zophar53's Blog

Posted on Mar 4th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, The Thirteenth Floor, movies, video game movies, scifi, discussion

This month I wanted to take a look at one of the movies that got a lot of positive response the first time I bought it up. The Thirteenth Floor was pretty overshadowed when it first came out, seeing as it was released the same year as The Matrix. And it's a shame too, because while the latter movie became a huge scifi jauggernaut for its philosophizing about people living in a simulation (and rightly so), the former takes this concept to an arguably more realistic and grounded level. Looking at it now, in a post-Oculus and Amazon Alexa world, and without the threat of humanity being wiped out, it's much more of a detective story with a scifi twist.

Continue reading RF Cinema: The Thirteenth Floor

Posted on Feb 4th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, Indie Game The Movie, movies, video game movies, documentaries, discussion

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, and welcome to another edition of RF Cinema! This month we're looking at our first documentary, Indie Game: The Movie, from 2012. This wasn't the first documentary about video games, but it was one of the first that gained huge popularity by focusing on three of the most well-received independent games at the time, Braid, Super Meat Boy, and Fez. Just as indie games were starting to become more noticed by the mainstream media and their quality was starting to improve, it was an insightful look into what it takes to make a video game with a small team.

This is a movie that really doesn't have any spoilers. Most gamers are familiar with these games, their developers, and the success they achieved, so there's really nothing to spoil. But I figured I'd mention it all the same.

Continue reading RF Cinema: Indie Game: The Movie

Posted on Jan 5th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, How To Make A Monster, HTMAM, movies, video game movies, discussion

I hope everyone had a great holiday and new year's. To close out 2017, RF Cinema has been given the gift of its first user request, in the form of 2001's How To Make A Monster. To recap, this may be the "worst" movie on the list so far, but it was described to me as so bad, it's good. Does it meet that expectation? Does it stand with other great terrible horror B-movies? Read on, my friends, and find out.

As usual, I'll refrain from spoilers in the article, but the discussion thread here may include them from this movie and any others we've featured to this point.

Continue reading RF Cinema: How To Make A Monster

Posted on Dec 4th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, Mortal Kombat, movies, video game movies, discussion

Fun fact: the theme song to this movie actually became fairly popular in the dance club scene in the 90s

For our second entry of RF Cinema, I wanted to go with one based on an actual video game, so why not go with one of the best? Released in August of 1995, less than a year after Mortal Kombat 3 was unleashed in arcades, the Mortal Kombat movie hit theaters at the height of the series' popularity. Millions of young gamers, myself included, couldn't get enough of the dark, bloody fighting that Ed Boon and John Tobias had cooked up. I distinctly remember making friends at my local Aladdin's Castle and pouring over cheat sheets we'd made to remember each character's moves, fatalities, and combos. We even started selling them to other arcade-goers, promising free updates as more and more of the move combinations were discovered.

The movie couldn't have come at a better time. My friends and I met up at the arcade and all carpooled to the theater to watch the cartoonish violence brought to life. It was dumb, it was ridiculous, and it was amazing.

Continue reading RF Cinema: Mortal Kombat

Posted on Nov 8th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, Brainscan, movies, video game movies, discussion

As the first entry in the new RF Cinema video game movie discussion, Brainscan made for a great October watch and those who participated in the conversation really seemed to enjoy it. For those who missed it, join us as we recap the film itself and the comments it inspired, won't you?

And don't worry, I'll keep this article spoiler-free.

Continue reading RF Cinema: Brainscan

Posted on Oct 3rd 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Extra Life for Kids, Extra Life, Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals, Rainbow Babies and Childrean, charity

Play games and help kids. What could be better?

So, I had a topic for this post planned out a long time ago. I took the pics and was typing it up, but then it hit me. It's that time of year again. No, not Retro World Expo (well, it's that time of year too, and I'm looking forward to experiencing that for the first time). I'm talking about the annual Extra Life for Kids charity event. It kind of snuck up on me this year.

I decided that since my next piece for the site wasn't going to be due until the day of the event, and since I would need to make that post the first entry in our new community movie discussion, this was the last chance I had to write about this wonderful event and why it's so important to me. I know there are some of us in the RFGen community who participate already, and I've participated myself three times now, but I feel that I'm in a unique position this year to make the most out of the event and help more than I've been able to in the past. And so, much to my editor's chagrin, I'm sure, I decided I'd be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity to share my story.

