Watch Out: A Boy and His Dog [1975]

Starring a young Don Johnson and a  shaggy dog, A Boy and His Dog opens on an average day after the end of the world. The boy, Vic, and his dog, Blood, are trying to survive and, if possible, thrive. Always at the top of the list are food, sex, and entertainment.
A Boy and His Dog is one of my favorite movies with its cheeky mix of post-apocalyptic wasteland violence and 70’s… not to mention a “talking” dog. It’s not clear if the dog is actually talking, telepathically communicating with the boy, or if the boy is just imagining it. I’m pretty sure the dog is telepathic and chooses to only speak to the boy.


 

In the post-apocalyptic future of 2024, Vic and his telepathic dog, Blood, roam the wastelands hunting for food, water and females. When Vic is lured underground by a young girl, he finds himself separated from Blood and trapped in the anachronistic society of Topeka. The Leader tells Vic he is going to be the father of a new generation, but Vic soon learns instead of hooking him up with women, the Topekans are planning to hook him up to a machine. Meanwhile Blood is above ground waiting for his human partner to return and save him from dying.

If you’re not about old movies, you can also read the book that A Boy and His Dog is based on by author Harlan Ellison, Vic and Blood.

The cycle begins with “Eggsucker,” which chronicles the early years of the association between fourteen‑year‑old loner Vic and his brilliant, telepathic dog. The saga continues and expands in “A Boy and His Dog,” in which Blood shows just how much smarter he is than Vic, and Vic shows how loyal he can be. The story continues in “Run, Spot, Run,” the first part of Ellison’s promised novel of the cycle, Blood’s a Rover. Here Vic and Blood find surprising new ways to get into trouble—but getting out of it may be beyond even their combined talents.

 

PAX East 2014 | Organic Panic


1978876_224701924385529_1851087260_nOrganic Panic
is a  puzzle-platformer about a Protein vs Produce apocalypse. Technically the protein (Meats and Cheeses) have already won and the Produce are living in fear while they’re hunted for sport.

LastLimb, created by brother David and Anatole Branch, funded Organic Panic through a kickstarter campaign and got greenlit on Steam Greenlight. Obviously this game makes a good impression.

But what was it like to play Organic Panic in real life?

Kae and I played Organic Panic at PAX East and got a copy of the comic which details the story. We used XBox 360 controllers on a PC build.983632_226653834190338_414048056255896916_n

  • Single player was fun and reminiscent of old-school platformers like Sonic The Hedgehog or Donkey Kong with a bit of a Super Meatboy twist.
  • Each character has special abilities (fueled by collecting magic stars) like the ability to shoot whatever material they’re in contact with, throw water, set things on fire, and telekinesis.1010122_224401007748954_746872795_n
  • Each ability comes out in the comic (Produce is magical and Protein is technological, duh), which explains how the Protein took over, what the Produce plans t do about it, and why there are all these portals around.
  • The levels weren’t exactly continuous stories (at least not what we played) as much as they were action based puzzles — which is totally normal for levels on platformers. Each level started with a different character so you couldn’t really choose your favorite and stick with it. The cherry with it’s shooting ability was really fun. But if you can only be one character per level, it means the characters aren’t all equal on all the levels. However, it makes sense if you read the comic and know that the old Apple is sending the fruits on missions through portals to support his master plan.1975125_224032251119163_885536456_n
  • In multiplayer, we were each given a character that had to work with the the other to solve our way to the door (end of the level).
  • Multiplayer levels were more like single-screen puzzles with each fruit on one side and the objective door some where visible but out of reach.10014643_225249220997466_1604416436_n
  • Playing with a friend in this way was fun and frustrating. If one player dies, you reset. And boy did we die a lot. You have to talk it out and point and shout and try and fail and finally, victory fist pump when you win.

