Hey all, Podcast Rob here!
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I originally had an idea that I was going to discuss some of the public domain stuff that is going on right now (like the Pooh Bear horror movie) – but I’m going to save that for a bit. Instead, I would like to babble about the horrible nature of modern social media.
WHAT A FUN JOURNEY THAT WILL BE, HATTON!?
Yeah, I know – sorry.
So here’s a list of internet and social media trends that drive me cuckoo bananas:
CHANGING THE YEAR ON OLD CONTENT
Go into your google machine and type in, ‘Best Puzzle Games of 2022’ and you will get pages and pages of lists. I guarantee you that 90% of those lists will say they were written in the last two months and most of them won’t have any modern content in them.. some won’t have games from before 2020. That’s because internet content on surprisingly popular websites simply repost their own blogs every few months with updated dates. A few will change the headline to be less shameless, ‘Puzzle Games You Should Play In 2022’ or ‘Some of the Best Puzzle Games (2022)’ but the fact is they are garbage lists by garbage people and won’t help you with your search.
I brought this point up on Facebook and got a range of responses, so let me clarify… if you have knowledge on a topic and are reacting to it like ‘Opera Singer Comments on Heavy Metal Music’ or ‘CGI Experts Watch The Scorpion King’, that’s fine. You are adding something to the conversation. If you scroll through TikTok and see a post of a guy watching someone make ice cream….. and then… he goes ‘Wow’ or makes approving gestures, or the worst of it, is over-excited about someone at Coldstone folding fudge.. why? Why is watching people watch things interesting now? Why do I care about your facial expressions? (Spoiler: I don’t.)
PADDED “TROLL” VIDEOS
This is a bit of a niche, but there is a surprising amount of Facebook videos that have an interesting sounding premise ‘This woman opened a box and you won’t believe it…’ By and large, that title is clickbait incarnate, but hey, I can spend a minute while she opens a box… until she realizes there is twine that she needs to get scissors… that don’t work… so she pulls at the string… finally it snaps… under the first wrapping is more wrapping… with more string. At this point in time, you look and see that this video is 20 minutes long. You click to the end, see the ending sucked, and leave. Why does it exist? Is it just a troll? Nope. That “creator” (a loose term at best) just got ad revenue for you being sucked into that garbage.
– STAY TIL THE END
This is a newer trend. First, let’s address that it is mighty sad that your content is so bad on Tiktok that you need to tell people to ‘stay to the end’ because you are afraid you can’t hold their attention for 80 seconds. The second part of that is that you are probably right, your 80 seconds of content is garbage. It is rare a video that feels the need to tell you to stay gives you any actual reason why you should stay. This follows along with the reaction videos listed above, and sometimes are in the same video.
Imagine if you were watching the Godfather 2, and sometime in the middle of DeNiro squishing olives, a big banner flashed on the screen ‘STAY TIL THE END’…
I’ve been on the internet longer than most… which makes me feel old because it is a statistical truth. With the advent of short-attention-span videos/stories/reels/vines/tiktoks, I have finally reached the spot where I don’t get it. #OldManYellsAtCloud
Moving away from the “angry man shakes fist at clouds” types of rants I’ve been on lately, I’m here to talk about some racing games that I’ve truly loved!
Need for Speed Underground/Underground 2
Not only was the theme song to NFSU2 banger, but the game play and customization in both was amazing. NFS Heat seemed to try to bring some of that back, but no other racing game I’ve played has had that same kind of “Fast and Furious first movie drag race”. I’ve tried many other NFS games (and one will be mentioned again later), but Underground/Underground 2 is still cream of the crop for me.
Some might say this isn’t really a ‘racing’ game as much as a ‘driving’ game, but man was this game fun. Working your way through more and more difficult “stunts” while against the clock was frustrating at times.. especially when a stunt kept failing.. but when you finally hit all your marks and you got to see the finished result, it made it all worth while.
Forza Horizon 4
My first foray into Forza and I was hooked. The British scenery, the race types, the cars.. for a first time Forza player it was epic in scope and done to near perfection. Being a fan of Top Gear, some of the challenges were extra fun, and the movie based story challenged harkened back to the above mentioned “Stuntman”. All in all, an amazing game that I still play and enjoy, even more than the most recent incarnation.
