NBA 2K17 Review

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“As great as MyPark and Pro-Am are in theory, both modes’ leaderboards are too full of players that appear to have paid their way upward. Regardless of where MyCareer gameplay happens, the slog of leveling eases with NBA 2K17’s Virtual Currency, which can be bought in amounts that range from $2 to $100. While gameplay skill factors in, high player ratings carry obvious and substantial impact, with less urgency to improve for higher VC payouts. Never mind how this comes at odds with the hard work and success theme of Aaron Covington’s story.”

Read my full NBA 2K17 review at Polygon

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On Madden 17 and Ultimate Team

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“Beginning with FIFA 2009, the Ultimate Team feature quickly escalated into a mainstay, the result of that dream-like, pretend billionaire culture. It’s a distinctly American thing in terms of pro football, if seemingly stronger post-recession when this all took off. Built on the idea of artificial scarcity and tantalizing reward screens, Madden 17’s Ultimate Team reaches a crescendo. Pyrotechnics flare when menu surfing. There are flashing lights, tempting countdown clocks and shimmering gold borders, all reaching maximum gaudiness in Madden 17.”

Read my full thoughts on Madden 17 via Paste Games

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Iron Giant Blu-ray Review

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“For a distinctly American film in style and period, it’s voraciously anti-American in themes. Maybe there’s the key to Iron Giant’s lackluster theatrical performance. Set in the heart of June Cleaver’s purified 1950s, there are single mothers and artistic beatniks mixing with anti-bomb, anti-war, and the coup de gras, anti-gun leanings. A film too early then, rushing into a sensible conversation about firearms mere months after the Columbine tragedy exposed a most American of problems. So maybe Iron Giant was too uncomfortable to watch, or worse, it was correct on the issue before anyone realized. It’s hard to overcome the cultural fear of being in the wrong, let alone paying someone to tell us so.”

Read my full Iron Giant Blu-ray review at DoBlu

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Godzilla (1984) Blu-ray Review

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“In the back-half remains a big event monster picture, one elegant and ferocious despite some notably imperfect scenery. Godzilla’s obliteration of the Japanese mainland defense with a single breath connects to the allegory; Japan’s vulnerable against an irradiated threat. Once on land, Godzilla is less destructive than prior, more curious when dwarfed by the country’s growing economic status. Compare Godzilla 1954 and Godzilla 1984; the startling Western-like growth of the creature’s usual stomping grounds shows a country high in economic confidence, but in a film antsy about loss. The emblematic contrast is genuine.”

Read my full review of Godzilla (1984) at DoBlu

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Xbox Fitness and the Digital Future

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Xbox Fitness is not an isolated case, but unlike an aging service being taken offline—the DSiWare shop opened in mid-2009—Microsoft has an active, relatively new product. And, when the servers turn off next year, Xbox Fitness won’t work whether the file remains on a user’s hard drive or not.

“If we were talking about DVDs, a retailer would never try a stunt like this. But Microsoft, armed with a license agreement that denies consumers any meaningful legal rights, is training consumers to not only suffer, but to expect this sort of treatment,” said Perzanowski.”

Read my full feature on Xbox Fitness at Playboy

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How VR Roller Coasters Recreate a Lost Joy

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“I adore tech, even if progress can be terrifying. The Wii’s motion controls were first to elicit a scare, requiring physicality beyond what was usually comfortable. Microsoft’s Kinect was too frequently unplayable for me. I’ve watched the creation of more active VR like the Virtuix Omni, allowing people to run in place as they play first-person games. Seeing videos of that almost becomes like an out-of-body projection. You envision yourself trying (and failing) to keep pace with the runner playing a military simulation. There is a fear tech will outpace what I can do.”

Read my full piece on UploadVR

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On Ghostbusters: The Video Game

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“Bill Murray’s attorney called within two days. He agreed to reprise his role. “I can tell you, there was a dogpile of producers in the hallway when we got that call. It was almost like when a pitcher charges the mound after winning the World Series, like, it’s the only time I’ve ever hugged another man like that,” Melchior quipped. “Little did we know how difficult it was going to be from there.”

Read the full inside story of Ghostbusters: The Video Game via Playboy

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