An exuberant soundtrack, a box of toys, and a perfect pair of video games

Screenshot: West Of Loathing (Asymmetric Publications)

Three staffers, three unabashed recommendations.

The West Of Loathing soundtrack

I’ve expressed my appreciation for Asymmetric’s relentlessly funny Western RPG West Of Loathing on the site before, but I feel like Ryan Ike’s brilliantly old-school soundtrack deserves some special attention, too, given the dozens of hours I’ve spent with it since the game came out back in August. Like Frankie Laine’s famous Blazing Saddles theme, Ike’s compositions take the game’s Western roots seriously while serving as the background for incredibly silly action, the result lending some much-needed gravitas to all the evil rodeo clowns and murderous hell cows dotting the game’s weirdo version of the Old West. It’s also just great, energetic music, using sharp horns and driving percussion to keep its Morricone riffs moving with energizing speed. I’m especially partial to “Draw!” the game’s main battle theme, which has become my go-to writing music; when you’re crashing toward an already-late deadline and just barely keeping yourself awake, there’s nothing like an explosive xylophone intro at the top of a blazing fast Western instrumental to keep yourself on the trail. [William Hughes]

The Nick Box

Ever since Nickelodeon’s subscription box, The Nick Box, was announced a year or so ago, I’ve lusted after it. It’s one of those things you know you don’t need, but you still really want. Fortunately for my whiny self, I actually snagged one at this year’s Comic-Con, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. Each box comes packed with classic Nickelodeon goodies, all roughly organized under a theme like “Live Action ’90s Nick.” The one I got was “Summer Block Party,” meaning it was stuffed—literally stuffed; once I took the items out, I couldn’t manage to get them back in correctly—with all sorts of outside-related Nick swag, from a T-shirt to a little plastic desk toy that looks like…

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