Unboxing Story

Mastering Dungeons (Game vs. Story pt. 1)

An episode of Unboxing Story

By Jon and Melissa
Two fans of classic sci-fi, fantasy, and horror dissect pop culture from the fringes, using basic storytelling know-how to celebrate or eviscerate the latest films, novels, and RPGs.
Available on 10 platforms
Dying at the Summit (ft. The Snows of Kilimanjaro)
A life is haunted by death, despite great success, in today's story by Ernest Hemingway. Globe trotter, big game hunter, Nobel Prize winner, and Hemingway still felt stalked by misfortune and misery, expressed in the tragic beauty of "The Snows of Kilimanjaro." Join Jon and Melissa as they separate the pastiche from the real life wordsmith, and pay tribute to another literary legend: co-creator of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee. You're welcome to e-mail us at unboxingstorypodcast(at)gmail.com or tweet us @UnboxingStory.
1:00:39
November 19, 2018
I Am Jack's Podcast Episode (ft. Fight Club)
"Sinful" isn't just a kitschy dessert descriptor: it's a literary genre! Transgressive fiction introduced the world to Patrick Bateman, Humbert Humbert, and Tyler Durden: misanthropic avatars of disaffected masculinity. Do these bad boys protest too much, or do their cautionary tales speak to us? I am Jack's unbridled anticipation.
1:04:12
November 14, 2018
Concept Albums: Blurryface by Twenty-One Pilots
Hot off the heels the Queen biopic 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' Jon and Melissa analyze the princes of alt rock, Twenty-One pilots. Are they Jesus freaks? Are they rappers? Who is Blurryface and does he need a tissue? That and more in our first episode deconstructing concept albums. Please e-mail suggestions to unboxingstorypodcast@gmail.com or @UnboxingStory on Twitter!
56:45
November 5, 2018
Submarines & Spiritual Sequels (ft. Hunter Killer)
Sink or submerge? Despite Hunter Killer's 36% on Rotten Tomatoes, it took us deeper into our love of political and tactical thrillers. Melissa and Jon detail the dryness of the war genre, how Hunter Killer tackles common overused tropes, and whether it can be considered a spiritual sequel to 'The Hunt for Red October.'
1:09:51
October 29, 2018
Monster Mash-up (ft. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein)
Horror comedy: it's alive! But before the racial satire of 'Get Out' and the meta-humor of 'Scream,' Abbott and Costello paved the way for the marriage of humor and horror. Join co-host Melissa and Jon as they discuss their favorite Universal monsters, as well as the frightening and farcical film featuring the Big Three: Frankenstein, the Wolf-Man, and Dracula. They speculate on the recent ill-fated reboots of the Universal monsters, compared to this cult classic comedy, beloved 60 years after its premiere.
1:30:46
October 23, 2018
Murder Maze Mythos (ft. The Shining)
Lose yourself to find yourself in a labyrinth of mind-bending mayhem in the maze. Join Jon and Melissa on a journey into the mysteries of King, Kubrick, and Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves), as they discuss symbolism and subtext on the silver screen and beyond.
54:46
October 15, 2018
Rapid-Fire Rogues (née Venom)
Heroism has changed. The box office is booming with foul-mouthed mercenaries and feral mutants with a heart of gold, and those are just the ones in tights! In light of the release of Venom, (but in lieu of discussing the film,) Melissa and Jon shout out anti-heroes from literature, TV, and movies. Along the way, we give our takes on which tales of revenge, redemption, or irreverence resonate with us, and which have us clutching our pearls in disgust.
1:30:24
October 9, 2018
Screenwriter Spotlight: M. Night Shyamalan
Don't call it a comeback, but Shyamalan has had a rollercoaster of a career. Two fans discuss the hits, misses, and misunderstandings surrounding his work, and why we're excited to see more from this prolific genre iconoclast.
1:39:52
October 1, 2018
Lawful Evil (ft. The Handmaid's Tale)
New wave feminism meets new wave sci-fi in the bold but bleak dystopia of 'The Handmaid's Tale.' And this time, the revolution IS being televised! Jon and Melissa mill over the difficulty of separating their own beliefs from an unorthodox novel turned cultural milestone.
1:08:17
September 24, 2018
Gritty & Britty & Agatha Christie (ft. Ordeal by Innocence)
Is the golden age of British cerebral crime dramas influenced by the golden age of detective fiction? Jon and Melissa contrast the classic murder mysteries of Agatha Christie with contemporary TV from across the pond. What do modern adaptations of Christie's work teach us, and how do American and British crime dramas differ? Join our investigation!
1:09:28
September 17, 2018
Plotting the Escape (ft. Papillon)
Brotherhood is forged in the fires of captivity... sometimes. Jon and Melissa discuss their favorite prison escape stories and the novel, Papillon. Topics include bravery, male hubris, and the bonds created by corruption and suffering.
51:32
September 10, 2018
Chekhov's Space Gun (ft. KIN)
Distractions are deadly in storytelling. That's why Russian playwright Anton Chekhov stated that if a gun is hung on the wall in act one, it should be shot by act three. This week, Jon and Melissa use the sci-fi shoot-em-up KIN, as well as other films and books, to discuss the rules and risks of foreshadowing.
57:34
September 4, 2018
While My Theremin Gently Weeps (ft. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream)
