Blog Archives

Retro Game Review: The Longest Journey

For the longest time I’ve been a fan of graphic adventure games (aka: point and click adventure games).  My roots with this style of gaming goes back to the VGA games that were produced in the late 80’s/early 90’s with stuff like Kings Quest and various other Sierra games.  My love (and many others) of this genre deepened when I came across the mad mind of Tim Schafer and Lucas Arts with games like Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion where they perfected the point and click formula down to a perfect ‘T’.  Then graphic adventure games seemed to just fall off the map getting little to no exposure and many games falling well under my radar.  One of the games to fly right under my radar is 1999’s The Longest Journey by Ragnar Tørnquist and Norwegian studio Funcom.  I have heard that this game was heralded as the best graphic adventure of all time by many sites and people, but for some reason I never got around to playing it when I initially heard about it.  Then Steam had their summer sale and offered a package of this game along with its sequel bundled together for a nice price, so I took the plunge to brush up on a game that I should have played years ago and boy am I happy I did.

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Album Review: When Lightning Strikes by Drakkar

I love power metal.  I love Italy.  I love science fiction and fantasy.  And I love me some concept albums.  So when I checked my inbox and saw that an Italian power metal band have released a science fiction concept album and name dropped my perennial favorite power metal band Rhapsody as a contemporary, well, let’s just say I got a bit excited.  I dove into Drakkar‘s new album with high hope that it would be a kick ass record.  And I’m happy to say I was not let down.  When Lightning Strikes is a huge and bombastic slab of balls to the wall power metal chock full of soaring guitars, plenty of memorable moments, and enough depth to warrant multiple listens.  Hell, I’ve only had it in my possession for a bit over 24 hours and it’s gotten about 5 spins so far and rising.

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Book Reviews: A Song of Ice and Fire – George R.R. Martin

This is a repost of a review of the series I wrote some years ago.  I know some of the info is a bit dated, but it still gets the point across and is spoiler free 😉

So, what is A Song of Ice and Fire?  Well to put it simply, it is a still continuing fantasy novel series written by George R.R. Martin.  Four books in the series have been released, A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows and there are another three in the works which are expected to be titled A Dance with Dragons, The Winds of Winter, and A Dream of Spring.  Each book runs about 800-1200 pages in paperback with smaller print.  So, why would one want to spend months reading massive books of an incomplete fantasy series?  Well, let me tell you why.

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Game Review: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

From the moment it was a mere rumor that the next entry in the Elder Scrolls series was to be released my anticipation had shot sky-high.  As much as I loved its predecessor, Oblivion, there was one thing that the game was lacking that could have brought it to levels of unimaginable awesomeness, dragons.  And dragons were to be the main focal point of the new game, let’s just say I got a little over-excited.  And as which happens when anticipation and expectation are at such high levels, in the end things didn’t pan out as I had wished and upon completing Skyrim I was left disappointed and felt slightly cheated.  Since this is one of the most popular games out there I’m not going to go into great depth with gameplay or style other than saying it is a first person hack and slash RPG with lots of exploring to do.

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Book Review – Windhaven – George R.R. Martin & Lisa Tuttle

Some weeks ago my wife surprised me with a pair of books from George R.R. Martin’s back catalog (Windhaven and Hunters Run).  Needless to say, with A Song of Ice and Fire being my favorite series of all time, I dove right in starting with Windhaven first (currently reading the other at the time of writing this).  While it pales in comparison to his current epic, Windhaven is a delightful read filled with wonder and imagination.

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Monday Metal Madness- To the Oscars!!!

It looks like Max Cavalera era Sepultura took home the belt for “Best Max Cavalera Band”.  It seems that classic Sepultura album Chaos A.D. was a big deciding point for the win.  Congrats!

This week we bring you 3 music videos that portray powerful and emotional performances by both the band and the supporting cast of actors.  You will also witness mind-bending special effects and epic fantasy storylines that would make J.R.R. Tolkien weep.  Watch the videos for Alternate Reality‘s “The King That Never Was”, Rhapsody‘s “Rain of a Thousand Flames” (NSFW alert, there’s boobies) and Dio‘s “Holy Diver”, and vote for the one who deserves to win the Heavy Metal Oscar, and if you’re up for it, let us know which performance moved you more and why down in the comments.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Alternate Reality – “The King That Never Was”

Rhapsody – “Rain of a Thousand Flames”

Dio – Holy Diver

Album Review- From Chaos to Eternity- Rhapsody of Fire

Now this is how you go out in style.  Rhapsody(of Fire)‘s new release From Chaos to Eternity brings the Dark Secret Saga to a close and also marks the their exit from the fantasy world of Rhapsody(there will still be tours and concerts under the Rhapsody moniker, and maybe other Rhapsody albums, but none taking place in the world they have created).  It will be sad to see the Rhapsody saga come to a close, but they couldn’t have ended it on a higher note.  Over the years Rhapsody have captivated their listeners with their unique brand of neo-classical power metal and their world of dragons, elves, demons, angels, wizards, and dark geometry.

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Album Spotlight-The Frozen Tears of Angels

Have you ever gotten completely sucked in by a game of Dungeons & Dragons?  Are you partial to stories about a group of unlikely hero’s coming together to find and destroy a magical artifact to save their world?  Do you love over the top neo-classical symphonic power metal?  Do you think the best cheese in the world comes from Italy?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, I got the perfect album recommendation for you.  Rhapsody of Fire(formerly know as just Rhapsody) is a band that hails from Italy, they create the best in over the top symphonic epic power metal, they have an affinity for fantastical subject matter, and they have an ongoing narrative within their albums where unlikely heroes come together to search for an indestructible book written in the blood of angel’s that contains evil geometry(yup, you read that right, evil geometry) that could resurrect a supremely evil entity known as Nekron that would bring about cosmic chaos.  And they’re made out of nothing but the finest and tastiest Italian cheese, delicious, mouthwatering Italian cheese.  Oh, and Saruman, err, Christopher Lee does narrations on their albums.

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Theme Thursday-Blind Guardian

The other day I was sitting on the bus on my way to work as random thoughts fluttered in and out of my head.  One of the thoughts that passed through my mind was what I think of HBO’s new TV series Game of Thrones which is based on my favorite book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.  If you have never read or started watching the show, do yourself a huge favor and go immerse yourself in the land of Westeros.  As I was pondering that thought I decided to pop on a song entitled “War of the Thrones” by Blind Guardian which is a song about A Song of Ice and Fire.  The song itself is a beautiful power ballad that really captures the essence of the books perfectly.  When that song finished up the following song, “A Voice in the Dark” on the album started up and like its predecessor, it also has to do with A Song of Ice and Fire, this time the song is based around the visions of an unconscious Bran Stark.  Again, this song really captures the feeling of that particular part in the book.  Unfortunately Blind Guardian didn’t base the entire album on the entire George R.R. Martin series, but just about all the songs on the album are based around fantasy series'(Wheel of Time, Micheal Moorecock novels), political writings(the song “Curse My Name” is based on a text called The Tenure of Kings and Magistrages by John Milton(his book Paradise Lost gets a song on this album also, “Control the Divine”) which is about legitimizing the killing of a king who doesn’t carry out his duties), or folklore and mythology from around the world.  For a bookworms and a fantasy/mythology/folklore nerds this album is a home run album.  And for metalheads that are into the preceding it’s a grand slam.

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