E3 2017 in Retrospect

Well, I said I wanted to do something about E3, except, well, now I don’t really know what to talk about here. That said, I’m just going down a list of games that caught my attention and giving my thoughts on them.


From EA Games:

Star Wars: Battlefront II: I grew up with the old Battlefront. I’d just like to make that clear. When I finally got Battlefront II to work on my computer, it was staggeringly better. That said, if EA updates their Battlefront remake the way the older games did, then maybe the new Battlefront II will be something worth playing.

Then again, I still play Battlefront II (the older one). I know people who put down the new Battlefront after only a few months.


From Bethesda:

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. Ah, Wolfenstein. The more story-based entry of Id Software’s three first-person shooters. The franchise has interested me mainly with its concept: the Allied Forces lost World War II, and now Germany controls the entire world. Sure, it used to just be about running around and shooting Nazis, but it’s come so far and grown up.

I may do something on this series at some point, probably alongside Id’s other two FPS’s: Doom and Quake.

All of whom are now owned by Bethesda now. Not Id Software. Are they still around?

[Googles it.]

They were bought by ZeniMax who gave the rights to Bethesda. That makes sense.


From Nintendo:

[Pours a cup of coffee, drinks it slowly.]

Nintendo. What are you doing?

I mean, I’m glad that you’re taking initiative with getting games on the Switch. That’s good. It’ll keep it from becoming another WiiU.

But after this year’s E3, I can’t help but think…really?

ARMS, you pulled off well.

Splatoon, you pulled off well.

Earth Bound was strange, but I could accept it. In fact, most of your IP’s are that way. You specialize in “silly.”

[Sips coffee.]

But why are you doing a crossover between Mario and Rabbids?

I saw the release and stared at it for a good two minutes, just trying to process…why Rabbids? I thought we were done with them back in 2010.

I won’t say you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, but…actually, I’m going to say it. You’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. That or there’s a Rabbids fandom that I don’t know about.

[Sets down coffee.]

Despite this, Nintendo had some decent releases at E3 this year, as always. More stuff for Mario Odyssey, a couple other upcoming games, and even some new stuff from Pokemon.

Oh, and a couple Metroid games, but I stopped liking that franchise years ago.


And that’s about it for E3 2017.


Let’s Connect:



A “Live” Doctor Who Review

I forgot to watch Doctor Who until tonight (Monday), so I’m changing things up. Rather than spending time in reflection, I’m writing this “live” while I watch the episode. So here are my disjointed but spoiler-free thoughts on “The Eaters of Light.”

I’ve said it before: this season is really good at episode openers.
Bill has graduated to “thinking she knows more than the Doctor about something.” This is significant but appropriate progress for her character.
Random druid-barbarian princess. Talking crows. Last week’s episode seemed very British; this one’s very Scottish. I like it.
Bill is such a nerd; she’s a fangirl, I just realized. Love of learning new things. Clever as a whip. Gay. All she needs is a Tumblr.
Another parallel to last week: deserters from the Roman legion. The difference is these so-called cowards turn back into noble heroes when there’s a girl to protect.
Bill finally got her big “separated from the Doctor” plot. The Doctor went MIA a couple episodes ago, but at least Bill was at home on Earth. This is an important step for her.
2nd-century Romans are just as quick to accept LGBTQWXYZ+’s as 21st-century guys. Good from a secular perspective; not-so-good from a Christian perspective. I’ve said that before too.
Believing in the Doctor wholeheartedly means Bill can give a heck of a speech based on him and his philosophies, kind of like Martha Jones at the end of Season 3.
Also, Bill is more accepting of the fact that where the Doctor goes, there is trouble, and where there is trouble, people die. That’s more character development.
The Doctor slowly getting better at interacting with humans has meant less applying his own inner darkness to the fights around him, either as a weapon or a tool. The 12th Doctor is especially good at that; remember That Speech in the Zygon episode? This episode gives him another chance to be inspiring yet terrifying as only the Doctor can.
I still love Missy’s therapy. The Doctor says her problem is, despite her understanding of the universe, she can’t hear the music. That was the fault of the Drums, until recently. Now I really believe there’s hope for her. Of course, the thing with feathers was never guaranteed a long life.
9 out of 10 exploding bags of popcorn.

