Father Swimcoach Scoutmaster, No!

Photobucket

1. “Hey, What Are You Listening To?

2010 has already been a pretty decent year for album releases. Here are the last 8 albums I’ve purchased, all great in their own way, and all of which have been released this year:

Sleigh Bells – Treats
The Hold Steady – Heaven Is Whenever
Yeasayer – Odd Blood
The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt
Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks
Fang Island – Fang Island
The National – High Violet

One of the most anticipated releases of 2010 for me is The Suburbs, the third album by Arcade Fire, coming out on August 3 in the states. Arcade Fire is a two-time ‘Album Of The Year’ winner here on the CDP (2004 & 2007), and Funeral also snagged ‘Album Of The Decade‘ accolades last December. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to it.

Photobucket

2. “Hey, What Are You Watching?

Not a whole lot, now that Summer’s here. My DVR queue is down to a modest 10-12 hours a week of television, mostly pro wrestling and cable stuff like Mythbusters, The Ultimate Fighter and Tosh.0. I enjoy these moments before the upcoming Fall season; they give me a chance to crack a few books, work harder on writing stuff, and occasionally tell my wife that I love her.

However, now that the 2009-2010 Season is officially over, here are my Top 10 favorites:

10. The Simpsons (FOX)
9. Destination Truth (SYFY)
8. Mythbusters (DISC)
7. Saturday Night Live (NBC)
6. Community (NBC)
5. 30 Rock (NBC)
4. Parks & Recreation (NBC)
3. Modern Family (ABC)
2. Friday Night Lights (101/NBC)
1. Lost (ABC)

I must admit, however, that I’ve recently become obsessed with the ridiculous nonsense known as Minute To Win It. I got roped into this thing like a sucker, and fell for their over-the-top production and asinine stunts. When I first turned it on, I said, “This is idiotic; we’re changing the channel.” 30 minutes later, and I’m on the edge of my seat, screaming “NO WAY IS HE GOING TO SORT THOSE M&Ms IN TIME!”

Photobucket

3. “Hey, How’s The Book Coming Along?

Quite nicely. I have completed drafts of 50 essays, with another 10 to be written this Summer. If all goes well, the book itself should be wrapped up in September, and hopefully released in late October. If you don’t see too much of me over the next few months, you’ll know what I’m up to.

Unlike 65 Poor Life Decisions, there’s going to be at least 15 brand-new essays in the new book, which I’m looking forward to getting out there for people to read. I have no idea what it took three years for me to go from Book #1 to Book #2, but I’m hoping that Book #3 won’t be so far off next time.

Photobucket

4. “Hey, What’s New With The Technical Side Of The CDP?

I optimized the CDP for Smartphone compatibility, but I don’t like the way it looks, so I’m currently looking into new programs. So, if you check out the CDP on your iPhone or Blackberry sometime in the near future, you’ll probably say, “This has potential, but it sort of sucks right now.” I totally agree with you; we’re getting there.

As far as Home Base goes, I’m talking to Blogger about why my Archives are messed up. The home page is displaying random numbers of essays each day (it’s supposed to be the last 10 essays, but it’s been as few as two in recent weeks), and my monthly Archives are not complete (no essays have been deleted, it’s just that some cannot be accessed through the Archives right now). Again, I’m working on it. This has never happened before, and I hope to fix it soon. Fortunately, neither of these things are a huge deal; I’m assuming you didn’t even notice it.

Photobucket

5. “Hey, Anything Else You Want To Tell Me?

Yes, almost forgot. Keep an eye on the CDP this Summer, as I have a huge project that I hope to unveil in the upcoming weeks (it’s not the book, either). For fans of nostalgia, pop culture and humor (so, all of you), I think you’ll get a kick out of it.

Thanks for reading. Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your day and let us know how you plan to spend the first few weeks of Summer.

Lost Friday – "The End."

Photobucket

The final Lost Friday is upon us.

There are two big things I want to mention before I dig into the final recap. First and foremost, I want to sincerely thank everyone who has followed along with Lost Friday for the last five years. Since 2004, the CDP has earned a reputation for personal essays, pop culture nostalgia and Mix-Tape trades, and amongst all of that, we still had time to recap about 100 episodes of my favorite television show, and the fact that you all came along for the ride has been a lot of fun.

Lost Friday was a labor of love, but it was also a lot of work. I’d estimate that I’ve lost about 1000 hours of much-needed sleep since my first recap, and the cost of my massive Photobucket account runs me about $80 a year. Hundreds of Photoshopped and uploaded images. Thousands of jokes. Millions of words. Some days were harder than others, but I’ve sincerely enjoyed every minute of it. At the end of every season, I tried to quit, only to receive dozens of e-mails and comments telling me to come back for one more year. That’s a really nice thing to do for a guy, and I’ve always appreciated every nice thing said about Lost Friday. Nothing makes me happier than when someone tells me how funny they thought something I wrote was; the fact that I got to be obsessive over Lost, mercilessly mock it and get people laughing to boot? Bliss.

For those of you who visit the CDP solely for Lost Friday, let me remind you that Lost Friday only constituted less than 10% of what the CDP has to offer. I’m a published author currently working on Book #2, and I strongly encourage you to dig around and stay awhile. Subsequently, for those of you who are CDP fans that never cared for Lost, then I can imagine this is a good day for you. You’ll once again have me all to yourself starting in June.

So once again, thank you. I hope you enjoyed Lost Friday.

The second thing I wanted to mention was the finale of Lost itself. You would think that for an Atheist that focuses on the minutiae of…well…everything, the finale would have been a supreme letdown for me. What about the significance of the Numbers? What about Walt? Why did Dharma keep getting food drops in 2004?

However, once I realized the main theme of the show (characters, redemption and faith), the superficial stuff just didn’t matter anymore. Had I gotten a scientific conclusion over a spiritual one, I doubt I would have been half as fulfilled, even if I got twice the answers. I loved the final act of the show, I loved the final act on the Island, and I thought it was as perfect a finale as we could have asked for. We’ve seen some spectacular episodes, and we’ve seen some trash (not much, but some), and I feel that ‘The End’ is arguably as good as the series ever was.

Jack Shephard was never my favorite character; not even in my Top 5, quite frankly. However, this show was centered around him, and thus the finale was centered around him, and boy did they deliver. By the end of the series, Matthew Fox was holding his own with some of the best actors and actresses on television, and in the final scenes of ‘The End,’ it was impossible to not be proud of the guy for what he’d done. You want to talk about redemption.

So yes, I liked the finale. Loved it, even. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Enough grandstanding and pansy talk, let’s start recapping the Series Finale with the final Thick & Meatyever!

Photobucket

Flash-Sideways Timeline: Outside The Church

While Kate waits in Hurley’s Camaro, Desmond claims ownership for the body of Christian Shephard, as UPS will give up even corpses to the first person possessing hands with which to sign off. When Kate asks Desmond why he sprung her out of jail in order to attend a concert, he replies that ‘nobody can tell you why you’re here,’ and what he really wants is ‘to leave.’

This sounds very emotional and deep in hindsight, until you realize that he was merely referring to the fact that he wanted to eat lunch at the Olive Garden two towns over. Say what you want, those breadsticks are mind-blowing.

At The Flightline Motel

Hurley arrives at the Flightline with Sayid, on a mission to get an absurdly-inebriated Charlie to perform at the concert. Hurley tries to sway Charlie by telling him that ‘it’s the most important thing he’ll ever do,’ and considering that he never got to sleep with Claire, he’s essentially correct. When Charlie gets distracted by a cloud that looks like a bottle of Jameson, Hurley shoots him with a tranquilizer gun and tosses him into the back of his Hummer.

This is the exact same way my wife got me to go to Dubuque with her last Spring.

At The Benefit Concert

Hurley and Sayid arrive at the concert. Miles, who has also just arrived, spots Sayid and calls Sawyer to tell him he’s escaped from jail. Miles asks him to check on Sun at the hospital, to see that she’s okay.

It is at this time that I would like to remind everyone that Yunjin Kim is following me on Twitter, thus completing Phase 1 of the 28-Phase process that culminates on our wedding day. Not many people realize that the name ‘Ji Yeon’ is Korean for ‘Son of Pale Norweigan.’ Now you know.

