Saturday, November 10, 2012

Metatopia: The Game Design Festival Mega Recap!

A week ago, I traveled into storm-battered North Jersey to attend Metatopia, the Game Design Festival. Traveling up there could be a story of its own, but in short... it felt like a war zone. 80 miles of no power, no traffic lights, 1/2 mile lines for gas, downed trees and downed power lines. Even my original hotel had no power.

But behind the walls of the Morristown Hyatt, you wouldn't even realize the destruction outside. The attendance was decent, and the mood was very upbeat. It may sound strange, but this isn't your normal convention.

Metatopia is almost like a reverse convention. Instead of having a ton of people wandering around looking at displays and booths, the designers have a table (or sometimes a room) and attendees sign up to play their games. If a game allows for 4 players, there is a sign up sheet with 4 slots. And then at the set time, that game starts. No real wandering or browsing, just focused, mostly-planned game events.

The second part of Metatopia is the massive assortment of panels. Designers, publishers, artists, industry insiders and more were presenting panels on everything you could think of.

-Should You Self-Publish?
-Women in Gaming - Shaping the Future
-Stealing Ideas From Other Games
-Using Adobe Software
-How Not To Be A Jerk

I was there on behalf of The Game Crafter, a print-on-demand board and card game manufacturer, and an extremely useful tool for most of the attendees of Metatopia. I played a bunch of games, ran a few panels, and attended a few others. Click through the jump for my full recap.

Nerdcraft: Etsy Disney roundup

Oh my lord, has there ever been a barrel of worms like a Disney Etsy trawl. I was initially a little disheartened by the pages upon pages of Mickey silhouettes, but switching to searching for movie titles made a big difference. And by a big difference, I mean a will-I-ever-be-clean-again difference.

Brace yourself for fan art, mermaid sex and crochet! (Marginal NSFW - depending on your company policy towards cross-species sexual acts)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thank GIF it's Friday!

Bless you, Britney, I suddenly like you so much more.

Review: Star Wars Angry Birds! (The Game!)

I’ve already been appropriately disgruntled/cynical about the recent barrage of mashed together Star Wars Angry Birds merchandise - putting these two things together makes about as much sense as balancing a cake on a cat. But in light of the momentous news of Star Wars’ imminent revival, my dark heart has somewhat softened and I find myself growing increasingly excited about a galaxy far, far away again. (Despite the fact that it all happened a long time ago).

So when the actual Star Wars Angry Birds game hit the app store today I figured I’d better download it and give it a go. Is it just Angry Birds wearing a different hat? Find out the answer... after the jump.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Readthrough of Time: Crossroads of Twilight

This ranks up there as, contextually, one of the worst things I have ever read.

My frustration with the Wheel of Time books has been clear for a while, but this book seems to get there in a way that none have before.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New 52 Justice League Flash and Parademon Figures!!

The next wave of Justice League action figures was released a little while back and I managed to get my hands on The Flash and (Darkseid's little buddy) the Parademon!

Normally I'd review each figure separately and up my post count, but bad guy minions DON'T get their own posts!  So There!  Stupid Parademon...

I totally ripped these boxes open and took a ton of pics.  You can see them all (well, the good* ones) if you just join me after the JUMP!

*By good I mean "sort of in focus"

Boss Monster vs. Pixel Lincoln!

A few weeks ago I received a wave of tweets, emails, and texts telling me to check out Boss Monster on Kickstarter. Why the onslaught of inward communication? Because a few months ago I launched Pixel Lincoln, and this was another pixel styled side-scrolling card game. But my first thought wasn't to panic... instead I wanted to play the game. It looked really cool. 

The creators generously sent me a preview copy to show the differences, which I'll outline below. But first… what is Boss Monster?
Boss Monster is a standalone card game that challenges 2-4 players to become videogame-style villains and build deadly side-scrolling dungeons. Players compete to see who can lure and destroy the most adventurers. But beware! You must make your dungeon as deadly as it is attractive, or the puny adventurers might kill you first! Are you a bad enough dude to become the ultimate Boss Monster?
I've played through the game a few times now, and we've had a LOT of fun. My group is very heavy into classic video games, so that mindset definitely influenced how much they loved the game, but I assume you would be into classic games to be drawn into this in the first place. I can't speak of the other side, because classic video games have been a part of my life forever. I rarely play video games that were made in this century.

What makes this game so fun is that you play as the Boss (who is always cooler than any of the main characters). Each varies quite a bit in style, and each has a special power. But my favorite part is that you build a dungeon. You will strategically place cards from right to left, luring in adventurers. Each card adds treasure to lure them in, but they also add special abilities like "Destroy this room: Kill a Hero in this room". And that's exactly what you want to do. Kill the heroes before they reach you. If they reach you, you'll take a wound. If you kill them, you keep them as a prize.

So what is similar about the Boss Monster and Pixel Lincoln? There are three obvious similarities.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 10/31/2012

I know it's November and October is already a distant memory, but there were FIVE Wednesdays in October...the last one being Halloween...and thus a few straggling comics left.  Were the comics released on Halloween day extra spooky?  No, not at all.  They were pretty cool though!  Let's take a look!

Aquaman #13 - "Please just GO!  Manta gutted Kahina and blew Vostok's spine apart.  I don't want you to watch what I do to him."

The endgame of the Others story-line that has been playing out for months now is finally upon us, as Aquaman must track and locate Black Manta, who has managed to collect a few of the Atlantian artifacts that Arthur's teammates once carried and also find the lost Sceptre of Atlantis, a weapon so powerful it was hidden from even Arthur's knowledge and is rumoured to be the device that originally sank Atlantis into the sea!  Unfortunately, one of the other artifacts that Manta stole allows him to instantly teleport anywhere in the world.  Makes him a hard guy to chase!

