(This one would’ve been written sometime around the Royal Rumble in 2003, so it just recently celebrated its twelfth birthday. God I’m old.)
Y’know, the other day, I came to a realization. For those of you that haven’t been keeping up, the WWE has been running for around, oh, fifty or so years, (The company started out back in 1952 as Capitol Wrestling Corporation under Jess McMahon, so that would indeed be more or less correct as a time assessment. Not bad with no Wikipedia to reference.) but has only been running under the leadership of Vince McMahon Jr. (that’s the douchebag presently in charge, for those of you not aware) for the past twenty-five of those fifty years. (He took it over sometime in 1979, so again, roughly accurate.) In those twenty-five years, the man has had two REALLY big periods, which largely occurred without his help, but rather almost by accident, (Incorrect; the 80’s boom period of Rock and Wrestling was almost entirely his doing, as he ran the territories out of business with a shitload of luck, a strong business plan and Hulk Hogan, so he knew what he was doing. The Attitude Era was kind of a lot of accidents happening in a row that ended up making him billions, however, so yes, that one was certainly not his doing in the strictest sense.) and two periods of downturn, which were almost exclusively his doing, by letting the inmates run the asylum. (We’re still in the middle of the second one with no end in sight, sadly, mostly because every time they get somewhere that could spike interest Vince shits right in it.)
(This one most likely was written around its posting time, I’d expect; the WWE Armageddon PPV was released around 12/15, and this was tagged 12/22, so it makes sense time-wise. For reference, the prior piece would have been written sometime around Survivor Series in November, but was tagged as being posted in early December. Anyway, by all indications I’d been disgusted by the results of Survivor Series, and had opted to skip this PPV and simply read the results. From looking them over now, it seems like an okay PPV, so we’ll see how my opinion then matches up to my opinion now.)
Pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? No? Well, let me say this: even after Vince McMahon dropped the revelation to his staff that Shock TV is dead, (This was in reference to an internet rumor that Vince announced that the long-standing “Crash/Shock TV” concept pioneered by Vince Russo was dead and should no longer be relied on. No idea how true it is, but it did reflect in the booking in the months and years following, so let’s say it’s accurate.) they still managed to shock me on this PPV. I mean, somehow, they managed to do some things RIGHT. (Story of their lives.) Now, I’m not about to say that everything was peachy, but honestly, they did a good job with what they had set up, and honestly, HHH was destined to go over, so I’m not too shocked about that or anything. (Which is worse: HHH wins lol or Cena wins lol? Discuss.) But Angle won the belt?!? Oh my shit, I think I might pass out from shock. (Angle had been a World Champion prior to this point, but had also been treated as something of a goober leading up to this point, so it was surprising. Say what you will about Paul Heyman, but his rebuilding of Angle during this time period was pretty decent.) And for those wondering, yes, I DID miss Armageddon, but I read enough recaps to have a solid feeling of what happened.
Book review: Tonight… in This Very Ring! A Fan’s History of Professional Wrestling.
By: Scott Keith. (True story: back when Keith was first getting into publishing his own books, after The Buzz on Professional Wrestling, I somehow ended up receiving a link to request a review copy of this book, which I did, and somehow ended up getting one to review. At the time I was kind of just eh, whatever with Keith, but honestly, of the wrestling writers out there, the only ones I regularly care about reading anything from are Keith and Brandon Stroud, and I admire their work for entirely different reasons. I have my issues with both of them, obviously, but they’ve both been stand-up guys whenever I’ve talked to them, and they both generally write things I enjoy reading, so I’ll probably keep putting money into their pockets however I can until they retire or some shit.)
I’ve been meaning to review this book for, oh, four, five months now… and I’ve just never gotten around to it. Part of me feels as though I just can’t do the book justice… but another part of me basically just didn’t know where to start, to be honest. The book is quite a read, and it’s very entertaining… but it isn’t what you expect, and it might not be what you’re looking for. (Yeah, as much as I still like the book, it’s… different.)
Silent Hill 3
Console: Playstation 2
Genre: Survival Horror
(Ah, Silent Hill 3. One of my favorites in the franchise, mostly because it brought the storyline of the first game to a logical conclusion, tied together the events from the franchise well enough, and showed that the concept still had some real chops to it. While many people love Silent Hill 2 over all others, the first and third games will always be my favorites, because I really loved the Mason family storyline, and while I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the second game in later years, it is not, nor will it ever be, my favorite, as Silent Hill 3 will probably always hold that spot. I still probably overrated it though.)
And as the ring turns… (This was written in early December of 2002, but it hits a lot of points regarding shit that was going on during the year leading up to this post, so it should be an interesting retrospective and viewpoint on my current views, if nothing else.)
Okay, so let me see if I’ve got this straight: Soap opera angles are the way to revolutionize the wrestling world, if I don’t like my TV being hoarded with necrophilia I’m obviously too stupid to know better, I really wanted to see Lesnar/Big Show, Stephanie and Bischoff making out is supposed to make ratings, yet another Kane-HHH match will bring in the fans, even though we know Kane won’t win, and Scott Steiner is SURE to make a huge impact, right after he learns how to wrestle again while not breaking another part of his anatomy. (Yes and apparently it still is, no considering they no longer talk about that, yes and I apparently wanted to see it a bunch more times afterward, no and they never ultimately did anything with that plot point, that was the plan but they actually used the Kane/HHH match to unmask cane because Glenn was getting tired of wearing the mask, and Scott Steiner was such a colossal fucking disaster that no one pretend that was a good idea anymore.)