Organic Panic was a fresh take on cute and campy platformers and post-apocalyptic resistance. It felt both familiar and unique with a solid psychics build and “fleshed out” characters. The game was easy enough to pick up and play though there were some place where you could run out of mana and then you were just stuck and had to restart the level. They’re short levels so it wasn’t a big deal.
Keep an eye out on Steam, because it’s coming soon.

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First Impressions: MARS: War Logs

[wpspoiler name=”First Impressions vs. Reviews” ]First Impressions are based on demos while Reviews are based on entire games.[/wpspoiler]
MARS: War Logs is set in the war-torn, waterless future of Mars. Surprise, you colonized Mars and its supply of one gallon of water didn’t last to sustain a whole planet full of people.
According to the Purple Prose introduction narrated by the most pathetic grunt in the Water War, there’s a war on and there are Water Gangs fighting for control and—I don’t think there’s a society anymore. I think this is like post-apocalyptic anarchy on a colonized planet. Deep.
Well, our grunt is in a truck with other folks heading to elsewhere. Apparently he’s been captured and is a POW (prisoner of war) being shipped off to the enemy camp.
(Keep in mind, all this is being told through Purple Prose and cinematics. Try as you might, you don’t get to play in the train, in the loading bay, in the gen pop area… No playing for you.)

Innocence in a box
Innocence in a box – That’s him in the corner. That’s him in the spotlight.

Finally this sad little lad with the emotionless reading voice telling me of all the horrors of war arrives at the enemy base. Yay, I get to play! PSYCH!
The kid’s introduction to the POW is a foul-mouthed gang of other POWs who wish to make passionate love to his butthole. The portly gang leader is Fatso. Literally, his name is Fatso.
Our idealistic little runt fearing for his rear-virginity? His name is *Le Sigh* Innocence. Yes, his name is Innocence.  Take a minute to eye-roll and regroup.
So Innocence is all, “But I don’t want to be but-raped.” And Fatso is all like, “But I’m a villain and this is prison and you’re new so… Dibs!”
(You still not playing the game yet.)
So then this dude comes up and stands at the edge of the argument with his arms folded and I’m like, “YES! Finally I get to play, I’m gonna brawl this Fatso!”
NOOOOPE.
Dude stands there with his arms folded and his eyes narrowed. And Fatso is like, “Whadda you want?”
Dude stands there with his arms folded and his eyes narrowed. And Fatso is like, “This doesn’t concern you.”
Dude stands there with his arms folded and his eyes narrowed. And Fatso is like, “The Boy is Mine.”
Dude stands there with his arms folded and his eyes narrowed. And Fatso is like, “You’re Crazy!”
Dude stands there with his arms folded and his eyes narrowed. And Fatso is like, “Let’s get out of here guys, this guy’s crazy.”
Dude stands there with his arms folded and his eyes narrowed. And Fatso is like, “This isn’t over.”
WHAT THE FUCK!? (Pause for head shaking and or eye rolling.)
Okay, so whatever, you finally get to play now. Now that nothing is happening, you get to play.
And by play I mean you talk to Innocence and decide if you want to be a hard ass or a nice guy (your reputation matters). Apparently Innocence is just an introduction and Roy is our main character. He’s like, “I’m Roy.” And Innocence is like, “Ohmigawd, ROY? The Roy?”
Roy, local badass and side burn aficionado
Roy, local badass and side burn aficionado

Roy’s like, “Yeah, The Roy.”
So by now it’s very clear that the writing is not good and the voice acting ranges from cringe-inducing to pretty good. However, since I only started actually playing the game a minute ago, I powered on.
Uh oh, Fatso and his gang are waiting for Roy and Innocence in the courtyard ready to pin down Little Buddy and slip it in the back. (There’s a lot of swearing and Fatso is really keen on rape).
Tutorial fight time! I like tutorial fight time. I get to play the game and beat up bullies. X to hit. RT to distract them. A to break their defenses.
Cool got it. Let’s punch more people!
Nope. Time to sit and chat with Innocence. Go hither and fro. Chat with dudes.
Okay, this is an RPG so you’re not going to just side-scroll style fight through the world until you hit a boss. Roy is running around (with Innocence in tow) exploring the base with a surprising level of freedom for a POW.
Mutants are sad
Mutants are like people only mutated and sad. And oddly spiritual.

