Today is 08/09/2022

Video Game & Music Reviews

And things about Diane Bonk

Led Zeppelin – Mothership review



Led Zeppelin were never much of a singles band: From 1969 on, guitarist Jimmy Page was adamant that the group's LPs not be mucked up with filler, so most of their releases contain only between eight and 10 tracks. Led Zeppelin's legacy so significantly shaped the next four decades of rock'n'roll and heavy metal that to further discount any one of those tracks seemed brash, negligent, or stupid. Twelve years of intense self-editing meant that Led Zeppelin required no best-of. Anyone truly interested in their music was advised to dig through their couch cushions until they came up with enough quarters to invest in one (or all) of the band's albums: It would be worth every penny. Read more

Amelie’s Cafe – Halloween Review

As the owner of the cafe, Amelie is in charge of taking orders and serving the food. Each counter in the cafe prepares only one type of food. Some of the counters are staffed by one of Amelie's staff and these types of counters needs the most care and maintenance. You will need to click on the counters to get the staff to start preparing the food. The counters will get dirty while the staff prepares the food so you will need to keep an eye on the cleanliness levels of the counters. Once it gets too dirty, you can't prepare any more food on the counter until you clean it up.

The faster you perform your actions, the more the bonus bar at the bottom gets filled up. To claim the bonus, you have to match three of the same type by clicking away the unwanted ones. The goal of each stage is to earn a certain amount of money displayed in the top right corner. At the end of each stage, you will also be shown whether you have met the optional requirements eg. whether you have served all the customers, kept your counters clean right til the end etc.

This is a time management game, nothing more and nothing less. There are just stages and stages of frantic cooking and serving customers in the cafe, broken up by cut scenes. There are no complex storyline or mini games or trophies. But I think people who like time management games will like this because it is at heart a pretty fun time management game without the unnecessary and perhaps distracting additions.

Playing the game seems easy at first as it is just a matter of clicking here and there. Unlike other time management games like Spa Mania, there is no extra step to do at each station. So the pace of the game can get really fast. There are so many things happening at the same time that it is difficult to keep an eye on everything. I hardly even have time to think!

The game is rather weak in graphics and it looks a little pixelated on my 1920 x 1080 screen. I also think the style isn't cute and looks a little ugly but that's my personal bias. Thankfully the pace of the game is so fast, that I hardly have time to notice the graphics after a while.

Nirvana – With The Lights Out Review



“If we did not have chemicals, you wouldn’t be writing my death certificate…” Halfway through the unreleased jam ‘The Other Improv’ – recorded at one of Nirvana’s last ever recording sessions, in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, as they worked out the songs that would become ‘In Utero’ – Kurt mumbles a confession. But was it a tortured genius accidentally caught in a moment of emotional nakedness, or a man known for mocking the public perception of his life taking the piss? Remember, just six months previously he had appeared at the Reading festival, in what was to be the band’s final UK show, in a wheelchair and white surgical gown. So does the release of ‘With The Lights Out’ shed any new light on the Nirvana myth? Does it explain why it ended like it did? Does it add to, or take away from the cult of Kurt which has grown since his grisly suicide in April 1994?

People may have been clamouring for this stuff but, as with the recent publication of Kurt’s personal diaries, it should be questioned if many of the songs on ‘With The Lights Out’ should ever have been allowed into the public domain at all. Entire swathes of ‘With The Lights Out’ are so personal, it’s like peering into Kurt’s private journals and selfishly ripping out a page for yourself. Sometimes it’s fascinating, but over the course of more than three hours and 81 songs it occasionally feels like you’re discovering secrets better left untold.

The release last year of the ‘lost’ ‘You Know You’re Right’ was something of a red herring for those who may think that the vaults are heaving with quality unreleased Nirvana songs. ‘With The Lights Out’ features numerous different mixes and alternative versions of already famous tracks, but in terms of actual new material it’s relatively slim pickings.

But what there is here is brilliant. Highlights include ‘Old Age’, an outtake from the ‘Nevermind’ sessions which Kurt then gave to Courtney, who recorded it with Hole. Then there’s the psychedelic ‘Do Re Mi’ (known in some circles as ‘Me And My IV’), a pretty acoustic demo reminiscent of something from The Beatles’ ‘White Album’ – a song which would have been recorded and released on an EP for their aborted appearance on Lollapalooza in 1994. But, of course, the band never made the tour.

What is revealed, though, is that the way Kurt wrote songs never changed. From the earliest rehearsals in 1988, when Nirvana were playing in bassist Krist Novoselic’s mum’s house, through to ‘Do Re Mi’ (committed to tape just weeks before he killed himself), Kurt worked through his ideas and lyrics on a simple acoustic guitar, often recording on anything he found nearby – boombox, tape recorder or four-track. It didn’t matter that the guitar was flat or maybe even missing a string. Listening now, ten years later, to this DIY approach, it’s charming to think that these sketches became ‘Rape Me’, ‘Pennyroyal Tea’, ‘All Apologies’ and ‘Sliver’. But it’s often frustrating because what could have been a thrilling document of the best songwriter since John Lennon is masked behind hiss and noise.

