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Showing posts from October, 2022

Stray Thoughts: What is the Point of THE RINGS OF POWER?

💍 ... Comes Great Responsibility... I'm a more-ardent-than-average Tolkien fan. I've read The Silmarillion . I've read Lord of the Rings  multiple times--and in fact am in the middle of yet another re-read. I've pondered the lore, studied the weird details like what happened to the other palantíri or why Aragorn is heir to both Gonder and Arnor. I'm not like a Stephen Colbert level of Tolkien nerd, but I'm up there. So I want you to keep that in mind as I ask the following question: Why does The Rings of Power  exist? I don't mean from a storytelling perspective. That's easy. Does it need to exist? Of course not. Does Amazon have the rights to the source material that would be necessary to tell the story properly? Hellz no. But is it nonetheless attached to a widely-beloved property and people will watch it anyway just so they can participate in the discourse? Certainly. And does it offer new filmmakers and artists a chance to offer a compelling and un

Memory Leaks: Monument Valley

🐦 Into the Light of a Dark Black Night... Monument Valley  is an indie puzzle game for phones and tablets published by Ustwo Games in 2014. You guide Princess Ida through a series of mazes and puzzles that use optical illusions and shifts in perspective to unlock new paths and solutions. If the perspective shifts so that two separate platforms appear to be next to each other, Ida can now move across them. How I Remember It... This game is a delight. It's atmospheric, mournful, and utterly charming, and on top of all of that it sports solid gameplay using a fairly original mechanic. Just like Portal  was able to take a simple unique gameplay conceit and spin it out into now two full games, Monument Valley  takes an Escher-inspired landscape and teases out a series of increasingly intricate puzzles for you to navigate. The game does a great job of balancing its elements. It knows when to lean on gameplay and when to streamline that in order to let the story have a moment to shine. T

Stray Thoughts: You're Wrong About IDIOCRACY

🧠 I Am So Smart, S-M-R-T... Idiocracy  is a 2006 film by Mike Judge, the first movie he'd directed since 1999's cult classic Office Space . It tells the story of Joe, a perfectly average, er... man... chosen to participate in a human hibernation experiment that went wrong, leaving him stranded 500 years in the future. In this horrific future, intelligence has been bred out of humanity and the world is on the brink of collapse, and now Joe is the smartest person on the planet. Can he evade capture? (spoiler: no) Can he help heal the world? (spoiler: kinda) Hijinks ensue! Idiocracy  has become something of a cultural touchstone, frequently name-checked as a scathing satire of the dumbing down of society, a film that shines the light on our cultural milieu and just eviscerates it. And it's an accolade that I don't think is completely justified. This is a thought that's been niggling at the back of my brain for a while now. You see, over the years I've heard people

Memory Leaks: Super MarioKart

🏎️ He's Going the Distance, He's Going For Speed... Super MarioKart  was a 1992 kart-racing game released for the Super Nintendo. It was a spin-off of Nintendo's flagship Mario  franchise and would kick off its own series that is among the most popular on the platform-- MarioKart 8 Deluxe  is the highest-selling game for the Switch. The game was, amongst other things, a showcase for the Super Nintendo's Mode 7 chip that allowed for pseudo-3D rendering of flat maps. It is credited with creating the kart-racing genre of video games and regularly shows up on greatest-videogame-of-all-time lists, frequently taking the top spot. How I Remember It... We're now eight games deep in this franchise, and it's funny to look back and see just how much of the enduring core gameplay elements were present from its very first installment. Different-colored shells that behaved differently, question blocks, coins, jumps, shortcuts, unlockables, drifting, the rubber-band AI, the i