Darkness reigns in the "golden age of television," including must-watch sci-fi shows, like Black Mirror and Westworld. Melissa and Jon challenge the genre of "new wave" sci-fi, via Harlan Ellison's mind-bending short story, "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream."
45:40
August 27, 2018
Wizards with Mortgages (ft. The Dresden Files)
Not all warlocks mentor hobbits, knights, or vampire-slaying cheerleaders. Some, like Harry Dresden, save the world all on their own, while others chomp cigars or try to kill God. Melissa and Jon discuss this new brand of heroism that mixes the magical and the mundane.
1:06:58
August 21, 2018
Top 5 Guilty Pleasures (ft. 🎥 / 📺 / 📚 / 🎮 / 🎲)
Why do we love garbage trash? Because why not?? Jon and Melissa get deep into their least liked stories, and try to explain what makes them redeemable. The key word being "try."
1:47:41
August 13, 2018
Dystopian YA 4 EVR (ft. The Darkest Minds)
Who likes dystopia? We like dystopia! But did 'The Darkest Minds' revive the YA dystopia genre, or put the last nail in its coffin? Jon and Melissa use the plot of this latest book-to-screen adaptation to discuss common YA tropes and what predecessors give them hopes for upcoming films.
00:41
August 6, 2018
CalArts Cartoon Coup? (ft. ThunderCats Roar)
Aah! We've been invaded by meta-humor anime girls on acid! Or... maybe we're just not hip anymore? Those theories and more as Jon and Melissa discuss modern animation (i.e. Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and the upcoming ThunderCats reboot,) and how they clash with the Saturday mornings of our youth.
55:27
August 1, 2018
CSI: Cyber Punk (ft. Blade Runner Novel, Movie & Sequel)
Melissa and Jon dissect everything Blade Runner: from the novel 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,' to the 1982 film and its recent sequel, Blade Runner 2049.
1:05:50
July 23, 2018
Marvelous Realism née Magical (ft. MARVELS & A.D.)
Is magical realism taking over, or is sci-fi / fantasy becoming more grounded? Melissa and Jon use contemporary comics to discuss an emerging genre.
38:14
July 16, 2018
Does Outrage Culture Bug You? (ft. Ant-Man & The Wasp)
Can films have agendas, or is everyone overreacting? Also, a guest! Writer / editor Will Ford-Conway (@wafcstudios) gives his take, and commemorates over a decade of comics and superhero movies with his high school chum.
51:34
July 16, 2018
Screenwriter Spotlight: Taylor Sheridan (ft. Sicario 2)
Mexico jumps from the headlines to the silver screen in Sicario 2, and the man behind the movie is screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. This episode, we discuss how the political and personal drama in Sheridan's screenplays set him apart.
32:26
July 16, 2018
Puberty Powers, Activate! (ft. Cloak & Dagger, Impulse)
Does too much angst sully the TV show sauce? Are the CW or YouTube Red worth watching? Check out our opinions of Cloak & Dagger, Impulse, and Marvel's Runaways.
46:56
July 16, 2018
Arecibo Invitational, Incredibles 2, and Behind the Scenes
An update on our upcoming live event and some thoughts on the Pixar flick, in lieu of an episode.
05:04
July 16, 2018
She Stole My Heart (ft. Ocean's 8)
What makes a good heist movie? Is 'Ocean's 8' fun or flat? And what's the next random selection for our Patreon podcast, the Random Media Mini-cast? Find out inside the wavelengths of today's episode.
42:22
July 16, 2018
Walking Simulator or Visual Novel? (Detroit: Become Human)
Are visual novels cinematic experiences or passive propaganda? Did David Cage do it again or is Detroit: Become Human his first dud?
31:42
July 16, 2018
Solo: A Prequel Story (Star Wars and Origin Stories)
Are prequels fan service or world-building? Also, what makes Solo so good, and "The Prequels" (aka Episodes 1, 2, and 3 of the Star Wars saga,) so bad?
49:35
July 16, 2018
My World's on Fire (ft. HBO's Fahrenheit 451)
Are dystopian novels propaganda, or something more? Learn about speculative fiction and get our take on the HBO adaptation of Fahrenheit 451.
52:26
July 16, 2018
Home is Where the Hurt Is (Breaking In & Interstellar)
What makes home invasion movies tick? Also, did Nolan make a high concept space epic, or a star bore? (...Get it?)
44:46
July 16, 2018
Blend It Like Lucas (Star Wars & Genre-Blending)
Knights. Empires. Magic. This used to be fantasy, but ever since 1977, it's the stuff of sci-fi. Join us in this Star Wars celebration! PLUS: A new segment called "Paper in a Hat!"
48:19
July 16, 2018
Juggling Infinity (Avengers: Infinity War & Intertextuality)
It's hard writing one character; try seventy-six! (...and 10 years of film history ...and over 75 years of comic book history...) Explore the "text" of Avengers 3 with your friendly neighborhood podcasters!
1:19:34
July 16, 2018
Mastering Dungeons (Game vs. Story pt. 1)
Take a journey into gamified story with this intro to role-playing games.
43:23
July 16, 2018
Girl Power Gone Wild ft. Tyler Perry's Acrimony
Jon mansplains female-centric thrillers to Melissa. Will she be able to contain her rage? Also, what is a "muffin movie?"
35:23
July 16, 2018
Annihilation and Lovecraftian Horror
The unknowable invades this episode! Also, Melissa and Jon correctly pronounce their last name, and talk Lovecraft.
54:35
July 16, 2018
Kicked in the Feels ft. Ready Player One
Does nostalgia ruin story? Join Melissa and Jon's discussion on Ready Player One, the blockbuster video game adventure that tackles escapism, nihilism, and nerd culture.
30:48
July 16, 2018
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