The Top Ten Most Influential Cities in the History of Western Civilization

Alright, so let’s make a couple things clear. This is my <AtlantanKnight’s> list. There is not really any objective way to do this since there are so many variables at play over such a long timespan; I just figured it would make a fun post. For the purpose of this post, “Western” will be defined as “European” or “deriving from European society.” These ten cities are some of the most influential in the history of Western Civilization, and their influence continues to be felt in modern society.

10) Venice ~
As a prominent Italian city-state, the Most Serene Republic of Venice was one of the world’s longest-lived democracies. As a merchant nation, it exerted enormous influence throughout the Mediterranean and was able to hold colonies and serve as a stopping-off point for goods flowing from the Far East to Western Europe. Venice also exerted its influence by financing crusades and having a respectable navy. Now, Venice is mainly just a tourist destination, although some of the floating city’s residents have started to yearn for independence in recent years.

one-wtc-the-freedom-tower9) New York City ~
NYC is the center of global commerce. As the largest city in the largest Western nation, New York has a rich history as the gateway for millions of immigrants coming to the United States of America. New York is easily one of the top three most important cities in the West today, but its importance on this list is diminished by its relatively short history.

8) Paris ~
At times, France was the mightiest nation in the entire world. During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries especially, French monarchs (and later the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte) held immense power. Napoleon’s France laid waste to much of Europe during the first years of the 1800s. Paris has also been a longtime producer of culture, especially in fields like food, fashion, architecture.

7) Moscow ~
The heart of the Orthodox and Russian worlds. The capital of Russia has been a seat of power for hundreds of years. From Moscow, Communism created the Soviet Union and found its way to every corner of the globe, making Moscow one of the most influential cities for all of the 20th Century. However, even before then, Russian leaders have reigned defiantly in Moscow, usually in opposition to both Islamic and Western European powers.

img_18656) Washington ~
The most powerful nation in the world is headquartered in Washington, DC, a city named after its first president. Washington is a relatively small city, but because it is the seat of American power (and by extension, Western influence), it gets a high spot on this list.

img_18675) London ~
Britain is one of the world’s few perennial superpowers. Even if nations like the US and China are more powerful in modern times, Britain still holds its own with either in a historical perspective. London is the heart of the English language. It’s the home of the British Parliament, one of the oldest popularly elected legislative bodies in the world. It’s the one city in Western Europe that did not falter before a full-scale Nazi onslaught in World War II. Britain may seem to be on a decline nowadays, but surely it won’t last.

4) Istanbul ~
As Constantinople, Istanbul kept the fires of Roman civilization burning for nearly a thousand years after the last Roman Emperor reigned in Rome. The Byzantine Empire acted as a buffer between Eastern invasions and Europe, allowing for Western Civilization to continue developing unharmed. It facilitated trade between East and West. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Istanbul served as the home of the Ottoman Empire, a nation which became one of the few Westernized Islamic nations in the world.

3) Athens ~
Sometimes thought of as the birthplace of modern democracy, Athens, Greece is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Its crumbling ruins are a reminder of a Greek civilization long gone, but they also bear a striking resemblance to (and heavily influenced) the Roman civilization which ultimately formed the foundations of modern Western culture.

2) Jerusalem ~
The center of the monotheistic world. So many wars have been fought (and will continue to be fought, probably and unfortunately) because of the religions which have roots in Jerusalem. Now in the hands of the Jewish nation of Israel, Jerusalem is likely to be a flashpoint for future conflicts. However, its rich history and the billions of people on this Earth whose religions have ties to Jerusalem demand that it get a spot no lower than second on this list.

img_18631) Rome ~
The fires of Roman civilization never really went out. Russia may claim itself to be the true successor of Rome, and Washington may grace us with its splendid Roman-inspired (as well as Greek and Egyptian) architecture, but in truth, the fires of Rome burn in every Western nation today. Rome was Western culture for a long, long time. Any nation which wasn’t Roman was seen as barbarians. Rome had the best scientists, the best engineers, the biggest and best army, the most people, the most art and literature, the largest nation. It had everything. Even as the Roman Empire collapsed, people still had a great and profound respect (and still do) for what the city has stood for. Today, Rome’s main influence on a global scale derives from the Vatican City, the small country within Rome which serves as the seat of the Catholic Church.

