Summer Games and Movies Like Summer Nights

Jon Ross, Staff Writer

Well, here we are again. Summer might be over, and our spare time may take a major hit, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed out on some of the best releases from over break. However, this time, I’m going to make an exception for two entries in this article, due to a certain article I wrote at the end of last year. Without further delay, here’s a quick recap of some of the best games and movies that were released over the summer.

Spiderman: Homecoming

It feels like we keep getting Spiderman movie after Spiderman movie, each getting worse and worse as they come out. Boy, am I glad that Disney finally got the film rights back and were able to add this famous face among superheroes into the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).

Source: Film Affinity.

Debuting back in May with his first appearance in the MCU with his cameo in Captain America: Civil War, he finally got his first movie since we got him back, and it’s really no joke how good it was executed. Catering more to the classic comic’s version of Spiderman, we see Peter Parker while he’s still a teenager, and messing around with his new powers. Speaking of his powers, one complaint that I have is that we don’t actually see him get his powers. It’s almost like the viewer is expected to already know how he got them. But, I suppose in the movies defense, everyone knows that Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him his powers. Actually, viewers who know the previous movies and comics well would notice that not only this, but the death of Peter’s Uncle Ben which gave him the motive to become a superhero with his powers. Both of these are glossed over since the team behind the movie said that those two parts have been done so many times, and that they wanted to show something new, and that’s exactly what they did.

Regardless, after the events of the first Avengers movie, the remains of the Chitauri were being cleaned up and collected by small groups looking to sell the scrap for some extra, and hefty, sums of cash. But, after Tony Stark (Iron Man) sends in designated crews to clean everything up and repair damages, the cleanup crews were outraged, and one decided to use what he recovered to get back at Stark and those who denied them the opportunity to clean up the area for profit. The leader of this group is a man who used materials to assume the alias of Vulture due to how he has a suit that allows him to fly around. But, flight isn’t his only defining attribute, especially since he can pick up heavy objects with talon-like boots, and utilize all sorts of experimental weaponry to nab stuff from the cleanup sites back, develop weapons, and sell it to other criminals. So now Peter has to juggle drama, keeping up with appearances, and a guy in a giant suit of aviary armor with dangerous weapons; just what every high school student has to deal with, right?


The film is as fun, exciting, and as humorous as it gets for a Marvel movie, which is really saying something. I’ve noticed that in the past few installments, Marvel has been escalating the age range of the jokes they include in their movies. We first got a taste of this in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 where more mature jokes were featured, and the vulgarity was amped up just a little. Luckily, that doesn’t get in the way of the quality and imaginatively incredible nature of the movie. It’s another really good Marvel movie, give it a watch.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales

Here’s a surprise, the movie wasn’t half-bad. Everyone already knows about the extravagant antics of Captain Jack Sparrow, and co., and how over the years, the films kind of started to decline in quality. However, in the same way that Rogue One re-instilled my faith that Disney could make good Star Wars movies, Dead Men Tell no Tales makes me think that the series is on a better path, especially after how questionable in quality On Stranger Tides was.

Source: IMP Awards

The film is about Jack Sparrow, who, after an incredibly entertaining and visually fun heist gone awry, is left on his own when his crew is tired of not getting paid for their service. After an encounter with the son of Will Turner (a character from previous installments in the series), Henry, the two set out to locate a legendary artifact called the Trident of Poseidon. However, they receive the help of a horologist named Carina who believes that her father left the location of the Trident for her to find.

But, you may be wondering; “Aside from Will’s son, what does any of this have to do with Jack…?” The answer to that, is a character named Captain Salazar. Salazar is an undead pirate who is finally freed from a location known as the Devil’s Triangle, with one goal in mind; eliminate every pirate at sea, with Jack as his main target. He set out to take Jack out as an act of revenge for dooming him to his phantom-like state.

Along the way, we come across another veteran to the series, Captain Barbosa, who has practically become a kingpin of the sea among pirates. After getting his crew worked over by Salazar, Barbosa makes a deal to lead Salazar to Sparrow before he can get to the Trident. As it turns out, the trident has the power to control the sea, and break all of its curses, meaning that once Jack, Henry and Carina get it, Salazar would be returned to normal, and they could escape their impending doom. Speaking of Salazar, he’s by far one of this movies highlights. He steals every scene he’s in, just from how cool he is. Everything he does is a mixture of awesome and threatening, which makes him even more of a spectacle to witness.

However, that being said, this is also the fifth Pirates movie, meaning that it’s kind of worrying how quickly the series is running the gambit, making me a little concerned for the sixth movie they tease at the end of the film, which may see the return of a personal favorite antagonist: Davy Jones.

Source: E! Online

I guess you could say that after this movie, the next installment may not be quite so dead in the water.

Cave Story +

Oh, indie games, how you wrap your small, low-budget hands around the player and keep them hooked with the memorable charm and fun that most big-budget AAA games fail to deliver. Similar to games like Shovel Knight, Stardew Valley, Shantae and more, this game was not only embraced by a AAA developer who comes as big as it gets (Nintendo), but ported twice on their consoles. The first came with Cave Story 3D on the 3DS, but we’re taking a trip back to the depths with Cave Story + for the Nintendo Switch. Sure, it may be a remastering of the same game, but it’s honestly a travesty that near nobody talks about this game.

Source: Techno Buffalo

This game’s like a slice of cake; it doesn’t last long, it’s really good, and leaves you wanting more. The game’s about a human-like robot named Quote who wakes up with a blank memory in a cave, and you have to piece everything together from there. The whole game is done in a 2D side-scrolling POV, and it’s done incredibly well. The controls are VERY fluent, and the arsenal of weapons you gain access over to over the course of the game only add to the fun.

While on the subject of the equipment, Quote gets the basic stuff like a pistol, a machine gun that he can use as a jetpack OF DEATH, a rocket launcher, a fireball-like weapon, and a few more. Despite the machine gun proving to be a useful jetpack, the player actually gets one pretty early on, but, if you want to get the TRUE ending, you’ll bypass the second version of it. Another noteworthy aspect of your weapons is that you can level them up three times by slaying foes and picking up experience points. These can give your weaponry a buff along with more effective projectiles, but they can also be lost when you get hit and lose points which need to be restored the same way they’re obtained in the first place.

It’s pretty short, it’s a good challenge, and I don’t know what else to say, but it’s certainly a diamond in the rough of indie games that fortunately rose to fame

Splatoon 2

I love this game, I love this game, I love this game! Keen readers since the first issue of the 2015-2016 school year would know how hard I fell for the first game, and its sequel is no exception, but I’ll try to keep it brief.

Source: Splatoon Wiki

Splatoon 2 sees the return of everyone’s favorite squid kids; the Inklings as they battle it out in 4 V 4 PVP (player vs. player) matches in intense games of turf war, king of the hill, and more. First off, let me say that Splatoon 2 heard my pleas and fixed the two biggest gripes with the first game: Short and boring campaign, and the music for the campaign was terrible. Wow, did this game fix those issues rather well, too. Same setup to the game, but for newcomers, here’s the deal, but QUICKLY: Design your Inkling, you’re a squid now, you’re a kid now, the Inklings fought with a race known as Octarians who were exiled underground, turf war is about your team trying to cover more of the arena with ink than your enemies, reach level 5, you can buy new gear now, yay! Congratulations, you’re now filled in on what it means to be a squid and a kid.

This time, the campaign is about the player investigating an odd amount of Octarian activity in a nearby canyon, as well as investigating the disappearance of an agent from the first game. The level design is nice, it introduces the player to the new weapon types and special abilities that were introduced in this game, the soundtrack isn’t as grating on the ears, but I hate how you have to play every level with every different weapon to 100% complete the campaign; it just gets tedious and infuriating after the first three runs.

Source: Wcftech

By far, the best part of the game is unfortunately not always available, but I think that only makes it better.  With the sequel, players were introduced to a new game mode called Salmon Run. This occasionally open game type offers a PVE (Player Vs Enemy) game where a team of four must salvage a set number of golden eggs from oncoming waves of enemies, dropped by bosses, each with their own strength and weakness. It more often than not results in absolute chaos since somedays it feels as if the game loads in boss after boss faster than DJ Khalid can say “Another one”.

One minor difference that I didn’t like at first that quickly grew on me was the newscasters. Every time you load the game, you’re greeted by a duo who give you the details on what stages are available that day as well as new gear info, update notices, and they even let you know if Salmon Run is up and running. However, in the last game, we were introduced to the pop stars Callie and Marie; the Squid Sisters who quickly became fan favorite characters, but were replaced by a new duo: Marina and Pearl.

Source: Gaming Trend

It’s expansive, full of new content, bight and colorful, it’s addictive, what more do you need me to say here? Well, aside from good luck finding a Switch.

Injustice 2

Source: Playstation

Here’s one of the big names in gaming from this year. In all honesty, this game came out at the very end of May, last year, but I still am going to count it. What would happen if you took some of DC Comics biggest names and dropped them into a Mortal Kombat game? Simply put, you’d get quite the fun fighting game.

Alright, I admit, I haven’t played it for as long as everyone else with it has. Don’t blame me, blame my Overwatch addiction! Anyways, it’s a fighting game, what more is there to say? You’ve got a vast roster of characters ranging from Batman, Wonder Woman, and Joker to Swamp Thing, Captain Cold, and Blue Beetle. Plus there’s more bundles of characters on the way you can download such as the pack that’s releasing rather soon which includes Black Manta, Hellboy, and even Raiden from the Mortal Kombat series. It’s pretty standard in terms of the gameplay; combos, double health meter, ultimate moves, finishing moves, the basics, aside from the transition moves that returned where you can send your foe careening into another section of the stage in a satisfying cutscene.


Now, the campaign is where it gets a little complicated. After the events that transpired from the first game, Batman and Robin go to prevent a prison break, but are quickly pulled back into the alternate reality fiasco that occurred in the last game. TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read), Robin gets all egocentric and turns on Batman, joining alternate reality Superman to rule with a ruthless iron fist over the other dimension, and now Batman realizes “Oh crap, I’ve gotta’ go fix this AGAIN”, not before calling for a little help.

Not too much with this game, but not too little, so get some friends, gather around the game, and have an intense amount of fun.

Uncharted: Lost Legacy

Back when Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End came out, those who purchased the DLC Season Pass (A Downloadable Content bundle that’s a cheaper means of getting all DLC packs including content that isn’t available yet) that contained some expansion that is supposed to offer a brand new experience for the player to run, jump, shoot, and explore just as good as the last game.

Source: Naughty Dog

Despite this game being from the Uncharted series, Nathan Drake (the protagonist of the series who appeared in every installment to date except for this one) is surprisingly absent from this game. That being said, fans of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves will be happy to know that a familiar face returns for the first time. That’s right, you play as Chloe from the second game who is accompanied by Nadine from Uncharted 4 as well as Nate’s brother Sam from the same game. So, you may be asking yourself the big question, since it IS an Uncharted game, what treasure are they out to find, now? The plot follows primarily Chloe and Nadine as they search for the Tusk of Ganesh. The problem here is that they’re searching for it in India, right in the middle of a huge civil war.

Just like Uncharted 4, the graphics are truly breathtaking and the controls are nice and fluent. The action scenes are good, the puzzles you solve are great, the platformer segments were well laid out and executed, it’s all a gorgeous package that adds to the series without the help of Nate. If a game can tell a story just as well as its past installments WITHOUT the main character that everyone knows and loves, then it’s definitely doing something right. It’s a title that might not be as large of a production as the previous games, but it’s just as much fun.

The Two Exceptions

As those of you who read the last issue of The Stampede for the 2016-2017 school year, would know, I wrote an article about the band Gorillaz in celebration of their new album after six years. Now, fans of the animated band were treated to a new music video and a completely new track with its own music video as well. Not to mention the fact that I actually got to see Damon Albarn (the man behind the band’s music) perform in Philadelphia. With that out of the way, here’s my thoughts on the new track and video.

Sleeping Powder

When Humanz (their newest album) was released, many complained that for a Gorillaz album, the collaborators often overshadowed Damon on his own album. Many also complained that a lot of the tracks in Humanz didn’t feel like the band’s usual style (which is ironic because the band is defined by the fact that they don’t really have defining style or genre). The track is purely Damon, and it has a sound that I can only compare to something that would be on D-Sides (a minor album released between their second major album, Demon Days, and the third major album, Plastic Beach). The contents of the video itself is just Damon in a motion capture suit which is represented by the animated frontman of Gorillaz; 2D, dancing around in front of various backgrounds. It’s simple, bizzare, goofy, but fun. If you’re bored and want to listen to something new, I’d definitely give this a listen.

Source: Billboard


Source: Twitter


Here’s where things get REALLY good. So far, the fourth major album from the band has already gotten two full-blown music videos (Saturnz Barz (Spirit House) and Halleluiah Money) and five minor music videos (Sleeping Powder, Ascension, We Got the Power, Andromeda and Let Me Out), but now we can chalk another major one onto the count, and boy, is it good. Fun fact: Strobelite is apparently Damon’s favorite track on Humanz. The video follows all four of the animated (well, they’re animated in 3D in this video) band members lounging around in a club when all of a sudden, Noodle; the band’s master guitarist, gets up and starts going all-out on the dance floor of the club, swiftly accompanied by 2D; the frontman of the band who provides most of the vocal work, as well as play the keyboard, melodica, electronica, and more. While those two do their thing, we see Murdoc; the guy who put the band together, bass player, and generally terrible person, walk over to the club’s bar and talk to a mysterious guy who gives him a card that we never see the contents of. Unfortunately, fans of Russel, the band’s percussion king and silent mountain of madness, will be disappointed due to how he’s absent from the video aside from the beginning where all four of them are sitting together, and we see that he’d passed out. Speaking of them, keen eyed viewers who are familiar with the characters’ voice actors may spot them in the video, along with a couple of the albums collaborators.

Source: tHeARTofla

Now, onto the part where I don’t shut up about how well the visuals work with the music, and the brief shots of the collaborator on the track, Peven Everett, only enhancing the video due to how flashy, fast, and smooth everything is. For as quick as it feels and goes, it all looks fantastic and manages to keep the watcher engaged, and interested. The aesthetic that’s given off goes absolutely wonderfully with the high energy of not only the track, but what’s happening on screen. The design choices were brilliant, and whatever Murdoc is doing is given the perfect amount of screentime to clue in those actually interested in where the plot where it’s going, yet not take away from what’s actually going on. The band has been well known for 2D (the animation style, not the character) music videos, but it seems like they can do 3D animated videos really well, too. Give it a watch, it’s catchy, it’s bright, and it’s a whole lot of fun.