Archive for the ‘Noccie’ Category

 

Cell phone games seem to be the only thing I’m interested in lately (after Animal Crossing and MONSTER HUNTER.) They are great because in the summer I’m often stuck on a city bus for an hour or longer to get home. One of the best ways to find a new cell phone game, look around you on a bus. I have a bit of an advantage because Big Fish Games is on my way home. A large number of their employees get on the bus only a few stops after mine. If you take time to look up, sometimes you’ll see someone playing a game. It doesn’t hurt to watch them for a bit. If they are next to you, just ask them what the game is. Since they are developers, they often play other games to either research different genre of games, because they like those games or because they hear what other developers are making.

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Friend I made on the bus

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I’m on a bus!

Even if you don’t have a game company conveniently on your bus route, take a look around during your commute. That’s how I found 2048. There were a few people sitting near me playing the game. Every day for a week, I saw someone playing it. When the lady next to me started playing it, I had to ask her what the game was because I was fascinated. If you’re uncomfortable asking a stranger what game they are playing, ask your friends. My friends, even though they are hard-core gamers, always have one of two games on their phones.

Another great way to find cell phone games is to look at the indie games that were at PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) or your local video game convention. You can browse through the games and pick the ones that sounds fantastic. It takes a little more work because you might have to research them. Most conventions though have these games in the INDIE area. That’s where I’ve discovered some really fun games.

There are a few companies like Big Fish Games that have apps to help you find their games. The app lists the new games, top games and allows you to search for genre games. They also use the app to notify you when a new game is being released.

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Big Fish Games game App

If you’re lwpid-screenshot_2015-07-19-15-38-31.pngooking for game on the play store, you can search by categories. After you’ve played through one or two games, it will suggest other games based on your downloads.  The play store also has a section for free games. Half the time the free games are limited versions of a full game. These allow you to play a few levels before you have to purchase a full version. The plus side is you get to try out the game and often, it explains the mechanics that are unlockable in the full version. Dinner Dash mobile edition is like this. You can play through three restaurants before you have to purchase the full version of the game. I can’t stress this more though, if you can buy a game out right, it’s better than games that need continuous “optional” in game purchases. When I like a game with a free version, I give those people my money. Take it! Take my money! You deserve it. Stop asking me to view adds though. If I buy your game, I want the freaking game. I’ll even rate it or review it. (Although Word Crack keeps asking you to rate it, even after you rate it. Super annoying.)

 

When purchasingwpid-screenshot_2015-07-19-15-39-03.pngg or browsing free games, I like to sort by category. I tend to stick with puzzle games, strategy games and word games. There is a multitude of different styles including action, rpg, visual novels, hidden object, adventure, card and sports games. You really can find a game of any style. Some PC games are even available on mobile as well like Plants vs Zombies and World of Goo. Finally, a not so new phenomenon is the porting of old games to mobile versions. You can download several different emulators in order to play FFVII or any of the Final Fantasy franchise.

 

I still think the best way to find a good cell phone game is though is looking around your on the bus.

 

Ways to find games:
1. People Watching
2. List of games at conventions
3. Talk to Friends
4. Company Apps
5. Play Store recommendations and searches
6. Emulators

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wpid-screenshot_2015-07-18-10-12-16.pngNever before have I wanted, of my own free will, to do in-game purchases.  Yeah, you heard me right.

Alphabear is a cellphone game that is based on a boggle style game mechanic. You are given letters and you get points for spelling different words. They have added some Scrabble-esque features like point values per letter, but made it their own. They have also added a power up/ RPG style feature where your party of bears grow and gain more bonuses from experience points.

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The mechanics they have added make the game really fun and challenging. Over time the point value of an unused letter diminishes until the tile turns to stone. Stone letters impede you’re progress. In each chapter there are bear characters that you can collect to help you through levels. They each have unique powers. Some give you end score bonuses for specific letters or word length. Other bears help you with timed puzzles or keep letters from turning to stone for longer time. The more you play, the stronger your chosen bears get. They earn levels and their score bonus will increase and make it easier to make either goal.

