Review on Netflix’s ‘100 Humans’

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

While I was browsing Netflix, the show ‘100 Humans’ came up.

The slogan “Life’s Questions. Answered.” is what compelled me to click on it and see what the show is about.

The Netflix synopsis states that the show has humans of different backgrounds partake in a multitude of experiments that explore different aspects of life. This easily convinced me to watch it because of my heavy interest in psychology. 

The show looked at people’s difference in abilities and in perspectives. The whole thing is set out to be a social experiment. The experiments done on these 100 humans were all quite interesting, and the reasoning behind most of them did make me interested in watching to the end to find out the results. However, at times the experiments didn’t use all of the 100 humans available which made their end results to be less accurate. 

I would also say that 100 humans doesn’t mean 100% accuracy on the end results, since there are over 7 billion people living in this world. Nevertheless, the topics and questions that are brought up do make one question and reflect what their own perspectives are and what society’s perspectives are. The show did this by bringing in people who are knowledgeable about the different topics mentioned to further speak about them and explain what the results meant, and why those were the results they arrived at. 

The experiments done were also quite interesting. Many of them were funny, and some took a more serious approach. But overall, they were all light-hearted.

The show went through a few experiments each episode and would switch off from each as everything went on. I didn’t mind the approach and thought it worked well because it left little room for boredom of a question. 

The show was funny and interesting and the episodes were about half an hour each. And while the show and experiments weren’t all that accurate, and could’ve probably been done better, I liked most of the questions they posed and how they made me think and reflect on the experiment results.

I’d rate this show a 9/10. 

Remy the Ratatouille: how a TikTok trend became a full musical

By: Bijou Kruszka

It’s the year 2007, and the Pixar movie ‘Ratatouille’ just came out in theaters. Now, nearly 14 years later, the musical version of the movie, composed by TikTok creators, is performed by Broadway actors. How did we get here?

It all started with Emily Jacobson in August of 2020, who had just read an article on a new ‘Ratatouille’-themed ride at Disney World, according to an Inside Edition interview with Jacobson. She started singing an improvised song about the main character, Remy, and decided to post it to TikTok. The song’s lyrics were “Remy the ratatouille, the rat of all my dreams. I praise you, oh ratatouille. May the world remember your name.”

In a Buzzfeed interview, Jacobson said that she had “pretty much forgotten about it” until 2 months later, when she “woke up to hundreds of notifications.” The song had blown up and got the attention of composer Daniel Mertzluff. Mertzluff added ensemble-like vocals and instrumentation to Jacobson’s song, and pitched the idea of a ‘Ratatouille’ musical.

People all over TikTok quickly jumped on to this idea, composing songs, choreographing said songs, dreaming up costume and set designs, and even creating a Playbill cover. The 15-second song, consisting of 4 short lines, had somehow created an entire community on TikTok.

In the Buzzfeed interview, Jacobson stated that she was concerned that she was going to get copyrighted by Disney, but Disney seemed to encourage the trend. Patton Oswalt, who voiced Remy in the movie, showed his support as well.

In December of 2020, it was announced a virtual performance of this ‘Ratatouille’ musical would be live streamed, with the proceeds going to the Actors Fund, which benefits actors, especially during the pandemic. The production streamed from January 1st to January 4th, and it raised $2,000,000 for the Actors Fund.

The performance starred Titus Burgess as Remy, Wayne Brady as his father, Andrew Barth Feldman as Linguini, Ashley Park as Colette and Andre de Shields as Anton Ego. The show got good reception, with critics agreeing that though it was odd, it was very enjoyable.

In the end, we can see that somehow ‘Ratatouille’, in the middle of a pandemic, pulled thousands of people together to create something. Perhaps, Remy really is the rat of all our dreams.

For more information, please visit:

A review of The Weekend’s Super Bowl halftime performance 

By: Caroline Crosby

There’s much to dissect concerning the eye-catching narrative that The Weekend worked so hard to convey to fans, so I’ll first offer a personal hottake. 

