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Articles Tanked Matinee: Where the Movies Come to Drink! http://tankedmatinee.com Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:33:13 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Survival Log - True Blood: Season 2 pt. 1 http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/2880-survival-log-true-blood-season-2-pt-1 http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/2880-survival-log-true-blood-season-2-pt-1 Survival Log - True Blood: Season 2 pt. 1

        Well, here I am halfway through the second season of this adventure I’ve set for myself, and I find myself wondering if this show is deliberately shooting itself in the foot. Now, to be fair, I never read books this series is based on; an ex of mine did, and she enjoyed them, but she also believed dogs were evil killing-machines. So suffice to say, my motivation to do so has been low. However, I DO know that this show came out in 2008, three years after the book Twilight came out, and I’m seeing some similarities in story-telling.

“Oh, I think this particular trend started a long time ago, don’t you?”

        Let me start with the things I like so far. OK, well, the thing that I like so far. It’s a little stereotypical (OK, it’s OVERLY stereotypical, but whatever), but the fact that we’re slowly being shown how the bible-thumping, vampire-hating Christian group The Fellowship of the Sun is more than just a hate-group, but actually capable of some real action in their quest to eliminate the vampires from society. They’re armed, capable of executing their plans, and are effective at recruiting, brainwashing, and motivating their followers. And it’s all hidden behind a strong conventional appearance of bright smiles and southern charm. And so while, yes, it’s the Church that’s going to be the ones going after vampires and the evil they represent, they’re effectively concealed behind their own stereotypes to hide just how effective a force they can be.

        The problem though, is that it’s taken me six episodes to figure all this out, in what should have taken two, or maybe even three. Remember my reference to Twilight earlier? So much of this show, and especially so far this season, has been just relationship drama. Couples in this show go from fight, to making up, to make-up-sex, to fight again every single episode, sometimes even MULTIPLE times per episode! It’s exhausting, and even downright frustrating. We’ve got a murderous church, and some kind of witch causing a ruckus about the town, but WAIT! It’s been a few minutes since we last saw a couple get in a fight over something! I knew what I was getting into when I started this, but that doesn’t make it any less bothersome. I think I may try a drinking game of “take a drink every time a couple gets in a fight, make it a shot if it’s Sookie & Bill,” but I’m pretty sure that game would kill me.

Though to be fair, would probably not be as dangerous as this drinking game…

        Will the Fellowship of the Light end up being a force to truly reckon with? What is the witch’s end-game, and how will it threaten the town? I guess I’ll find out in what would be a two-hour season finale (including commercials) of any other show, but will actually be the next six solid hours of my TV viewing time.

        Fuck me.

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ascalici@elon.edu (Enuncia) Articles Fri, 18 Mar 2016 12:00:00 +0000
Survival Log - True Blood: Season 1 pt. 2 http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/2878-survival-log-true-blood-season-1-pt-2 http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/2878-survival-log-true-blood-season-1-pt-2 Survival Log - True Blood: Season 1 pt. 2

        So this article is a fair bit late in its arrival. This is in part due to a sudden spike in my work schedule, but also because it has taken me this long to even attempt to martial my thoughts about the first season of this show into a coherent article. By which I mean, I’ve hopefully generated enough thoughts to actually write something with enough substance to constitute an article.

 

My usual methods of inspiring creativity did nothing to help

       All of the things I enjoyed about the season thus far in my Part I article, the characters and the interesting lore, didn’t really do a lot to sustain me. I can’t remember which episode had the big reveal for Sam’s character (aka is a shapeshifter), so maybe that happened in the second half? But beyond that, not much happens on the character front. There’s a brief arc about a kidnapped vampire that ends quite violently, but then the show pretty much wraps up the whole mini-story and spits us out on an arc towards season two. So maybe I’ll care by the next article, but for now…meh.

       And the lore, as far as I’m concerned, pretty much shot itself in the foot. I was interested in it because it seemed like it could be a cool blend of science and magic. And then near the end of the season they come right out and say “it’s magic, even we don’t understand it.” So unless there’s some big reveal in the future, or some kind of twist, the lore no longer holds my interests.

I admit that I did have to deploy some “help” to keep me awake for some of this

        I still don’t hate the show. It hasn’t done anything to completely turn me off, yet it hasn’t done anything to really make me look forward to the rest of this series either. I’m especially dreading the future of this experiment, thinking ahead to what the next season/the beginning of the next season did to turn me off the show all those years ago. But for now, we’re set up with our as-yet unmeasured antagonist for season 2 (if memory serves…a witch?), and I have to continue to endure this gauntlet I’ve set myself.

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ascalici@elon.edu (Enuncia) Articles Fri, 04 Mar 2016 00:00:00 +0000
Survival Log - True Blood: Season 1 pt. 1 http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/2876-survival-log-true-blood-season-1-pt-1 http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/2876-survival-log-true-blood-season-1-pt-1 Survival Log - True Blood: Season 1 pt. 1

        The first run of “Survival Log” has begun, and since I’ve hit the halfway point of Season 1, I figured it was time for a milestone article. And I’m not sure what surprises me the most: that I’ve gotten this far in only a couple days, that I’ve been sober for all of it, or that so far I’ve actually enjoyed the show.

Probably the rest of my team’s reaction when they read the above statement

        Just a quick macro-level overview of the show premise: vampires now live openly amongst the humans, which brings with it all sorts of social problems. It’s basically the same premise as the X-Men comics, including the not-so-subtle comparisons to the civil-rights and LGBT movements. The story focuses around a telepathic waitress named Sookie, who becomes attracted to her Louisiana town’s first vampire, Bill. There’s a whole mess of other points to delve on, but these logs are supposed to be somewhat short, and I’m lazy, so I leave the rest for you to figure out.

        Perhaps one reason I’ve had a good time watching True Blood so far is that, while I mentioned in the prequel article that I had already seen the first couple seasons, I’ve found that I’ve forgotten pretty much every detail outside of some larger points. So I’m coming at this fairly fresh, and I’ve noticed some nuance that I missed in my younger viewing. For one thing, there seems to be a little twisting of the “vampire lore,” which is to say the system of rules that the creatures are built upon.

Strangely one of the top results for a funny image of “vampire rules.” Decided not to fight it.

        We have our usual suspects, such as an aversion to sunlight, as well as a weakness to silver. And apparently the older a vampire is, the more powerful they become. What makes it interesting though is that there is a supernatural element to it, as evidenced by the fact that they cannot enter a home unless invited. Yet other aspects associated with “supernatural vampires” as opposed to the “virus/parasite/etc.” variety (aka Blade or The Strain) are conspicuous in their absence; a good example is when our main vampire character Bill gives a presentation in a church and walks right up and touches a cross to prove he’s not a servant of the devil.

        I also like how vampire blood (Or “V” in the show) is some kind of super drug, as equally powerful and sought-after as it is dangerous and forbidden. I’m sure it’s a unique twist on the lore (I really can’t be bothered to do any research on this topic; what do you think I am, a professional?), but it’s a plot-point that I have a feeling will become relevant in future episodes.

Yet somehow I doubt this’ll turn into Clear & Present Danger – The Hunt for V

        Outside a few small clues such as these though, there’s a lot left to uncover (“we don’t like to have our weaknesses revealed” is the mantra of a couple episodes). And yes, there’s all sorts of relationship drama going on, as well as some form of story, but for me it’s the lore that’s got me hooked.

        But I guess that is one problem so far; a big part of this season is some form of serial killer going around targeting women who have associated with vampires. But this seems to be an almost secondary plot point. In what would be the main story-driver of pretty much any other show, the killings seem like almost an afterthought, little accent marks to keep the viewer coming back to find out how the romantic interests will play out, and oh yea who the killer is.

        For now this little experiment is going well, but again it was after the second season that I originally abandoned the show, so I imagine these articles will be largely misery-free until that point. I’ll probably write the next milestone article when I complete the first season with a little recap. Maybe the fact that there’s a fucking serial killer in town will finally become important!

