Review a Bad Game Day: Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage

Note: The following review is part of reviewabadgameday.com, hosted by 1 More Castle. Find more reviews at that site, including my take on Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage



Growing up as a child, I knew the Spider-Man TV theme lyrics by heart.

Spider-Man, Spider-Man,
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size,
Catches thieves just like flies
Look Out!
Here comes the Spider-Man.
 
What a great song! And after playing Spider-Man on the Sega Genesis, I knew that Spidey was capable of some great games. In that game, you had 24 hours to stop a bomb from destroying New York City. You swung all over the place, took pictures to purchase more web fluid (getting more money if you took photos of the boss battles), punched and kicked bad guys, and felt like Marvel's greatest super hero.
So when Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage was released, I was ecstatic. The story arc in the comics was great, with Spider-Man teaming up with Venom, Captain America, Iron Fist and a few others to take down Carnage and his band of merry evil-doers.Getting to replay that on a RED cartridge looked amazing!

And then you play the game, and you realize that you aren't Spider-Man at all, you're just some generic beat-em up character wearing a Spider-Man outfit. It might as well be Axel or Blaze under that costume.
 
 Seriously? I have to resort to trashcans? Why can't I just throw them on webbing or swing around them?

My main gripe with this title is that you don't feel like Spider-Man at all. Spidey swings all over the place, from building to building. In this game, you walk to the right and punch bad guys. Sure you can use your web to swing...about five feet off the ground! You can use your web as a shield, but that's it. That's not a Spider-Man game.
 
"Oh but you can be Venom!" I hear you cry out. No, you control someone dressed up as Venom. 

It's a competent brawler, but it doesn't make me feel like the characters I play as. I realize there are some stages where you do climb buildings, but Spider-Man's greatest powers shouldn't be confined to one stage. The X-Men games on the Genesis work because you have access to your powers throughout the entire game. Imagine if you could only shoot laser beams or pop your claws on certain levels. You wouldn't remember that game fondly.
 
If Acclaim had put a little more creativity into this game, this could have been something amazing. Make better usage of Peter Parker's web-slinging abilities throughout all the levels. Make the levels taller so that I get the feeling of being able to swing anywhere, instead of limiting me to walking across the street to fight. But instead, they settled for a generic beat-em up and depended on the license to sell copies.

Bottle Cap rosary

My wife Allicia made this. It is fantastic.

It's a rosary made with bottle caps of various beers and sodas. She's available for orders! Hit her up on twitter, @alliwait

Episode IV: A Childless Summer

In this episode of The Catholic Lovebirds podcast, Dustin and Allicia Faber talk about their vacation away from Lucy, playing Paperboy (in real life and in the arcade), and Alli talks baby hospital gowns!

Click here to listen. https://archive.org/download/catholiclb071214/catholiclb071214.mp3

Intro music courtesy of Smooth McGroove.

Episode III: Pregnancy Update and New Writing

In this third episode of The Allicia and Dustin Show (hey we got a new name!), the two give an update on how pregnancy is treating Allicia, when the gender gets revealed, and Dustin talks about his new writing venture with 1morecastle.com

Click here to listen: https://archive.org/download/AlliDshow52914_201406/AlliDshow52914.mp3

Link: Finding Christ in the Classics: Wiz n Liz

Head over to http://catholicvideogamers.blogspot.com/2014/04/finding-christ-in-classics-wiz-n-liz.html for a post I did comparing the early 90s game Wiz n Liz to one of Christ's parables. A very timely game since the goal is to rescue rabbits and Easter is just a few days away!

Episode II: Picking apart Frozen (4-15-14)

In episode two, we look at the movie Frozen, talk the new water aerobics class we signed up for, and dustin's new MAME cabinet!

Our intro music belongs to Smooth McGroove, and the outro music is the Aquatic Ruins Zone music from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Click here to listen. https://archive.org/download/tclb04152014/tclb04152014.mp3


SiriusXM's sucker punch

Those of you who are familiar with Allicia and I know how instrumental satellite radio was in bringing us together. We met because we both listened to The Catholic Channel. Without SiriusXM, I would not have a wife or daughter.

Needless to say, I have great enthusiasm for SiriusXM, and aside from their assist in the marriage department, they have great programming. One of the reasons I love their service is because it gives me music that I don't get on normal radio, in a package that is far more convenient than other internet-streaming sites (I don't want to pay for a gigantic data plan to support internet radio in the car).