At St. Sebastian Hospital

Juliet shows up to give Sun an ultrasound, which triggers Sun’s ‘Realization Moment,’ flashing back to when Juliet gave Sun an ultrasound on the Island. As Jin and Sun always seemed to function in tandem, this also works as Jin’s Realization Moment as well. Never underestimate the dimension-obliterating power of a radioactive wand, Astroglide and a taut, Korean tummy.

They also start speaking English as well, because they remember now. Apparently, they use Rosetta Stone software in the Afterlife.

Over in a significantly less sexy hospital room, Jack is prepping Locke for his surgery. Jack jokingly tells Locke that there’s a chance he could kill him, thus making 10 million Easter Egg nerds simultaneously moisten themselves with glee.

Jack and Juliet pass in the hallway, where it’s finally revealed that they were once married. This goes down as the second worst-kept secret in Lost history, just behind ‘Does Island Claire smell like pennies and black olives?’

(Answer: Yes.)

Outside A Bar

Sayid and Hurley observe a fistfight between Boone and an unnamed asshole who pushed Shannon to the ground. Sayid rushed to her aid, giving them both their Realization Moment, via tongue-to-tongue contact.

Nadia who? Never mind the years of International travel, longing and occasional torture; Sayid’s heart lies with the woman he had a relationship with for 15 days back in 2004.

At The Benefit Concert

Juliet is paged by the hospital, David enters with Claire, Charlotte wakes up a drunken Charlie, and Kate recognizes Claire from several days earlier. On stage, Drive Shaft will be accompanying Mr. Daniel Widmore and his Cavalcade of Stuttering, Violently-Frustrating Whimsy.

Charlie looks so sexy on stage that Claire goes into labor. Meanwhile, Eloise pleads with Desmond not to get everyone to ‘move on,’ which prompts Desmond to tell her that he won’t be taking Daniel. Not with him, at least. I enjoyed this conversation, as it reminds us that, just because everyone that we knew wasn’t in the final scene, that there aren’t other churches, other groups and other Realization Moments. Don’t get hung up on the small stuff, or I’ll put my thumb through your neck.

As Kate helps Claire with her labor backstage, they both have their respective Realization Moments. Later, Charlie shows up and has one as well, no doubt triggered by Aaron’s mystical placental goo. Desmond saunters in, fist-pumps on a job well done, and pours himself a tall glass of whole milk.

Back At St. Sebastian Hospital

Locke is brought out of surgery, where he’s coming around and recovering at an Afterlife pace. The wiggling of his toes gives him his Realization Moment, followed by the pissing of his hospital gown. Jack resists anything remotely resembling a Flashback, saying that he needs to leave to see his son. Locke correctly (but dickily) reminds him that he doesn’t have a son.

Back in Room Number Gorgeous, Sawyer catches up with Jin and Sun. Sawyer is intent on arresting Sayid, but they’re having none of it after seeing the light. Even in Purgatory, you can still get gutshot and potentially miscarry a newborn. Heaven sounds extremely terrifying.

At the candy machine, Sawyer’s struggling to get an Apollo bar. Juliet shows up and tells him that if he unplugs the machine and plugs it back in again, the candy will drop down, adding that ‘it’s technically legal.’ Once again, continuity nerds simultaneously drop clumps of ‘Cool Ranch’ Doritos down their shirt with excitement. As they both reach for the candy bar, Sawyer and Juliet have their respective Realization Moments, before they come back around and continue fighting over sole possession of said candy.

Back At The Benefit Concert

Jack shows up and runs into Kate. Kate attempts to get him to remember the past, but he continues to resist. Kate then clubs the dumb oaf with a canoe paddle, as this is the only way for this lunkhead to understand anything.

Back At The Church

Locke shows up and meets Ben. Ben apologizes for what he did to him, adding that he was ‘selfish, jealous, and wanted everything that (Locke) had.’ Locke forgives him, but Ben still has some things to work out before he decides to enter the church. For Ben, a guy that seemingly had everything he could have ever dreamed of on the Island, to want the life of a paralyzed loner working a temp job at a box factory, he should have probably aimed a squinch higher.

Hurley also runs into Ben. Hurley reminds Ben that he was a ‘great Number Two,’ to which Ben replies that Hurley was a ‘great Number One.’ This leads into my theory that their Island code names for each other were ‘Poop’ and ‘Pee.’

Jack and Kate arrive. Kate tells him that she brought him here ‘because this is where you were going to have your father’s funeral.’ She says that ‘they’ will be waiting for him to come in, once he’s ready ‘to leave.’ Kate then inexplicably changes outfits, in what is either a Purgatory thing, or the single most glaring continuity error in Lost history. Perhaps Kate just didn’t want to enter Heaven wearing such a slutty dress.

Jack enters the back of the church, finding the coffin of Christian. When he touches it, he has his Realization Moment, culminating with his father entering the room. After a brief exchange, Jack realizes that he himself has died, and he embraces with his father, both absolutely reeking with embalming fluid.

When Jack (and the viewing audience) expresses confusion, Christian explains that Jack’s life and the people in the church are very real, yet they are all now dead. ‘Some died before you, some after you,’ Christian explains. He further elaborates that the church and this world was a place they all made together to find each other, because the most important part of Jack’s life was the time spent with these people. It was created so they could all ‘find each other, remember and move on.’

Meanwhile, out in the church, Miles realizes that he’s an Atheist and immediately poofs out of existence. Bad time for an existential breakdown, dude.

Jack enters the heart of the church where he is greeted by many of his old friends from the Island (Kate, Hurley, Libby, Sawyer, Juliet, Desmond, Penny, Sun, Jin, Charlie, Claire, Aaron, Sayid, Boone, Shannon, Locke, Rose and Bernard). They all share embraces and enjoy their reunion, which is all a little more than my black little heart can handle (the look of satisfaction on Locke’s face when he hugs Jack just might be my favorite moment of the entire series).

After awhile, they all sit down in the pews as Christian walks out the back of the church, bathing everyone in attendance in a glowing, white light. Jack and Kate exchange a smile, as the room is engulfed.

Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye. Yup, it was a cat whisker. I hate those things.

Original Timeline: At The River

Sawyer heads off to get Desmond out of the well before Locke can, while Jack, Kate and Hurley head to the Source (ie: Butthole) of the Island.

At The Well

Desmond has already been saved from the well before Locke or Sawyer can get there. Locke is initially going to kill everyone, but will settle for just Jack now that he’s the new Jacob.

He’s still sinking this bitch, though. Make no mistake of that.

At Rose And Bernard’s Camp

Turns out that Rose and Bernard saved Desmond from the well, but he best be moving on soon, as they like to function as an isolationist society. Locke shows up and snatches Desmond away.

Vincent urinates on Rose’s leg. Bernard urinates on Vincent.

In The Outrigger

Miles and Richard (who’s now mortal), stumble across Frank in the water. Initially wanting to blow up the Ajira plane, Frank puts an end to that nonsense, reminding him that he’s a pilot and will get them off of the Island. Realizing just how cuckoo-bananas insane their original idea was, they decide to trust Lapidus instead.

On The Way To The Source

Locke’s group and Jack’s group meet. There’s a ton of chest-bumping and shit talk about murder, but it’s pretty obvious that nobody has a plan. It’s quite adorable, actually.

At The Source

Only Jack, Locke and Desmond approach the Source. Jack and Locke tie a rope around Desmond and lower him in. Desmond reaches the bottom and sees the ‘cork’ that’s more or less keeping all evil from breaking loose. As he’s immune to electromagnetic energy, Desmond hops into the pit and yanks the cork out, unleashing what seems to be the brewings of Hell upon the Island.

So this explains Sex In The City 2.

Jack chases Locke out of the cave in a fit of fury, punching him in the mouth and causing him to bleed. This is when they both realize that by pulling out the cork, both Jack and the Man In Black are mortal men. They tussle for a bit, but Locke nails Jack with a rock and scampers off.

When I was a little kid, I heaved a rock at a kid named BJ. I thought I had killed him; I was really scared and sad for awhile. Turns out he was okay, and we became friends in high school.

At Hydra Island Beach

Miles, via walkie-talkie, tells everyone to get their asses in gear before the plane takes off. Claire’s not coming with, because she’s nuttier than a box of Clusters.

