Monthly Archives: May 2017

Super Mario RPG

Before Paper Mario and the other occasional Mario RPGs like Mario and Luigi: Dream TeamSuper Mario RPG was the first attempt at putting the short, fat plumber into this genre. How did it fare? Well, as a Mario game that furthered the story, it worked well, being actually the first of this series in awhile (Donkey Kong Country having replaced the usual second one two years before) to really further the Super Mario series. It’s got a good story, colorful enemies, and of course, lots of jumping.

It also works as an RPG… but understand that there’s some incorporation of action into it. Not a huge amount of action, but those who play just RPGs because they can’t get comfortable enough with the controller, might find this game to take a little getting used to.

Plot: 8 out of 10

After the shortest rescue of Princess Peach ever, she, Mario, and Bowser are separated as a result of by an attack on Bowser’s castle. It’s been taken over by a group called The Smithy Gang. These baddies prove to be even more dangerous than Bowser was, so upon discovering each other, Mario and Bowser become fri… enemies of enemies. Peach, a star warrior named Geno, and a “tadpole” who looks more like a marshmallow kid named Mallow also join.

But what stands out to me is Bowser having to side with Mario. For the time being, anyway. Future games prove that this changed nothing between them.

I see greed is as much a problem for the mushroom people as it is for humans.

Still, I can’t praise the story too much because this began the de-emphasis of Luigi. While Nintendo’s gotten much better about using him as of late, there was a time that Mario’s brother was forgotten. It started with this game.

Graphics: 10 out of 10

Simply put, this is the best-looking game on the Super Nintendo. A very successful attempt at a 3D atmosphere is made here. This is really the first time Mario and his supporting cast look as as realistic as they do in the promo art.

Sound: 9 out of 10

Squaresoft (now Square Enix) was once known for having the best music in video games. That probably never changed, but its godawful voice actors tainted that until the recent Final Fantasy XV. The music and environmental sounds here are very, very good. Square’s composers knew they were creating a soundtrack for a more cartoonish, humorous game than Final Fantasy and the music appropriately reflects that.

Bowser AND his ghosts as allies! How can you lose?

Gameplay: 8 out of 10

It’s not just generic RPG stuff, though generic RPG stuff is in the game. Walk around, talk to people, get attacked outside of town, fight with weapons, items, and magic).

What stands out is that hey actually incorporate Mario’s jump into this game. You can jump around to get to higher perches and travel on moving platforms.

Walking on clouds also stands out.

Another bit of action put into the RPG genre is Timed Hits. You’re supposed to Push A right before a characters hits or is hit. the magic equivalent of this varies from spell to spell, but don’t worry. the spells that require something unusual for maximum impact tell you.

It’s nothing super-tricky, but again, these two twists can be a new thing for fans of this genre to adapt to.

Challenge: 9 out of 10

The biggest criticism of this game is that it’s too easy. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the difficulty is underrated. It’s not particularly brutal, but the bosses can be quite a challenge if you don’t level up a lot. Additionally, this game has mini-games, perhaps a precursor to today’s sidequests, that make things more fun.

BB pretty much typed my caption for me.

Overall: 9 out of 10

It may not be for everyone, but Super Mario RPG is a true classic in my opinion! Just be sure to expect to have to handle the controller.

Pure playoff team? Predators-Ducks (Round 3) recap.

Preds win!

You’ve heard of chokers, I assume. Players and coaches who deliver except when it matters most. Right or wrong, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Big 10 football, Barry Bonds, Kari Lehtonen, and Alex Ovechkin all have the choke label. Of course, “choke” is one of those strong words that get overused. After all, Tom Brady, LeBron James, Steph Curry, John Elway, and Sidney Crosby were called chokers at some point even though that was obvious bullshit! But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t players and coaches who do choke. Take the Washington Capi… come to think of it, no Washington team has gotten past the second round in forever! And they call Atlanta a cursed sports town…

But what about the opposite breed? The teams that don’t play well except when the lights are on. Take the 9-7 football Giants team several years with a bottom ten-ranked defense that went all the way. A year later, a Ravens team that lost four out of five leading into the playoffs proceeded to win it all! When it counted, they delivered.

