Free Guy – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Free Guy.

Story

The story was deceptively simple but had lots of layers. It had a surprisingly upbeat message considering how the majority of humans are truly awful in the movie. I like the melding of a classic hero’s narrative with shades of fairy tales, otherworld stories, and a shade of 80’s techno thriller.

Score: 1

Characters

It would have been much too simple to make the characters stereotypes. The movie avoids that with everyone except the main villain who is geniusly played.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue is witty and wonderfully steeped in video game and online culture without being so dense as to be unintelligible to people who don’t play.

It has some ridiculously silly lines that wouldn’t work without the expert delivery of the actors.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie has so much going on in the background that it is impossible to catch everything in one viewing. I was impressed how this never distracted from the plot or the character development. It was also stunningly done with a beautiful mix of traditional and modern special effects. Special shoutout to them filming the real world and the game world with different camera lenses. Combined with the extra saturation in the game, it added a nice touch of separation.

If you’re a music nerd and a Disney fan, you’ll maybe have noticed that Guy’s theme is the same as the protagonist’s from the short film Paperman. The short’s music was written by the same composer and the short premiered before Wreck-It Ralph, another videogame movie.

Score: 1

Fun

My two year old sat through most of it, but got bored near the end. He spent the next day saying, “Free Guy Awesome.” My five year old spent the entire movie glued to the screen. My father-in-law was a little confused by some things since he’s never been into video games.

I had a lot of fun with this and found myself completely engrossed. It’s a rare movie that has me so sucked in that I feel disoriented when I get out of it.

Score: 1

Overall

This movie is exciting, heartwarming, and lots of fun. The blending of meta narrative with action adventure, Truman Show, and a little Sleeping Beauty makes for a fascinating story. All of which would be terrible without the amazing performances of the actors.

I highly recommend this one.

Final Score: 5 stars out of 5*


*A 5 star review doesn’t mean the movie was perfect nor that it is perfect for everyone but it is a movie I believe is as close to perfect as possible.

I like to play games

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I love games. I love board games, table top games, card games, and video games.

I had never bought myself a video game console. I have an amazing brother who’s bought me a PS3 and PS4 and a lifetime ago we got a free Nintendo Wii with a computer purchase. (Before that, I used my mom’s systems.)

Dragon on her giant Yoshi. (I’m mildly sad she’s stopped calling it sushi.)

Well, last week there was a sale we couldn’t resist and we bought a Nintendo Switch. I worry that it’s about to be replaced, but hopefully there’s a few more good years in them.

Of late, Pegasus has been obsessed with watching me play Mario Kart on my phone. (He’ll climb on my lap and say, “race” although it sounds like “wash”) Dragon has been doing well with Disney Infinity, but I feel she needs games that are a little simpler.

With that in mind, we got Mario Kart 8 deluxe, Switch Fit, Lego Avengers 2, and Just Dance. I’m planning on getting Yoshi’s Crafted World for the kids. I’d also love to get Link’s Awakening and maybe one of the Mario games.

For someone who’s really busy, having something that I don’t have to spend an hour re-learning the controls or several hours doing side quests will be a nice change (Looking at you, Spiderman). To be honest, I’ve missed Nintendo.

So any recommendations for games? Both for a 4 year old with little gaming experience and a 37 year old who loves games, but isn’t very good at them?

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Gaming with a 3 year old

Hello Imaginary Friends,

When Dragon gets enough days with no toilet accidents she gets a reward. We started in July and one of her rewards has been “Video Games with Papa”.

We’ve done 3 or 4 sessions now and she’s starting to get the hang of it. We’ve mostly played in the toybox of Disney Infinity and the PS3 Phineas and Ferb Game.

I’ve noticed huge changes in her abilities every time we’ve played. She started the first time no understanding that the remote controlled her character to actually participating in the combat and knowing what buttons to press.

Her hands are still a little small for the controllers, but she’s doing great. Saturday we played hide and seek in the toybox and she started to understand how to find me. Once she’s good enough, we’ll start playing the playsets.

She still gets stuck in corners now, but she’ll get there. She seems to like it and that’s the important thing.

