Fun and Games

Mindcraft the game for everyone.

Posted on December 31, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Mindcraft is an open-ended creation focused game within an exploration based environment; there are no rules and no real story to the game. This game is primarily aimed at children, though it’s for people of all ages who want to create something from nothing and build their own world within a virtual environment, using materials they harvest from the world around them; what they build and how far they build their world is up to them and their imagination. There are also monsters that players will encounter; though there is no blood and gore. They will be aggressive and players will use swords and bows to defeat them; though for some players they may appear to be scary due to how they appear and the sounds they make, especially when they appear out of nowhere and attack.

For some reason it has taken off like a rocket, and has become one of the best selling games on the market; though it’s hard to understand how a game that has retro blocky graphics can even have such an appeal. If one had to guess, it’s down to the learning aspect that can help kids learn math and science through creation, and to be creative as they use thinking and reasoning skills to build and develop their world; as well as interact with other players with the online game-play and learn how to collaborate effectively. The downside with online game-play is that parents have to be aware that the servers are hosted by private non-moderated servers; therefore any player can create a monster in any shape or form and profanity could also be incorporated into their game play.

All in-all if you’re looking for a well-suited game for children that can be played online or offline, that can keep kids occupied for hours, and out of trouble then Mindcraft is the game for them; alternatively for adults with nothing better to do and in desperate need of an escape from the pressures of the real world, then this game can provide the escape they need and so much more.

Posted in Fun and Games

Steam Greenlight: Another failed experiment from Valve

Posted on March 22, 2015 at 8:40 pm

It is always an easy target, especially after some of the incredible success that their games have had, but Valve have made a number of mistakes in recent years, but almost all of them have been in aid of making Steam, and PC gaming in general, a better place. Steam Greenlight was Valve’s attempt to limit, or at least improve the quality of, games getting released on Steam. The idea was that these games would face a vote on Greenlight from the community; those with overwhelmingly positive votes would make it onto Steam, those without would linger until they improved their showing.

That was the idea anyway. Instead we had games from recognisable developers and publishers being forced through Greenlight, while other games, extremely rubbish ones, that used Valve’s proprietary engine would skip the process. Steam Greenlight has taken a back seat on Steam recently though; with games coming out and being filtered into “New Releases” and “Popular New Releases.” Steam’s problems continue.

 

Posted in Fun and Games

Thomas Was Alone: But Thomas wasn’t lonely

Posted on February 22, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Thomas Was Alone is the charming tale of Thomas. A coloured square. A coloured square who is trying to break free and live his life outside of an oppressive computer programme. It sounds bizarre, and creator Mike Bithell has a reputation for making off the wall and unusual games, but the game is relatively straight forward. You play as Thomas and along the way you recruit other shapes of various colour and sizes, each with their own unique ability. Some can jump higher, one floats, one is heavier etc all in the name of solving the game’s many puzzles.

The game features, among other things, a famous actor doing the voiceover. It can get a little smug at times (such is an advantage of being English) but overall the story, writing and voice work are all really strong and add to what is, already, a really good game. Mike Bithell has already started work on his next game, Volume.

 

Posted in Fun and Games

Nintendo To Focus On Hardcore Gamers?

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 10:57 am

Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto has suggested that the gaming veterans will stop focusing making games for passive gamers, and focus on hardcore games instead.

Interesting statement, as the Wii’s success came from casual gamers getting into the system for the first time, with games like Wii Sports proving extremely popular.

The designer of Mario has suggested his interest lies in hardcore gaming, with this quote from CVG;

“[These are] the sort of people who, for example, might want to watch a movie. They might want to go to Disneyland,” he said. “Their attitude is, ‘OK, I am the customer. You are supposed to entertain me.’ It’s kind of a passive attitude they’re taking, and to me it’s kind of a pathetic thing. They do not know how interesting it is if you move one step further and try to challenge yourself [with more advanced games].”

He suggests the casual gamer is more interested in smartphone gaming nowadays, so focusing on actual core gamers will make more sense.

 

Posted in Fun and Games

Rapture-Palooza

Posted on August 22, 2014 at 4:25 am

It’s unfortunately fitting that one of the biggest laughs in Rapture-Palooza is Craig Robinson’s Antichrist character, who has been spewing nothing but terrible sexual innuendo at Lindsey (Anna Kendrick) since the first moment he laid eyes on her, catches himself in the middle of explaining a pun to comment, “actually, that’s not that funny.” Despite a cast packed with some of the best people working in comedy today (John Francis Daley, Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel, Thomas Lennon, John Michael Higgins, Ana Gasteyer, Paul Scheer, and Robinson, just to name a few), Bill & Ted scribes Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon taking up writing and producing duties, respectively, and the lovely Kendrick in the lead role, this end-of-the-world comedy is an apocalyptic misfire.

