Good Morning, Dagobah!

(Editor’s Note: A�We have no idea if we are officially out of spoiler range for the new Star Wars movie. A�To be perfectly honest, we don’t care all that much about spoilers here. A�We are of the opinion that if you can’t enjoy entertainment that’s been spoiled, then perhaps it wasn’t all that entertaining. A�Besides, the movie has been out for more than a month now. A�If you haven’t seen it by now and care at all about spoilers, then you get what you deserve. A�With all of that being said, if you continue to read from this point forward, there are major spoilers to the movie.)

Kylo Ren, real name Ben (most likely named by his Uncle Luke Skywalker in honor of Obi Wan Kenobi) Solo (because he is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa) kills his father in an attempt to complete his transformation to the Dark Side. A�I warned you. A�Enjoy the following funny SNL bit as a peace offering. A�Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I can talk about the rest of the movie. A�Don’t worry, we’ll come back to Han and his angry, angry son later.

I already gave my first impressions of the movie right after we saw it. A�If you read that article, you know that I enjoyed it very much. A�Half of it was nostalgia, half of it was watching it through the eyes of my own children, and the most important third half of it was being able to introduce this universe to my father in law. A�I’ve since had some time to ponder the movie more. A�You probably think that means that the glow has since faded and that I’m now going to write about how the movie is not as good as I first thought. A�Well, you’re partially right. A�As time passes, the glow naturally fades and it might sound like I’m bashing the movie, but I’m not. A�The internet has just created this environment in which you can’t criticize anything without being a hater. A�Know, then, that I still enjoy this movie, want to see it again and thank it for saving the franchise from the better taste of the prequels. A�And, I’m one of the few who kind of enjoyed Episodes I-III. A�Imagine the people who thought the movies were the cinematic equivalent of being warmed inside of a Tauntaun and how relieved they are that a good Star Wars movie was made before they died.

Or, should I say, remade. A�How’s that for a segue into my first criticism? A�As with all of them, it is a minor complaint and one that can be easily explained. A�Nevertheless, I should discuss the good and the bad. A�Maybe I should take a bad news/good news approach to the article. A�Seems like the best way to write it. A�That way I can avoid the inevitable internet accusation of drinking the haterade. A�Besides, honestly, no matter how much I complain, I did enjoy the movie very much.

Honestly, though, I'm not even sure who drinks this stuff.  It tastes like burning.
Honestly, though, I’m not even sure who drinks this stuff. It tastes like burning.

Still, always bad news first. A�From the opening scent of the movie, when the giant star destroyer flew across the screen, I felt that there was something familiar about this movie. A�It’s not just because they decided to bring everyone back, either. A�We all knew that was going to happen. A�Also, I’m not the only one who thought this. A�I’ve spoken to several friends who had the same reaction. A�Okay, enough rationalizing, let’s look at the evidence.

  • The aforementioned star destroyed sets the stage for nostalgia. A�I thought, “Wow, that’s just like the beginning of Episode IV.”
  • A cute droid carries information that is vital to the good guys.
  • A black masked and cloaked villain with an altered voice. A�This one is explained in the movie through storytelling, but still suspect at first. A�Kylo Ren idolizes his grandfather and wants to be just like Darth Vader, so there’s your explanation.
  • An unspectacular protagonist from a desert planet ends up being extremely important to the fate of the galaxy.
  • There is some mystery regarding this protagonist’s life story.
  • This progtagonist becomes the protege of a former scoundrel turned wiser old man who clearly knows more than he’s saying.
  • The past catches up to the old man on several occasions forcing him to reconcile with that past. A�He still does not reveal the whole truth, however.
  • There is a power struggle for the second in command of the dark side army.
  • The good guys have a critical meeting inside of a cantina on a planet in the far reaches of the galaxy. A�At least this cantina is not on the same planet that the protagonist lives.
  • This group, known as the New Order, have built a planet sized space vessel capable of destroying planets.
  • The good guys are a rag tag bunch that happens to have some of the best pilots. A�They destroy the so called “Starkiller” by finding and exploiting it’s single weakness against impossible odds.
  • The wise old guru is murdered by someone close to him in front of his friends who are all powerless to help him.
  • The protagonist and antagonist fight to a stand still as the battle to destroy “Starkiller” rages around them, concluding as the vessel begins to tear itself apart.
  • The protagonist finds a wise old Jedi master on a remote planet surrounded by water. A�Okay, so this one is more Episode V, but movies are also slightly longer on average than in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

