Speculative Fiction Saturday: Stranger Things

Stranger Things

Stranger Things

When I first heard of this series, it was described as a mix of Stephen King with Steven Spielberg. It definitely has a touch of Steven’s magic realism back in the eighties, with a touch of King’s horror, and it works.

It is a series that really should have been made a while ago, back when Amazing Stories came out. I don’t think that I have talked about that show, but imagine a cool Spielberg film with some horror elements, stretched out into a series. You would get where J.J. Abrams failed.

So, let’s take a look at the checklist for Spielberg: Kids. A Mysterious New Character. A Secret Government Agency. All of them checked off, and this isn’t E.T. that we are talking about. So, let’s look at the King checklist. Something frightening. A missing child. A character with an insanely painful backstory. This isn’t IT I am talking about.

That’s right, this is Eat It. This is what J.J. Abrams should be told as this series one ups Super 8, as Stranger Things is Super 9!

This story is about some kind of terror that is set free in a small town, sometime in 1983. Since I remember that time, I think it is pretty cool that they got most of it right. I think that the only time that it failed is when they played “Hazy Shade of Winter” by Bangles, during the credits. That didn’t come out until 1985, I’ll give it a pass.

So, the premise of the show is there is a missing child, and this is because there is a monster in town. There is also this mysterious kid with super-powers named Eleven, and she is hiding in one of the main character’s closet. So, what is happening?

A lot of mysterious stuff, that’s what. This is one of those times where I don’t want to spoil it, because it just has to be seen for yourself. Also, I’m kind of tired.

Our Gaming Review of Type: Rider

Type RiderI have often said that the best games are the most simple ones, and although Type:Rider has a simple yet complicated premise, it is still challenging.

So here is what is going on: you are two punctuation dots that need to platform your way through a world full of typeface. You need to roll your way and get letters of the alphabet in a certain font.

So, you will have to go through a lot of levels, and I think there are about ten of them. Clearly, who ever really made this game must really love typefaces. It is so unusual, that it is worth trying.

What makes it interesting is how the two punctuation dots work together. You have to make them rotate somehow to make jumps, and there are some cool stops to make.

It is a very terrific game, and it can be purchased on Steam for about $4.99. I would say it is worth double that price.

Our Game Review of “Lifeless Planet”

Lifeless PlanetI would have to say that Lifeless Planet is one of the best games that I have played this year, and I don’t do a lot of video games. Seriously, I don’t get paid much for this, but I would love to do it for a living.

Lifeless Planet is a game that is practically an homage to video games. There is a lot of platforming going on here, and there is a lot of great exploration as well. The game starts out with an opening that reminds me of Interstellar, and then it becomes like The Martian.

The great thing about Lifeless Planet is its atmosphere. The game begins with an astronaut who crash-lands on a distant planet, and he is all alone. This is what is interesting about this game, as you are just alone on this planet with nothing but creepy music.

At first the player is just wandering around an alien planet that looks like Utah, Arizona, or Nevada. In fact, as someone who has visited Arches National Park, I thought this was about the next best thing to visiting it.

At the beginning, I thought that this game was going to be boring, but then I discovered that I had the power of jumping. I thought there was going to be just boring exploration, but there is a definite path that you need to follow.

In case you are seeing this picture and thinking that the lifeless planet is Earth, and there is a “you maniacs, you blew it all up” scene. No, they don’t go that direction, but they could have.

I won’t spoil what is going on in this game, because part of the game is figuring out what happened on this Lifeless Planet. There is a lot of finding stops that give information about what has happened.

This is one of those films that I can’t play at night, because it is so full of this lonely atmosphere that I am just waiting for a jumpscare. This is what makes it very good.

I’m going to give this game a high recommendation, possibly one of my highest. It is a sample game that I can’t stop playing. You can find it on Steam for $19.99, and I played it on the PS4.

Our Review of the Drifter Energy 15-inch Laptop Backpack from STM Bags

STM Drifter BagOkay, this is not the first time that I have reviewed something from STM Bags, and this one is just in time for back-to-school. This is the Drifter Energy backpack for 15-inch backpacks.

So it is a laptop backpack, big deal, right? Well, it is has a smart Joey energy supply that is integrated with it so you can charge a smartphone or tablet. What is funny is that it took me a while to find the power source, but it is in the bag.

Get it? It’s deep in the backpack, and on a little hook to take it out. Now, you need to connect a cord to battery pack to charge it, and then use another cord to charge your smartphone and tablet. That is good enough for 15-20 hours of talk time, and give your tablet some extra power as well.

So not only is there some great spot for your 15-inch laptop, there is a lot of great pockets. There’s like three of them, and then on the inside, there is some serious levels of pocket in this guy. Seriously, I love having pockets that are really overdoing it on the pocket.

The Drifter Energy for 15-inch laptops is available in camo, graphite, and navy for about $239.95 on the STM Bag sites.

Our Game Review of Snoopy’s Grand Adventure

SnoopySo, you see Snoopy’s face and how surprised it is? Well, it’s because he’s amazed that we are reviewing this game, which came out over six months ago, right now. Yes, I like to review the latest in gadgets and technology, but it just so happens that this game went on sale cheap.