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Every day there is a big puzzle and a basic puzzle. The basic puzzle is usually timed. After you beat the two puzzles there are boss puzzles to progress from chapter to chapter. Two days after I started playing they added a feature that allows you to move from chapter to chapter. I’m so happy!

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One of the cuter aspects is the bears grown on-screen as you play, moving the board along to reveal different letters. You spell a word and they grow out of the one of the letters. As you use the letters around them, they grow bigger, longer and wider. At the end of a puzzle, a bear uses some of the words you spelled to fill in a mad libs style saying. You can share these to social media or just move on. I love them. I will sometimes use the remix button on the bottom left to find one that is really funny and post it to my Facebook.

Remember the in-game purchases I mentioned? There are two kinds honey and coins. Honey allow you to play the different daily puzzles. Coins buy you into the treasure events. The honey regenerates over time. Coins you gain by playing puzzles. You can unlock endless honey for $4.99. You can not get endless coins but you can purchase coins if you are having trouble earning them through the game. You can use money, honey or watching a video to earn more. Buying the endless honey is the same as just purchasing this well made and adorable game. Honestly, you can make as much coin as you want if you have endless honey. If you’re being impatient though, or you need coin fast they have given you the choice.

How do you win?  They give you two goals at the start of a level. Using the letter value, bears score multipliers and BIG WORDS you try to make one of the two goals. At the end of a game the bears that grew on your board add to the final score.

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The final score is a combination of all the points. You gain coins from playing each level. It can be as little as 5 or as much as 50 from what I’ve seen. As a bonus they take a few of your words, thrown then in a mad libs style generator and create a hilarious photo you can upload to social media.

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Spry Fox is the company behind this adorable game. I found out it’s only been available for two weeks. Their other games include Triple Town and Road Not Taken. All their games feature the signature art style of blocky bears. There is an older word game called Panda Poet which is more like Word Crack or Words With Friends, than Alphabears. Panda Poet you play against a computer or an online opponent. They have three days to spell a word. Triple Town you are building a town and have to protect it from the bears. Road Not Taken is a completely different style of game. It’s an adventure game where you rescue children lost in the woods. They still have bears though and foxes!

They go to PAX every year. I’m really surprised I’ve never run into their games before now. I’m going to keep my eyes open from now on. They have a cool looking dragon game called Free Range Dragons that they showed off at PAX. They used their testers at the con to improve the game on the fly too. That’s an innovative use of a focus group that doesn’t know they are a focus group!

I recommend this game. I NEED ALL THE BEARS!

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Mocking Jay: Part 1
Release Date: Nov. 21, 2014
Director: Francis Lawrence
Official Trailer

The next Hunger Games installment comes out next month, much to excitement of fans everywhere! The last movie had a cliff hanger ending and we don’t know what happened to Johanna Mason or Peeta Mellark! ::Bites finger nails:: Although, if you have watched any of the trailers, you know they are alive. That’s all you get to know.

The next movie has Donald Sutherland back as the creepy President Snow. He’s back up to his old tricks by trying to drive public opinion in his favor while rumors of the Mocking Jay rebellion swirl around. Katniss finds herself in the hands of the rebellion lead by survivors of District 13. No one knew there was another district out there, some where.

Will Katniss be able to draw from deep within and lead the rebellion? Will she still be able to fight? I can’t wait to see what happens.

This movie looks fantastic. Julianne Moore is spooky as President Alma Coin. Take some time to look through the promotional portraits floating around out there and to watch the various trailers that have been released. We are in for a roller coaster as we find out if our heros can survive in a teenaged wasteland.

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Maze Runner
Release Date: Sept. 19th, 2014
Director: Wes Ball
Official Trailer

Thomas can’t remember anything but his name. Waking up to find himself trapped in a maze with a group of other young men, he has to figure out what is going on. Just as he’s adjusting to his world, a girl arrives named Teresa. There has never been a girl there before. Thomas becomes a maze runner mapping and looking for a way out as they try to survive.

