Azn Badger's Blog

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5 Words That Sound Cooler Than Their Meaning

Ever notice how every once in awhile you run across a word that sounds really fuckin’ badass, only to discover later on that it’s actual meaning is equal parts pathetic and absurd?

I don’t know if it’s just me, but this happened to me a whole helluva’ lot when I was little.

That being said, the following is a brief list of some words fitting the above description, most of which I first encountered as a young badger.

#1. Reticulated

This is what I think of when I think "reticulated." A big fuckin' snake killing the shit out of Owen Wilson.

Definition: Constructed, arranged, or marked like a net or network.

You know what the longest snake in the world is?

While it might be wrong, given that I read it almost 20 years ago; my Snakes issue of Zoobooks taught me that the world’s longest breed of snake, was the Reticulated Python.

Animal kingdom factoids like this was really important to me as a kid, but apparently learning the meaning of words like reticulated wasn’t; ’cause it took more than a few years for me to discover it’s definition.

I remember thinking the word reticulated meant something along the lines of “really fuckin’ big,” or “seriously fuckin’ savage.”

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Reticulated Python’s name simply referred to the characteristics of the pattern drawn across it’s scales.

#2. Hyperbole

That's a hyperbole if I've ever seen one...

Definition: An extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”

Do you know what what the term “hyper” means to child raised in the era of super saiyans and hyper combos?

It refers to something crazy fuckin’ awesome (and destructive) that most likely requires a super combo meter to perform, that’s what!

When I first heard the word hyperbole, my young mind immediately thought it was some sort of secret Street Fighter move, or failing that; some sort of secret X-Men vs. Street Fighter move.

At some point in my struggle to define the word hyperbole; I came to the conclusion that:

“Hey, Magneto has his Hyper-Grab; maybe there’s some sort of super combo version of it I haven’t seen called Hyper-Bow-Lee!”

Pictured: Magneto, warming up his "hyper-bow-lee."

Yeah, I played a lot of fighting games back in the day…

Actually, I’m pretty sure the first time I ran across the word was in written form; whereupon I most likely pronounced it as “hyper-bowl.”

I consider myself a pretty good speller nowadays; but back in the day I was a shithead just like everyone else.

#3. Isosceles

"Man, that guy's so isosceles; it's just plain unfair!"

Definition: Having two sides equal.

“Isosceles Kramer…”

That’s all I needed to hear to start thinking isosceles was the coolest fuckin’ word ever.

Sure, I learned it’s meaning at some point in math class; but that doesn’t mean I ever made any attempt to retain that knowledge.

You see, numbers and I have feuding like an Irishman and, well… Another Irishman, for as long as I can remember.

That is to say, despite my Azn-ness; math has always been one of my weaknesses.

Despite this, thanks to Seinfeld; I’ve maintained a healthy relationship with the word isosceles.

Unlike most of the other words on this list, I never came up with my own interpretation of it’s meaning.

In all honesty, from the time I first heard it up until the present, there really hasn’t been a time when I was unfamiliar with it’s meaning; but even so, for such a slick-ass sounding word, isosceles has a pretty pathetic meaning.

#4. Abdicate

Above: “Abdication” at it’s finest….

Definition: To relinquish formally a high office or responsibility.

Did you ever see that episode of Hey Arnold! where Eugene was obsessed with the Arnold Schwarzenegger-inspired movie character, “The Abdicator”?

Well, I did; more than a few times at that, and it was this episode of the show that first introduced me to the word abdicate.

Just like I’d imagine the character Eugene felt, for whatever reason; the name abdicator sounded like a believable superhero to me.

Then again, I’m pretty sure any word that ends with an “-or” has the appropriate amount of manly “oomph” to it to work as a a superhero name.

Anyway, I remember that the actor that plays the abdicator actually learns the meaning of the word abdicate at some point during the episode; leading to me first hearing the word and learning it’s definition in the space of 20 minutes or so.

