Best Of 2014: Martin Hollis

Published on December 12th, 2014 in: Best Of Lists, Gaming |


Every year I post my top five games of the year onto Twitter or Facebook, with little in the way of explanation. This year, I need to change that. The year itself has been a strange one: the titles I expected to be writing about such as Arkham Knight, Evolve, and next year’s obvious game of the year, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, all faced delays. It was a pattern across the industry, with more time needed for polish, and the titles that did manage to sneak out in time for the Christmas season have suffered major issues with performance, online play, or glitches. In fact, only Nintendo have seemed to have avoided this fate, although CEO Satoru Iwata’s mantra of “more time needed: please understand,” was one even the house of Mario couldn’t avoid, and several titles promised at an exciting E3 linger in the ether of 2015.


The Truth Was Out There: A Retrospective Of The X-Files

Published on August 8th, 2014 in: Comics, Retrovirus, Science Fiction, The Internets, TV, We Miss The Nineties |

By Martin Hollis


IDW’s re-release of The X-Files Classics series is about to reach its conclusion, with the final set of collated issues of The X-Files comic book being set to drop in just over a month. The first few volumes revealed a lot about the time in which the comic was made—mid-’90s Todd Macfarlane-esque splash pages abound—but also about the inventiveness and creativity which permeated the greatest seasons of the television show. In addition, the comic featured its own mythology, revealing shady Pentagon connections, crystal helmets, and hinting at the alien powers that Fox Mulder, among others, would wield in later seasons of the television show.

There are also some missteps. It seemed impossible to accurately draw poor Gillian Anderson’s face in 1995, her glorious visage distorted or squashed depending on the panel one happens to view. Much like the TV show, it was likely that the creators were up against real deadlines, turning out the product as quickly as possible to capitalize on the exponential success of the show.

Given that the comic book is, in essence, a microcosm of the show, it seems like we are more than overdue a proper reevaluation of the television show and films.


McBusted: Desperation And Tenacity In The Music Industry

Published on May 9th, 2014 in: Music, Science and Technology, The Internets |

By Martin Hollis


In a break from my normal oeuvre, a couple of weeks ago I went with my other half to see the “supergroup” (a term I am perhaps exaggerating here) McBusted, formed of McFly and Busted, both of whom enjoyed success in the UK a decade ago. Whilst I knew what I would expect as to the venue (faceless stadium) and the clientele (a mix of tweens and 30-somethings reliving their student days), what really stood out to me was the way in which this concert exemplified the current mass-music scene in the UK.


Music Review: Catch The Throne Mixtape

Published on March 21st, 2014 in: Music, Music Reviews, Reviews, TV |

By Martin Hollis


In its fourth season, Game of Thrones has become an all-conquering behemoth, awaited with baited breath by millions around the world ready to tune into HBO or cheekily pirate it shortly after it airs in order to ravenously devour the sumptuous look, dense plotting, and layered characters.

Most of these millions are, however, Caucasian, with HBO estimating over 75 percent of the show’s viewers being White. There is clearly a market to still be tapped into, despite the runaway success of the program. Hence we now have the latest in a series of pre-season hype-making mix tapes, Catch The Throne. Whilst previous season-priming mixtapes were mixed by the likes of The National or Wilco—shoegazing White indie—this time, HBO has enlisted none other than Big Boi, better known as one half of Outkast, in a blatant attempt to attract Black and Latino viewers with a combination of hip-hop, samples, and quotations from the show.

The result is sporadically brilliant, funny, clever, trivial, and idiotic in equal measure.


House Of Cards: The Real Game is Being Played With The Audience

Published on March 7th, 2014 in: Current Faves, TV |

By Martin Hollis


Literature had it lucky. Good old Willie Shakespeare knocked out many a soliloquy in his time, not through choice, but necessity. Standing in the bare rooms of The Globe, it was a must for actors to explain in detail to the audience the location, color, and décor of the room, which had now become Denmark, Verona, wherever.

Given 500 years, it’s no surprise then that Nabokov, Danielewski, and even JJ Abrams in his authorial capacity, have all manipulated and played with the concept of the fourth wall, obfuscating, elaborating, or messing with readers’ expectations. Even Alan Moore’s Watchmen played with the fourth wall, using framing, captions, and font among others in order to play with the form.