Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Newest paper sculpt project!

Sonic Screwdriver trio for my friend's birthday.

An interview with Adam Harum of Transolar Galactica.

They achieved their Kickstarter goal, and now the world gets more of their award winning sci-fi comedy!

Doctor Who themed lip balm!

Brought to you from Earthtastic! and A Bit of Geek.

Minecraft paper sculpt!

My submission to the Mojang community art contest. Watch the video!

A TARDIS desk lamp!

Instructions and babbling on how to make a TARDIS lamp from foam core!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Who is a geek?: Delving into the 'fake geek' concern.

This has been on my mind for a while, but I've been unable to formulate full and complete thoughts that could be compiled into a cohesive and intelligent article. The sudden influx of 'fake girl geek' articles spreading like wildfire through the web has kicked enough brain particles into gear that my snowflakes are turning into a blizzard. I'm not sure where the environmental disaster analogies are coming from.

This is a photo of me, and it is a valid question. About 95% of my shirts are
video game or geek culture related. It's what I love, and it's part of who I am.

Forbes kicked things off with an article from Tara Brown, and from there I've read at least five more. Each of them contribute something to the greater issue of the 'fake geek' phenomenon, and some of them also point out the relevance of this being a sexist issue. The author over at Dunlap Dabbles painted an excellent picture:

"Say we see a guy walking around in a Spider-Man t-shirt. We probably think that he grew up on Spiderman and really likes the character. He’s just like us. We give him the nod. Good day, gentleman of distinguishing comic book taste. Now we see a girl wearing a Spider-Man shirt. She’s attractive. The shirt is kind of tight. But not any tighter than a plain shirt that plenty of girls wear. Not tighter than a normal shirt marketed to women. Does she really like Spider-Man, or is this supposed to be a super hero powered sexy ice breaker for the Spider-Man shirt guy we just saw? When did she start reading Spider-Man? Has she read all the back issues? Does she know the difference between Amazing and Spectacular Spider-Man? We have lots of questions. Maybe we’ll ask her. But we’re already suspicious and, unless she’s perfect, we will find her responses lacking because we already kind of made up our minds beforehand. She didn’t know anything about Spectacular Spider-Man. A-ha! Well, maybe that’s because she thinks Spectacular Spider-Man sucks. And guess what, that guy just liked the movies. But we didn’t ask him any questions. His rep is still intact in our minds" - dunlapdabbles 3/28/12

How poignant, right?* I am guilty of this myself, both questioning women and accepting men. I also run through this particular scenario in my mind whenever I buy a new geeky shirt. Case in point! I love Back to the Future, I'm a huge fan and I have no qualms saying this. There are plenty of things that I don't know about the movies; I've never watched behind-the-scenes footage and yet that doesn't make me feel like less of a fan. I'm thinking this is because I've enjoyed the films for as long as I can remember. The moment I saw an 88 MPH shirt on teefury I purchased it without a second thought.

But then! Last year I was given a shirt that depicted the Delorean and the TARDIS crashing into one another. At that point I had heard of Doctor Who, and I vaguely recognized the TARDIS, but I had never watched the show. I was intensely nervous about wearing the shirt in public. I was positively terrified that someone would approach me and start talking about Doctor Who and I would have to stammer out that I hadn't watched it yet but that I loved Back to the Future and then they would think I was a huge phony and a 'fake geek girl'. For the longest time I only wore the shirt in the safety of my own home. Is that how one would spell 'ridiculous'?

The damnable shirt itself. Thanks shirtoid!

Eventually I encountered people who were jazzed about my shirt, and I had prepared a breezy speech stating that while I hadn't yet had an opportunity to watch Doctor Who, it was absolutely in the cards and that all the same I loved Back to the Future. To my delight, all of those people responded with a resounding enthusiasm for Doctor Who and only encouraged me to start watching it sooner.**

I was fortunate then that I was surrounded by the type of people who welcomed newcomers, accepted budding hobbyists, and had such a pure love for their interests that it brought them happiness to invite new people into the group. The majority of geeks that I know downright glow when they have a chance to explain something that they're infatuated with to a new person. Do you want to see me geek out, nerd out, gush, verbal diarrhea, etc. etc. over something? Then go ahead and ask me about Harry Potter.*** My goal is not to show you up, or make you feel that you don't know enough; my goal is to exude love and appreciation for something that I hold so dear to my heart. The affection doesn't stop at me, I want everyone else to love it just as much (which is precisely why I will stammer open mouthed until slapped in the face if you tell me that you hate Harry Potter).

Or I'll start screaming that. Depends on my mood. 
Thanks graphjam.

In any interest group there will be elitists. It's simply a personality type that we have to accept. I first encountered these people within the music group. How many of you have been kicked and beaten out of a conversation (in the position as a novice among masters) for not knowing songs off of a first album? For not knowing a song's inspiration? For not owning every EP that had ever been released?

