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The Thirteenth Floor (Spoiler-Free) Review December 6, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Reviews, Site Videos.
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Yesterday, Maniac watched a video by Doug Walker where he outright begged to see a film which explores the themes of what could happen if a video game player fell in love with an NPC, and all the emotional weight that entailed. I’m writing this to tell Doug that film exists. Twenty years ago, Maniac watched a film that has stuck with him ever since he first watched it. However, he seems to be of a minority opinion about the film, as it is rarely discussed in film circles. This might be due to the fact when it released, some other films…of a more striking visual language…were also out and have since gone on to become more recognizable.

How do you know if the reality you exist in is real or a simulation? If you knew the truth for sure, what would you do with that knowledge? What if I told you these ideas are not new, and they have been explored in films other than The Matrix? I’m talking about the 1999 film The Thirteenth Floor, which combined a cyberpunk-worthy story with film noir style.

So now that you saw this review, do you want to actually see the movie? Sadly, finding a copy of it on home video has been a challenge for at least the past fifteen years, although the film can be purchased digitally. While it isn’t currently available on any streaming service, it has shifted around streaming services over the past few years, and it is likely to return to streaming at some point.

Have you seen the film? What did you think of it? Write your thoughts in the comments below.

Maniac’s Kitchen – Nerds Rope Rainbow Flavor December 4, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Maniac’s Kitchen, Reviews, Site Videos.
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Maniac has been aware of Wonka’s famous Nerds candy for all of his life, but when he visited the supermarket earlier today he saw something new, Nerds Rope.

Nerds has partnered with Wizards of the Coast, the current publishers of Dungeons & Dragons, to offer free digital modules for Nerds candy buyers who redeem their sales receipts on their website. So, to celebrate this promotion, Maniac decided to try this new Nerds Rope for the first time. How does it compare to regular Nerds? Watch and find out.

More Pokeballs Coming to Pokemon Go December 4, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Pokémon Go’s creators have promised they’ll be offering more free in-game Pokéballs this holiday season, and they produced this adorable trailer to highlight the promotion. Check it out.

Just leave the truck out front. I’ll take care of the rest.

Pokémon Go is out now for Android and iOS smart devices.

Conversations With Curtis: Episode 7 December 4, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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I know we are a little behind on this, but I felt we needed to report on it anyway even if it is a little late. Over the past year the lead actor from the cult classic PC game Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh, Paul M. Stetler, has been interviewing his fellow cast and crew from the game. Last week, he posted the latest episode of the series, Episode 7.

In this episode, Paul conducts an interview with the game’s lead writer, Lorelei Shannon. It is a MUST WATCH for all fans of the game. If you missed it, you can watch it below:

Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh is out now for the PC.

Halo Infinite Launch Trailer November 30, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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This afternoon, we got our first look at Halo: Infinite’s single-player campaign in what feels like a year and a half. Today, Microsoft and 343 released this new launch trailer in glorious 4K. Take a look!

Halo: Infinite is coming December 8th, 2021 to PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Avengers: Holiday Deep Dive November 29, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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The holidays are upon us and the team for Marvel’s Avengers are showing off what is coming next for the game in patch 2.2. Oh and there’s a certain spider coming to PlayStation 4 and 5 versions. Give it a watch!

Avengers is out now for PC, Xbox One, Stadia, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and PS5.

Date Nite – Ghostbusters Afterlife Review November 28, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Date Nite, Reviews, Site Videos.
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A movie we’ve been waiting thirty years for, Ghostbusters Afterlife, has been released this past week. Maniac, after just finishing watching it for the first time, is going to give his thoughts about the film. This is a SPOILER-FREE review. In the video below, Maniac discusses his history with the franchise, his feelings about the film, and gives his idea for what he’d like the next Ghostbusters film to be.

Halo: Infinite – Forever We Fight Trailer November 28, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Microsoft has just released this new full-length trailer in anticipation for Halo: Infinite’s release. In this video, we see the history of humanity and how it relates to Halo. There’s some great production value on this one and it’s clear Microsoft is trying to invoke those classic trailers from Halo past. Take a watch and decide for yourselves how it stacks up.

Halo: Infinite is coming December 8th, 2021 to PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Japan Travel Tips – A Closer Look at Capsule Hotels November 23, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Japan Travel Tips, Uncategorized.
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Happy Tuesday! Welcome back to Japan Travel Tips, where we have highlighted some of the best independently produced travelogs about Japan in the hope to assist anyone interested in traveling to the country. One of the first articles we posted highlighted some of the various options travelers have for finding a hotel throughout the country. My intention with that article was to show a smattering of different hotel options in that first article, and then expand on each option in later articles. Today, we’re going to talk about one of the most unique options to stay while traveling in Japan, and possibly the best option tourists who plan to travel light and see as much of the country as they can might have, the Capsule Hotel.

