Welcome to NerdTakeout.

We discuss entertainment for your amusement and intellectual consumption. Presented by Josh Carley, John-Michael Carley, Andrew Green, and Neil Porche. Sometimes we are funny. Sometimes we are loud. But usually we’re entertaining.

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Continue reading below for a constant stream of ramblings and thoughtful insights.

Neil’s last  post reminded me of something:  How fantastic the older-generation video games were. (Original Mario, Zelda, etc.)  It also reminded me of how difficult they were.  You know what I’m talking about when I mean difficult, right?  I’m talking about getting only 27 coins TOTAL through World-1 in the original Mario Bros. game.  I’m talking about playing through a game hundreds upon hundreds of times just so you can figure out how to make it to the last stage, only to be killed in one hit by the final boss, starting you all the way back to the beginning of the game.  Games back then were nothing but trial and error, but the thing was is that we didn’t have a problem with that.  We just kept going at it like a bunch of spider monkeys jacked-up on Mountain Dew.  (Take a look at the recent release New Super Mario Bros. 2.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to make it through the first level with less than 30 coins.  You will have full 99 lives half-way through the game.  Where is the challenge?  In fact, if you die enough times the game gives you an invincibility suit so you can move on to the next level!)

When was the last time you played a game on your shiny Xbox 360 or PS3 that you just absolutely could not beat.  Not because you got bored with it, but because of the high level of difficulty.  They’re few and far between, correct?  It’s because video games now are more like playable movies than they are actual video games.  I’m not saying they’re bad, I’m just saying they are less like video games than those that released through the late 80’s and early 90’s.  When you die in a video game today, you don’t have to start all the way back at the very beginning.  In fact, if they made a game that actually did that no one would buy it.  Why?  Because we are spoiled.

Hey look! He only has one coin! Why? Because there might be a total of ten in this entire level.

Now I’m not saying that games today aren’t challenging.  I mean take a look at freakin’ Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls.  There is a special place in hell for developers that make such insanely challenging games.  Challenging they are, but they are NOT unbeatable.  There is a way to play through every single one of these games without having to start over.

There is no punishment nowadays.  Our character dies, and then at the absolute worst and red screen will pop-up that reads “Game Over”  or “You Have Died” and two seconds after that you have the option to either “Restart Mission”  or “Restart Last Checkpoint”.  Well gee-whiz I wonder what I’m going to do?

Games “back then” kept a high-score for you in one of the four corners of the screen.  This gave you a reason to pick the controller back up to see if you can beat that number into the ground.  When you died “back then” you threw your controller to the ground in frustration (notice how they didn’t break then like they do now?  Man what sturdy systems they were!) and thought to yourself: “I know I can get it this time.  Just one more time.  I know I can do this.”  And so on, and so on…Where is the “Hi-Score” meter nowadays?

This is what made games addicting.  The re-playability.  “Whoa!” You may be saying to yourself.  “What in the heck is re-playability?”  That’s a good question.  You see, good games had this.  As soon as you’re done with your Call of Duty Modern AssPoop you will go trade it in at your nearest video-game retailer, correct?  Yeah…that’s what I thought.

Now do you understand what I mean when I say video games are like playable movies now?  All video games now have and end-game, or and end cutscene to provide closure, much like a movie.  You may call yourself a “collector” and keep your copy in case you ever felt like playing through it one more time, but let’s face it: You probably won’t.  It’s just like buying a DVD.  You will watch it maybe 2-3 times within the first week that you own it, but it will never see the light of day again after that.

The reason I’m talking about all this is because, if you were listening to our NerdTakeout Podcast you would know this already, I pulled out my original Nintendo Entertainment System.  And guess what.  The thing is still in perfect working condition.  Just give the game cartridges a quick blast of air to clean out the dust and you are good to go.  Bingo.  Have fun.

If you still have a video game system that came out in the late 80’s/early 90’s I encourage to pull it out of your attic and stop treating it like a worthless piece of trash.  I promise you you will get so much joy out of doing this.  In fact, if you have an NES still sitting around, and a copy of the original Mario Bros. or Galaga, go play them and post your high-score from either game and how many coins you collected in World-1.  But, most importantly, quit acting so spoiled and enjoy yourself.

