Thursday, 20 July 2017

Talia Jane who she is and why I think she is a hero.

So I want to talk about someone I have a great deal of respect for and its a name most people wont have heard of and thats Talia Jane. Now for those that dont know Talia Jane was a 25 year old who worked for Yelp/Eat24, now what got her known was the fact that she wrote an open letter to the CEO of the company she worked for at the time talking about the poor pay they recieved and some of the dire circumstances some of the people who worked there were in. She was fired almost imediatly but clearly the CEO ecetera realised that she was speaking the truth as the wages were soon increased. Now Talia Jane was slammed for her open letter with lots of people calling her a self intitled Millienial saying she wanted something for nothing, how is working a full time job and just wanting to make enough to not cry yourself to sleep because your so hungry wanting something for nothing? Lots of people will say oh they worked hard and there situation is much better so if Talia had just worked harder then she wouldnt have so much to worry about but anyone with half a brain knows this is bullshit. I am not going to go through her letter and every point she raised as it's still out there and it's easy enough to find but I will say that it definitely touched me.

I am someone who never quite made it despite trying really hard, I nearly made it as a Rugby player but I was hit by a hit and run driver and this ended my career, it really messsed up my leg I had titanium plating put in my leg and I can walk but it was the end of my chance at a sport based career. From here I hit university and tried to make myself more attractive to employers but I got a part time job at a pub. I started to work my way up the ranks and I invested a heavy amount of time and effort in to the job but due to being held hostage in a robbery and having my head smashed open with iron bars I developed PTSD and my epilepsy which I had been born with also took a turn for the worse, I essentially reached the point of Deputy Manager and was on the cusp of more but I simply could not hold myself togther anymore and had a breakdown. I clawed my way up from this and I managed to get a very high qualification in the childcare field but I was unable to secure a job with this because of other peoples prejudice, I would get interview after interview to end up in front of a potential boss who couldnt seem to get past the fact I am a man and would just keep saying but your a man. I dont list all of this to get sympathy in the slighest, I just want to show that sometimes you can try all that you want but circumstances, issues and other peoples problems can get in your way, unfortunatly its not always the person who tries the hardest or who puts the most in that gets the most out of life. I could recount the stories of many others I have known and met who have given it there all but fell short but those are there tales to tell or not tell.

We are constantly bombarded by a media which lets face it is paid for and ran by the rich and it promotes the idea that those who try hard will get, that the cream can not help but rise to the top and that anyone sinking in a first world society like the UK or USA is doing so because there simply not trying hard enough and that anyone who speaks up against this is simply a cry baby.

Well let me spell this out simply Talia Jane was and is not a cry baby, you know why? It's simple a cry baby is someone who is scared and she wasn't scared, read her open letter it wasn't all wish is me she wasn't just crying out about her problem about her situation, she was daring to stand up against what was wrong, to tell the truth and put her name on it. How many people spend there lives crying and bitching saying things need to change and never doing anything about it? I think it took real bravery to write the open letter she wrote and I salute her for it.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

NES bad box art: Ironsword


OK so if you have been following my blog for any length of time then you will have most likly realised that I love looking at cover art, often comparing different art from different regions. In most cases it has been megadrive/Genesis cover art and usually I have been looking at which region provided the best art. Today is a little different as I am looking at a piece of NES box art, it's an Infamous piece of art. As I have obviously posted the above picture then you know I am talking about Ironsword. If you look at the case without having played the game you might wonder what the issue is, well to put it simply they put a famous model Fabio on the front cover dressed as a barbarian the main issue with this is the fact in the game you don't play as a Barbarian you play as a knight.


Here is the games title screen and the in game sprite basically matches this so that basically tells you that the people responsible for the case art had either never either tried the game or been in touch with the creators to get any information on what the game was like beyond its title. It was like someone just really wanted to be around Fabio while he was getting oily barbarian loin cloth photos done, usually he was on the front of romance books so who knows, but the cover certainly didn't fit the game and often when you do hear about the game it's for the infamous cover art as it's a shame as it's quite a cracking little title.



This is the sort of thing I would have made as a front cover for ironsword wizards & warriors 2 for the NES instead of the famous Fabio one, seeing as you play a knight in armour in the game I thought it would be more appropriate to have an armoured figure on the box art. Yeah the armour might not be exactly the same as the one in the game and be a little more realistic but it in my opinion certainly fits the theme more. Maybe if the game had gotten something a little more like this it would be remembered fondly on its own merit as apposed to for its quirky cover.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

My Oppinion on the Trainspotting 2 Choose Life speach.

