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Movies to Binge Watch for Tabletop RPG Players July 1, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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It’s Independence Day Weekend, and with venues all over the country still closed due to ongoing safety concerns, many RPG players who play their games on tabletops with pencil and paper will be stuck home unable to resume the games they’ve been playing with their games. So, to kill some time, I’ve been combing through several of the various online streaming services for some films I’ve enjoyed about the subject over the years. I’m going to include a little bit of something for everyone here. Some of these are fictional, some of them are non fictional. None of them, as far as I know, received a major theatrical release.

Just a few notes here. A lot of these movies are made with low budgets, but in my opinion that kind of adds a layer of sincerity to them. All synopsis will include a trailer and a tip as to what online service might be offering it. Honestly this is not a complete list and if there’s any movies you’d like to see in this list post a comment below and I’ll check it out.

Of Dice and Men

This was probably the first fictional film I ever saw that was about Tabletop RPG players so I wanted to talk about it first. This is the story of a DM who has to pull together his players after life and politics causes turning point in their lives. From what I heard, it was based on a play that was originally written for PAX and was adapted to a film. You can find it on Amazon Prime.

Zero Charisma

This was the first RPG-inspired film I had ever heard about but since it had been off certain streaming services for a while. I wasn’t able to watch it myself until recently. This is about people who keep their lives the same for as long as they can. Just a heads up about this one, it has a lead that’s hard to love but a lot of people can relate to him. You can find this on Tubi or Amazon Prime (I’ve also been recently informed it’s on Crackle).

Monster Camp

I have mentioned this documentary a few times when I’ve talked about Live Action Role Playing (LARP) so this is a little something for the LARPer crowd. This documentary goes into great detail about everything that goes into creating a fun LARP, what the players are expected to do, and what kinds of characters end up running it. You can find this on Amazon Prime.

The Dungeon Masters

I first saw this on Hulu many years ago and it’s been floating around streaming services for quite some time. This is more a reality show type documentary about specific gamers and how they deal with their desires to play, and how the game effects their lives. You can watch it on Tubi.

The Dwarvenaut

This is a documentary about the life of artist and businessman Stefan Pokorny of the Dwarven Forge. Stefan’s plan is to start a kickstarter for an all-new expansion set. He needs to generate several million dollars to to release the expansion, can he make it? Sadly, this is not a film you can find on any streaming service right now but it’s so good I could not ignore mentioning it. After it got pulled from Netflix in my region I haven’t seen it return to any other service. If you want to check it out, try seeking out a home video release.

My Thoughts on the First Pokemon Presents Stream June 17, 2020

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The first Pokémon Presents stream was held this morning and we have a ton of new announcements to go through. It was an incredible way to kick off this new format of video announcements and I’m going to break everything that was said down for you.

1. DLC1, the Isle of Armor is out for Pokémon Sword/Shield and you can play it if you purchase the expansion pass on the eShop.

If you already purchased the Expansion Pass off the eShop just update your game and get back into it. Also update Pokemon Home while you’re at it. I’m loving the first expansion so far, since there’s a lot to do in it with an enormous wild area to explore with tons of classic Pokémon returning. I’ve been throwing my PokéBalls left and right. The issue I see is it’s got a serious level grind (All Wild Pokémon are level 60) and one of the challenges requires you to take a low level Pokémon an level it to at least 70. That said it has fun collectibles although those Diglett are near impossible to find in some areas.

2. Pokemon Smile is out free for iOS/Android devices.

It’s free so there’s no reason not to at least test it out but I’m clearly not the intended demographic for it. I tried it out and am currently unable to angle my phone in a way to have the camera see my face while I’m brushing unless I’m brushing while on my knees. Children would probably have a lot of fun with it.

3. Mega Evolution is coming to Pokémon Go‬. Also, you can find Galarian Far’fetched if you play Pokémon Go right now.

Can’t comment on Mega Evolution since that’s not really out yet. However, it was a GEN6 staple…even though Pokémon from earlier Gens could do it. Does this mean we will see GEN6 Pokémon come into Go yet? As for the limited-time event, Far’Fetched found in this event do not evolve into Sir’Fetched. That is a huge bummer but when you take into account that far’fetched are not supposed to even spawn in the US at all, if you previously missed an opportunity to get one, nows your time to rectify that.

4. New Pokémon Snap!!! No seriously that’s it’s title.

I know a guy online who will be very happy about this announcement. It looks incredible can’t wait to play it myself. Honestly I don’t care if it’s merely a remaster of the first game with new Pokémon or if it’s a sequel. Pokémon Snap is a beloved game that deserves attention, it was probably one of the most fondly remembered of the Pokémon spin-off games by the mainstream Nintendo audience.

5. Pokémon Cafe Mix is up for preorder!

This game looks cute but that’s not all I have to say about it. A Pokémon Cafe exists in the real world and it looks almost exactly like this! Now can we get more of them, I want to drink a latte with a Pikachu in the foam! Anyways you can preorder this for free on your platform of choice, iOS, Android, or Switch

6. Mythical Gigantamax Event in Sword and Shield for 1,000,000 player defeats of Zeraora.

Can’t comment on how I feel about this. Don’t know anyone who would want to do it with me and I really don’t think I have a chance by myself. I do think it’s great that all players can benefit together for a combined goal. That is typically the component that makes Pokémon Go Fests so much fun!

