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Latest Blog Posts

by George de Stefano

10 Nov 2016

Composed and arranged by Simon Hanes, and performed by him and his 15-piece orchestra, Tredici Bacci, Amore per Tutti is a soundtrack for an Italian movie that was never made. The 11-track album is Hanes’ homage to the film scores of the ‘60s and ‘70s, an era when composers like Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota, Bruno Nicolai, Luis Bacalov, Armando Trovajoli and many other lesser-known figures created vivid soundscapes for genre films—gialli (gory thriller and horror flicks), polizieschi (police procedurals), and the western all’italiana (better known as spaghetti westerns).  Their work often was eclectic, mixing and matching, sometimes in a single soundtrack, jazz, free jazz, bossa nova, rock, electronic music, and mariachi.

by Kym Buchanan

10 Nov 2016

Losing XP for dying is wrong. Game design is often a matter of style and taste. However, this is one area where I see a categorical error, as a gamer and as a psychologist. To share my thinking, I’ll unpack dying in games, describe a human capacity called resilience, and describe the problem with losing experience points (XP).

Dying in games is weird. On the one hand, in many games the death of non-player characters (NPCs) is a near-constant event, including both enemies and computer-controlled allies. This is especially true in hack-n-slash and shooter games that feature the wholesale slaughter of NPCs, such as Diablo 3, Castle Crashers, or Serious Sam. On the other hand, in many games the player-character rarely or never dies. Player-characters are often distinguished in a game world by their extraordinary abilities, including their ability to take damage and rebound from it. Even when my player character does die, I can usually resurrect on the spot or nearby, resurrect back at a recent checkpoint, or reload a recent save. Resurrection or reloading may happen so seamlessly that we could be forgiven for thinking of dying in games as something different than dying in real life.

by Jessy Krupa

8 Nov 2016

This week’s episode of Supernatural is the last one to air before Election Day, and as random as that may seem, it might be easy to see some political symbolism in the plot. The major point of “American Nightmare”, not to mention season twelve in general (so far), however, seems to be dedicated to exploring the concept of family.

At the beginning of the episode, Dean (Jensen Ackles) texts Mary (Samantha Smith), asking if she was okay and whether or not he should still call her “Mom”. He gets an answer at the end of the episode, when she writes that she hadn’t seen her messages because she needed to buy a cell phone charger and, most importantly, that she’ll always be both his and Sam’s mother. Isn’t it a little odd, though, that she didn’t actually call, just because, in typical mom fashion, she could then hear their voices? It seems a little suspicious to me, considering that there are British Men of Letters bent on kidnapping and torture, and possibly Lucifer himself, still on the loose?

by Mantas Krisciunas

8 Nov 2016

Shit is basically flying off the hook. It’s like shit wants nothing to do with that hook. The hook filed for divorce from that shit and is now seeking custody of the hook and the shit’s two kids.”
—Andrew Hussie’s Homestuck

If you found the above quote hilarious, I recommend putting your life on hold for the next couple of weeks and heading here. The caffeine-fuelled trance you’ll go through before you’re done with the 8,000-plus pages of Homestuck will be completely worth it. Be warned though, your friendships forged before you become a “homestuck” might not withstand the barrage of references to and praises for the comic that you’ll be compelled to unleash. Such will be the case until those who know you either relent and assimilate with the one true fandom or stop talking to you altogether.

by Grant Rindner

7 Nov 2016

There are a few bars on “Kokopelli”, one of many tracks from Mild High Club’s Skiptracing that manages to occupy the middle ground between shadowy noir and neon psychedelic grooves (for a visual depiction of this look no further than the album cover), which perfectly sum up what motivates his craft. Artists may muse on a seemingly endless number of topics, but it isn’t that often that someone simply expresses a love for what they do so explicitly and broadly, free of genre signifiers, caveats, and the spoils that come with success.

“Music touches me / When you’re choosing / Keep shuffling / Because tuneage beats suffering,” Alex Brettin sings slyly, warbling ever so slightly on the vowels in “music” and “choosing.”

Skiptracing is a record that could only be made by someone with the kind of musical appreciation that Brettin demonstrates. The songs are lush and dreamy, with just a hint of the occult; the album could double as a fitting soundtrack for Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Inherent Vice. The songs are rich and diverse, a blend of Mac DeMarco style melodies and laggard hooks with the instrumental diversity of Andrew Bird. There’s an easygoing charm to much of the record, and a listener without a lot of formal knowledge might take Mild High Club’s latest project as a pleasant, vaguely surreal trip back in time. Those in the know, however, will find smart interpolations and riffs on jazz concepts that belie the pseudo-slacker reputation that comes with the DeMarco association and reveal Brettin’s extensive theory background and deep musical knowledge.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Cube Escape' Is Free, Frustrating, and Weirdly Compelling

// Moving Pixels

"The Cube Escape games are awful puzzle games, but they're an addicting descent into madness.

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