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ascalici@elon.edu (Enuncia) Articles Wed, 17 Feb 2016 00:00:17 +0000
Survival Log - Prequel http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/2874-survival-log-prequel http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/2874-survival-log-prequel Survival Log - Prequel

        I am a glutton for punishment. One kind of has to be to perform their duties as a contributor at our particular website. In my quest for hidden gems and noteworthy indie films, I’ve had to wade through a LOT of junk. And somehow, I enjoy it. I love movies that have no right to be as good as they turn out to be (aka pretty much anything from Ross Patterson). And sometimes a movie that turned out absolutely awful can be fun for all the wrong reasons.

 


Like this movie for instance

        And so this gave me an idea, in part inspired by the time Biggs and Ben tricked me into watching Assault Girls (a feat which still elicits great mirth in them, and grumbling from myself). What if myself and other contributors to this site took it in turn to force ourselves through some gauntlet of media that we would rather not have to tackle? Might this drive the victim to some form of mild insanity? Provide insight to some universal question? End in much hate mail and kicks to the shin directed at the person who came up with this terrible idea? I decided to find out.

        And so, I’ve formulated the following rules:

  1. The film/tv series in question need not necessarily be a “bad” series, just one that the victim has very little to any desire to watch. Force the person who hates sci-fi in all its forms to watch all of Farscape. Make…really anybody outside of my mother watch all of the Twilight films, etc.
  2. The victim must keep a log of their endeavor, writing a short piece every milestone. The definition of “milestone” may vary, and be left up to them.
  3. The victim may move through their delegated media at their own pace.
  4. Once they have completed their task, they nominate another regular contributor on the site to do the next Survival Log, as well as what they must watch. 

        I reserve the right to add rules, as well as edit the previous list, as I proceed through my first experiment.

        Speaking of which, I’ve decided that since this whole terrible exercise was my idea, it’s only fair that I go first, and pick a series that has already defeated me once before.

        Why True Blood? I’ve tried to watch it once before. When it first came out on HBO, I watched the first couple seasons. I enjoyed it for the characters, and that despite the soap-opera nature of the story there was a deeper, rather fucked-up plot that was fun to follow and pick apart.


Plus you can't help but love Lafayette

        But then I think it was only a few episodes into the third season that the show seemed to lose all plot and development outside of “who’s dating Sookie now?” It became no better than the kind of TV I had to watch in grade school when I stayed home sick (keeping in mind that this was before video on demand, or satellite TV, or hell, even high-speed internet; those were darker times). Fed up, I abandoned the show.

        And so I shall endeavor to defeat this foe of mine, to plow through 7 seasons (80 1-hour episodes) of relationship drama and moody vampires, and just maybe get some good entertaining articles out of it.


This guy pretty much sums up my expectations here...

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ascalici@elon.edu (Enuncia) Articles Tue, 16 Feb 2016 00:05:03 +0000
Return of the Riffing http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/2871-return-of-the-riffing http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/2871-return-of-the-riffing Return of the Riffing

                Just back in December a crowd funding project over at Kickstarter broke records for money raised for a film/TV project. What that project was was to bring back a cult classic show called Mystery Science Theater 3000. If you’re unfamiliar, not only is your life inherently worse than mine because of it, but I’ll fill you in on the premise. A guy and a couple of robots, which are puppets, are trapped in a space station by a mad scientist and forced to watch really bad public domain movies, their only way of dealing with this torture is to make fun of everything. So the crowd funding project raised almost 13 million dollars for a new season of MST3K after it’s been off the air for over 15 years. This has prompted a lot of discussion about the show and one article in particular caught my eye. Here’s a link. The article is about how MST3K helped a man through two rough times in his life when he otherwise may have lost everything… he attributes MST3Ks ability to make light of the worst things as what saved him. And that got me thinking as to why MST3K is my most favorite show ever… and what it means to me. And I realized that while not only would there be no Tanked Matinee if it were for MST3K (this whole site was started by a bunch of friends watching bad movies and making fun of them), but it has a very special and personal impact on me as well.

                Let’s flashback to the mid 90’s. I was a preteen and my best friend up to that point had moved away. In search of a new best friend I found a guy in my school who I got a long with fantastically and we began hanging out a lot. In the interest of not giving out real names, we’ll call him Ian. Ian and I started having fairly regular weekend sleep overs (a thing kids still do, right?) and we always stayed up WAY too late so we could watch things like USA Up All Night, TNT’s MonsterVision with Joe Bob Briggs, and the occasional episode of Tales From the Crypt. We grew OBSESSED with weird cult films, monster movies, and shlock horror. Eventually we found our way to this crazy show on The Comedy Channel (later Comedy Central) called Mystery Science Theater 3000. It had everything we loved plus an overdose of comedy (even when we didn’t get every joke) and crazy characters. We were instantly hooked. At the time we found the show it had already been on the air a few years, but we ate up the reruns whenever they were on, and we followed the show over to the Sci-Fi channel when it got picked up there a few years later. All of this seems pretty normal, and for a few years it largely was. But you see… there were some things going on that in the beginning of our friendship and at my young age I didn’t understand at first. Ian’s mother was an alcoholic. His stepfather was… well, we’ll say just not a great guy. It took me a few years to catch on, but Ian’s life at home was not great. Once I did catch on our sleepovers took on a whole new meaning for me. You see when I was there was the most peace Ian had at home. It’s when his mom wasn’t drunk and throwing things, it’s when his stepfather wasn’t yelling and… well…. Throwing things. They were on their best behavior because I was there. So I started being there more. And more. And even though I knew WHY I was there, as a sort of shield to my best friend, we never openly acknowledged that or allowed the gravity of the situation to weigh on our time together. We would just load up on candy for the night, stay up late, and watch MST3K until we passed out. The other shows fell by the wayside. MST3K was virtually all we watched. Over and over. We quoted the jokes we understood in regular conversation like inside jokes of our own. They never got not funny, though. And more importantly the show, the bots, Joel, Mike, it all became a symbol to us… a beacon of better times. Because when we were watching them it WAS better times. MST3K saved Ian’s childhood. MST3K gave Ian and myself the ability to appreciate the silver linings and have a sense of humor to deal with how shitty things can be. MST3K cemented an already good friendship into best friendship and best friends are how virtually every kid through the ages has found strength and growth during adolescence. Ian and I had lots of other things we did as well, I don’t want to sound like our friendship was shallow and built purely on the love of one TV show. Far from it. But that was the one thing our friendship had that none of our other friendships had. It was unique to him and me because we were the only weird guys we knew that stayed up late at night on weekends to watch B-movies and laugh at puppets. Those are fond memories that I have that shaped who I grew up to be. That allowed me to be a film critic of sorts. That gave me the gift of friendship AND most importantly saved my friend’s life.

                I’m sure reading this may sound like “Well, this doesn’t seem like MST3K is personal to you… it sounds like it’s personal to Ian.” And if you were to talk to him he’d say it was. But while it didn’t save my life the way it saved his, HIS being saved is personally impacting on me. I wouldn’t be the man I am without Ian OR MST3K and one could have never been without the other. I’m also an incredibly loyal person to my friends, and always have been since I was little. The hardships and victories of those I care for are mine as well. And this is why whenever I just can’t find something to put on, or when I’m sick or depressed and need some uplifting, MST3K is my go to. It still to this day, at 33, makes me laugh and cheers me up. It reminds me of my youth. It reminds me of Ian. It still provides me the comfort it gave me in the days when I knew that as long as I was up watching MST3K with Ian everything was ok. It still reminds me that there are ways of dealing with tough situations that are just a matter of changing your perspective and adding a bit of levity to any situation. So I am excited that NEW episodes of this show are now in the works. That I get to have whole new experiences with this show. The new cast and format is likely to be a big different than what I am used to. But MST3K already taught me how to adapt… with the loss of Joel to the addition of Mike…. But even still maybe the brand of comedy this new cast and writers bring to the table won’t be for me. That’s ok, though. The concept is still the same. And that concept will carries the same potential for life changing affirmation that the bad doesn’t have to the end for a new audience. Maybe some teenager somewhere struggling with their home life will find these new episodes and laugh for the first time. And they’ll make it another day. Is it crazy to think that some bad movies and puppet robots can save the world? Call me crazy. 

