Monthly Archives: April 2008

My Brother Loves Youtube! #2: “Who are these funky white boys from Germany…?”

As you may or may not remember from the last “My Brother Loves Youtube!” post, I explained of the Meier family’s strange collection of VHS tapes, of which my brother had unearthed and started posting on Youtube. Well, this time around is no different. Perhaps not so strange, but worthwhile nonetheless. Back in 1995, PBS aired a 10-hour documentary simply entitled “Rock & Roll,” (not to be confused with the flashier, yet less interesting, Time-Warner documentary “The History of Rock & Roll”). Well, 2 hours over the course of 5 evenings seems like a lot of time to invest, so via the magic of the VCR, Father Meier taped some (if not all, but I can’t recall) of this documentary.

The clip selected today is in honor of Kraftwerk’s brief US tour (to which The Noising Machine’s own Greg and Cecil were witnesses) and performance at Coachella this past weekend. It discusses their influence on Electro Funk and on Afrika Bambaataa in particular.

While I don’t recall watching all 10 hours of the documentary, I do remember watching parts that covered the 70′s and 80′s and finding them quite interesting. Sadly, most of “Rock & Roll” has probably since been taped over by episdoes of “Survivor” and “Two and a Half Men.”

Ryan

europe trip: chapter 21 (big ben and a. bird)

it’s 1:45am, and i’m currently sitting in the london heathrow airport. you see… i came a BIT early. my flight is at 6:25, but the tube doesn’t start running until AFTER that, and it would take at least 2 confusing hours to get here by bus, so i would have had to leave by 3 or so. instead, i just came here on the last train, and am going to be waiting until the ticket counter opens up.

let’s just think about better times…

april 26

this was the day we were going to go see pete doherty of ‘the libertines’ and ‘babyshambles’, but, in true doherty fashion, the show was cancelled because he is a fuck-up. yes, pete is in jail for failing turn up to probation hearings on time, and cuz he loves crack too much.

it really shouldn’t have been a surprise, and it’s a good thing that natalie checked to see if the show was still scheduled to happen. when we found out, she searched the ‘net to see if any other shows were happening this same night, AND, as a matter of fact, andrew bird was having a show at the indigO2. HOORAY! WE WERE SAVED!

we had ALL DAY to kill before the concert, so we decided to do all the ‘london’ things we could. first we went to hyde park, specifically to hang out in speakers corner. strike two! there was maybe one guy there, and he wasn’t talkin’. we walked around the park for a while. it’s a very nice park. lots of people hanging out. lots of rollerbladers. horses, paddle boats, and one man with a mustache that looked like this:
amazing mustache
it was actually quite a bit more white, and a little thinner.

we left the park and walked a bit until we ran into old buckingham palace, and as far as palaces are concerned, this one stinks! sorry. not impressed. and the guards didn’t even have fuzzy hats. and, actually, i was really annoyed with those guards. if there weren’t police officers standing around, also inside the fence, but closer to the tourists, then MAYBE there would be a reason to have guards, but as it is now, the guards are NOTHING but a lame thing for people to point at, watch for 30 seconds, and quickly get bored of.

we saw two more london things before catching a train to the show. the first was westminster abbey (MUCH cooler than buckingham place or whatever), the second was BIG BEN! big ben, and his friends, the houses of parliament were impressive. we didn’t go inside (i don’t even know if you can) either of these london things, but i bet they’re really cool inside too.

now a quick show review…

we missed the first band. kinda on purpose. we were hungry, and we had listened to a couple songs online and didn’t care for them. so… we ate at some wanna-be mexican joint that was BORING. we’ll just pass that boring on to the first band, since this is a review of the show, not the food. the second band was NOT GOOD. lonely, dear was their name, boring and predictable was their game. andrew bird came on next. he was VERY good. it was just him, his violin, his guitar, and his pedals. my favorite thing about his set was that he played all the songs slightly different than how they are on the albums. i think it’s really cool when artists do this. it makes it hard to sing along, so i could see how some people might NOT like it, but i feel you really get something more out of hearing the songs performed in a new way.

