Apple TV – New Gaming Platform?

Yesterday, Apple introduced new additions to its line of products.  While most people were set on learning about the new iPhone, Nerd Swole was intrigued by the new Apple TV.  The product is being promoted for video streaming, music, sports and even online shopping.  However, our focus is on its gaming capabilities.  While it can’t rival or replace an Xbox One/PS4, it has the potential to expand the gaming audience.  For the first time, it will have its own App Store.  Therefore, third party developers are welcome to bring new content to the table and potentially become a family-friendly gaming platform.  On the other hand, the App Store does impose limits as to what content goes on there so expect an abundance of family-friendly titles.

crossyroad_samecars
Crossy Road

Now in terms of family gaming, Nintendo has been a power house for years.  Some have speculated that the Apple TV will take customers away from Nintendo’s audience because just about everyone plays Candy Crush.  That’s simply not true.  Nintendo makes games with intriguing and complex endeavors that caters to its most serious gamers.  Plus, Apple TV is pretty similar to the Wii/Wii U in terms of motion based gaming and the remote.

Wii U or Apple TV for family gaming?
Wii U or Apple TV for family gaming?

Apple never really promoted its new TV as a gaming platform.  It’s simply an upgrade/alternative to the many video streaming devices out there.  Siri is a nice addition if you rather talk to your TV and tell it what you content you want to see.  It also has the nice capability of checking for content availability across Netflix, Hulu, etc.  It’s hard to imagine anyone doing their online shopping through Apple TV but it’s the effort to appeal to everyone in the family.

The new Apple TV is set to release in October, just in time for the early holiday shoppers.  Will you be testing out its gaming abilities?  Do you think it can really add to the gaming audience?

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ICYMI – Force Friday

Force Friday – Star Wars’ New Line of Goodies

The next installment in the Star Wars series isn’t due in theaters until December.  Yet, as of midnight, September 4th, Disney has released several new toys, tied to The Force Awakens.  Dubbed as Force Friday, this pseudo holiday had fans lined up outside of all major retailers well before midnight.  I really had no idea about Force Friday until I casually made a late night Target run.  The toy aisle was taped off and there were dozens of people lined up, most wearing Star Wars gear.  The store manager talked about raffle tickets and extremely rare items.  As I checked out, I saw many people with bags upon bags of Star Wars toys.  I’m talking about people in their 30s, gleefully shopping for toys.

 

Furbacca
Furbacca

How amazing is that?  People lined up before midnight for the release of toys.  On top of that, for a movie that isn’t due for another two and a half months.  Nerd Swole thinks these new line of toys are like getting a glimpse of leaked footage.  It inspires fans to speculate on the contents of the upcoming movie.  Plus, it’s rather hard to pass up on a new LEGO Millennium Falcon or the BB-8 droid.  ICYMI, the BB-8 is a small robot that is controlled through a smart phone app.  It exploded on social media on Thursday, creating even more hype for its release the following day.  Being a global event, fans in Australia and Japan were among the first to unbox and upload videos.  Force Friday unofficially kicks off the holiday season while Nerd Swole eagerly anticipates the release of The Force Awakens.

Not the actual gizmo. but still lovable.
Not the actual gizmo. but still lovable.

 

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Diancie – Exclusive Event Pokémon

Here’s your chance to add an event-only Pokémon to your collection in Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (ORAS)!  Starting on July 24 and ending on July 27th, you’ll be able to receive the dual type, Fairy/Rock Pokémon known as Diancie.  It will be available to you as along as you can connect to the Internet in-game. It will know the following moves:

Dazzling Gleam

Protect

Moonblast

Diamond Storm

Diamond Storm is probably the one move we all want to see in battle.  It has the capability of raising Diancie’s defensive stat by one for each Pokémon that it hits.  The probability is 50% for each Pokémon hit and it’s a powerful Rock type move with a base of 100.  This is complimented by Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB) since Diancie is part Rock type.

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The fun doesn’t stop there.  According to a video on the Pokémon website, you’ll receive Diancie’s Mega Stone at a Pokémon Center.  Its Mega evolution has the highest base stat total of all Fairy and Rock type Pokémon.


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Don’t miss your chance to get this event-only exclusive Pokémon.

