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Cheryl Gress Editor-in-Chief

Married to IBJamon since 1999. Spawned two girls and a boy.

Anne of Green Gables - Fire and Dew

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

Fire and Dew is the third installment from the Anne of Green Gables PBS movie series. It picks up a year after the previous movie where Gilbert vowed not to speak to Anne again after she chose her friends over him. Anne is not pleased with his behavior and finds it difficult to ignore him as they are academically equal and both selected to attend an advanced class to prepare for and apply to Queen’s Academy.

Anne is quite studious and applies for the Avery scholarship along with Gilbert and her friends hoping to earn it as well. Though Matthew and Marilla have budgeted for Anne’s education, they did not plan on their bank with all of their funds to be investigated and in danger of closing.

At Queen’s Academy, Josie is flirting with all of the boys and especially with Gilbert. Other emotions come into play as a character dear to Anne dies in this movie. All of us watching the movie got misty-eyed during that part.

As a result of the loss of a loved one, Anne has to make some difficult choices regarding her future education and employment. Anne is growing up fast and has many accomplishments to be proud of at the tender age of fourteen. I like the theme of forgiveness and sacrifice and hope to see more installments from these classic books. If not, I’ll have no choice but to read all nineteen of them to see how it ends.

Like the other movies, Anne of Green Gables - Fire and Dew is available to stream for free for Amazon Prime members. The DVD is also available to purchase from the PBS website for $14.99.


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Anne of Green Gables - The Good Stars

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

Anne is settling into her new life and is acclimating to school and her household chores, though she’s not too fond of geometry or chickens. Out of all of the girls in school that Gilbert tends to tease, he seems to fancy Anne the most. She’s not too keen of his antics, but eventually she warms up to him. As she spends more time with Gilbert, her friends are a little upset and feel neglected.

Upon turning thirteen, Anne feels that she has some difficult choices to make and seeks the council of the adults in her life. Marilla urges Anne to be sensible while Matthew wants her to pursue romance. Anne also learns that loyalty is more important than honor and makes a difficult decision as a result. Unfortunately, the movie ended before we could see the impact that it made. Thankfully, there’s still one more movie left in the series for us to watch.

It’s pretty safe to say that my kids and I are hooked on this series. So much so that we’ve decided to do like Anne did and bake an apple pie from scratch for Thanksgiving this year. However, we’ll be mindful of the time and not let it burn. Like the previous movies, there are several funny mishaps that Anne must learn from. As usual, most of her mistakes are innocent ones and she tries to right any and all wrongs that she has done.

This film is family friendly and even has some Bible stories told by the newly married pastor’s wife. Forgiveness is a strong theme in this ninety-minute film. Like the rest of the entries, it’s only available in DVD format. It’s a shame since this island is so beautiful and can really benefit from Blu-ray visual enhancements. Either way, it’s still worth checking out for free on Amazon Prime or buying for $15 on PBS’ website.



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2019 Gaming Calendars

Thank you Abrams Books for sending us five calendars to fight over…I mean review!

2018 is coming to an end and with the new year fast approaching we must decide on a calendar to use for next year. Gamers may want to look into the following calendars from Abrams Books:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Pokémon
Splatoon
Super Mario
Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Each calendar has four mini-calendars from September-December of 2018 in case you want to swap it out a little early. Holidays are noted for various countries around the world. I now know that Australia Day is on January 26h and observed on the 28th. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand will be celebrating Mother’s Day with us on May 12th. Australia and New Zealand don’t celebrate Father’s Day until September though. Religious days like Diwali, Kwanzaa, Purim, and Ramadan are also shown. All of the Christian religious days are accounted for.

Many of the holidays that my kids' schools shut down for are also listed along with various bank holidays that are observed in other countries. The beginning and end of daylight saving time is also noted so I can adjust my clocks accordingly. The only thing missing that my current calendar provides are the phases of the moon. I can live without that feature though.

The calendars are nice and big with smooth glossy pages. The artwork is exceptional and any gamer will be pleased with the images chosen for their gaming calendar choice. My family was debating on who should get which calendar and the samples that were sent to us made us do some serious decision making. As the writer of this review, I get first dibs.

The calendars sell for $14.99 on abramsbooks.com which is a reasonable price. They’re still selling similarly themed 2018 calendars so make sure you’re getting the 2019 version of the Pokémon, Splatoon, Super Mario, or Zelda ones. Whichever one you decide on, I’m sure you’ll be happy with it.

