Ys V: Kefin, Lost Kingdom of Sand (SNES via Flash Cart)

I played the original version of the game, mainly because I didn't know if the Expert version was compatible with the fan translation patch. And it's not hard to see why Falcom released the Expert version. I don't think I died after the jellyfish boss, and I beat the last few bosses by tanking their attacks (the final boss was especially pathetic). At least it has some pretty visuals in the vein of Chrono Trigger.

Sadly, the biggest impression the game left on me was what a fucking mess the story was. On the surface, it's a retelling of the first two games' plot with the goddesses taken out and "cleria" replaced with "alchemy" - red-headed hero arrives in a foreign land where he finds himself collecting six macguffins to open the way to a lost city that was cut off from the rest of the world when the power it gained from a black orb started to wreak havok, and when he gets there he finds people are being constantly sacrified to said orb through a ritual that involves a tolling bell, and there's even set pieces reminiscent of illness and the water canal in Ys 2.

Beneath that is a convoluted headache. I could barely figure out what was going on with that wizard, and why Adol could use his bracelet without losing his humanity like the wizard did. Most of the time it just has ADD. At the very beginning of the game, you're trying to find a girl and the leads take you this cave, but the townsfolk won't let you in because they're superstitious about red hair. You wander around town, and a woman will tell you that this one boy can help you inside. So I think "Oh, so this guy'll dye my hair, I guess?" When I find the boy, he says he can help, but he needs to finish cleaning a statue of the town's mayor and nobody gave him a brush. So I think "Oookay, do I shave my head and make a brush with Adol's hair?" Then I leave the screen with the kid and the statue, and find the townspeople crowded around a wounded man who says he and the girl were ambushed by monsters, and since nobody else in the town has any fighting experience they let Adol in anyway. Seriously, what the hell?

Later on there's a bit where Adol is fleeing a collapsing building with a family of thieves, and a bridge collapses under Adol and the daughter, Terra (who apparently comes back in Ys VI) separating them from the others... then after a brief cutscene where Adol saves Terra from a monster, the screen fades to black and Adol and Terra magically show up at the house her family is in. There's also a major WTF at the end where the game can't decide what will happen to certain characters if they don't escape Kefin before it crumbles, but to elaborate on that would just be too wordy for this quickie.


Gone Home (PC, T)

Yeah, I'm in the group of people who don't really care for this game (and whose reaction to the ending was "Are you shitting me?"). It started out alright, but eventually I mapped out the house and missed the scrap of paper that detailed the hidden panels, and just stopped giving a shit. I know it's a fucking around simulator and the goal is to take your time and explore every nook and cranny, but you know what? Maybe it's just because this game gave me a splitting headache, but I didn't want to be in the house any longer. If I want to rummage through papers and SNES games, I can do that in my own house.


Prometheus (R)

I guess there's really not a lot I can add to the flak this movie's already gotten from the rest of the Internet regarding what an incomprehensible mess the story is, or what a bunch of morons the characters all were, or its inability to decide if it's an Alien prequel or an unrelated mishmash of horror set pieces. I don't see a lot of comments about how the movie seems to end four times, though, something that caused me to eventually shout "Would you fucking pick an ending already?" at the screen.

I'd also like to raise some questions about the life cycles of the quasi-Xenomorphs in this film. So, they start off as black goo, which has to be ingested by a human male (who goes on to become a zombie), who then has to have sex with a human female to create a baby facehugger (which I assume is also a chestburster, or maybe a wombburster), which then has to grow into a giant facehugger, which then has to attach itself to a host, which it finally erupts from as a fully grown quasi-Xenomorph. TOTALLY NOT OVER-COMPLICATING THINGS, SPACE ENGINEERS.


Space Jam (PG)

I'm not sure who was crying out for a Bugs Bunny/Michael Jordan crossover prior to this movie, but they got their wish. I've gotten a little too cynical in my years for a "you can do anything if you really want to, because the magic is in you" message, and it's a bit weird in this movie when the nerdlocks obviously stole the talent out of five basketball players, who (as far as they know) only got it back from a magic basketball. 'Course, you could also imagine the movie as a biting satire on Michael Jordan's decision to abandon basketball for something he wasn't really into, which becomes a bit more realistic.

Strangely, some of the CGI would come across as laughably dated in any other movie, but manages to fit in pretty well here. The humor can be a bit hit or miss depending on when the movie's trying to make an actual joke like the Dan Akroyd comment and when it's just having the Looney Tunes being "wacky".

(Am I having trouble writing this quickie? You decide.)