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Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Collection
I know myself and what I know is that I am a big ol’ slut for Final Fantasy, meaning no disrespect to other kinds of sluts. Come see Part One of my review of my play-through review of the first game here, and join me for the rest!
Little House On The Prairie
(Digital Video Disc/Peacock)
This is an old favorite of ours that is extremely important to me, and Charles Ingalls still occupies a seat in my Mental Cabinet Of Counselors. (Caveat on that link: I haven’t read The Art Of Manliness since they implied some unfortunate things about political correctness and racial justice being a new religion; maybe that was a weird misstep and they’ve course-corrected, I don’t know, but back when they were just quietly conservative in their own way and still welcomed everyone to the table they were a big part of my growth and development, and I’d be lying if I said some of their work hasn’t still stuck with me; the context-free good points made by the uncle who reposts memes about no one wanting to work anymore.) I had actually hoped to convince my wife to do a watch-through podcast with me, but she was reluctant, and in the end, I simply enjoy watching it with her more than I want to sacrifice a thing we love on the altar of turning quality time into Content™️.
Based on the much-beloved series of novelized diaries from Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House is the story of the Ingalls family moving out onto the plains during the westward expansion of the 1870’s, the trials and troubles that come to them, and what an almighty bitch Harriett Oleson, owner of the local mercantile, is. It’s clearly not designed to be arc-based storytelling, consisting mostly of self-contained episodes, the occasional two-parter, and some TV movies, there to welcome you when you get home from school or work with a family unwittingly committing racist violence by the simple act of existing on land that Indigenous Americans were murdered off of; a little girl falls down a hole and the town has to band together to save her, Pa has to take a job transporting dynamite after a failed wheat crop, forty people die in a blizzard, Edwards befriends an orang-utan, etc. In fairness, the show does take some astoundingly progressive swings considering both the source material and the time in which it was filmed, but, being a production for white Americans, by white Americans, is definitely of the “Oh we hella stole this land from them, and that was wrong, all men are created equal, but we’re definitely still building a house here” school of apologetics.
I’m not here to say whatever it means to me is “worth” the problems inherent in its premise and execution (and that’s without muddying the waters with the fact that it’s a true-ish story), because that’s not mine to say, but if you can sympathize with people who are 100% part of the problem through no fault of their own you’ll have a hell of a time in Walnut Grove, or Creek, or whatever the fuck, I can never remember.
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish
I know. I know! “The 10-years-later sequel to the Shrek spinoff?”, I scoffed, as any reasonable person incapable of joy would. But after hearing a ton of good word-of-mouth from sources I trust to give it a shot, and instantly remembered what we all do anytime we boot a Shrek up: “Oh that’s right, these movies completely rock bottoms.”
Puss–you know, the Stabby Tabby–has led a life of absolutely unrepentant partying, derring-do, and moderately-priced heroism; eight of them, in fact! He’s on his last life! Ha-ha! Ha. Hm. And when the Dark Wind comes a-knockin’ at his door, he does the only thing it’s possible to do really do when confronted with your mortality: Literally run as fast as you can in the other direction and try to solve all of your problems by magic.
Much as Shrek did in Shrek (the prequel to Shrek 2, starring Shrek), he reluctantly picks up an annoying but endearing sidekick who teaches him about True Friendship, and runs into Kitty Softpaws, his former inamorata who would very much like to kick his ass for very good reason; all of them–and a crew of Peaky Blinders–have to beat a psychopathic manchild to the Last Wishing Star in an open, loving whole-plot homage to The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, culminating in a confrontation between Puss and the fact of his own inevitable, permanent death.
Movie is super fun and snappy, is absolutely gorgeous, hilarious when it needs to be and sincerely very upsetting when it wants to be; there’s a reason a big chunk of the praise for this picture regards its depiction of a character having an uncomfortably realistic panic attack. But most of all it’s about learning to trust others, work together, and accept the nature of our limited existence and appreciate it while we’re here, and that’s a lesson we can all benefit from contemplating, especially as, frankly, the underpinnings of the world upon which we depend become less and less stable.
Red Dead Redemption II
Wowzers what a game! I played poker for like an hour and a half, then kept accidentally fatally stabbing this guy whom I just wanted to quit beating up my very drunk priest-friend! My character keeps a journal with more dedication than I do in real life, and I have a horse named Big Mountain Fudgecake, he’s my best friend! Dutch is absolutely going to get us all killed!
Resident Evil 4 (PlayStation 5)
The reviews are out and they are glowing, and all written much more capably and with more interesting and thoughtful things to say about it than I’ve got. Mostly this is because I’m not a professional game journo, but also I never played the damn thing back in the day so I don’t have anything to contribute to literally half of the conversation taking place. But what I do have to say is this: GAME GOOD. Balancing story progression with beefy-ish Merchant missions? Good! Shooting-gallery game I somehow got an S-grade on with the rifle? Good! Leon’s handler making my PS5 controller yell at me when I least expect it because I always forget it has a speaker? Less good for me as an easily-startled man usually playing while mildly high, but a great idea and utilization of technology in a novel way that moves the fourth wall back a few yards.
I don’t love everything about it the way most of the internet seems to, but that’s equal parts personal taste, lack of nostalgia, and also a weird 20-year-old-political-landscape thing, because holy shit does it feel bad to play a white dude who gets dropped into a rural village and just straight up murders hundreds of dirty, impoverished people yelling in a foreign (to we, the invaders) language and lunging at us with rusted farm implements. This is elevated by the “to proceed, shoot more people than you did in all of Resident Evil 1” gameplay (about which I am not complaining), and my guilty white ass did find it a relief when they started looking more like sea anemones full of scorpions and less like people that a Republican governor would accuse of smuggling tamarind-flavored contraception and gun-eating luchadores across the border.
As I talked about at bitter length here, ya boi got unjobbed along with half a thousand other poor chuds. I list this not out of self-pity—it’s honestly a relief in many ways—but on the off chance someone might say “Hey I know a job that could use this dumdum” and reach out. Tacky? More than a little! But class is the prerogative of the gainfully employed. Help me regain my rightful role and only be tacky on purpose again!
Untitled Goose Game (Nintendo Switch)
I am not new to this goose on the loose and his many crimes, but dusted the ol’ gander off for the benefit of the wee goblins a-visiting one day; this was a mistake, for oh lord, what honking and theft of keys I wasn’t even wearing did ensue for the afternoon thereafter.
For those unfamiliar, A BRIEF TREATISE: It’s a lovely morning in the village, and you are a horrible goose.
That’s it. You waddle around causing mild, harmless mischief with EXTREME prejudice, locking a boy in a phone booth and then forcing him to buy his own toy airplane back from a rummage sale, stealing an entire picnic, and ruining brunch through the strategic placement of walkie-talkies and your own undeniable honk.
It’s a short game with very simple controls, a charming minimalist piano soundtrack that somehow scores what you’re doing it while you’re doing it???, and it offers the chance we’ve all been waiting for our entire lives: to rain pointless, hilarious, confusing chaos and destruction on people who have it coming by attempting to keep you from your goal: the beautiful miniature golden bell.
Mostly I wanted to take the opportunity to remind you all that PEACE WAS NEVER AN OPTION.