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Gamed: Ben Affleck destroys the world

Thursday night, after coming from a screening of The World’s End (which you should go see), I stopped to join some friends for a drink. We talked about some of the news from Gamescom, the movie I just saw, and the headlines of the day among other things. And then it happened. Like an amber alert, one person after another began to check their buzzing phones. Some received texts, others were notified of breaking news through an app. Something major had just happened.

That same day the mayor of San Diego was forced to resign amidst so many allegations of inappropriate conduct towards women that Kobe Bryant was shocked. In Egypt the unrest is growing bloodier, and in Syria the use of chemical weapons may lead to military intervention (but to be fair, neither of those are ‘Murica, so no one, including our news agencies apparently, really seems to care). None of those stories came close, however, to matching the importance of the breaking news that Ben Affleck is the new Batman.

"I'm Batman."

“I’m Batman.”

News of Tokyo being destroyed by a giant lizard would have earned a less horrified reaction. Affleck (Pearl Harbor, Phantoms), whose chin can destroy dreams with a single glance, will appear opposite Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent/Superman in 2015’s Batman vs. Superman. To say the Internet did not take the news well is like saying Russia is a little homophobic. If anger could be harnessed and turned into energy, the Internet would power the world forever.

The news of Affleck’s casting is apparently the most important thing on Earth right now judging by Twitter, Facebook, and most websites that feature news – with maybe one or two exceptions like the coming football season or the spawn of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West that will one day rise up to rule us all. But now that everyone has had a day or two to process the news and tempers have cooled, we can actually look at Affleck and wonder how he will do in the role.

Affleck is a good actor that has only improved over the years. His Reindeer Games days are long behind him, and recently he has limited himself only to meaty roles like in The Town and Argo (which he also directed). His ability as a director is sure to have improved him as an actor as well, so he definitely has the talent. The role will pit him against a younger Superman, and judging from the title, Batman vs. Superman, they are obviously going to fight – before inevitably coming together to face an “even greater foe!” ala every comic book team up story ever. In their super fight against each other though, Affleck has an edge.

Henry Cavill will once again play Clark Kent/Superman, and his dual identity will be more prominent in his second Superman film. Diane Lane will also appear once again as Clark’s mother, Martha. Batman is smart enough that he should be able to figure our Superman’s identity as Clark Kent, that’s almost a given. So during one of their fights, Bat-fleck can simply lean in and whisper “Hey Clark, I nailed your mom.”

Affleck and Lane

Batman = 1, Superman =0.

And then Superman would punch Batman so hard he’d be atomized and the movie would end with the world hating him. I’d call that a win for Batman. 

Oh, and because the universe (or maybe Hollywood) loves irony, that image above is from Hollywoodland, where Affleck actually played Superman. So basically, the old Superman slept with the new Superman’s mom. There isn’t enough therapy in the world that can undo that mess. 

PS. Just to get out in front of this, if someone reads this and doesn’t realize I am being sarcastic about the Affleck news being more important than the things happening in Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere, maybe you should consider giving up on this whole Internet fad.

Hot Coffee and News

Bye bye Ballmer

steve-ballmerAfter years of impressively mediocre work highlighted by some amazingly intense press conferences, Steve Ballmer announced that he is going to resign in order to spend more time with his money – sorry, his family. So what does this mean for gaming? The recent appointment of Julie Larson-Green as head of the Xbox division (and more) was generally seen as a stepping stone for her to get to the big seat and replace Ballmer. That may not hold, or she may not want it, but Microsoft knows the importance of the division, so expect things to stay the same for now, just with less forced integration of really bad tablets.

Shadow of the Eternals fails me

ShadowsA while back I had a bet with our own Adam Rosenberg regarding the Kickstarter campaign for the game Shadow of the Eternals. I loved the GameCube title Eternal Darkness, and Shadow is meant to be a spiritual successor. I was sure that the game would easily make its $750,000 goal, even after the first campaign was derailed when one of the Precursor Games employees was arrested on child pornography charges. Well, I was wrong, and the game only managed to raise $323K, meaning I lost the bet and will now have to cover something in the future in place of Adam at his discretion. It will likely be something I dislike. Man, I sure hope it isn’t anything to do with, I don’t know, football. That would be terrible…

EA offers money back guarantee

sim citySim City had a bit of a rough launch. The game, which requires an online connection, was hit with consistent server problems leaving gamers unable to connect; when they were able to play, they were frequently booted. Fans were understandably upset. Utilizing its lighting fast responsiveness as a company, Electronic Arts just announced a solution a mere six months later. Anything you purchase on its online distribution platform, Origin, will offer a seven day money back guarantee. That won’t help Sim City owners, but the next time EA completely screws up a launch, you’re covered.