Looking back on the performance, as someone who knew next to nothing about the superstar’s intentions, I must say, I was incredibly confused at first. It provided all the glamour and elaborate choreography that has come to be expected of a legendary Super Bowl halftime show, but the underlying message (far from my own comprehension, at the time) irked me. What was he trying to say? Why include the dizzying mirror scene and sea of red-jacket clad backup dancers? What significance did the face-obscuring bandages offer? 

I was not alone in my perplexity. The performance was well received by many, but also prompted much speculation and critique from confused fans and the general public alike. 

The media, to no one’s surprise, has been diligently circulating rumors regarding the “true meaning” of The Weekend’s unique performance on the 7th. So what in the world could the real message be, and why were some fans so shocked after it’s grand debut?

In an interview with ‘Variety’, on the 3rd of February, The Weekend stated that, “The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated, it’s all a progression and we watch The Character’s storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on.” 

The character referred to here, is one that The Weekend had been developing since September of 2020, in preparation for the emerging show’s narrative. Throughout his concerts and various public appearances prior to the Super Bowl, the 30-year-old was frequently seen in prosthetics and bandages, adding to the general confusion of devoted fans and other patrons of pop culture.

Many expressed discontent with the star’s sudden transformation and obviously intense physical reconstruction, convinced that he was gearing up for some big reveal per his highly anticipated Super Bowl debut.

The Weekend shocked fans yet again when he showed up as himself, perfectly bandage and prosthetic free. The performance came and went, and as expected, general Twitter chaos ensued. It was only after the fact when the bizarre storyline reached its climax and became clearest to the public.

Overall, The Weekend’s cryptic performance provided a moving commentary on the loss of individuality that plagues fame, and the plastic “people pleasing personas” that many stars find themselves chained to in order to retain popularity in today’s society.

Regarding the big show in an interview with ‘Billboard Magazine’, The Weekend explained, “We’ve really been focusing on dialing in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience, and we want to do that with the Superbowl.” 

Truly dedicated to said performance, various sources report that The Weekend paid around 7 million USD out of pocket to supply all the necessary resources for the show. A highly unusual feat for those graced with halftime-level stardom, but probably didn’t make much of a dent in the wallet of the man in the ruby jacket.

In other semi-relevant news, the aforementioned Givenchy jacket sported by our performer was embroidered with authentic rubies, and weighed around 44 lbs. For reference, The Weekend spun around a football field in front of 96.4 million viewers, in a jacket equal in weight to that of an adolescent Basset Hound.

If that doesn’t convince you of the man’s sheer devotion to the arts, I’m not sure what will.

For the full recording of The Weekend’s performance, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rhadTURsrw 

Review on documentary: ‘Dolores’

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

“Then we see the racism that we’re looking at today, we see the misogyny, homophobia and all that. And that’s because our histories are not being told, they are not included in our school books. So then what happens is that people will  grow up ignorant of the contributions of people of color or of women or of the LGBT community, of labor unions, etc. We have this abysmal ignorance of women inside America. I think that it’s not only important for women, but it’s important for our  whole society that our stories be told and that our victories and our achievements can be recorded in history. “ – Dolores Huerta, Huffington Post

Dolores Huerta has spent most of her life being an activist; however, many don’t know who she is or find her to be a subordinate when compared to her work partner, Cesar Chavez. This documentary shows her life as a dedicated activist and the problems she had to face because of it. 

The documentary mainly focuses on her time spent making change for farm workers through the Farmworkers Movement in the 1960’s. However, it begins retelling her earlier years of when she wasn’t an activist. We’re shown the inequality and the state of the society she lived in. The documentary captures it well. It also captures her want to do something about it by showing her actions and everything she has to sacrifice. 

It goes on to further show her sacrifices and struggles in her work as an activist through videos. Some showed the sexism she faced and the difficulties that came with being a single mother. Some of her children are also in the documentary, and they speak of their own perspectives and thoughts. This helped when trying to understand the struggles that come with the dedication of activism. 

