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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Episode #49: Woo Country Lottery

This week, we're infinitely pleased to welcome the one and only Chris Sims, he of Comics Alliance and the prolific overlord of the Invincible Super Blog, as well as War Rocket Ajax podcast member and Awesome Hospital co-creator! Sit back and enjoy as we riff on the magic of wrestling, the science vs. morality conflict present in Pokemon and the many mysterious forms comics journalism can take. Will Sin Cara prosper on Smackdown? Can I justify the dark realities of EV training? Can the comics world survive in an age where people who have never read a Superman comic swear off from ever doing so en masse? The answers to at least 2 of those questions, plus many more I haven't interpreted lay within your potential to know with but one mere listen! The Sony Hacker Rap Video Revealed!

Also: trailer trash and the thrills and spills of me launching into at least one certifiable rant!

Be sure to check out some of the hilarious articles Chris has done:
One of my favorites from his majestic 'Great Comics that never happened' series!
The most emotionally overwrought World's Finest team-up ever!
Behold the greatness that is Rom!
The goldmine of comedy that is the annotated Anita Blake!
The startlingly accurate depiction of Civil War in 30 seconds!
Depressing newspaper comics!

As well as this book he has just contributed to with one of his podcast cohorts and a legion of others! Buy it and help defeat the evil of Tucker Max!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Marshall Enraged: Top 10 Sitcoms

Marshall Enraged: Top 10 Sitcoms
     So last week on the show we discussed the Orcca Cast’s top 10 Live-Action Sitcoms, and my hackles were raised over the voting process as Jason and I entered an emotional duel over the contents of our list. 
For the uninitiated, the voting process consisted of each contributor getting a list of 50 shows and then voting for the 20 you like the most, ascribing 5 points to three, 3 points to five, and 1 point to the remaining twelve.  So it was with great dismay that I found one of my obvious recipients of a 5 spot was not even on the list.  So I coyly added it, having glossed over the part about “Don’t add new ones, just write a blog post if you feel something was left off.”  So here it is, America (and Russia, too).
Firstly, those left off that deserved vindication.  “Third Rock from the Sun” has long been probably my favorite sitcom ever; John Lithgow, JoGo, Jane Curtin and Kristen Johnston are incredibly funny; I personally like French Stewart in this role; and recurring cast member Wayne Knight as Officer Don contributes well to the ensemble.  For some reason, this brilliant adorable show gets the short shrift all the time, but fuck that noise.  I love it, and will always be its champion.  So I wrote it on my list and dropped it a fiver.
     I also gave props to the missing “Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia” which has quickly become one of my favorite comedy shows of all time.  Jason was confused at this because I balked at the inclusion of “Stella” on the initial 50, but here is a short list of why “IASiP” > “Stella” for the purposes of this list: (1) ‘Sunny’ is funnier (2) ‘Sunny’ is an actual sitcom with continuity, despite its surreality, while ‘Stella’ is a sketch comedy show (3) ‘Stella’ had just one short season ever, ‘Sunny’ is on its 7th.  So yeah.
     I compiled a list of other important and noteworthy sitcoms as well, and many were vetoed for a variety of reasons. Entrants on the initial list include oldies like “The Dick Van Dyke Show” “The Honeymooners” “Green Acres” “Gilligan’s Island” “I Dream of Jeannie” “Newhart” AND “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Sanford and Son.”  Despite this, I was informed “No one would vote for” ‘Lucy’ ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ or ‘Happy Days.’ This strikes me as odd because ‘Lucy’ is perennially called the greatest/most important sitcom ever, and both ‘Hillbillies’ and ‘Happy Days’ are total classic sitcoms which surely have the power and content to compete with the likes of ‘Gilligan’ and ‘Jeannie.’ And ‘Green Acres,” really? REALLY?
     So yeah, that’s my beef.  I write this before the recording of the show and have no idea how the top 10 will sort out.  So help me, if ‘Green Fucking Acres’ is on the top 10…

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday News Desperation

So, in my eternal quest to keep this thing timely as well as not consume too much of my time with extraordinarily verbose normal entries, I’m once again going to bring you some exciting news that hopefully you’re not already too aware of. Let the regurgitating commence!

