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Bawls Cherry Cola Review November 11, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Maniac’s Kitchen, Reviews, Site Videos.
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It has been no secret to most long term visitors to this site we are super fans of Bawls high-caffeinated soda. It has been a staple of LAN parties everywhere for nearly two decades. Earlier this year, the company announced a new flavor was being added to their soda lineup, Cherry Cola.

Bawls was nice enough to provide us a case of their soda for this review. What do you say we try it? Just be aware we are going to say Bawls a lot…

Stay tuned we might be doing more game streaming this week with our supply of Bawls at our side!

Nintendo Switch NES Controller Unboxing and Setup October 14, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Reviews, Site Videos.
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Shortly after announcing their intention to re-release countless classic 8-Bit NES games as part of their premium Nintendo Network service, Nintendo offered their subscribers the chance to buy exclusive wireless NES controllers to play those games on. Well, ours arrived.

We’ve played these NES games on their original platform what do you say we crack these things open and give our initial thoughts about them?

You must have an active paid Nintendo Network online account to be eligible to purchase these controllers. They are only compatible with the Nintendo Switch’s NES game launcher.

Maniac’s Kitchen – Rockstar Energy Drink Gears 5 Promotion Taste Test September 29, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Maniac’s Kitchen, Reviews, Site Videos.
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Earlier this month, we reported that Rockstar Energy Drink was partnering with Microsoft to offer free codes for exclusive Gears 5 downloadable content (DLC) to players who purchase specially marked cans of the beverage. However, in the time since we wrote that bit of news it has been next to impossible for us to find those marked cans of the beverage in any of our local shops or retail stores.

Eventually, we were able to find ONE flavor of Rockstar Energy Drink that had the Gears 5 marking in our area, this one is called the Pure Zero flavor (due to the fact it advertises it has 0 calories). We never tried REG before, so we decided to give it a taste test on camera to see how well it stacks up against other beverages.

Gears 5 is out now for Xbox One and PC.

Halo: Reach PC Preview – Halo Week 2019 July 22, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Halo Week 2019, Reviews, Site Videos.
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We’re kicking off Halo Week 2019 with a highly anticipated preview of the first FPS Halo game to be released on PC in over ten years, Halo: Reach.

We were lucky enough to get an early hands-on preview of Halo: Reach on PC while at Halo: Outpost Discovery. Here are our thoughts about what we got to play (along with a little off-screen gameplay) straight from the show floor.

Halo: Reach is out now on the Xbox 360 and is currently backwards compatible with Xbox One. It is coming to the PC when it is ready.

Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire 2019 Review July 17, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Reviews, Site Videos.
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Every year, the Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire is held at Warsaw Park in Ansonia, CT. The faire is not strictly meant to adhere to historical accuracy, but is heavily inspired by fantasy novels, movies and games. We’ve attended the faire nearly every year since we first heard about it in 2015, and this year was no different.

I already know the first question you have, “What did we think of the event?” In the nearly 45 minute review, we highlight every single thing about the show ranging from its story, the vendors, the stage acts, the food, and we even talk about the show’s grand finale! Check it out for yourselves below!

Special thanks to people at the Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire including Daniel Greenwolf and Allie Notarile for providing us Press Passes this year. Hope to see you all at next year’s event!

Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire Review Part 2 April 25, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Reviews, Site Videos.
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We are two months away from the start of 2019’s Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire which takes place every year at Warsaw Park in Ansonia, CT. After the faire concluded last year, we published the first part of our review with the intention to publish Part 2 prior to 2019’s event.

Performers Daniel Greenwolf and Wyck headlined a special one night only event on the final Saturday of the faire. They intended to perform a death-defying stunt that would push their skills to the limit and put their very lives on the line! How did it go? Watch the review and find out!

In case you missed Part 1, where we spoke about the majority of the faire’s events, food, storyline and vendors you can click right here to watch.

Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire 2019 will take place in Warsaw Park, Ansonia the weekends of June 22nd, June 29th, and July 6th, 2019.

The Best Nintendo Switch Accessories January 31, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Reviews, Site Videos.
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Since the Nintendo Switch can function as both a home and portable game console, and many new players may have gotten a Switch in the post-Christmas shopping season, I thought the time was perfect to talk about some of the best accessories for the console. In this video, we’re going to review many of the Nintendo Switch’s accessories, why you should or shouldn’t get them, and where you should get them from.

There are a few ground rules to this list. First off we acknowledge that people will not use the console in Tablet (Portable) mode, and any accessories we list as being only useful for Tablet mode will be mentioned in the video. With that all said, let’s take a look at the best accessories for the Nintendo Switch!

