The History of Spongebob Squarepants

Hello and welcome to Spongebob month, throughout August we will be taking a look at all things Spongebob including the television series, two movies and four video games.

Spongebob Squarepants was created by a Marine Biologist named Stephen Hillenburg who first began development of the character in a book called the Intertidal Zone which he created to help teach his students.

Before Spongebob there was Bob the Sponge, this character was the lead in the Intertidal Zone and would tell readers interesting facts about marine life and creatures who live under the sea.

Hillenburg struggled to sell his book to publishers and eventually decided to take a masters degree in art where he created a short film named Worm Holes. This Short-film was played in many film festivals including the 1992 Otawa Festival where Stephen Met Joe Murray the creator of Rocko’s Modern Life who was so impressed with Hillenburgs work he offered him a job to direct and work on Rocko’s Modern Life.

During his time working on Rocko, Hillenburgs colleague Martin Olsen read the Intertidal Zone and encouraged Hillenburg to use his expertise in Marine Biology to create his own animated series, Hillenburg had never thought about making his own cartoon before but he decided to give it a go and wanted to focus the premise of his show on the strangest sea creature he think of and eventually decided on a sponge.

When creating a pitch of the show for Nickelodeon it was originally called Spongeboy Ahoy ! the show was accepted as long as some changes were made including name which of course became Spongebob Squarepants, the pilot episode was released in 1999 and from there it became one of the most successful animated series of all time and is still being aired today with new episodes being made after Hillenburgs passing in 2018. Hillenburg hit the jackpot with Spongebob gaining himself a net worth in the millions. Spongebob is a very important TV series in the history of animation, it had many high points and low points as many shows do.

Many would argue that the later seasons were no where near as great as the first three seasons and the first movie and I tend to agree but I still love the property even if it has over stayed its welcome a little bit.

The show is still going after 20 years and it has spawned many types of main stream media, recently there was even a Broadway musical which I may get around too on a future Spongebob Month but until then lets take a deep dive into some of Spongebobs video games and the two current movies and I will see you in the next installment Spongebob Month 2020.

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Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released on the eighth of July 1999 and is the third book in the Harry Potter franchise, for a lot of people this is their favourite book in the series and I can see why, for one its scarier and darker than both its predecessors with maybe a few exceptions in the Chamber of Secrets plus it introduces some fan favourite characters including convicted murderer Sirius Black and the new defence against the dark arts teacher Professor Lupin.

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After his some what demise in the last book the lack of Lord Voldemort is not too much of an issue especially with the addition of Sirius Black being a potential threat as well as the terrifying Dementors who are guards at Azkaban, the Dementors will suck out the happiness of anyone who comes near them and what makes the Dementors even more frightening is their kiss, a Dementors kiss will not only suck out a persons happiness but also suck out their soul leaving the victim to a fate worse than death, Harry learns a new spell called Expecto Patronum which can help fend off the Dementors protecting Hogwarts Castle from Sirius Black.

As with the previous books a few moments in the Prisoner of Azkaban differ from the film however not much really stands out here, for example an entire section focusing on Harry Receiving a Fire Bolt broomstick is in the book but in the film Harry doesn’t receive it until the very end completely skipping over this plot point, the big twist with Scabbers is focused on more in the book and Hermiones new cat Crookshanks actually plays an extremely useful role here unlike in the film.

 

Harry Potters third adventure is yet again an excellent read and is a great addition to the franchise, I can understand why a lot of people really love this book but personally I still enjoyed Chamber of Secrets slightly more.

Thank you for reading this review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

you can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

 

 

Book Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events 4-6 by Lemony Snicket

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Last Halloween we took a look at the first three books in Lemony Snickets: A Series of Unfortunate Events, the book series was written by Daniel Handler under the pen name Lemony Snicket, the series follows the terrible lives of the Baudelaire orphans who are pushed between relatives after the death of their parents and throughout the series they must deal with an evil man called Count Olaf who wants to steal their family’s fortune.

The Miserable Mill (Book 4)

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In the fourth book the Baudelaire orphans are sent too the Lucky Smells Lumber mill in the town of Paltryville, the children are placed under the care of Sir a man who to be honest doesn’t have much of a personality other than he’s a bit of dick and smokes so much that a cloud of smoke is constantly covering his face, he forces the children to work in his mill where he only pays his employees in coupons for discounts at the other businesses in town and only feeds them a stick of gum and a small casserole a day, I was surprised with the absence of Count Olaf for the majority of the book but this was handled very well as there is so much happening in the novel that he really isn’t needed straight away, in fact this book has three villains sure two of them are characters we already know but one person is actually a brand new person brought into the series, I think its very clever how Lemony Snicket is able to describe deaths and horrific injuries without making them too grizzly for kids because this happens a lot here due to the book taking place in a Lumber mill which is one of the most dangerous jobs available, apart from this there isn’t much else to say about the Miserable Mill but it was a very good read, so good in fact that I got through the entire novel in just two days.

The Austere Academy (Book 5)

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After leaving the Lucky Smells Lumbermill the Baudelaire orphans are sent to Prufrock Preparatory School, I have to admit that the first chapter of this book failed to draw me in, it was boring and I found it difficult to follow, but from the second chapter onward’s the Austere Academy ended up becoming my favourite book so far, this book follows a similar structure to the predecessor stories however there a few new elements that I really appreciated, the introduction of the Quagmire Triplets was interesting, for the first time in the series Sunny, Klaus and Violet finally make friends who want to help them defeat Count Olaf, I wont give away any spoilers about the book but I will say that I feel that the Quagmire triplets will be in a few more books to come, the characters in this book are very over top and genuinely very silly which makes them perfect for younger children, they make the book a little less scary than it actually is, over imaginative characters are nothing new for the series but I feel that this book shows the characters at there most likeable so far.

The Ersatz Elevator (Book 6)

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After the not so cheerful ending of the last book the Baudelaire orphans travel back to their home town with Mr Poe, this time they are placed under the care of Jerome and Esme Squalor of number 667 Dark Avenue, the new guardians are very well written, Esme is a bossy, spoilt rich woman who enjoys showing off her wealth while at the same time being obsessed with making sure that she doesn’t fall behind whats currently popular or in fashion, Jerome is a very kind man who genuinely wants the best for Violet, Klaus and Sunny but he is too afraid of Esme to ever argue with her, this of course becomes an issue throughout the book especially went Count Olaf inevitably shows up, one thing I really enjoyed about this book is how realistic it was compared to its predecessors, now I am not saying that the book doesn’t have its non believable moments but the majority of Violets inventions here can be made in real life, to be honest I did prefer the Austere Academy but this is still an important part of the series that will only leave you wanting more.

These books are absolutely brilliant for children, when I reviewed the first three books in the series I talked about how I found it annoying that Lemony Snicket had to keep explaining the meaning of big words as I found it slightly mocked me as a reader but thankfully this writing style is toned down a bit in these three books, my favourite has to be the Austere Academy not only did it give us a completely new setting but it even introduced us to some new and very important characters, both of the other books I also really enjoyed and I am struggling to choose which one I enjoyed the least as all three of them kept me hooked on the story,  I will eventually get around to reviewing  the next three instalments but in mean time I think I would like to read something a bit different to what I usually decide to shove my nose in.

Thank you for reading this review of A series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Book Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events 1-3 by Lemony Snicket

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It’s finally Halloween and I  think this would be a good time to start a series of reviews of one your most requested book series, I  have decided to tackle these books in five separate reviews, four of the reviews will each cover three books in the series and the fifth review will be of the final book in the series, each review will have a brief summary of each book and small section discussing my final thoughts.

