Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

Simulacra 1 and 2

September 28, 2020

Since we are getting closer to Halloween in a few days and because my friend prompted the memory, it is time to talk about a pair of horror video games. I do not usually play a ton of horror games despite being a huge fan of Halloween and the Horror genre in general. The gameplay of most horror games does not really interest me. You spend the game in a mostly helpless state and usually feel kind of unfair. I watch playthroughs online of horror games for the story (and to watch people flinch) but I rarely play them myself. I did get back into Minecraft lately which is spooky and definitely has jump scares. I have also played other games with horror elements like Gone Home and a Night in the Woods which are spooky but harmless.

Anyway, I came here to talk about the Simulacra games because spooky AI is a really great plot device to consider. I could talk about HAL 9000 or Skynet but instead, I will talk about the Simulacra games. There will definitely be spoilers for both games here but a lot of the fun of the games is the journey and they are still worth playing.

The first game was an absolute revelation for me. I had seen some of the gameplay online and was able to pick it up for cheap on GOG.com. (#notsponsored) The premise of the game is that you have mysteriously come to possess the cell phone of Anna. Anna is missing and you decide to try to find her. All you have to go on, in the beginning, is a horrifying video of Anna crying and breaking down before she disappears and nothing she says makes sense. You start to text with her best friend Ashley, her ex-boyfriend Greg, and Taylor who is a guy she was talking to on a dating app to see what they know. Using their help, you are able to restore data on the phone from backups to unravel the mystery. In the end, you figure out that Anna was kidnapped by a strange clairvoyant guy on the dating app named James.

It turns out that James is a self-aware AI being that is extremely predatory. It dwells within a dating app called Spark (and basically is Spark more or less). Throughout the game, you discover news articles about the disappearances of its victims. You use the information to lure out the Spark simulacra. When you find Anna, she has already been possessed by Spark. Spark taunts you and explains that it is one of many. It searches the Internet for the unfulfilled and the desperate and then possesses them. It then assimilates their consciousness into its own (making them “stronger”) and then destroys their physical bodies. You then have to bargain for either Anna or Taylor’s release.

The second game follows the events of the first game with a Detective Murillo (a very minor character from the first game) investigating the mysterious death of a young woman. He gives you Maya’s phone and asks you to use a new program to restore data and find clues. Maya died of a heart attack but it was sudden and she was found with strange lacerations on her face. As you explore her phone, you find that she is an health guru influencer who joined a collective with Rex (Finance influencer), Arya (Beauty influencer), and Mina (Musician). You must investigate all three of them to figure out their role in Maya’s death. You also have to navigate the world of online influencers, a world that is mostly illusory. That alone is creepy.

Surprise! The culprit is another simulacrum, this time the Kimera simulacra. It specifically preys on influencers because they are desperate for fans and obsessed with numbers both for their livelihood and validation. Influencers opt in to a follower boosting program which is actually the Kimera. If they screw up and their numbers start to plummet, the Kimera offers to fix everything in exchange for a personal sacrifice. That sacrifice ended up being Maya. You must figure out which of Maya’s friends took the Kimera deal and sacrificed Maya’s life. Then you must deal with Kimera itself.

Both games are super interesting in that they both involve a lot of existential dread and psychological horror but few actual jump scares. The few jump scares come from dealing with the ghosts of Anna and Maya who distort images on the phone sometimes. You interact with other characters mostly through texting but you also receive video and audio files. In that way, it reminds me a lot of the old FMV games in the best way. The first game does not have a whole lot of video but the second game is predictably chock full of it since you are dealing with an Instagram knockoff. Both games are not that long but have multiple endings as you go through different investigatory paths. Neither are much longer than a few hours at most.

