The Hills Have Eyes: A Horror movie often overlooked

When I was a kid I watched a ton of horror movies. Some of my favorites were Gremlins, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Pet Semetary, The Omen, Amityville Horror, Tales from the Dark Side: The Movie, Child’s Play and Maximum Overdrive. I didn’t mind if my horror film had a tint of comedy, a dab of politics or a gallon of blood, it was all the same scares, thrills, monsters and ghosts.

Over the years I found myself looking for ever deeper cuts in the horror catalogs. There was one movie I avoid all these years. The Hills Have Eyes. It is by horror master Wes Craven, who’s film Last House on the Left is one of my favorites and People Under The Stairs is one of two I refuse to revisit because it scared me to the bone as a kid.

Why, then, was I afraid to give this particular film a chance? The short version is my mother. Once when I was a teenager I asked her what was the scariest movie she had ever seen. Now my mother grew up on the Nevada dessert in a setting similar to that depicted in the film. Therefore I should have known better than to trust her when she said the scariest film she ever saw was this movie about cannibals called The Hills Have Eyes. She made it out like it was the most gruesome film ever made. To be fair she doesn’t watch a lot of scary movies, so I should have given this movie a chance much sooner all things considered.

Upon first viewing the first thing I will note is I was equally pleased with the film as it existed yet disappointed it wasn’t more shocking than it ended up being. After all I had seen the relatively recent remake not too long ago. Much like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake the original has a more down to earth tone. It’s clearly a relic of the time which is to say the Golden Age of Horror.

The movie has some aspects that drum up memories of the Chevy Chase classic Vacation. But those similarities end rather quickly once the violence begins. The characters are largely forgettable on both side. No matter that’s to be expected in this sort of film. Light on the gore by today’s standards it’s full on the suspense, which I rather enjoy in movies from that period.

The movie has a vibe much like Texas Chainsaw and Last House that reminds me of a time when movies were scary just because it isn’t normal to murder ordinary folks for no good reason. We’ve since seen films like the Saw and Human Centipede franchise often desensitizing us, and I mean us as both a society and as horror fans, to the point these early films risk losing some of their shock value.

Fortunately for the horror aficionado such as myself Wes Craven is the master for a reason. He manages to craft a story that not only has you rooting for the heroes but also thrilled to see the kills when they do occur. I won’t say it’s truly terrifying but it got my heart racing a couple of times, something most modern horror films fail to do.

It is rather tame in a world where The Walking Dead is a TV show you watch with your kids. However it still holds up in art direction, cinematography, storytelling, scares and gore. It’s not great acting but it is on par with the time and the characters look authentic.

The remake set out to shock the audience. This movie set out to terrify you and entertain. I believe each served a purpose but all things considered, I will likely revisit this in the not-too-distant future whereas I will gladly leave the remake in the dusty cobwebs of my fading memories.

Overall I would rank this high on my list of horror classics worth investigating. I also mark it down for another check in the win column for the late great Wes Craven. I felt genuine fear for the baby throughout the entire movie. My only complaint was the ending. While a satisfying victory in the end the abrupt stop was kind of jarring.

The spiders lair’s first impressions of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

There’s a handful of movies that transcend their genre and stand the test of time to reach beyond the audiences that they are geared towards at the time of their release. There are also movies that are time capsules, frozen in the state that must be viewed when they’re fresh in order to be properly appreciated. When I missed watching Harry Potter upon its release it was because it came out the same year I turn 19 years old. I didn’t read the books because I wasn’t into it. So I missed the opportunity to grow up with something that was available when I was still younger but not the right age

Upon completing my first viewing 20 years after its release almost I can say this, it has a universal appeal that transcends the time it was released and the intended audience. Fans who grew up with the franchise as kids and growing up with it into adulthood will tell you that it’s fun and magical, maybe even whimsical if that word is in their vocabulary. Adults may be hesitant because it’s a children’s picture not made by Walt Disney Studios, the masters of that style of film. Unlike several pictures out there that attempt to capture the Disney Magic but come across as cheap imitations, I can safely say Harry Potter is the real deal. And I’m glad I enjoyed it because I would have really hated myself if I had watched this movie and couldn’t find anything to like knowing I missed out on it all these years.

