Sam Brooks

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

Television
Feb 20, 2018

The greatest NZ TV shows that you can rewatch without hunting down a boxset

From Close to Home to Shortland Street to Westside, New Zealand has a long and storied history of brilliant TV. Sam Brooks takes a look at the best local shows that you can stream on Lightbox right now.

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Gaming
Feb 19, 2018

A definitive list of all the weird shit that happens in the Metal Gear series

The latest addition to the Metal Gear series, the non-canon zombie game Metal Gear Survive, is out tomorrow. The series has been around for an incredible 31 years – and oh boy, the things we've seen.

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Television
Feb 16, 2018

What is Mozart in the Jungle? It's a show... and a book!

Season four of classical music comedy Mozart in the Jungle drops tomorrow on Lightbox. Longtime fan of the show Sam Brooks decided to read the book it's based on and compare the two.

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Gaming
Feb 7, 2018

Remember when gaming cheats weren’t a dirty word?

With the advent of trophies – and online gaming – we’ve also seen the decline of cheats. Sam Brooks remembers a time in gaming when cheats were seen as nothing more than a bit of fun, and why that's changed.

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Society
Feb 5, 2018

My privilege checklist

Shout Out, presented by RainbowYOUTH and part of Auckland Pride Festival, is an open-mic dedicated to the talents of young queer individuals. This piece on privilege, written by The Spinoff's Sam Brooks, will be performed at the event.

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Gaming
Jan 27, 2018

The Red Strings Club is a fresh and progressive approach to an old formula

Deconstructerteam's new point-and-click adventure game is a progressive riff on an old genre. Sam Brooks goes into what's special about The Red Strings Club and why more games need to be like it.

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Music
Jan 25, 2018

Titanic Live doesn’t just feel great, it feels right

It's the biggest movie of all time – why on earth wouldn't you go see it with a live orchestra playing the music? Titanic superfan Sam Brooks went last night and ascended to a higher plane of existence.

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Television
Jan 23, 2018

Kit Harington in Gunpowder makes Jon Snow look like a bloody wimp

Sam Brooks argues why Catholic Rebellion thriller Gunpowder is far more interesting than other dour dramas from the same period.

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Gaming
Jan 22, 2018

The Mongrel Mob game is bleak proof that all publicity is good publicity

On Friday little known developer Supremacy released a mobile game named Mongrel Mob Defence and the media, predictably, went nuts. Sam Brooks says this kind of controversy not only allows these kinds of developers to thrive - it's what they need to survive.

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Television
Jan 20, 2018

Mr Telly is the funniest, angriest letters section in New Zealand

Sam Brooks defies the ancient wisdom 'never read the comments' and goes deep into nine weeks of the TV Guide's Mr Telly letters.

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Gaming
Jan 18, 2018

The deep nihilism and faux-profundity of Little Red Lie

Little Red Lie is the misanthropic, dark-as-tar game from indie developer Will O'Neill. Gaming editor Sam Brooks played it – and was disturbed by what he found.

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Society
Jan 16, 2018

20 years of Stage Challenge memories: the good, the bad, and the earnest

Today it was announced that Stage Challenge is no more for this world. Sam Brooks crowdsourced people's favourite memories of the competition, and scoured YouTube for the best of the rest.

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Gaming
Jan 12, 2018

The curious case of the Three Kingdoms video games

This week, Creative Assembly announced another spinoff to the Total War series, this time based around the Three Kingdoms War in China. Sam Brooks investigates why this period is a bizarrely popular one for video games.

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Television
Jan 11, 2018

Here’s the one Julia Louis-Dreyfus show you haven’t seen

Sam Brooks uncovers Watching Ellie, a Julia Louis-Dreyfus sitcom that got buried somewhere between Seinfeld and Veep. 

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Television
Jan 10, 2018

The One Where I Rewatch Friends And Give The Episodes Honest Titles

Over the break, Sam Brooks rewatched Friends in its entirety. Ten seasons, 236 episodes, and as many cutesy episode titles. But what if those titles were just a bit more honest?

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Gaming
Jan 8, 2018

Disney, Ancient China, and a golden poop: Our gaming editor’s most anticipated games of 2018

2018 is set to be another big year in gaming. Sam Brooks sets down his most anticipated games of the year, including one that he hopes to a higher power actually, finally, comes out this year.

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Television
Jan 5, 2018

Summer reissue: Why you haven’t watched The Good Wife – and why you absolutely should

The Good Wife is one of those show that has always seemed to be around, but you’ve probably never seen. Sam Brooks tells you why you haven’t watched it yet, and why you should fix that immediately.

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Music
Dec 27, 2017

Summer reissue: A one-act play about ‘The Louvre’ from Lorde’s Melodrama

A playwright interprets his favourite song from Lorde's album Melodrama.

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Media
Dec 25, 2017

Summer reissue: A play-by-play of Kim Hill’s knockout match with Scott Brown

In July, US Ambassador Scott Brown had what he probably thought was an interview scheduled with Kim Hill. What actually ensued was a brilliantly shady media boxing match. Sam Brooks gives his play-by-play.

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Television
Dec 22, 2017

The Spinoff guide to watching free-to-air TV this Christmas

Sam Brooks picks out what you should watch this Christmas when things get too stressful and you just need to curl up on the couch.

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Gaming
Dec 18, 2017

On its 30th birthday, what does Final Fantasy even mean anymore?

There have been 15 numbered titles, it has sold 130 million copies worldwide, and it's spawned countless spinoffs. On its 30th birthday, Sam Brooks reflects on Final Fantasy and what the series means to him.

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Television
Dec 14, 2017

Is this the most heavyweight television cast in the history of ever?

Arriving December 19, Lightbox’s new historical epic The Hollow Crown is bringing some serious silver screen stars to your little streaming device. Sam Brooks shares a guide on where you know them from and who the heck they’re playing.

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Music
Dec 12, 2017

Has Sia’s performance art pop reached its expiry date?

Sia played Mt. Smart Stadium last week. Sam Brooks went and found the concert – and Sia's entire anti-persona persona – sadly wanting.

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Television
Dec 7, 2017

The Hollywood Medium is a terrifying and fascinating human being

Tyler Henry aka The Hollywood Medium is giving one of the most bizarre and compelling performances on television right now, and he probably doesn’t know it.

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Media
Dec 2, 2017

A play-by-play of Kim Hill’s medium rare roasting of Don Brash

This morning Kim Hill generously gave Don Brash 30 minutes in which to explain his problem with te reo on the radio. Kim Hill expert and superfan Sam Brooks brings you her best burns.

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Music
Nov 30, 2017

Julia Michaels is going to be the biggest popstar in the world

We go deep on one of the biggest songwriters of the decade, who's about to become one of the biggest popstars in the world, and even got to talk to her about her craft.

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