So, long time no see, internet…again.
Yes, it’s ironic: not more than a year ago, I found myself writing a blog post not so different from this. In that post (found here), I announced to the world the creation of this new entertainment website, a place primarily created to house all my thoughts about the world of entertainment. And, for the most part, it did that..albeit pretty infrequently in the last few months.
But, rest assured, there was a reason for that: all summer I’ve been working on a relaunch of sorts for the website, the primary purpose of which was moving the website from hosting on Medium back to a good ol’ self-hosted, WordPress run affair. Now of course I am no stranger to that interface: that was how I ran Geek Binge for the better part of three years, and it’s a system that, although certainly complex, I began to miss while writing on Medium. So I made the executive decision (like many other Medium-backed publications) to move back to self-hosting.
But, rest assured, Medium readers: I really like the platform, and I have no intention of turning my back on it. Which is why ALL posts (including the one you are reading right now, presumably) will be published on Medium in tandem with the actual website. They might not publish at exactly the same time or the same manner but, rest assured, this site can and will operate through both WordPress AND Medium. I just wanted to make sure the content I wrote and all future content would have a permanent home that I (and I only) control.
Of course doing that was far easier said than done and, with a mix of other things holding up my time, it took far longer to migrate the site to WordPress than I initially expected. Which is why Freshly Popped Culture was MIA for the better part of the summer. So let’s quickly recap all the events I missed in that time, huh?
- Boy, that Trump guy is crazy, huh?
- Wow, Wonder Woman’s box office!
- BABY DRIVER.
- Hey. a good Spider-Man movie, cool!
- DUNKIRK THO.
- Pretty good season of Game of Thrones, amiright?
- Rick and Morty is back, baby.
- Ha, Emoji Movie! Dark Tower! Sony, what a bunch of clowns.
- Eesh, not a great season of Game of Thrones, huh?
- It certainly did pretty well, no?
- Bojack Horseman, still awesome.
- Bye bye, Colin Trevorrow!
- Hello J.J., my old friend. Come to direct Star Wars again.
- Really? Devin Faraci? C’mon.
- The Emmys sure did happen.
- Shoo, Sean Spicer! SHOO!
Yeah, think that about covers it. All the entertainment events of the last three months, concisely bulleted. You’re welcome.
But, rest assured, the next few months of pop culture will not be bulleted. It will be written out in long, ardous text posts. Or sometimes videos. But mostly text. And though I consider this a new chapter in the life of Freshly Popped Culture, this isn’t the end of it. I still have a lot of plans for the weeks ahead, and little changes that will be made to make for a better, fresher experience.
Yes, that was a pun on Freshly Popped Culture. I hate myself too.
Welcome back, everyone.
The New York City Public Transportation System Tier List
This is a Queens bound F local train, transfer to the U skip stop train. The next stop is: your sister’s ass, hold for the closing doors.
This was inevitable: I’ve been complaining about small, nit-picky details about New York for my entire life, and now I finally figured out the best way to channel that minor annoyance: into a tier list about my least favorite part of city living: paying to go places.
Any form of public transportation or paid vehicle or way of commuting through the city counts here, including some joke examples, and if you got a problem with that then you can take a walk. This is a comedy piece, not a guide for gallivanting around. If you want to museum hop and travel to famous pizzerias and bakeries, this is not the article for you. Here is the criteria for this list: anything I goddamn well please, that’s what.
The greatest city in the western hemisphere, the Big Apple, only has room for one troll, and his name is James Dolan. Eat shit and die, asshole; I hope you jump off a bridge to save the Knicks from basketball irrelevance, but that’s for another day. Onto the tier list!
W train — Here is how I know this is the best train. First, it goes to Queens, the best borough, and through Astoria, one of the nicest parts of said best borough. I keep trying to move there but the rent is too damn high, and for good reason; they price people like me out intentionally. Second, it’s mad cool that this thing went away and came back, like a phoenix, a myth that comes back to take part of the Q tracks. Third, I have heard no problems about this train. Fourth, it has a cool name. Very hip to use the new W line. Only real New Yorkers know about that shit.
Q train — The obvious runner-up is the other subway that takes that line through Long Island City (not colloquially considered part of Long Island but it technically is) all the way to Coney Island, the most magical place on earth, about 60 years ago. This train is fast, reliable, on time, hits a lot of crucial stops, and is also super cool. The Q line. Yeah, that has a nice ring to it.
7 train — Can you tell there is a common theme here with these picks? I love Queens, I wish I was still there and not in godforsaken Brooklyn, which is a fucking dump that is not being helped by gentrification, despite my best efforts. The 7 goes from the brand new stop at Hudson Yards, which I’ve been to for New York Comic Con, it’s very convenient and very clean, all the way through most of Queens to Flushing, and yes you can see the Mets by taking that to Citi Field! The 7 is godlike, it’s got a lot of diverse stops, and I have yet to experience any real major problems so far.
