Friday, December 21, 2012

City of Horror

Please note that this is the rough draft for a review I wrote for Please check out the final draft of the review here.

Regular readers will remember that the first game review I did for Buy Zombie was Mall of Horror. I recall having positive things to say about it. It was fun and strategic, though somewhat friendship-destroying. City of Horror is the... well, I'm not sure what to call it. It's its own game, so it's not an expansion or reprinting. Is it a sequel? Can board games even have sequels? The website classifies it as a "reimplementation". I suppose that works better than anything I can think of.
Whatever it is, it takes the rules of Mall of Horror and then refines them, expands on them, and tweaks them in a few areas. This creates an experience that if you've played Mall of Horror will feel familiar, yet wholly distinct. If you've never played Mall of Horror, but you think you'd enjoy the kind of game where you feed your friends to zombies for fun and profit, then you're in for a special treat.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Walking Dead: Episode 4

Please note that this is the rough draft for a review I wrote for Please check out the final draft of the review here.

Episode four can be summed up in a single word: Tension.
I'll be honest, after the emotional beatdown that was episode 3, I was a little scared to play episode 4. If it messed with my emotions as viscerally as episode 3 then I would probably end up as a little puddle of goo on the floor that my wife wouldn't appreciate having to clean up. Fortunately, while episode continued the trend of a strong emotional impact, there wasn't as much in the way of sucker punches as episode 3 gave us. In essence, it's the perfect follow-up since it gives you just enough room to breath without letting up entirely.

Friday, November 2, 2012

All Things Zombie

Please note that this is the rough draft for a review I wrote for Please check out the final draft of the review here.

All Things Zombie. Well, if any game ever gave itself a difficult name to live up to it's certainly this one. No reliance on another work's title like a licensed game, and no simple title that explains the basic concept of the game. No, ATZ wants it all. But can it live up to the standard it sets for itself?
Okay, maybe I'm being unfairly silly. It's a bad habit I need to break. Putting that aside for now: All Things Zombie, by Lock 'n Load publishing, is an award-winning board game that, obviously, takes place during the zombie apocalypse. It's also one of the most unique war games I've ever played.
Granted, I have to admit that I'm not the most avid wargamer out there by any stretch, but I have dabbled in it a little. While I can see the appeal of the genre, most of the time it's just not for me. I usually lack the patience for those kinds of a games. That just makes it all the more surprising at how pleasantly surprised I was by this game.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Walking Dead: The Board Game

Please note that this is the rough draft for a review I wrote for Please check out the final draft of the review here.

Now, if you're a regular reader, you may be confused that I am reviewing The Walking Dead: The Board Game. "Didn't he just review that game not too long ago?" you're asking yourself right now. Such confusion is normal, since what I reviewed before was not The Walking Dead: The Board Game, but rather, The Walking Dead Board Game. You see? The other one didn't have the extra ": the". Totally not confusing at all. All right, all sarcasm aside, because the names are so similar, for ease of understanding and the sake of brevity, from here on out I will refer to "The Walking Dead: The Board Game" as "this game" and to "The Walking Dead Board Game" as "the other game". I don't know if it will help you keep things strait, but it does help me.
Similarities in the name aside, the other game was based on the TV show, while this game is based on the comics, and while there are some superficial similarities between the games, (like their names) they are in fact very different.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Telltale's The Walking Dead: Episode 3

Please note that this is the rough draft for a review I wrote for Please check out the final draft of the review here.

Like many natural-born citizens of the U.S.A. I have a more than a few hedonistic tendencies. I know it's not good for me, physically or spiritually, but there you have it. Despite this, Telltale games is making wonder if I don't have some sort of hidden emotional masochism streak in me. That's because episode three of their take on The Walking Dead is out, and it will will test all but the most callous of gamers. And the worst part is, I can't even tell you why without giving away spoilers.

Seriously, the only problem with a game like this one is that talking about it beyond the most general terms is treading on very spoiler-ish ground, and while it might not ruin the game for you if you do get spoiled, I'm the kind of guy who assumes that other people are like me and want to experience just what all the fuss is about. So, I will try and walk the fine line of giving necessary information without giving out spoilers. It'll be tough though.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Please note that this is the rough draft for a review I wrote for Please check out the final draft of the review here.

