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Popular Culture

ONE37pm Has A Conversation With Nick Cannon

I remember being a little kid watching the Nick Cannon show on Nickelodeon and a few years later Wild “N Out, so you could only imagine my excitement at being able to cover the Wild “N Out Live Tour and being able to interview Nick Cannon after the show. The show itself was phenomenal. It took place at the PNC Pavilion here in Charlotte, giving people a safe option to attend the show outside/social distance while still being able to enjoy a live event. 

The sold out show was hyped from beginning to end with all of the signature Wild “N Out features that have been a staple of the series such as the family reunion segment, hyped rap battles, and celebrity performances. The cast was hilarious as always, and because the event was a non-televised event in this case, we got to experience an even longer show as opposed to what we normally would on television (in this case almost two hours).

We caught up with Nick Cannon backstage after the show to talk about the past and present of Wild “N Out, his longevity in the entertainment industry and more.

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ONE37pm: Nick, you mentioned during tonight’s show that Covid had previously put the live tour on hold. How does it feel to be back out there?

Cannon: It feels great to be back out there and giving people laughter and happiness. Even now there is so much going on in the world that can make people down, and to be able to provide people with an escape where they can just laugh and enjoy themselves is an amazing feeling.

ONE37pm: If we look at Wild “N Out circa 2004/2005, how would you say the show has evolved since then?

Cannon: Man, it’s evolved a lot! This is something that started out as a way for me to be able to give my friends jobs, so for us to still be here all these years later and for it to be what it is now is something that I never imagined.

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ONE37pm: You dropped your new mixtape Raw & B, tell us about that?

Cannon: This is the hottest record out there! I might have some competition because my brother Chris Brown is releasing soon, but for a month this is gonna be the hottest record out!

ONE37pm: When are we going to get the performances from this record?

Cannon: Well I’m definitely going to do a tour once we’re done with the Wild “N Out tour in July!

ONE37pm: You also mentioned your movie career during the show, is that something that you are still doing? You’ve had some iconic movies!

Cannon: Yes! You actually just reminded me that I’m shooting a movie sometime this summer. Movies are definitely something that’s always going to be a part of what I do.

ONE37pm: Longevity is rare in the entertainment industry, and yet you’ve been able to be around for more than 20 years in different capacities. What is your advice to others looking to do what you do?

Cannon: Never give up and never allow anybody to tell you what you can’t do. My father is here right now, and the one word that was never allowed in our household was “can’t.” Work hard and believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything you want to.

If you haven’t already, make sure you check out the Wild “N Out tour. It’s a show to remember.

Categories
Popular Culture

‘The Flight Attendant’ Season 2 Review: Everything’s Okay?

For a series called The Flight Attendant, there wasn’t much tending to flights this season for our girl, Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco). But maybe that’s for the best, as last season all it got her was being the top suspect in an international murder case and a drinking problem.

This time around, Cassie is pretty stable living her new life in California as a flight attendant and as a CIA civilian asset. Things are going a little too well for her when she witnesses a major explosion on a mission in Berlin and notices someone dressing up just like her. Basically, the main plot of this season is figuring out how these two things are connected and who is impersonating Cassie—and why.

While this season of The Flight Attendant was jam-packed with plot twists and did not miss a beat of action, ultimately, a few strings were left untied.

Jennifer Rose Clasen / HBO Max

First off, we were thrown quite a few fresh faces this season, and those characters’ purposes were either moot, abandoned, or given fairly predictable endings (okay, maybe not Grace shooting herself on top of the Santa Monica Ferris wheel, but still).

Grace (Mae Martin) was introduced early on as one of the other flight attendants Cassie was working with, and she definitely gave off some odd vibes upon our first meeting. Cassie herself was pretty skeptical of her, stalking Grace at her house and eventually rummaging through her apartment. However, after that, it was sort of as if Grace didn’t exist—we didn’t see much of her until the very end when she confronted Cassie at the Santa Monica Pier. It just seemed like a bit of a cop-out to kill her off like that.

On top of her, we met a creepy (and murderous?) couple, Gabrielle and Esteban Diaz (Callie Hernandez and J.J. Soria), who have seemingly been tracking Cassie since she arrived in Berlin in the first episode. They were on her tail from the very beginning, traveling all the way back to Los Angeles to tie up an elderly couple across the street from Cassie and then Annie (Zosia Mamet) and Max (Deniz Akdeniz). Later on, they followed Cassie to the Santa Monica Pier and almost killed Annie and Max (again), though Annie was able to save the day. All of that to say, I genuinely don’t know why they were involved at all. A smokescreen, I guess? Because we really weren’t given any explanation as to why they were included in the plot at all.

Cheryl Hines was also brought on as Dot Karlson, regional director of the CIA who crosses paths with Cassie as she’s working under Benjamin Berry (Mo McRae). Ultimately, Karlson turns out to be the mastermind behind this whole situation that has had Cassie running around trying to figure out who’s responsible for framing her. But I don’t know, there’s just something about Cheryl Hines that makes it extremely difficult for make to take her seriously as some sort of secret serial killer with the random agenda to frame Cassie for all of her crimes. Actually, I know the reason—it’s because every time I see Cheryl Hines in anything I think of that scene in Curb Your Enthusiasm where she gets stuck in a car wash and has to leave mid-ride. So maybe this is a Me Problem.

Then we have Jenny (Jessie Ennis), the extremely annoying member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) whom Cassie feels forced to take under her wing. She’s extremely interested in Cassie’s past with Alex Sokolov, forming a weird friendship with Cassie’s brother, Davey (T.R. Knight), that ends in her drugging him and running after Cassie with a massive hammer in hand. Apparently, she had met Buckley Ware (Colin Woodell) and became obsessed with him, though he was still hung up on his ex, Cassie. With that, Jenny set out to befriend Cassie and then murder her, though Davey and Cassie were (barely) able to take her out before that was able to happen.

Jennifer Rose Clasen / HBO Max

The real standouts from this season were basically the same as last time around: Cassie, Annie, Max, and Megan. I mean, I like Shane Evans (Griffin Matthews) but he’s gone back and forth with both Cassie and Megan to the point that I just can’t seem to trust him.

Miranda (Michelle Gomez) briefly returned for Season 2, practically stealing all of the scenes she was in just as she had in the first season. So I’m here kindly asking: why didn’t we get more of her? You give her to us and then you take her away?! As Miss Coco Peru would say, “They get you hooked on something, and then they just say, ‘You know what, we’re not going to sell that anymore.'”

A new face—Lisa Bowden (Sharon Stone)—brought an interesting dynamic to the series as Cassie’s complicated mother; she also brought a pretty major slap to her daughter’s face, as well. Again, it would’ve been telling to hear even more of what she had to say about her side of things as we did a fairly deep dive into Cassie’s past with her father in Season 1. Also, it’s Sharon Stone.

Shohreh Aghdashloo took on a recurring role this season as Brenda, Cassie’s AA sponsor who nails the perfect balance between understanding Cassie and holding her responsible. It’s clear that Brenda’s been through a lot in life, but despite that, she’s one of the few people who continuously shows up for Cassie in some of her darker moments. If they decide not to run with a third season for The Flight Attendant, I’d almost want a spin-off of just Aghdashloo’s character—it just seems like there are too many more layers to Brenda to not explore.

Final Thoughts on Season 2

This time around with The Flight Attendant, things feel fully wrapped up; we didn’t leave off on a call to action like in Season 1, which makes me wonder if a Season 3 will even be ordered. Listen, they could definitely find a new plot for another season, but Annie and Max are settled down, Cassie is back being sober, Megan and her family have joined the Witness Protection Program—I just don’t see a need for another season at the moment. Would I wholeheartedly tune in every week if HBO decides to renew? Yes. But would another season seem forced? Maybe.

Categories
Music

Bops That Just Dropped: New Music Roundup

Every week a bunch of new projects, songs and snippets hit the airwaves and streaming platforms and it can be a tall task sorting through all of the noise. Luckily, ONE37pm is here to help keep you in tune with what new music should be on your radar.

“True Love” — Kanye West featuring XXXTENTACION

Many of us Ye fans have been yearning for that Old Ye. Well, the artist formerly known as Kanye West resurrects some of them vintage vibes for his latest single, “True Love.” Featuring the late XXXTENTACION, the two-and-a-half minute long song is sonically and lyrically reminiscent of classics from Ye’s 808s & Heartbreak and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy eras. The moody track that was previewed during his epic Donda 2 listening session back in February, makes its official debut the same day that the latest Yeezy GAP engineered by Balenciaga collection debuts.

“Sleazy Flow” remix — SleazyWorld Go featuring Lil Baby

SleazyWorld Go took the Tiktok world by storm with his “Sleazy Flow.” The 24-year-old’s breakthrough record made its way onto the Spotify Viral Chart, SoundCloud, Apple Music’s Global Chart. It also caught the attention of platinum stars like Jack Harlow, Lil Nas X, Lil Durk and Lil Baby. Lil Baby liked the record so much that he hopped on its remix. Released this week, the “Sleazy Flow” remix features the emerging rapper from Kansas City and the Atlanta super star trading flows.

“24 Hrs” — Kaash Paige featuring Lil Tjay

Kaash Paige is back with a silky smooth record called “24 HRS.” The singer who reps Dallas, Texas teamed up with Bronx bomber Lil Tjay for the sexy track. With this being the 21-year-old’s second single release in about a month, it makes us think that there’s going to be more music to come in 2022. Her last project, Teenage Fever, dropped in 2020. Since Kaash landed on the scene in 2018 with bops like “Love Songs,” she’s appeared on joints with Don Toliver, Alicia Keys, Travis Scott and others.

Also this week, Moneybagg Yo returns with something to say. The Memphis star comes hard with his new track “See Wat I’m Sayin.” Sleepy Hallow delivers with his 347aidan-featured “Die Young.” Jelly and Pi’erre Bourne unleash The Wolf of Peachtree 2. Logic dishes off his latest Vinyl Days single, “Orville.” NY OGs Jim Jones and Maino debut their joint project, The Lobby Boyz. Brooklyn drill rapper 26AR drops his Rob49-assisted “Hottest In My City” banger. BRS Kash, KCAMP, FBG Goat, and others also released new music this week.

Tap in with our weekly playlist below and don’t forget to come back next Friday and every Friday after that for a round up of what’s new in music.

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Consoles Gaming

The 20 Best Games Like ‘Clash of Clans’

If you spend a lot of time with Supercell’s mega-hit game, then you’re probably hankering for more games to play like Clash of Clans that hits that sweet spot of free-to-play mobile strategy goodness. It’s a great, challenging game to take with you on the go (and who can beat the fact that it fits in your pocket?) but now the game is looking a little long in the tooth.

So it might finally be time to branch out and try a little something else. Or maybe you just want to expand your horizons a bit. Whatever the case may be, if you’re looking for more games like Clash of Clans to add to your collection of mobile games, we’ve got 20 different games here for you to try out to see what you vibe with the most next. And the best part? Most of these games are free!

Check out 20 games like Clash of Clans that we’ve carefully curated for you below.

