Dead Island review

Everyone needs a vacation.  Work can stress you out, family can stress you out, friends can stress you out, and even the nightly news can be stressful to watch.  It’s times like these, when you are feeling stressed, that’s it best to remove yourself from the situation and plunge yourself deep into a hypnotic vacation of sandy beaches and refreshing beverages.

Ahhh… I can practically feel the sand between my toes and the taste of piña colada gracing my taste buds.  Never mind that drunken guy stumbling his way towards me.  Wait a second, let me sit up, is that blood?  Oh wow, this guy cannot hold his booze!  He has one massive head injury!  Whoah!  He is growling at me and inching closer!  This vacation is not releasing the stress at all!  Oh my, look!  There’s more making their way towards me!

Welcome to Dead Island, developed by Techland and produced by Deep Silver, this looks to be what zombie enthusiasts have been hungering for since the original Left 4 Dead.  That’s not to compare the two, but rather to say that while there have been other zombie games come out, none will match up to what Dead Island is going to do.

The game takes place on a fictional tropical island, Banoi, found in Papue New Guinea.  In essence you start off trapped in a hut on the beach with a few other survivors (3 to be exact).  From there you simply start your assault against the undead.  This is going to be a fully featured sandbox game, that is, you will be able to go anywhere and pick up almost anything.  It supports up to 4 players (more on them a couple of paragraphs down) in co-op mode, both on a local host as well as online.  There is a skill tree system (although it’s not exactly what you may think, it’s not set up like WoW’s), customizable weapons and vehicles, experience system, stamina bar, and loads of other features.

Stamina bar?  Yep!  That means that as you move through the game, performing certain actions or carrying certain items, you can get winded.  Just stop, sit down, and take a little break.  Let your energy build back up, just keep an eye out for flesh eating monsters while you are sitting there.

As with other games, there will be weak zombies and tough zombies.  The game also plays heavily with the environment.  Flashlights will be used at night, water will evaporate based on the amount of sunlight present, it can rain based on the amount of clouds (even snow or fog).  The elements will be generated based on the humidity and the time of year that is in the game.  Yes, they have made this a very dynamic game to play in.

Even the characters and zombies have several “layers” of bone, muscle, and skin.  What’s that mean?  From what has been said it means that if you pick up a small rock and throw it at a zombie, it may break the skin exposing the muscle underneath.  If you go swinging with an axe you may dig right though the skin and muscle and expose bone (or perhaps even cleave right though).  Gone are the days of just shooting in the general direction and the thing you are aiming for dies.  Did I mention this game was going to be quite dynamic?

You will get to choose one of 4 characters to play.  Xian Mei, female, works at the resort.  Sam B, male, rapper.  Purna, female, unknown.  Logan, male, surfer dude.  Yeah, don’t let the professions fool you.  It’s a random group thrown together.  It has also been reported that they are immune to the zombie infection.

Think your last vacation with the family was hell?  Next time go to Dead Island.  They can’t wait to give you a rip-roaring good time.  Just be sure to bring an extra pair of undies, you may very well need them.

Battle: Los Angeles a review

Several months ago a movie came out called Skyline. I saw it on opening day and saved you guys the trouble of the review because, yes, it was that bad. Had it come out on perhaps a made for TV Sci-Fi station it might have been okay to glance at every now and again, but as it was, it was pure crap.

The same cannot be said about Battle: Los Angeles. BLA starts off with an All Star cast, Aaron Eckhard (Two-Face from Dark Knight) heads up a Marine platoon against an all out battle of the ages.

There is wonderful character development, introducing the key players through small vingettes. Once the major battle begins, which is pretty much from the start, it simply does not stop. Which, if I had to complain, might be the only thing I would complain about. The movie clocks in at 116 minutes (just over 2 hours once you count in all the commercials and previews), so it’s not that long of a movie, but the battle scenes could have certainly been edited down a fair amount. Don’t get me wrong, the battles were good, full of neat eye-candy, and in-your-face, and well, yeah, that’s the title of the movie.

