Saturday, November 17, 2007

UPDATE: DK Jr. And Nintendo.

Here we go, another part in my ongoing saga to have Donkey Kong Jr. remembered and returned as a full fledged member of the Kong and Nintendo family. I wrote Nintendo this nice email the other day:

Dear Nintendo,

I have an important question that has been haunting me for years now. In 1994, Rare introduced a new character into the Nintendo family and that is Diddy Kong. That's good and all, and it's nice to see Diddy Kong in Smash Bros. Brawl. However this leads to one very important question. Something that I find disturbing. Where has Donkey Kong's son, Donkey Kong Jr., gone? There is contradicting evidence that can prove either way that DK Jr. either is or is not the current Donkey Kong, and I think we deserve an official answer. Thank you.

Surely this will get the answers I've been long searching for. Today will be a glorious day. Nintendo can no longer run and hide from their past, they have to face it head on. So now, here is their Email.

Thank you for contacting Nintendo,

While I appreciate your enthusiasm and interest in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, there is no additional information I can provide beyond what has been revealed on the official Super Smash Bros. Brawl website ( It's worth noting that there are still many things about this game that haven't yet been revealed and that the website is regularly updated with new information, so check there often!

Thank you for your e-mail.

Nintendo of America Inc.
Dale Thompson

Nintendo's home page:
Power Line (Automated Product Info): (425) 885-7529



GOD DAMNIT! You win this god damn round Nintendo. Fuckers. But you can only hide from me and people for so long. Eventually you are going to have to face your past and your demons and sins.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Deadly Battle: Diddy Kong Vs. Donkey Kong Jr.

I've been stewing about this tonight while playing some older games. Something happened a while ago, and it really bothers me. And what bothers me more is the fact that we are allowing this happen, with little or no regard to the lost soldier in the 16-bit era that we have never heard from again. You all sicken me. You should be ashamed and disgusted with yourselves. Don't worry, I'll wait here while you whip yourselves.

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That's probably you. Sitting there. Playing Donkey Kong Jr. That prick they call Mario. He kidnapped your dad, and guess what, that shit don't fly with you. He's treating him like King Kong, only instead of destroying most of 1930s Manhattan in a blind rage, he just gets locked in a cage. You swing from vine to vine trying to save his bad ass because I guess Mario must have drugged him or something. It's unclear really.

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So there you are. Nothing exciting there. Donkey is literally unchanged since the last time you saw him and you dropped him on his skull, ultimately leaving him functionally retarded, which we'll get to later.

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LOOK! He had his own cross branded cereal. Which apparently came with a sleeve of Pez candies inside. I miss that. I loved getting candy in my cereal. It happened all the time. Why not balance out that sugar coated sugar filled puffed corn ball with a packet of Skittles? Seems like common sense to me! And now, we are trying to ban Tony the Tiger from our air waves. 200x sucks.

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Nothing funny to add here or of any real importance other than to show how much of a prick Mario really is. Look. He is trying to kill DK! WITH A HAMMER! WHILE HE HOLDS HIS GOD DAMN CHILD! God bless DK Jr. for keeping a positive outlook on the whole situation while his papa gets knocked into an asylum.

Something happened though. You see, the sixteen bit era had started. And Nintendo decided that the Donkey Kong franchise needed to reach the next level. So the obvious choice was to farm it out to a developer and have them turn it into a side scrolling platformer. That's when these guys came in:

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We seem to hold Rareware in a rather high regard. We made the mistake of thinking it was a big deal when Microsoft bought them out. All they have to show for it is a remake on an N64 game, a mediocre sequel to a mediocre FPS that tried to be a previous successful game that was on the N64, Grabbed By The Ghoulies and Viva Pinata. I'd put the accent mark in that word, but I don't know it, and don't care to learn it. Anyways. Outside of Nintendo Projects in the early and mid 90s, Rare is a company that seems to be scared to make games. Conker, is exactly like Donkey Kong 64, which is exactly like the Banjo series, which is just an updated 3D world version of the side scrolling SNES games they made. I'm not saying they are a terrible developer, Goldeneye is fantastic, the Star Fox they did was alright (at best) , as is the DKC games in general, but for whatever reason, we hold them in a higher regard than we should. Back on schedule. Rareware turned DK into this:

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A big lumbering doofus. Wearing a necktie. Yeah, that's the next logical step. From Nintendo's big bad guy that kidnaps girlfriends, to a platforming oaf that just wants his bananas. Hooray! But that's not the worst of it. Something else changed. Donkey Kong seemed to changed a little too much.