In case all of that wasn’t obvious enough, my main complaint is that the movie is nearly an exact retelling of Episode IV. A�Okay, now for the excuse making. A�I will rebrand it as the good news after the bad news. A�First, they had to reintroduce the series for several reasons. A�One, I mentioned that I mostly enjoyed the prequels. A�Many others, to put it mildly, did not. A�In less sugar coated terms, most, by a wide margin, fans hated it with the fire of a thousand Starkiller beams. A�There is so much more for nerds in pop culture these days that fans might have abandoned Star Wars altogether for Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, or any one of the Marvel series on TV or Netflix. A�What better way to get fans back into it than by going back to where it all started and reboot the story as well as support.

I know, Captain Solo. I’m just as shocked as you that Star Wars nerds would turn their backs on the movies. But, it’s not the 1970s and 1980s anymore and the prophecies have come true. Nerds rule and jocks drool.

Two, those of us who have been there all along are getting old. A�It is harder to get us to buy the tie in merchandise, other than the video games. A�If those old farts are anything like me, they brought family and friends to the movie. A�My kids have already seen the original movies, but my other guest hadn’t. A�Perhaps by introducing them with a proper introduction, they are more likely to get hooked and revisit those first movies. A�Even if they don’t, they’re in now. A�They finally have a Star Wars that they can call their own. A�See, it’s a legitimate complaint, but one that makes sense if you just think about it.

Back to bad news. A�I talked about the final battle in the list of similarities A�Kylo Ren battles against Rey (the lead protagonist mentioned in that same list) after fighting against Finn (who I haven’t even mentioned yet and it’s not because I’m racist, which is exactly what a racist would say. A�Damn. A�Moving on.) and mortally wounding or killing him. A�After having just watched the movie, I discussed it with my cousin. A�I brought up that I felt it a little strange, and even a little convenient, that someone who had studied as a Jedi and then in the dark side for who knows how long lost to a woman who only hours earlier picked up a light saber for the first time. A�True, there is some ambiguity surrounding Rey’s history and parentage, but I still made the point to him. A�He replied, “Well, Kylo was shot in the side.” which is a plot development that I had overlooked in my excitement. A�That is actually a great explanation, Skywalker spawn or not. A�There are other inconsistencies like that, but that one bothered me the most.

Okay, Kylo, I guess you get a pass.  Being shot in the side might prove to be a bit of a distraction from your epic lightsaber battle.
Okay, Kylo, I guess you get a pass. Being shot in the side might prove to be a bit of a distraction from your epic lightsaber battle.

Even so (good news), the inconsistencies aren’t as glaring as the original trilogy that could have been explained by the prequels, but were actually made worse in many cases. A�Add in the silly tinkering that he did when rereleasing the original movies and those things are an absolute mess now.

Other than those two minor complaints–that can honestly be made about any movies and especially sequels that have made it to the 7th movie, I enjoyed it and cannot wait for the next one. A�As soon as we left the theater and sat in the restaurant waiting for our pizza, I searched on the tablet to find the release date for Episode VIII. A�I was genuinely upset that we would have to wait another year and a half (now moved to two years) for the movie to be released. A�In our video on demand, binge-watching society, that is an eternity. A�Hopefully spoilers start showing up soon and I can at least find out if my theories are correct.

Until then, I suppose I still have some Clone Wars to watch. A�There is also the new series Rebels and I have to show my father in law the first six movies. A�There is the machete order to try there. A�Maybe I will see this one again. A�There is plenty of Star Wars fun to keep me busy until Christmas 2017.