the ride home was LONG. very very very long. and all the buses we took were PACKED with people. like… so packed that people at bus stops along the way couldn’t get on to join us in our misery. don’t worry. we made it home safe and sound.

now for a couple pictures!


here we are at the park. i can’t remember what made us so unhappy…


buckingham palace from a corner


eh..


just some random buildings along our walk.


westminster abbey end


abbey middle


abbey other end


big ben!


those other things next to him.


little andrew bird


same guy

and here’s a video of andrew bird performing “why?” at bonnaroo. pretty much went the same way at the show we saw, except he didn’t look as scurvy.

scott

europe trip: chapter 20 (mostly just collections)

kicknz and his videogames are taking over! time to compete!

april 25

april 25th was a beautiful day. we went to pret a manger, got a couple of posh cheddar and pickle artisan baguettes, and went to lincoln’s inn fields to have a picnic! hold up a minute! let me tell you about pret a manger. these guys are pretty cool. for instance, at the end of each day, they donate all their left over food to charities for the homeless and hungry, and they deliver this food using electric vans. all their food is natural, their eggs are free range, and their tuna is dolphin safe. they also exclusively use wind, wave, and hydro-electricity, and don’t air freight their supplies. AND they hate franchises.

after the picnic, we walked about 30 paces to the front door of sir john soane’s house. old john was an architect during the first part of the 1800s. like lavar burton, his style was wild, but he specialized in the neoclassical. he was well known for his use of light sources, and he put mirrors EVERYWHERE!!! his house started out as just #12 lincoln’s inn fields, but as his collections of antiques, paintings, and architectural garbage salvaged from old buildings continued to grow, he bought the two neighboring buildings and turned all three into ONE VERY BIG HOUSE!!!!!!!!

like so many other stupid museums in this world, we were not allowed to take any pictures inside. however, it was free to get in, and if you guys ever go to london, you should at least take a peek. my favorite room was the painting room. all four walls were covered top to bottom with paintings, and three of the walls (not the one with the door) could open, like shallow cabinets, revealing more paintings, both on the inside and on the parts that swing out. and one of the walls, once open, could open once more, revealing paintings hanging across the way in another room. i wish i could find a picture of this, cuz i don’t think i’m explaining it well, but it was cool. he did a lot of hidden cabinets and openings like this throughout the house, but most of the security gaurds weren’t willing to show us what was on the other side.

the basement was partly turned into a crypt filled with roman urns, funeral busts, and the sarcophagus of seti I, and partly turned into a set of rooms named “the monk’s parlour”. this ‘parlour’ was built for padre giovanni (aka father john) to use. however, this padre never existed. he was just a fictional character created by soane. but the padre didn’t just get a couple measly rooms, he also has a grave in the backyard. the headstone reads “alas! poor fanny!”, because it’s actually the family’s dog, fanny, who is buried in the grave.

i’m sure there’s more i could write about this house, but i will not. instead, i’ll post a few pictures found on the internet. please notice all the mirrors.

john soane's house
dining room.

john soane's house
library. connected to the dining room.

john soane's house
breakfast room.

john soane's house
breakfast room ceiling.

john soane's house
some stairs.

seti I
minus one seti

john soane's house
just more junk.

john soane's house
etc.

john soane's house
this is part of the monk’s parlour.

speaking of architecture… check out bldgblog, a fun site i will steal things from in the future.

OKAY!!!! now lets move on…

after saying our farewells to johny, we went to the british museum. this place is GIANT! we weren’t even going to TRY to look at everything, so we found a list of ‘must see’ items, and narrowed our visit to just the rooms those items were in. after the museum, we didn’t really do anything. maybe studied or something. who knows!?

now lets look at too many pictures…


this is after the picnic. we are so happy because our bellies are so full.


inside the british museum


and the other part. i should have taken one of the middle too, i guess…


i have been getting into clocks recently. this guy runs via marble power.


just some clock parts.


this is an old japanese clock. it uses weights. not sure how that works, actually.


our first stop was in egypt, to see the rosetta stone. however, this is a better picture.



then it was off to easter island!


large bird head


gettin’ in to trouble!


a royal garuda


now for the MUMMIES!!!