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How Does Team Fortress 2 Manage to Stay Fun Year After Year?

Team Fortress 2. Now, I must admit, I’ve not been playing TF2 since the beginning (not even close), but after playing for three years and having friends who have been there for the long haul, I can’t help but be amazed by the game’s replayability. Think about Call of Duty, for instance. You can play COD for six months and have a great time, but by the end of a Call of Duty game’s first year, most of the player base is long gone already and playing the next game. It’s not a long-standing sort of environment.

TF2, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. The game was published in 2007, yet over a decade later, it still has a significant player base. New people still pick up the game. Old players may take breaks, but they come back. As I type this, Team Fortress 2 currently has 45 thousand online players, good for the fifth most on Steam. What’s different about TF2 from other PC games to make this happen?

Youtuber LazyPurple recently explored this question in his video “TF2 is a Timeless Masterpiece,” and one of his main conclusions is that the game has been propped up over the years by its fantastic shooting and movement mechanics. I certainly agree that the game is fantastic in both respects, but I’m not sure if that’s really a sufficient enough conclusion given that more modern first-person shooters do well in those areas too.

I think it really just all boils down to the community. TF2 is a free-to-play game. It’s one of the first games many people download when they get a Steam account. Because of this, you get all sorts of people hopping into a TF2 match. Once you get in a match, anything can happen. Sometimes, you may get a serious server where people play the objective and try to win and coordinate attacks like on other shooting games. However, most of the time you get the sort of utter chaos that makes TF2 fun and unique.

One of the servers I landed on in the past couple weeks had a guy screaming bloody murder into his microphone, but no one seemed to care since he was actually leading our team in points. In a different server, my friends and I managed to convince our whole team to play as snipers. We didn’t even manage to get out of our spawn after the first time we all died, but it sure was fun. In yet another game, we ran across two jokers giving a tag-team philosophical lecture to our team while we played.

It’s the little things like that, and they happen all the time. The taunting. The conga lines and Kazotsky Kicks. The Sniper saxophone, Engineer banjo, breakdancing Scout, and Pyro air guitar band that starts playing in spawn before the match and continues to do so THE ENTIRE ROUND without leaving spawn, but hardly anyone cares because it’s hilarious and it’s TF2. That’s the sort of thing that sets TF2 apart from games like CS:GO, COD, Battlefield, and Overwatch. It’s just funny chaos.

Now, I’ve got to say, Valve hasn’t done much to help the TF2 community stay afloat. They give TF2 a significant update maybe once a year, and that’s being generous. They don’t sponsor TF2 tournaments. They do make new hats, but I guess that’s not really a big contributor to gameplay. However, to Valve’s credit. They have kept the servers up and running. They have not made any indication to kill the game, and quite frankly, I’m not sure if they’ll ever need or want to. The TF2 community has kept itself alive all these years, and even though it’s experienced some hardships along the way, it’s still out there having a good laugh and fun times. That’s all that really matters.

 

The College Football Playoff Needs to Expand to Eight Teams

I think you get the gist of the “what” this article will be about from the title, so allow me to elaborate the “how” and “why” we need an 8-team NCAA College Football Playoff.

50% of the 2017-17 season’s College Football Playoff was composed of teams from the Southeastern Conference. While there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that, it could certainly be argued that the committee put them in the final four based off of their records and the prestige of the conference instead of their actual body of work. Yes, those two SEC teams in the playoff, Alabama and Georgia, both bested their opponents and made it to the championship game, but was the SEC really the best conference?

