Nintendo haven’t had a good time with the launch of the Wii U. I want to wear my colours on my sleeve straight away here and say I own one, I love it and I think as a console it should be getting the recognition it deserves for trying to do something different with the way we approach playing videogames. The truth is, it’s not. A lot of that is down to the lack of third part support in a gaming environment that requires and thrives on it; it’s disappointing to see developers and publishers drop the machine like a hot potato, although it’s not entirely unprecedented when it comes to Nintendo machines. It’s also down to Nintendo’s perceived family friendly image, bright and colourful games that could in no way be entertaining for a teen audience – of course this couldn’t be far from the truth, but modern gaming craves the thrill of the kill, something that a Nintendo machine rarely delivers.
But, these aren’t new issues for Nintendo; they’ve soldiered on over the years, pulling through the murky launch of the original Wii to have it become the best selling console of the last generation, as well as doing the same for the 3DS. They’re survivors, they produce high quality hardware and software and get the recognition they deserve from the people who know they deserve it.
The Wii U is a very capable system, probably not technically in line with Microsoft and Sony’s imminent consoles, but Nintendo could have done something dramatic that would have given the system a chance to be a real contender going forward.
The hook for the Wii U is the screen in the controller; sometimes this is used to display certain game elements, allowing for greater interaction. Most games also allow you to play the game in its entirety on this smaller screen, freeing you from the TV. And this is where Nintendo should have elaborated. The controller screen works by streaming a video signal from the console, and does not do any computation of its own. But what if it did? What if Nintendo had created the worlds first handheld/TV console hybrid? Wii U is an expensive console for what it is, but if the cost hadn’t shifted and Nintendo had perhaps housed the guts of the TV box inside the tablet, giving it enough on board flash memory to store games and saves, we could potentially have the first high end machine that you can play on your TV AND take with you, rather than having two devices like Sony tried to do with PS3 and Vita cross play.
It’s an intriguing thought and one that bears consideration. The Wii U is not a terrible console. But in an age when console gaming is seemingly becoming irrelevant, the three main hardware manufacturers need to step up their game to genuinely change the way we play. So far, none of them look to have done that, but Nintendo certainly had a chance.
Following the recent announcement that Posterous is due to close, I’ve moved my film review site, The Flicks, to a WordPress.com blog. Clicky looky!
Something I’ve been meaning to do for sometime, I’ve set up a Posterous to record my thoughts on films wot I have seen. You can find it here. My philosophy is to post a review for every film I watch going forward, whether it’s something I’ve seen before or something I’m watching for the first time.
Hooray for Short Cut films, the production group (I’m reluctant to call us a company) that I work in! We’ve got our first short film entered into the third annual Lincoln Shorts festival this Friday!
It’s called Refuse + Recycling, was written by myself and my good buddy Dan and directed by Jonny Orme of Ormeson Films. You can find out more on the Short Cut Films website and, if you’re in Lincoln on Friday, swing by the Drill Hall and check out our film as well as material from other local film makers!
Expect more output from Short Cut throughout 2013.
2012 was a good year for movies! Here’s the flicks that made my top 5:
- The Avengers – No, I will not call it Avengers ASSEMBLE (stupid UK name is stupid)! Joss Whedon’s wonderful superhero flick not only capped off Marvel’s groundbreaking film run started with Iron Man, it set up things for another four years of Marvel Universe films. It was also one of the greatest love letters to the comic book medium I’ve ever seen. I had so much fun I saw it twice at the cinema and a further two times on Blu-Ray! Without a doubt, my film of the year.
- Skyfall – Simply incredible. One of the best Bond movies ever. An intelligent, grown up spy thriller which not only turned the rebooted Bond on its head but regrounded it in a more traditional way.
- The Amazing Spider-Man – Controversial? AS-M got a bunch of flak when it released for retreading much the same ground as Sam Raimi’s first Spider-flick. In my opinion this was necessary, as the origin story defines the character of Spider-Man; he’s been played in so many different ways in the comics it was essential for Marc Webb to make his mark. And what a mark! A more grounded, almost simpler story, with a superb soundtrack and some stellar performances.