At The Cliffs

Locke has a boat waiting for him. Jack shows up just in time for a kick-ass final showdown. Locke stabs Jack in the abdomen and pierces his neck, but before he can finish the job, Kate shows up and shoots the Man In Black. Jack kicks him over the cliff, killing him and ending what may be the worst and most ill-fated Island mutiny attempt ever.

Sawyer and Kate rush off to catch up with the plane, but not before sharing a tearful goodbye with Jack. Ben and Hurley stick around to help Jack finish what he started.

At The Ajira Landing Strip

Frank is having trouble with the hydraulics on the plane, so he sends Richard back to look at it. Yeah, if I have a mechanical failure with my airplane, I want the guy from the 16th Century to fix it for me.

Kate and Sawyer are catching up with the plane, when they run into Claire. Kate offers to help her raise Aaron, which changes her mind. Everyone gets on board as they begin their takeoff.

Frank Lapidus is the greatest pilot in the history of aviation. Or perhaps the plane exploded into pieces two seconds after the episode ended; who really knows?

At The Source

Jack’s going back into the Source to clog up the butthole and save the Island (may I suggest sharp cheddar cheese?). He knows he’s not going to survive, and turns over Island ownership to a tearful Hurley. Desmond wants to help, but Jack says that he’s done enough, and he should go back home to his wife and son.

Jack finds the plug and drops it into the Source (hey BP, you want that oil leak taken care of?). The light begins to return, as Hurley and Ben pull an exhausted Desmond back to the surface. Below, Jack sobs with relief as he is engulfed in the light. It’s warm and smells like cinnamon.

Hurley asks Ben if he could help him protect the Island, which Ben graciously accepts. They start by coming up with a way that Desmond can leave the Island, and also by adding a miniature golf course to the Barracks.

At The Bamboo Grove

Jack wakes up in a creek outside of the Source. Aware of his eventual demise, he finds his way back to the bamboo grove, to the same spot where he awoke after the crash of Flight 815. He hears a dog barking and turns to see Vincent running towards him. Jack smiles as Vincent lies down next to him, so he doesn’t ‘die alone.’

Looking towards the sky, he sees the Ajira plane fly over him, knowing that he has saved his friends as well as the Island. His eyes close.

L O S T

Now, don’t you go getting sad on me; we’re not done yet. Let’s Break It Down!

Photobucket

1 – The last line of the series is “We’ve been waiting for you,” spoken by John Locke after Jack enters the church. This is in stark contrast to what I thought was going to be the final line of the series, “We’re all out of dip.”

L O S T

2 – Desmond, Penny and Juliet are the only non-815 survivors in the church, which makes perfect sense, unless you’re a dolt who continues to argue the logic of the final scene.

3 – From Lostpedia: “Boone’s observation that he had difficulty getting Shannon back from Sydney is likely an in-joke at the difficulty in scheduling Maggie Grace to return for the final season, having had to already write her out of ‘LA X.'” That’s funny stuff, right there.

4 – Kate is the only original cast member to land on the Island, leave, return and leave again.

By comparison, Locke is the only original cast member to land on the Island, re-learn to walk, get teleported off of the Island, die, get shipped back to the Island, get reincarnated by evil incarnate, only to be killed once more. What are the odds?

5 – Sawyer and Claire are the only characters to arrive on the Island for the first time in the first episode, and leave the Island for the first time in the last episode. Really? I’ll be damned!

6 – ‘The End’ was the longest episode in Lost history, clocking in at a massive 105:45 minutes. So, to anyone complaining, you got 106 minutes of Lost, so cork your bitchhole.

7 – ABC estimates that nearly 21 million people watched ‘The End,’ while TorrentFreak.com states that ‘The End’ was the most pirated television episode in history based on statistics. Congruently, According To Jim is statistically the least-pirated show in history.

8 – From Lostpedia: “The scene where Locke stabs Jack involved swapping out a real knife for a collapsible one. During one take, the swap was not made properly and Matthew Fox was stabbed by the real knife, which was stopped by a Kevlar pad that Fox wore under his shirt. Matthew Fox tried out various protection pads for that scene, and it just so happened that when the accident happened he was wearing the Kevlar pad, the others of which were not stab proof. It was even suggested that he not bother using a pad at all before the incident happened.”

That would have been bad to say the least. “Um, sorry everyone. We can’t finish the series because we…um…stabbed our main character to death on set.”

9 – The penultimate scene with Jack and Christian the back room of the Church was withheld from shooting scripts. When the scene was filmed, the set operated with a high level of security and was off-limits to everyone with the exception of Matthew Fox, John Terry, and a few select members of crew. Even other cast members were not allowed near the set when the scene was taking place.

Frank Lapidus was there, though, because that sonofabitch can do whatever he wants.

10 – Shannon (Maggie Grace) makes her first appearance since ‘Expose’,’ an absence of 59 episodes in a row. Not surprisingly, Lost hasn’t aired a terrible episode since then. I’m not a Shannon fan.

Well folks, I hate to tell you this, but we’re all done here. Once again, thank you for reading Lost Friday over the years; please stick around and allow me to entertain you with all of the other stuff I do here on the CDP. Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your weekend and stay nostalgic by checking out links to nearly every Lost Friday ever written (including some episodes of the Pop Crunch show, penned by yours truly).

Thank you very much.

Hey…waaaaait a minute, here. Where are the captions? I mean, this is the last Lost Friday ever, and there’s not even one photo caption to speak of? Seriously?

Photobucket
(“Was it good for you, Vincent?”)

There we go. Now we can leave happy.

I’m On Twitter.
I’m On Facebook.

SEASON TWO – EPISODE 23/24 RECAP
SEASON TWO – FINALE EDITION 2
SEASON TWO – FINALE EDITION 1
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 22 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 21 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 20 RECAP
SEASON TWO – CLIP SHOW EDITION
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 19 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 18 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 17 RECAP
SEASON TWO – TEMPORARY EDITION
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 16 RECAP
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 8
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 7
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 15 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 14 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 13 RECAP
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 6
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 12 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 11 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 10 RECAP
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 5
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 4
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 3
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 9 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 8 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 7 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 6 RECAP
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 2
SEASON TWO – RERUN EDITION
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 5 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 4 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 3 RECAP
SEASON TWO – EPISODE 1 RECAP
SEASON 2 PREVIEW
Season 3 Preview
Season 3 – Episode 1 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 2 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 3 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 4 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 5 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 6 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 7 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 8 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 9 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 10 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 11 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 12 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 13 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 14 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 15 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 16 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 17 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 18 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 19 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 20 Recap
Season 3 – Episode 21 Recap
Season 3 – Finale Edition 1
Season 3 – Finale Edition 2
Season 3 – Finale Edition 3
Season 3 – Episode 22/23 Recap
Season 4 – Episode 1 Recap
Season 4 – Episode 2 Recap
Season 4 – Episode 3 Pop Crunch Recap
Season 4 – Episode 4 Recap
Season 4 – Episode 4 Pop Crunch Recap
Season 4 – Episode 5 Recap
Season 4 – Episode 6 Recap
Season 4 – Episode 7 Recap
Season 4 – Episode 9 Recap
Season 4 – Episode 10 Recap
Season 4 – Episode 12 Recap
Season 4 – Finale Edition 1
Season 4 – Finale Edition 2
Season 4 – Finale Edition 3
Season 5 – Episode 1/2.
Season 5 – Episode 4.
Season 5 – Episode 5.
Season 5 – Episode 6.
Season 5 – Episode 7.
Season 5 – Episode 9.
Season 5 – Episode 10.
Season 5 – Episode 11.
Season 5 – Episode 12.
Season 5 – Episode 13.
Season 5 – Episode 14.
Season 5 – Episode 15.
Season 5 – Episode 16/17.
Season 6 – Episode 1/2.
Season 6 – Episode 3.
Season 6 – Episode 4.
Season 6 – Episode 5.
Season 6 – Episode 6.
Season 6 – Episode 7.
Season 6 – Episode 8.
Season 6 – Episode 9.
Season 6 – Episode 10.
Season 6 – Episode 11.
Season 6 – Episode 12.
Season 6 – Episode 13.
Season 6 – Episode 14.
Season 6 – Episode 15.
Season 6 – Episode 16.

Lost Thursday – Season 6 Caption Edition.

Photobucket

We’re one day away from the final Lost Friday ever. In the meantime, enjoy the second half of the best captions from Season 6. Giddyup.

