When you were young….an 80’s kid looks back.

More and more in this tumultuous and divided modern society I find myself looking back at a time when life seemed calmer, more civil, and for a kid magical. Cartoons dominated afternoons and Saturday morning. Movies were incredible and seemed to never stop coming. Comics were beautiful, centered, and easy to follow, let alone to keep up with.

Holiday specials were a treat. The commercials even better. Local department stores still existed, having not succumbed to the big box store’s life extinguishing presence yet. These stores had some of the best Christmas and Halloween commercials. Speaking of Halloween, remember when costumes were just fun? We didn’t have to be lectured to, we were left alone to have a holiday with friends and family.

Superheroes actually taught morality and right from wrong. It wasn’t yet a mournful hardship to have superpowers. They inspired us to be better. They stood for what was right and just, despite societal pressures. They were happier and gave us hope.

As kids we could disappear for whole parts of what seemed like endless days. No parents were turned into the local police for letting us go off with friends or for a bike ride. Exploring, playing, and more were encouraged, if not enforced. Some of the best memories were made without a parent hovering like a paranoid helicopter.

School was a place of learning and discussion, not indoctrination and test prep. Teachers were free to teach and not be shackled to a preapproved curriculum and a politically correct minefield between them and their students. Holidays were celebrated and concerts were free of shallow malcontents.

I miss this time. The last generation to know freedom, real freedom. To have hope in the future. This freedom and hope has not only been robbed from me, but from every adult and heartbreakingly at least two generations of our children. 

Most of what they see is the world is broken by too many things to count. Heroes are either villains or barely above them. Fear is more important than freedom. School is a test prep factory and everything that isn’t liberal is archaic and wrong. They know the government is much better at taking care of things than they or their parents are. They learn this beautiful free country is really horrible and oppressive. There’s no limitless future and freedom, real freedom is dangerous.

I miss the 80’s.

Podcast For You Not For Fame

Hey guys, quick post. I’ve been doing a podcast for a few months now. One thing I’ve learned is to book the guests that make you happy. Whatever your show is about, reach out to the people you really want to talk to.

I’ve had a blast and a half talking to people who make comics and movies, voice actors and more. Meeting some heroes has been incredible. Meeting really cool people in different entertainment fields has been rewarding. 

Making friends and connections with so many talented people has been a great privilege and adventure. It makes the work of putting a show together the best part of the week.

Wonder Woman tops the DCEU

Image result for Wonder woman

I was going to see this movie no matter what personally. Today, however, I got to watch it in an unexpectedly beautiful way. Through the eyes of my 10 year old daughter. Finding the feminist movement a little too shrill and militant for my taste it was wonderful to see female empowerment done so beautifully. Readers should know that I’m the only male in my house, so, the feminist comment isn’t a knock against women at all. My wife is the strongest most kickass woman I know, and she doesn’t want to be affiliated with them either.

Director Patty Jenkins has directed a masterpiece, and I daresay, the best best live action DC movie to date. My daughter was riveted and the scenes of a young Diana resonated far better with her than any Disney princess. Her smile while watching the young version of our hero train and mimic the Amazonians fighting was priceless. She was able to see herself in a young Diana. Channeling an almost inner hero waiting to emerge inside herself. Rarely is she this engaged in a movie.

Seeing a fully grown and ready to take on the world, literally, she was able to see someone to truly admire and emulate. More than any celebrity or pop star, she found a truly worthy woman to be inspired by in that theater. She kept bumping my arm and just smiling over and over again. She brought her Wonder Woman action figure with her to the movie and more than once pantomimed Diana on screen. I got a little choked up seeing her for the first time find a hero as I did as a child of the same age. Only this time it a hero for her. Not a super powered guy to crush on, or a secondary female character. Wonder Woman was hers and hers alone. It was beautiful.

The characters are all well represented. Steve Trevor was written perfectly. His heroism was his own and was never overshadowing of Wonder Woman or diminished by her either. A truly exemplary example of men and women working together. I myself am the Steve Trevor to my wife, and yes, she is the superhero in our family as well. The action is perfectly choreographed and the overall arc is engaging. The cinematography is breathtakingly executed and is worthy of an Oscsar.

