The Penguin Booth At BookCon Was A Dumpster Fire, And Even That Is Too Polite.

Let me first say that I’m biased. I’ve been to different conventions over the years, and haven’t always had the best time. I have enjoyed conventions as many times as I’ve hated them. I’ve seen multiple giveaway systems, experienced the nightmare of the Funko booths, lotteries, and lines that only few could even fathom. I should also say that I was at Book Con mainly for my girlfriend, to help her grab freebies and things she wanted.

All that being said, fuck you Penguin Random House Booth at Book Con. Fuck you, and your terrible system.

I’m sorry for the language. I know if this post happens to gain some attention with the Book Con crowd, a lot of people there were a bit on the younger side. However, there really is no other way to express my disappointment and outrage with how poorly ran the penguin booth was.

The system that the Penguin booth decided to employ was a lottery of sorts. The claim is that 30 minutes before a signing starts, a person working the booth will go to a location around the booth and start handing out tickets to people who want to go to certain signings. If you arrive before the designated time, the workers will tell you to keep walking around, tickets aren’t being handed out yet. Simple, and could seemingly work right?

No, that’s a dumb ass plan, and let me tell you why.

For a smaller publisher, or a smaller booth, this plan is feasible maybe even reasonable. However, Penguin should have known this system simply would not work with a following of their size. Penguin is by far THE BIGGEST booth at Book Con. They are the first thing you’ll see from multiple entrances to the show floor, and are at least the size of 3-4 regular booths combined. Given that much real estate it is heavily implied that they are a big deal, and should be prepared for heavy traffic. They weren’t.

If a con goer decides to arrive a little bit early to wait for tickets to be handed out, others will follow, this should be fully expected. Everyone obviously wants the best possible chance to meet their favorite authors. So it is no surprise at all people will begin forming unofficial lines.

Penguin on the other hand, believes that you should randomly walk around in circles and just hope for the best. Even though doing exactly what they told you to do will probably net you absolutely nothing and in all likelihood leave you on the outside looking in. If you listen to the workers of the booth and decide to circle around the booth, there is a good chance that soon after, they’ll start forming the line for the ticket giveaway. You’ll be on the wrong side of the booth, and be incredibly lucky if you happen to get a ticket.

So, maybe you should try and just stand there and have booth security yell at you?

Nope. That’s a terrible plan as well, because then you form a fire hazard, and I promise you 9/10 times the booth will form the ticket line away from you to spite you, because you had the “audacity” to not walk around in circles hoping the ticket giveaway landed on you. The fact that there isn’t an effective strategy could be exactly what Penguin wanted. Which if that’s the case, let me tell you my personal story at the penguin booth yesterday, and why that’s a terrible idea.

The thing my girlfriend wanted the absolute most from Book Con was a copy of Bonfire by Krysten Ritter. She’s a huge Krysten Ritter fan. We probably could have increased our chances had both of us decided to stalk the booth, but I didn’t want that. I told her I think it was more important to experience Krysten Ritter’s panel, because going to a panel of someone you think is really cool is a special experience. So we split, she went to wait for the panel, I headed back to the show floor to attempt to scope the situation out.

Krysten’s signing is at 2:45 PM. This means that her ticket giveaway should begin at 2:15 PM. I’m scoping the Penguin booth out at 1:30 PM. However, this is a terrible time to be around the Penguin booth, because the ticket giveaway for Wonder Woman: Warbringer, which means there is already a sea of humanity crammed like sardines around the Penguin booth. It simply is a safety hazard and a poor idea to add to this cluster of humans, so I decide I’ll come back after they’ve sorted out the Wonder Woman signing.

I go to a different booth to pick up a free book. I was at the front of the line, but decided to leave because the author was late for her signing and I had to get back to the Penguin booth. I arrive back at the booth at around 1:50 PM or so. The sea of humanity for Wonder Woman is now reduced to what seems like a reasonable lake of humanity now. I quickly head toward the table where Krysten Ritter will be. I would say at this point there are about 100 people meandering around in the area. I join the unofficial line hoping that it somehow works out.

At about 2:05 PM security gets involved, and dissolves the unofficial line and it becomes just a huge mass of people. It is at this point an exceptionally loud girl (we’ll call her ELG) starts preaching about how people need to be fair and honest about who was here first. She claims she had been there quite awhile and if she waited she deserves a ticket to the signing. The lead security guy proceeds to tell her the rules, that tickets aren’t given away until 2:15 blah blah blah, and everyone should walk around because it’s a fire hazard. Mind you the line was fairly reasonable, it wasn’t until the line was dissolved and became a large mass of humanity did it start blocking the walking lanes.

A guy comes up next to me in this pile of people and asks what’s going on, I explain people are trying to get tickets to Krysten Ritter’s signing. We’re going to call him glasses guy, because that’s all I really remember about him.

At 2:11 PM someone from the Penguin booth whistles really loudly and starts yelling at people to move because it has become a safety issue. Everyone in the mass of people checks their phones for time and scoffs, because no one is moving 4 minutes before tickets are supposed to be handed out.

It’s 2:15 PM, the crowd is growing restless because no one knows where tickets will be handed out. ELG is talking about how the crowd is behind her and she deserves her ticket, and that anyone who cuts in front is terrible. One minute later, a group of 4-5 people push through to the front and greet ELG AND STAND WITH HER AT THE FRONT OF THE PILE, this is the same girl screaming about how she deserves her ticket the most and people who cut in line should be thrown out. Hypocrisy at it’s finest. At this point, everyone should realize this girl preaching fairness and respecting the time waited is a full blown hypocrite and just incredibly rude.

At 2:18 PM or so, lead security guy explains how things are going to work. He’s going to hand some tickets out to his people, they’ll walk into random pockets of the huge crowd (which at this point might be 500+ people squished together), and hand out tickets to whoever they want. If they saw people pushing they would stop handing out tickets.

I cringe at this because I know this is a bad idea for so many reasons, but also, during the entire time I was at Book Con I was regularly given looks because I clearly stick out. I’m a dude (if I had to guess the attendance was 85% female), and I’m 6’0 tall. I’m just saying I’m more physically imposing than most people there, and if any pushing happened, I knew I would get blamed. I’m not here to cry about discrimination or whatever, I don’t know if it played a factor at all, but I know it certainly didn’t help my cause.

It’s 2:20ish PM and a security woman walks into my area of the crowd with tickets. She stops right in front of me. People are pushing into my back and around me like crazy reaching their arms forward, I’m literally holding people back from mobbing this woman. She begins handing out tickets to people, and she hands them out to everyone in the front of the circle, I thought this would include me as I was right there. Even glasses guy was given a ticket (he had just arrived at 2:10 or whatever). As she begins to turn toward me people start pushing, and she stops handing out tickets.

Ticket lady begins to then notice a girl is having a PANIC ATTACK, I help clear some room because this girl is bawling her eyes out and hyperventilating. People behind me are still pushing and grabbing. Ticket lady calms her down and helps her out, gives her and her friend tickets. At this point Ticket lady says she’s going to start giving out tickets again. I then see that this LITTLE KID is getting squished. He’s getting absolutely destroyed, he was about to be trampled like he was Mufasa. The ticket lady also notices this kid getting squished, I do my best to pull this little kid out of of the pile. She gives him a ticket, and he’s on his way. At this moment the ticket lady announces she HAS ONE TICKET LEFT, and spins around in a circle looking around.

And of course, of fucking course the super hypocrite ELG, screams that she deserves this ticket. Ticket lady turns and gives her the ticket. It’s over. The ticket giveaway is done.

Being quiet, and not actively grabbing at this lady’s tickets worked against me. That’s tough. I really wanted to do this for my girlfriend and I know she absolutely would have loved to have Krysten Ritter’s book and meet her. It’s difficult, doing what you felt was the right thing, and coming up short, and more or less getting punished for trying to be fair.

That’s not really the worst part though. I hear people in the crowd talking about how they’ve been in the unofficial line since 11:30 AM, 12:00 PM and that this was the first place they came when the con opened, and they didn’t get tickets. My girlfriend and I woke up at 2 am, hopped on a bus at 3:30 am to arrive in New York at 7:30 AM, ate breakfast and headed to the Javits Center, mainly because she wanted to meet Krysten Ritter and get an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of Bonfire. I went through all of that, and yet I still somehow felt extra bad for these other young fans that had spend most of their Sunday waiting for just this signing.

My girlfriend went to the Krysten Ritter panel, as it turns out they handed out copies of the book at the panel. Krysten even responded to something my girlfriend yelled out from the crowd. That’s amazing. My girlfriend ended up having a wonderful time altogether at Book Con, even though she didn’t get a signed copy of Bonfire.

But the honest truth is, I can’t help but feel bad because I know plenty of people sacrificed going to the panel so they could have a chance to meet Krysten Ritter and get a signed book. They were completely destroyed, and most likely didn’t even get a copy of the book. That sucks. That just 100% completely sucks.

You’re probably thinking that yes it sucks, but if I can’t come up with a better system, why complain? Glad you bring that up.

My personal belief is that if you’re willing to put in the time, you are the most deserving of the ticket. If it were up to me, Penguin would use the Queue Hall to their advantage and tell people to form lines there and wait as long as they want for the thing they want most. If you’re willing to commit most of your day to see one author you should get to see that one author.

Penguin has to be better at anticipating which of their signings will be larger, and have lines set up for the tickets so people can commit as much time as they want to their signings. Penguin could also have lines at the opening of Book Con and hand tickets out at the start of the day and have people return to the booth when it’s time for the signings. This would alleviate foot traffic around the booth, and would allow people who are willing to commit the most time to see an author get their ticket while still being able to enjoy the con. This means that you likely will not be allowed to see more than one author though. However, it is very unlikely people did that under the current system, and if they did it really speaks more to the unfairness of the random draw.

