Friday, July 29, 2016

Whovian Chatter: The McGann Years The Movie

Ghost here, thanks for joining.

I'm going to be examining Doctor Who... every single episode.  I'm going to take you on a journey through the 50+ years worth of this show, showcasing the good and the bad along the way.  For each episode I'm going to give you a very brief rundown of the plot, how good/bad the story is, and anything interesting about the episode.  Basically I'll just talk about whatever comes to mind for each of them.  These will be a more in-depth overview of the series as a whole so you can see which stories or episodes (if any) you want to check out for yourself.  Today I'm going to be talking about

The Eighth Doctor
Paul McGann
Doctor Who: The Movie

Doctor Who: The Movie (A.K.A Doctor Who, A.K.A. The Enemy Within) aired in May 1996 in Canada, the US, and the UK though on different dates.  It had been seven years since Doctor Who was cancelled on the BBC and fans of the show had never stopped lobbying for it to come back.  While the fan outcry caused the BBC to bring back the show during Colin Baker's run, the same was not true here.  In fact, there was so much hatred for Doctor Who in the BBC that it was almost a taboo subject.  British-born American Producer, Philip Segal had been dreaming of bringing the show back to life and spent many years trying to get a new series of Doctor Who produced between both the BBC and (at the time) Amblin Productions under Steven Spielberg.  It was a hard road to pave and still almost didn't happen.

Philip Segal
There were many road bumps along the way such as another section of the BBC commissioning a Doctor Who Movie, Spielberg wishing to be removed from the project, and Segal moving to Paramount but working with Fox.  Segal was finally given the go-ahead to create a television movie that could be used as a pilot for a new series.  However, balancing Segal's wishes, the BBC's demands, the studio's demands, and Fox's demands became almost impossible.  Segal wished to honor the classic show by having the 7th Doctor regenerate but the BBC didn't want McCoy present at all.  Fox demanded that the villain be an American actor regardless of who might have been best to play The Master.  There were also so many hands in the pie when it came to the script that the final agreed-upon script was nowhere near as great as it was originally intended.   Eventually the BBC caved and allowed McCoy to regenerate but required that he remain mostly silent and the regeneration happen quickly.  Eric Roberts was also cast as The Master. 

So why didn't this become a TV show?  Well, at the time Doctor Who was basically an unknown to the American community.  Fox did an absolutely horrible job of promoting the movie and placed it in the same time slot as the series finale of Roseanne.  While the UK viewership was high, the US viewership was lower than Fox wanted to deal with and backed out of the option to continue a series with the BBC.  So, this one movie is the only official piece of Doctor Who which we have between the old and new series. 

Doctor Who: The Movie

The Master has been sentenced to death on Skaro and his final wish is that the Doctor return his remains to Gallifrey.  The Seventh Doctor does so and settles down in an easy chair when the box containing the Master's remains beings to shake and a strange ooze-like snake wanders into the TARDIS console and forces an emergency landing.  The TARDIS lands in San Fransisco on December 30th 1999 and the ooze slithers out the keyhole.  The Doctor exits the TARDIS but it shot down by a group of gang members after a young Chinese-American man, Chang Lee.  Lee calls an ambulance who takes the Doctor to the local hospital to remove the bullets and sooth his rapidly beating heart (which is a normal heartbeat for a Time Lord.)  Cardiologist Grace Holloway is called in but due to the Doctor's strange anatomy she becomes lost and damages the Doctor's circulatory system killing him.  The Doctor is rolled to the morgue and Chang steals the Doctor's possessions including the TARDIS key.  Elsewhere, the ooze has stowed away inside the ambulance driver, Bruce's coat and later attacks then takes over his body.  The Doctor's regeneration, slowed by the human anesthesia takes place and the Eighth Doctor emerges having lost his memories.  Chang enters the TARDIS but the Master is close behind.  The Master convinces Chang that the Doctor stole the TARDIS from him and stole his body.  He then asks for Chang's help in tracking down the Doctor. 

The Doctor finds some clothing items in the hospital and the next morning convinces Grace that he is the same man by pulling out the cardiac probe from his body.  The Master uses Chang's human eye to open the TARDIS' Eye of Harmony in order to track down the Doctor.   The Doctor's memories return from this experience and he realizes he must have an atomic clock to fix the TARDIS and close the Eye of Harmony before Earth is sucked into it.  Grace and the Doctor find an atomic clock while avoiding the Master and Chang and return to the TARDIS.  On board the TARDIS, the Master takes control of Grace's mind and knocks the Doctor unconscious.  The Master then starts his plan to utilize the Eye of Harmony to extract the Doctor's remaining regenerations from him.  The Doctor convinces Chang that the Master has used him but the Master kills him and uses Grace's eye pattern to initiate the Eye of Harmony leaving her free from his control.  Grace runs to the console room and finishes the final wire connecting the atomic clock part to the console which makes the TARDIS shift in time.  With the shift in time, the Doctor is able to free himself and fights with the Master who kills Grace in the scuffle.  The Doctor knocks the Master into the Eye of Harmony supposedly killing him.  Due to this, the Eye closes and causes Chang and Grace's bodies to go back in time causing them to come back to life.  Chang returns the Doctor's possessions and the Doctor offers for Grace to be his companion which she refuses.  The Doctor then hops back into his TARDIS and flies away.

While there are several things which are very good about this movie there are a lot more what are bad or confusing.

Paul McGann is a great Doctor.  He's just sort of charmingly befuddled and I love every second he's on screen.  I've said it in my introduction to the series as a whole, and I'll say it again now.  If we had gotten a full season of Eight, he would probably be my favorite Doctor.  The production value of this movie is gorgeous especially in contrast to the Classic Show.  Many parts of this are quite beautiful.  Also the TARDIS interior is the greatest that it has been...ever.  No TARDIS interior has looked this good before or since.  It was also good to see McCoy again, and his regeneration is really brutal with him screaming on the surgery table trying to explain that he would be OK and that he's not human but then dying in such a painful way.  Grace and Chang were fine... I don't feel strongly either way about them so I guess I would lump that under "good."  This also saw the brief return of the sonic screwdriver.

What's bad?  Basically everything else.  I try not to harp on individual actors, especially ones who have done a LOT of work... but Eric Roberts is a terrible Master.  He's easily the worst incarnation of the Master that we've ever seen.  Though that's partially because I actually enjoy the insanity they gave him in the new show... many Classic Who fans don't agree.  Roberts has two modes in this film.  In the words of Diamanda Hagan "He spends the first half trying to be the Terminator, and the second half hamming it up to almost superhuman levels."  This is NOT the Master... at all. 

