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2020 Is Hindsight, America's Last Great Hurrah
In the past, Chris Hedges has forecast the fall of America by 2030. Perhaps, perhaps not. Almost undoubtedly there will be a United States of America come January 1st, 2030 -- barring some nuclear holocaust. But what it is has been so hollowed out by decades of grift and corporate self-interest, it will be about as recognizable as Imperial Rome was to the Roman Republic. Institutional forms merely carried forward as but a facade. But it has become clear to me 2020 has been America's last great Hurrah. By Hurrah, I mean the artificial propping up of the stock market and the upper middle class crowded around it like an enclave of apes around a monolith they worship but fundamentally don't understand, entranced to madness while the elites pull the levers of the enigmatic machine. What started as an actual economic tool, had been transformed into a retirement fund like houses for a privileged generation or two, and now is merely a casino where the house always wins -- although the ones playing seem wholly oblivious to the fact unlike in Las Vegas. Others are cheering on Joe Biden as the next savior, much as Obama should have been. His cabinet picks show a man trying to reconstruct 2016 BAU. The man himself seems primed to be the next Jimmy Carter. For those too young to remember, that nice guy was as useful as using cat's whiskers to push a car. Mr President-Elect is a gerontocrat from another era well past his prime, the boomer's last gasp and grasp at maintaining power. It's already quite evident his administration will likely be run by teams of underlings in a multi-sided tug of war with each other, no one at the helm. This is not unique, Reagan was somewhat the same way and before him Woodrow Wilson after a stroke. But the illusion of the President being someone with his hand on the wheel was maintained, who knows what will occur when that public perception is shattered? Weekend at Bernies was fun and games when it was a random rich guy that had no fundamental power over a nation. Today I was at possibly the last institution of American greatness, one thing most citizen's loved and could agree on. The Post Office. Established by Ben Franklin. Semi-privatized by Reagan. Stifled by Congress. Stopped neither by snow, rain, heat nor gloom of night -- it has finally been brought to its knees these last six months. Not Corona. But by a Trump desperate to win an election and decades long Republican yearning to privatize yet another public service, one that is largely self-funded but to a small fraction of what it costs to keep the military. Avowed corporatists dreaming of bringing the "free market" to streamline and inevitably force private monopolized pricing, especially on rural America. Elderly with drugs. Those running small businesses. Communities out in boondocks that will never get UPS/Fedex service, the PO being their single lifeline out into the greater world. America's last great institution has fallen. Sorting machines scrapped. Its upper tier fired or shuffled. Immense delays never seen in the past so systematically. Corona conveniently blamed. The regionalism of the Hunger Games was an inspired bit of foreshadowing from fiction to where we're headed in the near future. In all likelihood, an increasingly autocratic North-East Corridor tail wagging the rest of the dog just as Goldman Sachs & Friends dictated $9T bailout the NYSE casino. No ideology is at play, nor any greater political theory other than The Rich Make the Rules, So Let the Rich Get Richer. Merely through disparate wealth and power and connections. In a sense, America has always centered this way regionally dating from the original Colonies and cemented in the 19th Century. It's just merely never been explicitly formalized. Decades from now, when people ask when the peak of the US came and some may expect to hear 2020 or 2030ish perhaps. Corona or some other clear delineation like the fall of the Berlin Wall may exist. But those are just visual symptoms. The actual answer by most metrics will be 1945 and the immediate postwar. A result of a culmination of moves from early 19th Century towards hemispherical hegemony and empire. The rest of the industrialized world devastated, it served as uncontested factory and Superpower to the world. Exports were at max. Unemployment was low, wages were high. Its Universities had been bolstered by Europe's top talent since the early 1930s. It had exclusive access to the Atom Bomb. And was at the very cusp of computing which would pay major dividends later. By most metrics, America dominated everyone else. "Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.” What we have left is just an afterimage placed over a husk that hasn't been dispelled quite yet. Like a major corporate stock too many bet on long after the company has slumped in reality because they remember the good times which feeds their hopium. YHOO. Sears. USA. Company or nation, the story of once-dominant interests mostly repeat as human nature stays the same. Enjoy your 2021. A delirious "Return to the Mean" will be the main theme in most people's minds. Use that tidbit as you wish.
We're all familiar with the Hotline Miami's, Hollow Knight's, and Celeste's of the world. These are some of the indie games that hit the big time. Of course, for every one of these games, there's 100 other indie games that have been glossed over, relegated to a spot in a digital store few people will ever find themselves in. I wanted to bring attention to some of these lesser known indie games. I'm going to order them according to Metacritic Critic Ratings. Some of the games at the bottom have pretty low critic ratings. I personally disagree with the low scores of these games, but it's only fair that you hear from more than just me. Keep in mind that games with only one or two User Ratings on Metacritic will not show the score. A game needs at least three User Ratings on Metacritic before the score will be shown. This is not the case for Critic Reviews. Price will contain the U.S. PlayStation Store link to the game. 1. Hayfever
Description: Hayfever is a precision platformer that revolves around a mailman propelling himself using a number of different allergens that act as power-ups. A lot of the platforming is aerial and typically has you catching allergens mid-air to perform maneuvers in quick succession. It's not an easy game by any means, but it has oddly relaxing music to accompany the rather intense platforming. There are also letters to collect in each level to steepen the challenge and some secrets to discover too. It takes an hour or so to get used to the aerial platforming, and this is one of the few 2D platformers played better with the analog stick rather than the D-Pad. But letters that seemed unattainable to me at the beginning of the game became much simpler by the end, as I had mastered the controls and physics of the game. I don't expect everyone to love this game, but I have to agree with the one other guy who played it that gave it a 9/10. After putting 25+ hours into it, I am still eager to replay it soon.
Completion Time: ~8 Hours
Extra Content: It'll take another 8 hours or so to collect all the letters and probably about 6 hours or so to beat the Hard World, which features an additional 28 remixed levels. There are also secrets to uncover, but they don't net any in game progress and only work towards your trophy completion. Finding these secrets will probably vary more in time because they are hidden, but expect them to take a few hours to find. Just to clarify, letters are an expanded test of your platforming skills and are all in clear view of the screen, while secrets are a test of your observation skills and take a little more digging to find. The platinum trophy is a fair and rewarding challenge that took me about 25-30 hours to get.
Description: Valfaris is one of the best run & gun games I've ever played. You play as Prince Therion who returns to his home planet of Valfaris on a quest to kill his father. It's themed around a fictional planet and has a gross alien vibe coupled with heavy metal music. The music doesn't override the other audio in the game, and it does a nice job of upping the ante when you're fighting a boss – of which there are many. You're equipped with a primary gun, a more powerful mana-based gun, a sword, and a shield that can block with mana or parry. There are a number of weapons to acquire throughout the game, and the guns in particular do a great job of feeling different. You’re able to upgrade your weapons with Blood Metals. Some Blood Metals are found in plain sight, others are rewarded for defeating a tough enemy, and some are given for going off the beaten path. These upgrades typically just up the firepower but will sometimes introduce a secondary move to your weapon. There are checkpoints every two minutes or so, and most bosses will have a checkpoint just before them (only the weaker bosses come after a gauntlet of enemies). The game is a little hard at points, but overall it strikes a nice balance of feeling accomplished for overcoming the challenges without getting overly frustrating.
Completion Time: ~8 Hours
Extra Content: There are a few secrets to find throughout the game that are off the beaten path, though I was able to find 2/3 of them on my first playthrough. I found all but one weapon as well. The replayability comes from New Game+, which allows you to take all your upgraded weapons into a harder version of the game. Since the weapons all function a bit differently, this can be lots of fun. Getting the platinum trophy is somewhat difficult.
Description: The premise of the game is a fusion of side scrollers and oldschool fixed screens that teleport you to the opposite side of the screen when you pass through one side - think Pac-Man, arcade Mario Bros., or Balloon Fight. You will find obstacles in your path that are impenetrable in a typical side scroller, but can be overcome by holding a button to turn the screen into a fixed screen that allows you to pass through one side and out through the other end. This is a totally unique take on a puzzle platformer I haven't seen before, and all five worlds bring something new to the table. For example, World 2 will flip you upside down when you pass through a screen, allowing new types of challenges as a result. There's more emphasis on the puzzle elements than the platforming.
Completion Time: ~2 Hours
Extra Content: There is a New Game+, but from what I could tell from the beginning it wasn't a whole lot different. Still, there's a trophy for completing New Game+ and some other fun trophies. Unfortunately, like many early generation indie games, this one has no platinum trophy.
Description: This game revolves around using two square characters who fling themselves from one end of the room to the other to reach an exit. You must position yourself in such a way that you use each character's body to get around the level. Each world introduces a new mechanic to keep things fresh. The whole game is played only using the two analog sticks (the d-pad and face buttons work, but the two analog sticks are best, in my opinion). It can also be played in local co-op, however with how often you have to fling yourself around, coordinating the correct movements to the other player would be exhausting, and it is easier to experiment yourself.
Completion Time: ~3.5 Hours
Extra Content: There's really no extra content, but $4 for what's almost a 4 hour game isn't bad. There is an easy platinum trophy however.
Description: This is actually a sequel to the Steam exclusive Horizon Shift, which sports a different aesthetic and isn’t quite as good from what I’ve read. Horizon Shift ’81 mimics the look of a fixed screen shoot ‘em up from the early 1980s but comes with a few twists of its own. Your ship is positioned in the middle of the screen on a horizontal line rather than the bottom, and you have to flip between sides to deal with enemies coming from both the top and the bottom. The line can be broken in different places – leaving a gap where you can fall to your death – by asteroids and certain projectiles. This is where the expanded moveset comes into play: you can jump between gaps and also over enemies who attach themselves to the line. Enemies on the line can also be taken out with a horizontal shield bash that regenerates after a few seconds. There is a boss after every five stages, some of which will actually bring the line down to the bottom of the screen, while others retain it in the middle. Horizon Shift ’81 has a number of customizable settings that change everything from the aesthetics, to the difficulty, to the checkpoint/lives system, to the speed of the game, and more. The two main modes are a choice between three lives with a checkpoint before and after every boss, or a checkpoint at the beginning of every level but only one life.
Completion Time: ~3.5 Hours (Normal Mode on Arcade Style)
Extra Content: There are a number of ways to customize your future playthroughs, and there’s an unlockable boss rush mode after finishing the game. The few trophies are relatively easy to obtain. There is no platinum trophy for this game.
Description: Daggerhood's main hook is the use of its sword teleportation mechanic. You throw your sword with a button, and you press the same button again to teleport to where the sword is. While this is a mechanic that has been seen in some Metroidvanias, I haven't seen a tight, linear 2D platformer make use of this mechanic before. Each level has a number of collectibles and some small side sections as well, but for the most part the path to the finish is clear - it's just the execution that's the tricky part. Add in teleportation portals to make things even trickier.
Completion Time: ~2.5 Hours
Extra Content: As this is a Ratalaika Games published game, the platinum trophy only takes about 1-1.5 hours to achieve. You can get it well before you even finish the game, which is a shame because the game had all the makings for a fun platinum trophy. There are tons of collectibles in each level, and each level records your time. So there is a lot here to extend to the playtime.
Description: Usually with Metroidvanias, I expect a long, difficult game that's difficult to navigate. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is a counter to those ideas while still maintaining the exploratory nature of the sub-genre. The plot is pretty simple and doesn't feature a ton of story, but there are a few NPCs you talk to throughout your quest. The combat is also fairly simple, but the boss fights you engage in are all great. Without much weapon customization, it's stripped to the basics of dodging enemy attacks while trying to get a hit in. It makes for a game that's easy to get into and instantly start enjoying. All of the areas are visually appealing, some more than others, and each of them lasts shorter than you'd expect. The game is only around 3-5 hours, but it feels like you've played so much more in that time. Some games only really start to take off by the time this game finishes.
Completion Time: ~4 Hours
Extra Content: Getting 100% map completion should only take an hour or two of cleanup. I did miss an optional boss on my first playthrough. There are also items to discover, and the trophies give fun challenges to extend the life of the game. Unfortunately there is no platinum trophy for this game. One cool thing I liked was that beating a boss without getting hit at all gives you a useful item. It also features New Game+, allowing you to carry over most of your items, making the game more difficult, and changing up enemy placement.
Description: Ultra Hat Dimension follows Bea through a series of rooms in a palace on a quest to undo the magical spell that has made the mythical Spluff creatures want to attack one another. There is a little bit of backstory via one sentence thoughts from Bea in between levels, but nothing major here. The gameplay revolves equipping four different types of hats and using them to evade or push Spluffs around to retrieve the key and reach the door. Each Spluff dons one of four different hats which effects their behavior towards other Spluffs and you. You will be punched one tile back by every Spluff unless you’re wearing the same hat as the Spluff. Spluffs interact with one another differently depending on what hat they’re wearing in a rock, paper, scissors kind of way – they may punch a Spluff back one space, get into a scuffle that allows you to get close to them without wearing a hat, or they may temporarily disable them in a way that allows you to access the space the Spluff consumes within eight moves. There are undo and reset buttons included that allow you to quickly rewind mistakes. There are some clever puzzles accompanied by catchy tunes and a charming pixel art aesthetic. The difficulty is about average.