Here’s the video promoting the event:

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Justice League: Gods and Monsters *SPOILER FREE REVIEW*

We’ve discussed a few things about San Diego Comic-Con, and while there were things I didn’t like and Alex did like, there is always one thing I look forward to at SDCC and that is the premiere of a DC animated movie. I’ve been looking forward to Justice League: Gods and Monsters for quite some time, and I will just say at the start that this movie is everything it promises to be. Whether or not you like this version of Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman it is a very, very different Justice League we’re meeting and that was exactly what most of the promos promised.

Justice League: Gods and Monsters is best defined as a mystery movie, obviously it has superheroes so there will be some cool action sequences and powers, but the plot and core of the film is a mystery movie as someone has framed the Justice League for multiple murders of some very famous doctors and scientists. The movie centers on a Superman that is the son of Zod and Lara, a Batman that is not Bruce Wayne but a scientist named Kirk that was doing experiments with bats trying to cure an illness, and Becca of the New Gods as Wonder Woman.

Superman is more of a ends justifies the means and a bit arrogant leader of the Justice League. His name is Herman Guerra and he was raised by a Mexican family, and while this is certainly different than the Kents in Smallville, there are certainly some relationships and themes that are shared by this Superman. He doesn’t seem to bother with the dual identity at all and is fine with being just Superman, but he also knows hard work and the difficulty of growing up with struggling parents. He makes for an interesting character because he is more willing to do things Clark Kent wouldn’t, but Herman is also a little bit scary in that sense because he doesn’t necessarily value freedom over safety.

Batman(Kirk Langstrom) is the techy quiet member of the team, which in a lot of ways is the same as what Bruce Wayne would offer, however more or less he just goes along with what Superman/Herman says and that is an interesting dynamic. Whereas usually it is often seen as Superman and Batman respecting each other but clashing and having differing opinions, they’re pretty much on the same page all the way through this movie. It’s interesting to see this Batman because he has superpowers but also because he is nearly emotionless throughout the movie. For all the jokes about Bruce Wayne not having emotions, it’s more or less jokes he just doesn’t smile, at the very least he gets very angry/sad/broody, but Kirk is just very balanced and calm throughout the movie, despite all of the twists and turns.

Superman being the son of Zod and Batman being vampire aren’t really crazy and outrageous remakes of these iconic characters, but for Wonder Woman to not have any of her amazon heritage and to be a New God instead is straight out of left field. She has a complicated backstory, she doesn’t trust in love, and is a warrior. I can’t say much else about here without spoiling pretty important details.

Moving onto the actual movie, you’ll see a lot of cool and interesting cameos and that is always fun, but the movie in my opinion almost requires multiple viewings as things as it takes a little bit to settle in with these characters. The movie follows suit with most of the recent DC animated movies and is very mature, there are very brutal and gory action sequences, and some mature language. I’d recommend this movie to anyone who has ever been a fan of DC animated movies or just Bruce Timm in general, the plot is fairly simple, but it splits out in interesting paths and these new versions of old favorites is just a lot of fun in general.

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5 Reasons Why San Diego Comic-Con Sucks.

What? The place with arguably the greatest gathering of nerds kinda sucks? The truth is, yes it does. I might sound a little bitter, and in a lot of ways I am, but there are things about San Diego Comic-Con that flat out suck. That’s not to say that there aren’t really cool things to do or see, but that’s not what this article is about. This article is about things that are just straight up terrible about attending SDCC.

5. The Lines

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Really, most of the reasons that SDCC sucks is an extension of this in some form or another. This picture was taken in 2011, and while it has gotten more organized, there are more lines than ever. There is absolutely no shortage of “line-con” jokes if that’s the kind of thing you’re into though. Simply put, people have decided to camp earlier and earlier each year and the lines just continue to get more and more ridiculous.

4. Everything You Want Is Probably Sold Out

batman-vs-superman

It isn’t like I’ve been going to SDCC since it’s inception. I’ve attended the last 3 years, and simply put if it’s a coveted exclusive, you’ve got about a 5% chance of getting it, unless you’re incredibly lucky, a really cute kid, or you’re willing to spend a crap ton of money. This year, I was in line for probably about 20 hours total trying to get Funko POP figures, and barely got in at the very end of the 4th opening of the booth, and by then most things were sold out.

