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Hugh Likes Video Games: Top 5 of 2019

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Tetris 99
Published by Nintendo
Developed by Akira
Played on Nintendo Switch

If there’s one thing Nintendo is really good at, it’s teaching an old dog new tricks. This answer to Sony’s 2018 hit Tetris Effect takes the venerable puzzler into virgin territory: The Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. Fighting it out with 98 other online players is exhilarating. Starting with a free-to-play model that doesn’t gouge you at every turn and a bevy of paid and free DLC make it a game I enjoyed all year long.

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Dicey Dungeons
Developed and Published by Terry Cavanagh
Played on Mac via Steam

2019 was the year of the the indie deckbuilder, but this steam gem pulled ahead of the back for me with its charm and style. Playing as six walking dice trying to win their hearts desires, you hack your way through a variety of turn-based battles agains the cruel whims of Lady Luck herself in her ’70’s style game show. Dicey Dungeons wins by matching cute style with tough-as-nails gameplay that always offers something new.

Sayonara Wild Hearts
Sayonara Wild Hearts
Published by Annapurna Interactive
Developed by Simogo
Played on Nintendo Switch

Essentially a mashup of arcade racing and pop music video album, Queen Latifah guides The Fool through dream-life levels to mend her broken heart. Just simple enough to get you to keep trying for that Gold Rank, this game throws everything from mecha-wolf haunted forests to rain-soaked highways. This is less a game and more of an experience, but it is well worth your time.

Untitled Goose

Untitled Goose Game
Published by Panic
Developed by House House
Played on Nintendo Switch

Sometimes you just want to sow some chaos. Untitled Goose game started as a joke and became an indie darling. As the Untitular Goose, you honk your way through a reign of terror in a sleepy English village in a game that is a bit short, but gives you plenty mayhem to try and accomplish after you beat the main game in a couple hours.

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Pokemon Sword
Published by Nintendo
Developed by Game Freak
Played on Nintendo Switch

The first main entry for the series on Nintendo Switch, Pokemon Sword and Shield evoked controversy by not featuring the full eight-hundred plus roster of monsters. But the game still boasts a satisfyingly huge number of collectable monsters in full 3D, and the ability to camp and play with them as well as battle in a huge open world.

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Everyday Drabbles: Scarecrow

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The soldiers camped in her barn that winter. She sat in the dark house, not lighting a fire, hoping they would forget she was there.
That spring, she made scarecrows. She bent wire frames into human shapes, and wrapped them with dried rosebush branches. She took what she had to hand, old boots, discarded jackets and pants, and dressed them, topping them with discarded helmets.
When they were done, she propped them up in her fields.
She left a pair outside her barn as well, carefully turned so you couldn’t see the bullet holes in their uniforms from the road.

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Everyday Drabbles #201: Call Me, Kathleen Kennedy

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The jury forebeing read out the verdict. “We find the defendant guilty on all counts.” The courtroom was filled with gasps of shock.
The presiding judge of Coruscant Youngling Court banged his gavel for silence.
“I have no choice but to sentence this defendant to ten years hard labor in the Spice Mines of Kessel.”
“Objection I have,” The Defense attorney said. “Merely shoplifting the crime is. A promising future this young one has. Overly harsh this penalty is.”
The judge sneered down at the defense team. “Galactic Republic law increases the penalty for crimes involving the Use of Force.”

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Everyday Drabbles #200: Hex and Garden TV

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EDWinter2

“When the mist rises out of the pot and starts forming shapes, it’s ready for repotting,” the sorceress said. “Don’t listen to it’s whispered promises of power and glory. These are lies. Just slide your finger up like so, and swipe quickly with your ritual dagger. Be sure to have a second pot ready to go.” She smiled into the camera and held up two pots of roiling smoke.
The camera’s red light faded, and they relaxed. She swigged her tea, and her familiar lit a cigarette. They had to get out of this magical contract. TV was killing them.

Author’s Note: It turns out that Wattpad has a strict 200-chapter limit on stories. So from this point on, Everyday Drabbles will be hosted here on my blog. You can still find the first 199 chapters and the introduction HERE.
Thanks for listening, and please spread the word!

