The long journey of how I went from hating Sony Playstation to becoming a brand loyalist

I make it no secret that I love the Sony Playstation family of consumer video game products. I currently have, in some form or another, every single home console they have ever released. I have already decided I wish to pre-order a PS5 and pick it up on launch day as the excitement of doing so has boiled up to epic proportions.

I hadn’t always been this way. There was a time when I actively hated Playstation. To the point I swore even if I ever did buy one of their machines I would make sure I only bought it used, second hand not from a re-seller like GameStop to guarantee that Sony didn’t get a single penny of my hard earned money. Settle in this is a long road.

But where did that level of animosity come from? How bad did it get? And more importantly, when did it subside being replaced with a new-found passion for the same product line?

I was so anti-Playstation I went out of my way to get an HD-DVD player for everyone I could because I desperately wanted that format to beat Blu Ray Disc. Only reason was because BRD benefited Playstation. Let me be clear. I lost friends, actual friends, over my utter hatred for Playstation. It was a mess. Of course, so was I but that’s a story for another day.

To understand my transformation you have to go back to the very beginning.

The Early Years- Atari clones to Nintendo

My first game console was nothing special. It was just a Coleco Gemini. Basically a knock off Atari 2600 VCS that was made by Coleco. No it was NOT a Coleco Vision with the Atari adapter it could ONLY play Atari 2600 games but it looked nothing like an Atari.

Here is a picture from Google of what the monstrosity looked like.

Coleco

What this did was introduced me to the world of gaming right away without a notion of brand loyalty. I knew I had an Atari. I knew it played Atari games. I was too young to understand what it actually was or how it came into existence. I didn’t learn that until years later.

Around this time my cousins got a home computer, it was one of those Apple II computers. I have no idea which specific model it was, I didn’t know enough about computers then and my faded memories are not useful.

All I do know is they played really lousy edutainment games because that was all they could get for free basically.

In an effort to condense the rest let me hit some of the highlights. In 1988 we picked up a Nintendo Entertainment System as a family.

I had to share this with my sisters. Of course I had a fondness for Nintendo games but I grew to despise the hardware as mine was like most, never worked as intended. That fueled my disdain for that product line.

The Sega Years

Then in 1994 at age 12 my parents gave me a brand new Sega Genesis Model 2 bundled with Sonic 2 for my birthday. It was the best day ever. I was so happy to have a console that just, worked. I also noticed, quickly, how it had more in common with those old Atari consoles than Nintendo.

At least in terms of aesthetic design, placement of the cartridges even the design of the carts them selves. Not to mention the revelation that the controller ports were the same making them interchangeable.

Yes I tried playing MK2 on my Sega using an actual Atari 2600 joystick. In case you are calling BS because of the above mentioned Gemini.

We got rid of that thing early on shortly after getting the Nintendo and I had picked up a used Atari from a Goodwill store around 1992 or 1993. Anyways I quickly connected Atari and Sega in my mind which facilitated this bond of emotions tying them to my early childhood development.

This is only compounded by my fascination with X-Men which had a strong presence on Sega consoles on top of my absolute love of video arcades. Sega, like Atari before it, had this big arcade following on it so I equated them with the video arcade experience.

Now this is where things get dicey. I was enamored by the luster of the Nintendo 64 so I bought one on launch day. However, I ended up taking it back and using the cash refund to buy a broken drum set and an SNES with a shoe box of games from a pawn shop.

What this did was it reintroduced me to the world of Nintendo while keeping me firmly locked in the 16-bit era slightly longer than most others.

This put me in a weird position where I truly wanted to think the Genesis was better than the SNES but I started falling into the trap of believing the lies the SNES was superior. Later I came to the conclusion they are absolute equals with each having strengths and weaknesses.

Where does Sony fit in all this? As a brand I was loyal to Sony. I had a Walk Man, a Disc Man, a Sony surround sound system, XPlode amplifier and speakers in my car, the works. Even a Trinitron TV. I was all in. Except for one area. Playstation. Now that I have set the stage let me dig into how it turned into a deep hatred.

The hatred begins

Once I realized my passion was for arcade games I started to notice a shift in focus in the gaming magazines. While I was longing for a 32X add on for my Genesis to bring me even more arcade ports to my home and begging my parents to sell my baby sister to buy me a Neo Geo to have arcade perfect ports in the home, the magazines were bragging about this new fangled Playstation.

My first reaction to the name was revulsion. It sounded like a jungle gym or attraction at the county fair. Not a serious game console. This revulsion was exacerbated by my discovery that Nintendo’s success was partially credited to its mascot, Mario, and Sega’s likewise to its mascot, Sonic.

I didn’t see a break out mascot on Playstation and seeing how Atari, Colecovision, Intellivision, Neo Geo, and others had all failed I decided in my teenage mind it had to be the lack of a mascot on those platforms. Never mind the strong mascot of Bonk on TG16 having no impact one way or another, I just figured it was a fact and accepted it.

Then there were the games. Sega and Nintendo had games I knew. Mortal Kombat. Mega Man. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, etc. Playstation had, weird games like PO’d, Wipe out and Ridge Racer. Yawn. And that’s just the ones I knew about or can remember off the top of my head.

Then there was the Saturn. Despite my longing for a 32X I still accepted the Saturn was out there and fully expected it to put that Sony machine in its place. After all it would have the strong arcade ports, the mascot games and the recognizable characters like Sonic how could it fail?

Well it didn’t take me long after I bought a Sega Saturn to learn had been duped. Sure it had arcade ports but of lackluster games for the most part. The mascot games sucked, Sonic 3D Blast was a damn Genesis game with CD audio added. No thanks.

And as for the recognizable characters, Shinobi, Vectorman and Ecco the Dolphin were replaced with Bug, Clockwork Knight and Panzer Dragoon. Some quality games slipped in there and Shinobi did get, a game, on the console.

It just wasn’t the same. But I didn’t see all that as a kid. I saw Sony actively bullying Sega into going out of business basically. The day I saw a Sega title sitting on the store shelf in a PS2 package, I cringed. I lost my love for Sega and this compounded my hatred of Sony’s Playstation brand. In my mind Sony killed Sega, and Atari too, and were making it impossible for other companies to step in. I had no choice but to declare my loyalty to Nintendo and dig in.

The shift to Nintendo fanboy

But wait, let’s back it up a second. You see the Dreamcast was discontinued in 2001 basically. I bought my N64 and PS1 on the exact same day, Sept. 7, 2000. Why? Because it was my 18th birthday and I had a paycheck I earned from my very real job at the time. No more saving up allowance or mowing grass for old people.

I was in control of my gaming destiny. So I did buy myself a Playstation 1. But I did it begrudgingly and ensured I had a Nintendo the same day to stave off any chance I would convert. After all PS1 was mostly still 90s X games crap like Tony Hawks and lame Indiana Jones knock off Tomb Raider.

I wasn’t happy to lose Sega in favor of Nintendo but I made the most if it with the absolutely amazing Super Mario 64. There was one more hitch. I bought my stupid N64 late 2000. Roughly 1 year later the Big N had replaced it with the GameCube, or as it was known in the gaming community the Purple Lunchbox.

I fell for it. I sold my PS1 and N64 and took home a Nintendo GameCube. This was, of course, following a couple of years just doubling down on my 16 bit Sega and Nintendo machines I never let go of.