There are some crazy mythological stories from Greece and one of them is the story of Theseus and another the story of Icarus and Daedalus.  Once upon a time, a crazy king had a minotaur. So he built a maze and put the minotaur in the middle. Then he fed the minotaur anyone that displeased him. Then they went to war with other city states and demanded that 7 young men and 7 of the best unwed young girls be sent every year to the feast of the minotaur. They were then sent into the maze and the minotaur would hunt them and kill them. This happened every year till Thesueus hunted and slayed the minotaur through wise trickery. That my friends, is the inspirational back ground for this type of story.

Kill the minotaur! Escape the MAZE!

In other news, the movie is based on a book. The book is supposedly fantastic. I haven’t myself read it but so many people have enjoyed it they sent the book to the FEAST OF SCREEN ADAPTATIONS! It happened to win. Thomas Brodie-Sangster is in the movie. You may known him as the voice of Ferb on Phinneas and Ferb. Chris Sheffield plays Ben and he was on Happy Land. Finally Dylan O’Brien plays the main character Thomas. You may have seen him on the TV show, Teen Wolf.

I think I am going to wait for NetFlix though I encourage everyone else to see this in the theater. There are some great young actors and actresses in this movie that we will see more of in the future.

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Young Ones
Release Date: Oct. 17, 2014 ( Limited US release)
Director: Jack Paltrow
Official Trailer

Water, it’s the most precious substance known to man. Imagine growing up in a world where your father tells you stories about green pastures. That is this world. Wouldn’t you do anything possible to protect your family in a world where dust is more abundant than rain or good morals? Join a young man and his equally young companions trying to survive in a near future filled with famine.

I love, love, love genre mash ups. This is not just post apocalyptic, it’s not just young adult, but it’s also a sci-fi western. Yes, you read that correctly. Just like Cowboys and Aliens, this is a sci-fi western. It’s also getting a limited US release. Right now the movie is just finishing up the film festival circuts, which is why you probably haven’t heard or seen anything about it. The director, Jack Paltrow, also wrote the movie. ( Yes, that’s Gwen’s brother.) The movie stars Elle Fanning (Super 8, Maleficent), Nicholas Hoult (Skins), Kodi Smit-McPhee (ParaNorman) and Michael Shannon ( Boardwalk Empire).

You should be outraged if you are not getting this movie in your city. Some films deserve to be seen. Ask your local theater for a showing… demand it. THROW THINGS… wait, don’t do that. Keep suggesting it till a wide release is scheduled.

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Steven Universe is the first Cartoon Network series created by a woman. That’s not the only reason you should watch it though. Rebecca Sugar is the writer, composer and story board artist for Steven Universe but she got her start on Adventure Time.  She won two prime time emmy’s for two of the shows most popular episodes, ” Fiona and Cake” and “Simon and Marcy”. If you don’t love “Simon and Marcy” you have no heart. There is a black hole where your heart should be!

Why should you really watch this show? It’s amazing. The show reminds me of 1970’s anime with a more robust story. They have songs randomly through out the series that have heart and emotion. The songs are also ear worms! (NOT THE BORE WORMS!) I can’t get the theme song out of my head sometimes for days. Aside from that, the show is fantastic. 🙂 The writing is insightful, heart warming and good for kids and adults.

The premise of the show is that Rose Quartz gave up her physical body to give birth to Steven. He’s being raised by the other Crystal Gems that protect the Earth. Garnet, Amythyst and Pearl live with Steven at the temple and his good hearted Father lives in a van by a car wash. His Dad is a bit of a hippy. He doesn’t really care much about conventional life and is happy to run the car wash and live in his cool van. Steven is slowly learning about his powers, his friends, his gem and his Mother.

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The show has lots of good hearted romping around in Beach City. You see the places Steven loves like the donut shop and the arcade. He tries to teach the Crystal Gems about being human as much as they try to teach him about being a Crystal Gem. Things don’t always go perfectly, but in the end they always find a new way to deal with each other. Even the Gems don’t always get a long.

