Category Archives: video games

It’s Official: Video Game Adaptations No Longer Have To Suck

When it comes to general rules in entertainment and pop culture, the rule always works until it doesn’t. What I mean by that is trends are fickle. What seems certain, logical, and even unavoidable one day for a particular genre might be shrouded with doubt the next.

In decades past, there was a general rule that there would always be a prominent place for western movies. Granted, there’s still a place for them, but it’s not nearly as prominent.

Just a few decades ago, there was a general rule that if you put someone like Nicholas Cage and Arnold Schwarzenegger in any movie, it would easily gross over $100 million. That’s no longer the case, either. It’s been quite a while since either actor achieved that level of success at the box office consistently.

I’m also old enough to remember a time when superhero movies were seen as extremely niche with limited appeal. I even remember the reaction to “Batman and Robin,” which for a time felt like a massive setback for the genre that would last a generation.

These rules were once general assumptions in the entertainment world. And they were assumed to always apply, but then they didn’t. We should never assume a rule or trend will always apply, especially when it comes to pop culture. And I say that as someone who never wants to see superhero movies go out of style.

With that in mind, I think it’s time we finally change our rules and assumptions about video game adaptations.

Now, I’m not just saying that because I’ve been watching “The Last of Us” on HBO and have been repeatedly blown away by how great it has been. One good movie or show is a fluke. That’s why there are so many forgettable “Die Hard” knock-offs from the 1990s. The reason I think the time has come to adjust our attitudes is because “The Last of Us” feels like the last critical part of a new trend that has been unfolding for a while now.

And as someone who loves video games and wants to see more successful adaptations, I welcome this. In fact, I think it was overdue. I’d been hoping for something like this for years and have been burned by one too many “Resident Evil” movies along the way.

Even if it has taken way too long, I think “The Last of Us” has finished what “Sonic: The Hedgehog” and “Castlevania” started. It helped further distance audiences from the old mentality that video game adaptations tend to suck by default. It made the case that a video adaptation can be done and done well. There’s even a proven process to it, which has become more and more refined, going back to the days of the first “Tomb Raider” movies with Angelina Jolie.

A big part of what makes “The Last of Us” work so well is that it stays remarkably true to the source material in terms of ambience and theme. It doesn’t completely retell the story of the game. It nicely supplements it. The game is the foundation and the scaffolding. The show is the meat and the substance.

Even a movie like “Sonic: The Hedgehog,” which doesn’t closely mirror any of the games, still captures the heart and tone of character. The Sonic you see in the movie feels like a natural extension of the one you play in the game.

A show like “Arcane” takes it even further than that. It actually uses that foundation to build new, more compelling lore for every character involved. Even elements not covered in the game can get fleshed out, but in a way that doesn’t involve reinventing or reshaping the characters or world. More importantly, it doesn’t just rely entirely on the built-in audience to fill in the blanks. There’s a real, concerted effort to tell a cohesive story beyond the action.

This all seems obvious now, but it wasn’t that long ago that it was deemed impossible or incompatible with video game adaptations. I think we need to ditch that mentality once and for all. That’s not to say that video adaptations will stop sucking entirely. Even with their current popularity, superhero movies can still be awful. Just look at “Moribus.”

I’m also not convinced the upcoming “Super Mario Bros” movie will be great, but that might just be because I still cringe at the 1990s adaptation that had Dennis Hopper playing Bowser.

But the precedent has already been set.

The standards have already been raised.

A show like “The Last of Us” and a movie like “Sonic: The Hedgehog” is no longer a fluke or a one-off. They are now part of a tangible, verifiable trend that video game adaptations can be great in their own right. And personally, I hope to see more in the future. There’s definitely a place for them in popular culture.

Video games have come a long way since the days of Tetris and Pong. Players today expect more story and depth than ever before. That sort of thing can definitely translate into blockbuster franchises or shows and they should. Because regardless of the medium or source, there will always been an audience for great stories with memorable characters.

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Filed under HBO Max, television, video games

Why You Should Watch “Castlevania” On Netflix This Halloween

When it comes to certain holidays, I tend to be more proactive than most people. Talk to anyone who knows me fairly well and they’ll attest that I’m the kind of guy who has his Christmas tree up the first week of November. It’s just part of who I am. For certain holidays, I like to draw out the festivities and the spirit in my own unique way.

One of those holidays happens to be Halloween. I’ve always been fond of Halloween and its various spooky themes. While I don’t decorate my home the same way I do with Christmas, I still try to get into the spirit. A big part of that spirit involves watching a bunch of horror movies and Halloween specials.

