Articles Gaming Scene Barnestorming #7- the E3 break, crappy movies, and Danzig's kitty litter

Barnestorming #7- the E3 break, crappy movies, and Danzig's kitty litter Michael Barnes Hot
Written by Michael Barnes     June 09, 2011    
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Game of Show at E3 2011 announced- Barnestorming #7.




There’s no Cracked LCD this week. The Gameshark gang is all out in Los Angeles at E3. I was invited, but couldn’t go this year. I’m hitting that thing like a Georgia tornado next year. Count on it. There’s lots of great coverage from those guys (and gal) at, if you’re not already sick to death of hearing about it. I’ve also been keeping up with blog posts and commentary over at, where I’ve been celebrating B3 2011.


Instead of reading one of my reviews, why don't you go read San il Defanso's great Innovation review that he posted here earlier today? Great, great game and he wrote it up real nice.


On the Table


At the Hellfire Club last night we did a five player Chaos in the Old World for the first time with the new Horned Rat expansion. Its features are already well documented elsewhere, but the bottom line is that it’s a must buy. The Horned Rat is a great addition to the game with some unique facets (cultists don’t generate corruption, but all Skaven units get to horn in on the ruination spoils when the pie is split) and some very different strategic considerations. The new “Morrslieb” cards, I think, will widely replace the original cards. They’re just better balanced, more interesting, and offer completely new play options. We had a Khorne win on points, edging out Slannesh. I finished dead last as the rats. I couldn’t get a handle on what do with their cards until the last quarter of the game, when it was too late. Skitterleaping into a region about to pop is freaking great though. I’m going to write a full review of the expansion because it deserves it, and Chaos was GotY ’09 so it should get the follow-up.


I’ve also been playing the new Warhammer Legends expansion. It’s neat, but its actual utility is sort of in question. Basically, each faction gets an expensive “Johnny deck” class character that sits in the middle of the Kingdom board, imparting power symbols to all three regions and giving some kind of overall effect. The problem I’m seeing is that they can be easily attacked and killed unless you’re placing them in a very well defended, well-developed kingdom- and since the game is so quick and deadly, it seems difficult to get them out and have them make a significant difference. There are a few new cards for each faction, but this is one of those expansions that offers three copies each of 55 cards. I would rather have bought one deck of these for ten bucks, I don’t need six legend cards that all cost 6-9 points in my deck, thanks.


Godzilla: Kaiju Wars showed up yesterday. Yep. I haven’t played it yet, but I feel comfortable in saying don’t pay $80 for it. It’s really chintzy. When the back of the box has a giant, blurry photograph of the gameboard and bolded Arial fonts, you know you’re in trouble. Let alone when the chits are all on cardstock and the rulebook is a tiny photocopied booklet. Toy Vault also sent Godzilla Stomp, a card game that may turn out to be the better of the two.


Literally as I was writing this, Conquest of Nerath arrived. I just took a look around the box, it looks like fun. It’s definitely a Gamemaster-style DoaM, but the quest mechanic looks much smoother than Quest for the Dragonlords. Production quality is great, lots of cool pieces. Hopefully this avoids the dreariness this genre can sometimes slump into. One thing that’s really awesome is that the dungeon monsters are all classic D&D stuff- yes Virginia, there is a Beholder. And Black Pudding, Mind Flayers, and Umber Hulks. Yay!


Karnaxis is on the way too. Huge buzz among Atlantans on it. Frank showed it to me a couple of weeks ago, it looked interesting enough to cover. Artwork and design are absolutely hideous though.



On the Consoles


I’m drifting again, with no big AAA game to play right now- at least not until Infamous 2 shows up from Gamefly and Duke Nukem Forever drops next week. We’ll see how that goes.


I’ve been playing the new Wizardry game on PSN, and it’s pretty good. It’s definitely old fashioned Wizardry, apart from the anime graphics. If you miss games like Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder, and so on, you should take a look at this one. Brutal difficulty, glacial pace, nothing is explained…if this sounds good, you know who you are.