People at the Penguin booth and Book Con, your job is incredibly difficult, it really is. By no means am I saying that anyone can do your job. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t disagree with how Penguin ran their booth, and that they can’t SIGNIFICANTLY improve.  Book Con itself was a fairly well ran event, and an enjoyable experience in my opinion.

Feel free to disagree with me on here or twitter.

twitter: @thetwentytwo

An Open Letter To The 2016-2017 Washington Wizards

First and foremost, I want to say thank you.

So thank you Washington Wizards.

Thank you so much for a season that I’ll never forget as a fan. A season that had a roller coaster of emotions. A season that started 2-8. A season that began with questions about our backcourt “disliking” each other. A season that had John and Brad sitting out back-to-backs. A season that showed John was a top tier point guard. A season where Brad got snubbed from All-Star, but let his game do the talking. A season where Otto got recognized as a sniper in this league. A season that included the greatest home stand I’ve ever witnessed as a DC sports fan, that could only be ended by the current best basketball player on the planet. A season that included a playoff berth and homecourt.

I know it ended in heartbreak, and I can’t even imagine what you guys as players go through. I won’t say time heals all wounds, because I’m ready to punch a wall when I lose in online video games against average players. I can recall a game I played years ago and still be angry about a decision I made. What I can say is that you’ve done more for this city and basketball than you can imagine. You’re helping make DC into a basketball town, and that’s something so incredibly special.

I remember the shame after the Gilbert Arenas era. I remember being MJ’s retirement tour. I remember getting consistent trash talk for drafting Kwame Brown (there really is no comeback to “your team drafted Kwame Brown”). I remember being called the Washington Generals constantly. I remember people saying there is no homecourt advantage at Verizon Center.

You guys changed all of that. Instead of shame, there was hope. Instead of a retirement tour, you were young guns entering their prime. John, Brad, Otto, and even Kelly(kinda) were all drafted by this team. You guys did moves that made looked like the Globetrotters clowning the Generals.

Courtesy of TheRinger

Most importantly, you brought homecourt back to DC. I’ve been to my fair amount of games in my lifetime. I’ve never felt a crowd so electric as I did in my trips to the Verizon Center this year. Every dunk was met with an explosive cheer. Every hustle play highlighted by thunderous clapping. Every beautiful crossover complimented with a collective “oooooooh”. Every three splashed was met with a deafening DEE CEE THREEEEEEEEE. You guys made basketball more important than free Chic-Fil-A sandwiches (and we all know how good the sandwiches are). I don’t think any DC basketball fan can thank you enough for that.

If you’re still reading, I’d like to talk to some players.

Daniel Ochefu/Chris McCullough/Sheldon Mac/Trey Burke

You guys cheered like hell, and I know you gave the starters great practice and competition. I look forward to seeing more of you guys.

Tomáš Satoranský(Sato)

I hope you had fun in your first season in the NBA Sato. I hope we get to see more of those pogo stick legs as you develop for the Washington Wizards.

Ian Mahinmi

Ian, a lot will be said about the money we spent, and things like that, but just get healthy and play a full season for us and prove otherwise.

Brandon Jennings

A late season addition, but appreciated help at the backup PG spot. Not to mention a dope article on the ThePlayersTribune.

Jason Smith

JSmoove, the midrange GOAT, are just a couple of names we came to know you by. You became a fan favorite quick, and you absolutely deserved it. A true professional, in every sense of the word. Thank you for knocking down some key jumpers and making hustle plays.

Bojan Bogdanović

Bojangles, Bo Buckets, Bogdonaswish, Bogie, the Croation Sensation, Olympic Bojan, you had quite a few nicknames yourself. You came here with red hot shooting, and the fanbase instantly loved you. Thanks for raining those beautiful threes.

Kelly Oubre, Jr.

Kelly OuBAE some might say. As tenacious on defense as you are loved by women (we’ve all heard the screams when you check in the game). Continue to develop and be as good as we believe you can be. That energy you brought off the bench was key all year.

Marcin Gortat

Thanks for setting those picks and doing the dirty work no one will recognize, because they don’t show up in the stats. Thanks for dropping the hammer and energizing the crowd.

Markieff Morris

A lot of people weren’t down with the trade we made to get you. This year you showed them you were worth it, and it wasn’t just all about the stats you put up. Thank you Keef for going to bat any time someone would get in a teammate’s face. Thanks for providing a bucket down low when we needed it most, and never backing down. Thanks for being the enforcer, and I think every Wizards fan is now #TeamFOE.

Otto Porter, Jr.

I remember the night you were drafted and watching your college highlights. I was so excited about your midrange game and defense. I remember reading a story about how you bought a sandwich for a homeless man then sat to eat with him and thinking “Wow, this is a big difference from the days of Andray Blatche and Nick Young”.

