The Relativity of Star Trek Beyond

As intriguing the strategic placement of the adverb “beyond” in the title of the third installment of the Star Trek reboot films may be, Star Trek Beyond seemingly occupies the same spot in the franchise evolutionary history Star Trek V The Final Frontier did in 1989, which was a strangely narrative detour lacking the overarching frame of series continuity. Yet can a teaser trailer prove that an entire series has gone beyond its best-before date?

Star Trek Beyond 
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens reboots The Phantom Menace

Star Wars The Force Awakens is a Phantom Menace reboot. Time to break out that Jedi Holocron. [SPOILERS]
 

Star Wars The Force Awakens reboots The Phantom  Menace, by Andreas Wanda, Images: Lucasfilm / Disney

Star Wars The Force Awakens reboots The Phantom Menace, by Andreas Wanda, Images: Lucasfilm / Disney

 
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Obi-Wandi Will Return

Due to engagements related to the world of academia, I have been somewhat absent from the vast environs of the interwebs. Over the next two months, I promise to return with

  • a book review
  • a re-interpretation of The Force Awakens

and

  • the continuation of Obi-Wandi’s Blog Spirits!

 

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The Fan Awakens: Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Untainted by Advance Publicity

When I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 16th, 2015 I was perfectly oblivious to any advance publicity. It had all started in late October 2012, when news broke that Walt Disney Studios had taken over Lucasfilm and its many assets. Kathleen Kennedy was appointed chief officer of the once Lucas-helmed enterprise and quickly proceeded to start pre-production of the seventh Star Wars installment (whilst prepping the spin-off film Rogue One in secret) . This course of surprising events made me abandon, unfollow and ignore dozens of film-related websites and social media accounts. Old habits were instantly dropped and I started distancing myself inevitably from one of my favourite hobbies, the film industry. It is therefore that I had not seen a single second, millimeter or anything of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens, whose midnight premiere I attended on said December 16th, 2015. I went in totally blank, here is how I received a film whose marketing machinery I had ignored with monkish patience.

A fan awakens as Andreas Wanda recounts how he experienced Episode VII after a 2 1/2 year-long media sabbatical.

A fan awakens as Andreas Wanda recounts how he experienced Episode VII after a 2 1/2 year-long media sabbatical. (C) Walt Disney, Lucasfilm

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Make yourself a very Speccy Christmas with Santa Sam Dyer’s ZX Spectrum – A visual compendium

Illuminated in a mesmerising green hue of ethereal beauty and presence, a home computer of old comes to life, leaps off a page in Sam Dyer’s latest masterpiece in the exceedingly rewarding “Visual Compendium“-series. Opening the impressive volume emulates perfectly that moment a computer is switched on, with every page impersonating the starkly coloured screen display of the titular ZX Spectrum. Sam Dyer’s “ZX Spectrum: A Visual Compendium” is a special experience of layered significance.

Layers of history, experience, enjoyment, insight and colour are in story for the readers of Bomb Jack and Paperboy in Sam Dyer's ZX Spectrum: A Visual Compendium from Bitmap Books, available at www.funstock.co.uk. Photo by Andreas Wanda.

Layers of history, experience, enjoyment, insight and colour are in story for the readers of Bomb Jack and Paperboy in Sam Dyer’s ZX Spectrum: A Visual Compendium from Bitmap Books, available at www.funstock.co.uk. Photo by Andreas Wanda.

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30 Years Later: Lucasfilm’s Fractalus Revisited

David Fox’s silent game changer

Oh how seductive the eternal evolution of technology! Oh what boredom lies in volumetric dust clouds of uncountable pixels, their toilsome birth betrayed only by the high-pitched struggle of a graphic card labouring inside a run-of-the-mill desktop computer. The mind slackens into a tupor of robotic keyboard spasms. Disbelief no longer needs suspension: with the visual display quite a spitting image of nature, the brain only needs to soften the roughest of edges. Oh what glory then the memories of old bestow on the stalwart art of retrography, the magic of 8-bit computing, beautifully preserved in Lucasfilm Games’ Rescue on Fractalus. And yet the most crucial ally in its creative success, the oft-forgotten and sadly underestimated manual of words crafted bold and true on sheets of paper rested inside boxes colourful and bold.

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The Complete Retro Asylum Star Wars Trilogy

The circle is now complete: from The Empire Strikes Back by Parker Brothers to the LEGO Star Wars series, the Retro Asylum podcast saga on Star Wars retrogaming is (almost) the next best thing to finally welcoming back Luke, Han and Leia in The Force Awakens. Switch off your targeting computer and let retro flow through you…

The Retro Asylum Star Wars Podcast Saga starts here!

Paul Driscoll’s absolutely astounding volume on all things Star Wars can be downloaded here!

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Happy Birthday Monkey Island

Ron Gilbert reflects on his masterpiece point and click adventure about wannabe pirate Guybrush Threepwood on his www.grumpygamer.com site.

Check out Retroasylum’s Point & Click Adventure Games Podcast, hosted by Sam Dyer, author of the celebrated Visual Commpendium series.

The Secret of Monkey  Island celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015.

The Secret of Monkey Island celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015

 

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Did U.S. Gold’s C64 conversion of Gauntlet ever feature speech?

While perusing vintage copies of German computing magazine Happy Computer over at kultpower.de, I read that there was potentially an earlier edition of Gauntlet on the C64 which featured “easily comprehensible speech synthesis”. Follow an intriguing dig in pixels from ages past at Frank Gasking’s always fab Games That Weren’t!

 http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/2015/06/gauntlet-c64-with-speech/ 

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Review: Commodore Amiga: A Visual Commpendium by Sam Dyer, Bitmap Books

Commodore Amiga: A Visual Commpendium by Sam Dyer, from Bitmap Books, available exclusively at funstock.co.uk

With great trepidation I turn the page to reveal the next spread of Sam Dyer’s landmark volume on the Commodore Amiga. Sadness is slowly creeping up as I briskly process the remaining years covered by Commodore Amiga: A Visual Commpendium; every letter, every pixel presented in a lavish, precisely elegant layout feasting on the glory of 16-bit graphics I savour like that eagerly sought after drop of water, enjoyed at last, after a perilous journey through a barren landscape.

The Amiga-less years have been harsh and unforgiving and this fabulous volume, clad in a pearly-white sleeve, finally provides relief to Amiga fandom. Continue reading

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