Why the Super Mario Bros movie isn't that bad

It's certainly not that great, either, but I intend to play devil's advocate here, so give me a chance. smb_movie

It HAD to be made, and the source material is ridiculous. It was utterly inevitable that the Super Mario Bros. movie was going to happen. It was released at the peak of Nintendo's popularity, right after the Super Nintendo hit the shelves. If Caruso, Eberts, Joffe and Weston hadn't made it, someone else would have. And it would have still sucked, because the source material is absolutely ludicrous. There's no way to turn "plumbers descend pipes, find mushroom land" into a movie that everyone will like, let alone one that anyone will like.

It was the first movie based on a video game. While the original is occasionally the best, more often than not the first version of something is riddled with flaws and gets perfected over time. Video game movies are very much the latter. While no movies based on video games can really be described as awesome, there are certainly later films that are better than this one (Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Silent Hill). I suspect part of the difficulty in developing a film based on a game is that films by their nature remove the most powerful aspect of a video game -- interaction. The story is set in stone. What makes a video game movie enjoyable is how cleverly it deviates from the expected, yet how true it remains to the source material. More to come on that.

Super Mario Bros. has the bones of a good movie -- the protagonists are likeable, the villain is appropriately detestable, the love interest is attractive, the comic relief is amusing. The story on a whole is a fairy tale and a take on the hero's journey as the two Brooklyn plumbers learn of a new, hidden world, and pursue an adventure there, becoming enlightened heroes by the end of the film. The loose end in the development of this film is that the source material -- the video game -- has a pretty stupid story that doesn't translate at all to a film without some serious modification, and even then, without setting the entire thing within a character's hallucination, it's still going to be batshit crazy. I suppose it's no less batshit crazy than the universes of, say, Labyrinth or The Neverending Story, but Super Mario Bros. doesn't really pretend to be a fantasy movie. Again, this all falls back to the two points I've made above: the source material is ludicrous, and no one had made a movie based on a game before.

A lot of elements of the game's story were changed for the film, and were probably changed for the best. Thanks to Jurassic Park, which was released a year after Super Mario Bros., but was well in development while Super Mario Bros. was being filmed, there are a lot of dinosaurs and reptiles in the Mushroom Kingdom. This is presumably an extension of the Yoshi character from the video games, who is represented as a kind of midget velociraptor in a couple of scenes in the film. There's not a lot of consistency in what's a reptile and what's a fungus, though.

The old king of the mushroom kingdom was "de-evolved" from a (presumably) humanoid form into a huge fungus, while most other creatures are de-evolved into goombas (small-headed huge-bodied reptiles). There's no explanation as to why the king evolved from mushrooms. There's no explanation as to whether the king's daughter, Daisy, is also made of fungus. Nor is there any explanation as to why Daisy keeps a pet dinosaur, given that the villains are established to be reptilian. Nor is there any explanation as to why everyone else seems to de-evolve only into reptiles. Was the king the only fungus-ancestored being in the Mushroom Kingdom?

It took me a while to figure out that the old king, who has de-evolved into a pulsating pile of fungus, was simply de-evolved further than anyone who became a reptile. Presumably if one was to de-evolve a goomba, it too would become fungus. (Although goombas were evil mushrooms in the video games, if I recall). All of this then begs the further question of why is there such discrimination between reptiles and fungus if everyone's ultimately fungus anyway...

Although if that's the case, why did King Koopa de-evolve directly into green slime without passing through a fungal stage? A little bit of consistency goes such a long, long way.

There are a lot of nice elements that reflect the video game, such as the tiny wind-up Bob-omb, the Thwomp bar, the Koopahari Desert. Some insane elements of the game that would play out very poorly in live action are handled nicely, such as the jumping boots that allow Mario and Luigi to leap huge distances.

