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Judge David Johnson's Blog

Judge David Johnson • Location: Goffstown, NH
• Member since: October 2003
• 1,698 full reviews
• 1,194 small claims
• Columnist: Diversionary Landslide

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Review: The King of Kong (A Fistful of Quarters)
December 3rd, 2007 11:44AM

Who knew that a decades-old arcade coin-op could provoke such a firestorm of emotion and competition in grown men?! Why, me! That's who! As a hopeless--and hapless--fan of video games and having grown up in the inferno of fierce rivalry spawned by such games as Street Fighter II and NBA Jam, I totally relate to the ruthless, dog-eat-dog environment of competitive video game play.

The hombres in Seth Gordon's fantastic documentary, however, are out for more than bragging rights--what video game legend and hot sauce slinger Billy Mitchell and Washington-based junior high teacher Steve Wiebe seek is immortality.

Mitchell is clearly set up as the bad guy (a point he contends of course) and Wiebe the upstart challenger. The challenge? The all-time highest score on Donkey Kong, The stakes? Geek adoration.

There are so many bizarre moments in this film, from the attempted psych-outs by Billy's faithful when Steve goes for the record to the live-score-versus-taped-score debate to the trespassing on Steve's property to analyze the arcade board in his garage (!).

Just zany, yet, the film succeeds not only because of this compelling surrealistic drama, but the fact there are actual emotions involved in all of this. Sure it's "only" Donkey Kong, but that doesn't mean its hurts any less to lose.

Video game fans will eat this up but nobody should miss this King.

Confessions of an HD-DVD Adopter
July 17th, 2007 10:45AM

I'm an HD-DVD adopter. I admit it. I also admit that sans the exclusive studio support Sony has sewn up, it doesn't look super-rosy for Toshiba's format. Then again, I'm still not entirely sold on the kind of home video revolution we saw with DVD--a truly staggering cultural phenomenon that led to movie collections that eat up more condo square footage than the master bedroom--replicating in the high-definition marketplace.

So, no, I'm not prepared to sound the death-knell for DVD or HD-DVD and welcome our Benevolent Blu-Ray Overlords (I'm still leaning toward digital distribution as the future of home entertainment). But I am a realist, and realistically, Sony's creation is solidly in the lead, though the sub-par performance of the PS3 adds a new angle to the discussion.

With a dearth of must-have games, PS3 owners are undoubtedly propelling the embryonic Blu-Ray market because, let's face it, what else are you going to do with your $600 investment that won't make you feel like you spent $600 simply for Xbox ports and Motorstorm? It will be interesting to see the effects that cheaper, stand-alone Blu-Ray players will have on PS3 sales.

Me, I jumped on board the high-def market because a) thanks to frugal hoarding of Amazon gift cards and Toshiba's reduced price on its entry-level players, I was able to score an HD-A2 for $78 cash money and b) I'm a sucker for new technology I probably don't need.

I'm glad I pulled the trigger as--for the most part--high-def titles look noticeably better than their DVD counterparts. As an added bonus the HD-A2 upconverts standard DVDs beautifully (Apocalypto looked particularly inspiring). So, worst-case scenario, if HD-DVD goes the way of the Whig Party, at least I've got a kick-ass DVD player and Batman Begins in high-definition.

At least that's what I tell myself during those late night cry-sessions.

Microsoft's E3 Media Briefing
July 11th, 2007 9:58AM

I'm tired. I stayed up all night to watch the 'soft's E3 press conference and was denied the major revelations I was expecting. No Ninja Gaiden 2. No price job. No Sony fanboy-punching announcement of cross-platform Metal Gear Solid 4.

But there was lots of Halo 3. And Reggie Bush. And violin-playing!

Click here to read my reaction.

Transformers Is teh Laser Awesomez!
July 3rd, 2007 1:29PM

In case you were mildly interested, here's my take on the biggest flick of the summer.

Rollout!

Podcast 010
September 26th, 2006 10:07AM

Is on the way. For this one, Brett, Cynthia and I chat TV and the latest showbiz buzz, then Paul Corupe and I discuss two crappy flicks near and dear to our crappy-movie-loving hearts. Stay tuned!

Upcoming Depositions!
September 11th, 2006 11:53AM

Hey gang. Stay tuned for a double-shot of retro-horror Deposition Editions, when I chat with Ellen Sandweiss of Evil Dead fame (where she enlightens us about what it was like to go to high school with Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi) and Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen.

Fun Contest! Win Crap!
August 28th, 2006 8:30AM

Check out our James Bond podcast, Circumstantial Evidence 007 (I know it's corny, but I swear the show order was just a coincidence) and stick around until the end where you can try out our brand new contest, the Drunken Jabba Dialogue Decoder.

Give it a whirl. It's probably more fun that anything else you're doing right now.

Circumstantial Evidence: What Looms
August 21st, 2006 1:19PM

Hey kids.

Lots of stuff incoming, including interviews with indie filmmaker Melissa Balin and Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen, contests, prizes, a boatload of witty repartee, and the Bad Movie Bonus. Stay tuned.

--Dave

Oblivion = Goodbye Real Life
April 6th, 2006 9:12AM

Just wanted to say that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for the Xbox 360 is all that and a bag of Nirnroot. A system-seller in my opinion.

Islamofascists Best Step Off of Gotham City
February 13th, 2006 11:44AM

Oh man, this sounds awesome.

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