While I know the definition well now, thanks to Hey Arnold!; to this day I still get a kick out of thinking back to the brief time in my life when the word abdicate referred to “beasting on someone mightily in a Schwarzennegger-ian fashion.”

#5. Dodecahedron

Let's see, it's one part Destoroyah, two parts Queen Slug-For-A-Butt, and a billion parts retarded...

Definition: A polyhedron with 12 faces.

The above image represents what I thought dodecahedron meant before my math teacher had to go ahead an’ spoil it for me.

Yeah, I was a pretty fucked up/retarded kid.

... And apparently I was a very imaginative speller as well.

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Best Boss Music #13: Super Godzilla

Super Godzilla was one of those games that I really wanted to like.

Oddly enough, that seems to be the case for me with pretty much every Godzilla videogame I’ve ever played.

You see, even though Godzilla and Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters on the NES were both shit, the fanboy kept finding stupid reasons for me to give ’em second chances.

“Sure the gameplay is sloppy and monotonous, but c’mon; it’s motherfuckin’ Godzilla!”

As a kid, (minus the profanity) these were the kinds of thoughts that would run through my head every time I’d stick a Godzilla game in my NES.

 

Nowadays it's more like: "GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKER, WHY AM I STILL PLAYTHING THIS PIECE OF ASS!!?"

Despite the Big G’s spotty track record up to that point, Super Godzilla, in my young mind; was supposed to be the game that made up for it all.

I remember reading preview articles in Game Players and GamePro that made Super Godzilla look like the shit.

The screenshots looked sharp, the gameplay sounded fresh and unique, and the roster of monsters, while quaint by some standards; was packed with fan favorites and a host of Heisei era kaiju that had yet to gain exposure in the U.S.

Not only that, the game promised a thrilling and campy Godzilla story involving aliens taking control of Earth’s monsters, with the Earthlings responding in kind by taking control o Godzilla and piloting him via remote from the cockpit of the Super X2!

It looked and sounded like a Godzilla fans dream.

I rented Super Godzilla as soon as it became available at my local videostore, and I can honestly say; I was disappointed.

 

The first thing that hit me right off the bat, was the game’s general lack of quality in both audio and visual terms.

I mentioned that Super Godzilla looked good in stills, and I wasn’t lying.

 

HOLY SHIT!!!

The game makes extensive use of extremely large and detailed character portraits for Godzilla and all of his Toho frat brothers, however therein lies the problem:

The character graphics consist almost exclusively of barely animated, or worse yet; “Ken Burns-ed” animation cycles.

You see, the core gameplay of Super Godzilla consisted of 2 basic functions:

Finding and then fighting the enemy monster of each level.

While one would think this would be an action-packed process, Toho made the decision to structure the “finding” aspect of the game as sort of a grid-based strategy game, and worse yet; made the “fighting” section a barely interactive mashup of repetitive cutscenes.

You remember the lengthy and unskippable summon cutscenes from Final Fantasy VII?

Well, imagine a fighting system where all you do watch 4-5 shitty looking summons over and over and over again, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what it’s like to play Super Godzilla.


Rest assured, one can take time to make many a sandwich while playing Super Godzilla…

Okay fine, the “fighting” in Super Godzilla has at least some level of interactivity to it, but believe when I say it; it’s not much.

Basically, when one enters into combat with an enemy monster, the screen morphs from the overhead map to a 2D sprite-based fighting game layout.

Pictured: The Thrilling Battle Screen...

From this screen, the player can make use of 3 buttons and maneuvers:

Punching, blocking, and using items.

While blocking is self-explanatory, landing a punch is required in order to initiate the aforementioned cutscene attacks, which are empowered by the player’s “fighting spirit” meter at the bottom of the player’s HUD.

As one would expect, given it’s massive place on the HUD, the “fighting spirit” meter is the crux of the Super Godzilla “fighting” system.