The reason for McCoy's regeneration makes me laugh/upset.  The Seventh Doctor, the man who perfectly organized the self-inflicted genocide of two separate races several years before the events actually took place ended up ultimately losing his life because he forgot to look at the TARDIS scanner to see what was standing right outside?  There are also many many other small points that are out of touch with continuity or just make absolutely no sense.  The Eye of Harmony was always a black hole that was hidden away on Gallifrey to power their whole lifestyle, not a small individual one on every TARDIS...though the new show tends to agree with the logic of this movie so maybe I missed something.  Why would the Eye of Harmony need a human eye to open it?  This is especially confusing when you realize that during The Deadly Assassin, Tom Baker had to leave Sarah Jane behind because humans weren't allowed on Gallifrey....so why wold they design something around human anatomy?   Why does the Eye of Harmony being open allow the Master to look out of the Doctor's own eyes?  How would Grace have known how to attach the atomic clock component to the TARDIS console in a few minutes when most of the Doctors didn't even know how the TARDIS console worked that well?  Don't even get me started on the TARDIS just randomly having Grace and Chang's bodies be taken back in time to right before they died so that they could live.... Freaking what??  This movie also makes the ludicrous claim that the Doctor is half-human...something that most people say is post-regeneration madness and the new show chose wisely to jettison that.

Conclusion

This is an excellent place for fans of the new show to launch into an older incarnation of the Doctor as it's probably the more accessible and easily bridges the gap between the two styles of the show and theories on the Doctor.  That said, this film is a mess, but it really didn't have any other choice than to be a mess.  With close to five different companies/individuals all making demands on the project and forcing the script to be re-written on the spot, what else would you expect?  It's gorgeous, Paul McGann is fantastic but most of the rest of this makes little to no sense.  I still suggest watching it but just be warned of the lack of coherency.  We will see Paul McGann once more but not until the end of the 11th Doctor's era.  Please join me again as we continue to examine all of Doctor Who.

This is Ghost, fading into the darkness
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  
You can click here if you wish to see my introduction to Doctor Who
If you want to check out all of my Doctor Who content please click here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ghost's Kitchen: Homemade Lemon Ice Cream

What's cooking today?
Homemade Lemon Ice Cream

Hello everyone and welcome to another segment of...

Summer is definitely here and it's hot!!  As a child, I used to love summer because there was no school and I could just hang around with my friends, grandparents, and cousins all the time.  Now that I'm an adult my enjoyment of summer has degraded to an almost loathing.  Pretty much the only nice things I can say about Summer these days are... ummmm.... getting presents on my birthday which happens to be today and eating homemade ice cream.  That's... about it.

Homemade ice cream was always something I kind of avoided trying to make cause it was just one of those things that seemed overly complicated.  This theory was made more prevalent by the fact that it requires a special machine in order to make which also requires other elements to be bought to make the machine function in the proper way.  It was just too much of a headache to deal with, or so I thought.  Prices on ice cream makers have become very inexpensive as of late so my wife wished for us to have one and try out some different flavors etc.  Remembering that my mother had a lemon ice cream recipe I asked her for it and got to work.  Turns out I had been wrong and making homemade ice cream is incredibly simple.  Today I'll show you how!  Please Note: This is to be prepared the evening before you intend to make it.

Gather Your Ingredients
Since today's recipe requires some special equipment I will be placing that at the beginning this time.
  • Ice Cream Maker
    • 1 Large Bag of Ice
    •  Rock Salt
  • Juicer
  • Grater/Zester
  • Knife and Optional Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups
  • Teaspoon
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Spoon or Whisk
  • 3 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 Cups Half and Half
  • 5-6 Lemons (enough to make 1 cup of juice)
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract
  • 2 Cups Sugar
1. Pour 3 Cups Heavy Cream and 2 Cups Half and Half in Mixing Bowl

2. Zest 1 Lemon
Take one of the lemons you intend to use for juice and grate off the bright yellow skin from the entire thing.  Don't go too deep with it.  Try to only take the top layer off.

3. Set Zest aside for later

4. Juice Lemons
Cut each lemon in half and grind them against the juicer until no more juice can be produced from either side.  This will take somewhere around 5-6 lemons in order to make a full cup of juice.  For us, it took six. 

5. Add Juice to Mixture

6. Add 1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract to Mixture

7. Add 2 Cups Sugar to Mixture

8. Add Zest to Mixture

9. Mix Thoroughly
You will want to continue mixing this concoction together until every bit of the sugar has been disolved.

10. Cover and Chill Overnight
While it is not entirely necessary, you may want to cover your bowl with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.  Simply put the bowl in the refrigerator until you intend to create the ice cream.  Please Note it must chill overnight.

11. Next Day - Pour your  mixture into the central column of your Ice Cream Maker

12. Assemble and Run your Ice Cream Maker per instructions.
Each Ice Cream Maker may be a little bit different though most run on the same principal.  Generally you put the mixer bar in the column, place it in the tub portion, attach it to the motor and turn it on.  Then you generally have a layer of Ice followed by a layer of salt and just keep on layering till it reaches the top of the column.
 

Side Note: All Ice Cream Makers will say that the machine will stop when the ice cream is ready and that should only take 30 minutes.  This is a lie.  I have never seen an ice cream maker just stop nor have I seen it only take 30 minutes.  Generally I just let the thing run for about 45 minutes to an hour and see if the ice cream has expanded and is thicker.  Generally this is so I just cut it off then

13. Once Ice Cream is Ready, Serve and Enjoy!

That's all there is to it!  I realize this is a 13 step recipe but honestly I could have just lumped placing everything in the mixing bowl into a single step.  This could easily have been a 6 step recipe but I figured I would just clearly list every single thing out that I possibly could.  This homemade ice cream is refreshing, light, fluffy, and absolutely delicious.  I hope you all get into Ice Cream Making this summer and try out this more uncommon choice of flavor.

This is Ghost fading into the darkness.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
If you want to see my other food topics and recipes then simply click here!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Whovian Chatter: The McCoy Years Season Twenty Five and Twenty Six

Ghost here, thanks for joining.