As for the movie itself there’s a lot to love: the characters are relatable and interesting, the villain has got a mystery about him that makes him foreboding, and there are enough twists and turns and exciting sequences to get your adrenaline going. And even unlike the pod race scene from the Star Wars movie that predates it by only a couple of years the Quidditch sequence is not unbearably drawn-out nor is it unnecessary to the plot. It doen’t feel tacked on to give the heroes something to do. It’s a brief little sequence that is there to entertain the audience and establish a mythology in this world.

I watched the movie over the course of 2 days, not because as I was watching it I became bored and disinterested, but because it’s long and I didn’t have time to commit to a two-and-a-half-hour movie all in one sitting. So I stopped it at the exact halfway point according to the timeline and finished it today. The first half of the movie certainly has some moments that will entertain and even interject a smile upon the viewer if they are willing to be honest. It does have a couple of moments that make me remember that this is definitely a movie trying to appeal to children and it has a an overall tone that makes it accessible to kids. As a lifelong Nintendo fan I will tell you that being accessible to children does not mean being made for children or exclusively enjoyable by children.

Fortunately for the film, and its fans, I suppose it was released at a time when CGI had developed enough that the special effects in this movie do not take me out of the film: there’s nothing so jarring that makes me go “oh that looks like a PlayStation game not a movie effect.” That’s not to say the effects are perfect just that they’re done in a way that don’t interfere with the storytelling and I can appreciate that.

The film was a bit anti-climactic to say the least. It was definitely a world-building picture establishing the main characters and its mythology while setting up the premise as well as dropping hints at what the greater villain might be up to. That being said the final battle wasn’t entirely without suspense. At least the chess sequence was pretty damn cool!

I like the characters. My favorite is the bookworm, the girl I didn’t register her name but I really appreciated her passion for learning. To be fair it always takes me awhile to learn names. I was kind of a bookworm nerd myself and I was one of the only kids that I knew who enjoy taking tests maybe it was because I was good at them and I guess I liked feeling good knowing I could get an A on the test. It definitely has similarities to other movies at the time especially the aforementioned Star Wars prequel. But I won’t hold that against it as I enjoyed those other films.

Still it’s not necessarily a relic of the time either. I think this movie has something for everybody and longtime fans know that it has a universal appeal. As someone who is only now discovering it for the first time I can say I’m glad I enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing the remaining films in the franchise and I’m only slightly disappointed or even a little sad that I didn’t discover it earlier in life.

Overall I would give it five out of five stars I think the movie is certainly deserving of that. I enjoyed it enough that I imagine I will work it into my regular viewing at some point in time.

Discovering Shudder and the world of horror streaming

I’ve always been a fan of Horror. I wouldn’t say I’m a casual fan but I’m definitely not the type of person who only watches horror. I’d say it’s a high priority but not the only thing I want. Still I watch enough of it that I want more than the typical offering in your usual streaming services.

When I first signed up for Netflix and discovered streaming I was amazed at all of the awesome horror movies they had. Eventually as things have changed with Netflix facing more and more competition the one thing I have noticed as well some of their horror movies have gone down in terms of their available Classics and availability. They have actually done a really good job focusing on horror on the platform and that’s commendable to me it’s the one thing that keeps me coming back to be honest. All it takes is one look at Stranger Things to know that Netflix cares passionately about horror films and fans.

So when I learned there was a streaming service that was nothing but horror focused my first instinct was to write it off as too narrowly focused, to niche. But as social distancing caused by a real world Horror Story– a global pandemic has left me at home fairly isolated– I’ve been looking for more content to stream to view to watch as is most people these days.

The first thing I decided to do was download the app and sign up for the free trial so I could browse through the selection. Now as a fan of the slasher genre I was immediately relieved to find some of the best slashers available right off the bat.

At this point in time they currently have all of the original Paramount Friday the 13th movies, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a couple of the House on Sorority row type horror slasher films, a mixed bag of modern and old, some of the Halloween films and a handful of others. So far a much better variety of that particular genre than the other streaming services.

I was immediately disappointed at the shallowness of their selection. Being a genre specific streaming service their offerings are very tailored to a certain taste which I definitely appeal to that’s Me I’m Their audience however I quickly realized that they don’t have the numbers but I’ll not let that bother me at this point there’s still plenty to watch.
I was impressed with the 6 hour long Friday the 13th documentary narrated by Corey Feldman who had been a staple in the Friday the 13th series at one point and is an 80s movie icon himself.

