Monthly Themes

‘South Park: The Stick of Truth’: Nazi Zombie Princess Kenny refuses to die!

For fans of the show, South Park: Stick of Truth is a faithful representation of the series. From the art style to the driving force behind characters actions, everything about this game oozes South Park. Though there are many engaging and entertaining battles, there is but one that will keep players struggling to stay in their seats-the final battle for control of the universe with Princess Kenny.

‘Indie Game: The Movie’ is a fascinating look at the creative obsession with video games

With the documentary rooted as independent as its subjects, Indie Game: The Movie started as a Kickstarter project and went all the way to Sundance in 2012, with aspirations gripping the palms of Swirsky and Pajot’s hands. The film primarily follows two indie game projects, Super Meat Boy and Fez, as their creators struggle through video game development, from their highest highs to their lowest lows. In between their stories, time with Jonathan Blow of Braid is spent to emphasize how life after success isn’t always what its cracked up to be. Blow talks about being confused for months after Braid came out, because many people simply took the game for face value without appreciating the plot nuances articulated in painstaking detail by its creator for years on end.

‘The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters’ documents competitive gaming and arcade politics

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is a documentary that follows Steve Wiebe’s attempt to break the Donkey Kong high score held by “Gamer of the Century” Billy Mitchell. Director Seth Gordon captures a classic underdog story on film that has you rooting for Steve the moment he takes on the Donkey Kong challenge, even though it means snatching the crown from Billy. More importantly, King of Kong demonstrates the importance of good sportsmanship.

‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ set the (low) bar for film-video game tie-ins

Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (E.T.) is a critically acclaimed film that was release in the summer of 1982. The video game adapted from the film on the other hand, is unequivocally known as the worst video game in history. Its legendary disappointment reached mythical proportions when Atari buried a mountain of unsold cartridges in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Last year, E.T. was unearthed, increasing the game’s mythos. One lucky (or unlucky) cartridge made it to The Smithsonian, a symbol of the video game crash that lasted three long years from 1982 to 1985.

‘Super Mario Bros.’ favors experience over story

Some of the first video games I ever played were Pac-Man, Centipede, Tetris, and Pong. However, it wasn’t until I played Super Mario Bros. that I saw the true potential of gaming. It was time to say good-bye to stationary backgrounds, and hello to side scrolling platformers.

Steven Soderbergh Month: Soderbergh, Clooney, and the nature of celebrity

Both Soderbergh and Clooney have tackled many different questions over their careers, but together, they consistently aim to understand celebrity in all of its glory and danger. The pair seem to inherently understand the allure of movie stars, and their most successful collaborations are celebrations of those we elevate above the status of “actor” and to the level of pop culture Gods.

‘Contagion’ is a chilly examination of the dangers of connection

The most unsettling element of Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion (which is, by any metric, a deeply discomfiting film) is its plausibility. The film has a clinical approach that underlines how possible its central crisis is and how powerless we would be to stop it. The film has a global scope and an all-star cast, but what resonates most is the idea that this could happen. Anywhere. Anytime. To any one of us.

‘Side Effects’ is a twisty tale of shifting alliances

One of the persistent side effects of what may turn out to be Steven Soderbergh’s final theatrical release is destabilization. The film, aptly named Side Effects, is constantly forcing you to reevaluate who its characters are, what their motivations might be, and ultimately, what kind of story we are watching. In this regard, it becomes an almost perfect capstone to the career of one of Hollywood’s most prolific and versatile filmmakers.

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