It's those experiences that have left me scarred and nervous in situations such as with my TARDIS/Delorean shirt.

And yet, I know what it's like; having someone come into the sacred territory of something that I feel helps to define who I am as a person, and then display little true affection or only a passing interest, and then act as though they love it as much as I do. But this is unfair of me, and it's a knee-jerk reaction in an attempt to protect something that I believe deserves only the best attentions.

I prefer to welcome new people, I love to share, and it would be wonderful if everyone had this mindset. There have been situations where someone says, "Oh I love Zelda!" after seeing my tattoo. I then begin to speak animatedly about how much I love the games and ask which ones they've played. If they haven't played one that I love, or if they've only played Ocarina of Time, my immediate response is, "OMG play WIND WAKER!!" Who am I to say that they don't really love the games just because they've only been exposed to one? The Legend of Zelda is an expansive series, and depending on someone's age and economic status while they were growing up they may not have had the same experiences and chances that I have had. No one should be chastised for being late to the game/movie/music/comic/whatever.

The Legend of Zelda gaming collection. There are some international 
duplicates in there, but you get the idea! Thanks Kotaku!

So, is there such a thing as a fake geek? Or does the word geek just not mean what it used to? Languages change and evolve, and it seems that the definition of a geeky person is not what it once was.  It's not hard to see why this can be difficult for some people though, especially since for a lot of people the stigma of being a geek or a nerd was so powerful and frequently negative only a few years ago. I remember the first time someone outside of my dorky, computer, gamer friends posted a meme image online. I about fell out of my chair. It's true that at first it felt invasive into my way of life. But hey, it's a fantastic way of life. Why shouldn't more people be involved?

My biggest gripe, and my only real definition of a 'fake geek', is a person who does something that isn't geeky whatsoever but claims to be because they're not sure what it means, they only know it's currently popular and widespread. Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty shirts where they're wearing black rimmed glasses? That's... not... geeky... . Thinking an actor that plays a dorky part in a movie/TV show is cute? How is that geeky? Someone played one session of Halo/Smash Bros./Super Mario? "I'm such a geek, I know." But you're not. Doing something once doesn't make you a thing. If you put one tomato plant into the ground, you're not a gardener. If you own an expensive DSLR, that doesn't magically make you a photographer. You went to the zoo? You're not a koala bear.****

"I’ve never met a pseudo geek, not once in my life…and I’ve made a lifelong study of science fiction culture. What we’re seeing here is a misnomer: people who call themselves geeks because they feel awkward or because they once read a comic book and saw the movie it was based on. But that’s not geekhood." - Carol Pinchefsky, Forbes. 3/28/12

Hot damn that is well stated. I mean, we have words that mean specialized. They are there for a reason.

This one cracked me up. I made a meme about the over 9000 thing once >.>

Do we even know this girl's back story? Did she mean to be turned into a meme? She looks like she's about thirteen, and I'll bet she's trying to find herself and is dabbling in a lot of things. So she dipped into the nerd culture with the large glasses, she also has sorta scenster hair and she's almost doing ducklips. She's just... figuring things out, you know? 

A lot of the articles I've been reading focus heavily on the whole 'fake geek girl' thing where a girl "pretends" to like something in order to gain popularity or attention online/in person/at conventions, etc.  Why is this even a concern? It's not my problem. It's not your problem. You or I or anyone else will never be able to contain and/or control the things that other people do. It's unfortunate when what they do affects us on a personal level, but it's important to continue with our lives. I feel the ripple of distress when someone has watched all of the Harry Potter films but never bothered to read the books and yet they claim to be a huge fan. OK, they're a fan in their minds, and they're missing out on something so amazing, but if they don't want to read the books then I shouldn't continue to wind myself into a tizzy over it.

It's simple enough for me to find people who love what I love and start an in-depth discussion about Harry Potter, continuity mistakes in the books, translation errors to film, and where we think the characters are now.

Let's all continue to love what we love and share it with the world. If we meet someone that we think is "fake", then encourage them to dig deeper. They'll either love it or lose interest and move on. Everybody wins!



*I love Spider-man, it's the first comic book I ever read and I only read Ultimate Spider-man. I've never read Spectacular or Amazing. I'm unable to keep up with the comic books, so I just read what I can when I can. I would really enjoy to have more Spider-man knowledge, but I simply don't have access to the comic books. When this comes up I do my best to be forthright about only reading Ultimate Spider-man.

**I started watching Doctor Who a few months ago and I love it so much. I just finished season two and I ugly cried for the last ten minutes of the finale. No joke. This is an instance where a fan who has loved the series for years and years could tell me I'm not a true fan because I'm new, but they have no way of knowing how I feel about the Doctor. They're not in my head and heart as I lay awake at night thinking about the tear rolling down number ten's cheek with his face against the wall. Excuse me... *sob*

***You can do this with Nintendo, Zelda, and Harvest Moon, too.

****Heyo all the Friends fans out there! <3 <3 <3 Yet another thing that I will go on and on and on about.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Let the Games begin! Hunger Games movie review and art piece.