I still enjoy watching Super Mario Bros., largely because it brings back memories of the time it was released, and because it's not the worst film ever made. I forgive it because it had to be made, and I can't see any real way it could have been made better. I forgive it because it's not drowning in plot holes. I forgive it because the production values are pretty high. I forgive it because it's based on source material no one should be burdened with as a starting point. I forgive it because Bob Hoskins.

Rest in peace, Bob.

People I supposedly look like

I have, over the years, been accused of looking like various people. I'm not sure if I do, but hey. Here are some of the more accurate ones: Jamie Oliver. Resemblance: 0%.

Jamie Oliver I was once told I look "a bit" like Jamie Oliver. By "a bit", I assume the person meant "not in any conceivable way", as I do not, in fact, resemble Jamie Oliver in the slightest. I also cannot cook.

Nick Cave. Resemblance: 10%.

Nick Cave I'm not entirely sure that I can agree with my alleged resemblance to The Bad Seeds frontman Nick Cave. I can't entirely disagree, though. When I was younger, I had a similar hairline. (Now, I cling to the belief I have a hairline at all.)

Brian Thompson. Resemblance: 25%.

Brian Thompson Mr. Thompson is probably best known for the role of the alien bounty hunter in The X-Files, but he's had a few other recognisable parts, including roles in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, and the Mortal Kombat movies. I look a bit like him, but only when he was younger. He's…changed.

Nicholas Hope. Resemblance: 50%.

Nicholas Hope British character actor well known for his appearance as Bubby in Bad Boy Bubby. Yeah, I look a bit like him. But I look like Nicholas Hope, not Bubby. It's splitting hairs. I know. You would, too.

Hugo Weaving. Resemblance: 90%.

Hugo Weaving You probably know Hugo from The Matrix, the Lord of the Rings series and Captain America. I know him as "that guy I kinda look like". This is not news to me. I've been told this for decades, now. (Boy, how I love being able to measure time in decades. Screw you, getting old.)


Trevor Phillips I also bear a passing resemblance, apparently, to a fictional nutjob in a violent video game. At least it's a popular violent video game.

And it's not Pokemon.

Could be worse.

Underrated NES games: Ufouria - The Saga

Ufouria: The headtrip. Ufouria (or U•four•ia, as the packaging insists it should be punctuated) is an acid trippy Japanese video game converted for English-speaking markets.

The original game, Hebereke (which means 'drunk' in Japanese) is virtually identical to Ufouria, with a few cosmetic changes and some alterations to the storyline as part of the translation. For now, we'll discuss the English version, and I'll show you a few of the changes in a little while.

You begin the game as Bop Louie, a white snowman-like character with a blue beanie hat. He can walk, jump, and squash enemies if you hold the down button while he's above them. He can't swim, and falls over every three steps if he tries to walk on snow and ice. Over time, he develops a couple of additional bizarre abilities, including his secret power of launching his head on a spring towards enemies, and the skill of suction-cupping up vertical surfaces.

All of the characters are able to throw little face-ball things that appear on occasions when you squash an enemy. They can be used as projectiles against other enemies, and are often the only weapons that will have any effect on the bosses, when you encounter them.

Most of the game follows a Metroid-like approach, wherein you can't progress to another area of the expansive world map without completing the right task and collecting the right item, allowing you to progress. Often, the item you need to obtain is one of the other three characters:

  • ufouria_freeonleonFreeon Leeon is a tiny apricot coloured dinosaur that can walk on snow and ice, and can swim across the top of a body of water. His super power, once found, allows him to freeze enemies into little ice cubes that you can use as stepping stones. This comes in very handy in later levels.
  • ufouria_shadesShades is a ghost with a purple wing cap that can leap long distances, and gains the bizarre ability to bash himself in the back of the head with a hammer, causing his eyeballs to chase enemies around the screen. (Seriously. I'm not making that up.)
  • ufouria_gilGil is a kind of lumbering salamander creature that can't walk very well and can't jump very high, but can sink into water, and swim, y'know, properly. Eventually, he can cough up bombs. Because bombs.

