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You're probably wondering what do a Sundance-darling horror film and a melancholy walking simulator have to do with each other? They came out in different years, have no actors in common and are completely different genres. Well stay tuned because these two have much more in common than you'd think, so prepare for an in depth analysis of the themes, characters and even general aesthetic of these texts. Beware major spoilers for both, you have been warned.   Both Hereditary and What Remains of Edith Finch centre around a once happy family, whose lives get more and more bitter as their plights unfurl for our viewing pleasure. The concept of a family curse is very much alive in both texts. Both the Graham family (Hereditary) and the Finch family (WROEF) reside in labyrinthine homes, surrounded by wilderness. They are isolated in more ways than one. There is a tangible undertone of dread as we enter, it is as though Death has welcomed himself into the home of the Graham and the Finch family and he will not depart without taking every single member of that lineage. This leads to a fatalistic attitude in the respective families, if everything is predestined than why bother fighting against it or exercising caution? Mental illness is also rampant in both bloodlines, which is likely a factor in their fatalistic frame of mind. Inevitable ends await them all, unable to escape from a 'fate' that has been thrust upon them from birth by an elder - from both a genetic standpoint and from the grandmother figure in both texts who persists with the myth, infecting the younger generations psyches. Which leads to shared story threads featuring reluctant mothers harbouring resentment toward the grandmothers. They see this trend of unnatural death and blame the grandmothers.  Fatalism is the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable.     Before we delve into the texts let's address the physical similarities between the key children; Peter and Charlie from Hereditary and Lewis and Milton from What Remains of Edith Finch. Physically Milton and Peter look very alike, Peter actually resembles a grown up Milton. Whereas Lewis has Charlies colouring. Lewis and Peter are older brothers to younger siblings they feel responsible for and thus carry the burden of their premature deaths. Lewis ends up decapitating himself and Charlie is accidentally beheaded in a car crash. But their fates were sealed from the start by their tall-tale telling grandmothers, who filled their heads with ideas of fate and family, who manipulated them from the start and causing irreparable damage while doing so.       Just to clarify neither of the father figures from either text factor very much into this analysis. Mainly due to the fact that they both married in from outside the bloodline being discussed. However the father in Hereditary Steve (Gabriel Byrne) was a warm blanket of a man, every scene he's in you feel soothed. The actor just has a comforting aura, so his VERY sudden death toward the end was an unpleasant moment in every conceivable way but it's understandable that they would rip off the safety wheels at that point.     Miniatures are scattered throughout both What Remains of Edith Finch and Hereditary. Their presence can signify a number of things; recreation of delusions, an attempt to regain control over events that cannot be changed, glorification of the family mythology. Our main protagonist Edith does this with her brother Lewis's hallucinatory kingdom, presumably he described it to her before becoming consumed by his need to stay there permanently and she built it after this death. In the image below you see soldiers from Lewis's hallucination followed by a set in Edith's room made out of newspaper. You can also see a newspaper recreation of the Finch house.      Milton recreates his own black and white kingdom in a plethora of points throughout the house. We can spot some examples of this in his bedroom and in the planters. He does this again and again, obsessively sticking to his black and white colour scheme with no deviation either in this or in his art - the colour scheme remains the same.      Edith Senior, the grandmother, also has a miniature in her room that could either be her current house before all the additions, or the original house from Norway, which sunk during the crossing and whose wreck is still visible from their current home. Due to Edith Senior's determination to hold onto the past and mythologise it for the younger generations either are equally possible. Annie, (Toni Collette's character in Hereditary), actually makes artisan miniatures professionally, and throughout the film we see her constructing doll house-esque scenarios from her own life. Including a faithful recreation of their own home, one of her husband and mother in the hospital room and tragically her daughter Charlie's fatal accident  She also shows events that didn't happen, or rather we don't know if they will at that point such as her son, Peter, decapitated and her deceased mother watching her from her doorway.     Clearly this could act as a therapeutic exercise, a cleansing process for each respective character. However, it takes a twisted turn in light of the imagery that is recreated especially after Milton and Lewis's deaths, and the psychological torture Peter is put through emotionally and physically by everyone bar his father.   