Friday, August 15, 2014

Scarecrow Video and Me

Movies have always been special to me. As a small town kid whose sole access to first run movies came via the drive-in, the party-in-the-car atmosphere combined with the couple-times-a-summer rarity lent each visit an air akin to Christmas. I wouldn't set foot in a "walk-in" until the release of Empire Strikes Back, and even then, going to the movies never lost it's special occasion feel. Soon, I could be found haunting the local video stores, marinating my fevered brain in the lurid box art of films I wasn't old enough to watch, where we might rent a VCR and a few action barnburners or sci-fi mindbenders for a weekend sleepover. Birthday celebrations, first romantic overtures, even my first date with my wife all occurred at the movies. Maybe that is why my first visit to Scarecrow Video was such a revelation. They had ALL THE MOVIES. Here. Under one roof. All the schlocky horror I could stand! Foreign action flicks! Sci-Fi rarities! Bizarre docs and weird music videos! FREAKING SHAW BROTHERS! My entire cinematic past, present and future. Every film I had ever seen, as well as dozens of films I had been reading about for years and could, WOULD finally see for myself! As an unwashed eastsider, I don't visit as often as I'd like, but every visit results in some new rare find to add to my collection. Another cinematic special occasion, courtesy of Scarecrow Video.

When my BoneBat Show co-host Gord and I started The "Comedy of Horrors" Film Fest, Scarecrow was there from day one, providing amazing prizes for our audience. Their support has been unwavering, and as such, I have been wanting to give back for some time. On Saturday, August 16th, the Reel to Real Dementia Movie Night will be our first opportunity, as the amazing Tony Kay and I will be taking over the Scarecrow screening room at 8:00 pm for trivia, prizes, shorts from the BoneBat Film Fest, and a rare screening of 1977's the Incredible Melting Man! So if movies mean as much to you as they do to me, please join us. Have a ice cold beer, (or I hear their Chai is great as well), Buy a dvd, or 2 (or 10), scream and laugh with us, and as a bonus, help us support this one-of-a-kind Seattle institution. Thanks for reading. I hope to see you there.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mass Effect 3: The Endgame...or is it?

I've spent the last few weeks playing through what has been without a doubt my most anticipated video game of the year, Mass Effect 3. I laughed. I cried. Well, got choked up anyway. I thrilled to the final adventures of my Shepard. It was a great run.

I was aware that many folks were seriously pissed over the ending of the game/trilogy, but in the interest of keeping my own experience pristine, I put aside the links, essays, and Youtube videos until I had completed the game. Now that I have savored every last moment from the games, I have revisited these sources, and while they make some pretty compelling points in retrospect, I am surprised at how differently I initially interpreted the ending from many of my ME loving brethren.

So, I decided to dust this blog off for a quick discussion of some of the main points of dissension, as I just NEED to talk about this stuff, and there is no point waiting for the next BoneBat Show, because let's face it, Gord doesn't give a shit.

Spoilers follow in 3...2...1...

By way of disclosure, I was fairly satisfied with the ending ending I earned, which I found behind the green door, err, explosion. In my ending, Shepard sacrificed himself to merge all organic and synthetic life in the galaxy, thus breaking the 50,000 year reaper cycle and giving the universe a chance at lasting peace, while becoming a Christ-like figure in the process. (I also completed a play through of Mass Effect: Infiltrator, and spent enough time with the datapad app to achieve 94% galactic readiness, for a total EMS of around 6,000.)

I found this ending in keeping with other "big idea" science fiction, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Asimov's work, philosophical ideas contained Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, so it made a certain sense to me. How else do you end 3 games worth of "sheparding" the galaxy through a constant state of flux, where your every move is a matter of life and death, than by making the endgame a true game-changer? In essayist parlance, I understand why the writers would reach for the "U Joint" which would tie it all together with life as WE know it. "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...the hard way" if you will.

Coming from that angle, a lot of the complaints about the ending I have read/heard don't hold water for me, but even that is a good thing. To my mind, the very best sci-fi opens up these sort of discussions. So, here are my own opinionated thoughts on few of the questions brought about by the end of ME3. Got a rebuttal? Please share! I'd love to discuss while it's all still fresh in my mind.

In a game where everything is open to your own choice, why did Shepard have to die?
My Shepard died because I chose to nobly give his life to save the galaxy, so your mileage may vary, but clearly this was a writer's decision early on. And you couldn't have been surprised, the theme of sacrifice for the greater good was running thick throughout the game. Thane sacrificed himself so Shepard could live. Mordin sacrificed himself for the future of the Krogan race. Legion sacrificed himself for the future of the Geth. Could Shepard give any less? Plus, this ending was well telegraphed before the final battle as everyone you've ever met took the time to tell you how great you've been, not to mention the dream of you bursting into flame with the dead kid. FORESHADOWED!

Who the hell is the "Hologram Kid", and why is he there?
My interpretation was that "Hologram kid" was the face of a higher power, put into a form that Shepard would understand. This is certainly a trope, yet very few of the criticisms of the ending I've seen make mention of this possibility. See V'ger. Or the burning bush.

"Who am I to impose my will on the Galaxy, and turn all life semi-cybernetic?"
I find this particular argument laughable. You have been imposing your will on the galaxy LIKE A BOSS for 3 games now! And galaxy: If you don't like the thought of you new cyber-organic life, perhaps you'd prefer your existence (or lack thereof) in a reaper's colon.

What happened to all the friends I've made along the way? Why can't we know what happened?
Well, because you are dead. After you are dead, you don't know shit so much.

Why is the Normandy fleeing the battle? Did Joker chicken out?That's a pretty big assumption. I saw it more as the Normandy was fleeing the explosion, a la the Millennium Falcon at the end of Jedi. Where did they end up? I dunno, but I did like the idea of Joker and EDI as Adam and Eve.

