“Every Dollar a Vote” and other reasons why I don’t like Metroid

Sorry about the long post. I tend to ramble about things like this.

So, Friday of last week, Nintendo released the latest installment of their great and grand Metroid franchise, Metroid: Samus Returns.


A Metroid. Not Samus, just to clarify. (credit: Metroid Wiki)

Now, before I go into my opinions on the franchise, I am going to say that I haven’t really played any of the Metroid games, mostly for lack of trying. The only one I’ve played was Metroid Prime 3 for the Wii. And I didn’t play it to completion. I got to the second world and got bored with the backtracking.

That said, I really don’t like Metroid.

“Silly Isaac,” I hear you commenting, “you can’t hate on a game you haven’t played.” True, true. My opinions against Metroid are unfair and based on second-hand information. But I like to stay where I am with the games, so I can look at them from an outside perspective.

My reasons for disliking Metroid are threefold. First, my one experience with the games was, simply-put, boring. Sure, it was bright and colorful, and occasionally, there would be a boss battle to spice things up, but beyond that, it was boring. Then again, Metroid Prime is a first-person shooter, and I have a set of unrealistic expectations about the genre—one of those being, “no backtracking.”

Second, since the very first game, Samus, the protagonist, has been a poorly-developed character. Not in the typical video-game-hero/ine-poorly-developed (read: not developed at all), but more in the sense of the writers couldn’t make up their minds about what they wanted her to be.

The first game ends with, among other plot points, Samus removing her helmet and revealing that she’s a woman, and you—the predominantly male audience—has been playing as a woman this whole time. This was good, because it showed that a woman could be just as kick-butt awesome as a man.

However, if you complete the game within a certain time limit, Samus strips down to a bikini. This is one of my main complaints with the series: they took a strong, independent, female character, and turned her into a medium for fanservice.

And her appearances were a cycle from then on out. One game she’d be fanservice-y (Metroid: Zero Missions) and one game she’d be strong and independent (Metroid Prime.)

And then Metroid: Other M came along, and took away her role as a strong, independent character. Sure, it was her origin story, but they took out one of the few key traits of her personality and threw it in the dumpster.

Which leads to my third reason I don’t like Metroid: Nintendo themselves don’t really care about the franchise. Not the way they do with Zelda, Mario, or even Kirby. With Metroid, they don’t really seem to care about it. They’ll slap the logo on something if they want to sell it—

*cough cough* Federation Force *cough cough*

—and that shows that they don’t really care where the story is going.

But, in the end, I don’t play Metroid because I simply don’t want to put my money towards it. I believe that every dollar I spend on a product is an endorsing vote that the product is good. And I don’t think it’s a good product. Plain and simple.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to spend a post gushing about something I like.


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Jackal-Headed Death God: What Kind of Gods Are They? (Part 4)

According to Egyptian mythology, when you die, you end up in the Courtroom of the Dead. Anubis, a jackal-headed death god, puts your metaphorical heart (hush, you weren’t using it anymore) on a scale. On the other side is a feather from a magic bird.

If your metaphorical heart is lighter than the feather (because magic bird), you’re judged to be a good person and you move onto the Afterlife. The alternative is your metaphorical heart getting eaten by Anubis’ pet metaphorical-heart-eating monster.
The interesting thing about this myth is Egypt is the only culture (that I know of) that doesn’t have a description of their afterlife. No one knows what it’s like, but everyone back then assumed it was better than getting your soul devoured. Kings and queens were buried with all their stuff just in case the Afterlife turned out to be boring and they needed some valuables.
In Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid, a 21st-century girl goes on a date with Anubis the jackal-headed death god. He takes her to the Courtroom of the Dead (such a charmer). This girl’s role is asking questions that the readers are probably wondering, so she asks if modern-day people are surprised to see a jackal-headed death god instead of, say, Pearly Gates. Anubis responds that everyone sees what they expect to see based on their beliefs in life.
Okay, first of all: people who believe in a jackal-headed death god have to be a very small minority in the 21st century, right? So according to this book, everyone sees an illusion except the pagans and maybe the agnostics. These death gods must be really nice.
Second of all: I can’t help but wonder what atheists see in this book’s universe. Most of them expect to experience blank nothingness after death.
I’ve heard multiple people, usually referring to atheism, say “I believe X, so for me, Y is true.” Okay, in many cases, your perception of reality can be altered by what you believe to be true. But things like the afterlife don’t follow that rule. If the Christians are right, it’ll be very hard for the atheists to convince themselves that after death comes nothing. There are some things that are true no matter what you believe, and when faced with that truth you may not be able to deny it.

