January 6th, 2006

Six Million Dollar Man


"Today's another special day!" Greg said.

"Oh, sweet merciful God, no," Brigid replied.

"But yes! Yes, yes, and yes! For today we celebrate the brilliance of Vic Tayback!"

Brigid shook her head.

"Winner of two Golden Globes, actor par excellance, Vic Tayback was born on this very date in a.d. 1930," Greg said, looking down at his open palm as if reading from a nonexistent fact card.

"And you know this -- why?"

"He began his brilliant TV and film career in the heady days of 1958, on such notable programs as 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' and '77 Sunset Strip' and spent the next several decades as a prominent character actor. From 'Get Smart' to 'The Monkees,' from 'F Troop' to 'The Love Boat,' Vic Tayback was always a solid choice!"

"We are talking about Mel from 'Alice,' right?" Brigid said.

"The very one," said Greg. "And of course, Jojo Kracko from the classic 'Star Trek' episode, 'A Piece of the Action' -- not to mention the voice of Carface in All Dogs Go to Heaven!"

"Oh yeah, we can't forget that one."

"Alas, he was taken from us in 1990 by heart failure, and was buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills cemetery -- but he was working almost to the end, having had a role in 'MacGyver' in February of that year. Yes, Vic Tayback was a trooper! In all of Hollywood, nobody -- except possibly Telly Savalas -- played that vaguely-Mediterranean-ethnic-type so solidly, and so well. We salute your spirit, Vic Tayback!"

"Telly Savalas!" shrieked Brigid. "Holy crap, I haven't thought about him for twenty years!"

"Who loves ya baby?" Greg drawled with a roguish wink.

-The Gneech

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Hong Kong Phooey

Jade Empire

My in-laws gave me Jade Empire for Christmas, and so far I'm really enjoying it. :)

Jade Empire, for those who don't know, is a martial-arts adventure game that uses the same basic engine as Knights of the Old Republic, albeit tweaked to remove the d20 system components and add a button-mashing martial arts system. Right now it's X-Box only, alas, and the upcoming sequel is rumored to be X-Box 360-only ... although they won't absolutely come out and say there won't be PC versions.

As you can probably guess, I'm playing Tiger Shen, the big burly dude, although I customized him to have a slightly less ponderous combat style than he defaults to. (Unfortunately, realizing that I could do that made me go back to the beginning after I was almost through the second chapter, but I don't mind.)

Unfortunately, I've only been able to play in the occasional stolen hour here and half-hour there, between art, Bowflex, and just the usual busy-ness of life, but so far it's a terrific story, and the Kung Fu aspect is just plain cool. In its own way, it's been inspiring me to keep up with the exercise, by reminding me how much I like Kung Fu. I am still pondering the idea of going back to that next year, assuming I keep improving with the Bowflex. It would be nice to be in good enough shape to to keep up with class!

There haven't been that many really good martial arts adventure games. Tai Fu was fun (and had the benefit of being a furry game), except that the last level was unbeatable. But most martial arts games are arena-fighters, which certainly makes sense. (There was a Bruce Lee licensed game, but it wasn't very good.) I suppose it's no coincidence that Jade Empire is an adaptation of a Star Wars game, is it? ;)

But c'mon -- one of your quest items is called "the inscrutible power source." How can you not love a game like that?

I just wish it wasn't exclusive to X-Box.

-The Gneech

EDIT: From kung_fu: Furries duel. :)
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