Fools Errand


His sunken blue eyes and sidewalk-sludge grey teeth glimmer in the waning moonlight.

Tendrils of matted black hair begrudgingly tickle the tips of his naked shoulders,

The man’s grime-encrusted hands lay useless on the straw strewn stone floor as rats scurry across his upturned palms.

Elongated yellow fingernails claw at the scarred steel manacles that bind his hairy feet to the ground.

He is a prisoner of life’s Jester.

The broomstick-thin man raises his eyes to the prison’s barred window,

Toothpaste-white clouds cover the brilliant silver moon, sinking him into total darkness.

The pitter-patter of small rodent feet echo around the miniscule chamber as the Jester approaches,

The room’s only door opens with a gut-wrenching creak that drowns out the man’s whimpers as the scampering vermin relax and begin to gnaw at his gnarled toes.

The Jester elatedly skips into the foreboding cell.

Adorned in a loosely fitting outfit sewn together with vibrant rainbow-colored patches, the funny man arrests the prisoner’s attention,

After ridiculing the disheveled man about his foolish and feeble attempts, the Jester departs, leaving the weather stripped wooden door open in his wake.

Sitting in a crumpled heap, the downtrodden man begins to weep as the Jester’s heartless words begin to embed themselves within his fragmented soul.

At what point did the man disastrously travel so off the secret path, and unintentionally venture onto this erroneous trail?

Seeking an answer, he plunges into the pages of this emotional adventure in his mind’s eye,

Pouring over its contents with a soulful vigor, he discovers nothing to aid in his plight.

The answers to the questions the man dearly seeks to understand,

Remain darkened like the eyes of a long-dead eagle.

Tears streak down the man’s soot-covered face, as he watches his endeavors crumble before his swiftly dimming eyes.

The Jester was correct – as usual.
Once again it is proven the man’s attempts will forever remain fruitless.

The door remains open, its threshold beckoning the man to cross back onto the tattered resemblance of a path, and try again.

All he must do is shatter the manacles and walk back towards false hope,

But as the Jester mocked, the entire idea is undeniably a fool’s errand, and

Like the man,

It should be abandoned in the darkness,

Forgotten to all but the silver slivers of moonlight filtering through the bars of his mental prison.


The Allure of Violence

Society is plagued with a plethora of violence. The act of destruction invades every medium of entertainment and is increasingly prevalent in countries around the globe. The average person will agree that death and unwarranted destruction are acts to avoid, yet why is it that violence is so appealing in entertainment?

I’ve been struggling with the answer to this question for some time and haven’t resolved my query. I, like billions world-wide, enjoy watching action films in movie theatres and playing disturbingly destructive video games. These activities are simply fun. Nevertheless, fun is an undetectable word in my vocabulary when I read about real wars and unnecessary deaths.

Perhaps it’s the rush of adrenaline and endorphins some receive partaking in these fictitious escapades, or a drive from the innate human desire for survival. Maybe the reason is simply that explosions look pretty nifty. Nonetheless, these excuses don’t qualify why violence in the realm of fiction is accepted by society as a whole, yet real violence is rightfully condemned.

A few social sects complain about violence and death prevalent in video games, movies, books, and music; however, these protests fall on mostly deaf ears as destruction based entertainment continuously rakes in money for those profiting from aforementioned mediums.

I don’t fully understand why I enjoy partaking in fictitious destruction, but I really do. Is it because human beings, in the species’ relatively short historic time span, are the cause of more death and destruction than any other known life form? Is ferocity embedded within the species itself?

It’s a nice pipedream to believe humans are predisposed to aggression for it would swiftly answer this query; however, that’s the easy way out of this argument and a solution I don’t care to accept. For most of mankind demonstrates has self-control and is able to regulate anger and not transfer often nearly unbridled emotions into acts of destruction.

Every time I work at Gamestop I witness scores of young children attempting to purchase, or persuading their parents to buy, a video game that I feel breaches the realm of “acceptable violence” for their age group.

Most of the kids claim the only forms of entertainment that excite them are gruesome dismemberment and mindless genocide. It’s noticeable that if a game is bloody and crowded with death it’ll sell better than most others. Why shouldn’t it? If the participant is of sound-mind, usually no real individual is harmed or negatively impacted by over-the-top mediums of entertainment.