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ilooklikesatan@gmail.com (Biggs) Articles Wed, 20 Jan 2016 17:44:15 +0000
GAMING: WILDSTAR http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/371-gaming-wildstar http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/371-gaming-wildstar GAMING: WILDSTAR

     Do you like running around expansive worlds firing bullets from guns and/or your mind? What if sometimes those bullets were lasers and the world was inhabited by multitudes of alien life forms bent on finding out what you taste like?! You can’t do that shit in the real world, but you can in Wildstar, and that’s why Wildstar is more awesome than your humdrum existence of paying taxes and microwave dinners!

     Wildstar is a soon to be released MMORPG (That’s Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game for you noobs) in June by Carbine Studios. It’s a whacky blend of Sci-Fi and Fantasy that might make you think of Star Wars if Star Wars were created by a bunch of nutters from the looney bin on the hill. I’ve been in the Closed Beta for a couple of months and the Open Beta started last week and goes through this weekend.  It’s your chance to find out why in a world of F2P (Free to Play, nublette) there are still games that are worth a subscription fee. But if you want a quick and dirty of what’s in store for you before you go try it out for free this week I’m gonna fill your skull with some gooey morsels to get them saliva glands kicking into overdrive!

 


 

WHAT:

     The WHAT of any MMO is your race and/or class selection.  In Wildstar you’ve got 6 classes and 8 races within 2 factions. Think early World of Warcraft; because this game is made by the same people who were on the initial design team of that powerhouse. Your two factions are the Dominion, a group of alien races who seek to “unify” the universe under a single political force ruled by an Emperor is who half-god. They are what would have been if Emperor Palpatine were also a devout Catholic instead of a Sith Lord. The Dominion consists of pompous humans, crazed space bunnies with a knack for science (the kind that usually ends up making things explode), a tribal alien species that look like humanoid demon-dragon hybrids, and a sentient race of androids built by the humans to do their bidding.  On the opposite faction we have the Exiles. The Exiles are a rag tag group of species who are tired of the oppression of the Dominion and are fighting back with what limited resources they have.  Within those ranks are the Exiled Humans, an alien race of people made out of rocks (Galaxy Quest?), space zombies, and group of furry elf type aliens who survive off their connection to wildlife.

      Well I’ve covered the factions and races, so what kinds of classes do they have? Wildstar decided to stick with the Holy Trinity concept (Tank, Healer, Damage Dealer) and so each class fits in to two of those roles, but your build generally is going to have you focusing on one more than the other. You have Medics who use Reconstructors which are basically weaponized shock paddles to heal or kill. There are Warriors who swing giant greatswords to great effect to dish out or take punishments. Engineers summon little drone bots to do their bidding and can have numerous bots out at a time to assist them in combat. Next are Espers which use their telepathic powers to make minds EXPLODE (sometimes those explosions are filled with soothing rainbows)! Stalkers are basically Wolverine given a stealth suit… which is so fucking effective I don’t understand why Marvel hasn’t done it yet. And Gunslingers are space cowboys that can travel through the ethereal plane. Some of this sounds pretty typical to the MMO scene and all of them are based off of things you’ve seen before, but in true Wildstar fashion they’ve turned things up to 11 given some truly impressive character to each class so they don’t feel like the same thing you’ve played thousands of times before.

Well boys, this may get nasty...

WHERE:

     The WHERE of Wildstar is Nexus. Nexus is the one believed mythic home world of a long disappeared alien race that was so powerful they practically seeded the rest of the galaxy with life, they were called the Eldan. Think the Infinite Empire from Star Wars only something much more sinister may have gone down based off what we’re learning since finding Nexus. Oh, did I fail to mention we found Nexus? Yeah, so now the Dominion and the Exiles are battling over whom can stake a claim on it. War and espionage are erupting everywhere all while expeditions into old Eldan ruins begin to unearth their secrets and power. Oh, but these aren’t ruins like you know them. Not dusty buildings or run down stone monuments. Oh, no. These are giant mechanical engines and floating citadels with lasers and an AI that is housed within them that connects them all together… and that AI has gone insane.

     No kidding when I say that Nexus has been filled with so much action and lore and secrets to find around every corner it’s likely that it will take some time for people to find and piece together everything that will exist at launch and I have a feeling the developers are still holding many many cards still in their hands. I have not seen such a well developed set of Lore in a game since Star Wars or World of Warcraft and both of those games were based on EXISTING Intellectual Properties with years of development behind that lore to give them depth. Wildstar rivals them both and doesn’t have the advantages that either of them had, it’s incredibly impressive.  If you play games for the story and world immersion at all this game will have you ache to hunt down every little datacube and notepad lying around. Not only does it present an epic and rich world with some serious conflicts going on, but it does so with the tone and humor of Borderlands so that even while you’re learning about the enslavement or genocide of an entire alien species… you’re laughing about it. Kind of twisted, but hey… it’s engaging.

 


Way to avoid the... OH GOD DAMN IT FRANK!

HOW:

     There have been a couple of games who have tried to make combat in MMO games more action oriented and less “select target, mash buttons” style of combat that the vast majority of them have been. Tera and Guild Wars 2 stand out as two that were mildly successful. Tera pretty much just gave you a targeting reticule to aim with, but otherwise was still the same, and Guild Wars 2 just let you run around and dodge a lot more all without any real tank and things just got chaotic. Wildstar seems to have found the solution in the telegraph system. All abilities effect a certain area. It may be a large one, small, it may be square, or rectangle or triangle, or parallel lines, or cones, or any number of shapes and sizes. And these areas of effect are shown on the ground so that you know where your skills will hit. This also applies to healing and also to enemy damage. So now positioning is incredibly important. What types of creatures you’re using impacts which abilities (based on the shape of their area of effect) are most effective. This creates the action of Guild Wars 2 (constant movement and positioning) with the skill based combat of Tera but with a more intuitive experience that just feels fluid and capable of being mastered as opposed to always haphazard. By likewise telegraphing enemy abilities it allows the developers to ramp up difficulty in a way that makes sense at you get more and more skilled at dealing with avoiding damage and makes NOT avoiding damage truly punishing.

     I went in to my first 5-man dungeon last night and had not had more fun at getting my ass kicked in than that in a long time. We wiped a LOT. Spent almost 3 hours in there and this is the first dungeon you can do, meant for level 20. Screwing up was not allowed. Accidental pulls were not allowed. Not interrupting was not allowed. Anyone not pulling their weight meant the death of the whole group. For some this may seem painful and exclusionary and I’ll cover why that’s not exactly the case later in this article. Suffice to say here that it was a breath of fresh air to have an MMO challenge me and my guild and not be afraid to do so even at an early level. It was wonderful to be in a game where I could truly tell the developers understood how strategy and team work create fulfilling experiences and how to make them happen in different ways. Knowing that this entry dungeon was just the tip of the iceberg has me excited about what is in store later on.

