Gaming New Releases

45 Best Gifts for Gamers This Holiday Season

The Christmas season has arrived. And just like every year, those unmistakable hints of holiday cheer came early in November—the Hess Toy Truck commercial, the throwback Hershey’s Kisses TV ad and the inescapable music like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” For gamers, the past few years have been gifting them with greatness all year long with gaming gems like a proper Resident Evil 2 remake, the long-awaited release of Kingdom Hearts III, a strong lineup of Nintendo Switch exclusives, a quality single-player Star Wars game and so much more.

While it’s easy to wrap up and gift one of those titles to your favorite gamers, chances are they already have it in their library and have probably beaten it more times than they can count. If you’re in the market for the best gift for gamers, our recommendations will surely help you. Besides your usual gamut of new controllers, digital currency and online service subscription cards and corny video game clothing, there are tons of video game-related items gamers would prefer unwrapping on Christmas Day. Here are ten of those potential gifts for you to consider.

1. A Retro Arcade1Up Home Gaming Cabinet

Arcade1Up has made quite the splash in the mini gaming market with a line of home arcade cabinets. So far, Arcade1Up has covered a wide range of coin-op classics with its first array of cabinetsMortal Kombat, Golden Tee, Galaga and Rampage make up just a small fraction of the retro machines Arcade1Up has produced. Arcade1Up has increased its production efforts by putting out five new cabinets that belong in every retro gamer’s living room. The Marvel Super Heroes cabinet comes with three classic Capcom brawlers, the TMNT cabinet includes two of Konami’s greatest beat ’em ups and the Star Wars cabinet is jam-packed with addictive arcade shooters based on the original three films. And if you’re looking to engage in some heated head-to-head game sessions in Pac-Man and Street Fighter II, then Arcade1Up’s gaming table setups for either title are definitely worth a look.

$200-$500, GameStop
2. ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time’ Vinyl

Now we already mentioned how one of Konami’s most revered beat ’em ups is a TMNT game. That game happens to be Turtles in Time, a beautifully animated four-player arcade classic that defined the ’90s. Smashing multicolored Foot Clan ninjas while traveling through trippy interpretations of various time periods made Turtles in Time an endearing arcade experience back in the day. One of the best qualities of this cartoony game is its amazing soundtrack. “Big Apple, 3 AM,” “Alleycat Blues” and “Neon Night-Riders” are playlist-worthy tunes that still pop off to this very day. A remastered version of Turtles in Time’s incredible soundtrack can now be found on vinyl and played within the comfort of your own home. The special packaging and neon green record elicits warm memories of the lovable “turtles in a half shell.” So go ahead and take the plunge by giving this audio throwback to a gamer you love. 

$35, Amazon
3. SNK Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro

SNK already hit the mini gaming console market with miniature arcade cabinets full of noteworthy games. The Neo Geo Mini comes with its own gamepads, plus they’ve been released in numerous special editions worth checking out. Now SNK has released an even better nod to the past with the Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro. It doubles as a PC arcade stick that you can use for fighting games and a mini console packed with classic SNK fighters. One of the cooler features tied to this arcade stick is its ability to be paired with the Neo Geo Mini and gamepads for even more pixelated fun. This hook-up-and-play mini console/arcade stick is one of the best bargain deals on the market for SNK fanatics.

$130, Amazon
4. Sega Genesis Mini

Sega couldn’t possibly let Nintendo get all the mini gaming console glory, right? Sega made sure to remind everyone just how legendary its ’90s run was with the release of the Sega Genesis Mini. Sega did a bang-up job in honoring its past and also included a few unexpected surprises with this mini gaming machine. Forty games are playable in Sega’s mini box, plus two of them are extra rare 16-bit titles no one was expecting to see—the Genesis version of Tetris and Darius. Two controllers come packaged in with the Sega Genesis Mini, so you and a friend can enjoy the holidays together by saving the day in some co-op Altered Beast or Gunstar Heroes playthroughs.

$50, Amazon
5. ‘The 100 Greatest Retro Videogames: The Inside Stories Behind the Best Games Ever’
Retro Gamer

If you know a gaming history buff who loves a good coffee table book, this pickup will certainly put a smile on that person’s face. This fittingly titled book counts down 100 of the most iconic video games and throws in all sorts of extra info about each one. Developer interviews, behind-the-scenes tales, plenty of trivia and other tidbits of important facts are included in this book alongside some amazing imagery. The 100 Greatest Retro Videogames: The Inside Stories Behind the Best Games Ever is the perfect book for longtime gamers, as well as the younger ones who need a history lesson about the hobby they love so much.

$18, Amazon
6. SN30 Pro+ Wireless Controller

The Nintendo Switch is home to a bunch of throwback games lifted from Nintendo’s massive library. One of the best ways to enjoy those retro games is by putting this wireless controller in your hands. 8BitDo’s SN30 Pro+ just feels right when you’re trying to properly play and enjoy side-scrolling platformers and all of your favorite Switch first-person shooters. This controller comes with a host of customizable features that allow you to save personal control profiles on a game-by-game basis. The SN30+ wireless controller isn’t just a Switch peripheral though—it’s also compatible with PC and mobile devices.

$50, Amazon
7. BT Audio Sync Wireless Headphone Adapter for Nintendo Switch

At the moment, the Nintendo Switch only gives you the option to enjoy your gaming on the go with a wired headset. Thankfully, enjoying the portable console with your preferred choice in a wireless headset can be done if you own this awesome device. BT Audio Sync’s Wireless Headphone Adapter for the Switch comes in the form of a miniature USB C wireless Bluetooth adapter that lets you install and pair wireless headphones. While enjoying your Switch games, the pass-through charging port on the BT Audio Sync allows you to simultaneously charge your console. You can play countless hours of portable gaming with your Switch while your wireless headset stands ready to handle all of your audio needs.

$40, Amazon
8. Artovision Classic Video Game Desktop Art

Artovision crafts the finest pieces of collectible artwork that can be placed on anyone’s wall or laid atop a desk. Artovision’s retro gaming art stands out as some of the company’s best work, and after scrolling through a few of them, it’s easy to see why. Artovision’s desktop art pieces recreate the best scenes from Street Fighter II, Contra III, Space Quest, Frogger, Cuphead and a slew of other recognizable video games. Spice up your workstation with any or all of Artovision’s gorgeous gaming desktop art.

$40, Artovision
9. Razer Kraken Gaming Headset

Razer’s most known for giving esports competitors one of the better wired and wireless headset products. One of Razer’s best products is the Kraken headset, which offers compatibility with the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. Besides its slick light green color scheme, the Razer Kraken gaming headset offers maximum comfort thanks to its cooling-gel earmuff cushions. The 50 mm drivers are fine-tuned to provide the best soundscapes for every game you play, and its retractable microphone cancels out any background noise that could hamper your gaming experience. The Razer Kraken gaming headset is an affordable and quality pickup for all types of gamers.

$50, Amazon
10. ‘Overwatch: The Official Cookbook’
Blizzard Entertainment

The diverse hero lineup and massive world contained within Overwatch is the main inspiration behind this delicious cookbook. Blizzard’s popular first-person shooter steps away from all the multiplayer madness with this book and concocts a delectable collection of easy-to-make dishes. This fully colored cooking tome teaches gaming chefs how to make an Orisa ice cream sundae, a cup of Valkyrie’s Flight tea, a tray full of Canadian Butter Tarts and so many more mouth-watering recipes. Step into the Overwatch universe with the help of this helpful cookbook and wow all your most trusted co-op heroes.

$18, Amazon
11. Arcade Light Switch
Stop The Boring

Since we won’t be able to go to the arcade this holiday season, the next best thing would be to create an at-home arcade setup. These arcade lights are fun wall plates that can be plugged into any room. Even cooler is the option to select which color buttons you want on the wall plates. The Arcade Light Switch is a fun way to bring back that nostalgic arcade feeling that we all know and love. 

$10.99 Amazon
12. Respawn Gaming Chair

Gaming requires comfortability, so a perfect gift for a gamer would be a gaming chair. In addition to the cool design, the chair is made for ultimate comfort with a head rest pillow and lumbar cushion. The chair also has a memory foam seat and adjustable arm rests to match. This Respawn gaming chair (or any really) is sure to help take gamers to the next level.

$162.99, Ergonomic
13. Minecraft Glowstone

Minecraft has been one of the most popular and most played games since 2011, so the Minecraft Lampstone would make a cool gift to all of the Minecraft fanatics out there. The lamp models the popular glowstone blocks in the game and can be placed anywhere in the house. It’s also a cool edition for anyone that’s in a need of new lamp.

$24.99 BUY NOW
14. Xbox Series X/S
Xbox Wire

Due to be restocked on November 25th, the newest Xbox console would be a great gift for an avid Xbox fan. For starters, there are two versions to choose from. You could go with the Series X (which is the hardware version), or you could choose the Series S (which is the digital version). The Series X retails for $499 while the Series S goes for $299.

15. Playstation 5

Speaking of a console restock, the PlayStation 5 is also due back in stores before Black Friday. So for all the PlayStation fans who are worried about not being able to get a restock anytime soon, this would make a great gift. Like the Xbox, the PS5 comes with a both a standard and digital edition. The standard is priced at $499, while the digital is retails for $399.

16. Hypnotic Light Cube
Sharper Image

For those that are looking to spruce up their homes and offices, the Hypnotic Light Cube is a beautiful piece consisting of 64 LEDs displaying a whopping 4,096 colors. The Light Cube also has 51 light patterns and 10 transition effects which certainly give off a ‘hypnotic effect.’ 

$129.99 Buy Now
17. Xbox Game Pass

Back over to Xbox, if your gamer already has an Xbox console, then you may want to consider gifting a one-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass. The Game Pass gives gamers access to over 100 games to play on both the Xbox console and PC. The one month pass could be a good ‘trial run’ to see whether or not gamers like the subscription.

$14.99 BUY NOW[]st[p]cjamuhtvj004momy6dvhr8k8u[i]kfSxWh[d]D[z]m[t]w[r]
18. Elgato Stream Deck
Best Buy

The Elgato Stream Deck can be used not just for gaming, but for other purposes as well including music, and the ability to mute yourself. For gamers, this is a must-have as it allows you to switch scenery while streaming and other cool effects. The Elgato Stream Deck Controller is also compatible with many different live streaming services. 

