Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Old Ways

When I was a kid, there was probably no bigger treat than a trip to the movies. It was rare that we could afford that kind of extravagance, so spending a few hours in a theatre - all velvety and exotic and lacking any kind of practicality - was a bit like a mini-Christmas. It didn't hurt that I loved movies (still do). I never cared what was playing. So long as there was a story in Technicolor, I was engaged.

The idea of the movie theatre, even now, enchants me. I love that you get to sit in the dark, lose yourself up on the screen, and have a shared experience with everyone else in the room. Opening night for the first Lord Of The Rings, a midnight showing of Rocky Horror, a new Disney classic - these are the times for magic.

But I've come to realize that I almost dread going to movie theatres anymore. It's not the expense. It's not the nostalgia for long-gone opulence now replaced with sad pastel neon and carpeted walls. It's not even the parade of commercials that turn my popcorn cold while I wait for Coming Attractions.

It's people - those wretched assholes who are somehow unaware of the most basic of movie-going equations:

Movie.Theater not_equal Living.Room

I'm tired of the idiot with stunted attention span whose cellphone display shines out as a beacon to warn all those around them, "I have important text messages that must be addressed NOW!". I'm tired of the confused couple who cannot fathom what they are seeing on the screen, and simply must deconstruct the plot for the benefit of all around them. I'm tired of the young people who need to claim their row (and mine) for socializing and resting weary feet on whatever seems handy - their rude bravado made more possible by their numbers and the presence of the opposite sex.

I say bring back the Usher. Beat back the cretins using a crimson jacket and a flashlight. Since I'll pay a couple bucks more to see a 3D movie, I'll probably pay a couple bucks more for someone to stand vigilant against the forces of Incivility.

Until then, the magic is tough to find in the dark. And I'll thank my stars for DVDs.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

S. Pilgrim: 1 World: 0

It looks kind of awesome, no?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Bow Down to the Captain

A Frenchman and his wife take a cruise and it changes his life.

Nope, it's not the opening line for a joke. It was a catalyst for what turned out to be this fellow's life work. I've been following his progress off and on for a few years now. I am in awe and more than a little jealous. See if you don't agree with me.

Uploaded by reelgood0008. - Explore exotic destinations and travel videos.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Are All Gamers Are 'Bi'?

There was a time not long ago when there were two distinct Gamer camps - PC and Console. The PC Gamers - and I was one of them - surveyed the World from high atop their expensive, overclocked, super-cooled tower machines and felt sure theirs was the realm of the 'serious' games. Our PCs had lots of buttons and (almost) infinite upgradability to tackle the biggest, bloatiest, most complicated games out there. Simple interfaces, cartoony colour palettes, and 3-button controllers were the domain of the kiddies in the Valley of Console Gaming.

Likewise, Console Gamers declared theirs was the One True Religion - although I suspect they didn't think about it too much. These were not like the hardware junkies who considered PC-pimping to be part of the gaming experience. They were only too happy to trade 'game complexity' for the joy of popping in a cartridge or disk to just play their damn games in their comfortable living rooms.

Like I said, I identified with the PC Gamer camp. I'd owned consoles forever, but the kind of games I liked back in the day required the kind of horsepower that consoles could not match. Sure, Super Mario 3 was a lot of fun to pick up and play, but a real man played King's Quest V on a PC. And we were sure that the 3D badness that was Wolfenstein 3D would never see the light of day on a puny console.

Somehow between Then and Now, I've changed. There was no epiphany, no audible click. I think I've just grown tired of worrying about my PC. Is my processor fast enough? Do I need a new video card? How about a bigger monitor? Can I play BioShock2 on this thing?

These days, I jones for the XBox360 hooked up to 36 inches of HD goodness. It's a more comfortable experience to pop in a disk or (gasp!) download a game from XBox Live from my comfy sofa. My PC could never match this experience nor could it possible render Arkham Asylum (without become a puddle of molten silicon). And in full turnabout, my PC gaming experience is more and more those cartoony Flash experiences that were once the domain of the 8-bit Famicon system.

So there you have it. I'm a Bi-Gamer, with a predilection for XBox and Wii consoles and totally secure with hitting up the PC when I get the urge. Still, I do miss my mouse and W-S-A-D keys from time to time - especially for first-person shooters. But I'm sure that I just need more time with my new friends to explore my boundaries.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pure Pwnage

How did I not hear about this? Pure Pwnage is Web video series with a serious cult following among the gaming crowd. Produced in someone's Toronto basement for the past few years, it has recently moved into the mainstream as a Showcase TV series. Episode 1 is already available online.

That I have never heard of it before can only mean that I'm over 40 and out of touch. For shame!