Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Cake is a Lie, but the Portal Board Game Isn’t

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Portal is a popular video game from Valve that is best known for mind-bending 3D physics puzzles and an astonishingly dark sense of humor. Exactly one of those things translates well to a tabletop environment, which is good news because someone has actually gone ahead and made that game.

The Portal board game – or more accurately, Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game – is a collaborative effort from Valve and Cryptozoic Entertainment. It recently made an appearance at Gen Con in Indianapolis and will soon be coming to store shelves when it debuts for $49.99 later in the fall.

So what should you expect from The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game?

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Hannibal Recap Episode 3.10 – And the Woman Clothed in Sun

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Hannibal has always positioned himself as the supreme arbiter of taste, and he does not hesitate to punish any violations of decorum. Boorishness becomes a form of Natural Selection, a weakness that needs to be culled from the population.

“And the Woman Clothed in Sun” explores the relativism implicit in that idea, suggesting that Hannibal’s drive to murder comes from the same evolutionary impulse that targets the weak or the elderly. His violence is kindness, a way of helping rude people avoid the indignity of being rude.

Of course, Hannibal’s victims would likely dispute the sentence, which is the crucial distinction between a killer like Hannibal and a more traditional moral figure like Will. Hannibal ends the misery of creatures in distress. Will adds them to his pack of strays.

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Hayao Miyazaki Blu-Ray Collection Coming to Amazon in the Fall

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Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most beloved and critically acclaimed figures in the history of animation, directing films like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away that stand as great works of cinema regardless of the format. Unfortunately, while the Studio Ghibli co-founder enjoys a significant international profile, it hasn’t always been easy to find some of his less celebrated works in North America.

That’s about to change thanks to a new Blu-Ray box set coming to Amazon in the fall. The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki includes all eleven of the director’s feature length films, a list that begins with 1979’s Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro and ends with 2013’s The Wind Rises. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo round out the intervening years.

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Twenty Years Later, Hackers is Still One of the Best Films of the 90s

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Hackers is not the best movie ever made, but it is one of the most deliriously entertaining. The pulpy classic is finally coming to Blu-Ray with a 20th Anniversary Edition set to hit shelves on August 18 after years of circulation on bargain basement DVD, and if you’ve never seen it, it’s officially time to remedy that mistake.

Of course, Hackers is not a perfect film. It has, at best, a loose understanding of hacking and computers. Everything it knows about technology is either dated or flat out wrong, which seems like it would be a problem in a movie about hacking.

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Life is Strange Demonstrates the Strengths of Episodic Gaming

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With last week’s release of “Episode 4: Dark Room,” Dontnod Entertainment’s Life is Strange solidified its position as my favorite game of the year. There’s still one more episode to go, but after four solid outings I’m no longer quite as worried that the game will fall apart before the finish line. I’m just disappointed that I’ll have to wait two more months before I get to see the conclusion.

What’s odd is that I don’t think I’d appreciate the game as much without that wait. The episodic release structure has added to my enjoyment of Life is Strange because it leaves me with more time to talk about the game, and that’s proven to be just as much fun as the game itself.

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The Beard Is Strong With This Trailer: The Revenant

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Have you heard of Hugh Glass? You probably won’t forget his name after you watch this trailer for The Revenant.

Glass, a 19th century American frontiersman, is best known for surviving for months on his own after he was attacked by a bear and the other members of his expedition buried him alive and left him for dead. His unbelievable story has been the subject of a couple of books as well as the 1971 film Man in the Wilderness starring Richard Harris. Now Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu has adapted Michael Punke’s 2003 novel about Hugh Glass, The Revenant, into a film of the same name, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.

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NerdyStuff’s Stuff for Nerds: FIIO X5ii DAP Review

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The iPod was the music player that made portable sound near ubiquitous to the post-Walkman, post-Discman generation. When used with a massive music collection, it was something quite remarkable to have up to 160 gigs of decent enough audio to schlepp along with us on planes and subways.

It’s been years since Apple has taken their audio devices seriously, and with the move to streaming services via apps, the entire idiom for portable music playing is shifting. On the one hand the vast majority use their phones with the crummy buds they get for free, while another, slightly more passionate community are looking for genuine “high fidelity” from a device that can be held in a pocket.

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CONTEST: WIN GALAK-Z from 17-Bit

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If you grew up in arcades and cut your teeth on some of the most fiendishly difficult space shooter games of the 1980s, you’re in for a treat. This week, 17-Bit released their much-anticipated open world (or open galaxy), procedurally-generated homage to arcade shooters of the 80s: GALAK-Z.

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Fly the Friendy Skies in EA’s Star Wars Battlefront

There were quite a few years where I wondered if we’d ever see another entry in the Star Wars Battlefront series, and quite a few more where it was worth questioning whether another entry in the series could both capture the energy of the originals while also feeding my childhood dreams of what a Star Wars game could be.

The odds seemed stacked against good returns, but as a wise-man once said, never tell me the odds.

The latest glimpse into Battlefront offers a taste of dogfighting with squadron mode, where the quick back and forth between the Empire and Rebel Alliance begs the question, which side are you on come November 17th?

Take a look and let us know what you think – and keep an eye out for a notorious cameo!

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New Series Brain Dead From The Creators Of The Good Wife

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When you think of husband and wife writer team Michelle and Robert King, you most likely think of their creation The Good Wife, a show that has managed to fill a Law & Order-sized hole in my heart for the last five years. Starring the excellent Julianna Margulies as the titular character (a.k.a. Alicia Florrick), it’s a personal and political drama with a legal procedural format that manages to be incredibly current without coming across as corny.

The Kings have a new project on their hands and although it also deals with politics, it’s probably not what you expected. Brain Dead has been described as “The West Wing meets The Strain,” which might sound like a bad idea but consider this: iZombie, which follows the misadventures of a zombie who helps her friend solve crimes, has been a critical success on The CW and was adapted from the comic book series of the same name by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright of Veronica Mars fame.

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