I’d recommend it if you are looking for a fun sci-fi movie. Lots of action. The story is very driven, and is actually less about an alien invasion as it is more about the camaraderie among the people thrust into this extraordinary situation.

Short version: I recommend it.

Magic the Gathering Mirrodin Besieged Doom Inevitable

Okay look, it’s rare when I come across a card that really WOW’s me. I build odd decks. Really odd decks. Ones that don’t seem like they should win, but 75% of the time they do. As we all know, February 4th is the official release date of the newest Magic the Gathering set; Mirrodin Besieged.

What I’d like to do is highlight one card that will cause me to break down a previous deck and rebuild it.

Today I picked up one of the intro packs, Doom Inevitable (blue and black deck) and a couple of boosters. The foil rare within very nearly caused me to wet my pants. I’m talking about Psychosis Crawler.

Now, I don’t normally play with artifact creatures. I don’t normally play Type 2 (or extended, or current, or whatever the most up to date term for that format is). I play Type 1 (Legacy is what I think you kids are calling it now). Black Lotus, Moxen, yeah, those kinds of cards. Anyway, I digress..
Okay, Psychosis Crawler…

For a measly 5 Colorless Mana you can pop out a */* artifact creature (it’s a Horror by the way), who’s power and toughness are equal to the number of cards in your hand. To add insult to injury each time you draw a card, each opponent loses 1 life!

I cannot imagine this guy is going to go for too much cash or be too valuable in trades mainly because you get one in every Doom Inevitable intro pack!

Just think of all the combos here… Howling Mine, Mystic Remora, Horn of Greed, Braingeyser, Gush, Ancestral Recall… oh man oh man it just goes on and on and on!

Okay, okay, I know I just got caught up on the very 1st card I’ve seen from Mirrodin Besieged. You want to know more right? Well, the best thing I can say is, go out and buy some! Let’s face it, you would not have read this far down if you were not into Magic the Gathering. Chances are if you are into Magic the Gathering then you know Mirrodin Besieged is very nearly here. You know you want a pack or two. Hell, you still have some cash saved up from Christmas time. Go spend it on some Magic!

Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers to PlayStation®3 System

Wizards of the Coast Brings Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers to PlayStation®3 System

November 23, 2010, Renton, Wash. — Wizards of the Coast today announced the North American launch of Magic: The Gathering –Duels of the Planeswalkers on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. Wizards has been working with Sony Computer Entertainment America to bring the popular digital extension of the worldwide Magic: The Gathering franchise to PlayStation®Network.

Already one of the most downloaded games on Xbox LIVE® Arcade and on PC via the Steam® platform, PS3™ gamers will now be able to join in on the action that Magic: The Gathering in digital form brings. Complete with crisp 3D graphics and animations, robust game play and a user-friendly interface, players can battle real life opponents or play through an extensive single-player campaign that offers unrivaled depth in which each game is different.

The core game is now available on PlayStation Network for $9.99 and all three expansions are available for $4.99 each.


Duels of the Planeswalkers is quickly proving to be the ideal way to introduce new players to Magic and reintroduce lapsed players back to the game. As its popularity continues to grow, Duels of the Planeswalkers will certainly be a driving force behind the birth of a whole new generation of Magic fans.

Special Launch Offer!

Celebrating the launch of Duels of the Planeswalkers on PS3, consumers that purchase the game will receive a special art foil Planeswalker promotional card (while supplies last). For additional information on Magic: The Gathering—Duels of the Planeswalkers and the promotional card, visit

About Wizards of the Coast

Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS), is the leader in entertaining the lifestyle gamer. The company holds an exclusive patent on trading card games (TCGs) and their method of play and produces the premier trading card game, Magic: The Gathering, among many other trading card games and family card and board games. Wizards is also a leading publisher of role-playing games, such as Dungeons & Dragons, and publisher of fantasy series fiction with numerous New York Times best-sellers. For more information, visit the Wizards of the Coast Web site at

Wizards of the Coast, its logo, Magic: The Gathering, Magic, Duels of the Planeswalkers and Dungeons & Dragons are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. “PlayStation” and “PS” Family logo are registered trademarks and “PS3” is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Other trademarks are property of their respective owners. ©2010 Wizards.

