Tag: Blog

[BLOG] Hatton’s Little Something On Entertainment Undertow…

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♫ Superstardom overload
I need to get back on the road
Tune it all out and turn it up too loud
Do people still wave lighters in the crowd? ♫
                         – Dada: Information Undertow

I have to assume that it’s because of the pandemic.. the long hours spent in front of my computer or, at the very least, at home – where I no longer was driving 30 minutes to and fro my job, that I’ve found myself burnt out on entertainment. It’s surprising, but not shocking, if that makes sense. Between being furloughed and then working from home, I had a literal 8+ hours more of my life  that I had to find to dedicate to something. It took a few months to stop beating myself up over the fact I wasn’t creating art in some capacity… I beat a few video games… hell, even wrote a list about it. But now that we are sort of coming out the other side of things, painfully slowly, and yet I still get the chance to work from home – I find that I am less and less interested in diving in to nonstop television.

There was a great time where we had Mando and Lovecraft and Bucky and Watchmen and Wanda and… it was a buffet of high-budget entertainment that was literally catered to nerdy ol’ me – but other than my wife saying ‘hey, let’s watch a movie together’ or a few ‘I must see this’ bits, I find my desire to load up anything other than a podcast or some music to be dwindling.  Recently, in video gaming, I started to notice the same ADHD tendency my movie viewing habits had taken on… HEY NEW THING.. HEY NEW THING.. sale HEY 4 NEW THINGS.. and I’m curbing that and doing my best to not play 6 games at once, but one.. maybe two. Hell, I’ve read more books since January than I did in 2021.

My point is simply that I have been eating a lot of candy for the last three years, figuratively speaking (ok, fine, and literally) and my brain started begging for different kinds of sustenance. Eventually, I’ll get to Boba Fett.. and yeah, I’m still all about the new season of Westworld when it comes out, but I have no interest in binging Obi-Wan… I think I’d rather finish that Grady Hendrix book…

What about all of you – have you had a burnout experience during all of this?  Let us know in all the usual places.  Til then, I’m Hatton.

[BLOG] Hatton Wants A Wrestling Game…

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The announcements of WWE’s new video game are out, and I laugh and laugh every single time because at the end of the day: nothing changes. To be fair, if there is a WWE game that ever deserved an eyeball, it will be this year, but I don’t expect a lot. Why this year? Because the last WWE game was a trainwreck beyond trainwreck that damn near destroyed the studio that was building it.

It was not only a dramatically similar game to the year prior, it was a buggy mess.. and when it comes to games, like most sport-oriented games, where year to year they just slap a new coat of paint and update the year, it was shockingly funny – especially when they ask a top dollar price for these games and offer at least 6 months worth of DLC.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d talk about a few features I would love in a wrestling game.

GM MODE
But Hatton, tons of wrestling games have had this – and they do, but never the way I want.. and I think that’s because wrestling sits in this strange ‘liminal’ sport. It isn’t a REAL sport, so it isn’t as simple as putting two teams against each other, but in a video game it isn’t entirely SCRIPTED. That means that you have this mix of an action game and The Sims, where your results are based on vague numbers like ‘Audience’ and ‘Rating’.

I want a much more story driven GM mode. Literally, the fictional GM in a fed where putting good wrestlers into nonstop bad matches gets them mad at me or creating shows of 5-star classics gets me a raise. Where I can slowly make bad wrestlers into main eventers, and I can make people thrilled with Hogan is defeated by Barry Horowitz.

HEEL / FACE MODE
There is one game that does this – and if you’ve talked to me about wrestling games, I’ve probably apologized for loving it.. and that’s Rumble Roses. Do heel stuff, you go bad guy. You save good guys, you become a good guy. Yes, in Rumble Roses, the good guy is a sexy librarian and the bad guy version is a dominatrix librarian… but the idea is still badass.

NO MERCY’S STORY – BUT A BETTER GAME
Bring on your hate. No Mercy for the N64 isn’t a good game… want proof? How did you beat the APA in a NO DQ Handicapped match? I’ll tell you how – you stood outside and threw stairs at them until one of them was knocked out because it was impossible to win by wrestling them.