You guys have listened to Episode #48, right? Since I know you did, you heard us talking about Sonic Generations and the plan (this year) for Sega to reinvigorate their mascot franchise. Some interesting details emerged that we didn't have time to cover, the most striking of which is that 'Classic' Sonic will be speechless. I haven't gotten around to playing Sonic Colors on the Wii but apparently Generations will be taking some of it's cues from it. Despite hearing Colors is a quantum leap in quality over any Sonic game in the past decade, I pretty much hear that every time there's a new Sonic game. Either way, I'll be waiting for the inevitable reduction to $10. [Source:]

Blink and you'll miss him

There's been a lot of talk lately about John Constantine returning to the DC Universe proper but Bleeding Cool got the straight skinny from Peter Milligan at the Hellblazer 25th anniversary panel. The Vertigo character, aging in real time for his 25 years, will remain that: a Vertigo character. Rather the version showing up in the mainline DC books will be a separate entity so all the Constantine and DC fans can have their cake and eat it too. Why John gets the special treatment of multiple incarnations while other Vertigo characters entering Earth-1 have had new projects canned remains a mystery to me; I suspect it's because the real time aging is too difficult a mechanic to address for them. Either that or it may be that Hellblazer is the longest running title at Vertigo. Constantine has actually had a few DCU cameos over the years after the Vertigo split, most recently at Green Arrow’s bachelor party, so that may have played a little into the decision as well. [Source: Bleeding Cool News]

For those of you out there that use the Playstation Network, I'm sure you've been riveted by all the crazy developments related to it's total inability to work recently. Sony has copped to the fact that it was an external attack on their network but full details about what's been affected have yet to emerge. Personally, I'm not sure what to think of this whole thing; I'm sure there's some hacker out there who just can't wait for all the kudos he'll be getting at DEF CON though. [Source:]

Hey let's talk about something only I care about! Or at least something where I'm the only person I've met who cares!

Viz Media LLC recently had a stealth announcement that the manga Gin Tama would cease its English publication after volume 23, one that we're only aware of because that volume has 'final volume' printed on the back. Since the series is currently at 39 volumes and counting, I imagine you can see my disappointment. I never expected to get anything fancy here, like the light novels, but the halt of the manga is a worrisome development in the eating-itself-from-inside-out American fandom. Gin Tama actually outsells 20th Century Boys, the title I referenced last week, but it seems safe because of Eisner prestige. Anyway, there's a surprising (to me at least) number of YouTube videos of people railing against Viz so someone else out there cares. Just don't misdirect your fury guys and remember the real enemy: the shrinking global marketplace brought on by you know what

The Avengers starts shooting today if you hadn't already heard from every news outlet on the planet. I'm thrilled, you're thrilled, we're all thrilled. But with that in mind, I thought I'd leave you today with something that left me less than thrilled: the final poster for Thor

Sorry, it's a slow news day

Friday, April 22, 2011

Episode #48: Tall Robots Pictured With Short People

Are you ready for some thrills? Well I hope so because Marshall takes a break from whatever his clandestine project at work is to help us inflict on you our Top 10 sitcoms! Find out what I decree is a worthy cause when I flip out over how stupid and selfish this AT-AT for America project is!
  Plus: Just in time to throw all my confidence in buying a PS3 into doubt Nintendo starts apologizing for how much malaise their fans have for the Wii with the oddly titled 'Project Cafe'!

Related to my bitter spiteful rant:
Life-sized AT-AT to fix America? (Source: Geekologie)

Related because I'm a petty asshole:
Moron masquerading as having an inspirational and worthy cause shut down by Steve Sansweet for not understanding the concept of intellectual property! (Source: AT-AT for America)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nintendo Believes In...

Jaysun am I:
Yes, I'm linking to another article, but just to credit. Kotaku via Ign has hands on a purported "Project Cafe" specs. "Cafe" is the project name for Nintendo's new console system. We have heard "Gamecube like controllers with a touch screen" and full HD video (1080p).  Concept seen here (this is definitely NOT actual).

