Crash Bandicoot: The Return

Our boy is coming back

        Playstation fanboys rejoice, it looks like after all these years, we may be getting our boy back. Over the last few weeks there have been multiple signs that point to a possible return of the original Playstation mascot: Crash Bandicoot. I for one, think it’s ABOUT DAMN TIME It all started a little over a week ago when a tweet was sent out from Playstation Middle East showing a wanted poster featuring the famed marsupial. It was captioned as “Most wanted, where are you crash?”

Obviously, the tweet sent some waves throughout the gaming community, as people began to wonder if this was pointing towards a possible reveal of a new crash game in the near future, possibly at this years E3. That was followed up this weekend with an interview with NECA’s toy director Randy Falk stating during an interview this weekend that he has “alot going on with Sony… I see they are bringing Crash Bandicoot back so there’s some great stuff there”. That really sent things into overdrive with the rumors starting to pick up momentum in the light of that interview.

         Now, to be clear, all of this needs to be taken with a grain of salt, because nothing concrete has been shown yet. As of this morning NECA released a statement saying that Falks was mistaken and had misinterpreted a comment that was made, so it could all be a big misunderstanding or it could all be smoke and mirrors at this point to keep things under the radar until E3. That being said, I am crossing my fingers that the rumors do end up being true and that our bluejeans wearing friend will be back in action sometime in the near future. The fact of the matter is that Crash was not only the original Playstation flagship franchise, but he was the trash talking mascot during those introductory years of console wars. Nintendo had Mario, Sega had Sonic, and Playstation had Crash who in my 10 year old eyes was the epitome of cool. Who can forget the AWESOME commercials with Crash standing out of Nintendo headquarters calling out the other lame mascots with a megaphone?  So yeah, it’s going to be some time before the facts come out, but my guess would be that we are going to be seeing the franchise come back in some way in the next year or so. Hopefully it’s not another racing game.

-CDL

Counting Sheep

This way: The sheep at the front head in the right direction and influence the other members of the herd

From this perspective it might look like small white fish in a green pond, or a herd of wild lice roaming a green scalp, but these are actually sheep. They are being expertly herded by dogs in an effort to move them from one pasture to another. Sit back and relax and watch the video on this site along with the full article. If you are not a little sleepy by the end then you probably have had too much coffee.

-SMS

 

The Real Story of The Most Interesting Storm Trooper In The Galaxy

Do you remember that guy? The guy who went from just another anonymous Stormtrooper to electro nightstick battlemaster in the span of one sentence? Well apparently I’m not the only one, because a couple of quick searches online show that he has a SERIOUS internet following. He was even dubbed unit TR-8R (you know, cuz he loves to yell traitor at people), although it has since come to light that his actual unit number is FN-2199 and he has a pretty interesting backstory as posted by the guys on Starwars.com. Find the link here to learn more about this space ninja!

-CDL

Why Does Dark Souls Hurt So Good?

        Dark Souls was the first game to ever give me nightmares. It wasn’t because the game was scary it was because I thought the game was actually killing me. It was slowly draining me of all will to live. It was taking it’s time and savoring every time my avatar’s body was crushed and crumpled on the ground and the words “You Died” flashed almost gleefully up on the screen. The game was taunting me. It was calculating. It was horrible. It was beautiful, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I woke up from my nightmare at around 4:10 in the morning and the first thought on my mind was “hey, if I turn down the sound I can play for a solid 3 hours before my wife gets up”. I didn’t want to play, the game was making me miserable, but I NEEDED to play. I needed go get past that next boss to say what lay in store in the next area. I have a group of friends that were going through the same thing, we would convene from time to time to swap notes. We would lament the same bosses. We would share the cowardly and cheap tricks we have figured out to get through an area that was too tough. That’s pretty much the whole point of the game, you constantly feel overwhelmed, but never unfairly so (except for Ornstein and Smaugh, they were bullshit). I constantly played with a pit in my stomach, never for a moment

Seriously FUCK these guys

getting that invincible feeling I get usually around 75% of the game when I gotten enough power-ups and into a good enough rhythm that deaths are few and far between. I always felt like I was fighting an uphill battle, grinding out each new area. I know I’ve already said it but it bears repeating, it was miserable. Fortunately, along with all the misery came along a beautiful game, haunting environment, crisp gameplay, and a sense of achievement that up until then I had never experienced in a game.