Another huge commonality is the foreshadowing of death, which is both done subtly and abruptly depending on your knowledge of the text, such as whether this is your first foray into these worlds or the second. Calvin and Sam's bedroom door has hanging next to it a picture of a boy on a swing, presumably Calvin himself on the very object which was to be instrumental in his demise. In that same hallway we can find another framed picture, this one of Molly climbing a tree - in a similar fashion to how we, the player, do in her fever dream. We never learn exactly what killed Molly, though it is likely the potentially poisonous objects she consumed made her hallucinate and fall from the trees she so loved to climb (possibly while scavenging for more food). Walter's bedroom walls have the original Finch home in it's new location at the bottom of the sea and a old fashioned train painted on them. Also we can see in Barbara's segment that as a child his bed was train shaped. Considering his death by oncoming train in his later life in retrospect this event seems inevitable. You may not notice these the first time you play the game but you will the second. These reminders are littered around the house, acting as precursors to the shrines within. In Hereditary Charlie morbidly cuts the head of a pigeon with a pair of craft scissors, an act that is repeated to her and her mother. The film implies that for Charlie at least, beheading is her route to reincarnation - a path to enter another life - her true life, the reality that she was meant to have.      The Matriarchs of both these families, namely the grandmothers, have a tendency to mythologise their family history and lineage. In a vein similar to a Greek Epic, this toxic way of thought infects the younger generations and leads them to think differently than they might have done. Lewis and Milton were both imbued with delusions of grandeur and a morose interest in death, particularly that of their own family. Charlie was led to believe she was imperfect due to her gender, that she must be fixed. She too was told she would be a king, once the proper preparations had been done.   Charlie's exposure to her grandmother was more akin to psychological abuse than love and affection. She was made to depend on her and her alone, and taught her gender was a curse, a mistake. It is even implied that she breast fed her rather than let her mother do it, which considering her age and lack of recent children seems off, almost otherworldly.    Milton and Lewis however were told from a very early age about the grand mythos of the Finch family and their godly roles in it. Edith Senior filled their minds with pride and superiority. There is a great deal of clues that hint Edith Senior may have narcissistic personality disorder which for her means a greatly inflated sense of their own worth and value in the world. A person with NPD may have a sense of entitlement that leads them to act in ways that other people may find objectionable in order to obtain admiration. She believes their family to be of great importance and does not think how her actions could be causing their deaths, instead seeing it as all preordained. She even claims her own husband was killed by a dragon - leaving out the fact that it was a dragon shaped slide. She likely indulged the delusions of grandeur in her two grandsons and considering their family line they were already in danger of mental illness. To clarify; delusions of grandeur, also known as grandiose delusions, often accompany other mental health symptoms. They can often be linked to other mental health conditions, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Some who suffer with delusions of grandeur also experience other delusions, such as a fear of persecution or unusual religious beliefs. The evidence that Lewis and Milton were inflicted with schizophrenia is plentiful. Schizophrenia is characterised by delusions, hallucinations, and a difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy, things they are both shown to suffer from. As Edith notes during the game; "I'm worried the stories themselves may be the problem." Milton is a slightly more mysterious character to the audience, we never get to play as him or even see him in anything but missing person posters and his shrine. He simply disappeared one day. Milton is always shown with a crown, smiling at the viewer. Edith says as we walk up to his castle, gifted to him by Edith Senior, that his receiving it was the "beginning of the end". An ominous mist wafts around Milton's abandoned palace, it feels ethereal, like something out a Grimm Brothers fairy-tale.     Upon exploring Milton's palace we are told by Edith that; "Whatever Milton had found in the house, Mom didn't want it getting out." Like many other things about Milton this is not expanded on. One almost feels as though he discovered some primordial evil that ensnared him in its grasp, never to be seen again. In my opinion one of two things happened to Milton but mind this is just conjecture.   Littered throughout the house are bottles of cleaning fluid with a yellow crowns on the side. It's hard to see what it contains until Barbara's segment in the basement where we can clearly see it’s bleach. Milton, obsessed as he was with royal imagery and suffering from an inflated ego, is likely to have seen this as a sign. Though for this theory to hold weight he would have to have ingested it somewhere remote or unknown to his relatives - since his body was never discovered.     My other hypothesis is that he returned to his 'true palace', which from the grand tales Edith Senior told him would be the drowned ruin that was the old house. His castle and especially the view from his window is dominated by the partially submerged ruin. Its light flashes all night, almost signalling to him to come closer. It ceases to be a physical object and more a sign, a beacon luring him closer - like a will-o’-the-wisp beckoning travellers to watery graves. In The Great Gatsby a similar manifestation occurs, Jay's infatuation with the green light across the bay possesses him, it means more to him than anything else and in the end it represents his eventual downfall. Nick observes Jay one evening as "...

