Culture Movies/TV

The 13 Best Soccer Movies You Should Binge Right Now

Movies about any sport are difficult to make without being overly cliché or cheesy at some points. Of course, even if they’re either of those, if done in the right way, they can still be incredible. Even harder than making a movie about a sport like boxing is one about a team sport like soccer. Whether you choose to put the focus on the entire team in a more general sense or you shine a light on just a handful of players, it feels like you’re missing out.

With that being said, soccer has enough aspects to it than can be highlighted through film and as a result, some genuinely great pieces of cinema have been made centered around the sport. Below, you can check out an alphabetical list we compiled of the thirteen best soccer movies for your viewing pleasure.

1. ‘Bend It Like Beckham’

Much like many of the films on this list, Bend It Like Beckham is about far more than soccer, but it uses the sport as its driving force and main storyteller. The title is, of course, a reference to the legend, David Beckham. Essentially, it is about a British Indian girl who’s in love with soccer but is forbidden by her family from playing it because of its perception as a man’s game. She continues to play and is recruited to play for a local women’s team and the events unfold from there. As well as gender stereotypes, themes like sexuality and cultural traditions get explored here.

You can watch on Hulu.

2. ‘Green Street’

Known to many as Green Street Hooligans, Green Street stars Elijah Wood who plays as Matt. After being wrongfully expelled from Harvard University, Matt is forced to go to England to live with his sister. When introduced to her husband, he is also introduced to the world of soccer and more specifically, soccer hooliganism. He learns a lot from the culture, violent as it is, and it helps him learn a lot about himself too. The film is about his discovery and enlightenment with it and is an excellent portrayal of hooliganism from many perspectives.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime streaming.

3. ‘Escape To Victory’

One of the oldest picks on this list, the late John Huston’s Escape To Victory was released in 1981. It boasts an all-star cast, with acing legends Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine and soccer legends like Pelé and Bobby Moore making appearances. This is just as much a war movie as it is a soccer movie. Set during the Second World War, those stuck in a Nazi prison camp must play a game of soccer against the guards. The allied team end up using it as a means to plot their escape. The storyline is out there but the execution of it is not bad at all and if you’re making a run of soccer movies, it’s required viewing.

You can watch this on Prime Video.

4. ‘Fever Pitch’

There is an American version of this movie that was released in 2005 starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore and it centers around baseball, but on this list, we have the original version of the movie from 1997. Whereas the later version is about the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series, this one is about Arsenal’s league title win in the 1988/1989 season. The main character, played by Colin Firth, is a huge Arsenal fan but finds himself in a tricky situation trying to balance his fandom and his new relationship with a woman he loves.

You can watch on Netflix.

5. ‘Goal! The Dream Begins’

Goal! The Dream Begins is the first in a great trilogy, but its widely considered to be the best movie of the bunch. Released in 2005, it tells the story of Santiago Munez, an illegal alien from Mexico living in Los Angeles who is in love with soccer. He’s eventually recruited to play for the English side Newcastle United and the pressure is on because he knows that he needs to show up and show out to be able to go back to the States. Once again, soccer is used here as an escape and a means to a better life.

You can watch on YouTube.

6. ‘Looking For Eric’

In Looking For Eric, the main character Eric Bishop is in a position that a lot of us find ourselves in at some point in our lives – working a job we hate and at odds with his ex-wife. That’s where a lot of the similarities end because the plot gets crazier from here onwards. Eric’s son is hiding a gun for a local drug baron and it is driving Eric to suicidal thoughts. But after stealing some of his son’s cannabis and smoking it, he hallucinates and sees the soccer legend Eric Cantona, his hero. Cantona gives him advice that helps him turn his life around. The film is more so about soccer fanaticism and seeing soccer players as real people.

You can watch this on Hulu.

7. ‘Mean Machine’

Mean Machine is an adaptation of the 1974 film The Longest Yard, so if you’re a fan of that then this is certainly worth a watch. This version released in 2001 sees Vinnie Jones playing Danny Meehan, the former captain of the England national soccer team who was banned from the game for match-fixing. One thing leads to another and he ends up assaulting two police officers, putting him in prison, where he eventually has to coach a team of prisoners in a game of soccer against the guards. Danny Dyer, Jason Statham, and more appear.

You can watch this on Netflix.

8. ‘Mike Bassett: England Manager’

Directed by Steve Barron, unlike other films on this list, Mike Bassett: England Manager is a satirical comedy. When the previous England manager dies of a heart attack, the search for a new one is conducted. In comes Mike Bassett, manager of a successful team from a lower league. He is expected to lead them to the World Cup and all hell breaks loose. Disaster after disaster occurs, with Mike picking two wrong midfielders in Benson and Hedges based on the cigarette brand, the star of the team getting involved with and distracted by a transsexual and Mike mixing drugs and alcohol together, leading to a drunken incident. The film is by no means an accurate portrayal of soccer but it is a hilarious one.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime Video.

9. ‘Offside’

Offside (2006) is about a group of women who are soccer fans and want to go watch their home team Iran play Bahrain in a World Cup qualifier. Unfortunately, because they are women, they are banned from entering the stadium. They get in anyway. There are a few interesting things about this film. The first is that it was banned from screening in Iran. Secondly, it was actually shot during an Iran qualifying match, and depending on the result of the game, director Jafar Panahi had two endings planned. Lastly, the concept of the film was based on Panahi’s daughter who decided to attend a game in spite of the rules.

You can stream this on Amazon Prime Video.

10. ‘The Damned United’

In 1974, Brian Clough was given the job as manager of Leeds United. It was a controversial decision, with Brian already unpopular amongst the fan base. His managerial methods proved to be a bad fit for the team and after a chaotic 44 days, he was sacked. The Damned United is about that short time, but also about the politics of soccer and its inner workings. It’s one of the better soccer movies of all time and you don’t need to be a soccer fan or even know a lot about the sport to enjoy and appreciate this one.

You can stream this on Amazon Video.

11. ‘The Football Factory’

Just like Green Street, The Football Factory is another film that puts the focus on soccer fans and just how extreme things can get. Danny Dyer plays your typical hooligan – someone who drinks heavily, dabbles in drugs, is overly aggressive, and deals with a lot of casual racism. Of course, if he remained like that for the entire film, it would be hard to identify with him. Eventually, he comes to his senses and wants to escape that life and the movie is about his journey. This film is the rawest look at hooliganism on the big screen.

You can stream this on Amazon Prime Video.

12. ‘The Game Of Their Lives’

Set in 1950 but released in 2005, The Game Of Their Lives details one of the prouder moments in soccer history for Americans – the first time the U.S. national team ever beat England, at the World Cup too. It was an upset, a source of motivation and naturally, makes for a great movie plot. The film takes a look at the players that made up the team and their backstory and is an underdog movie through and through. Gerard Butler appears.

You can stream this on Hulu.

13. ‘There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble’

There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble is an inspiring movie about a young boy from Manchester named Jimmy Grimble whose dream is to play for his school’s soccer team. One of his bullies makes the team because his dad pays for his spot. Things are looking down for Jimmy, until he’s handed the pair of boots that one of his idols from Manchester City played with. From then, things start turning around for him. It’s a tale of self-belief and just how impactful sports figures can be where they least expect it.

You can rent this via iTunes.

Consoles Gaming

19 Awesome Games That Play Just Like ‘Hollow Knight’

Hollow Knight made quite the splash when it released in 2017, during a time when the industry was experiencing a glut of indy two-dimensional games. Hollow Knight’s uniquely dark aesthetic helped it stand out. Years after its release, and the enthusiasm for the game hasn’t relented, thanks to a small but dedicated group of core gamers who want to recreate the feeling of having experienced Hollow Knight for the first time. The following are 19 games that will help gamers do just that.

1. Bloodborne

This one might raise some eyebrows but keep an open mind. Yes Bloodborne, at face value, couldn’t be more different than Hollow Knight. One is a two-dimensional platformer, while the other is a three dimensional hack-and-slash. The two games however have a lot in common. And I’m not just talking about their dark moody atmospheres. There is a reason why fans of Hollow Knight have called it two dimensional Dark Souls. The enemies and obstacles put before the player in Hollow Knight are very similar to Dark Souls games. The variety and difficulty of bosses is another way the two games echo one another. Bloodborne in particular, with its emphasis on fast-paced gameplay that emphasizes dodging enemy attacks and striking at the opportune time. If they ever did make a two-dimensional Souls game they would at the very least take a couple of pages from Hollow Knight’s playbook.

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2. ‘Shovel Knight’

Shovel Knight is the Game of Thrones to Hollow Knight’s Lord of the Rings. Both are considered the pillars of the side-scrolling platformer genre. Really the only difference between the two games is the art styles. Both games inspired sequels in which side characters from the original game are put in the center. Shovel Knight and Hollow Knight set the standard for indy platformers and the genre is better off for it.

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3. ‘Dream Alone’

What would you likely get if you had Tim Burton take a break from filmmaking to make a video game with his signature dark brooding style? Well, it would probably be Hollow Knight but Dream Alone is a close second. Dream Alone is another platformer set in a dark, atmospheric environment. The game is a bit darker than the cartoonish violence of the Hollow Knight, but fans of the latter will feel right at home with Dream Alone’s gameplay.

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4. ‘Tunic’

Another visually stunning game that blends Hollow Knight with more modern Legend of Zelda games. Tunic mirrors Hollow Knight by taking place in a world that manages to be small and large at the same time. The player takes control of a small fox who sets off on a journey that puts them in conflict with enemies of all shapes and sizes. The game’s difficulty seems to keep in line with the player’s experience. This gives players the chance to take in the games amazing graphics which, at times, seems to flirt with reality. 

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5. ‘Stela’

Like Hollow Knight, Stela is a game that revels in its scenery. Oftentimes, the titular character is barely noticeable as the camera pans out to reveal levels as meticulously designed as they are massive. No two stages are the same and, at times, it’s difficult to believe that you are even playing the same game. Much like Hollow Knight, Stela is as much of a visual experience as it is a game.

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6. ‘Chasm’

One part Hollow Knight and one part Dungeons and Dragons, Chasm is a game that perfectly blends the side-scrolling platforming with RPG elements. Best described as two dimensional Skyrim, the game sends players on a journey across a medieval world to raid dungeons and fight all manner of ghouls and monsters. While the aesthetic isn’t as dark as Hollow Knights, it is just as atmospheric with the background setting the tone for each stage.

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7. ‘Mark of the Ninja’

From samurais to ninjas. Mark of the ninja is another game that matches Hollow Knight in terms of critical acclaim but doesn’t quite measure up commercially. Mark of the Ninja’s relative obscurity, however, is not indicative of its quality. Both Hollow Knight and Mark of the Ninja utilize dark atmospheres but while Hollow Knight has not stealth element, Mark of the Ninja is almost entirely about stealth. The main character utilizes all their tools to stay hidden even as the dispatch enemies in some of the most clever ways imaginable. It is a bit of a departure from the traditional platformer formula but it works.