Media Update 9/24/20

September 24, 2020

Teenage Bounty Hunters

Southern Christians are categorically not my jam but this show gets past that with a healthy dose of irreverent comedy. This show is about two southern teen seniors at a Christian private school who find themselves stumbling into the world of bounty hunting. I thought that it would be more of a fantasy version of bounty hunting but it is actually funnier that it involves actual real world bounty hunting (mostly bail jumpers). The show stars Maddie Phillips and Anjelica Bette Fellini as twins who have a bit of a spoiled yet country southern upbringing. They are absolutely hilarious together and their chemistry is definitely off the charts. They work with Kadeem Hardison, a seasoned and yet less refined bounty hunter who becomes their mentor. I am interested to see where the show goes as it follows two sheltered teens as they navigate high school and how to track criminals. It also seems to have a series or season arc that may be interesting. I recommend this show.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretacious

I am a big fan of the Jurassic Park franchise and have never regretted watching any of the content connected to it. When Jurassic World came out, I was very interested in the new-ish direction and I was not disappointed. The update really added a lot while still remaining true to the history of the franchise. When I heard about this new cartoon, I was intrigued since the timeline of the movies has moved on. The concept of the show is that it is a summer camp ran offsite from the Jurassic World theme park. The camp is mostly for VIPs connected to the park, famous people, and one contest winner. It takes place prior to and during the events of Jurassic World. So I am watching episodes and waiting for the other shoe to drop. The cast is full of pretty well-rounded characters with some cameos from characters from the franchise. I am so happy that this show exists because the technology and look of Jurassic World was too neat not to revisit. I recommend this show.

Daybreak

This show has been on my list for a while because I heard good things and I am glad that I finally tackled it. The show takes place in a world where bombs went off everywhere in the world which eliminated half of the adults and turned the rest into mindless, murderous zombies. The teens have formed a new post-apocalyptic society based on the same cliques from high school (Jocks, Cheermazons, STEM kids). The show follows a formerly clique-less teen who is searching for his girlfriend in the chaos of the apocalypse. Along the way, he joins up with misfits as the show explores pre-apocalypse and post-apocalypse. The show had a lot of quirky, 4th wall-breaking humor and I love the world-building so far. I also like the main guy played by Colin Ford who has so much charisma. I recommend this show.

Music of the Week:
Steam Powered Giraffe – Honeybee

Stereopony – Hitohira No Hanabira

Bobby J From Rockaway – Autumn Leaves

Kinkade Davis – Hold It Down

Smif N Wessun – Ocean Drive

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Teens in Dangerous Situations”
I watched more Nancy Drew Season 1
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched more Lovecraft Country Season 1
I watched more High Score Season 1
I started watching Cursed Films Season 1
I started Blacklist Season 7
I started Rizzoli and Isles Season 7

SteamWorld Heist and Quest

September 21, 2020

Steamworld Heist

I have always been a fan of the Wild West or at least the mechanics and look of the film Wild West. The genre is kind of defunct now but there are some great movies that belong to it. Firefly was the first thing I watched that linked the Wild West aesthetic with space travel. This game is about a gang of steam-powered robots who have formed a pirate crew made up of “Cowbots” in a world after the Earth exploded. You primarily play as Captain Piper Faraday, an expert sniper. At the start, all but two of your crew have been scrapped (killed). You must recruit a new crew and work toward raising your reputation as you progress from rascals to heroes. You spend most of your time trying to pull off heists which are really smash-and-grab boarding missions.

As you can see in the trailer above, the game’s combat is turn-based. Each character has a class and is able to use different weapons. Each character also has their own skills which add more to the strategy of the game. For example, Piper has the ability to inspire or heal the bots around her. Sally Bolt can fire again if her first shot kills a target. There are tons of weapons and gear you can get from shops (mostly bars and bodegas). The other main mechanic is that all aiming is done manually by the player. That leads to fun ricochet shots and trick shots that are fun to try and wrap your head around.

