Every month at the AE offices, we choose our Pop Culture Picks. It could be an album, a band, a book, a movie, a TV show, a podcast, or anything else we enjoyed over the previous 30 days. Keep scrolling to find out what caught our attention this month!
Gris (Video Game)
TL;DR: If you are looking for a quick game, that is easy on the eyes, relatively relaxing, and fun to explore, check this out.
My pop culture pick is Gris, a game that has been out for some time now but that I didn’t play until last month.
The game is essentially a side-scrolling platformer that is quite short and not overly difficult but is still quite engaging due to its story and aesthetic.
You play as a young woman, who must work to restore color to the world after a cataclysmic event leaves it grey and shadowy. The art style is amazing and makes it feel as if you are playing a beautiful illustration. There is no dialogue, but the story is easy to follow due to the quality of the animation.
All of the above made this the perfect game to play with my 6-year-old daughter Ada and that made the experience even more enjoyable for me. She was very engaged in the story and loved the music. She would watch me play and often give me advice on where to go or how to reach a goal.
The game mechanics were simple enough that my daughter was able to pick up the controls herself and move around the landscape. I loved watching her celebrate as she made a difficult jump or helped to bring a colour back into the world.
As you progress through, restoring more colors, the game becomes more and more vibrant which reinforces the sense of making an impact.
If you are looking for a quick game, that is easy on the eyes, relatively relaxing, and fun to explore, check this out. It’s also a great game to play as a family or with younger children.
Criminal (TV Show)
In Short: Criminal is a 3 episode series that takes place entirely in the interrogation room of a modern police station. There are 3 versions on Netflix: UK, France, Germany, each with different casts and plots but all filmed on the same set.
The real star of this series is the production design – a high tech interrogation room complete with cameras, microphones, and a huge illuminated mirror that looks like it belongs in the bathroom of a high-end hotel. Two officers are in the room with the suspect, sometimes with a lawyer, and the rest of the team is behind the glass, observing and commenting on the interview techniques.
The interview builds slowly, weaving back and forth until a late episode reveal that is usually staggering, all delivered in a quintessential, understated European style. The uniqueness of the structure – only 3 episodes, 3 different languages, all filmed on the same set – and the strength of the writing set this series apart.
I watched the French episodes first, with subtitles, followed by the English and German ones. Each featured a woman-led team of detectives, with some back story of gender and age-based resentment among the senior male team members adding to the plot.
The main actors in each were unknown to me, except in two of the UK episodes where David Tennant (Dr. Who, Jessica Jones) and Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) are the suspects.
The Outer Worlds (Video Game)
TL;DR: Obsidian, the game developers behind the original Fallout and Fallout: New Vegas, is back with what can be best described as New Vegas in space!
This is the Fallout game that fans have been asking for for years, but in a new galaxy with a variety of beautiful environments to explore. The idea is that this galaxy has been taken over by a number of mega-corporations, all of whom have established their own branded colonies on each planet. You play as a character who is awoken from cryo by a total stranger after your ship has a mysterious accident, only to be thrown down onto a foreign planet to fend for yourself.
What I love about this game is that it gives you a chance to be whoever you want in a weird, backwards world. I’m personally a low-level ex-bureaucrat who is highly skilled in persuasion, charm, and one-handed weapons. But you could also be a janitor who excels at melee, lying, and sneaking around!
The game is just ridiculous, over the top, funny, and gorgeous to look at. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Fallout game and want to expand your horizons, go get The Outer Worlds.
Bonus points if you have Xbox Game Pass, since it launched day 1 on that service and is available for free download right now.
TL;DR: I’ve been using Mealime for a couple of months now and it has changed the way I prep food throughout the week.
Many of us can agree that it’s hard to always eat healthy, to take the time to plan, shop for, and make meals every day. I have tried many things over the years with my latest being “Meal Prep Sundays” where I make salad lunches for the week. This was pretty successful and tasty, but still left me needing to make those dinners every night. Then I discovered this app called Mealime.
Mealime has many delicious recipes that are broken down into categories like Breakfast, Budget, Quick & Easy, Bowls, Main-Course Salads, Stir-Fries, etc. You can also add your preferences and allergies into the settings (I’m trying all vegan recipes this week, just for fun).
The app is laid out really well – think FoodGawker-style with all the pictures you can scroll through. You choose recipes to create your meal plan for the week; I usually choose about 4-5 dinners. Then it compiles all the ingredients from your weekly meal plan into a single grocery list. Check off the ingredients you already own, and there’s your shopping list for the whole week!
Now when I come home every night, I already know what I’m making and all the ingredients are ready. I make 2 servings and have my lunch for the next day. It is just like those premium meal-kit services that are all the rage now, except these recipes are free!
Ok, I was so impressed I ended up buying a premium subscription. With that, you get exclusive recipes, calorie counts, nutrient counts and more.
This app has helped me lose the stress that goes into the constant food-planning cycle. I’m eating more delicious meals, and on top of being healthier, I’ve actually saved money from not ordering out. ???
Here are a few of my favorite recipes so far: Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti Squash, Teriyaki Chicken with Bok Choy, Cashews, & Coconut Rice, Sweet Potato & Bean Chili, Eggless Egg Salad Sandwich, and Brown Butter Pumpkin Mac & Cheese.