MenagerieCrap bestsellers and hidden masterpieces
Crap bestsellers and hidden masterpieces
August 22, 2012
August 22, 2012

Life isn’t always fair. As cliché as it sounds, no other words ring true than when lady luck hands you a 1.0 after all those long nights doing all the work, while your friend gets the luck of the draw, with a 4.0 for doing nothing. And all because you were late that one time. Crap.

Things hardly go your way all the time, a fact that makes both life and teleseryes unpredictable and ultimately worth watching and waiting for until the next season. In this issue, The LaSallian gives a brief account of those who have hit the jackpot—-and those who get nil and wind up smoking pot.

1.  Baby – Justin Bieber

VERDICT : Proof that buying music online is now kid friendly.

It’s a broken record by now—but sadly not the same thing I can say for this album—that the music industry isn’t what it used to be. And a prime example for this is how badly the standards have dropped to the stuff that people will call musical “hits” and “icons” these days. I mean seriously? The single Baby—which seems to have a chorus written by an infant—reached double-platinum for 2,000,000 units and gained 3,591,000 digital downloads in the US alone. I’m not saying this had something to do with the recession, but I’m not saying it didn’t either.


2.  GTR2 – FIA GT Racing Game

VERDICT:  A masterpiece of a game based on an obscure racing series.

There are not many choices in the market for simulation racing games.  Besides the competing Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport series, the genre does not have as many titles grabbing as much attention as, say, the first-person shooter genre, which may be attributed to a more limited fanbase.  However, simulation racing gems do exist in video game bargain sections as well, and one such title is GTR 2.

Released back in 2006, GTR 2 is like the NBA 2K series of the simulation racing genre.  It features the entire 2003 and 2004 FIA GT Championship racing series, a racing series no local has probably even heard of.  Nonetheless, the game featured comparatively more realistic driving physics and simulation elements than its more famous counterparts, realistic time and weather transitions, real-time 24 hour races, an in-game save feature, race driving school, and a highly modifiable game engine that permits creation and usage of custom content.  It could have been the perfect start for the beginning enthusiastic sim racer, had it only been more publicized.


3.  Segway PT

VERDICT:  Overhyped “revolutionary” personal transporter

Ever watched sci-fi films that depicted humans getting around using small, futuristic, self-powered machines?  The Segway PT can be described as a real-life version of such machines.  It is essentially a two-wheeled, electrically-powered, one-man vehicle intended for efficient short commutes.  Controlled through weight distribution and a simple steering mechanism, the PT is described as 11 times more efficient than an average American car by Segway themselves.  Such was the hype behind the Segway that it was compared to the Internet in innovation scale, and it enjoyed an extremely bright spot under the limelight upon its introduction in 2001.

Despite claims on how revolutionary it was supposed to have become, the PT never gathered widespread attention throughout the market.  Paul Sloane, an author specializing in innovation, mentioned several possible reasons for the PT’s commercial failure, among of which were lack of proper infrastructure support in the form of charging stations, restrictions in the form of regulations, the lack of a clear target market, and perhaps most importantly, its price.  Segway PTs are still commercially available today, but are used mainly by organizations such as the police for patrol purposes, and any form of civilian usage are mostly nothing more than novelty.


4.  The Alvin and The Chipmunks

VERDICT : Giving kids a reason to listen to music—-in the most awful way.

As painful the first instalment was for the eyes and ears, the “Squeakuel” (this word hurts my brain) aims with an even lower amount of effort into making a decent plotline, hiring underperforming actors who seem to have sucked at every respectability these novelty mammals once had—if ever there was any—and track selections that made audiences realize that they sang Christmas songs before for a good reason. Good thing the third didn’t make as much or we would be stuck with a fourth–Oh. Crap.


5.  E.T. the Extra-Terrestial (video game)

VERDICT:  An industry crash-inducing Christmas present wish

It has almost become a trend in the market for video game adaptations of movies and movie adaptations of video games to fail spectacularly both commercially and in quality.  A classic example of such a fate is the video game adaptation of the widely acclaimed science fiction film E.T. the Extra-Terrestial, back in 1982.  Intended for the Atari 2600 video game console, the E.T. game followed the common misconception that games based on popular movies will sell.  Expectations of the movie fans for the game were as high as that of the game makers’ expectations of sales, prompting the makers to produce an excessive supply of the game.

