Category Archives: Jumping the Soapbox

Jumping the Soapbox: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The One Where Dennis Leaves the Show

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The images you see in this editorial are the property of their respective owners

One of my favorite shows of all time is Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia which I actually came into pretty damn late into its run.  I was always aware of its existence, but I never really had a reason to sit down and watch it until around 2013 when I was stuck in bed for like two days due to a minor surgery I had and I needed something to watch to kill the time.  In an effort to fix that problem, I booted up Netflix, saw that it had like eight seasons, and figured why not?  To this day, I rarely go a week (and usually no more than a single day) without putting it on in the background of whatever it is I’m trying to do at the time which is more often than not writing stuff for the site (I’m watching Mac’s Banging the Waitress as I’m typing this… though less likely to be watching it while you’re reading this).  Sadly though for fans of Sunny, the latest season ended on a rather bittersweet note as it may in fact have been the final appearance of Glenn Howerton’s Dennis Reynolds who is STRONGLY considering leaving the show, despite it getting renewed for at least two more seasons.  Now as much as I’d hate to see him go, I don’t necessarily begrudge him for doing so considering they’ve already done twelve AMAZING seasons, and I hope he has all the success in the world with what he plans to do next which looks to be a show with Patton Oswalt where he plays a disgruntled and malicious high school teacher.  So what does this mean for fans of Sunny?  I have no idea!  Maybe they’ll hold out for him on the off chance this new show fails (the thirteen season has already been pushed back a year), or maybe they’ll try to solider on without him; hoping the remaining four members of the crew can somehow manage the burden of his absence.  For me though, this is a perfect chance to do some fun speculation on possible replacements for Howerton to either fill the void he left or to possibly even turn the show into an entirely new direction.  That is why I have listed my top five BRILLIANT ideas of who they should get to be the new fifth member of the crew, though unfortunately Schmitty is not one of them.  The ranking is mostly in terms of how much I want to see this person (or even persons) show up in the series, but I TRIED to keep the list as practical as possible.  As amazing as it would be to get Nicolas Cage, Scarlett Johansson, or Denzel Washington to be fifth member of the crew, I doubt they’ll be picking up Rob McElhenney’s calls anytime soon.

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5) Topher Grace

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Probably not the first name that comes to mind when trying to fill in an enormous gap on one of the most ingeniously crafted shows of all time, but hear me out!  We all know he played nerdy Eric Foreman for a decade and that he wasn’t all that great in Spider-Man 3, but his filmography since then has been, if not STERLING, at least interesting.  He’s REALLY good at playing slimy characters like in Predators and American Ultra which is more or less a requirement for a show like It’s Always Sunny, but what really makes him seem like a perfect fit is that he naturally exudes a sense of weakness and apathy in his performances which I know doesn’t sound like a complement but fits perfectly with the ethos of the show.  Everyone in that bar, except maybe Frank, has no direction in their life and is living in a perpetual state of denial about everything around them with Mac thinking he’s tough, Charlie thinking he’s quirky instead of a creep, and Dee failing to understand why she’s never achieved her goals (fear of rejection keeps her from making a whole hearted effort at anything).  Look at his performance in the recent Opening Night where his level headed cynicism is clearly a mask for his own insecurities and how the wackiness of everyone backstage continues to push him further and further over the edge.  Now imagine it was the crew that was pushing his buttons the whole time!  The guy seems to be getting regular work in films just outside the mainstream (his most recent role was in a Netflix movie) so I doubt he’s looking to tie himself down to a TV show, but that kind of character coupled with the horror show that is the crew at Paddy’s Pub could make for an interesting dynamic.

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Jumping the Soapbox: Looking Back at Los Disneys

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Los Disneys is the work of artist Jay Kristopher Huddy

The images you see in this editorial are the property of their respective owners

People who say to get politics out of video games are idiots.  Even if we take this talking point at face value (spoiler alert: it’s not “politics” they actually want out of video games), it’s a stance only taken by cowards and the ill-informed.  For video games to be seen as a legitimate art form it needs to be free to have thoughts and opinions because art is ALWAYS political to a certain extent, and some of our greatest pieces of creative expression exist to convey a message; not just to look or sound nice.  Now there are still arguments to be had about what constitutes hate speech, how much power platform holders should have in controlling the market, and making sure the wrong games don’t get into the wrong hands (i.e. effective rating systems), but we can’t even get THAT far into the discussion if everyone wants to deploy the ban hammer on the mere IDEA of having something to say.  Are we clear on that?  Good.  Let’s talk about the game where you blow up Disney World.

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Los Disneys of Former Florida!  Free, Independent, and Ever Expanding!

