The Ultimate Camping Film: Blair Witch Project

When going to the cabin, or camping out in a camper, one may be tempted to watch some films. Honestly, the scariest place I think of is the forest, since you never know what’s in there. That’s why it makes for such great horror film potential! There’s so many things you can hide among those trees for the sake of a scare, and any jaunt through the forest can be the source of man screams. Surprisingly enough, that’s not the reason I like the original Blair Witch Project.

I didn’t watch Blair Witch until I was well into my 20s, and by this point the fandom had pretty much died down. The Blair Witch fever that overtook 1999 was no more. Despite this, upon seeing the film for the first time I was immediately drawn to it. The film revolves around three teenagers who get lost in the woods while looking for a supposed witch.

It starts out innocently enough, but soon the kids start to go crazy while lost in the woods. They start seeing things that aren’t there, and they appear to be stalked by some kind of supernatural entity. Believe it or not, I didn’t find this film scary in the slightest. I’m a fairly squeamish fellow at times, but this movie didn’t affect me in the slightest.

It felt more like a black comedy to me, a dark and humorous film that really shows how a simple camping trip can go horribly wrong. That’s something that Blair Witch did expertly, it gave off that feeling of an authentic camping trip. I’ve never been truly camping before, though I have been to a cabin several times. The thing is, you get the feeling that these teens have never camped before either.

Honestly, the original Blair Witch is one of my favorite films. While the new film did some things right, it unfortunately added blatant supernatural elements into the series. Before, the supernatural stuff was debatable. One could say there was a spirit, demon, or witch haunting the teens, but there was never anything explicitly shown. In a way, it worked really well for the film.

I don’t think Blair Witch Project has aged super well, but I still find it to be a great movie. It’s something I can just play in the background while writing and enjoy immensely. While it’s a shame that last year’s sequel to the film was ultimately disappointing, I hold out hope for a return to form for the series. Maybe a Blair Witch VR game? Now that would be interesting, a Blair Witch experience where you and friends try to survive a scary witch. While I doubt they’ll do anything with Blair Witch for a while, I’ll still look fondly upon that first film, and forget the other two happened.

New Graphics Card + Dragon Age: Inquisition

So, I just bought a new graphics card for my new-ish desktop. I had recently ordered Dragon Age: Inquisition using an Amazon gift card, and decided to get this graphic card so I can play it along with a ton of other PC games I had my eye on. The card is a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 Zotac, and it’s amazing! I was able to run Dragon Age: Inquisition with the settings turned up to Ultra no problem! I can’t wait to play more of this game, but for now I want to finish some current reviews and post them. Look forward to seeing some crazy new game reviews the next few weeks.

Discovering Old Shows: Galaxy Rangers

When it comes to very old animation, I usually steer clear of it. Sure, I love 90s animation and will still watch it, but it’s hard to go further back and watch stuff from the 70s and 80s. The 90s was that weird period in animation where shows were getting darker, or had weirder themes or bizarre scenarios. In comparison, 80s animation just seemed too watered down and bland to me. There are definitely exceptions to this, such as Visionaries or the first 2 seasons of The Real Ghostbusters. However, there’s another cartoon that often gets overlooked and that is “The Adventures of The Galaxy Rangers”.

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Otherwise known as “I can’t believe it’s not Saber Rider!”

Out of the many shows to come out of the 80s, few compare to the Adventures of The Galaxy Rangers. Coming out in the mid 80s, this series was unique in that it had really good animation for the time (or even today), likeable and memorable characters, an engaging and interesting plot, and having dark and serious undertones in a kids show. The series revolves around a group of people with cybernetic body-parts who are given special implants to make them even stronger. With these implants, these “Galaxy Rangers” are sent after an evil alien space queen who has kidnapped his wife.

That’s the general setup of the plot, but it’s a lot more deep than that. The show itself was written by former horror writers, and boy does it show! The show can be scary, epic, awesome, and atmospheric. Combine that with a kicking rock soundtrack, interesting characters (Shane Gooseman is my favorite) and some good action and you have a decent 80s cartoon.

