The Weatherstar 4000 and You

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Remember when I had a blog? It was fun, even if it didn’t know what the hell it wanted to be – sometimes I wanted to be a Youtube celebrity, sometimes I wanted to just be Matt from Dinosaur Dracula, and either way the results were mixed and I was trying too hard to be too many things at once.

I think my problem is that I wanted this to be “my thing” – like one day I wanted to somehow get invited to E3 or do press at Youmacon at something, and as great as that would be I just didn’t have the time to devote to it because I also had a band I was trying to get off the ground.

Eventually the band won out, and the blog fell by the wayside. I’m not going to say I’m back by any means, but I’m going to try to write a little more about the stuff I’m actually interested in – toys, robots, wrestling, Nintendo obscura, etc. The sort of stuff I used to write about before I got distracted.

Anyway, let’s talk about something a bit more pleasant: remember how great The Weather Channel was?


I, like many people my age, used to sit here and watch The Weather Channel endlessly as some kind of fun, calming background noise, and it’s recently re-entered my rotation thanks to Youtube for those nights where I’m too drunk/high/weary to put something on that even requires a modicum of attention. It’s like a white noise machine except I can pretend I’m still at my grandpa’s house on summer break, and then suddenly there’s a Dorf commercial. I think we could all use a little calming background noise these days.

Catch you soon, hopefully.


My Final Trip to Gibraltar

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Sign outside of Gibraltar Trade Center, Mt. Clemens Michigan

It’s funny how we get attached to certain places, isn’t it?

We all have the usual childhood memories: playgrounds, carnivals, grandpa’s house, the video store.  That said, I know each one of you reading this has super fond childhood remembrances of somewhere not quite as ‘standard’. Places like a skeezy boardwalk, or a gross bar and grill your family would go for dinner, or the weird gymnastics hall you had a birthday party at.

Growing up I loved stuff as much as I do now, a fact you may have gathered from how I’ve posted about toys a number of times already. And as you might have noticed, a lot of the stuff I liked was either from slightly before my time (Ghostbusters and Transformers), a little harder to come by through the normal means (anime crap, import Famicom games), or both. For a very long time, if you lived in Southeast Michigan, the best place to get any of that stuff was a little place called Gibraltar Trade Center.

Clearly using “trade center” as a gussied-up synonym for “flea market” or “dirt mall” (as my sister and I would start calling it after we first saw Mallrats), Gibraltar was a paradise of whatever random purchases the 90s could throw up on you. Unsharpened swords, wolf paintings, comics and toys from the past 10-15 years, overpriced import anime goods, T-shirts with your name lovingly airbrushed over a picture of a sunset, computer parts, and some of the greasiest goddamn pizza you can imagine. Gibraltar quickly became one of my favorite places in the world as a child, and would remain so other than a brief and sad period in the mid-2000s wherein it was overrun by gross white people that super wanted to sell your Confederate flags and “war memorabilia”.

It was a constant fixture in my life, the kind of place I could always go whenever I needed to find some Game Boy games.

And suddenly, I heard it was closing.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Old Turd Sandwich: ARMS

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Some games are just too big, too popular, or too obvious to waste a lot of your time on, and for those games Video-Tron 2000 offers THE OLD TURD SANDWICH! A much more economic way to save you, the beloved consumer, time and energy by boiling a review down into one good thing, one bad thing, and one more good thing!

In this inaugural installment of The Old Turd Sandwich, we take a look at Nintendo’s new spring-loaded Punch-Out!! replacement, ARMS!

For a lot of people it seems like Nintendo just can’t get anything right. They’re either not using their old properties correctly, not introducing new properties, or some horrible, rage-baiting combination of both.

They’ve done a lot to combat this perception lately, what with Splatoon and Breath of the Wild and all, but it feels like not that the Switch is on the market it really feels like they’ve come out guns blazing. This year alone we’re seeing the newest games in Nintendo’s two biggest franchises (Mario and Zelda, although I’m sure you knew that), a resurgence in franchises long thought dead (if you’d told me anytime within the last 7 years that we were getting both a remake of Metroid 2 and a fourth Metroid Prime game I would have done that thing where I double-take at the bottle of booze I was drinking), and a strong showing of brand new games. Games like ARMS.

ARMS is to fighting games what Splatoon is to shooters: a colorful, accessible, Nintendo-ized take on a genre they usually don’t get too into (other than Smash Brothers at least) that offers a surprising amount of depth if you want to look for it, and a good casual multiplayer experience if you’re not the kind to count frames and assign tiers to everything.

So it’s out, I have it, and I’ve spent all last week playing it (on my fancy new yellow JoyCons, because Nintendo’s best accessories are always bright yellow). Let’s give it THE OL’ TURD SANDWICH!

Read the rest of this entry »

No, Anya, Au Revoir: RIP Sir Roger Moore

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Roger Moore is the first of the officially recognized James Bond actors to pass away. And in life, he always got way too much shit.

