#420: The Spider, Part 2

close up photography of spider web

Photo by chivozol on Pexels.com

This blog post is a continuation from the previous one, about the most recent Spiderman game that came out on Playstation 4.

Slinging around the city as spiderman is probably worth the price of the game on its own. Insomniac Games, the developer of this game, were able to make the transition between slinging around and running over walls completely seamless, so that your character, Spiderman, never feels completely powerless or like he’s being taken out of his smooth travel. The travel always feels smooth and there are no spontaneous stops. The city is also almost crafted in such a way where you’re inclined to jump around everywhere you can, as there are, like I said in the previous blog post, collectibles scattered around.

On top of the collectibles, there are also miniature missions you can complete once you unlock the radar signal for each area. It documents the police radio, which tells you when arrests or robberies or other such events are taking place around you. When you follow those hints, they clue you into what you can do to fix the situation.

There’s also a grand, bombastic score to the game that’s uplifting and makes you feel like a genuine superhero. There’s also the voice acting, which is phenomenal; Spiderman feels and acts just like you would expect Peter Parker to. He’s sappy, nerdy, and a genuine person. I have to give props to the game developers for nailing his attitudes so well. They really knocked this part of the game, all the characterization, out of the park.

Overall, this game truly feels like a spiritual successor to the Batman Arkham series, which is wonderful because I loved those games so much. They really inspired me to like Batman more than I did previously, more than even the movies did.

#419: The Spider, Part 1

spider web

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

First of all, I absolutely hate spiders. Cannot stand them, would absolutely stomp and crush one with my foot right now if there were one crawling around me. I would feel fine knowing no more spiders existed in the world, even despite all the residual damage that would probably cause to other things that I don’t quite know about. Like for example, a few months ago Alex and I realized that there were webs on the ceiling high above us that we hadn’t noticed before. Those spooked the ever-living hell out of me, and I couldn’t imagine how long those have been there for. Screw spiders and everything to do with them, honestly.

However, this blog post is not going to be about spiders. It’s going to instead be about a game I’ve been playing recently, titled Marvel’s Spiderman, and it’s really, really cool. It reminds me of Arkham City, which I played a lot of and loved immensely back in the day. I think I even still have it on Steam somewhere. It’s the same basic theme, though; you sling around the city and get to play a vigilante, you work during the day and do other things when you can, and you stop crime as much as possible. You collect collectibles throughout a vast open world, and your job is essentially to either follow the main storyline or complete a whole bunch of available side quests and missions that naturally pop up around you. It’s fun to mix both, as I usually end up doing that when push comes to shove.

Spiderman sports an extremely intuitive gameplay though; you get to sling around the entire city and no one bats an eye at you, unlike in the Batman games where you’re supposed to be cloaked and hidden a bit more.

#186: The Infinite

couple love romantic relationship

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Infinity. Not about Infinity War, we’ll be talking about “going infinite”: a process in Magic: the Gathering and Hearthstone that involves getting enough rewards from each limited run that you are able to keep going without paying for more gems or other in-game currencies.

Allow me to explain. In a previous blog post, I discussed what “limited” runs are. Sealed, draft, and more. In Hearthstone, there’s a mode called “The Arena” which is very similar to drafting, except you don’t keep the cards you collect there and you draft from picks of 3 each time. In the arena, you can pay either 150 gold or $1.99 to enter, and every time you enter, the price stays the same. When you wrap up a run, after 3 losses or 12 wins, whichever happens first, you get rewards at the end, including gold and dust and packs. The gold you can use to then purchase another arena run, thus going infinite. If you’re the kind of person who’s talented enough to always have an arena run going, it’s because the gold you earn from your runs succeeds the gold spent to play arena.

In magic, while doing sealed runs, I went infinite for awhile. Probably about 5 runs in a row. Not very long, but my sealed runs would consistently reach around 6 to 7 wins, thus earning about 2,000 gems, the requirement to enter a sealed run. Again, it’s going infinite because you’re always earning enough currency to enter another time.

The reason I’m discussing “going infinite” here is because it’s a really cool process, and if you do well enough, you can really just continue playing as much as you like. You can always have a limited run going regardless, depending on how good you are and how good the cards were that you got. It’s up to chance, in some ways, but it’s also up to you. I like to think the impetus is on you more than anything else.