8. ‘Katana Zero’

One of the most underrated games on this list, Katana Zero did not make as large as a splash as Hollow Knight. But ask anyone who has played the game and they will tell you it deserves all the plaudits Hollow Knight received and then some. Like Hollow Knight, the atmosphere is a key element but while Hollow Knight is dark and mysterious, Katana Zero uses an aesthetic best described as pre-cyberpunk urban. It’s a story that isn’t shy about showing the bleak side of urban life. The main characters in both games are deep and somehow relatable despite having few if any words.

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9. ‘Sundered: Eldritch Edition’

Sundered: Eldritch Edition is in an interesting place. Often compared to Hollow Knight, like most two dimensional sidescrolling platformers are, the game is often considered to be in Hollow Knights shadow. Most are not willing to admit that although the game isn’t a masterpiece like Hollow Knight, it is, at times, more fun. 

Sundered: Eldritch Edition is as easily comparable to Hollow Knight as it is to cult classics like Guardian Heroes.

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10. ‘Metroid: Samus Returns’

And speaking of Metroid, there wouldn’t likely be a Hollow Knight without the original Metroid. That is, by no means, a knock on Hollow Knight. The same can be said for a vast swath of games that take their cues from the iconic platformer. The remake for Nintendo 3DS updates the game with enhanced graphics and slightly tweaked controls that doesn’t so far as to alienate Metroid purists. With Nintendo seeming to refocus on this franchise now is a good time for fans to get back into the swing of things.

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11. ‘Axiom Verge’

A game that looks and plays like a cross between Hollow Knight and the original Metroid. Axiom Verge intentionally leans on nostalgia with graphics that are identical to the original Metroid game. In fact, nostalgia seems to be one of the game’s primary draws thanks to several callbacks and allusions to Metroid. 

But while the developers clearly had their eyes set on the past, much of the game, mainly the controls are reminiscent of Hollow Knight. While Metroid was slower and contemplative, Axiom Verge and Hollow Knight are faster paced. While Metroid’s story was, as controversial as it is to admit, threadbare, both Hollow Knight and Axiom Verge manage to paint quite the narratives with minimal tools. Axiom Verge is very much a bridge between Metroid and Hollow Knight.

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12. ‘Guacamelee’

What do you get when you take Hollow Knight and add color, comedy and a dash of luchador culture? Despite Guacamelee’s many similarities to Hollow Knight, gameplay and genre specifically, it manages to be a completely different beast. This is largely because the game doesn’t take itself as seriously as Hollow Knight, which makes for a more whimsical experience. Guacamelee’s characters are larger than life and the characters, form the enemies to the bosses are well thought out and designed. It’s little wonder, much like Hollow Knight, fans demanded a sequel soon after the original’s release.

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13. ‘Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’

And speaking of Castlevania, choosing which game from the long-running franchise-best mirrors Hollow Knight is difficult. The 1997 release of Symphony of the Night has gameplay that is most similar to Hollow Knight. In fact, almost every aspect of the game is similar to Hollow Knight except the difficulty. Symphony of the Night comes from the era of games in which arcades relied on developers making their games difficult to facilitate a steady stream of quarters. While Hollow Knight has some difficult spots few are as punishing as the entirety of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

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14. ‘Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night’

When Hollow Knight first hit the market, the one game it was compared to most was Castlevania and for good reason. Developers cited Castlevania as an inspiration for Hollow Knight. If Castlevania is Hollow Knight’s parent then Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is its long-lost sibling. Both games heavily feature platforming and combat but while Hollow Knight has its own distinct style, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night does it’s best to visually out-Castlevania Castlevania. In parts it works in others it gets to be a bit over the top but overall Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a solid addition to this list. 

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15. ‘Cuphead’

An unexpected commercial and critical hit Cuphead is one of the few games on this list that can rival the success of Hollow Knight. While the two games are indy platformers, one relies heavily on the atmosphere while the other treats it’s cartoonish aesthetic as an afterthought. In Cuphead the gameplay takes center stage as the player has to fight through hordes of cartoonishly difficult enemies very reminiscent of Dark Souls. But for all their difference Cuphead and Hollow Knight are cut from the same cloth. Developers from both games clearly had an eye for detail and it shows in both titles.

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16. ‘Ori and the Blind Forest’

Ori and the Blind Forest is a game that, like Hollow Knight, wears its art style on its sleeve. From the moment the game starts, players are treated to otherworldly visuals. The Ori and Hollow Knight series represent some of the most visually stunning games released in recent years. Ori in particular, with it, flashes of color and clever use of light subvert the idea of amazing graphics only coming in three dimensions. Ori and its contemporaries represent some of the best arguments for games-as-art.

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17. ‘Dead Cells’

While Dead Cells is an indy two-dimensional platformer like Hollow Knight, its success isn’t as universal. The contingent of those who love the game is only slightly larger and not nearly as vocal as those who say the game is uninspired. While Dead Cells does take cues from older platformers, the same can be said for more critically acclaimed platformers. Dead Cells fans love the game’s intense gameplay that relies on speed above everything else. This has made the game a favorite among speedrunners who push the gameplay to new and unexpected heights. While it’s overall quality can be debated, Dead Cells has without a doubt earned a spot on this list.

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18. ‘Hyper Light Drifter’

Another critically acclaimed indy game that features a mysterious warrior figure fighting through hordes of enemies. Hollow Knight and Hyper Light Drifter have as many similarities as they do differences. One utilizes a darker atmosphere while the other makes color and digital sprites a significant part of its gameplay. Hyper Light Drifter is for those who like their platforming experiences with a dollop of 16-bit nostalgia.

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19. ‘Hollow Knight: Silksong’

Silksong is the obvious choice for those wanting to recapture that Hollow Knight feel. The game takes several cues from the original Hollow Knight game and improves upon them. Well, this is according to Nintendo game developers. The game has yet to be released to the public, but what has been seen of the game is nothing short of stunning. Parts of the game are more colorful than its predecessor and the gameplay appears to be faster. Developers have been working a long time on this followup and here’s hoping the release is as polished as it looks.

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Sneakers Style

The 20 Best Nike Shoes to Buy Right Now

The Swoosh reigns supreme as a footwear giant, but the brand can sometimes overwhelm consumers with a myriad of options. Ranging from current collabs to stand by silhouettes, the brand has a sneaker for just about every activity. Between new sneakers for hooping to catching up on the most recent and popular styles, to must-have collabs, we rounded up the 20 best Nikes to buy right now. Cash in on nostalgia and re-up on iconic styles with these can’t miss Nike styles. 

1. Nike Flyknit Trainer

Reason to buy: Combines the simple touch of a Nike GR with the impossible-to-price clout from a Kanye West co-sign. 

The Nike Flyknit Trainer is a prime example of what happens when a smartly designed sneaker falls into the hands of the powerful influence of Kanye West. The sneaker originally debuted in 2012 and the latest rumors surrounding the silhouette have a re-release slated for 2020. The OG black/white colorway holds a special seat in sneaker history as an under the radar sneaker that rose to popularity after West was spotted rocking the pair. The silhouette skyrocketed in popularity and gave way to the almost equally popular Nike Flyknit Racer. The 2012 release date is important too, right at the beginning of modern-day athleisure, West choosing to go with the Flyknit Trainer gave a green light to the “sneakers with any outfit” trend that opened the door for the peak of trainer hype that the industry has experienced during the past decade. The sneaker features a Zoom Air midsole with a Flyknit upper, a new Nike material that at the time rivaled the primeknit comfort from the brand with the Three Stripes. Be a part of sneaker history with the low-cut athletic look that helped bring forth the modern era in popular footwear.

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2. Nike Air Max 90 (2020)

Reason to buy: The recently retooled classic reboots the classic robust silhouette with technical updates for the modern era of footwear. 

The Nike Air Max 90, one of Nike’s best selling sneakers, almost went by the name Nike Air Max III. The sneaker designer, Tinker Hatfield, made a brand new window to show off the Swoosh’s Air Max technology and gave the sneaker bright color accenting to draw attention to the visible tech. The 90 has a bulky structure and even though it’s been replaced as an athletic sneaker it still helps lead Nike’s sales as a popular silhouette for casual wear and comfort while walking. The 90 saw a recent re-release for 2020 as the OG look underwent a slightly modern makeover for the new trends in footwear. Shoppable colorways include Blue, Pink, and Mossy Green. Check the video below for a closer look at what makes this 90 “new.” 

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3. Nike Air Span II

Reason to Buy: The retro sleeper that you’re still hitting SNOOZE on. 

Among other high profile sneaker releases of 2018, the Swoosh snuck in a retro of the Nike Air Span II, a lesser-known retro silhouette that hasn’t been given its proper due. Heralding from the late 80s and early 90s, the sneaker is a boxy icon from sneaker days gone by and has made a full-force return in OG colorways and high profile collabs with brands like Patta. The sneaker is a personal favorite and a great addition to any rotation craving an injection of retro heat. The model received high praise from iconic sneaker journalist Gary Warnett whose passing in 2017 was recognized with an epic custom sneaker in his memory

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4. Nike Air Force 1

Reason to buy: The true neutral good and chaotic evil of sneakers 

In the meme economy, a black Nike AF1 sneaker says a lot, and it’s not good. Similarly so, a fresh and crisp pair of white Nike AF1s sends a different type of message. Despite what modern interpretations of the style suggest, the Nike Air Force 1 is one of the only truly “iconic” sneakers that exist. Low price point, impossibly and timelessly cool, the type of sneaker you want to buy every 6 months or so. Add a little bit of New York flair to the classic sneaker by buying the Supreme branded iteration which was rumored to restock every now and again to keep true to the ethos of the sneaker’s wearability and forever popularity. 

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5. Nike x Off-White Waffle Racer

Reason to buy: A low entry point to cash in on the Off-White hype 

There’s very little that doesn’t have the currently cool fingerprint of Virgil Abloh. The LV designer and director of Off-White is not only the come to fruition prodigy of Kanye West but has recently set himself above minor celebrities with his recent Nike collaboration. Directly placing him into the forefront of the sneaker world, his 2017 contribution to the culture can’t be overestimated and has been the talking point of sneaker style for the past few years. Even if the price point is too high to get in on the original 10, Abloh has been putting his signature touch on other models like the Dunk Low SB and the waffle racer, a great silhouette that holds a sense of nostalgia for the brand’s humble beginnings. Snag his version of the waffle racer, direct from Nike for one of the least expensive Nike x Off-White sneakers out right now. 

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6. Nike ACG Dog Mountain

Reason to Buy: Hit the hill post-quar with the perfect sneaker to keep you going–and it doesn’t look half bad anyway. 

Nike ACG has had some absolute hits, especially considering the recent gorpcore revival that has put heavy synthetic layering and complex technical aspects at the forefront of footwear and style in general. The ACG Dog Mountain is the perfect remedy for some post quar activity. For those itching to get outside and put their closeted outerwear to work, you’re going to need the right sneaker to get you there. The Dog Mountain takes on a heavy treaded outsole with a light Nike foam midsole and rather lightweight construction. The silhouette proves true for outside running as well as SOHO street style. The sneaker of course is dressed in Nike’s consistently cool, ACG color schemes of tonal earthy colors mixed with bright, punchy vibes of 90s outerwear. 

