The year 2020 ushered a sudden change in our day-to-day lives. With social distancing and staying at home becoming our new normal, it’s unsurprising that this pandemic has taken a toll on people’s emotional and mental health. The GadgetMatch team may be used to working remotely, but we’re experiencing this crisis, too. Here’s what’s Now Playing and what’s keeping us sane during the lockdown!
Games to play
Rodneil: There were so many things that could have gone wrong for a title that was so hotly anticipated. Instead, what we got is a thoughtful expansion on a game and story so dear to many gamers’ hearts. FF7R is not perfect, but it does more than enough to quench the thirst built up over five years (since it was confirmed to be in development) while also making us want more.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Leez: At this point, who wouldn’t want to escape the impending doom of millions of people dying across the globe by going on a small island getaway, making it your own, and socializing with friends? Animal Crossing: New Horizons is addictive with more customizable features for you and your island to make every detail your own. This game is definitely one to add to the list of games and reasons you should get a Nintendo Switch if you don’t have one by now.
Luigi: If you’re a fan of the life simulator genre (à la The Sims or Animal Crossing), then you’ve heard of Stardew Valley before. Released in 2016, this cozy farm simulator is one of the best companions when you’re stuck at home in quarantine. With tons of things to do and villagers to warm up to, Stardew Valley can keep you entertained for hours on end.
Resident Evil 3 (Remake)
Kenrick: Capcom just can’t get enough of Resident Evil remakes. Last year, fans of the beloved action-horror game were treated to a glorious remake of Resident Evil 2. This year, Resident Evil 3 becomes the latest installment to be remade. The remake will surely please fans as it sticks to the story of the original. There’s just so much to love about this game as it breathes new life to the characters of Jill, Carlos, and the dreaded Nemesis.
Shows to binge-watch
MJ: When life throws you a curve ball, that’s the universe’s way of redirecting you to a new path — it’s a lesson I gleefully accept. Community reminded me of my younger days. I remember an unexpected disaster that threw me to a bunch of misfits who I now call friends. The hit sitcom finally found its way to Netflix where you can binge-watch its six seasons, giving you real good laughs and serious life lessons in every episode.
What We Do in the Shadows
Luigi: In the month or so that we’ve been under quarantine, you might’ve found yourself stuck with the quirkiest of housemates. Nothing gets stranger, however, than the weird vampire (and vampire wannabe) quintet of What We Do in the Shadows. Inspired by Taika Waititi’s 2014 eponymous film, FX’s mockumentary comedy series follows the adventures of the most dysfunctional housemates: a 757-year old vampire and his familiar, an overtly sexual vampire and his wife, and an energy vampire.
The Last Dance
Rodneil: The Last Dance is a 10-episode documentary detailing the last 6th and final championship run of the Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Phil Jackson Chicago Bulls. Seeing as live sports is currently postponed until further notice, the documentary is a much-needed dose of entertainment for basketball fans who badly miss the game.
2gether: The Series
Vincenz: Tine (aka Mr. Chic) is a playboy who’s desperately looking for a girlfriend to replace his ex. But here’s the catch: a guy named Green likes him so much and follows him around to the point that Green looks like a leech attached to its host. The only way to get him out of the way is to beg Sarawat, a campus hottie, to become his fake boyfriend. He saw Sarawat as his savior to get away from an obsessed gay admirer. Little did he know, Sarawat was already head over heels for him long before they agreed on a pretend relationship.
Carol: A closer look at the lives of Hasidic Jews in New York and a young woman’s struggle when she finds out the world she’s always known isn’t really for her. The story takes viewers from a secretive part of New York to the freedoms of Berlin. A poignant story spread out in four episodes based on the life of writer Deborah Feldman. It’s so good, you’ll end up wishing for a second season.
Chay: Unorthodox is a short but profound story about self-discovery and questioning what happiness truly is — is it one that you find for yourself or that which your circumstances dictate? The only bad thing about the series is it doesn’t have enough episodes!
TWICE: Seize The Light
Rodneil: This is a YouTube Originals documentary following K-Pop girl group TWICE during their TWICELIGHTS world tour. It also dives deep into their time as trainees and how they overcame hardships together as a nine-member group. It’ll surely be an emotional roller coaster for ONCEs — their devoted fans.
Why R U?
