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We absolutely love it when fictional worlds of popular culture cross into real world consumerism and create unique fan experiences. Such as the case with Baskin-Robbins and Netflix Scifi-Horror series Stranger Things 

Season 3 of the series show will be released on July 4. In conjunction with the upcoming third season, Baskin-Robbins has launched a specialty menu of Stranger Things-flavored ice cream.  (more…)

Top 6 Arcade Games of All Time

Nostalgia touches us all from time to time, especially when it comes to the video games of our youth. The simple innocence of old school arcade halls filled with flashing boxes and rowdy kids with pockets full of change is in stark contrast to the cold couch-sitting we do today to play games.

It’s this ache for the past which led us to write this article listing the best arcade games from the past. These games look simple by today’s standards, but we think they’re every bit as fun to play.  (more…)

A semi-sequel to the Conjuring films and a direct sequel to Annabelle – in the head-scratching, over-convoluted chronology of the James Wan-produced Conjuring universe, Annabelle appeared up in movie theaters before Annabelle: Creation (even evil dolls deserve origin stories, apparently) –  Annabelle: Creation covered related key, mythology-expanding events that unfolded before Annabelle (making it a prequel to a prequel). Annabelle Comes Home finds the super-creepy doll (and demonic conduit) with the rictus smile and unblinking blue eyes front-and-center again, this time terrorizing Ed and Lorraine Warren’s (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) preteen daughter, Judy (McKenna Grace), her ultra-competent babysitter, Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) and Mary Ellen’s oddly death-obsessed best friend (forever), Daniela Rios (Katie Sarife) over the course of a single, inexplicably foggy night. Annabelle Comes Home delivers everything audiences loyal to the Conjuring universe have come to expect, up to and including the obligatory slow-build, slow-burn scenes punctuated by the appearance of a ghostly apparition, occasional jump scares (earned and unearned), and the periodic injection of cathartic humor to offset the potential grimness of the proceedings. (more…)

 

Steve Ekstrom is a writer, editor, letterer, and Indie comic producer. He has successfully Kickstarted projects, worked as a journalist for nerdy news outlets, and started his own indie comics studio, Imminent Press.

NerdBastards.com had a chance to talk with Steve about his career in comics, his love for writing, and his experiences in the indie comic scene, and it is fair to say that we learned a lot. Please enjoy this next installment in our ongoing series of interviews with indie comic creators. (more…)

If nothing else, we can thank Tim Burton‘s 1989 film for the explosion of the Bat-franchise. Even if you hate the flick (and I understand there are some that do), we all owe it something. Without it, we don’t get the brilliant animated series that kept much of its tone (and Danny Elfman‘s glorious score), we don’t get nearly as many Batman action figures and t-shirts. Sure, someone would have made a Batman film eventually, even if this one never got off the ground. But it did, and thus it’s the launch pad not just for the Batman franchise, but for the modern age of superhero cinema.

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As a fictionally famous scientist once said, more as a warning than a promise, “Life finds a way.” The same or similar idea applies to Disney-Pixar and the relentless desire and/or drive to leave no piece of intellectual property, even one as beloved by multiple generations as the Toy Story series, unexploited, regardless of the risks involved. The potential billion-dollar upside was simply too much for any profit-oriented movie studio to pass up. At least that’s what the average cynic would say, especially given the toyetic nature of the Toy Story series and a third, presumably final chapter, Toy Story 3, that seemed to end the series on the highest of high notes. Luckily, any fears or concerns about a potentially disappointing fourth entry don’t apply to Toy Story 4, an unreserved, unqualified triumph of story, character, and animation. It’s an all-ages appeal with more than simple, surface-deep pleasures but a film that will join the Pixar pantheon as both a series and a studio best.  (more…)

OPINION: The Real Problem With Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too

Black Mirror has always been a series that pushed the envelope, with some great episodes, some perplexing episodes, and the rare few that fall flat. Fans have been enamored with the show, especially since it was picked up by Netflix and has only asked wilder questions and explored even more shocking scenarios. 

While every season has its low points, Black Mirror dropped the ball in its short, three episode season, but not because of quality. Overall, the season was great. Well, 2/3 of the season. The season failed by having its final episode feel utterly pedestrian compared to the other two. “Striking Vipers” explored complex, vague, and undefined sexuality. “Smithereens” juxtaposed the grandness and tragedy of technology with the horrors of grief.

