A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade July 30, 2014 A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade John Chu Fighting Turbulence requires sacrifices. The Colonel July 29, 2014 The Colonel Peter Watts The hives are sleeping giants. <em>To Eternity</em> July 24, 2014 To Eternity Wesley Allsbrook and Barrie Potter If all things were normal, Stuart would be considered quite a catch. Brisk Money July 23, 2014 Brisk Money Adam Christopher It's hard out there for a robotic detective.
From The Blog
July 29, 2014
Introduction to the H. P. Lovecraft Reread
Ruthanna Emrys and Anne M. Pillsworth
July 25, 2014
Huge New Cast and Bloopers. Highlights from the San Diego Comic Con Game of Thrones Panel
Chris Lough
July 22, 2014
What Makes Chinese Science Fiction Chinese?
Xia Jia
July 22, 2014
Everything I Learned from the Buffy Rewatch
Alyx Dellamonica
July 21, 2014
If This is the Plot for Star Wars: Episode VII, I Will Be Sad
Emily Asher-Perrin
Showing posts by: Theresa DeLucci click to see Theresa DeLucci's profile
Thu
Jul 24 2014 3:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Die and Enjoy It in Lords of the Fallen

Lords of the Fallen

From Software’s Dark Souls franchise went a long way toward mainstreaming the concept of insanely difficult, yet fun gaming. Polish developer CI Games, in conjunction with German studio Deck13 Interactive, is making no secret of the fact that they hope to follow in From’s tradition with their latest title, Lords of the Fallen.

[“The sins I have committed have left their mark. Now I shall leave mine.”]

Mon
Jul 21 2014 12:00pm

True Blood Season 7, Episode 5: “Lost Cause”

True Blood Lost Cause

I’m a sucker for a TV party, so, as unexpected as last night’s big memorial party was, seeing as it’s only been three in-show days since the last Bon Temps gathering ended in mass casualties, any chance for lots of characters to bump up against (and/or stab) one another is cause for celebration.

So, yes, this was another human-centric and mostly not terrible episode of True Blood. And, like Andy Bellefleur, life in Louisiana marches forward. Just some people won’t be marching much longer.

And then the freaking Yakuza showed up. And True Blood was nauseating again.

Spoilers and saucy hand gestures after the katana cut...

[Read more...]

Fri
Jul 18 2014 10:30am

Gaming Roundup: Virginia Promises Interactive Drama with a Lynchian Flair

Virgina gaming roundup

First person indie adventure game Gone Home did a lot of good for the interactive storytelling genre last year. The unexpected hit touched on all the right notes: a deftly told story, interesting character work, pitch-perfect atmosphere, and a heavy dose of 90s nostalgia. In many ways, Gone Home helped make it okay for games to be about the story and only about the story. The next step? More interactive drama games. Enter Variable State with their 90s cult classic TV-inspired Virginia.

[Any game citing Twin Peaks and The X-Files as core inspirations is going to have our undivided attention.]

Mon
Jul 14 2014 11:25am

True Blood Season 7, Episode 4: “Death is Not the End”

True Blood Death is not the End

Maybe it was my 90s nostalgia, maybe I was just in a forgiving mood, but that was not a terrible episode of True Blood. I know. Crazy, right?

Maybe we can get a spinoff miniseries of Eric and Pam’s misadventures in the past. Hell, I would settle for a whole episode of just Pam and Eric dealing with customers at their video store. Having once worked at just such a place, I imagine Pam would be ten times more merciless (and ten times more hilarious) when she revokes memberships due to late fees.

It wasn’t all pleated pants and Red Vines jokes though. Despite her most noble efforts to make everything about her, Sookie wasn’t as big a player last night. Oh wait; less Sookie = better episode. Eureka! If only True Blood thought of this formula three seasons ago.

[Spoilers and surprise guests after the jump.]

Thu
Jul 10 2014 2:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Alien: Isolation Promises to Get It Right by Going Back to the Beginning

Alien Isolation

Last year brought us the travesty that was Aliens: Colonial Marines. Between Ridley Scott being involved with storyboarding the game and developer Gearbox Software being given license to make the game canon, potential was vast, but execution was deeply flawed—the game launched as a buggy, derivative, universally panned mess, rather than the tightly focused piece of survival horror gamers were hoping for. This year, developer The Creative Assembly took a stab at getting the IP back on track, taking E3 by storm with Alien: Isolation, and early word is this game does not disappoint.

Oh, and did we mention they reunited the cast of Alien for the game’s first DLC? Bet we’ve got your attention now.

[“I think... I think there’s something here.”]

Mon
Jul 7 2014 12:00pm

True Blood Season 7, Episode 3: “Fire in the Hole”

True Blood

[Insert string of colorful expletives here.]

Really, True Blood?

I guess you get the television you deserve. If you’re lazily watching a formerly enjoyably sexy soap opera limp towards its end game, you shouldn’t be mad when said show’s actual writers feel lazy, too.

