My Most Anticipated Movie of April 2009: Disneynature’s Earth

This month is light on the releases that I actually want to see. In fact, at this time there is only one film releasing during the pre-summer movie month that I am even interested in.

“Of all the planets in our universe, there is only one we know can support life.”

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Donkey Kong Country Trilogy, My Dream Game

I’m a big fan of the Donkey Kong Country trilogy of games. If anyone asked me what my favorite game is, I’ll say Donkey Kong Country. The level design and game play are both fun and the music is fantastic. Donkey Kong 64 was a sequel, sure, but it wasn’t ever Donkey Kong Country 4 to me.

I would love it if they released an “All-stars” version of the game series, much like Super Mario All-Stars. I’d update the already superb graphics of the original games to be cleaner and more refined, and I would add full motion videos to tell the story that sets each game in motion, only allowing you to play each sequel as you complete the last.

I would then culminate the adventures with a brand new DKC4, in the style of the original trilogy of games.

When it comes to the music in the games, I really liked most of the music in the DKC series, enough to own the soundtracks to them. But when putting together an All-Stars game, I would re-produce the music to have a solid, epic soundtrack. I would take only the best music from all three games and leave out the rest, either re-scoring those tracks to fit in with the beautiful score that is left over, or simply replacing it with music from another game. Case in point: Lakeside Limbo, the first stage of the game.

I would actually love the best music to be fully orchestrated, with a choir to provide added flair.

Another thing that I would do with the games, as it would all be connected, is allow for you to go back through the original games and use any of the playable characters into each of the games. But only after completing the first three DKC games. This would open up a new timing system, as it could lend itself to more secret areas becoming accessible in different areas, with the use of different characters. However, this is something that I would only add, if the first time through the game was still the same, and your time for that game wasn’t effected. I would have any extra time spent, with new bonus levels, be added to a “global time” and not an “individual game time” to keep players happy.

One thing that the Game Boy Advanced versions of the games did was to add new items to collect, such as a camera, to put together photo albums. That was a neat addition, but it was a little bit shocking to see how much it would slow down your time toward the complete percentage when finishing the games. That, I would change into a secondary, over worldly thing, in order to preserve the original gameplay from the SNES editions.

Next, for Donkey Kong Country 4, I would design the game with the same flair as the first one, and elements of DKC2 and DKC3. It would be an epic game with fun, new level-types, as well as familiar level styles.

And that would only be the Donkey Kong Country All-Stars portion. I would also allow you to scroll on, past the first 4 games, into the next collection of updated games. Donkey Kong Land, completely re-done, in the Donkey Kong Country style, with the same beautiful graphics, music and tightened controls to match those of the DKC series. That first DKL was insanely difficult at times, and frustrating at other times, as the screen would blur and you’d lose track of your character. It made things difficult when you’d press a button expecting one thing, but your character wouldn’t respond as quickly, presumably because of the limitations of the Game Boy.

In this way, Donkey Kong Land would become a playable game, and would be a solid entry into the Donkey Kong Country pantheon of games.

I’ve wanted this in a game for over 10 years now, and I finally decided to write something about it.

Now, Nintendo is doing something interesting by re-releasing some of their GameCube titles on Wii with updated control schemes. They are calling it the “Play it on Wii” series. Among the titles getting upgrades are Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Pikmin 1 and 2, Chibi-Robo and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat has been updated, adding new levels, a better control mechanism than the kongas from Donkey Konga, and is now more platform based. Hopefully this makes it more like Donkey Kong Country than it originally was. I never got a chance to play it, but now I’m hoping that this version of it releases in North America, if it is anything like Donkey Kong Country.

Perhaps it could be the first step toward my dream of seeing a Donkey Kong Country Trilogy released some day.

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New Music: The Backstrokes

Melissa Nicklowitz (Vocals) Rob Antecki (Piano & Keyboards) Justin Dore (Guitar) Kyle Tomczyk (Drums)

The Backstrokes: Melissa Nicklowitz (Vocals), Rob Antecki (Piano & Keyboards), Â Justin Dore (Guitar), Kyle Tomczyk (Drums)

A friend of mine named Rob Antecki is in a band called The Backstrokes. He asked that we all share this if we wanted to. I figured I would.

Rob writes:

To the friends and fans of The Backstrokes:

We are happy to announce the release of our debut E.P., “Things to Come.” We have included five songs on this release: “Reflections,” “Haunted Landscape,” “Broken Bicycles,” “To Alina,” and “The Secret.”

For those of you who have been following us, you know that this recording represents a very large investment of time, work, finances, and emotional involvement. With this in mind, we would like to ask you for a favor.

Right now, we are at the ground level of our work together. Everything we have done, we have done on our own and with the generous help of family, friends, and acquaintances who believe in our music. We do not have the luxury of major label (or ANY label) support. This means we are fully responsible for recording and promoting our material.

If you like our music, support our material, ideas (detailed below), and plans for the future, I ask you to please spread the word about us. The best advertising you can give us is to tell your friends, for them to tell their friends, and so on. This favor will only take seconds of your time but would mean the world to us. Almost as important, we encourage you to purchase a copy of our E.P., for which we have provided a convenient and secure link. These will also be available at our concerts. We think $5.00 is a reasonable price for your own convenient, CD quality copy with liner notes. Therefore, please pass our music around to friends and spread the word, but also encourage them to purchase the E.P. if they like it and listen to it. We have many plans for the future, which include a debut album, releasing our work on vinyl, concerts, music videos, and short films. All of us are in school and work, so our time and financial resources are very limited. Anyone seriously involved in music understands how expensive studio time, equipment, CD pressing, and promotions are. Any support you can give us is very much appreciated.

With this said, we would now like to introduce some general principles which guide us in our work.
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Song: Walking Her Home

Here are the lyrics, so far, of a song by Mark Schultz that he performs live, but hasn’t yet finished writing. It’s supposed to be on his next album. I can’t wait to hear the final version of it.

Walking Her Home
Mark Schultz

Lookin back
he sees it all
it was her first date the night he came to call
her dad said “Son, have her home by nine.
Promise me you’ll never leave her side.” (they go out on a date)

He was walking her home
Holding her hand.
Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah (etc)
He remembered where he was the night he fell in love
He was walking her home
He was walking her home

(years pass, because he’s hitting the highlights)

Nursing home
At 92
it was their first night alone in separate rooms
at three am, shook by a storm
and when he awoke, she stood outside his door.
Nurse came down, she’d heard it all
She looked in the room, then down the hall

He was walking her home
to room 103
He needed to be with her so that she could fall asleep
Just for a while
They were 18
She was still more beautiful to him than anything
He was walking her home
He was walking her home