Culture Movies/TV

‘The Many Saints of Newark’ Is a Welcome Addition to ‘The Sopranos’ Legacy

Those looking for a Tony Soprano origin story might be a tad bit disappointed in The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel film to the legendary HBO series The Sopranos. However, what they get in return is something more; whether that’s a good or a bad thing is up to the viewer.

Set many years before Tony Soprano takes his first on-screen bite of gabagool, The Many Saints of Newark provides a glimpse, albeit tiny, into the legendary and monstrous mob boss’s early days.

Per Warner Brothers:

“Young Anthony Soprano is growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark‘s history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city. Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti, who struggles to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities—and whose influence over his nephew will help make the impressionable teenager into the all-powerful mob boss we’ll later come to know: Tony Soprano.”

The Many Saints of Newark is a welcome return to familiar territory for fans of the show. Besides Tony Soprano—played by the late James Gandolfini’s son Michael—plenty of characters from The Sopranos reappear here, including Tony’s mother Livia (Vera Farmiga), his uncle Junior (Corey Stolz), as well as his loyal fellow mobsters, Silvio Dante (John Magaro), and Paulie Walnuts (Billy Magnussen).

It introduces characters such as Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) and Tony’s father, Johnny Boy (Jon Bernthal), who are only mentioned on the show as they are long since deceased by the time The Sopranos takes place.

While Tony and the other characters from the show are present, they appear merely in a supporting role, with Nivola’s Dickie taking center stage as the protagonist of this story.

It is a smart move by series creator David Chase, as the focus is on expanding this universe and not keeping it constrained to what has already happened.

By helping clear up the mystery that surrounds Dickie Moltisanti, it also contributes to the growth and character development of his son Christopher, a supporting character of The Sopranos. Christopher is burdened by the legend of Dickie, and it is here that we get to see it explored.

This also helps the movie strengthen the foundations and themes of The Sopranos, which is considered one of, if not the greatest TV show of all time.

Warner Brothers/HBO

Many of the themes of The Sopranos are present throughout the film as well.

What does it mean to live up to the idea of one’s father? Do we carry the same sins as them? Or are we free to live as who we choose to be?

Given that Tony’s father was in prison for much of his formative years, Dickie takes the mantle of Tony’s mentor instead and, given that Dickie knows no other life, does not do much to steer Tony away from this “thing of ours.” Tony wants to go to college, play football (although I never thought he had the makings of a varsity athlete), and try to avoid the criminal lifestyle.

And although we know where things lead for him, it’s obvious that, at least at first, he does not want to follow in Dickie and his father’s footsteps.

This idea of legacy feeds into one of the other core tenets of the show and fuels the central conflict: Pride, and more specifically, how that sin contributes to one’s downfall.

Many characters on the show and in the film are embodiments of pride and toxic masculinity, most notably Uncle Junior, who, without spoiling anything, bears a growing resentment towards Dickie for a perceived and trivial slight. No man in this world of mobsters can be seen as weak, and if they make that mistake, it can ruin them.

Warner Brothers/HBO

The Many Saints of Newark uses a city in turmoil as the landscape for the story it tells. It begins in 1966, right as Newark is embroiled in one of the worst race riots in the country’s history, caused by the unjust arrest and beating of John William Smith, a black cab driver, by the Newark police department.

Harold McBrayer (Leslie Odom Jr.) begins the film as Dickie’s runner and employee of sorts but gradually grows to become his enemy as Harold yearns to start a criminal empire of his own. As a black man, Harold’s partnership with Dickie does not sit well with the mafia, who still harbor racist attitudes towards Newark’s black population. 

It is here where the film falls short, though. Harold longs to become the king of the Newark criminal underworld as the mob is pushed out, but it’s never explored more than that. His character serves as little more than a foil for Dickie and his personal life, and by the time the movie ends, you find yourself wondering why this plotline exists in the first place.

The film’s runtime clocks in at around two hours, but it is in this case where it could have used an extra 20 or so minutes to dive a little further into the motivations of Harold and his crew.

Warner Brothers/HBO

It is the performances of The Many Saints of Newark that carry the film. Vera Farmiga, Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom Jr., and Michael Gandolfini are all fantastic in their roles, with Farmiga perhaps being the best of all of them.

From her voice to her mannerisms and attitude and almost hatred for her children, she nails everything about who Livia Soprano was.

Gandolfini had the most challenging task, who, much like his on-screen character, had to live up to the legacy his father left behind. He is more than up to it, though. Tony is angry; he is rebellious but intelligent and a leader, something that Michael can embody just like his father did.

He won’t be visiting Dr. Melfi for many years, so Tony is forced to struggle with his issues and deal with a world that tells him that his mental health is not a priority.

Warner Brothers/HBO

Fans of The Sopranos, myself among them, will certainly enjoy The Many Saints of Newark. There are easter eggs throughout including, of course, a backroom meeting at Satriale’s but they don’t weigh down the story with simple fan service. They are simply the cherry on top of a story that exists all on its own.

By the time the show’s theme song hits (which gave me goosebumps), you might think “does this movie need to exist?” Maybe not, but you definitely won’t be mad that it does.

Culture Movies/TV

Everything You Need to Know About Robert Pattinson’s ‘The Batman’

With Matt Reeves’ interpretation of the famous Batman character only six months away, The Batman will include a version of the character we have never seen on the big screen before. Here I will give you a few things you will want to know not only before the movie, which releases March 4th, 2022, but the first official trailer, which releases in just under four weeks at DC Fan Dome on October 16th. 

The most important thing to note is the tone of this movie. The film’s director, Matt Reeves, constantly talks about the state of mind that Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) will have through this film and the torment that the villain, The Riddler (played by Paul Dano), will put him through. Not only will this movie dive into the psychological aspects of what makes Bruce Wayne Batman, but it will also tackle the identity crisis Bruce goes through while having to be two completely different people. 

hoping that since Reeves is taking inspiration from the Batman: The Long Halloween comic, this movie will primarily take a detective route. It promises to show a closer relationship with Jim Gordon (played by Jeffrey Wright), which is mainly the reason for the more grounded villain choice. Early screeners are calling this movie “dark, scary, and like a horror movie.” The film is also being said to be super graphic, but Batman still doesn’t kill.

Early Screeners Breakdown

Though The Long Halloween is one of the comics that inspired this movie, the primary source material is Batman: Year One

This comic dives deep into the corruption within Gotham and how Batman faces an uphill battle against politicians and high-level citizens. We have never had a Batman on the big screen who faces such grounded issues while keeping the detective tones and being brutal without killing, so this iteration is going to be one like never before.

​​“I felt that we’ve seen lots of origin stories. It seems things go further and further into fantasy, and I thought, well, one place we haven’t been is grounding it in the way that Year One does, to come right into a young Batman, not being an origin tale, but referring to his origins and shaking him to his core,” Reeves said at DC Fan Dome.

Another super exciting thing about this movie is that these characters won’t just be here for one movie. From insiders, we know that they are planning a Batman 2 and 3, and Warner Brothers have already greenlit two spin-off shows within this world of Gotham, showing the fans that they have a lot of faith in this project they are committing to it for the long run. 

The first spin-off show is a GCPD show. Commissioner Jim Gordon leads the Gotham City Police Department, and in these movies and shows, he is played by Jeffrey Wright. From what we can see in the first teaser trailer the Batman and Jim Gordon have a very close relationship which hints even more towards the fact that this universe will be super grounded. Commissioner Gordon also has a daughter named Barbara, aka Batgirl, who will be getting her own movie on HBO Max, and Leslie Grace will play the hero.

“Gotham is a character in a way we haven’t seen before,” Pattinson said. 

The second show that was just recently reported to be greenlit is a show following the Penguin. Colin Farrell plays the Penguin, but he only has 4-6 scenes in The Batman, according to the actor. This information has led many fans to speculate that he will be the main villain in the 2nd or 3rd movie, and his character will be fleshed out in his show. All of these spin-off shows will be going directly to HBOMax.

A Look at the Spinoffs

Though I mentioned this slightly before, the cast for this movie is also absolutely insane. Robert Pattinson is making his return to Hollywood in the leading role of Batman. The cast also includes Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, Jeffrey Wright is playing Commissioner Jim Gordon, Colin Farrell as Penguin, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, and the list goes on.

The Batman 2022 is set up for greatness, and the first official trailer will be coming out October 16th at DC Fan Dome, along with a teaser trailer for Black Adam, The Flash, and a sizzle reel for Shazam 2 and Aquaman 2

Culture News

Everything You Need to Know From Apple’s 2021 September Event

Content was center stage during Apple’s 2021 September Event. Drone shot after drone shot, camera improvement after camera improvement, it’s pretty clear Apple wants to keep their audience engaged during every second of the presentation. While there were a lot of medium and minor updates announced during today’s event, there are still some exciting updates that I’m pumped about. But, if you want a slightly more in-depth recap of the event with more focus on the specs, check out this Twitter thread below.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ will continue to expand its award-winning programming as it looks to launch more original content. 