The enemies range from walking squirts of whipped cream, through birds that drop weights, strange little oriental creatures, wiggling green blobs, statues of frogs and strange grubs. There's not a lot of variety, but the general enemies don't really pose much of a threat, as the majority of the point of the game is problem solving.

He thinks he's found his friend, but he's wrong.

The bosses are rather cool. The mid-bosses tend to be gigantic Homer Simpson creatures. Each one is more peculiar than the last, one with its head popping off mid-fight and flying around on a propellor, another in outer space, another underwater. A range of giant-sized cat bosses also exist, including one in a suit of armor, and a puzzler of a boss with a cat in a tube and a strange orbiting white orb. The remaining bosses are, of course, your friends. You must fight each one as you progress in order to knock some sense back into them, ultimately gaining them as playable characters after you've "won" the fight.

One of my favourite elements of the game is the animation. The overall quality of the graphics is so good, they could easily be from an early Super NES game. The only graphical glitch is a column of graphical blocks that flicker on the far leading side of the screen, depending on the direction you're heading, but they're easy to ignore, and not a fault unique to this game.

Speaking of faults, if I must name a few: The game is quite short, and it seems that certain gameplay elements have been tailored (poorly) to make it a bit longer. The characters don't move very quickly, meaning that you simply can't complete the game as quickly as you'd probably like. I feel the game could have benefited from a Super Mario Bros style "run" function when the B button is held down, but I understand that this mechanism would have probably wiped 20% off of the game's duration.

The music in Ufouria is astonishingly awesome, and is full of earworms that'll stick in your head for months. The main overworld theme and boss music are particularly great, but all of the atmospheric music is perfect and suits the game splendidly.

I mentioned earlier that the game was translated from a Japanese game, Hebereke. Here's what they changed:

Hebereke (J)4


Hebereke (J)

Shades was known as Sukezaemon, but didn't undergo any changes in appearance. Gil didn't change looks either, but his name was originally........Jennifer.

The only remaining change, and undoubtedly the single most important, significant and life-altering:

Hebereke (J)2

I love Ufouria. Ufouria is awesome. It's not easy, but it's not hard. It's about an hour of play all told, so it's a manageable game to bust up any time you feel like completing something in its entirety.

The Simpsons: Tapped Out texture glitches

Hi! If you've come here looking for a resolution to a glitch or problem in The Simpsons: Tapped Out, I'm afraid I probably can't help you. I suggest you visit the splendiferous TSTO Topix and search there for your answer. I've been playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out on the iPad for some time, now. I rather like it. It's consuming huge amounts of my time and money.

Occasionally, there's an odd glitch where a chunk of the graphics get swapped out for something completely different. I've been recording these glitches, and I present them below for your fun and enjoyment.

Here we see more Jakes Unisex Hair Palaces than you can poke a stick at.

Click the link below to see the rest. There's quite a few. Sorry. (Or not.)

Thanks for your time. I'm going to go do something more constructive, now. You probably should, too.

Batman wasn't always cool.

For a start, he was once a man in grey pyjamas. And as scary as that is, this is scarier: Batman Forever

Now, before you assume I'm dashing copyright and ploughing my way through every title on the Super Nintendo on an emulator, I have a sad confession to make.

I own this game.

You'd think that was bad enough, but it gets worse. I own this game because I was sent a free copy from the Nintendo Magazine System some time in the early '90s. I was sent the free copy because, if I remember correctly, I drew an unoriginal sketch of Cammy from Super Street Fighter 2 in her underwear. Y'see, I'd worked out that the magazine distinctly favoured drawings of naked chicks. Even if they were just traced from the box-art and given ineffectual breasts. I have the magazine clipping somewhere.

Anyhow. Nintendo Magazine System -> Badly drawn naked Cammy -> Free Batman Forever game.

I assume they had a warehouse of shit games they'd dole out to kids who sent them drawings. I assume by the time they got to mine they'd run out of Cool Spot.