Japan’s Capsule Hotels are world-famous. Instead of providing a guest an individual room with a bed, Capsule hotels are communal hotels where rows of beds are provided throughout the floors. However, each capsule is self contained with its own bed, power outlets, and a small television. For a cheaper fee per night than any hotel I could find, guests are provided their very own capsule to sleep in, and also provided lockers for their belongings, robes, pajamas and travel toiletries. There’s even communal areas for social exchange with the other guests. It is very popular among locals who stayed out too late and happen to miss a train home.

I wanted to start this article by re-featuring the best overview video I could find on the internet about the subject. Only in Japan produced this video about the Capsule Hotel, and I thought it would be the best way to outline what the experience is like to people who may not be from Japan.

So now that you have a better idea of what a capsule hotel is, you probably want to know what the experience of spending a night there was like. Well, I wanted to feature the great work of Tyler Williams, who traveled with his wife Safiya Nygaard to Japan and documented their experience staying at a capsule hotel. The video is incredibly in-depth with them talking about every aspect of their stay.

Next up, I would not be able to continue this article without providing another fantastic video by Abroad in Japan. In this video he does a great job showing the common areas available to guests.

I must stress some major takeaways from these videos. There are positives and negatives to staying at a Capsule Hotel.

  • Capsule Hotels are among the cheapest accommodations for spending a night in Japan. They are a perfect option for people traveling on a budget.
  • Capsule Hotels are a good option for travelers who are traveling alone or traveling with a companion of the same gender. In some cases, Capsule Hotels could be marked “Men Only” or “Women Only”. In the case of a hotel that accommodates men and women, they will usually assign separate floors for men and women that cannot be crossed. Married couples would likely be happier staying at an alternate accommodation such as a Love Hotel or Onsen.
  • Guests are provided access to a personal locker while staying at the capsule hotel. Pack light if you plan to stay overnight at one as you’re going to want all your belongings to fit in your locker.
  • I wouldn’t recommend staying at the same capsule hotel for their entire stay in Japan. Your best option is to stay at one while visiting an area for one or two nights, then taking a train, boat or plane to your next destination and stay at a different accommodation.

Hope you’ve all been enjoying Japan Travel Tips. We are going to take a break on this series for the time being. At the time of this writing there are still travel restrictions on visiting the country, and I felt that while this information is fascinating and has been useful to me in the event I could ever take a vacation there, I will probably not be able to visit for some time. Until next time!

Lifeline Games Getting Major Updates For Apple iPhone and Apple Watch November 22, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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When I purchased my first-ever Apple Watch earlier this year, I became obsessed with catching up on all the unique games and applications that I had been missing out on for waiting so long to purchase one. While Apple has a great bunch of first party pre-loaded programs like its ECG and Fitness apps, a few games that can either only be played on or played best on the Apple Watch have been released. One of the games I saw listed in nearly every “Best of” Apple Watch games lists were the Lifeline series of games by 3 Minute Games.

Lifeline was one of the first games I ever played on the Apple Watch, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It had a simple interface, which functioned similarly to the interactive novels I remembered reading as a kid. However, the thing I appreciated the most about the game was that it could be played on either my Apple Watch OR my iPhone, and that any progress I made on one device would transfer to the other. Since the game required making a player wait in real-time for certain story sections to progress (similar to the alternate reality game Majestic I played back in 2000), being able to respond to the game as soon as the story event unlocked was a major immersive factor for me and helped blur the line between reality and game.

Earlier this year 3 Minute Games announced they were back in development of a new game and would be releasing updates for their games, starting with the original Lifeline. Part of that update would include native support for newer iPhone screens (like the iPhone X, 11, 12 or 13), as well as native support for the more recent versions of WatchOS. The version of Lifeline I played on my iPhone 12 Pro and Apple Watch Series 6 likely included this update.

While there is a Lifeline 2 (and I fully intend to play it someday), as far as I can tell, it was not a direct sequel to the original Lifeline, it features a new story, a new setting, and new characters. However, 3 Minute games has produced more games that served as follow ups to the original Lifeline and continued the plotline of the original game. The next game to follow Lifeline is actually called Lifeline: Silent Night. After completing the original game’s epilogue, I fired up Silent Night only to discover that my Apple Watch and iPhone progress were not in sync. I immediately stopped playing, and held out hope the game would get an update. This morning, that update finally came. A major free update was just released for Lifeline: Silent Night, and progress syncing is now possible between iPhone and Apple Watch.

I applaud 3 Minute Games for continuing the support of their applications this long after their original program release, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for them and their applications. Hopefully Taylor will be okay.