Apple original series, films, and documentaries have now been honored with more than 130 wins and over 500 nominations in less than two years. This year, Apple TV+ racked up 35 Primetime Emmy nominations, including 20 for the hit series Ted Lasso, a record for the first season of a comedy series. That’s great news for Jason Sudeikis since it’s rumored that he will make about $1 Million per episode for season 3.

iPad/iPad Mini

iPad: $329

iPad Mini: $499

Apple’s iPad business has grown by 40% over the past year and the tech giant has taken notice. Both iPads come refreshed with better processors and fancier 12MP Ultrawide cameras with Center Stage. Center Stage “uses machine learning to adjust the front-facing Ultra-Wide camera during FaceTime (and other video conferencing apps) video calls.” Allowing you to walk around freely while your camera tracks your motion, keeping you in the center of the frame. With this most recent update, the iPad Air is now the only iPad that lacks these features.

The iPad Mini is where we see the most significant redesign this year with its stunning 8.3-inch retina display and thin bezels. Built with a USB-C port, the mini looks like it might become your new daily carry. The only caveat is that the mini has a maximum refresh rate of 60 Hz while the current iPad pro can refresh up to 120 Hz (very crucial for gamers and designers), but other than the mini is looking pretty good.


Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 7: $399

Keeping its same shape and slightly bigger screen, the Apple Watch Series 7 will continue to focus more on an individual’s health—more specifically, their safety. Oddly enough, most of the new features they showcased are only applicable for individuals who enjoy bike riding. WatchOS 8 will detect when people begin riding, remind you to start your workout, and automatically pause and resume if you stop temporarily. Additionally, watchOS 8 has fall detection for cycling that will sense the unique motion and impact of falls while riding a bike.

Besides software, the look and feel of the Apple Watch have been modified. The screen now curves and flows over the edges right up to the metal body, something Apple was very keen on pointing out. I’m interested to see how this looks in person as I am not sure how to feel about it yet.


Apple Fitness+

Armed with a dense library of content, Apple TV+ aims to fill your workout needs with foundational and seasonal workouts. Whether you have 5 or 45 minutes of time, break out in a sweat with over 1200 workouts led by the Fitness+ Trainer Team. Train by yourself or join a group workout with your friends, but don’t expect any competition!

iPhone 13/iPhone 13 Mini

iPhone 13 Mini: $699

iPhone 13: $799

The iPhone 13/iPhone 13 Mini looks a lot like the iPhone 12 lineup but has two worthy upgrades worth mentioning. The display is much brighter, and the infamous notch has decreased by 20%, leaving you with more room at the top of the screen.

The new dual 12 MP camera layout and camera features might make you think twice about buying a new DSLR. Paired with the latest cinematic mode (available on all iPhone 13 models), users will be able to “rack focus” while recording, the first for any smartphone.

iPhone 13 Pro/iPhone 13 Pro Max

iPhone 13 Pro: $999

iPhone 13 Pro Max: $1099

Sitting at the top of the food chain, we have the iPhone 13 Pro series.

The new pro model delivers a better experience for gaming and creating with the help of ProMotion. ProMotion allows users to refresh their screen from as low as 10 Hz to as high as 120 Hz & is designed to respond dynamically to match your content (a real game-changer).

Additionally, the pro series comes with new telephoto, wide and ultra-wide lenses with the capability of taking macro photography. You can expect to capture shallower depths of field and better light in poorly lit environments, leading to better photos and videos.

Who should be excited?

Not iPhone 12 users. If you have the iPhone 12, there is no need for an upgrade. Looking and acting strikingly similar to the models in the past, this lineup of Apple products was a cute showing to keep the Apple audience engaged.

However, I am expecting to see this generation of content creators and consumers to jump all in. My best guess is that we will start to see the label “shot on iPhone” in more professional content in the future.

Gaming New Releases

The 31 Best Survival Games On Switch

The Nintendo Switch is home to a number of survival games that could keep any fan of the genre busy for hours on end. The games run the gamut from cute titles for children to more disturbing titles clearly geared toward adults. While they may share certain elements they are equally varied. The following are the top 30 survival games for the Nintendo Switch.

31. Forager

Forager is one of the most straightforward games on this list. You forage for supplies whilst protecting your homestead from enemies. The title released in 2019 is one of several open-world titles in the survival genre. Its aesthetic is somewhat reminiscent of the original Legend of Zelda, giving a clue as to the demographic this game is meant to appeal to. That doesn’t mean children and adults of all ages can’t get into this surprisingly complex offering from HopFrog. 

Buy Here for $19.99
30. Minecraft

You can’t talk survival without at least mentioning Minecraft. Created in 2011, the game has gone on to be one of the largest on this list, with little sign of slowing down. In Minecraft players are not only free to build home bases, they are free to build just about anything they want. This has led to some truly imaginative creations. The Switch manages to breath new life into the game simply by optimizing for handheld so players can build as they go about their day, untethered to their desktops.

Buy Here for $29.99
29. Resident Evil

No list of survival games is complete without including a bit of survival horror and the original Resident Evil is one of the most popular games in the genre. In fact, it was a major hit when it was released in stores in 1996 by Capcom. The traps mixed with the haunting atmosphere and constant threat of the undead made for an intense experience. The fixed camera, which often obscured the immediate danger the player was in, only enhanced the experience. While some may argue it’s a stretch including this game on this list, it’s important to remember there were elements of crafting, like mixing herbs and collecting increasingly powerful weapons. Resident Evil and its sequels may differ from Minecraft, which is all the more reason to include them on this list. 

Buy Here for $19.99
28. Subnautica

Players flocked to Subnautica because it managed to combine all the best elements of the survival genre, like crafting and exploration, with just the right touch of creepy. Subnautica, released by Unknown World’s Entertainment in 2014, is a creepy game. While the game emphasizes exploration there are moments, particularly those when you are away from the safety of a base or vehicle, when you feel vulnerable to just about everything outside of your peripheral vision. While not explicitly a horror game, Subnautica definitely has its moments. 

Buy Here for $29.99
27. Subnautica Below Zero

Released in 2019, the developers at Unknown Worlds Entertainment took everything good from the first game and cranked it up. Below Zero puts players in a world even more incomprehensible than the first. Both the frozen tundra and the water are home to creatures that might or might not kill you. 

Buy Here for $29.99
26. Windbound

At first blush, Windbound has all the appearances of a Legend of Zelda clone. But the developers at 5 Lives Studios were aiming for something more in the 2020 title. In some respects, they were successful. Windbound elegantly combines crafting elements with exploration that might be accused of being threadbare when compared to the game’s inspiration. While comparisons to Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild are inevitable, Windbound is ultimately its own game with its own elements. 

Buy Here for $29.99
25. This War of Mine

Originally released in 2014 by 11 Bit Studios, This War of Mine is a survival game made popular by giving a splash of cold water to players who might be more familiar with war games like Call of Duty. Players don’t take on the role of some invincible soldier. Instead, you are a largely faceless civilian forced to survive in a conflict zone. This War of Mine is a real look at what war entails for the majority of people. The game manages to get its message across quite effectively, while still managing to take players on a harrowing journey. Not many games are able to pull that off. 

Buy Here for $3.99
24. Banner Saga

Another game whose presence on this list some might question. The Banner Saga is a strategy game in which you take control of different groups of people as they try to survive a harsh environment made harsher by the return of an ancient enemy. Where this game differs is in its various survival elements. In between battles, players must remain cognizant of the group’s supplies, morale, and a host of other factors that dwindle with each passing day. Resource management is as important in this game as a battle, which adds an interesting element to a tried-and-true formula. 

Buy Here for $24.99
23. Don’t Starve

A cult classic made all the more popular by its Switch port. Don’t Starve was originally released in 2013 by Klei Entertainment the game’s premise is in its title. It isn’t just starvation that threatens players. All manner of creatures is constantly poised to try and kill players. 

Buy Here for $19.99
22. Green Hell

One of 2018’s biggest indy releases. Creepy Jar’s Green Hell was popular among players because it offered a different aesthetic twist on the survival genre. Taking place in a jungle, Green Hell pits players against a hostile environment. Each playthrough is different with a different set of challenges, which is one of the reasons this game has managed to maintain a healthy player base. 

Buy Here for $24.99
21. Resident Evil 5

Another Resident Evil game that blends one part crafting with nine parts zombie killing. Resident Evil 5 was released by Capcom in 2009, Resident Evil 5 is the direct sequel to the critically acclaimed Resident Evil 4. The fifth installment takes a detour from horror by focusing a bit more on the action. This doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t have its moments. The game boasts fluid gameplay and high-stakes stories players will appreciate. 

Buy Here for $19.99
20. The Survivalists

Released in 2020 by Team 17, The Survivalists is a top-down survival game that emphasizes exploration. The game can be played solo or with a group of friends, which allows for a bit of task delineation. The Survivalists is a great addition to any Switch console. 

