Sunday, March 30, 2008


Television sunk several notches lower last week.

It wasn't without warning however, being on channel Seven/Prime, who are the hype kings of television, they plugged the utter crap out of this program for a solid month, and then ran a 4 page spread of it across the pages of TV Week, the haven of the housewife.

Mildly interested, mostly keen to see fit women in lyrca, I tuned in to Gladiators and turned my brain off.

10 minutes later I turned the television off.

I remember back in the mid 90's when Gladiators was originally on, it was full of muscle bound men and women beating on members of the public with Nerf™ products. Not much has changed since then. The Gladiators themselves may be different but the stereotypes are still there.

- The Brick Shithouse: Thunder (original series: Commando)

This guy is the leader, he's the one the kids love and the ladies swoon over, he's big, he's muscled, and he's as dimwitted as the key demographic. The gladiator who gets the most air time, the Brick Shithouse will spurt out poorly scripted lines fed to him by a teleprompter. Be sure to note his anger when he takes place in events, this is usually in the form of throwing whatever he is holding on to the ground... GRRRR FURROWED BROWS.

- The guy with the shit name: Kouta (Vulcan)

I had to look up this guys name twice on the "official gladiator webpage" to make sure I was spelling his name right, because whenever I look up the meaning to Kouta, I just get linked to some Japanese Horror Manga named Elfen Lied.

Apparently Kouta is an AFL player and was on dancing with the stars. No doubt he'll be on an episode of "Where are they now" in 10 years, live from his caravan and failed life.

- The back benchers: Hunter, Bionica, Tank, Nitro (Force, Delta, Rebel, Tornado)

These characters are just there to fill up the numbers and I forsee they will take place in very few events, where the producers opt to use the more popular gladiators like Amazon, Thunder and Angel. If anyone remembers the original show there was a guy named Force and a woman named Delta that never got used, and Delta was hot.

- The Gladiators that got the short end of the stick when it came to gimmicks: Tank, Viper (Taipan, Glacier)

Viper is a woman who acts like a snake, they highlight this by painting parts of her skin to look snake-like.... I get the gimmick yes.. but christ it's bad.

Tank on the other hand is just some guy with a camo bandanna and black stuff under his eyes, he salutes alot and looks menacing.. but as for the name Tank? Why not Commando?

oh that's right.. Commando was an original Gladiator, we can't use the same name now can we? People will get confused!! Poor mindless drones of people who sit in front of the TV to watch ridiculous shows like this.

- The fan service girls: Angel, Destiny (Cheeta)

The blond women with the large chest regions and in the case of Destiny, pigtails. Yep, these two are clearly for the men. The program highlighted that when the girls walked out for the gauntlet event, and Destiny was in the middle, chest pillows pointing up at a 45 degree angle, liable to poke out the eyes of anyone who comes near.

- The Black Guy: Scar (Vulcan)

Every show has one! Collect them all!

The last stereotype is probably the worst, considering this is a family show and when television producers mean "family" they mean "kids and really bored parents", there is always a hint of controversy, I remember back in the mid 90's there was some pedophilia claims surrounding one of the male Gladiators, and the American version of the show already has controversy over two of their stars! Have a read here.

It's only a matter of time before one of the females on this show has a wardrobe malfunction, or some form of drugs shows up in a locker. I can only hope that it signals the end of this no brainer sludge once and for all.

But then again, if Channel 10 got away with turkey slapping, I'm sure channel 7 could get away with a Today Tonight prostitution ring involving former gladiators and Nudge from Hey Dad.

The sad thing is I didn't edit this image at all, I just entered "hey dad nudge" into Google images and this was the first result....

No wonder shows like Gladiators are on the air..... people are idiots.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tom's High School Favourites

I'm aware that the majority of my blogs are negative and anger-driven, which in it's own light is entertaining to my readers, but I'm not an angryman all the time, I have likes and loves, and adorations.

