Podcast: NP13: Catherine’s Hook

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Welcome to Nostalgia Pilots! Today Jason, Hugh, and Lauren watch Gundam Wing episode 13, “Catherine’s Tears.”

Click HERE to listen!

This week: Every plan is a bad plan, Red Cancer has the most unearned horror sting ever, and Oz is basically a frat with better coats. Plus, Trowa ruins everything and Zechs sends a savage telegram.

Next week: Relena drops the mic.

Thanks for listening!


Hugh Likes Video Games: Super NES Classic

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The Skinny-While you may already have many of these games, this collection of 16-bit classics feels absolutely perfect.

Last year, Nintendo released the SNES Classic Edition, the follow up to 2016’s sealed reproduction NES console. While it isn’t quite as rare as the original, it is still hard to come by for fans that didn’t preorder. But last week I finally got my mitts on one, and it is a lovely little nostalgia box.
The sealed box contains twenty-one games for the Super Nintendo, including the never-released “Star Fox 2.” While this is lower than the NES Classic, the lineup is all fantastic games, with little fat to speak of. Of course, there are plenty of games that feel missing. “Chrono Trigger” would be a personal inclusion. Other games such as “Pilotwings,” “Actraiser” or the original SNES port of “Sim City” would have been welcome as well. But the console does capture the era, from the opening level of Super Mario World to the last boss in Final Fantasy III.
The console looks great, which is to say like a scaled down version of the original, and it feels spot-on, even if the controller cords are still a bit too short for comfort. There are some nifty new options as well, including a choice of background images and the ability to rewind a few seconds for when the old-school difficulty gets to be a bit much.
While most of these games are widely averrable through various Nintendo eshops, rerelease collections, and remakes, There’s just something about playing them with an original controller that feels right. They look great, as well.
While these $80 bundles may still be a bit on the rare side, if you come across a SNES Classic, pick it up, and breathe in that nostalgia buzz.

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Podcast: NP12-Grand Theft Boat

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Welcome to Nostalgia Pilots, this week Jason, Lauren and Hugh watch episode 13 of New Mobile Report Gundam Wing, “Bewildered Warriors.”
Click HERE to listen!
This week is a Wu Fei spotlight episode, in which Heero is questionably bandaged, Wu Fei likes a good flap, and Sally Po is the guidance councilor for Gundam Pilots. Plus, Trowa is a killer clown from outer space, nobody at this circus shows up for dress rehearsal, and Lauren really needs to watch Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure!

Thanks for listening to this podcast. If you enjoyed it, please share it, or leave a review on your podcatcher! You can also support me on Patreon for more goodies!

Hugh Likes Fiction: It Devours!

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It Devours.jpg

It Devours!: A Welcome to Night Vale novel
Written by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Crainor
Audiobook read by Cecil Baldwin

The Skinny-The creators of “Welcome to Night Vale” return with another delightfully creepy and silly novel set in their quiet desert town.

Following up their best-selling eponymous Welcome to Night Vale novel, It Devours! continues the formula of giving a spotlight to some of the supporting characters from the podcast. The story falls a bit outside the purview of the half-hour pseudo-radio show, but is still great fun for fans.
The story follows Nilanjana, a scientist investigating a series of mysterious and unofficial earthquakes, and Darryl, a member of the friendly cult The Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, which may be involved in a series of disappearances. The pair will have to contend contend with pushy spokespeople, lonely surveillance helicopter pilots, and most importantly, their very different world-views to solve these mysteries.
While readers don’t need to have read the previous novel or be up to date on the podcast, the story is full of references to both. The most important thing to know going in is that Night Vale is weird. And that weirdness comes with neither explanation nor apology. Bits like the town’s monstrous City Council, the fad for invisible food, and the barista district all swing by fast enough to upset a new reader’s train of thought if unprepared. But the story is well-told and engaging. If you are new to Night Vale and find the vast backlog of podcast episodes intimidating, It Devours! might be a great place to give it a try.
The audio book is read by Cecil Baldwin, the host of the podcast. He does an excellent job bringing the huge cast to life. Fans of weird fiction will find a lot to like in this heartwarming end-of-the-world adventure.
It Devours is available from Amazon in print and Audible in audio book. You can also find it at your Local Independent Bookstore!