I'm going to be examining Doctor Who... every single episode.  I'm going to take you on a journey through the 50+ years worth of this show, showcasing the good and the bad along the way.  For each episode I'm going to give you a very brief rundown of the plot, how good/bad the story is, and anything interesting about the episode.  Basically I'll just talk about whatever comes to mind for each of them.  These will be a more in-depth overview of the series as a whole so you can see which stories or episodes (if any) you want to check out for yourself.  Today I'm going to be talking about

The Seventh Doctor
Sylvester McCoy
Season Twenty Five and Twenty Six

Season Twenty Five ran from October 5, 1988 to January 4, 1989.  It contained fourteen episodes across four stories.  The Doctor had undergone a personality regeneration in between seasons.  While he still was comedic at times and used his theatricality, he was a lot more calculative.  This is the chess master personality of the Doctor and some times we find out he'd engineered his victory before the story had even started.  The show started to go down a darker path and made the Doctor far more mysterious than he had been in awhile.  Since this was the 25th anniversary of the show, we do get some looking back to the past especially with the first story.  This season also sees the last Dalek and Cybermen stories of the classic era.

Season Twenty Six ran from September 6, 1989 to December 6, 1989.  It contained fourteen episodes across four stories.  Andrew Cartmel and Sylvester McCoy were on their A-game.  The tone was much darker this season than it had been even previously and the stories were quite quite good.  In fact the worst story of this season would easily have made for the best story of late Tom Baker, most of Peter Davison, and all of Colin Baker's seasons.  This season also dived extensively into Ace's personal life and in many ways the last two stories of the season set the template for the modern show.  Sadly we have to say goodbye to the classic series after the end of this season as the higher ups in the BBC didn't care that the show was becoming good again and cancelled it anyway though there were already some plans for season twenty seven.

For those of you interested, season twenty seven would have seen the Doctor regenerate into Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter's uncle in the movies), Ace would have gone to the Time Lord Academy on Gallifrey to become a time lord, and the Doctor would have picked up a new companion who was an upper class cat burglar... a concept later used in a David Tennant episode.

Season Twenty Five

Story 152
Remembrance of the Daleks

The first story of season twenty five is Remembrance of the Daleks and it's four episodes long.  The Doctor and Ace land in England in 1963 where they find that the Daleks have infiltrated the basement of Coal Hill School near the junkyard on Totter's Lane.  The war between the Daleks loyal to the Dalek Surpreme and the Daleks loyal to Davros is still ongoing and both of these factions are looking for a piece of Time Lord technology called the Hand of Omega which has the ability to turn a star into a black hole; it was the machine Omega created to give the time lords their ability to travel through time.  The First Doctor had apparently brought the device with him and left it in a funeral home for safe keeping.  The Doctor decides to bury the device and keep it away from both factions but eventually the white imperial Daleks track it down almost fully exterminating the black renegade daleks.  Davros is informed that he has control of the Hand of Omega but the Doctor demands it's return.  Angered by the Doctor's insults, Davros turns the device on Skaro's sun to give the Daleks the same power and the time lords.  However, the Doctor earlier had reprogrammed the Hand of Omega to turn any sun it was used on into a super nova then return to where it was sent and destroy that as well.  The Doctor shows no mercy as Skaro, home of the Daleks, is destroyed followed by the Dalek mothership.

This is an extremely fantastic story and I left a ton out of my description.  There's some subtext about racism in the 60's, Ace beats up a Dalek with a baseball bat, and we get the first on-screen confirmation that Daleks can fly.  This one also nods to or mentions a lot of previous thing such as the ongoing Dalek Civil War, the junk yard and Coal Hills School from An Unearthly Child, as well as a few other things here and there.  This is also memorable for the Doctor truly being almost scary as he shows no mercy towards Davros or the Daleks; he even goes so far as to convince the last remaining Dalek on earth to commit suicide at the end of the story.  To be fair he only did the latter to stop the mind control on a little girl, but still.  That's crazy!  This is the last appearance of the Daleks in the classic show as well and includes the most awesome single-appearance Dalek in the Special Weapons Dalek.  It's a Dalek with a cannon in the middle... which is just awesome.  You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't watch this story!

Story 153
The Happiness Patrol

The next story is The Happiness Patrol and it's three episodes long.  The Doctor and Ace land on the planet Terra Alpha and notice something is wrong.  The planet's ruler Helen A has made it illegal to show any form of sadness on the planet.  Her secret police, the Happiness Patrol, go around the streets arresting "killjoys" and sending them to be executed.  After the Doctor and Ace are arrested, the Happiness Patrol split the pair.  Ace teams up with an unhappy guard who helps her escape, and the Doctor meets with a harmonica playing man named Earl who assists him with his investigation.  The Doctor and Earl find themselves in the Kandy Kitchen, a strange dungeon controlled by a candy covered robot who creates the various ways of execution; his favorite is drowning people with molten candy.  With the help of the pipe people, the planet's original inhabitants, the Doctor and Ace instigate a revolution by utilizing a loophole that the revolution makes them happy so they can't be arrested.  Eventually they topple Helen A's regime who learns the true nature of both happiness and sadness.

This one's bad.  In my opinion it's the last bad story of the classic show.  It's not Time and the Rani or Twin Dilemma levels of horrible but it's not very good.  It's inventive and weird but in all the wrong ways.  There's a real sense of underlying darkness with people being drowned in candy and how there can be no showing of sadness but it's sort of undermined by everything on screen; it's just too bizarre.  If you think you can deal with such a strange story then give it a shot. 

Story 154
Silver Nemesis

The next story is Silver Nemesis and it's three episodes long.  The Doctor and Ace are hanging out in 1988 listening to music when the Doctor remembers something is supposed to happen soon.  The asteroid nemesis is supposed to crash on Earth soon and the Doctor knows he has to be there.  The asteroid actually contains a living metal statue called Nemesis who was created by Rassilon as the ultimate defender of Gallifrey.  The statue has three parts, a bow, an arrow, and the statue itself., which have been separated since 1638.  When all three are brought together, Nemesis will be activated and carry out orders.  Three factions wish to take control of Nemesis - A 17th century sorceress named Lady Peinforte who has the arrow, a group of Neo-Nazis who have the bow, and the Cybermen.  The Doctor pits the factions against each other eventually surrendering to the Cybermen allowing the Cyber Leader to activate Nemesis.  However this has been a long-laid trap as when Nemesis activates it flies off and destroys the entire Cyber Fleet. 

A fair amount of people don't like this one but I adore it.  I love this story a lot more than I really should. Lady Peinforte and her servant were hilarious together as they tried to deal with 1988 England and meet up with a lady from the US South looking into her heritage.  It also features the Doctor not knowing who the Queen was, and wearing a fez while holding a mop before Matt Smith would do the same.  I also like the thought that the Doctor had organized his victory so long ago that he had forgotten what was even coming.  The only really negative things I could say is that the Neo-Nazis don't really add much and the Cybermen's allergy to gold is utilized here again...this time stupidly as they fall over dead just by being hit with the stuff.  All in all it's a really good story that I suggest though I realize many may  not feel as strongly about it as I do.