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I honestly couldn’t tell you how I came across this game all those years ago (I think I might have been on a Controversial Games kick in high school) but it’s managed to stick with me even now.  This mod of Bungie’s Marathon casts you as a spy infiltrating Disney World (now the capital of the state of Los Disneys) in order to destroy it before they have a chance to take over the world, and while the graphics and gameplay were somewhat archaic even when I first discovered it, the novelty of the well realized location is what drew me in and kept me playing.  On the surface, it’s not all that different from other shock art we’ve seen aimed at Disney (*cough* Air Pirates *cough*), but the narrative is actually quite compelling and the art direction is strong enough that you want to keep pressing forward just to see what you’ll find around the next corner.  Needless to say that Disney wasn’t too happy about all this which garnered a few headlines and only increased the game’s exposure at the time.

Now I always saw it as a merciless take down of Disney’s monolithic place in American (and to a certain extent, worldwide) culture, but then why would you take MY word for it when we can get the answers straight form the horse’s mouth!?  No, not Horace Horsecollar!!  I got in touch with the game’s creator, Jay Kristopher Huddy, and he was nice enough to answer a few questions about his career, the game, and its legacy!

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Jumping the Soapbox: Top Ten Revivals Netflix Hasn’t Made Yet

The images you see in this editorial are the property of their respective owners

Considering that Netflix has already brought back Wet Hot American Summer, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Arrested Development, Full House, and even Mystery Science Theater 3000, they’re quickly turning into the streaming service equivalent of Peter Pan; collecting lost television shows and movies we don’t want to leave to the sands of time and will gladly pay $9.99 a month to keep on life support.  Now I’ve enjoyed some of the stuff that they’ve Frankensteined back into existence (the new MST3K was actually the first time the series really started to click for me), but where the heck is MY nostalgic revival!?  Yes, I was a fan of Bill Nye too, but there are so many things that they could bring back that will cause me to reflexively empty my wallet and try to shove it into my computer monitor that they haven’t even considered yet!  In fact, let’s just go ahead and name ten of them!  Now the ordering of this list is SOMEWHAT arbitrary as there are LOTS of factors to think about when trying to put these in any sort of order so it’s hard to quantify which one is more important to try and bring back than another.  How much did I like the original show or movie?  How much more can they do with the license if it was brought back?  Will Netflix even have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking this project off the license holder’s hands?  All of which I think makes this a rather interesting (if slightly convoluted) top ten list even if it seems to be somewhat random!  Let’s get started!!

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10) Jem and the Holograms

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Right off the bat, let’s start with a series I’ve never even watched.  I’ve never particularly cared for Jem and the Holograms as a television series, and I CERTAINLY didn’t care for it when Hasbro and Jason Blum put out that cheap and cynical movie that had nothing with the franchise in the first place!  The reason it’s on this list is because of the IDW comic book series created by Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell.  Gorgeous artwork, interesting storylines, and believable updates for all the characters are just the tip of the iceberg as far as things this series manages to get right, and while there are some notable differences between the original cartoon and this comic (Jerrica doesn’t own or even co-own Starlight Music), it’s still a fantastic entry point for anyone who was interested in the premise but was turned off the extreme Late Eighties Toy Cartoon aspects of the show.  Now to be fair, Netflix’s history with exclusive animated series hasn’t been the STRONGEST part of their original content, but they seem to have a solid enough relationship with Hasbro already (pretty much all of their animated shows are on there right now) which doesn’t put this outside the realm of possibility.  If nothing else, Hasbro still hasn’t done enough to apologize for that terrible movie, so it’s the least they could do!

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Jumping the Soapbox: Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days is Not a Reservoir Dogs Game

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Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days is owned by Big Star Games, Reservoir Dogs The Game is owned by Edios Interactive and Volatile Games, and Reservoir Dogs is owned by Lionsgate

The images you see in this editorial are the property of their respective owners

In 2005, Rockstar Games released a video game adaptation of Walter Hill’s seminal classic The Warriors to overwhelmingly positive reviews for its solid gameplay and interesting take on the characters and world of that movie.  It’s by no means perfect, but it’s probably the best thing that Rockstar released on that console (sorry, but those GTA games don’t hold up nearly as well) and is easily in the upper echelon of movie based video games.  One year later Edios Interactive tried to do something similar when they released a video game adaptation of Reservoir Dogs.  I won’t go so far as to say that the Reservoir Dogs game was inspired by the success of The Warriors (it’s pretty unlikely they would have been able to have knocked this out in less than a year), but it’s certainly in the same vein as that and at the very least I’m guessing Edios were crossing their fingers that some of the good will built up by that movie based game will help this one get some recognition.  Sadly though, the game turned out be… well pretty damn awful.  I can speak from personal experience having bought the game for like three bucks at a dying Blockbuster that the game was an uninspired and boring mess with the only notable feature being the game breaking mechanic of holding someone hostage; resulting in all other enemies dropping their guns and just letting you pass right through.

