Something’s not lining up: A critical review of “Intersect” (2020)

We’ve been through a lot lately, haven’t we? Weird old Chinese cartoons, not quite cult classics, Sig Haig. But after watching those somewhat awful cosmic horror films, upon returning to the one that I initially thought was the worst of the worst, it did not seem quite as bad. Maybe that’s maturing, tonstant Weader. Alternatively, maybe my brain is starting to rot. Still, 2020’s “Intersect” feels to e like it still has a unique place in the halls cosmic horror, science thriller and tales of time travel, if only for how many half-baked ideas it manages to cram into its span.

“Intersect” is sort of a story about three childhood friends turned Miskatonic University scientists trying to unlock the secrets of time. They’ve got it pretty good when it comes to launching jars of marbles approximately 40 seconds into the future (I’m not sure how they’re gauging that the marbles have gone through time, actually; are they older than when they started?); however, all the mice they send through the Stargate-style time machine keep vomiting blood and melting. It’s probably not a good sign that the temporal portal looks like a angry cloud of black sick. In addition to figuring that out, they’ll also ponder the motivations of a mob of religious protesters; one of the scientist’s mysterious childhood; the similarly mysterious death of another; the nature of strange creatures that may or may not be connected to their experiments; a pendant, I think; that little box with the brown paper and string. There are so many dangling threads that the film has no interest in tying up, so neither do I.

I think I know what’s wrong, though. Writer-producer-director Gus Holwerda likes a bunch of trippy thrillers – “12 Monkeys,” “The Time Machine,” “Memento,” “Call of Cthulhu,” “Event Horizon,” maybe even “Vertigo” and “The Fountain.” I get it. I like all of those too. The problem is, I don’t think they should all be crammed into the same movie.

You can’t keep excitedly adding random plot elements into a script and, instead of completing, explaining or linking any of them together, just call it “nonlinear storytelling”… I mean, you can, clearly, this film exists, but it’s not good. There is no sense of togetherness to “Intersect.” Nothing ever gets done. Watching it is a chore.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so tough if the film was intelligently shot or performed by a talented cast, but none of that exists here either. The camerawork is nothing to write home about. It’s very jumpy, with a fondness for wandering, bobbing up and down and close-ups. Sometimes it’s almost interesting; other times it’s jarring; usually it’s just annoying. There’s also something curiously unnerving about the look and sound of the film, as if everything was photographed in front of a green screen, dubbed in post, or both.

As for the actors, they aren’t even up to being a mixed bag. They either look bored or are behaving so broadly they border on parody. One scientist with a penchant for the drink constantly acts like a teenager getting plastered for the first time. Later, when paranormal phenomena start popping up, the collective response is a barely concerned shrug. I don’t know. Maybe the actors couldn’t understand the script either. Curiously, the children (in the time travel flashbacks) tend to be more convincing, possibly because one expects kids to be sulky or enthusiastic to the point of irritation.

I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing indie horror. This kind of thing can be done in a satisfying way. Two auteur driven no budget thrillers are the early Mike Flanagan effort “Absentia” and Shawn Linden’s “Nobody” (which this blog raved about not too long ago). Both of those films have loopy grasps on time and attempted something mythic. They are both arguably as ambitious as “Intersect.” What they have that it lacks is an attention span.

Still, if you’re into that sort of thing, “Intersect’s” lack of focus can lead to some unintentionally comic moments. My favorite was a schoolyard bully who is heard grunting in awful pain off camera, like he’s passing a kidney stone. We cut to him to see him standing up. Is his back out? He’s pretty young for it, but it can happen.

Elsewhere, scientist Nate stumbles into the lab after a night on the town. A coupe of lab techs are still working. They seem surprised. “It’s late,” one says. It is, so why are they there too? I also notice the science gentlemen tend to have casual wear under their white coats, but the science ladies tend to have heels and above the knee skirts. Is that industry standard? I’m not a science lady, so I’m the wrong person to ask. None of this is mentioning the characters that are brought up like we’ve always known them, the blended family drama that appears halfway through the narrative, the last second twist that’s so disconnected I don’t even think it qualifies as a twist…

In fact, “Intersect” is so distracted and irrational, I would heartily recommend it to people who like bad thrillers except for its two hour run time. That’s a tall commitment. This blog is willing to take that hit for the team, but it’s understandable if you aren’t.

