Now into its sixth main entry on an annual release cycle, the Assassin’s Creed series is becoming tiresome. Fans return each year to don the infamous assassin hood and stab countless Templar enemies. After last year’s “Assassin’s Creed III” received a lukewarm reception, there was only one thing that could save the franchise: pirates.
Despite being the sixth main release, this year’s AC game goes by the title “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.”The numbering choice in this title is due to the inclusion of a new star, Captain Edward Kenway. Kenway is a down- on-his-luck Englishman who dreams of sailing the West Indies as a privateer in order to make some money for his wife back home. Through a series of fairly convoluted events, Kenway quickly finds himself impersonating an assassin and a captain of his own ship. This fast-paced introduction actually serves the game quite well. It is a refreshing change of pace from AC III’s long slog to becoming an assassin. The mission-to-mission storyline of the AC games has always taken somewhat of a backseat to the actual gameplay and this iteration is not much different in that respect. A major saving grace is the game’s cast of supporting pirate characters. Edward “Blackbeard” Thatch is a particular highlight of the storyline, using both intimidation and comic relief to spice up Kenway’s narrative. As always, there is a modern- day storyline that presents the ability to relive the past. But thankfully, it is comprised of much shorter segments that are not nearly as dramatic or complex as past games. Interestingly enough, it is actually a sort of meta-storyline that strongly hints at the future of the franchise itself.
AC IV might just be the most eclectic game in the series yet. There are numerous, finely tuned mechanics that work to create some of the best pacing a game could have. Every feature that Black Flag includes is presented to you in full, with nothing to hold you back from exploring every nook and cranny the game has to offer. Whether you want to set sail on the expansive Caribbean, run around the numerous sprawling cities, or hunt wildlife to upgrade Kenway’s abilities, the game lets you do so at your leisure.
The most engaging points of the game draw on as many mechanics as possible, brilliantly mixing up the pace of the action. Perhaps the most well designed mission is one in which Kenway starts out tailing a ship through a bayou, abandons his ship to stalk a rowboat on foot, climbs through dilapidated huts, takes out hostile crocodiles, and ends up chasing down his target to assassinate him. This mission uses practically every feature the game has to offer, gradually taking up the pace from stalking to action-packed chasing.
Even outside of these scripted missions, the wide variety of activities in the open world does an excellent job at keeping the game from becoming repetitive. After sailing and fighting in ship battles for a time, I always looked forward to the next on-foot segment. What really holds the experience together is the streamlining of the small mechanics, which make this series so addicting to play. With every entry in the AC series, I have always enjoyed the collectible hunting above all else. It is a blast using the excellent free-running mechanics to track down all of the treasures hidden across the game’s map. AC IV embraces that idea full on.
By simply holding a trigger, a side bar pulls up on the screen presenting all of the collectibles, treasures and viewpoints that have or have not been found on the current island. This tiny addition greatly streamlines what I find to be the best part of the series.
Black Flag is a surprisingly refreshing take on a series that many believed to be stagnating after the third entry. From the pacing, all the way down to the smallest of menu features, AC IV proves that Ubisoft is a company that learns from past successes and mistakes in order to improve the franchise each year.
Buffalo wings are a staple among food college students, especially in the swing of football season. This delectable food choice comes in so many different flavors, any real fan of wings simply cannot go to the same restaurant time and time again. Luckily, KSU has plenty of choices for the local wing lover.
Likely the closest and most well-known wing joint in the area, Taco Mac, is an obvious choice. For those looking for a sports bar environment as well as a family-oriented restaurant atmosphere, Taco Mac is the best of both worlds. Taco Mac might not have the largest selection of wing flavors, but what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Taco Mac’s wings tend to have more meat on them than most other restaurants, leading to a satisfyingly filling visit. They also have their own signature ranch sauce to dip the wings in that might as well be packaged and sold separately. Located on Chastain Road, east of Interstate 75, Taco Mac is a fast choice, provided there is no wait.
Located directly on the opposite side of I-75 on Chastain Road is Wingstop. Wingstop might just be the only faster choice than Taco Mac, as there will never be a wait for your wings. Wingstop’s collection of wing flavors is nothing special, but they do have all of the classics like mango habanero, lemon pepper and garlic parmesan. Though Wingstop does not deliver, starving customers can still order online so that the wings can be picked up upon arrival at the nearby location.
