Monday, February 27, 2012

Badass Box Art of the Week: Power Blade 2

Sometimes video game box art is so completely badass that it demands you purchase the game even though you may have never heard of the title or even play video games at all!  Only these boxes have earned the right to be honored with the title of  Badass Box Art of the Week!

I have no idea what this game is about, but after facing that stone cold glare I would be afraid not to buy this game out of fear of reprisal from the Power Blade!  I'm not even sure why this guy needs that insanely large and razor sharp boomerang, with arms like that he could throw a paper airplane straight through your grandma's face! I especially like how he has his hand resting on that freshly carved metal like someone said "Hey Power Blade guy! Could you please pose for a picture for your incredibly badass video game?" After which he promptly but cooly sliced that robot city completely in half.


Precious Wrestling Memories: The One Where RoboCop Rescues Sting from a Cage

RoboCop's prime directives:
1. Serve the public trust.
2. Protect the innocent.
3. Uphold the law.
4. Destroy the Four Horsemen.

                                                    "He's not intimidated, Bob!"


Friday, February 24, 2012

Poster Pitch #3: BMX Bandits

What can a poster tell you about a movie? What's it about? Does it make us want to see the movie? In Poster Pitch, we ignore everything we know about a movie and judge it solely based on the information presented within the boundaries of the poster.

Sometimes it's really unclear what a studio is trying to sell you. They want to sell movies to the broadest range of demographics to achieve a high box office gross, but sometimes when such a wide net is cast the intended audience is left confused and unsure of what to expect. The BMX Bandits poster is a great example of this.  

Clearly all the action is taking place in the center of this poster. There is a main image that is flanked on all sides by supplemental images. Perhaps the studio is hoping I will put this sequence together and decide that I would totally love to see this movie.

The picture in the upper left is clearly a guy on a sweet BMX bike flying out of a bush onto a sweet cherry red convertible. I have no idea why the BMXer decided to ambush this defenseless convertible, but we can only hope that he is going to execute a sweet flatland BMX routine when he lands, then ghost ride the bike through the windshield.

Moving over to the top right corner, if you squint really hard, you can see a terrified teenager fleeing from a horde of ravenous goblin creatures. If you squint really really hard it looks like a pack of werewolves. Since we all know werewolves don't hunt in packs, this theory is ridiculous! For whatever reason, this picture is the only one that doesn't feature a BMX bike. I am guessing he learned his lesson, and won't be forgetting his bike next time!

Dropping down to the lower right corner reveals an interesting scenario. It appears that some kind of rad dude on a BMX bike is jousting a pair of sharply dressed salesmen.

The final corner picture is self explanatory. Just a bunch of kids getting ready for the race. It could be that the other three dudes are on their way to this race and ran into a few "obstacles" along the way.

The center image is really in your face and over the top, featuring a young Nicole Kidman and two of her best BMX bros soaring away from a speeding car on their magical BMX bikes. This is the kind of thing I imagined I could do if only my parents had bought me that sweet Predator or Dyno bike when I was ten.

So apparently if you love ambushing convertibles, angry goblin creatures, jousting and flying on magical BMX bikes with your BFFs, this movie is for you! I enjoy at least three of those things so I better check this one out.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Top 5 Most Misleading NES Box Art: #4: Karnov

At first glance, this game's box art looks reasonably accurate. Circus strongman Karnov is featured in his natural habitat, a world of monsters and broken pillars, and he's wearing his trademark red puffy sultan pants.

However, when you look closer, inaccuracies are revealed. First, it's a very flattering rendering of Karnov. He's nowhere near as svelte as that. In real life, he's so heavy that his walking speed is slower than any other NES hero, and he lacks even the skill to fall forward when he's in mid-air. He just goes straight down.

The box art also neglects to depict the main gameplay element of Karnov: his magic ladder. Karnov will fight a dinosaur if he has to, but his chief interest in life is climbing ladders. How else is he going to see what's on top of all those broken pillars?

And was Karnov really an "ARCADE HIT!"?


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Can I Walk on That? #3: Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest

Top 5 Most Misleading NES Box Art: #5: Rocket Ranger

First off, don't be fooled. Bettie Page is not in this game. In fact, don't expect to see any women, much less one of the most beloved fashion icons of all time.