Don’t worry though. Someone does watch the original “Night of the Living Dead” on screen, so we’ve got that indie horror trope covered. I don’t know why they’re never watching one of the myriad other public domain thrillers, but whatever. At least that film is only 96 minutes long.

Darksided: A critical review of “Black Mountain Side” (2014)

On paper, “Black Mountain Side” sounds like a movie this blog would love. Taking inspiration from “The Thing” and “The Shining,” the Canadian 2014 indie horror promises psychological and cosmic thrills with heaping helpings of isolation, paranoia, out of place archaeology, hallucinatory experiences and snow.

There’s one problem. “Black Mountain Side” is aggressively boring, which sort of hurts my chances of appreciating much of it.

“Black Mountain” tells the not unfamiliar tale of a team of researchers dicking around in a particularly chilly patch of British Columbia looking for remnants of the local prehistoric culture. When they uncover an out of place artifact – a carved slab that looks like it fell off a Mesoamerican temple – they call in an expert to take a look. But before he can offer an opinion, weird things start to happen. The team’s native workers leave inexplicably. Radio contact with the outside world goes dark. Team members start to exhibit a host of unsettling psychological and nightmarish physiological symptoms. Are the events the result of mental weakness? The unleashing of an ancient bacteria from beneath the ice? Or something far darker, older and unearthly?

The intention of “Black Mountain” is its influences, and its influences are pretty clear. Writer-director-producer Nick Szostakiwskyj takes the slow burning madness and title cards stating the date from “The Shining” and pretty much everything else from “The Thing.” There’s enough similarities to start a running tab. We’ve got an opening scene featuring a helicopter landing and a team member playing a computer game; an all-male team; a radio operator trying to raise someone on an unresponsive system; people running around at night in parkas; an unexpected amputation; a couple of autopsies; a late game conversation about trust; and a climax that utilizes dynamite and the f-word.

Don’t worry, “Black Mountain” doesn’t feel quite as blatant a rip-off as “Lily C.A.T.,” or as goofy a stew of influences as “Breach.” The movie tries to use its many references in the service of its Canadian setting and mythology, and it mostly succeeds. If anything, there could have been a little Algernon Blackwood. I wouldn’t have complained. Probably.

I will complain about how boring everything is though. I have no problem with horror that takes its time. I do have a problem with horror that doesn’t go anywhere. Horror can be low key, thoughtful or formalistic, but then it typically involves psychologically interesting characters, philosophical musing or artistic expression. “Black Mountain” has none of that. It has characters that are not people, but rather things the plot can push around and occasionally murder.

There’s no delineation between these characters. They aren’t even stereotypes. They’re just bodies. Can you reasonably tell one from the other? I can’t. I know there’s outside science man; he’s an archaeologist and someone whose camp noob status gives the audience a useful cipher for exposition. I know there’s a doctor guy. You know he’s a doctor because he gives everyone sleeping pills for their various neuroses and infections. Seriously. There’s a point where he starts just carrying them around in his pockets for when anyone brings up any kind of symptom. There’s also another guy who hangs out in the radio room sometimes. I don’t know any of their names. When someone starts hearing voices in the after-hours, or someone else goes nuts and hacks off their own hand, I have no idea who that is compared to the other half a dozen-ish guys. I’m not even sure who camp leader is.

I hate to do this, but the movie brought it upon itself. Compare the characters in “Black Mountain” to those in “The Thing.” In John Carpenter’s film, the men at Outpost 31 feel distinct, with individual quirks and varying responses to the unimaginable situation they’ve been thrust into. There’s also a question about who the camp leader is, but it’s one of the primary sources of tension in the film. Garry is officially the leader, but his authority crumbles due to his age and uncertainty, allowing more charismatic figures like MacReady and Childs to start bickering their way to the top. Childs clearly wants authority; MacReady says he doesn’t want it, but he’s awfully good at assuming it. Garry pouts and lamely steps aside. In a film about figuring out who’s inhuman, it’s a very human dynamic, and it’s arguably one of thriller cinema’s most fascinating dynamics because it’s made up of such distinct individuals.

On the other hand, at one point in “Black Mountain Side,” one dude tells another dude to “look into” all the crazy shit. Why that particular dude? I dunno. Reasons, I suppose.