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7. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37

Reason to Buy: Update your pavement pounder with the newest from Nike running 

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 is the newest iteration of Nike’s running prominence. The Zoom Pegasus line has been a consistent deliverable from Nike in terms of updated materials, running tech, and highly popular runner silhouettes. The most recent offering from the Pegasus line features more foam in the midsole for a neutral run fit for the masses. If COVID-19 has taught me anything, it’s that I crave a good outdoor run and by the time this is over, I’ll certainly be in the need for a good run and a new habit. The Pegasus 37 is the antidote for this nationwide involuntary solitude that has most ready to climb the walls to be back outside climbing hills.

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8. Nike PG4

Reason to Buy: Best sneaker for hooping

Update your hoop sneaker with the best from Nike’s recent basketball silhouette. With The Last Dance getting sneakerheads thirsty again for performance basketball silhouettes, the folks at Nike have the thirst-quenching formula — served in the form of a Nike Paul George 4 that will have you back on the court faster than you thought. The PG4 is the most recent iteration from the PG signature line and when it comes to basketball sneakers, signature models from the Swoosh are always a reliable source for on-court performance. The silhouette features a full foam midsole, outsole made with fast, cutting movements in mind, and a full zip on the tongue for a locked-in feel. Play like Paul George with his fourth signature silhouette from Nike. 

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9. Nike Cortez OG

Reason to Buy: From west coast swag to an iconic moment in film 

Body: The Nike Cortez OG lives a double life as a west coast sneaker icon to a one-off from Forrest Gump. The sneaker has been seen in several colorways, a house shoe for Kendrick Lamar, and custom iteration for tennis legend Maria Sharapova, but it may never surpass its red, white, and blue colorway being given to Tom Hanks in the classic piece of Americana. Despite its many faces, the sneaker has long-running origins with Nike. It originally was a response to Adidas’ Aztec sneaker which prompted the father of the brand Phil Knight to ask the question “What was the name of that dude who killed all the Aztecs?” bringing Knight and others at the Swoosh to name their new sneaker “Cortez.” 

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10. Nike SB Dunk Low

Reason to Buy: SB hype is peaking, cash in before the trend falls 

Whether you’re a die-hard skater or not, the SB Dunk Low is a fan favorite. Utilized by skaters for its wide outsole and low top cut, the sneaker has found a rebirth in popularity with high profile collabs from Travis Scott and Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, however, the sneaker has seen a round of GR releases which feature some solid colorways. The recent “Kentucky” and “Syracuse” colorways saw a hyped drop sans the high profile touch of Abloh or Scott – showing the brand can still pump out regular classics without the touch of a celebrity or influencer. Watch out for a non-Off-White round of SB Dunk lows dropping soon for those looking for a solid SB without the extra zip tie tags and novel lacing systems.

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11. Nike Spiridon x Stüssy Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2

Reason to buy: A hot, new collab from Nike 

The Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 collaborated with skate brand Stüssy back in April of this year (better days) and immediately sold out despite working with the early 00s silhouette instead of a skate sneaker. The popularity of the collab showed off the cultural prowess of Stüssy and their ability to successfully collab on the same sneaker in a variety of styles. The “Fossil” colorway features a soft look with a tonal beige colorway and a black textured Swoosh on the lateral side of the sneaker. The brand dug deeper into the aesthetic of the shoe with a black, white, and silver color scheme that spoke more to the gorp aesthetic of the mesh and technical mechanics of the sneaker’s design. Cop this collab for a hot new pickup that promotes both brands in a stellar fashion. 

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12. Air Jordan 5 “Fire Red”

Reason to Buy: We get it, you watched The Last Dance 

If not a lasting testament to the King-making and culturally important Michael Jordan, his ESPN docu-series has been a reinvigoration for sneakerheads. A reminder for how sneakers got to be so cool in the first place, MJ and his performance has proven to be one of the most influential devices in marketing sneakers. Since not being able to see Michael perform in real-life, the popular docu-series has sneakerheads hot again for the Air Jordan V “Fire Red.” The sneaker is a simple colorway of white and black with red accenting throughout, not to mention the silver touch on the tongue that truly brings the design concept together. A surefire cop for any ‘head, the “Fire Red” is a staple and no matter what anyone tells you, the sneaker DOES look good in shorts, after all, that’s how they were designed to be worn with. 

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13. Nike ACG Moc 3.0

Reason to Buy: WFH like an Olympian God in the ACG Moc slipper 

With modern events in mind, more and more WFH’ers are opting for the slipper over conventional footwear and while there will soon again be a day to sport your new cops outside, the slipper life is the new go-to. While plenty of The Strategist articles will send you to the ultra-bougie and chic options, opt for the bonafide comfort and durability of the Swoosh and their ACG Moc 3.0 a slip-on “sneaker” with a lightly treaded outsole for light outdoor activity. An easy slip-on design meets with the ultra-lightweight feel of a modern Nike silhouette giving you an option for WFH footwear that you weren’t even aware of. Perfect for blogging inside and taking a small walk outside to maintain your sanity. 

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14. Nike Air Max 98

Reason to Buy: Personal favorite of the Air Max lineage 

The Nike Air Max 98 has had a long run as a go-to trainer from Nike and since a recent revival in 2018, it has been the highlight of some eye-catching collabs and notable GR releases. If you’re looking to experience the game-changing technology of Nike Air Max, the 90 and 1 might be your most hyped up option, but the 98 might just be the better silhouette to experience the comfort. Unlike those aforementioned models, the 98 took notes from the Air Max 97 and featured a full-length air max unit that was fully visible. The 98 features some incredibly aesthetically pleasing design lines and an upper made of leather and mesh. Splurge on the 2018’s “Gundam” colorway or cop some quality GR looks directly from the Nike site. 

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15. Nike Daybreak SP

Reason to Buy: Legendary runner silhouette refitted for retro/casual style 

The Nike Daybreak SP saw a recent moment in the spotlight courtesy of brands like Undercover and Sacai. Undercover played with the simple silhouette by adding a large addition to the heel of the sneaker. Sacai went in another direction with a “doubled-up” concept that should have been the sneaker of the year in 2019. Despite missing out on these higher-end iterations, the Daybreak SP is still a silhouette worth going after. The sneaker runs a little narrow but features the default Nike waffle outsole sure to stir nostalgia from the garage, shoe Dog days of Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman. The personal recommendation is the “Lavender” colorway to add a little flair to the rotation, but other, more basic colorways exist for those looking for a classic Nike sneaker that’s sure to take it easy on the wallet.

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16. Nike Air Tailwind IV

Reason to Buy: Go ultra chunky with this time-tested Air Max silhouette 

Cataloging the best of Nike from the past couple years and the Air Max Tailwind IV was another great look at the Air Max dominance that once reigned supreme over the mail order glossy catalogs that used to appear in the mail. The Air Max Tailwind IV dawned the Supreme red and black for a one-off that caught some eyes and the super high price point of $190 for some red trainers. Despite your hyped feelings for the collab, the recent round of GR colorways has some notable standouts. Most noteworthy is the “Desert Ore/Campfire Orange/Court Purple/Team Orange” seen below which features a smooth gradient graphic on the upper which works super well with the sneaker’s vertical design lines. Another interesting thing about the sneaker is that if you have them on while you’re arrested in Australia it might actually be a good thing. 

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17. Nike Mid Blazer 77

Reason to Buy: The not-so-Mids of the Mid-height sneaker world

As a rule of thumb, a “Mid” height sneaker is usually a clunky, un-aesthetically pleasing version of a sneaker that would probably look better as a “low” or “high” top. Not so true for the Nike Mid Blazer 77. One of the Swoosh’s first hoop silhouettes, the simple leather and rubber construction was named for the Portland team of the same name. Even though the Blazer hasn’t seen the court since, like most retro Nike silhouettes it lives on in the scene, lifestyle world, ready to be repurposed for those who spend their time creating their magic on the internet instead of the court. The Mid Blazer holds up as a part of Nike lore but also acts as a solid mid-height sneaker that’s available now in some good to go and simple color schemes. The most recent batch of Blazer releases sees the sneaker with a mostly white backdrop with a brightly colored Swoosh that pops off the upper. 

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18. Nike Presto Mid x Acronym

Reason to Buy: Experience the high-end tech of ACRONYM with a high profile Nike collab 

Nike is constantly collaborating with the coolest brands and influencers but a while back they tapped high tech brand, ACRONYM, for a new take on their Presto. The Berlin-based creative and design agency run by Errolson Hugh, came through on the Presto with their signature high tech touch and dropped a three sneaker pack in 2018 which featured the entire gauntlet of color schemes, from a simple black/grey to a light coral and neon green to a full-blown eye-catcher of blue, pink, and neon green accents. The Presto has been having a hell of a year back then (easily the best sneaker from the original Nike x Off-White “The Ten”) and is a great option for someone looking to add a dash of a high profile and high tech to their rotation.

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19. Nike Shox BB4

Reason to Buy: Relive the legend of Vince Carter and his famous footwear moments 

When you think of Vince Carter you might think of his legendarily long career, “The Dunk” in 2000, his epic throwback jerseys from Toronto, and of course his relationship with Nike Shox. A sneaker technology that dominated the Swoosh’s sneaker tech for the early 00s, was also one of the selling points that brought me close to the brand when I first started getting into sneakers. Nike recently retroed the Nike Shox BB4 and luckily for fans of Carter or just the 00s basketball sneaker, it’s available in a variety of colorways directly from the brand. Put some vintage boing in your step with the Nike Shox BB4. 

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20. Nike Killshot 2

Reason to Buy: Let’s all remember J. Crew for this classic r/menswear moment 

Body: Nike has a lot of iconic silhouettes, and for some reason, the performance/running brand holds a strange place in the hearts of those Goldman Sachs “every day is casual Friday” type guys with a special silhouette called the Killshot. The low top, the casual sneaker has proved to be a king of the relaxed fit and has been dominating the world of casual, low top sneakers. The Killshot 2 takes design cues from classic tennis sneakers and features modern updates in the form of leather and suede upper with a rubber gum sole that seems to really bring the sneaker together, not to mention the different colored Swoosh hits on the upper. Shop from a variety of colored Swooshes and try to find the J. Crew collab for an extra dash of “office casual.” 

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The 16 Best Sports Documentaries to Watch on Netflix in 2021

It might have taken sports coming to a full stop for some of us to realize just how much they mean to us in our everyday lives. Whether you’re the kind who’s a sports fanatic and is fully invested in and dedicated to multiple sports just due to the aspect of competition or you’re an extremely casual viewer, there’s a particular value in sports that’s easy to appreciate. They bring out the best in many and evoke raw human emotion.