So I just watched Trainspotting 2, now the original film came out when I was a teenager and was incredibly popular and I remember there being all kinds of discussions about it both amongst friends but also in the media. This sequel has come around twenty years latter and is also set twenty years latter so is it as good as the original? Well I am not sure if it is as good but it is certainly in my oppinion a darn good film and it is also a brilliant sort of love note to the original movie, they would work amazingly as a double feature.

Now I find that the original Trainspotting is brilliantly summed up by its Choose Life speach deliverd by the character of Renton (Ewan McGregor)
  
Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.

Choose your future.

Choose life.

Now for anyone who has seen TrainSpotting they will know that the above quote is followed by Renton saying he chose not to choose life he chose something else, that something else being a herrion addiction. The thing is though the above speach spoke to me, it didnt make me want to go try and be an addict or anything stupid like that but it made me question the way in which the mass majority of people do the same things, they aim for the same goals and find meaning in the same ways, it made me ask do I really want to choose all of those things? The speach to me at least highlights some of the worst aspects of mankind in this country at the time that film was released, the irony is the fact that a junky can look at the way things are, that he can see how screwed up they are and can decided that he doesnt want to choose this he wants to choose something else. I would argue that he saw how screwed up things were and decided he didnt want to be a part of it all, that following the above template was in fact worse than just shooting up. Now I dont agree with the character dont get me wrong but I do think a lot of the critical elements of the speach ring very true and show just how shallow the mass majority of people are. It was an amazing movie moment and it was incredibly quotable both in parts and whole.

So with Trainspotting 2 being a follow up to the original, and with it showing how the characters involved have both changed and grown but also showing how they now cope with the world around  them you might ask if Renton has any simmilar words of wisdom in the sequel and if so what are they? Well here they are


Choose designer lingerie, in the vain hope of kicking some life back into a dead relationship. Choose handbags, choose high-heeled shoes, cashmere and silk, to make yourself feel what passes for happy. Choose an iPhone made in China by a woman who jumped out of a window and stick it in the pocket of your jacket fresh from a South-Asian firetrap. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and a thousand others ways to spew your bile across people you've never met. Choose updating your profile, tell the world what you had for breakfast and hope that someone, somewhere cares. Choose looking up old flames, desperate to believe that you don't look as bad as they do. Choose live-blogging, from your first wank till your last breath; human interaction reduced to nothing more than data. Choose ten thing you never knew about celebrities who've had surgery. Choose screaming about abortion, choose rape jokes, slut-shaming, revenge porn and an endless tide of depressing misogyny. Choose 9/11 never happened, and if it did, it was the Jews. Choose a zero-hour contract and a two hour journey to work, and choose the same for your kids, only worse, and maybe tell yourself that it's better that they never happened. And then sit back and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody's​ fucking kitchen. Choose unfulfilled promise and wishing you'd done it all differently. Choose never learning from your own mistakes. Choose watching history repeat itself. Choose the slow reconciliation towards what you can get, rather than what you always hoped for. Settle for less and keep a brave face on it. Choose disappointment and choose losing the ones you love then as they​ fall from view, a piece of you dies with them until you can see​ that one day in the future, piece by piece they will​ be all gone and there will be nothing left of you to call alive or dead. Choose your future, Veronica. Choose life

I have seen other people criticse the above speach and complain that its too long, that it tries to be too clever, that it over explains itself but I see it in a very diffrent light. You need to remember that the original speach in the films story at least is what Renton came up with while a relativly young man with a crippling addiction to drugs, it was deliverd in a sort of monolog format so there was no clear view of who he was really saying it to it was played as if the character was saying it to the audience as a way to explain his outlook on life. In Trainspotting 2 the new speach is said directly to another character to a female character Renton is intrested in to at least some degree, it is also said to a twenty year old wiser more informed person, someone who has seen and experianced diffrent things, someone who has reached a point in there life where some people ask a lot more questions. I see this speach as a massive pub rant, its everything Renton has ponderd and thought about for a long time pushed out partly as a sort of attempt to woo the person he is talking to but also as an outpouring of emotions such as frustration and anger. Renton is older more cynical and is talking to someone younger who to at least some degree he feels he is trying to save, he is trying to impart all of the knowledge he has gained on to her, trying to tell her not to repeat either his mistakes or the mistakes of those around her, those who have already taken the roads she might soon walk. I think most of us have been in this position venting our own frustrations with the world while trying to somehow help those around us, trying to save them from the pain and frustration we have gone through. I dont think the speach is any less impressive than the original, I think it covers a lot of the things wrong with modern society and would make a great starting point for many discussions in various classes, I just think that we are more used to modern life being scrutinised and questioned in our enterainment nowdays so its not quiet as novel as the original was.