1. ‘Hero Sky: Epic Clash’

If you’re looking for something exactly like Clash of Clans, you can’t go wrong with Hero Sky: Epic Clash. Arm up with your buddies and fight through guild wars by first choosing a hero and diving into battle. Grow your modest starter village into a veritable fortress and claim the Sky World for your own. Save up gold and build additional structures to defend your base from potential invaders, and train up your followers for some seriously exciting battles.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.innospark.herosky&hl=en_US&gl=US
2. ‘Lords Mobile: Tower Defense’

Lords Mobile: Tower Defense is all about finding a new Lord to unite the Kingdoms, which have fallen into disarray since the Emperor was taken out. You’ll be tasked with recruiting new heroes, including dark elves, mermaids, dwarves, steampunk robots, and just about everything else you can think of as you fight on and establish a new empire. Raid castles with your massive armies and go down in history, all in this castle-building, army-fortifying strategy game.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.igg.android.lordsmobile&hl=en_US&gl=US
3. ‘Total War Battles: Kingdom’

If you’re a fan of the Total War series, there’s plenty to love about Total War Battles: Kingdom. Shape the land you rule over by building your own medieval kingdom, recruit members of a growing, formidable army, and defeat anyone in your way as you rise up, create a bustling economy, and rule your devoted people. Create alliances with Vikings and other groups of people to expand your influence even further until you eventually become a legendary medieval lord. All this, and the game fits right in your pocket. Plus, you’ll have something of an edge over other players if you come from a Total War background.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sega.twbkingdom&hl=en_US&gl=RU
4. ‘Cookie Run: Kingdom’

If you like a little more story baked in with your Clash of Clans-like games, Cookie Run: Kingdom checks all the boxes. Guard against the Cookies imbued with Soul Jam against a shadowy Harbinger of Darkness and help the five Cookie heroes battle those who would see the Kingdom fall. Build up your own cookie land, ally with delicious creatures, collect relics, and engage in flashy cookie battles where you can use special toppings and treasures to bolster your team. Think of it as Clash of Clans if everything were edible.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.devsisters.ck&hl=en_US&gl=US
5. ‘DomiNations’

DomiNations looks and feels like one of those throwback RTS games from back in the day. Its civilization simulation elements and wars with competing nations should feed your inner ruler since they’re both so strong. Each nation has its own strengths and weaknesses, which therein lies the fun as you figure out which one best suits your playstyle. The fact that you can obtain sage advice from historical figures, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Catherine the Great, and King Sejong, lends this mobile strategy gem an extra air of legitimacy in the way it handles ancient history.

Play Now, Free
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/dominations/id922558758
6. ‘Guardian Kingdoms’

Guardian Kingdoms is all about becoming a guardian worthy of growing a kingdom around. Just like in Clash of Clans, you’ll go from zero to hero while you build a new kingdom, create alliances with other heroes, and o to war against anyone who might oppose you. In addition to crumbling enemy castles, you’ll get to steal crystals while heading out on adventures and destroying bosses. Collect new heroes as you play the game, and see just how far you can go. Recently, the game even added a new Barracks system, battle leagues, and additional troops you can pair with to crush the opposition.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.phoenixonegames.guardiankingdoms&hl=en_US&gl=US
7. ‘Plunder Pirates’

Midoki’s Plunder Pirates was directly inspired by Clash of Clans. This multiplayer game finds you building up a base, training your own pirate squad, and hitting the high seas to explore while looking for treasure, all the while defending yourself against players and attack others to take gold and grog for yourself. You can use those resources to build up defenses and create your own buildings. As you build up, you’ll be able to complete quests and take part in 24-hour skirmishes called Rumbles as well as regular events, which last for seven days. Earn gems by completing missions, finding them in chests, or even at sea. All of this makes for a fun, pirate-centric adventure that lets you feel as though you’re living the life of Blackbeard himself.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.midoki.pirates&hl=en_US&gl=US
8. ‘Jungle Heat’

Jungle Heat is all about combat, involving military bases that you buildup and control, and taking it all to the jungle to attack your enemies. Explore tropical jungles practically teeming with resources like oil and gold, all to bring down the cruel General Blood, who rules with an iron fit. Head deep into the jungle to collect everything you need to train your troops, upgrade your buildings, and then match up with other players to see who has the most formidable set of soldiers. Battles are quick and easy, and you don’t need to spend a lot of time learning how to play the game. It’s a great substitute for Clash of Clans if that’s indeed what you want.

Play Now, Free
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/jungle-heat/id652136891
9. ‘Dawn of Titans’

Dawn of Titans is all about letting you take on the role of the Gods themselves, like Zeus, Thor, and the rest of the pantheon. You’ll collect additional deities to play as and control all while you expand your modest empire into something to be terrified by. Capture an additional enemy territory to ensure you’re on top of things while building a massive army to ensure you’re always ready to take on anyone who threatens to topple your empire. Clash of Clans fans will enjoy all of the similar aspects while also getting to collect and control the mythical deities with a wide range of superpowers. Who doesn’t want to see what all those gods can do after watching Hercules as a kid?

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.naturalmotion.dawnoftitans&hl=en_US&gl=US
10. ‘Boom Beach’

In Boom Beach, you’ve got to work with your own Task Force comprised of other players around the world if you want to fight off the evil Blackguard. As the commander of your own army, you’ll be infiltrating a tropical paradise as you plan out how best to storm other players’ beaches and what the best plan of attack is to come out on top. You’ll have to scout out the perfect location on the beach to come together and mount an assault on enemies and AI bases if you want to make the most out of your time with Boom Beach. Plus, task force challenges and monthly global events will keep you on your toes. As far as games like Clash of Clans go, the similarities are easy to spot here.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.supercell.boombeach&hl=en_US&gl=US
11. ‘Castle Clash’

Castle Clash may be one of the closest games yet if you want to replicate what you enjoy about Clash of Clans. It’s also one of the largest, as it boasts over 10 million players worldwide. It combines elements of strategy and combat for a game that lets you build up near-impenetrable fortresses and zany troops out of soldiers of your choice. It’s fast-paced, and there are tons of mythical creatures and other heroes to recruit, no matter what your typical taste in these types of characters is. Plus, you can play against other people or join a guild and play against tough bosses together. There are plenty of different ways to interact, and it’s all free.

Play Now, Free
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/castle-clash-guild-royale/id692669501
12. ‘Gods of Olympus’

Another great Clash of Clans-like game that you’ll want to add to your favorite mobile device pronto is Gods of Olympus. Like an earlier game on our list, it lets you take control of the ancient Greek gods and lock them together in combat. Fight it out in real-time combat as you use gods like Zeus, Ares, Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis, and Athena. Or you can play together with allies for real-time co-op play in live battles as you all work to defend your city from attacks or simply destroy anyone who gets in your way. Interestingly enough about this game as well is that there are no build times, so every building and facility you need is completed instantly. That’s a major boon if you’re looking for something a little different.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aegisinteractive.goo&hl=en_US&gl=US
13. ‘Vikings: War of Clans’

Under the watchful eye of Odin, Vikings: War of Clans finds you rallying together with some of the most bloodthirsty Vikings the world has ever seen to rush into combat and strike down their enemies. Construct your own buildings and make sure your warriors are trained up, then send your own heroes on raids to become a mighty Jarl whose name is known throughout the world — and summarily feared. Collect resources, wield important knowledge to defeat others, and create or join a clan to pool your resources and become one of the most powerful Vikings to go down in history.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.plarium.vikings&hl=en_US&gl=US
14. ‘Clash Quest’

Clash Quest isn’t exactly the same type of game as Clash of Clans, but it’s from the same creator. So it retains many similar elements while introducing a few new ones, too. It’s a turn-based puzzle RPG battle game that has you battling bosses throughout unique puzzles while you explore undiscovered islands with a group of heroes who find themselves stranded on an island. You’ll still collect heroes and build up armies, but this time you have to match the troops on the battlefield, using a variety of spells and more. You’ll also fight bosses from the Clash universe to keep things fresh. It’s not more that’s exactly the same, but instead a fun twist on a familiar game.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.supercell.clashquest&hl=en_US&gl=US
15. ‘Brawl Stars’

Brawl Stars is another game that deviates a bit from the Clash of Clans formula, but it’s still in the same spirit as the popular multiplayer game. It’s a MOBA and third-person shooter that includes a variety of different Brawlers that you can play to take out your enemies, whether they’re AI-controlled or real people bringing the fight for you. Unlock new Brawlers through Boxes, the Trophy Road, or purchase them in the Shop. There are also multiple seasons of the game to battle through with a battle pass you can unlock for additional goodies.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details/?id=com.supercell.brawlstars
16. ‘Barbearian’

If your favorite part of Clash of Clans is the epic combat, then Barbearian is a cuddly hack and slash game you’ll bear-ly be able to resist. Take part in massive, full-scale battles with over 100 levels teeming with action and adventure. Collect loot, nab upgrades, and try out new weapons as you bust through enemy holds, rescue prisoners, and create your own army, all as an abducted teddy bear! Yeah, you read that right. Grab plenty of loot to upgrade your bear, then melee your way to victory the best way you know how: crashing and bashing through everything. It’s the most fun you can have as a bear, that’s for sure.

Play Now, Free
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/barbearian/id1351822099
17. ‘Emporea’

Take it all the way back to the classic days of strategy gaming with Emporea. Choose one of four different races (Orc, Dwarf, Elf, or Undead) as you work to build up a formidable economy teeming with powerful units who can use a variety of different spells and stick it to your enemies. Conquer new territories while defending what’s yours, and set up alliances to make sure you’re set to defend it as long as possible. There are over 90 different unique artifacts to collect, over 90 hero skills to choose from, and a new realm that kicks off every two weeks. Plus, there’s a new challenging boss encounter every 97 days. There’s plenty to keep you busy, especially if you like rising to the challenge and kicking it old-school, RPG-style.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.PixelFederation.EmporeaGame&hl=en_US&gl=US
18. ‘Clash Royale’

The natural evolution from Clash of Clans is Clash Royale, a real-time strategy game that includes elements of collectible card games, MOBAs, and tower defense titles. You’ll have one or two players working to rush the King’s Tower, which means an instant win. Otherwise, the game ends after three to five minutes and the win goes to the player who can destroy a tower or the team who’s managed to have the least bit of health taken from them. Level up, get stronger, and collect powerful cards to make sure your opponent always has a reason to worry about what you have up your sleep. It’s a bit different from Clash of Clans, but it’s just as exciting and especially addictive.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.supercell.clashroyale&hl=en_US&gl=US
19. ‘Rise of Kingdoms’

Rise of Kingdoms puts you in charge of 12 different civilizations. Which one will you ultimately work with to conquer the world? That’s up to you, as you decide on the best way to proceed. You can decide to put your own people first, explore unknown territories, or even decide to get tangled up in some vicious wars. whatever you do, you have the chance to create the strategies of your choice as you collect resources, form alliances, and complete missions to rank up quickly. The higher your level, the better you’ll see yourself performing, and eventually, you’ll be a formidable ruler that no one will want to touch. That’s the beauty of Rise of Kingdoms!

Play Now, Free
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/rise-of-kingdoms/id1354260888
20. ‘Stick War: Legacy’

You’ve never seen stick figures like this. Bring all the stick figures you can think of together as you control an army of various stickman units. Grow your army, from zombies to centurions, all made out of sticks, then build up your facilities to start collecting resources. Mine plenty of gold so you can pay to train your stickmen in a variety of disciplines, and they can learn various attack methods: Sword, Spear, Archer, Mage, and Giants. Capture all the territories you possibly can while you collect new skins, play with others or enjoy the single-player campaign, and finish off a terrifying boss at the end of it all! It turns out that stick figures are a lot more sturdy than you thought they were. What we have here is one of the more visually distinctive games like Clash of Clans to adopt as a part of your mobile gaming regimen.

