Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: October 2019

~ Game Over ~

Link’s Awakening (Switch) – A wonderful shot-for-shot remake of my favourite Zelda game. Honestly, I think I would have liked to see a little more changed/added to it, to really justify the choice to remake it. The new presentation and quality-of-life tweaks were great though, so I really shouldn’t complain. Excellent game. Had a strong urge to dive right into a replay after finishing it, but there’s so much else to do!

Transistor (Switch) – Transistor is clearly the follow-up to Bastion, and it was better than Bastion in nearly every way. The story was more complex and interesting, the characters were more than mechanical puppets, the gameplay was deeper but never overwhelming. I wasn’t a huge fan of the more sterile visual style, but I suppose that was kind of the point.

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Spooktober 2019 – A.M.I.

I’ll be perfectly honest here: I will 100% judge movies by their Netflix cover image. If that little picture and the title don’t immediately appeal to me in some way, I’ll never watch it (unless someone tells me to). If it doesn’t look good, I can’t even guarantee I’ll read the summary blurb.

So then how in the heck did I end up watching A.M.I.? Mostly because I do read the descriptions for any movies that are obviously about social media or smartphones to laugh/groan at how stupid they are. But then I saw that this one is Canadian, and also it’s only 75 minutes long. This was probably going to be one of those special terrible movies.

Let me tell you, it was special all right. And I’m trying to think of a way to make fun of it for being “special” without being offensive towards mentally or physically disabled peoples, but I cannot. So let’s just move on.

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Spooktober 2019 – IT Chapter Two

To be completely honest, I went to see IT Chapter Two before the calendar rolled over to Spooktober. But you know what? I’mma count it anyway. We need more spookles on this here website. The more the better, I always say.

I was very excited to go see the first chapter of IT back when it released in 2017. I liked the original TV miniseries version, so I was very eager to see what it would look like with an inflated Hollywood budget. And you know what? I ended up quite liking the new one too! The kids were darn good actors, and I was very impressed with the monster effects. When Pennywise’s lips start to peel back and reveal those rows and rows of teeth? I love that visual. And I’m the kind of person who minimizes his use of the word “love” as much as possible.

The thing that I didn’t know going into that film is that it was only part one of two. I mean, knowing the original story, and that they didn’t show any of the characters as adults in the trailers, one could have inferred as much. But I never heard anything pre-release about a plan for a part two. So it was a happy surprise when the title card came up at the very end of the movie and we got the “Chapter One” reveal. Needless to say, I didn’t waste any time booking my tickets for the sequel.

If you have no idea what these movies are about or need a quick refresher, here’s a very basic plot summary: Children are disappearing in the town of Derry, and seven weirdo kids known as The Losers Club decide to investigate and stop it. The culprit is a clown called Pennywise (also referred to as the titular “It”), who can shapeshift to take advantage of his victim’s greatest fears. The first film ends with the Losers defeating Pennywise, and the second picks up 27 years later when It returns to start snarfing children again.

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More Pop-Tarts than you can shake a toaster at

Yep. I’m still at it. Here’s the insider scoop though: I’ve only got three more of these left before my Pop-Tart supply runs dry. Then… I don’t know what happens then.

I put way too much time into this one for what the final product ended up being… It’s not the worst, but it took so much more time for me to figure out how to mash those very basic effects together. Didn’t help that apparently my computer is not meant for video editing? Once I popped in a second audio track it was just like “Nah, I don’t really feel like doing this.” Or maybe the old version of Camtasia that I’m working with is just trash. Also, why in the heck did Camtasia leave that weird green zoom frame in the video? That’s so stupid, but I couldn’t find any way to make it disappear.

What I’m taking away from all this is that if I want to continue to improve my videos, I’m going to need better equipment as much as I am knowledge on how to use it. So… don’t hold out hope.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Monster Hunter is a series of video games that has only very slightly changed with each new iteration. It has adhered to very strict game design rules, making it so that while gameplay is refined and smoothed out in more recent entries, they still play more or less the same as the very first game. This was fine. Fans were fine with this iterative approach.

Then Monster Hunter World came along last year and smashed all of those rules. Not the least of which was that the fact that all DLC for Monster Hunter had always been completely free. Though to be fair, MHW only asked you to pay for superficial, silly things like costumes and gestures. You could ignore all of that junk and still enjoy the game to the fullest. All of the major updates that added new monsters and quests came at no cost to players. What we didn’t see coming was a paid DLC expansion pack.

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Thanksgiving Food Coma

I didn’t do as much internet work over the long weekend as I should have. I did exactly the bare minimum, which was to upload a new episode of Ryan’s Pop-Tarts Review. To be fair, it is by far the most effort I’ve ever put into a Pop-Tart video.

Oh, and I also added in all of 2019’s Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up posts. Yes, I’ve been keeping track all this time. I would link to each one individually, but it’s each one from January to September and… who could really be bothered? Let’s be honest, that feature is 100% for me. If you’re really interested, there’s a “search by category” dropdown box on the left-side menu for a reason.

Later this week (probably): Another Spooktober 2019 review (though I do not guarantee a video version), and also I have the urge to write too many words about Monster Hunter World: Iceborne.