Arthur is pretty determined, though.  He's lost his father.  He's lost friends.  He wants payback, and that means he wants Black Mantas blood!  BUT...he may lose a lot more before he can get it.  How do you stop a guy who holds the power to sink continents in his hand?

Of course not all of our adventures occur under the sea!  Join me after the JUMP for Action Comics and Batgirl ANNUALS! 

Put On Your Best Striped Pants & Vote!

If you're in the USA, make sure you vote today. And if you own striped pants, make sure you wear them to the polls.

Nerd History: A Letter From Ronald Reagan to a Young Child

Today, the United States goes to the polls to either re-elect our current president or elect a brand new one. The role of the President, among many, is to respond to disasters as they occur, and I'm reminded of one rather charming story from the Reagan era.

A child wrote to President Reagan, noting that the child's mother declared the bedroom a "disaster area." Given that it's a fairly standard move, when faced with a natural disaster, to seek help from the government, naturally, the child was petitioning Reagan for federal aid. That is, after all, what we as Americans do.

In his typically charming way (Reagan, regardless of how you felt about him politically, was quite charismatic), took some time to respond:

Your situation appears to be a natural. I'm sure your mother was fully justified in proclaiming your room a disaster. Therefore you are in an excellent position to launch another volunteer program to go along with the more than 3,000 already underway in our nation—congratulations.

In a time where there's a lot of hand-wringing about the state of the nation and the civility of discourse, it's nice to look back and see some awesomeness.

The Book Was Better Podcast Episode 30: Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

The Book Was Better is the podcast where Jessica and I mercilessly destroy the lazy, cash-in book of the film... only to discover that, every once in a while... the book is better!

This week we serve up a week late Halloween special in the form of baby Joss Whedon's terrible fledgling Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie where the only truly scary things are the furrows on Luke Perry's forehead! How can something so right go so terribly wrong?

You can download it right now on the official site or why not subscribe to us on iTunes so we can sneak in the backdoor of your iPod and tinker with your shit!

Star Wars Episode VII Speculation: Here's What I Would Do...

After last week’s massive Star Wars/Disney announcement I’ve followed up with a couple of articles, firstly about the challenges that an Episode VII must overcome, and then about who I would cast as Luke, Leia, Han and Lando (assuming the story goes down that path).

But what would these characters actually be doing? How would the core group move forward during the reforming of the republic and the crumbling of the empire? We have expanded universe novels that provide their own take on the post Return of the Jedi universe but they have never been a very satisfying solution for me, particularly when it comes to character growth.

So if I’m so smart, then what would I would do with these characters if given the chance? Find out exactly that after the jump.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Avenging the Melbourne Cup

Tomorrow my beloved country will go batshit crazy for three and a half minutes while 24 horses fling themselves around a 3200m track while being straddled by midgets. Oh yes, it's the Race That Stops a Nation (as long as you live in Victoria), it's MELBOURNE CUP TIME!

The Melbourne Cup gives Everyday Joes the opportunity to act like experts on all things horseracing while regurgitating all the facts and figures they read in the paper that morning. Squillions and billions of dollars are gambled on the big race, and despite what Simon from Accounts tried to tell you about the recent form of the current favourite, on the day it mostly comes down to luck. So given the form guide isn't going to help you much, let us at Fruitless Pursuits pick your winner by assigning a horse to your favourite Avenger.

Head below the cut to check out Earth's Mightiest Horseflesh.

Review: The Avengers Collectible Figure 8-Pack!

I’m always looking for the opportunity to add to my creepy Black Widow collection, so when this 8-pack of “collectible” Avengers figures popped up, featuring sculpts and poses inspired by some instantly recognisable promo art, I was powerless to resist. This humble yet mysterious box contains eight 2 inch (or thereabouts) figures for the meagre sum of $10 - $15. There has to be something of merit lurking within there, right? Right? Or is this a Lost Ark of the Covenant scenario where all we’ll reveal is face-melting disappointment?

Join me after the jump where I am going to crack one of these open so that you probably don’t have to!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Miami Connection: We're On Top Because We Plan To Win.

Miami Connection is a newly re-released 1987 film about everything that you dream of. Ninjas. Decapitations. A crime fighting synth-metal band. And plenty of motorcycles, mullets and moustaches.
The year is 1987. Motorcycle ninjas tighten their grip on Florida's narcotics trade, viciously annihilating anyone who dares move in on their turf. Multi-national martial arts rock band Dragon Sound have had enough, and embark on a roundhouse wreck-wave of crime-crushing justice. When not chasing beach bunnies or performing their hit song "Against the Ninja," Mark (taekwondo master/inspirational speaker Y.K. Kim) and the boys are kicking and chopping at the drug world's smelliest underbelly. It'll take every ounce of their blood and courage, but Dragon Sound can't stop until they've completely destroyed the dealers, the drunk bikers, the kill-crazy ninjas, the middle-aged thugs, the "stupid cocaine"... and the entire MIAMI CONNECTION!!! 
Looking at the official description, you would totally think this was a 2012 cash grab... but after 2 seconds of the video you'll realize that it's 100% authentic 1980's cinematic awesomeness. it's in theaters now, so don't miss out (again).

Featuring the greatest self-referential song since I Made A Game With Zombies In It, and the worst dialogue since The Room, this is almost guaranteed to be an instant classic. Stick around until the end of the trailer for the full Miami Connection experience.

Screening and release info: