Saturday, April 29, 2023

Go Play Your Video Game (Part 1)

Remember Covid? Jeez, everyone seems to be acting like it's all over now, but looking back on my blog it was a great motivator for writing blog posts. To stop myself from going a little mad during lockdown I took it upon myself to blog about everything I could imagine...

The 20 albums that shaped me...

The 7 TTRPGs that shaped me...

The 10 TV Shows that shaped me... (surprised I managed to limit myself to 10)

The 14 Comics that shaped me...

The 24 Movies that made me...

and the 10 Books that hooked me...

It was fun, and kept my mind occupied during the dark times, and got me back into the habit of writing when I was just really wanting to sit in a corner and hide. And I really want to get back into the habit of blogging - though with a dayjob that is sitting on the computer all day looking at words it can be hard to be motivated to write about other stuff.

So what to write about? I pondered this for a long time, and I had a sudden moment of realisation. I was using blogging as something to do while my wife is hogging the TV playing The Witcher 3, and I realised, I hadn't looked at video games. 

Video games were a HUGE part of my life until a couple of years ago when I realised (a) I was rubbish at them, and (b) I don't really have too much time to sink into playing them. But maybe, just maybe, doing a retrospective of video games that had some sort of impact on me will get me motivated not only into writing the blog, but also possibly picking up a controller once again and playing a game...

So here goes:

Go Play Your Video Game (Part 1) - Invaders from Space

I grew up in a seaside town in Yorkshire. It's weird, I spent the first twenty-odd years of my life thinking it was tiny and boring, and I was desperate to leave (while simultaneously being terrified of going anywhere else). Now, after thirty years away, all I really want to do is move back to that quiet, to the seaside, to the familiarity and safety. 

Anyway, being at the seaside in the seventies there were the usual seaside attractions. There was a helter-skelter, some little cars that went around on a wooden track like a giant Scalextric, a boating pool, and a couple of amusement arcades. Of course, in the seventies they were mostly those penny-drop machines like that Tipping Point quiz, one-armed bandits, fruit machines, and those things that read your palm and printed out your fortune.

I have a very weird recollection about some buzz at school that there was a new type of game in the amusements, and discovering the little huddle of kids standing around the now iconic cabinet, and the resonating *thump* *thump* noise as the little aliens advanced on the city below...

Space Invaders was revolutionary at the time, and so many 10ps were pumped into that machine. Weird thing is, while it was possibly my first video game I'd played, I was never a huge fan. I just already had a bit of an addiction to video games. 

Before I ever got a home console, I had the Grandstand Invaders from Space game, a little (I say little, it was huge) electronic game that tried hard to simulate the Space Invaders experience with its tiny, tiny, tiny display...

And then, along came the Atari VCS and its Space Invaders cartridge with it 112 game variants (including invisible aliens if I remember correctly)... 
I played the heck out of that (not the invisible one, that was reeeeaaally hard). 

Anyway, that was the first video game I remember playing, all those many, many years ago. I'm going to have to ponder really hard about what the next one will be!

Until next time, stay safe and stay multiclassy. 

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Reopening The Files

There has been a bit of buzz circling the interwebs this week after a radio interview announced a return of my favourite TV series...

2023 marks the 30th Anniversary of The X-Files, a show I have loved from the moment that title card came on screen on that very first episode. I've written about my love for the series multiple times on this blog, most recently in February when I finished my complete rewatch. However, this week saw the 30th Anniversary of filming start in Vancouver, and CBC radio show, 'On The Coast with Gloria Macarenko' marked the anniversary of filming with an interview with X-Files creator Chris Carter.

I don't think anyone was expecting him to come out with the revelation that he'd been in talks with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler about a 'remount' of The X-Files with a diverse cast.

You can hear the segment from the station here:

The internet immediately jumped on this, and there have been many stories running about exactly what this means? The word 'remount' is an odd choice, and a lot of the websites are reading this as 'reboot'. I'm sure if Chris Carter meant reboot he'd have used that word. 

In my head, I have a vision for the future of The X-Files... and let me just say that I have no input whatsoever, and have no insight into what's to come. However, I'd love to see the new X-Files be a continuation of what's come before. 

As many have said online, The X-Files really is made by Mulder and Scully, and there's a great opportunity to have the story of the conspiracies, the invasion, the weirdness, continue and not dismiss Mulder and Scully's impact on the story. Have new agents assigned to the X-Files, but continue some of the themes and investigations. Mulder could be the new Deep Throat, uncovering cases and stories while not actually working at the FBI, but turning up in dimly lit carparks to pass on information to the new agents, and point them in the direction of coverups and conspiracies.

While Gillian Anderson has said she wouldn't return for another series, she has said she'd be interested in a movie - maybe a third movie to complete the Mulder and Scully story should be the way to go, to explain Scully's absence in a 'Reopened' series if Mulder is acting as the Deep Throat informant?

While we're on the subject of legacy characters who need to appear or have their stories explained, what about Assistant Director Walter Skinner? One of my favourite characters in the series, at the end of Season 11 (please forgive the spoilers) we saw him being driven over, after shooting Monica Reyes (which was another real shame, I liked Doggett and Reyes!). If the series was to be a continuation, I'd love to see Skinner survive, even though wounded by the incident. Would he still be working for the FBI after all this? 

And where was John Doggett? Absent from Seasons 10 & 11, just what was he up to? What happened to him? Had he retired from the FBI, or moved to another field office?

What about William? Seems he survived the end of Season 11, and his powers were going to be the key to the impending colonisation of the planet by aliens. 

So many questions, so many plots left hanging that can be tackled by new agents. But I guess the big question would be, who would you cast in a revival of The X-Files?

Here are a few of my dream casting ideas:

First of all, do you remember Frank Spotnitz did a revamp of the classic series that inspired The X-Files, remaking Kolchak: The Night Stalker? The remake series, The Night Stalker, didn't last very long before it was cancelled, but I watched it and remember thinking, during every darn episode, 'Wouldn't Gabrielle Union be awesome in The X-Files?' I still stand by that, and still think Gabrielle Union should be in a reopened X-Files... 

I have no idea what role she could take, possibly the new Assistant Director who took over when Skinner was injured? 

The next choice would have to be one of my favourite actors, Chiwetel Ejiofor. Every time they say they're casting a new Doctor Who, I hope it's going to be him. However, I'd be even happier if he was cast in a new continuation of The X-Files. What do you think? An experienced FBI agent whose investigations into conspiracies and alien abductions has seen him demoted and relegated to the X-Files? Or maybe a position of more power? Whatever he's cast as, please let's not make him the villain. He's always the villain in action movies. 

While we're dreaming the impossible, how about Mahershala Ali? I mean, did you see his series of True Detective? Talk about an absolutely mindblowing and powerful performance! He could definitely bring the compassion and emotion to a determined agent. 

So we have our experienced agents, but we need someone to introduce new viewers. Just like we followed Scully into Mulder's office that first episode, like most TV procedurals, there's always a character the audience follows to ease you in. Just like Rose Tyler in the relaunch of Doctor Who. In fact, speaking of Doctor Who, what about Gugu Mbatha-Raw? Far from her days as playing Martha's sister in that series, she has gone on to do amazing roles, and she was great in Loki, and could be a cool new FBI agent from a scientific background to ground our alien hunting lead.

Or how about May Calamawy, most recently seen as the awesome Layla in Marvel's Moon Knight? She's certainly proved she can do action, and was flipping fantastic in that series.

Of course, these are just plucking names out of the air. There are so many cool actors out there who would be perfect in a new continuation of The X-Files. The question is, who would you cast?