Story 155
The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

The last story is The Greatest Show in the Galaxy and it's four episodes long.  When the Doctor learns that Ace is afraid of clowns, he decides to take her to the circus.  They head to the planet of Segonax where the Psychic Circus is being held indefinitely.  It was once a spectacular circus but has become run-down.  Strange things are happening in the circus as a clown driving a hearse tracks down an escaped member of the circus, a woman is killed by a giant robot, and everyone who visits the circus is forced to act in the ring.  If they fail to entertain in the ring they are obliterated.  The Doctor and Ace once again become separated.  Ace finds a strange medallion and a man named Belboy who has lost his memories; she tries to make him remember and learns that the circus was once run by a man named Kingpin who brought the circus to Segonax in search of a great power and drove kingpin mad.  The Doctor with help from a girl named Mags (lent to him by another captive, Captain Cook) find the addled Kingpin and discover a strange well with an power source deep below that resembles an eye.  Cook finds them with the head clown and says they are due in the ring; Cook has set up a show to set moonlight on Mags which turns her into a werewolf hoping she will kill the Doctor... instead she turns on Cook.  The spectacle pleases the three lone audience members.  Ace and the Doctor meet up and the Doctor decides to return to the ring once more to allow Ace and Kingpin time to return to the well since the medallion holds the same eye shape.  The Doctor performs for the trio and learns that they are actually the Gods of Ragnarok who feed on entertainment and kill anything not performing well for them.  He stalls long enough for Ace to toss the medallion into the well which causes the gods' power to backfire and the circus to explode not long after the Doctor, Ace, Kingpin and Mags escape.

This is a pretty fantastic story.  There's a good mystery going on, we get to have a girl who is a werewolf (which is always epic) and the atmosphere is great.  This story has one of the most iconic shots of Classic Who with the Doctor leaving the circus tent as it explodes.  The explosion was FAR bigger than it was supposed to be but McCoy knew he only had one take so he just kept walking and acting though he was afraid he'd been injured in the explosion.  The story however becomes even better if you look at it as a metaphor for the show itself.  An entertainment act that was no longer doing as well as it once was through people still enjoyed it.  A group of stone faced god-like beings who had control over the life and death of the entertainment so long as it entertained them.  A kid showing up who was a fan of the circus' old stuff.  It's basically nothing but a giant metaphor for the show and it's glorious.  Definitely check this one out.

Season Twenty Six

Story 156
Battlefield

The first story of season twenty six is Battlefield and it's four episodes long.  When the TARDIS receives a distress call they land on Earth where they find that UNIT under the new leadership of Brigadier Bambera is handling some nuclear armaments.  Things start to heat up when armored knights wielding swords and futuristic guns from an alternative reality lead by a man named Mordred.  They are looking for King Arthur and Excalibur but are being delayed by one of Arthur's knights, Ancelyn and eventually Brigadier Bambera.  Upon hearing news that the Doctor is nearby, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart hops on a helicopter to join them.  Mordred calls for his mother, the sorceress Morgaine to come to this reality in the search for Excalibur.  The Doctor meet with Brigadier Bambera and Anceyln; the latter begins to call him Merlin.  The Doctor theorizes that he will eventually become their Merlin, or an alternative version of himself from their reality is Merlin.  The Doctor and Ace discover a sunken space ship which would only open at the Doctor's voice and inside is the corpse of King Arthur and the sword Excalibur. Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart joins the Doctor and Ace with the Doctor's old car, Bessie.  Morgaine sends Mordred to fight against the UNIT troops as the summons a demon from her reality called the Destroyer to obliterate Earth.  The Doctor goes to stop the fighting between Mordred and UNIT leaving Ace with the sword.  Ace hands the sword to Morgain in order to save her life and the life of a local girl.  The Doctor decides to face Morgaine and the Destroyer but Lethbridge-Stewart knocks him unconscious, loads his gun with silver bullets and heads in.  The Brigadier doesn't find Morgaine but shoots the Destroyer causing the area to explode; thankfully the Brigadier survives.  The Doctor locates Morgaine who is about to set off the UNIT nukes but appeals to her honor and convinces her that nuclear war is not an honorable fight.  She concedes as Brigadier Bambera takes Morgaine and Mordred into custody.

This story is good.  However, it is a testament to the strength of this season that this is actually the weaker link this run.  This would easily be one of the better if not best stories of the past ten years, but the other three stories this season are just that strong.  This episode shows the final on-screen appearance of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in the entire show.  He did not appear on-screen in the reboot either by design or they just hadn't gotten to him yet by the time Nicholas Courtney passed away.  He did appear in an episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures though.  Jean Marsh plays Morgaine and she's an absolutely brilliant villain.  She's cold and ruthless while still maintaining an extreme amount of honor.  She cordially meets with Lethbridge-Stewart prior to battle, her army holds a memorial service for the soldiers of Earth who had died in previous wars, she pays for her son's alcohol tab at the local pub by returning the blind landlady's sight... she's just really amazing.  Jean Marsh also was John Pertwee's ex-wife and had previously played Sarah Kingdom in the William Hartnell era making her the second (and so far last) companion to have returned to play another part.  This story is good and you should check it out.  In fact, you should check out every story this entire season.

Story 157
Ghost Light

The next story is Ghost Light and it's three episodes long.  In 1983, Ace had burned down an abandoned mansion because she felt a strange evil presence in the building.  The Doctor's curiosity about this prompts him to land the TARDIS at that building in 1883 without telling Ace exactly where they went.  It turns out that an alien named Smith is over the Gabriel Chase mansion.  Smith is obsessed with evolution and has evolved himself from an insect species into a Victorian gentleman.  In the house with him is a neanderthal butler, the daughter of the original ownders of the house, a calculating housekeeper, and a priest who opposes evolution and Smith's worth to further the theory's spreading.  Smith also has captured and brainwashed a famous explorer who knows Queen Victoria well and intends to use this man to get to the Queen, assassinate her and rule the British Empire.  However his plans start to go south as the Doctor and Ace discover a spaceship buried beneath the house and a woman named Control within.  The Doctor, Ace, and Control help to free a being trapped in the spaceship named Light.  Light had been sent to Earth to catalogue every living being but Smith mutinied and locked Light up...however Light is more upset that life has changed and evolved since his slumber.  Eventually Control starts to "evolve" into a proper lady and Light goes berserk as he can't handle the constant change.  Control releases the explorer from his brainwashing as the Doctor confronts Light that he cannot stop evolution.  The news distresses him and his body dissipates into the house (which was the presence Ace felt).  Control, the explorer, and the neanderthal lock Smith in the ship and go to explore the stars together.