No Mercy, though, has one of the greatest storylines in wrestling gamery.. the story has branches, and tells you where the branches are. If you win this match you’ll go discover THIS plot – if you lose, THIS plot. If you knock out the ref, DIFFERENT plot. It was so unique and such a great way to show the avenues wrestling can go in, I am shocked nobody has tried it since.

In the end, I just want a wrestling game that feels engaging to me, a guy who likes playing video games alone. I don’t care about online play, and I don’t want a stat-grinder.. I have Disgaea for that. I want what wrestling really is – and that’s interesting stories – albeit, interesting stories told by men in shiny underpants.

Send all your scathing disagreement about No Mercy to @RevVoice and @STSTCast, and we’ll see you next time!
Hatton

[BLOG] Are Lovecraft’s stories too (love)crafty for movies?

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Yes, it’s a terrible joke….

…but not as terrible as seeing between the veil and dealing with The Old Ones and the Elder Gods and non-euclidian geometry….

I love me some Lovecraft.  Yes, Howard Philip was an amazingly troubled individual whose views on politics, class, and race were questionable, but this blog isn’t here to dissect the man.. more the medium of his works.

I recently watched “Color Out Of Space” and… two things struck me…

1) Nicholas Cage will say “yes” to anything.

2) Lovecraftian movies just… aren’t that great.

The closest thing I’ve seen to a TRUE “Lovecraftian Movie” was “In the Mouth of Madness”.  It conveyed not only the weird waking-dream-slash-blurring-the-line-of-perceived-reality-and-what-really-the-fuck-might-be-going-on but the slowly seeping in horror/madness of many of Lovecraft’s works.

Unfortunately, movies like “From Beyond”, “Dagon”, and “The Void” are the usual offerings which either feel like they’re dancing around the edges of the story, or diving in with such gusto that a 5 page short story is turned into a 2 hour movie adding so much more than the original story did, that it’s just as ‘different’ but from the other side of the coin.

I think the problem with many Lovecraft translations stems from the fact that, through writings and notes… Lovecraft himself stated he wasn’t very good at writing action sequences.. so he largely avoided them… which.. makes for slow-paced movies.  Also, his descriptions were either fringe and minimal to let your imagination fill in the blanks (which oft-times can be far more horrifying) , or such a psychedelic fever-dream of description that it’s not something that translates well to film.

I know Alan Moore often complained that he wished people would stop making movies out of his works as they were intended to best be told correctly on in the medium he presented them in (I think he’s wrong…), but from what we’ve seen in movie adaptations from the works of H.P. Lovecraft…  Moore might be right.  Just.. not about his own works.

– PCR

[BLOG] Hatton on games that deserve relaunches…

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Well dip me in chocolate and gift me on Valentine’s – one of the games that I love that nobody really mentions, Chrono Cross, is getting the Square Enix video game remake treatment. I’m elated, although that is tempered by the fact that Squeenix are notorious for giving “important” games a notable spit and polish, while only giving games like Chrono Cross – games that didn’t move the needle – a visual upgrade, but then never go back to fix the new bugs or UI issues they’ve created.

With that in mind, I thought I’d drop three more games here that I would be ecstatic over if they got an out of nowhere remake – games that I’ve sunk a dumb amount of time into that have been lost to shruggable sales figures so not as many people are willing to part with their nostalgi-bucks.

ADVENTURES OF LOLO
I’ve mentioned this game at least once before, it was a single screen puzzler where you were a little blue ball trying to collect hearts. It was 100% a game for puzzle nerds, but it was, at times, gruesomely hard. You could call it simply a revved up sokoban-style game, and it is, but there were so many wonderful additions, power-ups, monsters, and evil mechanics in that game, I’d be on line day one to get a copy of something new.