One being the wholesome activity of video gaming, once a salvation for the sweaty recluse, video games have been brought into the mainstream, now that gaming is accepted in the bottom rungs of society, where the crack addict and the frat boy do battle in Halo and are considered equals, intelligent games rich in story and character are paved over to make way for the next big gorefest of violence. Like everything in life, the bar is lowered.

Now I don't hate every violent no brainer game, in fact I enjoy a large amount of them, but the ratio of RPG's and RTS's to FPS's and Car Crash Simulators is starting to become skewed. It won't be long until the pinnacle of Role Playing gold consists of killing 5 boars for the farmers wife to strip and dance in front of you, with two options:

- F*** Wife
- Kill Wife

But let's move away from the decline of gaming and the angryrants it generates within my gut, and focus on something good, as every blogger and his dog loves to make lists, I'll follow suit as I present to you my top 5 video games from a period of time that is cherished to me, high school weekends.



(because spelling with Z's and pluralising when not needed is rad!)

5: Dave Mirra 2 (GameCube, although clearly the image says PS2)

Back when Gamecube was new and everyone else had an Xbox in my town, the new Nintendo console was berated and hated by once loyal fanboys, it had become too "kiddy" and the game library was laughable. There was no proper Mario game and Zelda was now a cartoon (however, I must say when I played Wind Waker I was blown away by it's awesomeness). My companion and hetero life partner Gendo brought Dave Mirra, a bicycle version of the Tony Hawk giant which I dismissed as bogus.

Upon playing the game however, I was proved the fool indeed.

The game's mechanics took a while to get the hang of, thinking I was playing Tony Hawk I crashed constantly and managed to jump a measly foot off the ground at my best, but I got past that and found the greatest function in any game involving a vehicle ever.

In midair, the game had a "bail" function, where the rider would let go of the handlebars and the rag doll physics will kick in, this made for some excellent rider abuse. Creative crash competitions between myself and Gendo made for some great weekends. My most memorable crash would be grinding face first down a rail, then bailing into a light pole, shoulder separation never looked so fun!

4: Sam and Max Hit the Road (PC)

First played this game in Primary school at a friend's birthday party, along with Commander Keen, which also has a place in my heart. But this game was hilarious, challenging, and all round entertaining.

Lucasarts actually made good games before churning out 2nd rate Star Wars crapfests.

3: Fallout (PC)

What can I say about this game? This is my inspiration source for all things sci-fi and post-apocalyptic, hell there are even zombies in this game... (well.. mutated humans anyway). Unlimited replayability, I still borrow this game from my friends on a yearly basis.. I should really just buy it.

Set in the far future after a nuclear war, fallout puts you in the shoes of an relative nobody, a member of a giant vault of people who have survived the war but are running out of water. It is up to you and you alone to face the dangers that lurk outside and save your people.

Dark humour, pop culture references and violence a-plenty, Fallout was a very approachable game, but the moral neutrality of it all and the story made me stay, you had pretty much free rule over everything you did, you could slaughter an entire village or help them out, save a captured woman or join the people who captured her. A Karma meter within the game kept track of every action you did, you could be praised as a hero in one town and then shot on sight at the next. This game didn't penalise for evil behavior, you could kill wandering travellers and nobody would know. And the same could happen to you.

2: Secret of Mana (SNES)

This game sold the RPG genre to me, back in the SNES days when I started to realise that my brothers enjoyed football whilst I'd rather lead my Orks up against some Ultramarines and engage them in melee combat because I had the +1 attack bonus.

I needed an outlet for my newfound geekdom, it would be 7 years since I owned a computer and nobody wanted to play Magic the Gathering with me, so I rented this gem out.

I was blown over by awesomeness, the depth of this game, the multiple character switching and use of magic... the 2D sprites!!!! This game was, and still is, god.

1: WWF Warzone / WCW NWO Revenge (N64)

Now, this is a no brainer wrestling game where you wail on each other, right?