In a similar vein to Netflix having a library of catalog titles they do have also a handful of tailor made selections that appeal to their fans which I have not yet had an opportunity to check out but have been impressed that they do exist.

As a service as a whole it will not be enough to satisfy my bloodlust obviously. But I’m very glad that I finally took the opportunity to invest in a streaming service that has a focus on content that does heavily appeal to me. When Netflix was new I envisioned specific Services similar to this service.

I picture to service that exclusively cater to horror fans and had the best horror films you could get. I also envisioned one that had a focus on sci-fi films, anime, a different one that focused on superheroes and comic books the list goes on I thought that would be a good way to go about it if they could get enough content to satisfy individual fans each service wouldn’t appeal to the masses but they have it tailored audience that would be loyal and I think that works probably better with our society’s tastes then the studio model where you have your entire catalog but it’s a little bit of everything which gets boring and tired after a while because you still have to sign up for multiple services.

I understand we’ll never be at a time where you have everything at your fingertips at your disposal and nothing ever expires I’m I’ve accepted that movies and TV shows rotate in and rotate out as long as they rotate in and out quickly that they are constantly giving you enough variety and their Library to keep it fresh I think that works especially for a genre focused service.

What I’m looking for is a service like this that gives me all the best horror movies hand-selected by fans. So far that’s what I’ve seen and I like that. It does work for me better to have a variety a mix of old and new so that you can watch the new stuff and keep fresh if you’re a longtime fan but also explore the Retro classic stuff the origins if you’re a new fan or somebody who wants to revisit old favorites.

My first complaint is probably limited to some of the other streaming services that are out there competing with them but there’s no public domain films and there’s not a lot of the classic horror films the really old ones you know like the Universal Pictures and that realm which is disappointing a little bit to me. It basically reminds me that as Studios push for their own everything catalog service it will take away the ability of services like this to even exist. For example if Paramount launches their own streaming service in the future and withholds all of their Friday the 13th films and the like it becomes even harder for a service like this to get access to the good stuff. That would be limiting us to original content and indie film here and there. To be fair can be some of the best horror movies but it will limit their marketability to bring in new fans such as myself who was hesitant at first.

I also wonder if once social distancing is no longer normal will we go back to our regular lives will I still have a craving for all this additional content? Is this the service or one of the services I intend to keep. I have to decide that.

Now let’s actually look at the content itself.

Not too long ago I watched a movie called Phantasm 2 I had on a DVD and was looking for the first Phantasm to stream and I didn’t find it on any of the mainstream streaming services. I  became disheartened slightly and gave up. I log into shudder for my free trial and lo and behold the basically have the whole series minus the one I actually have on DVD. They have an assortment of Halloween films which is nice and they also have a few documentaries and originals and TV shows that I think are worth checking out, I’m curious to see what those are like.

Again going back to licensing I’m slightly disappointed that they don’t have Friday the 13th the series the TV show or Freddy’s Nightmares the TV show I think this would be the perfect streaming service to house those two permanently but it might not be in the cards.

I will say for me personally that 6 hour documentary chronicling the entire history of the Friday the 13th franchise was well worth the price of entry itself. I have plenty of films in my list to browse and I have plenty of things to discover as time goes on my hope is I can watch what’s there before it goes away and new stuff will arrive in a consistent fashion that will keep me excited for the service.

One thing this service has as far as an advantage over Hulu or Netflix is that horror fans tend to be incredibly loyal and I believe that if there is sufficient content to satiate that taste they will not only stick around but advocate for its success.

Now without getting into Fanboy territory I would like to say there are flaws in the service that can’t be helped likely due to licensing issues. And while my biggest complaint about Netflix is the vast majority of their horror selection does appear to feel like or appear to be low budget indie fare, which I can’t say is necessarily a bad thing, it is limiting. I can’t necessarily say that’s a bonus or plus for Shudder right now. If I’m going to mark it as a down grade for Netflix or a strike against Netflix rather then I have to treat Shudder as fairly as that. On the other hand, if the content is curated by horror fans there is a chance it will attract film makers who wish to bring original content to the service that will appeal to the fan base. Netflix will have it’s occasional hit like Stranger Things or Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but even those feel far more main stream than the stuff a dedicated service can attempt to produce to lure die hard fans. I suspect this will afford it an advantage in the near future in a similar way as Crunchy Roll has basically proven to be the home for the hard core anime fans.