Good news? A�There’s less than 700 days as I write this.

Bad news? A�There’s almost 700 days as I write this.

I feel the same feels, Pepe.  That's why you always lead with the bad news.  It's better to end on a good note.
I feel the same feels, Pepe. That’s why you always lead with the bad news. It’s better to end on a good note.

My Completely Ignorant NFL Picks (Division Round Weekend)

(Editor’sA�Note: A�Even though the divisional round is far less random than the wild card, due to popular demand, I’m bringing back the coin from last weekend to pick the games. A�Heck, I kind of like the gimmick. A�I’ll call him George McQuarter.)

[spoiler title = “TLDR:”] Went 3-1 last week, but 1-3 against the spread. A�George went 4-0 and 2-2. A�This week I have all 4 home teams; Pats, Cards, Panthers, and Broncos. A�George picks Chiefs, Cards, Panthers, and Steelers. [/spoiler]

Well, I didn’t make 50,000 dollars in stupid Fantasy Football. A�I didn’t even make it past the first round. A�I did learn some valuable lessons about daily fantasy football and I’m now obsessed with the math of betting sports. A�My father gave me the advice to never bet on a sport where the ball bounces funny and I’ve always taken that to heart, but I’m a math guy and the math intrigues me.

I went 3-1 straight up last week. A�The Green Bay Rodgers came to life for one game as the Washington team turtled and that game was hopeless. A�I was also 1-3 against the spread. A�I’m not sure how all that translates to betting possibilities, but I’d probably have put together a moneyline parlay with Kansas City and Seattle. A�I don’t think it would have paid much, but I’d have made money, so there’s that. A�Maybe I’ll do this column weekly next year with 200 fictional dollars (enough for 10 dollars each week leading to the Super Bowl and then if I have money at the end, I can use that for the Super Bowl) and see where I end up. A�I could do the same for George, who was 4-0 and 2-2 against the spread, but I’d have to figure out a way to rank George’s confidence without intentionally sabotaging him.

Rare picture of George. After getting this shot, he shouted, "No paparazzi!", and then jumped up, smacked me in the forehead hard enough to leave a mark, and rolled off. I haven't seen him since. He's been texting his picks to me. It's a strained relationship right now.
Rare picture of George. After getting this shot, he shouted, “No paparazzi!”, and then jumped up, smacked me in the forehead hard enough to leave a mark, and rolled off. I haven’t seen him since. He’s been texting his picks to me. Needless to say, It’s a strained relationship right now.

Okay, enough silliness, on to the picks. A�I honestly did no research this week other than look up the lines. A�I didn’t even listen to Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal. A�So, this week might be ugly. A�However, the Divisional Round is traditionally where the playoffs settle back into form after the craziness of the Coin Flip Round. A�This year’s Coin Flip round was especially crazy with all 4 road teams winning, so I see a possible overcorrection happening this week.

Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-5):A� There are a lot of people who are high on Kansas City, especially after they thrashed a very terrible Houston Texans team last week. A�I’m not as high on them because all I keep thinking is Andy Reid on the road against Bill Belichick. A�I don’t care how many Patriots are injured. A�I don’t care that Kansas City is coming off of a huge win in the Coin Flip game. A�I just don’t care. A�Nothing can convince me that the Patriots won’t win this game. A�The Chiefs might, might cover if all of those Pats are actually hurt, but the Pats will win this game. A�George likes the Chiefs 59-41.

Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals (-7):A� The Packers whipped the Washingtons, but that’s not saying much. A�The Washingtons are slightly better than the Texans because they actually have a quarterback. A�Arizona has been the team to beat almost all year and they’re my NFC pick for the Super Bowl. A�The Packers are my crazy pick, so this is the game. A�I can’t pick against Arizona at home. A�They’ll shut down Rodgers and just win. A�George likes Arizona, too, but he’s less confident, 52-48.

