SWOLE PATROL’S WEEKLY PICKS – WEEK OF 01/25/2016

The East Coast just endured on of its biggest snowstorms of all time, and while that happened, Team NerdSwole got to catch up on a few things. Here’s what we were enjoying while the snow reached over 20 inches!

Alex: The Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughn & Marcos Martin
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As a huge fan of Brian K. Vaughn (Saga, Pride of Baghdad, Dr. Strange: The Oath), I couldn’t have been more excited for his latest offering. Originally released as an online comic on Panelsyndicate.com, I picked up the book in hardcover print and couldn’t be happier with my choice. The world of The Private Eye begins as the “cloud bursts,” leaving everyone’s identities and online activity out in the open. As the internet is abandoned, everyone adopts masks and aliases to hide their true nature. In comes our here, The Private Eye, who works to uncovers the secrets of the media driven society and unravel a conspiracy in a world too scared to show its face. A great story for our time, The Private Eye will keep you captivated with each vibrant and powerful page.

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Brian: The Office

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Finally watching The Office, and I just watched what many consider the stopping point of the show, when Michael Scott leaves. I’ve enjoyed my run with the show quite a bit, but have found my opinion differs with a lot of people. I found myself enjoying seasons 5, 6, and 7 more than the earlier seasons, where popular opinions seems to be that 2, 3, and 4 are the best seasons of the show. Season 8 so far is a bit of a grind with some good moments, but overall feels like the show has lost some heart, obviously I’ll finish the show and hope for the best. Personally I would have preferred a character that had already existed come in to fill the void for Michael. Even though Andy isn’t bad as the manager, I definitely prefer he stayed a salesmen, I don’t think James Spader fits the vibe of the show, and would have preferred someone like Jan (Melora Hardin), David Wallace (Andy Buckley), or even an offbeat guest star like Danny Cordray (Timothy Olyphant) to return and take over for Michael.

Shayna: Avatar: the Last Airbender (Season 1)

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I just finished season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The thing that struck me the most when I finished it was how much my opinion of Zuko changed throughout the season. At first, the show really makes you loathe Zuko: he’s just the arrogant, hot-tempered boy trying to prove something by catching the Avatar — maybe trying to gain fame for himself. But spread across many episodes, his struggles are revealed. They show why he is actually trying to catch the Avatar, his past with his father, how he was burned, the compassion he actually does have somewhere inside for other individuals. I really love watching his progression and I can’t wait to see what season 2 brings for him. I’m really hoping that somehow, he becomes friends with the Avatar, leaves the fire nation, and helps the Avatar save the world.

Willy: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

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I just started Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing and surprisingly; I am insanely addicted to Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Being the new mayor of a town, that I’ve never even heard of, takes it’s toll. I didn’t realize how busy I would be! I’ve been collecting seashells just so I can put my first down payment on my house. They made me live in a tent! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?! A TENT! I’M THE MAYOR and they made me live in a tent. But It’s okay, cherries and seashells carried me through and now I am living comfortable in a house that is the exact same size as the tent…So if anyone wants to visit my village, just hit me up. I could use some donations if that’s even possible or perhaps we can chill for a bit. Fish by the beach and talk about life. Someone should tell me how to stop getting stung by bees, I’ve tried outrunning them several times but it never works and I can never equip my net fast enough after I shake them from the trees. None of my people will even talk to me when I have a busted eye :'(.

Yeksson: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

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The MGS V grind continues.  I’ve dived into more Main Mission quests and each one can be rather time consuming if you’re all about the stealth approach.  A couple of missions ask for 100% stealth, therefore being spotted by an enemy once can send you back to the drawing board.  By now, I’ve recruited many skilled soldiers.  This has enabled the unlocking of better weapons and upgrades.

I’m currently on season 3 of New Girl. It has become my guilty pleasure.  The main characters always end up in binding situations and often times, feelings are hurt.

Be sure to check back every Wednesday for new things to read, watch, play, and enjoy!

Any of your favorites show up on this list? Leave your comments down below and let us know on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest what your favorites are!

