We aren't limited to articles about games here, as we enjoy movies, books, TV series, and many other arts, passtimes, and intellectual pursuits.
Hindsight is Always X-Ray Vision: Batman V. Superman (2016)
A measured look back on Batman V Superman, the forces that led to its development, the story threads that led to its critical and fan response, the Zack Snyder criticism, yet the rumors of the better DC movies therein that might have been.
By Dana, Dad of the Happy Game Family - Published May 25, 2017
As we pass the one year anniversary of the theatrical release of Warner Bros.' Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the chips seem to be on the table when it comes to the divisive response to the movie. The Ultimate Edition has been released and had its initial sales, so there really remains no degree of discernment left for the movie's potential audience. When it comes to this movie, a proper critic's work is already done. There may be little impact and effect in an article from a mind that has percolated through the movie for a year. But I hope a considered look, well after the furor over the film and its dramatic and divisive reception, might be more dispassionate and truthful.
I don't think Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a great movie overall, or one that succeeded in everything it attempted. But the movie, to be fair, attempted a lot, and despite its flaws I still enjoyed it immensely. At two and half hours in the theatrical cut, and just over three hours in the vastly superior Ultimate Edition, Batman V Superman is a big vessel that bears the burden of multiple purposes, like Man of Steel did before it.
Zack Snyder revealed intentions to have his Batman/Superman team-up movie take at leastsome inspiration from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (without being a direct adaptation) when the film was first announced at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2013, shortly after the release of Man of Steel. That's a tall order alone, particularly in the rebooted Superman's mere second outing, but the resulting movie's story also suffers as a result of grafting of the Doomsday and Dawn of Justice story onto its posterior. What could have been two great, impressive movies instead becomes compressed into a flawed creation—full of merit and great scenes but also full of artificial acceleration and gratuitous gaps.
- Hindsight is Always X-Ray Vision: Batman V. Superman (2016):
- Batman 5: Superman
- How Haste Hurt the Heroes
- The Dream World of Zack Snyder
- The Real World of Distorted Perceptions
- Gratuitous Gaps
- Artificial Acceleration
- The Preemie Justice Teamie
- Addendum: Suddenly, Actual Real Life
The Misreporting of Manslaughter in Man of Steel (2013)
Critics and comic fans were upset at an act of violence depicted at the end of the 2013 film. But the crime committed wasn't the one they thought.
By Dana, Dad of the Happy Game Family - Published January 18, 2017
Rivalries within American culture have become binary in nature, and this is even more true in the Digital Age. A small amount of nuance is afforded our opinions in the gap between upvote and downvote, as few as are found between these concepts' constituent bits of ones and zeroes. The free and open marketplace of ideas, information, and entertainment has evolved to polarize people into separated camps, committing loyalty to "a side" as a sort of shorthand to be able to digest it all.
Often these binary camps become the most polarized and divided, and the original intention of the comparison is lost. The Left versus The Right becomes such a passionate argument of identity that consideration of policy and effect becomes secondary. Coke versus Pepsi is so strongly felt that the competing cola will be eschewed if it is all that is offered. iOS versus Android has become core to some people's identities. But among these binary rivalries, few are quite as bitter and volatile as the rift between Marvel Comics fans and DC Comics fans. It comes as little surprise that the rivalry has translated into the attitudes of the fans of their silver-screen adaptations.
- The Misreporting of Manslaughter in Man of Steel (2013):
- Marvel V. DC: Dawn of Movie Rivalry
- Superman Re-Returns to Reality
- Suicide By Superman
Gaming Articles, Reviews, and Editorial
As the Dad of the Happy Game Family, I thought I'd collect some of the various articles I have scattered across the internet into this handy republished collection. I hope it will inspire my children--and their childen, and their children's children--to consider putting their thoughts into the written word. Games as a concept, as an interface, as an enterprise, as an innovation are all toys with which the pensive mind may play.