When one advances towards one’s opponent in Super Godzilla, the player’s “fighting spirit” increases, gradually falling when the player retreats.

Upon landing a punch on the enemy, the player’s “fighting spirit” will freeze in place, inviting the player to retreat and open up the attack command window at the center of the HUD.

Depending of the volume of the player’s “fighting spirit,” as well as the distance that they retreat, the player will be given more powerful attack commands to select from.

In all Godzilla has access to 4 attack commands: tail whip, body slam, fire breath, and hyper fire breath from weakest to strongest respectively.

Sadly, no tail slide though...

Items gathered from the “finding” phase of each level consist of instant use health power-ups, defense boosters, and a “fighting” spirit

Perhaps the worst part of the gameplay system, was the addition of enemy UFOs as random encounter enemies in most of the stages.

Taking only 1 hit to destroy, these UFOs absolutely shit ALL OVER what little enjoyment was to be derived from the “finding” portion of each level.

I don’t mind random encounters in RPGs, but when said encounters involve only 1 enemy type, and a pathetically weak one at that; I just don’t get it.

I suppose it doesn’t help that many of the levels in Super Godzilla have time limits, making these random encounters have zero possibility of doing damage to you, but still serving to potentially end your game through wasting your motherfucking time…

Make no mistake, finding and killing the Mothership hidden in each stage is deeply advised, as it is the only thing that will stop you from having to fight baby UFOs every 5 seconds.

 

KILL IT WITH FIRE.

Despite the bland and painfully slow-paced gameplay, Super Godzilla did have a few little things going for it.

For instance, during the “finding” portion of each level, the player was often free to choose their own path in maneuvering the map, making item gathering and avoidance of stationary enemy emplacements entirely up to the player.

In addition to this, there’s a great deal of variety in the tasks heaped on the player on their plodding march to finding the enemy monster.

For instance, in the 3rd stage, you are required to raid (read: step on) several enemy bases in order to free a captive scientist.

In the 4th stage, the player must do battle with a pair of Battra’s, however if one is quick enough in reaching the second while it is still in it’s chrysalis, it is in fact possible to destroy it before it hatches.

These variations in gameplay also extend to the “fighting” segments of the game in the form of each enemy monster having certain attacks in Godzilla’s repertoire that are ineffective against them.

Thankfully, most of these variations are fairly logical, with Biollante’s superior mass making her invulnerable to Godzilla’s body slam attack, and Battra’s speed making them unable to be hit by anything but Godzilla’s most powerful fire breath attack.

Yeah, somehow I don't think running into it would be an advisable course of action...

Toho can suck a dick though for making Mechagodzilla able to counter Godzilla’s basic fire breath.

I know he did in the movies, but for fuck’s sake; didja’ really have to make the fire breath one of the most common attacks to pop up in the attack window?

Anyway, the 1 huge plus Super Godzilla has going for it, (besides being a Godzilla product) is the inclusion of, well; Super Godzilla.

During the last few stages of the game, the player can go out of their way to obtain a series of power ups to transform plain ‘ole Godzilla into Super Godzilla.

What's this, Godzilla's evolving!? Godzilla evolved into SUPER Godzilla!

Bearing a truly awesome design, that was largely transplanted into the design for Space Godzilla the year after the game’s release, Super Godzilla granted the player access to a brand new set of attack commands, a Mega Buster like chargeable punch, and the ability to walk through buildings and obstacles on the map screen without taking damage.

Most of Super Godzilla was tough to slog through, but for what it’s worth, the final battle against the Super Godzilla exclusive, and exceedingly well-designed giant monster, Bagan; is a far better one than the game probably deserved.

Say what you will about the game, Bagan was pretty tight lookin'...

That being said, while Super Godzilla does in fact have a truly horrible soundtrack, with many tracks serving to utterly butcher some truly classic Godzilla themes; the boss music played during the Bagan fight is actually… good.