I get stuck in these loops where I read the Harry Potter series over and over again, and it takes a friend whacking me directly in the face with a good new book/series in order to knock me from orbit. This happened most recently with The Hunger Games, and you can see my review of the books here. What you're in for now is my review of the film, which I have been highly anticipating for, well, not long compared to tons of other fans. Either way, the day finally came!


Warning to you all: this contains spoilers of the movie and book variety. So, proceed at your own risk.

Getting the obvious out of the way: it was incredibly well done. Bravo to every single person that had a hand in making it. The film was extremely accurate to the book, except where sacrifices for time or translation were necessary. The largest example comes in the form of Katniss's acquisition of the Mockingjay pin; in the book it's given to her by the mayor's daughter, and in the film she buys it at the Hob. Supplemental story information, such as her history with Peeta and the burnt bread, are told via flashbacks; information about the Hunger Games are explained in way of cut-aways to Caesar as though the theatre audience are watching the Games at home on their own TVs.

The casting here was absolutely superb. Not a single person felt out of place. Resemblances to Suzanne Collins' written word were so carefully picked out. Especially for the role of Katniss. The world has been singing her praises ever since she was cast, and I can only agree. Man, Jennifer Lawrence is fantastic. The actor portraying Peeta took a while to grow on me though.

At two hours and twenty-two minutes, this film is kind of a beast; it doesn't feel stretched though. There's a slow build up to the start of the Games, lending plenty of time for character building and a true sense of the nation of Panem. Speaking of which, the costumes for the Capital were just... incredible. I had seen promotional shots of Effie Trinket in all of her wild, pink glory, but that was nothing compared to the masses of individuals in crazy wigs, colored faces and truly outlandish outfits. Nothing was spared in the process of turning The Hunger Games from print to the silver screen.

There were some interesting framing and filming choices for the film; frequent close ups and 'handy cam' feels were constant through the whole thing. On a personal level I don't care for either of those techniques, but for The Hunger Games it was the right choice. The opening of the film was very shaky, giving an almost first person perspective; it was as though the audience were seeing things from Katniss's point of view, or simply as a way of demonstrating how terrified and shaky she was feeling. This sensation carried over big time to the opening scene of the Games; Haymitch warned that the cornucopia would be a massacre, and the film demonstrated that perfectly.

The close up shaky cam was in full force as tribute after tribute was violently slaughtered. The choice of direction here was deliberate to show the horrors of the Games, and also to demonstrate the point of view of Katniss. It's easy to feel as though the audience is there with her, and it is awful. A lot of the shots are extremely close, kind of dark, and move very quickly. I'm guessing that this was in order to maintain the PG-13 rating. Collins wrote a lot of graphic deaths into her series, and they wouldn't be well suited to a PG-13 film.

Emotional moments from the book were brought to new, even more upsetting life in the movie. Rue's death moved me to tears, and I really believe it was because of Lawrence's performance. The scene in the book made me sad, but it wasn't the same as what I felt in the theatre. The scene with the Tracker Jackers was too visceral for my taste, and Cato's scene with the Muttations was almost too horrible to watch. I was relieved that the scene in the movie was shorter than in the book.

I also have to comment on how brilliantly the build up was handled when it came to Katniss entering the arena. I couldn't tell you how hard my heart was beating, but it was hard. The mood, the cuts, the music, the embrace with Cinna: it was all so intense. Whoever handled the editing for the countdown deserves a damn medal; all of those kids waiting to run and murder? It was handled so well. Truly it was nearly too realistic for me, much more realistic than the book felt.

So again: freaking bravo to everyone involved. I can't think of any disappointments at this time, and I am joining the masses in being anxious for the next two films.


In dedication to my affection for the series, as well as to practice making marvelous paper sculpts, I fashioned this little piece:

Did you all go and see the movie? What did you think? Was there anything in particular that you thought it lacked, or where it excelled? I'd love to hear more opinions!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Copyright/Trademark bullies - I thought bullying stopped after highschool?

Everyone likes to share. We want our friends and families to see the things that we like, and it's always exciting to introduce music/movies/TV/books to the new people in our lives. The internet has made sharing a whole lot easier (much to the chagrin of every copyright holder in the world), and as a result the digital age is bubbling with aggressive copyright and trademark holders.

It's not unreasonable to want to protect our creations; they are valuable, unique, and people deserve their credit and the right to make a profit from what belongs to them. However, the levels of sanity begin to hastily run down the drain when people and companies steamroll anyone who comes "too close" (subjective term) to their intellectual properties.

Not sure if you're even upset about it? Sue anyway.
photo courtesy of gizmodo

There are so many ambiguities surrounding fair use, derivative works, and what is considered a parody (in a court of law it's the judges final say, if I read the rules correctly); so it's no real surprise that harmless ventures quickly come under heavy fire and legal battles from companies who feel that their copyrights and trademarks are being infringed upon.

