Magic the Gathering eBook: Dragon’s Maze: The Secretist, Part Three

Dragon’s Maze: The Secretist, Part Three

A Planeswalker Novella

Ravnica’s 10 guilds are poised to run the Implicit Maze and unlock the power at its heart.

Stitched into the fabric of Ravnica’s vast metropolis, the maze is the legacy of an ancient guildmaster, and the dragon Niv-Mizzet craves the advantages it could mean for his guild. The goal is obvious: Discover the secret route and complete the maze. But the bickering guilds will never cooperate, and each sends its own champion to claim the prize.

But Jace Beleren believes that the guilds are being tested. The maze hides some deeper truth, and Jace knows that the power balance of Ravnica – and the lives of its denizens – are at stake. Jace’s potential allies have been captured, disgraced, or turned against him. Can he discover the truth behind the maze, while navigating the labyrinth of powerbrokers and conspiracies surrounding it, before the dragon can? Or will dark forces claim its deadly power for themselves?

– Description of Dragon’s Maze: The Secretist, Part Three

Jace Belerin’s quest to discover what is behind all of the strange happenings in the most revered plane in the Multiverse is coming to a close, with Ravnica’s 10 guilds poised to run the Implicit Maze and unlock the power at its heart.

Today, Wizards of the Coast released Dragon’s Maze: The Secretist, Part Three, the third and final e-book in a three part series in the form of a novella, written by Doug Beyer, writer and creative designer on the Magic: The Gathering R&D team.

Dragon’s Maze: The Secretist, Part Three is available beginning today in the U.S. and Canada for $1.99 at Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo.

The Hangover Part 3 = Funny!

My review for the quick; Go See This Movie.

Now for my verbose version..

Let’s go back to 2009 for just a moment.  That’s the year the 1st Hangover movie came out.  It was THE comedy to see.  It had elements of funny, mystery, adventure, all of the things that make up a great comedy.  Yes, yes, the cast was great, but that has little to the success if the story itself is not up to par.  Hangover 1, however, did have a great story.  It reaped much rewards for it’s formula and cash came rolling it on it’s success. It made roughly $44 million on it’s opening weekend in the United States alone.

Then on to 2011 we go.  Hangover Part II.  They really tried to make a second hit based off of the same formula as before.  The problem is, we had already seen that story; the only difference is this time it took place in a different country.  Don’t get me wrong, Hangover 2 still made some mad cash at the box office, it actually made millions more than the 1st movie did on it’s opening weekend at around $80 million.  However, from movie goers it did not receive much of a lasting reception.

Hangover 1 was in theaters for 5 month, part 2 was in for 3.  Overall part 2 grossed about $20 million less than the 1st.  Critics attribute this to the movie using the same formula as the previous movie.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a funny movie, it’s just that.. well.. we’ve already seen it.

Let’s jump forward to today. ..

The Hangover Part III

I have a feeling that many may pass on this one simply because they will feel that since the 2nd movie used the same formula as the 1st; that this will be yet another “formula” movie.  My words to those thinking that:  DON’T THINK THAT WAY.

Hangover 3 breaks away from the previous two film’s formula and takes us all on a trip we’ve not yet been on.  The comedy was spot on; the funny was all there; the mystery was all there; the adventure was most defiantly all there.  This go around, however, the story was new, it was fresh, it was crisp.

We are reunited with some old friends, we travel to Mexico for a bit and of course we head back to Vegas where it all started.   We have some flashback fun (it fills us in on what links the movies together), some wild rides, and yeah at the end of the day you can walk away with a good feeling that you didn’t just watch what came out a few years prior.

It’s Rated R.  For a reason.  Lots LOTS of F-bombs, some brief graphic nudity, and lots of reference to drug use.  That does not bother me at all; but it’s certainly not one for the kids.

Part 3 does take on a little more serious tone; don’t get me wrong, it’s not a serious movie, it is a comedy.  While the comedy is peppered throughout the movie it also takes steps to let you know it’s not just a situational comedy.  Nor is it a physical comedy (like The 3 Stooges).  It’s actually a very refreshing thinking comedy.

I almost wish I had seen the previous 2 just before going in to watch this one as there are several references made that I probably missed.

Ahh.. I find myself now rambling.  Ya know, I’m just going to end here with this last brief paragraph:

Go see this movie.  It’s a great ending to what has come before.  Be sure to stick around after the credits; just because you think the movie is over does not mean that the funny ends there…

Xbox One: Uhm.. Er.. Huh?

The word around the internet can have a big impact on business.  From Twitter to Facebook, that word is the voice of the consumer.  If someone makes a product and said consumer is not happy with it; then you can bet that company is going to receive much negative flak.

I really don’t think that’s what Microsoft had in mind when they released a few of the details about their newest Xbox console: Xbox One.

However.. We also see a silver lining too.  Stick with me, and I’ll explain.

What we know so far..

It’s called Xbox One. No release date, no price listed.  8 GB of RAM.  Octi-Core Processor.  500GB Hard Drive. Blu-Ray player WILL be there. Wi-Fi Direct built in. USB 3.0. Kinect is mandatory for this system.  It will have a 1 year long launch window and it is confirmed that there will be at least 15 game titles released during this time.

What we don’t know for sure..

While we suspect the graphics card will be a Radeon HD 7790, we have no official word to corroborate that.

What we know and don’t like..

Microsoft flat out stated several things (and these are the things that have caused that much negative flak mentioned earlier) that we simply don’t want to hear.

Xbox One will NOT be able to play Xbox 360 games.  None at all.

Kinect is now mandatory.

ALL games will be downloaded to the hard drive in order to play them.

Ya know.. Let me break off my brief sentences and get down and dirty here.  Let’s face it, The Xbox 360 has been out for a while.  The console is great, the games are fantastic, and the gaming community that surrounds it is dedicated and happy with the system.  What’s more exciting than rumors of a new Xbox console?  Rumors broken and facts presented of course!

On Monday, May 20th, Microsoft did just that.  They quelled the rumors and gave us flat out information about their new Xbox console.  We now know it’s called the Xbox One.  Going into the press announcement was a slew of negative rumors; everything from the system being in constant contact with the internet, Kinect being a mandatory element of the system, no more using used games (or rented games or borrowed games).  The rumors listed there are pretty scary, yet this past Monday Microsoft had a chance to put those rumors to rest and tell us all that they were false and untrue.

The fact is, all of the rumors above turned out to be true.  Sortav.

Does it really not scare anyone to know that the console will always be connected to the internet and that the Kinect eye will always be watching?  Yes, yes, my Personal Computer is also always connected; but my webcam is not always turned on (nor is it used to do any kind of interaction with my PC other than have people watch me when I want them to).  The Kinect eye IS a key element of the system, it’s what allows you to navigate the console and is always on.  It’s what allows you to say “Xbox On”; “Change Channel”, “Call Paul”.  The Kinect camera is always “listening” for you; it’s never actually off unless you unplug it from the wall.

Microsoft did state that it has strong privacy protections in place (but didn’t they also have strong privacy protections in place when the Xbox Live Accounts were hacked back in 2012?).

Okay, here is a little more on the “always connected to the internet”.  It’s only going to “sortav” be always connected.  There will be some games that you can play totally offline; but game developers will have the ability to utilize Microsoft’s Azure cloud to handle some of the computing processes of the Xbox One.  Think Diablo or SimCity 4 here.   While not being specifically multiplayer games; they do require you to be connected to a server in order to play the game at all.