Completion Time: ~3 Hours
Extra Content: Since this is published by Ratalaika Games, getting the platinum trophy can be obtained after only clearing 2/3 of the levels. There are a few custom maps on the PC version of the game but no additional content on consoles.
Description: Remothered: Tormented Fathers feels very old school in its design philosophy - no weapons outside a few self defense items and distraction items. You go back and forth in the mansion and have to learn the layout and where things are to proceed. You have to manually select the key item from your inventory to use on triggers (but a key icon is still shown to guide you a little). The sounds in this game do a great job of evoking tension, and I appreciate that the stalkers don’t seem to teleport, so if you can get away from them, you’ve earned your freedom for awhile. This is the first game in a loosely connected trilogy, with the second one due later this year.
Completion Time: ~6 Hours
Extra Content: There are some collectibles you can go back for, but not a whole beyond that. Unfortunately there is no platinum trophy for this game, and you'll probably get most of the trophies - if not all, except the collectibles one - on your first playthrough.
Description: Reverie is a mix between Zelda’s gameplay, Earthbound’s aesthetic and humor, and a New Zealand folktale – the legend of Maui and the Giant Fish. Instead of the more traditional sword and shield style fantasy, Reverie instead opts for items and tools a modern boy is more likely to find in his possession, like a cricket bat, a yoyo, and a nerf gun. Similarly, the first dungeon is grandpa’s basement, where you’ll square off against a giant hedgehog and a tumble dryer. That said, the game does get more fantastical with the last two locations, particularly the last one. It’s a relatively easy game overall, though the fourth and especially fifth dungeon offer up a moderate challenge. The indie scene has produced a lot of Zelda-like games in recent years, but this is the only one I know of that isn’t your standard medieval fantasy.
Completion Time: ~5 Hours
Extra Content: There are feathers to collect, mini games to play, and a combat focused bonus dungeon to beat. That said, a lot of this stuff is easy to stumble upon in the main quest, so you’re probably looking at about two or three hours’ worth of content after beating the game to complete everything and get the platinum trophy.
Description: Inertial Drift's distinguishing characteristic is its employment of the right analog stick for drifting. This takes a little getting used to, but it feels great once you get the hang of it, creating some exhilarating moments when perfecting corner turns. The game has 10 unique tracks + 10 reversed tracks, 16 vehicles, and four separate story arcs. Each story arc is only a couple of hours long and features a different protagonist with a different vehicle. Since you’ll be racing on the same track a few times, there are a few gameplay variations that differ from just reaching the finish line at the end, such as racking up a certain number of points that are acquired through longer drift times and other means. There's quite a bit of dialogue between races, and in the races themselves characters will frequently dish out positive commentary on your performance in the form of text in the top left hand corner of the screen. The game's aesthetics are a fusion of anime and synthwave. I've heard many fans liken the game to the manga Initial D, though I'm unfamiliar with that series myself.
Completion Time: ~3 Hours (for 1/4 Story Arcs)
Extra Content: There are a number of different modes including a Story Mode, Challenge Mode, Grand Prix Mode, Arcade Mode, two player Split-Screen, and Online, as well as a Tutorial. Completion of challenges in Challenge Mode allows you to unlock new vehicles for the other non-Story Modes. Grand Prix Mode allows you to race using different characters/vehicles through a connected set of challenges, while Arcade Mode is for one-off races. I wouldn't recommend this game for online play as the user-base is pretty small (hence it being overlooked) and you're unlikely to find a match. Getting the platinum trophy is fairly difficult.
Description: This is an action platformer that emulates arcade games from the latter half of the 1980s, but it is probably most reminiscent of Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. The creator, Locomalito, states that the soundtrack uses the true arcade sound of the YM2203 chip. The game is hard, but the checkpoints are never more than a minute or two apart, and the lives' system/continue system has no penalties outside of locking you out of trophies. This is a very boss dense game - in the ~4 hour run-time it takes to complete the game, you fight 19 bosses. The handful of weapons and items you pick up helps lend variety to the combat, and no two boss fights feel the same.
Completion Time: ~4 Hours
Extra Content: The game has two endings. Most players will get the bad ending the first time around and be locked out of the final stage (which is the longest stage in the game). You do have to play through the game again to get the good ending, but you'll likely do it in half the time. If you want to see all the major content on your first go around, I recommend looking up how to get the good ending before you play the game. As far as trophies are concerned, the platinum trophy is very difficult to obtain. If you like an extreme challenge, this one's for you.
Description: Pato Box follows an anthropomorphic duck boxer on an adventure through a stylistic noir comic book world. “Pato” is a Spanish word that translates to “Duck” in English (the game was developed by a Mexican studio). The boss fights are heavily inspired by Punch-Out’s gameplay, but there are levels outside of these fights to help differentiate it. Most of the levels can be selected in any order you choose and typically serve as a leadup to the boss fight. Bosses are usually introduced by a cutscene followed by some dialogue taunting Pato Box. The levels play entirely differently from the fights, but the themes of the level match those of the bosses. The levels will employ various elements of evasion, stealth, exploration, and a few time-based mini-games. The casino level, for example, will have you walk around the casino looking for chips and punching the slot machines to earn enough to pay entrance to the fight, while the food factory has you evading stompers, sawblades, and butcher knives as you work your way through the level. There are variety of things to find throughout the levels: tokens for decorations in Pato Box’s room, backstory on the boss of the level and the world, and tips on how to win the upcoming fight. The fights themselves lock Pato Box in the middle of the screen, allowing you to block, juke left or right, and perform a low or high jab to the left or right. The game foregoes a HUD in favor of a visual representation of your health via scars on your body, which I thought was a nice touch. While the levels and bosses play pretty differently from each other, they’re weaved together by a dark and intriguing story that follows Pato Box’s quest for retribution against an evil corporation.
Completion Time: ~7 Hours
Extra Content: There’s an Arcade Mode that lets you replay boss fights and some collectibles to find in the main campaign. The trophies are very difficult, and many ask you to beat a boss without taking a single hit.
Description: The Count Lucanor’s story is very fairy tale-esque – more like a classic fairy tale as it can be pretty dark and grotesque at times. On his 10th birthday, Hans chooses to leave his mother in a quest for wealth. After some walking and conversation with NPCs you find along the way, you stumble upon a large mansion and find that the count of this mansion is looking to pass his wealth onto an heir who can prove himself worthy – “worthy” in this case being the one who can figure out the count’s name. From here, you are tasked with adventuring through the mansion and solving environmental puzzles in a nonlinear way to acquire the letters that spell the count’s name. There is a survival horror element to the game, as you are unable to attack the enemies in the mansion and instead must crawl under tables and find other ways around them. You can place candles around the mansion to light it up to help you better evade enemies, but your usage is limited (though you can find more).
Completion Time: ~4 Hours
Extra Content: There are five different endings and some puzzles/rooms you don’t even have to do. This could double your playtime – maybe even more if you don’t use a guide. The platinum trophy requires every ending and a few other things but is pretty easy to get if you use a guide.
Description: The Bunker is an FMV point & click adventure, meaning it features real actors and environments just like a live action movie. Many of the actors involved have been in high profile movies/TV shows as well, including The Hobbit, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and Penny Dreadful. The game takes place in a fallout shelter and follows the last survivor as he tries to find a way outside following the death of his mother, after living 30+ years in the bunker. The gameplay has you solving puzzles and finding ways to proceed to the next area. The story is the focal point of the game though, and it frequently switches between the past and the present to tell its story. There’s a good juxtaposition between the lively past and the lonely present that makes you question how the protagonist ended up as the last survivor. There’s only one narrative choice to make in the game, and it comes at the very end. The game also works in handheld mode with touchscreen functionality if you'd prefer to play it that way.
Completion Time: ~2. Hour Completion Time*
Extra Content: You can replay the game and try to find all the collectibles. Most of them give more background on the story. You can trigger the ending you did not choose the first time around by simply reloading the last checkpoint, so there is no need to play through the whole game again to unlock it. Getting the platinum trophy is fairly easy.
Description: A Tale of Paper takes direct inspiration from Little Nightmares, sporting the same sideview camera angle and minimalist narrative. It’s a little less creepy and has the interesting twist of transforming into a variety of different origamis on the fly: from a little alien creature, to a frog, to a ball, to a paper airplane, etc., all with the push of a button. You’ll use a combination of different origami shapes to overcome the obstacles in the area, and you’ll be accompanied by some gorgeous sceneries in the process. The gameplay is pretty easy in both its platforming and puzzles, making it an easygoing, movie-esque kind of game. While the story is minimalist, it results in a satisfying conclusion, and it really feels like you’ve been through quite a journey even with the short runtime. The game evokes the feeling of being a tiny specimen in a larger-than-life world – Toy Story 2 is probably the most apt comparison I can make. Outside of Little Nightmares, I haven’t played another game quite like this.
Completion Time: ~1.5 Hours
Extra Content: I got seven of the eight origami collectibles in my first run-through. The trophies also only offer a few extra things to do, but I’d recommend reading the list of trophies before you play the game if you want to get the relatively easy platinum trophy.
Description: If you liked Detroit: Become Human or Until Dawn, Late Shift will be right up your alley. This game is a bit different from both those titles in that it's an FMV, with the gameplay solely consisting of the choices you make. You receive prompts at key moments in the story on what you want your character to do next, and this effects the outcome of the game. It plays more like Black Mirror's Bandersnatch, though this game came before it. The story follows an everyman who gets tangled up in London's criminal underground just as a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Completion Time: ~1.5 Hour Completion Time*
Extra Content: There are 180 choice points and 7 different endings. There is a platinum trophy, and I only got 4 out of 21 of the trophies on my first playthrough. There are a number of different routes to take with the game.
Description: SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption is a Soulslike boss rush - there are no levels and only small area before each boss to practice your moves. There are eight bosses, the first seven allowing you to fight in any order, each representing the seven deadly sins. You are equipped with everything the game has to offer from the beginning (except for the New Game+ weapon they give you), and instead of becoming more powerful, you gradually lose things with each boss you defeat, hence the “sacrifice” in the title. It’s like a reverse RPG. Each boss has a different sacrifice associated to it – one may deplete your throwing items’ usage, while another will deplete your health and stamina. Picking the best order to fight them in adds a little strategic thinking to the game, as you may be more dependent on your large health and stamina bar more than your throwing items’ usage, for example. The game is fairly difficult, so your victories over each boss feel very gratifying when they do come.
Completion Time: ~5 Hours
Extra Content: There is New Game+ that offers you an additional weapon. The trophies task you with a few things you have to pull off in battles, and the platinum trophy is pretty easy to obtain.
Description: Verlet Swing’s aesthetic is as intriguing as its gameplay: you are tasked with grappling and swinging yourself across these vaporwave styled levels without hitting anything. The levels are all very short, but you’re likely to play many levels dozens of times before even finishing it… just to get a 1/4 rank. The ranking system is actually very cool, in that it encourages you to find alternative paths or sometimes just building up more momentum to get to the end faster. Most levels do seem to have a set path, but at the same time, with the proper grappling of the mechanics, you can forge your own, which is a game in itself.
Completion Time: ~7 Hours
Extra Content: There’s an in game challenge menu that mostly recycles a lot of the base game content – though there’s a particularly funny one that switches the perspective to third person to play as a knockoff Spiderman. You can also go back and try to get the best possible time for each level. Getting the platinum trophy is extremely hard and I believe is at 0.1% completion.
Description: Neon Drive is a challenging rhythm game with a synthwave aesthetic and appropriately matching music. The objective of the game is to evade the obstacles coming at you by transitioning between four lanes at the right moment using either two of the face buttons, D-Pad, or shoulder buttons. Personally I found the shoulder buttons worked best. The game will occasionally transform you into other vehicles that mix the gameplay up a bit - one notable example is when you turn into a plane and transition between eight lanes in a 360 degree orientation. There are only eight levels that are all about three minutes in length if you were to beat them with no deaths, with two checkpoints and two health points that regenerate between checkpoints. While this all sounds very generous, most of these levels will still take you dozens of tries, though the life reset is almost immediate so you can get back into the action right away.
Completion Time: ~3 Hours
Extra Content: There are two harder difficulties, an endurance mode that sees how long you can go without dying, a free run mode that allows you to play through the game without reset (only unlocked after beating each level), and online leaderboards. The trophies are very hard to get, and there is no platinum trophy.