Gal Gadot was the best part of Batman V Superman and she delivers even more this go round. Aside from her beauty, a more believable woman to step into those boots would be undoubtedly impossible to find. Her real world combat experience only lends itself to the character. Her grace on screen is magnetic, and you find yourself involuntarily following every emotion she goes through in this first foray into our broken world. She is truly the Wonder Woman we’ve been waiting our whole lives to see.

Lucy Davis as Etta is an utter delight. Her wit and ability to take charge, shine through in a world still very much dominated my men. Her quips are truly funny and she brings a smile to your face every moment she’s on screen. Watching her take inspiration from the brashness of Diana is really inspiring. You can see a strong woman overlooked in her time period begin to stand on her own. A perfect homage to the women of the era who finally stood up and said enough to real patriarchy.

All this aside, it truly was amazing to watch this movie for myself, and more so to watch my young daughter. It was truly eye opening for her. Women can be strong and gentle. They can be assertive and brash without being shrill and off putting. They can stand on their own without being standoffish. Beauty and strength radiate from inside without being overly confrontational.

Thank you Patty for making a movie that should define the entire tone and direction of the DCEU. You are truly a gifted director and you’ve given us the gift of a masterpiece to enjoy.

Thank you Gal for showing my daughter a hero to look up to. Thank you for showing her the Wonder Woman she can grow up to be.

Thank you Lucy Davis for showing my daughter a real woman who can stand up in a world of men without super powers.

Thank you ladies, you’ve made a great movie, and more than this, you made a 10 year old girl’s dream come true today. You are all truly Wonder Women.

Oh My Darling…


Being a dad to two beautiful girls myself, Telltale’s Walking Dead games strike a chord with me few other games ever have. Criticisms of the dated engine or stilted gameplay aside, this game weaves the story of a girl coming of age in abject adversity flawlessly. 

We first meet her in Walking Dead season 1 episode 1. A scared yet brave little girl trapped in her treehouse. Your first interaction with her over a walkie talkie is immediately endearing if you’ve ever dealt with a scared child. Her character is more intriguing when she comes to your rescue minutes later. She’s scared, but, there’s steel in her. 

Through the eyes of your character, Lee, the insanity of the situation leaves almost no choice but to take this seemingly helpless person with you. Parentless and alone, she’s forced to become another worry in a growingly worrisome world. She is reliant on you almost to a fault at the outset of this game. 

Telltale does a great job of conveying the sense of love and guardianship you develop for Clementine over the course of that first season episode to episode. As you encounter more survivors and escape more and more crazy situations, she grows organically more and more strong on her own.

Trivial decisions become weighted as the relationship grows. Whether to cut her hair becomes as important as teaching her to shoot a handgun. Who to give food to becomes a selfish decision, though, not for yourself. Finding a baseball cap and making a deal with a seemingly dangerous hot head to secure a ride are no brainers once the bond between Lee and Clem is established. 

More than once over the course of playing that first season I found myself seeing Clementine in my own children. How they acted around new groups or peers. How they acted when pushed to do something they didn’t want to do. I also found the qualities in my own self reflected in the game to real life. How my decisions are what’s better for them more so than for myself. My safety being second to theirs. The feeling that their health, happiness, and safety are more important than my own.

Credit is due to Telltale for conveying the nuances of a parent/child relationship layered over a story of hard choices and survival. The climax of the first season is truly heart wrenching and sends Clem into an uncertain future where her decisions will mostly be her own. Anyone who has a child going into adulthood, my oldest is 19, knows the feelings that come with that. Though Clem is still a kid, at the end it’s similar given her world’s circumstances.

Season 2 opens hard for Clem. A chance encounter costs her yet another person dear to her. She seems a little colder after that. This season also puts you in the driver’s seat as Clementine. I still found myself jockeying adults and decisions around her as a guardian and not as an observer. It never felt like I was Clementine detached from myself as a parent or that Lee wasn’t present. It was ingrained unbreakably that her safety both mentally and physically were more important than anything else in the game. It hurt to see over the course of episodes people fail her and her innocence diminish.

The sadness of a child who has been cheated out of her childhood is palpable. Learning that adults are flawed and broken, and, that some are selfish and others downright evil almost commands true sympathy from the player. She is still a kid in all this. I know what lengths I would go to to spare my own kids pain and her not having that option makes her perseverance that much more admirable. My wife and I have had many conversations about her as if she were our own. Like I said before, rarely does a game character have such a personal impact.

