Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Marvel Puzzle Quest-Free Game Review

I know this game has been out for a while, but since I've been playing so much of it lately I figured I'd toss my two cents into the hat.

Marvel Puzzle Quest is a Candy Crush clone complete with the micro-payment extravaganza that has been plaguing modern games like tuberculosis, but with the difference being that Marvel Puzzle Quest isn't pay-to-win, it's grind-to-win.

The grind-to-win model is a response to the play-to-win issue of course, that response being "Alright if you don't want to give us money then you're jolly well going to give us as much of your time as you possibly can and jolly well like it!" The big question is if the grinding is worth it?

In a word... Yes?

So the hook of the game is that you build a team of your favorite Marvel characters with their different powers that damage an opposing team of characters and the drop downs trigger damage and different abilities. This functions remarkably well, since the drop down gameplay is proven to be a great game mechanic in the free to play market. The game features a good 100+ characters to mess around with, from the well known and overused Wolverine to the lesser known like Moonstone and 800 versions of Black Widow for some reason.

Now let's say there's a character or characters that you would love to have because you think they're just the bees knees, either for gameplay or because you have all their comics, like Iron Fist. Well good luck unlocking them because the characters are behind an unlock wall that spits out a random character once you've ground long enough to be welcomed in for a try. Usually you'd just get more of the special currency that helps you occasionally level up your characters and is good for nothing else or endless copies of characters too weak to use or too useless to care about.

If you're fine with paying then the funds aren't much help, since all money will get you is more opportunities to try your luck at the spandex lottery. To add insult to injury the price for these spins increases the more you buy, either with the special and hard to get in-game currency it takes to open them or with that hard-earned cash, so the game fights you at every turn to get the guys you want.

Now I said that the grind is worth it with a question mark, and that's because if you do put in the grind which is usually playing a few games every 3-4 hours, you can start unlocking about a character every few days. This doesn't seem like much, but the drop-down gameplay is still entertaining and the wonky comic book stories they come up with is still enjoyable enough to have it on your phone with few regrets.

Pros: Visuals, gameplay, and eventually playing your favorite Marvel characters.

Cons: Grind, randomization of picking up characters, Nothing worthwhile behind the pay wall.

What's your thoughts on this? Have you played?

If you have and like it join our alliance- Magnitos Right

-JOE

Friday, March 30, 2018

The White Witch's Mistake


(This post was originally posted on my personal blog in May 2013)

"Did you honestly think that by all this you could save the human traitor? You are giving me your life and saving no one. So much for love." --The White Witch (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe 2005 movie)

How often do you hear this lie from Satan in regard to the Atonement? How often does he tell you that you 'wasted" the Savior's blood? It's never wasted. The Atonement is always available to save you. And no matter which side you choose, Satan will lose and Christ will win.

I have to wonder what lies Satan told the Savior as He suffered in Gethsemane, as He mocked that night, and as He crucified on Calvary. I imagine it was similar to what the Witch said to Aslan. “So much for love.” I can see Satan whispering to the Savior as He kneeled in Gethsemane, “You are in so much pain and yet they won’t repent. They’re mine anyway. You’re wasting your time. You are suffering and killing Yourself for no good reason.”



I think he also tells each of us the same lies. “You have gone too far. You can’t repent now. It’s too late. You might as well give up. Christ suffered for you and you’ve gone too far; you’ve wasted His blood.”

Narnia has been one of my favorites for years! Aslan being a type of Christ has taught me so much about the Atonement, from something as commonly understood as Aslan sacrificing himself to save Edmund from the White Witch (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), to something as intimate for me as Aslan quietly protect Shasta (The Horse and His Boy).

Like Edmund, we have all made mistakes, betrayed those we love, told lies, gotten angry, and said things we didn’t mean. Like Edmund, we have all felt guilt and remorse for those mistakes. And (hopefully) like Edmund, that remorse has pushed us toward humility and repentance in order to make amends for what we’ve done.



