If those elements appeal to you, you might get a kick out of this odd adventure game.
Set aside one night where you don’t have to be anywhere, pour yourself a gin and tonic, and play the madness that is Jazzpunk. This is a two-hour game, so no excuses!
Much like kimchi or Napoleon Dynamite, Jazzpunk is a very polarizing, love-it-or-hate-it experience. Imagine if a surreal 1960s spy film was written by Tex Avery-- with art by John Kricfalusi of Ren and Stimpy fame.
If those elements appeal to you, you might get a kick out of this odd adventure game.
From The Partridge Family and Josey & The Pussycats to Wyld Stallyns and The Soggy Bottom Boys - television, cartoons and movies have created some awesome and memorable 'fake' musical acts that have some real music chops!
These are our favorites off the top of our heads - what are yours? Who did we miss?
Ariyanna: Jem is my pick too!
Our regular readers may have deduced by now that I've left the chilly temperatures of Atlanta behind and taken up residence in the warmer clime of the Southwest - namely, the outskirts of Phoenix. What better time to discover a podcast that everyone else who's cool has known about for the past two or more years?
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I've been spending copious amounts of time getting to know the treasures that hide in the (supposedly) fictional town of Night Vale. The podcast Welcome to Night Vale is a presented as a community radio broadcast for a town with decidedly Lovecraftian overtones. With its half hour format, which includes ominous and cryptic messages from unlikely sponsors and a musical interlude known as The Weather, this podcast has become a great companion for the hours I have spent unpacking copious amounts of boxes and driving around unfamiliar roads trying not to rely too heavily on my GPS.
As a new resident of the Southwest, I enjoy the descriptions of the town of Night Vale (and its much maligned nearby neighbor Desert Bluffs) - from the dog park that no one is supposed to acknowledge to the Mayor who shouts denials of just about anything at her daily press conferences, it seems like a place I'd like to visit - assuming the Sheriff's Secret Police would allow an outsider admittance.
If you're a fan of Lovecraftian horror and dark humor, check out Welcome to Night Vale. You can even visit their website, where you'll find a wide selection of items available for purchase, including t-shirts and girl scout patches. My favorite is the flask that reads, "If you see something, say nothing, and drink to forget."
The podcast began in 2012 and is still going strong. New episodes are released twice monthly, and this spring they are going on tour! I've already got my tickets, and can't wait to see the live show in April.
If you don't hear from me after that, you can assume I accepted an internship at the Night Vale radio station - and begin offering ritual sacrifices for the safety of my immortal soul.
My group played Ticket to Ride, an easy-to-learn strategy game where you draw color-coded cards to build your train routes and complete your destination tickets. You can only do one action per turn, which keeps things simple. Also, if you are a little OCD, lining up the little train cars on their route blocks are oddly satisfying.
It didn’t take very long at all for the 3-out-of-5 of us that had never played before to pick up the rules and play. The original US map version is pretty simple and we played ‘fair’ - but I can definitely see how you can play dirty and steal other peoples’ routes and be cut-throat -just like a real railroad tycoon!
Despite the name (which the game itself acknowledges is misleading) you won’t be handling very many guns; instead, you’ll be fiddling with the building’s wiring to open and shut electronic doors, turn light switches on and off, and create traps for the guards. There are multiple ways to solve each puzzle, from stealthy and sneaky to violent and glass-shattering, so you can be whatever style of spy you wish.
Since the game is short and sweet, you won’t feel burdened to play again and see how different decisions affect the story.
The writing is full of British humo(u)r, but just enough to be charming, not insufferable. It’s fun to pick the snarkiest dialogue choices in the cut-scenes. Even the achievements are clever, such as “Title Finally Relevant” for actually holding someone at gunpoint. There’s even an achievement for punching someone 100 times, if you’re feeling especially feisty.