cool mask!


ewwwwww


grosssssss


kitty


speaking of cats. here is a japanese cat being attacked by rats. the rats are taunting it with baby mouse bait.


cool mask!


this is bird-jaguar. the old mayan peoples had cool names!


and cool monkey pitchers!

scott

Things That Really Matter #7: Analyzing the Super NES and its competitors

Okay! So! Fast forward to the Year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety. In this year Nintendo released the Super Famicom on the Japanese market. The following year the new console hit the US under the name Super Nintendo Entertainment System. According to some sources, Nintendo executives were quite comfortable with the success of the NES and didn’t feel a need to release a new machine. Fortunately, the market was evolving and Nintendo’s hand was forced. It seems strange to look back on a day when company’s felt that a system could stay on the market for a decade without a replacement compared to today’s market, in which manufacturers seem to release new systems on 5 year cycles.

super nintendo entertainment system console

So, the Super NES was released and it was really quite an impressive machine. Besides having the best graphics and audio available at the time, it featured MODE 7 capabilities. I don’t know what that name meant but it allowed for images and backgrounds to be spun around, angled, and enlarged/shrunk, creating new special effects and occasionally some 3D-ish effects. Many cartridges were released with additional circuitry inside that expanded on the capabilities of the Super NES. For example, StarFox was the first truly 3D game released on any home console.

The Super NES, in my All-American opinion, also enjoyed a library superior to the NES. Most of the big publishers released fewer games for the system but these games were generally of a higher quality than their NES equivalents. The NES was dominated by side-scrolling action games but the SNES enjoyed a greater diversity, with the rise of RPGs, action-adventures, fighters, etc.

The most annoying trend among SNES games was to add ‘Super’ to the beginning of game titles: Super Double Dragon, Super Castelvania IV, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Super Metroid, Super Punch-Out, etc.

Nintendo’s monopolistic practices continued but were slowly starting to wear down late in the console’s lifetime due to more successful competition. There was indeed a lawsuit and the rule that games released for NES or SNES could not be released for other systems was STRUCK DOWN, potentially opening the floodgates. However, publishers were slow to jump into the “release this game for every system possible” mentality until the next generation.

WHAT WERE THE COMPETITORS UP TO?!

SEGA GENESIS 

sega genesis console

This is probably the machine that spurred the development of the Super NES. Released in Japan in 1988, and the US in 1989, the Genesis (or Mega Drive, as it was known in Japan and Europe) was a big hit. The US market was now truly competitive thanks to SEGA’s aggressive marketing and much-improved game development. I believe that at this point they were almost at Nintendo’s level as far as being a quality publisher (Sonic, Shinobi, Wonder Boy, Comix Zone, Gunstar Heroes, etc.) .

What really set Genesis apart was its more mature (read: violent) identity. SEGA didn’t hold its partners to lame censorship rules. They let the blood and the religious imagery fly. The Genesis is definitely worth owning. Even if you own the SEGA Genesis Collection and Sonic Mega Collection compilations recently released for GameCube and PS2, there are still many other solid games only available on good ol’ Genesis.

TURBOGRAFX-16 by NEC

turbografx16 console

Designed by Hudson Soft and manufactured/distributed by NEC, this system debuted in Japan as the PC Engine in 1987 and hit the US a couple of years later.  This machine has an okay library but probably not enough to warrant purchasing unless you really love scrolling arcade shooters.  This machine was almost as successful as the Master System.  The main problem with this system is it doesn’t really have an identity distinct from the SNES.  Most of the good games are cutesy and bright.  The Bonk games feel like Mario spin-offs.  The Neutopia games are Zelda clones.  Only when combined with the CD-ROM add-on does this system start to look like something worth owning but even then the library of great games isn’t overwhelming.

NEOGEO AES by SNK

neogeo console

This system is a bit of an oddity.  It was actually identical to SNK’s arcade hardware of the time, making it very, very powerful and also very expensive.  In that regard, it almost wasn’t a competitor for the SNES.  In truth, there is almost no reason at all to buy this system, as it’s still quite expensive and the individual games are very expensive.  There were several good games released for the system but most of these are available on PlayStation, Dreamcast, etc.

kicknz

Things That Really Matter #6: Analyzing the NES and its competitors

Hey, I know what you’re thinking: “Please stop posting about video games.  You bore me.  And you are stupid.”  But I ask you this – what would Tony Meier do?

