Saving the world one post at a time since 2010.

Category Archives: Uncategorized


Hey guys, I’m back.

Now, last month Sammwak turned four years old.

This is by all means a milestone for me, considering I’ve never put so much effort and energy into a single thing ever.

Along the way we hit 100,000 hits, which was an even bigger achievement for me. Even now, I receive comments from people who sincerely enjoy my content. If my site statistics are right, I’m getting viewership from all around the world.

After my little hiatus last year leading into this year, I decided to dust off the old keyboard and whip up two posts that I put up back in April. But those two posts probably required the most work I’ve ever had to put into this blog, and I started to think about the future of the blog. Whether it would still be getting traffic, and how long it could be until it loses its sliver of limelight.

For a while, I thought about deleting the site as a whole and putting it behind me.

But that would put four years of hard work down the drain, never to be seen again.

I would blog more frequently, but school and personal obstacles are more often than not the reason behind my diminishing post frequency.

I remember back in 2010, when I was just surfing the Internet.

And I found an opportunity to make a blog right then and there.

And I took it and never let go.

I made an average of 5-10 posts a day with zero knowledge of blog etiquette, but still.

That is why I’m making this update.

I’m not saying Sammwak is over or anything.

I’m just sort of re-birthing it.

It’ll be an entirely new blog.

But not in the sense that I’m going to start talking about a brand new topic like fashion or nature.

It’ll still be the games and books and movies and videos that I started with.

Let’s try once a month, if I can keep up with that.

Maybe I’ll shave it down to once every other week.

Or I’ll just be usual and have a sporadic, unpredictable uploading schedule.

I could go back to the old days and do it every Monday.

Whatever I do,

just know that we’re in for a very crazy ride.

~S~



Image

The original Spongebob.

Image

The modern Spongebob.

“I really [missed] this show. I use past tense because it’s not even the same show anymore.”

lemonhead75

Remember when Spongebob Squarepants used to be the greatest cartoon of all time? During its golden age from seasons 1-3, it was acclaimed for its fresh humor and nostalgic elements, while also remembering that it was underwater and therefore having its own aquatic take on human society. It was–and kind of still is–one of the most iconic televised series of all time, and has received notable recognition within pop culture to this today. Everyone and their grandma remembers the “FUN Song”.

Now currently in season ten or eleven, SBSP has seen what people call one of the biggest quality declines of all time. The show seemed to start losing its flow in season four, and stuff started to get serious by seasons 5 and 6. It seemed to get more disturbing as it went on to the point where it wrings jokes out of nothing, and actually makes situations the complete opposite of laughable. Take the notorious toenail scene from “House Fancy” (a season six episode), for example. Even in the midst of this, the show tries to hit us with what we were already hit with so many years ago. The biggest connection between the two eras are nonessential callbacks to the show’s heyday. Long-time fans will say that the new SBSP lacks the charm that made the old SBSP such a hit.

And with declining quality comes declining ratings. Despite the show’s ongoing popularity, the show took a shocking dip in 2012, with a 29% drop in the number of kids aged 2-11 watching the show, according to Nielsen. Another popular theory is that the show collapsed due to show creator Stephen Hillenburg resigning and leaving the show in the hands of creative director Derek Drymon, which spawned a legion of new writers and crew members that tinkered with the show to unbelievable extents, doing something that TV Tropes calls “flanderization“.

Flanderization is defined as “the act of taking a single (often minor) action or trait of a character within a work and exaggerating it more and more over time until it completely consumes the character.” All the characters have gone through dramatic trait changes, such as Krabs, who is now portrayed as something of an antagonist to appeal to the placeholder storylines of his fetish for fortune. Spongebob’s former persona as a naive Pollyanna has turned him into an eccentric idiot. Patrick went from a slightly dim oddball to one of the dumbest characters on TV. Squidward went from being the butt of every joke to the voodoo ragdoll of Bikini Bottom. Sandy went from the peppy female companion to a ghost who rarely appears. And let’s not forget when Mrs. Puff ended up trying to murder Spongebob…

The world of Bikini Bottom got flanderized as well; it turned from a light-hearted place with a couple off-color jokes to a sadistic hellhole where surreal situations and bawdy gags ripped from Adult Swim are the norm.

However, the show didn’t just go down the drain magically…

Image

For many, it was the Spongebob movie that marked the beginning of the end.

The movie just so happened to premiere in the time interval between the end of season three and the start of season four. The movie was a lot heavier than most regular episodes, containing darker plot lines such as the “ice cream lady” and Dennis the bounty hunter. It was sort of a somewhat-prescient insight onto what the series was going to transform into. It makes even more sense when one realizes that this was supposed to be the showstopping finale for the series before a couple things got in the way

Try imagining that scene where Spongebob and Patrick get drunk off of ice cream, looped for years on end, episode after episode, forever (or until the show ends, whichever comes first).
In the end, despite how the writers are clearly starting to get dry on their ideas, SBSP might have a sliver of hope to redeem itself and bring back some good stuff. Maybe we’ll see Sandy again. Maybe an episode will go by without anything disturbing. Only time will tell.
What do you think? Is Spongebob truly past its prime? Leave a comment about it.
Also, make sure to follow my Tumblr at http://www.prince-of-limbs.tumblr.com. WARNING: Not for moralists.
——————-
Authorities:
https://sites.google.com/site/tria1andfai1ur3/over-analysis/oa-tv-shows/spongebob-decline-in-quality
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpongeBob_SquarePants
——————-
Stay classy,
~S~


Image

 

In an interstellar burst,
I’m back to save the universe.”

- “Airbag

(I’m going to try to have as little bias in this review as possible, which is going to be a challenge as I LOVE RADIOHEAD.)

Up until 1997, Radiohead had just been an average British rock band. Just five guys: singer and frontman Thom Yorke, guitarist Jonny Greenwood, bassist Colin Greenwood, drummer Phil Selway, and extra guitarist Ed O’Brien. Their debut release Pablo Honey (1993) received mixed reception, and was classified as “Nirvana lite” due to its grungy sound. (Vindication over the years has now seen a lighter change of heart.) They quickly grew out of this with The Bends (1995), which got higher praise and focused on a more traditional rock sound and incorporated the cryptic lyrics that would be a staple for the band. They were getting their foot in the door–but with this album, the door was left hanging by its hinges. 

OK Computer (1997) isn’t just an album. It’s an experience. You could listen to it thousands of times and still unearth a new message in each song. The songs are saturated with universal themes like consumerism, politics, and social/emotional ostracism. It also sounded completely different from anything that preceded it; it was 53 minutes of musical experimentation, per se. It has gained a huge following, and is considered by critics and even other musicians to be one of the greatest albums of its time, and having a prophetic vision of the economic value of the century to come. I agree.