Look forward to more Narnia posts. I’ve been hoping to do them for a long while and now it’s just time!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Potential Storylines


This week we got our trailer for the “Fantastic Beasts” sequel: “The Crimes of Grindewald”. As JK Rowling’s wizarding world continues to expand, we get more and more glimpses into the pre-Harry Potter era of it all. Seven books and nine movies in, we’re probably only scratching the surface. But from what we know, here are a few things I’d like to see in this next movie (or at least by the end of the Fantastic Beasts series). WARNING: Spoilers from the new Fantastic Beasts trailer.


Hagrid and Aragog: Likely not in this movie, but seeing as the Fantastic Beasts movies are said to span 19 years (1926-1945), there’s a chance we could see Hagrid meet Aragog. As we met a new awkward friend fond of magical creatures, it’s not unreasonable to think that Newt is the one who gives Aragog to Hagrid. If the Chamber of Secrets was opened by Tom Riddle in the early 40s, we still have plenty of time for the Big Friendly Half-Giant to appear.


Voldemort’s Beginnings: Not that we necessarily need backstory on Voldemort (since “The Chamber of Secrets” and “The Half-Blood Prince” already basically did that) but it would be interesting to see glimpses or cameos of Voldemort’s past as the war against Grindewald happens. Presumably Tom Riddle Jr would be in the orphanage for the first half of the “Fantastic Beasts” series, so a cameo could be possible, but perhaps not probable.


Newt’s Backstory: We got glimpses into Newt’s past with the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie, but I don’t think it’d be unreasonable to see his flashbacks of his time at Hogwarts. Maybe learn why he was expelled (and why he got to keep his wand?) and maybe learn a bit about Leta Lestrange. Especially since the trailer makes it look like we’re visiting Hogwarts, it wouldn’t be too crazy for Newt to have a few flashbacks.


Newt’s Future: To contrast my last comment, it would be interesting (more just for the fun of it) to see a “flashforward” for Newt at the end of the last movie. Maybe show that the “Fantastic Beasts” series was him or his son telling Newt’s grandkids or great-grandkids about his adventures. Maybe even get Evanna Lynch to reprise her role as Luna Lovegood, as she marries Newt’s grandson.


Dumbledore’s History: From the trailer, we know we’re supposed to see Dumbledore. Since the series is supposed to end around the time that Dumbledore defeats Grindewald (can’t remember if we’re supposed to see that battle or not) it would be likely that we’ll at least get some dialogue about the Dumbledore and Grindewald families (if not flashbacks). It could be controversial to show a romance between Dumbledore and Grindewald, but I think we can at least expect to see their friendship addressed.


What other tidbits from the “Harry Potter” books would you like to see in the “Fantastic Beasts” movies? Any characters revealed by JK Rowling that you’d like to see younger cameos from? Maybe a young McGonagall. That’d be cool. Granted, she’d only be 10 by the end of the series, but still.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Ninth Doctor


So after watching all of Classic Doctor Who over the past two and a half years (and writing about it for two years) I’m finally at Modern Doctor Who! So without further ado, here’s my first Doctor: Christopher Eccleston.


Series 1
The show regenerated
Top Story: Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways
It was really a hard choice between the finale and “The Empty Child”/“The Doctor Dances” for top choice. In fact in my first draft of this post, I picked it. But I wanted to choice the two-part finale, because of its firsts. This was the first time since the Key to Time series that Doctor Who had an overall story for the season, instead of just individual adventures. Through the season “Bad Wolf” popped up occasionally and then got resolved in the finale. This trend has continued through Modern Doctor Who, ever since. It was also the first modern regeneration, so we gotta enjoy the introduction of David Tennant.
Flop Story: Boom Town
It was this or “The Long Game”. However, this story was just unnecessary. I have no issue with the Slitheen. Considering that Doctor Who was bound to have poor special effects on its first season back, of course the aliens were going to be weird. But their original story and their reprisal in “The Sarah Jane Adventures” were good. This was just an unnecessary revival of a supposedly dead character, just to have a story.
"Run!"
Honorable Mention: Rose
This is how new Doctor stories need to be. What the Eighth Doctor movie did wrong was assuming that viewers knew the Doctor, knew regeneration, and knew the TARDIS. In this story, we learn about the Doctor and the TARDIS as Rose does, making it easier for new viewers. This was repeated to some extent with Martha and Bill, making easy points for new viewers to come in without committing to 20+ years of Doctor Who before getting caught up. Granted the Autons were odd, but it was a nice throwback to the old Third Doctor villain. Since the show is 50+ years old now, it needs stories like this to bring in new blood.