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Podcast: CCRC58 – Deck the Halls with Wacky Walls

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Tonight your hosts, Hugh, Rich the Time Traveler, Jurd, and Opop, dig for the seasonal spirit in someone else’s nostalgia

Click HERE to listen to the commentary!

And HERE to watch the special 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.

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Hugh Likes Comics: Top 5 of 2019

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Die

Die
Written by Kieron Gillen
Drawn by Stephanie Hans
Published by Image Comics

Gillen’s story of a group of adults returning to the magical world they escaped as teenagers is a mix of It and the ’80’s Dungeons and Dragons Saturday morning cartoon. Hans brings a unique, painterly style that makes the world feel as strange for us on the readers. The comic itself is a deep, emotional examination of trauma and the rules we live and play by. But as the characters move across the fantasy world, Gillen repeatedly pulls off the trick of exposing the bleeding heart of what Fantasy is and why we make it.

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Fairlady
Written by Brian Schirmer
Drawn by Claudia Balboni, Shari Chankhamma, and Marissa Louise
Published by Image Comics

An intriguing mix of mystery and fantasy, Fairlady mixes a modern sensibility with pulp stylings to great effect. A sort of fantasy private eye, Jenner Faulds solves mysteries, bickers with her co-worker at her day job protecting an absent wizard’s tower, and gets bailed out of trouble by her seven-foot tall cat-man bestie. Each issue is a single mystery, and they’re all clever and interesting. Unfortunately, the book was canceled after issue 5, but the trade is available, and this isn’t a book to let pass you by.

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House of X / Powers of X
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Drawn by Pepe Larraz and R. B. Silva
Published by Marvel Comics

House of X and Powers of X were a big gamble, and it’s safe to say at this point that it’s paid off. After years of protecting a world that hates and fears them, the X-Men are trying something new, and approaching their enemies as a new force. The idea of a mutant nation has been tried and failed in the Marvel Universe, but this one has a lot of new, big ideas going for it. I can’t wait to see what Hickman and crew get up to next.

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Invisible Kingdom
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Drawn by Christian Ward
Published by Berger Books

The incisive writing of G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel, Air) and the art of Christian Ward (Black Bolt, ODY-C)is a heady mix. And the intertwined story of a cargo ship captain working for a monopolistic space corporation and an acolyte in a religious order with dark secrets is a little bit Alien and a little bit Star Wars in all the best ways.

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Lois Lane / Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (Tie)

Lois Lane
Written by Greg Rucka
Drawn by Mike Perkins
Published by DC Comics

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen
Written by Matt Fraction
Drawn by Steve Lieber and Nathan Fairbairn
Published by DC Comics

I couldn’t pick between these two standout books, both of which came out around the same time, but are only slightly connected. Both are deep studies of neglected characters that are very different in tone and style from D.C.’s usual fare.
Lois Lane is a hard-boiled story about the world’s greatest investigative reporter as she delves into a conspiracy that cost one of her colleagues her life, with help from Renee Montoya, AKA The Question. It plays the Journalist as superhero part to the hilt, and it is something worth cheering for.
Jimmy Olsen is a more comical and surreal update of the silver age teen sidekick, as he goes into hiding after thinking Lex Luthor put out a hit on him. But this is also the comic where Jimmy Olsen finds himself in a prank war with Batman. Fraction is writing at the height of his Hawkguy powers here, and it’s strange, fascinating, and hilarious.

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Fiction: Magic Hat

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EDWinter2

There must’ve been some magic in that old top hat we found. Dark magic. It brought a snowman to life, briefly. We pulled trinkets from it out of nowhere. It did small favors for us. Kids stuff.
As we grew up, the Hat still gave us what we wanted. But it took a higher and higher toll.
I tried to get away. I disappeared into the woods, got off the grid, and put up wards. But I can’t escape forever.
It’s Christmas Day, and I hear pounding outside the cabin door.
Thumpity thump-thump! Thumpity thump-thump!
It’s getting closer.

This story originally appeared in Everyday Drabbles, a daily free fiction project on Wattpad. Visit the link for over a hundred free stories. And if you enjoy my writing, support my work by buying me a coffee!

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