Then your rookie season was derailed by injury. Then you got a little lost in the team rotation because that’s the way Coach Wittman did things. Then The Truth came and mentored you a bit. Then you started last year, and showed flashes. Then this year you straight up balled. Thank you for being as good as we all knew you could be, and we know you can get even better. Thank you for playing the right way, shooting with your feet set, helping on defense, hustling for rebounds, and moving without the ball.

Fans will cite the game where you splashed threes as your biggest games this year. My favorite game of yours was against Brooklyn after all-star break. Brooklyn wasn’t even supposed to make us break a sweat but they pushed us to the brink, and they could have derailed our season losing a trap game like that. But you wouldn’t let that happen, and you chased down offensive rebound after offensive rebound, and wouldn’t let us lose. That was the epitome of an Otto Porter game.

A lot will be said about your upcoming contract, but I truly hope you will be a Washington Wizard for a long, long time. There’s something to be said about a franchise that takes care of the talent they draft.

Bradley Beal

A lot of people questioned your contract. I think it’s safe to say they’re now all bealievers(I had to). I was convinced from your first season that you were our guy. When you hit that buzzer beater in 2014 against the Orlando Magic, I knew you were the real deal. If John is the heart of this team, you’re the soul. They say that your soul is fulfilled by art, and my goodness is your game a work of art.

You didn’t want to be just a shooter, so you worked on your off-the-dribble game. You didn’t want to be just a scorer, so you worked on your facilitating. You didn’t want to just be an offensive player, so you worked on your defense. You didn’t want to just be a good player, you wanted to be a star. And you accomplished all of that, and more.

I know you can be even better, and you will be. Thank you for staying healthy and being the cold blooded assassin this team needed. Just thank you for being everything this fanbase hoped you would be, and more. I won’t say this league is yours for the taking, because nothing is given, but I know you’ll work as hard as you possibly can to be the best 2 Guard in this league. And we can’t ask any more than that.

John Wall

I don’t know what to say John. What can I say that really expresses the thanks for what you’ve done? Myself and other fans have been saying for a few years that you belonged in the top tier discussion of point guards. The WallStar. Soon to be Wall-NBA (if you’re not, the award is a sham). You’re DC’s Point God, and the heart of this team.  You’re involved in the community. A better human being than a basketball player, and you’re one of the best damn basketball players on the planet. This is your city.

We’re the same age John, and watching you grow up into the leader and player you have, has been a special thing for me. It was like watching a good friend work, grow, and achieve their goals. A lot of that has to do with your demeanor. Someone who isn’t afraid to celebrate his big shots, someone who isn’t afraid to talk trash(an elite trash talker at that) when he destroys them, and someone who isn’t afraid of the moment.

As I type this I’m smiling, because I know so many others our age feel the same. Watching you develop from a lightning quick rookie with talent to a nuanced floor general has truly been an incredible experience. From having a shaky jump shot to hitting one of the biggest shots in Washington Wizards history. From a talented PG with some turnover issues to arguably the best vision in the league. It’s been an absolute pleasure not just as a Wizards fan, but a basketball fan.

I probably don’t have to remind you where this franchise was when you were drafted. What I can tell you is how I and many others felt when we heard “With the first overall pick, the Washington Wizards select John Wall”. Excitement. Hope. A chance. It was a miracle to get a first pick in the draft in the first place, but to get the first pick in a draft where there was a generational talent available? It felt like a dream. So I know this time is tough, and a lot will be said about you in the coming weeks. But remember where this franchise used to be, and where it’s headed. And you brought us here. So thank you John. Thank you for everything.

Coach Brooks

When the Wizards hired you, I wasn’t sold right away, but I did remember your reputation about developing players. Then I read stories about you as a player, and stories about your upbringing, and it made me grow a deep respect for you as a person. And I became excited, I’ll admit that excitement was questioned a bit during our 2-8 start, but you righted the ship. You brought this team back from the brink and put them on track for one of the best seasons in this franchise’s history. Please continue to bring out the best in our players. Thank you.

Final Thoughts

A lot of people will say you’re just like all the other DC Sports teams. That you’re cursed to exit the playoffs in the second round forever. I don’t believe that for the other DC teams, but I especially don’t believe it for you. This team is young, skilled, talented, and hardworking. I know you guys will do everything you can to come back better and stronger. There will be more heartbreak, but I know there will be new things to celebrate, and that will make it worth it. I know I’ve said it a million times already, but just one more should top it off.

Thank you for this season, Washington Wizards.

P.S. Sneaking in one more thanks for being undefeated at the games me and my girlfriend attended.

P.P.S I’ll also miss Phil Chenier’s commentating dearly, and hope that there is a way he’ll stay.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A DC sports fan born in 1991, that sometimes hates the city and the traffic, but will always cheer DC sports when he can, especially the Wizards.

Hanging in the rafters one day, but hopefully a fans arms are good enough for now.

