Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Introduction Billboard Brawl

            Welcome to the first installment of Billboard Brawl. This little review series is to find what could be the best and worst song to ever hit #1 on Billboards top 100 list. First, let me get some things out of the way right now. I have very little taste in music; I have no classical training, no proper judgmental capabilities as to what makes a good song good, or a bad song bad.  I am just a person that has two ears, good hearing, and an opinion. Though part of what I hope to do with this series is to try to find classic songs, champion what I think is good and demonize what is ear poison. In addition, yes this is wholly inspired by Bennet the Sage’s top 20 best and worst videos. I like the videos and everything but, well I am not one to cave into another person’s opinions just because I like them. Also I felt that he could have gone a bit more thorough, I mean sure he had to have listened to every single song that ever hit #1 to even begin to form the lists but I still fell that he could have done more. I do know that music is not his domain, his domain is an awesome one, that of basket ball sized boobs, robots that can grow to the size of galaxies, cops that tie grenades to their pubic hair and where whinny, self important emo buttclowns reign supreme. But most importantly, I don’t believe in something unless I experience it myself, plus this could give me the chance to expand on my horizons a bit, at least where my taste in music is concerned.
            Now this series is indeed covering every single #1 song that ever made it onto Billboards top 100, from inception to now. The format will be as follows, I will listen to every song for that year that made it to #1 and organize them from one to however many hit songs there were that year. For example, 1984 had, 19 #1 hits so from 1 to 19, 19 being the worst of that year 1 of course being the best. The best and worst of those years will be added onto the final lists and when I have finally caught up I will produce my final list to determine what I consider to be my best and worst #1 one song. But wait I hear you ask, what about the following years? Well I will just wait until Billboard releases the list of #1 songs that year, do the whole listing again and place the best and worst of that year onto the respective lists and compare them to the rest. They might top the list, fall in the middle or be right at the bottom, who knows, just give me something good to hear.
            The songs will be judged on several criteria, if the lyrics are good and fit in the context of the song, the music video if it has one. (Only the official video in this case, no fan videos allowed, however if the song is used in a soundtrack I will take that into consideration.) Nevertheless, the most important point is if the song is any good to me. I will also go into details on the artists themselves and what message if any the song is trying to convey. Of course if a band split and made #1 hits in the members' solo carriers I will skip explanation on the artist because I will cover each member of the band during the time of their first #1 and ignore any members after that. In other words, I will analyze the band when they made their first big hit. Any questions just leave a comment and be sure to see my previous reviews on TGWTG and on my blog http://ondavidsbrain.blogspot.com/. Be sure to spread the word and stay tuned for more reviews.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Movie Review Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Hail Caesar

Wow, just wow. Me and my Mom and Brother just got back from watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and all I can say is, why haven’t you watched this yet?

