Category Archives: Opinion

Daredevil Season 2 Review: Lost in the Dark

In Daredevil, Matt Murdock stretches himself thin trying to be a hero, a lawyer and a friend all at once. He tries to do too much, and as a consequence, things are left unfinished or neglected. Just like its main character, Daredevil’s second season stretches itself across too many subplots, and it leaves the show muddled and shallow.

A big part of season one’s success had to do with the conflict between Daredevil and Wilson Fisk. That might seem obvious, but it’s precisely what season two was lacking. Everything that happened in season one could be boiled down to that battle between Daredevil and Fisk. In season two, the villains come and go, changing allegiances or disappearing in a flash.

Fisk worked so well as a villain because he had a clear goal: taking over Hell’s Kitchen. And that goal permeated the entire season. In season two, our first villain is Frank Castle, A.K.A. The Punisher. He’s one a one-man rampage against organized crime, and he even bests Daredevil right off the bat.

The back-and-forth between the two characters over their similarities and differences makes for some great dialogue. But Punisher is apprehended after just a few episodes, and the show suddenly turns into a legal drama.

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I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About ‘The Force Awakens’

“It’s like poetry … they rhyme. Every stanza kind of rhymes with the last one. Hopefully it’ll work.” – George Lucas

When Disney unveiled the third and last trailer for The Force Awakens earlier this week, it was nothing less than a great disturbance in the Force. It’s already been viewed more than 29 million times on YouTube and spawned endless speculation ahead of the movie’s December 18th release date.

The trailer was everything we could have hoped for. It had it all – Han, Chewie, Leia, Rebels, Stormtroopers, X-Wings, TIE Fighters, Jedi, Sith and more. It also left plenty to the imagination, with the plot of the film being largely unknown. Overall, it spoke to the kid in all of us that will always love Star Wars.

But take off the nostalgia goggles for a minute and you might notice a few worrying hints about the Star Wars sequel. If the prequel trilogy taught us anything, it’s to temper our expectations a little.

Remember, the trailer for The Phantom Menace was great, too. What might be cause for concern is just how similar this new film seems to the original trilogy, particularly A New Hope. Familiarity is great, but The Force Awakens needs to forge its own path, creating its own unique moments and characters. Unfortunately, there are some signs this isn’t the case.

Disclaimer: I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I’ll probably be fighting off tears several times during The Force Awakens. Hell, I even liked the prequels as a kid (I’ve since seen the error of my ways). And I think J.J. Abrams was the perfect choice to direct the next Star Wars film. There are just a few things about the new trailer that are giving me a “been there, done that” vibe.

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The Setting

An opening space battle: This is a bit of an assumption, but based on what we’ve seen I think it’s a safe one. We know that Finn starts the film as a Stormtrooper, and it seems he crash lands at the outset of the film. What would have caused his crash? A space battle between Rebels and Imperials, of course. This by itself isn’t that big of a deal, since other episodes have started with space battles, but when you add in the next fact…

Main character(s) crash landing on a desert planet: Yes, technically the desert planet is named Jakku. But the name is just about the only difference between it and Tatooine. Don’t get me wrong – the imagery of the crashed Star Destroyer is fantastic. But why couldn’t it have crashed on a nice temperate planet instead? Oh, because then there wouldn’t be so many great parallels with…

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Wait, why can’t Zelda be a main character?

Why can’t Link be a girl? The better question is, why can’t Zelda be a main character?

The former is the question asked by the PBS Game/Show in its latest video. The host argues that Link of The Legend of Zelda series is simply a title given to the protagonist chosen by the game universe’s gods. He goes on to say that if that’s true, then having a female Link would work within the lore while encouraging more women to play the games.

But where does this idea come from that all women want from a game is to play as a female character? Every game protagonist doesn’t have to be a stand-in for the player. It’s childish, and a discredit to its audience.

I think I stopped “making myself” in video games when I was like, 12. When I can choose, I usually make female characters in games now. Why? Because it’s different, and it’s fun to do after playing so many male characters in games.

But saying you have to have a “player insert” in a game is ridiculous, and it’s equally ridiculous to think that just because Link is suddenly female that more women will want to play the game. It’s pandering. Men and women enjoy different genres of games, as this infographic shows.

