I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that I do a heck of a lot of karaoke these days. Over the course of the year, I’ve grown into one of those table-hopping guys who knows the karaoke bars inside out and has no qualms about going up on stage and completely embarrassing themselves singing Alanis Morissette just to see if I can. It’s pretty fun. Plus, it’s a great way to collect high-fives if your song selection is just right.
But there are some unwritten rules for karaoke that non-regulars have to figure out for themselves. One in particular involves knowing which songs not to sing, no matter how much you want to. So I picked out five particular songs which always seem like a good idea at first until they happen. Avoid these and both the host and regulars will not secretly plan your demise for the next several minutes.
1. Frank Sinatra – My Way
Nothing against Sinatra; the song itself is great. But because this is a front-runner for his greatest hits, it’s also the go-to song for any guy who wants to show off his pipes. The problem is, much like Semisonic’s “Closing Time”, it’s a show-stopper. It only delivers the impact you want if it’s the last song of the night. Otherwise, you’re just screwing with everybody’s biological clocks. Sing Instead: Anything else by Sinatra. Heck, try Tony Bennett. Maybe even Michael Buble. You’ve got options here.
2. Elton John – Don’t Let Your Sun Go Down On Me
This is the #1 most frequent Elton John song I hear at these venues. Usually, the people singing it are coming out of bad relationships, but no one should ever bring this baggage to karaoke. Your sadness is poisoning the venue and driving away business. The host doesn’t need your attitude. Either perk up or get out. Sing Instead: Crocodile Rock. Philadelphia Freedom. Benny and the Jets. Hakuna Matata. Damn it, just pull yourself together! And stop creeping on young girls! You’re the reason they stop coming to these things!
3. Eminem – Stan
You remember how awesome this song was in high school? I bet you also remember that it’s seven minutes long, right? And that for karaoke, you HAVE to sing the rap part? You can’t just go up, sing the Dido part, and wait for the rap part to be over. And if you’re actually rapping, this is once again a buzz-kill of a song since it’s about a guy who descends into insanity and kills himself and his pregnant girlfriend. Also, it’s completely unsing-alongable. Sing Instead: “Without Me”, “Just Lose It”, or “The Real Slim Shady”. People love singing along with these ones and they will thank you.
4. Pussycat Dolls – Hush Hush Hush Hush
No. Stop. Just stop. No more. Ever again. I will strangle something. Sing Instead: No. If Pussycat Dolls is your first go-to song, you’re not allowed to sing.
5. Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know
This is a cursed song. Every instance I’ve seen of two people going up to sing it has ended badly, either on-stage or on the floor. Arguments break out, the song rotation gets out of whack, cats and dogs sleep together – total anarchy. Something about it brings out the worst in people. Not to mention it always features a guy singing while a girl awkwardly stands there for three minutes waiting for her part and pretending to be naked. This song in particular always boasts the most uncomfortable four minutes of stage time and will ruin your night somehow. Sing Instead: Love Shack.
Hope that helps!
UPDATE: New songs will be added here as they start re-surfacing.
6. The Beatles – Hey Jude: This is three minutes of singing followed by four minutes of “Na na na na na”. You have been warned.
Yesterday, Troels Pleimert assembled the leading crew from SQInc together (myself, Frede, and Akril) to create the commentary for SQInc. Here’s the game in its four-hour time-span while we chat through it. Also includes concept art, and mayhaps, a sneak preview for something else I’m working on…
Return to Lefty’s Bar: Even sleazier in high-definition.
For the last week, I’d like to think I’ve been doing a very good job resisting the urge to write a block-o-text rant against “Man of Steel”. And then our good friend, Al Lowe, finished his remake of 1987’s “Larry Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards” and completely took my mind off of poorly-adapted comic book movies.
“Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded” is one of the many Kickstarter projects that I helped fund last year (well, $15 worth of funding anyway) and the first to actually to be COMPLETED! The total amount they raised was $650,000 and the end result is not only a hi-def, fully-voiced version of LSL1, but a vast improvement over the original. LSL1 was originally remade in 1991 using 256-colors, a mouse interface and MIDI sound, but even then, it wasn’t as far a leap as this one is.
Larry and Fawn through the ages: Still a better love story than Twilight.
I’ve always enjoyed the LSL series for taking the high road when it comes to being an interactive sex comedy. The game series has never catered strictly to perverts, and both genders can enjoy the hoops Larry jumps through trying to impress women. Not that the games aren’t swimming with countless sexual innuendos and filthy gags (I mean, come on – one of your main commands is “UNZIP FLY”) but as far as dirty humor goes, the Larry series has always tried to stay classy about it. Humor first, boobs second.
