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    • Dragon Ball Z: "It's Over 9,000!" When Worldviews Collide

      5 years ago

      Reviews

      The upcoming DEATH BATTLE of Goku vs Superman is such an enormous internet debate, we knew we needed to do everything we could to ensure the validity of the winner.  To do so, we contacted several expert consultants in all things Dragon Ball and Superman.  One of these experts is Derek Padula, Dragon Ball analyst and author of The Dao of Dragon Ball, an upcoming book exploring the insights and connections of DBZ to the real world.  The first of Padula's Dragon Ball related books is available now, titled Dragon Ball Z "It's Over 9000!" When Worldviews Collide. It is a 104 page analysis of a single phrase...

       
                           
       

      Remember the first time you saw this meme?  It became a phenomenon!  Would you believe FUNimation, the studio responsible for dubbing and sellingDragon Ball Z in America, changed the way they do business specifically for this one line?  It happened!  This single piece of dialogue has even changed peoples' lives!  But how is that possible?  Was it simply Brian Drummond's excessive voice acting?  Is Vegeta's ridiculously dramatic crushing of the perfectly functional scouter that hilarious? (Answer = absolutely!)  Or does this line resonate with greater depth?  Padula explores this idea in Dragon Ball Z "It's Over 9,000!" When Worldviews Collide.

      Including the sincere foreword by Ryo Horikawa, the Japanese voice of Vegeta, When Worldviews Collide is an intriguing approach to a series most known for its violence, explosions, and large, punk hairstyles.  It is common knowledge that Akira Toriyama, creator of the Dragon Ball franchise, began the series with few plans for its future. According to an interview on kanzentai, writing Goku's alien origin was a surprise to even him!  Regardless of its entertainment value, how can an action-oriented story thrown together as it went along possibly have any profound meaning?  Padula effortlessly shatters any doubts, and attempts to rattle your perception of Dragon Ball Z for the better.

       
               
       

      This $2.99 e-book primarily explores the rivalry between Goku and Vegeta, which constitutes much of the Dragon Ball Z manga and anime.  Padula asks a simple question: if Goku and Vegeta "are full blooded Saiya-jins, why [and how] do they oppose one another?"  Dismissing the simple approach of "good guy" vs "bad guy," When Worldviews Collide delves into what makes these two tick and the repercussions this creates for the viewer and the Dragon Ball universe. 

      An insightful look is given to their differing class, relationships, values, morals, and progression of character in ways that relate to our own experiences.  For example, he compares Vegeta's reliance on his scouter to the different ways people judge each other in real life.  Following this line of thought, Padula creates a new, fascinating perspective for us to experience Dragon Ball Z with.  The analysis is taken further through the DBZ saga, uncovering the significance of events such as Vegeta's rebellion against Frieza, Captain Ginyu stealing Goku's body, and Vegeta's ultimate sacrifice.  Padula expands the Dragon Ball tale while also emphasizing the inspirational impact these scenes have had.

      The book is lacking in visual examples, likely to avoid any copyright issues.  Some chapters will be more clear if you have seen the series recently, or at the very least can recall the key moments when described.  The book is more about the philosophical approach than the action, though.  Yet despite all this scholarly dissection, no topic or argument ever seems forced or unnatural. Padula is clearly a passionate fan who has invested a lot of effort into making this book worthwhile to any Dragon Ball enthusiast.  This is not your school's boring psychology textbook.

       

                

      Dragon Ball Z "It's Over 9,000" When Worldviews Collide is a much-needed fresh take on a series fans are desperate to reinvigorate.  The out-of-the-box approach comes naturally and explores the deeper aspects of the series many viewers likely missed.  It is an easy but intelligent read, and will without a doubt instill a new appreciation of Dragon Ball in both longtime and casual viewers.

      You can find Dragon Ball Z "It's Over 9,000!" When Worldviews Collide on his website, TheDaoOfDragonBall.com  for only $2.99.  Enter the code "SCREWATTACK" on checkout and you will get 33% off!

      Want a paperback version? It's on Amazon for $9.99.  Keep an eye on TheDaoOfDragonBall.com, as The Dao of Dragon Ball and more are set to come.  This entire book stems from a single line in a single episode, and there are nearly 500 episodes in the Dragon Ball franchise altogether.  So he's got plenty more to work with!