I’ve been playing Blazblue: Continuum Shift II on the 3DS for a review- it stinks. The graphics have taken a huge hit, and for some unknown reason the game doesn’t support the circle pad. Try pulling off a Shoryuken move with that tiny digital D-pad. It’s frustrating, because the whole game is there, and there’s even more content than Continuum Shift on consoles. But it’s completely crippled.


I picked up Resistance: Fall of Man again. It’s OK, just a barebones shooter. It’s kind of fun, but it’s definitely dated at this point. I’ll probably play the second one sometime before the 3rd drops this year.



On the Phone


Pinball fans, run- don’t walk- to your phones and download Little Wing’s Tristan Pinball. Now. It’s $1.99, and it’s the best pinball on IOS bar none. It’s a direct port of Little Wing’s first (and simplest) table, but the physics are eerily accurate and the scoring is easy to grasp but quite deep. Hopefully Space Ghost doesn’t have an iDevice so he won’t dominate the leaderboards.


I’ve also been messing around with the TurboGrafx-16 emulator. The games are too expensive ($2.99), but they’ve got Bonk, Ninja Spirit, Dragon’s Curse, and most importantly, Devil’s Crush. The emulation is fantastic, and the controls are reasonable.


To-Fu: the Adventures of Chi (I think that’s what it’s called) completely sucks. One of the worst iPhone platformers I’ve played.




On the Screen

I finally saw The Human Centipede. What an utterly worthless exercise in juvenile gross-out humour that was. After all the hoopla, I was surprised at how _un_ transgressive and _non_ shocking it was. Plus, it was completely empty and devoid of any substance or value whatsoever. The director has stated that he was influenced by Cronenberg and Pasolini, but that’s a sharp insult to either of those great filmmakers. The intelligence level of the film is just shy of the Garbage Pail Kids movie. Tom Six is clearly a filmmaker who has nothing credible or intelligent to say about anything, and is more concerned with assaulting viewers with 90 minutes worth of outrageously sexist power fantasy, complete with women screaming and crying while a high-camp German doctor plays the heel. Don’t give me the “it’s about fascism” shit. If you haven’t lived under a fascist regime and you’re a well-to-do, middle-class Dutchman making pictures, kindly STFU.


When it was over, I couldn’t believe that I had watched the whole thing.


I love horror. I live for a great horror film. But this…this isn’t what horror is, was, or should be about. It would come across like a stupid joke or a stunt, except for the nasty anti-woman message that appears to be dead serious. The whole thing reminds me of something that this awful, awful person I met once who was really into slasher movies said…”I like to see pretty girls screaming and getting cut up”. This movie was made by a person with a similar aesthetic.


But I wasn’t offended at all by what was on the screen, it was tame. It’s the underpinnings that are troublesome. Apparently, the sequel is running into censorship trouble because Mr. Six has promised to show us “all the blood and shit” that wasn’t in the first film, and reports are that it features scenes including masturbation with sandpaper and rape with barbed wire. Lovely. I’m sure the white trash hillbillies that still wear Cannibal Corpse t-shirts will eat that shit up.


I also watched Highlander for the first time in many years. What an utter piece of trash that movie is, its popularity befuddles me. I guess it’s the “coolness” of guys in overcoats fighting with shabby katanas in a modern setting or something. Or Sean Connery slumming in a thankless role. I liked it when I was like, 12, but seeing it now…I was groaning the whole time. I was playing Warhammer: Invasion while it was on, so I was able to tune out some of it and I completely missed the Harlequin romance parts. Thankfully.


To complete the 1-2-3 strikeout, I also watched From Dusk ‘til Dawn for literally the first time since I saw it in the theater. What a stupid, terrible film. Clooney makes a terrible psychopath, Tarantino’s nebbish non-acting is grating, and the whole half violent crime picture/half horror romp thing doesn’t work. Salma Hayek is the only thing worth seeing in the entire film, and her dance bit segues into the terrible extended zombie film/Assault on Precinct 13 tribute.