When the game was released, it was an initial commercial success, and it sold almost 1.5 million units during its commercial run.  However, this figure was not enough to equal the nearly twice as many units produced by Atari.  Moreover, executive meddling twisted the game’s gameplay design and philosophy, resulting in a game that is now a frequent winner of and nominee for awards such as “Worst Game Ever.” The game was so bad that market perception for the video game industry as a whole worsened, and this reason is cited as one of the primary causes of the 1983 North American crash in the video game industry.


6. FM Towns Marty

VERDICT:  First 32-bit home video game console, and also the first to decline

The FM Towns Marty, a name that never seemed familiar and slightly comedic sounding, was the very first 32-bit home video game console made by Fujitsu, an equally unfamiliar company name for a console manufacturer.  The video game industry is characterized by consistent developments in hardware and technology, and the new leap of technology made by the FM Towns Marty made it possible to play more performance-demanding video games for its time.

That leap in technology was soon followed by a jump to commercial death by the console, brought by its high price and a limited game library.  The release of a newer, less expensive version called the FM Towns Marty 2, speculated to have upgraded specs than its predecessor, did not help sales.  The commercial failure of the FM Towns Marty became iconic in Japan when the so-called “Marty’s Law” was coined, which stated that “if you don’t keep offering something to sell, you can’t increase sales.” Indeed, lack of innovation on the company’s part caused their quick downfall from an advantageous position, which was soon taken up by more popular consoles such as the PlayStation and the Nintendo 64.


 7. Ford Pinto

VERDICT:  An explosive vehicle, both commercially and literally

There must have been plenty of reasons why this particular vehicle from the 1970s has been called “the car nobody loved, but everybody bought.” The Pinto was a budget compact vehicle, comparable to the Jazz and Yaris of today, priced for the budget-conscious market at less than $2,000.  With such a cheap price tag, it came as no surprise for it to succeed commercially.  By the end of its first model year, an estimated 100,000 units have been sold, and by the end of its 10-year production run, sales reached almost 2 million.

The overall quality of the vehicle however, was not as spectacular as its sales figures.  It was a poorly engineered vehicle for a car of its class, and it won awards for worst and ugliest car of the year and all time.  But what truly made it infamous was a massive issue on its safety.  It was discovered that its fuel system was prone to breaking in the event of a rear-end collision, which of course will result to fiery accidents.  Making things worse were controversies on how Ford knew of this defect all along, but purposefully decided not to fix it based on cost-benefit analysis:  It was cheaper to pay off cases of victims than fixing the defect on the car’s production process.


8. Fifty Shades Of Grey

VERDICT: A novel that dwells on female existence—and that’s for them to be chained and whipped.

Maybe it’s the whole male perspective thing that gets in the way of  understanding this widely “acclaimed” novel, but something about a story of a girl wanting to be S&Med by a rich pervert doesn’t really speak literary masterpiece. But it sure does seem to be—-with worldwide sales that has already beaten the Harry Potter Series as the fastest selling paper back of all time. Yes, you read that right. Fifty Shades of Grey is single-handedly bringing readers a new genre of pleasure in every page— pun definitely intended—but it’s just plain crap.


9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

VERDICT: A bright film that continues to be covered in the shadows.

Visually stunning and brilliantly written; the movie shines in its bleak atmosphere and provides an unconventional love story that builds on the idea of forgiving and forgetting. Well with that, it could be safe to say that the writers spent a little more effort on this script than the ones from the Chipmunk camp. But the disparity between their earnings are still surprising. Let’s get one thing straight, The movie isn’t short of acclaims—garnering awards left and right—but still this masterpiece seems to be covered by the shadow of its really long title.


10. Torches – Foster the People

VERDICT : An indie gem, that can start making mainstream audiences start digging underground.

Okay, we all know how long Pumped Up Kicks lived inside our radios and shuffled in playlists, but it’s still just a creamy icing to an otherwise groovy cupcake. Now, Torches isn’t exactly going to be buried in a time capsule any time soon, but in today’s music scene, Foster the People are redefining the whole dance floor and beat-heavy track era—and adding a much deeper tone and style that most mainstream artists lack and indie artist’ thrive on. Beautifully made and thrilling— Torches add sense to all those beeps and boo bops.


Even if these fluky losers found a way to blind us with their deceiving sparkle, at the end of it all those who truly shine from within will always be the once seen light years  away. And remember, luck can take you to your stop, but talent can get you to places that were never in the map. Happy trails.