Spreading Songs: Good Life

This song really brings together a lot of powerful ideas. The idea that the life you’re living can be great, if you only make it that way. Or, maybe, it already is, and you just don’t stop to appreciate it enough. The world being your oyster is a very cool idea, but one that doesn’t hit home for as many people as it should. Good Life is an upbeat emotional spike that drives in a cheerful approach to living. Whether it’s enjoying an amazing moment that you are experiencing or the fact that sometimes things just go your way, Good Life is a great ride to listen to for me, each and every time. The song ends with this line, “So please tell me what there’s to complain about.” That’s the kind of approach that would make the world a better place if it was more widely adopted. It’s a wonderful and fantastic song.

iTunes Link to the Song

Spreading Songs: Where’d You Go?

Where’d You Go? has a very wistful tone to it. The song is a very emotional one, and Fort Minor does a very good job of getting real emotion through a very good sounding song. The hook, or chorus, is has an almost haunting vibe to it. It only consists of a single phrase, culminating with “Please come back home” something that effectively embodies the point of the song. I find this song to be a good introspective listener, something good to listen to while thinking about things. The intro to the official music video gives context for the topic of the song very effectively. See what you think.

iTunes Link to the Song

Music Introduction: The Monster

I’m going to do a series of small posts for songs that I like in order to spread them around a bit. I don’t like a lot of indie songs or anything like that, but what I do like is spread across quite a few genres and a fair amount of different generations. What I’ll do is just a quick paragraph or so on how I feel about the song, and I’ll let people develop their opinion on the rest. Music is a very subjective art form so I’ll let each song appeal to whomever it may appeal to. This is really not meant to be an in depth look at these songs, just my opinion on them.

The Monster is what I would call the spiritual successor to Love the Way You Lie. Rihanna has the pop hook for the song, while Eminem makes up the bulk of the song with his rapping. That song was very popular for a number of reasons, and I feel The Monster has a lot of the same appeal. It’s a song to listen to for a fairly upbeat background of an activity, or to sing along with. The topic of insanity is also very appealing for some people as far as the content of the song is concerned. The mix of Eminem and Rihanna could make this appeal to rap fans that don’t usually listen to more top forty songs, and same with top forty fans who wouldn’t normally listen to Eminem too often. (I know top forty can include Eminem, I’m more talking about the type of music that often fills the category) Without further adieu here’s the song.

iTunes Link to the Song

Indie Games: 2D Platformers

It’s a very broad topic this time around. 2D platforming video games, independently made. That’s all I have to go off of from my friend, so i’ll start with a general overview of “Indie Games” as they’re known to some people.

“Indie Games” are games made by non-publisher supported video game development teams. That means a team sponsored by EA or Activision, no matter how small, would not be considered an Indie Games developer. It is not a matter of size. Developing Indie Games means developing games usually without very much money backing you, but what truly makes the definition is the lack of a publisher. Lack of a publisher means, usually, the development team doesn’t have many funds, so it is often associated with that.

2D platformers are a genre of video games. 2D is much easier to program than 3D, and so the first video games were 2D games. Probably the first 2D platformer to become very popular was Mario, which to this day still stands for video games everywhere in various different ways. Platforming means jumping or movement is a key feature of the game. This is usually coupled in modern games with some type of very cool mechanic or gimmick to complement the jumping or the game’s puzzles. These types of games remain some of the easiest to code, and so even with games getting much more lifelike and complicated, it is not uncommon to find a few notable 2D platformers releasing every year.

That in mind I am going to grab a few notable 2D platformers out on the market right now. Two I’ve played, one I haven’t, but all I am fairly confident in recommending as some of the better 2D platformers on the market right now.

The first one is Braid. Braid is a time puzzle 2D platforming game with a very intriguing narrative throughout the experience. Time is worked very cleverly into the puzzles, and it does a very good job of making you utilize the various time mechanics to the fullest when working your way through the game. Braid has been made available to all major consoles, Linux, Mac, etc. Looking up gameplay on YouTube to get an idea of what the gameplay is like would probably be a good idea. The art is also gorgeous.

