Podlight: The Lovecraft Tapes (Podcast Recommendation)

Four years ago I was looking for a way to get into the tabletop RPG Call of Cthulhu, having already familiarized myself with the basics of a D100 system and was always a fan of HP Lovecraft’s work it sounded like it could prove to be a fun thing to run for my group someday as we all enjoyed horror as a genre of game, novel and film.

While scouring YouTube and Facebook for something worth checking out I actually stumbled upon The Lovecraft Tapes in the podcast app later that day on my cellphone. I decided to start from the first case / season (Lights, Cameras, Chaos)episode and never looked back.

The Lovecraft Tapes Logo (awesome Tees in the merch store)

The podcast is an actual-play series with a video and audio component in which the Keeper / Host Jeremy runs sessions of the Call of Cthulhu, with Matt, Bryan and George playing the roles of investigators in an episodic format. With George mysteriously disappearing after a case the boys would recruit the talents of Gabe to continue their investigative efforts. Jeremy’s narration and chemistry with the players make for enjoyable listening but also helps in explaining how the mechanics in the game works for novice players. The party banter never gets stale and the way they approach the problem solving keeps the game fresh from episode to episode.

The boys at Lovecraft Tapes have grown through the years and have an impressive back catalogue of content worth checking out for anybody who is a fan of COC or someone new to the system and looking for a fun way to figure out how you could run the game. Jeremy never overcorrects and lets his players doom themselves but that is what is the fun in this specific game, the party seldom makes it to next week yet here they manage to survive to laugh another day…for the most part.

Apart from providing listeners with the podcast they also have Recommendos where the guys review and recommend video games, movies and a wide range of other cool stuff worth checking out. They always give a shout out to indie stuff when they can and are very responsive to queries and emails which I can vouch for myself. I can only apologize that it took me this long to get around to doing a piece on these guys. I salute their commitment to the culture and fun and hope to hear more from them for many years to come. Even how they would interject comedic ancient one commercials would bring cool intermissions between bad rolls and horrific consequences was but one of the many ways the team crafted brilliant entertainment for all fans of the genre. If you are somebody who cannot get enough of COC or HP Lovecraft this could be that casual listening for your down time between plotting sessions or reading novels.

When I first started listening I must have binged through the first 3 investigations in no time as I was working a warehouse job which was tedious to put it mildly somewhere in the countryside of Sweden. With a nagging supervisor and coworkers who did not care too much about the new Slav I was left to my own devices and forklift. Jeremy and the guys played a huge part in me not letting the company’s BS affect me as much during the day to day grind as the provided enough humor and intrigue to keep me going through eps. I soon found myself downloading 2-3 episodes at home and looking forward to work just cause I knew I would go through more of the adventures. For that I am indebted to you bros and supremely grateful.

So for any of you looking to get a fix of audio horror within a comedic yet interesting narrative look no further than The Lovercraft Tapes. It is hard to bring light to unspeakable dark cosmic horrors such as the ones contained in the tomes printed by Chaosium and Delta Green but this team will bring you out the end of it with some good laughs and a smile on your face.

The site offers several tiers of support from a Student of Miskatonic to The Dreamlands granting you different levels of access from prior rewards and benefits to including opportunities to play videogames with the guys and even the chance to play an NPC in an episode of the podcast! This group of gamers have truly been able to translate their passion into something great that can be monetized and inspire us here at Nerd Dimension to stick with our passions and make sure to have fun on the journey.

If you would like to find out more about The Lovecraft Tapes and see how you could support them please do click the links bellow and make sure you like their page and subscribe. There is a ton of cool content on their website and more information about the now expanded team of contributors and players.

Patreon

YouTube Channel

Twitter

Discord

Aliens : Colonial Marines ( Xbox 360 Game Review ) * Couch COOP Gaming *

We take on the the Aliens in this splitscreen shooter, read more to see how we faired and what we think of one of the worst reviewed games in console history.

