Book of Cool Volume 1 (2006) UMD Review

Book of Cool Volume 1 (2006)

Production Companies: Spirit Entertainment

Amazon Info

This is something I have on my PSP, I got it for review, but was always unsure how to review it.  It is a series of videos that show you how to do tricks with a particular sport or item.

I made notes on each video and how interesting they were a long time ago, but never got around to making a legit review.

Streetball – 7/10

A little movie to introduce you to the sport/people.  The shutter speed to show slow motion shots results in poor lighting because they shoot in the same light as normal shots.  There are 14 tricks.  5 have still picture instructions, and four are in slow motion.  You can watch the slow motion parts infinitely by themselves.  While they show you how to do the tricks, it doesn’t seem very feasible to do it very well just based off their instructions.  Many tricks are explained well but you have to really be trying or have a passion for trying to learn these tricks.  Most tricks are not for a regular person to impress people with and you’ll have to be in a game or practice with a partner to know if you’re doing it right from their instructions.  There’s also some weird shit about a kitchen.

Football – 7/10

Freestyle football.  It isn’t shot in widescreen throughout and changes aspect ratio.  Movie consists of “Mr. Woo” smacking the ball around for a good 10+ minutes without letting it touch the ground.  Pretty impressive and interesting to watch.  Mr. Woo has an accent which might make it hard to understand.  They added subtitles as well.  There’s no uniformity for this video, as the change of location and camerawork aspect ratio can either annoy you or break up the monotony of seeing the same location.  These guys seemed to use autofocus, so the focus can go in and out as they zoom in.  Subtitles aren’t in American English.  It’s more like a “how it works” rather than”how to do it.”  Sometimes camera doesn’t get the full trick for you to see.  It gets boring after a while.  There are 15 tricks, 11 with stills, 10 in slow motion.

Razor Scooter – 8/10

6 tricks, 6 slow motion, 0 stills.  This proves you can make an extreme sport out of anything with wheels.  Good instructions, shows you how to do it and you see mostly everything you need to do it.

Footbag – 5/10

8 tricks, 4 slow motion, 3 still.  Same song as Razor Scooter is used.  Freestyle footbag champion????  😐  Looks like he’s dancing, hard to see the footbag since it’s dark.  It is pretty boring to watch in slow motion unless you’re really trying to learn the tricks.  The setting is nice, at least.  Another guy explains as the other dude kicks the bag around.  BORING!!!

Frisbee – 9/10

13 tricks, 8 slow motion, 11 stills.  Some of the most ridiculous things to do with a plastic disc is here.  Nice setting.  There are a lot of shots with the guy in a blue sky void, though.  Good ways to throw frisbees if you don’t know how to throw them.

Street Soccer – 6/10

7 tricks, 7 slow, 4 stills.  Pretty much the same as “Fooball” but they show you some other tricks.

Pen Spinning – 7/10

12 tricks, 11 slow, 4 still.  This is probably the least interesting thing ever.  Pen modifications??? Almost comical.  It is more accessible to do these tricks than others, but it is really boring to watch.

Golf – 5/10

6 tricks, 6 slow, 3 still.  If you ever wanted to do stupid things while golfing, you found your starting point.  The audio is messed up at times.

Rugby – 8/10

7 tricks, 7 slow, 6 still.  Nice to learn about a sport that isn’t very popular in America and how to play.  It is pretty short, and unfortunately not very educational either.  It is hard to see the moves that are done.

Cards and Magic – 8/10

8 tricks, 2 slow, 0 still.  It is interesting to see how the “magic” works.  Gets sort of boring.  They go more into things that do with cards rather than magic

Skate and Blade – 6/10

11 tricks, 7 slow, 11 still.  Skateboarding and rollerblading tricks.  Poor lighting during the high shutter speed shots/slow motion very grainy and dark.  It is subtitled.  Sound has wind noises in it during some parts.  It teaches you how some of this stuff works, but highly unlikely to learn just from this video.

Casino and Cards – 9/10

22 tricks, 10 slow, 17 still.  Interesting stuff about casino tricks and what they do with chips/cards during games.