Only time will tell if the service provides a satisfying selection of content available to me in a manner which justifies the price. For the time being I’m gladly willing to try it out for the trial. And contemplating seeing how things go from there.

At this point I will say that the service has promise and I’m very glad that it exists. I’ve always envisioned a streaming service similar to this I just hope that it remains profitable enough to continue to curate content that will satisfy the taste of those who patronize the service for the duration of this digital streaming world we live in.

HBO bait and switch, forgotten horror films, failed retro consoles, and Shudder docs

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-3fijj-e5ed53
In this episode I bitch about the annoying HBO Max bait and switch. I revisit the best 80s horror franchises. I talk tmnt toys. I list all mu favorite and hated animated films. I brag about an amazing kick ass horror documentary on Shudder you NEED to check out right now. New comics arrived! Plus 10 obscure or forgotten horror films. Also lamenting loss of Retropalooza.

A Hip Hop Playlist for people with taste

Hip Hop, especially gangsta rap, gets a bad rep by some folks. It’s often looked down on by people for different reasons. Some people don’t like the profanity. Others the blending of sounds. There are even those who hate on the genre for no good reason.

There’s a lot of different genres of rap music to enjoy. I personally have a wide variety of tastes. I recently challenged myself to make a playlist that would appeal to someone who might not have a lot of exposure to the art form. I specifically selected songs with a message or artistic merit. I tried to pick songs that are also pleasing to listen to. Of course I also threw in a few songs that are just good to jam to or relax depending on your mood.

Here it is a playlist of rap music for people who don’t listen to much rap music. Enjoy.

1. So What’Cha Want- Beastie Boys

This is a favorite of mine. It’s one of those rare songs where the band actually does a good job blending rap and rock together in a way that doesn’t sound like something Fred Durst would put his name on.

This is one of those great examples you can point to that appeals to the alternative fan, rock fan and a rap fan.

2. Gangsta’s Paradise- Coolio

This is one of those rare gangsta rap songs that doesn’t glorify the genre but also doesn’t discredit it either. Often dismissed for violence, drugs and objectifying women, the genre understandably gets a bad rep. Fortunately this song is a masterpiece. It’s a blend of blues, funk and gangsta rap done in a way that is respectful to the people who lived in that setting while also getting the message across that is often lost in some more hard core songs.

3. Mr. Wendal- Arrested Development

This was the first rap song I ever heard played in school. Our music teacher was enthralled by it. She thought it was so touching a rap song could have such a positive message. I later learned everything front man Speech was doing with that band was to prove hip hop could have a positive message that didn’t get lost in a suburban culture.

4. Regulate- Warren G feat. Nate Dogg

Aside from the angelic voice of the late Nate Dogg being mesmerizing, this smooth blend of bass, synth and melodies perfectly embodies the relaxing nature of the G funk era. This is absolutely a song you can just sit back and relax to no matter what your mood is.

5. One Mic- Nas

The feud between Nastradamus and Hova is not to be taken lightly. I very nearly went with Ether for it’s opening lyric “Fuck Jay Z” but I knew in my heart One Mic was the superior song. This is one of those songs that only comes along once in a generation. Nas is a lyrical poet for sure. Musically it’s one of those tight examples of a rap song that isn’t in your face.

6. Victory- Puff Daddy and the Family featuring Biggie Smalls

Released posthumously as a tribute to B.I.G., the song kicks off the sad No Way Out album right of the bat letting you know a voice from beyond the grave is going to haunt this track as well as the remainder of the record. It has a slow, ominous build up to a Puffy lamenting the death of his closest ally and friend. It wraps with Busta Rhymes being Busta.

7. Killing Me softly- The Fugees

Part R&B, part hip hop, all soul, this is one of those rare rap songs that proves you can have a heart and still bust dope lyrics. This is also the song that put Wyclef Jean on the map. It absolutely deserves credit for that alone.

8. The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)- Missy Elliot.

The misdemeanor debut herself. This slow groove makes you want to forget how awful shit can be sometimes and just let the rain wash your cares away.