To that end, I’ve always had my share of favorites. A good slasher movie like “Friday The 13th” and the original “Halloween” is usually a good place to start. Plenty of shows also have great Halloween special, like the many Treehouse of Horror episodes from “The Simpsons” and “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

In more recent years, I’ve grown fond of some newer entries into my Halloween themed watch-list. Movies like “Happy Death Day” and “Hubie Halloween” have quickly become personal favorites of mine. But for Halloween this year, I’d like to offer another show that has steadily worked its way into my Halloween viewing list. It’s an animated series on Netflix called “Castlevania.”

Now, this is not a new show, relatively speaking. This show actually began airing in 2017 and when it began, it only had three episodes. Even though I watched those episodes and liked what I saw, it wasn’t even that clear that it would continue beyond that.

There was a good reason for that. This show was based off a video game by the same name. If you owned a Nintendo or Super Nintendo system back in the early to mid 1990s, you probably heard of “Castlevania” the game. And it was a damn good game, as well. It was often held in high regard for its gameplay and its monster hunting themes.

But since it emerged in the early era of gaming, it wasn’t particularly known for its story. I doubt it was ever at the top of anyone’s list in terms of video game franchises that deserved an adaptation. It certainly doesn’t help that video game adaptations have a rather nasty legacy of being terrible, regardless of whether they’re animated or live action.

Despite those limitations, Netflix dared to invest in “Castlevania.” It dared to give this franchise some full-scale world-building, taking iconic characters from the game and fleshing them out in a meaningful way. And the end result was truly remarkable.

This isn’t just a series that makes for good viewing during Halloween.

This is a legitimately well-written, well-developed show on every conceivable level.

Yes, it still has the armies of monsters, goblins, and demons that made the video game so iconic. But it also has a genuinely compelling story with genuinely well-rounded characters. Trevor Belmont, Sypha, Alucard, and even Vlad Dracula himself are given distinct, multi-layered character arcs that are all distinct. They all exist in a dark, flawed, and corrupt world set in Medieval Europe. It’s not a world driven by good or pure evil. Everything exists in varying shades of both. And everyone has agendas, goals, struggles, and burdens.

It’s also a show that really hits the ground running. It’s not a slow build towards the action. Within the first few minutes of the show, an innocent gets burned at the stake and Dracula goes on a grief-fueled rampage against the whole of humanity. It gets bloody, violent, and dark very quickly, all of which feel very appropriate for Halloween. But it also has moments of heart, introspection, and melodrama.

Seriously, there are moments within the brutal violence that are genuinely heartbreaking. But those moments only make the horror themes work even better.

The early seasons were good. That, I never denied. But once the later seasons came out and really completed the story, “Castlevania” became much more than a video game adaptation that didn’t suck. To me, it became a perfectly crafted horror story that maximized the appeal of vampires, magic, goblins, ghouls, and monsters.

Seriously, what more could you want from a Halloween story?

While “Castlevania” was never marketed as a Halloween story, it definitely checks most of the necessary boxes. So, if you’re looking for something new to add to your Halloween watch list this year, give Netflix’s “Castlevania” a watch. Even if it doesn’t get you into the Halloween spirit, it’s still a damn good show.

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My Trip To New York Comic Con 2022

As I promised, I’ve compiled some of the videos and images of my trip to the New York Comic Con into a video for my YouTube Channel, Jack’s World. Please note that this is only a fraction of the footage I took. There was just so much to see and so many people to meet. There was just no way I could fit it into one video, but I did my best to make sure it captured the experience. Enjoy!

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Filed under Current Events, DC Comics, Jack's World, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, movies, New York Comic Con, superhero comics, superhero movies, television, video games

Post-New York Comic Con Afterglow Setting In

Yesterday was a damn good day. Defintely a true return to form for the New York Comic Con. After two years of dealing with COVID-19, this felt like a truly complete Comic Con experience. For that, I cannot thank the fine folks who make the New York Comic Con experience possible every year. And I cannot thank enough the wonderful people who attend these conventions to make them so special.

From the comic book creators to the cosplayers to the celebrities to the food vendors to the security guards, I thank you.

This was truly special. As I’m typing this, I am nothing short of exhausted. Between navigating the Jacob Javits Center to traveling to New York City to finding appropriate lodging that won’t render me broke, it’s always quite challenging. But it’s still so worth it.

This year, I had a chance to meet a few of my favorite comic book writers. I managed to get some autographs, as well as a few special variant comics that I fully plan to frame. I met some amazing cosplayers who had some truly remarkable costumes. I also met a major celebrity. I won’t say who it is, but you’ve probably seen him in a several major blockbuster movies.