The box art makes you think you'll be flying through space, shooting casually to one side, while being totally unconcerned with the villains chasing you in their tricked-out, space-worthy Astro Van. In reality, Rocket Ranger is partly a poorly explained Choose Your Own Adventure book in which you can never seem to go where you want to, and partly a bizarre, non-rocket, Nazi boxing simulation, except not remotely as cool as that sounds.

And sure, the in-game graphics don't accurately represent Rocket Ranger's amazing tan, perfect hair, and bright white smile. But more importantly, this box art doesn't accurately represent the butt crack of his purple pants, which is what you'll spend all of the game's flying sections looking at.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Can I Walk on That? #1: Vice Project Doom

Precious Wrestling Memories: Pastamania Runs Wild at the Mall of America

At one point in history, Hulk Hogan was the proprietor of a pasta restaurant at the Mall of America. Watch as, in the same breath, he both extolls the virtues of Hulkaroos for growing young Hulkamaniacs, while promising to feed opponent Big Bubba a bowl as though it's a punishment.

Also: pasta keeps you slim!

Fun fact, the official Pastamania storefront awning survived the restaurant's demise and lived on the back of a warehouse in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis for several years. I used to ride bike past it to work every day, the memory of Hulkaroos giving me the energy to make it through the work day.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

This Is a Real Comic Book Character: Swarm

Imagine a man who stings your fist every time you punch him in the face.

Imagine a man who always knows what all the buzz is about.

Imagine a man who can sustain himself on a never-ending supply of honey.

You're imagining the ultimate Nazi superweapon: Swarm. He used to be a man, but now he's bees.

A white honey supremacist.

Fritz von Meyer was a mild-mannered Nazi scientist until one day he was eaten by a colony of bees. Then, I guess because each bee had a little bit of Fritz in its belly, he got the power to control the bees, turned them into a new body, put on a purple cloak, and embarked on a life of crime, which has been thwarted on a regular basis by Spider-Man, who often soaks his costume in Raid before doing battle with the villain.

Swarm later became an advocate for insect rights.


Top 5 Most Confusing NES Bosses: #1: Leaky Faucet

The leaky faucet is the third stage boss in Stinger.

Stinger is known for its insane bosses. And sure, it's weird when a slice of watermelon shoots deadly seeds at you or you're attacked by a bipolar octopus that's caught between the throes of mania and depression.

But the leaky faucet takes the cake, because not only is the faucet alive and desperate to destroy you with pink bubbles, it's also a homeowner's nightmare. Why does the spigot face up? What possible function could that serve? What kind of deranged mind could even conceive of such a useless kitchen fixture?

Truly confusing.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Top 5 Most Confusing NES Bosses: #2: Mad Monk

Mad Monk is the fifth stage boss in Kid Niki: Radical Ninja.

                                                              ATTA BOY!

Is he mad because you're trying to rescue your kidnapped girlfriend from the Stone Wizard?
Or is he mad because the Stone Wizard made him wear a pretty purple dress?


Monday, February 13, 2012

Top 5 Most Confusing NES Bosses: #3: The Mayor's Wife

The mayor's wife is the first stage boss in Skate or Die 2: The Search for Double Trouble.

Watch out for her deadly rolling pin attack!

Let's review the plot.
1. You run over the mayor's wife's poodle while skateboarding recklessly, killing it.
2. The mayor outlaws skateboarding. An overreaction? Probably. But can you blame him?
3. In retribution, you murder the mayor's wife, reuniting her with her beloved pet.

Skate or Die indeed.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Precious Wrestling Memories: BEHOLD! A Suspect Lesson in African History

Behold! The One-Man Gang as he undergoes a mid-life crisis and gets in touch with his African roots!
Behold! The embarrassingly stereotypical ritual of New York City's African tribe!
Behold! Akeem as he engages in the time-honored African tradition of... holding a ghetto blaster on his shoulder and spastically jabbing his hand at the invisible musical notes in the air.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Poster Pitch #2: Stunt Rock

What can a poster tell you about a movie? What's it about? Does it make us want to see the movie? In Poster Pitch, we ignore everything we know about a movie and judge it solely based on the information presented within the boundaries of the poster.

Take a moment and just drink in everything this poster is offering you. Take your time, drink it in, and then gaze into the gloriousness that is the Stunt Rock poster. This poster sold me on seeing this movie the very instant I laid eyes upon it. But for the sake of this post let's see if we can't dissect what exactly this poster is trying to tell us about Stunt Rock.