Why is it so ridiculous? Well, there are a lot of exhibitors who attend the con and sell things for their own booth, but they also get regular badges, so they come in early to the con with their exhibitor badges and then switch when the con actually opens, get in line, buy as much as they can and take it back to their own booths. Then they triple and sometimes even quadruple the price, and while it’s smart business it’s simply a dick move.

3. The Sea of Humanity

It’s one thing for there to be lines everywhere. That sucks. However, as SDCC continues to grow it just becomes more and more of a sardine festival. Simply walking from one side of the exhibit hall floor to another side can be anywhere from a 10 minute endeavor to a 30+ minutes because of how many lines are coming out of booths and other people trying to get to the booth they’re looking for. So maybe you decide you just want to sit outside the exhibit hall floor for a bit somewhere on the side, except for the fact that there are still hundreds of people sitting on the wall charging their phones or just taking their own breaks. Simply put, if you enjoy having a personal bubble of space, it isn’t going to happen at SDCC.

2. Leakers/Lack of Security

If you attend a Hall H panel, you will likely see Eddie. I forget his last name, but he comes out before most panels and tell you that the footage you’re about to see is for people specifically in that room, and it shouldn’t make it out of the room, that way studios will feel comfortable bringing back more footage and what you waited so long to see will actually be special. So you camped 12+ hours and slept on the street/grass/whatever to see this trailer, and not even 10 minutes later it is on the internet. So because a leaked crappy cam version is out the studio feels like it might as well show it off in full HD glory. So had you slept 8 hours in your regular bed, been productive for a couple hours, played some video games, and ate some regular meals instead of trail mix and fruit snacks for 12 hours, you could watch and rewatch a goddamn trailer as many times as you want. The only trailer I can think of in the past 3 years that hasn’t been leaked was Marvel Studios’ panel last year, and credit to them for bringing extra security for their footage.

It may sound like I’m being greedy, but at least let the SDCC attendees feel special for like a couple of days, but many of the “exclusive” trailers that were shown at Hall H this year were leaked within the day. Honestly, just ask yourself how you would feel if you spent a night sleeping on the street not eating regular meals, and spent a whole day watching these incredible trailers, only to find out that you could have just stayed in the comfort of your home/hotel/whatever and watched them on your computer. I know many people will argue it’s about the excitement and hype that happens in Hall H, and that is great, but some thing is certainly lost when you realize what you saw isn’t anything special because everyone has seen it, and you worked 20x harder than someone who just happened to wake up and see it in their facebook feed.

1. More Often Than Not You Put In More Than You Get Out

This is pretty much of the epitome of bitter regarding SDCC, but simply put in recent years the work to get into SDCC is probably more than you’re going to get out of it. And honestly it is a bit of a culmination of the previous 4 reasons. Whether it’s waiting in line for that exclusive you wanted or you wanted to try your hand at getting into the grand Hall H, you’re going to be putting in a lot of man hours, for many less of entertainment in return.

It doesn’t even start at SDCC though, it starts when you’re just attempting to get a badge, the lottery system to get into SDCC is a pain in the ass and based on luck and maybe a little bit on your internet connection. On top of that, it’s not even guaranteed you’ll get in if you attended the con previously it’ll just give you a bit of a better chance. Even after all of that happens you enter their hotel lottery hoping for a your best choice or any choice of hotel at all, because it’s completely possible you don’t even get a hotel room from the hotel lottery.

Oh, and you’re probably going to get sick too. Con flu is a very, very real thing.

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Thoughts About Stuff: E3 2015

I’m going to go ahead and say it. You could make the argument that E3 2015 is the best E3 ever. Many people will be unsatisfied with this and want to say I’m stupid or some kind of fan boy, but in terms of fan service and hype I think E3 2015 is unmatched. The list of things to be excited for and the constant explosions of trending on the internet will tell you that there were a lot of announcements, expected or not, that just brought the house down.

By and large at this point in the current era of gaming I find that people will always complain about not having enough new Intellectual Properties (IPs) and that’s just something that I think is fine, because last year featured a fair amount of new IPs and arguably the best game of 2014 was a new IP (Destiny). So just taking a look at this year’s E3 thus far it’s hard not to be incredibly impressed with all of the companies, publishers, and developers.