Thoughts About Stuff: Improving Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go took the world by storm, then it shot itself in the foot, then it climbed back up a bit. I, like many others, don’t really know what to make of the game right now. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy playing the game, because I do. I just know that I’m not playing it nearly as much as I did when it first came out. This is fairly normal when you play games that aren’t story driven or you aren’t highly competitive in, but trending downward is always at least a little concerning. However, there are a few things Niantic could do to really improve PoGo, thus improving the overall experience for all players.

Quality Of Life Improvements

Improving Pokémon Go

Tracking – I know that there is a beta version of a new tracking system. I haven’t heard much in terms of reviews about it. Fixing the sightings to delete things not nearby anymore was a great step, but most everyone I’ve spoke to about the game misses the original tracking system.

incubators-pokemon-go

Incubators – I’m not going to demand more infinite incubators, I understand the game is a business and needs to make money. However, I would suggest making incubators available in bulk like lures and lucky eggs are. Possibly even selling incubators that have more uses for more coins. For example, you should be able to buy a pack of 3 incubators for 400 coins OR an incubator you that has 12 uses.

pidgey_pidgey_pidgey-0-0

Transferring – The ability to transfer as you catch pokes was a great improvement. Now if we could do something like instead of favorite the Pokémon, you could mark for transferring to mass transfer that’d be great. Oh, and transferring higher evolutions of Pokémon should yield more candy.

Gyms – End sniping by giving a thirty second grace period to players who have recently battled the gym. Being able to set a stable starting lineup for battling would be nice too.

pokemon_type_chart

Balance – Everyone knows that outside of the kings of the game (Snorlax, Dragonite, Lapras) water Pokémon destroy everything, including most electric ‘mon, which should not be the case.

Content Improvements

Right now, PoGo lacks content.  There are essentially three things you can do in PoGo. Complete your Pokédex, claim gyms for your respective team, or grind levels. That’s pretty much it.  For some people that’s probably enough, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with being a casual player, but that doesn’t mean Niantic shouldn’t consider adding more for other players. Some people will say that I’m playing too much. As of this moment, I’ve caught 135 of the available 142 in the North America, and I’m level 28. I’d say I probably spend a bit more time than the average player. However, I don’t think I’m in the category of hardcore. I really think that my issue with the game stems from a lack of content and not the amount I play. So I want to discuss some possible ideas that could be implemented.

I agree with many ideas that have come up around places like /r/Pokemongo and /r/thesilphroad. I think there is so much room for improvement and imagination not being taken advantage of. Ideas like 1v1 player battling, trading, and quests are great ideas in the spirit of the original games. However, I don’t think Niantic should be afraid to venture and make their own Pokémon game stand out.

duo_gameboy

The CEO of Niantic has referred to the game as an MMO, and I agree. So why not add some MMO type content? An idea that I played around with and developed was the implementation raids for legendaries. Many rumors have stated legendaries will simply be gifts at events where you have to catch the ‘mon. I think this is a missed opportunity if they go that route. I think they could add a completely different dimension to PoGo when implementing legendaries by adding raids/instances.

Raids/instances might sound a little crazy at first, but I don’t think it would be all that hard for players to grasp. Let’s say we implement new items, these new items are feathers corresponding to the legendary birds (Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres). We make these feathers fairly rare drops randomly in the game. The rustling grass that used to be in the game would be perfect places to look for feathers (this would make it more equal for rural and city players as opposed to putting them in stops, I think).

After you gather 25 of Zapdos’ feathers, what do you do now? You go to a gym of your team’s color! Players can then use your feathers, and BATTLE Zapdos for the right to capture him. You can also have members of the same team battle with you to help (we may have to inflate some CPs for the fight or something). This would increase the purpose of teams. It would also add reason to get to know others of your same team. While it’s different from the rest of the game, I think making legendaries a little bit harder to catch and more unique just adds to their prestige and rarity.

All credit to the artist here: http://marcoh88.deviantart.com/art/Zapdos-311044310
All credit to the artist here: http://marcoh88.deviantart.com/art/Zapdos-311044310

On top of this, you can easily make this a scaling system. 25 feathers will get you a level 1-10 Zapdos, 50 feathers will get you a level 11-20, 100 feathers will get you 21-30, etc. It could also be a necessity to make gyms correlate, so your gym would have to be at least level 3 to use 25 feathers, level 5 to use 50 feathers, and level 7 to use 100 feathers. This makes pumping up gyms more worth your time, as well as increases the competition for them.

This appeals to all players. If you’re simply looking to increase your Pokédex count, just go for a low level legendary, because who cares right? If you’re a player who wants the strongest Pokémon, then you grind a bit and save your feathers up to battle a high level legendary.

Final Thoughts

To be super clear about this, I’m not a developer, and I wouldn’t expect these things to happen overnight. I have very little idea about how hard these things would be to implement. These are simply some ideas I had and wanted to talk about it. I do enjoy playing PoGo, I just had some suggestions that I think could make an even better game, because I do think it is wasting some of it’s potential.

