As a child growing up in a “poor” family (i.e., cable TV to watch MTV was the dividing line for poverty in middle school), going to the movies was a luxury that my parents couldn’t afford. (Except for “Conan The Barbarian” with Arnold Schwarzenegger that my father took me too see at the tender age of 12, where I learned that having sex with a witch can be extremely hazardous to one’s health.) I never saw “Raiders” when it first came out in the theaters in 1981, and watching it on the small screen over the years doesn’t do it justice.
Restored from the original film negative and the audio track updated for surround sound, “Raiders” looked wonderful on the digital IMAX screen. Despite coming out 31 years ago, and set in the the late 1930’s before World War II, the story of an archaeologist trying to prevent the Nazis from capturing the ark of the covenant held up quite well.
If you seen “The Avengers” during the opening weekend last week, you probably saw the trailer for “The Expendables 2” with a large cast of 1980’s action hero movie stars reliving their glory days. One such action hero was a cigar-chomping Arnold Schwarzenegger announcing, “I’m back!” (An obvious double entrendre to his most famous line—”I’ll be back”—from “Terminator” and his long absence from starring in the movies while governor of California.) The audience I was with laughed and cheered at his appearance, heralding the arrival of more popcorn movies in the near future. California’s favorite maid-banging action hero is back.
Blizzard Entertainment put Diablo III into open beta to stress test the servers over the past weekend, giving everyone an opportunity to play the new game for the first time before being released on May 15, 2012. I wasn’t impressed. If you played Diablo I and/or Diablo II, you’re playing the same game.
As a male player, I like to take on a female persona. When I was testing Unreal Tournament 2003 multiplayer at Accolade/Infogrames/Atari (same company, different owners, multiple identity crisis), all the testers—including the few women testers—went with the generic male avatars. I went with the slim Asian female avatar. That made me stand out in the game as I extensively tested the sniper rifle from various hiding spots throughout the levels. My coworkers howled for my head from their cubicles. They ganged up to flush me out and chase me into open space, finding out that I was just as good with the rocket launcher and flak cannon.
When I fired up Diablo III to create my avatar, clicked on the female gender button and was disappointed by the style of female avatars available. The Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor and Wizard were all skinny young things that look like plague victims—or fashion models. Only the Barbarian was a good solid woman, reminding me of Aviendha in Robert Jordan’s“Wheel of Time” series, whom someone else pointedly told her: “Those hips are made for babies.”
I was somewhat surprised to find that my Level 1 Barbarian started off in bikini underwear. I can’t imagine any women—barbarian or not—going into a demon-infested hellhole wearing nothing more than two pieces of leather to cover her privates. But this is the video game industry, where little boys like to play with their joysticks and imaginary women. All the other female avatars also starts off in bikini underwear. This is only a temporary condition. As you pick up more equipment to cover up your bikini-clad avatar, the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz will become more recognizable than your avatar.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the female Barbarian’s voice has an Ahnold-like accent (think Schwarzenegger with a strawberry-blond wig).
As for the rest of the game, the new user interface takes advantage of today’s video graphics and wide-screen monitors. Rats scurrying from dead bodies, ravens flying from trees, and abandoned houses collapsing as your avatar walks by are nice little touches. Alas, being beta software, the transparency effect for torches and other “flashy” items were pixelated blocks on my ATI Radeon 3780 512MB video card—well above the minimum video card specs—that made gameplay difficult at times.
Without a doubt, Blizzard has another solid winner here. Now if they can only drop the price down to $20 USD from the outrageously high $60 USD that they are planning to charge for the game. Otherwise, I’ll finish off Diablo II that I picked up last year when Blizzard dropped the price.
He’s back! Entertainment Weekly reveals that California’s most beloved Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Stan Lee are teaming to create a new comic book and animated TV series called, “The Governator”. Based on early drawings, the series will revolved around an older, out-of-shape Ahnold hiding out and frequently exercising inside his elaborate Man Cave underneath his sprawling Southern California mansion, while a team of unpaid young people run around in rubber suits pretending to be a slimmer, younger version of the Ahnold to save the world from the G.I.R.L.I.E. Men.
The Governator needs to come back to Sacramento to twist the panties of the G.I.R.L.I.E. Men!
Note: Since the newest issue of Entertainment Weekly is being published today with The Governator on the cover, this may be an elaborate April Fools joke. However, the G.I.R.L.I.E. Men and their DJ overlords in Southern California are a serious threat to the fun-loving people of California.
he political world got turned upside down this week when former 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin announced that she was resigning as governor of Alaska. There’s a lot of speculation on why she would resign 18 months before the end of her first term and what she should do with her immediate future. Family concerns, the 2012 presidential election, and a possible ethics scandal are the top three.
My advice is for Palin to move her family to California, run for governor in 2010, clean up the state budget mess that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had failed to fix since 2003, and claim Ronald Reagan’s legacy by running for the presidency in 2012.
Seriously, if the Governator can’t clean up in Sacramento, maybe Caribou Barbie can do a better job.
(Otherwise, I’m supporting Tom Campbell to win in next year’s governor election.)