Paranorman, made by the same people who made the excellent Coraline and the decent-but-not-great Corpse Bride, is a very interesting film, if for no other reason than it keeps shattering your expectations. Just when you think that you've figured the movie out, it takes a sharp turn and becomes something else entirely. In my experience, it's rare that you run across what is ostensibly a kid's movie that dares to be this smart without losing any of its accessibility.
Paranorman is the story of Norman, a young boy who loves scary horror movies and talks to dead people. He lives in a small New England town with the sole claim to fame that they once had a good old-fashioned Puritan witch-trial, with a real witch that cursed her accusers to come back as the living dead and everything. Pretty much everything in the town is devoted to advertising that fact. The town also has ghosts all over the place. Not fake ghosts advertising the witch, but real ghosts that Norman talks to. In fact, they seem to be the only people to accept Norman for his ability. Naturally, since no one else can see the ghosts, he gets shunned by... everyone. His mother seems to be the only person to even try to understand him, and even she comes off as a bit distant. Then one day, Norman's crazy uncle, who apparently can also see dead people, comes to Norman to tell him that he must carry on the family legacy and keep the spirit of the witch at rest so as to prevent to curse from being fulfilled. Naturally, things don't go quite so well as planned.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Telltale's The Walking Dead: Episode 2

Please note that this is the rough draft for a review I wrote for Please check out the published draft of the review here.

So, it took a month longer than expected, but Episode 2 of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead came out a couple weeks ago. Was the wait worth it? I'd like to make some sort of "in short" joke, but in all honesty, no single word or sentence, no matter how humorous, could do this episode justice. I mean, yes it's worth it, but what does that mean, really?

Let's start at the beginning. Episode two (subtitled "Starved for Help") takes place about three months after episode one. It's winter, it's cold, and food is running dangerously short. Right off the bat, you're introduced to a new character. Apparently, the group saved his life and he reciprocated by sharing his food. However, you better catch your breath right off the bat, since it isn't very long before you're presented with some tough choices again. And boy, are they tough. I hesitate to even mention what kind of decisions it forces you to make, event he early ones, because it feels too much like giving up spoilers. Well, not too far in, you meet up with a couple of brothers from a dairy farm. They say they have food that they're willing to trade for fuel so they can keep their electric fence running. But along the way you also find out about raiders nearby who don't hesitate to kill for what they want. Your soon going to start asking if the dairy farm is really as safe as it appears and what you need to do to keep yourself and the group alive, and whether or not you can keep the group together.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Zombie! Run for your lives!

Please note that this is the rough draft for a review I wrote for Please check out the final draft of the review here.

You know the old saying that “If you and your friend are being chased by a dangerous animal then you don’t need to outrun the animal, you just need to outrun your friend? Well, Zombie! Run for Your Lives!, by Russian company Right Games, plays that adage to the hilt. You and up to six other players are all running away from a zombie horde, and only one of you is going to make it out with your brains intact.

Telltale Games' The Walking Dead

Please note that this is the rough draft for a review I wrote for Please check out the final draft of the review here.

I have been a huge adventure games fan ever since I first played The Curse of Monkey Island waaaay back in the 90s. Yes, I understand that that's not that long ago for some people who have been playing since before graphics, but I was just a kid back in the 90s. Anyway, I loved the story-driven aspect of it all. The puzzles could be fun, too, but the story is what grabbed me. Games like the Monkey Island series because they were funny, games like Grim Fandango because they were funny and serious at the same time, and games like The Longest Journey because they were simply amazing. And yet, despite critics saying that adventure games have been dead for decades, companies like Telltale are still around, doing nothing but adventure games, and they aren't going anywhere, especially if they keep making games like The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead Board Game

Please note that this is the rough draft for a review I wrote for Please check out the final draft of the review here.

Given how popular AMC’s The Walking Dead has become, it’s no surprise that it would branch out into various forms of merchandising. This of the series what you will, you can't deny that it's become hugely popular. A board game based on the property was inevitable, really. So it is that Cryptozoic Entertainment (most well-known for their Trading Card Game version of World of Warcraft) has brought us this game. But is it worth it? Let's find out.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Zombie; [sic] a madness

Note, this is the rough draft for a review I wrote for Please go ahead and read the final draft over there. It's a great website and source for zombie news.

This book is difficult for me to explain. You see, I tend to find faults even with books I like, and I have to hold myself back sometimes to make sure I'm not criticizing something that really doesn't need to be criticized. Part of it is my training as an editor and part of it is me being a critical person in general. It really helps me a lot if I'm getting paid to help someone improve their work. Not so much when I'm reading a book for the sake of it. Before I talk about this book, I need to explain a few things about writing and publishing.

Munchkin Zombies

Note: This is the rough draft of a review I wrote for Please go ahead and see the final draft over there. It's a great website and resource for zombie news.

