5 Shows Cancelled Too Quickly.

Now I know we’ve all got our own ideas, and I’m sure readers will see familiar names and say they got movies or whatever. Movies are great, they tell stories and generally wrap up a story that was started in the movie fairly well. However, this should really only happen after a TV show has had its full run, and if it hasn’t, a movie will just leave fans wanting more, either in between the series and the movie or after the movie. That being said, let’s get started. Here are 5 shows cancelled too quickly.

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5. Almost Human, 2013

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In a lot of ways, this isn’t just about the show Almost Human, it is also about how much FOX seems to hate sci-fi shows. The show Terra Nova also got the boot after a half season, and even though Fringe got 5 seasons, people still say it was too early for that show as well. I personally just enjoyed Almost Human the most among the shows FOX has recently put out and cancelled. The show was easy to follow and didn’t require you to necessarily tune in every week which is under-appreciated in a lot of television today.

The show follows a loose cannon detective John Kennex (Karl Urban) who dislikes androids but partners with one, Dorian (Michael Ealy). Yes, it is essentially the plot of I, Robot but there is a lot to flesh out in a story like that. There will always be racial undertones to address when creating a race of some kind, and in this case androids. There is always the buddy cop story, and whatever back story Kennex had. On top of this, the show had a build up to something called The Wall, and we really never get the pay off for that.

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4. Arrested Development, 2003-2006

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I’m well aware that it had a 4th season on Netflix, but did that really feel like Arrested Development? I would say no, I know the actors are all doing their own thing right now and that is why the season is made and shot the way it was. That is why I think the show was cancelled too early, and it is easy to say it would have been preferable for the show to have continued opposed to it being revived some years later. It isn’t bad by any means now, it just isn’t the Arrested Development fans fell in love with years back. Season 5 is also supposed to be happening at some point according to the creator of the show, and hopefully that’ll be more aligned with what we’re used to from Arrested Development.

No context, just felt right.

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3. Freaks and Geeks, 1999-2000

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I’m currently watching this show for the first time, and am dreading the fact that it will only last for one season. Even though it is set in the 80’s, there was a lot to learn about life and growing up in that series. The series follows a group of geeks Sam Weir (John Francis Daley), Neil Schweiber (Sam Levine), and Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr). While it also followed a group of freaks (which in this case means slackers and burnouts) and the main character that was becoming friends with them, Lindsey Weir (Linda Cardellini), Nick Andopolis (Jason Segel), Daniel Desario (James Franco), Ken Miller (Seth Rogen), and Kim Kelly(Busy Philipps).

That’s quite the cast, and it is no coincidence that those are actors of numerous Judd Apatow films as he was the executive producer of Freaks. The show had a great balance of comedy and drama, while teaching characters and viewers about life, what it meant to recognize who you are and growing up.

That’s a pretty important life lesson. The show became a cult classic and obviously all of those actors went on to be pretty successful Hollywood actors, and since it has been gone for 14 years now, it’s unlikely to make any kind of return, but fans of the show will know that these actors constantly find screen time with each other in other shows and movies.

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2. Young Justice, 2010-2013

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Ah, the curve ball of the group. Young Justice was an animated series on Cartoon Network that followed the adventures of former sidekicks (don’t call them that though) as they formed their own team to take care of the business that the Justice League couldn’t, or wasn’t able to. It had a great voice cast led by Nolan North, Jesse McCartney (Yes, that Jesse McCartney), and Danica McKellar.

Essentially Young Justice was just another victim of Cartoon Network’s need to sell toys. The show had incredibly mature themes and very dark undertones, and apparently did not appeal to kids enough for them to purchase toys. However, the show had a great following from an older crowd and that crowd has tried numerous things to try and get the show back on the air. Including change.org petitions and crowdfunding. Both to no avail.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened with CN, they also cancelled Teen Titans on a cliffhanger as well. However, they did bring the titans back in a much more goofy manor with their current show Teen Titans! GO! Needless to say though, fans aren’t satisfied and are extremely upset with Cartoon Network still.

There are plenty of things running around the rumor mill about this show. It could possibly return as a live action show on the CW, a DC animated movie could always be in the works, and maybe CN finally grows a goddamn heart and brings back a show to at least tie up its loose ends.

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1. Firefly, 2002-2003

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There is a reason that the largest Comic-Con in the world still has a panel every single year for Brown Coats(fans of the show). There is a reason that when Joss Whedon was asked “what cast would you most like to reunite for a passion project, given infinite resources” during his Dark Horse q&a panel 2 years ago, he would pick the crew of the Serenity to bring back together. There is a reason that this show is referenced to in numerous forms of pop culture, ranging from The Big Bang Theory to Futurama. There is a reason that Nathan Fillion’s current show Castle has a crap ton of references and callbacks to Firefly.

