Friday, March 23, 2012

Review of "Chasing Ghosts"


I was a big fan of the movie "King of Kong : a fist full of quarters". It was a movie that really showed how big the rivalry was over the Donkey Kong world record. Its also a movie about the little guy going after his dream , seeing him fight and claw to overthrow the , at the time , current record holder. The man chasing the dream was Steve Wiebe , and the villain of the story so to speak was Billy Mitchell.

"Chasing Ghosts : Beyond the arcade" is a different type of movie. While yes it does show the competitive nature of gaming , it focuses more on the arcade scene as a whole. From the boom of its popularity , to its untimely demise. For some people , like myself who were born after the big arcade era , this is an interesting way to look back and see how gaming used to be.

The movie focuses on the select group of gamers that held world records with Twin Galaxies as well as the establishment of Twin Galaxies , and Walter Day as official game score keepers. Getting to see all of these gamers on a more intimate level is certainly a different experience. You think "my god , this persons a world record holder in pacman / millipede/donkey kong" or what have you , when in reality , they are no different from you and I.

Picture courtesy of Life Magazine


The interviews give these people a more human quality than ever before , showing not only what they did in the heyday of arcade gaming and competition gaming , but what they did in the following years. As the arcades closed up, some moved on , and went on in life, some didn't,but that's what makes the film so interesting. Seeing how they dealt with the "fall from fame" as it were and how they went on with life gives you an upclose look at their world, as well as makes you think about the overall role games play in our lives. I highly reccomend it if you are even remotely interested in looking back at an era gone by, that we are never going to see again or even just a fan of video games in general.

Final grade : A


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Movie Review : Zombie Apocalypse

Zombie Apocalypse is your typical Syfy quality movie, nothing outstanding , but it has the possibility to be entertaining. Starting in the most vague of ways , it begins with three people walking from the woods into an abandoned town. these three characters are Ramona , Billy and Kevin played by Taryn Manning , Eddie Steeples and Gerald Webb. They are soon joined by Henry, Julien, Mack and Cassie who are played by Ving Rhames, Johnny Pacar, Gary Weeks and Lesley-ann Brandt.

The plot is pretty standard fare , bunch of survivors in a land where the dead walk trying to make their way to a safe haven , Catalina island in this case. Over the course of their journey , the characters really do nothing to make you get attatched to them until about the half way point. This is a major flaw with any movie , if you dont care about the people IN the movie , why even bother to watch it? I pressed on , cause I'm a sucker for crappy movies!

Along the way there are several refuge points setup , the one they go to is a nearby high school.
Well the saftey zone isnt so safe to say the least. The weird thing that the zombies do is they seem to set a trap for the people coming in. Zombies are really not known for being able to do complex things like this in movies , so it was unusual to see.

Leading up to the finale, Our band of survivors meets a group of other survivors who are known as "the archers" seems to be an obvious choice for a name since they wield crossbows and bows and kill zombies with , you guessed it , arrows. Anyway they get split up and head into the city , and this is quite possibly where the movies biggest consistency issues pop up. There is a scene where the archers , who are now with Ramona , Julien and Mack say "we need to conserve arrows , if you can safely do so , retrieve them!" ....Well they kill three zombies , run right on by them without picking the arrows out of them.


The next , and more outlandish issue is after Henry and Cassie come across an abandoned military post. They find and take a turret gun , in a shopping cart of all things with 10 or so rounds of ammunition. They fire off about 25-35 shots with this...and the digital effects for the bullets...wow .

All in all , nothing really spectacular from this one , but if you're a fan of Zombie movies , or just bad movies in general you might want to check it out.


Final grade : C-

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