$249.99, BUY NOW
19. Arctis 9x SteelSeries Headphones
Best Buy

These Arctis 9 SteelSeries Headphones are top-tier headphones, and you will definitely get your bang for your buck. The headphones are wireless which subconsciously makes you feel less stressed. These headphones are also extremely comfortable and come with on-ear controls that allow you to easily adjust the volume.

$59.99 BUY NOW
20. Drink CTRL
Drink CTRL

Let’s face it. Gamers don’t eat nearly as much as they are supposed to because they are so focused on gaming throughout the day. Drink CTRL helps with that as it is a shaker for meal replacements. The process of using it is quite simple, just put your meal replacement ingredients in the shaker and shake! With the shaker, you can stay focused on the game, while still eating a healthy nutritious meal.

$9.94 BUY NOW
21. Logitech G203 Gaming Mouse
Logitech G

The Logitech G203 is a cost-effective mouse for anyone that wants to try their hands at PC Gaming. It has RGB along with extremely high speeds, a gaming-grade sensor, mechanical button tensioning, and more. The mouse also comes with six programmable buttons and onboard memory giving gamers an extremely high-tech mouse to make their gaming experience more enjoyable.

$39.99 BUY NOW
22. SteelSeries Apex Pro

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is one of the best keyboards out. It is the first of its kind with adjustable mechanical switches and remains one of the best keyboards in gaming. The keyboard is known to give gamers a competitive edge, and the outside is an OLED screen which can also be used to import graphics and GIFs giving a more personal touch. In addition to that, the keycaps are highly ranked. While there are different versions of the Apex Pro, the TKL gives you more mouse room which adds to the comfortability level.

$179.99 BUY NOW
23. ‘Spider-Man Miles Morales’

Who doesn’t love Spider-Man? The latest drop in the Spider-Man series is Spider-Man: Miles Morales game which was released on November 12th. The game continues to follow the story of Miles Morales as he continues in his quest to protect New York City. So far the game has received excellent reviews and is well worth a play from any gamer.

$49.99 BUY NOW
24. PlayStation Store Card

If you are having trouble figuring out what your gamer might want this holiday season, then you may want to consider a gift card. The PlayStation Store Card allows gamers to purchase new games, add-ons for games, movies, and more. The PlayStation Store Card continues to be a favorite amongst PlayStation fans.

25. Gaming Pillow

Long gaming hours can also result in some back discomfort, so a gaming pillow would be an excellent gift for an avid gamer. The pillow is designed specifically as a backrest and provides comfort and support while gaming. The pillow comes in both a standard and large size, and also has a neck support option available.

$39.99 BUY NOW
26. Nintendo Switch
Best Buy

If you are looking for a smaller gaming device to get your gamer, then you may want to give the Nintendo Switch a try if you haven’t already. Since its debut three years ago, the Switch has a been popular gaming console for those who prefer something smaller and portable. The Switch is especially good for children as the device is small enough to be taken anywhere. The Switch has a wide variety of games available, giving you a great gaming experience.

$199.99 BUY NOW
27. Luminoodle Color Lighting

Gamers are always looking for a way to upgrade their technology with the newest and coolest features. The Luminoodle LED strip lights are the perfect accessory to juice up your TV. The light switch comes in 15 different colors and glows in the dark as you are playing. The light switch also helps to reduce eye strain as it’s never good to play in the dark, making it a pretty neat two-in-one feature.

$16.99 BUY NOW[artid|2089.g.2070[src|[ch|[lt|
28. Personalized Gamer Sign

If you are looking for a nice quirky gift to get your gamer, then you should definitely consider a personalized gaming sign. In short, the gaming sign consists LED name tag light up that comes in a color of your choice. All you have to do is add the name during the checkout process and you are good to go!

$34.62 BUY NOW
29. ‘Call of Duty: Blacks Ops Cold War’

If your gamer hasn’t already purchased Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, then you should definitely purchase the latest installment as a gift. The newest COD features enhanced battles, zombies, warzones, and more. In addition to that, the game has a multiplayer mode and can be cross-played across all platforms.

$59.99 BUY NOW
30. ‘Animal Crossing’

Ladies and gentlemen, one of the most therapeutic and fun games to ever be created. Animal Crossing remains a best seller, and its latest edition New Horizons has been in high demand ever since its release this past March. So if you haven’t already gotten New Horizons, you should definitely consider it as a gift for yourself and your loved ones.

$59.99 BUY NOW
31. EKSA Gaming Headset Stand

There are multiple headsets on this list, but if the person you’re gifting something to already has a headset, perhaps what they could need is a headset stand. This one by EKSA is functional but also fashionable.

Buy now, $32.99
32. The Game Console 2.0: A Photographic History from Atari to Xbox

This is a coffee table book that’s great for gamers. Even if you don’t want to sit down and read, just flicking through the pictures is a treat. The book takes readers through the history of dozens of consoles, with a focus on hardware.

Buy now, $27.10
33. World of Halo Figure and Vehicle

With Halo being the franchise that it is and Halo Infinite on the way soon, this figure of Master Chief on a Mongoose is a great gift at the moment. It also comes with a rocket launcher accessory and a stand.

Buy now, $19.99
34. Seagate 1TB SSD

The new consoles come with 1TB of storage but if Call of Duty updates have taught us anything, it’s that you can never have too much free storage. If anything, there won’t be enough. A hard drive like this one is as thoughtful as gifting can get for gamers.

Buy now, $84.95
35. Vintage PlayStation Icon T-Shirt

With how popular it is, perhaps three of the four symbols on this t-shirt will mostly remind people of Squid Game, but there’s no doubt that even casual gamers will respect the fit.

Buy now, $19.95
36. Monopoly: Fortnite Edition

Variations of Monopoly aren’t the most unique gift ever, but even if they’re a bit cliché, it’s for a reason. This Fortnite edition is great because it of course features locations from the game.

Buy now, $32.99
37. HyperX Wrist Rest

If the person you’re thinking of giving a gift to is a PC gamer that stares at their monitor for hours upon end, a thoughtful gift could be this HyperX Wrist Rest which supports the wrist and is a great comfort during those long sessions.

Buy now, $34.26
38. Pokéball Mug

For drinkers of tea, coffee and/or hot chocolate who are also fans of Pokémon, is there really a better gift around? This ceramic mug holds 400ml of liquid.

Buy now, $22.99
39. Paladone PlayStation Icons Light

This is a bigger gift that you’ll have to make sure someone has space for, but if so, it’s one of the nicest options on this list. It’s an especially great idea for anyone with a dedicated gaming set-up or even an aspiring streamer to have in their background.

Buy now, $31.99
40. Personalised Gamer Water Bottle

A gaming water bottle is a great idea if you want something that references gaming but isn’t necessarily centred around it.

Buy now, $14.95
41. Video Game Rage Candle

We all let video games get the best of us at times, and there’s no shame in that. If the person you’re buying for has been known to rage quit a game or two, then this candle for that exact occasion could be the perfect offering. It’s designed with that scenario that we’ve all been in too.

Buy now, $9.56
42. Among Us Plushie

Among Us might have already hit its peak for most out there, but it still has a dedicated fan base and the sequel to the game is still sure to give it a boost sometime soon. Either way, if your friend has great memories with the game, then an Among Us Plushie could be a great reminder.

Buy now, $16.88
43. The Evolution of The Video Game Console Poster

A simple but special idea is this poster which is subtle enough that it’s not presumptuous to gift someone to have in their personal space but stands out enough to bring some life to a room.

Buy now, $13.99
44. Minecraft: The Creeper Mine LEGO

A Minecraft and LEGO collaboration is something not a lot of people might have thought of but feels like a no-brainer because the voxel art in the game translates well. If creative mode in Minecraft is this person’s thing, this gift is perfect because it’s a massive 834 pieces and will take some of that same brainpower to put together.

Buy now, $120
45. Assassin’s Creed Coasters

Even gamers that aren’t into story games respect the Assassin’s Creed series, so these metal coasters will go a long way with someone. They have various AC-related images on each one and a cork back.

Buy now, $14.95
Culture Music

45 Perfect Rap Lyrics for Your Next Instagram Caption

Gone are the days of quirky captions like, “Orange you happy to see me” and explanations of what is actually happening in a photo. With Instagram’s Apple Music story collab, Spotify integration and new live lyrics feature, Instagram has become an outlet for finding and sharing music. What better caption to give your next vacation photo, holiday album or thirst trap than a line from a popular rap song?

1. I’m the big dawg, my nickname is Scooby

Flo Milli, “Beef FloMix”

2. Made in the projects, slave to my progress

Brockhampton, “Ben Carson”

3. I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch

Lizzo, “Truth Hurts”

4. I just made 100K, it was quicker than a Vine

Lil Uzi Vert, “Sanguine Paradise”

5. I don’t wanna change, cause I’m good where I’m at

Drake, “Money in the Grave”

6. Swag on max, got no legs, bitch, I’m floating

Schoolboy Q, “Floating”  

7. You won’t flinch when camera’s flashing, flashing

Frank Ocean, “In My Room”

8. You’re my number one, with the lemonade

Kanye West, “Closed on Sunday” 

9. She wanna fuck with me, but I don’t got the time

DaBaby, “Vibez”

10. I’m the highest in the room

Travis Scott, “Highest in the Room” 

11. Big boy diamonds, ice on me changin’ the climate

Kodak Black, “Big Boy Diamonds” 

12. I just stick to my paper like a stapler

Young M.A, “BIG”

13. How you look so perfect on your worst days?

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, “Swervin”

14. Young smart black nigga, finna buy some stock

KYLE and Lil Yachty, “Hey Julie”

15. I’m buying the building of every door that closed on me

Drake, “Omerta”

16. Seems like all the models just be fallin’ in my DMs

21 Savage, “Immortal” 

17. She’s a walking bag of money, she’s a masterpiece

Gucci Mane, “Big Booty”

18. Never wanted you to stay too long, just wanted you to show me off

Summer Walker, “Playing Games” 

19. Too much dip on my chip

Chance the Rapper, “Groceries”

20. I ain’t tryna make new friends, got requests still pendin’

DaniLeigh, “No Limits”

21. I cannot hide in hills of California because / These hills have eyes and I got paranoia

Machine Gun Kelly, “I Think I’m OKAY”

22. If it don’t make money, it don’t make sense

City Girls, “Where The Bag At”

23. ’Cause you make my earth quake

Tyler the Creator, “EARFQUAKE”