The Munchkin franchise by Steve Jackson Games is one of the most venerable in gaming today. It doesn't have the lengthy history of D&D or even Magic: the Gathering, but it wouldn't exist without them. The whole point of the game is that you are a munchkin... That is, you are a role-player who doesn't view RPGs as fun games and an exercise in improvisational acting, but rather as fun games where you kill monsters and take their stuff by maximizing your stats and dice rolls. There are quite a few versions of the game. The most well-known version is the original fantasy version, but there are versions for science fiction, kung-fu movies, the Cthulhu mythos, the Axe Cop webcomic, and more. However in all of those sets you play as the "heroes" killing monsters. Munchkin Zombies is a more recent set where instead of playing as a human survivor in the zombie apocalypse, you play as the zombies, hunting down humans so you can eat their brains.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Apologies once again.

Sorry. I doubt anyone is reading this blog anymore, but just in case... What started out as a short delay has turned into a death of anything, mostly due to real life rearing it's ugly head. I'm not sure when I'll get back on my weekly review schedule. I will be posting stuff up sporadically in the next little bit, but I'm just not sure how dedicated I can be to this blog for now. Which is a funny and kind of silly thing to say in the first place. Seeing as how I made this blog for myself as practice and nothing else... I dunno, it seems strange to apologize to anyone other than myself. Oh, well. We'll see what happens. Until something does though, well, you'll know that my circumstances remain stressful.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pink Panther remake

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from the movie when I first saw it, I mean, it's got quite the pedigree to live up to, ya know? But I also had to consider: Did I really want to see an exact clone of the original movie?

I was happy that Steve Martin played the part of Clouseau. I felt that if there was only one guy who could pull of this movie, it was him. I'm not sure if he did pull it off, though. Years later, and my jury is still out on that subject. I hasn't too happy about Beyonce, since she was obviously only added for sex appeal (and I personally don't find simply not wearing clothes to be all that "sexy," not to mention the fact that I don't think she's nearly as pretty as everyone seems to think she is. Oh well, to half-remember a quote from Ringworld: the minority is always insane.)
Anyway... moving on...


Casshern is a Japanese action flick, supposedly. However there's very little action. I've seen the anime OAV that it's based on, so I was expecting a strait-up, mindless, blow-up-robots-with-your-bare-hands action movie. What I got was... weird. I mean... the best word I have to describe the movie is "weird." There was so much that happened in the movie that made no sense whatsoever to me. Even after everything was said and done and everyone's motives were revealed and all the secrets in the open, it still made almost no sense. And the amount of robot-destruction was at a minimum. I spent most of the movie scratching my head and being disappointed at how little action there was. I'm not against non-action flicks, but I had certain expectations, you see, and those expectations were not met.

Yet, despite that, I think I really loved the movie.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mall of Horror board game

Note: This is just the rough draft of a review that I wrote for Please check out the polished article here:

If the Zombie Apocalypse has taught us anything, it’s that a shopping mall is just about the worst place to be in the event of the breakdown of society caused by hordes of the flesh-eating undead. Mall of Horrors wants to make sure it’s a lesson you never, ever forget.
Mall of horrors is a board game for 3 to 6 players where each player takes control of a group of survivors competing with the other groups of survivors for, well... survival. Eventually rescue will arrive, but not until only a small fraction of the starting survivors remain.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Puss In Boots: The Three Diablos

So, as you know, i enjoyed the Puss In Boots stand along movie. My wife enjoyed it much more than I did, however, and as one of her birthday presents, I got it for us on DVD. Since it was only a couple of bucks more, I spent the extra money to get the pack with the new "The Three Diablos" DVD short. was it worth the extra money? Well...

Delve Deeper

Delve Deeper is a hexagonal tile-based strategy board game for the computer made by Lunar Giant Studios. You take control of a group of 5 dwarves tasked by their king to dig down into various mountains and deliver their wealth back to him. Along the way you'll have to dig tunnels, mine resources, pick up treasures, and fight all sorts of various enemies, including other teams of dwarves.

Full Metal Jousting

So, I'm not normally someone who really goes for "reality" television. It's some of the least realistic stuff out there, ironically. There have been a couple I've liked, such as Who Wants to Be a Superhero and a couple of the various talent shows out there, and I've been meaning to try that post-apocalyptic one... what's it called? The Colony. But I think I've found a new reality show that I actually like. It's called Full Metal Jousting, and you can watch it on the History Channel.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Baking cookies.

This is probably the second or third "review" I've done that is almost more of a rambling than an actual review. I'm not sure if I should count them. But at the same time... this blog was made to keep me writing. And I'm way behind. So I guess I'll keep writing these kinds of "reviews" for now.

