Debaser

Let it be known, this is where Jean Snow sounds off on his pop culture and gaming obsessions.

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Appleseed Alpha

This was really great. Unlike the last Appleseed movie, this one goes for a super realistic CG look, and the visuals are just fantastic. I sure love me some tech-heavy sci-fi, and you get plenty here, with great looking mech/android designs, and well done action sequences. It’s a nice little story too, and I hope that this marks the first of a series, because I want to see more.

Evil Under the Sun

Unlike Death on the Nile, I do have memories of watching this when it came out in the 80s — maybe even at the cinema, with my parents — and although I didn’t remember how it ended exactly, I did recall bits. What I like about going back and watching these movies from the 70s and 80s is seeing all of these actors who did the rounds in those days, but that we haven’t seen in years (even decades). I quite liked watching it, and have decided to go back and watch all of the Ustinov Poirot films — although the others ones are unfortunately TV movies.

Fates Forever

This is a new free-to-play MOBA that is available only on iPad, and having gone through the tutorial and played a few rounds with bots, I’m quite liking it so far. I do like playing MOBAs, and the reason I don’t play DOTA 2 or League of Legends is mostly because they don’t run great on my MacBook Air, and also for the simple fact that I don’t really like playing games on my laptop anyway. Fates Forever really does look fantastic on iPad — makes me wonder why they don’t make versions of DOTA 2 and LoL for iPad — and the touch controls feel great. Purchases are to unlock more playable characters, but you can still have fun with the ones you do have access to, and like LoL, they rotate your free selection — and you can pay $20 to simply unlock all of the characters. I do want to continue playing this, and hope that I have as much fun when I start playing online with other people.

Magic 2015

I’ve enjoyed the Duels of the Planeswalkers games, and was looking forward to the new edition, but so far I’m just not really feeling it. I’ve been playing Magic on and off pretty much since the start, and do still play the physical game with friends. What I liked about the Duels games was the slick presentation and gameplay, and the fact that I could play on iPad. But I think Hearthstone has really shown that there are better ways to play card games digitally, and so coming back to this just doesn’t feel as fun. Also, all of the in-app purchases they’ve added makes it difficult to figure out what you really need to enjoy the base game, and that’s something I don’t like (and apparently, unlocking cards and decks is made more difficult, to encourage in-app purchases). I’ll probably play some more, and maybe even pay the $10 for the base game, but I’m more excited to play the upcoming Hearthstone expansion.

Destiny Beta

This is so the shooter for me. As I’ve said many times, I’m not that into shooters anymore, but Destiny that has really sucked me in. It starts with the aesthetics of the world and tech, which I really love, but then continues with the fun gameplay and feel of the weapons — people keep saying it’s just like Halo, but I disagree — and the fact that it’s setup as an almost-MMO. I had a blast playing along with a friend yesterday afternoon, going from mission to mission, and I imagine I’ll be spending an incredible amount of time playing this when the full game comes out. And man, those speeder bikes, I’m so in love. Bungie, please make a speeder racing game spinoff.

Video Games: The Movie

What to say about this documentary. As someone who loves games and grew up with them, I did have fun watching this, reminiscing on things, but it doesn’t really come off as anything else than a celebration of games, there’s no drama or interesting storyline. Even the history lesson is pretty brief, and although I got it, I’m someone who lived through it, and who still reads books about it. I’m assuming the goal was to make a propaganda film to convince people who don’t really play games that it’s a great thing, but I don’t think this is the way to do it.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

As much as I wanted to play this when it came out — I do consider myself a fan of the series — I absolutely refused to buy it because I didn’t want to support the pricing scheme. Charging $30 for this would indicate that you are getting half of what you would get from the full game (at $60), but that’s definitely not what you’re getting here, no matter how much time you can end up spending trying to unlock all aspects of it (side missions). But yes, I did want to play it, to experience a Snake mission on the PS4, and finally got to do just that by borrowing a friend’s copy. The visuals do indeed pop as you play — it’s hard to imagine better “realistic” graphics — and I did quite like going through the mission, although I did experience some camera movement weirdness when I would sneak around while carrying someone. This teaser does make me even more excited to play The Phantom Pain when it comes out, but they really should have charged $15 for this, $20 max (I know the PS3 was priced at $20, but that doesn’t matter to me, since I only wanted to play the PS4 version).

La cour secrète des Arcanes

I love Corto Maltese, and although I do love the books, I also quite like the animated films that have been done (five I think), and re-watching them during the summer always seems appropriate. I started off with La cour secrète des Arcanes, and just loved it so much. The quality of the animation is not really the draw — although it’s not bad — but what is is the fantastic sense of place and atmosphere, the terrific voice acting (in French), and the haunting score.

Terror in Resonance

Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo) is on a tear of late, and here’s yet another anime series from him, Terror in Resonance (Zankyo no Terror). Surprise, surprise, it’s pretty much impossible to tell where this is going based on just the first episode, but I’m definitely intrigued, and looking forward to seeing where they go with it. The very beginning points to a terrorist plot, and then we follow two very young guys (teenagers) who slowly go about threatening and blowing up a building in Shinjuku. But this is all done in an almost comical — or at least, nonchalant — way. Hmmm…

Miss Marple

After watching Death on the Nile, I got in the mood to watch more Agatha Christie mysteries — which I’m sure would make my parents happy, as they continue to watch all of the series that get produced — and we found that Hulu Japan has the 1984 BBC Miss Marple series. We’ll probably end up watching them, as the first episode was pretty good. I don’t think I ever watched these.