Fundamentally, there's nothing wrong with Batman Forever. It's playable, it's somewhat fun, it looks cool. It's flawed, though, because it's a) fairly shit, and b) cashing in on the Batman Forever license and disappointing a crudload of people. Well, the ones that paid for it, anyway.

Before I chew through Batman Forever's problems, let's summarise the good points.

The graphics are splendid. Much like Mortal Kombat, the characters are entirely digitised. They hired a bunch of actors (clearly not Val Kilmer and co) and stood them at blue-screens while they kicked and punched and bat-a-ranged their way through the characters various moves. Batman looks great. Robin, however, suffered a bizarre retrofitting of his costume:


On the left, Chris O'Donnell in costume as Robin from the film, resplendant in a metallic nipplesuit. On the right, the Boy Wonder makes a re-appearance in red and green tights and a bright green masquerade mask. I guess there was some concern about the similarity between the Batman and Robin sprites if they were both dark and brooding. Or someone really wanted a game character in a leotard.

The fighting style isn't entirely bad. It plays slightly better than the first Mortal Kombat game, but I admit that's not saying much.

The music is rather nice. It's eerie and appropriate.

The, um, backgrounds are nice.

Okay, I'm grasping at straws. The graphics are great. There the awesomeness ends. Allow me to introduce you to the title screen of Batman Forever:


Oh, wait. That's not the title screen. But it might as well be. You get to see it more than you get to see the levels, title screen and end credits combined.

Someone in the Batman Forever programming office had an epiphane (or an aneurism) when it comes to gaming styles, and decided to mix the fighting genre with the platform genre. It's not a bad idea on paper (kind of like communism), but in reality it plays out like a wet sock.

The first problem is the levels are too short. They're essentially no bigger than the fighting arenas in Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. Each stage has perhaps four or six foes in it, who appear out of doorways or pipes. You kill them, the door at the right of the stage opens, you move on to the next one. (After a bit of "Hold On".) And there are dozens and dozens of stages. Done properly, this would have worked well. For example, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story handles the same style of play properly. Instead of the game being primarily a platformer, each level in Dragon is primarily a fighting genre brawl. The brawls last for considerable time, and the game moves on afterwards with nary a pause. The other side of the coin is something like River City Ransom for the NES, where each level is played out as several dozen enemies are battled and defeated, then the scenery changes.

It's far, far, far from a good idea to set the game up so each level involves only defeating a small number of very easy foes before moving on to the next level. After a pause. That's longer than the level was.

Here, Batman delivers a crotch-distending roundhouse kick to "Mad Ned", a pyjama-wearing inmate of Arkham Asylum. It's best to admire Batman Forever in screenshots. It really looks quite nice. It's a shame it plays so very, very badly.

How not to review video games.

I’ve been reading a lot of reviews for Super Nintendo games, recently. Mostly because I have an annoying desire to force myself to like playing RPGs, and it’s not working very well. I hate leveling characters up. I hate fighting in role-playing games. I want to beat you up, not do math. Anyway. Having read many reviews, I’ve come up with some pointers for anyone who plans to write their own and doesn’t want to come off sounding like a mentally retarded eleven-year-old.

1. Don’t pad your review out with twelve paragraphs about the game’s story. If you can’t summarise the plot of a video game in one paragraph, that’s a strike against the game, and you shouldn’t be dwelling on it. Or even worse, you shouldn’t be counting on it to increase your word count.

2. Don’t list things. It’s great that the game has thirty different weapons in it, but please don’t tell me about all of them individually.

3. Do not use any of the following phrases:

“Why are you still reading this review and not buying/playing the game?” “Buy it! Buy it! Buy it!” “BEST GAME EVAR” 4. Learn to spell.

5. Please actually play the game you’re reviewing before you review it. If I had a dollar for every review I’ve read that focused on the first two levels of a game and nothing past that, I’d be wealthy. If you can’t play it past level two, tell us why. Don’t try to make up a review about parts of the game you haven’t seen.

