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March 18, 2006 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Need more input! I need suggestions for games/reading/comics/music etc.

I have gotten a lot of great ideas for stuff to entertain me from fellow MeFites, from books, comics, movies and games. I'd like a little help with some further suggestions and also, more usefully other websites that might help me find stuff for myself in the future.

Comics - I am a huge fan of Garth Ennis, Alan Moore etc. Current favourites include Punisher MAX and Runaways. I would like some suggestions for excellent new (or classic) comics and also websites where there is a slightly more mature tone than "OMG! Spidey Suxxorz!"

Movies - Again I'm looking for a place that can discuss movies with a modicum of maturity (i.e. the exact polar opposite of the IMDB comments section). I like all sorts of movies from cheesy kung fu flicks to foreign art house flicks. I'd like recommendations for websites that can deal with any genre in a sensible fashion and appreciates each film for it's intended audience rather than some nebulous standard set by the author's specific taste.

PS2 Games - My XBOX is dead and the PC is old and knackered so my PS2 is all I have to play games on. I need suggestions for games that both by myself and the missus can play - any genre as long as it's entertaining. The only restriction is that my time is limited to maybe an hour of an evening so sprawling RPG epics are not really that easy to play. I'm also looking for a website (again with a slightly mature tone - think Edge magazine style) that is capable of reviewing games without succumbing to the urge to big up a game in exchange for an early review/cash sum. From the recent PS3 thread I've noted Shadows Of The Colossus as a game I'd like to try. My other favourites would be the Soul Calibre series, GTA:SA and Killzone - all great games imo. Suggestions for a 6 year old to play (either with my help or on his own) would also be appreciated.

Books - I'm a terrible stickler for authors. I get one book and if I like it I'll go hunt down everything they've ever done - whilst this is wonderful for collection it does limit my experience of new or lesser known authors. I'm mostly a reader of science fiction but do have a place in my heart for a well written spy novel (I am a particular fan of Gerald Seymour). Ideally I would appreciate a website that introduces me to new authors, preferably with short sections of the novels to get a feel for them. Again a sensible reviewing system would be useful - amazon kind of meets the requirements were it not for the sort of people who review the books I normally like having a room-temperature IQ.

I know it's a lot to ask in all one question but for some bizarre reason I trust in the combined wisdom of the AskMeFite hordes to direct me to their own trusted resources. Any personal suggestions you make will also be considered. As required I shall dip in to steer the course of the thread to my own preferences if that's okay, otherwise - have at it and my thanks in advance.
posted by longbaugh to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: PS2 -- Katamari Damacy and We Love Katamari. Good for the six year old, good for you.
posted by sugarfish at 9:22 AM on March 18, 2006

Sandman for comics - start from the beginning - the very best place to start.
posted by the giant pill at 10:02 AM on March 18, 2006

Best answer: PS2 game recommendation: You have absolutely got to buy Guitar Hero. In case you haven't heard of it, it's a guitar playing simulation that comes with a guitar-shaped controller that mimics the mechanics of guitar playing pretty well. It's not only fun to play, but it's fun to watch being played; there's a performance aspect to it that some might find embarrassing, but you get past any possible embarrassment and get drawn into the game pretty quickly. I'd say it's darn near the best game I've played in the past five years... and it's interesting to gamers and non-gamers alike because of the music hook.

For other recommendations, you might like Panels and Pixels, which is a comics and video game blog written by Chris Mautner.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:07 AM on March 18, 2006

Best answer: Comics: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Warren Ellis' Planetary and Transmetropolitan.
PS2: Ico. Ratchet & Clank. Space Channel 5.
posted by Aknaton at 10:37 AM on March 18, 2006

Best answer: For comics, I'm assuming you've read Gaiman's Sandman, Grant Morrison's The Invisibles. and Warren Ellis's stuff (particularly Transmetropolitan.) If you haven't, those three authors [along with Moore, Ennis, etc.] are generally considered some of the best authors working in comics in the late eighties and nineties. Ellis and Morrison are still active in the comics industry, although since Sandman, Gaiman's been focusing on books and movies.
posted by ubersturm at 10:58 AM on March 18, 2006

Best answer: Comics...Dear God, not Sandman. Goth nonsense. Try Joe Sacco's 'Palestine', or Daniel Clowes' 'Ghost World', or Michael Kuperman's 'Snake and Bacon'. Or 'Hey, Wait' by Jason. Or Chester Brown's 'Ed The Happy Clown'. These are particularly good if you're sick of futuristic adolescent stuff featuring lots of characters wearing black shades.

