Category Archives: Video Games

Castlevania on Netflix!


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Image result for Ozark

After weeks of binge-watching, I finally caught up with some amazing Netflix series this summer.  I’ve been in a great summer mood, what with my daily adventures to Boston every week.  It’s August now (Fall is almost a MONTH away) and I’m back to binging back-and-fourth between my other series.  Ozark was one of a few amazing series I got into (which I will get back to later) this past week.

Image result for Castlevania

Image result for Castlevania Netflix

Before Netflix premiered Ozark, there was a nostalgic franchise that was made into an anime last month.  That series is Castlevania, the action-adventure horror themed games created by Konami.  Castlevania revolves around the Belmont family, a clan of vampire hunters that fight Dracula.  The first Castlevania game for the series released on September 26th, 1986.  Konami’s horror-themed games took off with a hit ever since (fun fact: Castlevania created the ‘Metroidvania’ genre of gaming!).

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The Castlevania series on Netflix doesn’t disappoint at all.  I’m not too familiar with franchise myself and even I really enjoyed watching the series.  Lots of things drew me in immediately after starting the first episode.  Season 1 only had four episodes, but they were four AMAZING episodes to binge-watch.

Here’s a few tidbits of why Castlevania was an excellent choice to binge-watch:

Animation

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Right off the bat, I noticed that the animated series looked absolutely beautiful.  It’s colorful and sets the dark tone that mirrors the setting of the story.  For a horror-themed anime about vampire hunting, Castlevania really does look and feel like a gothic anime!  From the dark orange hue of the sunset to the blood red spurting out from the characters, Castlevania just looks gorgeous to look at.

Plot

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Image result for Castlevania Netflix

What’s interesting to point out is that the plot is based on the game Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse.  Trevor Belmont, a member of the Belmont family, defends the nation of Wallachia from Dracula and his army of creatures.  With only four episodes at 22 minutes each, the plot flows pretty smoothly.  While the dialogue may sound silly at times, Castlevania makes up for it with its action-packed fight scenes.

Action

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Image result for castlevania Netflix gif

This brings me to my last highlight of the series – the action-packed combat itself.  Castlevania is packed with MUCH more violence and gore than the games.  With the nation of Wallachia shrouded in darkness, Trevor fights off the vampires with his vicious whip (and it’s DEFINITELY vicious!).  One of my favorite portions of the series is watching Trevor kick ass with his weapon (nothing better than having breakfast and watching Trevor whip some guy’s eyeball out of his head.).  The gory action scenes prove that this anime was geared towards the adult audiences.

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In the end, Castlevania was a brilliant choice to binge-watch.  It’s a visually-stunning anime with an intriguing story that features action-packed violence.  This is a great series if you’re into the horror-themed anime.  Even if you never played the Castlevania games before, it’s an easy show to follow.

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Now that season one is done, I am definitely amped for when season two hits the digital shelves.  Netflix definitely hit big with this anime and I hope that they release the second season soon.  In the meantime, I look forward to see what lies ahead in Trevor Belmont’s journey.  

Favorite Audio Logs From The Witness, Part 6


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Happy hump day folks!  We’re in the middle of the work week and we have a few days left until the weekend (just two more days till TGIF!).  Instead of generating a post today, I’ve decided to motivate you reader with…another audio log from The Witness!  It’s been a while since I posted more of my favorite audio logs and what better time to do it than on hump day.  Here is another one of my favorite audio logs from The Witness:

Audio Log #1: No Frames, No Boundaries

Image result for russell schweickart 1975

Up there you go around every hour and a half, time after time after time.  You wake up usually in the mornings.  And just the way that the track of your orbits go, you wake up over the Mid-East, over North Africa.  As you eat breakfast you look out the window as you’re going past and there’s the Mediterranean area, and Greece, and Rome, and North Africa, and the Sinai, the whole area.  And you realize that in one glance that what you’re seeing is what was the whole history of man for years —the cradle of civilization….And you go around down across North Africa and out over the Indian Ocean, and look up at that great subcontinent of India pointed down toward you as you go past it.  And Ceylon off to the side, Burma, Southeast Asia, out over the Philippines, and up across that monstrous Pacific Ocean, vast body of water — you’ve never realized how big that is before.  And you finally come up across the coast of California and look for those friendly things:  Los Angeles, and Phoenix, and on across El Paso and there’s Houston, there’s home, and you look and sure enough there’s the Astrodome.  And you identify with that, you know — it’s an attachment.  And down across New Orleans and then looking down to the south and there’s the whole peninsula of Florida laid out.  And all the hundreds of hours you spent flying across that route, down in the atmosphere, all that is friendly again.  And you go out across the Atlantic Ocean and back across Africa.  And you do it again and again and again.  And that identity – that you identify with Houston, and then you identify with Los Angeles, and Phoenix and New Orleans and everything.  And the next thing you recognize in yourself, is you’re identifying with North Africa.  You look forward to that, you anticipate it.  And there it is.  That whole process begins to shift of what it is you identify with.  When you go around it in an hour and a half you begin to recognize that your identity is with that whole thing.  And that makes a change.  You look down there and you can’t imagine how many borders and boundaries you crossed again and again and again.  And you don’t even see ’em.  At that wake-up scene — the Mid-East — you know there are hundreds of people killing each other over some imaginary line that you can’t see.  From where you see it, the thing is a whole, and it’s so beautiful.  And you wish you could take one from each side in hand and say, “Look at it from this perspective.  Look at that. What’s important?” And so a little later on, your friend, those same neighbors, another astronaut, the person next to you goes out to the Moon.  And now he looks back and sees the Earth not as something big, where he can see the beautiful details, but he sees the Earth as a small thing out there.  And now that contrast between that bright blue and white Christmas tree ornament and that black sky, that infinite universe, really comes through.  The size of it, the significance of it — it becomes both things, it becomes so small and so fragile, and such a precious little spot in that universe, that you can block it out with your thumb, and you realize that on that small spot, that little blue and white thing is everything that means anything to you.  All of history and music and poetry and art and war and death and birth and love, tears, joy, games, all of it is on that little spot out there that you can cover with your thumb.  And you realize that that perspective …that you’ve changed, that there’s something new there.  That relationship is no longer what it was.  And then you look back on the time when you were outside on that EVA and those few moments that you had the time because the camera malfunctioned, that you had the time to think about what was happening.  And you recall staring out there at the spectacle that went before your eyes. Because now you’re no longer inside something with a window looking out at a picture, but now you’re out there and what you’ve got around your head is a goldfish bowl and there are no limits here.  There are no frames, there are no boundaries.  You’re really out there, over it, floating, going 25,000 mph, ripping through space, a vacuum, and there’s not a sound.  There’s a silence the depth of which you’ve never experienced before, and that silence contrasts so markedly with the scenery, and the speed with which you know you’re going.  That contrast, the mix of those two things, really comes through.  And you think about what you’re experiencing and why.  Do you deserve this? This fantastic experience? Have you earned this in some way?  Are you separated out to be touched by God to have some special experience here that other men cannot have?  You know the answer to that is No.  There’s nothing that you’ve done that deserves that, that earned that.  It’s not a special thing for you.  You know very well at that moment, and it comes through to you so powerfully, that you’re the sensing element for man.  You look down and see the surface of that globe that you’ve lived on all this time and you know all those people down there.  They are like you, they are you, and somehow you represent them when you are up there —a sensing element, that point out on the end, and that’s a humbling feeling.  It’s a feeling that says you have a responsibility.  It’s not for yourself.  The eye that doesn’t see does not do justice to the body.  That’s why it’s there, that’s why you’re out there.  And somehow you recognize that you’re a piece of this total life.  You’re out on that forefront and you have to bring that back, somehow.  And that becomes a rather special responsibility.  It tells you something about your relationship with this thing we call life…. And when you come back, there’s a difference in that world now, there’s a difference in that relationship between you and that planet, and you and all those other forms of life on that planet, because you’ve had that kind of experience.  It’s a difference, and it’s so precious.  And all through this I’ve used the word “you” because it’s not me, it’s not Dave Scott, it’s not Dick Gordon, Pete Conrad, John Glenn, it’s you, it’s us, it’s we, it’s life.  It’s had that experience.  And it’s not just my problem to integrate, it’s not my challenge to integrate, my joy to integrate — it’s yours, it’s everybody’s.

~ Russell Schweickart, 1975.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System…Classic Edition!


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Image result for Donkey Kong Country

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) was my favorite console as a kid.  I was so fortunate to play some of the greatest games Nintendo ever created during the 90s.  Games like Super Mario Bros. All Stars Edition, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Mega Man X were what made the SNES such a timeless console.  Some of these games are so good that they are even better than some of the new titles out now (I’d bring out my SNES over playing games on the PS4 ANY day!).