To clarify for all of our readers that the guy who wrote this review was a fan of Aliens from the jump. The first Aliens game I played was on Sega and I spent hours of my early teens in Lan gaming spots playing the first Aliens Versus Predator with an IV drip of soda and pyramids  of snack wrappers littering my immediate surroundings . All fandom aside this will be an honest critique of the game where the franchise history factored only slightly in regards to ‘theme’ and ‘story’. Having hear many negative things about the games AI I still held out hope when I heard writers from Battlestar Gallactica worked on the plot, trying to approach the game without bias proved harder than I expected.

It would be wrong to ignore the power a brand can have on influencing your first impression or motivations in purchasing a game. The Ridley Scott classic movies made Xenomorphs one of the most identifiable aliens in popular cultural putting them in the same category as ET, the Predator, the Grays and the green men from Mars. Every kid wanted to blast those aliens and if nothing this game promised you that out the gate.

Needless to say we were curious to see the campaign Sega managed to pull together with all the existing source material available and if would play as well as it should compared to previous shooters under the same brand. It was their second game after purchasing the franchise and took the developer Gearbox which had worked on a version for the Playstation 2 earlier butt hat project was scrapped. Sega had a lot of pressure to deliver and I would be lying if I said this game even came close. In fact after playing the game the first time I read that it was considered to be in the top 10 worst games of all time. This game was released in a time when Sega had long given up on consoles and were making the millions in intellectual property so they did not have that many games in the works.

Off the bat the graphics are not the best we have seen as the campaign opens with you and your player 2 getting briefed on the USS Sephora before things start blowing up. As expected for the classic first person title the controls are standard and easy to learn while the darkness and shadows are done well making it feel more authentic adding to the overall horror theme. Despite the graphics seeming kind of blocky in the some of the cut scenes when compared to other titles out at the time. The designers and developers dropped the ball so much that at a few times while playing I was genuinely disappointed because I expected more from Sega.

The are arsenal contains all time fan favorite pulse rifle with upgrades and gadgets to add to your enjoyment such as red dots beams, scopes and grenade launchers to boot. Shotguns, pistols and smart-guns make for more passionate slaying though we feel more weapons should have been offered and the option of dual wielding pistols would have been something good to see.

Its reminiscent of the newer Doom and its predecessors as my brother and I swept through corridors shredding xenomorphs while remaining silent and on edge. the tension adding to the immersion of the game. The game is not as easy as expected and will leave you frustrated but in a good way because you really want to pass that next checkpoint. We recommend having a 40″ TV or monitor and up minimum to be able to enjoy the splitscreen experience in the its fullness.

Sadly the game clocks short at 11 levels with an extra level with the Limited Edition we played. The game does have highs and lows as the short campaign, less than smooth graphics and no DLC or expansions leaves Aliens Colonial Marines with much to desire. The upside is that it is fun to play, it won’t have you as glued as Borderlands but there is something in the nostalgia of it that leaves you on the edge of the couch. The game is too dark at times and turning up the brightness highlights some of the bad graphics but after some fiddling you can reach a playable compromise. I feel Sega were banking on releasing something that could keep gamers interested in Aliens but failed in creating a classic game let alone breathe new life to such a titan of a franchise. Bodying waves to Aliens, acidic highlighter colored ooze splashing everywhere, covering your other players back and the gore and explosions will test even the best of friendships. There were time I found myself taking a smoke break after being frustrated at certain points in the game, partly because of my paper thin nerves and mostly because of glitches and some stupid game architecture. Be warned, if Left 4 Dead has you screaming at your teammates this might having you choking them !!! We strongly advise playing this with the lights down low and in coop because it seems to be intended to be played that way. The short campaign and difficulty in solo play points to this being a two player experience.

All in all a fun game, worth the purchase and can be found cheap second hand. You have to stick together so the coop is emphasized and is a must have if you are looking for something other than zombies and terrorists. A good game to play through a few times but don´t expect it to be in your top 20 and it will not be something you come back to often. However, I do enjoy pulling it out after I watch of the Aliens movies so there is always that.

