Creatures, if you’re unfamiliar, is an artificial life-raising game (not unlike Wobbledogs, heehee, you guys remember THAT one?) where you raise little – well, creatures – known as Norns. They eat, they drink, they talk, and they have a surprisingly comprehensive biological simulation running inside them.
There’s three games in the series, give-or-take a few games people choose to not acknowledge, and whether or not you consider Docking Station to be its own game or merely a free hanger-on to the much more robust Creatures 3. Whatever. Three games! But today I am focusing on the first one.
This game occupied an interesting niche in my life, not like any other game I can think of. I liked pet games, sure; Petz was my favorite computer game, second to none. But something about Creatures was so… meaty. There was so much to do in it, so much to poke around in and chew on.
But it was also unrelentingly terrifying. What was up with that?
Neil Cicierega, also known by his band name Lemon Demon, is an internet sensation. In my opinion, he’s the internet sensation, because he and his friends basically shaped the internet as we know it today.
It’s hard to avoid his influence online, whether your feelings are positive or negative. That’s why when he released Mouth Dreams in 2020, it changed the trajectory of my life – for the worse or the better, I cannot say.
Mouth Dreams is the newest in his series of inexplicably Shrek-themed mashup albums, alongside Mouth Sounds, Mouth Silence, and Mouth Moods. You may remember Mouth Dreams as a funny novelty, or if you have a sense of chronological linearity not marred by trauma, you might even remember it as one of the few enjoyable things to come out of 2020. Unfortunately, I remember it solely as one of the largest and longest panic attacks I have ever had.
Today, I am here to take you on a tour of exactly what happened to me on the evening of September 30, 2020.
Against all odds, things have managed to get even worse for America in 2023. Prices for everything are going up while wages get cut. Our nation continues to divide against itself. In my most recent trip to the food bank (something I didn’t even need to go to until I moved out), I had to sit in line next to a working-class guy talking very animatedly about how the government was slowly killing us (true), while also taking forks in the conversation to say that he had heard Wal-Mart was putting reproductive sterilizing chemicals in their face masks (WHAT).
That is why I regret to inform you that, in this time of great catastrophe, KFC has had the audacity to re-release the Double Down.
Haven’t we had enough? Isn’t life hard enough? Isn’t America in enough strife, without having to remind us of our deepest shames? No. Now we have to deal with the Double Down, all over again.
Food is one of the fundamental parts of any functioning society. That’s why I love to write about it so much. It forms the connection between us as people, it brings us closer together. It’s a shared experience that also happens to sustain us physically.
Where would we be without this? What a living nightmare it would be. Could you imagine eating food that does not replenish and nourish you, but actively attempts to harm you?
This is the story of Rowntree’s Fruit Gums, one of the worst ‘foods’ I have ever eaten.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and you know what that means! That’s right, it’s time for all the chain coffee shops to release their seasonal weird pink sludge!
This time of year, Dunkin’ Donuts has released the “Cupid’s Choice Donut” (Bavarian ‘Kreme’ filling, strawberry frosting, and sprinkles) and the “Brownie Batter Donut” (brownie batter filling, chocolate frosting, and sprinkles), both heart-shaped for the season.
Yeah, not very creative. Dunkin’ Donuts (it will never be ‘Dunkin’ to us) is not exactly the place where you get fine cuisine. It’s joked that Taco Bell’s menu is the same five ingredients shuffled around, but at Dunkin’ Donuts things are even worse. Only a fool would order anything except a donut here, and the only real variety is if you want a yeast donut or a cake donut. Frostings, flavors, fillings – it all blends to be one beige blur of ring-shaped pastry.
That doesn’t stop them from trying every holiday season, though. Back in 2020 they had their Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut, which seriously tested us. Last year, they had a Cookie Butter Cold Brew, which we weren’t around to review, but it was Just Fine. They also had a cookie butter-topped (filled? something like that) donut, which we did not get to try, because we currently live in an area where any seasonal fast food product is at least a dollar more than advertised and most of the time doesn’t even exist.
But hey, we managed to get the heart donuts this year. Let’s make the most of it, alright?