Same deal with my Nashville Predators. Whatever happens next week, this is a magical season! You can see it in the home crowds of the playoffs. Yes, we’re assholes to the opposing goalies, but we’re energized in part because of something great happening in Smashville! Even with a 41-41 record and no starting home ice, I still thought we had a shot at overcoming Chicago in Round 1 simply because it’s a rivalry in which the games are usually close. But advancing all the way to the Finals? No way! But maybe it shouldn’t be such a surprise. We had the same record last season but came a game away from Round 3.

Of course, Pekka Rinne making saves like this makes all the difference.


What’s happened is that when the season was on the line, everybody delivered. Pekka Rinne has been playing at a super-elite level, stopping every shot he had to! P.K. Subban has become the amazing piece everybody thought we had traded for last offseason. Roman Josi has only continued to improve.

Even our forwards, the weakest link to our team in spite of their speed, come to play. With John Gibson stepping up his game probably because he knew his fellow Ducks wouldn’t be able to score at will on us like they had on Columbus and Edmonton, we turned it up put the puck in the net some more. I thought we might be done when Ryan Johansen got hurt, but we weathered that quite nicely.

Love the celebrating P.K. Subban and Filip Forsberg or not, you have to admit that they’re fitting teammates.

Some say that Preds-Ducks is a real rivalry because we’ve met in the playoffs three times in a decade. I don’t know, seeing as how we won every single time. Kinda one-sided. Then again, the Nashville fans on social media that I see seem to hate the Ducks for how dirty they often play, even mocking the fact that the Ducks are based on those Mighty Ducks Disney movies of a generation ago. Mutual fan interest counts.

So now we’re in the Finals. I hope to see us win the Stanley Cup. I went through two heartbreaks at the finish line with Alabama football and the Falcons. A third in a matter of months would really suck. Welcome to Smashville!

Trumped by scandal

His usual expression of either arrogance or fury morphs into one new for him: anxiety.

The latest explosive headline concerning President Trump involves him allegedly bragging to the Russians about “nutjob” FBI Director James Comey getting the can. Actually, by the time you read this, it may not be the latest controversy. The Trump scandals are growing in number at a record-shattering pace. After all, it had followed reports that Trump revealed sensitive Intel to Russian officials and that before firing Comey, Trump asked him to drop the investigation into short-lived National Security Adviser Michael Flynn (which would be obstruction of justice).

And this is skipping over a lot of other scandals that have been generated all year.

“I did not have sexual relations with that gentleman, President Putin.”

Of course, Trump is innocent until proven guilty. On the other hand, if Trump were innocent, why does his administration need to change its story so much? Here’s an example: the aforementioned firing of Comey was originally explained by the White house to be over him mishandling and politicizing the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal. That progressives were getting mad at Trump for doing what they had wanted him to do for several months instantly became a right-wing talking point. Problem is, what Trump claimed to be firing Comey for, he had praised at the time it was done.

And you thought he’d at least been consistent since switching from the left of Karl Marx to the right of Genghis Khan! LOL!

But the contradictions didn’t end there. The next morning, Trump contradicted that by saying that Comey just wasn’t “doing a good job” in general. There are other examples of this administration giving multiple explanations for something that some find suspicious.

It’s like the joke about the person sued because his dog bit and injured a neighbor: “First of all, my dog doesn’t bite. Second, he was chained up that night. Third, he’s an old dog with bad teeth, so even if he did bite him it wouldn’t hurt. Fourth, I don’t even own a dog!” That’s the Trump administration. It can’t keep its stories straight.

Good thing the White House can’t seem to draw this or we might be believing a lot of bullshit!

Not that this is quite enough in a criminal trial. That’s what the special prosecutor is for. But on a more personal level, it’s beyond suspicious.

At any rate, this isn’t going away any time soon. Let’s see what develops.