Vincenz: BL (Boys’ Love) series are common in Thailand, and these are based on fan novels. In Why R U, Zon has a younger sister (named Zol) who became popular because of the BL novel she published online. The characters were named after him and Saifah (the person he hates the most). Other than them, Fighter and Tor are also part of the novel (and they both consider each other as enemies). What if one day, you suddenly realize that you and the person you hate are already falling for each other? Would you still think it’s a curse that’s why you fell into the world of a BL novel? Or would you believe that homosexual love is the reality all along?
Chay: Award-winning chef David Chang takes us on a culinary trip around the world; watching this felt like traveling while in self-isolation. Not only does the show combine two things I love, it also tackles racism, history, and what the future of regional cuisines as we know it might be like.
Movies to see
Kenrick: A timely movie to watch? While the fictional virus in this movie is much more intense than the current COVID-19 pandemic, the story itself remains faithful to how society will respond to a health crisis. While the movie is almost nine years old, the current situation has revived interest in it as people try to understand just how a pandemic will affect the global society.
Rodneil: This feels like a very unique attack on Godzilla/Kaiju movies. Instead of having the protagonist be a regular citizen with some ties to people researching the creature, the film focuses on how the government responds to its emergence. That seems mundane at first glance but the pacing will keep you engaged. It does a good job of maintaining tension with well-timed reminders that ordinary people are dealing with a threat that can end mankind.
Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to
Human. :||: Nature. By Nightwish
Luigi: I’ve always been a huge fan of the hard rock and metal genres coming out of the “it’s just a phase, mom” era. If you want a taste away from the ordinary fare, Nightwish, a paragon of symphonic metal, brings together brutal guitar riffs, operatic vocals, and a full orchestra. Their latest album, “Human. :||: Nature.” comes in two discs: one, a masterpiece of melodic metal; and, the other, a full orchestral arrangement thematically highlighting the human journey of art and discovery. Listen here.
Chay: A daily podcast from The Atlantic tries to make sense of the grim reality that we’re living in. Journalist and physician James Hamblin answers executive producer for podcasts Katherine Wells’ questions about the pandemic and its consequences. Listen here.
Foam and Flotsam
MJ: Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Chelsea Peretti (known as Gina Linetti) may not be in the popular sitcom anymore, but she knows how to keep us entertained with her humor. The artist dropped “Foam and Flotsam”, a concept comedy album about coffee. These coffee-centric tracks may give you laughs while jamming due to its lyrics, but the songs tackle the complexity of human emotions, only told through coffee. Listen here.
“Easily” by Bruno Major
Rodneil: It’s a song from 2017 but I only chanced upon it recently. The lyrics suggest it’s a song about taking a chance on a relationship. While the thought has crossed my mind, I just really flow with the song’s melancholic but soothing vibe. Listen here.
Redraftables by The Ringer
Rodneil: With the NBA postponed indefinitely, Bill Simmons of The Ringer decided to do an NBA redraft. The rules are simple: How would we rank the players in a certain draft class knowing what we know now. They start with the notable 1996 draft that featured the likes of the late but great Kobe Bryant, and cultural icon Allen Iverson.
Oh My God by (G)I-DLE
Vincenz: A powerful love song with an unusual concept talking about how one woman is going crazy over another. Homosexuality in South Korea (and several parts of the world), is still a taboo. The music video depicts how same-sex love is considered a sin/crime while the lyrics suggest real intimacy and attraction between the two people. Soyeon, the member who’s responsible for writing the lyrics of the song, said it’s open to interpretation.
Doors by Ben&Ben
Vincenz: Just like anyone, we “open our secret doors” to people who we fully trust. This is an empowering song that tells us not to be afraid of opening up ourselves to those we hold dear. At the end of the day, people who truly love and care for you will be there in your darkest times. Listen here.
Chay: The Internet’s agony aunt Cheryl Strayed seeks wisdom and advice from writers like Margaret Atwood, Pico Iyer, and George Saunders. The reassuring podcast comes at a time when nothing makes sense and the future seems more uncertain than ever. Listen here.
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!
K-Pop stars, Taylor Swift headline Apple Music Singapore year-end charts
FIFTY FIFTY, NewJeans get a lot of love
FIFTY FIFTY, a Korean girl group formed just last year, has completed its remarkable rise to the top of music charts as “Cupid (Twin Ver.)” earned the top overall spot in Apple Music Singapore Top Songs of 2023 chart.
The song also ranked eighth in the Top Shazamed Songs of 2023 list in the island. No other song was searched on Shazam the most than JIN’s “The Astronaut,” followed by Rema’s hit song “Calm Down.”