We’ll see how it goes next time.

Éric

Oneshot Scenario – The Lost Clause

Don’t forget to vote on what you want to read in 2020’s serial story


Hello Holiday Friends and Gamers,

This is a Scenario for Oneshot – The Simplest RPG.

Have fun!

Description

The players are toys that wake up in an abandoned Santa’s workshop. It’s up to them to save Santa and the holiday season.

Starting – The shop

The Group starts in an old-fashioned woodworking workshop. There’s paint, tools, wood, and lots of cobwebs.

There’s also a large design table with a fresh pad of paper.

There are two doors. One leads to the outside and the other leads to a small bachelor’s apartment.

Anything they draw on the piece of paper becomes real.

There’s also a large filing cabinet that has letters from every child in the world along with a list.

There are tunnels that lead to all three buildings. Search of 8 to find them.

Bachelors Apartment

Enemies: None

This is a spartan apartment with cot against the wall and a small kitchen. The kitchen has a large pantry cabinet, a counter, and a wood stove. There are some pots and pans in the cabinet. There’s one set of plates and utensils.

Search 4: They find a hidden panel in the wall with a diary. The diary says: “We think we’ve figured it out. The clock is the key.” Followed by either gibberish or code. (Mind 9 to figure out it’s instructions for winding the clocktower.)

Outside

Enemies: Polar Bear

Outside the small building is a land of snow and ice bathed in complete darkness. The only light being the dim reflections of the Aurora on the snow.

There are two other buildings. A large Clocktower, and a Stable. There’s also a lake.

When the characters leave a building there’s a chance they are seen by a hungry polar bear. Unless they are actively sneaking, flip a coin to decide.

Stables

Enemies: Feral Reindeer

These stables are both well kept and well built. There are eight pens with 7 reindeer. They are well fed, clean, and very friendly. There’s also a large red sled that seems equally as well taken care of.

The empty pen shows signs of a struggle. Scratch marks and hoof prints.

The feral reindeer is hiding in a dark corner takes a flip of 5 to see them.

If they don’t see them, the reindeer attacks as they leave.

Frozen Lake

Enemies: The Kraken

The frozen lake has one lonely but devoted gardian. The Kraken is there to protect the pole and stop the toys from escaping.

It is quite gentle with them but firm.

Clocktower

Enemies: None

The clocktower radiates power. It has an ornate brass door with clocks and time imagery carved into it. The words, “You must stop to go” are carved in wood over the door.

The clock face seems to glow from the outside. It chimes every 15 minutes.

Inside there’s just a staircase going up nearly 100 metres or just over 300 feet.

At the top there is a room filled with gears but with a small platform. The platform has a couch and two large levers.

One lever Stops the clock and one will make it go forward or backward. (This actually stops time or moves it.)

Conclusion

Enemies: Anti-Clause

The entire area was built by Saint Nick an ancient wizard. It’s self sustaining. Before he could use it, however, he was attacked by Anti-Clause and his last action was to cast a spell that would animate a group of toys to finish his mission.

Polar Bear Feral Reindeer Kraken Anti-Clause
Health 7 4 5 6
Defence 2 5 5 6
Body 5 2 3 4
Mind 0 0 3 4
Luck 0 3 0 4
Abilities Bite 1 Gore 1 Squeeze 1 Laser Eyes 2

Happy Holidays!

Éric

Oneshot Scenario – Toys VS Aliens

Hello Friends and Gamers,

This is a Scenario for Oneshot – The Simplest RPG.

Have fun!

The flying saucer from Moonbeam Ontario

Description

The world is being invaded by aliens. They’ve used their U.F.O (Universal Freezing Organics) Ray to stop all living creatures from moving. As toys you are not affected and must find a way to save the world before the effects of the ray become permanent.

Starting

The group starts in a large cylindrical white room. There’s a large hatch and a note written in crayon.

I think you’ll do better. Good luck – Sally

There’s a panel next to the door and a small air grate near the ceiling.

Getting out of the room should be easy. Either ask the panel to get out, hotwire it, crawl through the vent or break down the door.