WCW NWO Revenge involved strategy, timing, and determination. The amount of fun Gendo and I had with this game was insane, and I still look forward to playing it every time I go to visit him, only to wipe the floor with his arse using Kim Chee. I destroy at this game, and I challenge anyone to take me on.

Our wrestling game weekend multiplayer fun started with WWF Warzone, back when Stone Cold was a relative newcomer and The Rock was pretty much a nobody in the Nation of Domination. Warzone was everything you'd expect from a wrestling game; slaps kicks grapples and running into ropes. The game used a health bar and any moron who knew how to tap "A" constantly could win a match, but we played it till it broke the cartridge.

Around that time I discovered the THQ wrestling game, WCW NWO World Tour, it was very very no frills but had an excellent engine to it, and then the sequel came out and just improved everything ten fold. Gendo was sold instantly because it had the entire WCW and NWO roster, with the greats like Hulkster and Sting.

I'd say the best part about this game is that you couldn't win with button mashing, in fact, the game was designed to be against those types of sweaty pimply boys who lose patience and resort to constant kicking. A simple well timed tap of "block" would send the attacker reeling away with a counter. This game is probably the most fun I've had with a video game in all my life and I doubt it'll change any time soon.

So there we have it, my top 5 games from my heady days of free wheeling access.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sped Racing

One thing that really gets on my nerves are movies adapted from TV shows, made-for-movie TV movies are fine with me because they can be ignored and are usually merely an extended episode, but the cinema releases I absolutely hate.

out of the wikipedia list of movie adaptions of TV shows I liked the following cinematic releases:

- Firefly
- South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut
- Various Star Treks
- The Addams Family / Values
- The Fugitive
- Mission Impossible, the first one only

The rest are utter tripe, you can cram as many celebrities as you want into a movie, but if the story is based on a 30 minute sitcom you're in trouble to begin with. I stopped watching them a few years ago and I won't change my mind no matter what people say, this was at it's hardest point when Transformers was released.

Michael Bay is the Director Equivalent of a 12yr old forum user with a broken capslock key. Everything is big and important to him and him alone, and he must show people how cool his stuff is by exploding the fuck out of his sets. People were demanding I see this movie because it's "awesome" and "brings back the your childhood omg"... no

no no no

I enjoyed Transformers, Thunderbirds, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Scooby Doo when I was 6, and that's about it, now they're just dated cartoons with bad writing. There are no "cherished memories" of these cartoons for me, you know why? Because my cherished memories all involved my family doing something other than watching television. Your father sitting you in front of the TV because he doesn't want you to annoy him hardly warrants happy feelings.

I haven't watched the Transformers movie and I never will, and the latest movie to be added to that shelf will be Speed Racer.

Wait, let me fix that image for the fellas at home

That's better...

The trailer, which you can readily find on youtube (I'm not posting it), shows off the main characters and a hell of alot of anime-inspired car racing, ie ridiculous environments and silly gadgets. It's a mess of crap and pretty lights, and it left me groaning in dissatisfaction, like some kind of constipated bear.

Speed Racer is made by the Wackoffski brothers, the men famous for making one great movie, and two shitty sequels that drove all respect they earned into the mud. It seems that their latest big budget movie won't save their arses either. The 'star studded' cast consists of Susan Sarandon, well past her prime, Christina Ricci as the love interest.. much like her role in Monster I hope, and finally John Goodman, who judging by the trailer has given up acting altogether...

One amusing bit of trivia about this movie is that I know one of the lead designers for the animation, I first met Gabe Koerner on my friend's television screen, he was one of the main people they interviewed on Trekkies and he was a horrid nerd in all aspects. I abused him on an old website I used to co-run, and he left a message in our forum. Apart from seeing John English on average of twice a year, and that time Angry Anderson was at the beach, this is my only brush with a famous person.

Even if he is a dweeb working on shit movie....