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That? That's Diddy Kong. DKs sidekick and apparent nephew. The original plan was to have Diddy be Donkey Kong Jr. But the character change was too drastic for Nintendo's liking, so they gave them the choice. Either make him look more like DK Jr. or change his name. They changed his name. And now, several Donkey Kong games, a shitty kart game, and a playable in Smash Bros. later, he's here to stay. With no mention of DK Jr. outside of a trophy in Smash Bros. Melee. What happened to him? Where did he go? Did Mario snuff him out? From what I heard, he went on to teach remedial math for a middle school in Redmond. So, for you DK Jr., where ever you may have gone, this is to you buddy, and I hope to see you again soon.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

The Sharpie Conundrum

It's a strange phenomenon. I know, you don't know really what to make of it. It's weird. Don't worry in thinking that, because it is weird. Something compels kids to do this. Little Timmy is scared. Scared of what? I know you're thinking that. What is little Timmy scared of. What the hell is this little bastard thinking?

Look at him. He's in deep thought. What is he thinking about? What the hell is running through this young kids mind back in 1991? I mean, sure, look, he's got some paper in front of him with a pencil on it, but he's not thinking about work, if he was, he'd at least be holding the god damn pencil prentending to be doing something while his half retarded brain tries to figure out which one is the oldest sister in one of those brain teaser math problems teachers give to kids in order to watch them suffer. No no, he's thinking about what's most important in life. Video Games. See, I know what you're thinking you little fucker.

There you go. Thinking about an NES game. I knew it. He probably just got The Legend of Zelda yesterday and can't wait to show Joey it, because he's a dick like that. He likes showing off to his poor friends who can only afford to buy VCS games at a pawn shop. What an asshole. But what the fuck is that other thing? Is that a fucking marker? What the hell does a marker have to do with anything?

YOU COCK SMOKER! What the hell are you doing? I'm sure if you read this site, you've purchased an old NES or SNES game in the past 5 years. Kids seemed to have knack for writing their names on the games they owned. I seem to have at least 5 that have someones first or last name on them. One of them I'm almost certain appears to have a phone number on it. Here's the Double J Greater Gaming Sharpie Theorem.

Apparently, the writing of your name on the back or front of a NES game prohibits your friends from using the game on their system or stealing it for a test drive. It just further goes to show, kids were retards and the schools are doing nothing. It's why we have to have signs in front of schools to tell us kids are nearby so we don't run over them, because apparently, the complexity of a crosswalk is too much for a five year old to handle.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Time wasters: Wrestlemania Instruction Booklet for the NES

Remember back in the glory days of the video gaming, where you'd get a new game, and you'd be so excited, that you'd sit in the backseat, and read the instruction manual determined you were going to master your new treasure? Most instruction booklets were fairly simple and straight forward, with a dash of tongue in cheek humor. And then you have this:

The most off the wall instruction booklet ever. Wrestlemania: Featuring HULK FUCKING HOGAN and some other assholes. I guess Acclaim figured that the Hulkster and his disdain for t-shirts was enough to sell the game. Oh well.

Now, I don't know what the hell happened to this booklet in the 19 years that I've had it, but apparently I wiped my ass with it at some point, or dipped it in au jus. Maybe both, and not necessarily in that order. But look kids, you can be anything you want to be, and surprise people with elbow sandwiches! "Hey Mike, I thought you might be hungry, so I picked you up an elbow sandwich at Arby's, also I think I'm going back to school, and get my degree."

Jesus Christ. I know this page was and is a standard in all instruction booklets, but it is really necessary to number them? I picture some dull witted kid with his finger wavering over the power button, while alternately glancing at the booklet, and back at the NES. Finally he's inserted his cartridge, but there's a moment of hesitation, what if I missed a step? Finally he soldiers on, and takes the plunge.

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HOLY FUCK! An "awesome picture" of Hulk Hogan, and his sole purpose in life is to get all up in your shit! Define awesome, and I'm pretty sure your answer won't be "roughly resembling sidewalk art."