Ferry — How cool is being on a boat? Mad cool. Hella cool. Monster cool. Boat rides are great, we should all take more of them. Everyone gets to sit and chill, or stand outside and feel the breeze, or do the whole Titanic ‘king of the world’ thing. I like taking the ferry whenever I can, as long as you don’t go to New Jersey, then it’s fine.The East River Ferry, I just found out, is now part of greater NYC Ferry service. Ferry frequency has been increased, ferries are now temperature controlled and have snacks for sale, Wi-Fi on board coming soon, and there is a convenient app to book passes, check schedules and more. Why don’t more people do this?
Helicopter — If you got the money, I mean why the fuck not, right? This isn’t exactly public transportation, but we all know those tours are bullshit tourist traps. And we all want to do it once in our lives, land on a building rooftop, skip Times Square entirely.
S train — No one has ever taken the S train. I assume it exists, but since there are no horror stories since no one takes this train, I’m sure it’s great. Good for you S train! You don’t have a lot of stops to be shitty to people. Good job.
Jaywalking — Everyone does it. It’s the only way to walk down the block, or across the street to a bodega. Fuck traffic, fuck cars, if you gotta problem then hit me, and then call my attorney you prick. Cops gotta problem? Arrest me, pigs. I don’t give a fuck, don’t care what the light says, I’m going anyways, I got somewhere to be, assholes. Honk all you like, I’m walkin’ here!
N train — This is like a slightly worse Q train, but is still very top tier for the same reasons. Love the N, easy fit for the A tier, I don’t really have to go on more about it.
2 train— This train has a special place in my heart, because it’s the one I took to sleep with a girl a few times, and it rocked. I say this because she was an absolute knockout and we had a great time. More than one, actually. She lived in the lower east side, outrageously gorgeous room. Must have cost her a small fortune, because it was in a really nice area surrounded by rich people and fancy restaurants. It helped that she was a total bombshell; they don’t give out apartments like that to ugly people.
It’s hard to pull off short hair, but boy oh boy did she nail it, smoking hot brunette. We had some wild times, let me tell you. We did everything, and then some. She moved to the U.K. for school a few months after we’d met, and it was the best kind of casual hook-up, nothing serious from the start. I think we both knew it initially, and that was fine with both of us. We just got to cherish the moments together, and didn’t want to ruin it, tarnish the memories with the petty nonsense a relationship has attached to it. I’ll never forget how her perfume smelled, for as long as I’ll live, it was intoxicating.
The train worked, I guess, that’s all I remember about those couple of times. Got me to her apartment alright. So, A tier, sure, why not. It’s better than the 3, which is the one I take currently to and from work, way more of them, they seem to go fast enough.
Using an app to have someone pick you up — It may be immoral, and pricey, but if you’re drunk or lost and have the cash, you might as well hit that Lyft app. It’s convenient, more so than flagging down a taxi, and you don’t have to wait in a line at Madison Square Garden like a sham. What schmucks!
5 train — The 5 train is a life saver for a few reasons. It’s express, it’s fast, it hits the perfect mix of boroughs and major stops, it’s less crowded than the 4 or 6, AND sometimes it runs as a pseudo 2/3/4. Which is terrific, because I can take that home from work, which is a very personal and biased thing to say but this is my list and I don’t give a fuck. What am I supposed to do, be objective about this? How the fuck can I do that? I’ve taken every single one of these fucking things on this list, so this is from my shitty experience and I’m sticking to it, so either agree or fuck off.
JFK air train — I found out there is an amazing monorail that goes from Jamaica straight to the terminals at JFK, and is a godsend. It’ll cost you a few bucks, but holy hell did my life improve when I found out about that. I don’t like to travel, and I mean sure I could hit an app on my phone to get the job done, but if you can get to Jamaica from the J or Z or E, then just do that then. And do not take the LaGuardia Link, because no one should ever use that airport. It’s falling apart, don’t even bother.
D train — The first orange line to make an appearance, good for you D train! When doing research about the history of the D, turns out it used to be on the yellow line but got changed for some reason. In any case, the cultural influence of this one is hard to deny, appearing in a Bob Dylan song, Beastie Boys song, Letterman top tens, Seinfeld episode, and in The Warriors. I haven’t had any real troubles on the D (so far) so it makes its way to the A tier, and you can take this thing all the way to the Bronx, further than the B, which is nice.
G train — I’ve taken the G once while apartment hunting. It’s the single rare train that goes vertical through Brooklyn and Queens, and really there should be more of that, honestly. No one wants to have to loop west and then up through Manhattan and then back east to Queens.
4 train — This is the more sporadic, crowded version of the 5, and while I do use it a lot, it can get packed, like ‘Japanese people with gloves shoving humans into the train’ levels of stupid packed.
3 train — Speaking of which, the 3 is the train I currently use. It’s pretty great, all things considering. Nobody takes it, it’s on time, never really breaks down, and as with all the numbered trains, you can see when the next one is coming. Unlike those stupid fucking lettered trains, idiots. But this one is spotty at best, a few times it pisses me off, because the 2 runs faster and there are more of them for some reason. I don’t know why, but whatever.
