The images you see in this editorial are the property of their respective owners
With a video game media landscape full of ANGRY YOUNG MENTM screaming about women trying to take their toys and Ethics in Bullshit, Joe Vargas, (AKA Angry Joe) is one of the few voices out there I genuinely respect that positions themselves in the TRUE GAMER archetype; one that is filled to the brim with toxicity to which he’s somewhat of an anathema to. Sure, I can’t say that I’ve agreed with EVERYTHING he’s said and done (and being THE LEAST AWFUL in that field is a pretty low bar to clear), but for all his faults he’s never come off as a bad guy or a hateful reactionary like so many of his peers; not even when he gets into ANGRY RANT MODETM. What I’m here to talk about though, whether you like the guy or not, is bigger than this specific case and it’s an important conversation we need to have regarding the drastic shift in the last few years of how we consume content and interact with their creators. Okay, I PROBABLY won’t be breaking a lot of new ground here, but considering how bad Joe has gotten it in the last few months, it’s clearly a lesson that many of us could use a refresher course on. Before we can get into that though…
WHERE’S MY REVIEW!? – The hiatus that broke the internet
So Angry Joe has been making videos on YouTube pretty much non-stop for a decade now, but in the last two years his channel has blown up significantly as has the content he’s producing; uploading Let’s Plays, first impressions, and (GASP!) movie reviews, to go alongside the Angry Reviews he’s known for. Now while the production of Angry Reviews hasn’t slowed down in any significant way (2014 had thirteen reviews, 2015 had fourteen, 2016 had thirteen, and 2017 has had ten so far with the only real outlier being the twenty three reviews done in 2012), he was getting quite a bit of backlash from his subscribers about the rate at which he was releasing them and eventually he had to take a break for his own mental well-being so he can recharge his batteries and come back stronger than ever. Now I don’t know the dude personally and really only have his own videos to go by, but considering how many reviews he’s made and the way he describes his work hours, the dude has been living on a Crunch Time schedule for the last decade and we’ve been reaping the benefits of that endless grind, so the idea that people will get upset that he’d go on vacation for a bit (even though he’s STILL producing content during it) seems ludicrous… but here we are. He’s published four videos since December of 2016 about the growing frustration coming from this segment of his fanbase1, but none of them have done much to mollify the situation; one in particular seemingly making it worse.
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.
Los Disneys of Former Florida! Free, Independent, and Ever Expanding!
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!
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.
Also, playing Paintball in the abandoned warehouse. Okay…
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and all the images you see in this review are owned by Screen Gems
Directed by Paul WS Anderson
It has been quite a ride, hasn’t it? I’ve always been a fan of Paul WS Anderson and his work, especially considering that he’s the only director other than Uwe Bowl who’s attempted to make more than one video game movie and is the one who ACTUALLY made it work. People STILL say that we don’t have any good video game movies, but what they really mean is that there hasn’t been one that’s been critically acclaimed, and even THAT criterion is rather nebulous. So what if Resident Evil or Mortal Kombat didn’t win Oscars? Neither did Taxi Driver or Dr Strangelove! It truly is the end of an era though considering how few franchises from the early years of the new millennium are still around, recent revivals like xXx non-withstanding, and there really isn’t anything like it to take its place now that it’s over. Hell, this series DARED to be different from the source material which I can’t imagine ANY film getting away with now considering everything is about franchise management nowadays! It’s kind of a sad day to see this series go, though it will be doubly so if this final chapter turns out to be a poor note to end things on. Does Mr. Anderson manage to give us one hell of a sendoff to this beloved series, or has this franchise finally run out of steam right as it was about to reach the finish line? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with the world having ended for at least the second time and Alice (Milla Jovovich) is all alone in the wastelands of what the world once was. Of course, being the savior of all humanity that she is, someone eventually comes a-knocking for her to be the big hero once again. This time, it’s… THE RED QUEEN!? Yes! The AI from the other films (played this time by Ever Gabo Anderson) that has been trying to kill her apparently wants to help her because Wesker (oh, spoiler alert: Wesker’s a bad guy again and is still played by Shawn Roberts) is just forty eight hours away from wiping out ALL of humanity and Alice has to stop him before then! How? Well apparently Umbrella developed an antidote for the T-Virus that no one bothered to mention up to this point and if she can release it into the world in time, all the zombies will die and humanity will be saved! Of course, the antidote (along with Wesker) is all the way back in Raccoon City so she has to travel back there, go back to the secret underground Umbrella base, and punch as many zombies as possible in the process! Can Alice save the world one last time before it’s too late, by which I mean the Resident Evil film rights expire? What exactly brought upon this change of heart from the Red Queen, and could this all be one giant trap to finally destroy her one true enemy? So wait, did she get her powers back or is she still human Alice?
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?
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!
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!!
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.
Assassin’s Creed and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Justin Kurzel
We all knew it was only a matter of time until they took a stab at making the next great video game movie, and since Warcraft turned out to be such a disaster there’s a nice big opening for Ubisoft to take the throne as the first company to get this right. Now the trailers really don’t inspire much hope as it looks like a bunch of overqualified actors in a routine action film, but then maybe that’s enough to make this a GOOD film (a feat unto itself at this point) even if it can’t quite be a great one. Does this manage to be the sign of things to come as studios begin to buckle down and seriously try to crack the code on adapting video games to the big screen, or will Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat still be the high bar that no one else has inexplicably been able to reach? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Cal Lynch as a young boy (Angus Brown) walking in on his mother (Essie Davis) with a stab wound in her neck and his dad (Brian Gleeson in the flashbacks and Brendan Gleeson in the present) with a bloody Assassin’s blade and wearing a very uncomfortable looking coat considering the scene seems to be set in New Mexico or something. Little Cal doesn’t have long to contemplate this as a whole bunch of black vans with hired goons rolls up on the house and tries to kill the both of him, but Cal manages to escape. Well, not for TOO long as we jump to present day where Little Cal is now Handsome Cal (Michael Fassbender) and is on death row for… some reason. Except not really! Apparently a super science corporation named Abstergo arranged it so that the state would PRETEND to kill him and then hand the poor sap over to Sofia and Alan Rikkin (Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons) who want him for their nefarious ends… I think. Apparently Cal is the Great Great Great Great Great Great (and so on) grandson of some Assassin from the fifteenth century and was ALSO the last known person to have the McGuffin of ultimate power… I mean the Apple of Eden. Using this giant crane device which is supposed to the Animus, they’re gonna send his brain back in time to live out the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha and find where he left the damn thing so they can find it and use it for whatever the hell it is they want to use it for. This of course is assuming that NO ONE MOVED IT OR FOUND IT IN FIVE HUNDRE YEARS, but I’m sure This all makes sense if I played Brotherhood or something. Will Cal be able to locate the Apple and gain his freedom in the process? What about all these OTHER assassins that Abstergo has collected and are housing in this Science Gulag? Are they gonna be all that happy that Cal is working to help find this artifact? Is there ANY reason this fucking thing had to be so damn complicated!?
The guy jumps around and stabs people. It’s not that hard!!