Archive for November, 2014

FOOD: Taco Bell – Rolled Chicken Tacos [Discontinued]

It’s a generally accepted fact that Taco Bell never puts out anything new. The last successfully trending menu items they had released were the Doritos Locos Tacos and their many iterations, and they rode that wave for as long as they could. The other new items that they’ve introduced recently had received reception ranging from lukewarm (such as their frozen drinks) to incredulous (their breakfast menu), but none have shaped up to the alleged innovation of a taco with a Doritos shell.

Taco Bell is extremely guilty of its mangling of Mexican cuisine, in examples like the short-lived Grilled Stuft Nacho (which used a questionable definition of ‘grilled’, was only moderately stuffed, and had very little in common with nachos). It really should come as no surprise that they’ve managed to obfuscate the basic concept of a taquito into the mouthful that is their “Rolled Chicken Tacos”, but it’s still a disappointment.

When we first heard of the Rolled Chicken Taco, we have to admit we got a little excited. Finally, something remotely edible from Taco Bell! (Not that we have standards.) They even looked pretty tasty, featuring all-white chicken meat marinated in taco seasoning wrapped up in a corn tortilla and crispy-fried. Our excitement wavered once we noticed that was all it had in it, and dipped even further when we noticed that it was going to be a whole dollar per taquito. Regardless, we pressed on, bubbling with excitement over the thought of what is admittedly one of our favourite Tex-Mex foods finally being available at Taco Bell. We felt in our hearts that these were either going to be awesome or heart-breakingly disappointing.

Even though we had heard that these were going to be $1.99 for two, our local Taco Bell had them priced at $2.19, so we were already off to a bad start. They’re advertising these as being paired with their new Spicy Ranch sauce, but we ultimately decided on the Nacho Cheese sauce for a dip, feeling that anything we were unfamiliar with would affect our final judgment. Let’s hope that this is gonna be good… Read On…

FOOD: Faygo – Rock & Rye, Old Fashioned Root Beer, Ginger Ale

Faygo is one of the strangest oddities of the soda world, perhaps because it’s one of the few sodas that has its own subculture based around it.

This peculiar soda got an early start in 1907. Two baker brothers, Ben and Perry Feigenson, had the idea to turn their cake frosting recipes into sodas. They started out with just three flavors: grape, strawberry, and fruit punch. The first batch of sodas was made in a small bottling plant in Detroit, Michigan, and they were sold off of the back of a horse cart. The sodas proved popular, and their company quickly grew into a local sensation. By the 1950s, they had re-worked the formula to give it a longer lasting shelf life, allowing Faygo to be sold across America.
It’s not unusual that the soda has such a lengthy history: Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi-Cola were all inventions of the late 19th century, and soft drinks and colas were already making a foothold in the world even before that.

Compared to those less regional brands, Faygo is well-known for being both tasty and inexpensive. Though it’s not as complex as some of the more obscure, locally-bound expensive bottled sodas, it’s leaps and bounds ahead of store-brands, which taste decent for about an hour at the most before they go unimpressively flat.
It’s because of its cheapness that the hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse was keen to adopt it as their trademark, as they were too poor in their youth to afford any other brand of soda. The “Juggalos”, the term given to the most devoted of ICP fans, have turned the soda pop into a symbol as prominent as their black-and-white face paint. There are contradictory stories as for why the ICP chose Faygo as one of their trademarks, but they have been referencing Faygo in their music ever since their debut album, and there’s certainly no end in sight for their love of the drink.

Despite the group and its fanbase’s full-hearted endorsement, Faygo Beverages, Inc. wants very little to do with them. The company brands its product as a family soda, so it doesn’t have a lot to gain from associating itself with a group that’s labelled by the FBI as a gang. Although the presence of the Insane Clown Posse has turned Faygo into a minor cultural trend, Faygo itself prefers to stick by its tried-and-true marketing strategy – one that doesn’t involve insane clowns.
With this in mind, Faygo is a very region-contained soda that doesn’t have much interest in expanding outwards. Its distribution is sporadic; even though it hails from the Midwest, it can still get hair-pullingly hard to find it in nearby states.

Today we’ll be reviewing the three different varieties of Faygo that we could find: Rock & Rye, Old Fashioned Root Beer, and Ginger Ale. These are some of the more prominent flavors of Faygo available, and some of the most decorated. We looked forward to seeing if these sodas would live up to their hype. Read On…

GAMING: Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 – Getting Ready for Another Five Nights at Freddy’s

FNAF 01 logo

I’m not ready!