Ginger ale is a good drink. Everybody likes it. It has a place in everybody’s hearts as a perfect cocktail mixer, a medicinal remedy, and a good drink in its own right. But did you know that there are multiple kinds of ginger ale? Not many people do and content themselves drinking dry ginger ale all the time. Yes, your normal Schweppes or Canada Dry is only the entry level of ginger ale! I bet you haven’t even tried a real, old-style golden ginger ale, have you? Go get yourself a can of Vernor’s and try it. We’ll wait.
Okay, now that you’re back from that ginger-induced blackout period, it’s good, right? It’s really good, and it tastes much more gingery than the Pepsi and Coke owned swill you’re used to. So imagine being someone who ACTUALLY likes the taste of ginger sodas and having to deal with only that junk on the shelves. Yeah, it’s hard. I know, it’s so, so hard. You can stop crying for us now.
But there might be hope on the horizon. Aldi has started selling their own brand of ginger beer, and since we’re dedicated Aldi shoppers, we couldn’t be more excited. Will it be the gingery kick we’ve been missing from our lives?
More chicken sandwiches. This time it’s Burger King.
What else can we say? When’s the last time we reviewed a fast food item that wasn’t a chicken sandwich? We think we’re done and they pull us back in. We really, really are starting to hate this. We are tired of chicken. We are tired of sandwiches. We are tired of chicken sandwiches.
But Burger King did one and we have to review it, because literally nobody is doing anything else. This shit sucks and we hate it. But maybe Burger King did it pretty good this time, which is a moot point, because Popeyes already did it perfect. But what the hell, we might as well try it.
K-Pop! It’s everywhere! You cannot go by a single damn day without some K-Pop related trend on Twitter ruining your life. It isn’t news by any means that K-Pop is conquering the music world in a way not seen since the British Invasion, but what is news is the BTS meal at McDonald’s. The Beatles sure didn’t get a McDonald’s tie in, did they?
McDonald’s has been doing tie-in meals as a “thing” for a while now, starting with the wildly popular Travis Scott meal and following up with the somewhat less popular J Balvin meal. Now McDonald’s has teamed up with the most popular band in the world, the K-Pop boy group BTS to make an all new meal. What could go wrong with the biggest fast food restaurant teaming up with the biggest pop group? Well, a lot, probably, but we’re going to have to find that out ourselves.
The chicken sandwich wars rage on. Everybody and their mother has a decent chicken sandwich now. It’s basically money in the bank, right? Just slap a patty on some buns with mayo and pickles, and you’re set. Why wouldn’t you do it? You’ve gotta keep up with the Joneses, right?
What do you do when you are the Joneses?
McDonald’s has never been much for a “follower” in the fast food industry. They aren’t even really trendsetters – McDonald’s just does whatever it wants to and enjoys its comfortable space as the leader of the Big Three, as the biggest fast food restaurant franchise in the world, and lets the rest of them scramble for scraps.
But some trends are just too big to ignore. Even Coca-Cola had to bend to the rise of diet soda in the 60s, with the introduction of Tab and eventually Diet Coke. Chick-fil-A is slowly rising to make the Big Three a Big Four, and the Chicken Sandwich Wars are fundamentally a response to that. If you don’t have a good chicken sandwich, you’re being left in the dust. Everybody is getting on board the train. So what took McDonalds so long?
And you know what – should they have taken even longer with their Crispy Chicken Sandwich?
The best food is always local food. The more local, the better. No pizza from any big chain can compare to a simple pie cooked by somebody who owns a house in your town. A hamburger will always taste better if it is cooked by somebody who has kids who go to a school in the area. And tacos, the epitome of delicious simplicity, always taste better when served out of a local truck. This is the sentiment that convinced us to try Olivo Taco, the local chain of taco trucks that you can’t help but notice driving around Rockford.
Nobody named Olivo actually owns these taco trucks – the owners are brothers Mahmud and Said Zatar, who have their silly-looking faces plastered prominently on every single truck. They’re serious eye-catchers, and when you’re driving down the street and see one of them, they do a good job at asking you “wouldn’t you like a taco?” Well of course we’d like a taco, dear Zatar brothers, we’d love one. We’d really, really love one.