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The IAIMH Crew Unbox the Nintendo Switch!

Jordan Duncan

Ryan and Jordan from IAIMH pre-ordered the Nintendo Switch and on the night of March 2nd, they both braved the crowds to be some of the first to snag the new system. While they were opening up their system, they decided to film it and put it on YouTube (because that's what everyone does these day, right? RIGHT?).

Anyway, here is Ryan and Jordan's unboxing video (They bring Jeremy along for the ride) to check out the Switch's components, their first impressions, and maybe a laugh or two. Enjoy!

 

Lazy Gamer - Battlefield 1

Jordan Duncan

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At some point back this past summer, I made mention of maybe doing an on-again-off-again video game series, The Lazy Gamer. And in typical fashion, I'm going to start it now. 5 or 6 months after saying it.

How does The Lazy Gamer work? Well, I enjoy playing video games when I get the chance, but I also don't have a lot of time to get around to them. So I just play them when I can. It could be a couple of weeks after a game release, but it could also be a couple of years after a game release. So, I'm essentially just writing about whatever I feel like playing. I also won't hurry up and finish a game just to write a piece about it, I'll just go about it at my own leisure and eventually do a write up. Considering I only finish (maybe) 5 or so games a year, thats probably the amount I'll be posting, Haha!

For the first installment of The Lazy Gamer, I'm going to talk about a semi-recent release. Battlefield 1!

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Battlefield 1 is the recent release from EA Games and Dice Studios. Just like your typical war-based games, it is a first person shooter. But UNLIKE your typical war-based game, it is set in World War One. World War II FPS games are practically a dime a dozen, for a studio to take a chance on the subject of World War One was a fairly big risk. But it seems to have worked out for them because this is a really great game despite some of its very minor set backs. 

To be fair, I'm playing this game not as a hardcore gamer, but as someone who studies history. So, I'm playing this game through a different set of eyes. Also, I absolutely HATE FPS game, but with my interest in World War One, I decided to break tradition and go for it. 

The game opens with a character waking up for a dream. The time frame has to be within the 1930s or 1940s given that Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again" is playing in the background. The character is seemingly having a flashback from his time spent in the Great War as the opening sequence sends you back in time smack dab in the middle of a battle. The character from the beginning is gone with only, what I can assume is, his narration of other events/the future campaigns. At the conclusion of the opening level, you are taken to the campaign screen and can see five additional narrative campaigns. I should also note that this screen will show you that the title of the opening sequence level is called Storm of Steel. There is also a book of the same title by Ernst Junger about his "firsthand account" of his time as a German soldier in World War One (I put quotations around firsthand account because there is belief his stories were embellished a bit). It's a good read if you're interested in learning more about the subject. But, I digress...

Insightful book from a German perspective  

Insightful book from a German perspective  

I mentioned previously that there are five mini-campaign stories instead of one longer narrative. This works to the game's advantage because of the escalation of "all out war". This was war on a global scale and more than just two or three opposing voices. So the idea of having more than one protagonist in the war give a voice to not only that specific character, but that character's country as well. It shows the player how the war affected people right down to the human level. However, there is a downside to this. Not every main power that was in the war is given a voice. Notably absent from the base game are the French and Russian armies (NOTE - At the time of this posting, DLC for France and Russia has been confirmed). 

Each of these stories, that are partially fictitious, in the campaign also take place during different years. One character's story might take place in 1915 whereas another might take place in 1918 showing us different altercations at different times and in different locations. Also, these stories and years do not go in order. For example, story number one is in 1918 and story two is 1917. It does work, but Battlefield 1 only gets away with this because there is no overall arching story that connects these five stories aside from the fact that they all take place within World War One. However, I personally feel, that this is the game's biggest oversight. These stories don't have to intersect per say, but having a main narrative of the start of and conclusion to the Great War would have been not only a great addition, but also a great learning experience. Again, there are tons of WWII shooter games, World War One is something that is not too commonly talked about and to have its story told in the video game medium would have been a great opportunity for a learning experience to many who might not know the subject very well. 

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If I can go into historian mode for a second, there is much debate on what was the solid reasoning and starting point for going into World War One, but many agree that it was due to the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Again, this is highly debatable amongst many, but it is used to bookend the beginnings of the war all the way to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles which "ended" the war. Battlefield 1 lacks any kind of narrative or motivations of these armies fighting each other (with the exception of each story's very brief set-up) and the player is just thrown into the action and know that you have to not die. 

