Saturday, October 6, 2012

El Professore Movie Reviews: Horror Express (aka Panic on the Trans-Siberian Express)

Director: Eugenio Martín
Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alberto De Mendoza, Sylvia Tortosa, Telly Savalas
* * * *
Lensed in Spain on a meager budget, 'Horror Express' has gone on to become a cult favorite via various PD vid releases and constant UHF T.V. airings during the '80s. It's also one of my ten favorite horror movies ever.

Full review after the jump.

Raiding the Avengers Wardrobe

You may remember Luke's post from a while ago about his Black Widow costume collector cards, featuring little snippets of Scarlett Johansson's costumes from Iron Man 2 and The Avengers (probably the bits that touched her butt, but I guess we'll never truly know). I'm sure that you, like me, thought 'Oh, Luke. That's so weird. Why would you want to own something that probably touched ScarJo's butt? Stop being weird Luke. You weirdo'.

As I am a curious beast, I thought I'd have a little look on eBay to see what other costume parts were available (not that I'd buy any of course, because as we've already established, that's WEIRD). It was less than five minutes before I was hitting Buy It Now like a crazy fangirl. A crazy WEIRD fangirl.

I mean, how did I ever live without a card featuring a picture of Jeremy Renner awkwardly grimacing and containing a piece of Hawkeye's uniform? I DON'T KNOW. Sadly, this was the first of many as I quickly spiralled out of control, caught in a memorabilia-buying frenzy. Sigh. Join me after the cut for the rest of my Hall of Shame.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Thank Gif it's Friday!

If you've been wondering why I've been quiet, it's because I've been on holiday and away from the Internetz machine. But now you get to enjoy a weekend too, so here's Scarjo with some useful advice on how to get the most out of it...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

When Politics Meets Fantasy

Meet Colleen Lachowitz. She's a candidate for state senate in Maine.

She's also a World of Warcraft player:
In an unusual press release issued Thursday, the Maine GOP attacked Lachowicz for a “bizarre double life” in which she’s a devotee of the hugely popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft. In the game, she’s “Santiaga,” an "orc assassination rogue" with green skin, fangs, a Mohawk and pointy ears.

Other postings use curse words and make to the joy of “stab[bing] things,” joke about “being in a Socialist guild” and admit to “seriously slacking off at work.”
We live in a pretty strange world right now. Imagine about 20 years from now when a Brony runs for president...

Philly Game Jam: Documentary Style Podcast From Indie Game Mag

In June, I was asked by the IGDA Philly to judge their Philly Game Jam (Analog Games) at the Too Many Games Expo in Oaks, PA. I've been a small part of a few of the recent local game jams and always had a blast, so I jumped at the opportunity. To round out the judges panel, I recruited Unpub/Cartrunk Entertainment's John Moller, and TC Petty III, designer of Dice Hate Me Games upcoming release Viva Java.

The entire event was recorded for a new podcast called Player 3 by Patrick Holleman, which you can listen to using the player above. The podcast is very informative, and a great listen for anyone who has been a part of a game jam before as well as anyone who has not. Patrick takes you through the whole Game Jam (which had both digital and analog competitions) with interviews and audio from everyone involved, mostly focusing on the digital jam. The second part of the podcast features an interview with the team behind the board game / game jam success story, Velociraptor Cannibalism.

Below you can see Patrick catching up with us as we were trying to determine who would be the winner of the competition. It was close.

Although it looks intense (and it was for a little while), we had a great time judging the games. The Game Jam required all of the games to be designed within 24 hours and around the central theme. For the second time in a row, the theme was an image. Click through the jump for more.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 9/26/2012

The final week of the Zero Issue is here!  It's been an interesting month, and quite entertaining, if you're willing to look the other way on a few time-line issues.  Never let logic get in the way of a good back story, I always say!

Anyway, let's start with the nicest super-hero in the DCU!

The Flash #0 - "Stop it Barry.  Just stop.  You''ve wasted enough time...on a guilty man."

Barry Allen becomes the Flash for the first time right before our eyes in this month's Zero issue!  He also learns some hard, hard truths about the nature of the relationship between his jailed father and his murdered mother.  All of his life, Barry's tried to prove his dad's innocence and find his mother's true killer.  It's what made him want to become a forensic scientist in the first place!  Now, we learn that perhaps the reason Barry can't find any evidence that his father is innocent is because his father is NOT innocent...

Reading between the lines (nothing is stated outright and everything is presented through Barry's eyes as a child), we can gather that Barry's mom wanted a divorce from his dad.  She was seeing someone else.  Possibly Police Captain Darryl Frye.  He's the man who took care of Barry after his mom's death and his dad's incarceration.  He also (unlike Barry's father) bears a strong resemblance to Barry Allen.  Coincidence?  Speculation?  Perhaps...

Oh hey, in with all of this family drama and character growth, there's also the whole matter of gaining super powers, forging a costume that can handle the speed force and foiling some crime for the first time as The Flash!!  Sweet!

Lots more Zero Issues, some Batman, some Superman and a NEW title after the JUMP!

Review: Hot Toys Hawkeye - The Avengers!

We are being overrun by pop culture archers. Whether it's Katniss Everdeen, the Green Arrow or Princess Merida, the world is reminding us how awesome it is to stab somebody from a distance. How else would you explain ace archer Hawkeye managing to wheedle his way into The Avengers, a team that features a laser robot, a raging radioactive monster, and an actual God.

