Sunday, 3 September 2017

Coming Soon: 31 More Days, 31 More Screams!

Hey hey. Very very quick post this time around, while I grapple with writer's inspiration to try and get some motivation to write about some computer games. In the meantime, I'm thinking ahead to the very busy future as the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder. It's September now, and summer's in its dying embers. Thank God for that, but it also means that October's just a few weeks away. Last year I had a lot of fun with a monthly marathon of short writeups on spooky-themed media and I want to do it again! So... that's the plan! October 1st will be the start of 31 More Days, 31 More Screams... and I need your help! I did open the floor to requests last year, but as I recall I only took about one or two. I'd like to do more, if you out there have wild and weird requests for me. Let's do that again, and set a few ground rules.

-Obviously if I did it in last year's marathon, I can't do it again. So... check out the old ones I did before making a suggestion.

-I have a bit of a phobia when it comes to throat trauma, which makes me apprehensive towards a lot of the slasher genre. You can still make that request, but just warn me if such things are involved; I'll let my own genre-savviness warn me of when said trauma's about to happen so I can look away or whatever.

-Basically all forms of media are fair game for this, but if you're going to suggest something more long-form than a movie, be wary of how long it may take me. I'm a fast reader and can conquer books quickly, but more longform video games are subject to scrutiny; my free time's at a bit of a premium, after all.

-I'd prefer if you left your comments here, just so I have them all in one place rather than spread over four different social media channels and messenger services.

I think that's about it. Please pop some suggestions in so I can fill up the month! I used a lot of my favorite picks last year, but I'm sure together we can build an interesting and eclectic list. I'm looking forward to seeing what you all throw at me, and I hope you're looking forward to reading about it!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Fairune (A Review)

You know, how we come across video games and play them is a process equally as important as the content of the games themselves. Sure, every game is imbued with some crackling magical alchemy (or necromancy, if the thing's dire) on the basic level. The essential psychogeographical (and psychochronographical, while we're throwing out the Big Smart People Words) power of where and when you are while first experiencing a game has some truth to it as well. So, today we're going to talk about a game called Fairune. Before that we're going to talk about the where and when of how I encountered Fairune. I had a day trip this past Wednesday, and I knew I'd be waiting for people to finish their doctor's appointment. I also had a PS Vita and about 8 dollars to spare. With that, off I went looking for a cheap and simple game experience for me to kill time with whilst waiting. Scrolling through all the games on the store and peeking at prices, I came across a little game with a pixel art character. Fairune. Peeking further, after all the hyped up mechanics and whatnot, this tidbit: "Fairune is a faithful homage to the computer games of the 1980s.". Which, you better believe we're going to unpack that. In a moment. The time and place had been set. Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland. Hospital parking lot. 8 AM. For the next 90 minutes I experienced Fairune, and then between... 4:30 and 5:30 PM, back at home, I experienced the rest of the game. That's fairly short, but in the end it was a good experience. We've set the where, we've set the when... and now for the what. Here is Fairune. It was good.

Friday, 21 July 2017

From The SMPS Vaults: Mega Man Unlimited (A Review)

(Hey all! A little history lesson, in case you're unaware. I got my start writing for video games as a hobby by contributing to a site called Socks Make People Sexy. A lot of my words are still up on the main site, but a lot of them were also on the review subforum of the SMPS forums... and the SMPS forums sadly went offline quite a while ago. I made a lot of good friends from that site and those forums and still talk to a lot of them, but there were some writing casualties that left more than a few words of mine wiped from the Internet. I still have the text files, so I guess I can sporadically archive my own old writing here on the blog for the time being. Anyway, this is a review of the fan game Mega Man Unlimited that I wrote in June 2014. I was hard on it, but in hindsight it's at least better than Mighty No. 9 which is better than nothing. On to the wayback machine!)

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 First Impressions: Episode 12 (The Doctor Falls)

Really, it was the only way Series 10 could have gone out.