That’s right, I said something was “good” in Super Godzilla.

Seriously, give it a listen:

While it’s honestly not a great piece of Super NES music by any standards, it’s easily the best track in the game; and has a pretty serious sound to it that’s rarely heard in 16-bit game music.

I love the opening notes, and how bizarre and frankly, “alien” it feels, making it quite appropriate for the climax piece of a giant monster alien invasion story.

Perhaps the track’s biggest accomplishment though, is that it actually sounds like Godzilla music.

Godzilla movies have played host to some of Japan’s finest composers, and as such, have always bore a distinctive and powerful sound.

Many of the tracks in Super Godzilla feel generic and flat, but the final boss theme has a “big-ness” in it’s instrumentation that make it sound like a cross between the trumpet heavy orchestrations of Akira Ifukube and the synth-heavy work of Takayuki Hattori.

Anyway, Super Godzilla is one of those games that I want to like.

I know it sucks, but the Godzilla fan in me still tries to find ways to redeem it.

While most pro-Super Godzilla arguments are likely to be filled to the brim with bullshit, let it be known that any argument citing the final boss theme as a redeeming factor have at least that going for them.

"You WILL play Super Godzilla, and LIKE IT."

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New Godzilla Comic!

Godzilla is one of my biggest heroes.

Anyone that has read even a single article on this blog is probably aware of that by now.

I’ve been watching Godzilla movies since the cradle, and despite the character’s less than stellar film catalog over the past decade; I’ve remained an ardent fan ever since.

One particular aspect of Godzilla mythology that was particularly special to me in my youth however, was the Dark Horse comic series of the early 90’s.

While there was in fact a Marvel Godzilla comic sometime before the one in the 90’s, even as a little kid I found the art, storylines and characters to be somewhat disagreeable.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't like Avengers in my Godzilla...

That’s saying a lot coming from a hardcore Godzilla fan.

Anyway, the 90’s Dark Horse comics were, in my humble opinion; actually quite good.

I still have every issue I collected from way back in the day, and I find that every time I crack one open for a little taste of nostalgia; I end up having a good time.

While the art and writing staff would change pretty much from issue to issue, I found that Brandon McKinney’s pencils stood as some of my favorite in the series; not to mention Arthur Adams’ always stellar cover work.

My first, and favorite issue, featuring the work of both the aforementioned artists.

The overarching plot of the series concerned the exploits of “G-Force,” a team of Godzilla-focused Japanese scientists who curiously seem to spend almost no time on Japanese soil.

Over the course of their adventures, they end up doing battle with Godzilla, attempt to protect Godzilla, fight several varieties of alien species, and even travel back and forth through time to thwart the nefarious machinations of an evil scientist.

Needless to say, the storyline wasn’t exactly the main draw of the comic.

The real selling point of the comic, was the same as is typically the case in most Godzilla movies, that of getting a chance to see Godzilla stomp through cities and beat the shit out of other monsters.

... Or in the case of Godzilla vs. Barkley, shut up and jam.

The biggest success of the comic, in my opinion; was that it managed the rather impressive feat of crafting it’s own unique characters and universe, all while maintaining the feel of the Godzilla movies, both new and old.

While there were a few issues that I purposely ended up skipping do to poor artwork or writing, the Dark Horse Godzilla comic of the 90’s is one that I regret not fully collecting, as well as one that I wish had lasted a little longer than it’s 17 issue run.

Fortunately, I happened across a news article on Sci-Fi Japan today announcing the impending release of a brand new American Godzilla comic published by IDW.

While no real details are available as to the nature of the comic at this point, one thing that’s certain, is that Toho is involved in it’s production on an advisory level; and the creators of the comic have been given free reign over their use of the extensive roster of Toho’s monsters.

While it might not seem like a big deal to some, both of these points do quite a bit to bolster my optimism regarding the release of this comic.