That’s it, I’m watching Touch of Evil tonight.



On the Turntable


It never fails. Misfits leads me right back to the Samhain and Danzig records. Well, the first three Danzig records at least. Those records are just untouchable, there’s a stripped-down rawness, a real sense of rock n’ roll but with that alluring “should I be listening to this?” sense of diabolism that _nothing_ has in today’s jaded world. Every track is a scorcher off of the first two albums with a couple of clunkers on the third, and Rick Rubin’s production is awesome as ever. “Twist of Cain” is the only argument you need to hear.


I remember listening to Wreckage, a radio show that Georgia Tech did back when Danzig II came out. They played “I am the Wolf” and “Blood and Tears” off it, and then proceeded to just mercilessly trash it before getting back on to playing Sacred Reich and Possessed tracks. The next week, the hosts came on and said “whoa…we listened to the rest of the record, and it’s really good”. Then they played “Long Way Back from Hell”, “Snakes of Christ” and so on. I adore that album.


Once the _band_ Danzig fragmented after Danzig III and he lost that killer lineup of Eerie Von, John Christ and Chuck Biscuits I completely lost interest. Everything I’ve heard since then has been absolutely terrible. That is, until Pandora spun a couple of tracks off of last year’s “Red Deth Sabaoth” LP, which was largely written, played, and produced by the evil Bill Medley himself. It’s really good- stripped down, back to the 1970s crunch and away from the chunka-chunka quasi-industrial crap or shitty stripper-rock he’s been doing. It sounds like…Danzig again!


Then it struck me that he’s nearly 60 years old. Dang. In closing, here’s a picture of him coming out of the grocery store.


Next week- a review of something. Maybe Horned Rat if I can play it again by then

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Comments (23)
  • avatarSan Il Defanso

    Aw shoot, a shout-out from Senor Barnes? I'm blushing.

  • avatarjohnnyspys

    Damn I hope I look that good when I am sixty...although I suspect that might not be a recent picture.

  • avatarlfisher

    Thanks for warning on human centipede.

    I'll probably grab horned rat tomorrow.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Anything you can come up with in your mind when you hear the term "Human Centipede" is more shocking and horrifying than what's in the movie. There is literally not one redeeming quality to the film. The cornball actor that plays the doctor is named Dieter Laser, which is the only cool thing about it. Apparently, he was also on Lexx if that tells you anything.

  • avatarBullwinkle

    According to Six, the concept of the film arose from a joke he made with friends about punishing child molesters by stitching their mouths to the anus of a "fat truck driver". Six has also stated that inspiration for the film came from Nazi medical experiments carried out during World War II, such as the actions of Josef Mengele at Auschwitz concentration camp.

    I'm flabbergasted as to how such an idea could go wrong.

  • avatarBlack Barney

    Human Centipede was total trash. The idea of it was far more gruesome and terrifying than the execution.

    Mike did you hear how the 2nd one got banned from the UK? It reminds me of the Cannibal Corpse thing a bit. The director is all pissed off.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    Nerath is pretty fun. I got it a couple days back and have one play under my belt, albeit a rather bad one.

  • avatarKen B.

    Danzig II is AMAZING, man. Still one of my favorite albums all these years later. Just a rich, rich sound. He really did lose his way after III.

    I saw them live at this small club in Nashville in '93. It remains one of the most awesome shows I've ever seen. They sounded just as good live as they did in the studio. Ferocious energy and a terrific sound.

    But talk ye not badly of Highlander, man. What is wrong with you, bro?!!?

    "Why? You cruisin' for a piece of ass?"

  • avatarmikoyan

    How can you say the only good thing about Dusk to Dawn was Selma Hayek? There was Cheech's monologue and the one dude's "gun".

  • avatarMattDP

    Dusk 'til Dawn is indeed pretty awful as that I remember it.