Giving this game a rating of

5 out of 10

Let us not get it twisted or misconstrued, ACM is far from a good game but it passes the minimal requirements. If we look at the third gen console library you will be hardpressed to find that many couch coop titles and this is one of the less than 20 titles availible. With XBOX live and PSN removing other titles the list is even shorter so that helped give ACM that extra point to get it to a passing grade. The sound is on point and you do feel that paranoia when scanning corridors with your pulse rifle. The lack of weapons, customization and personalization is a downside along with no extra content to spice things for repeat play. We factored in how cheap you get a copy for and it does give a decent coop experience if you have run out of things to play. Despite the short campaign and visible glitches of the developers made this a game Sega probably wishes never came out. This is a game which you can buy for cheap and breeze through in less than a dozen settings but do not expect to revisit it much after you have finished it.

Stay tuned for more reviews on Aliens games that we will be posting and commenting on in our podcast and on this site. Let us know what you felt of the game, did the carnage even satisfy even the least bit? Was the the story as boring to you as it was for me? Did this leave a permanent dent in Sega and its legacy as a developer?

Something good for the Fantasy Horror genre. Nerd Dimension recommends : Grimm (TV Series)

The Emmy nominated series is our new recommendation from Nerd Dimension so make sure you checkout why we think it is one of the best shows in recent years.

It seemed for a while that every network were throwing their hat into the fantasy/sci fi genre in recent years with the successes of Game of Thrones, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.and fan favorite Supernatural in the ratings. To be honest I think it would have started even sooner were it not for the slew of crappy teen vampire shows which left a lot of people loathing nightly programming. It was as if good writers quit and producers were looking to glue sniffing feminists for cues and applied the ‘how crappy can we make it before they change the channel’ philosophy to their script grading process. Every week some pale poser struggled with some petty problem involving a buffer poser with a lousy attitude and an androgynous female love interest while dealing with his lethal reactions to UV rays. For a while I felt studios would just give up on the whole concept of releasing an authentic show with some depth and brought something new to the table.

Grimm has proven to be that much-needed breath of fresh air I was looking for. At the time I decided to stream it they were shooting the second season which told me that there would be more to watch yet I did not see anyone discussing it on blogs and the forums I frequented. So I did what every normal person does when trying to make up their mind, visited IMDB and two other specific reviewers who made the show sound like it was worth giving a shot.


Nathan Burkhart ( David Giuntoli, 13 Hours ) is a tall, dark, Portland PD detective solving crimes in the small city with his partner Hank Griffin ( Russell Hornsby, Meet The Parents, Suits, Shameless) and seems to be living the dream. He likes his job, gets along with his boss and loves his beautiful longtime girlfriend Juliette Silverton ( Elizabeth Tulloch, Concusion, The Artist, Parkland). As you all guessed it, things start to change and change fast.

Nathan starts having what he believes are hallucinations early on in the show just around the time his Aunt and former guardian  Marie Kessler returned to Portland in her RV. She had raised him after he had lost both his parents in a car crash when he was still an infant and left after he joined the academy. The more frequent his visions the crazier he thinks he is going until his aunt tells him the truth about the family. She reveals to him the family curse and that he is descendent of monster slayers who are born with sight to see monsters in their true form. She tells him how the Grimm brothers were actually ‘Grimms’ and the stories were all true. Witches, Wolves and Trolls to name a few. He learns that these creatures, Wesen functioned as normal members of society and nobody can tell what they are unless they themselves choose to reveal true face. Naturally he is forced to keep this a secret from his girlfriend and colleagues and finds a new friend in an antique clock repairman Munroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) who also happens to be a Blutbad which is something like a werewolf. It is then he learns that Grimms are feared throughout the world by Wesen and are considered cold-blooded killers. As he struggles to keep his new-found powers and life in check our detective must fight the very beings of our nightmares while leading a double life which seems to spiral further out of control with each scene.

The show starts off with action but gradually gives decent info dumps so that the viewer gains more insight into the setting and creatures that inhabit this secret world. The acting is spot on featuring a cast that carry the roles convincingly and breathe life into the dialogue. The special effects and CGI are good and not over done and the backdrop of Oregon forests only add to the visuals. The team behind the cameras also do a good job as the show is shot well and the fight scenes are captured with realism and only get better as the show moves on. The producers did bot shy away from blood and obscenities and the mix of surprising plot twists and suspense building scenes make this show a must watch for someone who enjoys their action with a heavy theme and intriguing back story. The more you watch the more you feel like you are accompanying Nathan and his allies as they grow in strength and closer forming believable relationships. The interactions and intensity in some scenes create a viewing experience that is not only memorable but truly enjoyable. Honestly I am surprised that more people don’t watch this show but the three people I did manage to get to stream it were happy and have almost caught up with me. Another thing I simply loved was how they launched a webisode miniseires online entitled Grimm: Meltdown which was creative and truly awesome as I have not seen somebody pull it off as well as NBC did.