If we assume that the SEC was the best conference, then there’s no real issue and we can all sleep soundly knowing that the best team in the country, Alabama, earned their championship fair and square. But what if the SEC wasn’t the best conference? What if we look at the Big Ten’s 7-1 bowl record versus the SEC’s 5-6, and decide that the Big Ten was the best conference. The Big Ten did not have a presence in the College Football Playoff because the committee decided its top teams had too many losses. However, you can make a strong argument that the top Big Ten teams (Wisconsin, Penn State, and Ohio State) all had losses because the conference as a whole was so formidable. If this was truly the case, then the Playoff Committee failed in their jobs by punishing the Big Ten for being a competitive conference. In contrast, the SEC had a clear trio of teams (Alabama, Georgia, and Auburn) leading a conference full of disappointing mediocrity. The Big Ten also wins the “eye test” over the SEC. That championship game? Ugly. Compare that to the Big Ten’s bowl wins; most of those were well-played games where the Big Ten teams established themselves clearly as the better team. It’s hard to watch the dominant Big Ten performances from December 2017 and think that the Playoff Committee was correct in leaving out the Big Ten champion from the playoff.Then there’s also the issue of the UCF Knights. They ended the season undefeated. Did they have the toughest schedule in the world? Absolutely not. However, you could tell by watching them play that UCF was fielding a spectacularly good team. Unfortunately, the Playoff Committee displayed clear Power Five bias by not even ranking UCF in the top ten at the end of the season. Then what happened in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day? The Knights defeated Auburn convincingly, ending their season unbeaten with a win against an SEC team who themselves held wins over half the playoff field. Uncertainty over relative conference strengths. Power conference bias. Too much sway in the hands of the committee. These are all issues, and they can all be downplayed with a properly-formatted eight-team playoff. Here’s how it would work: each of the “Power Five” (the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, and Big XII) conferences’ will receive a bid. The highest-ranked non-power conference champion will also receive a bid. The remaining bids (normally 2, but it could be 3 if no non-power team is ranked) will go to the three next highest-ranked teams who do not already have bids. The bracket will then be assembled based off of teams’ ranks. Conceivably, this would result in the #1 ranked team in the country playing the non-power team most of the time.

If this playoff system has been in place this year, the first round would have looked like this:

1) Clemson [#1] vs. 8) UCF [#13]

2) Oklahoma [#2] vs. 7) USC [#8]

3) Georgia [#3] vs. 6) Wisconsin [#6]

4) Alabama [#4] vs. 5) Ohio State [#5]

UCF was the highest-ranked non-power team. Auburn was ranked 7th, but since USC was a Power Five conference champion, they would get in over Auburn despite being ranked 8th. This system would make the “which conference is the best” discussion irrelevant since all major conferences would be represented. It would also give non-power conferences a chance to prove themselves and take less of the decision-making (or chance to mess up, so-to-speak) out of the hands of the Playoff Committee.

There will be many calls for a College Football Playoff expansion after how this 2017-18 bowl season turned out. Hopefully this helped explain some of the reasoning.

What Should the US Soccer Federation Try to Accomplish in 2018?

It’s 2018 now, and with the incumbent Sunil Gulati out of contention for the United States Soccer Federation’s presidency, the election in February is sure to bring about significant change in US Soccer. Obviously, the failure of the US Men’s National Team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup was embarrassing, but it also brought national attention to the garbage fire that currently is US Soccer.

I suppose we should first acknowledge that not everything within US Soccer is a complete mess. The US Women’s National Team is the reigning World Cup champion, and they continued to dominate in recent fixtures. However, other problems within the women’s game in the US exist, most notably the low salaries within the National Women’s Soccer League which discourages some of the best female soccer players in high school and college from seeing soccer (and by extension, playing for the national team) as a viable career option. Luckily, NWSL salaries are steadily increasing (albeit slowly), and as more income is brought into the NWSL from sources like their partnership with A+E Networks, those numbers will surely increase further. The other issue with the NWSL is attendance, but the 10-team league is still young. As the clubs get their finances in order and make themselves a part of their local communities, attendance figures ought to grow.