With the release of Nier Automata on Xbox now we can all enjoy the soul crushing brilliance that is Yoko Taro’s mind. Nier Automata is my pick for game of the year in 2017. Beyond that it is my list for top 10 games of all time, so though I might be rather biased recommending it this game deserves your time. After all, what we received in the end is so far from the original concept, which creator Yoko Taro likens to a farming simulator for the PlayStation Vita and mobile devices, that by all accounts this game should not exist let alone be a rousing success. In addition to this, the developer Platinum games hadn’t had a truly excellent release for a while and this game was their last hope for revitalising the company. Especially since it was their first game released after the unanticipated cancellation of Scalebound. Yoko Taro himself had never had massive success in the video game industry. His previous titles, the Drakengard Series and Nier, were cult classics. Beloved for their bizarre storylines and characters but loathed for their clunky repetitive gameplay. Had this game not been the hit it was, it is extremely likely that both developer and creator would not have been given another chance. This game needed to be, at the very least, passable.     Nier Automata was making headlines long before its release however, thanks to the controversial (now known to be photoshopped) image of protagonist 2b that made its way around the web. Yoko responded to the buzz online with requests for more pictures of a similar vein, proving himself to be one of the more light-hearted and eclectic creators out there. Thankfully despite all this, the game was released to positive reviews from most and has spawned hundreds on video essays analysing the surprisingly philosophical nature of the game and the melancholy it inspires in its players. It is the perfect meld of action, philosophy, and just pure heart-warming chaos and that should automatically qualify it for a place on your ‘to play’ list. The soundtrack alone is remarkable, and even if you feel the game isn’t your cup of tea I urge you to listen to it on YouTube. Along with Persona 5 it is one of the best original soundtracks of 2017. As of June 2018, Nier Automata has sold over 3 million copies and since it has only just been released for Xbox we can expect that figure to continue to rise. On a personal note, I hope this game does so remarkably well that it launches Yoko Taro into the mainstream consciousness the way auteur Hideo Kojima has been. Perhaps if we are very lucky we will see a collaboration between these two sometime in the future, a meld of two mad Japanese geniuses, I can only imagine how bizarre their joint game would be. Death Standing meets Nier Automata is a crossover we all deserve to witness. These are creators who deserve our time and whose stories that stay with you so give them a chance and indulge in the madness that is Nier Automata.  ----   [su_slider source="posts: recent" limit="8" link="post"]...

1. Cosplayers It’s number one on our list for a reason. E3 was full of amazing, ingenious cosplayers as always and this year they really shined. There were three Lara Crofts, a Crash Bandicoot, literal hordes of zombies and the standard was extremely high. Two that stick out in my mind are the Cyberpunk duo, Ben Schamma (Maul Cosplay) and Maja Felicitas.     2. Microsoft killing it Nobody expected much from Microsoft this year which is why when they exceeded all expectations no one could believe it. From buying five indie studios (including Ninja Theory recent winner of five Bafta awards for their game Hellblade) to a whole bunch of exclusives and finally the CD Projekt Red Cyberpunk trailer it was a whirlwind of great and long-awaited news.     3. Fortnite on all consoles  Nintendo Switch has been added to the Fortnite family and it continues to be the biggest game of 2018. They may not have had a conference, but instead hosted a massive Esports event at the expo with 100 players, featuring 50 celebrities and 50 professional streamers, showing off their game at its best. Since the announcement of Fortnite on Switch and the crossplay opportunities between other consoles, Sony has been criticised by fans for denying them interaction with other platforms by locking their Epic accounts for no other reason than spite one can assume. They have since issued a non-apology and taken no steps to fix the problem.     4. Mobile Gaming Push Mobile gaming has become extremely profitable as of late especially when compared to console earnings, yet it so rarely earns a place on the E3 stage so it was nice to see it be displayed however briefly.     5. Resident Evil 2 Remake Everyone likes a nice surprise and by god, was that trailer for Resident Evil 2 a surprise. I’ve never been so confused as when I was watching life from a rat’s perspective, but the reveal made it all worth it. Some have voiced concerns over Leon and Claire’s youthful looks and voices but considering their ages in the game and the new engine Capcom are using this can all be quelled easily. Matthew Mercer and Alyson Court did a fantastic job voicing Leon and Claire and I’m sure they will return to the franchise at some point.             ---- [su_slider source="posts: recent" limit="8" link="post"]...