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (-3): A�Seattle escaped by the skin of their teeth last week in awful conditions in Minnesota. A�I’m not as high on Carolina as some seem to be, but I’m pretty sure they can win this one. A�The NFC seems far less wonky this year than the AFC and I have much more confidence in their top seeds. A�George picks the Panthers, too, 57-43.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos (-7):A� The following is a transcript of a text conversation with my friend. A�I had been texting him the night before with updates on my fantasy failure and also grumping about the Steelers/Bengals game and what a terrible game it was. A�I had shut it off when the Bengals intercepted the ball with 1:36 left or whatever.

Him: A�Do you like NFL any better today?
Me: A�Nope. A�(Steelers lost and I’m out of the fantasy running)
Him: A�Steelers going to Mile Hile????
Me: A�How? A�Bungs picked it off with a minute left. A�(I gave up on the game and went to bed).

After that, I went to check the score, saw that the Steelers won and went on to discuss with him that this terrible Steelers team is now two improbable wins from the Super Bowl. A�I don’t think that this Steelers team is any better than they were before, but weird things happen in these Steelers/Broncos playoff games. A�Of all of the games, I’m least confident of this one. A�I’m picking the Broncos, but I’d love to be wrong to see this awful Steelers team playing for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. A�George has the Steelers 51-49, so he’s just as shaky on this one.

My Completely Ignorant NFL Preview (Coin Flip Weekend Edition)

(Note: A�I swore off the NFL, and especially the Super Bowl, about 6 or 7 years ago. I cheated a couple of times by watching the second half of Steelers/Cardinals and the last couple of drives of Pats/Giants II for the schadenfreude.)

[spoiler title = “TLDR:”] A�Pats/Cards in the Super Bowl. Steelers/Packers in the Crazy Bowl. A�Chiefs, Steelers, Seahawks, Redskins for this weekend. A�Hopefully I win 50,000 dollars in stupid fantasy football.[/spoiler]

Last year, I started what I hoped would be an annual tradition. A�As with most of my plans, this one got lost somewhere between planning and implementation. A�I wrote an article called “My Completely Ignorant NFL Preview” to basically show that the blowhards on TV and the internet every week have no better idea than anyone else as to how the NFL is going to unfold in any particular season. A�I picked how each team would finish in their division and then made a Super Bowl prediction. A�The division picks were a mixed bag. A�Then again, I never thought to check how I did compared to the “expert” (Dr Z? A�Is he still a thing?) I fashioned my article after, which would have been a good follow up. A�Oh well, good intentions and all that. A�However, I came within 5 seconds and a crazy sequence of events from winning my Seahawks over Patriots pick.

If I was a gambling man, this would have been me. I would have specifically asked my bookie to deliver the money in this fashion. He would have most likely responded to this request with a pair of cement shoes.

If I was a gambling man, this would have been me. I would have specifically asked my bookie to deliver the money in this fashion. He would have most likely responded to this request with a pair of cement shoes.

I also only lost two picks in the entire playoffs, including that stupid Super Bowl. A�Eff the Patriots. A�Nevertheless, emboldened by that success and my fantasy football championship, I present to you the second annual “Completely Ignorant NFL Playoff Picks”. A�Before I pick the Coin Flip, er Wild Card, games, I’m going to talk a little about the Super Bowl. A�Obviously, I didn’t get to make preseason picks and I can’t go back in time–not even virtually–to make them, so I’m limited to doing it now. A�In keeping with tradition, the only research that I’ve done is listening to Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal discuss the NFL from a degenerate gambling point of view, so I will follow their lead in this article. A�In that spirit, here are the Super Bowl odds for all of the playoff teams as of 1/8/2016.

Super Bowl Odds
Panthers, Patriots, Cardinals (9/2)
Seahawks, Broncos (5/1)
Steelers (8/1)
Bengals (20/1)
Chiefs (25/1)
Packers (30/1)
Redskins (40/1)
Texans (60/1)

As you can see, there is no clear favorite this year. A�Usually, by this time of the year, everyone has jumped on the Patriots bandwagon. A�They’ve looked so bad over the last month or so that people (well, not technically people, gamblers) are spooked. A�The biggest surprise to me is that the Steelers are so heavily favored, but that might be because I’m a Steelers fan and they are a terrible team that passes for decent in today’s watered down National Football League.