COMPANIONS:
Rose      Rose - (10th Doctor)
Adam    Dalek - The Long Game
Jack        The Empty Child - The Parting of the Ways

Favorite Companion: It seems like Rose gets a lot of flack from the fanbase, but I like her. Granted, she and the Ninth Doctor were my first pair I ever saw together consistently (I started with “Blink” and then went back) but this pair worked together. Rose had the character development that I’d want for all companions. She went from working in retail to saving the universe and even matching wits with the Doctor a few times. To be fair, I would have preferred she kept her ending at the end of Series 2 with the Tenth Doctor, but I enjoyed seeing her return in Series 4, so I can’t complain.

Least Favorite Companion: Adam. Just Adam. I don’t know anyone in the fanbase who likes Adam. He hitched a ride in 2012, went to the future, and then got thrown out back at home. We all like to forget about Adam, but he was an unfortunate side effect of time travel I suppose. Above all else, he sucked because he was the one companion to use traveling in the TARDIS for personal gain (unless you count Turlough working for the Black Guardian). He did get some “redemption” in the 50th Anniversary comic series called “Prisoners of Time”, but regardless he’s still down low on my list of companions. ALL companion (even including Adric).

What was your favorite Ninth Doctor story? You did watch the Ninth Doctor right? We don’t skip Nine here. So go watch Nine. Now. Just go.


I was once told that Colin Baker wanted the Sixth Doctor to have this outfit. Tough luck.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Part 10

So back when I started my Marvel Cinematic Universe posts, ABC was part-way into Season 2 of “Agent Carter”. At that point, I had no way of watching Season 1 to catch up for Season 2. Recently I learned that Hulu had both seasons available. So as I’ve been binging the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe (everything: movies, Netflix shows, network shows, etc.) I worked “Agent Carter” into it all. So now that I’ve watched both seasons, it’s time to backtrack and cover Agent Peggy Carter’s adventures.

Agent Carter: Season 1 (Episodes 1-8)
Season 1 follows Peggy and Edwin Jarvis trying to clear Howard Stark’s name. Meanwhile, Peggy needs to maintain her job at the SSR where she’s constantly undermined. So here we go.
  1. Now is Not the End: In 1946, Peggy maintains her cover while working at the SSR. The SSR investigates Howard after his inventions get stolen. Howard asks Peggy to help clear his name. Jarvis helps Peggy recover Nitramene, ahead of the SSR. Jarvis and Peggy narrowly escape the implosion of Roxxon.
  2. Bridge and Tunnel: The SSR investigates the explosion at Roxxon. Peggy and Jarvis confront Brannis about the Nitramene. He dies in a conflict with a man in a green suit. Peggy finds a new place to stay.
  3. Time and Tide: Peggy meets Dottie Underwood. SSR Agent Thompson recovers Green Suit’s typewriter and discovers its transmitter. Thompson interrogates Jarvis. Peggy and Jarvis track the theft of Howard’s inventions and tip Agents Sousa and Krzeminski off. They get ambused and Krzeminski gets killed.
  4. The Blitzkrieg Button: SSR Chief Dooley investigates Finow. Peggy and Jarvis rescue Howard. Peggy retrieves the Blitzkrief Button, discovering Cap’s blood inside. Sousa investigates the tip. Peggy confronts Howard about Steve’s blood. An assassin comes for Peggy, but Dottie kills him. Peggy hides the blood.
  5. The Iron Ceiling: In 1937, the Red Room trains assassins. Dottie steals Peggy’s room key. The Remote Typewriter leaves a message at the SSR. Peggy translates it and recruits the 107th regiment to help the SSR. The SSR and the Howling Commandos infiltrate the Red Room. They bring Ivchenko back with them. Dooley questions Jarvis about Howard and Finow.
  6. A Sin to Err: Peggy and Jarvis try to track down a Red Room spy. Sousa investigates Peggy. Dottie and Ivchenko infiltrate the SSR. The SSR goes after Peggy. Peggy tries to escape but Dottie knocks her out.
  7. Snafu: The SSR interrogates Peggy. Jarvis brings a fake confession for Howard. Ivchenko steals Item 17 and leaves Dooley in an explosive vest. Dottie and Ivchenko deploy Item 17 at the movie theater, causing a massacre. Dooley dies in an explosion.
  8. Valediction: The SSR investigates the theater massacre. Howard gets captured by Ivchenko/Fennhoff, who hypnotizes Howard to drop the Midnight Oil (Item 17) on New York. Peggy breaks Howard out of his trance. Dottie escapes and Fennhoff is taken into custody.