  In the weeks leading up to E3 the buzz surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 has been getting louder and louder and the Xbox conference gave us what we’d been asking for all these years. CD Projekt Red revealed a much longer trailer which I suspect we shall all be dissecting for months, myself included. We observed a sprawling gritty open world which is reminiscent of beloved films like Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell. Hidden in this trailer was a personal message from CD Projekt Red and redemption codes for copies of Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt GOTY edition. Between the Witcher 3's massive expansions and plethora of free DLC  and now this trailer it is safe to say CDPR know how to keep their fans happy and it is clear they haven't forgotten about their acclaimed Witcher series (spoilers for Witcher 3 ahead). Everyone remembers in Witcher 3 when Geralt finally caught up with Ciri and asked where she had been the entire game. She responds by describing a world she entered through a portal where; "people had metal in their heads, they used megascope like devices to wage war from a distance and everyone had a personal flying ship". There’s no doubt in my mind that there will at least be a Witcher 3 Easter egg in the game, or if we’re very lucky a side quest starring Ciri and Avallac'h themselves. Consider that she does reveal to Geralt that they stayed in that world for “half a year”, meaning our character in Cyberpunk will have plenty of time to interact with the duo. Ciri also jokes “we should have stayed there”, implying they didn’t leave on bad terms or under unpleasant circumstances. After all this it’s safe to say there will be a link of some sort between the worlds of the Witcher and Cyberpunk.   The hidden trailer message reads as follows: “It’s been over 2077 days since we announced our plan to develop Cyberpunk 2077. We released a CGI trailer, gave some interviews and… went dark. Normal procedure for these kinds of things – you announce a game and then shut up, roll up your sleeves, and go to work. We wanted to give you The Witcher 3 and both expansions first, which is why this period of staying silent was longer than we planned. Sorry for that. As soon as we concluded work on Blood and Wine, we were able to go full speed ahead with CP2077’s pre-production. But we chose to remain silent. Why? At some point, we made a decision to resume talking about the game only when we have something to show. Something meaningful and substantial. This is because we do realise you’ve been (im)patiently waiting for a very long time, and we wouldn’t like anyone to feel that we’re taking this for granted. On the contrary – it gives us a lot of extra motivation. The hype is real, so the sweat and tears need to be real, too :). But, to the point. Today is the day. If you’re seeing this, it means you saw the trailer – our vision of Cyberpunk, an alternative vision of the future where America is in pieces, megacorporation’s control all aspects of civilised life, and gangs rule the rest. And, while this world is full of adrenaline, don’t let the car chases and guns mislead you. Cyberpunk 2077 is a true single player, story-driven RPG. You’ll be able to create your own character and… well, you’ll get to know the rest from what we show at our booth at E3. Be on the lookout for previews! Before we finish, you probably have some questions, When? When we told you we would only release the game when it’s ready, we meant it. We’re definitely much closer to a release date than we were back then :), but it’s still not the time to confirm anything, so patience is still required. Quality is the only thing that drives us – it’s the beauty of being an independent studio and your own publisher. How big? Seriously big, but…, to be honest, we have no bloody clue at this point in time. Once we put it all together, we will openly tell you what you can expect. And we promise we’ll do this before we start talking about any pre-orders or ask anything of you. Free DLC/Expansions/DRM? Expect nothing less than you got with The Witcher 3. As for DRM, CP2077 will be 100% DRM-free on PC. Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts? Once again, thank you for your patience. If you have a minute, do visit cyberpunk.net and share your opinion (about anything) with us. We read everything you post and we treat it very seriously.   Yours, CD Projekt Red Team”   CDPR are determined to stand by their fans and their earlier statement which said "we leave greed to others".  Much like Cyberpunk 2077 itself they seem unimpressed with mega-corporations profit driven projects and continue to come out ahead every time.    [su_slider source="posts: recent" limit="8" link="post"]...

