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Aug 172016
 

Remember the old classic arcade games of the early 1980s like Asteroids, Space Invaders, Defender, Frogger, etc.? Well here’s a movie that puts them all together with a modern twist called Pixels.

Home theater installer Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler) was once a video game wizard and even entered an arcade world competition. The secret to his success was memorizing the patterns. Unfortunately, Sam lost on the final game, Donkey Kong. You’ve got to admit that it’s a hard one, since remembering patterns isn’t always the key to succeeding like many video games we have today.

After the competition ends, the footage from it gets put in a time capsule and sent out into space in hopes of finding alien life. Thirty years later, aliens did find the capsule and saw it as a declaration of war, even though that was not Earth’s intention at all. It often seems like any gesture of peace toward extraterrestrials ends up mistaken for war. Like on Mars Attacks when a dove was released, then the aliens go crazy and shoot everyone.

When the aliens arrive on Earth, they attack in the forms of the old classic video game characters, starting with Galaga, then Arknoid. Luckily, Sam’s best friend Will Cooper (Kevin James) is the President of the United States, since Sam’s expertise in gaming is the key to stopping these aliens from destroying the planet. Sam needed that connection so he would be allowed to share his knowledge with the government despite that everyone thinks that President Cooper is a buffoon.

With the assistance of conspiracy nut Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad) and Lieutenant Colonel Violet Van Patten (Michelle Monaghan) a new squad is formed called the Arcaders. However, it also includes Sam’s old nemesis and arrogant gaming champ Eddie Plant (Peter Dinklage).

The next game the aliens attack with is Centipede. The look from the original game was pretty tame, but this new updated look is cooler and edgier. The battle was exciting and smooth once Sam and Ludlow had the opportunity to take action themselves, even with the giant spiders jumping around.

It’s also neat that even though the aliens don’t show their true forms, they disguise themselves as celebrities from the 80s like Ronald Reagan, Hall & Oates, and young Madonna. Even Max Headroom (Matt Frewer) makes an appearance. Remember that character?

The next game is PAC-Man, a true classic, but as a twist PAC-Man is the enemy. Sam, Ludlow, and Eddie drive cars that represent the ghosts in a wild action sequence. If you thought that it couldn’t get any more exciting, think again.

In the climax, the Arcaders face their greatest challenge yet, Donkey Kong. What are the odds that it’s the one game Sam struggles with most? On the other hand, it’s so awesome that you get to see the game play from such an intense angle.

Although it’s definitely not something you would expect from an Adam Sandler film, Pixels was a creative movie about a love for video games that has plenty of nostalgic value as well as Adam Sandler’s brand of comedy. It’s especially humorous with Q-Bert’s antics.

Nov 162012
 

If there’s one thing that makes a video game exciting, it’s a boss battle at the end of a level. Whether it’s for the creative look of the character, his or her fighting style, or even the musical score, boss fights are always something to look forward to after getting past a whole bunch of other evil minions as long as I can figure out the strategy. Every boss has one. Unless you have a strategy guide, it’s usually only found by trial and error. These are bosses that truly stand out as big favorites of mine from video games I’ve played, not including final bosses.

#10) Doppelganger from Double Dragon 2: The Revenge (NES): Normally, doppelganger bosses are a cliché, but this evil clone of Billy Lee is so mysterious and sneaky, it’s cool. The Doppelganger not only has the same fight moves; he can also turn invisible and attack by clenching onto Billy, rendering him helpless. How many evil clones do you know that can do that?

#9) Two-Face from Batman Forever (Sega Genesis): It may seem like he’s the main boss of the game, but he isn’t. The Riddler is. Two-Face has a perplexing fighting style because it’s different, depending on which direction he’s facing. I don’t believe he ever used swords and bear traps in the movie, but can you believe that Two-Face can actually restore his life meter just by flipping his coin?

On a side note: I’d also like to include Two-Face’s two girlfriends, Sugar and Spice, because I think they’re both interesting fighters even though the movie doesn’t feature them that way.

#8) Master Necky from Donkey Kong Country (Super NES): This giant buzzard can spit coconuts, but what I like most is that he only peeks his head out from either side of the screen. Necky never shows the rest of his body, even when he gets defeated. It’s hilarious when Necky’s head falls to the ground and still makes noise while Donkey Kong cheers for victory. Is that what a buzzard looks like when it has a concussion?

#7) The Wrestler from Simpsons Arcade Game: Dropping in from a set of stage lights, this strong unnamed character is the first boss of the game. Like most of the other bosses, it’s hard to determine how he fits into the story, especially since this character was never on the series. You’ve got to admit though. The Wrestler is a fun boss to fight on a game like this.

#6) Goldar from Power Rangers Super Legends (Playstation 2): Even though it seems like every boss in this game is defeated by the same simple strategy, this classic character is the most awesome one to fight, and I’m not just saying this because he’s old school. Goldar likes to talk during the battle and he doesn’t fly out of reach as often as he does in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the Movie game for Sega Genesis. Of course, Goldar could’ve come up with something wittier to say than, “Why did the chicken cross the road? To meet his doom.” Dude, that’s lame.

#5) Horsehead from Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (NES): Armed with a mace, he’s the guardian of Parapa Palace. Apparently, Horsehead’s only weak spot is his head, which sounds very simple. However, I never would’ve known that if I hadn’t seen that episode of Captain N: The Game Master called “Quest for the Potion of Power”, where Horsehead made an appearance. Isn’t the animated version cool? What I don’t understand is why Horsehead never returned on any of the later Legend of Zelda games as some of the other bosses in this game have. Wouldn’t it be neat if he did?

