The Spiders Lair’s 25 Essential Super NES games every gamer should play

It’s high time I start up some controversy with a list of the MUST play games for the greatest game console ever made.

Here you go. In no particular order.

1. Super Mario World

Not only is this my personal favorite video game of all time, it’s an absolute treat to play. It basically took everything that was great about Super Mario Bros. 3 and beefed it up into a 16-bit masterpiece. Also it gave the world Yoshi so you can’t beat that.

2. Super Metroid

While the first game broke ground on the NES, the sequel shattered all expectations. This is by far the most important story-driven action-adventure sci-fi thriller from the 16-bit era. It’s also the only Metroid I have ever beaten so there is that. Even though it is 2D this game feels like a movie.

3. Donkey Kong Country

Take the Sony Playstation, remove the CD-ROM and shove a 32-bit looking 3D-animated video game onto a 2D 16-bit cartridge with amazing damn-near CD-quality music and you got yourself a game gamers keep returning to year after year.

4. Mega Man X

I’ll say it. This is the perfect Mega Man game, hands down. If you only play one game in the franchise this is absolutely the one to pick. It has has a great balance of zones, difficult but not impossible bosses, fantastic music, neat settings and it’s not nearly as convoluted as its sequels nor as simple yet extremely difficult as its predecessors. It’s by far the best Mega Man game ever. Oh and it absolutely shines on the 16-Bit SNES.

5. Super Castlevania IV

By now you are wondering if this list will contain anything you didn’t already know to play? Well if you purchased a Super Nintendo and weren’t planning on playing this game then you made a mistake buying the system in the first place.

I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said before. This game is everything you’d ever want in a horror game. It’s everything you’d want in an action/adventure game. It’s everything you’d want in a side-scrolling, 2D game. Personally I think Symphony of the Night is the superior game but since this is a SNES list this is the game to get.

6. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

There are Zelda games and there is A Link to the Past. This is the perfect blend of suspense, action, puzzle solving and story telling. It’s before the timeline became all Doctor Who timey whimey. The simplistic nature of this beautifully told story that sucks the gamer into a world you absolutely must experience is unmatched even to this day.

7. Final Fantasy III

There is an unhealthy debate among video gamers over which FF is better, this one or its PSX sequel. Regardless of where you fall on that ridiculous debate, there is one truth and it is you MUST play this game before you die. Up till this point not only was Final Fantasy an obscure franchise, console Japanese RPG’s themselves were little more than oddities only hard core nerds new about. This is the game that turned my passing interest in Zelda games into an obsession with D&D and similar fantasy games.

This is one of those rare masterpieces that illustrates you don’t need fancy realistic graphics to tell a heart-felt and charming story. This is the game that proves less is more.

8. Super Mario Kart

What can I say, this is where the whole phenomenon got its start. If you are going to buy any Nintendo console chances are extremely high you’ll only do so after that generation’s Mario Kart has been released. It is absolutely no different here. This isn’t necessarily the best racing game on the system, but it is a truly must-play game for the platform.

This was the game that took Mario and friends from being recognizable by kids the world over to becoming international superstars.

9. Star Fox

Whether or not the game holds up compared to modern 3D shooters is irrelevant. If you are going to purchase a Super Nintendo system you owe it to yourself to play the game that showed Sega you can do amazing graphics without an expensive add on. Never mind the historical context, this game is worth owning for the novelty of playing a game on your SNES that looks and feels like it could have been an early Playstation release, years before the Playstation even existed!

10. Sim City

You are going to have people tell you to play the PC version or any number of sequels. I am going to tell you pff! This is not only the version that features Nintendo characters, which is a neat bonus, it’s also the only version that features the unique gifts that make the game extra enjoyable. It adds a layer of fun to the game you don’t get in other versions. I highly recommend this game as it is my absolute favorite version and a blast to play.

11. Cool Spot

Technically you could get this game on the Sega Genesis and I’d give you a thumbs up. But either way if you haven’t taken the time to play this side scrolling, platforming love letter to 90s marketing then you’re truly missing out. This game is a must play because it’s fun as hell, cute as a button and totally rad 90s nostalgic.

12. Super Star Wars

There’s a bad habit of games on the SNES being enhanced remakes or upgraded ports of NES games. While this is certainly the case here too, it’s probably the best example of that being done right. The game is hard as hell which retains that NES-hard gameplay you’ll no doubt throw a controller or two at the wall. It also fully captures the spirit of Star Wars while letting you explore the worlds in a nostalgic 2-D environment. It might not be the absolutely best game based on a movie but it’s certainly a shining example of how licensed games can actually be pretty damn good.

13. Super Mario RPG

I shouldn’t have to explain why this game is essential. Take two popular franchises, put them in a blender, crank up the graphics to near-PS1 levels and you got yourself a game that proves why the Super NES is probably the greatest game console of all time.

14. Super Mario All-Star

Sounds familiar right? Another Mario game. Except this time you take the three amazingly fantastic original 8-bit NES games, slap some brand spanking new 16-bit paint on them and enhance the gameplay with save states and customizable controls and you got yourself a game you can’t miss. Enjoy.

15. Spider-Man/Venom: Maximum Carnage

Oh sure you could also play this on Sega Genesis but since you’ve already invested in the SNES you might as well get this version. And hey even if you already do have the Sega copy, this is still worth owning.

16. Killer Instinct

Not exactly a Mortal Kombat killer but certainly a game worthy of your time. Beautiful graphics for the system. Fantastic game play, great characters and fun fatalities (if you can pull them off). ‘Nuff Said.

17. Robocop versus Terminator

Another one of those games you could technically get on the competition, which is fine just as long as you experience it in some fashion.

18. Donkey Kong Country 2

It’s quite Rare, (see what I did there?) for a sequel to surpass the original but this game does so in every single way. If you are going to play SNES you are absolutely going to play DKC games.