Interested in writing for Nerd Swole? Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com for more information!

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ICYMI – Latest on Metal Gear Solid V

I am a huge fan of the Metal Gear Solid series and can’t wait for the release of Phantom Pain on the Playstation 4.  Konami recently announced that the game will be released worldwide on September 1st, 2015.  The game is set to immediately follow the events of the prologue MGS V:Ground Zeroes. 

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Konami has also announced a special collector’s edition to feature the following physical items:

  • Replica of Naked Snake’s Bionic Arm
  • Collectible SteelBook
  • Behind-the-Scenes Documentary
  • Exclusive packaging
  • Map

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Additionally, there is digital content such as weapon skins, costume fatigues and items for online gameplay.

Hideo Kojima has gone on record to say that this game will conclude the central Metal Gear Solid storyline.  Incidentally, gamers will see Naked Snake’s transition from hero to primary antagonist, seen in the events of the 1987 game, Metal Gear.  In other words, the story comes full circle and this may indeed be the final Metal Gear Solid installment. However, the good news is that Kojima did not officially rule out spin-offs or remakes.

Sony is also releasing a sweet, Phantom Pain edition Playstation 4.  I mean, the image speaks for itself.

Red and black, modeled after Naked Snake's bionic arm
Red and black, modeled after Naked Snake’s bionic arm

Unfortunately, there is no release date and so far, it’s exclusive to Japan so importing may be the route to go.

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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.

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

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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.

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.

SNES Konami Classics: The Retrospective

This is an age of modern games where $5 is the most someone will spend on a mobile phone to play the best. However, classic franchises are still around. Castlevania is releasing new titles under the Lords of Shadow title. Metal Gear Solid is the current successful franchise and is set to release its fifth full entry, MGS V: The Phantom Pain. Looking back, Konami was a huge part of what made video games great, much like Capcom. I’m taking this opportunity to replay some games that I grew up with and remind the people about what made them so great.

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Gradius III is a side scrolling shooter that seems basic enough. Select the powers up you want to upgrade, select a control scheme, and off you go. However, once the ship launches into space, there’s no hope. Enemies burst onto every corner of the screen. There is a learning curve that sky-rockets after the first level. Aliens, monsters, dragons, bombs, and everything else in the galaxy coming to attack. However, the ship gains upgrades as waves of enemies are cleared off the screen. The longer the ship lasts, the powerful it becomes. Also, players taking turns in between lives adds to fun because who doesn’t love multiplayer?

Have fun dodging those.
Have fun dodging those.

 

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SUPER is what every game added onto a game for the SNES after Mario made it cool. Castlevania literally took a game that had already existed, slapped a Super and IV (Street Fighter style) and remade the first game. However, the game included extended levels, new maneuverability for the whip (8 way attacks is a big deal for someone as sluggish as Simon Belmont), and new enemies with smart attack patterns. The difficulty of Konami games has a reputation for throwing everything at you and measuring how long it takes for the player to cry. However, nothing makes success so great than triumphing over incalculable odds and Castlevania has built upon that ever since this game.

 

It's all downhill after this.
It’s all downhill after this.

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Long before the Arkham series came out, Batman had a weird history with video games. However, one side-scroller inspired entry was iconic in making a real attempt to make a movie tie-in game incredibly. Batman Returns took what was fantastic about the sequel and brought it back into the game. The style, the designs, the music, and of course, the Batman! Our caped crusades knocks skulls, flies through the air, grapples, and drives his batmobile like he owns the city. Although this game takes from beat ’em ups of the past, it takes what makes Batman unique (tool belt, affinity for jump kicks, vengeance) and puts him against the Penguin, Catwoman, and his goons.

