Greetings bores and ghouls! For this week’s installment, I’ve decided to continue in the same vein as my previous post and take a look at another one of Junji Ito’s fantastic yowl yarns, Gyo.
In Gyo, Junji Ito creates a landscape of terror that is much more rooted in recent history than the surreal nightmare portrayed in Uzumaki, making it a more traditional narrative, but also meaning it hits closer to home. I say traditional in a comparative sense, because although the main structure of Gyo’s plot is more conventional than that of Uzumaki, it is still very original.
Essentially, Gyo follows a young couple, Tadashi and Kaori, in a story that is similar to apocalyptic zombie tales, except that rather than simply using the living dead, Ito portrays rotting fish equipped with mechanical legs overrunning Japan. As bizarre as that may seem, it only gets stranger, as it is explained that what is actually going on beneath the surface is a viral plague in which the germs take control of host bodies, generate an odor close to that of rotting flesh, and then use the bodies as batteries to fuel their mechanical leg structures and further spread the plague (it goes even deeper, but I’ll leave that for you to find out).
It’s been a little more than 20 years since the release of the original Resident Evil changed the landscape of video games forever. It’s a game series I literally grew up with, as it saw its original American release mere months before I was born. My initial encounters with the game were through watching my older brother and cousins play it for countless hours, all before I even had any idea how to handle a controller in order to experience it myself, which I later would many times. It, along with some of its sequels, are among my favorite games of all time, and it’s safe to say that Resident Evil holds a special place in my heart. While I was eagerly anticipating Resident Evil 7, I did so with bated breath following several missteps among the series in recent years. But, I’m glad to say that Resident Evil 7 is the game that fans of the series have been waiting years for.
Resident Evil has been one of gaming’s most successful, important, and influential franchises, having introduced several groundbreaking ideas to the medium throughout its storied existence. With its latest iteration, developer Capcom hoped to revitalize their survival horror series after some not-so-stellar efforts that have come as of late. Resident Evil 7 incorporates a perfect mixture of ideas both old and new, effectively re-introducing mechanics that the earliest entries were originally built upon as well as instituting entirely new concepts that, for the most part, work, including the major shift from a third-person perspective to first-person.
This post focuses solely on the original BioShock, recently remastered for PS4.
It’s been nearly a decade since BioShock was initially released, simultaneously garnering vast critical acclaim and considerable fandom, as well as becoming a landmark of video game storytelling, atmosphere, and art design. Of course with its success came sequels, and so BioShockeventually grew to be a three-game series with BioShock 2 following in 2010 and BioShock Infinite in 2013. 2K Games has recently re-released the series in one complete package with updated graphics for PS4, Xbox One, and PC — but is it worth revisiting Rapture?
BioShock is a First-Person Shooter (FPS) from 2007, and until a couple weeks ago when I played through it again, I fondly remembered it as being one of my all-time favorite video games. I hadn’t touched it since its initial release, though, and while I still find many things to love about it, it’s in its gameplay that that old age really begins to show. BioShock’s gameplay didn’t blow people away back in ‘07, and it definitely won’t be turning any heads now.
But no one ever praised BioShockbased on its gameplay, and that’s not the reason it’s so well-regarded. The setting; the characters; the story — that’s why people love BioShock. All of these aspects hold up just as well today as they had nine years ago.
Ramsey Campbell’s “No Strings” is a taut little horror story about Phil Linford, a radio show host. One night after his show, he finds a violinist sitting outside the station, playing a perfect imitation of a radio song. Hoping to give the violinist an audition, Linford races after him, only to be distracted by a cry for help from a derelict building. What he discovers inside will change his life forever.
While not an extraordinarily complex story, “No Strings” seems to be a cautionary tale of how altruism can be a double-edged sword: while Linford’s motives are noble, his desire to help ultimately leads to his undoing. I like how the story paints Linford as an average person trying to help others, but is unsatisfied with his status as a late-night radio host, as it leaves no room to talk about things that really matter. Instead, he’s met with apathy and even hostility when discussing things like homelessness. I think that sort of thing is par for the course nowadays, so Linford is easy to empathize with.
It’s a quick read, so feel free to check this one out.
— Mike Malan, Blogger
Editor’s Note: Mike Malan recently graduated from Lewis University with a degree in English with a sub-speciality in Creative Writing. Mike especially enjoys writing gothic, Poe and all things that chill your bones. He is a dark writer but you can find him dabbling in politics. He is also interested in the editing process and hopes that you will enjoy his work.