I believe there's a point where the protection actions turn completely insane, and the companies seem interested in stamping out all fun, freedom and artistic expression; this is more than just protecting their copyrights.

They aim to take away all fun, art, as well as ice cream and dogs. Those monsters.
found from a lovely person on flickr named wishnow

Most recently I encountered this absurd gem: Chick-Fil-A threatens guy who made "Eat More Kale" shirts. Just to make sure everyone is on the same page, the chicken sandwich chain Chick-Fil-A has, as their mascots, cows holding signs that say "Eat Mor Chikin'". The company is apparently claiming that his shirts emblazoned with the phrase "Eat More Kale" infringes on their trademark phrase. The guy, who's name is Bo, started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to create a documentary as he fights back. Happily, he reached his goal! I'll be interested to see where this goes.

Donald Trump tried to trade mark "You're Fired" and Paris Hilton did the same with "That's Hot". They're such short, common, simple strings of words, that the idea is just ridiculous. After reading up on copyrighting and trademarking it really doesn't seem like they qualify for such things.

Even useful, hyper simplified charts don't cover all possible scenarios.
photo courtesy of erik j heels

Copyright and trademark definitions, and what is determined legal and illegal, contains (sometimes intentionally) ambiguous wording. Is it possible that the time has come to update the rules? The internet has changed the way we consume music, movies and TV for better or for worse. I know so few people who still pay for cable TV; the majority of my circle of friends use services such at Netflix or Hulu for their TV needs. The ease of access to information and subsequent ease of distribution really is screaming for a reworking of the system.

The laws of simpler days no longer fit into today's living standards, especially the way we access information. It would be nice if companies didn't want to be trademark and copyright bullies, that they could realize a small business selling a handful of t-shirts is no actual threat to their Fortune 500 company. At least Bo spelled all of his words correctly.

Do you know of someone who is dealing with trademark/copyright bullying? Trademark Bully wants to know. And, only loosely related, but this?! seriously?! The Belgian copyright society wants royalties paid to them for the volunteers that read books aloud to children. *rageface*


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Photo Spot 10 - Pixelated furniture.

::: Make a model of someone's head with space inside to store things. You know, if you're into that sort of thing.

courtesy of boing boing

::: A better solution to not staining your fingers with nicotine? Stop smoking. Maybe. I'm no scientist.

courtesy of boing boing

::: The best type of furniture. 

courtesy of boing boing

::: Fun comparisons between original NES titles and their more colorful remakes.

courtesy of dueling analogs

::: Compiled ghost-like images of people moving while sleeping.

courtesy of wired

::: How to make your own piranha plant pipe ottoman!

courtesy of lounge geeks

::: Awesome rapid bowshots.

What fun photos did you find this week?


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Link Spectacular 10 - Gandalf protects the little guys.

::: A collection of cosplay photos from WonderCon.

::: Now the Amazon rainforest is accessible to all of us! Thank you Google street view!

::: Skyrim MMO may be a real thing; could be announced at E3.

::: Plug your power strip into itself and never run out of electricity again. Oh internet, don't ever change.

::: Gandalf thinks that petty lawsuits are petty.

::: Watch jump ropers from the view of the rope; really fun video.

::: The Space Needle is sporting a new adornment to commemorate the newest Angry Birds game.

::: Now you, too, can always find Waldo.

::: After all the outrage from fans, Bioware is actually working on new ending content for Mass Effect 3.

::: Starting April 2nd, GameStop will no longer be taking Gamecube related trade ins. End of an era, right there.

::: A great article on Katniss Everdeen as a powerful role model for young women, as well as a potential change in the way female leads can be portrayed on the big screen.

::: Louis CK's $5 self distribution success has sparked movement in other comedians.

Found lots of good stuff this week!


Friday, March 23, 2012

A Bit of Geek TV - episode 4

TWO different pictures of my face on this page. How ecstatic are you?

watch it watch it watch it! :D


Thursday, March 22, 2012

WonderCon 2012 - The panels.(Lots of videos in here!)

It's probably difficult not to smile while on stage with such awesome people.

WonderCon had many smaller panel topics that pandered to my exact needs; effectively using creative time, successful women in the geek industry, seeing your drawings through to toy manufacturing, and more. I sat through these in rapt attention, soaking up what useful information I could and willing myself to feel inspired and motivated. It honestly helped to hear the same thing multiple times in a variety of ways, and the panels delivered on that front.

On the flip side there were a multitude of panels focusing on summer blockbuster titles such as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Snow White and the Huntsmen, Amazing Spider-man, Prometheus and a bunch more. There was also an event called Trailer Park, where a half an hour block was filled with new/recent movie trailers for this year.

This is where the exciting stuff happened.

Author Seth Grahame-Smith, director Timur Bekmambetov, and star Benjamin Walker
for the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter panel. Walker has such a macho way of sitting.
 I like it.