It doesn’t help that none of the actors are very good. The quality of perforancehovers between stale cold reads and overeager community theater players, with the dividing line typically between whether the character is still sane or has gone crazy. Accordingly, there’s no sense of people slowly going insane. They’re just kinda suspicious one minute, then a scene later they’re giggling about how they haven’t slept in days and no one’s leaving the camp alive.

A certain amount of blame can be placed on the plot, which doesn’t bother to establish a consistent reality any more than the characters do. Again, I don’t mind if a world is weird or features unexplained elements, but it has to sport some internal logic so that when crazy stuff happens, it actually feels crazy. “Black Mountain” doesn’t establish that logic. It isn’t surreal. It just doesn’t seem to care.

There are a number of unresolved issues. I’m not talking about the nature of the alien entity haunting the camp. I think the film walks a nice line between whether the threat is supernatural or bacterial, admirably resisting the urge to take sides. I’m talking about the myriad little issues that pile up. How did the native workers leave, given everyone says the ice is unassailable this time of year? Did they actually leave? Are they dead or in hiding? Don’t know. What about the dudes who stay in the camp? Were there any hints of paranoia from before? If so, we don’t hear about it. There is a dead cat everyone forgets about. What’s up with that? What about the camp itself? Is this dig really so profitable? No one seems that upset when the scheduled supply drop doesn’t happen. Why should anyone care about any of this before before the space crazies set in?

The most painful example is a throwaway observation that the invading parasite seems to be turning its host’s cells into those of an octopus, another reference to “The Thing” and, presumably, everyone’s favorite elder god. An entire scene is spent on it. There’s a one-liner about aquariums. Then it’s all forgotten. Even the film’s more generous defenders note that this does nothing for the story. At best it’s an inside Cthulhu joke that isn’t particularly funny; at worst it’s an attempt at spooky weirdness that’s just another frustratingly unanswered question.

Curiously for a film that tries to be cryptic, there is very little atmosphere in “Black Mountain Side.” That is no fault of the visuals, which are bleak and beautiful and sometimes quite interesting. Two men smoking outside, a tennis ball hitting a wall, the last sane person in camp confronting a madman next to a mirror – these are compelling images, well blocked and framed, that take full advantage of the location’s foggy forests, pine-knotty cabins and blank snowbanks.

The sound is far less effective. The audio is mostly OK, although sometimes things are obviously recorded in another room on a later date. I cannot remember a note of the score. Given how little there is happening onscreen, it would have been nice to have some jarring sound cues or moody ambient tracks, but instead there is, like the rest of the film, nothing. And I hate to bring up “The Thing” again – kind of – but Ennio Morricone’s ominous score was an integral part of the tension and atmosphere of that film. Perhaps the lack of soundtrack here was a conscious choice at setting the bleak tone, but with little else to hold onto, it was a choice I find it hard to get behind.

The final disappointment is the monster, whose presence is intriguingly doled out for much of the film. It’s all a gutteral voice, a hoarse and harsh whisper, maybe in the head of whatever unfortunate character is onscreen. That voice, provided by Nathaniel Gordon, is easily the best performance in the film. Then they had to show the thing, and it becomes much less effective. It’s not even a bad effect. It’s just… unremarkable. A Val Lewton show-don’t-tell apporach would have been far more effective, harmonizing with the film’s ambiguous efforts and atmospheric intentions. Instead we get a poorly telegraphed hunting trophy (earlier in the film, the archaeologist states that its clear certain images of a deer on the Mesoamerican-style slab are “god-like.” How’s it clear? The film never bothers to explain).

Even if we just accept the creature as a budgetary constraint and cut the film some slack, the movie still doesn’t know what to do with its own cosmic horror musing. Probably the most powerful point of the film is undercut by its lack of purpose. At the climax, the entity – which is still (conceptually) hovering between alien god and hallucination – echoes the book of Job, stating in that awesome voice: “When an animal looks up at the night sky, what does it see? Thousands and thousands of tiny points. Then a man looks up at the same points and sees millions of stars, galaxies, within which are billions of planets. Do you want to know what I see? Were you there when I created the stars?”

“No,” responds the human it has cornered, in the tone of a petulant child. Later, that same human asks why the entity killed so many people. It replies: “I have to go.” Huh? Is it late for an appointment?