#178: The Endgame

person s playing chess

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

On Sunday, Alex and I saw Avengers: Endgame, and today I’ll be talking about the nature of watching movies in a theater surrounded by noisy people on opening weekend.

To the right of us were three presumably teenagers who talked through the first 15 minutes of the movie, before two of them got on the phone, left, and never came back. The third teenager stayed behind and watched the movie regardless. He was excited to see the movie, I guess, unlike his friends. It would’ve been miserable if they had stayed, so I’m glad our luck worked out for us.

The movie itself was phenomenal, a cinematic capstone to a franchise spanning over 10 years and over 20 individual films. To think something like this was possible, a franchise with so many movies and plot points dependent on each other, and centered around comic books, superheroes, and genre studies, is incredible. I had to take a second after the movie was over to absorb everything I had just witnessed, but also to take in the sheer magnitude of this achievement in film. It’s a shame that movies of this genre will likely never be recognized in the academy awards or anything like that, beyond Black Panther getting nominated for Best Picture last year. I still haven’t seen Black Panther either!

Afterwards, Alex and I discussed our general thoughts about the movie. Our overall opinion was positive, though with a few misgivings related to the handling of Captain Marvel. Having the characters time travel, and having them eventually meet up with their families and loved ones, felt poetic and like a fitting end to their character arcs. The scene where Captain America picked up Mjolnir was epic, as well as the completely anime-esque fight scene that came afterwards. Thor gave us a lot of laughs, and the scene where Doc Strange opened up all the portals for everyone to jump through was fantastic, too. Overall, great film.

#177: The Spoiler

racing ferrari auto racing

Photo by Brian on Pexels.com

Today, I’ll be discussing spoilers, specifically the ways in which we try to avoid spoilers for the sake of added entertainment and experiences. Not the car kind of spoiler.

By this point, Game of Thrones will have aired, and I’ll be freely able to talk about what I had spoiled for me on Sunday night and Monday morning. On Sunday, I saw Avengers: Endgame, partially because Alex and I wanted to avoid spoilers as much as possible. We both weren’t sure how long we could wait without being spoiled on the biggest movie of the year. I work with kids, so the likelihood for me was even higher, as they would certainly be talking about the movie during class or in the hallway over the next couple days.

Ironically, though, I was spoiled on the thing I cared more about, that being Game of Thrones. Alex and I decided last night to watch the episode later on Monday instead, because we were both tired and needed rest. Alex was working 8-4 this week, which means she had to get up at 4:30 am. On Twitter, I muted a bunch of keywords related to Game of Thrones, such as Arya, Hound, Samwell, Jon Snow, hashtags, etc. Unfortunately, before bed I decided to look at Twitter anyway and saw someone tweet out: “Vengeance child saves the day!” Now how am I supposed to know to mute the phrase “vengeance child” so it doesn’t appear on my timeline?

In the morning of the next day, I read the full spoiler on Facebook from a friend’s post: “Arya killing the Night King set to Titanic music.” So there you go, I was spoiled on perhaps the biggest moment of the entire episode, on the day I was supposed to see it. Such a shame, but it won’t diminish my enthusiasm to see this episode come to life.

Iron Man 3 Trailer Thoughts

While I normally write poetry on this blog, I have recently watched the new “Iron Man 3” trailer and think that I can use this blog as an outlet for a few of my thoughts regarding it. If you haven’t seen the new trailer yet, I’ll embed it right down here:

As an avid comic book reader and fan of Marvel movies (except for “Captain America”, “Iron Man 2”,and “Spiderman 3”,) I am very, very excited for this movie. Hot off the events that transpired in “The Avengers”, this movie is sure to include a great character arc in Tony Stark that we haven’t seen since the first Iron Man movie. Right after a near-death experience at the end of “The Avengers”, Stark wants to stay calm and protect the one love in his life. However, as you can see through the trailer, relaxation is unlikely. The Mandarin always brings out the best in Tony Stark, in my opinion. Both are masters of wit, and match each other in intelligence. I cannot wait to see their interactions in this one.

“Iron Man 3” introduces the Hulkbuster, the Iron Legion, Deep Space armor, the Extremis suit, and much more. Any fan of the Iron Man comics should be with me on this one: this movie is bracing to be a truly epic film, worthy of watching.