Making a Pokemon at Build-A-Bear Review January 5, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, Reviews.
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A friend of mine and I decided to do some post-Christmas shopping last week to seek out any Boxing Day deals we could find. The mall we visited happened to be equipped with a Build-A-Bear Workshop, not something we would usually see in the malls we visited more often. If you’re not familiar with the store, this is a place where kids and families can go to make high-quality custom teddy bears. They’ll stuff them for you on site and you can dress them with all kinds of different clothes. At some point I vaguely remembered reading that Build-A-Bear was branching out into licensed toys, and they were now offering tons of exclusive custom stuffed animals you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. This included things from Nintendo (like Yoshi and Bowser), Star Wars, and even Pokémon. As a newfound Pokémon collector, I just had to see if this was still the case. I ventured into the store and was happy to see several different stuffed Pokémon on the shelves, ready to be given new homes. This specific store was having a buy one add a second for only $10 US sale, so I decided the time was right to go in and buy two. Hopefully, I thought, my girlfriend would like at least one of them.

The first question is always going to be which Pokémon do you pick? The store was stocked with plenty of plush Pikachu and Eevee, probably due to the recent release of the Pokémon Let’s Go games on the Nintendo Switch, but they also had Meowth, Charmander and Piplup in stock. Their official website also lists they sold other Pokémon including Squirtle and Jigglypuff, but I didn’t see any in the store at the time. One of the staff members told me they used to stock Bulbasaur, but those flew off the shelves so fast they couldn’t believe it and now fetch very high prices on the resale market.

I opted for an Eevee since I thought it had a lot of good accessory options and a Charmander since it was a central Pokémon in one of my favorite episodes of the original animated series.

After selecting the plush you wanted, you had the option to add a smell and/or a voice box to your stuffed animal. The smell options didn’t appeal to me personally so I didn’t go with it, but the option for a voice box certainly did. Unfortunately, my options for voices were limited. A lot of the custom sound options were sold out at the store we visited, and I didn’t see any Pokémon-specific sound options for sale. They had other options, like real animal sounds but I was hoping for a voice box that could produce a “Pika Pika!” or “Char!”. Heck I would have even taken a match to the 8-Bit Pokémon cry. There was a custom sound box option that allowed people to record any sound they wanted, and I’m sure I could have made a custom Pokémon sound with it, had I wanted to. However, I would have preferred to have an authentic sound taken either from the video game or animated series so I didn’t add a sound to my creation.

Once you have picked out your Pokémon and filled it with everything you wanted inside of it, the store managers will stuff it on site for you. Kids love this part, because it can be turned into a special experience where they jump around and make wishes before the toy is finished.

Part of the experience of creating any plush toy over at Build-A-Bear is to dress your toy up in different clothes. They had several Pokémon themed clothing options available including Poké Ball shirts, Pajamas with Pokémon logos, and since it was just after Christmas, a few limited edition holiday-themed capes and hoods. Everything offered was designed to fit the specific plush toys perfectly, with holes for arms, legs and even ears. I grabbed Pokémon pajamas for my Eevee that fit it like a glove and a green Christmas cape for my Charmander that also fit perfectly. They cost a little extra but the clothes are exclusive to Build-A-Bear, and totally worth getting.

I was a little disappointed by the full selection of Pokémon clothing at the particular Build-A-Bear I visited. There were a few clothing options I saw on their website that my store did not have on sale. This might have been due to the fact it was just after Christmas and most of the stock had already sold out (believe me I nearly got one of the last Christmas capes in the store) but if I had chosen a Meowth I would have loved to buy a Team Rocket outfit for it. The store didn’t have anything like that on the shelves. That said, since clothing was almost completely cross compatible, there was nothing stopping me from buying clothing for my Pokémon meant for different brands like Spider-Man or Star Wars.

Once the Pokémon were stuffed and dressed, it was time to ring them up. The clerk surprised me by telling me I would get an exclusive Pokémon TCG promo card for the specific Pokémon I purchased. The cards were wrapped in plastic and had a Build-A-Bear watermark on them (just like Toys R Us would watermark promo cards they gave out) that I’m sure added to their value in some way. The promo cards were game legal and totally free of charge, making the purchases that much sweeter.

The experience of building these Pokémon aside, the question you should be asking is how good a quality are the Pokémon you can create at Build-A-Bear? Having had the chance to sample Pokémon plush from many different manufacturers including Tomy and even the Pokémon Center, you may have to sit down before you read the next sentence. The Pokémon I made at Build-A-Bear are without a doubt the highest quality plush Pokémon I’ve ever owned. I know that’s a big statement but I’m prepared to back it up with a few ideas why I feel that way.

Perhaps it is because I could control how fluffy I wanted the plush to be, or that I could fully accessorize it’s insides (at an extra price) but I would put Build-a-Bear’s Charmander up against anything I could get at Nintendo NYC. I would offer a comparison to Pokémon plushies I could get at Pokémon Center stores…but I can’t due to the fact there aren’t any Pokémon Center stores in the United States.

The plushes also passed the girlfriend test. My girlfriend loved the Eevee I made for her and she says she would visit Build-A-Bear with me again in the future. Next time we could make something new together!

Hope you enjoyed this unusual kind of review. Have you all enjoyed your Holiday season? We’ve been preparing to come back with all-new content so stay tuned!

