Sunday, February 27, 2011

Minecraft: Or How I Learned To Stop Wondering Where The Past Four Hours Have Gone And Just Love This Game

Today I shall step away from rabidly playing Minecraft to review Minecraft. Minecraft is an independently published game that was originally made by only one man. It has sold over one million copies to this day, and the creator has founded a game studio with the profits in order to further polish and finish the game. Minecraft is probably best explained as the love-child of model train enthusiasts and Legos. The entire world is made out of little square blocks. You can destroy them, pick them up, place them to build things, mix them together to make other things, and at night monsters come. That’s pretty much the entire game. But that is not a condemnation. Games like Minecraft and the Sims are perfect examples of emergent game play. The game would lose something if you had to do something, like slay a dragon threatening a town or something. Instead you are your own adventure. And it never disappoints. For this review, I started up a brand new world. And since it is so hard to review an experience, I’ll just share mine.

I awoke on a shore of a small beach. In the distance I could see snow-capped hills and forests as far as the eye could see. Under the frozen ocean before me squid swam and menaced me. Looks like I am not going swimming anytime soon, I thought. As I turned around I saw something on a far hill. Here the snow ended and instead sat a massive tree, forever ablaze. Since I obviously had never seen any horror movie ever, I ventured toward the blazing unknown inferno.

I guess I had picked my direction correctly. Over the small hill was entire forest of flame. And I now saw the source. Lava was pouring from a small cave in the face of a nearby mountain and pooling in the forest. It had incinerated the leaves off the trees but had left the trunks and branches intact, just on fire. It was quite the site to behold, and decided this was a good enough landmark to build a temporary fortification at. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to miss the massive makeshift torches from any point nearby. It seemed like a good idea at the time, so I built a small wooden shack near the lava flow and began making tools.

A few seconds past and then I heard it. Horrible, unearthly sounds of pain. I stepped out of my sanctuary and saw it. A massive green abomination was on fire and barreling towards me. I sprinted away from my hovel and headed deeper into the conflagration. I didn’t make it too far. “HSSSSSSSSSSSS!” the monster shouted, before exploding. I was far enough away to survive the blast, but I couldn’t say the same about the surrounding terrain. What was once grass and dirt was a massive hole. The explosion caldera linked into an underground cave system.

Now imagine this, only on fire

I hoofed it back to my home and produced some torches since the hole was pitch black, and returned to the cavern entrance. Tossing a torch on the wall every few feet, I began my descent. I hadn’t gone too far when I heard scuttling from my right. From around a corner a massive spider leapt out at me. I had forgone weapons, so it was me wielding a pickaxe versus an arachnid monstrosity. I barely emerged victorious. Around that corner I found where the beast had come from. A nest of the bastards was right in my cave. So I threw a handful of torches inside to scare the bastards out and blocked off the tunnel that led to me. A pinnacle of bravery I am not. Just past the spider nest I saw it. A massive hole going straight down. I could hear and sort of see water pooling at the bottom, but the rest was pitch black. So I leapt off the edge, into the abyss.

The abyss, lit up after the fact

I’ve learned a few things since that first night on the beach. Whenever I die, I wash back up on the same beach. I am stuck in the blocky purgatory. But I don’t have to keep hiding. I will not run from them anymore. I returned from the abyss with massive amounts of iron. I have a sword now. And a bow and a handful of arrows. I am no longer the hunted. I hunt them for sport, for resources, for the catharsis. I lure them into fields of flame or into massive pits. I outsmart them and out maneuver them. This is my world, damn it, not yours. I’m just going to take it back. One massive spider or exploding green monstrosity at a time.

-Joe Schlicht

Saturday, February 26, 2011

T-Swift: Love to hate her

It is all over the gossip news sites and magazines. Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal, the chiseled chin hunk, have called it quits. Although it was relatively a short lived love

affair, knowing Taylor Swift who seems to always play the damsel in distress when it comes to love, its long enough to write a song about. I can see it now, her beloved fans waiting on the sidelines rooting for T-Swift to take her revenge out in pop-country lyrics and catchy sing-a-long tunes.

I would know, I’m one of them.

Many call Taylor Swift a great singer and an even better songwriter. She writes from her heart and pre-teen girls to college women seem to relate to the everyday challenges this girl has to go through. She writes mostly of love lost and love gained but also friendships, teammates, and courage. As much as I love her, I have definitely ran into my fair share of T-swift haters and interes

tingly enough, to an extent I understand their disapproval.

