Game Progress 7/9/17
July 09, 2017

Pokemon Go (Android)
I finally got to try out the new raid system. Basically, during the daytime (there's a 9 PM curfew on this feature), gyms randomly spawn eggs that hatch into bosses. Some of these bosses are weak enough to take on by yourself, but most require one or two other players. If you manage to topple the boss within the time limit, you'll earn a chance to capture the creature using a certain allotted number of "prestige balls." If you run out of prestige balls before you capture the Pokemon, it will run away.

My wife and I took on Muk on Sunday. We both managed to defeat the 'mon in battle, but it ran away from her during the capture phase. It nearly did the same for me, as I used up ten of my twelve prestige balls. However, I managed to lock the creature in my tenth ball and finally added Muk to my Pokedex.

Alone in the Dark: Illumination (PC)

I have but one way to describe my experience with this game:

10,000,000 (PC)
I hit a point in this game where I couldn't level up any further, but I still hadn't attained a high score of 10,000,000. I feel I've had my fill of this one, though I might return to it now and then.

Axiom Verge (PC)
I started this one recently, and man is it a blast. I've taken out the first three bosses, gotten five shot types and snagged a few special abilities. Other than that, I attempted to explore the region beyond the third boss, but didn't manage to get far. I found a save point or two and decided to call it a night. So far, I dig this game. It reminds me of Metroid, but with more horror elements.

Abzu I started and played all the way through this game. It's visually and aurally gorgeous, but mechanically vapid. I got bored before too long and kept thinking "Is this over yet?"

Adventurer Manager (PC)
I recently started this mixture of RPG and simulation. You play as a king who hires adventurers to embark on simple quests. You also guide your hand-picked party in turn-based combat. However, perma-death is a thing here, so if one of your characters falls, you cannot recover them (at least that I've noticed). So far, I've recruited four warriors and completed the first two quests. My party right now consists of a human warrior, and elvish ranger, a dwarvish paladin and a dark elf cleric.

Recent viewings:

Grave Mistake (2008)
A zero budget zombie comedy that isn't scary, or funny, or original, or anything that can remotely construed as good. Hell, it's not even good-bad. It tries too hard to be a zany B-movie to be considered a good-bad film, plus its pacing is awful. One scene I do like, though, involves a kind of socially awkward character who wrote a zombie survival guide actually getting killed almost immediately by the zombies. He remarked something like "I'm not supposed to die, I wrote the survival guide!" before getting ripped to pieces. Anyway, I got halfway through this one and gave up.

Skeleton Man (2004)
Michael Rooker and a team of soldiers take on a Halloween store Grim Reaper who used to be a mass murdering Native American. Now, he's called Cottonmouth Joe. You can't make this junk up.

It starts off accidentally funny and maintains a tiny amount of unintentional hilarity, but eventually devolves into Rooker and company constantly shooting at the antagonist, despite the fact that bullets obviously do nothing. The movie's kill scenes are anticlimactic and there's very little use of tension. I suspect that this movie's inception went something like this: "I need to either give this old Grim Reaper costume away or use it. Hey, I know Michael Rooker, and I write bad movies for TV... I've got it!"

Venom (2005)
A small town's sketchy mechanic dies attempting to save a mambo (voodoo priestess) and recover her briefcase full of possessed snakes. Of course, the dude gets bitten multiple times by the reptiles and becomes a zombie full of evil spirits. Now he's running around sacrificing random people to the dark side.

I remember when this movie hit theaters. I considered seeing it, but decided against it. I'm glad I did then. It's a pretty dull, standard body count film. There are a few scenes that could've been cool, like Bijou Phillips getting sandblasted (nothing against Bijou, but it could've been just the jolt this movie needed). Instead, the film takes the safest routes with nearly all of its scares, resulting in a lifeless supernatural slasher.

Slaughtered (2010)
Someone at an Australian pub is bumping off patrons and employees.

Zero budget at its finest! This movie plays out like a throwback to '80s slashers in nearly every way. It isn't a thoroughly fun flick, as there are a couple slow segments, but it's good way to blow 1.5 hours. There are also a few oops scenes, like one where you can visibly see one of the dead bodies breathing.

Dust Devil (1992)
A woman living in Namibia leaves her husband and crosses paths with a demonic sorcerer bent on sacrificing her. Her husband and a police officer trailing the antagonist attempt to thwart his master plan.

A good, gritty early '90s horror flick. Robert Burke, Chelsea Field and Zakes Mokae all gave awesome performances as (respectively) the seductive monster, the unhappy wife and the haunted police officer.

Most recent blog posts from Joseph Shaffer...

overdrive overdrive - July 11, 2017 (02:41 PM)
I've watched two of those movies!

Skeleton Man: Saw it as a SyFy original and spent a good portion of the next day emailing a friend about it and just how bad it was. I think the best part was how, when they were introduced, the military protagonists all had these specific jobs listed for them. Some of those jobs had nothing to do with being in a forest, like a guy who had "underwater demolitions detail". There was a girl listed as a sniper, but wasn't any better with guns than anyone else. All made so much better by how these trained soldiers acted mostly like horror teens getting chopped by Jason. Just a great example of how to make a purely horrible movie.

Grave Mistake: Look, I'm not going to defend anything about this film, other than how the one guy had amazing hair and how another guy seemed to be having the time of his life playing THE WORST HUMAN ON EARTH. Sexist, racist, a total coward, completely incompetent, played to be equally loathsome and comic relief. I won't deny -- him and his over-the-top raspy voice carried me through this thing's cut-rate special effects and plot that really didn't get beyond "fight zombies, run from zombies, meet new people, fight more zombies, watch a few people die, run from zombies". I can legit see the "actor" deciding he was going to do his lines in a funny voice just to see who on the set could keep a straight face while he was delivering them.

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