I’m going to take some time to rest and relax from it all. Then, at some point, I’m going to take the footage I captured and put it in a YouTube video for my channel, Jack’s World. I’m looking forward to sharing it. I’m also already looking forward to attending New York Comic Con next year, as well.

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Filed under Current Events, DC Comics, Jack's World, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, movies, New York Comic Con, superhero comics, superhero movies, television, video games

Jack Plays Cyberpunk 2077: Four New Videos (Judy Alvarez Side Missions)

The following is a collection of four videos that I posted to my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. They are more gameplay from me playing Cyberpunk 2077 on my Playstation 4. These videos focus on a series of side-missions focusing on fan favorite, Judy Alvarez. Enjoy!

This video is of the mission, “Both Sides, Now.”

This video is of the mission, “Ex Factor.”

This video is of the mission, “Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution.”

This video is of the mission, “Pisces.”

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Filed under Cyberpunk2077, Jack's World, Marvel, video games, YouTube

Jack Plays Cyberpunk 2077: Three New Videos (With Some Sexy Moments)

The following is a series of videos that I posted to my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. They are more entries in my growing crop of footage of me playing Cyberpunk 2077. These videos involve missions that tie into the main story and one of them includes some of the sexier moments from the game. Enjoy!

This video is of the mission, “M’ap Tenn Pelen.”

This video is of the mission, “I Walk The Line,” which ties into the previous mission.

This video is of the mission, “Transmission,” which includes that sexy moment I mentioned earlier.

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Filed under Cyberpunk2077, Jack's World, Marvel, video games, YouTube

My Timed Run On Nodes 13 Through 15 In Dark Dimension V In Marvel Strike Force

What follows are a series of videos that I uploaded to my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This is all captured footage of me playing through Nodes 13, 14, and 15 of my timed run on Dark Dimension V, which are the legendary nodes.

These are the last three nodes of my timed run. Compared to the first run, this was a lot easier, thanks to me gearing up Shuri. She made a huge difference by providing more healing and defense. Thanks to her, I was able to one-shot each node except the last one. That didn’t make the victory at the end any less sweet and cathartic. Enjoy!

Here’s me going through Node 13 in one shot.

Here’s me going through Node 14 in one shot.

Here’s me going through Node 15, which took me two attempts. This is final node and completing it gave me the final bits of gear I needed to max Dormammu.

I hope these videos help other players prepare for Dark Dimension 5. And to my two alliances who supported me every step of the way, Legion of Doom and X-Academy (Venom), I sincerely thank you.

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My Timed Run On Nodes 10 Through 12 In Dark Dimension V In Marvel Strike Force

What follows are a series of videos that I uploaded to my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This is all captured footage of me playing through Nodes 10, 11, and 12 of my timed run on Dark Dimension V, which are the cosmic nodes.

And this is where my timed run actually felt genuine fun. That’s because this time, I had a gear 16 Dormammu to help me out instead of using Ravager Sitcher. It was a huge upgrade, to say the least. I wasn’t able to one-shot every node, but it was still a lot smoother. I can confirm that even Dormammu when he’s not fully leveled up is an amazing character in this game. Enjoy!

Here’s me going through Node 10.

Here’s me going through Node 11.

Here’s me going through Node 12. This is where Dormammu made the biggest difference.

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My Timed Run On Nodes 7 Through 9 In Dark Dimension V In Marvel Strike Force

What follows are a series of videos that I uploaded to my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. These are captured footage of me playing through Nodes 7, 8, and 9 of my timed run on Dark Dimension V, which are the global nodes.

However, unlike previous nodes, I wasn’t able to do much to upgrade my characters this time around. As a result, I struggled more than I did the first time. In hindsight, I should’ve invested in upgrading Sharon Carter over Emma Frost. I still made it through, but it was a real slog from start to finish, especially on the last node. Please learn from my mistakes. Enjoy!

Here’s me going through Node 7.

Here’s me going through Node 8, which was the biggest challenge of this run to date.

Here’s me making my way through Node 9. That last wave sucked.

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My Timed Run On Nodes 4 Through 6 In Dark Dimension V In Marvel Strike Force

What follows are a series of videos that I uploaded to my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. These are captured video of me playing through Nodes 4, 5, and 6 of my timed run on Dark Dimension V, which are the city nodes. Since my first run, I did manage to upgrade these characters somewhat and it did make a difference, albeit not as much as I’d like. I still hope those still planning for this stage gain some valuable insight. Enjoy!

Here’s me going through Node 4.

Here’s me going through Node 5.

Here’s me making my way through Node 6.

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