The WRaP: Treasure Hunting, Speed Runs and Interplanetary Deliveries
Hello and welcome readers of YouNerded. In this post I’ll be talking as always about what books, games, TV shows and movies I’ve been enjoying lately in the hopes that some of you may discover something new or perhaps join me. The last couple weeks have seen some great game and movie releases in particular, so there is a lot of new content to digest. As huge fans of pop culture, this is exciting. Yes you, get excited! So grab a snack and read along with me as we break down what’s been grabbing my attention in this week’s WRaP.
Futurama is one of those shows that for some reason I always come back to every couple years. It’s got the right mixture of humor, creativity and social consciousness to keep me invested in the universe like many other animated shows can’t. What I like about Futurama is in it, Matt Groening seems to take more creative risks. Fry as a main character is a dreamer, a creator and, ultimately, a genuine person. This combined with the wacky science experiments of Dr. Zoidberg, Professor Farnsworth, Leela and the rest of the crew always make for novel circumstances to be overcome in hilarious ways. The most recent episode I watched saw all the members of the cast switching bodies with one another and trying to figure out how to get back. If you haven’t already seen it, I recommend checking Futurama out. It’s a nice change of pace stylistically from other animated TV juggernauts like South Park and Family Guy.
The Expanse Season 1
Airing on SyFy, The Expanse is the story of the human race in the first years of its galactic expansion. Based on the novels by James S. A. Corey, The Expanse centers primarily around the lives of Detective Miller (Thomas Jane) and James Holden (Steven Strait) as they deal with various political and military conflicts throughout the galaxy. Holden is your typical roguelike bad boy who doesn’t care too much about anything other than not being promoted and sex, while Miller is a man defined by difficult choices and the weight of past mistakes. Both characters are likable and supported by a cast of complex characters that you grow to love. The Expanse in book form was heralded as a space opera done right, reminiscent of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Being compared to Game of Thrones is a big thing to live up to, and so far SyFy channel seems to be doing the show right. I am only five episodes in, but each one has great production value, story progression and interesting visions of what life in the outer ring of the galaxy would look like for humans. The Expanse is one of those sci-fi shows that makes you think, “Hmmm I could see the future looking like this.” This show makes me excited about space like no show since Battlestar Galactica has. Definitely look into it.
Twice a year for the past two years now I have been watching an event called GDQ, or Games Done Quick. Games Done Quick is a week-long streaming event where individuals speed run their favorite games live on Twitch. The event always partners with a charity organization and donates all of the donations and streaming revenue from the week to said org. This year GDQ partnered with the Prevent Cancer Foundation and succeeded in raising over $1 million to donate towards cancer prevention and treatment. Being able to watch people play video games on Twitch and knowing that the money raised goes to a good cause is pretty cool. It’s truly impressive what some speed runners can do in the games they play. I saw one of the scariest and hardest games of my childhood, Resident Evil, beat in an hour and 35 minutes by a runner named Carcinogen. I also saw ProAce Joker beat Halo 4 on Legendary in less than two hours (WTF?). Whether you’re watching for nostalgia or to donate, GDQ offers some truly great entertainment for gamers old and young. GDQ made me realize that there is no “correct” way to play a game… well that and that I’m awful at Resident Evil.
I have unfortunately not been reading as much as I should. I’ve always loved ending my days by reading a bit of a novel or a short story, but recently I haven’t had the time. It’s sad, but I’ve been working two months to finish a book called Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. It’s a fictional story about London and the people who live there. In it, Gaiman mixes fantasy and reality to create the London Underground, a place where the rejects, rebels and free spirits of the world can exist without judgement and oppression. The people of the London Underground aren’t just on the fringes of social classes though, they possess powers and abilities that allow them to live by their own rules. One of the main characters of the book is a young girl named Door. Door has the ability to open doors to any place, any time, no matter where she currently resides. Other professions of the London Underground include rat translators, confidants of fallen angels and barterers of lost information. Gaiman’s stories are a bit quirky and possess an almost Twilight Zone quality about them. I was blown away by Gaiman’s collection of short stories in Fragile Things, and his novels American Gods and Neverwhere have so far met and exceeded my expectations. If you’re looking for a new author to get in to, look no further.
I check Polygon’s news stories three to four times a day. Their stories are concise and are revised once new information about the subject in question surfaces. In addition to their news stories, they offer game reviews, features and opinion pieces to search through. Polygon’s features in particular are some of the best writing about games you can find on the internet (with the exception of YouNerded, of course). Like all video game news and reviews, the more you know and the more you read, the better off you are. I’m not saying that Polygon and YouNerded should be your sole sources on geek/pop culture, but if you haven’t already, Polygon is one to add to the repertoire.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to play Uncharted. Up until about a month ago, I never owned a PlayStation system. That’s right, I didn’t play Grand Theft Auto III or Vice City, wanna fight about it? All horrible mafia impressions aside, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is perfect for someone like me: a new fan to the series who just recently made the jump to a PS4. With Uncharted 4 only a few months away, now seemed like the perfect time to bring myself up to speed on the lives of Nathan Drake, Sully and Elena. Aside from some truly terrible final boss fights in Uncharted 1 and 2, the games play like a gem, with fun parkour elements and simple addictive gunplay. The cover system and puzzle elements may be a bit janky at times, but overall the games are fluid and relatively quick to beat. Very few games are able to capture the essence of Indiana Jones-esque adventuring, but Uncharted feels like a series that’s nailed it. For old and new fans of Naughty Dog and their work, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is worth more than a few hours of your time.
So what crazy bits of entertainment have you been soaking up this week? Made any new TV or game discoveries? Tweet me @Flagcap And be sure to follow us @YouNerded.
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