6. Same thing goes for your screenshots. Don’t just include the title screen and the first level. Show us you played the game. Comment on the screenshots. Sell what you’re trying to tell us.

If you can take those six pieces of advice, maybe the internet will become a less embarassing place.

Also, upgraded to Wordpress 2.5. It seems pretty.

Book, movie, video game: Congo

I’m a fan of Michael Crichton. I like his books. I also somewhat enjoy the movies that are based on his books. His books make good movie material. Generally speaking. Congo is the exception to this rule. Congo was a decent book, but it’s far from a good movie. Congo

The basic storyline, for those unfamilar, is as follows. A telecommunications company, wanting to get an edge on its rivals, seeks the mystical blue diamonds of the mines of King Solomon, which have been located in the lost city of Zinj, in the Congo, Africa. In order to properly locate the city, they enlist the aid of a gorilla, Amy, who has been taught American Sign Language by her keeper, Peter. Amy was born near the city of Zinj, and has had dreams and drawn pictures of symbology from the area. And that’s about it.

Congo: The Movie

Here are a few of the subtle changes made between Congo, the book, and Congo, the movie.


A telecommunications company wants blue diamonds because of their superconductive properties, so they can build better silicon chips and destroy their competitors.


A telecommunications company wants blue diamonds so they can BUILD LASERS THAT WILL CUT APES IN HALF.


Karen Ross is a career-driven psychopathic super-bitch who wants to find the diamonds because her career depends on it, goshdurnit. She’s also blonde, tall, and in her early ’20s.


Karen Ross is a spectacularly benign individual who wants to locate her ex-boyfriend (played by Bruce Campbell, no less), who was on an earlier expedition to the jungle. She’s still blonde, but she’s now in her ’30s and is played by Laura Linney, who’s only claim to fame to date has been Melrose Place.


Amy, the gorilla, speaks American Sign Language, and is entirely believeable.


Amy, the gorilla, speaks American Sign Language, which is translated by a Nintendo Power Glove into the gorilla equivalent of Stephen Hawking. Except retarded. Very, very retarded. Somehow, in the translation from novel to film, Amy also became entirely made out of rubber and acquired a neck that would make Godzilla jealous. I’d like to include a picture of this, but Google Image Search turned up squat. Sorry.




For no apparent reason, Tim Curry exists. As a Romanian philanthropist with an utterly ridiculous accent. His character literally serves no purpose. There is no reason for him to be there, whatsoever. Ostensibly, his character is there to fund the expedition to the congo. However, once they reach the airport, he explains in his stupidly stupid accent that he cannot afford the fuel for the plane, so Laura Linney pays for it, instead. Curry then tags along, occasionally providing a snippet of exposition that could have just as easily been spoken by one of the African porters. Or a tree.

Tim Curry


A great deal of narrative is reserved for the investigation of the city of Zinj, and for the discovery and explanation of the mystery behind the grey gorillas.

“Holy bejeezus, grey gorillas!”

“Look, convenient heiroglyphics, they must be the guardians of the diamond mine!”

“Look they’re eating Tim Curry!”


“Now let’s dice them with the laser.”

So there. Congo, the movie, sucks. It’s enjoyable, if you like turning your brain off, though.


I found “Congo: The Movie - The Secret Of Zinj” for Super Nintendo. It’s….far from the best piece of video game programming I’ve yet to encouter.

Congo: The Game

Here’s the title screen, resplendant with rubber ape. So far, it’s not too scary.

Interactive cut scenes.

A nice touch: Interactive cut-scenes. In both film and novel, there’s a part where the first expedition’s campsite is remotely surveyed by a rotating video camera on a tripod. As the team back in the US watch the footage and rotate the camera around, they see grey gorillas and a whole bunch of dead bodies. In this lil interactive cut scene, the camera rotates randomly and wildly and you can shoot at the gorillas. Evidently if you don’t shoot them, nothing significant happens. Boo.