If you want to sound like a professional commentator, you have to say things like "National Football League". Also, by including this picture, I may now be sued by the National Football League. Whatever. Maybe my bad boy image and devil may care attitude will finally lead to my big break as a writer. Hey, it worked for others in "The Biz".
If you want to sound like a professional commentator, you have to say things like “National Football League”. Also, by including this picture, I may now be sued by the National Football League. Whatever. Maybe my bad boy image and devil may care attitude will finally lead to my big break as a writer. Hey, it worked for others in “The Biz”.

With all of that being said, they are my outside pick for the AFC team in the Super Bowl. A�More on that in a moment. A�i’m calling this the Coin Flip round. A�That’s only partially a joke. A�Like almost everyone else (or maybe more so given my absolute ignorance on the subject), I am clueless as to how this playoff season will unfold. A�I honestly have no good feeling, even, about any of these games ore team. A�How, then, am I supposed to pick two teams from this hodge podge of 12 as a proper Super Bowl match up?

Well, then, to be safe and increase my odds, I’m going to pick four. A�I will pick an obvious match up and I will also make an “off the rails” pick that could conceivably happen if things go just right for the teams involved. A�Let’s start with the obvious picks and build suspense on the NFC “outsider” pick. A�To be fair, I’m also putting that one off because I don’t have a good one yet.

I really need to stop getting my crystal balls at Wal*Mart.
I really need to stop getting my crystal balls at Wal*Mart.

Sure, they’ve looked terrible lately, especially over the last two games, but they might have just been playing possum. A�Plus, I always lead with eff them, but until someone proves that they can eff them, I have to pick the Patriots. A�Many think that Carolina is Cinderella and they’re all waiting for the coach to turn back into a pumpkin. A�(Oh, come on, that was a good pun and I didn’t even mean to do it.) A�I am among them. A�I have no faith in the Panthers, so I’m going with the Cardinals in the NFC.

If I understand how odds work (and there’s no guarantee of that) and my math is right (there’s a much better chance that is true), then that gives 29.25 to 1 odds of this happening according to what Vegas says. A�And, that’s the sure thing this year. A�There’s just no rhyme or reason in today’s National Football League. A�If I had more of a production budget, I could have made a cool graphic like the robots fighting or helmets crashing into each other, but all we have is the image below. A�Enjoy.

There's your Super Bowl 50 (because the National Football League presumably didn't want Super Bowl Large to come 10 years after Super Bowl Extra Large) match up. Place your bets now. Or, probably don't, because, honestly, who the hell knows?
There’s your Super Bowl 50 (because the National Football League presumably didn’t want Super Bowl Large to come 10 years after Super Bowl Extra Large) match up. Place your bets now. Or, probably don’t, because, honestly, who the hell knows?

I’ve already told you that I think the Steelers have an (extremely) outside shot of going to the Super Bowl this year, but that requires beating the Patriots and that’s something that they’ve never been able to do reliably. A�Especially this year, of all years, they have a crap defense and the Patriots are susceptible to the rush due to a patchwork offensive line. A�Oh well, here’s how I see it happening. A�Steelers beat the Bungles, which is possible because the Steelers hurt another Cincinnati quarterback earlier in the year. A�First Carson Palmer and now Andy Dalton. A�It is slightly less likely now because D’Angelo Williams is hurt. A�Look at how smart I look at missing my own deadline. A�Anyhow, if that happens, they’d play the Broncos. A�Peyton Manning usually folds against both the Steelers and Patriots, but again, this isn’t my father’s Pittsburgh Steelers. A�Finally, the Steelers would have to beat Patriots, who would easily dispatch of the Chiefs or Texans. A�Highly improbable, and that is why I don’t understand how they are only 8 to 1.

