The Doc Speaks: AVGC 2016 Retrospective/Review/Thing

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For those who don’t live in the Tri-State area or, more specifically, the Northern/Central New Jersey area, AVGC (or “A Video Game Convention”) is a smaller sized video games themed expo in the Parsippany area. Created and organized by Paul Solo, the convention has entered its second year.

After starting last September, it picked up a fair amount of buzz and attention pretty quickly.  In both 2015 and 2016, it was held at the Parsippany Police Athletic League center.  However, there has been discussion on if the convention must relocate much like other favorite expos in the past.  Last year, it had an incredible attendance and had an unprecedented crowd to boot!  Guests like “King of Kong”, Billy Mitchell, were live at the scene.  Arcade machines lined up a whole gymnasium room.  A live orchestra among various bands jammed in the day, while a burlesque show took stage at night.  Panelists from all corners of the web took to the main hall and the conference room by the gym.  It was vintage gaming bliss.   At the time, the then-new expo had already found a proper niche and audience.  This year, AVGC returned; back and better than ever!  Jump ahead to continue.

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Ghostbusters the Video Game (2009)

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People have been asking me to check out the continuation of the Ghostbusters franchise for a while… so here it is!

In all seriousness, all of the attention the franchise has gotten recently has encouraged me to dig up Atari’s 2009 release for all major consoles and PC.  At the time, it was quite well received.  In fact, Dan Aykroyd himself said that this is basically the “Third Movie” that fans had been waiting for.  In those 7 years since then, this leaves quite a few questions.  Has it aged well?  Was it as awesome as we remembered?  Did we get the 3rd movie we wanted or were we clouded by nostalgia?  Let’s crack open the Terminal Reality version (for PC, in my case) and crack down on some paranormal activity!  More after the jump.

Author’s Note: Pardon the lateness.  When a tree slams on your house due to a storm, that takes a little bit of precedence over writing, which sucks.  In fact, malevolent ghosts could have been behind it, for all we know.  After all, they say my town is haunted… or at least the large historic hotel is!

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Rare Breed by The Shrine

Writer’s Note: Before I continue, I gotta say that it’s been too long!  Life has been insane and I’ve gone a little more insane too!  There is far too much for me to catch up on.  Movies, video games, music albums, whatever!  But, I’m back in action in one form or another.  Even though I’m not completely back together, I’ll continue to shamble on with this reanimated corpse of a blog as well.  Will I be back to a weekly basis?  Not sure, I’m trying to kick my gaming projects into full gear.  You might get me weekly, maybe every 2 weeks.  But enough about me, let’s talk about THE SHRINE with their 2016 album, “RARE BREED!”

The Shrine wasn’t a band I would have stumbled upon by myself.  That credit goes to some of my good buddies who love hopping bars and venues to support local and smaller name bands.  But none the less, I was intrigued upon hearing their raw and awesome sound at the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn back in October 2015.  It was a joined show between them and Dirty Fences with “Big Truck” opening for them.  It was a sick sound to make for a truly sick show.  While the band did not have the newest CD available to the public yet, I was hooked on their righteous riffs and violent vibrancy.

Now, how would I describe The Shrine?  They’re a thick and fuzzy soundscape of rocky bluesy tradition, colliding with classic yet fresh hard rock alongside a screaming torrent of skater punk rock rage.  Now, what does that mean?  An eclectic mix of rock music sounds blended into a distinct, modern sound.  Containing an energy that brings to mind classic era punk and alternative groups, while bringing a heaviness and raw power associated with a Sabbath era sound; The Shrine proves to be a band that keeps a crowd rolling.  Their most recent release, “Rare Breed”, unleashes a raw and lively sound to capture the spirit of Rock and Roll.

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Film Review: Krampus

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For those who have been following me long enough, you can tell I’m quite the fan of Santa’s Satanic Helper!  Of course, I’m referring to the Krampus.  For those out of the loop, Krampus is a creature originating from Germanic folklore.  He trails Santa around the world to punish naughty children, while Santa takes care of the good.  Specifically, Krampus hits you with his bundle of sticks before sweeping you into a bag full of little hell raisers!  This holiday horror looks like a diabolic monster with coarse black hair all over him, usually with horns and cloven hooves.  For centuries, the image of this creature has haunted and fascinated countless people.

Needless to say, Krampus has slowly been catching on in the United States.  Whether it’s pop songs or animated parodies, the Christmas Devil himself has been popping up in public consciousness.  A couple of years ago, the creators of “Trick R’ Treat” had announced they were bringing this being to life in a new movie.  As of December 2015, that movie is out and the Krampus will punish all of those who dare act naughty during this season.  So, how does the movie itself hold up?  Read onward to find out. (Warning: Some spoilers ahead!)

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Film/Mini-Series Review: Over the Garden Wall

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Since this past year, I’ve been slacking off on watching various shows/movies.  Sounds kinda funny considering I’m all about reviewing movies and shows too, right?  Needless to say, I’ve been catching up on tons of content I’ve missed for a while; whether that be through video release or the divine gift to the masses that some people refer to as “Netflix”.  Among those things was a charming animated dark faerie tale called “Over the Garden Wall.”  This mini-series/movie (either works, depending on who you ask) involves two boys lost in a strange otherworld full of anachronistic people, horrible creatures, and some really catchy music numbers.

It’s not exactly easy to nail down what Over the Garden Wall is.  Is it comical or dramatic?  Is it merely an homage to the works of yesteryear or the expectation of tomorrow?  Is it a tongue-in-cheek folktale or something right out of The Twilight Zone?  And this doesn’t even cover a lot of the mini-series’ countless mysteries that countless fans are still trying to figure out.  That combined with the questions above, people are still coming back for more.  From a small cult hit to a recognized Emmy winning masterpiece, it’s likely one that will endure for a while yet.  But this begs the question, why?  Well, I’ll certainly do my best to try to figure it out!