The Need for Speed
Released in 1994, and later ported to MS-DOS in ’95, I first played this game on my friend’s Panasonic 3DO system. Do the graphics hold up? No. Was the game play fun and addictive? Absolutely, and it did it through some very interesting means… the game had a sometimes supportive, sometimes trash-talking FMV character that would either praise you or burn you depending on how well you did. “Yeah man.. top of the hill, buried the needle you OWNED that road!” was great.. but when you’ve had enough and can’t quite get the race beat… just as you’re about to put the controller down and he hits you with “That loud sucking sound you hear is all the cute girls leaving you for the guy with the really fast car…” always seemed to get you to play one more race. Without this one, there might very well have not been any others.
Now, it’s understood I get down with a little Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior, that I have a Chrono Cross tattoo and will go on a lengthy rant about how FF7 is overrated (important in the history of games, definitely – intelligible? Nassomuch…) But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today. You see, given that Rob and I are well-rounded nerds, we also have enjoyed ourselves some tabletop roleplaying in years gone by. Sadly, as the years progress, the years gone by keep getting by’er. That RPG itch has only grown as I see things like Critical Role get popular, validating that it IS possible to gather a handful of people together online or in meatspace. If they can do it.. why can’t I!?
Here are a few rpg’s that I really want to dig into and just haven’t gotten a chance to because we all live in hermetically sealed bubbles.
MUTANTS & MASTERMINDS
First off, I love superheroes. The idea of playing in a game where we are all super-human somethings in a world that hates and fears us or are the First Family or even a Government Sanctioned Team of criminals.. I don’t care, I’m in. Hand me d20s and let me look at the power generation table. Hell, I’ll role randomly and be THRILLED that I now have Plasma Flower Powers. If someone like Speedball can get his own book, I can make it work.
There are two World of Darknesses. The Old World, which is what most of us know and love with its political vampires and eco-warrior werewolves. The New World of Darkness never really stuck to me well, but one of the books that came out did… big time. Prometheus is the story of Frankenstein, or to put it more broadly – golems. Whether they are elemental beasts (like the traditional ‘made of earth’) or hewn together from parts by mad doctors, the idea is so neat that I hope one day to be rolling a handful of d10s on performance to sing ‘Puttin on the Ritz’
KIDS ON BIKES
One of the coolest trends in RPGs of the last decade is the ‘storytelling’ game, where it is less about a narrative a DM has put together and more about a world that the party duct tapes together with their characters. Fate, Monster of the Week, and Kids on Bikes are all examples of games that lean into this premise. Kids on Bikes is specifically about that nostalgic ET, SUPER 8, STRANGER THINGS vibe that immediately makes me want to build characters in a Speilbergian idealistic mid-80’s sleepy town.
If you haven’t heard of any RPG on this list… it’s this one. A few years ago Monte Cook games put out a Kickstarter for this black cube of a game. It comes with a tarot deck and a hand, and a thousand books, and pamphlets, and it is legit insane the amount of material in this thing. The fact is, not many people own it, and those of us that do, it is SO dense on material, it would be really hard to play it without at least two people knowing what the hell is going on. Seriously, look at this thing and tell me you are not equal parts intrigued and horrified at the learning curve.
Oh, and Monte Cook isn’t helping by selling the PDF version for $99….
What games are YOU looking for group?
Hey there Somethings!
Today’s (apparently) another installment of “Podcast Rob Shakes Fist At Cloud” as I lay out some video games I was hopeful about but just didn’t cut it for me!
Star Wars Squadrons
Flying Game? Check. Dogfighting Flying Game? Check. Fun? Ehhh…..
I never played any of the original “X-Wing vs TIE Fighter” games.. but I do enjoy me some Star Wars, and I was really hoping to like this. The dogfight maps feel oddly small, (I mean, I understand they’re trying to keep frantic action in a confined space) and… oddly confined…. like.. it’s SPACE why can’t I go fly.. you know.. .over THERE? Also the back and forth of the combat is intriguing and keeps one side from just steamrolling, but, it still feels like it’s amazingly clunky.
Dark Pictures Anthology : Little Hope
I. Loved. Man of Medan. I’m enjoying House of Ashes even more. Little Hope was… aptly named. In MoM and HoA, the choices made sense to me. In LH the choices felt.. mind-numbingly inane. The one that sticks out the most was breaking in to the police station… there’s LITERALLY bricks and 2x4s and pipes and crap laying around.. but this.. THIS is a good time for one of the characters to chide the other about “Hey.. I bet you can’t throw this rock through that window!” Just make it make sense….