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Pearl and Amethyst are like oil and water. They often butt heads because Pearl is a little uptight, Amethyst is a little too free spirited and Garnet is more into power over finess. Sometimes they have to fuse together and if they aren’t getting along or in agreement they can’t form an Gem fusion. It’s going to be interesting once Steven learns how to fuse. All of them have their strengths. Pearl is more about planning. Amethyst is more about quick decisive action. Garnet, as I’ve said is about might and power. She has these weapons that remind me of Hellboy’s red right hand. Steven is still learning, he tends to come up with unconventional solutions to problems but his biggest strength is uniting the Gems.

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We don’t know much about his Mother, Rose Quartz. In each episode we get little hints and glimpses of his Mother. The first episode has the most information about her. She was more powerful than the rest of the group, she loved music, she had a light cannon and her actual gem weapon was a shield. Later we learn that she often saw the beauty in everything, even in things others find gross.

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This show is really important and I hope it runs for a long time. I think it’s going to be influential on other animators out there because the stories aren’t your usual smash and grab. Much like Adventure Time, there is action but they also explore the emotional needs and back grounds of the different characters. In every story you can see some element of your life reflected back at you. It helps you to stop in the midst of the noise in the world and think, do I do that? Maybe it will help us relate to kids growing up in this weird place? There are so many times they try to shut Steven down because he’s a child only to find out that he has the solution, or that they need his help. Sometimes we’re so busy trying to do EVERYTHING that we don’t realize we’re shutting down the fun in our lives or how to ask for a hand. That maybe we need to get over our own embaressment for the sake of doing what someone else loves?

Maybe I’m reading to much into the cartoon and I should go find a cookie cat?

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P.S. Love how the music sounds like old school video game music! Here is a youtube link to songs from the show!

Cartoon Network puts most of their episodes up. Here is a link to available episodes of STEVEN UNIVERSE!

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PAX 2014 Tickets

Posted: September 3, 2014 by Noccie in Conventions, Noccie, PAX
Tags: , , , , ,

The tide has shifted. This year Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) felt different than in other years. Kane and I have been attending for 7 years and so, we have a bit of room to compare our experiences from this year and previous years.

I think the ticket scalpers may have done us a favor. There were so many passes out of general circulation, the place felt emptier than in previous years. I could move around, walk around, turn around, back up and all the other things I wanted. I could dance in the isles!

It’s my theory that this sense of space, was because so many badges were in the hands of scalpers. Even passing scalpers on the way into the building, on the last day, the scalpers had nearly an inch thick stack of badges for sale. They were super annoying and ALL over the place. It was SUPER annoying to be bombarded walking up and down the street with scalpers trying to buy and sell tickets. A friend of ours had a press pass, he was offered $10.00 for his pass. Yeah… no thank you sir. There is a bigger down side though.

It’s incredibly hard to get tickets.  Most of our friends didn’t get tickets this year because they sold out so quickly. There is no easy way to fix this issue. I don’t even know what to suggest to fix the issue besides making the solicitation, purchasing and selling of tickets on the street some sort of harrasment and making it illegal in public. That leaves thousands of tickets in the hands of ONLINE ticket brokers still.

You would think with all these tech savy people in one place we could figure out a better way of issuing passes to fans. A way must be invented to keep ticket scalpers from effecting a community in such a way.

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The company that took over for the creators of Penny Arcade have added many levels of security to the badges to keep out counterfits. That’s helped with the crowds a bit. They have a serial number, hologram, monogram sticker, a QR code, color coding and a super secret level of security. A black light reactive design was added to the pass. It didn’t photograph well but the design was a bunch of space invaders.

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This reminds me of when I was younger and impressionable. I used to go to a lot of death metal shows and the place had a problem with tickets. I went to everything thing there, death metal, speed metal, black metal,… etc. You get the picture. Well they started adding elements to the tickets so it was harder for people to make fakes. I understand why Benders Concert Cave did this, he was only charging $5.00 a ticket or $8.00 at the most. This was his bread and butter. Eventually they added a black light reactive element and then once you were in they stamped you with a black light reactive stamp as well. Don’t get me wrong, black lights are cool. I love the glowing freaking hidden stuff but in 20 years NOTHING has changed.

