Tune in tomorrow!

As part of our ongoing campaign to promote our One Love for Chi fundraiser and Blogathon, Chris and I will be on local internet/radio show, Central Valley Buzz tomorrow.

We will be discussing World of Meh!, One Love for Chi, Blogathon, and even our fantastic prizes. On their site, they have a chat box so you can even talk to us and possibly get a mention on air! To watch us make complete fools of ourselves online, tune in for when we come on around 5 pm PST, and we might be doing some giveaways.

Catch us live, tomorrow, here.

- Me

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How to Train Your Dragon

When I first heard the title to the recent DreamWorks movie How to Train Your Dragon, I thought, “Oh, great!  I could always use a little more dexterity and performance out of my ‘dragon’!”  Unfortunately, as trailers started hitting the Internet, I discovered that this was a movie of quite a different sort.  I still wanted to give it a chance, but I didn’t get around to it until this past Saturday.

I had wanted to see the movie in 3D, as word was the effects were phenomenal.  Various circumstances prevented us from being able to see it in its main theatrical run, however.  This brings us to last Saturday.  Saturday rolled around, and we had nothing much to do.  I asked my dear wife if she would like to watch a movie.  She responded inquiring if I would like to see How to Train Your Dragon.  I looked up the showtimes at our local post-run theater ($3.00 for big-screen movies just after they finish their main runs), and saw that one was showing in about 40 minutes.  We jumped up, got ready, and headed across town for the 6:50pm showing.  We got there right on time, walked in, and sat down.  It’s an older theater, so no stadium seating, which was quite a throwback.

The movie started off very well.  The setting, characters, premise, etc. were all introduced cleanly, efficiently, and well.  There wasn’t a point where this movie dragged.  The story flowed from beginning to end in much the same way that chocolate pudding flowed from my ass this morning (I’m home sick, by the way).  The character designs were wonderful.  The voice acting and character interactions were superb.  Everything about this movie, in my opinion, was top-notch.

The real star of the movie was the “Night Fury” dragon, Toothless.  Toothless is not actually toothless.  He does, in fact, have teeth.  They are sharp teeth.  He is named Toothless because his teeth are retractable, and when they are retracted he looks…wait for it…waaaait for iiiiit…Toothless.  When he is introduced, he is an invisible terror to the Viking community.  The young hero (read as: nerdy Viking who doesn’t seem to have a shred of real Viking in him) manages to bring it down, a feat which none of his fellow Vikings believe.  As the story continues, and Toothless and Hiccup, the aforementioned “young hero”,  become friends.  Blah, blah, blah, shit happens, the story progresses, and the movie ends.  I’m not going to summarize the entire movie for you.  The point of this paragraph is that Toothless is awesome.

The animation was excellent for a DreamWorks movie.  I am a bigger fan of Pixar animation, but How to Train Your Dragon is an excellent example of what DreamWorks can do when they really put their minds to it.  How to Train Your Dragon has become the highest-grossing DreamWorks film that isn’t a Shrek film, and it has a 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  To put it plainly, I enjoyed this movie a great deal, and suspect that it will be a favorite for many years to come, much like The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, movies which I do not feel uncomfortable mentioning in the same sentence as How to Train Your Dragon.

Go watch this movie.  If you don’t have it available in any theaters in your area anymore, wait for it to come out on DVD or Blu-Ray and buy it.

-[insert CHOCOLATE PUDDING! here]

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Blockbuster Used Game Deals

Back when Chris and I went to rent LEGO Harry Potter, the guy at Blockbuster told us about some used games he had behind the counter. All were for Xbox 360, and the prices were fantastic!

The games, which were all $6.99, came in a generic semi-frosted clear case, but no box art, and no booklet. At first, it seemed like all titles were various sports games, but then Assassins Creed II and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed appeared. CHA-CHING! We asked to look at both discs, and they were perfect. Not a scratch on them, and they weren’t refurbished. Instead of spending a little over $60.00 retail on both games brand new, we were able to get them for a few cents over $15.00 - all because they didn’t come with box art and a booklet.

Knowing about this fantastic deal, Chris started to hit up other local Blockbuster store locations on his way home from work, and we got the first Assassins Creed and BioShock for $6.99. Four great Xbox 360 games for less than $30.50 after tax. What a damn bargain! During one of his excursions, Chris game across Splinter Cell: Conviction, but it was priced $34.99 because it came with the booklet. Massive price jump all because of a booklet? Completely ridiculous, so we’ll have to wait on Sam Fisher.

