June 2021 in Summary: Δ

Mega Man 2 - E-Tank

With the Delta variant of the Coronavirus having emerged, getting vaccinated is now more important than ever. Do so if you haven’t already and if you know anyone who hasn’t, do your best to convince them. On the bridge side, Juneteenth is now an official U.S. holiday! About time, huh?

Films watched in June 2021:

In theaters:

  • <None>

At home:

  • Five Graves to Cairo (Billy Wilder, 1943)

With the Second World War having been one the single most defining moments in world history, it’s natural that so much fiction would be set in that time period. Therefore, what is especially interesting is watching a World War II-set film that was created when the war in question was still in progress. It’s a lot like how I felt when watching Casablanca for the first time – that it’s decidedly odd watching a film about the war from the perspective of those who didn’t know how or when it was going to end. Five Graves to Cairo itself is notable for having the great Erich von Stroheim portray Erwin Rommel when the latter was still alive – the only film in which that ended up being the case. The story itself is equal parts intriguing and well-written, but then again, what else would you expect from Billy Wilder?

Games reviewed in June 2021:

Commander Keen 2 - Deadly Corridor

Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons – Episode 2 – The Earth Explodes

The Earth Explodes is in an interesting position compared to the original game in that it is both a step above it while also making the engine’s shortcomings all the more apparent. The original came across as a tech demo whereas this game feels more like a fully fledged game… and therein lies the problem. While the original was content having the level design itself form most of the challenge, The Earth Explodes regularly places Keen in actual combat situations – something that a game with bad controls handles about as well as one would expect. Otherwise, 99% of what I said about Marooned on Mars applies to this installment as well. Not really much else to say there.

Commander Keen 3 - Ninja

Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons – Episode 3 – Keen Must Die!

Yet another nonstarter? Fine, I promise I’ll review an actual good game next month.

Anyway, It’s very strange how so many trilogies, whether it’s The Godfather, the original Star Wars trilogy, or Mother, wind up with their third installment as the weakest one (curiously, the Star Wars prequel trilogy inverts the trend). Equally interesting is how it seems to apply to trilogies that really aren’t that good. On some level, that makes sense, as if a series isn’t good to begin with, there’s usually nowhere to go but down. Still, I can safely say that Keen Must Die! is easily the worst game in the original Commander Keen trilogy by virtue of not even feeling finished. More than two-thirds of the game is completely pointless, and while that does mean having to wrestle around with the bad controls for a shorter period of time, it should tell you what you’re dealing when you list “getting to play the game less” as a positive.

Featured articles:

The 1000th Blog! – In a significant milestone, Scott of the Wizard Dojo has written his 1,000th post. Congratulations!

First Impressions – Demon Slayer – Demon Slayer is a highly popular anime/manga series that gained much popularity as of late. Thero writes a interesting first impressions article that makes a good case for it.

Douglas Fairbanks, You Magnificent Show-Off – Ruth writes a tribute to Douglas Fairbanks, one of the greats of the silent film era.

What Is the Point of Zack Snyder’s Justice League? – The famed Snyder Cut of Justice League was released recently. With critics/journalists claiming it sets a bad precedent, Amanda Hurych questions the point of it at all.

A review of Highway Blossoms: Remastered (PC) – AK writes a review of the visual novel Highway Blossoms. I find visual novels scratch that itch environmental narrative games attempt to do, but this one doesn’t seem very impressive.

Visual Novel Theatre: Idol Magical Girl Chiru Chiru Michiru – Aether also highlights a visual novel in the form of Idol Magical Girl Chiru Chiru Michiru. With his Discord buddies giving him flak about enjoying a visual novel such as this, it’s cool watching him own it. It’s the kind of conviction most contemporary critics sorely lack.

Links to my articles:

Game reviews:

9 thoughts on “June 2021 in Summary: Δ

  1. Thanks for the link! Highway Blossoms did have a few good points, but yeah, in general it was disappointing. Maybe the developer can make some more compelling VNs in the future.

    Five Graves to Cairo sounds interesting. Especially for a film about a global war with potentially world-ending consequences that wasn’t over yet. Rommel seems like he was always somewhat more honored than other German high officers at the time, though certainly his involvement with the 1944 assassination plot and his forced suicide helped his post-war reputation a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re welcome! It’s pretty frustrating when you see good story ideas wasted in an overall bad product. Oh, well, hopefully the developer can use that experience and craft something better in the future.

      And yes, Five Graves to Cairo made for a great watch. From what I’ve heard, Rommel wasn’t directly involved in the plot to kill Hitler, but he did know of it, and chose to do nothing about it. It was an interesting case because Hitler knew he had to be punished, but was also aware of Rommel’s popularity with the German people. Executing him as a war criminal would have significantly decreased morale, so he offered Rommel an out that would allow him to die as a war hero (the “official” cause being a heart attack) and ensure his family would be protected afterwards. Even if he wasn’t directly involved, that he was willing to turn a blind eye to the plot certainly suggests he wasn’t a Kool-aid drinker like many of his peers.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, that’s the thing about Wilder, isn’t it? Like Kurosawa, he was both prolific and good for such an extended period of time to the extent that people constantly make the case for certain parts of his canon that aren’t as discussed. I myself was impressed with The Fortune Cookie as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, it was a pretty busy month between me getting a new job and my car breaking down. However, I think there’s just simply the fact that I’m not very productive when it comes to writing reviews at home. I just want to relax when I’m in my room, but I’m much more efficient when I’m timing the writing of these reviews during breaks at work – especially now that I’m moving back into an office (let’s hope it stays that way – fingers crossed!).

      Liked by 1 person

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