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My love for the turtles started not by Vanilla Ice’s amazing cameo in a certain sequel, but with the incredible animated series. If any game channeled the energy of the show and amplified it tenfold, it was Turtle In Time. This side-scroller, that takes the design from the arcade game, takes the turtles on a crazy romp through time. Picking your favorite turtles, you (and a friend) can beat up, hack and slash, and throw foot soldiers at the screen. While it is super simple in premise…..it’s really that simple. It’s a side-scroller beat ’em up game that perfected the formula and defined a generation. The game has remained one of the best SNES games of all time. The music, the graphics, and the gameplay all combine to make one incredible classic.

We feel the pain, Leo.
We feel the pain, Leo.

 

 

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What does every action movie have? Rugged men with guns? Check. Alien taking over? Check. Guns and bullets flying everywhere? Check. Contra is a series known for being unapologetically brutal and this third installment raises that difficulty all too much. As if an onslaught of every military weapon, soldier, and alien wasn’t enough, you can only get hit once (without a shield) and then you die. Contra is straight up torture and it’s that difficulty that has given our generation of games their hardcore appeal (Dark Souls, Devil May Cry, Sin & Punishment, etc).

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School may be back in session, but it’s never too late to take on these old favorites. If you don’t have classic systems, many of these titles are available for download on Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, on computers, and are coming to next-gen systems such as Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Comment below on what Konami games you’ve played and what makes them great.

Remember, Konami may look like this now…

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…but it will always remain this classic look (click on the logo for the jingle) and the code will always work (if you remember it. Snake and Otacon sure do.

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Video Game Retrospective – No More Heroes Series

There’s many reasons people purchase video games instead of renting them. Some people love to have complete collections. However, most people purchase a game to play it more than once. Sure, with multiplayer games, you definetly will play it several times over a console’s lifespan and beyond. However, for single player games, there is usually a singular narrative that has no further content once the narrative ends and the credits rolls. What’s a gamer to do after THE END? Why, play it again because the game was incredible! Here’s a game(s) I booted back up.

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In case you’ve never played the series, No More Heroes is a series that follows assassin Travis Touchdown. He gets challenged to take down the top 10 ranked mercenaries after winning a beam katana (lightsaber) and fighting to win the affections of the enticing Sylvia Christel. There’s so many original and ludicrous things about this game and its sequel that make the two games a standout on the Wii, a system highly criticized for appealing to children and new gamers.

First off, who is Travis Touchdown?

Ladies and Gentlemen, your hero. This picture says everything.
Ladies and Gentlemen, your hero. This picture says everything.

Travis Touchdown is a twenty something who learns wrestling moves from luchadores to fight, watches too anime, has overdue video fees, plays with his cat to pass the time, and saves the game on the toilet.

No kidding.
No kidding.

Travis makes money by running errands around town, such making deliveries, flipping burgers,  and assassinating simple hitmen on the street. Y’know, the usual. He always becomes stronger the only way we all know how: hitting the gym. If Scott Pilgrim is the everyman nerd fighting for the love of his life, Travis is the bad boy/nerd fighting for the love of his life…and some revenge down the line.

Does Travis look the part?

Much of the instant appeal of the games is visual. The cel-shaded graphics are dynamic and crisp, leading to some incredible character designs. The aesthetics of this game are 8-bit stylized and everything about Travis’ existence is crazy. From hot girls trying to seduce/kill Travis, to playing mini-games to make money, and finding new clothing from garbage, Travis is one of the most visually distinctive characters in recent time. Lastly, he has an awesome whip.

Greatness.
Greatness.

So….can he fight?

I may have made Travis out to be some loser Otaku who hangs out in his dump of an apartment.

This is true. However, he learns more as he learns from fighting more and training with his master. Travis also purchases new weapons, can swing his sword with multiple stances, and use his head to take out outrageous assassins.

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The games use a z-targeting system similar to Nintendo games of the past, and this helps Travis take down multiple goons all at once. Things get bloody once Travis hits limit breaks called Jackpots. Entering his dark mode, Travis makes a bloody mess out of everyone with range, as he slashes at super speed and holds back nothing. But what’s a good hero without villains.

Really, there are no more heroes.

In both games, Travis has to take out the assassins who stand in his way. While he makes very few friends in the process, Travis faces the most outrageous killers.