Dad's Old Gaming Articles - Republished November 11, 2016
Many of these articles were originally published on Bitmob from 2010 to 2012. Bitmob was this brilliant little publishing platform developed by Dan Hsu and Demian Linn, ex-EGM and 1up.com editors, which allowed the community to write and publish gaming-related stories into a giant bullpen. From this bullpen, some stories would be selected for vetting and editorial and eventually sponsored publishing. I was fortunate enough to have one article vetted and published, and one haiku review (of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories) highlighted in a "best of" selection.
It was a radical idea: essentially Reddit's gaming section in a more professional and thoughtworthy context, spliced with future-Kotaku level of opinion-press and crowdsourcing. But more than either of these two inferior follow-ups, it sought to reward and recognize the generators of original content, and even allow for a share of Google AdSense profits. Selected content from Bitmob was even featured in the relaunched version of Gamepro that ran briefly but proudly under John Davison.
Bitmob was eventually sold to VentureBeat, a site that focused primarily on tech and venture capitol news, which ran the endeavor under the name GamesBeat, for a while. That brand, and the original published location of all the Bitmob articles, remains there under the editorial direction of Dean Takahashi and others who had been with the enterprise. The community authorship and publishing function, however, is long gone, as of about the end of 2014 or so.
Dan Hsu and Demian Linn have both moved on in various directions, as has GameBeat, as have I. I eventually decided to republish this work here, as part of our collection. I asked Dan Hsu about it once back then and he said it was cool, but asked me not to while they were driving traffic to Bitmob. I'm assuming that's not a concern anymore.
- Sony, PSVita, and the PSP Too – The Road Not Taken - January 30, 2012 In the remote location known as Katorga-12, scientists have discovered the January 2012 issue of Gamepro magazine, a publication that, as we know it, ceased all operations with the November 2011 issue. Though badly singed, and missing many of its pages, a few interesting tidbits were recoverable and at least three full articles are completely intact. Despite threats from unnamed government agencies, and risk of space-time continuum disruption, this author has decided to release one such article to the public..
- Nintendo's 2nd Pillar – The Road Not Taken - March 21, 2011 This mysterious article was discovered in a singed copy of the October 2009 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, a popular gaming magazine that ceased publication in January 2009 and did not resume until April 2010. This magazine was found in a remote Russian scientific facility, under a partially eroded set of stairs. The mystery of this discovery is deepened by the fact that much of the magazine's content doesn't seem to match the facts as we know them, as evidenced by the game featured on the issue's cover: Mortal Kombat Vs. Marvel Universe.
- Death of the Video Game Expert - April 8, 2010 The video game expert is dead. He died of gluttony. And from his ashes will rise new breeds of journalists: the specialist, the elite critic, and the business pundit.
- "Gamers" and Gamers - January 12, 2010 The victory for a hardcore gamer is the right to get more time out of a game, without spending more money, because you are doing well. The victory for a hardcore gambler is the right to get more money out of a game, without spending more time, because you are doing so well.
- Steam Sales, Jake Jabbs, and the Perceived Value of Intangible Items - January 10, 2010 ...the marketers at Valve would do well to pay attention to their shifting public relations standing, and realize that as their effective marketing makes them a dominant force in the market, the most important tactic becomes taking your existing consumer base, and making sure you have their trust. Because the eventual goal is to ensure that, whenever you want to buy a game, you think of Steam. Not just when you hear they have a crazy sale going.
Dad's Haiku Reviews
Hey maybe later I'll bring over those haiku reviews of games I used to do and republish them here. Maybe I'll even start writing them again, I'm no master of the form but it's a great exercise in composing more from less and saying only what must be said with what little room you have.
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- Hindsight is Always X-Ray Vision: Batman V Superman (2016)
- The Misreporting of Manslaughter in Man of Steel (2013)
- Sony, PSVita, and the PSP Too – The Road Not Taken
- Nintendo's 2nd Pillar – The Road Not Taken
- Death of the Video Game Expert
- "Gamers" and Gamers
- Steam Sales, Jake Jabbs, and the Perceived Value of Intangible Items
- Recent Haiku Reviews
- Mass Effect 2
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- Dead Space
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- Dante's Inferno