Sam Brooks

Sam Brooks is a playwright, journalist and critic. Email him on sam@thespinoff.co.nz

Gaming
Mar 21, 2019

Before Instagram, there was Pokémon Snap

Twenty years ago – before Instagram – a game about documenting your every move was released. That game was Pokemon Snap.

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Gaming
Mar 20, 2019

Can You Pet The Dog? is the most wholesome thing in gaming

The internet is a place where the darkest seeds of the world take root – but there's light there too. Sam Brooks talks to the person behind one of those lights, the Can You Pet the Dog twitter account.

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Music
Mar 12, 2019

Spice Up Your Solo Career: Ranking the solo careers of the Spice Girls

There's no doubt that The Spice Girls are one of the biggest bands of all time - but how have they fared in the twenty-odd years since?

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Society
Mar 10, 2019

Review: Blanc de Blanc and The Magic Flute at the Auckland Arts Festival

How important is accessibility when it comes to enjoying and appreciating our art? Sam Brooks reviews Blanc de Blanc and The Magic Flute, both part of the Auckland Arts Festival.

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Television
Mar 7, 2019

In praise of Anika Moa Unleashed’s 20 year reunion of TrueBliss

Anika Moa Unleashed finishes up its second season with its most coveted and triumphant get yet: A twenty year reunion of TrueBliss.

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Gaming
Mar 7, 2019

Why can’t we make a good game about people in robots any more?

Left Alive has been released this past week to harsh reviews and studio backpedalling - yet another failure in the rare people-in-robots genre of game.

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Society
Mar 7, 2019

What a feminist future could look like: Julia Croft on working on her night moves

Working on my Night Moves is the latest show from award-winning theatremaker Julia Croft - and marks a philosophical change for her.

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Television
Mar 5, 2019

The Enemy Within is a fantastic spy thriller – and an even better character study

The Enemy Within combines the funnest parts of a spy thriller with the complexity of a character study, thanks to a compelling lead performance. Sam Brooks reviews.

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Now 31
Mar 4, 2019

Now that’s what we called 2009: Looking back at the monster hits of a decade ago

Sam Brooks steps back in time to 2009, the year of Now! That's What I Call Music 31. What did his younger self think of those songs – and do they still hold up today?

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Gaming
Feb 28, 2019

The definitive ranking of every Pokémon starter

This morning, Nintendo announced the eighth generation of Pokémon: Sword and Shield, and along with it came three starters. Sam Brooks ranks these starters - and all of the rest …

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Music
Feb 28, 2019

The Spinoff Music’s Songs of the Month: February

Our sword-queen returns, a reliable popstar deepens her foundations and Aldous Harding mesmerizes us with the power of dance. These are the songs of the month – five international, three local – as picked by The Spinoff’s culture editor Sam Brooks.

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Gaming
Feb 27, 2019

Breast is best: The controversy that plagues Dead or Alive

Less than a week out from release, Sam Brooks dips back into the breast physics controversy that has enveloped Dead or Alive 6.

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Music
Feb 22, 2019

Bea Lewis from Haiku Hands: ‘I just completely enter into a 45 minute vortex’

Australian band Haiku Hands had a social media smash with their song 'Not About You', and they're performing at Splore this weekend.

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Gaming
Feb 22, 2019

Is Anthem the final nail in BioWare’s coffin?

BioWare's new online multiplayer Anthem has stumbled out of the starting block, with decidedly mixed reviews. So is this it for BioWare?

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Television
Feb 22, 2019

Flack confirms Anna Paquin’s excellence, but little else

A new British dramedy proves to us that Anna Paquin has the goods – but the rest of it doesn't meet her at her level. Sam Brooks reviews TVNZ2's Flack.

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Lizzo
Feb 21, 2019

Why we love Lizzo

She's the tsunami taking the world over - and you better get on the wave before you get dragged under. Sam Brooks tells you why you love Lizzo.

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Music
Feb 19, 2019

ASHY: The young Christchurch artist poised to be NZ’s next big pop star

Sam Brooks talks to ASHY about her brilliant new single 'Temporary Crush', the hustle of being self-managed, and her hopes for 2019.

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Television
Feb 19, 2019

NZ comedy series Fresh Eggs: ‘There’s something to offend everybody’

TVNZ2's new black comedy Fresh Eggs premieres on TVNZ2 tonight. Sam Brooks interviews the creators in a roundtable interview about the show's tone - and what makes it so different from everything else.

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Media
Feb 13, 2019

No country for queer men: Where is all the great New Zealand LGBTQI+ theatre?

There's a dearth of queer work in Aotearoa, and very little of it is supported by our mainstages. Homos, or Everyone in America is a gleaming light in the darkness.

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Gaming
Feb 12, 2019

Final Fantasy 8 is the best – and weirdest – Final Fantasy

It’s one of the most controversial entries in the long-running series, but on its 20th anniversary Sam Brooks is standing behind Final Fantasy 8 as the best one of them …

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AAF
Feb 12, 2019

The absolutely must-see shows at the Auckland Arts Festival 2019

Auckland Arts Festival is rolling around again and there’s so much to choose from this year. Sam Brooks picks the six shows everyone will be talking about – the ones you’ll kick yourself for missing.

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Gaming
Feb 8, 2019

Spider-Man’s DLC uneasily sticks the game’s landing

It's been a few months since Spider-Man came out, and its follow-up DLC, The City That Never Sleeps, has ended its run. Sam Brooks looks back at the game, and how well the DLC fares compared to the original.

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Television
Feb 5, 2019

Why Will & Grace still matters in 2019

Will & Grace ran for eight seasons at the turn of the century and now it's been revived for a ninth. Sam Brooks explains why the beloved sitcom remains relevant today.

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Television
Feb 1, 2019

New to Lightbox in February: We’re far from the shallows now

The biggest meme generator of 2018, the return of a beloved sitcom favourite and a new Lightbox Original are just some of the new titles coming to Lightbox this month. Sam Brooks and Alex Casey run down the highlights.

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Gaming
Jan 31, 2019

Demons in the mist: The Silent Hill series 20 years on

The series had a quiet end, but that doesn't change how impactful Silent Hill was on its debut. Sam Brooks looks back at Silent Hill and its impact on video games today.

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Music
Jan 31, 2019

The Spinoff Music’s Songs of the Month: January

A popstar reclaims her hype, an indie-darling goes pop, and a trio of locals make good on their early promise. These are the songs of the month – five international, five local.

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