Thus my love of retro stuff was born and it was growing all the time. I kept feeding it. At first it was slow. I grabbed a few retro games for my newly acquired Game Boy Advance. I started with the Super Mario Advance series, a very retro Super Nintendo homage series of games.

Then I picked up Sonic Advance, Altered Beast, Gun Star Super Heroes, Mario Kart Super Circuit and then Metroid Fusion. By this time I was also getting deeper into the world of emulation. This was the time I discovered a passion for retro games that quickly turned into an obsession.

It was this time when my hatred for Playstation was at it’s peak. I despised them because they represented new ideas. New game play concepts and new ways of gaming. I wanted things to be the way they were before.

I doubled down on my Nintendo collecting. I concentrated on amassing a sizable GameCube library, over 60 games at it’s peak. This was a way for me to really cement my connection to retro games.

Even if I bought a new Nintendo game I made sure it had ties to the old stuff. I bought Mario Party, Smash Bros., Zelda, Metroid and Mario Sunshine. I even picked upo Star Fox Adventures and then I loaded up on all the compilations I could from Mega Man to Sonic and Midway down to Namco Museum.

All this time I was telling myself Nintendo represented the good in the world and Sony represented all the evil in the world. I literally convinced myself Sony was evil. Playstation was for sinners and if you were a good Christian you had to play Nintendo games. Between this, blaming Sony for the death of Sega and Atari and my continuing to embrace the 8-bit and 16-bit retro period I saw no merit to the Playstation.

What really fueled my hatred above all else was the anti-Nintendo attitude Playstation gamers held. This was compounded by the anti-Sega attitude die hard Nintendo loyalists harbored. I was an outside.

I grew up with Atari first then Sega so to Nintendo fans I was a poser. I was a Johnny come lately. Which was false. I always had an NES and then an SNES before getting my N64 and Game Cube. I just devoted more time and energy to Sega because, to me at least, they had better games.

How Blu Ray blinded me to the truth

Then things took a turn for the worse. Nintendo released the Wii at the same time Sony was pushing Blu Ray. I had been an audio file and a video file my whole life. I knew quality when I saw it.

I knew the glorious high bit rate 1080p picture quality stored on those 25GB Blu Ray discs produced a vastly superior, not slightly but truly noticeably improved product than the HD-DVD.

Somehow my twisted hatred for Sony was so thorough by this point I adopted HD-DVD and ranted constantly how stupid Blu Ray was and how anyone who bought into it was a sheep being blinded by the Sony marketing machine.

I succeeded in converting one friend to an Xbox gamer as a result, a mistake I now regret as he has become a fanboy of that brand at the expense of Nintendo loyalty.

My other friends continued to hound me to abandon the sinking Nintendo ship and join the Playstation party wagon. I found myself really hearing the hypocrisy and idiocy in my arguments for why the Wii was not just a good system but actually better than PS3 in every way.

Of course I had no problem tearing down the Windows in a Box the PC faithful were buying especially to Nintendo and Playstation gamers, at least we could rally behind that cause.

Something changed.

Remember when I told you I bought a PS1 in 2000. I did so for one game. Final Fantasy 7. That game was enough for me to put aside all the negativity I had towards Playstation and just admit that one game was great.

I eventually conceded sure the Playstation has some good games but it wasn’t the point. The evil was in everything else so I carried on the fight.

In 2009 I woke up one day and noticed my Wii was sitting there in the midst of a stack of games I was determined to use to prove it was just as good, if not better than the PS3.

Reality hit me.

Every. Single. Game. was a PS2 port! All my friends laughed at me for constantly getting excited for this “NEW” game I got on Wii they were quick to say yeah dude we played that already, years ago on Playstation. Around the time I was desperately trying to enjoy Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance on Wii, even convincing myself the game was fun because of not despite the motion controls I had a real revelation.

The tide begins to turn

I was at a friends how and I casually picked up his Xbox 360 controller and started playing Crackdown. My god I was actually having fun playing a video game again! I realized I spent so much energy crusading for Nintendo, which was weird considering I stared out disliking them, instead of just enjoying the games.

The realization was the Wii didn’t have games I enjoyed. I hated the games it had. I hated the motion controls. I hated the Virtual Console charging me money for games I already owned. I was beginning to turn on Nintendo. So I did the unthinkable. Disillusioned I sold my Wii.

This was the time I briefly, from 2010 to 2013, became a die hard PC only gamer. I dug into the world of emulation, combined it with the ever increasing piracy trap of torrents and eventually found myself throwing perfectly good money away at upgrading computers to play a game I could just stick into a console and play without all that hassle.

In 2013 I decided to give Playstation a second chance. I had finally gotten over my hatred. I was convinced I missed out on two full console generations of great games out of a stubborn belief that Nintendo would die if I didn’t convert people from the cult of Playstation to the benevolent society of Nintendo. I was a dupe. No, I was a dope.

I grabbed a PS2 in a trade deal. I took it home picked up a few games I was told were supposed to be good and, my eyes were opened. All those wonderful worlds I missed out on. But the real revelation was this, Playstation WAS Nintendo.

The best of Sega and the best of Nintendo, minus Mario and Zelda, was on Playstation. All those great retro games I grew up with and fell in love with, Final Fantasy, Mega Man, Contra, Double Dragon, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Castlevania and the list goes on and on.

Those franchises didn’t die like I had assumed since they were not on the Nintendo console. They were alive and well on Playstation. IN fact many were getting their best entries on the Sony platforms.

Once I discovered the depth of the origins of Playstation being tied to Nintendo I realized the original PS1 was the true successor to the Super Nintendo.

Nostalgia kicks in, discovery begins

I just missed it. Looking back nostalgia began to swell up but this time for Playstation. Not the games I grew up with but the games I missed in the franchises I grew up with. Oh sure I also discovered Mass Effect, God of War Jak and Dexter and even Elder Scrolls along the way the real treasure was discovering the hidden gems that actually felt like Nintendo games. All the Sega, Konami and Capcom games I missed out on.

All those Final Fantasy sequels I ignored in exchange for Crystal Chronicles. Then, things kept improving with Kingdom Hearts and Katamari Damacy.

By this time I shed my hatred for Sony and replaced it with a new found appreciation for how they actually saved not destroyed the traditional gaming I was fond of. I realized all those retro games I loved, those classic fighting games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were STILL fun on Playstation while non existent on Nintendo.

I learned that Sony consistently released the same Super NES inspired controller with minor improvements year after year whereas Nintendo were the ones trying to get me to fall for the odd shaped trident on the N64 that mostly hurt my hands.

Nintendo were the ones trying to convince me gaming wasn’t fun anymore because it was too complicated and I needed to “get back to basics” with overly simplified motion controls based on an obvious throw back to their NES days as a covert way to trick gamers into thinking the glory days of the NES had returned.

It was Sony all a long

What I realized was Sony had preserved the retro gaming I grew up with and allowed it to grow into the modern gaming we have today by naturally evolving with the industry and society. It was Nintendo trying to reinvent the wheel every couple of years in the hopes that people would remember how fun they were and come back.

Instead of seeing how much Nintendo failed to embrace its root they were the ones facilitating unwanted changes on the very people who clung to their brand because it was supposed to be familiar. But it wasn’t.