Either way it should all lead to the main control room.

Control Room

Inside the control room there are a lot of people and computer screens.

Just outside the door to the chamber is a little girl holding three heavily armed drones. She seems frozen in place.

There are several adults frozen in a run towards her. They look horrified.

The computer screens seem to indicate that they were experimenting to make sentient drones.

There’s a TV on and it looks like it’s paused but the clock is working normally. If they rewind or look online they’ll see that aliens were spotted entering the solar system a week ago. After several days of trying to contact them, the three motherships took positions around the earth and started their Freeze Ray. It look less than a day for the ray to freeze everyone on the planet. The Phlebotinum Institute accelerated their efforts to make drones sentient barely activating the device before being frozen.

Outside the Lab

Enemies: Aliens and Drones

The game will require the players to figure out where they are and what they want to do. The overall goal should be to turn off the ray, scare off the aliens, or just stop the invasion.

This can be done in a multitude of ways. Let your players be creative. If they need help here are a few options that you can hint at:

  • Gain access to the ships and shut off the ray in hopes humans can fight the aliens off.
  • Find a way to launch nuclear/secret/etc weapons against the aliens.
  • Negotiate with the aliens.
  • Upload virus / trick / etc

No matter what they choose there should be 3 phases to the adventure: Plan, execute plan, and final boss.

Plan

Enemies: Aliens or Drones

In this section they are getting what they need to do their plan. It could be communication equipment, missile codes, etc.

In most cases the Aliens are the villains and anything they plan should include a fight with a few of the aliens. They are small, green, and ride around in flying saucers.

If they need to get into a human facility or negotiate with the aliens, the rogue drones become the main villain. They don’t want to let humans come back. They should only fight 1 or 2 of these.

Execute the plan

Enemies: Aliens or Drones

In this section they have their equipment and must apply the plan. This should be a series of challenges and fights.

Try to throw skills challenges that have an average difficulty of 4 or 5

Final Boss

Enemies: General

The General or Generals (Adjust depending on strength and amount of characters.) and their army want to prevent the characters from succeeding. In this section they must fight their way to the final phase of their plan.

Enemies

Aliens Rogue Drones General
Health 3 66
Defence 536
Body 144
Mind 304
Luck 110
Abilities Lasers 1, Slam 1 Missiles 1, Slam 1 Death Ray 1+2 flip

Have fun!

Oneshot – The Simplest RPG

Hello My Imaginary Friends and Gamers,

Back in 2013 I went to an event and at that event I offered to run a Oneshot RPG session. I had no rules and no ideas. They chose to play Cards Against Humanity instead and I spent the event dreaming up what I would call The Simplest Role Playing System.

It was okay and I used it for a few years before altering it and renaming it CoasteRPG I had grand plans to sell it as a coaster. The concept was cool but didn’t really work out. Apparently putting your drink on something you write on and then flipping the coaster didn’t work very well. I still plan on finding a way to sell this but I’m not sure how yet.

So here we are and I’ve modified the rules a little for balance. It still uses coasters, although you could use coins or even/odd dice rolls.

Oneshot – The Simplest RPG

Simple Rules: Each player chooses Body, Mind, or Luck as their character’s specialty. They have 4 in that ability. (Ex. Fighters choose Body.) Their Health and Defence each equal 4.

Complex Rules: Each person has 4 points to place in Body, Mind, and Luck. No negatives. Their Health equals their Body plus 2. Their Defence equals Mind or Luck plus 2.

Resolution Mechanism: When a character needs to do something, the Storyteller decides if it’s easy (1), hard (2), ridiculous (4), or inconceivable (6). The character then subtracts their attribute from the difficulty.

If the attribute is higher than the difficulty they succeed. If not, they have to flip the coaster 3 times and call it (if it’s a die have them call even or odd). Add every right guess to their attribute.

If the player gets 3 successes in a row they continue to flip until they fail.

Combat: Each character does 1 point of damage (unless specified in their abilities) if they hit something and takes the same if they are hit. Death occurs at 0 health.

Special Abilities: Choose 2 of; Hit (1 damage +1 flip), Heal (1 healing + 1 flip), or Help (+1 success to any other characters test.)

Everything else: The storyteller makes up.

Scenarios

Character Sheets

Oneshot – The Simplest RPG Character Sheet (43KB)


Thank you and Good Gaming!

Éric

Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry) Part 2

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Last Tuesday I posted Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry) Part 1

Now here is:

Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry) Part 2

5. Fad Science

Superfoods, toxins, free radicals, coffee enemas, diets based off of the food cavemen ate, and many more topics are junk/fad science. I’m not talking traditional medicines or all-natural remedies.

When people start trusting celebrities, fake doctors, and random articles over what their doctors say, we end up with people who truly believe that a fruit smoothie will remove harmful substances from their bodies or that pomegranates cure cancer.

The true dangers of this mentality is the fear of science, doctors, and health professionals. That’s when we get dead infants because their parents thought turmeric could heal meningitis, herbs can cure strep throat, and babies should be on gluten-lactose-free diets.

There’s no “SECRET DOCTORS DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW”, there’s no quick fix, and sometimes genetics is the problem. Eat a balanced diet and consult a doctor.

Anyone who’s offering you a quick fix is trying to sell you something.

4. Sexual Education is Not Necessary

Want to improve you and your child’s knowledge of sexual education? BUY BLUSH HERE!

I spoke about it

My wife spoke about it

And we are trying our best to educate people

Let’s just say I believe that subjects like proper body part names, consent, bullying, and LGBTQIA2S+ belong in a well-rounded education. Knowledge and discourse are the way to acceptance and understanding.

3. Video Games, Movies, and Television Create Violent People

Every once in a while a study by a special interest group will pop up saying that TV, movies, and video games cause violence.

It comes up every time someone sees the uptick in school shootings in the states or perceives the violence around us.

As I said in point 9, the world is actually a better place. We are exposed to more violence but that’s because we’re not sitting by and ignoring the violence around us. Racial violence, violence against LGBTQIA2S+, and religious violence are finally being exposed (mostly) and that makes the world look bleak, but we can’t fix a problem if we don’t know it exists.

Video games can cause addictions but so can books and collecting stuff. (Hey, hey… I don’t have a problem with collecting books.) Violent video games are a way that many people use to alleviate the anger and frustration that bombards our near powerless daily lives.

2. Vaccines

With the exception of a statistically minor portion of the population, the only thing vaccines cause are adults. In point 9 the graphic shows that child mortality has been steadily dropping since the 1900s. One of the major reasons for this is vaccines. You don’t have to worry about your child dying of smallpox or being crippled by polio.

Despite what some idiotic celebrities will tell you, the harm caused by not vaccinating is immense.

Measles cases hit record high in Europe (Warning there are some sad images of children with measels)

Have a look at this wonderful cartoon explaining how vaccines work.

1. [Insert Person] Doesn’t Deserve the Same Rights

All people should be treated equitably no matter their sexual identity, sexual orientation, skin colour, culture, country, religion, physical health, metal health, or intelligence.

It’s easy to be afraid of people you don’t know anything about. Fear of the other is a natural human reaction. It’s not logical or useful however. We need to accept others as they are and as they tell us they want to be treated. If someone from a minority tells you they’re not comfortable or don’t like your behaviour, listen to them.

Everyone deserves to live a life that is free from fear and hate.

Stop thinking of political correctness and start thinking of human decency and treating people with respect.

And yes I’ve ranted on this before:

 

Those are my top ten rant buttons.

Later days and future arguments,

Éric

CoasteRPG Oneshot Scenario – Lost Toys

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

On Tuesday I introduced you the the new and improved CoasteRPG; *Compatible with Oneshot – The Simplest RPG* now here for the first time is a oneshot scenario for the game. Depending on your players’ zeal and distraction level, it should take between 1-3 hours to play.

The players are all playing a toy that has just now gained sentience. Encourage your players to bring in the toy or at least bring a picture. Give each of them an attack and special ability based off their toy and its accessories.