Okay, fine I do have a bit more to say then that. Besides, I wouldn’t be happy with myself if I didn’t at least try to show some semblance of professionalism. Now before going into this I have to say that I have not seen any of the Planet of the Apes movies before this. (You may start throwing stones, flaming barrels, poop, and homophobic slander at me.) Nevertheless, this movie gets into my good books already by being one of the rare sequels that you do not need to see the prequel first to fully get what is going on. That to me is one of the key tricks of a great movie for me, one that you can get into without having extensive knowledge of the franchise to enjoy it. Now to monkey business, the movie takes place after Rise of the Planet of the Apes and thanks to the “Simian Virus” unleashed by Caesar in the last movie, most of humanity is whipped out save for several pockets of resistance that were immune to the virus. Now Caesar and his tribe are living out in the Muir Woods of California and are trying to create their own civilization. In the ten years since the aperising Caesar and the rest of the primates have progressed enough to develop a large fortress, spears, speak sign language and have a small grasp of English. However there is a small band of humans lead by Future John Conner (He'll play John in the upcoming Terminator Genesis in 2015) and Commissioner Gordon that are hiding in the ruins of a city that are trying to restore power to their city, the catch is that the dam that could provide power is in Caesar’s territory. From there, the movie goes into themes of diplomacy, leadership, trust, and what it means to be a man or a beast. Now, I can barely remember most of the human characters that aren’t Malcolm and Dreyfus, no the real stars are of course the apes themselves, there’s very little dialogue between them but through their actions and facial expressions you can grasp more about their relationship and their place in the tribe more than any dialogue could. (Though the subtitles during their sign language conversations does help :3) This is thanks to incredible CGI technology but mostly though the motion capture of the actors portraying the apes, top dollar in this case of course goes to Andy Serkis as Caesar. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a guy that will always prefer practical effects over CGI especially in this 3D dependent, CGI infested era of film making, so that should say something when I say that the CGI for the apes is amazing, you could honestly tell that these could be living, breathing creatures. Though again, the acting is what drives it home for me, not the graphics, take note David Cage this is what you should be trying to do. On that note I do highly recommend seeing this in 2D, not only because it is cheaper and I desperately want this new 3D craze to go away, but also some of the action scenes work just fine without the overblown gimmick. Of course, it does have its moments of fun without the action scenes; I do not want to spoil anything concerning characters however so I am not going to. Yet I sense that most people aren't convinced yet, so I will just show this image.
I am a monkey with Machine Guns on horseback, your argument is invalid!
Now go see this movie to get the context for this hopefully iconic image.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is owned by 20th Century Fox
Based on Characters Created by Pierre Boulle
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was released on July 11th 2014.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Demo Review: Papo and Yo. The monster inside my head.

So, this is my first game review, wish me luck. As of this review July 12th 2014, there is a flash sale on the PSN where several titles are on sale for 99 cents. Thus, I decided to take a look at several games, which I will relay my experience here on my blog. This first expedition into the unknown is a little story called Papo and Yo, which is apparently translated as Father and I. As long as this particular father does not wear a diving suit, have a drill, a rivet gun a rocket launcher or a laser gun I think we'll be okay.  Right away we start of with a quote about the developers family surviving the monster in their father. Sounds.... pleasant, and that statement is taken quite literally as we open on a boy named Quico hiding in a closet from what we can assume is his father while he is holding a toy robot.
Then from out of nowhere a white spiral drawing appears in the wall of the closet. Quico walks up to it, and then the wall spits him out onto a street while the drawing of his house on the wall behind him disappears. What a polite mysterious force. From there we are moved directly onto the game play and we walk into a series of square houses stacked on top of each other. From what I could find online this is set in a place called a Favela in a unspecified part of Brazil.

From there we encounter a mysterious girl that creates a door on the wall and after she sees us goes through it like in Chalkzone or Gumby, so after seeing that bit of hell magic we decide to follow her, for no reason. Okay I already have several questions, there does not seem to be any reason why we are doing this, does Quico recognize her? Is she a manifestation of the force that brought him to this world? Is this the outside world for him or some manifestation of his desire to escape his father? Is that represented in the buildings, is that why they look so jumbled and mismatched? How can he go through and manipulate the landscape? Are there others who can besides the girl and me? Speaking of which, is there other people here in this world besides these two? Maybe we can figure this out as we go along so, why not? We then see what looks like a drawing of a lever on a wall and when I press the button I pull the lever and the wall pulls out with it and it creates a set of stairs!