I guess there is a fair degree of irony in me covering this very topic being a blog writter when I am putting my oppinion out there spewing my content all over people I have never met but then heck you made the choice to read this and quiet simply writing stuff like this is a part of my life.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Why you should Watch Batman the Animated Series

 

 

Now I am sure I have mentioned in the past that I think Batman is awesome, I have read a lot of Batman Comics, I have played a lot of Batman games (I am currently playing Batman Arkham Knight) One of the things I like the most about Batman is that the character works in a million different ways , for example I loved the old Adam West TV series for the campy wonderful show it was, but then I also loved the Tim Burton Movies staring Michael Keaton for how dark and comic book like they were. Now when I originally heard about Batman: The Animated Series I didn't expect it to be very dark at all it was for kids after all, how surprised I went on to be, the show did have the odd silly moment but it was surprisingly dark and adult at times and dealt with things I really didn't expect it to deal with. The thing is for me the best children's cartoons are the ones that don't treat children like children at all. I for a limited time worked in education and one of the things I was taught that has always stuck with me is that in order to achieve the best from children you need to challenge them, you need to show them dignity and respect and have faith in there ability to comprehend more than people typically give them credit for.

Batman the Animated Series works on multiple levels even if you watch it with very little understanding or attention then it still works as a simple tale of good against evil, one mans quest to make the world around him a safer place for the innocent. Yet pull out pretty much any single episode and there is something much deeper in it. In the episode Nothing To Fear for example the Scarcrow uses his fear toxin on people one of which is Batman, and what does Batman fear, he fears his own dead Father, he fears that he has let him down. This is clearly not the case as Batman has devoted his life to saving people and making the world a better place because of how his parents were murdered but this shows how sometimes our own worst fears are simply figments of our imagination dangerous ideas we have formed, ideas which are unhealthy and have the power to damage us. To me this episode clearly shows not only that sometimes we have to face our own fears but that we also quiet often make our own fears. Now you might say that oh big deal I have come up with this idea while in my 40's but no this is something I thought when I watched the show back when it was first shown in 1992 back when I was around 11, I might be better at articulating the idea now but everything needs to start somewhere. Not only would I argue that the way in which this show treated ideas made it ideal viewing for children back then I would argue that it makes it both just as accessible to children now and watchable for adults.

Here you have a show set in the Batman world which deals with all kinds of situations in an adult maner but also manages to squeeze in a remarkable amount of characters adding layers of depth to there characters which can be very surprising, as the show goes on you feel that you really get to know both the characters and the dynamics they share with each other. The show has some amazing animation but I think that even this is blown out of the water by the sound. The show not only has amazing music but it has some of the best voice acting ever. Kevin Conroy is a fantastic Batman, and of course just about everyone has heard stories about how great Mark Hamil is as the Joker and trust me all of them are true, he has the character absolutely nailed to perfection but it doesn't end with just these two, the show runners seemed to do a brilliant job of knowing just what kind of voice to get for each and every character. One of the things that really surprised me about the show was some of the vocal talent they managed to get, Dick Miller from Gremlins (and other classics) turns up in 2 episodes and David Warner gives an exceptional performance as Ra's al Ghul.

So am I going to suggest a jumping in point or an episode that you simply have to see? Well I would have to say just try and get a hold of the first season and work from there, yes there are a lot of episodes that stand very well on there own but the show also tries to build on itself and parts of it simply work a lot better if you have seen all of the subtle build up to a scene that has happened over the long haul.

Friday, 7 July 2017

The SNES Mini regional diffrences and games I would put on it


Ok so I knew I would be back here talking about the Super NES Classic Edition or the
Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Famicom as the Japanese version is known, well why am I mentioning the Japanese one basically because they get slightly diffrent games. Every version of the SNES mini will contain the  following 16 games:


Contra III: The Alien Wars
Donkey Kong Country
Final Fantasy III
F-ZERO
Kirby Super Star
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Mega Man X
Secret of Mana
Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario World
Super Metroid
Star Fox
Star Fox 2
Yoshi’s Island
I have previously listed all of the games we will be getting in Europe and you might have noticed that we are getting all of the above games as well as the following five titles 

EarthBound,
Kirby's Dream Course
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV
Super Punch-Out!!