This story is good...very good.  However, it's notoriously confusing.  It's the single most incomprehensible piece of Doctor Who that exists partially due to the fact that significant portions of the original script were removed to fit the three-episode format of this story.  Don't let the confusion deter you from watching this because it's absolutely brilliant.  Just keep my explanation of the story in mind as you watch it because the story is incredibly difficult to follow.  It's so confusing that a special feature on the DVD release was the original author explaining the story.  Once I listened to that I understood it but until then I was left with.. WOW that was good but I didn't understand a thing.   Originally this story was supposed to be set on Gallifrey and involve the Doctor's relatives which would have been interesting to see.  As-is though this is great and you should watch it.

Story 158
The Curse of Fenric

The next story is The Curse of Fenric and it's four episodes long.  The Doctor and Ace land at a British Naval Base during World War II.  A scientist there is using a super computer to not only decipher German orders but also is attempting to translate some ancient Viking runes which mention a being called Fenric.  The scientist hopes to harness the power of Fenric for the Allied Forces against the Nazis.  When the Doctor and Ace examine the runes and take a strange vase to the base, a group of underwater vampires emerge from the sea and attack/trasnform anyone in their path as they approach the base.  The scientist uses the machine to decipher the runes on the vase only to be hit by energy and become possessed by Fenric himself.  Fenric summons The Ancient One, leader of the underwater vampires to kill everyone in the base.  Ace warns a woman whom she has befriended, Kathleen, so that she has plenty of time to escape with her newborn child.  The Doctor eventually reveals that he has been facing Fenric for a very long time and the pair have been challenging each other with chess problems.  The Doctor arranges a seemingly impossible chess problem with delays Fenric while he searches for a more permanent solution.  When a soldier enters the room with Fenric, Fenric reveals that the soldier is one of the "wolves of Fenric", descendants of the original vikings which took the vase and made the runes whom Fenric can fully control at will.  He then leaves the scientists body and continues in the soldier's body.  Unknown to the change, Ace helps Fenric solve the chess problem before the Doctor can arrive back.  Fenric then reveals that Ace is also one of the wolves and that she has allowed herself to be one as the baby she saved was the mother she despises.  Fenric was also the real reason she had been thrust into Iceworld to meet the Doctor.  He has also been toying with the Doctor behind the scenes with chess boards in some of his adventures since Iceworld.  Fenric orders the Ancient One (who no longer wishes to follow Fenric's orders) to kill the Doctor but a psychic barrier created by Ace's trust stops him from moving.  The Doctor almost cruelty shatters Ace's trust in him allowing the Ancient One to kill Fenric and himself in the process.  The Doctor explains his actions to Ace and the pair return to the TARDIS. 

This is McCoy's magnum opus and is easily the greatest story of his tenure, and the greatest story we've seen since Davison's The Caves of Androzani.  It's not perfect but it's pretty close to.  There are two very minimal parts of this story.  The first being the vampires rising from the sea and showing that people have been being transformed for years with the various styles of clothing they are wearing which was a nice touch.  Secondly, is the Doctor's destruction of Ace's trust in him.  The manner in which he does it is almost brutal bordering on emotional abuse.  This is an idea they tried to re-use in a Matt Smith story but here it was far more effective due to the harshness of his words.  This can also be considered a precursor to much of the Moffat Era (Series 5-9) of the new show as many of Moffat's go-to ideas can be seen here such as previous adventures becoming truly important to the current story, someone intervening in the current situation which sets their own past into motion, and finding out that an individual being dealt with is actually someone the person already knows.  It's great and a must-see

Story 159
Survival

The last story of the season and the Classic Show is Survival and it's three episodes long.  The Doctor takes Ace back to her home town of Perivale where people have been going missing for quite some time.  A small black cat has been seen stalking the people who go missing.  The cat is actually a creature known as a kitling who has been coming to Earth and sending people to another planet to be hunted down by a group of were-cheetahs.  If you stay on the planet for too long you become a were-cheetah yourself.  The Doctor and Ace are grabbed but rather than being eaten, they are taken to see the leader of the pack, The Master.  He was also grabbed by a kitling and without his TARDIS, has slowly started turning into a cheetah himself.  Ace begins transforming as well and strikes up a bond with another girl who has already become a cheetah.  Others have started becoming cheetah people as well and the Master uses this knowledge to send them "home" which allows him to escape the planet.  The Doctor utilizes the same technique with Ace and tracks down the Master who uses his own still-active cheetah powers to teleport himself and the Doctor back to the planet which is now dying.  The Doctor refuses to succumb to the power of the planet and decides not to fight the Master at all.  His pacifism releases him from the planet and he, along with the now cured Ace head back to the TARDIS.

This story is good though not quite as good as The Curse of Fenric or Ghost Light.  As much as Fenric can be considered a precursor to the Moffat era, Survival can be seen as a precursor to the Russel T Davies era (Series 1-4) of the new show.  It takes place in working class England, it involves the companion's backstory, and it's deeply personal to the companion in general.  This is the last time that we will get to see Ace and Anthony Ainley as the Master.  This time, Ainley was allowed to play the Master as dark and menacing as he had always wanted to, and the quality shows.  Give this one a try.


Conclusion

Thus ends seasons twenty five and twenty six as well as the classic show as a whole.  It's fairly bittersweet as the show was finally on the right track again and the final season proved that by being extremely excellent.  Perhaps if the regeneration had happened the BBC would have hung on to the show a few more years.  At this point, people who were children at the time of Hartnell's era were starting to get higher up jobs at the BBC.  Maybe they would have let John Nathan-Turner go and brought in a new producer who was a fan of the show and wanted to bring it on into the 90's.  That, of course, didn't happen but what we were left with became truly great again right at the end.  We will see the 7th Doctor one last time in the bridge between old and new Who... but that's for next week.  Please join me again as we continue to examine all of Doctor Who.

This is Ghost, fading into the darkness
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  
You can click here if you wish to see my introduction to Doctor Who
If you want to check out all of my Doctor Who content please click here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ghost's Arcade: Pokemon Go


It's not a good year around here unless I have something to talk about that is pokemon related.  Though Pokemon Sun and Moon are to come out in November of this year, the planets have aligned and given us all yet another pokemon game this year; the pokemon game of our dreams.  It's been twenty years since we all chose our starter pokemon and went on this life-time journey of becoming a pokemon master.  Many of us would fantasize what it would be like to find pokemon in real life, what kind of pokemon would be in our local area, and where each of them would show up.  This year we finally got the answer to those ponderings in the form of the mobile game Pokemon Go which is available for Android and iPhone markets!