So here it is, the history of the Nintendo systems of the past.

nintendo entertainment system console 

NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM (aka Nintendo Family Computer)                                              Released: 1983 (USA release 1985)

The 1981 release of Donkey Kong in arcades was the beginning of Nintendo’s ascension to greatness and the 1983 release of the Family Computer console in Japan was completion.  The Famicom, as it came to be known, was the first Japanese console to be released and was actually a very advanced machine for its release time.  It was much more powerful than the machines that were available on the US market at the time (Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Intellivision, Colecovision).  Unfortunately, the US video game market was in an incredible recession caused largely by quality control issues and Nintendo was not prepared to enter those murky and costly waters. 

A couple of years later, the recession became a great depression, having killed off the 5200 and the Colecovision and sending the Intellivision to the Intensive Care Unit.  With so little in the way of competition, Nintendo decided to test the waters by contacting Atari.  Yes, that’s right.  The great NES was quite close to being released in the US as an Atari machine.  Thankfully, Atari got their panties twisted up and left the deal, ensuring their incredibly slow but sure descent into console obscurity. 

Nintendo decided to go it alone but by 1985 found that stores were still unwilling to carry video game consoles.  So Nintendo decided to sell the market their system as a toy.  First, they completely redesigned the shell of the console so that it bore a passing resemblence to a VCR, a very popular product at the time.  Every NES was packaged with a light gun AND with R.O.B. the robot, a dumbass toy robot that could kind of help you play a couple of games.  The plan worked – the package was a big hit in its test market of NYC.  Soon the NES was released nationally and R.O.B. was dropped from the package.  Shipping with each NES was an incredible game: Super Mario Bros.  This game was, of course, a phenomenon and blah blah blah.

Nintendo adopted a release strategy that is now the norm in the industry – licensing out releases to 3rd party companies, addressing the issue that killed Atari, Mattel and Coleco.  YOU SEE, as it turned out, there was nothing patentable in the Atari 2600.  As such, ANYBODY could release their own 2600 games and release them any way they wanted.  So there was a huge market of crappy and sometimes offensive games from garbage companies.  Nintendo developed and published their own games just like Atari but they also allowed other companies to release games for the NES – with Nintendo’s permission. 

The NES was so popular in the US that it basically had a monopoly and companies were falling over themselves to release games for it.  To further assure quality control, Nintendo of America restricted each publisher to 5 games a year.  NOA also enforced very strict censorship and forbade basically any material that could offend anyone’s religion.  Finally, in order to cement their near monopoly status, they created a rule that no game released for a Nintendo system could be released for a competitor’s system.  What became of this rule?  Find out in a future post omg!

So the NES ruled the roost and had an absolute ton of great games for it – all exclusives thanks to monopolistic polices. 

THE NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM’S COMPETITORS

SEGA actually test marketed a system called the SG-1000 in 1981, two years before the Famicom was released.  For some reason they decided to basically sit on the system and only released it commercially after the Famicom became an instant hit in Japan.  The SG-1000 failed to make an impact and SEGA rushed to release a follow-up in 1985, known as the Mark III.  This machine used the SG-1000 frame and bulked it up in every way.  What resulted was a system with superior graphics compared to the NES. 

SEGA decided to go global with their new system and released it abroad as the MASTER SYSTEM.  It failed to make much of an impact in the US but it was a sizeable hit in Europe.  Yep!  The Master System was the NES of Europe.  For some reason, Nintendo made very little effort to establish itself in that region, leaving it wide open for SEGA to take over.  Unfortunately, Nintendo’s policies still really hurt the Master System’s library in my sensational opinion.  Even though it was somewhat successful, I don’t really think the system is worth tracking down as I have difficulty coming up with a solid top ten list for it.