For those that don’t know, Firefly was a sci-fi western about a rag tag group travelling the universe trying to make ends meet by doing odd jobs. They have various run-ins with authorities and the scum of the underworld, while also dealing with dangers that are far more scary and terrifying in Reavers. Firefly included numerous clever and new twists on sci-fi, such as Mandarin being the popular language.

The crew was littered with groundbreaking and interested characters. You had a companion(some would say whore), a mechanic that was the sweetest girl in the world, the over-the-top macho guy with a name more common for girls, the wisecracking badass captain, the super cool pilot who was married to this girl that was the captain’s right hand woman, a doctor who cared deeply for his sister and did everything to protect her, and the sister who had the craziest of secrets. How could you not already be in love?

Yes, I’m also well aware of Serenity, and I loved it, but the universe had so much more to find and offer that couldn’t have been fit in one single movie. The cast have all gone on to new projects including voice acting, new shows, movies, and video games. However, that doesn’t stop them from popping up in each other’s show here and there which makes every brown coat cry a single tear every time.

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19 Gifs For Moments of Everyday Gamers.

Sometimes gamers have trouble expressing emotion. Who needs emotions when you’ve got gifs?

For when you and one buddy win an against all odds situation.

For when you school a younger kid at his own game.

Don’t reach, youngblood.

For when your teammates are arguing and you don’t know what to do.

For when you wreck someone who has been talking smack all game.

 For when you’re a girl playing an online game (or so I’ve been told).

For when you and your team execute a plan perfectly.

For when you and the rest of the team are dead and watch one player make an epic play.

For when you guess the opponent’s next move and you’re exactly right.

For when your team tells you to be be careful because the other guy is supposed to be really good.

For when you start playing for real.

This isn’t even my final form.

For when you get an amazing item in a randomized box.

I have no idea what the 2-0 is for in this gif.

For when noobs complain about you using a “cheap tactic”.

 

For when you get wrecked after talking a bunch of smack.

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Nerdswole is at San Diego Comic Con!

You heard it right! Brian, Alex, and Erin will be at the swolest nerd event of the year: San Diego Comic Con 2014!

Of course, we’ll be on the show floor, waiting for panels, and hauling all sorts of swag. However, we’re also here to witness the big events. Keep checking up on the Nerd Swole homepage for live updates and articles about the breaking news and releases that will be unveiled here at San Diego Comic-Con! Starting Thursday, all three of us will be posting as often as possible up until Sunday to cover the convention and make it like you came here yourself!

Now, to add to the SDCC hype train, here’s a list our must-see panels and booths!

Erin

Every year I’ve been going to the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones panels because they always have good footage and bring out the entire cast to talk and answer questions. Both panels are always a fun time, the creators and cast seem to love the environment. Apart from that, I think everyone should be watching the Image Comics panels to see all the best of the best in the comics industry and to hear what’s new creative ideas are releasing soon.

The Walking Dead Panel 2013
The Walking Dead Panel 2013


Brian

I’m super excited about Saturday’s Hall H presentations. Hall H will have Marvel and Warner Brothers. I’m also extremely excited to test play Super Smash Bros 4 in the Nintendo lounge. However, my favorite activity is always looking at all of the amazing cosplay people do. Here are some examples from last year:

Otacon from the Metal Gear Solid franchise.
Otacon from the Metal Gear Solid franchise.
Warriors of Asgard protecting Mjolnr.
Warriors of Asgard protecting Mjolnr.
Red Son Superman
Red Son Superman
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Brian will be cosplaying this year, look out for his costume!

Alex

While the con itself was jam-packed with every fandom in existence, events and locales around the area were just as incredible. From the Nintendo Lounge (aka the mini-E3), the DC Charity Booth featuring custom KIA vehicles and auctioned off artwork, and even the Walking Dead obstacle course at Padres stadium, the whole city was alive with passion and excitement. Within the con, I can hardly wait for the Marvel and Warner Bros panels on Saturday, along with the premiere of Batman: Assault on Arkham!

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Promotional Hobbit set piece from 2013.
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Auctioned off Batman artwork.
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And lastly, exclusives! Megaman & Megaman X from Capcom Booth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please feel free to contact me/us if you want to meet up at SDCC 2014!

