Essential writings

Every time I fill out an application, real or fake, I initially panic about clips. The reporting one, the interview one, the review one, oh no, which one should I choose. When I finally sat down to review, I realized I could condense my style into three pieces.

  1. Drink pairings for your favorite game franchise
    • My pièce de résistance. The appeal of alcohol and the magic of video games. I’ve never had more fun writing.
  2. ‘London Has Fallen’ means standards have fallen
    • This is where I truly let loose with the bite and the silly. Switching out generic man hero character’s name brought me the sanity I needed to make it through this trainwreck of a film.
  3. New video game release: ‘The Beginner’s Guide’ review
    • Being serious is insanely difficult to me. This game was powerful enough to make me put on a serious face; it also gave me the challenge of reviewing a game without saying anything about it.

PCP: DemooD

Fun Fridayz #15 – Freaky/Free

Mood: Doom –
Doom Doom Doomdoom Doom

The short of it: The Doom demo demolishes for its demo, despite being dodgy for doubters, dredging up demonstrations from dangling in the depths of demise.

I cracked and finally got Doom, even though I already listened to its soundtrack in its entirety multiple times. And, much like Prey, my purchasing decision was based on the demo.

While a sale actually made me pull the trigger, trialing the first level made me pick up the gun.

As nice as “Free Weekends” and betas and such are (shoutout Path of Exile beta), it’s hard to argue against the value of a downloadable, specially focused trial that gives a sense of consumer-friendly development.

PCP: True Detective

Watching Wednesday #14 – Wicked West (South)

Tru Dat

The short of it: Sometimes, the crowds are absolutely right. This show deserves every molecule of praise it’s received. 

After resubscribing to HBO for the Game of Thrones revival, I remembered that they only show one episode a week. So in a desperate attempt to kill the wait until the next dose of meaning in my life, I finally watched the first season of True Detective.

Gawddangit.

Eight hours later, I a.) miss Louisiana and b.) need to share this show with everyone.

If, like me, anyone hasn’t watched this show because they’re a big, dumb idiot–

It’s a pair of detectives trying to solve a mysterious occult murder from 1995, with Woody Harrelson is the good ol’ boy Marty Hart and Matthew McConaughey is the brilliant detective with an edge Rust Cohle.

The plot seems standard, but the one really impressive thing about the show is how well it nails everything.

Cary Joji Fukunaga’s direction is nothing short of flawless, peaking with a gorgeous, six minute tracking shot and sustaining the beautiful mystique of the rest of the series. Nic Pizzolatto’s writing is brilliant, despite the fact it took me an episode or two to accept the sheer edginess of some of the dialogue of Cohle. Thankfully, McConaughey’s portrayal saves it from descending into esoteric darkness.

Every setting is a perfect picture of southern Louisiana, from the dingy 90s police stations to the abandoned properties along the bayous. Characters’ accents are easily the most accurate accents I’ve ever heard, with bit characters nailing the dat and dey of Cajun-tinted English.

The intrigue of the occult-tinged murder only deepens as the clues and mysteries add up. It’s terrifying and puzzling– there’s a reason I burned through the series in one go. It demands it. The character progression is as satisfying as the progression on the murder cases.

In a word, it’s killer.

PCP: “Too Old to Die Young”

Monotony Monday #14 – Mais Yeh

The Dege Ain’t Silent

The short of it: It’s one song, come on now.

Maybe it’s because I just finished binging season one of True Detective (guess what Imma gush about Wednesday) and I’m feeling hyper-nostalgic, but man, Louisiana is cool. And so is Lafayette.

I originally heard this song on the Django Unchained soundtrack and loved it on first listen. It wasn’t until I looked it up later and saw the video being filmed in my very own hometown.

The mixture of modern Delta blues and the Acadiana crowd makes this a beautiful celebration of how my home is full of culture and art. I’ve always done a double-take at anyone speaking ill of Southern attitudes towards art, and this just reaffirms how silly of a stereotype that is– and how silly all stereotypes are.

More pride (and horror) for my home coming in a few days. For now, Imma just revel in the beauty.

PCP: GAME OF THRONES

Watching Wednesday #13 – WOOT GOT

GAME START

SO YEAH, NEW GAME OF THRONES FINALLY.

Sure, the Ed Sheeran cameo was fine, even though he seems unsure on account of deleting his Twitter account.

More importantly though, the rest of the show was DOPE.

But dope doesn’t mean flawless.

