The clown and the bat……


One of the most fascinating relationships in any form of entertainment is the dichotomy of the Batman and the Joker. While the original origin of the Joker isn’t as exciting or complicated as the origin we’ve grown up with. He’s always been there. He is, as Harvey Dent can appreciate, the other side of the coin. While they have had innumerable altercation over the 75 plus years history of Batman it’s never the physical aspect of their clashes that have made their interactions iconic. Rather, it’s the psychological impact the Joker is able to unleash on the Dark Knight. Most recently Snyder and Capullo’s run on the the Batman book told one of the best story arcs for these two enemies.


Death of the Family is a gorgeously told tale. The Joker returns, with his old face, bent on breaking Batman from within. Replicating all the major crimes and battles they’ve had over the years, the Joker goads Batman relentlessly. When they finally speak the Clown reveals he wants his old nemesis back. He finds Batman soft and blames the Bat family. No spoilers, it’s a must read. It’s also one of the best stories between these two characters to be told in a long time.

Some people may read the issues or graphic novels and wonder why Batman doesn’t just kill the psychopath and be done with it. Without realizing it, they are playing directly into the Joker’s hands the way he wants Batman to. It seems his sole mission, behind all the murder and mayhem, is to get Bruce to do just that. Pushing Batman to kill even someone as broken and violent as him would destroy everything Batman has stood for, for so long, instantly.

It’s harder to understand Batman’ refusal to put the Joker down when you read some of the story arcs over the years. The people close to Bruce who have suffered, died, or both at the hands of the madman.

The Killing Joke drove the point home when Gordon tells Batman to bring the Joker in “by the book” after the torture he had gone through at the lunatics hand.

The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller showed Batman come the closest he ever has and still he doesn’t kill the Joker. The scene is powerful to be sure. Even in Miller’s much darker and more hopeless vision of a DC universe, though, he still can’t get the Bat to give in.


Last night on the show Gotham the take on a future Batman/Joker relationship was beautifully crafted. We’ve always gotten the Batman created Joker story in the books. Gotham showed us how Joker created the spark for the Batman we would come to know and love. David Mazouz plays a young Bruce Wayne so sincerely its heartbreakingly amazing. You believe, without question, that his Bruce will be the Dark Knight one day. It’s never been more clear or so well told until the winter finale.

Jerome, played masterfully by Cameron Monaghan, returns from the dead and kidnaps Bruce. Every scene between these two has so much gravity in this episode. Bringing young master Wayne to a carnival only the Joker could create, we see the clash in these two characters birthed for the first time. You see the chaos and insanity Jerome creates sink deep into Bruce’s consciousness. The looks on David’s face in the scenes perfectly sell the horror and the conviction form who he will become. One of the best points driven home is delivered by Jerome. He tells Bruce Gotham has no heroes while shooting staples into his arm. Here’s where the goosebumps come in. Bruce stares him down and the musical score changes to something reminiscent of a proper Batman film. We see Jerome become confused and angry at the lack of reaction. It’s a brief scene, but, anyone who loves these characters will be moved to see it. 

The final scene between these two is all Batman! You see how close Bruce comes to ending Jerome, and, you see the realization that killing makes him no better than any other criminal. It’s a gloriously written episode and made me want to see this show go all the way through with seeing David Mazouz don the cape and cowl. I’d also love to see Cameron Monaghan become a show staple, no pun intended, and become a book accurate depiction of the Joker.


These two have always been my two favorite characters in comic fiction and I just wanted to share my thoughts growing up watching and reading this Dynamic Duo. Last night’s episode of Gotham might be the best origin story for Batman’s inspiration. If you’ve never watched the show before, at least, watch the winter finale.

War…war never changes…


There are iconic characters in gaming. There are iconic levels and worlds to explore. Then there’s the Fallout universe. What started as an engaging point and click RPG, became one of the most immersive self narrating open world experiences available to date. Who remembers that first exit from Vault 101? 

Seeing a decimated American landscape both familiar and alien is truly breathtaking. Being completely free to explore these expansive maps is filled with possibilities, Bethesda does not slouch in offering up a plethora of random encounters and side quests to flesh out their reality.


There are too many random and quirky characters to dive in too deep here. Just know that they do make it interesting. From the news updates of Three Dog, to Wayne Newton, to the unconfident quips of a DJ in Boston the radio in your Pip-Boy layers nostalgic Americana in your ears, albeit, with a limited track listing. 


Several factions overlap in each iteration of this ruined world. Some outright evil and some live in more of a gray area, depending on your point of view. 

Raiders


Murderous scavengers really only good for mowing down and looting. They tend to travel in groups. They are ruthless. Their dialogue is colorful and stupid at the same time. 

Slavers


Like the name implies these human traffickers are only good for looting once put down like animals.

Feral Ghouls


Though there are some who’ve maintained their sanity and try to live productive post war lives, most are basically shuffling corpses. Fallout 4 really improved this Fallout mainstay, making them more dangerous and disgusting than ever before.

Enclave


Though they don’t play much of a part outside of Fallout 3 this faction isn’t one to be trifled with. Vying for control opposite the Brotherhood of Steel, this group uses Power Armor and a bevy of energy weapons. Hard to go against, fun to loot. 

Brotherhood of Steel


The most iconic Fallout character in the universe. A paladin in his armor strikes an imposing figure. This group believes it’s cause is just. While seeming benevolent they usually use hardline tactics and violence when push comes to shove. Though in this hard world, who doesn’t? They do seem to be the most noble organization across the different games.

