Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2022

Memory Leaks: Portal

📻This Was a Triumph... Portal  was one of five titles included in Valve's The Orange Box  collection alongside Team Fortress 2 ,  Half-Life 2 , and the somewhat confusingly named Half-Life 2: Episode 1  and Half-Life 2: Episode 2 . The Half-Life  content was the real draw, as people in 2007 still believed that series would be completed some day. Team Fortress 2  was a re-imagined sequel to a Quake  mod that, while niche, at least had a community behind it. But  Portal  was the real outlier, a short puzzle-platformer technically set in the Half-Life  universe but disconnected from the events of that series. Nobody saw it coming, and it soon became the reason to buy The Orange Box . How I Remember It... There are the games that define your childhood and then there are the games that define your adulthood. I never really got into Half-Life , but I had friends who did and discovered Portal  that way. My first exposure to the game at all was hearing the iconic closing credits song Stil

'Encanto' and Magical Realism

I love  Encanto . It's so good. I mean, it's damned near perfect. Thoroughly enjoyed it. And I'm not the only one. I've heard a lot of people raving about the music, the way the story resonated, the history that it taps into--including multiple attestations that it does a great job of specifically depicting Colombian culture. And I've seen any number of think pieces explaining the ending or answering the question of whether or not Mirabel gets a gift in the end. Because while the story definitely resonated, it didn't resolve very satisfactorily for a number of viewers who are used to American-style storytelling. So, rather than try to simply provide an answer (which, incidentally, is "yes, but also no"), I want to explain why the question doesn't really matter. It isn't the point. And to explain what I mean by that, we need to talk about Magical Realism. Digression in 3... 2... 1... Magical Realism is genre of literature that originated in Lati

Memory Leaks: Contra

🎖️Running with the devil... Contra was the original run-and-gun shooter on the platform that made home video game systems ubiquitous. Originally an arcade game, the 1988 NES port is almost certainly the most famous entry in the entire franchise and one of the most popular third-party titles on the system. It was known for its punishing difficulty. It was also one of the first Nintendo games to employ 2-player simultaneous co-op, which sounds like it should make the game easier, but in practice meant you and your schoolmate would mess up each others' flow and cause each other to die. When you ran out of lives, you could steal one from the other player's reserve. Fortunately, there was widely known "secret" code that gave you an extra twenty-seven lives, and this code no doubt preserved countless friendships. How I Remember It... I had a friend named Bryan, and he and I would play it together a lot. He owned a copy first, and playing his is what got me to beg my paren

Final Thoughts About "My Misspent Youth In Films"

Thanks for reading, those of you who have done so. This was a weird project to put together. Ideally, a list of things to blog about should consists of fifty or one hundred items because those fill out a year pretty nicely, but my movie list kept landing in the 60s or 70s. I tried to come up with some guidelines that might narrow things down... and mostly failed. I came up with the "Double Feature" conceit and that helped, but those posts got pretty cumbersome, so I found myself doing a lot of culling around June. Things got dropped for any number of reasons. Some just can't be found for a rewatch. Some were dropped because they were breaking up double-feature groupings. There was at least one that I didn't remember until we were past its release date in the sequence. So here are a handful of movies that I wanted to write about but didn't. Purple People Eater - based loosely on the song by Sheb Wooley, and I have to imagine it's Mac and Me  levels of bad. It s