With that said; Xbox executive Whitten did state that he “hopes” that developers create games that utilize the online feature.  To me, that simply states that constant online connection may very well be the future of the Xbox One.

Now for our Xbox 360 games..

We can’t play our stockpile of Xbox 360 games on it.  This one really hurts.  A friend of mine has, literally, over 400 games for the Xbox 360.  Microsoft told us that 15 titles will be released for the Xbox One in it’s first year.  Only fifteen?  What’s more, you won’t be able to play rented games, used game that you buy at a yard sale, or even that borrowed game from your friend.  Now all games will be installed directly to the Xbox One’s Hard Drive and will be attached to your account.  Yes, you can back those game up to the Microsoft cloud (they boast to having just over 300,000 servers) in case your console gives you the Ring of Death and you have to get a new console.  But gone will be the days that let you trade games amongst your friends.

What you will be able to do is trade in your games and allow others to buy them (this will take place entirely upon the Xbox One network) – however, once sold you will no longer have access to that game on your account.  What you can do is link your game to a second account; for a less than retail fee.  THAT way you and your friends could technically still “trade” your games.

With that said; Microsoft did state that your Gamerscore will carry over from the Xbox 360 (provided you want to use the same info when setting up your Xbox One account).

Now that the negative is behind us (and it sure does seem like a lot), I want to focus on the cool elements of the Xbox One.

What we know and do like..

Bly-ray player is wicked cool.  The specs we’ve seen so far tells us this is going to be a power-house of a machine.  It’s going to be Skype compatible seeing as how Microsoft now owns Skype, and teamed up with the Kinect this will allow you to play games and have your Skype call up at the same time.

Smart Glass will allow you to use your iOS or Android device as a controller (similar as to how Nintendo’s Wii U controller works).  I’ll be VERY interested to see how much control this element will provide, can I still connect to my system when I’m miles away?

Kinect:  despite my initial rant above about it; it is very Star Trek(ish) in how we are able to communicate with the system.  I love technology and this is really a very cool feature.

Speaking of Star Trek.. Microsoft also is talking about Illumiroom.  Think about the Holo-Deck from Star Trek the Next Generation.  No, Illumiroom won’t create a total fantasy environment, but it will use a projector to provide special effects to the room you are gaming in.  This is going to be a technology unavailable for launch (as we understand it), but should be out within the Xbox One’s first year.

The controller has not changed too much, and we like that.  I’ll be the first to admit, my hands now have muscle memory for the controller.  It’s almost seamless now, and I really don’t want to learn an all new controller for the new system.  Yes, there are changes, but they are not drastic.

You will be able to control your television with the Xbox One.  I’m unclear to the full extent, but I would venture to guess If it’s something you can do with your current remote control, you ‘ll be able to do the same thing with the Xbox One.  Only now, it will be with your voice!  “Xbox, tune into Walking Dead”, yes that’s certainly something for me to get excited about!

And now the launch games:

Here is what is confirmed from Microsoft and publishers:

Halo 5

Forza Motorsports 5

Quantam Break

Ryse

Rainbow 6: Patriots

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Human Element

Watch Dogs

Dragon Age 3: Inquisition

Battlefield 4

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Pro Evolution Soccer 2014

Lords of the Fallen

Sniper Elite 3

FIFA 14

Those are certainly some impressive titles!  What we are unsure of, however, is exactly when these titles will be out; will they be out right along side the Xbox One console itself; or will they trickle out over it’s 1 year long launch window?  I’m sure there will be a lot more than just 15 games released; not to mention the slew of digital only games that will also be available to immediate download.

This is all the info we have, but keep in mind it’s also just one day after Microsoft provided their official press release of the new console.  I for one am very excited to see what the Xbox One is going to provide to us.

Star Trek Into Darkness: A Review

Star Trek Into Darkness: A Review by D. Brian Hardin II

Sometimes an escape is needed.  For me, sitting in a dark cool movie theatre will almost always provide the perfect escape.  The movie does not have to be great to provide that escape but if it is, man.. that’s just magic.

Today’s escape finds me at my local movie theatre.  Bottle of water on one side, fist full of popcorn on the other…

Without giving away any spoilers, please allow me to state this right off the bat:  GO BOLDLY and see this movie!  Fans of the original (non-J.J. Abrams) will certainly see some throwbacks (and easter eggs) in this one, while newcomers to the franchise will have one fast paced thrill ride.

Star Trek Into Darkness is fast paced.  Very few lull points exist.  The entire gang is back together, Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov.  Captain Pike is back as well as a couple of other… old friends.  OOOH.. and the lens flares.. yeah they are not as obvious in this one.

As you know, I am hesitant to provide spoilers that could potentially ruin the movie for you…

That being said…  Stop reading now because spoilers – they are here:

Star Trek has always had it’s famous quote; “These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.  Her 5 year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

It’s seen a variation or two over the years, but that’s it from it’s earliest days.  J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness make that journey… sortav.  I say sortav because.. well.. we have been here before.. sortav.

Okay, let’s jump down to it; who is the main bad guy here?  He goes by the name of John Harrison.  Ahh, but he’s not actually a genetically spliced duo of the Beatles.  Oh who am I kidding here, the cat’s already been taken out of the bag hasn’t it?  Benedict Cumberbatch plays Kahn.  There, I said it.  Kahn.

I admit, at first I was a bit disappointed to hear that Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof (the ones who wrote the script) were playing it safe and using someone that the long-term fans already knew.  Not only that, but we also knew that those shoes were going to be some BIG shoes to fill!  I mean, Kahn?  Ricardo Montalban’s portrayal of Star Trek’s most epic bad guy was being remade?

Was I really going to sit down and watch Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn (the remake)?

Then I started to get excited.  I knew full well that J.J. Abrams had established an alternate time-line.  That events I was familiar with had not happened yet (or at the very least those events would not happen exactly as they did before).  Not to mention the fact that this movie would actually take place during the Original TV Series time-frame, which means this would be a retelling of the Space Seed episode.  That idea along started to spark my imagination.  I loved Wrath of Kahn, but hey, my mind is open to the new vision of Star Trek.

Armed with that thought, I had a feeling I was going to be in for one hell of a ride.

A retelling of Space Seed..  Hmm.. For those that are not aware, the character of Kahn Noonian Singh was first introduced in the original television show (back in 1967).  A retelling of Space Seed?  Almost, but not exactly.  We do get a retelling, but we also get a little mish-mash remake of Wrath of Kahn as well.

Sadly there was no epic space battle (I maintain that the space battle and the hunt through the Mutara Nebula were simply the best thing the big screen has ever seen), there was no mention of the Botany Bay, and while Kahn did speak of his 72 crew members, we never got to see them.

Into Darkness was a bit predictable, however, there were several twists and surprises along the way.   My inner Trekkie has a few nit-picks with the movie, but that’s all they are, pointless nit-picks.  Tho, the one I’m still wrestling with is the title itself.  Into Darkness..  I’m not sure that that was really ever explained, and if it was, I missed it.

I’ll keep a much closer eye on everything the second time I see it.

Oh yes, there will be multiple viewings!

I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

You can read the Blu-Ray review of this movie here: Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-Ray Review

Erich Von Hase Professional Minis Painter

Facebook can be a wonderful place sometimes. I admit it.. I’m on there quite a bit. I ran across a post today that I want to share with you guys.

