Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Manitoba Links Weekly: Family Night Games, As Many As Twelve, and BANK (ManLinkWeek 48)

Well, my good intentions of putting out two episodes last week didn't quite pan out, but I have a perfectly reasonable claim to extenuating circumstances: Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Double Dragon Neon dropped last week, on the same day, and I am not made of stone. Consequently, and compounding the problem, every time I sit down at the computer now I get nothing done because I'm busy listening to this:

/waits five seconds, hits repeat again

If you like fighting games and/or oldschool beat-'em-ups, I highly recommend checking out the two games mentioned above; if you don't like those genres, that's cool too, but you should at least check out their soundtracks.

You're probably assuming that my opening video game ramblings are an aside completely unrelated to this past week(-ish)'s local content, right? Wrong! Insert coin to ManLinkWeek:

[ Global Winnipeg: Exclusive: What games are inmates playing in Manitoba jails? ]
I'm sure, at various intervals and through various channels around town, you've seen or heard the argument made that criminals in Manitoba have it too soft; not only are they coddled and cared for by the province, they're eating coconut pudding and playing video games! So Global Winnipeg filed an FOI to discover which video games Manitoba Justice is offering, and discovered the underwhelming startling truth behind the controversy: prison has really shitty video games.

Seriously, get a load of this list, because wow. Someone apparently took pity on them at some point and donated or smuggled in a few 2012 sports games (note the FIFA 12 -- you know how hardened repeat offenders love their Bundesliga football), because other than those it's almost entirely comprised of crap that someone grabbed out of the discount used-game bins by the handful.

"Here y'go, boys! Alvin & The Chipmunks, NASCAR '09, MTV Pimp My Ride the video game -- and Hardball '99! Aren't you lucky!"

There's probably a huge-ass scratch all the way across the Madden disc, too, just to really screw with them. That'll be the one game they want to play, and it won't work because someone scuffed it, so they get stuck playing The Golden Compass or Bigfoot: Collision Course (lol) or anything else on here.

Note too that whoever drew the short straw at Manitoba Justice and had to put together the inventory spreadsheet was not overly concerned about accuracy; a few of the game names are slightly off but sound like real games ("Superbike SBX", "Jeremy McGrath Sueprcross", "NACCA Football 11"), and some are so hopelessly misparsed and mangled that it's almost impossible to tell what game they're supposed to mean. "All Start Racing" is not a real thing, "Games by Sunplus" is definitely not real either (though a funny guess to read if you know what Sunplus is), and "Family Night Game" sounds like a video game name that you'd make up as a joke. "C'MON, BOYS, IT'S TIME FOR FAMILY NIGHT GAME!"

But of all the games included on this list, the one that I found the funniest is coincidentally also the one that they get out of the way right at the very beginning. The article text notes that inmates "have limited use of Sony Playstation or Nintendo Wii video game consoles", if they earn that use through good behaviour, and then what's the first game on there? Mega Man 7. Super Nintendo-exclusive Mega Man 7. If you're locked up in Headingley, and you commit yourself to being a model prisoner for a certain period of time, you get the highly coveted opportunity to sit in a room with a cartridge you can't play.

In short: if you enjoy video games, here's your incentive to not go to prison. (I have a sneaking suspicion that the pudding probably isn't very good either, for that matter.)

Also in local video-game-related news:

[ CTV Winnipeg: Evander Kane to host video game launch Monday ]
[ Kane Signs for Jets Fans as 'NHL 13' Launches ]
[ Global Winnipeg: Kane tight-lipped on contract negotiations with Jets ]
Now that I think about it, this might very well be the first time that I've ever had two Global Winnipeg links in such close proximity to one another. Hey, Global, do more video games coverage! You sucked me right in without my even realizing it, so you must be on the right track.

I went to the similar Kane signing last year for the NHL '12 launch, but passed on it this year because NHL '13 isn't solving anything I wanted solved from '12 or '11 (don't get me started). Still, the important thing is that everyone there had a good time, and by 'a good time' I mean 'an opportunity to try and fleece people on Kijiji later'.

Here's how the weekend in sports broke down, incidentally: the Bombers got annihilated again, the Goldeyes won their championship thing, and the Jets got locked out. So I'd say that's a net loss, overall. (Sorry, Goldeyes! At least you'll get a fancy beer can out of the whole thing.)

Not to overstate the impact of the NHL lockout any, but--

[ The Globe & Mail: Winnipeg businesses, psyche vulnerable ]

[ TEDx Winnipeg: 2012 TED Talkers ]
[ Daily Dose: TEDxWinnipeg ]
[ Rose Coloured Beer Goggles: TEDx Winnipeg: The Next Big Thing ]
And with our newfound collective abundance of thinkin' time that would have otherwise gone to hockey, you may find your brain needs some big ideas to chew on -- so here are content roundups and glowing praise for last Thursday's TEDx Winnipeg event.