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Lately Nintendo has been riding the wave of success with the Nintendo Switch released in March.  The Nintendo Switch has been selling out like crazy and they’re expecting to hit major sales during the holiday season.  As an added bonus, that’s just one of many surprises Nintendo has up their sleeves for this year.

Image result for SNES Classic Edition

Image result for SNES Classic Edition

Nintendo recently announced that a SNES Classic Edition is coming out this fall!  The SNES Classic Edition, similar to the NES version, will feature over 21 titles pre-installed inside the console.  Some of the nostalgic titles being pre-installed include EarthBound, Donkey Kong Country, Star Fox, Super Punch-Out, Yoshi’s Island, and much more.  90s gamers will have to be patient because the SNES classic edition hits the shelves on September 29th at $79.99.

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As an added bonus, Nintendo will include the unreleased title Star Fox 2 to the mix.  Star Fox 2 was the sequel to Star Fox that was created for the console, but was never released to the public.  So not only will 90s gamers get to replay the nostalgic title on the SNES, but they’ll FINALLY get to play Star Fox 2 this fall!

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What’s intriguing is that this isn’t the first time Nintendo pushed this branding strategy out to their audience.  Nintendo saw major success with their NES Classic Edition (read more about that here) during the holiday season last year.  80s/90s nostalgic gamers rushed to the stores to snag their NES Mini console.  It was a brilliant strategy to keep Millennial/Gen X gamers back into the mix.

Image result for SNES 1990s

Image result for SNES 1990s

This was so exciting to hear!  I loved playing games on the SNES and it’s going to be so great to be able to play them again.  It’s been hard to pencil in time to play some video games (what with my busy schedule and all!), but I would definitely go back to playing the system again.  The SNES console was what made Nintendo take off as an amazing video game brand.  Sure, the Nintendo Switch has been doing fantastic so far this year, but I always think back to the golden years with the SNES.

Image result for SNES Classic Edition

Image result for SNES Classic Edition

I consider myself a 90s gamer and am really looking forward to seeing the SNES Classic Edition in stores this fall.  Hopefully I’ll find the time and money to get the console to relive the golden years of video gaming.  The Nintendo Switch may be out now, but I’m holding off for the Super Mario Odyssey game coming out in the winter (it’s pretty much one of the ONLY reasons for why I’d get the Nintendo Switch!).  Either way, we can all look forward to playing the nostalgic 90s titles once the SNES Classic Edition hits stores everywhere.

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Be sure to look out for the SNES Classic Edition when it releases on September 29th!

Favorite Audio Logs From The Witness, Part 5


Howdy folks!  Hope you made the best of these rainy days we’ve had the past few days.  It’s been a while since I showcased some more of my favorite audio logs from The Witness, so I figured I’d do another one right now.

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Let’s get right to it –here are more of my favorite audio logs from the game.

Audio Log #1: Boat

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Suppose a boat is crossing a river, and another empty boat is about to collide with it.  Even an irritable man would not lose his temper.  But supposing there was someone in the second boat.  Then the occupant of the first would shout to him to keep clear.  And if the other did not hear the first time, nor even when called three times, bad language would inevitably follow.  In the first case there was no anger, in the second there was; because in the first case the boat was empty, and in the second it was occupied.  And so it is with man.  If he could only roam empty through life, who would be able to injure him?

~ Zhuangzi, 4th century B.C.

Audio Log #2: Non-being

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We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move.  We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.  We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.  We work with being, but non-being is what we use.

~ Lao Tzu, 6th century BC

Audio Log #3: Peak

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Lustily, I dipped my oars into the silent lake, and, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat went heaving through the water like a swan; when, from behind that craggy steep, till then the horizon’s bound, a huge peak, black and huge, as if with voluntary power instinct, upreared its head. I struck and struck again, and growing still in stature, the grim shape towered up between me and the stars. . . .But after I had seen that spectacle, for many days my brain worked with a dim and undetermined sense of unknown modes of being; o’er my thoughts there hung a darkness, call it solitude, or blank desertion.