But still, last night’s hour was so weak, I felt as if I’d been trolled. By a TV show. As in, oh, sweet summer child, you thought you already knew all the ways in which True Blood can be awful? Well, watch what passes for closure in Bon Temps!

Sad trombones and spoilers after the fold.

[Read more...]

Thu
Jul 3 2014 2:30pm

Gaming Roundup: Elite: Dangerous Gives You A Universe

Elite Dangerous gaming roundup

Last week, we took a look at No Man’s Sky, an upcoming PS4 space simulator featuring a virtually limitless universe and emphasizing exploration—a game that Sony hopes will become a key selling point for their next-gen consoles on release. This week (at our readers’ behest and because, well, it also looks pretty damn cool), we highlight Elite: Dangerous, an equally ambitious space trading and combat simulator poised to offer similar freedoms and open-ended universes as No Man’s Sky, only sooner and with its own unique stylings.

[“Blaze your own trail...”]

Mon
Jun 30 2014 12:30pm

True Blood Season 7, Episode 2: “I Found You”

True Blood I Found YouI wish all programming on HBO last night had a theme to go along with the premiere of its new series, The Leftovers. If only everyone not Lafayette or Pam could mysteriously disappear from True Blood. Then we might have a really entertaining show.

It wasn’t all bad: a much-missed Nordic vampire bookended the hour. And... well, yeah, those were pretty much the only good bits.

Strangely not vanishing from True Blood? Viewers. Last week’s season premiere was down from the year prior, but still considered a solid performer for the show. We are all in this hate-watch together, friends.

Spoilers ahead. If you care about that kind of thing.

[“Read more...”]

Thu
Jun 26 2014 2:00pm

Gaming Roundup: No Man’s Sky Soars Through the Boundaries of Genre

No Man's Sky Gaming Roundup

No Man’s Sky was, in many ways, the revelation of E3 to gamers around the world. The PS4 exclusive has managed to push its way to the forefront of industry intrigue via tantalizing previews and a spectacular showing at gaming’s biggest event of the year. But what is it about this game that makes it so exciting, really? We’ve seen open world games before. We’ve seen space fighters before. What makes No Man’s Sky stand out?

[Forget open world. We’re entering open universe territory.]

Mon
Jun 23 2014 2:00pm

True Blood’s Final Season Premiere: “Jesus Gonna Be Here”

True Blood

No one’s expecting Game of Thrones-level excellence here, but HBO’s True Blood has its own measuring stick. Gooey globs of dead vampires? Check. Strong sexual content and bare breasts? Check. Pam dropping hilarious F-bombs? Check. Baby-vamp Jessica crying and being all Emmy-worthy? Check. Sookie doing something completely stupid? Double check.

By that regard, “Jesus Gonna Be Here” was a pretty great True Blood premiere, setting up Bon Temps for a final confrontation between the supernatural and the human. It helps that last season’s awfulness was pretty much wiped clean in the previous episode. It’s a big ol’ reset on a show literally on its last legs, as this is the final season. For the few remaining die-hards, the tension should be enough to keep things interesting. And for viewers like me, watching more out of nostalgia and curiosity, there’s just enough humor—intentional or not—and sex appeal and even some genuine surprises that I almost feel excited that the show is back. Or maybe I’m just deluding myself into thinking True Blood will come full circle and go out as satisfyingly as it was ushered in.

[Spoilers and salty language after the cut...]

Thu
Jun 19 2014 3:00pm

Gaming Roundup: When Will We Truly Experience Next-Gen Gaming?

Metal Gear Solid

Next-gen consoles have now been in the marketplace for 6 months (or just over a year if you include the Wii U, which doesn’t quite stack up hardware-wise with the PS4 or Xbox One). Over that period of time, Sony sold over 7 million PlayStation 4 units. Estimates place Microsoft’s Xbox One in the 5 million units sold range. Even the Wii U showed a resurgence in sales numbers with the launch of Mario Kart 8, and more growth is sure to come as Zelda, Super Smash Bros, and other powerhouse Nintendo titles hit the console. It’s safe to say that next-gen consoles are starting to establish and replace last-gen consoles in living rooms around the world, but when it comes down to it, we as gamers have barely seen the tip of the iceberg as it pertains to true next-gen gaming.

[Where does the future of gaming lie?]

Mon
Jun 16 2014 10:00am

Game of Thrones Episode Review “The Children”

Game of Thrones The Children Arya

It seems fitting that last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was called “The Children.” All of the offspring was running amok—Starks, Lannisters, dragons. While last week’s episode suffered a bit from focusing only on the mostly dull characters at the Wall, the season four finale was literally all over the map. It was a lot to absorb, but it had its high points and left us with some lingering questions to ponder in the long, long hiatus ahead.

[“Happy Father’s Day, Tywin! Your legacy is a lie!”]

Thu
Jun 12 2014 4:00pm

Gaming Roundup: The Best of E3 2014

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, rolled through Los Angeles this past week, bringing with it a treasure trove of trailers and previews showing off the best of gaming to come. For those not in the know, E3 is widely considered to be the industry’s premier showcase for games in development, and with this being the first show since the release of next-gen consoles, there was plenty of pretty on display.