To be absolutely honest with you, I didn’t have a moment during any of the conferences I watched where I just sat there scratching my head or just outright laughing at how bad or poorly executed a conference was. Which can’t be said for any of the other previous years I’ve watched. Microsoft 2013 comes to mind and EA’s 2014 smoke and fire during their conference is right there as well.

As for things that were hype train worthy, you can take your pick. Fallout 4Uncharted 4, Final Fantasy VII remake, Dishonored IIShenmue, Star Fox Zero, Xbox’s backwards compatibility, a new not so shabby looking Star Wars game, The Division, Kingdom Hearts 3, so on and so forth man.

I will say that one thing that has been a little disappointing is Nintendo. This is especially because I had them winning the conference last year. A lot of people will say they’re unsatisfied or just downright done with Nintendo after Nintendo’s conference, and overall I’m a little bit disappointed as well. That’s not really unusual for Nintendo fans though, simply because they have such large fanbases for their different flagship franchises. So obviously Metroid fans are upset, but Star Fox fans have to be ecstatic. Honestly I would have settled for a Splatoon multiplayer update (online matchmaking with friends or offline split screen). So things were very uneven for Nintendo but not downright terrible.

In spite of that, overall, I’m very satisfied with E3 2015 so far. Of course there is still time for this E3 to completely implode and become the worst thing ever, but right now this E3 deserves credit where credit is due.

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Amiibo – Wave 4

Nintendo just released what they call Wave 4 of amiibo.  In past releases, some variations of amiibo proved to be hugely popular and high in demand.  Therefore, scalpers have become an issue.  To address this, Amazon set a certain schedule to purchase the new set.  Basically, throughout the day on May 29, characters like Pac-Man and Lucina would be available for purchase at retail price via 30 minute windows.  One- click purchasing was disabled and customers were limited to one amiibo per purchase.

Cosumers everywhere
Consumers everywhere

According to various reports, Lucina and Robin sold out on Amazon within seconds.  What is it that makes amiibo so high in demand?  For one, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has stated that certain amiiboo would be produced at certain quantities for a limited time.  Amiboo like Robin and Lucina were promoted on that unicorn status (ultra rare).  In other words, people had one chance to purchase these rare variations at retail price.  In turn, this influenced online retailers and scalpers to swoop in and resell at much higher prices.

B-RzdEMCAAAmHzi amiibo_lucina_1

Others like Ness were exclusive to GameStop, Jigglypuff to Target and Greninja to Toys ‘R’ Us.  A silver version of Mario was thrown into the mix not to long before the Wave 4 release, just to make consumers’ mouth water.  So there you have it.  You basically needed a team to successfully collect all of the Wave 4 release.

Marcin Gortat on joining Celtics

Personally, I was never on board the hype pipe that is amiibo.  These items are meant to be played with and bring joy to Nintendo fans everywhere.  All this consumer craze to acquire amiibo reminds me of the Beanies Babies craze of the 90s. Back then, the Ty company began to “retire” and produce limited quantities of certain designs.  By the late 90s, these hot items began to fade out and I believe this is what will happen to amiibo.

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Any luck obtaining Robin or Lucina? Any Wave 4 release?  Are you reselling an amiibo?  Share your thoughts with us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest!

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The 5 Stages of Avengers Age of Ultron Hype

There is no shortage of Avengers Age of Ultron hype going around the world, as we’re seeing interviews, trailers, fan-art, and more! Marvel has had a history of releasing major movies at the beginning of May since the days of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. With this upcoming weekend conveniently coinciding with the Nationwide Event, Free Comic Book Day, we’ve taken this moment to let all of this soak in as we anxiously wait the next great entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here are the 5 stages of Avengers Age of Ultron HYPE!

1. Teaser Time

This all began with that fateful teaser that both simultaneously got us too excited and ruined Pinocchio with Ultron’s devilish voice.

2 minutes are plenty enough time to make us want more, but mainly, it leaves questions.