Last week, Chris found a website where gamers who are big into design created mock box art, shockingly similar to the final retail product, so at work he printed out covers for Assassins Creed II and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Bargain, bargain, bargain!!!

So, are you low on funds, but want some good titles? Check out your local Blockbuster because not only do they have these great deals on 360 games, but they also had PS3 and Wii games to choose from. We aren’t too sure about the pricing for them, but it will still be significantly less than retail!

Happy hunting!

- Me

Like helping others and earning a shot at winning some great prizes by Activision, EA, and others in the process? Check out our One Love for Chi fundraiser and spread the word!

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Edward Norton dropped from ‘Avengers’

Well, this isn’t good news! Per an official statement from Marvel Studios, Edward Norton has been dropped from reprising his role as Dr. Bruce Banner in the upcoming Avengers movie.

Marvel Studios President of Production, Kevin Feige, said in the statement:

“Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members. The Avengers demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble, as evidenced by Robert, Chris H., Chris E., Sam, Scarlett, and all of our talented casts. We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfills these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks.”

So according to them, it’s not about the money or his talent, because Edward Norton isn’t enough of a ‘team player’. I’m sure that’s going to go over well with him.

Last year, it was said that Norton wasn’t looking to revisit the Hulk, due to issues he had while making The Incredible Hulk. Apparently, Norton edited a lot of the script himself, but at the end of the day, the Writers Guild of America decided to give all of the credit to Zak Penn, saying that Norton’s changes didn’t drastically alter the script. In March of 2010, Norton sat down with SuperHeroHype, and things sounded like they were on the up and up. Apparently not.

Now, in just a short time span, fans of the Marvel universe will have to deal with not one (Eric Bana), not two (Norton), but three actors portraying Banner. I think it’s too much, because when you really think of it, with the section of time they are going for (and if my memory serves me correct), The Avengers don’t meet Banner himself: it’s the Hulk who is a main antagonist.

In my opinion, Marvel is making a huge mistake. If you’ve seen The Incredible Hulk, Norton delivers a solid performance, and when you look at his body of work (Fight Club, American History X, The Illusionist, Rounders, Death to Smoochy, The Score, etc) he obviously works well with others, and is a phenomenal actor.

Will this make me want to not see The Avengers? I can’t say. Am I thrilled about the addition of Scarlett Johansson, who did a piss poor job of accurately portraying Black Widow, and Chris Evans as Captain America? No, not really. Odds are, I’ll probably see the movie anyways, and when I see the Hulk finally grace the screen, I’ll be wishing it were Norton instead.

- Me

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Vote for World of Meh!

Dear Readers: We need you!

World of Meh! is currently in the running to test out a Nintendo 3DS before anybody else. Of course, it’s all for review purposes, but we need your votes!

In order to be eligible for the Nintendo 3DS Preview Program, we have to obtain a minimum of 50 votes, and I know for a fact that there are well over 50 people who read our site. So please, go and vote for World of Meh!

Props to Nintendo 3DS UK for giving bloggers and gaming sites this opportunity!

- Me

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Civilization V Special Edition

I like special editions.  I like the Civilization series.  With that in mind, surely you can imagine the fanboy squeal that escaped my mouth this morning when I heard that Civilization V will have a Special Edition. It went something like, “eee!” (I am at work, so I had to restrain myself somewhat).

Unfortunately, we don’t have any pictures of the special edition and it’s goodies yet, but we do have a list of what to expect:

  • 5 metal figurines of in-game units manufactured by Reaper Miniatures
  • 2-disc CD soundtrack of game music
  • “Behind the Scenes at Firaxis on Civilization V”, a making-of documentary DVD
  • 176-page hardcover art book

I don’t know what it will cost in the US, but it’s expected to cost £59.99 in the UK.  The regular edition in the US is $49.99, so hopefully the special edition doesn’t top $69.99.

Who am I kidding, I’ll probably buy it anyway.


Civilization V Special Edition will retail for $99.99 (holy shit).

-[insert GLOBAL DOMINATION here]

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Deftones Diamond Eyes

I have been a fan of Deftones for over ten years now. I was introduced to them by My Own Summer (Shove It), Back To School (Mini Maggit) & Change (In The House Of Flies) being played on the radio, but the day I decided to buy White Pony was the day after I saw them open for Godsmack in 2001 (my first concert no less).

