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The Trailer Park: Debut Edition

by: Randy -
More On: Randy's Rants
Dozens of video game trailers flood the market every week. Some are made to bolster or maintain sales on already released products, some are a media blitz for games hitting store shelves on a Tuesday, and some are an oh-so-tantalizing glimpse into our collective and beautiful gaming future.  For this feature, The Trailer Park, we're only concerned with that last kind, the up-and-comer. The trailers that capture our attention (be that a good or bad thing) over the span of a regular work week are selected by a completely arbitrary set of criteria -- we'll get back to you when we figure them out.  Five videos each week sounds like a digestible number.

Mushroom Men: The Spore War
Character Trailer

After watching this trailer, I choked on my Three-Bean Annihilator Espresso Roast Macadamia Nut and Kick Me Mix -- I wasn't sure what the Dutch Bros. drive-thru coffee kiosk had slipped into my morning joe, but it couldn't have been good. Violent mushrooms (not-so-fun guys?) mean muggin' each other and shifting about the soiled landscape like cut n' paste concept art? I don't know what I'm seeing, but I can't stop watching. C+

More trailers reviewed inside.
Black Powder, Red Earth Teaser

Despite the halting delivery of the news anchor and yawn-inducing concept art of the city, the transition between a bright economic Mars prospect and a smoking convoy is dizzying. The scratchy dialogue between "XRAY-93" and an unnamed contact is by-the-book military radio speak. The malfunctioning windshield wipers and the-door-is-ajar beeping lend a shocking domestic touch. And the non-moving camera immobilized me in the passenger seat, trapped in an ambushed mission with non-functioning comms, 19 minutes into some seemingly slow-leaking blood loss [not pictured]. B-

Grand Theft Auto IV Looking For That Special Someone

Rockstar knows how to craft an event-worthy trailer -- that goes without saying. And while I won't break this one down like the folks at GameVideos did, I'll admit that this is a fitting progression from the debut trailer: Niko Bellic's anti-hero persona takes shape; the give and take between predator and prey emerges; the pendulous swing between restraint and recklessness is sunk into his determined gait. And the culmination of a man's decade-long search for … that special someone … is reaching a boiling point. All of this is couched within a Liberty City that is pregnant with character and possibility, musically rocked by New York natives The Boggs and Shy Child. A-

Civilization Revolution Trailer

This is a numb depiction of Sid Meier's infallible Civilization model. The expected transitions along the world's chronology of Prehistory, Ancient Times, Middle Ages, and Modern Era lack that new car smell. The narrator forgot to pack his "epic" voice. And everything about the soundtrack -- from its mushy snares to its shapeless orchestral intonations and pedestrian strings -- screams 'instantly forgettable.' D+

Brain Age 2 Nicole Kidman TV Spot

Featuring this Aussie-bred stunner and Oscar winner is a fine move by Nintendo. While her revealed brain age is 52 (not a flattering number, if you couldn't tell by her reaction) it is well-known that Nicole Kidman is highly intelligent; she has an IQ of 132, which is 10 to 20 points higher than yours. The white DS with Nicole dressed in white sitting in a white chair amidst white décor is bright and breezy … Although, at first, I thought her good-natured frustration with the game was trying to get her slightly mottled accent through the unit's voice-recognition software.  This spot is cheerful and a pleasure to watch. B-
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