Semantic Nonsense: Another Medieval Fireworks

Another Another Metroid II Remake

Yeah, I know Geoff mentioned this in the E3 roundup, but I wanted to dig a little deeper. Why? Because Samus Returns is one hell of a gamble for Nintendo.

You might think that putting together a 2-D (ish) Metroid for the 3DS after all this fan demand and also after the box office bust that was Federation Force would be a slam-dunk move. And it looks good on paper. But there’s one big problem: AM2R is damn-near perfect and less than a year separates it from Samus Returns.

For Samus Returns to be worthwhile, it has to be more, or at least different. And the trailer certainly looks like the game is going in a different direction than AM2R, which has a faithfully recreated base from the original game massively embellished with whatever was necessary to bring it up to Zero Mission standards.

Judging from the wide variety of new types of evolved metroids shown in the preview, Samus Returns appears to go beyond a straight-up remake and actually iterate and expand on the concepts of Metroid II. And judging from the combat and graphic style, it also seeks to iterate on Other M. Naturally, I’m a little concerned. Doubly so when I hear the game is being handed not by Nintendo, but by the makers of the horribly uninspired Castlevania: lords of Shadow — Mirror of Fate. Mercury Steam has yet to prove they can do a proper Metroidvania so I hope they learned a few lessons from Castlevania.

Medieval Times

Since I no longer live under a rock, it’s time to do a few things I had wanted to try years ago. One of these things was to eat a large hunk of meat with my bare hands while grown men smash lances against each other’s shields.

While the fighters do complete the weapons triangle with swords and axes (and then kill the balance with maces, halberds and morning stars), combat is but the third act of the performance. First and foremost comes pageantry and horsemanship.

The entire performance is a series of demonstrations with a framing narrative acted out by staff. There’s a lot of time killing and technical demonstrations of horseback riding and horse dancing, as they seem to want to make sure that there is ample time for the audience to be served the four courses of their meal before the jousting and ground combat begins.

The fighting is — by necessity — as choreographed as the horse dancing, but the more experienced performers put on a great show of it. You can more-or-less tell their skill level by how quickly they move.

Going to Medieval Times is not for the feint of wallet, however. The no-frills tickets to dinner and a show cost nearly $60, and it only goes up from there. The souvenirs can be okay if you shop smart. Stuff for the kids to play with commands sky-high prices, but thing like mugs are very reasonable.

I’m not sorry I went, but I would have enjoyed myself way more if I were half my age.

Fireworks Oreos

For a company that LOVES its integrated brand promotion (Peeps Oreos, Reese’s Oreos, etc.), you think they would be advertising the inclusion of Pop Rocks on the package. But apparently the marketing team fumbled the sale, as Oreo was left using generic “popping candy” for these.

But enough of that nonsense, the important part is how they taste. For the most part, Fireworks Oreos are regular Oreos. The not-Pop Rocks are mixed in with the cream, and have a bit of a delayed response to them. The popping will not commence until the rocks are no longer drowning in the cream. Sometimes, this happens naturally as you chew, sometimes it doesn’t.

Protip: You can reliably force the issue by using your tongue to thin out the cream.

When the fireworks go off, they’re alright. There’s not enough not-Pop Rocks in a single cookie to make a big show out of it, but you’ll know they are there. Overall, they are nice for the novelty, but that’s about it. Still, this is probably the only gimmick Oreo that people who just want a regular Oreo can eat just fine.

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