Movies, books, TV, art, sports and video games.
Blockbuster Review: Under the sea in 'Finding Dory' vs out of this world in 'Star Trek'
Daily Campus, Aug. 2016
"Given the choice, I’d choose shooting blasters and dodging asteroids nine times out of 10, but not this time around. Despite its philosophical origins, the “Star Trek” series has amounted to little more than a bunch of Michael Bay movies set in zero G. Sure, it’s fun to watch Captain Kirk survive one mind blowing explosion after another for no reason beyond, well, being Captain Kirk, but good sci-fi isn’t just about being a smart ass in space surrounded by hot aliens with daddy issues.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely about that, but it’s also about asking big questions about life, morality and humanity’s place in it all in a larger, intergalactic setting that forces us to reevaluate the idea that one person, species or planet could ever be the center of the universe. “Star Trek,” at least in its most recent incarnation, can’t even get the audience to question whether or not Captain Kirk will survive his various misadventures – of course he will, or he’d be wearing a red shirt."
Review: 'Stardew Valley' is a labor of love
Daily Campus, March 2016
"There’s something special about rolling out of bed at 6 a.m. to feed the chickens and till your ancestral farmlands, even if the natural world that surrounds you consists entirely of colorful pixels and 2D sprite art. A clear homage to “Harvest Moon,” Natsume’s Japanese farming simulation series, “Stardew Valley” takes all the best parts of the original games and crams them into one title.
This game, a multi-year labor of love by solo developer ConcernedApe, has something for everyone. Want to grow gigantic pumpkins, cauliflowers and melons? You can. Want to become a fishing master capable of reeling a legendary catch? You can. Want to forget about farming entirely and go kill some cave bugs with a wooden sword? You can do that too, but you’d be missing out if you didn’t try to take in everything the game has to offer.
Like most “Harvest Moon” games, you begin “Stardew Valley” as a disgruntled city dweller. This time, you’re a burnt out employee of the corporation JojaMart. Lucky for you, your family just happens to own an old plot of farmland in Pelican Town, the inexplicably fertile village where your adventures begin. Your beef with JojaMart doesn’t end there, though. Soon after you move to town, Mayor Lewis tasks you with revitalizing the local community center to bring Pelican Town together and stop the comically evil megastore from paving over the valley entirely."
Ink Hounds: Huskies share the stories behind their tattoos
Daily Campus, April. 2016
“Being an art history major I have a lot of interest in symbology and my dad was an artist,” MacGregor said. “I was introduced to a lot of that stuff when I was really little.”
While ancient Egypt was rich with myth and legend, MacGregor said she was struck by their reverence for the scarab beetle, which lay their larvae in nutrient rich dung balls, where they remain until maturity. In 2000 B.C., it seemed that the young beetles were emerging from nowhere, lending them a msytical quality.
“The scarab beetles literally comes from crap and grows wings and fly away from it just to be worshipped,” she explained.
While MacGregor doesn’t want to be worshipped herself, she said she can relate to the scarab’s determination to persevere in the crappiest situations.
Bethesda and Vault-Tech: Cornering the post-apocalyptic market
Daily Campus, Dec. 2015
“You don’t need me to say it: Bethesda games are as glitchy as “Fallout 3’s” Garden of Eden Creation Kits (GECKs). Even when they work, it’s more on the scale of purifying a river’s worth of irradiated water than miraculously reforesting the entire wasteland as promised by the leading researchers of Vault-tech.
The parallels between Bethesda’s developers and the crazed team of scientists responsible for every inbred commune and clone filled vault in post-apocalyptic America are numerous. At best, they could both be described overly optimistic. Surely Vault-tech intended for GECKs to work, overseers to be paragons of mental stability and radroaches to be just a little smaller.
Except Vault 101 was specifically designed to never be opened, they continuously tested psycho-active drugs on the population of Vault 106 and the Forced Evolutionary Virus they released in Vault 87 is entirely responsible for the existence of super mutants, ghouls and centaurs (all of which used to be human).
Bethesda’s mistakes, if not its outright negligence, may be somewhat less dramatic, but whether you’re building video games or vaults, you’re still taking advantage of your customers if your product doesn’t actually work."