Steamworld Quest

Fantasy is obviously a huge genre for me but this game is one of the first I have seen to combine fantasy with steampunk. You play as Armilly a young steambot knight wannabe who has applied over and over to the Hero Guild with no success. She is joined by an alchemist named Copperina and a Handyman named Galleo. The trio sets out to rescue the entire Hero Guild and fight a new evil empire. They are later joined by a knight of legend, Orik, and two shifty rogues named Tarah and Thayne. You explore maps while engaging other bots in battle.

This is a turn-based system with an interesting card mechanic. Each turn you get a “hand” of cards each of which has a character’s skill or attack on it. You can play up to three cards per turn. If you play three cards for the same character, they do an additional fourth ability or attack. Additionally, some attacks and skills require “steam power” to be used while simpler skills and attacks build that steam power. It is a constant strategy problem of proper deck-building and resource management. You need to optimize your cards in order to make sure you always have moves to make.

Both Games

Both games obviously share the same art style and writing. The art is cartoony yet detailed which gives each character a unique look. The worlds both games travel through are full of little background details and NPCs that delightful. Both games are full of dialogue which is cute and funny as the characters are allowed to be weird, flawed, and somewhat real. The heroes are allowed to make mistakes and even the villains can be likable. Both are goofy games that are not that long but are infinitely replayable.

Media Update 9/17/20

September 17, 2020

Jumanji: The Next Level

I really liked Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle because it shook things up and definitely put a new spin on an old story. This movie felt like it was even better. The old cast returns with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Nick Jonas. This time they also introduce Danny Devito, Danny Glover, and Awkwafina. The best part about this movie is the superb acting that has to do with body swapping. The Rock’s Danny Devito impression and Kevin Hart’s Danny Glover impression are things of beauty. The comic timing of everybody is absolutely spot on and it really sells the movie. Awkwafina slides right into the cast in a role that really impressed the hell out of me because it was more subdued than she usually is. The writing is good at being endearing, comic, and dramatic. The lessons it teaches are all really great and worth teaching. I definitely recommend this movie.

Return to Oz

I love the 1939 Wizard of Oz movie but my one complaint is that it was “all a dream” unlike the original books. This movie fixes that by making it absolutely all real. Produced by Disney, Writer/Director Walter Murch and crew really had to walk a thin line. The more they referenced elements of the 1939 movie, the more Disney had to shell out to MGM. They picked and chose their elements so that the movie could be a partial sequel without being a true sequel. The movie combines the second and third Oz books with Dorothy returning to Oz to see what has become of her friends. The movie stars Fairuza Balk as Dorothy and she is the youngest Dorothy I have ever seen. It really works as it shows a clever yet extremely vulnerable little girl instead of a teenager. The real star of the movie are the excellent effects and costumes. The Production Designer was Norman Reynolds who had previously worked on the first three Star Wars movies and Raiders of the Lost Ark. All of the puppetry was designed by a company helmed by a former employee of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and they even hired a young Brian Henson. I was fascinated with the increasingly horrifying yet beautiful effects. It was all so inspiring. I wholeheartedly recommend this movie.

Enter the Warriors Gate

I just found about this movie this week and that is why I am glad I do a weekly theme because it makes me seek out unknown movies and TV series. This movie almost feels like an homage to eighties and nineties movies. It is about a teenager who travels to another world, one of magic and resembling a pastiche of feudal China and Japan. The young kid must save the princess before she is forced to wed a barbarian. The movie started slow but at some point it kicked into gear and got more endearing as it went along. The kid in question, played by Uriah Shelton, is a video game-obsessed teen who learns confidence. He is joined by Mark Chao who plays the greatest warrior in the empire. Ni Ni plays the princess that they must rescue and she was such a bright spot early on that it encouraged me to keep watching. To my surprise, the villain is played by Dave Bautista who continues to impress as a comic actor. I recommend this goofy little movie.

Music of the Week:


Dead Pirates – UGO

Rina Sawayama – STFU!