That’s not all! Another Pokémon Presents will stream next week. We still haven’t heard a peep about Pokémon Sleep or Detective Pikachu 2 (Nintendo Switch) yet so my fingers are still crossed those will finally be revealed.

Things to Do While Waiting for Pokemon Go to Come Back June 1, 2020

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If you’re reading this as of the time it is being posted, you’ll know that Pokémon Go is currently down for scheduled maintenance. It isn’t expected to come back online until 9PM EST (6PM PST). Seven whole hours of downtime! What do we do until that happens?

Here are some things you can do while you wait for the service to come back online. These are in no particular order.

  • If you have a copy of Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield you can obtain a free Galarian Ponyata right now through the game’s Mystery Gift function. Here’s how to do it.
  • Download the Pokémon TV app to your smart device. It is a free application. A bunch of great Pokémon animated films are currently up for free viewing on it. If you have an Apple TV or Google Chromecast you can also watch the films on your television.
  • If you have a Nintendo Switch, a PokéBall Plus and a copy of Sword, Shield, or either of the Let’s Go games you can still transfer Pokémon into the ball. While you won’t be able to use them in Pokémon Go while the service is down, the PokéBall Plus can still track your steps and respond to your training gestures on its own.
  • Look up some hilarious Pokémon Memes, or make some of your own.
  • Watch Pokémon: Detective Pikachu on HBO if you haven’t already seen it. If you have already seen the film and own a copy of the movie on disc or digital services you should totally watch the film in Detective Mode! It offers a picture-in-picture filmmaker commentary throughout the film that provides a behind the scenes look into the making of the film.

So those were just some of our ideas. If you think there’s any we missed post a comment below and we might add them! Stay safe out there, and Train On!

Pokémon Go is out now for iOS and Android devices. Pokémon TV is out for iOS, Android and Apple TV devices. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are out now exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

Forgotten Halo Media May 9, 2020

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We have started to receive the first game information for the newest Xbox console and players are chomping at the big hoping there will finally be some unveiling of the next Halo game, Halo Infinite, soon. The Xbox brand has been intertwined with Halo since the original console launched back in 2001, and as Halo games shifted from being developed by Bungie to Microsoft’s internal studio 343 Industries, the expanded Halo universe took off.

In 2009, shortly after the release of Halo 3: ODST, Microsoft’s 343 Studios launched the Halo Waypoint app. The app gave Halo players easy access to their online progress, awarded avatar items and offered exclusive video content you couldn’t find anywhere else. At around the same time, Halo: Legends was about to get released into Blu-Ray Disc, and Halo Waypoint was poised to take advantage of promoting the anthology.

Sadly, that app has not been ported to the Xbox One, and as of the time this article is being posted, many of the Halo Waypoint videos have not been officially added elsewhere, either to the Halo Channel app, a special feature in a Home Video compilation or Halo’s Official YouTube Channel.

The Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa was an animated short produced for the Xbox 360’s Halo Waypoint app during its heyday. It was an animated adaptation of a short story included in Halo: Evolutions and was produced by the same company who later went on to animate Halo: The Fall of Reach for Home Video in 2015. Here’s the trailer:

As you could see from the trailer, the titular Mona Lisa is invaded by Halo’s most insidious foe, The Flood. With no Master Chief to help them, the surviving crew must find a way to defeat the parasite or prevent it from spreading at all costs.

The short is horrific and just awesome, telling a gripping story in the Halo universe. It wouldn’t be the only animated short to get neglected…

Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian

A cancer-stricken soldier is recovering from major surgery as his ship is invaded by the Covenant. With the help of the ship’s AI, he needs to figure out how to keep the location of Earth safe from the invaders. The short was absolutely beautiful, told in many parts, with an epic ending. It has never been brought to the Halo Channel, nor has it been officially released on any other medium.

However, those two aren’t the only animated short that has seemingly been “lost”. There is one more.

The Return

The Return was an even shorter animated story taken from Halo: Evolutions. In fact I think it was the very first animated Evolutions short. Set before the events of Halo 4, the short tells the origin of the Elite that was not willing to accept the peace that was settled at the end of Halo 3.

Given that this was such a major component of Halo 4 (and its origin is very glossed over), this is an important story that should have been made a permanent addition to the Halo Channel.

I have no idea why the animated short and The Mona Lisa weren’t included on the Blu-Ray Disc release of Halo: The Fall of Reach, in fact the home video release of that animated special came with no special features at all.

The Experience Halo 4 Launch Event

Experience Halo was an enormous event that many press believed transformed an entire country into the Halo world for one night. If this sounds a little familiar it’s probably because some of this idea (interacting with Halo in the real world) is a reoccurring idea for Halo marketing since Halo 2‘s I Love Bees Campaign in 2004 and most recently has been expanded upon (to great success) for Halo: Outpost Discovery.