I have spent way too much time on this, but not since we began the “worst cosmic horror movie” project last November have I felt so disappointed by a film. “Black Mountain Side” has a great premise – an isolated setting, out of place archaeology, ancient bacteria, maybe metaphysics maybe mundane – that it effectively wastes. Some pretty photography and a cool voice for the creature cannot make up for the lack of characters, continuity, pacing, soundtrack and purpose. The film is also quite bleak, but that’s par for the course in the genre. I don’t know if it was the filmmaker’s intention, but the conclusion had me laughing out loud. I guess that’s worth something.

Familiar scratches: A critical review of “Lily C.A.T.” (1987)

Is it just me, or does the idea of sleeper ships seems like a monetary sinkhole? The corporation funding the operation has to be pretty confident they’ll be around in the 20 years it takes to get to the salvage site or mining world or whatever. The crew members, meanwhile, have to hope that their hazard pay will keep up with inflation. That’s 20 years both ways, remember. I can’t imagine Adam Smith would approve.

Still, that sort of value was probably not in the heads of the producers of 1987 OVA “Lily C.A.T.” They did have another value in mind, which was a kind of economy of narrative. When it comes to bad cosmic horror flicks, “C.A.T.” is another example of a mediocre film brought low by blatantly borrowing from other media.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A motley crew of blue-collar workers, space jockeys and company wage slaves is pulled out of suspended animation to explore a mining world, somewhere and when in the distant future. Naturally people start disappearing, their bodies later found contorted in terror and dripping with alien bacteria, while other times only their discarded clothes remain. To figure out what’s going on, the dwindling crew has to investigate the connection between the disappearances and deaths, a monstrous presence on board, and an all too human murderer in their midst.

“C.A.T.” could establish some interesting mystery except for two things. The first is that it reveals some of its mysteries right off the bat – as in, during the title sequence. We see a prehistoric space rock strike the ship, so there’s nothing to discover with the crew when they start freaking out about a damaged hull and alien bacteria. They’re just catching up with us, and that’s no fun.

To be fair, the intro theme that plays under the credits is pretty good. It’s a combination of stirring orchestral cues and sinister electronic flourishes. And the animation – sweeping robot arms and hurtling space junk – is detailed and smooth. It’s a pity that’s about as good as audio or visuals will ever get. The soundtrack mostly utilizes boilerplate thriller synthesizers – not bad but not outstanding – and the visuals… we’ll get there.

The other reason there’s no real mystery here is because “C.A.T.” is painfully obvious about its influences. There’s no question the OVA lacks originality; the only question is what it’s ripping off more: “Alien” or “The Thing”? And the answer is: “yes.”

On one hand you have: the cargo ship of a ruthless corporation for the setting; an alien entity bothering the ship’s cat; an AI called Mother; robotic revelations; a tense moment when the hanger door blows open; blocky white sci fi furniture; geometric hallways lined with ropy braids of wires and lit by slatted windows; space chains.

On the other hand you have: an alien organism that appears to infect via blood; a forensic hunt for someone who is not what they appear to be; civilian scientists in an isolated setting with more curiosity than sense; a computer flashing cryptic messages about an invasive life-form taking over Earth; a human face splitting in half; a dead body on a gurney that subtly moves when no one’s looking; tentacles.

There’s also flamethrowers, cos while one can probably have cosmic horror with them, do we really want to take that chance?

Perhaps I’m being a little unfair, and we should think of “C.A.T.” as a really, really slavish homage rather than a straight-up rip-off. The problem is that if we tear out all that, uh, adoration, we’re left with a second-rate slice of sci fi horror. The OVA needs to have both a large enough cast to properly murder and to tell its story in less than 70 minutes, so no character is given any breathing room to become interesting. That does explain why no one seems particularly upset about the rapidly growing pile of dead bodies on the ship. No one in the cast – or audience – cares about anyone on board.

Thematically there are some admirable attempts at philosophizing, with the most attention on considering what kinds of people would lose decades of their lives to long-distance space travel. There’s also some musing on the theme of “live life,” which could have been an opportunity for an interesting consideration of how both man and parasite just want to survive. Instead, that’s ignored in favor of a closing speech that shoots for rousing but hits “budget motivational speaker” instead – not to mention it’s delivered during the film’s most awkward editing. You might find it charming or mawkish depending on your mood, but it’s clumsy and goofy either way.

