The Martian

For the crew of the Ares III, their mission to Mars is the stuff of legend. Not only have them successfully landed on Mars but have established a pre-fab community for the Astronauts to live and work during a 30 day mission to the Red Planet.

Their mission is cut short when a severe storm appears suddenly and forces the crew to abandon their base for their escape vehicle as they cannot afford to have their only way home toppled in a storm.

While preparing for their rapid departure, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is struck with a piece of debris and left for dead by his crew when his monitors fail to show any signs of life. Despite their best efforts, the low visibility and severe storm, compounded with the lack of vitals or ability to find his body, the crew reluctantly lifts off leaving Mark’s remains on the surface.

Mark however has survived, as the debris destroyed his monitors and left him injured, but very much alive and alone on the surface of Mars. Since he was struck by the radio dish, he has no way to contact N.A.SA. and his crew to inform them he is alive.

Mark sets out to address how to grow food on the planet and to make sure he has enough air, water, and food to last until the next manned mission is due in a few years. The fact that the landing site for the mission is a longer distance than his vehicle is capable is a problem Mark figures he will have time to address, as is his need to contact those on Earth.

What follows is a visually stunning, well-paced, and very well performed film with a terrific ensemble cast.  The real star is Damon as he has to carry large parts of the film by himself and is utterly compelling at every step.

Director Ridley Scott clearly is inspired by the source material based on the book of the same name, and never lets his impressive visuals overshadow the human drama of the film and the very real characters.

I was very impressed by the film, enough so to say that “The Martian” is one of the best films of the year and may indeed be a candidate for the Oscars. Check out this film, you will not be disappointed.

4.5 stars out of 5.


Second Review

By Sasha Glenn


Based on the novel by Andy Weir, “The Martian” tells the story of a man who becomes stranded in desolation on Mars and his ensuing battle to stay alive.

After a storm breaks out on Mars, a NASA mission is forced to abort. In the chaos of escape, crew member Watney (Matt Damon) is believed to be dead and gets left behind.

With just enough supplies to begin the task of survival, Watney embarks on an impossible seeming mission.

The psychological aspects of the film are a mixed bag, at times seeming a bit unrealistic.

A calm and logical scientist, Watney begins tackling one problem at a time. Slightly unsettling is the delay, or complete lack of “space madness.” He doesn’t really go into a panic the way one would imagine a person alone on an alien planet with no escape route would. It’s possible this lends itself to creating a more realistic image of such a scenario, rather than playing into expectations previously set in film.

However, Watney even goes so far as to make light of the situation in his video logs. The comedy element is really enjoyable, but it’s a bit odd that he has so much humor while in peril.

At times the scenes are slow moving and tend to drag on a bit. This element of monotony actually falls in line with what the lone crew member is experiencing.

It is a well-balanced film, with just enough moments of action and suspense. It spares the audience of the drama which normally accompanies films about missions into space.

It isn’t full of sappy tear jerking scenes. Nothing is sensationalized. Even the soundtrack is very well done and not overbearing.

The graphics are absolutely stunning, but what really makes this a great sci-fi is the immense amount of thought that was put into scientific accuracy.

Weir and Director Ridley Scott worked collaboratively with James L. Green, Director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA to strive for a realistic depiction of survival on Mars.

A long awaited for quality sci-fi, fans of the genre will breathe a sigh of relief. I give “The Martian” 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Do Recent Moves By Nintendo Show That The Wii U Has Plenty Of Life Still In It?

To say that the Wii U did not get the reception that Nintendo wanted would be a bit of an understatement. Many gamers were not on board when the system was announced as they were looking at what Microsoft and Sony were likely going to offer the following year and also were not blown away by the launch titles for the system.

With the release of Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart, Smash Bros, Amiibo, Hyrule Warriors,  Splatoon, as well as the Super Mario Maker, pending Star Fox Zero,  and Xenoblade Chronicles, Nintendo has found a new life and momentum which also has seen the system pass 10 Million units sold.

While they prepare for their NX platform, Nintendo has seen a new surge for the Wii U which shows that with proper support, there is still plenty of life left in the system and plenty of fight in a company which some had debated was no longer a factor in the console gaming market and should look to become a third party manufacturer.

While it would be wrong to say that Nintendo can match the sales of Sony’s PS4, they have more than made a solid turn-around and with a continued stream of new products and exclusives that gamers can be excited over, Nintendo may just yet surprise analysts who had the Wii U as a footnote to this generation of consoles.




Creation Entertainment and CBS Consumer Products Stage Once-In-A-Lifetime Fan Event With More Than 100 Star Trek Celebrities In Attendance


NEW YORK – September, 10, 2015 –Creation Entertainment and CBS Consumer Products today announced that the Official Star Trek 50th Anniversary Convention will take place next summer on August 3-7, 2016 at The Rio Suites Hotel in Las Vegas. The non-stop five-day convention will host more than 100 Star Trek celebrities from TV and film and thousands of avid fans.


“This event has always been uniquely innovative and in tune with what the Star Trek fan wants and expects. Every attendee, no matter what their ticket price, has a chance to see all the stars when they want to without fear of waiting or not getting in,” said Adam Malin, Co-CEO of Creation Entertainment. “It’s the ultimate space where like-minded folks can meet the franchise stars, argue trivia, look at the scientific and philosophical pop culture impact of the brand and of course make friendships that have lasted generations.”


The multi-day event will explore everything from Star Trek’s set designs to its game-changing foreshadowing of some of today’s top technological advancements. Along with numerous costumes, prop displays, and convention-only freebies. It will be a full-scale immersion for the ultimate Star Trek fan.


More information will soon be available online by visiting the show’s official page at http://www.creationentcom/ST50/index.html

Is Mobile Gaming Ready to Take Over the Living Room?

Is Mobile Gaming Ready to Take Over the Living Room?

Mobile gamers who have always wanted to play their favourite time wasters on the big screen are going to get their wish. Word has it that soon mega-hit mobile games like Game of War and Candy Crush will playable directly from your television while you go head to head with your friends and family in real life.

Apple recently revealed its updated Apple TV device complete with a fancy, newfangled gaming controller. It looks like company has its sights set on an untapped casual gaming market: the one at home. The casual gaming and specifically the mobile market are far too big to be denied, with revenues from this year expected to surpass that of console games in excess of $30 billion (with a “B”). The new Apple TV will allow multiple users to be able to play their favourite apps directly on the big screen instead of on their individual smartphones.

One of the biggest complaints about casual gaming is the stereotype of seeing an entire family or group of friends in a room together, but no one is talking to each other and they’re all gaming on their phones. Chris DeWolfe, CEO of mobile gaming company SGN, told NPR that “…there may be certain instances where you want to play a game with your whole family and it could be game night.”

Where consoles can present a complex stumbling block for some casual gamers, the simple design and pick-up-and-play nature of mobile games appeal to a much wider audience, making them ideal for families and community spaces. The new focus on app-based gaming in the home could also be translated well to other shared spaces outside of the home. The rise of casual gaming in public spaces could help to further develop the increasingly social aspect of casual gaming beyond just online connectivity. You may have seen more than a few bars that keep a gaming console hooked up, but what if it was an Apple TV instead that anyone could load their gaming apps onto to play together?

Popular casual games like cards or bingo that were once played around a dining room table with friends or a group of people at a rec hall are now largely played on mobile devices with little to no interaction between players. Through the use of a shared app, friends and families could use any game with an iOS app to play together through the new TV box and turn their own homes into a cozy casino. Gala Bingo is one such gaming platform that has seen much success in the mobile market with games that adapt as well to group play as they do to gaming on the go through its adaptations of classic leisure games typically reserved for larger groups. Gaming Intelligence reports that the mobile market has been a boon for the company with online net revenue showing a 37 percent year-on-year increase, which made up for 21 percent of the total net revenue in 2015 (as of July).

However, James Gwertzman, a chief executive at PlayFab, thinks differently. He believes that success for the Apple TV will come not from trying to compete on the same level as AAA consoles but converting a new market or transferring the mobile market to the home. “It’s a totally different experience,” Gwertzman told The New York Times. “Xbox and PlayStation have been very successful at building those living room experiences, and Apple and Android have been very good at ‘play a game on the bus’ experiences.”