The main, glaring manifestation of the USSF’s problems is the ineptitude of the USMNT, but the solution to this issue is a lot more complicated than just saying, “oh well, the current players are all washed up. We need a better coach and new faces.” That thinking may not necessarily be incorrect, but the United States needs to make a concerted effort to reevaluate the entire domestic pyramid. We can see Major League Soccer gaining traction, but MLS doesn’t develop young players as well is ought to. It also still isn’t quite up to the level of competition it needs to be to keep the USMNT’s players in world-class form. That’s why better American players often choose to play in European leagues.

As always, all comes down to money. The United States has a massive population, the third most in the world. All we have to do is find eleven kids in our populace of over 300 million and train them up to be world-class soccer players. That’s it. It sounds so simple. So why isn’t it so simple?

In most other countries around the world, soccer is the most popular sport by far. Here in the United States, soccer isn’t even in the top 4. While soccer doesn’t need to be the most popular sport in America, it needs to be popular enough that when kids get to that age where they have to decide which sport they want to devote most of their time to play, a greater-than-current proportion of those kids choose soccer. But how would you go about doing this? Well, the easiest answer is money.

If there are enough high-paying “jobs” aka salaried positions on soccer teams as players, coaches, or training staff, then more people will feel obliged to play soccer. Major League Soccer can only get so big. Currently, it’s at 23 teams and set to expand to 28, but it’s hard to imagine the league growing to a number much larger than thirty. With a fair number of roster slots going to international players, there is a very finite number of places for Americans on MLS rosters. Also, although MLS salaries are increasing steadily much like the NWSL’s, the minimum salary in MLS is currently $53k, much lower than other top-level American sports leagues.

Luckily, soccer isn’t like the NFL or NBA where there can really only be one league paying liveable salaries out to its players. Soccer can have many, many teams, and, using England as an example, there is reason to believe that salaries around or greater than national average can reach down as far as the fourth division. Mind you, soccer is quite a bit more popular in England than it is in the US, but recent surging attendances around the United States from teams like Atlanta United FC and FC Cincinnati show how there is a genuine interest in the sport. If you create well-run, well-marketed soccer clubs in the right towns, people will come. So to recap, that attendance translates into income for the clubs, and income translates into the ability to pay higher salaries, and higher salaries attract more young athletes to the game of soccer.

So, to answer the title of this textwall, the main, imperative goal of the USSF in 2018 is thus: HELP DEVELOP THE LOWER DIVISIONS.

And no, there doesn’t need to be a promotion and relegation system between Major League Soccer and the lower leagues in order for this to happen. All the pyramid needs are stable lower leagues. Under the leadership of Sunil Gulati, we’ve seen the crumbling of the former second division league, the NASL. It’s true that the USL has seen immense growth in the same timeframe, but that’s just comparing healthy apples to rotten apples. The fact of the matter is that we could have had two baskets of healthy apples, and instead, we have one healthy basket and one rotten basket.

With the USL Division III and the National Independent Soccer Association launching in the next couple of years and the fourth-division NPSL growing still, the USSF needs to make a concerted effort to help these leagues get off to a good start in whatever ways they need help. If that means stepping in to talk to local leaders to get stadium deals done, the USSF needs to go do that. If it means setting up an advising office specifically tailored to take questions from lower division front offices, the USSF needs to go do that. It the USSF needs to go make a grandiose ad-campaign with commercials saying something along the lines of “hey we really messed up the past few years, but you can help us fix it by supporting lower soccer,” then so be it, the USSF needs to go do that, too.

In 2018, the USMNT will be rebuilding. We should not expect amazing results from them because the team is likely to be young and inexperienced. They’ll probably lose most of their matches. That’s okay. The important thing is that they’re learning, and as soccer supporters, we need to accept that it’ll be an entire year or two before there’s a respectable product on the field.