We can celebrate his shifty achievement with the extremely freshly released and highly sought after Hot Toys Hawkeye 1/6th scale collectible figure, the second to be assembled after Nick Fury who I reviewed earlier this year.

How does this eerie, life-like - yet tiny - Jeremy Renner stack up? See a whole lot more pictures... after the jump!

The Book Was Better Podcast: Teaser for Episode 28!

The Book Was Better is the podcast where Jessica and I battle with the book of the film. In these short teaser episodes we respond to your feedback and let you know which book we're going to punch in the pages next. We also learn some fascinating new facts about the novelization industry that will surely blow your mind! And if that's not enough, next week's book/film is notoriously loathed and may make you cry. That's so many reasons to listen! What are you waiting for! Your ears hunger for our nourishment!

You can download it right this instant from the official site, or subscribe to us on iTunes and we will intrude upon you every week!

Nerd History: Dock Ellis

With the baseball playoffs starting up this week, and with the Red Sox season effectively being a really bad nightmare, I'm reminded of one of the more bizarre baseball stories I've heard - Dock Ellis and his LSD-fueled no-hitter.

Dock Ellis was a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was a character on a team with a lot of characters. As it stands, Ellis is a good pitcher - starting pitchers only pitch every fifth day, so there's a lot of downtime between starts. So, on an off day before what he thought was another off day, he drops acid with a friend of his. Friend wakes up in the morning, sees that Ellis is scheduled to pitch in the game that day, and rushes Ellis to the stadium.

Ellis, was apparently an adventure for him:
“I didn’t see the hitters. All I could tell was if they were on the right side or the left side of the plate…. There were times when the ball was hit back to me and I jumped because I thought the ball was coming fast but it was coming slow… I caught the ball coming back from the catcher with two hands because it was a big old ball and I thought it was small… It was easier to pitch with the LSD, because I was so used to medicating myself. That’s the way I was dealing with the fear of failure–the fear of losing and the fear of winning.”
Ellis died in 2008, but this story has persisted, and is likely why most people know of him now, for better or for worse. The story was worthy of a Snopes mention and inspired a great ESPN piece on the man. It turns out that Timothy Leary may have been the LSD supplier, too.

Baseball is awesome because of so many weird feats and stories. To think that LSD is a factor in one of them is very fascinating to me.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Kickstart the Week: The Perfect Heist by Karl Tiedemann

There is something very intriguing about The Perfect Heist. I can't tell if it's the really slick artwork, or heist movie references, the high-quality-yet-normal-guy Kickstarter video, or the fact that it funded almost $30,000 in one day from a Reddit post written by normal-guy's wife (see "It only took seven years, but finally my husband's dream is close to coming true." on Reddit).

Either way, the game looks pretty fun. It's similar to the mega-successful card game, Munchkin, in that it's a take-that style card game, with some cooperation when needed... but there are some things that make this very different. You are trying to pull off the perfect heist, and sometimes you will need assistance from your opponents. The kicker is that you have a past relationship as shown on a card placed between each player. It's the social game changer, and hopefully has just enough of an impact to change up every game.

Thanks to Reddit, the game is 300% over it's funding goal and still going really strong. It's interesting to see a game break the standard mold of success. There are no reviews and this is Karl Tiedemann's first project. In today's weary Kickstarter times, where creators are being judged more and more on their past experience, it's great to see something like this break through.

The Perfect Heist has 17 days to go, and some nice pledge levels, but the best part is that the game is expected to deliver in December. You might be playing this game in 2012!

Check out The Perfect Heist on Kickstarter:

The Best Worst Movie Death Scene(s) Ever Filmed

After spotting the clip from the 1974 Turkish action messterpiece 'Karate Girl' (oddly, a film I have seen, but don't own) that I shared on Facebook, Jay suggested that I do an article on more 'Worst Death Scenes'. Finding that to be too tempting a thought, I accepted the challenge knowing that I'd have plenty to choose from. Firstly, kudos to whomever was the first to upload that bit of hilarity to youtube. It was a long time coming. Here's the soon to be legendary clip:

And now after giving this thing some thought, here are 5 top runners up that I was able to come up with and (lickily) find on youtube. Enjoy...

ZombieZone - A Head-To-Head Strategic Battle For Survival

The year 2020. It's been 5 years since the zombie uprising that we now refer to as "Zombie Summer". You could say that we've since adapted to living with the undead… All you need to do is stay indoors, keep your weapons close, and don't trust anyone or anything. But as humans, we are a greedy species, and we found a way to make money off of the zombies. And that is where the ZombieZone comes in.

ZombieZone is a battle arena where 10 humans and 10 zombies will fight to the death… on live television. From the safety of our homes, we watch the destruction unfold, placing bets on or against mankind. And some of us will even risk our own lives for a chance at fame and fortune. Will the money hungry-humans, armed with a shotgun and a brain make it out alive? Or will the flesh-hungry Zombies multiply and take them over?

So many questions, so little time. The battle is about to begin. Enter the ZombieZone!
ZombieZone, the new asymmetrical battle game from Jason Tagmire (designer of Pixel Lincoln, set designer of Quarriors: Quest of the Qladiator) (me!) and artist Carey Pietsch, launched today at The Game Crafter. The game is only available as a limited preview release until 12/31/12, so don't miss out. It's an American style board game (Ameritrash, if you desire), with a little bit of an abstract feel to it. And there are zombies too!

Check it out at The Game Crafter:

Or click through the jump for more photos and information.