Everyone’s watching, playing, or listening to something at any given moment. That includes us here at GadgetMatch, so we thought we would pull everyone together to share what we’re now playing.
Games to play
God of War
Rodneil: This is the game that all gamers are talking about. Yes, even those who don’t own a PlayStation 4 console are intrigued by this PS4-exclusive. The moment the embargo lifted on the reviews, the game was getting praises left and right. The story is compelling, gameplay is challenging, and boy, it looks hella good.
Rodneil: Wordscapes isn’t new but between work and playing on my PS4, this is what gets me through down times when I need something casual to play with on my phone. I haven’t really bought into the more demanding iterations of mobile gaming and to be honest, I might never. So for those of you who like to keep it casual, this game does just that.
Movies to see
MJ: I don’t know why I hesitated watching a movie I’ve been wanting to see for months. Rodneil and Chay had to convince me to watch Love, Simon on a late Friday night and god, I’m so happy I decided to go. Love, Simon is not just an ordinary coming-out film; it’s a masterpiece that will make your heart cry. It will resonate with experiences back in your teenage years, and remind you of the lessons you’ve learned. It’s a story of accepting yourself and the people around you.
Marvin: Deadpool 2 is both bloody and funny — it’s bloody funny! While it’s a lot like the first film in terms of crude humor and non-stop gore, the characters are more memorable this time, the plot’s much richer (and sometimes more emotional), and there are loads more silly meta references thrown at you. This sequel is a nice change of pace after the tear fest that was Avengers: Infinity War. Tip: You must stay for the post-credit scenes. Those alone make the price of admission worth it!
TV shows to binge watch
Santa Clarita Diet
Chay: I gave Santa Clarita Diet a chance after seeing countless ads and tweets about how underrated it is. I honestly wasn’t hooked until probably episode seven, but I found myself finishing two seasons in one week. Each episode is only 30 minutes long, and there are only 10 episodes per season, so it’s one of the easiest shows to binge watch. And in case it’s not obvious in the posters and trailers: No, it’s not a show about dieting and food, although there is a lot of eating involved.
Terrace House: Opening New Doors
Chay: For the uninitiated, Terrace House is a Japanese reality show about six strangers who live inside the same house. It’s like Big Brother without the scheming and games. So really it’s a show about nothing. It’s like watching Japanese people be themselves. For us unfortunate souls who don’t live in Japan, waiting for the new season can be excruciating, but I was lucky enough to watch all of Season 2 of Opening New Doors while I was in Osaka, and all I can say is you need to watch it and I need more episodes! It’s set in the woods of Karuizawa, Nagano, around two hours from Tokyo. The house is more beautiful than ever, and the housemates are so pure and genuine, sometimes to a fault.
Lost in Space
Dan: If you’re into sci-fi stories, you should check out Lost in Space on Netflix. It’s set 30 years in the future and chosen humans are on their journey to an Earth-like planet, but things go astray, hence the title. The story mainly revolves around the Robinson family and the peculiar robot. The first episode is a bit lacking, so you shouldn’t quickly judge the series by its pilot. The production value alone is enough to attract sci-fi adventure fans, and it’s one of the few sci-fi series that you can watch with your family.
My Hero Academia
Rodneil: Titled Boku No Hero Academia in Japanese, I will argue that this is probably the best ongoing shonen anime at the moment. Shonen is a genre primarily aimed at teenage boys that revolves around fighting in squads and camaraderie. My Hero Academia is about a boy born into a world where super powers or, as the show calls it, quirks, is a norm to a point that people actually go to school to get a job as a hero. Protagonist Izuku Midoriya has all the qualities of a zero, except he was born without a quirk, but this does not stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming the world’s best hero.
Kevin: An alcoholic ex-detective turned hitman, Nick Sax is on a Christmas quest to save his daughter from a kidnapper junkie dressed as Santa Claus. Accompanying him on this mission is his daughter’s imaginary friend, an animated unicorn named Happy. This dark comedy goes for a different approach in storytelling. It also shows the unique relationship between a man who’s almost out of his mind and an imaginary friend who only cares for the kid. Don’t let the animated unicorn fool you, though, as the show gets really graphic. Better to watch it when the kids are asleep!
Music to listen to
Childish Gambino: This is America
Kevin: We’re pretty sure you’ve heard of this song. Childish Gambino’s new single that became an instant success overnight is chock full of hidden messages that reflect the current state of their country. From the lyrics to the music video, it might shock you as it did us and you’ll surely hit that replay button right after watching it.
Arctic Monkeys: Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
Kevin: A recent release from the English rock band, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is far from the previous 2013 album AM. I feel like the band went back closer to their older albums in terms of sound and sprinkled a vibe of David Bowie into the mix. The result is soulful, almost laid-back — the kind that grows more and more in you after a few times of listening to the songs. And yes, there’s the staple Alex Turner appeal with the way he drops each word.
