The Following: Down the Rabbit Hole and Then Some

The Following

A Frighteningly Herculean Suspension of Disbelief

When The Following first began airing two years ago, the word around the Teacher’s Lounge lunch table was pretty positive. To be honest, it sounded like an intriguing concept: An imprisoned serial killer builds a cult-like following from behind bars, then escapes custody and makes it his mission to harass and terrorize the former FBI agent who put him there in the first place. Sounds like a good, dark edge-of-your-seat movie. Holds a lot of promise for thrilling television. Continue reading

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Alien Isolation Is Too Damn Scary!

Alien: Isolation

I Guess I Asked For It…

I think I’ve finally met my match. I’ve played quite a few horror games – survival and otherwise – over the years: of course the classics Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, Dead Space and all their various sequels; as well as some one- or two-offs: Siren, The Suffering, Obscure, Extermination, Alone in the Dark, The Thing, The Last of Us, Doom 3 (which I consider solidly within the realm of horror), Alan Wake, Condemned, Dead Island, and F.E.A.R., to name a few. I like horror games. But I didn’t expect that when I walked into my local game store a few weeks ago and put my cash on the counter to pre-order Alien: Isolation that I would finally be biting off more scares and screams than I could handle! Continue reading

Trying to Be a Good Sport

PES 2014

A Sporting Chance

I just watched my first soccer match in, oh, at least 20 years or so. As a child, I used to live and breathe soccer; growing up in Germany, it was more or less ingrained in me. I grew out of it when I moved to the States in the early around 1990 or so. But the World Cup is currently underway, and I ended up watching the last 10-15 minutes of the England-Italy match.

That’s all it took.

Apparently, soccer is just part of my genetic make-up, and I can’t simply shrug it off like a coat I’ve outgrown. I ended up staying for the entirety of the Japan-Ivory Coast match, cheering along spiritedly, balling my fists and gritting my teeth as one team scored or another had some near misses, even though I’ve not followed the sport in over two decades and didn’t know either team from Jack. But I’m back in the saddle now, and we’ve already made plans to watch the upcoming Germany games in earnest.

Now if I could only get this excited about playing soccer on my PS3. Continue reading

Blowin’ Smaug Up Our Asses

Why An Unexpected Journey Was Superior to The Desolation of Smaug

The verdicts – or reviews – are in: Based on everything I’ve read or heard, from critics to the average movie-goer alike, The Desolation of Smaug takes last year’s “inferior” Unexpected Journey and builds upon it in every way, finally delivering, or at least getting closer to, what audiences expected.

The film seems to have won over both professional and amateur critics, earning a 75% ‘Fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to the original movie’s 65%. IMDB appraised Smaug with a metascore of 66/100, whereas Journey only earned a paltry 58/100 (though, interestingly, the user reviews on both aforementioned sites are remarkably similar for the two movies, different only by one-tenth of a percent). Various reviews laud the second film as “more tightly paced and action-oriented than its predecessor” and “even more entertaining”, and the Huffington Post commands its readers, “For the love of whatever you consider holy or hold dear, if you love fantasy or even just like it, GO SEE THIS MOVIE NOW.” Sounds convincing.

So why do I feel so utterly unimpressed by this sequel, when I can (and have) watch and rewatch the first part of the trilogy again and again, and come away with a far greater degree of movie-going satisfaction? Continue reading

Editorial: In Defense of Day One DLC

In Defense of Day One DLC

The Road Less Traveled

With the advent and rise of the digital distribution medium during the last few years, certain key aspects of the face of gaming have changed significantly. Publishers have a direct pipeline to consumers, in some cases cutting out the retail middleman completely. For some gamers, physical copies of games have become the exception rather than the rule. Download codes and online transactions dominate as services such as Valve’s Steam, EA’s Origin, and even Xbox Live and PlayStation Network make purchasing a game as simple as a few button presses (and a handy credit card, obviously). Continue reading

Gaming: The New Daytime Talk Show?

Gaming Talkshow

Let’s Ask the Studio Audience

Gaming is hitting new strides every day, not just in the types of technology available for game developers and the kinds of experiences being passed on to us gamers, but in the growing acceptance by the rest of society. Acceptance as a pastime; acceptance as an art form; acceptance as a means for educating and communicating. Continue reading