24. My bitches hustle, make money together / Your bitches birds and they flockin together

Megan Thee Stallion, “Cash Shit”

25. Everything litty, I love when it’s hot

Young Thug, “Hot”

26. I paid five thousand for my fit, I’m not fitting in

Teejayx6, “Dark Web”

27. So now I ball like Kobe

2KBABY, “Old Streets”

28. I need to not measure my success in precious jewels

Guapdad 4000, “Iced Out Gold Chain”

29. I know you think that Brad Pitt is hot, but you know I’m hotter

Foggieraw, “Harry Potter”

30. I’m a force to be reckoned, I’m God’s perfection

Pop Smoke, “Tunnel Vision”

31. I know you want this for life / Taking pictures with all my ice

Lil Yachty, “One Night”

32. Motherfucker, I’m ill, not sick / And I’m okay, but my watch sick

Lil Wayne, “A Milli”

33. Climb up from nothin’, I turned them rags into them riches

645ar, “4 Da Trap”

34. Asked me if these diamonds, nah bitch, these some rhinestones

Zack Fox, “Jesus is the One (I Got Depression)”

35. Yeah my money’s so tall that my barbies gotta climb it

Nicki Minaj, “Monster”

36. Y’all keep takin’ losses, all I know is win, uh

Q Da Fool, “Win”

37. Make ya float, I’m the GOAT, you don’t smoke what I smoke

10k.Caash, “West Coast Cure”

38. You know my racks tall like a center

Key!, “Pull Up”

39. If I’m getting money, then you know we all got a plate

Rico Nasty, “Smack A Bitch”

40. I ain’t tryna die young, so I gotta ride with one

Roddie Rich, “Die Young”

41. Una casa en Miami y la otra en LA

Natanael Cano, “Dime Pa’ Que”

42. You got nothin’ to prove, you the king of this shit

Sheff G, “No Suburban, Pt. 2”

43. Ran up twenty million, told the Devil, “Keep the luck”

Young Thug, “Franchise”

44. I walked in the meetin’, label seen a dollar sign

Mulatto, “Muwop”

45. Because I’m way too big / Way too big to be fucking with you

Burna Boy, “Way Too Big”

Culture News

The 20 Best Viral TikTok Challenges (So Far)

Once something goes viral, it demands the attention of everyone young and old. And once that viral sensation takes off on TikTok, you’ll get caught up in all the hoopla too.

TikTok’s global success has led to a flood of hashtags that have been represented and produced in video form. Every year, a select number of these social media movements demand the most attention and light a creative spark in participants. Musical challenges based on hit songs and artists, mind-blowing tricks and outlandish scenes inspired by hilarious catchphrases are just some of the ways in which TikTok users spend their time. This year we’ve seen a vast array of such examples and we’ve compiled the ones that stood out the most.

1. ‘Old Town Road’ Challenge

Lil Nas X’s Billboard hit single “Old Town Road” got the ultimate push from the popular social media platform. The hip-hop/country hybrid tune became the soundtrack for countless “Yee Yee Juice” and “Yee Haw” challenge vids that saw users morph into flashy cowboys and cowgirls. “Old Town Road” is the undisputed song of the year, thanks in part to the TikTok community’s love for catchy tunes, lassos and spiffy belt buckles. The song’s historic rise to fame is due to its domination of the TikTok stratosphere.

2. ‘Beautiful People’ Challenge

Ed Sheeran’s warm personality is infectious. And his fan base regularly celebrates his inspiring acoustic soundtrack. When he hopped on the TikTok challenge trend to push his Khalid-featured song “Beautiful People,” everyone took notice and joined in. Millions of views later, the world was treated to a slew of heartwarming vids full of people championing the beautiful friends and family in their lives. This is the type of TikTok challenge you can safely show off to your grandparents without any concerns. Just be prepared to let a few tears loose once everything’s said and done. This challenge is definitely a tearjerker.

3. ‘Obsessed’ Challenge

Mariah Carey’s 2009 “Obsessed,” an ode to overly thirsty admirers, unexpectedly resurfaced this summer. A bunch of folks who are old enough to remember the tune (and plenty of younger people) featured the song as their backup track during choreographed TikTok dance challenges. Carey even participated in the challenge herself when her car broke down. Her approach to the challenge was a bit off, but it’s her song so she can do whatever she wants with it. We’re just happy to see an R&B classic get adopted by a whole new generation on TikTok.

4. ‘Respect the Drip’ Challenge

When your stepmom can’t appreciate your highly coordinated outfit, you need to find a place to vent. TikTok users adopted a line in which a frustrated dude lamented his stepmom Karen’s disapproval of his latest attire. And once that hilarious diatribe reached its final line, those same users displayed their most drip-worthy fashion for the world to see. Now Karen has no choice but to show love for folks dressed like bunny rabbits, nuns and ballerinas. And to be honest, some of the clothing combinations put on display for this challenge were way fresher than we anticipated. “Respect the drip, Karen.”

5. ‘Me Versus’ Challenge

Life is a daily struggle. As soon as you step out that front door, a curveball comes your way that disrupts your mood and stresses you to no end. The “Me Versus” challenge personified the very moments that destroy us a little more inside every time they happen. Ever attempt to smash a bug inside your home, but it hauls ass and ends up running right at you? Can’t stand the fact that your local McDonald’s can’t seem to get the ice-cream machine to work? Felt dumb because your grade-school math knowledge couldn’t help you calculate the correct change during your cashier days? This challenge offered seconds-long scenarios like these.

6. Art Project Challenge

TikTok’s user base thrives on creativity. Whenever a new trend takes over, you’ll easily find yourself spending countless hours watching some of the most innovative videos ever produced. This challenge sticks to a simple concept: Showcase your finest artwork and give people a glimpse into your overall creative process. Once this challenge took off, users were treated to videos full of beautiful paintings, wonderfully crafted signs, custom clothing and more cool displays of modern-day art.

7. DNA Test Challenge

Lizzo has garnered plenty of fanfare thanks to her eccentric approach to music videos and her penchant for crafting self-loving tunes that mash up varied genres. One of the year’s most memorable lines came from her song “Truth Hurts,” which goes like this: “Just took a DNA test—turns out I’m 100% that bitch.” That Dylan hot fire-worthy bar inspired TikTok users to lip-synch the line and deliver their DNA results in comedic fashion. Beside people finding out they’re 100% ogre or hippo, proud folks repped their DNA reveals with pride.

8. ‘School Bathroom’ Challenge

Everyone knows the school bathroom isn’t solely used to, you know, empty one’s bladder. It’s a place where kids converge to settle disputes about growing fandoms, trade juicy secrets and generally goof off while their teachers wonder about their whereabouts. TikTok took the concept of school bathroom activities further once users began turning such a simple place into an entertainment haven. Short-form videos of kids using their school bathroom as a dance floor, a place to practice one’s singing talents and a private club party flooded TikTok. And they all proved that a school bathroom could be transformed into anything you want it to be.

9. The Renegade Challenge

When in doubt, do the “Renegade.” Created by fourteen year-old Jalaiah Harmon, the ATL native started one of the biggest challenges of 2020 so far. The ‘Renegade’ was literally everywhere at the beginning of the year, and contained fifteen dance moves to a section of K Camp’s song ‘Lottery.’ In order to master the challenge, one has to be a super skilled dancer. Everybody from Bella Thorne to Kourtney Kardashian got in on the ‘Renegade.’ Even Oprah had to take a stab at describing it. K Camp ended up giving the teenager a personal shoutout, and Harmon performed the song at this year’s NBA All-Star game.

10. The Flip The Switch Challenge

For those that were wondering would it would be like to temporarily trade places with another person, the ‘Flip the Switch’ challenge answered those questions (sort of). The concept was relatively simple, find another person (a lot of people used their significant others), and dance to Drake’s song ‘Non Stop.’ In order to successfully do the challenge, one person would start off dancing (while the other person was in the background), and while dancing that person would turn the light off. Upon the light switching turning on, the roles would be reversed with the participants also reversing positions and outfits (like the video above). The challenge was originally created by Dallin and Bella Lambert, and even had celebrity couples like J-Lo and Alex Rodriguez joining in.

11. The Celeb Look Alike Challenge

Let’s face it, we’ve all pretended to look like Justin Bieber or Beyoncé at some point, but what if we told you there were some people in the world that actually looked like celebrity doppleganger’s? Well that’s exactly what happened with the ‘Celeb Look Alike’ challenge earlier this year. The concept was an easy one. TikTok users just simply asked their friends/followers which celebrity they looked the most like. From there, they would take the most popular answer, and create a video showcasing the comparison. At one point, the ‘Celeb Look Alike’ challenge had close to 2 Billion Views, and was a fun way to pretend to be a celebrity for a few seconds.

12. The Wipe it Down Challenge

One of the biggest TikTok challenges of this Spring was the ‘Wipe Me Down’ challenge. For this one, all you had to do was wipe down a mirror with a cleaning supply (preferably one meant for windows) three times, and on the fourth wipe, “swipe” yourself into an alternate reality for a split second. The challenge was set to the tune of “Wipe it Down” by BMW Kenny, and had over 21 million views at one point, giving people a chance to experiment with their alter egos.

13. The Walk in Challenge

The ‘Walk in Challenge’ was the epitome of boredom during peak quarantine. The objective was for ladies to catch their significant others off guard by walking in naked when their partners least expected it (preferably while they were playing a video game or watching T.V.). The challenge started in March when TikTok user Lindsey Bear walked in on her boyfriend naked while playing Call of Duty. The challenge took off with the ladies trying their absolute best to distract their partners from getting their “kills,” making it one of the most hilarious trends of the year so far.

14. The Level Up Challenge

The ‘Level Up’ challenge continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. For this go round, Tik Tok users would build a wall using toilet paper (maybe that’s why there was a outage), and would film either their dogs or themselves jumping over the “wall.” With each successful jump, you had to increase the layer of toilet paper until you (or your dog) finally failed. The challenge was set to Ciara’s ‘Level Up,’ and got millions of views worldwide.

15. The Plank Challenge

There isn’t a single person in the world that likes “planks.” Even the most athletic people in the world despise them, so it was only right that the TikTokers would create a “Plank” challenge. For this challenge you could ride solo, or have a friend do it with you. The goal was to do various different plank challenges in 15 or 30 seconds (60 seconds if you were really about that workout life). This hellish challenge had everybody reminiscing about their school gym days.