E train— Out of all the blue trains, this one goes the furthest, and reaches all the way out to Jamaica for people transferring to the LIRR or Air Train to JFK. It also goes through Queens, unlike the A in Brooklyn, so I’m inclined to pick this over the A and C. Nothing against them, but I’ve been on the A and it’s sometimes pretty…scary. Scary is the word I’ll use, sure.
M train— Are you seeing a trend here? Queens baby, represent for life. This one runs on the J/Z line, and is the best train on that track, and also runs through Queens so it’s all good with me. There are a couple of other orange line trains I hate, and the M is not one of them, so good job for not sucking M.
Taxis — You can make fun all you want, and say how the taxi industry is dying or dead. Fine, but not in New York. Still alive and well, as far as I can see. Hailing a cabbie is one of the quintessential acts a New Yorker can do, it’s something you have to experience once in your life. They’re just so god damn iconic, they got TVs in them now, they help when I’m running late to things, and I don’t care about the price, this shit is convenient. My dad only takes taxis around, doesn’t deal with the subway bullshit, and he doesn’t care about paying extra for the convenience. AND, I might add, taxis don’t go through your phone and invade your privacy like Uber! I will defend taxis as much as I can, and tourists give the city a ton of money by using them everywhere. Thanks, losers! Now get the fuck out of the way on the sidewalk, please, just fucking move or speed up. Get in your fucking taxi and go, get out of here.
Skateboarding — Not sure NYC is a great city for skateboarding, or really the east coast in general. Very much a west coast, California thing. And it peaked in the ’90s, and has never recovered, much like the Tony Hawk series. It’s just not cool anymore, and people don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. Accidents, bumping into pedestrians, long boards, I’m just over it. The whole thing, totally not into it. This isn’t college, sorry NYU students, this is where people live and walk, so go in the street and get hit by a truck for all I care.
6 train — I took the 6 a lot in the last few years, and take it to get to my relatives often. It’s the local green train on that track, and has a ton of stops, and goes slow. I even got stuck underground on it once, 10 feet from the platform, going home from work one day. An old woman died, had to be carted off the train by the cops. As much as I want to love the 6, I have to knock it. It pains me to do that.
1 train — These three trains I’ve taken the least, collectively, so they’re a blind spot for me. They seem average, totally acceptable and mediocre trains. Plenty of people use them, I’m sure they’re fine. Trust me, there are a lot of other way worse options, so don’t @ me with your pathetic stories to counter these rankings. I don’t give a shit.
R train — Why the fuck is every car on this thing old? Like, made in the ’70s old? It’s so bizarre, it’s like the only train where you can sit facing front or back, instead of on the sides like a normal train. Anyways, the R skips too many stops, and I don’t love its track. It’s a serviceable alternative, but god help you if you use it daily. Could you be any slower, R train? Let’s fucking go! The Q makes you look awful by comparison.
Chinese guy with the hand cart near the world’s largest Macy’s — This is dumb and still hilarious to me, that a guy can just run around with you and two wheels somewhere, while cars whiz by on the street. Don’t give these people money, come on now.
Horse carriage in Central Park — They’re getting rid of horses, and I’ve always wanted to try, but it’s cheesy Hollywood bullshit that looks tacky and ridiculous. Don’t do this either.
Walking — In order to live and work in New York City, anywhere, you have to walk a lot. A lot. And that sucks, because it hurts to exercise your legs that much. Too much walking, I don’t have the energy for this shit anymore. A few blocks, sure, but I have to walk a mile to and from work everyday, and my ankles and calves are KILLING me. Fuck walking. Total bullshit. Fucking tourists in the way, pigeons shit on your head, snow and garbage on the sidewalks, traffic doesn’t give a fuck about you, walking sucks.
F train — I hate this train, because it covers the worst geography out of any train. Who the fuck designed the track on a map for this fucking thing? It avoids all the places you need to go, and OF COURSE there is one near my office and OF COURSE nothing is near the F, so I can’t transfer. No, I’m not going to Manhattan to get on another train, fuck you F train, you’re a dumb piece of shit.
Double Decker Bus Tour — Hey, morons. Yeah you, fat mid-westerners, who paid someone to drive you and your fat kids around Manhattan on a Groupon deal you found one day, don’t fucking take bus tours! It’s real simple, you could simply stay in your state that votes for republicans every year, or take a healthy shit anywhere else.
L train — This would have been way higher if not for two things: way too many Brooklyn hipsters and gentrifying assholes take this train, and also, IT’S FUCKING SHUTTING DOWN IN 2019 HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA NOPE SORRY you’re dead to me L, I hope you never come back so all the real estate drops in price and makes it easier to live in Brooklyn. Fuck anybody who lives near the L, you’re totally fucked now. Good luck getting to your job you chose your apartment and based your life around, that decision turned out well, didn’t it?
C train — Need I say more?