Well that looks pretty cool, so I guess that that's how the rest of the puzzles in this game are going to work. This also does confirm that this is taking place in Quico's mind as he manipulates the world around him with various bits of magic to help him accomplish his goals. So then I come across a cardboard box with a question mark on it, so I press the button on it and instead of getting transported to Solid Snake or Mario he puts it on his head where we find that this is a help box which will tell you how to solve puzzles in case you get stuck, which as we go on later in the demo basically give away how to solve the puzzles, not that you need it. Most of the time the puzzles are literally push a button and then the world moves for you to get you to your next objective. From that this is most likely a game that puts more emphasis on story rather then game play which I don't really have that much of a problem with if the story is good enough and well, I'll ride it out and see how it goes. So I keep going and after I cause a building to crash after jumping on it, stretching out another one like an accordion into a set of stairs, make five buildings floating in mid air to form a bridge by picking up cardboard boxes with windows drawn on them we finally run into the girl again. O_O did I really just say that? Maybe we can come across more sane things in this game, we can hope :3 Now the girl walks off again and then we turn some knobs on some houses and they skitter away like bugs. Well, never mind sanity then. So then I climb up a building and I finally find the girl crouching near a wall. I come up to her then the floor sinks around me and I see that apparently Quico thinks it is a good idea to chase a car in the middle of the street, especially since the path that is laid out for me seems to be in front of the car. So after that the floor goes back up, I confront the girl, she says I'm cursed, throws me off the building and then I get saved by my toy robot that has somehow come to life and is flying and talking. I would call him Clack but sadly he does have a name, Lula. Better then nothing I guess. So then he saves me and I find that I have lost my school jacket and one of my shoes. So I guess that like in Prince of Persia the further I progress in the game the more articles of clothes I lose? Um no, especially considering I am playing as a child, no just no.
Moving on. We catch up to Lula and he tells me that we have to find Monster. WHAT? Okay from a general experience and just from plain common sense whenever someone tells me that I have to find a monster that can only mean two things. One, I have to kill it, or two, the guy is going to feed me to it. If I had the option I would just run away from the demonically possessed toy that is trying to lure me to something that may want to eat my face. But of course since there is literally no other way out aside from the on/off switch on my PS3 I guess I have no choice. I find Robo Kyubey and he tells me I can use him to get across ledges, and he's right as I can use him to double jump across ledges and hover for a few seconds. Maybe I made my Ratchet and Clank reference too soon. In any case we can use Lula to solve new puzzles and as we do I noticed that the soundtrack is really picking up. I know I haven't talked about the soundtrack all that often since I think you really should hear it for yourselves. Also since no matter what I say it will be pointless since you can't hear it, but it really is pretty good, this soundtrack was composed by Brian D'Oliveira and this particular score like any good one seems to fit the setting of the game. If you don't play this game then at least check out the soundtrack on Youtube. Back to business, now we are back to the bug building area and we are being transported to a new area on the back of a house that has turned into a giant spider like creature. Oh wow, now this is really cool. The best words I can use to describe this game is that it really reminds me of a Studio Gibli movie, with fantastical elements happening in what looks like a normal everyday location, more specifically Howls Moving Castle. Oh do you think that Batman will show up? I doubt it but we can hope. So we get the bug, bus, building, thing to drop me off, we solve more puzzles and then we come to the end of the Demo where we are in a pipe, it is starting to shake and we see a shadow walking on top of the pipe we are in and it looks like the monster that Quico was hiding from in the beginning of the game and the screen cuts to black.

 So that was the Demo for Papo and Yo. Well this definitely looks like an interesting little game that you can immediately tell comes from a personal place for the developer Vander Caballero. The puzzles themselves are rather simplistic from what I saw, but that is mostly because I looked at the hint boxes, so if you actually want something of a challenge I would recommend avoiding those unless you really get stuck. I personally am going to keep going just to see where this ends since well hey I got it for 99 cents why the hell not? But for those who want a more challenging puzzle game with equally good design and score I would recommend Journey or The Unfinished Swan if you haven't picked those up already. Or at the very least watch a lets play of this game on Youtube. Be forewarned the game has a tendency to slow down in the frame rate and I from other reviews apparently there are some game breaking glitches. There has been a patch released since it came out in 2012 and I think that may have fixed the glitches but be careful nonetheless. But for the rest of us including me I will continue to journey of a boy and his monster in his own mind.

"Papo and Yo" was released on August 14, 2012 and is available on PSN and Steam 

"Papo and Yo" is owned by Minority Studios and Sony Computer Entertainment All other rights are reserved for their creators. 

"To Catch a Predator" is owned by NBC Studios.