Anyway... I love baking cookies. Actually, I love baking in general, but cookies more than anything else. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost should be pretty obvious: Cookies are delicious. I mean, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and almost all of them are gooey and delicious, if done right. Plus they have just about infinite variability. You want nuts? Put in whatever kind you want. Chocolate chips? Throw 'em in. Want to see if they're any good with some extra cinnamon added in? Extra vanilla? Less sugar? Sure, why not? Part of the fun of baking is altering the recipe to suit your own personal taste. Sometimes it's fun just to experiment to see if you like it or not.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dead Tropics

 NOTE: This is the rough draft of a review published at The polished review can be viewed at that website. Please check it out.

Dead Tropics is what I imagine many self published books are like. It’s surprisingly good, but despite it’s quality, is still in need of a good professional editor. (Not that, as a professional editor myself, I have any bias in the matter.) But you’re probably not as interested in the various grammatical foibles of the story as I am, so let’s move on to the meat of the book.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (the Demo)

You know what I miss? Game demos. Back in the early 90s, when I was still in my formative years as a young gamer, entering into the age where my parents would finally trust me enough to let me on their computer for hours at a time to play computer games, I loved demos. I didn't have any real money to speak of, and what I did all went to Magic cards. So I spent a lot of time playing demos. I would either get them from my PCGamer demo disc or download them on my parents' 14.4 bps modem whenever no one was using the phone. It was a great time to be a new gamer. I could see if the game captured my interest long enough for me to at least want to spend money on it. Obviously my budget was limited, but I was able to buy games occasionally. Heck, my budget was so limited that I literally could not afford to buy a game without first playing the demo, to see if I liked it.
Unfortunately, it seems that the practice of giving demos has, by and large, gone by the wayside. Heck, most of the few paltry demos that are put out these days are put out after the game has already been released! What madness is that? (No...  I'm not going to make that joke. You know which one.)
So, suddenly here's this game from EA that I'd never heard anything about called Kingdoms of Amalur. I really hadn't any interest in it, but they were doing this interesting cross-promotional thing with Mass Effect 3 for some free DLC just for playing the demo. I figured: "it's a demo and it's free DLC... Win-win, as far as I'm concerned." So I downloaded it for the free DLC, because I LOVE the Mass Effect series... and I was duly impressed.

Watchdog Self Storage

So, I guess this review will be locating myself a bit, but I've been wanting to write this review for a bit now.
I've only had to use a paid storage closet a couple of times, though I have helped plenty of other people move in/out of one. But by far the best I've used, or even seen, was Watchdog Self Storage in Springville, UT. (The picture is taken from their website.)

Monday, January 23, 2012


Every once in a while, a film comes along that is, in all seriousness, important. I don't mean that it's just really good or entertaining or groundbreaking in some way. I mean really, honestly important. These are movies that you should watch because they say something necessary or they will make you a better person. Movies like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Incredibles. Validation, while short (it's under 20 minutes), is one of these films.

The Blackwell Deception

Now, I do my best not to be a fanboy, but every so often, something comes along that's so high-quality that I just can't help but get a little bit giddy over it. Wadjet Eye Games' games are like that. So of course I was excited to hear about The Blackwell Deception, the fourth game in the series. I mean, how could an adventure games enthusiast not be excited about it? I was, unfortunately, not able to buy it at the time of release, but it recently got a release on Steam and was on sale for the first week, so I picked it up right quick. Did it live up to my expectations?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Landau Eugene Murphy jr., That's Life

So I bought myself the debut album of Landau Eugene Murphy jr. In case you didn't watch it, he's the guy who won America's Got Talent last year singing crooner classics. Now, normally I don't watch "reality" shows, but I will occasionally watch AGT simply because it's usually not trying to be anything it's not and it offers such a wide variety of entertainment. So, I was watching an episode with some family when Landau came on and... I was blown away.

Hawk The Slayer

When most people think of good movies, usually they think of movies they enjoyed because of the great acting, the interesting story, or even just the cool special effects.
Then there are people like me, who love to watch terrible movies simply because they have the exact opposite of all of the above.
Why do people like me willingly submit ourselves to such torture? Why, because it's freaking hilarious, of course!
Hawk the Slayer is the epitome of bad movies. It is the Casablanca of bad movies. It is what every bad movie aspires to be. It is like the matrix in that it cannot be explained, but rather must be experienced. But I will try to explain it anyway.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Gamers (the first one)

So, I finally got around to watching the first gamers movie. You may have noticed that I already reviewed its spiritual sequel earlier. So... I would say that it was worth watching, especially since it made me re-evaluate my opinion of Dorkness Rising. Somewhat.

You see, I still stand by my original conclusion that Dorkness Rising is a good film that approaches greatness, yet is too easy to forget. However, I now feel that I was a bit too harsh on the movie. I know I couched it all in terms of "it's not bad, but...", but I also understand that the "but" makes all the difference.
So... Let me tell you about The Gamers and how it simultaneously changed and reinforced my opinion of its sequel.