2. Research Time

What is Ultron? Why are there so many? Who are the new guys? WHY ARE HULK AND IRON MAN FIGHTING? As a reasonable reaction to seeing so much superhero goodness all at once, you go to the interwebs, Wikipedia, and your local comic book store to find out how Hawkeye has a place on the team, what can really happen when Iron Man and Hulk fight, and what Age of Ultron is based on (hopefully, not the terrible 2013 book!!!).

3. Theory Time

As you’ve researched, Ultron is not created by Tony Stark, but by Hank Pym in the Marvel Comics continuity. So where’s Hank Pym aka Ant-Man aka Giant Man? Is that what Ant-Man is going to be exploring? What about the infinity gems? Is Groot going to be the true wielder of the Infinity Gauntlet? If Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver exist, where’s Magneto? Will Spider-Man appear in the post credits scene (if there is one without shawarma)? I’m sure plenty of questions are raised as we continue getting details here and there.

….Wait…what’s that?

A Wild Netflix series appears!
A Wild Netflix series appears!

4. Daredevil Time

Woah, am I right? Everyone was hotly anticipating Avengers Age of Ultron which, at the time of Daredevil’s release, was a few weeks away. So Netflix users were treated to a 13 episode series starring a man who’s known for being blind and Ben Affleck (no offense to Ben, who is the only person to play Daredevil in live-action).

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So while many were expecting this…
daredevil-ep2-hallwayfight
…we were rewarded with this.

To everyone’s surprise, the series is a hit, with everyone and their grandmothers hotly anticipating a second season, along with the rest of the Netflix exclusive series, which we’ve covered here. It’s a beautiful show to fill in the void of April as we await the main attraction. If you haven’t checked it out, the whole first season is available on Netflix. It’s worth the subscription.

 

5. Deep-Breaths Time

So by now, you’ve seen Daredevil, re-watched your favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and tattooed your favorite Avenger somewhere on your person.

No sir, I definitely won't regret this one.
Nope, I definitely won’t regret this one.

With a little less than a week to go, all you can do is wait. The good news is that you’re not alone! Make sure to reserve your tickets early because it will be the talk of the world once it hits theaters May 1st!

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ICYMI: Star Wars Teaser Trailer #2

Star Wars has just released its second teaser trailer.

Surely, the Internet blew up, especially on Twitter.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 3.05.41 PM

So we hear what we can assume is Luke Skywalker’s voice.  He’s talking about the Force while making references to Darth Vader and Princess Leia.  Just wondering who he’s talking to.  Throughout the trailer, we see ships flying and catch glimpses of the Millennium Falcon!  At the end of the trailer, we catch two familiar faces in Han Solo and Chewbacca.  “Chewy, we’re home.” -Han Solo

We can’t wait!

Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix

Marvel’s Daredevil has made its way to Netflix. All 13 episodes of the live-action series are available for streaming as of Friday, April 10th.  Charlie Cox (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) stars as the blind, lawyer by day, vigilante by night title character.  Much of the first episode will remind you of Batman Begins because of how Daredevil appears from higher ground to take on street thugs while saving innocent victims.  He wears an all black costume and much like Batman, he is a master of martial arts.  From a viewer’s standpoint, the fight scenes in the first episode looked amazing and nicely done. Additionally, the tone of the show is rather dark as Netflix isn’t subject to as many restrictions as Agents of Shield or Arrow, therefore, there is a lot more graphic violence and strong language.

Notice the blood?
Notice the blood?

I’m all for binge watching the show but at the same time, I feel that it’s best to watch 2-3 episodes at a time.  The origin story is there but it is presented in flashbacks instead of dedicating an episode or two on how Daredevil came to be.  Furthermore, many of the flashbacks detail Murdock’s childhood, his relationship with his father and how those experiences led him on the path to becoming the crime fighting vigilante. The show definitely takes place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it does a great job of referencing the existence of other heroes.  However, these are subtle references so you definitely have to pay attention to the dialogue or you may just miss it.

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I’ve browsed online for non-spoiler reviews and many state that the iconic red costume will make its debut sooner rather than later so I’m looking forward to that.  The primary antagonist is Wilson Fisk, aka, Kingpin but he does not make a physical appearance in the first episode. Ultimately, other heroes such as Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage will debut in their respective series that all lead to a crossover miniseries called the Defenders.

Assembling in a few years?
Assembling in a few years?

Like the show so far?  Let us know what you think.

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