Though it still feels like I got the required amount of relaxation this weekend, I look back on all the stuff I did (or played and watched, to be more specific) and almost feel like I couldn’t have. Throughout the weekend I’ve watched two movies, beaten one game, played through a good amount of another, spent a good portion of time with my girlfriend, and even got some work done on some web / game stuff I’ve been meaning to do.
The first thing my girlfriend and I did on Sunday was head on over to the local theater to catch the matinee of Tropic Thunder. I’d read glowing reviews, a little bit of controversy, and I’m a fan of both Ben Stiller and Jack Black, so I had a feeling the movie would be good. And it was. From the opening trailers (go see it, you’ll see) to the end credits, the movie was intensely funny. If you’re into comedy flicks and you don’t mind humor that is occasionally offensive humor, you’ll enjoy Tropic Thunder.
Before the movie began, we sat through all the silly trailers. I think that out of the seven to eight trailers shown before Thunder started, only one looked decent. Most of them just left me, my girlfriend, and the rest of the audience making jokes and shaking our heads in shame and disgust. One trailer in particular comes to mind now, for “Disaster Movie,” but not because it was particularly good, and surely not because the movie looks like it will be anything but another steaming pile of crap in the line of “_____ Movie” films.
I find it funny that the trailer for DIsaster Movie was shown though, because after watching Topic Thunder, you can’t help but feel bad for anyone who actually believes that that movie, or any of its ilk, is in any way “real” comedy. I guess every now and then Hollywood manages to produce something above and beyond the norm, and it serves to put all the other trash back in its place. That’s not to say that Tropic Thunder is a perfect movie (it’s certainly not), but it’s entertaining, it’s damn funny, and it makes you wish more movies could be like it.
About a week ago, while I was waiting for my girlfriend to get done picking out some clothes at the local mall, I wandered into the nearby GameStop and found a game I’d been meaning to pick up for some time, but hadn’t yet seen it available for $20 – Overlord.
It’s not the best game ever made; the controls are a little hard to get used to, and the camera bugs me sometimes. But I really like the concept of Overlord, and the way the game actually works is just really amusing to me, so I enjoy playing it. Overall, there’s a lot more good stuff here than bad.
In Overlord, you play as the newly resurrected, evil “Overlord,” and you lead an ever-growing horde of minions (little gremlin-ish creatures) to do your bidding. At your command, the throng of minions will destroy everything in sight, gang up on baddies, and clear the way for you to continue forth. As you play, you gain the ability to control different types of minions, each with a unique ability. You also learn magical spells and forge new items at your tower. The core game works a lot like Fable, where you pick up new quests as you move along, and have the option to complete them when you want, albeit instead of having to choose between acting good or evil, in Overlord, you usually have to choose between acting evil or acting more evil.
As I mentioned above, I really like the idea behind Overlord – that some nameless, evil guy runs around with his crowd of minions, and together they conquer the land. It’s a clever idea, and it runs against the grain of all the traditional “hero” games in a really fine way. The voice acting for the minions and their leader is excellent, and brings the game to life in a way that could not have been achieved otherwise. The ability to customize your evil tower and imbue your arsenal with the powers of your minions were also great additions, and serve to round out the game in a satisfying way. Codemasters put a lot of effort into making Overlord fun to play, and in my opinion, they succeeded.
Hopefully that opinion doesn’t change as I mach through the rest of the game!
The Simpsons Movie
I finally had the opportunity to watch The Simpsons Movie, and I enjoyed it a lot. The movie was consistently funny throughout, and not one opportunity was lost to use one of the show’s hundreds of characters. I’ve always liked how the Simpsons works so many levels of subtle (and often not-so-subtle) social commentary into the plots of each show, and the movie followed suit with this trait in spades.
Truthfully, the whole thing seemed a bit like a really long episode of the normal show, only with better animation, but I think this was one of the movie’s strengths. It gave the writers time to do jokes that simply aren’t possible within the constraints of a thirty minute show, and there’s hardly a moment where you feel like the film has lost its momentum.
There are plenty of awesomely funny moments in The Simpsons Movie, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes the show.
After spending over three hours working out the last two puzzles I had left (one of which I solved on accident after giving up completely), I’ve finally beaten Braid. I won’t spoil things for anyone who’s playing (or plkanning on playing) the game, but I will say that the ending is appropriate to the rest of the game, and I can say with confidence that if you enjoyed the game up to the end, you will enjoy the ending a lot.
Animated Texture Water
Like that picture above? That’s a screenshot of a new 3D water example I’ve got ready for release – but I really want to write up a tutorial so people can learn how I made the textures included in the example. It looks great in motion!
Anyway – that’s my weekend in a nutshell. Thanks for reading, and sorry for the delays between posts, I’ll try to be more promopt with future posts.