Author Archives: Zoe_E_W

Netflix Nosedive: Kingdom

I am sick to death of zombies, and have been for a few years now. In films they’re the laziest monster, laying around for years without reaching an expiration date, yet always seeming to last just long enough to catch their victims. (Seriously, you want me to believe that 20 years after the pandemic infection event, there’s still armies of fresh corpses waiting to snack on four people? Oy.) In video games, they’re a programmer’s dream come true, since they barely need any AI or pathing coded in. Just fill a map with a hundred copy-pasta enemies and clock out. Problem solved.

More to the point, zombies in any medium just don’t scare me any more, I think because I’m over the hill and looking at a real death more squarely in its hollow skull sockets. Besides, if there ever really was a zombie apocalypse, I’m in lousy shape and would likely die in the first five minutes. I’m okay with that, and I’m making my peace with death rather than whistling past the graveyards. It’s just that now, it takes more than an shambling corpse to scare me. (Side note: killer sharks still seem to work on me for some reason I can’t explain.)

So what would it take to convince me to watch yet another zombie show? Turns out, adding political intrigue during the late Joseon period in Korea. Give me a scheming handsome prince with muddled but mostly good intentions, an evil young queen and her equally evil daddy, and suddenly I’m hooked like a catfish to stink bait. Despite being the centerpiece to this story, for me the zombies fall by the wayside under the weight of fascinating characters and even more intriguing political machinations. Continue reading


Netflix Nosedive: Aggretsuko

Oh, man…am I glad I started Aggretsuko late, because now I know there’s a second season coming, and that eases the torment of this show ending way too soon for my liking. That alone should tell you I loved this series. I’d seen in a couple other reviews that it was very melancholy, but that wasn’t my experience with it. I laughed until I hurt during most episodes except for the last and the Christmas Special (Which I’ll also cover in this review.)

Also, I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can avoid spoilers for this one, so if you want to go into the show clean, just stop now.

Also, this is my first exposure to the cast, as I never saw the 100 one-minute episodes that originally set up the story. So any experts who note mistakes in my review, please, keep your snickering to respectable levels.

With that out of the way, Aggretsuko is a Sanrio show for adults. The main character is Retsuko, a red panda who works as an OL (office lady) for a big company. She’s part of the accounting department, and after five years working in the same dead end position, she’s a bundle of raw nerves that seek release through singing death metal. That’s the whole premise in a nutshell, and it’s what drew me in, the curiosity to see where that angle would go. Continue reading


Game review: Pac-Man 256 for Android

Endless runners aren’t really my thing. I did enjoy Jetpack Joyride for several months, but most of the games in the genre get stale for me in a week or two. Pac-Man 256 got stale around the two hour mark.

Bear in mind, Pac-Man was one of the first arcade games to show up at our skate rink and movie theater, and it was the first game we got for our Atari 2600. Alongside Dig-Dug and Galaga, I’ve got Pac-Man on my PS4 whenever I need a quick pellet munching fix. I owned the Tiger Electronics LCD version of Pac-Man. You see what I’m saying? I love Pac-Man, and I don’t like this endless runner version of it. Not at all.

My problems with this game can be traced to the procedural generation and the blind spots created by the way the maze appears from the top and right of the screen. I might be aiming for a specific path, only to see that way is now blocked by several ghosts, and I’m dead with no chance of course correction. Continue reading


Book Review: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

It’s been ages since I put out a book review, and it took me several months to work my way through The Fifth Season. I want to assure you right away, this was not because it was a bad book. Quite the opposite, really. I’ve just been having brain problems because of MS relapses, and there were days when I couldn’t retain anything I tried to read. This makes it hard to review something if I can’t remember it, so I usually put the book down on those days and wandered off to play Dark Souls.

Let us begin with where my interest in the series started because it wasn’t with me buying the first book. I bought it for my husband, who was about to go on another long distance flight for work, and I remembered N.K. Jemisin being a writer I followed on Twitter who writes fantasy, and hubby loves fantasy. So one book purchase later, I went back to work on my stuff and promptly forgot about it.

