Saturday, March 22, 2008


Nevermind what I said about not getting published in the Escapist, my letter made the 'letter to editors' page. I know that's not really getting 'published', but it's nice they liked it enough to have it in there, and it's even at the front of the 'letters to editor' section.

Here's the link:

Go to watch me slam 'Beyond Good and Evil', stay for Zero Punctuation. ^_^

Now that we're done with that, let's take a trip to hell.


Ever wonder what hell is like? If it follows the traditional example, I don't know if it's enough to make me too scared. Yes, there's chains and fire and torture, but we have that in the real world too. Ever get the feeling that someone from a war-torn country would just shrug and move on? Would someone right out of a bad prison just find a shiv, make a friend, and start lifting weight's in hell's yard?

I'm not saying it wouldn't be bad, but it seems kind of disappointing. I prefer to think that hell, if there is one, is personalized to the user. Here's my version, as I see it, during a typical day:

7:00 AM: I wake up in my college dorm, and it ALWAYS feels way too early, and way too cold. I get that groggy, draggy feeling, but I can't sleep in or drag my feet, because if I'm not out of my room in 5 minutes, everything turns into pink ceiling insulation.

7:05 AM: Everything turns into pink ceiling insulation. Damn it, I told myself I'd only rest my eyes for 10 seconds, and now this.

7:10 AM: After a quick shower which starts fine, but then the hot water randomly runs out, and a hurried shave using an old bic razor and ice cold water, I sit down to a heaping bowl of raw radishes. I check the fridge for dressing, and find only regular mayonaise *shudder*.

7:15 AM: I choke down the rest of the radishes, and suddenly remember it's daylight savings time.

(one second later)

8:15 AM: You'd think I'd remember, given that it's daylight savings every day in hell (always ahead, and the clocks won't change). No time to waste then, I'm off to my job: following people in cars.

10:15 AM: After a few hours of following a guy who's driving 20 miles over the speed limit in downtown Newark during a blizzard, I stop by my favorite bagel place to get yelled at by nuns. No bagels, just angry nuns. Regardless, the place is my favorite because it doesn't have quite as many nuns as everywhere else.

12:00 PM: It's been a long morning, and I've only received 4 speeding tickets and 8 work-related reprimands. It's time for lunch. As per usual, I walk up to the lunch truck, and the man inside steps out, and kicks me in the shin. I pay him $5 for the service, and leave.

12:07 PM: I spend the rest of my break working off the speeding tickets and reprimands through the usual method of punishment: hell's DMV. It's basically the normal DMV, only after you wait for an hour, re-fill out the forms, go back home to get the missing ID requirement, and get the worst possible picture of you taken, the woman behind the counter stamps the form twice, and lets you know that she'll never ever go out with you. She just wanted to let you know, because it'd be kind of awkward if you asked. She then posts your picture on the wall, and everyone laughs at it.

1:00 PM: It's time for my afternoon job, fixing things that aren't broken. After spending an hour trying to 'get that icon to come back' or trying to 'make it do everything by itself', my boss declares it all 'useless' and throws the computer out the window.

2:07 PM: My boss changes her mind, and has me go get the computer and get it running again, so everyone can see that great video on youtube of that loser with the bad hair getting rejected at the DMV.

2:30 PM: I finish the rest of the work day the way I always have do: cold call sales, made to cell phones that have bad reception. Our target market? People attending funerals.

5:30 PM: It's been a long day, but after driving home, and making my way past the hundreds of random stray animals in the yard, I go inside and find dozens of my roommate's friends messing with my stuff. For the rest of the evening, I constantly have to keep them from knocking things over and moving things to where they shouldn't be. Oh, and my roommate is just a random guy that screams at me in Chinese. And I mean SCREAM.

6:30 PM: Dinner is always what I already had for lunch the same day...which by my own admission is a brutal kick to the shin. Dang.