Let's start at the bottom of this testosterone-oozing one-sheet. Right on top of the title you have two ultra kickass muscle cars racing out of a white-hot explosion. Between the two cars there is a man apparently jumping from one car to the next. Why he's swapping rides is unknown, but my guess is that driving one car out a fireball just isn't badass enough so he needs to jump into another sweet ride at top speed. 

There's another man inside the inferno. What this man is up to is completely open to interpretation. It appears he is either riding a motorcycle completely engulfed in flames, or he has been shot from a cannon. Either way, there is no questioning the size of this mans balls. I am sure they are enormous and made of solid steel.  

On top of this stunt comes the rock portion of the poster! Clearly this rock 'n roll sex god is shredding a face melting solo that, for all we know, caused the explosion below. If that's not enough for you there appears to be some sort of warlock casting a heavy metal enchantment, +1 to shredding, onto the neck of the guitar. Now behind all of this there is a sorceress queen lurking about. Her lustful gaze is cast upon the rock god and his almighty magical axe.  

Just in case the stunt at the bottom of the poster wasn't enough to convince you that this film will destroy the fabric of your very existence there is another stunt happening at the top. A hang glider. A mother fucking hang glider! The badassery is now officially off the charts! To top it off, there's a gigantic skull back drop just to reinforce the fact that this film is full of death and danger.  

So what is this movie going to be about? Stupid fucking question! Will there be stunts? You better fucking believe it! Will there be rock? You can bet your meaningless life on it! What does magic have to do with anything? Fuck you for even asking that question!!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Top 5 Most Confusing NES Bosses: #4: The Water Elemental

The Water Elemental is the second stage boss in IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II. 

 The fun starts at 0:43.

In this terrible game, you control Fabio in the role of brave knight Kuros and battle against the four elementals, which are being controlled by the evil wizard Malkil. Sounds straightforward enough, right? But, while the most of the elementals take the form of logical things you can fight, such as a giant cloud head or a pool of angry magma, the Water Elemental is just a blue face on a wall with immaculately manscaped eyebrows and terrifying lips. 


Poster Pitch #1: Invasion U.S.A.

What can a poster tell you about a movie? Does it hint at the plot? Does it make us want to see the movie? In Poster Pitch, we ignore everything we know about a movie and judge it solely based on the information presented within the boundaries of the poster.

First up: Invasion U.S.A. 

Clearly the movie stars Chuck Norris. His name is even bigger than the title of the movie on this poster. So right off the bat my eyes go directly to the image of Chuck Norris wearing extremely tight jeans, a tucked-in, denim, cut-off shirt (unbuttoned all the way down) and two crazy shoulder machine gun slings. He is standing directly behind the title staring directly into the eyes of anyone looking at this poster, daring the viewer to buy a ticket to this film: "Do you have balls big enough to wear this much denim while firing machine guns at targets that I have no need to look at because I am to busy staring at your pussy face!"

Now I am going to have to assume that Norris is playing the hero, although the poster makes it look like the American Army is chasing him out of both Washington D.C. and New York City simultaneously. I base my assumption off of Chuck's track record of playing heroes. That leaves the invading force in question. So now the studio has one thing working for it. I am now curious about what or whom the invading force might be.  

The tagline on the poster reads, "No one thought it could happen here... America wasn't ready... But HE WAS." That line could be referring to the staggering amount of denim that Chuck is wearing. I wasn't ready for it and I certainly don't blame America for not being ready for it. But if one person is ready for anything, including an emerging trend in cut-off denim dress shirts, it would be Mr. Norris.

Another interpretation would be that it was in fact Chuck Norris who was ready for the supposed invasion. It appears that he was ready, because he is brandishing two very small and highly inaccurate machine guns which he is firing blindly in both directions as he stares purposefully forward.

After all of these possibilities what I think the studio wants you to take away from this poster is that Chuck Norris is a bad ass, denim clad, one man army capable of crushing any attempt at invading the U.S.A.! So buy a ticket and come see how he does it!! You win this time, studio. I am completely sold!


Top 5 Most Confusing NES Bosses: #5: Grumple Gromit

Grumple Gromit is the final boss of the co-op classic Bubble Bobble. 

Known in Japan as "Super Drunk," this boss takes up about 25% of the screen's real estate, throws empty bottles at you, and moves in a confusing, asymmetrical pattern that accurately mimics the challenge of trying to avoid real-life drunks in the bathroom of the Fargo Civic Memorial Auditorium.