    However last time I saw Highlander I thought it held up pretty well. It's an empty concept, certainly, but I think it works as an action piece with a bit of historical underpinning. I have, however never been able to grasp the reason as to why, seeing as the lead role is supposed to be from Scotland, they cast a famous Scotsman as a Spaniard and picked an unknown Frenchman to play the Scot.

    I have no particular love or hate of horror films but I am, on the whole, fairly immune to their more disturbing elements. Body horror however is a whole different ball game. Even relatively tame body horror like Society completely freaks me out. There's no way I'm going near those centipede films whether they're any good or not, so it's nice to hear they're not :)

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    Dusk Til Dawn was a hell of a good flick. Entertaining, campy, but well filmed. Special effects were perfectly cheesy. Total win.

    Clooney isn't a psycho, he's a calculating killer/thief but his brother is the nutjob pervert.

    " pussy, white pussy, we have 2 for 1 pussy. If you can find cheaper pussy......FUuuuhg iiiiit"


  • avatarwice

    Old Danzig is basically indistingvishable from old Sigourney Weaver. Except for the ding-dong, of course.

  • avatarubarose

    Weird. Driving home from work on Wed. I suddenly thought, "I'd really like to watch Dusk til Dawn tonight." I like it. I own a copy of it. But I can't watch it when the Spawn's awake, so I haven't watched it in a long time.

    It's a very uneven movie, but I find it very funny. Plus Clooney and Juliette Lewis are hot.

    The other Tatantino that I love, which other people don't, is his story in Four Rooms.

  • avatarEgg Shen

    Looking forward to hear more about Godzilla and Conquest of Nerath. It sucks to hear about the shoddiness of the Godzilla game...especially for something that costs $80!

    My thoughts on Human Centipede (haven't seen it) is that it has gained its notoriety because a few mainstream media places have reported about it. Thus it got more exposure than it probably should have. Plus when the masses hear about a messed up film like this they blow it out of proportion.

    As for From Dusk till Dawn, that's a guilty pleasure film I can still get behind. It has some dated digital effects, but overall both "halves" of the film are still entertaining enough. Clooney does well enough cast against type, and as a whole its very entertaining. Once they arrive at the titty twister its just goofy fun until the end. Yes sir...I like it.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    About Nerath- I messed around with it last night. It could go either way. It could be the next Nexus Ops, or it could be the next World War III. It's structure is very old fashioned- one player takes a full turn with no threading whatsoever, which could introduce unwelcome downtime. There's lots of units with special abilties, so there is a greater sense of diversity than in many Gamemaster-derived DoaMs. But I'm worried about seeing a lot of staring at player aids and futzing over how to spend ten dollars.

    The dungeon part is really, really simple but ultimately it's the same concept as Talisman, just with no board movement. Flip a card, roll dice at monster. It's MUCH cleaner than Dragonlords, no equipment or any of that crap. There's only a couple of units that are able to go dungeoning which sort of abstracts certain concepts.

    It is really fun to have all the different kinds of dice- no card combat crap here, you're rolling D8s, D10s, D12s and so on. There's also special cards for each side to give it a little oomph.

    Why I think it could be the next Nexus Ops is because it feels like it does away with a lot of the problems of this genre in terms of geography, turtling, and goals. You just get a VP every time you take over another player's turf. If they take it back and you retake it, you get another VP. And there's lots of VPs to be had in the dungeons through the treasures, which also give you powers. So the game regularly generates opportunities for scoring, rather than some bullshit "take over X number of capitals" or some awful eight hour long crap like that.

    But the simplicity and old fashionedness might work against it. We'll see.

    On From Dusk 'til Dawn- I think I really don't like Robert Rodriguez, when it comes down to it. His films have feel extremely narcissistic, as if he's made them for himself rather than an audience. There's so much self-congratulatory crap in them- like the kid wearing the "Precinct 13" shirt in a film that has an extended homage to that movie, casting Fred Williamson, getting Tom Savini to do terrible, outdated-in-1995 effects, and so forth. THe writing is terrible, and when one of your leads is a murderer and a rapist, it just feels like edginess for edginess' sake.

    Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico are the only movies of his I like...El Mariachi was cute, but who wants to watch that more than once?

    Matt- that video was hilarious. "Go! Go!"

  • avataraerodynamics

    Thanks for the recommendation on Tristan Pinball. My wife and I just got an iPad last week and I'm a pinball fanatic so the purchase was a no brainer. The table seems pretty basic, but the play's the thing and as you mention the physics seem pretty good as far as pinball simulations go.

    Speaking of pinball, I was in Seattle last weekend and got the opportunity to spend a couple of hours at the Northwest Pinball and Gameroom Show...

    Over 400 pinball and arcade machines set to free play!...Amazing!

  • avatarDair

    I have to throw in another vote for Dusk 'til Dawn as good goofy fun. Maybe it is because I was younger when I first saw it and nostalgia is a factor, but I still enjoy it.

    Uba, I have to agree that his story in Four Rooms is good (as is Rodriguez' "The Misbehavors"). Unfortunately, the other two stories are very weak and so I rarely have the urge to watch it.

    I'll be looking for Nerath reviews from those of you with a copy. I am firmly on the fence, so make your arguments convincing.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    Nerath is a weird one in a lot of ways. The BIG game is that you take over all enemy capitols. TPK, essentially.

    BUT, then comes the VPs. The short version is that you get 13 VPs before game's end, the medium version is something else. Best version: TPK. I like genocide in games. Oh, wait, if you get 8 treasures (win 8 dungeon encounters, basically) you win. Lots of ways to play, it's a good thing, IMO. Can play a 2-hour game or a 9 hour game.

    Totally agree with Mike's assessment that it's essentially Risk-like with more stuff to do.

    There's some other oddities, like that you ALWAYS play with all 4 factions. In a 2P, each side controls 2 factions, and those are not selectable. Has to be human/elf and goblin/necros. In a 3P, one side has 2 factions, other sides have 1 each.

    Then there's 2 types of game; allies or free-for-all, which doesn't work at all with 3P because one side has to play 2 factions.

    Then there's the oddity of the factions themselves. The evil big baddies have the strongest overall faction IMO, the elves have the sea power, the humans have strong, lucky heroes but weak armies, and the goblins...they're the strongest warriors.

    Then there's money...income is based on starting regions, then how much shit you've taken.

    It's a fun, interesting game, but there's some oddities I'm still trying to analyze.

  • avatarMr MOTO

    Totally agree with you on HC, MB. That movie was an overhyped pile of poo. But don't make me come down to Hotlanta and slap you over Highlander, 'tis true AT goodness.

  • avatarevilgit

    I never saw Highlander until just a few months ago. Despite all my friends being crazy over it back in the day. I seriously didn't see why it was so popular after watching it. Just bad 80s crap.

    Being behind the times, I played Chaos in the Old World for the first time recently. It was a horrible play experience with other newbs. I was Tzeench and pretty isolated. The other players didn't mess with me and I was able to win right around the time everyone understood how to play. But I can see there is a good game in there, just don't think I'll be able to convince them to play again.

    I used to help out answering the phones at Wreckage around that time. And you wouldn't believe the number of complaints we would get whenever we played something "soft" like Danzig. Especially on the 2-6am shift.

  • avatarjay718

    I first saw Danzig in 90 or 91 headlining over Soundgarden and Kyuss in support of Lucifuge. Pretty amazing show. I saw them a few times after that, but they never came close to being as good as that first time. Danzig III fell completely flat for me as well; I absolutely hated it. Maybe I owe it another listen almost 20 years later.

    After reading Ebert's hilarious 'review' of human centipede I tried to watch it, but couldn't make it past a few minutes. Utter drivel.

    I don't remember Dusk til Dawn being as bad as all that, but it probably wouldn't stand up to my memory. Someone needs to tell Tarrantino that he's not to get in front of a camera under any circumstances.

    I'm very much looking forward to a 5 player game of CITOW

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