Sunday, October 23, 2016

X-Men Apocalypse Review

I finally got around to watching X-Men Apocalypse and it was... alright.  I liked it more than First Class or Days of Future past.  But as for the movie itself it was just ok.

The plot was entirely predictable from start to finish.  The bad guy was lame and never once interested me.  But the action was fine and the character development was good to see.

Overall, I think it's a great movie for a different reason.  It has finally gotten away from the shackles of the original movie trilogy and it's cast.  By the end of X-Men Apocalypse we finally have our entire new cast of characters with new actors all assembled and they seem really good.

I feel like the stage is finally set for the next X-Men movie to potentially be great.  I think this cast can do amazing things if given the right script now that they're finally free from all the baggage of the first three X-Men movies.

So, while I don't think I'll be re-watching X-Men Apocalypse anytime soon instead I'm super excited for the possibilities that the next movie in the series will bring.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ink and Bone Review

I've read a lot of books this year, just like I always do, but none of them were truly fantastic.  Most fell into the mediocre to ok range.  A few were good and a few were total duds.

That changed when I read Ink and Bone.  It's easily my favorite book that I've read this year so far.  I knew almost nothing about it going in except that I had liked some of the author's work before and by the end of the book I wanted to know what happened next!  Rachel Caine does a great job kicking off a new series with Ink and Bone.

Ink and Bone is set in a world where the library of Alexandria never burned.  It continued to grow in both scope and power until it controlled all knowledge in the world.  All technological advancement had to come from the library and so this alternate timeline finds a much different world than the one we live in.

The printing press has been suppressed and instead people have to check out books into "blanks" that function similarly to a modern day kindle.  The printed word is not widely available in any other form, so the library controls information throughout the world.

The main character in Ink and Bone is a book smuggler's son.  He starts to learn the trade of smuggling real books in a world where it's illegal to own them.  After realizing it's not the right fit for him his father pushes him to join the Library so they can have a member of the family on the inside.

The adventure takes off from there and never really lets up.  I loved so much about this book.  The pacing, the characters, the world-building, the writing style, the plot itself.  Like I said, as soon as I finished Ink and Bone I immediately looked to see if there was another book in the series.

There was!  So I bought and downloaded it immediately.  Expect me to blast through that one as well and do a write up soon.

Friday, October 21, 2016

S1E36 - Day-to-Day Technology - “Hey Alexa, I need a pizza”

Day-to-Day Technology
In this episode:
  • Being geeks like we are, our lives pretty much revolve around technology. Or maybe technology revolves around our lives. This week, we discuss what we’re using day to day and how it makes our lives both easier and more difficult at times. Some of it, you’d probably guess (iPhones, Macbooks, gaming consoles), but there are some neat ones, we think you’ll enjoy hearing about and looking into.
  • Because we do use technology so much, the idea of disconnect or disengaging from technology has a lot of appeal to some people (Beej), while others tend to just shift their usage to maintain a normal, adult lifestyle (Void). It all depends on your personalities, and we discuss strategies that work for us so that you can see some healthy, real-world ways you may be able to adopt into your own routines.
  • And then there’s the awesome technology that you think you’re gonna use a ton, but instead, it just sits on a shelf, all alone and abandoned. We talk about purchases that should have been awesome, but totally fell short of expectations. Kind of like the Vive for Void (though it’s still awesome tech), and the New 3DS for Beej (which was switched for a PS Vita).
  • Plus, there’s always speculation about what tech is on it’s way. We talk about the stuff we’re particularly excited for. Like the honest-to-goodness iPhone upgrade for the 10th anniversary, the newly announced Nintendo Switch (formerly the NX), self-driving cars, augmented reality, nanotechnology, and space colonization. Give us a shout and tell us what you’re looking for!
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Legend of Zelda

This is where the series starts and where my sampling of the series begins.  The Legend of Zelda is a game I played and loved as a kid.  I've beaten it many time, but none of them recently.  But hey, when you're a kid and don't have many games on hand you beat all the ones you own multiple times.

 A few years ago, my brother and I took a day on Virtual Console to see how far we could actually get in the game.  We made it through five-ish dungeons before giving up.  This game is really hard.

I can't believe how much I must have mastered it as a kid to be able to beat it on more than one occasion.  Sitting down and playing it yesterday was an exercise in frustration.  Yes, the core of the series we love is here... but it's still gameplay from the 80s.  It's difficult to make progress and even using the save states on Virtual Console it's still full of frustratingly tough section.

I played through the first few dungeons last night just to refresh my memory.  Although I love the open world, exploration, and core of the series in The Legend of Zelda it's just not a game that I want to spend my time playing all the way through.

I've been there and done that.

If you have never actually tried this first entry and you already love the Zelda series you truly owe it to yourself to at least spend a day with The Legend of Zelda for the NES.  Pick it up on Virtual Console for your system of choice and just dive in to see where everything started.

It's kind of amazing how many elements from this first game carry through the series.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Zelda Project

I've been kicking this around in my head for awhile and I think it's finally time to pull the trigger.  I'm going to work my way through the Legend of Zelda series and write up posts as I go.

This is obviously based on my Final Fantasy project where I played every mainline game all the way through and wrote up impressions and reviews along the way.

I'm not doing anything that in-depth this time.  There are some Zelda games I've barely touched and some I've beaten many times and just don't feel like going through the motions again.  There are also a few entries in the series that I just flat-out don't like.  So this is a lite version of what I did for Final Fantasy.

I'm at least going to sample each game and play it for awhile.  I already know there are a few that I will bounce off of pretty quick.  But, there are also some that I never truly gave enough time to and I hope that some of those end up hooking me to the point where I play them through entirely.

I also have some favorites from the series that I'm really excited to go back and play again.  This gives me a good excuse.

I anticipate the first few will be very quick samples and posts but after I reach A Link to the Past I'm going to dig deeper.

Just for the record, before I start, I should let you know that my favorite Zelda games to date are Wind Waker (especially the HD remaster) and A Link Between Worlds.  I'm interested to see if those opinions hold up as I work my way through the series chronologically.

Before I start, I'm curious... what are your favorite and least favorite Zelda games?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Force Grey: Giant Hunters

I've been watching and listening to a lot of live play D&D campaigns lately.  While my favorite are still The Adventure Zone podcast and Acquisitions Incorporated live games I branched out and checked out Force Grey: Giant Hunters.

And you know what?  It was pretty good, and worth my time to watch through at least once.  And it's free on YouTube which is always nice.

The DM is fantastic although a few of the players are kinda annoying.  If a few of the players were switched out it would take this production from pretty good to great.

It's also obvious that since this was partially funded or supported by Wizards of the Coast (the makers of D&D) this show actually ties into some of the story hooks from Storm King's Thunder.  I think that's really cool.

Anyway, I recommend you give it a shot.  They're edited down to 20-30 minute episodes instead of being massive multi-hour productions like a lot of live play games.  At least check out the first episode.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Storm King's Thunder

I recently picked up Storm King's Thunder and read through the adventure.  Although I've checked out a few D&D adventures before and found them interesting I haven't wanted to really run any of the those.  This is the first one that has a premise I think is super cool.

Basically, without giving real spoilers, giants are running amok and the players get sucked into what's happening.  They have to figure it out and I love the twists and turns that happen along the way.  I already know how I would modify and streamline it if I were to be the DM to run it... but the core of the adventure is very interesting.

I especially love that there are a few key paths you can take the story down that are fully fleshed out.

Overall, if I ever do pull the trigger on getting a D&D group together and I don't feel up to trying out a homebrew campaign I would definitely want to run Storm King's Thunder.