They fight a few other prisoners and a beast and meet the mutants. The story and the game really start to take off. The dialogue stays horrible but the story is fascinating. In this war-torn world, there are people called Technomancers who control electricity, underground monsters called Moles that make it really hard to dig for water, and possibly mysterious ruins from the colonists who first settled on Mars.

Developer(s) Spiders
Publisher(s) Focus Home Interactive
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network
Release date(s) Windows
April 26, 2013
XBLA
July 26, 2013
PSN
August 13, 2013
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Mars: War Logs Pros:

A mysterious technomancer
Mysterious technomancer is mysterious.

1. The story is interesting a possibly unique. With all the hokey dialogue and waiting around, the story is what kept me around.
2. Innocence fights with you instead of acting as another obstacle to keep track of. He doesn’t finish any off on his own but he’s definitely more partner than package.
3. The game world is large and the menus are extensive creating  a deep and interesting experience for just $9.99.
Mars: War Logs Cons:
I assume this is a boss.
I assume this is a boss.

1. Holy shit the dialogue is bad. It’s outright laughable at some points and not helped by the fact that a lot of the voice acting is sub-par.
2. Can I say the fact that it’s not a book is a con? I truly like the story but didn’t feel like I was a necessary part of it. Maybe that’s because it was a demo so it was just a teaser of what’s to come. I just didn’t feel moved so much as curious.
3. The demo felt long. If a game is truly engaging it should steal hours of your time and have you looking around in surprise because you didn’t realize how immersed you were. Mars: War logs felt like it was taking too long. I wasn’t pushing forward but trudging. I found myself annoyed when I accidentally retraced y steps because UGH I just want something interesting to happen.
Overall, what I think of Mars: War Logs:
Moles are not your friends. But if they were you wouldn't dig through their home and then murder them indiscriminately...
Moles are not your friends. But then again, if they were you wouldn’t dig through their home and then murder them indiscriminately…

During a time where games aren’t launching and tax season may or may not leave you broke, Mars: War Logs is definitely something to look into. It seems like it will provide hours of entertainment with an interesting story.
I realize I’ve mocked it relentlessly but that’s because the game does manage to stumble into a writing trap where things are described too beautifully or characters aren’t dimensional enough. Paired with the voice acting, that would be fine for reading aloud in class, it gets a bit laughable.
The silliness though, doesn’t detract from what is a pretty solid game with decent graphics and a large, interactive world. There are side missions, craftable weapons, upgrade trees and a lot more. For $9.99!
Try the demo and see if you can live with the writing and reading.

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Review: A Departure by Tom Ward

A Departure by Tom Ward is a post-apocalyptic coming of age story.

In a heartbeat
Michael’s life is good.
He’s in love and about to leave home for university. Things couldn’t be better.
Then a natural disaster hits Britain.
With his family and friends dead, and no help forthcoming from the government, Michael sets off, alone, aiming to reach the potential safety of the continent. Along the way, he forges a new family amongst the ruins of England when he is joined by former teacher, David, parish council head, Judith, and Zanna, a student.
As the group travels south, what remains of society deteriorates around them, revealing the darkest aspects of human desire. Amongst so much darkness, Michael must fight to uphold his own ideals.
A tale of coming of age on a road where rules no longer apply

A good, but flawed book.
Continue reading “Review: A Departure by Tom Ward”