Another missed opportunity for the lack of overall arching story is the evolution of warfare. World War One was so important to the production of arms. When the war started, armies were practically still marching and/or on horseback. When the war ended, we had airplanes and tanks. Because of the scale of this war, it essentially changed how warfare was done and what weapons were used. Now, there are fictitious weapons within the game, and I think it is only fair to be able to suspend disbelief in order to have a fun gaming experience, but that doesn't mean you can't tell the story of warfare evolution.

TANKS!  

TANKS!  

PLANES!  

PLANES!  

The Multiplayer. I won't lie. I haven't touched it, so I can't really talk on the multiplayer. I barely like playing multiplayer games with my friends let alone a bunch of kids on the internet who just want to make "your mom" jokes. So, yeah. Not much from me here. I've heard it's great though. 

In conclusion, Battlefield 1 does a great job of showing how the war affected the protagonists/people on a human level despite it not having a narrative for the overall war itself. I'm highly looking forward to seeing what EA/Dice will do with the future DLC of the French and Russian armies. Plus the game trailer with that really awesome version of The White Stripes "Seven Nation Army" is pretty badass too. Play it, it's great! 

I'll probably get around to doing another one of these in a few months. Typical Lazy Gamer fashion, of course. 

Also, if anyone is interested in books on World War One, please comment and I can post a list. 

 

 

Getting Into the Spirit: Day 30 - Disney's Halloween Treat!

Jordan Duncan

Jordan Ghastly here with my final installment of Getting Into the Spirit! I say finally because our Halloween Episode for It's All In My Head will be available tomorrow and it will be our 31st installment of the month-long event! Before I talk about today's post, I just wanted to give a very big sincere THANK YOU to all who have come along with me for the month-long journey of Getting Into the Spirit! I hope that you enjoyed reading it as much as I had writing it. I also hope that maybe some of the things that were posted made their way into your Halloween traditions this year and many years to come! Again, Thank you all for reading! 

Today's post is Disney's Halloween Treat. I know, I know. I've posted tons of Disney stuff all month. But that is because Disney is just so damn good at Halloween! It's hard to say no! Disney's Halloween Treat first aired in 1982. It is essentially a hodgepodge of all the scary and spooky things Disney has released in the years prior, but cut together and narrate by a jack-o-lantern puppet. There have since been a couple of different cuts of Disney's Halloween Treat, but all capture the same spooky fun! 

Enjoy! And Happy Halloween!

 

Getting Into the Spirit: Day 29 - Halloween Commercials

Jordan Duncan

Welcome back Boils and ghouls! These days many people get their video content in different ways. Some people opt for no cable at all and stick to video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu while other still have traditional cable. One thing traditional cable has over the streaming services is the variety of commercials that are shown. Halloween commercials were, and still are to some, one of the ways that lets you know that Halloween is around the corner. 

I won't lie, I'm not a stranger to watching old Halloween commercials from the 1980s and 1990s on YouTube. It's a quick shot of nostalgia that gets me into the Halloween spirit! Enjoy!

- Jordan

 

Getting Into the Spirit: Day 27 - Ghost Stories pt. 3 - M.R. James

Jordan Duncan

Well hello there. Jordan Ghastly here. Who doesn't love a good ghost story? There is nothing like the fear of the unknown. The unknown makes for great storytelling. One of my favorite ghost story authors is M.R. James.

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Montague Rhodes James lived from 1863-1936, born and resided in England, and was a medieval scholar. But his ghost stories are what he is primarily remembered for. Victorian England was a great time for literature and ghost stories from the era thrived. Below is a reading of one of my favorite M.R. James stories, "Oh Whistle And I'll Come To You My Lad". And if you enjoy it, I hope you look up his other works! 