Zolita – Holy

BoTalks – Know U Anymore ft. Sarah Hyland

In This Moment – Sex Metal Barbie

Music of the Week:
This week’s theme is “Isekai”
I watched more Nancy Drew Season 1
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched more Lovecraft Country Season 1
I watched more Harley Quinn Season 1
I watched more Muppets Now Season 1
I watched more Perry Mason Season 1
I watched more Summer Games Done Quick
I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 6
I finished The Alienist Season 1

Real Video Game Villains: Joe Lieberman

September 14, 2020

Back in 1993, Senator Joe Lieberman got a bug up his butt about video games. What apparently happened was that his Chief of Staff, Bill Andresen, was approached by his son to buy a copy of Mortal Kombat. Andresen was appalled by the violence he saw in the game and ran to his boss to put a stop to it. Lieberman had already taken note of a moral panic about video games based on a game called Night Trap. The bottom line is that gun violence had skyrocketed in the United States and politicians were panicking. They could have admitted that the problem was complicated and systemic and worked toward a solution that could have saved the lives of so many people. They could have even enacted some short term fixes by curtailing the NRA and enacting common-sense gun control. No! Video games, rap music, and television were the problem! Lieberman called a congressional hearing.

If you watch footage from this hearing, you can see that nobody involved had ever really played video games or if they had, it was not for over a decade. Everybody mentions Pac-Man or Pong and cannot seem to mention specifics of what they are objecting to. Instead, they pull out mothers near tears or old white men and have them say what a shame it is these games are being sold to children. They fail to mention that it is parents buying games for their kids because most kids do not have the pocket money. One mother holds up a video game box and says that it is more confusing than reading the ingredients on store-bought food. Let us pause and look at the covers of the two aforementioned games.

Night Trap is a fairly innocuous name although it does sound vaguely sinister like the title of a Stephen King short story. The cover shows a screaming blonde teen which is a bit of a red flag. (Hollywood teen which means she’s probably twenty). Behind her is something but we do know that it is reaching for her and that it has red, pointy eyes which even Scooby-Doo viewers know is a villain trait. To top it off, there is a trio of armed soldiers off to the side. Without knowing anything about the game, I would hope that most sane people would pause before giving it to a kid.

The Mortal Kombat box art is rather simple and there are no actual visual red flags. A dragon emblem does not immediately shout at parents not to buy it for kids. Although, the name “Mortal Kombat” kind of describes a game where people might do combat to the death. The back of the box definitely describes a martial arts tournament and depicts some of said kombat. It is not exactly rocket science. If you just pay a little attention to what you put your kids in front of, you might just be alright.

Lieberman’s hearings eventually resulted in a bill being put forward to create a video game rating system. The video game industry saw the writing on the wall and they created their own rating system the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) which still exists today. They rate everything either Early Childhood, Everyone, Everyone above 10 (umm), Teens, Mature, and Adults Only.

The bargain kept the government’s hands off of video games and they turned their attention elsewhere. It did not stop the moral panic because nothing stops dumb people panicking over the wrong things without doing their research.

I leave you with the goofiness of Night Trap.

It’s basically a bad b-movie

Media Update 9/10/20

September 10, 2020

21 Bridges

I have mostly been taking a break from cop content out of support for the BLM movement but I am glad that I chose to watch this. I had a feeling that Boseman was not going to put his name on something pro-cop and anti-black. The basic story is that Boseman plays a detective tracking a bunch of copkillers in Manhattan. The story goes way deeper than that but I will not spoil it. Boseman is a force of nature in this movie. He is a cop with a strong sense of justice and a personal code that some clash with. He is partnered with Sienna Miller. Stephan James plays one of the crooks, a conflicted drug runner who realizes what trouble they are in. Keith David and JK Simmons are also great in this. The movie is a great tense thriller that never really lets up. Boseman is that great fictional cop who is smart, thinks on his feet, and talks and listens before he shoots. It is clear that some of the quality of the movie comes from Boseman being a producer on the movie. I recommend this movie.