  • Airbag” – A triumphant start to the album; the story of a man’s great joy after surviving a car crash (“an airbag saved my life”), with four minutes of peppy riffs and effervescent falsettos, and another minute is just spent purely rocking.
  • Paranoid Android” – A six-minute tour de force in the likes of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, where we see Radiohead at its full power. The song gets split into four sections, the time signatures are on sugar highs, and the musical style and rhythm change so instantaneously that you’re constantly on your toes.
  • Subterranean Homesick Alien” – The sci-fi dreams of someone who wants to be abducted by aliens to see extraterrestrial lifestyles (“up above, aliens hover, making home movies for the folks back home”), but knows that no one will believe them when they get back to teach them about “the stars and the meaning of life”. If I daresay, it feels like an indie song, even though there’s still electric instruments. 
  • Exit Music (For a Film)” – Inspired by Romeo and Juliet (most specifically the 1968 adaptation; it was also used in the 1996 adaptation), “Exit Music” is sort of like a musical summary of the story, from the opening line (“wake from your sleep”) to the ending line (“now we are one in everlasting peace”) and the unsettling mantra (“we hope that you choke”). 
  • Let Down” – Another more laidback song, with a more acoustic feel and ample use of arpeggios. It is considered a dark horse among the non-single tracks and has the power to reduce even the most emotionally stable listeners to tears. 
  • Karma Police” – Probably my favorite on the album. The title and lyrics derive from an in-joke among the band members during the Bends tour. The first part of the track is a simple combination: piano riff, acoustic guitar, drum, Thom’s voice. The second part shows evolution into a more electronic sound with more synth and tinkering, consisting of nothing but the line “Phew, for a minute there I lost myself”. The song ends with heavy processed distortion that simulates police sirens. The structure of the track is offbeat (no pun intended) due to the song lacking a definitive chorus, but the song is still very enjoyable.
  • Fitter Happier” – A two-minute filler consisting of an unsettling monotone reading off a list of 1990s slogans. That’s it. 
  • Electioneering” – Easily the most rock-y song on the album–will probably remind one of their earlier sound. Instead of allowing people to interpret any political meaning, this track tackles it head on with a snide taste of cynicism. (“It’s just business, cattle prods, and the I.M.F. I trust I can rely on your vote.”) 
  • Climbing Up the Walls” – If there’s a song I greatly advise you to listen to with great discretion, it’s this one. This song isn’t just disturbing–it is plain terrifying. It is based heavily off of Yorke’s experience working at a mental hospital, and a perturbing sense of paranoia is more than preeminent. (“That either way he turns, I’ll be there. Open up your skull, I’ll be there.”) It doesn’t help that the song ends with Yorke producing the sound of one thousand dying demons. But at least the drumming was pretty awesome.
  • No Surprises” – After such a fearful track, Radiohead gives us a soulful breather with this next track. It should also be listened to with discretion not due to it being scary, but due to it being quite depressing. The somber rhythm and Yorke’s futile-sounding vocals contribute to the common interpretation that this song is a musical suicide note. I consider it to be more of a bittersweet prayer. (“Such a pretty house, such a pretty garden. No alarms and no surprises (let me out of here).”)
  • Lucky” – After having previously debuted on The Help Album (an album by many artists to help the War Child charity released in ’95), this track tells the story of a man who survived a crash–this time of a plane (“pull me out of the aircrash”). You can see the light at the end of the album’s bleak tunnel start to arrive. (“Pull me out of the wake. I’m your superhero, we are standing on the edge.”) Plus, the guitar sounds like Pink Floyd, which is doubly enjoyable for me. 
  • The Tourist” – Speaking of Pink Floyd, remember how they perfectly stitched the end and start of The Wall together? Well, it’s the same for this one–the ending and beginning tracks correspond with one another? This track takes on the car crash from the perspective of a bystander (“hey man, slow down, slow down”). The instruments seem to intertwine with the antithetic feelings of tranquility and adrenaline as the tempo quickens and slows. The album bows out on the sound of a small bell, and there’s something strangely mystifying about that bell. There’s so much it could represent. But hey, that’s for the fans to interpret.

I give OK Computer a 9.5/10. It’s a groundbreaking listen, and it will take you on a journey beyond your wildest beliefs. 

———————

DID YA MISS ME?

I bet your life was over for the three months I was gone.

But I’m back and I’m ready to get this party started again.

Currently we have over about 122,000 hits on Sammwak, which is crazy.

We have audiences from the US to apparently South America, Australia, East Asia, and most of Europe.

Sammwak is worldwide.

And I’d just be some kid wasting his time on the internet if it wasn’t for you.

So thanks.

I also have a Tumblr now.

Tumblr: www.prince-of-limbs.tumblr.com

kthnxbai

 



Hey guys, it’s Sam. Now, I know my recent post releases have been really out of order. Some come out on Mondays, some on Sundays, others on Saturdays, it’s a mess. I’ve been trying to get an every-Friday streak going on for a while, and my personal life has influenced my ability to blog frequently. I’m sorry there was such a delay in between my BookBuzz post and spark., I’ve just been really busy.I just suddenly realized I forgot to make a Halloween special and a Thanksgiving special this year. So, so sorry for that, and I’ll have to make the scope of this year’s Christmas/New Year’s special even bigger to make up for it.

Thanks for over 118,000 hits and fifteen subs! I know this sounds wussy for me to be getting excited over that, but it does mean the world to me that 15 of you have clicked that subscribe button and eagerly await a new post from me, no matter what day or what week it arrives. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without you, so I do thank you from the bottom of my heart!

This is also my 400th post on Sammwak. I did not even believe I was going to make it to 400, let alone 50. But thank you for making me want to make more posts and continue blogging for all of you.

Now, I’ve also been reading a lot, and here are the books I’ve been getting into:

  • Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis - My sister shipped this book to me a few weeks back. It’s the autobio of the frontman of one of the best funk bands in the universe. Stadium Arcadium is legendary by the way.
  • The Everafter War by Michael Buckley -  My sister got me this one way back. Two sisters live in a town where fairytale characters abound. Prince Charming is plotting war against the Master, whoever he is. One major person has already died, so it looks like it’s gonna be a bloodbath.
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame Smith and Jane Austen - It’s literally all in the name.
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore - The quintessential old-school DC comic book. It takes place in the 1940s-60s in an alternate reality full of superheroes. When superheroes are outlawed, a murder brings them out of retirement for one last job.

I’m becoming slowly addicted to this website called TV Tropes. Have you heard of it? If so, then your life has probably been ruined too. It’s a place that uses “tropes” to tackle all of the ins and outs of television, film, and literature. Every scene setup, every character cliche, every stock phrase, if you can imagine it, there’s probably a trope for it. Trope makers, trope namers, trope codifiers, tear jerkers, nightmare fuel, YMMV (your mileage may vary), getting-crap-past-the-radar, the list goes on. And I’m naming all of these off the top of my head. I’ve been troping for at least two months now, and I can’t stop. If you want to join me in my downfall into mayhem, it’s at http://www.tvtropes.org, and if you come across a Stuffedninja on those haiku pages, that’s me. :D

…………………………..

Thanks again for taking me on this wild journey.

Stay classy,

~S~ 8-)

Video of the Week well, I’m not sure if I’ll be publishing on time again, so let’s just call it Favorite Video: “YouTube Rewind: What Does 2013 Say?” by YouTube Spotlight. An awesome mashup of every meme, fad, hit, and popular thing of the year, featuring Youtubers such as Tobuscus, Pewds, Rhett & Link, Epic Meal Time, and more! 20.2 million hits in two days. Impressive.



sammwak:

Get a load of this while you guys wait for my next post. Great review.

Originally posted on omphaloskepsis:

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex (author, illustrator)
Hyperion Books for Children, 2007.
hardcover, 425 pages.
It all starts with a school essay. When twelve-year-old Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci is assigned to write five pages on “The True Meaning of Smekday” for the National Time Capsule contest, she’s not sure where to begin. When her mom started telling everyone about the messages aliens were sending through a mole on the back of her neck? Maybe on Christmas Eve, when huge, bizarre spaceships descended on the Earth and the aliens–called Boov–abducted her mother? Or when the Boov declared Earth a colony, renamed it “Smekland” (in honor of glorious Captain Smek), and forced all Americans to relocate to Florida via rocketpod?
In any case, Gratuity’s story is much, much bigger than the assignment. It involves her unlikely friendship with a renegade Boov mechanic named J.Lo.; a futile journey south to find Gratuity’s mother…

View original 1,005 more words



Now back in August, I let out a post that was centric around the one movie of the entire year that had my most eager share of anticipation: Wreck-It Ralph (and its running mate Paperman). And I probably stated it about a million times how excited I was for the movie, and if I didn’t see Wreck-It Ralph it would be as disappointing as Mark Twain not dying at the arrival of Halley’s Comet. But not only did I see the movie–I saw it on opening day. No, I didn’t see it in 3D, but after those 108 minutes, my mind was so blown I forgot the movie even came in 3D. Now let’s find out if that’s a good mind-blowing, or a bad mind-blowing.