This is what we call “Nerdstalgia”.

I’d say somewhere in the Mushroom Kingdom squeezed into a little cartridge called Super Mario Brothers 3.  It’s bright, colorful, pixel perfect palette slaps a stupid childlike grin across my face as the red curtain lifts and the title drops onto the screen. It’s fantastic. And it gets me giddy every time. This is both 50% nostalgia and 50% 80’s Nintendo-can-do-no-wrong magic.

I mentioned on the podcast that growing up even my mother would select Luigi and co-op her way through the worlds of SMB3 with me. Which is to say, ANYONE could play this game. You didn’t need to put them through some lengthy tutorial or watch them fumble hopelessly trying to figure out which button does what. People just knew. People just got it. People just played.

The best. Bring the back, please?

Every bit of this two dimensional wonderland screamed polish. It blew past expectations of what an original NES game could do graphically, rivaling even games on much better 16-bit hardware. Each overworld map was animated and vibrant, laying out a distinct mood to separate itself from the ones before it.

In the levels themselves you’ll find yourself running away from an angry 8-bit swooping sun one minute and then jumping around in a flying green boot the next. The variety of gameplay mechanics and tightness of the controls make the game a simple joy that I love going back to every chance that I get. Sure I love Super Mario 64, the Super Mario Galaxy games, and every bit of Super Mario 3D Land…but there’s something about the retro old school whimsy to Super Mario Bros. 3 that sets it apart from the rest.

This sun is no fun.

Do you have a particular game you go to when you need a little pick-me-up?

-Neil

Twitter: @neilporche

Amidst all the glories and heart-wrenching victories coming out of the XXX 2012 London Olympics, I am drawn more to the fact that Snoop Dogg changed his name to Snoop Lion.  Yeah.  Snoop Lion.  Here’s the story:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/snoop-doggs-new-name/2012/08/01/gJQATPfhOX_video.html

This is not a prank.  This is a real thing.  Apparently he had some sort of spiritual epiphany while in Jamaica, so now he says he is tired of hip-hop and is now making a reggae album titled “Reincarnated”. I know you guys want to hear a reggae version of Gin & Juice.  (Rollin’ down the street, mon.)

I personally think he got a hold of the wrong stuff on his vacation. (If anyone seen a leprechaun say “YEEAHHH!!!”)

The Transformizzle

I’m not sure if I’m shocked more by the fact that he is making a Reggae album than him changing his name.  We all know how booming the Reggae business is doing…*pffft*  But it is Snoop “Dogg” Lion, so it will definitely sell copies (or at least be downloaded for free by a lot of people).

When I heard the phrase “Snoop Lion” for the first time, I thought it was a new OS from Apple.  You know, like if they combined Snow Leopard with Lion?  In fact I think Apple SHOULD make an OSx Snoop Lion, that rolls up a joint for you every time iTunes is playing reggae or something.

Then it also reminded me of The Lion King, which I watched immediately.  I can just see Snoop bending down to his son saying, “Look here, lil Simbizzle.   Everything the light touches is our kingdomizzle.”  Right?  Anyone?..anyone?  Okay a bad joke, I know.

So I guess my point in all of this is that our media is filled with so much garbage (not saying Snoop is garbage, I love his music, but this is NOT news).  Can’t we just get some Olympics coverage instead?  As a matter of fact I’m going to take a hammer to my hand, “Casino” style, for even blogging about this.  I should be talking, instead, about how awesome all of the athletes are doing over there in Jolly-Old-England.  What a world we live in, huh?

Snoop Lion has given me an idea, though.  I wonder if I changed my name to Andrew Duck-Billed Platypus how that would come across to my friends.  If you got to change your name to your spirit animal, what would it be?  Sound off in the comments section.  The best name gets a high-five and ten internet points.

-Andrew

Today I’m going to leave you with a few things I couldn’t make individual posts about before our unofficial  “Week Of All Things Batman” comes to a close. I’m listing it in no particular order, so feel free to consume it in which ever way you please.

Batman and Harry Potter crossover.

This world is hilarious.

I don’t know what it is about FanFiction but it seriously has a Rule 34 type way of existing regardless of whether there’s any conceivable reason why it should.