Is it all that that we had hoped and dreamed?  Well, quite honestly you probably already know the answer to that one as traditional media and social media have gone berserk over the app within the first few days of it being released.  Practically everything I have to say about this game has already been said by numerous outlets and is pretty much futile.  However there is no greater example of extreme futility than my continued writing of this blog which nobody reads anymore so.... what the heck.  Let's talk about the latest game in a franchise that I hold dear to my heart.

The Premise

The Real World and the World of Pokemon have collided.  You have been enlisted by Professor Willow who gives you some pokeballs and allows you to capture a starting pokemon in Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle (though you can get a Pikachu if you ignore those 3 options and walk away.)  Similar to how the professors would act in the main series titles, Professor Willow has a mission for you to fill up the pokedex, however in order to find them this time you must physically travel to different locations yourself to locate pokemon rather than moving a character on the screen.  As you go through your "travels" you will level up to find more rare pokemon as you go.  You will also be able to join one of three teams and fight/claim/or assist in various pokemon gyms found in the nearby area.  You can also scout around to find locations called pokespots to give you items.  Lastly you can utilize a brand new type of candy item in order to evolve or power up your pokemon.  So just grab your phone, go downtown, to a park, a shopping center, or just around your neighborhood and begin catching pokemon!

Gameplay

The main purpose of Pokemon Go is honestly to encourage you to get up off the couch and go somewhere.  The game utilizes the GPS on your cell phone to pinpoint your exact location and follow exactly where you are moving.  Why would you want to be moving?  Well, pokemon show up at random locations on the map all over the world and the only way to actually encounter them is to walk towards a rustling grass area and try to find what may be around.  Also while you are out you may stumble across some Poke spots.  Poke spots are blue spaces of cultural, historical, or honestly unknown significance which will give you items such as pokeballs, potions, eggs which hatch as you walk, and berries when you visit them and are in-range. That's about it honestly from what you can do in the "overworld."  However, there are a few other portions of gameplay to talk about in regards to this game.

Obviously the main "purpose" of the game is to capture the pokemon that will appear around your town or wherever you travel to.  Pokemon will change depending on your location or area.  If you are near a field, you should be finding grass and bug pokemon.  If you are in an urban area you will most likely find a lot of rattata, pidgey, and poison types.  If you are walking by a river or pond, you'll likely encounter water types.  It all just depends on where you physically are.  You also have two options when encountering a pokemon.  You can turn on your camera and find their exact physical location in your world, or you can leave the camera off and just be in the generalized area.  There is no battling to weaken the pokemon, you just have different colored circles that will appear around the pokemon and shrink multiple times.  Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red signify Easy, Somewhat Difficult, Difficult, and Very Difficult to capture respectively.  In order to capture them you just simply swipe the pokeball on your phone screen at the proper distance and power to strike the pokemon and capture them.

Unlike the main series games, you will want to capture every single pokemon you come across.  Yes, that means you want to keep capturing those pidgeys over and over.  Capturing 50+ pidgeys is a good thing because capturing a pokemon provides you with stardust and candy.  You can then transfer your weaker pokemon to the professor in exchange for an additional candy.  Why is stardust and candy important?  Well we utilize those to either power up or evolve the pokemon we have captured.  If you want a powerful Venusaur, the easiest way to do that is capture multitudes of bulbasaur and trade them in for candy.  You would then use those candies to evolve the strongest bulbasaur you have captured then utilize a candy and stardust to keep powering him up to make him super strong!

The last thing that (currently) is available is pokemon gyms.  Gyms appear at random kind of like poke spots.  They may be a restaurant, a historical landmark, a church, or any other sort of location around.  However gyms are handled differently here than in the main series games.  In this game, the Gyms are actually "run" by players.  Once you reach level 5, you can take on gyms and choose one of the three teams to be a part of.  A player can then claim a gym for their team by leaving a pokemon there to defend the gym from challengers.  Others on the same team can also leave a pokemon there to either take over the gym (by having a more powerful pokemon) or provide support to the leader.  Trainers can fight the gyms in order to take over the gyms for their team or train their pokemon a little.  I...honestly don't really know the point of gyms but I'll get to that in an ever-growing section below.


What's Good About It?

This game truly is something that I personally had always dreamed of.  I'm somewhat ashamed to admit this but even up into my adulthood, I would daydream about this very thing.  What natural wildlife around my house would be a pokemon that I could capture.  Anytime I went to the beach I'd think about all the cool sea pokemon I could potentially have brought back.  Just going on a walk in the park would occassionally get my imagination running about coming across a wild Farfetch'd or Ekans that I could add to my team.  Now, I can actually do that.  I can walk around with my phone and see that Magikarp really are in the river near my house.  A local shopping center is where I found my very own Tauros.  I searched for a gastly (as ghost types are among my favorite) and finally found one at Chilli's.  My meowth was found in my own back yard.  Jigglypuff likes to taunt me by showing up super late at night when I'm not about to get out and find her.  It's not very often that the collective imaginations of millions of fans actually gets created into an actual product.  The feeling is truly magical.

This game actually has accomplished part of the goal it had in mind.  This is the first time...ever really, that I have actively wanted to go walking around outside.  I'm your stereotypical fat lazy gamer.  If I want to go somewhere, I'm going to go to gamestop or the mall, park as close as humanly possible to where I'm going and get my business done quickly so that I can go back home and sit around.  This is actively making me want to go out and walk around.  It's actively making me examine my daily routine to find time and ways to head to the park or downtown in order to capture pokemon and get items.  It's something that's happening to countless others as well.  The first night I ever went downtown and found several poke spots, I noticed countless others doing the exact same.  It's working.

There's also just a real sense of community with this game.  Yes, I've seen many things be a craze and "sweep the nation" in my 30 years of life...but I've never seen something like this.  I've never seen a video game become so mainstream and so popular that people everywhere are playing it.  People of all ages, races, genders, and orientations are out there catching pokemon, talking with friends, identifying with each other over a silly little mobile game.  You can actively see people playing it everywhere you go and you can connect with anyone even lightly and briefly because of this game.

Earlier, I mentioned that the poke spots give you items when you are within range.  What some people may not have been initially aware of, is that poke spots actually can be visited more than once in a day.  When you go to a poke spot you just spin the icon and it will provide you with items (that you must tap or they go away.)  Once you have collected your items the poke spot will turn purple meaning that you cannot use it anymore.  However, poke spots will reset themselves every 5-10 minutes and allow you to get more items from them.  This is good for when you are low on pokeballs... especially if you can find several in a row.  When I went to my local downtown area, I found a road with several poke spots.  By the time I would get to one end of the road, the other end was back to being blue.  I just spent all my time walking up and down that same section of road and was able to grab 100 some pokeballs within an hour!  Alternately, you could just sit in a single spot by a poke spot and just wait for it to come back blue if you can't find an area with multiple spots.