9. Shorty Wanna Be a Thug- 2Pac

The kingpin of gangsta rap is no doubt going to make an appearance on a list of best rap songs. This is one of those what I call hidden gems. It’s a song that tells a story about a kid in the ghetto just trying to make ends meat and cement his reputation as a thug but it’s done in a way that sells the genre while putting the listener into a trance.

10. Do You See- Warren G

A smooth blues track infused with hip hop rhymes and some down to earth G funk this is one of those tracks that reminds people life isn’t always great in this country for everyone.

11. Tennessee- Arrested Development

Not as touching as Mr. Wendall but just as profound in many ways. This song tells the tale of an African American who has a dream he is hanging from a tree in Tennessee. It’s not as bad as it sounds. He learns a life lesson along the way.

12. None of Your Business- Salt N Pepa

The fierce, spunky ladies of hip hop rocked the charts with “Let’s Talk About Sex”, blew up your hearts with their ode to HIV and then owned their own sexuality in a male dominated world of misogynistic thugs. They rap about how being loose with the goods is nobody’s business.

13. Now That We Found Love- Heavy D and the Boys

Just one of those happy go lucky, pop rap jams that makes you feel good. Nuff said.

14. Brass Monkey- Beastie Boys

License to Ill is the album that put rap music on the map. It paved the way for many others to come. This is far from the  best track in the set but one of the most well known and certainly danceable beats on the record.

15. It Was a Good Day- Ice Cube

Take the man who rapped “Fuck the Police” a decade early, drop him smack dab into the 90s, strip him of his anger and he releases a mellow track saying hey life sucks but not today.

16. Thuggish Ruggish Bone- Bone Thugs N Harmony

The soul band of rap music these guys make Boyz II Men look like a barber shop quartet. this track does the job well. If you want proof rap music can have a soul this right here is it.

17. Ghetto Vet- Ice Cube

Man is gonna be on this list. This is one of those tracks that paints a picture of a man trying to live his life and gets crippled by a stray bullet meant for someone else.

18. The Message- Grandmaster Flash and the furious five

It’s old school, sure, it’s political okay, but it also needs to be kept alive. That’s all there is to it. You need to hear this song.

19. Renegades of Funk- Rage Against the Machine

Obligatory rap metal for the rock fan. Except it’s actually quite good. Moving on.

20. The Crossroads- Bone thugs N Harmony

Death. Life. These are subjects artists know all to well. Especially black artists rapping about life in the ghetto. It’s that one rare song that makes you forget we’re all gonna die and just take a moment to remember all those who already have passed on.

21. Let Me Ride- Dr. Dre

Probably the greatest gangsta rap album of all time, The Chronic is filled with a number of great songs all worth a listen. This one is about the smoothest, most palatable so here ya go.

22. Dear Mama- 2pac

A love letter to the single mother that raised him. It’s heart felt, it’s powerful and it’s real. It’s also one of the reasons the world still mourns his loss.

23. Funkdafied- Da Brat

My favorite female rapper of all time. I love this woman and this is a perfect example of why you should too.

24. The Next Episode- Dr. Dre

Way back in 1992 Snoop told us all to Chill till the next episode. We did just that and when this song arrived we were not disappointed. This embodies the raw power these men went through. It’s one of those tracks that when played in context it reminds you that the struggle was real for these two. It’s a tall mountain they climbed.

25. A Week Ago- Jay-Z

This is a poetic story on how fast shit can change. Loosely based on his real experiences, Sean Carter releases In My Lifetime Vol. 2 to a world that missed Vol. 1 but didn’t know how much they needed this man’s music in their lives.

26. I Shot the Sheriff- Warren G

Okay nothing but a cash in of a Bob Marley song but still a tune worth hearing.

27. The Gangsta, The Killa and the Dope Dealer- Westside Connection

Ice cube, WC and Mach 10 felt the hole left in the world when NWA broke up and filled that hole with this album that in many ways surpasses Straight Outta Compton itself. That being said this track gets the point across in a way much better than the in your face fuck you to cops that landed them in hot water back in the 80s.

28. Keep Ya Head Up- 2Pac

Probably the last time he shows up on this list. Another reminder of why he is heralded as the greatest Emcee to ever live and breath.