Fire Elemental caught on Camera – Photo Friday Alpha!

I live out in the country. As such I get many opportunities to indulge in my pyromania (always in a safe manner). Recently we have been under a Burn Ban (it’s just not rained in about a month and a half and it’s been windy as hell so everything is dried out making it very condusive to fire spreading). For the past four days it’s rained it’s ass off, so the Burn Ban has been lifted.

Having a stock pile of fallen branches and whatnot I did not want to miss the chance to get my burn on.

In the back I have one of those 50 gallon drum barrels. Like what you see Bums gathered around in the movies when it’s cold outside. Just after dusk I pulled out my camera and started snapping photos of the flames.

I never expected to capture something from another Plane of Existance, but I did.

Perhaps the invasion of Azeroth is more Earthly bound than even Blizzard thought…

Inception – a Review

Okay, I’ll admit it right off, Inception is not a horror film. It is, however, a Sci-Fi film. Albeit, not hardcore Sc-Fi, but it does deal with entering people’s dreams. With that said, Sci-Fi and Horror are at the core sisters to each other.. Thus we have GameMasters’ view of Inception.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the film Inception, directed and written by Christopher Nolan (of Memento, Batman, Dark Knight fame).
The Plot: In a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, a single idea within one’s mind can be the most dangerous weapon or the most valuable asset.

Look, I’ve always been interested in dreams and what they mean. I’ve got a massive Dream Catcher, several books on interpreting dreams, and countless notebooks full of jotted down dreams and nightmares from my own mind (but now they could be of the influence of someone else..). In short, I got into this movie right off the bat. I’ve been at practice with myself for over 25 years learning how to control my own dreams. Sometimes I can, sometimes I cannot.

What Inception introduces goes beyond simply control of your own dreams. At some point in the future, as the Plot above suggests, there exists the technology to enter someone’s dreams and extract information. Moreover there exists the technology for several people to join together to share a dream.

Evidently the business of entering someone’s dreams to extract information is illegal and as such business opportunities exist. For Cobb, DiCaprio’s character, this is exactly what he does. He is supposed to be the best of the best at entering someone’s dreams and extracting that information.

A new opportunity is presented to him about inserting information into someone’s subconscious, this is the core of Inception.

There are many layers to this movie, and I’ll be the first to admit, you gotta pay attention! It’s clocks in at just over Two and a Half hours, so if you gotta go pee, I suggest you pee in your Coke cup. If you get the munchies, bring in some extra pop-corn or contraband candy. There is a lot going on here and you cannot miss even one second of it.

However, with it having such a complex storyline, it is surprisingly linear in explanation. My only complaint is that it should have been at least 6 hours longer. Character development was okay, Cobb was very well developed but not so much with the rest of the cast. The plot did not exactly keep me guessing, but the idea behind it is what drove it for me.

While the movie takes place within dreams I would have enjoyed seeing more of the fantastical side of that; in mine I can fly, I can teleport, I can create, when fighting someone I can trap them, etc. There are many situations in which a lot more could have been done with that idea. And of course the nightmare aspect. I would have loved to have seen them venture into the nightmare of someone. Inception 2 perhaps? I doubt that. Would be too much like my wait for Memento 2.

Yeah, I guess that’s where my mind can go wild, I see many more ideas to add on to it that the average screen watcher is willing to sit down and watch.

All in all, go out and see this movie. I’d pay full price to see it. In fact, I might just go do that again right now!

Magic the Gathering M11 Sneak Peak

Yep!  It’s almost here, the new Magic the Gathering Core Set, M11.  The tag line for this is:

A set everyone can sink their teeth into.

Walk amongst the elite – The ultimate strategic duelists. The few who can control deadly creatures and wield terrifying sorceries. Battle on countless worlds beyond this one in a quest for supremacy, and know what it means to say, “Here I Rule.

From what I understand this core set, 249 cards, is supposed to be 50% reprints and 50% new stuff.