One last thing that is good about it, is the data usage.  I ran this game for a solid 3 hours and only used about 20 Megs of data (that's 0.02 Gigs).  That's not bad at all!

What's Bad About It?

In the words of Jeff Foxworthy... 
"Dear Lord, be with our guests and prepare them for the butt whooping they're about to receive!!"

The servers they are running this game on are absolute garbage.  I'm not sure if the fault lies with Niantic or The Pokemon Company, but somewhere someone has dropped the ball in a very large way.  I don't know what it is with Nintendo properties being grossly unprepared for the amount of demand that it is going to get... I'm still looking at you amiibos.  This is sort of the same exact way.  There are so many people playing this game that not only can you not create a trainer account and must use your Google account to even sign in to the thing, but also the servers are non-stop crashing.  In the few days that I've had the app, I'm pretty sure I've seen the above blue message at least once a day if not 10 times within the same day.  What's the point of having a game if you can't even play the game because of non-stop server issues?  The servers go down so incredibly often that social media is frequently inundated with images such as these below.
If you thought it was bad enough when the game was only available in a couple of countries... things only got worse.  When the game was released in all of Europe, they proved that they hadn't learned a SINGLE thing from the US release as the traffic on the server was so incredibly high that the majority of users couldn't even log in at all!  It's like they are running the entire world's servers out of a single location rather than in various regions.  I certainly couldn't get in to the game for several hours.  It's just ridiculous.

Unstable servers wouldn't be that much of a problem in all reality if the game was able to be run offline in any capacity.  However that's just not the case here.  The game desperately need some sort of offline mode capabilities.  Maybe it should keep a sort of small generalized database for your immediate area so that some pokemon could still be captured and then just synced up with the servers later.  If that would be too much of a hastle then allow the game to be used offline and still count for our steps in hatching eggs at a bare minimum.  Perhaps add in some functionality for pokemon catching training as well as gym battle training.  Something to hone our skills without having to utilize any of our items so that we can actually do something when the servers go down.  But...this isn't a thing.  If the servers aren't working, the game isn't working... and believe me, the servers will often be non-functional which will make the game non-functional.

It's not just the servers that aren't working... it's the game itself.  I'm not joking or over-exaggerating when I say that the game itself is a bit of a mess.  I thought Bethesda products were buggy but this thing is far worse than anything I've ever seen in Elder Scrolls or Fallout.  There are many times when the GPS signal will just suddenly go away even with clear skies.  The game will sometimes just not have your avatar move though you have walked far away from that spot, it won't count the distance you have walked at all so that you can't hatch your eggs, or it won't load any pokemon in your area even with incense(which attracts pokemon to your location) turned on.  Sometimes poke spots wont load and will just give you a white circle that you can't do anything with, or even more infuriatingly, it will load the poke spot but when you spin the icon it will just keep spinning and say "try again later" for an extremely long time.  It will freeze on a moments notice when you are trying to catch wild pokemon or just simply walking around forcing you to re-start the app...sometimes every three minutes!!!  There are two known and extremely irritating glitches in the game currently.  The first is when you are catching wild pokemon, the pokemon will go in the pokeball then it will just land and sit there with the "loading" pokeball in the top left spinning.  Once this happens you have no choice but to stop the app and re-start it.  Now this is annoying in and of itself but what makes it infuriating is that the part which counts how many balls you throw is still active meaning WHEN THIS GLITCH HAPPENS, YOU HAVE LOST A POKEBALL FOR NO REASON AT ALL.  The second known glitch involves Gym battles.  Sometimes without warning, the gym leader's pokemon will be brought down to 1 HP and it will remain at 1 HP indefinitely.  You cannot win the battle at all because of this.  Speaking of gyms....

Gyms are an absolute waste of time.  Pardon this terminology, but the gyms are effectively nothing but glorified dick waving contests.  I honestly don't really know much of the purpose of these things especially when the general public are the ones "running" the gym.  Why?  Every single gym around is overpowered to the maximum.  I have a wife, a job, and sort of a life.  I can't dedicate my every waking hour to this game, but there are apparently hundreds who don't have these things and spend all of their time training up their pokemon.  So when I show up at a gym, I will have my 515 Power Vaporeon (my strongest pokemon at the time) with me to take on the gym... only to find pokemon of power levels far over 1300.  I can't even add a pokemon to a red colored gym and assist because they're all full up with equally over-leveled jerks.  I did find one single gym that I was able to actually take over.  I was so excited to finally see these supposed benefits of being part of a gym.  I dropped off my vaporeon and figured I might at least get to see the benefit of being there for one day would be.  NOPE within 10 minutes of me dropping him off, he was back in my inventory with 1HP cause somebody took over the gym.   Screw gyms and stay away from them at all cost because they aren't worth your time.

If you don't live in a major metropolitan area, you're going to have a hard/bad time.  This game was clearly designed to be played by city people and not people who live in rural areas.  Up until now, every picture I've shown with poke spots has shown multiple places to stop and get more items.  This sort of thing is true for places like San Diego, Boston, Philadelphia, etc.  But what about small town and rural areas?  Well the picture I'm showing with this section will tell you exactly what you can expect to find living in rural USA..... piss all!  Now pokemon can appear anywhere and everywhere in both urban and rural areas.  I've never been without pokemon showing up for too long after walking a decent distance... but it's the items that I can't get much of.  For me personally, there's no poke spot within walking distance of my house... and I live INSIDE THE CITY LIMITS... I'm not even out in the boonies!  The point of Pokemon Go is to get you to go out and walking and if I want to just catch pokemon...yeah I can walk around my neighborhood, but if I need items I either have to plan a special trip to downtown (as downtown for most rural areas is a safe bet to find poke spots) or I have to spend real life money to refresh them...something I'm NOT about to do.  So again, If I didn't have a job, wife, or the pitiful excuse of a life I have, I could certainly go downtown and farm for items every day.  However, I generally can only get out there once a week at best because it is a good 15 minute drive and takes time out of my day.  It would be so nice to have a poke spot in my neighborhood so I could take a quick 10 minute walk multiple times throughout the day rather than turning it into an evening's event.