The original LSL1 features Larry in Las Vegas (or “Lost Wages” as the game likes to call it). He’s 40, he’s almost out of money, he’s never found love, and he’s still a virgin. You have one night to fix all that. The game is relatively short as you ride a taxi between a sleazy bar, a disco, a convenience store, a wedding chapel, and a casino in search of love. In this version, there are now five women in total whom Larry has his eyes on. There’s “The Hooker”, a nasty piece of work swimming in STDs and protected by her pimp, 2) Fawn, the ever-needy “give me presents” girl who will take up half your game with fetch-quests, 3) Faith, the under-dressed security guard, 4) Eve, the original End-Game girl, and 5) the brand new Jasmine, a perfume connoisseur who swims with sperm whales. There’s also Olga, the infamous sixth girl, but she’s a blow-up doll, so she probably doesn’t count.
Jasmine the Whale-Diver: I did terrible things to a cat for this woman.
Fans of the original will notice a lot of changes. Several new puzzles have been added to flesh out existing ones, and there are a couple dozen new characters standing about (most of whom are Kickstarter backers who donated a “little extra” to put themselves in the game.) None of it makes the game any less fun, although anyone who’s VERY familiar with the original will find themselves stumped when a puzzle solution they once knew is no longer there. This adds a new element of surprise for veterans of the series. The new addition of Jasmine to the game seems unnecessary, but does help the game’s pacing and gives us a new girly close-up to look at (and repeatedly click the hand icon on hoping there’s a hidden egg there somewhere). Although winning her over requires a bit of disgusting animal cruelty towards a cat that I’m ashamed to admit I laughed really hard at. The game is also now “dead-end” free, meaning there’s no game over if you screw up. Bums will give you change if you go broke, and if you die, a mad scientist will turn you into a zombie and send you back up to the street to continue playing as if nothing happened.
For a Kickstarter project, I found “Reloaded” completely exceeded my expectations. They remastered the soundtrack, added lots of bells of whistles, tons of new jokes, some snappy animation, and it still carries the same spirit as any classic Larry game. There’s a lot of passion behind the game’s development and I salute Al Lowe and his team for pulling it off. While it’s still only a fraction as good as “Larry 7″, it’s still a wonderful treat to play and I look forward to seeing them remaster “Larry 2″ and “3”. Or just plain make a new Larry game. Whatever comes first.
UPDATE: In light of recent events involving Replay’s management with its fans, I’m still going to recommend this game on the behalf of the actual [i]developers[/i]. I will not be recommending future Replay games unless management conditions change.
With “Man of Steel” coming out this weekend, I’ve been revisiting the old Richard Donner-style Superman films and even rewatched “Returns”. I haven’t seen some of these in years, and often never in their entirety, so it’s been an interesting ride. It got even more interesting once Richard Lester started directing, but we’ll get to that shortly. For now, here’s my Superman review blog thingy.
Superman: The First Movie
This was one I hadn’t seen in one sitting, and I’m honestly hesitant to call it a superhero movie. Sure, it’s about a “super” person who has “super” powers and happens to be called “Super”-man, but the overall pacing and atmosphere has more in common with a dream or fairy tale. I’m not actually saying this is a bad thing. It’s a very good approach for the movie; it’s very similar to the book “Where the Wild Things Are”. You have a simple set-up that leads into an experience with no discernible goals, and then Superman travels back in time and it’s over. Otherwise, it’s just a super-guy performing super-acts of kindness, treating his girlfriend nicely, and not hitting people. The end result is a very positive and charming movie, which could double as an orientation video in case one of us ever gets super-powers. But with all the Batman lovers out there, you just know our first superhero is going to be some guy who hides in the shadows and punches people.
Superman II: The One with Zod
Unlike the first movie, this one actually has the comic book/superhero vibe to it. Superman’s got a character arc, he’s got villains to punch, and buildings to punch them into. This is probably why fans regarded this as the best in the series. This time around, Superman’s showing us that he can do more than move our furniture. I loved this one when I was younger (partly because we got it from a pawn shop, and the previous owner had taped over some of it with lesbian porn), but when I watch them in order, it suddenly feels like a step back from the first one. Maybe that was because Richard Lester took over Richard Donner’s directing job at some point and invented several stupid powers for Superman to use. Or maybe it’s because Superman is suddenly a lot more violent. It especially bothered me how after defeating Zod and his generals, his first order of business was going back to a diner and killing a trucker. I’d argue that Superman works best as a non-violent superhero, but then there’s programs like “Justice League” that have to go and prove me wrong.