I kinda dug Euron’s outfit. He wore it with just enough cocky swag to pull of this weird royal trash chic, like a greasy descendent of an ancient European king. But at the same time, it was a bit too modern– the dangling straps and accessories made it look like a slightly cleaned up Bam Margera outfit, too. His sudden arrival with the ships seemingly came out of nowhere, seeing as how the show stressed how there’s no natural resources in the Iron Isles and how most of the ships were taken to Dany.

Arya’s cold blooded cold open was also pretty cool, but it just reminds us that she’s in massive danger of becoming a Mary-Sue in a universe that’s done a brilliant job until now of reminding us that no one’s safe.

PCP: Ed Sheeran, Mostly

Monotony Monday #13 – More Morghulis

Game of Thrones‘ Mildly Musical Mistake?

The short of it: Ed Sheeran was fine. Spoilers.

So yeah, new Game of Thrones finally. It’s so exciting, getting to see all the characters we’ve grown to love and hate, seeing old storylines pick up and new ones grow. I’ve got an insane crush on Jon Snuuuu, so I was dying to see his side of the story. But I don’t care about him or any other character anymore. One side character stole the entire show for me, one character that’s become so pivotal and important.

Of course it’s that one redhead Lannister soldier that sang a few lines and said, “Worst place in the world.” In his forty seconds of screen time, everything changed.

No wait, it didn’t. It was just Ed Sheeran playing a young, homesick soldier with a nice singing voice. Much like every single actor ever, it was a person playing a part, and his effort was suffice. I’m not a big fan of his music, but I loved hearing him singing some tavern tune over a fire in an otherwise lonely forest.

It fit what the scene needed– a group of Arya’s supposed enemies remind her that not everyone under a banner is the same. Even for someone as hardened as Arya, it’s undeniable that young people need to be around folks their own age sometimes. She’s spent little time with anyone that’s even close to her in age in months, and she’s spent even less time with people with even a hint of friendliness.

I made the mistake of looking at Twitter when I woke up. There’s the delightful split of the smarmy snark and the odious outrage. Both sides suck.

Apparently if it can’t be expressed in a tweet that barely meets the definition of joke, the only option is to blast anger and emojis. I don’t even want to link those.

The closest I can get to an explanation is the fact that, “Actors are the blank canvas, Ed Sheeran was playing himself!”

With the red leather armor he’s famous for, at the camp of Lannister soldiers, in the perfect place to make Arya’s complete murder of people she considered enemies because of their banner seem like a betrayal of her family’s values.

Classic Ed.

PCP: The Swapper

Fun Fridayz #12 – Free to Flee for a Few Mes

Swip Swap, You Don’t Stop

The short of it: The beautiful environments and bone-chilling environments make The Swapper a fascinating watch, but the solid puzzling mechanics make it equally as fun to play.

The Swapper is one of the staples of the initial indie peak. Along with Thomas Was Alone and Octodad, these games conquered the early proving grounds of independent development.


Note: I’m mostly going by my own timeline here. This isn’t exactly chronologically or empirically correct. I mean, these were the games that were the initial movers of things like Greenlight and Humble Bundle. They were the first games Microsoft and Sony (and probably Nintendo, but who even knows what/if they think) thought of as necessary additions to their marketplace to prove they supported indie devs.


The Swapper is the story of a lone survivor on a spaceship that may be populated by mysterious alien life forms with a taste for humans– a tale as old as time. Left with a tool that allows her to clone herself up to four times. She can swap possession from clone to clone to progress through locked areas of the deserted ship.

Here are cheap comparisons. It’s Metroidvania without the Metroid, without any clear enemies to worry about. It’s SOMA before SOMA.

But it’s a good game on its own merit. The literally-built-from-clay environments and models look amazing, the cloning mechanic manages to hold both gameplay and story value without compromising on either. Of course, it’s easy to be cynical about the game’s message of, “Here’s a video game mechanic, think about it.” But even taking the game at surface level, with none of the meta-gameplay concerns, it still manages to tell a good story in a known (humans have run out of resources, exploring far away worlds to find new ones) realm.

PCP: John Wick: Chapter 2

Watching Wednesday #12 – Whams and Woos

A New Chapter in the Book of Kicking Ass

The short of it: With another dose of beautiful action and steady camerawork, this is a chapter worth reading. Watching. Whatever. 

The original John Wick was a bit of a surprise for me. Straight action films are more and more becoming nothing but diluted scenes of combat hidden behind bad cuts and confusing angles. But then there was this simple, straightforward movie that let its story have both intrigue and reason. The fights were brutally real, with amazing gun handling and painful hand to hand. It was brilliant.