Random Trivia/Connections:
  • The opening scenes of “Now is Not the End” recap Captain America’s “death” in “The First Avenger”.
  • Soviet scientist Anton Vanko appears in “Now is Not the End”. His son becomes the main villain in “Iron Man 2”.
  • The Red Room appears in “The Iron Celing”, which is where Black Widow says in “Age of Ultron” that she was trained.
  • Armin Zola, who appeared in “The First Avenger” and “The Winter Soldier” appears in prison with Fennhoff in “Valediction”.

Thoughts:
The first season of Agent Carter was unsettling for me, but in a productive way. In a smaller way, it was like “Black Panther” and the discussion of racism. Taking place in the 40s, Peggy wasn’t exactly treated well by her male colleagues. It was unsettling (and probably understated compared to the real 1940s). It was a perfect opportunity for me to evaluate how I treat the women in my life. I also liked the mini-series format. About the time I’d start getting bored, the climax of the season happened.

Agent Carter: Season 2 (Episodes 1-10)
  1. The Lady in the Lake: Peggy captures Dottie. Peggy goes to LA to help Sousa with a case. Jarvis, Sousa, and Peggy investigate Isodyne Energy. Peggy questions Calvin Chadwick. The SSR rescues Jason Wilkes.
  2. A View in the Dark: The Council of Nine infuriates Chadwick. Peggy and Sousa investigate Isodyne Energy. Wilkes tells Peggy about Zero Matter. Wilkes and Peggy steal Zero Matter. In a confrontation, the Zero Matter absorbs Wilkes and infects Whitney Frost.
  3. Better Angels: Wilkes is framed as a communist spy by Frost. Peggy tries to spy on the Council of Nine. Thompson tries to bring Peggy back to New York. Sousa discovers Forst is scientist Agnes Cully. Peggy and Howard discover Wilkes stuck in the Zero Matter. Frost sends an assassin to kill Peggy after a confrontation. Thompson meets Chadwick. Frost accidentally kills her director.
  4. Smoke & Mirrors: Growing up, Agnes Cully’s scientific ability is shunned before becoming actress Whitney Frost. Young Peggy buries her adventurous side until her brother dies. In the present, Frost experiments with her Zero Matter power. Sousa and Peggy interrogate Hunt. The SSR gets audited. Frost kills Hunt.
  5. The Atomic Job: Wilkes shows Peggy his Zero Matter powers. Sousa celebrates his engagement. Rose, Samberly, Peggy, Sousa, and Jarvis infiltrate Roxxon. Peggy fights Frost. Violet treats Peggy. Chadwick calls a meeting of the Council.
  6. Life of the Party: Peggy and Sousa try to stop Wilkes from disappearing. They recruit Dottie’s help. Dottie and Jarvis go after Frost, who meets with the Council of Nine. Frost kills half the Council, including Chadwick. Thompson captures Dottie.
  7. Monsters: Frost interrogates Dottie. Peggy and Jarvis go after Dottie. Frost goes after Wilkes, their Zero Matter making Wilkes tangible again. After Frost shoots Ana Jarvis, Dottie escapes and Masters takes control of the SSR.
  8. The Edge of Mystery: Frost observes Wilkes’s powers. Peggy and Sousa meet Manfredi. Thompson investigates Peggy. Jarvis, Sousa, and Peggy use fake uranium to trade with Frost. Masters retrieves the real uranium. Frost creates an atomic explosion, which absorbs Wilkes. Frost captures Peggy and Jarvis.
  9. A Little Song and Dance: Thompson, Samberly, and Sousa steal an SSR car. Peggy and Jarvis escape Frost and steal a truck. Thompson tries to double-cross Frost. Thompson tries to detonate a bomb on Frost. Wiles confronts Frost.
  10. Hollywood Ending: Frost absorbs the Zero Matter. Manfredi teams up with Stark, Peggy, and Jarvis. The team uses the Gamma Cannon to separate Frost from the Zero Matter. Jarvis uses the hovercar to close the rift. In the aftermath, Peggy starts a relationship with Sousa.