So what are the Japanese getting instead of these 5 well there getting the following 5games

 Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem
 The Legend of the Mystical Ninja
 Panel de Pon
 Super Soccer
 Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers

So what do I think about what we are getting compared to what there getting? Well personally I would have preferd to have gotten Super Street Fighter 2 over Street Fighter 2 turbo to me that feels like  we got a bit of a bum deal, its not that Turbo is a bad game but if your only going to get one of the Street Fighter SNES games then why not the newest one with the largest selection of characters? So given the chance I would swap them but how do I feel about the rest of the games? Well I do wish that we got The Legend of the Mystical Ninja as it is a great game, which I find incredibly fun in both single and two player mode (2 player co-operative). If I had to loose a game from our list for this I think I would get rid of Kirby's Dream Course, its not that its a bad game its just that I have a lot more fondness for Mystical Ninja. I think we are really fortunate to get both Castlevania 4 and Super Punch out and I really think the Japanese are missing out here so I couldnt imagine wanting to get rid of these games for anything. I wouldnt really be that worried about getting Panel de Pon or Super Soccer at least not at the expense of other games, I am kind of suprised that we didnt get something like Super Soccer or Super Tennis on the SNES mini because sports games like this were very much of the SNES experiance back in the day but its not like they are hard or expensive to trackdown on cartridge. I would if they had translated it have loved to have gotten Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem on our SNES mini but if we had to loose a game to get it I would find it very hard to pick one for the chop, maybe I would say just dont bother giving us a street fighter at all but thats just me personally, I am sure many people are quiet happy to have a version of Street Fighter 2 on the system. I think the important think to note is that although I think its fun to question what should be on the machine I cant really knock the games they have chosen, it certainly could have been a heck of a lot worse.

Just to end this piece though I am going to pretend that someone from Nintendo told me they wanted to up the list of games from 21 per region to 26 and wanted 5 more games to be recomended for this, this is my list of the 5 games I would recomend in no particular order

Actraiser
Sim City
Final Fight 2
Chrono Trigger
Pilot Wings

Pilot Wings was always one of my favourate SNES games and well its just one of the first games I think about when I think about the Super Nintendo, its also so diffrent to everything else on the machine and I think it really shows the machine off well so I was very suprised it didnt make the cut. As for Sim City the SNES Sim City is just so user friendly its my absolute favourate version of Sim City ever and I could spend an absolute age on it making city after city its just a very relaxing game that is very diffrent to the other games on this mini system. I had to say Final Fight 2 because if there is a genre of games thats missing on the Mini SNES then it is the walk along beat em up, they were so popular during the 16bit era its a little strange to not see them represented, I picked the second over the first one because of its two player mode, although I could easily see the 3rd game take its place, I just personally have a little fondness for the second entry as its the one I played the most out of the two. As for Chrono Trigger its just that the SNES was such a great console for RPG's and you just know that adding another one of these adds hours and hours of playability to the machine. As for Actraiser it is just a brilliant and unique game which I wont go into further as well I only just reviewed it, if you want to know more about it then scroll through my posts and find my review.


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

News Rant: Girls as young as 9 are having unneeded labiaplasty, why and what can be done about it?

I know that this is usually a blog about Video Games and other forms of entertainment, but every so often I have looked at news or polotics when I feel it is important to do so, if you are only here for the Games etc and want to skip this post out then rfeel free I wont hold it against you, but I just felt this topic was important.

OK so I wanted to take a look at a few things in the news that had made me just stop and feel the need to rant, this was supposed to be a piece where one by one I tackled various pieces of news and the issues I had with them but then I read one piece and I just couldn't write about anything else. I read the news that apparently Girls as young as nine are opting to have surgery on their well for want of a better term private area. Doctors have apparently said that this is because of body insecurities and they have claimed that these insecurities stem from social media and pornography.

Now I know you might think that I found this article in some uninformed rag but I actually read about it in the Independent. Naomi Crouch, a leading adolescent gynaecologist, talked to the BBC and told them that she is concerned GPs are referring young girls for unneeded labiaplasty(This is  an operation where the lips of the vagina are shortened or reshaped). She said that she is yet to see a young girl who needs the operation and feels that they are getting the operation when it is completely unnecessary, this is not just her opinion Paquita de Zulueta, a GP for more than 30 years, agreed with Crouch’s concerns, also mentioning that this was a modern problem, I feel I should include the following quote from her as its important “I'm seeing young girls around 11, 12, 13 thinking there's something wrong with their vulva - that they're the wrong shape, the wrong size, and really expressing almost disgust,”. I dont know about anyone else but I am deeply troubled by the concept of anyone as young as 11, 12 or 13 looking at any part of themselves physical or emotional and feeling disgust. If a person can so easily learn to hate a part of themselves at such an early point in there life then it is utterly terrifying to picture where this individual might end up, how they might feel about themselves when they are another 10 or 20 or even 40 years older. It has been proven that the emotional scars from bullying can last for a horrific amount of time and that's when its people you can potentially escape trying to rip you to pieces, what about when you have been trained to rip yourself apart emotionally and mentally from the inside?

