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This is not a pro-wrestling site, though I guess you wouldn’t know that from recent posts. However, today’s untimely death of my all-time favorite wrestler, Randy Savage, has inspired me to put up a list of my favorite Macho Man matches as a sort of tribute to one of my childhood heroes. Anybody who was a WWF fan in the 1980s had to love this guy. He was as charismatic a performer as anyone I’ve ever seen, and his athleticism was unparalleled. This was a guy who truly had the proverbial “it factor.”
So here it is, my top five favorite Randy “Macho Man” Savage matches:
5. Opponent: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
Event: WrestleMania VIII
Date: April 5, 1992
What’s at stake: WWF Heavyweight Championship
NOTES: Though many didn’t give Savage a chance on this night, I was rooting for him with a packed house for my WrestleMania party. This was a memorable match for sure with Flair bleeding all over the place. Savage pulled it out using questionable tactics (a handful of tights), but nobody ever said Savage always played by the rules. This was an awesome surprise World Title victory.
4. Opponent: “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
Event: WrestleMania IV
Date: March 27, 1988
What’s at stake: WWF Heavyweight Championship
NOTES: Savage claims the big prize for the first time in his career, winning four matches in one night. The finale of arguably the greatest tournament in pro wrestling history included interference from Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan, but it wrapped up with Savage dropping a picture-perfect flying elbow and celebrating with Liz on his shoulder in their famous pose.
3. Opponent: The Ultimate Warrior
Event: WrestleMania VII
Date: March 24, 1991
What’s at stake: Career vs. Career
NOTES: Though the Warrior was an extremely popular performer, he certainly wasn’t well known for his match quality. With few exceptions, Warrior was out of gas and putting on pathetic matches. This night was different though. Randy was so phenomenal in this match that people still talk about it 20 years later. Multiple flying elbow drops and a touching reunion with the lovely Elizabeth highlight the finish to this spectacle.
2. Opponent: Hulk Hogan
Event: WrestleMania V
Date: April 2, 1989
What’s at stake: WWF Heavyweight Championship
NOTES: This show had one of the biggest buy rates for any wrestling pay-per-view thanks to a phenomenal year-long storyline that culminated in the explosion of the Mega Powers at Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza. Savage carried Hogan to arguably the finest match of his career.
1. Opponent: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Event: WrestleMania III
Date: March 29, 1987
What’s at stake: Intercontinental Championship
NOTES: This is probably the biggest event in wrestling history and Macho Man stole the show with Steamboat, putting on one of the greatest and most dramatic matches the world has ever witnessed. 78,000 (or 93,000, depending on who you ask) were there live to see this classic confrontation in Detroit’s Pontiac Silverdome.
Rest in peace, Macho Man.
Growing up in the 1980s, I was an absolutely huge pro wrestling fan. One of my earliest wrestling memories was the build up to WrestleMania 2 in 1986, and I can remember watching this show on video tape over and over. The twist here is that instead of looking at this show through the eyes of a 5-year-old boy, I’ll be watching as a 30-year-old man. Naturally, this post won’t really appeal to non-wrestling fans, so you might as well skip this one if old-school WWF was never your cup of tea.
Keep in mind, this entry will be posted in that sort of “live blogging” format. That is, I’m just relaxing on my couch with the laptop while the show plays on my TV. So please don’t expect a masterful writing job — I’m just have fun punching up quick notes while the show runs without any pausing, rewinding, or fast forwarding. When the show’s over, so is this report. Here we go…
“WrestleMania 2 – what he world has come to!”
A young Vince McMahon welcomes us to the greatest sports entertainment spectacular of all time from the Nassau Coliseum, just 20 minutes from my home here on Long Island. Joining him in the ring is Susan St. James (the wife of Vince’s good buddy, Dick Ebersol). In comes Ray Charles to sing “America the Beautiful.” Though I remember constantly speeding through this part as a kid, Charles is actually very good — so already I’ve found something I appreciate as an old man that meant nothing to me as a youngster. The song ends with a photo of everybody’s favorite hero, WWF Champion Hulk Hogan!
Now we’re in Chicago with Mean Gene who tells us you can cut the electricity with a knife. That was quick, we’re back to New York with Roddy Piper and his boxing trainer Lou Duva. Piper says if Mr. T knocks him out, he’ll retire. He closes out the interview by saying though T mocked him by wearing a kilt, he’d never shave his hair like an Indian and paint himself black — awesome.