KLAX
If you know this game – you already are hearing the sound of small colorful bricks slapping against each other. Klax looks like you took Guitar Hero and made it makeout with Tetris. A match three game with colorful bricks clacking down a chute.. I don’t know why I played this every time I found it at an arcade.. I don’t know what weird itch it scratches in my brain – but Tetris Unleased shows you can take something simple and give it a fresh coat and have it be amazing. Klax deserves that very treatment.

TRON
I hear you, if you are a nerd of a certain vintage, ‘Do you mean Deadly Discs or Light Cycles’ and the answer is – yes, obviously. We live in an era of VR – of big arena games – of Battle Royale games – we live in an era where a series of Tron games, whether alone or in a Fall Guys style ‘the last 10 people don’t make the next round’ would be astounding. All I’ve asked for in this world since I was 8 was a good modern light cycles game. (There have been attempts, none have been given the Hatton seal of approval) — but why not Deadly Discs? Why not firing your disc against a spinning MCP? Why not flying a Recognizer over the Grid to escape? WHY – NOT!? ANSWER ME!?!??!

…sorry. What are some games that you think deserve some re-thinking? You know where to let us know!
– Hatton

[BLOG] Movies that cost you IQ points

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Hey guys, Rob here….

The title basically says it all.  These are movies that.. in some way… enticed us into watching them, either by clever trailers, word of mouth, or sheer morbid curiosity… only to leave us far stupider than when we went in.

This list is FAR from all inclusive, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on YOUR entries to this list…

Let’s get to it!

Sausage Party

I mean, they let us know who and what this movie was right in the trailer right?  Anthropomorphic food trying to find the meaning of their existence, all the while filling the screen with a level of perverseness that would make the cast of Porky’s blush.  And yet…  even knowing what we were getting ourselves into..  this movie left us feeling mentally regressed.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Let’s take a beloved horror movie franchise, reboot it, and suck every last ounce of what made it great out of it!  A lot of people thought Jackie Earle Haley would make a great Freddy Krueger (myself included) but this horrible vision made me feel as if I lost 1/3 of my brain cells.

Any Adam Sandler Movie

Ok, I take that back.  Waterboy was fun as hell, and The Longest Yard, while a husk of the original, had enough cameos to make it fun to watch.  Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer can be exempt as well…but those were in “The Before Times”  Anything even REMOTELY recent?  Nah fam.  I mean.. good on him for being able to play exactly ONE type of character and building an entire career on it, but Ernest did it first.

Malignant

Ok, I came to this bandwagon late, and had ignored any and all hype about it.  That being said… JESUS this movie is not at all good.  From the forced attempt to make an ‘iconic’ weapon, to the hilariously horrible CGI of Maddy’s face in the fight in the police station, this entire movie is a spot-fest of “What the fuck am I watching… and why am I still watching it?”

What movies made YOU dumber?  Let us know!

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@STSTCast on Twitter

– PCR

[BLOG] A Little Something Extra About Hatton’s Sexy Candy…

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We do our best to not get political – we have our opinions, but it is totally not what the Somethingcast is about… so if we take away any perceived anthropomorphic attraction anyone has to the Green M&M, and we disregard any fanfiction that may have been written about her, Erin the E-Surance Girl (Remember her? If not.. don’t google her), and the Michellen Man in a menage tire. What we’re left with is a time-honored question of what really is the best candy out there?  So, because it’s kinda what we do, I compiled a list of mine, and my dentist’s favorites…

Reese’s Sticks – It’s sad that these seem to be falling out of favor, as I’ve seen them less and less. Soon they won’t be at your regular old convenient store and you’ll have to go to the weird convenient store with the brown paper top shelf magazines. Anyway, they are just Reese’s versions of Nutty Buddies, with a notable layer of peanut butter… and given that 20% of my bodyfat is made of peanut butter, I’ll pick these over the highly inferior (but also delicious) Cups any day.

Sour Patch Kids – There was a time where I ate so many sour patch kids, my tongue felt like it stopped working for a day. Ever eat so many sour candies that you get a tongue pimple? Or you fray the sides of your cheek?  Ever eat so many Sour Patch Kids you can’t eat them for a year because it reminds you of how sick you made yourself on them the last time, but still.. you kinda want to get the bag anyway? I would hope, by now in this list, you realize that I may have a bit of a candy problem.