Can’t we come up with a better way to make the tickets hard to counterfit?

Secruity adds different levels. There is a level of safety, level of inconvience and many little levels that keep you safe or make your day harder. Everyone hates taking their shoes off in the airport. Does it keep the plane safe? I don’t know, maybe? I’m not saying that we need to be barefoot or that we aren’t allowed to bring in outside liquids. I do know that there has to be a better way to put tickets in the hands of people that love games.

Although, things really did change this year. I’ll write more later.

P.S. I’m not saying this because I want to stand in longer lines either… I just really dislike scalpers.

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The Boxtrolls
Release Date: Sept. 26, 2014
Directors: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
Official Trailer

Eggs, a human boy, has been raised by the boxtrolls. The subterranian dwellers live in the sewers and only venture above ground at night. That’s when they forage for supplies. An exterminator is seeking to stop the nusience from bothering the residents of the town above. Eggs has to find a way to save his friends and learn what it means to be human in the process.

The Boxtrolls looks enchanting. The directors have been in the animation departments for several beloved movies (Paranorman) and in the visual effects department (Hook) as well. One of the writters I adore, Adam Pava. He worked on the glorious Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends. The voice actors are very notable including Ben Kingsley, Nick Frost and Tracy Morgan. The animation studio worked on both Paranorman and Coraline. The clay animation is very inspired by Tim Burton. The artistic design is dark, yet colorful.

I can’t wait to watch Eggs dance his way into our hearts and minds.

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Book of Life
Release Date: Oct. 17, 2017
Director:Jorge R. Gutierrez
Official Trailer

Manolo has been the victim of the bet between two otherworldly beings. Finding himself in the land of the dead he travels through three worlds to figure out his path and which world he truely belongs.

Produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Jorge Gutierre, they bring to the screen a story with roots in Latin American stories. They worked together to bring a story to life that contains the mythology of the South America, in a Corpse Bride style movie. The main story line is a romance, Manolo is trying to get back to Maria, who he loves. Even death can’t stop him from trying to get back to the land of the living.

Everything I’ve seen of the movie so far makes me excited. The Corpse Bride was good but was missing something. I really feel that the missing element has been finally found.

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Hero 6
Release Date: Nov. 7, 200
Directors:  Don Hall, Chris Williams
Official Trailer

Hiro Hamada is a genius when it comes to robots. When a Kabuki masked villian appears, he teams up with a robot and some friends to defeat his army of nano bots.

Disney… sometimes you make the best films. We saw the trailer for this when we went to see Gaurdians of the Galaxy. It stuck with me so long, I can’t wait for it to come out. I hope it’s as good as the trailers make it seem. The two directors are responsible for some really fantastic movies. Don Hall worked on the Frog Princess and The Emperor’s New Groove. Chris Williams worked on The Emperor’s New Grove as well and Mulan. You can see the influence on the movie once you know what they’ve worked on in the past. There is a great story line supported with a humorous supporting cast. Tense situations are broken up by comedic action packed sequences. If you don’t see any other cartoon in the theater this year, please see this one.

Tonight was special. There were people all over Seattle that have flown, driven, bused, caravaned, and taken the train for PAX 2014. This is the first time I’ve seen so many people come together before the convention to celebrate. They had a pre-PAX boardgame night at the Sheraton next to the convetion center. We were told they approximate 600 people came through to the event. This was just one event.

I know of at least four other parties being held near by for PAX 2014.

Everyone was having fun playing board and card games. We even sat down with people we didn’t know and played Tanto Cuore.

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Kane took time to show a friend from New Mexico and his friend how to play AGAINST THE HORDE. That’s the game Kane’s developing.

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It was wonderful to see everyone getting together already. Keep building the community.

Also, there were a lot of geek girls dressed up to play board games, including myself. There was about a 50/50 ratio of women to men, too!

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Good night and see you tomorrow.

I’m so excited for PAX 2014! Every year Kane and I head down to the convention center for this fantastic romp through video game heaven. I’m looking forward to all the flashing lights, nifty swag and good times. Every year I get a little more into going to panels. I’ve picked out a bunch but here are some gems that you should look into.