You had some retro stuff like Mario Kart and Smash Bros. hanging around but even Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, DK and Mario get entirely reinvented every single generation. Sure they throw a familiar New Super Mario game or a Donkey Kong Country Returns to keep you coming back with an NES Remix or Super Mario Maker as a way to trick you into thinking their library has more depth than it really does.

None of this is to say Nintendo doesn’t try new things or they deserve the hate to be shifted to them. What I realized was while Nintendo always had merits I took for granted and over inflated, Playstation likewise had its own merits I was too blind to see.

Once I bought that PS2 it was mere weeks before I bought me a PS3. Less than a year later I had a PS4 and I never looked back. To this day I have logged more hours and had more fun rediscovering games I missed on Playstation than I ever did with Nintendo.

In the end I now see Nintendo and Sony are more alike than they are different. While I can see the good, and not so good, in both, I have come to appreciate that each one brings something special to the table.

They both deserve the praise and admiration they receive from the gaming community as a whole as well as their respective devotees.

Count me as a Playstation, Nintendo, Sega and PC gamer or just call me a gamer in general and I will put those silly fanboy school yard fights in the past, where they belong, while I anxiously wait for the Playstation 5 to whisk me off to new heights of fantastic gaming experiences. In the meantime I will continue to enjoy both the PS4 and Nintendo Switch for what each one offers me. Stay Cool.

Is Britney Spears still relevant?

The first time I heard Baby…One More Time I knew I had to have that crazy popular new Britney Spears CD. From that very first moment I put my newly purchased copy into my, now dated, CD player I was mesmerized. I fell instantly in love with Britney and her style. I have always been kind of a fan of pop music to some extent but she really solidified my interest in dancing in my bedroom to her music.

Over the years Spears’s popularity has wavered some but my adoration for her has not tapered off in the slightest. When I first learned of her mental breakdown a few years ago I was genuinely distraught. Not because a celebrity I never knew was hurting but as a person who grew up with her on my TV and radio I wanted her to continue to be there to provide me familiarity and comfort. As an empathetic individual who does try to care about people I realized her pain was real for her and she was in need of help. Fortunately she received the help she needed and continued to produce music.

Last summer I learned about the #FreeBritney movement and although I am a fan of her works, I don’t pry into her personal life. For that reason I wasn’t too thrilled to have people saying if you are a true fan you have to spread the word. I will define my level of fandom thank you very much. I never cared for that word “true fan” of anything, it’s disgusting and often arrogant and always dismissive of alternative points of view. As an outside in so many ways I can assure you I hold to many alternative perspectives.

It got me to thinking recently though with the rise of new acts like Lady Gaga or even Katy Perry rise to prominence it makes me wonder if Britney Spears still holds any weight in the music industry? I have no doubts if Madonna dropped a new album tomorrow it would make some noise and garner attention. Maybe not in the way she once did but I believe Madonna still impacts the music industry and continues to influence artists to this day. I am not so sure if this is the case any more with Britney Spears. It seems like of course I am fairly out of touch with the young people. Yet I know my 14-year-old niece is at least aware of Madonna and can sing some of her songs, at least the chorus, but she said Britney Who when I asked her if Britney Spears was still popular. This kind of worried me ever so slightly. Especially considering my sister, the child’s mother, had also been a fan growing up. It told me either Britney has lost some of her star power with the younger generation, or her the same with her mother who failed to pass on that admiration to her child. I can’t begin to identify the artists my niece listens to, she never talks to me about anything personal to her not even music.

Obviously I can’t use a single anecdotal account as any sort of evidence. Thus I continue to ponder. I know internet searches would be skewed. If I type in how popular is Britney Spears website results will obviously contain references to her name. As such I doubt that would provide an organic reflection of her continued influence. A simple Google search asking top 20 pop artists of all time does bring the name Britney Spears up so I suppose there is that.

One thing I wonder is in such a fragmented world of internet memes, social media, YouTube, Spotify, etc., who does a pop mega star today cut through the noise and find their way into the lives of the youth? I mean in the 90s and before we had radio feeding us our top music hits. Beginning in the 80s and into the early 2000s we had MTV pushing music videos and music related content into our lives. It was easy for a single act to be in front of our eyes and ears constantly. I do wonder how an artist today can achieve that same uniformity? I wonder because I see big names like Jay Z and Beyonce remaining popular and they both found their success before the internet. Do children today even listen to pop stations on the radio or do they go to pop radio stations on Spotify? I suppose it would be easier to find new acts this way but I imagine it would be harder for a single act to saturate our culture yet somehow they manage to do so.

This makes me wonder if Britney Spears herself would even be popular if she came out today. Based on the prominence of Lada Gaga I could imagine a young Madonna finding success in the current pop culture. I am not so sure of a Britney. Part of her appeal was she balanced conservative ideals with modernism and a hip, sexy attitude. She flaunted her sexuality but she also held onto her mostly kid-friendly image. Of course this led to controversies over the years but that is not new in the entertainment industry.

I will never forget the first time I danced with my classmates like fools to Oops…I did it again. The music she has provided for my own enjoyment over the years has been most appreciated. I only wonder if her popularity will be like Cher was to me growing up, this old woman holding onto relevance when the young kids weren’t having it. To that I am most curious which song from her catalog will be the one kids growing up now or in the near future will recognize from Britney Spears or will attach to her identity? For me, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves is the only Cher song I know by name without looking it up. Will Baby One More Time, Toxic, If U Seek Amy or some other song will be the one future generations remember most? I don’t have a single song that I think of instantly when I think Britney Spears, she has so many I enjoy. This makes it harder. When I asked my niece if she knew Madonna she said yes. When I asked her what songs she liked she said I don’t any just her name. I wonder if Britney Spears will live on even as just a name in the cultural lexicon? Only time will tell. If Doctor Who is to  be believed she should be alright.

Disney+ has arrived, here is a quick overview and first impressions

I was skeptical at first when I heard Disney was getting into the streaming business. My first instinct was the company’s existing catalog would not contain enough content to keep me interested. Even with the prospect of all the LucasFilm and Marvel Studio’s stuff I felt it would have a hard time filling all the gaps. Things turned around slightly when I discovered Disney had finalized its purchase of 20th Century Fox and its vast back catalog of quality content. This had me optimistic the service would truly offer something for everyone. As of right now, sadly, that is not exactly the case.

First up is the interface. Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way. It works quite well. Polished and new yet very familiar it sports the features you would expect, a watch list, search function and category browsing. They even do the courtesy of lumping certain things together by topic, such as Disney Princesses or By the Decade. This was fine yet it made the library seem thin as each highlighted topic only focused on the most popular stuff.

Next up is the library.

This is what people care about. In terms of catalog content, there’s a little bit of everything surely to provide a good starting ground for those looking to sink their teethe into the Disney Vault. Yet, there is notably a few genres entirely lacking from the service. Horror, Science Fiction and Anime are notably scares, if non existent. I have yet to locate a single r-rated film, even from the Fox library. I searched a few I was familiar with and nothing came up. I did some digging and discovered there aren’t many, if any at all, currently scheduled to arrive either. I didn’t look too deeply but as of right now there aren’t any horror movies to speak of. Not even something as relatively tame and Disney produced as Something Wicked This Way Comes. In fact I couldn’t even find any articles online saying if the film was potentially coming or not. It could be the plan to keep the “adult” stuff like horror, anime and hard science fiction over at Hulu for the time being, which could explain the absence of those products on Disney Plus.