Z train — This train is a myth. It doesn’t run, and any train that you think says Z actually says J. It’s a typo, a mistake, a train that skips stops on one of the worst lines in public transportation history, but in fact does not exist and if it did, I’ve been taking a ghost train that makes me walk further or wait for the J, which ha ha yeah no that’s not happening. Fuck the Z, if and when it shows up.
Metro North — Nobody wants to go north of Yonkers, and if you do (to visit relatives) you have made a mistake, and should turn back now. If you still have to go, then get ready to pay an absorbent amount of money to go on a snail that breaks down, while traveling through the middle of nowhere to end up in hell. How Don Draper took that trip every day for work is probably why he drank, smoked, and fucked everything that moved.
Long Island Rail Road — As a Long Islander from birth, this is a real love/hate relationship. It’s been useful for my entire life, but also is the only real option to go to Islanders games, go into the city, and yet I can’t help but imagine what any of us did to deserve such a trash experience. I’ve had the LIRR go down in flames on me multiple times, been stranded in the middle of fucking Long Island, and also got kidnapped by a bus service the city of New York had to call in because the LIRR got snowed in. The LIRR has destroyed bridges, roads, been the way out for people committing suicide, and yet the LIRR still persists, hitting pedestrians left and right. It’s not quite F tier, because it is an option for ending your life and escaping the misery that is living in a Trump administration, so either you go on a nightmare of a train OR you leave our collective nightmare by jumping in front of one. By the way, my parents met on the LIRR, so that’s…something, I guess. Thanks LIRR? You get some nice views, get to go to the bathroom, some nice seats, but otherwise…yeah, no. No defense from me on this one.
Those fake black taxis that seem like Uber, but they’re not, and they act like real taxis, but rip you off — They are a scam. Tourists, don’t fall for that shit.
Citibike — The amount of fucking bikers has risen dramatically ever since these things showed up, and if you’re willing to NOT buy your own bike, and rent one, on a contraption that clogs up the streets and sidewalks, fuck you. Honestly, fuck you. Go use your bike lane and try not to get hit, but fuck Citibike, and anyone who uses it that I have to avoid.
Staten Island Railway — No one should ever go to Staten Island. That’s my goal in life, to never go and be a part of that “Burrough”. I don’t care that Wu Tang came from Shaolin, they clearly left and never came back, and for good reason. It’s like New York’s miniature New Jersey. Shame on you if you intentionally stay there.
The bus, any bus — Grey Hound, Mega Bus, any NYC city bus, doesn’t matter, all buses are gross and you’ve fucked up if you take one. Your in bad shape if you have to rely on a bus. If you’re poor, sure, I get it, they’re an option many are forced to use, but that doesn’t mean they’re any good. And if you DO NOT have to use them, then don’t. Just don’t. Too many people, fucking stopping everywhere, it’s a mess. I just feel bad for bus riders, I really do. I don’t want anyone to have to take the bus, it’s just the worst. We honor Rosa Parks by naming every bus station after her, and for good reason, but we should find a better symbol to name after her, and not the fucking bus station. She was more than that, don’t remember her for a horrible mode of transportation. Name a library after her, or a street, or something else! Anything else! Put her on the $20, fuck Andrew Jackson.
J train — This was my nickname for years because I complained about it so much. I had to take this fucking thing when I worked at AOL, and it was the bane of my existence. The J never comes on time, is super slow, is always delayed, has fucking train traffic (how does that work? There’s only one way to go, just fucking go!), and breaks down more than me on a Friday night out. Just terrible, the single worst subway in the city. Sure, you get a great view, and you’re above ground for most of it so you can use your phone. Except you’ll get your phone stolen before you get to Marcy Avenue, and there’s so many fucking people who take this thing you’ll never get a seat. So you have to stand for an hour plus, every day, back and forth, and it’s the most physically taxing thing imaginable. I’d consider quitting any job on the spot if I had to live near a J train stop, real talk. It’s emotionally draining. People TALK to you on this train. There are always street performers, beggars, smelly homeless, musicians, break dancers, comedians, panhandlers, salesmen, and religious hecklers on the J. It’s a traveling circus, with more track fires. It pains me to think humans have to rely on that fucking monstrosity, it’s what Satan must use to get around hell.
AMTRAK / New Jersey Transit / PATH train — God help your soul if you have to travel to New Jersey. Shame upon you if you chose to lower your costs and live in NJ to commute to NYC. New Jersey is the worst, and if the train derailments don’t kill you, the stampedes at Penn Station might. You’re better off never going back to New Jersey, and you should just become homeless trapped in Central Park. It’s better for you if you just do that, be like the pigeon lady from Home Alone 2. Don’t ever go to New Jersey. Ever. Or take those death traps that look like metal tubes to it.
Swimming — Do not swim in the Hudson or East River. Or the bay. Or anywhere, really. Go to a pool for that, not to get places. Dummy.
The Cereal Box Mascot Tier List
They are not all grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat, as it turns out.
This has nothing to do with anything on this website. In fact, people have been ranking cereals for quite some time now. They are all wrong, of course, but I’m not here to get into that. I’m here to answer the question of which cereal box mascot would win in a fight, like a royal rumble or giant steel cage match in which only one can survive. I was listening to a Giant Bombcast a while back and it came up, like if there was a fighting game, who would the roster be, so I made this. A fighting game tier chart but, y’know, for cereal mascots.