With titles such as:  A Wizard In Gotham, Bats Don’t Use Magic, Dark Knights of The Soul, Harry Potter and the Mantle of the Dark Knight, and The Boy Who Lived to Fly.

And wonderful descriptions:

A retired Batman saves Harry and, after taking him in and training him, Harry becomes the new Batman. Harry/OC, Harry/Draco.”

Typical Batman/Harry Potter crossover. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville end up in mysteriously in Gotham. Oh no! With the help of Tim Drake, they struggle to find their way back to the wizarding world.”

After living a long life, Harry Potter died and is reborn as Adrian Wayne, the younger brother of Bruce Wayne. Born into this new world, Harry still retains memories of his former life, and it seems his magic is there to stay as well.

You can’t help but just smile, cry, laugh or sigh. It’s adorable in it’s own little way, right? If you would like to read more please visit: FanFiction.net

LITTLE BIG PLANET 2 – Batman: The Animated Series

I posted Episode 1 of this on our Facebook Page earlier this week but if you haven’t checked out both episodes, you really should. Little Big Planet 2 mainly provides you with tools to make platformers and 2D shoot em’ ups,  but it’s thinking-outside-of-the-box projects like this that solidifies it as one of my favorite games. And the creator here just nails all the style that made the cartoon fun.

BAT ROMANCE

Look, it has Harley Quinn and Lady Gaga. I just…I’m sorry. Poison Ivy sure gets some clever lyrics though.  And if you skip ALL THE WAY to 5:08 you can see Andrew’s dream woman.

Google “The Adventures of Little Batman” and you won’t regret it.

Well, thanks for joining us as we rambled about Batman like geeky children. I’m sure you’ll still see a few posts about our favorite Caped Crusader here and there so don’t fret. We love Batman but we also love plenty of everything else too. Including you. So tell your friends we’re amazing, listen to our podcast, and LIKE us on Facebook. You guys are awesome.

-Neil

Twitter: @NeilPorche

Harley Quinn is an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist who manically falls head over heels for Gotham’s own batshit insane Joker and becomes both his part time lover and full time accomplice. And you know what? I unabashedly love her.

I ❤ you.

There’s something tantalizing about diving into the mind of a woman who falls in love with a madman. How did Joker get inside her head? What DOES she see in him? What does it mean to be crazy? I love the way they dance around these questions as they depict her as just completely oblivious to Joker’s sometimes outright abusive yet playful jests in their relationship. Ah, and yes. There’s also that whole Cirque du Soleil thing she has going on. I’m 100% for that.

Get it? *sigh* I’m not, however, a fan of the new rebooted juggalo-esque Harley Quinn.

She might have originated as a neurotic sidekick in Batman: The Animated Series, but since then she’s had her fair share of comic and video games cameos. Though I wonder if the authors who drag out Harley Quinn will ever use her to her true potential. She can be an amusing, energetic, and crafty villain. She doesn’t just have to be a crazed clown loving lackey for the comic book heroes real nemesis. I keep wanting someone to delve into the pathos of what makes her….her. And play that out in a way that’s as faithful, dark, manipulative and twisted as the romance she shares with Joker.

Maybe one day!

Until then, I’m left with rewatching various Batman: The Animated Series episodes with her yelling, “Mr.J! Blah, blah, blah” or listening to her having girl talk with Poison Ivy. And maybe even catching a few panels of her in this ever growing pile of digital comics I’ve now collected. I guess what I’m trying to say is…I’d like more Harley Quinn, okay? Is that bad? Is it?
-Neil

Twitter: @neilporche

Oh, and… LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST ABOUT THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

Believe me when I say: this is the Dark Knight’s toughest journey.

What up nerds, Andrew here saying that I sometimes wish I could go back to my 8-year-old self and smack that damn Sega Genesis controller out of my hand. (Did anyone else think that the Genesis controller was a clunky version of a batarang?  Maybe I tricked myself into believing this to make myself feel better about my parents getting me a Sega instead of the Super Nintendo.)  Day after day I would play this game:

Yeah. This was a game. And it was a BAD game.