John Mayer: New Light
Alven: When it comes to our favorite artists, sometimes we want them to just stick to what they do best. When it comes to John Mayer, for a lot of people that means John sitting on a stool, acoustic guitar in hand, serenading you with a ballad. “New Light” is a great departure from that vibe, and I gotta say that I ain’t complaining. An upbeat tune with a funky beat and a bit of an 80s feel to it. this song will indeed make you see John in a new light.
Cities to visit
Josh: Krakow isn’t usually top of mind when one thinks about cities to visit in Europe, but I found myself enthralled by the Polish city’s old world charm during a last minute trip this week. Follow the Royal Road route through its historic gates and medieval walls to reach Main Market Square, a sprawling space with cobblestone streets, renaissance architecture, and rows of cafes and shops. Continue further up a hill to the Royal Castle and Wawel Cathedral where the late Pope Saint John Paul II celebrated his first mass as a priest in 1946, then end the day with a scenic cruise along the Vistula River for breathtaking views of the city.
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Chay: If you ask me what my favorite Southeast Asian destination is, my answer always changes depending on which city I last visited. So this month, it’s Vietnam’s biggest city: Ho Chi Minh. What’s not to like? Food is cheap, delicious, and healthy; internet is fast; coffee is great, and everything is just a scooter ride away.
Chay: Tokyo is my favorite city in Japan but Osaka is still a good idea, and not just because of the food. Kyoto is only a 30-minute train ride away, if you want to explore old Japanese architecture and Shinto shrines. And if Japanese video games are your thing, especially those from the 90s (Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong!), you will go gaga in Osaka.
Apps to download
Mj: There’s a new craze in the Instagram space, and it involves Unfold. I downloaded the app, and I’ve been using it on Instagram Stories a lot lately. It has a simple approach like creating a postcard of moments you cherish, but with lots of templates and fonts to choose from. I can finally make my snaps memorable and beautiful!
Mj: Plant Nanny is a fun way to remind yourself to drink some water. In the app, you take care of plants as if they’re yourself. Once you drink your glass of water, you log that activity in the app by pouring water on your plant, or else it dies if left unattended.
Did you like any of our picks or have suggestions of your own? Feel free to let us know in the comments section!
Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!
Netflix’s first games will be mobile-only first
Including Stranger Things titles
Since the rise of its popularity years ago, Netflix has dominated the streaming services industry. Since then, the company has moved past just hosting content on its platform. They have also produced their own content including hit shows like Stranger Things. Now, they are going further than just films and TV series. Netflix is expanding to mobile games first.
Days ago, Netflix announced development towards gaming content. However, in their earnings report for the second quarter of this year, Netflix announced focus on mobile games first. To do so, the company has hired former EA official Mike Verdu for the project.
The company has also listed some properties that it is working on. The first game titles will include ones for Stranger Things. Further, Netflix subscribers will have free access to the games with their subscription. However, since the focus is still on mobile, only mobile users can access them when they come out.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Netflix tried interactive content. Recently, they released a special choose-your-own-adventure version of Black Mirror called Bandersnatch. Viewers were able to steer the film according to prompts on their screen, effectively making their own version of the film. Though the film never kickstarted the interactive film genre, it redefined how Netflix content can be enjoyed digitally.
Now, with whatever Netflix is planning, the company is likely continuing that trend.
Netflix could add video games to the platform at no extra cost
It’s trying to create a metaverse
Netflix revolutionized video streaming a decade ago and has been leading the sector ever since. Now, the company plans to leverage its reach and offer video games on the platform in a bid to dominate the entertainment industry.
The streaming service currently has more than 200 million subscribers globally and hosts movies, TV shows, and documentaries. According to a Bloomberg report, video games will be added as a new genre, and many experts are stoked about its future potential.
The streaming platform hired former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive Mike Verdu to head up the project. He has worked on many projects such as The Sims, Plants vs. Zombies, and Star Wars franchises. At Facebook, he was responsible for bringing games and other content to Oculus platforms.
Over the years, Netflix has experimented with many projects that aim to complement its existing entertainment library. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style production that made the watching experience far more engaging and exciting.
It has also previously tied up with third-party developers to release a couple of Stranger Things-themed mobile games. The company has also invested heavily in Game-inspired TV shows and movies such as Dota, Castlevania, and The Witcher.
Investors are also keenly watching how Netflix can establish a metaverse — a variety of virtual experiences, environments, and assets that make up an ecosystem. In simpler words, video games, TV shows, and movies can complement each other to offer a vaster entertainment experience.
While comparing Netflix’s current ambition to Google Stadia or Microsoft xCloud may be an overstatement at the moment, the cloud gaming sector is expected to be the future. If Netflix can gradually ramp up its offerings, the platform can be a formidable competitor in the entertainment space.