- Prometheus – Controversial AGAIN! Prometheus was a real Marmite of a movie. I do feel slightly biassed as I’m heavily into the Alien mythology (I put Aliens in my top 10 movies of all time – a list I may print one day!) and I also like the ambiguous writing of one my Damon Lindelof. Prometheus was a clever science fiction story which pandered to neither the hardcore Alien fans (apart from a couple of fanservice moments) nor the popcorn cinema goer. It developed and expanded the Alien world in a totally unexpected way and provided a film that is still talked about months after its release, for good or bad. You can find my further views on it here.
- Dredd – Yes, I know – another comic book movie! What can I say! But Dredd was brilliant. Maybe it wasn’t 100% similar to the 2000AD classic, but it was a ballsy, adult action sci-fi, violent and uncompromising. A very 80′s style film with modern trimmings. The 3D aspect could have happily gone away (seriously, 3D… just no already) but it didn’t spoil the enjoyment.
I’d also like to mention The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which was a close contender for number 5. A good film, but I feel it needs another watch to decide whether it’s an excellent film.
Disappointment of the year goes to The Dark Knight Rises. I’ve seen it twice now and, while it’s not a bad film, it certainly doesn’t rate on my “Best” list. It feels far too overblown and, dare I say it, smugly self aware., as if Chris Nolan (an excellent director) wanted to go out of his way to say “This is not a comic book movie – you want that, go see Avengers”. I don’t know what I was expecting; the other two Dark Knight films were similarly serious, especially the somewhat nihilistic second instalment. But TDKR seems to fall flat in comparison.
So, there we are. Yes, they are a little mainstream but, hey! These are the films that got me going this year!
Keep an eye on this blog for my commentary on 2013 in film and, with any luck, my increased personal film output.
And what kind of fun will you bring?
2012 closed out pretty well. My filmmaking itch was scratched, I’d made an album and had tons of ideas buzzing round in my head. Work was good, life was good.
On to 2013. What are my goals?
Work more with film. Whether this is through paid work or through my hobby, I hope to work more with film. I love the creative process of filming and editing, planning, writing, making something! My goal here is to create at least one short film per month, either by myself or with my collaborators. Whether that gets realised, we shall see!
Take Stage of History further. Stage of History is my lil’ old music project. I kind of left it to stagnate after a positive start, but I’ve been working on some new material and have some ideas on revitalising the Rapture album I released.
Be more organised. I’m terrible at organising my life. This is more of a personal thing. I will make more to-do lists, try and set myself up with a mini-office and “get my shizz together” as it were!
Reconnect. I kind of feel like I’ve fallen out of contact with the old Scooby gang from my local gov days (give or take a few) and I want to correct that. I’m not sure how I will yet, as I always feel a touch out of place at govcamps and the like these days, but if you’ll have me – I’ll try to be there!
And that’s it! Keep coming back here to see if I make good on these goals. Goal number three is particularly a sticking point at which all other goals are likely to unravel but, hey – we’ll see!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Filming Refuse and Recycling with Jonny Orme and Pete Hawbrook
November proved to be a very interesting month for me as I finished my first short film (as producer and writer) and worked on a feature film for local production company Quandary (as a sound recorder). Both of them brought very different experiences and have, to some degree, changed my perspective on where I want to take my adventures in film making.
The first project, Refuse and Recycling, I’d written with my good friend Dan sometime last year, with the intention of getting it filmed soon after. That never happened, and, following other disappointments, I decided to re-evaluate my film making desires, turning my attention to writing rather than directing. After meeting local film maker Jonny Orme, we exchanged ideas and decided to work on a project together. That project became Refuse and Recycling and I took on production duties while Jonny directed. For me, this was a great opportunity to watch someone with experience make a film that I’d written. We shot for a day with an extra morning added for pick-up’s and Jonny edited the whole shebang. You can find out more about Refuse and Recycling on the Short Cut Films website. We’re hoping to show it in the new year and we’ll let you know when!
The next project was with local film maker Michael Henry, pulling sound recording duties on his second feature, Narcissist. I worked on that for three days, meeting new people and seeing the creative process that goes into a larger scale production, managing multiple actors and scenes. It was, to be honest, an eye opener as to how smoothly something of that scale can go, and I had an opportunity to look at Michael’s planning methods around this. For more information about Narcissist, you can visit Michael’s site here.
What have I taken away from this experience? A renewed interest in directing, a desire to revisit abandoned projects and fresh contacts. I hope to work more with Jonny and Michael in the future and I hope that 2013 will bring even bigger experiences!