Category: Arts & Entertainment

Are Video Game Microtransactions Worth It?

A little extra cash can go a long way

By Izzy Harper

Staff Writer

The Chalk Prince and the Dragon" Promotional Illustration | Genshin Impact  | Know Your Meme

Image Source:

Many of the most popular video games on the market are free to download and play from the start. Usually there are no limits on gameplay and competitive features, like online multiplayer or exclusive mechanics and abilities. But how do the developers generate income, if needed? The solution is microtransactions.

Microtransactions are transactions within video games where you spend real cash to buy ingame items that, contextually, benefit the player’s experience. Usually players are prompted to irreversibly convert their real cash into in-game currency, and buy things in-game. 

These items usually range from limited time tools and weapons, playable characters, and fashionable clothing for your own character. Sometimes, this feature is even present in games that need to be bought to be played.

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Conveying the Feeling of Sports in Animation: The Legend of Korra

By Akil Brathwaite

Staff Writer

Image Source: Screen Rant

The world of Avatar: The Last Airbender, its sequel The Legend of Korra, and the many other in-universe stories are vast, taking inspiration from real-world aspects. Nickelodeon has created a world filled to the brim with what we as people enjoy in our lives, and sports are no different. In The Legend of Korra, the sport of “pro-bending” is shown in a couple of episodes of the four-season series, greatly conveying the feeling of sports in an animated format. But first, let’s back up and explain the world of this universe.

The Legend of Korra and its prequel stories are set in a fantasy world where people can manipulate one of the four elements, water, earth, fire, and air, but each element is manipulated differently. For water, earth, and air to be manipulated, those elements have to be around the bender. A waterbender can’t bend without any water nearby, while fire doesn’t have that disadvantage.

Firebenders harvest energy from the sun and other heat sources. Though there is only one person who can bend all four elements at the same time. That person is the Avatar, a symbol of everything good in the universe. They are meant to protect the people from the evils of the world. 

Bending is a huge part of this world and is the key focus for the plot. In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the major plot is fighting the tyranny of the Fire Nation, who caused the genocide of the Air Nomads, imprisoned the waterbenders of the Southern Water Tribe, and tried to break down the impenetrable walls of the Earth Kingdom, Ba Sing Se.

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The Curious Savage

Taking a look at Hammond’s next theatrical production

By Lynn Phillips

Staff Writer

Hammond’s Theatre program is putting on a play this fall called The Curious Savage. The play will premiere November 18th and show until the 20th. 

There will be two casts for the play. The main character, Mrs. Savage, is played by senior Rachel England and freshman Jenna Dodge. Aside from the main characters, there are more people in the amazing cast which will be posted down below. 

To really understand what goes on in a play, we went behind the scenes and interviewed the cast. The director, Mrs. Tobiason, chose this play because, “It’s a comedy and I wanted to have something that was fun after the last year and a half, and it’s a play I directed early in my time at Hammond, so I’m familiar with it.”

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Movie Review: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

By Logan Forrest

Staff Writer

Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings | Disney Australia

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, an action film starring Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, and Ben Kingsley, takes place in San Francisco, 2023, after half of the population has been brought back from the snap of Thanos. Shang-Chi, a Japanese martial arts master, has to confront his past which he thought he left behind.

Shang-Chi lives in San Francisco and works as a valet with his best friend, Katy. He’s doing pretty well as a valet, and he enjoys his job. But one day he’s thrust back into the world of supernatural powers and the Ten Rings, an organization created by his father. Shang-Chi has to fight men sent by his father and find his sister, Xialing, in Japan, and warn her of their father’s plans before it’s too late.

The choreography and effects used in the fight scenes were done very well. The film successfully depicted martial arts fighting by having the camera focus on close-ups and bird’s-eye view to show the fighting styles the characters used in the film, with martial arts being a big premise of the movie.

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Anime VS. Manga: Adaptations

Is it worth the watch?

By Gabrielle Fernandez

Staff Writer

Kaiu Shirai (The Promised Neverland)

Most likely if you’ve ever watched an anime, there is a manga that came before it to guide the animated series through all the plots, characters, and arcs it had. I dare you to think of a single anime that doesn’t have a manga and if you think it doesn’t then look it up, I’m sure you’ll find it. A lot of anime have had amazing adaptations from manga like JoJo part 2, Hunter x Hunter, One Punch man (season 1), and quite a few more. Though it has always been a regular belief that manga is just better than anime, why is that?

Anime is a style of japanese film and television that has become very, very popular throughout the years with kids, teens, and adults alike. Mangas are a style of japanese comic books that have also become very popular and are a catalyst for all anime being aired. When it comes down to it, anime are more popularized by the public however  manga is the one that most anime fans can agree on of it’s quality and plot. The main reason why people believe this is true is because it’s the original story and quite a few anime drive away from it.

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Why you should play mobile rhythm games

By Leaana Khan

Co-editorials editor

Image credit: idoljuns

Rhythm games are a genre of music-themed video games that challenge a player’s sense of rhythm by requiring them to input controls to the beat of a song. When someone hears the term “rhythm game”, they may first think of games like guitar hero or just dance. While these games are great and widely successful, they aren’t what I’m going to talk about here. Instead, this will highlight free-to-play mobile-based virtual idol rhythm games. Specifically, we’ll focus on BanG Dream! (more commonly known as Bandori), D4DJ Groovy Mix, and Project Sekai: Colorful Stage!