Conclusion My top 5 on the list in order would be the following: (1.) Hayfever, (2.) Valfaris, (3.) Cursed Castilla: (Maldita Castilla EX), (4.) Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, and (5.) Bleep Bloop. Have you played any of these games? What are some other overlooked single player indie games? If you’re looking for more indie games to play, see my post here:
The Vow of Silver Dawn Chapter 2 - English Translation
Finally had a chance to get around to the second chapter of the Chinese-exclusive High Republic novel The Vow of Silver Dawn! Since the book has ballooned to over 30 chapters now, finishing it will be a long time coming. I appreciate everyone's interest in this project and your patience during the wait. Significant portions of this translation are derived from the work of u/Art3mis4266 and u/woodledoodledoodle through our shared Google Doc of the first 10 chapters. They have done a fantastic job, and I recommend reading u/woodledoodledoodle's own individual translation of the novel as well (he's both an excellent writer and likely to be more reliable than I am at consistently posting). Consider our projects complementary takes on the same source material. Chapter 1: https://www.reddit.com/starwarscanon/comments/kg2r8v/the_vow_of_silver_dawn_chapter_1_english/ Chapter 2 Simple Solution Were it not for the tone of absolute sincerity in the boy’s voice, without even a trace of sarcasm, the Quarren would have smacked the desk with his suction-tipped hands. “You’ve met the Mythrol, then?” Mostema asked the hologram. “I have.” The Quarren couldn’t help but ask, “The Mythrol? The same Mythrol who calls himself the pastry chef of the mansion, but constantly hangs around at bars and casinos in the Lower City?” Sean laughed, “Yup, thanks to your investigative report, which made the workload much easier, I was able to pinpoint the target directly.” “That Mythrol is very cunning, and very dangerous. You must be cautious around him!” An expression of wry agreement crossed Sean’s face in response to the Quarren’s words. “Yes, very cunning indeed. It took all of two hours to find and get some answers out of him.” The Quarren wanted to say that even his best agents couldn’t get close to the Mythrol with two weeks of work, but the words died in his throat. But then, of course, the young lad was also a Jedi; all it would have taken was a mind trick, and the Mythrol would have spilled everything… However, Mostema asked, “No using the Force?” “Of course not, Master. I kept your teachings in mind.” A puzzled look came over the Quarren, as if to say Wait, what in the galaxy are you two going on about? Why wouldn’t you use the Force? Spotting the Quarren’s confusion, Mostema explained, “Sean isn’t particularly gifted in the Force. His sensitivity is below average when compared to other Padawans his age. So while he needs to work harder to strengthen his connection, he also should not form the habit of being overly dependent upon it. The Force is more than just a tool for the Jedi to wield.” Sean seemed ashamed of himself as he said, “The three pillars of being a Jedi: the Force, knowledge, and self-discipline. I’ve been lacking in the first since birth, so if I tried to rely on it to do whatever I want, I’d just be even more of a disgrace...” Okay, the Quarren thought, whatever you guys say, but without the Force, how did the Padawan make the chef talk? As if reading his mind, Sean said, “I went around to all of his favorite bars and casinos until I found him, got him drunk, and won all of his possessions by gambling. It was easy to get him to tell me everything after that.” The Quarren looked down to his own report, at the section about the Mythrol. It noted that he was “An experienced career criminal, a highly-practiced gambler, and a heavy drinker.” But, as a Republic agent, the Quarren quickly regained his composure and asked “He gave you the location of the manor?” “He told me how to make a Seven-Layered Kashyyykian Cake. I’m confident I could make one better than he does, now!” replied Sean. The Quarren frowned. What has a dessert recipe got to do with all this?! “He only worked his way into the manor with the secret recipes of his desserts. Now that I can bake them even better than he can, I can replace the Mythrol as the pastry chef in the manor at Green Dawn Hill…” Sean explained. The Quarren couldn’t help but interrupt: “Wait a moment, the president’s mansion is at Green Dawn Hill?!” “Yup, on the northeastern side. Hard to miss.” “Did the Mythrol tell you?” “I just followed him there.” “...‘Followed’ him there?!” the Quarren asked incredulously, while looking at the report files on the datapad in his hand, which, in meticulous bloody detail, described the countless elite agents who had attempted to tail the manor’s staff, and had suffered brutal deaths. “I spent a couple of days tracking the Mythrol’s whereabouts before I formally made contact with him, and found that he took a different route to the mansion every time, before suddenly disappearing. If I had tracked him any further beyond that each time, he might have noticed me.” The Quarren nodded his head; finally something that matched his kriffing report! “But these seemingly hidden pathways revealed the truth, because careful observation showed that no matter where he disappeared, the locations were always near sewers or similar underground facilities. It wasn’t hard to deduce from there that the manor has special entry routes leading directly to it via the sewage system.” Come on lad, did you really have to add “Wasn’t hard to deduce!” and rub salt in the wound? “It’s actually not an uncommon method; the ‘New Agent Handbook’ published on Corellia documented 27 similar cases in which other hidden mansions utilized similar methods to move personnel. I found the local construction company responsible for building the sewer, retrieved and analyzed all of the architectural drawings from their database, determined the structure of all the hidden passageways, and traced them to the location of the manor. All in all, these Outer Rim despots are pretty simple thinkers.” The Quarren silently deleted all the research files stored on his datapad, swearing to himself to never mention his past few years’ work to another living soul. Sean was still enthusiastically going on, “Also, according to my investigation, in five days the president will be entertaining a number of mob bosses over at the manor. I think that’d be a great opportunity to make a move!” Mostema knocked a fist on the desk, and said: “In five days? This could be our chance.” The Quarren was shaken, “Master, are you planning to execute Jamie’s entire criminal syndicate?” Both of the Jedi simultaneously gave him a bewildered look. His voice serious, Sean elaborated, “How could we? Jedi don’t seek to start fights, and I can’t even imagine assassinating a legitimate head of state. The reason we’ve worked so hard to gather clues and evidence is so that Jamie can receive a fair trial according to the law, to show the public his criminal activities, and to encourage the ideals of peace and justice to root deeply in the hearts of Bergamore’s people. Using violence to end violence will only give birth to another dictator who violates law and discipline.” The Quarren felt ashamed. Understanding the spirit behind the rule of law had not yet taken root deeply in his own heart, either. He quickly gave voice to another question, however. “If not an execution, then what kind of opportunity does this banquet in five days present? Why do we need to wait until then to sneak in? Couldn’t we simply get in, get the evidence, and get out?” “A man this careful wouldn’t leave behind anything concrete lying around, even in his own mansion,” Sean replied. The Quarren couldn’t help but continue his questioning, “Even the existence of the mansion itself constitutes a crime! With his President’s salary, he wouldn’t have been able to acquire such an estate in a thousand years, not to mention that he always claimed back on Coruscant to never spend more than five thousand credits a year! What’s more, rumors abound of his manor’s extravagance, of it being filled with all kinds of rare treasures…” “He could easily say that the manor is owned by someone else, and that he is only living there temporarily. Actually, according to my research, the owner of the manor is a shareholder of the Bergamore Heavy Industries Corp, not the President himself.” It’s only been a few days – has he checked out everyone in the manor by now? The Quarren kept up his line of questioning. “But he’s lived in the mansion for so long, there has to be some evidence of crime, no? Skeletons in the closet, so to say…” “There is the possibility, but I believe a criminal this conniving would never let down his vigilance, even in his own home. For example, he might use code words while issuing illegal orders, which couldn’t be used as direct evidence even if the orders were recorded.” The Quarren finally grew quiet. “Also, according to some witnesses from the manor, I have reason to believe that a sufficiently cautious crime lord will carefully manage the risk involved in all the positions of his organization, so that no one person has full knowledge of the extent of illegal activity taking place, or even that he or she is complicit in a crime. This further adds to the difficulty of collecting strong evidence. At the same time, multiple layers of task management and one-way communication makes it harder to trace back to the President himself, even if we were able to penetrate a certain line of contact.” Hearing all this, the Quarren almost felt faint. “Jamie Brasen is hardly a lunatic! Who would set up such elaborate safeguards in their own mansion? Is he not afraid he’ll die from overwork?” “Jamie Brasen is a very dangerous tyrant, and they all tend to be more than a little paranoid, sometimes downright mad, which makes it safe to assume we can’t predict his actions using conventional logic. Nor can we afford to underestimate him; after all, he had elite intelligence agents of the Republic running in circles for years,” Sean pointed out. The Quarren’s eyes filled with sadness. “You make it sound as though it’s impossible to get to him! If the risk is as high as you describe, then how do you even plan to carry out the mission at all?” “Our way in is through the banquet, five days from now,” Sean replied. “He can train his underlings in the mansion to communicate using code, but with other gang leaders they will most likely have to speak in Basic or some other common language-” Mostema interrupted before Sean could finish speaking. “We can’t rule out the possibility that they make use of some form of specialized comlinks, encrypting and decrypting transmissions on the fly, and self-destructing afterward to avoid leaving evidence behind.” “Yes, Master, I had considered this as well. Which is why I will be there personally five days from now, while Jamie Brasen is stressing over his inability to rely on his codes.” Mostema nodded, “Very well, I leave it up to you.” “It’s not ‘very well’ at all!” the Quarren interjected. “Master Jedi, you mean to have Sean infiltrate the estate? It’s too risky!” Mostema replied sternly, “I know. Having a Jedi Knight perform this sort of infiltration, with the target still being a legitimate political leader, will naturally cast doubt on the outcome of the investigation. Further, it will prove especially controversial if we use the Force to coerce the thoughts of anyone involved in the investigation. Such actions would easily come under attack following scrutiny by a team of skilled lawyers. The risks in this matter still bear consideration, and you are right to remind of us them. So Sean, you must be mindful that you are not to use the Force during this operation.” “I understand, Master.” The Quarren cried out dejectedly, “I’m sorry, Master Jedi, but I don’t understand! Are we really having a conversation in Basic right now? Why do I feel like you two, master and apprentice, are always speaking a language of your own! Have you understood anything I’ve said? Jamie Brasen’s manor is an ice tiger’s den that has been kept strictly secret for so many years. The tyrannical maniac has been operating out of it for decades; who knows how heavily that place is rigged with traps, and you’re letting a 17 year-old Padawan infiltrate it, Master, without using the Force, on the day when every underworld kingpin on-planet will be there having a banquet?!” Mostema looked to the Quarren again. “So, do you have any suggestions for Sean?” Sean looked at the alien expectantly. The Quarren’s facial tentacles spread so wide in shock, he thought they might split apart. Don’t look at me like that! He thought. I really don’t understand the world of you Jedi. Priming the explosive and then asking me for advice on how to defuse it? Yes, I’ve got advice for you: go take a long walk out a short airlock! You Jedi even treat the Force like some kind of basic appliance you can unplug, and you’ve willfully blocked yourself off from it! What more was there to say? “Be careful, and stay safe,” the Quarren said dryly. Sean thanked him in earnest. “Understood! The more complex and difficult a mission is, the more one needs to focus on the fundamentals. It’s no wonder you’re an elite agent of the Republic; with so few words, you manage to say so much.” The Quarren barely managed to muster a “Yeah, sure.” “Do you have a preliminary plan for the operation, five days from now?” Mostema asked Sean. “Yes.” Sean replied, “Though I may need to improvise some of the specifics, using the resources at hand I’ve developed a rough framework. I’ll share it with you, so I’m hoping you could lend me some constructive criticism.” Following this, Sean brought up his bracelet communicator and pressed a number of keys in short succession. A stream of data began to quickly transmit as an indicator light blinked continuously. The transmission continued for quite some time. The Quarren couldn’t help but tap his screen, thinking his datapad had malfunctioned. “Has the transmission been interrupted? My end shows that the file has not been received yet.” “Rest assured, operation plan files are usually fairly large, so the transmission may take some time,” Mostema answered. The Quarren was dumbfounded. Quite large? This comm channel could transmit a full galactic encyclopedia in less than ten seconds, and five minutes had already passed. Were these two sharing a hologram of Coruscant’s global blueprint, with over five thousand levels filled with some one trillion inhabitants? As the Quarren was starting to get impatient, a green confirmation light lit up on his datapad, indicating that the transmission had completed. Fingers beginning to tremble, the Quarren opened the file. Wave upon wave of files came into view, video clips scattered about like stars in the sky, all connected together with an array of complex lines of many varying colors, forming a visually dazzling and complicated network. Inwardly, the Quarren wanted to say “You actually did send Coruscant’s global blueprint, huh? A ‘rough framework?’ Your definition of ‘rough’ is an insult to Galactic Basic as understood anywhere in the Republic!” But he bit his tongue. Of course, Mostema pondered for a moment before saying to Sean, “It is rather simple, but it’s acceptable at this stage to get its point across. I will help you tidy up the prose, so let us proceed with what you have.” “Gladly!” Mostema then looked towards the Quarren. “Mr. Squak, do you have anything more to add?” The Quarren could only give a dry, sad chuckle.
The Bollywood film ‘Dhoom’ (2004), misinterpreted as an action thriller, is in fact a rigorous allegorical analysis of economic policies, particularly in the Indian context in the early ‘00s.