She’s faced with serious choices and circumstances in season 2, way above what a young girl should have to deal with. A familiar face from season 1 does provide some comfort, albeit, hot tempered potentially dangerous comfort. The Kenny character seemed to come to represent a side in me that gave me pause. Does being brash and short tempered adversely affect my kids, even when not aimed at them? Do they approach situations with that bad behavior influencing their decisions? These are not the thoughts I’ve had playing other games.

The Luke character is a great balance, but, he seems a little too quick to trust people for me to have ever been comfortable with him and Clem together. 

While ultimately a good man, I found myself more comfortable partnering her with Kenny who is a parent himself. I wonder why that is? Maybe a different article for a later date. 


Jane on the other hand, I wanted nowhere near Clem. Though some may have liked her punk rocky attitude and though I was definitely more like her at that age, her potential influence on Clementine was not something I was comfortable with. 

At the end of season 2 Clem is tragically left with a newborn named AJ. As if her own situations and losses aren’t enough!

Depending once again on your choices, Clementine is either alone at the conclusion or not. Also, once again I said goodbye to her with her with a heavy heart and a feeling of concern that lasted far beyond the end of the credits. How much hardship can a child take and still turn out ok? How would my own kids fare? Would my shortcomings as an adult cause more problems than provided solutions? 

This weekend I rushed into the new Season 3 episodes 1 and 2 anticipating seeing my girl and how she was faring. Though this year you play as Javier, a new character in the series with his own set of problems. Still, when my Clementine showed up alone and looking decidedly more grim and weary I still was relieved to see her alive. Her hardness this time around broke my heart a little and I wondered what she’d been through in between this meeting and the last. You get a few flashback glimpses and they aren’t pretty. I could however, appreciate that she’s grown stronger and seems ok. Once again I noticed my decisions instantly changing towards what was best for her. My wife and I once again hunkered down on the couch and talked about “our girl” during the two available episodes. I can’t wait to see this season through. 


I don’t know if people connected with her differently whether they have daughters or not. It would be interesting to see if there is a marked difference. I do know that I smiled at the end of each episode when I saw how high the percentages were for decisions regarding Clementine compared with other players. I think just maybe as a gaming community Clementine is “our” girl, and weird as it seems, I’m comforted to know how many of us are looking for her. We can still be her Lee, because, who else is better for her than him?

The clown and the bat……


One of the most fascinating relationships in any form of entertainment is the dichotomy of the Batman and the Joker. While the original origin of the Joker isn’t as exciting or complicated as the origin we’ve grown up with. He’s always been there. He is, as Harvey Dent can appreciate, the other side of the coin. While they have had innumerable altercation over the 75 plus years history of Batman it’s never the physical aspect of their clashes that have made their interactions iconic. Rather, it’s the psychological impact the Joker is able to unleash on the Dark Knight. Most recently Snyder and Capullo’s run on the the Batman book told one of the best story arcs for these two enemies.


Death of the Family is a gorgeously told tale. The Joker returns, with his old face, bent on breaking Batman from within. Replicating all the major crimes and battles they’ve had over the years, the Joker goads Batman relentlessly. When they finally speak the Clown reveals he wants his old nemesis back. He finds Batman soft and blames the Bat family. No spoilers, it’s a must read. It’s also one of the best stories between these two characters to be told in a long time.

Some people may read the issues or graphic novels and wonder why Batman doesn’t just kill the psychopath and be done with it. Without realizing it, they are playing directly into the Joker’s hands the way he wants Batman to. It seems his sole mission, behind all the murder and mayhem, is to get Bruce to do just that. Pushing Batman to kill even someone as broken and violent as him would destroy everything Batman has stood for, for so long, instantly.

It’s harder to understand Batman’ refusal to put the Joker down when you read some of the story arcs over the years. The people close to Bruce who have suffered, died, or both at the hands of the madman.

The Killing Joke drove the point home when Gordon tells Batman to bring the Joker in “by the book” after the torture he had gone through at the lunatics hand.

The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller showed Batman come the closest he ever has and still he doesn’t kill the Joker. The scene is powerful to be sure. Even in Miller’s much darker and more hopeless vision of a DC universe, though, he still can’t get the Bat to give in.