But young children, aged six years and younger, are quite susceptible to external stimuli such as fantastical displays of violence and destruction, and it can create a lack of empathy within the child, and in some cases over-aggressive behavior. Articles such as this one,by Angela Oswalt, discuss the stages of cognitive development during early life stages. While I don’t personally believe video games inspire violence, or degradation within individuals, depending on the mental maturity of the person participating in violence, it does seem logical negative and unintended consequences could occur.

Studies and common sense proclaim the largest factor in who a child will mature into is parental and social influence; with the state of many shambled families around the globe, this aspect is often overlooked.  I do feel the neglect inflicted in respect to clearly establishing fiction and reality has a very negative impact upon a developing mind. In households where this lack of parenting takes place, or if a child surrounds themselves with what the legal society views as ruffians without correction via guardians, I feel access to abhorrently violent media should be restricted. However, to anyone of sound mental and emotional help, these violent forms of entertainment are frequently simply just that.

I personally utilize violent video games as a stress relief, besides their enjoyable qualities. By combatting against hordes of opposing forces, whose only objective is to erase my place in existence, I’m able to release a slew of adrenaline, which in turn, expunges pent up aggression and competitiveness by angrily spewing obscenities and successfully feeding my desire for dominance by eliminating enemies in frequently grotesque and creative fashions.

But this doesn’t describe the enjoyment from watching action films, or reading comic books, anime, manga, or even a wide array of novels; because people don’t actively participate in those mediums of entertainment. The aforementioned forms are passive, instead of active such as a video game.

Is the predisposition many seem to face by resolving disputes through violent means, e.g. war, gang fights, muggings, etc, an innate part of the human condition as Freud may have said? Or is a social conditioning that mankind can thwart by being proactive about the situation, if there really is a problem at all. For after the day is done, the world with most of its inhabitants is still here.

I don’t really feel  there is actually an overwhelming social or ethical dilemma with society thriving on fictitious violence, but as I expand my paradigm of the world this idea begins to dissolve. With the ludicrous amount of people whom blindly follow religious sects and extremists, juxtaposed with rampant political virility, the mindless acts of real violence appear to be rapidly spreading. Within a two day time span, 98 people were reported murdered in three different areas of the world. How can worldly citizens accept this brutality?

In circumstances such as this, global outcry is heard for two or perhaps three days at the most. Even if the 24-hour news cycle isn’t reporting on these events, people are still negatively impacted. Yet the majority of people don’t seem to give a damn. The attentiveness of the average person’s empathy is despicable in situations such as these. I’m at fault here as well. If a horrendous even such as the recent Norway massacre occurs, I’m revolted and annoyed that there isn’t anything I can feasibly do; however, shortly after a day passes I continue on with my life and devote the event little attention. It isn’t because I don’t care, or even in consequence of my inability to make a difference in the past, but my lack of care is a result of my life being widely unaffected. With this the crux of the problem is presented.

I’m quite an empathetic individual, but that’s because I’ve figuratively tied a concrete slab to my brain and plunged into the darkened depths of my inner being until I understood what and who I am, what makes me tick, and what I can and cannot feasibly achieve. Most individuals go through their entire lives on a socially constructed autopilot mode without truly comprehending who they are.  If the global society mirrored introspection and personal tranquility instead of material possession and power,  I wholeheartedly believe events of mindless genocide wouldn’t occur.

If someone understands on a subconscious level the driving force behind why they want to slaughter masses of living creatures, be it humans or animals, and what ways it will impact them, they are arguably less likely to commit the deed. By understanding one’s own intentions, be it a plea for attention or help, or being dissatisfied with present affairs in his or her own life, the mind begins to act more rationally; for if logic is implemented instead of emotions, which are often unpredictable and dangerous, fanatical ideas seem less plausible and the urge to commit them diminishes.

While violence is a widely engaging form of entertainment, the worldly citizens need to keep it as such. A fictional world. Will the utopia of only kind and non-violent human beings exist? Sadly I highly doubt if it ever happens it will ever occur in my lifetime.

However, through knowing the causation behind one’s actions, he or she will impact the amount of violent events that plague this world. Ask yourself, do you truly know why you have an allure to violence?

‘Call of Juarez: The Cartel’ is a lackluster experience

“Call of Juarez: The Cartel”
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
2/5 Pitchforks
Released: July 19

“Call of Juarez: The Cartel” attempts to capitalize on the drug war currently plaguing much of Mexico, and succeeds in one general aspect – a lot of people die.

