Friend of the site and all around great person Claire McBroom has graced Backlog with her presence, bringing you, dear reader, surefire steps to winning your Oscar pool. Personally, I plan on picking ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ for everything. I think it is a sound strategy. – Will
A few years ago, some of my most pop culture-obsessed friends and I started a yearly Oscar pool. None of us are professional entertainment or show biz types, and the stakes are low, but the thrill of the win is an incomparable high.
I should know — I’ve won more pools than any of my friends. I’m not bragging, this is just a statistical fact.
A pain begins to throb within me once new World of Warcraft content is announced.
A dull feeling, like longing for a forgotten love or memory of better times, lost to the wind and never fully grasped again. This ache grows into a crescendo of urge and want until, eventually, I give in to this carnal need to launch myself back into the world of Azeroth.
Then…nothing. I play, and as quickly as that drug is shot into my veins, that want phases into a gaming fugue state. I come out on the other end of that tunnel thinking “Oh, right. I just remembered why I stopped playing.”
It’s hard to not notice just how much the WWE has changed since 2010. Where once the product was a misplaced menagerie of much maligned talent that desperately pleaded for the limelight of more mainstream entertainment, the house that McMahon built has steered the ship mostly back on course.
Warning: the following post promotes a product that is not safe for all audiences.
I am sure that indie comedy is a thing. Like adult entertainment, the only way to really know indie comedy is when you see it.
At its most basic, comedy is a solitary act. Double acts are rare these days, so comedians are alone on stage more often than not, talking about very personal things.
All in an effort to make complete strangers laugh.
There are few comedians who have transcended this format, but only in as much as the difference is the size of the crowd. Most comedy isn’t performed in front of sold out arenas or theaters in massive metropolitan centers. Most comedy is done in small clubs, in even smaller cities all over the world.
There is one place that I know indie comedy exists. Every August, the best and the brightest talent in all of art descend on Edinburgh, Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The comedy and art that comes out of the Fringe Festival is some of the most pure content you’ll find on the planet. When you hear about someone’s set from Edinburgh, the conversation is usually about innovation. It was in this context that I came to know about John Robins.
John Robins is an English comedian whose take on the tropes that we often see in stand up — relationships, getting older, social situations, and even about comedy — is a breath of fresh air.
What I really like about Jon Robins’ comedy is his ability to take you down a road you’ve been down before in the setup for a joke and then knock you off track with the punchline. A great many people have experienced what John talks about, which makes him instantly relatable and makes his jokes easy to follow. The direction he takes with his punchlines elicits the “I can’t believe I never thought of it that way” type of reaction.
John has built himself into a bit of a name in the UK comedy scene. There are still very indie qualities about his comedy, among them are a level of humility and self-deprecation. John uses his Bandcamp page to post his sets with the option to pay what you would like, all while asking you not pay more than the ticket price.
The Bandcamp page features 2 albums. 2014’s Where Is My Mind?, which was recorded live and is similar to John’s set from Edinburgh in 2013. Where Is My Mind? is half coming of age story and half coming to terms with being middle aged. Told through a series of anecdotes, this album is a great chronicle of John’s journey through adolescence and into adulthood, told by someone looking back and wondering how he made it.
The other album is This Tornado Loves You, which released this month and is a recording of John’s 2014 Edinburgh set. This Tornado Loves You is a show about love. I know I know everybody talks about love, but John takes it in a direction you don’t expect. Whether it is revealing how comedians get girls to the struggles of being a comedian who is in love, This Tornado Loves You looks at what love is through the warped mind of a comedian. Its only through this lens that you can see how genuinely funny love really is.
I said earlier that I was sure indie comedy was a thing but that like pornography, the only way to know it is when you see it. John Robins is indie comedy embodied. Being indie in comedy is not about being on your own and making your own thing — though it can be — but rather it’s a sensibility that comes from being comfortable with yourself.
Indie comedy is real. I know it because I have seen it.
Nintendo’s recent financial troubles have opened the floodgates for discussion on where the gaming company went wrong. The recent stock price drop and projected decrease in sales numbers are just one of many woes in the wake of the release of the Wii-U. Nintendo’s third-party relationships have failed and a formerly strong user base has been left feeling alienated by a company that seems stuck in the past.
Where did Nintendo go wrong? The lack of first-party titles? Marketing the Wii-U as a family device and failing to show consumers a difference between the new console and the Wii?
Any of these and more are valid criticism. The biggest contributors to the failure of the Wii-U are a poor and misguided use of technology and the internet, the rise and prevalence of game sales changing how consumers view the worth of Nintendo software, and Nintendo’s outright snubbing of an independent game developer community in their own back yard.
Retro City Rampage, Mega Man 9 and 10, NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, Darksiders, Guardians of Middle-Earth, Vanquish, Joe Danger 2: The Movie, Demon’s Souls, Zombie Tycoon 2, Sleeping Dogs, LittleBigPlanet Karting, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Saints Row: The Third, Battlefield 3, Bit. Trip Runner Presents: Runner 2, Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection, Ico, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Shadow of the Colossus, Poker Night at the Inventory, Hotline Miami, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, Binary Domain, Grid 2, Borderlands 2, DmC: Devil May Cry, Bioshock Infinite, Resogun, Don’t Starve, Gravity Rush, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Wipeout 2048, Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, Plants vs. Zombies, Disgaea 3, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend, Rayman Origins, Sine Mora, Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD, Soul Sacrifice, Sonic & All Stars Racing: Transformed, Urban Trial Freestyle.
If I were to add up the cost of each of these games as they cost today on the PlayStation Network store, the exact total–and I did the math twice–would be $862.13. You may be asking yourself what is so special about this specific list of games. Why the unnecessarily tedious math?
These are the games I have received in the one year and two months that I have been a PlayStation Plus member. The cost of that membership thus far? $85, thanks to a Christmas discount last month on the typically 50 dollar a year subscription. This doesn’t even take into account the discounts I have received on games and DLC.
PlayStation Plus is by far the greatest value in gaming and may very well be why Sony is poised to take back the console gaming crown.