My second pick is the delightfully infuriating Super Meat Boy. This game is insane. This game will take your patience, drive you into the wall, and then when your character is dragged through metal spikes the pain will get across to you through the sheer frustration built up from the sheer amount of fruitless attempts to get to that point. You play as this little red creature that can bounce around off walls and do cool parkour stuff. The goal is to save your girlfriend who has been whisked away by this evil dude. To get to her every level requires increasingly ridiculous and absurd levels of parkour acumen, then you do it all over again. Could not recommend this game more for fans of platformers if you have a PC or an Xbox.

Final pick is a game called Spelunky that I have not had the pleasure of playing. (Due to it only being available on Vita, PS3, and Xbox Live) My friends and critics both think the game is pretty damn fun. Spelunky gives you randomely generated underground levels to explore as you play. The goals are clearly laid out each time, and the combat is pulpy and fun. It seems to cast a nice charm to the idea of underground exploration. Read reviews for this and watch some gameplay to develop an opinion for yourself, but I think it looks quite fun.

Hope you guys enjoyed this quick rundown of 2D platformers. Let me know what you think!

Thanks to Alex Smith!

Reinvigoration: Does Star Wars deserve to be with Disney?

Hey guys it’s been a while since I’ve written on here. I’m going to do it a bit more now, with topics taken from my classmates. These are just simple opinion pieces where I ramble about whatever topic my classmates give me. Let’s see what happens.

As everybody knows the Star Wars brand is one that is rich in potential, and as much as the best IPs out there, money. The recent Clone Wars animated series and all of the associated memorabilia that goes with it have kept Star Wars money making well past when Episode III came out. So, we’ve got a forty year franchise that is still very lucrative, and who’s lap does it land in, but the entertainment giant Disney.

star_wars_vii-02

Disney is no stranger to successful movie franchises, with Pirates of the Caribbean having it’s most recent film release in 2011. This is promising in that Disney generally knows how to deal with a movie franchise. On top of that, for movies like Star Wars the budget they shell out will be top notch, something Disney can certainly afford.

Now, from a fan of Star Wars, what could three more movies actually mean. Well we’ve got a few possibilities! This will create an opportunity for the franchise to go back to its roots, hopefully making up for the CGI mess that was the prequels. The prequels had appeal with certain audiences, but overall the CGI was used as a crutch for poor acting and writing. This resulted in OK movies told in an amazing universe. Now that new movies are going to be released, hopefully Disney can find the right director, crew, and cast for the job. Star Wars has a lot of expectations tied to it, so their selections will have to be very elite. That will depend on what kind of actors they need, which leads into the next topic – What are they making the movies about?

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The Star Wars expanded universe is vast. There are hundreds of books and even more comics depicting thousands of situations before and after the events of the movies. Within this vast pool of content, Disney has to decide where they want to put the movies. The most obvious decision is sometime after Episode 6, but how far after exactly? Its a good question. Of all the great scenarios to choose from, I’ll detail my favorite pick – the Thrawn trilogy.

SW_Thrawn__Errors_and_Mistakes_by_CayaStrife

Thrawn is a Grand Admiral of the Empire that arrived five years after the events of Episode 6. By that point the Rebellion was the New Republic, and the Empire was scattered and broken. Thrawn, like the badass tactician he is, single handedly brings all the disparate factions of the Empire into one, and gives the New Republic a run for their money. This trilogy involves multiple subplots following the Solos as well as Luke, while also presenting a major and familiar enemy to overcome. Other key concepts are high stakes, a fairly easy to follow plot, and introduction of Luke’s future wife. I feel it would be a good arc to jump to, especially because the source material is some of the best in the entire SW universe. It being so close to Episode 6 makes it quick to explain what’s gone on in the interim, though it would leave out some important things, such as Luke starting the new Jedi and Leia and Han getting married. Still, it would be a great return to form of amazing movies.

Overall Disney has a lot of possible paths it can go down. I am optimistic about future movies, and without Lucas having a major say in their creation, there are a lot of wildcards about the form. It could be better, or it could be worse, we’ll just have to wait on who Disney selects. Look forward to the next opinion piece!

Thanks to Robert Smat!

Fantasy and science fiction writing from Dominic Ricci, as well as an archive of articles and a blog.

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