     Another part of the HOW of MMOs is not just how you kill things or heal things. It’s not just the combat, but how you interact with the game itself. Some people love just killing stuff, some love engaging in the lore, some people are social butterflies and are always in groups or in chat, etc. Everyone plays these games for differing reasons, but no game has actually quantified that with a system until Wildstar. At character creation you also must choose a Path. These are Soldier, Scientist, Explorer, or Settler. Soldiers specialize in killing things. Big things. Also using fancy weaponry that only they have access to. You’ll find terminals all over that tell you to survive waves of enemies or challenge you to bring down big bad enemies, only for you, Soldier. Explorers are for the people who have to uncover the whole map and like climbing the mountain peak they see because… “I wonder what’s up there!”.  You’ll be tasked with going on Scavenger Hunts, climbing mountains or tall trees, finding secret tunnels and caves, and generally seeing every nook and cranny of Nexus. Scientists love the lore of Nexus. They get a little scanbot that they can tell to scan flora, fauna, datacubes, and all sorts of things they come across and each thing they scan gives them more information about Nexus and what has been going on for the thousands of years it’s been since any outside people came there. Sometimes your bot can even hack computer terminals to give you access to areas that only you can get to! Settlers are the socialites of Nexus. They can gather materials and build buff stations for themselves and others to use, they can build whole towns in some cases, or just tiny little hubs in others. Some of these have quests that everyone can take just because a Settler built it! Some have special vendors that will appear! In general everything a Settler does, everyone benefits from. Everyone loves the Settler. Roughly about 30% of your time on Nexus will be spent playing the game according to your Path. It helps you engage with Nexus in the way that YOU find interesting and fun and not just through the same quests everyone else is doing. It makes Nexus feel alive and like you are a part of why it’s alive. You’re a special little snowflake in Wildstar… a special little snowflake that scans flowers and then shoves a sword through an alien’s head. Universal dream.

 


MOAR DEATH RAYS!

WHO:

     I’m a social gamer. Don’t get me wrong, I play games by myself. But much like sex, I may enjoy some solo time but if you give me the opportunity to do it with another person I’ll always take that option.  I’ll even do it with people I don’t particularly like; I’m just going to make it as awkward and uncomfortable for them as possible. Yeah, that last bit still applies to both.  MMOs give me the ability to play with lots of friends I know and even make some great new ones.  Wildstar gives lots of content for you to do either by yourself, but also even more to do with some friends.

     I spoke a bit about the challenge of the 5-man dungeon I did. And Carbine has stated that we should expect lots of challenge in those dungeons and even more in the 40-man raiding that will come in the end game. That’s right, back to old school 40-man raids! It was often pain to organize that many people back in the beginnings of games like World of Warcraft, but the pay off of doing it always felt fantastic. If you miss those days of hard work for massive payoffs Carbine is listening to you! Carbine knows not everyone is that “hardcore raider” type and they need content for the casual player as well. And there is a ton. Everywhere you go as you adventure you’ll find unique monsters ready to be taken down that require anywhere from 2-20 people. Just group up or do a call-to-arms in zone and go bring that bad boy down! They usually have decent loot and sometimes extra quests that show up just for going out of your way and killing them! If you like dungeons, but think maybe you’re not ready for the toughness of what I described earlier than Carbine has created Adventures. These are like dungeons in that they require 5 people, but they are toned down in difficulty and instead usually are the size of a town where you experience a sort of choose your own adventure style scenario. For instance at level 15 on the Exiles side you’ll get to help free a small farming community from the oppression of the Dominion. Along the way you get to decide whether to rally the farmers into a militia or sneak through the Domnion’s forces stealthily and take out their key commanders. There are about 9 different choices you get to make that alter the scenario as you go through it with 3 different outcomes depending on those choices. They’re incredibly fun, not too hard, offer acceptable rewards, and have great replay value.

     If you like a bit of competitive play in your games Wildstar has a fantastic setup for Player-vs-Player. Not only do they have what we’ve come to expect in terms of Battlegrounds (objective based 10-20 player PvP) and Arenas (2-5 player PvP skirmishes) in both rated and non-rated formats, but they’ve invented a whole new form. Because that’s just what these guys do… Enter Warplots. What would you build if you could build a giant fortress of death? Mine fields? Giant Rocket Launchers? Laser beams? Traps? Would you go out in the world and fight some of the biggest and meanest monsters there are, capture them, and then unleash them in your Doom-Fortress against your unsuspecting foes? You can do all of these things in Warplots .Fully customizable fortress designed to annihilate 40 of your enemies. Drop that bad boy next to someone ELSE’S Warplot and then each side tries to take control of the other’s first. It’s like Player Housing. For guilds. If your house murdered people.

     Oh yeah, Player Housing? Yeah… there’s that too. It’s pretty robust. You can even invite your friends in for tea. Or to raid.

     As a shameless plug I’d point out that a game can only be as fun as the people you play it with. I’ve been lucky enough to find a group called Madcast Gaming that’s been around for a long time and the people are all enthusiastic and hilarious gamers. You can check out our recruitment thread here.

 


 

WHY:

     The long answer to that is written above. The short answer is because Wildstar is the incredibly well polished answer to “Why hasn’t someone made an MMO using all the cool features everyone else has tried, but without all the crap that’s come with them too?!” You can say that virtually everything that Wildstar is doing has been done on some level before, but that’s like saying that you don’t want to put together a jigsaw puzzle because the shapes of the pieces have all been seen before. It’s how they fit together and the picture that is created as an end result that makes it truly special. Wildstar is unique not because of its various pieces, but in how well it brings it all together and doesn’t add a bunch of crap that makes the good less… umm… good. The biggest complaint I have is a $15 a month subscription fee. But, oh wait… they also have a way to pay for the game using in game currency.

 

WHEN:

     Open Beta is going on now through May 18th. Launch is early June and pre-orders get in before even then.  It’s all happening really soon and I am VERY excited. I highly encourage people to grab the free week this week to see if it gets it’s hooks in you. If it does, I hope to find you on Nexus really soon. Hopefully on the same side of my Resonators, but I’ll be just as happy to melt your face off….

 

*I started a twitch channel and have been doing some streaming recently. You can check me out at twitch.tv/ilooklikesatan. Any stream I do will be archived, so check out the couple of vids that are there or catch me live.

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ilooklikesatan@gmail.com (Biggs) Articles Mon, 12 May 2014 19:01:36 +0000
Top 13 Movies for Halloween http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/281-top-13-movies-for-halloween http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/281-top-13-movies-for-halloween Top 13 Movies for Halloween

     So it's October. We all know what that means; everyone is getting ready for Halloween! Amongst the Tanked Matinee team I'm the one who's most in tune with all that is dark and spooky. If it sends shivers down your spine it will like send shivers up my... uh... that might be inappropriate. That is to say if it makes your hair stand on end it surely makes my... hmm... let's just say I am dubbing myself Tanked Matinee's Pumpkin King and continue on, shall we?

 

 

     All around the internet websites are making top 10 lists and best of articles for Halloween. I shall not be outdone! And as the self proclaimed Pumpkin King it is my duty to present you with the best movies to watch on Halloween! But where most places will simply give you a list of scary horror movies, I think we can do you one better. Halloween isn't all about the horror, it's lots of things rolled into one! It's kids and costumes, it's candy, it's pumpkins, it's spirits and monsters one night to return to this realm, it's adventure, it's staying up late, and it's that certain electricity in the air that ANYTHING can happen on this one magical evening! So why stick to horror? We can find these themes everywhere. So I decided to pick one film from each of our 12 genres plus one overall best for 13 spooky films to keep the Halloween spirit going during October. I'll be also reviewing each of these bests throughout the month, so consider this also a bit of preview of what's to come! So without further ado here is Tanked Matinee's 13 best movies to watch on Halloween! (Plus a few honorable mentions).

 

 

 

ACTION!

The Crow (1993):

 

     This movie has it all. It takes place the night before Halloween, it's dark, has people coming back from the dead, has a guy in makeup, and a kid. It's just missing some pumpkins and candy and it could have been made the number one spot over all! Plus since Brandon Lee died during the filming of this great flick, every time you watch it it's like you really are letting him come back for just one more night! The film has garnered a bit of a cult following over the years and while it really reeks of the 90's at times, it's still solid film even now. Plus check out the sound track! From Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Pantera, to Stone Temple Pilots it's non-stop rock and roll!

