The independent student newspaper of Goucher College

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Benji Gutsin

Benji Gutsin has 3 articles published.

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Benji Gutsin is a senior. They are an English major with a concentration in creative writing and a History minor. They like to write short stories in their spare time and have been writing a novel that they hope to publish one day.

DeltaRune Review

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Emblem for the DeltaRune video game. Picture Source: aminoapps.com

DeltaRune is one of those games that I would recommend even if you aren’t a gamer in any sense of the word. As someone who finds video games to be often more expensive than they are worth and would rather just vicariously live through “Let’s Play” videos on YouTube, I can’t say I would define myself as someone who plays video games. However, Deltarune is different. I will admit I am a bit biased, but first a bit of context is needed.

Deltarune is the spiritual successor to the critically acclaimed indie game Undertale. Undertale is without a doubt my favorite video game, and its “sequel” really is no different. Although technically unfinished, Deltarune is a fantastic play, not just as a game but as an experience. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the game itself and at the request of the developer and creator of the two games, Toby Fox (Aka the Annoying Dog), I don’t want to disclose too many details (spoilers and all that). What I can do, however, is list the reasons why I find this game series so inspiring and captivating to the point that I will probably be annoying my friends about playing it for at least another two months (sorry not sorry guys).

From the very moment you start it’s clear that the graphics compared to the last game have drastically improved. The visual style in the first game, while certainly reminiscent of old-school 70’s and 80’s video games, still felt a bit lack luster at various points due to its very minimalistic nature. In the sequel, everything seems so enhanced. It’s bright and colorful yet still keeping its old-school pixelated style, which I just adore. It’s obvious that Toby Fox really pushed the pixelated visual style of his sprites and characters, this time drawing on what he learned in making his previous game. Another thing that I can’t stress enough about is how amazing both games are at overall story-telling. Toby Fox does a fantastic job of creating loveable characters that you can look back fondly on, almost like old friends. Not to mention fantastic worlds in which you will want to live in forever.

Another important aspect to the game is the play style. I highlight this aspect because unlike most video games the very playstyle itself helps tell the story of the game. Toby Fox has done a fantastic job of intertwining the game into the story and the story into the game. It’s one of the few games I can say I’ve seen a creator use the video game medium as an advantage rather as something to work around when creating it, and even more far and few between have I seen it be so intentionally and effortlessly done as Toby does with his works.

Another thing that I love about the sequel is that it is not a repeat of the same plot by any means. In fact, I would say that if you had no idea it was a sequel to anything, you wouldn’t really know other than a few character interactions later on in the game, which are winks and nods to the first game. Though, it really is worth it to check out the first game, Undertale, before playing the sequel as it will lend you to a lot more context within the universe Toby Fox has created as well as create further depth of characters. Of course, there are multiple endings to the first game which I would recommend looking at just to understand the full context of everything before going into the sequel, but as far as giving anything else away, I don’t think it would be right of me to spoil any more than that. All in all, please check out Undertale and its spiritual successor chapter 1 of DeltaRune if you have time over Thanksgiving break. I don’t think you’ll regret it!

Katherine and Pop

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Photo credit: https://a.playmoss.com/

It had been some time after the ritual ended. And yet that thing still was following her. It wasn’t like Katherine minded that much; in fact, it was nice to have the company for once. However, a detached soul with the skull of a deer over its face wasn’t exactly the best conversationalist.

“Hey,” she addressed the creature from her tiny kitchen as she turned on the stove. She looked over her shoulder to look once more at the ritual circle in her living room where it stood.

It turned to look up at her. Its extended limbs drifted through space till it was hovering behind her just next to her potted lavender.

“Do you like coffee or tea?”

The soul said nothing.

“Alright, well I’m having tea. If you don’t like that, you should say something now.”

Silence once more filled the room.

“Tea it is then,” she said.

She snapped her fingers together as ingredients merged and mixed themselves together by her will. A mortar and pestle appeared from underneath the kitchen sink, and a few herbs started to fly into the mortar as the pestle ground in a rather monotonous manner. A small tea bag lifted itself before the bowl as the contents were neatly dispensed inside. Once the tea mix was ready, the bag tied itself together before plunging itself into the boiling pot on the stove.