Hi-Chews – Ok, I don’t know where these things came from. Apparently, they’ve only been around for a comparatively small amount of time – but they took the 80’s candy Bonkers, which were like Starbursts, but suuuper chewy, they mixed them with weird Japanese candies so you can have flavors like ‘Lychee’ and ‘Red Mango Pomegranate Tea’ and they just made them miserably delicious.  Out of every candy on this list, this is the only one I will say no to, as you can taste the damn things ripping out your fillings… and you just don’t care.

Now, most of this list is not in order, but my number one favorite candy in the world is almost part of my identity at this point.. friends of mine will buy me a bag of these on my birthday or tell me if they tried a new one…

Trolli Sour Peach Rings – Candy Frenzy AUTrolli Peach Rings – I don’t know what it is. I’m super picky about Gummies, because I think most of them taste way too too sweet or they’ve used some amount of sucralose so they have that fake nasty taste… but the Trolli brand Peach rings, the ones that are half yellow and half peach, that are just a hint of sour, but melt immediately into sweet. Color me green and call me Kermit, these things have caused me nausea by how many I’ve eaten in years gone by. It’s a sickness. They’re masterpieces of deliciousness.  When I see some other company has a peachring candy, oh, I’ll try it… but none can top these.

So, what are your favorite sexy candies?  You know where to tell us

[BLOG] Microsoft, Activision and Blizzard… OH MY!

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Hey all, PCR here.

A great disturbance was felt through The Force recently when Microsoft announced they were buying Activision/Blizzard in an all cash deal.  As a (former) long time World of Warcraft and Hearthstone player, I have a bit of a soft spot for Blizzard…  I met many amazing friends, some of which have become “in person” amazing friends I’ve had for years… and, (as one of those friends said recently) “I don’t regret one minute of the time I played.. but I also don’t regret the day I walked away”.

I have far less history with Microsoft (gaming).  I don’t have GamePass, and as far as consoles go, I had an OG XBox and a Series S (both of which I sold).

That said, this merger COULD be good for gaming, it could also be bad.

Here’s my thoughts…

Pros : With chip shortages still making consoles amazingly hard to find, this is going to get a LOT more games into a LOT more hands quicker.

: The offerings on GamePass are about to get a LOT more interesting and varied.

: Microsoft could do a lot to mitigate thoughts they’re becoming (more) of the “all-controlling, evil empire” by cleaning house at Activision and removing the personnel and other elements that plagued the company over the recent years

Cons : There’s ZERO guarantee Microsoft will clean house from problematic elements of Activision, which could/would be seen as rewarding that kind of behavior/environment as long as bottom line numbers are met.

: Could create a far bigger ‘Exclusively on…’ rift in the gaming industry.

: WIll Microsoft having that kind of control in the gaming industry stifle developers?

There’s a LOT that’s unknown, and I am far from having professional insight in the gaming community, but it will be interesting to see how this affects the overall landscape of gaming/cloud gaming.

What do YOU think?

[BLOG] A Little Something Extra, Hatton Returns to Nostalgia…

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Happy New Year everyone!  It’s my first blog of the year, and given the entertainment I’ve absorbed the last couple of weeks, I thought I’d revisit the topic of nostalgia.

In the last week, I got a chance to see Ghostbusters: Afterlife as well as the most recent season of Cobra Kai and they are interestingly connected in that they both were born into the world in 1984 and here we are, over 35 years later, revisiting that well of ideas and pulling on the heartstrings of those that grew up on them. Yes, there have been tons of revisits to shows and movies over the years ranging from the campy (The Brady Bunch films) to the not good (Car 54, Where Are You) and a thousand of good and bad ideas in between.

Ghostbusters and Cobra have knocked out that formula we have gotten used to, but do so in two very different ways – both successful – but, I won’t lie.. I think one of them does it much better.