Meanwhile, back in 1984, Atari built a new system known as the 7800 but, like SEGA with the SG-1000, test marketed it and sat on it.  After the massive US success of the NES in 1985, Atari released the 7800 in 1986.  Even though it was last out of the gate the 7800 was crappier than the NES and Master System and failed to make an impact.

atari 7800 system

So, clearly, the Nintendo Entertainment System was the system to own of its generation.  It wasn’t the most powerful but it had by far the best library.  The Master System was more powerful but had a poor library while the Atari 7800 was crappy and had a small, garbage library.

kicknz

Things That Really Matter #5: Top Ten GameCube Things (with an emphasis on variety)

<<< Games currently playing: Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (Wii), Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GameCube), Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword (DS)  >>>

Okay, nerds, you know the routine.  Top Ten GameCube games that I have played, with an emphasis on variety.  Without further ado . . .

#10 METAL GEAR SOLID: THE TWIN SNAKES (Konami/Silicon Knights): This is a remake, from the ground up, of Metal Gear Solid, originally for the PlayStation.  The graphics and gameplay are updated and the dialogue was completely re-recorded.  Unfortunately, the choppy graphics and original dialogue of the original game provided a lot of charm.  In the end, this update seems unnecessary but the game is still awesome.  As I play more GameCube games expect this one to fall off the list . . .
metal gear solid the twin snakes screenshot

#9 SOULCALIBUR II (Namco): Wikky wikky wikky wikky wakk.  This is clearly the best fighting game on the GameCube (although that’s not saying much given the GameCube’s weak fighter library.  SCII is a weapons-based fighter with very detailed and ridiculous fantasy-influenced character designs and even more impressive fighting environments.  It was also released for PS2 and Xbox but the GameCube version has . . . Link.  Zelda games are usually devoid of enemies with gigantic knockers so this is the rare opportunity for you to get your Link fix AND your jiggling, massive mammaries fix all in one place.
soul calliber II screenshot

#8 ANIMAL CROSSING (Nintendo): This is the most laid-back game that I can think of that’s worth playing.  There isn’t a single stressful moment to be found.  AC is an open-ended game in which you live vicariously in a darling little village, doing menial chores to earn money and speaking with your rascally animal neighbors.  There isn’t an end, there are no levels, no bosses, etc.  The main objectives consist of expanding your house, decorating your house, finding fossils to stock the museum, and receiving gifts.  So, no, it’s not exciting but it’s still fun.  Perhaps the coolest aspect of Animal Crossing is that it uses the GameCube’s internal clock and calendar and makes appropriate changes.  For instance, if you play in December, the town is decorated with Christmas-style lights and the ground is covered with snow.  If you play at 1 a.m. the town is basically the dead the stores are closed.  Etc. etc. etc. et cetera.
animal crossing gamecube screenshot

#7 PETER JACKSON’S KING KONG: THE OFFICIAL GAME OF THE MOVIE (Ubisoft):  Yo yo yo.  YO!  This here is one of them licensed movie games.  AND this game was obviously rushed.  But you know what?  It’s still really good.  For most of the game, you play as Jack Driscoll, which might sound like a bummer, but it ain’tItalics.  Remember all the creepy, dark, uncomfortable, gruesome moments from the island in the movie?  That’s what most of the game is.  It almost plays like a fast-paced, first-person version of a Resident Evil game, but without the tedious item management.  Most of the enemies are very gross and there’s definitely a feeling of “Oh, GOD, get off of me!” when they come too close.  There are also a few sections where you get to play as Kong but, really, these are not up to the same standard as the Jack levels.  Usually Kong is shepherded around via linear level designs and forced to engage in semi-boring fights.  Also, the New York City stage is a complete letdown.  But play it for the awesomely gross and creepy Jack sections.
king kong screenshot

#6 METROID PRIME (Nintendo/Retro Studios): Don’t get too excited, as this game is definitely overrated but it is still great.  Now you can finally see all those horrible monsters that Samus always fights but now in full 3D and from a first person perspective.  Presented in this manner, many of the enemy creatures are as creepy and unappealing as your typical survival horor game.  The environments are great and the action is solid.  Unfortunately, the backtracking is a bit tedious compared to the 2D games.
metroid prime screenshot