Photobucket
(“You have nothing to be afraid of. I’m just a reincarnated zombie that can manifest myself into the form of black smoke, and I just murdered everyone you’ve ever known. Please stop crying.”)

Photobucket
(“Hello, this is James from Charter Communications. I just want to know why you don’t think you need to pay your cable bill?”)

Photobucket
(Want to know how sexy Desmond is? Ten minutes ago, Claire wasn’t even pregnant!)

Photobucket
(The Man In Black becomes increasingly frustrated with the world’s first Game Boy.)

Photobucket
(There it is. The gleaming, beautiful, majestic…butthole of the Island.)

Photobucket
(All the medical experience in the world couldn’t prepare Dr. Shephard for the day when Raspberry Jam started leaking from his neckhole.)

Photobucket
(“Hello, Oceanic? Can you connect me with Corpse Baggage Claim?”)

Photobucket
(I still think this is a step up from Aaron.)

Photobucket
(“Claire, I’m telling you this as a friend. You smell like cat food and butthole.”)

Photobucket
(I get the feeling that Jack’s still drinking a little.)

Photobucket
(Hey, look! It’s an XKCD comic! And guess what? IT’S NOT F**KING FUNNY!!!)

Photobucket
(Raise glass of alcohol to lips. Swallow. Congratulations, you’re officially a bass player.)

Photobucket
(“I don’t know how to break this to you, but…you ever see Eraserhead?”)

Photobucket
(“I’m drunk! Let’s play darts!”)

Photobucket
(“Hurley, I’m going to let you in on a secret. I accidentally dropped a can of OFF! into the campfire behind me, so I’d estimate that we have about two seconds before our eyebrows get blown clean off.”)

Photobucket
(“Ben, did I ever tell you about the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville? I needed a new heel for my shoe, so I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville back in those days. I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em. ‘Give me five bees for a quarter,’ you’d say. Now where were we? Oh yeah—the important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get were those big yellow ones…”)

Photobucket
(Matthew Fox, a man with thousands of hours of television and film experience, looks directly into the camera, instantly destroying suspension of disbelief and causing seven million viewers to shit themselves in unison.)

Photobucket
(“I’m terribly sorry, Mr. Hume, but I regret to inform you that you are hereby banned for life from all Carnival Cruise ships.”)

Photobucket
(“I can’t live in a world without whiskey! And Penny! But mostly whiskey!”)

Photobucket
(“Well, here you go, Ana Lucia. $125,000 to never show up on this show ever again.”)

Photobucket
(Sawyer went to the Wile E. Coyote Police School.)

Photobucket
(“Christ, you run one Korean chick headlong into a tree, and she treats you like the Antichrist.”)

Photobucket
(Rodin’s sequel to ‘The Thinker,’ ‘The Drinker.’)

Photobucket
(“Do you believe in fate? No? Well, do you believe in SEX?”)

Photobucket
(Sawyer accidentally sits on his badge.)

Photobucket
(“WAAAAAALLLLLLT!!!!”)

Thanks for reading. Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your day and be sure to come back tomorrow for the final Lost Friday ever.

Lost Wednesday – Season 6 Caption Edition.

Photobucket

After a stunning, beautiful, philosophical and maddening finale (that I loved), we’re just two days away from the final Lost Friday ever here on the CDP. On our way there, let’s take a couple days to recap some of the best captions that Season 6 had to offer. Please enjoy.

Photobucket
(Ladies and Gentlemen, I give to you…the Chosen One.)

Photobucket
(“Man, that was one hell of a Saved By The Bell marathon.”)

Photobucket
(Much like a salmon in heat, Jack jumps out of the water and into the boat.)

Photobucket
(Jack, wracked by the pain of losing his father, sits entranced as his cat defecates on top of his desk for six minutes, doing absolutely nothing to intervene.)

Photobucket
(“Zzzzzz….HobbitHobbitHobbit….Zzzzzz…..HobbitHobbitHobbit…”)

Photobucket
(“One, two, three, FOUR. We’re doing to do it FOUR TIMES, so suck on that, bellhop.”)

Photobucket
(“Not to be rude or anything, but seriously, how did your head get so square? Did your parents raise you in a milk crate?”)

Photobucket
(“I think that your mouth is a Candidate…for my tongue.”)

Photobucket
(“I HATE OWL CITY!”)

Photobucket
(These are the remnants of the Black Hole Of Suck created when George W. Bush high-fived Jerry Jones from a luxury box in Dallas Stadium. There were no survivors.)

Photobucket
(“Have you seen my CON-DISH-AHH-NAH??!?“)

Photobucket
(Jack’s first day with Photo Booth.)

Photobucket
(Kate looks like an absolute angel when she’s sleeping.)

Photobucket
(Unbeknownst to the castaways, Jack had been puking into the water supply for months.)

Photobucket
(“Did Jack just puke into my bottle?”)

Photobucket
(“I have to show you this spider bite; it’s like a clown nose full of pus.”)

Photobucket
(“YESSS!”)

Photobucket
(Juliet secretly hopes that by detonating the H-bomb, she can go back in time and choose not to star in V.)

Photobucket
(“Call me Mr. Flintstone; I just made your bed rock.”)

Photobucket
(“GOODBYE STOP SIGN!”)

Photobucket
(“Do you want me to turn off the lights so your skin doesn’t melt?”)

Photobucket
(Out of all the ways Sawyer thought he’d die on the Island, runaway airplane was not one of them.)

Photobucket
(“So, what does it feel like to sleep with the only woman I’ve ever loved?”)

Photobucket
(In mid-conversation, Locke shoots a guy off in the distance.)

Photobucket
(“Who has two thumbs and loves eggs? This guy.”)

Photobucket
(“MUFFIN PENIS!”)

Thanks for reading. Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your day and come back tomorrow for 26 more of your favorite Season 6 captions.

Lost Friday – "What They Died For."

Photobucket

The penultimate Lost Friday is upon us. The end is near.

You know, for a guy that has devoted the last six years of his life to a television show, you’d think that I’d be heartbroken about Lost coming to an end. You’d think that for the weeks and months to follow, I’d brokenly stumble through life alone and afraid, like a mother duck that just watched all 15 of her babies fall through the sewer grate one at a time. Truth is, I already do that, and truthier still, I’m more than happy to see Lost go.

I’m not sad, depressed, bummed or bittersweet. I’m excited and thrilled to know that one of my favorite TV shows of all-time is getting the proper sendoff that it deserves. I’m going to have a barbecue, drink about eleventy-thousand bottles of Miller High Life and enjoy the best-written and most engaging TV drama in history, because hey, that’s what we all deserve to do. At the very least, we owe it to ourselves for sticking it out to the very end (ratings have been as high as 20 million in Season One, and as low at 7 million in Season Six).

We’re not going to get every question answered. Probably not even a quarter of them. Furthermore, a lot of ‘questions’ have already been answered in some sort of roundabout way, and that’s as good as it’s going to get. I’ve accepted this. After 120 episodes of whispers and mysteries, expecting the writers to break their time-tested storytelling formula to merely put the fans at ease is a cop out. The feeling of confusion is the state that we’re supposed to be in when we watch Lost.

I’ve never, not once, watched an episode and walked away feeling as if I totally understood. And in this day and age of freeze-framing, online discussion and merciless fanboy dissection, that is a nearly impossible feat to achieve. What’s more, they took all of that confusion, all of that mystery and frustration, and somehow turned it into the most fun, worthwhile and philosophically deep series we’ve ever seen.

The secret to Lost isn’t the writers and producers. It’s not the beautiful Island location, music and cinematography. The money spent on the most expensive (and greatest) Pilot episode in Television history. It’s not the twisted, theme-driven plotline of redemption, faith and free will. It’s not the humor, violence, double-crossing, sex or explosions. Much like what Jacob has always known, the secret to the Island (and the show) is the cast of characters that have been invited; the cast of characters we’ve watched for so long now. A cast unlike any other; a deep, rich, diverse crew of established and unknown actors and actresses, forming a seamless, interwoven bond between anything and everything thrown at them.

The writers did such a good job with character development, that each and every character on Lost could have gotten their own personal TV series, and it would have been interesting and watchable. And we’re talking dozens of characters, here. However, none of that would have meant anything had we not cared about these people to begin with. What would Lost have been like had Josh Holloway not played Sawyer? Michael Emerson as Ben? Terry O’Quinn as Locke?

