Sunday, December 22, 2013

The excesses of Christianity and Duck Dynasty

For 2000 years Christianity has almost exclusively molded western culture and values. I don’t think any serious historian would deny that fact. John Locke, George Washington, Isaac Newton, Mozart, Martin Luther King, William Wilberforce, Copernicus, John Milton, Franklin D. Roosevelt… the list honestly goes on and on. The history of western civilization is basically a history of Christianity. At least it was until recently. With the rise of the utopian ideals of communism came the growth of populist, government led atheism. Clearly not all atheists are communists, however, Karl Marx’s belief that religion is the “opiate of the masses” underlies much of today’s radical liberalism. I think it’s not going overboard to say that Christianity has lost its societal pull.

But why did things turn out this way? Why did Stalin’s gulags occur in the first place? Why are millions of babies being aborted? Why did Cambodia’s fields turn blood red? Why have we forsaken God? It’s too easy to just blame the secularists. The truth is that we need only to look in the mirror for the source of these dry and brittle roots. Our arrogance has brought ruin. The Torquemadas and Phelps have delivered us to this precipice. It’s centuries of saying we believe in God, but really worshipping mammon. It’s the Crusades and hatred of Jews. You almost don’t need Satan when you have so many bad Christians.

So, am I surprised when Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty is being unjustly and unconstitutionally silenced for his personal beliefs? No, I’m not… because we have done the same thing. You used to have Jerry Falwell touring with Anita Bryant in the 70’s trying to “save our children” by banning gays from teaching. When you fight an eye for an eye, don’t expect that the other person won’t fight tooth for tooth. When the leftists came and suspended Phil, they did so with a vengeance. It didn’t matter that he didn’t use any slurs or hate speech. It didn’t matter that he was just quoting first Corinthians. It didn’t even matter that he said he wanted to “love on” any sinner, be they a homosexual or an adulterer. The atheists saw their chance to get back at Christians, and they did.

So, is my whole premise that we deserve our downfall? Well, not exactly. Just because we’ve made horrible blunders in the past, doesn’t mean we are doomed to determinism. The solution is, quite bluntly, in the Bible. As it says in Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” I suppose God’s word should be enough to end on.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Final Fight on SNES

Final Fight

Well, they say the original is always the best, and in this case they’re right… for the arcade version. When Nintendo released their new 16 bit powerhouse in 1991, beat-em-up fans were stoked for Capcom’s conversion of the revolutionary Final Fight. And they got it. Well, sort of. SNES owners did get to beat up on the Mad Gear Gang, but something was missing… Not only did they take out Guy, the coolest character in the game, but they took out an entire level, the Industrial Area, and most egregious of all, no two player mode. Yeah, one of the greatest co-op games in history is just single player. Well damn.

I mean, yeah, Haggar and Cody are still in there (by the way, why is Haggar practically kissing the guy on the cover?) but it’s just not the same. Also, they took out gaming’s most famous transvestite, Poison… so if you’re into that, move along. Capcom’s blunder was a huge blow to the Super Nintendo’s image as well, since Sega kids got to gloat over the better Streets of Rage on their blue blur of a system.

Final Fight 2 

Alright, who fucked up at Capcom? I’m looking at you, Captain Commando! This game is genuinely awful. I’ve heard about this mistake of a cartridge for years, but always wrote off the criticism. Then I played it… Seriously, this game isn’t Superman 64 bad, but it’s just so… generic. Everything about it seems to make cookie cutters proud to cut cookies. Not only is poor Guy missing (yet somehow the plot involves saving his girlfriend) but Cody is M.I.A. as well.

The levels are a brown bore and I forgot this game even had music. The bosses all literally look and fight the same (big bad dude hops around), and I was lulled into such a stupor that I couldn’t motivate myself to finish the game… that’s right, a 30-45 minute beat-em-up couldn’t maintain my attention span. And another thing, why does the character with a sword not use his… uh, sword? Dumb. Well, at least I felt like I found Waldo when I spotted Chun-Li eating noodles in the first level.

Final Fight 3

Finally, a game to make Final Fight aficionados proud! First of all, that cover looks awesome. Guy and Haggar look mean and ready for either a suplex or a spin-kick. So yeah, Guy is finally back… although Cody is now taken out, but whatever, he was always the least liked anyway. This game is also an independent creation, made specifically for the Super Nintendo, and not terrible like FF2.

The first thing you’ll notice about FF3 is how, quite frankly, pretty it looks. The graphics have a slight watercolor-like aesthetic to them, and it just seems pleasing to the eye. The backgrounds are also more dynamic as well, with sunsets looming in the background, and parallax scrolling galore. Oh, and the music is kickass, with For Metro City being the star of the show.

The coolest thing about FF3, however, is the new super moves. Guy will pummel his fists into fireballs, while Haggar will do a backbreaker and then spin around like a tornado. Nice. All in all, FF3 redeemed the franchise on the SNES, and probably did something to keep Guy and Haggar in the public consciousness for games like Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter IV.