Friday

10:30 AM  – Story Time with Mikey Neumann is the keynote speech this year. The Keynotes have been awesome, even if I didn’t really know who the speaker was that year. Mikey Neumann works for Gearbox Software, so it should be an interesting talk.

11:30 AM – Building Inclusive Community in Analog Gaming Spaces – The panel is a great  conversation about how to bring in various groups of people and get them involved in gaming. They really mean it too. They discuss bringing in families with children, more women, getting girls interested at a young age, minorities and people with disabilities. They also bring up how to get new players involved! I’ve been to the panel before and I’m an acquaintance of Donna Prior, who is on the panel. It’s always a good conversation that involves the audience.

3:00 PM – Pop Cap – How We Make Games – I really just want to go to this panel because I disliked the second Plants vs Zombies. I think I deserve an explanation.

5:00 PM – Hironobu Sakaguchi Reflection, Past, Preset and Future of RPGs – Hironobu Sakaguchi is the creator of Final Fantasy. It will interesting to hear him talk about the evolution of the genre.

8:30 PM – Friday Night Concert – The Doubleclicks are playing! I love them. Caught them last year and I’m addicted. They have catchy tunes that hit you right in the feels. They also have the Triforce Quartet and Paul & Storm performing.

Saturday

12:30 – Firaxis Mega Panel – I am so excited!!! They are going to show off what they are working on for the sequel to Alpha Centauri, Sid Meier’s Civilization:  Beyond Earth. I’ve been waiting for this game playing Alpha Centauri over and over.

4:30 PM – Grim Fandango: Bringing the Dead Back to Life – I loved Grim Fandango. This panel will be talking about how they are remastering the game for PS4 and Vita.

Sunday

10:00 AM – Are Twitch, YouTube and Podcasts Killing Traditional Games Journalism? – I am curious to see what the panel has to say. Maybe it’s not killing the traditions, maybe it’s giving them competition that they need to become better. Although, by Sunday I may be too tired to get there by 10AM. We’ll see.

12:30 – Women in Games Development: We Have the Best Job Ever! – I am a bit of a feminist. I do tend to go to panels that discuss women and their roles in my world. I want to contribute and be a part of this panel that discusses the industry spanning from big games to indie games.

2:00 PM – Bridge to Japan: The Process of Localizing Japanese Media – This will be all about bringing over Japanese shows, games, cards etc and how mistranslation can cause chaos with an American audience. They actually mention Cardcaptor Sakura. I am glad they do because there was originally a lesbian story line that was taken out to spare American audiences. Weird.

8:00 PM – Three Old Guys Playing Falling Block Games – I love Tetris. They are going to be playing a variety of games. I am curious what they are going to pull out.

Monday

12:30 PM  – Video Game Memories: What Makes a Game Special – They have a group of games journalists talking about what makes a game special. I’ll tell you what, FALL OUT. That is all you need to know about games.

2:30 PM – Beyond the Stars: How Games Are Keeping Science Fiction Alive – I don’t know who any of the panelists are but I like the subject. Being a science fiction writer, I try to keep games and movies in mind when I write my descriptions. That way if they are optioned, I’m all set!

I’m mostly just excited for the convention. I buy dice there every year and I want more of the Q-Workshop dice. I also want to visit the Funko booth and buy some bobble heads.

I’m only cosplaying two days. I have a Muad Pie outfit and a Star Trek costume. Although, I dyed my hair for Muad! 🙂

See you there!

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As Above, So Below
Release Date: August 29, 2014
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Official Trailer On Website

A group of urban explorers decide to go into the catacombs beneath Paris. Meant to be a short, fun exploration of macabre history of France they discover instead a door way from city of the dead, into a maze of the damned.