Creating a character in a Writer’s Room is one thing, but these people brought these folks to life in a way that’s absolutely admirable in retrospect, and I’m presuming that a huge amount of fame, wealth and work is lined up for each and every member of the cast now that Lost is no longer their 9-to-5 (you’re telling me that you wouldn’t watch a romantic comedy starring Josh Holloway and Evangeline Lilly?). Don’t worry about never seeing these people again, because for a lot of them, their careers are just beginning.

Lost can be watched and enjoyed on multiple levels. It can be dissected on a base, character level. A mythological level. Even a morality, theme-based level. You can watch it because it brings to light a number of religious and spiritual theories that no other television show had the intelligence to make interesting. Also you can watch it merely because you think that Yunjin Kim is adorable. Anything you could possibly want is there for the taking in some way.

As Jacob said, everyone is flawed. The heroes are anti-heroes. The villains force you to feel sympathetic for them. Benjamin Linus may go down in TV history as the most evil, manipulative psychopath of all-time, yet I’m still rooting for him to have a happy ending, as I find myself pitying him and his circumstances every other week. That’s beautiful. That’s just like real life.

On Sunday, we’re going to sit in front of our televisions and watch a massive Lost retrospective from 6-8pm Central. There, they will go over all of the talking points I mentioned, along with all the reasons why the show has changed the very landscape of modern entertainment (their mobisodes and alternate-reality games made the Internet explode and allowed for constant theorization and interaction, a platform that will probably become the norm within the next decade). As we watch, we may feel a certain sense of pride. A sense that maybe, we as fans had a little something to do with its success. A sense that we’ve all been in this together from Day One, and now, we’re all finally getting to experience what we’ve been waiting for as a single unit.

Then, from 8-10:30pm Central, we’re going to watch the feature film-length series finale. Not one, not two, but two-and-a-half hours of Lost, culminating with the final curtain at 11pm Central, as the cast and crew show up on Jimmy Kimmel Live to bask in their job well done (and show alternate endings, which is a can’t miss).

Then, well…that’s it. It’s over. It’s finally over.

You know, for a guy that has devoted the last six years of his life to a television show, you’d think that I’d be heartbroken about Lost coming to an end. However, I couldn’t be more excited. When I started the CDP in 2004, Lost didn’t even exist as a television show, so how was I to know that in addition to my personal essays, I’d go on to write thousands of pages of material about it? Actually earn fans and readers because of it? It’s been good to me in many ways, and I’m more than ready for The End.

So, with that in mind, here’s your second-to-last Lost Friday ever. Please enjoy.

Photobucket
“Well, here you go, Ana Lucia. $125,000 to never show up on this show ever again.”

Photobucket
No less than five minutes into her stay, Claire is already walking around the house naked.

Photobucket
“Texting while driving! Texting while driving! Citizen’s arrest!”

Photobucket
“I don’t know how to say this, but…we’re out of toast. I’m so sorry.”

Photobucket
“I’m drunk! Let’s play darts!”

Photobucket
Matthew Fox, a man with thousands of hours of television and film experience, looks directly into the camera, instantly destroying suspension of disbelief and causing seven million viewers to shit themselves in unison.

Photobucket
No! This is such a shame…that he couldn’t slit her throat twice.

Photobucket
“Ben, did I ever tell you about the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville? I needed a new heel for my shoe, so I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville back in those days. I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em. ‘Give me five bees for a quarter,’ you’d say. Now where were we? Oh yeah—the important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get were those big yellow ones…”

Photobucket
“Drop the Toaster Strudel.”

Photobucket
You may notice that Michael Emerson is sporting a real-life black eye in this scene. It was given to him by accident during the scene where Desmond pummels him in the school parking lot. Don’t say I never taught you anything.

Photobucket
“NO ME NO CRAZY”

Photobucket
“Hurley, I’m going to let you in on a secret. I accidentally dropped a can of OFF! into the campfire behind me, so I’d estimate that we have about two seconds before our eyebrows get blown clean off.”

Photobucket
All the medical experience in the world couldn’t prepare Dr. Shephard for the day when Raspberry Jam started leaking from his neckhole.

Photobucket
“Give me back my burlap sleeves. Immediately.”

Photobucket
“WAAAAAAALLLLLLT!!!!!”

There you have it. 106 recaps down, just one more to go. Enjoy the finale this weekend, but remember to come back here next week, because Lost doesn’t end until the CDP says so. Sound off in the comments section and catch up on Season 6 of Lost Friday by following the links below. Bye.

Season 6 – Episode 1/2.
Season 6 – Episode 3.
Season 6 – Episode 4.
Season 6 – Episode 5.
Season 6 – Episode 6.
Season 6 – Episode 7.
Season 6 – Episode 8.
Season 6 – Episode 9.
Season 6 – Episode 10.
Season 6 – Episode 11.
Season 6 – Episode 12.
Season 6 – Episode 13.
Season 6 – Episode 14.
Season 6 – Episode 15.
I’m On Twitter.
I’m On Facebook.

CDP Wayback Machine – Genesis/Super NES Edition.

(Originally published July 2009.)

In the past, we here at the CDP have counted down our favorite NES games of all-time, as well as our favorite Atari 2600 games of all-time (Part 1 here, Part 2 here). So it’s due time that we move into the 16-Bit Era and introduce our favorite games for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis as well.

Before any fanboys and gamer dorks have an aneurysm or nerdgasm over some countdown atrocity I’m certain to commit along the way, understand that this is my own personal list based on Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis games that I’ve been fortunate enough to play and own over the last 18 years, and by no means is a complete document of well-researched history. Please enjoy.


(#16: Super Punch-Out!!)

20. Super Bomberman
19. Star Fox
18. Lemmings
17. Ninja Gaiden Trilogy
16. Super Punch-Out!!


(#12: F-Zero)

15. Mega Man X
14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time
13. SimCity
12. F-Zero
11. Chrono Trigger


(#9: Super Metroid)

10. Super Castlevania IV
9. Super Metroid
8. Street Fighter II: Turbo
7. Donkey Kong Country
6. Super Mario All-Stars


5. Mega Man 7


4
. Final Fantasy III


3. Super Mario Kart


2. Super Mario World


1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Boom, roasted. Let’s move on.

And now, my Top 20 Sega Genesis games. Please enjoy.


(#16: Golden Axe)

20. Jurassic Park
19. Evander Holyfield’s “Real Deal” Boxing
18. PGA Tour Golf
17. Earthworm Jim
16. Golden Axe


(#15: Zombies Ate My Neighbors)

15. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
14. Road Rash
13. Super Smash TV
12. Sonic & Knuckles
11. Ghouls ‘N Ghosts


(#9: Splatterhouse 2)

10. NHL ‘95
9. Splatterhouse 2
8. Phantasy Star IV
7. Sonic The Hedgehog
6. Pit-Fighter


5. NBA Jam


4. Madden NFL ’95


3. Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition


2. Mortal Kombat (I & II)


1. Streets of Rage 2

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.Lost Friday arrives in less than 24 hours.

CDP Wayback Machine – Generic Dudes Edition.

Top 15 NES Games Of All-Time.
(Originally Published May 2008.)

Welcome to The CDP’s Top 15 NES Games Of All-Time. It’s loaded with links, clips, pop culture goodness and various other things that will entertain you thusly if you have the patience to check out everything I’ve thrown into it (and if you are a child or man-child of the 80’s). Please enjoy.

It should also be noted that this is a list of my favorite NES games, not some be-all-to-end-all list that I think you’ll agree entirely with. Furthermore, if you feel the need to explain in detail why Castlevania was better than Metal Gear, chances are that we’re going to end up being friends anyway. Let’s go.

Pre-Countdown Honorable Mentions go to: Castlevania (for being scary), Contra (for being extremely difficult without the Konami Code), Ghouls-‘N-Ghosts (for being absolutely impossible), Ninja Gaiden (for the kickass storyline), Final Fantasy (for being Final freaking Fantasy) & Double Dragon II (for the Cyclone Spin Kick).

Super Mario Bros. 2.