~ William Wordsworth, 1888

Audio Log #4: Shipowner

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A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship.  He knew that she was old, and not well built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs.  Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy.  These doubts preyed upon his mind, and made him unhappy; he thought that perhaps he ought to have her thoroughly overhauled and refitted, even though this should put him at great expense.  Before the ship sailed, however, he succeeded in overcoming these melancholy reflections.  He said to himself that she had gone safely through so many voyages and weathered so many storms that it was idle to suppose she would not come safely home from this trip also.  He would put his trust in Providence, which could hardly fail to protect all these unhappy families that were leaving their fatherland to seek for better times elsewhere.  He would dismiss from his mind all ungenerous suspicions about the honesty of builders and contractors.  In such ways he acquired a sincere and comfortable conviction that his vessel was thoroughly safe and seaworthy; he watched her departure with a light heart, and benevolent wishes for the success of the exiles in their strange new home that was to be; and he got his insurance-money when she went down in mid-ocean and told no tales.  What shall we say of him? Surely this, that he was verily guilty of the death of those families.  It is admitted that he did sincerely believe in the soundness of his ship; but the sincerity of his conviction can in no wise help him, because he had no right to believe on such evidence as was before him.  He had acquired his belief not by honestly earning it in patient investigation, but by stifling his doubts.  And although in the end he may have felt so sure about it that he could not think otherwise, yet inasmuch as he had knowingly and willingly worked himself into that frame of mind, he must be held responsible for it.

~ William K. Clifford, 1874

Favorite Audio Logs From The Witness, Part 4


Happy Wednesday everyone!  It’s hump day, meaning just a few more days until we get into Friday.  I figured I would take this day to introduce more of my favorite audio logs from The Witness.

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Stemming from the first audio log series (see here), this series of posts is dedicated to some of the best audio logs from the game.  Each audio log revolves around the theme of religion, philosophy, science, and other complex ideas.  So let’s not waste any more time and get right to it.  Here are some more of my favorite audio logs:

Audio Log #1: Activation

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Our hangnails are incredibly real to us; whereas to most of us, the English village of Nether Wallop and the high Himalayan country of Bhutan, not to mention the slowly swirling spiral galaxy in Andromeda, are considerably less real, even though our intellectual selves might wish to insist that since the latter are much bigger and longer-lasting than our hangnails, they ought therefore to be far realer to us than our hangnails are.  We can say this to ourselves till we’re blue in the face, but few of us act as if we really believed it.  A slight slippage of subterranean stone that obliterates 20,000 people in some far-off land, the ceaseless plundering of virgin jungles in the Amazon basin, a swarm of helpless stars being swallowed up one after another by a ravenous black hole, even an ongoing collision between two huge galaxies each of which contains a hundred billion stars —such colossal events are so abstract to someone like me that they can’t even touch the sense of urgency and importance, and thus the reality, of some measly little hangnail on my left hand’s pinky.  We are all egocentric, and what is realest to each of us, in the end, is ourself.  The realest things of all are my knee, my nose, my anger, my hunger, my toothache, my sideache, my sadness, my joy, my love for math, my abstraction ceiling, and so forth.  What all these things have in common, what binds them together, is the concept of “my”, which comes out of the concept of “I” or “me”, and therefore, although it is less concrete than a nose or even a toothache, this “I” thing is what ultimately seems to each of us to constitute the most solid rock of undeniability of all.  Could it possibly be an illusion?  Or if not a total illusion, could it possibly be less real and less solid than we think it is?  Could an “I” be more like an elusive, receding, shimmering rainbow than like a tangible, heftable, transportable pot of gold?

~ Douglas Hofstadter, 2007

Audio Log #2: Uncertainty of Science

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If we were not able or did not desire to look in any new direction, if we did not have a doubt or recognize ignorance, we would not get any new ideas.  There would be nothing worth checking, because we would know what is true.  So what we call scientific knowledge today is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty.  Some of them are most unsure; some of them are nearly sure; but none is absolutely certain.  Scientists are used to this.  We know that it is consistent to be able to live and not know.  Some people say, “How can you live without knowing?” I do not know what they mean.  I always live without knowing.  That is easy.  How you get to know is what I want to know.  This freedom to doubt is an important matter in the sciences and, I believe, in other fields.  It was born of a struggle.  It was a struggle to be permitted to doubt, to be unsure.  And I do not want us to forget the importance of the struggle and, by default, to let the thing fall away.  I feel a responsibility as a scientist who knows the great value of a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, and the progress made possible by such a philosophy, progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought.  I feel a responsibility to proclaim the value of this freedom and to teach that doubt is not to be feared, but that it is to be welcomed as the possibility of a new potential for human beings.  If you know that you are not sure, you have a chance to improve the situation.  I want to demand this freedom for future generations.

~ Richard Feynman, 1963