Category Archives: Reviews

The Unconditional Love of Dropsy

January, 2001.

I fidget in the pew, unable to contain my energy as the preacher goes on and on about God and money and who is even listening and would they care if I crawled under the pew? My mother shoots me a disgruntled look as she pulls me back into my seat. “If you are good and just sit still I’ll buy you candy,” she whispers into my ear. I sit as calmly as I can for the rest of the service. Continue reading The Unconditional Love of Dropsy

Killing Time at Lightspeed and the Ordinary Horror of Losing Touch

You are hurtling away from Mars aboard a vessel traveling at the speed of light; a journey of 29 years experienced in less than an hour. Behind you are your friends, family, the life you once lived. You seek something better at the far end of the galaxy, a fresh start in a new world. But still, you cling to pieces of your former life like a raft in the infinite void. You turn on your phone to check FriendPage, but with each refresh, years roll by for those you left behind. You are left to fill in the blanks as news travels slow, painfully slow, and you witness the lives of those you left behind as an in-flight movie, watching from afar more disconnected than ever. Continue reading Killing Time at Lightspeed and the Ordinary Horror of Losing Touch

Absolute Drift goes round and round and round and round

Drifting has always existed as a sort of accessory sport to traditional racing. Flashy and dangerous, drifting — the act of taking a corner so as to lose control of the back wheels and cause the car to turn sideways — prizes style and precision over speed and vehicular power. Though organized events such as the US’s Formula D series exist they are still searching for a large audience, and outside of Japan drifting remains largely a novelty, something to spice up action movies and arcade racers but rarely thought of as a legitimate sport itself. Continue reading Absolute Drift goes round and round and round and round

Geometry Wars 3 is too much of a good thing, but a good thing nonetheless

Geometry Wars 2 (2008) was never a game that demanded a sequel. From the series’ birth as an Easter Egg in Project Gotham Racing 2 (2003) to finding its home on the early Xbox Live Arcade, Bizarre Creations’ Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved (2005) made few drastic changes but by its second numbered iteration had refined its twin-stick, neon arcade-shooter score-chase into a neo-retro diamond. Aside from perhaps Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (2010) (which borrowed indiscriminately from Geometry Wars aesthetics and leaderboard systems) no game has greater exemplified the arcade game rebirth of the last decade as greatly as Geometry Wars 2 (2008). Continue reading Geometry Wars 3 is too much of a good thing, but a good thing nonetheless

Reigns invites you to be a king of inconsequential actions

If the 2016 US presidential election has shown us anything, it’s that politics is almost by design ruthless and unsavory. Though this is nothing new to most – few sentiments are as near universal across America as a disenfranchisement with the political machine – this election has proven exceptionally messy, sparking across the country a mood that in some ways approximate a mini civil war. There is no compromise, no understanding; only two sides with a widening gap in between. If keeping supporters happy is a difficult task for political leaders, appeasing everyone is utterly off the table. The best that can be hoped for is for this tension to hold, lest it break and plunge our country into even further anarchy. Continue reading Reigns invites you to be a king of inconsequential actions

Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire recalls history’s recursive war for equality

Near the end of the 16th century, Portugal, after being contested by Britain and France for control of the current slave trade along the West African coast, turned their attention toward Luanda (capital of modern day Angola) as a new source of black bodies to enslave. Continue reading Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire recalls history’s recursive war for equality

Magic Flute takes Mozart to Neo-Tokyo

My first time attending a performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute was something of a defining experience, though the reasons have less to do with the play than they do this particular performance and my…anatomical development at the time. Around halfway through a large dance began (what the actual scene was I couldn’t say), during which roughly a dozen women stripped off their jackets as they performed a line-dance in only sports bras. My mother was appalled, but being myself a sheltered, hormonally overrun preteen, I began to pay significantly more attention to a play I had been nearly sleeping through moments before. Continue reading Magic Flute takes Mozart to Neo-Tokyo

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, or “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Sides of a Modern Shooter”

There is a scene early on in Gore Verbinski’s 2011 animated western, Rango, in which Johnny Depp’s titular chameleon is attempting to endear himself to the townsfolk after bumbling his way into town. Through a display of increasingly frantic and outrageous dramatics, he weaves a fantastic tale of his fight with a band of notorious outlaws, an account which the townsfolk have completely bought into by the end despite being fabricated on the spot and held together with the thinnest of logic. Though the scene’s primary purpose is to position Rango as a respected member of the town, as well as to play off his insecurities and reliance of acting in all his social encounters, it also feeds into one of the most persistent and engaging tenants of spaghetti westerns: a stranger’s tale told over a glass of whisky at the town saloon. Continue reading Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, or “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Sides of a Modern Shooter”

JumpJet Rex makes 16-bit platforming cool again

JumpJet Rex acts as the continuation of a distinctly mid-90’s branch of game design. A 16-bit arcade platformer, TreeFortress Games’ prehistoric space escapade merges the divergent sensibilities of the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, into a game that is as smart and enjoyable as Super Mario, and as undeniably cool as Sonic the Hedgehog. Continue reading JumpJet Rex makes 16-bit platforming cool again

Traverser Fails To Navigate Steampunk’s Pitfalls

City-state empires, impractically large machinery, Victorian bird masks, and villains with twirling mustaches. Gatling Goats’ Traverser isn’t being shy with its steampunk aesthetic. But it’s also doing more with the genre than adopting a pastiche of visual tropes, diving into its thematic waters to attempt to tap into something more resonate than copper spider robots. Continue reading Traverser Fails To Navigate Steampunk’s Pitfalls