15. Super Mario Bros. 2

SMB2 is hard. Really hard. Interest-rate mortgage calculation over 30 years, adjusted for inflation with PMI included-hard, as far as this guy is concerned. In fact, I’ve never actually won SMB2 without the assistance of a certain Game Genie-esque device that allowed me to leap over levels and attack Wart with Matrix-style bullet-time speed. Furthermore, SMB2 wasn’t even a Mario game until it was repackaged for American audiences in 1988 (and was featured in the first issue of Nintendo Power, which I proudly own).

That all being said, the music, cartoonish boss appeal and multiple-character selection were all fairly groundbreaking at the time (not to mention the bizarre androgeny of Birdo), and I put many a controller through the drywall trying to reiterate myself with the jumping scheme and new Mario features. I played this game so much as a child, that I named my cat at the time ‘Meowser,’ a take-off of the bad-ass SMB2 boss, Mouser.

Don’t laugh, asshole, I was 7. It’s still one of the more clever things I’ve done.

YouTube Goodness – The Mouser Battle.

Ring King.

14. Ring King

Where to start with the awesomeness that is Ring King? The fighters that ranged in color from Simpsons yellow to nearly-dead E.T. gray? The knockouts that could literally eject your opponent from the stadium? Or how about the most unintentional sexual act in NES history, the imfamous ‘cornerman bob-n’-weave?’ Ring King was a game that was simple to play (the button-mashing controls assured that first-timers could kick any seasoned pro’s ass), which meant that the multi-player tournaments were always a blast.

An underrated NES party game, especially when two n00bz would duke it out for the first time. It normally looked like a Toughman competition; just two guys teeing off on the other’s face until someone up and died. And what’s more fun than that?

YouTube Goodness – Knocked Out Of The Stadium.

R.C. Pro-Am.

13. R.C. Pro-Am

There are many NES-related moments that we can all, as retro gamers, remember fondly. In my opinion, there was never anything funnier than watching someone attempt to play R.C. Pro-Am for the first time. The control scheme, completely impossible to explain or understand (until it became a permanently ingrained part of your central nervous system), virtually assured that the first 20 attempts at Track 1 would consist of 90-degree pinwheeling into every barrier, wall or oil slick in existence. Once you got it down, you were unstoppable, but when your friend took the reins for the first time, the epic failure was pure bliss.

Special attention goes out to the Yellow Car and its ‘impossible speed’ bursts in later stages of the game; one of the first examples of outright ‘cheating‘ by computer AI. Go to hell, unnamed driver. You’re the reason my trophy room is full of bronze wrenches.

YouTube Goodness – Opening Tracks & The Trophy Room.

TMNT2: The Arcade Game.

12. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game

I have an extremely fond memory of attending a birthday party at Aladdin’s Castle in the 3rd Grade (remember when arcades used to be amazing?). Myself and my three closest friends pooled our ridiculously large amount of game tokens into a small mound under the TMNT cabinet and went to town, winning the game two times in a row.

Girls were gently patting the sweat off of our brows and assisting us with generous sips of Mello Yello as we stayed focused and united. I was Donatello; I was always Donatello. It was one of my most treasured video game achievments; I think we pumped $80 into that damn machine.

I can’t even remember who’s birthday it was that day, solidly proving that the best memories aren’t necessarily the ones that you purposely set out to create.

YouTube Goodness – Rocksteady’s Got April!

The Legend Of Zelda.

11. The Legend Of Zelda

If you ever find yourself talking to me at length about something I couldn’t care less about (and chances are that you are), The Legend Of Zelda theme music is probably running through my head on a constant loop. I’m ashamed to admit that I jumped on the Zelda train a little late in my childhood, but the joy and reward was just the same. Summer nights spent in a friend’s garage, drinking copious amounts of Kool-Aid and listening to C+C Music Factory on the boom box. It’s what memories are made of.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever got that C+C Music Factory tape back. I have a phone call to make.

(EDIT: Zelda is woefully low on this countdown because I rarely had the opportunity to play it as a kid. Don’t bitch.)

YouTube Goodness – One Of The Best Commercials Ever.

Excitebike.

10. Excitebike

The overwhelming frustration of overheating mere inches from the finish line. Creating a custom track that launched you directly into a wall on purpose. Tripping up opponents just before an obstacle that sent them slo-mo tumbling for fifteen seconds straight. Excitebike was one of those games that absolutely everyone had, so we’re mostly united in our gaming experiences.

I was playing Grand Prix for the Atari 2600 a few weeks ago (a game that I called ‘Grand Pricks’ in 1988, because I didn’t know any better), and it made me long for Excitebike; the image of your character standing yards away from the Top 3 finishers, head bowed in shame, is one of the more psychologically damaging moments of failure in early gaming history. They should have just showed me a picture of my mom getting kicked in the stomach by Darth Vader; it may have hurt a little less.

YouTube Goodness – Knocking Out Track 5.

Tecmo Super Bowl.

9. Tecmo Super Bowl

Forget Madden. It’s well-documented that Tecmo Super Bowl is the greatest football game in history. Tournaments are still held all over the nation on a weekly basis, and YouTube clips of 500-yard, quarter-length scampers are plentiful. This is the game that will keep the fond memory of Christian ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Okoye in my head forever, as the game designers simply threw their hands in the air one night and said, “You know what? Screw everything; let’s just make him impossible to tackle.”

That, my friends, is awesome. “No fair; you can’t be the Chiefs!

YouTube Goodness – Superman Okoye Destroys The Colts.

Mega Man 2.

8. Mega Man 2

Taken from the Mega Man 2 Wikipedia page: “Mega Man 2 was named by GameSpot as one of ‘The Greatest Games of All Time.’ It was also honored in Nintendo Power’s ‘Top 200 Nintendo Games Ever’ list, ranked at number 33. Creator Keiji Inafune claims the success of Mega Man 2 is what made the Mega Man series a hit that continues to spawn sequels.

I couldn’t have said this better myself. Furthermore, I can’t tell you how many ‘Wood Man’ jokes I’ve made over the years. Heh-heh….wood.’

Penis.

YouTube Goodness – The Timeless Introduction To Mega Man 2.

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

7. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Well, here’s one we can all probably agree on. The cast of characters was comedic and all-encompassing. The ‘Dream Fight’ code is etched in our subconscious until the end of time (right off the top of my head: 007-373-5963). The sweat-drenched survival of the first 90 seconds with Iron Mike. Trailing behind Doc Louis’ bike while jogging in a pink tracksuit past the Statue Of Liberty. King Hippo. It’s all here.

Punch-Out!! is one of those games that I will still be playing and enjoying when I’m 50, and maybe by then I’ll get the timing down with Super Macho Man. I once had to dodge his ‘Super Spin Punch’ 38 damn times in a row.

As a side note, I didn’t actually win this game until I was in my late teens, and as I celebrated this long-awaited accomplishment alone in my bedroom, I became acutely aware that good memories are worthless unless they can be shared. Hours later, however, I lost my virginity, so I’d say it was a pretty good day for me.

YouTube Goodness – Iron Mike Gets Owned.

Super Mario Bros.

6. Super Mario Bros.

I once read an IGN or GameSpy article proclaiming that “Super Mario Bros. IS gaming.” This is unquestionably true; it launched a rebirth of video gaming that has been doing nothing but pick up steam and generate billions of profitable dollars from losers like me for the last 22 years. I cannot offer anything that hasn’t already been said in praise of SMB, nor can I properly convey its importance to technology and global culture.

What I can tell you is that the first time I won SMB, I was horribly sick with the flu, and in my overly-hyper celebration, yodeled groceries directly into the box fan whirring in my grandparents’ living room. Whatever splatteriffic result you’re imagining in your head, I can assure you it was actually far worse. It still didn’t deter my celebration; how could it?

YouTube Goodness – Amazing SMB Race.

Metroid.

5. Metroid

Metroid has been considered by many to be the greatest NES game ever made, for a number of reasons. The amazing weapons, storyline and unparalleled code system. The weeks of sleepless nights it took to finally take down the Mother Brain. The twist ending of having to escape the lair to avoid death, even after defeating the boss. And of course, the ultimate twist ending, revealing that our main character and bad-ass hero was actually a woman. That revelation alone transcended Metroid into the stratusphere when it comes to games that had a cultural impact, with endless sequels and legions of fans.

The first time I battled a Metroid, I distinctively remember yelping in terror. Those things were a goddamn nightmare, as I’ve always had a problem with things that latched onto other things and sucked their lives dry. Like David Spade.