A good while ago.. hell, around the mid 1990’s I guess it would have been, I met a guy by the name of Erich Von Hase, who was great at painting miniatures. This guy would churn out painted minis by the truck-loads. Seriously, He produced a complete Blood Bowl boxed set (that’s two teams folks) in less than a day! Remember the old Games Workshop games Epic 40K? I actually watched him paint THREE complete boxed sets for our display case IN ONE DAY!

I’m not talking slapped on paint here either, I’m talking slick, clean, and full of details. I’m talking flocked bases, and more detail.

Take a look at some of his works:

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orcs
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space2

I’m posting this because it just came to my attention that he is making some incredible deals on his painting services.

His rates are as follows:

Field quality = Current Retail Cost of the Figures.
Studio Quality = 3x Current Retail Cost of the Figures.
Basic basing + $1 per miniature.
Studio basing + $2 per miniature.
Custom services = negotiable.

In regards to shipping he states: “I’ll charge whatever the shipping costs are. No reason to mark any of that up.

Want to ask him some questions or need to find out some more info from Erich? You can get a hold of him here: Erich Von Hase.

Go ahead and pull out your minis (hey! get your mind out of the gutter!) and start visualizing how you want it painted; then reach out to Erich, get those minis looking all wicked and watch your opponents surrender in defeat based on how your minis look!

GameMasters.com’s Dollar Shave Club Unboxing and Review

I shave.

I grow the hair that I shave like a wookie.

I recently shaved my head, so I shave even more now.

I joined the Dollar Shave Club so I could Save More because I Shave More.

This is my unboxing and review of their product.

If you want to order some up follow this link (it’s my referral code): Dollar Shave Club

Legions of Steel – Miniatures Game

I’ve always been a fan of miniatures. We used to buy the Ral Partha minis waaay back in the day and use them to represent our AD&D characters. We never thought of building terrain to help visualize our game campaigns, and we certainly never thought about building a game totally around the minis themselves.

That all changed for me back in the summer of 1994. I was introduced to the boxed game called Legions of Steel. It had little square tiles that would “snap” together. The game setting was the future, thus the tiles had a futuristic print applied to them, they looked like the innards of a space-ship or a future military base.
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There were two types of minis; human space marines and the robotic machines. You rolled dice, there were loads of little cardboard tokens that signified when you were shooting your gun, when you tossed up a shield wall, or when you threw out a grenade. The scenario (and there was countless scenarios you could play) we did was simple, the machines had taken over a bunker and were trying to implant a virus into the computer system. It was the job of the humans to reach the computer center and either take out the enemy or blow up the computer center.

los1I played the machines. There were 3 rounds left before the program infected the computers, I was down to 1 machine left. There were 2 marines coming at me from down the hall. I moved into a room and stopped. They approached and I tossed a grenade. I fumbled my throw and it dropped at my feet. Somehow I managed to kill the two marines and myself with that grenade. Game over right? Nope! With two rounds left and no marines to stop the program, the virus got sent and even though all my machines were now piles of scrap, I won the scenario!

I’ve been hooked on it ever since.

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After a month or so of playing, it sure did feel like this was a game of Humans vs. Terminators. I painted my machines to look like Terminators and the scenarios quickly morphed into something that John Connor would face. We even created special stats just for one marine and named his John Connor.

One day, while playing, a 3rd person wanted to play.  How could we do that?  We then decided to get a 2nd box of Legions of Steel and mesh the two games together.  This called for a different color scheme for the machines, this time they were painted red (just because red was my favorite color).  We used the same rules, no worries there, and just expanded the board by adding more tiles.  Now it was two factions of Terminators vs. Humans.

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Now I had many more tiles to work with but I wanted something big.  Something grand.  Something effing epic!  Then it hit me…  What if I added some Aliens to the mix?  Oh sure, a new set of rules had to be created for them, but hot damn this was going to be some hot-diggity fun!

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los8And then I ran across even more Aliens and like the red Terminators I gave these guys a different color scheme too.  Now we had enough board and teams for 5 players!  Yeah, the face-huggers couldn’t do squat to the Terminators, but the acid sure did work a number on them!  And oh yeah, everyone could team up and go after 1 specific team.  It was bloody chaos!

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But it wasn’t over yet.  My role in the game swiftly went to the sidelines because with so much going on, the rules got a little complicated.  I mean, shucks, we did deviate a bit from the main rules set.  Yes, the marines still used the same rules and the machine did as well, but now we had Aliens and multiple teams, it was getting crazy.  Yeah, I felt it best if I just mediated the game from now on.  We still played some one on one games, because I missed playing, but damn, it sure was fun to be the one who master-minded everything.

Then I had a grand idea…

Oh hell no.  During once scenario I told them there was a massive rumble felt deep within the facility.  When one of them went to check it out they found bleached skulls…

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And so introduced my newest game idea.   We had been playing for about an hour when I introduced him.  The players cheered and the Terminators immediately teamed up.  The two Alien players tried to team up, but team 1 ended up backstabbing team 2 and they all died (team 2).  The humans were trapped in the middle but did fairly well.. until they ran into this:

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Oh yeah, a Predator.  I never finished painting it but that didn’t stop us from having a grand game.  Humans were slaughtered, machines were reduced to slag, aliens oozed acid all over the place.

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Then in the end… everyone died.  There was no stopping…  HER.

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From 1994 up to about 2003 we played this game, the various “home-brew” scenarios, and we had FUN.  Eventually the cardboard tiles got pretty tired, they were cardboard after all.  Eventually we starting making out own terrain, players came and went, but the game itself was legendary in the game store.  I’d highly recommend picking this one up if you can find it.  I’ve still got mine along with all the minis and now me and my two kids play it…  Quite often.

Zombie Pandemic Sneak Peak

After I posted about Radiated Wastelands from Pixel Pandemic, Thomas from over there shot me a little bit of sneaky information about one of their other games, Zombie Pandemic.

Here is what he had to say:

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“The free to play browser survival horror MMORPG Zombie Pandemic is getting a complete overhaul. Based on several requests from the community about being able to play the game fullscreen, having an user interface which supported navigation and exploration better and lots of other input the development team is now finally only a few weeks away from making it available. The combat system will also be dramatically changed and include splash damage and special attacks as well to simulate the survival horror experience even better. Exploration will include more hurdles as movement in the quarantined will be more limited making use of obstacles. The sound design is also getting a major update in a few weeks and Pixel Pandemic has also revealed that they are working on a PvP combat system, introducing more scarcity making looting even more important and other more hardcore gameplay elements which has also been requested by the community for long time.”

You can check the game out here:

www.ZombiePandemic.com

It’s also free to play, was that mentioned already? Yeah, well, free is always good especially when it comes to zombies.

Peace!

Radiated Wasteland – PBBG MMORPG

The Future!

Flying cars!  Lasers (on sharks!)  oooh this is going to be cool!

Radiation?  Wasteland? Mutants? Ghouls?  ahh crap.  You mean I’m not going to go around in a flying car or have a hover board? 

Well wait a second.. What is Radiated Wasteland and what exactly is a PBBG?  I know MMORPG, but wha…

Let me back up a bit.  Didn’t mean to get all Tarantino on you there.

PBBG stands for Persistent Browser Based Game.