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Hugh Likes Video Games-Adventures of Mana

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Adventures of mana

Adventures of Mana
Published by Square Enix
Played on PS Vita

The Skinny: This slightly buggy 3D remake of Final Fantasy Adventure solves little of that game’s frustrations, and adds a host of new ones, but is still an easy way to play a somewhat lost gem.

With Secret of Mana getting a full HD remake this month, I decided to give the remake of its predecessor a try. The original Seiken Densetsu, known in the west as Final Fantasy Adventure, was a Game Boy action RPG that pushed the little black-and-white console to the edge. Adventures of Mana certainly captures the feel of FFA, but that may not necessarily be a good thing.
Designed for mobile devices and ported to the PS Vita, Adventures is a perfect remake in a lot of ways. I reviewed the original back in 2015, and recently decided to give the update a try.  Even with its upgraded polygonal graphics and orchestral sound, it feels exactly like Final Fantasy Adventure. But unfortunately, as often that not, that feeling is frustration. Everything that’s enjoyable about the game is retained, the variety of weapons, spells, and characters are all here, and the sweeping story is intact. But almost all the limitations of the game are here as well. AI companions still have little to no intelligence, and dungeons remain a set of confusing, boxy rooms that all look alike. Frustratingly, the map is harder to get to than in FFA, being mapped to a sub-menu on the triangle button on the PSV version. The game doesn’t seem to have received any upgrades to the code at all, as the screen-based grid of the original is still loaded separately from the background, usually with a lag of about a second or so. Unfortunately, this version allows the player to move while they’re loading, and has a much more zoomed in camera, which resulted in my character being hit by spawning monsters before I even saw them. The inventory has been overhauled somewhat with a ring-style menu after later installments, and works pretty well, but is still only sixteen slots, with no way to increase it. But at least weapons and armor are stored separately, which frees up a little space. There are a few new bugs added in the conversion as well, such as one which froze my hero’s sprite in mid-leap, but those were minor complaints.
Adventures of Mana felt a little disappointing, but if you are a fan of the oldest of the old school action RPGs, and don’t have access to the physical copy of the original, it is a cheap and somewhat satisfying trip down memory lane. Just be prepared; rose-colored glasses not included.

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Hugh Likes Fiction: Gluttony Bay

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Sin Du Jour: Gluttony Bay
Written by Matt Wallace
Published by Tor

The Skinny: Matt Wallace returns for the sixth installment of his Sin Du Jour series, and the penultimate volume is just as nasty, brutal, and short as you’d expect. And that’s why it’s great.

After building tension over the course of five novellas, Matt Wallace’s “Sin Du Jour” Series is reaching the end of its rope, and it’s been one hell of a climb. Focusing on the misadventures of a supernatural catering service, the series has had a solid thematic line of making deals with the devil. The first novel involved a celebratory dinner for a whole tribe of demons, in fact. And the consequences of those decisions are finally coming home to roost for Wallace’s huge cast of characters.
As the crew of Sin Du Jour’s relationship with government contact and string-puller Allensworth continues to sour, he reveals to them his most closely guarded secret: Gluttony Bay, a combination black site prison/five star dinning experience for his most discerning supernatural contacts. I’ll leave you to guess what’s on the menu, but Bronko, Lena and the rest will have to make a difficult choice, and hopefully live with the consequences.
We’re nearly at the end of Wallace’s masterfully crafted rollercoaster ride, and the tension is so thick you can cut it with the finest of chef’s knives. Wallace doesn’t pull any punches with this one, and he leaves us with more of a statement than a question. The supernatural catering company has always danced around the question of how do you serve monsters without becoming one. And the answer is, simply, that you don’t. He makes his characters face an impossible choice, and the writing is as juicy and delicious as a perfectly prepared steak.
SIn Du Jour book six, “Gluttony Bay” is available from amazon.com, or your preferred ebook retailer. If my previous six reviews haven’t swayed you, don’t sleep on this one.

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Podcast: CCR44-Swamp Women

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Tonight your hosts, Hugh of HughJODonnell.com, Rich the Time Traveler, Opopanax, and Jurd, pull on their Daisy Dukes and dive into leech territory.

Click HERE to download the podcast!

And HERE to watch Swamp Women.

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 to this podcast! If you enjoyed it, please share it! Or leave a review on your podcatcher. It’ll help other folks find the show!

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