File:Wreckitralphposter.jpeg

Released on November 2 (it couldn’t come any sooner), Wreck-It Ralph is a computer-animated comedy that is the official 52nd animated feature in the decades-long roster of the Walt Disney Animated Classics, being the first and only entry of the year. (As the 53rd title, Frozen, is coming next year.) Directed by Rich Moore, famous for his animation directing work on Futurama and The Simpsons, the movie–well, I won’t waste my time making up a new plot, let’s just reuse my old one. Wreck-It Ralph “starts at a typically nostalgic down-the-block arcade. One of the titles in that arcade is Fix-It Felix, Jr., where you play Felix himself and must constantly repair the damages of a building facade while the game’s villain smashes away atop the building. That villain is the 9′-tall, 643-pound Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly), and for three decades he’s been the guy that everyone loved to hate. And Ralph’s tired of that. And to make everyone notice he can be the hero [by getting a Medal of Heroes], he literally disappears from the game via power cord and joins the light-gun FPS Hero’s Duty, battling “Cy-Bugs” alongside the game’s own hero, Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch). But he doesn’t spend the whole movie in this game, as he later goes onto a candy-themed kart racer called Sugar Rush, and here he meets one of the game’s main characters, [the glitched] Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). Vanellope has learned that her game is faced with a threat that could affect the entire arcade. The worst part? Ralph may have started the whole thing.” Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

If I could cram all my knowledge of seeing the movie into one word, it would have to be “greatest”. Because this is the greatest movie I’ve ever seen. Most people could easily fall for it being a video game movie, but search through all the hard candy and you’re gonna surface with a soft center. Wreck-It Ralph has some of the biggest virtues you’ll find in an animated movie–familiar themes (the behind-closed-doors theme that you may have found in Toy Story or Monsters Inc), well-written laughs, eye-popping visuals, noticeable but still thoughtful messages, and a lot of surprises you’ll love to encounter. It’s not just a cover-up, however, to say that the movie had minimal but still present missteps. Wreck-It Ralph is a treat for kids, adults, and the tech whizzes and tech newbies alike, bringing them an impressive and imaginative incarnation of code, pixels, avatars, pretty much everything in the interactive gaming world. And I thought Captain Underpants had a load of potty humor.

 1 3/4 out of 5 – Educational value –  Believe it or not, Wreck-It Ralph actually has educational value; it teaches viewers about gaming terms/concepts like the game code, avatars, consoles, etc.

 5 out of 5 – Positive messages – Viewers are enticed to accept the ways they are “programmed”, rather than to change their image for others to see. This is exemplified through the bad guy affirmation at a weekly support group for villains: “I’m bad, and that’s good. I’ll never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be…than me.” In-movie characters also learn how crucial it is to walk a mile in someone’s shoes before getting judgmental over them. More themes include inclusivity against exclusivity, and selflessness against selfishness.

4 1/2 out of 5 – Positive role models – Ralph’s journey to make his peer approval a conquest turns into a life lesson of having pride in himself and his contributions. Ralph doesn’t let his status as a villain outdo the virtues that make him a hero; he’s a kind and resourceful character that strives to be the underdog. Vanellope is a spunky but still striving character that refuses to stick with the status quo in her own game–a game that Common Sense Media called “stereotypically girly”. In the game Vanellope also finds a way to control her deficiencies as a glitched character to turn into her biggest upside. Ralph initially dislikes Vanellope but eventually weaves his first big friendship with her. Despite his quirky natures, Sgt. Calhoun manages to work alongside Fix-It Felix in many wild occasions.

4 out of 5 – Ease of view – Wreck-It Ralph may be a toughie to crack for newcomers to the gaming world–naming all the characters, deciphering the natures of games, and so on–but it will still be a treat otherwise that will bring laughter from the mouth and–in some occasions–tears from the eyes. It is a very thoughtful and clever movie that takes video game crossovers and merchandising to the next level, crunching it into nearly two hours of the greatest adventure in video game movie history.

4 out of 5 – Violence – During the Hero’s Duty scene, the game’s characters fire guns at Cy-Bugs to make them explode in bits (no goo or blood is splattered, however). When a Cy-Bug strips Ralph of his gun, his arms are revealed to be giant guns themselves.The Cy-Bugs eventually go on to invade Sugar Rush, which turns it into a very interesting game. In one scene, Ralph clumsily startles a number of Cy-Bug eggs after receiving his medal of heroes, causing them to start hatching one after another. In another scene, Calhoun accidentally drops her already broken sensor (from all the sugar particles), which causes it to go off and evoke eggs to hatch in a wave. When pursuing Vanellope after having his medal stolen, he falls into a pond of sugary sweet goo, and fights through the candy forest to emerge looking like a monster. Moments later though, he is crammed into a giant cupcake and pastry police officers hit him with their nightsticks. When he is taken to King Candy’s lair, one of the officers whips out a candy chainsaw to get Ralph out of the cupcake, causing him to run away in fright. In another scene, Vanellope’s fellow racers destroy her car while simultaneously mocking her glitches, causing Ralph to scare them off. At the villain support group, a cyborg (meant to represent Kano from Mortal Kombat) viciously rips out a fellow villain’s heart. But as this fellow villain is a zombie, no actual damage is done. In one of Sgt. Calhoun’s flashbacks, she reminisces her wedding day, when the party was crashed by a giant Cy-Bug that ate her husband. Cautionary tales about character deaths are spread, like how you cannot regenerate when you die outside of your own game, or how characters can become “homeless” after their games are unplugged. This may upset younger audiences. When Felix welcomes Ralph into his 30th anniversary party–actually, their 30th anniversary party–a piece of the ceiling breaks off and falls on Felix. This does kill him, but as he is in his own game he automatically regenerates. When Ralph suddenly breaks through the walls of Felix’s room in King Candy’s “Fungeon”, some people might be startled. Also, people might be holding back tears when Ralph is forced to wreck Vanellope’s kart. He had done this since if Vanellope was allowed to race, her glitches would put the game out of order and eventually get it unplugged. And this is even worse for Vanellope, since glitches aren’t allowed to leave their games. So that meant if the game actually was unplugged, she’d die with it. Go down with the ship, you know. Calhoun and Felix get stuck in “Nesquik-sand”, and to get strips of Laffy Taffy above them to come down, they must be amused. So against her will, Calhoun repeatedly slaps Felix and gives him various injuries, but each time he uses his golden hammer to repair the wounds. Apparently that hammer doesn’t just fix broken windows, it can fix broken noses.

 2 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – Felix and Calhoun strike a relationship and eventually–let’s just say take their love to the next level, evoking a very passionate kiss. They also smooch in another scene. One iconic character, Street Fighter‘s Zangief, wears only his underwear. Ralph also comes across an apparently used pair of Zangief’s underwear as well, much to his disgust. In another scene, Ralph strips a Hero’s Duty character of his suit, clothing his unconscious body with only Zangief’s underwear. Luckily, the stripping is not actually shown onscreen.

2 out of 5 - Language – Nothing colorful, but potty humor and name calling is frequently seen. “I hate you”, “shut your chew hole”, “numbskull”, “brat”, “doody”, “frickishly”, “buttload”, etc. “Pussy” is also mentioned–but in the word “pussy willows”. In one scene, Vanellope playfully calls Ralph a “son of a gun”. Rihanna’s “Shut Up and Drive” plays while Ralph teaches Vanellope to drive her kart.