Play Now, Free
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.maxgames.stickwarlegacy&hl=en_US&gl=US
Categories
Popular Culture

‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Recap: “Part 1” and “Part 2”

Hello there

If you thought I was going to start a recap of Obi-Wan Kenobi with anything other than that now famous quote, you’d be sorely mistaken. Like welcoming back an old friend, the long-awaited series has finally arrived on Disney+.

Regardless of your feelings on the prequel trilogy, fans and critics are in universal agreement that Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi was a highlight of those three films.

Set ten years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan is hiding out on Tatooine, keeping a watchful eye on a young Luke Skywalker. The remaining Jedi are still being hunted down by Darth Vader and his Inquisitors; Obi-Wan keeps a low profile by posing as an ordinary worker living in a cave.

Major spoilers for Parts One and Two follow

Stay Hidden
Disney+

The series begins with another heartbreaker as we open on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant in the middle of Order 66. A group of Younglings is in the middle of training with a Jedi Master when clones break into the room and begin attacking.

She fights them off briefly but is eventually gunned down alongside the rest of the Jedi. The Younglings run and try to escape the Jedi Temple.

We then move forward ten years and move to Tatooine, where the Inquisitors, led by the Grand Inquisitor, have arrived on the search for a Jedi. At this point, we’re not sure if it’s Obi-Wan they’re looking for, but they head to a bar and question the owner about this Jedi.

They’ve heard rumors of a Jedi on the planet helping people because, as the Grand Inquisitor says, “they cannot help it, the Jedi Code is like an itch.”

One of the Inquisitors named Reva/ The Third Sister picks up a knife and throws it in the face of the bar owner, when suddenly the blade stops, floating in the air. There is a Jedi, Nari, amongst the patrons, and he’s forced to reveal himself to protect the bar owner. He runs and is chased by the Inquisitors and is nearly killed by Reva before the Grand Inquisitor stops her.

She’s on the hunt for Obi-Wan, hoping to earn more reputation and likely impress Darth Vader.

Finally, we see Obi-Wan in all his bearded glory, blending in as an ordinary worker at a meat packing shop. He lives in seclusion, using the name Ben, in a cave near the Lars’ homestead. A Jawa arrives and sells him parts for one of his machines and a toy space shuttle.

Obi-Wan still suffers from PTSD, struggling to live with Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side and his “death,” as Obi-Wan believes. Obi-Wan reaches out, asking for help from his master Qui-Gon Jinn, who Darth Maul killed at the end of The Phantom Menace.

Yoda had informed Obi-Wan that Qui-Gon had discovered the means to return as a Force Ghost upon his death, and Obi-Wan continues to look to him for guidance.

He drops off the toy shuttle for Luke, attempting to maintain a presence in the young boy’s life. As he leaves the Lars’ home, he’s found by Nari in the desert, who begs him for help. Obi-Wan attempts to remain anonymous, but Nari knows his true nature.

Nari is shut down by Obi-Wan, who tells him to leave, bury his lightsaber in the desert, and stay hidden. Obi-Wan is broken; he admits that the time of the Jedi is over and that helping others is no longer possible for them.

Disney+

It was predicted that much of Obi-Wan Kenobi would follow him on a mission to protect Luke somehow, but in a bit of a surprise, it is a young Leia who needs his help.

The show goes to Alderaan, where, in true Princess Leia fashion, she isn’t following the rules and has elected to try and skip out on an event she’s supposed to attend. She’s found by her mother, who brings her back to the palace, and as they return, we see an ominous figure observing them from a distance.

Obi-Wan is then met by Owen, who throws the toy spaceship on the ground and warns Obi-Wan to stay away from them. He pleads with Owen, asking him if Luke has begun showing signs of being Force sensitive. Suddenly the Inquisitors arrive again, demanding answers as to where the Jedi is. Reva has something to prove; she is ruthless and willing to do whatever is needed to find the Jedi.

After cutting off a woman’s hand, she gets in Owen’s face, asking if he knows about the Jedi. Owen lies, saying he knows nothing of any Jedi; Reva doesn’t believe him and tells everyone in the crowd that she will kill Owen, Beru, and Luke if they don’t give the Inquisitors answers.

Obi-Wan watches from a distance, nearly getting involved, when suddenly another Inquisitor, the Fifth Brother, stops her. The Fifth Brother warns Reva that going after Kenobi is pointless and that he’s long gone. She believes she is owed more than she’s gotten, and by capturing Kenobi, Reva will get what she wants.

Obi-Wan thanks Owen for not saying anything, but Owen admits he didn’t do it for him. By not revealing anything, his own family is protected, and so is Luke.

We go back to Alderaan and get reunited with our old friend Bail Organa, who greets an awaiting delegation, including Leia’s obnoxious cousin. As Bail and some other partygoers discuss some issues, we spot another good friend C-3PO briefly before Leia is talked down to by her cousin. Using her force sensitivity, most likely, she sees inside of him and cuts him down to size immediately.

After being reprimanded by her mother, Bail talks to Leia about her future and how she’ll follow in his footsteps as a Senator. She expresses some self-doubt about being an Organa, to which Bail immediately reminds her that she is his daughter and that she has a great destiny ahead of her.

We see her run back into the forest to play without her parents knowing, and a unit of guards is sent to find her. Leia is chased and then captured by a group of mercenaries.

Obi-Wan receives a message from Bail, asking him to find Leia and bring her home. He doesn’t believe that he’s the right person for the job, expressing doubt that he’d be able to save her.

He heads to town, where he sees that Nari was killed by the Inquisitors and strung up as a message to everyone else. Bail finds Obi-Wan in his cave, pleading with him to help find Leia. He tells Obi-Wan that they’re heading to the planet Daiyu.

Bail finally convinces Obi-Wan, and he heads back out to the desert where he digs up two lightsabers: Anakin’s old one, which he took after their duel on Mustafar, and his own.

It turns out the mercenaries that captured Leia were hired by Reva, who is using the Princess to bring Obi-Wan out of hiding.

After some brief hesitation, Obi-Wan boards a ship headed by Daiyu.

Once Upon a Time on Daiyu
Disney+

Obi-Wan arrives on Daiyu, at a dark and nefarious-looking city, a perfect place for someone to disappear. He was tracking the mercenaries’ ship but is told at the docks that all signals are blocked on the planet, so the tracker no longer functions.

He observes a marketplace, hoping to find a clue as to where Leia is. Obi-Wan asks Qui-Gon for help once more, hoping for an answer from his former master.

A destitute former Clone Trooper (shoutout to Temeura Morrison for the cameo!) asks Obi-Wan for some credits, and he gives him some. The trooper is dressed in blue and white armor, used by the 501st Clone Battalion, the unit that Anakin commanded during The Clone Wars.

Obi-Wan is stopped by a woman looking to sell him spice; he instead asks her for information regarding his “daughter.” She tells him that no one leaves Daiyu and to forget about her. He’s then approached by a kid on the street, who tells him that a Jedi is in the area and can help him.

The “Jedi” is being paid by a mother to get her and her son, who is said to be Force sensitive, off the planet. After he helps them, Obi-Wan approaches the conman, named Haja Estree, and immediately exposes him for not being a Jedi.

Obi-Wan asks for Haja’s help, and after refusing to pay him for his services, Obi-Wan demands information. It’s an interesting moment for Obi-Wan, as he holds Haja at blaster point, something he would have never done during his years as a Jedi.

Haja directs him to an, let’s just say seedy, establishment, which is a cover for a spice lab. Obi-Wan disguises himself as a dealer and uses the distraction of an exploding batch of chemicals to make his way to the back of the building where Leia is being held.

Two gang members attack Obi-Wan, but he’s able to fight them off after a brief scuffle, demands to know where Leia is. The mercenaries who captured Leia get the jump on him and take his lightsaber. He uses a vial of spice that he took from the lab to escape, causing the mercenaries to collapse.

Obi-Wan finds Leia, who attacks him, thinking he’s there to hurt her. He tells her that he’s there to help her, but she’s reluctant to trust him. He’s able to get her to leave with him after some convincing, but she—being a kid, after all—is not exactly conspicuous and nearly reveals them.

Reva finds the mercenaries high and nearly passed out but leaves, realizing that questioning them is pointless. The other Inquisitors arrive on the planet and immediately call her out for kidnapping Leia. She fires back, saying they’ve done a whole lot worse.

Disney+

The Grand Inquisitor calls Reva the least of them and tells her that she’s no longer required on the search, sending her off the planet. However, she refuses to leave and puts a bounty on Obi-Wan’s head, promising a reward to anyone who captures him.
Obi-Wan and Leia continue their escape, and she makes it increasingly difficult to remain hidden as she wants to see, touch, and interact with basically everything.

Haja and his accomplice find out about the bounty on Obi-Wan’s head and, being the credit chasers that they are, set out to capture him. The Inquisitors shut the port down, leave stormtroopers on the planet, and discover Reva’s bounty on Kenobi’s head.

Leia thinks that Obi-Wan is the one that is responsible for her kidnapping and runs away. He chases after her, but she’s able to disappear into the crowd, and after he dispatches a bounty hunter, she makes her way onto a rooftop and continues to run. When he nearly catches up, another bounty hunter arrives, and Obi-Wan is forced into a gunfight as Leia escapes.

Reva spots the fight happening and heads in the direction of the gunfire. Haja spots the gunfire as well, and he heads that way. Obi-Wan is finally able to kill the bounty hunters, but Leia falls off the roof and grabs a wire, struggling to hold on.

She falls and calls for his help, and Obi-Wan, for the first time in a decade, uses the Force to float her to safety. He had cut himself off from it to stay under the radar, so it’s tough for him to pull it off.

They’re found by Haja, who is actually there to help them get off the planet. He gives them passes for a cargo freighter that will help them escape.

Haja is found by Reva, who uses the Force to pull the information out of his head, discovering where Obi-Wan is going.

Leia and Obi-Wan talk about what they’ll do next as he is still hesitant to trust Haja’s information, but Leia reminds him that they really don’t have any other options.

He doesn’t mention her by name, but Obi-Wan says she reminds him of an old friend, thinking that she is just like Padme Amidala. Leia asks if she’s still alive, but Obi-Wan tells her no, to which Leia apologizes.

Reva catches up to them at the dock, igniting her lightsaber and searching for Obi-Wan. He gives Leia the key to start the automated freighter, saying that if he doesn’t catch up to her, to leave without him.

Reva says that she is there to capture, not kill him…at least not today. She’s going to take Obi-Wan to “him” and says Lord Vader will be pleased.

She realizes that Obi-Wan didn’t know Vader was alive. For the past decade, he was convinced that he’d left Anakin to die on Mustafar.

Menacingly, she says, “Anakin Skywalker is alive.”

Even after all this time, Vader has been hunting him, and we figure out why Reva wants Obi-Wan so bad: If she delivers him to Vader, she will surely be rewarded.

The other Inquisitors have caught up to them and say that she cannot proceed and that the Grand Inquisitor will take him in. She deceives him and stabs him in the gut with her lightsaber.

Obi-Wan uses this distraction to get to the freighter and escape with Leia. Still in shock over learning that Anakin is alive and hunting him, the camera focuses on Obi-Wan, and he says, “Anakin.”