YouTube Goodness – The Final Battle & Best Ending.

Metal Gear.

4. Metal Gear

The beginning of what is probably the greatest action franchise in gaming history. This one had it all: Spying. Traitors. Intrigue. Weapons galore. The glorification of cigarettes. The final twist and realization that your trusted boss has been setting you up for the fall from the very beginning, and it’s up to you to take him out once and for all. My ‘Official Metal Gear Map’ is tattered and held together exclusively with Scotch tape and memories, but thinking back to insomniac weekends spent conquering this game is the perfect definition of childhood happiness.

This game is also noted for its ‘Engrish,’ with phrases such as “The truck have started to move!” and “I feel asleep!” Oh, and you get penalized if you shoot the prisoners that you’re trying to capture, so try not to do that, even though they’re sitting there, all tied up and pathetic. Show restraint, Solid Snake (To this day, I’m still baffled that the game designers decided to name their main character after what amounts to nothing more than an erection joke).

YouTube Goodness – The Opening Levels To Metal Gear.

River City Ransom.

3. River City Ransom

River City Ransom has received a cult following and legions of devoted fans (ironically) after being named the ‘Most Underrated NES Game Of All-Time’ by Nintendo Power magazine. And as far as start-to-finish, vague storyline-driven games go, this was one of the most fun games you’ll probably ever play.

Follow the map, beat the piss out of every gang in River City and save your girlfriend. Rob the thugs, hit the stores to buy goods that will make yourself stronger. Nowadays, most games follow this structure; back in the day, River City Ransom was the only game in town. The music was tight, the locations were great, the weapons and violence were supreme and the replayability factor is off the charts. I still play this game.

YouTube Goodness – Basic Clip That Will Convince You Of RCR’s Awesomeness.

Tetris.

2. Tetris

Here it is. The game that gave almost all of its fans Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The game that actually spawned a psychological after-effect known as the ‘Tetris Effect.‘ The game that is so ingrained into our minds and memories that we can actually fantasize about playing a game. Tetris deserves to sit right next to Chess and Poker as one of the greatest games in the history of mankind; a premise so simple and addictive that it changed the lives of arguably billions of people.

It’s f***ing Tetris, man!

YouTube Goodness – You’re Nowhere Near The Best Player On Earth.

Super Mario Bros. 3.

1. Super Mario Bros. 3

February 12, 1990. I had just turned 8 years old one week earlier, and pooled every penny I had received as a gift and ran to Toys-R-Us. There, behind the glass, hung the greatest Nintendo game of all-time. Super Mario Bros. 3. After seeing SMB3 for the first time in Fred Savage film The Wizard the year before (and what a brilliant marketing ploy, by the way), I knew that it was my destiny to conquer this game like a five-dollar whore.

I had the strategy guide. I had the maps. I had the entire Summer to hone my craft, and indeed I did. In the Summer of 1990, I won SMB3 an astounding 100 times, something that I’d argue that nobody else has ever done. I’d get up in the morning, eat breakfast, play some basketball and win SMB3. The next day, I did the same; so on and so forth, until school was back in session.

As depressing as that may sound, it was actually quite amazing. Friends would come over and win with me. I’d win with one life. I’d win using no Warp Zones. I even won some levels by looking into a mirror. It was probably the best Summer ever.

YouTube Goodness – Mario! Mario!

Thanks for reading. Sound off in the comments section and let us know what your favorite NES games are.

CDP Wayback Machine – Pitfall! Edition.

Photobucket
(Originally published June 2008.)

Finally, the second half of the CDP‘s list of the Top 30 Atari 2600 games of all-time. This is my own personal list based on games that I’ve been fortunate enough to play over the last 26 years, and by no means is a complete document of well-researched Atari 2600 history. Please enjoy.

Photobucket

15. Asteroids

Proof that classic and timeless games don’t have to look good at all to be amazing, Asteroids looked identical on almost every platform it was released for, including the 2600. Most games from this era had no ending; you simply played until you died, and that always gave me an anxiety complex at the time. Even though I loved Asteroids, I’m pleased that we’ve more or less moved on from ‘high score’ aspect and focused more on rewarding the victor with a cheap cut scene or poorly-dubbed dialogue. We’ve come so far.

Semper Fi, SS Triangle. Semper Fi.

Photobucket

14. River Raid

River Raid always reminded me of Spy Hunter if it was set in a river (such brilliant insight by a published author). This was yet another one of the many spectacular games created by Activision for the Atari 2600, and one of the more popular at the time; everyone I knew had River Raid before I did. I was never any good at it, but I always came back in an attempt to conquer it, which is a sign of a classic game, in my opinion.

Photobucket

13. Berserk

What an interesting and groundbreaking game. Enemies that couldn’t be killed, one of the first examples of speech synthesis in a cartridge, maze-like levels and a Boss that actually killed players in real-life. If you’ve been previously unaware of Berserk, click the links and get educated on one of the weirder chapters of early gaming history.

PhotobucketPhotobucket

12. Centipede/Millipede

Also known as Panic Attack: The Game, the Centipede/Millipede combo was fast-paced, frantic, worthy only of skilled players and capable of causing all-out brawls between friends competing for high scores. I think I remember getting punched in the face as a direct result of a Centipede marathon. I’m sure I was in the right, whatever the argument was.

Photobucket

11. Crystal Castles

The older I get, the more I appreciate and enjoy Crystal Castles. Sure, ‘Bentley Bear’ is one of the more feminine and un-intimidating lead characters in Video Game history, but this was the first attempt at taking a Pac-Man-style game and putting into the third dimension. There used to be a Crystal Castles machine at the laundromat next to my best friend’s house in the Third Grade, reminding me that the best memories are sometimes made in the most awkward and depressing places. I’m so happy that I own my own washing machine.

Photobucket

10. Seaquest

Seaquest holds an interesting place in my heart for being the only game in history that my mother could destroy me at. She loved this game; absolutely adored it for some reason, and practiced hard and often at consistently taking me to task over and over again. She never showed this level of compassion or obsession for any other game since then, which I find incredibly bizarre, yet endearing. From my own standpoint, the sound effects and gameplay are addictive and the premise is fun and endlessly replayable. I love Seaquest, although probably not as much as my mom did.

Photobucket

9. Breakout

When it comes to simplistic, addictive games, Breakout is nearly on par with Tetris as being stylistically perfect. The ‘seconds to learn, a lifetime to master’ element shines with full-force here, all but cementing Breakout‘s status as a game that will be played for generations to come. No honest storylines, characters or objectives to speak of here, just a fun exercise that has entertained millions for almost 30 years now.

Photobucket

8. Pole Position

The racing game that essentially created all racing games to follow, Pole Position was an arcade staple; In fact, I’ve seen more of these machines at various arcades over the last 20 years than any other games I can think of, with the exception of Ms. Pac-Man. The Atari 2600 transfer wasn’t 100% perfect, but for me, the idea of never having to pay to play Pole Position again was an awesome feeling for my 7-year-old self.

Photobucket

7. Space Invaders

Oh, man. What else is there to say about Space Invaders? The sheer paranoia brought about by the grating sound effects and ever-advancing alien army. The fact that it’s one of the longest-lasting and revered video games ever made. The fact that, even after all these years, it sort of scares me for some reason. There’s just something about Space Invaders that we’re all well-aware of, and that’s neat to me. Maybe the nostalgic feeling of the game has long surpassed the actual credentials that Space Invaders realistically entails, but isn’t that what all good things do?

Photobucket

6. Jungle Hunt

Stage One: Swing through a series of vines. Stage Two: Swim with (and subsequently stab to death) bloodthirsty crocodiles. Stage Three: Jump over/run under advancing boulders of various sizes. Stage Four: Jump over two evil cannibals that plan on eviscerating your girlfriend. Repeat as necessary. The sound was tight, the graphics did exactly what they needed to do, and the realization that the ‘girlfriend’ you just saved was a pigtail-swinging 10-year-old make Jungle Hunt an absolute must-play Atari 2600 classic.