 

BlackJack Live Casino (iOS) Review

Developer/Publisher: AbZorba Games || Overall: 8.0/10

Black Jack is your classic old-time casino game.  Counting cards, hitting at the right time, and making sure your six-shooter is at the ready just in case someone thinks you’re cheating.  Nowadays, it’s not so dangerous as Black Jack is now available on smart phones.  You can play it on the go, in your home, or on the can.  It would be hard playing in all three of those situations at the same time, but at least you have your gun in case anything unexpected happens…. like… umm… a jet fighter dog-fighting with your flying house that is powered only by the propulsion of toilet water?

Anywho, that’s enough of that.

BlackJack Live Casino for the iOS is one such Black Jack gaming app available.  While it’s a pretty normal casino app, it offers a few standard features to extend your play time such as buying more Credits (to play the actual Black Jack game) and a higher-tier currency known as Diamonds (for bonus games and customizing your avatar), and the usual time-based free bonuses for returning.  There is also a leveling system that automatically awards you Credits at each level up through play.

When using Credits to play Black Jack (which is arguably the whole point of BlackJack Live Casino), you can join a table and start playing against a dealer.  You can have up to four players (including yourself) at a table, going through the regular flow of Black Jack.  The game can be a bit social as you can chat with other players while playing, and you’ll watch each player take their turn against the dealer.  Unfortunately, you have to wait one by one, instead of everyone taking their turn at the same time.  This can make you feel impatient and not exactly make you want to join a table that is full as a result, since the games will take a little longer.  If people are talking, it can help with socialization as people have some extra time to type.

The game can be welcoming to players of all skill levels, but I think that the game would be useful to learn the ins-and-outs if you are just starting to learn Black Jack in general.  The user interface is pretty friendly and helps you out by automatically awarding you when you attain a Black Jack and automatically standing when you hit 21.  Lesser games would allow you to “mess up” and hit again to bust, so it is a nice feature to have included in the game.  There is a help menu that will explain Black Jack’s rules and as you play you’ll basically learn the flow of repeated plays.  The text can be a bit small at times, as well.

A funny aspect of the game, though I’m not sure how much it actually affects the gameplay, is that you or the other people at the table (including the dealer) can draw identical cards.  One game I drew two Five of Diamonds in the same play and although the game “shuffles” the cards after a certain amount of time, I’m unsure if this means they combined multiple decks or what.  This basically makes any inclination to “card count” pointless, if you were able to.  There are a couple of bonus games outside of the Black Jack game that requires Diamonds.  Diamonds are attained by purchase primarily, and you earn a lot more Credits with these bonus games.

What is possibly the most “interesting” feature is the Avatar system.  I was thoroughly amused by the amount of random items and costumes your avatars are able to wear, including sexy Santa, a mummy, a spy, a matador, a Texan waitress, etc.  Imagining all of these random people sitting around a table playing Black Jack is a bit fun to think about.  The avatar gallery provides an alternate use for your Diamonds and if you don’t want to use a preset avatar (known as a “Hero”) you can customize your avatar to your liking using a smattering of all of the pieces available.  When other players click to view your profile, they will be able to see your avatar as well as your other stats related to your career in the game.

Another funny aspect of the game is the “Cocktail” feature.  You are able to buy gifts/items/drinks for other people you are sitting at a table with, presumably for the times you want to impress people or something.  There are a few funny items in there, such as developer-branded French Fries, sunglasses, a hamburger, and other random things.  There appears to be a seasonal store that changes up depending on the time of year, as it currently has summery items available.

As far as free casino games go, BlackJack Live Casino is about all you can ask for in a Black Jack game.  A few tweaks here and there and I wouldn’t have anything to point out to complain about.  Black Jack can be fun for a round of hands every now and then and BlackJack Live Casino is a worthwhile option.

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Joe Camel Card Deck

I have this old deck of cards made by Camel Cigarettes — it featured Joe Camel prominently.  I thought they were hilarious though, when they featured Joe himself.

As you can see, a male camel dressed in drag is quite hilarious.  Also, having a shrunken head version of himself as a Joker is also a treat.

For some reason I was missing the Jack of Spades.