“The End,” indeed.

This is actually feeling quite satisfying and warm, somehow. The show’s not going to be the same anymore — you can see it. Actually, X was, theortically, supposed to be over with this episode — before they, a few months ago, renewed, deciding in the process to move from Vancouver to Hollywood.

With all of that which happened therein, this episode really effectively ended the show. In order for a movie to work, it would have to be much more fast-paced and millitant, as opposed to the cerebral hover the show’s always tended to have. With the X-files destroyed, Samantha’s file in Cancer Man’s hands, and the “truth” all narrowed down to that one boy, the series has suddenly become strongly focused. From two FBI agents just running around covering cases, it’s turned into Mulder and Scully alone vs. the world.

Without the X-files as a tangible quest, a safe retreat in the basement and a path to follow, the two of them are forced to stop dinkering around, hopping from place-to-place randomly, wasting time, slowly investigating everything they see just in case it might be important somehow. It’s like that phase is over, now — the burning of the files was more symbolic than anything, because they are now, as of this episode, effectively useless to them, the path to Mulder’s “truth” right in front of them, outside of the FBI building. The files hold more an emotional value than a physical need for the agents, and the burning again helps to push Mulder and Scully to the action needed for the next step; now they’re motivated. Their “home” has been destroyed.

Also nice how the relationships amongst the characters have been cleared up. Okay; so Krycheck (or however you spell him. . .now I know why people call him “ratboy”) is in league with the “big guys” again, and Cancer Man is now their hired gun. Skinner is no longer Mulder’s boss, per se, but a connection within the FBI. Etcetera.

This episode was really effective in those two ways; cleaning up the plotline and spelling out in simple detail the characters and their associations.

The last few minutes of the show were almost a prologue to the movie. . .I felt all tingly. All I could think, aside from what Mulder and Scully were obviously thinking as they stood there, was “jesus. This is. . .this. . .this is. . .it’s over.” The fact there was no preview for the next episode — and, frankly, the title of the episode itself — kind of made my throat seize up a little. . .even though I know the show will now continue for at least a while longer (albeit, likely, in completely different way).

Castlevania

I just now, after over a decade, finished Castlevania 1 (only by playing the japanese version on the easy setting and saving a lot)… the ending credits say the music is by — “Johnny Bannana,” I believe was the name. Also, they call Simon “Simon Belmondo.” There are mounds of credits such as “Plot: Brahm Stoker” and “Frankenstein: Boris Karloff”… hm.

I finally downloaded an msx emulator and frontend, in order to play Vampire Killer. The graphics in it blow the nes version away, but it’s impossible to play. It makes the original US ver of Castlevania seem like a pushover…

You can see sorta’ see how VK is a game-in-development… how, when they remade it for the nes, they looked closely at its structure and remixed the elements in a more palatable form. The rounds are very similar in structure and background, identical in music (though the psx music is better), almost identical in character and monster sprites, but in the nes version there’s scrolling, the enemies are placed sanely (inasmuch as they don’t keep coming in an unending stream, but, rather, are put in specific places), you don’t have to look around for keys and whip walls in hidden places to finish levels, and you get to really use items.

I think Simon’s Quest was a way of trying to put some of the original elements back into Castlevania which they thankfully removed for the nes conversion — such as the idea of an inventory; buying items and searching for others; having a nonlinear(ish) round structure. The shield from CVII is even in there… though nobody appears to shoot at you, so its usefulness is questionable. Actually, there’re two different shield types.

Playing that game from hell for about half an hour gives me a much greater appriciation for what it later spawned, and helps me to understand the series better, as well — just to see kind of the thought processes behind the first game, before major editing, and from where some ideas from the second probably came. Sort of like listening to Purest Feeling, the major difference being PF was a lot better than PHM in a number of aspects.

Best Brains

MST3K is going to only have thirteen episodes this season, inasmuch as Sci-Fi decided not to pick up the option for the remaining nine (making a complete season).

Here’s the good thing, however — There Will be a season ten, and Sci-Fi and Best Brains are getting along wonderfully (unlike how everything went with Comedy Central)… There’s no ratings problem, and the show isn’t disgruntling anyone at the station. Sci-Fi seems to be grateful to have some light-hearted original programming to flesh out the turgid bleakness of much of the material on the station.

Freezing

Can’t feel the keys to type — the power just came back on a half an hour ago — it’s been out for six days, now. Over half a million people (in other words, a full 50% of the state’s population) were knocked out by the storm. As it is now, only about a quarter of the state is still blacked-out, and it’ll take another week to fix it all completely, they say…

It’s been cold. In the teens. No heat. Power lines down all over the roads and yards. Nearly all the trees knocked down.