Set Name
Magic 2011
Three-Letter Abbreviation M11
Number of Cards 249
Prerelease Date July 10-11, 2010
Release Date July 16, 2010
Launch Party July 16-18, 2010
Game Day August 14, 2010
Design Team Aaron Forsythe (lead)
Doug Beyer
Mark Globus
Tom LaPille
Gregory Marques
Development Team Erik Lauer (lead)
Dave Guskin
Tom LaPille
Kenneth Nagle

Okay, with the technical info out of the way, let’s check out some of the sneak preview cards sent my way:

Gargoyle Sentinel

Mana Leak

Back to Nature

And let’s take a look at one more, a Mythic Rare from M11…

Time Reversal

Now wait a second, hold the phone! Isn’t this just like TimeTwister from Alpha/Beta days?? Yep! Okay, so it’s 1 Colorless and 1 Blue mana more than TimeTwister but damn! In today’s play field that’s nothing! And you can play with 4 of these bad boys!

Keep checking back for more spoilers! (remember in September/October of this year we have the new block coming out (Scars of Mirrodin)

Magic the Gathering Archenemy

Directly from

What Is Archenemy?

Archenemy gives you everything you need to play a new casual variant of the same name. In an Archenemy game, one player—the archenemy—takes on the role of a merciless tyrant bent on total domination. The other players form a team dedicated to stopping the archenemy at any cost, taking a shared turn Two-Headed Giant–style.

But teaming up on the archenemy isn’t unfair—it’s a desperate survival tactic. The archenemy comes to the fight armed not only with a normal 60-card deck, but also with a deck of 20 oversized scheme cards. These represent the clever plots and monstrous machinations of the archenemy, and they give his or her deck the power boost it needs to—maybe—take out two, three, four, or even more opponents.

We’ll take a look at a scheme card in a moment, but first let’s talk about how to set up the game.

Arranging the Pieces

To play Archenemy, each player needs a deck made of normal-sized Magic cards. By default these will be normal Constructed decks consisting of at least 60 cards (such as, for example, the 60-card decks featured in the four Archenemy game packs), but in theory you could also try this with 100-card EDH decks, 40-card Sealed Decks, or any other Magic decks. The player playing as the archenemy also needs a scheme deck made of at least 20 oversized scheme cards (also included in each game pack—note that some schemes appear in more than one game pack).

If each player has an Archenemy game pack, players can take turns using their scheme decks as the archenemy. If you want to customize the scheme deck, there are only two rules to follow: the deck must have at least 20 scheme cards and it can’t include more than two of any single card.

At the start of the game, each player shuffles his or her traditional deck. The archenemy also shuffles his or her scheme deck. The archenemy keeps the scheme deck face down and can’t look at it or rearrange the cards in it, just like his or her library.

Set Your Schemes in Motion

The archenemy’s turn plays out just like a turn in any Magic game, with one major difference. As the first main phase of the archenemy’s turn begins, that player sets a scheme in motion—yes, that is now an actual game action!—by turning the top card of the scheme deck face up. It might look something like this:

Most scheme cards, including this one, have abilities that trigger “When you set this scheme in motion.” As with other triggered abilities, archenemy and his or her opponents have the chance to respond to these abilities by casting spells or activating abilities.

Some schemes say ongoing on their type line, like this one:

An ongoing scheme remains face up until an effect causes it to be abandoned (put on the bottom of the scheme deck). Most ongoing schemes have a condition that causes them to be abandoned, although it will likely take some work on your opponents’ part. Note that ongoing schemes aren’t on the battlefield; they’re not permanents, and they can’t be destroyed.

Schemes that aren’t ongoing are simply put on the bottom of the scheme deck once all their abilities resolve or are countered (for having no legal targets, for example).

Some schemes may ask you to pay some amount of mana to reap their full benefits:

If a scheme’s triggered ability has one or more targets, as this one does, you’ll choose them when you put the triggered ability on the stack, as with any other triggered ability. You won’t choose how much mana to pay for X Mana, however, until the ability resolves. So your opponents will know what’s going to take damage, but they won’t know how much.