Some of the best sports documentaries capture these emotions, encapsulating them for our viewing pleasure. At a time where normality in sports feels a long way away, we made an alphabetical list of the 16 best sports documentaries that are available on Netflix. Check them out below.

1. ‘Barca Dreams’

Barça Dreams is a deep dive into the history of one of the greatest soccer clubs in the world. The documentary takes us through their inception, all the way up until today, the era of Lionel Messi. It’s a great watch for those getting into the sport and even if Barcelona isn’t your club, they’re to be respected and this documentary will help you with that. It’s a good base understanding of the team.

2. ‘First Team: Juventus’

This offering gives us a new look at Italian soccer giants Juventus at numerous points throughout their 2017/2018 season. As well as documenting them on the pitch, it follows them off of it; in the locker room, on the road, and even at home. While it’s not necessarily a deep dive into the intricacies of the game or their lives, it is an interesting watch for Juventus fans and does a good job of humanizing soccer stars in general.

3. ‘Icarus’

Without a doubt one of the most famous sports documentaries of all time, Icarus does a deep dive into the Russian Olympic doping program. It’s a documentary that has all the makings of an incredible movie. Watching this is a special experience because it will change the way you perceive sports as a whole. To top it off, it managed to win Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars in 2018.

4. ‘Little Miss Sumo’

Little Miss Sumo is a sports documentary about a 20-year-old sumo wrestler Hiyori Kon, as she attempts to make her mark on a traditionally male-driven sport. Along the way Kon encounters different forms of misogyny, including being banned from competing professionally. Though it all, however, she is able to conquer the trials and rise to success.

5. ‘Last Chance U’

Last Chance U is an episodic docu-series that follows East Mississippi Community College’s football program, exploring the players’ struggles both in and out of the game and school. Players must perform at the junior college level to try to get back to Division I and eventually make it out of their small town of Scooba. As the best documentaries do, it makes for a genuinely riveting tale and replicates the drama of your favorite movies.

6. ‘Losers’

Across its eight episodes, Losers looks at eight different people from eight different sports who did not manage to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Golf, soccer, boxing, and even figure skating runner ups come into play here. This one is great because while athletes’ success drives us, failure in some way, shape, or form is relatable to us all. We lose out more often than we win, making this docu-series hit home harder than we’d like it to.

7. ‘Maradona In Mexico’

Whether you’re a soccer fan or not, you might know Diego Maradona as the greatest of all time. But what people aren’t so familiar with is his history of managing teams. The Argentinian has been in charge of eight different sides since 1994, one of the more recent ones being Mexican club Dorados de Sinaloa. Maradona In Mexico is a captivating look at his time with the team, ups, downs, and all.


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7. ‘Maradona In Mexico’


Whether you’re a soccer fan or not, you might know Diego Maradona as the greatest of all time. But what people aren’t so familiar with is his history of managing teams. The Argentinian has been in charge of eight different sides since 1994, one of the more recent ones being Mexican club Dorados de Sinaloa. Maradona In Mexico is a captivating look at his time with the team, ups, downs, and all.


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8. A Kid From Coney Island


A Kid From Coney Island from 2019 chronicles the journey of the New York legend that is Stephon Marbury. The 44-year-old was drafted in 1996 by the Milwaukee Bucks, and the documentary highlights the various ups and downs of his career. 


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9. ‘Team Foxcatcher’


John Greenhalgh’s Team Foxcatcher documentary tells the story of John E. du Pont and Dave Schultz. The former was a massive help to USA’s Olympic Wrestling Team because he was a billionaire who built training facilities on his own property, allowing them to train there. The latter was the most gifted wrestler at the time. The story is tragic, answering some questions only to raise others that we may never have answers for.


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10. ‘The Battered Bastards Of Baseball’


The Portland Mavericks were an independent minor league baseball team based out of Portland, Oregon who was active from 1973 to 1977. The Battered Bastards Of Baseball, the title is taken from a Jim Bouton quote, is the tale of their time and truly highlights their insistence on straying from the pack. At the time, they were the only independent baseball team in America and it came across both in their spirit and this film.


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11. ‘The Short Game’


The Short Game chronicles a group of 7-year-old golfers traveling to one of the world’s most renowned golfing locations, Pinehurst, to compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf. The fiercely driven youngsters are determined to conquer the extremely difficult golf course, and become the universal champion.


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12. ‘The Dawn Wall’


Released in 2018, Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer helped tell the story of Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, two American rock climbers who attempted the impossible; a climb of The Dawn Wall, a steep 3,000-foot rock face in California. Of course, the literal climb is a metaphor for so much more for both men. If you’ve seen and enjoyed Man On Wire, this is right up your alley.


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13. ‘The Game Changers’


Plant-based diets have been a craze for a while now, but The Game Changers is an in-depth look at how they benefit both regular people and athletes. Former UFC welterweight James Wilks does the research here, traveling the world to talk to elite athletes who have personal experiences with plant-based diets. You might know that there’s been some debate about the arguments made in this documentary by Joe Rogan, who initially disagreed with some claims but later had his mind changed.


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14. ‘The Last Dance’


Those ones for those who are watching internationally. Netflix and ESPN produced this documentary together. For both those who got to watch Michael Jordan play and those that have only heard about it, The Last Dance has been an incredible watch. With input from Jordan and his peers, it gives us a look behind the scenes at some key moments in his life and career like Be Like Mike, his supposed gambling addiction and the death of his father, all with never before seen footage. This is a must-see for all basketball fans.


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15. ‘The Short Game’


Produced by star couple Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, The Short Game is a look at eight entrants in the 2012 U.S. Kids Golf Championships. The participants were just seven and eight-years-old, making for a unique look into a competitive tournament. The parent-child dynamic is also in play here, with viewers naturally split down the middle about some of the decisions made. At the end of the day, this shows that competition can drive just about anyone.


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16. ‘Undefeated’


Undefeated is an inspiring, feel-good look at the Manassas Tigers high school football team from Memphis. It takes us through their struggles to win a season after consecutive losses. It’s by no means a new story in sports, the team trying to defy the odds, but seeing it at the high school level does give it a unique spin. Undefeated won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2012.


Culture Music

Lil Keed Talks Fatherhood, ‘Trapped on Cleveland 3’ and the Best Advice He Got From Young Thug

On this week’s episode of our podcast, Monday to Monday, host Mike Boyd chats with Atlanta rapper Lil Keed. We’re switching up the Monday to Monday format under quarantine, with every episode now being pulled from a weekly live stream on Twitch hosted by ONE37pm, called Stream and Greet. Every Monday, Boyd conducts a Q&A with artists followed by questions from the fans. You can watch Stream and Greet every week on our Twitch channel. On this week’s episode, Keed speaks about his upcoming project, Trapped On Cleveland 3, being a father and the best advice he got from Young Thug.

Early in the interview, Boyd asks Keed how it’s been being quarantined with his daughter (who makes an adorable appearance in the stream). “I can be a dad and record, still do what I do. Make the money. I love it,” he responds after first bringing her up to the camera to say hello. They then go to the fans for some questions. The first question is about an old video of Lil Keed playing his music for Young Thug for the first time. “Life-changing moment man,” he says, before adding, “I can show my child, when she get older, like, look, this where your daddy came from. This how it all started.”

One of the next fans that appears on the stream asks Keed if he thinks he would have experienced the same level of success were he not from Atlanta. “Don’t matter where I’m from. I’m gonna do what I wanna do regardless,” he says. He’s got a lot more gems about being from Atlanta throughout the stream, addressing his proximity to many other Atlanta hip hop stars, like Young Thug and Gunna. “Everybody’s so close. Atlanta’s small, so you know everybody. You gonna bump into everybody,” he says.

Another fan asks Keed if there was any moment or piece of information that really clicked for him as an artist. He’s got an answer ready to go: “You gotta be yourself. I let my Instagram, like my fanbase, everybody into my life. Like most people wouldn’t.” If you take a look at Lil Keed’s Instagram, that sort of ethos is on clear display. “I want all my fans to feel like they know me,” he adds.

Lil Keed has a close relationship with fellow Atlanta rapper Young Thug and so, naturally, the fans want to hear some advice from the icon. Keed’s got an amazing piece of advice locked and loaded, one which emphasizes brevity. “Save the money, it’ll save you. And [Young Thug] said, ‘Never lose the finesse,’” he says. 

In one of the final fan questions, Lil Keed lets us in on his writing process and how he goes about selecting songs out of the numerous tracks he produces every single day. “I go off the vibes. I’m gonna tell you something—I ain’t never told nobody this. Every day, I make a turnt up song, I make a slow song, I make a vibey song where you can just chill, smoke to, I make an emotional song. That’s how I do it. So now I can pick from them,” he says. He goes on to describe the effect this practice has on his albums: “In my opinion, your tracklist supposed to flow. It ain’t supposed to be like, ‘Oh I’m gonna skip this song, I don’t like this song. I’m gonna skip that, next.’ You ain’t gonna do that on my shit. You gonna let it run all the way through.”

Make sure to listen to the episode to hear all the fan questions and Keed’s insightful answers. If you loved this episode and want to hear Boyd chat with other rappers, managers and producers, make sure to check out last week’s episode, when he spoke with reggaeton star Feid.

Culture News

11 Games Like Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity, or CAH, is easily one of the most popular card games of modern times, carefully toeing the line between offensive and hilarious. It was inspired by and has near-identical gameplay as the innocent Apples to Apples, but with a black comedy twist. 

Despite the hours of fine it provides, sometimes it can grow old playing the same game over and over again, or perhaps it can be a little *too* provocative for a certain gathering. For those times, here are some other card games to check out that brings the fun in similar ways while managing to mix it up. (Buyer beware: Some are equally as raunchy.)

1. Apples to Apples

The original card game that inspired CAH and the whole trend, Apple to Apples is a classic favorite that’s appropriate for all ages. Whoever’s turn it is to “judge” draws a green card, which has an adjective. Fellow players with red cards that have nouns on them decide which red card will appeal most to that judge — humor usually does the trick — and submit. The judge reviews the anonymous submissions and picks one, earning whoever played it one point. Whoever collects seven green cards first wins the game. It’s identical in structure to CAH, but much more kid-friendly. Four to 10 players, ages 12 and up.

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2. Urban Dictionary

Based on the popular site bearing the same name, Urban Dictionary’s card game is very similar in format to CAH but with some tweaks. The prompt cards can involve questions or images, and judges can pull “act” or “draw” cards that trigger special rounds where the judge has to act out or scribble whatever they drew. It’s like someone threw Urban Dictionary, CAH, Pictionary and Charades into a blender and hit puree. And who knows, you might learn a new definition or two along the way. Three to eight players, ages 18 and up.

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3. Charty Party

If someone made a card game modeled after the science portion of the ACT and somehow made it actually fun, it would be Charty Party. The judge flips over a card displaying a chart and caption, and participants choose their funniest card to describe it. For example, if a judge’s card has a chart with an upward slope over an increasing number of “people in an elevator,” a player may submit the “effort required to smile.” Perhaps it’s a little on the nose in 2020 to play a game focused around charts, but if you’re the type of person who loves The Big Bang Theory then you’ll appreciate this game. For recommended ages 17 and up, though no specified number of players.

