VIDEO GAMES: Toast Reviews “LIMBO” by Playdead Studios on XBox Live Arcade

Guest review time!  Faithful readers, please give a warm welcome to the latest WITWAR guest writer, Toast!  She very graciously decided to take time away from working  on her own site, A Girl and Her Blog, to review an XBox Live Arcade game for all of you.  So please, enjoy this glimpse into the mind of an enthusiastic and dedicated gamer, and be sure to check out her other posts at A Girl and Her Blog!   [click the jump-link to read on]

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VIDEO GAMES: John Reviews “Hydro Thunder Hurricane” by Microsoft Studios on Xbox Live Arcade

If you’ve stopped at a highway rest stop anytime within the last eleven years, you’ve probably seen an arcade cabinet version of Hydro Thunder, Midway’s insanely popular and outlandish speedboat racing game.  Seriously, this game is everywhere when it comes to rest stops, even today!  But now, thanks to Microsoft Game Studios and Xbox Live Arcade, you can bring the fun of crazy speedboat racing home with Hydro Thunder Hurricane.  The original was a truly great arcade experience, and HT:H lives up to its pedigree. Continue reading

VIDEO GAMES: John Reviews “Castlevania: Harmony of Despair” by Konami for XBox Live Arcade

Ahh, Castlevania.  One of the only two areas of popular culture where it’s cool for a guy to wield a whip (the other, of course,  being Indiana Jones.) When I downloaded Castlevania: Harmony of Despair as part of Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade promotion, I was expecting a game experience something like the genre’s most popular entry, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.  While the graphics and core play controls are roughly the same as that 1997 classic, and Alucard is still one of the main characters, C:HD is an extremely different game from SotN. Gone is the story-driven, nonlinear, exploration-based single-player structure of the old days.  Instead, C:HD is an interesting mash-up of the last five big 2-D Castlevania games, and combines gameplay elements from all of them plus Gauntlet, Diablo, and (I shudder to even say its name) World of Warcraft. Do all of those elements work together? 18 hours of gameplay later, I can say that it’s certainly interesting enough to dig its hooks into me and keep me from playing several other of my recent downloads.  How do they do it? Read on! Continue reading

My Soul Is on the Ground (a look at socially responsible footwear)

This might surprise you, but I’m not the most fashion-forward person out there.  In fact, I’m pretty fashion-backward.  I pay little-to-no attention to color matching, and in the winter I literally get dressed in the dark.  Only the “business casual” dress code of most of my places of employment has forced me to learn the basics of garment-related aesthetics.  Why am I telling you all of this? Because I recently had an interesting and philosophically engaging experience when embarking on my quadrennial quest for a new pair of shoes.

Yup, you read that right.  Quadrennial.  As in once every election/olympic cycle.  Ah, the joys of being a heteronormative guy.

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Today I’ve got another interesting assembly of media items for you: A neo-classic fairy tale, a comic odyssey into very weird territory, some side projects from favorite artists of mine, and a whole slew of Mega Man-related media.  Let’s dig in!

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PAX East 2010: A (Very Belated) Look Back

The last weekend in March was a very exciting time to be a fan of all things gaming in Boston, as the Penny Arcade Expo took over Hynes Convention Center for three glorious days.  I couldn’t possibly sum up what PAX means better than geek icon Wil Wheaton did during his keynote speech, so I’ll simply direct you to it (links are provided at the end of each part for the next):

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MOVIES: John Reviews “Hot Tub Time Machine,” directed by Steve Pink

It’s not often that I get to do this, but I today I’m pleased to present you with a review of a movie that hasn’t even been released to theaters yet: United Artists and MGM Studios’  Hot Tub Time Machine.  While the title pretty much gives away the central plot point of the story, nothing shows off the charm of the film like its trailer.  “Get Tub’d!”

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This is the first episode of OBS to reflect the broad, sweeping changes I have enacted.  Huzzah!
Today I’ve got some excellent independent downloadable games, a great piece of computer hardware, an album by a nonexistent band, an hilarious audio/video podcast, and one of the best X-Men story arcs ever to be written (among other things.)

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OPERATION BACKLOG SLOG (BLOG): Episode 9 – The Steampunk Edition

Steampunk can be a difficult subgenre to wrap one’s head around. But since the mainstream world seems to be embracing it with movies like Sherlock Holmes and video games like Epic Mickey, I figured I would take a look at the things in my collection that might be representative of the genre. We’ve got Steampunk books, movies, music, video games, anime and comics to get through, so it’s time to fire up the boilers! Full steam ahead!

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OPERATION BACKLOG SLOG (BLOG) Episode 5: The Tech Edition

Happy possibly-belated holidays, everyone! I hope you all were able to spend time with your loved ones this month, and that you’re
looking forward to a new year as much as I am. Since I recently came into possession of a shiny new netbook, I thought that rather than
give mini-reviews of A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life, I’d focus on all the fun tech stuff
(hardware, software and cloudware) that I’ve accumulated over the past ten days. So if you want to know more about some of the best
free software out there today (including the program I’m using to type this post) read on! Continue reading