 

 

Honorable Mention: Monster Squad (1987) – Think of this as the Goonies for Halloween. Bunch of kids saving the world from Dracula, Mummy, Frankenstein's Monster, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Wolfman! Really great movie for all ages, which is something I can't say for The Crow, so if you have kids in the house check out this option!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROMANCE!


 

Let The Right One In (2008):

 

     The tale of budding romance between two young kids in Sweden, this foreign film was a take on a novel of the same name. As you watch you find out some interesting things, such as the girl next door that Oskar is falling for is really a vampire! This movie can be odd and bloody at times, maybe even a bit disturbing, but the tale of love is one that grows from innocence and naivety, but in that is not marred by years of emotional baggage. It's beautiful in this way and you start to maybe wonder what made some of us so cynical when it comes giving our heart to someone. A great blend of “awww” and gross outs makes this, in my opinion, the perfect Halloween movie for the romantically inclined. You can also check out the decent American remake called Let Me In, made in 2010, if you don't want subtitles.

 

Honorable Mention: Corpse Bride (2005) – Sort of like earlier, this movie is one you can put on if the kids are around and not have to feel like you'll be spending thousands on therapy for them later on, unlike Let the Right One In. Here we have a young Victorian man by the name of, well... Victor... who accidentally proposes to a dead woman. Whoopsy! The corpse rises and claims Victor as her own. Dark in theme and imagery, this stop motion Tim Burton film is reminiscent of A Nightmare Before Christmas, and dances around the macrabre playfully so that kids can enjoy it with you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honorable Mention: I Married A Witch (1942) – Maybe you don't have kids around and you don't want something so bloody or weird as Let the Right One In. I still got you covered! This classic black and white film stars Veronica Lake as a witch who returns to life and accidentally drinks the love potion intended for her victim. A Romantic Comedy of days long past, this movie shows it's age, but has some great humor and a great tale of love conquering even spell casting vixens. You can actually find this gem on Hulu, so don't worry about it's age making it hard to come by!

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMEDY!

Idle Hands (1999):

 

     Anton is a stoner who lives the easy life until one day as Halloween approaches his hand becomes possessed by a killer spirit! He kills his best friends, one played by Seth Green in one of his first theatrical roles, who decide Heaven looks boring and rise from their graves to continue hanging out with Anton. Then he hooks up with a Druidic priestess to put an end to his hand, which he earlier chopped off and is now running amok in his home town. This movie is super funny in a dark way that is, again, definitely not for kids, but should be ok for teenagers. Set leading up to Halloween and even having a Halloween dance at the school this movie is a good laugh fest that keeps the holiday spirit close at hand.... get it? Close at ha... never mind.

 

Honorable Mention: Monster House (2006) – This computer animated feature is based on that one spooky old house with the creepy old man living in it we all had in our neighborhoods growing up. There were always rumors the place was haunted, right? But what if it wasn't haunted... what if it was ALIVE AND WANTED TO EAT YOU! This flick is great for kids and adults alike with some great laughs and ends with surprisingly a whole lot of heart. Based just days before Halloween it really makes you remember that one house we were all afraid to go up and ring the doorbell for candy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DOCUMENTARY!

Halloween: The Happy Haunting of American (1997):

 

     If you're in the mood for something educational, but still holding true to Halloween, this is a pretty fun documentary. Basically it goes around talking about haunted houses of America and interviewing celebrities from horror movies and the like. Pretty simple premise, but really well done with lots of cool stories! Definitely check it out if this is your cup of tea.

 

Honorable Mention: The Haunted History of Halloween (2012) – This documentary aired on the History Channel, and it's not very good. But it's worth a watch for the absurdity and humor of it. It tries to come off as this historical perspective of how Halloween came to be what we know it to be today, but quickly takes a turn for Bible thumping scare tactic to demonize the holiday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENJOYABLY BAD!

Troll 2 (1990):

 

     Rated one of the worst films ever made, this story of a child on summer vacation who is tasked with protecting his family from the horrible goblins who... turn people into plants because they're vegetarians? Also, goblins? I thought this was called TROLL 2! Often quoted with the famous line “Nilbog is Goblin spelled backwards!” this movie is so bad on every level you can't help but laugh and have a good time at it's expense. While not really set around Halloween, the themes of kids and adventure and monsters are still present so make for addition to your All Hallow's Eve entertainment.

 

Honorable Mention: House (1986) - A cult classic horror comedy; this film isn't terrible, exactly, but it certainly isn't great. And ultimately what makes it so enjoyable are the ridiculous slap stick and rubber monster outfits. A Vietnam vet moves into his dead aunt's house which is supposedly haunted. He intends to finish writing a memoir about his times in Vietnam, but the house has other plans! This film is a poor man's Evil Dead 2, if you give it a watch you'll get exactly what I mean. This is a better film than Troll 2, which should have made these recommendations go the other way, but the only theme tying it into Halloween is the Haunted House and monsters. Troll 2 just feels more appropriate. House has slow pacing, but the longer you get into it the more laughs you'll have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLOITATION!

Suspiria (1977):

 

     The quintessential giallo film by the famed director Dario Argento. I know many people think “How could you not put Carpenter's Halloween (yes, it's an exploitation film, NOT a horror film!)?! Well, because despite how great it is... it's over done. Everyone has watched this on Halloween at some time or another. It's just TOO easy of a pick. I'm not saying don't watch it, I'm just saying maybe it's time for some change? And Suspiria is GREAT change! Argento uses lots and lots of color in his scenes to evoke particular emotions instead of explicit dialogue or annoying violin soundtracks. The ambiance of this film is just breathtaking and nerve racking all at once! The story follows a young ballerina joining an academy of dance in Germany. She quickly gets caught up in strange supernatural occurrences and gruesome deaths all around her which she later learns is due to an ancient coven of witches that founded the school. Think Black Swan, but even more disturbing!

 

Honorable Mention: Blacula (1972) – The title says it all. This blaxploitation film from the early 70s is a paprody of the classic vampire story. If you love low budget jive talking vampires, this is for you! It's actually not a terrible film for what it is can be enjoyed both seriously and in poking a bit of fun at it (which it does to itself at times).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HORROR!

Night of the Demons (1988):

 

     Another classic 80's horror tale set around teenagers and a Halloween party. See... who need's Carpenter for that? The kids decide to hold a séance that unwittingly summons a demon that was trapped nearby. It then possesses one of the girls and, in classic 80's horror fashion, everyone wanders around alone and get subsequently horribly murdered. It's cliché in every way, but that's almost what makes it so fun and entertaining to watch. The pacing is fast and campy 80's'ness of the whole thing in your face the whole time. People not accustomed to horror films will find some scares here, but most will simply be able to laugh and yell “don't go in there!” all night. I think that's the perfect sensation for Halloween; fun with just a little bit of scare mixed in.

 

Honorable Mention: The Changeling (1980) – A Canadian film based on supposed true events, this is another haunted house tale. Great ambiance and fantastic jump scares abound as main character John Russell finds that he is an unwanted guest in his own home. Eventually unraveling a dark secret surrounding the death of a child in the home, Russel sets out to set the spirit of the boy free by uncovering what really happened. Again, not actually set around Halloween, this picture still features ghosts, children, and spirits communicating with the living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARTIAL ARTS!

Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980):

 

     Do you know how hard it is to find a martial arts film that has all the themes of Halloween?! Well, if you love old Chinese kung fu films and still want a bit of spookiness for the season, here you go! This picture was written, choreographed, directed by, AND starred Sammo Hung. It's totally cheesy in that old 70's and 80s Chinese movie way, but still super fun to watch. Hung throws in plenty of humor and there's some real talent in the choreography, though people who expect Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee will be disappointed. This film has zombies, witches, and possessions, oh my! The only thing this movie is really missing is kids and costumes (though that latter one can be argued) for it to be truly perfect for Halloween. But martial arts films aren't really known for being spooky, so I'll take what I can get!