Meanwhile, Singaporeans have also showcased how much they have loved another girl group — NewJeans — throughout the year, with four songs from the artist entering the Top 25.
“Ditto” and “OMG” placed second and fifth in the Top Songs of 2023 list, with “Hybe Boy” and “Super Shy” also in the Top 25 at 13th and 21st.
Apple Music Artist of the Year 2023 Taylor Swift had three entries to the Top 25, with “Anti-Hero” ranking third, “Cruel Summer” at sixth, and “Enchanted (Taylor’s Version)” at 20th.
Miley Cyrus also had a big year on Apple Music charts with “Flowers” placing fourth on both the top songs and most Shazamed lists.
Apple Music Replay 2023
As the year winds down, it’s once again time for Apple Music subscribers to discover, listen, and share their top songs, artists, albums, genres, and more as Apple Music Replay 2023 is now live.
The year-end experience offers listeners worldwide access to expanded listening insights and a completely personalized highlight reel.
Aside from checking their top songs, albums, artists, genres, and more, fans can discover whether they’re in the top 100 listeners of their favorite artist of genre, or even listen to their personal top 100 songs chart from each year with the Replay yearly playlists via replay.music.apple.com.
Pilipinas Live to show UAAP finals Game 2, NBA In-Season Tourney playoffs
Avail of the app’s 7-day free trial
The ongoing UAAP Season 86 basketball finals and the entire playoffs of the NBA In-Season Tournament can be streamed on Pilipinas Live, Cignal’s innovative OTT app.
The University of the Philippines (UP) secured a blowout victory over De La Salle University (DLSU) in the men’s basketball finals opener last Wednesday, and is eager to close out the series on Sunday, December 3 at 4 PM.
Meanwhile, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) is also hopeful to put an end to National University’s (NU) seven year-long dynasty in the women’s basketball scene in Game 2 of their own series at 12 noon.
NBA In-Season Tournament
Fans can also use the app to watch the quarterfinals of the NBA In-Season Tournament.
Only eight teams remain in the inaugural staging of the tournament where NBA teams vie for the NBA Cup: the Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, and Phoenix Suns.
The championship match of the knockout stage shall be held in Las Vegas.
Free trial for new subscribers
New Pilipinas Live subscribers can enjoy a seven-day free trial so they won’t miss any action.
Basketball fans can enjoy not just live coverages but also other exclusive features such as multi-cam view and various interactive options.
The Pilipinas Live app can be downloaded via the App Store and Google Play Store. To create an account, visit the website here: https://www.pilipinaslive.com/.
Catch NewJeans, LE SSERAFIM, more at AAA 2023 with Smart Live
K-Pop, K-Drama stars on tap
The Hallyu Wave is hitting the Philippines Hard with the Asia Artist Awards or AAA 2023 happening on December 14 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan. Catch your favorite K-Pop acts with Smart Live.
The AAA is one of the biggest and most star-studded shows recognizing Asian artists in film, television, and music. It is the latest addition to this year’s stellar line-up of Smart Live events.
How to redeem AAA tickets with Smart Prepaid
Smart Prepaid subscribers may secure AAA tickets in two ways:
- Through points redemption on the Smart App
- By activating a Smart Prepaid eSIM and availing of Magic Data+ packages.
For points redemption on the Smart App, subscribers may follow these steps on Nov. 16 to 17, 2023:
- Download and then log in on the Smart App
- Tap ‘My Rewards’ and choose the Asia Artist Awards (AAA 2023) ticket you want to redeem with your points.
- Wait for the confirmation message then head to the Smart Booth at SM Megamall B in Mandaluyong from Nov. 25 to 26, 2023 to claim your ticket. Be ready to present your redemption notification and your active subscription to Power All 149 on the Smart App.
Activating a Smart Prepaid eSIM and topping up with Magic Data+ 749 packages. Subscribers may follow these steps:
- Purchase and activate your Smart Prepaid eSIM (Digital or Carded).
- Go to the Smart Store at SM Megamall B in Mandaluyong on November 25 to 26, 2023, from 10AM to 10PM.
- Present proof of your active Smart Prepaid eSIM and availment of Magic Data+ 749 on the Smart App. The required number of Magic Data+ 749 availments varies depending on your preferred ticket.
Subscribers can enjoy the best fan experiences and instantly share their best moments with the rest of the world powered by Smart.
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