#Billbored – A Look at Billboard Hot 100 (on Twitter)

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Where The Hell Have I Been? – Update

Greetings, you 30 or so humans that actually read this blog. I wanted to make a quick update on where I’ve been and why I haven’t been posting anything. Hopefully this will explain everything, so here we go.

1. Where the hell have you been, Knife Ink?

School. School, school, school, school, and school. It’s taking over my life, and likely will be in the coming weeks.

2. What’s next on the menu, and when is it coming?

I have no idea about either of those questions, unfortunately. I’ll probably get around to reviewing The Matrix soon, as well as more X-Files reviews on The Review is Out There.

3. Is there any place you’re consistently active online?

Yep. Twitter. I go on Twitter all the time. Follow me.

4. What about The Review is Out There?

You’ll probably be seeing more activity on that blog than on this one, unfortunately for you non-X-Files fans. Sorry.

5. You’re not quitting, are you?

Nope. Just busy.

6. What’s your real name?

Nice try.

7. What should I be doing/watching in the meantime?

You mean what are you going to do with your life with no new Knife Ink Reviews in it? Hopefully what you were doing before you started reading Knife Ink Reviews. But in the meantime you can also watch Bee and Puppy Cat.

Top Ten Internet Games from the 2000s (That I Played)

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If you (like me) grew up in the 2000s, internet games were probably a part of your childhood. The internet was (and still is) this big, developing thing, and since we were developing right along with it, we took advantage of every minute. I remember kids playing internet games in school, of all places – presumably because the public school system hadn’t yet figured out how to block certain websites on school internet servers. In any case, these games (most of which are still online and absolutely playable) were great time wasters and usually tons of fun.

All of the games on this list are games I personally played. They may or may not have been the most popular games out there, but these are the ones I remember really enjoying, whether by myself or with friends. So, here they are: these are my picks for the Top Ten Internet Games from the 2000s.

10. Rainbow Sphere

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This is a kind of weird one, and most probably wouldn’t consider it very fun. It involves moving this ball from colored platform to colored platform using the arrow keys and spacebar. The tricky part is the ball has to be the same color as the platform, or you lose and have to restart the level. There are these little glowing dots that change your color so that you can jump to the next platform. It’s actually really hard, and I don’t think I ever made it very far in the game. I think what I liked about this one so much was the music – on the first level it starts out as this calm, relaxing piano riff, and then once you get to a certain level the music turns sinister and mocks you as you play, telling you you’re about to die. Which you usually are. Perhaps not the most well known but it does stick out in my memory.

You can play Rainbow Sphere here.

9. Star Island 

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What I remember most about this game is how visually appealing it was. I loved playing it as a kid because the colors were so bright and happy and pretty looking. The object of the game is pretty simple – you have to go through each level and collect all the stars before you can go to the next one. The trouble is that there are currents, squirrels with nuts, rolling boulders, and other things that are all out to get you. In general, this is a really fun, creative, and cheery game. Not much to say about it except that it could always get me in a good mood.

You can play Star Island here.

8. The Impossible Quiz

impossible-quiz

Ah, yes. The Impossible Quiz. Everybody – and I mean everybody – at my school was playing this game. It makes no sense, some of the questions and/or answer choices verge on weirdly inappropriate, and for the most part it’s full of completely random nonsense that no one in their right mind would ever put on an actual quiz. But that’s kind of the point. The only way you could really beat the quiz was by literally memorizing all of the answers.

The quiz went beyond just “click on the right answer choice.” It often had you move your mouse out of the game screen, click on the dot of the “i” in the actual question, etc. I remember on one of the levels you had to right click and move your mouse cursor along the “settings” option just so you wouldn’t touch the pink. Despite it being a pretty immature game overall, it was also clever at the same time.

You can play The Impossible Quiz here.

7. Territory War

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 Sometimes, we just needed a little badass epic awesomeness. This game is the epitome of badass, epic, and awesome. I mean, just look at the title screen. It looks pretty badass, doesn’t it? And even though you can’t hear the music, you can still see that the song playing is called “Speeding Rampage.” That gives you a pretty good idea of how badass this game is, right?