It is believed that this phenomena is down to  pornography and social media leading to girls having an incorrect idea of how things should look, meaning that people are having the operation out of a fear that the bits they have simply look wrong instead of because they have an actual medical abnormality. A lot of people will probably be shocked by this whole news piece for lots of reasons least of which is the fact that girls from as young as 9 are seeing pornography. All of us want to think that children are innocent, we want to see 9 year olds as playing with My Little Pony and we like to think that they don't have to deal with anything serious, we would like to think the most serious question that enters there mind is should they ask for chocolate or strawberry milk but the worlds not like that anymore and maybe it never truly was. You might be able to keep your kid away from things but other kids will see things and then talk to your kid, as a parent you kind of need to be ready to tackle any question or worry your child might have and this can be a very challenging situation with many parents preferring to try to bury there heads in the sand.

In 2015-16, more than 200 girls under 18 had labiaplasty on the NHS, with more than 150 of these girls being under 15. Now several plastic surgeons have come out to try and say that there is nothing wrong with this and people have a right to seek help to change how they look if it makes them feel uncomfortable, but lets face it this sort of thing keeps them in work so there opinion is hardly a none biased one. The biggest issue is that this is most likely just the tip of the iceberg, I don't see this problem going away anytime soon in fact I would expect the figures to get worse and worse.

What can I say other than its just another troubling sign of the way our world is. People are so media saturated now days peoples opinions are shaped by it without them even realising it, there fears are magnified by it. A great many people are simply so brainwashed by a photoshoped celebrity reality that when they look in the mirror no matter how they look they will see something which does not match this glossy image they have been sold. People will buy all manner of face creams, toothpastes and dieting pills to try and match the blueprints they have been given by the media and when this proves futile they will look at even more drastic measures like starvation diets and plastic surgery and this is just made all the more worrying by the fact that children are now exhibiting this behaviour. The real troubling thing is that children seem to be falling even deeper down the rabbit hole, they cant remember a time before the information overloaded world we live in now, the TV, Internet and Magazines brainwash them and they look to us and in a great many cases they see an almost equally brainwashed larger version of themselves uncomfortable in there own skin, crushed by the weight of everything desperate to fit some ever changing concept of perfection.

It is easy to point at problems, to say that something is wrong and that it needs to change, but it is far more complex to actually do something about it. I may hold a degree in Social Science and have a background relating to child development but this does not mean that I hold all of the answers, this is after all a very large and complex problem and I doubt anyone person could wave a magic wand and sort it out, but I do feel that the first few things that need to happen is for awareness of this situation to be raised and for a discourse to get underway, people need to know about it and they need to talk about it only then can we start to look for ways to tackle it.

A few easy points for consideration are that we as individuals need to think about the way we talk about ourselves in front of children. Are you always mentioning your own weight or unhappiness with your looks in front of children? If so then maybe you need to stop and think that you are in fact adding and structurally enhancing a culture of criticism. Now I am not saying that its wrong for you to want to shed a few pounds or to live a healthier life style but you don't want to perpetuate the idea that your looks make you any more or less important as a person, children pick up on far more than most people would imagine, emotionally beating yourself up in front of one can send the message that its OK to do this. I think we also need to start complimenting the youth of today on none physical attributes, for example there compassion for others, or there sense of humour , we need to teach people and teach them from an early age that there is far more to being a person than simply how you look.We have a hard road to walk and many challenges to face if we want society to be less superficial and if we want young people to be free to be who they are without constantly questioning if there normal but if any road is worth walking its this one.

Monday, 3 July 2017

A look at The WWE hall of Fame 2007

Well it has been far to long since I have talked about the WWE hall of fame. Last time I talked about the inductions for 2006 so no prizes for guessing that today I will of course be talking about 2007. 2006 was a brilliant year in my opinion so I guess we will have to see if 2007 is anywhere near as close by looking at the individuals who made it in. Id like to add that as much as I do try and fact check everything if an error slips through then I apologise in advance, also I try not to go too in depth about wrestlers I don't have any major memory or feelings for , so if someone was an absolute star but there before my time or spent a lot of time in promotions I never had access to then forgive me for kind of quickly skipping over there accomplishments.