Brian: @theTwentyTwo
Erin: @GuyNamedErin
Alex: @Bumsteezy

 

Playing games without the “New” goggles

This is the time of new releases. Two new systems a week apart. Black friday looming on the horizon. Plenty of people ready to dump cash on the greatest games. Some of these games that released in November full price are going to be sold for 40, 30, even 25 at some places. So it begs the question about late night releases, having to have the new game as soon as it releases, and what it’s worth to play a game right away or waiting for reviews, discounts, friends to play, and just have time pass before you decide to invest in the game?

We’ve all been there and we’ve talked about it before, but when it comes to any highly anticipated game, November release or not, what game has been that instant must-have title?

Alex: I haven’t gone to many midnight releases, but it had to be Super Smash Bros Brawl when it came out in 2008. I had been following the Smash Dojo updates, as I’ve been doing for the latest release, and I had to have the game that night. It wouldn’t go down in price until the Wii U sold, so there was no discount to wait for (as most 1st party Nintendo don’t reduce in price ever).

Brian: I don’t know, this is kind’ve a difficult question for me, because I’ve never done a midnight release for a game. I’ve bought a few games online the second it released on Steam and things like that, but I can’t say anything has necessarily been must have for me. I usually hold off on games until I know I have time to play them, and that begins a vicious gaming marathon full of snacks, blood, sweat, and tears.

Erin: For me it was the Halo games. I camped out for a little for Halo: Reach, and same for Halo 4, mostly just to enjoy in the fun with other fans. Obviously, it was no risk that the games would be bad, so it was worth it to start playing early and get to play with the same excited people online and offline.

What’s one factor that will help you determine if a game is worth buying almost immediately?

Alex: I’m really big on reviews from multiple sources. I check IGN, gamespot, 1up, and Kotaku for video game coverage and reviews. However, YouTube is also a big factor. Gamer reviews and footage provide a different perspective on the same game.

Brian: If I played the previous game and liked it, I’ll pretty much pick it up without question. If I trust the developers/studio I’ll probably pick it up as well. If neither of those occur, I play it by ear basically and if word comes to me that this game is a must play, I’ll do some googling, and probably end up buying it.

Erin: For me it’s the developers. Review sites are great, but when I hear about a new game, all I care about is the developer and the track record the developer has.

What’s the advantage of playing a game shortly after it releases/ what would be a disadvantage if you didn’t?

Alex: For me and for friends, a lot of the game is the buzz. Back when I was catching up on the Metal Gear Solid series, I had to cover my ears because I hadn’t played the games my friends had and when they discussed it, I was afraid of the spoilers that were to follow. Buying a game and playing through the story is so rewarding and being able to talk about it is probably one of my favorite parts about playing games. Like Thor reveling in his conquests, we are all warriors who crave battle and regale in our successes.

Brian: The easy answer is spoilers. If you don’t want to get spoiled on anything, you’re better off playing the game asap. However, if the games aren’t made by Nintendo (This is something I absolutely cannot stand about them.) Then price is a big factor in a lot of cases. If you buy it later it will be cheaper, and it could have a game of the year edition with all of the DLC included which generally creates a more fulfilling experience for the game.

Erin: Biggest advantage is the opportunity to share the experience first with the thousands of people playing also and participating in all the talk, speculation, complaints, etc. Biggest disadvantage is just spoilers of course, but also a big case of FOMO (fear of missing out).

On the other side of the coin, what’s an advantage of playing a game way after it releases/ what would be a disadvantage if you do play a game late?

Alex: Mostly price, but for me lately, I’ve seen things that are patched up in time. Glitches appear in games and having developers work them out and create solutions after the launch. Metroid: Other M was a highly anticipated game for me and seeing the door glitch ruin gamer’s save files almost turned me off the game. However, seeing Nintendo and Team Ninja fix the problem so quickly was reassuring enough for me to thrown down my money.

Brian: I’m fairly certain this is the same question as the last one. So here, have this gif.

Erin: Playing a game late just helps in being able to tap into the resources that the community playing the game has already developed, making your journey through the game more fun or enjoyable most times.

To put this all in perspective, what’s a game that is releasing this holiday season that you are excited to play and are you buying it now or later?

Alex: As a Nintendo fanboy, there are many things I have come to accept. One is that, like I said before, Nintendo games rarely go down in price. At retail, all the main Pokemon titles are still at their launch price and used games are only $5 less. Pikmin 1 2, along with Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance are rarities that are now costing gamers $80+ for the disc in any condition. So waiting is almost a worse idea. This season, I’m really looking forward to the latest Zelda release on 3DS and the Super Mario 3D World on Wii U. Nothing beats platforming with the friends, amiright?

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It’s a game I’ve been waiting 22 years for.