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4. Social Sabotage

This game created by BuzzFeed combines the “dare” element of “truth or dare” with social media in a card format. A “where” card is played to indicate a designated social media platform, and then “what” cards indicate something embarrassing a person has to do on it. For example, a combination may require a player to upload a video to Instagram making an armpit fart with a completely serious face. It’s a little bolder than similar games given its real-world actions, but who doesn’t love seeing a friend make an ass of themselves? Unlike the other games of this nature, this one requires a smartphone and social media accounts to play. Recommend ages 17 and up, and it requires at least four people to play.

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5. Exploding Kittens

Created by Matthew Inman, the illustrator behind the hilarious site The Oatmeal, this game is like Russian Roulette in card form. Rather than having a judge, everyone takes turns drawing and placing cards until an exploding kitten card is drawn. Whoever draws it is out, unless they have a card that can defuse the kitten or another action card that will get them out of harm’s way. The characters are colorful and the action cards are creatively absurd. And with Inman behind the illustrations, it’s guaranteed to be unexpected and hilarious. Two to five players, ages seven and up.

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6. Joking Hazard

If you came to this list looking to actually up the level of offensiveness in your games, look no further. Joking Hazard is a card game born from a popular comic-generating website where players use cards drawn from a deck to create a comic strip panel-by-panel. The dialogue the characters say in the comics can veer into dark or borderline offensive, but they’re presented in dry, anti-comedy, or absurd formats. It also has cards where you draw your own lines in, for the truly artistic- and comedic-inclined. Recommended ages 17 and up, and at least three players.

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7. What Do You Meme

This super popular game, brought to you by the company behind Fuck Jerry, is about exactly what its name suggests: players are craft memes in the format of CAH. A rotating judge plays a known memey image and players submit their meme situation that fits the funniest. Its rise to popularity comes at a time when memes on Twitter and Instagram have become many people’s primary form of communication. This game also has a sister game, Do You Know Me?, and a variety of expansion packs available: Fresh Memes Expansion Pack, Basic Bitch Expansion Pack, Game of Thrones Expansion Pack, Stoner Expansion Pack and NSFW Expansion Deck. Ages 17 and up, and at least three people to play.

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8. Drunk Stoned or Stupid

This game is like if high school superlatives were combined with a comedy roast. Players draw a card with a situation like “wake up with half a burrito in bed” and, after a group discussion, the rotating judge chooses which person would be most likely to do that thing or be in that situation. In the spirit of assassinating everyone’s character, nobody “wins” the game — whoever collects the most cards is deemed the “loser.” It’s sociable and designed to bring people together, but watch out if you have some sensitive people in your group: Not everyone likes to hear the truth. Ages 17 and up, and requires at least three players.

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9. Personally Incorrect

This game is almost identical to CAH, but instead of being blanket statements that are funny, the sentence on the judge’s card that is drawn is specific to that person. So if Rob is judging and draws a card that says, “[Blank] wakes up saying he’ll never mix [blank] and alcohol again,” the group would read it as Rob in the sentence and players would submit their cards to fill in the noun. It’s a small difference, but it makes it easier to cater to inside jokes and ideally call back some memories. Like “Drunk, Stoned or Stupid,” it has the potential to bring people together and share some stories, but be prepared for what may come out! Two to 10 players, ages 18 and up.

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10. Unstable Unicorns

This game is similar to “Exploding Kittens” in its artwork and an absurd concept, but it’s equally if not more entertaining than its sister fauna game. It arguably has more complex gameplay as well: The goal is to get seven unicorns into your play area, or “stable,” while also deterring other players and destroying their unicorns in the process. The cards feature all kinds of hilariously specific unicorns, and there are a variety of card pack options. An NSFW version of the standard, innocent base pack exists with more adult unicorns (e.g., “uncut unicorn”), along with multiple expansion packs: Rainbow Apocalypse expansion pack, Dragons expansion pack, and Unicorns of Legend expansion pack. There’s also a similar game under the brand umbrella that’s the same as Unstable Unicorns but plays with llamas instead — Llamas Unleashed. Two to eight players, and 14 and up — unless you go with NSFW, in which case it’s 21 and up.

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11. We Rate Dogs! The Card Game

Based on the popular @WeRateDogs Twitter account with more than 8M followers, which in turn inspired spinoff social media accounts, this game is kid-friendly and designed to bring happiness, much like dogs themselves. The dog cards feature categories like Floof, Sass, Boopability, Zoom, Ears, and Wag. This game is a little more complex to explain compared to the others listed in this article since it involves a die and tokens to keep track of. But once you get the hang of it, who wouldn’t enjoy a game where you get to rate all kinds of puppers and doggos? If the popularity of its Twitter is anything to judge by, this game is designed to make people smile. Three to six players, for ages eight and up.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

How To Start A Record Label: Your Step by Step Guide

So, you love music, but you’re not a musician. How can you get involved in the industry in a way that can support artists and help them grow their listeners?

In this post-internet world, starting a label might seem like a viable option for savvy businesspeople or tech-obsessed audiophiles. But as artists decry the exploitative practices of the label industrial complex, a new question that emerges is: how does one enter into this business in a way that can be profitable and beneficial to both executives and artists — without taking advantage of anyone else in the process?

We’re here to help. We chatted with three figureheads at labels from various sectors and sub-cultures of the music world about their experiences starting their own companies. They’ve provided us with some rock-solid advice, lessons they learned along the way, and mistakes to avoid at all costs.

With their wisdom in mind, here are the first steps to starting a label:

1. Protect Yourself Legally: Is an LLC Right for You?
Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

If you’re starting a business, your first step needs to be making sure you — personally — won’t go bankrupt and destroy your life in the process. 

Cathy Pellow, the owner of Sargent House, advises new entrepreneurs to make sure they consult with someone in the know about how exactly to go about doing so. Despite an LLC seeming like the best solution for most, she believes many would do better if they pursued other options.

“You should never be operating out of your personal bank account,” Pellow explained. “My advice is: talk to an accountant about the actual best scenario. A lot of people set up LLCs, and it turns out to be the absolute worst scenario — it often turns out that it should have been an S corp or a C corp. People hear the phrase ‘Limited Liability Corporation,’ and they think that sounds the best. But it’s not, tax-wise, the best — depending on how you’re going to flow money through that account. A lot of my bands started LLCs because they were wrongfully advised and had to transfer because once they were actually running and paying salaries through that account. It was no longer appropriate. It’s all relative. If you’re a sole proprietor or a one-man band, an LLC can be the way to go. But talk to an accountant, explain not just what your short term goal with the company is, but what your future goals are.”

If you do wind up going for the LLC option, Greg Hanson, the founder of King Pizza Records (a Brooklyn-based, DIY punk label) says you should brace yourself for banality:

“[The process of creating an LLC] is fairly long and annoying,” said Hanson. “The best move for that is to hire a legal company to handle it for you. You pay a premium and they help to draw up articles of incorporation for you. It’s a very long, tedious process if you do it yourself. If you want to be legit about it, you have to send notices out to newspapers — both state and local — to advertise that you’re starting a new business. You have to collect forms to send to a state and every two years you have to do these upkeep forms. It was recommended to me to hire someone else to do this and for the approximately $600 upfront and whatever yearly fee after that — it was definitely worth it. I tried doing parts of it on my own and it took a decent amount of time. It’s a multi-step, fairly annoying process.”

Chris Zarou of Visionary Records (an imprint of Sony) advised keeping an expert on hand at all points in the process of founding your new endeavor.

“I think having a company is important. I think finding a good attorney is very knowledgeable on this space — probably an entertainment law attorney — and getting as much information from them as possible [is a good idea]. You can work with them in lock-step to make sure you’re protecting yourself and doing everything the right way more than anything.”

2. Find Your Artists
Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

You’re probably getting into this business because you love music. But what kind of music do you love? Should you be signing artists from genres you’re not familiar with? What should be your strategy here?

Pellow strongly advises against a pell-mell approach, saying that you should stick with what you know and love.

“Know who you want to sign. If you love hip hop, don’t sign a country artist cause country sells. That’s the biggest mistake people make. Do not dabble in things you are not aware of, passionate about, and engaged in. I can’t do something for an artist in a genre I know nothing about. Don’t be into raves and try to sign a rock band! You don’t know the magazines, you don’t know the press. Find what you love, focus on what you love. Start with your original passion and you can grow outwards. Don’t out the gate try and have a bunch of different genres.”

Hanson concurred, adding that if you’re going to be stuck with many of this music for a while so you better truly care about what you’re working on.

“Take on projects you love. People take on projects they think will sell because it ‘checks the boxes.’ But that rarely pays off, especially if there’s a lack of passion on the side of the label. If you are excited about something, excitement is contagious. Only take on something you feel comfortable living with for the next six months.”

“If you know pop music, you should probably focus on pop music. If you know hip hop, focus on hip hop,” Zarou agrees.

But Pellow has also learned to keep longevity in mind when selecting talent.

“Something to be aware of when choosing bands: are they going to tour?” Pellow said. “Are they going to promote? How many people are in the band? If it’s a solo artist, they’re not going to break up — as opposed to a 5-piece who are all 17 years old. Because when they’re 20, they will not be a band anymore.”

3. Figure out what you can offer, and consider contracts that reflect that
Jeff Kravitz / Contributor / Getty Images

You’ve picked out your talent; the next step is agreeing on what you can do for each other. How can both the label and the artist profit from your arrangement? What can you provide, and what is the artist’s responsibility? And how can you prepare if things don’t work out?

“Your contracts need to be fair,” Pellow asserted firmly. “You need to say, ‘What am I giving in exchange for what I’m getting?’ Of course, there are risks involved in taking on artists. My deals are 50/50 deals. We split all profits down the middle. I front all the costs for the recording, manufacturing — every penny. So if a record does shitty, I might be out a lot of money. And that’s just the way it is.”

Your deals should be for “no more than two records [at a time] — ever,” advised Pellow. “It is important if you’re investing in an artist that you get at least two records. If it’s one record and you do all the work and take all the risks, and it succeeds, they can be immediately taken from you, or they’ll go somewhere bigger. And that’s not fair to the label. If it’s not successful or they’re not willing to market and promote, you can let them go.”

“More people need to create new models to accommodate this new reality,” Pellow continued. “If I were teaching young people today, I would tell them to take less percentage. Maybe take 30%. Because now our investments aren’t like the old days, where you had to front the costs for $7000 worth of vinyl. If you’re doing digital, you don’t have the same overheads. You might not need an office. A lot has changed, so change the model. Then, once you get success, you can ask for more money, because now the label has currency.”