Have you seen the Decent? Well, you should. They use a number of the same plot progression points in As Above, So Below. The basic plot is above. They go into the catacombs. What’s going on is they find a door that says ” Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here” and they step into hell… or do they?  From what I’ve seen you can’t tell if they are actually in hell or if they are imagining it. Then they go further and further into the ground. Each person is haunted by something from their past and they have to try to survive to get back to the surface. The movie is curious. I’m willing to give it a try but I have to wait until it’s out of the theater because my claustrophobia PTSD was triggered just watching the trailer. I love exploring but that whole squeezing through tight holes in the earth… yeah. I’ll skip that.

The director is respectable but still pretty new. John Erick Dowdle is responsible for the movie Quarantine but nothing else of note. The main character is played by Perdita Weeks who is a fairly well-known British actress. She’s been in Mid Summer Murders, a series my parents gush over. The male lead is Ben Feldman who has a pretty long list of credits. He played Travis in Cloverfield and Michael Ginsberg on Mad Men.

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A Good Marriage
Release Date: October 3, 2014
Director:Peter Askin
Official Trailer

Darcy discovers that even in a good marriage, there are secrets. Her husband, Bob, goes on a business trip. While he is away she finds a box in the garage that tells her more than she ever wanted to know about the man she married. What would you do if after 25 years of marriage you discovered the person you love isn’t who you though you married?

Wow, watch the trailer. This movie is based on a short story written by Stephen King. The main character is Darcy and her husband Bob is secretly a serial killer. I’m not ruining anything by say that, this is all covered in the trailer. What would you do if you found out your husband is a serial killer? I would go to the police. NO WAFFLING. I would go to the police and put my cats in a carrier and take them with me. Yup, yup, yup. So what does Darcy do? She tries to hide that she knows. What the hell is that?

If she didn’t stay it would be a short movie. Altogether, it looks like a good movie. (Call the police…)

 

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Annabelle
Release Date: October 3, 2014
Director: John R. Leonetti
Official Trailer

A couple, Mia and John, are expecting their first child. After a horrific night when their home is invaded, one of Mia’s antique dolls becomes possessed by a ghost. The ghost in the doll is a member of the satanic cult that invaded their home and died holding the antique. Now they have to figure out how to protect their family and get rid of the vengeful spirit.

If you haven’t seen the Conjuring, you might want to see that first. This movie is the prequel to the Conjuring. It’s a fictionalization of doll’s back story. The Annabelle case was pretty well known in the paranormal world because of the investigation by the Warrens and the museum of haunted items run by John Zaffis. The real doll looks very different though.

The movie looks pretty freaking scary, but not as much as The Conjuring. ( Hunt and Clap haunts me.)

The director is responisble for cinematography for The Mask and the TV show Sleepy Hallow. He’s directed a few movies but nothing that really needs to be mentioned ( Butterfly Effect 2). The writer, Gary Dauberman,  only works on horror movies, but nothing I’ve seen. They look pretty cheesy, I may have to watch a few. I can’t say much besides it doesn’t look like Puppet Master, which is a good thing. I love Puppet Master though, don’t get me wrong. The special effects make everything look very unsettling and I am going to enjoy getting scared. Then I am going to hide my dolls.

“Myth is a powerful force in my life dude.” – Shelby

Adventure Time, Come on bring your friends. We’ll go to very distant lands. They weren’t kidding. In Little Brother, the eleventh episode of season six, the writers dig deep to create an artistic story sprinkled with mythological refrences.

THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD, like this poster. You know what I mean. Don’t go any further.