Ring announcer Howard Finkel tells us it’s time for the opening contest. “Magnificent” Don Muraco with Mr. Fuji in his corner takes on “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. These guys are jacked to the gills. Orndorff just taunted Fuji by making “slant eyes” — I kid you not. Susan St. James just remarked that Muraco may be employing Fuji’s ancient Chinese techniques. There’s some decent back-and-forth action until both competitors get counted out on the floor. Orndorff wants to swing a chair, but the referee intervenes. The crowd is chanting “bullshit” — I never noticed that before.
Mr. T is with “Smokin” Joe Frazier and the Haiti Kid (a midget wrestler with Mr. T’s haircut). T says he’s tried of talking and ready to get in the ring with Piper tonight.
Now we’ve got the Intercontinental Championship match – George “The Animal” Steele takes on the Champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage who has the lovely Miss Elizabeth in his corner. Savage is the heel here, and he’s awesome in this role. Steele plays the Animal character extremely well, but he’s not in Savage’s league in terms of athleticism. Macho is probably the best athlete on this entire card. Steele slows things down with illegal chokes and bites, and, of course, ripping the turnbuckle open to eat the stuffing inside. Savage does what he can to keep things exciting, ultimately pinning Steele with his feet ont he ropes. All in all, this was a fun short match. Steele kicked out of Savage’s flying elbow on the ONE COUNT and completely no-sold it, and that kind of messed things up at the end a bit. He was also pinned in a sort of missionary sex position which was kind of awkward looking.
Back in Chicago, Mean Gene interviews Bill Fralic and Big John Studd. This is great. Gene requests decorum, but Studd squashes a football and argues with Fralic about how wrestlers are better than football players.
In NY once again, we’ve got a squash match at WrestleMania. Yep, it’s Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. George Wells. Wells gets plenty of offense in early, but this is primarily there to showcase Roberts who was a newcomer at this point. Roberts wins with his signature DDT and he wraps Damien, his python, around Wells at the end of the match which causes him to foam at the mouth. Vince informs us that Jake’s undefeated streak remains in tact with this win.
There’s a video package giving us the build up to the boxing match between Mr. T and Roddy Piper.
Now we’re in Los Angeles for Jesse Ventura to interview Hulk Hogan. Hulk says he’s taking out King Kong Bundy in spite of his injured ribs. He also makes a prediction that Mr. T will defeat Piper because he’s fighting for what he believes in. We return to New York and Susan lets us know she’s rooting for Hulk.
Finkel hands the microphone over to Joan Rivers, who was probably 60 here, as the guest ring announcer. She introduces a boatload of celebrity stars — Guest Judges: Darryl Dawkins, Cab Calloway, & G. Gordon Liddy and Guest Time Keeper: Herb (Burger King commercial superstar). This is New York’s main event, scheduled for 10 rounds of boxing. The best part of the introduction is that she misreads “The Ace Cowboy Bob Orton” as “The Ace Comedy — and funny man — Bob Orvin.” I’m not making that up, it really just happened. Now it’s time for the boxing match between Mr. T and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. This is even faker than all the other stuff on this show. Wow, this gets really bad. Mr. T is atrocious. This whole thing is a sloppy, clumsy mess. So this represents the first horrible match that I didn’t really know was horrible when watching as a kid. Mercifully, it ends in the fourth round when Piper gets disqualified for throwing the ref down and bodyslamming T. A melee ensues following the match where all the corner men flood the ring — Vince mispronounces melee twice. Thank god we’re done with Susan St. James with our location switch.
Now we’re in Chicago with Gorilla Monsoon, Mean Gene Okerlund, and Cathy Lee Crosby. It’s funny that they’re all sharing one microphone, it’s sort of awkward as compared to how it would be today where all three would have their own mic. Chet Coppock is the ring announcer. Women’s World Champion Fabulous Moolah defends against Velvet McIntyre. Moolah is ancient here, yet she’s still the Champ and is believeable in the roll of tough old wench. The match is over in under a minute when McIntyre misses a splash off the rope allowing Moolah to pin her and retain the belt.