That’s not to say that women aren’t “welcome” playing League of Legends, or that a man is somehow less masculine if he plays Candy Crush. But it does suggest that making Link a girl won’t make thousands of women everywhere play the next installment.

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GamerGate, stereotypes and the ‘gaming community’

Ever since the GamerGate movement arose a few months ago, many claims have been made about how it has hijacked the “gaming community.”

GamerGate’s supposed message promoting ethical games journalism has been dwarfed by its association with harassment, threats and misogyny. Now national media has picked up the story, with a New York Times article making the front page of the paper.

That attention has only amplified the message of so many who bemoan GamerGate’s negative influence on the “gaming community’s” reputation. Just read a few of the top comments on that piece to learn the general public’s reaction to GamerGate (hint: it’s not good).

Clearly, gamers have a long way to go to shake their reputation as basement-dwelling nerds. And many gamers believe GamerGate is to thank for that and have taken to Twitter to voice their concern for this “gaming community.”

Here’s the thing: Older generations might forever lump gamers into a single stereotype. But why are gamers so quick to do the same? Why is there seemingly only one “gaming community” that every schmuck who has ever played Angry Birds is suddenly a member of?

There are so many different types of gamers that classifying them as one group is both unnecessary and inaccurate. Gaming has become such a mainstream hobby that there is room for countless communities under its umbrella.

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How virtual reality can avoid becoming a 3D fad

In 2009, “Avatar” blew past previous box office records with its special effects and widespread 3D release. After years as a novelty, James Cameron had everyone believing realistic 3D was the next form of immersive storytelling.

But Cameron’s world of 3D never became a reality; 3D movies and television are rapidly declining in popularity.

Meanwhile, a similar craze has taken over in the video game industry: virtual reality. Oculus VR, Sony’s Project Morpheus, Samsung’s Gear VR and Google Cardboard are already vying for dominance in the new medium.

But it’s still unclear if virtual reality will have any real staying power. Will it learn from its predecessor’s mistakes, or is it just another 3D fad?

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The 3D problem

While some were hailing 3D as the next big thing in cinema, moviegoers think otherwise. According to Deadline, movies released in 3D are earning less and less each year from 3D showings, with 2014 expected to have the lowest percentage yet.

And 2014 also has the lowest number of 3D releases in recent years: 28, down from 34 in 2013 and a peak of 29 in 2011. Hollywood seems to recognize 3D films are failing and it’s adjusting accordingly.

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No Man’s Sky: Set course for planet Hype

No Man’s Skythe sci-fi game that lets you explore a vast universe of planets, doesn’t have a release date. That hasn’t stopped gamers everywhere from powering up their hype-r drives.

Hello Games’ new title stole the show at E3, taking home multiple awards for its trailer that showed a planetary pioneer discovering alien worlds and life forms before blasting off into space with a seamless transition.

But coverage and excitement levels for No Man’s Sky  have already reached critical level, and it’s a long way from being released. While it’s ambitious and original, there are a few reasons to reverse course.

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GameSpot is already fueling up on hype.

The biggest game world ever “created”

“Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” – Betteridge’s law of headlines

While No Man’s Sky’s world has looked impressive in the images and videos we’ve seen so far, its world is generated by a set algorithm. All credit goes to the developers for creating the game’s assets that populate each world, but those assets will be reused across numerous planets. They’ll likely be recolored or recombined in different ways but the base asset will still be there.

This isn’t to take away from the world-building the developers have done, but it’s been made an issue by headlines like the one above. If the editors at GameSpot really believed No Man’s Sky had the biggest game world ever created, they wouldn’t have used such a sensationalist headline.

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DayZ Steam sale: Everything wrong with early access price cuts

Today marks the first day of the Steam Summer Sale, and zombie-survival game DayZ has gone on sale for 15 percent off.

Compared to other huge price cuts in the sale, 15 percent is hardly noteworthy. However, DayZ is an early access game and is far from a completed product (it’s currently an early alpha).

Its lead developer, Dean Hall, had previously said the game would not go on sale until it reached the beta stage. However, this is the second time now that the game has gone on sale – and it appears to be out of Hall’s control:

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