Destiny 2 was one of the most anticipated games of 2017 and it’s getting better all the time. With the new ‘Warmind’ expansion comes many fixes and new features. Escalation protocol is a new mode that enables you to play with a mixture of friends and strangers (though hopefully they will update that so you can choose either/or). It’s challenging, fun and garners a plethora of rewards which is all you really want in a Destiny game. More updates are scheduled for the next few months so there’s no better time to jump aboard the Destiny train. Feedback is not only being received but (finally) being taken into consideration by the developer, Bungie, and in response they have released their planned improvements for the next few months.     The soundtrack alone deserves your attention and respect, along with Nier Automata it ranks up there as one of the best of 2017. See: Journey (featuring Kronos Quartet) for proof. There’s a lot of content to get through and it only follows that a lot of hours can be spent in the new DLC but bear in mind it can be rather repetitive. So to sum up, you get your money’s worth but it includes some grinding. I, personally, don’t really mind that if I’m enthralled and immersed enough by the world. Including Nathan Fillion as Cayde-6, the charismatic hunter in a futuristic space epic sparks that nostalgia for many of the oft side-lined Firefly fans and he is a delight as always. Now only if we could get a Dr. Horrible 2 in the works...

The draw of owning the latest special edition Xbox One controller is too big for many to ignore. With collections spiralling out of control, it could be said that just as much cash gets spent on the many different controllers, as it does on the games themselves. How about you add another to the collection? Last year saw the Xbox Wireless Controller Tech Series debuting, with a series of controllers promised, all of which were inspired by military technology. Right now the third pad in the series has been announced – the Combat Tech Special Edition. Featuring a traditional army colour palette with a Military Green base colour (the same Military Green that is offered through Xbox Design Lab no less), some super bright orange accents and adorning military insignia, the Combat Tech option looks pretty nifty. It also features a textured laser-etched grip on the front and the rubberized diamond grips that we love on the back, with the now standard 3.5mm headphone jack and Bluetooth tech both in place. Depending on where in the world you are based, you’ll also get 14-day trials for both Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass in the box whenever you purchase the Xbox Wireless Controller – Combat Tech Special Edition. You’ll be able to grab it from March 27th. The Combat Tech controller obviously goes brilliantly with the other two controllers in the series – the Recon Tech and the Patrol Tech. You can get hold of both of those right now....

Spielberg’s film is a spectacle that’s more than just nostalgia By Ross Miller  Mar 22, 2018, 2:14pm EDT The biggest question I had going into Ready Player One was, absent any and all pop culture references, could the film stand on its own? After all, the book would spend pages poring over details about the films and video games of the ’80s — and many pivotal plot points would require the characters to have encyclopedic knowledge of that era. Would the movie put us through the same tedium? Mercifully, no. Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One is colorful, frenetic and fun. It’s bursting with nods to decades of movies and games, but Spielberg mostly uses them to create the atmosphere of a world obsessed with pop culture. (What could be more realistic than that?) The film takes the broad strokes of the book and adapts them to make nostalgia more of an ambience than a narrative crutch. The result is something that feels like the biggest tribute to escapism; ironically, it’s when we leave the pop culture confinements of the virtual world, however sparingly, that the movie feels less fulfilling. Ready Player One is unapologetically a commercial action movie designed to put spectacle first. To get there as fast as possible, it front-loads a lot of world-building by way of narration. Within the first five minutes, you know everything you need to know about this world: It’s the year 2045 and everyone — quite literally everyone — escapes the derelict future by plugging into a parallel virtual world called the OASIS. As we watch our hero Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) — better known by his online handle, Parzival — climb his way down from his home atop a vertical trailer park (“the stacks”) to his hidden VR den, we see a montage of neighbors logged in and miming various tasks that seem to coordinate with whatever their in-world characters are doing. It’s comical, both in execution and in the premise that so many people would be using motion controls. But if you swap VR for mobile phones, it doesn’t feel that far off — and, to be sure, people dancing in VR headsets is way more visually interesting than someone tapping on their iPhone. Watts’ obsessions are less about pop culture writ large and more about the pop culture that Halliday consumed. All his expertise is tied to Halliday in some way, and indeed, where the movie differs most from its source material is in the Big Three Puzzles, which have largely been rewritten. Without giving anything away, it’s knowledge of Halliday as a human that plays a more substantial role here than the pop culture references themselves. It isn’t about knowing the factoids of his favorite movie so much as it is knowing his biggest dreams and regrets at the time he saw it.  Continue reading here    ...