Oh, right. I was supposed to blog this week.

Well, sorry. In my defense, I haven’t had much cross my table this week that’s “full-post worthy.”

As such, here’s a bunch of little one-to-three sentence reviews of what I have encountered in the past three-to-four weeks.

I recently purchased Panic! at the Disco’s album, Death of a Bachelor. Despite the references to drinking, drugs, and illegal activity–or, as they literally put it, “champagne, cocaine, gasoline, and most things in between”–it’s a pretty good album. I’ve been listening to it on loop since it came in the mail.

I read Code Talkers by Joseph Bruchac for a class this week. It’s a historical fiction about the Navajo code talkers (hence the name) in World War II. It’s really good; I would recommend it.

I’ve been playing a bit of Hearthstone lately. Then again, I’ve been playing on-and-off for the past four years. The new expansion, “Knights of the Frozen Throne,” is okay; the Mage is broken, but we also got three new Murloc cards, so I’m content.

I re-watched Howl’s Moving Castle for the fourth time. I’d like to do a full post on it, maybe next week.

And, that’s all. I’ll try to actually do a full post next Wednesday.

UPDATE: Not doing Howl’s Moving Castle next week. Nintendo released their new Metroid game. I’m talking about that instead.

Another UPDATE: Also discontinuing the Rick & Morty series. I am at least three episodes behind and I don’t feel like catching up.


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The Wolfman Meets Frankenstein: Penny Dreadful

Remember when I talked about the mythos of Supernatural? You may have noticed that vampires, werewolves, and ghosts aren’t part of that mythos, even though they’re most of the show’s plot.
Penny Dreadful, the Showtime series, is different. Angels and demons are replaced by werewolves, vampires, witches, and doctors with unconventional methods. Other stories have tried this, but this one uses Victorian Gothic literature.
The premise is a crossover of Dracula, Frankenstein, Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, the Wolfman, and Jekyll & Hyde. These stories become the mythos. All those characters go on to play roles in the supposedly unpublished chapters of the Bible: Lucifer’s secret backstory and the alternate apocalypse.
As is common to shows exploring Judeo-Christian mythology, Jesus and his salvation are ignored because the writers are convinced the story wouldn’t be interesting if there was a power for good stronger than human heroes or the evil they battle. But this show does it a little differently.
The two main heroes, the Devil’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa and an American werewolf in London, believe they’ve fallen too far from God to rely on him for help, so they turn to darker sources of power. Vanessa, spectacularly portrayed by Eva Green, hates turning from God but she honestly sees no hope for her soul. It’s even more tragic for Christian viewers who know that there really is hope that they just don’t know about.
From a nerd standpoint, though, it’s really clever. As the characters themselves continually admit, there are no heroes on this show. The “good guys” beat the bad guys in standard monster-hunting fare, but they all go the way of Dr. Frankenstein: less human than the monsters they create or kill. We want to watch until the end to see if they find any sort of redemption.
As a literature nerd, I have so many more thoughts about this show. There are some problems – the complete pointlessness of Dorian Gray, for example – but also some really clever things – what if Dr. Jekyll tested his formula on other people before taking it himself? And all the acting and dialogue are fantastic.
Oh, one more thing: serious adult content warning. There’s nudity and sex of every variety, violence, occult rituals, and plenty of language. Like most horror, this show is not to be binge watched all at once.

Isaac’s Post-Hiatus Update

So, I haven’t posted in the past few weeks.


What happened?

I moved. That’s the short version. I moved into an apartment that didn’t have Wi-Fi for the first couple weeks. But, the Wi-Fi’s set up now, so I can continue blogging. I’m alive. Don’t worry.


So…you’re back, then?
Yep. Pretty much. Now that I have Wi-Fi in my living place, I can watch videos and shows without having to justify hogging coffee-shop Wi-Fi.


Will things change?

Not too drastically. I’ll probably pick up the Rick & Morty series again next week, covering three episodes instead of two. After that, I’m not sure.