Superman III: The One with Richard Pryor
I actually don’t mind Richard Pryor in this movie. I don’t know his work outside the film, so he’s just a typical comic relief to me. And on the whole, the film could have been great with a different director. You’ve got Superman fighting the internet, a dark version of himself, and he gets to nail the bad guy’s girlfriend (and possibly his future mom if you’re familiar with “Smallville”.) The main drawback to the film is how completely retarded it is. It might have made more sense if Mxyzptlk were the villain. If that were the case, you could explain away all the weird slapstick and sight gags. Instead we get a Lex Luthor knock-off for a bad guy. Why a knock-off instead of actually Luthor? I don’t know. Meh, just watch it for scene where Superman literally beats himself up.
Superman IV: The One with The Quest for Peace and Throwing Nukes into the Sun and Solar Fetuses and Superman’s Fix-The-Great-Wall-Of-China Vision
Five words: Go home, Superman; you’re drunk.
Several years later, Bryan Singer decides to continue Richard Donner’s legacy. The verdict? Ehhhh, on the whole, it’s a watchable movie. Superman’s back to being the boy scout and a good role model… unless you count the whole illegitimate father thing. Otherwise, they put more care into letting Superman battle physics rather than battle people. Most of the time. The plane sequence is a great example of how Superman can run into problems without dumbing down his character. But then you have that weird bit where he’s throwing the kryptonite island and… doesn’t that go against the whole point of kryptonite? This movie is very vague on how kryptonite even affects him. Is it an allergy? Is it psychosomatic? Is it poisonous? And why does Lex think anybody would want to buy land on an unstable, jagged piece of radioactive rock? Otherwise, the movie is more of a love letter to Richard Donner than it is to Superman.
And that’s that. The last film acted like a closing chapter for the Richard Donner series, so we’ll have to see where Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” takes us. In the meantime, this is me, signing out and wishing I had some clever closing catchphrase I could put at the end of my reviews.
UPDATE: Man of Steel
My brain hurts when I try to write about this movie, so I’m just going to liken it to “9/11 meets Jackass” and leave a flaming bag of poop on Zack Snyder’s doorstep.
Sorry this one’s been taking so long! Do I have good excuses? Absolutely. Karaoke, girlfriend, writing a novel, working on Slugterra and dressing like a unicorn are all good excuses. So don’t worry – this one will get out the door eventually. And hopefully, the final cut won’t be 40 minutes long either.
AGS Awards over. Life goes on. Here’s what’s next on the menu.
For the last little while, I’ve been writing a lot more frequently. One of my friends suggested I participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and somewhere along those lines, I wrote a full-length novel. But unlike my previous projects, I intend to do the unthinkable: make money off of it.
“Ancients’ Royale” is a mythological action-comedy set in modern-day Halifax. It’s about two brothers (and a tavern full of dysfunctional immortals from all over history) who must put their heads together and figure out how to save the city from an ancient band of demons who are searching for the key to Pandora’s box.
No – there won’t be any Kickstarter involved (not this time). I plan on self-publishing the book through Amazon Kindle where it will be available as a digital download for the low, low price of $2.99. While the book is still undergoing revisions, I plan on a late Spring release, and you can help spread the word by liking my Facebook page and then telling your friends to like my Facebook page as well.
So feel free to ask any questions or provide any suggestions regarding the book because I’d really like to get my first commercial project right, and that starts by listening to you.
The nominations are open for the 2012 AGS Awards! Now is the time to head on over to this site, get a forum account, and start spamming every category with SQInc nominations (well, except maybe best demo, non-adventure, short game, and voice acting.) But you can totally nominate for best game, best gameplay, best music, best story, best writing, best character (you know you love Doomtron), and everything else.
Additionally, I’d also like to cross-promote Akril’s “Pledge Quest” games for nominations. These fall under the “short game” categories, but you can show some love for Vohaul Cat by adding her nominations to the list. And if you feel you should nominate other people’s games, I’m a rather big fan of “Ben Jordan” and “Donna: Avenger of Blood”. The 2011 “Space Quest 2 Remake” is also in there, and I’ve thrown a few nominations its way (they DID deliver on voice acting). But totally nominate my SQ stuff instead. That’s how this competition thing goes. There can be only one!
Now go! Nominate! Make me proud! You owe it to your country!
Time for some updates on that whole “Geeks vs. Nerds” thingy I’m doing.