As you might have guessed, this game is meant to tie-in with The Peanuts Movie. For some reason, a lot of hit movies think it is standard procedure to come out with a video game based on the film. These games are notoriously not very good, and lack originality because you know some programmer just had to come up with a Peanuts game.

I love all things associated with Charlie Brown and Snoopy, and this game has Snoopy in the center. I would think that from the box art, which shows Snoopy on his dog house ready to fight the Red Baron, so this will be a flying game.

Actually, it is more of a platforming game, and it is just great to be Snoopy. Like most platformers, you can jump and jump, and Snoopy’s propeller ears can take him some cool places.

Most of the conflict is just getting jellybeans because apparently there is hide-and-seek thing going on with the Peanuts gang, and Charlie Brown has a box of jellybeans that are leaking. Yeah, it is a pretty weak premise, as Snoopy goes through worlds based on the Charlie Brown characters that probably could have been done a little better as far as style is concerned.

This is one of those games where you should collect everything, which includes 300 jellybeans per level along with 6 Beagle Scouts (Woodstocks). So, there is some flying action, but honestly, the platforming is the fun part. Also, Snoopy can have these forms that make the game pretty fun.

I’m going to recommend Snoopy’s Grand Adventure, as it is a fun game that is getting seriously slashed now.

Speculative Fiction Saturday: Ghostbusters 3, not the reboot, but the game

Today’s film that I am reviewing is one that you can watch in the YouTube video. It is a Ghostbusters film, but it isn’t the reboot. Just to let you know, I did review the 2016 reboot, and you can read that review here. By the way, I liked it, and don’t think it was worth the hate it received before it was released. It is not as good as a film as the 1984 Ghostbusters (like you didn’t figure that out).

Okay, so this is a time to talk about Ghostbusters in general. I think one of the reasons why we keep watching movies is that we want to see something new, but at the same see something that is familiar to them. I remember the summer that Ghostbusters was released, as it probably sold itself with its logo alone. Then we watched the film, and we thought that not only was it filled with great special effects and action, it was extremely funny.

Most people consider the original Ghostbusters to be one of the funniest films of all time, but I believe that none of us know why. Most of the dialogue feels like Bill Murray ad-libbed it, and the science-fiction setup was very new at the time as it mixed humor with horror, which was rare at the time.

Ghostbusters II, which came out five years later, was a success, but the issue is that the plot of it was pretty much identical to the first one. It was an interesting premise with the Ghostbusters out of work after saving the city and essentially killing their business, but that was about it.

There was always pressure to bring about a Ghostbusters 3, but it never really worked out. I can see why, but I have heard rumors of scripts, with one of them where Bill Murray’s character would actually play a ghost.

One would think that even before the reboot, there would have been a whole slough of Ghostbusters movies with the original cast. Perhaps the whole thing about Ghostbusters is maybe there is nothing more you can do with it. Both films were about ghosts appearing in New York City, then the discovery that all the ghosts are from one source. Then the Ghostbusters mount up for their big case and bring an end to the big bad.

It is pretty much the plot of Ghostbusters the reboot, and ever since the Ghostbusters came out, there has been very little deviation from this formula. The only exception to this was the Ghostbusters animated series, also known as The Real Ghostbusters, which I recommend watching if you are willing to forgive some of its dated material.

What is really interesting is that the Ghostbusters actually had a reunion around 2009. Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd, the original writers and two of the original busters, came up with a video game based on the quartet. What you see in the YouTube video is essentially the cutscenes and some of the action of this game.

Yes, this is a game, so you will see a lot of action in the three or so hours of this film. Since this is a game, you will see more action of people walking around than you would see in most movies. I remember playing this game on the Wii about five years ago, and I remember having fun.

The thing about the game is that you play a new recruit of the Ghostbusters, and instead of doing this game from a first-person point of view all the time, you see your character in the cutscenes. This main character has a habit of not speaking and looks pretty…ordinary, I guess.

The good part of this game is that it there is a very convoluted plotline, which is often the weakness of Ghostbusters. That, and the villains are pretty one-dimensional. In this case, the villain is Ivo Shandor, who was the architect of the “Spook Central” from the first film. It was a good idea to bring him in as a villain, and there are a lot of great action set-pieces to visit.

The problem with it is the beginning is more of the same. It starts with the group seeing Slimer at the Sedgewick Hotel as well as meeting Mr. Stay Puft. Then they go to the New York Public Library to meet that one ghosty librarian.

Anyway, if you thinking that you like Ghostbusters, and you want to see the final reunion of these actors before the passing of Ramis, check it out. However, I watched it all the way through and didn’t really laugh a lot.

Our Review of Dex: Enhanced

Dex 1It’s pretty obvious from this image what Dex is supposed to inspire. It is that genre of speculative fiction explored in works of William Gibson, where the future has been taken over by corporate conglomerates, and technology has gone wild, if not haywire. Dex, named after the main character in the game, is a really interesting mix of a game.