Enjoy this video of Grahame-Smith talking about his inspiration for the book.

I knew that I wanted to see the Trailer Park, and I wanted to attend the Prometheus/Abraham Lincoln panel too. Seeing as they were both in the ballroom and close in time to one another, I figured I'd show up for the first and stay for the second. Turns out there was a panel in between those two for a movie called 'Sound of My Voice', which was at Sundance last year.

Writer/director Zal Batmanglij and writer/star Brit Marling fill in the
audience on their intriguing film, as well as field audience questions.

I ended up in a seat relatively close to the front and sandwiched between two total strangers. As the lights dimmed again I began to look through the program book to find out what was going to be happening. There was no description though. Puzzled, I simply hoped it wouldn't be boring.

It turned out to be highly fascinating. A woman came out and introduced the film and said we'd be watching the first twelve minutes of it. What followed was something strange, moody, creepy, mysterious and intriguing. Go watch it. I'll wait. Afterward the female lead/writer and her co-writer came onto the stage to talk about the production and field questions. It comes out next month, I'm hoping at a theatre near me!

 Batmanglij and Marling demonstrating the secret handshake in the film.

There was intense energy in the room as the lights reset and the giant projector screens became emblazoned with the word 'Prometheus'. People clapped and cheered, and then Damon Lindelof and Ridley Scott took the stage. I'm pretty sure a few audience members peed themselves. The men took their seats and chatted about the film, commenting on it not being a prequel to Alien but having similar DNA, as it were. Then they jazzed everyone up by introducing the newest trailer for our viewing pleasure.

The official two and a half minute trailer was so intense. I was jittery and freaked out. Toward the end I swear my heart was beating too fast and I was too aware of being alone with a bunch of strangers with no one to turn to and say, 'I'm scared!' And then it was over, which was a relief.

This is going to be mind blowing on the big screen.

Then they brought out Charlize Theron and it was my turn to pee my pants. She is so awesome! Such an intense and amazing actress. It was a total shock and such an honor to see her in person. Michael Fassbender was there too with his jaunty accent and pleasant smile. The whole audience was thrown for a loop.

I have my own video footage of Damon Lindelof, Ridley Scott, Charlize Theron 
and Michael Fassbender. How awesome is that!?

The rest of my weekend included the Geek & Sundry panel, as well as the Nerdist panel. I wash hoping to attend the Amazing Spider-man presentation and see Emma Stone, but there was a huge line to get into the already packed ballroom, so that wasn't going to happen. I had also wanted to see the Community panel, but I ended up staying in the Expo hall to meet artists instead.

WonderCon 2012 was awesome, and I am hopefully going next year!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WonderCon 2012 - Amazing people!

My normal fare for conventions is the Penny Arcade Expo, and as a result I am accustomed to informative panels with a few medium to large names and a whole slew of upcoming video games to play on the show floor.

WonderCon presents a whole new array of things to be excited about, including the chance to meet some of your favorite artists (both comic book and otherwise), as well as see huge names in TV and film during presentation and special announcement panels.

I'm going to go ahead and focus on the artists that I met, because those actually involved conversations and eye contact. First and foremost, I met Brittney Lee! I've mentioned her before, and I'm going to go ahead and talk about her again.

Brittney Lee herself chattin' things up with prospective customers.

I was anxious to find her booth, purchase her book and ask her about her work flow. There are some things I've been trying in my own paper art, and I figured I may as well take the opportunity to ask for help from someone that I admire. I ended up purchasing a print of hers as well, which is exciting.

Her booth was fairly busy, but eventually I had a chance to say hello, gush about her work, and ask her how to curl paper. I experienced a technical malfunction and only part of the video survived (sad sad sad) but here's what I managed to salvage of her demonstrating paper curling techniques:

I could have stood around and thanked her a million more times for her help, but I had taken enough of her time. I had also been a bit awkward. Watch the next video to find out why.

The second artist that I had the pleasure of meeting was Kris Straub, creator of the webcomics Chainsawsuit and Starslip, as well as the co-star of Kris and Scott's Scott and Kris show and Blamimation on PATV. He is, hands down, the friendliest and most laid back individual I've ever met sitting at a table. I approached him on Saturday, having recognized him from his show with Scott Kurtz, and started babbling away about how funny the show is. He was gracious and pleasantly chatty. I filmed part of our conversation, and I'm going to share it with you here:

I went ahead and told him that I didn't realize he had his own webcomic *le gasp* and he was kind enough not to tell me to get the hell away from his table. I had only ever seen his videos with Scott on PATV, so I figured he was a friend who liked to doodle. Turns out, he's a friend who likes to doodle and has his own very successful webcomics that he draws for a living. Whoops! haha As I stood and chatted with him I flipped through all of the Chainsawsuit books that he had for sale and ended up buying one. They're very funny, and you should buy them too.