19. Knights of the Round

Not exactly a hidden gem but certainly underrated classic. I highly recommend this port if you can’t get access to the arcade board. Even if you can it’s an addicting action game worth every pixel.

20. Kendo Rage

Now this is a hidden gem. I discovered it as a kid and it will blow you away if you’ve never played it. This is one of those fantastic anime titles people often overlook.

21. Super Bomberman

It’s easy to label any random bomberman game on whichever console you own as a must own party game but it’s still true. This game is no exception. You will need a multitap and additional controllers but if you invest in those items it is a real treat.

22. Kirby Superstar

There’s a ton of great Kirby games out there. This is just another amazing game in a fantastic franchise.

23. Super Mario World 2 Yoshi’s Island

The sequel/spin off that launched it’s own on-going franchise is mandatory gaming for every person who wants to be called a Nintendo fan.

24. Super Game Boy

Before you point out this is an add on that lets you play Game Boy carts let me remind you this is also a game itself. It has plenty of activities you can dabble in without inserting a GB cartridge.

25. Mario Paint

You don’t even have to be artistic to enjoy this MS Word predecessor with a fun Nintendo twist. The game that single-handidly justified the existence of the SNES mouse.

 

The Spiders Lair’s 25 must play Nintendo games

Since today is National videogame day I thought I would throw together a list of 25 must play Nintendo games spanning all platforms the best of the best.

As with all my lists this is not a ranking it is just numbered for organizational purposes.

1. Super Mario World – SNES

2. Donkey Kong- arcade

3. Super Metroid – SNES

4. Super Mario 64 – N64

5. Dr. Mario – NES

6. Splatoon – Wii U

7. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Brothers 3 e- Game Boy Advance / eReader

8. Metroid Prime – GameCube

9. Star Fox Adventures – GameCube

10. Super Mario Bros./ Duck Hunt – NES

11. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past – SNES

12. Donkey Kong Country – SNES

13. Super Mario 3D World – Wii U

14. New Super Mario Bros. – DS

15. Paper Mario – N64

16. Wii Sports – Wii

17. Legend of Zelda – NES

18. Star Fox 64 – N64

19. Tetris – Gameboy

20. Pokemon Red and Blue – Gameboy

21. Arms – Switch

22. Super Smash Bros. Melee – GameCube

23. Mario Party-N64

24. Super Mario Kart – SNES

25. Nintendogs – DS

5 Ways you can help save the comics industry

There’s not two ways about it, Coronavirus is killing the comic book industry. In fact, the print industry was already suffering before the pandemic. But there is no reason comic book fans should throw in the towel and mourn the loss of one of the oldest and most prolific forms of science fiction entertainment.

All is not lost. Here are a few things that if every comic book fan did more of the industry would not only get back to thriving but would also see a resurgence once all of this is said and done.

 

1.  Buy more local retail comics

Everyone knows how important it is to support their local comic book shop. However, not everyone has a local comic shop to support. Meanwhile the industry is facing a crisis of mind share as more Americans get their comic book fix through Marvel’s share cinematic films or the CW’s connected Arrowverse.

Mind share is crucial at a time like this. Nobody wants to have to buy comics from Walmart but if you don’t have a local comic shop it’s imperative comic books maintain some retail presence in order for the publishers to get in front of the eye balls of the people who still shop there. If you don’t have a local shop but your local Walmart does sell comics it does benefit them if you can buy at least a couple books a month from a local retail shop. If you can pick up an extra book at retail while doing your normal grocery shopping if nothing else then make an effort.

If your community happens to have an old fashioned book retailer, such as a Barnes and Noble or similar store that sells comics, or even graphic novels, trades etc., maybe consider popping in there from time to time.

The reason this helps is publishers need partnerships with retail giants in order to maintain the numbers.

Now my strategy is simple, get the “grocery store” comics such as Archie, Betty and Veronica, etc., from the local Walmart. I then plan on grabbing one TPB a month from the local book store. It’s not much but if every dedicated comic book fan made this extra purchase at retail it would go a long way in helping the publishers maintain a presence in the marketplace. I long for a return to the days you can pick up comic books at the local gas station on your way to or from work but those days might be gone for good. However, if we let comics at retail die entirely it’s going to be a slow death march for the entire industry.

2. Kids fuel the industry

Every adult collector I’ve ever known has this disdain for kids comics. This snobbish belief that only mature comics matter and comics made for kids are beneath them. Now I am by no means advocating buying a comic you don’t care for that is targeted towards kids just to help the industry, by no means. However I am strongly encouraging every comic book fan to buy as many extra comics you can to give away to the kids in your life.

There is a myth that collectors shape the industry and kids are just an afterthought. This is the furthest from the truth. In fact in reality children make up the bulk of all toys and entertainment sales and adults just sort of follow a long in their own little corners.

The other part of the myth is kids don’t have as much disposable income as adults therefore the logic goes adults can buy more collectibles.

There are two fallacies with this thinking. First, children don’t rely on their own incomes, they have none! What they do have, however, are relatives who buy them toys twice a year at least. The more aunts and uncles a child has, not even counting grandparents the more likely they are to get toys and other gifts. Now if you have kids in  your life and you want to shape them into future comic book collectors you should start now while they are young. Buy a few extra comics for each of the kids in your life. If you are an aunt or uncle buy for your nieces and nephews. If you are a grandparent, then buy comics for your grandchildren.

The second half of the fallacy is kids don’t know what they like. We often forget what it was like when we were kids. We knew damn well what we did, and didn’t, like. The goal is not to push your favorite superhero or book onto them, in fact doing that can be counterproductive as it will not only ensure they grow to despise that character or book, it almost guarantees they will hate you. Think back to when you were a kid. Did you have that uncle or aunt that tried to push their interests off onto you no matter how much you resisted? And often is the case you would grow up having a low opinion of said relative. I know I did.