16. The Blinding Lights Challenge

The Weekend’s song ‘Blinding Lights’ is one of the top songs of 2020, so it was only natural that a challenge would come from it. The concept was relatively simple as users would come up with their own choreography for the hit song. Many people took advantage of the 1980’s feel that the song had, making the challenge even more fun. With ‘Blinding Lights’ still making its rounds on the charts, it’s never too late to get in on the action.

17. The Stand Up Challenge

For the adventurous daredevils out there, the ‘Stand Up’ challenge was the ultimate test of agility and balance. This challenge involved two people, and started with one person lying on their stomachs, with their partner standing on their backs. From there, the person lying on the ground would gradually stand up to match the beat of whatever song was playing. With each upward movement, the person standing on their back would continue to hop up with them until they were eventually standing up on the other person’s shoulders. This challenge required a lot of strength, and while some succeeded, some failed, sparking a lot of viral moments.

18. The Flour Challenge

Family gets on your nerves sometimes (especially in a pandemic), so people had to find a way to let those frustrations out. Thus sparked the ‘Flour Challenge.’ In this one, two lucky family members would stand or sit in front of a bag flour on a table. Another family member (most of the time a parent or a sibling), would stand behind the participants, dipping their faces in the flower as an answer to certain questions (for example, questions about who was the messiest, most annoying, etc.) The challenge was hilarious, but a pain to clean up afterwards.

19. The Tootsie Slide Challenge

Drake has had a way of making challenges since ‘Hotline Bling’, and the hitmaker did it again this past Spring with the ‘Tootsie Slide Challenge.’ The song itself seems almost made for TikTok, as Drake spells out exactly what you have to do. The Rap version of the Hokey Pokey, you put “your right foot up, and slide with your left foot,” then you put your “left foot up, and slide with your right.” Easy enough, and very fun for participants.

20. The Savage Challenge

Megan Thee Stallion already had a hit on her hands when she released ‘Savage.’ However when Beyonce hopped on the track, the song went to another level. While the ‘Savage Challenge’ had already started, the challenge exploded even more once the remix came out. The choreography for this challenge showcased everyone’s sassy, moody, and nasty side, and now has close to a billion views on TikTok.

Culture Music

Movies About Musicians: 25 Biopics to Watch Now

Bohemian Rhapsody’s stunning box office success made at least one point clear: Music biopics are far from relics of the past.

Through these riveting films, larger-than-life icons are humanized, criticized, idolized and even memorialized. Music biopics bring real stories to life, evoking nostalgic memories with unforgettable tunes and performances. Most recently, Elton John’s musical biopic Rocketman exceeded its projected opening and landed in the No. 3 spot in the U.S./Canada market.

Future biopics are already on the horizon for a number of artists, including Aretha Franklin, Judy Garland, Céline Dion, and David Bowie. But don’t forget about the amazing slate of music biopics already available. Take a look back at 25 of the best, featuring recent releases as well as beloved classics.

1. ‘Rocketman’ (2019)

Before Elton John became one of the most successful recording artists ever and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, among other accolades, he was a young piano prodigy living in London. Rocketman recounts the star’s struggles with addiction and coming to terms with his sexuality. The film also highlights the memorable music, energetic performances and theatrical costumes that secured John’s immutable greatness in pop rock history.

Available on: Amazon Prime

2. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (2018)

Freddie Mercury’s tumultuous rise to fame is riddled with conflict, sex, drugs and, of course, Queen’s legendary rock music. Rami Malek’s Academy Award-winning performance as Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody presents the musician’s rise to fame and the personal toils that threatened his reputation. With spectacular music sequences to tunes you know by heart, the 2018 hit fully deserves a viewing.

Available to Rent on: Amazon Prime

3. ‘The Runaways’ (2010)

The Runaways chronicles the formation of the rock band of the same name and the turbulent relationship between bandmates Cherie Currie and Joan Jett. The two are united by an unshakable dream of rock stardom, but as the band attains more notability Currie’s drug addiction becomes increasingly afflicting. The film beautifully portrays the vulnerable moments and musical experiences that would eventually propel Jett to start her own band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

Available to Watch on: Netflix

4. ‘Walk The Line’ (2005)

From humble beginnings on a cotton farm in Arkansas, Johnny Cash made an astonishing journey to become a country music icon. The 2005 film delves into many aspects of Cash’s life—his childhood trauma, Air Force service and troubling addictions—including his romance with June Carter, a role that won Reese Witherspoon an Academy Award.

Available to Watch on: HBO Max

5. ‘Selena’ (1997)

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez lived only 23 years, but her life story is immortalized in the 1997 film Selena. Jennifer Lopez scored her breakthrough role as the Queen of Tejano music. A young Selena starts singing with her father’s band to form Selena y Los Dinos and begins a romance with guitarist Chris Perez. She eventually evolves into an influential artist and icon in the Mexican-American community, remembered for her music, fashion and untimely death.

Available to Rent on: Amazon Prime

6. ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It?’ (1993)

Tina Turner’s personal history is one of trials, tribulations and breakthroughs. What’s Love Got to Do With It? follows young Anna Mae Bullock’s early life coping with her unstable family. Turner finds eventual solace in Ike Turner’s band and she soon begins a romantic relationship with Turner, which descends into chaos after their marriage. Angela Bassett brings Turner’s remarkable story to life in the 1993 film.

Available to rent on: Prime Video

7. ‘The Doors’ (1991)

Jim Morrison’s legacy as the lead singer of The Doors is depicted in the 1991 film of the same name. Val Kilmer plays “The Lizard King” himself, emphasizes the problematic drug usage and alcohol addiction that led to his exit from the band. Morrison’s life epitomizes the sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll lifestyle that afflicted many of the genre’s most legendary musicians.

Available to watch on: Amazon Prime

8. ‘La Bamba’ (1987)

Before he was known as Ritchie Valens, Richard Steven Valenzuela led a normal life in Los Angeles, playing music and eventually finding fame. The film represents Valens relationships with his girlfriend Donna Ludwig and brother Bob Morales. The 1987 movie outlines the events that led to his appearance on American Bandstand and his fateful addition to the Winter Dance Party tour.

Available to Watch on: Hulu

9. ‘Sid and Nancy’ (1986)

Sex Pistols band member Sid Vicious enters into a chaotic relationship with groupie Nancy Spungen. Already heroin-addicted herself, Spungen engages in heroin use with Vicious, whose relationship with his bandmates eventually starts to decay. Vicious and Spungen’s relationship progresses from unstable to explosive over the course of this dramatic film.

Available to Rent on: Amazon Prime

10. ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ (1978)

Buddy Holly’s extraordinary story unfolds in the 1978 film The Buddy Holly Story starring Gary Busey. Jesse Charles, Ray Bob Simmons and Holly form a trio called The Crickets, quickly gaining traction in the rock ’n’ roll sphere. The film details the band’s evolution and Holly’s immeasurable influence on the music industry.

Available to Rent on: Amazon Prime

11. ‘Jimi: All is By My Side’

Jimi Hendrix was an anomaly when it came to his uncanny ability to play the guitar. Andre 3000 of Outkast fame can also be considered a one of a kind artist whose music transcends conventional genre trappings. Jimi: All Is By My Side placed the lauded ATLien in its starring role and gave viewers an inside look at Jimi’s humble beginnings. Andre proved his acting chops were more than up to snuff as he portrayed Jimi to perfection and relived his earliest triumphs as a musician.

You can watch this film on Tubi and iTunes.

12. ‘Get on Up’

The late Chadwick Boseman has appeared on the big screen as a Marvel Comics superhero, a Supreme Court Justice, and an African American baseball legend. He also played the role of one of the most prolific American soul singers of all time, James Brown. Boseman’s vocal delivery and mannerisms mimicked James Brown to near perfection in Get on Up. What makes this film so memorable is its fourth wall breaking sequences that saw James speak directly to the audience as he broke down his most monumental moments.

You can catch this film on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play Movies & TV, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

13. ‘Miles Ahead’

Don Cheadle made his feature-length film directorial debut with Miles Ahead, a strong biographical journey that took viewers on a wild ride through the life of jazz great Miles Davis. This cinematic experience bounced around different points of Davis’ life as it showed just how dedicated he was to get his musical career back to its most prominent state. Davis’ inner demons weren’t glossed over thankfully, which made his eventual redemption all the easier to root for.

This film can be seen via Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and iTunes.

14. ‘Ray’

This next selection is definitely worth a watch or two simply because it was awarded an Oscar award for Best Actor (Jamie Foxx). It was also given high accolades and additional awards by the Golden Globe, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics’ Choice institutions. Jamie Foxx’s moving performance as the iconic rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles was monumental at the time of this film’s release. And its inspirational story of making your way in this world despite one’s physical shortcomings is immensely effective.

Ray can be viewed on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play Movies & TV, and Vudu.

15. ‘Jersey Boys’

If you’ve seen the Jersey Boys Broadway play, then you need to make sure you also watch the big-screen adaptation of the same name. Clint Eastwood directed and produced this touching biopic about the musical group by the name of The Four Seasons. It’s fascinating to witness what initially brought the group to unfathomable heights of fame, what ended up leading to their initial breakup and what it took to bring them back together.

Jersey Boys can be seen on YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and Netflix.

16. ‘Nowhere Boy’

While Nowhere Boy doesn’t get into much of John Lennon’s most memorable years alongside The Beatles, it does offer a closer look at his teenage upbringing. This film follows Lennon’s fruitful (and sometimes stressful) relationships with his mother Julia Lennon and his aunt Mimi Smith. It also gives viewers a look at what led to Lennon’s infatuation with rock ‘n’ roll music in the first place and the earliest incarnation of The Beatles.

You can check out this film on iTunes and Vudu.

17. ‘Roxanne Roxanne’

Roxanne Shante became hip-hop royalty once she grabbed the mic and gave the world “Roxanne’s Revenge.” This groundbreaking moment is just one of the many instances that will keep your eyes glued to the screen during a viewing of Roxanne Roxanne. Watching Roxanne’s tough home life unfold is an eye-opening experience, as is her hip-hop ascension and early interactions with a future MC by the name of Nas.

Roxanne Roxanne can be seen exclusively on Netflix.

18. ‘8 Mile’

While not a beat for beat biopic about Eminem’s life, it’s as close to one as we’re ever going to see. 8 Mile is a legendary film that’s easily quotable and recognizable by even non-rap fanatics. Eminem stars as Jimmy Smith Jr., an up and coming battle rapper who goes through hell and back in order to become something greater within his home city of Detroit. The closing rap battle contested between B-Rabbit and Papa Doc is replay worthy material.