For those not looking to leave home, Wing Zone is the only place that actually delivers. KSU residents can make a delivery order up until midnight, making it the most well-rounded wing joint in terms of customer service. Even though their location might not be as close as Taco Mac or Wingstop, the delivery time is still incredibly fast. I made an order at 11:45 p.m. and it was delivered by midnight. Wing Zone also features a great menu that includes more than just wings. Burgers and chicken sandwiches are also available, with the ability to add on wing sauces to the sandwiches. Another great option that can be dipped in wing flavors is their buffalo shrimp. All of these options can be at your door in a matter of minutes.
The farthest choice, but undoubtedly the winner in terms of flavor variety, is Buffalo Wild Wings. Located on Barrett Parkway just past Town Center Mall, this restaurant has a very similar atmosphere and setup to Taco Mac. This national chain is incredibly well-known for its sizable list of wing flavors. It even recently changed its wing portioning so that customers do not get ripped off by small wings. Customers can now choose from four different wing sizes: snack, small, medium and large, which have a different amount of wings depending on how large the wings are at a given time. If the wings are small on a given day, customers get more than usual. This is the only wing joint around to try this experimental portioning technique, making Buffalo Wild Wings a unique choice for wing lovers looking for both variety and quantity.
Just Dance 2014 is not necessarily about being accurate or precise; it is simply about getting up and having fun. This has been the base idea for all four previous iterations, and the current version follows that formula to a tee. Despite the short year since the last release, Just Dance 2014 provides enough new content and depth to make it worth adding to any fan’s collection. As with each annual version of the game, there are some new engaging features with the real draw being the updated track list. It includes a fairly sizeable roster of songs ranging from popular dance music of the ‘80s, all the way to today’s top hits. Classic songs such as Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” are easy to follow, using moves that everyone (hopefully) has done at least once in their life. More recent songs, like Lady Gaga’s “Applause” or PSY’s “Gentleman” are there to keep the track list relevant and can actually be quite difficult.
In a first for the series, Just Dance 2014 features an online mode known as World Dance Floor. This might just be the game’s only mode that actually emphasizes competition. Global challenges that change daily and even hourly give the feeling that you are part of a larger Just Dance community. This makes it great for those forced to dance alone, still wanting to outperform others.
Just Sweat is the perfect dance workout without the pressure of a gym or elite Zumba class. Players can choose 10-, 20- or 40-minute dance workouts. The calorie counter is a new Just Sweat feature. After a song, each player’s burned calories are displayed beneath their scores. Calories burned are based on the physical exertion of the dancer throughout the routine. Now players can feel a lot better about the pizza they are enjoying at their Just Dance party.
On Stage mode is a new feature where players can either be front and center or shine as backup dancers. This mode is perfect for those who enjoy staying out of the spotlight. The choreography is just as involved. Depending on which song is chosen, players could be lifting each other into the air or climbing on top of each other. There is more at stake than the overall score. Players better hope their backup dancers are ready to catch them as they fall. Either way, the show must go on.
For some, singing may be more up their alley. Singing along earns the players bonus points. Thankfully, even the tone deaf players are granted points for effort, even if their friends may not be as supportive. Lyrics to the songs are always shown on the bottom left of the screen. That way you know just when to sing “I know you want it” to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”
Aside from encouraging players to come back time and time again to learn the routines, the game also features a reward system for unlocking additional content. Every song is unlocked from the get-go, but a currency system can be used to unlock the ability to use that song in different modes. For example, the ability to play Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” in On Stage mode with backup dancers must be purchased using points that are earned after each performance. This provides a great incentive to keep playing, always working to unlock more.
Each song has its own preset difficulty, but players will likely never pay attention to that, let alone choose a song based on its difficulty level. The main appeal of such a casual dance game is choosing a song that you love and having crazy, embarrassing fun with it. Though the game does give each dancer a score for his or her performance, the scores are practically tucked away so as not to emphasize who is winning and who is losing. During the dances, each player is listed at the top of the screen, as well as the current number of stars each player has earned. Aside from that, there is no real way to distinguish if one player is outperforming another. But that just further emphasizes the core idea of “just” getting up to “dance” that has driven the franchise since its beginnings.
We all had that friend in high school who wanted to become a big shot Hollywood director. He would invite all of us over every weekend to make a short movie, regardless of how horrible everyone’s acting was or how senseless the plot was. The indie “mockumentary,” “Pushin’ Up Daisies,” feels like a film that came from that
Nearly everything about the film is unconvincing, right down to the entire premise itself. The film follows aspiring filmmaker Darren (Sheehan O’Heron), who returns to his small Georgia hometown to make a documentary about the importance of flowers during significant stages of life. The centerpiece of Darren’s documentary is his older brother Rusty (Simon Sorrells), who delivers flowers for a living. Not long after Darren and his crew start shooting, the dead start to rise from their graves all over town, interrupting the filming process. Even though the shallow acting performances and cheap zombie makeup do nothing to bring this situation to life, the meaning behind it all is actually the film’s saving grace.