Being bundled with Hulu not a great way to satisfy a customer base constantly being asked to choose from streaming services. Sure, a bundle will offer a truly robust offering of quality content ranging from old animated shorts from the 1920’s up to current stuff airing on network TV today. Yet on it’s own the target market is most likely families with children and die hard Disney fans. I am neither. I am satisfied with all the Marvel animated content. As for Star Wars there is one obvious omission I felt should be there in the future, no not that terrible Holiday Special, that needs to be forgotten. I am talking about Ewoks.

Originals

Not great, not bad. I don’t care for remaking old Disney movies especially if the original is not available. Luckily in most cases if there is a remake the original is available for comparison’s sake or just posterity, which I support. Yet there were a couple of originals I did browse that caught my eye. The first is The world According to Jeff Goldblum. I gave this all of five minutes, if that, before I realized there was nothing there but an offhanded joke in some board room that was taken way to literally. Oops. Mistakes are made.

Then there is the big one everyone is sure to be talking about. The Mandalorian. This is one of those things I will devote an entire review to so all I will say now is this is the real hook of the service at this time. If you have no interest in this show but love Star Wars, I would highly recommend giving the 7-day free trial a shot just to check this out. It might be worth it to wait a week or two for a couple more episodes to be out if this is the only thing you might be interested in. However, I believe it was a highly entertaining series with fantastic movie-quality production values and the kind of Star Wars story-telling a huge fan of the Legends Expanded Universe is fond of.

Overall I give the service a B+ for its current offerings, but only if you bundle it with Hulu. Otherwise on its own merit I drop it down to a still solid but not excellent B-. I hate giving things letter grades, I prefer the star grading system for movies and video games but this felt like the best way to really convey how I felt about it currently. It has great potential. If they open the library up to R-rated movies, even PG-13 horror movies would help, they need more horror movies either way you slice it. That being said if you don’t care for horror movies at all or if you can get your horror fix from Hulu it’s worth the price of entry. It has a nice interface, decent family-friendly catalog and is priced fair for what you get, especially if you bundle with Hulu. That bundle is the catch though, without it the service has less inherent value and this could be a sticking point for some in the future, especially those who despise commercials or things expiring all the time. I did have some fun revisiting old Simpson’s and DuckTales episodes so the product has a place, at least for now, in my world. Stay Cool.

What’s New to YouTube?- A Review Show!

Welcome back to another article here at The Spiders Lair, Where Chaos Resides. This time I am happy to announce I am starting a new video series called “What’s New to YouTube” where I will talk about newer, smaller channels.

Each week I will shoot out a Tweet and Facebook post inviting YouTube Content Creators to recommend their channel for review. I will select one channel based on the following criteria.

1. The show must be active

The creator needs to be making new videos semi-regularly, once a month will do. They must also be actively promoting the channel. This can be social media, podcasts, other means. As long as the creator is trying to grow his or her respective show I will check it out.

2. It must be a small audience.

The purpose of the show is to help get exposure to new, smaller channels while creating quality content that other YouTubers will enjoy. The channel cannot have more than 100 subscribers.

3. It must be relatively new.

This is subjective but if the channel was created in the last year and is actively growing it is eligible. If the channel was created some time ago and only posts sporadic content on rare occasions it is not actively trying to grow and is not eligible.

4. There needs to be some proof of commitment.

This is also subjective but I am using 20 videos as a minimum threshold. The most current video cannot be older than a month or else it won’t be considered active.

5. It has to be quality content.

This is very subjective but Let’s Eat, prank shows, conspiracy theorists, hate speech, personal diary style vlogs etc., will most likely not make the cut. But don’t hold back submit a channel and see if it gets featured.

I will feature one channel a week. I will look at the content, I will reach out to the creator on social media and I will link back to the channel and creator’s social media once the video is live on my channel. The creator is free to share the video and discuss it in their own content; blog, podcast etc., but they are not allowed to upload it to their channel or spam the comments of the video.

I am trying to make a series of magazine/TV style videos similar to Entertainment Tonight or TV Guide that brings attention to quality, but unknown, content.

I have a companion show called What’s Streaming. There is absolutely NO criteria for this show, I decide which videos or channels to feature.

What’s New to YouTube will ONLY review YouTube channels. I am not interested in Twitch or similar content. What’s Streaming can be anything, from YouTube, Twitch or podcasts to Hulu, Netflix and the like.

If you want to submit your channel for review on this exciting new series feel free to respond to one of the social media posts on Twitter @ phatrat1982 or Facebook @ thespiderslairblog. As always, Stay Cool.

The Iron Spider stops Mr. NotSoStrange: A review of Spider-Man Far From Home

The newest Iron Man movie starts off with a half-assed high school tribute to the founding Avenger Tony Stark. Then it quickly devolves into a 2-hour quest for Little Tony Junior to discover his inner Iron Man before he can defeat the newest Dr. Strange knockoff in the latest Marvel movie masquerading as a Spider-Man flick.

I have been far too soft on the Avengers films. In fact I have sung their praises individually while maintaining my displeasure with the shear amount of films required to follow the massive cinematic universe Marvel Studios have crafted under the heavy hand of The Walt Disney Company. Yet as I sit in the theater enjoying easily my favorite stand alone, solo Marvel superhero go on his latest adventure I can’t but wonder when are we going to get a Spider-Man film that doesn’t have ties to either the Avengers, SHIELD or Tony stinking Stark. Don’t get me wrong this is not an attack on the film, I enjoyed it, nay I loved it. Save for a few heavy handed references to that industrialist whom I have grown to detest, loath even. To the point I am willing to revert to cliche’s in an attempt to accurately convey my disdain for the fact that nobody has a problem with any of these movies because godforbid you  have your own opinion. No if you stray from the message of Marvel Rules and the MCU is cinematic perfection, then you will bring the wrath of the nerds down upon your sorry ass faster than Thor can throw a thunderbolt at Loki.

The plot

This is my sticking point. The movie is utterly fantastic, through and through, no question there. I loved this portrayal of Peter Parker, his friends and even the very adorable Mary Jane. I was annoyed at first that there were obvious alterations from her comic book appearance but the actress handily won me over and made my heart flutter, yes that is in deed the woman this version of Peter Parker would fall madly in love with.

The parts of the story that focus on Peter and his friends and teachers is absolutely brilliant. I loved it. It really captured the essence of a high school field trip gone awry. As a former high schooler who experienced many failed attempts at following the itinerary the adults were amusingly trying to force upon us this film encapsulated that perfectly.

The downside is the movie relies heavily on SHIELD interfering to bring Spider-Man out to play while once again making Tony Stark the central force not only tying the plot together but serving as the entire motivation for the villains. Every single person who sides with Mysterio does so exclusively because of their respective desire to destroy the legacy of none other than Mr. Stark himself. By the time the film gets Peter on a plane waving his hands around at his version of Jarvis, now named EDITH (Even in Death I’m The Hero) a not-so-subtle reminder Stark is still running the damn show. Seeing Spider-Man replicating the motions of the man who wore the Iron Man suit, while constructing his own Iron Spider suit, just goes to show had desperately the MCU has come to rely on a single man. Now, don’t get me wrong I can handle a reference to Stark, I can surely accept these movies are in the same universe, but when the entire film centers entirely on Tony Stark as the motivator for the plot, the reason for the antagonist and the solution to the problems created throughout it only makes me wonder who, behind the scenes, is infatuated with either the character, or the actor who played him? Even in death Robert Downy Jr’s Tony Stark was seen throughout the film, on multiple occasions.