#5 PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (Ubisoft):  That’s strange.  The original Prince of Persia games from the late 80s/early 90s had the worst controls of any game ever.  But this game has super smooth controls and features the most interesting platforming and acrobatics of any game this side of Mario.  “Acrobat” is really the best way to describe the Prince in this game, as you make your way through sticky situations bouncing off of walls, swinging on poles, and running sideways across chasms.  The coolest aspect comes in the form of the Sands of Time.  With these Sands, you can reverse time when you screw up.  You actually see the recent events rewinding when you use the sands, returning you to an earlier moment of your choice.
prince of persia the sands of time screenshot

#4 MARIO KART: DOUBLE DASH!! (Nintendo):  Hubba hubba.  When it was released, this was clearly the best Mario Kart game to date, clear to everyone except for morons and buffoons.  The controls have been completely tightened up compared to MK64.  The environments are great.  There are a ton of great characters to play as and to unlock.  For each race, you choose two characters with different attributes to switch between.  And so many modes!  Did you beat all four grand prixs on all the difficulty settings?  Okay, here is a mirror mode to try.  So try it!
mario kart double dash screenshot

#3 SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE (Nintendo): Hey, baby baby, don’t say maybe!  What?!  A Mario game down at #3?!  Yeah, sowwy.  This game was highly praised when it was first released but some reason has been somewhat maligned in recent years.  Completely ridiculous.  This is truly a great game but in many ways it’s just not a big change from SM64.  Mario controls almost the same and it feels like the SM64 game engine was used.  However, the feel and identity of this game are really different.  The game is BRIGHT.  It’s the tropics!  You run around on the beach, in a resort town, in an amusement park, in a hotel.  For most of the game you have a high-pressure water nozzle that allows you to hover or attack enemies.  In summary, this is a great game, just not different enough from SM64 to be the GD KING of the GameKube.
super mario sunshine screenshot

#2 RESIDENT EVIL 4 (Capcom): This is probably the most critically acclaimed GameCube game, and for good reason.  It really kicked the RE series in the ass and changed everything up.  Instead of fixed camera angles and pre-rendered backgrounds, you now explore fully 3D environs (finally) and have an over-the-shoulder perspective, which really isn’t that different from a first-person view.  It actually controls pretty similarly to Perfect Dark.  The game is quite big, about twice as long as a typical RE game.  The action is quite intense and, for once, there is plenty of ammo.  According to some sources, you kill as many zombies/monsters as in all the previous RE games combined.  The environment is really creepy and I especially like the earlier sections of the game, consisting of horrible little farming villages and brainwashed villagers.  Technically, most of the enemies in this game are not zombies but actually possessed by some parasite.  So the people scream when you blow their heads off with SHOTGUNS.  YES.
resident evil 4 screenshot

#1 PIKMIN 2 (Nintendo): I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the first Pikmin game but this one improves on it in every way.  You basically play as a little guy who controls a bunch of even littler guys (up to 100 of them) to find valuable artifacts.  The little Pikmin fellas can be used to do contruction work or to make more Pikmin but their primary role is to swarm all over the bastard animals that get in your way and rip them apart.  You almost feel sorry for the unlucky jerks as your Pikmin climb all over them and murder them until you remember that no one matters but you and everyone else deserves to die.  Amen.
pikmin 2

HONORABLE MENTION: Metroid Prime 2, Pikmin, Luigi’s Mansion, Sonic Adventure DX, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3, Resident Evil Code: Veronica X

NOTABLE GAMES I HAVEN’T PLAYED YET: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker & Four Swords Adventures & Twilight Princess, StarFox Adventures, Wave Race: Blue Storm, 1080 Avalanche, F-Zero GX, Resident Evil Remake, Resident Evil 0, Viewtiful Joe 1 & 2, Ikaruga, Super Monkey Ball 1 & 2, Beyond Good and Evil

kicknz

here is an update:

hello.

please be aware. our site has improved. there is now more to look at and to listen to than ever before!

we have added a couple new pages at the top: “artists” AND “the catalog”.

the “artists” section will be where you can find information and links to Noising Machine recording artists. currently, we only have a profile for Beati Paoli, but there will be more soon.