It’s time for a flag match! The winner gets to wave his flag — so 1980s here. Representing the USSR it’s Nikolai Volkoff with Freddie Blassie in his corner against Corporal Kirshner who represents the good old USA. This is pretty lousy, but that’s ok. Blassie shouts to Kirshner, “get in there you yellow dog!” The mat in Chicago is really miced well, every stomp sounds like somebody beating a drum. Wow — this went faster than I remembered, certainly no more than 2 minutes. Blassie tries to throw his cane in to Volkoff but Kirshner intercepts it and uses it as a weapon. He wins and America reigns supreme over those commie bastards.
Mean Gene Okerlund takes over the ring announcing duties for the 20-man Battle Royal. More celebrities: Clara Peller (Wendy’s Where’s the Beef Lady) is the time keeper, but she is 100 years old and doesn’t even know her name is announced. It doesn’t matter, her microphone doesn’t work anyway. The referees are Dick Butkus and Ed “Too Tall” Jones. Here are the 20 participants: Jimbo Covert, Pedro Morales, Tony Atlas, Ted Arcidi, Harvey Martin, Dan Spivey, Hillbilly Jim, King Tonga, Iron Sheik, Ernie Holmes, B. Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Big John Studd, Bill Fralic, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Russ Francis, Bruno Sammartino, William “The Refrigerator” Perry, and Andre The Giant. This is really cool because the crowd is so into it. Chicago really seemed to get the best portion of the show. Andre wins the battle royal, last eliminating Bret Hart by launching him onto his partner on the floor. The most memorable spot in this match is Perry offering a truce with John Studd, after Studd eliminated him, only to pull Studd out to the floor. As Ernie Ladd says, Perry fools him with “the oldest trick in the book.”
Back in New York, it’s getting a bit confusing now, Roddy Piper sits with Vince and Susan to continue his trash talk of Mr. T. The Long Island crowd cheers the replay of Piper slamming T. We head back to Chicago for Mean Gene to interview Jimbo Covert and the always entertaining Iron Sheik. We also see some highlights of the battle royal that just completed. Cathy Lee is less annoying than Susan St. James, but I’d still have enjoyed this show much better with Gorilla and Jesse like the other WrestleManias of the era.
Now, here comes the best match on the entire show. For the WWF Tag Team Championship, The Dream Team (Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake w/ Johnny V) defend their belts against the British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid w/ Captain Lou & Ozzy Osbourne). As a kid, I always liked this match better than anything else on the show and still consider it one of my all-time favorite matches (even though I haven’t really watched it in over a decade). Believe it or not, it really holds up well. Dynamite is a spectacular performer and Davey Boy is very good. Valentine is solid for the heels. Though Beefcake is very limited, they keep his involvement to a minimum which allows this match to shine. The Bulldogs win the belts when Davey rams Valentine into Dynamite and covers him. Dynamite takes a ridiculous bump off the top rope to the floor that doesn’t even get appropriately captured because they just didn’t have the type of camera set up you’d find at a show today. At any rate, the title victory really feels like a special historic moment — something else that’s missing from pro wrestling these days. It sort of comes out of nowhere too which makes it even more fun. Nowadays, you’ll know exactly when the matches are going to end because they telegraph it so blatantly.
After a brief interlude in New York, we’re going out to Los Angeles. Vince really does a great job at making it seem like the main event is going to be something you just can’t miss. Susan St. James says she thinks Hogan will win — what a bold prediction. Out in LA, you’ve got Jesse Ventura sandwiched between Lord Alfred Hayes (ungodly awful) and Elvira (horrible). To make matters worse, there are really only two fully-functional headsets which Hayes and Elvira use; Jesse’s mic is all messed up which is pretty annoying. Our ring announcer, Lee Marshall, gets things rolling with Hercules Hernandez and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. I hardly remembered this one, but Steamboat was actually very good in this generic-1980s-WWF-mid-card match. Steamboat wins with a high cross body block. His talent was really wasted in what was essentially a curtain-jerker on the west coast. In fact, with the time zone difference, the LA audience didn’t watch the already recorded matches until after the main event ended, meaning the Chicago portion we just saw would be their “main event” on closed circuit.
In a match that I can recall skipping almost every time I watched this show, Adorable Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart takes on Uncle Elmer. I’ve skipped this match so many times that I even had to fight the urge to hit fast forward when I saw it was about to start. The reality is it wasn’t that bad. Adonis was deceptively awesome. He weighed 300 pounds and dressed like a woman, but he was actually a tremendous athlete and even even manages to carry Elmer (arguably the worst wrestler I’ve ever seen) to a reasonably decent match. He flips all over the place like an acrobat before securing a clean fall with a flying chop to the prone Elmer. Adding insult to injury, Adonis beats him up after the match until Elmer rolls to the outside.