See, James Bond was one of the first ‘things’ I ever got into slightly later on. I always liked video games, I always liked music, I always bought toys. But during my senior year of high school, thanks to a combination of various factors, I got SUPER into James Bond. Like, read all the books, watched all the movies, played all the video games, even tracked down the occasional comic they did.

And in my burgeoning days of Bond fandom, visiting forums and reading articles, one thing seemed to jump out at me – people weren’t too sure how to feel about Roger Moore.

Some said he was too comedic. Some said they hated his portrayal of Bond. Some say he had the worst writing and directing of the series. Whatever the reason, it seemed like the internet just never care for poor Sir Moore.

I don’t exactly think that’s fair. I’ve seen his James Bond, I’ve seen his Simon Templar, I’ve seen his Lord Brett Sinclair, I’ve even seen him in ffolkes, and I think Roger Moore is a fantastic example of an actor who’s always willing to do the best he can with what he has to work with.
Read the rest of this entry »

My First Month As A Switch Owner

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Even with as bitter as I am these days, and I freely admit I’m a cranky contrarian who’s hard to talk to a lot of times, there’s a few things in the world that can turn me back into a gibbering nerdy 12-year-old like I’ve secretly (?) always been. It’s a short list of things that include “seeing Weird Al in concert” and “WrestleMania weekend”, but one of the big ones is the launch of a new Nintendo system.

I’ve had a streak of owning every Nintendo system at launch since the 64 (which only technically counts since my parents wouldn’t let me play it until the following Christmas, but it’s not like I’m still mad or anything) and no matter how many system launches I’m there for, or how many times I’ve found myself slightly let down after the fact, the launch of a new Nintendo console or handheld turns me into a frantic child, giddy at the prospect of what’s to come.

To literally nobody’s surprise anywhere, the Switch announcement was no exception to this. In fact, I was probably more excited for the Switch than I was their last few systems, and I say this as someone who never shut up about the Wii U even long after that ship had sunk.

Something about the lineup, the design of the system, and the enthusiasm about the idea that Nintendo seemed to put forth every time they talked about it got under my skin and I spent entirely too much money to make sure I got a Switch at launch.

I’ve spent about a month or so with it (as of this writing) and, as hyperbolic as this sounds, I can honestly say that not only is it my favorite new console in a very long time, it may have actually gotten me excited about video games again.
Read the rest of this entry »

Four Toys I Bought At A Car Show

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

(Straight off the bat, I 100% ripped off the format and idea for this post from Dinosaur Dracula, a blog whose author I have been a fan of for a very long time and who is much better at this than I am. Go check out his stuff if you want to see what this post is SUPPOSED to look like, or if you just want to see a grown man drink 20-year-old Kool-Aid packets!)

Recently I’ve found myself getting hardcore back into wrestling. I bring this up because it’s going to be kind of a throughline for the whole article, even if it isn’t strictly about wrestling toys. As a kid I grew up pretty staunchly pro-WCW, watching years worth of Nitro episodes (and furthering my decades-long streak of always picking the wrong side in the important kid’s pop culture battles, having also grown up preferring DC to Marvel and the Genesis to the SNES) and occasionally dabbling in WWF RAW or In Your House when I’d find myself in the company of a fellow wrestling fan, but I really drifted away from it in recent years. I can’t quite put a finger on how or why it happened, but around 2015 I suddenly found myself possessed to watch Wrestlemania that year, and ever since then I’ve been both keeping up on the new stuff and going back to revisit stuff I either watched at the time or missed out on due to reasons.

I bring this up to clarify why, exactly, I was at a car show. I’ve never really been a “car person” as such – there’s cars I like, I tend to get picky about the cars I drive, but like I don’t tend to get as excited about seeing old hot rods or NASCAR vehicles the same way an actual car person would, and as such I tend to find myself skipping the myriad car shows around Detroit.

This year was different, though. I heard through the grapevine that Autorama was going to offer a chance to get autographs from none other than the former leader of the Bullet Club, AJ Styles. As my favorite current wrestler I had to meet him. I did, it was fun, and afterwards while wandering around the show killing time I made a remarkable discovery: there were people at Autorama that sell toys. Elated by having just met the Nature Hoot, I took a poop around the weird toy corner and this is what I left with:

Read the rest of this entry »

Drink’n Games Episode 1: Einhander

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Hey everyone! I know I’ve been gone for forever, and while I am beyond positive nobody noticed I’m happy to come back with a somewhat new feature. Sort of.

See, a few years ago, I was briefly employed by a British gaming website called The Game Jar. It’s no longer with us now, but through my bumbling and constant need for rewrites I made a lot of friends and learned a lot about writing, both in general and specifically when it comes to video games and the other bullshit I try tackling here.

Along the way, my editor (a gentleman named Sean who I am still pleased to call my friend) stumbled upon the idea that since my Internet presence consists largely of pictures of beer and complaining about video games, why not combine the two? He suggested I make a drinking game out of it, and write rules as to when I should drink and why, and chronicle how well it goes for me. Since the beers were always new to me, and the games were either new or at least something I hadn’t touched in forever, the results generally didn’t go well.