The documentary pays careful attention to the outside things that impacted Huerta’s work, such as the people who worked around her and those that she met through her work. We see her grow as an activist and as a person who becomes more confident. 

Once the end of the documentary is near, there is a focus on who Huerta has become and what she has accomplished, as well as her own opinions on the way she has lived her life. 

Overall, the documentary uses a good mix of interviews of people in Huerta’s life, historians, past interview clips, and commentary in order to get her story across. It was able to captivate my interest and had many scenes where I felt as though I was actually there experiencing the events unfolding.

I give the documentary a 10/10 and strongly recommend it for its ability to show different perspectives while keeping everything interesting and informative. 

I believe that this documentary is important because it spreads the importance of who Dolores Huerta is, giving her the credit she deserves. 

Why Zendaya is one of the most influential people of this generation

By: Ayane Jarso

Image taken from: Elle.com

Zendaya Coleman is a 24-year-old actress, model, singer, and dancer. She first gained her popularity when she played the role of Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel show ‘Shake It Up’.

She has played many roles that have proven her versatility when it comes to acting. She played Anne Wheeler in the film ‘The Greatest Showman’. MJ in the new Spider-Man movies, showing her more awkward, intense, teenage roles.

One of her biggest roles, on ‘Euphoria’, is 17-year-old Rue, who struggles with a drug addiction. I personally believe this is one of her most influential roles.

In the ‘Euphoria’ series, her character, Rue, comes straight out of rehab with no intention to stay clean. Throughout the show, Rue ruins many very important relationships in her life due to her addiction, and when she does decide to get clean, it’s not for herself, but for the girl that she’s madly in love with, Jules.

This role that Zendaya plays shows young people how relying on others for all your happiness can really mess up your life; you should take care of yourself before getting invested in someone else. I truly believe that people would not feel the importance of this show without her incredible execution with this character.

Not only does she play important roles on the big screen, but she also uses her platform to make real change in the world. Zendaya does everything in her power to fight colorism in Hollywood by denying roles that are meant for dark skinned women. She has used her platform numerous times to encourage young people to vote and make their voices heard! She speaks out against police brutality bringing more attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.

According to Insider.com, Zendaya stated that if she hadn’t become an actor she’d be a teacher; both of her parents are educators and education is very important to her.

She is an inspiration to young people everywhere and she is still accomplishing so much!

‘The Lorax’ movie analysis

By: Ellie Mulvaney and Irene Cohen

Many children’s movies are made with themes that are much less superficial than the frivolous, kid-friendly plots that house them. Often, messages and lessons are disguised in how the characters interact and the way conflict is resolved in order to teach life skills in an intertwining way. ​’The Lorax’,​ originally written by Dr. Seuss, and directed by Chris Renaud, is no exception.

The story follows one Ted Wiggins, a teenage boy living in a seemingly perfect town, though one that is almost entirely artificial. In his quest to find a real tree for the girl he likes, he travels outside the gates of town, against the wishes of the mayor, and antagonist, Mr. O’Hare. He finds a barren and dead landscape, and a man by the name of The Oncler, who retells the story of how his business ruined the surrounding land, resulting in the fake city with no real plants that Ted lives in.

In this, the viewer sees the once thriving ecosystem that once existed, and the Lorax, a creature who protected it. As The Oncler went against the Lorax’s demands to leave the trees alone, we can see the depleting resources for the animals who live there, and the further destruction as the company becomes more large scale. By creating these animal characters, that children come to befriend during the former half of the film, it builds their empathy for when these same animals eventually have to leave what was once their home due to the pollution.

The film even includes a famous Dr. Seuss quote spoken by The Oncler; “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” By teaching children the importance of their actions and their own effect on the world they live in, ‘The Lorax’ film effectively helps raise an awareness of oneself in the future generations, and an understanding of the human footprint on our planet.