There's Classic Vinyl, which is great for people like me who love classic rock from the early 70s and beforehand (on terrestrial radio you get that but it's often mixed in with 80s bands like Guns n Roses, whom I'm not a big fan of). B.B. King's Bluesville has great old and new blues music, and I really dig Outlaw and Prime Country.

There's another station I love dearly though, and that's 40s on 4. It plays a lot of great stuff from the mid 1930s all throughout the 1940s, and that's definitely something I can't get anywhere else, unless I buy specific albums. It's one of the reasons I adore the Fallout series of games so much, as they use a lot of music from this era inside the game. The Ink Spots, Billie Holliday, and Bob Crosby are just a handful of artists that are on the Fallout soundtrack and the 40s on 4 station.

40s on 4 helps put me to sleep, which isn't an easy task as I work third shift, and our curtains don't completely block out the sun. It's great, relaxing music. So imagine my horror when I went to bed Friday morning, turned on the Sirius XM radio by the bed, and found Billy Joel instead.

'I must be on the wrong channel," I thought to myself and hit the favorite button 6 again. Still, Billy Joel. What in the world has happened to my radio?

Turns out, Sirius XM decided to turn 40s on 4 into the Billy Joel channel for three months. Three months without the Ink Spots? Unacceptable. I dig Billy Joel's River of Dreams album, but not at the expense of one of my favorite radio stations for a quarter of a year!

Sirius XM has a bunch of empty channel slots that Billy Joel could have fit in (18, 73, the list goes on and on). Why take away big band music? Yes it's just three months, but when the solution seems obviously easy, it's unacceptable to take away a complete genre not represented on other stations. We already lose 40s on 4 from Black Friday to January 1 in lieu of Christmas music, and now I have to give it up again?

I took to Twitter and voiced my frustration. The stock answer myself and several others kept getting was, "Well 40s on 4's normal programming is online and it's streaming!"

1. I'm not always near a computer. I can't stream easily in my car.
2. I have a Windows Phone. There is no SiriusXM app for Windows Phone. Why, I have no idea.

It is maddening, because the solution seems legitimately simple. Put Billy Joel onto a different channel. If he HAS to be in the single digits, as a friend suggested on Twitter, why not make him channel 7 or 8, as the 70s and 80s corresponds with his style of music. Or, move Sirius Hits 1 to channel 1 (why it is on 2 I have no idea), the 20 on 20 channel to 2, and use channel 3 for artist-specific channels like this. This option would make a ton of money for SiriusXM. If you're Lady Gaga, One Direction, or (insert popular band here), and you have an upcoming album, how great would it be to buy a whole weekend where your music alone is heard on channel 3, right next to the pop stations? You could even run specials. Give indie bands a discount to get their music front and center. Genius!

I've just given SiriusXM an idea that would net them a ton of money without the outrage. Where's the job application form?

Did I say outrage? You bet. Go to the SiriusXM Facebook page and you'll see that I'm not alone. Every story they post, even unrelated ones to Billy Joel, is filled with comments asking why they're doing this. There are so many posts from angry people, many allegedly cancelling their subscriptions or threatening to do so by April 10 (we have two radios, and I have no problem axing the one in the bedroom to send a message to SiriusXM).

I feel like SiriusXM sucker punched me on this one. I've spent years telling people how great of a service it is, because you truly get a wide variety of music and entertaining talk, not to mention all the sports games. But this just seems like the beginning of the end for that. First they take away the 40s on 4. Then what? Do we get rid of the 50s and 60s stations when agents and handlers of big artists demand specific slots to advertise themselves? So much for commercial free music. I'd rather hear 20 second ads in-between songs than lose the songs altogether.

It is beyond ridiculous and it makes me sad that a company I love dearly would do this to it's listeners without really giving us a solid explanation. And if SiriusXM continues to ignore the people hijacking it's social media and flooding it's inboxes with angry letters, we could be seeing a really epic PR meltdown in the making.

Just give me back Billie Holiday, and nobody gets hurt.

Episode I: The Debut of The Catholic Lovebirds (3-24-14)

Allicia and I started a podcast! We hope to bring it to you every two weeks. If the people want more, maybe we'll go to once a week!

In this episode, we talk about Dustin's list of enjoyable PBS Kids shows, plus a rude woman at Mass.

Thank you to Smooth McGroove for letting us use the intro song, Tetris A. He's at http://www.youtube.com/user/SmoothMcGroove.

The outro music is the Jungle stage from the Sega CD version of Popful Mail.