Vampire the Masquerade : Bloodhunt
Ok, I’m not a fan of BR type games.. not my jam. I DO however love me some VtM and am eagerly awaiting Bloodlines 2. To that end, I said “Let me check it out.. it’s free.. right?” Overall, I like what they’re trying to do… different clans, different powers, how they effect the overall BR gameplay.. it’s a good concept. However, the player base is still relatively small, and because of that the number of hackers/cheaters is VERY disproportionate, and the game doesn’t seem to have a good way of perma-banning them. Much like Rocket League (which, surprisingly, didn’t make this list…) before I stopped playing I could only do one or two matches before my rising blood pressure made me tap out.
Any Poorly Ported Game
I like my driving/racing games. I’ve tried to play many of the older(ish) Need for Speed games either through Steam or GamePass and, I’ll be honest, when I have to THEN scour the internet for some sort of additional patch that I have to read up on how to install just so when I lightly tap the stick to go left my car won’t immediately go in to donuts because the port over of the game couldn’t handle/work with current controller drivers.. it’s a hard pass for me.
Legacy : A Star Wars Audio Drama returns this coming Tuesday! Catch up here before the new episode!
So to start us off – this whole discussion spawned off of our recent ‘Franchises That Should Have Stopped‘ episode. Apparently, I touched a livewire with some controversy that I had never stumbled upon. Surprising, given I love a bad movie and I love a weird story… the tale of Joe Dante and Gremlins 2 had passed me by.
I appreciate some of our listeners telling me how wrong I was about how Gremlins 2 being bad. They explain that it is, in fact, kind of brilliant if you understand what’s going on. I went and read the tweet thread on it (with a big shoutout to Professor Murder and Kess) as well as watched some interviews with Director Joe Dante, and fell into the rabbithole that is Gremlins 2.
The short version – Warner Brothers didn’t expect Gremlins to be a hit, but it was. They wanted a sequel, but Joe Dante, director of the first one, didn’t want to make it. They kept throwing money at him until he relented, and in turn, used the budget to make a commentary as to why Gremlins didn’t need a sequel. Dammit… that’s good. He went in with making a movie that embodies the absurdity of commercialism culture, sequels, lampoons Ted Turner and Trump, the bad reviews that Gremlins received, and the disregard of classic cinema. So, let me state, right here and now, that as an adult looking at the call and response of an artist making fools of the studio with their own money…
When lil’ me was 10 years old with my Gizmo toy and perfect impression of Stripe going ‘DEEAGLE DEAGLE DEAGLE’ who saw the original film at the drive-in, watched Gremlins 2 and read the novelization (which does not feature Hulk Hogan, but a cut-in by Brain Gremlin which may have been my first real exploration into meta-text) — I was confused. The movie I got felt so much closer to Critters or Killer Klowns than it did the perfect scary Christmas movie about a terrorized small town that was the original. As an adult, I don’t even know what I could have received that would have sated my Gremlins love. Ghostbusters 2 was good, but not great. Honey I Blew Up The Kids… meh.
What could G2 been that would have held any candle to the original?
I have to accept that maybe the correct answer is that the only movie that deserved to follow Gremlins, was the Gremlins 2 we got – and knowing the whole of the tale makes 40-something ol’ me appreciate its balls a lot more. Amusingly enough, I stand by that the original movie didn’t need a sequel, and the man who made that sequel apparently agreed with that idea so much… he made this particular sequel.
Hey Somethings, PCR here!
So, this week’s blog, I wanted to talk about some actors I’m… well.. just not fond of. I’m not talking “Oh, I didn’t like so-and-so in this role…” or “I thought they’re portrayal of blahblahblah was…” No, I’m talking about a level of “I couldn’t care less” that sometimes makes it difficult to watch things they’re in.
Anthony Mackie – Is he Captain America? Yes. Will I go see the new Cap movie in the theaters when it comes out? Most likely not. It’s convoluted.. it’s not because I don’t want him in the role.. as a comic book fan it 100% makes sense. It’s also a huge point of diversity which is also awesome…. I just don’t like him as an actor. It’s not that I find him “bad”, I just don’t find him compelling. I was able to make it through his previous MCU movies because his screen time was tempered by his castmate’s screen time. I was “meh” on Falcon and the Winter Soldier (mostly due to having to watch him more). His episode of Black Mirror was intriguing, but to me, still middling… and I couldn’t even finish the first episode of S2 of Altered Carbon when I saw him in it. He just doesn’t grab my attention.