Games; 'Psychonauts' was a flop with the public, but it is a stunning, stunning game. I actually wrote a fan letter to the creators, which I have never, ever done before.
posted by Mrs.Doyle at 11:15 AM on March 18, 2006

Response by poster: Story so far - Guitar Hero is now on the list; thanks MegoSteve. I've read Sandman (and some of Gaiman's fictional books - Neverwhere & American God's for example). I've not heard of Transmetropolitan and I am ashamed to say I haven't seen anything by Warren Ellis at all so I will look into that tonight - more than one person so far has recommended it so that bodes well. For further information to help you make suggestions I have seen pretty much everything Alan Moore did prior to ABC (though I have got both LoEG books). I've stumbled through quite a bit of Grant Morrison's work, all the way from Zoids(!) to The Invisibles via Animal Man which I thought was great. I'm not usually into superheroes, at least costumed ones - hence my choice of the punisher and runaways as examples.

Ico is on the list it's kind of related to Shadow of the Collosus and I've heard some great things about it. The missus is a big fan of rhythm action heheheh and I don't mind a go myself. Keep it coming and thanks for the help so far.
posted by longbaugh at 11:16 AM on March 18, 2006

Ico is a good 'couple' game and I hear that Shadow isn't quite as good with a 'co-pilot'.
posted by Mrs.Doyle at 11:20 AM on March 18, 2006

Seconding Mrs.Doyle's Psychonauts suggestions. i've only played the Xbox version, but it is truly remarkable. As a bonus, it's pretty kid friendly though kind of surreal in several areas.

Comics: it's been a long time, but if you never read them, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac (from Jhonen Vasquez, the guy who created the TV show Invader Zim) was interesting. Also a fan of the original The Tick series. Both have been out for a while and graphic novel omnibus versions are pretty readily available.

Sci-Fi books, i'm a big fan of Harry Harrison, he seems to have three writing styles: silly, pseudo-silly, and serious. Silly would be Bill the Galactic Hero, pseudo-silly would be the Stainless Steel Rat series, and the serious would be his Hammer and Cross series.

just tossing out other titles that i have really enjoyed: Snow Crash, Good Omens, Red Dwarf, anything by Chris Moore (there are several authors with this name, the one i'm thinking of did a book called "Bloodsucking Fiends: a Love Story"). It's not really sci-fi (more fantasy) but Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is huge and engrossing. Books that can easily be read in a day, yet are very enjoyable.

(thankfully, i've used up my parenthetical allotment for the day :)
posted by quin at 1:23 PM on March 18, 2006

I second Mrs.Doyle's suggestion. Psychonauts is a fantiastic, entertaining game.
posted by necessitas at 3:45 PM on March 18, 2006

Best answer: Comics: I, too, abhor Sandman. "Goth nonsense" is a fantastic way to describe it, Mrs. Doyle. You might like Alan Moore's other work: Promethea, Top 10, etc. Also try stuff like Fables, Y: The Last Man, and Powers. All of these are currently being published in both comic books and trade paperbacks, and they're all uniformly excellent.

As for comics web sites, try Progressive Ruin or the Masterworks forums. The former is an often hilarious take on the world of comics from a fellow who works in a comic shop. The latter is a solid discussion forum primarily focused around Marvel and DC reprint projects.

If you're patient, my own comics weblog (Four Color Comics) is gradually picking up steam. I've actually dubbed it "comics for grown-ups", and my aim is to write about comic books and comic strips from a more adult perspective. Obviously, there's still going to be a lot of super-hero related discussion (it's unavoidable, really), but I also intend to focus a fair amount of time on comic strips, and on excellent non-superhero comics and graphic novels. I'm currently testing the site, figuring out what works and doesn't, but it may be of interest to you.
posted by jdroth at 3:53 PM on March 18, 2006

On the off chance you haven't, you should read Douglas Adams' work, starting with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a 5-part trilogy.
posted by chudmonkey at 5:45 PM on March 18, 2006

Best answer: I'm a big fan of Ennis as well, both his Punisher run, Preacher, and Hitman. I actually liked Sandman, but I'll still second jdroth's suggestions of Fables, Y:The Last Man, Powers, and Top Ten. I might add The Walking Dead to that list, and I liked the Light Brigade and Arrowsmith miniseries as well, both of them out in graphic novel format.

