LittleBig Planet (PS3)

In retrospect this was probably not the game to try out my new PS3 with. Back in 2010 I played the PSP game, and was thoroughly unimpressed with the crap controls that made you control Sackboy with the analog stick because letting you choose your character's facial expression was more important than having a sensible control option, the bland levels that were only hard because the physics engine that was a piece of shit salad with vomit dressing, and having to constantly fight to get Sackboy on the 2D plane I wanted him on. Well, the PS3 game is all that with a third plane thrown into the mess and Sixaxis head movement that leaves Sackboy staring at the ceiling most of the time because Sony doesn't understand how gamers hold controllers. Unlike the PSP game I did actually poke around the level creator, but only bothered with it long enough to make a Cthulhu and throw in a Fire-Breathing Cat.


Another World (PC)

I guess I liked this a bit more than Flying Omelette did, although I'll agree that calling it "the most important European game ever released" is a huge stretch. I'll accept that it might be the most important French game ever released (if only because the only other French games I'm aware are whatever Ubisoft puts out), but do you really expect me to believe this is more important than Goldeneye (British), or Lemmings (Scottish)? Show me a Discworld where Terry Pratchett referenced Another World.

Ignoring that kind of idiocy and focusing on the game itself, Another World is a fairly decent adventure platformer, but its first half is a lot stronger than its second. It starts with Lester having a freak accident and getting teleported to an alien world where everything is trying to kill him in terrifying ways, but you get out of the caves you spend the rest of the game having shootouts with guards in the city. And Lester would be extra fucked in real life, because some parts can only be gotten through by trial and error, and its unclear what many switches even do until you've already tried them, probably incorrectly and wind up having to kill Lester and try again.

But while I'm still casting my vote for NIER for worst ending of the year, Another World's ending comes out of nowhere and gives no closure whatsoever. Eric Chahi says he intentionally left the ending open ended and vague so the player could draw their own conclusion, and my conclusion is that he couldn't decide if he wanted Lester to die or not, and left the decision up to the player.

Another World also reminded me a lot of the Shadow of the Beast games - the otherworldly atmosphere, the control scheme, and the puzzles that trap you if you did them out of order, but at least Another World doesn't make you restart the entire game every time you die, which would have made that fight with the two guards after Buddy throws you onto an awning a real laugh. I thought this game inspired them, but then I discovered Beast 1 was released two years before Another World. But it took Chahi two years to develop Another World, so maybe the similarities were a coincidence.


Captain America: The First Avenger, with RiffTrax Audio (PG-13)

I was originally going to watch the RiffTrax version of Thor since I'd seen the movie less recently, but wound up watching Captain America because Thor wasn't RiffPlayer compatible and I wasn't in the mood to manually sync the movies. But while I thought the original movie was more corny than as bad as the commenters make it out to be, this was still a fun romp. But really, they didn't comment on the cue cards on the shield? Or the fact that Howard Starks fashioned all the Vibranium in the known world into a shield before he knew Steve was going to use it?

I didn't notice on the first viewing that, to get Steve to look smaller before he gets the serum, they used perspective tricks like in the Lord of the Rings series. But the effect is really inconsistent, and it's most noticeable when he's in the car with his lady friend, where he looks like he's four feet tall when the camera is on the woman's side, and pretty average sized when the camera is on his. I also missed that the final scene was a callback to the chase scene after the serum injection.


Bob's Burgers: The Complete First Season (DVD)

The score is tentative, because this seems like the kind of show you have to watch more than once to get the most out of it. And this being the first season it has its share of rough spots, mainly that the humor could be a bit crude for my liking, but I guess without the the anus paintings we wouldn't have had Gene spanking the monkey and Linda's Dumbo-inspired animal butt nightmare. Gene's hyperactive stupidity and Louise's scheming brattiness walked a very fine line between hilarious and annoying, and while they usually stayed on the side of entertaining, Gene moreso, Louise completely crossed it in the bed and breakfast episode.

But there's still plenty of hilarity, like Tina getting stage fright on the phone while calling 911, Gene showing up a bully by imitating a spaghetti western with his sister's guitar, and while I really didn't care for the episode with the Fabio-type teaching the bad dance class, there was that scene with him talking to Bob in the restaurant while Bob tries to ignore Louise put knives on the table.

Also, when people were first talking about this show it confused the hell out of me, because there's actually a restaurant called "Bob's Burgers" in my home town. It's across the street from an adult bookstore. Go figure.


Super Mario 3D Land (3DS, E)

I guess my test run with the 3DS I got for Christmas went better than my PS3's did, but not by much. Super Mario 3D Land was more interested in showing off the 3D than challenging or in any way engaging as a video game. Part of its stunning lack of challenge may have been the raccoon tail letting you float over the game's trickier jumps, but even when I didn't have it I blew through most of the levels on my first try, and the only one I died more than three or four times in was that one with the buzzsaws slicing off chunks of the stage. I even beat the final boss on my first try, and then long-jumped myself off the stage trying to grab the end flag pole as high as I could. Other times, most of my trouble was caused by the Nintendo thinking the 3D was an acceptable substitute to camera angles that let you know what the hell you were doing. And while I'm not of the mindset that life systems are obsolete remnants of a bygone era, is it really worth having one when you're going to sprinkle your game with so many one-ups and coins that you end the game with over 150 extra lives?

Regarding the 3D effect, I couldn't play the game with it turned more than halfway up without getting sick. And even then it screwed up my vision, as after playing it for a while I'd get on the computer and the text would look like it was floating in front of the background. Apparently, this isn't uncommon.


My Fellow Americans (PG-13)

Man, with all the swearing and sex jokes I totally had this movie down for an R rating, but then I looked at the box and lo and behold it's PG-13. But whatever, My Fellow Americans stars James Garner and Jack Lemmon as two former presidents who make no attempt to hide their contempt for each other caught in the middle of a government scandal and having to stave off getting killed by government hitmen and each other long enough to expose the truth, with the help from various American citizens and a huge helping of dumb luck. If you're noticing that sounds a bit Odd Couple-sy and one of the main characters is Jack Lemmon, you might also like to know Garner gets his nod with a parody of the train scene from The Great Escape.

I originally watched this back in September, and while I didn't laugh quite as much this time as I did then I at least understood the plot better. I'm also glad I rewatched it because I'd forgotten about Lemmon calling the White House cook's goat cheese pizza "a wet dream with a crust" because Garner's reaction is pretty much what phrases like "I invented rain" and "eargasm" make me feel. Being a comedy I can accept the reality straining of the CIA always showing up where the two are, the Long John Silver mascot landing exactly where he needs to, and the identity of the sniper at the end of the film, but what I do have trouble with is that scene with two arguing with the homeless couple. It comes back to Garner's "they didn't vote for me so let them freeze" comment at the beginning of the movie, but watching the main characters sling insults at the people giving them a ride while the family takes on a "it's our car, and we'll say whatever innaccurate claptrap we want" attitude is both really painful to watch, and just awkward in a comedy. Also, if it was weird to see Bill Murray with a machine gun in Stripes, it's weird to see Dan Akroyd as the villain here (or maybe I should say a villain, since the movie has at least three, maybe four).