“the catalog” section is where you can find all current and past recordings, as well as other merchandise that we have for sale. you can also find streaming audio samples from every album in our catalog! go have a listen!

TheNoisingMachine

Things That Really Matter #4: Nintendo vs. SEGA – the true story

I’m mainly writing this post to let you know that I went back in time and removed the Jewish Mystic angle from my previous posts.  Yes, I’m sorry to admit that I invented the mystic and I really wrote those Top Ten posts.  If you already read the lists I recommend that you re-read them as I have fleshed out many of the game descriptions and also added Honorable Mention lists plus lists of classics that were conspicuously missing merely because I have yet to play them.  To top off all of that, Scott McFerrin O’Willickers has added screenshots from each of the games so you can see them LIVE AND IN PERSON.  And now . . .

SEGA VERSUS NINTENDO

I don’t have a whole lot to say on this topic other than this: the “contest” was never as close as you or I may have believed.  Here are some head to head sales numbers for you to wonder at:

Nintendo Entertainment System 62 million vs 13 million SEGA Master System

Super Nintendo Entertainment System 49 million vs 29 million SEGA Genesis

Nintendo 64 33 million vs 9 million SEGA Saturn

Nintendo GameCube 22 million vs 9 million SEGA Dreamcast

As you can see, it was really a whitewash in Nintendo’s favor.  Even the SNES vs Genesis battle wasn’t close, which would have been a complete shock to me when I was a young moron looking at video game ads in comic books in the early 90s.  I’m not really trying to make any sort of statement here regarding quality or worthiness.  I own each of the American-released SEGA consoles and I like them a lot, especially the Dreamcast so I ain’t dissin’. 

kicknz

someone, please!

someone, please ask ryan, aka ‘rieman miller’, aka:

what the deal is with ‘rieman miller’. thanks!

love,
nataliebeth

europe trip: chapter 19 (our trip to middle earth)

april 24

this was the day! natalie had pre-ordered two tickets (the best in the house) for the lord of the rings: THE MUSICAL!!! yeah… pretty much the nerdiest and most demasculizing thing i could do, unless of course i had brought cecil’s magic cards to play with during intermission…

the musical was actually NOT BAD, considering it was the entire lord of the rings trilogy confined to 3 hours. it was like a very very very abridged version. with singing. but if you knew the story and characters and everything, then you’d be alright. i actually enjoyed it quite a bit. the production was really neat. the stage was able to spin, like a circular moving sidewalk, and was made up of a bunch of platforms that could rise and fall at various levels, so they could make pits and pillars and stairs and mountains and etc etc. and the charcters could walk or jump or run around on it without having to run in circles or anything. they also made use of rear projection and front projection for various things like the sky or sauron’s eye or the waves that engulf the ring wraiths, and they used fog machines and lighting effects and big fans, sometimes on the audience, to help with atmosphere and magic and such. AND… they had a bunch of scenes with people floating or whatever. gollum climbed head first down a completely vertical wall ala spider-man at one point. the dark riders were tight. blah blah blah. gandalf even mentions tom bombadil at one point, so that’s better than the movies!!! the music was done very well, and they made people DISAPPEAR a few times, and i’m still not sure how they did it. it was very well done. the down side was mostly just certain actors were not very good, or didn’t play the characters as i imagine them and the fight choreography sucked.

in summation, this is a very good time, but probably better if you are as nerdy, or more nerdy than i am.

after the show, we went to “the queen of sheba” and ate some very good ethiopian food. man… ethiopian food is good. i’ve only eaten it twice, but both times were exquisite! someone should start a restaurant in des moines, plz.

and that’s about it.

we didn’t take these pics at all

lord of the rings musical nazgul orcs
one nazgul AND some orcs

lord of the rings musical gollum
gollum

lord of the rings musical gandalf frodo
gandalf and frodo in his house

lord of the rings musical lothlorien
the fellowship in lothlorien

lord of the rings musical ents
them hobbits and some ents


a video of the toronto cast, but you get the idea. there are more videos on the musical’s website.

scott