Continue reading Why I Extra Life

Posted on Sep 29th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, movies, video game movies, discussion

One of the first pieces I wrote for RFGen was a love letter of sorts to movies that have video games as a central theme. The article was pretty well received, so much so that a couple of you were in favor of expanding the idea into a full-fledged movie watching club. I liked the idea, but wanted to focus mainly on pure games writing at the time. Well, here we are a year later; I've established myself on the site and with this great community, and I'm ready to revisit the concept. So it's with no small amount of excitement that I'm announcing the debut of the RFGeneration community movie discussion group (RF Cinema for short).

Continue reading Introducing RF Cinema

Posted on Sep 5th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Review, books, Boss Fight Books, Final Fantasy V

There are few video game franchises more well-known or well-loved than Final Fantasy. There are also few franchises with a more interesting history. With numerous remakes, fan translations, and a once-bewildering numbering discrepancy, it's a dizzying series of games to keep track of for all but the most dedicated. The third and fifth entries, in particular, have always been the odd and underappreciated ducklings. However, for those who gave them a shot they've gotten high praise, and are some of the most intriguing in terms of their path to a Western release.

This makes it a perfect fit for the next entry in Boss Fight Books' series of video game reference tomes. As familiar as I am with FFV, I've never played through it myself, so I figured this was a good opportunity to learn a bit more about the game and what makes it so great, why it took Squaresoft seven years to bring it to American gamers, and the lengths to which its fans went through to make it playable here long before its official US release.

Continue reading Boss Fight Books: Final Fantasy V

Posted on Aug 4th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Review, Puppeteer, PS3

It recently dawned on me that I've been writing for RFGen for just over a year now and had yet to write an actual review for the site. I'm not sure why that is; I've written plenty of reviews in my day, and not just for games. So, it's with that in mind that I decided to promote one of my favorite PS3-exclusive games from 2013 that no one played.

Every once in awhile a game comes along that, while under the radar, is so creative, unique, well-crafted, and downright fun that you want to shout from the heavens to anyone who will listen that they should play it. Puppeteer is one such game. Released in the wake of Grand Theft Auto V and Saints Row IV, it's really no surprise it didn't get much attention. Looking back at SCE Japan Studio's history though, you'll find a slew of titles that could be considered quirky and underappreciated, but revered by those who gave them a shot. I'm talking games like Ape Escape, Work Time Fun, LocoRoco, Patapon, Echochrome, and Gravity Rush.

Continue reading Puppeteer

Posted on Jul 3rd 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Collection, Missing games,

We've all had that moment. You're reviewing your collection, maybe cross-referencing your database with the games you just pulled from deep storage. Maybe you're taking inventory of games, you're packing up to store in the attic, or maybe you're looking for one game in particular you have an urge to play for the first time in years. All of a sudden, you discover that a game your collection list (and your own memory) says you own isn't where it's supposed to be. Perhaps it's the one you've been wanting to play, or maybe it's the one that should be sitting right next to the one you're looking for, but isn't. To any serious collector, this is a heart-stopping moment of confusion, panic, possibly even rage.

Continue reading Collector Shrink: A Tale of Love and Loss

Posted on Jun 3rd 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Music, RF Jamz, Flower, Game music

From the thatgamecompany website

Thatgamecompany is responsible for some of the most beautiful and serene video games I've ever played. Starting with the simplistic, petri dish-esque flOw, and finishing with the desert exploration of Journey, their games have gotten a little more complex with each title, but still maintain a masterful balance of minimalistic controls, stunning visuals, and emotional impact that, in my humble opinion, has yet to be matched. However, while Journey may be the fan favorite, and is completely deserving of every accolade heaped upon it, for me personally, it's thatgamecompany's middle title, Flower, that stands above the others.

With large vistas of lush, green fields and what may be the best use of the PS3's ill-fated Sixxaxis motion controls ever, it remains my favorite game to play when I've had a stressful day and need to relax while letting all my cares melt away, even now, eight years after its initial release. A large part of this is due to its wonderful soundtrack, which I'd like to highlight in our second episode of RF Jamz.