Nintendo has been making multiple strides to match the success of another tech company over the past 7 years, Apple. The first mark being the design of the initial Nintendo DS Lite. The white plastic chassis immediately brought to mind the classic iPod design. The trend continued with the design of the Wii, in the same white plastic design. Granted these are cosmetics design choices, and not so much technical machinations. But with the supposed choices for this console, I can't help but compare to Apple. So let's go in order plus my commentary, shall we?

GPU= AMD R700 architecture. Ok, not much here to compare. Apple has gone back and forth on specific GPU's for their products. But, this shows comparison of a very closed system, something both companies thrive on. Combining the hardware and software experience to the end user, not relying on 3rd party for their key features. This contrasts Microsoft and Sony's 3rd Party and more open system parameters (excusing the 360's HDD).

CPU= IBM Power-PC Triple Core processor. Well look at that. The tried and true CPU of Apple for years and years. Much to the dismay of many a Mac user for that time (well, not all of them). Seeing this used as the processor only made me smile and triggered this article.

Visual= 1080p. "May" have 3D. 3D is a "no" to Apple, but I doubt this will matter to the console. 1080p though shows they are playing hard, and at the cutting edge of display technology, much like Apple. Currently, the Xbox 360 and PS3 typically run games at 720p, and sometimes up-scaled. Not a lot of games have full HD resolution. Nintendo is looking to fix that apparently. Apple does this as well, look at the Retina Display of iPhone 4, and glass 1080p Technology of Mac lines.

Design= Apparently it will by as large as an XBox 360, and a "futuristic Super Nintendo". This is backwards to Apples policy of "sleeker and smaller." Wii and DS Lite were great examples of this as discussed earlier. Though, to meet these specs, this is likely. Much like a Mac Pro. 
Price= It may be from $350-400. This is DEFINITELY Apple-like, called the "Apple Tax" by both detractors and cheerleaders for the tech giant. All Nintendo consoles launched at $200, except the Wii at $250. Budget conscience, and made for the family. Except $200 in 1984 wasn't TOO budget conscience, but I'm sure you see my point. 

Release Date= Apparently the console is ready to ship by October of this year, but could hold back to launch with 3rd Party support. This is not something Apple or Nintendo have cared about. Both rely on their 1st Party software to maintain their identity on the marketplace. Launch titles for Nintendo gaming units usually include one great 1st party title, and wait for 3rd party to catch up. Buzz going around sees Nintendo embracing 3rd Party more intensely than the past. This is not something that really matters to the culture of Nintendo. Wii proves they can dominate without, DS as well. But imagine this instead. Like an Apple product launch, Reggie emerges after an spectacular opening video and stage package. Slideshow of Wii's accomplishments. Then...silence...THE NEW CONSOLE! Reggie then says, "Available in 4 months, Oct 15th, 2011!" "$349.99." Maybe more than one version. Apple never announces a product until its ready to manufacture and distribute within the same quarter of that year. That's the excitement, that's how they became the company to emulate. And for all the things that people take from them; their design, logos, commercials, cutting-edge mentality they fail to embrace THE deciding factor in Apple's dominance...mind-share. When the product is announced (except White iPhone 4, but we get it), you can hold it right then, and developers start making. But if the product is amazing, 3rd Party companies WILL make games for it. They will beg Nintendo for prime spots. This, I feel, is what Nintendo is truly doing, get a 3 year jump on the competition. It's not the Wii is REALLY part of this console generation. It's more like 6.5th generation. This would make them stand apart, that they have worked hard to make this right, that it is ready, and we can have it almost as soon as it's announced. From 3DS to release was on of the shortest I've seen in videogame hardware history. This trend will continue, and Nintendo will finally get the greatest lesson Apple has tried to teaching technology. Don't Make Us Wait... 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Favorite Robot Masters: Mega Man 2

Mega Man's "You got 'X' weapon" sprite is on the loose!
Well, like Arnold before me, I said I'd be back with more of these; to make up for the delay (and because it was hard to pick just 2 from what really amounts to my favorite Mega Man game) this edition is going to be an over sized 2 parts long!

Oh Mega Man 2, how we all love you. A franchise watermark almost a quarter of a century later, this is still the one to beat in my mind. Sure there's no Rush or Proto Man. You can't use the Mega Buster charge shot or the slide move. But you can thrill to 8 of the best Robot Masters made for a Mega Man game and some of the best music of the 8-bit era.

