Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Eraserhead (1977) - A Cathartic Watch for A New Parent

Wobbler Note: This is a guest article written by my wife, Becki, reflecting on Lynch's film and our experience as new parents.

Eraserhead is gruesome, unpleasant, and seems to drag on and on. But as a struggling new parent, it’s disturbingly relatable.
The experimental, 1970s cult horror film by David Lynch has been analyzed for 40 years, and Lynch notoriously won’t explain its meaning, preferring to let viewers reach their own conclusions. For me, it captured the darker side of new parenthood – the middle-of-the-night misery that visitors don’t get to see.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Year in Review and Best of 2016 Part 3 - Music

If you haven't had a chance to read them, I poured out thousands of words about every 2016 movie I watched and every 2016 game I played earlier this month. 2017's already felt surreal on both a global and personal scale; the global elements are obvious to anyone living through it right now, with the personal being much more pleasant! My daughter was born a little over three weeks ago, entering this world a little early and making quite a show of it. We're thankfully all doing well now.

Life's slowly getting back to normal and I've taken a moment to finish up my 2016 Year in Review series with a look back at the new music I checked out. As with last year's piece, this is more of a bonus article. I lack the language to write in depth about music and my scope is limited; I missed out on many of the year's big releases. I spent more time continuing to listen to Marina and the Diamonds' three albums than branching out much this year. Still, it's fun to try! A YouTube playlist of the available songs can be found here.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Year in Review and Best of 2016 Part 2 - Games

The Year in Review continues! This time I'm looking at the games I played in 2016. I'm skipping straight ports of games I'd previously played (The PS4 ports of A Boy and His Blob and Dead Rising) but including titles such as Gone Home and Kholat, which hadn't seen console releases until this year.

2016 saw the release of two titles that had been long, long, long delayed: The Last Guardian, which began development in 2007, and Final Fantasy XV, whose troubled development started out as the confusingly named Final Fantasy Versus XIII in 2006. This year, Sony launched the PS4 Pro and Microsoft launched the Xbox One S, mid-generation upgrades to their current platforms, while Nintendo prepares to launch their new handheld-console hybrid the Nintendo Switch, set for release in March of 2017. A new Pokemon game was released on 3DS to high praise while the smartphone title Pokemon Go became a cultural phenomenon for a short while. Sony and Sega announced that Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami, and Yakuza 6 would all be getting English releases, and the world was made a little brighter.

What games did I like this year? Surprisingly, my top three are all first-person games! I'm someone that usually gets a little motion sick from first-person cameras in games, but these three were so good that I was able to overlook that. Let's take a look at the rankings!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Year in Review and Best of 2016 Part 1 - Movies

It's become trendy to personify 2016 as a sentient boogeyman, a grim reaper stealing childhood icons and ushering in a bizarre cultural era in which Pepe the Frog played a non-zero role in a US presidential election. It's a year that's been defined by an eclectic mix of fear, paranoia, and idiocy. It's a year where no matter what you make up, someone will believe you, as long as it's posted on Twitter. It's the Year of the Snake People.

In spite of the flood of national sorrows, triumphs, and explosions of stupid, 2016 was a mercifully quieter year for me than 2015. My work on Kaiju Big Battle: Fighto Fantasy really took off, including a trip to PAX East to present the game as part of a panel back in April. In addition to my new day job, Kaiju work ate up a lot of the time I'd normally spend writing, so you, my wobblers, have been neglected. I apologize. I'm hoping to launch the game in the first half of 2017, though we'll see if life has other plans; I've got a daughter due any day now!

Even with all that, I still saw a huge number of movies this year, whether at home or in theaters. I even liked most of them! Here's a look at them, divided into tiered lists and sorted alphabetically. As usual, this is an evolving document which I'll be updating as I see the final movies I missed out on (Among others: The Fits, Jackie, Last Days in the Desert.) Let's talk movies!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Push Me Pull You (2016, PS4) - Glib Me Glob You

It's been a couple of months since I wrote a review! I've been busy with work, both at my day job and on my upcoming game, but it's time to get back to writing. Taking a deeper look into the games I play and movies I watch is personally rewarding, whether it's in finding a new appreciation for something I initially disliked or figuring out pitfalls to avoid in my own stories and games.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Work continues on the Kaiju Big Battel game! To celebrate Halloween, let's take a look at some of its monsters. Be sure to follow its official blog for weekly updates!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Slalom Lancoven

I've been spending a lot of time working on Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy and less time writing, but I hope to have more reviews up soon and a little more regularly.

In the meantime, I think someone should get on board to help me make the ski game we've all been waiting for, Slalom Lancoven.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 (2016, PS4) - Pac Your Bags for the Ghost Train

When Namco announced a new Pac-Man Championship Edition game I was totally hyped. The original version, released in 2007, and its 2010 sequel Championship Edition DX were my favorite of the arcade retro-revival titles, with DX improving on the first game in a number of ways. I assumed CE2 would be more of the same, an iteration that improved and expanded on existing mechanics, but to my surprise, Namco's latest Pac-Man game goes in very different directions.

Championship Edition 2 feels less like an expansion and more like the original rules reinterpreted and evolved in a new manner. I feel that DX remains the better game, but I do have to applaud Namco for trying something new with their sequel instead of taking a safe course.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kholat (2016, PS4) - Snow Day for Death Mountain

I've generally enjoyed the often maligned "walking simulator" brand of narrative game; Soma, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Gone Home, these are all titles I've dug. These are games mostly devoid of action, where the focus is on wandering detailed environments, learning a story (often second hand by way of journals and audio logs) through observation, and just soaking in the atmosphere. Kholat, developed by Polish studio IMGN.PRO, sounded like something I'd be totally into: Stuck in a blizzard on top of a deadly mountain, players explore a hostile environment to find clues related to the Dyatlov Pass Incident of 1959, in which a group of Russian hikers mysteriously died.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Hyper Light Drifter (2016, PS4) - Deadly Drifter vs. Foul Frogs

With elements of both classic 16-bit and modern action games, Heart Machine's Hyper Light Drifter is a mixture of harsh combat, mysterious exploration, and minimalist storytelling. Designer Alex Preston made a big splash on Kickstarter, with the game raising over $600,000 on an initial goal of only $27,000. A few months after its PC release in March, the PS4 version is finally here, and I've been excited to see what it has to offer.