So here’s my reveal – I enjoyed Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and I sat there engaged with it in the way people my age were meant to. Giggling at the sly retelling of jokes, reminded of the scenes from the original that I loved, tearing up at seeing artifacts of the past… but tears aside, I don’t know if I will watch it again any time soon. Maybe it was simply because it only had 2 hours to fit so much in, but it felt like it didn’t have its own voice as much as it let the voice of the past dictate its journey. It had a list of things to check off, and each time it did it, it was fun, a giggle, a reminder, a wistful past-oriented sigh of memory, and we’re on to the next one on the list. It’s written well, but it feels like it would need another movie for me to even begin to understand who these characters actually are.

On the other side of things, we have Cobra Kai. To be fair, it gets a lot longer of a runtime to play its nostalgia card since it has finished up its 4th Season, but it does something so dramatically different that sets it aside in the realm of ‘member the 80s? ..we do‘ and that is that it takes your expectations and changes them. A villain is brought back from the past in Terry Silver, and it explores precisely why he was such a madman in Karate Kid 3. We get a moment that feels almost exactly like the ending of the 3rd film, and your emotions are built to recognize what’s coming… and then it doesn’t – in dramatic fashion.  Every inch of retread ground it walks, it is because these characters have their own agency and they are retreading steps of the past, but not making the same decisions.

Ghostbusters relies on its source for its skeleton, Cobra Kai is building a new skeleton that just happens to look similar… if that makes sense. I loved both, but I really think one shows a much greater care towards the universe that came before it.

What did you think? You know where to tell us… @STSTCast and @RevVoice, and we’ll see you next week.

[BLOG] PCR’s End of Year Faves!

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Hey Somethings!

The holidays have come and gone, James and I are rested up, and it’s time to get back to it!

This week’s blog touches a bit on some of my most enjoyable things from the end of 2021!

For starters, I got a new job.  Pay’s MUCH more than my previous job.  Feels like it’s even less stressful so… bonus all around!

I also did a fair amount of gaming towards the end of the year.  Forza Horizon 5 dropped and, while the launch was buggy, I still immensely enjoy the game and play it daily.  The big ‘sleeper hit’ for me was Inscryption.  Is it a deck building card/video game? Yes.  Is it SOOO much more than that? Yeeesssssssssssssss.  Can I say more without spoiling a lot of things for those who haven’t played?  Nooooooo.  What I CAN say, if you’ve listened to us, and you enjoy our style.. you get a good sense of the type of people we are and the things we enjoy.  If THAT entertains you, check out Inscryption… you won’t be disappointed.

For Christmas I set myself up with HBO Max and started going through a BUNCH of stuff I never got to see in theaters.  While “Matrix Resurrections” is the big one, I won’t discuss that here as we have an episode coming out about it in the very near future.  Besides Matrix, I also powered through “Godzilla vs Kong”, “Mortal Kombat”, “The Suicide Squad” and “Suicide Squad”.  All of them.. solidly “meh” to be honest, with the exception of “The Suicide Squad” (the most recent one).  Cena’s deadpan delivery as Peacemaker and Dastmalchian’s Polka Dot Man definitely elevated it above “meh” into ‘enjoyable’.

For TV?  End of 2021 brought us Hawkeye (which I loved, ranks 2nd tied with “WandaVision” for me in MCU D+ TV) and The Book of Boba Fett.  At the time of writing this, only the first episode has dropped so far but damn was it good and I loved how they connected it in to the greater Star Wars story and history.

We’ve got a bunch of new episodes lined up and we’re back to blogs every Friday.. stick with us!  2022 is going to be great!

– PCR

[BLOG] Hatton’s Best of Everything 2021

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Happy Holidays friends – as this is our last week of new material.. with one secret exception you will only know about if you are subscribed, I thought I should go back and look at some of my favorite things of the year.  Living in a bubble, I absorb a lot of garbage. Television. Books. Games. Comics. Alcohol… it really is a cavalcade of ignoring the outside world in this brain of mine. So, why not take a few minutes and look at the last year and talk about some of the things I’ve really enjoyed.