“I like to make my own spice blend,” she explained to the lost soul. “Store bought is fine in a pinch, but there’s nothing like making the perfect blend of flavors yourself, really invigorates you.” She looked up to see the creature’s boney face pressed against her window, its tongue hanging from underneath its non-existent jawbone.“Okay, nope, no eating my robins or my blue jays. The neighbors would not like that,” she said. She dragged the soul back into the kitchen and distracted it by explaining her process once more so it didn’t wander off. “So,” she continued, “how’d you die?”

She looked up at the creature before the skull began to lift from the emaciated creature revealing a rather terrifying and maniacal grinning face underneath. Its visage was lined with blood, and its eyes were almost popped out of its head. Its smile extended far too high up its face, past its cheekbones and almost over its ears. It grinned as its tongue lolled out of its mouth, swollen and almost detached from the rest of its mouth, barely hanging on by a handful of ligaments. The breathing was weary and laborious, and its breath smelled like fresh maggots out of a rotting corpse. It allowed Katherine to stare into its reddened eyes for a few moments before letting its skull fall back into place, hiding its true form once more.

“Ah, I see. Rather brutal that was, sorry to hear it.”

The creature shrugged in apathy before turning back to the boiling pot and watched the water bubble.

“You gonna stay here for very long?”

It looked from side to side and thought about the prospect for a moment, considering its options. At long last, it nodded.

“Well okay, you can stay, but just don’t cause any trouble you hear? I can and I will perform an exorcism on you, understood?”

The soul nodded.

“You got a name I can call you?”

Katherine turned off the stove and removed the tea from the heat. Two mugs lifted themselves before her as she poured their drinks. One of the cups hovered before the creature before it hesitated and took the cup. It settled in a chair at the kitchen table while the used pot made quick work of cleaning itself.

“Well?” Katherine asked, approaching the kitchen table.

The creature looked around for a few moments then shrugged once more.

“Alright then. I’ll call you Pop, cause you popped out of my floor. That cool with you?”

Pop nodded its head and took a sip of tea as Katherine settled down in the seat across from it with her drink. She watched as the small pattering of rain began against her window and dissolved into the thought that it would be nice to have the company for a while.  

Crazy Rich Asians Review

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Photo Credit: IMDb.com

Crazy Rich Asians is an absolute must-see for the beginning semester. Set in modern day, it starts with the life of Rachel Chu, a Chinese-American economics professor who lives in New York. She has happily been in a relationship with her boyfriend, a dashing young man who is known by the name of Nick Young. When Nick receives an invitation for his best friend’s wedding back in Singapore, Rachel takes the chance to finally meet his family. Much to her surprise, the mild-mannered and sweet boy she met is the firstborn heir to his family’s vast fortune. The movie follows Rachel as she tries to navigate falling head first into the world of the vastly wealthy and her relationship with Asia’s most eligible bachelor.

Going into the picture, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I knew it had good reviews and a promising premise since it had been based on a book, but other than that, nothing. What I watched was a beautifully executed love story that would warm the heart of any romantic.  Overall, I thought some parts felt a bit self-indulgent. Without getting too far into spoilers, the way the family shows off wealth is potentially off-putting for some people. However, I found it sort of like a breath of fresh air. As the perpetual fear of student loans and god only knows how many other financial troubles await me, it was nice to see someone who just didn’t have to worry about it. It was nice to watch someone who seemed to be a genuinely likable person sit in the lap of luxury, even if she did have to fight for it. Another thing that I appreciated was just how dedicated to the culture the movie was. Admittedly, I knew nothing about Singapore or the culture that it has, but that too was like a breath of fresh air for me. Seeing Rachel speak with English subtitles underneath her just felt so genuine, and I can’t quite recall the last time I’ve seen a Hollywood movie do that before (except for maybe Star Wars, but alien tongues don’t count in my book). Not to mention that the movie wasn’t afraid to be a little ridiculous. Sure, the comedic relief was a bit over the top, but I liked that about them. They are the type of people we wish we could be for our friends, completely unbound by social norms and unafraid to shout into the streets looking like a crazy person just to show support for those you care about. I like that about those characters. Also, I won’t ruin the ending, but the movie ends on a truly touching note that I found to be very sweet.

Overall, if you aren’t a big fan of rom-coms, this movie probably isn’t for you. However, if you want something that will brighten up your weekend a little bit more, I say why not give it a go with an open mind.

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