Despite all of the things that we CAN do in the game, there are several things that we simply can't do that we were told we would be able to.  It honestly feels like this official release isn't an actual release... it's more of a nation-wide beta testing as so many features just simply aren't in the game.  When you think of pokemon games, what sort of things do you think of?  Well I think of having all the pokemon, catching pokemon, trading pokemon with friends/strangers, and having real-life battles with other trainers.  So far we have... one of those.  Yes we can, in fact, catch pokemon.  Can we trade with our friends and neighbors?  NOPE   Can we battle pokemon?  Well the gym opponents are computer players and not the actual person running the gym so... not really.  Are all the pokemon available?  NOPE!  Just the first 151 Pokemon are even possibly available within the game.  Now they have said these features are coming but... why is this all coming out in tiny increments?  Again, this truly feels like we are still beta testing this game for them.

Also can we take a moment to talk about how much of a battery suck this thing is?  Sweet merciful heavens this game will absolutely decimate a battery.  In the three hours I played the game, it depleted my extra battery pack and then took my battery down to 30%.  Since my battery pack and fully charge a dead battery, that's 170% in only 3 hours!!  Why is this?  Well the game has to be open and running the whole time in order for it to be functional.  That means you're constantly having to make sure the screen doesn't shut down, lock or anything.  Now there IS a battery saver but the game doesn't actually tell you what it does.  What battery saver does is turn the game screen black when you turn the phone upside down so that the game will still run without wasting quite so much battery.  That said, unless you modify your phone settings to not lock/turn off your screen it becomes pointless because after "inactivity" on the phone, the screen will shut off.  If the screen shuts off for any reason even in battery save mode, the app stops working so.....


The Pokemon Radar that is supposed to show you what is nearby and allow you to track down pokemon is... pretty much useless.  The game doesn't explain the radar whatsoever other than  "oh look here's a radar to tell you what's close kthxbai."  The best that everyone can figure is... A pokemon with no footprints is right beside you and about to appear.  A pokemon with one footprint under it is within 10 meters.  Pokemon with two footprints are within 300 meters, and Pokemon with three footprints are within 1 kilometer.  Pulling up the radar, they are supposedly listed in order of how far away they are and will move up and down the list depending on where you are going.  So if you see something you want, pull up the radar and start walking... in theory the pokemon should rise up the list if you are getting close (or go further down the list if you aren't going the right way.)  Again that's all THEORY.   My own experience has painted a different picture entirely.  Most things are 3 footprints away whether they are in your own back yard or a mile down the road.  If you intend to find something specific you will never find it because the game doesn't even bother to tell you a direction.  Since pokemon move and disappear throughout the day you're almost guaranteed that unless you randomly pick the right direction on the first go...the pokemon will disappear before you can catch it.  I've never hunted for a particular pokemon and found him...EVER.  The radar needs some additional functionality like pointing you in a generalized direction or even highlighting the area on the map where it's most likely to appear.  As-is the radar is about worthless.  It's so worthless that people have actually made a map website and app to help people see where pokemon are likely to spawn in your area...cause the radar sure isn't going to do that!
When you have a game where people have to go out into the world, it's inevitable that things are going to end badly.  Why?  When human beings are given the ability to do something ignorant or horrible...they often times will choose (or accidentally make) the poor decision.  You really need to use your head when playing the game.  Pay attention to where you are, don't go out at night alone, don't go to strange neighborhoods.  Why do I need to point this out?  Within days of this game being launched we have reports of people finding dead bodies, getting jumped when they ended up in a bad neighborhood because a poke spot was there, people getting into wrecks by playing the game while driving, and people being injured because they aren't paying attention to where they are walking while playing the game.  Not to mention people being idiots by disrespecting places like the Holocaust Museum by turning on their camera and taking pictures of poison types that appear inside the place because it's in an urban area.  Yes I will admit that tickled my dark humor bone slightly but when I really got to thinking about it, that kind of stuff doesn't need to be happening.  And of course, we have to top this off with people getting felony charges against them.  There was a group of teens who placed a pokemon lure at a poke spot, waited for people to come catching pokemon and robbed them at gunpoint. 


HOWEVER....

Now that was a boatload of negative things to say about this game.  I wrote more in the "bad" section of this game than I did any other section... in fact I think I've written more negative points about this game than any other game I've ever covered.  There truly are some horrible things about this game whether it being legitimately broken at times, or the fact that people's lives have been put in danger due to various things.  That being said... most of these things can be fixed or aren't their faults at all. 

Niantic and the Pokemon Company are already working on getting the servers up to par for us and in the last couple days I haven't seen a server error page at all.  They are also actively working on fixing the bugs with the system that are causing the game to freeze.  Remember those things that I said were left out like trading, battling friends, and more pokemon?  They are actually planning to add those.  They could easily implement some changes to the radar, gyms, and battery saver mechanics.  There are a lot of things that could easily be done with an update or a patch...some of which they are currently working on.  It's also no fault of either companies that people are being idiots with their products.  So while there are some legitimately terrible things about this game that make it fairly bad.... the majority is stuff that can be fixed and will most likely be fixed.

Conclusion

A friend of mine, Jukan, made the following comment: "If it was anything but pokemon, this would be a pure flop."  I honestly have to agree with him there.  If this has been some original concept piece that was released it wouldn't have been tolerated.  With the main game mechanic constantly freezing, portions of the game not available at launch, and rampant server issues, if this were any other game it would have been found inadequate and the world would have ignored it.  In it's current state as of the writing of this post, it's in a mediocre (if not even pitiful) state.

But... it IS pokemon and that's exactly why people are willing to overlook the bad.  They are willing to look past all of the glitches and server downtime because it's the game that we pokemon fans have been wanting for years.  The fun and excitement of getting to actually go out in the world on your own pokemon adventure is too much to even properly describe.  There's no story, it's YOUR story of going out, finding pokemon wherever you are, and meeting other people along the way.  It's your pokemon adventure, which is something that so many of us had imagined in the past. It's the love of these 151 little creatures that are currently available to us that has carried this thing into the massive overnight powerhouse it has become.  It's a worldwide sensation where people from all kinds of backgrounds are coming together in unity under one single thing in a time when terror attacks and media hysteria is rampant.  So while it needs a lot of work, it's still beyond fun, exciting, and strangely enough a force for good in a time of trouble.  In the end... fun and excitement is really the key when it comes to video games isn't it?  Not to mention that you simply can't put a price on the amount of good it has brought to communities as people just get out and make friends... it also helps that the game is free.

If you are a fan of the pokemon series then...you probably already have this app unless you have a Windows phone.  If you aren't a fan of pokemon, maybe you can find some enjoyment and exercise as well.  Just get out there, find your pokemon, and be the best trainer/collector you can be!

This is Ghost, fading into the darkness.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
If you want to see my other Video Game discussions and reviews, click here!