Buy Here for $24.99
19. Sheltered

Sheltered is a 2D game that hides quite a bit of complexity behind its look. The game, released by Team 17 in 2015, is about surviving in a bunker in the midst of an unspecified apocalypse. Players must find provisions although resources are scarce. Al the while players must fend of enemies which range from animals to roving gangs.

Buy Here for $14.99
18. Help Will Come Tomorrow

Originally released in 2020 by Arclight creations, Help Will Come Tomorrow tasks players with keeping a family alive while stranded in the wilderness. Keeping warm, fed, and sane are important elements in the game as the elements try their best to wear down already weary characters. 

Buy Here for $5.99
17. Radiation Island

Radiation Island adds elements of science fiction to the survival game. Released in 2015 by Atypical games, Radiation Island tells the story of an experiment gone wrong. Players must survive on an island infested with mutants and they have a number of tools at their disposal. That is what makes Radiation Island so interesting. There is no single method for beating the game but it’s satisfying when you eventually do. 

Buy Here for $9.99
16. ARK Survival Evolved

When first introduced in 2015 by Studio Wildcard, players thought the game was strictly about capturing and taming dinosaurs. As players sunk their teeth into the wildly in-depth survival game they discovered there was so much more beneath the surface. What was advertised as a prehistoric ranching game is in fact a major work of science fiction that continues to wow players. With a sequel on the horizon, now is the perfect time to sink your teeth into this title.

Buy Here for $49.99
15. Resident Evil 4

The bridge between the previous horror games and the latter action games, Resident Evil 4 is a survival horror that mixes the best of both worlds. Released in 2005, the game has a number of memorable moments. While the game may be daunting at first. Eventually, however, players build a toolset making them the most dangerous aspect of the game. There is a reason why this is one of the most beloved games in the franchise. 

Buy Here for $19.99
14. Silver Falls

Silver Falls is what you get when a developer focuses less on graphics and more on atmosphere and story. Much like other survival-horror titles, the player starts out helpless but slowly builds an arsenal making him more than formidable to the forces that constantly hound him. Silver Falls may not look impressive but it’s worth a look. 

Buy Here for $7.99
13. Frost

Released in 2016 by Jerome Bodin, Frost is different from other games on this list, largely because of the card-based element featured throughout the title. Like other games, however, players must contend with the harsh environment, as well as dangerous enemies. Survival is largely based on the players’ choices. You will mess up, eventually, which will impact the game in any number of ways. This is why this game is a must-play for any fan of the survival genre. 

Buy Here for $2.59
12. Pine

Released in 2019 by Twirlbound, Pine is a survival game that is, in many ways, in a similar vein to Breath of the Wild. The player must live off of the land, hunting, and foraging for sustenance while creating tools to increase chances of survival. 

Buy Here for $9.99
11. Breathedge

Players of RedRuins’ Breathedge will be surprised by the juxtaposition of the game’s comedy and bleak atmosphere. The game puts players in the wreckage of a massive ship and tasks them with survival. Air is, of course, a necessity as the player makes their way across the wreckage finding out what happened to the ship. It’s one part mystery, two parts survival that should entertain fans of the genre. 

Buy Here for $24.99
10. Terraria

Released in 2011 by Re-logic, Terraria is a game that has been called a 2D clone of Minecraft. The game, however, manages to stand on its own two feet and has done so for a decade now. With services like Twitch increasing the game’s popularity, Terraria is one of the most popular games on this list. The game tasks players with journeying across the procedurally generated world in search of raw materials to build. While enemies abound you can face them with a group of friends, making this game even more of a must-buy. 

Buy Here for $29.99
9. Smoke and Sacrifice

Released in 2018 by Solar Sail Games, Smoke and Sacrifice is a critically acclaimed game that tells the story of a woman in search of her child. While the premise is straightforward, the story is anything but with winding plot details and unexpected twists that will keep most players invested until the very end. Survival is key as hordes of enemies keep the main character from her ultimate goal. This is a must-play. 

Buy Here for $19.99
8. Resident Evil 6

Released in 2012 by Capcom, the game is one of the most expansive in the series. It tells three different meandering stories, woven together by the actions of six characters, seven if you count Ada Wong. While the reaction to this survival-horror title was mixed, it still managed to cultivate a large player base. Few developers are willing to offer players three games in one which is why this game is worth a playthrough, or three. 

Buy Here for $19.99
7. Fortnite

Despite its release in 2017 by Epic Games, Fortnite remains one of the most popular games on the market. Its popularity aside, the game does have elements that make it a survival game, even though it is ostensibly a shooter. Players must collect raw materials in order to quickly erect walls to protect themselves from enemy fire, a feature that makes this game straddle genres. 

Buy Here for free
6. Risk of Rain 2

Released in 2019 by Hopoo games, Risk of Rain 2 is a visually stunning piece of art. The graphics and art style alone are enough to keep players interested. Players must explore and collect items in order to survive hordes of enemies of increasing strength. Players can team up or, if they are particularly brave, go solo. Item management and cooperation are key. 

Buy Here for $24.99
5. Dawn of Survivors

Released in 2019 by WiSTONE Entertainment, Dawn of Survivors is more than just another zombie game. Players must defend their base and each other from hordes of zombies intent on overrunning them. To survive this, players must craft weapons and use them wisely. 

Buy Here for $4.99
4. Cube Life Island Survival

Cube Life Island Survival is a game for players who like Minecraft but want something a bit different. Cube Life, released in 2015 by Cypronia, gives players a change of pace. Players can collect materials from an island and build bases. Players must keep an eye on their hunger and thirst, as well as their life. Neglecting anyone will lead to immediate death. The game provides a challenge that isn’t present in Minecraft which is something players will enjoy. 

Buy Here for $14.99
3. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Arguably the best in the franchise, Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild was such a success, there was a brief period it outsold the Switch. The game puts players in an expansive open-world environment and tasks them with surviving by collecting tools, weapons, and food. Players have the freedom to do as they wish as they traverse Hyrule. While most Switch owners have likely played this game, it’s well worth a second go-round.

Buy Here for $59.99
2. Niche: A Genetics Survival Game

Released in 2016 by Stray Fawn, Niche is a peculiar game. Players must create creatures with the right genetic aspects to survive the dangers the game throws. Haphazardly mutating your characters won’t do them any favors. Everything the player does in this game must be thought out and deliberate. 

Buy Here for $19.99
1. The Long Dark

Perhaps one of the Switch’s biggest cult classics. The Long Dark wears its survival bona-fides on its sleeve. Originally released in 2014 by Hinterland Studio, the game features a number of dangers that can easily kill the player. Everything from the cold, lack of food and water to the ever-hunting wolves keeps the tension of this game turned all the way up. This is a must-play for fans of survival. 

Buy Here for $34.99
Culture News

Walking In the Shadows of Giants

When you ask someone who was in New York City that day, many of the stories seem to start the same way.

“It was a beautiful day.”

“The sky was blue, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.”

“A perfect September morning.”

If you were of a certain age on September 11th—old enough to have a memory of that day, that is—chances are your stories begin with something as mundane as the weather. Talking about the weather is the go-to topic of conversation for small talk, and it always served as a way of easing into the discussions surrounding that day. By starting with something nice, we hope to make the terrible memories that follow a little more palatable. Of course, they won’t be, but that doesn’t stop us from trying.

Today, I am in a coffee shop just a few blocks from where the Towers once stood, and it is an eerily similar day. A perfect blue sky, no clouds, and you couldn’t ask for better temperatures. I walked past the 9/11 Memorial, and it was filled with people enjoying the day, paying their respects, taking photos, etc.

People like to say that “you can always tell the difference between people who are from New York City and those who are not. If you’re from here, you rarely look up.” We’ve become used to the skyscrapers looming over us as we move throughout the city, casting their shadows on the people below and echoing the noise of the streets. However, those who aren’t from here cannot help but look up and admire the massive buildings and how impressive they are.

Whenever I am at the Memorial, I find myself joining the tourists. I look up at One World Trade Center as it towers over the reflecting pools and the 9/11 Museum. Gazing at the engineering marvel that building is, it also serves as a sign that New York City could rebuild and return stronger than ever.

Photo Taken at 9/11 Memorial

Everyone knows where they were on 9/11 and has a few things they remember, particularly about that day, whether ordinary or horrifying. You remember whether or not you hit traffic on the way to work or school; what you ate for breakfast; what you were doing when you first saw the images of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on fire, or the clip of a burning hole in the ground in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It’s those things that stick with you forever, and even if you were a kid like I was at the time, you still got the sense at that moment that the world would never be the same once the sun had set.

I grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey, about 30 miles from the World Trade Center. I was only 11 years old when the attacks happened and was—like most kids—getting ready for another day at school. I put on my Catholic school uniform, got dropped off by my mom, as I usually did; nothing about the day seemed out of the ordinary. Even after the first planes hit, nothing seemed strange because—leave it to the Catholics to do something like this—we weren’t told what was going on. I have to imagine that the teachers didn’t want to frighten any of us, given that a large part of the school, myself included, had parents or relatives that worked in the city.