I do have some plans for upcoming posts, though. I’d like to do something on the new Netflix Death Note movie, except haven’t watched the original anime. So, yeah. That may be a few weeks out, if I do it at all.

I may also end up taking another week off sometime between now and the end of October. I am taking a course that requires a “forty-eight-hour technology fast.” (I’m at a Christian college, and it’s a spiritual formation class, for perspective.) I’ll try to give a heads-up if I do, rather than dropping off the radar like I did this time.


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How To Win An Action Scene

I’m no action scene aficionado. I don’t know if I would recognize a bad action scene if I saw it, but I know good action when I see it. Jake Jarvi – the guy who made THIS – taught me that a good action scene includes plenty of things going on in the same place and happening very quickly, but the audience doesn’t lose track.
A good way to make sure that happens is to follow the hero and make sure he isn’t losing track of the action. That’s how most heroes win their action scenes, really. When a fight is evenly matched or even more often when the bad guy has an advantage over the good guy, the good guy wins through situational awareness.
What with the Defenders hype, I’ve had Iron Fist on the brain lately. The show had problems, but it had good parts too. One of my favorite good parts was a moment in Episode 4.
The stakes: Danny Rand needs to save his friend Joy from some Asian dudes in nice suits. If they get her down the hallway and into the elevator, they’ll probably get away. But even before that, they might hurt her. So Danny needs to work fast.
The twist: the Asian dudes pull out hatchets. Yeah. Hatchets.
Danny’s doing his Kung-Fu Fighting routine. It’s not as cool as Daredevil’s long-shot hallway scene, but it’s not bad. One guy throws a hatchet at Danny’s face and he dodges it in slow motion. As you do. Then the guy who is now without a hatchet goes into this midair tornado kick thing. And Danny kicks him in the shin. The Asian guy falls down and Danny moves on.
I rewound and replayed that moment a couple times when I first saw it. It seemed too epic for the show to move past it so quickly. The buildup…and then one kick to the shin and it’s over. Considering all the awesome martial arts we see Danny do, including the Saitama move, shutting someone down completely by kicking them in the shin seems pretty simple. But it only works because Danny knows where to kick him and knows that it will work.
The moral of the story is just what I said earlier. The good guy almost never wins by being the strongest or the most violent. He wins by paying attention.

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Twitter: @noahspud and @CorrelationBlog

Today in Geek-dom: The Tick

So there’s this cartoon called The Tick that’s about a whole bunch of comedic parodies of superheroes; e.g. the Sewer Urchin, who’s like Aquaman except he doesn’t live anywhere near the ocean so he just protects a sewer.
There’s also a live-action version that’s apparently “more adult.” Why? Why would someone do that? I mean, have you seen the cartoon? There’s an episode about a giant clown who tries to smash anyone who laughs at him …and when he hits the Tick with a bus, the nigh-invulnerable moron has a vivid soul-searching fever dream. There’s another one where the enemy is the mustache that has spontaneously appeared on the Tick’s face.
Why would you take that show and make it more adult? Isaac’s argument that nothing should be recommended for kids notwithstanding…look, I can’t describe this show briefly. You’ll just have to trust me. It didn’t deserve that.
But fear not. There is now a new live-action version of the Tick that does have some adult language but isn’t bad otherwise. It’s remarkably similar to Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Arthur is an accountant who is trying to be “normal” to please his family but is secretly obsessed with finding an infamous supervillain commonly believed to be dead. There’s also a big blue nigh-invulnerable super-strong idiot who thinks Arthur is his sidekick, a super-villainess trying to kill him, and a murderous zip-line-swinging vigilante following him for some reason. Safe to say “normal” has left the station.
I’m not even a super-fan of the original cartoon (because I can’t find it so I can’t watch it), but I still like this show. It’s fun, it’s funny, and it’s a smart parody. The super-villainess shares an HQ/condo with her ex-husband because crime doesn’t pay as well as you might think. It’s little things like that that makes the Tick different from other stupid parodies.
The Tick loves spouting dramatic speeches, and about half of them are about destiny calling Arthur to be extraordinary. Kind of like Dirk Gently, insert God for destiny and you might get a decent Christian-compatible moral out of it. In that sense it’s similar to the other superhero show that came out recently.

Isaac’s on hiatus, so maybe I’ll be back on Wednesday.