Gunpoint goes for $10 normally, but goes on sale for much cheaper fairly often. I paid full price, and don’t regret a cent. I’d even recommend getting the soundtrack, if only to encourage a Gunpoint 2.
If you’re on the fence, there’s a free demo, so feel free to check it out before committing.
Why don’t you just shoot him?
-The Dungeon Dame
There she was--Princess Leia, defying Grand Moff Tarkin, pushing her way past the “walking carpet,” and accusing Han of trying to get everyone killed. I wanted to be Princess Leia so badly. She was intelligent, sarcastic, and tough. Okay, she was pretty, too, even with the cinnamon buns on her hair. I suspect every Geek Girl has had that urge to be Princess Leia at least once.
To add to my experience, I also waited in her autograph line with my then 12-year-old daughter, just so that I could have a 3-minute conversation with Carrie and say how much I admire her work. Depending on the celebrity, a con guest can usually stand in line and wait to say hello to that celebrity, even when not actually buying an autograph. (When trying this, make sure to ask the staff member at the line whether that celebrity is willing to just chat.)
When it was our turn to meet Carrie at her autograph table, I was not disappointed. Carrie engaged with my daughter and admired her fairy wings. She also looked directly at me and said my daughter was pretty, just “like her mother.” I will carry that compliment to my grave.
The piece de resistance of Dragon Con 2011, however, occurred at Carrie Fisher’s panel. One of my favorite scenes in Star Wars: A New Hope occurs when Princess Leia banters with Grand Moff Tarkin. (One of these days, someone needs to explain to me whether “Moff” is the guy’s first name, an actual title, or just a pet nickname...)
At panels, I sometimes try to get in line to ask a question of that celebrity. When a celebrity is as charming and quick-witted as Carrie, the panel is never dull. I asked her about the “British accent” she uses in the film, and she gave an amusing response, which isn’t entirely flattering towards George Lucas’s scripted dialogue, but that’s a discussion for another time.
Here is the actual recording of that panel - I’m near the 20:00 mark, around the time the fire alarm goes off.
Yes, that is Carrie Fisher quoting Star Wars lines at me at Dragon Con. Not many can say that Princess Leia recognized their foul stench, but I can now say I’m one of those few.
by Miss Sally
DA:I’s female characters are strong. They’re admirable. The most powerful positions in Thedas belong to women. They are True Strong Female Characters - as opposed to the one-dimensional stock characters we often see in pop culture.
Here are 3 Strong Female Character types and the ways DA:I embraces them - not only for their strength, but also for their depth.
Leliana, Josephine and Cassandra are the leading ladies of the Inquisition. Strong-willed and driven, these three and the military commander, Cullen, run the organization. They have varied skills and wield their power in distinct ways: Leliana is the spymaster, Josephine is the ambassador, Cassandra is the soldier. Each expresses genuine emotion, tied to a complex backstory and a multifaceted personality.
The main religious leader in Thedas is the Chantry’s Divine. The Divine is always a woman. In Inquisition, the Divine Justinia is worshiped as a pious and compassionate leader who is one step away from a being a deity.
Though they have smaller parts, it is worth noting that the leader of the Grey Wardens and the leader of the mage rebellion are also women who face adversity head-on and display interesting character development.
Cassandra is the perfect example of a female NPC who can tear up the battlefield. Players can build Cassandra to be an invincible tank. She may be unrealistically strong, but let’s be real, so is our male tank, Blackwall. Cassandra is loyal, stubborn and often comically self-righteous. Unlike your typical Strong Female Character, she does not employ gratuitous violence, and she has nothing to prove. There is a hilarious and unexpected interaction with her halfway into the game that brings to light her love of a good old trashy romance novel. Did I mention girl is my in-game BFF?
And, of course, as mentioned above, the Empress Celene engaged in a romantic liaison with Briala. Their love story is as tumultuous as your average heterosexual affair.
As a side note, Bioware deserves credit for creating Krem, Iron Bull’s lieutenant. He’s a trans character whose sexual partner preference is not addressed (at least, from what I’ve seen).