 

 

Honorable Mention: Halloween Kung-Fu – Supposedly this movie exists. I've seen it in Google searches, but I couldn't find any reviews, any posters, any trailers, or any place to watch it. But you know, it sounds like it could be even better than Encounters of the Spooky Kind! Too bad it appears to be as ethereal as a ghost!

 

 

 

MYSTERY!

Sleepy Hollow (1999):

 

     I know, I know... another Burton/Depp film on the list, but look they're REALLY good at doing dark and spooky, ok! You're lucky I didn't do Edward Scissor Hands! I saw this in theaters really thinking it wasn't going to be good, but wanting to give Burton the benefit of the doubt. Well, he actually pulls it off. This is a really great take on the Headless Horseman tale. It's one part horror story and one part crime mystery. Depp plays the famous Ichabod Crane who is an investigator with an eye for forensics. Think Sherlock Holmes, but more of a wuss. He hopes to uncover the murders in Sleepy Hollow by a headless rider in the night, unwilling to give into the superstitious tales that circulate the village. While not technically a Halloween story, the tale of the Headless Horseman has unofficially been adopted by many to be a sort of mascot for the holiday what with the Jack-O-Lantern for a head and all.

 

Honorable Mention: Scooby Doo on Zombie Island (1998) – It's Scooby and the gang and where the Mystery Machine goes, you KNOW there is a mystery to solve! Yeah, it's a kids movie. But that's ok. Maybe you have kids, this is great for them to watch. Maybe you don't, I'd still say give this a watch. In my adult life I've found classic Scooby Doo to be a bit trite, however this movie is the best story of the gang I've ever seen. It plays up a lot of the expectations the decades of previous cartoons build up to take you on lots of twists and turns that you don't see coming because it's always poking fun at itself. As witch all Scooby stories, this is a classic spooky who-done-it fit for all ages.

 

 

 

 

 

SCI-FI!

Donnie Darko (2001):

 

     If you haven't seen this movie, you're failing at... something... life, probably. Set during the entire month of October and leading up to Halloween this is a story of the titular character of Donnie as he explores concepts of quantum mechanics and time travel from a dead guy in an evil bunny suit. Donnie knows something bad is going to happen, but he doesn't know what, who, how, etc. In his effort to stop the unknown event from happening he goes on a weird ass journey that brings him ever closer and closer to catastrophe. A brilliant script, great acting from a young Jake Gyllenhaal, and suitably disturbing soundtrack make this a must watch any time of year, just right now it seems a tad more appropriate!

 

Honorable Mention: Jason X (2001) – The tenth installment of the Friday the 13th series, this movie is this franchise's entry in the “Character in SPAAAAAACE!” idea that every major 80's horror series inevitably did. Why? I don't know, they were all terrible, and this is no exception. But we do have Jason Voorhees coming back from the dead and that is at least one theme for Halloween. Plus, it's so bad it's hilarious. One of the funniest things I've ever seen is Jason wrapping a naked girl up in a sleeping bag and then beating her against a tree nonchalantly. Yeah, that happens here. Plus Jason becomes all cyborg infused and... well... the movie goes to some just odd places. I figured I didn't include any traditional slashers anywhere else, so for the fans of those – here ya go.

 

 

 

 

WHAT THE @#$*?!

Hausu (1977):

 

     Essentially House in Japan, this is not to be confused with our earlier discussion of a movie with a similar title. I don't even know where to begin with this movie. Basically more haunted house stuff, but weird to the degree only Japan seems to know how to reach. We have ghost cats (not to be confused with Ghost Cat, the animal channel's made for TV movie), floating heads biting people in the ass, and the lead character spontaneously becoming a bunch of bananas. There's no real story here, exactly. It's just a bunch of junbled together things happening to the same people without giving any shits about time or place or reason at any given moment. This is the strangers God damned film ever, and it just so happens to also be perfectly themed for Halloween. So if you can find this, pop it in, sit back, and be ready to question every decision that ever brought you to sitting here watching Hausu.

 

Honorable Mention: Satan's Little Helper (2003) – A weird black comedy horror film about a young kid who, I'm also not entirely sure isn't mentally retarded, loves a video game about being Satan's Helper and doing terrible things to people. He then witnesses a masked murdered on Halloween kill some people, think's it's Satan, and wants to be his Helper like in the game. The premise could make for a truly frightening film, but the actuality is just weird and occasionally funny. Slowly, but surely, the film degenerates into wanting to be a metaphor for how video games desensitize kids to violence and make them unable to distinguish between the real world and that of the game; which ,I think, most of us sane adults know is all bullshit. As it progresses in this metaphor I found myself just laughing more and more at it, but not really with it as much as it would have liked. Not great, not bad, but definitely pretty weird. It's got every Halloween theme I can think of, so it'd be perfect for your holiday viewing!

 

 

 

 

OVER ALL BEST HALLOWEEN MOVIE!

Trick R' Treat (2007):

 

As far as I'm concerned this is the new Halloween anthem. This movie single handedly encapsulates everything Halloween is. An anthology of four stories that all take place on Halloween in the same town. We see adults, kids, teens, monsters, everything! And stories weave seamlessly together as we see characters from each moving in and out of the others. It's absolutely brilliant. Amongst it all it creates a new mascot. Forget Jack the Pumpkin King, forget the Headless Horseman, we now have Sam. He is a small child-like demon of Halloween who demands you uphold the spirit of the season or die in tribute to it! Costumes, demons, monsters, ghosts, tricks, treats, scares, laughs, seriously I can't think of a single element not here. I don't know what else to say without giving it all away. Pick this movie up, add to your instant queue somewhere, whatever... but save it Halloween night, you'll thank me.

 

 

 

 

     In conclusion, I hope you guys check out some, most, or all of these films. There's reason to watch any of them and everyone has different tastes and need when it comes to movies. Just because it's Halloween doesn't mean horror movies should consume all your time, but I think it is great to get in to the mood remember what it's like to be a kid again and/or appreciate the darker parts of life we all must face and endure to become stronger people. I'll be posting reviews for “best” of each genre throughout the month, so stay tuned. Trick R' Treat I'll be saving for Halloween eve, but I think it'll be worth the wait. Thanks for reading all, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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ilooklikesatan@gmail.com (Biggs) Articles Sun, 06 Oct 2013 18:43:12 +0000
Monticello Reserve Ale (Starr Hill) http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/242-beer-review-monticello-reserve-ale-starr-hill http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/242-beer-review-monticello-reserve-ale-starr-hill Monticello Reserve Ale (Starr Hill)

The Buzz:

        Coming from the Starr Hill brewing company, this Monticello Reserve Ale hails from the from Thomas Jefferson's plantation by the same name. Supposedly based on the original recipe brewed at the plantation and served as a "table liquor" to guests, the beer consists of lightly hopped wheat and corn.


 Life of the Party:

        In the world of light, hoppy ales, Monticello certainly deserves your notice. My first impression upon tasting is that this is a pretty immaculately crafted beer, something I've come to expect from Starr Hill. There's no skunkiness, or taste of impurities. What it is then is an exceptionally clean tasting, light, almost sparkly beer. I also really like a sort of fruity taste I get on the back on my tongue as it goes down, and the feel of the beer as I chew it around in my mouth a bit.

 

Potential Hangovers:

        I feel like this beer's greatest flaw is that it almost tastes like there could be so much more flavor, and yet there's a pretty big hole right in the middle. I get the sparkle on the tip of my tongue, and a bit of fruit on the back, and but in between...nothing. And the color is actually kind of off-putting to me; if you've seen an episode of the Bearded Brew Review, you know Biggs gets a preconception of a beer based on its color (not hard to understand why), and the color of Monticello will definitely turn off some beer fans like Biggs.