To the surprise of many, Scott Cawthon has released Five Nights at Freddy’s 2, the sequel to the beloved indie horror hit of Fall 2014. Although a demo was slated to be released on November 11, 2014, the full game has made an unexpected premature appearance. It can be purchased on Steam for $7.99.
The demo is still being released, for those interested in trying the game before they buy it. You will be able to download it from Indie DB. The demo will be two nights long, and some Let’s Players on YouTube have received extended versions, lasting for three full nights.

FNAF 02 the office

Boy, I wish I could turn that fan off. [Five Nights at Freddy’s, PC]

For those unfamiliar with the original game, Five Nights at Freddy’s was a point-and-click survival horror game developed by indie developer Scott Cawthon. It was released on the digital distribution service Desura on August 8, 2014, and two weeks later got greenlit for a Steam release.
The gameplay is simple enough: you’re hired as a night watch security guard for Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza (a pastiche of family entertainment centers such as Chuck E. Cheese’s). You’re given security cameras to watch, which run off of a limited battery supply – if your battery runs out, the power in the pizzeria will shut down. Intruders and burglars aren’t your main worry, though; instead, you have to focus on the malfunctioning animatronics, which roam the restaurant at night. There are five levels in the game, each one corresponding to a night of work. Your shift lasts from midnight to 6:00 AM, which is heavily sped up, amounting to about 9 minutes of real-time gameplay (5 minutes for the mobile port).

FNAF 03 the cast

From left to right: the party-loving Bonnie is rocking out on his guitar. Freddy Fazbear, the star of the show, sings up front. Chica, on the other hand, is more concerned with the cupcake she’s holding offscreen. [Five Nights at Freddy’s, PC]

The story, however, is more complex than it seems at first glance, which is part of what has gained the game such a large following.
The game starts with you receiving a call from a previous employee, who instructs you on the gameplay mechanics, and warns you very ominiously that your job comes with a tangible risk of death. His explanation is that if the animatronics see you, they will mistake you for an animatronic without its costume on, and they will try to shove you into a Freddy Fazbear suit full of crossbeams and electronic devices. However, the further you delve into the game, the more mysteries arise about the true nature of the pizzeria.

The open-ended questions and unsolved secrets has left players wanting more, and Scott delivers in the form of Five Nights at Freddy’s 2.

FNAF 04 the new office

Still waiting on a switch for the fan… [Five Nights at Freddy’s 2, PC]

This horror-packed sequel takes place after the closure of the pizzeria of the first game. An unknown amount of time has passed, and a new Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza has opened in a new location, with new and improved animatronics, and new child safety features. Even the guard you play as is a new character!
The gameplay at its core is very similar, involving watching over the animatronics and making sure that they don’t get you. There are a few gameplay changes, however. Perhaps the most controversial is the lack of closable doors, which makes hiding a much more intense experience. On the subject of hiding, this time around, you’re given a Freddy Fazbear mask to wear in order to convince the animatronics that you’re one of them. You’ll need it, because in addition to the new animatronics, the old cast comes back, and they’re still insistent on stuffing you in a suit.

FNAF 05 the new cast

New, improved, and out to get you! [Five Nights at Freddy’s 2, PC]

The redesigned cast looks gorgeous, with all of the character designs paralleling the real changes that have been made to family entertainment centers to make them more kid-friendly. They’re sleeker, brighter, and generally less worn-looking overall. If we didn’t know any better, they could almost be described as friendly-looking!
Though that’s the most prominent change made, there should be props given to Scott for the work done on revamping the designs for the old animatronics. The apparently higher budget has allowed for the broken-down robots to be much more frightening-looking, with more detailed texture work and more complicated models. The game has received a massive graphical overhaul overall, with a greater focus on detail, including animated rooms, characters appearing in the same room simultaneously, and more sophisticated lighting.

The story still has plenty of mysteries to be found. We’ve already discovered a great amount of new content, but we don’t want to spoil it for you!

Markiplier and Dlive are just a few of the YouTube community members working on Let’s Plays of the game. If you want to check out the game yourself, there’s plenty of places to watch it being played online, and the demo will be released in a few days. But if you can, please consider paying the $7.99 for Scott’s brand new game – it’s worth it!