Matt Helms. Pyromanic/ghost.
Matt Helms. Pyromanic/ghost.
Destroyman. Terrible hero, user of lightning, and mailman.
Destroyman. Terrible hero, user of lightning, and mailman.
Holly Summers. Equipped with prosthetic leg/ missile launcher.
Holly Summers. Equipped with prosthetic leg/ missile launcher.
Bad Girl. About as naughty as she looks, but seriously, she'll murder you if you're not careful.
Bad Girl. About as naughty as she looks, but seriously, she’ll murder you if you’re not careful.

I’d like to reveal more, but cannot without spoiling some of the plot. Just when you think a grandiose boss battle can’t be topped, the next assassin comes to throw Travis for a loop. These killers can be sympathetic at times, but their madness outweighs any good. They’re going to kill Travis by whatever means necessary.


So if you’re ever in need of an incredible pair of games that wipe away the notion of cutesy Wii-game, No More Heroes and its sequel, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle are the ones for you. PS3 and Xbox 360 owners can enjoy an enhanced port of the first game, No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise, but will miss out on the amazing sequel. Fans of No More Heroes can tweet me @Bumsteezy for their favorite United Assassin’s Association member or their favorite part of NMH!

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

 

Video Game Mechanics That Would Make Life Incredible

Many a daydream have passed where I believed I was in a video game world. Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, Final Fantasy, heck even Metal Gear Solid. Wouldn’t life be a little better if we could upgrade? Video games thrive on giving people a chance to live through their fantasies, but who’s to say we wouldn’t be better off living with a few off these simple “improvements.” Here’s a few features that would make life incredible.

1. Leveling up all traits at once versus Practicing One Thing

For humans, we practice a skill and we get good at it over time. However, we may overlook other things. Like practicing soccer instead of  football or choosing to play an instrument over learning to dance, it’s tough to make a choice and commit. In videogames, however, we are not only given choice, but flexibility. Many RPG fans will understand this, but basically, when you level up in games, certain stats go up. Whether it be Fire Emblem, Pokemon, or Final Fantasy, you level up and various stats go up. You can choose which direction want your characters to be great in, and it does not have to be pigeon-holed to one role. A warrior can learn magic and be equally good at both while not spending all the time learning one things. Pokemon can be trained to carry various roles, both defending and healing along with attacking and strengthening. Leveling up is a way of focusing experience, but it also gives the player to explore various experiences without having to sacrifice time, skills, and effort.

You'd want to level up too if you could improve your health, strength, and luck by saving kingdoms.
You’d want to level up too if you could improve your health, strength, and luck by saving kingdoms.

2. Objectives List

Nothing helps aimless, everyday people like having a to do list. For some of us, it’s our job, our school work, our families, and for some it’s self-imposed. Having a list of objectives helps keep people on track and also helps us not forget important tasks.

Navi may have been annoying, but at least she helped out with guidance and Z-targeting. Just be grateful you didn't have to keep the owl at all times.
Navi may have been annoying, but at least she helped out with guidance and Z-targeting. Just be grateful you didn’t have to keep the owl at all times.

3. Finding incredible ways to make money.

Chopping grass for rupees and tools.  This one kind of explains itself, but the odd jobs, treasures, quests, and bounty all stacks up that paper. Who needs a 9 to 5 when you can collect garbage in space!

Hustle in, hustle out.
Hustle in, hustle out.

4. Unparalleled means of travel.

Cars are great, but they come with so much maintenance. Not to mention the constructs that take up so much space such as traffic, roads, and parking lots.

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Loftwing (Zelda: Skyward Sword)
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Arwing (Starfox)
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Chocobo (Final Fantasy series)
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Warthog (Halo series)
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Jetbikes, flying, running at super-speed and really anything in Saints Row.
Airship (Final Fantasy series)
Airship (Final Fantasy series)

Unparalleled. Means. Of. Travel.

This has to be the most important one…..saving.