Some of the superheroish ones are still fun, like the recent House of M, and if you like Gaiman then there's always Miracleman. Oh, and The Authority and The Planetary are good too.

Try the forums over at or and The Fourth Rail for news/discussions on comics.

For books, I have too many to name here, although I posted about my favorite sci-fi and favorite fantasy books a while back. I will say that I have been absolutely consumed lately by the Richard Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwall, and his other books are fun too. I use the internet book list to get ideas for books, it can be fun to check rankings by others who like the same books I do.
posted by gemmy at 6:28 PM on March 18, 2006

Best answer: I can not strongly enough second the suggestion of Katamari (both one and two) for the PS2. It's easy to learn but not too easy to get good at. It can be played for 5 minutes or 6 hours. It is also very kid friendly without being dumb.

On comics--Astro City, Batman (Dark Knight Returns and First Year) and all the stuff by Joe Sacco. The latest Kabuki was good as well, I thought.

I am not a sci-fi book fan and this next author isn't sci-fi, but many fans of that genre also seem to enjoy Neal Stephenson.

You might look at this previous thread for more comics.
I sometimes use lists of bests for ideas on what to read or listen to. You'll probably find this list useful.
posted by nadawi at 6:50 PM on March 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

comics: the maxx by sam kieth should be out in tpb. heavily, heavily recommended.

ps2: if you think you might like a soccer game, pick up the latest winning eleven or pro evolution soccer (same game under different name depending on where you live).
posted by juv3nal at 9:40 PM on March 18, 2006

oh should mention that winning eleven/pro evo supports multitap & coop play against the computer.
posted by juv3nal at 9:42 PM on March 18, 2006

I'm going to recommend Sandman as well - goth nonsense? Perhaps: but it's wonderfully written, deftly plotted and very imaginative goth nonsense. I enjoyed it hugely. I wouldn't necessarily start at the beginning, though - I didn't think the first books were all that good. Try Brief Lives, which is as close to a self contained story in the universe as the series gets. If you don't like that one, chances are it's not for you.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:17 PM on March 18, 2006

Best answer: For reading about comics, try the Comics Weblog Update page, which tracks the RSS feeds of a wide variety of comics related weblogs to let you know what has been updated. It can be hard wading through the tons of posts, but you'll start to figure out who shares your tastes pretty quickly.

For comics reading: for current stuff you might like, try DMZ (a vertigo series by Brian Wood; Batman: Year 100, a very down-to-earth "future Batman" story by one of my favorites, Paul Pope; or Warren Ellis' current ongoing books, Fell (short, standalone crime stories) and Desolation Jones (twisted espionage). Also, track down the collected series Sleeper. There are 4 books total, it's an excellent, morally ambiguous espionage series with well-integrated superhero elements.
posted by cathodeheart at 10:29 PM on March 18, 2006

Best answer: If you like Ennis, I'm confident that you'll like The Goon, a Bruce Campbell-style zombie pummeler. Lowbrow humor with topnotch art.

Also, if you like Alan Moore, make sure to check out Concrete by Paul Chadwick. A thoughtful, intricate series about the adventures of a man turned into a living rock creature by aliens. Instead of fighting crime, he explores the world around him with fresh eyes. His adventures include climbing Everest, swimming the Atlantic Ocean, working as a stuntman and crossing paths with radical environmentalists. There are four volumes of current reprints, with two more scheduled.

Whiteout is a great hard-boiled detective story set in Antarctica. Queen & Country is an espionage series by the same writer.
posted by JDC8 at 7:42 AM on March 19, 2006

Comics--Have you looked at Supreme Power? Yes, it has superheroes, but it's actually quite well-written with good character development. It's written by J. Michael Straczynski, the creative force behind Babylon 5. The first volume is available in trade paperback.

Books--Anything by Richard K. Morgan. Start with Altered Carbon, a brilliant mesh of sf and noir.
posted by wintermute2_0 at 2:33 PM on March 19, 2006

Response by poster: Just dropping by on the off chance that anyone checks back on this - thanks everyone for your suggestions - Guitar Hero is the awesomest thing ever, Transmetropolitan is fucken fantastic. I've pissed away a very large sum of dough on various suggestions here and just again wanted to thank you all for reading my mind. Not only have your suggestions of specific games/books/comics/etc been great but they've helped me track down related stuff too.

May you forever be blessed with ponies bearing gifts you have selected from glossy catologues. If any of you ever come to Sheffield you may claim your free pint from me.
posted by longbaugh at 5:05 PM on July 19, 2006

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