Much like in the real world, the depletion of these natural resources, the Truffula trees, and resulting pollution is not the goal, it is a mere side effect of the Onceler’s greed. The Onceler doesn’t care about anything other than his objective of being as wealthy as he can possibly be, no matter the consequences.

In the beginning of the movie, the Onceler is not respected by his relatives because of his lack of his success, but as the plot progresses, and he makes more and more profit off of the Thneeds he produces, he begins to gain their respect. This criticizes our society’s standard of success, because even though his production of these Thneeds is devastating the environment, it doesn’t matter as long as it is “helping the economy.”

In the song “How Bad Can I Be?” it is explicitly stated by the Onceler what he thinks is important in life. It says:

The people with the money (people with the money) Make this ever-loving world go ’round
So I’m biggering my company, I’m biggering my factory, I’m biggering my corporate size.

Everybody out there, take care of yours and me? I’ll take care. of.
Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine.

This is an excerpt from the song. We see that the Onceler knows that the people in power are the people with the money, so he will continue to expand his company at the cost of decimating entire forests of Truffula trees and polluting the ecosystem. He believes he should be able to continue this pollution in the name of his company without anyone criticizing him so he can continue generating profit.

All of this ravaging of the ecosystem results in the extinction of Truffula trees, which were the main source of oxygen for the people of the town. Since this natural resource is now scarce, Mr. O’Hare takes advantage of this and commodifies oxygen, a basic right. He begins to sell bottled oxygen to the citizens of his town, something that was once free and natural is now just another commercialized item.

‘The Lorax’ movie cautions its viewers of what capitalist greed could ultimately lead to. When those in power are those who control the economy, society will not progress. To be in control of the economy, you first have to let go of human decency in order to exploit and ruin the lives of others. Basic human rights should never be commodified or considered a luxury.

Why Wendy’s social media should be concerning 

By: Quentin Miller

Wendy’s, we all love them.

Their charming insults over Twitter and their #relatable memes are just tons of fun and a good move for brands to be going, right? No, not at all, and I’ll explain why.

Now, what is a brand? Is a brand the person who runs their Twitter account? 

No, that’s a team of social media experts. A brand is a corporation with lots and lots of money, whose main goal is to make more money. Not to say corporations are bad, that’s not the point of this article, but corporations aren’t our friends. 

The only thing Wendy’s is trying to do by being relatable to the average person on Twitter is to hide the fact that just like every other company, they’re trying to cut every corner to make as much profit as possible.

One specific example is when Wendy’s had a scandal where they were serving rotting fish according to an ex-employee’s testimony. But my guess is that you never heard of it, because instead of making a public statement, or seeking for defamation, they did nothing and continued to make fun of people on Twitter, acting like they didn’t just put the lives of hundreds of their customers in danger.

Wendy’s isn’t the worst offender, really they’re just very cheap. But imagine what this type of dominance over the public perception of a company could do in the hand of a company like Tesla or Amazon, who have enough money to influence world politics, if not called out and stopped. The new marketing strategy introduced by these chain restaurants is worrying and should be called out before it becomes dangerous. 

‘Outlast’ game review

By: Olivia Knafla

Ever since it’s release in 2013, it’s safe to say that ‘Outlast’, published by Red Barrel Studios, has received pretty positive feedback. With a 7.8 on IGN.com and a 10/10 on Steam, it appears that the game has been well received.

But exactly what is it?

‘Outlast’ is a first-person survival horror game where you, playing as investigative journalist Miles Upshur, enter Mount Massive Asylum armed with nothing but your camcorder. With over 15 million copies sold in 2018, there have been many people who have tried out the game for themselves. I joined the group when I recently saw it was on sale on Steam and decided to try it out for myself.

After having played through it a few times, I feel confident enough in my knowledge about the game, and its accompanying franchise, to write a review about it. This is, of course, is my perception of the game from playing its PC version, so it’s perfectly reasonable if my experience is not the same as that of others who have played ‘Outlast’.