At its core ‘The Cartel’ is a typical run-and-gun shooter and contains the subgenre’s customary traits: a fast-paced but poorly developed plot, belligerent artificial intelligence that often cause more headaches than challenges, copious amounts of gory death, and that one nonsensical action scene that makes you swear so bad that the Queen’s blood would curdle.

Thankfully ‘The Cartel’ adapts this formula more efficiently than its most recent counterpart, the abysmal “Duke Nukem Forever” – but not by much.

The two previous “Call of Juarez” titles took place in the rugged, shoot first and ask questions later, American West. While it may be challenging to locate a dedicated fan base for the games, their interesting characters made the other fallacies dismissible for a short period of time.

Despite how compelling ‘The Cartel’ tries to make its three playable characters, they’re simply more one-dimensional than a GEICO commercial.

You get to choose from the crack-shot FBI agent, Kim Evans, a murder beat police detective, Ben McCall, and DEA agent, Eddie Guerra.

Most of the action takes place in gang-ridden California slums branded as the “new wild west,” and each of these characters has a personal investment in the bloody streets.

The three characters are able to covertly steal items in order to achieve personal agendas, which slightly increase their experience points and unlocks new weapons. Kim hopes to seize enough illegal firearms to fill an evidence locker by herself, Eddie sells illegal narcotics to pay off an intense booking debt, and Ben has to pay child support.

Each character will adventure off in order to locate the shiny hidden items, but another character is able to catch the theft in the act and cause a loss or gain of experience. This idea seemed novel at first, but was implemented pretty poorly and doesn’t have enough gain or risk to warrant paying any attention to it.

Another distraction for the experience is the lack of cohesion between subtitles and what is actually being said. Frequent misspellings and subtitles not matching what’s being said are common and really detract from any sort of a polished feel.

Actually, polished isn’t a term that should be used with this game. The previous “Call of Juarez” titles had better graphics, despite ‘The Cartel’s’ new engine, the menu is incredibly dull and unattractive, driving scenarios are often not fun and a pain, and the cover system may as well not exist.

A lot of the charm found within the first two “Call of Juarez” titles has disappeared within ‘The Cartel.’

The uninteresting characters, poor story, overlooked editing, and ugly menu, certainly make this game a forgettable experience.

‘Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3’ will please fans, not newcomers

“Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3”

Released: June 28

PS3, Xbox 360

3/5 Pitchforks

For a “Gundam” fan, “Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3” is a neat addition to the universe’s canon, but for everyone else, the game is a bit lackluster.

DW:G3 is the newest addition to KOEI’s hack-and-slash series, and presents 52 playable “Gundam” characters throughout a rich array of battles inspired by the anime series.

Although the cast is massive, the game’s plotline is absent and most of the time who is being fought and why is unimportant – if mentioned at all.

Or maybe it was mentioned, but because of the intense and unalterable background music it’s difficult to understand what the characters are saying. Subtitles help, but often disappear quite quickly. The only time speech is really decipherable is during combat when random battle cries ring through the air.

As with practically every “Dynasty Warriors” title, the gameplay is fun, but incredibly repetitive and has very little depth.

The control scheme stays true to the genre and is quite simple. Most of the time enemies will fall at the wayside by spamming the “X” button and combining a string of attacks to create various powerful effects. Successful damaging strikes increase a power meter that will allow for special attacks, and most Gundams have a ranged laser attack.

DW:G3 tried to work in a strategic angle to the equation of slaughtering mass amounts of foes, but didn’t do so very efficiently. Each map takes place in a similarly presented battlefield cordoned off in colored squared sections. Capturing each section gave a beneficial boost, and when an enemy captured a post they gain a tactical advantage and more soldiers.

The game has 300 missions, and in every one of them the objective is to secure the enemy stronghold section by eliminating enemies and capturing occupied territories. Once all of the subsequent sections have been captured the objective is to defeat an enemy Gundam general.

Defeating enemies and completing objectives will increase the battle suit’s power through new schematics, which make clearing battle stages more efficient. Some stages can be finished in three or four minutes.

KOEI had a great opportunity to create a real tactical aspect to the game with the territory capture system, but its purely repetitive nature and simplicity made the experience forgettable.