Congo: Boat level

And this is the point at which I stopped playing, because it became totally and unbearably shit. You play the part of Munro Kelly, the “great white hunter”. Apparently the rest of the Congo cast couldn’t make it, perhaps they all went to Devonshire Tea in Mombasa. Alone in his inflatable dinghy, you must steer Munro through the rapids of the Congo river, collecting floating diamonds.

Various obstacles block your way, most of them kill you. Sticks and sharp rocks puncture your dinghy causing you to lose one of your three lives. Ramps are required to jump over some obstacles and require ridiculously precise aim and impossibly correct speed. The river currents are seemingly random, and often pull you backwards at the time you should be moving forwards, sending Munro to his seething death atop a rock pinnacle.

As if it’s not bad enough already, half-way through this horrible level the water turns piss yellow and the sticks and obstacles become virtually invisible because they’re the SAME COLOUR. The game also speeds up to a blistering speed and your avoidance of obstacles becomes more of an exercise in repeating the level over and over, memorising the directions to press.

It’s worth noting that the graphics here are quite nice. Munro’s boat is pre-rendered CG and has loads of animation frames in its rotation. The water surface is a texture that’s warped around using Mode-7 and is quite effective when the level is moving slowly. Once it speeds up, though, it becomes epileptically nauseating and suffers from an irritating strobe effect once the speed of horizontal movement catches up with the speed of pattern repeat, kind of like the illusion of car rims spinning backward under strobing street lights.

I gave up after this level, the flaws in the game are too unbearable to continue. Looks good, sounds average, plays like a meatloaf.

'90s Game Boy Adverts

I recently came into posession (again) of a massive quantity of video game magazines from circa 1992-1998. These had been buried in a wardrobe at my parents’ place. The purpose (or motive, really) of this article is that I’d intended to dig up as many of the old Game Boy adverts as I could find. The ones that followed the “Game Boy: More fun than..” routine. I got somewhat sidetracked and scanned the following gems also.

This was from an article on rudimentary internet access in an obscure magazine called “Gamestar”. I thought it was rather quaint to see the Microsoft Network V 1.0 BETA in pictures. An image on the facing page bore the caption “God would have you believe that to get the best of the Net, all you have to do is access MSN”. Excelsior to see that nothing’s changed since 1995!

This is the cover of my copy of the first edition ever of the Nintendo Magazine System. As it happens, my copy is far from mint condition. Some undefinable brown substance has defaced virtually the entire right-hand-side of the cover, visible plainly on Mario’s rabbit ear. Also, a few pages are missing and part of the magazine looks worse off than a bit of newspaper that has been used as garden mulch. But it’s MINE.

This is a bunch of crap you could win, then stick on your Game Boy. Seeing as this is a Game Boy-based article, I thought it’d be appropriate to add this. Also, note the museum-quality usage of the word “dude”. Classy!

This is (what I assume to be) an official advert for the Nintendo Hotline, back when it was possibly the only 0055 number not to be associated with obese housewives masquerading as leggy prostitutes. Of particular note here is the rather splendid image of a cross-eyed Mario clearly suffering from a birth defect that I'm sure it'd be politically incorrect to name.

A flip-out Game Boy calculator for the discerning geek! Guaranteed to ensure you’ll be waddling home from school with your scrotum and the majority of your underwear intricately entangled in your arse-crack. I also saw an article about a Game Boy watch with rudimentary LCD games in it, but sadly the page had been basically destroyed by moisture, so I didn’t bother scanning it. Pity.

Here’s a teasing lead-up to the “more fun than” Game Boy advertisements! The transparent Game Boy wasn’t around for long, as far as I can recall. Nice usage of x-ray images, but I can’t say I recall the Game Boy screen being illuminated so.

I’m certain there’s actually some really intelligent wit behind this, but I’m struggling to see past the blatantly 1930’s-esque comedic racism. Maybe it’s shock value, or something. Still, what a nice yellow Game Boy. And here’s what you’ve been waiting for….

More fun than a ferret down your trousers. Genius! In an unrelated magazine, I found an interview with the Game Boy Boy, or James Rullis as his mum calls him. I’ll share random tidbits with you as we explore some more “More fun than..” imagery!

James Rullis Tidbit #1: James resigned from a hairdressing apprenticeship to star in the Game Boy adverts.

More fun than a clip on the ear! Note the amazingly clever juxtaposition of the expected clip, or slap, with a bulldog clip! Mastery of mirth, dear sir!

James Rullis Tidbit #2: When James auditioned, he was asked to mimic having a bulldog clip attached to his ear. When they filmed the actual commercial, he was shocked to find it was a real clip they stuck on his lug!

A hole…..in the head! Hee! In retrospect, I shouldn’t really knock these adverts so much. They’re emblazoned into my psyche, so I guess they worked pretty well. As a side note, am I the only one who notices a remarkable similarity between the Game Boy pixel-font and the Nokia pixel-font? And am I an incredibly geeky person for even mentioning that I noticed that? And does that last question even bear thinking about when you’ve just read an entire article about Game Boy advertising in the ’90s?

James Rullis Tidbit #3: After making the advertisements, James claimed he “got stared at a lot, got a lot of strange looks, and people whispered about him, wondering whether he was the guy from the ads”. And that quote was paraphrased poorly to keep it grammatically in-sync with the sentence it was crowbarred into. Also, James claims the adverts once encouraged a girl to ask him for a kiss! No information is provided as to whether a) a kiss ensued, b) the girl was attractive or not, or c) was indeed a girl at all!

The '90s were cool in a way no future decade ever has, and likely ever will repeat.

Hello I'm made of pixels

Super Star Wars was released in about 1872. At the time, it had splendiferous graphics. Of particular note, virtually every character from the (then only three movies wide) Star Wars movie universe was represented in a little 16-bit sprite. I intend to have a look back over said characters, and see how well they really fared.  

Boba Fett.

Fresh from his annual visit to the Coruscant Shoulder Pad Enhancement Studio, Fett sports unusually stumpy shins and a new Dragonball-Z inspired colour scheme.


Lando Calrissian.

Wearing an inverted stop-your-pet-from-licking-its-wounds cone and astronaut pants, Lando’s grinning wildly within a four-pixel radius.


I….I don’t know what the hell that is. At some point between The Empire Strikes Back and Super The Empire Strikes Back, yoda became a small greenish-blue peanut. Well, there you go.


I don’t remember Artoo’s legs being collectively as thick as his body. At least his little light is red.


Threepio now sports an unexplanable coppertone tan, and has lost all of his facial features. At least his eyes will be safe from Salacious Crumb, now.

Emperor Palpatine.

Not so much the brooding Galactic emperor that put the fear of the Dark Side into you, Palpatine is now resplendant in a blue velour dressing gown and has borrowed C. Montgomery Burns’ walk. Apparently the Dark Side doesn’t cure arthritis.


Oo-teeny. I hated these things, they make the most annoying noises. They also weild Nintendo Super Scopes, apparently.

Tusken Raider.

It’s a hessian sack with an eye. Somewhere in the reality-to-pixels conversion, the sandpeople lost all of their facial distinction, and now appear as cycloptic homeless people.

Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The Alec Guiness one, none of this Ewan McGregor crap. His beard’s a bit longer, he seems to have a paunch. The desert’s been good to old Ben.

Bib Fortuna.

For some reason, Bib always reminded me of John Inman. Since I realised this, I’ve concluded that Return Of The Jedi could only have been improved by the actual presence of Mr. Humphries. For some reason, in Super Return Of The Jedi, Mr. Fortuna gained the ability to shoot pellets of burning something-or-other from the tip of his longest tentacle. I'll leave determining the significance of this as an exercise to the reader.


Jabba The Hutt’s dancer, largely famous for being the only character in the Star Wars series to have flopped her boob out (Jar-Jar not withstanding, he simply was one). She’s now taken to skipping rope, and markets a splendid new line of purple leg warmers.