7:00 PM: The rest of the evening, when not dealing with the guests, is watching one of the three available channels: disturbing deep sea fish documentaries *shudder*, sports I don't understand, and the TV listing channel, which shows me what's on all the channels I don't get, including the complete run of 12oz Mouse, the director's cut of Clue, and 'that girl I used to work with at the book store' Gone Wild.

11:00 PM: It's time for bed. Did I remember to set the clock ahead? Of course not. While sleeping, I conversely dream of either deep sea fangly fish, or being at the dentist.

??? PM/AM: Some nights, but not every night, and always at a random time, an angry monkey is dropped on my head while I sleep. The credits roll.

There you have it! Now, I don't want to do any of that more than I already must, so I'm going to try and avoid hell altogether. Judging by the bible's top 10 list, I should be alright, as I only commit two of the sins on a regular basis (it would be three, but my neighbors' wives aren't very attractive).

If nothing else that should get me into at least purgatory...and with my luck, it's exactly the same as hell, only with a 'nice participation' trophy on my shelf...which my roommate's girlfriend keeps tossing around the fucking room.

Stay good everybody. ^_^

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Okay, so I was in the supermarket, passing a bunch of trashy 'is this celebrity pregnant', 'are they engaged' and 'is he gay' scandal rags, like the Trentonian, and I was wondering,

"You know, with all the innuendo and bad reputation dramatic theaters get, it's shocking that the Muppet Theater hasn't made the front page. I mean, has anyone ever wondered which of the Muppet cast is gay?"

It turns out that's not the kind of thing you should say out loud at the grocery store. Thankfully, the staff was more than polite while escorting me out.

I know this isn't the kind of thing a normal person wonders about, but it started as a random thought, and Amber suggested I run with it, so here's my trashy expose:

Everyone's wondering, with all the Muppets on the team, there has to be a few gay cast members, considering that only three members of the cast show any consistent interest in the opposite sex what-so-ever. So besides Piggy, Gonzo and Animal, who else is there?

We could go on forever, of course, but let's stick with the main suspects:

Kermit avoids too much scrutiny by showing genuine interest in plenty of female cast members, just not Piggy. Kermit is simply a man absorbed in his...startling number of careers. Rumors of a drug problem have yet to be proven, however.

Fozzie is another suspect, but given his crush on Rachael Welch, he probably isn't gay. Of course, she's hot enough to make any man drool, but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Fozzie's just too neurotically obsessed over his comedy to have time for anything else.

Rowlf is another muppet that doesn't show too much interest in women, but he's talked about women with a poetic sadness that suggests he's just incapable of forming long term relationships. He's a dog, plain and simple.

Yes, I know that Cookie Monster is often hugging and slobbering over the male human characters on Sesame Street, but Cookie Monster has a problem. Cookie Monster has the washed out, buggy eyes of an addict. We can only hope he seeks rehab before it's too late (and don't buy the 'cookies are a sometimes food' speech, that was a requirement of his probation).

I know what you're thinking, 'what about all the famous duos'? Surely they're marching in parades, dressed up like Dorothy? You'd think so, but there's a crucial flaw in that logic: if they were really a romantic couple, they wouldn't get along so well.

Statler and Waldorf were suspected by Amber, but they're simply having too much fun for it to be a relationship. No, these old guys are just trying to get away from their wives for a while, and laugh at a poor neurotic bear. I never said it was nice, I just said it was fun.

Bert and Ernie? For the love of God people, let me spell it out for you:

1. They're incredibly casual around each other.

2. They're often arguing, but generally get along.

3. They never talk about individual families.

4. They look more alike than any other two muppets.

THEY'RE RELATED! Most likely, they're brothers, but cousins are possible. Despite all their arguments and Bert's tantrums, leaving each other never seems to be an option. That's because they're family!

So where does this leave us, with three muppets that are likely gay, and one that as far as I'm concerned, definitely is.

1. Scooter

Yes, he's effeminate, but it goes far beyond that. No one shows less interest in women and more genuine enthusiasm for the theater besides Scooter. No man gets that enthusiastic about something unless sex is involved. Of course, he could be sleeping with one of the chorus girls, so you never know.