A few “hot seat” schemes let you put one of your opponents in a very awkward position by asking, “Self or others?”

Will your opponent take one for the team, choosing the option that puts less total hurt on the archenemy’s opponents? Or will he or she decide to let teammates take the heat, leaving his or her own position unchanged? A team player will look at this choice objectively, consult with his or her teammates, and choose the option that’s best for the team as a whole … but not everybody’s a team player!

If the opponent you choose doesn’t have any teammates left, he or she can choose “others” and suffer no ill effects at all. On the other hand, that player is facing you and your scheme deck all alone—not an enviable position!

Revealing a scheme as your first main phase begins is mandatory. Gravely intoning its name and flavor text and then cackling madly is optional.

Win, Lose, or Draw

The rest of the rules are pretty straightforward. The archenemy starts at 40 life, and each other player starts at 20 life. Each player draws an opening hand of seven cards, and players may then take mulligans as normal. In multiplayer games, the first time a player takes a mulligan, he or she draws a new hand of seven cards rather than six cards, then subsequent hands decrease by one card as normal.

The archenemy goes first and draws a card during his or her first draw step. (We told you they were malevolent!)

The archenemy’s opponents share a turn, in the same way that teammates do in Two-Headed Giant. You each untap your permanents during your team’s untap step, you each draw a card as your team’s draw step begins, and so on. Each teammate can play a land during the team’s main phase. Each teammate chooses which of his or her creatures will attack the archenemy or a planeswalker the archenemy controls, and then those creatures all attack at the same time. You can’t attack your teammates.

The team of players opposing the archenemy needs to work together to have any hope of defeating the archenemy’s quest for domination. But you can’t share cards or other resources. You can’t give your teammates mana to cast spells, for example.

If you or a member of your alliance is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice and leave the game, the rest of the team continues the fight. However, the usual rules for what happens when a player leaves a multiplayer game apply: All permanents and other cards that player owned leave the game, any spells or abilities controlled by that player cease to exist, and any effects that caused the player to gain control of permanents he or she doesn’t own end.

The archenemy wins the game by defeating each member of the opposing team. The opposing team wins by defeating the archenemy. Every player on that team wins the game, even players that left the game before its conclusion.

Remember, players lose the game when their life total is reduced to 0 or less, when they have to draw a card from an empty library, when they have ten or more poison counters, or when an effect says that player loses the game or an opponent wins the game. If the archenemy would lose the game at the same time as the last remaining member of the opposing team, the game is a draw.

In addition to the default “One vs. Many” Archenemy format, there’s a Free-for-All variant. The twist? Everybody gets a scheme deck! Maybe you’re all archenemies who have finished off those pesky heroes and are now fighting over the wreckage of a ruined world. Perhaps a few heroes have tapped into some source of terrible power and risen to fight you on equal terms. Regardless, this variant has the potential for some super-powered, crushingly brutal back-and-forths. And in this format, asking “Self or other?” isn’t putting someone on the hot seat—it’s doing them a favor!


How to Teleport and Time Travel

Last night the key was revealed to me on how to Teleport and to an extent on how to travel through Time. Allow me to preface this with the following:

Back in 1991 a friend of mine and I were playing a game on the computer (possibly Bard’s Tale or Ultima 5) and our conversation wandered from “If a gate were to open in front of you that went to an alternate dimension or another world, could you leave everything you know behind and step through” to “is time travel possible?”. We probably pondered that possibility for a couple of hours before we came up with a plan.

What took place that afternoon was a letter. I wrote it to myself at about 6 PM. Shortly after it was written my friend and I went out to dinner with my mom. When we got back home we discovered something that blew my mind.

This is the letter:

“On the night of March 22 1991, will put a pencil, red in the top of my computer desk. I will go back in time and do this. I shall check the drawer at approximately 10:02 P.M. on that Friday night. I swear to do this if I ever Time-Travel.”

I’ve kept that letter with me ever since, folded and in my wallet.