I just discovered it recently, and already found myself binge-ing it. It’s got some awkward voice-acting here and there, but that doesn’t really kill the mood for me. Honestly, it’s one of the few 80s cartoons I found myself being able to get invested in. This feels like the Gargoyles of the 90, a dark cartoon with great action that treats its audience like adults. It’s got a huge cult following, despite the fact they never really revisited this amazing show in any form. I’d love a reboot or remake, but I’m happy with the show the way it is.

It’s a forgotten little gem of an 80s show that I can wholeheartedly recommend. It captures that classic anime feel, but couples it with American sci-fi and horror. It feels like a good mixture and a well put-together series. It’s some great 80s animation, and a stellar soundtrack. If you can past some awkward flubbed lines here and there, then you have a truly great sci-fi show to watch!

A Little Bit of An Update

I apologize for the lack of updates to this blog the past week. I had been dealing with a rather annoying cold, which sapped a lot of my energy and interest. However, I’m back and ready to add more to this blog! I also have a job interview this week, wish me luck everyone! I should have a new review out tomorrow, either on Mass Effect or Drakengard: River of Time. So yeah, I’m back now and bringing you guys more content. Also, expect some short stories in the future (as I feel I have been slacking in that department) With that, I hope you all have a great day!

Indie Games Vs. Big Budget Titles

When it comes to video-games, I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur. I’ll play tons of games, from all kinds of different publishers or developers. That being said, I’ll often stray away from Triple-A developers. These are often the big companies who will churn our games with the production value of a big budget film. I can’t really play these games nowadays, because I feel that these games often put the game-play second to the presentation of said game.

That’s why I find myself indulging more in Indie games. These are games that you can often get for dirt cheap (sometimes a few bucks) that have much more fun game-play than the big name stuff. I’m not saying that the big name developers only put out crap games, but the quality of said games has diminished greatly. Compared to the early 2000s, it’s hard to find games that really feel “special” or “unique”.

Thankfully, Indie games fill that niche very nicely. You have Indie games of all times, be it shooters or RPGs. These are usually made by people trying to break into the industry, so they put a lot of time and effort into what is a low budget project. Despite these games not having a lot of financial backing behind them, they still have a lot of heart put into them. Indie devs aren’t forced to make their games the way big corporations want, so they have the freedom to put whatever it is they want in their game.

A good example of this Avernum, which is a crazy good game. It’s a game with such a unique setting, where you are tossed into an underground fantasy world and forced to survive. You are an exile that wanders this decrepit underground maze, coming across villages, and attempting to make your way to the surface once more. Sadly, few big name fantasy games have this unique of a setting.

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This is also a good one.

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t some awesome Triple-A games that came out last year. I loved Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, Dragon Ball Fusions, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, etc. Regardless, I find Indie games to just be superior. Indie games have their problems too, I won’t deny that. At the end of the day though, you’re not gambling as much money away on an Indie project, at least not as much as you would on a game at the story. What’s better: 3 bucks for a game you know little about, or 60 bucks for a game that will most likely be not worth it’s steep price-tag?

I think a person is free to choose whatever game it is that they want. Regardless, I feel that the big-budget games are just not worth all the cash people pay for them. I guess that’s why I usually only buy these games when they are on sale. Whether it’s big budget or Indie, I think there’s room for both of them. I don’t judge people who buy the super “powerful” and “super awesome” new titles that Bioware or Bethesda comes out with. I just have this strange literal value dissonance when it comes to Indie games and the fancy schmancy Triple-A games. I guess that’s just me. Still, I prefer buying 4-6 cheap Indie games that I know will be awesome, as opposed to purchasing “Gears of War 23: We Promise We Added New Stuff This Time”.

My Thoughts On The Mass Effect Series

Believe it or not, I’m a fan of Bioware RPGs. Sure, while the games they put out now tend to be watered down in terms of RPG mechanics, I can still find a fair bit of enjoyment in playing them. I’m not one of those hardcore fanboys who believe Bioware can do no wrong, I’m just a fan in passing who will play a Bioware game as long as it looks good to me. Another reason is that Bioware is a Canadian video-game company, and I always try to be supportive of companies that come from my home country.

While I do plan to review some of the Mass Effect games at some point, I wanted to talk about my experiences with the series. After all, Mass Effect: Andromeda is due out in a couple of days and it’s the third game in this venerable series. It’s hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the first game came out, and it’s even harder to believe that I’ve never really beaten it. Sure, I’ve sank several hours into the first game, but never really finished it.

