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Returning to the Fold: Thoughts on the Ixalan Release

20 Sep

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

As the release of Wizards of the Coast’s Magic the Gathering Ixalan nears and the spoiler card information is fully released, everything I’m discovering about it is hardly exciting. Set one offers a bit of cool narrative, but I’m still not entirely sold in this mixed genre realm. Plus, the news on the incentive promotion cards for Friday Night Magic changing to token cards next month is more of a deterring factor. Because these participation bonuses are not shiny, I’m not as inclined to participate.

The Davy Jones in me thinks the plunder is slim. The last set drained my funds so I can pick up duplicates of certain cards. Ixalan offers very little I truly want to play with. While Sorcerous Spyglass and Revel in Riches are two nice cards, the appeal of fighting dinosaurs is not all that hot. I still feel going Land of the Lost should be its own entity. I do not mind the vampire pirates as much (I was hoping for a few zombies inspired from Pirates of the Caribbean), but I have a burning question: just how much sunblock are they wearing to in order to cross the sea to arrive at a new world? The folklorist in me is appalled by the fact these members of the undead can cross water. This fact goes against tradition.

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The Rocky Road to Star Trek: Discovery

18 Sep

By Shawn Trommeshauser
(Dreaming in Digital)

Debuting Sept 24, 2017 on CBS (USA), Space (Canada) and Netflix (other countries).

I hope Star Trek: Discovery is great! I honestly do! This series needed a revitalisation ever since Enterprise ended after only four seasons back in 2005. Even though the reboot series of films has kept the series in the public eye, they clearly traded an exploration of science and the human condition for flashy effects, and intense battles.

The ‘Kelvin’ universe movies, as they’ve come to be known as, are fun, humorous adventures, but they are not very good at doing what makes Star Trek special. They certainly lost something along the way in the transition into full-fledged action movies and most people I’ve spoken to agree.

The reboot films have to be given some slack because it’s impossible to build up and maintain the kind of lore and character comradery that the Star Trek TV series offer when you’re limited to a single story every couple of years. And in today’s environment, it would be much more feasible convincing a movie studio to fund a rollercoaster of an action film would be much more feasible than something more along the lines of “Inner Light,” easily one of the best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation — a much more cerebral story where Captain Picard learns of the culture and fate of an alien civilization when a probe makes him live out a lifetime inside his own mind.

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Returning to the Fold: Thoughts on Magic the Gathering’s Hour of Devastation Game Day

7 Aug

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

I wonder if I’m in the minority of Magic the Gathering (MtG) players who want to enjoy the game in a less competitive sense? I am a casual player where I prefer to imagine myself as Gandalf battling Saruman ala The Lord of the Rings. Although the white wizard was imprisoned on top of a tower in Fellowship and had very little power to access to escape, that’s how I feel at times with this game. I’m lacking the mana to get anywhere.

For the inexperienced, playing in the variety of in-store events depends on what you are after. I never expected to win many games because I have not touched the game for more than ten years, and the “new” deck archetypes and terminology I’m hearing are different than those that defined my era.

The competitive scene is a meat-grinder. It is not kind to a newcomer or returning player like me who has spent money on a box of booster packs and select cards to maybe make a challenge-worthy deck. The only time the playing field is level is with Draft or League games where the cards are locked to the packs you buy, and the random chance of maybe getting a game-changing card like Glorybringer.

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My Hopes for Stargate: Origins, an Editorial

5 Aug

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

The news arrived a few weeks ago during San Diego Comic-con (SDCC) about a prequel series for the Stargate franchise. Afterwards, I had to rewatch the movie, read the novels, see the entire television series to find clues to answer myself about what I loved from the franchise which defines the experience and maybe answer where Origins may go.

In the episode “Torment of Tantalus,” Catherine Langford (Elizabeth Hoffman) revealed how the science team managed to activate the wormhole transportation tube. She lost her fiancée, Ernest Littlefield (Paul McGillion) in those early experiments and I can see how the 10 episode series can expand on this central plot. No details were offered at SDCC other than Mark Ilvedson and Justin Michael Terry are attached to writing this pilot season. The only detail revealed is that it will revolve around the daughter of archaeologist Paul Langford (who discovered the mysterious metallic ring). The timeline is tight. Filming is supposedly starting in August.

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