My review as ‘Doom’ gets a reboot

I have to admit the headline above is intentionally misleading, because it makes this missive look like a review of something new rather than a look at something old. But although Doom has indeed been rebooted, this is not a review of that reboot. Rather, it’s using the reboot as an excuse to offer up my retro reminiscence through the Doom mania of the mid-1990s through my own personal lens, the only period of time which I could be considered anything close to a “gamer.”

doomA screen shot from the 2016 reboot of Doom.

Although I have a deep affection for the classic video games of the 1980s and ’90s, I can probably not be called a “gamer” — even though I’ve probably played hundreds of hours of video games. (I won a trip to Florida in 1993 by absolutely crushing my competition in a high-scoring contest of the original Super Mario Bros., although that’s a whole other tale for another time.) In my mind, “gamer” represents a more modern definition that implies multiplayer shooters, RPGs, or at the very least sports. Wii Bowling — probably not so much.

Yes, I own three versions of Nintendo, going from the 8-bit original to the second-generation 16-bit Super, and then skipping several generations to the original Wii, the latter for which I own perhaps three games and would break out usually only for (mostly drinking-based) parties back before my kids (and my friends’ kids) were born and we had time for such things. But I don’t consider those platforms ones that would make me a “gamer,” and besides, my game-playing days were left behind with those early-generation Nintendo games in my teenage years. (Read more…)

‘Star Wars’ and the dangers of a saturation point

“I want to go to Star Wars and see Darth Vader.” So said my 3-year-old daughter, unprompted (and verbatim) earlier this evening. She learned everything she knows about Star Wars from her Disney-licensed graham crackers.

Rogue OneRogue One: A Star Wars Story

Earlier today, the first Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer (embedded below) was released. Looks pretty cool. But I figure I would probably say that about any competent-looking feature film bearing the Star Wars name. I’m a fan. The Disney machine guarantees it will be big, high-tech, and marketable. Hopefully it will also be good. I was very much encouraged by The Force Awakens. I only see about four or five movies a year in the theater these days, and I’m about 90 percent sure Rogue One will be one of them for 2016.

But it does makes one wonder: Does the fact that The Force Awakens was the first Star Wars movie in a decade have something to do with fans’ thirst for it? And now, with Disney’s elaborate plans for the franchise — which include not only the sequel trilogy but also three other standalone movies being released on each side of the trilogy releases between now and 2020 — is there a risk of watering down the franchise into a rote, routine series? (Read more…)

Reviews: Star Wars, Episodes I-VII

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

A funny thing happened recently. Not long before The Force Awakens came out, my wife and I decided to re-watch all of Star Wars on Blu-ray. Then we went and saw Episode VII in the theater. Not long after that, I was having lunch with a friend and we were talking about all the Star Wars movies, including the most recent.

This particular friend is willing to go in-depth in these sort of geeky film/TV/media conversations whenever we have them (he’s a writer and a critic type, like me), so I went into the sort of detail talking about Star Wars that I might not have normally. And as I was sitting there talking, I realized I had most of the thoughts in my head about what I wanted to say about these movies, which I had just watched. All I needed to do was get them down on paper and expand upon them, because I knew they’d make a natural addition to my website. Besides — I love Star Wars. (Read more…)

Reaction: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

trekseries2017I have a few quick thoughts over on Jammer’s Reviews. Feel free to discuss it over there.

In a nutshell, this is an interesting move. Not simply because it will bring Star Trek back to the television screen, but because it’s actually bringing it back to the TV screen by way of CBS’s digital streaming service, which is perhaps an admission of the way of the future.

Reflections upon 20 years and the elasticity of time

clockI’ve always tried not to take time for granted. Even in my mid-20s I was keenly aware of how old I was, how much older I was getting and how quickly, and was always questioning whether I was older than the guy in the beer commercial, who represented some sort of ideal youthful adult age within the ultimate demographic. I knew even then that it was a silly notion to care about, but I also knew that one day I would wake up and not be young anymore. That somehow didn’t stop me from wasting a lot of time. Maybe I do take time for granted.

My years as a 20-something single guy disappeared long ago (the “20-something” longer ago than the “single guy”), but in retrospect that period in my life lasted for a long time, and it’s strange to think how long I was locked into that routine. I spent the better part of a decade living in the same cheap apartment and going to the same job. (Even if the job title changed a few times, it was still essentially the same deal.) Without a doubt not coincidentally, these were days that marked the most active period of my online reviewing activities. (Read more…)

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