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In space, nobody can hear you go Super Saiyan.

I’m trying to fix that now, as I recently started replaying Mass Effect 1. ME1 is a special kind of game, as it’s one of those rare action RPGs that strikes a good balance between accessibility and hardcore RPG elements. Please keep in mind that this came out in 2007, around the time when complex RPGs were on their way out. While it definitely lacked a fair amount of more hardcore RPG elements, the basis of what makes a good RPG was intact.

The game had some weird archaic design choices though, such as side-quests ending with giant blocks of text, or a really boring and cumbersome inventory system. Still, things like this still made for an interesting game. Mass Effect 1 told the story of Commander Shepherd and his quest to hunt down a rogue alien and defeat an army of metallic monstrosities known as the Geth.

After the success of ME1, came ME2. I remember getting this game sometime in 2011 and absolutely loving the hell out of it. Sure, it wasn’t as complex as ME1 was, but it was still entertaining. The story devolved into a series of side missions and several RPG elements were just chopped out for some reason. Regardless, Mass Effect 2 was still an absolute treat to play through.

Mass Effect 3 was a hit or miss game for me. I don’t think it’s a good game, nor do I think it’s a bad one. It’s just kind of middle of the road, it lacks gameplay nuance and a lot of characters are just kind of forgettable. I can forgive the ending, but things like how pointless the upgrade system felt are awful. Weapon upgrades almost never need to be used, I could go through the entire game with the same unchanged weapon and never really need to change things up.

The story never really grabbed me, but then again I haven’t really explored the lore all that much. I just felt it was a bit generic, feeling more just like a generic sci-fi story as opposed to the epic dramas of the past. Still, I feel Mass Effect 3 is worth checking out, as it does offer some fun scenarios and some cool looking gear to collect. It’s not as in-depth as the first game, or as polished as the second, but it’s still fun. And that was my thoughts on the Mass Effect trilogy. Brief, but I do plan to tackle these games more in-depth later. I hope you guys enjoy reaading this post and I wish you all a great day!

My Thoughts On Samurai Season 5 Episode 2

I don’t know why, but I felt like doing another journal post on Samurai Jack. I guess it’s just that the newest episode of the series is probably one of the most epic episode of anything I’ve ever seen on television. This episode somehow tops the last one, which was near perfection. It’s fantastic, truly a treat. So, what makes it so special? Unlike the original show, this episode establishes that this show won’t be episodic. It follows directly after the last one with some immense payoff.

Jack has to deal with some assassins, extremely skilled ones. Ones that aren’t what he’s used to, literally. Jack ends up sacrificing what little was left of his honor in order to win and survive. Jack has to fight against what he thinks are just robots, but finds out that his battle has just gotten more serious. Jack is pushed to the brink in this episode, and it’s really intense to watch. We always picture Samurai Jack as this near unbeatable warrior of justice.

However, in this episode Jack gets his butt kicked like never before. It’s one of the most intense beatdowns I’ve ever seen in anything animated and it’s a truly sight to behold. Few series can top themselves in such an immense way, yet Samurai Jack has done this an insane amount of times. This episode did so many amazing things and it’s just awesome.

Does this episode have problems? Yeah, it does here or there. For one thing, I felt like the whole “Jack having hallucinations” thing is starting to get played out. While there’s only one in this episode, I feel if each episode does this it might old. It doesn’t help that most of these hallucinations seem to repeat the same things, which is kind of annoying. The writing during these scenes is fantastic, even if most of these flashbacks seem to regurgitate the same statements.

That’s really a nitpick though. I couldn’t find too many flaws with it. It  was great that we got to see Aku again, Greg Baldwin does a fantastic job taking over for the late great Mako. Casting on this show was near perfection. I can’t help but sing the praises of this show. I feel that once I re-watch the season after its completely released, then I’ll probably start finding flaws with it like crazy. Am I blinded by nostalgia? Maybe a little, but I try to view everything with an open mind and not just nostalgia goggles. I think the real reason I like this so much is because it has everything I look for in an action show. I really want to see what it does next!