Last night on the show Gotham the take on a future Batman/Joker relationship was beautifully crafted. We’ve always gotten the Batman created Joker story in the books. Gotham showed us how Joker created the spark for the Batman we would come to know and love. David Mazouz plays a young Bruce Wayne so sincerely its heartbreakingly amazing. You believe, without question, that his Bruce will be the Dark Knight one day. It’s never been more clear or so well told until the winter finale.

Jerome, played masterfully by Cameron Monaghan, returns from the dead and kidnaps Bruce. Every scene between these two has so much gravity in this episode. Bringing young master Wayne to a carnival only the Joker could create, we see the clash in these two characters birthed for the first time. You see the chaos and insanity Jerome creates sink deep into Bruce’s consciousness. The looks on David’s face in the scenes perfectly sell the horror and the conviction form who he will become. One of the best points driven home is delivered by Jerome. He tells Bruce Gotham has no heroes while shooting staples into his arm. Here’s where the goosebumps come in. Bruce stares him down and the musical score changes to something reminiscent of a proper Batman film. We see Jerome become confused and angry at the lack of reaction. It’s a brief scene, but, anyone who loves these characters will be moved to see it. 

The final scene between these two is all Batman! You see how close Bruce comes to ending Jerome, and, you see the realization that killing makes him no better than any other criminal. It’s a gloriously written episode and made me want to see this show go all the way through with seeing David Mazouz don the cape and cowl. I’d also love to see Cameron Monaghan become a show staple, no pun intended, and become a book accurate depiction of the Joker.


These two have always been my two favorite characters in comic fiction and I just wanted to share my thoughts growing up watching and reading this Dynamic Duo. Last night’s episode of Gotham might be the best origin story for Batman’s inspiration. If you’ve never watched the show before, at least, watch the winter finale.

War…war never changes…


There are iconic characters in gaming. There are iconic levels and worlds to explore. Then there’s the Fallout universe. What started as an engaging point and click RPG, became one of the most immersive self narrating open world experiences available to date. Who remembers that first exit from Vault 101? 

Seeing a decimated American landscape both familiar and alien is truly breathtaking. Being completely free to explore these expansive maps is filled with possibilities, Bethesda does not slouch in offering up a plethora of random encounters and side quests to flesh out their reality.


There are too many random and quirky characters to dive in too deep here. Just know that they do make it interesting. From the news updates of Three Dog, to Wayne Newton, to the unconfident quips of a DJ in Boston the radio in your Pip-Boy layers nostalgic Americana in your ears, albeit, with a limited track listing. 


Several factions overlap in each iteration of this ruined world. Some outright evil and some live in more of a gray area, depending on your point of view. 

Raiders


Murderous scavengers really only good for mowing down and looting. They tend to travel in groups. They are ruthless. Their dialogue is colorful and stupid at the same time. 

Slavers


Like the name implies these human traffickers are only good for looting once put down like animals.

Feral Ghouls


Though there are some who’ve maintained their sanity and try to live productive post war lives, most are basically shuffling corpses. Fallout 4 really improved this Fallout mainstay, making them more dangerous and disgusting than ever before.

Enclave


Though they don’t play much of a part outside of Fallout 3 this faction isn’t one to be trifled with. Vying for control opposite the Brotherhood of Steel, this group uses Power Armor and a bevy of energy weapons. Hard to go against, fun to loot. 

Brotherhood of Steel


The most iconic Fallout character in the universe. A paladin in his armor strikes an imposing figure. This group believes it’s cause is just. While seeming benevolent they usually use hardline tactics and violence when push comes to shove. Though in this hard world, who doesn’t? They do seem to be the most noble organization across the different games.

The Institute


Spoken of in hushed tones and theoretic implications in earlier games, Fallout 4 brought you face to face with this mysterious entity. Whether you agreed with them or not, this storyline holds a heck of a surprise for the player. Super advanced and hidden away the Institute is a fun place to spend some time in. No spoilers!

The Railroad 


This group only has good intentions. They work to help Synths fully escape the Institute. Filled with side quests and quirky characters, if you can find them and join them it’s definitely worth your time.

There are several more settlements and people to run into throughout your time in any of the sandboxes Bethesda has created. It’s too much to cover in one article, and somethings should be left to be discovered.

The play style is either first person or a more clumsy third person. The menus are easy to navigate. The map is well detailed, and the fast travel is a life saver.