As previously discussed, if we’re skipping the borrowed aspects of design, we have to ignore spaceships and most of the creatures featured – even when it’s not overly familiar, the space critter ends up being a fairly unimaginative mass of tentacles. Not hentai tentacles though. Well, for the most part… How do the humans look? Ugly, like anemic playing cards rather than people. Surprisingly, creature designs were by Yoshitaka Amano and character designs were by Yasuomi Umetsu, who respectively worked on the inventive “Twilight of the Cockroaches” and the stunning “Robot Carnival” around this time.

There are some atmospheric lighting choices during the hallway crawls, and there is a kinda gory shot of a cat evisceration, so that’ll please old school anime weirdos. There’s even a flash of something that looks like early computer assisted animation, but I ain’t no expert on that. The film at least answers what looked like a big old plot hole at the beginning about a message from corporate HQ. Even the size of the cat, which changes depending on the shot, might have an in-universe explanation… or else someone in continuity just wasn’t doing their job. But that’s “Lily C.A.T.” in a nutshell. Between its influences and its quality, it’s a film that paradoxically tries too hard and doesn’t care at all.

Light my fire: A critical review of “Aliens: Fireteam Elite” (2021)

This blog is making its mad scramble to view enough media so we can put together some best of 2021 lists, and games is one space where we’re making the attempt. There are a few games we’re either trying to finish or trying to start: some we really like; some we’re really curious about; even a couple that are consistently featured on other, actually authoritative, “best of 2021” lists. However, there is only one game that is calling out for us to talk about: “Genshin Impact,” now free-to-play on Android and iOS.

Wait. Shoot. Hold on.

The clumsily named “Aliens: Fireteam Elite” is a third-person cover shooter set in the universe of xenomorphs and androids that bleed milk. Gameplay is mission-driven, and the co-op setup is similar to “Left 4 Dead” (but take note online-only skeptics: there is an offline mode). The plot shouldn’t surprise any familiar with the franchise: Colonial marines answer a distress call from a mothballed Weyland-Yutani ship. That leads them to investigate some suspicious research on a terraformed planet or whatnot. The point is, there will be aliens, rogue androids and maybe something else, all of it trying to kill you in waves. If there’s someone who works for the company and is definitely not a robot, they’re probably a robot. If you are told there’s no way you’ll encounter the hive queen, you’re going to see the queen.

“Fireteam” is not great by any metric. Its combat is repetitive, and its play options start to look somewhat shallow as the game grinds on. But it has a curious amount of heart, courtesy of solid voice acting and a respect for the source material. Even if it’s not great, it feels good, and fans of the franchise will likely cut it the slack it needs to come off as a fun experience.

One plays on a three-person team – an odd number in more ways than one – comprised of either bots, friends or randos online. There are four to six mildly upgradable/customizable character classes, depending on which version you’re playing, all somewhat distinct. The gunner is a well-rounded shooter; the technician plays more defense with turrets and mines; the demolisher offers crowd control with a weapons set that screams “run into battle and pull the trigger regardless of my teammate’s needs”; and the doc distinguishes itself by sucking. Individual guns aren’t especially distinct, but gun classes are distinguishable enough, with assault rifles more than glorified machine guns, and flamethrowers a colorful but messy option.

What you’ll be shooting with those guns is mostly xenomorphs, and again, they come in varieties that are sort of but not quite different. There are runners to bum-rush the players, spitters to hock neon loogies, and prowlers to hide around corners and provide occasional jump scares. I found drones provided the most variety. A little more than just runners with extra hit points, they had a pattern of taking damage, running into a vent, then reappearing and incapacitating players who were distracted by the horde. Even they weren’t particularly different in appearance or combat, they allowed for a touch of tension. Other than that, pretty much everyone charges at you in a conga line. If you’re observant, you can find a spawn point and pick enemies off as they exit the virtual clown car. At least there’s good feedback on shooting things in the head.

One element that does feel fairly distinct is level design. There are four missions, each one in a unique environment: an abandoned space station, the only jungle planet not to have Predators, an H. R. Giger designed “Ancient Aliens” set, and another abandoned space station except the xenomorphs have been playing decorator.