In Liechtenstein, the gaming press were treated to a fun little experience in anticipation for the release of Halo 4 on the Xbox 360. They were shuttled into busses and given instructions to complete a series of challenges in some wild environments. Along the way, they encounter the Chief in the middle of a battle. Here’s a press video of the event.

Halo Reach Developer Commentary

Players who picked up a copy of the Halo Reach Collector’s Edition or Halo Reach Legendary Edition received download code to unlock a special video commentary for the game that could be watched through the Xbox 360’s Halo Waypoint application. The commentary video is an hour long as features interviews with four major developers of Halo: Reach.

Due to the fact that the video required a DLC code to unlock it, it’s unknown how many people watched it, but we made a review of it years ago.

So there are a few examples of Halo media that has gone forgotten for all these years. If there’s anything you think I’ve missed, please post a comment below. We could be weeks away from seeing our first in-game footage of the next Halo title, and my hopes are high this will restore Halo to its place as the top game of the next Xbox console.

Halo Infinite is coming Holiday 2020 to the Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC.

What’s Missing from Disney+? April 25, 2020

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Not much gaming news going on with the new choice of developers delaying their games, so I thought I would give the Disney+ service, something that I’m sure is getting a huge boom in new users, a closer look. There are a few glaring omissions from the Disney+ Lineup, in what series, shorts, and documentaries are not currently being offered, even though there doesn’t appear to be contract issues with them. I’m not going to list incomplete show lineups here, as that is kind of pointless since Disney will eventually offer all seasons for the shows they’re currently streaming, but there are tons of great shows, documentaries, movies and shorts that for some reason or another are not currently offered. We’re also not going to list content we know has exclusivity agreements with other services at this time.

Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything – Starring the late Cameron Boyce, this is a show I’ve been meaning to talk about on this site for a while. Boyce plays Kid Fury, a former Pro Cyberathlete who must return to regular High School after a disappointing performance at a major event. Once back in school, he makes friends with three very unique students, and end up forming a new professional gaming clan. The show only lasted two seasons and ended on a cliffhanger that (due to the death of Mr Boyce) sadly will never be resolved, but this show’s charm eventually won no nonsense gamer over. I have no idea why this series is not currently on Disney+. Maybe some day I’ll write a review about this show, it really deserves to be talked about.

TRON: The Next Day – This short film (yes Disney+ does offer shorts) was included as a special feature on the Tron Legacy Blu-Ray Disc and served three purposes. First, it was a coda to the film and showed what the consequences of the film’s events meant for the characters we remembered. Second, it was a proper ending to the storyline of the Flynn Lives ARG campaign. As someone who participated in that campaign (and still has the ENCOM employee badge to prove it) it was nice to see that wrapped up. Third, it set the stage for TRON 3. The short film itself was heavily praised by critics and fans alike after it was released and I have no idea why there isn’t a legitimate place to watch it. Heck it’s not even included as a special feature in the various streaming versions of the film.

Marvel One Shots – Starting with Thor, Marvel commissioned several short films to be included with the Blu-Ray Disc release of several Marvel movies with the intention to bridge the gap between the films and provide insight into some of the secondary characters of the MCU or provide a coda to the film it was attached in. I know at one point Disney considered doing a stand-alone disc release of all the shorts together (kind of like how they’ll bundle some animated shorts together) but as far as I know that didn’t happen. Some of the shorts were funny, like A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer, some were exciting like Agent Carter (not to be confused with the ABC show of the same name that came later), but they all were a nice extra piece to one of the greatest achievements in film history. I have no idea why I can’t find them on Disney+.

Marvel’s Super Hero NYC Tour – Next up is a documentary that originally aired on the now-defunct Discovery HD Theater Channel. This documentary was a fantastic look at the real-world locations that inspired Marvel’s universe mixed with a history of Marvel itself. Since most of the locations seen in Marvel’s comics are real, I’ve always wanted to visit the same real locations Marvel’s superheroes have traveled to compare them to their real location. It featured interviews with plenty of greats including Joe Simon, Stan “The Man” Lee, and John Romita (with son). While I’m certain that Disney had nothing to do with making it (they didn’t produce it and it was made before the MCU started and Disney bought Marvel) I’m assuming Discovery Channel has no further claim on this documentary due to the fact they haven’t aired it in 15 years. I mean it’s a great documentary that mostly holds up today, surely if someone had the rights to it they would air it regularly? There are a few Marvel documentaries already on Disney+ including their 75th Anniversary documentary produced by ABC, no reason this documentary couldn’t exist alongside it.

First off, I want to give props to Disney+ for offering more 4K (UHD) HDR compatible films than any other streaming or cable service currently in existence. The fact that most of their Marvel movies, some of the greatest films ever made, are watchable in 4K HDR is an immediate positive. Some of the films they’re offering in 4K HDR (as of the time this is being posted) are surprising, and a few are missing 4K support that is badly needed. Some of these are badly needed due to the fact their HD transfers were horrible, like for Disney’s The Black Hole. Tron Legacy’s Blu-Ray transfer looked better than what’s in Disney+. Can someone please tell me why Hocus Pocus can currently be watched in 4K HDR, but neither Tron nor Tron Legacy, films that actually were produced on 70mm film, can’t? What about Avatar? Disney has four sequels in development and a whole world devoted to it at Animal Kingdom? While they’re at it, where’s a 4K version for The Rocketeer?

Then there’s some stuff that’s missing but at least I could tell you why they’re missing. Marvel films Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp are exclusively locked on Netflix for the time being along with a bunch of animated shorts including Paperman and Frozen Fever.

Oh and finally, where’s Cloak and Dagger? That first season was without a doubt the best series Marvel Television ever produced, don’t tell me it’s going to be trapped on Hulu forever.

Why Won’t Disney Sell Sea Salt Ice Cream in the US Parks? April 17, 2020

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I know you’re looking at the title and thinking to yourself, what the heck does ice cream or Disney World have to do with a video game website? I can assure you, the answer is EVERYTHING. Before we get started, let me tell you about a beloved gaming franchise called Kingdom Hearts.

Kingdom Hearts, developed by Square Enix, was a real-time RPG that thrust the player into the same worlds of Disney’s animated and theatrical films. Joined by Goofy and Donald, the player is tasked to travel from iconic world to world to help its inhabitants and defend it from the Heartless. In Kingdom Hearts II, the player takes control of Roxas, a boy spending the final days of summer vacation with his friends in a place called Twilight Town. Their favorite snack to eat at the end of the day is Sea Salt ice cream, iconic blue ice cream bars that the characters say are the perfect mix of salty and sweet. Later, you meet Scrooge McDuck and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, as he tries to recreate his favorite ice cream, Sea Salt, with the intention to sell it.

In later games, sharing a Sea Salt ice cream on top of Twilight Town’s clock tower would become just as iconic an image as anything from Disney’s wheelhouse.

But what about Sea Salt ice cream itself? Salty? Sweet? Sounds delicious! Can I try some? The answer, it seems, is complicated. Since Kingdom Hearts II’s release, a demand for actual Sea Salt Ice Cream to exist has been at the forefront of nearly every video gamer’s wish list. In fact, plenty of gaming gourmets over the years have published their own make-your-own recipes.

Here’s one of my favorites, from Nerdy Nummies.

So this is great right? Heck there are tons of other recipes out there. Here’s Binging With Babbish’s version:

While these look delicious, they have two problems. One, these are made based on fan theories and who knows if the taste is meant to match what the game’s director had in mind. Second, people who don’t know how to cook or lack access to an ice cream maker might have problems making their own. Surely there’s gotta be some place, maybe a supermarket, we could buy Sea Salt Ice Cream?

Shortly after the release of Kingdom Hearts II, the game’s Director was interviewed and asked about the inspiration behind Sea Salt ice cream. He responded it was something he remembered eating while at Tokyo Disneyland’s DisneySEA Theme Park, and he had assumed it was a well known Disney dessert that fit the Disney license. This made a lot of sense because Disney has ALWAYS provided iconic dessert treats at their parks ranging from chocolate covered Mickey-shaped ice cream bars to the iconic Dole Whip.

Editor’s Note: As of the time this editorial is being written all Disney Theme Parks worldwide are closed due to COVID-19. They are expected to reopen although no official restart date has been announced at this time.

Sea Salt Ice Cream sold at Tokyo DisneySEA is not a complete match to its in-game appearance but it does match taste. In the real world, it isn’t colored blue, it’s white, and it would be served in a container (with spoon) and not on a popsicle stick. I have seen more recent video of it served in other ways including what looked like a seashell shaped wafer sandwich, so it may only be sold in that form these days. The problem is it only seems to be sold at one location in the entire world, Tokyo DisneySEA. As someone who lives in a country with two Disney Parks in it (neither one of them being DisneySEA), I’d like that to change.

Unlike Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park which has clones all over the world, DisneySEA is currently relegated to Japan and no clone of it exists at any US Disney park. That said, I can think of literally hundreds of potential places in the US parks something like Sea Salt Ice Cream could be sold. Let’s take a look at some shall we?

In Disneyland’s California Adventure Park at Anaheim, Pixar Pier would be the perfect location to sell Sea Salt Ice Cream on the West Coast. The pier was inspired by the old timey seaside attractions Walt Disney (Ed Note – RIP) would have remembered from his youth. If you’d prefer a location outside the park, the Paradise Pier Hotel on Disneyland property matches that same inspiration. Sea Salt Ice Cream would fit in perfectly there.

On the Walt Disney World side, let’s talk about EPCOT. In EPCOT’s World Showcase, they sell all sorts of imported goods including foods and snacks. To this day I still remember how good Norway’s gummy candy was. Since Sea Salt Ice Cream is (currently) only sold in Japan, bringing it stateside could classify it as an imported snack. The Japan Pavilion is known for selling sushi, why not offer Sea Salt ice cream there?

Another place they could be sold could be on Disney cruises. Disney has prided themselves on offering the best cruising experience in history with large beautiful ships that offer unique theatrical shows, high end movie theaters, and access to private islands. You can even order the same Mickey ice cream bars you’d find at the Disney parks from room service. Why not stock the ship up with some Sea Salt ice cream? It could be offered through room service or maybe at Castaway Cay.

Those are just some of my ideas for where Disney could sell Sea Salt ice cream at the American Disney parks. Now if you’ll excuse me, all this talk of ice cream has made me want some.

Takeaways from the PS5 Reveal March 18, 2020

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Mark Cerny took the digital stage to reveal the technical capabilities of the PS5 earlier today. No games were shown, and we still don’t know a lot about the system (including my brother-in-law’s most requested feature) but I wanted to break this down really quick for anyone who missed today’s stream.

What We Know

  • They’re using an AMD CPU and GPU. The console will support native ray-tracing.
  • The PS5 will be backwards compatible with the PS4 and PS4 Pro, but like with the Xbox One, this will likely be on a case by case basis. They do say they’re focused on testing BC for the 100 top selling games for the PS4, but plenty of PS4 games will likely work on the PS5 by the time it ships.
  • The PS5 will have a new type of custom 3D audio engine inspired by the 3D audio features in PSVR. It will be available for all PS5 games.
  • The PS5 will use 16 GB GDDR6.
  • The internal SSD will have a bandwidth of 5 GB/s. Cerny promises instant load times are possible with that kind of speed.
  • The PS5’s flash memory controller uses Kraken by Rad Game Tools, which should improve compression performance.

What We Still Don’t Know

  • Release Date
  • No games have been shown, but Marvel’s Spider-Man has been used for testing.
  • Storage Capacity of the SSD is unknown.
  • No mention was made of the console’s Disc Drive, or even if it will use discs.

The Lightsaber in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is Incredible, Why Can’t I Buy It? March 18, 2020

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After seeing the Star Wars Trilogy for the first time in 1994, I wanted to be a Jedi. After I got my first computer I played the hell out of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, but while I could play as a Jedi and learn the ways of the Force in that game, I felt detached from it due to the fact it was just that, a game. For decades, fans of Star Wars have wished there was a place they could go where they could feel like they were truly part of the Star Wars universe. Until this past year, the closest they ever got was the Star Tours ride found at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While the ride was great, and certainly groundbreaking for its time, newer technology is available to recreate a film-quality interactive environment. In 2019, ordinary people finally got the chance to visit a part of the Star Wars universe when Disneyland and Walt Disney World opened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Last year, EA released the first Star Wars video game developed under their watch that was actually good, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Set between the events of the original and the prequel trilogies, Fallen Order puts you in the shoes of Cal Kestis, a former Jedi Padawan now in hiding after the rise of the Galactic Empire. When his identity is exposed, he has to team up with a rag tag crew as they travel across the galaxy to stay one step ahead of the Imperial Inquisitors. Here’s the game’s reveal trailer.

Over the course of the game, Cal (and through him the player) must reconnect to the Force and relearn the teachings of his former Jedi Master. Cal’s path to relearn the ways of The Force ties directly into his path to repair the damaged lightsaber he has in his possession. While the player can find all sorts of new lightsaber parts (including emitters, switches, handles, and metallic finishes), the saber itself can only be repaired by certain workbenches scattered throughout the galaxy.

We’ve never seen a Jedi or Sith construct their own lightsabers in the Star Wars films. A scene was filmed for Return of The Jedi’s opening which showed Luke putting the last touches on the green lightsaber he used throughout that film, but it was not in the film’s final cut nor was it restored for any of the film’s Special Editions so I don’t consider it canon (Ed Note: The scene can be watched on Disney+). However, in Galaxy’s Edge, which is entirely canon, visitors are able to build their own custom lightsabers from scratch at a place called Savi’s Workshop. Here’s a video to show what building a custom saber is like courtesy of YouTube Channel Ordinary Adventures.

I know after seeing that you probably think Savi has access to some really cool stuff. Savi’s employees (who humbly call themselves The Gatherers) have admitted that like Cal, they sourced the parts people are using to create custom lightsabers from out of the way locations across the galaxy including old Jedi and Sith Temples. Many of the exact same lightsaber parts Cal can find in Fallen Order can be selected in when building custom lightsabers at Savi’s! In fact, YouTube Channel jackfrags has replicated building a custom lightsaber with some of same lightsaber parts they used in Fallen Order. However, there are limitations to what can be currently built. Unlike Cal, the Gatherers are not Force sensitive and because of that are reliant on technology, training and practice to assist their customers in constructing new lightsabers.

Just be aware this part of the article will include SPOILERS for the ending to Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. You have been warned.

When the game begins, Cal only has access to a heavily damaged single-bladed lightsaber. We find out later in the game who it belonged to and how it was damaged, and it turns out the saber was originally constructed to be double-bladed, but the second blade no longer functioned. As the game progresses, Cal has the opportunity (if the player looks hard enough) to find special workbenches on worlds such as Dathomir that has the tools and components to repair the saber and restore its original double-bladed functionality. This makes perfect sense in the Star Wars canon as double-bladed lightsabers are incredibly rare. Since Darth Maul, one of the first characters we’ve ever seen wield a double-bladed saber, originally came from Dathomir it makes perfect sense his home planet had the tools to restore Cal’s saber to its double-bladed functionality.

Upon completing the penultimate planet in the game’s story, Cal’s fully restored double-bladed lightsaber is destroyed, this time wrecking all of its functionality. Only one planet was left in the galaxy with the supplies Cal needed to construct an entirely new lightsaber, Ilum, the home of the now disbanded Jedi Temple. Thankfully, the caverns underneath the Temple were mostly untouched, and an advanced workbench with a single Kyber Crystal were still in the cave.

That scene look cool to you? I want to buy that lightsaber right FREAKING NOW! Unfortunately, as of the time of writing, you cannot build a custom double-bladed lightsaber or custom saber with detachable ends like Cal was able to construct in Fallen Order at Savi’s workshop. Nor is a replica of any version of Cal’s lightsaber sold at the upscale gift shop, Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. However, I believe I now understand the reason why. Did you notice Cal use the Force to give a little vibration to the saber just before igniting it for the first time? If Savi’s employees are correct, Cal is using the Force to perform the final alignment of the Kyber crystal, a very complex and dangerous task made easier by Cal’s use of the Force. If my theory is correct, the workbenches at Savi’s are currently inadequate to assemble more complex lightsabers and since the Gatherers are not Force sensitive, that would make it impossible for them to replicate a lightsaber of high complexity. It just emphasizes the danger that knowledge really can be lost and destroyed. Hopefully this will not remain a permanent issue for Savi’s people, but it is unlikely it is something they will be capable of in the foreseeable future.

I want to applaud the game’s artists took the time to offer players access to the exact same components currently used to build custom lightsabers at Galaxy’s Edge. I couldn’t tell you if the game took inspiration from the parks or vice versa (the parks did launch before the game did) but that attention to detail should be commended. If you haven’t picked up Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order yet (on your platform of choice) you totally should. It’s an incredible game I recommend to anyone who has a love of Star Wars and owns one of the platforms it’s currently available on.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is out now for the PC, Xbox One and PS4.

UPDATE: The May 4th Patch has added even MORE components that are normally for sale at Savi’s Workshop into the game. Apparently my theory that Fallen Order’s developers were talking to the people who run Disney’s theme parks is accurate. Now, when can we get a Cal Kestis saber for sale in the parks?

Oh before we close out I want to give a shout out and special thanks to the YouTube Channel VincentVision who filmed one of the funniest videos I’ve seen at Savi’s and for letting us feature that video on this article as well.

Can Anyone Identify this R-Rated 90s HBO VR Flick? February 12, 2020

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We’re doing this again and I apologize. Years back, I asked you guys if you would help me identify an early 90s made for TV movie that aired on the Disney Channel at least once. Sadly, it didn’t work and to this day I STILL don’t have a name for it. However, in the spirit of the season, I humbly ask for you to help me with a different film from a later part of the decade that aired on a different premium cable channel.

When I was a teen I had access to the HBO network and would frequently watch mid-90s action flicks like Demolition Man, Mission: Impossible and Independence Day on it. It was how I first saw classics like Real Genius and Wargames. It also broadcasted tons of different B-movies I never remembered being shown in theaters. Today, I’m going to ask you guys to give me its name, if it is in fact real.

I just want to give a warning here before I talk about the film’s synopsis. This film, if it wasn’t some dream of mine, was a hard-R rated movie. Because of that it is full of sex and violence (and all the visuals that go along with that). The subject matter I’m about to talk about may make some people uncomfortable and if that is the case I recommend skipping the rest of this article.

The film centers around a detective, an ex-soldier from a future war that had long ended, tasked with protecting an infamous celebrity actress from harm. The actress hadn’t done much work of note at the time the film starts, but had recently seen a resurgence in popularity due to the fact a scene from one of her first movies had been modified into a popular interactive sex game without her knowledge or consent. Following this new notoriety, a police task force had been assigned to protect her after she received several very believable threats. The ex-soldier assigned to the task of protecting her is also recovering from the death of his partner (who ironically before he died was one of the actress’s fans). Along the way the main character and the actress he is protecting fall in love. Essentially, the film is a futuristic version of The Bodyguard.

Unfortunately I can’t remember names, actors or actresses in the film. As far as I know, no actor I recognized at the time was in the film. The only identifying evidence I could remember about the film was that the protagonist was previously addicted to a fictional narcotic the film called “Hellraiser”. No, I’m not kidding that’s what it was called, although it might have been spelled “Hellraizer” or “Hell Raiser”. The narcotic was said to make killing enjoyable to its user. As such it was issued in mass quantities to the soldiers fighting, and after the war ended these soldiers had to deal with the consequences of their addiction. Users would even have a distinctive tattoo on their forearms showing they had used the drug at some point in their lives, looking like a biological hazard symbol. I don’t remember if the film ever mentioned if these tattoos were received as part of the Army unit they were in, if it was the soldier’s choice to get them, or the tattoos were some futuristic side effect of the drug.

