Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Healthy Sales

I've never been much of a fan of the Grand Theft Auto games. I've enjoyed the freeform elements, but the plots are rubbish, so I've often spent more time trying to jump from one skyscraper to another on a moped than I have in beating up Generic Thug 1 because Generic Thug 2 said so, and there are only so many hours one can waste doing that. However, like Halo, the mediocrity of the GTA series hasn't stopped a huge fanbase developing around the game. People are very excited about GTA IV, so I was quite surprised to see that all the shops still have massive stacks of copies, but can I find a single copy of Wii Fit in all of Brighton?

The Wii, you'll remember, is Nintendo's vanity project, which will never be successful because teh grafx r suxxor5!

I'd be interested to know what the ratio of order to sales have been on the two titles, because despite my ambivalence towards the series, GTA IV should be selling shedloads. I can only assume that the shops all massively over-ordered GTA, and perhaps under-ordered Wii Fit, thinking it wouldn't catch on.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Let Down

So why is it that iTunes can't find album artwork for OK Computer? Seeing as it tends to jockey for top position with Revolver in pretty much every Top 100 album rundown ever published, it's hardly an obscure release.

Then again, I haven't checked to see whether it's heard of Revolver...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

New Who Clues (pt 3)

The Sontaran Stratagem wasn't too bad at all. In hindsight, the plot was a bit rubbish, but there were lots of other good bits to make up for it; Donna's reunion with her family was surprisingly touching, and the Sontarans themselves were quite brilliant, coming across as outer space versions of the stereotypical blustering English colonel. It's always good to see Martha return, too.

Not much on the way of "code words" this week. Aside from a nod back to the Time War, with the Sontarans miffed that they weren't invited, the most notable nugget was a reference to the "15th broken moon of the Medusa Cascade".

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

By George!

I'm pretty apathetic to these patron saint days at the best of times, and I'm not one for national pride. So seeing all these posters and signs up in shops saying stuff like "Celebrate Our National Day With Pride!" has been a bit off-putting for me. I don't know, isn't it better to take pride in what our nation does, rather than some nebulous mythical figure?

I know it's just a gimmick to sell more tat in the shops, but all this celebration of the flag strikes me as a tad right-wing and exclusive, really, and it gives me the creeps a bit.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

New Who Clues (pt 2)

Well, the Ood episode was a lot better than I expected, playing up the mystery behind the Ood's hostility quite well, as well as getting some decent material out of the slavery angle, even though it was a bit heavy-handed. The climax was a bit nutty though.

And the Ood turn out to be less like Cthulhu after all, and a lot more like benign sci fi versions of the Mind Flayers from Dungeons and Dragons.

(My geekery is not quite boundless, but getting there...)

As far as the ongoing mysteries go, there was nothing about the Shadow Proclamation or missing planets this time, but I did spot a reference to "missing bees" (last mentioned in the first episode of series four) and we also saw a repeat of the Donna-and-Doctor-as-deities-slash-legends theme from the Pompeii story. There was also a bit of a nod to the Doctor's "song" (which is more of a meta-reference, really) and a suggestion that Doctor Ten's days might be limited, mirroring the similar (and no doubt similarly misleading) prophecy concerning Rose's demise from the Ood's first appearance.

Regarding those bees, I'm sure we're all assuming that it's something to do with the series arc, but could they also be tying it into the mysterious disappearance of bee colonies in the real world? Ripped from the headlines!


Did the brief, fatherly relationship between Tony Stark and Peter Parker still happen post-"One More Day"?
Brevoort: "Yes."
Does Tony Stark know who Peter Parker is?
Brevoort: "No."

So Stark doesn't remember why he invited Peter Parker to live with him or why they formed a father/son relationship?

And presumably he doesn't remember why he designed a suit of spider-armour for Peter, since as far as he knows, there's no connection between Spider-Man and Peter Parker?

Not a messy retcon at all then...

Super Secret Scott Pilgrim

Robbie Williams has packed in the music, grown a beard, and is investigating alien abductions in Nevada.

In other news, those blokes who did that annoying tune for Friends branch out into other, less annoying, TV themes:

I've done quite a bit of preparation work on my Super Secret Personal Project™ now. It is, unsurprisingly perhaps, a comic, and I've got the first ten or so pages laid out and scripted. I've got a bit of a block after that, but I'm confident that in drawing and lettering the first ten, something will come to me. Either that, or it'll be quite a short Super Secret Personal Project™.

But then there's Scott Pilgrim. I'd heard of it, of course, but I hadn't read any until recently, after I'd laid out the aforementioned ten pages. There are some similarities. Not particularly close similarities, but enough that someone could say that I've been borrowing from the considerably more famous and popular Bryan Lee O'Malley. I don't want to change what I've done, because I think I've captured the unique feel I was after in initiating the Super Secret Personal Project™, but it turns out that it's perhaps not as unique as I'd thought.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

New Who Clues

Well, we're only two episodes into the fourth series so far, but Doctor Who is off to a good start with two very strong episodes. I'm not sure about next week though; while I liked the Cthulhoid Ood back in series two, their return looks a bit like a cheap "aliens attack" story. We shall see.

The new theme tune is great, too. It adds a bounciness to the existing New Who theme, and there's even a sly homage to the Peter Davison-era theme in there.

Anyway, the writers have apparently been seeding this new series with clues as to the big threat coming up in the thus far untitled two-part finale (I hope it's not Davros; I'm bored of Daleks anyway, and they'd long-past exhausted the story potential in Davros by 1985). Here's what I've spotted so far:

The Shadow Proclamation. First mentioned way back in the first Ecclestone episode, and again in Tennant's first full appearance as the Doctor, it's been mentioned once in each of the two episodes so far.

Venus. In the first episode, Donna (Catherine Tate) and her grandfather discussed the planet Venus, and there was some attempt to equate the lone "female" planet with Donna's sense of individualism. In episode two, while dressing up in a Roman toga, Donna jokingly claimed a resemblance to the god Venus.

Missing Planets. The space nanny (yes, really) in the first episode chose Earth as a crèche for her charges because her own "nursery planet" had disappeared. This mysterious disappearance confused the Doctor somewhat. In episode two, the Pyrovillians (really nicely designed magma/rock beasts with a vaguely Roman Legionnaire appearance) were intent on colonising Earth instead of returning home, because their home had also vanished. Again, the Doctor picked up on this baffling occurrence. Planets just don't go missing.

My current pet theory, based on the brief appearance of Rose in the first episode, is that she's using the resources of alternate-Torchwood to try and get back to the Doctor. Back in "Doomsday", the Doctor burned out a sun in order to generate the energy needed to speak to Rose across the dimensional barriers; what if Rose is blinking out whole planets in order to get across? What if Rose is the villain?

What if Rose is Galactus?


Of course, it doesn't really work; why would she be munching up planets on our side of the barrier in order to get through from her side? Wouldn't she already be able to cross over if she could steal planets?

It probably is Davros. Sigh.

EDIT: The Medusa Cascade. I'd overlooked this one originally; the words stood out in the historical Pompeii setting, but I'd put them down to some oblique reference to the petrification effect plaguing Pompeii's soothsayers. It turns out that the Medusa Cascade was mentioned by the Master in last series' finale, "Last of the Time Lords"...