In the NFC, the Packers could beat the Redskins. A�That would put them against the fraudulent Panthers in the second round and then they’d have to defeat the Cardinals in the Championship to get to the Super Bowl. A�Both of my outsider teams would have to beat my sure thing teams and that’s insanity. A�It shows in the numbers. A�The sure thing was about 30 to 1. A�This one is nearly 10 times that at 278 to 1. A�Both of these logos have letters in them, so they look weird when flipped. A�My Steelers bias would rather have the Packers look weird.

Your Super Bowl 50 match up in an alternate universe where I am a gambling savant and a gajillionaire.
Your Super Bowl 50 match up in an alternate universe where I am a gambling savant and a gajillionaire.

Okay, now finally on to the picks for those of you who didn’t take advantage of the TLDR. A�Since this is coin flip weekend, I will give you the coin’s take on it first and then my own.

Chiefs (-3) at Texans: A�The coin picks the Chiefs by a score of 59-41 in 100 coin flips. A�I have to agree with the coin on this one. A�The Texans have limped through the season as the best team in the worst division in football. A�The Chiefs aren’t a sexy team, but they are a great team to be fodder for the rejuvenated Patriots in the next round.

Steelers (-3) at Bengals: A�The coin is fairly certain of this one, too. A�Steelers win 58-42. A�I’m less certain. A�As I said, so many people love the Steelers, but I think that is fantasy football bias. A�The Steelers have sexy fantasy guys and that doesn’t always translate. A�Even with Williams out, I think the Steelers have enough to beat AJ McCarron and the Bengals again.

Seahawks (-5) at Vikings: A�The coin thinks this one will be closer, but it picks the Seahawks 51-49. A�I’m more confident in this pick. A�The Seahawks tend to turn it on in the playoffs. A�Like the Steelers, their defense has taken a step back and their running back is injured, but it’s the Seahawks. A�Like the Patriots, you can’t count them out until they’re out.

Packers (-1) at Washington: A�Well, the coin thinks it is going to be a road sweep this weekend. A�Packers win this one 52-48. A�I didn’t want to pick all road teams and I think this game is the one that will be most wide open. A�The Packers are Aaron Rodgers and a bunch of other guys right now and Washington might have finally found a quarterback in Cousins.

I don’t think that I will come close to my record from last year and this weekend could be a disaster picks wise. A�Oh well, thankfully I’m not a gambling man, but I did take a free entry into Yahoo Sports daily fantasy playoffs contest, so maybe I’ll somehow luck out and win $50,000 dollars to help heal the pain of looking completely foolish. A�I’m pretty sure that’s how the pros deal with that aspect of the job.

Looking For Magic…

(Editor’s Note: …in all the wrong places? A�Okay, clever (?) title aside, here’s a TLDR. A�Do you like Magic? A�Do you like Puzzle Quest? A�If your answer is yes to both of these, then give the game a try.)

I’ve discussed the Puzzle Quest line of games on the page. A�For those of you who are new and don’t want to sift through other articles, I will offer a recap of my history with the games. A�I started with the titular game of the series on the XBox360 because it was being sold for 5 or 10 bucks. A�I don’t remember the exact price, but it was cheap enough that I didn’t hesitate to buy it. A�I’ve also discussed that I have the same problem when Steam has a sale. It didn’t hurt that I’m a sucker for the match-3 type puzzle games. A�Heck, I’ve been a fan of puzzle video games since I got Tetris with the Game Boy. A�The match-3 have the same appeal as Tetris without the marathon matches–unless you binge, as I sometimes will. A�Nevertheless, it is comforting to know that you can pick the game up, play a few rounds, and be done with it in less time than it takes you to—well, I’ll leave it at that and let your imagination take over.

It looks like a demon...on the toilet...playing Candy Crush...and he is on a higher level than I am.
It looks like a demon…on the toilet…playing Candy Crush…and he is on a higher level than I am.