However, as US soccer fans, we have to do our paramount duty this year to make any progress possible: go to soccer matches. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to an MLS match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a USWNT match at Red Bull Arena, or a fourth division match on a cold, rainy night in Minnesota. Get out there. If we get out there and show the world that we care, eventually we’ll have a soccer federation we can be proud of.

 

 

The World Needs a TV Show Set in the Harry Potter Universe

Just picture the opening sequence: a train traveling through the picturesque landscapes of northern Britain. Enchanting music plays in the background as the actors’ and actresses’ names display on-screen. Then at the end of it all, the train arrives at its destination. Hogwarts.

Hogwarts will be the working title of the series I’m proposing here. The main setting would be Hogwarts itself, but the series could contain the perspectives of a variety of characters (besides just students) such as professors, Hogsmeade shopkeepers, etc. to broaden the possible storylines which could be explored. As this would be a television series instead of a movie series, episodic storylines would need to be able to fit into sixty to ninety-minute timeframes. Longer, overarching stories such as younger characters’ journies through their school years would span the entire season. I also believe that a Harry Potter series would be highly thematic, so theĀ Hogwarts series I am proposing here would delve deep into modern-day issues similarly to how Star Trek often does in its many television series.

Harry Potter 3

If I were making a pilot episode for Hogwarts, I imagine it may include many of the same features of the beginning of the first Harry Potter book, The Sorceror’s (or Philosopher’s, if you prefer) Stone, and highlight things like main characters meeting each other, the initial train ride to Hogwarts, and the sorting ceremony. This pilot may also include chit-chat between professors as they prepare their courses, scenes from Hogsmeade as storeowners get ready for the busy season, and some other tidbits of news from elsewhere in the Wizarding World which could hint at some antagonistic dark forces looming around.

As the season progresses, the buildup to the finale could be filled in with all the little things which you miss from the books. How about Quidditch matches! Or perhaps more duels, romance, and trips into the Forbidden Forest? Maybe a Christmas special where the main characters run into interesting enemies during their holiday? You could even incorporate elements of the American wizarding community which is being expanded upon by the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie series; possibly an American foreign-exchange student from Ilvermorny? Really, the possibilities are endless; I’m just throwing out random ideas here.

Now the truly intriguing thing about the whole idea of a Hogwarts or Harry Potter television series is that it’s entirely possible to create. I mean, sure, JK Rowling told the Guardian in 2015 that she didn’t want to make one, but that doesn’t mean it will never happen. HBO already has the rights to the post-cinema lives of the Harry Potter film series, so it would not be incredible to see them produce a Harry Potter series. We’ve already seen the spectacular work they do in shows like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire. Just imagine if they put that effort and high-level production quality into a Harry Potter series. The result would be amazing. Also, besides the costume and set design, this series would not necessarily be difficult to create. At the very least, they could cast less well-known people for the main roles, and it shouldn’t make any difference as long as they are decent at acting.

The best way to make this dream a reality is to make our voices heard. I know there must be tons of Harry Potter blogs and such out there in the world. Write to them and encourage them to write up similar messages, and eventually, someone with the money and wherewithal to make this happen may take a serious look at the concept. Who knows, maybe in ten years we could see the Hogwarts Express rolling across our television screens once again.

 

Kerbal Space Program is One of the World’s Best Physics-Based Simulation Games

In the world of physics-based games, there’s a lot of variety. There’s the infuriating simplicity of Getting Over It. There are fun sandboxes like Goat Simulator or Garry’s Mod. However, Kerbal Space Program is a lot more than any of those games in terms of one of the key facets of a physics-based game. PHYSICS. KSP has physics in absolute spades. The aircraft and spacecraft which you create behave how you would expect them to, or, at the very least, how the laws of physics dictate them to behave.