The Jungle Book (2016)

Neel Sethi as Mowgli
Ben Kingsley as Bagheera (black leopard)
Bill Murray as Baloo (bear)
Idris Elba as Shere Khan (tiger)
Giancarlo Esposito as Akela (wolf)
Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha (wolf)
Christopher Walken as King Louie (orangutang)
Garry Shandling as Grey Brother (wolf)
Scarlett Johansson as Kaa (python)
Ritesh Rajan as Mowgli’s father

I was a fan of Disney movies as a child. Haven’t seen any in a long time, though. When Disney decided to remake The Jungle Book, I ignored it. But after the rave reviews for it (and the new Beauty and the Beast), I gave it a shot. I’m glad I did. While the original wasn’t one of my favorites growing up, I must say that this is a brilliant new take on the old story.

Fear the “red flower!”

The story is that in what seems to be ancient times, a human named Mowgli is lost as a baby and raised to childhood by wolves. All goes well until Shere Khan, mightiest of tigers, finds out about him and, fearing that he will grow up to be a hunter, threatens to kill his adoptive family if he is not turned over to Khan. Instead, family friend Bagheera attempts to take Mowgli to his village of birth. But Mowgli doesn’t want to leave the Jungle he’s come to know as home. He meets a carefree, fun-loving bear named Baloo who encourages his defiance. Not that any of this matters to Khan, who makes it clear that he is not flexible on Mowgli’s death.

Voice-overs are excellent! Names like Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, and Scarlett Johansson can be found. For the most part, everybody tries to imitate the voices of the original, and finds great success there. The exception is that Bill Murray is not nearly as energetic as Phil Harris (and Ed Gilbert in the later TV series, Talespin), had ever been. This version capitalizes on more Baloo’s laziness than his partying.

Big blue Baloo looks like a real bear. Odd. more realistic, but odd.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, that Hollywood can’t impress you anymore… I was sure that real animals couldn’t have the mouth movement for talking that the ones in this movie do, but I wasn’t sure. That’s how realistic the CGI in The Jungle Book looks! Incredi-f*cking-ble!

It’s a wonder that CGI hasn’t rendered traditional action movies obsolete, but those Fast & Furious movies keep cleaning up at the box office. At any rate, the action sequences with CGI animals are very exciting and believable.

There really isn’t much to criticize, quite honestly. I do wonder why, since this movie’s King Louie is so big, he needs fire to take over the jungle, but that’s nit-picky stuff. Besides, it’s a children’s movie. Gotta be a little lenient.

Hail to the Chimp!

No, this new version of The Jungle Book is pretty much a classic. Even an adult can enjoy it.

Overall: 9 out of 10

Duck season begins. Predators-Ducks (Round 3) preview.


This is one of a few recurring playoff matchups for Nashville in our short history. But the clashes with the Ducks have been different from those with the Red Wings, Blackhawks, and Sharks because we’ve never lost a series to this team. One of those two victories over them wasn’t even the classic Game 7 loss the Ducks used to keep having.

From last year’s memematic

At any rate, despite how dirty the Ducks can play at times I do have some respect for them right now. If we proved unworthy of the media praise until the playoffs began, the Ducks were better than anyone would have imagined. firing Bruce Beaudreau and going back to the guy they had before Bruce seems lampoon-able, but they are in the Western Conference Finals.

It’s not said in hockey news as much as the Caps’ latest inability to get past even a severely beat-up Penguins team or whether the Pens can still do it all with those injuries, but the whisper about how Pekka Rinne is playing out of this world can be heard. As someone who has actually been watching the games, he really has been playing as well as the .951 save percentage he’s put up in the playoffs so far. Defensemen like Roman Josi and P.K. Subban remain as good as ever, blocking many shots, creating turnovers, and even scoring on their own. This is the Preds team as it was hyped up to be after the trade for Subban, not the .500 team that we actually got in the regular season.

By the way, Montreal was eliminated in Round 1. Anyone still think they won the trade?

The Ducks’ path to a deep playoff run has been quite a bit different. John Gibson has been playing badly as their goalie. Don’t let last night’s Game 7 vs. Edmonton fool you. The Ducks are not very good on defense. They do, however, score lots and lots of goals with a firing squad spearheaded by Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell. Thus, we have classic offense vs. defense meeting.