I’ve played all of the big names. A�Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook, the original Puzzle Quest on the XBox360, and I even finally discovered Candy Crush a couple of years ago. A�That one has occupied my free time more than any other game over the last few months. A�It’s just the way that these games work. A�They feel dumb and easy. A�Then, the difficulty ramps up and you’re playing them as much as you can to get that “one more level”. A�They show you how your friends are doing and it ramps up the competitive spirit that much more. I’ve even done something that I never thought I’d do. A�I’ve spent real money on these games. A�Candy Crush, especially, hooks me with their weekend “deals” about once every two months. A�I have since found other games because I’m stuck on one of the Candy Crush “hard” levels and have been for as long as I can remember. A�I’m not going to spend money on extra levels or anything because I’ve learned that lesson. My high–or is that low–point came during my Marvel Puzzle Quest playing days. A�I spent more money on that game than I care to admit. A�What can I say? A�I’m a sucker for Marvel and have not thrown my money away on comics for the better part of a decade and a half. A�Might as well turn that good money into ultimately useless characters for this silly game because, #YOLO

Okay, Sam, I get the point.
Okay, Sam, I get the point.

Enough of that silliness. A�Time for some on topic silliness. A�The reason that I mention my history with puzzle games in general, and Puzzle Quest in particular, is that a new one has been released. A�Most likely several have been released. A�One, in particular, caught my attention. A�I’ve written about it before on the page because I’ve been excited about it since it was announced. A�I write, of course, about Magic Puzzle Quest. A�They’ve done such a great job with Marvel Puzzle Quest that I couldn’t wait to see if they could capture that “Magic” again.

Pun not intended, but not exactly discouraged, either.
Pun not intended, but not exactly discouraged, either.

I should know by now to temper my expectations. A�I’m not saying that it is a bad game. A�It just feels…incomplete. A�The story mode in Marvel Puzzle Quest is deep and rich. A�I would say that is because it is based on recent comic storylines, but even the original Puzzle Quest had good, if generic, lore. A�In both cases, many levels are introduced with dialogue that helps to keep you immersed in the fantasy of a game that quickly gets boring otherwise. Given that precedent, I expected the newest version to follow, if not surpass, that standard. A�It falls well short. A�Most disappointing is that Wizards has stated that they want to be more committed to story and lore. A�That commitment showed in the latest iteration of the Duels series, but definitely took a step back in Magic Puzzle Quest. A�The only “story” is a single sentence, most likely just the flavor text from whatever card you happen to be battling. A�It’s a phenomenal disappointment. Really, though, that’s my only complaint. A�For someone like me, it’s a big deal. A�Your mileage, as usual, may vary. A�The gameplay is the same lame match-3 of all the others. A�Without an interesting story, the game is simply Candy Crush with Nissa or Liliana instead of the annoying little girl as your protagonist. A�What, then, keeps me logging in to this one instead of the candy filled cuteness?

That vile, vile cuteness. I see a demon...on the toilet...leading candy minions against me in a war for my soul. It is a war that I am losing...badly.
That vile, vile cuteness. I see a demon…on the toilet…leading candy minions against me in a war for my soul. It is a war that I am losing…badly.

Well, it is a Magic property. A�The familiarity of the characters and lore make this a more desirable destination if I’m going to be blowing up gems. A�Add the dimension of being able to summon creatures, play spells, use planeswalker powers, and better freebies to make Magic Puzzle Quest undeniably the choice for match-3 on mobile for me. A�Let’s talk about those freebies. A�In Candy Crush, there is a wheel of fortune that may or may not give you something useful. A�More often than not, the prize is nearly worthless. A�Magic gives guaranteed prizes every day. A�Sometimes it is in game currency. A�At the end of each week, you get a booster pack. A�I haven’t made it yet, but if you log in each day for a month, you get a fat pack of boosters.

I still prefer Marvel Puzzle Quest for the reasons outlined, but I only have that one on Steam and I don’t trust that my progress will carry over if I download the game onto my tablet. A�So, whenever I need to blow up gems while I’m…busy…I’ll log into Magic Puzzle Quest and collect cool stuff while I’m at it. A�I’ll also hope for a better story.