One attribute of DW:G3 that works well is the cooperative play. There are 15 available co-op missions designed so players can drop in and out at will. Difficulty is greatly ramped up and enemies are fairly ferocious, which makes working together a necessity.

Another pleasant new addition is the artistic cel-shading on the Gundam models, which is very attractive. Each Gundam has fantastic color, texture and lighting.

However, as a consequence of the incredibly cluttered user interface, the enjoyable Gundam creations were difficult to observe, and playing the game became a frustrating experience.

The game contains an auto center camera control that can’t be disabled; this means navigating the larger fights can be challenging. Furthermore, the objective box is massive and unnecessarily creates a claustrophobic, tunnel-like view by seizing a lot of screen room.

Every few moments a character will spout a battle cry, which creates a chat bubble, and hogs even more of the limited interface.

A “Gundam” otaku will certainly enjoy the richly colored Gundam suits, anime-inspired battles and goliath cast.

Fans of the “Dynasty Warriors” series already know what they are getting into, and will find subtle improvements on the previous titles. However, for the average gamer, “Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3” is fun in short bursts, but has too many issues plaguing the experience to warrant extended playing.

Tides of Life

Life is a game of hide-and-seek,

Death is the opponent. 

It’s not a comfortable thought, and an even more unpleasant sight. 
I’ve witnessed its ominous tendrils slither over smooth water lilies floating along my forested path; leaving destruction in its slimy wake. 

Family and friends have receded into the murky depths of memory. 
Because of familiar hands, 
Even a stranger has disappeared into the rippling pond of yesteryear. 

Life begins in quicksand,
Presence and impact ebbing away,
The icy plunge approaches nearer,
Seize it, and there is no return. 

But what about Death is there to fear?
Once it occurs, sentient awareness is gone. 

As a being’s last shallow breath whisks through the chasms of cracked lips, 
The one-sided competition concludes. 

Thoughts and emotions will never flow,
For the spirit of consciousness is endlessly absent. 

Anxieties, heartbreak, and fear are gone. 
But so are serenity, love, and creation. 

Perhaps Death is simply a perception of life – a misguided view of the ignorant living. 
It’s a forever perplexing mystery,
One even the vast sea of philosophical history is unable to solve.

Although in its own way, Death is a timeless form of peace,
Another pawn in the universe’s galactic game of chess.
Yet the adoration of living,
Keeps me wary from daring to adventure too fool-heartedly with my game plan. 

From the perception of the privileged living, Death appears far away. 
But it lurks around every corner, 
Like a hotel clerk eagerly waiting to check me in for an eternal stay. 

Maybe it’s best Death’s inescapable eddy remains a mystery,
Fear of an irreversible unknown keeps the brilliance of life shining,
Reminding me to appreciate what remains.

View my poetry at the StarliteCafe.

Final ‘Harry Potter’ is an outstanding send-off

Final ‘Harry Potter’ is an outstanding send-off

Travis McKnight

|The State Press|

Released on July 14, 2011

4.5/5 Pitchforks

(Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Every couple of decades a cultural phenomenon encompasses a generation. For mine, this world-wide following is “Harry Potter,” and 14 years after the first book was published in the United Kingdom, the final film adaptation, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” turns the last page on J.K. Rowling’s beloved saga.

I, like many, grew up reading about Harry’s exploits and watched as my imagining of Rowling’s wizarding world came to life through the meticulous character crafting of Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ronald Weasley), and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger).

Although the 18-hour-long film saga began unceremoniously, with a slew of doubtful critics and lackluster direction, a growing fan base of Rowling’s masterful septology stayed true to the series and the silver screen epic concludes wonderfully.

Director David Yates and Screenwriter Steve Kloves begin DH2 as part one ended, with the baneful Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) seizing the all-powerful Elder Wand from Albus Dumbledore’s (Michael Gambon) pearly white tomb.

Why the final book was split into two films became increasingly apparent early on in DH2, and after seeing the result I agree wholeheartedly with the action. Yates and Kloves used DH1 to flush out the story by building character relationships and exploring the daunting task of locating a way to destroy Horcruxes, and turned DH2 into a war story concentrating mostly on the climactic battle between good and evil, and how only through love is the dark magic of hate conquerable.