With all the Mass Relays destroyed, all the armies in the galaxy are stranded around Sol. Turians and Quarians can't eat human food, and Krogans are bloodthirsty badasses. Won't everyone either starve to death or be eaten by Krogans?
Putting aside the fact that the destruction of the Mass Relays would smoke EVERYBODY per the events in "The Arrival" (a fact I DO think Bioware screwed the proverbial KEI-9 on), maybe not. You have all the great minds in the universe in one place working on the Crucible, and all the tech that made it possible. As Shepard, you yourself unlocked new Eezo and engine technology during the events of ME3. I have to think the scientists would overcome this hurdle in short order.


So...yeah. Those are my thoughts. In the end, I am fairly satisfied with my ending, and the fact that Bioware allowed me to draw my own conclusions about what it all meant. I enjoy art that trusts me to interpret it myself, and find myself still mulling it over a day later, which is always a sign of great entertainment.

Could it have been better? Sure! The after party would have been amazing, as I had really only begun to seriously drink with Tali, but given the overarching tone of the trilogy, that was never going to happen. This end was always going to be both epic and bittersweet, and for me, it was.

After 120 or so hours of truly sublime gameplay, I don't feel Bioware owes me a damn thing. I don't feel that they lied to me, or betrayed me, or porked my pets. To the contrary, I feel pretty thankful to have another truly great Sci-Fi universe to explore along with Star Wars, Star Trek, and BSG.

That said, I can't wait for more Mass Effect, and if those crazy RetakeMassEffect3 kids actually get us more game as a result, well then, awesome!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

NEW PODCAST: Multimedia Trollage!

This week: A brand new episode of The BoneBat Show!

In Episode 58: Gord and Steve brave the northern frost to present a icy blast of metal from Finland's Finntroll, along with the usual What Pisses Us Off, Filthy Jokes, political rants, and a monstrously huge installment of Multimedia Triage! Learn the history of Finland's finest, and hear our opinions and impressions of AMC's The Walking Dead, the Amazing Krypto Bros. film Damned by Dawn, the cd Self Made Loner from sAMPLE tHE mARTIAN, Call of Duty: Black Ops, the Xbox Live games FX2 Pinball, Comicjumper, Hydrophobia and Super Meat Boy, the novels Horus Heresy: The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden and Gilded Latten Bones by Glen Cook, Izotope's RX2 complete audio repair software, and much more in this Damn Trollish episode 58 of...

The BoneBat Show!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NEW PODCAST: WangZgiving!

This week: A brand new episode of The BoneBat Show!

In Episode 57: Gord and Steve serve up an autumn feast of enormous magnitude, as they are joined in-studio by CoSplay, Bill Beats, and MC-3PO of Seattle's Death*Star for a thrilling LIVE display of Northwest Nerdcore, and via the interwebs by the one and only Z. of Hipster Please, on the occasion of Radio Free Hipster's 100th episode! Thus armed, the gang proceeds to abuse the G word, and wreak havoc with all new What Pisses Us Off, Filthy Jokes, political ranting, and Multimedia Triage reviews of The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris, Adam WarRock's new CD The War for Infinity, Heavy Mental from Troma Pictures, FX's The League, the comic American Vampire from Scott Snyder, the anime Queen's Blade, the Red Box from Dungeons and Dragons, and much, much, more, in this truly groundbreaking episode 57 of...

The BoneBat Show!

Monday, October 25, 2010

NEW PODCAST: Ales From The Crypt!

This week: A brand new episode of The BoneBat Show!

In Episode 56: Steve and Gord jam-pack another pillowcase with Halloween goodness just for you, as they interview artist extraordinaire "Unkle" Eric Pigors, DJ Cheekyboy of Monster Mash-ups fame, and game designer Bruce Glassco of the board game Betrayal at The House on The Hill, gorge themselves on beer and candy, and treat you to fantastic new tunes from The Creepshow's latest release They All Fall Down! Plus, chill once more to the sounds and smells of FIVE Seattle area haunts with music from Nox Arcana in Steve's Haunt Tours, laugh at the latest "What Pisses Us Off" and Filthy Jokes, and enjoy Multimedia Triage reviews of IFC's Dead Set, the film Red, the novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett, season 4 of [adult swim]'s Metalocalypse, TSR's Dungeons and Dragons Red Box, LiveRider from New Potato Tech and Troma's Dead Eyes Open, in this frighteningly full episode 56 of...

The BoneBat Show!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

NEW PODCAST: Samus It Ever Was

This week: A brand new episode of The BoneBat Show!

In Episode 55: Steve and Gord throw down for the third straight week as they present play by play from the MIFFF and Revenant Film Festivals, coverage of the former highlighted by a visit with The Presence director Tom Provost, and revisit the mighty Metroid Metal on the release of the Expansion Pack EP, complete with PAX Prime band interview! All this plus What Pisses Us Off, Filthy Jokes, and reviews of Alawar Games' Twisted Lands: Shadow Town, the novel Fool by Christopher Moore, the XBL version of Popcap's Plants vs Zombies, and NFL Fanvision in Multimedia Triage round out this most engaging episode 55 of...

The BoneBat Show!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


This week: A brand new episode of The BoneBat Show!

In Episode 54: Gord and Steve celebrate three years of BoneBat with a throwback show, hearkening back to the simpler times of two guys, two beers, and What Pisses Us Off, all backed by amazing new music from the remarkably rocking (and newly independent) Weezer! All this plus discussions of food, books and video games, limericks, post-PAX feedback and a review of the novel Handling the Undead by Let The Right One In author John Ajvide Lindqvist await in this landmark episode 54 of The BoneBat Show!

The BoneBat Show!