Date Nite – Into the Spider-Verse Review December 13, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Date Nite, Reviews, Site Videos.
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We’ve been covering the ongoing news about Spider-Man for the PS4 for some time now and that is because the game is really that great. Marvel Studios did not have a Spider-Man feature-film in theaters this year, but Sony Pictures Animation has. Into the Spider-Verse is a 3D animated film following the character of Miles Morales, a boy who gets the powers of Spider-Man at the same time his dimension collides with the Spider-Heroes of other universes.

Our host, Maniac, was unable to convince a single person he knew to accompany him to the film. Sony Pictures, it seems, has still left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths following The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Is this film worth watching? Was Sony able to produce a decent film? Do not worry, this review contains NO SPOILERS. Watch it and enjoy.

Halo: Fireteam Raven Review October 2, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Reviews.
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Earlier this Summer, the latest game in the Halo saga was released at all Dave and Busters arcade restaurants across the United States. I’m talking of course about the arcade game, Halo: Fireteam Raven. Today, we will be reviewing it!

Halo: Fireteam Raven is an on-rail four-player light-gun arcade shoot-em-up! In it, you play one of four possible members of Fireteam Raven, an elite group of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODSTs) who must survive on the Halo ring discovered by the crew of The Pillar of Autumn during the events of the first Halo game. What happened on other parts of the ring while Master Chief was fighting? Will Fireteam Raven cross paths with the Master Chief? Our policy against posting spoilers in our reviews forbid us from telling you!

Before the game starts, you’ll need to know a few things, especially if you play Halo games on Xbox Live. Halo Waypoint is the official website for the latest Halo news, but you can also use it for tracking your online Halo statistics. Now that Halo: Fireteam Raven has been released, the team responsible for making the game want its arcade players to be able to post their in-game statistics and compare them online. To record your Halo: Fireteam Raven statistics you’ll need to sign into your Xbox Live account on the website, select the Halo: Fireteam Raven Service Record tab and tell the site to generate a QR code. You will need that QR code on your Smartphone Screen before you play the game.

To start the game you can pick one of four possible positions you wish to aim from. In front of each of the player seats is a mounted light gun controller and a SmartPhone scanner. Take your Smartphone out of your pocket, load up the Halo Waypoint website, and pull up the QR code from the Fireteam Raven Service Record page. You’ll need to put your Smartphone face down on the code scanner before putting in your Power Up card to pay for the game to start. If everything went correctly, your GamerTag will appear on your character’s Heads-Up-Display when the game launches. The first time we played the game our stats did not link properly as we started to play but for some reason they incorrectly linked with a new player who started at another position. With no other alternative, we ended up switching our playing positions. Later plays on a different station at a different location gave us no issues signing in.

The game has six missions, with each mission averaging around twenty minutes of gameplay and cutscenes. Over the course of the game you’ll wield many of Halo’s iconic weapons including the Pistol, Assault Rifle, Needler, Plasma Pistol, Rocket Launcher, Shotgun and Plasma Rifle. Each active player can aim their weapon with an on-screen crosshair with a color that matches the character seat they chose. You can fire your main weapon with the trigger buttons. If you have a grenade it can be fired with the thumb buttons. Small arms have to be reloaded, but if the player takes control of a rocket launcher or turret they will not have to reload, and these sections are where the game really shines. We won’t spoil anything but we will say this, after completing the final level, make sure to look above for a nice little touch.

Before we talk about Fireteam Raven’s gameplay let’s talk about its technical specs. The game takes place during the events of Halo: Combat Evolved and uses high-resolution graphical assets from Halo: Reach and Halo: Anniversary to display to two enormous 2K screens. Technically, because the game makes use of two side-by-side 2K screens, the game’s completed image technically is in 4K. I can attest the framerate, while smooth most of the time, is not entirely smooth a hundred percent of the time. To compensate for these moments, the vertical sync will tear. However at no point did I ever notice input lag and my controller never went out of sync with the crosshairs on the screen.

Make no mistake, this is an arcade game and like all arcade games this game is a credit sucker. Regardless of how good your aim is, some damage you just won’t be able to miss. In fact, I was averaging spending around two and a half credits per level. If that might be a little too much for you, I recommend signing up your e-mail address for Dave and Buster’s Rewards. Rewards members occasionally receive e-mails for free gameplay credits with purchase. If you don’t want to do that, you can always consider going on a Wednesday when game prices are slashed in half. Regardless, Halo fans need to seek this game out as soon as possible. Just make sure to register your Xbox Live GamerTag with Halo Waypoint before you do because if you don’t, you’ll miss out on all the rewards playing the game will earn you.

What is probably the biggest shame is that the release of this game is as limited as it is. You can’t currently buy it on any PC or console, and many people do not have a Dave and Busters arcade/restaurant near them. That’s compounded by the factor that Microsoft has no major exclusive game coming to PC or Consoles this holiday season. Also the fact that it makes use of two screens can limit our experience if it ever is ported to home media. That all having been said if you’re a Halo fan or just a fan of good light-gun games you need to seek this game out right now.

Halo: Fireteam Raven is out now exclusively in Dave and Busters arcades.