As the living dead become more and more of a nuisance, Darren has to struggle to leave them out of his documentary. He desperately attempts to pretend that nothing out of the ordinary is happening and continues following his brother around town to deliver flowers to those mourning the dead for the second time. He starts to get so wrapped up in ignoring reality and making his movie exactly how he envisioned it that things start to spiral out of control. This presents the film’s idea that movies are too wrapped up in manipulating the reality that is presented to the viewer. Audiences have a preconceived notion of what a film will be about when they enter the theater and nothing outside of that genre’s boundaries is allowed to be on screen.
This premise even bleeds into a personal conflict between Darren and Rusty over their parents. Just as Darren cannot accept that zombies have overrun the town, he refuses to accept the truth behind his parents’ disappearance years ago. This ultimately leads to a touching conclusion that puts the final nail in the coffin for Darren’s character arc in the film.
It is clear that writer/director Patrick Franklin is destined to make meaningful films that commentate on the state of the film industry. The fascinating premise behind “Pushin’ Up Daisies” is only held back by its lack of a budget. The film features some of the most unconvincing acting I have ever seen in a full-length film. I understand that the film is attempting to present itself as a homemade documentary, but the cheap video quality and lack of microphones on the actors completely pulled me out of any immersion I might have had. It is best to view this film purely for what it is saying about film genres and life choices rather than as immersive entertainment. “Pushin’ Up Daisies” is available now through Amazon on DVD and Instant.
37 years ago, in April 1976, Kennesaw Junior College transitioned into the four- year college that we know it as today. On April 14, 1976, the Board of Regents gave the “go ahead” by a vote of 11-2. This information was outlined in an April 1976 issue of The Sentinel, which stated that the transition was “a great moment for all of us.”
This momentous occasion would also mean the first name change for the college, which began as Kennesaw Junior College in 1963. The change to four-year status meant the school would be renamed Kennesaw College. (It would not be until 1996 that the school became known as Kennesaw State University as it is today.) There were numerous reasons for the expansion as laid out by Regent Vice Chancellor Dr. John Hooper. The average SAT for Kennesaw students was well above the University systems average. Kennesaw students more often than not would successfully earn four-year degrees at other colleges and universities. Enrollment at the college was steadily increasing. Enrollment rose from 2,242 in 1974 to 3,098 in 1975, a 38 percent increase. Also, there was a large number of potential students in the northwest Georgia area who would not attend college if it meant a transfer senior year.
Approval did not come easily for the transition. Reps. Al Burruss, Joe Mack Wilson and Joe Frank Harris debated the subject for two hours with several Cobb legislators. Rep. Burruss told the Regents the need for the conversion was “critical,” while Rep. Harris promised sufficient funds would be available for future costs. They were eventually successful and had $250,000 earmarked in the Regents budget for the conversion.
Throughout the debate, two Regents strictly opposed the conversion. They were against the conversion of any junior college to senior status during the period of economic hardship.
“I reluctantly hate to oppose this, but this is a departure from our practice of efficiently utilizing all of our existing facilities in the state,” said Carrollton Regent David Tisinger.
The other vote against the change came from Columbus Regent Milton Jones. Both believed that the elevation of Kennesaw to four-year status would only worsen already declining enrollments at other colleges.
Burrus countered the Regents’ claims by pointing out that the economic hardship actually makes it quite hard for parents to send their kids to other distant colleges.
“My emotion tells me the economic crunch is precisely the reason to make it a senior college, not the reason to oppose it,” said Burrus. “There are people in Cobb, Paulding, Bartow, Cherokee and Floyd Counties who cannot afford to send their kids to West Georgia or to pay for gas to send them to Georgia State.”
The project to elevate the school to four-year status was a task that took two years to accomplish. At a victory rally in the James Carmichael Student Center, SGA president Jane Roland said, “I’m so happy, I could cry,” as she congratulated the Regents on their success.
Recently, MTV has become known for a particularly provocative VMA performance. When people say MTV in 2013, they either think of Miley Cyrus’ racy performance or, ironically, a lack of actual music. In the 32 years since its launch, MTV has become a vastly different network. Back in 1981, Kennesaw students enjoyed the beginning of Music Television.
An article in an October, 1981 issue of The Sentinel, titled “Move Over for MTV,” stressed how revolutionary it was to be able to see bands perform in your own living room. When it began, MTV was an estimated $15-$20 million television operation available exclusively to cable television subscribers. It was the first all-music stereo television channel, starting a revolution in audio/video entertainment.