A Message from the King

In this movie, Boseman got to practice the South African accent he used as T’Challa in Marvel movies, especially in advance of the solo Black Panther movie. He plays a young man who arrives in America to look for his sister after a troubling phone call from her. He is trying to track her down not realising what she had gotten herself into. He plays the role with a single-minded focus. He is dark and stormy in the role and I would compare it to recent movies like The Foreigner, Taken and Walking Tall. Luke Evans plays a cagey man who is ostensibly the villain of the piece. Alfred Molina plays a Hollywood billionaire. Teresa Palmer plays a young nearly homeless prostitute who befriends Boseman’s character. The movie clips along at a good pace and is pretty dark, gritty, and violent. I definitely recommend this as well.

Get On Up

James Brown was a legendary singer but lived a very troubled life wherein he did bad things and bad things were done to him. He did a ton of drugs, treated his employees horribly, and beat his wives. He also helped to innovate and evolve R&B and Funk music. Many of the people he worked with went on to be part of very influential bands (most of them went to Parliament Funkadelic). Boseman is so good at playing James Brown as the complicated guy he definitely was. Every so often he looks directly at the camera and narrates his life and sometimes he looks at the audience and looks ashamed. The movie glosses over a lot of the bad parts of Brown’s life but hits a lot of his low points and high points. It covers a lot of the rollercoaster but it also shows Brown’s utter breakdown on angel dust that got him arrested. Boseman is so good at portraying the same character over decades. Viola Brown plays is troubled mother and Octavia Spencer plays his criminal but loving aunt. Dan Akroyd plays his longtime manager Ben Bart. A special shout out to Nelsan Ellis who plays the legendary Bobby Byrd and Brown’s longtime friend and partner in show business. It is a great movie as long as you take it with a grain of salt. I recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Sylvan Esso – Ferris Wheel

ROSALÍA & Travis Scott – TKN

Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future, James Blake – King’s Dead

Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta

Aloe Blacc – My Way

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Chadwick Boseman”
I watched more Nancy Drew Season 1
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched more Lovecraft Country Season 1
I watched more Harley Quinn Season 1
I watched more Muppets Now Season 1
I watched more Hannibal Season 2
I watched more High Score Season 1
I watched more Perry Mason Season 1
I watched more Summer Games Done Quick
I started Rizzoli and Isles Season 5
I finished Doom Patrol Season 1

Gender in Video Games

September 7, 2020

I have a bunch of jumbled thoughts in my head about a few things and I thought I would put them down in order to make sense of it. I mean nothing is wrong, this is just all things that have been knocking around for a bit and I was thinking about them the other day. This is about gender in video games which may be a touchy subject for some. It may also be a tiresome subject for the more conservative-minded folks. This is not about sexuality and will be fairly tame. As usual, you can bail out at any time.

I was playing Saints Row 4 the other day and I realized something that I have talked to friends about before. I was playing as a smoking hot young woman. I am, in fact, not a smoking hot young woman. I am a cis male which means that I still live under the gender that I was born with. The way that games like Saints Row work is that the narrative is built around you playing whatever character you want. You have the choice to play as male or female. When I started playing video games, this was not a thing. The first time I played as a female character it was in Metroid and I didn’t know Samus was a woman until I was told.

Given a choice, I often play as a woman. In itself, this does not really mean anything. It is not an indicator that I am actually a trans woman or that I am anything other than male. (Not that there is anything wrong with that). I think it does mean that I am more open-minded than your average alpha male who would be no homo-ing this up and down. The visuals when you play as a woman are better. There are usually more diverse options for clothing, makeup, and accessories. Saints Row 4 especially has a robust character creation which allows you to create a lot of what you can imagine.

I was also thinking of something that happens in South Park: The Stick of Truth. This game is truly outrageous in ways that only South Park can achieve. In short, you play the game as The New Kid who gets swept up in a town-wide game inspired by Game of Thrones and Dungeons and Dragons. The New Kid (whose name pointedly does not matter) is always male. On the third day, you are tasked with recruiting the girls into the game who have thus far been completely unwilling to play. They will not play the game until you engage in a series of undercover missions which requires you to cross dress. (it gets gross yet funny).