Spoilers ahead. Connoisseurs of film are undoubtedly well-aware of La Nouvelle Vague, aka, the ‘New Wave’—an experimental movement in filmmaking with its origins in the French cinema of the 1950s, with an emphasis on exploration of personal themes such as existentialism, iconoclasm and absurdism. Although the ‘New Wave’ is considered to have met its chronological end in the late 1960s, to be followed by successive movements like ‘New Hollywood’, ‘Cinema Novo’ and ‘Dogme 95’, the influence of la nouvelle vague continues to be keenly felt in the artistic masterpieces of Bollywood production house YRF. Under the skillful hand of renowned auteur Aditya Chopra, the studio has produced a lineup of commercially successful arthouse flicks that continue the French filmmaking renaissance of the ‘50s, successfully infusing avant-garde storytelling techniques with high production values and modern Indian themes. Nowhere is this revolutionary vision more evident than in films like DDLJ (a masterpiece in abstract, absurdist storytelling), Mohabbatein (a sensitive examination of the taboo topic of attitudes towards adolescent self-gratification), Kal Ho Naa Ho (an ambitious adaptation of historian David McCullough’s book 1776), Jab Tak Hai Jaan (a religio-philosophical drama that engages in debate upon the tenets of Christianity, Shaivism, and the cultural taboo of Kala Pani) and, of course, the Dhoom franchise. As YRF’s most popular franchise, the Dhoom series has, with each installment, made great independent strides in cinematic theory and practice. Although—as read above—YRF films explore a wide, varying range of topics as a whole, the Dhoom franchise focuses exclusively on the examination and discussion of economic and socio-economic matters of policy and practice in the Indian context. Over the course of 3 films, the discourse acquires a rich depth, with the analysis of issues including the economic costs and benefits of national highway construction, the clash between entrepreneurial aspirations and the security of bureaucratic employment, the 2008 economic recession in the BRICS context, and the causes and consequences of non-performing bank loans and a profiling of defaulters of on said loans. Indeed, a first course on Indian economics at any prestigious institution may well be framed around careful viewing and discussion of the Dhoom films. In the careful hands of Aditya Chopra and Vijay Krishna Acharya (Dhoom 1/2/3, Tashan, Thugs of Hindostan), each Dhoom film achieves a delicate balance between the overt cops-and-robbers heist story and the covert exploration of complex economic schools of thought. As the 1st film in the franchise, Dhoom (2004) establishes the storytelling framework for the films to come, and by itself explores the challenges and opportunities presented by Indian economic policymaking in the early ‘00s. The film features an all-round star-studded cast, with support from Honorary Roadie & Stardust Awards nominee Esha Deol, Star’s Sabsey Award winner Rimi Sen, and Indian Telly Award nominee Arav Chowdharry. At the film’s helm are Lions Club Award winner John Abraham, Sansui Award winner Abhishek Bachchan, and Emmy nominee Uday Chopra. Series regulars Bachchan and Chopra play Jai and Ali respectively, Jai being a policeman and Ali a small-time mechanic with a penchant for fast bikes and disinterested women. Abraham essays the villainous role of Kabir, part-time restaurant waiter and part-time leader of a gang of biker thieves. The film begins with a series of daring heists pulled off by Kabir’s gang, relying on their high-speed bikes to orchestrate sudden thefts and promptly escape the scene soon after. Their exploits catch the eye of Jai, a lifetime appointee to the post of Assistant Commissioner of Police. Jai, however, finds himself out of his depth and through a series of accidents, makes the acquaintance of Ali, a mildly-seedy mechanic and bike racer. Initially reluctant to be associated with law enforcement, Ali is eventually induced to join Jai’s cause and attempt to chase down Kabir and his merry band of men. Dhoom is slow and deliberate in its setup, and the film’s early minutes are heavy on subtext and detail, therefore, it is essential to take in the plot in small increments, so as to be thorough with one’s analysis. In an allegorical sense, Jai, as a police officer, represents bureaucratic authority and the security, comforts and powers of government employment. Abraham’s Kabir, as a thief, is a laissez-faire capitalist, relying on his material advantage in the form of fast bikes and his manpower advantage in the form of skilled bikers to partake in a series of one-sided transactions with economic entities such as banks and government funds. In this sense, the act of robbery in Dhoom is merely a transaction between two private parties wherein one side gains an unfair amount at the other’s expense, absent external interventionism. In addition to being a free-market advocate, Kabir is also an employee at a pizza parlour, which seems to be the film’s attempt at exploring both the growing role of the service economy as a share of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the amorphous nature of employment within the modern ‘gig’ economy. Caught between the competing ideas of state-control and free capitalism, Chopra’s Ali is a stand-in for the directionless youth, lured by the safety and dignity of a government job, whilst simultaneously seduced by the potential for greater wealth presented by free-market capitalism. The film’s plot is overt in this depiction, with Ali simultaneously fearful of Jai’s authority, yet desirous of wielding said authority as an employed policeman. Furthermore, in an action sequence set in Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar—a flea market specializing in illegally-hawked goods—Jai and Ali get into a fight with goons in the market, and are forced to make a hasty escape after being outnumbered. Ali bringing Jai to the market illustrates his ties to the informal, underground economy—a large, undocumented component of the Indian economy—and Jai’s subsequent fleeing the scene highlights the failed outcome of government attempts to regulate this grey economy by force and bluster. Initially at a loss for clues, Jai is eventually able to deduce that Kabir’s bikers arrange their heists in close proximity to highways, providing as the highways do quick getaways after. This is no doubt an allusion to the economic importance of the National Highways Authority of India’s flagship ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ national highway construction project. Kabir, the raw capitalist, is empowered in his capitalistic pursuits by the government’s infrastructure investments, and John Abraham’s moody expression throughout the film is in no small part perhaps due to the discontentment within Kabir’s mind about his enterprise’s dependence on resources provided by the state. Having deduced Kabir’s MO, Jai and Ali attempt to catch him in the act. However, Kabir and his gang appear to have substantially faster bikes than Jai and Ali, which is undoubtedly an allusion to the government’s perceived ineptitude and inability to generally compete with private enterprise. Left chafing and chasing the dust, Jai catches a lucky break when an overconfident Kabir offers him a clue about his upcoming crime, with the catch being that if Jai fails to avert it, he must recuse himself from the case and leave Kabir to his entrepreneurial pursuits. Kabir, the staunch capitalist, is here hinting at the idea of termination clauses in Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), agreements between enterprises and governments for mutual benefit. Whilst the government naturally retains the right to sever the partnership at any point, Kabir clearly believes that he, as the private party, is also entitled to terminate the contract should the government, aka Jai, default on the agreed-upon terms. Formally known as the ‘Authority Default’ concept, Dhoom represents this idea in the form of a simple, easy to understand challenge between Jai and Kabir. Even as this layered conflict plays out between Jai and Kabir, Ali is enamoured by the mysterious ‘Dilbara’ (Esha Deol). Little is known about Dilbara, however, like other characters in the film, it may be reasonably assumed than she is also an allegorical depiction of an economic concept. Ali’s infatuation with her suggests that she is perhaps intended to be portrayed as a vague, undefined avenue of aspirational employment. Furthermore, the fact that she (as is later revealed) is in fact a part of Kabir’s gang, yet also harbours feelings for Ali, leads one to conclude that Dilbara represents a form of compromise between dirigisme, aka restrictive state-controlled economy, and laissez-faire anarcho-capitalism. The filmmakers leave the specifics of this compromise vague, however, Dilbara’s skimpy outfits perhaps represent the scantiness of opportunities presented by this nebulous alternative. Returning to the main plot, Jai, despite being forewarned, fails to foil Kabir’s next robbery, despite being able to take down one of his gang in the process. Left short of a gang member, Kabir attempts to recruit Ali, left sidelined by Jai following their failure to catch Kabir. The jilted Ali readily embraces Kabir’s neoliberal worldview and the duo jet off to Goa, where Kabir has his eyes set on one final score from a casino. Subtextually, the casino and gambling in general represent what is in Kabir’s eyes an essential component of his brand of capitalism—rampant speculation and volatility that may be manipulated to one’s benefit. There may also be an addition reference to British academic Susan Strange’s seminal 1986 work Casino Capitalism, a critique of unregulated banking and financial systems. However, Kabir is more likely than not to be derisive of such thoughts, and therefore, if this reference was intended, it may merely be made to indicate the filmmakers’ complete mastery over both Keynesian and Austrian schools of economic thought. The importance of dance numbers in YRF films cannot be overstated. Even as Bollywood music gravitates towards being little more than catchy jingles designed to elicit maximum publicity, the music and dance numbers in YRF films complement the plot perfectly, serving to both entertain and narrate. Dhoom is no exception to this tradition of excellence. On the eve of Kabir’s final heist, an inebriated Jai shows up at the casino, claiming to have left police employment and moved on. Kabir, however, is rightly suspicious, given as Jai is still a cop, and is merely attempting to lure Kabir into a false sense of comfort as a prelude to catching him in the act. This Jai accomplishes by putting on a song-and-dance in front of Kabir to convince him of his abandonment of state-sponsored socialism and his embrace of Kabir’s unrestrained capitalism. The song is entitled ‘Salamee’, a clever homophone of ‘salami’, a sausage that consists primary of beef. The consumption of beef was, in a landmark 2005 Supreme Court judgement, forbidden on grounds on anti cow-slaughter laws. Kabir, as an opponent of government intervention, would likely have been opposed to the idea of such a restriction being imposed upon him. Therefore, to show his solidarity to the cause, Jai takes to the stage in front of Kabir and sways to the refrain of “Naye kal ko aao kare, hum karein, karein/Salami, salami, salami/Kar le salami…”. The subterfuge is apparently successful, and a placated Kabir is lulled into a false sense of security by Jai’s reinforcement of his worldview. However, as mentioned, Jai’s conversion is little more than a ruse, and a hoodwinked Kabir is successfully caught in the act by Jai and Ali, who is revealed to have been Jai’s mole all along. The ever-slippery Kabir, however, weasels his way out of Jai’s clutches, and flees with his loot. Although Dhoom 3 would better address the phenomenon of loan defaulters taking flight from the verge of captivity, Dhoom too takes a cursory look at the occurrence, although Kabir does not quite embody a loan defaulter. He is merely the free-market capitalist, the robber baron caught flouting regulations and fleeing from the consequences of government intervention. A long chase sequence ensues, with Kabir fleeing but ultimately cornered by Jai and Ali at the precipice of a sea-facing cliff. Facing a choice between certain captivity and death, Kabir chooses to fly off the cliff with the last of his loot. In a literal sense, Kabir merely dies by falling off the cliff into the sea. In a figurative sense, faced with the prospect of his enterprise being forced to comply with ungainly regulations, Kabir chooses instead to offshore his business, and make for better waters, thus bringing his character arc to a natural and satisfying conclusion. A frustrated Jai bemoans his end, representing the government’s exasperation at ultimately failing to bring a rogue enterprise to heel. Ali, having seen his capitalistic expectations dive off a cliff with Kabir, chooses in the film’s final shot, to finally pursue the path to safe, steady, state-sponsored employment after all, asking Jai if he finally is a bona-fide police officer, as the film fades to black. The topical nature of Dhoom is a cause for admiration, even a decade and a half after its release. The film successfully ties together strands of economic and socio-economic thought from its time—the ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ project received a major fillip in the first years of the new millennium, the service sector encountered a boom around the same time, as did the contribution of outsourcing to employment and economic growth. The rise of men like Kabir is perfectly timed in the post-License Raj years, as the country embraced capitalism over state socialism. Yet, the lure of stable, ‘safe’ government employment holds true, and powers men like Jai and seduces men like Ali. Dilbara’s unknown fate at the end of the film—left waiting for Ali by the side of a road—is representative of the uncertain outcomes of economic models with time. On a meta note, the Dhoom franchise’s casting of Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra in every film is a nod to the ‘Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’ of 2005, a flagship government initiative that guarantees employment for a certain number of days out of the year, in the form of unskilled labour. In summation, Dhoom rightly deserves its place as a seminal film in the annals of both YRF and Indian cinema. In its own right, it is a bold, experimental film that marries erudition to entertainment. It is also the progenitor of its celebrated franchise, providing the springboard from which future films would explore similar issues in an equally deft and precise fashion. To YRF, the Dhoom franchise, and Indian cinema, the film Dhoom is nothing short of a bottle of nitrous oxide, that when attached to a bike, propels it into the stratosphere.