Then in mid August, the 2018 Hugo awards winners were announced, and here’s N.K. Jemisin’s The Stone Sky winning Best Novel of the Year. So I do a bit of digging and see that all three books in the trilogy won a Hugo, and The Stone Sky also picked up a Nebula and a Locus award. That makes the whole series a bit more intriguing. I mean, sure, one book in a series wins, you’ve done good. But if the whole series wins year on year? Then you must have done something special to earn that kind of praise. So, is that the case? Continue reading


Netflix Nosedive: Happy!

I went into Happy! not knowing what to expect and having low expectations because I’m not a fan of Christopher Meloni. He’s one of the main reasons I gave up on Law and Order: SVU because the writers forgot that all these cases still have to go to trial, so if you have a detective strangling, punching, or attacking suspects, then those suspects just got a get out of prison free card. So no, the ends do not justify the means no matter how badly the writers want to peddle that fantasy.

After two episodes of Happy! I sort of made my own head canon that Detective Nick Sax and Eliot Stabler are actually the same person, and that this is what happens when a cop with anger issues finally goes too far. Nick isn’t just a slightly bad cop at the start of Happy!, though flashbacks in later episodes show he was long before his fall from law and order. (See what I did there?) No, now he’s a hit-man working freelance for the mob in a town where pretty much everyone is a bad cop. He’s an alcoholic and drug addict, looking like a homeless person that collects change fiending for their next fix.

Nick’s life changes when he suffers a heart attack and during the ambulance ride sees the imaginary friend of a kidnapped girl. Happy is a cheerful blue…there’s probably a words for a horse with a horn and wings, but it’s escaping me. It’s not pegasus, and it’s not unicorn…unisus? Pegacorn? Chaka Khan? Continue reading


This is not a review of Cross Code for PC

I hate turning this into a habit, but I have a choice of not writing about a game I can’t finish and moving on, or writing on my feelings up to the point that I stopped playing, and I’d really rather get new posts out for y’all, even if they’re incomplete opinion pieces on games I don’t want to force myself to continue playing.

This time the game is Cross Code, a somewhat nostalgic RPG/puzzle platformer that looks great, has a fantastic soundtrack, and an intriguing story premise. Unfortunately, it’s the puzzle portion of the game that’s dulled my interest in continuing. Where I stopped was a few hours after completing the second of four dungeons to acquire the game’s four elemental powers, ice, fire, shock, and wave. I can say that I rather enjoyed the combat, and some of the platforming sections. But the puzzles just drag on an on and on and on and on and…and if I haven’t made this abundantly clear, most overstay their welcome, pushing aside all other aspects of the game. Keep in mind, I’m someone who loves puzzle games like Portal and Portal 2. This is just too much puzzle for me.

From what I’ve been able to sort out from the story, Lea is a player in a unique VR RPG. Rather than log into a game server to play a virtual character, players log into a physical avatar who stays on a real island. Lea apparently had played this game before, but something happened to her that wiped her memory and left her in a coma. A scientist got desperate and decided to try logging her back into the game, and while Lea is still comatose in the real world, she’s got enough brain activity to play as her avatar. The other catch is, she can’t speak due to some kind of malfunction in her avatar, creating a charming reason for her “silent” protagonist shtick. Continue reading


Netflix Nosedive: Lucifer

I knew just from watching the trailers that I was going to like Lucifer, but I had no idea how much I would love it. The premise is summed up in the introduction text nicely, that the devil used to rule over Hell, until he decided to take a vacation in Los Angeles. Lucifer Morningstar is a narcissistic, self-centered, permanently horny immortal teenager, forever pissed off at his parents about being kicked out and branded “the great evil” when he’s clearly more sociopath than psycho.

And if I made him sound dreadful, he is. BUT, those are also his good points. Yeah, really.

