Wheel of Time, Episode 1 Analysis

Before I begin, let me say that my expectations for this show were low, simply because it is the year 2021, but also because the author of the source is now dead and the production is being funded by Amazon. I wouldn’t have bothered watching had my subscribers not specifically asked me to watch and review it, and were I not a fantasy author myself. I’ve read the Wheel of Time book series. It’s not my favorite, and I think some of the middle books are among the worst I’ve read, but I have a lot of affection for the…

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The Problems with Letting Hollywood Adapt Books

Problem 1 – The producers and executives don’t really WANT to adapt anything. Rather, they adapt things because they already have a proven track record, making production simpler and less of a gamble. Twilight was a huge hit, so of course, a movie adaptation will also be a huge hit. The studio is most interested in making a movie that people will watch, not making a faithful adaptation of a book (or anything else). Problem 2 – The creatives who work on the films don’t really WANT to adapt anything, either. They want to make their own vision, with their…

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Dungeon Encounters (early impressions)

Dungeon Encounters is a game, though the title doesn’t quite sound like a game as much as a category of play. The name is simple, but it’s got a lot of talent backing it up: directed by Hiroyuki Itou (of Final Fantasy 6, 9, and 12 fame) and produced by Hiroaki Kato (who has been involved with some of my favorite Final Fantasy games, including Tactics Advance 2), and with music overseen by Nobuo Uematsu. Despite, or perhaps because of, these particular personalities, the game comes across as decidedly stripped-down and old school. It’s a dungeon crawler and nothing more…

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Extending Play Time: How the goal of a game is to take more of your time.

his may sound a bit odd, but one of the unspoken goals of game design is to take as much of the player’s time as possible, or to put it another way, there is an in-built quest for efficiency with games regarding time. Sometimes, they advertise this by claiming the game has “a hundred hours of content,” or some such. As I’ve said before, not all time is well-spent. A boring 100-hour game is inferior to a game that is shorter but interesting all the way through. One hundred hours of really fun content sounds like a great deal, but…

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Dune 2021 – Review

I gave up on seeing a faithful adaptation of Frank Herbert’s immensely popular Dune years ago. The way Herbert constructs the book and strange worldbuilding and philosophy that underpins the entire series make it, I believe, unfilmable. That conclusion hasn’t stopped the many fans of the book and the universe from clamoring for another visual adaptation, and so in 2021, we finally got a big-budget film of Dune directed by Denis Villeneuve (who also directed Blade Runner 2049, which I still have no plans ever to watch). Sort of. What was released this week was part 1 of, I presume,…

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Rubbernecking the Avocado – The Meta-Mukbang

Ever slow down on the freeway to see a wreck? Ever call a Nascar event boring because nobody crashes? You’re not alone. We describe chaotic, attention-grabbing events as “train wrecks” for a good reason—like a train going off the rails, you can’t look away. It’s a human instinct to look upon the morbid. There is perhaps some survival enhancement buried there, a kind of imprinting of doom that pumps up caution and therefore decreases the odds of suffering the same fate. However, like all valid human desires and instincts, they can be artificially hijacked. Enter the internet age, where at…

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Why I Didn’t Buy Metroid Dread

After what seems like an eternity since the last “traditional” Metroid game (which was 2002’s Metroid Fusion for Game Boy Advance), a new entry emerges: Metroid Dread. I use the term “traditional” loosely, as the 3D shooter Metroid Prime series is now some 19 years old, and in fact, more time has passed between then and now than the original Metroid and the first Prime title. After 19 years of waiting for another entry in one of the classic “Metroidvania” franchises (and even more if you don’t consider the linear Metroid Fusion to be Metroidvania), the hype was incredibly strong……

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The Prequel Effect

“The Prequels Suck!” How many times have you heard this? How many times have you uttered this yourself? Which prequels am I talking about? Well, the most obvious answer for those of you who follow me is the Star Wars prequel trilogy, released between 1999 and 2003, all of which were directed by Star Wars mastermind George Lucas. These movies were contentious, to say the least, because they were ultimately something quite different than what the Gen X and Gen Y Star Wars fans that grew up with the original movies wanted. There have been hours-long commentaries and documentaries on…

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That Other World

Sometimes, somedays, you can almost get there. You can just see it, like it’s on the edge of your periphery, with its blending of slanted light among bright, endless colors. You can lay in a dark room and see it, just for a few moments, without really going there, and you get a smell of the grass, of the wind, of the water running through it. Just a few fleeting seconds… perhaps even a minute, where the mind is free of its shackles but before sleep finally takes you to its churning chaos. The fields stretch on, for forever and…

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Wagey Slavie in his Gilded Cagey

Vaccine mandates are quickly becoming one of the most divisive and revealing political gambits in my lifetime. They are divisive because they occur entirely along the lines of political tribes on opposite sides of the friend/enemy distinction, with one side revering the jab in the same way a Christian reveres the sacraments with that same side desiring to impose it the way a Muslim might insist upon Halal food, while the other side simply wants to decide for themselves whether the risk is worth any supposed benefit. The mandates are revealing in that they show just what state most people…

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