Didn’t have time to reflect on a Christian moral this time. Anyone else notice one? Let’s Connect!
Twitter: @noahspud and @CorrelationBlog

First Person Shooters and the Bible

“What are your thoughts on whether first person shooter games are good or bad biblically, in regards to shooting people and seeing blood (this happened over CSGO)?” – elliot5445
Thank you for your question! I think my co-blogger is better qualified to discuss video games (and you’re welcome to weigh in, Isaac), but I’ll give it a…shot.

As I’ve mentioned once before, video games – especially first-person shooters – aren’t really my thing, not because I have problem with them as a Christian, just because I’m bad at them. As a result, this post required research, both into what CSGO is (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive), and what conclusions we can draw from the Bible about seeing blood and shooting people.
Guns are, of course, not mentioned in the Bible, but killing is. God told people to kill people quite a lot, especially when His people were trying to get into the land God had promised them. He actually said “Don’t leave anyone alive, or else they’ll lead you astray with their pagan ways.”
Many first-person shooters are about war. War is the sort of killing that God is usually okay with; senseless murder is the problem. The key is context. In the fictional universe inside your video game cartridge, God doesn’t exist and therefore doesn’t have an opinion on whether a line of code should go to fake war and kill fake people. It’s up to you to determine if the killing is senseless.
The next issue is blood, gore, and the realism of the violence. Even from a non-Christian standpoint, the worry is that real people will act out the realistic violence they are making fake but realistic people do to fake but realistic people.
We’re not supposed to set vile things before our eyes (Psalm 101:3). Do you define a fake soldier shooting a fake enemy soldier as “vile”? If you or the people you trust say yes, then sure, stay away. But do you consider a woman putting a tent spike through an enemy’s head as “vile?” How about a guy’s long hair becoming a makeshift gallows? How about someone being whipped repeatedly, wearing a crown made of thorns, and getting nails through his hands and ankles? The Bible includes realistic and vivid imagery of death. Something to think about.
Those are my thoughts, disjointed though they may be. Again, Isaac, feel free to comment if you like.

Ask us more questions and they will be answered. Let’s Connect!

Twitter: @noahspud and @CorrelationBlog

Guardians of the…Mentor Archetype?

[Note: because of the subject at hand, this is a slightly longer post than usual. However, because I want to write about Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 so I can move on to other things (like this year’s E3, an anime review or two, and some stuff about Christian culture), I’m going to unpack a lot here.]

Baby Groot
“This button will start the blog post.” “I am Groot.” “Wait, no!” [photo credit: YouTube.]
So, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 has been out for over a month now. I was able to talk about Wonder Woman without going into deep spoilers, but Guardians 2?

This is why I waited so long to do the review. Because of the ad campaigns, and what I knew about it going in, I didn’t know what counted as a spoiler or not.

Ergo, I’m opening this review with a big ol’ SPOILER WARNING.

I mean, we’re talking Ego the Living Planet sized SPOILER WARNING.

Speaking of whom, Guardians 2 opens with Star Lord, or Peter Quill, and his motley crew doing what they did in the first movie: save lives while committing crimes under the table. Of course, this doesn’t last long before they get an entire planet’s army on their tail.

To their surprise, the Guardians are bailed out by Star Lord’s birth-father, who turns out to be Ego the Living Planet.

Now, I’m not familiar with the comics, but this felt like it came out of nowhere. After a quick Google search, some of the comics had a different character—named J’son—as Star Lord’s father. Not Ego. As such, it comes across as a means to incorporate Ego the Living Planet into the MCU.

Now, bear in mind, I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that it felt like an odd choice when I first heard it. “So, Star Lord’s mystery father is…a planet? Okay.”

In fact, I’m almost glad that they changed it to Ego. It gave Guardians 2 the chance to play with the theme of Mentors and Fathers. And by “plays with,” I mean it takes the theme, deconstructs it, and reverse-engineers it in a dozen different ways.