8 Mile can be seen on YouTube, Google Play Moves & TV, Vudu, iTunes, Hulu, Sling TV, and Starz.

19. ‘Straight Outta Compton’

NWA stands tall as one of music’s most impactful hip-hop acts. Their songs gave the rest of America a closer look at the many hardships that came with living in Southern Los Angeles. Straight Outta Compton provides a thorough look at what went into the formation of the group, how they dealt with all the controversy that came from their music, and what led to them coming apart at the seams. Straight Outta Compton was a box office smash at the time of its release and it’s easy to see why after just one complete viewing.

You can watch this film on YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

20. ‘The New Edition Story’

You can’t deny just how amazing New Edition’s catalog of hits is. Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant, and Johnny Gill were young heartthrobs that maintained their relevance for decades. BET’s biopic miniseries about the R&B group was a nationwide event during its debut and still makes fans out of viewers who were once clueless about them. The New Edition Story is a well-put-together biopic that perfectly encapsulates the reign of one of the best boy bands in American history.

You can check out this biopic miniseries on BET’s main website.

21. ‘The Bobby Brown Story’

BET made sure to offer fans of the last entry on this list a worthy follow-up. And this time, it focused on R&B’s undisputed bad boy Bobby Brown. The Bobby Brown Story picks up right after the young singer gets kicked off the road tour due to his problematic behavior as a member of New Edition. This miniseries then gives us a look at the rise, fall, and subsequent redemption arc of Bobby Brown. To see a man like Bobby experience so much physical and mental anguish and still come out on the end of it all with his life still intact is amazing.

This biopic is a BET website exclusive.

22. ‘CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story’

TLC has a special place in the heart of all those late 80s and early 90s babies. Their youth filled energy and mass appeal made them household names and one of music’s most likable R&B starlets. CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story summarizes the rise to superstardom the young trio experienced. But it also provides some insight into the many horrors of the music industry and how it takes advantage of the ones you’d least expect. But in the end, TLC’s legacy remains intact and is evidenced by the final sequence of events this biopic includes.

You can check out this film via BET+ on Amazon.

23. ‘I’m Not There’

I’m Not There takes Bob Dylan fans on a journey through his life and breaks it down in an interesting manner. Six actors play the role of the iconic singer-songwriter and portray the many different facets of his varied personas. The film goes in and out of Dylan’s many personalities, but makes sure to offer a deep look at how each of them shaped Dylan into the legend he is today. To get a full understanding of the genius behind “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” I’m Not There is a must-see.

This film can be seen via iTunes, YouTube, and Google Play Movies & TV.

24. ‘La Vie En Rose’

French singer Edith Piaf’s life ended prematurely. But before she left this world, she left an indelible mark on the world with her angelic voice. La Vie En Rose is a cinematic review of Piaf’s life and the career she built up during her reign of excellence. Her passing was connected to years of alcoholic abuse and drug addiction, which is touched upon in this biopic in full. But Piaf’s triumphs are detailed just as much as her inner demons, which makes this film the best look at the chanteuse’s life.

La Vie en Rose can be seen on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video.

25. ‘The Pianist’

The Pianist is not only a biopic about a musical stalwart. It’s a war drama that delves into the horrors of the Holocaust. The main topic of this film is Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Wladyslaw Szpilman, a man known for his many recordings and contributions to polish radio. During his time spent in Warsaw alongside his family, Szpilman was forced to survive the many horrors of the Holocaust. This film details the hardships Szpilman experienced and the amazing music he produced in the midst of all that madness.

You can watch The Pianist on YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

Culture Movies/TV

The Samurai Films That Inspired ‘The Mandalorian’ Are Better Than ‘The Mandalorian’

Nostalgia addicts have been rapt with Disney’s streaming service, but the breakout success of the new network has by far been the new Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian. The popularity of the new show, which has already broken streaming records, was pretty predictable given the American public’s insatiable craving for all things from a galaxy far, far away.

The Mandalorian has exceeded expectations in its first batch of episodes by presenting new faces for the growing franchise—and catalyzing endless memes to boot. But cinephiles were quick to notice that the basic concept of the show isn’t exactly original. A roaming, hyper-skilled assassin pursued endlessly by attackers while simultaneously protecting a young and vulnerable child? If you’re a samurai film aficionado, the source of inspiration for the new show is quite obvious: Lone Wolf and Cub, a series of manga written by Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima and later adapted into six films starring Tomisaburo Wakayama in the 1970s (and an eventual TV series after that) is an obvious influence for the new space opera side story.

Lone Wolf and Cub tells the story of Ogami Ittō, a professional executioner whose wife is killed through a labyrinthine series of betrayals that prompts him to swear allegiance only to Hell in a quest for revenge against the shogun who ordered his partner’s killing. But the wandering warrior refuses to abandon his 3-year-old son and takes the child along with him on his bloodthirsty ordeal. Ogami survives as an assassin-for-hire as his he travels the countryside, getting closer and closer to the emperor responsible for ruining his life.

At first glance, this isn’t exactly the same as The Mandalorian, whose eponymous hero does not decide to protect what fans have affectionately dubbed “Baby Yoda” out of a desire for retribution. But the themes and motifs are quite apparently similar: Can this hardened killer learn to care for a creature so weak? What are the ramifications of witnessing such violence for these young children? Can Ogami or The Mandalorian ever truly escape from their hunters—and will their souls be devoured by darkness along the way?

The Mandalorian with Baby Yoda.

Samurai films have always been cited as an influence on the Star Wars franchise, along with serial sci-fi series like Flash Gordon and spaghetti Western cinema, which, in turn, had also been inspired by samurai films. But never has the connection been so glaring as between The Mandalorian and Lone Wolf and Cub, which often resemble each other not only thematically but cinematographically. Like The Mandalorian, Lone Wolf and Cub films are abundant with scenes of the titular ronin walking through an existentially barren landscape, or outnumbered by ornately clad villains. The melodrama of the fight scenes in each series is counterbalanced with more quiet moments of contemplative pastoral scenery. 

And already it’s been easy to pick up a few details of where the plot is heading having rewatched the Japanese movies: Baby Yoda has already been made useful in battle, as did the young Daigoro, whose stroller was equipped with secret blades—and in the later films hidden firearms. Like a main villain in the second Lone Wolf and Cub film, Gina Carano’s character in episode 4 came prepared with an iron fist-type weapon. And like Ogami, The Mandalorian is finding it increasingly difficult to abandon his adorable counterpart, setting up for further adventures down the line.

Mapping the world of Edo-era Japan onto extra-planetary affairs is not without orientalizing or exoticizing elements, as suddenly classes of actual historical fighters become transmogrified in The Mandalorian into literal aliens. Ironically, this transformation has now also occurred in reverse, with Star Wars recently adapted into a kabuki theater production in Japan—meaning that maybe the relationship between American sci-fi and Japanese aesthetics is more symbiotic than parasitic and that the discourse of cultural appropriation doesn’t exactly apply here.

So, you might be asking, which series is better? If you’re not familiar with the slow pacing of decades-old ultra-violent movies, the Lone Wolf and Cub films can feel like a bit of a slog. They’re certainly far more filled with sexual violence and gore, although the bloodshed looks more campy than horrific these days. Which is to say: the Lone Wolf films are undoubtedly more adult—the world of feudal Japan is far from the kid-friendly universe of Star Wars. But once you’ve watched The Mandalorian’s predecessor, it’s hard not to see precisely how derivative the new show actually is. Lone Wolf and Cub is undeniably more historically important and intellectually curious, given its widespread influence, but what viewers prefer will largely boil down to personal taste.

Culture Movies/TV

New on Netflix: 12 Best Movies and Shows Added in December

Whether you’re traveling to hang out with family or staying put to spend time with friends over the holidays, you might need a break from small talk while still being present in their company. There’s no better way to fill that awkward quiet time than by enjoying a movie or a few episodes of a TV show. So while you’re binging your holiday leftovers together, binge these new Netflix films and TV series that we highly recommend. And check out our past additions of must-watch titles recently added to Netflix as well as our recommendations for what to watch on Disney+ and what’s hot on Hulu

Editor’s Picks for December 2019

Full List of Movies and Shows Coming in December 2019


  • Dead Kids
  • A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish
  • The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl
  • Austin Powers in Goldmember
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
  • Cut Bank
  • Eastsiders: Season 4
  • Malcolm X
  • Searching for Sugar Man
  • Sweet Virginia
  • The Tribes of Palos Verdes


  • Nightflyers: Season 1
  • Team Kaylie: Part 2


  • Especial de Natal Porta dos Fundos: A Primeira Tentação de Cristo
  • Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah
  • War on Everyone


  • The Last O.G.: Season 2
  • Let’s Dance
  • Los Briceño
  • Magic for Humans: Season 2


  • A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby
  • Apache: La vida de Carlos Tevez
  • Greenleaf: Season 4
  • Home for Christmas
  • V Wars


  • Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show
  • The Chosen One: Season 2
  • The Confession Killer
  • Fuller House: Season 5
  • Glow Up
  • Marriage Story
  • Spirit Riding Free: The Spirit of Christmas
  • Teasing Master Takagi-san: Season 2
  • Three Days of Christmas
  • Triad Princess
  • Virgin River


  • From Paris with Love


  • A Family Reunion Christmas
  • It Comes at Night


  • Michelle Wolf: Joke Show
  • Outlander: Season 3


  • The Sky Is Pink


  • Especial de Natal Porta dos Fundos
  • Jack Whitehall: Christmas with my Father


  • 6 Underground


  • A Family Man
  • Dil Dhadakne Do
  • Karthik Calling Karthik


  • Burlesque
  • The Danish Girl
  • The Magicians: Season 4


  • Ronny Chieng: Asian Comedian Destroys America!


  • Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer
  • Soundtrack


  • After The Raid
  • Ultraviolet: Season 2
  • Twice Upon a Time


  • The Two Popes
  • The Witcher


  • Private Practice: Season 1-6


  • Transformers Rescue Bots Academy: Season 1


  • Carole & Tuesday: Part 2
  • Como caído del cielo
  • Crash Landing on You
  • John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch
  • Lost in Space: Season 2
  • Terrace House: Tokyo 2019-2020: Part 2


  • Sweetheart


  • The App
  • Le Bazar de la Charité
  • Fast & Furious Spy Racers
  • You: Season 2


  • The Gift
  • Kevin Hart: Don’t F**k This Up
  • The Secret Life of Pets 2


  • Hot Gimmick: Girl Meets Boy


  • Lawless


  • Alexa & Katie: Season 3
  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.: Reawakened


  • The Degenerates: Season 2
  • Die Another Day
  • GoldenEye
  • Heartbreakers
  • The Neighbor
  • Red Dawn
  • Tomorrow Never Dies
  • The World Is Not Enough
  • Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures
November 2019 must-watch list

  1. American Son
  2. I Lost My Body
  3. The Irishman
  4. Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!
  5. Broken
October 2019 must-watch list

  1. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
  2. Haunted, Season 2
  3. Living with Yourself
  4. Fractured
  5. Dolemite Is My Name
September 2019 must-watch list

  1. Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates
  2. Between Two Ferns: The Movie
  3. The Politician
  4. Hip-Hop Evolution, Season 3
  5. Explained, Season 2
August 2019 must-watch list

  1. Sticks & Stones 
  2. Hyperdrive 
  3. Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling 
  4. Otherhood 
  5. Sextuplets
July 2019 must-watch list

  1. The Red Sea Diving Resort
  2. Stranger Things, Season 3
  3. Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein
  4. Extreme Engagement
  5. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
June 2019 must-watch list

  1. Black Mirror, Season 5
  2. The Black Godfather
  3. Murder Mystery
  4. Beats
  5. The Chef Show
May 2019 must-watch list

  1. Dead to Me, Season 1
  2. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
  3. ReMastered: The Lion’s Share
  4. Wine Country
  5. When They See Us
  6. Nailed It!, Season 3
April 2019 must-watch list

  1. Unicorn Store
  2. The Silence
  3. Someone Great
  4. Our Planet, Season 1
  5. Black Summer, Season 1
  6. Selection Day, Season 1
March 2019 must-watch list

  1. Turn Up Charlie 
  2. Losers
  3. The Notebook
  4. The Highwaymen
  5. Love, Death & Robots
  6. Queer Eye, Season 3
  7. The OA, Season 2
February 2019 must-watch list

  1. Russian Doll 
  2. The Umbrella Academy
  3. Velvet Buzzsaw
  4. Jaws series
  5. Unsolved: Tupac & Biggie
  6. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
  7. The Breaker Upperers
  8. High Flying Bird
  9. Paddleton
  10. American Pie series
January 2019 must-watch list

  1. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo 
  2. FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
  3. The Assassination of Gianni Versace
  4. The Incredibles 2
  5. Indiana Jones franchise
  6. Sex Education
  7. Pulp Fiction
  8. Ant-Man and the Wasp
  9. Across the Universe
  10. I Know What You Did Last Summer
Culture Music

‘Visit Us, But Come Help’: Luis Fonsi on How Music and Tourism Help Puerto Rico Recover

“Music brings people together—it unites people, and you can bring your message across through music a lot better. I think it’s our duty to have a voice, have an opinion and give back,” global superstar Luis Fonsi, whose smash hit “Despacito” memorably reached meteoric heights in 2017, recently told ONE37pm in Puerto Rico. 

By the end of August 2017, no one was having a better year than Fonsi: “Despacito,” featuring Daddy Yankee was the most-watched video in YouTube history at the time, the song had already spent more than three months atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart with a nice push from the “Despacito” remix featuring Justin Bieber and Fonsi’s home of Puerto Rico was attracting nearly 170,000 non-residents to the island that August. Less than a month later, Hurricane Maria made landfall, crippling the island and changing Fonsi’s foreseeable future.

“I’m the ambassador of tourism for Puerto Rico, and we were shooting all of these commercials saying, ‘Hey come visit us.’ Then, all of a sudden, it became ‘Come help us.’ So, the message of that campaign changed quite drastically to ‘Come visit us, but come help,’” Fonsi said.

More than 2,900 people died as a result of the hurricane, which caused $90 billion worth of damages. Thousands are still living under blue tarps because their homes have yet to be fixed. ONE37pm traveled to Puerto Rico in November 2019, two years after Hurricane Maria devastated the area, to chat with Fonsi before he spoke at the Marriott #LoveTravels Beyond Barriers Summit at The St. Regis Bahia Beach about how the Latin music explosion helped give visibility to this island’s tragedy, how music has helped its recovery and how the most devastating natural disaster to hit Puerto Rico ended up being a wake-up call for the residents of the island.

A Wake-Up Call
Mario Tama/Getty Images
A contractor helps apply a FEMA tarp to a home damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

From city workers in San Juan to the coffee farmers of Mameyes Abajo in Puerto Rico, they all saw the hurricane that killed thousands and displaced tens of thousands more in the same way: as a wake-up call.  

“If you would ask a Puerto Rican any time before Hurricane Maria, they’d tell you, ‘To us hurricanes were an excuse to play dominoes. Category 3 coming. Make sure you have beer, ice and dominoes.’ That’s how we grew up. That’s our culture,” Fonsi said. “Hurricane Maria was completely different. It’s not funny anymore. People realized how important it is to be prepared with more than just beer and dominoes.”

Nearly everyone you speak to in Puerto Rico has a different story of how the hurricane claimed the lives of loved ones. Isabel Rullán, cofounder and executive director of the ConPRmetidos nonprofit organization helping the recovery efforts, remembers her aunt’s partner dying after a hospital’s lack of electricity forced him to sit in the waiting room for two days in a coma after suffering a stroke. The low-income community of La Perla—where the “Despacito” music video was filmed—was ravaged. Much of the scenery that gave the music video an authentic vibe was reduced to discarded rubble for much of the past two years.

Mario Tama/Getty Images
The damaged La Perla neighborhood four weeks after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Before the hurricane, Fonsi stated in an interview a week after Maria, he had planned to donate musical instruments and a music room to the dilapidated barrio by Christmas 2017. After the devastation, he started a foundation focused specifically on La Perla to rebuild houses and other recovery work. 

“It started as a recovery. First, it was cleaning it up. We did a public laundromat, so everyone could wash their clothes. We brought generators in from Florida. So, little by little, I’ve been trying to give back. Now, we’re trying to make Puerto Rico more beautiful than it already is,” Fonsi said. 

Fonsi is not alone in helping the underserved areas of Puerto Rico. Community leader Francisco “Tito” Valentín is responsible for the operation of COSSAO, Puerto Rico’s only free health clinic in Utuado, a village sandwiched between mountains in central Puerto Rico. COSSAO was established by Dr. Antonia Novello, who is a former U.S. surgeon general and Puerto Rico native. The clinic, which runs on Sonnen solar energy, has free physical therapy, pediatric care and emergency ambulance services with dentistry services coming in the future.

Just getting to the clinic required nimbly traversing narrow roads near deep cliffs and weaving through paths that went from paved roads to dirt paths indistinguishable between someone’s front yard and the road. It’s a scary fact that this is the nearest medical facility for one of the largest municipalities in Puerto Rico for miles.

Musicians Continue to Help
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Luis Fonsi and Ricky Martin talk to media in 2017.

The revitalization of the lush environments, picturesque beaches where the sunset kisses the Atlantic Ocean and a cornucopia of delectable foods are integral to Puerto Rico’s recovery. In 2017, tourism accounted for 7 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product (GDP), amounting to roughly $2.5 billion. The number of daily flights in and out of Puerto Rico decreased from 130 before the hurricane to just 20 directly following the hurricane. Partly because of “Despactio” and the song’s immense international appeal, Fonsi was named the ambassador of tourism for the U.S. territory. The Puerto Rican singer views events like the inclusive #LoveTravels as a part of the island’s road to recovery. 

“To be able to have events like this and bring people from all over the world to get to know this island is the best way to recover. Tourism is the best medicine for Puerto Rico,” Fonsi said.

Fonsi and other musicians like Ricky Martin, Bad Bunny and Lin-Manuel Miranda have stepped in where the government has not. Hurricane Maria caused an estimated $90 billion in damages. President Trump virulently claimed in July that Congress “foolishly” gave $92 billion to Puerto Rico and the country, which he says was “squandered away or wasted, never to be seen again.” According to federal data, as of September 2019, Puerto Rico has been allocated a little more than $43 billion.

A La Perla resident

We had aid from private agencies and artists like Luis Fonsi, but we didn’t get a lot of help from the federal government, the island government or the mayor’s office.

“We need to make sure we receive the funding that we deserve,” Rullán said. “The amount of Puerto Ricans that served in the Army in the United States is very high. We pay taxes. Eighty-five percent of everything we consume is imported and has to go through the U.S. Maritime system, which is the most expensive one. So we have taxes on everything we eat. We deserve that money as much as any other state.

Rullán and ConPRmetidos have helped provide more than $4 million in grants to companies looking to help with the recovery. Rullán was simply a dedicated Puerto Rico resident before the lack of help the island received mobilized her into action. A lifelong member of the La Perla community said in a September 2018 interview that “we had aid from private agencies and artists like Luis Fonsi, but we didn’t get a lot of help from the federal government, the island government or the mayor’s office.”

Courtesy of Marriott’s #LoveTravels Beyond Barriers
ConPRmetidos founder Isabel Rullán.

Less than half a year after Hurricane Maria hit, hip-hop radio legend Angie Martinez, along with Rutgers University-Newark’s International Leadership Exchange Global scholars, helped deploy We Share Solar suitcases to schools and youth centers lacking electricity. Weeks after Maria made landfall, Fonsi’s “Despactio” collaborator Daddy Yankee donated $100,000 to the Food Bank of Puerto Rico, helping provide food for roughly 9,000 families in the impoverished Toa Baja community. 

The indie-pop duo of Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo Del Valle, along with musician Ani Cordero, started the PRIMA Fund—Puerto Rico Independent Musicians and Artists Fund—to get emergency money to independent musicians on the island to pay rent and other expenses after the hurricane. 

Fonsi doesn’t attribute the Latin music explosion of 2017 with being the sole reason for the attention given to Puerto Rico during its recovery. There are definitely people outside of the music world lending helping hands. Fonsi, however, concedes that without Bieber’s surprise remix of “Despacito,” the song may not have attracted as much international attention because it is in a different language. 

“I think it did sort of kick a door wide open for Latin music to take the stage it needed to take,” Fonsi said. “Even without ‘Despacito,’ it was a big responsibility for me to help however I could at every level.”