Aaron Paul – Now, to be fair, I haven’t seen him in much that WASN’T Breaking Bad. Yes, the show was amazing, but any time Jesse was on the screen, I just sighed and sucked it up because I knew he HAD to be. El Camino? It was… how do I say… “boring”. I recently started binging Westworld (more on that in an upcoming episode). Seasons 1 and 2 were phenomenal… Season 3 had… issues.. and… Aaron Paul. As soon as I saw him on my screen I thought “Well fuck… he’s going to end up being integral and we’re going to see a lot of him aren’t we…” I wasn’t wrong. I haven’t started S4 yet, but, I’m hoping Caleb ends up getting the “Teddy” treatment before too long.
Joan Cusack – Ok look, I don’t have an answer for “Why?” on this one. I just can’t stand seeing her on my screen. I couldn’t watch the American version of Shameless thanks to her. I was mildly interested in A Series of Unfortunate Events until she showed up on my screen and I turned it off and never went back. I’ve only seen 2 movies she’s ever been in, and they were long enough ago that I don’t think I even knew who she was at the time. I’m sure she’s a great person, but she can be a great person and not be on my TV ever too.
What about YOU? Do YOU have someone who.. you just can’t stand to watch? Let us know!
Do you like Star Wars? Do you like Audio Dramas? Well how about a Star Wars Audio Drama?!
There’s a podcast I really enjoy, and if we’ve ever talked podcasts with guests, I’ve almost always mentioned it. It’s called Film Reroll and the premise is pretty simple. Take a bunch of actors playing GURPs, but have them play out movies. The DM builds character sheets and plots based on the film, and sometimes if the dice go well, the heroes play a game that is similar to the movie. If the dice fly off the handle, the heroes may not get beyond the first action sequence. (One particular movie of note has this amazing ..but we didn’t even get to the movie.. moment) The final variation is the one where the players and plot go in wildly different directions from where the movie went or includes rules that allow for other plots and characters.
It’s fun. Tons of fun. It makes me want to play games in movie worlds. It makes me want to build an entire Planescape Cineplex Quantum Leap game where the characters won’t know what movie they’re in until .. well, until they know.
So I thought I’d give a little list here of some of the movies I have pondered building a roleplaying scenario around. Every single one of these movies has crossed my mind on being interesting enough to make a good ‘Reroll’ and I yearn for the day I get a chance to try them out.
Tremors – This has been the one flick I always go back to. Aside from the fact it is a favorite horror franchise of mine, it is such a great gaming scenario with a cool selection of characters with diverse skills. What’s the goal? To get away? To kill the Graboids? To warn the government? Hell, I could imagine a game where the dice went sideways where the real goal is simply to figure out what the hell is killing people! What happens when your party decide to go traversing in the tunnels or try and discover where these things came from!? It’s my gold standard for what a cool Reroll game could be.
Nightmare on Elm Street – The first thing that’s great about the Nightmare franchise is that you have a whole big bucket of characters to work with. Sure, you could play Nancy and Glen… but what if your group were playing as the parents? If I was to run this movie, my players would all be the kids, but the first session would be them as their parents confronting the real human of Kreuger. We know that because they burned him in the boiler room he is what he is… what if they drowned him? What if they poisoned him? What would the Nightmare Creature be in a world where the parents decided his fate differently?
Reservoir Dogs – One thing to note in Rerolls is that sometimes you have to change the rules so you can fight meta knowledge. It’s real easy to know who the snitch is if you started playing Dogs… so what if the players didn’t know? One of you is a psychopath… but which one? Every player starts the game with a quirk and a private win condition, so when the game starts you don’t know who anyone is and the game is all the better for it.
Die Hard – Lastly, what if you turned an entire movie on its head. Instead of you playing as John McClane, what if it was the reverse of Tremors, where you are a group of bank robbers trying to pull the best job, but this one superhuman cop is just in your way? Or, to play in an entirely different game, you were the hostages and this war is going on between good guys and bad guys all around you? Or, to give you one last bit to chomp on, one player is the hostages, one player is the cops, and one player is the media. Can you find ways to work together or is it just a bloodbath?
What movies do you love that you think would make a great roleplaying campaign? Let us know in all the usual places!
I know we don’t talk a whole lot about sports on our show, but I’ve been thinking about some blog topics lately, and today, I’m listing off the Most Memorable Sports Moments that, in some way, I was witness to.
Super Bowl XLIII
I’ve been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan all my life, and this game ranks up there as one of their most memorable. Second quarter, Steelers leading 10-7 and on defense up against their own goal line, Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner fires off a shot to receiver Anquan Boldin with 18 seconds left. Steelers Linebacker James Harrison had faked a blitz and fallen back in coverage, intercepting the ball a yard into the endzone and begins to run it out.
What started as a fortuitous interception became the (at the time) longest return for a Touchdown in NFL history as the 6 foot tall, 245 lb Harrison ran the distance along the sidelines, his teammates blocking the whole way, to score a touchdown and put the Steelers up 17-7 at the half.
Tony Hawk hits the 900
The time? 1999. The place? X Games V. The TV coverage should have ended, but no one was going to deny Tony today. Standing at the top of the half-pipe, other skates banging their trucks against the coping in time with the crowd cheering him on, Tony dropped in. Attempt after attempt he failed, twice landing on his board only to have it slip out from under him. One of the announcers can be heard saying “We know time is over, but we make up the rules as we go along.. let’s give him another try”. It took him 10 failed attempts, but on the 11th he landed it, and I have to say, I don’t think I’ve heard a louder crowd pop when he did. Watching the video still gives me chills.
The Intimidator at Daytona
Yes, this last one is a tragedy, but because of it an entire sport made amazing changes to do an even better job of protecting their drivers.
Daytona 500, Daytona Florida, 2001. February 18th.
Daytona, like Talladega, is a restrictor plate track for NASCAR, designed to limit the top speed of cars on these super fast tracks. in 2001, they instituted some new aerodynamic packages designed to keep cars bunched up and closer together, therefore allowing for more drafting and more exciting racing.
Headed in to Turn 4, final turn of the final lap… Dale Earnhardt Sr. was in 3rd behind Michael Waltrip and Dale’s son, Dale Jr. Contact with Sterling Marlin sent Sr’s car up the track and in front of Ken Scrhader who collided with Earnhardt as both cars sailed up the banked turn of Daytona. Dale slammed head on into the outside retaining wall at about 160 miles an hour before both cars slowly rolled back down the track to the infield grass. Waltrip would win the race with Jr. second as infield safety crew raced across the grass to Dale’s car. Dale was quickly taken to Halifax Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Less that 2 hours later, NASCAR President Mike Helton had to make the most devastating announcement he’d ever have to make.
Ok, yeah – Rob got to do his thank you letter to celebrate, so I’m doing one too.. sorta..
Quite a few of you came to the Somethingcast from my time over at Inside Pulse, with another podcast I did, or perhaps didn’t do, depending on if they deleted the evidence like I requested…
After doing professional wrestling news and shenanigans for a bunch of years, like a lot of us have, I got sick of it. When you are reading wrestling and comic book news day in and day out, you really stop enjoying it at all. What’s exciting when I know precisely who is showing up in the Impact Zone? Where’s the fun in being aware of the direction the entire company is going towards for Wrestlemania next year? It just drags you down, so for that and a few other reasons I only talk about when I’m drunk, after doing it for less years than I’ve done this show, I bid adieu to the fine world of cutting edge wrestling and comic reporting.
It took two years before I got it stuck in my craw that I wanted to talk into a microphone again. The idea hadn’t been bobbing in my brain for long at all when I went to a local watering hole and I bumped into a guy I hadn’t seen in – no bullshit – fifteen? twenty? years. We had a drink, shot the shit, and I invited him to Wild Pig Comics to play some games and spent the time in between deciding if I wanted to get back into podcasting. (spoiler… i did)
The rest is the last nine years of goofing on Lost, Sleuuuuuuththths, the Mysteries of the Universe, and throwing anything at the wall to see if it’ll make us laugh.
That said, I’ve had the occasional person ask me to guest on their show or I’ve hosted a burlesque show with a co-host, and not a single one of them holds a candle to the chemistry Rob and I have. We joke about it, and it is true, that he and I have entirely different ethos about getting shit done and what should work and what doesn’t. He throws an idea and I shoot it down because of some off the wall complexity. I throw an idea and I can tell immediately in his voice he has no interest in it.. and, let’s be clear, the times I get my way, he’s usually right. (Why you people don’t want to watch the last episode of Small Wonder is utterly beyond me…) Somewhere in the middle though, there is this vein of gold that we don’t always hit, but sometimes you walk away from an episode going ‘Dammit, that was a good time…’
Anyway, Rob went out of his way to thank all of you – and I obviously do too, but it’s rare I talk about my side of how we got to where we are and thank Rob for making it as good as it is.
So thanks to all of you, and thank you Rob.
Happy Birthday Somethingcast!
Ok, here we go and go and go and go and go and go and go and go and go! (That’s 9, you don’t need to count)