Okay, I’m clear on that now.  I think.  But what is Radiated Wasteland?  You didn’t answer that.

Keep your nose on, I’m getting to that.  First let me place a banner image of their game:

radiated_wasteland

Does that say Open Beta?  I love those!  Gives me a chance to play the game and provide feedback!  OHH!  It’s FREE to play too!

Now who’s getting ahead of who, I’ll get to the Beta in a moment.  Didn’t you want to know what Radiated Wasteland was?

Ohh, snap.  Sorry about that.  Continue.

Okay, so it breaks down like this…  In the future the fit has hit the shan.  The planet is in ruins, and everything we know is a Radiated Wasteland.  You play as a survivor trying to get by in this apocalyptic world.  Actually, it’s more than just survival, you will face mutants, ghouls, and of course other humans who just want to kill you to take anything of value off of your body for their own survival.  It’s made by Pixel Pandemic (the same people who brought you Zombie Pandemic ).

Mutants and ghouls sounds good.  I love end of the world type games.  How much time do I have to invest in this?  I’ve got a job and kids and they don’t really give me much time.

That’s one of the coolest aspects to this game, because this is a PBBG, it can be played in less than 15 minutes a day!  This opens up for several challenges.  Firstly, it is a turned based game with a limited number of actions per day.  This should give you a good challenge as you consider what to do in order to gain the most out of each play session.

That sounds like a lot of fun.  Do you have any screen shots?  I want to play a game that looks cool.

Take a look at these:

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Yeah, those are kindav small.  Hmm.  I tell ya what..  Check out this movie:

[display_podcast]

I like that!  Tell me more about the Open Beta.

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The Open Beta opens on February 11th, 2013.  It’s FREE!

How do i sign up?

Simple!  Head on over to their website and click the button (hint, it says SIGN UP).  Their website is http://www.radiatedwasteland.com .

You can also follow them on Facebook as well as Twitter.  Those links are:

http://www.facebook.com/RadiatedWastelandGame

http://twitter.com/RadWasteland

That’s a lot to chew on, no doubt about that!

There’s more.

More?

Yep.  I tell ya what, just head on over to their website, it’s got all kinds of great information.  They talk about the storyline, the vision of why they made the game, they even go into the details of co-op game play.  Shucks, you can even check out all the game features such as customizing your avatar, game events, perks, achievements, and more over there!

Just don’t let the ghouls get ya!

How I named my Guild

Many a year ago, around the early 1980’s I sat down in front of a Commodore 64 and read the following line:

“You are standing in front of a white house with a boarded up front door.  There is a mailbox nearby.”

The game was Zork.  I was hooked.  I discovered that day that I was a gamer and that I would be for life.  The years rolled on, games came and went.  Zork certainly was a life changer, as strange as that may sound.  Oh sure there were other games that shaped my gaming; Bard’s Tale, Ultima, Dragon Warrior, Temple of Apshi, Mortal Kombat; just to name a few.

In the early 90’s I was introduced to an online game called Kingdom of Drakkar.  You can read a fair bit about it here: Kingdom of Drakkar.  Whoah!  This game was super cool!  I could jump into a game that other people also were in and actually talk to them in real time!  I could also join a group called a guild!  This was more or less like an online “family”.  It was a group of people who liked to take on tasks and hunts together.  This was certainly my kind of game!  (I still play it to this day – yes, Kingdom of Drakkar is still online but more on this game a little later.).

Then came along Evercra.. er.. I mean EverQuest.  This one too had guilds.  I tried my hand at running a guild, I have after all, been running a 3 year long Dungeons and Dragons campaign.  How hard could it be to run and orchestrate a group of players in an online game?  It really wasn’t too difficult but the most challenging aspect was that not everyone was on at the same time.  That caused me to start playing at some odd hours because there were some players that I really enjoyed playing with.

Eventually World of Warcraft came along.  I guess I’ve been playing it pretty much since vanilla (that’s just over 8 years).  I’ve run a total of 7 guilds in WoW.  I’ll admit that none of them have been what mainstream players would call “Uber” or “Leet”.  They have been mostly small, friendly, and laid back.

Yes, yes, there have been other games that I’ve played, some I still log into, others I’ve wiped from my system to never dream of returning to.

However…

Remember a few lines above I mentioned that I would return to the topic of Kingdom of Drakkar?  Okay, this is it:

I do a hand-full of graphics for that game.  It’s a 2D retro styled game.  To be fair it’s really a game that is rich in story and in background, and the graphics have simply stayed at the era in which it was created.  More or less.  Keep in mind Kingdom of Drakkar was originally called Realm and came out in 1984 as a text MuD (that’s Multi-User Dungeon), and the name was changed in 1989 to Kingdom of Drakkar (that’s when the textual Mud was tossed and a graphical interface was coded in).  It’s 2013 as I type this.  Yes, this game is almost 30 years old.

Why that tangent?  To simply explain the graphics.  They started out as 8-bit graphics and are now 24-bit (those are the ones that I do for it).  I’ve done 90% of the ground terrains (stuff like water, grass, lava, dirt roads, dungeon floors, etc), as well as several items and a small handful of monsters.

The reason I’m going into detail here about Kingdom of Drakkar is to share with you the personal connection I have to the game.  I also want to share with you the connection it has with World of Warcraft.

Wherever I go somewhere and run into a gamer I try to spread the word about Drakkar.  It’s a small community and word of mouth goes a long way.  I let them know, just as I am about to let YOU know, that I’m almost always logged into the Drakkar lobby (feel free to download the game, log in and say hi).  As a result of my connection to Drakkar, I also try to embed it into various places.  I may go to the public library and go to Drakkar’s website and leave it there, same thing on demo computers at places like Best Buy and Walmart.  Stuff like that.

SO when it came time to rename an old guild I had in Warcraft, I figured what would be a better name than <DRAKKAR> ?

And thus it came to be that <DRAKKAR> is the guild name.  It’s on the Fizzcrank server (Alliance) if you want to drop by and check it out.  We are level 25, have most of the guild achievements, but get this.. we are only 5 active players.  That’s all we have.  Five.  Getting in is very difficult, it’s pretty much invite only, but to anyone who plays the game and knows who I am in Kingdom of Drakkar, well.. You may very well be a good candidate for joining if you so desire.

Oh, and for those on the Horde side, we have a guild on the same server for you as well, <RAKKARD>.

See what I did there?

So with any game out there, look for that guild, you never know, it may very well be me.  Say hi, let me know that you read this article and we can team up to take on any baddies out there!

10 Horror Apps You Must Have For Your Smartphone

I’ve got an iPhone and I love it.  To be honest, I don’t really use it as a phone; I use it more for the apps than anything else.  Yes, yes, I have Angry Birds, Tiny Towers, Pocket Frogs and other silly games, but that’s not what we are going to talk about today.  No.  No, today I want to share with you some of the more fun Horror Apps that I’ve run across, and the best thing.. They are all going to be FREE!  However, to be fair, some of what I am going to share with you will also have a paid version of the app as well, so be sure to look for the one that is free (or cough up the little bit it does cost ’cause the apps I’m about to show you are hellicool!).

