Awards – The Films from 2020 That Showed Off the Wonderful Glory of Animation

Animation is a form of filmmaking that is often related to second-tier status, something just for kids. This is by both the organisations giving out the awards and also by the very guilds that are meant to be promoting their member’s work. However, they are not second-tier films, and in many ways, it is the animated films that are pushing the frontiers of filmmaking and what is possible, and they should be championed for the work that they do.     

Animated films can be hand-drawn, stop/clay motion, computer-generated, it does not matter, but all of them show amazing techniques of hundreds of artists that bring the work to life.

So without further ado, these are the animated films that showed us the glory of animation in 2020. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, click on the banners to go to the full reviews of each of the films 

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Awards – Explosions, Guns, and Punches, Oh My. The Best Action of 2020

A good Action sequence is something that is truly amazing to watch, as it can be as expansive as explosions crashing across the screen, or more intimate, like a duel between two people. This gives the best action scenes such a range and in 2020 we were given some truly amazing spectacles.

For me, the best action scenes are those that excel in every element, whether that be live actions, special effects, digital effects, or animation and bring every facet to shine. It is also the category that looks at some of the department’s people don’t often fully understand like stunt coordination or the 2nd unit.

So without further ado, these are the moments of action that awed us in 2020. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, click on the banners to see the reviews of each film.

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The Expanse: Season 5 Primer

TL;DR – With the new season of The Expanse coming out in less than a week, we will catch you up on where all the characters are before the show explodes back onto our screens.  

The Expanse: Season 5. image Credit: Amazon Studios.

The Expanse: Season 5 Primer

With the next season of The Expanse coming out in under a week, I thought I would stop fretting and counting down the time until release and put that energy into something productive. With that in mind, below you will find a primer for the new season to catch you up on everything you need to know before Friday. For the sake of spoilers, we will be covering everything that has been released in the show so far, and the couple of early clips that have been released from the season but no more. To make this easy, we’ll first give a general overview before explore where each of the main characters are at the start of the season.

Overview:

The general overview is that the new season of The Expanse will drop on Amazon Prime this Friday/Saturday depending on your particular timezone. However, this season, not all the episodes will go live at the same time. The Expanse will be following the lead of The Boys earlier this year that released the first three episodes at once and then weekly from thereon. Personally, I found this to combine the best features of both binging and weekly release, and it worked great with The Boys, so I am looking forward to it here.

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Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Babylon Pack – Map-It

TL;DR – Every single feature of Civilization VI (at time of posting) in one Map, this time featuring the new addition Babylon.

Babylon Maps –

Today we got the latest update to Civilization VI with the newest addition to the New Frontier Pass. The next pit stop is back into the Cradle of Civilization with Babylon. So once again, we are going to dive back into the world of Cartography plus Video Games. If you want more detailed information on anything that appears on the Map, you can find it at our Civilization VI Cartographic Educational Database.

 Now as always, a couple of notes before we start, first the Civilization boundaries on the Map are based more on clarity than anything else, so in most cases, they conform to their modern counterparts. We have also worked using the commonly implemented political borders, not necessarily what nations claim, and this means making some judgement calls which you will see below. Also, while all attempts have been made to make sure that everything is accurately placed, putting this together meant working from multiple different sources, and map projections. As such, no matter how much you try, there might be some slight discrepancies here and there.
We will be mostly going over the new additions and changes to the Map in this update, if you want to learn more about some of the location choices that we made you can find more detail in our First Full Civilization Big Map and out Gathering Storm Update Map.  

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Video Game News for the Week of the 8th of November in the Year of our Lord 2020 – Article

TL;DR – From remasters, to loot boxes, to COVID-19, we look at the Video Games news from the week

It has been a busy week for video games, and while many people are diving into the next-gen consoles this week (not super jelly at all), I thought it would be a good time to look back at the news that was this week for video games and related

Mass Effect Remastered

Mass Effect 2. Image Credit: BioWare/EA.

The worst kept secret of video games has finally been announced on N7 Day with all three of the original Mass Effect Trilogy (sorry Andromeda). The remaster officially called the Mass Effect Legendary Edition will be out in Spring (or Autumn for those of us Down Under) in 2021.

