"Run-of-the-mill" seems like a modestly accurate way to describe myself in terms of horror fandom. In certain respects I find that valuable, since ideally I can make an appeal to those like myself, to those who may be testing the waters, and hopefully to the hardcore horror fans as well. (And I sincerely encourage feedback, especially from the latter.) It wasn't until several years ago, the present time of this writing being December of '09 to give perspective, that the genre genuinely appealed to me and I owe all that to the film adaptation of Stephen King's 'IT'. After that, it was a slow and steady progression that grew into watching more Stephen King film adaptations, then into watching general horror films. In more recent years it's branched from solely films into different mediums, namely: comics (comic books, manga, graphic novels, webcomics, etc.), purely written literature, and different games.

But let's get to the point, shall we? The Darkley Niche is something I've constructed after the comic-in-progress that a friend and myself plan on self-publishing, an anthology of short horror stories much in the same vein as 'Tales from the Crypt' and similar titles. The series centers around a faceless persona we've affectionately dubbed Alan Darkley, the Niche's namesake, and a cast of storytellers whose tales fall within particular subgenres and sister genres of horror. This site is the drawing board, if you will, where everything posted is either a form of research or a roughing out of ideas. It's all relevant in some fashion. By exploring these different horror stories and their mediums a better understanding and influence of the genre, as well as inspiration, can be put into the comic. Even if you have no personal interest in the project, perhaps you can glean something from the reviews and the like. And if nothing else, the Niche will work to serve my own purposes.

Be sure to browse over the column of banners below if you're looking for posts on a particular topic. (And at the very bottom of the blog, if you would like to consult the complete listing of post labels.) Otherwise, scroll down past them to get to the most recent articles. Likewise, refer to the right side for our latest tweets.

Meet The Darkley Storytellers

Meet The Darkley Storytellers

About Myself

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Well, here's yours truly. The name's Drew, in case you were wondering. The Niche is my personal site, while the comic-in-progress is a partnered effort with Don, a lifelong friend of mine. We collaborate on the stories, but my partner's the writer in the outfit while I am the illustrator. This is currently little more than a side project, but we hope to make something of it.

artwork by yours truly

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book reviews: consult the niche's necronomicon

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Plants vs. Zombies

I've heard some talk around the horror blogosphere about this game and while I'm not a big gamer, I still enjoy them on occasion. Created by PopCap Games, you can download the demo and play for free. Let me just say this: I downloaded 'Plants vs. Zombies' after midnight tonight, played for over two hours straight, and was too excited that I couldn't keep from writing about it, just to share it with someone. It's that good. And keep in mind this is just the demo. As I mentioned before, you get well over two hours of game-play, which is pretty generous. Probably because the creators know exactly how addictive it is. I'm seriously tempted to shell out for the complete game, which is something that I rarely do. For twenty dollars, it's awfully tempting.

So what is the game about, you ask? Well, the title is pretty self-explanatory. Known as a "tower defense" video game, you play as an unseen homeowner during a zombie invasion trying to defend your property. The objective is to keep the zombies from entering the house, else they eat your brains and it's game over. So the first line of defense is your front yard (and backyard, later on). The plants essentially are your army. Sounds silly, doesn't it? Yes, actually, it is. But it's done so brilliantly.

By collecting light from a combination of the sun, sunflowers, and a type of mushroom specifically during the night campaigns, players utilize this energy to earn enough points to grow different plants, ranging from offensive to defensive types. Peashooters (ranged attack with peas), wall-nuts (defensive barrier), cherry bombs (ranged, one-time explosive), potato mines (stationary, one-time explosive), and snow peas (same as peashooters, but with "slow" effect) are just several in your plant arsenal against the undead. Not to mention that the zombies are just as varied as the vegetation, so there is a modest amount of quick-time strategy involved. I won't list them, save for one example, which I can summarize in three words: Jackson "Thriller" zombies. To be fair, the game was released before Michael Jackson's passing, so try not to take offense fans.

While I haven't played the complete game, 'Plants vs. Zombies' seems like an absolute winner. If I do, I'll be sure to expand on this in a second game review. For now, I give it five out of five garden-variety zombies.

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