Also.. I’m not going to provide links to these because I really have no idea which smartphone you may have; Iphone or Android; to find them, just go to your favorite store and look for them by title.
I can’t say any one is better than the next, but they do get the most use of any of the other apps I’ve tried. Here they are in no particular order:
Dead Runner

This app is a game of sorts.  Have you ever had that dream where you are running through the woods and something sinister is chasing you?  That’s this game.  You are in a dark and eerie forest.  Within each of the trees around you are twisted souls that whisper to you, telling you to run as fast as your legs will carry you.  There is something evil in those woods that crawls closer to you as each moment passes by.  You simply run as far as you can without being caught.

 

Zombie Smash

Another game, but perhaps one of the best free zombie games that I’ve tried.  This is a side-tilted game where you use your thumbs to flick zombies away from your house.  Flick them up and away or raise them high into the air and smash them down upon the ground and watch them explode in a mass of gore.  There are several weapons that you are able to unlock as the game progresses, rocks, guns, soccer balls, even debris from outer space.  The objective is to keep them from attacking your house.  Just beware of Bruno, the super zombie!

 

Shoot to Kill

You have gone to the Seventh Level of Hell with a shotgun.  You stand in a pentagram and are able to rotate your character around pointing at different demons that come at you from the darkness.  As you progress up the levels of Hell, demons get tougher, but you also get slightly more powerful guns.

 

Finger Slayer

This is a reaction game.  Remember that hand slapping game you played as a kid where you put your hands out, palm up, and your friend put their hands on top of yours, palm down, and you tried to quickly slap the top of their hand?  It’s a little like that, but not really.  You place your finger on the screen with an image of a guillotine and a timer begins.  Suddenly the guillotine will drop and you must remove your finger before it gets chopped!

 

Werewolf Locator

This one is not exactly a game, but it is a really cool app.  First off it will tell you what phase the Moon is in.  Secondly it will sweep a radar searching for Werewolves.  Yes, on the surface it would appear that you can only use it once, as werewolves only show up during the full moon, and well.. the full moon happens once a month.  Ahh.. but there is a ‘cheat code’ function that allows you to enter in a combination of three numbers, and with that you can enter in 1,1,1 to have a “fake full moon cheat” active any time you wish!  You can also enter in 6,6,6 to see where the Devil himself is roaming!  Some others that you will just have to enter in for yourself to see what they do are:  0,6,9  8,0,8  and 1,0,1  are just a few.  If you find a vampire or zombie code, let me know!

 

Haunted Manor – Lord of Mirrors

I-Spy type game with puzzles.  Okay, you are trapped in a haunted house.  Several ghosts, a few of which are not happy that you are there, inhabit the house.  The objective is to move from area to area, from room to room, searching for items and clues and ultimately a piece of a broken mirror.  Once all the mirror pieces are found and put back together then you are able to escape the house.  While the game is incredibly fun, the free version only contains a few rooms to explore.

 

Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins Gold Knights

I can remember pumping quarter after quarter into this damn machine at the local gas station when I was a kid.  Now I find myself playing it endlessly again, thankfully it’s not costing me twenty-five cents each go around this time.  This is pretty much just like the arcade game from the 1980’s but with a few tweaks to make it flow a little better.  You are a knight tasked to go from one end of the screen to the other.  Zombies, flying things, and other monsters keep getting in your way, and you better be careful because you will get your armor knocked off leaving you in just your undies!

 

101+ Horror Stories

Simply put, this is just over 101 Horror Stories that you can read.  Yeah, the text it kindav tiny on an iPhone, but you can resize the text.  These are mostly classic horror stories from about 30 or so authors.  A small sampling of authors:  H.G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allen Pow, Henry James, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Ambrose Bierce.

 

Blood Booth

I love taking pictures.  Seriously, I have about 19 photo apps on my phone, but Blood Booth is perhaps the most horrific.  Take a photo (or load one from your camera roll) and apply all kinds of fun effects, from nails to splatters of blood to funky glasses.  You can even add captions.  I’ve used it a few times to make a stupid little horror comic (I love the caption feature).  Once you have your photo to the perfection of gore, you can save it to your camera roll or upload it directly to Facebook or Twitter (provided you have those apps installed).

 

Hungry Shark Night

Yep!  An app based on the movie!  Yeah, yeah, the movie was kindav lame but the apps is just too bloody to NOT be cool!  You don’t play the role of silly tourist trying to get away from the sharks and find a way to stop them.  You are playing the role of the shark!  You must swim around and eat schools of fish and silently stalk the dangling legs of swimmers!  Yeah it’s a goofy game, but it’s fun to see that blood explode all through the water when you chomp down!

 

These are by no means all of the horror apps out there, but they are damn fun to goof around with when I have some down time.  What are some that you have run across?

Earth Defense Defence Force: Insect Armageddon

I’ve got a lot of games sitting around.  I mean a lot.  Some are crummy, some are flat out fantastic.  I wanted to do a review of one that I consider to be a sleeper-game.  To me a sleeper-game is one that was super fun but that very few people actually know about.  To apply the same term to a movie see Fight Club – yeah it’s a big hit now but it flopped big time in the movie theater.  That’s a sleeper.  Okay, I am starting to digress so here we go..

Imagine waking one day to discover that you were the size of an ant.  No, scratch that… You are still the same size you have always been.  Let’s start over.  Imagine waking one day to discover that ants were the size of convoy trucks, bees the size of helicopters, or spiders the size of skyscrapers!

 

Yeah, we’re talking about little monsters that have become larger than life:

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon

 

Earth Defense Force, originally presented as a co-op arcade game, was ported to the Super Nintendo in 1991.  Aliens, the Azyma Empire, built a base on the moon, and the Earth Defense Force is sent in to kill and take out the weapon that threatens to destroy earth.

Global Defense Force is the sequel, this one coming out for the PlayStation 2 in 2007.  The aliens are no longer around, but instead players fight off giant insects.

Earth Defense Force 2017 is the 3rd and was also released in 2007, this time for the Xbox 360.  Taking place in the year 2017, aliens have once again returned in their UFOs and this time they have brought giant ants with them.

The latest incarnation of the game is Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon, made by Vicious Cycle Software.  It was released on July 22nd of 2011, and is available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.  It is a first person shooter with a storyline that is not too different than the previous games, in this go around it is an infestation that is bigger and nastier than ever seen before.

In E.D.F.:IA you defend the city of New Detroit, even if you have to blow up every building in the process.  The game features over 300 weapons to find and use (sniper rifles, grenade launchers, energy weapons, and rocket launchers are but just a few).  You can also choose from 4 different types of classes (or as they call it, armors).

Jet Armor: This armor allows you to move fast, uses energy to refuel weapons, and of course allows you to fly.  The downside, it provides very little protection.

Trooper Armor: This is the standard armor but allows use of more weapons.  It has an upgradeable feature which makes it a tough unit to knock down.

Tactical Armor: This will allow you to deploy mines, radar dishes, and turrets.  As you progress through the game, more advanced items become available for this class.

Battle Armor: Want to take on the role of taking out massive amounts of bugs at once?  This is the class for you.  It can equip the most powerful weapons in the game and can also discharge an area wide electric jolt (chain-lightning for you magic users) causing damage to everything nearby.