“Awful” Alfred interviews an enormous Hulk Hogan who vows to win, regardless of his injuries. Jimmy Hart is back out there with Terry and “Hoss” Funk who battle it out with Tito Santana and the Junkyard Dog. I loved JYD as a kid. In fact, a month after this, JYD headlined the first live WWF card I ever attended against Hoss Funk at the Nassau Coliseum in a sort of WrestleMania revenge match. This is a by-the-numbers baby face vs. heels tag match. Approximately two and a half hours in, I’m really tired of watching wrestling at this point and I’m ready for the show to be over. Terry Funk actually does a lot to make things entertaining, bumping on the floor and taking a body slam on a table. Surprisingly, the heels steal one here in our penultimate match with a little assistance from Jimmy Hart’s dreaded megaphone. Terry smashes JYD with the foreign object while referee Dave Hebner’s back is turned, he gets the cover and the team is victorious. Much like the Long Island audience earlier, the Californians chant “bullshit.” Terry sells a knee injury after the bout. Now we’ve got a dozen or so crew members coming out to assemble the steel cage for the main event.
We’ve got a string of video highlights detailing the long build up to the big match and Hogan’s road to recovery following his injury at the hands of Bundy. We also get to hear from Heenan and Bundy — damn this was great. Bundy cuts an absolutely awesome promo about how he’s going to win the belt tonight. Heenan lets us know we’re about to experience “Bundy Mania.” We head back to New York one more time for Vince to get just a little more hype in. Now, we are treated to our main event — WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Challenger King Kong Bundy w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan inside a “15-foot-high” steel cage. Celebrity Mania continues with Tommy Lasorda as the guest ring announcer, Ricky Schroeder (who was booed) as the guest time keeper, and Robert Conrad (who was cheered) as the guest referee. Hogan slams Bundy, drops the leg, and climbs over the cage to hang onto his title. The spot I remember of Hogan kicking Bundy down to the canvas from the top rope is still cool. The best bumps on the entire show were probably by Heenan in the post-match ass whooping by Hogan. I always loved that part because Heenan was so good at making you want to see him get beat up. Hogan matches were predictable, but you got to see what you wanted. He slays a dragon, and everyone goes home happy.
This was a fun show to watch because it really takes me back. I felt like a little kid watching this show which is always a nice escape from the frustrating and complicated adult world. WWF absolutely overdid it with the celebrities as so many of them contributed absolutely nothing to the show. In fact,some of them, like all three women announcers, were a detriment to the overall presentation. This is also the last time they did a big show from multiple locations which really didn’t mean all that much in retrospect, but I guess it could have been a big deal at the time in terms of making the show seem like a can’t-miss happening. So I’ve had my fill of wrestling for a while after sitting through three hours of this, but I definitely recommend the show to old-school wrestling fans looking for nostalgia or new-school fans who have never seen it.
The 2010-2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs start tomorrow, and I felt it would be appropriate to post my picks here on GordTep.com. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a die-hard Ranger fan, but I am not letting that influence my predictions. The following predictions are based on countless hours of my life that I wasted all season, watching hockey games and reading up on all of the teams — and, of course, whatever my gut tells me will happen over the course of the next two months. I’m sure I should have some “forward looking statements” line to cover myself in case you put money on the teams I suggest will win. However, if you do win based on my calls, I want a cut.
To be fair, a vast majority of the games I watched were strictly Eastern Conference match ups. So I will not be posting a detailed analysis of the West. While I don’t want to sell myself short and dismiss my Western picks as being devoid of value or substantive research, I just feel it’s best to simply post the result without a detailed analysis as they are more superficially selected than my Eastern predictions. So here’s what I’ve got for the first round.