- Jordan

Getting Into the Spirit: Da 26 - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Jordan Duncan

Hello Hello! Jordan here for another day of Getting Into the Spirit! During this even I've posted many Disney cartoons that have been on the spooky side. Well, myself and the soon-to-be Mrs. Ghastly absolutely love Walt Disney World. We usually take our annual trips in the fall when the parks are decorated for the Halloween season. For an extra price (of course it's extra, its Disney World) you can attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

On select nights, the Magic Kingdom is closed early and open only to Halloween Party ticket holders. During the party, the park is lit up with amazing Halloween lights and has tons of great spooky Disney music playing everywhere. Some extra attention is also given to the Haunted Mansion on these nights. During the Halloween party there is not one, but two of Mickey's Boo to You Parades which showcase all of Disney creepiest characters. There is also a stage show in front of Cinderella's castle. And to top it off, there is a special fireworks show, Hallowishes! 

I've only been to the Disney Parks during the Fall/Halloween season, but because I love it so much, it is incredibly difficult to decide to go during any other time of the year. This is something that has recently been added to my Halloween traditions and definitely get's me in the spirit of the season! Check out the videos below! Enjoy! And Boo to you and you and you and you!

- Jordan

Getting Into the Spirit: Day 25 - Halloween Decorations

Jordan Duncan

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Welcome one and all back for another post of Getting Into the Spirit. We all know that Halloween night is the culmination of a month's (or more) work and preparation. The final payoff. The night everyone gets dressed in their costumes and has a fun spooky night with their friends trick or treating and getting some great candy! But it's that preparation and anticipation that makes Halloween night so much fun. One way of getting prepared is decorating! 

Much like the Halloween costumes in the previous post, one of the ways you knew Halloween was around the corner was the arrival of the Halloween decorations in the stores. When I was a wee Ghastly, decorations were made from thick cardboard and usually depicted one of the Halloween icons: a jack-o-lantern, a skeleton, a witch, a ghost, or a black cat. Some of the nicer decorations were made from molded plastic to give a 3-D type effect for a giant jack-o-lantern or ghost. Some of these classics still exist, like the giant jack-o-lantern bag that you fill with dead leaves (as a child, I fell for this trick every year because my parent wanted me to rake the yard). 

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With how much Halloween has grown in popularity over the last 20-30 years, the Halloween decorations have become more elaborate. Now, many houses are decorated with gravestones, lights, shapes projected on the front of a house, animatronic monsters, and some houses even go all the way and rig a light show up that syncs to Halloween music. It used to be a family tradition of mine as a child to go look at Christmas lights, but now I've started to adapt that tradition to hop in my car to go look at Halloween decorations. Hope you see some great ones this year! 

- Jordan

 

Getting Into the Spirit: Day 24 - Halloween Costumes!

Jordan Duncan

Welcome back! Today we're going to talk about a Halloween Staple! Costumes! This one is a bit wrapped up in nostalgia. But hey, what isn't this time of year, right?

One of the sure-fire ways of knowing the Halloween season is upon us is the arrival of Halloween costumes in all of the stores.

People have been celebrating Halloween with costumes for quite some time. In colonial America, it wasn't uncommon for adults to have masquerades during the fall season. But it wasn't until the early 20th century when Halloween parties for children began to grow in popularity, mainly to hopefully distract children and teenagers from being overtly mischievous on the holiday. Since then, Halloween costumes have gone through a crazy evolution. Some early costumes were DIY projects, which look particularly spooky when seen in an aged black & white photograph. Then when department store saw the growing craze, of course they had to get in on it and start mass producing costumes. The quality improved, but not by too much.

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For a guy who grew up in a small town in the 1980s, a trip to the local drug store would have been the Halloween hot stop. Two whole isles devoted to costumes and decorations (more on decorations in another post)! The two popular costume companieswere Ben Cooper Inc. and Collegeville. Both of which had been around decades before losing steam in the late 1980s. These children's costumes consisted mainly of a mask that was made out of cheap plastic and painted with some fluorescent colors. The suit part of the costume was a thin vinyl smock that typically had a picture of what you were supposed to be dressed as showcased on the chest/stomach portion of the suit.

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Now, Halloween costumes are a HUGE money making industry. So much to the point that there are numerous seasonal pop up shops like Spirit of Halloween that seem to just appear from overnight. But I'm OK with that. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Costumes have also become more elaborate and intricate. Nothing like attention to detail!

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Costumes and dressing up have always been a constant for the modern Halloween tradition. It almost seems wrong to not have fun with it.