You can play in the sandbox mode and just fiddle around, or you can play in career mode where you take mission contracts, try to break milestones, and manage the budget of your space agency. You can build rocket ships and space stations to explore the neighboring planets and beyond. You can ignore space entirely and confine yourself to atmospheric flight, devoting your time to testing new jet airplane designs. Better yet, if you are dissatisfied with or become bored of all the game’s aforementioned features, you can go on Kerbal Space Program’s CurseForge page and find mods which can give your gameplay even more possibilities.

Kerbal Space Program is not an easy game. There is a certain level of unease that goes into launching rockets since at a certain point (generally the point where you have to shut your engines off) your craft is out of your hands and in the mercy of orbital mechanics. Incidentally, this game is a great place to start if you want to learn about orbital mechanics. A Hohmann transfer orbit is great fun to read about, but it’s another thing entirely when you have to learn how to do the thruster burns required to place your spacecraft in the proper orbit.

If you’re into space or engineering or physics, then Kerbal Space Program is definitely the game for you. The $20 that you’ll pay for it on Steam (when it’s on sale) are going to become well-worth it quicker than you’d think.

And remember, if all else fails, add more boosters.

 

 

The Most Scenic Places in the Southeastern United States

The United States is full of a number of beautiful environs and parks. For the purposes of this post, we’ll be focusing on the Southeast (which is going to be GA, FL, AL, MS, TN, SC, and NC). Also, the “scenic” places need to be natural, not manmade scenery like skylines.

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park ~ As one of the South’s relatively few national parks, Great Smoky Mountains (nestled along the TN-NC border) offers some nice views of the Appalachians, and they do indeed normally have fog banks rolling around in the valleys which give the park its name. However, if you’re from out west or elsewhere in the world where mountains are huge, don’t be expecting “mountains” on the scale you’re used to seeing.
  • Tallulah Gorge, Georgia ~ There’s already a post about Tallulah Gorge on this site, but for what it’s worth, Tallulah is definitely one of the most astonishing canyons in all of the South.
  • Ocala National Forest ~ Located in Central Florida, Ocala NF is one of the nicest forest environments in the southeast. There’s an odd sort of sensation when you’re in the forest; it doesn’t seem like the tropical coastal Floridian ecosystems at all. Still, it’s peaceful and one of the bigger forests in the area.
  • Mississippi Gulf Coast ~ Mississippi’s coastline alongside the Gulf of Mexico is as nice as any other, but it’s easier to appreciate the beauty since it’s less touristy and less traveled than the Gulf Coast in Alabama or Florida.
  • Atlantic Coast ~ You can find great scenic views all the way up and down the southeastern United States’ Atlantic Coast. Florida and South Carolina’s Atlantic coastlines are largely populated by beach resorts, but if you want a quieter place to sit down by the oceanside, try checking out North Carolina’s Outer Banks or Georgia’s barrier islands.

The Midknight Watch: A Year in Review

With 2017 coming to a close, it’s time to reflect upon the first full calendar year of this site’s existence. The site is nearing 100 posts. The top five posts on the year were about a wide variety of topics: Star Wars, OpenRA, history Youtube channels, supertall skyscrapers, and Atlanta United. We got a Twitter account up and running, too.

Look for next year to bring with it a surge of great content. There was inconsistency in 2017 where we’d go a month or more at a time without a post (sorry about that). While admittedly in busier months the post rate may drop, expect steadier rates of content production in 2018.

As always, send us feedback about what sorts of content you want to see in the future. We might not necessarily create what you request, but at the very least we will consider your ideas and listen to critique. Also, don’t worry about us focusing down into a niche anytime soon. We like the broad categories alright for now; it gives us more things we can talk about!

Thank you for all the support in 2017, and happy new year! 2018 will be great.