*Minor Spoilers*

The Bad Beginning (Book 1)

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The Bad Beginning was the first book in the series and it was also the introduction to the Baudelaire orphans and the infamous Count Olaf , the Baudelaire children Violet (The Inventor) ,Klaus (The Bookworm) and Sunny (She likes to bite things) are stood on the beach when they receive terrible news from Mr Poe a banker who is charge of taking care of the Baudelaire family fortune and he becomes their legal guardian after a terrible fire burns down the family home and kills their parents, since Mr Poe doesn’t want to care for the children himself it is his responsibility to find them a new guardian to live with until the eldest child (Violet) turns 18, unfortunately they are placed with their third cousin four times removed Count Olaf, Count Olaf is a horrid man who only wants to look after the children until he can gain access to their fortune and once he has it he plans to have the children killed, while living in his home Olaf forces the children to do all of the chores while he and his theatre group relax and drink wine, he bullies them and even causes child abuse by causing physical harm to the children and by making them all share one bed, thankfully next door lives Justice Strauss a local Judge who is very kind and allows the children to come over and borrow books from her private library whenever they please, the children use this opportunity to borrow law books as well as any other books they can find to help them defeat Count Olaf and not allow him to go through with his master plan that is revealed later on the novel.

The Reptile Room (Book 2)

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The Reptile Room is the second book in series, the children live with Mr Poe for a few days while he is seeking out a new guardian for them, he eventually sends them to live with Montgomery Montgomery (Uncle Monty) who is their fathers cousins, wife’s, brother, Dr Montgomery is a herpetologist (study of amphibians) but his biggest fascination is snakes,every year he travels all over the world and collects rare breeds which he brings home to study in his lab,  Uncle Monty plans to take the children to Peru to help look for more snakes but his associate Gustav resigned the day before the trip and he is replaced by another member of the Herpetological Society called Stephano but the children are convinced that Stephano is Count Olaf in disguise.

The Wide Window (Book 3)

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In the third book the Baudelaire orphans are sent to Lake Lachrymose to live with Josephine Anwhistle (Aunt Josephine)  who is the the sister of their second cousins wife, Aunt Josephine is a mess, after her husband was eaten by leeches in the lake she has been terrified of everything including the cooker and the house phone, a mysterious stranger called Captain Sham appears in the town, he tells Josephine that he owns his own sail boat company but the children know that hes really Count Olaf in disguise, they try to tell their new guardian that Captain Sham cannot be trusted but Aunt Josephine is more concerned about the grammatical mistakes on his business card, can the children prove that they are right before its too late?

I really enjoyed all of these books, for me they were not scary but they were definitely intense enough for younger readers, Lemony Snicket is really good at writing  suspense and making people afraid of some of the more real horrors that go on in the world, Kidnapping, Murder, Child Abuse, Depression, Anxiety, Suicide, you would think that something like this would be too dark for children but the books have been written in a way so that these aspects while still there are not too scary, out of the three books my favourite was The Reptile Room as I found that it had the most interesting characters and the entire story kept me engaged and wanting more, my least favourite was the Wide Window I found it a little bit boring but it still had its moments that got me hooked, my biggest and only complaint is that too often Lemony Snicket kept having to explain the meaning of some of the words he used in his book and honestly while I’m sure this was useful for really young readers I don’t think the target audience needs so much guidance in the English language.

All in all these are great books for children and adults, some parents may be put off by the nature of the books but I don’t think they are too dark for anyone over the age of seven, I cant wait to review the rest of the series.

Thank you for reading this review of A series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Happy Halloween 2016

Have a great Halloween and stay safe, I have seen all of this killer clown nonsense and nothing would upset me more than if one of those idiots hurt any of my readers.

Rayman 2: The Great Escape (PS1, PS2, N64, 3DS, Dreamcast, PC) (1999) Review

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After the massive success of Mario, Sonic and the Legend of Zelda making it big in the world of 3D gaming it was of no surprise that the rising video game star Rayman would soon be joining them and the result was one of the most beloved games of all time Rayman 2.