In terms of gameplay, these three games are fairly similar. Each game consists of story events, gacha, and the main rhythm games. Each game has a main story that follows all the characters. The games feature large casts that are separated into units/bands and each unit has their own side story that revolves around the characters in it. “The events are a fun way to reach goals in the gameplay,” says sophomore, Ramin Patwary. Each game gets new events that last slightly longer than a week that bring new story events, character cards, and music. “I think they’re very interesting because there’s so many different kinds of characters to relate to and get to love,” says sophomore, Jena Drabenstadt. For a lot of people, the cast and story is the main appeal of the games.

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Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Review

By Allison Diaz 

Staff Writer 

Majo no Tabitabi (Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina) -

“It’s not about the destination…”

 “What’s your favorite story? Does it have a hero who slays a destined for greatness? Well, my favorite story is a little different. It’s the tale of a witch who travels the world, seeking nothing in particular. With no quest of her own, she’s free to wander wherever the wind takes her, adding a few pages to the story of whomever she meets before setting off on her next adventure. At the end of her travels, the witch takes on an apprentice who will one day begin her own journey. And so the cycle continues, or so the story goes. Now, the witch who starts the story anew…who could she be?”

Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina is a fantasy light novel series written by Jougi Shiraishi and illustrated by Azure. The light novel was adapted into an anime and attracted a large audience. The anime consists of 12 episodes and can be streamed on Funimation. 

As a young girl, Elaina, the protagonist, loved reading books, yet there was one book that she loved the most. ‘Niike’s adventure,’ a book full of short stories that the writer experienced throughout her journey around the world. Elaina was so inspired by Niike’s adventure that she decided to start her own adventure. The anime follows Elaina’s journey throughout the world seeking nothing in particular. 

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Movie Review: Spenser Confidential

By Kevin Barry

Staff Writer

Spenser Confidential (based on the Ace Atkins novel “Wonderland”) came out on Netflix during the start of the lockdown (March 6th, 2020). Reaching 85 million households, Spenser Confidential was one of the biggest hits of early quarantine. Among many others, Mark Whalberg, Winston Duke, Iliza Shlesinger, and even Post Malone play key roles in the movie. The film revolves around Boston’s own Mark Whalberg who plays a Boston ex-police officer with a strong moral compass and a bad temper. The film’s an action movie that revolves around crime, but there’s a ton of funny moments in it (compliments to Mark Whalberg). 

In the beginning, Spenser has reason to believe his boss was a dirty cop, and when he went to his house early on a Sunday morning he found a drunk boss and a wife with bruises. With a strong moral sense and some unresolved anger issues, Spenser throws his boss on the ground, throwing punch after punch until his partner throws him off. 

That little act lands him 5 years in prison; it cuts to Spenser’s last day in Prison, when the other prisoners give him a goodbye present. By goodbye present I mean they jumped him, or tried to at least, as being a cop he got the jump on them and didn’t get badly hurt. Whalberg in this scene played himself, being cocky, funny, and the underdog all at once.

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Erased: A Town Without Me

By Joseph Gray IV

Staff Writer

Erased Is One of the BEST Live Action Manga Adaptations | CBR

Erased (Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi) is originally a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Kei Sonbe from 2012 to 2014. In 2016, Erased was given an anime adaption that only lasted 1 season that held 12 episodes, but was completely finished. Netflix released a live-action adaptation in 2017 that was screen written by Tonomi Okubo, but live-action adaptations have a horrible reputation for butchering the material. Erased is a mystery, Sci-Fi thriller that takes place in 2007 and 1988 in beautiful Industrial Hokkaido, Japan from the perspective of Satoru Fujinuma (Played by Yuki Furukawa).

Satoru Fujinuma is a 29-year-old failing manga artist who cannot seem to catch a break, his projects always being rejected all the while he works a dead-end job as a pizza delivery driver. Satoru is very reserved and almost complacent, having no real goals in life. An unwanted and uncontrollable ability suddenly comes into Satoru’s possession, time travel, or as it’s referred to as, “Revival.” Revival occurs whenever something bad happens around Satoru, sending him back randomly 1 to 5 minutes until he fixes it, usually with no benefit to him, and his possible injury. After an accident seen by his co-worker, Airi Katagiri (Played by Kasumi Arinuma), Satoru’s Mother visits Tokyo from Satoru’s home region of Hokkaido to take care of him.

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Movie Theater’s Reopening & Summer Movie Releases

By Bella Kaguyutan 

Staff Writer

Theaters and Covid-19: Safety tips and guidelines - CNN

Source: CNN

The past year has been a bit of a movie drought. There is typically nothing to watch with a few interesting releases here and there. But these releases are brought to us through a new method of initially releasing onto streaming services. Production companies have tested putting their movies out onto streaming services for their initial release. 

Movie theatres have begun to reopen as more and more of the population becomes vaccinated. With this is a program called Cinema Safe. This program promotes guidelines and precautions that are recommended to keep the movie theatre’s patrons and staff safe. These guidelines involve air filtration, reduced capacity, mobile ticketing, and the typical mask wearing and social distancing that we have come accustomed too. As restrictions have been lifted just in time for summer releases the following list contains movie releases spanning from June 15th to August 30th.

 Lakefront movie nights will begin at Lake Kittamaqundi June 21st. Visit the Columbia Association’s website for more information.

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