Brian: Assassin’s Creed 3 was pretty terrible in my opinion, which I’ve stated a few times. However, I hear nothing but good things so far about AC4: Black Flag, so I’m taking my time thinking about it. If anything, I’m more excited to pick up some old titles to catch up on hopefully.

Erin: Seriously though, Just Dance 2014. Because thisDead Rising 3 too.

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The Best November Releases

With the holidays fast approaching, all gamers know some simply truths about mid-November:

  1. There will be new releases for major franchises like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Mario, and more.
  2. There will be a new  system release every 5-7 years.
  3. Buying anything before black friday causes instant regret.

Much like E3, this time of year is one of the most anticipated for most every gamer.

So why is November one of the best months for gamers?

Alex: Everybody pulls out the big guns. It’s the moment before the big action sequence in the movies, it’s seeing all your birthday gifts before you open them. You know every major release is about to come out one right after the other and you feel so powerful as a gamer to have your choice of the best of the best. These are the games that everyone will be talking about and will be competing for game of the year. Every gamer will be right there to play what has been so hotly anticipated for months, even years.

Brian: It’s just the time of year that publishers decide to release their heavy hitters and flagship games to be just in time for holiday shopping. More or less you know that this is the time the Zeldas, the Uncharteds, or the Elder Scrolls games and things of that nature will be coming onto the scene to dominate sales and your lives.

Erin: It’s the time every gamer realizes that your life is nothing more than just a controller, TV screen, and lots of late night bowls of cereal.

As most November releases fall in line with the best shopping day of the year, let’s talk about the worst war story from past Black Fridays.

Alex: I’m not a huge Black Friday shopper, but I worked at Target during the time when Guitar Hero was a thing. I knew we had a promo for those blasted Guitar combos and the electronics section was decked out with a tower of those bad boys. I got up for work at 4 am, helped organize the store before being assigned to cashier to take on the onslaught of people. Once the doors were opened, you could hear the masses rampant like elephants throughout the store. Not a minute after opening the doors, I heard a crash and yells near the gaming section. Sure enough, a customer grabbed the lowest places guitar and down came the tower. As people approached the cashier, I saw that many had those guitars and they told me about the crash. Luckily, no one was hurt, but were they worth it? I think not. Now many of those $40 guitars lie in thrift stores for $3. Crash and burn.

Brian: Too many to tell really, it’s why I’m constantly telling a friend of mine I’m retired from Black Friday. I was nearly hit by a car. I fell asleep on the grass holding a TV. I fell asleep standing up once. I was once in and out of a Best Buy in a record 10 minutes or so, with like 3 TVs a couple of Laptops. I was once interviewed for the news about how to camp for Black Friday. One thing to be noted, this isn’t a solo venture, you should most definitely have a team of some kind, and your Black Friday will go infinitely smoother. With that being said, this day is an awful day and really shouldn’t be celebrated the way it is currently. Granted, I used to be a camper, but I waited until after Thanksgiving, people are lining up three days in advance now and completely forgoing Thanksgiving which is a real shame because the holiday needs more love. I for one, am all about Thanksgiving, what’s not to like? Food? Check. Friends and family? Check. Football? Check. Food coma? Most definitely check. Also, mashed potatoes, because fuck yeah, mashed potatoes.

Erin: I’ve also fallen asleep standing because of Black Friday. I think the whole ordeal has become basically the epitome of what is not to like about this country, but I digress. The worst that has ever happened to me is being yelled at and shoved by people, which is not too bad. I’ve also had to fight my way through hordes of teenagers, which, all things considered, is similar to war.

What is the best thing you have purchased on Black Friday?

Alex: I really haven’t bought anything for myself, but getting $100 off Beats headphones for my brother was a killer deal. I do love me some cyber monday hunting.

Brian: Best is a matter of opinion. Purchasing numerous TVs for a super low price, or Laptops on Laptops. I’ve picked up a fair amount of games, but I have to say my best and personal favorite purchase was a pair of shoes and sandals that were 25 dollars total, name brand, super comfy, and to this day I still have both pairs.

Erin: Hands down, seasons 1-7 of Smallville on DVD for like $7 each. That’s how my family and I got back into Smallville and made it one of my favorite superhero shows to date.

What November release have you been the most excited for?

Alex: When I got my gamecube, I only played one game, and it was Super Smash Bros Melee. I think it had got delayed to December, but it was about the same time. I played that game for a year straight before buying any other game and I have no regrets.

Brian: Uncharted 3 was probably the only game in recent memory that I bought right when it came out that was also a November release, so I’ll go with my dude Nathan Drake.