        The fact of the matter is that the Dark Souls series (and Demon’s Souls before them) are incredible games. They embody the phrase “stern but fair”. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard. Really, REALLY hard. But the thing is, every time I died, I always felt like it was my fault. I made a mistake. I was too aggressive. I was too timid. I ducked when I should have dodged, and so on and so forth. I never felt like the game was being cheap, or that there was an area designed specifically so I could fail. The rules were spelled out at the very beginning of the game, and were consistent throughout. Get better. You can go anywhere, you can fight pretty much anything right out of the gate. Sure, there is a somewhat logical layout to follow to keep the character from getting in over their heads, but there is nothing that forces you to follow them. The Soul’s games aren’t ever going to hold your hand. I loved the fact that I felt every time that I played that the developers were respecting the fact that “hey, you know what you are getting yourself into. Here is the world, go kick it’s ass or it’s gonna kick yours”. It was a respect that I feel is lacking in many other games these days. The closest thing to being unfair is getting invaded by another player at the most inopportune times, but hey guess what? If you don’t like it then you can stay hollowed and you won’t get invaded. Then again, you are hollowed so you are hitting softer, and have less health. On top of it all now you can’t summon allies to help you fight your way through the enemy hoards. Again, the rules are stern, but fair. What you sacrifice in the name of safety comes back to bite you in terms of strength. I love it.

        On top of all of the above mentioned  gameplay aspects comes a GREAT story, if you feel like seeking it out that is. There aren’t going to be a bunch of flashy cutscenes to let you know what is happening. If you want to know what the hell is going on and why you are doing all of these things you are going to have to explore the world around you. Explore and pay attention, because it’s all there. The names, the places, the people, everything comes together for those who seek them out, and at the end when it came time to choose my destiny and decide what to do at the final bonfire I was absolutely torn. I seriously sat in front of my Playstation just staring wondering what to do. I was so RELIEVED to have finally beaten the game, but I was so invested with the cryptic story that I was frozen. I contemplated, walked away, got a drink, took my dogs on a walk, and came back. My character was still there, sitting in front of the final bonfire. Do I light it, or do I let the darkness overtake us all? Finally I made my choice, watched the final cutscene, sat back and let out a deep breath. It was finished. Then I saw it, taunting me again: “Start New Game+?” There it was, taunting me again. Except this time I was the punisher. I had slain the beast, and now it was asking ME for more. I picked up the controller and dove back in. Bring on the pain!

Come at me bro

-CDL

From Drone Attacking Eagles to Fish Fighting the Zika Virus, Humans Turn to Animals For Help With Modern Probems

        Although it’s easy to get caught up in all of the negative stories of humans messing up the environment these days, if you look hard enough there are some pretty great ones out there as well. It would seem that in this day of modern technology, sometimes it is best to look to the natural world around us to solve some of our increasingly dire problems. Enter the Sambo fish. As seen in this video, scientists are hoping to use baby Sambo’s to fight the ongoing spread of the Zika virus that has been dominating headlines in recent days. They do this by eating the larvae of the mosquitoes preventing them from becoming mature adults and therefore stopping the spread of the virus. This has been very effective in countries such as El Salvador where the introduction of the Sambo fish in restaurants and villages has almost completely wiped out spread of the disease. In Brazil, scientists are using a combination of military manpower and GMO modified mosquitoes to attempt to eradicate the virus carrying insects. Going with the good ole fight fire with fire… and 200,000 soldiers method.

        Another story that was brought to our attention today was  the fact that police in the Netherlands are training eagles to track down and attack drones. Yep, you read that right, trained attack eagles. Sounds like something you would find in a solid heavy metal ballad.