2. Sam the Eagle

Sad, isn't it? Sam is a hopeless closet case that hides behind a wall of 'righteousness' and 'virtue'. The only time he seems interested in anyone is when someone of 'culture' is on the show, and if they're a man, his reaction is always to visit them, alone, in their dressing room. The common sight of Sam going through a door, as if back into a closet, is very thinly veiled symbolism. This is far from iron clad, but there you have it.

3. Dr. Teeth

What? Don't believe me? Out of all the members of the band, Dr. Teeth is the only one not to be paired up with Janis in some fashion, as either a boyfriend figure, or a partner at the dance. Of course, we all know about Janis, but that's another issue. Dr. Teeth is also infinitely more showy and flamboyant than any other Muppet character, and dresses like a cross between Freddy Mercury and Elton John. Remember that other guy in the band that was only there for a while? The guy with fuzzy blond hair? I'm pretty sure that's the gay equivalent of 'girlfriend with the tambourine'.

So who is this mysterious, 'certainly gay' Muppet? Let's think...

Who is always surrounded by men?

Who is always over-compensating?

Who cares about what men think of him, but not women?

Who hangs out at the gym a lot?

Who was originally a romantic interest for Piggy, only to have it drop without a word and never come up again?

Who keeps singing Village People songs?

That's right! Link Hogthrob!


Oh it's not so surprising. He's vain, cares a lot about his looks, but doesn't care a thing about women. Piggy hit on him once, they had a private discussion, and it was dropped without a word. He's overly macho and always hangs out with the guys, and shows no interest in anything else.

Any other proof?

When was the only time he tried to kiss Piggy's character in Pigs in Space?

When she was being played by Fozzie. surprise there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


First, I'd like to promote the website:

No, I'm not published on it, it's just a very fine online video game magazine that appeals to a more mature (i.e. old enough to remember the Atari's lame version of Pac-Man) audience. It also includes the brilliantly vulgar 'Zero Punctuation' shorts that I'm so fond of. Go ahead, take a look, and subscribe. It doesn't cost anything, it's weekly, and it's a lot of fun.

I recently had to send them a letter though, after a long and insanely worshipful article in issue #139 about 'Beyond Good and Evil'. Like so many articles, it was reviewed as a dramatic, political thriller set in a disutopian future.

My view of the game differs a bit, leading to this:


Dear Escapist Magazine,

I wish I could find the game 'Beyond Good and Evil' that everyone's talking about.

I found a game with the same name and cover, but I can't shake the feeling that we're somehow playing two completely different games.

People I know to be both reasonable and intelligent, describe a game set in a stark, Orwellian future, where a corrupt government runs a secret underground slave ring, and only a single brave, if somewhat morally ambiguous reporter can bring the truth to the oppressed masses.

Wonderful! I'm sold! I grab it, pop the game in, and get 'Jax and Daxter'.

Seriously, this game is Jax and Daxter. Did you play the sequel, J&D 2? There is no significant difference.

You begin to get a sense of the taught political drama...then funny animal people show up...and aliens...and platform jumping...and collecting big pearls to spend on upgrades...and what the hell?

I'm not saying that 'Beyond Good and Evil' is a bad game, but why do people keep selling it as it's the long awaited sequel '1985'? It's a simple, typical adventure game. At best it's competent, and although it does try to be political, 'Du Ex' did it better.

I think there are three reasons some reviewers give it the 'Psychonauts' treatment, even though it's not really deserved:

1. Reviewers of all types are enamored with the 'renegade reporter' character, and all secretly wish they were ducking the 'man', revealing corruption, and receiving the praise and worship that tattletales never seem to receive in real life.

2. The time was right to have a game that fit the 'reporter defeats corrupt government' mold. It didn't seem to matter much that although the plot followed this theme, the actual environment, characters and play were more similar to a 'Spyro' game than a drama. They wanted a drama, marketed it as a drama, reviewed it as a drama and then sold it as a drama. What people got was a slightly serious, yet mostly silly adventure game. Her sidekick is a giant talking pig-man, for crying out loud. Ever notice the reviews never mention that?