NOTE:  This review contains heavy spoilers.  While this mini-series has been out for almost a year and was recently released on DVD, you have been warned.

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Guest Review: The Mirror by bound-incubus

Hey, everyone!  Lots of bedlum happening in my own chaotic sector of the multiverse here.  No matter, one of my friends (who I’m addressing by their tumblr name) was eager to submit a review involving the rather new-ish horror film from Britain called, “The Mirror”.  While my opinions differ on this film, my guest is the one doing the review and not me.  Rather than blabbing away on an intro segment like I always do, I figure I’ll let him jump right into it.

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Nostalgia Review: Goosebumps Escape from Horrorland

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“Horrorland may seem like a scary, foreboding place… BECAUSE IT IS!”

NOTE: Pardon the lateness!  Things have been a bit stressful on my end, but the show must go on!

Like many children in the 1990s, there weren’t too many book series that really garnered my attention.  One of the many exceptions was a certain youth-oriented horror series by R.L. Stine, who was already famous for the “Fear Street” series (aimed towards Teenagers).  Of course, I’m referring to the Goosebumps books.  They were fun, creepy, and usually pretty campy.  At times ,the scariest parts about the stories were the at-times graphic cover images.  Despite how silly many view the books nowadays, one couldn’t help but admire the incredible following the books had in the 1990s through the early 2000s.  While there have been attempts at recapturing that bit of lightning in a bottle with series like “Goosebumps Horrorland”, the massive explosion of popularity will match up to such a huge phenomenon.  Considering the series was pretty much everywhere, countless bits of merchandise popped up all over.  This included shirts, toys, a television adaptation, and even a laughable stage adaptation (that was thankfully short lived.) While some parts of the popularity boom sucked (including waves of imitators), others were truly memorable for many reasons!

However, I’m not here to talk about those things so much as one of the video games adapted as a sequel of sorts to “One Day at Horrorland”, the story of the Morris family trying to survive a demented amusement park ran by deranged monsters.  Needless to say, the family escapes from wicked rides and a diabolic game show before one of the monsters offers them tickets for another visit!  The game picks up afterwards where those tickets have magically showed up again.  Against better judgement, Lizzy Morris (from the original story) decides to study them, only for their dark magick to take its toll and abduct the whole family (and Cole, a neighborhood friend) back to Horrorland!  Grab a ticket and join me on this thrill ride!

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Video Game Review: Bloodborne

I won’t lie, I’ve been waiting to cover this game for a while now!  I won’t deny it, I’m a huge fan of From Software’s line of brutally challenging fantasy-horror games!  Since 2009, they’ve delivered punishing, but fair action strategy games which force the player to study the environment and learn from their continuous failures.  The previous Soul series in particular relied on defending yourself from danger while striking the foe at the right time.  You could shield an enemy’s devastating attack while delivering one of your own.  And lucky for you, your armor can sometimes absorb some of that pain.  Of course, this is all to reflect those worlds’ faux-Medieval fantasy analogue.  Bloodborne discards many of those concepts, while still keeping a lot of familiarity.  The land of Yharnam is one emerging into an industrial age.  But, before modernization truly takes off, a sickening plague has washed over the lands.  Of course, this concept should seem familiar to Souls fans everywhere.  However, this one plays it up a bit differently.  Instead of a curse that drains life from the world, this infectious plague spread madness and mutation.  If Souls is gritty pulp, Bloodborne is a hybrid of Gothic and Lovecraftian style horror.  Does it live up to the legacy?  Does it do something different?  If so, is it too far or not far enough?

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Cult Game Review(s): Five Nights At Freddy’s Series.

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Harmless Fun For the Whole Family!

I can be said, it’s rare that I like to tackle things that are widely popular on this blog.  For one, a tidal wave of fandom backlash would wash me away into the internet depths.  For two, I’ve always felt that less popular content deserves some spotlight too, in hopes of elevating it to the more popular stuff already out there.  All that said and done, I’ve been interested in examining the Five Nights at Freddy’s series for a while, for better or worse!  Despite not being exceptionally invested toward the surprise franchise, it’s been an oddity I’ve none the less had an eye on to a degree.  Let’s start our night shift out of hell and spend Five Nights at Freddy’s!

NOTE:  Pardon the lateness.  I’ve been dealing with migraines and minor fever over the past couple days.

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Game Review: The Kingdom of Loathing

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You’ve probably seen the name from time to time but wondered, “what exactly is The Kingdom of Loathing?”  As someone whose played the game myself, I’m glad you asked!  In short, “An Adventurer is You!”  Now, that might suffice for a few folks out there, but for the rest?  Well, let me explain!

Kingdom of Loathing is a relatively long running MMO game released by Asymmetric Publications back in 2003.  It’s also a free to play game, before free-to-play was cool!  Most of the revenue comes from merchandise as well as a donation box fueled by gamers like you!  So, while donating gives you cool stuff, it’s not mandatory and the game stands up well enough without it.  However, I wouldn’t discover this little gem till mid-2005 and again in mid-2006.  The gameplay is based upon choose your own adventure and text-based game mechanics, with stick art sprites as visuals.  Adventuring is done through clicking various locations and performing various actions (many of which are displayed in an MMO combat menu).  However, the writing is driven by nods towards various popular culture works, clever meta-humor, and amusing jokes in general.  So, what makes up this world of stick figures and surreal laughs?  Let’s find out, shall we?

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