The criteria is thus: how ruthless a killer you are, how good the cereal is, and how dumb their name is. That is about it. If you do not have a name, then you are bad and should feel bad.
F TIER — WOULD GET BODIED IMMEDIATELY
- Dig’em Frog from Honey Smacks:
He has a backwards baseball cap. He has attitude! He would be the first to die in the ring, he would be stepped on and forgotten about, just like his awful cereal.
- The mutated waffle from Waffle Crisps:
Someone put it out of its misery, it’s clearly the bi-product of a corporate lab experiment gone horribly awry. Waffle human transfusion is a crime against humanity.
- The two guys who ride bikes on the Grape-Nuts box:
They seem to be having a lovely time. They would get pushed off the bikes and beaten to death with them, the helmets would not help much either.
- The Cornflakes Rooster:
He has a crazy look in his eye, but really this thing would walk around the arena and be kicked once, and fall over and die.
- The creature from Frosted Mini-Wheats:
What is that thing? Is it sentient? Does it have a gender? Someone would eat it for energy, I’m assuming.
D TIER — WOULD GET BODIED SOON THERE AFTER
- CinnaMon and Bad Apple, from Apple Jacks:
Offensive pun aside, these two wouldn’t be the first to go, but would not fight because they’re probably stoned out of their minds. Someone has smoked weed from that apple guy FOR SURE, and the cinnamon dude looks like a blunt. Man that is racist the more I think about it, despite how god tier Apple Jacks is as a cereal.
- Toucan Sam and his children from Froot Loops:
Another amazing cereal I love, and another animal mascot that is not big or strong enough to put up a fight. Sure, fly around, until you get hit with something and just hit the ground for good. Sorry Sam, you were a family man.
- Tricks, the Trix rabbit:
Pro: he is bigger than human children, so the size advantage and shock factor could come in handy.
Con: he is consistently outsmarted by children. He is a giant wussy and can’t do anything right, that clumsy dumb fuck. He is too stupid to win anything, let alone a bowl of mediocre cereal.
- Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, who is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs:
He is clearly an addict, and would go into relapse without his puffs. He would keel over and OD, no chance at all. Also Cocoa Puffs are bad and if you eat them you should feel bad.
C TIER — WOULD NOT SUCK, WOULD NOT WIN EITHER
- Chef Wendell, of Cinnamon Toast Crunch fame:
He seems like he knows how to raise the fists and tussle, but he is too old, doesn’t have the height advantage, and if he loses his glasses he is done for. The chaos would be too much for him, and he will die a hero. Toast Crunch is mad good.
- Snap, Crackle, Pop from Rice Krispies:
Here are the questions I have for these three; do they know magic? Can they cast spells? Would they ever turn on each other when things got bad? They are brothers, so I doubt it. Being a gnome/elf hybrid means they’re really small, so they might be frisky but would not beat anyone tiered above C.
- Chip the Cookie Crisp wolf/dog from Cookie Crisp:
He used to be a dog, and now he’s a wolf. Is Chip a shapeshifter? A werewolf? An animorph? What is his nature? Can he be a cold blooded killer? Maybe get in some claw swipes, take out a few birds flying around the pit, but I don’t know if a dog can win.
- Lucky the Leprechaun, from Lucky Charms:
He is another mage, or conjurer, or wizard who can use magic to make it last a while. But I think he just summons cereal and rainbows, and not like lightning bolts or anything cool, or useful. So he’s another tiny non-human who would just be overpowered halfway through the fight.
B TIER — PUNCHER’S CHANCE
- Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, from Cocoa Pebbles:
First of all, Cocoa Pebbles is one of the best cereals ever, and Fruity Pebbles are trash. Now that we got that out of the way, Fred and Barney would take out the other animals and creatures extremely well, but do not have the wit or ingenuity to withstand modern combat or technology. They only use primitive tools, and Bamm-Bamm is not walking through that door to help them.
- Buzz, the Cheerios bee:
He could kill one person. And himself in the process. Not a bad way to go out.
- Captain Crunch:
An 18th century naval captain, the Captain has had many a year of navigating the open waters, fist fighting on the seas of the world, and learning the harsh cruel nature of life. His actual name is Horatio Magellan Crunch, which means he knows a thing or two, since he’s named after a pretty smart fellow. But he’s not as young and spry as he used to be, and the roof of his mouth is probably all cut up from eating his cereal on his ship.
- The Quaker from Quaker Oats:
Why are all of these people so old? They’re from some really fucked up eras in history, which means you gotta be the best of the best to survive until you’re elderly. But as a man of peace, the Quaker guy would have to just concede and welcome the sweet embrace of death, after he realizes that god is dead, and is not in every soul like he was taught all his life.