3. As Yahtzee once mentioned in a review, many games try to do too much, and wind up doing nothing well. It almost seems like the 'kiddie', 'fun' and 'collect all the magic jelly beans' elements were added as an afterthought, to please the mass market. Instead, it merely alienated and confused the players that expected a serious, political thriller.

Remember Titan A.E.? It was a sci-fi cartoon that tried to please both adults and kids alike. Ultimately it did neither. The kids went and saw Tarzan (Jax and Daxter, Spyro), and the adults went and saw non-cartoon movies (Halo, Half-life, Fable and such).

All that was left were the slightly confused geeks sitting alone in the dark, wondering if they accidentally wandered into the wrong theater.

Take care,

Robert Max Freeman

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Yes, again it's been a while since I posted, and again, I'm blaming finishing 'Kutztown'. Only 5-6 chapters to go though. Of course, I can also blame Mass Effect.

No Frog?

In the story Mass Effect, there is a race called the Salarians, which resemble large, thin headed frogs. Despite the fact they are geniuses, and have one of the high counsel seats, you never get one in the party. Sure, they're kind of boring, arrogant and cowardly, but that didn't stop the Gungans from dominating 97% of the screen time in Star Wars Episode I (that's how it felt to me, anyway).

It just seems strange that the story sets them up as one of the most powerful races in the galaxy, and then ignores them. They're also known, besides science, to be masters of espionage...master spies that might have the ability to secretly infiltrate one of the members, thanks to plastic surgery, into the human race...


Think about it, the humans will be gratified, while the Salarians secretly control and manipulate the human race! Not even the council will know the truth! It's brilliant! It's feasible! It's...


Okay, first step is to cut an old green jacket...I mean, give the character the biggest, roundest eyes, then take off all his hair, give him a huge head, erase his chin, scrunch his lips flat, and press his nose directly against his face.

Perfect! No one will ever suspect that he's one of the frog race! Seriously, they don't. Feel free to imagine your best Kermit voice.


TURIAN SPECTRE: "You humans aren't ready for the responsibility of being a Spectre."

KERMIT SHEPHARD: "Exactly! That's what I've been saying for all these..."

TURIAN: "..."

K.S.: "I mean...YOU'RE WRONG!"


K.S.: "This is my ship, and I can bellow orders with the best of them!"

ADMIRAL: "Are you sucking in helium when I'm not looking?"

K.S.: "Uh...yes."


Ashley: "Hello."

K.S.: "Do you want to drop your egg sack so I can fertilize it?"

Ashley: "Huh?"

K.S.: "I's it"


Bad Guy: "The human race will be destroyed!"

K.S.: "Not if I can enslave them!"

Bad Guy: "What?"

K.S.: "I mean..."


K.S.: "Fuck you!"


Liara: "I'm developing feelings for you."

K.S.: "Wait...I uh, have forgotten if humans are monogamous or not."

Liara: "Really? That seems like something you wouldn't forget."

K.S.: "Yeah, would you believe it? Well, let me check my handy list of human history, and see if they...I mean we are monogamous."


K.S.: "Wow, those are overwhelming numbers. Apparently we can have sex, but I just can't tell the other woman involved."

Liara: "Really? Can I sleep with Kaiden too?"

K.S.: "Oh sure! Just don't tell me afterwards. It's all here in the data pad. Want to go mate in the medical closet?"

Liara: "We are in the medical closet...I kind of live here."

K.S.: "Cool! Now where's your egg sack again?"


Liara: "After melding minds, I saw..."

*K.S. slowly draws gun*

Liara: "It's all so blurry..."

*Casually cleans sniper rifle, pointed at Liara's head*

Liara: "It's information on the reavers!"

*Juggles grenades*

Liara: "And nothing else!"

K.S.: "Oh thank God, I thought you were going to figure out I'm..."

*Everyone stares*

K.S.: " Yes, that's an appropriate response given the context."


COUNCIL: "You've just committed genocide, exterminating an entire race!"

*K.S. waves arms in air*