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A Cinematic Guide to The Weeknd: Pt 3. My Dear Melancholy and After Hours
My Dear Melancholy
Gaspar Noe/Cannes Film Festival The My Dear Melancholy era notable for being a time when The Weeknd was in proximity to a lot of serious directors. While he’s had a foot in Hollywood for awhile, 2017 through 2019 he was actively engaging with filmmakers like the Safdies Brothers, Gaspar Noe, and Claire Denis, amongst others. While he had been actively courting the Safdies since Good Time was released, he attended the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where he crossed paths Noe, whose film Climax took home a number awards at Cannes. Noe’s Enter the Void had previously served as an inspiration for Kiss Land, and for MDM (and later After Hours) seem to call back to Noe’s other films, like Irreversible and Love, which are both twisted depictions of heartbreak. On the other hand, Climax is about a French dance troupe who accidentally take LSD, and according to Noe is not a “message” movie. It is an audacious psychedelic technical exercise, with numerous long takes and highly choreographed set pieces. The idea for Noe, who had previously captured the feeling of drugs in previous films, was to do the opposite, and present the objectively reality of drugs, watching people high from a sober perspective. Noe is a rather strong advocate of film, and the opening scene of Climax features VHS boxes of a number of films that have influenced his filmmaking. Two of note are Schizophrenia, otherwise known as Angst, one of Noe’s favorite films which The Weeknd name checked to the Safdies, and Possession, which would go on to be an influence on After Hours (more on this later). He is also said to have sat next to Benicio Del Toro at Cannes, which means he likely caught some of the Un Certain Regard section, where Del Toro served as a jury member. Outside of that section, there were a few other films of interest such as The House That Jack Built from Lars Von Trier (The Weeknd has previously expressed affection for Von Trier’s Antichrist), Mandy from Pastos Costamos, and music video director Romain Gavras’s The World Is Yours, as well as a restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Noe has referred to as the film that got him into filmmaking. https://preview.redd.it/qga7a3l8ct261.png?width=910&format=png&auto=webp&s=371cf20d42ee8783cc23bfe7f2cfa16a0a927a0e Asian Cinema Later in 2018, The Weeknd continued his globetrotting with a tour of Asia. He once claimed in an interview that whenever visiting a foreign country he only watches films from there. I’ve previously written about the influence of Asian cinema on Kiss Land, and there’s not enough work from the MDM era to glean anything cinematically adjacent to this, but now would be a good time to mention that the "Call Out My Name" video was heavily inspired by the work of famed Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. The Asian tour poster seems to be a reference to Ichi the Killer, which leads us to Takashi Miike. Though he is notoriously prolific across a number of genres, his most popular works internationally are genre melding blends of horror, comedy and crime, most notably Audition, Ichi the Killer and Gozu. Another film worth mentioning is Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon’s masterwork about a pop star’s mysterious stalker that The Weeknd posted about on Instagram before. Bloody and haunting, the film was a major influence on Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. In Interviews he has also mentioned a number of Korean films, such as The Wailing, I Saw the Devil and Oldboy. While Wong Kar Wai was previously mentioned as an influence on Beauty Behind the Madness, also worth mentioning is the work of John Woo, specifically A Better Tomorrow, well known for the shot of smoking a cigar off money, and Infernal Affairs, Andrew Lau’s crime classic which served has the basis for Scorsese’s The Departed. https://preview.redd.it/fx7o9s2bct261.png?width=642&format=png&auto=webp&s=0fec2f841e9d3b09104238d0f89595daa6140faa https://preview.redd.it/n4x7fiy9ct261.png?width=1316&format=png&auto=webp&s=8a9650263272518216fc5f36913e80a10d2b0a8e
Martin Scorsese While After Hours more so than any other Weeknd album is bursting at the seams with cinematic references, the influence of Martin Scorsese stands above all. Similar to The Weeknd’s body of work, many Scorsese’s are explorations of violence and masculinity, investigating them from a perspective that depending on who you ask (and how they’re feeling) glamorizes, condemns or just simply presents the reality of characters on the fringes of society. While there are direct references to a number of prominent Scorsese films, what’s interesting is that his influence also reverberates in other films/filmmakers that influence After Hours. Todd Phillips’s Joker is in effect an homage to Scorsese’s loner-centric New York films, and the Safdie Brothers have been putting their own millennial spin on the type of 70s gritty thriller that Scorsese trafficked in (Scorsese was also a producer on Uncut Gems). Specific Scorsese works will be discussed more in depth in the requisite sections, but it is worth mentioning upfront what a prominent role that Scorsese plays in the nucleus of After Hours. https://preview.redd.it/wcds9qpdct261.png?width=1196&format=png&auto=webp&s=246c560c72340782e26ad03b8ff63367999eaadd Urban HorroIsolation With After Hours, The Weeknd departs from the slicker sounds and influences that permeated Starboy and returns to the cinematic grittiness of Beauty Behind the Madness. While urban horror is a theme that permeates throughout The Weeknd as a project overall, there is a thorough line to be drawn here that follows a number of 70s and 80s cinematic and aesthetic references. For one thing, while the initial bandaged nose was a reference to Chinatown (previously, The Weeknd has a Kiss Land demo titled "Roman Polanski"), the full bandaged face that is so prominently featured throughout the After Hours era is a classic cinematic visual trope that was especially prominent throughout 60s and 80s, though it saw a slight re-emergence in the 2010s. The fully bandaged face is often used to remake someone in the image of another, usually against their will (The Skin I Live In, Eyes Without Face), or as a case of mistaken identity and doppelgängers (Good Night Mommy, Scalpel), themes present throughout much of After Hours. The "Too Late" video acknowledges these references, but instead presents the bandages on two Los Angeles models recovering from plastic surgery, in a nod to a famous Steven Meisel’s photoshoot for Vogue Italia. https://preview.redd.it/dtbxjc3ict261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=66a98cc3cba73d502f8586a215a65cc41c5408a1 The “masks” people wear is another horror trope that is featured prominently on After Hours, and this is best seen in the red suit character. One important reference in the film is to Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill, where a serial killer is targeting the patients of a psychiatrist (any more on this film will veer towards spoiler territory). The Weeknd is on the record as saying Jim Carrey’s The Mask as being a large influence on the Red Suit character, it being one of the first film’s he watched in theaters. One of the more complex references would be to Joker. While it sort of an in-joke that the character of the Joker is commonly overanalyzed and misinterpreted, referencing Todd Phillips’s Joker is more nuanced because it is in essence a full on homage to Martin Scorsese’s New York films, most notably Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, which focus on eccentric loners, and can both be seen as cautionary tale of urban isolation, a theme explored perhaps in songs like "Faith." The King of Comedy revolves around a would be obsessive stand up Rupert Pupkin haggling his way to perform on late night TV, with The Weeknd’s talk show appearances being a prominent part of the early After Hours marketing, most notably in the “short film”. This idea of isolated and compressed urbanites recurs throughout After Hours and it’s films. https://preview.redd.it/egap17ttdt261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=1aab204ac0845a7df74ceeff6d1f714274f9ace0 The idea of urban repression is in the subway scene of the After Hours short film. The entire film itself is something of a reference to the subway scene to Possession (another Gaspar Noe favorite), mimicking the (also subway set) scene in which Isabelle Adjani’s Anna convulses on the subway due to a miscarriage, as well as Jacob’s Ladder, a 90s cult classic horror film starring Tim Robbins as a Vietnam vet (like Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle) who is experiencing demonic hallucinations, encountering them in the subway and later at a party he attends, splitting the scene into two. https://preview.redd.it/g53copgmct261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=9d29e368ae695d295b36039e86125ccfd7b4eb88 Las Vegas As always, The Weeknd once again grounds After Hours with a strong sense of place, this time setting the album against a nocturnal odyssey through Las Vegas. One of the most prominent films is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s book. This is directly referenced in the "Heartless" video, which sees The Weeknd and Metro Boomin in the Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro roles as they tumble through a Las Vegas casino. The Weeknd has gone on the record to state that the famous red suit character was influenced by Sammy Davis Jr.’s character in the film Poor Devil. However, similar red suit has also been sported by a number of Vegas characters, most notably Richard Pryor and Robert De Niro’s Sam Rothstein in Martin Scorsese’s Casino. With the red suit, The Weeknd seems to be playing with the idea of a devil-ish other, another side of his personality that emerges in Las Vegas. https://preview.redd.it/gjow6hq2dt261.png?width=1992&format=png&auto=webp&s=10a379bc26df54af88064bf64813d5cdd29775d9 While the city lights are the oft discussed part of part of Las Vegas, it should be noted that similar to Beauty Behind the Madness, the desert that surrounds Las Vegas is just as important to the juxtaposition of its beauty. The "Until I Bleed Out" video ends/"Snowchild" video in the desert, similar to the confrontation between Robert De Niro’s and Joe Pesci’s showdown in the desert in Casino, as well as Joe Pesci's death in Goodfellas. The idea of a hedonistic desert playground also bears semblance to Westworld, both the film and the TV show. The desert seems to represent some sort of freedom to The Weeknd, as the "Snowchild" video portrays the desert as a pensive location for reflection, as well as the "In Your Eyes" video showing the girl prominently dancing with the dismembered head out in the open, in reference to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another prominent desert film. https://preview.redd.it/98ec10wxct261.png?width=1168&format=png&auto=webp&s=45e29aa361fa41ff74e2a6017e203015bdcbc6c3 New York/The Safdies Despite it’s Las Vegas setting, After Hours also takes a good amount from films set in New York, most notably Martin Scorsese’s 1983 film After Hours. Besides the title, After Hours is similarly about a twisting and turning nighttime odyssey. The film stars Griffin Dunne as Paul, a working class stiff who heads downtown to rendezvous with a woman he met at a diner earlier that night. Of course, things don’t turn out the way they should, chaos ensues, and Paul is set on a dangerous trek back uptown. Like the film, the album After Hours is set off by a woman (though the album takes more stock in romantic endeavors), seems to be set over a single night (or at least a condensed period of time), and involves similar chaos and misadventures (sirens at night at the end of Faith). Tonally, After Hours the film is more comedic perhaps than After Hours the album, however The Weeknd is on the record as having said that "Heartless" and "Blinding Lights" placement on the album is intended to be somewhat comedic, reflecting exaggerated machismo and ecstasy, respectively (to comedic effect). https://preview.redd.it/f3w7yz4pdt261.png?width=1346&format=png&auto=webp&s=fe7e4f003987fd843020a42a5b53f94092984267 Another of the most prominent filmmakers of After Hours are the Safdies, who featured The Weeknd in Uncut Gems. They also served as a link to Oneohtrix Point Never, who scored their last two films and later worked After Hours. I believe there are three major film tropes (not genres) that inspired After Hours, all of which the Safdies’s have engaged with. There is the one-long-night films, in which a character spends one-long-night on the run from whatever chaos and forces may be that they left in their path. This can be seen in the Good Time, as well as After Hours (the movie). Then, there is the descent-into-madness type, where a character slowly loses grip with reality and ends up in over their head (something like Scarface or Breaking Bad, but for our purposes Jacob’s Ladder can be categorized here as well), which the Safdies did with Uncut Gems. Lastly, but maybe most importantly, the Safdies also explored toxic romance (more on this later) in their less seen film Heaven Knows What, about two heroin addicts and the destructiveness their love brings out in each other, an idea that recurs throughout After Hours on songs like "Until I Bleed Out" and "Nothing Compares." A recurring song throughout Heaven Knows What is Isao Tomita’s synth version of Debussy’s "Claire