If there is anything that breaks all boundaries in almost any fiction, it’s time travel. Saving gives you the option to save your progress and stopping time right in that place. Games like Prince of Persia and Braid have played with the concepts of time and that comes with great consequences (see: Back to the Future franchise). I think, for many people, getting the chance to assess a situation and being given a chance to do something over with a new technique is rewarded in gaming. Some people make mistakes and spend their lives trying to fix a mistake. However, given the chance to avoid it altogether by planning ahead can be the biggest gift of all.

Time-travel complexities aside, you must admit you have wished you could save in your life before doing something important.
Time-travel complexities aside, you must admit you have wished you could save in your life before doing something important.

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How Heroes Feast

I’m the lucky one who got to do an article on Thanksgiving? Well for me, the coming together of family and friends is always something to be thankful for. So without feeling too guilty, let’s nerd out on big dinners and see how our favorite heroes feast.

Who better to start with than earth’s mightiest heroes following Tony Stark’s taste in food, shawarma.

the_avengers_eating_shawarma__gif__by_marianagmt-d59ygxp

Speaking of Tony Stark’s taste in food, we’ve seen Robert Downey Jr. feast in America’s greatest treasures. Burger King, NY style pizza, and most importantly, donuts.

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One the other side of New York, we have Spider-Man lecturing a reeling Loki on the city’s signature dish, ball park franks.tumblr_m41ng1qr551rw2b6io1_1280

On the Dc side of things, we find that Batman too enjoys hot dogs, almost as much as he hates crime (and I thought the Flash had a huge appetite).

batman_eats_a_hotdog_animated_gif_by_banekai-d4iqh9u

We now turn to the mushroom kingdom, we find the Mario Bros fighting Bowser’s army in the most unusual fashion.

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I would like to say this is how Kirby would spend Thanksgiving, but I’m pretty sure that this is a normal day.

Kirby-inhaling-food

Mayor Mike Haggar is one of the few people here actually enjoying turkey on Thanksgiving. Where it’s coming from, however, is suspect.

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Naked Snake eats no matter what’s in front of him, whether it’s a giant alligator, or an anaconda.

Snake eating Snake02

No one feasts more than Goku, who undoubtedly reign eating champ of the world and universe.

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And nothing says father-son-adoptive father bonding like eating together. Sorry Piccolo, but you need to eat to be a part of this family.goku-eating-o

Of course, we can’t forget Scott Pilgrim. Even if it’s just birthday cake, Scott chows down with the best of us.

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 odins

So for this thanksgiving, I hope for everyone to be thankful for their families. Enjoy your food and drink, and please don’t be this guy.

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May you enjoy your own feast with your family and friends and dive into a glorious food coma.

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Death in… Video Games (Part 2)

Courtesy of batman-arkham.com
You've been warned.
You’ve been warned, again.

Let me start off by saying this article is more of a continuation of Death in… Comics (Part 1), so please make sure to have read it first. Looking back, I wanted it all to be written together but felt it was too much content for one article. So without further ado… let’s just look at a few deaths in video games.

Aerith's death by Sephiroth's blade in Final Fantasy VII.
Aerith’s death by Sephiroth’s blade in Final Fantasy VII.
Crono's Sacrifice to save his party in one of the battle with Lavos (Chrono Trigger).
Crono’s Sacrifice to save his party in one of the battle with Lavos (Chrono Trigger).
General Leo's final battle with Kefka in Final Fantasy VI.
General Leo’s final battle with Kefka in Final Fantasy VI.
Naked Snake completing his mission and killing his old mentor, The Boss. (Metal Gear Solid 3)
Naked Snake completing his mission and killing his old mentor, The Boss. (Metal Gear Solid 3)
Wander being hunted and killed by absorbing the evil essences of the Colossi he's killed. (Shadow of the Colossus)
Wander being hunted and killed after absorbing the evil essences of the Colossi he’s killed. (Shadow of the Colossus)

A little Square Soft heavy, but given how many beautiful stories have come from their work, its hard not to give them exemplary praise. Like the first part, I’ll highlight relevant issues and cite the examples above. I’ll also point out that the type of death we’re going to be talking about is plot related, not the result of the player’s action (aka Mario dying by falling down a hole, 99% of deaths in the Metal Gear Solid franchise, and the most degrading and violent way to die as pictured below).

