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Podcast: CCR37: Nightmare Castle

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Join the Chrononauts as we venture into the heart of a gothic castle and watch the painting spin around for a few hours.

Click HERE listen!

And HERE to watch the movie on Youtube!

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and http://hughjodonnell.com, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it! You can also support me on Patreon for more goodies!

Four Job Fiesta: Part One

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This summer I’m taking part in a unique gaming challenge for a worthy charity, and so can you! Four Job Fiesta is an annual gaming marathon that raises money and awareness for Child’s Play.
From June 19th to August 31st, participants play classic RPG Final Fantasy V, with one twist: Players are limited to four jobs, which are randomly selected by a bot on Twitter. I heard about it from a friend that participates every year, and dismissed the difficulty, but five hours into the game, I’m finding it an eye-opening challenge.
I wrote way back about my love of Final Fantasy V, but Four Job Fiesta is giving me a new perspective on the game. I’m playing the PS1 version of the game, which has its own translation, so that is also giving me fresh thoughts on the game. For those who haven’t played, Final Fantasy V uses a Job system that allows players to switch between your typical RPG classes. you can play as a magician for a while, and then turn into a warrior, keeping some of the benefits or skills from previous jobs. This lets the player make a party of versatile and powerful characters using various combinations. The challenge severely limits the versatility of these characters. It also forces me to make choices I wouldn’t in an open play of the game.
My first job was ‘Thief,’ a low-powered job that can steal items and gets some other useful skills. But they can’t use magic, and they have very limited equipment. This made the first few dungeons a lot more difficult. In normal play, I was able to breeze through using magic. I had to think a bit more tactically to get past some bosses that were suddenly far more difficult when I couldn’t exploit their weaknesses.
Four Job Fiesta isn’t just about beating an old game with new tricks. It’s also a fundraiser for Child’s Play, a charity which provides games and toys to pediatric hospitals. Visit FourJobFiesta.com to learn more about the project, start your own run, or donate to help sick kids.

Hugh Likes Video Games: Abzu

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Abzu
Giant Squid
Played on Playstation 4

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Much like their breakthrough hit “Journey,” Giant Squid’s “Abzu” is an exquisite exploration game that delivers on wow and holds back on challenge.
Abzu is an enigmatic exploration game about the ocean. In Giant Squid’s signature style, the narrative is told without any dialog or language whatsoever. Players take on the role of a diver navigating undersea grottoes and sunken ruins. As with “Journey,” there are next to no hazards to distract from the sumptuous visuals, although there are some tense moments with a great white shark, and some menacing undersea mines to avoid.
Abzu is another gorgeous and enigmatic 3-D exploration game that is so squarely in the developer’s wheelhouse. Rather than focusing on fleeting connections with other players, this game encourages exploration and observation. It is filled with virtual fish that all move in intricately programmed schools and patterns. Meditation spots scattered throughout the game encourage you to sit and watch this fish as they swim through the scenery.
Also like Journey the game is quite short, clocking in at just a few hours for a play-through. There are a few things to collect along the way, such as hidden spots that release new fish into the environment, but these don’t add too much to the replay value. Beating the game unlocks an area select and lets you freely enter meditation mode. Unfortunately, even this short game feels a bit repetitive after a while. The temple assets are largely recycled, and there is far less direction on this voyage. Also, the 3D swimming controls are a bit tricky at times. I often found myself swimming in circles when I wanted to dive forward.
These few quibbles aside, “Abzu” is a beautiful and relaxing sea trip that is well worth the few moments you need to enjoy it. You can find it on Steam, the PSN Store, or at Abzugame.Com.
Thanks for reading this review. If you enjoyed it, please share it! Or, support me on Patreon for more goodies!

Podcast: Nostalgia Pilots Episode 2: Sweet 90’s Hacking

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Join Hugh, Jurd, and Lauren as we take a look at Episode Two of Gundam Wing!

Heero practices the equestrian skills he learned in space, and gets up to some 3rd-story hacking, Relena pieces things together from the back of her Barbie limousine, and Duo uses the stealthiest tool, giant spotlights!

Meanwhile, Zech’s submarine helipad is underused, Trowa has a lion-based job interview, and Qatre takes Sandrock on vacation! Plus, Wu Fei’s cash does the talking on the international arms market.

Nostalgia Pilots Episode 2: Sweet 90’s Hacking

Follow along with us! Stream Gundam Wing on Crunchyroll!

And Follow us on Twitter @nostalgiapilots!

