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Paul Meekin

Video Game Review: ‘Pneuma: Breath of Life’ is Fresh Air For Sore Eyes

Pneuma

CHICAGO – I was a 8 or 9 when I found myself in front of a Phillips CD-I display at Sears, playing the “Sesame Street” game like it was my job. The Count, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie all talked and animated in a way I had never seen in a game before. There was a guy in a suit talking to a lady behind me and he asked what I thought.

Video Game Review: ‘The Escapists’ is So Obtuse

TheEscapists

CHICAGO – Years ago I took a game development class and pitched a game that was “Harvest Moon” meets “The Sims.” Instead of farming, your options included being a taxi driver, store clerk, handy man, stay at home parent, etc - all with accompanying mini-games and domestic troubles, a bit like the now-freeware “Cart Life.”

Video Game Review: ‘Don Bradman Cricket’ a Tricky Wicket

Don Bradman Cricket

CHICAGO – 2014’s “The Golf Club” gave sports games a proper kick in the arse, booting out the pretentious hubbub of PGA Tour, its Pros, its Courses, and its ‘Majesty’ and ‘Prestige’, and replaced them with a Norm MacDonald-sounding caddy and a streamlined game of golf that let you play 18 holes in under an hour.

Video Game Review: ‘Dying Light’ Does Just Fine

Dying Light

CHICAGO – Playing “Dying Light” in co-op mode began a tale of two different gamers with two different lives and two different tastes. My co-op partner, Matt, is an Internet networking guru with a brand new Xbox One and not much to play on it beyond “#IDARB” (which is fantastic and free). He sunk his teeth into it like like an Asgardian at an all-you-can-eat buffet. He loved the open world, the graphics and the gruesomeness.

Video Game Review: ‘South Park: The Stick of Truth’ Spares the Satire, Spoils the Fans

South Park: The Stick of Truth (teaser)

CHICAGO – In May 13, 1996, I didn’t know what an RPG was. That all changed with “Super Mario RPG: The Legend of The Seven Stars”. The term was right there in the title! Not only did they popularize the genre, Square Enix streamlined the numbers heavy RPGs of the past into something challenging, charming, thrilling, and accessible. The combat was required timed button presses, and the story was oddly touching; bittersweet moments supplementing the generally upbeat and zany antics. It was almost a kid-friendly water-slide prelude to the pop-culture Tsunami that was to be “Final Fantasy VII” only a few months later, at which point pretty much everyone knew what an RPG was and what to expect to from one.

Video Game Review: ‘Rayman Legends’ Brings Platforming Perfection to Next Gen

Rayman Legends Xbox One

CHICAGO – It’s possible you made the unadvisable decision to remove “Rayman Legends” from your gaming console at some point in the six months its release. I know I did, and once it was out of the console, finding a reason to put it back in was tricky. I had collected tens of thousands of lums, and quite a large portion of of the 700 teensies, and loved every second of it. But there was so much more to do. More teensies, more lums, more secrets and challenges to complete - very daunting.

Video Game Review: ‘Masters of the World: Geopolitical Simulator 3’ is Economic Stimulis for the Brain

Masters Of The World: Geopolitical Simulator 3

CHICAGO – “Everyone hates the President” said my Mother after I, yet again, bemoaned the extreme polarization of folks on various social media platforms toward Mr. Obama. I guess it’s true. But still, don’t these people on Facebook and Twitter and Disqus know how hard that job is? What the actual *job* of the President is?

Video Game Review: ‘Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition’ Delivers Action, Downplays Feminism

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

CHICAGO – Lara Croft is all about her boobs. I mean, seriously. I don’t mean to be this guy, but if you’re a gamer who was around to play or hear about the initial “Tomb Raider,” the first thing your subconscious brings to mind – most likely – is Ms. Croft’s green tank top and those not-quite-round polygonal boobies.

Video Game Review: Junk Food Appeal of ‘Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’

CHICAGO – Edward Kenway stands upon a Nassau stronghold ledge above two guards having an idle chat. I push the X button and he drops down upon their necks with piercing steel. I hold RT and the directional stick and hop into a nearby hay bale. Save for the two bodies, it was like I was never there.

Video Game Review: ‘Grand Theft Auto: Online’ is an Iffy Connection

CHICAGO – Sometimes you get a freebie. While seemingly millions of other players were cursing the house that Houser built, stuck waiting for “Grand Theft Auto: Online” to load the first tutorial mission, I was already in and playing a day after launch.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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