I can’t have certainty here because I’m not a believer in the “defense wins championships” line of thought. I’d argue that this happens 55-62% of the time. Certainly not a definitive statement. recent examples of defensive powerhouses in other sports failing in the big one include the 2014 Seahawks, 2015-2016 Golden State, and 2012 49ers. So I don’t think “defense beats offense, Preds in 6” is the way to go.

That said, despite the different coach, the book on beating the Ducks remains the same: Keep the pace down and intercept the puck so their forwards can’t ball out, They will still probably struggle to come from behind if they have to because of our puck-hogging defensemen.

This needs to happen a lot.

Here’s hoping for a good series and a Stanley Cup Finals appearance for the Preds. Welcome to Smashville!

Uncharted territory. Predators-Blues (Round 2) recap.

Preds win!

My Nashville Predators are now officially the top dogs in Central this season. Take the records of the Wild, Blackhawks, Blues, and fire them out of a cannon! Because we made it the farthest in the playoffs. That’s what will be remembered more.

Particularly by us.

Which brings me to what this afternoon’s Game 6 means. With a 4-2 series win over the St. Louis Blues we have reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history! This is an official benchmark for our hockey team. At the very least, we are officially more accomplished than the Capitals when you factor in how short our history is. Although perhaps I shouldn’t have taken shot since they do seem to have shown signs of life in their last three games against the Pens (plus, cappin’ the Caps is an old hat at this point).

This series started kind of surprisingly. We split the opening two in St. Louis with both teams’ goalies, Pekka Rinne and Jake Allen, suddenly letting quite a few pucks into the net. Were they going cold?

No colder than the ice. Do you want to punch me for that pun?

No, this became a series of defensive standoffs after switching to Nashville. Both Rinne and Allen became walls in front of their nets. To say that points were at a premium would be like saying that a few people were surprised to see us sweep Chicago.

I suspected that Game 6 would decide the series because if we lost that, the Blues would have home ice and a 2-game streak on us in a “win or go home” finale. And with a 1-0 lead after the first period expired, we seemed to be headed for that situation. But Rinne stepped up. So did Allen, really. I didn’t like seeing all those breakaways and power play chances happen without goals being scored. Still, Peter Laviolette seemed to make adjustments that enabled us to capitalize on our speed to close out this series with a 3-1 single-game win over the Blues.

I’m now about to watch the Ducks and Oilers go at it! Our next opponents could be determined tonight. Welcome to Smashville!

Batman: the Telltale Series Episode 3: New World Order

After the good but not great Children of Arkham, the third episode of Batman: the Telltale Series takes a turn for the even better. It has shocking bleak plot twists that make for compelling viewing and playing.

With Harvey Dent the new Mayor of Gotham, he makes stopping the Children of Arkham the first priority. After an early rescue mission, Batman investigates the Children. This investigation is eventually sidetracked by romantic interludes with Catwoman and the pressures being Mayor is putting on Harvey awakening long-suppressed psychological problems of his.

Meanwhile, the controversies surrounding what Bruce Wayne’s father did so long ago are coming to a head. Wayne Enterprises’ board of directors is so suspicious of Bruce that the latter’s resignation is demanded. Bruce winds up not liking who the new head of the company is one bit.

Public humiliations make for dark stories.

This is a great story! A little too over the top in its bleakness at times, but still great. The player is enticed to keep playing to see how things turn out, what with all the suspense and whatnot!

The only issue is Harvey’s mental breakdown. Anyone who’s seen any other version of the character knows it has to happen, but to say it happens quickly is an understatement. It would have been better if some signs in previous episodes of it has surfaced. Instead, it’s just the pressures of running a city alone that force it. Not that this isn’t possible, It just somehow feels… wrong.

But things work well in the ending. It’s a surprising, dramatic finish that heads into the fourth episode with a bang!

Not unlike the bang of being slammed head-first into concrete!

This was a short review because there’s only so much I can say without including excessive spoilers. And New World Order relies on surprising plot twists. Just know that this is a great continuation of Batman: the Telltale Series.

Overall: 8 out of 10