Lastly, before getting into the review itself, I would like to point out that this article contains heavy ‘Outlast’ spoilers. If you haven’t played it yet, I would highly suggest that you go about doing that first. If you would like to read this review without worrying about spoilers, you can do so by not reading sections or paragraphs that have a spoiler warning next to or proceeding them.

Now, onto the review!

Gameplay

Playing the game for the first time was an experience that I can’t quite replicate when I replay it time and time again. From the start you are informed that you don’t get to fight the enemies that you’re sure to encounter – instead, you’ll have to hide, run, or die.

You are also introduced to your camcorder pretty early on, which is an essential part of the game. Not only do you use the camcorder to record events and write notes about what you encounter, but you use it to navigate the darkness of the asylum using the night vision feature.

Naturally, a creepy asylum, post-massacre, isn’t going to be well lit everywhere, so being able to use the night-vision on your camera is important – but don’t use it too much. By using your night vision, you drain your camcorder’s batteries and then need to find replacements. If you’re playing on normal mode you can collect up to 10 batteries at a time, however, the number of batteries you are allowed to carry, as well as the lifespan of those batteries, decreases when you choose a more difficult mode. You can collect batteries throughout the asylum, oftentimes near radios or computers, and their placements depend on both the mode in which you are playing and your need for additional batteries.

You’ll find that a common event is needing to complete some sort of multi-step process while avoiding an enemy patrolling the area. Examples of this include, but are not limited to: turning on pumps to start a circuit breaker, turning valves to drain sewer water, and collecting fuses to turn on a laundry chute. While these can begin to feel repetitive throughout the game, they usually carry some feeling of suspense, trying to listen to footsteps and avoid detection from your enemy.

At some points throughout the game, you don’t get the luxury of sneaking around and being thoughtful about your actions. For example, shortly after entering the male ward of the asylum, the music picks up and you realize that a group of three Mount Massive residents (more commonly referred to as “variants”) are after you, and you don’t get a lot of time to think or explore. It doesn’t help that you need to push objects out from in front of doors to get away, but you need to barricade them after entering a new room to slow and block your pursuers. The quick running away and vaulting over objects in your path is very smooth to play through (if you can think clearly enough to actually hit the right keys – something I had a bit of trouble with my first time through) and provides a parkour-style element to the game. This is not only apparent in this chase, though. You’ll find yourself jumping into vents to escape enemies who are chasing you and hanging over ledges to evade the view of others.

The game is good about responding to your controls and the characters are pretty well done in regards to how they can detect you and follow you around. I personally really liked how there is a clear difference in the personalities of different variants. Some can form full sentences and speak to you while others don’t have their thoughts put together that way. Some variants make their appearance very apparent to you (i.e. Chris Walker) and some that hide in the shadows and follow you before you can even realize that they’re there (i.e. The Twins). Characters play a huge role in not only this game but many others, and ‘Outlast’ seems to have done a great job making them work.

It’s easy to get completely immersed into the game once you start playing and getting into it, fearing what’s lurking ahead as you hear the soundtrack start to pick up and waiting for the next jumpscare to freak you out. You quickly become aware of who your enemies are and how to do what you can to defend yourself – sometimes by learning it the hard way. Don’t worry too much about it, though – when playing on normal, difficult, or nightmare mode, there are checkpoints where you can pick up from if you do end up in the hands of a not-so-happy variant.

Graphics

Considering that ‘Outlast’ came out in 2013, I was amazed by how high quality the graphics were. The graphics are AAA-quality, creating a beautiful and intricate world for the player to roam around in. The game did a fantastic job of having different textures and elements incorporated into itself while not looking out of place or unrealistic. On several occasions, rain and fire were incorporated into the game, and their overall appearance combined with the sound that accompanied them was impressive. 

I also appreciated the way that vision with, and without, the camcorder is different yet still realistic, especially as your camcorder’s batteries begin to drain. Water, reflections, and footprints are some good examples of the game’s capability to create a realistic scenario that in certain situations, looks more like a scene from a movie than a video game.