- Sugar Bear from Golden Crisp:
He’s a fucking bear. With a shirt on. He wears human clothes, probably from his victims. Standing on hind legs, bears are gigantic, and he could take out a few people before going down, because Golden Crisp is disgusting and that bear has had too much shitty cereal to have the conditioning needed to survive.
A TIER — THE CREAM OF THE CROP
- Boo Berry:
Now we get to the real contenders. Booberry is a fucking ghost. How the fuck do you stop that? For one thing, Boo looks like he was a teenager who killed himself, so he may be inexperienced interacting with other people, especially ones that try to kill you. Also, I’m not sure how he would actually defeat people, outside of using the devil’s blood magic to possess or summon wraiths and specters. Really it comes down to if he can scare people to death, and if he goes back to hell after his cereal stops being sold in November.
- Franken Berry:
Frank here is maybe the biggest competitor, and has the brute strength and raw killing potential to go the distance. But, he could fall apart, and come away at the seams, so you know where the weaknesses are; in the pipes shooting out of his head. Just twist and snap off, and he is decapitated.
- Count Alfred Chocula:
Count Chocula, the best cereal known to man, is a vampire. He would get to feed off of almost all of the combatants listed here, because they all have the blood he seeks, the fuel he craves. But, as we all know, vampires are not immortal, and so you could take on his frail figure and take him out if you know what you’re doing.
- Tony the Tiger, Frosted Flakes:
Tony is a fucking tiger. Nature’s killing machine, he is born to murder and maul. He’s huge, fit, excises, and is primed for carnage. He even has a bib for the gore! But would the best animal on this list defeat the best human, or supernatural creature? I doubt it, but I would not want to fuck with Tony.
- Sunny the Sun, from Raisin Bran:
Is he the sun? Like, the actual sun? Our sun? Or another sun? He is small? Big? How close to becoming a star is he? Can he explode soon? Implode? He is burning out? Would he drop his two scoops, or use them? Can he burn people to death? Well, I cannot say for sure, but he seems highly volatile, and Raisin Bran is gross and not worth eating. Fuck that shit.
- Any athlete from Wheaties:
Take your pick; Jerry Rice, Jesse Owens, Bob Cousy, Bart Starr, Carl Lewis, Pete Rose, Walter Payton, Jim Kelly, Michael Jordan, the Detroit Pistons, Horace Grant, Babe Ruth, Larry Bird, John Elway, Cal Ripken Jr., Dan Marino, Jackie Robinson, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Mean Joe Greene, Terrell Davis, Brett Farve, Mark McGwire, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Arnold Palmer, Joe Torre, Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, Kevin Garnett, Wayne Gretzky, Peyton Manning, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, David Robinson, Michael Phelps, Michael Vick, Dr. J, Doug Flutie, Bill Russell, Lindsey Vonn, Willis Reed, Aaron Rodgers, Stephen Curry, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Marcus Allen, Wilt Chamberlin, Walt Frazier, Marshall Faulk, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen, Rod Woodson, or Nolan Ryan.
Not Lou Gehrig though, he was the first guy on the box. Yeah, that would not work out well.
S TIER — BET YOUR MONEY ON HIM
- Mr. T
I pity the fool who picks against him. I dare you, fucker. I fucking dare you. Do it. You won’t. He would beat any sucker dumb enough to get in the ring with him.
The 10 Games I’m Looking Forward to the Most This Holiday Season
The best of the best (or at least what I want to play) before the year is out.
I remember not long ago when the video game ecosystem was simple: for the first nine or so months of the year, you would usually get a couple good games that were worth playing. Then September would arrive, and approximately 500,000 games were all released at once, hoping to capitalize on the Holiday shopping season. But for the past few years (and especially in this cycle of gaming), things have been pretty different.
Publishers have begun to realize that you can launch a game at pretty much any point, and have thus used previously vacant months to release their biggest games. This isn’t such a bad thing (there always has and will forever be too many games released in October/November), but it does mean that some of my most anticipated games of the year (namely Uncharted 4 and Firewatch) saw release months ago.
Still though, the Holiday season is as crowded as ever, and there are more than enough games launching in the next three months for me to cobble a list together. I could probably even feature at least 10 of those games in said list, and would probably even rank them in descending order. But you know what? Let’s just not THINK things — let’s DO things. Here’s the 10 games I’m looking forward to playing the most this holiday season.
10. Gears of War 4
Release: October 11
I am not a huge Gears of War fan. I played the first one, and never beat it. I played almost all of the third one…and never beat it. I played a few hours of multiplayer from all three of the core installments, and had a decent time doing it. Altogether, I’ve probably played 10–12 hours of this universe, combined. And yet, I’m strangely looking forward to what The Coalition has done with what is essentially a reboot (or at the very least lega-sequel) of the franchise.
I think the key to that is the game’s E3 showing, which I thought looked extremely cool and fun. And the main problem I’ve always had with the series (the bro-y and oddly dislikeable main characters) are mostly gone, with the new trio of heroes seemingly more likeable and, at the very least, having less TOTALLY GOD AWFUL dialogue. The gameplay of this series is incredibly sound (and has been for nearly a decade), but everything about the universe never really grabbed me. With a clean slate like this one, maybe now is Gears of War’s chance to do just that.