So, to cover as much ground as I can in as little time, I’m breaking one of the blog-post rules with this…[inhales deeply]

Star Lord starts to kindle a relationship with Ego, only to learn that Ego had selfish intentions for bringing Star Lord back into his life; Star Lord also continues his relationship with Yondu, and eventually realizes that despite his almost-abusive tendencies (which were implied, but never shown, oddly), he was a better father for Star Lord than Ego could have ever been; Gamora gets more screentime with her sister, Nebula, and their relationship develops when Nebula reveals that her father, Thanos, was abusive to her, but not to Gamora, which led Nebula to be better than her sister, showing that by being a bad father and showing favoritism can destroy one’s children; Rocket and Groot have an oddly father-raising-toddler vibe, but it’s played for comedy; and (to my surprise) Drax of all people got some heart-to-heart time with a new character, Mantis, and he starts to accept her as his substitute daughter.

[Catches breath.]

Basically, every single member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy learns what it’s like to be a dad or to have a dad.

And I’m not complaining. The writers of Guardians 2 did a good job with this, and because of it, it’s probably my Number 1 favorite superhero movie, if not Number 2—this and Guardians 1 keep flipping between the two slots.

Though I do find it interesting how this trend is beginning to unfold in other superhero movies.

Sure, by the nature of character archetypes and the typical Hero’s Journey, there are always Mentors, fatherly figures, and people influencing the Hero. But now there seems to be an emphasis on the Heroes becoming the Mentors. Logan was billed as an older Wolverine mentoring the younger, less-experienced X-23. Spider-Man: Homecoming looks like it will play into Peter Parker’s relationship with Tony Stark, who already got six movies of development.

Long story short, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 was a good movie. I enjoyed it, at least, and it was a pretty refreshing addition to not just the MCU, but superhero movies in general.

Other things I liked: toddler Groot was downright adorable. I liked what they did with Yondu, even though I’m not the biggest fan of Michael Rooker. The side villains—even though I can’t remember their name—were well-written. Also, two words: TAZER FACE!

Things I didn’t like: I wasn’t that fond of Drax, to be honest. I mean, he got good development in this movie, but he seems like he’s still there solely for comic relief, while providing little for the team. Also, the language felt a little…strong at times. It felt like everyone got in a swear. Even Groot. Somehow.

Baby Groot 2
Also, this scene. I liked this scene. [photo credit: Screenrant.]
Let’s Connect:



Tomb of the Cybermen with Ice Warriors

Spoiler-Free Synopsis of Doctor Who, Season 10, Episode 9, “Empress of Mars”:
It’s 1881. British soldiers have hitched a ride to Mars with an Ice Warrior to mine the riches of the Martian Empire. But the empire is long dead, and all that’s left is a tomb full of sleeping Ice Warriors and their Ice Queen. And she’s not happy about Redcoats running around like they own the place.
Ever seen “Tomb of the Cybermen”? It’s like that with Martians.

I don’t have much to say about this episode. It wasn’t particularly good or particularly bad. It was “Who-by-numbers.” It was pretty forgettable, especially coming right after a three-part story that was so epic in scale. I found it very British, in my naïve American understanding of what British is. Maybe if I was also British I would have found it more appealing.
There were only three notable parts: one good, one bad, and one middling.
Good Thing: Pearl Mackie continues to be a wonderful actress. She was probably the best thing about this episode simply because she made Bill not-boring.
Bad Thing: The TARDIS malfunctioned because the plot demanded it. No other reason. It’s happened before and it’s been frustrating, but this one was really bad.
Middling Thing: That malfunction led to a brief but wonderful scene with…well, that’s a spoiler. This is why I don’t have much to say; I don’t want to spoil anything, and the non-spoiler parts are too boring to talk about. Okay, *Spoiler Warning*; this is it, the big plot arc of Season 10. If you haven’t seen it and don’t want it spoiled, now’s your time to leave. Are they gone? Good. Here goes.

It’s Missy! Michelle Rodriguez’ female Master is in the Mystery Vault, supposedly in therapy to become a good person. I love that idea so much. I’ve been on board for it ever since Missy showed up in Season 8, because without the Sound of Drums in her head, she should be considerably less bonkers.
And yet, I know it can’t last. I know the actress is leaving the show, and I know they’d never let the Master change to a good person long-term. The season finale will probably involve the whole thing blowing up in the Doctor’s face.
Moral of the week: cowardice and the Martian (not Christian) version of redemption.
6/10 crumpled balls of soldier.

The Other Other Comic Book God Among Men

(Part 3 of the mini-series on gods and their myths)
Superman is infamous for being too powerful to be relatable. But there’s a comic book character who is actually worse, and not even one of those obscure, comedic parodies. It’s Dr. Manhattan, the atomic powerhouse of “Watchmen.”