Luke Skywalker.

Here’s a nice piece of video game evolution, for you. On the left, we see Neanderthal Luke, hunched over and wearing a hessian bag. Central, we see College Luke, uniformed and upright, making a good impression on all. On the right, we see Goth Luke, hardened to adversary and dressed in black leather, weilding his Greenpeace-savvy verdegris lightsabre.


The old walking carpet is now an indistinguishable vertical sausage.

Han Solo.

That’d be Indiana Jones with his hat off, to you and me. Han has an inexplicable red stripe down his otherwise shmick pantaloons.

Darth Vader.

Vader’s typical dark attire takes on an unusually colourful hue, presumably because the sprite was designed to match the environment it was originally found in. Unfortunately, the sprite, originally located in the Ughnaught Mining Factory on Bespin, was lated placed in the Emperor’s Chamber on the Death Star, where no such colourful lighting existed. So Vader was having a disco all of his own, and the Emperor wasn’t invited.

I apologise for the crappy update. I’ve been busy, and truth be told, I just wanted to put the words “indistinguishable vertical sausage” to good use.

Video game movies are DOOMed

Over the recent weekend, I had the opportunity to meet with Yahtzee from fullyramblomatic.com, and to watch the epic masterpiece of celluloid theater that masquerades as Doom. Movies based on video games are rarely decent. Lets explore.

Super Mario Brothers. The general concensus on the Super Mario Brothers movie is that it stands alone as a passable fantasy film, with unnecessary allusions to the Super Mario Brothers video games thrown in for no reason whatsoever. With the possible exception of “He’s got a Bob-omb!”, none of the video game references have even the slightest bearing on the plot. Grade: C+.

Mortal Kombat.liked Mortal Kombat. For a few reasons. Bridgette Wilson in short shorts is one of them. Of all the video-game inspired movies to date, this one’s probably the most accurate to the game, which is both a benefit and a downfall. Luckily, the backstory behind the Mortal Kombat games had a bit of beef to it, so there was actually something to build on, script-wise. Also, this movie features virtually every major character from the game, has a reasonable sense of humour, and doesn’t appear too cheesy. Also, CHRISTOPHER LAMBERT. Grade: A-.

Street Fighter. Oh, Christ no. Grade: D-.

Resident Evil / Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Again, the redeeming quality of this movie is that you get to see Milla Jovovich’s genitalia. Leaving the game connection out, it’s a pretty ordinary zombie episode. Grade: B.

House Of The Dead. Oh, Christ. It has clips from the game in it. Possibly the worst movie ever made. Also, it’s worth nothing that Uwe Boll is also in the process of cinematically destroying Alone In The Dark and Postal, too. Sigh. Grade: Q.

Doom. The plot of Doom, the video game, basically consisted of “there’re demons from hell on a space station, so marines go and kill them”. Sadly, the plot of Doom, the movie, is the same. I’m vaguely tempted to write a scene-by-scene description of it, but seeing as ABSOLUTELY NO PLOT DEVELOPS, there’s no point to doing so. However, here’re a few notes:

- The Bio-Forge Gun. The BFG. It’s introduced into the film with all the subtlety of a housebrick. That’d be okay, perhaps, if it wasn’t for The Rock’s emotionless delivery of the line, “Big…fucking…gun”. I want to stab the screenwriter.

- Dexter Fletcher. In another attempt at crow-barring a well-known reference into the flick, Dexter (from Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, among other things) is Pinky. Pinky lost his bottom half in a bizarre transportation accident, and now has his anus miraculously welded to a Segway Scooter. WIthout giving away any massive plot spoilers, he mutates and becomes the pinky demon. Whee.

- Gun Cam. The last 15 minutes of the film consist of purely random gun-cam violence. After our dopey marine hero is injected with antivenom..or venom..or whatever the hell it was, he’s overcome by a violent rage that can only be assuaged by strapping the film camera to his gun and shooting everything in sight. It’s so House Of The Dead it’s unbearable.