29. Big Poppa- Biggie Smalls

It is no secret I hate Christopher Wallace. He is by far the MOST overrated rapper even in a world with Kanye West floating around. This man did very little to actually contribute to rap music, as proven here with his new york rap track blatantly ripping of Snoop and Dre’s pioneering G Funk sound. Oh well it’s still a good track despite the fact he just stole it.

30. C.R.E.A.M- Wu Tang Clan

The only rap band in history to make cheesy Kung Fu B movies the source material for absolutely amazing story driven rap songs. Too many great things to say about this group, just know it started right here for all intents and purposes.

31. Express Yourself- NWA

I picked the tamest song they had that wasn’t a break dance money grab. End of story.

32. Hard Knock Life- Jay Z

The anthem to Vol. 2 this track says it all.

33. Hail Mary- 2Pac

I lied he slipped one more track onto the list.Released shortly after his death this track is just too haunting to ignore.

34. Mama Said Knock You Out- LL Cool J

The Ladies Love Cool James was a mantra back in the 80s. The man, the myth the legend earned the title GOAT and he got it right here. He takes shit from, nobody, and proves you don’t have to drop F bombs to make a hard core rap track.

35. Summertime- DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince aka Will Smith

Relax. Play this jam and enjoy life. Will Smith was never the king of rap but he was the most appealing to to white people after Vanilla Ice burned out. Aside from that, he made some legit good songs and this is probably one of the best.

36. Pop Goes the Easel- 3rd Base

I put it on here as a joke. An ironic twist of fate as this one-hit wonder uses pop rap to berate Vanilla Ice for being a one-hit wonder pop rap act. Only thing is to this day people remember the name Vanilla Ice and the only thing they know about 3rd base they can’t say in front of the kids.

37. No Shelter- Rage Against the machine

Political Angst. Hard rock guitars. Loud metal motifs. and It’s still rap music. Sorta. Close enough we’ll let it slide.

 

There you have it. Stay cool.

G4TV to return?! How, Why and who cares?

ME! I do right here. Super excited. I know everybody is going to be talking about this. I don’t think I can wait for the next episode of the Dark Web Podcast to upload next week to get my thoughts out there on this.

First let me say I am super stoked and I almost don’t even care what it ends up looking like when it returns. I say almost because, well it could be a mess.

G4TV, known once upon a time as TechTV and G4TechTV was a TV network for nerds. With the rise of the internet streaming nerds fled the network in favor of stuff like the (defunct/rebranded The Know turned Inside Gaming, IGN and YouTube for news) but I never lost hope the idea could be revived. In fact what initially drew me to Rooster Teeth in the first place, along with ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com were how much they kinda sorta reminded me of the once  great but never forgotten G4.

I am sorry my thoughts are all over the place. I am torn. I really want Attack of the Show and X-Play to make a proper return I really do, but what I want and what could happen might not be the same. I know as an adult who frequently revisits old flames and is constantly bombarded by reboots that it won’t be the same as the first time around. So what! I want more Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb damn it!

The saddest part of the G4 story always had been the fact it was supplanted by YouTube when it was tailor made to be be a YouTube show. Now there is some speculation if it returns it would be either a YouTube network/series ala Rooster Teeth and ChannelAwesome (ya know to fill the void left behind with Machinema and GameTrailers also now defunct) but there are also those who see it as possibly becoming a draw for Twitch. Sadly this is where I think the majority of gamers might lean and that makes me split. See if they bring back those old shows in a format similar to before but modified slightly to fit on a web series I’d be all in. Sign me up. I’ll even buy merch and sign up for the inevitable Patreon.

However, G4 has a ghost in its past. You see the network failed because it was gobbled up by content giant Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal (and recently launched the less than stellar Peacock (cr)app). This gives me cause for concern. Revitalized as a YouTube channel with shows I can follow easily I am in. Rebranded as a content tied to Peacock I am hesitant but willing to hear you out. However bring it back as just a cable TV station locked to paid cable subscribers and I am forever blocked from gaining access to its content. This was what killed the brand in the first place. It failed to adapt. It had a YouTube presence but it was before content creators knew how to make money off YouTube and before network TV figured out how to utilize it properly, thus it was there but it wasn’t there in a meaningful (read profitable) way. In other words, it will take more than bringing the shows back and getting them in front of an audience. It has to be the right audience, right platform and it has to be engaging and entertaining.