While third-person shooting does not typically lend itself to horror, “Fireteam” at least does OK as a thriller because it bothers to build an atmosphere. In most of those settings, there’s tricky lighting and small environmental cues to suggest tension. Was that the hiss of a xeno or just a leaky pipe? Things build. Even within the abandoned space station we end up in a waterlogged reactor, and the game doesn’t throw Giger wallpaper at us from the beginning, unlike another title I could mention. So when those jump scares do come, they feel at least earned.

The standout for most people is the voice acting, and I concur. It’s all quite good, with NPC line delivery both enthusiastic and good-humored. Some people complained about the limited character animation and lack of mouth movement, but that never bothered me. I prefer a quality character portrait with next to no facial animation to a poorly mapped effort. I was more bummed by the dialogue. Some of the attempts at comedy fall flat, and not due to delivery. There are interesting moments though. At one point, the ship’s resident robot made an observation about utilitarian philosophy. It wasn’t the most profound observation, but it was done for its own sake while still feeling organic. Not bad at all. Franchise fans might be more impressed by the thoughtful way Alien lore is woven into the script. And, naturally, there are also nods to grand Gothic standbys like the Bible and Greek mythology. Is the xenomorph called Monica a reference to “Doki Doki Literature Club”? Almost certainly not. There’s no K.

There are flaws. Sometimes scripted dialogue will start up when you’re shooting random aliens, so the words are lost under the chatter of gunfire and drooling jaws. Worse is when you trigger some sweeping music while a line of likewise triggered dialogue starts to play. Is it a significant plot point? Who knows? You won’t, at least not until you play the level again, hopefully without the soundtrack cue. At least the soundtrack’s good.

Still, most of the problems with the game aren’t flaws but places where it could be more. It could be scarier, have more Lewton buses and spooky visual effects, sport more varied enemies and boss encounters, and throw more challenges than press X and defend a choke point at the player. The game is fine at what it does; it just needs to do more.

I am starting to develop a criteria for how to judge these sorts of games, and I think “Fireteam” passes enough to be recommended. Combat feedback is good. Atmosphere is good. The sense of humor is mostly there. The slog is satisfying enough. Enemies… are. Classes feel different, and playing with humans versus bots is distinct, with bots dependable but unimaginative compared to the versatility and capacity for chaos offered by humans. Bot AI lags on later levels, which segues into an unfortunate point.

A glance through reviews suggests the “Fireteam” community is spotty. In this blog’s experience, getting matched with humans was pretty hit-or-miss. That strikes me as a little unfair.I don’t think “Fireteam” needs me to be its champion – I’m just a little guy, and the game presumably has the power of 20th Century Fox (technically Disney now) and the entire Alien franchise behind it. It also has received positive attention from Angry Joe, and what could be better than that?

As a sci fi action thriller, “Fireteam” has been rightly hailed as better than “Aliens: Colonial Marines.” Coupled with the game’s obvious reverence for the franchise, it feels bad to sleep on this one, even if it’s not perfect. Perhaps a solid community could uplift it just enough to get it the attention it deserves.

If I had to sum up “Fireteam” in a single piece of its design, it would not be its drone-haunted hallways, or the one-liners of Sergeant Herrera or Lieutenant Ko. It would be how runner xenomorphs stumble a bit, like overexcited dogs, when you graze them with gunfire. It’s a cute touch. Off balance, and not enough to make a game, but cute nevertheless.

Problems and solutions: News March 2022

It’s been a little ghostly around this town the last couple of months, hasn’t it tonstant weader? That’s on me. I have had a fullish time job as of late, and it turns out being gainfully employed eat into this blog’s time and inclination to philosophize about cheap thrillers on the Internet for free. It doesn’t help that I’ve also tried to keep my previous job of slowly poisoning myself with caffeine, diphenhydramine and benzocaine, but that’s no excuse.

What to expect in the future? I will be reviewing a few final bad cosmic horror films. I’ve been keeping some of the worst on reserve, so that should be fun. I am still planning to put together a couple of “best of 2021” lists, but there will likely be an update about that. It’s an ambitious goal, given how I’ve only actually watched, um… two new thrillers, I think, so there will be some catching up to do. Feeling optimistic about that update, I tell you wot.

The problem with problems is they’re easy to point out but hard to solve. I think that lo fi anituber DontHurtMyFeelings would understand. We have a similar understanding of the illusion of ownership when it comes to digital media. In a recent video, he outlines some of the reasons for physical copies of games without going full-blown against digital. He’s cautious rather than cautionary. It’s not a bad place to be.