With technology having advanced in our consoles, this game supports up to 6 players and can be played online.  There is a survival mode that pits players against unending swarms of bugs (thumbs will get tired in this mode, trust me).  Don’t think that these are your garden variety bugs either.  No, these guys are enhanced with all types of outer space sci-fi fun.  The following bugs are but just a few of the baddies you can expect to encounter:

Wolf Spider: Fast, jumps and hunts in packs

Daddy Long Legs: Slow, shoots plasma and lasers

Bomb Spider: Slow, launches Ticks

Ticks: Medium sized, can explode

Wasp: Flys, spits venom, and can eat you

Black Ant: Tunnels, hunts in packs

If you are looking for something mindless to play, Insect Armageddon will certainly fit the bill.  The storyline does not really develop too much, but then again why should there be a deep story when all you are supposed to do is kill anything and everything that moves?  There really is no strategy involved, just get out of the way, and kill.  It’s really that simple.

Not only do the bad guys explode in buckets of gore, but almost every building can be laid to waste as well.  When I say laying waste to buildings, I’m not talking about battle damage, I’m talking about total collapse to the ground destruction.

This is not a high budget game, but it still provides hours of fun, simply running around and blasting away at all the ginormous pixels on the screen.  Throw some friends into the mix, order up a pizza, and you have yourself a fun Tuesday night!

This is not a rendition of Starship Troopers, but you will face giant insects, massive mechs, and the occasional UFO.  So the bottom line is, if you are into “fire and forget”, want to have a choice of hundreds of different weapons, and mindlessly blow up everything, this game is a must have.

Larger than life monsters just don’t get much bigger than this.

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is rated T for Teen.

The Big Lebowski Limited Edition BluRay

F#$! it Dude.  If you are over the age of 25 and you even remotely have your finger on the pulse of what is a good movie, then you’ve already seen The Big Lebowski.   This Limited Edition BluRay version does not sport much in the way of new extras (yes, I own 2 previous versions of this movie on DVD – and each one was purchased specifically for it’s extra features).  Don’t get me wrong, it does have extras, there is just not that much more on here that has not been previously released on past DVDs.  Of course the movie itself is beautiful on BluRay, so my true recommendation is to say “F#&! it, Dude, buy it anyways.”

 

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Features that we have seen before; and this WOULD be a valid reason to have this (they are now all together on one disc):

  • Jeff Bridges Photo Book: Exclusive shots taken on the set of The Big Lebowski by Jeff Bridges himself.
  • The Dude’s Life: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi and John Turturro take a look back at their performances and their delivery of the Coen Brothers’ dialogue that became classic movie lines.
  • The Dude Abides- The Big Lebowski Ten Years Later: A conversation with the cast about the film’s cult classic status.
  • Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams- The Dream Sequences of the Dude: Featurette on the making of the surreal sequences in the film.
  • The Making of The Big Lebowski
  • The Lebowski Fest- An Achiever’s Story: An in-depth look at the popular Lebowski Festival, formed by the legion of fans in honor of the film.
  • An Introduction: Featuring Mortimer Young.
  • Photo Gallery
  • Interactive Map (this is by far one of my favorite extra features; you can actually click a location and it will “zoom” in to where that scene was filmed.

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Limited Edition BluRay?  What makes it a limited edition?  What won’t it come with in the future?  Well.. The case itself is adorned with the artwork that you see in the feature image as posted above, the back is an image of The Dude’s Rug.  It’s actually pretty cool; but you also have within what Universal is calling a “Digibook” – a 28 page book that features stills from the production, quotes, an interview with Jeff Dowd (that’s the guy who inspired to Coen Brothers character ‘The Dude’ ), and a Duderology quiz (How many times does The dude say “man”? – stuff like that).  That’s pretty cool.  Universal has not stated when a regular edition will come out, nor have they said if the above packaging will be changed for it.

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BluRay special features always get me giddy.  I love em.  Shoot, it’s the reason I buy the BluRay to begin with!  The Big Lebowski does not disappoint when it comes to extras.  Yes, these were worth the price of admission.  You get:

  • Scene Companion: A picture in picture mode that features cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and more during key scenes.
  • Mark It Dude: On-screen counter that keeps track of all the “F-Bombs”, “Dudes” and “Dude-isms” in the film.
  • The Music of The Big Lebowski: Instantly identifies the songs heard while watching the film, and allows the creation of custom playlists.
  • Worthy Adversaries- What’s My Line Trivia: Trivia that tests your Lebowski knowledge by finishing lines of dialogue during the film. Play as Walter or The Dude or in two-player mode against friends.
  • U-CONTROL – let’s you access special features (making of, behind the scenes, etc) while you are watching the movie itself.
  • pocket BLU – you can use your mobile device to interface with your bluray player to access the special features and watch them directly on your mobile device.
  • BD-LIVE – this is pretty cool provided your BluRay player is connected to the internet.  You can check out updated special features when more are added instead of being stuck with only the ones that came on the bluray disc itself.
  • Mobile-To-Go – toss the movie onto your mobile device, ipad, itouch, smartphone, laptop, whatever.  Watch The Dude anywhere!
  • uHEAR – Hit the pop up menu and click on the uHear button and the movie skips back a few seconds and turns on the subtitles just for the patch of dialogue you missed.

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Apple to make a cheap IPhone?

Rumors will be rumors, but when trustworthy sources state that Apple is looking into releasing a less expensive version of their famous IPhone, it makes you wonder why they have not gone this route sooner.  The International Data Corporation (IDC) has stated that the “mobile phone market grew 2.4% year over year in the third quarter of 2012” with the “worldwide smartphone market vendors shipping 179.7 million units“.  Of that, Apple’s IPhone made up 29.6 million of those units.

Some would argue the small fraction of that unit from Apple had to do with the operating system (some people simply prefer the Android), but others would say it’s everything to do with price.  The average IPhone price is (brand new, off the shelf, no contract) about $500.00.  Yes, you can wait a few months and the price WILL drop, but I’m talking about Day 1, Hour 1.  That’s a fairly good chunk of cash for most of us.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you Apple is a greedy company, but they do want your money.  Hey, that’s business after all isn’t it?  I mean.. That’s what a business does, it tries to get you to open your wallet and fork over that green!  Apple, it seems, may have finally realized that they can make even more $$ by making one simple move; make a less expensive version of their IPhone.

It’s something that we have heard rumors about for a long time, but now more than ever it makes financial sense for them to release such a product.  We have claims that Apple is in the testing phase of the Iphone 6 (and the iOS7), and as stated above our sources claim that this “lower-end iPhone.. could debut as early as late 2013“.

NOW.. Let’s take it a step further and tie it into the TracPhone’s StraightTalk line.. A cheap iPhone that’s going to give me unlimited talk, text, and internet for $45.00 a month?  I may very well take that deal!

Magic: The Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 Deck Pack #3 Now Available

Wizards of the Coast has released the third and final Deck Pack expansion for Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 on Xbox LIVE Arcade, PlayStation Network and Steam (PC). It will release tomorrow (1-10-2013) on iPad. Available for $2.99, the Deck Pack features two brand new decks – Rogue’s Gallery & Mana Mystery – which provide new magic to defeat foes in Campaign or Multiplayer gameplay.
Additional information about these new decks includes:

Rogue’s Gallery: Manipulate and infiltrate with the blue and black “Rogues’ Gallery” deck. Disrupt your enemies’ plans with spells, then summon stealthy mages and shadowy undead to deliver the killing blows.

Mana Mystery: Wield all five colors of magic with the “Mana Mastery” deck. A pentacolor array of spells will help you keep the battlefield clear while you set the stage for towering, indomitable creatures!