It was only once kids began to be pulled from class that we realized something was wrong, and even then, we didn’t know exactly what. To be fair to St. John’s Academy staff in Hillsdale, New Jersey, nobody knew what was going on or what was going to happen next.

In the days before social media, information traveled only as fast as the news could report it, and on days like 9/11, we should probably be thankful that was the case. In the mass confusion, people heard different reports about what happened, with some even mentioning that Wall Street had been destroyed.

I didn’t learn that the Towers had collapsed until after classes had ended. My Mom came to pick me up from school, and on the ride back home, she said, seemingly still in a state of shock, “the Twin Towers are gone.” For an 11-year-old kid, the idea that this could happen seemed like something out of a nightmare. Your first instinct would be to turn to your parents for answers. Like everyone else, they didn’t have them. 

Despite not living there for over 30 years at this point, my parents will always be New Yorkers at heart. My Dad grew up in Woodlawn, a neighborhood in the Bronx, and my mother grew up in Yonkers. They are always connected to New York City, and while I didn’t know it at the time, 9/11 hit them especially hard. 

“I remember just sitting there with your mother and just crying… we felt sorry for ourselves,” my Dad said when I asked him about his experiences that day. My Dad isn’t one to wear his emotions on his sleeve, so hearing that he had had “a good cry,” as he put it, was something that had surprised me. 

My mother mostly remembered the community’s reaction, standing in Mass the following Sunday, with a Church full of people, seemingly searching for answers, whether through their faith or leaning on their neighbors. “Everybody in Church was crying, and I remember you looking at me. It was so overwhelming and the whole collective crying has always stuck with me,” my mom explained.

9/11 Museum and Memorial

Other than the New York connection, my Dad also had a familial tie to the events; his cousin’s brother-in-law, Battalion Chief Orio Palmer, was one of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on that day.

Orio made his way to the 78th floor of the South Tower, attempting to evacuate as many people as he could along the way. Orio was born in the Bronx and had been a firefighter for many years before 9/11. The bravery of men and women like Orio simply cannot be understated; these are people whose actions echo far louder than our words and tributes to them ever could.

And Orio’s actions have reverberated throughout the years, helping us piece together exactly what occurred inside the Towers that day. Conversations between him, Deputy Chief Peter Hayden and Assistant Chief Donald Burns were used by The 9/11 Commission to analyze communications during rescue operations. As chaos reigned and the reporting of necessary information began to break down, Orio kept calm and maintained his composure in the face of the gravest of outcomes.

Men and women like Orio show the best of what humanity can be: utterly selfless and willing to do whatever it takes to help everyone around them. We say things like “Never Forget” and “Always Remember,” but as the years have gone by and the memories become a little hazier, the knowledge of the sacrifices made by so many has inevitably started to fade.

For younger millennials and Gen Z, 9/11 isn’t so much a memory as it is a history lesson. They know of the impact it had on the world, but the raw emotions and feelings of the day cannot be taught. This lack of understanding is through no fault of their own. One can only have those sorts of recollections if they were present as events such as these unfolded.

As time passes on and the stories of 9/11 become just that, stories, the adage of “Never Forget” becomes all the more important.

Photo Taken at 9/11 Memorial

During the period immediately after 9/11, Americans were scared. We were lost in the dark with no light and no answers with endless amounts of questions. 

Was it safe to get on a plane? The subway? Was it okay to use a bridge or a tunnel? Were my kids safe at school?

To calm the country and give them some illusion of security, the government enacted harsh measures like the Patriot Act, which in many cases were abused by law enforcement to arrest alleged terror suspects. Once it had been determined who had committed the atrocities, many—including this country’s former President—turned to bigotry as a means to give themselves peace of mind.

If they could stay away from and blame an entire population of people, rather than just a violent and extremist group of murderers, then they would do so. These feelings were, in turn, amplified by certain voices in the media, fueling their anger and hatred. These fears and failures of the American people have continued since then, and as the country becomes more and more divided, it isn’t looking like these wounds are going to heal any time soon.

Getty Images

Despite these shortcomings, Americans, at least at first, were able to come together to help one another heal and attempt to find a semblance of calm and normality. Even on the day of the attacks, people were reaching out to help those that were struggling. My Dad, a steamfitter who had been working near Rockefeller Center on 9/11, told me that he was impressed by how quickly people and companies could do just that.

“It was amazing how many companies and people came together so quickly. New York Waterway and bus companies were ferrying people. They didn’t charge anybody. They just wanted to make sure people got home,” he said.

My dad saying something as simple as that that was incredibly comforting. Nowadays, in times of separation—whether political or literal separation, as is the case with COVID-19—hearing that people were able to come together like that was nothing less than inspiring.

It was a testament to the power and resilience of the city itself. New Yorkers are, by nature, hard, tough, and, in many ways, angry people. Accounts of ordinary people who were able to come together and help each other were not foreign to me; after all, there are an endless amount of stories of things like that happening across the city that day, but hearing a firsthand account of it was incredible.

“I was pretty proud of New York. People panicked, but only for a second. I wasn’t down there [he was able to get out of Manhattan on a ferry in Midtown], but we just knew that it was time to go. Everyone was orderly trying to get home. While, of course, the fire department, police, sanitation, EMTs, all headed south,” my Dad explained.

Hearing that people were calm was surprising, considering the panic and chaos unfolding in lower Manhattan. Less than a mile away, people had been able to ensure that everyone who needed to get off the island did so safely; it was remarkable.

Getty Images

New York City is the greatest city in the world. It is loud, smelly, angry and unforgiving, but it is also welcoming at its core.

The words “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” are etched onto the Statue of Liberty as not just a welcome to the country but to the city itself. People come from all over the world to find themselves here, and New York, in all its overcrowdedness, welcomes all.

Perhaps it is a bit naive of me to say that, but in naivety comes optimism. A hope that even in the darkest times there exists a possibility for people to be better.

Walking in the shadows of the giants that revealed themselves that day, whether they be the heroes like Orio Palmer or monuments to the recovery of a city such as One World Trade Center, I find myself in awe of what had happened, but mostly of what followed.

New York City often finds itself at the center of national crises—9/11, Hurricane Sandy, COVID-19, and that’s just the last 20 years—but always bounces back.

“I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, though long to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.”

Charles Dickens wasn’t talking about New York when he wrote those words. However, he perfectly describes the landscape of the city in the aftermath of the attacks:

A city “rising from the abyss” ready to face and meet the challenges ahead.

Culture News

The 25 Most Valuable Toys From the 90s

Have you ever considered what your favorite childhood toys are worth today? Did you play Nintendo or Playstation? Did you read the Harry Potter Series? Well if so, this is the countdown for you. Here we dive into 25 of the most valuable 90’s toys, games, books, and more. Let’s see how many you owned or still have today.

25. 1995 TMNT Warrior Chrome Dome $660.00 8/11/21 Orig. Price $3.99
Dallas Vintage Toys

The first entry we have is the Chrome Dome Ninja Turtle with accessories and a gold coin. Due to scarcity even loose versions sell over $400.00 apiece, with all the accessories of course.

24. 1994 TMNT Shogun Shoate Action Figure $ 747.76 8/6/21 Originally $3.99

The second entry in our countdown, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shogun Shoate Action Figure is one of the few opened action figures on this list. Due to such scarcity, there are no recent sealed sales, the most recent unsealed went for nearly $748. Originally they had a variety of items that came in the packaging, from plastic weapons to a trading card of Shogun Shoate. 

23. 1995 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Serpentera $1,200

Of all the original Power Rangers toys, Serpentera currently holds the title of top seller. One of many Zords, Serpentera is a villain under Lord Zedd.

22. 1993 WWF Yellow King of The Ring Wrestling Ring $1,325.00 8/8/21 Originally $12.99

You read that right, a wrestling ring sold for more than $1,300.00. But this is not just any wrestling ring, it’s the King of The Ring, and due to scarcity and massive demand, this ring makes 23rd on our list.

21. 1994 WWF 123 Kid Action Figure $1,550.98 7/8/21 Originally $6.99

The first WWF action figure to make the list, the 1-2-3 Kid, has become a mighty expensive sealed action figure to acquire. The Kid was worth around $600.00 sealed in early 2020 and due to heavy demand among collectors, it’s skyrocketed, with loose examples being valued at over $400.00

20. 1993 WWF Hulk Hogan Mail Away Action Figure $1,725.00 6/29/21

The WWF Mail Away action figures were only attainable by submitting cutout points on the back of sealed wrestling figures that were sold in stores. Today, sealed and loose copies of the mail-away action figures have shot in value, even they were mailed in a plastic bag. The Hulk Hogan mail away pays homage to his Wrestlemania 9 championship in record time against Yokozuna.  