My Thoughts On Samurai Jack Season 5 Premiere

Well, after 13 long years, we finally have the continuation of one of the greatest cartoons ever: Samurai Jack. This is a saga that revolves around a strong and hardened warrior, namely a samurai named Jack. After Jack’s attempt to murder an all-powerful demon, he is flung thousands of years into the future. This new twisted timeline is ruled by said demon, the ultimate evil known as Aku. The show from here on out focuses on Jack’s seemingly never-ending quest to return to his proper time and defeat Aku.

The show was sadly cancelled after season 4, and for the longest time we didn’t have a continuation. There was a comic book published by IDW that continues the plot, but the original creator of the series has gone on record in saying its non-canon. The comics are still great, but they aren’t the continuation everyone had really hoped for. The series also ended on a rather ambiguous note, refusing to provide a conclusive ending to the series.

However, with season 5 of the show now airing, we’re getting just that! Samurai Jack is back and much darker than before, while still retaining the charm of the original. It’s one of the most amazing and entertaining cartoons I’ve had the pleasure of watching in the past decade. It has very few flaws, and the ones it does have due little to sour the experience. I just hope that Adult Swim can keep up the quality on this series throughout its ten episode run.

I’m just glad we’re getting a conclusion to this story after so long. Samurai Jack is a thing of beauty, but it’s also a story that should end at some point. There’s no need to keep dangling the carrot in front of our faces for decades at a time. With the amount of effort going into this conclusion, I have the feeling that we will finally get that satisfactory ending.

My Favorite Band: JAM Project

 

I often don’t talk about music a whole lot on my blog, probably because it isn’t my favorite thing in the world. I do love music, but it’s not something I often write about or want to write about. However, I did feel like discussing my favorite band, a band I feel doesn’t get enough recognition in the West. I’m of course talking about the Japanese rock band known as JAM Project.

These guys are the Japanese equivalent to the band Queen, possessing a similar kind of awesomeness. Each band member has had a career in singing theme songs to anime, even before joining the band. Having all these amazing musicians together is fantastic, and they all gel together very well. Each song is packed with energy and extremely vibrant, as well as being fast and in your face.

When it comes to bands, I don’t have many I like. I guess you can call me a hipster, because I just can’t get behind the music of nowadays. Too many bands I’ve never heard of, too many regurgitated love songs, too many repetitive and formulaic songs. When it comes to JAM Project though, I can listen to them all day and all night! They are an amazing band that produces so many amazing songs. Sure, not all their songs are great, but a large majority of them are. If you like awesome Japanese music, I recommend checking them out!

My Thoughts On Digimon Adventure Tri

So, recently the newest Digimon Tri film came out. I’ve made it no secret that I’m a huge fan of the series. I’ve been following it since the release of the original anime over 15 years ago. It’s a series about a group of kids (or teenagers depending on the series) getting whisked away to a world filled with monsters made out of data. It’s a popular series that spurred the imagination of many a 90s kids. And the original cast from the first season is now back in a story that acts as a sort of third season to the original group.

Now, I love these films, but I can admit they have a lot of problems. These include: Horrible at times pacing, the occasional bout of awkward animation, lack of explanations, the fact that they just ignore the 02 cast’s existence half the time, or just the fact that six films feels like overkill. Seriously, you can skip 90% of the second film, since most of it feels fairly superfluous.

I love that I get to see the original like Matt and Tai again, but at the same time I’m a bit annoyed that the dub is taking so long to get released. I get that it takes time to dub this stuff, but a year seems like overkill for a single film. Regardless, I still think the films are pretty good. They have good character development, some pretty good animation at times, and a new art-style that really meshes well with the darker undertones the series is trying to present.

Couple this with an amazing nostalgic soundtrack, some interesting new characters, and some pretty sweet action sequences, and you’ve got a series of animated films that are a sight to behold. While the positive do outweigh the negatives, I feel like these newer films are going to alienate those who have never seen the show. Especially when obscure or lesser known concepts and characters like Homeostasis and Gennai show up. I feel that this is a film series that will appeal mostly to the fans, which is okay with me. I love the films thus far and am looking forward to the English dub. Anyways, that’s just my personal thoughts on the film. I’d like to hear your guys’ personal thoughts, so feel free to leave them in the comment section below.