So back in December, I decided to go nuts and tackle two debates at once for one show. This was a monstrous mistake as prepping for a debate about four characters ate up way too much of my time.
First up was “Mr. Freeze vs. Sub-Zero: Who’s the coolest, cold-blooded killer”. I was on Team Freeze and I’ll damned if we didn’t have one hell of a case. Mr. Freeze should have been an automatic win on the grounds that 1) He is freakin’ Tony Stark meets John Lennon as far as being cool goes. 2) he is literally cold-blooded, and 3) you know those people he freezes? They’re dead. Nobody who gets covered in ice gets preserved or we’d have woolly mammoths popping out of glaciers. Ever see the same Gothamite twice? No, because Freeze killed them. Let’s match that up against Sub-Zero. Sub-Zero is 1) not the coolest because he’s a terrible ninja. Can you see him? Yes? Then he’s a terrible ninja. 2) Not cold-blooded. He is warm-blooded and can actually freeze himself solid by accident. 3) Killer? No. Everyone he kills comes back for the sequel. Also, take note: Sub-Zero can only do two things: freeze and hit. He can’t freeze Mr. Freeze, and even Batman can’t punch through his tank armor (that only ever worked once). The only way Batman beats Freeze is with science, and he needs more and more science every time to do it. Sub-Zero doesn’t have science. Therefore, Sub-Zero cannot beat Freeze. Unless all the loudest people in the room are rooting for him no matter what.
Secondly for December was: “Jack Skellington vs. The Grinch: Who’s the greatest unintentional holiday savior?” I landed on Team Jack and we got wasted just because Team Grinch decided to do theirs in rhyme. We could have sang, but didn’t have time for rehearsal. In any case, we had to argue on who saved Christmas most by accident, so we busted out some long-term effects for Jack’s screw up. 1) He made Santa go public, reaffirming people’s belief in Santa and therefore Christmas. 2) Jack’s merchandise helps boost the economy every holiday, and our heavy-hitter 3) By scaring people into carrying weapons on Christmas, Jack has accidentally helped us prep for the onslaught of Santa-Bot in the year 3000, along with any other holiday threats, thus saving not only Christmas, but the world. Our arguments against Grinch? Well, in reality, Ron Howard’s movie alone ruins Christmas every year, but our arguments meant diddly-squat when the other team is rhyming.
My major mistake with the last two debates was over-preparation. Reason being that the audience absolutely, positively, did not care about any “expanded universe” BS. Nobody had ever seen “Grinch Night”, so my arguments about the Grinch developing chemical weapons were lost. And nobody reads comic books, so when I say that Freeze can bust out of prison with just his bare hands and a crayon, then once again, I might as well be writing fan-fiction.
Ultimately, this led me to an epiphany: nobody comes to these shows to see anyone win. So let’s screw with their heads.
So, tonight: “Yoda vs. Gandalf: Who’s the wisest mystical mentor?” I did almost no research in prepping for Team Yoda, yet in spite of our Superman win a couple months back, tonight’s loss was still one of our best debates. Quick: what’s Yoda’s greatest accomplishment? If you said getting a Wookie ride from Chewbacca, then you are right. If you said teaching Obi-Wan to set Hayden Christenson on fire, you are also right. If you said appearing on a napkin doing it doggy-style with Gandalf as part of our new “expanded universe”, then damn, you were probably sitting at our table. Our tomfoolery even made the host shoot himself with his own nerf gun (a first for the show).
Ultimately, we lost because most of the audience had watched “The Hobbit” in the last week and still remembered the Star Wars prequels, but I can honestly say, we generated some heavy-duty laughs tonight. On the way out, some guy even stopped to thank us for saving the show.
And all we had to do is make everyone crave Wookie rides.
I think I’ll take a break from this stuff for a while now. Granted, next month it’s an all-women show, so I’m out anyway. But at this point, it’s starting to feel like work and I think I’d spend my nights doing something else. Like making Vegeta dance Gangnam Style.
P.S: My knowledge of Mr. Freeze and Sub-Zero came in surprisingly useful the other night at Denny’s, when at three in the morning, six of us randomly realized that these two characters could safely play ice trombones without melting them. I don’t know how this qualifies at useful, but it sounded useful after a couple tequilas and a Grand Slam. Do with this information as you will.
P.S.S. Any other time, Yoda should have taken this. His wisdom even doubles as relationship advice when you add “in bed” to anything he says.
P.S.S.S. I do agree with Gandalf’s non-pedo stance on Hobbits. They’re like the towels of Middle-Earth. Never leave home without one. Just never leave home with Gandalf. There will be spiders.