As the shortest “Harry Potter” film DH2 moves incredibly quickly, and in some instances, particularly major deaths and the duel between Molly Weasley (Julie Walters) and Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), it’s too faced paced. Taking a moment away from the vigilantly constructed action to build upon and absorb crucial moments in the book would have been greatly appreciated, and with a run time of only 130 minutes, the film feels as if it should have been longer; which brings about the largest disappointment about Kloves’ adaptation of “Deathly Hallows.”

Presumably in pursuit of a more streamlined and enthralling action-based finale, Kloves plays jump-rope with Rowling’s novel by skipping entire heartfelt chapters, such as the backstory of Dumbledore’s siblings, and removes stirring dialogue that instilled further emotional connections to many of the characters. Consequently, the final moments of the film felt incredibly rushed and lackluster.

Nevertheless, the threadbare character development within the movie’s script didn’t stop emotionally riveting scenes from appearing due to award-worthy performance by a talented cast who have skillfully matured their roles over the past decade.

The standout performance of DH2 belongs to Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) for his ambiguous presentations when Harry challenges him in front of the entire school, and shortly after Snape’s final encounter with Voldemort in which Harry discovers Snape’s true agenda through the mysterious pensive.

Seldom spotlighted characters such as Professors Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith) and Filius Flitwick (Warwick Davis) were given shortly lived scenes of glory that allowed them to show a bit more humanity through resisting the darkness pervading Hogwarts.

McGonagall’s duel with the sepulchral Snape was magnificent, not only in visual power, but also the emotional presentation from the actors made this scene one of the most memorable in Smith’s “Harry Potter” career.

Following suit with the despairing tone of the film is Hogwarts itself. The choice of lighting and sound within the school is perfect and creates a supremely ominous atmosphere that even a Patronus Charm wouldn’t be able to vanquish. Through Alexandre Desplat’s masterful score, the affect He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is having on the wizarding world is immediately present, and the foreboding tone stays consistent throughout the film.

This darkness even pervades scenes of humor.

One of the more light-hearted scenes of the movie is when Hermione impersonates Bellatrix Lestrange in order to break into Lestrange’s Gringotts vault, where Harry believes to discover a Horcrux. Carter appears to have a joyous time impersonating Watson’s impersonation of her, and in order to prevent being discovered as frauds Harry casts the Imperius Curse without hesitation, one of the three unforgivable curses, on an old Gringotts goblin. Still succumbing to the laughs from Carters wonderfully entertaining acting it takes a moment for the darkness of Harry’s actions to resolve.

Yates, Photography Director Eduardo Serra, and Visual Effects Supervisor Tim Burke outdid themselves with the Dark Lord’s assault on Hogwarts. Between the firework-like explosions from hundreds of Avada Kadavra curses impacting the protective barriers put in place by Hogwarts’ teachers, to the blitzkrieg-like destruction of Hogwarts after those barriers fell, and the epic final duel between Harry and Voldemort, every aspect of the visually powerful war is perfect. Streaks of emerald and red burst throughout the otherwise grey scenes, the ramparts crumble with astounding vividness nearly crushing dozens, and giants wreak havoc upon hundreds of bewitched stone soldiers. It’s a great visualization of the vague descriptions given in Rowling’s text.

In consequence of the superb acting captured by Radcliff, Grint, Watson, Gambon, and Rickman, combined with Desplat’s perfected score, several scenes reached an emotional nerve causing me to choke up. Stifled sobs could be heard in the crowd throughout some of the film’s saddest moments: the Weasley’s mourning over Fred’s corpse, the bodies of Lupin and Tonks whose splayed hands never quite get to grasp one another in their last fleeting moments of life, a bloody and beaten Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) carrying a body out of the forbidden forest alongside a dominating crowd of death eaters, Snape’s memory flashbacks, and Neville Longbottom’s (Mathew Lewis) camaraderie speech.

Yet through the film’s depressing music and atmosphere only one scene was heartbreaking enough to cause a tear to trickle from my eye. Surrounded by a crew of wonderful actors, Radcliffe gives the emotionally stirring performance of his “Harry Potter” career when Harry finally accepts his fate and encounters the reassuring ghosts of family and close friends as he embarks upon his final challenge. The scene demonstrates a distraught yet accepting Harry, surrounded by wispy forms of loved ones who sacrificed themselves so that he may survive, coupled with dementor approved music, and the previous encounter with Hermione and Ron plus the knowledge of what action he must complete, the scenario is the DH2’s epitome of heartbreaking euphoria.

It’s difficult saying goodbye to something that one spends over half of their life with; whether it’s a good friend, family member, or even a beloved and relatable ensemble of quirky characters found in seven magical books, and eight lustrous films. Although the “Harry Potter” universe is officially over, for those who seek it, Hogwarts will always remain a loving home.

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‘Child of Eden’ is a euphoric adventure

(Photo courtesy of Q Entertainment)

“Child of Eden”
4.5/5 Pitchforks
Xbox 360
Released on June 14, 2011

Eliciting a genuine positive emotional response from players while they are actively participating in a video game is a struggle for many games.

When it does occur, it’s usually driven by meticulously crafted characters supported by fantastic voice actors, and certain sequences in the game. Even then, frequently the feelings of cheerfulness quickly subside. However, in Q Entertainment’s new music-rhythm shooter, “Child of Eden,” happiness isn’t derived from relatable characters, or defeating a particularly difficult boss; on the contrary, it’s simply another part of the game.

Through Creative Director Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s concept of Synaesthesia, “Child of Eden” is essentially a video game anti-depressant – especially when using Kinect. I couldn’t feel anything but awe and happiness while synchronizing my physical movement alongside the addicting electronic music and strikingly colorful visuals.

“Child of Eden” is a music and rhythm rail-based shooter that’s almost played like conducting an orchestra. It’s an incredibly euphoric experience, in which, if using Kinect, a player’s physical movement depicts the game’s sound and visuals. It’s a rare gem that’s not only intuitive and fun, but feels good to play.

The game takes place in the cybernetic world of Eden, an allegory for the future internet. Within Eden, a project to reproduce a human personality had been undertaken, and Lumi, the first child to be born in outer-space, was selected to have her characteristics revived within Eden’s archives.

However, during Lumi’s creation, all of Eden became infected with a memory-destroying virus and jeopardized the archive of mankind’s history.

The game’s objective is simple: save and purify the metaphoric world of Eden by destroying the viruses and restoring its peace and beauty.

Players have three weapons at their disposal to purify five distinct stages: a rapid-fire tracer gun, the lock-on Vulcan shooter, and a limited use area-of-effect move called Euphoria.

Being limited to three weapons in the game may sound like a drag, but the lack of armament variety is quickly lost in a sea of rich sound and a gorgeous array of colors as every enemy in the game has a distinct tone and visual presence when stricken by a weapon.

Therefore, each time a round interacts with a virus a new sound and color is created.

By using different weapons during each encounter each person’s experience will be unique.

When playing “Child of Eden” with a controller, each move has a dedicated button, and purifying archives gives a vibrational feedback.

Playing through the five realms within Eden with a controller was very satisfying, but it can’t compare to physically traversing the archives with Kinect.

It took me about three failed attempts in the first stage before I got the hang of how to play with Kinect, but once the edges were smoothed out, the controller-less system was very intuitive and brought an entirely new aspect to the game.

Kinect accurately tracked wherever my hands were and displayed a reticle where I was pointing. My left hand controlled the tracer, and changed the reticle purple, and my right the Vulcan, which made the reticle blue.  By either clapping my hands, or moving one hand in front of the other, the weapons would switch to what was assigned to the foremost hand. Raising my arms as if at the peak of a roller-coaster activated Euphoria.

The Vulcan shot was easily the more enjoyable weapon, because after it locks onto a cluster of viruses the reticle becomes a solid blue ball, and by flicking my wrist or thrusting my arm forward the smart-bomb was released.

The only disappointment I found with using the Kinect option is the lack of an easily accessible pause option.

Performing the 45-degree pose with my left arm that pauses all Kinect games worked, but because of the game’s fast pace and accurate hand tracking, the system didn’t recognize the pause until I was nearly dead, or too many infections got passed me to make continuing viable.

The biggest drawback of “Child of Eden” is its length. A successful run in each of the five stages only takes between 14 and 20 minutes to complete. Once I figured out the basic structure from each level, at normal difficulty the game was cleared in less than two hours.

However, the game isn’t easy by any means, and more challenging difficulties can be unlocked. Plus, numerous visual filters that give the game an entirely different feel can be activated in the options menu after earning them.

Although it’s short, “Child of Eden” is a unique and surreal voyage bursting with a lot of emotion, feeling, and drama.

View my original ‘The State Press’ article here.