Ok so to start things off lets talk about one of the inductee's "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes or to use his birth name Virgil Runnels Jr. You can talk about the mans accomplishments after all he was a three time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, one time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion two time NWA World Tag Team Champion, two time NWA World Six-Tag Team Champion, and a one time NWA World Television Champion but a wrestler is not defined by the belts he held there is so much more to look at than that. I had no idea who Dusty was before his stint in the WWE (at the time WWF) so I could be forgiven for just thinking of him as the big poka dot coverd guy who had a rivalry with the million dollar man, but lets stop and look right there Dusty was given the role of a working man and made to wear poka dots and yet he pulled it off he was an epic face loved by so many who lit the house on fire with his charisma, you followed him from feud to feud hanging on his every word wanting to support him and see him win. Throw on top of this his lengthy stint as lead booker for WCW, yes they were the WWE's rivals but it takes a good rival to keep a company truly on its toes. I personally think the guy is very deserving of the honour of being in the hall of fame. I will always remember the fact that my mum adored Dusty Rhodes, I have many a happy memory of being a youngster and hearing my mum scream at the TV for Dusty to get up or beat someone.

So next lets look at "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, now I have to admit as a kid I thought he was a perfect dick, but as I have said in the past that only goes to show just how well he was playing his part, I wanted to see him get beat up and I would tune in hopefully that this would be the night it would happen so basically the guy did his job Perfectly. The truth is eventually even though he was a heel I started to develop a growing respect for Mr Perfect, I had to admit that he was a very talented athlete who performed perfectly executed moves in a way very few other wrestlers could. When I look back now and rewatch a lot of the pay per views from my youth I get very excited when they announce Mr Perfect because I just know I am going to see some real quality wrestling. Unfortunatly Curt Henning was a Posthumous inductee and so he was represented by his wife Leonice, his four children, his mother and his father the wrestler Larry "The Axe" Hennig. Curt Henning was a
One time AWA World Heavyweight Champion, two-time WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, one time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, one time WCW World Tag Team Champion but he was so much more than just these reigns he was a fantastic perfomer both in ring and on the mic and he will never be forgotten. Like Dusty above him I love to see his Son wrestle because you can see there father through them as well as seeing the incredible wrestlers they have become (this is true for Curtis Axel, GoldDust and Cody Rhodes).

This year also saw the induction of Jerry The King Lawler who well to me he was just the King, when I was a kid he wrestled a little in the WWE (then WWF) but I would come to know him mostly as a commentator, a great one who despite being a heel commentator quiet a lot of the time would have me in fits of laughter, little did I know he was a One time AWA World Heavyweight Champion, a 35-time AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion, a three-time WCCW World Heavyweight Champion, and a 28-time USWA Unified Champion. I learned more about his past and his place in the industry later in my life and I appreciate the roll he played but have to admit I dont feel quite as much for him as I do fo the likes of Dusty and Perfect I still can more than understand why he belongs in the hall of fame and fully agree with it.

 Nick Bockwinkel was inducted in this year but I have to admit he was someone who I had only really heard of in passing, he was big in the AWA and apparently Hulk Hogan was annoyed by what he saw as Bockwinkels book room politicing. He was a Four-time AWA World Heavyweight Champion and three-time AWA World Tag Team Champion. Lots of people speak highly of him and credit him with helping them in one way or another but there is not a lot I can say about him as really due to my age and what I was exposed to he has largly flown under my radar.

Now back to someone I really appreciate and that is Mr. Fuji (Harry Fujiwara), Now Mr Fuji the devious one might have been a Five-time WWWF/WWF World Tag Team Champion but what I really knew him as was a manager and what a heck of a manager he was, he could get you to hate anybody he took under his wing, and the company could easily and convincingly make anyone a face by getting Fuji to turn on them.  I will always remember him with Demolition Axe and Smash, I will always remember the salt and his cane , unfortunatly he passed in 2016 but he is a very worthy entrant to the hall of fame both for his work as a wrestler and for his work as a manager.

This year also saw the induction of  The Sheik (Edward Farhat), seeing as he started in the 70's a lot of his stuff was quiet a bit before my time but he was one of the originators of what would go on to be known as hardcore wrestling and he was the uncle of the ECW legend Sabu. He didnt only wrestle in America he also did a lot of wrestling in Japan and trained several notable names including Rob Van Dam, and Scott Steiner.  He also trained Muhammad Ali before Ali`s famous boxer vs wrestler match with Antonio Inok. The guy certainly deserves to be in the hall of fame not for a long and wonderful WWF based career but more for his contribution to the world of wrestling in general.