Let us know your thoughts, bash/discuss/talk to your heart’s content! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

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ICYMI: This Hawkeye Fan Film is Super Charming

Many of you may know Hawkeye from Jeremy Renner’s portrayal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, comic book fans may know a very beloved and famous run of Matt Fraction and David Aja on the Archer part-time Avenger. He’s famously called HawkGuy because Fraction’s son couldn’t correctly pronounce Hawkeye, and it just happened to personify this beloved run on the character.

This comic was about Hawkeye just being a regular guy and not so much about his big time as an Avenger. How he’s a street level hero sometimes, but also just a regular dude with a bunch of regular dude problems. That’s enough prefacing right? Yeah, let’s check out the Hawkeye Fan Film.

I really love that they really capture the essence of the characters and the way they were written in this run by Fraction. The filmmakers also do a great job of capturing the style a comic book like this would be read, because they make very conscious choices about the way David Aja made his panels and frames and did similar edits and camera shots. Overall, I just really appreciate the work done by One Riot Ranger Productions. All that being said it’s still a fan film, so if you don’t like some rough production here and there, don’t watch, but I’d say it’s a good bit of work and HawkGuy fans will definitely enjoy.

Let us know your thoughts! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest! Contact me at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole.

Nerd Swole Roundtable: Valentines Day

Whether you celebrate Galentine’s, Singles Awareness, or Valentine’s day, February 14th is a time to display some kind of love, so we decided to talk about some things Nerd Swole appreciates about the day, love, and other nerdy things.

Who is your favorite couple across games, movies, TV, anime?

JD and Elliot
Brian: 
I think I’d have to go with Elliot and JD from Scrubs. Something about the way they were written, how at some points I legitimately saw them not being together, and then I couldn’t imagine them not together. They went through so much as friends, colleagues, and lovers that it just felt right when everything finally fell in place for them.

Erin: So many to pick from, but I’m gonna go with Jim and Pam from The Office. The jokes and pranks in that show really enhance their relationship and make it so charming that you root for them the entire time.

Yeksson: I’m going with Bulma and Vegeta.  It’s just not your typical romance.  Out of nowhere, their future child arrives to tell Goku about incoming danger and the fact that his parents are Bulma and Vegeta.  Then there’s the point in the Majin Buu Saga where Vegeta blows himself up, but first admitting to the love he has for his family.

Alex: Tony Stark and Pepper Potts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From employee to boss and friend to friend to inappropriateness to being in love to being dysfunctional together. Perfectly rational relationship in a world with Norse gods, superheroes, alien invasions, and madness every summer.

iron man 2008 pepper and tony

What couple do you wish ended up together, but never did?

Brian: Mal and Inara from Firefly. This type of thing is to be expected from a show that was cancelled too soon. And while there were some exceptionally rude things said between them, they obviously cared very deeply for one another.

Erin: Barney and Nora from How I Met Your Mother. Finale aside, I loved Nora and I think there was so much potential for character growth in Barney while they were together. She really complemented his lifestyle and attitude, and she was a great addition to the overall dynamic of the crew.

Yeksson: Meryl and Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid.  You as a player have to mash a button to survive electrifying torture, twice, just to spare her life.  Sure, they snowmobile off into the sunset together.  However, in MGS4, she ends up marrying her follow comrade Johnny Sasaki.

Alex: James Bond and Vesper Lynd. Casino Royale revamped Bond for a newer generation, taking him to the beginning of earning the “00” license. His arrogance gets him into trouble and Vesper brings him back down to Earth, and Bond’s strength allows him to support Vesper as she comes into a world filled with darkness. Her death truly destroyed James and he became the cold Bond we all know.

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What couple DID end up together that you didn’t want together?

Brian: I’m going to go ahead and pick the low hanging fruit here and say Ted and Robin from How I Met Your Mother. The finale doesn’t bother me as much as it used to, but I’ll just always dislike that ending, because it’s a twist that should be reserved for movies or shorter series, not 9 seasons of buildup.

Erin: I’m gonna take a turn here and go with Bruce Wayne/Batman and Talia al Ghul. Very disruptive relationship for obvious reasons, she stabbed him in the back, pretty much broke his heart, and gave birth to Damian, who is, in his best moments, slightly tolerable.

Yeksson: I’m not too caught up on Arrow but I’m going with Felicity and Oliver.  Mainly because I’ve been on Team Laurel since day one.

Alex: Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man 2. It just felt like the actor’s had great chemistry and weren’t really playing Peter and Gwen. A rushed relationship that ultimately aimed to play fan service and shock value, instead of develop the characters naturally.

What’s a good movie or episode of TV to watch on Valentine’s day?

Brian: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a movie I love very much, and in my opinion has very appropriate themes for the holiday whether you’re single, dating someone, or married.

Erin: Any episode of New Girl. The show is just ripe with comedic romantic situations and friendships, and makes it such a great watch for people our age. Great to watch with friends, “sig oths”, or even alone chillin. Specifically, “Valentine’s Day” – Season 1, “Thanksgiving IV” – Season 4, and “Cruise” – Season 3.