Here's where the booklet writers got too fancy for their own good. Why did they italicize 'mistake'? That makes it sound sinister. "I think No Balls has been ratting to the cops, Numbers, I want you to take him hunting, and mistakehim for a quail, if you know what I mean." And "Rub"? Why not the more universal "del"? Thanks a pantload, my mom is gonna walk by my room hearing the sound of loud clacking and swearing, and what do I tell her when she knocks on the door? That I'm rubbing things out?

You may think you're ready for movin' around, but baby steps my friend, baby steps. Walking Mode and Running Mode. Hmmm. Shit, I'm going to sell motivational CD's based entirely on those two statements. " A lot of people are stuck in walking mode, and they never get anywhere in life because they keep pushing in between the arrows, pressing, not holding the arrows, and never daring to hold the A button that is their dreams." Or maybe I'm reading too much into a piss stained video game booklet. You decide!

Holy God. One thing you should know about this game, is that it had some of the most cumbersome controls ever, and this illustrates that. Look at that shit, it's like I'm reading the periodic tables of elements. But hey, atleast now you know the atomic number for a giant fucking foot. Oh and guess what? Unlike most wrestling games where the same pinning controls pretty much apply to everyone, this game makes you look that shit up. B + UP over Down?

What the fuck, fractions? Am I supposed to add B to Up, and multiply that by down, or see how many Up Downnths will divide into B?

Wow I loved Golden X, Death Adder was a pain in the ass to beat on arcade though. Acclaim clearly didn't want to say it was a cross, eventhough that's clearly what Hogan's symbol is. Too bad Christ wasn't crucified on a pair of giant shades, and then we wouldn't have this problem.

Mercifully we near the end, but not without this little nugget of joy. Apparently Ted Dibiase's sole mission in life, was to pay people to do disgusting things. I have this mental image of Dibiase sitting on his bed in a dimly lit Motel 6 watching a female midget eat creamed corn out of a quadriplegic's asshole. I wonder how he gets away with tha...$$$$

So remember kids, pressing in between the keys never got anyone anywhere, right Bam Bam?

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Playin’ in the sandbox: 25th Anniversary GI Joes part 1

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"Teaching you how not to kill yourself since 1982"

To continue with my trend of reviewing figures based on 1980's properties, I decided to cover one of the most sucessful lines ever. So sucessful, that it's survived in some form or another for the past 25 years.

I'm speaking of course of GI Joe: Real American Hero. While the GI Joe license has been around since the 60's, RAH didn't come onto the scene until 1982. Hasbro borrowed heavily from Kenner's monster Star Wars line, by choosing 3 3/4 inch action figures, and appropriately sized vehicles and playsets. But the Joes would need something else to make them stand out among a sea of action figures, and that's where Larry Hama came in.

Hama had been flying under the radar at Marvel Comics as a mid-level writer, and had recently pitched an idea to his superiors about a comic centering around an elite special mission force, only to have it rejected. When Hasbro came knocking, looking to Marvel for a comic to support the toyline, Hama was the guy that drew the short straw, due to the fact that every other writer in the company had turned it down.

Hama used his rejected idea as a backstory for the Joes, and based the characters on people he had met during his tour of duty in Vietnam. Hasbro was so impressed with Hama's work, they asked him to flesh out each character bio on the figure packaging, in the form of dossier cards, which kids could cut out and save. The rest as they say, is history.

With all that in mind, I was more than a little excited when I learned that Hasbro would pay tribute to the line, in special 25th anniversary figures. Now I should preface but saying these aren't re-releases of earlier figures, but rather all new sculpts loosely based on the original figures.

First up, we take a look at one of the more iconic characters not only in the GI Joe universe, but in pop culture itself.

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Good old Double C himself, the raspy voiced comedic foil, Cobra Commander. First thing you'll notice, is that Hasbro pulled out all the stops here, recreating the original packaging down to the smallest detail. In fact the only noticeable difference is a silver tint to the stripes, and the 25th anniversary logo in the right hand corner.