At the film’s climax, the main character is forced to play a Virtual Reality game to help him find the person responsible for threatening the actress. I’m assuming that there was no budget for 3D CG gameplay because the VR game is depicted to the audience as live action real footage. However it did have a gameplay announcer that could be heard over a loud speaker (insert your Unreal Tournament narration jokes here) The VR system the protagonist uses was created by an old combat buddy of his who also had to deal with the consequences of addiction. He is even able to find the drug he was addicted to as an in-game power up, and is forced to take it to give himself a badly needed advantage. I believe it is implied in the film any drugs taken in the VR game will actually be administered to the user.

At the end of the film, the actress is safe but the man who protected her tells her he can’t be in a relationship with her anymore as he has become re-addicted (due to the events in the VR game) and must leave her to get clean again.

An IMDB search failed to come up with any leads for this particular film although it succeeded in helping me find some other great B-movie gems I saw on the station at around the same time. It is not the film Cyber Tracker starring Don “The Dragon” Wilson, even though the plot had some similarities and aired on the station around the same time, moments in that film don’t match up to my memory.

That all having been said I wanted to applaud the film, if it turns out it actually existed it dealt with some intense subject matters that are only now being talked about openly. How does an artist that is still alive deal with the consequences of what happens if their work is perverted without their consent? How do former soldiers deal after returning to their lives in peacetime? What is the possible future of VR? This is all addressed in a (presumably) low-budget film full of sex and violence.

Does anyone know it’s name? I can imagine a lot of online reviewers would love to take a look at it.

UPDATE: I have been given a tip it might be the 1996 film Terminal Justice starring Lorenzo Lamas and Peter Coyote.

I won’t know for sure until I can find that film to watch myself as it doesn’t seem to be on any digital or cable streaming service in existence right now. A million thanks to Lammakian for finding this title! Now if only I can find a retailer who will rent or sell me a copy of the film to verify it myself.

Sequel Speculation – What Villains Exist in the Spider-Man PS4 Universe? January 25, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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We’ve made it to 2020 and all eyes are on Sony and Microsoft as they plan to release new gaming consoles this holiday season. With the extreme success of Spider-Man on the PS4, it’s all but certain Insomniac will be making a sequel. In fact, most critics who follow the gaming industry are currently putting even odds on the chance Spider-Man 2 would get announced at the same time as the PS5. With that announcement looming, I thought it would be fun to post an article here detailing all the possibilities a sequel to this game would mean.

The Spider-Man franchise is rich with great characters, both heroes and villains, and many (but not all) of those characters were name dropped in the PS4 games. What do you say we take a closer look at all of the villains that we know to exist in the Spider-Man GamerVerse, and speculate on what we might see in a potential sequel. Just be aware, this article will be filled to the brim with SPOILERS. Read no further if you haven’t completed the game and all of its DLC.

Villains We Fought in the Game

With this list I want to clear up everyone we interacted with for certain in the previous game.

  • Kingpin – Wilson Fisk is seen in the book and the game. The Kingpin of crime kept an empire by running New York through fear and intimidation. In essence, when he is taken down the power vacuum created in his absence made the events of the game fall as it did. We did not see anyone break him out of his maximum security prison, despite several planned attempts my his men. He also did not appear to have broken out during the Sinister Six escape so it is theoretical he could still be in prison at the start of the next game.
  • Mr Negative – Martin Li was the first officially revealed villain of the game when it was shown at E3 2017. He is obsessed with bringing down Norman Osbourne after an experimental treatment meant to help Harry Osbourne transformed him into Mr Negative. He is currently being held in The Raft.
  • Rhino – The Rhino is a man trapped in an enormous indestructible suit he cannot remove, making him a perfect candidate for joining the Sinister Six. After the six’s successful break out he was defeated by Spider-Man and is currently held in the raft.
  • Electro – The PS4’s version of Max Dillon is not a being of pure energy but according to Otto Octavius he has the desire to become one, leading to the design of his new suit. We know he went through at least one costume change before the events of the game because several of the university students dressed in his classic comic book appearance. We don’t know for sure how he got the scar on his face, but my theory is he got it after The Raft used him as an electric generator to offset their electricity costs.
  • Scorpion – Mac is a part of the Sinister Six and his tail’s toxin made for one very trippy boss fight. We know his origin in this game is probably close to what happened in the comics. J. Jonah talks about it during one of his podcasts as Jameson bankrolled the creation of the Scorpion as a way to fight Spider-Man. Jameson takes no responsibility for the Scorpion’s actions as he felt it was unfair Mac didn’t tell him in advance he was nuts. He’s currently being held in The Raft.
  • Doc Ock – Otto Octavius is possibly one of the most tragic figures in the history of video games. On the one hand he was the original designer of Spider-Man’s iconic Advanced Suit, on the other he is responsible for genocide. In this game, Doc Ock is suffering from a degenerative neurological disease similar to Parkinson’s or ALS (Lou Gehrigs Disease). His condition is not genetic, he believed it was environmental. It’s not fatal, but it eventually causes total paralysis. That’s why he made his mechanical arms in this game, to serve as a way to cope with that disease. However, his obsession with destroying Norman Osbourne compelled him to use his arms for evil. For his crimes, he is currently serving time in The Raft.
  • Shocker – He shocks people, to quote Michael Keaton. He also made for one of the best chase sequences in video game history. While Doc Ock was able to provide him an improved suit and Martin Li was able to get him out of jail early in the game, he was not asked to be part of the Sinister Six when it formed during the Raft breakout and we never saw him in the game’s final act. It is likely he is still imprisoned.
  • Hammerhead – A mafia boss with a steel plate in his head. In the three-part DLC story “The City That Never Sleeps” he becomes obsessed with bringing back Marvel’s version of the Mafia through making himself immortal. He is seemingly defeated by Spider-Man with the help of Silver Sable during the conclusion of the DLC.
  • Black Cat: Don’t know if I can call her a villain but she deserves a mention in this list. In this game, she has a past with Peter Parker that is only hinted upon. It would have been great to learn more about their past relationship. Her performance was a highlight for many players, and I would love to see her come back for a sequel!
  • Tombstone – After coming into contact with a rare chemical as a child this guy is huge and nearly unbreakable. His side mission arc in the main game could have been chopped off and sold as DLC if Insomniac was particularly evil. Thankfully they aren’t and the Tombstone side missions were a fun diversion during the game’s main story. He is seemingly defeated and rendered powerless (possibly temporarily) at the end of his story arc.
  • Screwball – The newest Spidey villain made several side mission appearances in the main game and it’s DLC. The fan reaction has been…mixed. On the one hand, her missions made for some fun challenges. On the other hand…make sure to like and subscribe!
  • Taskmaster – He creates…tasks…for Spider-Man to master…during the events of the main game. After completing this tasks a fight breaks out between the two and Taskmaster is seemingly apprehended. We see a version of the Taskmaster exists in the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers game by Crystal Dynamics but it is currently debatable if this game takes place in the same universe as that one. I hope it does.