Yeksson: Friends, the One with the Prom Video.  Yes, it’s about Ross and Rachel and there is an intense feels moment.

Alex: All of the above are great choices, but for me, either Hitch or Crazy, Stupid Love are great romantic comedies that find both sexes at odds and take a lighthearted but honest jab at dating, recovering from heartbreak, and relationships.

What’s the best pickup line?

Brian:

Broken Pencil
You must execute exactly like this.

Erin:

Yeksson:

54580718dhhei_smMost, if not, all of Will Smith’s pick up lines really.

Alex:

ultimate-spider-man-6-2000-bad-pickup-lines

This is all I got.

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Indie Game Spotlight: Nuclear Throne

From time to time I pick up an indie game, usually from a friend’s recommendation or gift on Steam, and if I really like it a lot I think I’ll be writing an Indie Spotlight on it. Today’s game is Nuclear ThroneI’ve mentioned it a couple of times on our Nerd Swole weeklies, and now I wanted to talk a little bit more in depth about the game.

Firstly I wanted to say that this game is about as unforgiving as any game I’ve played, and even more so than a game that I already thought was quite cruel and challenging in Ramapge KnightsThrone is a top down, 8-bit looking, third person shooter, dungeon crawler, that will make you want to punch holes in walls with how much you can get absolutely WRECKED when you thought you were having a pretty solid run. The dungeons are random, the weapon drops and power ups from leveling are all random as well, so you may have a good run where you get great weapons but terrible power ups and vice versa. So if you dislike games involving some luck this game may not be for you.

BICEPS
One of the random power ups you can get called “Back Muscles”

Don’t get me wrong though, this game does take a fair amount of skill and isn’t a bunch of random generator luck. You skillfully navigate through dungeons, conserve, and use of special skills depending on your character. You make decisions like skipping chests and items now hoping for a big payoff later or you get completely screwed because you hoped for a shovel and got a screwdriver (this makes complete sense if you play the game I promise).

On top of that, characters are unique and different, and none of them seem particularly overpowered and ridiculous, each has a pretty useful special ability/mechanic. I really commend the developers on this part as each character really is different from the others and there is a very good variety of characters to find a really good fit for your style (you do have to unlock characters though).

Throne Characters

There is a lot to be said about synergy as well, because certain characters definitely work better together, so you and your teammate don’t have to be on the same page with character selection, but it helps if you are. Oh right, a teammate, the main reason that I even picked up this game is the co-op (usually a driving factor with a lot of indies I play).

I’ve mentioned many times how much I enjoy co-op because of the memories that are made in local co-op games when your friend/teammate makes a big play to save the day, and as much heartbreak as there is in Nuclear Throne, there will also be plenty of great memories forged by all of the possible clutch moments you come across. Whether it’s finding a med kit so you get above 1 hp to revive your teammate, or blocking for a teammate, or just skillfully dodging the bullet hell, there are a lot of opportunities for skilled plays.

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More likely than not you will die. A lot. However, it’s more often than not it’s because you positioned yourself poorly or didn’t prepare for an oncoming level properly, which with a game like this is quite important. It’s important not to feel like you’re fighting poor design, because that just causes frustration to a point where you likely won’t want to play the game anymore.

Nuclear Throne has enough depth and skill involved with it’s randomness that it makes players feel in control and that the reason they didn’t beat the game is because players made a wrong move. In my opinion, there is nothing more frustrating in gaming than feeling like you played perfectly and getting owned because you’re fighting the design of the game, and not the game.

In addition to navigating random dungeons, bullet hells, and random luck of the draw, you’ll also have to fight bosses. The bosses in the game aren’t just clones of the last boss with more projectiles, they’re each unique from each other and really challenge you to use a strategy to beat them. Whether it’s having a melee weapon to reflect their projectiles, or making sure you’re in a smaller corner to control their mobility, there is a fair amount of strategy and skill going into fighting these bosses, and don’t even get me started on the final boss. I’ll avoid spoilers, but let’s just say the final boss has a couple of tricks up their sleeve.

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I found Nuclear Throne a fun challenge, and would recommend it to people who enjoy a good co-op game. It currently retails on Steam at $11.99.

If you’ve got a suggestion for a game you’d like me to play, let me know! I’d love to hear it and will definitely consider it.

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ICYMI: The Pokémon Super Bowl Commerical

The big game usually has a lot of really creative, fun, and quirky commercials. It’s become a bit of a show in and of itself to simply watch the biggest game in football to see the ads between the game action. It isn’t unheard of for games (usually mobile games though) to get in on the action, but usually it is bigger tech companies, foods, and movies that really show up on these ads. So that’s what makes this ad special, Nintendo appears to be releasing a Pokémon ad, which is kind of incredible, because it’s not even for the whole company, just the single franchise. So let’s check out the Pokémon Super Bowl Commercial.