I would recommend this show to anybody who enjoys Super Natural, Fringe, Sleepy Hollow and the X-Files for it has something for each fan whether it be mysteries, conspiracies or evil beings that you crave. If you like relatable characters and your darkness with a small splash of perfectly timed humor this is the show for you. The protagonist is as much the ‘everyman’ and never comes across as an over the top hero like in most shows and the twists will have you lining up he next episode regularly. If you are looking for a show you can binge watch this summer with your girlfriend or after work with take out and a beer  be sure to check out Grimm.


Score: 8.5 out of 10 (loose 0.5 for leaving me on a cliffhanger too often lol)

#grimm
Remember that Nerd Dimension welcome all feedback and encourage readers to follow and share our content as well as invite them to submit their projects for review. So til next time don’t double dip the Doritos and the last Mountain Dew is always mine !!!

Goosebumps 2015 The Movie (Review and write up) R.L Stine starring Jack Black

Jack Black & R.L. Stine come together to leave you feeling like a kid again. Find out what we think of this soon to be classic.

While searching for something to watch this week I stumbled upon ‘Goosebumps‘ the movie and remembered reading about it before it went to theaters and could not believe I had missed it! I was genuinely surprised that I didn’t catch word of it or even see the trailer plugged on television. Having grown up reading the books then reading that Jack Black was starring in it I immediately made the call to watch it.

Today my car broke down first thing, effectively leaving me stranded at my folks place and the weather was horrendous leaving me with an opportunity to kick back in the room and watch the movie with no interruptions. I played the trailer to my brother who would be watching with me and he too said he was stunned that he had heard nothing about it until today.

Goosebumps

 

The story goes…  Zach (Dylan Minnette) comes to small town Madison Delaware where his mom is the new vice principal of his high school and just happens to move in next door to the legendary author R.L. Stine (Jack Black) and takes a romantic interest in his daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush) as they team up to battle against the characters from his books who have been let loose in suburbia.

If you ever read any of his work then the idea of mashing up all of his fiendish creatures into one movie is pretty stellar. Man Eating Plants to evil little garden gnomes, some of your favorite monsters make appearances and Jack Black playing R.L. seemed like movie gold to me. Well, until I heard Rob Letterman was behind the camera (Shark Tale & Gulliver’s Travels) I did got a little skeptic, after all Goosebumps were not really happy go lucky tales of joy from summer camp and a PG rating could prove fatal when you set high hopes for childhood classics. The budget was $50 Mil and it grossed north of $80 Mil  which is not too bad considering that the marketing was not that big but I would expect more for an author who is one of the best of our time. Yes, when a writer sells 400 Mil copies you have to tip your hat to him, especially if you ever read a copy for yourself.

Columbia Pictures produced a good movie which could be enjoyed by families and an adult audience with clever humor mixed in with great special effects. Rob throws you into it within the first seven minutes and the party does not stop, slow down or disappoint all the way to the end. This is a must watch for all Goosebumps fan if for not for the fun factor but for the nostalgia it awakens, watching them come to life was something take in. The shots are good, the tempo fast but not too fast and the writing is better than some of the ‘serious’ horror releases of late. I felt that it lost steam  in some places but that is my only qualm with the movie. I must thank Jack Black for doing a great job with this role and bringing his A game. I recommend it all the way and am hoping that Columbia decide to make another Goosebumps picture or perhaps a TV-Show in the years to come.

8 out of 10

  • Too Short
  • Steam is lost at some points which could have been easily avoided

 

Some of his works I would recommend for reading :

The Haunted Mask

Why I’m Afraid of Bees

Attack of the Mutant

Bottom Line : WATCH IT ! 

Please be sure to check out our social media page at NERD DIMENSION FB and tell us your favorite Goosebumps novel.

You can find out more about the legend at his website : www.rlstine.com