Books – Sadly, this year was not a big reading year for me. I wish I’d gotten through more books and as I’m currently reading, albeit slowly, Grady Hendrix’s Final Girl Support Group (and if you’ve never read Hendrix, he’s a horror treat) I am at least doing my best to keep books in my life.  So what was my favorite this year? That was a title that felt like it was from ten or twenty years ago with kids going to a magical school where magical things happen.  It doesn’t hold a candle to my favorite of the genre (and top favorite books of all time) in Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, but Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education, which the sequel just released recently, was so much fun.

The school is deadly and alive. Magic attracts all sorts of beasties. The politicks of the students is in every conversation.. it is all very interestingly political, and where the main character could easily turn into an ‘all too powerful Mary Sue’ type – she’s so enjoyably grumpy, I kinda don’t mind.


Shows – The family finished the many seasons of our dinner time Parks & Rec – which was my second time around, and that show… dammit, I miss it. Maybe even more than I miss The Good Place.. but my favorite show of the year comes from an entirely different side of things. I know we had some amazong Mando action and WandaVision was a real front runner to be my favorite, just because of its amazing meta-ness — my favorite is going to Netflix’s Midnight Mass.

I know some people don’t enjoy the genre of gothic horror that Mike Flanagan has brought to the Netflix table with Hill House and Bly Manor – but I really enjoyed them.  That said, Midnight Mass is going to be a hard show to top. Every actor is acting their ass off. Every little flinch or nod means something. It’s a masterclass in telling a tight story with a satisfying finish.


Games – My year of video games has been one of massive amounts of Executive Dysfunction.  In my giant Steam game list.. I go and play a handful of garbage roguelikes and roguelites – decide to play something meaty – get distacted – forget what I was playing – go back to roguelites… so yeah, there’s a lot of time spent in fun popcorn like SNKRXCurse of the Dead Gods, and SKUL.. there’s also an inordinate amount of time spent playing Dead By Daylight with Rob & friends.  So what game can I put at the top? 

First, an honorable mention has to go to Inscryption which, I won’t lie, will probably take the #1 spot by the time the ball drops for 2022… it is just fantastic in every way – and after Rob had played an hour of it, bought it for me because he knew I would fall in love with it.. and it really is a VERY particular James-sized-itch it scratches. That said, my top spot for the year is going to go to Enderall: Forgotten Stories – which, if you haven’t seen.. is free, and worth it. It’s a complete repaint of Skyrim. A new world. New voices. New quests. New magic. Harder, but not brutal… it made me fall in love with Skyrim again, and it’s kinda not even Skyrim.


Movies – I feel like this is ‘the big one’ but, honestly, this wasn’t as much of a year for big movies as it was big television.  I could do a list of just my favorite shows and list them off easily… when it comes to movies, I have watched so many ‘webcam party’ horror movies and nose-stuffed-up-their-butt art-horror this year that I really am frustrated with most of the genre. I also, as if there is any surprise, watch a lot of garbage movies with the full knowledge that they’re going to be bad… but dammit I love seeing actors clip through green screen monsters.

So, what was the best of the best?  Based on my ratings at Letterboxd, there are only three movies I gave above a 4.. and only one got a 5. The three movies that sit in the 4-star area are Malignant, which I know is a divisive opinion, but James Wan speaks my horror language – Coherence, which.. honestly, is the most interesting budget science fiction movie I’ve seen in years – and Spontaneous, which has flown under everyone’s radar and I legitimately think it could be this generation’s Heathers.

That leaves my one 5 star… the one movie I saw that made me tear up with how beautiful and beautiful sounding it was.  It’s a cliche from a living cartoon like me, but it is Pixar’s Soul. I don’t speak in Jazz.  I have an ear for music, but I don’t have an ear for any genre of music that includes ‘single-serving noodling’ … but Soul .. man, it was just synesthesia come to life.

 

So what were your favorite things? You know where to find us and let us know – and if we don’t talk, we hope that you and yours have a wonderful rest of 2021 and thank you for being here and letting us hijack your brain.