Continue reading RF Jamz: A Look at Video Game Music Vol 2

Posted on May 4th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Books, game books, reading, World Book Day

Pic taken from Nowloading.co

If there's anything I enjoy as much as video games, it's reading. With parents that started reading to me from the day I was born, I took a love to books quite early, and have been an avid reader since before I can remember. Much like games, they can be a source of profound learning, provide a fun, pulpy break from reality, or tell fantastic stories of magical realms. I can think of few better ways to spend one's non-gaming time than curled up with a book in a nice, comfy chair.

Sunday, April 23rd was World Book Day. A celebration of books, book stores, authors, and all things literature, I thought it would be an appropriate time to promote a melding of my two favorite hobbies. So, much like I did with my summer movies post last year, I've compiled a list of interesting books about video games. The selections below are presented in no particular order, and run the gamut from informative non-fiction, to biographical, to riveting science fiction. I haven't read them all, but I've finished most of them, and you can bet the rest are on my seemingly-endless to-read list. I'm also always open to good book recommendations, so if anyone's read any they want to share, or has some thoughts on the titles below, leave a comment and let us know.

Continue reading Let's Celebrate Some Great Game Books

Posted on Apr 4th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Retro Games, Remakes, Adventure Games, Blaster Master Zero, Thimbleweed Park

As I prepare to dive down the Persona 5 rabbit hole for the next few weeks, I've been having a lot of fun dabbling in a couple of recent smaller games that are hitting my nostalgia nerves pretty hard. Specifically, I'm talking about Blaster Master Zero and Thimbleweed Park, for the Switch and PC, respectively.

Both of these titles are taking a similar approach in that they're plucking very specific references from gaming's past and doing new things with them. I'm a few hours into each at this point and am trying to decide how I feel about them. Maybe I can work through them a bit here and get some opinions from some of our dear readers.

Continue reading Two Retro Games For A New Era

Posted on Mar 3rd 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Virginia, adventure games, walking simulator, narrative

While the post-holiday game release drought seems like it's getting shorter and shorter every year, I feel like it doesn't provide enough time to catch up on big name titles from the previous year as it used to. Thankfully, even in the midst of the fantastic games we've already seen in 2017, not to mention the fact that the Nintendo Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is happening this very morning, some of the games I wanted to squeeze in were smaller indie titles that I actually have been able to make time for.

One of these was a little gem by the name of Virginia. If you're not familiar with it, it's a narrative-focused, walking simulator-like game similar to something like Gone Home. Sporting a not-quite-cell-shaded visual style and a complete lack of dialogue, I was very interested in giving it a try and seeing how it compared not just to Gone Home, but also Firewatch, which regular readers of this site may remember as a game I had some pretty big issues with when I played it last June. I'm in the minority with my opinions on that game, but I appreciated what it was trying to achieve and was hoping for at least a similar experience from Virginia.

Continue reading Virginia, Where Less Is More

Posted on Jan 5th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Games, Top 10

Rabble rabble rabble, 2016 was a dumpster fire of a year and I'm glad that it's over.

Ok, now that I've gotten that out of my system, I'd rather focus on the positive, because the fact of the matter is that on a personal level, 2016 was actually a pretty great year for me. Not perfect, of course, but one in which I did some travelling, including a nice long vacation to see some family in Phoenix I haven't seen in years, and some road trips for concerts and other things. I had an unexpected career change that has so far turned out to be a wise and vindicating move. I was able to find the time to read a lot more in 2016, which is definitely my other great love aside from games. And finally, I bought a nice, new gaming PC and have been loving falling victim to more Steam sales just to see what games I already own look like on a big, beautiful monitor. I didn't get nearly enough time in for gaming as I was hoping for this year (as I seem to say every January these days), but continuing the trend from 2015, there were a ton of fantastic games released in the last 12 months. As I look over the list of games I had the most fun with this year, there's plenty of older titles not listed here that I only just recently discovered for the first time, and even more that I hope to catch up with in the next few months.

The last thing I think is important to mention is that 2016 was, at least for me, the year VR finally sold me. The software is still trying to catch up a bit in terms of making fun, compelling, long-term experiences, and the high price point isn't quite enough to make me shell out for anything more than a Gear VR just yet. However, between my own limited experience and what I've heard and seen from people I've come to trust, the concept of VR in 2016 is finally coming together. It truly can be as immersive and believable as people say, all we need now is that killer piece of software and a tad more affordability to bring it all together, and I can't wait to see where things go from there. So without further ado, let's celebrate some great games!

Continue reading My Top 10 Games of 2016

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