5 out of 5 – Product Placement – Very iconic and famous game characters appear throughout the game, especially in the Game Central Station scene. As I said in my other post, nearly 200 game characters made cameo appearances in the movie. A cyborg resembling Kano, Zangief, Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Cammy, the Pac Man ghosts, Pac Man himself, Q*bert, Bowser, Princesses Daisy and Rosalina, Frogger, the Pong paddles, Peter Pepper, the Qix, M. Bison, Eggman, and Sonic all made appearances in the movie. Coincidentally, Sonic appears giving off crucial lessons about the policies of game death–similar to how he gave eventually pointless tips in “Sonic Says” from Sonic & Sega RacingSugar Rush also evokes many references to candy brands. Believe it or not, Skrillex actually deejays Fix-It Felix, Jr.‘s 30th anniversary party–needless to say, his track “Bug Hunt (Noisia Remix)” was featured on the official Wreck-It Ralph soundtrack. Some of the songs used in promos and commercials for the film include Fun.’s “Some Nights” , Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown”, and Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling”.

3 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – One scene takes place in the 1983 arcade game Tapper, where customers are shown drinking from beer mugs. It’s apparently root beer, but I’m still suspicious. A game character pours a martini for himself in one scene, and at Felix’s anniversary party some people are briefly shown drinking.

………………………………

Smarts: A+ (5 points)

Fun: A+ (5 points)

Entertainment: A+ (5 points)

Humor: A+ (5 points)

Style: A+ (5 points)

See-Again Ratio: A+ (5 points)

FINAL SCORE: 30 out of 30 (mrgreenmrgreenmrgreen), 100% out of 100%, 5 out of 5 stars

CONSENSUS: Wreck-It Ralph is probably the most unique animated Disney movie you’ll see this year; it has the breathtaking aesthetics, eye-popping visuals, heartfelt messages, impressive storyline, and endless nostalgia that make for the true antidote of the video game film genre.

PRICE: Well, considering the film went out last Friday, it’s obviously not available for DVD purchase yet. But on Amazon, you can buy the tie-in video game on the Wii, DS, or 3DS! The Wii and 3DS versions of the game costs $30, and the DS version costs $24. Not ready for it yet? You can have a crunch of the entire film in merely twenty songs on the Wreck-It Ralph OST. Seven tenths of the soundtrack is actually film score, ranging from “Wreck-It Ralph” to “Arcade Finale”. The other three tenths belong to actual soundtrack music, with artists Skrillex, Rihanna, Owl City, Kool & the Gang, AKB48, and Buckner & Garcia. Henry Jackman (famous for composing the soundtracks of Monsters vs. Aliens, the 2011 Winnie the Pooh, etc.) has the steering wheel on this one. On MP3, the OST costs $8, but in the flesh it costs $10.

Wreck-It Ralph

If you want a sneak peek of what to expect of the soundtrack’s quality, check out this amazingly, shockingly, mindblowingly innovative music video showcasing Owl City’s “When Can I See You Again?” Seriously dude–this is the best music video you’ll ever see. Or the most creative. Or both. :mrgreen:

If you’re too impatient to wait for your time with the movie, check out this nifty four-minute featurette from the Movieclips subsidiary , involving things from cast interviews to some sneak peeks at the real movie!

……………………………………………………….

File:Paperman (2012) poster.jpg

Paperman Still Man and Woman

Sort of like how La Luna preceded Brave, this movie–Paperman–preceded Wreck-It Ralph. It is a 7-minute black-and-white silent film that blends the traditional and computer styles of animation. In the film, a man we’ll refer to as The Man is at a mid-20th century train platform in NYC when he is hit by a flying paper. This paper belongs to a woman we’ll refer to as The Woman whom had dropped it when a gust of wind swept by. The same thing happens to The Man when one of his papers is blown away and lands on The Woman’s face, leaving a red lipstick mark on it. When the Man and Woman first depart, the Man is despondent when he believes he’ll never see the woman again. He is proven wrong when he sees the Woman in one of the rooms in a building across the street at work. He uses the contracts his boss gave him, turns them into paper airplanes, and attempts to throw one into the window, but is excessively unsuccessful. Even the paper with the lipstick mark on it fails to fly in. When he fails to see which way the Woman goes after work, he abandons his mission in disgust and sorrow–and let’s just say something magical happens after that…

Now, Paperman despite its length isn’t a very bad movie. In fact, it’s the best black-and-white movie I’ve ever seen. Despite its lack of dialogue, it has a pristine storyline that captures the serenity of its expectations. Despite its lack of color, it still uses the palette it is given to create works of art beyond our imagination. Despite this review’s lack of normality and overuse of imagery and big words, Paperman still manages to show that love can make the strangest things happen, weaving this lesson into a dandy flick with visuals as eye-popping as its unexpected comedy. But then again, the juice that makes it a special Disney movie kinda doesn’t make any sense. And that’s saying something.

(Now, due to this movie not being too prolonged, I’ve decided to narrow down the chart and strip away sections that need to be stripped.)

 1 out of 5 – Educational value –  If you have a keen eye, you might learn how to make paper airplanes. :lol:

 5 out of 5 – Positive messages – Paperman makes light-hearted humor and heart-warming inspirations out of the fact that love can cause the wildest things to occur, both in realism and human instincts. Some may be able to relate to the Man and Woman’s relationship and what they will go through and fight past to be together–especially those who have already endeavored the scenario.

4 out of 5 – Positive role models – The Man stops at nothing to finally be with the Woman, and quickly gains hope that lights an entire room full of the darkness of doubt. When the Man first throws in the towel on Operation: Lovebird for good, his contract paper airplanes seem to gain motivation to get their “maker” out of retirement. The Woman eventually gains as much enthusiasm towards the Man as the Man does for the Woman.

4 3/4 out of 5 – Ease of view – Paperman may have a premise that some may not know at first, but eventually its amazing visuals, breathtaking direction, and debonair charms will have the viewers swooning. Paperman is also quite frankly one of Disney’s best short movies to date, and definitely one of the most captivating as well.

…………………………

Smarts: B+ (3.5 points)

See-Again Ratio: A- (4 points)

Fun: A (4 points)

Entertainment: A+ (5 points)

Humor: A+ (5 points)

Style: A+ (5 points)

FINAL SCORE: 26.5 out of 30 (hm neutral), 4 1/2 stars out of 5, 83% out of 100%

I am also proud to give Paperman the honor of being our first-ever Popcorn Pick to be in full black-and-white, and the first to not contain any dialogue whatsoever, as well as the first to get at least a 25/30 score. :D :D :D :D :D :D :D Oh, that reminds me, I should probably introduce my new scoring chart:

Epic Fail (0-5 out of 30) – This movie didn’t even deserve to be reviewed, but I was kind enough to review it anyway. Incredibly choppy direction, surprisingly disjointed scripting, and/or paper-thin scenarios will likely get you in this tier. If you ever do, then you can walk away hanging your head with our official Sammwak Epic Fail Seal.

It’s just as degrading as it sounds, America.

Fail (6-10 out of 30) – Did good enough to escape the Epic Fail tier, but definitely aimed its crosshairs in the wrong direction. Abominable writing, vile editing skill, and small potential will likely land you here.

Poor (11-15 out of 30) – Definitely a lot of noticeable mistakes, but the parts it does perform correctly are very petite and will likely have already gone before the viewers notice it.

Average (16-20 out of 30) – Does have as much pros as it does cons, and while it could’ve been worse–it should’ve been better.

Well Done (21-25 out of 30) – Lots of noticeable merits in directing, scripting, and acting at a skill rate that’s just shy of perfection.

Awesome/Nirvana (26-28 out of 30 for Awesome, 29-30 out of 30 for Nirvana) – This is as high as it gets. These are the most honoring titles you can get on Picks for Popcorn. To be an Awesome movie, you need to impress me. Like, a lot. If you have flaws, I’ll notice them but will likely not come back to haunt the movie. To get the most prestigious title there is of being a pick of nirvana, you need to be solely flawless: you need mind-blowing writing, breathtaking acting that perfectly accentuates this writing, and scenarios that weave together like a master knitter’s work of art.  This is clearly a movie that cannot be missed–well, the ones that scratched the bottom of nirvana’s barrel are sort of iffies.

So now that you know the grading chart, you won’t be confused in future reviews! :)

…………………………..