Erin: In recent memory, Halo 4 was a really exciting release for me. I got it the day it came out despite still have to go to class in my last year of college, and then my life became nothing but shooting aliens. I had 4 bro roommates at the time, and the game brought us endless joy every weekend.

Let us know about your gamer November memories in the comments below and make sure to visit NerdSwole for a new retrospective every monday!

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5 Characters You Love Way More at the End of the Story: Video Game Edition

Whether it was the main character or a side character, steady character growth or one dynamic moment, maybe even a plot changing move or a small gesture irrelevant to story. These are 5 characters that I and probably you grew to really care about by the end of their stories.

THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE THERE WILL BE SPOILERS AND LOTS OF YOUTUBE VIDEOS.

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5. Knuckles the Echinda : Sonic series

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If people are unfamiliar, the protagonist of the Sonic games, is Sonic the Hedgehog. He’s a blue hedgehog that runs really fast. The premise of his early games was to collect rings, and you go through the story to get something called the chaos emeralds. So this is Sonic:

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After you collect the chaos emeralds, you become this badass, Super Sonic:

Super_Sonic
Yes, this picture is from Smash Bros, but it’s badass.

And Super Sonic can fly, is essentially invincible crashing into everything doing whatever he wants. And so you ask me what does this have to do with Knuckles? The first thing that happens when Knuckles first appears in a game is he takes your freaking chaos emeralds away from you and makes you regular Sonic again. Seriously. Watch the first 34 seconds of this video:

What a fucking dickbag man. As the story progresses he just does more things like this. He seems to be the jerk of the game, he pushes boulders to trap you in a volcano, cuts bridges, and other things a 90’s cartoon villain would do. We learn though, that Knuckles is the guardian of the Master Emerald and was told by Dr. Robotnik(the real evil villain) that you were here to steal that. After discovering he was tricked Knuckles goes after Robotnik and gets schooled, and decides that he should help you. From there on, he shows you what to do, but is too exhausted help you himself. Later on, Knuckles gets in a fight with Mecha Sonic, and wins, but is about to die because the ground crumbles under him, but Sonic saves him. A bromance is born. Knuckles essentially becomes the badass that shows up when you need him the most, the mystery character that has a lot of unknowns, but you’re glad he’s on your side.

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4. Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad : Assassin’s Creed

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I first started playing the Assassin’s Creed franchise a few years after the first one was released, so after having heard a lot of good things, I was really excited to start this game. Little did I know people loved the series so much, mainly because of the main character in Assassin’s Creed II, Ezio Auditore. So, much to my surprise when I first started playing as Altair, I find he’s a huge jerk. He’s a rebel in the worst kind of way, and not really a hero you can get behind from the start. He kills for convenience and not out of necessity, he is extremely arrogant, and he even get’s another assassin maimed and has no remorse for it. The only really redeeming quality he had was that he respected his master that taught him. He annoyed me to the point where even this wasn’t as fun:

He was that much of an asshole.

As the story progresses though, he gets taken down several pegs, and really is nerfed into the ground. This is where the story truly begins, Altair’s journey from cocky asshat murderer to humble master of the assassins is impressive because he doesn’t change much in what he does, but rather the reason for why does things. After being betrayed by the master he respected so much, and going through the relearning process of what the Creed really means, Altair becomes much wiser and a true Assassin. He separates himself from what the Templars(the order opposite the Assassins) by learning what his purpose is. He learns to kill only the necessary and not the innocents, to preserve the interest and image of himself and the order, and finally that an Assassin’s purpose is to create peace in the world and within himself. By the end of his story your respect for him goes through the roof, just take a look at him, how can you not think he’s a boss:

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He kinda looks like Sean Connery

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3. Gremio : Suikoden

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Suikoden is an old RPG originally released in 1995 on Playstation. It is not as well known as some franchises like Final Fantasy, but those that do know this franchise know that the RPG genre owes a lot to it, and that its cult following is absolutely deserved. As you can tell, Suikoden is one of my favorite games of all time, and if you haven’t played it I highly recommend skipping this reading and playing it. Suikoden has 108 characters that can join you, even though only 6 at a time are playable in a regular party, they can join you in the Toran Liberation Army. The main character is Tir McDohl, he is the son of a legendary general Teo McDohl of the empire. Teo saved the life of a man named Gremio.Gremio03 And Gremio decides to repay that debt by taking care of his son. Tir begins his story as an Imperial soldier, but after learning of the corruption of the top of the empire, he decides to leave. Gremio throughout the game disagrees with Tir’s decision, essentially being a huge nag the whole time. It gets to the point that you’re surprised that Tir isn’t doing this:

But similar to all mothers and guardians, he does it out of love. At points you wonder if he really loves Tir or he does it out of loyalty to Teo. That question is answered numerous times throughout the game, but most poignantly at this moment about a little more than half way through the game:


Note: Where it says Ryan is just the main character renamed.