The best thing to do is buy as many random, budget comics as you can with a few hit titles of main stream characters sprinkled in from time to time as often as you can. This ensures the child will have a variety of books to read keeping them immersed in comics, which in turn fuels their interest in the medium. It also most assuredly provides them an opportunity to develop and refine their tastes. The key is to let them discover the books they want to read and then help them get into those books buy buying a few issues a year for them at birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays as your budget allows. Remember you are not just buying a few extra books to help the publishers bottom line, you are helping foster the future generation of comic book fans that will help keep the hobby a live and well for decades to come.

On this same line of thinking, it is absolutely important that you give the kids random books as much as you can, any and everything you can from all publishers. The trick isn’t to just let them read a book and see what they like, but for them to read the advertisements in the book and promos for other books. That will help them discover the titles or characters they wish to follow, thus ensuring they become emotionally invested in the medium.

My strategy is to buy books for every one of my sister’s kids each chance I can. I don’t ask the kids what  books they like I select a few random budget books I can afford and just let them decide which ones they like. I then ask them later which ones they liked and try to note that so next time I can buy books in that series, genre or title.

Sometimes you will get push back. If a kid isn’t into comics don’t fret. It is also important  not to pressure them by pushing comics onto them. The best way to do it is to cater to their interests. If the child is into army stuff try getting them an action comic with a military theme. Maybe throw in something with space marines to broaden their horizon. If they happen to be into My Little Pony or Scooby Doo, then get them comics featuring those characters. The goal is to foster their imaginations while helping them build a passion for comics. If you push your favorite hero onto them it will always backfire.

3. Subscriptions are important

No matter what, this is the time you absolutely need to be subscribing directly to as many comics to be delivered to your mailbox as you can afford. It’s not essential you subscribe to every comic you enjoy. However, it is 100 percent crucial you do subscribe directly to at least a few of your top favorite comics. The reason for this is complex. On the surface it will infuse a little more cash per purchase directly into the comic publishers accounts. This does bypass the local retail market so you have to budget accordingly.

For example, if you buy 12 books a month at your local comics shop, consider picking the four books that matter the most to you and subscribe to them directly. You gain the  benefit of having them delivered straight to your door while infusing a little extra cash into the coffers of the company making the product you enjoy. It also helps publishers gauge the importance of that particular book ensuring it remains profitable enough to remain in print. I suggest picking one fourth of your entire comics purchasing to be directly delivered via the mail subscription.

It also has the side benefit of helping the local postal service which is in dire need of cash right now. This would go a long way helping keep costs down elsewhere while maximizing your financial support of your own local economy.

We’re not at the point of desperation where I would advocate buying all of your books directly from the publisher as that would most certainly kill the local retail market once and for all.

My strategy is to add one subscription every payday. That ensures I will have 26  books delivered to my door each month. Right now am adding one a payday and then once I am in the groove I will renew every year. My personal goal is to subscribe to 30 total books a year so I also try to keep an eye out for some bonus budget books as I can afford it. The goal is to subscribe to the ones that matter the most to you ensuring their longevity while keeping a few titles left at the local retail store. I am not saying give up your pull list entirely rather I am saying devote yourself to the books that are most important and get just a few of them in the mail. It saves you money, typically 45 percent or more off the cover price, which means you have more money to spend on comics elsewhere, plus it cuts out the middle man often putting more money directly into the publishers hands. It’s a balancing act that we all must do our part if the industry is to survive.

4. Seek out free comic book day

You might have to drive a ways depending on where you live. You might even have to request the day off from work and plan a road trip to make this work. But it is absolutely essential every comic book fan who has the means to get to their local comic book shop does so absolutely on Free Comic Book Day. Not only does it give the publishers, especially indies, maximum exposure, it is a social event that really brings the community together, young and old. It’s key to build the excitement for comic books especially in young readers and lapse collectors.

The other reason I strongly suggest hitting up free comic book day is it provides you a chance to preview things to come in the industry first hand and serves almost as a localized mini comic book convention. It helps stir up the excitement in the collector which is key in helping the hobby remain active.

5. Subscribe to all three digital comic services

This is probably as important as all of the above. We all have our different views on digital comics. However it’s really not the time to get into arguments over which is better. We need to set aside our pride and cough up the ~$30 a month it costs to subscribe to all the services. You have Comixology, Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe. The best argument for doing this is to show publishers, and the big corporations that own them, how important comics are to us. It helps the big wigs see that comics aren’t just a line item but a valuable asset.

The other reason it helps is because it infuses cash directly into the publishers while providing YOU with access to a massive catalog of content at your fingertips.

The Untold Truth about Superman according to THE RAT.

When I was a kid I love Superman. He was one of my favorite comic book characters and superheroes all around. I had Superman action figures, coloring books, puzzles and other memorabilia. I really like the movies all four of them in fact at the time. I would watch Superman cartoons a whole bunch of them a number of them anyone that I can find in fact. And I instantly fell in love with and became obsessed with Lois & Clark The New Adventures of Superman when it aired on TV. But then something changed in some point in my life and my past I stop liking Superman and actually started hating him. Except, I don’t remember when this happened.

I recently decided to get back into comic book collecting I’m going to say back into I mean I sold all my comic books or abandon and number of them when I left my apartment 2 years ago. But I’ve recently with coronavirus and everything else have been at home a lot more than I had been previously and I have a better job now more money now and thought now is a good time to get back into serious comic book collecting. And that includes reading comic books more than ever. Now I just wrote a post last night on rediscovering the Golden Age of comics and in that Discovery I realized I still have lingering feelings of respect and appreciation for the Man of Steel. So I wanted to talk about the parts of Superman that I never stopped liking and try to figure out what it was that made me go from admiring this character to despising him for so long.