I really love that there is such a wide audience being targeted here. Of course, a lot of the main subjects are young kids, but there are obvious throwbacks to fans of the first generation of the hit franchise, such as having “Like No One Ever Was” above the doorway. Some have called the ad cheesy, but I’m a big fan of the whole commercial, and really appreciated it for what it is. It’s not a specific ad for any particular game coming out (although you might argue it’s for Pokémon GO) it doesn’t specifically list any game, so to me it’s just a celebration of the franchise and its longevity which is a beautiful thing.

It doesn’t hurt that it made me look up Pokken and Pokémon GO’s release dates again though. I guess what they’re really asking is this:
body are you ready

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Thoughts About Stuff: Ryan Coogler Directing Black Panther

One of my previous articles was that I didn’t think being black was a requirement for directing Black Panther. And while I still think that, I think Ryan Coogler is a creative and talented director and couldn’t be happier he will be at the helm of Black Panther.

Ryan Coogler
Ryan Coogler, director of Creed and Fruitvale Station

Despite this being just his third film, I think there is a lot to like about Coogler’s style and body of work. His previous two movies starred Michael B. Jordan, whom I think is a fantastic actor, but Jordan isn’t solely responsible for how powerful and impactful Fruitvale Station was, and he alone didn’t provide all the energy and resilience in Creed. After making those two movies, it was clear Coogler has a style, and makes very loveable characters, despite them also being very clearly flawed people.

Fruitvale Station
Michael B. Jordan and Melonie Diaz from Fruitvale Station

Which is exactly the type of character you need in superhero movies. As many of them will have stunning action sequences, incredible CGI, and just a lot of popcorn moments. Make no mistake though, the movies that are often more critically acclaimed are the deeper character pieces.

Guardians of the Galaxy was getting to know a bunch of crazy misfits that somehow fit together. Iron Man was a story of redemption after incredible amounts of hubris destroyed Tony Stark’s world. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a Steve Rogers questioning his place in the world after having always believed in structure and order, and having that structure betray him. Ant-Man shows how far a father’s love really goes.

If you’ve seen Creed and Fruitvale Station, those two are plenty of reason enough to be excited about Ryan Coogler. However, consider the fact that the first time this was offered, Coogler turned it down. To me, this signifies that he probably wanted more creative control than Marvel was willing to give, and after having Creed be such a success, maybe Marvel was willing to give him a little more rope. I would hope this means we get to see a product that Coogler himself builds from the ground up and is proud of. So count me in as someone who is excited to see where Coogler goes with T’Challa.

You can check another writer’s thoughts/predictions on Black Panther here.

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News Roundup: Star Wars, Deadpool, Arrow, and More!

Sometimes there are just too many awesome and interesting things going on during the week, and we can’t comment on all of them. This is one of those times, and we have to hit you with a barrage of links to get ourselves and you all caught up.

Judging by the fact that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has broken the box office, I’ll assume you’ve seen the movie and have some questions. /Film has answers to 26 questions.

 

Deadpool has a pretty entertaining Christmas list.

Vixen appears to be on her way to live action, she’ll be joining the cast of Arrow. She’ll be played by the same actress that voiced her, Megalyn Echikunwoke.

Halo Link

This Halo/Legend of Zelda mashup cosplay is incredible, Kotaku has a small blurb on it.

Project X Zone 2 just looks crazier and crazier.

And CBR thinks there is a possibility that Assassin’s Creed will have a trailer attached to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. 

Let us know your thoughts! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

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ICYMI – Thor and Vision Fight in this Age of Ultron Deleted Scene

I’m aware that not everyone is a fan of Avengers: Age of Ultron but by and large at Nerd Swole, we enjoyed it. That’s not to say it’s not without its kinks, and there are things left out that leave us wondering. For example, this deleted scene would have been a very interesting addition to the film that I think could always use more rifts between superheroes. Anyway, let’s watch Thor and Vision fight in this Age of Ultron deleted scene before we discuss it.

Firstly, it’s always a good bit of fun to see how much things change with special effects put in, and this clip is delightfully cheesy with its unfinished CGI.

It is also interesting to think how much this fight would have changed the way the audience would have seen the Vision. Would people consider him a character that was a legitimate threat and aiding Ultron? Or would have the Vision been seen as a character who went through an character development, because he was born in chaos and became the docile and calm hero he ends the movie as?

This scene could have changed a lot about the movie; for better or worse, I’m not sure, but it is definitely fun to think about. On top of this, the clip also features a power of Vision’s (phasing, when Cap throws the shield at him) we don’t see otherwise in the film, and shows that he can take fights even with the God of Thunder and have no scratches. We obviously find out that Vision is an incredibly powerful being throughout the movie, but this would have simply added to it.

On another note, this is a really good lesson on editing. Check out how the fight is cut out by watching the original and see the transition.

Ah, it is always fun to think how different a movie would be with its deleted scenes.

Let us know your thoughts! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

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