#4) Dancing Specters from Super Castlevania 4 (Super NES): Also known as Paula Abghoul and Fred Askare, this pair of dancers are the stars of the haunted ballroom. As they dance away to the awesome boss music, these ghosts use swords and flying blades that keep Simon Belmont from “cutting in”. You won’t see this on Dancing with the Stars.

#3) Phantom of the high school musical from Scooby-Doo First Frights (Playstation 2): With the aid of his skeleton henchmen, this creepy character has an edgy presence. I think it’s neat that the Scooby gang gets to actually fight a monster before unmasking him, but before doing that you have to hear the Phantom sing and take out his henchmen. What really makes him interesting is the mystery involved. So what if he’s just a guy in a suit.

#2) Nano from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Playstation 2): There are several versions of this boss, but I mainly want to focus on the giant monstrosity at the end of stage 2. I always find giant bosses more exciting because of the intensity. Although it took me a little while to figure out how to fight Nano at this point, I totally found this boss battle interesting. Just aim high, robot goes down.

#1) Lobber from House of the Dead Overkill (Nintendo Wii): Of all the different types of monsters I’ve seen in horror themed video games, this is definitely one of the most original creatures I ever saw. Lobber hides out in the fetid waters and attacks by throwing chunks of its body. That’s just nasty, but my only real concern is that you have to fight a bunch of bats also. They’re harder to aim for than the monster itself. Other than that, Lobber is a villain that’s unique as well as creepy.

Apr 202012
 

Primates are intelligent animals that love bananas. But like humans, they can use their superior skills for good or evil. Either way, apes and monkeys do leave their mark as pop culture icons. Here are some of my favorites.

#10) King Kong from King Kong: This gigantic ape has been around for ages with at least several movie versions. He’s well known for being brought from the jungle to New York City, where he runs amok and climbs the tallest building with the woman he loves. After seeing the newest version from 2005, I realized that King Kong is more of a love story than an adventure story. You’ve got to admit though. Kong sure knows how to beat up a T-Rex.

#9) King Homer from The Simpsons: One of the stories on Tree House of Horror III spoofs King Kong with King Homer. King Homer is not only in love with Marge, but he eats people alive, along with Shirley Temple.

King Homer’s only other appearance was on the Super NES title, The Simpsons: Bart’s Nightmare and was surprisingly easy to defeat with Bartzilla’s electrical body.

#8) Silver from Ninja Turtles the Next Mutation: He’s a gangster Himalayan ape and is the last of his kind. That’s why Silver became so greedy. Whenever there’s an opportunity to steal a ton of money, Silver and his gang of well-dressed crooks will seize it.

#7) Grape Ape from The Great Grape Ape Show: Now here’s an ape I really enjoyed when I was a kid. Grape Ape is strong, gigantic, and kind hearted. However, most people fear him because of his size. At least he has Beagle Beagle as his best friend. I have always wandered how Beagle’s van supports Grape Ape on top so easily.

#6) Primator from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Lord Zedd created this ape monster from a gorilla costume. Primator is a shape shifter, who can turn into anyone of the rangers and imitate any of their voices. His only weakness is mirrors. When Primator sees his reflection, he instantly changes back into himself. If only it were that simple with other shape shifters.

#5) Bogey from Shirt Tales: With his appetite for bananas, tree swinging skills, and Humphrey Bogart persona, this orangutan has always been one of my most favorites among the Shirt Tales. Bogey also has a habit of calling everyone he meets “Sweetheart”, but I’m sure that’s just his way of presenting himself as a friend.

#4) Tracy from Ghostbusters (1986 version): He’s a brave and intelligent ape with great strength. Tracy is also inventive. He created all of the gadgets for the Ghostbusters team and loves to cook, especially with bananas. However, you should never call Tracy a big ape. That makes him lose his temper.

#3) Mojo Jojo from Powerpuff Girls: Of all the villains the Powerpuff Girls face on a regular basis, this primate is their biggest foe, whose grudge is too close to home. Mojo used to be Professor Utonium’s lab assistant until the Powerpuff Girls were created. The Chemical X made him more intelligent, but he felt ignored and unappreciated. Now Mojo is an inventive mad genius, who likes to talk. He’s definitely worthy of the title Super Villain.

#2) Donkey Kong from Donkey Kong franchise: This iconic ape started out as the main villain of a classic arcade game from the early 80s because he had kidnapped Mario’s first girlfriend Pauline.

I also remember Donkey Kong as a giant sized villain from Captain N: The Game Master.

Years later, he becomes a jungle hero that began with the Super NES title Donkey Kong Country, which brings me to…

#1) Diddy Kong from Donkey Kong franchise: He’s Donkey Kong’s junior partner in battle, like Tails is to Sonic the Hedgehog. Diddy may not be as strong as Donkey Kong, but he’s light on his feet and can smoothly cartwheel his way out of trouble.

Diddy later proves to be more of an adventurer when he partners up with Dixie Kong in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest. I can’t help but love this little guy.

Dec 242010
 

It’s Christmas Eve and these classic pop culture characters in this YouTube video I found, which was created by Scooby Doo Ninja Battles, are getting ready for the holidays. Merry Christmas everyone!