Is he throwing the Metal Blade or trying to catch it before it destroys him?
Metal Man
Apparently Metal Man is Keiji Inafune's least favorite Robot Master because he's so easily beaten with his own weapon. Sure that only comes up during your rematch in Dr. Wily's castle but I suppose he has a valid point. Still, poor Metal Man here is at a disadvantage in general: he's themed pretty obviously for a robot, he's usually the first Master in the game you take on (unless you prefer the Air Man route), his level is not extremely difficult etc...

So why is he so great? Because of those reasons! His level is fun with catchy music, he draws you into the game with a quick victory (something lacking in the original games frequently difficult first steps) and the Metal Blade is a totally sweet weapon! Just in light of the weapon being cribbed for other future Robot Masters is a sign that ol' MB here deserves the love.
Are they gears? Or are they lids having gone through a can opener?

When you get down to it the Metal Blade is a pretty good weapon against most of the Robot Masters; makes sense because they're all at least partially metal right? So you can hardly blame MM here for being doubly vulnerable as a result of having that weakness squared. Don't hate him for being a victim of cruel logic!

There's enough challenge to be found to make him interesting and it's not like there aren't other Robot Masters that can't be one-shot kills.

Which brings me to...

He's kind of like that episode of Futurama where Bender goes organic. Except Wood Man aged better.
Wood Man
Fun fact: in the normal difficulty of Mega Man 2 in the US, you can OHKO Woodman with a fully charged shot from the Atomic Fire. Obviously that's not quite as goofy as being so easily defeated with your own weapon but I'm not here to split hairs; the Metal Blade works decently well on everyone but the Atomic Fire just seems obvious to anyone fighting a robot with a delicious bark coating.

So why Wood Man? Well for one, the idea behind him is outrageous. But he also plays into a fun theme of some of the robot masters being based on the four elements along with cohorts Heat Man, Bubble Man and Air Man. Sure we already got Guts Man, who was technically 'earth', in the first game but the age of the truly bizarre Robot Masters was away and there only seemed like a certain number of sane choices for themes (don't get me started on Fire Man). Plus they really went crazy with Wood Man's level: it's got some of the best themed enemies in the game, great (as always) music and nothing annoying like those floating heads in Air Man's level that I hate so very much.

I really love those goofy rabbits with their carrot missiles though. Plus the gorilla bots and those crazy road runner things at the end

I digress.

It'd have been great if the Dragon in Wily's Castle was super vulnerable to the Leaf Shield; you'd never be able to stand still long enough to use it accurately so it would have been an extra special bastard kind of move to have in there.
The Wood Shield is a very special weapon because it's got a ton of unique qualities. The first shield type in the franchise, it was followed by skills like the Plant Barrier or Jewel Satellite; however, it stands out from them by being useless against all other Masters in the game excusing Air Man.

You heard right: the Wood Shield is useful against one boss in the game and chances are you've already beaten him before going after Wood Man. All the others, even the bosses in Wily's Castle, are immune to the thing. That leaves only the eventual rematch as your opportunity to get some boss related mileage out of this thing.

Admittedly I never thought of the leaves having rockets in them. It's the ultimate fusion of organics and technology!
Oh Wood Man: you are utterly preposterous as a concept for a robot and yet I love you. The fact that such a crazy choice for a themed robot showed up this early in the franchise is a testament to Capcom's ability to have fun with the game. The bizarre greatness of Wood Man continues in his appearances in other games like his use in Mega Man: the Power Battles. There, he's resistant to the Rolling Cutter and the Leaf Shield is actually the best weapon to use against Cut Man. Crazy.

So, that's all for now. Tune in sometime soon when I break down 2 more of the Masters from MM2 in the way that best selfishly reflects how I champion the game over its brethren!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Skull Rattling: Come Across the Rainbow Bridge and Be My Friend

I think I’ve discovered the secret of how other people maintain content on their websites without actually posting anything: covering stuff that other people have already posted.

With that in mind I thought today I might do the same thing in the spirit of self-interest.

San Francisco with Venus setting in the background. Or Saturn. Depends on who you ask it seems.