Defiance [the show]

defiance - irissa and nolan Defiance is a SyFy original show about a race of aliens who sought refuge on Earth only to accidentally terraform the planet into a whole new, and dangerous world for everyone. The show is set 33 years after the arrival of the aliens where they’re now integrated into the world in a semi-hostile land-share with Humans and newly evolves wildlife.
Defiance is a new city build on the bones of what use to be St.Louis. The city is a (mostly) harmonious blend of “the eight races” suffering from the same power struggles found in most post-apocalyptic rebuilds. Everyone thinks their way is better and everyone wants to seize the next opportunity for power.
Nolan and Irisa are the first of the cast we meet. They’re average grifters looking for a hearty pay day any way they can get it. Irisa, an Irathient, refers to Nolan as her father in the journal but rarely speaks enough to others to divulge anything personal and Nolan, a human, refers to to her as his traveling companion. Nolan is “one of the defiant few” who fought in The Battle of Defiance where soldiers on both sides stopped fighting to save civilians. He eventually divulges the fact to the mayor, explaining that Irisa was an orphan in Denver and he took her in and raised her.
Defiance - Team Tarr
In the pilot we see a number of groups clashing inside and out of Defiance. The Sprint Riders are a wild band of Irathient thugs who run about looting and generally being dickish. The ones with dark hair don’t like the super pales ones, they bald ones are industrious and unassuming, and the large ape-like ones are usually body guards or oh-so-gentle giants.
The set up is interesting but the dynamics and interpersonal conflicts are a bit too … dynamic. There’s a lot to catch up on because we’re just peaking into into a lit of lives already in progress. There’s a mafia and a mine overlord and political strife and Ark falls and one black guy.
Defiance isn’t really about aliens or New Earth or man vs. nature. Defiance is about people and power in the face of limited structure. It’s an interesting lens to look at people and relationships through; part western, part crime noir (Nolan is the quintessential anti-hero) all set in a futuristic post-apocalyptic wonderland.
The show is  beautiful and the Pilot takes about an hour to warm up to the major plot point:
[wpspoiler name=”SPOILER” ]Aliens are coming and they’re only goal is to conquer and destroy and the sweet old lady who use to be mayor is helping “clear out the town.”[/wpspoiler]
[rating:3/5]
It’s good but not amazing. Check out the Defiance pilot  for free on defiance.com and if you can sit through it, the show might be for you.
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Review: After the Ending by Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pogue

After the Ending by Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pogue is the first in The Ending Series. A post-apocalyptic book focusing on two women.

The Virus spread. Billions died. The Ending began. We may have survived the apocalypse, but the Virus changed us.
When people started getting sick, “they” thought it was just the flu. My roommate, my boyfriend, my family…they’re all gone now. I got sick too. I should have died with them, but I didn’t. I thought witnessing the human population almost disappear off the face of the earth was the craziest thing I’d ever experience. I was wrong. My name is Dani, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I survived The Ending.
The Virus changed everything. The world I knew is gone, and life is backwards. We’ve all had to start over. I’m someone else now—broken and changed. Other survivors’ memories and emotions haunt me. They invade my mind until I can no longer separate them from my own. I won’t let them consume me. I can’t. My name is Zoe, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I survived The Ending.
We’ve been inseparable for most of our lives, and now our friendship is all we have left. The aftermath of the Virus has stranded us on opposite sides of the United States. Trusting strangers, making sacrifices, killing—we’ll do anything to reach one another.

This was, sadly, a bit of a disappointment.
Continue reading “Review: After the Ending by Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pogue”

The girls guide to post-apocalyptic dictatorship.

In the past, I have made a big deal about how in the post apocalypse, I WILL be a benevolent dictator in control of a large, well run compound. Some of you seem to seem to think I might be joking about this.
Oh, no, sugarbuns. I fully intend to be a dictator. I’m already spoiled, petty and quick to anger – dictatorship should be a cinch.
I can’t tell you HOW to build your compound – it requires a combination of charm, talent, leadership abilities, organisation and a basic, borderline sociopathic disrespect for the rights, opinions and feelings of other people that I just don;t think you can learn. But, I can give you some ideas about how to maintain your iron control once you have it. After all, you don’t want to screw up so bad they murder you, do you?

Continue reading “The girls guide to post-apocalyptic dictatorship.”

Tower Offense? Yes, Please; I'll Take ANOMALY 2.