        Also you HAVE to let this breathe a bit before you dive in. On my first sip with was nothing but bitter, and a taste of what I can only describe as spicy with zero heat. I hated it. But then I kept sipping, and over about 15-20 minutes or so in the pint glass it really came to life. But even then I have to say that Monticello Reserve Ale is gonna be a real hit-or-miss for you. I typically like ales for how light and refreshing they can be, and how easily drinkable they can be (though of course this is a gross overgeneralization; I've had some ales almost as thick as some stouts). Monticello gets the light bit right, but it's not very refreshing, and this is not an easily drinkable beer. I'm almost having to work through the beer; sometimes this can be enjoyable (like a good chocolaty stout, or a heavy IPA), but in something this light it's a little unpleasant.

The beer label, on a dark-brown pint-sized bottle

The Vibe:

        If you like to experiment, and appreciate a good ale, then Monticello is certainly worth a try, and a spot on your shelf of collected beer bottles. But as I said, this will be very hit-or-miss, and it's negatives will weigh on you while you drink it down (especially that it's almost a workout). I know the list of hangovers is much longer than the positives, but I believe this beer is worth giving a shot. If you don't like it, it isn't very expensive, and so you won't be out very much.

 

Plus/Minus:

+ Exceptionally well crafted

+ Very clean

+/- Flavor is VERY hit-or-miss

- "Flavor hole"

- Not easily drinkable

- The color

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ascalici@elon.edu (Enuncia) Articles Fri, 26 Jul 2013 12:00:00 +0000
First 24 Hours: Warframe http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/220-first-24-hours-warframe http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/220-first-24-hours-warframe First 24 Hours:  Warframe

         So for almost a year I'd been seeing game-play videos and developer blogs about a third-person action shooter called Warframe, and from the word "go" I was intrigued. It passed from my mind right about the time it went to closed beta, until a short time ago when I logged into Steam and found it now in open-beta, free to download and play. So myself and some of the Tanked Matinee crew fired it up, and I must say we've been highly impressed from the beginning.

        Recently the developers released a pretty major update, and so I thought that despite this not being my first 24 hours of experience with the game, I could do this article based on my first exposure to Update 8: Rise of the Warlords.

 

The Game

          Warframe puts you in control of what pretty much amounts to a super-powered...cyborg is my best guess, as you take on waves of enemies and complete various missions. You fight your way through the solar system, unlocking planets as you complete mission paths, starting at Mercury and working your way out.

        Along the way you collect money and resources to use in conjunction with blueprints to obtain more powerful weapons, as well as mods that can be used to make your warframe and weapons more powerful, as well as give you fantastic abilities unique to your warframe. After a brief training mission, you select one of three warframes (though any can be purchased later), and begin your quest.

        Master the long gun, pistol, and melee weapon systems, as well as the ninja-like acrobatics and special powers each warframe possesses. Collect the resources to craft new weapons and warframes. And take on a variety of enemies, from the heavily armored Grineer, to the beast-like "totally not the Flood" Infected, to the technologically advanced Corpus.


The Technicals

          First thing I noticed, this game is beautiful! Everything is smooth and organic looking; it looks like an A+ budget production, not your typical free-to-play fare. And the visual effects offer a stark contrast to the rest of the dark, slick atmosphere.

        I'm able to run the game on maximum settings, and I can find almost no visual flaws or tearing. If you don't mind having your retinas seared out of your eyes every time someone uses a special move or an explosion goes off, you're in for a visual treat.

        The sound effects are also solid, though nothing really blows my mind (it's all well done standard fare). I also appreciate that the game has some original scores to help set the tone of each scene, whether you're trying to sneak through the level like you're Solid Snake, or slicing your way through hordes of enemies like you're a futuristic cyborg Jason Voorhees.


It is SO immensely satisfying when you do this

The Gameplay

        This is probably one of the simplest games I've played in recent memory to control. I've never had to break my hand trying to mash several buttons at once. It's your standard WASD/Shift/Left Control/Spacebar movement scheme, and left/right mouse buttons to aim and fire your weapons. E swings your melee weapon (hold it for a powerful, but slow, attack), X interacts with objects, and 1-4 activate your Warframe's special abilities. That's it. Especially compared to my last game review of MechWarrior Online this is an incredibly simple game to control and play, but offers a surprising variety to skills and movement abilities to help navigate the different areas of the map. Wall runs, flips, slides, flying kicks, all are possible using only these few keys in certain combinations.

        If the game does have a weakness, its biggest one is a lack of variety in the maps. A majority of the playable areas share the same tile sets, meaning you'll find yourself fighting in the same rooms, hallways, and warehouses time and again. Myself and my fellow Tanked Matinee players have found little to no issue with this however; especially since it would seem that at least many of the maps will have randomly generated components and areas, meaning that even when we farm the same area we don't end up playing the exact same layout every single time.


        Missions pit you against one of three enemies, and completing a certain kind of mission, whether it's to destroy the reactor/key equipment, capture a high-valued individual, steal intelligence files, defend an objective, or just exterminate the entire base. Each type of enemy presents you with different challenges. The clone-army Grineer will assault you with mass numbers and big guns, while also sporting heavy armor. The Corpus army consists of robots, drones, and large war machines supporting their human soldiers, and tend to have heavy shields and powerful guns. The Infected are "totally not the flood," and will assault with huge fast moving monsters and special abilities to poison you and drain your energy. Each enemy has its own weaknesses and tactics, and players would do well to try to build their weapon and armor mods to combat each type of enemy.

        Speaking of which, enemies occasionally drop mods, which can be slotted into weapons and armor to give you more ammo, increase damage, speed up your attacks, or add elemental damage to a weapon, among about a couple dozen other things. Collecting these mods and upgrading them becomes a vital part of game play, so that your character can more effectively combat its foes.


        Another feature of game play comes in the form of the crafting system. Blueprints for different weapons, equipment, and even Warframes can be purchased, or dropped by certain enemies. Players collect materials for these blueprints, and can then craft each item. Crafting seems to take anywhere from 12 hours to days, though the item can be crafted instantly if the player spends platinum (platinum is the paid for currency in the game). Platinum can be used to purchase most items instantly, and there are a few that can only be acquired through the use of platinum, though this is by no means a "pay to win" title (I have yet to spend a single penny, and find no difficulties, I just level up slower than the paying players).

        Possibly the coolest part of the newest update (in my opinion) is the new feature of the clan hall. Clan members (otherwise known as a Guild/Faction/any of the dozen other things these have been called in other games) can craft a Clan Key for very little resources and money, and in turn get access to a Clan Hall. It starts off as just a simple room that all the Clan members can run around in, which isn't too exciting. But Clan members can then all contribute to build new rooms and hallways in the Clan Hall, which in turn unlock research and upgrades that can provide Clan-wide benefits in game, as well as access to weapons and abilities that only Clan's have access to. This feature is already pretty spectacular, and is only in its Alpha stages, so I for one can't wait to see how this will be expanded and improved upon. If it has a drawback, each component takes a considerable amount of money and resources to build (Biggs and I started a clan together, and it's gonna take quite some time for the two of us to build just a simple hallway), so Clans would be wise to recruit many players, all of whom are willing to throw in-game currency and resources at each project so that everyone can reap the rewards.

        Apparently another game play element that has been released in the new update is the ability to travel into the "Void" as the game calls it to play new maps and battle powerful new enemies. The Tanked Matinee crew has yet to play these maps, however from what we've been reading this is something to look forward to, and should provide a real challenge above and beyond what the game presented before.