Culture Movies/TV

Sterling K. Brown Sees ‘Waves’ as the Future of Blackness on Film in 2020

In a world where Julia Roberts portraying Harriet Tubman in a film was a serious suggestion by the head of a studio, authentic representations of Blackness still isn’t standard in Hollywood, regardless of the strides made this decade. 

To millions, Emmy-winning Sterling K. Brown is the lovable Randall Pearson on NBC’s hit show This Is Us. To those closest to him, he’s also a caring father who advises his pre-teen sons to embrace their tears instead of running from them to preserve their masculinity. Above all else, Brown is unapologetically Black. At a recent screening of his latest film, Waves, in New York City—hosted by the incomparable entertainer Phylicia Rashad—Brown told ONE37pm that the film is a sign of things to come for Black cinema.

Brown had almost turned down the role in Waves because of how protective he is of his Blackness. The Trey Edward Shults-directed Waves centers on an African American family coming to grips with the reality of their teenage wrestling prodigy, Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), going to prison after a tragic domestic violence incident. Brown, who plays Tyler’s father, Roland, understands the power of images in society and feared this film could send the wrong one.

“It made me wonder if we were putting something out into the world that was a negative image of young Black men,” Brown told ONE37pm. “I wanted to make sure this young man was a fully formed human being who is a good person who makes a tragic mistake.”

He was worried whether the film studio, A24, and the white director had the same sensitivity to the depiction of Blackness as he did. Before a single audience member saw Waves, he got his answer. The film’s creation process was a testament to what Brown feels will be more popular in cinema and TV in the upcoming decade: a more nuanced look at Blackness. The film came from a white director who had written it as part autobiography and part-fictional narrative yet wanted to cast an African American to play the role. He collaborated with young actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. in order to ensure the portrayal of Blackness was authentic and not inconsequential.

Sterling K. Brown to ONE37pm

I know when I get inundated with images that don’t properly reflect my experience in the world—that’s not us. That might be a part of us, but it’s not the totality of us.

“‘Trey knew ‘I couldn’t just plug him in by happenstance; I have to plug him in on purpose, and it’s going to change the way that I write this movie and I need his input. So, we have to write this thing together, so it is reflective of a young Black man’s experience and not just someone who happens to be Black,’” Brown said. 

Blackness is showcased in Waves without it being the sole driving force for the narrative, allowing the film to eschew common Hollywood tropes. Both major story arcs of the film revolve around two interracial relationships, yet the differences in races aren’t the defining quality of each relationship. We get only get brief glimpses of Tyler’s time in prison, as the film shifts its focus to his family’s struggle with coming to terms with the new reality they were thrust into by Tyler’s mistake. This is atypical of a film industry with a history of lauding and rewarding films of Black bondage while treating other types of depictions of Blackness with relative disregard. 

As the film’s title suggests, there’s this beautiful ebb and flow to the character development where a character the viewer thought they had a good read on suddenly changes, crashing expectations. Brown plays Roland with enough emotional rigidity of a father whose only focus is to develop his son into a great athlete, but not too much where his vulnerability in front of his neglected daughter is both believable and a heartwarming departure from the stoic Black father image that has permeated mainstream entertainment and Harrison’s own personal experiences with his father. Tyler’s sister, Emily (Taylor Russell), tries to reconcile the feeling that her brother was evil for his act with the innate forgiveness that defines family while navigating a love life after a trauma-induced identity crisis. It would do a grave disservice to readers, viewers and the film itself if we did not stress how Russell steals the show on Waves—the film could be the 25-year-old’s breakout performance.

Sterling K. Brown is a glowing example of how multifaceted Black people can be and he makes sure that comes across in whatever he acts in.

During the panel discussion following the screening, Brown said he first got the script for Waves from his agent in the middle of filming the third season of This Is Us. Brown juggled both gigs by shooting Waves on weekends and shooting This Is Us during the rest of the week.

The Black men Brown portrays onscreen are molded from pieces of who he is as a man. When Brown describes Harrison getting in shape for his Waves role as him getting “swole and out of control,” it reminds you of Randall’s loveable corniness. When Roland puts Tyler into a wrestling move to train him, Brown draws from his own personal past experience as a competitive wrestler in his youth. Brown is a glowing example of how multifaceted Black people can be, and he makes sure that comes across in Waves or whatever he acts in.

“I’m a Black person, and I know what I like to see on-screen. I know when I get inundated with images that don’t properly reflect my experience in the world, I’m like, ‘That’s not us. That might be a part of us, but it’s not the totality of us,” Brown said. “So, I’m interested in trying to make sure the panorama is fully expressed for Blackness on-screen.”

Culture Music

Music of the Month: 14 Standout Songs from November

Our final month of autumn was packed with tons of great projects, including standout releases from The Weeknd, Frank Ocean and FKA twigs. Artists like Trippie Redd, Berhana, Johnny Utah, Doja Cat, Allen Stone and Flipp Dinero also delivered compelling songs. Here are the best songs released in November 2019. 

1. “Heartless” by The Weeknd

After a one year break, The Weeknd is back with “Heartless.” For any OG fan, the track will feel vaguely familiar, with lyrics about sleeping with models and using drugs to deal with pain. The song opens with a very Metro Bommin’-esque beat, leading into Abel’s braggadocious wordplay about his financial success and favorable persona. With no talk about an album yet, reactivating his Instagram page to announce “Heartless” suggests one is in the works. Stay tuned.

2. “In My Room” by Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean is no stranger to taking breaks, but in November he blessed fans with another single to make up for the wait. “In My Room” comes just one month after his single “DHL.” In this song, Frank brags about his jewelry, finances and excessive shopping. Upbeat production, speedy wordplay and a catchy outro resonated well with fans. The track peaked at No. 85 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

3. “The Best” by Awolnation

It’s been an entire year since Awolnation released its third studio album, Here Come the Runts, and nine years since “Sail” changed the band’s popularity status forever. “The Best” is a dark and dreamy track with light electronic touches weaved into the post-chorus. The single’s lyrics explore striving for confidence amid insecurity and never achieving it fully. 

4. “Who Needs Love” by Trippie Redd

“Who Needs Love” is the third track on Trippie Redd’s A Love Letter to You 4 album. The project dropped on Nov. 22 and gained popularity instantly. In the song, the Ohio-born rapper verbalizes his disinterest in chasing love, a theme he’s explored in previous projects. Not afraid to admit that he’s going through it, Tripped Redd combines vulnerable lyrics with a melancholy beat, giving fans a lucid look at his inner feelings.

5. “Mary Magdalene” by FKA twigs

“Mary Magdalene,” a harmonically rich song with quotable lyrics, is the fifth track on Magdalene, FKA twigs’s second studio album. She explores the different historical perceptions attributed to Mary Magdalene, Jesus’s right-hand woman. FKA seduces listeners with her transcending and soft vocals, easily making this song an incomparable musical experience.

6. “I Been (Remix)” by Berhana ft. Boogie

The original “I Been” was released as the fifth track on Berhana’s first studio album, HAN, in October. The song has been revamped with a new verse from Compton, California-born rapper, Boogie. Joining forces for the first time, Berhana and Boogie blend their respective feel-good lyrics with a poetic solo, making for a satisfying collab. 

7. “How I Move” by Flipp Dinero ft. Lil Baby

With a fire feature from Atlanta rapper Lil Baby, “How I Move” is a boastful look inside Flipp Dinero’s financial success and luxurious purchases since rising to fame. Flipp Dinero became popular in 2018 after the release of “Leave Me Alone,” a track that went gold just two months after its debut and platinum a month later. “How I Move” is the second track from Brooklyn-born artist Flipp Dinero’s Love for Guala.

8. “Touch & Go” by Tinashe and 6LACK

In “Touch & Go,” singer-songwriter Tinashe and rapper-singer 6LACK come together for the first time to discuss attempts to mend a broken relationship without really putting in the effort to do so. The song is from Songs for You, Tinashe’s first studio album as an independent artist after her breakup with RCA Records. This smoothly produced, lyrically rich track with classical violin melodies will transport you to a late night R&B club with ease. 

9. “4Tounce” by Johnny Utah

Johnny Utah is an artist on the rise, back to prove he isn’t a one-hit-wonder. His single “Honeypie” grew a fan base and caught the attention of Genius earlier this year. “4Tounce” gives weight to the singer’s storytelling abilities as the lyrics focus on Utah’s desire for real, meaningful love as opposed to a meaningless casual encounter. This emotionally rich track is arguably Utah’s most passionate release yet. 

10. “Workin’ On It” by Meghan Trainor ft. Lennon Stella and Sasha Sloan

Singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor’s “Workin’ on It” is an ode to self-love and believing in the compliments people give. The lyrics are not only extremely quotable but also highly relatable. “Workin’ on It,” accompanied by vocals from Lennon Stella and Sasha Sloan, was released alongside “No Excuse” and “Wave,” giving fans a sneak peek into Meghan’s upcoming third album, Treat Myself, which drops Jan. 31. 

11. “Brown Eyed Lover” by Allen Stone

With a voice comparable to a mix of Stevie Wonder and John Mayer, R&B singer-songwriter Allen Stone blends upbeat funk with soulful ambiance. “Brown Eyed Lover” is the first track on the Washington-born musician’s third record, Building Balance. Combining sentimental lyrics with harmonious melodies and gospel-like background vocals, this love ballad is indulging and engaging, even if your lover doesn’t have brown eyes.

12. “Cyber Sex” by Doja Cat

In “Cyber Sex,” an empowered Doja Cat is outright straightforward in wanting to have cybersex with a lover. The first track from her second studio album, Hot Pink, is dripped in invigorating lyrics and playful beats. In the song’s NSFW video. Doja plays a pornstar-turned-engineer who manufactures her ideal suitor. Doja is not one to sugarcoat her desires and sexual desires. “Cyber Sex” is just one of the many tracks on Hot Pink that showcases her fearlessness. 

13. “Lil Quita” by Trapboy Freddy

If you aren’t from Texas, you might not recognize the name Trapboy Freddy, but the Dallas-born rapper is soon to be on your playlist after recently signing to Young Thug’s label and the release of his new single “Lil Quita.” Trapboy Freddy pays homage to his neighborhood Oak Cliff and the streets that raised him. The song samples a freestyle that went viral in the 2000s, creating nostalgic memories for anyone who grew up in neighboring Dallas cities during the time. With a similar production that can be credited to the D-Town boogie era, Lil Quita is a perfect example of a classic southern sound with a modern spin.