-Jordan

Getting Into the Spirit: Day 23 - The Haunted History of Halloween

Jordan Duncan

Welcome back for another day of Getting Into the Spirit. I'll keep this one short and sweet. A couple of weeks back I posted a documentary from The History Channel called THE REAL STORY OF HALLOWEEN. This wasn't the first time The History Channel made a documentary of the history of Halloween. In the late 1990s they released THE HAUNTED HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN. This was also before all of the pawn shop and trucker shows that has been showcased as of late on the channel. 

Between the two documentaries there does exist a bit of crossover on topics, but where one might not focus much on a certain topic, the other does a good job of covering the subject. Between these two documentaries, a solid history of the holiday is made. I will say, however, that the product value on this specific one is a bit dated, but it still gets the point across. 

- Jordan 

Getting Into the spirit: Day 22 - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Jordan Duncan

There are few short stories that have had an affect on me, but Washington Irving's LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW has always been one of my absolute favorites. 

School teacher Ichabod Crane moves to the small Tarry Town in the glen of Sleepy Hollow where he hears the ghost stories of the Headless Horseman. During his stay in Sleepy Hollow, Crane turn from skeptic to believer one night when he encounters the legend himself. 

The short story has been so popular ever since it was written that it has spawned numerous television and film versions. Three of the most notable film versions are the Walt Disney animated classic ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD, Tim Burton's  SLEEPY HOLLOW, and the television show SLEEPY HOLLOW. Some of these versions do take a few more liberties with their story than others, but all work well for what they attempt to accomplish. But nothing beats the original classic short story! 

- Jordan 

 

Getting Into the Spirit: Day 21 - Halloween Music pt 4

Jordan Duncan

Hello again! Jordan here! I know I've been posting a lot of music here for the Getting Into the Spirit event we've been doing all month, but that is only because there is so much great Halloween music out there. My first post consisted of a handful of jazz artists. Honestly, the jazz genre lends itself so well to the spookiness of Halloween, I thought I'd post another handful of jazz artists. I hope these songs hit your spooky bone!

- Jordan

 

Getting Into The Spirit: Day 19 - Ghost Tours

Jordan Duncan

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Welcome back boils and ghouls! Jordan here for another Getting Into the Spirit! Today we'll keep it simple. We've talked a bit about ghosts and hauntings in previous posts, but today's post will mix two of my favorite things: history and ghosts!

I love a good ghost tour. Typically, ghost tours revolve around local history of towns and the tales of paranormal activity that people supposedly experience. Now, a good ghost tour will do it's best to only give stories that are truthful. However, these tours exist for entertainment reasons. So some of these tours are no stranger to embellishing their stories in order to put on a better "show". Whether the stories are real or not, they are great for spook value to send shivers up and down your spine. 

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If you're looking to get out of the house this Halloween season but don't want the intensity of a staged haunted house, check out a local ghost tour. Hey, you might even learn some history while you're there!

Sadly, I could not find a website that listed nationwide ghost tours, but a good old fashion Google search for ghost tours in your area will do the trick (or treat)! Happy Haunting!

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- Jordan

Getting Into the Spirit: Day 18 - The Halloween Tree

Jordan Duncan

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Hello one and all and welcome back to another Getting Into the Spirit. Today's topic is something I've only recently added to my Halloween arsenal. Growing up, I never read much Ray Bradbury, only in my 20s did I start to discover his literary genius, which led me to THE HALLOWEEN TREE. 

At its core, the story of the book is about friendship. On one Halloween night, when a group of friends set out to go tick-or-treating, they learn that their friend Pipkin is almost on the verge of death. With the information of a mysterious man by the name of Clarence Clavicle Moundshroud, the group of friends set off on a Halloween adventure through time learning about Halloween's origins but also trying to save Pipkin's soul. 

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The book isn't very long at around 160 pages. It is a quick read. However, if reading isn't really your thing, Cartoon Network aired an animated feature in the late 1990s which should be available for purchase on DVD. The animated version is abridged and you don't get the full effect as you do with the book. But it is still great nonetheless. 

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When I read THE HALLOWEEN TREE for the first time, I knew that it was going to be added to my annual Halloween traditions. I hope you enjoy it too!

- Jordan

Getting Into the Spirit: Day 17 - Corn Mazes!

Jordan Duncan

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Well....Where the heck have you guys been? What? Me? No, no, you must be mistaken. I was here the whole time....Ok, ok, you got me. I've been MIA this last week. But I'm back, so get ready for a slew of posts this evening!