Zarou again recommended working closely with an expert in the field to make sure you aren’t inadvertently exploiting anyone: “You want to learn — and you can do that from talking to different lawyers — what the industry standard is,” he said. “And you want to make sure you’re following that. You want to make sure you’re protecting the artists you’re working with and you’re not ignorantly taking advantage of anyone because you just don’t know. You want to make sure the deals you make are to the norm.”

4. Create a Plan for Distribution — Digital vs Vinyl and Beyond
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The artist is on board, the deal has been signed, and now it’s time to get the music ready to go. But how do you plan on getting it from a recording and into the ears of listeners? Here’s where the next stage of your planning begins, and a lot will depend on what kind of music you’re working with.

Zarou believes that digital distribution has to be the focus from the get-go: “I think definitely in the year 2020, 99.9% of your focus should be on digital distribution. That’s where the attention is. That’s how they’re consuming music, so that’s where you want to be. That may change down the road. Physical becomes a collector’s item for certain people. But where do you want to start? Digital.”

Pellow, who deals mostly with more rock music and more niche content, says that her business has “shifted to where we prioritize the sale of vinyl.”

“I make vinyl because I have the kind of listeners who go to live shows and who appreciate the ritual of music. And they buy vinyl!” says Pellow. “They collect vinyl, and they listen to vinyl. I don’t make cassettes because they sound like garbage. But they’re novelties. I mean, even vinyl is a novelty — it’s not great business. Putting out vinyl is a pain in the ass: it’s expensive, it costs a fortune to ship, it warps, it’s a nightmare. But for my kind of artists, it is a necessity. It’s definitely still popular enough to justify making it … People love buying it from the bands themselves. It’s for real music fans.”

Hanson, meanwhile, had some practical advice about what goes into printing vinyl.

“Turnaround time is long. If it’s 6-8 weeks with [cassette] tapes, it’s 6-8 months with vinyl. If you add overages and plant problems it gets even more complicated. 100 tapes is [approximately] $200. With 500 records — which is often the minimum — you’re looking at closer to $2500 on the low end. If you’re somebody who’s working while starting a label, $2000 and a decent amount of space in your apartment is not nothing. And you can’t always bank on selling stuff at the release show. It often becomes a process of badgering your plants — you have to reach out and see what’s on time, when the ETA is, if a partial shipment can be sent, that kind of thing.”

5. Start Marketing Immediately
Dexter A. Jones/FilmMagic

How do you get people to know that your artists exist? The economy of attention is almost as important as getting a hold of your customer’s coins. These days, Zarou, Hanson, and Pellow all agreed that social media strategies are essential for burgeoning brands and labels.

“I think that if you’re a young person, you need to be extremely fluent in every social media platform: the ins and outs, who’s on what, what works and what doesn’t,” says Pellow. “You need to absolutely utilize Tik Tok, YouTube, all that corny stuff. But it’s genius! There’s such a world of cool shit you can do if you’re creative and smart. Don’t look at old models and try to duplicate them, because they’re unrealistic for the future.”

Zarou added that in today’s digital landscape, micro-targeting specific audiences is a crucial strategy for growing an artist’s popularity.

“As social media has evolved, there’s a million different communities and mico-communities within platforms,” says Zarou. “That’s what’s happening if you step back and look at it. You have Tik Tok, Instagram, and Twitter — but that’s very 30,000 feet. If you go in deeper, there are micro-communities within each of those platforms. So you want to understand the artist that you’re working with so you can have a sense of what communities and audiences they appeal to. Artist X may appeal to a female 18-24 demo — but you can target that specific demo with Insta ads nowadays. I can say, ‘This artist may appeal to Post-Malone and Demi Lovato fans’, and then I can target people who follow them.”

“Let’s say you’re working with an artist,” Zarou continued, “and this has nothing to do with their music — but they’re into gaming. They’re playing Call of Duty and they’re streaming on Twitch. You want to go and attack the gaming audience, you look in the e-sports community. You want to be authentic and organic. You want to go after an audience where there’s a connection. You can market deeper than just the music. Use the music as a gateway drug into who that artist represents holistically.”

While many labels hire PR firms to handle their marketing, for many DIY companies, this simply isn’t possible, meaning you’ll have to curate your own list of contacts for getting the word out about your new content, says Hanson.

“I’ve never hired a PR person,” says Hanson. “In my experience, I would rather do the work and make the contacts. Other people have really good experiences with PR. It depends on what level you’re trying to be at.” 

“There needs to be a bit of a cycle happening where people who are following either know about the other,” says Hanson. “For us, that was also about booking shows and creating festivals that have our name on them so people start to recognize us as more than just a label — but also that we exist in the first place.” 

 “When you have a new release you have to figure out singles that you want to have premiered,” Hanson continues. “You have to create contacts with these big blogs and tastemaker websites like Stereogum, Pitchfork, and Paste — and you have to be good at working those contacts. But you also have to make sure that bands keep promoting and tour — and you have to make sure that when they tour, they’re posting about it. Label-wide compilations are great too: because if someone goes in liking one band, they’ll find 20-30 more they’d never heard of … People will say: if I like this band, I’ll like these other bands, and suddenly they’ve found music they never would have before. So then there’s a sort of snowball effect. Consistency is very important.”

6. Be patient! Success doesn’t come instantly!

Get ready to face some losses. Although you’ve probably signed artists you have faith in, there’s absolutely no way you’re going to be immediately profitable. Considering that it’s likely at least some of your projects are going to flop, you have to be willing to think about the goals and future of your company going forward.

“If you’re working with new bands and young bands, it’s better to put out something and let it sell out and let people want it,” says Hanson. “Build the excitement, and then come at the next release with something bigger. You don’t start at Madison Square Garden.”

Pellow offered similar cautions: “No one on earth who has started a label has situations where they’ve lost no money.”

Don’t let failure discourage you. And if you find yourself lost, here are some questions to consider, from Pellow:

“If you want to start a label you have to [ask yourself], ‘What am I providing? What is my pitch? What am I going to do for this artist to justify taking their money?’ And if you don’t have an answer for that, please do not start a label. Please do not get involved in wanting to open a record label as just a money-making option. Do it only if you’re passionate about music but also understand that it costs money. If you do not have the resources to give the artists you’re singing more than what they already have, then don’t open a label. It’s irresponsible. It’s not cool. Maybe look into management. You can partner up with an artist and grow together. Then you can expand out from there.”

Consoles Gaming

15 Incredible Survival Games Like ‘The Forest’

There is always that one game that is to blame for a genre’s flash-in-the-pan success and for the survival game genre it’s Minecraft. Some of the earlier titles managed to garner a measure of Minecraft’s commercial success, while many others were, to be frank, uninspired cash grabs. Then there is The Forest, a 2014 release that is neither a commercial success or a craven means to capitalize off survival games popularity. 

The Forest is one part game, one part tech demo, which showcases the limits of enemy artificial intelligence, which is, perhaps, the game’s primary draw. The enemies act distinctly human, something many games have tried, to varying degrees of success. The Forest, however, takes an honest stab at it, realizing that the key component of survival games are the elements that threaten your survival. The game’s emphasis on convincing a.i. only enhances the immersion which makes The Forest a standout in a genre slowly creeping toward peak saturation. 

The following are games that also manage to stand out due to their similarities to The Forest.

1. ‘Green Hell’

The one game on this list that’s not only similar to The Forest but significantly expands upon it. Green Hell has the player exploring a vast jungle while navigating all the dangers and pitfalls one would expect from a jungle. Much like The Forest, gathering tools for crafting is important. Both games also feature a sanity element in which players’ mental health are contingent on what they do throughout the game. While Green Hell might be a bit more realistic than the Forest, there is no question the latter’s DNA is present in the former.

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2. ‘Stranded Deep’

Kicking off the story with a plane crash, check. Forcing players to navigate an unknown setting, check. Forcing players to gather and craft supplies, check. Base building, check. All the elements of The Forest are present but Stranded Deep still manages to be its own game. Instead of cannibals, players have to worry about sharks, krakens, and everything in between.

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3. ‘Astroneer’

Although a bit more lighthearted than The Forest, survival is still the key mission for those playing Astroneer. Instead of cannibals and hunger, Astroneer players have to worry about oxygen, power, and the occasional deadly alien fauna. To survive players must make use of their surroundings to build bases on a handful of planets. The game manages to be challenging while not sacrificing the whimsical gameplay that attracts players.

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4. ‘State of Decay’

Any list about survival games would inevitably feature zombies and this list’s game is the State of Decay. Not to be confused with its sequel, which features more heavily on the narrative, State of Decay is a bare-bones zombie survival game that features a base-building system that is even more robust than The Forest

Players are encouraged to build their bases while defending them against the walking dead and the occasional shooting alive. Muck like The Forest, survival becomes easier with friends, which is what a significant portion of the game is about. The safer your base, the more people will want to join in on the zombie bashing fun.

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5. ‘Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’

Another Nintendo game that helped drive sales of the Switch into the stratosphere. Breath of the Wild is a departure from traditional Zelda games in several ways, chief of which are the survival elements developers added to the title. 

Gone are the day’s Link can recover his health by breaking a pit with a heart inside. In order to survive in this post-apocalyptic Hyrule, Link must hunt, forage and cook to stand a chance. And unlike some of the other games on this list, the enemies Link faces don’t just rely on strength and numbers to best the hero. Much like in The Forest, enemies are smart and act as if human players are controlling them.

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6. ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’

An already popular game made even more so because of the current pandemic lockdown, Animal Crossing: New Horizons takes elements of The Forest and completely removes the life or death stakes. What’s left is a cutesy game that emphasizes crafting and a robust base-building feature. If there are survival aspects in Animal Crossing they are implied, rather than explicitly stated like in The Forest. Why else would Animal Crossing emphasize fishing, foraging, or house building if the characters didn’t eat or need shelter?

All jokes aside, Animal Crossing is a smash hit that often catches new players off guard by how engaging it is, another similarity it shares with The Forest.

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7. ‘No Man’s Sky’

With perhaps one of the rockiest initial few months, No Man’s Sky has come a long way since its 2016 release. Few games on this list wear their Minecraft pedigree as proudly as this space sim that requires each player to brave an alien world in order to build bases and repair their ships. To this end resource collection and management, much like The Forest, is key to success. Exploration is an important element in both games, though No Man’s Sky has a slightly larger sandbox and with improvements, the developers have tacked on, after the fact, No Man’s Sky is sure to provide players with hours of fun.

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8. ‘Far Cry Primal’

A AAA title that is part of a successful franchise, Far Cry Primal’s similarities with The Forest are likely coincidental. It’s doubtful the developers had The Forest in mind when putting together the survival mechanics of placing the player in the middle of a territory war between a handful of different tribes. Whether intentional or not, though, the similarities are there for those who wished The Forest was a bit more fast-paced.

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9. ‘Fortnite’

To say that Fortnite has changed would be an understatement. The game as it existed when first released in “fdasfdas” was a shameless Minecraft clone. Then it switched from emphasizing survival to combat and went on to become, much like its inspiration, a genre-defining game. 

