Another week, come and gone. Neither of us played a crazy amount this week, as life has been unusually intrusive, but the blog marches on regardless. No real exciting news in this post-PAX, post-GDC world, with Microsoft eerily silent about its upcoming console. Here’s to hoping next week brings a little more excitement.
The Venture Bros. Season 1
Last week, Cartoon Network dumped a truckload of shows onto Netflix, giving subscribers the opportunity to sample hits like Adventure Time, The Boondocks, and Robot Chicken. There are some pretty great options, but I’ve seen almost all of them at one time or another. Instead, I chose the biggest blind spot on my Adult Swim radar, the Johnny Quest parody known as The Venture Bros. One week later, I had burned through the uploaded season and the rest of the show somehow found its way into my Amazon shopping cart. I was hooked.
The typical Venture Bros. episode (as if anything in the show could be labeled typical) is a balancing act, with nostalgic references and riffs on the mundane delivered in equal doses. It’s a show that asks what the Fantastic Four or Scooby Doo would be like if they dealt with the same trappings of society we find ourselves in, and the answers are almost always hilarious. I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time, and I look forward to watching the further adventures of Dr. Venture and his children soon.
Where is this popular popstar hiding? Why was I, a burnout gumshoe with barely any clients, hired by a rich businesswoman to find him? Why won’t her daughter answer my questions? Am I male or female? And why is everyone singing?
A few of these questions are left unanswered by the time Dominique Pamplemousse rolls its credits, but that’s OK; the journey is charming enough to forgive its occasionally purposeful gaps in narrative. Claymation figures deliver exposition in the form of an off-key musical, with each character stage getting its own tempo and genre. This catchy tale of dreams, deception and gender lasts as long as an album, for half the price. It’s definitely worth a look if the words “Claymation detective musical” excite you (they DEFINITELY excite me).
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
This is what Gears of War should have been, man! Cover is for girls, all you need is a big gun and a chainsword! Amazingly true to the source material, other than a few necessary variations, and the PS3 version looks much better than I would have expected. Many ork heads have been popped. I ain’t one for fealty in general, but if all the Emperor wants me to do is introduce my sword to xeno faces, then I’m onboard.
I hope whoever picks up the 40k license in the wake of THQ’s collapse greenlights another one of these, because there’s so much gold left in that. Eldar? Tau? Tyranids? And tons of awesome Space Marine tech as well. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Persona 4 Golden
My second quest through my favorite JRPG since the SNES continues. I never did beat it on the PS2, actually: I got right up to the dungeon with the killer, and the amount of grinding necessary to proceed just killed my momentum. Also, by that point, the existence of P4G was known, and I knew I would play that, so I didn’t feel particularly motivated to push through the wall. This time, I’m up through… gosh, how to avoid spoilers? Up through the Secret Base dungeon. So I’m retreading past ground, but there is so much new content that it feels at once fresh and familiar. The characters are as fantastic as ever, the dungeon crawling is satisfying for a man who hates that sort of thing, and it’s just so darn charming!
I’d stopped playing for a while, because it feels kind of silly playing a handheld on your couch… but hey, if you enjoy the game, who cares? I love Persona too much to save it for vacations and traveling.