However, when the missions are over, you are left with all of the feminine clothing, makeup, and accessories. When I play, I often just decide to leave it on as if The New Kid learned something new about himself during the adventure. The character being male is crucial to the story they wrote

The next game, The Fractured But Whole, gives you a lot more options. It allows you to be very specific with your gender. You can be Agender, Gender Fluid, Genderless, Aliagender, Androgyne, Androgynous, Aporagender, Bi-Gender, Demiflux, Gender Nonconforming, Gender Questioning, Gender Variant, Genderflux, Genderpunk, Genderqueer, Intersex, Mixed Gender, Neutrois, Non-Binary, Non-Binary Butch, Non-Binary Femme, Pangendered, Polygender, Transmasculine, Transsexual, Trigender, Two-Spirit, Demiboy, Demigirl, and Demi Non-Binary. This is unheard of in a video game (and awesome). Whichever option you pick, rednecks get mad at you for labeling yourself and try to kick yer ass.

I am not sure what any of this means but it is definitely food for thought. I want to see more options in games going forward (if appropriate to the narrative). There are now way more games being made with female protagonists. Still, more diversity is always welcome.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Hawaii Pt. 6

September 5, 2020

“We’re coming down!” Moana called out as they walked down the stairs. “Don’t be startled.”

“Why do you come down here and interrupt our important work?” A deep rumbling, heavily accented voice asked from below.

“We’re bringing you a, what did you call it, specimen?” Moana asked, not sure of the word. Adam shrugged when she shot him a glance.

“Oh!” a higher pitched voice called out. “A specimen? You could be a lot nicer, Jumba. Don’t mind him, he’s stressed. Come on down!”

They reached the bottom of the stairs and Adam forgot about the snake in his hands when he saw the creature approach them but thankfully he did not let go. The thing approaching was bright yellowy green and thin with one big eye dominating its tiny head. It had three legs which Adam thought must be awkward to walk with. It was also wearing a pretty pink dress, an obviously a fake black bob wig, and heavy makeup. All of it was hurriedly applied. Adam just stood there dumbfounded once again.

“Wendy, you don’t have to wear your disguise,” Moana said. “Nobody’s coming down here.”

“Call me Pleakley,” Pleakley said. “Don’t call me Wendy. I hate that name. Who is he? He’s a visitor. What disguise?”

“He’s with us,” Moana said. “You can relax.” She gave her most reassuring look.

“We’ll be the judge of that,” the deep voice said from behind a piece of machinery. “Let’s get a look at them.”

Another creature came into view. This one was a dark bluish gray but pale around the face. That face was huge and had four eyes, all trained on Adam. It had an enormous bulb of a nose and and an almost hunched back. It was stocky and wearing an outrageous, bright and busy floral print shirt. It had an enormous mouth as well. These were the weirdest thing that Adam had ever seen and he had spent the last few years talking to a clock and a candelabra.

“This is Adam,” Moana said. “He’s new.” She kind of gestured to Adam in a vague ta-dah gesture. Jumba and

“He is not as big as the other one,” what was obviously Jumba said. “Not as small as little girl or 626. Good size. Still, watch elbows. Equipment is very sensitive.” Jumba was blunt but seemed to not be as much of an ass as he made himself out to be.

“Can Adam not talk?” Pleakley asked. “That’s very sad.” He patted Adam’s hand gently and gave an encouraging smile.

Adam coughed awkwardly. “Um, I can talk,” he said. “It’s nice to meet you, gentlemen.”

Pleakley gasped. “I’m a lady!” he said with surprise but gave it up when Adam did not back down. “Oh, how could you tell?!” he asked.

Adam looked over at Moana who smiled awkwardly and shrugged. “I’m very observant,” Adam said with a smile. “Either way you’re very beautiful?”

