Few shows in television history cast as long a shadow as Twin Peaks. It made networks more amenable to serialized TV stories. It showed that television can have cinematic production values. And it set the stage for the now familiar notion of strange, insular, isolated communities as the setting for creepy television shows. What is it about small towns? When did Mayberry get so weird?
Is there any medium as creatively bankrupt as television? Is there any genre as creatively bankrupt as horror? As a rule, of course. We’re here for the exceptions. Here are a couple of recommendations for TV horror that wears its creativity with unique visual flair.
Television can be both blessing and curse for storytelling. The blessing is the longer form that allows for more involved stories. The curse is a narrative beholden to episodic structure and uncertain series endings. Although anthologies forego the blessing, they easily avoid the curse with their fun-sized approach storytelling. The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Outer Limits, and Night Gallery are some of the earliest and best examples of television storytelling, and they often live squarely in the genre of horror. So to start out a week of television recommendations, here are a couple of specific episodes we recommend.
Our Make October Scare Again recommendations aren’t just the best or our favorites. They’re things we feel deserve a little nudge in your direction, for whatever reason. But that’s not what’s going to happen on Fridays. This month’s Friday recommendations are determined shoves in your direction. These are our current favorites.
What number are we on for Resident Evil games? How many Friday the Thirteenths are there? The thrill of a good scare is something we intellectually know can’t be repeated, even though we never stop going back to the well. But the scares we know too well aren’t scares anymore. They’re horror comfort food. We can almost guess which crew member is the first to be Xenomorph meal. We know which couple gets the chainsaw first. We know the monster is going to be some CG boondoggle. We know when the refrigerator or medicine cabinet closes, something will be there. Ah, yes, it played out exactly like it was supposed to. Next!
You only say “it’s really about the journey” when the destination is a disappointment. That’s what people tell themselves when they climb a mountain, only to discover the view obscured by fog. Or when the end of a game sucks.
One of the first things you’ll want to do with a list is define your terms. We’re not going to do that. In fact, we’re going to recommend a couple of things that might have you protesting, “Hey, there’s not a single jump scare, slasher, ghost, or zombie in there! That’s not horror!”
In October, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone’s “best horror games of all time” list. So that’s not this. Instead, this week we’re running a list of recommendations for recent horror games we really like and think you should play, but might have skipped or even not thought of them as horror. If you can come up with a snappy way to stick that at the top of a list, let us know. In the meantime, we’ll roll out two a day. Today we recommend a couple of games for how they put us in mind of older games.
Just before the start of fifth grade, my family moved across town to a new neighborhood and subdivision. I only knew a few kids on my street since I stayed at my old school. October and Halloween could have been awkward, so I was thrilled and relieved when some neighbor kids asked me to go trick-or-treating with them. My parents didn’t seem to bat an eye at this (though I think they’d gotten to know the other parents in the neighborhood pretty well), and on Halloween night I set off with three kids I’d known for less than a month, after dark, in a neighborhood I barely knew.
If I can’t livestream boardgames, I guess I can just, well, stream them. Non-live. There’s got to be a word for that. Whatever you want to call it, here is everything you could ever want to know — and then some! — about Victory Point Games’ update and re-release of one of the best solitaire boardgames you can play.
Last year, I predicted that Fantasy Flight would choke their elegant Lovecraftian adventure boardgame, Eldritch Horror, with the usual glut of add-ons. This was like predicting the sun would rise in the East.
Was I right? In a fit of pique, curiosity, and indiscretion, I bought all of the expansions. I spent a day organizing everything. Labeling plastic baggies (not included), integrating the bits and bobs from six (6!) separate boxes, and trying (and failing) to fit everything in fewer than three full-size boxes. Then I spent several more days playing Eldritch Horror. I lost several points of sanity. But I have emerged to update you on my prediction.
After the jump, rumors of Eldritch Horror’s death are mildly exaggerated.Continue reading →
The god of boardgaming is an angry god. Very Old Testament. I have just come down from the mountain with these 10 commandments printed on quality cardboard stock mounted on boards that unfold like, uh, like this, I think. Here, you hold that side, and…no, no, that doesn’t bend that way, it bends the other way. No, no, yeah, okay now this part folds out like so. Okay, lay it out on the table. I think it’s upside down, spin it around thisaway. Okay, there. Let’s see what we’ve got here.
(The following article is reprinted without the permission of the site where it orginally appeared, because they never paid me, so I can do whatever I want with it. The article is relevant now because I’ve been playing weekly Age of Empires III matches against my good friend, Jason McMaster, and I’m hoping this will help him out of his 4-to-1 losing streak.)
There are different levels of playing RTSs. Like chess. In chess, the first step is knowing how the pieces move. Once you reach that point, you can theoretically play a game just fine. But then there’s a deeper level where you know things likewell, likeokay, I’ve never gotten further than learning how the pieces move in chess, because I’m too busy playing RTSs. But I know there’s a deeper level where you use phrases like “Sicilian opening” and “Queen’s gambit” and other stuff referenced in the titles of spy novels.
So maybe that’s where you’re at with real time strategy games. In which case you’re probably not reading this article. So send the link to this article to all your friends who suck at RTSs. Because I’m going to give them ten tips to make them better. Note that some of this applies to MOBAs, which are just RTSs for people who can’t handle the challenge of actual RTSs.
Would you rather read a review of Gremlins Inc, have some guy explain it to you in exhaustive detail, or spectate two hours of raw gameplay between a lord of the underworld as played by Tom Chick and the manager of a city dump as played by Kelly Wand? If you picked that last one, enjoy the above video.