As Lindsay explains in a bit of voice-over narration, the Rapture arrived unexpectedly — she’s rolling strikes in a bowling alley with her boyfriend Ben (Daley) when most of the other patrons suddenly disappear, called up to heaven thanks to their belief. Everyone else has to stay on Earth, where locusts and crows scream at people, and fiery rocks rain from the sky. Despite the transformation of the world around them, Lindsay and Ben remain optimistic, with plans to open a sandwich cart, but when their first cart is smashed by one of those flaming boulders, they’re forced to turn to Ben’s dad (Corddry) for help, who works for The Antichrist and can potentially get them a job cleaning his pool. Instead, the moment “The Beast” (as he calls himself) sees Lindsay, he decides to try and make her his Queen of Darkness, much to everyone’s dismay.

Rapture-Palooza basically has three jokes, which the audience will become familiar with in a hurry: comically understated observation of the world as it now exists, swearing, and Robinson’s endless supply of double and single-entendres about Kendrick’s body and what he plans to do to it. Each of these is repeated, over and over. It rains blood, which frustrates Ben because his windshield wipers struggle with it. Those crows sit on lightposts and insult people from a distance. There’s comic potential in these ideas, but the film repeatedly settles for the easy or obvious gag, usually involving profanity.

In particular, Robinson’s material really grates on the nerves. Although he displays some crackerjack timing — he’s much more lively here than in This Is the End — comedy doesn’t play into a void. It requires a wall of some sort for the joke to bounce off of, and the character of Lindsay is a void, not a wall. A big part of The Beast’s interest in Lindsay stems from her virginity. It would be nice, for instance, if Lindsay had a reason that she had decided to remain a virgin, or if the film played up Ben and Lindsay trying to find the right moment, which would add some sort of emotional context for Lindsay’s reactions. Instead, the joke is just The Beast being aggressively gross toward Lindsay. One or two gags (like The Beast’s love of eggs) veers toward the absurd, which is much funnier, but they’re drops of water in a vast desert.

Other amusing weirdo gags linger elsewhere, like Thomas Lennon as a zombie who wants nothing more than to keep going through the motions of mowing his lawn, even though his mower was stolen months ago. Paul Scheer is also excellent in a tiny role as a monstrous gate guard who hates Corddry’s guts. There are a few laughs to be had, but more than anything, Rapture-Palooza feels like a brainstorming session of Rapture jokes and explicit pick-up lines, hastily slapped onto a clothesline plot that doesn’t actually support the jokes, because nobody’s put any thought into how these characters fit in with the ideas.

The DVD
Rapture-Palooza arrives in a simple but slick-looking package highlighting Kendrick and Robinson. No points for creativity, but there’s a nice use of color, I suppose. The disc and digital copy code are packaged inside an eco-friendly case, which is accompanied by a cardboard slipcover featuring identical artwork.

The Video and Audio
This 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound are both adequate, if not impressive — good enough to avoid serious complaints, not impressive enough to praise. Detail and color are very strong, although artifact-type edge haloes appear when characters are in front of bright backgrounds. Similarly, there are some decent surround effects (such as, for instance, a crowd of swearing crows flying away from a power line, as well as the occasional explosion or storm), and music is nicely amped, but most of the movie is just characters indoors talking to one another. English and Spanish subtitles are also included.

The Extras
First up is a audio commentary by Craig Robinson, Rob Huebel, and Rob Corddry. Much like the movie, all three of these guys are funny, and ought to be able to come up with something, but they seem unsure of where to go with the commentary format, spending more time mocking the fact that they’re doing a commentary and chuckling at the occasional joke. Disappointing.

An assortment of short video extras follow. First is a Robinson-centric making-of-featurette, “Good to Be the Beast” (8:05). Robinson talks a little about his role as a producer on the movie and how he worked to bring friends from the comedy world onto the project, intercut with lots of B-roll of the cast joking around on set, as well as some outtakes. This segues well into a gag reel (2:42), which is easily the best extra on the disc — why isn’t the movie this funny Next, “Thomas Lennon’s Movie Making Moments” (5:39) is an amusing little extra with the actor riffing from the makeup trailer and on the set (the makeup lady is a great sport and a great audience). His goofy French accent is a highlight. Lastly, there’s a series of deleted scenes (8:50), which includes some alternate improvisation for scenes that remain in the movie. A couple of chuckle-worthy lines were cut, but it’s basically more of the same.

Trailers for Warm Bodies, Peeples, Disaster Movie, and a promo for Epix play before the main menu.

Conclusion
Despite a fantastic cast, Rapture-Palooza is a mess, leaning heavily on gross-out humor that might earn a few chuckles from thirteen-year-olds. Skip it.

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Posted in Fun and Games

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