Random Trivia/Connections:
  • The Zero Matter is related to the Darkforce, involved in the powers of Daniels in “The Only Light in the Darkness” and Krupin in “Parting Shots”.
  • The Darkforce Dimension (where Zero Matter originates) is part of the Multiverse introduced in “Doctor Strange”.
  • Sousa’s fiancée Violet was portrayed by “Sarah Bolger”, who also played Princess Aurora on “Once Upon a Time”. Aurora was similarly caught in a love triangle.
  • Though the series ended with Sousa and Peggy in a relationship, it is unlikely that Peggy married Sousa. As stated in “The Winter Soldier”, Peggy’s unnamed husband was saved by Captain America in “The First Avenger”.

Thoughts:
I enjoyed Season 2 less than the first. Maybe it was because of the extra two episodes? Maybe it was less action? I’m not sure. There was also less of Peggy forcing herself to be assertive as a woman. Other than an episode with her backstory, there was less development with Peggy’s character.


Thoughts on Agent Carter? Probably would have been good to have the series wrapped up a little nicer, but at least each season was a self-contained story. As a result, other than Peggy’s husband, I don’t see any loose ends to be concerned about. Overall, good mini-series.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Krypton and other Stupid Ideas

Yet another TV show is coming out based in the DC Universe but is only tangentially connected to anything worth making a show out of. I'm of course talking about Krypton, SyFy's new enterprise based on JorEl, the adventures of Superman's biological dad. 
Ugh. 

Who is JorEl?
Normally we don't get much from JorEl except that he was a scientist who threw his baby in a rocket and launched it at Earth right before his own planet exploded. Occasionally we've got stuff like the crystal tech that allows him to talk to Superman and give him random advice and honestly that's all we really needed. JorEl's part in the story was done. On Krypton he was a scientist (presumably a geologist since he figured out Krypton would explode but he also built a rocket so whatever) and while a couple comics here and there have mentioned him we don't need much more. 

Not the First Time
This is an overall problem I'm seeing with DC and Marvel universes. They keep making TV shows about either the long drawn out origin story of super heroes, IE Smallville and Gotham, or the company's D List, IE Supergirl, Arrow, The Defenders and the Legends of Tomorrow. We'll let Marvel slide on this one because they seem to be legitimately trying to make a massive world with varying degrees of success but every one of DC's shows take place in different universes. 

A Thought on CW
The CW shows have a similar problem in that they focus on the part of the super heroes lives that we don't care about. Arrow and Flash's bigger plots are the always tired "Will they/Won't they?" TV storytelling trope. Between every awesome battle we have to stop the flow and talk about weather or not Oliver will tell whoever that he loves her or if Supergirl can date whoever-nobody-cares-man. 