Overall, the graphics are high quality and provide an aesthetically pleasing and highly cinematic experience for the player.

Sound

An incredibly notable aspect of ‘Outlast’ is its soundtrack, which was composed by Samuel Laflamme. The music being played perfectly encapsulated the events that occur as you progress through the game. Chase music was high intensity and made your heart race, while as you walked through the asylum halls or witnessed something new (and likely harrowing) it was accompanied by a piece of music that was just the right amount of suspenseful to keep you on edge.

‘Outlast’ did a good job of timing events to fitting music, and I ended up liking the soundtrack so much that I found myself listening to it on Spotify after I was finished playing the game itself.

However, sound in a game is not all about the background music. 

The sounds effects in ‘Outlast’ are well-timed and fit into the game seamlessly. The sound quality is high and matches the realistic graphics that it accompanies. The sounds are realistic and the voice actors for the characters are able to play the part so well that at times, it’s hard to believe that they’re actors. In fact, because of his performance in ‘Outlast’, the voice actor for Dr. Trager (Alex Ivanovici) was nominated for the “Outstanding Performance in a Video Game” award at the 2015 ACTRA Montreal awards.

Miles Upshur, the character you’re playing as, does not speak. However, his breathings and yelling match the situation quite well. You can hear his breathing and heart rate speed up when he’s hiding in a locker or under a bed and an enemy is nearby. He reacts to the situations he gets into, and it is done in a way that is realistic and not too over-the-top.

Storyline *SPOILER WARNING for the following section*

I believe the storyline is the most overlooked aspect of ‘Outlast’ as a whole. It’s a pretty simple concept at first: Miles receives a letter from an insider at Mount Massive that the Murkoff Corporation, currently running the asylum, needs to be exposed for the horrible things they are doing there. He enters the asylum, things go south, and he needs to escape. However, when you pay attention to not only the characters you encounter, but other elements hidden throughout the asylum, things start to make a lot more sense – and seem a lot more put together.

As revealed in the first note (accomplished by raising your camcorder to record the exterior of the asylum), Mount Massive was shut down amid scandal and government secrecy in 1971 only to be re-opened by Murkoff Psychiatric Systems in 2009 under the guise of a charitable organization. However, as you can probably assume, their intentions were not so righteous.

What was going on was something called Project Walrider. Project Walrider was an experiment to create some sort of ideal creature out of a swarm of nanocomputers. The Walrider requires a human host in order to function, and the prerequisite for being this host is the following: to have experienced a huge trauma, and then seeing the trigger image video.

An old and suspected Nazi scientist, Dr. Wernicke, along with the Murkoff Corporation, were trying to bring this technology to life and control it. Their main test subject, and first known host of the Walrider, was a man named William “Billy” Hope. However, this doesn’t mean that countless other patients weren’t traumatized and exposed to what is called “Morphogenic Engine Therapy” in order to further progress Project Walrider. Because of the experiments, many of the variants that are seen throughout the game have parts of their body that have been permanently deformed.

Eventually, what is known as the “Mount Massive Asylum Incident” took place. This incident is described on the ‘Outlast’ page on Fandom as “a massacre of the staff of Mount Massive Asylum that took place a few hours prior to the start of the original story…  resulting in the establishment being overrun by the Variants.” The original story being referred to is the game itself, meaning that this massacre happened only hours before Miles arrived at the asylum. To go more in-depth, what happened was that Bill took control of the Walrider and used it in order to incite this violence against not only Murkoff personnel but patients as well.

This led to variants roaming the asylum for whatever reasons they would like. Some variants began to worship the Walrider as their God, and the most recognizable from this bunch would be a variant by the name of Father Martin. Father Martin intended on releasing the Walrider into the world. However, other variants were against this. For example, Chris Walker is a variant who stalks you throughout nearly the entire game and is known for decapitating people. His actions may seem unclear, but when you look into the storyline, his motives make more sense – he is trying to kill any possible hosts for the Walrider in order to prevent it from being releasing into the outside world as Father Martin intends.

