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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…)

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…)

A true example of classic sci-fi with ‘Interstellar’

interstellarOver on the mothership, I’ve posted a new review (gasp!) for Christopher Nolan’s new sci-fi film, Interstellar.

This movie reaches deep into your psyche and holds you in its grip for nearly three hours. It is — in turns and sometimes simultaneously — haunting, spellbinding, exhilarating, audacious, introspective, heartbreaking, horrifying, and life-affirming.

Go read the review now.

It’s a wrap: TNG’s ‘All Good Things…’

The first review I wrote for a general audience was a movie review for my high school newspaper, The Inkspot, in 1993. I was co-editor of the paper that year, and that was the beginning of a long relationship with newspapers (which only ended just last year). I joined the staff of The Daily Illini in the fall of 1994 during my freshman year of college, where I discovered the Internet, which had just started to become graphical and mainstream (although I would get my online reviewing start in the text-based Usenet).


Jammer completes his website’s mission with the posting of the review for TNG’s series finale, “All Good Things.”

As I’ve mentioned in this space before, I actually reviewed the seventh season of TNG previously, in printed booklets that I never posted on the Internet (and never will). Jammer’s Reviews as you know them didn’t start until the fall of 1994 with DS9‘s third season. The official launch of my website came in March 1995, some 18 years ago. On the Internet, that’s an eternity for a niche hobby publication. Just ask the hundreds of other hobbyist website authors from the 1990s who have long since hung it up. That was before “blogger” was a word. I guess I’ve been a blogger since before the term for it existed. (Read more…)

Jammer’s Reviews: TNG Season 7: The home stretch

The final leg of TNG — not counting the series finale — beginning with “Journey’s End” through “Preemptive Strike” revealed that the writing staff was at least contemplating the end of the series, with four of the last five regular episodes featuring notes that hinted at some character-related closure, albeit without making any drastic changes to the series’ status quo.


Ro takes on an undercover mission out of loyalty to Picard in “Preemptive Strike.”

These episodes include a final check-in with Wesley Crusher; the last word on Worf’s son Alexander (until DS9 several years later); Picard learning that he might have a son when that possibility had been long ago been seemingly decided; and the fairly atypical (by TNG standards) turn of events surrounding Ro Laren. With the exception of that last outing, these episodes were middling endeavors that struggled to balance plot and character effectively.

Then there was the odd man out of this particular leg, “Emergence,” which seemed more like it belonged in the previous run of weak episodes alongside “Masks” and “Genesis.” Perhaps the less said about it, the better.

Anyway, dig in. My next post on TNG will wrap up this project with the two-hour series finale, which I think just about all of us can agree on.

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