This third Deck Pack also comes with foil conversions for Rogue’s Gallery and Mana Mystery decks. Available today, players are able to purchase either of these decks and/or their foil conversions individually.

Danny Trejo is Bad Ass

Danny Trejo is Bad Ass.

I’m going to pause for a moment so you can go right now to your video site of choice to order or download this movie.

Done? Okay. Yeah, you gotta see this one. It may not have vampires, or kids who are spys, or big ass knives (well.. okay there is one), or Predators, in it but it does have Danny Trejo. We like Danny Trejo.

He plays Frank Vega (no relation to Vince or Vic), who returns to America from Vietnam only to find he does not fit in. He tries to get a job with the LA Police force, but due to an injury to his leg from Vietnam (got shot) he is not able to join the force. He tries to get other jobs but as we all know, the late 1970’s were not exactly kind to our soldiers who returned home after defending our country. He gets work as a hot-dog vendor and discoveres that after 40 years, he is still.. a hot-dog vendor. He wants more out of life.

He explains through narrative what’s happened in his life up to him being 67 years old. The tag line for the movie is “They messed with the wrong senior citizen”.

While on a bus ride, he stands up to two gang members who are harassing a man for his seat. Frank kicks their asses all the while someone is recording everything on their phone. The video gets uploaded to ‘YouView’ (looks very similar to YouTube) and goes viral.

From there he becomes somewhat of a hero, which is what he always wanted after serving his country in Vietnam. His best friend gets murdered and Frank realizes that the police are doing nothing to figure out who did it, so he goes out upon his own to solve the murder.

The movie does not take itself too seriously. There is a fair amount of comedy in it, but it’s not a comedy. I’d honestly have to say it’s a feel good movie. It’ a vigilante film. It’s an underdog story. There is not a lot of blood (except for when he finds Terrance – whoosh, that’s pretty sic!), and the acting is a bit over the top, but it’s supposed to be! It is, afterall, an homage to the 1970’s Vigilante films.

Don’t expect a 2012 ultra clean cinematic viewing. That’s not to say it’s not a pretty film, oh man it certainly is! Director Craig Moss knocked this one out of the ball-park with his directing style, no question there. What I simply mean is that this film was made to appear as if it was produced in the late 1970’s (film grain, over exposed colors, stuff like that).

It came out in April of 2012 and has a running time of about 90 minutes.

This has quickly become among my top favorite Danny Trejo films of all time. It’s a must see, hell, it’s a must own!

…and when I’m 67… I’ll sport a fanny pack too… bi-atch!

Wii U Release Date: November 18th Price: from $299.99

Nintendo has finally let us all know the release date(s) and prices for their new console (yes, it is actually a new console – not just a game pad), the Wii U.

In the United States the Wii U will be released on Sunday, November 18th. It will be released in Europe on November 30th, and in Japan on December 8th.

There will be two versions of the console; Basic and Deluxe.

What’s the difference and which one do I need?

Basic: $299.99 comes with:
Console, GamePad Tablet, AC adapter, Wii U sensor bar, HDMI Cable, 8gig of storage.

Deluxe: $349.99 comes with:
Console, GamePad Tablet, AC Adapter, Wii U sensor bar, HDMI Cable, 32gig of storage, stands for the console and GamePad, GamePad charging station, and Nintendo Land.

Tech Specs:
Supports 1080p
Main Memory: 1GB
System Memory: 1GB
Total Memory: 2GB
Games will only use 1GB of the system’s memory, the other 1GB is for the Operating System.
Game Discs will hold up to 25GB of gaming fun and will stream up to 22.5 MB/s.
Nintendo has been tight lipped about the system’s CPU and GPU (so I’m not reporting what the speculation is on these).

The Wii U will also work as a DVR. Yep, Nintendo TVii (Teevii) is a new mode just announced that will allow you to use the GamePad to check out live television, shows recorded, and other online video services (think Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, etc) as well as music streaming. The best part? It’s integrated with the Wii U and it’s not going to cost anything extra, nor will there be a monthly fee (aside from what it may cost for a subscription to Netflix or similar services).

The Wii U is backwards compatible to the Wii and will make use of the Wii-mote and Nunchucks (although this new system does not come with either one).

The Wii U will sport just over 50 titles for it’s ‘Launch Window’ which Nintendo states is from November 18th, 2012 to March 31st, 2013.

All in all, the price seems decent (and remember it IS a new console – not a new way to play the WII), the features are cool, and of course it’s hitting shelves in time for the holidays.

I can’t say that I’m going to be 1st in line to pick this up on release day. I really want to see this in action for myself before I jump into yet another console (read this as: “Nintendo, send me one to review.”)

-Brian Hardin II

[REC]3:Genesis a review

WARNING: SPOILERS ABOUND!!!

Before I begin this review of [REC]3, I want to throw out there a little information about the 1st two, seeing as I have not reviewed them here, however, on our sister site – www.ZombieMall.com I do review the remake of the original [REC] for US release called Quarantine.  Also let it be known that these films are not in English.

[REC] – We follow a new anchor as she does a story of a local firehouse, she ends up doing a ride-a-long as they get a call to investigate something that has happened in an apartment building.  Told from the camera’s perspective we follow the various people around inside the building as they make discoveries.  The people in the building have taken on a sickness that brings them back from the dead (sortav).  Meanwhile, the building has been surrounded and condemned, no one can enter, no one can leave.  They figure out that someone in the building had a sick dog; there were dog bites; maybe this is rabies; there is a sick little girl; everyone dies except the new anchor; she goes upstairs and discovered a scientist’s room who was evidently working on something spiritual; there is a funky lady that drags our new anchor into the darkness as the movie ends.

[REC]2 – We begin with some kids goofing off with their camera (as in the 1st this movie is also told from the perspective of the camera’s lens) and they notice a nearby apartment building being surrounded.  They check it out.  They are sent away by the authorities but they don’t stay gone for long.  They see another man trying to enter, he keeps going on and on about how he had medicine for his sick daughter.  In watching you are to put two and two together and realize that everything you saw in the 1st movie is happening at the same time as this one.  The man with the medicine is also sent away; but the kids find him and he lets them know there is a secret way in.  They head off to break in.  Meanwhile a swat team arrives and they are to enter the building.  The moment they enter is also the same moment in which the news anchor from the 1st movie is pulled into the darkness.  Chaos; attacks; swat members die; swat finds kids; more deaths; eventually those left alive make it to the top of the building to the scientist’s room and discover a hidden door; they enter to discover that perhaps these things are not the dead returning to life but that they are instead demonic in origin.  They then discover our news anchor and she appears to be okay.  Except she turns on the last survivor and kills him; turns to the camera and reveals that she is possessed.

Okay; now that you have seen the setup let’s talk [REC]3: GENESIS.

With a title like that, going into the film, one can assume that perhaps this is going to be a prequel.  And yeah, it is sortav.  One can also assume we are going to see how this thing all started, and we do.. again I’ll use the word ‘sortav’.

The film starts out as if we are watching a home made wedding DVD.  Shows the TV on AV1, then flashes up a “technical screen” as if the dvd player was turned on, then we see a wedding dvd menu with two options; video and photos.  Video is chosen for us.

