish without suffocating took quite a few tries. It could have been because I had the wrong weapons as well, but given the lack of saves I couldn’t go back and change. The end boss was also annoying with the tapping to pull out hoses being inconsistent. Sometimes it would be on the first try and sometimes it took several, while I’m sure I was not tapping any less passionately. In fact the ending was the most disappointing aspect of the whole game with Duke being presumed dead? Then having to wait a loooong time for credits to finish to see a shitty clip of him running for president? Not worth it.

The game was fun, and it was nice to play a game for more than 5 hours. I wish more modern games had not left behind many of the aspects of 90’s games which made them great, but whatever. Given the time this was in development a lot more should have been expected, but judging it for what it is, it’s still a fun game if inconsistent.

Thoughts on Bane and Catwoman pictures from TDKR

Within the last week we have finally seen pictures of Bane and Catwoman in action while the movie was filming in Pittsburgh. They have been both underwhelming and disappointing to say the least. First we saw some pictures of Bane fighting Batman where we get to gauge his size in comparison. Tom Hardy is a whole head shorter than Batman…Venom or not, how is this going to be the guy to break the bat? It was surprising enough that Lazarus pits are apparently going to be in the next movie, but Bane as well? At this stage Bane seems to be working with the police, so I get the feeling Bane is going to be closer to Max Cort from the Prey storyline then..well….Bane. Unless they are using trickery to make Bane look bigger than batman, or unless there is Venom and his growth is exaggerated, I don’t see how Bane is going to be anything similar to the Bane from Knightfall. Which begs the question; if you’re not going to use the Bane from Knightfall why use him at all?

What about the pictures of Catwoman? There seems little doubt that Catwoman will be in this movie giver she is wearing a leather catsuit, riding a batpod and has high-tech goggles. The problem here is….she doesn’t look like Catwoman at all. No ears, not even really a mask. Will she even have a whip? Anne Hathaway was never a great choice for Catwoman…and these new pictures don’t inspire confidence. Heath Ledger was such an unexpected casting yet when we saw the first pictures of him as the Joker everybody started to see that it could work. The same thing isn’t happening with Catwoman where the pictures are simply underwhelming. I really hope that the posters for TDKR have her in more of a traditional costume, or I wonder once again why use the character in the first place?