There was even a point where Peter suggests he doesn’t want to be the next Iron Man, he just wants to be Spider-Man. YES, that is exactly what I want too! I want a Spider-Man movie more akin to the very faithful adaptation Sam Raimi provided more than a decade ago.

The characters

I can’t spend too much time knocking the characters. In fact I literally want to do the opposite. The kids were fun. The adults were fun to laugh at. The villains were exactly as expected and most importantly Tom Holland nailed his portrayal of Peter Parker both in and out of the Spider-suit.

I haven’t seen the previous film so I didn’t spend enough time learning the names of the new characters. I will say that each one served a purpose and was exactly as entertaining as I expected. I honestly have no complaints. I was, at first, annoyed our beloved Mary Jane Watson was not a red head (especially as someone who is fond of red heads just look at my Jean Grey obsession) but I can honestly say this interpretation won my heart. She really was the object of Peter’s affection and she nailed her performance. The other characters were as aptly acted as I expected and nobody stood out as off putting. For everything I love about the Sam Raimi Spider-Man film, the one thing that I don’t like is Kirsten Dunst’s portrayal of Miss Watson.

The only characters that did annoy me were the Avengers characters that I felt were out of place in this picture. I don’t need to see Nick Fury sending Spider-Man to Proq to fight Mysterio, I want Mysterio to hate Spider-Man for his own personal reason without the need for Stark Industries or SHIELD to be involved what so ever. Still, the Mysterio parts were totally amazing.

The action

This takes me to the best part. As is to be expected the action sequences handily deliver an experience that is very much worth seeing in the theater. In fact, I will say that as much as I absolutely love the original 2002 Spider-Man, this movie was clearly the more cinematic picture. Sure, times have changed but still this movie jumped off the screen whereas that previous film merely did the job it needed to at the time.

Really the only complaint I will voice here is how Spider-Man’s suit looked too high tech. Again I am more than happy with a spandex wearing super hero I don’t need my Spidey running around in Stark Industry gear. However, Disney apparently disagrees so here we are.

The fight scenes where Mysterio are giving Spidey the beat down of his life are just amazing. The illusions were perfectly crafted to confuse the audience while disorienting the wall-crawler simultaneously. I can’t think of a single action scene that didn’t work for me. For the most part the action tends to be the best part of these films anyways so I have no complaints.

Scenery

I don’t normally include this category in a review but this film went out of its way to ensure every shot was breathtaking. The cinematographer deserves an academy award I think. This movie made me feel like I was web slinging with Spider-Man. It made me feel like I was on a bus going down the country side of some distant country I’ve only heard about in movies. It was a very beautifully shot film that really brought the characters to life and made the settings pop.

Overall

The movie is a very enjoyable ride. From start to finish the movie goer is sure to get a thrill ride easily worth the price of admission. While Spider-Man is absolutely my favorite solo superhero in the Marvel battalion, his films have been largely inconsistent. There is usually a great film thrown together with a few minor details to nitpick. In the 2002 picture the movie was mostly perfect with a few cheesy one liners and a terribly cast Mary Jane. The Amazing Spider-Man had some of the most exciting action scenes and took the character in a much darker place but fell short on the charm that makes the character so like able in the first place. This film is no exception. It was a damn near perfect movie only tainted by the overwhelming and very in-your-face references to Tony Stark and the Avengers. Other than that it was perfectly cast, perfectly acted, beautifully shot. It more than capture the essence of the character and the plot, while a little contrived, fit the film nicely. All in all I had a blast and most fans will too.

I rate it a solid 5 out of 5. The minor flaws are just not nearly enough to take away from an absolutely spectacular Spider-film.

A list of every PS1 Greatest Hits title

I wanted to share a list of the Playstation 1 Greatest Hits titles. I compared multiple lists and this is the most complete one I could find. Enjoy.

I will be compiling a few more lists for reference. I hate how Wikipedia and GameFaqs make it difficult to copy/paste these types of things. I hope someone can find this useful.

007: The World is not Enough
007: Tomorrow Never Dies
1Xtreme
2Xtreme
A Bug’s Life
Activision Classics
Air Combat
Alien Trilogy
Andretti Racing
Ape Escape
Army Men 3D
Army Men: Air Attack
Asteroids
Battle Arena Toshinden
Casper
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Chrono Cross
Cool Boarders 2
Cool Boarders 3
Cool Boarders 4
Crash Bandicoot 1
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
Crash Bash
Crash Team Racing
Croc: Legend of the Gobbos
Dance Dance Revolution Konami Mix
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX
Destruction Derby 1
Destruction Derby 2
Die Hard Trilogy
Digimon Rumble Arena
Digimon World 1
Digimon World 3
Dino Crisis
Disney’s Tarzan
Doom
Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22
Driver 1
Driver 2
Duke Nukem: Time to Kill
Dukes of Hazzard: Racing for Home
Fighting Force
Final Fantasy 7
Final Fantasy 8
Final Fantasy 9
Final Fantasy Anthology
Final Fantasy Chronicles
Final Fantasy Origins
Final Fantasy Tactics
Formula 1
Frogger 1
Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge
Gran Turismo 1
Gran Turismo 2
Grand Theft Auto 1
Grand Theft Auto 2
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Hot Wheels: Turbo Racing
Jeremy McGrath SuperCross ’98
Jet Moto 1
Jet Moto 2
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Legend of Dragoon
Loaded
Madden NFL 98
Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX
Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor: Underground
Mega Man 8
Mega Man Legends
Mega Man X4
Metal Gear Solid
Monopoly
Monsters, Inc. Scream Team
Mortal Kombat 4
Mortal Kombat Trilogy
Namco Museum Volume 1
Namco Museum Volume 3
NASCAR 98
NASCAR 99
Need for Speed 1
Need for Speed 2
Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit
Need for Speed: High Stakes
NFL Blitz
NFL Blitz 2000
NFL GameDay
NFL GameDay 97
NHL 98
NHL FaceOff
NHL FaceOff ’97
Nuclear Strike
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
Pac-Man World
Parasite Eve
Rayman
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
Reel Fishing
Resident Evil 1
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 3
Ridge Racer
Road Rash
Road Rash 3D
Rocket Power: Team Rocket Rescue
Rugrats: Search for Reptar
Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase
Silent Hill
Sim City 2000
Sled Storm
Soul Blade
Soviet Strike
Spider-Man
Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro
SpongeBob SquarePants: SuperSponge
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!
Spyro the Dragon
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire
Star Wars: Dark Forces
Street Fighter Alpha 3
Stuart Little 2
Syphon Filter 1
Syphon Filter 2
Syphon Filter 3
Tekken 1
Tekken 2
Tekken 3
Ten Pin Alley
Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
Test Drive 4
Test Drive 5
Test Drive Off-Road
Tetris Plus
The Lost World: Jurassic Park – Special Edition
TNN Motorsports Hardcore 4×4
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
Tomb Raider 1
Tomb Raider 2
Tomb Raider 3
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4
Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear
Triple Play 2001
Triple Play 98
Twisted Metal 1
Twisted Metal 2
Twisted Metal 3
Twisted Metal 4
Vagrant Story
Vigilante 8
Vigilante 8: Second Offense
Warhawk
WCW Nitro
WCW vs. the World
Wheel of Fortune
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: 2nd Edition
Wipeout
WWF SmackDown!
WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role
WWF War Zone
WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game
X-Men: Mutant Academy
Xenogears

Favorite Strong Female Comics Characters

I was about 12 years old when I really began getting into comic books and comic book culture. It was around this time I started reading Wizard magazine and other comic related publications. I can’t remember the name of all of the different magazines, back in the 90s there was more than one magazine floating around on any given topic.