Conclusion

        Overall Warframe is an incredibly fun and unique game that I think any gamer can find some enjoyment in. The combination of warfare, crafting, Clan potential, simple game play, and role playing, all at the cost of free, is an opportunity that you can't afford to miss. Is the game flawless? No, there are some very minor quirks that keep it from being so. I wish more game play mechanics were explained (the Fusion system took some learning, some movement abilities are never covered, but all these things can be found in the forums and the game wiki). I also wish there were more of a story, since only a very basic background is given for the Tenno (you're race), the Grineer, and the Corpus. The Infected are NEVER explained (at least not so far), and have no information about them on the website. But in the end these are minor issues that I have every confidence will be fixed as the game continues to grow and expand. If being a gun-wielding sword (or axe)-swinging acrobatic super-powered space ninja with enemies to match sounds like something you could get behind, then Warframe is definitely the game for you.

A Shameless Plug

        As I alluded to earlier, Biggs and I started a Tanked Matinee Clan in Warframe, and we would love for our community to join us! You can find either of us (Enuncia and ilooklikesatan are our in-game usernames), send us a message and we'll send you an invite. We hope we can use this Clan to get to know our Tanked Matinee community a little more, and interact with you outside of our reviews and series. We hope this can become successful, and maybe later expand this idea to other games, and we want you, our community, to be a part of it. So please, check out and support this awesome game, and come be part of the Tanked Matinee clan.

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ascalici@elon.edu (Enuncia) Articles Fri, 31 May 2013 15:21:02 +0000
Gamer Movies Suck, Right?! http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/213-gamer-movies-suck-right? http://tankedmatinee.com/features/articles/item/213-gamer-movies-suck-right? Gamer Movies Suck, Right?!

    Good afternoon Tanked Matinee viewers! In case you haven't had the time to get to know me, my name is Ben and I am a gamer.  Surprising revelation, I know, but I needed to say it.  I also really love movies, hence my involvement with this site. So you would think that when these two passions are combined, it would be a buffet of fantastic and nothing could go wrong. Right?

Golden Corral
*Pictured: Buffet of Fantastic

     I have been a pretty dedicated gamer for the past two decades (i.e. damn near my whole life). Sure it started with Atari and NES, but grew over time until I amassed a huge digital library of games and got really big into tabletop gaming. Just wanted to establish some geek cred out there, that’s all. And I can tell you, as much as I truly ADORE gaming in its many facets, nothing frightens me more than when I hear tale of a new movie coming out based on one of them.  But why? Most of the time, the stories are basically written, big budgets are everywhere, and Hollywood has the technology to recreate almost anything on the big screen with a live action cast. There is no reason for me to be scared, and yet I quiver in fear every time!

     You may notice that this is a departure from my normal style of writing, but I want to branch out and start a dialogue with you, the trusted reader, as well as share my opinions on what causes most of these abominations.


I don’t think they try hard enough:

     Sometimes it seems that directors/investors take a look at a piece of Intellectual Property  (IP from here on out) and say “ HEY! That shits pretty much done, put a bow on it and It’ll sell!”

Guile

"Yes he did, in his home country of Bel….Aire. Guile was from Bel Aire"


     Sometimes a movie has everything in its court and just lacks that little bit extra that could have made it amazing.  A perfect example of this is the 2010 release of Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40000 Movie”. For those of you out of the loop, Warhammer 40k is a tabletop miniatures game that started back in the 80’s and is extremely popular around the world. As far as games go, it has one of the most in depth and expansive storylines there is and enough sci-fi imagery to make Star Trek and Star Wars collectively shit their pants. This movie had a loyal fan base from the get-go that were already used to spending a lot of money on a silly hobby (I paint plastic army men for Christ’s sake) and was written by one of the leading sci-fi authors of this time, Dan Abnett. Hell, it even had some really solid voice talent involved ( John Hurt and Terence Stamp come to mind). The only thing missing was the animation to back it up.  For a piece of IP that generates millions of dollars a year for its parent company, there is really no excuse for lackluster animation. 

 220px-TheSmurfs2011Poster

Also, god damn ultramarines….  

Other offenders:  Street Fighter… The live action one… Yeah, it’s based on a fighting game, so what? As a franchise, Street Fighter has moved its way up as a household name, known by fledgling gamers and their grandpa’s. In the mid-nineties, this series was eating entire allowances at a time. Each character had personality, rivalries, relationships, everything a good story needs. The big screen adaptation didn’t lack budget (35 million….think about that for a second), and really didn’t suffer from a terrible story. What it did lack was anyone on the staff with common sense. I enjoy Raul Julia and Jean-Claude Van Damme but their inclusion in this movie simply baffles. 

Sometimes they try too hard:

     This happens a bit too. Sometimes a company decides it wants to turn gaming IP into a movie and throw every single thing they have at it. I’m talking money, talent, writers, marketing, and yet something gets lost along the way and the true fans are left scratching their heads.  I give you, Final Fantasy: The Spirits within. Seriously, this movie had a lot going for it! Great voice acting and some of the best 3d animation you will see in a movie.

TheSpiritswithin

" It took our animators 30 million just to animate his eyes... his cold, lifeless eyes"

     Under any other name, the movie would have been pretty good. Unfortunately the creative forces behind it stuck the Final Fantasy brand on it to help guarantee its profit potential. This wouldn’t have been a bad idea really, had the movie not sucked.  As a Final Fantasy fan, it was too jarring a departure from the series norm to really work out.

Other Offenders: Honestly, I think Resident Evil falls into this category.  I always really enjoyed the Resident Evil series because it was always fucking bleak. Ammo was always scarce, and zombies were numerous.  The movies tried to make that feeling of hopelessness stick, but only for a few minutes. They let things get out of hand and opted for a different story arc.


Xena

"…but with guns…and zombies… and bio-weapons"


Last but not least, please ban Uwe Boll from making movies.

    Not every video game movie is bad, but every video game movie Uwe Boll makes is bad. He has made big screen adaptations of MANY games including:

House of the Dead
Alone in the Dark
Alone in the Dark 2
Bloodrayne
Bloodrayne 2: Deliverance (No piggy squeels here!)
Bloodrayne : The Third Reich
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Postal
Farcry

    Now you may be saying to the computer screen “FUCK YOU BEN! ________ was a great film!” and while I appreciate your enthusiasm, you are wrong. This is what the comment section is for, folks.


     Boll’s game adaptations have gotten universal disdain from the greater media and fans alike.  And yet somehow, he keeps getting work.  Let us put things into a bit of perspective: I work as a printer. People pay me to print things they want. If I print something and the customer doesn’t buy it, my company loses money and my job is in jeopardy. If it is well known that everything I print is shit and I constantly make a failing project, I LOSE MY DAMN JOB! So maybe we can all just agree to fire the guy.

BOll

"I mean.. he did write “Auschwitz”… this would be apt."


     Of course, Boll will keep getting work as long as money flows to him from whatever sources has. And, in fairness, the man does alot of other projects (some of which are actually decent), but is it too much to ask that someone take away some game rights?

Is there Hope?

    Yes! Of course there is always hope. As I touched on in my article about Free Comic Book Day, nerd-culture movies are making the mainstream. As the price of high quality graphics goes down, on screen adaptations of popular videogames become more plausible. I also imagine that crowd funded projects (think Kickstarter) will eventually catch up, and independent directors will be able to make their passion for games come to life.  I don’t want you to think that I hate all game based movies, I most certainly do not! Personally, even some game movies that aren’t critically acclaimed, I find a lot of entertainment in.  Movies like Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, or Final Fantasy Advent Children aren’t blockbuster hits, but are really enjoyable on their own merits.

     The whole point of this article is to spark discussion. I won’t pretend that I am the authority on these things, but I wanted to share my opinion and get yours in return.  So use the comments section below to tell me what you think. What games do you think would make good big-screen showings? What do you think is the biggest hurdle the movie industry faces when trying to adapt game IP to a movie?  Tell me what you think!

 

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ben.c.marsh@gmail.com (Ben Marsh) Articles Sat, 18 May 2013 20:23:58 +0000