The White Pill by Michael Malice (7/10)

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The title of this book would suggest that it is purely about having a hopeful outlook about world events. Rather, it is mostly a history of the rise and fall of the Soviet Union with a heavy emphasis on the level of depravity both within the U.S.S.R. and amongst the many Western apologists for the regime. None of this was new information to me (see this, this, this, this, and this. And let’s not forget Flappr’s Excellent overview: The Russian Revolution: Good Thing / Bad Thing) but this work is a much more condensed and to the point telling of the tale. What was most interesting to me were the final few chapters that document Reagan, Thatcher, Gorbachev and the eventual fall of the Soviet empire. The speed and totality of the fall is the great example of why one should be white-pilled.

Ion Fury on PC (9/10)

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Ion Fury is more than the nostalgia cash-in that its marketing might suggest. It an FPS that gets to the core of what a great FPS should be: a combination frantic firefights in environments that test a player’s skill and clever level design that rewards exploration. Missing from all this is a deep and thoughtful story but I didn’t really miss it. Too many games these days try to be movies instead of games. I appreciate the effort, but the writing in video games rarely is even on par with a Disney channel sitcom. Gameplay is king and Ion Fury has it in spades.

The game is built using an updated version of the 3D Realms Build Engine. It still looks like Duke Nukem 3D but the resolutions are higher, the controls a much smoother, and the sheer amount of stuff in the game is increased. You are still mainly just looking for key cards on your path to the final boss battle(s). And, you know what, I didn’t care. The levels are incredibly designed, the enemies are just smart and varied enough, and there are plenty of stat challenges to shoot for. Finding all the secrets without a walkthrough is probably impossible but when you do find one is a truly rewarding. This was an unexpected gem.

Nightmares Come at Night (3/10)

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The only thing this Jess Franco movie has going for it is its score by Bruno Nicolai. The rest is a mostly incoherent mess cobbled together from footage from other movies. Shots are repeated, others linger for way too long. It’s all a means to pad the length. He does manage to give it a story but this was most likely made as an excuse to getting a lot of nudity on the screen and way too much nudity is Jack Taylor.

Control on PC (7/10)

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In Control you are in control of Jesse. She’s been plunked down into a giant, oppressively designed government building and there are glowy monster-men attacking her. Not much else is explained. Only after a few hours of playing do you start to get a feeling for what’s going on. Something about a long lost brother, a voice in her head, and a mysterious force called The Hiss.

It’s not terribly engaging but at least the combat mechanics can be fun. You have a selection of weak pistols but mostly enemies are taken down with Jesse’s multitude of psychic powers. The most useful of which is her ability to launch objects at enemies. It’s pretty much a gussied-up version of the Half-Life 2 gravity gun. There’s also a shield, a dash, possession, and levitation but those are only have limited use. It’s a bit of a Metroid thing where a few zones are only accessible with a specific power.

In the end I was mostly just frustrated with the third-person perspective and all the running around. Apparently there is some sort of Alan Wake tie-in and that would explain the similar game play feels. But there was just too much obtuse story telling for my tastes.

Titan by Robert Kroese (6/10)

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Libertarian disaster porn that moves along nicely until the actual disaster hits (figuratively) about two-thirds into the book. At that point it becomes pages and pages of characters explaining inflation and banking in unrealistic monologues that would bore John Galt. The Mandibles told a very similar story much better.