Villains Referenced in the Game But Didn’t Appear

We never saw these characters in person but we were made aware of their existence through various nods.

  • The Lizard – Dr Curt Connors experimented with lizard DNA in an attempt to regrow his own arm. It went badly and transformed him into the Lizard. We see someone dressed as him at the Halloween party so we know he exists but the actual villain’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
  • Mysterio – The ultimate showman able to fool heroes with little more than smoke and special effects. Mysterio was famously killed in a Daredevil story written by Kevin Smith. We know he exists in the PS4 GamerVerse because someone was dressed as him at the party and someone using his alter ego’s name makes a cameo appearance in Spider-Man: Velocity.
  • Sandman – We saw a vial with his sand in it as a collectible. Spidey mentions he won’t open it as he worried it would release the Sandman. If the Sandman does appear in a sequel, it is possible the Sandman is not in that container, or something could happen to the container outside of Spidey’s control.

Villains We Met in the Game’s Extended Universe

These characters are canon to the PS4 Spider-Man universe dispute the fact we never saw them referenced in the game.

  • Echo – Maya Lopez was originally a Daredevil villain created by David Mack. While she is deaf she is able to perfectly imitate what she sees. She appears in the novel as an aide for the Kingpin. Originally I thought the woman running the Kingpin’s Art Museum Exhibit was Maya but it wasn’t her.
  • Swarm – Bees. My god. Made his first in-universe appearance in the original comic story Spider-Man: Velocity, which takes place between the events of the main game and the first DLC.
  • Blood Spider – This psycho Spider-Man cosplayer who despite having no spider powers has a unique ability to copy the fighting moves of others appears in the novel as a hit man for hire. You could make an argument he is actually the main villain of the prequel book.
  • Arachnid – He first appears in all his glory early in Spider-Geddon #0. I haven’t read that book yet so I can’t comment on what happened to him. I admit I love his GamerVerse design.

Villains We Have Met But Don’t Exist Yet

  • Green Goblin – Does not appear in the game but Norman and Harry Osbourne do. While it is unclear who might take up the Goblin in a potential sequel, Norman is a logical choice. He is an obsessed egomaniac willing to risk everything to fund the generic treatments he hopes will save his son. We also see a prototype Goblin mask and the goblin’s signature pumpkin bombs in Norman’s suite.
  • Venom – GR-35 seems to be its official title, as it was written on the tank we find Harry in during the game’s post credits sequence. People are worried Harry Osbourne will be the Venom host instead of his traditional villian character, but as far as we can tell the two have not bonded. Eddie Brock, Venom’s traditional host in the comics, does not appear in the game but we do know that he exists and at one time worked for the Daily Bugle. Eddie’s signature was clearly written on Peter’s goodbye card.
  • Wraith – Yuri’s faith in The Law took what must have been a complete dive following the events of the second DLC. While we don’t see her again after she is arrested for attempting to kill several mafia members, she leaves a trail of Sopranos-esque recordings for Spidey to follow in the third DLC. Highly likely we will see her back in some form.

So that’s a list of names and the current whereabouts of most of Spider-Man’s rivals in the PS4 game. It is highly likely some of these might appear in a potential sequel. Who would you like to see in Spider-Man 2? Post a comment below with your ideas.