The band, Chino in particular, has since then had a major influence in my musical outputs. Each of their albums was filled with beauty, aggression, enigmatic imagery, and each album showed a musical progression. Diamond Eyes is no different. The album is definitely a treat for fans of the “old school” Deftones as tracks like the lead single Rocket Skates & the brutal CMMD/CTRL serve you an ass kicking with vintage Around The Fur flavor. Other tracks like Prince & Sextape sound at home in the White Pony era. The album as a whole kicks it like they used while mixing it up with styles from every era all while managing to stay fresh.

Now there is a downside. Diamond Eyes is great album but it’s not the album we were going to have at first. The band was working on Eros,an album that Chino stated was closer to White Pony, when tragedy struck. As many know Chi Cheng was in an automobile accident in November of 2008 leaving him comatose for months, and he is now in a semi-conscious state. Opting to not give up, the band stepped up to the plate & recruited Sergio Vega (who has filled in for Chi before) and put Eros on indefinite hold. The result is an amazing sonic assault that was birthed out of a tragic situation.

I will be seeing Deftones live in August so expect a concert review then. Also please check out the website www.oneloveforchi.com for updates on Chi’s progress, and should you want to donate to help out the Cheng’s with medical expenses, World of Meh! is currently having a charity fundraiser to help them out, along with chances to win fantastic prizes. For all the details, check out this article here.

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Video Game Tattoos: Yay or Nay?

At some point in life, everybody considers getting a tattoo whether they want to admit it or not. Some go through with it, while others choose not to for various reasons.

I have three tattoos, all on my back so I can easily hide them if I need to, and I’m not really too sure if I will get another one. Neither of them hurt, so it’s not that. I guess it has to do with the fact that I’m not getting any younger, nor is my skin. Having elderly family members with visible, wrinkly tattoos has made me realize that what looks good now could look like complete shit in the next 30+ years.

The second tattoo I got I somewhat regret, but not the meaning behind it. A person dear to me had passed away the year before and he was Japanese. So, I went into a tattoo shop with the Japanese kanji symbol for ‘ten’ which translates into Heaven. It also is the same symbol that can be found on the back of Akuma, who is my favorite Street Fighter character. Having that tattoo was a simple decision, because I wanted it for all the right reasons. What I regret is letting the ‘artist’ add his version of wind bars around it, thus ruining the tattoo as a whole. I’ve thought about getting that portion of it covered up, but not only would it be expensive, it would end up being a pretty large tattoo. Oh, I also thought it would be a pretty unique, but not only does this former stalker of mine have it in the same place I do, but an ex-boyfriend got it on his upper arm knowing that I had it. Joy.

Chris has no tattoos, although he has expressed interest in potentially getting one. One idea of his (in which I think it’s ridiculous, and will result in him regretting it) is having Pac-Man on his upper arm with the pellets wrapping around it. It just wouldn’t look good, but hey, it’s not my skin.

There are some wonderfully executed video game tattoos out there, and, of course, some really stupid ones. Let’s take a look at the good:

The Nurses in Silent Hill are creepy as Hell, and the tattoo itself is fantastic. Done by Luke O’Donnell at Art and Soul in Whangarei, New Zealand.

From the popular Xbox Live Arcade game, Castle Crashers. Artist is unknown.

And finally, a piranha plant from the Mario series. While I personally wouldn’t get a tattoo in that location, it’s fucking gorgeous, and that had to hurt like a son of a bitch. Props to evethedemoness on LiveJournal for being able to sit through all of that. Her artist was Elize Casarjian from The Painted Bird Tattoo in Somerville, MA.

Now… on to the bad:

I can’t imagine why on Earth somebody would ever think that was a good idea, and I have to assume it was a painful session. How do you explain to the person you’re sleeping with that you have Pac-Man on your ass?

Everything about this is wrong from the hair to the creepy sideburn things. If this Ryu tattoo were placed somewhere else, and not on his ass either, it could be pretty cool.The hands just look a little off…

Excitebike. I loved it on the NES just as much as the next person, but clearly not enough to get it tattooed smack dab in the middle of my back.