On Sunday Andrew came with me and he stopped to say hi to quite a few artists while I hovered in the background looking at pictures. Some of them I recognized, like Stephen Silver, and some of them I didn't, like Joe Weatherly. We also chatted with Andrew's friend Fabian Molina. We saw Mike Mignola, but his line was outta control.

I can't wait to build up my own art, maybe make a book and sell some prints and have more opportunities to meet those that inspire me! Check back tomorrow to hear about the panels I went to, and how I reacted when Charlize Theron came on stage.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

WonderCon 2012 - A brief wrap up

In the silent aftermath of WonderCon 2012, I sit with my eyes closed and rehash the events of the weekend. Everything is a blur in my mind, a constant stream of cosplay, t-shirts, plushies, action figures, and comic books in numbers beyond my wildest imaginings. Row after row of artist tables; comic and traditional alike. Colorful images and smiling faces belonging to people who are more than happy to talk to everyone. Hands are flying across pages, pumping out simple sketches and autographs; iPads are everywhere to facilitate credit card purchases. The giant purple swirl of WonderCon is emblazoned on every surface and outlining the speakers at each panel. I see interviews taking place, and children hugging Adventure Time dolls while dressed as Finn and Fiona.

That is WonderCon, and still only a portion. That's just what I was able to experience in an insane and exhausting three days.

A lot of fun things happened this last weekend that I want to share with the world, and that's exactly what I'll be doing this week! Be sure to check everyday for something fun and new about my first trip to WonderCon. For now I will leave you with a smattering of photos for entertainment purposes, and also to whet your appetites for the entries to come!

::: It was difficult to not purchase these Adventure Time comics.

::: Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton at the Geek & Sundry announcement panel!

::: Chris Hardwick and his panel introducing the Nerdist YouTube channel.

::: Why yes, this is a photo of Damon Lindelof, Sir Ridley Scott, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender.

::: A flash of exciting new projects to come during one of the Marvel panels.

::: Just Optimus Prime using an escalator. No big thing.

::: An amazing array of Venture Bros. cosplay. Love it!

::: Aaaand a creepy plushie. One of many.

So, are you excited for the rest of the week? Who else was able to attend WonderCon? I had a pretty amazing time considering it was my first time attending. I can't wait for next year! And, if I'm lucky, I'll get to go to San Diego ComicCon too. Fingers crossed!


Monday, March 19, 2012

A return to Skyloft! It has been too long.

Cart racing in Skyward Sword! What more could you want?
photo courtesy of capsule computers

About two months ago I took an accidental and involuntary hiatus from my Skyward Sword file. I started some new games, did an overhaul on my blog, found some new projects to work on and, well... Zelda fell by the wayside. This has been regretful.

Zelda titles are among the few games that I see through to completion (although I'm still chipping away at A Link to the Past, that game really pushes my buttons. The angry ones.), but very rarely do I play them straight through. I tackle a few levels here, a couple of ten hour gaming sessions there, and eventually I tire of not knowing the end of the story. When this happens I sit down and play until the end credits roll, no matter how frustrating or difficult the game becomes.

I just entered Lanayru Desert (obviously I've hardly even scratched the surface of the game) and it has been like pulling teeth just to get that far. Skyward Sword is actually difficult. I've received the 'Game Over' screen a few times already (shameful) and have fallen to my death in lava more often than I'd care to admit. The enemies are actually tough, which I know I've talked about before.

This is the first Wii game that I've played where I make sure to put on (and tighten!) the wrist strap. Once I encounter the Moblins and Deku Babas and Lizalfoses (Lizalfosi?) I begin to swing like mad, desperately jabbing and slashing to attack where they aren't defended. The enemies are smart, armored, and tactical.

That monstrous stone arm will thwart all attacks, and that morning star tail 
will steal all of your hearts. photo courtesy of Neoseeker

It is maddening.

Part of me wishes I had the strategy guide, I love strategy guides, but I'm also enjoying discovering things for myself. Usually the simplest things fly right over my head and the solutions to puzzles continuously evade me. Yet... things have been working so well with Skyward Sword. There's something about this title that makes me want to push through the difficulties and figure things out on my own.

This probably isn't anything new to anyone else. I'm a late bloomer though. I go at my own pace.

We're cool, right? Good.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Photo Spot 9 - Lots of shoes, oddly enough.

::: Middle Earth re-imagined over the U.S.

courtesy of nerd approved

::: Look at this Skyrim cosplay!

courtesy of gameranx

::: Star Wars bento boxes.

courtesy of geekologie

::: A ring befitting a wonderful companion

courtesy of geekologie

::: Alien shoes, anyone?

courtesy of geeksaresexy

::: I'm just on a shoe kick today, I guess. They are purchasable!

courtesy of geekologie

::: Just to be sure: everyone has seen this, right?


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Link Spectacular 9 - How YOU can bypass TSA, why squids have huge eyes, and more.

::: Your cat is better at iPad games than you are.