       
       
       
       
       

      Review by Ben Singer. Ben originally joined the staff while still in high school, and has been studying film since the age of 10.  His first video game was Sonic the Hedgehog.  On the PC, of all things. Aside from being director and co-star of DEATH BATTLE, he writes, edits, and performs for various productions. He also has a terrible addiction to Dr. Pepper

      Subscribe to Ben on Twitter, Facebook, and ScrewAttack

    • Review - Quantum Conundrum

      5 years ago

      Reviews

      Quantum Conundrum is a first-person puzzle game by Airtight Games, brought to life by designer Kim Swift, who created another puzzle game you may have heard of, the well-loved and critically acclaimed Portal. It will come as no surprise, then, to learn that the two games are similar in more than a few ways.

      You play as the young nephew of one Professor Fitz Quadwrangle (voiced by John de Lancie of Star Trek fame), a mad scientist of sorts, who seems to have gotten trapped in a 'pocket dimension', and thanks to a knock on the head, developed mild short-term amnesia. He's still able to watch your exploits and communicate with you however, and guides you to a glove-like contraption called the Interdimensional Shift (IDS) Device, which he thinks can help you free him. In order to do so, you must make your way through the wings of his mansion, room by room, to switch on three huge generators. Each room plays out similarly to one of Portal's test chambers - the goal simply being to find (and sometimes activate) the exit door.

      The puzzle mechanics themselves are based on switching between four different dimensions (five, if you count the 'normal' dimension), which each contain a different set of physics. At first, you're introduced to the dream-like Fluffy dimension in which everything is fuzzy and lightweight, letting you pick up and move just about anything. In contrast, the rust-colored Heavy dimension makes objects gain incredible density and weight, making them immune to the destructive laser beams dotted about the mansion. The Slow Motion dimension slows time down to a crawl, enabling you to squeeze through tightly timed sections, or jump on otherwise fast-moving objects. The Reverse Gravity dimension - you guessed it - reverses gravity, enabling you to activate switches on the ceiling or boost yourself skywards.

      These mechanics are okay by themselves, but the real genius of Quantum Conundrum comes when puzzles require you to utilise multiple dimensions, often in quick succession. For example, you might have to pick up a nearby couch in the Fluffy dimension, hurl it across a dangerous looking gap, instantly switch to Slow Motion to leap on it, and then quickly switch between Reverse Gravity and the normal dimension in order to keep your makeshift steed afloat until you reach the other side. This requires quick thinking and good timing, and adds an element of skill to the game beyond simply solving the puzzles. Luckily, the game's difficulty curve is perfect, introducing you slowly to the possibilities of each dimension before presenting you with more challenging levels. Then, just as you think you've mastered that dimension, the game introduces another to throw you off and keep it interesting. The IDS system is more complex than Valve's eponymous portal gun for sure, and Quantum Conundrum definitely feels more difficult than Portal. Some levels may even frustrate you, but the game maintains a sense of “one more go” all the way through with clever, creative puzzle design and simple, smooth controls.

      However, where Quantum Conundrum somewhat fails to live up to its spiritual predecessor is in the dressing. The game has a cheeky, cartoonish style almost reminiscent of a Pixar movie, and the different dimensions all have a relevant and unique look, but several corridors and props get re-used just a few too many times, making the locations feel a bit stale after a while. There is some joy to be found in the little details though; looking at the mansion's paintings when switching dimensions delivers some great laughs, and the titles of books scattered through the levels are all fun references (The Hitchhiker's Guide to Dimensions sounds like a great read). Like GlaDOS, Professor Quadwrangle provides colorful commentary as you play through each of the levels, and while Quantum's writing isn't really as clever or witty as Portal's, the Professor is never annoying, and there are some standout moments of his insight that had me grinning ear to ear.

      You'll also enjoy dying more than you should; each time you fall into the lethal 'science juice' or take a laser beam to the face, you'll receive a message informing you of another 'Thing You'll Never Experience'. It's a brilliant touch, and one that prevents the game from becoming too frustrating on the harder levels. Unfortunately the game's story never really comes together, and the ending can only be described as completely anticlimactic. But, you won't mind too much because the journey to get there is an absolute blast.

      Ultimately Quantum Conundrum is a fantastic, fun for all ages puzzle game that's well worth the asking price. While it doesn't quite hit all of Portal's high notes, it's still very much worth checking out.

      8.5 / 10
      Great

      (8s are great games that have something holding it back from excellence, or some features aren't as polished. The game is still extremely worthy of playing.)

      Dave Herrington is an aspiring writer, movie enthusiast, failed superhero and gamer. He writes from his house/cave near Oxford, England, and enjoys watching just about anything in good company. His favourite thing ever is Calvin & Hobbes, and hopes they never make a movie out of it. Or else.

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