The game seems to be a side-scroller, and it feels a little more eighties than early nineties. However, that is just on the surface. While there is a lot of jumping and going to new locations, it isn’t on the vein of Mario.

In fact, once you get through the opening tutuorial, you will experience the game’s numerous RPG elements. The game requires you to take out some bad guys, and you can do it from the front or the back. The back is the easiest one that I found, when the game sets it up for you. Yeah, you can be a stealth killer and choke them from behind. When you have to face them ahead, it suddenly becomes a fighting game as you have to block punches as well as give them.

Taking care of enemies gives you experience points, and you can level up to increase skills. For example, you can become a skilled lock-picker by spending your experience points.

You are also able to get money in this game, often from the thugs that you pick up. Then there is also random junk like toilet paper that shows up. There are even things to increase your health and experience.

It is not often that you see a video game so full of so many elements, and this one has fighting, platforming, and RPG aspects all mixed together. There is even this augmented reality aspect that allows you to hack into things.

This is one of those games that you can pour a lot of time into, and that is a good thing. There is also more than one way to solve it, and multiple paths you can take.

I’m going to give this game a high recommendation, and there was only one thing I didn’t like about it: there is no autosave feature. You need to be saving as you go, otherwise you will find yourself at square one.

You should find Dex on the Steam Store for $19.99, and it can be purchased on Xbox and PS4 as well, and come to PlayStation Vita and Wii U too. More info about the game can be found here.

Our Review of Mech-Action Assault Suit Leynos

Assault Suit LeynosOkay, here’s an interesting game that I believe will be loved by those that love older games. In fact, Assault Suit Leynos is based on a legendary classic 16-bit series for the Sega Genesis known as Target Earth.

Assault Suit Leynos uses the science fiction convention of a mech. You know those giant robots that humans control on the inside? You can to actually be in one of them as it shambles along into combat.

Assault Suit Leynos is a game that feels like a stand-up arcade game, and it is as difficult as one. There is a little strategy so you can take the hits, and heal up. Oh, there is an interesting thing where you can choose your weapons, and then toggle through it for maximum damage. There are several times that I had to hit the “Continue” button before the 10 second countdown hit zero.

The thing about this game is that you can pick your weapons, and then go through some situation where you are on a planet shooting aliens. There is some backstory with the world being at war, then working it out, then colonizing, and then the aliens come and really screw things up. So, it is a Robotech: Macross situation, and I don’t care if you know what that is a reference to. The levels begin with a lot of Robotech-looking characters speaking in a different language.

Assault Suit Leynos is a very excellent game, and it is available now for the PlayStation 4 for $19.99. There will be a physical boxed edition for September, and a digital PC release too.

Penclic Mini Keyboard C2B

Penclic keyboardSo, I have had a chance to review another Penclic product, and this time, it is the Mini Keyboard C2B. I’ll start by saying that it is what you are expecting, a compact, soft touch, and portable keyboard.

This product has the tagline of “Your desk will thank you. Your fingers will too.” The desk is thankful because it takes up less space, clearly. So why are the fingers thankful? Well, this compact size allows the user a position to reduce repetitive strain injury.

The keyboard is also very quiet, as I am trying it out. Whenever I am reviewing a keyboard, I want to make certain that I type my report on it using the keyboard. Oddly enough, the keyboard is about 2/3 the size of the one on my laptop keyboard, but I have found it easy to adapt to. Penclic claims that this quieter clicking and easy-on-the-eyes look will create a more relaxed feel, but I don’t feel any more mellow, honestly.

This is a corded keyboard that you have to attach via USB, and there are two USB ports included for the one that you lose.

You can find out more information about the keyboard here on the Penclic site. There is no price listed there, but I found it on Amazon for $60.95.

Mobi Ultra Pulse DualScan is a doctor’s tool you can have

Mobi 3I’m going to say that I had to include two images of this product so you can see what it looks like. If I used the one below and to the right, you might think it is a Bluetooth headset. The fact is, this is the DualScan Ultra Pulse from Mobi, and like the headline says, it is a doctor’s tool that you can buy.

What does it do? A better question is: what doesn’t it do? I’ll start with taking your temperature. You know those stupid mercury thermometers that you used to stick under your mouth? That is something analog in a digital world.

The DualScan is able to take your temperature at the ear and the forehead. All you need to do is hold the “scan” button and you will hear a beep. Then, there is also a voice telling you what the temperature is in Celsius or Fahrenheit. Yes, it talks. Oh, it also can detect the heat of a room or object.

There is also a a place where you can put your thumb, and, after a beep, you can get your pulse. Yes, it is that versitle of a tool for giving exams in the doctors office and at home.

Mobi Ultra Pulse 2In fact, the thing kind of looks like something that Dr. McCoy, Dr. Crusher, Dr. Bashir, or that other Doctor guy on Star Trek: Voyager would use, doesn’t it? I can’t remember that doctor guy on the Enterprise series, but you get my drift, it is a tool from the future for us today.

Also, did I mention that this thing has a flashlight? Well, it does. All of this can be yours for just $39.95 on the Mobi Site.