Enter BABYMETAL

It began snowing yesterday morning, and hasn’t stopped since then. My world is white and slushy and simultaneously pretty and gross. Trees are bending and breaking thanks to all the wet snow clinging to the leaves they never lost when we went directly from summer to winter.

But the incoming cold season is going to be tempered by some HOT NEW JAMS that dropped today: Metal Galaxy, the new album from BABYMETAL.

If you haven’t heard of BABYMETAL (do you even internet?), they’re a Japanese pop idol duo who are backed by face-melting death metal instrumentation. It’s a mash-up of complete opposites, and I couldn’t be more obsessed with them. At least, the closest to literal obsession I’ve ever been. Since I first learned of them, I listen to BABYMETAL nearly every day. I’m sure the fascination will fade eventually -they always do- but it’s been going strong for months now.

Metal Galaxy is maybe the only album I’ve had any pre-release excitement for in 2019. Mostly because I don’t keep up with music very well in general, but also because I’ve been desperate for more BABYMETAL. Listening to their previous album, Metal Resistance, over and over forever is fine, but eventually a boy aches for something new. I do put on their first album, Baby Metal, every once in a while, but the truth is that I’m not really into that one all that much. It leans a little too hard into J-Pop for my liking. But it laid the groundwork for an act that was refined and perfected in Metal Resistance, so I can’t be too down on it. Plus it has “Gimme Chocolate!!” and you’d have to be a soulless monster to dislike that song.

Back to Metal Galaxy, though. Where do you go after you create a perfect album? BABYMETAL’s approach was to go all over the place. From techno to raga to hip-hop to dance, there’s a wide variety of different sounds in this album, each with that mix of idol pop and metal at the centre. While not every song hits the mark, they’re all very distinct. “Oh! MAJINAI” has a weird Irish thing going on, and features vocals from Sabaton’s Joakim Broden. The first half of “IN THE NAME OF” sounds something from Keiichi Okabe, until it mutates into death metal with no actual singing, just metal growls. I appreciate the diversification despite the fact that it makes the album seem a little unfocused. I think it’s a good thing when you couldn’t possibly mistake one of the tracks on an album for another.

We all know that I’m not very good at talking about music, so I’ll wrap this up quick. Metal Galaxy is a very good album. After listening to it only three times, I think I still like Metal Resistance better as a whole, but that could easily change with time and as I get to know the songs more deeply. What I can say for sure is that Metal Galaxy definitely has some of my favourite individual BABYMETAL tracks. “Elevator Girl” is my jam, and I fell hard and fast for “Da Da Dance” which features a solo by Tak Matsumoto, one of my all-time favourite guitarists. “Arkadia” is a suitably epic final song that doesn’t go light on the shredding. And you know how I feel about gratuitous shredding.

Spooktober 2019 – The Deer God

So here’s a new thing… I did a video version of this review. Yup. Actually put a lot of effort into it, too. I’ve embedded it right up at the top here, and you can still read the text version below if you so choose.

It’s that time of year again: October! At that means it’s time for spook-’em-ups of all sorts! Actually, we’re already a week in and I haven’t done even a single thing relating to a pumpkin or a mummy. I am a terrible Halloween fanboy.

So here’s a video game! It’s called The Deer God and it’s from 2016. It’s a video game I bought because… the main promotional image is of a lone deer with eerie, glowing eyes standing atop a stone pillar against a nighttime backdrop with a prominent full moon. You can see why I thought that maybe this would be seasonally appropriate.

Spoiler: It’s not.

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What is a Pop-Tart?

A miserable little pile of frosting.

Overused references aside, I’ve been doing more Pop-Tarts reviews over the last couple months. Since the blog’s been dead and all, I took some time off from the internet and then decided to go back to working on video content for a bit. I’ve posted a video every Sunday for nine weeks in a row now, which is incredibly consistent for a flake like me.

I was actually considering starting other video-based content since I wasn’t doing anything with this blog, but who knows now? Writing is just so much easier. Anyhow, here’s the most recent Pop-Tart Review. It’s mediocre!

Welcome to October

Hey. I’m back. I’m writing blogs again. We could simply pretend like nothing ever happened and there was never an eight-month gap in posting, but for the sake of posterity, here’s the story:

Way, way back in January of 2019, I randomly visited the site of my webhost, TopClassHost. Their website was gone, and in its place was a single page that said (and I’m paraphrasing) “We’re shutting down and your websites will be gone as of March 10. So long, losers.”

So I was faced with a decision: stop blogging, or pay someone else for webspace. It was a tough choice, since TopClass was the cheapest around and I’m too poor to really go with a more ritzy provider. So I did what I usually do when faced with a difficult choice: nothing at all.

Long story short, some time passed and then my good friend Edwin, who knows all about this kind of thing, more or less took it upon himself to make this silly website work again at a reasonable cost. What a pal! I bought him a pizza as a show of appreciation, which may not be a fair trade considering how much time and effort he’s put into this.

Now we’re getting into the Halloween season, but I don’t know if I’ll be posting much in that spirit. I’ve continued to write junk here and there, on the odd chance that this website was ever resuscitated, so I’ll be cleaning up and posting a lot of backdated material for the next who-knows-how-long. Look forward to the 2019 archive slowly filling itself in!

Post Script: WordPress has changed dramatically in the last eight months and I kind of hate it.