Having launched in August 1981, MTV was still attempting to gain viewership when the article was published. The article discussed how the station hosted numerous national contests in an attempt to raise interest in the station. One major contest was for a “One Night Stand” with the Rolling Stones. Countless MTV subscribers sent in self- addressed post cards to win “a round-trip on MTV’s private L-25 Learjet with three friends to see the Stones live at New Orleans Superdome.” Other contests held during MTV’s early days featured top of the line “fantasy” trips and state of the art audio and video equipment.
The rise of MTV had a large cultural impact on popular music. Prior to the station’s launch, record stores only tended to sell what was airing on the radio, leading to very limited musical interest. Only a couple of months after the launch of MTV, record stores in areas where the station was available began to sell music that radio stations were not playing. In effect, MTV in the ‘80s played the same role that YouTube does for today’s music scene.
The article also mentioned a few of the special programs shown on the channel during the first months of airing.
One program followed Mick Fleetwood, drummer and founder of Fleetwood Mac, as he journeyed to Ghana to “mix rock with African rhythms.”
In an interesting special that would likely not be aired on MTV today, the station actually played the entire Niel Young album “Rust Never Sleeps.” Programs like these show just how music-oriented the station was during its early years. It was purely dedicated to presenting new and hot music to its viewers.
Making the transition to a four year college did a great deal for the growth of Kennesaw’s campus. Pictured above is a “How to Get Around” map for Kennesaw College
in 1981. Through a quick comparison to the current campus map, it is clear that the campus has more than tripled in size in 30 years.
Going from a junior college to a four year school paved the way for Kennesaw to become the student life-oriented college that it is today. The 1981 map focuses in on the ten classroom and administrative buildings that made up the campus. Looking at the 1981 map, buildings such as the Student Center, the library and Social Sciences are instantly recognizable; located in the same places as 1981. There were just four parking lots surrounding the buildings, which show how the school has a long history of not being able to provide sufficient parking to students. Now, 30 years later, we only have four dedicated parking decks and three surrounding lots.
Another aspect of campus that has not changed much in three decades is the amount of space dedicated to athletics. The 1981 map shows only two baseball fields and a soccer field. The same spot on the current campus map shows the same fields, and nothing more. Of course, we now have the Fifth Third Bank Stadium, but that is not even technically on the KSU campus itself.
The largest contributing factors to the growth of the campus are undeniably classroom buildings and housing. The current map lists 21 classroom buildings and nine student life buildings. Over the years, the school has seen the addition of major facilities such as The Commons dining hall, the campus bookstore and The Student Recreation and Wellness Center. Offering these facilities helps the school to attract on-campus residents. As KSU caters to more and more on-campus residents each year, it is quickly becoming one of the largest colleges in Georgia. Over the next two years, KSU is projected to become the second largest Georgia University, just behind UGA. KSU is the fastest growing school in the University System of Georgia and the campus’ growth makes that clear.
It has been 32 years since Sony brought portable music to the masses with its now infamous Walkman. The year the Walkman was brought to the U.S., it sold like hotcakes among Kennesaw students. An article in a 1981 issue of The Sentinel discussed the new device’s popularity on campus. “A unique stereo cassette player, the Walkman, continues to draw rave reviews.” The prevalence of the device around campus can be equated to that of the iPhone today.
Even though the Walkman might be seen as the device that paved the way for the iPod’s massive success, it actually operated on a completely different format. Cassette tapes, which are virtually nonexistent today, are what made the Walkman so useful. Though most people still preferred vinyl records over cassettes, their convenience was undeniable. Portable cassette recorders had existed for a couple of years prior to the Walkman’s creation, but their size and general complexities were a major turn-off. The Walkman was born out of a desire for a compact, playback-only stereo cassette player.
The two major factors that made the Walkman so appealing are just what make Apple’s iPod appealing today. The Walkman marked the first music player to combine both portability and privacy. The player’s use of AA batteries and inclusion of a headphone jack made it the ideal stereo cassette player that could be taken anywhere. It is not hard to picture KSU students making their way to class with headphones in, lost in their own private jams. It is an image we see on a daily basis more than 30 years later.
The original Walkman release was only the beginning of the device’s reign over portable music. Much like how Apple continues to iterate on the iPod and its countless features, Sony worked to improve the functionality of its device year after year. Innovations that came to the Walkman included AM/FM receivers, bass boost and even solar power.