19. 1990 Lego Airport Shuttle Sealed $1,804.33 5/23/21

Legos finally make the list. This airport shuttle complete set is extensive, to say the least. With a full track for the shuttle, stands, and more, it’s certainly a unique set to own. 

18. 1999 Tiger Hasbro Original Prototype Furby Baby Mohair $2,025.00 6/6/21

This Furby is ultra-rare. The Baby Mohair was a prototype that didn’t even have the electronics yet. It was produced for Hasbro to research and design future Furbies. Due to such a rarity, it holds the record for highest-selling Furby at $2,025.00.  

17. 1998 VHS Pokémon Charizard Movie IGS 9.0 $2,827.99 8/5/21

Graded sealed VHS have soared in value over the last year and now the highest-selling VHS tape from the 1990s on eBay is the Pokémon Charizard Movie. Sealed nongraded copies sell over $600.00

16. 1990 WWF Dusty Rhodes Hasbro Action Figure $3,508.00 6/25/21 Orig $6.99

The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes, has been a highly coveted action figure for a long time. With the recent sale-topping $3,500.00, that’s nearly 4 times more than sales in 2019. 

15. WWF Hasbro Undertaker Mail Away Action Figure $5,100.00 8/3/21

The Undertaker Mail Away is highly sought after. It came with a jacket, which wildly enough, is one of the most sought accessories of any Hasbro WWF action figure. Only one other Undertaker figure had a jacket, and both are highly coveted, but the Mail Away is much more valuable. 

14. 1997 Sony Playstation Console VGA Graded 85Q $6,000.00 7/26/21

A graded PS1. You heard that right; a sealed graded PSA 1 sold for $6,000.00. The first Playstation to be mass-produced has become a major collector’s item and rightfully so. Playstation’s graphics were far advanced compared to Sega Genesis and Nintendo N64.

13. 1993 TMNT Scratch The Cat $6,500.00 6/26/21

The 2nd TNMT villain to make the list, Scratch the Cat is one of the most expensive 90’s action figures on the market today. Known as the meanest villain in the TMNT universe, Scratch has escaped prison 9 times.   

12. 1997 G.I. Joe Cobra Command Team Leopard Paint Variant Destro AFA 90 $6,801.00 7/11/21

Dubbed ‘Pimp Daddy’ Destro by collectors, this figure was an early print that had leopard print on the collar and legs. The figure was originally painted as a joke, but Hasbro designer John Boyce loved it. In the end, only a few hundred were ever produced and the majority was never packaged for sale. John Boyce approximated that 100 copies were packaged and shipped by accident to the USA. A few even made it to stores.  

11. Game Boy Color Console WATA 90 $8,999.99 MSRP $89.99

Back in 1999, it seemed like every child had a Game Boy. I remember playing mine everywhere; in the car, on recess, at the food store, you name it. Who would have ever imagined that sealed copies would soar in value 22 years later? 

10. 1997 Nintendo 64 GoldenEye 007 VGA 90 $9,999.00

One of the most popular games of all time, GoldenEye 007, is now one of the highest-selling 90’s games of all time. At nearly $10,000.00, this sale shows the potential that pristine sealed games can have moving forward.

9. 1998 Playstation Grand Theft Auto WATA 9.6 A+ $10,100.00

Arguably the greatest Playstation Franchise, GTA gets an entry on this top 25 list. Sealed Video Games have become all the rage in 2021 and the original Grand Theft Auto is deserving of 9th on this list. 

8. 1992 Nintendo SNES Super Mario World Sealed WATA 9.6 A++ $12,999.00

Super Mario World is the 4th Video Game to make the list. One of the most important features of the game is it’s the first game to pair Yoshi with either Mario or Luigi. 

7. 1993 Sega Genesis FIFA International Soccer Video Game WATA 9.2 A++ $15,100.00

This is the first FIFA game, and with graded video games on a massive rise, it makes perfect sense to have the original on this list. A 9.2 grade is strong, but the A++ grade, which is for how well the game is sealed, is gem mint. 

6. 1998 Pokémon Blue Video Game WATA 9.6 A++ $49,900.00 5/20/21 – MSRP $29.95

Sealed Pokémon games have had sales through the roof in 2021. This Pokémon Blue is the current record for the games and it appears there is a ton of room for further price increases with demand continuing to climb. Check out where Pokémon Blue ranks on our Best Pokémon Video Games.

5. 1993 Magic The Gathering MTG Alpha Black Lotus R A BGS 7.5 $76,210.00 7/26/21

Magic the Gathering was the original TCG powerhouse. For a long time, Magic cards were much more valuable than Pokémon Cards. With this recent sale for a first print run BGS 7.5 grade, there could easily be a jump for the Black Lotus if a higher grade hits the auction block. 

4. 1997 Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone 1st Edition copy $81,250.00 – MSRP $14.00

One of 500 1st Edition Copies, the Philosopher’s Stone has blown away all books printed in the 1990s. Get this, of the 500 copies, 300 were sent into the library system. The Harry Potter franchise has had massive success, and it’s fitting that the rarest copy of the juggernaut series is the top-selling book on our list. 

3. 1992 Nintendo Playstation Prototype $360,000.00. March 2020
Heritage Auctions

At one point before Playstation was created, Sony and Nintendo were working together on a project intended to add CD-Rom for Super Nintendo. The creation was a prototype console that could play SNES cartridges and CD discs. Due to such a rarity, the sale of $360,000.00 for the working console isn’t crazy. There is a chance it’s the only one remaining. 

2.Pokémon Base English 1st Edition Charizard PSA 10 $390,000.00 Packs in 1999 $2.99
Goldin Auctions

The Pokémon card most talked about, the 1st Edition Base Charizard is entrenched near the top of the list but will that last with all the recent Video Game sales? Truth be told, Charizard should always be a top 3 1990’s grail, due to massive demand and limited supply. That said, video game grader WATA is now owned by Collectors Universe, which owns PSA. This will cause more awareness for WATA, possibly a registry at some point. With auction houses including Video Games now, Charizard will have some stiff competition. 

1. 1996 Super Mario 64 Video Game $1,560,000.00
Heritage Auctions

On July 11th, the Heritage Auction House sold this Video Game for a whopping $1,560,000.00. The game is graded by WATA, the premier Video Game grading service today. The grade is a 9.8 A++, which is the highest grade attainable from WATA. Do you have a sealed copy of Super Mario 64 in a closet somewhere?  

Sports Strength

The 10 Best Undefeated Boxing Records and Who Owns Them

Boxing is the longest-running combat sport in terms of household sports that can be caught on television. Being undefeated in combat sports comes with a certain respect that’s different from other sports. We’ve already looked at some of the best winning streaks in MMA where it is hard enough to keep that “0” at the end of a record. But in the sweet science of boxing, staying undefeated comes with bragging rights, and a target of its own for the record bearer.

Here are some undefeated boxers that should be on your radar. Some based their performance thus far, and some based on ESPN’s pound-for-pound and divisional rankings:

1. Tyson Fury Record: 30-0-1
  • Years active: 2008- present
  • Division: Heavyweight (champion)
  • Most Recent Win: Defeated Deontay Wilder for WBC, The Ring Heavyweight titles

Born into pugilism in the UK, Fury’s career will likely be something Hollywood will want to make a movie out of in the future. His first match against Wilder where he was knocked down, and seemingly out had him stand up as if getting a second wind is symbolic of how he has lived his life. His struggles with drug use and depression are something he’s bounced back from and brought that mindset back into the ring, making him a champion to others struggling with their own demons. Fury will face Wilder for the third time in October.

2. Terence Crawford Record: 37-0
  • Division: Welterweight (WBO Champion)
  • Years active: 2008- Present
  • Most Recent Win: Defended WBO title against Kell Brook, November 2020

The Nebraska native Crawford’s list of matches is long, especially since he moved up in weight to welterweight in 2017. He has a dominant match in that division where he dismantled Amir Khan, but according to Crawford in a 2016 interview, his toughest match was at lightweight in his first WBO lightweight title defense against Yuriorkis Gamboa. His win over Brook last November added his  28th T/KO to his undefeated record.

3. Errol Spence Jr. Record: 27-0
  • Division: Welterweight (WBC, IBF Champion)
  • Years active: 2012-Present
  • Most Recent Win: Defended WBC, IBF titles against Danny Garacia December 2020

Spence was scheduled to face the legendary Manny Pacquiao recently but had to undergo eye surgery for a torn retina that would have jeopardized the 31-year old’s career. Yordenis Ugás will be stepping in to face Pacquiao in August but for now, Spence’s “0” is safe. The Long Island native’s rise to prominence could be marked by a lot of his boast bouts. Being young and undefeated can be an albatross for some fighters when the names get more recognizable but when he scored a T/KO against Chris Algieri in 2016 it was time to take Spence seriously.