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Also, playing Paintball in the abandoned warehouse.  Okay…

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Jumping the Soapbox: Games of 2016 (Part 2)

Here we are with the second and final part of my look at games I played in 2016 (part 1 can be found here) that were interesting enough to talk about!  Like before, any game that I didn’t play on PC will be note specifically which platform I did play them on because it was way easier for me this year to play on my computer than to do so from a console.  I mean, I’m ALREADY sitting in from the damn thing most of the time!  Anyway, let’s not waste any more time and just get started! This is gonna be fun, right?

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Mr. President!

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Developed by Game Developer X

Sigh… You know, this game was a lot funnier when we weren’t months away from a tax payer funded Thunderdome or some asshole House Rep putting forth a Purge bill.  Still, the fact that Bossa Studios hasn’t jumped on this is kind of surprising as I was reminded of games like Surgeon Simulator and I Am Bread while playing it even though it’s clunky and as all hell and riddled with poor design decisions.  The game’s primary purpose is political satire, so naturally the timing of the game’s release was just as important as making a good game, but behind all the frustrating elements and damn near impossible stages, there’s a brilliant physics based puzzle game to be made here.  I don’t know who Game Developer X is or if they’re even interested in this concept outside of its use as a political lightening rod, but I do want to see what they end up making next; whether it’s a refinement of this formula or if they’ll continue to push buttons with even zanier games.  If it’s the latter though, PLEASE let someone else make a sequel to this so we can see its full potential!

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Jumping the Soapbox: Games of 2016 (Part 1)

To anyone out there who play video games for the purposes of reviewing, my hat is off to you.  Hell, I review movies which usually take less than three hours to consume, and I can barely manage that!  That’s why this isn’t some arbitrary ranking of the best or worst of the year as I didn’t play enough games for this to be comprehensive, and most of the games I played this year I didn’t even finish!  I’ve got stuff to do like the aforementioned movie review!! These are just some of the games that I either bought or first played in earnest in 2016, both good and bad, which means plenty of these weren’t even games that came out that year.  Hey, what do you want?  These things are expensive and I can’t afford to buy them when the first come out!!  Also, almost all of my gaming this year has been on the PC; not because it’s the best, but because it is the most convenient as I spend most of my time on one of those anyway.  I’ll not when a game is NOT something I played on the PC, but those are definitely going to be the minority on this list.  Alright, let’s get started!  I can feel your excitement already!!

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Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!! (3DS)

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Developed by WayForward Technologies

I wouldn’t say this is a GREAT game, but WayForward managed to drill down into what makes Adventure Time so much fun (spoiler alter: it’s the adventure) and crafted a game around that core conceit.  Unfortunately, probably due to this being a license game, it feels a bit rushed out the door as the game relies on backtracking and slow over world traversal in order to draw out the game time, and the mechanics never really grow beyond the first hour or so.  If WayFowrad were given the chance to put as much development time and effort into an Adventure Time as they do with their Shante series, they might have an all-time classic in the making rather than just having one of the better (if not the best) games based on this series.  Then again, maybe they DID have all the resources they needed and STILL managed to do just an okay job with it.

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Jumping the Soapbox: 10 characters that should be in Marvel vs Capcom Infinite

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Marvel vs Capcom Infinite and all the images you see in this editorial are owned by Disney, Marvel, and Capcom

So with the announcement of a new fighting game, particularly one that has as much fan service potential as this one, the number one question on everyone’s mind is who they’ll be adding to the roster.  Well, since I have my own little platform to scream from, here’s my list of the ten characters they should add to the new game!  Oh, and if you notice a lack of Capcom characters on this list, well you should probably read what I wrote about the game’s reveal trailer.

Honorable Mention: Agents of Shield Stage

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Look, I love Coulson too, but the characters in this show don’t have enough going for them to take up a spot in this game.  All together though, there’s definitely enough there for a really cool stage on the Globemaster where you could have Coulson and Melinda cheering on the action while Leo and Jemma are doing science stuff or whatever.  That’d be pretty cool to see, and they’d be able to fit all sorts of Easter Eggs in the background for the big Agents of Shield fans out there!  You’re not gonna be able to fit everyone from the MCU in here as playable characters, nor should you, but there are still plenty of ways for them to be a part of this game otherwise.

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