And they lived happily ever after.
I'm trying something different here. I've not rewatched the episode yet. I'm letting my words stand on the initial viewing I did last night for once. This is partly because I forgot to PVR it and can't wrangle out a rewatch method immediately due to shenanigans and can't wait, but also sort of a new take. I've called these "First Impressions" but they're honestly second impressions because I always do a rewatch and take notes. Not today. For the last episode of this series, for the penultimate episode of Peter Capaldi's run and of the Moffat era, we will do a true First Impression. Or rather, we already did because the above line I started this all with is my first impression. For better or worse, this is Steven Moffat at his Steven Moffattiest. And now we pad time before talking about the ending by talking about everything else before it. The stuff that matters. Here, then, is The Doctor Falls.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 First Impressions: Episode 11 (World Enough And Time)

Holy shit. What a state of flux to be left in.

I'm seein' double! FOUR Masters!
By now I'm used to playing in a state of flux when it comes to these two-part episodes. I'm still casting my mind back to Nov. 2014 and Dark Water, when this was a new thing for me to write about. Since then we had an entire series worth of two parters, and more. Some turned out good, some turned out bad. Dark Water seems like a good comparison point to start with World Enough And Time. In a way, we're hitting a lot of those plot beats again. The death of a character. Cybermen and body horror. The end episode reveal of OH SHIT IT WAS THE MASTER ALL ALONG. Writing it out like that, it sounds like I should be infuriated at the episode for rehashing all this shit; much like I was when Lie Of The Land happened. I'm not, and that's probably because the rest of the episode glues together. This was a hell of an episode of television, despite one or two little gripes based on past experience and that state of flux we're left in before the other half drops. As of now it's in my top three... somewhere, but I don't know which one of my previous top three to bump off for it. I won't worry about that yet until we get to the series ranking in a week or two. For now... World Enough And Time.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 First Impressions: Episode 10 (The Eaters Of Light)

I don't have an easy summary for this one beyond "it's fine" so let's just launch on into it.

It's okay, everyone. I speak glowing tentacle.
This is one of the ones this year I was a little excited for, considering the pedigree of the writer. Rona Munro wrote the final story of classic Doctor Who, Survival, and that's one which I quite like. After a long writing career she came back to Doctor Who for this. I don't know anything about her writing career other than writing a 28 year-old story that capped off old Doctor Who, so I've no clue how her style evolved or anything. Aside from one similar shot, this episode has nary a thing to do with Survival so we're going to ignore it for the time being. Instead we'll just plunge on in to... The Eaters Of Light.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 First Impressions: Episode 9 (Empress Of Mars)

That's a marked improvement over last week. Thank goodness for it.

"Allow me to break the ice. My name is Iraxxa.
Learn it well, for it is the chilling sound of your doom!"
Mark Gatiss! He's probably Doctor Who's best mid-tier quality episode writer. Sometimes he pens a dud and sometimes he pens a classic of the series. I won't go over his Doctor Who stories in short summation, save for the two I've already looked at in the Capaldi era. Robot Of Sherwood was a fine bit of welcome fluff for the early Capaldi era when we weren't sure about this callous new guy. Not a classic of Series 8, but somewhere in the middle? Possibly lower back since Series 8 was really quite consistently good. Sleep No More is a little more interesting, as it's Gatiss getting a little experimental and doing Doctor Who: Found Footage Edition. Yeah, okay, walking snot monsters and all that but he tried something new and it mostly worked. Also I maintain that the twist ending is still one of the scariest bits of conceptual horror in recent memory on Doctor Who. And now Mark Gatiss is doing the Ice Warriors! Again! He brought them back in 2013 for the 50th after like 40 years and it worked. Now he's done it again and it doesn't work AS well as Cold War... but after the contemptuous dull dud we went through last week? I'll take a mid-tier Gatiss episode like a man dying of thirst. Let's take a quick stroll through... Empress Of Mars.