9. The Last Guardian
Release: December 6
Will The Last Guardian be good? This is a question I’ve found myself asking for what feels like a century now, as the game’s release date just continued to fumble and its existence became more and more uncertain. On the one hand, Team ICO has an excellent pedigree, as Ico, Okami, and Shadow of the Colossus speak for themselves. On the other, it’s been a decade since the developer has released a game, with all their eggs tied to this particular goose (or, if you prefer, dog bird thing.) Since then there’s been a lot of turnaround within the developer, and it’s hard to say if the Team Ico that made those two great games is even there anymore.
The little we’ve seen of The Last Guardian looks promising enough, and this could be one of the cases in which more time in the oven creates an even better game than could be imagined. After all, it’s not like there’s never been a great game released off of the back of many delays and various production strife. But Duke Nukem Forever is a thing too, so I think it’s important to add a bit of “cautious” to my optimism here.
8. Final Fantasy XV
Release: November 29
If you thought the extent of my fandom for Gears of War was tiny, then you haven’t seen nothing yet: I’ve played exactly two Final Fantasy games in my life, each for approximately one hour. I long ago rented Final Fantasy X from my local renting chain (hey, remember those?), simply because I was a huge Kingdom Hearts fan and I thought “Hey, this is probably like that!” It was not like that, so I took it back the next day. My subsequent run in with the series was a few years later, when I was bored and with no games to play. I had Gamefly at the time, so I decided to check out Final Fantasy XIII. After all, I was a few years older since my previous experience with the franchise, and a few years wiser. Maybe I would like it now.
I did not.
And yet once again, here we are: the newest iteration of a game franchise that I’m not even a fan of making my list of anticipated fall games. What makes Final Fantasy XV different? Well, because I HAVE played it — and if the “Platinum Demo” is anything like the actual game, I might actually like it! And the reason why is pretty simple: it feels a lot like Kingdom Hearts. And though I’m sure that gives a lot of the series’ fan pause, for a noob like me, that’s all I can ask for. After all, if I spent my time simply waiting for the next Kingdom Hearts game, I would never play another video game in my life. In this particular case, Final Fantasy XV will have to scratch that itch — and from the looks of things, it might actually have a chance of doing so.
7. Titanfall 2
Release: October 28
I’ll be upfront here: like many others, I found the Titanfall 2 beta to be a tad bit disappointing. While I was hoping to come away from the beta excited for what Respawn had done and stoked for a radically different game that built up on what made the first game work (ala Call of Duty 4 to Modern Warfare 2), what I found instead was BASICALLY the first game, but with the addition of a grappling hook.
That doesn’t have to be a bad thing of course, because the nuts and bolts of the first game are so sound you don’t need to fix much. My main issues with that game stemmed from a lack of content and variety, which the beta did not give a clear indication of changing either way. If Titanfall 2 is just Titanfall with a dozen more guns and plenty more ways to customize, I will be happy. But whether or not the game can actually take the series to new heights, and join the upper echelon of multiplayer first person shooters, is still very much in question.
6. Dead Rising 4
Release: December 6
I’ve pretty much enjoyed every other Dead Rising game (to varying degrees), and I especially have a soft spot in my heart for the first game in the series. Well it hasn’t aged especially well, Dead Rising was the first game I EVER played on a Generation 7 console, and really making the jump from the Playstation 2 graphics of old to a game featuring thousands of zombies on screen and a huge open world to explore was kind of perfect. As such, the adventure of Frank West at the Willamette Parkview Mall is a surprisingly poignant memory in my life as a gamer.
Capcom seems to realize this is the case for many gamers, and is such banking on nostalgia for the now decade-old game in order to get people on board for Dead Rising 4. Once again bringing back original protagonist Frank West AND the setting of Willamette, Colorado, my hope is that Dead Rising 4 will be a tribute to how great the first game is, and build up on what worked then with the capabilities of the new hardware. If it can do that, I’ll be satisfied. Having the Christmas time setting too doesn’t hurt. I am kind of a sucker for that shit.
5. Modern Warfare Remastered
Release: November 4
Yes, I am probably way to excited to replay a game that I have replayed probably a dozen times. But what can I say? I’m a Call of Duty junkie, and it’s been a while since I’ve had some quality stuff to inject in my bloodstream (Advanced Warfare is GREAT, though, so at least I have that.) Every year it seems like Activision is playing a game with me, trying to see just how far they can take my addiction before it reaches the dreaded “dead baby in a crib” phase. But those motherfuckers KNOW that I love me some of that old fashioned strain of Modern Wafare, and don’t even have to try hard to push it on me. They could probably bundle it with a bag of cocaine swimming in vomit, and I would still buy it whole-heartedly.
In fact, they already might have. But let’s hope Infinite Warfare isn’t that bad.
In any case, just take my freaking money Activision. I have a jonesing to play one of the best shooters ever made again on my shiny next generation console, and I’m sure there’s millions of others like me who are itching to do the same. We might be addicts, but at least this time, we know the product will be worth taking.
