Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp sets a new standard for app games

Spoiler alert: I’m addicted to this freaking game.

It’s quite obvious that the quality of app games has vastly improved, in recent years. We started with Snake. Now we have app games like Vainglory, which is a full-fledged eSport, and Revolution II, a phone MMORPG that uses the Unreal Engine. Everyday app games inch closer to console/PC quality. Obviously they will never quite catch-up, but as long as they keep improving, apps will compete as major form of gaming.

Game developers have taken notice of this trend. Major game franchises, like Pokemon and Fire Emblem, have made successful iterations for mobile, and many other franchises are following suit.

The problem is some of these franchises do not translate well to mobile. Bandai Namco’s Tales of franchise is one of these. For me, the Tales games are built around their storylines, character interactions, and real-time battle systems. The mobile addition to the franchise, Tales of the Rays, loses most of these qualities, and shoves hundreds of Tales characters (all from different universes) into one game. The result is awkward, cringey, and doesn’t feel like a legit Tales game at all.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is the new mobile entry into the Animal Crossing franchise, and it is the exact opposite of Tales of the Rays. Instead of becoming a blemish on the franchise, Pocket Camp is a strong title for the whole franchise, even being a mobile game.

I spent countless hours playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the 3DS. The simple gameplay of collecting things, furnishing/personalizing your house, and paying off your debts was addicting, and this gameplay translates well into Pocket Camp. In the new game, players take control of a campsite instead of a whole town, where they meet animals, complete requests for them, and recruit them to stay at their campsite.

As for the customization and furnishings, Pocket Camp has a lot to offer. When players level up, they gain access to craft new furniture and items that can be used to decorate their camp, or upgrade-able RV. Both of these serve as the players “house,” and can be transformed into whatever you want. I chose to build a concert venue in my camp:


It’s basic, so far, but I had fun constructing it, and that is the excitement of Pocket Camp.

The one area where Pocket Camp lags behind the core games is in the collection of items. In the core games, players would collect fish, artwork, and more to add to the town’s museum, which served as the player’s in-game collection. I loved collecting all of the fossils found in the game, so that I could construct all of the replica’s in the museum. All of this is completely absent from Pocket Camp, forcing players to fall back on collecting furniture, and adding new animals to their camps.

Taking all of this into account, Pocket Camp is still a stunning app game. It has fun, easy, and creative gameplay, without being gated by extreme time-waits like other “builder” games. Furthermore, after a few weeks of playing Pocket Camp, I am still fully invested, and have not spent a dime.

Do yourself a favor, and download Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp now. While your at it, add me as a friend:


By Kyle Kalbach


Justice League: Decent, But Not Impressive

By Ren Brower

Zach Snyder’s third outing in the DC Cinematic Universe, Justice League, is built as the film that is meant to bring the whole universe together. By introducing new characters like Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg, and having returning characters finally working together, the film completes the DC puzzle. Overall, the story was good, entertaining, and does a good job of setting us up for a wider universe, but there are some issues.

Let’s start with the good.

As an ensemble movie, I think the fact that the writers did not spend a lot of time on each individual characters’ backstory was a good move. Snyder, and the writers, showed just enough that the story gets pushed along, but it left the door open for each of the characters who haven’t had an origin movie to still have one. He even teased other characters within the DC Universe (Green Lantern, Darkseid) without shoving too many characters one film.

The fact that Snyder cast Joe Morton as Cyborg’s father to me created a nod to Morton’s important role in Terminator 2, from killer robot son to cyborg son. Another Snyder regular, Billy Cruddup (previously seen as Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen), was appropriately cast as Barry Allen’s father. However, Barry, played by Ezra Miller, provides most of the comedic relief of the movie. Miller gives us a Barry that is still growing into his powers and seems more realistic then other iterations of the character. I love you CW Barry, but movie Barry has you beat.

The characters also felt more relatable and humanized than other superhero ensemble movies; the fact that the characters don’t instantly jump at the chance to save the world added to the story. Snyder also avoided the common ensemble trope where the team fights, and separates for a period before realizing they need to be together. The characters do have conflict with each other, but they still work as a team throughout it. The banter between the team throughout the major fights of the movie shows actual chemistry and has no sense of being forced to fight together – the comradery is completely genuine.

Now for the bad.

First off, I recognize that Henry Cavill was working on the next Mission Impossible movie, and the mustache he had was required for it, but the use of CGI to remove it was ridiculous. Stiff upper lip was given a whole new meaning.

The tone of the movie seemed to start off uneven, but eventually smoothed out. The cause? A lot of the beginning humor felt forced and I could feel Joss Whedon’s presence over it. Also, while the scenes with the Amazons were…alright, you could definitely tell that Patty Jenkins did not film them. Down to the costume choices they just didn’t feel like the same Amazons.

The fights felt a bit too CGI; in other super hero movies, the minions of the big bad were CGI yes, but you could tell there was an actual stuntman doing motion capture whereas the insect-like minions in Justice League never felt like they were doing that. There were amazing fight scenes with them, but there was a disconnect.

The villain was decently acted by Ciaran Hinds, but there was nothing that stood out about him. His motivations and actions weren’t anything that made him stand out from the crowd of other villains we’ve already seen. The mention of Darkseid in passing implies a bigger picture, but other than that his story is very familiar. Add to it the flashback to Earth’s first battle with him, and I found myself wondering if I was watching Justice League or watching Middle Earth’s battle with Sauron.

I would give this move 3.5/5 stars, the story being entertaining but perhaps only enough to wait to rent it when it comes out on DVD. It was better than I was expecting, but it was not without issue. I am looking forward to the future movies in the DC Cinematic Universe, and hope they get better as they make more.

Deciding the “Best” Horror Movie Villain is Probably Tougher Than You Think

The often evil and sadistic villains of horror films are as diverse as the flicks that they come from. From the satirical Jennifer, from Jennifer’s Body (2009), to the mastermind that is Jigsaw, from Saw (2004), horror villains have very different ways of scaring us.

Classic villains, like Freddy Kreuger, Mike Meyers, and Jason Vorhees, were all slashers that tormented hormonal teens. Katie Featherson/Tobi, from Paranormal Activity (2007) torments families with small children, and Samara just kills anyone who watches her tape.

With so many different modus operandi, and reasons for their actions, how can we tell the difference between good villains and the ones that would fall on their own machete? I’ve compiled a few key factors that I feel exhibit the best qualities of the villain.

Number One – Scare Factor

This is the most obvious in the making of a great horror villain. Only sadists watch horror movies with an intent other than being scared. Being scared is a primal instinct. It gets my adrenaline going. I enjoy being scared, at least when I know I’m safe, and that’s what horror films provide.

A decent horror villain has to be scary, bottom line. But a great horror movie villain, well, they can infiltrate you, terrifying you at your core. I was a freshman (sophomore?) when I first saw the original Paranormal Activity, and boy I’ll tell you what, that one look Katie Featherson, the main character, gives toward the end lingered with me for awhile after leaving the theater. Shudders.

KAtie featherson

Katie, or more accurately Tobi, doesn’t have a particular strong story as a villain, but their success lies in making me crap myself. I see this as potentially the most important factor. The scarier the villain, the better, right?

Number Two – Backstory

As with all fictional characters, backstories are vital. However, when it comes to horror villains, backstory is especially critical. Why? Well, because the reasoning behind the villains’ horrendous actions usually lies in that backstory.

In the first Saw film (spoiler alert), it is revealed through Jigsaw’s backstory that he was diagnosed with cancer, attempted suicide, lived, and his whole perspective on life was changed as a result. While it doesn’t excuse his actions, the backstory provides the validation of his actions, at least in his own mind.

Backstory can give villains more depth, making their characters more intense, or even more relatable, as is the case with Jigsaw. However, purposefully omitting the backstory of a villain makes a statement too. In The Strangers (2008), the trio of trespassers and murderers are given no identity, no motive, and no backstory. With all of the effort they go through to torture Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman, this omission is particularly unnerving.

the strangers

Number Three – MO/Shtick

Freddy has his nightmares and his glove, Jason has his machete, and Jigsaw has his games. Sometimes to be set-apart from the crowd you need something that sets you apart. Many horror villains have a particular modus operandi, means of killing, or shtick that makes them special.

Samara Morgan, the creepy girl from The Ring (2002), possessed a VHS tape (later transcribed to DVD), killing anyone who watches the video after seven days. In those seven days, her victims are tormented with visions, terror, and even Samara climbing out of their T.V. Even for horror, this was unusual, and unusually spooky. Her shtick helped Samara become an icon in the genre of horror.

Number Four – Straight Popularity

When all is said and done, the popularity of a horror villain is going to speak for them. They could be moderately scary, with terrible backstory, and only kill with a boring knife, but if the villain is widely popular, it has to count for something.

Speaking of shotty backstory, little terror, and (mostly) killing people with a knife, Ghostface, the iconic killer from the Scream franchise fits perfectly in this slot. (Spoiler alert). Throughout the series, multiple characters serve as Ghostface, but there is still a cohesion between the different versions. Personally, I love the franchise, I completely understand why it became popular.

Today, Ghostface’s mask is one of the most recognizable masks/halloween costumes. In fact, many people may not even know that it’s from a movie at all. Surely this speaks for the success of Ghostface as a horror villain. To become recognizable to this extent, you have to have some sort of impact. Therefore, popular villains, no matter their performance in the other factors, need to be considered when discussing the best horror villain.


As you can see, there are many different factors to consider when deciding the “greatness” of a horror villain. In pretty much all cases, the “greatness” of villains are relative opinions, and up for debate. These are just a few ways to help filter out the weak killers.

I know I left out some obvious factors, such as kill rate and success. Any ideas on other important factors into the making of a horror villain? Leave me a few lines below!

Help Select Characters for the Next Two Tournaments!

Last One Standing’s Fictional Relationship Goals tournament has seen its first two couples secure a semifinal spot: Jack & Sally, and Ellie & Carl. With the top two seeds battling today, adrenaline will pump during these final matches.

As mods however, we started looking toward the future. We have discussed the next tournament for some time, ultimately deciding to do something a bit different. Instead of running one 32 competitor tournament (like relationship goals), we are going to run two concurrent 16 competitor tournaments, with quit different themes. All members (or anyone, really) will have a chance to help determine the competitors.

The two bracket themes will be:

Bracket #1: Best Holiday Film

holiday armidillo.gif


Bracket #2: Best Horror Villain

the horror.gif

To help select competitors, just use this SurveyMonkey link and take the short survey. Select THREE competitors from each theme, and submit! The survey will be finalized December 2nd. The top three voted competitors from each theme will be added to the mod-selected list of 13, for a total of 16 competitors in each tournament.

Don’t miss your opportunity to rally support for your favorite competitors! For oblivious/hyper-link adverse people:

Lastly, I would like to announce that there will be a special opportunity during these brackets. I will give more information about this later, but members of the LOS Facebook group will be able fill-in their predictions for one bracket before voting starts, and at the end of the tournaments all predictions will be scored. The highest scoring member for each bracket will be given a special opportunity!!!

Until then, happy voting!

How Cory & Topanga Took Down Jim & Pam

Yesterday, Last One Standing saw a very close match between a Disney sitcom couple, and a Dunder Mifflin couple. The third place seed, Jim & Pam Halpert from The Office, were heavily upset by the 14th seed, Cory & Topanga (Boy Meets World), shocking many voters/members. Originally, Jim & Pam were thought to be strong enough to make it to at least the semifinals, so to see them leave early during the round of 16 is surprising, and sad.

During the match, Cory & Topanga took an early lead. Within the first few hours of the poll, the Disney channel couple had amassed nearly double the votes that Jim & Pam were able to salvage. However, Jim & Pam started to gain traction around the late afternoon. Votes poured in for them, quickly catching them up to be within two votes of victory. But the Cory & Topanga voters came out to ensure that would never happen.

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By then end of the match, Cory & Topanga found themselves five votes up, and victorious. By beating one of the strongest couples in the tournament, they have proven that they have the potential to make it to the finals. The Fictional Relationship Goals tournament just got even more competitive.

But how did Cory & Topanga pull it off? Jim & Pam are considered one of the best fictional couples in entertainment, by most people, besides myself it seems. How could they defeat the true office romance?

Two major factors contributed to Cory & Topanga’s win (besides just them being cute). The first, and possibly most important, is the fact that Cory & Topanga are each other’s first, and only, love. Boy Meets World viewers watch the two evolve from kids who are two afraid to date, to the powerhouse couple we know them as today.

As LOS member, and long time Boy Meets World fan, Ashley Cacicedo says, “Their relationship on screen resonates with viewers, because you grow with the couple and witness their progression.” Unlike Jim & Pam, Cory & Topanga genuinely give off the feel of fate and destiny.


On the flip side, while Jim & Pam are obviously meant to be together, their journey wasn’t as easy. Before they became the happy couple, they struggled with their feelings for eachother. For the first three seasons of The Office both of them were dating, or engaged, to other people, and both denied their love for eachother as well. Even though they finally end-up together, and happily in-love, they cannot rival the relationship of Cory & Topanga that develops, mostly uninhibited, from early childhood.

I know that if we actually got to choose our relationship goals, I’d choose the Cory & Topanga type of relationship too.

The second major contributing factor is what I call the “Disney effect”. Boy Meets World originally aired on ABC, a Disney-owned station. The Fictional Relationship Goals tournament features couples from vastly different medias, however there seems to be a trend of Disney couples being voted for to advance. As creator of LOS, I will be keeping a closer eye on this in future tournaments, and may take some action if it persists and becomes and issue.

Either that, or Disney really just has the best relationships. Cory & Topanga will be battling again in the quarterfinals, against Ellie & Carl (UP).

Please join the discussion, and vote on matches by joining our Last One Standing Facebook group.

Last One Standing: Decoded

Ever wonder who would win a tournament of favorite Harry Potter Characters? Curious about which fictional couple most represents relationship goals? Wondering which villain could win a tournament of best horror movie villains? If yes, then look no further than Last One Standing (LOS).

LOS is an online community of pop-culture fanatics, in which various themed tournaments are run. Each tournament features characters from movies, television, books, and pretty much any source of media. We strive to ensure that there is something for everyone to root for! If the current tournament theme isn’t something you’re interested in, stick around and vote anyway, because eventually there will be a new tournament for you to dive into!

Tournaments are played in March-Madness style brackets, similar to this one.

Featured matches are posted each day in the Facebook group: Last One Standing. It is open to anyone, so please follow the link, join, and bring friends. Members of the group are encouraged to vote on each day’s matches.

Polls are open NOON-MIDNIGHT (est.) each day. The character with the highest votes at the end of the voting period wins the match, and advances in the bracket. Matches can, and have been very close in the past, so everyone is strongly encouraged to voted.

Voting continues until there is only one competitor left. They are declared the LAST ONE STANDING for that tournament, and are placed in our Hall of Champions.

Finally, don’t be afraid to comment your thoughts, pictures, memes, gifs, or whatever else you feel is related and/or necessary to the days matches, or the tournaments in general. It has been shown that it is possible to sway other member’s opinions enough to help your characters win.

By the way, Hermione won our Favorite HP character tournament. Congrats!

LOS' Favorite Harry potter Charachter

Finally, have fun and connect with fellow fans! Please like/share/comment and let me know what you guys think of LOS so far!

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