I have sunk so many hours into each serving of this franchise I may need help! This is one of my favorite franchises and I find myself to the Wasteland again and again. It’s a truly amazing experience and this current generation’s offering in Fallout 4 quickly became my favorite. 

The improved graphics, customization, and settlement building placed it in a class by itself regarding RPG’s. Once again Bethesda stuffed it to the gills with interesting characters and a boatload of content. If you’ve played them all or haven’t dipped a toe into this deep, deep pond come on into the Wasteland. You’ll be glad you did!

A man chooses……

How many of you out there have played any of the Bioshock games? I recently picked up the rerelease of the dystopian masterpiece franchise. My fondness for this universe has not diminished in the slightest.

Ken Levine and his team at irrational outdid themselves, even surpassing the greatness of the System Shock franchise. This could be a masterclass in storytelling and aesthetic world building. I still get chills when I hear “How much is that doggy in the window?”


The first game introduced us to the world of Andrew Ryan’s vision of utopia in Rapture. The player, through the eyes of Jack, arrive in the midst of it’s destruction. We’re greeted to Rapture with a pithy speech by Ryan and I was taken aback at the game design of this city under the sea. 

“Is it someone new?” 

This question is asked by the first splicer in the game. If you pay attention this question is asked in the other games well. One of the many overlapping themes and narratives sprinkled throughout the franchise. 


Splicers, they comprise the majority of the survivors of the fall of Rapture. The perfect example of unbridled vanity, imbued with the consequences of science left unchecked by morality. These pitiable creatures are violent and driven by the lust for Adam. A DNA altering substance allowing humans to manipulate their genetic code. Their dialogue is engrossing and offers a look at what Rapture could have been and the catalyst to it’s downfall.


By far, the most startling creature wandering around the ruined metropolis are the little sisters. Nothing beats seeing one of these little girls stick a syringe into a corpse and drink the contents. They’re hunted ruthlessly by splicers. However, they are protected by the games most challenging characters…..the Big Daddy.

If you want to get to a little sister, you have to get through them first. Giant lumbering monsters armed with a massive drill and occasionally a river gun, they are a force to be reckoned with. They are unshakable in their singular duty to protect their assigned little sister. Watching them in action is awe inspiring, going up against them yourself is terrifying.

Throughout your journey in Rapture you’ll find audio diaries. These help build the narrative and tell a compelling backstory for many of the characters both dead and still residing in Rapture. 

Early in the game you’re introduced to Atlas, via a radio, who tasks you with rescuing his family. His Irish accented voice serves as a guide and taskmaster for much of the game. 

Andrew Ryan himself makes his presence known through broadcasts as well. His arrogance is heavy and his paranoia thick. Coming across as a man in bitter denial of the failure of his empire.

Margaret Tannenbaum arrives at a pivotal moment giving players an alternative way of handling little sisters. She is one of the few characters in this world who seems to have come to the realization of the nightmare built into the foundation of Rapture, and is attempting to atone.

Then there’s Sander Cohen. I won’t say much as experiencing this character is an event best left fresh and unspoiled. I’ll just say you won’t be disappointed.

All of these characters and more make for quite the addition to the amazing world and story you’ll play through. There’s also a character name Frank Fontaine,posthumously blamed with the downfall of Rapture and the civil war that killed many of its denizens.

Gameplay is fluid and fast. It’s a first person shooter with a twist. The Adam harvested by the little sisters can be used to purchase plasmids.

Plasmids rewrite Jack’s genetic code. Giving the player a bevy of powers to accompany their weapons. They are upgradable and fun to use. They can also be used in conjunction with the environment for different offensive effects.

Adam is harvested from little sisters. Hence, being hunted by splicers and their need for protection by the big daddies. Defeating big daddies gives you access to the frightened girls. The player is given a choice on how to procure the Adam. That’s a choice better left up to the player.

Each new area opens the player up to a deeper understanding of what happened beneath the waves before their arrival. The story of Rapture and you’re part in it is better left to be discovered spoiler free. If you’ve already been through it, you’ll know what I mean. 

I give this first installment a 9.5 out of 10 even with the passage of time since it’s initial release. The atmosphere and story are second to none and provided an experience more studios could do well to strive for. 

“Would you kindly” leave any comments about the first Bioshock game. Thoughts, feelings, expressions and opinions are more than welcome.