Hugh Likes Fiction: Greedy Pigs

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Sin du Jour: Greedy Pigs
Written by Matt Wallace
Published by Tor

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We’re on book five of Matt Wallace’s seven course Sin du Jour series, and if you aren’t onboard by now, I don’t know what to tell you. These novellas haven’t stopped kicking ass, and “Greedy Pigs” is no less great than the preceding four.
After being embroiled in supernatural politics and nearly taken over, Sin du Jour finds themselves catering the gala festivities as the new President of the supernatural community is installed. But something bad is coming, plans are being laid, and Lena’s best friend and fellow line chef Darren is in the center of them.
Everything that makes Wallace’s work great is still on display here. The characters are efficiently but deeply rendered, the plotting is tight, and the writing is just as wickedly sharp as ever. As things hit the fan, the humor is a bit less on display, although Wallace still finds places to sprinkle comic scenes in, such as a set of errands Lena and Bronko make early in the story that are by turns funny, charming, and bittersweet, with some uncomfortable revelations about pandas.
Greedy Pigs is the fifth part of Wallace’s seven part Sin du Jour series, which you really should be reading by now. Go read it in ebook or print, and be sure to find out more about it on Tor.com.

Thanks for reading this review! If you enjoyed it, please share it! You can also support me on Patreon for more goodies!

Hugh Likes Video Games: Super Castlevania IV

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Super Castlevania IV
Konami
Played on New 3DS

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We’re hunting Draculas out of season! A classic from the early days of the Super Nintendo, I picked up Super Castlevania IV from the New 3DS eshop! And it’s just as thumb-breakingly difficult as I remember.
This game is hard, which is not to say that it is UNFAIR. For the most part, the game’s traps and enemies can be out-thought. This is a true old-school pattern memorization platformer, and it doesn’t mess around. But although I found myself dying over and over at the hands of Dracula’s minions and spikes of the castle’s many traps, it never feels like the game is cheating. Obstacles can be overcome with patience and reflexes, rather than luck. And this game throws a ton at you. The castle feels more malevolent in ways than later iterations of the game. The sprawling 2-D puzzle maps of Symphony of the Night and its ilk, generally referred to as “Metroid-vaia” style games, are all puzzles to be solved. You can go anywhere, and frequently, backtracking is require to uncover all of Castlevania’s juiciest secrets. Super Castlevania’s tightly designed levels are just the opposite. There is no going back. Every step feels like an unreconcilable choice. Drawbridges slam behind you, spike traps dog your heels, and platforms constantly shatter under your boots. Each jump feels like a commitment, creating a tension that builds through the entire game until you are whip-to-fang with Count Dracula himself.
Super Castlevania IV looks and sounds great on the New 3DS screen. The big sprites and sampled music were outstanding for the time, and they are perfectly preserved emulated on the handheld screen. The analog stick works well for the most part, although attacking and moving at angles is somewhat unreliable. You lose your momentum if the stick isn’t at just the right angle, which can be a problem when trying to climb collapsing staircases and clearing flying enemies in later stages.
Super Castlevania IV is a great pick up if you’re looking for some retro platforming on your New 3DS, or just want to kill time until the new Castlevania series drops on Netflix next month. You can find it in the New 3DS, Wii, and Wii U Virtual Console.
Thank you for reading this article. If you enjoyed it, please share it! You can also support me on Patreon for more goodies!

Hugh Likes Podcasts: The Monster Society of Comics

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The Monster Society of Comics
Hosted by Elle Collins and Kieran Shiach
goodeggpodcasts.com

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You belong in the Monster Society of Comics. That is the central tenet of this new podcast, hosted by veteran podcasters and former Comics Alliance writers Kieran Shiach and Elle Collins. Once a month, the hosts and two guests each present their top comics pick from the last month. It doesn’t have to be a comic that was published in the last month, just their favorite thing they read. Each comic is carefully considered by the panel. They also discuss comics news and read listener submissions of favorite comics for the month.
Two episodes in, The Monster Society of Comics is off to a great start. Unfortunately, it is plagued by audio issues that I hope are resolved in further installments. The most glaring of these is the recording levels of the participants. Elle’s audio in particular is very loud, while Kieran’s is often too low. Leveling a podcast recorded over VoIP is always a challenge, but the podcast needed almost constant adjustment.
That issue aside, The Monster Society of Comics is shaping up to be a great forum for positive and intelligent criticism, which is something that the internet sorely needs in the wake of Comics Alliance shutting down. You can find it online at GoodeggPodcasts.com and in the podcatcher of your choice.

Thank you for reading this review. If you enjoyed it, please share it! You can also support me on Patreon for more goodies!

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