I can barely watch it. And I know it is possible to bring him back to life by recruiting all 108 characters of the cast, but it is highly(and I mean HIGHLY) unlikely you’ll do that on your first run through. And even if you know you’re going to get him back by recruiting all 108, the scene is still incredibly touching.

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2. Tidus : Final Fantasy X

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I debated putting every single FFX character on this list as one entry, simply because by the end of the game, all of the characters are so different from when they began. The game goes through so many plot twists, emotional moments, and losses that each character is constantly changing their life view. Tidus though is the only character I can say that I wasn’t a fan of at the start. Wakka was a fun loving guy, Yuna was a girl making a huge sacrifice, Auron is a complete badass, Kimahri is a freaking wolf man, Rikku is a funny and bubbly character, and Lulu is Lulu(fun fact: I absolutely love Lulu). Tidus begins as a self-centered Blitz Ball athlete, and throughout the story he is really childish and immature. While its hard to blame him, after all he is a 17-year old kid who got his home destroyed.  It just gets really taxing and annoying hearing him complain about the world though, and how unfair it is. I mean just look at him:

Tidus_FFX
Something about that pant leg.

And early on he continues to complain with problems going on much bigger than his which prompts reactions like this:

Also, STFU Tidus

However, this changes as he meets the other characters and learns something from all of them. Most importantly Yuna and Auron. Under the tutelage of Auron, he learned how to be a guardian of a summoner on a pilgrimage, but with Yuna he found love. And that is really what makes you grow to love Tidus. He learns so much from his relationships with the other characters, and see how much of a better person he becomes through his interaction with others. I would argue that Tidus and Yuna is one of the greatest romances in all of video games, because touching moments like this stay with you:

The feels.
The feels.

But also because of how much Tidus improves as a person simply by knowing Yuna.

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1. Raiden : Metal Gear Solid

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Some of these characters were on this list because of how much I grew to love them. Some of these characters are on this list because of how much I hated them at the start and came to find them acceptable. Raiden is both. Honestly I would be completely ok with any of the top 3 being switched around, now that I’m actually writing and watching these clips again it reminds me how much I do love these characters. Back to the point though. Raiden first appears in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. He appears to be the main character after you play the first mission as the main character of the of previous MGS, Solid Snake. So, essentially we start the game with a character we already absolutely fell in love with, and we presumably watched die. And now we’re supposed to be attached to this new kid who has an annoying voice(this is a big deal because Snake’s voice is iconic), thinks he is awesome, and does a whole hell of a lot of complaining throughout the game. And who could ever forget this part:

mgs2-raiden
Yes, the naked level, with a whole lot more spread eagle and Raiden ass than you could ever ask for.

Eventually, we find out Snake is alive, and that Raiden has a really messed up past. He was a child soldier, and his name is Jack, and he was nicknamed Jack the Ripper for the horrible things he had to do. He finds love in a woman named Rose throughout MGS2. By the end of MGS2, I respect Raiden, but I’m not necessarily a fan of him, and I was happy to see Snake at the helm of the next MGS game. This isn’t the end of Raiden’s story though. His arrival in MGS4 is quite the event. It starts at about 1:35

HES A MOTHERFUCKING CYBORG NINJA. Raiden does badass thing after badass thing in MGS4, but you don’t play as him at all, you wish you could though. Eventually, he sacrifices himself losing his arms stopping a tanker from crushing you. He then offers to go through a microwave corridor for you so you don’t die, and after you refuse, he defends the corridor WITH NO FUCKING ARMS. I would post the MGS4 cutscenes where he was a boss, but that’d take up the whole page, so if you want set aside like 5 hours and watch through the cutscenes and watch Raiden become one of your favorite characters. Also, this:

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3 Hard Truths about Being a Nerd

It’s not all hot neighbors next door and going to space for your everyday nerd. Some days are monotonous, some days are fantastic. Some are busy, others are incredibly lazy. Some are just terribly difficult. But it’s your life. Being a nerd is your gift and it is your curse, so here are a few wake up calls, a few things you already know, and an incredibly well put together photo set…… well two out of three ain’t bad.

1) You may be the only one in the room who knows what you’re talking about, but you’re never truly alone.

Some people are pretty attuned to some nerdy stuff. Game of Thrones? That fandom is blowing up.