My earliest memories of Superman that I can pinpoint was sitting down and watching a VHS tape of some random Superman cartoons my dad rented from the video store at one point. I can’t tell you what happened in that story I vaguely remember a bank robbery and Superman flying around with a bank vault on his shoulder but I can’t remember beyond that. I do remember liking the character and wanting to see more of him. I remember watching the Superman movie the original one from the 70s and just loving it when I was a kid. I remember watching Superman 2 and thinking at the time and throughout most of my life thinking it was the best of all the Superman movies had been my favorite for ever. I remember watching and even enjoying Superman 3 and even liking Superman 4 the Quest for Peace hey I was a kid. It wasn’t until Lois and Clark came along that I realized I really like Superman and I never had Superman comics this is key I believe I always only ever had the shows to watch or a handful of toys inundate me into the characters mythos.

I even remember going into Superman Returns expecting the like it hoping to like it and I remember getting to the end of that movie and questioning my entire interest in the Superman character. May you have to keep in mind I’ve never wavered on Batman to this day he still my favorite comic book character my absolute favorite superhero if you can call him a superhero some won’t but I do. And I know Superman was friends with Batman and there were shows like super friends that I didn’t watch. And I think that’s part of it never having read a comic book featuring The Man of Steel and only knowing him as a character in his own universe but knowing he was Affiliated Loosely with Batman I think that swayed me to take the side of the Dark Knight and dismiss the Man of Steel, the Kryptonian as it were.

I remember the point where I started liking Transformers and watching the cartoon and reading a comic books and obsessing over the toys. And I can remember the point in my life where I went from thinking Batman was okay but not great to becoming my favorite superhero spoiler alert it had to do with one of the movies. But I can’t trace the point in my mind where I went from admiring and respecting Superman to flat-out loathing him, hating him, despising him. But I do believe it has to do with the fact that I never read his comics.

By the time Lois & Clark was finished I was still into the character that much I do know. And I remember being a little bit turned off by Smallville at first enjoying the episodes I did watch but not enough to get into it because it wasn’t Superman it was Clark Kent and I think that was the start of my downward spiral but I have to dig deeper. I was that weird kid that like the Atari Superman video game just because it was Superman I didn’t care that it was a bad game it was fun to play in my mind and that’s all I ever cared about. And I do remember hating Superman Returns by the time it was all said and done.

And I remember never having any interest in the Justice League I remember thinking it didn’t make sense that Batman and Superman would be on the same team with Wonder Woman The Flash and a bunch of other people whose names I never took the time to learn. This fueled my disdain for the Justice League which eventually magnified itself as a hatred for Superman and all things related to him. I think that’s why I enjoyed Batman versus Superman the film so much because Batman beat the snot Ida. Kryptonian creep and I was so excited to see him get the stuffing knocked out of him by my favorite superhero despite being portrayed by an actor I also despise.

But surely that wasn’t enough a disappointing movie a mediocre TV soap opera that couldn’t have been what killed my interest in a character I enjoyed as a kid, could it? I remember the jokes I don’t know who first made them making fun of Superman all the powers of a God and he uses it to get cats out of trees I was told over and over. His most powerful villain is a banker I was told mocking the Superman. And he is defeated by a pebble of all things a piece of chalk as they mocked the Superman. And I know the first point I pulled on a thread that unravelled some of the mystery was in fact rolling my eyes at the first Superman movie as I re-watched it and realized how absurd it was that Lex Luthor would be able to deduce that meteor had to be Kryptonite simply because a planet blew up decades ago around the same time Superman would have laughed and he just figured it out didn’t make sense to me and I’m at that point and all those other markings compounded in my head the things people had said about Superman over the years he wears his underwear on the outside they said. And soul it really started to become real at that point. I do know that was two thousand and 7 and I know that was because I was living with a guy at the time friend a roommate who is obsessed with Superman and we watched the movies together because he was trying to remind me how much I shouldn’t hate Superman when I was mocking him for liking Superman and forgetting that I had at one point in time also like Superman

I know part of it was finding the Marvel Universe of characters far more fascinating as I fell in love with thoroughly the X-Men and also Spider-Man. After a while I started to believe the things people said about Superman and started to distance myself from him thinking he’s beneath me and people are weird for liking him and not only growing to hate the character growing to despise the company that he was a symbol representing but also questioning my filiation with people who put him on a pedestal also questioning myself why do I care so much about a fictional comic book hero? I didn’t answer that question at least not in a way I will brag about. All I learned is at some point I went from really liking the guy to really hating him and I don’t know why.

When I decided to get back into comic book collecting I knew I had to subscribe to Action Comics I told myself I’m subscribing to comic books because my goal is to play my small part in helping the industry obviously I don’t believe I can save the industry but I felt obligated to subscribe to some print Publications as at the time I was working for print publication and felt a kindred spirit with those produced in comic books. So I decided to start subscribing monthly the books to be delivered in my home and the first one I chose was Action Comics knowing that Superman despite my disinterest in the character what’s the pillar that holds the entire comic book industry even I know that his importance cannot be understated after all he is the world’s first superhero and probably the most iconic most popular and most important superhero by Leaps and Bounds above everybody else. Love him or hate him I could not deny his importance.

But then something happened something I didn’t expect I bought some comic books used off of eBay grab the couple off the shelf of my local comic book store and read them. It would be cliche to say my jaw dropped but it did I was amazed at how good these stories were and how enjoyable reading that character was and then I remembered how much I like to know the kid Nostalgia has a way of doing that reconnecting us to our childhood and a way that lists the fog of our memories and reminds us of the things although distorted that we may have forgotten. And I remember liking I remember waking up every day knowing that today is the day that a new episode of The Adventures of Superman comes on TNT and I couldn’t wait for it I had to see the newest episode I remember waiting anxiously for the Superman video game to come out on my game console of choice at the time having to rent it from Blockbuster video.