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Every resident of the Glade of Dreams including Rayman has been captured by an army of robotic pirates led by Admiral Razorbeard, the reason behind doing this isn’t explained very well and my only guess is that they are only doing this because they want slaves.

Rayman manages to escape the Prison Ship and returns to the Glade of Dreams, here he finds out that the pirates have destroyed the heart of the world causing Rayman to lose his powers,luckily a new fairy called Ly is on hand to help rayman regain his powers while he is on his quest to rescue all the slaves from their kidnappers.

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Similar to its predecessor Rayman 2 is an action platformer and the only major difference here is that this game is 3D and apart from that everything else is essentially the same, Rayman can run, jump, hover and grab and swing from pink rings, throughout the game you will sometimes run into Ly the fairy and when you do she will either give you a new power or she will enhance  power you already have making it more powerful and useful for example you can get a hover expansion which allows Rayman to fly in certain areas.

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The main objective of the game is that Rayman needs to find and collect four ancient masks in order to awaken the god Polokus, once awakened Polokus can help Rayman by destroying all of the Pirates who remain in the Glade of Dreams while Rayman returns to the prison ship to take on Razorbeard.

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There are still some fetch quests for Rayman this time around but luckily they are not required, one of the objectives is to find and collect all 1000 yellow lums (800 in the PS1 version) these yellow lums make up the heart of the world that was destroyed by the pirates, they are spread all over the glade of dreams and collecting them all gives bonuses in certain versions of the game in the PS1 version you will unlock the beta level of the original Rayman 2 before the game was made into 3D and in the pS2 and PC ports  you will unlock a minigame for each level that you collect all of the yellow lums, the PS2 and PC version also allow the player to purchase new upgrades and abilities using the lums you have collected.

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Another collectible in the game are the familiar spirits, these creatures have been locked in cages all over the land, Rayman can free these spirits in a similar manner to first game by simply punching the cages, in the PC and PS2 port if Rayman brings these spirits to Ly the fairy he can take part in different minigames that he can try to beat in order to gain a health expansion.

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In most versions of the game Rayman will travel throughout the Glade of Dreams via the Hall of Doors a magical portal to each stage in the game.

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The PC and PS2 ports of the game scrap the Hall of Doors for an open world environment that Rayman can use to access all of the stages while also using the hub world for access to new content such as the shop and Ly’s minigames.

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I have played a lot of 3D platformer’s in my time and out of all them this one has the best control and the smoothest frame rate, this was a big surprise to me because Rayman has so many abilities that it should make some of the games main mechanics quite difficult but instead everything is perfect and it feels great, this came out on the same systems as Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot but it feels better than some of the more modern Mario Games and that is just mind blowing.

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The visuals in Rayman 2 are obviously going to be very different to the original game due to the leap into 3D, I like the visuals here but it’s hard to love them after playing the first game where its visuals were absolutely outstanding, the new look and style brought to Rayman 2 is nothing more than just ok and don’t get me wrong they are not by any means bad graphics, for the time they were up to par with the systems it had to work with, its just nothing about them is really unique or memorable which is more of a disappointment than an actual problem.

The soundtrack unfortunately has the same problem but in my opinion its worse, no music in this game made me sing along or made me feel any emotion, I’m sure there are people out there that love the soundtrack presented here but for me it was nothing more than generic and uninteresting.

Rayman 2 is a really good game but its not quite as unique as the original and that’s not really a bad thing especially considering that they are completely different experiences, the story is interesting, all characters are likable, it controls great and the only real disappointment were the visuals and soundtrack and even then that’s just a personal preference.

In my opinion I wouldn’t say that Rayman 2 is quite as good as the original game but I would recommend it out of the 2 of them its still a great game and the lack of needed fetch quests does make it a lot less stressful. 7.3/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Rayman 2: The Great Escape

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

you can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com