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Welcome to the SteamWorks!

Hi, I’m ChrisDash.  Welcome to my home away from home, The SteamWorks.

I created the SteamWorks to help me to become a better version of myself, one gear, game, and stream at a time.  Whether playing, singing, or just hanging out, I hope to encourage others to reach their goals in life while I strive to reach my own.

Given the nature of life things do go haywire at The SteamWorks.  Gears sometimes break, pipes burst, and pressure vessels go way beyond their suggested capacities causing catastrophic failures!  But, the important thing is to dust yourself and keep going!

That’s what I do here at the SteamWorks.  Welcome to one and all!

Hocus Pocus Review

Game Title: Hocus Pocus
Game Company: Apogee Games/Moonlite Software
Year Released: 1994

I first played Hocus Pocus as a shareware game at some point in my youth. I remember it taking me a long time to get used to the game and was upset when I hit the level cap that the shareware version offered. I didn’t know I had a shareware copy at the time so the effect was devastating. Ah Shareware, dashing the hopes and dreams of PC gamers for most of the 80’s and 90’s. I purchased this game from GOG excited about this childhood game returning to my hands.

A little too close for comfort Terexin.

In Hocus Pocus you play as a young wizard, oddly named “Hocus Pocus”. You must free the 4 mystic paths of evil in order to join the wizard council. The head of the wizard council Terexin appears along the way to encourage/discourage players on their path to greatness.

Hocus Pocus is a pretty standard platform jump and shoot game. The gameplay is basic but, entertaining enough to keep players amused for a few hours. Players unlock sections of levels by using levers and use magic potions to restore health and gain special abilities. Each magical path contains 9 levels and each level contains a variety of magic crystals a player must obtain to move forward. The final level in each path contains a boss character for a player to defeat.

The Ents are on a rampage!

While most of the gameplay is relatively intuitive, there are several levels that have nasty “gotchas”. For example, if a player doesn’t know to reserve their jump potion power for the right time and place they become stranded without another way to move forward. Players can also expect difficulty with some clusters of enemies and hazards.

Hocus Pocus contains random glitches as well. Sometimes pieces of scenery don’t load when they should. In other cases players find themselves possessing random power ups or keys for no reason at all. The random bonuses can be nice but, a platform not loading in time is hazardous to say the least.

The best part of the game is the music. The MIDI compositions of Rob Wallace combined with the MIDI Timbres produced by The Fat Man AKA George Sanger make for an exciting and engaging soundtrack. Players might not even notice when the music loops because it works so well with the gameplay.

Worst evil wizard EVER!

The final level of the final path is the most disappointing and easy level in the entire game. I expected a harder time with the final boss of the game given the difficulty and challenges of many other levels. It was if the developers just said, “Yeah, we’re tired of coding this, let’s just wrap it up.”

Hocus Pocus is a solid DOS platformer overall. The art design is amusing, the music is amazing, and the gameplay is about what players expect from a DOS game of the early 90’s. However, glitches, gotchas, and long, confusing level designs may frustrate people along their path to wizarding greatness.

Rating: 3/5

Note: I wanted to give this game a 2.5/5 but the Tips/Story section is worth an additional half-point. HILARIOUS!

Cats 2019 Trailer Reaction

I like most Andrew Lloyd-Weber musicals. I’ve seen two of them live in one form or another and even played Benjamin in a local version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I admit that Lloyd-Weber’s style can be both repetitive and an acquired taste but, his music isn’t terrible and has changed the face of musical theatre.

The same cannot be said for film. There are no great quality Lloyd-Weber film adaptations. Unlike Chicago and Les Miserables which successfully build an amazing world around the existing musical, Lloyd-Weber’s adaptations look like nothing more than the stage shows with better sets and costuming.

I didn’t have any hope that Cats would be a good film adaptation. I didn’t even have an urge to see the musical on stage, let alone in a movie theater. Actually, I didn’t even KNOW a film adaptation was in the works until a mutual friend of Mrs. Dash and I let us know.

What I wasn’t expecting was the true horror of what modern technology does with the musical. The trailer displays the most uncanny valley experience I’ve had in my life. Yes, the singing is great and the set design looks= OK by theatre (but not movie) standards. The thing that is most obvious is that realistic looking cat people should not exist in this world. At least people in skintight leotards prancing about on stage look like human beings in “cat suits”. The same cannot be said here.

I have no intent or desire to see this movie. In fact, I actively DISCOURAGE anyone from seeing it. Near-realistic looking cat/human hybrids are something the world just isn’t ready for. They are just plain disturbing. Any other possible redeeming quality of the movie is overshadowed by this one fact. Not even Sir Ian McKellen can draw me out of the virtual nuclear bomb shelter protecting me from this creepy disaster.

I wasn’t expecting much from an Andrew Lloyd-Weber film adaptation, but I definitely wasn’t expecting this true demonstration of humans pushing technology way too far. To quote Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park, ” Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should. “

Nuts and Bolts

Welcome to the SteamWorks!

I created the SteamWorks to help me to become a better version of myself, one gear, game, and stream at a time. I hope to encourage others to reach their goals in life while I strive to reach my own. 

Read More
Hocus Pocus Review

Hocus Pocus is a solid DOS platformer overall. The art design is amusing, the music is amazing, and the gameplay is about what players expect from a DOS game of the early 90’s. However, glitches, gotchas, and long, confusing level designs may frustrate people along their path to wizarding greatness.

Read More
Cats 2019 Trailer Reaction

I wasn’t expecting much from an Andrew Lloyd-Weber film adaptation, but I definitely wasn’t expecting this true demonstration of humans pushing technology way too far. To quote Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park, ” Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should. “

Read More

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