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Review – Passengers

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Review – Passengers

By guest columnist David Leninhawk.

“Passengers” has an interesting concept for a story. In the future, Earth has become overpopulated and too expensive to live on. A corporation has developed a new revenue stream out of colonizing distant planets, recruiting people to move there for free in exchange for paying 20% of their future earnings to that corporation for life, and sending cruise spaceships to and from those planets by putting people into “hypersleep”, where they can be preserved without aging for the duration of the journey.

In this film, a ship moving at half the speed of light takes 120 years to get to the colony. The film begins with a malfunction causing one passenger aboard the ship to wake up out of hypersleep 90 years before the ship will reach the colony, meaning he’ll grow old and die alone on the ship before it reaches the destination since he’s somewhere in his 30s.

Click the jump for a spoileriffic review of director Morten Tyldum’s space-age action(sort of) romance(?).

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Review – Allied

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Review – Allied

By guest columnist Narrator26.

This week saw Robert Zemeckis’ Allied land to mixed reviews from both critics and audiences alike. Considering the highly impressive and hugely influential CV of the underrated Oscar-winner, this return must be considered a disappointment as I, too, found Allied to be a missed opportunity.

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Hearthstone expansion and the epic Tavern at Blizzcon

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Hearthstone expansion and the epic Tavern at Blizzcon

by: Joseph Gordon

The latest Hearthstone expansion “The League of Explorers” will launch November 12th with 45 new cards and new single-player missions. The expansion is centered around Warcraft’s Brann Bronzebeard and his team of archaeological explorers. The new cards come with a new mechanic, “Discover” which will present the player with 3 random cards to choose from that can be used by their class. The discovered cards that you are presented with do not have to be part of your deck or collection.

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Review: Magic Mike XXL

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Review: Magic Mike XXL

[Guest Writer: Sara Winchester]

It’s been three years since Magic Mike crawled across a movie theater screen and into your panties. Now after a long, hard wait the next chapter for the Kings of Tampa has come back to those screens today, in Magic Mike XXL.

When the first Magic Mike came out I admit that I was intrigued. Male strippers? Channing Tatum dancing in a g-string? Matthew McWhat’sHisFace in a tiny banana hammock? I was sold before the first trailer even hit.

What I thought I was going to see was a light hearted movie about strippers. For me, the original MM suffered from an identity crisis; I was never sure if it wanted to be a dark and artsy drama or if it was supposed to be the Showgirls for, well, girls. Luckily, Magic Mike XXL has definitely surpassed my admitedly low expectations for a sequel.


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Review: 50 Shades of Grey

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Review: 50 Shades of Grey

Guest Writer: Sara Winchester

There have been few book series that have risen to a worldwide phenomenon since the Twilight series, so it’s appropriate that its successor also started its life trying to be part of the Twilight obsession.

50 Shades of Grey, a nationwide bestseller, started its life as a Twilight fan-fiction. If you are familiar with that universe it has some pretty easy to spot Twilight-esque tropes: shy, plain, ordinary girl Anna who becomes the subject of desire and obsession for the darkly intense Christian Grey. What begins as a seemingly thrilling game of girl-meets-rich-mysterious-bachelor-in-odd-twist-of-fate turns rather dark early on in the film.rs_634x1005-141114095132-10644711_665591963557478_6990185292071945908_n

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Tech Review – Wacom Intous Pro

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Tech Review – Wacom Intous Pro

by Caleb Cleveland

Along with Wacom‘s rebranding of the Intuos line of digitizing tablets for enthusiasts or hobbyists (replacing their Bamboo line), they created the more up-market Intuos Pro line, intended for professional use. Judging from the mid-size tablet I’m reviewing, the Pros are all sturdy and sleek with a black matte finish, and can be set up for right or left-handed use. The active area of the tablet can be used either as a writing surface with the included stylus, or as a touchpad.

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[GDC 2014] Most Interesting Indy Titles

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[GDC 2014] Most Interesting Indy Titles

It was my first time at the Game Developers’ Conference this year. Of course, the hardware was nice, but the most interesting sights for me were showcases of the continuing creativity of the Indy developer scene. I came away quite interested in several major titles either currently available or soon to be released, and here they are.

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To Timidly Go: Are Sci-Fi Film Tropes Holding Back Sci-Fi Gaming?

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To Timidly Go: Are Sci-Fi Film Tropes Holding Back Sci-Fi Gaming?

With souped-up graphics and processing power, Playstation 4 and Xbox One will bring us one step closer to truly “cinematic” video games. But could game developers’ long quest to emulate silver-screen cool actually limit the creative potential of next-generation console titles?

This question came to mind after the recent burst of publicity for Destiny and Titanfall, two of the “most anticipated” next-gen games. They are also both science fiction titles — a gaming genre that leans especially heavily on Hollywood-derived tropes.

A quick glance at the current console era shows just how often such games mimic cinematic sci-fi — and how limiting that approach can be when designers with a blank virtual slate fall back on the constrained conventions of film.

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For Star Wars Fans, Is No News Good News? Why a little less info could be great for the franchise and its followers

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For Star Wars Fans, Is No News Good News?  Why a little less info could be great for the franchise and its followers

When Walt Disney executives refused to release new Star Wars: Episode VII details during last weekend’s D23 conference, millions of (fan) voices suddenly cried out in terror.

In the audience, there were boos and moans of disappointment; on social sites like Twitter, there was an outpouring of indignant rage.

“How are they not even announcing the title of Episode VII? Why isn’t JJ on stage right now? So lame,” one tweeter huffed. Another quipped that “Disney proves they understand the modern Star Wars fan by disappointing them and taking their money.”

Now hold on a minute. Is this just pent-up anticipation, or has the D23 reaction from Star Wars fans crossed a line into something more like “entitlement”? The most outraged complaints seem to assume not only that Disney has an obligation to release new Episode VII details whenever we expect them, but that failing to do so somehow bodes poorly for the quality of the final film.

The past several decades of geek/fan cultural ascendancy (spurred in no small part by Star Wars fandom) have surely contributed to this response. Expectations for constant streams of pre-release news are at all time highs — thanks not just to Hollywood but the gaming and tech industries, too.

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Rush Bros – Review

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Rush Bros – Review

At first glance, Rush Bros. looks and plays a lot like many other great 2D platformers, such as Sonic, Mario or Super Meat Boy. The designs are simple, but fun, stylish and elegant. Our heroes are (theoretically) nimble and acrobatic, able to jump off of walls and perform a slide for a boost in speed. And the shifting environment, changing in time to the music, makes the choice of song actually an important gameplay tactic.

However, thanks to unimaginative key-lock challenges, extremely problematic controls, and challenges that fail to utilize the unique mechanic effectively, much of Rush Bros. is frustrating and feels strangely empty.

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