CD1 deals with the band around the release of ‘Bleach’, when they were little more than Led Zeppelin wannabes, trying to find a unique voice and struggling against an inability to break free of their remote location, to find a good drummer, or even somewhere permanent to rehearse. There are two Zeppelin covers, in fact, on the first disc, a pretty faithful run-through of ‘Heartbreaker’ and a workmanlike ‘Moby Dick’. There are three Leadbelly songs recorded at a 1989 studio session in Seattle (predating ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’ on ‘MTV Unplugged...’ by four years) and live versions of some of the best moments from ‘Bleach’: ‘Downer’ and ‘Floyd The Barber’. In truth, a lot of what’s on CD1 sets foundations for what’s to follow. Despite the fact that many of the tracks are swamped in feedback, even in the late-’80s Cobain, try as he might, couldn’t mask his love of bands like The Beatles – it comes through in the early demos of ‘Polly’ and ‘About A Girl’.

But as the decade turned, something changed. If on the early demos Cobain wanted to celebrate his heroes by covering their songs, as Nirvana developed Kurt found the confidence to embrace melody, take a song he liked and perform it in his own style. And in doing so he found his voice.

CD2 features different mixes of some of the songs which took Nirvana to the top of the US album charts and shook rock music to its core. There’s an embryonic demo of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, plus alternative mixes of ‘Stay Away’ (renamed as ‘Pay To Play’), ‘Breed’ and ‘Lithium’. It’s Nirvana at their most mainstream and sugar-coated; polished pop songs that sound as fresh today as they did in 1991. But somewhere in the middle of these sits an acoustic demo. It’s of ‘Dumb’. And it’s the first real hint that Kurt’s struggling to come to terms with his success and is crippled by his addiction to heroin. It opens the door to the most harrowing moments on the entire compilation.

By late 1992 and into 1993 it’s obvious that Kurt doesn’t want to be a pop star anymore, and it’s eating away into his songwriting. CD3 opens with two different versions of ‘Rape Me’, the first on acoustic guitar, the latter with the full band. On the acoustic version there’s a child, presumably his daughter Frances Bean, screaming in the background. As Kurt sings, the screaming doesn’t die down; if anything, it gets worse. It’s impossible to say if it’s there intentionally to give the song more power, but it’s not like it’s needed.

That’s followed with a nine-minute version of ‘Scentless Apprentice’. Even against the backdrop of one of the most uncompromising albums ever, the finished version can hardly be described as one of the more radio-friendly moments on ‘In Utero’, but this is something else. Grohl came up with the drums and riff and you can almost hear him teaching them what to do. Three minutes in, there’s a wall of feedback; by four it starts to take shape. Kurt doesn’t have any lyrics; he’s searching for a melody but none comes. Six minutes in, he’s screaming his lungs out and the band just get louder and louder. It’s awesome, one of the best things on the box-set.

Then comes ‘Heart Shaped Box’. Again, completely different from the unit-shifter released as the first single from ‘In Utero’, this comes from the same sessions in Rio as ‘The Other Improv’. The guitar solo in the chorus is replaced with a wall of feedback, a metaphor for the reaction against the monster Kurt perceived he’d created. CD3 ends with an undated solo demo of ‘All Apologies’ so bleak to makes the version on ‘MTV Unplugged...’ sound like ‘Hey Ya!’ .

The DVD adds more insight, with brilliant rehearsal and live footage, from the ropey fuzz of Shocking Blue’s ‘Love Buzz’ up to the Rio studio’s strangely touching recording of insipid ’70s ballad ‘Seasons In The Sun’.

Ten years on, ‘With The Lights Out’ is the ideal last statement. With three studio albums, an unplugged, a live album, a greatest hits and now this, those close to Kurt and Nirvana have handled what must have been years of horrific decisions with true dignity. But now, there’s nothing of any quality left. Kurt wasn’t alive long enough for those around him to keep returning to the vaults time after time and finding lost gems.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for answers, you’ll get more questions. What was that reference to a death certificate about? Anything at all? Did he see himself as following in the footsteps of the bluesmen like Leadbelly? Or continuing a rock lineage that snakes back to The Beatles? Or both? And if you’re after better versions of classic songs, think again. But as a humanising, comprehensive and often heartbreaking document of a man who, in five years, changed the face of music, almost by accident, it’s essential.

Burger Shop 2 Review



It's safe to say that if you liked Burger Shop, you're going to love Burger Shop 2. The fast-paced assembly-line time management game is just as fun as the original and, like any good sequel, expands on the formula with additional levels and fun new twists like extra dishes, characters and trophies.

At the end of the first game you were on top of the world thanks to the BurgerTron 2000 machine, but by the start of Burger Shop 2 your restaurant empire is in shambles - and you don't know why. All you know is that you woke up one morning in a dumpster with a bump on your head to find that all your restaurants have been shut down and boarded up. When a shady character appears and offers to sell it all back to you for a dollar, you take him up on it. As you retrace your steps to try to find out what went wrong, you'll also rebuild each of your eight restaurants back up to their former glory. Read more

Alice In Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here Review

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We used to dread our favorite bands reuniting, which says a lot about either diminishing returns or our faith in the people we decide are geniuses. That goes fivefold when one of the band's geniuses is dead. Being post-Spinal Tap (and post-Behind the Music) has given the alt-generation both hindsight and foresight — Archers of Loaf and Pixies and Mission of Burma and Dinosaur Jr. have not worried about how to sound like themselves again. With Portishead's Third and My Bloody Valentine's more recent m b v, we can even acknowledge the possibility that a band might hit one out of the park again ten or 20 years past its alleged peak. But watching how, say, Jefferson Starship or Smashing Pumpkins caught flak, most bands making a second go have merely resigned themselves to the promise of Not Sucking. Read more