De Lune", which is featured in some episodes of Memento Mori and bears some resemblance to the start of "Alone Again". https://preview.redd.it/em255b5qdt261.png?width=1344&format=png&auto=webp&s=a5226c9496d0ae5c14b6d6c05e16f5ea18678a9a Obsession/Toxic Romance While love and lust and the ups and downs with it have been a formative part of The Weeknd’s ideology and themes, I don’t think it would be remiss to say that After Hours is perhaps his most outwardly romantic album. Despite this, one of the major arcs of the album is toxicity that comes with it, which a number of already mentioned films deal with. While "In Your Eyes" is one of the more romantic and accessible songs on the album, a re-assessment of it Ala Sting’s “Every Breathe You Take” could frame it as lonely obsessing, such as Travis Bickle’s infatuation with Jodie Foster’s teenage prostitute Iris, Joker's fixation on Murray Franklin, Rupert Pupkin’s obsession with Jerry Langford. Casino also deals with toxic romance, another prominent theme in After Hours, best seen in the love triangle that forms between Sam, his partner Nicky and his wife Ginger, played by Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone respectively. https://preview.redd.it/eq1ioijvdt261.png?width=898&format=png&auto=webp&s=f9e4b781ee60762ae767c4dbd92066357ebc24b0 In almost all of the After Hours’s video content, The Weeknd seems to constantly meet his demise at the hands of women. Another interesting reference that may be something of a reach is to Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about Reynolds Woodcock, a couture dressmaker loosely based on Cristobal Balenciaga and his muse Alma, played by Daniel Day Lewis and Vicky Krieps, respectively. The film delves into their dysfunctional relationship, with Woodcock berating her and Alma poisoning his tea to keep him dependent on her. One of the highpoint of the film is a New Years Eve Party that bears strong resemblance to the "Until I Bleed Out" video. While the balloons may just be a callback to his earlier work, there is something about the color grading/temperature and the production design of the "Until I Bleed Out" video (as well as parts of the "Blinding Lights" video) that made me immediately think of Phantom Thread. A similar relationship is seen in the German horror film Der Fan, which The Weeknd has mentioned in a recent interview. In Der Fan, a young girl Simone spends her days obsessing over popstar R, until she finally encounters him outside his studio. The film is similar to the aforementioned Takashi Miike’s Audition in its exploration of obsession and idealization. In the film, an older man puts up a fake casting call to search for the perfect girlfriend. While Audition explores these themes from an Eastern perspective of societal pressure, Der Fan explores it through a Western lens of pop idolization and idealization. Both films deal with the idea that despite outward appearances, the perfect partner does not exist, and anyone that claims to be (or has the expectations put on them) is not who they seem. https://preview.redd.it/3m661q62et261.png?width=1342&format=png&auto=webp&s=c9377018cb53f67cf7ce95b24392afb471e4aec1 One film he has spoken at length about is Trouble Everyday, Claire Denis’s arthouse vampire movie. The film stars Vincent Gallo as Shane, a scientist who travels to Paris under the guise of his honeymoon to track down core, a woman who he was once obsessed with who has now become a vampire. Core is locked up in a basement but sometimes sneaks out to seduce and consume unwilling victims. This seems to be where some of the bloody face stuff comes from, but I believe it’s influence is a little more conceptual. To me, a good companion film to Trouble Everyday is American Psycho, which seems to also have been a thematic influence on After Hours. Both films concern idealized version of masculinity and femininity, both very sexual and physical, but hostile as well. American Psycho ends with Patrick Bateman confessing to the killing of a prostitute, but no one believe him. Trouble Everyday ends with Shane killing Core, but Shane is unable to arouse himself after that except through violence. Koji Wakamatsu, a former Yakuza turned prominent extreme Japanese filmmaker (and a major influence on Gaspar Noe) is quoted as saying “For me, violence, the body and sex are an integral part of life.” Despite being hollow, idealized impressions of the self, a vampire and as a banker (cold, seductive bloodsuckers = monsters), Patrick Bateman and Core represent the Frankenstein-ian relationship between sexuality and violence, which I believe is the main theme of After Hours. Truly, we hurt the ones we love. https://preview.redd.it/zfllbd83et261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=9c048ee98d86d7bbb9db67fa8302d34c36214c4f
To cap things off, I would just like to illuminate some key takeaways. As a filmmaker myself, this has been an extremely helpful exercise in understanding other artists process and ideas. Steeped in the history of the medium… It’s clear that The Weeknd is not your typical “I’m influenced by cinema” artist but an extremely legit film buff with serious credentials. The Weeknd’s film taste leans towards 70s-00s genre works, mostly horror, drama and thriller, and is well versed in the classics but also has the nose to sniff out deeper cuts and obscurities. The mantra of “good artists borrow, great artists steal” works even better if not many people know where you’re stealing from! What is impressive to me is that he is not just versed in “mainstream” obscurities, but also serious deep cuts. Films like Possession and Phantom of the Paradise may not stick out to the average person on the street but are well known in most film circles. Films like Inland Empire and New Rose Hotel (Der Fan was especially impressive to me, it is one of my favorite films) however are not as well known and it is very impressive to me that he can come across films like that, and really get enough out of it to bring into his own work. …is able to interpolate contemporary/mainstream films… This perhaps is one of the most impressive aspects of his integration of film into The Weeknd’s work. It is very easy for film buffs to get lost within their own obscure taste, living in a world where everyone is an idiot for not knowing who Shinya Tsukamoto. Trilogy and Kiss Land had a lot of contemporary obscurities, like Stalker, David Lynch etc., well known but they still existed as artifacts, not of the time we live in. However, perhaps picking something from his work on Fifty Shades of Grey, of late he has kept his finger on the zeitgeist and anticipated/integrated what the filmmakers of today are doing, such as his work on Black Panther and Game of Thrones, general appreciation of Tarantino, the works of Nicolas Winding Refn in Starboy, and his use of the Joker and Uncut Gems on After Hours, both of which came out just a few months before the album. It feels Jackson-esque, and I believe this is one thing that will help him further in his quest for pop stardom. …while also being fully in tune to the works of modern transgressive auteurs… In addition to keeping up with the mainstream is in touch with, The Weeknd also makes it a point to seek out and learn from the cutting edge filmmakers of today. While the Safdies were always going to blow up, I don’t doubt that a Weeknd co-sign accelerated their rise. Gaspar Noe is one thing, Enter the Void and Irreversible exist as masterpieces of the mainstream obscurities I’ve been mentioning, but he really truly tries to understand the heart of Noe’s work, even going so far back as to understand Noe’s influences (I sincerely hope he is tuned in to the work of Koji Wakamatsu). But most of all, to be a fan of Claire Denis is one thing, but to seek her out and make her an offer that she ACCEPTED is absolutely astounding to me. Just spitballing but it would be like if Michael Jackson shot a music video with Rainer Werner Fassbinder (who I’d bet good money that The Weeknd was put on to by Noe). We can only PRAY that one day we will be blessed with a David Lynch Weeknd video. --------------------------- …and that just about does it. Hope you enjoyed this and thanks for being patient with me. I got quite busy after the first two and had my own projects/work going that kept me occupied. As we’re still technically in the After Hours era, I also wanted to wait until a few more videos and interviews came out to aid me in my research. I also wanted to find enough time to make the Letterboxd for this. I personally don’t love Letterboxd culture, I find the popular culture surrounding the site a bit snobbish and exclusive, but I’ve gotten a number of requests for one and you gotta give the people what they want. Throughout the list are a few films that he hasn’t mentioned but are some of my personal favorites and I believe Weeknd fans will like, I encourage you to accidentally stumble upon things on it. Don't overthink, just pick something and watch! If you’d like to follow me further, you can find me on Instagram here, where I post about film reviews Letterboxd style. I prefer Instagram so that more average people see it instead of an echo chamber of film snobs. I am also a filmmaker myself, I just recently wrapped this short film and am currently in the process of putting together my next project. The main reason I did this however, besides a general appreciation of The Weeknd’s work, was to put more people on to the beautiful art form that is cinema. One thing I learned from Scorsese is that one must be an advocate and truly champion your medium. I hope that this encourages to check out more interesting movies than they wouldn’t normally come across, and I hope this will inspire more people to create more as well, whether it be to write, make films, music, anything. If even one person picks up a pencil, a camera or a keyboard because of these posts, I will be satisfied. Thanks all!
Do I have a chance of getting any money back from an online betting company?
Will stick to key points here. Happy to answer clarification questions in the comments. I'm in England. I've casually bet on sports at the weekend for 15 years with this betting company. At the beginning of lockdown my toddler was diagnosed with cancer. Due to covid restrictions only 1 parent is allowed on the hospital ward which left me with a lot of time in isolation. Either at my child's bedside in hospital or at home as we all have to shield. During this time I deposited an unusually large amount of money for me into my betting account and lost it all on casino games. I rang their customer support team to explain my personal circumstances, how my activity over the last 9 months is clearly not in keeping with the past 15 years (I'd never bet on casino games before) and to ask about self exclusion and they closed my account. I agree with them closing my account. It was the right thing to do. My question is if they deemed me vulnerable enough to not bet any further with them, then shouldn't they refund me my unusually high deposits I made during the past 9 months too? They are part of the same vulnerability issue. A smaller side issue is that they failed in their duty of care to signpost me to their complaints procedure which they have admitted. The Gambling Commission have said my only form of recourse is to take them to small claims court. Sorry for the wall of text. Any advice is appreciated.
NWGI - sports betting play quickly entering US market
NWGI - Sports Betting Play With Incoming US Market NWGI is a sports and video game betting company based in Rome. Newgioco also has a variety of casino games like Blackjack and Texas Hold em’. The company operates various betting platforms including AI integrated betting systems. Newgioco was founded in 2000 (per their website.) They have a betting engine that “thinks like a bookmaker by assessing bet risk at point of sale.” The betting engine is unique to other sports betting websites because of the AI. Their betting software provides users with: Self-Exclusion registration and Responsible Gaming filters Adaptive Business Intelligence and Big Data algorithms Fraud Detection and Anti-Money Laundering Monitors Artificial Intelligence learning bots and CRM modules Dynamic risk management algorithms Player Account Management System Geofence technology They accept all forms of payment, so they can take everyone's money easily. From their website: cash e-credit e-wallet all credit and debit cards bank wire / money order As of September 30th 2019 they have $25,357,856 in assets Their assets have appreciated close to $3,000,000 since December 31st 2018. “Mobile use have been growing exponentially” they state in their Investors Presentation Below I show what their mobile experience looks like. In 2019 Newgioco began a pairing with Northern Winz. A casino in Montana. This gives Newgioco access to the US Market. The CEO had this to say after the event “We look forward to working with the many tribal gaming commissions throughout the U.S. to bring wagering on traditional games to a safe and entertaining environment.” In their Investors Presentation they say “A disruptive transaction between DraftKings and Sb Tech puts the US market in play.” NWGI has just begun accessing the US market in 2020. Now is a great time to buy while they are still oversold. This is a very similar play to AESE. Similar chart, similar industry, hopefully similar resaults. Position: 75 shares at 1.59 Scaling in now Edit: all credit of this post belongs to u/dlamm10
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Why the Legion is Doomed to be Destroyed in a Total War with the NCR.