After The Game Jar sadly folded, the idea kind of stewed in my mind until, in a jealous fit upon seeing Jeremy Parish’s “Gintendo” series (as well as a lot of Game Center CX, a series I hold dear to my heart), the idea hit me to bring Drink’n Games back as a video series so you can see my shame live and in person!

So after a few weeks of filming, editing, and hangovers, here’s the first filmed Drink’n Games. I wanted to throw up some more helpful text but frankly this thing has taken too goddamn much of my life in the first place so I’m putting the video up to kind of exist on its own terms.

They’ll get better as I do more of them. Promise.


Indoor Living – My Summer Games List 2016

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Look, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend I’m a talented enough writer to think that you all need me to explain how important summer vacation was to a kid. We’ve all had them, we’ve all enjoyed them, we’ve all dreaded their passage, there’s not really much I can contribute to that conversation.

With that in mind, it’s fair to say they were just as important to me as they were you. I was never really a family of big summer plans; never went to camp (and thank fuck because I would have hated every fucking second of it if it wasn’t Space Camp), never went away for an entire summer, never even went to the ocean until much later in life – really, my big summer events that weren’t a long-weekend trip to Toronto or Chicago were largely spent sleeping in and/or eating too much at grandpa’s house.

Not that I’m complaining! Then, as now, I was a lonely young man who really valued his free time away from people, and what better way to spend that time than with video games? Any kind of break from school was, to me, the perfect time to catch up on video games and finally make some goddamn progress, whether it was Chrono Trigger or Metal Gear Solid or whatever. As a result, the majority of my most pleasant gaming memories revolve around summertime, and I try to uphold that tradition as much as I can by staying inside all goddamn summer and playing all the goddamn video games I can!

It gets a little harder as time goes by, though, because now there’s too many goddamn video games and as a result anything I want to remember having played in the summer has to compete with like twelve other games I’ve thought about getting into. To that end I’ve decided to try to keep a record of every summer game I play going forward, starting with these choice nuggets! Join me, won’t you?

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dream Of The 90’s Is Alive At My House – Dreamcast GD-EMU Review

Saturday, August 13th, 2016

So it’s no surprise to anybody that I’m obsessed with Sega’s final console, some…fifteen years and change after it shuffled off this mortal coil (an event that coincided with me having to start high school, which if I were a dickhead I’d say was some representation of me having to start the journey into adulthood or something). I play mine with a frequency, and I still lug it over to a number of friend’s houses to get back on the multiplayer for a number of games – indeed, it was really the only time I could ever claim to be good at Quake III Arena, and even then it was because I had the mouse & keyboard.

The only real problem is that they just don’t last too long. I got mine shortly after launch and it’s held up fine enough so far, but browse the Internet for any length of time and you’ll see dozens of accounts of people whose Dreamcasts have just stopped reading discs, thanks to the…er…touchy specificness of the GD-ROM laser lens. And while technology has allowed us to emulate the system well enough, it still isn’t 100%, and for a long time there was no Everdrive-like solution to replacing the need for physical games, even if you’ve been able to burn pirated copies since about a month after the damn thing came out.

Until now. Thanks to an industrious young man in Poland with the patience of a saint (and the skill with a soldering iron to match), I now have access to every goddamn Dreamcast game I could ever want to play. Even that shitty fucking South Park quiz game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ghostbusters Is Fine, I’m Fine, Everything is Fine

Friday, July 29th, 2016

Somehow, despite all the doomsaying and gnashing of manbaby teeth, the new Ghostbusters came out and everything was fine. Trump isn’t President, everyone’s childhoods were exactly as they left them, and we’re not trapped under some kind of grand feminist conspiracy that only exists to replace the cherished franchise media of our youth with – gasp! – girls.

As a matter of fact, it looks like it kinda went how all movie openings went – the people that wanted to see it saw it, the people that didn’t wanna see it didn’t, and everyone’s lives went much the same as they would have otherwise, plus or minus one screening of Ghostbusters. It almost goes to show that maybe everyone didn’t need to get so goddamned uptight about the fact a movie was coming out that was called the same thing as a movie they liked as kids, and also had women in it?

But hey, I’m not an expert, just a guy who talks a lot on the internet, and besides this article isn’t about jean shorts and Reddit – it’s about Ghostbusters!

And as you should not be at all surprised to learn, I went opening weekend with my super best friend in the world (and longtime fellow Ghostbuster) to see a screening at the theater back in my hometown that had recently installed some fancy-ass seats. Full of peach schnapps and overpriced mac ‘n cheese from a nearby restaurant, I braced myself for what was to come.

Guess what? I liked it. I really fucking liked it.

ghostbusters 2016 cosplay and proton pack

Yes, a grown adult who looks like this was really okay with the new Ghostbusters movie. QUELLE SURPRISE.

Read the rest of this entry »