Game of Thrones “High Sparrow” Review

by Matthew Thompson

I think the most intriguing aspect of “High Sparrow” is the collision course it is setting up for all the Northern storylines. For a couple of weeks, I’ve wondered aloud where Sansa and Littlefinger were headed. My guess was they’d get entangled in the Northern plots. Not that I deserve much credit for this prediction, where else could they be going besides off on their own in the Riverlands somewhere? It was just the most logical conclusion. Brienne and Pod follow behind sure to get mixed up in all of this too. Adding an extra layer to Brienne’s journey is the conversation she has with Pod this episode. It’s a strong scene that sheds light on her history with Renly and reiterates her lust for revenge against Stannis Continue reading

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Mario Kart 8 (Animal Crossing) DLC Impressions

by Matthew Thompson

Nintendo has delivered another swath of great new content for Mario Kart 8 this month. Just like the series’ first foray into the world of downloadable content last fall, MK8’s latest DLC delivers fresh new courses, remade classics and new characters that feature some crossovers from other Nintendo franchises, all at a very affordable price Continue reading

TV Catch Up: Banshee Seasons 2 and 3

by Matthew Thompson

A few weeks ago I wrote about my impressions of the first season of Banshee and now I’m back with my thoughts on Seasons 2 and 3. These will contain spoilers for both seasons, so if you aren’t caught up you’ve been warned Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #14-Castle Crashers

by Matthew Thompson

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

Castle Crashers is like one of those classic beat ‘em ups you used to feed your quarters to in the arcades as a youngster, but designed for the modern console era. It follows that same gameplay template where you are moving along and mixing it up with baddies from that familiar point of view, but it feels more fleshed out here which makes for a much more complete game. The result is the genre’s crowning achievement and my favorite of the new brand of smaller downloadable titles that the seventh generation’s increased online connectivity ushered in Continue reading

Game of Thrones “The House of Black and White” Review

by Matthew Thompson

Much like last week, the second episode of Season 5 continues to set up the major stories that Game of Thrones will tell in the season to come. This includes seeing Arya for the first time since last year. Her brief tour of Braavos is a beautiful one (a location we visited with Stannis last season, but not to such a large extent) and I particularly loved Arya walking towards the camera with the doors of the titular House of Black and White split to either side of her. Things don’t go as simply for her as she’d hoped, but the episode’s end has her entering the mysterious house and reuniting with fan favorite Jaqen H’ghar (or at least the actor who played him). Arya has, in my eyes, been the most consistently entertaining character on the show throughout its run and this acts a nice introduction to the fresh direction that awaits her this season as she leaves the search for her family that occupied much of her time the past few seasons behind Continue reading

Orphan Black “The Weight of This Combination” Review

by Matthew Thompson

Orphan Black was such a pleasant surprise back in 2013. In a television landscape lacking in quality sci-fi shows, it delivered something fresh and new giving fans of the genre another series to obsess over. Seeing new clones pop up was always a treat and the show maintained a fast pace which added an exciting thriller aspect to the whole affair. Yet it always felt like it was living on the edge and as the second season rolled on it seemed to teeter off, making a once promising mythology a bit too messy. Of course, through the ups and downs of all of that, the best part of the show has always been Tatiana Maslany’s magnificent performance and she is as brilliant as ever as we kick off the series’ third season Continue reading

Game of Thrones “The Wars to Come” Review

by Matthew Thompson

Thinking back on the myriad of memorable moments Game of Thrones has delivered over the past five years, you won’t recall many of its best in the premieres. The pilot is an exception, partly because it introduced viewers to this wonderful world, but also because it was before its cast had expanded and been spread thin across two continents. Now seasons start with the burden of reconnecting fans with characters stretching from The Wall to Slaver’s Bay and all manner of places in between. It is a daunting task. The Season 5 premiere does a good job stepping up to this challenge, but does fail to make some of the week’s check-ins feel substantial Continue reading

What I’m Looking Forward to in Game of Thrones Season 5

by Matthew Thompson

(This blog contains spoilers for the A Song of Ice and Fire book series and what is likely to come in Game of Thrones Season 5. If you have not read all the way through all five books including the most recent one, A Dance with Dragons, you really shouldn’t read this. Be sure to check out my upcoming episode reviews which will be non-book reader friendly.)

Last year I had a giant list of things I couldn’t wait to see in the new season of Game of Thrones. But we are running out of road as far as book material goes and it seems they are changing up a lot of things this season on top of that. So I’ve stayed away from offseason news a lot more and as a result, don’t know as much about what is coming. I don’t think based on the source material this season will have as many standout moments as the past couple either. Still I wanted to talk about some of the things I look forward to seeing on the show, so here they are (once again book spoilers to follow) Continue reading

TV Catch Up: Banshee Season 1

by Matthew Thompson

(For this blog on the first season of Banshee I kept the spoilers to the bullets, so non-watchers could see what it was about and those who have seen it can see some more spoilerly thoughts of mine further below.)

High art Banshee is not, but it sure is fun. When an unnamed master thief (Antony Starr) is released from prison after fifteen years and looks to reconnect with his past, he finds himself in a small town named Banshee. In a ridiculous sequence of events, this man ends up taking the identity of the soon-to-be Banshee Sheriff Lucas Hood and in charge of the law enforcement in this rural Pennsylvania town. Things don’t get any more realistic from here, but if you can find your way past that you’ll be treated to a fantastically fun action series unlike any other you’ll find on television Continue reading

My First Quarter of 2015 in Gaming Plus a Look Forward

by Matthew Thompson

The first quarter of 2015 in gaming has been, in a word, lackluster. I remain a little surprised about how positive the impressions of Dying Light were as my time with the title left me unimpressed. Sure there was some fun to be had in free-running around the fictional city of Harran. But as is generally the case with open-world platforming of this ilk, the fun simply doesn’t last. Then you are left with a completely forgettable story, unimaginative mission design, and melee combat that ranges from boring and repetitive when fighting zombies to flat-out annoying when tussling with humans. My time with Dying Light didn’t last long, so there may have been some quality locked away behind a myriad of upgrades and level-ups (that grappling hook seemed pretty cool), but with such a mundane start, I’ll probably never find out Continue reading