But before that, Fortnite was a survival game that, like The Forest, required players to horde supplies to better themselves against hoards of enemies. As a survival game it doesn’t quite measure up to The Forest but its eventual success earns it a spot on this list.

10. ‘S.O.S’

One of two games on this list that hopped bandwagons. While its sequel is a battle royale game, the original S.O.S is ostensibly a survival game, which puts over a dozen players on an island teeming with creatures of varying strength. Players are equally encouraged to cooperate or backstab to be victorious. While the hunt for supplies isn’t as key of an element on this game as it is in The Forest, it is present with players have to find weapons, mangoes, and other items. While a bit more whimsical than The Forest, both games are solid entries in the survival genre.

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11. ‘SCUM’

A survival game that emphasizes both player and computer enemies. The survival element is similar to The Forest. Players have to constantly scavenge for supplies. Both games also feature hunger meters. While scum emphasizes combat, the only significant difference is SCUM allows players to use more advanced weaponry.

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12. ‘Ark: Survival Evolved’

For a time, Ark: Survival Evolved was the Minecraft Killer. The game’s popularity was propelled by YouTubers and streamers who were drawn to the concept of a survival game in which you could catch and use dinosaurs like pokemon. 

The game is much more than that, however. Crafting and building are as simple as it is in The Forest but the things you can craft tend to be a bit more fantastical. Endgame loot includes all sorts of futuristic tech. For a more outlandish take on The Forest, this is the game for you.

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13. ‘Rust’

Whereas The Forest is a game that emphasizes player vs. A.I. Rust emphasizes player vs. player. The game rewards those who are inclined to sabotage other players. Players who prefer this kind of playstyle might find it refreshing while others might not. 

Rust isn’t for everybody. Even hardcore survival veterans might find it a bit tedious but, much like The Forest, when things are good, the game came to be rewarding.

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14. ‘Finding Bigfoot’

This one might raise a few eyebrows but just hear me out. Yes, finding bigfoot is not, technically, a survival game, at least not in the traditional sense. There is no resource gathering or management systems, no crafting, and the bulk of the items you need you’re given at the beginning of each game. 

But for all the differences between Finding Bigfoot and The Forest, there are as many similarities. Both games take place in a forest and both games pit you against beings that can kill you, given the proper circumstances. That coupled with the fact that the atmosphere of each game is almost identical. Fans of The Forest will undoubtedly take a liking to Finding Bigfoot.

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15. ‘Conan Exiles’

Let’s get this one out of the way. Conan Exiles is, perhaps, the most controversial games on this list, due in large part to the optional nudity, coupled with the game’s…detailed character creation options. It garnered ridiculous amounts of attention when first announced and managed to build a significant player base even before coming out of Beta. 

The game, however, is more than its naughty bits. It features survival elements, including base building, while heavily featuring fantasy elements. It’s a fine option for when you’re done making your way through The Forest.

Sports Strength

The 50 Best UFC Fights

The UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts have been around for about 26 years. With the UFC putting on events again after being put on hold, now might be a good time to go back down memory and watch some UFC matches that left a mark in the sport.

Some are rivalries that had fighters face each other a few times, some were just stand out finishes, and some were back and forth battles that are, or will likely be in the UFC Hall of Fame.

In no particular order, here are some of the best matches in the UFC.

1. Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk UFC 248

In what many are calling the fight of the year for the UFC so far for the year 2020, both Zhang and Jędrzejczyk went for five rounds to a split decision for the strawweight title. It was Zhang’s first defense but don’t be surprised if these two see each other again in the octagon.

2. Paul Felder vs. Dan Hooker UFC Fight Night: Felder vs. Hooker

Felder “The Irish Dragon” lost this match but displayed great heart in what a lot of fight fans were ready to give “fight of the year” nods to since it was before UFC 248. While he did lose, both men won over a lot of fans.

3. Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor UFC 196

Diaz has a future as a matchmaker as long as he is one of the men in the match. Coming in as an alternate for UFC 196 against McGregor happened because he called him out. The rest is history.

4. Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg 52

A rematch that made it into the UFC Hall of Fame was for the welterweight title. This fight has everything that adds to a fight drama, groin shot, bad refereeing, and a come back win. Worth watching and noting this was a rematch.

5. Matt Serra vs. Karo Parisyan UFC 53

Another match where one fighter seemingly had it won, and things turned into an all-out war for three rounds. One of the best judo players versus jiu-jitsu players in UFC history. Fans of high paced grappling should definitely watch.

6. Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz UFC 66

A rivalry that recently got it’s own ESPN 30 for 30 episode, Liddell and Ortiz were friends turned rivals when it came to the UFC light heavyweight title. The director Micah Brown said, “Chuck & Tito’ is about identity, friendship, and the cost of chasing your dream.”

7. Chuck Liddell vs Randy Couture UFC 43

Grappler versus striker comes up a lot in MMA but the best matchup would happen several times. This is the first between these two that would go for best two-out-of-three, with the grappler in Couture winning this one.

8. Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture UFC 52

MMA fighters are always evolving and Liddell showed that he could evolve better than anyone during his reign as the champ in the UFC. He would avenge his loss against couture and win the next one but this one is where he showed his growth in the sport.

9. Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes UFC 50

St-Pierre became a top welterweight fast in the UFC so when he faced Hughes, he was young, hungry, and inexperienced. A counter submission by Hughes would earn him a victory and would only fuel the competitive fire for St-Pierre to get a rematch.

10. Georges St-Pierre vs Matt Hughes UFC 65

Another example of losses being lessons and fighter evolution. St-Pierre not only avenged his loss to Hughes, but did so in dominant fashion showing that he would not only become the welterweight champion but one of the best in the UFC’s history.

11. Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock UFC 1

Fans of MMA and the UFC know Royce Gracie as the original champion before there were rules. The biggest threat he had in that tournament was Shamrock, whose background in shootfighting made him the only other submission artist on the bracket. Gracie won, but a small rivalry came of it.

12. Tito Ortiz vs. Frank Shamrock UFC 22

“Fight of the Year” in 1999 had a young Ortiz face one of the first men considered to be the definition of a well-rounded mixed martial artist in Shamrock. The brother of Ken Shamrock would be the one to beat Ortiz for the light heavyweight title.

13. Bas Rutten vs. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka UFC 18

Rutten made his name in Pancrase as a three-time champion. There he was not allowed to use closed-fist blows to the head. As a striker, he was able to showcase one of his best combo finishes at UFC 18 with no restrictions. 

14. Rory Macdonald vs. Robbie Lawler 2 UFC 189

If ever there were a match where both men left a little of themselves in the cage when it was over this fight was it. Both men beat each other to the final round that had the then champion, Lawler wanting to win more and defend his welterweight title.

15. Chan Sung Jung vs. Yair Rodriguez UFC Fight Night 139

Another war that ends in a spectacular finish. Jung, known for his pressure and seemingly unbeatable drive, gets finished in a move that could only be described as something out of a video game. You have to see it to believe it.

16. Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller UFC 155

Two of the Northeast’s greatest lightweights go at it for three rounds. Boston’s Lauzon versus New Jersey’s Miller is a three-round war worth watching. Be warned, this one gets bloody but the sigh of relief from both men makes this one a classic.

17. Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen UFC 117

This one is great for a few reasons. One, because it featured Sonnen’s best performance against a world-class champion and two because he came very close to winning. Silva isn’t recognized as one of the best middleweights for nothing.

18. Forest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonner The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale

If you ask the average MMA fan, the ones that were around before the Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey title reigns, they will tell you this is the fight that made them MMA fans. Both men fought for UFC contracts, both got them.

19. Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson UFC 165

Jon Jones makes fighting look easy, but it is rare that he finds someone that gives as good as they get. Gustaffson did that in their first fight that went to a decision for Jones and some argued it could have gone the other way.

20. Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva UFC Fight Night 40

Brown’s nickname is “The Immortal” and if one asks why this fight with Silva makes for a good example. Nearly finished more than a few times, these two put everything into this fight. Silva and Brown swang for the fences in this one.

21. Randy Couture vs. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira UFC 102

When a world-class jiu-jitsu player meets a world-class wrestler, the two are forced to see who has the better striking. It is also a great example of how the varied skill set of each fighter changes as the rounds go on.

22. Maurice Smith vs. Mark Coleman UFC 14

Smith, when he competed he came from the world of kickboxing and had to adapt to the ever-changing world of early MMA. Many fighters that won were submission specialists or freestyle wrestlers but Smith versus Coleman is one where the striker shines.

23. Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton UFC 34

Newton was probably one of the most entertaining grapplers of the early days of MMA. But it’s not that he faced a great wrestler in Hughes’ that makes this interesting, it’s the way that it ends. Officially, Hughes won, but did he really?

24. B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk UFC 85

At the time, Sherk and Penn were considered the best lightweights in the UFC. Sherk was stripped of the belt for a doping violation and Penn was there to prove he was the true king of the lightweights. Penn wins in the final round, but the fight is a classic.

25. Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey UFC 207

This match is another example of how fast MMA evolves. Rousey’s return to competition was marketed so much it overshadowed how good Nunes’ had gotten to that point, and still is today. If actions speak louder than words, Nunes proved it in this fight.

26. Dan Henderson vs. Hector Lombard UFC 199

Sometimes, when a fighter starts being looked at as “too old”, they do something to show the difference between old and being experienced. While his next match after this would be his last, he still showed that his power was still there.

27. Frankie Edgar vs. B.J. Penn UFC 112

Penn and Edgar would face each other a total of three times in pursuit of lightweight gold. While all three matches are worth a watch, this is the one that started it. Penn is one of the greatest lightweights in UFC history, but this match was definitely a changing of the guard.

28. Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum UFC 236

This fight is one that Adesanya probably took the most damage in his UFC career while making his way to the title. If there is a blueprint to beating the “Stylebender”, Gastelum built in this match.

29. Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje UFC 218

Gaethje and Alvarez have their own resumes of entertaining fights in the sport of MMA. However, this one is significant because Gaethje was undefeated before facing “The Underground King” in Alvarez. It would be a “fight of the night” for the event.

30. Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Johnson The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale

Gaethje’s first fight in the UFC coming from another promotion where he left as champion. Fans unaware of why he is called “The Highlight” found out in this fight. Since, win or lose Gaethje has claimed “fight of the night”, or “performance of the night” bonuses.

31. Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva UFC 234

Silva, the legend and former champ versus Adesanya, an up and coming soon to be champ after this event. Two very good MMA strikers faced off and while Adesanya won by unanimous decision, some argue he did not win every round.

32. Jon Jones vs. Mauricio Rua UFC 128

Jones will likely go down as one of the most dominant light heavyweights of all time. Currently, his only loss is a disqualification from early in his career, but this fight is where he became champion.

33. Michael Bisping vs. Luke Rockhold UFC 199

What makes this fight special is the fact that it was one Bisping took on short notice against someone who beat him before. He was not supposed to win with only 17 days’ notice and seemingly at the end of his career but he did.

