Browsing: Steven’s Blog

Always Lows Standards At Walmart | From The Voice At Bloomsburg University

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I dedicated my book, Bigmart Confidential, to the staff of the Voice, Bloomsburg University’s student newspaper. And that dedication extends to all past, present, and future members of the team. That dedication made me nostalgic to take a look back through the writings I contributed to the newspaper. I’m the first to admit that many of them are — like, really bad. But there’s also a handful I’m proud of. Why shouldn’t I be? They are some of the first pieces of nonfiction writing I produced, and they’re not that bad. That, and they show off my love affair with…

Barbara Ehrenreich Talks Donald Trump And The White Working Class

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I’ve been on the lookout for any kind of commentary from Barbara Ehrenreich on the election of Donald Trump. I anticipated coming across an essay, but it was on YouTube where I found Ehrenreich sharing her thoughts. Barbara Ehrenreich was a guest speaker at Washington College in April 2017. The event was hosted by Patrick Nugent, the Deputy Director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the America Experience. Ehrenreich spoke much about her seminal work, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, a book that continues to have a profound effect on both my writing…

What Does ADAM In BioShock And Vaseline Have In Common?

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Do these two stories sound familiar? In the 2007 sci-fi/horror first-person shooter BioShock, there’s a gene-warping drug called ADAM that’s extracted from bottom-feeding sea slugs. These creatures were discovered slithering around the underwater city of Rapture, a bizarre Art Deco metropolis founded by Ayn Rand-inspired corporatist Andrew Ryan. Players learn about BioShock’s vision of the world in 1960 through “Audio Diaries.” Among the 122 total Auto Diaries you can find in the game, there are those that reveal the discovery of ADAM by geneticist (and World War II survivor) Brigid Tenenbaum. As a child, Tenenbaum was put to work in…

Bring Diablo To iOS | An Open Letter To Blizzard Entertainment

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There’s been a theme to my current Google searches for new iOS games: Games Like Diablo iOS Diablo Clones iOS Action RPGs Like Diablo iOS With that said, let’s raise the question: why doesn’t Blizzard Entertainment get its act together and bring Diablo and Diablo II (and don’t be stingy — the Lord of Destruction expansion set must be included) to iOS? Blizzard needs to finally immortalize its classic computer games digitally as a mobile-friendly experience. A Great And Worthy Game The original Diablo was my first true gaming experience, and one I will never forget, taking root when I…

Dracula: The Journal Of Jonathan Harker

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Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker captures the soul of Bram Stoker’s legendary gothic novel without weighing itself down in overwrought theatrics. Simplicity is key, and both director Melissa Firlit and actor John P. Keller understand this well — as did the play’s creator, Jim Helsinger, when he first adapted the novel for performance on stage. There’s only one voice in the play — that of Jonathan Harker — and through him we hear the story of Count Dracula and the band of heroes determined to destroy him. Such a simple approach might mislead you, but don’t let it. This…

Battleheart Legacy | This Mika Mobile Game Is Amazing

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As far as my experience with iOS gaming goes, the original “Battleheart” by Mika Mobile was the first I ever completed. The game offered me both the fast-paced elements of a straightforward strategy supported by the fundamentals of an RPG. Not so surprisingly, a band of heroes is assembled to fight through the increasingly dangerous lands of Haggerdom. Is there a great evil to defeat at the end of the game? You bet! The events of the sequel, “Battleheart Legacy,” take place 500 years in the future of the original, though the world is still a medieval setting filled with…

Video Games As Art | Roger Ebert And Clive Barker Debate

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In 2006, Roget Ebert, the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote that video games can never be art. And before he could capture the words and stuff them back into his mouth, it was too late. He was bombarded by a deluge of messages claiming that if he’d only play this one game he’d change his mind (which would all add up to a lot of games that, I’m sure, are the “one”). And in a somewhat direct response in 2007, author Clive Barker reacted to Ebert’s claim. I’m not going to rehash the tit-for-tat, but it’s available on…

Alan Moore’s Watchmen And Rorschach: Does The Character Set A Bad Example?

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A confused mixture of sighs and laughter ensued as I read Brian Doherty’s column on Reason Online entitled “Rorschach Doesn’t Shrug: The Watchmen’s hero as Objectivist saint.” The entire premise of Doherty’s essay was an effort to paint Rorschach as the “moral center” of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen. Doherty, a published author and senior editor at Reason magazine, presented several examples of the bone-breaking and murder-friendly vigilante that framed him as someone to be admired instead of feared and pitied. Doherty reflected on Rorschach as a misunderstood but morally outstanding figure, smeared and misconstrued by whiny and weak liberals. On…

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