Lets start off with the love interests. You have Joe Jonas who supposedly broke up with her over the phone in 27 seconds. Out came the song Always and Forever alluding to Joe’s promise of a love that was forever, don’t we get the picture girls? A good friend of mine said, “relationships either end up in heartbreak or marriage, and usually it’s the former.” Then you have Taylor Lautner, the hot hunk from the Twilightseries, who lip synched his own cover of Apologize signaling to T-Swift its to late to do so. Back to December was the apology song she wrote to him, but looks like its to late to do so since the album came out a year later. Afterwards, there was John Mayer, who surprisingly was not discovered until the end of the relationship by the song on her newest album Dear John which isn’t a pretty song. Then of course there was Jake Gyllenhaal, but what horrible thing can you write about Jake Gyllenahll, nothing right? I’m sure that won’t be the case.

Then there wasthat incident with Kanye West on the MTV VideoMusic Awards. Our girl T-Swift beat out Beyonce for best female video, but the haters weren’t going to have that. West probably said what all the haters felt about T-Swift. That she doesn’t deserve any of her accolades that she’s earned. Taylor Swift with the likes of Kenny Chesney and George Strait as winners of Entertainer of the Year or Album of the Year award at the 44th Annual CMAS??? That’s when people really started to hate Taylor, not the nice, sweet, Taylor Swift the person but T-Swift the brand. So you have the loyal fans that feel for the girl and then those who say she doesn’t deserve any pity for being interrupted for receiving an award. Not only that, he mentioned that she doesn’t deserve the award. Tell me how you would feel if someone took away the honor of what you deserved.

But its not about what she’s won or who she’s dated. It’s not about if you think she can sing or can’t hold a melody at all. Taylor Swift is a breath of fresh air, you know why? Because her songs are autobiographical which make them so relatable to a college woman like me. Yes, many artists write about their lives, but I’m not talking about them because I don’t relate to them. I don’t have my feelings put to lyrics by them. You can hate Taylor Swift for her pitchy voice, or her song material or the awards she doesn’t deserve. I understand. But don’t hate me for relating to her or encouraged by her to say what I want to say, no matter what the world says. I find her lyrics powerful and supportive when I’m feeling down. My problems don’t have to circle love, it could be about school or family. It’s the emotions I can feel from her lyrics that let me know I’m not alone, in this cold, dark world sometimes. She’s been through it too.

-Thu-Ha Truong

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Never Say "Never Watch This Move"

5 Bros. A rack of Natty. Justin Bieber. What. A. Night.

It started off like any other Tuesday. Crushing empties on our foreheads. Downing 40's. Pong. Then someone's like, "Bro's, you know what we gotta see, like, right now?"

And we were like, "What?"

And he's like, "The goddamn Justin Bieber movie, that's what."

And I was like, "Baby, baby baby. Hell yes." I'd already bootlegged it that morning. I pulled it up on the nearest computer. And the magic began.


First of all, 3D. Yeah. It's in 3D. We'd just bought glasses for our last movie watching sesh of Disney's Tangled, so we were set. Let me tell you, 2 dimensions is 1 too few to live the Biebs. It's like he's actually coming out of the screen to touch you. Which would be tight, but unlikely. With 3D, when he’s far away, he’s smaller and it’s sad, but when he’s up close he’s like bam right there. Amazing.

By the first minute, we were sucked in. His boyish good looks, sideswoop lesbian lego haircut, castrati-pitched voice. Like a bro dream. Plus, he gets mad chicks. Like, crazy stalker preteens…but aren't they all, amiright?

Like, every girl, ever.

The documentary makes a point of showing that JB came from nothing. Like, upper-middle class America nothing. And he worked his way all the way to the top. Now that's a moderately-rich to riches story if I've ever heard one.

Also, the Bieber baby clips. What a kid. While I was still eating cheerios off a plate and putting coins up my nose, Biebz was cranking out jams like Knotts. He could drum on a table… with his hands. Like, incredible. And he sang and stuff too. A true child prodigy. He's like Mozart. Brozart. Or like Michael Jackson in a little white boy's body. But I digress.

He can even hold a guitar.

The movie gives you a behind the scenes look at Justin Bieber's tour and life too, and he’s, like, a totally chill bro. He likes to kick it. And ball with the bros. And get his hair done. And just dance. If I had a nickel every time I wanted to just dance, I’d have, like, a lot of nickels. And JB can really cut rug. And dude, he could be a total d-bag with how loaded he is and I wouldn’t care. But he’s so humble.


Anyway, forty brews and two boxes of tear-tissues later, the curtain closes, movie ends. We were so amped we made up a couple dance routines and sang “Baby” into our empty cobras. It was tight.

Best. Bronight. Ever.

-Taylor Savage