Family Guy and The Simpsons collide at last.

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It’s trendy to hate on Family Guy and lambaste newer episodes of The Simpsons, but I’m truly a fan of both shows, and this week’s crossover episode really hit the spot. It wasn’t the best of either show, but it was still entertaining. And of course, it was neat to see the two clans finally interact.

Even with an hour (about 44 minutes without commercials) to fill, the episode admittedly felt a bit cramped. But when you consider just how many iconic characters are in each series, and how many different interactions and scenarios are possible, it quickly becomes apparent that a lot is going to get cut. There just isn’t enough time.

So it’s less about missed opportunities and more about time constraints. I suppose they could’ve made it into multiple hour-long episodes, but then it would’ve started to lose what made it so special in the first place – the fact this likely won’t ever happen again (something the episode is quick to point out).

But for all that didn’t make it in, the episode was full of meta jokes that broke down the fourth wall, poking fun at both shows and the audience alike. And it did that while mostly staying true to each series. Some jokes were a bit crude and more puerile than what you’d expect from The Simpsons, but of course, that’s in-line with Family Guy. There was a balance, though, and plenty of references for fans of both shows to take in.

That said, I think you really have to be a Simpsons fan to fully appreciate this episode, and I get the feeling that some people – primarily those who only watch Family Guy, or haven’t watched The Simpsons in a long time – may not really “get” all the allusions to the quirks and idiosyncrasies of The Simpsons. There were some good ones, though.

I was a tiny bit skeptical about this crossover when it was first announced, but upon reading the interview with Matt Groening and Seth MacFarlane in Entertainment Weekly a few weeks ago, my apprehension was put to rest. And rightly so, it seems.

How We Value Art

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the way we value art. We watch movies and play games, and then assess their value by assigning a number. It’s like saying, “Your work, effort, time and creative vision are worth this number. Next.”

Too often, we outright dismiss something without even taking the time to consider everything that went into making it. We’re all guilty of it – I know I certainly am.

Can you imagine pouring your heart, soul and mind into something, only to have some snot-nosed twerp or pretentious neckbeard on the internet blow it off – without even reading the actual criticism – because some reviewer gave it a less-than-stellar score?

Something just feels inherently unfair about judging creativity in this way.

I realize that a numerical score is what the lowest common denominator will best understand, but as a general standard, creators, artists and content producers deserve better than that. They deserve a real, honest critique.

Now, I understand that not everything – be it a book, song, movie, game, poem or whatever else – is truly created with expression/experience in mind. There are many, many works that are vapid and made only with the intent to cash in on a fad in the most lucrative way possible.

But that doesn’t mean our criticism has to be just as flat and one-dimensional.

Nintendoes What The Rest Don’t

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Yesterday, Nintendo put out a hilarious video in collaboration with the guys at Mega64, officially detailing some of the company’s E3 plans. It featured fan favorite and president of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime. I’ll include the video at the bottom.

This morning, I woke up to another video from Nintendo, this time, in the form of a special Nintendo Direct, featuring details about the upcoming Wii U title, Mario Kart 8. It, too, was a very whimsical presentation. Continue reading

So, Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…

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If you’re not an obsessive fanboy like I am, then you’ve probably not kept up with all the news surrounding the newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It’s been the target of a colossal amount of scrutiny for more than four years, largely because of the Hollywood names associated with it.

Michael Bay, best known for directing the recent slew of Transformers movies, has a poor reputation among the geek elite. When his name is mentioned, a collective groan can be heard across the internet, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror. And while this new TMNT movie is not directed by Bay, he is credited as a producer, as his company, Platinum Dunes, is producing the film. Continue reading

Dreaming Beyond Nintendo 3DS

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Earlier in the week, a rumor popped up on NeoGAF regarding Nintendo’s next piece of hardware. Now, you never know who the people commenting on NeoGAF actually are, so anybody can say anything, but this massive videogame forum has a history of being the source of leaks and rumors that were later seen true.

The commenter said:

“Almost certainly off-topic, but I don’t quite want to make a new thread, because it would go to shit quickly. Also, I’d need to post a source, and I don’t really want to get people in trouble. Anyway, Nintendo apparently started working on a new platform in early 2013 and has already selected a vendor for the SoC [system on a chip] after talking to several potential candidates. The SoC might be based on an existing design, but will be changed to fit Nintendo’s requirements. I assume it’s for their next handheld, though.”

I seriously doubt Nintendo is preparing to throw in the towel on Wii U just yet, although a humbling financial report just came out today that has President and CEO Satoru Iwata considering a new business model. In a news conference this morning, Iwata stated, “The way people use their time, their lifestyles, who they are — have changed. If we stay in one place, we will become outdated.” Continue reading

Reacting to Bethesda VP’s remarks on Nintendo

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Sometimes I’m not sure what to think of comments made by bigwigs within the gaming industry. And that’s not some passive aggressive remark. At times, I really can’t figure out what these guys are getting at.

Just a few days ago, on the GameTrailers show ‘Bonus Round,’ Pete Hines, the vice president of Bethesda Softworks, was asked by Geoff Keighley (who always seems to be on the verge of hysteria when speaking about Nintendo) what Nintendo could do to entice third-party developers to create more games for Wii U. Continue reading