MUSIC VIDEO DRILLDOWN #3: Bad Blood by Taylor Swift

written by David Steffen This is the third in a new series of articles wherein I examine a music video by a well-known artist as a short film, trying to identify the story arcs and the character motivations, and consider the larger implications of things that we get glimpses of in the story.  This time … Continue reading MUSIC VIDEO DRILLDOWN #3: Bad Blood by Taylor Swift

GAME REVIEW: Elevator Action

written by David Steffen Elevator Action is a 1983 spy action game by Taito published in arcade format. As each level begins the player character grapples to the top of a 30-story building and must make their way down to the ground floor through the building filled with gun-toting guards while collecting secret documents along … Continue reading GAME REVIEW: Elevator Action

GAME REVIEW: Robotron 2084

written by David Steffen Robotron 2084 was developed by Eugene Jarvis and Larry DeMar of Vid Kidz  and released in 1982. A multi-directional shooter survival game, where the object is to survive in a fight against endless waves of killer robots while rescuing human survivors along the way. The game uses a dual-joystick movement and shooting scheme that made it … Continue reading GAME REVIEW: Robotron 2084

GAME REVIEW: McPixel

McPixel is a point and click puzzle humor game released by Sos in 2012.  The game is made up of dozen 20-second mini-levels where the main character McPixel has 20 seconds to save the day, usually by defusing a bomb.  Clear inspiration for the game is the 1980s show MacGyver (which was recently rebooted), known for putting its eponymous hero in tight spots where he had to improvise a solution to a deadly problem in minutes.  And to some extent maybe even MacGruber, the Saturday Night Live spoof of MacGyver in recent years–MacGruber came to mind more readily since MacGruber regularly fails to stop the explosions.

GAME REVIEW: Teslagrad

teslagradA man walks through the night, carrying a staff and a baby.  He knocks on a door, gives the baby to a woman there, and then keeps walking.  The baby becomes a man, and henchmen come pounding on the door.  The boy flees the men through the night, eventually finding refuge in the mysterious and deadly Tesla Tower.

Teslagrad is a Metroid-style platformer action/adventure puzzle game published by Rain Games in 2013.  As you might expect from the name, the obstacles and tools in Tesla Tower are based around electricity and magnetism–opening/closing electrical gates, changing the polarity of objects or of yourself to repel or attract in strategic ways to achieve your objectives.

DP Fiction #30B: “Typical Heroes” by Theo Kogod

Tony started training the new girl the day before the world ended.

It was the third apocalypse that year.

The others had occurred when the dead all rose to fight the frost giants, and then again when the President’s new cyber-security tracking program became sentient and started sending combat drones against registered voters of the opposing party.

Tony was registered with the opposition, and had actually gotten to see the drones up close and personal as they descended on him, but then one of the supers had flown in and saved him, so he’d ended up still having to go to work.

TV REVIEW: Wayward Pines Season 2

Wayward Pines was a weird speculative mystery/thriller show that aired as ten episodes in the summer of 2015–see my review of that season here. At the time that it aired it was unclear whether it was going to be a standalone miniseries or whether there would be a second season–the ending wrapped up a lot of things but left a route to continue the story if it were desired. And, (obviously, given the title of the article) it did return for a second season in the summer of 2016.

DP FICTION #9: “Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House!” by Matthew Sanborn Smith

A plate, a plate, another plate burst upon the kitchen tile. This one broke into three large pieces and assorted ceramic crumbs. Giraffe closed her long-lashed eyes and prayed to her many makers. Why in the world would the people make one hard thing that was so likely to smash into a second hard thing?

“Another one?” Ms. Mtombe yelled. “Get out of my kitchen immediately!” She seemed to have been lurking near the kitchen entrance in anticipation. Giraffe didn’t bother to look. That unshining face made guest appearances in her night terrors. It was Tuesday, so it would be the zebra print dress, the long strand of Moroccan beads, and those slapping gold sandals.