14. “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles

“Watermelon Sugar”—Harry Styles’s second release in 2019—gives fans a hint of what to expect on his sophomore album, Fine Line. The lyrics, which have not been denoted an exact meaning, recall a summer fling, involving delicious fruit. He is known to act on surprise, randomly dropping the song less than an hour before he performed it on Saturday Night Live.

Gaming New Releases

14 Games Like ‘Fallout’ to Play Right Now

Publisher and development studio Bethesda, known for revitalizing the Fallout franchise with amazing action RPGs, has fallen out of favor with gamers. Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas were outstanding last-gen experiences that took players into a post-apocalyptic expanse full of oddities to shoot and interesting conversations to participate in. And while Fallout 4 may have split fans regarding its overall quality, it still offered a worthwhile experience for those used to the franchise’s formula. Fast-forward to the highly lambasted Fallout 76 however and you now have a Bethesda that’s no longer as beloved. Bethesda just doesn’t have the juice anymore—so if Fallout 76’s unfinished state and unfulfilling gameplay depressed you to no end, keep hope alive because here are 14 games like Fallout in the wild that provide the type of themes you’re used to getting from the Fallout universe. These titles offer massive post-apocalyptic locales, nuclear monstrosities to blast and locals to chat with during your journey.

1. ‘The Outer Worlds’
Obsidian Entertainment

Fallout fans should be familiar with Obsidian Entertainment—the one responsible for putting out one of the better series installments, Fallout: New Vegas. Obsidian’s 2019 action RPG release, The Outer Worldsoffers everything you loved in previous Fallout games, but does so in an alternate future set in 1901. Mega-corporations are in control of various planets due to colonization efforts. As a newly awakened spaceship passenger who was set to start a new life on a space colony, you chart out a new path and interact with galactic factions along the way. The Outer Worlds lets you map out your own adventure by tinkering with your character’s stats, maneuvering them through interesting conversations and putting them alongside trusty allies during intense first-person skirmishes.

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2. ‘S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl’
GSC Game World

In the world of this survival horror-themed first-person shooter, you’re tasked with heading into threatening territory. As the “Marked One,” your main goal entails moving through the dreaded Zone and taking out the mysterious force known as the Strelok. What makes your journey through the Zone such a terror-filled adventure is the fact that it’s smack dab in the middle of the area contaminated by the game’s second Chernobyl Disaster. This immersive title tests your survival skills as you gather helpful materials, artifacts that alter your stats and weapons that help you fend off the Zone’s many monstrosities. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl is a classic FPS experience that’s still worth venturing into.

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3. ‘Metro: Redux’
4A Games

Nuclear war has stricken Moscow and forced the few remaining remnants of humanity to go underground. As Artyom, you travel through a litany of dark tunnels within the Metro and even venture above ground during your struggle against rival factions and the Dark Ones. If you’re looking for a survival FPS with a strong narrative and the type of difficulty that truly tests your mettle, then this 2-in-1 pack is a fine pick. Metro: Redux features visually and mechanically enhanced renditions of Metro 2033 and its sequel, Metro: Last Light. Extra features that offer a more challenging experience for both games and a host of other improvements make this collection the definitive way to play the first two Metro games.

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4. ‘Metro Exodus’
4A Games

Once you’re done dealing with the many threats that come your way in Metro: Redux, you’ll be fully prepared to head into the franchise’s third adventure. In Metro Exodus, you’re once again placed in the role of Artyom. But this time, you permanently leave the underground Metro and head out on a dangerous trek across several continents aboard a locomotive called the Aurora. As you land in different open sandbox locales and more linear areas, you’ll have to contend with other survivors and some truly horrific beasts stricken by nuclear toxins. Metro Redux presents the series as a whole in a current-gen light and smartly builds upon the best features seen in the previous two installments.

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5. ‘Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden’
The Bearded Ladies

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden takes place within a world ruled by mutants. The aftermath of a deadly outbreak and global nuclear war have resulted in this new set of hybrid humans/animals, who now live their lives scavenging for goods and fending off vicious Ghouls. While this entry doesn’t take place from a first-person perspective, it still offers the type of post-apocalyptic thrills featured in recent Fallout games. Mutant Year Zero’s most commendable mechanic is its combat system, which is tactically similar to the one seen in the XCOM series. You’re going to be doing a whole lot of sneaking, scavenging and shooting during your mutant-filled journey through Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden.

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6. ‘Mad Max’
Avalanche Studios

It may have taken far too long to get one, but gamers finally received a AAA-level game based on the cinematic world of Mad Max in 2015. Everything you’ve come to expect from an interactive Mad Max experience is present and accounted for in this title—a massive desert location, high-octane vehicular combat, survival tactics and a super charismatic side character. There are moments of blood-pumping driving in your trusty Magnum Opus and on-foot gameplay segments that let you put Max’s melee/firearm skills to the test. Mad Max is a shining example of a game based on a film franchise that does a good job of replicating the best parts loyal fans have come to appreciate.

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7. ‘Horizon Zero Dawn’
Guerrilla Games

This PlayStation 4 exclusive has you dealing with mechanized dinosaurs and other types of creatures instead of nuclear ghouls. With a bow and arrow in hand, you’ll move throughout a variety of gorgeous locales and attempt to discover Aloy’s mysterious origins. The post-apocalyptic world you’ll do all of your hunting and gathering in is ruled by some massive robotic wildlife that takes careful planning and execution to take down. By gathering the materials earned from those creatures, you’ll be able to upgrade Aloy’s equipment and have the means to take on even bigger mechanized beats. Horizon Zero Dawn and its much “frostier” expansion, The Frozen Wilds, offer PS4 owners an incredibly absorbing undertaking.

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8. ‘The Last of Us Remastered’
Naughty Dog

Naughty Dog’s highly celebrated PS3 epic (besides Uncharted, of course) has thankfully been brought over to the PS4 in remastered fashion. If you’re not up on The Last of Us at this point, then you’re truly bugging. Here’s a brief summary of The Last of Us’ engrossing tale: You’ll follow Joel and Ellie, two virus outbreak survivors who must rely on each other in a world ruled by infected humans and equally vicious survivors. The game’s single-player campaign will most definitely tug at your heartstrings and keep you on edge as you try to keep Joel and Ellie alive during their perilous journey. The Last of Us Remastered also comes with a surprisingly competent online multiplayer suite and an impressive prequel chapter that puts the spotlight on Ellie and her best friend.

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9. ‘Far Cry 5’

Ubisoft knows a thing or two about crafting first-person shooters in locales full of NPCs worth developing camaraderie with. With the fifth installment in the Far Cry franchise, Ubisoft has chosen to place the game in the good ol’ U.S. of A. You set out to take down a dangerous cult leader and put an end to the congregation known as the Project at Eden’s Gate. Once an initial plan to take down Joseph Seed goes awry, you set out on your own and attempt to right the wrongs within Hope County. Far Cry 5 gives you all the tools necessary to see that plan through and lets you call on the aid of non-cult members to help push you towards your own version of salvation.

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10. ‘Far Cry 5 New Dawn’

After you’ve sat through the epilogue in Far Cry 5, you’ll be able to continue on through the aftermath in this direct sequel. Seventeen years have taken place since the events of this sequel’s predecessor. Hope County looks a whole hell of a lot brighter thanks to a world-altering event. The strange post-apocalyptic setting you’ll be placed within asks you to take on a crew of raving bandits known as the Highwaymen, who set out to disrupt the plans of a peaceful township. It’s up to you to stay well-armed and keep a few loyal Guns/Fangs for Hire within arms reach during your new mission. There are treasure hunts and cool Expedition quests to enjoy this time around, which makes Far Cry 5 New Dawn a fun spin on the adventure that came before it.

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11. ‘BioShock: The Collection’
2K Games

Irrational Games’ magnum opus is the original BioShock, a thought-provoking game that challenged players’ morality and thirst for power. Maneuvering through the remains of the underwater city of Rapture defined this FPS and added a ton of meaning to your decision-making. BioShock 2, a sequel that lets you wield the power of the dreaded Big Daddy, was a solid follow-up for series fans. Both games embody the type of experience Fallout fans are looking for—an FPS that’s given more levity due to a heavy storyline and an interesting plasmids power-up system. With this collection, you get to play both games and the additional DLC expansions that came with the second game and BioShock Infinite (which is another worthwhile bonus game you need to play).

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12. ‘Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut’
inXile Entertainment

The original Wasteland came out back in 1988. Fast-forward to 2014 and inXile Entertainment partnered with Deep Silver to produce a sequel no one ever thought would exist. This enhanced edition of the top-down RPG takes place within an alternate history timeline where nuclear war and a meteor crash have impacted planet Earth. Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut has a similar playstyle to the earliest Fallout games, which should be expected since this game comes from the original producer behind those retro titles. You and your Desert Ranger squad have your work cut out for you during your trials through the harrowing fallout zone. This Director’s Cut enhances the visuals, throws in extra squad customization mechanics, adds precision strikes for battles and features more lines of spoken dialogue.

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13. ‘RAGE 2’
Avalanche Studios

If Fallout’s dreary and somber environments bummed you out, then RAGE 2’s zany and bombastic world should lift your spirits. Your main protagonist is Walker, the last surviving Ranger of Vineland. The Authority has laid waste to your people and now it’s time for you to exact your revenge. The vast open-world you’re placed smack dab in the middle of is packed with baddies for you to blast, cool NPCs to chat with and big vehicles slam into with your dune buggy. Hideous mutants and members of The Authority will feel your wrath as you unleash your Nanotrite-based powers. The gunplay is exceptional and the on-road segments are just as fun to participate in. RAGE 2 is a post-apocalyptic thrill ride.

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14. ‘Dying Light: The Following–Enhanced Edition’

Dying Light’s storyline premise may be unoriginal, but its strong gameplay and remarkable parkour movement system give it an extra leg up on other post-apocalyptic survival games. After landing in a quarantine zone called Harran, you step out under the guise of an undercover agent to make sense of your current whereabouts. Your mission objective becomes a bit tangled once you discover the plight of Harran’s survivors, which leads you down a path of turmoil and redemption. Your journey becomes that much harder as you’re forced to hop all over the place and smash zombies in the face all the while. The Enhanced Edition comes with every amazing expansion Dying Light offers and then some. Zombie killing and rooftop running have never been more fun.

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