Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Defcon Levels

War and the prelude to war is a common theme in writing. The reason for this is likely because people have pretty much always been fighting wars (several going on right now, not that most people would know it, at least in this country, since major media does not find war and the causalities of war as interesting as a celebrity's social life). I have seen several war movies and read books that include wars. In general it is not a genre I read often.

One thing I have encountered repeatedly in fiction is the use of DefCon levels. I find it very annoying when they are used inaccurately since it is very easy to find info on them. The three most common ways I've seen them used inaccurately are:

1. The mention of them prior to their creation in November 1959.
2. The use of them by another country that doesn't call their states of combat readiness DefCon levels using a different term entirely.
3. The most common one getting the order wrong. The correct order is:
DEFCON 5 - Normal peacetime readiness
DEFCON 4 - Increased intelligence & strengthened security
DEFCON 3 - Increase in force readiness above normal
DEFCON 2 - Further Increase in force readiness
DEFCON 1 - Maximum force readiness.

Most recently I was reading a fan written story that used them incorrectly making a big deal about DefCon 4 (nuking a US city caused it). It's not really, DefCon 4 has occurred fairly often (most of the Cold War) with most people completely unaware. Defcon 3 has happened a few times but not often (September 11 attack caused level 3). The current DefCon level is 5.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ghostbusters: Ghost Busted

TokyoPop American manga Ghostbusters: Ghost Busted written by Nathan Johnson and Matt Yamashita and drawn by a multitude of artists. The graphic novel has six chapters. The first and last chapters are stand alone stories, mostly comedy, with the middle chapters being interconnected and less comedic more dramatic.

I like the Ghostbusters and pretty much always have. I've watched the movies several times and like the cartoons. I did not see them in the movie theater though (the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater came out later than Ghostbusters did). I had watched some of the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters on television prior to seeing the movies (and I have not watched the Extreme Ghostbusters ever; did not even know it existed until sometime last year). This book supposedly comes directly after the two movies (the first movie being significantly better than the second) but feels more like the cartoon series than the movies (which is a good thing).

Chapter 1 titled The Theater of Pain has the Ghostbusters called in to deal with a haunted theater that has the latest musical attacked by ghosts. This leads to the cast and crew members quitting and Ray, Egon and Peter take on the roles of stage manager, lead actor and director. Reading this particular story made me wonder a few things. Mostly what did people do about ghosts prior to the Ghostbusters (since there are a lot of ghosts in this particular story) and if ghosts were getting jobs would they have to pay taxes?

The middle chapters are interconnected with a few short storylines. I don't really know how to (or more accurately don't care enough to bother trying too; which amounts to the same thing) give a synopsis of them without giving too much away (not that I really care if I do give away the entire plot since I'm not being compensated for writing this in any way). The most important part of a review is the reviewer's opinion but to adequately discuss something all the people involved need to know enough details to do so hence at least a small summary is needed since chances are any reader of this post will not have read the book. The reviewing I do is not what I would consider to be good and often is secondary to something else I want to discuss. If I were planning on reviewing something I'd keep things in mind while reading/watching it. Anyway I did like that it showed a boring day for Ray in which he got fake calls (one from a spirit medium who wanted to buy ghosts from them, another from an old lady who just wanted someone to talk to, and another from a best man at a wedding who was convinced that the person his friend was marrying was a ghost).

The last chapter is called The Devil Wears Nada. In this chapter the Ghostbusters must stop a fashionista from turning everyone who wears her clothes into unwilling slaves of Heel, the Sumerian god of deception. Two things I want to comment on: This story illustrates the main reason I am against the transgender behavior that is cross-dressing namely if it becomes too common place it loses the humor value (women cross-dressing in the majority of Western society just does not have the humor value as a guy doing so because most of the traditionally men's clothing such as trousers, men's shirts, and even underwear have become socially acceptable for both genders to wear and has therefore lost the majority of the humor value). The second comment I want to make is: In the story it is extremely, and I mean extremely, easy to convince large groups of mostly women to change clothing outside in broad daylight (and by change clothing I mean remove it entirely and put on some other type of clothing, in this case beige coveralls).

While I generally do not pay much attention to the art style of graphic works (I really do not give artists their due); I do not like the art in this book. It changes some with the different artists, not maintaining an overall consistency, but that in itself is alright. Some of the artists are better than others but overall the art work is not that good. Though there is at least one page I did like to a pretty good degree, and it is not so much the drawing as the idea pictured that is good. Here is the part I'm talking about:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Slayers SNES translated

I just found out that the translation for Slayers RPG for the SNES is now available. This is a translation that I've been wanting for a long time (though I have already played and beat the game in Japanese with a little help from a FAQ since I was not patient). This translation took a long time and multiple groups had taken it up but not to completion. This translation was a joint project between Matt's Messy Room and Dynamic Designs. I have not played the game in quite some time but do remember enjoying it. If I remember correctly the game play is similar to the Dragon Quest games (in that it is a turn based RPG). Generally I'd play the game now since I have been waiting for this game to be translated for a while but I am doing other stuff at the moment and may comment upon the game or the translation at a later date.

The patch can be gotten from the Dynamic Designs website. The translations for the Ranma RPG is on that site as well.

The rom can be found pretty easily using Google. One site that has it is Rom Nation.

Here is the front and back covers for the box:

-addon 6/20/2010 I finally have gotten around to playing this game with the patch. If you download the rom from the site I mentioned that has it you will need to remove the rom header from it using a program such as NSRT for it to patch correctly.

-addon 7/27/2010 Having played this game again; I found it to take much less time and to be significantly easier in English. The only part that is of any difficulty is locating a key needed to open the final dungeon located on a lake. As I have mentioned before the best thing about using emulators is the ability to fast forward doing so during the easy battles in this game saves a considerable amount of time (also allows you to quickly level up making the game even easier) and using the same tactic repeatedly works for the majority of the battles. As for the storyline it is alright but not great; the Mazoku's plans to use Lina clones to increase their dwindling numbers is not that bad an idea.