When we arrived home from dinner we looked at about 10 PM in that computer desk drawer and yes, there was a red pencil in there. I will be honest in saying I do not ever recall having placed that pencil in there prior to my writing that letter (which was done in ink).

Later that night my friend and I agreed that we would unravel the mystery to time travel. I was to go to school to learn physics and quantum mechanics while he was to learn to become a pilot. The theory was that it had to be a fast moving machine (like the DeLorian in Back to the Future) and we figured a plane would be about as fast as we would need.

Sadly I never learned anything beyond Freshman Physics and he never became a pilot.

However, after last night there has been a renewal of hope and new insight to how to Travel through Time.

Imagine this scenario, you are being chased by someone and all you know is that you must get away. You are chased down into a field and come to a wall made of brick. There is no foothold with which to climb over and the person chasing you is closing in fast. To get away is simple. Teleport through the wall to the other side.

Teleport through the wall? How the hell am I supposed to do that? This is how:

Travel back in time to when the wall was not there then simply move past where the wall will be, then travel back to your “present”. You will have then successfully teleported beyond the wall. However, the trick then is How do you Time Travel.

Sadly I have yet to unlock that mystery. However, with this new key and insight that I found myself face to face with last night I discovered something.

Where I had previously theorized that it would require a machine or tool to Time Travel, I discovered that it does not! Perhaps it is simply an opening in the mind that will allow for this stepping into the past or future and back again. The events that took place last night (actually it was at about 1 in the morning) opened my mind to an entirely new theory.

What were the events you ask? Woof, you’d probably not believe me if I told you..

Dead Set review – sometimes you gotta leave Hollywood

Sometimes you gotta leave Hollywood behind.

Recently you will notice that most of my movie reviews have had me going off on how inadequate Hollywood has become. I’ve had this one film sitting on my self for a good while now and tonight I finally watched it. I am talking about is the TV mini-series written by Charlie Brooker called Dead Set.

Based on a fictional set of Big Brother taking place in the United Kingdom, Dead Set pushes the envelop well beyond anything that American audiences could deal with on network television. I’d wager good money that you would be hard pressed to find even a cable channel willing to air anything like this without toning down the gore and violence. Perhaps on HBO or Cinemax.

I honestly have nothing bad to say about this film (I’ll call it a film even though it was originally aired over a 5 day period as a TV mini-series).

We begin with the setup; we are behind the scenes of a Big Brother episode. It’s an eviction night and the producer, Patrick (Andy Nyman), is as about as rude as they come. Sure he has pressure, but you learn to dislike him from the get-go. Kelly (Jamie Winstone), is the gopher – go for this, go for that, get coffee, run some copies, etc. You immediately like her (she is also the one in the photo above).

Okay, so the pressure is on, and one of the contestants is evicted. There is a threat of a newscast preempting the show and that of course is the queue for zombies to show up.

What follows is a myriad of fast moving filming, (I will warn you that there is a lot of camera shaking, something I don’t mind as I feel it gives it a little more.. ‘you are really here with us’ type of feeling – but I can see where some would not like it and perhaps get a bit motion sick) general chaos, and bloody mayhem.

Listen, these are Zombie we are dealing with, not people who peddle flowers. There is blood. There is violence. There are smashed skulls, ripped flesh, spilled entrails, and loads of chopped bodies. When I say it’s gory, I mean it. This guy is not Rated G. It’s Rated R all the way.

The storyline is simply okay, it’s not original, but it’s presented in a very zombie-fan-fun way. What I mean by that is, it’s about people trapped in a location and are held within because of well, zombies.

Now for the extra zombie-fan-fun part. Although the film probably has nothing to do with it, I can certainly imagine that this takes place in the same time frame and universe that the Snyder version of Dawn of the Dead remake took place. Even fits in perfectly with the 28 Days Later time frame. Again, I’m not saying that’s what Dead Set is, it’s not. I’m just saying that in my view it is easy to imagine them all taking place at the same time.

All in all, grab a copy and follow the instructions; watch it in wide-screen and in a darkened room. If you are a zombie fan, this is a MUST SEE.

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