We know that keeping up with all the news filtering out of E3 can be a daunting task, so we did the legwork for you and zeroed in on what we consider to be the show’s most exciting titles. Consider this your one-stop shop for the most impressive games coming out of this year’s convention.

[Grab a snack and buckle in. Trailers ahoy!]

Mon
Jun 9 2014 9:30am

Game of Thrones “The Watchers on the Wall”

Game of Thrones The Watchers on the Wall

I’ll be on a plane while this episode airs, so the full episode review will be delayed. In the meantime, I've got some preliminary thoughts below, and you can share your reactions to “The Watchers on the Wall” here.

Episode and book spoilers after the jump. Be careful.

[“Love is the death of duty...”]

Thu
Jun 5 2014 12:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Round 10... Fight! A First Look at Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X

NetherRealm Studios breathed new life into the Mortal Kombat franchise in 2011 with the launch of Mortal Kombat 9—a game that not only returned to the IP’s gloriously gory roots but also added a robust fighting system that enabled the game to sustain a community of serious gamers over the long haul, after the initial blood-soaked novelty of tearing out a character’s spine and beating them with it had worn off. Now NetherRealm’s looking to build on its success in Mortal Kombat X, coming 2015. What can we expect?

[“Who’s next?”]

Mon
Jun 2 2014 10:30am

Game of Thrones Episode Review “The Mountain and the Viper”

Game of Thrones Mountain and Viper Oberyn Ellaria

And right here is the Game of Thrones episode where I start to feel the creep of ennui settling over me like a thick blanket. I knew this day would come, but, four seasons in, it still feels too soon.

Why bother getting attached to characters who will likely die grisly deaths? Why wait for seasons-long plans to come to fruition if your side never, ever wins?

And then we get a scene between a handmaiden and a warrior and Game of Thrones proves its still got surprises.

Heed this raven: Major episode spoilers after the cut. Book comments are fair game in the comments.

[Read more...]

Thu
May 29 2014 2:30pm

Gaming Roundup: Watch Dogs Turns You Into A Hacker Extraordinaire

Watch Dogs

It was an eventful week for Ubisoft’s latest offering, the hotly-anticipated Watch Dogs. Not only did the game launch this past Tuesday, but it quickly became the fastest-selling title in Ubisoft history (yes, that includes all the Assassin’s Creed games, as well) and instigated a real-life bomb scare in Australia, to boot (note to Ubisoft PR: small beeping safes in newsrooms from an unknown sender... maybe not the best idea). So what’s the deal with Ubi’s hack-heavy shooter?

[“I saw something no one was meant to see.”]

Thu
May 22 2014 1:30pm

Gaming Roundup: M-M-M-Monster Kill. Epic Revives Unreal Tournament for Free

Unreal Tournament 2014

When the first Unreal Tournament—developed by Epic Games—came out in 1999, it helped introduce and popularize the arena FPS sub-genre, bringing multiplayer-focused FPS gameplay to the masses in a futuristic interplanetary setting. Most 90s PC gamers will recall the game’s memorable arcade announcer (“M-M-M-Monster Kill!”), the iconic Capture the Flag map, Facing Worlds, as well as the rivalry fostered with contesting developer id Software’s Quake III Arena which released at virtually the same time. UT went on to spawn 3 sequels before Epic put the franchise on hold after the 2007 launch of Unreal Tournament 3. On hold, that is, until now—Unreal Tournament is back, and this time it’s free.

[Click to draw first blood...]

Mon
May 19 2014 10:00am

Game of Thrones Episode Review “Mockingbird”

Game of Thrones season 4 episode 7: Mockingbird Sansa

It hurts to fall in love sometimes. Love can make your heart fly, but if you’re with the wrong person, if it all comes crashing down, that same heart can shatter into a million little pieces.

Never promise your heart to someone who trades in lies.

All this relationship advice and major spoilers and more in this week’s Game of Thrones review.

[“Hot Pie!"]

Thu
May 15 2014 5:00pm

Gaming Roundup: What Does the Future Hold for Nintendo?

Super Mario Bros Wii U

Let’s be honest—2013 and 2014 haven’t been the kindest couple of years to Nintendo, the former console giant currently relegated to the role of little brother in the modern console wars between Sony and Microsoft. Between developers taking potshots at the company’s most recent console—the Wii U—and their latest fiscal results citing nearly a half-billion dollars in losses due largely to poor Wii U sales, Nintendo has had a rough go of it, resulting in an inevitable slew of speculation questioning their hardware’s viability in the modern market. There are certainly some mitigating factors to consider, but it’s clear that the company’s current path may lead to treacherous waters. So what does the future hold for Nintendo? Will they continue with hardware development? Can they absorb their current losses? CEO Satoru Iwata shed some light on these questions in an Investor Q&A this week.

[Proprietary software may be the Wii U’s salvation...]