It’d be easy to say that I was nervous about a sequel or that it’d be tough to follow up the original. But I wasn’t– that’s what I think separates the Wick series from other well done action flicks. It’s a blockbuster passion project kind of thing, where everyone involved knows exactly what they want to make. You can’t make a movie like John Wick and then ruin the next one.

I mean, it’s more of what made the first one so good. It’s a world that, although hinted at, doesn’t fully expose itself. There’s all kinds of questions that don’t get exact answers and the couple of answers the viewer can get are basically just hints. And that’s wonderful. The Wicks are some of the leanest mainstream movies I’ve seen, cutting out the extraneous nonsense like overt sentimentality or explicit explanations. Spoilers, but John Wick doesn’t sit down and tell his dog, “You’re all I have my wife is dead emotions are empty except these feelings for pet.” He pats his dog’s head and boards him while he rampages. No emotional cheap shots. Just sick head shots.

PCP: “Kill Jay Z”

Monotony Monday #12 – Made Man Makes More

“Kill Jay Z,” or the Death of Stale Z

The short of it: In the opening track of his latest album, Jay-Z manages to shake off the rust of years of success to share his pain. 

Despite all the uncertainty around his name (Jay Z, or Jay-Z, or JAY Z), his status as one of the greats is certain.

Unfortunately, his past string of features and singles have all been pretty lackluster. Dated references and weak brags made him more of a track liability than a legend.

It’s been a shame having to hear him go through these stale bars, knowing his distinctive sound is going to waste. He’s got that voice that sounds like it’s always on the cusp of laughing or crying– and after hearing his laugh, I tend to hope it’s crying.

But finally, here his crescendoed enunciation becomes this great conveyor of decades of emotional stress.

Upon seeing the title, I wrote this track off as being some other braggadocios cut from Watch The Throne, another, “I’m rich / they tried to kill me / never gonna scratch that itch” track that’s turned Jay incredibly boring. But instead, it’s about killing his ego. And it’s the opposite of WTT– it’s the loss of Ye and Jay over the success that’s now become a burden. It’s about the personal and public mistakes Jay’s made without addressing. It’s a lifetime of pain hidden by mainstream success that he’s finally facing head on.

Cry Jay Z, we know the pain is real / But you can’t heal what you never reveal

And these lines are for real. There’s no joking about Bey’s album or about any of his problems with the Knowles. As Anthony Fantano put it in his review, he effectively drags himself through the coals the entire song. It’s this mix of self-flagellation and recognition that he must open up to heal. It’s not pity, it’s reclamation. He’s taking credit for his mistakes and personal life, stepping up to the figure revealed by Lemonade and paparazzi. I’m not sure I can think of any other song like this. Sure, Boosie’s got his songs about his mistakes, Gates tried to clear the air about his assault case (and failed, hard, despite the fact the song bangs), Ye gets vulnerable and defends his actions, but none of them accept their failures so openly and honestly. For Jay, this seems like new ground, a sign of the softening he’s gone through as a father.

If this is killing Jay Z, then let’s hope there’s a spree.

PCP: Watch_Dogs’ Spider Tank

Fun Fridayz #11 – Fight Fire with Freaky

Spider Tank, Spider Tank, Does Whatever a Spider Tank Does

The short of it: In a somewhat dark and real game world, this mode takes the reins off for explosive fun.

What, more on Watch_Dogs? Better call a watch dog because this seems suspiciously paid for!

Nah, I just really like this game. I barely get paid for my rent-paying job, which I’m surprisingly decent at, so getting a cent from this is hilarious.

Watch_Dogs has these kitschy mini games under the guise of “digital trips”– an earpiece emits a certain frequency that drops the user into completely believable hallucinations. These trips include leading a stealth-based resistance against robot overlords and driving a literal Hellsmobile.

All of these trips pale in comparison to the true trip.

Spider Tank.

The user is put in control of a tank that’s shaped like a spider, capable of crawling up buildings while firing a howitzer. Unlike the other trips, there’s no thin attempt at a story. It’s just, “Yo, here’s a spider tank. Destroy everything.”

There’s an upgrade wheel that offers typical things like a faster reload, stronger armor, and a power slam. However, none of these upgrades really feel like they’re drastically altering the gameplay because you’re already in a damn spider tank. The waves of cops and vehicles fall easily under the massive destructive force that is A DAMN SPIDER TANK . Oh, they’ve got some typical satellite weapon that’s about to destroy the city in an attempt to stop SPIDER TANK? Sounds like a job for SPIDER TANK.

Walk into this web.