During the transition phase of going from a child to adolescent I began to notice my interests were changing. It’s only natural at this stage in life. One area I became more interested in is discovering the artistic expressions, in comic books and other media, of the female form. I struggled as a Christian with the balance between being able to appreciate a woman for her beauty without over sexualizing her in the process. I will say it was a battle I sometimes lost due to the nature of being bound to a fleshly body. That being said I often did let my eyes decide which female characters in the comic medium to investigate whether it be based on a costume, the way she presented her self or something else. I also grew up the only male child in a house full of females. It was a unique experience to say the least.

This is a list of some of my favorite strong female comics characters.

Early on my favorite female comic book characters began to take on a certain theme. They were the types of women, like myself in many respects, that didn’t fit into the typical roles. Often they were a super hero with a power that set them apart or they were a character with some sort of personality disorder. It never failed, despite the physical attractiveness one might find as drawing to a character, the traits of independence and being powerful figures in their respective story lines were most often what determine which characters I was drawn to. This was not always the case with male characters, so I can now take a look back and analyze this more.

My first love when it comes to comic book characters is the goddess Dawn from the Cry for Dawn comics and later other mini series. It original attraction was her depiction the artist drew her in the comics as well as the magazines. She was always looking at the reader in a way that suggested she was self aware of her comic book existence. Truth be told the character herself was rarely used in the stories of the books I managed to read. In fact, she was hardly even a narrator for all intents and purposes. Still, the image of a seductive but powerful female demon type was a character I found myself drawn to.

If I were to go so far as to admit to having had a crush on any single comic book character as depicted it would be Marvel Girl, aka Jean Grey. More specifically her Original Team interpretation and her later post-Phoenix Saga rebirth. I was always drawn to Jean for a number of reasons. Primarily she was by far the most powerful of the X-Men. She was romantically attached to my favorite of the X-Men male characters, that being her lover Cyclops aka Scott Summers. I even picked up the Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix mini series due to my appreciation for those characters. Not to mention the wedding issue I cherished for a many number of years. I was also kind of a trading card collector so I made the mistake of cutting out the 3 cards inserted into the middle of the issue, a regret I maintain to this day especially after I purchased for mere dollars a complete set of the series those cards were from. Jean became even more of a character I admired once her movie adaptation breathed a new life into the character. I didn’t care for every story line they put her in, but I was more than happy just seeing my favorite of the female X-Men sticking around.

Then there was Rogue. She was definitely the character I was not letting my eyes trick me into discovering. Her character was, shall I saw, not depicted in a manner I found even slightly attractive. I felt she was too muscular and her stripped hair, frizzy hair was a turn off. I don’t mean to completely let the characters physical appearance determine my interest, I was a pre-teen boy raised in a sex-obsessed culture after all cut me some slack. However I became intrigued with the Rogue character more and more over time. I began to realize the complexity of her character was a major draw to the stories she was involved in. I didn’t care for every aspect of her personality, or her falling for that slick Cajun card hustler, but I was still able to really find myself strongly interested in the fact she was raised a super villain who turned hero and had such a tragic story tying her to everything. She was a lot more interesting as a person than Jean.

Next up is Kitty Pride also known as Shadow Cat. She was a character I was originally adverse to. She was young and annoying. Not unlike Rogue herself but I was introduced to the 90s adult Rogue and an early 80s annoying teenager Shadow Cat. Still what drew me to the character more than anything was her struggle with fitting in. The whole purpose of the X-Men is finding a place for misfits to find their place in society. Being a mistfit among freaks is even more difficult to deal with. Shadow Cat never really grew into a main stream character but I eventually developed a fondness for her and began looking into her other books. My favorite was the Wolverine and Kitty Pride mini series.

For reasons I don’t have time to dig into, I eventually branched out and began discovering other female characters in comic books I found appealing for some reason or another. As someone raised in the male world of men are strong women are not but the changing perceptions of the 90s to today, I had to cope with a lot of breaking the rules and allowing myself to like characters I wasn’t supposed to. Of course in the Batman universe it was Harley Quinn that caught my eye. This time it wasn’t her appearance so much as her costume but even more so, her obsession with Joker. Like most Batman fans the Joker is naturally one of my favorite characters. It is no surprise I would begin to develop an interest in a character who struggled with her desire to love the crazy clown, while also exploring other possibilities of self fulfillment. In the end her character became larger than life in many respects but I still enjoy reading a good HQ centered story from time to time.

Everyone has their guilty pleasure character. That one character you know you shouldn’t admire but you can’t help but worship in some way for reasons beyond critical thinking. In terms of comic characters for me it was Wendy from the Casper series. I didn’t read many Casper comics and truth be told he was pretty far down my list.When I did however I preferred the ones with his little witch friend.

I always had a sort of fondness for Wendy despite knowing better. I can’t quite explain it but something about her always made me drawn to the stories she was in. I suppose there is a part of me, as an over protective big brother, who saw a resemblance to her in some respects to my baby sister. Still, I shrug that off as only a surface level explanation for why I would be drawn to that character.

Although it was far from sexual, I did have a strong affinity for Batgirl as my other DC female I admired fondly. Why? Because much like the awesome Batman himself, Batgirl kicked ass and was a fantastic detective. Unlike the annoyingly cheesy Boy Wonder, I always wished Batman and Batgirl would become a permanent team replacing the sparrow-inspired lame duck with a superior character that made a whole lot more sense.

If there was a character I was drawn to for, shall we say carnal reasons, it would most certainly be White Queen from the X-Men. Of course, well for very obvious reasons she was drawn in such a way to make her seductive. She also was the anti-Jean having largely the same powers but was far more flexible in her morals, if you could argue she even hard morals. It didn’t help any when they cast a woman actress who portrayed one of my favorite characters in the highly sexualized drama Mad Men to portray her in the X-Men film franchise. Needless to say they were spot on in that regards. As far as her character as a person, this is probably the one I can say I know the least about as a person, going back to that maleness in me that didn’t even bother taking the time to get to know her more. Oh well, everyone has their fling. She was not my true love however.

In terms of comic characters the one I would give my heart to, if she were real, is none other than the beloved story book character Alice from the Alice in Wonderland series. I have been drawn to so many comic book interpretations of Alice I can honestly say as a sales gimmick the best way to get my hard earned dollars is to make some variation of the character in comic book form I have yet to experience and chances are I will be there.

