When it comes to movies, we all have our biases. Even those of us who try to maintain objectivity are subject to expectation, the ebb and flow of personal taste. Those biases can come into play even before we see a film; often, we’re steered in one direction or another through early marketing or criticism or what have you.

But when those expectations are subverted, well – let’s just say that it can be nice to be surprised.

Which brings me to “Free Guy,” the new Ryan Reynolds-led video game-inspired action movie. Conceptually, I had doubts. The trailers I had seen seemed fine, just OK. And the truth is that while I sometimes enjoy the winking meta-energy of Reynolds, I don’t always … and this one felt like a “don’t always.”

Man, was I wrong.

The film – directed by Shawn Levy from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman and Zakk Penn – is a clever and funny action-adventure. The high concept is handled deftly and the majority of the jokes land. It is winkingly self-aware without being smug. The action sequences are suitably bonkers. And Reynolds himself manages to convey a level of sincerity that feels both genuine and just a touch subversive. It’s smarter than it looks, with a surprisingly sharp edge at times. Just a great time at the movies.

Published in Movies
Tuesday, 12 January 2016 19:18

Time Waster Z-Type


'ZType' is an intense shooter with a twist you shoot as you type. Each of your enemies is accompanied by a word; as you type the word, it shoots the object floating menacingly towards you. Speed and accuracy are your friends in this game. If you mistype, you'll still be stuck on that word until you finish it - which means the other ships will be zeroing in on your location, and if they get there you're toast.

Some of the ships do more than just float menacingly at you: they launch new words, or scatter-shot letters across the screen. You then have more threats to deal with in addition to the words already in play.

It's intense.

One of the neat things is that you can get better, learn to anticipate your problem ships and deal with them while maintaining your cool with the simpler words. Then you see how far you can get and try to beat your best score.

Play it for free at

Published in Time Waster Weekly
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 08:52

Pandora: Purge of Pride'

They already have a great game, they just want to sell it

WORCESTER, Mass. A small group of independent game-developers are looking for help funding their creation 'Pandora: Purge of Pride.' They formed an uber-game-making team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). On the art side of things was Jill Sauer and Ryan Casey. For coding there was Michael Frankfort and Alex Thornton-Clark. They knew what game they didn't want to make.

'There seemed to be too many shooters, zombies, pirates, ninjas and things that have been done to death,' said Casey, a Veazie native and John Bapst graduate. 'We wanted to do something a little bit different. Greek myth being a good place to start.'

Published in Tekk
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 14:53


Homestead: Part One

Good news, multiplayers! I'm back from my momentary retreat to the darkest recesses of Valhalla (Thor claims you owe him five bucks, by the way)! To make up for my month-long sabbatical, I'm starting a new series on how gaming has woven its way into my family and the tales that it begat. Hope you enjoy!

I wasn't particularly old enough to remember the momentous event, but it was spoken to me as a young child, passed on like an oral history of our gaming heritage. Whether or not it's actually true, I don't know. But if it's not true, don't tell me, because the tall tale is better than reality.

Published in Tekk
Thursday, 08 November 2012 01:13

A Monument to Change

How Halo changed the FPS landscape

2001. The beginnings of an all-new console war were brewing, and each combatant in this three-way war was stockpiling ammunition at E3. Sony showcased its powerhouse successor to the Playstation with a new 'Metal Gear' game. Nintendo pleased the faithful with the return of beloved franchises from days of yore. It seemed like things were shaping up for both of them to build on an already-solid foundation.

Published in Tekk
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 16:54

Toys R Us getting into the tablet computer game

WAYNE, N.J. Toys R Us said Monday that it plans to launch its own tablet computer aimed at children called Tabeo on Oct. 21, a low-priced entry into the increasingly crowded tablet business.

The news comes ahead of the holiday season, which can account for up to 40 percent of retailers' annual sales. Toys R Us has focused on exclusive toys rather than discounts as it faces tough competition from online retailers like and discounters like Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Published in Tekk

This is a true story from when I was a kid: After months of playing the game, my best friend's brother came to town and showed us how to get the Magic Flute in the first fortress in 'Super Mario Bros. 3.' Then he showed us how to get the P-Wing in 1-4, and then how to drop through the white blocks. That last one, in particular, clung like putty, adding to the surface area of my brain.

I was smart enough to know that 'Super Mario World's' ghost houses were designed by jerks pretty much from day one, but they still fascinated me - almost as much as those parts of the Star Road that I could see but couldn't reach. As a child-adult I can comprehend, mathematically, that 'Super Mario Bros. 3' is a better video game, and that its mystique lies in the opportunities for virtuosity in every one of its stages instead of in its 'secrets;' as an adult-child, though, I mostly preferred to try and jump up to the secret exit of Donut Plains 1 without hitting the Green Switch Palace first.

'Fez' is the videogame that the world's biggest 'Super Mario World' fan would make with two million dollars and three years. It's littered with weird little secrets, with opportunities to unlock new rooms by pressing the right buttons in the right order or to collect gold stars for looking underneath the right platforms from the right angles. Many of these secrets - like those Star Road levels - even seem to be hiding more enormous secrets behind them. 'Fez' even takes the next step once in awhile, hiding strange images in its soundtrack and hiding in-game items that the collective internet seems to be unable to uncover.

Published in Tekk


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