And I couldn’t remember how much I hated that character and now I can’t remember how much I loved him but I cannot remember or pinpoint at what point those emotions reversed. All I can say now is I very much regret all the time I missed enjoying the Superman exploits and stories fascinating dramas that were told in the pages of his books because now is I flip through Silver age books and Bronze Age books and Modern Age books and golden age books some on the digital platform stop physically in my hand I realize is quality of Storytelling and remain consistent throughout his entire history and I was a fool for thinking he was anything but the greatest superhero of all time. And now I can say I no longer hate the character I used to love I can now say he’s actually pretty good pretty cool he’s a nice guy he’s all right. And I don’t think I could have said that before.

And now I have to reflect not on what I missed not on why I dismiss to the character but on how do I move forward righting the wrongs of my own life? last summer I told my family I was a cross-dresser contemplating if I was transgendered or not. I decided at that point I couldn’t keep secrets anymore and now I realize I can’t keep secrets for myself either and I was lying to myself by saying I hated Superman when I secretly didn’t. I was afraid of being made fun of mocked for being a nerd anyways and even among comic book nerds Batman is considered cool Superman is considered a dork and despite the fact that I myself am more of a dork than cool I felt the need to root for the other guy for some reason.

None of this in any way has diminished my admiration for Batman. If anything it’s only made me appreciate the Dark Knight even more so the first trade paperback I bought featuring Kal-El the Kryptonian is in fact the greatest Batman versus Superman stories at least according to the Publishers of DC Comics who you know write them. Oh and yeah it actually now has me very fascinated and interested Beyond even curious to say the least in the Justice League and I can put some of the blame on that directed towards those so-called terrible dceu films everybody mocks. And hey I can admit that I like suicide squad and found it quite entertaining and most enjoyable because my favorite Batman movie of all time to me the best movie that fully represents the Batman is Batman Forever so clearly I can accept enjoy and appreciate a film other fans do not as much and that’s where I am now I don’t care what people think of me anymore I don’t care what people say I don’t care if I get made fun of I’m going to like what I like and that’s that. And if that means admitting that I like Superman then so be it what am I afraid of I mean so what if he wears women’s underwear it’s not like I haven’t.

Why THE RAT is so indecisive:Why friends are hard to come by.

When I was 5 years old my dad asked me what I want for Christmas and I said the number 7. It sounded like a smart alec remark coming from a kid who didn’t know what he wanted for Christmas but it was actually the end of an exasperated week of desperately trying to narrow it down to the one toy I could ask my parents to get me Knowing damn good and well they weren’t going to pick the right toy anyways. My dad recorded the conversation on a tape deck back when that was a thing you did we used to record our family game night and things like that and playing back as jokes. But the reality is that indecisiveness is the reason why I don’t have good relationships.

I’ve been trying to decide for 37 years if I want to live my life as a man or a woman and I don’t have a straight answer even to this day. My friends hate going to fast food restaurants with me because I’m the one who holds up the line I have to look at the entire menu before I decide that I’m going to get the same thing I got the last three hundred times I went because I’m always looking for something that will actually satisfy me and yet I never find it. That’s even worse at a sit-down restaurant. If I know that there’s a movie coming out that I want to see and I’m hyped for that movie I’m good to go but if there’s two movies playing that I want to see I stay home and play video games because I’m not going to be able to pick which movie to go to I don’t know if it’s fear of I’ll pick the wrong one or if it’s more why should I have to chew I want them both and if I can’t have both on I don’t want either, is that worse?

I’m a conundrum and I don’t know if I will ever be anything but. My favorite toy is Transformers but I also really like Gobots. When I was a kid I couldn’t decide which one I liked better. Whether you see it as a blessing or a curse Society made the decision for me by not promoting the GoBots line and letting Transformers live on.

I started life out down the path of becoming a Wiccan. I eventually got into the Baptist faith before growing up and joining the Catholic Church. Matters of Faith are the hardest for me because there’s so much that I want to do or want to know or want to question that I can’t get a clear-cut answer on. I started contemplating becoming a Catholic before I even settled on Baptist it took me over 20 years to decide I wasn’t happy as a Baptist and might as well give Catholicism a try and even then it took going to an Anglican Church to shake the Baptist off of me and the first time I went I was terrified of what I thought look like a Satanic ritual as I have been brainwashed to believe that. It was only after I went home and remembered that I actually used to be into witchcraft that I realized that what I saw at the Episcopal Church looks nothing like actual witch craft before I realized that I had been deceived.

The best I can come up with is I feel like a bicurious genderqueer unknown possibly trans may be bisexual individual who’s also a Catholic who identifies as a Christian who plays video games and reads comic books wants to be athletic but is too scared to commit to anything that will change the shape of my body because I am what I am. Decisions overwhelming if I had a guide if I had somebody telling me this is what you should do with your life do this life would be a whole lot easier for me but I suspect the truth is the same for most people.

I’m not like the Sheldon Cooper of the TV show Big Bang Theory I don’t have a routine I don’t wake up and have the same breakfast everyday on the right day of the week and have my set restaurant and my favorite activities or things I can really really like something one day and three weeks later have no interest in it. I went through a model train phase, break dancing hip hop DJ phase, tortured painter phase, fiction writer phase, blogger and podcaster phase, filmmaker phase, cinemaphile phase, nature photographer phase, toy collector phase, retro gamer phase, computer collector phase, CD collector and music buff phase, Nintendo Fanboy and Nintendo hater phase. It’s not like in none of these did I ever find some enjoyment it’s just I never stick with anything long enough to get good at it because I want to always try something else or I can’t decide what I actually like.

Anytime somebody asks me whether respectfully or otherwise what is my preferred gender or gender pronouns I was tell them just call me THE RAT, it’s the best I can come up with most days.

It even takes me about 45 minutes to decide what to eat for breakfast even when I only have a choice between waffles with syrup or waffles with peanut butter. By the way those are frozen waffles.