One group made there way in to the hall of fame in 2007 and that was The Wild Samoans, Afa and Sika, who were Three-time WWF Tag Team Champions. Now if you ask me if these men deserve to be in the hall of fame as The Wild Samoans thats where things get a touch tricky. You see yes they worked togther as the Wild Samoans but they also worked as singles wrestlers, as managers, in diffrent teams (not togther)  both of them have quiet a long list of accomplishments and I am not sure if they should have gone in seperatly or as a team thats my only question about there place in the hall of fame. During the late 1970s, Afa Anoa'i opened the Wild Samoans Training Center, and the school's graduates include Paul Orndorff, Junkyard Dog, Luna Vachon, Michael P.S. Hayes, Yokozuna, Bam Bam Bigelow, Rikishi, Sherri Martel, Virgil, Billy Kidman, Gene Snisky, Chris Kanyon and Batista if you stop and take a look at that list even just as there trainer doesnt the guy deserve to be in under his own name instead of in under a team name?  In 1999, Sika started up XW 2000, an independent wrestling promotion based in Pensacola, Florida. From 1999 until 2008 and again since 2010, the promotion has run family-oriented wrestling shows. The point is that clearly both men have put a lot into the world of wrestling and I kind of feel they should have both gotten individual moments to shine in a hall of fame ceremony.

OK so I left Jim Ross till last, he was a longtime lead announcer for WWF/E, WCW and other regional promotions; he was the Head of WWF Talent Relations during the Attitude Era,and he signed many well known wrestlers. Good Old JR is often considerd one of if not the greatest wrestling commentators of all time and for good reason the man is a real head of his field. Is he my favourate not quiet I think I would have to give that honour to Bobby the Brain Heenan but I still hold a whole heap of respect for Ross. Ross is a legend not just in the WWE but in the world of wrestling in general. His career in the world of wrestling started in NWA Tri-State tettitory and stayed there from 1974–1987 (the name for this promotion changed to Mid-South Wrestling) he started as a referee and then became a commentator as well as there Vice President of Marketing. He was also a commentator for Crocket promotions, world championship wreslting, Smokey Mountain Wrestling. The majority of his career was spent as a commentator with the WWE though, and it wasnt just wrestling, when they tried to branch out with the XFL, a professional football league Ross, who had previously gained experience announcing for the Atlanta Falcons was used. Entire books could be dedicated to what the man did for both the fans and the business while in the WWE. The truth is that when Jim Ross was put in the Hall of Fame he fully deserved it but he didnt stop there he did so much after and id like to draw some attention to a little of that. In 2013, Ross began to coach and produce new announcers at the WWE Performance Center in Florida.The man wasnt content with having been possibly the greatest announcer of our time no he wanted to try and make sure that fans in the future would get to experiance exciting profesional commentery. Ross also went on to become an English Language commentator for New Japan Pro Wrestling and to also provided commentary for What Culture Pro Wrestling's iPPV Refuse to Lose, True Destiny and for some of WCPW's Loaded tapings.

I cant be very critical of this year at all, I think it was another very impressive set of inductees  any year that see's the introduction of talent on the levels of Dusty, Curt Henning, Mr Fuji and Jim Ross clearly has a lot going for it.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Snes Review 125: Actraiser

Now what if I was to tell you that there was a game which took the core ingredients of something like Castlevania and Sim City and mixed them together? Sounds a little bit strange doesn't it but that's exactly what Actraiser did, it was 1 half action mixed with 1 half god sim now usually I would string things out and try to wait to the end to give a verdict but I cant help but turn around and instantly say that the game is overall amazing, I wanted to give myself a treat to play for my 125th SNES Review but I also wanted to talk about a game which I feel is missing from the upcoming Mini Classic SNES and this firmly ticks both of those boxes (I will also touch upon why I think they didnt look at putting this game on the system).


ActRaiser known in Japan as Akutoreiz─ü) was developed by Quintet. Now this is the first time I have touched upon Quintet in my review series so I just want to stop and talk a little bit about them. Actraiser was actually there first game, they were a Japanese video game developer, founded in April 1989 with there name being taken from musical terminology. In the world of music a Quintet is a group consisting of 5 members it was used here as there name referring to the 5 elements of game design which they laid out as being  planning, graphics, sound, programmers and producers. They were at there most active during the 1990s, when they had a very strong relationship with Enix (Who are not part after there merger of the company referd to as Square Enix), and really are best known for the games Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma, which is often referd to as  "Soul Blazer Trilogy", one of which I own and will be reviewing at somepoint. The current status of Quintet is unclear but evidence suggests that it rather quietly died around 2000 to 2002 which is a cracking shame, one would imagine that SquareEnix hold the rights to this game although with only one sequel which was released a very long time ago I wouldn't hold out for any more entries to the series.

