Friday, October 30, 2009

Natalie Portman Is Even Cooler Now

Not only is Natalie Portman a beautiful, intelligent actress, but she's also an articulate vegan. It is rare that high profile celebrities openly take up unpopular ethical stances, so I give her a ton of respect for this. Animal rights and vegan causes could benefit from her support.

Natalie Portman was already very cool in my book, but this recent column put her right at the top of my favorite celebrities list.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

bubble bobble + cute korean girls + ramen = ?

Apparently they licensed the theme song for "Bubble Bobble" (one of the old NES games I played a ton of) to have this Korean group do this ramen commercial. I dunno, I'm kind of sold.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Most Amazing Lego Creation Ever

I'm not sure what could possibly surpass this Lego Japanese Castle box. It's already cool that he made the box for the Japanese Castle Lego set look pretty good. But then it turns out that it unfolds like a pop up book with the castle popping up when he opens it.

It's very hard to conceive of a cooler Lego creation.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade

I'm totally sold on Muramasa: The Demon Blade. There are simply not enough 2d side scroller style games these days. This game is pretty much eye-candy from start to finish, which shows how far we have come in 2d video games. Every time I reached a new area, I found myself looking around at the environments to enjoy the gorgeous artwork.

When you start the game, you have the choice of playing in Muso mode (easy) or Shura mode (advanced). Naturally, I decided to just go straight into Shura mode.

The difficulty in Shura mode was really good. It was challenging and occasionally frustrating, but I always felt like when I died, there was something I did wrong or that I could do better. I ended up playing through the whole Shura mode as Momohime in two long sessions.

After beating it in Shura mode as Momohime, the game informed me that I needed to beat the game as Kisuke to get a special blade (the demon blade?) and then if I beat the last boss with the special blade, I'd get a different ending. Additionally, it unlocked another difficulty mode called Shigurui mode, which is apparently equivalent to playing Muso mode but you only have 1 hp and that never changes. Basically, if anything hits you, you die.

At this point, I realized I was hooked. I want to beat the game as Kisuke to see his storyline and to get the different endings. But I also love the combat system, so I want to try to beat the game in Shigurui mode.

The combat system is really satisfying. It's super responsive and the moves are easy to execute. Your character is extremely maneuverable, which made me feel like if I got hit, it was my fault since I could have been somewhere else. You can even hit small projectiles back at enemies by just pressing attack right when they are about to hit you. You can string together ridiculous combos of your melee abilities, but the combos are not really strictly pre-defined. You can basically make up combos as you go and invent your own combat style.

I think this game was made specifically for people like me.

Here are a couple of videos of someone playing through Shigurui mode:
Early combat
First boss

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rap + Video Games = ?

I don't know this artist at all, but he managed to use video games in his rap video very fluidly and well. There are a ton of old school Nintendo 8-bit references that you may recognize. Worth a listen and a viewing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Hunt For Gollum

The Hunt For Gollum is a truly remarkable fan film for the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies. It's not often that fan films have such high production values with such a low budget.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

I'm a huge fan of Barack Obama. However, the Nobel Peace Prize he has been awarded is very inappropriate. My roommate is of the opinion that it's more of a "premature" award, but things that are "premature" are "inappropriate" too.

I do believe that one day he will deserve it in the near future, but it seems kind of silly to award such a high award to someone who hasn't even been in a position of international influence for a year yet.

I can understand that Obama's whole message to the world is a lot like what the Nobel Prize Committee believes in, so they felt he deserved it. However, I am guessing there should be some other people out there who should be on the short list, who have been working at prize worthy causes for a little bit longer.

Obama has handled this situation about as well as possible. He too agreed that he didn't think he deserved the award. He still chose to accept the award as a call to action, though. This way he doesn't disrespect the award by turning it down, but he doesn't claim to be the savior of the world or anything.

I hope he manages to accomplish enough in his career to be worthy of the prize.