::: Is the end of wasted paper upon us?! A copy machine that can 'erase' printed paper.

::: You can be the best teacher that ever was with this Pokemon stamp.

::: This week's International House of Geek clothing inspirations are Donkey Kong and Vault Boy!

::: A positively fantastic article on being more creative. I think everyone could benefit from it!

::: Frequent fliers can now bypass all the TSA security with $100. Hm.

::: Quantic Dream made an amazing tech demo, and here is a list of how their unbelievable human face stacks up to the competition. (hint: there's not much of a competition)

::: Have you ever wondered why squids have such huge eyes?

::: A great article on the science of making hair in animated films à la Pixar's Brave.

::: Universal is redoing The Cat in the Hat as a 3D animated film! I hope it'll be good.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Giant Bomb acquired by GameSpot. Wait, what?

Giant GameSpot? GameSpot Bomb?

In a very strange bit of news, Giant Bomb has announced that they'll be working under GameSpot. If you're not sure why this is weird, then I'll provide a little synopsis. Or, I'll just quote this chunk of text from Neoseeker:

"The largest reason this news comes as a surprise is Gerstmann's dramatic history with Gamespot. Gerstmann was fired from the site in late 2007. It was rumored that Eidos Interactive pressured GameSpot to remove him after he gave Kane & Lynch: Dead Men a "Fair" rating, a game which Eidos had heavily advertised on the site. It was this termination that led to a number of GameSpot staff leaving to start Giant Bomb." - March 15, 2012

A more beautiful summation than I could have come up with, truly.

Gerstmann was a journalist at GameSpot, as you can see, and after he was fired he formed Giant Bomb. The site has enjoyed popularity over the past four to five years, and many loyal fans of his work were outraged by his extermination. Giant Bomb has been known for its comedy and ridiculosity (a word that isn't a word, but really should be a word. I may submit it to the dictionary Lords at the end of the year).

The announcement has been met by cries of outrage from readers of Giant Bomb, and some commenters have even speculated that the whole situation has been a five year long publicity stunt.

Nabbed from the Neoseeker article.

A five year stunt seems excessive to me; I mean, that would take a whole lot of forethought. Of course, Radiohead did it, so I suppose anything is possible.

Gerstmann states that the decision made sense for the website and the financial backing will allow the team to go even farther with their crazy, fun antics. I can see validity in this. However! He was fired under completely BS pretenses, and I find it difficult to believe that anyone would want to go back to a company who would do that sort of thing. 

But! It has been five years, so maybe he's over it and only cares about better things for his own reviewing empire.

Could it all have been a stunt though? 

Sorry. I'm going back and forth. This is what it's like in my mind all the time. Exhausting.

What do you think? Publicity stunt? Or a mature guy letting go of the past and doing what's best for his company?

I still can't come to a decision. I'll decide someday. Maybe.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's a great year for movies, and Wondercon has all the previews!

I'm feeling incredibly jazzed right now because tomorrow I'm going to Wondercon! I'll be attending all three days, and this is my first time going.

Creative professionals?! That's me!

First Gallifrey One and now Wondercon! This year is really shaping up to be fantastic for conventions!

I had never heard of Wondercon before, but after looking at the schedule I found at least seven panels a day that I'm incredibly psyched to attend! Aside from insider information on writing, breaking into the industry and general interesting information, every day has movie previews for some of the year's biggest hits!

If my years at PAX have taught me anything, then I know I'll spend a lot of time standing in lines and first come first serve is vicious at a highly anticipated panel. It'd be wonderful if I saw everything I wanted to, but that may not happen.

Here are the movie previews I'm excited for!

-The Hobbit!!
-Prometheus and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
-Snow White and the Huntsmen

So pumped to visit The Shire again.

I'm pretty sure there's a preview for The Hobbit and it's not just insider information (which would still be cool). Hopefully I'll have an answer for you next week! There's also a whole panel segment dedicated to showing trailers for even more films, and I don't know what to expect from that!

There are panels on Spider-man and writing and creativity and just... ugh, I'm so excited!

I'm so fortunate that Wondercon is being held in Anaheim this year! Normally it's in San Francisco, but that convention center is being renovated. I'll be able to drive myself to and fro each day, which will save me a lot of money. The three day badge is only forty dollars. What a deal!

Is anyone else going? Would you like to meet up? Do you have a con schedule?! Here's mine!

Has anyone gone before? Do you have any advice for me? The Doctor Who convention was a lot different from PAX, so I can't even guess what Wondercon will be like!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Panzer Dragoon Orta - a story of misunderstanding

In another world, in another time, in the age of wonder..

No, sorry, that's 'The Dark Crystal'.

Let me start over.

Thirteen years ago when the current gen of consoles meant the Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube, I owned two of the three. Can you guess which ones? I'll give you a hint: how often have I said favorable things of Microsoft?

For my fifteen birthday I received both a Gamecube and a PS2. That brought all the boys to my yard. Only not. They had their own systems to play.