Suddenly, we cut to Vader, out of his armor, in a Bacta Tank floating with machines attached to him. His iconic breathing is heard, and the camera cuts to black.

Final Thoughts

For the most part, Obi-Wan Kenobi is off to a strong start. It was a nice twist to make the reason for Obi-Wan leaving Tatooine be Leia, rather than Luke, and helps explore their relationship further. It gives more depth as to why she trusted him, and only him, to deliver the Death Star plans in A New Hope.

The Inquisitors have proven to be not as intimidating as I would have hoped for. In addition, any fan that has seen Star Wars: Rebels will be confused about the “death” of the Grand Inquisitor, as he is a central character in season one of that show. However, many characters have come back from a lot worse than a lightsaber to the gut in this universe.

Darth Maul was chopped in half and fell down an energy shaft, so I’d say anything’s possible at this point.

All that being said, it’s just so great to have Ewan McGregor back as Obi-Wan. He’s slipped right back into the role, and his performance as a broken, depressed man struggling with his failures, is as good as it gets.

With the tease of Darth Vader coming next, the hype for their confrontation only continues to build.

Categories
Sports

Nike’s 47th Prefontaine Classic Kicks Off Today

It’s a big day today in Nikeland as The 47th Nike Prefontaine Classic kicks off today. Having been around since 1975, the event takes place at the iconic and newly renovated Hayward Field through tomorrow. Building on the success of last year (which was the first year of competition in the new facility), Hayward Field is considered by many to be the “finest track and field facility in the world.

Furthermore, the classic, which is named after the legend Steve Prefontaine, is the premier track & field meet in the US and part of the Wanda Diamond League, the annual worldwide series of elite track and field athletic competitions. It is the only professional T&F Diamond League event in the United States. 

Another exciting update to the competition is the return of Para Disciplines to the Pre for the first time since 1989! Those athletes include two-time World Championship Bronze Medalist & Paralympian Scout Bassett, two-time Paralympic medalist Hunter Woodall, and eight-time Paralympic track & field international medalist and world record holder Blake Leeper.

Ahead of the event, we spoke with Olympic Distance Runner Cooper Teare, Atlanta Track Club’s Allie Wilson, and two-time Paralympic medalist Hunter Woodall on how they have been preparing for the tournament.

ONE37pm: Thanks for chatting with us guys! I’ll start by asking how you’ve been preparing for the tournament so far.

Allie: I’ve been training for a long time both outdoors and indoors. I did have a little injury while training but it’s been okay! I’ve just really been focusing on my fitness and health as this is something I’ve wanted for a long time. This is actually my first time running an 800 since the Olympic Trials. I’m grateful to be here!

Cooper: This is personally my best training block I feel in terms of my transition from college to pro. In the past I had trouble putting together good blocks of training because I had to focus on school and other things like that. To have a Diamond League here in America is a huge opportunity, and I actually get to be home with it being in Oregon as well which is cool because I get to start my professional career with this pre-classic. I’ve been working with my buddy Cole as well on training. It’s been fun!

Hunter: Right now I’m really starting to get into speed and competition. I’m working on the 200s today. My main goal at the moment is just to stay healthy. That’s the biggest thing.

ONE37pm: Cooper this question is for you. I heard you had a very interesting race. Could you tell us more about that?

Cooper: Yes this particular race was one of those very few times where you can call something life-changing or a big turning point. Ironically enough it was my last collegiate race which made it a bittersweet moment, and something happened to me that had never happened before.

I didn’t go into the race thinking I was going to win, but I knew I had to win. I literally dragged myself across the finish line, and it was the hardest I have ever pushed myself. That race showed me a lot about who I am, and it gave me confidence. As an athlete, you have to have the ability to learn how to mentally get yourself to the next level.

ONE37pm: What are you all most looking forward to in terms of visiting Oregon?

Allie: I actually haven’t really thought about it! I’ve been to Oregon twice and saw the beaches which were really beautiful. It was a very cool experience!

Cooper: Well I actually live in Eugene, Oregon as I mentioned earlier so I’ll be home! I think that’s something that can be an advantage, but it’s also something that can be a little daunting as well. It will help a lot because I’ll be able to sleep in my own bed and cook my own meals at home.

Hunter: Two words. Tracktown Pizza. It’s a restaurant that’s all about track and field, and of course, it has great pizza!

ONE37pm: What do you guys have planned after this classic? Any more races in store?

Allie: I actually have a race next weekend where I’ll be running a 1500, and I actually made my debut in that two weeks ago. My hope is to get better and go further. I’ll also have the Grand Pre in New York, so I’ll definitely be doing more!

Cooper: This is going to be my professional race so I’ll definitely be doing more races including one in Portland, but I’m also going to take it one day at a time. We also have plans to do a European Circuit at some point later this year too.

Hunter: I’m doing something different after this Pre. This is going to be my only professional race this year, and I’ll only be racing for myself. I’ll be competing with nobody other than myself and sharing my journey on my socials. The goal is to come out of this being the best version of me that I can be.

You can keep up with Allie, Cooper, and Hunter via their Instagram accounts.

Okay, it’s spotlight time!

First up, another drop from Brady. The revolutionary Breathe Easy training gear has been restocked!

BRADY

The Breathe Easy tops are one of BRADY’s most popular as they are perfect for high-intensity training and are breathable yet durable. You can find these in Ink, Bone, and Storm.

The collection ranges from $55-$145 and you can shop the full collection here.

Next up is another drop from Stance.

Stance

Stance is having an epic sale. Here are the deets: Up to 40% off all styles excluding Active Apparel, and the dates are Friday, May 27th – Mon May 31st (Early Access Thursday 26th). Early Access will be available on the first day of the sale for those on the SMS/Early Access Email List.

Categories
Gaming

The 28 Best Superhero Games of All Time

It always feels so great to grab the latest issue of your favorite superhero’s exploits within the confines of the comic book medium. For decades, Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, etc. have provided a wide swath of creative characters that have become mainstream mainstays. So much so that those same icons have been plastered all over anything and everything – TV shows, lunch boxes, book bags, and of course, video games. With such a large collection of titles based on popular comics floating around, we chose to make the search for all the worthy ones by compiling a list of the very best superhero games.

Spider-Man, Batman, the X-Men, and a bunch more familiar faces that have originated on the pages of comics have starred in some quality video games. And thankfully, we’ve arrived just in the nick of time to mention 20 of those well-revered superhero epics in game form.

Best Superhero Games
Sony Interactive Entertainment

1. ‘X-Men’ (Arcade)

Back in the days of foggy and extremely loud arcades, you could usually spot your favorite caped crusaders beating up evildoers in side-scrolling arcade games. The X-Men arcade beat ’em up that arrived in 1992 gets high marks from us for being one of the most exciting takes on the Marvel Comics’ mutant saviors. If you’re lucky enough to have five of your best friends in two and spot a six-player cabinet for this game in the wild, be sure to give it a go. The simple brawler action, attractive visual style, and random bits of voice acting make this one an unforgettable experience. It’d be downright criminal to not bring up X-Men on a list of the best superhero games, right?

Buy Now, $749.99
https://arcade1up.com/products/x-men-4-player-arcade-cabinet
2. ‘The Punisher’ (Arcade)

We’ll always have a ton of love for The Punisher’s penchant for dishing out all types of brutal vigilante pain. That likable trait of his got replicated surprisingly well in this Capcom-made arcade beat ’em up. Two players (with the second player taking on the role of a pre-Samuel Jackson Nick Fury) went ham on all sorts of underworld baddies in an attempt to take down Kingpin and his criminal empire. The comic-book style presentation, usage of firearms, and high level of brutality that stuck close to The Punisher’s source material are this game’s finest attributes.

Buy Now, Price Varies
https://arcade1up.com/products/marvel-cabinet
3. ‘The Adventures of Batman & Robin’ (Sega Genesis and SNES)

Here’s a rare case of two versions of a 16-bit game both being equally acceptable. The Adventures of Batman & Robin on Genesis was pretty much a side-scrolling shooter, while the SNES rendition was more of a traditional beat ’em up. Both games do right by the cartoon series as evidenced by their crisp 2D visuals, which still look impressive to this day. The opening cinematic and music in the Genesis version are much more preferred, while the SNES version comes with better visuals. In the end, both games are amazing as a combo deal and a respectable representation of a classic 90s cartoon.

Buy Now, $184.25
https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Batman-Robin-Nintendo-Super-NES/dp/B00004TMC3/ref=sr_1_3?crid=271GQ4719PE9Z&keywords=the+adventures+of+batman+and+robin+snes&qid=1653270008&sprefix=the+adventures+of+batman+and+robin%2Caps%2C121&sr=8-3
4. ‘Spider-Man’ (2000)

While the icon Stan Lee narrated Peter Parker’s adventures in this game, players took control of Spidey as he fought to clear his name after being framed by a doppelgänger. And on top of all that, players also had to combat an incoming symbiote invasion. Webbing around this game was such a joy, plus webbing up foes and getting into some wild boss fights with familiar members of Spidey’s Rogue’s Gallery was equally engrossing. Clashing with a giant-sized Mysterio will always stick out in our minds regarding this awesome Spidey simulator. We gotta hand extra props to the Sega Dreamcast version, by the way!

Buy Now, $73.99
https://amzn.to/3yXRfyN
5. ‘Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes’

Once Capcom blew prepubescent gamers’ minds by having Cyclops and Ryu shake hands during the intro for X-Men vs. Street Fighter, the floodgates opened to even more mind-blowing crossovers. The ultimate battle between Marvel and Capcom’s fan-favorite representatives culminated in this beloved 2D fighter. The reason why it’s still being played in FGC circles is because of its god-tier roster and infinitely enjoyable 3v3 fighting game action. The Marvel side of this fighter features members of the X-Men, Spider-Man, Iron-Man, and a whole host of characters that were at the height of their comic book popularity during the 90s. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a god-tier fighting game and well-deserving of being recognized as one of the best superhero games.

Buy Now, $319.99
https://amzn.to/3MG5fRI
6. ‘Spider-Man 2’

Spider-Man 2 gave everyone so much to do as the hero everyone in the big city relied on to better their lives – you saved countless kids’ balloons, stopped plenty of speedy cars, rescued numerous construction workers while they were falling to their death, etc. And alongside all that was Spider-Man’s conflict with Doctor Octopus, which gave way to an intriguing storyline that everyone already adored from the movie itself. Spider-Man 2 is a goated comic book video game for another reason, by the way – it’s narrated by the great Bruce Campbell! Spider-Man 2 will forever be acknowledged as one of the best superhero games in the genre.

Buy Now, $39.99
https://www.amazon.com/Spider-Man-2-PlayStation/dp/B0000B0MNH/ref=sr_1_1?crid=JSFZ2UUCE3JV&keywords=spider+man+2+game&qid=1653271264&sprefix=spider+man+2%2Caps%2C142&sr=8-1
7. ‘The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction’

The one (AND WE MEAN ONE!) and only Hulk game you should dedicate your time and energy to is this one. As an open-world game, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction offers the most fully-realized dream scenario for the perfect Hulk simulator. Stomping around the city and the desert as the big green brute himself while doing tons of collateral damage to everyone and everything around you is so damn fun. Developer Radical Entertainment will forever be celebrated in our eyes for crafting one of the best superhero games and the bonafide best Hulk game we’ve ever played.