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Puppy Star Christmas

Thank you Air Bud Entertainment for sending us a screener to review along with a stuffed bear, an apron and hat, candy for a ginger bread house, dog treats and toys!

Puppy Star Christmas begins with the wedding of Tiny and P.U.P. and puppies arrive several months after that. In total, there are four puppies who could not have fit inside the mother without being born premature or delivered via C-section. The three female puppies take after their mother in appearance and the boy pup, Brody, looks just like his dad. Brody and his sisters, Charlie and Rosie, tend to get in trouble while Cindy tries her best to stop them to no avail.

With some of the trouble the puppies are getting into, Tiny and P.U.P. are wondering if they are being neglectful parents. In an attempt to spend more time with them, they put together a Puppy Star Christmas show and have managed to book Santa Claus as a special guest. News of this spreads like wildfire and catches the attention of the mischievous Bark and his co-conspirator, Kano. Roland assists them in their plan to take over Christmas as long as he gets to fly Santa’s sleigh.

Bark’s objective is to monetize Christmas further and make every family pay for the privilege to receive gifts and not coal. Not only does this provide a lot of income, it nullifies the penalty for being on the naughty list. As long as you have money, presents are guaranteed.

With Christmas in danger, everyone wants to re-kindle the Christmas spirit of love, forgiveness, and selflessness. Christ’s birth is not mentioned whatsoever in this film. I do like the aspect of forgiveness and not carrying a grudge against those who have wronged you.

Puppy Star Christmas is ninety minutes long, rated PG, and has some comedic violence. There is also some gross humor as a character discovers that reindeer poop tastes like toothpaste. Many of the same characters and actors are back in this film, including the effeminate Shep, though he does manage to find love in this movie.

If you enjoyed the silliness of the previous films, then you’ll probably like this one as well. My kids and I enjoyed watching it and it’s now available on Netflix.  Though it's listed on Amazon, it's not yet available for purchase.

 


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Anne of Green Gables

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD set to review!

Anne of Green Gables was written by L.M. Montgomery and published in 1908. The book has sold over fifty million copies and has been adapted into several films. PBS first aired Anne of Green Gables on November 24th, 2016. This 90-minute movie stars Martin Sheen as Matthew Cuthbert who lives with his sister Marilla on a beautiful farm called Green Gables. They’re not getting any younger and can use some help with their chores and seek to adopt a boy to live with them.

Instead of a boy, Matthew and Marilla are greeted by a chatty redheaded girl named Anne Shirley. Matthew is more welcoming than most others that Anne meets, but even the meanest people are nicer than those that Anne dealt with growing up. She was physically punished in orphanages and lived with a family that had a drunk and often violent husband.

As rough as her past was, her future is looking bright at Green Gables and Anne gets to experience many firsts while living there. Her first friend, prayer, church service, school, and even ice cream! There are many humorous moments that my family enjoyed while watching this film together.

This movie is the first in a three-part series and I look forward to watching the rest with my children. The visuals are stunning, but are limited to the DVD format. I wish it was available on Blu-ray for even more vibrant colors. The acting is superb and there are many likable (and unlikable) characters that I look forward to being further developed in this series.

If you’re a fan of the book or for some wholesome family friendly entertainment, you should check out this film. Amazon Prime members can watch it for free as part of their subscription. PBS also sells the DVD on their website for $14.99.



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2018 Christmas Buying Guide

Christmas Buying Guide 2018

Here’s a quick breakdown of the most family friendly games we have reviewed in 2018. More reviews can be found on ChristCenteredGamer.com! Each game is given a gameplay score for the overall gaming experience and a moral score for how suitable it is for younger gamers. The Amazon and Humble Store links will benefit Christ Centered Gamer by giving us a small % of the sale.