4. Josh Taylor Record: 18-0
  • Division: Junior Welterweight ( Undisputed Champion)
  • Years active: 2015-present
  • Most recent win: Defended WBA(Super), IBF titles & won WBC, WBO light-welterweight titles May 2021

With all the titles in boxing and all the various weight classes, it can be hard to be considered an undisputed champion. However, Scotland’sTaylor has not only been able to do it, but he has managed to stay undefeated while pursuing greatness. He may not have gotten a finish when he earned his undisputed status against Jose Ramirez last May but staying undefeated while becoming champion is no easy task. He is scheduled to face Jack Catterall on December 18.

5.Oleksandr Usyk Record:18-0

Division: Heavyweight (WBO Inter-continental champion)

Years active: 2013-present

Most recent win: Won the WBO title from Derek Chisora in October of 2020

The Ukrainian pro boxer has 13 knockouts as part of his undefeated record. He compiled his record as a cruiserweight, conquering that division and winning the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring cruiserweight titles before making his move to heavyweight. He is scheduled to face unified heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua in September.

6. Caleb Plant Record: 21-0
  • Division: Super-middleweight (IBF Super-middleweight champion)
  • Years Active: 2014-present
  • Most recent win: Defended IBF title against Caleb Truax last January

The Tennessee-born Plant is known as “Sweet hands’ ‘ and this was backed up when he made his first IBF title defense against Mike Lee back in 2019. Lee was the underdog leading up to the match and rightfully so as Plant dominated him in the match before putting him away in the third round. Plant and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez are going to face one another in November for the undisputed super middleweight title.

7. Claressa Shields Record: 11-0
  • Division: Super-middleweight, light-middleweight, middleweight (champion)
  • Years active: 2016-present
  • Most recent win: Defended WBC and WBO while winning IBF, WBA titles against Marie-Eve Dicaire in March of 2021

Shields has done almost everything there is to do in boxing. She is the first American boxer to win consecutive Olympic medals and has multiple professional titles in various weight classes in boxing. At 26-years-old, Shields still has plenty of time to return to boxing provided she gets paid what she’s worth. In the meantime, she’s getting her feet wet in MMA where she’s currently 1-0 and scheduled for her next MMA bout in October over at the Professional Fighters League.

8. Teofimo Lopez Jr. Record: 16-0
  • Division: Lightweight (Unified Champion)
  • Years active: 2016-present
  • Most recent win: Defended WBA title and won IBF, WBO titles with a decision victory over Vasyl Lomachenko in October of 2020

The 24-year-old New Yorker has done a lot in boxing in a very short amount of time. Even though he was born in New York, he represented Honduras in the 2016 Olympic games and as boxing fans know by now, that is the path to greatness as a pro-boxer. He won a decision against Lomachenko which many saw as his biggest test to date, but he handed Lomachenko the second loss of his career. His next title defense is scheduled for October against George Kambosos Jr.

9. Naoya Inoue Record: 21-0
  • Division: Bantamweight (WBA, IBF Champion)
  • Years active: 2012-present
  • Most recent win: Defended WBA, IBF titles against Michael Dasmariñas last June

The Japanese champion’s division is not one casual fans will be flocking to see, but if they happen upon any of his past matches, they would definitely start tuning into Inoue’s bouts. His power and body punching technique are examples of what makes boxing great. Currently, the 28-year-old has no bouts scheduled, but it might be a good idea to add his name to your boxing news alerts. Inoue is known as “Kaibutsu” in Japan which means “monster.”

10. Floyd Mayweather Jr. Record 50-0
  • Division: Light middleweight, Welterweight, light-welterweight, lightweight, Super Featherweight (Champion, retired)
  • Years active: 1996-2017 
  • Most recent profession win: Defeated Conor McGregor via TKO in 2017

It would be a mistake to leave Mayweather Jr. off this list as he will likely go down as the very best defensive boxer in the history of the sport. While not active as a pro-boxer anymore, the recipe of his last pro bout against McGregor seemed to create a new market in the sport of boxing where athletes from other sports can compete for high purses under the rules of boxing. Since he’s retired, he’s done exhibitions against MMA and kickboxing champion, Tenshin Nasukawa whom he defeated in one round, and most recently, Logan Paul in a non-scored bout, all under boxing rules. Some may be critical of his defensive style and opponents he chose, but he seems to have a knack for making casual and hardcore fans of boxing tune in.

With the number of divisions and weight classes in boxing, this list might be found lacking but losses come in all sports. In combat sports losses are lessons and some of the greatest and current champions usually taste defeat before their career ends (Mayweather excluded). In fight sports, the young eventually eat the old but carrying that “0” for a long time will always count for something. 

Culture Movies/TV

The 20 Best Starter Pokemon

With over 800 Pokemon to choose from in the Pokemon Universe and tens of types such as Normal, Fire, Water, Grass, Psychic, Electric, Steel, Ghost, etc., it is difficult to determine the audience’s favorites. Furthermore, with different categories such as Legendary, the Pokemon Universe is full of interesting characters. If you were to pick fan favorites, though, Starter Pokemon would undoubtedly be among the top choices for most Pokemon fans.

Starter Pokemon are Pokemon that the trainer chooses at the beginning of their journey.

This basically means that once your Pokemon journey starts either as a player or as an anime watcher, you are first introduced to this very specific group of Pokemon. It’s because of this reason that they are beloved by fans. The emotional connection leads to them being fan favorites.

As with other Pokemon, they are divided into Generations in which they were presented. These Pokemon usually come in trios and are one of three types: Fire, Grass, Water. Each of them represents different regions. Naturally, they can evolve in more powerful forms, and they represent some of the most powerful Pokemon you can find. Starter Pokemon are separated as follows:

Gen I-Kanto Region 

  1. Bulbasaur (Evolves to: Ivysaur,Venusaur)- Grass
  2. Charmander (Evolves to: Charmeleon,Charizard)-Fire 
  3. Squirtle (Evolves to: Wartortle,Blastoise)-Water

Gen II-Johto Region

  1.  Chikorita (Evolves to: Bayleef, Meganlum)-Grass
  2. Cyndaquil (Evolves to: Quilava, Typhlosion)-Fire
  3. Totodile (Evolves to: Croconaw, Feraligatr)-Water

Gen III- Hoenn Region

  1. Treecko (Evolves to: Grovyle, Sceptile)-Grass
  2. Torchic (Evolves to: Combusken,Blaziken)-Fire
  3. Mudkip (Evolves to: Marshtomp,Swampert)-Water

Gen IV- Sinnoh Region

  1. Turtwig (Evolves to: Grotle, Torterra)-Grass
  2. Chimchar (Evolves to: Monferno, Infernape)-Fire
  3. Piplup (Evolves to: Prinlup, Empoelop)-Fire

Gen V- Unova Region 

  1. Snivy (Evolves to: Servine, Serperior) Grass
  2. Tepig (Evolves to: Pignite, Emboar) Fire
  3. Oshawott (Evolves to:Dewott,Samurott) Water

Gen VI- Kalos Region

  1. Chespin (Evolves to: Quilladin,Chesnaught)-Grass
  2. Fennekin (Evolves to: Braixen,Delphox)-Fire
  3. Froakie (Evolves to: Frogadier,Greninja)-Water

Gen VII- Alola Region

  1. Rowlet (Evolves to: Dartrix, Decidueye) Grass
  2. Litten (Evolves to: Torracat,Incineroar)-Fire
  3. Popplio (Evolves to: Brionne,Primarina)-Water

Gen VIII- Galar Region 

  1. Grookey (Evolves to: Thwackey,Rillaboom)-Grass
  2. Scorbunny (Evolves to: Raboot,Cinderace)-Fire
  3. Sobble (Evolves to: Drizzile,Inteleon)-Water

There are certain exceptions in different games and in the anime. Ash famously receives his starter Pokemon Pikachu after he arrives late to the lab. There are other Pokemon games in which Pokemon is given to the player as a starter Pokemon. Now that we know that these Pokemon are fan favorites, the question arises: Well, which ones are the strongest?.  We’re going to list the top 20 strongest starter Pokemon. The names will be based on their beginning form, but the ranking is made with their final evolution in mind. 

20. Turtwig

Turtwig is a grass-type Pokemon. What makes it unique is that it undertakes photosynthesis in its body and creates oxygen. When Turtwig undergoes evolution to Torterra, it becomes a very well-balanced Pokemon. With an attack standing at 200, defense of 193, and stamina of 190, it is as versatile of a Pokemon as you will find in terms of sheer base stats. While Turtwig’s lack of mobility puts it at a disadvantage, it makes up for it with its steady build and very well-rounded abilities. Having this Pokemon by your side means you’re going to have a Pokemon that can last long in battle.