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Little Brother focuses on a new character spawned from Shelby’s tail. Shelby is throwing a party in Jake’s violin. The party turns into dancing and Shelby is jealous of Dancing Bug.  Shelby does some parcour to impress a girl. Losing his grip, he falls and cut’s off his own butt. Being a worm, the butt comes to life. Shelby is shocked because he has a little brother and names him Kent. His little brother is annoying and so he asks Jake for advice on dealing with a little brother. Jake tells Shelby to give him a sword and go on adventures. What Jake meant was to build the same kind of relationship he has with Finn, where they go out and adventure. Those adventures build on their friendships. Shelby wants quiet time though, so he gives Kent a sword and sends him out into the world. Due to his youth, Kent doesn’t know fear and he runs into the tree to find adventure. Once inside the tree he encounters an evil white rat gnawing at the roots of the tree. The Rat kicks his butt and he wakes up in the leafy village amongst the roots of the tree. Waking up, Leaf Beard, tells him he had the stuffing knocked out of him by the Rat King. Kent drinks dew offered him and then embarks on a quest to build a sword to vanquish the Rat King. First, he is tempted in the hall of singing crystals with infinate wealth. With no use for wealth he passes the test and gets Mystic Ore. Second, he is tempted by love and offered one of three wives. He has no need for love or the responsibility of family and passes the test. He receives the Mystic Earth. Thirdly he is offered the chance to drink from a magic sprind and receice Life Eternal. He’s just born and has no concept of his own mortality so he has no need for eternal life. Passing the final test he receives the sacred flame. Bringing them back to the Blacksmith, they make a sword called PUNCH PARTY!  Facing the Rat King, he senses Kent’s power and offers him the chance to become a God. Kent refuses. Using the sword Kent takes the teeth of the rat king but lets him live. Shelby sees what Jake and Finn have and realizes how much he misses his brother. Returning home Kent recites his tale and Shelby writes down the story told him. Shelby is forelorn because he has to say good by to his little brother. Since he took the dew of the underworld he has to return there, by their law. That Spring, the tree bloomed for the first time.

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Little Brother is  a classic mythological story that is influenced by the Persephone tale and the tale of three temptations of the Buddha. If you aren’t familiar with Persephone she was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. This is Persephone light, so you get the idea. Persephone was sought after by Hades, the Lord of the Underworld. He abducted her and as long as Persephone didn’t eat or drink anything she could return to the surface and her Mother, Demeter. Persephone ate 6 pomegranate seeds while she was there but the Gods struck a deal. Persephone had to spend six months in the Underworld and then she could spend 6 months on Earth. In protest Demeter decrees that while her daughter is in the Underworld, nothing shall grow and the Earth shall grow cold. This is why we have the seasons. The basis of Kent’s story shares many of the elements in the Persephone story and results in his need to return to the roots of the tree. In the episode it was the dew of the Underworld instead of the food of the Underworld, but same concept. Hopefully that also means he will return every spring.

The Buddha, when he reached enlightenment he sat beneath the Bodhi tree. Mara, the Demon, sent three temptations to try and keep him from his path. The first were his three daughters, the temptation of the flesh. The two stories vary here, one version says that they threw the elements at him to scary him. Another says they lead soldiers to war with him and he won with his virtue. Lastly, Mara whispered how proud he was to instill pride. The temptations that Kent face are very similiar, the daughters, the wealth and eternal life. Kent was offered three temptations while traveling with in the tree. He was so new to life that nothing but what his brother asked him to do mattered.

There are many comparison’s visually to the Nutcracker and to Lord of the Rings in the episode as well. Here are a few little galleries.

The Evil Rat King looks like the Rat King in the Nutcracker. Look at his cute little crown.

The broken sword reminds me of Aragon’s sword from the Lord of the Rings.

The writing of the book is like in the Hobbit.

Why is this important?

Lots of little kids have little brothers, so they relate to the daily annoyance of having a younger sibling. They also relate later in life not having a great relationship with their siblings, pushing them away and never spending quality time together. We go out into the world and slay our dragons. Those days in the sun can never be recaptured. That person we become can never be affected in the same way by that relationship.

The episode also has an environmental message about the roots of the tree of life. The roots are the basis, reaching deep into the earth and carrying nutrients to the highest point. Chewing at the roots keeps the rest of the tree from florishing.

Over all, this is my favorite episode in the series. I had goosebumps at the end when Shelby said it was the first time the tree had bloomed. Adventure time is definately maturing as the series goes on. They are still doing silly episodes but this one was fun and serious at the same time. The writing showed depth, playing on the themes of regret and finding your way in the world. They cover life, death and rebirth. I hope they continue to write episodes that show this much depth and intelligence. It’s worth watching and then rewatching a few times to get all the references and subtext.

Good job guys and gals. Keep up the good work.