The Institute


Spoken of in hushed tones and theoretic implications in earlier games, Fallout 4 brought you face to face with this mysterious entity. Whether you agreed with them or not, this storyline holds a heck of a surprise for the player. Super advanced and hidden away the Institute is a fun place to spend some time in. No spoilers!

The Railroad 


This group only has good intentions. They work to help Synths fully escape the Institute. Filled with side quests and quirky characters, if you can find them and join them it’s definitely worth your time.

There are several more settlements and people to run into throughout your time in any of the sandboxes Bethesda has created. It’s too much to cover in one article, and somethings should be left to be discovered.

The play style is either first person or a more clumsy third person. The menus are easy to navigate. The map is well detailed, and the fast travel is a life saver.

I have sunk so many hours into each serving of this franchise I may need help! This is one of my favorite franchises and I find myself to the Wasteland again and again. It’s a truly amazing experience and this current generation’s offering in Fallout 4 quickly became my favorite. 

The improved graphics, customization, and settlement building placed it in a class by itself regarding RPG’s. Once again Bethesda stuffed it to the gills with interesting characters and a boatload of content. If you’ve played them all or haven’t dipped a toe into this deep, deep pond come on into the Wasteland. You’ll be glad you did!

A man chooses……

How many of you out there have played any of the Bioshock games? I recently picked up the rerelease of the dystopian masterpiece franchise. My fondness for this universe has not diminished in the slightest.

Ken Levine and his team at irrational outdid themselves, even surpassing the greatness of the System Shock franchise. This could be a masterclass in storytelling and aesthetic world building. I still get chills when I hear “How much is that doggy in the window?”


The first game introduced us to the world of Andrew Ryan’s vision of utopia in Rapture. The player, through the eyes of Jack, arrive in the midst of it’s destruction. We’re greeted to Rapture with a pithy speech by Ryan and I was taken aback at the game design of this city under the sea. 

“Is it someone new?” 

This question is asked by the first splicer in the game. If you pay attention this question is asked in the other games well. One of the many overlapping themes and narratives sprinkled throughout the franchise. 


Splicers, they comprise the majority of the survivors of the fall of Rapture. The perfect example of unbridled vanity, imbued with the consequences of science left unchecked by morality. These pitiable creatures are violent and driven by the lust for Adam. A DNA altering substance allowing humans to manipulate their genetic code. Their dialogue is engrossing and offers a look at what Rapture could have been and the catalyst to it’s downfall.


By far, the most startling creature wandering around the ruined metropolis are the little sisters. Nothing beats seeing one of these little girls stick a syringe into a corpse and drink the contents. They’re hunted ruthlessly by splicers. However, they are protected by the games most challenging characters…..the Big Daddy.

If you want to get to a little sister, you have to get through them first. Giant lumbering monsters armed with a massive drill and occasionally a river gun, they are a force to be reckoned with. They are unshakable in their singular duty to protect their assigned little sister. Watching them in action is awe inspiring, going up against them yourself is terrifying.

Throughout your journey in Rapture you’ll find audio diaries. These help build the narrative and tell a compelling backstory for many of the characters both dead and still residing in Rapture. 

Early in the game you’re introduced to Atlas, via a radio, who tasks you with rescuing his family. His Irish accented voice serves as a guide and taskmaster for much of the game. 

Andrew Ryan himself makes his presence known through broadcasts as well. His arrogance is heavy and his paranoia thick. Coming across as a man in bitter denial of the failure of his empire.

Margaret Tannenbaum arrives at a pivotal moment giving players an alternative way of handling little sisters. She is one of the few characters in this world who seems to have come to the realization of the nightmare built into the foundation of Rapture, and is attempting to atone.

Then there’s Sander Cohen. I won’t say much as experiencing this character is an event best left fresh and unspoiled. I’ll just say you won’t be disappointed.

All of these characters and more make for quite the addition to the amazing world and story you’ll play through. There’s also a character name Frank Fontaine,posthumously blamed with the downfall of Rapture and the civil war that killed many of its denizens.

Gameplay is fluid and fast. It’s a first person shooter with a twist. The Adam harvested by the little sisters can be used to purchase plasmids.

Plasmids rewrite Jack’s genetic code. Giving the player a bevy of powers to accompany their weapons. They are upgradable and fun to use. They can also be used in conjunction with the environment for different offensive effects.

Adam is harvested from little sisters. Hence, being hunted by splicers and their need for protection by the big daddies. Defeating big daddies gives you access to the frightened girls. The player is given a choice on how to procure the Adam. That’s a choice better left up to the player.

Each new area opens the player up to a deeper understanding of what happened beneath the waves before their arrival. The story of Rapture and you’re part in it is better left to be discovered spoiler free. If you’ve already been through it, you’ll know what I mean. 

I give this first installment a 9.5 out of 10 even with the passage of time since it’s initial release. The atmosphere and story are second to none and provided an experience more studios could do well to strive for. 

“Would you kindly” leave any comments about the first Bioshock game. Thoughts, feelings, expressions and opinions are more than welcome.

Hey Guys!!! 

Let’s build a positive community of loving all things nerdy together. I’ll publish articles about anything and everything going in on the wonderful world of all the things we love!! Let me know what you want to talk about by leaving comments and suggestions.