ANOMALY 2 from 11 bit studios is going to be available for demo at PAX East this weekend and I’m stoked!
Why?
Obviously, I’m for anything thing that leads with “build war mechs,” but this glee is mainly because I’m a huge geek for tower defense games. Ninja Town is for real my favorite game. I lent it to my mom and then strongly considered buying a new copy because I missed it.
But ANOMALY 2 isn’t a tower defense game. It’s a tower offense game! You build troops to push through the enemy’s defenses and ultimately breach their base.
As the story goes, aliens came to Earth in the first ANOMALY Warzone Earth  game and they won. They beat everyone handily and now the planet is theirs and the responsibility to take it back is yours.
I plan to make a meal of this at PAX East and let you know how it preforms against expectations.
Check out the trailer and the official summary from 11 bit studios:
Continue reading “Tower Offense? Yes, Please; I'll Take ANOMALY 2.”

Revolution is not Jericho 2.0

A show set in near-future, post-apocalyptic, mid-western America about survival, family and fighting for what’s right? No, not Jericho. NBC‘s new show: Revolution.
I keep seeing comparisons, complaints, and accusations about how Revolution is a rip off or retry of Jericho. However, if you dig a little deeper, look just a bit closer, you’ll see these are very different stories.
In Jericho we saw an immediate reaction to not only a loss of electrical power, but also social power. Jericho was the parable of being doomed to relive the history we refused to learn from. At the genesis of society’s reboot there was constant competition between the old way and some possible new way that might work better. Fear, confusion, and order were everyday challenges for those living in Jericho’s post-apocalyptic world.
Every time normalcy was established in Jericho it was under threat, be it from their neighbors in New Bern or from the sketchy new corporate government in Cheyenne. They couldn’t really settle into a lifestyle because the world hadn’t settled yet.We see fear, confusion, and order conquered in Revolution. The story is set about 15 years after the blackout and anyone who was going to survive has survived. Community and sustainable lifestyles have been established. There’s a massive difference between surviving for a few months, or even a couple of years, and doing it for a decade or more. There’s a comfort in normalcy, even if it’s the new normal created out of necessity.
Revolution removes the option characters had in Jericho to run away or pity themselves. Unless their people are somehow worse off than the people elsewhere, their situation is what it is. The citizens of Jericho not only trying to stave off conflict, they were also constantly trying to plan for the next situation be acid rain, winter, or food shortages.In Revolution we’re introduced to a world that’s accepted its fate, survived it, and lived in it. Unlike in Jericho, no one was excluded. We, the audience, get to see from the introduction that this is not an isolated issue. No care packages are coming and there’s no safe zone to be thankful for.
In post-apocalyptic Revolution, people might want to migrate away from winter and they might need to deal with the local power-mad warlord. Personally, I think a power-mad warlord, unlike a starved and desperate neighbor, is somewhat their own damn fault. It’s their community and their responsibility to stomp that noise out at its inception or suffer when it comes to fruition.
In Jericho we say a civil war where the winner got to survive. In Revolution we see a bully with an agenda and an army. While the solution to both problems is to band together, it’s a different and scarier kind of stand that needs to be taken when it’s a moral imperative rather than a life or death one.
I encourage you to watch both– at least a little. Jericho because it’s awesome and I can’t say enough good things about it. Revolution because it might be awesome if you give it a chance on its own merits.

Official site: nbc.com/revolution
Official twitter: @NBCRevolution

5 Apocalyptic Lessons From Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach, the final installment-prequel in the Halo series by Bungie, chronicled the initial invasion and downfall of the human race on the planet Reach to the Covenant.

The planet Reach is humanity’s last line of defense between the encroaching Covenant and their ultimate goal, the destruction of Earth. If it falls, humanity will be pushed to the brink of destruction.
source

Known for it’s fairly short campaign mode and extensive multiplayer offerings, Halo: Reach is a perfect way to learn a few apocalypse life lessons. Continue reading “5 Apocalyptic Lessons From Halo: Reach”