We see from the view of the camera (as in the 1st two movies), a kid filming the wedding of Koldo and Clara.  We follow random people around until we manage upon Koldo’s uncle.  He has a bandage on his hand and claims to have been bitten by a dog at the kennel (ahh.. that’s the origin, that damn dog).  He goes on to say;  “I thought he was dead, but he jumped up and bit me! I’ll be alright though.” and from there the uncle moves on to start drinking.

We see the ceremony (bride is pretty, groom is handsome blah blah blah; they say ‘I do’).  The after party is roaring; the bride and groom are dancing; the cameraman – Koldo’s cousin – moves outside to film some of the other party-goers and notices his uncle throwing up.  We know better, but with this being a film we can’t tell the cousin that.  We also see in the background some people in hazmat suits, the cousin comments on these people but brushes it off as insect fumigators.  Again, we cannot tell him otherwise.  He goes back inside and films a bit more.  From on top of an upstairs hall we see the uncle acting funny (everyone is to suspect he is drunk) and he falls over a bannister and onto a table on the main floor.  Everyone panics; someone yells to stop the music; another yells to call an ambulance.

The uncle then bites a woman (may have been his wife – I’m not 100% sure on that); and all hell breaks loose.  Husband and Wife; Koldo and Clara, are separated in the chaos.  The cousin goes with Koldo and a small group of people; we are not sure where Clara goes.  The small group makes it to a kitchen where someone freaks out and smashes the camera.

Finally on screen we see the opening of the movie: [REC]3: GENESIS (yeah about 30 or 45 minutes into it..

From this point forward it’s not longer told from the view of the camera lens, although there are a few scenes were we see what is going on from the facilities’ closed circuit cameras.

Hordes of “zombies” are now everywhere; we follow the small group as they make it out of the kitchen and into a biblical temple.  For some reason the “zombies” cannot enter it.  Over the loudspeaker system we hear Clara telling Koldo that she is still alive and that she is safe.  Oh and she is pregnant.  Koldo then sets out to find her.

Meanwhile we now see where Clara is; she is hiding with the priest that performed the marriage.  They get surrounded by “zombies” and he tells her to take off while he deals with it.  He starts to spurt out some bible verses and that seems to hold the “zombies” at bay.  Literally.. they stop moving and just stand there and kindav shake.

Clara finds two more survivors who were schtooping each other and have no idea what’s going on.  They take off; eventually it comes down to just Clara again.  Perhaps one of the best parts of the movie is this:

Clara is wearing her wedding gown, is covered in blood and is slicing up “zombies” with a chainsaw!

Eventually Koldo and Clara are reunited but then are surrounded by “zombies”.  They say their final goodbyes to each other knowing they are about to get eaten.  Suddenly the priest comes on over the loudspeaker and start again quoting bible verses.  All the “zombies” stop and just sortav shake in place.  Clara and Koldo take off.  They find their way outside now; only to see hundreds of dead family members and guests all having turned into “zombies”.  Each one standing there doing nothing but a little shake as the priest continues to speak.

Suddenly Koldo’s “zombified” grandfather rushes Clara and bites her on the hand.  He is wearing a hearing aid and evidently it’s broken.  Koldo “kills” his grandfather and cuts off Clara’s arm just above the elbow.  They walk to the main entrance of the facility only to find every this wrapped in plastic.  The men in hazmat suits are on the other wise and warn them not to exit.  Koldo picks up his bride and notices she is not doing so well.  She is infected.  He then carries her out of the gate and stands there facing dozens of guns in his face.  He kisses his bride, she bites his tongue out; they both get shot; the movie ends.

So what exactly did we learn from this 3rd installment?  Nothing really.  It just reinforced the events of the 1st two movies; it was a dog bite that started everything; and these things are not zombies but rather a demonic force of some type that can simply be held at bay by reading the Bible to them.

I enjoyed the film.  The acting was fine, the story was fun, and even though they were not 100% zombies; they were close enough.  There was a lot more gore in this one than in the previous two, no question there.  If a 4th [REC] comes out, I’ll see that one too.

The US release of this film is in select theaters on Friday, September 7th, 2012.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Title: Aliens: Colonial Marines

Release Date: 02-12-2013

Platforms: Xbox, PS3, PC (there will also be a Wii U version of the game released at a later date)

There is a Limited Edition as well as a Collector’s Edition of this game to be released as well.  More details on what is included are listed below.

Aliens: Colonial Marines begins with an ostensibly abandoned ship, the U.S.S. Sulaco, recovered in orbit around LV-426. Players lead a group of highly trained United States Colonial Marines as they board the deserted craft to uncover the fate of the crew. They will have to fight to survive unspeakable horrors and their own anxieties as they chase down the truth behind a galaxy-spanning deception that places humanity at the mercy of the most murderous and deadly species in the universe. Aliens: Colonial Marines features authentic environments, such as the surface of LV-426 and Hadley’s Hope, weapons inspired by the film series and is designed to provide an exhilarating and engaging new chapter in the Aliens universe.

Limited Edition:
·         Four Playable Movie Characters
o   Players will be able to fight for their squad’s survival and confront hordes of enemies as the original ALIENS film icons Private Hudson, Corporal Hicks, Private Drake and Sergeant Apone.
·         Additional Marines Character Customization Options
·         Ripley’s Flamethrower

Collector’s Edition:
·         High Quality Resin Powerloader Figurine in  Limited Edition Xeno Hive Box
·         Limited Edition of Aliens: Colonial Marines (content as outlined above)
·         Exclusive Multiplayer Weapons
o   Sonic Electronic Ball Breakers
o   Phase Plasma Rifle
·         Exclusive Game Level
o   USCM Academy Firing Range
·         USCM Dossier
o   Mission Brief
o   USS Sephora Schematic
o   Recruitment Card
o   LV-426 Recon Photo
o   USCM Iron-on Badges
o   USCM Graduation Certificate

“Aliens: Colonial Marines will be THE definitive ALIENS gaming experience,” said Gary Knight, Senior Vice President of Marketing at SEGA Europe and SEGA of America. “Gearbox Software are doing a brilliant job translating the thrill and horror that ALIENS stands for into an action-packed shooter experience with co-operative gameplay at its core.”

Final Fantasy 25 Years Collection

Can you read Japanese?  Do you know every bit of Final Fantasy? If so, Square Enix loves you and they want to show you how.

Twenty-five years after SE released the 1st Final Fantasy game, they are to release a massive collection that will include the first 13 games in the series.  For ¥35,000, (about $450 US Dollars) you can have the following:

  • Final Fantasy (PS1 – 1 disc)
  • Final Fantasy II (PS1 – 1 disc)
  • Final Fantasy III (PSP – 1 UMD)
  • Final Fantasy IV (PS1 – 1 disc)
  • Final Fantasy V (PS1 – 1 disc)
  • Final Fantasy VI (PS1 – 1 disc)
  • Final Fantasy VII International (PS1 – 4 discs)
  • Final Fantasy VIII (PS1 – 4 discs)
  • Final Fantasy IX (PS1 – 4 discs)
  • Final Fantasy X (PS2 – 1 disc)
  • Final Fantasy XI Vana’diel Collection 2(PS2 – 1 disc)
  • Final Fantasy XII (PS2 – 1 disc)
  • Final Fantasy XIII (PS3 – 1 disc)

There will also be included an Anniversary Video disk, a soundtrack on two discs, a special download item (free) for Final Fantasy XIV, a mini replica of Amano FF 25th Anniversary visual, and more.

As best we know this deal is only going to be released in Japan.

 

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