You know what to do, I’ve been blogging for two darn years! But just to review, subscribe, like, Press This, reblog, share, and come back next time for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak! (That’s kinda my new tagline now, I guess. Well, maybe besides “Stay classy, America.” :D)

Stay classy, America (see, I told you :D),

~S~ 8-)

Videos of the Week: Dubstep. An electronic dance music genre that has been described by Allmusic as “tightly coiled productions with overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples, and occasional vocals.” Some of the most famous dubstep artists out there are likely what I consider the two Founding Fathers of the genre: the British music act Nero, and the American music project Skrillex. And today we’re gonna look at someone who I’d never guess could be converted into dubstep: my good friend Tobuscus. In fact, just last April an artist known as DJ Alex S. remixed the twenty-fourth TobyGames video of Bulletstorm into one of the hottest dubstep songs I’ve ever seen! It’s been seen 1.4 million times, and over 30,000 people agree that this video is the bomb. Do you?

Here’s the original “Gimme That” video at almost 200,000 hits since last March:

Here’s a fanmade video conglomerating Toby’s dancing and the song with over 22,000 hits since last April!



Last year was probably one of the best Halloweens I’ve ever had on this blog. And another year has passed, and I remember a promise I  made to conclude last year’s Halloween special–to come back next year for the third special. And that third special has finally come. Wow, time flies when you’re having fun with all your fans. Releasing at 5pm like my last special, this Halloween’s gonna be a hoot. Prepare to be scared. Your goosebumps are gonna get goosebumps. Stock up on your lightbulbs, grab a bowl of candy, and hope for the best–because this holiday special may be something you’ll never return from.

Halloween, also known as Hallowe’en, or All Hallows’/Saints’ Eve–based off of its original “All Hallows’ Evening” name–is a yearly worldwide-observed holiday that precedes the western Christian feast of All Hallows, allowing the people of the world to trick-or-treat, attend costume parties, bob for apples, carve jack-o-lanterns, light bonfires, watch scary movies, prank, and visit “haunted” attractions all in one night. Most kids consider it the scariest day of the year, while others consider it the most fun. Me? I don’t directly celebrate Halloween, but rather the fall harvest. But it’s no reason not to host this essential 2012 special. Speaking of specials, Halloween has also been the night of the arrival of the Great Pumpkin–or so Linus van Pelt believes. He’s so determined to find the Pumpkin that every Halloween night he sits in a pumpkin patch awaiting the holiday figure’s arrival. When he fails to show himself, Linus only ups his ants for next Halloween. And there are three things that kid’s learned to never discuss in public: religion, politics, and that ole Great Pumpkin. But you can’t blame the kid for trying, can you? And besides–he has a little brother named Rerun!

Anyway, to change the subject, lots of your favorite channels are still going back to their Halloween-y roots like last year. Disney Channel’s bringing back Monstober (kicking it off with their new DCOM Girl vs. Monster), and on demand I saw a deal from the Hub about RL Stine’s Haunting Hour. (Don’t worry, they put up Goosebumps too.) But, like usual, Cartoon Network seems to be at the top of its game this year. While its campaign may not be as tyrannical and direct as last year’s, my scared-silly supplement did leave me feeling something. But I’ve decided to crunch all the episodes worth caring about together and break them down right here, right now.

Terror Tales of the Park II” from Regular Show - Last year’s Halloween special from the park was a hoot, offering 1.968 million views on its premiere–but surprisingly, the rest of season three’s episodes literally bedraggled this rating. But hey–if a creepy living doll, the ghosts of a heavy metal crash pit, and Rigby being turned into a house wasn’t scary enough, wait until you see what the gang brought this year. The premise of the episode goes like so: everyone is decked in a costume heading towards a Halloween costume party that Margaret had recommended. Benson is a pirate, Mordecai is Frankenstein, Pops is a mummy, Rigby is what seems to be Hulk Hogan, and so on. But they quickly realize that the drive is taking a bit too long–as they are already lost. To kill the time (get it?), the people decide to spin some scary stories. Benson reluctantly allows them to, with one rule: they can’t really scare Pops.

  • Payback” told by Mordecai – This story seems to be a scary, demented, warped version of “Skips Strikes”. Taking place at the same bowling alley, Stardust Lanes, Mordo has just dominated his colleagues in a game. Well, everyone except his uncle Steve, who sits out the round. Despite his colleagues and their bad moods wanting to leave, Mordecai manages to convince them to play another game and gives his uncle a loan of $5. A now ecstatic Mordecai begins to dance around in excitement, but while moonwalking he ends up bumping into uncle Steve. He stumbles over to the ball return, where his light-up tie gets stuck, pulling him in and killing him. (I can’t help but be reminded of Syndrome’s death in The Incredibles.) Later at Steve’s funeral, a guilt-stricken Mordecai has literally changed his name to “Mortified”. And worse yet, his uncle had never paid back his nephew’s $5. But after a bad dream concerning the murder, Mordo wakes up and finds Steve’s ghost staring at him with glowing eyes. After splashing his face with cold water, it happened again. Now concerned whether this is reality or a big mind game, Mordo (and eventually Rigs) continue to be stalked by Uncle Steve’s ghost all the way down to his grave–where it is revealed that he just needed to pay his nephew back.
  • Party Bus” told by Margaret – Mordecai, Rigs, Marge, and her friend Eileen are decked out in costumes and ready to hit the movies. But Benson & Skips are currently in control of the golf cart for late-night patrolling of any TP-ing hooligans. With no sign of transportation now, Eileen–her costume being a businesswoman–manages to call a taxi for them. But another car arrives before the taxi, deeming itself as the Party Bus. The four, greatly persuaded by the atmosphere, decide to call off the taxi and board the bus instead–but they take the bus’s slogan, “This Party’s Killer!”, for granted. While the four are enjoying themselves to dancing and downing, Marge sees that the bus driver has passed the local theater downtown. They eventually realize that once they board the bus, they cannot leave the bus. And every partygoer on the bus isn’t wearing a white wig–they’re actually aging before the gang’s eyes as the bus moves forward! Not only that, but they begin to age as well! Seeing their colleagues turn to dust, Mordecai manages to take out the bus driver and follow his first natural instinct–shifting the bus into reverse. But this only gives everyone a case of Benjamin Button’s disease–they start de-aging! The gang manages to escape through the emergency hatch of the bus as children, and make the final jump off the bus as babies. As the gang celebrates their victory, they only dissolve into dust.
  • Wallpaper Man” told by Benson – Mordo and Rigs have taken it in to draw a cheesy cartoon in marker on the wall. The cartoon depicts Rigby describing his job as a prison, and Mordecai–pointing to a hole in the wallpaper–having found a way out. Although the two take pleasure in their joke, Benson uncovers it and forces them to re-wallpaper the entire house. If they did a bad job, they’d only re-re-wallpaper the house. After failing to cover up just the cartoon with wallpaper, they find their TV in the hallway promoting Jan the Wallpaper Man. Coincidentally, he’ll do a customer’s first wallpapering job for free! They decide to hire Jan, and lock themselves in their rooms playing video games as Jan takes care of the house. When they decide to take a break, they find the entire house vividly wallpapered in black and red. Unfortunately, when they hear Pops crying for help they find Jan wallpapering him to the wall! When Jan sees his cover has been blown, he hisses at the two and crawls along the walls out of the room. They manage to rescue Pops, but must navigate a constantly-shifting maze of wallpaper to rescue Benson as they hear his cries as well. Due to an optical illusion, the maze gradually gets smaller, causing a claustrophobic Rigs to begin tearing through the walls. They use this method to uncover a cave where the remaining workers–including Benson–have been held hostage by Jan, wrapped in cocoons made of the same wallpaper Jan had used on the house. In one of the most disgusting scenes on Regular Show, Jan transforms into his true giant spider form as he ties Pops to the ceiling. Mordo & Rigs desperately try to fend off Jan with rocks, but only rip the cocoons of their colleagues. While Skips and Pops have heavy landings, Benson has a more smooth landing and even catches a delivery man [sending grenades to Muscle Man. Don't ask.] who had been trapped. As Spider-Jan impales Muscle Man through the stomach and eats him, Benson carries Skips & Pops away to higher ground, forcing Mordecai and Rigby to fire whom they had hired. Rigby does not take the phrase as metaphorically speaking and actually tries to fire Jan, which only makes the problem worse. They realize that the delivery man had left behind his package of grenades, so Rigs manages to retrieve it as Mordo pelts Spider-Jan with rocks. Moments later, they are in his grasps, and–awkwardly saying different catchphrases simultaneously–they unclip all the grenades and throw the package into the beast’s mouth. Their celebration is shortly lived when they suddenly question the range they must be in to avoid the explosion; the resulting explosion not only destroys the house, but presumably Jan and the two as well.