Finally, Miles makes it to the lab underground, where he discovers what Murkoff was really about (and what the documents he’s been collecting mean). He meets Dr. Wernicke and learns how to kill Billy to then hopefully stop the Walrider, and after being chased through nearly the entire basement by it, he is able to successfully do so. However, Miles gets attacked by the Walrider and it fuses itself into his body, possessing him. After he makes his way to the exit – and does so very slowly as he can barely walk anymore – he is repeatedly shot at by a group of Murkoff tactical officers. However, they didn’t realize their mistake, as Miles had become the new host of the Walrider, he took down Dr. Wernicke and the military personnel with him; and thus concludes the game.

All in all, the storyline plays a major part in ‘Outlast’ as it should in any videogame. I really liked how through character dialogue, documents collected, and what remained of the asylum, you were able to get an idea of what was happening before the encounter in the lab even took place.

The story was thoughtfully applied to the game itself, and it adds another layer of interest and complexity, at least for me. You not only understand the extremity of what Miles is going through, but also the variants. I know I found myself starting to feel bad even for Chris Walker, which is strange considering he is Miles’s main enemy as he travels throughout the asylum.

Outlast has so much background knowledge to be learned about that I didn’t even mention at all in my summary, and by looking into it you really get to know the characters and why they are the way they are. It’s chaos, it’s gross, and it looks violent, but there’s reason behind it. It makes sense why there are heads on bookshelves and why there’s blood dripping from the vents.

All things considered, I think the ‘Outlast’ storyline is wildly interesting and well planned out. It definitely adds to the game in a positive way. It makes it go from some random game about a journalist and blood to something with meaning, something to get you invested. You are able to find clues along the way by picking up documents and observing the behaviors and dialogue of NPC’s. Overall, I think the storyline may be what I  love so much about ‘Outlast’ – and what keeps me and so many others hooked.

Replay Value

The replay value of ‘Outlast’ is likely highly dependent on the player’s interest in the lore, storyline, or simply game itself. If you don’t find yourself passionately interested in those things, I’d say the probability of you immediately wanting to start over and play again isn’t very high. Maybe after a few months to feel the scare again, but not instantly.

I found myself wanting to play through again once I found out all of the information revealed near the game’s end (and after researching the storyline and characters for myself) and I appreciated everything even more than when I first played it. Even after that, I played it again a couple of times to collect all of the achievements for it on Steam, as well as to try out the different modes.

My Overall Opinion

My main critique of ‘Outlast’ is that sometimes it got slightly repetitive, but at the same time I can see how everything fits into the game. It makes sense that Miles would need to put some work in to make it out of Mount Massive, and I feel like a huge element of ‘Outlast’ would be lost without the challenge of sneaking around different variants. However, sometimes it gets tiring running away from people and hiding in lockers.

*SPOILER WARNING for the following paragraph*

A huge critique that I have seen a lot of people have of the game is in regards to its ending. I have seen countless posts talking about how sudden or unexplained the ending was, however, I think that the ending to ‘Outlast’ was pretty solid. It makes complete sense that Miles would make a more than excellent host for the Walrider, and it makes even more sense that Dr. Wernicke would want to have Miles killed after having found out some of Murkoff’s biggest secrets. It was shown in the game’s documents “Request for Reassignment” and “Persecutorial Delusions” that Murkoff took one of their own employees, David Annapurna, and transmitted him as a patient of the asylum (which they indisputably mistreated) after he threatened to contact the press about his suspicions that Murkoff was abusing their patients. While it was Dr. Trager who sent in for David to be admitted as a patient, it is not unlikely that nearly all of the Murkoff administration, who knew a considerable amount about Project Walrider, wouldn’t want anybody to know about it. Not only could it damage Murkoff’s image, but the experiments they were conducting were highly illegal. For those and several other reasons, I believe that ‘Outlast’s’ ending not only makes sense but wraps the game up in a clean and concise way.