Megabloks Reveals Their Halo Playsets And Figures

With the pending release of Halo 5: Guardians upcoming, interest in the latest chapter in the franchise is high.  Mega Bloks has released a series of Halo sets which are ideal for fans and collectors alike.

The sets feature characters with an interchangeable armor system so you can customize your characters any way that you like.  One set features a Gausshog with Master Chief and an Arbiter and another has the Phaeton Gunship complete with an Orbital Spartan and a Promethan.  One of my favorites has the Scorpion tank which is always a great item to play in the game and just as fun to build.

There are numerous sets as well as figures and an armory available so you can equip your troops with the loadout that you want.

The real key for fans of all ages is that the sets are really something to behold when they are completed and they are really a good deal of fun to build, but of course the fun is seeing the completed product. The figures are articulated so you can post them as you wish, which gives you plenty of options seeing how there are so many figures and playsets that are available.

With the Holiday Season coming up, the Halo sets from Mega Bloks would be an ideal gift idea for fans and collectors as they are fun, highly-detailed and enjoyable set that will give you a lifetime of great fun.




You can see the entire collection below.



Are There Hidden Safety Concerns For The PlayStation VR. Oculus Rift, And HTC Vive?

During C.E.S. 2014 I first played the Oculus Rift in a game of Half Life 2. While I do not get dizzy easily, playing the game through the devise made me queasy and I had to place my wrist on a counter to keep from falling over while playing.

I was told this was due to the older software not having the higher refresh rates of newer units and that I was playing an older game. My question was ok, knowing this then why would you use this setup and title for showcasing when there were better options.

Flash forward to 2015 when at E3 and PAX Prime we got a new look at what many think could be the future of gaming if properly supported. I played the Project Morpheus, now Playstation VR from Sony, The Oculus Rift, and the HTC Vive and was happy to say that they were all amazing and no issues with being dizzy or queasy while playing any of them.
They were simply amazing, addictive, and highly immersive and interactive. However, a few concerns remain, some that not many people have really addressed. My wife noted it first while I was playing Headmaster on the Project Morpheus for the Playstation 4. The video she took was quite funny of me whipping my head around trying to hit targets with a Soccer ball in a virtual setting and holding the unit to keep it on my head.

My wife said it was a good thing they had a person there watching you as when you get in the game; you really have no idea of your surroundings and could fall very easily.
When she took a turn playing another game, she noted that some are ideal for sitting down and playing but for those that require you to stand and interact, you could really have issues without a spotter to keep an eye out on you.

I thought about this, and realized that she was on to something. At every game, we had a helper to put the unit on and off, tell us when to sit and stand, and who was next to us the entire time. This is especially obvious with the HTC Vive that allows users to walk around while in a virtual setting.
So looking at our front room which has a sizeable amount of space, I would have to move the table, clear out the pets, and make sure I have plenty of space and a helper if I was going to play some of the games that we demoed.

The seated Eve space game of Oculus would be fine as all I had to do was put on the unit and hold a game controller so no issues, there but for games like London Heist on The Playstation VR where I had to sit, stand, duck, and so on, not to mention Headmaster, you would not want to play this alone without seriously safety proofing your area. I would wonder if there is an app players could get that is akin to the famous “I have fallen and I can’t get up” commercials.

All kidding aside, safety is a concern as many Kinect and Wii users learned from not having enough allocated space and properly secured straps. Now factor in minimal visual ability once in the gaming world and how interactive and immersive the games are, you will see what I mean. While I am sure that most gamers will think ahead and plan accordingly, we all know there are those who are not going to think and as such accidents are bound to happen which I hope does not happen as I do not want to see this promising tech compromised by easily avoidable safety issues.
Game safely everyone.


Me playing Headmaster at PAX Prime 2015 Press Hour. I had about 1.5 hours of sleep prior due to a late flight in and the time it took with the rental car, getting to where we were staying, catching up with family, leaving early to meet with the Seattle staff and getting ready to cover. I guess I am saying proper rest is key as well.



Help Us Game For Charity With Extra Life

Skewed and Reviewed has always done charitable work when we can from raising funds at our charity Laser Tag and convention appearances so we naturally endorse this great opportunity to give back. You can join our team and play for good and/or donate at the link below.