Basically, the game goes like this. You have a team of stick figures, a 3 person team, if I’m not mistaken. You can either go against another person or the computer. Basically, each member of the team gets the chance to move a certain distance before they have to throw a grenade, use a rifle, or give the other player the boot. It’s not quite as violent and bloodthirsty as it sounds, I promise (they are stick figures, after all). It’s a great game for whenever you want to make something explode.

You can play Territory War here.

6. Ultimate Flash Sonic

Ultimate-Flash-Sonic

This game is colorful, fast-paced, and addicting. It’s pretty much your basic Sonic game, downgraded for a flash format. You have to collect all the rings and avoid spikes, monkeys, and evil owls. Eventually it gets fairly difficult, but you don’t care because you’re just having so much fun!

I’m not sure what to really say about this one; it speaks for itself. Just start playing it and watch your afternoon go by.

You can play Ultimate Flash Sonic here.

5. 4 Second Frenzy

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I try to refrain from using a lot of profanity on this blog, but FUCK THIS GAME.

I’m serious. This game is evil. It latches onto your brain the second you begin playing and won’t let go. In fact, this list probably would have been posted a lot earlier if I hadn’t spent so much time trying to beat this thing.

Basically, the game goes like this. You have a series of tasks which are completed using the arrow keys and spacebar, and you only have four seconds to do them. They range from filling up a balloon to putting sunscreen on a guy to destroying the planet. Some of them are easy, others are extremely hard. You only have a certain number of lives before you die completely.

This was another game I remember everyone at my school playing. It was almost like a contest; people tried to see how much further they could get in this game than everyone else. Some were good at it and others weren’t, but everybody tried.

You can play 4 Second Frenzy here. (Don’t click on the link if you value your precious time.)

4. Castle Cat 3

Castle-Cat-3---The-Las-Vegas-Connection

There are few games on the internet more bizarre than Castle Cat 3. Now, I never played Castle Cat 1 or 2, so I don’t know how they compare. I was never really interested in finding out, anyway. There’s just something about this game that is so…odd it’s honestly kind of captivating. You play Castle Cat, a gray cat with, well, a tower-looking thing on his head (what?!) and run through deserts with aliens and snakes, fight a monster in Las Vegas, avoid these cute, creepy little bouncing Venetian things, and battle a giant, rolling Sphinx. Yeah. It’s bizarre.

But what I liked best about Castle Cat 3 was the music. The music is weird as hell, and somehow perfectly matches with the wacky tone of the game. It’s really a game that can only be experienced. I really encourage checking it out.

(And yes, I did play this game before I saw The X-Files, so I didn’t get “the truth is out there” reference. But now that I do, I love Castle Cat 3 even more.)

You can play Castle Cat 3 here.

3. Raft Wars

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Looking back on it, Raft Wars was kind of the ultimate internet game for kids. The protagonists, after all, were children with tennis ball guns. They weren’t army captains or racers or weird magical creatures, they were kids that wore diapers and floated on floaties and had to protect their precious treasure from the world of adults (that came in the form of pirates, vikings, neighbors, bikers, and weird masked people).

Perhaps there’s a deeper meaning to Raft Wars, and maybe in the future I’ll spend some time to uncover it. But for now, all I can do is say that this game probably took up way more time than I ever had as a kid and I don’t feel much regret.

You can play Raft Wars here.

2. Fancy Pants 2

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It’s hard to imagine an internet game with a more defined style than Fancy Pants. All three games are tons of fun, but if I had to pick the one that wasted the most of my time, it would definitely be Fancy Pants 2. And why not? The game is just creative. The backdrops are awesome, the movement is unique, and Fancy Pants Man himself brings a whole new meaning to the concept of “stick figure.” It’s just a unique, creative, and often pretty game with awesome graphics. Definitely worth a checking-out.

You can play Fancy Pants 2 here.

1. Bloons

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But even after the stick figures, after the crazy cats, rolling stars, bouncing rainbow balls and vengeful children, there can only be one victor: Bloons.

Bloons was the only internet game that I saw people still playing in high school. And not Bloons 2 or Bloons Tower Defense, either; just the good, original Bloons that we all know and love.