What If...
I don't want to see Superman's dad, or Bruce Wayne's training, I want to see Superman and Batman. If DC took all the money they keep pouring into these idiotic backstories and romantic comedies into one show about the Justice League, how they got together and them doing a monster/villain of the week thing, I guarantee it'd be more popular than Superman: Before The Cape could ever be. They could get smaller unknown actors to play the major parts, introduce other heroes later if they need to rotate the team as happens in comics, and maybe even make spin-offs as they need to. 

Tell me you wouldn't watch this show. 

-JOE

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Year of the Dog: The Goodest Boys

So I’m not much of one for Chinese New Year (I frankly can’t tell you the significance of the Chinese Zodiac) but in honor of the year of the dog, I wanted to share some of the goodest boys on TV and movie.


K-9 (Doctor Who)
The Fourth Doctor picked up the original K-9 in “The Invisible Enemy” and he was left on Gallifrey with Leela. The Doctor already had K-9 Mark II at the beginning of “The Ribos Operation” when Romana arrived and he stayed with Romana in E-Space. K-9 Mark III was sent to Sarah Jane Smith for Christmas 1978 in “A Girl’s Best Friend” and returned with her in “School Reunion”. After Mark III was destroyed, the Tenth Doctor left Mark IV with Sarah Jane, which continued to be her companion in her spin-off series.

Super sassy and super intelligent. Always loyal to the Doctor and his companions, K-9 is definitely a good dog. I especially loved his banter with the super-computer “Mr. Smith” during the Sarah Jane Adventures. 11/10 loyal good boy.


Dug (Up)
The goodest of all the dogs. So innocent. So loyal. He’s everything I aspire to have in a dog. He started as Muntz’s lackey, but was so innocent and just wanted to capture Kevin so that he would be loved. So when he was taken in by Carl and Russell, is it any surprise that Dug jumped ship and chose a new master?

But yes. 12/10 good dog. He’s just met you and he loves you. What better reason is there? He’ll also hide under your porch because he wants to stay. He’s a good listener and he loves to fetch. Just don’t put him in the cone of shame. It makes him sad.


Growlie (Pokémon)
Team Rocket’s James had a pet Growlithe growing up. When returning to his family’s estate in the Indigo League (Season 1) he reunited. When James’s parents tried to manipulate him into marrying the creepy Jessiebelle, Growlie came to James’s rescue and helped James evade and defeat the wretched Jessiebelle. The real question is why didn’t James take Growlie with him after that?

First of all, Growlithes are adorable anyway. I can’t get enough of them on Pokémon Go. Second, it’s hard to not love a pooch who is so loyal and loving after all those years. 10/10 loyal Poké-pooch.


Snoopy (Peanuts)
What a smart intelligent dog! A bit weird too. Who sleeps on the point of a dog house? All the same, he writes, he knows history, and he knows how to have fun. And with how unlucky Charlie Brown is, he’s very protective too, even if it’s in the oddest ways. Like in the Peanuts movie, what dog jumps out on the dance floor to pump up their owner? 10/10 imaginative pup.


Pluto (Disney)
Who can forget Pluto, Mickey’s doggo? Now let’s not get into the Goofy/Pluto dog debate. Let’s just talk about how wonderful Pluto is. No matter what short or series we’re talking about, Pluto is so loyal to Mickey and he does everything he can to love Mickey and keep him safe (even if it’s just from chipmunks). 13/10 Disney top dog.


Stitch (Lilo & Stitch)
Not a dog per se, but he’s an honorable pupper in my book. Although he got off to a rocky start, he helped bring LIlo’s family together and change their lives for the good. In the sequels and the TV series, he was super helpful in rounding up his 600+ cousins and teaching them to be good. That’s not to say that Stitch is good. He’s got a mischievous streak the size of his badness level.

He’s protective and faithful to Lilo. He got aggressive when Cobra, Gantu, and others each tried to take Lilo away from her family. So mischievous he may be, but he’s a good doggo in the end. 15/10 mischievous pupper; he’ll steal your left shoe, but he’ll also love you to death.


Who’s your favorite TV/movie pupper?