And I’m not going to be bogged down by my indecisiveness anymore I’m not going to let other people’s need to Define me Define me I don’t have a decision I don’t have an answer but if you ask me a question and I don’t have an answer right there instead of giving you a blank stare or not responding I think I’m just going to give you a I don’t know but I don’t care or let me get back to you because I’ve decided but I’m not letting people make decisions for me and that includes answering questions I don’t have an answer for. It only took me 37 years to make that decision.

Power Rangers S3 Ninjas~?

When I was a kid I fell in love with the Mighty Morphin Power rangers right off the bat. Unfortunately I was one of those kids who spent most of my life pretending to be something I wasn’t in a desperate attempt to fit in. I failed. Along the way I found myself to embarrassed to bring myself to Power Rangers out of fear of being made fun of.

I have started to revisit the series in an attempt to rectify that wrong. I realized as I was watching the first season I was having as much fun as an adult watching it as I did as a kid. Oh, sure the tension of the stories was gone but in its place was a greater appreciation for the stories, the fighting and the special effects that made the show so popular.

I stopped watching, then, around the time the movie came out. I kept trying to peak in when nobody was looking up till the Zeo era but after that I gave up. Mostly because I was just too far behind to realistically catch up.

I loved the movie and how it introduced the new Ninja Powers. Even to this day I still have a strong desire to buy the Zords from the movie. I was kind of surprised to discover the third season of the show basically ignored the events of the movie, opting instead to send the Rangers on a different quest to obtain their Ninja Powers. Ultimately it worked for me so far and here I am finally in the middle of watching season 3 for the first time.

I am a little disappointed in the acting brought on by the replacement rangers. Especially the new Yellow Ranger. I don’t know if it is the dubbing, the lines or her delivery but something feels really off whenever she is talking.

Putting that aside I am a little confused at how quickly they just swept the previous Zords under the rug. I mean so far I get not having the Thunderzords, supposedly they were destroyed or powered down, but what about the giant turtle? I don’t seem to recall anything taking place that would have prevented them from calling on him. I moved past that as I realized other optional Zord armors have been ignored once replaced so I let it go.

What about the show itself? Well the story is intriguing. The mythology is greatly expanded by the time  you get to the third season. With the quest to find the new power coins and the introduction to Rito Rivolto you get a lot of background mythology that really fleshes it out. To that end the series feels like it has taken a step forward in the story-telling department.

The Zords are one of the main reasons I got into the series in the first place. As such I had to be a little critical of the new Zords. While the ones from the movie were interesting and had similarities to the previous iterations, the new Zords felt wrong in comparison. Everything about them comes across as being out of place in that universe.

The other aspect that draws fans to the show is the action. So far I am a little disappointed. I have come to terms with the Ninjor character jumping in to save the day during every battle. However I am not liking the bird creatures that replaced the putties. Oh sure it’s easy to just complain the putties were familiar but change is a part of life, you have to adjust. I did take a step back and realize the Rangers often had to call in reinforcements even during the first two seasons so I was able to look past the Ninjor character showing up all the time. I would have preferred it if they would have waited to call him in after things called for it yet it seems like he just shows up each battle and the fight is over before it even starts. Sure there were some pretty quick end battles in the earlier shows but so far not a single battle has had any tension, no defeat, no powering down not even a monster disabling one of the zords or Mega zords, just every fight they go giant, get kicked and die that fast. It’s all feeling a bit rushed. I get the feeling the creators were pushing the story by increasing the time given to the Bulk and Skull storylines which necessitated the reduction in action scenes.  But, to be fair it’s all in the name of character development which I can’t complain about too much as those characters, previously seen as a nuisance at worst, comic relief at best, have become an integral part of the plot.

All in all I have mixed feelings about the third season of the show. It does lack a lot of the nostalgia that kept me going through the first two seasons. Yet, it has replaced some of that with a sense of discovery that has been missing from the show after all these  years.

I am somewhat feeling relieved that I am able to experience these later episodes somewhat with fresh eyes as I am seeing them for the first time. However, I do feel like the show loses some of its magic without the charm of nostalgia nor the pre-adolescent eyes of wonder to gaze upon it in admiration. The truth is the show is not meant to be viewed through adult eyes, save for the fog of time which colors all things with a rosy tint. That being said I can appreciate the things the show is doing different while allowing it to exist in the world I created in my own mind.

All things considered I am enjoying my journey through the original series. I do not know if curiosity alone will drive me to explore the later seasons but I have committed to at least get through Zeo and try to relive all of the episodes I would have seen as a kid had I had the guts to do so then.

Celebrating PRIDE month~

Well, remembering is probably the better word, with everything going on in the world celebrate is the wrong mood right now.

That being said I want to honor the LGBTQIA people who are out there living their lives, fighting the good fight this Pride Month. Last year was a big deal for me. It was my first Pride event and I had a blast mingling with all the people out there. It was also the start of my journey of self discovery.

Okay it wasn’t the start of my journey, that began ages ago. But it was the start of my slowly opening my private life up to the people around me.

I hid in the closet for so long I started to get used to it. I realized that after some time I would eventually have to get over the fear of rejection that kept me from moving forward. Once I realized that I was not interested in being accepted by people who weren’t willing to accept me as-is I decided it was time to just be free of that burden. I am going to live my life and if it means I die alone so be it, it’s not like I am not used to being completely alone anyways.

There are a couple of things I want to do this summer different from last year. First, since I am no longer hiding in the dusty old closet of despair I want to talk more openly about things on my show and in other parts of my life.

I also want to do my part  buy having a different pride related topic each week on the podcast.

 

Tomorrow is the day! Getting ready to check out HBO MAX

Before the internet I was a big fan of cable TV. In fact I am such a fan of television in general that my life long dream was to work at a commercial TV station. That is why I studied broadcasting and now am working as a TV producer for a local station.