Costumes & Courage” from Austin & Ally - Austin’s new record label owner, Jimmy Starr, invites him to perform at his record’s Halloween party, where Ally’s new song will be the centerpiece of a duet with him and Taylor Swift! However, Austin believes that Ally had sold their song to Taylor, and lets out his frustration and anger through a text to Starr, calling him an “evil, gutless rat”. However, when it is accidentally sent, they split up at the party to find Jimmy’s phone and delete the message. Meanwhile, Trish and Dez are off ghost-hunting when their plans go haywire when they accidentally knock Taylor unconscious. Since Ally’s wearing an identical costume to her, she decides to step in as an understudy to keep Austin from being left hanging–singing onstage for the first time.

Summerween” from Gravity Falls - In Gravity Falls, Halloween is such a favored holiday that it’s not only celebrated on its rightful date, but also in the summer as Summerween! With jack-o’-melons, candy, and fun at bay, Mabel and Dipper are excited to dive in. But when Dipper’s crush/fellow Mystery Shack worker Wendy deems trick-or-treating as a child’s activity, Dipper’s entire outlook on Summerween changes. The night gets more heated when worker/elder Soos tells them about the tale of the Summerween Trickster. Believing it to be unrealistic, Dipper insults it but causes it to come to life; by the end of Summerween, when the final light of the final jack-o’-melon is dimmed, they must collect over five hundred pieces of candy for the Trickster or be eaten. Meanwhile, Mabel and Dipper’s Great Uncle/Grunkle Stan attempts to scare two boys who laugh at the definition of horror, claiming to have watched scary movies since the age of 2.

Wazombie Warriors” from Kickin’ It - This is like some sort of Resident Evil or Left 4 Dead for the show. When Kim falls asleep whilst watching a Halloween movie, she dreams that all of her friends have turned into zombie-vampire hybrids known as “zompyres”. Kim must battle these zompyres, which is a great physical and emotional struggle, due to it feeling like she is hurting her friends–especially Jack. She must travel to the home of Doctor Krupnick (who is Milton in real life, the only fellow non-zompyre person in the dream) whom holds the only zompyre antidote.

The Halloween” from Gumball - As the show’s first-ever holiday special, the ghostly Carrie (in her 3rd main role) takes Gumball, Darwin, and Anais to a costume party on Halloween–a party inside a real haunted house! So it’s not a big surprise when it is revealed that every single partygoer is a ghost! And Gumball and Darwin seem to be enjoying themselves–until they turn into ghosts themselves! Will this party get crashed before Gumball & Darwin can even put their skins back on?

……………………………..

Alright now, I think that’s enough crunching for one Halloween. Anyway, like I did last year, I’ll take it in to put up the tips, tricks, and slips to the best Halloween bash ever:

  • Make good invites for people. An attention-grabbing invitation will encourage them to come.
  • Afterwards, make a guest list. A good party has a capacity of a good twenty people.
  • Decide the snacks, party favors, and drinks. It’s a good idea to be willing to include cake.
  • Decorate your house, but make it good. Any old papier-mâché ghosts or stuff scrawled on paper simply won’t cut it, and your party will be a total bust. Buy your own decorations that are creepy and cheap…they’re cheapy.
  • Make sure your food is prepared before people arrive. If half of your capacity is already attending the party and you only have a bag of pretzels willing to be eaten, the party-goers won’t have much of a strong appetite, and the chances they might hoof it will rise. Make sure you got food, and food that guests would want to eat.
  •  Try and dress up in a costume yourself. If you host a creepy Halloween party in just a shirt, khakis and a cardigan sweater, you’ll be the center of the audience, yes, but not in an entirely good way. You can leave out this tip if you want, but if you want to blend into your surroundings, try and buy your own costume. Don’t make it too scary, because you might leave a visual scar if half of your attending guests are kids.
  • Tidy up the house. I don’t mean to sound like I’m quoting something your dad would probably say inside your room, but a good party has a clean atmosphere. If your guests are noticing junk like empty bags of Doritos behind the couches, or colonies of dust bunnies, you, and your party, will probably look like a slob.
  • Decide where, when, and directions. This is the most important part of a Halloween party. Don’t tell your guests unsure sentences like, “Uh…I honestly don’t know”, because this is the biggest chance that they’ll bail out. Maybe hand out flyers of your party, and have every necessary detail on them, location, date, and address. This makes sure that they’ll know where to come, why they’re coming, and the time they’re expected.
  • Is the party going to be outdoors or indoors? Another important tip. Make sure if your party is going to be out or in. And make sure everybody gets the same information, because people will be arguing if they get different info. If you plan to have an outdoor party, set up tables and chairs. If indoors, set up stuff like food and décor.

GOOD INVITATION FORMAT

You’re Invited – The simple phrase that makes an invitation an invitation. This phrase sets the tone and lets people know, instead of jumping out and slapping them across the face with other detail. “You’re invited” is merely what an invitation cannot lack.

Where, When, and Why – Another essential invitation detail. Attending guests need to know where they’re going, why they’re headed there, and when they’re expected. Without these details, your invited guest will be more baffled than a half-brained kid taking a MEAP test. Also, be on the safe side and put your number on your ads if guests don’t have invitations, because they gotta reach the host/hostess somehow.

(optional) RSVP – Translated from the classic French phrase repondéz s’il vous plaît, RSVP means “reply please” or “please respond”. This is so that guests can respond to you with “Yes, I can come” or “No, I cannot come” as a response.

……………………………….