Photobucket

5. Frogger

As you’ve probably noticed with this Top 15 list, it’s really hard to list the shortcomings or downfalls of the bulk of these games. When you talk about the greatest Atari and Arcade classics of all-time, you’re dealing with games that have transcended their electronic limitations and changed our lives in one way or another. Ranking some of these games is arguably next to impossible; they’re all worthy of the highest praise. Frogger is no exception. By taking a simple task, throwing a simple storyline atop of it and adding simple twists to appeal to gamers, Frogger is a perfect example of flawless game creation in action.

With current games boasting 90 minutes of cutscenes, downloadable content, online play and endless button combinations, it’s good to remember that myriad options does not necessarily a classic game make.

Photobucket

4. Spider Fighter

Sweet merciful Jesus, do I love Spider Fighter. Apart from the awesome cover art and downright-disgusting instruction manual art for the game, it is without any uncertainty the fastest and most difficult Atari 2600 game I’ve ever played. You can click on the accompanying link to see the gameplay in action if you wish, which is an absolute blast and improving on just about everything that its influences had created in the past. When it came to producing quality Atari games, Activision was in a class all its own. There is a ‘plug-and-play’ game out there now with Spider Fighter on it; I strongly suggest you shell out the $9.95 and own it for yourself.

Photobucket

3. Missile Command

February 1, 1987. A day which will live in infamy. The Atari 2600 is given to me by my parents for my 5th birthday, which includes a copy of Missile Command. A mere handful of hours later, Missile Command becomes the very first of hundreds of video games that I win. The feeling was incredible, and I’ve been a changed man ever since. My sister was born the day prior to this, but I’ll stand firm in my theory that my Missile Command victory had the longest and most profound effect on me.

Photobucket

2. Pitfall!

Three years before Super Mario Bros. took over the world, Pitfall Harry made gaming history for the Atari 2600. With an astounding 2.6 million copies sold, Pitfall! is one of the most popular cartridge games ever made, and rightfully so. This was a game; there were objectives. There was a beginning and an end (not a great one, but a definitive ending nonetheless). There was strategy, a time limit, and many different ways to complete your missions. In short, this was a brilliant example of what would later become the home gaming explosion of the late-80’s. For my money, Pitfall! was the greatest game ever created specifically for the Atari 2600.

Photobucket

1. Dig Dug

After all this time, after all these years and after all these advances in entertainment and video game technology, there is one game on this Top 30 list that I will come back to again and again, and it’s Dig Dug. It’s the perfect combination of strategy, pattern recognition, high score maximization, sound effects and theme music (which only plays if you’re moving around, hilariously), increasingly difficult levels and the feeling that you can always get better at it. Dig Dug is a true, original classic. It’s still fun, still conjures up good feelings and memories and can be played by anyone. To me, it’s what best represents the Atari 2600 Age, and those who were fortunate enough to live in it.

Thanks for reading. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

CDP Wayback Machine – Kaboom! Edition.

Photobucket
(Originally published June 2008.)

Finally, the first half of the CDP‘s list of the Top 30 Atari 2600 games of all-time. This is my own personal list based on games that I’ve been fortunate enough to play over the last 22 years, and by no means is a complete document of well-researched Atari 2600 history. Please enjoy.

Photobucket

30. Air Raid

Air Raid is one of only two games on this list that I haven’t actually played. I did, however, feel the need to include it for the sheer rarity and mystery that it conjures. The shape of the cartridge. The fact that it’s worth thousands. The artwork on the game itself. This all perfectly represents the nostalgia and wide-eyed wonder of the Atari Age.

Photobucket

29. Star Raiders

Star Raiders utilized a computer keyboard that I didn’t have the instructions for in 1986, so for the first year that I owned the game, it was essentially impossible to play. Once I located the manual and keypad directions, it became significantly more fun, as you would imagine.

Photobucket

28. Bobby Is Going Home

Sure, Bobby Is Going Home was a bit of a Pitfall!-style ripoff, but at least they picked a decent game to cannibalize. I played (and enjoyed the hell out of) this game when I was in the 4th Grade; it belonged to an old friend named Dave. Judging by how rare the game appears to be now, I certainly hope he held onto it.

Photobucket

27. Atlantis

Combining elements of Space Invaders and Missile Command, Atlantis is a game that holds up just as well as the afformentioned classics (Just to be sure, I played it again last weekend). The only thing I don’t like about it is the generic cover art for the cartridge. It’s almost as if they knew it was the generic equivalent to Missile Command, so they packaged it as accordingly.

Photobucket

26. Grand Prix

I hate Grand Prix. Loathe it with the blazing intensity of a thousand suns. A few months ago, I almost broke the game over my knee. Why? Because Grand Prix reminds me that I’m an idiot. With just a tiny bit of memorization and pattern recognition, you can blaze through racetracks like a man possessed. Hell, you could probably train a chimp to play this game better than me. I on the other hand, have yet to get a mere 70-second track devoted to memory. This is, presumably, because I’m an idiot, and Grand Prix sucks for reminding me of that.

Photobucket

25. Haunted House

Without Haunted House, there might not have been a Resident Evil. Seriously. The survival horror genre hadn’t been invented before Haunted House forced you to walk through a dark mansion in an attempt to retrieve an urn from the ghost of the former owner. On long-term influence alone, Haunted House deserves recognition.

Photobucket

24. Escape From The Mindmaster

This was the other game on this list that I actually haven’t played for myself. I did, however, watch someone play it for hours on end (I didn’t own the cassette add-on required to play it), and it was positively groundbreaking and expansive for its time and primitive technology. And while it looks to be nothing more than an early example of that maze Screen Saver that comes pre-loaded in Windows 95, the mini-games and twists were more than enough to keep you interested for weeks.

Photobucket

23. Galaxian

This would be a good time to explain some nuts and bolts that went into this Top 30 countdown. I’m trying to rank my favorite Atari 2600 games of all-time, not ‘arcade games in general.’ This needs to be taken into consideration when you see that games like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Q-Bert have been omitted from the list. The reason being is that while these were timeless and classic arcade games, they more or less sucked a boatload of ass when reformatted for the 2600. Galaxian is a little bit of both; not graphic-intensive enough to suffer when re-packaged, and not memorable enough to sit alongside of multi-format classics like Asteroids and Space Invaders.

Photobucket

22. Yar’s Revenge

Much like Star Raiders, Yar’s Revenge was not a ‘jump right in’ sort of game if you were lacking the instruction booklet. However, once you understood the missions at hand, it became a strategy masterpiece for the 2600; perhaps overrated in 2008 but underrated at the time of release. Also, the sound effects for this game were fairly epic, and I just read that in 2005, a sequel was created. Rad.

Photobucket

21. Joust

Joust holds a bittersweet place in my heart for being the final Atari 2600 game that I purchased new as a kid. I think it cost me $35, which is absolutely hilarious to me now that I can find used copies for a quarter at the Video Game X-Change at the East Towne Mall.

Photobucket

20. Adventure

The main thing I want to mention about Adventure is the same thing that everyone likes to mention concerning Adventure. Apart from the fact that it’s a groundbreaking-er, adventure game, it’s the first instance of an ‘easter egg’ in a video cartridge. By following a secret area, a hidden screen reveals the name of the game’s creator, thus paving the way for disgruntled developers to implant messages into their games for decades to come.

Photobucket

19. Defender

Boy, I loved Defender, but did I suck at it. In fact, this game is constantly referred to as one of the most difficult of all-time. I haven’t played it on the 2600 or at an arcade for years, and with good reason. I’m too old to get sodomized so violently by a 30 year old game that I look back upon so fondly. It would sort of like imagining your grandmother in hell.

Photobucket

18. Burgertime

Burgertime was one of those great arcade games that transferred less-than-beautifully onto the 2600, but I still included it because it was still endlessly replayable and just as fun. Also, I’d say that this was a precursor to Tetris in getting my Obsessive-Compulsive disorder on the right track.

Photobucket

17. Tempest

A 3-D vector game with no ending that was created when the main developer had a nightmare about monsters crawling out of holes in the ground to kill him. You know what; I don’t even care that the Atari 2600 port of Tempest never got past the prototype stage; this game ruled.

Photobucket

16. Kaboom!

This paddle-based game relied on you catching and defusing bombs with buckets of water. Kaboom! was yet another of the ‘catching things before they hit other things’ game, but a high score of 3,000 points or more got you access into the Activision ‘Bucket Brigade;’ an exclusive club that I have yet to be invited into.

The conclusion to the Top 30 will arrive tomorrow. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.