I would try to further elaborate on this but truth be told it is badass enough on it’s own

        Lastly, we also saw this story about soldiers in Northern Russia begin to train with both Reindeer and Huskies in order to better traverse the northern terrain.

In all of the above cases, it really goes to show that these are such obvious solutions to obvious problems that it really is astounding that people haven’t been doing this previously. Hopefully this is a sign of future things to come, where man won’t constantly be trying  to impress it’s technologies on the natural world around it, but will instead find ways to work with the things that are already there. Who knows how many other obvious problems there are out there that can be solved by strapping a grenade launcher on the back of a giant tortoise?

I’m just saying there are possibilities here…

-CDL

Zika Virus is For Real: WHO Declares Global Health Emergency

        Yesterday, Feb 1 2016 the Worldwide Health Organization declared a state of emergency caused by the sudden and explosive spread of the Zika virus throughout Central and South America. This is especially worrying as there is currently no vaccine or treatment available for the Zika virus. What started as a obscure news story a month ago has quickly become a very relevant and very disturbing headline, especially due to the link between the virus and microcephaly. Microcephaly is a neurological condition leading to small heads and underdeveloped brains in newborns. There are many pictures of the effects of microcephaly floating around the net recently due to the virus, and although it isn’t a guarantee that a child will contract the disorder, it does seem to drastically increase the chances of the condition. Although the link between the two hasn’t been scientifically proven yet, there is a strong enough belief that there is a correlation between the two that some countries have even gone so far as to advise their citizens to delay pregnancy until the situation is more under control. That’s some scary shit right there. I feel like this is the first 5 minutes of a zombie movie when they start throwing all the fake news stories on the screen showing the beginnings and initial spread of some crazy virus that wipes out a population.

        Obviously things aren’t all that bad at this time, but it is still enough to really make one stop and think about investing in some industrial strength bug spray/mosquito nets. The good news is now that the WHO is taking the situation seriously, hopefully things will take a turn for the better with regards to prevention and treatment of the virus. Unfortunately for those who have been infected, the truth is that when this story began to develop there weren’t many in the medical world that took the initial threat seriously, something that WHO has since addressed the issue now that the threat has shown such an outrageous and explosive growth.

Either way, I may be delaying any Caribbean vacations for the time being.

-CDL

Another Kickstarter Derailed By Booze and Strippers

       

It’s probably going to be a looong time before we get another ant simulator game.

        Unfortunately for Kickstarter backers, another game has bitten the dust due to mismanagement of backer funds. It’s an issue that we had previously touched on in our article When Kickstarter Goes Wrong, however this time it’s with a more interesting twist. To the disappointment of many, today game developer Eric Tereshinski announced the cancellation of the game Ant Simulator, a spiritual successor to much-loved classic SimAnt. This was to be another ant themed world builder game, although it would take place from the first person perspective. The videos for it had originally shown alot of promise, so it’s a real shame that the developers will no longer be going forward with the game. However, interestingly enough, this time the cancellation did not come about as a product of problems with the game’s development but because, according to Tereshinski, his partners spent the crowdfunded money on alcohol, restaurants and strippers among other things. At least give the guys credit for embracing the whole “go big or go home” mentality I guess? Especially the go home part.

Although it makes for a funny story, it really is a shame that another promising kickstarter is going to fail due to the people not being responsible/knowledgeable enough to run their business property. It is one of the only glaring weaknesses to the whole crowdfunding movement, the fact that although people may have great ideas and talent, that doesn’t mean that they have the experience or ability to properly run a company. They (hopefully) end up with a vast amount of cash suddenly flowing their way and they have to find the correct way to manage it. Fortunately most of the time they do, but it’s becoming a fast rule that as long as there are Kickstarters out there, there are going to be stories like this cropping up all the time.

Now it’s time to bust out the SNES and get my ant fix the old fashioned way.

-CDL