The Room

They start out waking up in a kid’s room. Clean but filled with toys. Other than them, there are only 2 other toys that are moving.

There is a door and a window. They can see the night sky out the window. The door appears to be locked.

One of the toys with them is a stuffed Winnie the Pooh. He is quiet, says “bother” a lot, and sometimes mumbles.

The other is a Barbie who is missing her arms and legs. She shudders as she talks and manages to say, “Ship… Chip… RUN!” before becoming immobile.

Challenge

They need to escape the room. If they can pick the lock to the door they find what looks like a solid metal wall. It’s actually a sliding door (Spot 6)

There is a computer chip inside the Barbie’s torso (Search 4) that will open the sliding metal door.

The window is a porthole to the outside. They could open the window (Strength 5 or two at strength 3) but everything will be sucked into space. If this happens, they can use special abilities to get back to the hull of the ship.

The Hall

The door leads to a long narrow corridor that branches left or right. There are signs.

Challenge

There are 6 flying defence drones. They target any flying toys first or anyone who hurts them.

The left passage leads to the Teleporter, the right to the Extractor.

The Extractor

The Extractor is where the mad genius sucks the love out of a toy and turns it into energy. The planet’s energy reserves are completely dependent on this form of energy.

Challenge

Zombie Toys and Mad Genius

The Teleporter

The Teleporter is where new toys arrive from alternate dimensions.

Challenge

Getting home.

Activating the transporter (2) sends them somewhere randomly.

Activating it with coordinates (4) sends them home.

Ending

Hopefully they don’t die…

Options: They can send themselves home, destroy the Extractor permanently, take over the facility, or all of the above. Let them play with the idea.

Enemies

  Defence Drone Zombie Mad Genius
Health 6 1 5
Defence 3 4 6
Body 4 0 0
Mind 1 0 4
Luck 1 4 1
Special Abilities Lasers 1

Slam 1

Explode 3 flips

Fly

Bite 1

Squeeze 1

Drain 1+1flip

Grab and toss into extractor  6

Enjoy and good gaming,

Éric

CoasteRPG

Hello My Imaginary Friends and Gamers,

A few years ago I developed The Simplest Role Playing System after some play testing I updated it and created a character sheet.

Now I have made a few more changes and changed the name. I plan on getting it printed on actual coasters (Rules on one side, character sheet on the other).

Here are the rules:

CoasteRPG

Simple Rules: Each player chooses Body, Mind, or Luck as their character’s specialty. They have 4 in that ability. (Ex. Fighters choose Body.) Their Health and Defence each equal 4.

Complex Rules: Each person has 5 points to place in Body, Mind, and Luck. No negatives. Their Health equals their Body plus their Mind+1. Their Defence equals Mind plus Luck +1

Resolution Mechanism: When a character needs to do something, the Storyteller decides if it’s easy (1), hard (2), ridiculous (4), or inconceivable (6). The character then subtracts their attribute from the difficulty.

If the attribute is higher than the difficulty they succeed. If not, they have to flip the coaster 3 times and call it (if it’s a die have them call even or odd). Add every right guess to their attribute.

If the player gets 3 successes in a row they continue until the fail.

Combat: Each character does 1 point of damage (unless specified in their abilities) if they hit something and takes the same if they are hit. Death occurs at 0 health.

Special Abilities: Choose 2 of; Hit (1 damage +1 flip), Heal (1 healing + 1 flip), or Help (+1 success to any other characters test.)

Everything else: The storyteller makes up.

Character Sheet: Download PDF (43KB)

Good gaming!

Éric

*Edited July 20th, 2019 to add special abilities*

The Simplest Role Playing System – Part 2

Hello Friends,

Last weekend I ran the fourth playtest for The Simplest Role Playing System. It went great. I noticed a tiny issue with balance between defence and attack which I fixed. Other than that it’s a perfect rules light system for quick games.

I’ve also developed a Character sheet for the Advanced rules.

The Simplest Role Playing System-CharacterSheet

Here’s the PDF for download: The Simplest Role Playing System-CharacterSheet (111kb)

Have you tried the system? What did you think of it?

Éric