Capitals vs. Rangers
Despite struggles chronicled in the HBO 24/7 specials, Washington actually had a heck of a year. However, New York really seemed to have them figured out. The 8-seed Rangers won the season series 3-1 against the Caps, which included 6-0 & 7-0 debacles. I see Henrik Lundqvist and Marc Staal shutting down Ovechkin, and Gaborik & Drury scoring when it counts the most. Rangers in 6
Flyers vs. Sabres
The Flyers have been in disarray as of late, but they’re too talented to get bumped out by Buffalo. The wild card for Buffalo is Ryan Miller because he is so much better than every goaltender the Flyers have. We also don’t know what factor Chris Pronger will play in this series for Philadelphia. While many others are open to an upset, I just don’t see it. Look for Briere to light the lamp at will against his former team. Flyers in 5
Bruins vs. Canadiens
These two teams have a storied rivalry that dates back to the Original 6 days, and we saw it reach new heights this season. Massive brawls that included goalie fights and suspensions will no doubt weigh heavily on the minds of both teams as they enter what will surely be a physically draining series. Though Tim Thomas had a phenomenal year statistically, I simply don’t see him as an elite goaltender and consider him on the same level as Carey Price. With that being said, I think the Bruins are a better team overall and that Zdeno Chara will log tons of ice time as the determining factor in what will surprisingly be a short series. Bruins in 5
Penguins vs. Lightning
Dan Bylsma is the consensus favorite for Coach of the Year based on how high the Pens managed to finish with all of their key injuries. The very fact that they were able to accomplish so much without Crosby and Malkin for extended periods of time really is quite remarkable, but I think Pittsburgh’s run ends in the first round. Tampa’s thrashing of Carolina on the last day of their season, in what was essentially a meaningless game, showed the synergy and fire this team has heading into the postseason. Lecavalier, Stamkos, St. Louis, and company will surely upset the Penguins. Lightning in 6
Canucks vs Blackhawks – Canucks in 5
Sharks vs. Kings – Sharks in 4
Red Wings vs Coyotes – Red Wings in 4
Ducks vs. Preds – Ducks in 7
The NHL reseeds after each round so the following picks may be completely out of whack depending on who advances past the first round. That is, I could theoretically pick two teams to advance to the Conference Final that would actually play each other in the Conference semi-final should I fail to predict the other two series correctly. In any event, here’s a quick rundown of what I see transpiring the rest of the way.
Flyers over Rangers in 5
Bruins over Lightning in 6
Canucks over Ducks in 5
Wings over Sharks in 7
Flyers over Bruins in 6
Wings over Canucks in 7
Stanley Cup Finals:
Wings over Flyers in 5
If my Rangers are still alive after the first round, I might revisit my picks with a follow-up blog to provide some detail for how I believe the ensuing rounds will go. In any event, I see Detroit adding to their overwhelming amount of Championships with yet another this June. I hope I’m wrong though and it’s actually Rangers in 7!
Video game music has come a long way, but it’s nice to revisit the golden age. Here are my votes for the Top 10 Tunes from the 8 and 16 bit eras.
10. Generic NES Sports Game - Simple nostalgia, nothing else.
09. Excitebike - Simple nostalgia, plus it’s hilarious.
08. Tetris – Heard this music WAYYY more than the popular GameBoy theme.
07. Green Hill Zone – Im in my neighbor’s basement, instantly.
06. Marioland – My favorite of all Mario themes, a high honor.
05. Rush N Attack – Great soundtrack for a stabbing spree.
04. Dr Wily Theme - What list would be complete without it?
03. Double Dragon - I’d love to see a Tyson highlight video set to this music
02. Final Fantasy 4 – If you’ve played it, you get it.
01. Contra Base - Nothing’s better. I wish all FPS’s had an option to turn this theme on.
Anybody out there give a shit? Me neither. But for the hell of it, here it is. Let your judgment of my taste begin.
10. Reno 911 (86 episodes; 2003-2009)
Favorite Character: Terry
Favorite Quote: “I’m just goofin’. I’m just new boot goofin’.”
Quick reasons why: Making fun of every race, color, and creed; awesome character development.
9. Married With Children (261 episodes; 1987-1997)
Favorite Character: Al Boondy!
Favorite Quote: “I’d say it behind your back, but my car’s only got half a tank of gas!”
Quick reasons why: Lightning quick wit; top notch insult humor; kinship with Al.
8. Mystery Science Theater: 3000 (198 episodes; 1988-1999)
Favorite Character: Tom Servo
Favorite Quote: “ooh, right in the store!”
Quick reasons why: Vast range of humor, from Bronze Age references to dick jokes.
7. Family Guy (150+ episodes; 1999-2002, 2005-present)
Favorite Character: Peter Griffin
Favorite Quote: “Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Lois this is not my Batman glass!”
Quick reasons why: All the Gen-X references are hysterical, why else?
6. Star Trek: Enterprise (98 episodes; 2001-2005)
Favorite Character: Captain Archer.
Favorite Quote: “Optimism doesn’t alter the laws of physics.”
Quick reasons why: The greatness of Season 3; Archer’s deathwish; plugging holes in the canon; underdog Trek show.
4. Seinfeld (174 episodes; 1990-1998)
Favorite Character: George Costanza
Favorite Quote: “Jerry, the Mets lost.”
Quick reasons why: Greatest quartet in TV history; brought everyone’s neuroses to the surface.
3. The State (29 episodes; 1993-1995)
Favorite Cast Member: Kevin Allison
Favorite Quote: “I’m in your home, covered in lotion!”
Quick reasons why: Literally 99% of the sketches were epically funny; greatest soundtrack in TV history (not on dvd)
2. Twin Peaks (30 episodes; 1990-1991)
Favorite Character: Coop!
Favorite Quote: “There was a fish—IN the percolator!”
Quick reasons why: Amazing ensemble of characters; can still give me chills every time; beautifully walked the line between funny and strange.
1. The Simpsons (450+ episodes; 1989-present)
Favorite Character: Homer.
Favorite Quote: [Homer singing] “Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the ballllllllllll-ahhh!“
Quick reasons why: I’ve seen all 450+ episodes, and never ever, not once, have I said “that episode sucked.” Truly, the greatest, most remarkable show in history.
01 The Joker (Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight)
02 Stansfield (Gary Oldman, The Professional)
03 Big Ern McCracken (Bill Murray, Kingpin)
04 Biff Tannen (Tom Wilson, Back to the Future)
05 Lee Woo-jin (Yu Ji-tai, Oldboy)
06 John Doe (Kevin Spacey, Seven)
07 La femme (Beatrice Dalle, Inside)
08 Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds)
09 Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman, Superman)
10 Sean Nokes (Kevin Bacon, Sleepers)
11 Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper, Blue Velvet)
12 Alex Forrest (Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction)
13 Bohdi (Patrick Swayze, Point Break)
14 Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving, The Matrix)
15 T1000 (Robert Patrick, Terminator 2)
16 Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman, Die Hard)
17 Night Porter (Michael Elphick, The Elephant Man)
18 Lil’ Ze (Leandro Fermino, City of God)
19 The Borg (Star Trek: First Contact)
20 Predator (Kevin Peter Hall, Predator)
21 Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren, Rocky IV)
22 Ace Merrill (Kiefer Sutherland, Stand By Me)
23 Pat Healy (Matt Dillon, There’s Something About Mary)
24 Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka, The Karate Kid)
25 Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins, Arlington Road)
26 T-Rex (Jurassic Park)
27 snakes (Snakes on a Plane)
28 Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates, Misery)
29 Teddy KGB (John Malkovich, Rounders)
30 Jerry Hathaway (William Atheron, Real Genius)
And to think Darth Vader, formerly my all-time favorite, didn’t even crack this list. That’s how damaging the prequels were to me.
In case you didn’t already know, we’re huge baseball fans here at gordtep.com. We’re also pretty passionate video game enthusiasts. With that said, every spring, we’re not just craving baseball, but we’re also anxiously awaiting the annual release from the MLB 2K series. Since the demo was available this morning on XBox Live, I am now prepared to give my first impressions of this year’s game.
Before we get into 2K11, I think some background is in order. I’ve been playing baseball video games dating back to the early 1980s on the Atari system. So without further ado, you get a bonus in this blog: My Top 10 Baseball Video Games
- BASEBALL STARS, NES, 1989
- MLB 2K8, XBOX 360, 2008
- MVP BASEBALL, PS2, 2005
- BASES LOADED, NES, 1988
- HARDBALL, C64, 1985
- EARL WEAVER BASEBALL, PC, 1987
- HARDBALL 5, PC, 1996
- TRIPLE PLAY BASEBALL, PC, 2000
- R.B.I. BASEBALL, NES, 1987
- ALL STAR BASEBALL 2005, XBOX, 2004
Yeah, Kev would say it’s blasphemous that I ranked RBI Baseball so low on my list. It was groundbreaking because it was the first NES game to use real players, but I preferred playing all the ones ranked ahead of it for one reason or another.
So here’s the quick and dirty review.
It doesn’t exactly knock my socks off.
From the demo, it’s just “meh.” If the actual game allows, I’ll probably get a different camera. I just never really got into that “catcher’s perspective” view that World Series Baseball introduced in the mid 90s. If I can change that, maybe I can just go with the standard broadcast, behind-the-pitcher view. The analog hitting controls don’t really do much for me either, so I’m switching to basic which lets me time the swing better. It seems to eliminate the power swing — not sure if that means anything. Maybe it just hits home runs if you time a pitch perfectly, with the right hitter, in the right situation? Whatever. Hitting seems to be OK on the surface, I guess. I’d need to play with it some more and see how the results turn out.
The analog pitching is complete crap. The pitch selection, followed by the gesture is so dumb. Why not one or the other? I won’t really hold this against them though because it lets you switch back to classic controls very easily, and those work just fine.
I’ll hand it to them on this. The fielding felt like it was much improved. It also allows for analog or classic controls on the throwing. My preference was actually the analog here. Kudos, 2K, you got something right.
I’m not even talking about frame rate or any of that here (though that seems pretty smooth to be honest). What I want is to be able to skip all the worthless cut scenes and random nonsense that prevents me from completing a game in 15-20 minutes. The Demo does a good job of letting you skip in between pitches with a tap of the A button. However, the rest of it seems to take a bit too long for my taste. I want to move along as fast as possible after each pitch/play/inning. In previous years, they had some sort of “hurry-up” mode. That was a great idea, but I just remember that it prevented me from seeing any sort of statistics during the game. Just because I want to get through games quickly doesn’t mean I don’t want to know the pitcher’s ERA and the hitter’s batting average. I guess we’ll see about these options once the game is officially released and people can really test it all out.
This is all still unanswered, and it’s a critical component. For some reason, year after year, they can never get this aspect right. Here’s what we want: ONLINE FRANCHISE WITH A MIX OF CPU & HUMAN PLAYERS. Why is that such a difficult program to implement? Oh, yeah, we also want online play to actually work — not some laggy, buggy mess. The ability to condense the league and shorten the schedule would be tremendous as well. This stuff seems so simple to add, yet they avoid it and keep coming up with crappy Home Run Derby modes that aren’t even any fun.
I’m still on the fence. Will I buy it? I probably will because I don’t have any other options. They have the exclusive MLB license on Xbox 360, so my only alternative would be to purchase a PS3 for MLB 11 The Show (which I hear is terrific). I guess that’s an option, but my preference is to avoid stacking dozens of electronic devices that cost hundreds of dollars, ya know? It is what it is.
Your You’re better then than that!
By Gord Tep
I’m actually putting this out there as a service of sorts. These common occurrences on Facebook make me cringe because they’re sending out an unflattering message concerning your intellect:
- not knowing the difference between your & you’re
- not knowing the difference between they’re, there, & their
- not knowing the difference between to, too, & two
- not knowing the difference between then & than
- not knowing the difference between who’s & whose
- not knowing the difference between it’s & its
- not knowing the difference between wholly & holy
- not knowing when to use “me” instead of “I”
- not knowing when to use “myself” or “yourself”
- not knowing when to use “he” instead of “him” or “she” instead of “her”
- not knowing that “a lot” is two words
- not knowing what contractions and possessives are (apostrophes)
- putting an extra E in judgment
- putting the dollar sign after the amount
- using fake words like “supposively” instead of “supposedly”
- using fake phrases like “should of” instead of “should have”
- using fake phrases like “based off” instead of “based on”
- being a teacher and still making these errors
- trying to correct people when they already had it right (this one is insane)
The occasional typo is normal. I’m not talking about that, nor am I talking about perfectly acceptable cell phone abbreviations. I think all of these types of errors are indicative of someone who just doesn’t read. You see it a lot with the confusion of various words/phrases that people have clearly heard and never seen in writing. An example would be writing something like “for all intensive purposes” instead of “for all intents and purposes.” There are dozens of these, but that’s just one that came to mind.
I know it’s just Facebook, and you don’t have to use perfect grammar. Most of us type in all lowercase all the time, and that’s fine for informal e-writing. However, the types of errors I’m identifying are the ones that announce your lack of language skills to the world. I’m not even nitpicking here about misusing (or failing to use) commas, and things of that nature, which might even be debatable depending on how you were taught or what writing style you’re using. If you work on learning the basic items on this list, you’ll avoid sounding uneducated.
Gord is a self-professed creative genius, but he actually makes mistakes all the time.