Here at Eugene Weekly we are lovers of print, there’s no denying it. Books, newspapers, magazines, food labels — whatever. That said, we’re no Luddites, either, and from conversations around the office to chats in the checkout line at Kiva downtown, we find ourselves focusing on what we are downloading. From podcasts to games to television to music, we fill our iPhones, Androids, laptops and tablets with media we can plug into and play as we hide from the heat outside.
Here are a few of our favorites.
Behind the Episodes
If you haven’t heard of the HBO series Westworld, you may be living under a rock. The series, based on the 1973 movie of the same name, began in 2016 and recently finished airing its second season. The show is about an amusement park-like facility in which the world’s rich and elite can interact with humanoid androids (kill them, have sex with them, go on adventures — you name it). The show puts forth philosophical questions of mortality, morality, consciousness and what it means to be human — but it also can get confusing due to its multitude of timelines and complex themes. That’s where Decoding Westworld comes in. The podcast follows the show episode-by-episode, offering explanations and fan theories, all with no spoilers for future episodes. It’s the perfect listen-along experience to keep up with one of the most talked about shows of the last few years. — Meerah Powell
Conversations with a Comic
You may know Marc Maron better from the hit Netflix show GLOW, now in its second season. But years ago, Maron chased his standup career with a successful podcast that mixed comedy and armchair psychoanalysis. WTF with Marc Maron feels like just what we need in the era of Trump. In a time of tweets and sound bites, it’s refreshing to hear Maron’s in-depth discussion with guests, ranging from young comics and President Barack Obama to mainstream superstars like Jennifer Lawrence and Paul Rudd. Maron often seems to get an “I’ve never told anyone about this before” confession from his guests, opening each show (famously recorded in his garage) with a confessional, comedic, observational monologue. And lately, while many of my favorite comics have fallen from grace in the age of #metoo, it’s nice to have Maron: a man honest about his own struggles in the past and continued shortcomings as a person remaining open to continued growth as a human. — Will Kennedy
Imagine that you’re stressed. This may not be hard because, let’s face it, it’s 2018. Imagine you’re at your breaking point. Right before tumbling into chaos, you see yourself. Except it isn’t you. They are who you wish you were, who you want to be. Richer, smarter, more attractive. What would you do? How would you feel?
This is the premise for English-developed visual novel Lynne. While the game is categorized as horror, there are no jump scares, no frightening monsters and no real threats. Instead, the kinetic game takes you through a real life terror: being a teenage girl. The player is told the story of Lynn (with no e) through her family, her friends and her nightmares. All of her experiences, both real and fake, culminate to produce a truly chilling experience for the reader, who is unable to change the story.
The novel contains adult issues such as masturbation and teen pregnancy, but also contains adolescent themes of feeling ugly, lacking confidence and worrying about exams. The raw emotions alone made this game worth playing, even without the nerve-racking soundtrack and eerie visuals. The whole tale can be enjoyed in about an hour, making it a top choice for a summer evening. Available on Steam and itch.io. — Amber Cecil
It’s a Classic
Okay, Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Classic Edition came out a long time ago — last year. But it took me a long time to get it. Hell, I even surrendered my privacy by signing up for a Target credit card, so I could try and finally get one (a friend of mine ended up snatching one at Toys ‘R’ Us, back when there was a Toys ‘R’ Us). The wait was worth it. See, back in my day, video games had a storyline. It wasn’t a scam to make you buy online memberships, in-game perks, etc. And we didn’t spend all day online hurling insults — we said it to each other’s faces. Once I got my hands on this $79.99 nostalgia in a box, I immediately went to one of my childhood favorites: Donkey Kong Country. If Shakespeare had been alive then, you’d see his name on the credits. Donkey Kong Country is all about kicking out invaders (King K. Rool and his goons) who have exploited an island’s natural resources: bananas. So, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong go around reclaiming their land. After spending some thinking about it, I’m positive it’s really a metaphor for the U.S. foreign policy in Latin America, which was rooted in upholding the United Fruit Company (now called Chiquita Brands International). Sadly, real life doesn’t end like Donkey Kong Country. The system comes with 20 other games and is probably only available by buying it secondhand. — Henry Houston
If you loved the hit cat-collecting game Neko Atsume, then this frog sequel is right up your alley. Tabikaeru (旅かえる/ Journey Frog) is a fully Japanese app made by Hit-Point available for Google Play and the iPhone App Store. A frog (whom you get to name) relies on you to stock it with food, lucky charms and other adventuring essentials for its journeys across Japan. In return, the frog gives you photos: beautiful renderings of actual places in Japan. Don’t be afraid of the Japanese characters — more than a few English-language guides are online to help you understand the basic mechanics. With stunning charm and an incredible heart, this game is surely one you won’t want to miss. Did I mention that it’s free? Available for iPhone and Android. — Amber Cecil