Let’s wish such a happy Halloween birthday to these celebrities that it’s scary

  • Vanessa Marano - Notorious for her performances on Gilmore GirlsWithout a TraceSwitched at Birth, and–most ideal to today’s theme–Ghost Whisperer, Vanessa may not be as well-known to kids than her little sister Laura, whom plays Ally on Austin & Ally! Vanessa started her run as a starlet from the age of two, working at Stage Door Theater productions since. Her role on Without a Trace is one of her most famous ones to date–and coincidentally, she and Laura were sisters on the show. Anyway, while she currently works as Switched at Birth‘s Bay Kennish, Vanessa will be celebrating her big jump into her twenties on Halloween! And because she’s fluent in Italian: “Buon compleanno, Vanessa!”
  • Piper Perabo - She’s been in the industry from Coyote Ugly to her Golden Globe-nominated performance on USA’s Covert Affairs–including both Cheaper by the Dozen movies and then some. Born of a physical therapist and a college poetry professor, Piper is of the descent of Norway and Portugal, named after actress Piper Laurie, and the victim sibling of two brothers. She is an Ohio University graduate, with a degree in theater, and will be turning 36 on Halloween! Happy birthday, Piper!
  • Larry Mullen, Jr. - While he’s worked on many solo projects in his career, Larry is best known as the drummer for one of Ireland’s greatest rock bands, U2. An overabundance of praise and honor engulfed Larry as a result of his work with the band, including over twenty received Grammys. Mullen started all this drumming worker at the age of nine, as the only child of Maureen Mullen and Larry Mullen, Sr. For decades he has lived with girlfriend, fathering several children in the process, but to this day has never tied a knot with someone. And although I don’t know if he’ll be giving out candy or little Lucky Charms boxes on All Hallows’ Eve night, we can only infer that Larry Mullen, Jr fiú a breithlá sona. That’s Irish for “Larry Mullen, Jr. deserves a happy birthday.” :D
  • Adam K. Horowitz, also known as the Beastie Boy, King Ad-Rock or just Ad-Rock. This some-of-everything man (music, acting, producing, guitar-playing, and rapping) came from New Jersey from a mom named Doris and a play-writing father named Israel. Beginning his musical passion in the punk rock band, The Young and the Useless, he became the Beastie Boys’ replacement guitarist in 1982, when the original one quit. He has been a piece of the pie since, although he has an epilepsy diagnosis and a 5-year marriage with riot grrrl artist Kathleen Hanna. He is celebrating his 45th birthday today. Happy birthday, King!
  • Robert M. Van Winkle, also known as Vanilla Ice. This extreme athletic rapping home improvement TV personality pioneered Billboard chart-topping songs with his timeless summer 1990 single, “Ice Ice Baby”. Currently signed to Psychopathic Records (do mass murderers rap there?), he began hosting The Vanilla Ice Project since October 2010 (that’s his home improvement show), and has even survived his own suicidal attempt, as well as surviving a major 3-year fame fall. Today he is turning 44. Happy birthday, Ice!
  • Willow C.R. Smith is turning 11 today. Better known as Willow Smith, or mononymously as Willow, she encouraged the music junkies of pre-Halloween 2010 to whip their hair like 21st-century girls. The song was only number eleven on the Billboard chart, but it’s been part of meme lore ever since. She’s also dipped her hand into the jar of acting, starring as Robert Neville (played by her own father)’s daughter in I Am Legend and also as the hobo jungle resident Countee in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. Happy birthday, Willow! And make sure to whip that hair real good!
  • Sir Peter R. Jackson, known for directing all 3 Lord of the Rings movies, alongside the 2005 revival of King Kong, is turning 50 today. To me, 50 is a big number of age, but the 50-60 area is recently the most prone death area. No offense, Sir Jackson (I’m not a fortune teller), but just be aware. This New Zealander scored global attention by churning out “splatstick” horror comedies such as Bad Taste and Braindead. I’ve seen a little of one of his movies, and all I have to say is: Awesome directing, Pete. Although sometimes he did slip under the line, such as with The Lovely Bones. No offense, but happy birthday, Sir!

………………………………………………

Pretty good special so far, huh? Well, it’s not over yet–check out some of the def new games coming out this season!

In 1937, an Englishman named John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, known more widely as J.R.R. Tolkien, released a novel that spawned what would be one of the most epic book series of our time. And before Harry Potter, before Children of the Red King, before Series of Unfortunate Events–there was Lord of the Rings. And Lego’s been able to get their hands on some of the most popular series to kingdom come. BatmanIndiana JonesSpongeBob, and the like. And now in Lego The Lord of the Rings, Frodo and Gandalf and the rest of middle-Earth are next. This game follows the storyline of–quite surprisingly–the movies instead of the books, taking players through epic moments with sprinkles of the variety and humor Lego does best. The game’s developer Traveler’s Tales (the Lego godfather since 2005) have claimed that they will dramatically tone down the slapstick laughs used in other Lego titles. But like in Lego Star Wars, for example, some scenes have been edited to be family-friendly or just to be a comic relief. Complementing the new Lego LOTR toy collection, the game can obviously be played with company in a drop-in-drop-out style. Due to a growing inventory the player owns, this game is most definitely a Lego RPG. Which is saying something. And if you want it special-edition, you’ll get an extra mini-figure of Elrond! Well, the game’s not coming out until the 30th for the PC, PS3, Xbox, Wii, PS Vita, 3DS, and regular DS, and if you miss out on any of it–you shall not pass! But you can pass to this def game below…

Adventure Time. A show I love with a burning passion. Its online games? Not so much. Sound Castle was too choppy, Righteous Quest was too sloppy, Jake’s Tough Break was too croppy, and I know what you’re thinking–is it possible for me to have a favorite game? Well, I do have a heart, so yes–Flambo’s Hot Mess was pretty good. But this May, the people behind this TV sensation announced something that literally vaporized all we knew about Adventure Time. It’s even got shining light in Nintendo Power. Some of the people involved in this insane project are WayForward (the makers of SpongeBob SquigglePantsShantae, etc.) and–of course–Cartoon Network Interactive. As Adventure Time‘s first-ever primetime video game, this is Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! I’m not pulling on your chains, that’s the real name of the game. But to prevent any stress let’s call it Adventure Time: The Game. The game’s plot revolves around Ice King building his own Garbage Princess and ends up lying around Finn and Jake. He’s made off with Ooo’s entire garbage supply, so it’s up to Finn and Jake to set things straight. The perspective of the game depends on where you are; when exploring the land of Ooo, you are in a top-down perspective like Legend of Zelda, but when you enter a dungeon or some sort of level the game turns into a 2D sidescroller like Zelda II. But earlier this year in July, it was told that the game would have a collector’s edition on both platforms it’s set out for–the DS and 3DS. It includes a steel case cover of the Enchiridion, a booklet with show creator Pen Ward’s artwork, a poster of Ooo itself, and a stylus stylized around Finn’s own sword! Adventure Time fans with the power of Nintendo on their side, get ready to have the most mathematical adventure of your life! Adventure Time: The Game won’t be hitting stores until November 13th, so that gives you plenty of time to save up. But I do have one question–why on Earth is Ice King being penalized for stealing garbage?! I THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD THING!!!

I know what you’re thinking by now: Sam, I appreciate you including the Wii U, but it’s not necessarily a game. And to you I say that there are so many games coming out next month for the Wii U that I might as well include this. Anyway, this is our first peek at the eighth generation of gaming as we know it as Nintendo’s fighter, and hopefully it brings the fire that the Wii brought. And that’s assuredly how the Wii U’s “big brother” financially won the seventh generation of gaming. Will the streak be brought down another generation, or will all the potential be for naught? Well, it has many big perks on the Wii: at 2 gigs it has more than 20x the Wii memory, it features its own embedded-touchscreen GamePad, it will be “backward compatible” with the Wii, it supports Wii attachments like the Remote Plus and Nunchuk, and so on. It’ll be a hefty fine if you want to get it no matter where you come from, since it costs 300 American dollars, 300 euros, 250 British pounds, and nearly 30,000 yen. If you want it premium, it’s 350 dollars, 300 pounds, 350 euros, and just over 30,000 yen. But enough talk, let’s get to the games you should be antsy for:

  • Ubisoft’s first publication was in 1986, an arcade adventure with the roots of Dawn of the Dead known simply as Zombi. 26 years have passed, and Ubisoft has decided to give the homage and honor to the game that kicked it off in the first place. Formerly known as Killer Freaks from Outer SpaceZombiU will be one of Ubisoft’s first original and exclusive entries into the Wii U. 4 centuries ago, Welsh astronomer John Dee creates the Black Prophecy, an apocalyptic prophecy which will be brought into full swing in 2012. By November, a zombie apocalypse has surfaced and run amok in London, and you will use the GamePad to not only navigate, but also do things like aiming select weapons and unlocking weapons. You also have a “Bug-Out Bag” which stores your other goods, but do note you are vulnerable while handling it. Upon a player’s death, they are permanently removed from the game and a new survivor takes their place. Kill the dead survivor–which should be a zombie by now–and try and get back any goods from their Bag. And you have plenty of goods to save up if you want to buy this game on November 18th.
  • Remember in 2006, how Wii Sports was released to demonstrate the true powers of the Wii? And look where it is now–carved into many Wii owners’ hearts, and having stolen the throne from Super Mario Bros as history’s most bestselling game. Well, Wii U’s got its own contender as well–Nintendo Land. Set in a carnival/theme park atmosphere, this game will feature twelve differing minigames based on numerous Nintendo franchises–some of which support a maximum of five, with four equipping the Remote and Nunchuk, and the remaining one equipping the GamePad. Some of the minigames take pages from series like ZeldaMetroidMario, Donkey KongPikminLuigi’s MansionAnimal Crossing, and YoshiNintendo Land will be a launch game for the regular version of the Wii U on the 18th, but will be a pack-in for the premium edition.
  • The Kinect had loads of games upon release; titles like Dance Central and Kinect Sports were actually somewhat good. And one of the games that didn’t make the par was Game Party: In Motion, which maintained a post-poor review incognito status since its kickoff in November 2010. But for the first time, Warner Bros.’s Game Party saga will be company-hopping! Instead of being a Kinect-exclusive, the latest Game PartyGame Party Champions–will make a beeline for the Wii U. Not much is known about the game except the release date, November 18th, the cover, and the fact that–obviously–it’s a party game.
  • Like Super Mario 64 represented the Nintendo 64, the red rivet will be coming back to represent the Wii U in New Super Mario Bros. U! Rendering the Mushroom Kingdom now in glorious HD, the game shows that after 27 years of failure Bowser has actually learned something. Bringing the Koopalings with him once more, he ambushes Peach’s castle–but also brings a mechanical arm to chuck Mario, Luigi, and the two Toads to a distance that literally vaporizes them from his worries. So the four must venture back across the land and win back Peach from the king of the Koopa Troopa, and that’s easier said than done. Anyway, the game’s play takes a lot of pages from New Super Mario Bros Wii–up to four can play at the same time, reach the goal flag at the end of each level, etc. As it is the Wii U, either the Remotes or GamePad can be used in-game, the latter of which being able to continue a game off the TV screen. NSMB U also introduces new power-ups, most notably the flying squirrel suit. It is good for long-distance gliding, slow descents down up-down paths, or clinging onto wall sides. Individual players can also carry baby Yoshis. And I’ll have you know that this started as New Super Mario Bros. Mii, but don’t fret–select game modes will allow Miis to be included. And on the 18th, Mario will be making his biggest jump, glide, and stomp yet.
  • After Ryu Hayabusa had his image bedraggled in the default version of Ninja Gaiden 3, Team Ninja and Tecmo Koei have decided to make a few tweaks to the most controversial problems. So they released the game’s most recent update, Razor’s Edge. Currently a Wii U-exclusive, the game allows the GamePad to choose differing weapons, perform “Ninpo”, view extra game info, etc. The series’ bloody glory will be rejuvenated, and assets like the Karma Counter will be returning. AI has improved as much as the upgrade menu, and the Lunar Staff and Duel Katanas are some of the new exclusive weapons being shown. The game also introduces a playable female ninja, Ayane, whom will bear her own move set similar to her incarnation in Sigma 2. Cutscenes will be sprinkled to explain her role in the game. An early version of the game was already acclaimed by IGN, but you’ll have to wait–like everybody and everything else–until the 18th to sharpen your blades.

Now, if you’ve been tagging along to Sammwak, you’ve heard about news of there possibly being an Epic Mickey sequel. A few months later, I clarified that with a hunk of news about both the sequel and its sequel! mrgreen But now, there’s been enough news out for the sequel’s sequel to get some shining light. Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion, Mickey’s upcoming and notably nostalgic adventure, holds it own as a tribute to Mickey’s Illusion games (1990-’95) courtesy of Sega, especially Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. Anyway, this game takes place some time after the events of the original game, and Yen Sid has accidentally transported the evil Mizrabel and her Castle of Illusion to the Wasteland. Mickey’s new partner Oswald the Lucky Rabbit contacts Mickey to tell him about the castle’s appearance–and how Minnie’s been seen inside. Mickey then goes off to save not only Minnie, but all the “Illusions” trapped inside the castle. Some of these Illusions are Ariel, Ursula, and Sebastian, Scrooge McDuck, Peter Pan, Rapunzel (in her Tangled iteration), Jafar, the Queen of Hearts, and Gopher. Several Illusion locations have also been announced: King Triton’s underwater kingdom, the Aladdin-themed Agrabah, and Rapunzel’s tower. The game mixes Castle of Illusion‘s side-scrolling with Epic Mickey‘s paint-and-thinner mechanics. Using the touchscreen of its available console–the 3DS–the player will be able to bring scattered items in each stage into existence. How well the player draws these items will affect their quality in the incarnation; a perfectly-traced cannon will surely damage only enemies, but a badly-traced cannon will damage everyone in the area–even Mickey! The game’s nostalgic 16-bit visuals come from hand-drawn sprites, and there will also be scrolling parallax backgrounds according to Disney developer Warren Spector. Like all the Wii U games, it’ll be coming out on the 18th. And as promotion, Power of Illusion underwent a ballot on Epic Mickey‘s official Facebook page. Fans were asked to vote for their preferred game cover, and this was its winner:

Pretty cool, huh? Comment #wiiu and tell me if you’re excited for Nintendo’s 8th-gen fighter! Anyway, let’s keep the show going with some Halloween-y jokes! I know this may be a bit usual for a Halloween special, but it beats stalling around. Heh, that’s a funny word. Stalling…staaaaaalliing….staaaaaaaaaaaallliiiiiiiiiing…stalling?…stalling!….stalling!stalling!…stalling.

Why wasn’t there any food left at the monster party? Because everyone was a goblin!

What is a skeleton’s favorite instrument? The trombone!

Why doesn’t Dracula have any friends? Cuz he’s always a pain in the neck!

What did one casket say to the other casket? “Is that you coffin?”

What’s the problem with two twin witches? You never know which witch is which!

What do you call a witch who likes the beach but is scared of the water? A chicken sand witch!

Who won the zombie war? Nobody, it was dead even!

Why did Dracula go to the library? He wanted a good book to sink his teeth into!

Why is it hard for a ghost to tell a lie? Because you can see right through him!

Why did the skeleton go scuba diving? Because he wanted to get some muscles!

Why don’t skeletons play music in church? Because they have no organs!

What do you get when you cross a ghost, a dog, and a rooster?…A cockatoo!

To conclude this special–as heartbreaking as it sounds–I’m going to present an index of some of my favorite YouTube videos! And I don’t mean “favorite”, like “I like it, tee hee”, but “This is one of the best videos I’ve seen of its criteria!” eek I say “some of” since–as you can infer from my Videos of the Week–my actual collection of fave vids would take way too long to present. confused I know, not typical for a Halloween special, but it’s a darn good blowout. If you like what you see, go ahead and subscribe to their rightful owners, but for now here comes the awesomeness! biggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinbiggrinmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreenmrgreen

Stay spooky, America,

~S~ 8-)

p.s. Check out WikiHow’s lesson on how to make a jack-o’-lantern out of an empty toilet roll!

p.p.s. Also check out WikiHow’s lesson on how to carve a pumpkin!

p.p.s.s. Finally check out WikiHow’s lesson on how to use your old jack-o’-lantern! I suppose the topic will be quite smashing. :D

Video of the Week: Just to make sure the Halloween feeling’s spreading, check out this video from the “Re-Micks” series on Disney Channel’s Have a Laugh! branch of goodness. (Another HAL! series is the stunt-filled Blam!) Now, the people who make these Re-Micks get Mickey and company to play and/or sing today’s hit songs, like Andy Grammer’s “Keep Your Head Up”, Hannah Montana’s “He Could Be the One”, Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”, and even Jessie J and B.o.B.’s “Price Tag”. But I guess this Re-Mick was made to set the Halloween mood. This follows Mickey Mouse’s spine-tingling and perfectly unrealistic Halloween adventure–to the tune of “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” by deadmau5! This is basically the official version released by Disney itself, with 6,000 views since its release a few weeks ago.



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.