Author - PhantomV48

Fiz: The Brewery Management Game – Review

Fiz: Brewery Management Game

I spend a fair amount of my spare time playing video games. I also, as many of the Need Coffee staff can attest to, spend some of my spare time making beer and wine. Those two things rarely meet. Well, to be fair actually, they very very often meet, just not in a single product. Enter Fiz: The Brewery Management Game. It’s one of the very few points in the middle of the homebrewing/gaming venn diagram. It’s a pretty shiny point too.

Fiz, as its full name implies, is a management sim. After an introduction by a strange old beer wizard, you are walked through creating your first batch (called “Tutorial Lite”), and left in charge of a four-person basement microbrewery. As you progress through the game you level up your employees, discover new recipes, upgrade your equipment, unlock new marketplaces, and generally climb the beer ladder.

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Insidious: Chapter 2 – Movie Review

Insidious Chapter 2

Written by: Leigh Whannell, based on a story by James Wan & Leigh Whannell
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey

I love Insidious. Whether or not you like the shift in the third act, the first two are utterly terrifying, and anyone who says otherwise is a dirty stupid liar. I’ve seen it probably eight times or more, and was lucky enough to see it on the big screen again just before Insidious: Chapter 2 (henceforth to be referred to as Insidious 2, because I’m lazy). It didn’t lose much of its power in the theater a second time. Insidious was at its core a remake of Poltergeist.

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Why Slay Dragons and Conquer Universes When You Can Sell Bagels?

Desert Bus

The utterly mad Desert Bus game by Penn and Teller from 1995, one of the mundanest of the mundane. God help us, it was released for iOS and Android a while ago.

Irish comedian and geek extraordinaire Dara O’Briain once said of the video game Grand Theft Auto 4, “I’ve a day off work, and I’m in a commute. I cannot believe that I’ve taken the time of my own to sit in fake traffic, when I could be out in London driving somewhere nice in actual traffic.” Certainly a sentiment that makes sense. How many of us play games, watch films, or read books for a healthy dose of escapism? And this is how it’s been, probably since one caveman read the comics his buddy drew on the wall.

But there’s a weird phenomenon happening in the indie video games scene at the moment. People are making games about the mundanity of everyday life. Something that goes beyond the “Playing God” sort of games like The Sims. Games that simulate paperwork, cash transactions, and running errands. Here are some examples that you might want to look into, each a bit more soul-crushing than the last.

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V/H/S – Movie Review


Written by: Simon Barrett, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Nicholas Tecosky, Chad Villella & Ti West
Directed by: Bruckner, McQuaid, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, West & Wingard

V/H/S is a new horror anthology film (ala Creepshow, Trick ‘r Treat, Black Sabbath, and everyone’s favorite… Tales From The Hood) from a group of independent film writers and directors. The two biggest names involved are Ti West (who we’ll get to later) and Glenn McQuaid (Stake Land, I Sell The Dead). I’m going to try to review this without spoiling it, but I’m not usually very good at that. So, if you feel the need to bail–even though you’ve probably made up your mind just by the cup rating above, I’ll say it’s worth a shot. It’s well put together, but with some glaring flaws.

My chief complaint with V/H/S isn’t its wonky premise, or even its inconsistency; that’s just the nature of anthology films, really. There will always be hits and misses and there are certainly hits and misses here. It’s more about its casting and characters. The film is comprised of about 90% douchebags. So when I say the phrase “white college frat boy douchebags” to you…you know that person you immediately picture in your head? There are about fifteen of them in this film. A few of the men depicted show redeemable qualities, but they are a small minority. And not only are their personalities the same, they look remarkably similar between the stories as well. The film has been criticized for being misogynistic. While some of the stories come off that way, I don’t feel myself qualified to deem the entire film one way or the other. I can most certainly say is that none of the men shown here are people that anyone reading this will want to be around for long periods of time.

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Doctor Who: The Journey #4: The Keys of Marinus

Doctor Who: William Hartnell in court from Keys of Marinus

Weirdest. Inherit the Wind. Production. Ever.

The Story So Far: Intrepid pop culture adventurers PhantomV48 and Fleshvine have decided to make the long trek through the history of Doctor Who, starting all the way back at jump. They take up their adventure and continue with the madness…

Our Gang lands in a miniature TARDI…what? Oh, it’s been almost a year since we’ve put out one of these? Yes, well, time is funny that way. Especially when you’re writing about a time travel show! Anywho…

Our Gang lands in a miniature TARDIS at a beach that’s full of chunks of glass with a sea made of acid. After wandering aimlessly around this environment, they happen upon a group of one-man submarines. Meanwhile they’re being stalked by a guy in a scuba suit…no, seriously, flippers and all. Susan gets scared, runs off, and falls through a rotating door in a building, because that’s what she’s good at. The group heads up to the building to find her, and soon ends up going through the same rotating door.