Even if the Legion were to win the Second Battle of Hoover Dam and conquer the Mojave Wasteland, they'd merely be buying themselves a little extra time and simply stall their inevitable demise. Note that the following analysis assumes that the Legion won the Second Battle of Hoover Dam and that the Courier died in Goodsprings. To start off this analysis, let's begin with a run-down of the respective weapons, equipment and gear of the respective ranks of the NCR and the Legion going into the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. Beginning with the NCR garrison at Hoover Dam. The NCR Trooper comprises the core of the Republic's colossal armies and is the prime component of the NCR Army. A superb combination of volunteers and conscripts whose degrees of training, motivation, combat experience and access to equipment vary across the ranks, they're some of the most disciplined, most professional soldiers in all of the Wastes. They're outfitted with modern military-grade ballistic vests that offer excellent protection against small arms fire, shrapnel and melee weapons alongside steel helmets. The NCR Army battalion that's stationed at Hoover Dam in particular is fully comprised of battle-hardened, fully-trained volunteer veteran NCR Troopers that are armed with 5.56 × .45mm NATO Marksman Carbines, 5mm Assault Rifles, 12-gauge Riot Shotguns and .308 Sniper Rifles to supplement their standard-issued 5.56 × .45mm NATO Service Rifles. The NCR Patrol Ranger is one of the finest, most elite warriors in both the NCR military and the Wastelands, overall. Having survived a brutal training regimen that's so ludicrously difficult that 8-out-of-10 aspiring recruits wash-out, these purely volunteer harbingers of death have little to no equals in terms of skill, fighting prowess and strength. They're outfitted with a suit of hand-made First-Generation Combat sporting a knife sheath, a hydration pouch and spiked spurs for unarmed combat that is impervious to any and all small arms fire, shrapnel and melee attacks. They're armed with 5.56 × .45mm NATO Marksman Carbines, .308 Sniper Rifles and .44 Magnum Trail Carbines. The NCR Heavy Trooper is not only the elite heavy shock infantry of the NCR Army, but is also the proverbial sledgehammer through which the Republic may crush its enemies and obliterate all that may threaten its values. Having earned their distinctive armor through immense sacrifice in blood, sweat and most of their young lives, they're the absolute best-trained, best-equipped, most battle-hardened, most professional, most skilled, most fanatically-devoted warriors in the whole of the NCR Armed Forces (rivaled only by the legendary NCR Veteran Rangers). Warriors that are more than willing to fight to their absolute last breath in defense of the Republic and all that it represents. They're outfitted with NCR Salvaged Power Armor, suits of T-45d Power Armor that were captured from the Brotherhood of Steel during the Brotherhood War that have had their joint servomotors removed and their back-mounted power cylinders replaced with custom-built energy modules and built-in air-conditioning units so that Power Armor Training wouldn't be needed to wear them. And while they're no longer legitimate suits of Power Armor in that they're no longer powered, they're still some of the absolute best and most protective suits of armor within the Republic's entire mammoth arsenal. Completely invulnerable to all but the most powerful conventional firearms, highly-advanced energy weapons, specialized ammunition and high-powered explosives, they can truly absorb Hellish amounts of punishment. They're armed with 5.56 × .45mm NATO Light Machine Guns, 5mm Miniguns, Heavy Incinerators, Flamers and Missile Launchers (albeit rarely). The NCR Veteran Ranger is a living, breathing legend walking amongst the ruins and ashes of the Old World, drawing inspiration and hope from soldiers and citizens of the Republic as well as fear and terror from enemies and all those who dare to oppose the NCR. Fabled for their unmatched fighting prowess, envied for their flawlessly unequalled marksmanship technique, feared for their unrivaled warfighting skills, awe-inspiring for their unsurpassed pugilist talent and legendary for their innate mastery over hardcore survivalist skills, the NCR Veteran Rangers are the absolute finest, best-trained, most battle-hardened, most professional, most skilled, most-elite and all-around most bad-ass warriors in not only the entire history of the Republic military, but also the whole of the Western Wastes, as well. Centurions and Praetorian Guards of Caesar's Legion, Knights and Paladins of the Brotherhood of Steel and even the Republic's very own NCR Heavy Troopers have learned to shudder in terror and fear at the mere mention of the mythical phenoms of the Wastelands that are the NCR Veteran Rangers These fabled guardian angels of the Republic are outfitted with the equally legendary Black Armor, a hyper-advanced suit of Third-Generation Combat Armor consisting of a highly-flexible vest of incredibly-rigid high-impact armored plating with adjustable straps on both the sides and the shoulders and a built-in throat protector that's mounted on the vest. Combined with the state-of-the-art rounded-shell ballistic helmet sporting built-in lamps and infrared/visible light projectors as well as the complimentary highly-sophisticated armored mask with built-in low-light optics, an incorporated locking mechanism that joins the mask itself with the helmet shell, ear covers with built-in membranes that confer additional protection without inhibiting the wearer's hearing and built-in air filters, the mythical Black Armor is well-deserving of its stellar reputation. As you can see, the NCR's forces are extremely heavily-armed, well-equipped and armed to the teeth with the absolute latest in top-of-the-line, high-powered firearms and state-of-the-art, highly-sophisticated energy weapons as well as superbly well-protected with an abundance of different varieties of military-grade body armors with varying degrees of effectiveness and even Salvaged Power Armor. Now it's time for an evaluation of the Legion's weapons and technology. The Recruit Legionary is the primary foot soldier of Caesar's army and comprises the vast majority of the Legion's ranks. Trained and conditioned from before they could walk to become the perfect warriors, Recruit Legionaries are incredibly well-conditioned and in phenomenal physical shape, owing to a savagely intense training regimen that even the NCR Rangers would envy. Despite said conditioning, however, they're still the equivalent of literal cannon fodder with little-to-no actual skill in firearms usage and maintenance. They're outfitted with a suit of makeshift featherweight armor that consists of sports equipment with bits and pieces of scrap metal atop a cloth tunic that's all lashed together with leather straps. An armor that's so weak that it couldn't even protect its wearer against the likes of a straight razor. They're armed primarily with a "Machete" (what's really a lawnmower blade that's lashed to a stick) and "Throwing Spears" (what's really even bigger sticks with pieces of sharpened scrap metal fastened and jabbed into the tips), though they can rarely get their hands on firearms (albeit damn near broken ones) such as .357 Magnum Revolvers, .357 Magnum Cowboy Repeaters, 9mm Pistols, 20-gauge Single Shotguns, 20-gauge Caravan Shotguns, 5.56 × .45mm NATO Varmint Rifles and 10mm Pistols. The Prime Legionary is the centerpiece of the Legion's fighting force and the core component of any Legion formation. Having survived 5 years in Caesar's forces, a remarkable accomplishment in and of itself, Prime Legionaries are no longer mere cannon fodder but are now the main frontline fighting force of the Legion. With the accompanying improvement in weapons and equipment as well as adequate firearms skills to make the promotion that much sweeter. They're outfitted with the exact same armor as before, only with a slight improvement in protection. It still can't protect the wearer from shit, however. They're armed with the standard-issued "Machetes" and "Throwing Spears" though they also have much better access to more advanced weapons than before. Melee weapons, such as Machete Gladius', Power Fists and Chainsaws, and firearms (of decent quality), such as 10mm SMGs, 12-gauge Sawn-Off Shotguns .44 Magnum Revolvers and .308 Hunting Rifles are all available to them in significant quantities. The Veteran Legionary is the oldest, most experienced, most elite warrior within the lesser ranks of the Legion and is also the precise scalpel to the blunt, destructive warhammer of the Recruit and Prime Legionaries. Having survived a full decade in Caesar's service, a monumental achievement in its own right, Veteran Legionaries are the elite rapid reaction force of the Legion that's tasked with neutralizing particularly tough adversaries that their lesser counterparts can't defeat and typically remain in reserve until otherwise needed for tipping the scales of a pivotal battle or campaign in the Legion's favor. As they're the oldest Legionaries (a lot of whom have been with Caesar since day 1), they're also the most experienced, most capable Legionaries who are in their absolute prime in regards to martial prowess and physical resilience. They're second only to Centurions in terms of skill and experience, which is reflected in their improved access to superior weapons and equipment. They can also use and maintain firearms with frightening levels of efficiency. They're outfitted with the same armor as before, though with even better protection. Still couldn't protect you from anything meaningful, though. They're armed with the usual standard kit in addition to melee weapons such as Fire Axes and Power Fists as well as firearms (of mint condition and with virtually unlimited access to) such as .44 Magnum Revolvers, .308 Hunting Rifles, 5.56 × .45mm NATO Marksman Carbines and 12.7mm SMGs. The Decanus of the Legion is the lesser officer beneath the Centurion and is responsible for tactical small-unit operations and squad-level leadership. While not too different from ordinary Legionaries in terms of skill, equipment and even appearance, they still have slightly better access to weapons hence they deserve a separate segment. Recruit Decanii can get access to 9mm SMGs and 10mm SMGs unlike Recruit Legionaries, Prime Decanii aren't any different from Prime Legionaries and Veteran Decanii can get access to 12.7mm Pistols unlike Veteran Legionaries (not a real improvement, I know). Everything else is exactly the same. The Centurion is the absolute apex of the Legion's strength and the top field commanders of Caesar's armies, second in authority only to Legate Lanius and Caesar himself amongst a tiny select few of other superiors. Having survived 15-20 years of a long, arduous life of fighting in Caesar's name (a completely unimaginable phenomenon, indeed) before finally earning the treasured armor of the Centurion (which they can decorate with the trophies of their fallen enemies at their leisure), Centurions are the absolute most elite, most skilled, most battle-hardened and ultimately the most dangerous warriors in the entirety of the Legion. To even BEGIN to qualify for Centurion status, one must have fought in and survived numerous Legion campaigns as well as slain countless opponents in battle alongside the time requirement. All to ensure that only the finest of Caesar's warriors ever reach that level of authority in his Legion. As the oldest, most experienced warriors in Caesar's army, the Centurions comprise the old guard of Caesar's army, most of them having served their lord since the very beginning. Their status all but ensures that they're reserved for only the absolute deadliest, most lethal of assignments that even Veteran Legionaries can't handle. They're ultimately only deployed if absolutely necessary. In order to ensure that his Centurions can both accomplish their missions without even the slightest chance of failure and protect themselves without difficulty, Caesar has granted them unlimited access to the absolute finest weapons in his Legion's arsenal and has seen to it that they have acquired the absolute sharpest firearms skills that money can buy as a corresponding reward for their reaching Centurion status. They're outfitted with Centurion armor which, while legendary amongst the Legion, really isn't that special. It's actually just Veteran Legionary armor with some cool decorations on it at the end of day. Pieces of T-45d Power Armor on the right arm, the sleeve from a suit of NCR Ranger Patrol Armor and the pauldrons from an Armored Vault Suit on the left arm, the boots and shin guards from a suit of First-Generation Combat Armor on the lower legs, the crotch/thigh guards from a suit of NCR Ranger Patrol Armor on the upper legs, gloves from a suit of Leather Armor on the hands and a Super Mutant Brute chestplate on the torso, to be exact. Realistically speaking, Centurion armor would be just about useless against virtually any weapon in the NCR's arsenal. Even a single 5.56 × .45mm NATO round fired from a basic Service Rifle would most certainly do the job, flawlessly. They're armed with basic melee weapons such as Machete Gladius' and Chainsaws as well as high-tech melee weapons such as Thermic Lances (which are actually just repurposed metalworking tools) and Super Sledges in addition to powerful firearms such as .308 Hunting Rifles, 12-gauge Hunting Shotguns, 5.56 x .45mm NATO Marksman Carbines and even .50 BMG Anti-Materiel Rifles (albeit rarely). Now we must now examine what will inevitably be a huge problem for the Legion even if they were to win the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. The Legion, even though it does in fact have access to some top-of-the-line weapons, only has them in an extremely limited capacity and strictly reserves them for only the highest-ranking, most elite Legion forces and field commanders. The overwhelming bulk of the Legion's troops have little-to-no real firearms and what pitifully little that they can get their hands on are in extremely piss-poor condition. Not that it would matter, considering the fact that they don't have the proper training that's necessary to actually use them, much less maintain them. The vast majority of Caesar's troops rely almost entirely on primitive makeshift melee weapons and their own martial prowess to fight their battles, which inevitably means that the Legion has to avoid direct engagement with NCR forces, instead relying on subterfuge and guerilla warfare to combat the Republic. And it gets even worse for the Legion when one considers that the higher that its troops advance up the totem pole, the fewer Legionaries that it finds at the higher levels. A direct consequence of the Legion's overprioritization of quality and individual skill in combat is that it inevitably results in an extremely small cadre of elite warriors and field commanders surrounded by a sea of lesser soldiers and officers. Combined with the fact that the Legion is only 34 years-old by the events of F:NV (meaning that even if one were to ignore things like inevitable attrition all throughout the Legion's war-filled history of expansion and conquest, they still wouldn't have that many Veteran Legionaries/Decanii and Centurions) as well as the fact that attrition over the years must be taken into account (the First Battle of Hoover Dam and the Legion's invasion of Colorado alone absolutely devastated their elite ranks), it's only obvious that the Legion's elite forces are relatively puny. Furthermore, we know for a fact that there's enough Veteran Legionaries/Decanii for them to form a few of their own exclusive Centuria (a Century is 80-men-strong, I might add), with the Red Okie Centuria being a prime example of this. This definitely suggests that the Legion has at least a couple hundred Veteran Legionaries/Decanii at its disposal. As for Centurions, it's a little known fact that they're so incredibly rare in the Legion that they're actually explicitly ordered to not enter combat until absolutely necessary (i.e self-defense or if they're ordered into battle by a superior). This, along with the fact that they're never really seen in any meaningful numbers in-game until the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, strongly suggests that there might only be at most several dozen Centurions in the whole of the Legion (there definitely wouldn't be over 100 of them). Either way, however, the Legion's elite forces are so pathetically tiny that they couldn't possibly justify the Legion having any meaningful amount of high-end weaponry. The NCR, on other hand, doesn't have these problems as 1. the NCR prioritizes protection and firepower above all else for their forces and 2. even their most basic troops have exclusive access to essentially unlimited supplies of all manner of firearms and explosives as well as highly superb protection in the form of military-grade body armor. Meaning that the NCR not only has a hopelessly insurmountable edge in firepower, technology and protection over the Legion, but that soldiers of the NCR also have a far higher life expectancy than their Legion counterparts, as well. All but ensuring that the NCR has a vastly higher volume of surviving battle-hardened combat veterans relative to the Legion that enables for the Republic to easily distribute extremely invaluable, ultimately irreplaceable combat experience and lessons learned in battle across the entirety of their military to a far greater extent than the Legion. Scores of