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Accessory-wise, Cobra Commander isn't going to blow you away. He comes with a sidearm, and a base, and yes, the old school cut out dossier card. Not really an issue for me, because the Cobra Commander wasn't known for wielding a ton of weapons. Not only do these differ in appearance from the original line, but the plastic and articulation are also different. If you recall, the original line had a more metallic feel, and a slight heavyness to them. That's no longer the case, as these have a much lighter plastic material. Also, the famous O-ring used to connect the figure at the waist is gone, since the entire torso is now one solid piece.

This is only one version of Cobra Commander. There is another in Cobra five pack, where he's wearing his helmet and faceplate. Depending on your preference, you lean more toward that one.

Up next is one my hands down favorite GI Joe character ever.

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The stealth ninja Snake Eyes was a fan favorite of a lot of boys during the line's peak, and to this day, he has maintained a loyal fan base. Again, like CC, the packaging is virtually unchanged.

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Now while Cobra Commander lacked in accessories, Snake Eyes does a lot better. In an effort to recreate the original figure, Hasbro included his pet wolf Timber, who I have to admit, I know little about, but he is a nice bonus. Snake Eyes also comes with his trademark kitana sword, and uzi, and a hunting knife, in addition to the base and dossier card. Much like the original line, the hands on these guys are pre-sculpted so they should be able to hold their weapons easily.

Again, like Cobra Commander, there is another version of Snake Eyes in a five pack boxed set, in a more familiar look.

So I got Snake Eyes, and you can't have Snake Eyes without this guy:

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Now this version of Storm Shadow features his look when he was a part of GI Joe. Again, like the other two, there is another version of Storm Shadow in a five pack, that version in his Cobra gear.

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Storm Shadow blows the other two figure away in the accessory department, because he has a bunch of them. He comes with two kitana swords, a knife, a bow and arrow, and of course the base and dossier card. If you're up to it, he has a quiver, and duel scabbards on his back that are also removable.

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The back of the packaging hints at future waves with silhouettes, and a cursory glance will tell you we're getting another Snake Eyes, Serpentor, and Ship Wreck at some point. And if I were a betting man, I'd put money on there being some vehicles and playsets on the horizon.

Overall, I'm pleased with these, and I think they're a nice tribute to one of the best toylines of all time. I do have a few complaints, namely the lack of double jointed knees and elbows, and they're more expensive this time around, clocking in at about 5 and a half bucks a piece, they aren't as cheap as they were, but then again, it's not 1987 anymore. If you're a fan of the old show or toyline, I'd recommend picking a couple of them up.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Children’s Letters to Pac-Man

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1983. Giovanni Vigliotto goes on trial for multiple counts of bigamy involving 105 women. M*A*S*H ends after 11 years and 251 episodes on CBS. Return of the Jedi opens in the United States. Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space, on the Space Shuttle Challenger. President Ronald Reagan makes his initial proposal to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles. McDonald's introduces the McNugget. And, of course, the video games industry collapses under itself after the release of E.T. on the Atari 2600.

In the meantime, kids write letters to Pac-Man.

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Saturday, June 30, 2007


Oh, that Jenny Lewis. Gone are the carefree days of making out with Fred Savage and getting felt up by creepy old men. J-Lew's all grown'd up now, and she's a rockstar.

But before I continue on with this review, I feel we should all get something out of our systems first.

Now that that's out of the way, I'll continue. I'm normally not a fan of recently released music, but last year, this album really caught my attention. I'll admit, I wouldn't have given a frog's fat ass about Jenny Lewis had she not been in the greatest film of all time, The Wizard (now available on DVD!) starring the adorable Fred Savage. I hope Ms. Lewis isn't resentful about starring in a Fred Savage movie about Nintendo, because I guarantee you it helped her career more than it ever could've hurt it.

Anyways, I just finally got around to purchasing this album, and I'm pleasantly surprised. The vocals are hauntingly beautiful. I mean, it's the stuff that will make the hair on your balls stand up and slap you in the face. The entire vibe of the record is just beautiful. It's like country, without the twangy vocals that, sorry to say, went out of style long ago.

When I first popped this album in, I wasn't really sure what to expect. It was either going to blow, or it was going to be fantastic. Now, there are a couple of stinkers, but the majority of the album is absolutely delightful. I'll review a few highlights.

The album opens with a track called Run Devil Run. Albeit a tad boring, it's certainly a good opener. The album really kicks off with The Big Guns, which harkens back to bouncy folk music of the 60s and 70s, such as The Beatles' Rubber Soul.