“Thanks!” Pleakley said, brimming with pride. He flounced the wig a bit with a smile.

Jumba chuckled. “Very observant,” he said with some sarcasm. “Is that specimen?” he asked, pointing at the snake in Adam’s hands.

Adam suddenly remembered that he had the snake in his hands and almost lost it but held the snake out toward the strange creatures. Jumba quickly grabbed a plastic container and held it out and Adam dropped the snake in. Jumba and Pleakley leaned over the container for a bit and then looked up at Adam and Moana.

“It’s a snake,” Pleakley said with some excitement but also some puzzlement.

“Pleakley is correct,” Jumba said and Pleakley looked proud. “it looks like simple Earth snake. Appearances are deceiving, no?”

Moana nodded her head. “Yes,” she said. “Maui found out that this used to be a human being.”

“And then what happened?” Pleakley asked. He stared up at Adam and Moana and Jumba sighed and put his palm to his face.

“Then it turned into a snake,” Adam said. He exchanged a puzzled look with Moana who shrugged again.

“We were hoping that you guys could figure why,” Moana said. “It’s a mystery to us. All we know is that it is probably magic.”

“Magic!” Jumba said with a groan. “Science is easier. I learned some things when I got a hold of the big one’s hook but not enough.”

“You mean when you had Lilo and Stitch somehow steal it while he slept,” Moana said with a grin. “I still do not know how they managed that.”

“I do not ask such things,” Jumba said, waving the question away with his hand. “Plausible deniability. We will study this unfortunate snake and we will relate our findings. Thank you, Moana and Adam.”

“We’ll leave you to it then,” Moana said and tugged Adam back toward the stairs. “You know where to find us.”

“Yes yes,” Jumba said. “Up there.” He pointed toward the trap door.

“Until next time,” Adam said and gave a little bow and followed Moana.

“It was nice meeting you, Adam,” Pleakley said. “Come visit any time!”

“But watch your elbows!” Jumba called out as they reached the trapdoor.

Media Update 9/3/20

September 3, 2020

Bill and Ted Face the Music

I was a huge fan of the first two movies growing up. At first, I did not like Bogus Journey as much but the movie really grew on me. When I heard about this end to the trilogy, I was excited but surprised. It has been 25 years since Bogus Journey and Keanu Reeves’ career has taken a decidedly different turn since and Alex Winter more or less left acting behind for directing. Honestly, I think this one was the best of the trilogy. The movie follows Bill and Ted in the present day. They have since had a huge rock and roll career but are still struggling to come up with the music that will unite the world as foretold by Rufus in the first movie. This time Rufus’ daughter starts the duo on a crazy trip through time to try and solve their problem. Meanwhile, their daughters and wives are travelling through time to help as well. Winter and Reeves are even better at embodying the characters with the benefit of years of experience. Their daughters are played by Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine and they are such a bright spot of the movie. I also love that they gave the wives (Joanna and Elizabeth) more to do (played by Jayma Mays and Erinn Hayes). Kristen Schaal is fun as Kelly (the name of Carlin’s real daughter) who is Rufus’ daughter and is carrying his torch now. I cannot recommend this movie enough and I may have to write a longer spoiler post because of how much I loved.

Safety Not Guaranteed

I had heard of this movie ages ago (8 years ago) and I thought it sounded interesting but I forgot about it for a long while. About 4 years later, I started watching Parks and Recreation and that is when I fell in love with Aubrey Plaza. I wanted to seek out her movie career and this was one that was on the list. It popped up on Netflix and now I get to watch it. This is now my favorite romantic comedy of all time. I’m aromantic and I tend to gravitate toward more quirky romantic comedies and this fits the bill. This movie was based on the very real classified ad that appeared in 1997 from a man looking for a partner to time travel with. The movie starts cynical but ends sweet. Aubrey Plaza is golden a the cynical journalism intern who wants to track down the story. Mark Duplass plays the man who bought the ad, a very serious and eccentric young man. Jake Johnson plays an interesting B plot character who has more of a coming of age in your thirties thing going on paired with Karan Soni who plays the other intern who is a pure innocent. The movie is such a simple tale but told in an innovative way. I recommend it.