The last character I want to briefly discuss is going to be controversial to some. She is the heart and soul of the Scooby Doo franchise and the one female character I think really pulls the entire show together. Of course I am referring to the great Daphne. I know there are weirdo’s out there who like the glasses wearing geeky Velma. Not me, she was just annoying. I don’t pick Daphne based purely on looks however. I always felt she was a far more important character than she is often remembered. Sure she is usually the damsel in distress but what’s wrong with that? So is Princess Toadstool and she has been quite the success in the video game arena. Okay sure there is the whole stereotype argument but what can I saw, I don’t let that ruin a perfectly good character for me. I love Scooby Doo as a franchise. I certainly believe the entire team brings their own skills to the table, Daphne is still the one who ties the group together. She is, to use the cliche, the glue. It also didn’t hurt any she was the one carried over into the 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo when that annoying nerd got booted off the show. To top it all off the highly admirable Sarah Michelle Geller, who portray the very popular Buffy, was selected to bring Daphne to life for the live action film, of which I am one of the rare fans.

This is far from a comprehensive list of the female comic book characters I have been interested in, this is largely the ones I consider the most intriguing for some reason or another. Stay Cool.

Pokemon blues

The first time I heard about Pokemon was through a trading card magazine I used to get in the mail back in the late 90’s. If I am not mistaken it was a one off done by the folks at either Toy Fair, Wizard or one of those other hobby magazines I used to subscribe to in the days before the dominance of the web.

What I remember reading about was not the Game Boy game, but rather the exciting new trading card game taking the country by storm. The country, at that time, meant Japan, and the article was about how it was getting ready to invade the states. Invade was not strong enough of a word. Pokemon completely changed everything.

I had a friend who opened up a trading card shop in the early part of the decade during the rise of the Magic the Gathering craze. Magic was a great game and all, but me, I was more into Star Wars CCG. That’s Customizable Card Game for the uninitiated.

One thing he told me, at the time, was card games come and go. He believed Magic had longevity because of the cross over between D&D fans. I was more skeptical. See, I bought Marvel OverPower, Star Wars CCG and Spell Fire (the D&D game) so maybe I was a little biased. However, neither of us expected Pokemon to stick around longer than a few seasons, the card game that is. At the time there wasn’t a video game or cartoon in the states just yet. The oncoming storm was brewing, we just weren’t fully prepared for it.

I remember right after my younger sister started showing me her Pokemon cards my first reaction was to roll my eyes. I already started getting into Dragon Ball Z TCG and the Digimon cartoon was starting to pique my interest. I thought Digimon was so much better than Pokemon, it would only be a matter of time before it supplanted Pokemon and the ‘Pikachu and Pals’ craze would fade into obscurity.

It was around the time I picked up a Game Boy Pocket that I got my first taste of the Pokemon video game. A friend at school sold me his Yellow Pocket so he could buy a Green Game Boy Color. He gave me two games with it, Wario Land, Super Mario Land 3, and Pokemon Blue. Needless to say I didn’t even insert the pokecart into my machine. I traded it to Software Etc., the game store in our mall before it turned into a Game Stop. That was it, no more Pokemon for me. I bought an N64 earlier in the year, along with a PS1. I started to realize there were Pokemon games showing up on the N64 and then, seemingly out of the blue a movie gets announced.

I continued to resist. I was too old to get into that crap. I was 16 when it came out and I had already upgraded to Playstation and Mortal Kombat, I wasn’t even spending much time playing Sonic or Mario games at this time in my life. Pokemon was certainly, I thought at the time, beneath me. Especially with my younger sister, six years below my age, being so into it. Of course she didn’t have a Game Boy, for  her it was a card game.

One day I came home from work. I worked at the buffet in the casino. I discovered all my tip money I had been saving up was missing, around $40 or so. By the end of the day I discovered my sister and one of her friends had taken my money and spent it. They played games at the arcade, rented movies at the video store, bought a pizza and to top it all off they brought home a few packs of those silly Pokemon trading cards. I was furious. At this point I had enough. I made her and her friend sell their Pokemon cards to pay me back the money they stole. I wasn’t going to be too harsh on my ten year old sister, so I ended up taking her and her friend out to the buffet for supper to say no hard feelings, but I insisted they sell those damn cards to pay me back. I learned in the trading card business how quickly a hot card can rise in value and then plummet so I knew we had a narrow window to sell them for cash. She ended up paying me back every penny, and I washed my hands of that fifthly game for good. Or so I thought.

The years would go by and I would continue to resist. Every time a new game came out I grew increasingly hostile towards Nintendo. They never released those stupid things one at a time. They always came out in pairs along with some console tie in or spin off, which meant they were devoting a lot of resources to that game not making games I would have bought. This resentment carried into my interactions with fans online. I instantly attacked, berated and dismissed the opinions of anyone over the age of 7 that talked about Pokemon. I was really harsh. I really hated that game.

Things began to soften up a little bit once I got a Game Cube in 2004. I purchased a copy of Super Smash Bros. Melee and quickly learned Pikachu was a pretty good character to win matches. I chalked it up to him being the most recognizable character in the franchise so I never really let it lure me into trying the games. It wouldn’t be until 2010 when I downloaded the Pokemon Blue rom for GB and played it on my Windows PC before I ever game a proper Pokemon game a chance. If this is the part in the story you were expecting me to say, wow, what was I missing out on all these years, wrong. All it did was confirm my suspicions.

The game was just a watered down, RPG knock-off with the most obnoxious collect-a-thon mechanic at the entire heart of the game. Not something like a RareWare platformer where the core game play was at least fun. It wouldn’t be until Pokemon Go before I would give a video game in the franchise a serious chance. This time it was for work. I was working at a newspaper at the time of the games launch. Of course all the other media outlets were doing stories on people walking into traffic or walking off a cliff or similar stories. I decided to write safety guide and how to column for the newspaper where I worked. I order to be informed, I downloaded the app and tried it out.

Now you are thinking a-ha! Finally that sour puss converted once he saw the true light! Wrong again. I ended up keeping the app installed for a little over 2 years, but only to let me nieces and nephews walk around catching Pokemon and hatching eggs. Eventually I lost interest and walked away.

Now why am I writing an article about how I missed out on the Pokemon craze if I continue to have disdain for the video games and cartoons? After all, at this point if nothing has converted me nothing will right? Wrong. Or slightly incorrect. You see I have converted, sort of. Recently the collector in me- especially the kid who was big into collecting trading cards in the 90’s- has started to have a desire to get back into collecting trading cards. Again as a window to bond with my sisters kids I thought I might give collecting the cards another go round. Not that I want to look for rare or valuable cards though. I thought maybe I will pick up a few packs and see what kind of a set I can get going.

Along the way I sampled the anime when it came to Netflix. I even tried out some of the other games, including Coliseum on Game Cube. The only one I ever enjoyed even slightly was the original Blue. I liked the e-Reader stuff and have considered collecting Pokemon-e  but I suspect that would be cost prohibitive at this point. These days I play the Blue Rom on my laptop and wonder what it would have been like had I discovered this franchise 2 years earlier in life, or maybe not had the negative experiences to associate with it. Needless to say my Pokemon blues today manifest in the form of a what-if scenario I will play in my mind. At least once in a blue moon, as they say.

Why HOUSE music is NOT TECHNO music

The birth of Techno music is often attributed to an isolated DJ in the slums of Detroit while it’s counter-part, “house music” is attributed to an isolated DJ in the clubs of Chicago. Both alleged movements describe their music as the definitive origin of modern Electronic Dance Music. These distinctions are often very divisive among aficionados of electronic music. However to divorce both techno and house from the origins of Hip-Hop is doing a disservice to the pioneers of the techniques that would evolve into the diverse strands of EDM music techno-nerds constantly fighter with each other over on the interwebs to this day.

