This Week in Entertainments: RUNMAN, Gameswipe, Powers, etcetera

Well, after the Scribblenauts post, I realise I don’t have the patience to write that sort of gigantic text-wall (which is why the Mario & Luigi preview won’t see the light of day). Here I present to you in a much more digestible (and hopefully regular) format some reviews of things I’ve hit up in the last week. I welcome my peers to add their own to this post.
Gameswipe – From the British wit and sarcasm of Charlie Brooker (Newswipe, Screenwipe, watch that razzmatazz) comes a 50-minute long love letter to video games, dispelling (or trying to) some of the stigma of video games in the media and taking a terse look at its entire history (as well as you can in 50 minutes), sidestepping the ones he has no interest in. This thing racked up more ratings than both the other shows mentioned, but it’s a one-off thing at the moment. Hope to see more (a series would be grand), though his Twitter mentioned he may be bringing up video games in Screenwipe now. Watch it here if you like video games, and especially if you don’t. ***
Powers (volume 1) – Not to derail the subject before even bringing it up, but I think Bendis’ (if you read Marvel comics you know who he is) best writing is in the crime genre. Stuff like this and his early crime comics led him to similarly toned titles such as Daredevil (fantastic) and that thing about Jessica Jones I haven’t read but I’m sure is good. He may be writing pretty much all of Marvel now, but crime is where he’s at. Powers by Bendis and Oeming is a fun and fairly well-written comic series. It’s basically a police procedural following a couple of cops who deal with (super)powers and powers-related crime. I have to admit, near the end of the volume things got very odd (monkey sex!) but the whole volume was full of good and usually original stories (well, original for superheroes: the stories themselves are inspired by the real lives of famous musicians). The art is hit and miss, I must confess. It comes off as a cartoonier Bruce Timm style, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like it fits with the tone. Nonetheless, recommended. By the end of it the status quo is shot to hell, so I’ll have to see whether volume 2 retains the quality. Oh, and did I mention a TV series? Should work well. ****

RunMan: Race Around the WorldRUNMANRUNMANRUNMANRUNMAN. Run fast, jump fast, and rack up points along the journey. Yes, Sonic could still learn a thing or two from this little guy. This game oozes fun, it’s free, and you can’t die, so it’s still accessible to those of you who aren’t masochists like me and need to get gold medals in every stage. I must confess, I love the developers, Matt Thorson‘s games in particular always being favourites of mine (these, however, are very masochistic, so you’ve been warned). Grab it, play it, now. ****

Arx Fatalis – A real-time first-person dungeon crawler old enough to run on my shitty computer. A spiritual successor to Ultima Underworlds II, this is a solid and entertaining RPG romp for those who are fans of the genre. Think Morrowinds, except set in a gigantic underground city/dungeon for the entire game. Worth a shot if, again, you like this sort of thing, and pretty cheap here. ****

Milk – Took me a while to finally see this, but our University screened it for free this week. A well-made and very moving biographical on the first openly gay man to be elected to a major political position. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do. *****

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days – Yeah, the name confused me too. I’ve never played a Kingdom Hearts game, so this DS prequel/sequel/whatever the hell it’s supposed to be does not enlighten me with its seemingly idiotic plot and sloppy writing. But who cares, right? It’s a fun 3D button-masher with some nice RPG touches, like a customisable grid which allows you to input panels for all things (items, skills, even levels). Have not yet finished it, but worth playing, probably moreso if you know what the hell is going on. **

Surrogates – A Bruce Willis sci-fi thriller. Interesting if unoriginal concept, pretty terrible execution. Spent the whole movie staring down the gaping maws of plot holes and the general incompetence of the police. But hey, it has Bruce Willis in a silly wig, so see it (but don’t pay for it :x). Compelled me to check out the material Hollywood derived it from, at least (Hollywood seems to have run out of ideas a long, long time ago). **

Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures (Episode 4: The Bogey Man) – Another fine point n’ click series from Telltale Games comes to a close. Same charm as the claymation series by Aardman, but with the interactive gameplay that harkens back to the good old days of LucasArts, albeit simplified. Episode 4 was possibly the best one, involving a golf country club, marriage and a scheme that ties them together. Grab it if you like either Wallace & Gromit or point and click adventures. ****

Edits and additions by the Esoteric: I’d like to direct the Australian audience (and potentially international audience looking for a crash course education in the popular Aussie culture that you have no choice but to be ignorant toward) to a post on my other blog about Hey Hey It’s Saturday. I’d also like, again mostly for the Australians because this might be a little bit less of a big news deal down here than in, say, New York for example, to direct readers to a recent happening re David Letterman. It’s pretty big deal, I think, because Letterman is somewhat of a big deal. The video linked isn’t fantastically well recorded, but the sound is the more important thing. I didn’t embed it for fear of risking copyright.

I also think that it’s really, really important to share this Kotaku post with everyone who owns a Wii. ^>^


About Safeer
What is Safeer? A miserable little pile of secrets. But enough talk, have at you!

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