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8-Bit Beginnings: Art of Atari Book Review

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Late film critic Roger Ebert once argued that video games can never be considered art. "No one in or out of the field (of video gaming) has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great poets, filmmakers, novelists and poets," he stated. Whether you agree with Ebert’s reasoning or not, plenty of art has definitely been created over the years to help sell the concept of video games to the general public. Such is the thesis of Art of Atari, which was written by Tim Lapetino and published by Dynamite Entertainment in 2016.

Art of Atari begins with an overview of the company’s complete history, followed by more detailed examinations of Atari’s early approaches to its brand identity, its first coin-op arcade cabinets, and its first home consoles. Lapetino devotes most of his book to the art that was produced for the home console games and the artists who contributed their talents to establishing Atari as a pioneering leader in video game entertainment. The boo…

SDCC 2018 Super7 Toy Preview: Planet of the Apes, Universal Monsters, and He-Man

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It's the middle of summer, so that means that the annual San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) is around the corner. Here's a sneak peak at some of this year's SDCC toy exclusives from Super7 that have caught my attention (all pictures are provided courtesy of Super7):

The Gods and Monsters of the Cosmos: An Analysis of Alien: Covenant

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With "Alien Day" coming up on April 26th (you know, as in LV-426), I figured that I should get around to doing something that I've been meaning to do for months: post a review/analysis of last year's Alien: Covenant. I've been putting this off for some time because even though I love this movie, I've come to the conclusion that there’s plenty of material in the film to unpack if I’m going to write a proper blog post about it. I even felt like I needed to pick up The Art and Making of Alien: Covenant book by Simon Ward and the Alien: Covenant Blu-ray set (specifically, the set that included The Creatures of Alien: Covenant booklet) to ensure that I didn't miss anything in what I write. I don't think that I’ll get to it all, but here's my take on the second Alien prequel just the same. Enjoy ... and yes, there are spoilers ....

In case you have little to no familiarity with the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant is the second prequel set before Alien,…

Advanced CGI Effects and the Rampage Movie: Was This Really Necessary?

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Last weekend saw the debut of Rampage, a film headlining Dwayne Johnson and is based on the '80s coin-op video game of the same name. According to box office stats, Rampage claimed the top spot during its opening weekend, clearly demonstrating that the combination of Johnson's star power and top-notch special effects is worth plenty of money in today's cinema. While I'm sure that Rampage is an enjoyable enough creature feature in its own right, I can't help but to be disappointed at the lost opportunity that this film represents.

Even though the press has been covering this film as a "video game adaptation" (which it is ... sort of), I think that the more accurate description of Rampage is Warner Brothers' attempt to cash in on the latest giant monster movie trend that's been seen in films such as Pacific Rim, Jurassic World and Kong: Skull Island. WB owns Midway Games, the company that created the Rampage video game series; thus, all WB had to do…

Modularity Takes Center Stage in Takara Tomy’s Diaclone Toy Reboot

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When it comes to purchases of expensive geek collectibles, I do a pretty good job at restraining myself from spending too much money. However, with its recent re-designs of its Diaclone line, Takara Tomy has been making it difficult for me to keep my financial resources secure.

As anyone who knows their Japanese toy robot history can tell you, Diaclone was a toy line from early ‘80s Japan that Hasbro later imported into the U.S. and repackaged as the Transformers line. However, Hasbro only imported the Diaclone items that transformed between robots and vehicles; the rest of the Diaclone line, which consisted of giant robots that could be rearranged into smaller vehicles and machines, were not included in the Transformers line. So, in order to cash in on the ‘80s toy robot nostalgia bandwagon like Hasbro has, Takara Tomy has been re-designing its non-Transformers Diaclone products and releasing them for the current toy collector market.



Above: One of the toys from the original Diaclone…

Ready Player One and the Limits of Name-Checking Nostalgia

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As a nerd such as me grows older, it becomes unavoidable that certain things that once felt exhilarating and fresh have since become stale and predictable. Among those faded thrills are the promise of big-budget, special effects-laden fantasy/sci-fi films that are helmed by popular directors. In particular, I'm talking about this weekend's release of Ready Player One, a movie adaptation of a bestselling novel that has been directed by Steven Spielberg.

Yes, Spielberg knows a few things about adapting bestselling novels into blockbuster films (see Jaws and Jurassic Park) and he knows his way around special effects. Yet between the teaser trailers' emphasis on CGI set pieces and the story's widely known reliance on nostalgic references to pop culture, I can't work up much interest (let alone enthusiasm) for Ready Player One. For everything that this film is promising, I can't but to feel that I've seen this done before and done better.

Even though Ready Playe…

Disney Drops 3D Blu-Ray Distribution in the U.S. Market

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If the Disney corporation can't be bothered to say this to the public, I will: Disney has stopped producing and distributing 3D Blu-ray versions of its 3D movies in the United States.

I've been searching all over the 'net to find confirmation of this, but I can't find an official press release from Disney about the status of its 3D Blu-rays at all. Based on the recent home video releases of Thor: Ragnarok, Coco, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (all of which were released theatrically in both 2D and 3D), it appears that Disney has given up on the 3D Blu-ray format in the U.S. 2D formats, both standard definition Blu-rays and 4K ultra high definition (UHD), will be Disney's preferred home video mediums in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. However, Disney will continue to release 3D Blu-rays in markets outside of the U.S.; thus, 3D buffs (like me) will be stuck with either buying region-free 3D Blu-rays and/or region-free 3D Blu-ray players.

Of course, other American …