Because technology grows at an exponential rate, the massive success of the Walkman was not enough to keep it relevant forever. The eventual rise of the CD and MP3 formats knocked the Walkman off of its pedestal. But what many may not know is that the Walkman brand survived, fighting to keep up with the tides of change. Sony released MP3 and even cellular devices under the Walkman name and is now up to more than 300 different Walkman models across all formats. Apple’s i-device revolution kicked the Walkman brand to the curb, only to be lost to the masses. Sony’s bold foray into portable music paved the way for the countless devices we use today to make our walk across campus more enjoyable.
Nothing happens for a reason. That is the basic premise of what might be the best film commentary on film itself. “Rubber” tells the story of a tire that comes to life and goes on a murderous rampage. Many people have likely given it a watch on Netflix simply due to its outlandish description, but there is a fascinating meaning behind the film that actually has nothing to do with the tire at all.
In “Rubber,” the story of the sentient tire is experienced not only by the film viewer but also by a group of binocular-equipped spectators in a desert. These spectators serve to symbolize the average movie watcher as they vocalize exactly what should be going through the actual viewer’s mind. At the start of the film, these spectators are addressed by a sheriff who tells them that everything in movies happens for “no reason.” The events of “Rubber” are a representation of the meaninglessness of movies, and the spectators represent how audiences consume entertainment.
The spectators have gone to the ends of the earth seeking entertainment and find themselves stuck there for days, forced to devour the poisoned food given to them by the sheriff. This shows how moviegoers mindlessly eat up the meaningless filth that is fed to them by those behind the movies.
In a representation of losing interest, the spectators start to die off, leaving only one man who refuses to consume the poison and criticizes the events of the story. This man embodies the “entitlement” of viewers who only adulterate the entertainment that they paid money to view. He begins to get too involved in helping the police track down the tire, leading to a horrible end that could have been avoided by looking on silently.
For those who get through the whole film without realizing these connections, the ending is an undeniable criticism of big Hollywood films. In the closing sequence, the tire rolls off toward Hollywood, recruiting an army of tires in an attempt to mass produce itself again and again, just like the movie industry itself.
Using a simple, crazy premise, “Rubber” says a lot of fascinating things about entertainment and how we take it in. “Rubber” really is something special. Whether it is the social commentary or the highly entertaining journey of a murderous tire, “Rubber” will leave anyone with a smile on their face.
The saying usually goes, “another year, another new iPhone.” Only this year we get to say, “another year, another two new iPhones.”With both the iPhone 5S and the 5C now available, consumers are more anxious than ever to get their hands on one of the new devices. But as a new phone finds its way into homes, what happens to the old one? Consumers who are ahead of the game already know the answer to that question is “ trade it in.”
There is a shockingly large amount of trade-in deals going on right now, and prospective traders only need to take their pick. Retail stores such as Best Buy, Walmart and, for the first time, Apple are offering appealing prices for the trade of a smartphone. Whether you have an older iPhone model or even an Android phone, you might just be able to get the colorful iPhone 5C for free.
Unsurprisingly, the best deal would be trading in the standard iPhone 5 model, as it was only released last year. Sellers willing to make the yearly upgrade can get upwards of $300 for their device. Apple is willing to shell out $280 for a 16GB iPhone 5, while websites like Gazelle and NextWorth are offering $310 for the phone.
The more common situation, though, is that of those looking to trade an iPhone 4 or 4S for one of the iPhone 5 models. Apple has already clarified that production of the standard iPhone 5 has ceased, so retailers are looking to clear out their remaining stock. In an attempt to sell their remaining 5’s, Best Buy is offering $100 for any smartphone traded toward the $100 purchase of an iPhone 5 with a two-year agreement. Depending on the condition and model of the phone itself, the seller might even be offered more than that. This same deal goes for just about any carrier’s retail store, as long as they have iPhone 5s in stock. Because the new iPhone 5C is identical to the 5 performance-wise, any deal that works toward a 5 will also work toward the $99 5C.
Online retailers, which have remained the go-to trade-in method for years, seem to be the best option. Granted, this removes the convenience of being able to walk into a store, hand them your old phone and walk out with a new one. Online sellers will have to go ahead and make the standard in-store purchase of one of the new iPhones before shipping their old phone off to their retailer of choice. Online shopping king Amazon.com offers up to $130 in Amazon credit for a standard iPhone 4 and $160 for a 4S, depending on the condition of the phone. When setting up the trade online, you must select the condition of the phone, and the site will tell you their price. A hidden plus to this is that when they inspect the phone, if they determine it is in better condition than stated, you might receive more than expected.
While the iPhone 5S might be hard to find for the next couple of weeks, those willing to trade for last year’s model or the plastic-covered 5C might just be able to do so for free. These deals are not guaranteed to last, as many people are likely taking advantage of them already.