Friday, June 13

Birthday Blast

War and white hairs go well together.

As I kinda mentioned earlier, I'll be spending the lion's share of my birthday break and weekend with Solid Snake, AKA Old Snake. The game, the latest and apparently GREATEST yet for the Sony Playstation 3, is titled Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. It is, quite frankly, one of the reasons I got the console for. The latest of this much-beloved franchise (which is the pillar of the 'Stealth-Action' genre of games) is also the last chapter of the adventures of ol' Snake, due to various reasons including the fact that he seems to be suffering from a case of Werner's Syndrome, afflicting him with rapid aging. But if Snake's gonna go down, he's not going away quietly with an I.V. plugged into his arm in a hospital bed. Nah, he's strapping on the latest in stealth technology suits and hi-tech boom-sticks and James Bond-tech and heading into the most chaos-ridden war zones all over the world... all in the purpose of hunting down and eliminating the one bad guy out to destroy the world.

To say that MGS4 is a beautiful game would be an understatement- the game's in-game graphics look as good as CG cinematics, and the detail, intricacy and design of pretty much everything you see, hear and experience is a cinematic experience. The gameplay is smoother, more playable and accessible than ever, melding both the traditional stealthy sneaking with balls-out shooting action depending on the player's desire. And as for the story... well, it all ends here, and everything you've been wondering about in Metal Gear- like how the hell is Liquid Snake still alive in a severed hand, who the heck are The Patriots or why is MGS2 hero Raiden now sporting a new cyborg body will be explained, in-game or in the multitude of amazing cutscenes.

Easily one of the most anticipated games ever (it's been in development for YEARS), it's finally here, and it's fitting I guess that I received it at this time.

What a damn freakin' cool birthday gift!

So I guess I'll end it here for now. For a more detailed review of this opus of a game, check out my game blog at The Lone Gamer. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go stealthily save the world... with a bad back, at that!
The Luckiest Day of My Life

While others may shirk, I don't see today as being in any way unlucky. In fact, it's perhaps the most important day of my life- the beginning, actually. Yep, I turn one year older today and damn... I'm getting old. It doesn't help that one of my favorite gaming heroes- whose game I am currently enjoying over the birthday weekend- also has some age-related issues, and a chronic bad back. Still, things are pretty good for me, all things considered, and I really can't complain (though the frackin' bad back is murder sometimes).

Thanks, everyone, who chimed in to greet an Old MADman. Much appreciated! What can I wish for aside from I hope there are lots more Fridays or Saturdays or whatever-the-13ths to come. I still plan on doing more comics, playing more games and having more fun with friends yet.

Man, it's good to BE! Later! WOOHOO!!!

Thursday, June 12

Simply Flabulous!

Prepare for Awesomeness, Indeed!

Last night, I was able to finally catch a movie before my upcoming Metal Gear Solid 4 weekend, and luckily I picked the Dreamworks' Animation film Kung-Fu Panda (over Prince Caspian, which I wanna watch too anyway). I can honestly say, that was the most fun I've had in a movie theater in recent months.

Dreamworks' animation features have always been- shall we say- a bit hit and miss. But this latest offering simply hits every punch, kick and ribbing with the skill of a master. As much a whimsical, fantastically-animated and realized look at an anthropomorphic animal-populated ancient China as it is a heartwarming story of a hero discovering his true worth, it's also one BAD-ASS kung fu flick. I have to say, If I wasn't laughing, I was gawking at some of the amazing martial arts action- I haven't had this much fun in a martial arts movie since Kung Fu Hustle.

Aside from the awesome animation and fight choreography, props go to Jack Black (in the titular role of Po the Panda) and Dustin Hoffman (as Master Shifu) for bringing in wonderful vocal performances (easily Black at his funniest), with able support from Randall Duk Kim as Master Oogway (probably the coolest, wisest and most powerful turtle you'll ever see in animation), Angelina Jolie as the formidable Tigress, the ever-reliable James Hong as Po's loveable, noodle-obsessed father, and Ian McShane as the intense, powerful villain, Tai Lung. Yeah, I have to mention Jackie Chan is in there as well, and his presence, while kinda minor, goes a bit of a way in making this flick that much more kung-fantastic.

Gorgeously animated, hilarious throughout, heartwarmingly emotional when it needs to be and jaw-droppingly amazing during the high-kicking, high-flying fight sequences, Kung Fu Panda is a 10-hit combo of Fighting FUN! Watch it in your nearest theater NOW!

Sunday, June 8

Home Sweet Home

I'm back in The Sanctum. And I couldn't be happier.

Traveling to international locales and spending time in first-class accommodations in posh hotels is awesome, but it's just... not totally right. I mean, my hotel room was luxury itself- big screen TV was awesome, but man, there's really NOTHING to watch save for CNN or National Geographic, or HBO- anything else, you have to pay for. Food was great- I ordered room service several times- but it's damn expensive. The king-sized bed with the man-sized pillows looked incredible, but the proof is in the sleeping... I just couldn't get as much rest as I wanted to. It was fun to seal yourself in under the snug, warm (but HEAVY) sheets and insulate yourself from the cool AC though.

The thing is, hotels are beautiful, luxurious and impressive and all... but it's all stuff that's paid for and manufactured. All of the pleasure, all of the smiles, all of the ingratiating service is from money. No money, all of that goes away revealing the machinery underneath like some freaky cyborg or killer Terminator.

Not that I'll be any less excited to go on another overseas work trip and enjoy another hotel stay (but not anytime soon, PLEASE). I just want to say that the saying really is true.

There's no freakin' place like home.