In an alternate universe where masked vigilantes are an integral part of American history, Dr. Manhattan is the only superhero with actual superpowers. The Manhattan project accidentally turned a human into a quasi-deity with total control of matter. He teleports and incinerates things and people, sees the future, and creates things out of almost nothing. I’d say he’s even more powerful than Superman.
The graphic novel and movie don’t even try to make Dr. Manhattan relatable in a human way. They focus on his nigh-godhood and how hard it is for him to protect humanity when he feels so separate from them. In that respect, he’s a better character. The thing that messes him up is everyone else’s reactions to his existence.
The actual line is “There is a god. And he is American.” The entire country loves Dr. Manhattan simply because he was an American citizen before his nuclear ascension. Many experts believe that the Cold War is a non-issue because Dr. Manhattan can stop a nuclear war before it starts. No one seems to realize that he could also be a one-man nuclear war, end the entire world in a few seconds, and probably restart the human race with his power. He nearly does that at one point.
In DC, some people, evil and otherwise, don’t trust Superman. In Watchmen, only one person in the entire world figures out that Dr. Manhattan might be a threat, and he’s *Incoming Spoiler* literally “the smartest man in the world” and the villain. His master plan is to make everyone afraid of the atomic god, not even to hurt him.
Then again, “Watchmen” is described as “post-modern.” Maybe the point was exaggerating hero worship to the point of widespread stupidity to suggest people shouldn’t put so much trust in heroes like Superman either. “Watchmen” was trying to warn us about stories like “Injustice” before they happen.
I’ve said it before: altruism isn’t all that realistic, and superpowers are more likely to super-corrupt. God-like superheroes don’t have the love and benevolence of the real God. So be extra careful who you admire as a super role model.
Do you know of any other gods among men we could talk about? Let’s Connect!
Twitter: @noahspud and @CorrelationBlog

Wonder Woman: Another Game-Changer for the Genre?

So, I’ve gone and seen movies on my own before. My first experience was Jurassic World, back in summer of 2015. I did it again when I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (review pending). That said, I am used to walking into a movie theater on my own to see a movie.

Wonder Woman Poster
(Image courtesy of IGN)


But, when the movie in question is Wonder Woman

The thought didn’t cross my mind until I was standing in the line to get my ticket, and I realized that I was the only guy going alone. And almost every group had a one girl with them.

I went to see Wonder Woman on Sunday, and it was pretty good. I won’t say it’s my favorite superhero movie—I won’t even say it’s my favorite DC superhero movie—but it is up in my top ten.

And, I’m going to put a SPOILER ALERT right here, because one of the big things I was impressed with happened in the third act. So, if you haven’t seen it, it’s good, go see it.

If you have…

Wonder Woman focuses mainly around the title character, who goes by Diana of Themyscira daughter of Hyppolyta for most of the movie, on her quest to track down Ares, the last surviving Olympian god, and kill him. To do so, she ends up running around the trenches and battlefields of World War I looking for him. Diana operates under the assumption that he’s manipulating the Germans, because they are producing superweapons.

When she reaches the final battle with him—and actually finds him—she learns that he’s been manipulating the British/Allied forces too. The two armies came up with the super-destructive weapons on their own because humans are generally evil.

I thought this was an interesting takeaway. Especially for a superhero movie, wherein humans are generally played as neutral, if not wholly good. Here, they’re shown to be bad, if not sinister. Even Diana’s motley crew is made up of—by their own admission—liars, smugglers, thieves, and murderers.

So, I commend DC for being able to do a good job with a movie about Wonder Woman. Knowing that Marvel’s going to be close behind with one of their own female superheroes, I’m curious to see what comes.

Hopefully, a Black Widow movie.

Other things I liked: this may be just me and my opinions, but it didn’t feel like they over-sexualized any of the female characters. I was quite impressed with it. The fight scenes are well-paced, and the action is good. The Act III plot twist was impressive—I almost didn’t see it coming.

Things I didn’t like: the relationship between Diana and Steve felt awkward rather than romantic, when it felt like the writers were pushing for romantic. And while the Act III plot twist kept me interested, it still felt like it dragged on. And on. And on…


Let’s Connect: