Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Another consequence of the Covid Pandemic was the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest and that’s super sad because it’s one of the best evening of the year.

Thanks to this movie, we had a taste of our favourite contest. It may not have filled the gap, but the duo Ferrell-McAdams made us laugh and brought a welcome Eurosong touch to this disastrous year.

Lately, we’ve seen contestants trying to adapt their act to the standards of nowadays pop music… But Fire Saga reflects what I think Eurovision is about: a celebration of individuality where people from all over Europe bring something different.

Now, let’s hope that 2021 comes fast.

Deconfined and Swimming

My first week back at the office felt horrible. The day before the big come back, my left ear got inflamed, probably because of allergies, so I felt like crap before it even begun. I also had a little problem under my right foot which made walking painful. At the office, people didn’t care much about social distancing, I spent the day walking backwards to keep a safe distance. As if it wasn’t enough, I had an allergic reaction to soy (my kryptonite) on Friday.

Happily, we can now swim in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and it is super fun, especially doing cannonballs and meeting Pascal, the wisdom otter.

Thimbleweed Park

I remember this kitchen from somewhere…

It seems that I’ve been catching back on games that were on my list for much too long. It may have to do with the fact that we’ve quit a long-played MMORPG that was taking all our precious free time…

The very first game that I’ve ever completed in my life was Maniac Mansion on C64. From the moment that I had figured how to use the key that was hidden under the doormat to open the front door, I was sold to point-and-click games. Since then, I’ve been playing a lot of them, mostly on Amiga and PC.

Even if many of these games are excellent, my favourite ones have always been those developped by Ron Gilbert. So, it is no surprise that I highly enjoyed playing Thimbleweed Park. I love everything about it, the graphics, the setting, the characters, the music, the voices, the sense of humour and the dialogs. Thimbleweed Park is very high on my top ten favourite games of all times, it could actually be my number one.

Things I didn’t know about the game:

  • Many names found in the game’s phone book are from Kickstarter backers from around the world. When you call their numbers, you will hear individual messages from them;
  • Dr. Fred, Nurse Edna, and one of the tentacles from the game Maniac Mansion attend Ransom’s performance;
  • Ransom’s insults are censored. However, for 0,79€, you can purchase a DLC that enables the unbeeped voice;
  • From the start, Gilbert says, they wanted to parody the TV shows Twin PeaksThe X-Files, and True Detective.

The King of Staten Island

Friday was warm, so warm that our traditional pizza-gaming eve got replaced by a pizza-movie eve. But what movie to watch when there’s barely any air to breathe?

I don’t know why we decided to watch The King of Staten Island… To be honest, the trailer and the tattoos were probably the selling point. Anyway, we watched it with greater pleasure than we anticipated. The King of Staten Island created a nice chill vibe over our week-end and it still hasn’t left.

While not much happens, the ambiance is great and Scott is a very attaching character with an amazing t-shirt collection, his sense of humour was balancing perfectly the dramatic undertones of the movie.

AI in Adventure Games

Yesterday, while watching an episode of Westworld, I thought about how cool it would be if point-and-click games would use an AI… Instead of scripted characters who are always at the same place, saying the same things, we could find them speaking to each other, wander around, have different dialog lines following their moods.

For example, we would enter Thimbleweed Park and Delores could be home but she could also be at the arcade or at the dinner, living her own life.

Of course, there would be boundaries, for the sake of the story, but everything else would be left to the AI. I could spend days looking at game characters interact with the environment and with each other in a completely unpredictable and unscripted way.

Zelda – Link’s Awakening (2019)

Link’s Awakening wasn’t only my first Zelda game, it was also the first game I completed, not only on Game Boy, but on any Nintendo gaming system. Yep, you read well, I never owned a console before the Game Boy. I was a computer dude and by the time that the original Link’s Awakening was released, I was gaming on an Amiga 1200.

Anyway, that year, I had a very nasty bronchitis that kept me home for several weeks (smoking sucks, glad I quit). All I had to cheer me up was the video club and my Game Boy.

I was already used to play adventure games, but this was entirely new to me. The island exploration unlocking as I solved dungeon puzzles and gained new powers that enabled me to jump further or carry heavier rocks, it was brilliant.

Soon, I was known to be the dude who had completed the game and my friends were calling me everyday to know the next step of the trading sequence. Were those my 15 minutes of fame?

When I found out that Nintendo was about to release a remake of the game, I was overjoyed, especially because I instantly loved the art of the new version. I purchased the game and added it to my backlog.

Last week-end, I’ve finally completed Link’s Awakening and I have enjoyed every minute of it. The game is almost identical to the original, only with cute new graphics. I’m probably going to play it again soon… Some day… (let’s be real, my backlog is huge).

A few facts about Link’s Awakening that I didn’t know until recently:

  • Development began after-hours by Nintendo staff. It grew into an original project under the direction of Takashi Tezuka;
  • The majority of the Link to the Past team reassembled for Link’s Awakening;
  • Tezuka wanted the game world to feel like the television series Twin Peaks.
  • Princess Zelda is not featured at all in Link’s Awakening, though she is referenced by Link, initially confusing Marin for her;
  • Peach isn’t the only thing from Mario that you can find in Link’s Awakening, there are also Goombas.

To many people Breath of the Wild is the Zelda Game of the Nintendo Switch, to me it’s the remake of Link’s Awakening.

17th Wedding Anniversary

17 years ago, I was getting married to my soulmate, my partner in crime, Inge (aka Soforah). Much has happened since then, we’ve changed apartments a few times, we’ve moved to another town, Inge has found a new job… Some things haven’t changed, we’re still the same geeks who enjoy to game and watch TV together. Inge has changed my life for the best and I only wish to be as good to her as she is to me. I am a lucky man.

The Purge – Season 2

I love the entire Purge franchise, I enjoyed each movie and I had a really good time watching the first season of the TV show. Inge and I had kept the second season for a binge day and we haven’t been disappointed. After the first episode, we were instantly hooked and we didn’t go to sleep before the end.

The principle remains the same: anti purge folks fighting the new founding fathers to put an end to the deadliest night of the year while other people fight are being targeted by vengeful murderers.

It’s packed with action and the few drama scenes aren’t long enough to break the rhythm of the show. The cast was great, I especially enjoyed Derek Luke whom I recognized from 13 Reasons Why.

As usual, the entire show had me thinking “what would I do on such a night?”. Well, nothing’s changed, I would still fortify my place, wait for the night to be over, watching the news while listening to the sound of the mayhem taking place outside.

By the way, it feels weird to write this post while the streets of many U.S. cities are looking a lot like a scene from the franchise. Maybe the NFFA isn’t such a bad idea after all…

Witches casts and miscasts

Wicked witches are probably the best protagonist in fantasy. In cinema or on TV, the casting is often done right and correspond to the right image of the witches in fantasy. Unfortunately, sometimes, the casting is wrong and the result is, for me, a huge loss in quality.

Let me state first that it has nothing to do with skin tone, this isn’t a purist post about witches in fantasy. That’s why I posted a picture of the Weird Sisters from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Three different colors, all three perfect in their roles.

Witches spend their lives learning secret knowledge, hidden from the world. They are more powerful than kings and, as such, are often regarded as threats. They work as council for the rulers or as enemy of the free world. They have a scarred side, the price they pay for messing with the natural order of things and a beautiful side, the one they show to the world.

Among the actresses who were an absolute fit, there is Katie McGrath in the role of Morgana from the TV show Merlin. She is the perfect incarnation of anger, arrogance and elegance.

Another great cast was Jessica De Gouw in the role of the evil witch from Gretel & Hansel. She managed to transform the tension built during the movie into jaw dropping final scene.

On the other side, there is Anya Chalotra in the role of Yennefer from the TV show The Witcher. To me, she’s the perfect example of a witch miscast, she’s plump, inelegant and she really doesn’t inspire danger. She was good in the role of the hunchback, but certainly not in the role of Yennefer. I really enjoyed the first season of the show, but it almost seems that Yennefer and Tissala weren’t cast by the same people. MyAnna Buring makes a perfect witch, elegant and severe while Anya Chalotra seems to struggle walking in dressed up shoes.

TLDR: Wicked witches make a show when they are cast properly. They need to be arrogant, elegant and dangerous. Yennefer is a miscast.

Child’s Play (2019)

I remember renting Child’s Play when I was a kid, I was disappointed and didn’t consider the franchise anymore… I’ve never been scared by dolls and puppets (except Anabelle, she’s creepy), and I like to be scared when I watch a scary movie or, at least, laugh, but Chucky didn’t do either of those.

The current state of horror cinema doesn’t allow me to be picky and, in this case, it was a good thing because I ended up having a great evening watching Child’s Play. The movie isn’t really scary but it has a good vibe and it made me laugh a few times.

What made the movie greater than what I expected is the voice of Mark Hamill as Buddi, the homicidal toy doll. If you are not convinced, listen to Buddi’s song, written by Bear McCreary and performed by Mark Hamill, I find it awesome.

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