The next song, Rise Up With Fists, definitely has a country sound. I'm reminded of greats such as Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn.

Next is Happy, which is instantly in my top 10 songs ever. It's just heavenly. It reminds me of the LonLon Ranch theme from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This song must be heard to be believed, although the end of the song seems to borrow a few guitar melodies from Willie Nelson's Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain. But hey, it's a good sound, why the hell not?

Next up is The Charging Sky and Melt Your Heart, followed by You Are What You Love. All three are just peachy. The title track, Rabbit Fur Coat, is one of the only two stinkers on the album. It's cute the first couple of times, but it gets incredibly boring.

It seems they were ballsy enough to cover the Travelling Wilburys song, Handle with Care. I'm sorry, but this is one of those songs that shouldn't be covered, ever. J-Lew and the Watson Twins could've sang the entire song themselves and kept up with the theme of a female driven album, but no, they had to bring in a couple of "all-star" indie dipshits who are very obviously trying to replicate Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan. It can't be done, but they get points for trying.

Anyway, minor gripe aside, next is Born Secular, a smokey bar room piano ballad, and It Wasn't Me, which does a good job of closing the album. The record ends with a fantastic reprise of Happy, and it couldn't have ended a better way. All in all, I give this album 9 out of 10 Power Gloves. Best album of 2006, although that ain't saying much.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Playin’ in the Sandbox: TRU exclusive Soundwave re-release.

Between JJ and myself, Transformers is getting a lot of play lately, but that's a good thing.

Today I'm covering something very special, in that it didn't come out with the current flood of Transformers merchandise.

In the Transformers universe, the Decepticon totem pole usually has Megatron and Starscream as 1 and 2. However, number three is no slouch himself, and has a relatively strong following among fans. More than maybe any Transformer, Soundwave had the coolest design, in that his "in disguise" form was that of a cassette player. Doesn't sound too lethal at first, until you realize the tape deck contains Soundwave's ruthless little assassins, Ravage and Lazerbeak.

Takara and Hasbro captured his look well in the original toy, but almost twenty years later, it's become relatively impossible to find that Soundwave in decent condition, and at an affordable price.

Thankfully TRU and Hasbro started re-releasing the original G1 (Generation 1) figures, and Soundy here is the latest.

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Click on the pics for a closer view of the packaging.
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As you can see, the packaging has changed from the original, but I like it. The design was made with collectors in mind, because of the gatefold cover, and clear window with velcro fasteners. In case you're wondering, Soundwave can be re-packaged with relative ease, should you decide to display him in the box.

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Me, I'm an opener, so I wasted no time in busting him out of the package. It's hard to tell from the pics there, but he's packed in double sided clamshell, so you're gonna have a big task ahead of you opening him up.

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Oh yes, the included transforming instructions read like a thesis on quantum physics, but don't let that discourage you. Though I do find it discouraging to learn that my manual dexterity isn't what it was in 1987.

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Yes, it's so easy, even the flamingly homosexual Geico Caveman could do it, assuming he isn't pre-occupied with knawing on dick.

And oh yes Ravage and Lazerrbeak in robot

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...and tape mode

Wait a minute, I got him put together, transformed, and yet I have this nagging feeling I missed something.

...God damnit.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Transformerpalooza Pt. 2: The Optimus Prime Edition

Only one toy review this time, but it's an awesome toy, so it's totally cool that way, so check this shit out:

The Target Exclusive Movie Version

Optimus Prime!


There it is. Did you know that it can cost you upwards to 50 dollars to get the big size Optimus Prime figure from the upcoming movie? That's not gonna happen. I love you OP, but unless you are a G1 version, 40-50 dollars isn't gonna happen.


Holy Shit.


Jesus, that's how fucking awesome Prime is. Look at those fucking stats.



As you can see, it's not huge, which I prefer, it's much easier to display this way. It's fucking sweet. Sure, the flames are kind of lame, but big deal.

WWF Is Running On Energon Power

Truck mode. Yeah. The smoke stacks turn into weapons, which is totally awesome.

There you fucking go. Shut the door. A little man pops in to make it look like someone is driving. Then the door opens, and he reappears. FUCK YEAH!