So, dear readers, do you have any tattoos? If so, are they video game related or inspired? If you do, and want to share, put them in a comment down below, or feel free to email them to: [email protected] and we can feature them in an upcoming article. I promise I’ll be gentle :)

- Me

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LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 360 Review

Last Friday, Chris and I rented the recent title to hit the LEGO video game franchise, LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4. I guess you could say I’m a fan of the LEGO game series. I played through LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy for regular Xbox, and then we got LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga for the 360. Months ago we rented LEGO Batman, but weren’t impressed.

Prior to renting the game, I downloaded the 360 demo and was blown away. Many of the complaints I had about the LEGO series were taken care of, and when we played split-screen, it was perfect. Knowing that, renting the game was a no-brainer. Chris and I played through a bit of the first year together, but the rest of the time I played through by myself, since almost all of the achievements can only be received in single player.

Like the rest of the LEGO games, they throw in the humor, and there were times where I couldn’t help but burst out laughing because some of the stuff was so funny. I will say that there were a rather large amount of semi-naked wizards in this game, so what’s up with that? In the dorm at Hogwarts, you blast the pants off of one, in a shop off of Diagon Alley you open a dressing room to see another pantsless wizard, and I believe I saw a couple more instances. Also, when you get to year 4, and it’s the part where Harry has to swim and save his friends, the way they did the bathing suits was rather odd. Due to the LEGO shape, the bathing suit bottoms look like a cross between a thong and a mawashi, the undergarment sumo wrestlers wear. Awkward nudity, and creepy wizards aside, everything else was great.

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In terms of gameplay, LEGO Harry Potter is significantly better than any other game in the series. This time around I was able to aim with my wand, select multiple targets to hit, and there was even an RPG feel with how you obtain new spells. One problem I ran into was this: in LEGO Star Wars, the other characters in your party would still attack. In Harry Potter, you could be in a boss battle, and Hermoine would be just standing there, being completely useless. It was rather frustrating because having some form of assistance would’ve been nice, and could’ve created a much needed diversion.

Content wise, this game is so much longer than any other LEGO game I’ve played. I was surprised with how long each year was, with the exception of year four, and in between the actual ‘levels’ there was a lot to do. Sure sometimes it felt like you were running back and forth a lot, but you have to keep in mind that almost everything occurs in Hogwarts, or around it. There are over 160 unlockable characters, and 250 gold bricks to obtain. By completing each level, and by getting True Wizard in a level, you get a gold brick for each. In addition to the numerous red bricks you have to track down, a new feature is saving students who are in perilous situations, earning gold bricks by doing so, and finding all the pieces to create 24 crests. When I completed the game, I think I had over 80 gold bricks, 5 red bricks in addition to what I started with, a good chunk of the students saved, and over 60 characters unlocked. I was never able to assemble one crest, and that’s because you have to go back once you’ve completed the entire game and replay the levels. Even though I had found all of those items, and performed all of those tasks, I don’t believe I passed 50% completion of the entire game. It’s seriously that long, and contains that much content.

On top of everything you can do at Hogwarts, there are also bonus levels to complete. The few that I played were really fun, and ways to earn a large amount of sprockets (my name for those coins you collect), and gold bricks. You can even go into this game mode known as LEGO Builder and create levels you can later on destroy. It’s seriously a lot of fun, and if you have children, it’s a great way to prolong their interest in the game. Instead of having a ‘Cantina’ or small space to purchase extras, your base is now the Leaky Cauldron. On the main floor you can select which level you want to replay, and upstairs you can watch cinematics again. Out the back you are on Diagon Alley, and have access to the different shops where you purchase your add-ons. By continuing down the road, that’s where you can play the bonus levels and do the LEGO Builder content.

Graphically it’s just about the same as the other LEGO games, but they seemed a little better. I suppose you could say it looked more polished. The controls were simple, although there was a problem I kept having. With your multiple spells, you can either cycle through them using the left/right bumper buttons, or you can use the Y button. Problem with that is that when you press Y, you switch playable characters, so there were times where I meant to switch a spell, but I accidentally tapped the Y button instead of holding it to bring up the radial menu. In terms of audio, the game is practically flawless. The sound effects are great, and the tracks themselves are brilliantly done. It’s the traditional Harry Potter soundtrack, so what more could you ask for?

All in all, LEGO Harry Potter was an incredibly delightful experience. It was a game I didn’t want to put down, a game where I can’t wait for the final years, and a game that I have to own because obtaining that 100% is a must!

It’s easily a 9 out of 10.