I was perfectly content without an Xbox, because there wasn't a single game for the console that I was interested in. Their killer apps were Halo and Fable and... they just didn't interest me. Fable does now, but I have never liked Halo. I think I have a video of myself drunkenly screaming about how much I hate the series...

I don't want to say anything too mean about it, so here's a funny picture instead.

Being a gamer with ever expanding interests I made sure to keep an eye out for potential reasons to purchase an Xbox, but they never came. The only game I ever wanted was Panzer Dragoon Orta.

The ads for the game caught my eye from day one and I couldn't get the images of the young girl riding a powerful dragon out of my head. "I love dragons!" I thought to myself, "That game must be so. awesome."

So awesome.

One day (back when I was working at GameStop) a perfect copy came into the store via trade-in. I bit the bullet and purchased it, even though I lacked an Xbox to play it on. I was simply that determined to own the game.

Eventually the Xbox fell steeply in price and so I grabbed one for myself. I popped the game in, aflutter with excitement over interacting with the dragon and discovered... that the game was a rail shooter.

I kind of hate rail shooters. And yes, that includes Starfox. Please don't be mad at me.

But I played it anyway. I played it as much as I could stand. I had waited so long to experience the girl and her dragon that I wasn't about to give up even though I... didn't enjoy the game. ???

Has this ever happened to anyone else? I'm not sure why I never bothered to look up what type of game it was; I thought the commercial made it look like an action/adventure game. Damn them!

Why did I think this? I guess I wasn't paying attention.

Eventually I sold both the game and the system. Oh well.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Point and click - Putt Putt Goes to the Moon!

All of the excitement with Double Fine's Kickstarter project for a new point and click adventure game has me thinking about my experiences with the genre. I decided to become a backer (my first time backing a Kickstarter project!), and now I am itching to get my hands on a point and click game.

My gaming career has brought me to a few offerings, like Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island, but by far my most extensive point and click gaming took place via Putt Putt Goes to the Moon.

putt putt goes to the moon screenshot
An extremely adventurous talking car.

Um. Yeah.

Putt Putt was a series of educational games for kids, and my cousin had a copy. I freaking loved this game. It was ridiculously fun, as are all point and click games. You can watch this short play-thru, if you'd like more information.

As of right now, I don't own any. That is so sad. What are the most recent point and click games? Where can I find them? Which ones will play on my Mac? A lot of great, older computer games require emulators to play on current systems, and who uses emulators anymore?

..... >.>

And why doesn't the DS have more point and click games? It seems like the perfect vessel for such a thing. I know Hotel Dusk: Room 215 was pretty much a point and click, and that game was positively amazing. I traded in my copy, something I regret very badly.

hotel dusk room 215 screenshot
The graphics were so unique, and quite pretty.

I really hope that Double Fine starts a gaming revolution and the aisles of game stores flood with point and click games, spilling into the streets and into the eager hands and minds of gamers everywhere!

What was your favorite point and click game?


Monday, March 12, 2012

Blurring the lines: Gaming in a single genre is a thing of the past.

Gaming as a hobby offers practically unending possibilities. One may choose to stick within genres and dedicate their time solely to racing games, and the complete dominance thereof, for instance. Most gamers have a type of game that they prefer above all else, be it FPS, RTS, platformer, puzzle, action/adventure, etc. But the real joy of the hobby comes from our ability to seamlessly shift into a new area.
super mario world screenshot
Super Mario World and Limbo are both side-scrolling platformers.
You're halfway to a whole new game!

Steam is an amazing service that whole-heartedly encourages new and unique experiences to all gamers. In addition to offering triple A big hitter titles, it's also an avenue for indie games to break into the scene. After making a free account, users can browse all that Steam has to offer and click to purchase and download games on the spot.

Digital distribution may create a disadvantage for traditional distributers, but it's certainly a blessing for gamers. Steam allows users access to gameplay trailers and, most of the time, a downloadable demo for each game. With this business model it seems likely that gamers will soon forget the days of purchasing a game on a whim, only to be left disappointed and lighter in the wallet.

Many of the games available for purchase on Steam exist under twenty dollars, and even more of them hover at ten. The accessible prices, combined with available demos, eliminates almost all uncertainty and ultimately leads to new gaming experiences. This encouragement (and assistance via a 'Recommended' section) to branch out is a welcome change from my usual method; assuming that I'll like a game because I'm partial to its genre.

There are a plethora of fresh games awaiting my eager exploration, and I am so thankful for the technological advancements that make such a situation possible. My Steam account is far from robust, but it's serving as an important gathering center for games that I hope to play in the very near future. I believe I'll be starting with Orcs Must Die, an amalgamation of tower defense and third person shooter. How unusual, and certainly not my normal fare.

It's time to change lanes from Mario and Zelda and explore the realm of indie, spooky side-scrollers and titles off the beaten trail.


This was written in part for the blog carnival hosted by Into Geek!

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