The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Archive for October, 2009

A Delirious Post

Posted by Matt on October 28, 2009

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here or not (too lazy to look it up), but I have a strange fascination with malls. Especially really large ones, like the West Edmonton Mall. I mean, I guess I find the sense of a capitalistic community, an indoors city of sorts, to be rather fascinating. And WEM exemplifies that. It has themed quarters, a water park, an amusement park, sea lions & other animals that don’t belong in fucking Alberta, a pirate ship…lots and lots of things. Apparently, it’s next expansion will add apartments. APARTMENTS. It’s like my story idea of the mall eventually becoming a self-sustaining community is coming true!

But I digress. The reason why I’m posting this now is because of the upcoming new entrant in the giant mall mythology, brought to you by one of the mad geniuses behind the WEM: Meadowlands Xanadu in scenic New Jersey. It might not have a pirate ship, but it has lots of other shit. And nothing says ‘gargantuan eyesore’ like a 200-foot-tall Pepsi logo.


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A serious post

Posted by Matt on October 25, 2009

I love fighting games. The problem is that there just aren’t that many of them anymore…or, atleast, not that many interesting or worthwhile ones.

I’ve seen people try to argue that the genre has come back to 90s-levels these days, what with the return of Capcom to the scene. The problem with that, however, is that there is little to no variety in the present fighting game scene. Yes, it’s nice to see Street Fighter and Vs. games back on the market, but reviving old series can’t be the solution to the general fighting game drought, can it? I mean, now we just have two more familiar faces joining the regular iterations of Tekken, Guilty Gear, and the like…the ones that never went away. But that’s pretty much it, aside from filler crap like Naruto games, and the odd new game like Blazblue. If the genre was really ‘back’, wouldn’t we be seeing a greater level of experimentation?

That’s the thing. What Street Fighter IV and Tatsunoko vs Capcom should inspire is a renewal in fighting game production, and with that, ideas. Both these games go back to the basics to draw more people in. This is a good thing: one of the reasons fighting games stagnated is because they became increasingly complex, meaning only veterans or people with lots of time on their hands could get into them. Gone were the days where two friends could fire up Street Fighter II and just putz around. It seems that the fighting game producers started making games specifically for the hardcore fans, meaning that they weren’t actually creating any new hardcore fans (this is the same thing Marvel and DC keep doing with their superhero comics). The audience shrank, and the genre became unprofitable. (not that the hardcore fans really cared, they were more concerned with being the top of whatever their chosen game was). The only fighting game series that went beyond navel-gazing was Smash Bros., which ironically is often snubbed as ‘not a real fighting game’ by snobby, insular fighting game fans, while also having its own set of snobby, insular fans who pretty much stand against the spirit of the series.

But Capcom’s succesful return could serve as an inspiration for others. While it doesn’t mean that hardcore-oriented fighting game need to go away completely, it does indicate that there’s a wider world out there for developers. They don’t need to be making opaque games for a small audience; they don’t need to please only one set of people. We could see a whole crop of new ideas being implemented in fighting games; Since they have become ‘viable’ again, publishers might not be as hesitant to greenlight new ones.

The rise of downloadable games makes it an even better situation for fighting games right now. If you don’t want to spend the cash for a full retail game that might or might not make its cost back, you could put them on XBLA or PSN or WiiWare or Steam. These services are great for smaller, arcade-style experiences, so fighting games are a natural fit. I’m actually surprised we haven’t seen more of them…we have plenty of indie developers who make homages to Mario, Metroid or classic beat-em-ups, so where are the old school fighting fans who became game developers? Maybe they’ve just been hiding.

Of course, this is just what COULD happen. As you can see, it doesn’t really seem like anyone is looking at SFIV‘s success and is saying ‘Hey, we can make fighting games again!’ And it seems like most fans would just like to see more revivals, like Darkstalkers, rather than completely new things (whoah, a shocker there). I might be alone in my belief that the spirit of creativity that was present in the Darkstalkers‘, Slam Masters‘, and Power Stone‘ of the past needs to revived before those actual games should be. But I also seem to be part of a disorganized demographic of people who like fighting games, but aren’t tourney-level players. Between them and the nostalgic set, we might not be a priority anytime soon.

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Birthday Post

Posted by Matt on October 24, 2009

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Posted by Matt on October 22, 2009

I’ve spent the last two nights editing the layout of a newspaper. Grueling, annoying work – but I got it done. And hope never to do it again. Well, okay, I’d be willing to do it again – with a bit more help and input, rather than being abandoned by the rest of the crew to suffer this ordeal.

I spend way too much time second-guessing myself to get things done quickly. Oh well, if it looks like shit, everyone will tell me and I’ll learn from it.

In lighter news, I saw the premier of the new Venture Bros. season (thanks to a handy program that guards my IP and thus lets me watch all those American video sites). They’ve set up a lot of interesting stuff for future episodes, and I can’t wait to see how they pan out. Plus, the first episode has Nazis (“Nein, we’re not!”) trying to clone Hitler from a dog descendant of Hitler. And they screwed with the timeline of the episode, and it’s always fun to see an experimental story succeed.

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Posted by Matt on October 19, 2009

Quote of the day:

“SL: You mentioned “2000 AD.” That was quite a big deal, wasn’t it, to give an outlet to british talent?

AM: I think it was because you had really funny, cynical writers working on “2000 AD” at that time. This was mainly Pat Mills and John Wagner who had previously spent eleven years working on the British girls comics. They had grown cynical and possibly actually evil (audience laughs) during this time. I think it was John who used to write a script called “The Blind Ballerina” and as the title suggested it was about a ballerina who was blind. John would just try to put her in to increasingly worse situations. At the end of each episode you’d have her evil Uncle saying, “Yes, come with me. You’re going out on to the stage of the Albert Hall where you’re going to give your premier performance” and it’s the fast lane of the M1. (audience laughs) And she’s sort of pirouetting and there’s trucks bearing down on her.”

Stewart Lee interviewing Alan Moore

The whole thing is great, so listen to it all.

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What I am doing instead of studying for an English midterm

Posted by Matt on October 19, 2009

You know what? I don’t see how anyone would want to see the new A Christmas Carol movie. Based on the commercials and pretty much everything else I’ve seenr, it is aggressively ugly, even compared to all the mocap CGI movies that have been released.
And now Zemeckis wants to do a remake of Yellow Submarine in that style, which may be the WORST IDEA OF ALL TIME. It’s one thing to create fictional zombie meat demons, it’s another thing to create zombie meat demons based on real people.

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Posted by Matt on October 18, 2009

This depresses me.

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Posted by Matt on October 15, 2009



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Posted by Matt on October 13, 2009

Here’s a post that can explain the Canadian TV situation I am now involved in.

Instead of providing you with content of substance, here’s a list of things I have seen/read/heard/played recently:

Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien
The Pump House Gang by Tom Wolfe
-Jamiroquai’s High Times: Singles 1992-2006
Wings of Desire
All-Star Superman Volume 2
Crecy (Warren Ellis & Raulo Caceres)

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Posted by Matt on October 8, 2009

Why would MTV ask Gerard Butler about a 300 sequel? Did they see the first one?

I also saw on the West Edmonton Mall homepage that at some point they were showing a movie to the people in the gigantic water park (I can’t seem to find the ad again now, but I swear it was there). Yep, while people happily waded, slid, dived, surfed, etc., they would be accompanied by the soothing white noise of Wolverine projected somewhere nearby. I know this is a relatively small piece of excess, it still represents some of the insanity that big fucking malls produce like…something easily produced.

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