34. Brian Stann vs. Wanderlei Silva UFC on Fuel TV: Stann vs. Silva

Wanderlei Silva fighting in Japan is a throwback to the days of Pride Fighting Championships (Pride FC). The UFC purchased Pride FC so this event in Japan was symbolic of the change, but Silva’s win echoed a phrase only the hardcore fans know, “Pride never die.”

35. Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic 1 UFC 226

Cormier will likely go down as one of the greatest heavyweights and light-heavyweight champions in the UFC. This is the fight where he picked up his first UFC heavyweight title from one of the longest-running heavyweight champs in Miocic.

36. Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic 2 UFC 241

A great example of never settling, Miocic refused any other fights until he would get his rematch against Cormier. The second time seemed to almost go the way the first did, but Miocic would turn it around in the rematch.

37. Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou UFC 220

Ngannou was being pushed as the next big thing. So much so, marketing would have fans think he was going to beat Miocic for the title. However, they would be wrong as Miocic somehow avoided the power of Ngannou to get the decisive victory.

38. Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar UFC 121

Lesnar was not the first pro-wrestler to come into MMA, but he was the first to come in and win the title in a short time. Velasquez put an end to that when he faced him and won the heavyweight title.

39. Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos 2 UFC 155

Velasquez and Dos Santos would face each other a total of three times. However, the second bout is the best example of how heavyweight MMA differs from the weight class in other combat sports. Velasquez won two, out of the three matches.

40. Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia UFC 68

In this fight, Couture showed that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Couture was the older man in the match up but somehow, the wrestler brought some new boxing technique into this fight against Sylvia. He won by decision.

41. Phil Davis vs. Tim Boetsch UFC 123

Both men were touted as UFC prospects at the time and coming off of their own respective win streaks in MMA. Both men had strong wrestling backgrounds but Davis’ athleticism is put on display in this match.

42. Lyoto Machida vs. Randy Couture UFC 129

Machida is one of a few karate based fighters in the sport of MMA. That is significant in this fight because of the move he uses to finish the former champ. Only seen in the 1984 film, The Karate Kid Machida scores the knock out with a “crane kick.”

43. Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva UFC 162

Weidman tore his way up to the UFC and an eventual title fight with Silva. After the long reign in the middleweight division for Silva, Weidman would end it and become champion. He would defend it in the rematch as well.

44. Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington UFC 245

The fight is rewarding in more ways than one if you look at the build-up to it and the eventual result. However, outside of the trash talk and political antics that lead up to the fight, the fight itself is great. The outcome just makes it greater.

45. Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo UFC 227

The flyweight division in the UFC is where the little guys get their time to shine. Johnson shined as the champ for almost seven years. He lost the title to Cejudo in this fight via split decision, which means not everyone thought he lost.

46. Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes UFC 238

Cejudo showed in this match the reason Olympic gold medalists are different from other athletes. He went in against a very tough bantamweight in Moraes and won. Later, fans would find out Cejudo injured himself days before and was still able to win.

47. Justin Gaethje vs. Edson Barbosa UFC on ESPN 2

Gaethje was already back in the win column in this fight against another fighter known for devastating leg kicks in Barbosa. As predicted, there was a point where both men just fired away at each other’s legs, but it would be Gaethje that won that battle and the fight.

48. Rafael dos Anjos vs. Anthony Pettis UFC 185

It is the first fight that dos Anjos would go five rounds in and what makes it significant is that he won the title from Pettis, who had been enjoying his time as the lightweight champion. It’s a methodical fight worth a look.

49. Nate Diaz vs. Kurt Pellegrino UFC Fight Night 13

This is a fight that has a particular highlight that runs in any marketing for a Nate Diaz fight. The fight itself was a true test for a young Diaz still making his way in the UFC. Pellegrino was the aggressor, but Diaz pulled off a very famous win.

50. Roger Huerta vs. Clay Guida The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale

In 2007 it was absolutely the fight of the year. Constant attacking from both men with a finish nearly coming for Guida. Somehow, in the third round, Huerta was able to reverse a position and score a submission victory but nearly lost before that.

Sports Strength

The 20 Best Soccer Jerseys Perfect for Any Fan

Soccer has some of the best jerseys hands down. With so many classic moments in International and Club soccer and so many distinguished names, it only makes sense that the best jerseys come with some ties to these moments. There is a great deal of connection between fans and the jerseys that were worn for some of these moments. Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pelé have worn some of the jerseys on this list. Here are One37pm’s 20 best soccer kits of all time.

20. New York Cosmos – 1977 Home

Back in the day, the addition of Pele to the New York Cosmos was a major transactional move. The Brazilian soccer star had dominated for years for the Brazilian national team and Santos. After he came out of semi-retirement in 1975 and signed with the Cosmos of the National American Soccer League, Pelé played two years of soccer in America. By the time he retired again in 1977, the Cosmos were wearing this uniform. Though they no longer exist, the Cosmos kit is a nice retro look to remind you of the days of the NASL.

19. Mexico – 1998 Home

The ‘90s was a time for adventurous designs and colors to fill the uniforms of teams across a variety of sports. Soccer was no exception with Mexico’s World Cup team in 1998 donning this green uniform with the Aztec calendar design covering the entire jersey. It is a sight for sore eyes, to say the least. Viva Mexico!

18. Verdy Kawasaki 1993-1994

Based in Japan, The tie-dye styled green jersey was a winning uniform for Verdy Kawasaki. It totally represents the essence of the decade of the 1990s. Previously named Yomiuri FC the prior two seasons, Verdy Kawasaki won the Japanese League titles in both the years of 1993 and 1994. The team’s name is derived from the word “Verde” which stands for green in Portuguese. 

17. France – 2011-12 Away

Nike made a splash in design in 2011 when they designed France’s away jerseys. Inspired by the marine uniform worn by France’s sailors in the 1800s, France’s away uniforms feature numerous navy stripes across a white shirt. The design was a modern standout kit with a very popular and memorable look.

16. Ajax – 1995 Away

Worn by the Ajax team that won the UEFA Champions League in 1995. Considered one of the best teams of all-time, the Ajax team featured a cast of heavy hitters that included stars Patrick Kluivert, Edwin van der Saar and Clarence Seedorf. The club was undefeated and also won the European Cup and Intercontinental Cup.

15. Liverpool – 1984 Home

Famous for the 1984 European Cup win by Liverpool, their red away uniform with the vertical stripes is a classic. Led by elite goalscorer Ian Rush, Liverpool also managed to win the League Cup and title. It was the first time in history that a team from England managed to win all three trophies.

14. Paris Saint-Germain – 2014-15 Home

Famously worn by Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he was on PSG’s squad back in the mid-2010s, the PSG design was a very sleek design. On the pitch, the PSG team performed very well in these kits. The club managed to earn the national quadruple, meaning they won the Ligue 1, Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophée des Champions all in the same season.

13. USA Men’s – 1994 Away

Though the USA Men’s jersey was not popular with its players in 1994, it still gets some love for its quirky denim print and stars that made you think the designer had an issue with the ratio button in Photoshop. Despite the weird design that infiltrated practically all ‘90s jerseys in every sport, the one benefit of this uniform is that you will stand out in a large crowd.

12. Celtic – 1967

One of the oldest soccer teams of all time, Celtic made their mark in 1967. The team upset Inter-Milan in the 1967 European World Cup 2-1. The Scottish team was the first team from the United Kingdom to ever win the cup and is the only Scottish team to ever win. The alternating green and white stripes are a legendary look for a kit.

11. Italy – 1970
Retro Football

In 1970, Italy got all the way to the World Cup Finals, before succumbing to Brazil in a 4-1 loss. That year, Italy wore their classic all-blue uniforms. Led by players Giacinto Facchetti, Gianni Rivera and Luigi Riva, this was Italy’s first World Cup appearance in 32 years. Their path to the Finals included a classic win over Germany.

10. Netherlands – 1988 Home

Using the Dutch colors in an interesting Tetris-adjacent design, the Netherlands 1988 is popular because it was worn during Holland’s run to winning the FIFA World Cup. It also may cause you a headache if you stare too long at it. During their 1988 run in the World Cup, Holland won the title with a 2-0 win against the Soviet Union. 

9. Real Madrid – 2011-12 Home

Cristiano Ronaldo famously wore this jersey for Real Madrid during the 2011-12 season. Real Madrid broke numerous records during this season, including total goals (121) and most points (100) in a season. Though they never ended up winning any of the major titles during the season, they win the best jerseys during that season with the white and gold accented home uniform ranking as one of the best jerseys of all time.

8. Boca Juniors – 1981 Home

This is an all-time vintage jersey. Diego Maradona spent some of his early years playing with the Boca Juniors of Argentina. Maradona went on to massive success playing in Spain and Italy and also reached new heights when he put up huge international performances in a series of World Cup matches in the 1980s. 

7. FC Barcelona – 2013-14 Away

The 2013-14 away shirt was a standout design for a solid FC Barcelona club that featured Lionel Messi as its top goalscorer. Finishing second in La Liga and winners of Supercopa de Espana, Barcelona’s threads feature the kit in the colors of the Catalan flag, and the classic vertical stripes with a gradient accent on the sleeves.

6. USA Women’s National Team – 2019 Home

There aren’t many better FIFA World Cup moments than the Women’s National Team’s win in 2019 against the Netherlands last year. Led by great players like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, the USA team became one of the most interesting news stories in 2019. The Women’s soccer kit is a simple but effective design that will always bring back memories of a team that captured America’s heart.

5. Bayern Munich – 2007-08 Home

The Bayern Munich team had one of the better jerseys of the 2000s, with a red and white design with horizontal stripes. Featuring players like Luca Toni and Bastian Schweinsteiger, the team was successful that year with the top record in Bundesliga and won the 2007-08 DFB-Pokal cup. 

4. Argentina – 1986 Home

The Argentina team that featured Diego Maradona is a classic club that carries a lot of weight as a historically great team. This was the height of the Maradona-craze. The attacking midfielder was the captain and led his team to a 1986 FIFA World Cup. His goal of the century is a classic. Though it came in the away jersey, we have to give the home jersey the spot as one of the best jerseys ever.

3. Holland – 1974 Home

Famously worn by Johan Cruyff and the rest of the Netherlands men’s national team in the 1974 World Cup, this orange uniform is a stand out. During the 1974 World Cup, Cruyff powered the Netherlands all the way to the final game before falling to West Germany in the final match. Just remember to make sure that there’s just two stripes.

2. West Germany – 1988-1991 Home

Designed by adidas, West Germany’s jersey carries significant cultural impact since it was worn when West Germany won the FIFA World Cup in 1990. These duds were also present when both East and West Germany reunified. The style is definitely eye-popping with a re-interpretation of the German flag.

1. Brazil – 1970 Home

There’s only one word that works when talking about Brazil in the 1970s. All you have to say is Pelé and you’re good in any soccer conversation. Famously worn during Brazil’s World Cup win in 1970, this is the top jersey of all time. Considered the best soccer club constructed in history, Brazil hasn’t changed the clean and simple look that the men’s national team has worn for ages.