Y’know, I just basically summed up the entirety of my rant in a paragraph, but in the interest of entertainment, let’s stretch it out a bit, eh? (Relative to your definition of entertainment, of course.)
Publisher: Midway. (Aah, Shadow Hearts, probably one of my favorite modern JRPG’s in existence. It’s weird, I generally dislike the series as a whole, but I love this specific game because it actually allows for a happy and relatively understandable ending that the franchise itself wasn’t willing to even try at. The second game still had a good ending, but it was such a convoluted mess, and the game hemorrhaged fans to the point that no one bought it, and the third game ended up being brought over by XSEED rather than Midway. The developer ended up being merged into Aruze, who dissolved the development team, and much of the team went to feelplus, which was a part of AQ Interactive, who themeselves then merged into Marvelous, which is arguably the only company in that list who ever developed a good game that wasn’t named Shadow Hearts. Well, Moon Diver was okay.)
For me, there’s a point in every game where it hooks me; where it takes an holy act of god to pry my sweaty little palms from the controller, because I feel as though I NEED to complete this game. Sometimes that comes from being enthralled with the game and it’s mechanics; other times, from the realization that I PAID MONEY for this pile of crap, and goddammit, I’m gonna see it through. (Sometimes, I just do it out of spite, like with Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust.) And sometimes, there’s a frustration point, too; a point where I get so pissed off with the game that I don’t want to play it anymore, ever. (Like in Watch Dogs.) Sometimes that point hits at a particular fight in a game; sometimes I don’t know where to go at a certain point; or sometimes, I just get so FUCKING BORED with what’s going on that I give up. (Also like in Watch Dogs.) Today, we’re going to look at a game that both hooked me and pissed me off to the point I almost didn’t finish it. Today, we look at Shadow Hearts.
KGC – <i>Dirty Bomb</i> Review (As mentioned, we’re looking back at my review of the, so far only, KGC record produced, Dirty Bomb, for a bit of perspective as to why I feel Dean Garcia and KMFDM have kind of fallen on hard times creatively.)
Website: <a href= http://www.myspace.com/kgcmusic/ target=new>KGC on Myspace</a> (Hahaha oh God Myspace.)
(And here we go, back to the YHCOR game reviews. There are only about eight or so of these left before we get into the IP game reviews, so I’ll probably do some clearing out of the YHCOR backlog for a couple days once these are done, just to get that embarrassing mess over with, then get into the IP/DHGF stuff, because that at least is less embarrassing.)
Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball.
Console: X Box
Genre: Sports/Simulation (Life) (For a very loose interpretation of both.)
Developer: Team Ninja
Y’know, sometimes I hate working for other websites. (Singular, at this point.) See, working at 411Mania is interesting and whatnot, but honestly, all I ever get to review there is the smaller games nobody plays. In addition, I don’t get to link to my website. Such is life in both cases, I know, but still, it kinda sucks. (I have to feel like this was honestly an Ashish Pabari policy more than anything; Widro, for all of our interpersonal disputes, is a goddamn prince about letting us do what we want, and Alex has never told me I cannot do something, and has generally stood by me whenever I’VE enforced something without question. We’ve had our differences behind the scenes but they’re both good friends of mine and let me do whatever I want, and I respect that. Plus Ashish was a fucking game thief anyway so fuck him and the spyware ridden hellhole 411 has become.)
(Oooooh boy. Okay, so I need to qualify this a whole fucking lot before we get started. Sooooo back in 2002, there was an angle going on surrounding a tag team called “Billy and Chuck,” because those were the first names of the wrestlers in the team, and wrestling is creative. Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo were in the middle of doing a shitload of nothing, and so were paired off as a tag team, whereupon they bleached their hair to match, wore matching outfits with their names printed on them, and… well, behaved in a manner that was meant to be purposefully homoerotic, without being actively homosexual. The basic gist was we were supposed to hate them, since they were heels, but we were never given any real reason to except, well, that they were gay-ish. Fortunately for the WWE (and unfortunately for everyone else), wrestling fans were (are) just homophobic enough that someone pretending to be gay for angle advancement purposes would draw heel heat… and also, fuck Billy Gunn, so booing was the natural reaction from fans. They ended up paired up with manager Rico, who was also presented as somewhat homosexual, culminating in him taking on a full-blown Exotic Adrian Street gimmick; at the time, though, he was just their roided up hair dresser. Continue reading
(This was a concept I kind of came up with at random, where X amount of staffers from YHCOR would review the same thing and contribute opinions on it; consider it similar to The Tribunal from IP Games or the standard EGM scoring system, only with non videogame properties. In this case, the first Celldweller CD, which probably didn’t deserve the effort put into this project. Still, a couple of us listened to it, and this was the result.)
Three-way dance: Celldweller, selftitle. (For those wondering why it’s called three-way dance despite the fact that there are only two reviews here, basically another mutual friend who hasn’t come up yet in recaps was supposed to contribute something for this, but never did, and I never fixed the title. Whoops.)