Monday, April 21, 2008

5 against 1.

One of my passions and favorite topics to nerd out on is music. Mostly I am intrigued by music history and how one style of music has blended into another. If you want to know sometime how Country, Elvis and Grunge are related I would be glad to tell you. But that is not what this blog is all about.

See, I myself have had my own musical evolution. In Jr. High if a song didn't have a distorted guitar then it wasn't worth the CD it was recorded on (or tape in my case). The reason was grunge had turned me on to an entire universe of music I had never known. Growing up my parents listened to classic rock, but all my friends listened to pop. Shoot, what 10-12 year old doesn't listen to pop?

Eventually my cousin John desperately tried to get me to listen to rock and grunge. He got it. He saw the energy and effort put into the music. It wasn't about popularity, it was about a message. I listened along trying to understand the lyrics. But CD's alone weren't doing the trick.

Then Pearl Jam broke the doors wide open. I already enjoyed songs like Alive and Jeremy (still my two favorite songs). But it was a live performance on MTV that changed my musical taste forever. Seeing the energy and just sheer joy of playing the music is probably the reason I picked up a guitar.

The two youtube clips are from the same performance: MTV's '93 VMA's. The first is the song Animal from the at the time forthcoming "VS" album. Then, unknown to anyone but the band, Neil Young joined them for Rocking in the Free World. That's rock and roll baby.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mario Superstar, that is what you are.

Game: Super Mario Galaxy
Score: 10
Scale: 10 Everyone will enjoy this 1 Don't even Rent it

I should note that I didn't purchase Zelda: Twilight Princess when I got my Wii. So when I started playing Super Mario Galaxy I was blown away. Previous to that I had only played Wii Sports, Wii Play, Trauma Center, Wario Ware, Mario Party 8. Super Mario Galaxy was the first game that exploited the shortcomings of the Nintendo Gamecube. It is the best game I have played since Super Mario 64, hands down.

This game is imaginitive. The main attraction of this game is that it is played in "galaxies" and therefore the gravity changes on each level. Many levels are just a bunch of little planets grouped together. Some are entire worlds. Each level had a moment where I would stop and say: Wow, did that just happen? Seriously, I was in awe of some of the things Mario was required to do.

But a perfect 10? Absolutely. It is easy enough to beat, but very challenging to finish the entire game. There are 120 known stars in the game. You can finish "the plot" at 60. I'm pretty sure any gamer could get to this point. (In fact, I'm pretty sure my 10-year-old self could do it). Getting 120 Stars is a different story. I got to 95 without looking up any cheats, but the last 15 would have me pulling my hair out, which we all know I can't afford to do.

The only criticism I could come up with was that the individual galaxies were relatively small compared to 64 and Sunshine. But that was it. The play control was phenominal and not gimmicky (it wasn't overly motion based to fit the wiimote) But it was easily better than any Gamecube game, that is a fact.

I now turn my attention to Super Smash Bros Brawl. And Mario Kart Wii is due out in a couple of months. And something about a Star Wars game this year too. Add on the Zelda title I still need to get to and I am set for the rest of this year it seems!