19. Sobble

Sobble is a water-type Pokemon. With its ability to camouflage itself in water and make everyone around it cry when they cry, this Pokemon can hide as well as escape if caught. These two skills are valuable. What makes it worth fighting with however is its evolution form: Inteleon. Inteleon is called” The Secret Agent Pokemon”. This is due to its unique combination of hiding and water shooting abilities. Inteleon is also highly intelligent. While its base stats are not extraordinary, its special attack stands at 229. Combined with its above-average speed this Pokemon is a valuable asset to have. 

18. Fennekin

Fennekin is a fire-type Pokemon. While its base form is okay, its evolved form to Delphox is what makes it stand out more. Delphox attack score is 230, while its resistance to Fairy, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice, Psychic, and Steel types makes it easy to rely on when against a wide range of Pokemon.  With its signature move being the famous Fire Spin, it has a good balance of offensive damage and resistance. 

17. Tepig

This fire/fighting type Pokemon famously caught by Ash, evolves into a seriously strong Pokemon. Emboar is its second evolution form, and it is one of the most powerful Pokemon in terms of sheer power. Its disbalance between its 123 attack and 65 defense means that you need to strategize in order to utilize it. With its low defense and speed but high attack level, Emboar is best utilized among a fast Pokemon who can give Emboar time to charge and deliver its blows.

16. Squirtle

As 1/3 of the First Generation of Starter Pokemon, Squirtle holds a legendary status among the fans. A water type, it evolves in Blastoise. With two water cannons on its shell at all times, it is said that Blastoise can shoot through a mountain and at a distance of 10km. While it cannot use precise shooting, it shoots water at a large density so that it can overpower enemies. With its legendary status, overwhelming water power, and high stats of attack and defense, this Pokemon is a huge help in battle.

15. Litten

This Fire-type Pokemon evolves into Incineroar. While in its first form it is an unassuming kitten, when it transforms in its second evolution, it becomes a muscular cat. Incineroar is an aggressive Pokemon and is known to enjoy attacking trainers and other Pokemon who are in a weaker position. Its attack stat of 115 is good, but what separates this Pokemon is its special attacks. 

14. Treecko

Treecko is a Grass Type, and it becomes a Grass/Dragon when it evolves to Sceptile. Sceptile has the ability to use a piece of its tail as a weapon and shoot it, all while the tail regenerates by itself. With the ability to be both a Grass-type and a Dragon it is able to cover weaknesses that usually these two types have against each other. With a Special Attack of 145, its offensive powers are strong enough to be considered a powerful presence in any battle.

13. Chespin

A Grass Type Pokemon, Chespin uses its shell as a defense mechanism. Its evolution form, Chesnaught however, takes it to a whole other level. It can flip things that weigh tens of tons, as well as it can shield itself from extreme damage that includes bombs. A defensive force like this in a Pokemon battle is very difficult to overcome especially for long periods of time.

12. Totodile

Totodile is a Water Type Pokemon. While it is a fan favorite due to its friendly nature, its jaws have the capability to destroy almost anything. Its second-evolution form Feraligatr, has the special ability to increase the effect of attacks with secondary effects, in exchange for neutralizing the second effect. This makes it very formidable in its offensive capabilities.

11. Chimchar

Chimchar is a Fire-type. Its evolved form,  Infernape is a highly efficient offensive Pokemon, practicing a specific type of Martial Art. This martial art involves the use of all limbs. The fire created by Infernape never goes out.  It is a Fire/Fighting Type.

10. Piplup

Piplup is a Water-type Pokemon. While its first form is not extraordinary, its second evolution Is one of the more impressive ones. Empoleon is much larger than Piplup and uses its wings to slice anything it believes is a target. Those wings can also be used as a powerful defense tool as Empoleon is also a Steel type.

9. Popplio

A water type, Popplio can swim fast in the water. Its second evolution form, Primarina, has a balanced offensive and defensive skill set. It can use its melodic powers to create water bubbles that explode. As a Fairy type, it uses fairy special attacks to further increase damage. Primarina represents a very tricky opponent for anyone in a PvP. 

8. Snivy

A Grass-type Pokemon, Snivy evolves into Serperior. Serperior is a snake-like Pokemon that can transmit solar rays from its body. Its signature move, however, is its speed with which it causes considerable damage. With a Speed stat of 113, combined with its Leaf Storm signature move, Serperior’s speed becomes a problem for enemies in battle.

7. Bulbasaur

One of the most iconic Pokemon ever, part of the first Gen. Its evolved form to Venusaur is a Grass Type Pokemon. Venusaur uses sun rays to double its speed, by having the flower on his back take in the sun rays. The ability to double his already respectable stats to 160 speed, for a Pokemon of its size and robustness is very popular with fans around the world.

6. Froakie

A Water Type Pokemon, it evolves to Greninja. This Pokemon is characterized by its ninja-like movement. With swift and unpredictable speed and accuracy, Greninja is considered one of the most lethal Pokemon you could battle, especially in its Ash’s Greninja form. The water/dark type has an attack of 223. This Pokemon’s abilities have made it so popular, that it was chosen as 2020’s most popular Pokemon.

5. Charmander

Undoubtedly one of the most iconic Pokemon of all time, Charmander evolves into the legendary Charizard. The Fire/Flying-type possesses a wing hotter than magma and fire that is over 3000 degrees. With its ability to become stronger through sunshine, even with the downturns, Charizard remains a very powerful Pokemon that can cause damage from the sky.

4. Mudkip

A Water-type, Mudkip evolves to Swampert. Swampert has extreme strength and extreme speed. It is stronger than most Pokemon with strength as their main ATK and faster than pokemon with speed as their main ability. Besides offensive ability, Swampert can be very useful defensively through its defensive walls. 

3. Torchic

Torchic is a Fire-type that evolves into Blaziken, one of the strongest start Pokemon ever. Blaziken can release fire from his body and does a martial art style that allows him to perform damaging kicks. Its power directly corresponds with its body temperature and they go in parallel. With many attacks such as Fire Spin and Blaze Kick and a 240 ATK, it is a very powerful Pokemon.

2. Grookey

A Grass-type, Grookey evolves to Rillaboom. This Pokemon resembles a Gorilla, and through its drum, it is able to create different attacks, the most famous of which is Grassy Surge. This attack makes the terrain grassy, helping it launch counterattacks quicker. With ATK stats that of around 240, the strength of this Pokemon is undeniable.

1. Scorbunny

Scorbunny’s evolution form, Cinderace can change its type to its next planned move. This fact alone should let you know that this Pokemon Is unique. Cinderace can create extremely damaging attacks with relative ease. Its ability to use Libero, use its enemies’ moves against them is one more advantageous factor that makes Cinderace the strongest starting Pokemon, and not only. 

Careers Grind

ONE37pm Is Growing FAST. Want to Join the Team?

For the three years that ONE37pm has been a presence online, we’ve learned never to settle and, perhaps most importantly, stay curious. We’ve grown and evolved into what we are today, a one-stop-shop for all things you’re intrigued by, whether that be NFTs, Gaming, Music, Sports Cards,  Sports, Culture, and everything in between.

As ONE37pm emerges on the other side of those three years, we’re looking to grow again, and we need your help to do so. We are looking to expand our team across all areas, including editorial, content creation, operations, and beyond.

Are you looking to get into the world of content creation? Take a look at the roles listed below, send us your info, and let’s talk.