 

 

Only One Will Remain: Here Are Our 2017-18 College Football Playoff Predictions

It all comes down to this. In this fourth edition of the College Football Playoff, the two semifinal games are composed of the New Year’s Day matchups of #1 Clemson vs. #4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl alongside #2 Oklahoma vs. #3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl. The winners of these two semifinal games will then play in the National Championship Game on January 8th at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Sugar Bowl Prediction: Clemson 31, Alabama 28

This game will probably be tighter than last year’s title game where Clemson edged out ‘Bama 35-31. Neither team is any worse than last year defensively, but Clemson no longer has Deshaun Watson (as he is in the NFL with the Texans now). Besides a flukey loss at Syracuse and a close early-season win against Auburn, Clemson has handily won every game they’ve played this year. Their recent annihilation of a decent Miami team in the ACC Championship Game is especially notable. On the other hand, the Crimson Tide struggled at times against mid-level Mississippi State and Texas A&M squads, and they also lost to the Auburn team which Clemson beat.

Expect this game to be a chess match between two grandmaster coaches. The first half will probably be slow and methodical with both teams content to go into halftime with a close or tied score. The second half ought to ramp up with less conservative playcalling and more passing. Both teams have ample amounts of playmakers and either could win in the end, but the stats seem to favor the Tigers.

Clemson in a close one.

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Rose Bowl Prediction: Georgia 41, Oklahoma 35

This game is going to be a shootout. Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy-winning QB Baker Mayfield ought to absolutely light up UGA’s defense. On the other hand, OU’s defense, while benefiting from the relatively long time they’ve had to prepare for this game, probably wouldn’t be able to effectively defend against the two-headed dragon of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel in Georgia’s backfield even if they had all the time in the world.

Both teams will be able to move the ball against each other. There will probably be a lot of moments where both teams defenses look hapless, and there will be other moments where they are able to bend without breaking. For the latter instance, kicking may decide the game, and Georgia’s K Rodrigo Blankenship is good enough to get the job done.

Georgia, with a lot of yards on the ground and several field goals.

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National Championship Game Prediction: Clemson 34, Georgia 24

This would be an intriguing matchup. With both fanbases being located nearby, the Benz would be packed full of crowds from both schools and would likely not be skewed one way or the other. The main matchup to watch in this game would be Clemson’s D-Line versus Georgia’s RBs, and quite frankly, Clemson’s defensive front is good enough to get the job done, even against two of the nation’s best running backs.

If it comes down to Clemson versus Georgia, expect the score to be low, but Clemson will win and it will feel more comfortable than the scoreboard might indicate.

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy, aka Psychological Torture: The Game (Review)

A man in a pot holding a hammer. A sarcastic, sadistic narrator. An endless mountain. These three sentences are all that you need to know to get an understanding of this game, Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy.

I got this game for myself off of Steam after seeing numerous Youtubers struggle and struggle and struggle in their attempts to complete it. That in itself really ought to be enough, and I am actually going to advise all sane human beings to just watch videos and laugh at all the poor saps who decide to subject themselves to Getting Over It. But it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to see how bad it really was.

The description of the game which Bennett Foddy wrote up for Steam reads, “A game I made for a certain kind of person. To hurt them.” When you first enter the game, you quickly learn that Getting Over It is not a test of video game skills so much as it is a test of your willpower. The game is difficult, yes, but the real frustration is the falling. As you progress up the mountain, there are multiple obstacles which can lead to you falling all the way back down a significant portion of the mountain (sometimes to the very beginning of the game). These falls are often accompanied by Bennett Foddy (the game’s creator and narrator) taunting you with philosophical quotes and smooth jazz music.

With all that being said, I like Getting Over It a lot. The game’s controls are clunky, but that is more of a user-related issue than the actual game itself. The obstacles are sometimes absurd, but once you figure out how to overcome them a single time, every subsequent struggle with a particular obstacle feels like the player’s fault. The narration is either comical or infuriating, depending on your point of view.

If you’re weak-willed, then maybe Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is not the best game for you. In fact, it’ll probably just make you feel bad. But if you want a game that will give you a proper sense of accomplishment as you progress (and I’ve not yet finished), then you can find this game on Steam.