My Legend of Zelda Master Quest, Part 2

In Part 1, I described the motivations behind what would become a goal of completing every console-based title[1] in the The Legend of Zelda series before the release of Skyward Sword the weekend before Thanksgiving. In this entry, I give a brief review of my experience playing each of these games.

The Legend of Zelda

Sitting down and playing the Legend of Zelda for the first time in 20 years was pure, concentrated joy. I was amazed at both how much I remembered and how little I remembered. I still remembered the location of every heart container, and the locations of all the hidden rupees. I had no trouble navigating inside the dungeons–the secret passageways and bomb-doors were all easily found without effort. However…what blew me away was how TERRIBLE I was at the game.

I got killed. Over and over and over. Continue reading

My Legend of Zelda Master Quest, Part 1

When I was a kid, like many others, I fell in love with the first Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). There were a number of titles that I played for hours and hours–Metroid, various Mario Bros games, Mike Tyson’s Punchout, Tecmo Bowl, to name a few. One game, though, has always held a special place in my heart that no other title has ever approached: The Legend of Zelda. I can’t honestly recall the first time I played Zelda, but I will never forget the seemingly endless fun I had exploring every aspect of a game which didn’t constrain me to time limits, forced side-scrolling, or plot/strategy linearity. Fearless, clever, able to carry an awesome array of weapons, tools, and gadgets, and decked out in all green, Link was always my favorite video game character. Continue reading

Stuck On a Deserted Island: Female Actor Edition

Round 3:  Same deal as before, but for female actors.

You’ve been banished to a desert island, never to return.  In addition to food and water to survive indefinitely, you’re allowed to take a device to watch TV/film with and the collected works of any single female actor, but no other media.

What film/TV library do you select?

Additional Rules:

  1. You can choose an actor who has been in movies, television shows, or both.
  2. Cameos in television count, but you only get the episodes including such cameos, not the entire series.
  3. Voice-over for animation roles count (Choose Joan Cusack, and you get to take Toy Story with you).
  4. Other non-acting roles do not count. For example, the fact that Oprah Winfrey has acted in some movies does not allow you take The Oprah Winfrey Show.

For me, this is a really difficult category, because my preferences in TV & movies are heavily oriented toward SciFi, where I’ve struggled to think of many women who have consistently been featured.  If I stick to that genre for my cues, it basically comes down to a choice between Sigourney Weaver and Milla Jovovich.  Although Weaver is great as Ripley, it’s just not enough in the end.

Expanding my preferences to SciFi’s sister genre of fantasy allows me to consider Cate Blanchett, given her turns in Lord of the Rings, as well as the upcoming Hobbit films which hopefully won’t suck. I also really like some of her other films, including Bandits for the needed comedy.  Still, a vast majority of Blanchett’s films are serious dramas, and I just don’t think I could maintain interest for the long haul.

After considering many others–Judi Dench, Julia Roberts, Katherine Hepburn–I finally found the winner: Continue reading

Stuck On a Deserted Island: Male Actor Edition

Round 2:  Same deal as before, but for male actors.

You’ve been banished to a desert island, never to return.  In addition to food and water to survive indefinitely, you’re allowed to take a device to watch TV/film with and the collected works of any single male actor, but no other media.

What film/TV library do you select?

Additional Rules:

  1. You can choose an actor who has been in movies, television shows, or both.
  2. Cameos count, but only for episodes, not series.  For example, if you choose Tom Selleck, then you get all of his films, Magnum P.I. (entire series), and the handful of episodes from Friends he was in, but not the entire Friends series.
  3. Voice-over for animation roles count (Choose Tom Hanks, and you would get to take Toy Story with you).
  4. Other non-acting roles do not count. For example, the fact that Tom Hanks is an actor does not allow you take Big Love.

My choice: Harrison Ford, in a walk.  The Star Wars Trilogy, Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, and that excellent turn he had in that one movie where he’s a washed up cop in Hollywood with an earring.  Er…hrm.  The only shortcoming is a sports-related film–I wish he had something akin to Field of Dreams to take with me to the island, but I’ll survive with Han Solo just fine.