Then the internet came along and Netflix sort of replaced basic cable for a large number of Americans, myself included.

I am happy to report that since I expanded my streaming options I have had even fewer reasons to log into old faithful less and less. Starting tomorrow I will be diving into the newest premium streaming service to launch.

Now when it comes to old cable people seem to forget the cable companies basically have a monopoly in whatever town you live in shutting out competition. Unless of course you count satellite which is a fair alternative. But when it comes to streaming those same people seem to be okay with a monopoly and despise choice. I don’t get it.

Anyways enough of the ripping on people. Let’s dig into what excites me about it.

I am one of the more choices is better people. I recently discovered a ton of FREE and yes LEGAL streaming options such as Crackle, Pluto and Stirr, among others. I even signed up for Shudder (still need to do a full review of that) and now I am excited to try out HBO Max.

I preordered for the discounted price in order to get  ahead start. I spent some time this weekend checking out HBO Now, which will be replaced on my tablet tomorrow.

The first thing I noticed about HBO Now is, yes it does have far less overall content than Netflix or even Hulu. But, I was still more than satisfied with the movie selection. Where Netflix often has a handful of Hollywood movies and tons of B-movie and direct to video (streaming) crap, HBO lives up to its name which, in case you forgot, stands for Home Box Office. The whole point of HBO was always to deliver a Hollywood experience in the home, and to that end even the simplified version delivers.

It reminds me of when Netflix used to have a deal with Starz years ago, only not quite as extensive of a catalog so far.

Now the first thing I am going to check is not just the Hollywood movies from the Warner and family vault, which if lists I have read online are any indication will still provide me personally with plenty of favorites to revisit to keep me busy.

The next thing I am going to dive into is the catalog of TV shows. Sure HBO itself has a decent assortment of top notch content,  however it is somewhat limited in scope. You basically have the best adult oriented shows around, there isn’t much else. This should be different as the new combined service is supposed to bring in favorites from the entire Warner spectrum, hopefully this will include DC Comics and Hanna Barbara to name just a few. Combined with the Looney Tunes and friends there is sure to be plenty to check out.

The hesitancy comes from the Disney Plus debacle. While I do maintain it provides quality entertainment and certainly has a place in our society, it feels a little underwhelming with them intentionally leaving out so much of the Fox library that had fans like myself excited. Warner/ATT could do something similar where they promise everything and the kitchen sink and then deliver a cardboard box with the letters IOU in giant letters across the side like Disney did.

Fortunately as long as the New Line Cinema offerings are intact, ensuring me an endless availability of instant access to my beloved Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise, a simple horror fan like myself will be more than satisfied. Only time will tell if it lives up to the hype or disappoints but I am very much looking forward to checking it out, at least for the next month.

Why I cancelled The Dark Web Podcast and what comes next for The Spiders Lair

It took me a while to get to the point where I was ready to admit the truth, my podcast was a bad idea.

I set out to launch my latest attempt at a podcast in the summer of 2017. After a few short episodes I realized I had a better idea for a show and cancelled it with the promise I would revamp it with a complete refresh after just a few short weeks. I went out of my way to reach out to guests and tried to give the show a big push. I even took out ads in the local newspaper and the school yearbook. It was all my attempt at putting out a show that would have a real radio show production value. I even launched a broadcast TV style companion show on Youtube that I quickly killed after just a handful of episodes.

The truth is the show was a mess from the start. I kept going back and forth on how raw or real I wanted to be. I was torn between keeping it radio friendly or being more mature. I never could lock down a format. I tried having recurring segments that rotated on a regular basis to the point I eventually gave up. After just a few months I tried to reformat it into a 5 day a week 30 minute radio friendly show I could try to syndicate to broadcast radio stations. After a couple of months it  became obvious that was not a viable option I then took it back into an 2-3 hour marathon of me mostly yelling/cussing into the microphone. I went back and forth it it would have video or not. I tried doing it with an expensive mic and lights, then I got lazy and did it entirely from my cell phone.

The real reason the show failed was I never could decide what I wanted it to be. To be absolutely honest the show wasn’t a complete failure in the audience department. After two years I managed to garner over 20,000 downloads and was averaging 150 per week. The problem was retention was abysmal. In fact it was basically 0 percent most weeks meaning I wasn’t building a loyal audience, I just hand 150 random people stumble into my web once a week each week never to return. The fact there was zero audience participation on Twitter reinforced my belief the show was basically dead.

This past month with the ongoing health crisis causing me to go stir crazy I decided once and for all to kill the show for good. That doesn’t mean I am done entirely with podcasts or YouTube it just means this show, the Dark Web Podcast, is no more.

So what comes next? For the website, this blog, nothing changes. I will write articles on topics that interest me as I either find the time, inspiration or both.

The YouTube channel is where I intend to do some new things. Well, actually old things. In other words my plan now that the podcast is dead is to refocus my energy on doing shorter vlog style videos. Basically just me picking a single topic and digging into it. I might keep doing pickup and collection videos as I find the time.

I don’t want to reveal what my future plans are because right now they are influx and could change before I do anything meaningful. The actual truth is I loved doing a podcast but it became a chore with little reward. It also doesn’t hurt that I landed a job as a TV producer removing the need for me to produce a web series. I think I will take a step back and try to figure out what I want to do next. I have another confession regarding the ‘retro witch’ coming soon so stay tuned. And as always, Stay Cool.

The DC Universe mistake fans keep making

I’ve talked a lot over the last couple of years about streaming video services and the crowded Market. One of the services that people are quick to point out has very little value as a streaming service is DC Universe. And within good reason there’s just a few superhero shows published by DC and a handful of movies they themselves do not produce enough content to justify an $8 a month streaming service they just don’t. But that’s the fallacy of DC Universe and the discussions people have about it.