All things considered, I think ‘Outlast’ is an amazing game that everybody should give a try at least once. I will say that I would tread with caution for either younger teenagers or people who are easily scared, grossed out, have nightmares, etc. The game is rated Mature, with the game’s content describes as the following: “frequent violence or gore and general mature content”. All that being said, I’ve played several different games in the same or similar genres, but ‘Outlast’ stood out to me from the beginning and has ranked as my current favorite horror game.

So, what are you waiting for? A Steam sale? Not a bad idea, honestly.

In all seriousness though – I think ‘Outlast’ is worth the purchase and undoubtedly worth your time. 

For more information, please visit:

Why is ‘The Boxcar Children’ (original book) the best children book

By: Ayane Jarso

Image taken from: Goodreads

‘The Boxcar Children’ is a wonderful book that I think is a must read for children everywhere. It tells a story about four children who recently became orphans; they create a home for themselves in the forest and live in an abandoned boxcar in secret. They fend for themselves, cook, clean, and their eldest brother goes into town for work so they have money to live off of.

You might be wondering why they didn’t try reaching out to any other family after their parents died, and they became orphans. Well, the only family member they ever heard of was their grandfather but they got the impression that he was a cruel man because he never gave them a visit.

I believe that this is one of the best children books out there because of the descriptive imagery. Reading this book I truly felt like I was there with the characters. I felt their nervousness anytime they were close to getting caught.

The author, Gertrude Chandler Warner, gives such good descriptive detail to every part of the book. The children sit down for dinner every single night and go over their days while eating their supper. It feels as if I’m on the sidelines listening to their conversation. That’s something Gertrude did really well, it doesn’t feel like a story when you read it, and as a child I felt like I was a part of the adventure which was incredible for a very imaginative young child.

Most of the book takes place out in nature, and according to Wikipedia, ‘The Boxcar Children’ was published in 1924, meaning there wasn’t much technology in the story. I think it helps remind kids that there is a whole world outside of screens and that it can be really enjoyable.

‘The Departed’: Rat and mouse

By: Hayden Fitzsimons

Scorsese’s 2006 film, ‘The Departed’, was a hit when it came out and maintained its popularity to this day for a very good reason.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Billy Costigan, an intelligent police academy reject, and Matt Damon plays Colin Sullivan, an academy graduate who quickly climbed the ranks to sergeant. Billy becomes an undercover cop in crime boss Costello’s, played by Jack Nicholson, Irish mafia. However, Sullivan is doing the exact inverse as he acts as a rat for Costello, within the Massachusetts State Police. From here, their paths repeatedly cross and both spiral deeper and deeper into an ever-increasingly unstable rivalry.

Scorsese is able to lead his cast through a winding story headed by Jack Nicholson’s incredible performance as a purely evil and steely villain. Matt Damon and DiCaprio deserve just as much praise as they both perform excellently in two extremely tense roles.

As the film continues, an initially somewhat regular plot grows complex as both main characters continually are put in situations where they seemingly have no way out, yet always come out on top. This sort of plot allows the entertainment value of the film to increase and increase seemingly without end, at least until the film itself ends.

The film from the very beginning demands the viewer’s attention, as it is very hard to not be glued to the screen throughout the entirety of the film. In a constantly changing plot, the viewer is able to find some stability in ‘The Departed’s’ characters. All of the important figures remain as they were in the beginning, as the only real differences in how they act are simply their increasing suspicion and panic as their worlds’ walls inch closer and closer.

‘The Departed’ seems predictable enough, however the viewer often has enough time to predict what happens next. In a lesser film, the viewer would be able to discern the next story beat, yet in  ‘The Departed’ it’s almost as if it plays too fast for your brain, and you yourself are dragged along by the enigmatic trio.

When it comes to predictability, if you were able to see the ending’s multiple shocking turns coming, I’d have to say that you’d be a genius. If there is ever a movie that manages to take the film trope of two or more characters’ individual lives eventually entangling, it’s ‘The Departed’.