In honor and excitement of the upcoming final season of The Legend of Korra, this week’s Throwback Thursday will take a look at its parent show, Avatar: The Last Airbender.
I remember scouring the television every weekend, trying to find the latest episodes (or even re-runs) of this show during its prime. It was like a spiritual offspring of DBZ to me. It was a show that had fights and fancy powers, but it was so much more. The show, although a Nickelodeon show, had deeper meanings than those on the surface, and it delved into character development like no other on the channel! It introduced you to many characters and made you hate and love them all.
I have many a fond memory of playing Doom as a kid. My brother and I would take turns with each half of the keyboard. One person would navigate while the other one would shoot. Eventually, we began playing proper co-op through a third-party launcher. Those were fun times.
A few months ago I re-played Doom and Doom II using a mod called Brutal Doom run through Zandronum. The mods introduce better rendering techniques, mouse control, tweaked weapons, and melee attacks. But while those additions are fun as hell (pun intended), they weren’t what ultimately made the game fun. It was Doom’s level design that kept me playing even after I’d messed around with all the mod content.
Let me share some of my favorite examples of smart level design in Doom.
“Did you eat something that didn’t agree with you?” asked Bernard.
The savage nodded. “I ate civilization.”
“It poisoned me; I was defiled. And then, “He added, in a lower tone, “I ate my own wickedness.”
It’s moments like these that reaffirm my fond memories of Alduous Huxley’s dystopian science fiction novel Brave New World. (Well, this and the orgies.) For a relatively “sciency” book, it’s got a certain poetic cadence to it–both in prose and plot.
A modern “Heart of Darkness” without the darkness, HAL Laboratory’s Pokémon Snap is one of the most fondly remembered video games of my childhood. I would intrepidly traverse sun-soaked beaches, Diglett-ridden tunnels and Mount Doom-esque volcanoes, all in the name of Pokémon photography. Waterfalls? No problem. Death by Electbuzz-electrocution? Bring it on, you ambiguous incest-product of a Pikachu and Entei.
But Electabuzz was hardly the only pocket monster that you could snap improv-photographs of. The 1999 game featured 62 more Pokémon from the first generation of 151. I know, 63 Pokémon doesn’t seem like a lot nowadays. But back then, that was a lot of polygons.
“No matter how many weapons you have, no matter how great your technology might be, the world cannot live without love.” -Sheeta, Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Greetings! It’s been a while I know; school’s started again and the weight of a thousand souls that have yet to pass on are keeping me busy. That, and I’m just the laziest boy on the face of the earth. But here I am again, and I thought I’d take some time to talk about a film that’s quite close to my heart and those of many others. If the title of the article didn’t give it away, it’s called, Laputa: Castle in the Sky.
Thursday has come ’round once again, so let’s hop into the TARDIS and travel to the halcyon days of seventh grade, where voices still cracked and recess was God. It was a time of peace, and a time of ball tag; a time of delicious cafeteria lunches, and a time when Warcraft lore made sense. Yes, you heard me: before Chris Metzen was paid to fuck up an entire fictional universe lost his mojo, the world of Warcraft was as grand and complex as even Middle-earth.
Blizzard’s 2003 strategy game Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne has a special place in my video game heart. Before playing this, I didn’t even know “interactive media” could even tell a story. But that’s what hooked me–the narrative was a sprawling adventure across a fantasy world that felt both familiar and new (I was 11 when I played it, so everything was new). Its central characters (excepting the humans) were thousands-of-years-old immortals with personalities that just oozed a vast eminence that hinted at a rich and complex history.
You remember those days of elementary school, rushing home to catch Toonami on Cartoon Network before your father returned and caught you in front of the TV instead of doing homework? Oh, was that just my brothers and me? *looks around* Riiight.
It’s crazy how Thursdays of late have been creeping up on me. You might even say scary. What’s that? You did say scary? Scary movies? Horror movies? You want me to talk about horror movies!?!!? Well, if you insist.
The first movie that truly horrified me was Gore Verbinski’s The Ring (2002) (which is, unfortunately, a really underrated movie, by the way). After seeing the mangled face of a person killed by the vengeful spirit of Samara, my ten-year-old self became deathly paranoid of TVs. It was a strange, strangely “balanced” time in my life: during the day, the television would be switched on, and I’d be happily, mindlessly watching Dragon Ball Z or playing Xbox.
But once the night came ’round, and bedtime SCOFF, BEDTIMES with it, the TV was shut down. It’s blank, monolithic face seemed to expand in the dim light of my bedroom. I was, unmistakably, terrified, that Samara would crawl out of the TV and eat my face with 480p precision. I even recall getting my brother to watch VHS videos ahead of me, to make sure it wasn’t THE video.