  • Sports Editor 
    • Do you love sports, do you love content, do you love social? We’re looking to bring on an individual who has experience working in sports publishing and wants to take an innovative approach to coverage in the space. The Sports Editor is most definitely a jack of all trades with a knack for Twitter copywriting.
  • Gaming Editor
    • The gaming world continues to evolve daily, and the entire notion of what defines gaming is currently being rewritten. We have the ambition to help define these narratives while shining light on emerging players, creators, developers, and publishers alike. Whether you’re an avid gamer yourself or just find yourself on Twitch 24/7, we’re looking to bring on someone to help further define ONE37pm’s role in the space in both our editorial coverage as well as IRL/virtual events. Oh… and we believe blockchain gaming is going to be BIG!!
  • Gaming Producer
    • Content, content, content. Not sure there’s a place where this rings more true than in the world of gaming. We’re looking to bring on a social producer focused on pre & post-production of our gaming content: graphic design, video editing, sound engineering, you name it. Modern-day editing skills will be necessary for success in this role.
  • Proper Football Editor
    • Proper Football, Footy, Futbol, Calcio. Soccer. No matter how you refer to it, there is no denying that it is a global game. ONE37pm is looking to add to our growing coverage of the sport by bringing on a site editor to help define our presence in the industry. You should bring expert knowledge of the game, culture, and sharp writing skills, but most of all, you have the passion for succeeding in an ever-evolving industry.
  • Proper Football Producer, Resident 
    • Do you have a passion for all things Footy? Are you a natural creative? ONE37pm is hiring a resident producer to focus on creating motion and static assets across social media and help support our soon-to-launch Proper Football Podcast. Does this sound like you?
  • Sponsored Content Resident
    • At ONE37pm we work with many partners throughout the year in a variety of different programs, from content series on TikTok to driving messaging for back to school programs through an array of live-streamed interviews. This residency position will work closely with the team focused on partner relations & campaign success.  For this position there will be an array of tasks, including being a part of the scope strategy, ideation, creating deadlines and timelines, communicating with the team via our project management tool Asana to track progress per campaign  and more. 
  • Skateboard Editor, Resident
    • Can you name the latest and greatest skateboarders? Do you keep track of the latest parts/skate shops and brands taking the community by storm? Do you have a passion for writing and content creation? Were your eyes glued to the TV as skateboarding—for better or for worse—made its debut in this year’s Olympics? We want to talk to you! As ONE37pm’s Skateboarding Editorial Resident, you’ll help ideate, create, and publish content surrounding the lifestyle, with the bulk of it being written articles.
  • TV & Movies Editor, Resident
    • Are you someone who loves Anime, the MCU, Star Wars, and the big blockbuster movies, but also gets hyped for the Oscars? Are you also a passionate writer and content creator? As ONE37pm’s TV & Movies Editorial Resident, you’ll be a vital member of our content creation team and work closely with our Culture Editor to own our movie and TV coverage, which means writing stories, interviewing people in the industry, creating videos, and beyond. 
  • Emerging Profile Editor, Resident
    • You’ve got your finger on the pulse. Whether it’s a designer, WEB 3.0 builder, athlete, architect, or burgeoning style icon, you stay up to date on all of the emerging faces of style that are about to pop off. The Emerging Profile Editor will be responsible for ideating, interviewing and writing profiles on up and coming talent likely to be the next big thing.
  • Music Editor, Resident
    • You’re the person in your group of friends who’s always putting people onto new artists, helping to update their playlists, and beyond. From recaps of album drops to lists of artists’ best songs, the Resident Music Editor will be responsible for being tapped into all things music. Although we primarily focus on Hip Hop, as contemporary music expands, so will our coverage. This editor will assist with our music coverage by way of article writing, social copy editing, artist outreach and more. May come as a shock… but we think WEB 3.0 is going to have a massive impact on the industry.
  • Style Editor, Resident 
    • From lists of the best places to shop, to profiles highlighting the best up and coming designers, the Resident Style Editor will have deep passion for just that. As we expand our coverage, we’ll begin to focus on NBA fashion, the world of high fashion, streetwear, burgeoning designers and more. Responsibilities will include article writing/pitching, social media copywriting/ideation, and having a good grasp of the up and coming releases, events, and product launches. 
  • Sneakers Editor, Resident 
    • The world of sneakers moves incredibly quickly. We’re looking to bring on someone steeped in the world of sneakers to help cover drops, developing trends in the sneaker world and the world of NBA kicks. The Sneakers Editor will be responsible for pitching/writing articles, social copy editing, reaching out to designers and more. 
  • Formula 1 Editor, Resident 
    • ONE37pm is looking to drastically expand our coverage of Formula 1. From lists of the best drivers in the league to breaking news during the season, the Formula 1 Editor will oversee every element of our burgeoning F1 coverage. Responsibilities will include article writing/pitching, social copywriting/ideation and more as the vertical develops. 
  • NFT Content Producer, Resident
    • You live and breathe NFTs. Your knowledge of the technology behind NFTs, custodial wallets, smart contracts, and the community is unmatched. You can create content with Adobe Suite for any platform while adding your 2 cents into the content to bring value to the audience to educate them more on the NFT world.  You have strong communication skills and work well in team/collaborative settings. 
  • NFT Editor, Resident
    • You live and breathe NFTs for a living. Your knowledge of the technology behind NFTs, custodial wallets, smart contracts, and the community is unmatched. You can write long, short, and feature articles comfortably. As you can see above the NFT Producer role is more around videos and images, where this role is around the written word for NFTs.  
  • Collectables Editor, Resident 
    • Our ideal candidate would have general knowledge of all things collectibles, including (but not limited to) sports memorabilia, toys, comic books and graded video games, as well as all of the major platforms in which they are bought and sold. Our Collectables Editor should be creative and bring original informative content to the article’s audience, as well as be comfortable on camera making videos to promote their content on social media platforms such as Instagram, Tiktok and Twitter. 
  • Sports Cards Editor, Resident 
    • Must be energetic and enthusiastic with advanced knowledge of the sports card hobby, while knowledge of trading card games (TCG) such as Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh would be a bonus. Our Sports Card Editor should be creative and bring original informative content to the article’s audience, as well as be comfortable on camera making videos to promote their content on social media platforms such as Instagram, Tiktok and Twitter. Please be prepared to show examples of your writing and social media presence. 
  • NIL Editor, Resident 
    • Candidates must have a passion for sports and marketing and be prepared to report on all breaking NIL deals, as NCAA athletes pursue opportunities in this emerging space. Our Resident NIL Editor should be prepared to bring original informative content to the article’s audience, as well as be comfortable on camera making videos to promote their content on social media platforms such as Instagram, Tiktok and Twitter. Please be prepared to show examples of your writing and social media presence.
  • CRM & Relationships Manager
    • Working predominantly with our General Manager, we are looking to bring on an individual to help manage our CRM & relationship graph. Are you in love with data? Are you diligent and tidy? Do you have your pulse on culture and all things that are emerging in what we cover? If you’re passionate about learning what makes customer relationships tick, then this role is just for you.
  • Web 3.0 Developer
    • Web 3.0 is here. NFTs are here. ONE37pm is looking to add a developer to the team to ensure we are at the forefront of new-age media. The world of NFTs is brand new and is changing practically by the minute, and we want someone who can stay ahead of that curve. If this sounds like you, we want to talk!
  • Instagram Portfolio Content Producer 
    • You grow Instagram accounts for fun, and you are innately good at it. Your main objective is to cultivate a community around Instagram accounts while posting content that brings value to the audience. You live and breathe in the Instagram content world. You can analyze trends, content, and templates that over-perform on IG and create your own original content for multiple Instagram accounts with large followings.
  • Community Management, Resident
    • You love building communities and have built communities before on Discord, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter. Responding to our audience’s questions and statements brings you excitement, and you have a ton of ambition for finding insights to help content perform better. You are well-versed at analyzing trends in the comments section and platforms as a whole. You can analyze and synthesize a trend you are seeing and provide insights to the entire team with clear next steps. Finally, you feel comfortable with working with our Lead Community Manager and have excellent communication skills. 
  • Resident Media Buyer
    • You have an interest in running ads, learning about bidding and placing campaigns within various digital platforms (ie: Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc) and managing the ongoing real-time optimization of live media to ensure goals. You will learn about campaigns, pacing, monitoring performance, and making changes when necessary. 
  • Operations Manager
    • You have a passion to become a great learner of the ecommerce space. You are able to coordinate all things Shopify for our burgeoning Shopify site. This includes tracking orders, responding to customer inquiries and sharing updates with the team when you see comments on social media regarding certain orders. All in all, you strive to learn every day about ecommerce innovations, come to the table with new ideas to engage our audience in and provide value to the community. 
  • Video Editor, Resident
    • If you have an eye & the ability to execute to produce a great video built for the social media platforms and are passionate about creating them, we want to talk to you. As a video editor resident, you’ll be responsible for editing and creating content for ONE37pm, whether that be a TikTok, YouTube Short, promo clips, or even long-form videos; you’ll have your hand in all things video. You should be proficient in Adobe Creative Suite and eager to continue to learn and evolve in other efficient and effective ways to make social first content.
  • Graphic Designer, Resident
    • You’re an artist, a thinker, a practitioner of content, and someone whose creativity knows no bounds. As a Graphic Designer with ONE37pm, you’ll put all of the above to work. You should be proficient in Adobe Creative Suite and eager to continue to learn and evolve in other efficient and effective ways to make social first content.

Sports Strength

Here’s Why You Need to Be Listening to ‘Short Term High Volatility Investments’

For all the sports gamblers out there, picture this scenario: You wake up on a day that’s filled with endless opportunities, aka a day filled with sports to bet on, but you don’t know who to place your wagers on. Thankfully, a podcast like Short Term High Volatility Investments exists.

‘Short Term High Volatility Investments’, presented by ONE37pm and hosted by Geoff Sheasby (@OldManWhoBets) and Anthony Latino (@the_odds_fellow), is dedicated to helping you find the best profits in sports and sports gambling. Every week Geoff and Anthony examine what’s happening in the world of sports while sharing their best analysis and insights when it comes to betting on your favorite games.

Put it this way: They want to do the research and hard work so that all you have to do is count your cash.

The guys are coming off of a six-week hiatus, but they are back and ready to deliver their spiciest gambling, and sports takes. On this first episode back, Geoff and Anthony are diving into their new “DIZZY BAT” segment, in which they cover all of the trending lines, beginning with season totals in the NFC South.

They close out the episode talking baseball and what bets you should keep an eye on this weekend.

Be sure to check out the rest of Short Term High Volatility Investments on Spotify, Apple Music, and wherever you download your podcasts.