Buy Now, $43.32
https://amzn.to/3wyVyPl
8. ‘X-Men Legends II: Rise Of Apocalypse’

The first X-Men Legends is definitely fire, but we’re much bigger fans of its amazing follow-up. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse hits so much harder because it allowed gamers to beat back the forces of evil alongside their fellow mutants online. The newly added characters and their accompanying abilities provide tons more replayability since there are so many more dope team combinations to play with. Even being able to select members from the Brotherhood of Mutants is one of this game’s biggest attributes. As far as legit superhero action RPGs go, this one’s one of the best options to run with.

Buy Now, $37.45
https://amzn.to/3x3qtm3
9. ‘The Punisher’ (2005)

Do you know what three Marvel products are super underrated in our eyes? The 2004 Punisher film, the soundtrack for that movie, and the 2005 video game that also starred the no-holds-barred vigilante. Frank Castle got to run wild with all types of firearms in hand in this blood-soaked third-person shooter. There’s so much to love about this wonderful ode to The Punisher – the one-liners, the interrogation sequences, and the wild shootouts are among those reasons worth mentioning here. It sure would be nice to get Remedy Entertainment (the devs behind Max Payne and Control) to make another Punisher-focused run and gunner like this one someday…

Buy Now, Price Varies
https://www.amazon.com/Punisher-PlayStation-2/dp/B00067AVT2/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3CK0RDCGSRSIK&keywords=the+punisher+ps2&qid=1653325650&sprefix=the+punisher+%2Caps%2C112&sr=8-1
10. ‘Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2’

The Marvel: Ultimate Alliance series kept the ball rolling with the caped crusader-filled action RPG template put forward by the X-Men: Legends series. The second MUA title raised the storyline stakes by adapting the events featured in “Secret War” and “Civil War,” which made the game’s whole experience that much more engrossing. Most of the fun we still derive from this heroic dungeon crawler comes from the “fusion” mechanic that lets two certain characters pull off signature team-up attacks. The beat ’em up gameplay in this game is still top-notch and the roster of playable heroes on both sides of the main conflict are fine representatives of the Marvel Universe.

Buy Now, $36.64
https://amzn.to/3wCXWo2
11. ‘inFAMOUS’

Now let’s have a quick convo about one of the best superhero games that don’t feature a licensed character whatsoever. inFAMOUS is one of those PlayStation exclusives that fans want to see come back in a major way now that the PS5 is within their grasp. And that’s because the first game in the series is such a rewarding experience that lets players serve the city of Empire City as a force for good or evil. Choosing the earlier route is much preferred in our eyes – floating through the sky, picking off baddies with varied lightning-based superpowers, and kicking out all the gang members presiding over different city regions feels so dammed heroic. Cole MacGrath is one of our favorite super-powered saviors of all time.

Buy Now, $48.50
https://amzn.to/38dQqH2
12. ‘The Darkness’

Jackie Estacado’s not your prototypical “good guy,” per se. But after being targeted for assassination by his “Uncle,” everyone came to understand why he took the path of vengeance that exposed him to the destructive powers tied to an ancient demonic force. The Darkness is one of those underrated first-person shooters that ended up being way better than most people expected when it originally dropped. The gunplay is solid enough, but it’s the abilities of The Darkness itself that provides that guilty pleasure type of fun that makes taking down mobsters a pure joy.

Buy Now, $19.58
https://amzn.to/3wDedta
13. ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’

The game’s cel-shaded visuals still look amazing to this very day (it’s awesome how games that stuck close to that animation style stand the test of time!). The main crux of the fun of this game came from being able to venture through Manhattan and parts of Queens as Spidey and his nemesis/ally Venom. In the case of Venom, his playstyle allowed for more destructive behavior that felt like a mix between Rampage and Grand Theft AutoUltimate Spider-Man is pretty much a prettier version of Spider-Man 2 that sticks close to its comic-book roots.

Buy Now, Price Varies
https://amzn.to/3wD2UkF
14. ‘Lego Marvel Super Heroes’

We’re ready to crown Lego Marvel Super Heroes as one of the best superhero games simply because of how massive the game’s playable roster is. 180 characters (!) in total are available at players’ grasp in a game filled with familiar locales hailing from the Marvel Universe and famed superhero vs. supervillain struggles. The signature humor fans have come to expect from Traveller’s Tales’ Lego games goes so well with all the hilarious Easter Eggs Marvel fans get in this jolly platformer. That X-Mansion, though? It’s simply astonishing.

Buy Now, Price Varies
https://amzn.to/3lCfc6B
15. ‘Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes’

Those Lego games always throw in an extra wrinkle for their sequels that always make them worth returning to. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes‘ big change is the fact that Batman and his allies can now fight alongside some of the most beloved members of the DC Comics superhero roster. All the fun of the first game is retained here, which makes the act of exploring a blocky Gotham City such a captivating experience. This celebration of DC all-stars does so much right and still holds up as one of the better Lego games ever released. Shout out to all the extra characters that came with this game’s Heroes Pack and Villains Pack, too!

Buy Now, $22.88
https://amzn.to/3LFjWTy
16. ‘DC Universe Online’

Back in the day, we’re sure a lot of comic book fans dreamt of playing a game that allowed them to create their very own caped crusader. Clearly, the good people at DC Comics wanted this too and tapped development studio Dimensional Ink Games to make that dream game a reality. DC Universe Online (which is still going strong today!) is one of the better MMORPGs out there since it implements a more action-based combat system. Saving the world or damming it is so gratifying when you get to do it as your very own custom superpowered avatar. Shout out to the many online homies we ran alongside as a member of The Society!

Buy Now, Free-to-Play
https://store.steampowered.com/app/24200/DC_Universe_Online/
17. ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’

X-Men Origins: Wolverine presents a rare case of the video game adaptation of a movie being a million times better than the actual movie itself! Good old Wolvie got to thrive in his element here thanks to an action-packed hack and slasher that was clearly infused by the best parts of God of War and Devil May Cry. We’re still enamored by the high levels of gore and brutality it sports – Wolverine’s rage-induced brawls with anyone and everyone are so fun, plus watching his body repair itself after a grueling battle is such a great nod to his powers. If you’re seeking this one out, go for the “Uncaged Edition.”

Buy Now, $61.65
https://amzn.to/3LLkSpJ
18. ‘Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3’

We know we already mentioned Marvel vs. Capcom 2 as one of the best superhero games, but we wouldn’t feel complete without throwing its super refurbished sequel into the mix as well. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 did a great job of expanding the roster by adding in some names that started out as curious choices that eventually grew into recognizable names, such as Rocket Racoon and Nova. Pulling off TOD (Touch of Death) combos with teams bolstered by Ghost Rider, Iron, Fist, Hawkeye, and Doctor Strange still brings all the hype. The hype wars between Marvel and Capcom look and feel amazing here – you can always find us tuning into a tournament stream to watch the best FGC pros keep this fighter alive.

Buy Now, $189.99
https://amzn.to/3wK6NVl
19. ‘Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions’

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions shows just how good development studio Beenox could be when it came time to adopt the Spider-Man universe for a multiverse-fueled adventure. With four different Spider-Men in tow, this game introduced four different playstyles that kept a full playthrough of the game fresh throughout. Spider-Man Noir stuck out as the most unique thanks to his stealthy segments, while Ultimate Spider-Man’s bigger focus on chaotic combat added to the game’s fun factor. We hope Sony and Insomniac Games revisit the concept of Shattered Dimensions with a video game adaption of Into the Spider-Verse someday!

Buy Now, $89.99
https://amzn.to/3GfRw1k
20. ‘South Park: The Fractured But Whole’

Yes, we’re shocked to be saying this out loud too – South Park: The Fractured But Whole is indeed one of the best superhero games we’ve ever played. South Park’s beloved brand of incredibly crass humor, penchant for spoofing pop culture as a whole, and implementing a simple yet likable art style came through so well in The Stick of Truth. And plenty of fans were overjoyed at the fact that all those concepts got thrown into a sequel that hopped into the whole comic book and superhero movies craze going on at the time. The New Kid’s cosplay adventures with the rest of South Park’s imaginative kids are gut-bustlingly funny here, plus the improved RPG mechanics make it such a pleasure to hop into.

Buy Now, $15.49
https://amzn.to/3GhS1rV
21. ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’

Rocksteady Studios became a household name within the world of gaming once it created a true AAA experience that radically changed the sub-genre of superhero video games. Batman: Arkham Asylum came onto the scene with a combat system that’s been imitated by many due to just how well implemented it is. Landing finishing blows, pulling off cool counters, and utilizing gadgets in this game perfectly encapsulated Batman’s combat prowess. The non-combat portions of this game are equally amazing – exploring the island that Arkham Asylum calls home is just so fascinating. There are so many Riddler trophies, Easter Eggs, and unique ways to explore every nook & cranny this game cleverly hides. Arkham Asylum’s strong narrative also sticks out for being just as intriguing as the comic books that built up its many personalities.

Buy Now, $25.50
https://amzn.to/3wLUB6p
22. ‘Batman: Arkham City’

Batman: Arkham City improved upon the grandeur of Arkham Asylum and then some. Players could finally deliver Batman’s brutal batch of justice and put his detective skills to work within a greatly expanded hub world that truly felt alive. The combat got some welcome upgrades, such as the utilization of additional tools for additional combat maneuvers. There are so many unforgettable moments to speak of with this quality Batman experience – the first time you get to fly around the city, the epic Dr. Freeze boss fight, the many side campaigns featuring Catwoman & other members of the Bat Family, etc. Arkham City may just be the very best Batman project Rocksteady has ever produced.

Buy Now, $25.50
https://amzn.to/3wLUB6p
23. ‘Batman: Arkham Origins’

Batman: Arkham Origins got a lot of flack from fans at the time of its announcement. The fact that it was a prequel and not a full-fledged sequel disappointed some, plus the fact that a non-Rocksteady development studio worked on it gave those same fans reason to worry. However, the game ended up being another exciting foray into the tumultuous world of Gotham’s savior. This game holds a special place in many fans’ hearts due to its wealth of excellent boss battles – getting to square off with Deathstroke will forever be one of Arkham Origins’ main highlights. The snow-filled locales, the intriguing plot that put Black Mask & an early version of The Joker center stage, and the Shock Gloves accessory are just some of the many reasons why this prequel deserves way more acclaim.

Buy Now, $145.34
https://amzn.to/3lGKdq8
24. ‘Batman: Arkham Knight’

The final installment within Batman’s Rocksteady-developed escapades came to a close with a triumphant bang. This was the ultimate conclusion to a series that built up tons of respect among gamers and comic book fans alike. Batman’s final crusade brought him into contact with a truly sinister version of the Scarecrow that looks to incapacitate the good people of Gotham City for good.

And during this battle against the sinister madman, players got to glide, drive and sneak through an even more expanded version of Gotham that was rife with baddies to beat up, secrets to uncover, and enemy tanks to wipe out with the Batmobile. Driving around in Batman’s trusty vehicle provides plenty of thrills (even though its combat encounters were a bit overdone). The reveal of who the Arkham Knight really is could be seen from a mile away, but it still felt awesome to come to blows with one of Batman’s earliest sidekicks. Batman: Arkham Knight is indeed one of the best superhero games hailing from the DC Comics catalog.