What makes this game so appealing? Well, for one thing, anyone can play it. There’s no blood, no violence, not a whole lot of strategizing, just throwing darts and popping balloons. As a monkey. And boy, did we love it.

I played Bloons in between studying for high school finals. I played Bloons while on vacation. I played Bloons yesterday.

It’s just a great game, and that’s why it’s #1.

You can play Bloons here.

Special Mention: Coma 

coma

This one unfortunately didn’t make the list because it came out in 2010, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. Coma transcends the world of mere internet flash games. It’s a work of art. It’s the most visually striking, interestingly made, unique internet game I have ever played. It’s also the strangest by far. You know how I joked that Raft Wars could have a hidden meaning behind it? Well, Coma actually does. I won’t ruin it because you really should check this one out. It’s absolutely breathtaking and by far the best game I’ve ever come across on the internet.

You can play Coma here.

Well, that’s my list. What internet games do you like to play? Comment below and have fun!


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A Look At Billboard Top 10 – Week of 8/25/14

Oh, Billboard. Well over a month later and you’re still unbelievably uninteresting.

Okay, so that’s not strictly true. I will admit that this glance-over fared much better than the previous one, which you can read here. And once again I’m going to be indecisive on how I want to handle this whole Billboard thingy and stick with the top ten.

Also, because I’m a nice person, I’m going to shake things up and provide you all with the songs for listening, right here on this blog. That’s right – I am saving you the excruciating effort of typing in the names of these songs into Google, clicking the link, and waiting for that stupid leg lotion ad that won’t leave YouTube alone to finish playing. You can thank me later.

I will make a few exceptions to the Top Ten restriction before I start reviewing the Top Ten of the Hot 100 right now, and that is only to say that Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” is the best song of the summer and I absolutely, shamelessly, passionately, adore it. I never get tired of it.

 

 

And if you want another good listen, the Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake song “Love Never Felt So Good” isn’t half bad either. No, not even the Justin Timberlake half.

 

 

There have been a few other good ones here and there, too. Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” has still managed to stay in the Top 20 and is actually crawling back up, if you can believe it. And yes, I can hear the moans and groans even from this side of my computer, but honestly, out of all the songs in the universe that could be overplayed as much as “Happy” I’d say we got pretty lucky, wouldn’t you?

(Wait a minute…got lucky? Like “Get Lucky”? Get it? It’s another Pharrell Williams song? Get it? Get it? I didn’t even realize I made that joke until after I wrote it!)

Anyway, you guys don’t want to hear “Happy” again so I’ll just leave the Weird Al version below instead.

 

 

But let’s talk about the Hot 100 Top 10 of right now, because there are a few surprises. A few.

1. “Rude” by MAGIC! 

 

 

You know, I’ve never particularly cared for “Rude,” but unlike most pop songs where I can kind of see the popular appeal, I just can’t figure this one out. Ever since “Rude” replaced “Fancy” as the #1 song on Billboard, I kind of stopped following Billboard for a few weeks – not for that particular reason or anything, just to take a break. I check back in a few weeks later expecting to see a whole new list, and I was honestly shocked to see that “Rude” was still at the top. Who knew that reggae-influenced pop had such staying power?

If I had to guess, I’d say that “Rude” will probably be MAGIC!’s one and only claim to fame, but I have been wrong before. If you keep going down this list you will definitely see.

2. “All About That Bass” – Meghan Trainor

 

 

When I checked back in on Billboard’s list, this song immediately popped out to me because it was one of the only songs that was marked as actually moving up in the charts, and not down, as most of the songs in the top ten have been doing as of late. And – yeah, I’m kind of surprised about the success of this one. It’s a pleasant surprise, though.

What is happening to Billboard? Some of the year’s biggest hits have very much deviated from traditional pop sounds, going for a reggae or retro feel instead. And, yeah, I’m totally a big supporter of it. Forget the loud, buzzy, repetitive EDM crap, bring me more of this.

