Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Heads-Up: Four Swords

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords is now available for free on the Nintendo eShop for DSi and 3DS.  The updated version makes full use of the DS's resolution and also includes a single-player mode.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

2 Months of Caped Crusading, Sword Swinging and Overeating

Well, I just realized the next couple months are going to be very interesting for me.
First off, Batman Arkham City.

Next up, Kirby Return to Dreamland. And of course, The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Lion King in 3D

Well, today was interesting.  I had planned to get out and see The Lion King in 3D with a couple friends...but they wanted to go on 'cheap night'...a night on which I have to work.
So, after a couple failed attempts at getting other friends to go with me, I went solo.
Arriving at the mall far too early, I grabbed my ticket and began wandering somewhat aimlessly.  I decided to stop at the EB Games and pick something up to kill the time until the movie started.  I nabbed Kirby Mass Attack for the DS; I'll get to that in another post, for now I'll just say it's pretty good.

Finally, it was about 30 minutes until the movie so I decided to get in early and nab a good seat.  I had quite a choice as I was the first in the cinema so I grabbed a seat right around the very center.
After what seemed like far longer than a half hour, the movie finally started...and honestly, it was a rather powerful experience for me; I don't recall if I ever saw The Lion King in theaters as a child so I think this was the first time I had ever seen it on the big screen.  This movie is among the most influential of my personal life and it was quite an experience even if I was all by my lonesome.
And as for the actual 3D...I was very impressed.  If you look back to my review of How To Train Your Dragon, I made a small note to point out that I did not like the 3D effect and what my problems were with it.  That said, there are undoubtedly points of that movie that benefited from the gimmick (the sequence of Astrid and Hiccup flying around on Toothless, in particular).  This time around, I thought the 3D was executed pretty much flawlessly.
My biggest problem with 3D is the borders of the screen cutting off extreme foreground elements; something looks like it's right in front of you until you notice that it's still being cut off with the edge of the screen.  In The Lion King, they handled this much better than How To Train Your Dragon by drawing most of the depth from going into the screen rather than off of it (similar to most of what you'd see on the Nintendo 3DS).
The only bit I noticed as coming right off the screen was the dust that Rafiki catches Simba's scent on.  In the scene where it's flying through the air, it comes right up to you and it looks just fine because none of it oversteps the boundaries of the screen.
I noticed a couple little tricks that allowed the hand-drawn characters to even have some perceived volume to them.  Many of the extreme close-ups (of which there are a handful for Mufasa, Scar, Nala and Simba) seemed to have a light fish-eye lens effect placed on them which helped their snouts appear as though they were 3D, with marginal success.  Also, as I believe the eyes on many of the characters were animated on separate layers, they also seemed to be placed a little further back than the characters themselves which gave more sense to the 'sunken-in-ness' of them; at least on the lions.

For 3D, the flight scene in How To Train Your Dragon is probably better than anything in The Lion King, but that's just one scene.  The characters in How To Train Your Dragon also do a better job of showing true volume because...well...they actually have it, but The Lion King shows commendable efforts at achieving a sense of volume.
All in all, of the two movies I've seen in 3D, I'd have to say the better overall use of the effect goes to The Lion King.  Being on the super-high-resolution of film and being in well-done 3D, this is as good as the classic has ever looked.

Side-note:  This is the first time in many many years that I've seen the non-Special Edition version; it was pleasantly nostalgic to see the Morning Report scene without the Morning Report song.
Also, if I had to pick out a particular best sequence for use of 3D in the Lion King, it would be when Simba chases after Rafiki; there are tons of multi-layered environmental elements going on here that look gorgeous in 3D.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Holy Biceps Batman!

Let's talk about something that's, appropriately enough, nerdy:  Toys!
Well, I have a toy collection that went from being very modest (2007-2008) to being something I'm having trouble finding space for half the time (2011).  Just when I think I'm done with something, I realize there's something else I want or I feel obligated to get something for some reason.
I had long intended for the Revenge of the Fallen Leader Class Optimus Prime to be the final toy, or at least final Transformer toy, I would ever buy.  Since buying that, I've bought the Leader Class Megatron, the Voyager Class Ironhide, Human Alliance Bumblebee, Battle Blade Bumblebee, War for Cybertron Optimus Prime, FansProject's 'Protector' Upgrade Kit, and Masterpiece Rodimus Prime; and that's just the Transformers that I've bought since then.
Outside of Transformers, I have the S. H. Figuarts Piccolo and Gohan figures, the Real Action Heroes Super Saiyan Goku figure, a 3 3/4" Ironman Mark IV toy, and DC Classics Batman.
Now, aside from a complete lack of indulgence-control, one might wonder why I went so far after being so certain that I'd be done.  Well, in a couple cases, there were toys I specifically got in order to compliment others.  I bought the Revenge of the Fallen Megatron specifically to make a pair with the Optimus Prime.
Lately, I've had a similar goal.  Since I have a Batman figure, I want something to compliment it.
There's some choices in characters:  Robin, Superman, or Joker would make a decent desktop counterpart to the caped crusader.  I'm mostly settled on getting a Robin, but then which Robin?  Well, I've never cared for the legless costume Robin so I decided on the Tim Drake one.
The trouble is, the Tim Drake Robin from the same line as the Batman I have is very hard to find, but I just may have a backup!
With Young Justice running right now, there are of course toys to coincide with the series.  One particular subline is meant to be specifically compatible with the DC Classics figures, and thus I finally have the opportunity to obtain a Tim Drake-styled Robin toy.  And here it is:

Wait a tick...what the hell happened to his arms?
OK, the DC Classics line reuses a lot of individual parts from toy to toy, particularly small sections like the biceps because a lot of superheros tend to have very similar physiques.  Now Robin here looks...well pretty messed up.  Most of the toy has his appearance from the show pretty much nailed, it's just those damned arms.  For a character that's typically depicted as slender and acrobatic, those bulging muscles seem out of place.
Oh well.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

ReqDraw: Flop

Well, ReqDraw was a total flop for several reasons.  It was an experimental idea in the first place and I really had little to no idea how much real interest it would garner, I also probably could have done a better job publicizing it.  Oh well, live and learn.  I'm not totally throwing out the idea of doing a webseries though I'm thinking I'll focus on something that's a lesser passion of mine for the next attempt; perhaps just a show about general nerd culture.  I have plenty of content on this blog already that could make some decent episodes.
In any case, the project has been ditched, the video is no longer online and the donation deadline has passed.