Buy Now, $25.50
https://amzn.to/3wLUB6p
25. ‘Injustice 2’

The gory gurus behind the Mortal Kombat series did a bang-up job with their all-DC Comics fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. Injustice 2 arrived years later and turned out to be even better than what came before it. The single-player campaign hit players right in the feels with even more shocking reveals and revelations between the warring sides of the DC Universe. It feels so damn good to actually participate in the tumultuous clashes that feature a who’s who of DC’s finest, underrated, and even guest participants. The gameplay itself is fantastic – the combo strings look cool, plus the environmental moves and super special moves are simply stunning every time we see them. Injustice 2 also earns its spot here for all the dope alternate costumes each character comes with – The Flash sure has a lot of drip in this brawler!

Buy Now, $25.47
https://amzn.to/3LLVe47
26. ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man’ (2018)

Your friendly neighborhood wall-crawler is the front-facing star of one of the PS4’s finest exclusives and best superhero games of all time. Everything is on-point here – the web-swinging, combat mechanics, alternate costume lineup, side missions, etc. all came together to produce the greatest Spider-Man game of all time. If you played through this game to the point of getting the platinum trophy and experienced all of its DLC, then you certainly got your money’s worth. Spider-Man for the PS4 encapsulates everything that makes him great and perfectly showcases his Rogues Gallery as one of the very best in the comics industry.

Buy Now, $19.99
https://amzn.to/3GjKQzs
27. ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales’

Shout out to Insomniac once again for their quality work on Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Miles stood apart through his signature special abilities that made zipping through the air and putting down a whole set of baddies even more lively. And with his very own struggle to get engaged in while Peter Parker is away, Miles came into contact with some lethal villains and even one that’s been close to him since childhood. And the mood was set just right by the proper representation of Afro Latino vibes in NYC and the original soundtrack. Miles Morales’ solo endeavor is definitely on equal footing with Peter Parker’s PS4 epic.

Buy Now, $46.90
https://amzn.to/3Grczyk
28. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

We hope way more people give Guardians of the Galaxy a chance. Due to the many failures of Marvel’s Avengers, a lot of people were scared off from this project due to its character designs and gameplay looking quite similar to that failed endeavor. But once most folks gave it chance, they walked away as true believers.

Guardians of the Galaxy must be considered royalty among the huge gamut of best superhero games due to its genuinely laugh-out-loud moments between the crew and an action-packed adventure that’s on par with the MCU’s interpretation of the ragtag space travelers. The light RPG battle elements also shine as they allow you to lead the group as Star-Lord and issue party commands while using elemental blasters to save the day. Major props to this game for presenting the best version of Drax the Destroyer we’ve ever encountered.

Buy Now, $29.99
https://amzn.to/39UfIdy

ONE37pm may receive affiliate revenue from some of the links in this article.

Categories
Popular Culture

Athletes Who Served in the Military and Their Rookie Cards

As another Memorial Day weekend quickly approaches, it becomes very apparent that summer is here.  Pool parties, barbecues, and many rounds of golf can be expected in the next few days. Before I talk about some athletes who served in the military, it is important to recognize the real purpose of this weekend: to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for the safety of this country.

To show appreciation for these athletes, we decided to put a new twist on our discussions about the trading card industry.  So, today we will be showcasing the rookie cards of ten athletes who served in the United States Armed Forces.  We will also provide some information on each player’s athletic and military career, as many of the names on this list are all-time greats in their respective sports.

Let’s jump right into it! Here is my list of ten athletes who served in the military and a look at their best rookie cards:

1. Pat Tillman (Army) – 2001 Fleer Tradition Rookie #325 PSA 10
eBay

A seventh-round pick, Tillman’s fierce playstyle and ball-hawking abilities quickly made him one of the most promising young safeties in the NFL.  After the 2000 season with the Cards, Tillman had racked up 155 tackles and an abundance of disruptive hits.  

When you think of athletes who served in the military, Tillman is likely the first who comes to mind. Following the September 11 attacks, the Arizona State alum decided to leave behind the bright lights of pro football and made the brave decision to enlist in the Army.  He was involved with several battalions as an Army Ranger here in the U.S. before being deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Unfortunately,  Tillman died from a friendly fire incident in April 2004.  His heroic efforts during his time with the military earned him a posthumous Silver Star and Purple Heart.

Considering he was such an underdog story coming out of college, Tillman didn’t actually have any rookie cards until the 2001 season.  He has a card in both the Upper Deck MVP and Fleer Tradition sets, but we chose to go with the latter due to its immense rarity when graded (POP 10).  These won’t break the bank if you’re an avid Tillman collector, as they only run about $200-300 on eBay.

CardLadder

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Panini’s Downtown set, which features an extremely patriotic portrayal of Tillman as an Arizona Cardinal.  The gold vinyl 1/1 from this product actually reached a price of over $5,000 at auction, making it the most expensive Pat Tillman card of all time.

Tillman’s heroism and bravery will be remembered this Monday, and the sacrifice he made will not be forgotten any time soon.  

2. Ted Williams (Navy/Marines) – 1939 Play Ball Rookie #92 PSA 9
Heritage Auctions

One of the finest to ever play at Fenway,  Ted Williams had an illustrious career so long that he played a game in four different decades.  Arguably the greatest hitter to grace the diamond, Williams posted a career .344 batting average, which is unheard of by modern metrics.  He also amassed over 500 home runs, and his legendary run as both a player and manager yielded a first-ballot Hall of Fame induction.

What many fail to realize about Teddy Ballgame is just how much he cut out of his prime.  The Red Sox legend enlisted in the Navy in 1942, serving until the end of World War II in 1945.  He was then called back into active duty for the Marines in 1952 as the U.S. heightened its involvement in the Korean War.  That’s nearly five seasons that Ted sacrificed for his country,  and he was still able to accumulate one of the greatest careers in MLB history.

Williams’ officially-recognized rookie is from the 1939 Play Ball set, his first year in Boston.  Centering is tough on this card, and there are only 12 PSA 9s and 1 known PSA 10.  The 9 sold for $480,000 back in 2021, making it the most expensive and sought-after Teddy Ballgame card that has ever surfaced. 

3. Jackie Robinson (Army) – 1948 Leaf Rookie #79 PSA 9
Heritage Auctions

We are stacking legends on this list.  Jackie may be best known for breaking the baseball color barrier in 1947, but he was also a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army during WWII.  Robinson was actually court-martialed and dismissed from his battalion after refusing to sit in the back of an Army bus.  

A paramount advocate of civil rights, Jackie Robinson endured unrelenting prejudice and scrutiny in his military and baseball career.  Nevertheless, he persevered through all of this and ended his playing days as an MVP and World Series champion.  His number, 42, is the only number in baseball history to be permanently retired by all 30 franchises, which will hopefully preserve the iconic status of one of Brooklyn’s finest.

1948 Leaf #79 is considered by most to be his true rookie card. The sharp contrast between the blue Dodger cap and yellow background makes this card pop nearly 75 years later.  It sold for $336,000 in 2018, and seeing as there are no PSA 10s, it would probably bring an exponentially higher auction price in today’s market.

4. Willie Mays (Army) – 1952 Topps Rookie #261 PSA 9
Heritage Auctions

An icon on and off the diamond, Mays is one of the few players in baseball history who could really do it all.  He has been a world champion, Golden Glove winner, MVP, All-Star, home run leader, stolen base leader, and batting champion.  Oh, and he also spent two years of his young career stationed at Fort Eustis, Virginia.  Is there anything Willie Mays can’t do?

Mays’s rookie card debate, much like Mickey Mantle’s, comes down to the 1951 Bowman set and the now-immortalized 1952 Topps set.  While the Bowman may be his first appearance on cardboard, the ‘52 is much more sought after.  This is reflected in a 2016 sale of the Topps PSA 9, which fetched $478,000 at a Heritage auction. Much like the Jackie Robinson we mentioned earlier, one can only speculate what one of these coveted copies would bring in value today.

5. David Robinson (Navy) – 1989 NBA Hoops Rookie #138 BGS 10
CardLadder

David Robinson was pivotal to the success of those 1990s-2000s San Antonio Spurs team,  and he is undoubtedly one of the best big men in NBA history.  Even still, Robinson served over 2 years of active duty in the Navy before even playing his first professional basketball game.  An alum of the Navy Midshipmen, he garnered the rank of Lieutenant by the end of his service, followed by 14 years of bullying defenders in the paint.  

Robinson’s rookie year was at a time of immense overproduction in the hobby, which is both a blessing and a curse for collectors.  Thankfully, his RCs can be acquired fairly inexpensively, but they lack the rarity of every other card on this list. Nevertheless, the San Antonio legend has one rookie that sold for over $3,500 in 2021, which can be attributed to the Beckett 10 Pristine grade that it received.

There’s absolutely no chance with a nickname like “The Admiral”, Robinson wasn’t making our list of athletes who served in the military!

6. Roger Staubach (Navy) – 1972 Topps Rookie #200 PSA 9
CardLadder

Much like David Robinson in the NBA, Roger Staubach served 2 years in the Navy before ever taking a snap for America’s team.  He was actually stationed in South Vietnam during the war from 1965-1967. This comes after a legendary career for the Navy Midshipmen, where his jersey has since been retired.

Staubach joined the Cowboys in 1969, nearly 5 years after he had been initially drafted.  His rookie card did not come until Topps produced their 1972 set, a design that features vivid colors that hold up well 50 years later.  The card pictured, a PSA 9 copy, is one of fifty existing PSA 9s.  Only two PSA 10s have been verified, but neither have sold at auction in recent years.  However, this copy of the iconic Dallas quarterback sold as high as $15,500  in 2016, and it remains yet another staple of vintage football collectibles.

7. Joe DiMaggio (Army Air Force) – 1938 Goudey Rookie #274 PSA 9
Heritage Auctions

Joe DiMaggio’s name is synonymous with classic Americana.  He is one of the greatest to put in those navy blue pinstripes, married Marilyn Monroe and had a mythical 56-game hit streak that will probably never be touched.  But besides all that, he was also one of the most famous athletes who served in the military, doing so as a sergeant for the AAF during World War II.  During his tenure, he played in many military-organized ballgames and garnered celebrity status, and he never saw active combat.  

DiMaggio’s most revered card has to be the 1938 Goudey #274, featuring an almost-cartoonish Joe holding a bat while many different graphics illustrate the background.  It once sold for $288,000 in 2017, and remains a rookie card on most Yankee collectors’ bucket lists.

8. Rocky Marciano (Army) – 1951 Topps Ringside Rookie #32 PSA 9
CardLadder

Here is another superstar of the post-war era.  Rocky Marciano is widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. His 49-0 professional record speaks volumes about his presence in the ring.  But before blossoming into heavyweight champion of the world, “The Brockton Blockbuster” served nearly 3 years in the Army and spent most of his time providing aid to Allied troops in Wales.  

Upon returning in 1946, Marciano embarked on a decade-long career that captivated audiences and stirred fear into dozens of opponents.  This crisp 1951 Topps Ringside copy holds up as Rocky’s true RC, and it remains an essential item for hobby enthusiasts of classic boxing.

9. Joe Louis (Army) – 1935 JA Pattreiouex Sporting Events & Stars Rookie #56 PSA 9
eBay

It’s only fitting to have another boxer right behind Marciano – the perfect 1-2 punch.  Joe Louis is another name that will make most fans’ top boxers list.  His 66-3 professional record speaks for itself, but the legendary fighter was also a veteran of World War II.  Unfortunately, he was subjected to racist and bigoted scutiny by many of his supervisors, but he still fought in many charity events for the Navy.