Bascially, Lucifer is sort of like The Mentalist’s Patrick Jane, if Patrick had never given up the family business. Lucifer gets into detective work due to the murder of a pop singer he helped with a favor, bringing him into contact with Detective Chloe Decker, a woman he cannot use his powers of persuasion on. This intrigues him, and he begins inviting himself along to all her cases until she finally relents and calls him her partner. Continue reading


This is not a review of Dark Souls: Daughters of Ash

Let me say that I really wanted to like this mod. I went and downloaded a fresh copy of the Prepare to Die edition of Dark Souls to play it, and the enthusiasm I’ve seen from some YouTubers certainly had me excited to try the mod out. I found the mod developer’s description particularly intriguing:

Dark Souls: Daughters of Ash is the original Dark Souls (2011), re-imagined and massively expanded. It’s my vision of what Dark Souls might have been if FromSoftware had been given an additional six months to develop content for the game.

But, this and several other quotes on the Nexus Mods page are either hubris or straight up lies. I want really badly to find something nice to say, like “there’s some interesting ideas here,” but even trying to use faint praise is hard because those good ideas are marred by bad execution. Continue reading


A look back at 2018…

This probably should have gone up on January 1st, but Dark Souls III isn’t gonna play itself. (I’m actually playing several games all at once and hope to have something ready for review soonish. I’m also close to finishing a book for review, and I can say that review will be mostly positive.) Truth be told, I’m hard pressed to think of what to say about 2018. It’s wasn’t a bad year compared to some in recent memory, but it wasn’t stellar, either. It’s the homely year, the kind of year that attractive years take along on pub crawls to make themselves look more alluring. It didn’t overstay its welcome or shit the rug on its way out, so…I don’t know, I guess I’ll mostly be remembering this one somewhat fondly.

It was a year I released a book, albeit it almost two years late. (Sorry about that. I blame my self-esteem as much as my health for that one.) But I used to be able to release four and five books a year, and so one book is…well, it’s less than I’d hoped for. By the same token, I’ve been less able to post reviews for books and games. I can’t afford more than a handful of games per year thanks to my less than stellar sales record (again, my fault; I need to do better at promotions) and I’ve had difficulty reading for most of this year. (Or more precisely with reading and retaining what I’ve just read.) So on the surface, I know it’s seemed like I haven’t got much done.

BUT—and, like my expanding rear it’s a big but—that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. I’ve been serving part-time as an editor of an international glass print magazine and web-site, and this year, I also began writing articles for them. The pay is pretty good, but we’ve still had money troubles due to the move from Milan to Pavia. I’m glad we made the move despite the financial strain. I have an office of my own, and with our new kitchen, I’ve become more enthusiastic about cooking again, something that’s pleased our neighbors and my husband to no end. I do miss Milan, but Pavia is full of its own charms, and I’ve enjoyed hunting them down one day-trip at a time. The hubbers is also closer to his mom, and that’s having a positive effect on his mood. So all around, I’d call the move a win-win even if it is keeping our bank account strained for the time being. Continue reading


Netflix Nosedive: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Hi! As you may know if you’ve been with me for a while now, I’ve been working on trying to bring new reviews to you, with…less than frequent results. (But there will be new game reviews in the future. I got games over the holidays, and I need time to play them and get a better idea of how I feel about them.) Well now I have something all new to bring you, the fine, kind, and very intelligent reader who has most graciously seen fit to keep reading my stuff.

Are you ready? It’s NETFLIX NOSEDIVE!

I admit, I’ve never actually used Netflix, though with every ad for a Netflix Original show or film, I’ve said, “Huh, I should look into that.” But there are games to play, books to read, things to write (or edit), and I never got around to it. Then just a few days ago, the TV antenna decided it didn’t want to work. We had nothing, and even trying to scan for channels wouldn’t fix it. So, I’m at the store to buy stuff for Christmas dinner, and I saw a prepaid Netflix card and thought, “I’ve just earned a check for editing and writing. Why not get that card as a Christmas present for myself and my hubby?” Continue reading