- Me

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Dragon Age 2

Back in 2009, BioWare released a game called Dragon Age: Origins.  Since that time, it has been enhanced with four playable DLC packs and a full on expansion pack (not in that order).  Come to think of it, we may have mentioned them before.  Today, BioWare announced Dragon Age 2, coming to us sometime in March 2011.

Dragon Age 2 introduces a new character to the Dragon Age world: Hawke.  From the press release:

Dragon Age 2 thrusts players into the role of Hawke, a penniless refugee who rises to power to become the single most important character in the world of Dragon Age. Known to be a survivor of the Blight and the Champion of Kirkwall, the legend around Hawke’s rise to power is shrouded in myth and rumor. Featuring an all-new story spanning 10 years, players will help tell that tale by making tough moral choices, gathering the deadliest of allies, amassing fame and fortune, and sealing their place in history. The way you play will write the story of how the world is changed forever.

The first thing that stands out in that statement is the assertion that Hawke will become the “single most important character in the world of Dragon Age.”  Dragon Age 2 Executive Producer Mark Darrah includes:

With Dragon Age 2 we are creating an exciting new entry point into the Dragon Age universe while ensuring that fans of the original game retain a sense of satisfaction and familiarity in the world. We are amplifying the things that made Dragon Age: Origins such a huge success while introducing a more dynamic combat system, improving the graphics, and telling the most important story in our world.

Again with the “most important” bit.  Did my Dragon Age: Origins character (Magnus Aeducan) not take the time out of his day to defeat the Archdemon and end the Blight?  Did Magnus not expose Loghain’s corruption and restore King Maric’s blood to the throne of Ferelden in the person of Alistair?  Did Magnus not bang the shit out of Morrigan then dump her for Leliana, while having a little strange fun on the side with Zevran?  How quickly his efforts are forgotten!

I’m very happy that Dragon Age 2 has been announced.  I had hoped that it would somehow continue the story of Dragon Age: Origins, or allow me to import my character and continue (because Magnus Aeducan is a fucking badass), but it seems this is not the case.  Well, maybe I’ll just create a new dwarf named Magnus and pretend it’s the same one.  Wait, that’s right, I can’t.  Dragon Age 2 provides the player with Hawke, the pre-made lead character.  Hawke is human, Hawke is Hawke.  You can choose to play Hawke as male or female, but not as dwarf or elf.  A large chunk of character creation and connection has disappeared.  I can understand that boxing the player in to a single character like this allows the game to reference the character by name, but I don’t think that name-recognition is enough of a trade-off to give away character creation.  Part of what I love about role-playing games is the ability to choose which role I want to play.  While I’m sure I’ll still be able to choose my class in Dragon Age 2, I no longer have the option of playing as a Dwarf or balancing different race bonuses against each other when determining my character’s stats.  One of the most intimate, creative, and meaningful parts of a role-playing game has been taken away from me with Dragon Age 2.

Improved graphics are almost always worthy of a high-five.  The Dragon Age 2 website, however, also mentions a change to the visual style of the game as well.  I liked the style of Dragon Age: Origins.  I may very well love the style of Dragon Age 2, but I’d rather have the style I know I like than a style I may love or may hate.  The dynamic combat system also worries me.  According to the Dragon Age 2 website, players will be able to “Think like a general and fight like a Spartan with dynamic new combat mechanics that put you right in the heart of battle whether you are a mage, rogue, or warrior.”  Again, I may love the changes to the combat mechanics, but until I actually experience them, it still worries me.  I enjoyed Dragon Age: Origins immensely, visually and functionally.  I worry that making radical changes could ruin a wonderful game.

I like the scope of the game.  A ten-year timespan allows for a great deal of long-term development of characters and plots.  New areas of the Dragon Age world will provide a familiar, yet new setting for the story to take place in.  Improved graphics are almost always welcome.  Incremental improvements to both form and function are almost mandatory for game sequels.  Name recognition caused by a static lead character will make the game seem more polished and complete.

I dislike being pigeonholed into the character of Hawke.  Taking away my ability to really create my character takes away some of my connection to the character.  Improved form and function could help the game transcend the experience of the first game, but it could also drive away fans if the changes are too extreme.  I worry about Dragon Age 2.

And in March 2011, be on the lookout for the review, which will almost undoubtedly be positive, proving my fears wrong.

-[insert PIGEON CRAP here]

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