Obviously a picture of the AC Black Flag ship, but the people below are wrapped all around the building, docks, and neighborhood in San Diego to get into the Game Of Thrones Panel.
Obviously a picture of the AC Black Flag ship, but the people below are wrapped all around the building, docks, and streets in San Diego to get into the Game Of Thrones Panel.

So maybe the crew you roll with (high school buddies, party girls on Friday night, gamers who assemble every night) may not be into what you’re into. No one will truly understand how remarkable Final Fantasy II was for setting thing up for the more widely known Final Fantasy II (IV). It’s just your thing and sometimes that’s tough to have no one to talk to about things. People dish about everything from gossip, sports, friends, family, movies, and to not talk about something you’re passionate about with others is a real tough thing to do. Fear not; as with all sorts of love, there’s someone out there for everybody. Maybe it takes getting to know a community through online forums, or proudly flaunting your swag for the world to see. Sometimes it helps that you show what you love to others and hope the connection sparks. While you may be the only person in the room who knows what you’re talking about, there’s some person’s spidey-sense tingling because you mentioned his/her favorite character just happens to be yours as well (Freya Crescent).

2) No matter what, you cannot take in everything.

There is always another game, another comic, another movie, another TV show, another site. Every nerd is a nerd, but interests varies and in this day and age, there’s something for everyone. Almost too much. Ain’t nobody got money for that. We are people who consume, we digest, and we crave more. You can’t simply absorb everything without sacrificing something else. As with almost all hobbies, it’s good to have a flow, have some order, and gradually pick up something. Maybe treat yourself to a sports game a month or two. Subscribe to one MMO, not 27. Gauge what you can do and enjoy things while you do them. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much to do or rush to do things too quickly to only crave more moments later. You’re a nerd, and that’s a good thing. So take off your coat, sit down, and enjoy being nerdy. Even if you caught up to everything you wanted to watch, there’s always something new on the horizon, and something old to be discovered.

Your thirst for awesome things is endlessly and helplessly on repeat. Ad infinitum.

3) Life isn’t how it seems in fiction.

The opposite sex. Jobs. Family. Success. It’s all relative and varied. If it’s some media you like, there’s two things wrong with imagining that’s how things really are.

1) If fiction is based on a person’s real life, it’s not your life. No two people are alike. No two relationships are alike. It’s impossible to compare and believe that things can go one way exactly; it just doesn’t happen. While it’s all fine and dandy to be inspired, find solace, and relate to things happening in your favorite show, movie, or book, it’s important to realize you’re your own person and you do what you want. You can idolize Thor all you like for all his heroics and learned humility,  but that doesn’t mean you should have Shakespearian arguments with your family.

2) It’s fiction. It’s written, directed, shot, drawn, designed, manufactured by another nerd. This is what they created because things needed to be this way. For the characters, for the universe, for the story. But not specifically for you. It connects with you, but it’s not you, and it’s not real. It seems like a silly point since it’s clearly fiction, but reaching to relatable characters and seeing what could be, it can leave one to hope.

Sorry. Yeah....nope. Never'll happen.
Sorry. Yeah….nope. It’ll never happen. (Click To Enlarge)

So it’s not real. You don’t have powers, crazy proportions, gateways to other realms, hit-men after your corpse, or balloons with your cartoony appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But you have you. You have a blank slate to be what you can be. Enjoy the things in your life for what they are. And quit whining about things that can’t be, like a good Green Lantern live action movie, or for Peach to stop getting kidnapped.

A Look Back At Grand Theft Auto and Open World Games

In honor of Grand Theft Auto V releasing last week and breaking all sorts of media records, the dudes at Nerd Swole took some time to reminisce about the series and the success of open world games in general.

Erin (E): So I’ve been a fan of Grand Theft Auto since I was a 10-year-old kid watching my uncle play Grand Theft Auto III, intrigued by the idea of stealing any car you wanted and driving across the horizon. Since then I’ve only played San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto IV, and after seeing and hearing so much praise for V, I just can’t wait to trade my sleeping hours for hours spent on learning all of the characters and exploring the beautiful Southern California-esque city in the game. What I love about the Grand Theft Auto series is it’s not afraid to be controversial. Not only does it allow the game to be incredibly fun and endless, but I think what keeps me and other gamers coming back for more is how engrossing and thought-provoking the story and characters can be. You’re usually playing these angelic, infallible protagonists in games, so I’ve always respected the GTA franchise for introducing us to morally ambiguous and layered characters. How about you guys, what are your favorite open world games and why?