Louis’ fierce spirit and passion for fighting make him so respected and idolized even decades later.  He has another card from the 1948 Leaf Boxing set, but this oddball card from 1935 JA Pattreiouex Sporting Events & Stars takes the cake as the boxer’s true rookie.  Last year, it fetched nearly $9,100 online, making it the most expensive card for one of the most skilled boxers and exemplary men to step into the ring.

10. Alejandro Villanueva (Army) – 2019 Panini Limited “Limited Ink” 1/1
eBay

The final feature on this list is not a rookie card, but it showcases a person who has accumulated immense respect across the NFL: Alejandro Villanueva.  Originally a tight end, Villanueva quickly shifted into one of the best left tackles in the AFC.  He has made two Pro Bowls and currently is a starter for the Baltimore Ravens.  And much like others we’ve seen on this list, he spent 5 years as an Army Ranger before making it to the big league.  He was stationed in Afghanistan at one point and earned a Bronze Medal for Valor during that time, making him a role model for fans and a leader in the locker room.

The former Steeler doesn’t have a “true” rookie card, but he has signed autographs in many high-end Panini sets.  The card pictured is a 1/1 from 2019 Panini Limited that sold for $133, and there are many other signatures available of Villanueva on eBay currently.

What do you think about our list of athletes who served in the military? Who would you have liked to see mentioned?

Shoot us your thoughts on Instagram and Twitter to @cardtalkpod.

Categories
Popular Culture

Top Obi-Wan Kenobi LEGO Star Wars Sets

“Hello there!” With his new Disney+ series debut upon us, let’s revisit some of the top Obi-Wan Kenobi LEGO Star Wars sets from over the years. Our criteria for eligible entries will be that the set must have contained an Obi-Wan Kenobi minifigure – simple as that! 

12. 75169: Duel on Naboo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUwNOwdn5-A
LEGO

This 2017 set was a great representation of taking a classic Star Wars scene and condensing it into a small, affordable set that appealed to adult builders and kid builders alike. It’s always great when a set with a relatively low price point can check so many boxes, so it’s a worthy inclusion on this top Obi-Wan Kenobi LEGO set list! 

11. 75269: Duel on Mustafar
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTfwF5ggzOk
LEGO

Similar to the previous set, the Duel on Mustafar retailed for $19.99 and depicted one of the most epic lightsaber battles of all time. Considering this set’s great display ability and attractive price point, it ranks slightly higher than the Duel on Naboo. 

10. 75012: BARC Speeder with Sidecar
LEGO

This set offered some awesome playability with the BARC Speeder and rotatable sidecar, straight out of The Clone Wars. Good luck finding a low price on this set, folks, because the exclusive Captain Rex minifigure that came in this set now sells for the upwards of $130 on his own!

9. 75092: Naboo Starfighter
LEGO

The Naboo Starfighter is my all-time favorite Star Wars ship. This set ranks pretty high for me, too. I love the inclusion of several battle droids, Droidekas, and of course Anakin and Obi-Wan from The Phantom Menace. This set also included a cool docking build so you could display the set just as it’s seen in the Naboo hangar in the film. 

8. 7257: Ultimate Lightsaber Duel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dg_fYGfwlr4
LEGO

Ask any LEGO-obsessed kid who was alive in 2005, and they’ll tell you this set was an instant classic. Not only did this set depict the lightsaber battle that everyone talked about all summer, but it also included two exclusive Anakin and Obi-Wan minifigures whose lightsabers would light up when you pressed their head down! While this wasn’t the most detailed set ever, the play value for young builders was unmatched for its time and has earned a place on my top Obi-Wan Kenobi LEGO set list. 

7. 7133: Bounty Hunter Pursuit
LEGO

This set depicted the high speed chase from Attack of the Clones. It features two vehicles that were ahead of their time in terms of screen accuracy when compared to other sets of the era. This set also included the exclusive Zam Wessel minifigure, which hasn’t appeared in another LEGO Star Wars set since. 

6. 75058: MTT
LEGO

It’s fascinating that LEGO has only made the MTT in play scale three times: once in 2000, again in 2007, and most recently in 2014. It’s debatable whether the 2007 or 2014 model reigns supreme, but since Obi-Wan was only included in the most recent version, it has earned a spot on this list. 

5. 7676: Republic Attack Gunship
LEGO

Similar to the Ultimate Lightsaber Battle, any LEGO Star Wars enthusiast who was in the hobby at the time of this set’s release will tell you how great this set was at the time. Not only did it have an immaculate Republic Gunship build, but it also included the first ever Asajj Ventress minifigure. Also featured were the elusive Commander Cody, and the debut of Clone Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi.

4. 75021: Republic Gunship
LEGO

The most recent Republic Gunship was released in 2013, which many LEGO Star Wars fans consider to be among the best years ever for the theme. This set is honestly one of my favorite Star Wars sets ever due to its amazing build and its wide selection of minifigures. It’s not every day that a single set will give you all of the main characters. This set’s inclusion of Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padme made it an instant classic that to this day commands a pretty penny. 

3. 75290: Master Builder Series Mos Eisley Cantina
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hx27YuoMV1c
LEGO

This set took the LEGO Star Wars world by storm upon its release. It was out of stock consistently for months after its release due to demand outweighing supply. Luckily LEGO’s production has caught up and it’s accessible regularly at the LEGO Store and LEGO’s website. This set’s size, display value, play features, and offering of many minifigures makes this an instant classic. 

2. 10179: Ultimate Collectors Series Millennium Falcon (2007 Version)
LEGO

While most LEGO Star Wars fans will say that the 2017 UCS Millennium Falcon is the better of the two, there’s no doubt that the original has a certain nostalgic charm about it. In fact, at the time of its release, the original was the largest LEGO set ever offered in terms of piece count! Since then it’s been bumped down the list several times by sets like the Colosseum, the Titanic, and others. Still, like a sports star from yesteryear, just because there are new players on the field doesn’t mean we can’t respect those that came before, and the 2007 Millennium Falcon is no exception. 

1. 75159: Ultimate Collectors Series Death Star
LEGO

Great sets are often made twice. That’s true for the UCS Millennium Falcon, and it’s true again for the UCS Death Star. In fact, both Death Star sets are nearly identical in their build, the biggest change was updating the box and the minifigures included. I own the original Death Star myself, but there’s no doubt that the updated minifigures give the new set an edge, hence its inclusion here. The set is among the largest LEGO Star Wars sets ever offered and includes play scenes from every iconic setting within the Empires formidable space station. From the Emperor’s throne room to the trash compactor, builders of all ages have loved this set for years, and it’s hard to imagine a better set that caters to all fans of Star Wars. 

What do you think of this Obi-Wan Kenobi LEGO set list? As always, hit me up on IG with your thoughts, and stay inspired!

Categories
Consoles Gaming

The 20 Most Underrated ‘Sonic’ Games

When it comes to Sonic the Hedgehog, we all know the greatest hits: the original game that started it all, Sonic CD, Sonic Adventure 2, and that’s just naming a few. There are a set of Sonic games that are widely accepted as the cream of the crop, and for plenty of good reasons. There are a few stinkers, too. Plus there’s a collection of underrated Sonic games worth mentioning as well. But that’s true of any long-running game series.

But aside from the best entries, we can usually all agree on and the collective clunkers, there are plenty more still that just don’t get the recognition they deserve. For instance, do you ever really sit and think about how much fun Sonic Lost World was? What about Sonic Spinball? Absolute, tried-and-true classics. And we think it’s time to make sure they’re properly recognized.

So let’s take a stroll through these 20 underrated Sonic the Hedgehog games. Grab those wallets, because you may very well find a new Sonic adventure you’re ready to embark on.

1. ‘Sonic Lost World’

Sonic Lost World finds Sonic facing off against a crew of Eggman’s terrifying new cronies, the Deadly Six. Things don’t exactly go as planned, though, as the Deadly Six rise up against Eggman. As such, Sonic uses a variety of new powers (plus the returning Spin Dash) to bring the fight to them. Sonic can fly through the air, move at breakneck speeds, and race through colorful levels reminiscent of Super Mario Galaxy. If it’s the super speed you appreciate most about Sonic, this is one entry you won’t want to miss. And just look at those bright, enticing colors! Gorgeous.

Buy Now, $29.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/329440/Sonic_Lost_World/
2. ‘Knuckles’ Chaotix’

This Knuckles-centric spin-off is a platformer that follows the titular echidna and the Chaotix Crew as they traverse the Newtrogic High Zone to stop Eggman from conquering Sonic’s world. Aside from its unique protagonists, this game is intriguing as it lets you choose which levels to play in the order you prefer, as you swap out playable characters using the Ring Power through Bound Rings. This means you can have one player stay put while another moves forward to create speed. There are plenty of creative moves just like this one that make Knuckles’ Chaotix an exciting entry in the Sonic universe, and it’s well worth trying.

Buy Now, $122.50
https://www.ebay.com/itm/224999518465?epid=56209554&hash=item3463043101:g:OGsAAOSw9rJii8xd
3. ‘Sonic Chaos’

This Master System and Game Gear game follow Sonic and Tails as they work to steal away the Chaos Emeralds from the dastardly Eggman, who’s stolen them in a bid to create nuclear weapons. Based on the Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, it’s essentially a follow-up to that game and the first to feature Tails as a playable character with his own selection of abilities. It was also the first original Sonic game made for a handheld. If you owned a Game Gear, chances are you had a copy of this too, but if not, you should be sure to dig into this classic, speedy Sonic platformer now, too. Retro handheld aficionados certainly remember this selection as one of the most underrated Sonic games.

Buy Now, $29.99
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Chaos-Sega-Game-Gear/dp/B00004YSWK
4. ‘Sonic Colors: Ultimate’

Sonic Colors: Ultimate is a remastered version of the original Wii game, which marked a stunning return to form at the time for the Sonic series. Sonic must stop the evil Eggman (as usual) from doing something heinous: this time, it’s enslaving an alien race and trying to take over the world. You know, as you do. It introduces the Wisps, which are special power-ups that Sonic can use to help stop Eggman, as they imbue him with attack power and other abilities, all based on different colors. That includes the Cyan Laser, the Orange Rocket, Pink Spikes, and more. It’s a speedy, exciting addition to the Sonic series that deserved another shot at reaching a larger audience, and if you’re always chasing classic Sonic, there’s certainly nothing wrong with this otherworldly adventure.

Buy Now, $39.99
https://www.nintendo.com/store/products/sonic-colors-ultimate-switch/
5. ‘Sonic Riders’

This high-octane racer brings Sonic the Hedgehog characters together to battle it out to see who’s the quickest on hoverboards. It includes 16 tracks spread out across an actual story mode with a plot. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are looking for the Chaos Emeralds to make the Babylon Garden rise so he can enact another evil plan. He ends up starting up a race called the EX World Grand Prix to get his evil machinations going, and as it happens, Team Sonic and Amy Rose join in for two campaigns’ worth of action with new characters Jet the Hawk, Wave the Swallow, and Storm the Albatross. The races are quick, the stages are inventive, and the core gameplay is strong. If you love racing, this is an exciting Sonic game that’ll strike your fancy. You just can’t put together a list of underrated Sonic games and not bring up this one.