Here is the mp3: https://ia600702.us.archive.org/13/items/CLB03242K14/CLB03242K14.mp3

The top 7 tolerable shows on PBS Kids

 Peg + Cat

I have a daughter who is two. I do not have cable. So we watch a lot of PBS.

Some of the shows are great. Some of them annoy me to no end. Here are my top seven shows that I can watch with her without losing my mind. Note that Mr. Roger's Neighborhood is not on the list, as it isn't carried by our local PBS station. If it was, it'd be number one easily.

1. Peg + Cat
2. Word Girl
3. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
4. Clifford the Big Red Dog
5. Wild Kratts
6. Sesame Street
7. Arthur

Peg +Cat has the most adorable theme song ever. The two main characters, Peg and Cat, are the most likeable on kid's tv. It's produced by the Fred Rogers company and it teaches math (something we sorely need more of in this country). The animation is very creative, and using graph paper as the background is a very nice touch. This is one of my favorite shows on TV period, and I'd watch every episode even if I had no children.

Word Girl is a fun kid-friendly super hero spoof. A lot of fun humor that adults will appreciate, and the main character reminds me of my good friend @nerdwriter.

Growing up a Mr. Rogers fan, I love Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. I like that these characters live on for new generations to enjoy, and hearing Jason Mraz do the theme song in the season 1 finale gave me a whole new appreciation for him.

And being a John Ritter fan, I had to include Clifford the Big Red Dog (the late Ritter provided Clifford's voice). The stories don't grab me the way the previous three shows do, but it's a kid's show and that's to be expected. Still, it's really faithful to the book, and I appreciate that.

Wild Kratts is silly fun. A lot of real-world footage of animals is fun to look at, and it's the one show I watch on PBS Kids that I learn something new from each episode.

I'm not a huge fan of the 3D animated segments that Sesame Street has for Abby Cadabby and Bert and Ernie, but the show still holds up well. I don't despise Elmo the way others do, so I understand those who can't stand Sesame Street due to Elmo's presence. Controversial personal life allegations aside, Being Elmo was a fantastic documentary.

The guest stars on Arthur are nice. And it gives me some nostalgia for my childhood, as it's been on the air since 1996. Some of the secondary characters like Buster can be very annoying, and the stories seem a little too generic, but anything featuring an animated Fred Rogers is ok in my book.

I did not include Callilou on this list. Callilou is a horrible cartoon, and it's painfully obvious that the writers either don't have experience dealing with children, or they check those experiences at the door each morning before starting work. I refuse to let my child watch this stupid show.

Coming back shouldnt be harder than leaving in the first place.



An open letter to women who have left the Catholic Church:
We want to invite you to come talk with us, and we are excited to meet you! Just like you, we are daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers; students, professionals, and stay-at-home moms. We are teenagers, 20-somethings, 30-somethings, and beyond. We are from many walks of life and from diverse backgrounds, but we share a common faith - one we want to invite you to revisit.
Some of us have been away from the Church, and by one way or another we've come back. Some of us never left - but that doesn't mean we’ve never questioned nor been confused. Some of us were raised outside of the Church, and made the decision to join as adults. In one way or another, each one of us has come to know and love Christ in the Catholic Church - and in keeping with Pope Francis’ request we want to share that love and joy with you.


Being Catholic isn’t easy, and we’ll be the first to tell you that we aren’t perfect; we have many planks in our own eyes to worry about. Our faith embraces paradoxes, challenges our culture's values, and makes us feel uncomfortable when we are called to examine our actions and our motivations. But - as you already know - just because something is challenging does not mean it is not worthwhile.

We know that you are intelligent and capable. We believe that you deserve answers to your questions, and explanations for the teachings with which you're struggling. We’ve all struggled with various aspects of our faith, but we aren’t here to judge or condemn you. We simply want to listen to what you’re feeling. We want to understand what is making you uncertain about being part of our Catholic faith. We want to help you find the answers and explanations that helped bring us home. We want to meet you, we want to hear about your experience, and most importantly, we want to invite you back.

Feel free to email any of us with questions or concerns you may have about the Church, her teachings, or what reversion means. If you’re not ready to bare your soul to complete strangers, we’d love to direct you to sites that helped us (and still help us) as we discerned our calling in life.
Wherever you are, whatever you believe, know that we are praying for you. You are our sister - another woman navigating a challenging world. We look forward to talking with you!
In The Peace and Love of Christ,

The members of #cathsorority