The sum of these points is that Toho trusts IDW enough to allow them use their characters; but more importantly, it means that I’ll finally get a chance to read a Godzilla comic where he fights a monster I actually give 2 shits about!

Pictured: A monster I give 2 shits about.

Anyway, the new comic comes out in March, and rest assured; if it comes out in trade paperback and is at least somewhat good, I’ll pick it up without hesitation.

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Tokusatsu, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gamera On Blu-Ray!?

While it’s probably old news to all those that care, the first 2 films in Shusuke Kaneko’s Gamera trilogy were released in a Blu-Ray 2 pack last month.

The third will be released at a date TBA.

Why no one saw fit to tell me about this, is beyond me.

Seriously man, the idea of seeing big, rubbery daikaiju goodness in HD makes me giddy with excitement!

Make no mistake, as soon as I can get a break from work, (though lately it feels like that may never happen) I’m gonna’ track me down a copy of this and buy it so hard, it’ll wish I hadn’t bought it so hard.

This will be the third time I will purchase the Gamera films (bootleg VHS, bootleg DVD, and now legit Blu-Ray).

The Gamera films are truly special films in the daikaiju sub-genre, largely because they are all legitimately great films that have the capacity to appeal to non-fans of Japanese monster movies.

Watching the Gamera movies progressively as they came out was one of the greatest film experiences of my youth.

I’d imagine it must have been akin to how young people feel watching every new Harry Potter film as they come out.

... And by the end of it all, it was assumed that the audience had "grown up" enough to watch Harry get fucked by a white horse and appreciate it as art...

I wouldn’t know though, being as I’ve never seen a Harry Potter movie, and unlike those fanboys, I wasn’t able to see Gamera in theaters.

Anyway, what I mean by the comparison, is that; like the Harry Potter series, the Gamera series “grew up” progressively.

The first was colorful and fun, with a simple, yet provocative storyline that served to draw us in.

If you can't appreciate this poster, then you and I probably wouldn't get along...

The second was a rollercoaster of action and suspense that felt more like a war movie than a monster movie at times.

That's a big bug...

The third was a very dark, yet gorgeous and thoughtful film that discarded much of the science and technobabble of the previous films, and effectively reinterpreted it into mystical terms.

ART.

While the complexity of the plot lines definitely grew as the series went on, as did the special effects budget; all 3 films are drastically different in tone and perspective, such that in the end, all of them have something special to offer.

The first is probably the most fun, and easily the most accessible, making it a great choice for non-kaiju fans.

The second is the fastest paced, and has hands down some of the best action sequences in kaiju history.

And the third, while very slow at times, serves to tie everything together, serving as a beautiful (and open-ended) conclusion for those that enjoyed the previous 2.

Before I sign off, there’s one thing I’d like to mention about the Gamera films, and that is that none of the movies would be half as good if not for their attention to detail, and insistence on showing much of the action from “street level.”

Probably half of the dialogue in the entire Gamera trilogy is delivered through faux news reports and radio chatter.

Given that the plots of these 3 movies involve giant monsters trashing major cities in Japan, it only makes sense that the airwaves would be crammed with reports on every move these terrible creatures make.

Honestly, you don’t notice it at first, as it’s quite seamless; but it makes a huge difference having a news anchor within a movie report on the death toll in their professional manner, rather than have Soldier A run into the command center and yell: “We just lost 50 men!”

Anyway, just a small observation that I felt needed mentioning.

Goodnight everyone, hopefully you’ll get more sleep than I’m about to!

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Jimminy Christmas! 10,000 Hits!?

Holy fucking shit.

10, THOUSAND hits?

Wasn’t it less than a month and a half ago that we were celebrating the 5,000 hit milestone?

I don’t know what’s changed, but in the past week or so has been nothing but peak day after peak day.

For whatever reason, the hits have come flooding in as of late, and for that, I am truly thankful.

To all who have stopped by from time to time, thanks a bunch.