And then there’s “Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too”. Compared to its predecessors, it’s a bizarre and uninspired tale that could be found in a lower grade YA novel. Considering YA novels can be damn good sometimes, it’s really a shame. The science behind it doesn’t really make sense, and the characters and story are not strong enough to cover that up.

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Are Gamers at a Higher Risk of Divorce?

Image Source: Pixabay

There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding gamers and video game culture. Some of them have some merit, while others are probably a little far fetched. Gamers can be referred to as lazy, “nerdy,” or even obsessed with the video games they play on a regular basis.

But, could video games really contribute to the downfall of a marriage? What is it about seemingly harmless video games that could ruin a relationship? Let’s take a closer look.

Who Is at a Greater Risk for Divorce?

It’s hard to pinpoint why certain groups of people seem to get divorced more than others. One study by the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that money often has a lot to do with it. Couples with higher-paying professions tend to stay together. People with lower-paying jobs or those who are unemployed are at a greater risk of splitting up. This is reflective of the toll that financial strain can have on a marriage.

While it’s not necessarily fair to associate gamers with people who don’t have high-paying jobs, a spouse might see someone who plays games all the time as “lazy” or not willing to go out and get a better job, which can boost that risk factor. Gaming can also be an expensive hobby, no matter the gaming system of choice.

Money isn’t the only problem, though. Gamers face a couple more complex issues when it comes to their beloved hobby and their relationships. 

Video games often take a lot of time and attention, and video game addiction is one of the most common addictive behaviors. Getting addicted to gaming is easy, and that can cause the person involved to isolate themselves and feel anxious when they’re not playing. For a married gamer who could be spending more time on their spouse or might not be enjoying that quality time as much as they could, that can create a lot of turmoil. A study from Brigham Young University found that most spouses who are married to gamers wish they would put as much effort and energy into their marriages.

Video games can also cause other problems, including physical ailments and conditions. The hobby is often criticized for contributing to the 36% of obese adults in the country. Because video games are especially popular with kids and young adults, they are similarly seen as a contributing factor towards the 12.5 million children considered obese in the U.S. When someone is glued to a screen for hours at a time, especially if they’re addicted, they likely aren’t getting the exercise and physical activity they need. An addiction to video games absolutely puts you at a higher risk of divorce if you’re ignoring your marriage and not taking care of your physical and emotional health the way you should.

Are There Any Positives to Playing Video Games?

There are plenty of “pros” to being a gamer — if you do it the right way. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean talking to your friends on Fortnite until two in the morning every night. If you love the world of gaming and don’t want to give it up, find different ways to make it more productive for you and your marriage.

When it comes to “getting physical,” not all video games require sitting on the couch with a bowl of your favorite salty snack. Some games, like Just Dance or Kinect Sports, are designed to get you up and moving while you game. It’s a great way to stay active, especially if you find other physical activities time-consuming and un-motivational. Video games can do more than get your body in shape, too. Educational video games are being used to help students with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles. They’re designed to boost critical thinking and problem-solving skills, while helping kids to learn more about how to make decisions. They even help kids learn what it’s like to lose.

Finally, the video game industry is actually doing some good for the world at large. Most recently, a game called “Change: A Homeless Survival Experience” has taken on the popular genre of role-playing games to show what it’s like to be living on the streets. This gives gamers a real window into the harshness of homelessness. Other gaming companies have given back to charities that help the homeless population. The industry itself is so much more than the image of a lazy teenager on his parents’ couch, playing games for hours on end. It’s important to start realizing that, so the stigma many people have about gamers begins to change.

How to Lower Your Risk of Divorce As a Gamer

If you’re an avid gamer, you don’t have to give up your passion to keep your marriage alive. There are a just few things to keep in mind to balance your relationship with your gaming habit. Do you spend more time gaming than you do with your spouse? Does it change the way you actually treat your spouse? If so, it’s time to make a change.

The changes you make don’t have to be extreme or overwhelming. Set a timer for yourself when you start to play, and stop playing when it goes off. Maybe use that extra time afterward to go on a date with your spouse. You can also invite your spouse to play along with you. Even if they’re not a gamer, chances are they’ll appreciate the fact that you want to let them in on that important part of your life.

However, the most important thing you can do is to make sure you’re living in the real world, and not a virtual one. If you’re not spending as much time and effort on your marriage as you do on your games, you could be putting your relationship at risk.