I had other commitments that night, alas; I had free tickets to the Flatlanders Beer Festival, which was a pretty fun little affair. So I don't have any major insights into the next great idea that will revolutionize the way we as a shared society understand and approach our world, but I can summarize the current wave of beer marketing in four words. (Those four words, if you happen to be curious, are: "Women love this beer!")

Moving on to -- wow, am I reading this right? Here's a phrase I never get to use -- moving on to Brunkild, Manitoba news:

[ Winnipeg Free Press: Wild ride leaves path of destruction ]
[ Winnipeg Sun: Brunkild bar won’t close, despite crash carnage ]
If you read the descriptions of the truck's path through Brunkild, and then look around Brunkild in Google Maps, you start to get the impression that the truck hit basically everything in town. Switch a couple of names around and you could pass this story off as a lost W.P. Kinsella draft.

If you're interested in learning more about Brunkild, twenty dollars gets you a video tape of its Centennial! Supplies, one assumes, are limited.

Meanwhile, in Selkirk:

[ The Selkirk Journal: Flashmob takes over deli section ]
I know this probably already comes through in a lot of my posts, but it is unfathomably difficult to overstate how much I enjoy reading small town news.

"A flash mob broke out in the deli section at the Safeway located in Selkirk at exactly 2 p.m. on the afternoon of Sept. 8. As many as 12 women were involved[.]"

Oh, god, I can't even properly express how much I love that phrasing decision. 'As many as 12 women'. As many as! We've just gotta guess, man, there's no way to count them all! You can just imagine all of the witnesses being totally unhelpful when interviewed, like "Well, gol-dang, it all'n happened so fast I couldn't right tell the numbers of 'em."

Also, somebody back me up on this: the picture totally makes it look like they're doing the Haruhi dance, doesn't it? Doesn't it? YOU CAN'T UNSEE IT EITHER, DON'T JUDGE ME

[ National Post: NDP’s Pat Martin launches website to help pay his $250,000 'robocall' gaffe legal bill ]
[ Winnipeg Free Press: Pat Martin seeks to raise $250K to defend against libel suit ]
[ Welcome to the Pat Martin Legal Defence Fund ]
i can't even find the rewards list, this is the worst kickstarter ever

Please cast your eyes to the (of all things) Discover card icon under the Donate button, and then beside that to a teeny-tiny grey icon that just says "BANK". I don't even know why I find that little icon so amusing, but I think it's because of the order that the icons are presented in: it declines left-to-right from more-frequently-used to less-frequently-used, and then declines further to oh-screw-it. Should you not happen to have a MasterCard or VISA -- or even an American Express or Discover Card, because you left your wallet at home before time-travelling here from 1986 -- the Pat Martin Legal Defence Fund will gladly accept BANK. If you have some BANK, please send BANK. HELLO YES THIS IS BANK.

(Presented without comment: the Sitemap page.)

Anyway, good luck to Pat Martin in his forthcoming legal defence; you the reader can fire some money his way via the information above if you appreciate the cut of his jib.

And, finally:

[ QX 104, FAB 94.3 to Be Sold Under Bell-Astral Deal ]
I brought this up two months ago, but nobody reads anything I write, so this is all coming as a surprise to everybody. Everything I'd written there still applies, however; since none of the other conglomerates have any room to take on an extra FM station, the future of those two stations -- or, should they be shuttered, their frequencies -- ought to be quite the fascinating bit of inside baseball.

Of course, in the time that I'd spent putting off this post and playing Double Dragon, even more dramatic radio antics have taken place; really, I had to get everything above out of the way just so I can properly get to everything since then. Does this mean a second ManLinkWeek this week? It means I'll sure try!

So, coming up: Portage Place turns twenty-five! The local media landscape gets shuffled, then gutted! And the Uptown Magazine column... that will solve everything! All this and more -- coming up on ManLinkWeek!


ThommyG said...

Double Dragon Neon is the best 10 bucks I've spent in the last year, if only for Skullmageddon's bone-related puns. "Time for a MARROW escape" and "BONE voyage", indeed. (That, and I love how annoyed he gets when you keep destroying his monitors.

James Hope Howard said...

"Don't let them near the glowing red weakpoint! . . . Why does it even have a weakpoint?"

Anonymous said...

Hey James, much enjoy your blog, and also find your blogroll to be quite handy! One thing I'd like to point out, James Jewell moved his blog to Wordpress and the link you have for his blog is outdated. It can now be found at

Keep up the great work Mr. Howard!

ThommyG said...

Ha! Yeah I loved that bit too. Skullmageddon's song over the closing credit is also worth at least $10 on it's own. Every person who grew up in the 80s should buy this game.