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Map-It Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Pirates Scenario

TL;DR – All hands hoay, for we have a map to buried booty, all ye need to do is hoist the mainsail and let not the crown nor man catch yee.

Map-It Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass - Pirates Scenario. Image Credit: Brian MacNamara.

Pirates Scenario Map –

Today the good people at Firaxis Games released a new scenario for Civilization VI that harkened back to the old Sid Meier’s Pirates!

I will say one small thing, there is one city missing, and I am sorry, but there be no Gibraltar here, this felt like a map that would not have inserts for some reason.


Well, it might not be a full update to the game, but who am I to stare down a good map and not pull out the canvas and ink quill. So set sail on the open seas, enjoy the map of the Pirates Scenario and always remember that X Marks the spot.

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The Women of The Expanse

TL;DR – Here we explore the many wonderful women that make up the world of The Expanse.

The Women of The Expanse Article –

We are living in the age of prestige television and among that rise has been a Golden Age for Science Fiction on TV. In that rise, The Expanse has been one major standout and has some of the most rounded and best characters on TV at the moment. Today we are going to explore a facet of The Expanse that has been one of its best factors which is its representation of women. While there have been some great female characters across modern science fiction, in The Expanse we get so many examples throughout the series that it is a prominent part of why the show works as well as it does.

Just one note before we dive in, The Expanse is both a TV series and (first) a series of novels. While the TV series has been a faithful adaptation of the books, there are some character differences between the two. So for the sake of clarity, we will be focusing on the representation in the TV show, this also helps in regards to where we fall with Spoilers. With this in mind, at the time of writing four seasons of the TV show have been released covering Leviathan Wakes, Caliban’s War, Abaddon’s Gate, and Cibola Burn. With that, we will be focusing on those stories, but as Season Five (Nemesis Games) is coming soon, we may make some allusions to content there.

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Star Trek Discovery: Season 3 Primer

TL;DR – With the new season starting in a few weeks we catch you up on everything you need to know about Season 3 of Star Trek Discovery (Timeline, plot points, and outstanding questions oh my)

Star Trek Discovery. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

Star Trek Discovery: Season 3 Primer

It is not long until the next season of Star Trek Discovery comes out, and with its big jump and all the new Star Trek and Sci-Fi, we are getting you might need a catch up as to where we are and where we are going. In this primer, we will sum up the critical story posts that led to where we are, give an overview of where all this fits in the timeline, and look at the outstanding questions coming into Season Three.

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Map-It Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Byzantium and Gaul Pack

TL;DR – Every single feature of Civilization VI (at time of posting) in one map, this time featuring the new addition Ethiopia.

Byzantium and Gaul Maps –

Today we got the latest update to Civilization VI with the newest addition to the New Frontier Pass, and next pit stop into Europe and across the Mediterranean with first the Gaul and then the Byzantine Empire. So once again, we are going to dive back into the world of Cartography plus Video Games. If you want more detailed information on anything that appears on the map, you can find it at our  Civilization VI Cartographic Educational Database.

 Now as always, a couple of notes before we start, first the Civilization boundaries on the map are based more on clarity than anything else, so in most cases, they conform to their modern counterparts. We have also worked using the commonly implemented political borders, not necessarily what nations claim, and this means making some judgement calls which you will see below. Also, while all attempts have been made to make sure that everything is accurately placed, putting this together meant working from multiple different sources, and map projections. As such, no matter how much you try, there might be some slight discrepancies here and there.

We will be mostly going over the new additions and changes to the map in this update, if you want to learn more about some of the location choices that we made you can find more detail in our First Full Civilization Big Map and out Gathering Storm Update Map.  

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Article – The Oligopolization of the Video Game Industry

TL;DR – We explore the increasing Oligopolization of the Video Game Industry

The Oligopolization of the Video Game Industry

Overnight on the 22 of September (at time of writing) we were greeted to the news that Microsoft had purchased video game publisher ZeniMax. While the name ZeniMax might be unfamiliar to many, they own some of the most popular game development studios in the business. This includes Bethesda Softworks the home of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout and one of the original grand studios of the industry Id Software creators of Quake and Wolfenstein [1]. While the focus will likely be on the alleged $7.5 billion price tag for the publisher, this is also a chance to explore a troubling trend within global media and specifically the video games industry.

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