Buy Now, $69.99
6. ‘Sonic Forces’

Sonic Forces came about in commemoration of Sonic’s 25th anniversary, and let players create their own unique custom character to help save the day. Sonic the Hedgehog is, once again, working to thwart Eggman, who’s actually conquered the world this time with the help of the sinister new villain Infinite. It features both side-scrolling gameplay like classic Sonic titles as well as 3D action like Sonic Colors, which means it features the best of both worlds. The real draw is its character creator, which lets you act out your Sonic OC fantasies, as you can play alongside classic characters like Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as well as Team Chaotix, Amy Rose, Silver the Hedgehog, Rouge the Bat, and more. It’s a jam-packed Sonic celebration, and a great platformer all-around.

Buy Now, $24.49
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Forces-Nintendo-Switch/dp/B076ZFBK4W
7. ‘Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble’

This Sonic platformer for Game Gear is the standalone sequel to Sonic Chaos, so it’s very much in the same wheelhouse. It finds Sonic and Tails working to collect six Chaos Emeralds before Eggman can, and introduces Fang the Sniper (then Nack the Weasel). It also marks Knuckles’ first appearance in a handheld Sonic game. There’s nothing particularly innovative about this entry compared to Sonic Chaos, but what makes it underrated is that it’s more of the same, enjoyable action that Sonic Chaos presented. It’s also proof that, if you didn’t own a Game Gear in its heyday, you really should pick one up on the cheap now.

Buy Now, $49.95
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Hedgehog-Trouble-sega-game-gear/dp/B00004R9G9
8. ‘Sonic Spinball’

Sonic Spinball is an entirely addictive pinball game where Sonic himself is the pinball. Interestingly enough, it’s set in the animated series continuity. Eggman has built a fortress on top of a volcano in a bid to transform the animal inhabitants of planet Mobius into robots. Sonic and Tails work to infiltrate the fortress, but Sonic is knocked into the waters surrounding the fortress. Across four different levels, he must pinball around to try and free the animals, avoiding toxic sludge, hitting switches and bumpers to proceed, and defeating bosses to move past certain areas. It’s extremely challenging, but that’s what makes it so much fun. Plus, it looks great. Sonic Spinball offers one of the more clever spinoff entries in the series and is most definitely considered highly within this selection of underrated Sonic games.

Buy Now, $29.99
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Spinball-Sega-Game-Gear/dp/B00004YSWL
9. ‘Tails Adventure’

Did you know Tails had his own solo game? Tails Adventure has Miles “Tails” Prower exploring Tails Island as he defeats a variety of enemies lurking there. It’s a little different than your typical Sonic game, as Tails can only walk or fly, and it’s more akin to a typical platformer than most Sonic games. But it’s a fun, casual adventure where Tails can collect 26 items across 12 stages, which will require a bit of thinking and challenge to get through. It’s a fun change of pace, and it’s a great option for Tails fans, especially since he’s had so few chances to shine in the spotlight.

Buy Now, $4.99
https://www.nintendo.com/store/products/tails-adventure-3ds/
10. ‘Sonic Rush’

This Nintendo DS platformer was one of the most exciting new-school Sonic games to hit the popular handheld. Interestingly, it brought a new character named Blaze the Cat into the fold, who comes from a dimension with seven Sol Emeralds, much like the Chaos Emeralds. Eggman somehow managed to get his hands on those too, and Blaze has to retrieve them. She meets up with Cream the Rabbit and Sonic the Hedgehog, and the pair team up to figure out how they can stop Eggman and his nefarious plot, collecting the Sol Emeralds and realizing the meaning of friendship along the way.

Buy Now, $39.95
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Rush-nintendo-ds/dp/B0009SQFHK
11. ‘Shadow the Hedgehog’

Don’t let his edginess fool you. Shadow the Hedgehog is actually a fun character, and so is his 2005 video game. It completely changed things up in terms of classic Sonic elements, instead focusing on third-person shooter and nonlinear gameplay mechanics. Shadow can use a variety of weapons and special attacks, and can even embark on special sub-missions if you so choose.

It’s all in an attempt to try to regain Shadow’s lost memories, and so he can reunite with his creator’s granddaughter Maria. If you’ve ever wished for a more violent Sonic game or one with a bunch more edgy content, this is the Sonic game for you. It’s actually quite fun, much in the way of Final Fantasy spin-off Dirge of Cerberus. Shadow the Hedgehog in all its gun-toting and melee-weapon swinging glory has to be given its flowers as one of the more underrated Sonic games.

Buy Now, $88.77
https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Hedgehog-Xbox/dp/B0009PKDQC
12. ‘Team Sonic Racing’

Sonic and the gang are all revved up and ready to go in Team Sonic Racing. Characters from the Sonic universe like the Blue Blur himself, Tails, Knuckles, Shadow, Amy Rose, and more have joined up for a team-based kart racing game where the winner takes all. With awesome new Wisp-based power-ups, lots of fun Sonic moments for the fans, and speedy new karts, fans will have plenty to dig into with this new Sonic racer in their hands. From the starting line to the finish, tackle radical new tracks, groove along to familiar Sonic music, and earn extra points based on which position you complete the race. It’s a Sonic free-for-all that you won’t want to miss.

Buy Now, $29.99
https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/store/team-sonic-racing/C2Q9FW49H8K3
13. ‘Sonic and the Black Knight’

When Sonic and the Black Knight debuted, it was the laughing stock of the Sonic community. But that’s just because people didn’t understand its brilliance. And they still don’t. It combines fantasy storytelling with the world of Sonic as it introduces a wizard named Merlina, granddaughter of Merlin, as she tries to escape from a black knight and his soldiers. She accidentally summons Sonic after performing a spell pleading for a hero to save her. Merlina explains to a bewildered Sonic that the black knight is King Arthur, who’s been corrupted by the power of Excalibur. Sonic has to defeat him before he can return to his world. Aside from an exciting story, the game is unique in that it gives Sonic a sword to swing around while allowing him the same speed and mechanics as the rest of the series, making for a fun and refreshing change of pace.

Buy Now, $78.85
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Black-Knight-Nintendo-Wii/dp/B001D8PFIK
14. ‘Sonic the Fighters HD’

This lesser-known fighting game brings Sonic characters together to clash in 1v1 battles. It uses the same engine as Fighting Vipers and is the first wholly 3D game in the Sonic series. It’s been largely an afterthought for some time, which is of course a mistake. Who doesn’t want to see Sonic and Knuckles duke it out? And Tails and Amy Rose is an enticing battle as well because it sounds like a hilarious match-up. It may ultimately be a pretty simplistic fighting game, but it’s a lot of fun and features some very cool animation. It’d be nice if Sega revisited such a silly yet wholly engaging concept from one of the most underrated Sonic games and fighters that’s way better than it’s given credit for.

Buy Now, $4.99
https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/store/sonic-the-fighters/BVXG5MD1R3WC
15. ‘Sonic Shuffle’

If you like Mario Party but wish it featured Sonic characters instead, you’ll love Sonic Shuffle. It’s a similar board game that also includes minigames like its Nintendo counterpart, and it’s great to play with a room full of friends. Sonic and friends are sent to “Maginaryworld”, where they meet with a fairy who asks the group to collect “Precioustones” in a bid to save the world from the evil villain Void. All playable characters, including Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big the Cat, Super Sonic, E-102 Gamma, and a Chao, have their own unique abilities while roaming around the board. The game also supports the Dreamcast’s VMU, something rarer even for the system’s heyday. It’s a great party game with fun Easter eggs for Sonic fans and is criminally overlooked.

Buy Now, $98
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Shuffle-Sega-Dreamcast/dp/B00004T4XO
16. ‘Sonic and the Secret Rings’

Sonic and the Secret Rings kicked off the Sonic Storybook series, with Sonic and the Black Knight to follow. It’s a spin-off that marked the hedgehog’s first appearance on the Wii and finds Sonic trying to stop an evil genie called the Erazor Djinn. While it mostly plays like a classic Sonic title, it’s set in the Arabian Nights universe and features a special system where Sonic can earn experience points and levels to become more powerful over time. It’s a fun, imaginative game that incorporates plenty of Wii Remote movements, and its version of the Arabian Nights story is fun to take in.

Buy Now, $50.17
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Secret-Rings-Nintendo-Wii/dp/B000IONGVI
17. ‘Sonic Unleashed’

Ever wish Sonic could transform into a bigger, badder version of himself? You get just that in Sonic Unleashed, where Sonic is cursed with becoming a Werehog, a werewolf-like creature. After Eggman (once again) destroys the world as we know it in an attempt to release the ancient evil being Dark Gaia, Sonic must work to defeat Dark Gaia, who also cursed him with the Werehog transformation.

The gameplay is split into two different styles because of this: traditional speedy Sonic platforming, and a third-person style where Werehog Sonic is slower and more deliberate, fighting off waves of enemies in his much more powerful form. Though it was initially the butt of many jokes as it turned Sonic into a Werehog, it’s very much a fun little diversion that brings enough different types of gameplay to the fold that it’s definitely an overlooked gem at this point.

Buy Now, $14.99
https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/store/sonic-unleashed/C098FGNMTS8F
18. ‘Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine’

Love Puyo Puyo? Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is precisely that, only it features Sonic the Hedgehog characters. Though it’s just a puzzle game, it does feature some story elements. Robotnik (Eggan) has kidnapped the poor denizens of Beanville and has turned them into robots. Naturally, you have to stop him. Because who else is going to?

The mechanics are simple to learn. You watch for colored shapes descending down from the top of the screen and match the colors to clear lines and eventually the entirety of your play area, much like Tetris. It’s easy to get lost in for hours, and while it isn’t a traditional Sonic game, it’s still fun to keep around for bite-sized chunks of gameplay. This addictive puzzler, with its goated upbeat soundtrack, get a worthy nod here for its placement here as one of the most underrated Sonic games.

Buy Now, $4.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/34286/Dr_Robotniks_Mean_Bean_Machine/
19. ‘Sonic Battle’

This handheld Sonic free-for-all is the second fighting game in the Sonic franchise and the sequel to Sonic Advance 2. As usual, it has a plot, too. Eggman learns of a secret artifact his grandfather discovered: a sentient weapon called the Gizoid. Eggman tries to bring back the Gizoid, but can’t hack it and abandons it at Emerald Beach. When Sonic finds it, it syncs with him and develops a special link with him. Sonic names it Emerl, and discovers it can use the Chaos Emeralds.

The pair train together, but this eventually attracts Eggman, who creates an army of Emerl clones. All that to say, you have to face off against other Sonic characters in 3D arenas with up to four players, kind of like a Super Smash Bros. type situation but in a 3D space. it’s a fun diversion, if simplistic, but it could definitely use a remake on a modern system that doesn’t force you to squint to see everything. Still, it’s a great game.

Buy Now, $79.98
20. ‘Sonic Pinball Party’

Sonic Spinball may be the premiere Sonic pinball game, but Sonic Pinball Party is a close second and one of the lesser-known Game Boy Advance titles. Set in Casinopolis, Eggman is up to his old tricks, trying to turn people into robots. He brainwashes both Miles and Amy Rose while doing all this, and Sonic must rescue all of his friends by winning a pinball tournament: the “Egg Cup Tournament.” This pinball adventure comes with a variety of different tables, fun effects, and creative environments. It’s a solid pinball romp that you’ll want to take out of your pocket and engage in while on the go, especially if you’re still kicking around with your GBA. You’ll definitely want to dive deep into this one so you can join the sub-section of Sonic fans that christen it one of the more forgotten and underrated Sonic games.

Buy Now, $64.72
https://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Advance-Pinball-Party-Game-Boy/dp/B000BAR9MQ