battle-hardened NCR Troopers that distinguish themselves on the battlefield go on to enlist with the NCR Rangers upon receiving an invitation to do so (fun fact: the vast majority of NCR Ranger recruits and even NCR Rangers themselves are/were NCR Troopers who earned their new status while serving in the NCR Army), earn the coveted Salvaged Power Armor and become NCR Heavy Troopers or earn promotions to positions of authority in the NCR Army (prime examples being Colonel Cassandra Moore and Colonel James Hsu). All of the above information will have colossal long-term consequences for the Legion, at the end of the day. With that out of the way, let's move on to the main argument itself. The most positive estimates of the Legion's total numbers and military strength would be at best 5,000-8,000 troops. Then we must take into account the fact that the Legion is going to suffer massive losses (easily numbering into the thousands) taking Hoover Dam from the NCR as the NCR garrison here is extremely well-defended, well-supplied and heavily-fortified by both an entire battalion of elite, battle-hardened NCR Troopers and God only knows how many NCR Patrol Rangers, NCR Heavy Troopers and NCR Veteran Rangers. Combined with the fact that General Oliver's Compound is extremely well-defended with force fields, a turret system, NCR Veteran Rangers, NCR Heavy Troopers, elite NCR Troopers and an absolute labyrinth that's filled to the brim with all manner of booby traps ranging from rigged shotguns, bear traps and mines of all types to grenade bouquets and overhanging objects (and given that you see a pile of fresh Legionary and Centurion corpses at your feet whenever you enter the Compound during the "Veni, Vidi, Vici" quest it's more than safe to assume that Legion casualties will be extremely massive just securing this area alone), this only serves to bolster my claim that thousands of the Legion's troops will perish at Hoover Dam even if they were to take it. With only a mere fraction of their original number (that 5,000-8,000 will have been massively depleted after the Second Battle of Hoover Dam), now the Legion has to set out and secure the rest of the Mojave Wasteland, which will prove to be completely impossible over time. The Legion will find next to no tribes to assimilate as they exterminate the Powder Gangers, Fiends, Vipers, Jackals and the Kings in all of their endings. And while the Legion still has the Great Khans and the Boomers, they won't help much. The Great Khans are down to little more than a pitiful rag-tag band of holdouts after both their ass-whipping at the hands of Mr. House and their decimation at Bitter Springs by the NCR. A fact that only gets worse when we subtract the women and female children (breeding stock), the elderly, the sick and the disabled (killed off immediately) as well as mention the fact that the Frumentarius Karl does say in his journal that the Legion would have to decimate most of the tribe, anyways. Meaning that the Legion will at most get a couple paltry handful of warriors from them. As for the Boomers (assuming that the "Volare!" quest isn't completed) will prove to be more than a huge cost than a real benefit to the Legion. The Boomers' artillery alone would kill hundreds, if not thousands, of Legionaries with the Boomers themselves, armed to the teeth with Missile Launchers, Fat Mans, Grenade Machine Guns, Grenade Launchers, Grenade Rifles, 5.56 x 45mm. Marksman Carbines and 5mm Assault Carbines in addition to Mr. Gutsy combat robots and Sentry Bots, killing hundreds and even thousands more before the Legion finally conquer them. Also consider that the Boomers, who worship their artillery and weapons with a near religious reverence, will by no means let their weapons fall into the hands of savages. Thus we could easily see them sabotaging their artillery (how hard would it be to load an artillery shell and lob a frag grenade down the barrel, after all?; and given that the Boomers only have 3-4 artillery pieces it wouldn't take long to do) and munitions stockpiles (just a few bricks of C4 could easily destroy all of the Boomers' weapons and ammunition supplies) to keep them out of Legion hands, which only adds insult to injury. Even worse for the Legion is that when we subtract those Boomers that died in battle (most likely all of the adult males), the women and female children, the elderly, sick and disabled the Legion will have only a handful of male children to their name (remember that the Boomers are a really puny tribe that depend entirely on their firepower to survive) which means that they will have achieved nothing despite their massive losses incurred from conquering Nellis Air Force Base. Then we also consider the fact that the Legion doesn't enslave civilized communities or Independent Towns unless under extraordinary circumstances (as evidenced by Siri over at the Fort who hailed from an Independent Town in New Mexico and was a medical student there prior to its destruction by the Legion). Of course, it wouldn't matter as even if they did, the entire New Vegas area is completely evacuated by the NCR in the event of a Legion victory at Hoover Dam as evidenced by Arcade Gannon's Legion ending where he's convinced to remain in Freeside (all of Freeside, North Vegas, Westside, East Vegas and the Strip, which is really just a resort for NCR tourists rather than an actual community, are evacuated with those few that don't make it out, Arcade included, being killed by the Legion). And when we consider that Nelson was butchered, Camp Searchlight irradiated and Nipton destroyed by the Legion with Goodsprings being left alone and Primm just falling under Legion authority (no point in enslaving the town anyways considering how it's just one big retirement home alongside Goodsprings which is also evacuated by all save a few old, stubborn folks) then it's blatantly clear that the Legion will have very few civilized people left to enslave. With an even smaller fraction of survivors thanks to their conquest of Nellis AFB (in addition to hundreds more casualties against the Mojave Chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel, the Kings and what's left of House's Securitron police force and the Chairmen) the Legion will soon realize its folly and discover that both holding the Mojave Wasteland and continuing their advance West is literally impossible. The Legion's logistical situation and acquisition of supplies will soon prove to be an insurmountable nightmare within mere weeks of their occupation of the Mojave. The loss of Nipton, Camp Searchlight and Nelson will serve to severely hamstring the Legion's logistics with the eventual deaths of New Vegas, Primm and Goodsprings only complicating the Legion's supply lines even further. As 99% of the Strip's revenue comes from NCR tourists and soldiers on leave and given how the Legion will most likely tear down the casinos and ban whores, booze, chems and gambling under Caesar's law, the Strip will eventually shrivel up and die due to loss of revenue. North Vegas, East Vegas, Westside, Freeside, Primm and Goodsprings, which are entirely dependent on Republic trade and commerce for survival, will eventually suffer the same fate as NCR trade and business abandon the region out of both fear and hatred for the Legion. Especially after the Legion's successful assassination of President Kimball which will see him martyred and ensure that the NCR will cut off all ties to the fallen Mojave Wasteland. With all of the Mojave's communities and towns dying off, the Legion's supply lines will crumble and face imminent collapse within only a few months time (Hoover Dam isn't a viable supply route as while it does allow the Legion to cross the Colorado River in force it's just too far to provide adequate, long-term support) which will only serve to doom the Legion's occupation of the Mojave Wasteland. We must also take into account that the Legion will need every last man, Denarius and resource at its disposal if it so much as hopes to hold the region and continue the advance West. Which will force Caesar to relinquish the Legion's entire empire East of the Colorado in order to do so. In Legate Lanius’ own words, the Legion's expansion campaigns in the East have been faltering badly as Caesar's obsession with Hoover Dam, New Vegas and the West has seen the Legion's full strength syphoned off towards Hoover Dam as part of Caesar's plan to overrun Hoover Dam, conquer New Vegas and eventually invade the West. Imagine the Hell that the Legion will have trying to secure the Mojave Wasteland, which will prove to be so bad that the Legion heartlands will have to be left defenseless, lawless and chaotic just to even begin to make such an ambitious feat even remotely feasible. Some would probably argue that Caesar would surely never abandon the East just for the tiniest, southernmost tip of Nevada and just one little city but I'd advise you to reconsider. Caesar explicitly states that while the Legion does have their own cities back East, NONE OF THEM are ANYTHING like New Vegas. Why is that such a big deal, one might ask? It's simple, really. While the Mojave Wasteland was relatively untouched by the nuclear holocaust that was the Great War, thanks to the quick and decisive actions of Robert Edwin House, New Vegas is at best a total dump and at worst an absolute shithole. Filled to the brim with disease, essentially overrun with Raiders, bandits and common criminals of all stripes, absolutely crushed beneath the iron heel of a colossal drug-addiction crisis, bursting at the seams with abject misery and poverty and rampant with starvation, New Vegas is without a doubt little more than a massive dumpster fire. Things are so bad in that cursed place that you actually have children chasing rats in the streets just to survive, locals constantly complaining about hunger pains and withdrawals and scum ranging from the Fiends to random little hooligan punks constantly ransacking the place. Westside, the South Vegas ruins, East Vegas, North Vegas and Freeside are all Hellish nightmares that are almost completely hopeless causes, at the end of the day. Even if one takes into account the diamond in the rock, the New Vegas Strip, you still wouldn't find many reasons to be impressed. What you have is a tiny wealthy resort community that still looks like a dump (though it's still a major improvement from the rest of New Vegas), has highly dilapidated infrastructure (the Tops Casino still has a giant hole on the side of the building) and is surrounded by a wall that's held together with spit, grit and a whole lotta' duct tape. And while the Strip is safe, orderly and prosperous by the standards of the Mojave Wasteland (a very shit standard, I might add), it's ultimately a very terrible place by the standards of the rest of the post-apocalyptic world (i.e. NCR territory and lands under Legion control). If Legion cities can't even match the standards of that shithole, what does that say about Caesar's willingness to hold them? Especially in light of what he'd be gaining in return? Furthermore, Caesar often tends to view himself as a mere barbaric king of the Gauls, with his Legion being nothing but one big nomadic tribe of savages without a true home or purpose in his eyes, which is extremely depressing. Caesar sees New Vegas as a true city, a true capital, a true home for both himself and his Legion, a true Rome that he can rule over and could preside over a true empire in. And the West as that very true empire that he so desperately relishes. Do you honestly believe that Caesar wouldn't trade his current empire (which he clearly holds in very low esteem and almost regrets ever conquering it) for his new Rome and a stepping stone towards eventually conquering his new Roman Empire (the stepping stone being the Mojave Wasteland)? He'd trade the whole of the East for New Vegas and the Mojave Wasteland in a heartbeat and in doing so will seal the Legion's fate and imminent doom. With the Legion having completely relinquished the East (and therefore cutting themselves off from their resource base, source of revenue/income and escape route, in the process) their supply lines and logistical network in chaos and having absolutely no source of replenishment and reinforcements for their ranks, the Legion will slowly but surely disintegrate, trapped in a permanent holding pattern in the Mojave that'll bleed them dry and drain them of all their resources. The NCR, meanwhile, will have simply dug in at the Mojave Outpost and fortified their defenses there. They'd have most certainly brought in the 3 VB-02 Vertibirds (which are armed with Gatling Lasers, Missile Launcher racks and Mini Nuke Launchers and outfitted with heavy armor) that were conducting combat air patrols of the NCR military base just a few miles away from the Mojave Outpost. Far from stopping there, however, Colonel Royez (who's outfitted with the Scorched Sierra Power Armor which is a fully-operational suit of heavily-modified T-45d Power Armor upgraded with onboard medical systems capable of healing any injury and an improved back-mounted power pack from a suit of T-51b Power Armor that will be capable of resisting nearly all of the Legion's weapons and armed with a Plasma Caster chock full of overcharged Microfusion Cells so incredibly strong that it can kill a lvl. 50 Courier in Power Armor with just 2-3 hits!) and his men (NCR Heavy Troopers armed to the teeth with Gatling Lasers, Plasma Casters and Tesla Cannons as well as NCR Troopers armed with Tri-Beam Laser Rifles, Multiplas Rifles, Laser Rifles and Plasma Rifles) will also redeployed there from the same military camp, as well. Republic artillery pieces can also be deployed there to help bolster the outpost's defenses, as well. A massive network of bunkers, pillboxes and trenches all along the hill below the outpost as well as machine gun nests, sniper nests, minefields and razorwire can also be established to further enhance the impregnable defensive perimeter of the new frontline. Once all of this is done, the NCR will then proceed to flood the outpost with tens of thousands of NCR Troopers, NCR Heavy Troopers, NCR Veteran Rangers And when coupled with the fact that the Mojave Outpost is atop a high hill, is flanked by mountain ranges on both sides (which will completely prevent the Legion from attacking its flanks and rear), is right on the border with fully-controlled Republic territory (which will make it impossibly easy to keep well-supplied and will also ensure that Republic reinforcements are plentiful and easily available) and the fact that one could see everything up to Primm and Nipton from the Mojave Outpost (that particular area is also wide-open, completely exposed and lacks any real cover which means that any Legion force of any meaningful size would be spotted from miles away day or night which in turn will prevent Legion surprise attacks), the Mojave Outpost will truly become a 100% impregnable fortress. To make things even worse for the Legion, there's absolutely no bypassing the Mojave Outpost either as the only areas that can allow such a short cut around the Long 15 are completely and literally impassable. The Big Empty is often described as a wall to any living thing approaching it, the Divide is little more than a death trap and is completely avoided by the Legion for obvious reasons and Death Valley is so inhospitable that even the NCR, with its fleet of military cargo trucks and Vertibirds, flat out avoids that area out of habit. Any army stupid enough to try and cross through these areas will not return alive under any circumstances. Which in turn ensures that only through the Long 15 can the Legion hope to invade the West and given that the Mojave Outpost is purely impenetrable and that the Mojave Wasteland is completely entrapped with mountains and the Colorado River, the Legion will be completely trapped in the Mojave Wasteland and will never be freed from their holding pattern there. The NCR simply bides its time and let's the Legion wear itself out and tear itself apart trying to hold the Mojave Wasteland, occasionally fending off Legion assaults on the Mojave Outpost whilst inflicting heavy losses on the Legion, launching several limited-scale offensives here and there so as to deplete the Legion's ranks even further and deploying NCR Veteran Rangers into the Mojave Wasteland so as to ambush Legion supply caravans and patrols to worsen the Legion's logistical nightmare. After almost a year, the Legion will finally be vulnerable, it's forces stretched absolutely thin down to their absolute breaking point, their supply lines and logistics completely exhausted and expended alongside their supplies as a whole, the Legion's ranks reduced to little more than a tiny skeleton crew, the Legion completely scattered across the entire Mojave Wasteland unable to guard it or defend it any longer and the Colorado River at its back, with absolutely no way of escaping their inevitable demise. At this moment, the NCR finally attacks with a full-scale assault across the entirety of the Mojave, completely and utterly destroying the Legion in its entirety and killing/capturing Caesar himself as Republic forces swarm across New Vegas and wipe out his Legion all around him within mere hours, days if the Legion is lucky. And so the NCR-Legion War finally draws to a close, with the back of the Legion broken forever and ceasing to exist. Either way the Legion is fucked with a Legion defeat at the Second Battle of Hoover Dam being a mercy killing at best for the Legion. (Sources are down below in the comments section).
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