In the Shadow of the Moon

I had heard about this movie a while ago and how it was kind of controversial due to its material dealing with militias and antifa (kind of). Boyd Holbrook plays a police officer who is chasing after a serial killer in order to get his promotion to detective. He works alongside Michael C. Hall. They are chasing a killer played by the young Cleopatra Coleman, who does so much with the few lines she is given. The movie does a lot of interesting things with time travel that results in a non-linear story in a way that I have not seen before. The movie mixes detective thriller with hard science fiction. It is a dark story of one man’s life crumbling as he tries to figure out an impossible crime. I am not a hundred percent on board with the message but I get it. I recommend this movie but I do not want to give much more away.

Music of the Week:
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats – S.O.B.

Neo-Nazi Metalheads Will Be Hanged and Their Broken Corpses Openly Mocked

Green Blood – The O’Reillys and the Paddyhats

6LACK ft. Lil Baby – Know My Rights

Camila Cabello – My Oh My

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Time Travel… again?”
I watched more Nancy Drew Season 1
I watched more Riverdale Season 4
I watched more Doom Patrol Season 1
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 5
I watched more Lovecraft Country Season 1
I watched more Harley Quinn Season 1
I watched more Muppets Now Season 1
I watched more Hannibal Season 2
I watched more Summer Games Done Quick
I finished Watchmen Season 1

Summer Games Done Quick 2020

August 31, 2020

The world is chaos and darkness but there are some bright spots here and there. Personally, I have friends and family and things are clipping along professionally for me. The world needs a lot of help and that’s why organizations like Doctors Without Borders are necessary. Medecins Sans Frontieres has been an organization for as long as I can remember. They go where medical professionals are needed and help as best they can. Traditionally, I feel like that mostly included going to underserved and third world locations to provide healthcare without political strings attached. Now they are responding to crisis after crisis. For the first time, MSF has set up shop in the USA to help combat the Covid-19 pandemic. They are all over the globe and they are selfless.

The reason why I bring them up is because the charity event Summer Games Done Quick just ended last week. Games Done Quick runs multiple events a year and each one is assigned a charity. SDGQ chose Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and they were able to raise 2.3 Million dollars from crowdsourcing. The event lasted for one week and was jampacked with speedrunners plying their skills and arcane knowledge. A wide range of games are chosen and each one has a runner, commentators, and a host. The runner or runners operate the game while they and the commentators explain the techniques and tricks that are being performed. The host keeps an eye on the donations coming in and reads out messages attached to donations. This year was special because it was done entirely online instead of in person which allowed for an expanded roster of runners but more technical obstacles.

There are a lot of great runs but some have absolutely blown me away, made me laugh, or just entertained me in general.

The first that I can think of is the above run which is a race between two runners of a game I talked about on this blog previously. Hollow Knight is an incredibly difficult game played casually but speedrunners make it look easy. Both of the runners here play the game beautifully and bosses that I spent hours trying to beat look like a beautiful ballet of spinning blades.

This is a run from early on in the event of a first-person shooter called Dusk which I have not played. The developers bill it as the fastest first-person shooter. The reason why this run was so hilarious is because one of the developers of the game was commentating. The run was just full of the developer protesting, sputtering, and joking as somebody absolutely exploited and destroyed the game he worked so hard on.

This run is from the Silly Block of games (at AGDQ this is called the Awful Block) which is full of the silliest and weirdest games on the schedule. That includes the Alf computer game, Hypnospace Outlaw (which I should write a post on), and the above Pringles run among others. The Silly Block is very fun and often a great place to start watching since most of them are short and fun runs.

There are so many more runs and here is a link to the playlist so you can see if something appeals to you more.


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