So, for today's Getting Into the Spirit post we're going to celebrate something that isn't specifically Halloween, but is associated with the fall season: corn mazes!

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Corn mazes are a lot of fun. During the beginning of fall, many summertime only places like water parks and certain amusement parks close up shop until the following Spring. The number of family friendly places to go seems to go down. But for the fall season, before the weather gets to cold, corn mazes fill that void of fun places to go! And, if you're lucky, you might get an added bonus because many corn mazes also offer more services. For example, some might also have a hay ride, a pumpkin patch, and sometime even a local concert venue for local acts. 

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And, if you're REALLY lucky, certain corn mazes offer "haunted corn mazes" either after certain hours or on certain nights. Scare actors dress up and hide out in the maze ready to scare you in the spirit of the season. 

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If you're interested in looking for a corn maze near you, check out this website!

https://www.cornmazesamerica.com/directory.php 

- Jordan

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Nintendo Switch Revealed!

Jordan Duncan

This morning Nintendo revealed their long teased new system, which was codenamed "NX", but now revealed to officially be the Nintendo Switch. The name comes from the fact that the system itself can be switched from a home console to a portable console, which looks much like a slim Wii U controller. There also appears to be multiple types of controllers and ways to use the controllers in order to play the system. From the first look trailer, it appears to be a cartridge based console, which seems to confirm some rumors. 

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So far it looks like a new and interesting concept. Given Nintendo's track record, they are not shy of trying something new. 

Check out the First Look trailer below!

First thoughts and impressions?

- Jordan

 

Getting Into the Spirit: Day 16 - Ghost Stories Pt. 2

Jordan Duncan

Well hello, and welcome back to Getting Into the Spirit! Jordan here. The last post was a documentary on the history of Halloween. This post will be similar in that the video will be a mini documentary, but it will be region specific. Earlier this week I posted a ghost story, The Phantom Coach, today's post will be a collection of ghost stories that are, allegedly, real. 

There are a few cities in the country that claim the title "The Most Haunted City in America". Savannah, Ga is one of those cities. Savannah was one of the first planned cities in the American colonies, before America was at war with Britain in the 18th century. Savannah has lived through the American Revolution and the United States Civil War. It has remained a major port city and was very important in ship manufacturing during World War II. With as beautiful of a city that Savannah is, the fact that it has lived through such turmoil and war gives it a haunting aura. Rightfully so because this city has its fair share of ghost stories. Here are just a few. Ghost stories always get me in the mood for Halloween, real or not. 

But before you start the video, if you have not had the chance to visit this amazing city, I would highly recommend doing so. 

- Jordan

Getting Into the Spirit: Day 15 - History Channel's The Real Story of Halloween

Jordan Duncan

Welcome one and all once again to another Getting Into the Spirit! Jordan here and today I'm kind of cheating. I've mentioned many times on the It's All In My Head Podcast that I have a degree in history. History really is a passion of mine. I love learning and history is a great outlet for me to never get bored when learning new things. That being said, today's post is a documentary on the history of Halloween. 

We all know that in recent year The History Channel hasn't really been showcasing much history while at the same time trying to bombard us with shows about aliens and pawn shops. However, every once in a while, a hidden gem appears on the channel. This gem is titled The Real Story of Halloween. It first aired in 2010 and is a great introduction to the history of the holiday. The people interviewed for this documentary tend to be academic historians and professors. If you have about 45 minutes to yourself, I highly recommend this documentary. 

- Jordan 

 

Getting Into the Spirit: Day 14 - Halloween Music Pt. 3

Jordan Duncan

Jordan here once again with your dose of Getting Into the Spirit! Today we are revisiting music! The first music post was jazz, the second was rock n roll/novelty songs, and the third, today's post, will be a cross over between two genres that are no strangers to each other: Garage rock and punk rock. During the decades of the 1960s - 1980s, there were many bands who wrote songs on spooky topics. The majority of these bands weren't necessarily trying to be Halloween or spooky centric (Screamin' Lord Such, The Sonics), but certain songs they wrote/recorded made that crossover. Later in the 70s and 80s, we see some bands take on the full horror persona (The Misfits, The Cramps, The Fuzztones - some of whom covered songs from 60s garage bands). Either way, these songs definitely get this Jordan Ghastly into the Halloween spirit! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

- Jordan