Fortnite on iOS runs like a dream, Jeff Ramos - Polygon.  Fortnite Battle Royal is now live on iOS. Invites for the iPhone version of Fortnite have hit the inboxes of some players who signed up to test the game. I just received mine. How does the mobile version stack up against the console and PC version? You may be surprised to find out that it runs great. Yes, a game that until today demanded the power of consoles and PCs now plays without glaring hiccups on a smartphone. As I tap the on-screen icon that allows me to fly out of Fortnite’s party bus, it is hard to believe this game is running on my iPhone 8 Plus — and running smoothly at that. Epic Games has done a fantastic job getting the game to perform well on iOS, and managed to keep it relatively small, with a 2 GB download. Despite having certain controls like duck, jump and item selection taking up precious screen real estate, I found the experience to be incredibly intuitive. You slide your left thumb in any given direction to move, and you can either slide it further or double-tap to start running. Turning is handled by swiping your right thumb in either direction. Complicated movements, like quickly spinning around or spotting a target, feel accurate. It isn’t nearly as clunky as I had feared it might be. To continue reading this review, click here And if you want to use the best accessories to make this game even greater, check out the two best joypad/controller options we have featured, or check out extensive range in our featured mobile gaming accessories section.  Gamevice Controller: $116 It's like a classic console gaming controller - it seems closest to the Xbox style - that's been chopped in half, and had the two halves connected by a rubbery, stretchy band that goes round the back of the iPad.  It's got a terrific, chunky feel and is a pleasure to use. It's also very easy to put on and take off the iPad, and because you can roll the rubbery centre section over, reasonably portable. Oh, and if you don't have the 12.9in iPad Pro, you can also get the Gamevice for 9.7In iPads, the iPad mini, and the iPhone and iPhone Plus.  Logitech Powershell Controller with Battery: $29.99 The Logitech PowerShell Controller and Battery looks like the perfect gaming companion for those of you with an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s, although owners of more recent iPhone models are out of luck. The controller essentially turns your iPhone into a PS Vita, complete with Xbox-esque button layout, analogue directional pad, and shoulder triggers. It also offers familiar soft rubber texture grips popular with gaming controllers, making it comfortable to use over long periods of time.  The only thing the PowerShell seems to be missing is a pair of analogue sticks, but given that it's dropped below $30, it's by far the best-value controller around if the lack of control sticks doesn't bother you....

XBOX ELITE WIRELESS CONTROLLER $20 Cash Kickback: Claim $20 back on this product after you purchase, exclusive on The Mall. Just email john@themallhub.com with 'THEMALLELITE' promo code to claim, and get the $20 sent straight to your paypal account. Reviews: 4.7/5 stars from 3674 reviews. 95% of customers would recommend this product to a friend. Description: We set out to create a performance-class controller to meet the needs of today's competitive gamers. Designed in collaboration with pro-level players, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller unlocks your full potential and adapts to your unique style of play. Experience game-changing accuracy, faster speed, and a tailored feel unlike anything before. Price: $149.99 everywhere else, but with our kickback, get it for $129.99 What's included: - 2 standard, 2 tall and 2 domed thumbsticks - 4 paddles, 2 D-pads - AA batteries - Carrying case - USB cable - Xbox Elite Wireless Controller for Xbox One       ...