With 10,000 hits (and change) now firmly under my belt, I feel I’ve reached an important turning point in the progression of this blog/writing project of mine.

By that I mean, it may be time to expand and do more than just write articles everyday.

Some of my coworkers suggested, and in fact offered to participate in the production of a podcast.

I know what you’re thinking:

“A multimedia Azn Badger’s blog?  Surely you must be crazy…”

Gary Busey: A Man All About "Crazy."

I’ve never done a podcast before, but I am sincerely intrigued by the prospect of making one, so expect streaming audio goodness in the near future.

In addition to this, my brother, upon hearing that I’d reached 10,000 hits, was quite adamant about me investing in my own website.

His feeling is that, now that I have a proven audience, and some degree of presence on the internet, I should take advantage and create a formal hub for all of my work.

Doing so would allow me greater flexibility, and domain hostings aren’t all that expensive, so I think I’m actually gonna’ do it.

It’ll take some time to get it looking/working right, and it’ll probably be a pain in the ass for a month or 2, but in the end I think it will be a good investment.

Anyway, no apologies this time, ’cause frankly I think I’ve done pretty well for myself the past 5,000 hits.

Thanks again for reading!

See yah’ tomorrow.

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Let’s Play Godzilla, Part VIII

Alright folks, we’ve finally reached the end of the 8-bit abortion that is Godzilla on the NES.

Sorry for the protracted nature of this post-subject, I didn’t realize how long and BORING the game was until I had already reached the point of no return

Oh well, live and learn I guess.

I think it goes without saying that you won’t be seeing a Let’s Play on the Azn Badger’s blog for quite some time…

I just finished reading DC’s Blackest Night and Marvel’s Siege, so hopefully I’ll be able to type up a little something about one or both of those major event comics!

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Let’s Play Godzilla, Part VII

Godzilla fatigue has officially settled in.

For real, I ran out of things to say on the subject more than a few days ago, but this game just WON’T FUCKING END.

*Ahem!* Anyway, after today we’ve only got one more stage to go.

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I’ll be to start writing about something else…

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Let’s Play Godzilla, Part VI

Yesterday we played through Uranus, and it was cake.

Today however, we’re movin’ on to Pluto, and believe me, it’s no cakewalk.

Seriously man, it’s long as fuck!

For real, it took me 3 videos this time man!

Anyway, plenty of rants about Mechagodzilla, Super X, and the various composers of the Godzilla series are featured below:


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Let’s Play Godzilla, Part V

The Godzilla Let’s Play madness continues!

Today we’re gonna’ be stompin’ our way across the planet Uranus!

It’s a short level, but regardless, we’re GONNA’ BURN SOME MUSCLE!!!*


*Brownie points to all the dorks out there that get the reference…

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Let’s Play Godzilla, Part IV

Well, this is embarassing…

Today I got to wake up to a malware attack on my computer.

Not only that, but I spent the better part of an afternoon trying to remove it.

To make matters worse, part of that fucker is still lingering in my computer, making it completely incapable of any sort of internet connection; wired or otherwise.

That being said, as Megatron so famously said in Transformers: The Movie, “WAIT, I STILL FUNCTIOOOOOOONNNNN!!!” so I went ahead and made my Let’s Play video for the day.

However, when I tried to upload said videos via both of my parent’s computers, I was met with a frustrating error message along the lines of:

“Uh, we don’t know what the fuck you did, but you better cut it out; ’cause like, your video’s totally fucked man.”

Anyway, sorry guys, no videos for tonight.

Don’t worry though, as soon as Youtube get’s it’s thumb out it’s ass, I’ll update this post and we’ll all pretend like nothing happened…

*UPDATED*

Haha! VICTORY!!!

No sooner had I given up for the evening did I find a way to kill Mr. Malware!

Not only that, but I tried Youtube again, and maybe it’s just my computer being less-sucky than my parent’s, but the videos uploaded without a hitch!

Check ’em out below:

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