Brian (B): Saints Row IV has to be my favorite open world game currently, and I know it started as a GTA knockoff, but since it’s embraced it’s crazier and more ridiculous side I believe it’s come into its own. Other open world games I’ve played weren’t focused on that aspect of the game. Arkham City is a pretty good example, while it was open world, who wasn’t trying to constantly do story missions to see what Batman was about to do?  So yeah, I’m huge on Saints Row, and it’s ridiculous antics and crazy stories.

Alex (A): Well here I am, the odd one out. Confession time: I’ve never played a GTA game. Not that they aren’t my cup of tea, but I’ve been a Nintendo fanboy and I don’t follow the releases on 360 (which I only owned recently) and PS3 (which I don’t have) too closely. However, I think a lot of the games post 2000 have made big strides because of the breakthroughs from the franchise. You don’t get to a fifth release and see this much anticipation in many franchises, and it’s not like call of Duty or Madden where you see new iterations every year. We see the Rockstar puts a lot of effort into each release and the critics agree that the games never drop the ball. But to stop rambling and answer the question, probably the closest thing to GTA, and one of my favorite series, is the No More Heroes franchise. I think Ubisoft really found a great development team at Grasshopper to make such a creative game, especially on the Wii, whose games have been aimed at a younger crowd. Technically, Legend of Zelda (my favorite game series ever) is part open-world, but I almost put it in its own category since you don’t see too many, adventure/action/RPG/puzzle games. So yea, No More Heroes is the Tops, at least on Wii.

E: All great games definitely. I think it’s interesting that Alex, you still respect the GTA/open world franchise despite never playing those games. And it’s good that you guys bring up how other open world games have since tried to diverge from the GTA path and make their own moniker. So let’s talk more generally then about open world games. Why do you think they’re important to the video game industry and/or art form and what makes an open world game transcend that social barrier to become a work of art?

B: A lot of open world games have allowed you to make decisions that affect your story or make the game easier in some way. Essentially it allows more customization or reveals more story to the protagonist or another character. Assassin’s Creed 2 had its homage to Altair through side quests in the open world, as well as recruiting an army. Arkham City had numerous easter eggs and references to the DC universe. Saints Row IV has huge rewards for you if you complete all of the side quests. So on and so forth, open world games allow you to play at a pace you want, and reward you for that.

A: I think the idea of non-linear gameplay really exploded the minds of players when GTA exploded on PS2. RPGs allowed so much customization, but the presentation and direction is narrow, as you fill the party’s main objectives and follow the righteous path to destroy evil. GTA really put the player in control in a modern setting and really gave players the choice to let loose. I’ve had fun with the clearly inspired Simpson’s Hit & Run, but I was always aware that my flipped station-wagon through the Kwik-E-Mart was kiddie stuff compared to GTA IV’s glorious destruction, such as firing bazookas at helicopters and dealing with all sorts of gang wars. 

It’s truly iconic.

I’ve also become aware of GTA due to public scrutiny and allegations of corrupting kids into doing terrible acts. I think that this freedom illustrated in the game is something new. Freewill and choice. Games before have had linear gameplay (insert 95% of Megaman titles) that thrive in portraying a hero’s arduous journey. But there’s little swaying from that life. The options and decisions are countless and that’s a perk of real life and the genre of games. You can be bad, you can be good, and you can snuggle into that gray area. Gamers were ready for that type of freedom and the sandbox genre has affected many other franchises. I’m not a fan of corrupting kids, but I’m not an idiot and know that there are all sorts of bad things that can corrupt things, and there are beautiful things that can corrupt them. I hope that the parents educate their kids about the games, become conscious about the potential dangers, and watch accordingly as they trust their children to make the right choices in life. Realizing that games, like most media, is entertainment and is not to be imitated in real life.

E: I definitely agree with a lot of what you both said. I think open world games offer an immensely deep and immersive experience that you can’t find anywhere else. The video game medium is unique in that we, as consumers of entertainment, get to control the entertainment hands-on and make the decisions that lead to the end. Where open world games succeed is that you control the flow, pace, action, order; literally almost every aspect of the story is left to the consumer to decide. In a way, open world games are a whole different interactive medium that I hope to see continue being produced for years and years to come. You have to be careful though because I think it’s really easy for an open world game to err on the side of gimmicky when there’s too little structure and too little direction in the design. But, as you both mentioned, it’s all about that story and how the writers/developers/creators can drown you in this world they created through the details they add and the paths they allow you to take.

That’s it for our brief reflection on GTA and the merit of open world video games. As we await our chance to play GTA V, tell us your thoughts on the series, new release, and just your favorite open world games in general by commenting below.