Anyway, about the song itself, as it is by far the most interesting thing on this list, it’s…good. I had to listen to it a few times to come to that conclusion, but I think I’ve made up my mind that compared to other songs on the list, it’s good. It’s not great, but good. I think if I had to make one complaint, it would be that it doesn’t really know how it wants to get its own point across. I get that it’s criticizing societal views of weight or whatever, but I’m not really sure what being “all about that bass” has to do with body weight, unless that’s a slang term or something I’m not aware of. Also it might not help that the song contains the lines “Go ‘head and tell them skinny bitches that. Naw, I’m just playing, I know you guys even think you’re fat, but I’m here to tell you that you’re perfect” which barely escapes being hostile towards these supposed “skinny bitches” especially since being underweight can be a serious health problem, yadda yadda yadda. I’m not going to take it that seriously. Especially since the singer, Meghan Trainor, apparently said this in response to that line: “But, I’m not bashing skinny girls. Some girls have commented, ‘I’m a size zero, so you must hate me.’ But that’s not it at all! There have been battles on my YouTube page, like, ‘You don’t know what she’s talking about. She’s actually saying, ‘I know even you skinny girls struggle’.’ And that’s exactly how I feel.” Well, you might have articulated that a little better in the actual song, but for now I’m giving you the thumbs up.

3. “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith

 

 

Sam Smith, the guy with possibly the most boring name in pop music history, has written a song that isn’t actually as good as it thinks it is. It is the epitome of a mediocre song with too much false hype. Still, I do recall writing this over a month ago:

This poor guy is going to be gone by next month.

-Knife Ink, “A Look At Billboard Week of 7/11/14”

Ugh. I am bad at this.

4. “Break Free” by Ariana Grande

 

 

This is a good season for Ariana Grande, let me tell you. She has three hits in the top ten right now. Unfortunately “Break Free” is my least favorite of those three. The last time I heard it, I actually forgot it was Ariana Grande singing.

5. “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX

 

 

Okay. This is ALL I want to say about “Fancy” ever again – I sincerely wish that it had come out earlier so that Weird Al could have made a parody. That is all.

6. “Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz

 

 

You know, I just don’t get “Am I Wrong?”. And for all it repeats “that’s just how I feel,” I find myself screaming at the song, “HOW, SIR? HOW DO YOU FEEL?” Can anybody explain this song to me because I just. Don’t. Get. It.

7. “Problem” by Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea

 

 

I’ve already spoken about “Problem.” Not Ariana Grande’s best song, but it is admittedly catchy as hell.

8. “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea ft. Rita Ora

 

 

I WAS RIGHT! I WAS RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING!

Okay, I know I’m basically wrong about 95% of the time when it comes to predicting chart success, but remember this?

There’s a new Iggy Azalea song at #97 right now. Why do I have a feeling it’s going to be higher?

-Knife Ink, “A Look At Billboard 7/11/14”

Oh yeah! Who called it?

“Black Widow” is so much worse than “Fancy” it’s not even funny, and “Fancy” wasn’t even that good. I’m nobody to start judging rap, but I don’t even thing Iggy’s that great on this one. And she seems to have star quality, like she could end up making some good stuff eventually. But then again, “Black Widow” could be the greatest rap song of our generation and I wouldn’t know the difference, so I probably shouldn’t be saying anything.

9. “Chandelier” by Sia

 

 

I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, don’t like this song.

10. “Bang Bang” by Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj

 

 

And so we come to the final song on the list, which is also the third song in the top ten to feature Ariana Grande. Kind of. When you have three major pop stars on your song you kind of have to share, if you know what I mean. And Jessie J has such a loud, blasting, grating voice that she pretty much dominates whatever song she’s in, whether it’s intentional or not. Ariana’s got a nice voice and all that, but she’s too sweet and cute to be appearing in a song with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj. There’s an imbalance here that just doesn’t make this song completely work for me. Still, I can at least see why it’s gotten popular. It is, as is now becoming associated with Ariana Grande, catchy as hell.

Besides, it will never replace the one and only “Bang Bang”.

 

 

Well, that’s all, folks. I leave you with a present: Al Stewart’s “Soho – Needless to Say” and if you find better lyrics than these in the Billboard Charts I will applaud you. Spoiler alert: you won’t.

 

 

Also follow me on Twitter. It’s for the good of humanity. Just kidding. But follow me anyway.