Yes I can see a revised Attack of the Show being viewed fondly on YouTube or even Twitch but quickly dying out as the audience split and ad share won’t be enough to justify a full TV production. On the flip side a full scale cable TV treatment but on Peacock might be the draw that app needs to lure a few suckers like me to stick around. It is already streaming Code Monkeys after all, a show which originally made it’s debut on, you guessed it, G4.

I will have more to say on this subject but my lunch break is over I have to return to work, punch the clock and get my paycheck in so I can keep eating. Be sure to wait anxiously for the next episode of The Dark Web Podcast to get my full thoughts on what this could mean, how it might work and what it would look like to get me on board or lose me forever. Stay Cool.

Why I do my retro gaming on emulators while still collecting original hardware

It’s quite simple really gaming should be platform agnostic and above all it should be about enjoying the games we play. I love owning original physical hardware in almost all cases. For me it’s partially about owning a piece of history. There is something amazing about having a thing sitting in your house that existed in the past. It connects me to the history of gaming and I enjoy that very much. But there is another side to it.

I like to own physical things  because it takes me back in time. I was born in 1982. This means I grew up in a world that had digital goods released on physical platforms. We called it the digital age back then. Of course by today’s standards some might refer to it as the stone age, with good reason.

Collecting and gaming are two different things. You see as a toy collector I absolutely must play with my toys. I am not a shelf collector. I paid hundreds of dollars for a boxed original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Mega Zord set only to open the  box and assemble the team. I have to touch the toys I own.

This is not necessarily the case for video games.

Even when I was a kid I was a PC gamer. If I had to rank my gaming priorities it was arcade first, PC second, console distant third. The reason was simple. Even back then you could trade games with a friend and if you knew what you were doing it was easy to make copies of games (even if it was sometimes shady to do so) and swap those with others. We treated the software as just that, an intangible digital program we could erase and replace at will as needed. Games were disposable. If you wanted to save it for good you made a hard copy. In the early days it was tape or floppy disk, later it was CD, then DVD-ROM. By the time hard drives and flash memory came on the scene PC gamers like myself were decades into moving digital files from one format to the next. Each time we bought a new computer we immediately went through the painstaking process of getting our software ported over.

Once emulation came along most PC gamers didn’t bat an eye. For those writing the software that made emulation possible it was about preserving the specs, the software and the knowledge. For those of us who had a computer hungry for software we just needed to feed our PC’s as much new software as we could get our hands on. For me, I didn’t see a rom set of Super NES games as digital copies of Super Nintendo games, I saw them as PC software I had to have. Games I had to play.

Every single PC gamer on the planet has done their share of what could be considered piracy. It’s what we do. Sometimes we find legal ways or gray areas to accomplish our end goal but in the end it’s all about selfishly hoarding as much electronic interactive entertainment as we can muster.

Now every console loyalist is going to scream piracy or authenticity if you say you game using emulation. Sure let them cry all day long. There are those who try to claim owning a physical copy justifies or allows for the having a digital  back up. Technically under the DMCA yes that is true. But not entirely. Then there are those who say it’s only okay if you rip the rom yourself. This is not entirely accurate either.

The worst is when you have those who say you’re better off buying physical copies of retro games because it supports the publishers. Um no, if I buy a used copy of Contra on the NES that money is going into the hands of John Doe not anyone that had anything to do with the creation of said game.

Those same loyalists might say maybe it’s about supporting  your local game store. Again nope. I can buy whatever they have for sale sure, but at the same time it is their responsibility to provide a product I am willing to buy at a price I am comfortable with.

For me I will always prefer gaming on my PC. I see playing Super NES Roms using an emulator as the same as playing the PC version of certain games. And yes even though I do have a physical copy of Mortal Kombat on Genesis that hasn’t stopped me from purchasing the PC version fro GoG.com, on top of purchasing the digital version of Mortal Kombat Kollection on PS3. And that is on top of buying Midways Arcade Treasures physical copies for both the PS2 and GameCube.

At the end of the day I will always be a PC gamer and a console collector. I think it is perfectly acceptable to be both as far as I am concerned they are one and the same. Stay cool.