As often as I played this game, I could never get past the first level (I hope to Batman that I wasn’t the only one).  I thought it was supposed to be a regular side-scrolling Batman game, and while it was that, it also wasn’t that.  Get what I’m saying?  I’m saying it sucked.  The baddies were tough to kill, the grappling hook (which I didn’t even know was in the game until I was a teenager) was so terrible that you couldn’t navigate the level.  The doors to move on to the next level were so damn hard to find, it was like trying to find a nerd at a frat party.  It just would never happen for me.  Out of frustration, I would yank out the game and put in some Mortal Kombat 2 to ease the pain…and yet…while playing MK 2, I could see Jim Carrey doing his weird flailing-arm-tube-man routine on the game cover…laughing at me…laughing…and in that horrible outfit with that horrible hair-do!!!  No…Justice must be served.

So, like Batman, I rose out of the bog of eternal stench and popped that baby back in, repeating these words: “I think I can, I think I can” over and over (because that’s the only way to beat games).  The sweat from my brow leaking into my left eye.  I cried and screamed in agony from the searing, salty pain while still throwing batarangs at thugs and trying to find an exit to the first damn level.  Must…keep…going…

Who am I kidding?  This game sucks so much that I couldn’t even push through after multiple tries.  I’m done with this game.

Over the years Batman games released, one after another after another.  These were dark times indeed.  We needed a hero, we needed hope.  We needed…

This is the game we deserved AND the game we need right now.

You ever wonder what it’s like to become Batman?  This game gave you that opportunity.  This was amazing, from the character design, to the level design, and to figuring out ways to use your gadgets to progress through the game.  After several missions you  can upgrade your weapons and gadgets and even unlock new ones.  The boss fights (except for the last one) were fantastic.  Everything about this game freaking ruled (except for the last boss fight).

And just when I thought I had been given the best gift of all time, Rocksteady announced the sequel, Arkham City.  I felt like an 8-year-old again.  I was just so happy with life.  I know Neil will disagree with me, but Arkham Asylum and Arkham City are the BEST Batman Video Games ever made.  Ever.  There is no argument to this.

Maybe I should get Batman to go back in time and slap that Batarang Genesis controller out of my hand, and let me ride on his back while he glides across the city.  Neverending Story style:

YEAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!

Except Falcor fights crime instead of staring at Atreyu awkwardly.

 

-Andrew

All of this Dark Knight talk as of late has caused me to dip deeply into everything Batman. Whether it’s comics, movies, or video games…Batman has left a mark in every imaginable form of entertainment medium. With the internet making all things pretty much at my fingertips, I was at a loss of where to begin. So I figured I’d write about it.

First of all, as I mentioned on our podcast, I’ve sunk some dollars into Comixology’s comicbook app on my iPad/iPhone. While I grew up with eyes glued to Wolverine and Spiderman comics, I rarely so much as glanced at a Batman one. This means I have a lot of catching up to do.

It’s so easy when it’s one button away.

I started out with Batman: No Man’s Land, Batman: Year One, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, The Batman Hush story arc, and the five issues of Batman Black & White. Am I missing anything? I believe the $.99 sale ends tonight, but I keep hearing I should pick up the issues that fall under the Knightfall story arc as well. There’s just such a plethora of storylines that all sound entertaining. Why didn’t I start reading Batman comics sooner? Either way, I can’t recommend enough that  you check out the Comixology app.  It works pretty flawlessly on most Android and all iOS capable devices.

*squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze*

Annnnnd, damn you Netflix. Why don’t you have any of the Batman cartoons for me to watch? I have this craving that your on-every-device Instant Watch queue is suppose to fill.  See, I have fond memories of Batman: The Animated Series.  And somewhat fuzzier but still fond memories of Batman Beyond. I want to revisit these things but that means I might have to resort to picking up the physical copies. The digital download and streaming future has spoiled me. I would like these things at a click of a button. I would like them…now.

The one time I laughed at Robin.

And speaking of digital downloads, I’m rounding up some of my favorite and not so favorite Batman video games that have popped up over the years. I plan to write about them later this week whenever Andrew comes to experience the joy of being the Batman with me. He wants to be my Robin.

-Neil

twitter: @neilporche