If you look at DC Universe as a streaming service it’s not worth the price of admission $8 is way too much for what you get barely enough content to justify it. But if you look at it the opposite of that it’s not a streaming service that gives you access to comic books it’s a digital comic Service that has movies and TV shows as a bonus then it has a tremendous value at $8 a month.

I started reading digital Comics recently as a way to have a little bit more variety than just videos because I’ve missed reading comic books and the Health crisis has me pretty much isolated at home for more hours than I’m used to and I’m looking for new ways to occupy my time. The first thing I noticed is you have three digital Comics Services Marvel Unlimited, comixology unlimited and DC Universe. All three services offer basically the same thing a catalog of digital Comics that you can read at your leisure and a variety of new Comics that come out through a time-lapse after enough time has passed they get the new comics.

Now comixology as a service only lets you borrow comics for short periods of time they have a limited number of comics and then you have to return them. Or you have the option to buy them and keep them in your digital library permanent so long as you have the comixology app I guess.

But DC Universe offers something a little bit better you get a complete back catalog of all of their old comics with new ones being added all the time and the new Comics as they come out get added after certain amount of time so you’re getting quite a bit of comic books and because it’s a DC service and they are the publisher they own all the rights the stuff that’s there theoretically should expire. This is good news for the reader.

So now I look at DC Universe and I think it’s a pretty good service if you consider it as a Comics streaming service that includes some movies TV shows and cartoons as a bonus I think it works but the people who keep saying once HBO Max launches the service will no longer serve a purpose are out of their damn minds and it’s irritating to me that people keep treating it like a streaming service that has a few Comics like the comics are quaint and not that important. When did the comic book industry get to a point where the actual books themselves are seen as a licensed property or an ancillary product instead of the actual main driving force? This is bad news for Publishers and frankly it’s bad news for comic book fans.

Comic book industry is fragile just like all of the print Publications right now. Digital Comics can’t sustain or replace the print Publications because digital Comics subscriptions are very small source of revenue for $8 a month I get access to everything versus $30 a year for one book it’s a big difference in what I’m paying for a comic book. But the key difference is the digital comic just feeds me the panels that contain the story there are no advertisements whereas is if I buy a book that comes in the mail there will be ads on the page that Lawson advertising dollars is a tremendous blow to the bottom line of the comic book industry.

Now as a part of a big conglomerate DC can make money off of movies and TV shows licensing video games toy t-shirts Etc the comic books are just a another way to make money as readership declines.

But they need to find a way to make the core comic book product profitable and enticing for readers so that they can continue on producing the Legacy Media that started the whole industry in the first place as well as to continue on coming up with stories that can Inspire or be the source material for movies and TV shows video games and everything else.

I’m thoroughly enjoying reading back issues of DC Universe comic books. I hope the service sticks around as a digital Comics service for some time to come my hope is that it will help put some money back into DC’s coffers so that they can continue to feed the comic book fandom so they can stay in business stay profitable.

Comic book fans are fans of comic book stories I should say have more options than ever movies, TV shows, anime, video games and so much more. It’s good for the comic book industry in that you can see some really good at aptations of these stories an animated form or even live action stories but it’s bad for the comic book medium because people think of the comic books themselves as inferior to these other types of stories when it was the comic books that launch them to begin with.

My hope is more people will discover DC Universe as a digital Comics platform and we’ll see the other stuff as bonus material because I imagine a lot of people who have it are going to drop it and favor of HBO Max when that service launches later this month or next month.

And I find that to be sad I really think that there’s enough room in the market for three digital Comics stores Marvel to have their own and then DC can have their own comixology will have everybody else and if you pursue digital Comics that way it’s a good service the problem is that still pricey for some people. but it’s an actual tremendous bargain if you think about it $8 a month and you get all the back issues of DC Comics now not literally every issue they’ve ever published but every story you’re going to want to read for the most part is there and you can’t get some of those comic books for $8 a piece let alone $8 a month. the value of DC Universe cannot be stated enough. Most people don’t recognize how important it is to the industry and how much of a value you actually get for $8 a month even if you only buy two comic books a month or spending more than $8 at the newsstand or the comic book store.

I’ve even heard commentators comic book fans who trash the service because it streaming options are so thin and they even say things like the comics aren’t is important to them or they get their comics from comixology or some other free service which is too bad because you’re not supporting the publisher when you do that and it’s not that difficult to try to help support the publisher that is producing the content you are consuming and enjoying.

I’m doing my part I’m doing the best I can because I want to see the comic book industry survive and I love reading comics and I hate that we’ve gotten to a point that people see comic books as a secondary or even lower product on the scale as the movies and cartoons. I love the Marvel movies I like a lot of the DC movies but I still prefer the comics I love the comics the best stories are always going to be in the comic books because your less restricted in a comic book you don’t have to worry about an actor taking off his mask because he has to get face time on camera. you don’t have to worry about changing actors or recasting or fan backlash when you cast the wrong person for some reason or another.

you’re limited by your imagination and comic books and you’re limited by big budget and a whole bunch of other issues when it comes to film and television. comic books need to be profitable in order to continue to provide Source material for the video games and everything else and those things can subsidize the comic books but you have to have the comics.

what I’m doing personally is budgeting one new title a month every payday I will add a new subscription that way it’s $30 for an annual subscription every two weeks I’ll spend another $30 adding another new subscription so that I’ll have 12 months of that book and then every month in a rotate a new book each month. I’m going to subscribe to all three Digital Services and then I will support my local comic book shop by buying back issues as I come across them and if they start selling new issues I’ll buy the ones I don’t subscribe to that I can afford.

at the very least if every comic book fan would subscribe to all three of the Digital Services you would be doing a tremendous service to the Publishers the writers artists the creative people that make your stories possible at the very least get the three services and read the digital Comics you can afford.

the biggest takeaway is think of DC Universe as a bargain for digital comics and all that other stuff is bonus material.