This is an analysis of the evolution of the terms as they relate to the styles of music we have today. This is all from the perspective of a lonely DJ whose understanding comes from the studying of the roots of the movements, independent of any agenda, or even more importantly, ties to a movement.

The claims go as such. Someone in Detroit was mixing disco records with electro records and developed this into the musical style techno-nerds will call “techno” music. The so-called attributes of the music are singled out as they are defined solely by how closely they resemble the benefactor with no regard to the reality of the techniques being developed for nearly a decade previously by DJ’s in the Bronx, Southern L.A. as with elsewhere. The so-called purists make every attempt to white-wash Techno music by making the claims it strictly evolved out of the ashes of the discothèques from the late 70’s who’s audience had moved on.

The addendum to this alternate reality account of the rise of the dance music disregard the techno moniker entirely, going out of their way to stringently insist it only applies to a very narrow, very precise set of rules determined arbitrarily by the followers of a cult-like DJ who they credit with creating, what they refer to as ‘house’ music, which bears a striking resemblance to the music the uninitiated refer to as ‘techno’, which they deem either unworthy or inferior to their beloved house term. Both sides equally ignore the development of the music Hip-Hop DJ’s were doing elsewhere, while simultaneously accrediting, incorrectly, developments to DJ’s who severe ties with the urban roots of Hip-Hop. This is not to say the author himself believes white washing is inherently a sin. However, in the context of the evolution of electronic music, it is a disservice to blatantly neglect the work of the ghetto disc jockeys and their obnoxious rhyming emcees who popularized the music being created by mixing records on turntables. This, in fact, requires a serious bending over backwards on the logic of those holding to the false narrative.

Thus it is now THE RAT, who shall bear witness the truth of the birth of electronic music, henceforth correctly identified as Techno for all purposes. Partially based on the erroneous neglecting of the connection to Hip-Hop music the cult followers of the Detroit/Chicago narrative stubbornly adhere to. Also partially birthed in the fact that words actually matter but only in that they are defined. Consider this. Rock N Roll music is the bas moniker for Hard Rock, Punk Rock, Heavy Metal and Speed Metal. Yet, none in the rock community disregard the black roots of their music. The undeniable reality is Rhythm And Blues, born out of the same ghettos that would give rise to rock n roll, bears little sonic resemblance to modern rock n roll to the uninitiated. Still, those who can rightly follow the path from blues to rock to metal ought to also be able to follow the same path from R&B, to funk/disco to Hip-Hop/Techno. It’s not exactly rocket science. Of course ignore the obvious auditory similarities still requires one to disregard the science of linear time. That is, Chicago House and Detroit Techno could not exist in a vacuum with no ties to the developments of electronic music taking place in the Hip-Hop community. Rather it allows certain individuals to disconnect their beloved ‘European-based’ music from the taint of American urbanism. That is to say, a narrative that proclaims techno or even house, began in the white suburbs of the Midwest completely ignores the existence of the disc jockeys mixing disco and funk records into what would become colloquially as rap music.

Disco music itself was a white-washing of the funk music being produced. There are two different paths which interconnect, dissect and reconvene throughout. The short version is this. Funk was stripped of its hook and verse, reduced to the simple break, then mixed with another break, layered upon with scratches, 808 drum beats and other elements to become Hip-Hop music, one of the four elements of the Hip-hop culture.

Disco music began winding down in the cities as rock n  roll was making a resurgence. Clubs and radio waves were cluttered with New Wave bands and imitators who were mixing pop, rock and electronic music to form the basis of the synth pop that dominated the decade. Eventually disco was also stripped in a similar fashion and also layered as funk was being turned into Hip-Hop, disco underwent the same process becoming what those who are not afraid of the cult followers simply call techno. Techno music became an offensive term as it was entered into the lexicon and became short-hand for all electronic produced music. Thus in retaliation the cult followers began impressing upon society an effort to restrict the usage of the term until such time as nothing left could be classified as “techno”, they were so offended by the utterance of the word they not only cringe upon hearing it they shift into belligerent attack mode in an effort to contort history to belittle the pour soul who elected to mistakenly use the word they fear so much. Thus the re-writing of history ensues in an on-going barrage of misinformation used to scare people into accidentally using the wrong term. Coupled with a culture born from being as Politically Correct as humanly possible and this fear of words limits their ability to express themselves without accidentally offending those who adhere to the cult.

This is the truth. Electronic music created using the same methods as Hip-Hop, be it old school turntables with mixers and the like, or combined with synthesizers or even created using loops, if it is in fact electronic and is produced in the same manner at all, as in NOT by playing of actual instruments to create new, original compositions, it is in fact Techno. House music does not exist in the mind of this technophile. It is a make believe term retroactively applied, falsely to a genre of music whose very existence has been under attack by the cult of a single DJ from Chicago.

All of this can be proven by listening to a handful of Hip-Hop acts Break Dancers cling to, mostly who fall under the banner of Electronic Funk (a cousin of Hip-Hop) which is what the cult of house followers will point to, falsely, as what they call ‘Techno’. If one listens to Soul Sonic Force “Planet Rock” and calls that ‘techno’ then listens to TECHNOtronic and calls that house, dismiss their unsound logic and believe the truth, Techno is what they cult of house refuse to utter for some weird hang up. Techno Syndrome is not even correctly label a “techno” song on wikipedia because the cult of house are hard at work scrubbing all references to the word, even when used itself by those making the music. They adhere to a false doctrine perpetuated by a lie to hold up their weird, twisted belief that some disco DJ sitting in Chicago was somehow insightful enough to create his own style of music with absolutely NO prior knowledge of what was already being done elsewhere in the country at a time when radios and MTV were prevalent. Let the haters bring their wrath upon the one delivering the truth. Stay cool friend.

–THE RAT

Best 80’s Trucker movie?

Here is the contest. Which of the following three 80’s films represent the truck driver spirit best? The films are Over the Top starring Sylvester Stallone, Big Trouble in Little China starring Kurt Russell, and Maximum Overdrive starring Emilio Estevez.

Each of these three films presents a different aspect of the truck driver world. Big Trouble focuses on a loner truck driver making his way in the world. Maximum Overdrive centers on a group of survivors at a truck stop being attacked by possessed trucks. The last film, Over the Top, digs into some of the sub culture of the trucker lifestyle.

The great American road trip has been a staple in American culture ever since the beginning of time for this young nation of diverse people. Even before there were automobiles there was the famous wagon trains exploring the American frontier of years past. Also there are the lone riding cowboys who hit the dusty trails of the American wild west. All of these people have one thing in common, leaving their world behind to seek adventure on the open road.

The road trip movie is one of the most iconic sub-genres of the adventure film in American cinema, birthing such classics as Easy Rider, The Blues Brothers, Dumb & Dumber and Tommy Boy.

The truck driver culture, or truck stop culture, of the road trip is a great staple.

This is a look at three feature films each presenting a different aspect of the trucking/trucker culture. As someone who has several family members who either are, or were at one time, truckers or aspired to be truckers, this topic is one I have been holding onto for a while.

It’s going to be written in four parts. Following the reviewing of each movie with the focus on how well does it capture the trucker spirit, then a final review pulling the information from each film onto a final article deciding which of the three is the best trucker film.

This is going to be an ongoing series. It will require the re-watching and taking of notes for each film. Sit back and enjoy the sure to be bumpy ride.