DA:I has shown itself to be balanced and thoughtful when it comes to gender roles. The only NPC who makes the occasional sexist remark is Iron Bull, but he is also portrayed as a horny (literally and figuratively), yet lovable brute from a society with unique gender roles.
Portraying females as leaders, warriors and lovers without stepping into tropes takes willful finesse, and BioWare has pulled it off.
Now let’s talk about Cullen’s sexy man-abs and how they improve the female gamer experience. Just kidding!! Ahem.
In the age of digital distribution, it’s unbearably easy to have TOO MUCH entertainment at your fingertips, and I’m often too paralyzed by choice to make a decision as to how to spend my time.
Plus, add in all the recommendations from friends, especially those 80+ hour games and 100 episode shows that you simply MUST watch/play/read. Since this is something I struggle with, I won’t be so cruel: here are some games with the length of a long-ish movie that you can enjoy for the duration of a nice evening in!
You burn things, the game rewards you, and you get sucked down into the burning-things-for-fun lifestyle. To be fair, the game is kind of an eye-rolling metaphor for wasting time on casual free-to-play games and mindless consumerism, complete with with a countdown timer and a pay-to-play mechanic (with in-game money, of course. It’s a metaphor, not actually an EA game*). However, the charm of the game and the eerie story drawn you in enough to keep the ~message~ from being too patronizing.
This game is a bit pricey, but reasonable compared to the cost of a movie ticket. I’d keep an eye on it and wait for a deep discount. That is, unless you’ve got some money to burn.
I prefer a Disco Inferno,
The Dungeon Dame
*Just kidding EA, please send me a copy of Dragon Age: Inquisition, TIA!
I am a giant wuss. I do not want to go see the latest gorefest horror movie nor do I want to see the new creepy ghost movie with all the jumpy camera work and squeaky music. It is not my thing, because I get scared. I do not watch The Walking Dead or American Horror Story - those are way too scary for me! I get creeped out just from the commercials for them.
I wanted to watch Supernatural, I didn't really know how creepy some of the episodes were until I started. Now I am hooked so, here is my list of tips for coping with this show when you a big ole wuss like me.
1. Try to get someone to watch with you. My husband told me 'this show is too spooky' and retreated to the safety of his computer. He also put on headphones so he couldn't hear the audio. He's also a big wuss.
2. Get a pet to watch with you. You could cuddle with your dog and it could protect you from the evil that is coming for you. Or it could posses your dog first and the dog could eat you. Or if you have a cat you could place a cardboard box next to you on the couch so maybe they will sit with you and tolerate your company. I don't think the evil will posses your cat though, something tells me spirits are like “oh hell no” and will leave the cat alone.
6. Have your phone or laptop handy.
When the situation gets tense and the creepy music is playing and the blond in the tank top is just about to get eaten/possessed/burned alive/kidnapped a good distraction is welcome. This looks like a scary moment, time to check that email from Groupon…
9. Check the locks AGAIN, turn the alarm system on. ADT will fight the evil for me.
10. Clear your head before you go to bed. If your TV time is at night you need to ensure that all the ghosts and creepy stuff does not become nightmare fuel. I recommend looking at cute animals on the internet or go hug something--here is where the aforementioned significant other or pet is helpful. I don't know if you should hug a cat though, it might get mad.
We will get through this together and even though we are wusses we can still enjoy spooky programs!
It sounds competitive, but the game’s tongue-in-cheek humor keep it from getting too serious. The laid-back atmosphere, smooth jazz soundtrack, and strategic gameplay make this game hella chill.
You can spend cards to earn more cards, fuse cards into powerful franken-cards, and basically have tons of fun building your decks. Card City Nights is a whole FOUR bucks, even when not on sale, so it’s friendly to those post-holiday budgets.
Mustaches only! No exceptions!
-The Dungeon Dame