You just gotta sit and watch as this zombie guy just saws off your head. Way to go, player.
You just gotta sit and watch as this zombie guy just saws off your head. Way to go, player. (Resident Evil 4)

A major thing that happens in video game plots and that a protagonist is on a mission to save a person, city, or even his/herself by killing a main bad guy. Whether it’s a friend, a leader of a deadly organization, or someone to be discovered, the player is usually thrust into a situation where killing this guy is the only option. So when a mission has a difficult objective, the stakes are high and the enemy is out for blood.

This mission always has casualties, and Crono’s sacrifice in Chrono Trigger was all the dialogue he needed. In a game where time travel made every action have consequences, Crono’s death not only left you with a loss of a leader, but also shrouded in doubt as to where you next move was to be.

The supporting character you meet, General Leo, from Final Fantasy VI, is only relevant for an hour or two of gameplay, but his noble sacrifice is no less noble. The surrounding characters who lose their lives in the midst of Kefka’s madness really set the tone of oblivion in the game.

Wander’s change and death at the end of Shadow of the Colossus rocked me to the core. With the simple and difficult task of defeating these 16 colossi to revive my true love, I figured I was on the most noble quest to bring back my beloved. The twist in becoming what I meant to destroy and being hunted because of it changed everything. Never truly being able to see my sacrifice come through was one of the most powerful moments I have ever felt as a gamer.

Naked Snake’s mission in Metal Gear Solid 3 took some twists and turns, and seeing Snake wrestling with the idea of killing a mentor who’s taken him under her care like a mother. The chilling decision to have the player pull the trigger in the middle of the ending cut scene push the dramatics up a whole new level (ending cut scene start at about 2:20).

The main thing that separates death in comics and death in video games is the lasting impact of losing someone. A part of this comes from a majority of video games being isolated stories. Some have sequels sure, but franchises like Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem, Castlevania, and even the Legend of Zelda present you with a new cast of people to care about. You welcome them into the world of the game (mostly with open arms) and when you lose someone, they’re gone. Aerith’s death by Sephiroth is forever immortalized in the video game world. It was one of the most cinematic deaths, one of the first, and for a major entry like Final Fantasy VII, it was shocking and widely known (almost on the scale of a celebrity death). It also had lasting consequences, such as losing her role in your party (which at the time, was losing most of your healing and summoning abilities), and the story was driven by Cloud’s further grieving of Aerith. The death meant something to both the party and for the player, and wasn’t sloppily done to make it harder for the player.

The comic world is forever in a different place. Like I said in Part 1, comic book characters have a habit of comic back from dead, all except for Uncle Ben and Batman’s Parents. Spider-Man’s recent death and replacement at the hands of Otto Octavius has fans only saying one thing: When’s Peter coming back? Nothing is taken too seriously. Death becomes more of “see you later” because main characters (Superman, Batman, Captain America) just cannot die. The comics are so dependent on these characters to have them gone for too long. They’ve died in the same way that Goku has died. They always make a way back. While it makes it sad that they pass, I think the readers have become by unfazed by such passing deaths. The most drastic things that happen to most heroes is the loss of a supporting character or a change in the status quo. Some character don’t die and it makes it hard to separate relatable characters from immortals.

For gamers, we have a sense of control as we take the character from point a to point b on a mostly guided path. They’re never meant to die early and we learn to avoid death at all costs. When it finally comes and we have no control over it, it’s much like life where it hits you and it hurts. You continue on in a world without them and for people, it’s more relatable and resonates emotionally. These deaths mean something for us and in the game. For comics, it’s temporary, but for video games, it means game over.

Thanks for keeping up with the length article. Make sure to check out my other posts, my entertainment blog, tweet me @bumsteezy or comment here for more NerdSwole.