-First off, I’d like to recommend everyone follow @Astro_Ron if you’re on Twitter. Better known as Astronaut Ron Garan, he flew on the Discovery before its recent retirement and has now returned to the International Space Station on Expedition 27. What he doing up there? Why he’s sending Twitpics of Earth like this one here or the view of San Francisco seen above. I know a lot of people debate the usefulness of the Space Program (and the ISS in particular) but you can't deny that the pictures aren't beautiful. 

This is from Finland!

 -So last week Capcom decided it’s had enough of dwelling in what I would call “polite obscurity” following a massive slowdown after RE 5 that wasn’t broken until recently with MvC3. “Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City” was announced, with a surprising move into the realm of FPS for the franchise. Apparently you’re playing as (and with) a team of commandos who work for the Umbrella Corporation, all of whom take their visual cues from Hunk. I've seen the game described as a fusion of SOCOM and Left 4 Dead, which admittedly makes me anxious in light of the co-op elements of RE5 basically extinguishing the single players impact. One thing to note: one of the missions is apparently to kill Leon and Rockfort Island (of Code Veronica fame) is one of the locations. You can get a surprising amount of details here including stuff I hadn't heard on the first pass around. [Source: NeoGAF]

-Want to see something that burned one of my neurons with pure frustration? Well look no further than lucky dog Jeff Parker’s Guest Review of the Hot Toys figure of Friend from 20th Century Boys! Made for Hot Toys' 10th Anniversary exhibition in Tokyo, he joins a Michael Jackson figure in the outfit from "Beat it" and a special set of the Scarecrow and hallucination Batman from Batman Begins. Hopefully one of those two is enough to make you guys jealous since I'm still bitter about not having one figure from Hot Toys ever.
Naoki Urasawa’s great manga receives a figure I’ll never be able to have and I most definitely want to share my misery with you, even if you have no experience with the man or his works. Fun fact: one time around campus I saw a girl wearing a t-shirt with Friend’s symbol on it but I was in a car and couldn’t stop to talk to her. Where did you go local girl with excellent taste?! [Source: Michael Crawford's Review of the week]

-You guys may remember a few weeks back when we last had Poe Ghostal on that he was talking about a surprise figure on his website. Well the secret is out because today he posted pictures of his very own Poe Ghostal Minimate! Head over there for the scoop as I don't want to steal any of his thunder [Source: Poe Ghostal's Points of Articulation]

None of the Thor posters have been amazing but this is one of the better ones
-So the first reviews of Thor are coming in and most of them seem pretty favorable if not enthusiastic. So far no one's screaming about how much the movie shoves the upcoming Avengers film in our faces the way they were with Iron Man 2. Maybe they've gotten over it as SHIELD is all over the movie from the trailers (and promotional campaign) and Hawkeye apparently has a role substantial enough that my clueless boss at work knew who I was talking about when asked. Anyway, full reviews are here, here and here from some of the fortunate bastards that got to see it already. [Sources: IGN, Hitfix and Comic Book Resources]

A connection only made by how they both appeared in the last batch of episodes for Batman: The Animated Series

-As a side note, it's been a thrilling week for me in toys which you'd already be aware of if you're following us on Twitter (@Orccacast for those of you who aren't and WHY AREN'T YOU?). I found all of DCUC 16 in the space of about 2 days just before I was about to order them online. By this point I figured they were going to be like Wave 8 and never appear at retail so I was doubly pleased to find them with an amazing price point of $10.99 apiece at Kroger. I think that makes this the cheapest wave since the first and that's only because Wave 1 only had 5 figures. It's a better wave than I thought it would be and I'm pleased to see they fixed the springy chest attachment on Mercury. I also finally found a Jedi Luke from the new VOTC collection after falling asleep at the wheel long enough for him to mostly disappear. He's just as great as everyone said he is 4 months ago.

Mercury is saying "You don't see any dust on the mantle. NONE!"
So that's all I've got for you today. Hopefully this was an enriching experience, even if you just learned that I'll talk to any girl wearing a 20th Century Boys t-shirt. Have fun with the rest of your day while I sit here and try to organize my demented thoughts to finish what I was working on.