(Update: so yeah, literally two hours after I posted this, Cuphead was officially delayed to 2017. Always has to happen to one of these games, huh? In any case, none of what I said below changes…I’ll just have to hold it until 2017 now.)
Ever since I first saw gameplay from Cuphead, I have been desperate to get my hands on the offbeat indie. Combining an entirely unique, 2D animation inspired art style with good old fashioned, run and gun platforming looks like a complete and utter blast, and unlike any other game I’ve seen. Studio MDHR might be new on the block with an unproven track record, but it speaks to how great the game looks that I placed them so high on the list.
The only con with this game? Honestly, it’s the fact that it’s the only game here that doesn’t have a confirmed release date — this late in the game that can be a bit of a concern, and could signify a delay. However, Cuphead is an indie game, which really operates on a different level than the big studio releases: they can announce a release date today for next Tuesday, and it really wouldn’t be much of a shocker. And last we heard, the developers were pretty determined on launching by the end of the year. I’m certainly keeping my hopes up.
The past few years have all had a great, “old-school” style indie game that impressed me a great deal (see previously: Shovel Knight and Ori and the Blind Forest), and I’m hopeful that Cuphead will manage to do the same. First it needs to make it in to the year, though.
3. The Walking Dead: A New Frontier
Since the premiere of Telltale’s Walking Dead game back in 2012, I’ve liked-to-loved every one of their new series (except Minecraft: Story Mode, which I never played, cause “eh…..”) But even then, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for The Walking Dead in particular, and find the first season to still be the magnum opus of what Telltale’s approach to interactive storytelling can do. And even with my sky high expectations, I ended up loving the hell out of The Walking Dead: Season 2, and found it to have just the same amount of high drama and strong writing that made me love the series in the first place.
After 10 episodes of such high quality, it wouldn’t be shocking if Telltale doesn’t manage to deliver with the third season of the series, subtitled A New Frontier. It’s certainly breaking the formula from previous game with multiple playable characters and a teenage Clementine, and the story could end up getting repetitive depending on how Telltale chooses to explore it. That said, I’ve loved the last two seasons so much that I have complete faith in Telltale to deliver. And since even their non-Walking Dead games have all been consistent in quality, well, I expect something great here. Let’s hope the release of the first episode in November doesn’t prove me wrong.
2. Battlefield 1
Release: October 21
Am I a fan of the Battlefield franchise? The honest answer would be “not really,” even if my experiences with the series are a little more filled out than some of the other franchises on this list. I’ve played a few of the series’ previous entries, primarily Battlefield 1942 and the (incredibly fun) Battlefield: Bad Company series. That said, I would never consider myself to be a hardcore fan of the franchise: I was always a Call of Duty guy, as the above entry of Modern Warfare: Remastered shows. But if Battlefield 1 plays its cards right, that soon might change.
I was very interested in the game the moment it was officially announced, primarily because it stood in direct contrast to all of the other big FPS games coming out: while it seemed the industry was moving more and more towards futuristic, kinetic shooters, Battlefield 1 chose to go the opposite route, an admirable (and smart) path indeed. Foregoing modern warfare and exploring the battlefield of World War I separates the game from pretty much every other game out there, and shines a light on an oft-explored conflict of history.
But of course a concept is one thing: the real attention getter here was the beta released back at the end of August. I don’t think I played another beta as much as I played the one for Battlefield 1 — the fact that it was already so beautifully orchestrated and wonderfully assured in everything it was doing is rare for betas, and only makes me excited to see just how DICE can improve the experience even further. I can totally see myself getting sucked into this game as my FPS shooter of choice, and that alone makes it one of my most anticipated games of the holiday season.
1. Dishonored 2
Release: November 11
But if there’s any game on this list that I feel has a strong chance of being my favorite game of the year, it’s this one. I was a huge fan of the original Dishonored way back in 2012, and have been chomping at the bit in the years since for a follow-up. Dishonored was an imperfect game, but exactly the type of imperfect game that can easily be improved with a sequel.
The bare bones of the game were incredibly strong, from the steampunk aesthetic to the nearly perfect stealth-infused gameplay. That’s enough to overcome any of the minor issues the story and mythology might have had, and enough to make me believe that Arcane Studios will deliver in an even bigger way with Dishonored 2. Multiple playable characters, a brand new city to explore, a more over-arching approach to missions — all things that could make for a vastly improved sequel (for a game that doesn’t even need it.)
Modern video game history is filled with very good games giving way to all time great sequels. Mass Effect gave us Mass Effect 2. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune gave us Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Assassin’s Creed gave us Assassin’s Creed 2. Portal gave us Portal 2. The list honestly goes on and on. And I truly feel like said list will one day feature Dishonored giving us Dishonored 2. We can only hope, at the very least.
And there you have it, the ten games I’m eagerly looking forward to this Holiday season. If you’ve made it this far, congrats — you are a trooper, and I respect the hell out of you for it.
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