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Rocksmith – Game Review

Rocksmith Xbox 360

Release Date: October 28, 2011
Developed & Published by: Ubisoft
Rating: Teen
Genre: Music video game.
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

So, one of the most popular genres in gaming for the past decade has been rhythm games, like Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and one of our very favorites, Guitar Praise. While these have been huge hits with most gamers, especially as party games, the crotchety musician contingent has had complaints. Namely that, no matter what your friends tell you on LIVE, flipping a strum bar and pressing 5 color-coded buttons will never make you the next Al Di Meola (crotchety-musician-types LOVE Al Di Meola). Strides have been made in this field, using midi instruments or controllers with upwards of 100 buttons, but so far they haven’t been of much better quality than the plastic instruments we started with in the beginning, if you can find and afford them at all.

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Doctor Who: The Journey #3: Edge of Destruction & Marco Polo

William Hartnell as Doctor Who, with head bandage

This is an incredibly futuristic auto-disinfecting bandage The Doctor is wearing. It's most certainly not a scrap of poncho fabric around his head. It's just not.

The Story So Far: Intrepid pop culture adventurers PhantomV48 and Fleshvine have decided to make the long trek through the history of Doctor Who, starting all the way back at jump. So they just met the Daleks and now they hit the next two adventures…

So, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t mention this outright. The Whoniverse lost a rather important figure this past month, Elisabeth Sladen, better known to fans as Sarah Jane Smith. Though it’ll be quite sometime before we meet her in these travels, we certainly know her character and her impact on the show. She’s without a doubt the most famous of The Doctor’s companions; for many the first–and for many still, the favorite. Far better words have been said about this, some on this very website, so we’ll just direct you to those and continue on our mission.

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Insidious (2011) – Movie Review

Insidious poster

Written by: Leigh Whannell
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor, Lin Shaye

My Advice: See it in the theater with a crowd if you can
The Credits: Stay through them.

When not gallivanting through Time and Relative Dimension In Space, Fleshvine and I watch a lot of horror films. A wide variety, from comedies like Shaun of The Dead, to fine Italian cheeses like The Devil’s Nightmare, to classics like The Changeling. Watching all these different horror films, one gets…not exactly jaded, but you learn how things work. You can see the scare coming (if there is one) a mile away. So, it’s a rare and special thing when a horror film manages to actually scare us. The other day we went to see Insidious in the theater, and it scared the holiest of bloody bejeezuses out of us.

To be perfectly clear, this review contains spoilers. But if nothing else, know this: this movie is good. Very good. Go out and see it before you read this. The film is better with the less you know about it. This review will still be here when you get back.

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Doctor Who: The Journey #2: The Daleks

Doctor Who: Daleks: Violate!


The Story So Far: Intrepid pop culture adventurers PhantomV48 and Fleshvine have decided to make the long trek through the history of Doctor Who, starting all the way back at jump. So they just met the First Doctor in “An Unearthly Child” and now they make the second stop on their journey…

The Daleks

(Told in seven parts: “The Dead Planet,” “The Survivors,” “The Escape,” “The Ambush,” “The Expedition,” “The Ordeal,” and “The Rescue.”)

PhantomV48: So, they break these guys out pretty early, huh? When we last left our heroes–

Fleshvine: –and Susan The Whiny–

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Doctor Who: The Journey #1: An Unearthly Child

DJ Doctor Hartnell from An Unearthly Child

Back row: Ian, Barbara, Carol. Front: Dokter Hartnell: The Mad DJ.

Here’s a new entry into our array of pop culture excavation and analysis. PhantomV48, animator and bon vivant, has decided to plunge into the world of Doctor Who. And run the entire length of it. Knowing that this is not a journey to take alone, he is joined in his adventure by his fiancee, Fleshvine (co-host of the Kinky and the Geek podcast). They’ve packed supplies, a compass, and a bunch of coffee. Here they begin their journey. Wish them luck.

PhantomV48: Doctor Who has been around for 48 years. 48 years. More than half of the people reading this haven’t been alive that long; neither of us have.

Fleshvine: I’m closer than you are, babycakes.

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