Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Excuses

You know what? I'm getting pretty tired of the last few entries being nothing but apologies for my lack of content. I have no excuse to give you nothing but excuses.

This month was almost no exception. This one was pretty eventful, and even I'm pretty pissed that I've held onto these sweet ideas until now.

First of all:

NEW CAR!!!1!!1

Previously I was driving a 2003 Corolla, a nice little hand-me-down that got me where I had to go. But two weeks ago I had to send it back to the mechanic for the latest thing that went wrong with it. Seriously, once a month for the past 7 or so months something else went wrong with this damn thing. But this time was different. I was told to get rid of it while it was still running as its days were officially numbered.

The only thing I was worried about was hoping that Old Car would make it to the dealership before crapping out, since I was pretty paranoid to drive it ever since getting that message. Well, it made the trip and it's the Toyota dealership's problem now!

Needless to say, one misleading advertisement later and I fell in love with the 2013 version of Old Car. Not only is New Ride shiny and brand new (it's currently under 500 miles. That's how new it is!!), the radio has a sweet touchscreen with a bluetooth attachment! That means I can finally listen to the 300 podcasts that I have yet to get around to that have been building up for the past two years! Not many people can fathom how exciting that is, right starving refugees? They know my style.

All in all, I get much better gas mileage than them and that makes me a happy man.

Then you have my standard excuses: My job, tiredness, my depression came back for about two weeks, actually having a life, and overall laziness. But now another addiction has a stranglehold on me:


For a long time I held off on this game. For one thing, I didn't get a sweet sweet iPhone 5 until about a month ago, so I couldn't play it before then. You also have my distaste for Freemium games. You know, those games that are completely free to play but they charge you out the ass to do anything remotely cool. And this one is pretty damn smug about it due to it being completely self-aware that it's an addicting game that caters to Simpsons nerds like myself.

And as a Simpsons nerd like myself, I can say that the game lives up to every expectation. The game itself is centered on re-building Springfield in your own image after Homer blows it up after playing a Happy Little Elves game not unlike the game you're about to play. You buy buildings, characters and other objects to improve your town not to mention being able to mess with the towns of anyone else (provided you find their username first), and every character has several tasks and quests they can do.

This is where donuts come in. Yes, this is the infamous currency that you have to pay actual money to buy. And donuts are the most useful item in the game. Every building you get has to be built, and every character's quests occur IN REAL TIME. Using donuts speeds up the time you would spend by 99%. Characters can have quests as short as six seconds and as long as eight, twelve, and twenty-four hours, and in the case of Apu he can work a 168 hour Kwik-E-Mart shift. Using donuts completes each and every one of those missions in about ten seconds. And of course the good folks at EA wouldn't be dicks if they only gave you about 20 of these not counting any lucky bonuses, as doing anything good requires at least 12 donuts! I looked it up, it costs two bucks to buy a dozen yourself, and they actually have the gall to charge you $100 for a literal boatload of 2400 of them.

But before I descend into blind rage again, lemme tell you about the details of the game. Every single aspect of this game is a reference to something in the show. Items, characters and buildings from EVERY era of the show are here in some form, with plenty more on the way. It'd probably be easier to list the things that aren't here yet: Troy McClure & Lionel Hutz and their respective buildings (Troy's futuristic house and the I Can't Believe It's a Law Firm storefront, respectively), Patty & Selma, Handsome Pete, the Monorail, Jasper, the Crazy Cat Lady, Disco Stu, The Sea Captain, The South Street Squidport (although those last two are rumored to show up in a later update), and the giant Olmec Head.

Normal folks might not get why those omissions are heresy, but for the ones that do...I feel ya, buddy. Hell, the Lemon Tree is here! And it gives you lemons! That's incredible. Personally my favorite things in the game are getting Hank Scorpio and his volcano lair, the "Hail Ants" sign from "Deep Space Homer," and the three weird things from the ending of "Marge vs. The Monorail":

The Popsicle Stick Skyscraper and The 50 Ft Magnifying Glass

and my favorite, the Escalator to Nowhere.

The people on that escalator are the actual people that are on it in the show, that's the level of detail the game designers put into this game.

There's currently a promotion for Whacking Day (awesome!) where you have to whack snakes to get bonus items like statues, new character skins and the like. It lasts for about 9 more days and since I started on Saturday, I've since resigned to the fact that I'll never be able to get any of the really good prizes, which are buildings with exclusive characters. My only regrets right now are downloading this freaking game and not downloading it sooner.

Finally, on Sunday I stumbled upon a collectibles store in my area called "The Lands of Oohs and Oz." This place, you guys. This place.

This is just when you walk in. It's an entire case of Mego figures! It's got them all: DC, Marvel, even The Greatest American Hero is getting some love! I see a Mayor McCheese doll in there, too. And some bobbleheads. And collectible lunchboxes. And an entire case full of collectible glasses not pictured.

It's a store that's cluttered to all hell like you've stumbled onto a Gnome Trove so you have to DIG to get to anything good. And dig I went!

I never knew there even WAS an Emerald City playset, let alone finding one in its box amongst GI Joe playsets and the famous Darkseid Destroyer. Now the DC Super Powers line of figures from Kenner was before my time, but I always hear about fond memories of it, especially this thing. I'm pretty sure that this is what satisfied eight year old kids in the days before GI Joe and all of the vehicles that you shoved soldiers in.

Nostalgia for this thing goes for the triple digits in dollars, depending on the condition of the toy itself and whether you have the box, and the condition of the box itself. And it's just sitting there like it's the day after Christmas! Well, that sums up just about everything in this store, though.

Sorry for the blurriness of this picture but I was too excited to find so many figures from the 90s from dozens of obscure toy lines still in their packages. I saw a few Robocop figures, your Marvel Legends, Starting Lineups, some good old Power Rangers, various Johnny Lightning cars, and figures from The Tick. They had El Seed! I didn't even know they made a figure of El Seed!

Yes, that's a Pee-Wee's Playhouse playset you see there, sandwiched next to unopened plush likenesses of George Liquor and Jimmy The Idiot Boy of Ren & Stimpy fame! (WRITER'S UPDATE: Jimmy himself was more prominent on another show by Spumco, The Ripping Friends, but still) Just when I find one toy that I recognized, I discovered ten more that I didn't know even existed.

Apologies for the blurriness yet again, but holy crap it's a blockade runner from the beginning of Star Wars! It compliments a strange dichotomy with other Star Wars toys, as well as play sets from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Seriously, I never even heard of the Droid Factory, but apparently it goes for forty bucks. And the shelf above all of these were the truly vintage Star Wars figures.

Mork's right, I need to plan a return visit one of these days. And the best part about it is that this isn't even half of the store! These are the pictures I took when the shopkeep was distracted.

Wait, what's that Mork? You want me to buy you? But what will I do with you? What do you mean carve things into trees and vote Republican? What are you doing?!



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