OK so lets start with the plot, the story in Japan follows God, altered in America and Europe to The Master in his fight against Satan which was altered to Tanzra in Europe and America. These alterations were done because Nintendo of America had a strict policy regarding game content in the early 1990s which prohibited things which might be considered offensive including religious themes and plotlines. The game and its story is so seeped in religion though that this papering over things doesn't really alter anything you might be called The Master but when you travel the globe in a palace situated on the top of a cloud, accompanied by your little angel companion slaying demons, performing miracles creating life and hearing the prayers of your followers you would have to be pretty dumb to not work out who you are and whats going on. The basic story is that you had your behind handed to you by Tanzra and his lieutenants (all of which are based on real life religion or mythological creatures) so you retreated to your sky palace to tend to your wounds but now after several hundred years your back and you need to beat Tanzra's lieutenants one by one to free the people, then you need to answer the people prayers to power up enough to wipe the evil from the land. This is probably why the game wasn't chosen to be put on the Mini Nes Classic, after all we are at a time when people seem to be even more easy to offend particularly when it comes to religion, so it was probably a much easier and safer route picking something not so grounded in the biblical.

With there being two different types of gameplay in this game I guess I need to look at each of them on its own and then talk about how they feel sitting side by side each other. I will start with the platforming combat based sections. The easiest thing I can say is that they are very good, the weapon-wielding combat and the platform jumping feels very straightforward with good clean responsive controls and tight gameplay, you never feel like the controls are letting you down or that your being asked to do anything which is not possible you feel totally in control and you feel powerful. You run, you jump and attack your way through forests, caves and castles and you just simply feel that your right there in the game. There are apples which refill your life meter, and 1ups to grab and at the end of every stage there is a boss battle against a beast and like I said before there mythical so your going to see things like Centaurs and Minotaurs all in all its not to dissimilar to Super Castlevania IV a game I have previously praised.

So what about the god sim part of the game how does that play? Well its fun, simple and kind of laid back. It controls easily, its obvious what you have to do, its fun to play but compared to the above platforming and battling its just really chill, you control a little angel character who controls the direction you build in, your attacked by little devil characters as you build but you can shoot them with your angel they will however keep coming back, to stop this you have to guide your villagers to the lair they are coming from and then they will seal this. Once all the monster lairs are sealed and you have made the people happy they will ask you to banish the evil from there land and you will go back to a platforming level. The two styles of play mesh really well together as one is more frantic and the other is more relaxing, going from one to the other really breaks up the flow and stops things from feeling repetitive. In a lot of games were they tried to do more than one game type at a time   it led to you just getting a game which didn't really have any strengths but both parts of this game could stand perfectly well on there own, infact Actraisers only sequel (on the SNES as well) decided to get rid of the sim part and just try to build on the platforming.

Something I need to talk about with Actraiser is the sound or to be more precise the music. The games score was composed by Yuzo Koshiro, yes that Yuzo Koshiro famous for his work on the Revenge of Shinobi and the Streets of Rage series. The game came out within six months of the SNES's launch and in my opinion it proved more than any other game the audio potential of the machine, with a Soundtrack CD being released in Japan. A medley of the music from Actraiser arranged by the original composer was performed live at the second annual Symphonic Game Music Concert in Leipzig, Germany, yeah its that good, I would say its right up there with the likes of Zelda A link to the past.

Just a quick note about graphics before I some things up, although I will admit that your main character sprite is quiet basic I think overall the graphics present in this game are rather good, you have lots of rich colours with multilayers backgrounds and large bosses, the game has a very good style to it and although its not the best looking game its very functional and I feel it has aged well. The thing is everything within this game just gels together so well, when you have frantic levels you have frantic music, when things are calmer the music is calmer, everything just blends together perfectly and this is why I have to do something you wont see me do very often and that is to give this game a solid 10 out of 10. The copy I have is actually from my own childhood, its a Pal copy and its still got its box and manual, if you want to try it the bad news is the game does tend to demand a price, its usually around £30 for a loose pal cartridge you could get a Japanese cart only copy on the cheap but there are quiet a few diffrences with the game from region to region in terms of difficulty but also you will miss out a bit with the language barrier but you could possibly muddle your way through. This is one game though where I would say sod it its worth every penny, its worth noting the game did make its way on to the Wii Virtual console so it could raise its head again for either the New 3DS or Switch and that would be a cheaper way of experiancing it.