Others I would consider if I couldn’t take Ford:

  • Bruce Willis (Die Hard, The Sixth Sense, Die Hard, Moonlighting, Unbreakable, Die Hard…and the episodes from Friends he was in.)
  • John Ratzenberger (The Empire Strikes Back, every Pixar offering, Cheers…)

Next time: Stuck On a Deserted Island: Female Actor Edition

Stuck On a Deserted Island: Music Edition

You’ve been banished to a desert island, never to return.  In addition to food and water to survive indefinitely, you’re allowed to take a device to play music with and the collected works of any single recording artist, but no other music.

What music library do you select?

Additional Rules:

  1. You can choose a solo artist or a group.
  2. If you choose a solo artist, you can also choose the songs written/performed by that artist as part of a group, but not vice versa. For example, if you choose Sammy Hagar, then you get any Van Halen albums he contributed to, but if you choose Van Halen, then you do not get Sammy Hagar’s solo albums.

My choice: It’s a clear win for the Beatles.  The sheer volume of songs, combined with the variety in styles as the band progressed from dance hits to psychedelic awesomeness, along with Paul’s granny music ballads, would make sure that I have tunes for all seasons.  I’m tempted to choose John Lennon instead, since I’d still get all of the Beatles, but also some of his solo works which I like, but then I find myself wanting some of Paul’s solo work, and I think it’s safer to stick with the duo.

The only other band I’d consider would be Depeche Mode, since they were my first non-family-influenced love.  In fact, if DM hadn’t royally sucked since Songs of Faith & Devotion, I might be persuaded.

Next time: Stuck On a Deserted Island: Actor Edition

John Lennon & The Beatles

I’m usually about the last person on Earth that someone in this community would think of to write a post commemorating the 30th anniversary of the death of one of the most celebrated musicians of all time. As a general rule, I’m just not very hip when it comes to music, regardless of the genre–I rarely listen to music, I haven’t purchased a CD in who knows how long, and even when I turn on the radio in the car or on the Internet, it’s usually only to follow a sporting event or catch a bit of news.  As such, it’s not obvious why the murder of John Lennon would weigh any more on my mind than the murder or premature death of any other celebrity or public figure. And yet it does.

I grew up in a home which was not particularly media friendly. We had one television, located in the family room, and it was used almost exclusively by my parents in the evenings: The Nightly Business Report (and later, the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour), Jeopardy! (dinner was eaten right after Final Jeopardy ended–almost like clockwork), LA Law (after the kids had gone to bed), and on Sunday evenings, Nature. We owned no movies, with the exceptions of a VHS tape of E.T. some cousins had given us for Christmas and a recording of The Empire Strikes Back, which eventually stopped working due to excess use.  My parents demonstrated virtually no interest in music when I was a child–we never listened to the radio, never attended any concerts, and never sang (to my best recollection). The only exception to this rule was a large, dusty stack of vinyl records in a largely-hidden corner of our basement, and an equally large and dusty record player situated near my father’s recliner by the pool table. Although there were a few other albums mixed in, virtually every record in the stack was by The Beatles. Continue reading

What Does That Even Mean? LOL edition

Earlier today, CNN.com published an article called “Three of the web’s most awkward phrases” and counted #, @, and LOL as the top offenders.  The arguments for these being difficult to translate into non-Internet conversational speak are generally persuasive, but the inclusion of LOL reminded me of a problem I’ve been vexed with for ages: Funny Hierarchies.

I’ve been confused for several years now about exactly how one indicates a humorous reaction in the online world–especially in IM conversations.  This is complicated by the fact that a) not all funny things are equally funny, and b) most people use multiple forms of laugh-indicators in online conversations, and I’m never sure as to their relative magnitudes.

Sometimes it’s easy: It’s certainly reasonable to assume that LOL > lol, and that ROTFLMAO > LOL.  However, what about Haha vs. HaHa? Or LOL vs. Hehe? How about a double (Heh Heh) against grammatically improper variants like lolz and Haaahahahhha?  I have come to believe that most of the humor indicators have some hierarchy in our respective minds, but I don’t think that these rankings are consistent across individuals.

Anyway, here is my far-from exhaustive Funny Hierarchy. Continue reading