System Game Game Score Moral Score Buy it!
Nintendo 2DS/3DS
Nintendo 3DS
The Alliance Alive 82% 81% $29.09
Nintendo 2DS/3DS
Nintendo 3DS
Block-a-Pix Color 72% 100% $7.99
Nintendo 2DS/3DS
Nintendo 3DS
Link-a-Pix Color 72% 100% $7.99
Switch
Switch
Freedom Planet
(PC, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Switch)
88% 94% $14.99
Switch
Switch
Happy Birthdays 84% 94% $29.97
Switch
Switch
Lost in Harmony
(Android, iOS, PC, Switch)
88% 92% $6.99
Switch
Switch
Semblance
(PC, Switch)
88% 96% $9.99
PC/Mac
PC/Mac/Linux
Candleman: The Complete Journey
(Android, iOS, PS4, Xbox One)
90% 92% $14.99
PC/Mac
PC/Mac/Linux
Tyler: Model 005
(PC, Xbox One)
90% 96% $9.99
PC/Mac
PC/Mac/Linux
Staxel 90% 91% $19.99
PC/Mac
PC/Mac/Linux
Tracks - The Train Set Game 94% 100% $19.99
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4
de Blob 2 
(Nintendo DS, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii, PC, Xbox 360/One)
84% 93% $18.51
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4

Forgotton Anne
(PC, PS4, Xbox One)

92% 89% $19.99
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4
GRIP: Combat Racing
(PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
92% 90% $39.99
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4
Railway Empire
(PC, PS4, Xbox One)
82% 92% $34.44
PlayStation Vita
PlayStation Vita
Word Sudoku by POWGI
(Android, iOS, PS4, Vita)
72% 100% $7.99
  While we have reviewed other Vita games this year, they
are not on this guide because they are not family friendly
enough to be included. You can read our other Vita reviews
 here.
     
Xbox One
Xbox One
Crayola Scoot
(PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
82% 92% $39.99
Xbox One
Xbox One
Octahedron
(PC, PS4, Xbox One)
86% 96% $12.99
Xbox One
Xbox One
Overcooked! 2
(PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
88% 94% $29.99
Xbox One
Xbox One
RGX Showdown
(PS4, Xbox One)
80% 96% $9.99
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
ARK Park 74% 95% $39.99
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
Pinball FX2 VR Universal Classics 78% 84% $19.99
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
Throw Anything 76% 83% $11.99
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
TSA Frisky 70% 100% $6.99
Hardware
Hardware
EWin Calling Series Ergonomic Computer Gaming Office Chair with Pillows N/A N/A $220
Hardware
Hardware
Gamdias Hephaestus P1 RGB Surround Sound Gaming Headset N/A N/A $55.79
Hardware
Hardware
Gamdias Hermes P2 RGB Optical Mechanical Switch Gaming Keyboard N/A N/A $76.41
Hardware
Hardware
ZMI PowerPack 20000 Portable Power Bank N/A N/A $69.95

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Pixar Animated Shorts: Volume 3

Thank you Disney for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

Pixar movies are great and they always have the added bonus of a wonderfully made short to precede them. Sometimes they’re funny and other times they’re insightful. Volume 3 contains eleven shorts, two mini-movies, and some bonus features that are exceptionally made. While I have seen some of them, many of these shorts were new and thoroughly enjoyed by my family.

Here’s a breakdown of each one:

Bao – An eye-opening tale about a mother’s love for a rebellious son.

Lou – Lost toys come together to teach a bully a lesson and the benefits of forgiveness.

Piper – Teaching a baby seagull to feed himself, and overcoming the fear of the ocean waves.

Sanjay’s Super Team – Mostly based on a true story. Sanjay is trying to watch his superhero TV show and his dad is trying to meditate by their family shrine. After Sanjay loses the battle over the television volume, he joins his father in worship physically while mentally he daydreams fighting bad guys alongside some of his gods.

Riley’s First Date? – Inside Out characters in the minds of the boy, parents, and Riley. The mother tries to pry information from Riley with “hip talk” while the father attempts to intimidate Jordan.

Lava – A Hawaiian-themed musical short about a lonely volcano looking for love. Will he meet the “lava” of his life?

The Radiator Springs 500 ½ - Stanley Days is interrupted by some young punks looking to challenge Lightning McQueen to a race. Unfortunately, they’re given some bad directions and have quite the adventure.

Party Central – Mike and Sullivan save a lackluster frat party at Monsters University by stealing food and students from another one.

The Blue Umbrella – In a city full of black umbrellas, a bright blue one stands out from the crowd and takes a liking to a vibrant red one. Eventually, they go their separate ways, but will they meet again?

The Legend of Mor’du – A witch shares the tale about a king and his four sons with different skills. When the king passed, the eldest son wanted to rule the kingdom by himself and not share it as his father had decreed. War ensued and resulted in a stalemate. The oldest son enlisted the help of a witch who gave him a spell of choice: great strength or to restore his bond with his brothers.

Partysaurus Rex – The characters of Toy Story gang up against Rex who ruins their fun. They call him Party Pooper Rex. Rex meets some new bath toy friends and introduces himself as Partysaurus Rex. Since he has arms he can draw the bath water to keep the party going after bath time.

There are also two mini-movies:

Marine Life Interviews – A bunch of fish and a couple of seals recall their time with Dory. This one is shorter than most of the shorts.

Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool – The bus from Cars 3 has an infomercial that is pretty intense. Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez are her most recent graduates.

Lastly, there are two bonus features:

Making Bao - Bao means steamed bun or precious. It’s neat that the whole crew learned how to make dumplings from the director’s mother. I didn’t realize it until this behind the scenes that the short takes place in Toronto.

Caricature: A Horrible Way of Saying 'I Love You' – A look into mean caricature night at Pixar. I’m glad I don’t work there…

Despite that a couple of the shorts don’t align with Biblical teachings, but they’re all family friendly. I do like the theme of forgiveness and making things right in Lou. This seventy-six minute collection can be yours for less than $25 on Amazon.

 


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She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

Thank you DreamWorks for sending us a cape, tiara, pins, and glitter to decorate it all with!

She-Ra has been around since the mid-eighties. He-Man was geared for boys and got a motion picture. Over thirty years later She-Ra and the Princesses of Power gets its own animated Netflix series courtesy of DreamWorks.

The series begins with Adora, a hard-working Senior Cadet who quickly advances in rank because of her efforts. She’s an orphan and has some close friends including the troublemaking Catra. In order to cheer up Catra who is jealous over Adora’s new rank, they take a “borrowed” ship for a spin and crash it into a forest. In the forest, Adora sees a sword that’s calling for her to fulfill her destiny and fight for the honor of Grayskull.

Adora doesn’t hold a high regard for princesses; little does she know that she is one herself! When Adora uses the sword that has been calling for her, she transforms into She-Ra, a very powerful princess and a force to be reckoned with. It’s nice to see a princess that can hold her own in battle without needing the help of some wandering prince or plumber brothers.

The episodes are twenty-four minutes in length and are action packed. The characters are likeable and often have funny lines. Their voice acting is well done too. The animation is simple but nice.

My kids, including my son, enjoyed watching this show. If you have Netflix and younger kids, you should definitely look into this series. I didn’t pay much attention to She-Ra growing up so I can’t say how true to her story this series is. My brother grew up playing with He-Man so I’m familiar with some of the characters and I look forward to getting reacquainted with them.

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Incredibles 2

Thank you Disney for sending us this Blu-Ray to review!

It’s been fourteen years since the original Incredibles move was released. Incredibles 2 takes place shortly after the first film where performing heroics is still illegal and has been for fifteen years. It was just a regular day for the Parr family when a villain rose up and robbed a bank in broad daylight. The Incredibles took it upon themselves to stop this criminal and to save the city from his out-of-control drilling vehicle heading towards City Hall. Even though that crisis was averted, much damage was done to other buildings and all superheroes were further chastised and told to stay out of the crime fighting business. In fact, the agency that has been helping the Incredibles is shutting down due to this incident.

Though most of the public are against superheroes, not everyone is. A very rich entrepreneur wishes to reverse this law and uses Elastigirl as his ideal example. She was chosen for her performance and lack of damage caused to personal property. Her husband’s ego is shattered, but he wants his wife to succeed as it will benefit all superheroes in the future.

While Helen is fighting crime and making televised appearances, Bob is taking care of the kids at home. He has to learn “new” math, cope with his daughter’s dating drama, and discover Jack-Jack's multiple new powers. I won’t spoil any of the story, but I will say that the whole family must work together to untarnish the reputation of superheroes.

For a film geared towards families, I was surprised at the language in it. Hell, d*mn, and the Lord’s name taken in vain can be heard in this two hour and five minute film. Cartoon violence is a given. If you don’t mind that you’ll probably enjoy this film despite its predictable ending.



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Music Box Classics: Final Fantasy VII

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

Final Fantasy games are known for their extraordinary music and my husband and I have had the pleasure of seeing multiple live symphonic performances of Nobuo Uematsu’s masterpieces. As a result, we own several compilations of Final Fantasy music and managed to get one of our daughters sick of it. Our other two kids love the music so they turned out alright.

Music Box Classics: Final Fantasy VII focuses on a title with many great songs and the music box treatment works well with these melodies. J-E-N-O-V-A is a little too fast paced to be included, but there are plenty of other great songs in this collection. There are lots of theme songs including the Aerith’s, Tifa’s, and the Chocobo song. Of course, the game’s title song is on this album as well.

I love the battle music in Final Fantasy VII and the Fighting song and One Winged Angel are both included. Another welcome addition is Cosmo Canyon though I have to say that I still prefer the version from the game’s soundtrack.

There are fourteen songs in total and they range from a minute and forty-seven seconds to six minutes and forty-one seconds. All of the tracks are great and I highly recommend this $7 digital album to all Final Fantasy VII fans. The songs are available in MP3 and lossless FLAC formats.

As for my daughter who is sick of Final Fantasy music, I have a plan. After she gets married and has a child, I will give it a stuffed animal or a music box with Aerith’s theme. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, but I’m sure the kid(s) will love it.


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Solo: A Star Wars Story

Thank you Lucasfilm for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

Solo takes place before Star Wars IV: A New Hope. As the title suggests, it’s about the reluctant hero, Han Solo, and even shows how he gets his surname when he enlists in the Empire. Han and his girlfriend Qi’ra grew up on the streets in Corellia. Like many street kids, they are forced to steal and bring their loot to Lady Proxima in exchange for food, shelter, and their lives. In attempt to escape Corellia, Han makes it out and promises to come back for Qi’ra.

In order to fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot and reuniting with Qi’ra, Han enlists with the Empire. Instead of flying, he’s put on the front lines where he meets some thieves who have infiltrated the Empire's army. Han has a nose for sniffing out trouble and likes to hang around fellow troublemakers. He also meets Chewbacca and the two become inseparable.

The Millennium Falcon's original owner, Lando Calrissian, is also introduced. Lando’s co-pilot is an independent and sassy droid named L3-37. She’s hilarious. Both Han and Lando are fond of gambling and one of them is a cheater. Like other Star Wars films, you can expect to find spaceship violence, blood, and death. There is some language (d*mn) and it’s implied that Han and Qi’ra have been intimate. Kissing is shown, but nothing else.

The Rebellion is in its infancy as the Empire is getting stronger and more hostile by the day. Something needs to be done about them and Han must choose his alliances carefully. I enjoyed this 135-minute film and recommend it for any Star Wars fan. It’s rated PG-13 and I agree with that rating.



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Secrets: Jonah and the Whale

Thank you Smithsonian Channel for sending us a screener to watch!

The Secrets TV series is in its fifth season and since we don’t watch much television around here, this is the first time I’ve watched an episode from it. This season premiere caught my attention, as I love watching archaeology reinstate what the Bible has written. Sadly, the title is a bit misleading as there isn’t much evidence or talk about the whale in this episode other than the possibility of it being merely “symbolic.”

The rest of the episode is pretty informative and interesting. On July 24th, 2014 in an attempt to cover up history, ISIS bombed what is believed by many to be Jonah’s tomb. Instead of erasing history, they exposed more of it! Under the tomb are many tunnels which are dangerous to explore due to possible bombs and collapsing. The tunnels are also prone to flooding so the chance to recover the many relics buried within is fleeting.

Inside of the tunnels are various inscriptions and ancient Assyrian Lamassu sculptures. The tomb is located in Mosul which was Nineveh 2,500 years ago. The archaeologists are convinced that Nineveh’s leader was Esarhaddon who claimed his throne by conspiring with his mother to kill his father. He definitely fits the bill of being an evil king and with Nineveh being Assyria’s capital, it would make sense that it was a sinful city. Though references to Esarhaddon are found within Jonah’s tomb, not everything adds up.

In II Kings 14, Jonah gives counsel to Jeroboam II who died in 742 BC. Esarhaddon died in 669 BC. While other sites claim to be Jonah’s resting place, this show assumes that the Bible is errant by the verbal transcription process that took over 250 years to complete instead of summarizing that this tomb may not actually be Jonah’s. Given Jonah’s disdain towards the Ninevites, I doubt he would want to be buried among them. There are many possibilities and explanations. I’ll leave the rest up to you if you wish to watch this episode and TV series.

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Music Box Classics: Castlevania

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

The iconic Castlevania series made its debut in 1986 and I enjoyed playing the first three on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). While I didn’t own the first two games, I have played them at friends’ houses on several occasions. The game I’m the most familiar with is Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse of which there is one track, Beginning, on this album.

Six songs including the 11-second prologue are from the first game. Simon’s Quest has four songs devoted to it. Symphony of the Night has four songs and while they’re good, I didn’t recognize them since I haven’t played any Castlevania games since the NES era.

As the album title suggests, all fifteen tracks are in a lullaby music box style. Each of the songs are exceptionally done despite being a little slower paced than the originals. The longest song is nearly four minutes and most of the tracks are a couple of minutes in length. Many of them bring back good memories of playing this classic series. The soothing music is very relaxing, but I would recommend exercising some caution as they may be too relaxing to listen to when doing long driving stretches late at night! Having this album shuffled in with the rest of your music library is highly recommended though.

This album is ideal for any Castlevania fan who is familiar with the first few games. The asking price on Bandcamp is a reasonable $7. These songs would be great for conditioning a baby to appreciate awesome game music at a tender age. Additionally, these songs would go great in a crib mobile or perhaps a Build-A-Bear. I wish these albums were around when my kids were babies. I guess I can indoctrinate my future grandkids in the not-so-distant future.

 


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We Are Alright

alright

Thank you Borys Nieśpielak for sending us this digital film to review!

Making a video game that’s fun and stands out from the crowd takes a lot of time and effort. Many indie games remain obscure and don’t get insanely popular like Mojang’s Minecraft. In fact, many game developers get discouraged and quit once their game releases and fizzles shortly afterward.

We Are Alright is a sixty-four minute documentary about Lichthund’s founders Bartek and Rafel and the preparations/launch of their first title, Lichtspeer. The audio is in Polish, but thankfully, it’s subtitled. The film begins five months from release day and continues on though the game’s launch on Steam and PS4.

Until the launch, there are several bugs and issues that need to get sorted in order to get Sony’s approval. Time and money are tight, as the composer is seen asking for his money and in order to break even the developers are hoping to sell 10,000 copies or 300 a month to make ends meet.

Lichtspeer has a lot going for it with some great looking merchandise and highly praised gameplay feedback at the PGA conference. Both of the developers quit their jobs to finish working on Lichtspeer, which has been in development for two-and-a-half years.

After many trials and tribulations, the launch date drew near and it was time to get influencers to check it out and spread the word. Sadly, many of them did not respond. Our site was too niche to be contacted but I can see the importance of launch day coverage after watching this film.

I won’t spoil the ending or divulge the sales numbers as I recommend checking out this film if you have any interest in developing games. It will give you some valuable insight into the struggles of game development and getting coverage for your title. If you don’t mind drinking and strong language, you can rent this film for $2.99 or own it digitally for $9.99 on Steam.

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Garfield’s Halloween Adventure

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

Garfield’s Halloween Adventure contains two twenty-five minute cartoon episodes with only the first one being Halloween related. The first episode begins with Garfield being rudely awakened by Binky the Clown’s TV show. Surprisingly, Garfield joins him in doing a few jumping jacks before getting annoyed with him. As he shuts off the television he realizes that it’s Halloween and looks forward to collecting a lot of candy with Odie as his sidekick. The duo dress as pirates and even sail across town in hopes of getting more candy, but they find themselves in a haunted house on a deserted island instead.

The second episode isn’t Halloween themed but it does involve everyone dressing up for a pet talent show competition. Jon, Garfield, and Odie won a local talent contest that gave them $1000 and a chance to compete in Hollywood. The local competition was a pushover compared to what was waiting for them in Hollywood. In order to increase their chances of winning, Garfield devised a plan that would remove Jon from their group. Unfortunately, this plan involved destroying some of his personal property.

The luxurious Hollywood lifestyle made an impression on Jon, Garfield, and Odie. While Garfield embraced it, Jon didn’t want them to be overtaken by it. Jon’s advice to Garfield was very wise and he said, “No matter the outcome, they will still have each other.” I won’t spoil the results of the contest.

This DVD sells for $6.99 on Amazon and it’s worth picking up for Garfield fans. If you don’t like ghosts and celebrating Halloween, you may want to skip this DVD. The sound and visual quality isn’t the greatest, but my kids enjoyed these classic episodes regardless. The songs in the episodes are catchy and Garfield’s antics are funny as always.


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Star Wars Rebels: The Complete Fourth Season

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

Star Wars Rebels takes place fourteen years after Revenge of the Sith and tells the story of the origin of the Rebellion as the Empire slowly takes control of the galaxy. This series is in its fourth season and it has already been announced that it will be its last. This Blu-ray set contains two discs and 353 minutes of entertainment. In total, there are fifteen episodes and some exclusive extras.

The fourth season begins with Sabine Wren, a Mandelorean trying to rescue her father who is a captive of the Empire. She has the help of Ezra Bridger, a Jedi, and his Jedi Master Kanan Jarrus. The Mandeloreans wear Boba Fett style armor which has significant sentimental value as well as defensive properties. The armor is passed down for generations and is being targeted by a prototype weapon being used by the Empire. Despite the risk of being incinerated, the Mandeloreans continue to wear the armor regardless.

While the Rebels have a common enemy, they are not unified by much else other than bravery. The main characters tend to go above and beyond what’s required of them. For example, instead of stealing just the flight recorder from the latest Tie Fighter Prototype, Sabrine steals the whole ship! Different Rebel parties have different tactics and they often conflict with one another and usually complicate the missions further.

There is plenty of humor and a little bit of romance. Kanan has difficulty trying to kiss his alien girlfriend, Hera Syndulla, without getting interrupted. Other than kissing, you can expect to find epic lightsaber and spaceship battles. No blood is shown, only destruction.

The characters are likeable and each of the twenty-five minute episodes kept the interest of my son, daughter, and me. If you’ve enjoyed the previous seasons, then you should definitely check out this finale.


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Big Hero 6: The Series: Back in Action!

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this DVD to review!

Judging by how many times it's been watched, Big Hero 6 is hands down my kids’ favorite Disney movie to date. Although Big Hero 6: The Series: Back in Action! has a little bit of a recap in the first episode, I still strongly recommend watching the movie before embarking on this series. The main characters are still present including Hiro Hamada, the younger brother of the deceased renowned science student, Tadashi Hamada. Hiro is a newly registered student at his brother’s school, San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. Although younger than them, Hiro quickly becomes buddies with his brother’s friends who happen to do super hero work on the side.

Fred is the founder of Big Hero 6 and lives in a huge mansion. Fred’s father was also a superhero and is played by none other than comic book legend Stan Lee. Honey Lemon has a unique purse that can produce helpful beads with different abilities. In one episode her purse gets stolen by a villain and becomes quite a formidable threat. GoGo is pretty fast and good with razer blades. Wasabi is a big guy who uses some powerful laser slicers when he’s going through an adrenaline rush.

Baymax is Tadashi’s unfinished loveable medical robot who will assist anyone in need, friend or foe, if they simply say “ouch!” Baymax’s helpfulness and honesty often leads to some funny moments in this 175 minute DVD. There are seven episodes and some shorts that are bound to bring out some laughter.

I like how the episodes deal with the problems and consequences of lying, stealing, and procrastinating. There is also a message of hope and not giving up on people. If you don’t mind some cartoon violence and poor decisions that teach good life lessons, this DVD is a wonderful addition to any Big Hero 6 fan’s library. My only complaint is that it’s not available in Blu-Ray format. The 2D art style wouldn’t look much different though. This collection can be yours for less than $10 on Amazon.


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Guitar Collections Final Fantasy IV

Thank you Scarlet Moon Records for sending us this digital album to review!

Of all the Final Fantasy games I’ve played, IV and VI have the most memorable music and stories though there are some other runner-ups in the series as well. Nobuo Uematsu is a talented composer and my husband and I have had the privilege of seeing him in person and conducting a live orchestra performing many of his masterpieces. We have also seen live performances of string quartets playing his works too. I’ll also confess to owning every CD from the Black Mages and Earthbound Papas. I also have the overclocked remixes from Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI (hands down better than IV).

Upon hearing about the Guitar Collections Final Fantasy IV album, I was hoping for a chance to check it out and I’m glad that we were able to do so. William Carlos Reyes from The OneUps does an exceptional job playing the classical guitar and does these songs proud with his performance. I’ve only been playing the guitar for a couple of years and it will be a while before I can consider myself worthy of attempting any of these songs.

In total, there are twelve tracks and my favorites from Final Fantasy IV made the cut. The Theme of Love and iconic Fight Song are both done beautifully. Of course, Rydia’s song and the main theme are present too. If you enjoy the town music, you’ll be happy to know that it’s on this album as well. The final track is an original piece titled The Crystals which is inspired by Final Fantasy IV.

This album sells for $8.99 on Amazon and $10 on Bandcamp and it’s worth picking up if you enjoy Final Fantasy IV and its music. They’re planning on making a Guitar Collections Final Fantasy series and I’m definitely looking forward to future releases.

 


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Reducing Your Cancer Risk (A Holistic Approach)

Thank you Carl O Helvie for sending us this book to review!

Carl O Helvie is currently eighty-five years old and a forty-three year lung cancer survivor. When Carl was diagnosed, he was only given six months to live. He has incorporated many holistic lifestyle changes and techniques and has shared them in this 152-page book. Not only is the advice for quitting smoking mentioned but steps of how to do so successfully are also shared. Along with Carl’s advice and sixty years of nurse practitioner experience, several interviews with doctors, and case studies are also provided. Although I normally prefer hard copies of books, because of the amount of links to interviews, products, and websites, I would recommend the digital format which is nearly half the price of the paperback edition.

As new case studies come out, the author plans on revising the book and the digital version is easier to update than the physical copies. Hopefully, future revisions will fix a couple of the typos I spotted. Aside from the typos and drawn out doctor bios, this book is easy to read, informative, and hard to put down.

Most of the advice I was aware of such as avoiding sugar substitutes, pesticides and GMO enhanced produce. Avoiding excess minerals like fluoride requires some changes like switching to a toothpaste without it. I like how this book recommends several brands and where to purchase them. Avoiding EMF waves is trickier since I doubt my family will be up for disabling the WiFi at night. When possible the claims are backed up by case studies and interviews with physician specialists. There is some safety lingo stating that this book is not meant to be used in lieu of visiting a doctor and so on.

One bit of advice was a bit contradictory. It’s well known that fish, especially larger ones contain a lot of mercury. It makes sense to avoid eating too much salmon yet the book recommends eating it twice a week in another section.

I like how faith, serving others, prayer and meditation are all recommended for a healthy lifestyle. Many faiths are represented and there are quotes from the Dali Lama and President Monson from the church of Latter Day Saints. Many Bible verses are referenced in the prayer section so I was happy to see those there.

Overall, Reducing Your Cancer Risk (A Holistic Approach) has some great advice and lots of information and web links to check out. Reading the interviews takes more work in the physical format, but it’s not impossible. Most of the information can be found at the author’s website: www.HolisticCancerFoundation.com.

 


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String Player Gamer: Rebirth

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

Ever since String Player Gamer’s rendition of Undertale’s music, I’ve been a fan of his work. The Rebirth album has a wide variety of songs, instruments, and source material. Not all of the songs are based off of video games either. Light of the Seven from Game of Thrones makes an appearance. There are some songs from the movies Wonder Woman and Star Wars: A New Hope too. Other than those few songs, the rest of the tracks are from classic video games from the past couple of decades.

In total, there are thirty-two tracks and they are all exceptionally done. Most of them are instrumental though there are some with vocals like Pokémon’s Magikarp Song and the Song of Mana from Legend of Mana. There’s even an acapella version of Star War’s throne room song. Along with the instrument playing, the vocals are fantastic.

There’s a lot of Nintendo representation with songs from Kirby's Dream Land, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Land, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. There are quite a few Pokémon songs including battle and town music. Chrono Cross has a couple of songs in this album. Retro gamers will enjoy tracks from Mega Man 3, Street Fighter II, Sonic the Hedgehog, and the Tetris Reggae. Some other songs come from games like Animal Crossing, Assassin’s Creed II, and Professor Layton and the Curious Village. I was happy to see some Final Fantasy (XV) representation on this album too.

In the end, this album has something for every gamer and fans of superhero and Star Wars movies. The price is a reasonable $12.99 and you can listen to it before buying it on Bandcamp and other digital resellers. While it is available digitally on Amazon, it’s a little more expensive there.


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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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