SSPA – The Terminator

I don’t really know how I feel about the works of director James Cameron. I like a good number of his films, but some of this other movies just don’t do it for me. I felt that the direction taken by Rambo: First Blood Part II didn’t really do the original any justice, but that’s less on Cameron’s directing and more on Stallone’s writing. As a huge fan of Ridley Scott’s original Alien film, and its claustrophobic horror setting, I dislike Cameron’s over the top action take on the series with the fan-favorite sequel, Aliens. The Abyss is interesting and well shot, albeit rather preachy at the end. True Lies was fun, but Titanic was pretty dull, and Avatar may have been impressive in IMAX 3D, but standing on its own as a story, it’s pretty weak.

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Light Gun Round Up: Konami Justifier

This time we take a look at a third party light gun for the 16-bit era, the Konami Justifier. In the past, most peripherals for the 8-bit systems had little in the way of competition. Ideas like the Power Glove and LJN’s Rollin’ Rocker were major flops in their own right, so no one wanted to copy them, while others like the NES Power Pad had potential that was not fully realized until the home version of Dance Dance Revolution came around. On the whole though, most systems that had a light gun had just one designed in house. The NES had the Zapper, the Sega Master System had the Phaser, and later the Saturn had the Stunner. But when the Justifier came around things got a little complicated.

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SSPA – Batman Returns

Tim Burton’s Batman is one of my favorite superhero movies. True, it is Burton’s least stylized film, but it had a great atmosphere, fantastic score from Danny Elfman, and great acting from Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. It really kicked off modern superhero movies (for better or worse) in the 90s, and is a much-loved movie. The sequel on the other hand was a little more controversial.

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SSPA – Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Almost every film version of Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula has deemed it necessary to change major elements of the plot. The original Universal film changed names, character motives, and omitted major events. The Hammer film Horror of Dracula remained closer to the book, but still changed major plot points and names. Some more recent pictures have deliberately set out to change things in order to keep the story fresh, such as Dracula 2000, in which the Count is really Judas Iscariot, cursed by god to live forever, or Dracula Untold, wherein Dracula is really Vlad Tepes, a Romanian nobleman who willingly took on the vampire curse to save his people.

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SSPA – Dune

I’ve often thought that the genre of videogames tailor made for expansive storytelling was the point and click adventure. In its heyday, adventure games were some of the most imaginative games around. They could take a player to very imaginative places and involve them in the progression of a story much more intimately than most action games. Games from Sierra and Lucas Arts could tell deep or shallow stories with superb writing in games like King’s Quest and Grim Fandango, Cyan Worlds produced the mind-bending settings of the Myst series, and Tell-Tale Games has used the medium to expand on the stories of popular franchises like The Walking Dead and Batman. These games have shown the versatility and expanded the story telling abilities of the genre through the years.

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SSPA – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

When I was young, I had never seen any of the classic Universal monster movies. I had only vague ideas of what creatures like Dracula and Frankenstein were about. They are so much a part of popular culture that by the time I heard of them they were so played out that they were very hard to take seriously, even for a child. When I was a teen I read Stoker’s Dracula and Shelley’s Frankenstein and found them to be very deep and subtle horror stories that have stood up very well over the years. With a newfound respect for these characters I was curious to see how they had been presented in other media, and after being seeped in Universal and Hammer films, I went to see how games had treated them. For Dracula it was simple. He had shown up in numerous games throughout the years, but is most well known as the main antagonist of the Castlevania series. It didn’t take much to find him, but Frankenstein’s monster was another story. Although there are some examples of his presence in games, it is usually as a lackey for Dracula in Castlevania.

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