Netflix’s Trese: Beacon of hope for Filipino storytellers
According to a graphic novel writer
The wide, deep, and varied world of comics or graphic novels was something that remained unexplored until I was forced to because of work. As an introductory lesson to comics and graphic novels, Trese was a part of my reading assignment. And since they did not have all the volumes of Trese, I went on a hunt for it.
The one I got is the Trese: Book of Murders which is in English. It was a quick read but I was more curious to read the Filipino version. Either way, I finished it within the same day I purchased it. And I loved it.
Though I did not delve deep into the fandom, I was curious enough to join the Facebook group and to check on updates every now and then which was why I cheered when I saw that there was going to be an animated series based on the comics.
“Sadly, there are things that had to be sacrificed if it meant getting things done.”
On keeping the art and story
It had been around three years since I last read the entire thing and I needed a refresher. I finished it just an hour before the series was available for streaming.
I watched the entire series in one sitting. Starting from the surface, the art is gorgeous and very pleasing to the eyes, but maybe a tad too Western than what I would have wanted.
I am not saying that they should have copied the exact art style from the comics but maybe it could have been a bit more Filipino-looking. As much as I adore how Alexandra Trese looked, she looks almost American-Japanese. But, nevertheless beautiful.
Story-wise, it did not change a lot but it surely compressed it a bit. Maybe a bit too much that they had to rely on voiceovers and flashbacks in order to touch on important parts and deliver the story without leaving too many loopholes.
It was understandable but some parts felt dragging just because it was compressed. But that could also be due to other factors. And sadly, there are things that had to be sacrificed if it meant getting things done.
“I can’t think of anyone who can be the voice of Alexandra Trese other than Liza.”
The never-ending discourse about the dub
Now onto the part that everyone has been talking about even before it started to stream―the dub. There’s Filipino, English, Japanese, and Spanish the last time I checked.
I tried it all and I have mixed emotions. I originally went for the Filipino dub mainly because I wanted to get the full Filipino experience. Out of curiosity, I rewatched one episode and tried the other languages.
The Spanish one was almost natural but maybe that’s because of the familiar words that we have adapted. The Japanese one was interesting, giving that anime feel that was kind of cool and maybe had the most emotion among the dubs.
The English dub was also nice but some Filipino terms and names tend to sound kind of slang. With the Filipino one, it was the most natural one… vibe-wise.
But what I did not like about the Filipino dub was the lack of emotions in some parts and mainly from Alexandra Trese. Though it was established that Alexandra was not that emotionally expressive, she sounded so monotonous throughout the entire series.
Maybe, just maybe, Liza Soberano was focusing on her enunciation that she was not able to deliver enough emotions in her lines. But other than that, I can’t think of anyone who can be the voice of Alexandra Trese other than Liza. Just a bit more voice acting workshop, I guess, and she’s good to go.
Setting up the stage for other storytellers
It may not be perfect and polished as others may have hoped for but I do hope that Trese can pave the way for other Filipino comics, and other local stories to make their way to a more global or international scene.
Philippine mythology is filled with deities and creatures, which are varied depending on every region of the country. The most common deity mentioned and used is Bathala, the Supreme Being in the Tagalog region, while the most common creature used is the aswang.
Even in the American fantasy TV series “Grimm”, they featured the aswang, but I personally think we have other creatures that are far more horrifying. There is the sigbin which looks like a dog but it walks backwards with its head lowered and it sucks its victim’s blood but during Holy Week, it hunts children for their hearts. That’s just one of the many.
A lot of Filipino creators have shared their vision and interpretation of our mythology and folklore such as Tabi Po by Mervin Malonzo, Mythology Class by Arnold Arre, Ella Arcangel by Julius Villanueva, Janus Silang by Edgar Samar, and more. From popular titles to independent creations that you would see at a smaller comic convention, more artists and writers are showing appreciation for what is ours.
Plenty of mythology to explore
At first, I was not aware of just how vast our own mythological world is and I only knew very little folklore. But when I started to work in Epik Studios Inc., I had to read and learn more. What made me delve deeper was during the time that I was tasked to write the modern take on Bernardo Carpio. Instead of sticking to the popular creatures for the villain, I researched creatures that are barely used. Not only did I find a fitting villain for Bernardo Carpio, but I also found inspiration for new stories that I want to write in the future.
We have a rich folklore and mythology that has yet to be fully showcased but we have a lot of storytellers who wish to show it to the world. It’s about time that we do.
Watch Trese on Netflix.
This opinion piece was written by Patch Aviado, a creative producer and a writer who worked on graphic novels such as Bernardo Carpio, Pedro Penduko: The Legend Begins, Maria Makiling, and Osyana. Together with Viva Books, she published Garden of Sunflowers. Currently, she’s working on an online novel entitled Blue Hearts, Purple Roses. When she’s not writing, she’s busy fangirling.
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