Friday, August 30, 2013

Bradley Cooper is playing Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the voice of Rocket Raccoon: This guy.

Those dreamy blue Racoon Eyes!

Following up on the news that Vin Diesel would likely be playing Groot, we're pretty sure Marvel decided to save all of its star power casting bucks on this one for the voice booth. I love Cooper - he was fantastic in Silver Linings Playbook, and even ok in a terrible movie like Limitless, so I'm sure he'll do a fantastic job with Rocket. But it IS weird to see such a big actor making their Marvel debut as a voice.

Then again, Paul Bettany's been playing Iron Man's AI for four movies, so I guess it could all make sense. What do you all think?

Don't blame Affleck, Blame Goyer. An editorial by Kyle Johannessen

Ben Affleck isn’t going to ruin Batman. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. Batman was ruined long before Mr. Affleck was announced earlier this week. He was ruined way back at ComiCon when Warner Brothers and DC announced that the follow up to the disgustingly disappointing Man of Steel was going to shoehorn Batman into the mix. That’s when I knew the “DC Cinematic Universe” was going to go all bad. Because there is one thing that I am absolutely certain of: David Goyer is no Joss Whedon. He’s not even Joss Whedon’s armpit. And if David Goyer is going to continue to be in charge of this endeavor, then it is doomed to fail and fail big.

Now I admit, when they announced that Affleck was going to be Batman my initial reaction wasn’t much different than the rest of the internets. It’s a bad idea, he’s not a great actor, and isn’t he busy directing? Because he should stick to directing. He’s a great director. Why in the name of all things holy is he taking time out of his schedule to do what will only be viewed by just about everyone as a failure? But then I started to think about it a little more. And then I thought about it a little longer and I came to the realization (with a help of a friend of mine) that my problem wasn’t with Affleck. It with Goyer.

For those of you who don’t follow films as closely as I do, David S. Goyer is pretty much the Joss Whedon of the DC Cinema Universe. Meaning that they have trusted him to create and build the universe so that the big DC characters can one day cross over into a Justice League movie.  And he’s a hack. I mean a big hack. Looking at his IMDB credits, you’ll see some impressive titles: Blade, Dark City, and of course, The Dark Knight Trilogy. Look at EVERYTHING ELSE ON THE LIST, however, and you’ll see what I mean. HACK.

But Kyle, you mean this wasn't a cinematic masterpiece? -Ed

“But Kyle!” you exclaim, “The Dark Knight Trilogy is FANTASIC! Well, at least the first two!” Well, I like Rises, but that’s neither here nor there. What’s important to note about The Dark Knight is that Goyer didn’t write a single line of that movie. He has a story credit for that movie. You know what it took for him to get a story credit? Writing the last scene in Batman Begins which pretty much said that the next movie is going to be about the Joker. His big story idea for the next Batman movie was to have the Batman fight the Joker… NO SHIT. For that he gets a story credit and everyone thinks he’s a genius. Jonathan and Christopher write Knight and Rises. If you go back and watch Begins, and then watch either of the other two, you'll notice a HUGE jump in the quality of the writing.

There are moments in Begins that legitimately make me cringe. The moment that stands out the most for me is a moment later in the film. Ra’s has just turned his little gizmo on and all the fear stuff is spewing into the air. The police close off the little island (that is never mentioned again in the trilogy) and Katie Holms is able to cross to the other side because, get this, she tells the cop “I’m a Gotham City District Attorney, let me pass!” …. And that’s it. She shows no ID, no credentials, she has no armed escort. He doesn’t radio in to his commander officer, or even say a fucking word. He just lets an unescorted person walk into a warzone. What kind of writing is this?! There are LOTS of other moments wrong with Begins, but I’m not going through the entire list.

Ooh look, here's another! -Ed

The reason why we remember Begins so fondly is because the Batman movie that preceded it, Batman & Robin, was so god awful that we would have welcomed anything different.  And the reality is, Batman Begins isn’t a bad movie. It was much better than anyone was expecting, or it had any business being really. But the jump in quality between Begins and Knight is dramatic and noticeable. This is because Goyer had less to do with it. I could tear apart Man of Steel, but I’m hoping to save that for a project with me and Mr. Fatum later on. Let’s just say that Goyer really got a lot of fundamental things wrong with Superman that I, as a huge Superman fan, will never forgive him for.

This is why the Affleck announcement doesn’t bother me as much as it did when it was first announced. The reality is, Affleck will never have a chance to show us what he can do with the character, if anything at all. He is going to be handed a script written by a third rate writer who doesn’t really understand the essence of the character or the ability to write dialogue between two characters that is two people talking at each other rather than with each other. The thing (if there is just one, which there isn’t) about Goyer is that the ideas he has are pretty great. They’re just not incredibly unique. Batman fights the Joker, cool. Blade fights vampires. No kidding.  The ghost of a girls twin who died in the womb comes to haunt her when she turns 18… ok, no, that one still sucks.

As long as Goyer has free reign over the DC Cinematic Universe, none of our beloved comic book characters are going to get a chance. And for every good decision he makes, he will make five utterly mystifying ones. For every interesting character he creates or forms, there will be five full blown pieces of wood out there as well. Ben Affleck might be a GREAT Batman, but he will never get the chance as long as David S. Goyer is penning the script. And we should all be very, very afraid if he attempts to write a Wonder Woman movie, and ruin our one good chance to see a female lead in a superhero movie that doesn’t completely suck.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Copyright Cosplay by Jon Cain

Well guys, looks like Syfy  is making news again. No, they have not done another Z-rated shark movie. No they haven't decided to ditch the SYFY logo. “GOD I WISH THEY WOULD” No this time it is for copyright infringement. I will save you you the long and elaborate legal terms and turns of phase. Basically SYFY has used copyrighted  material with out the permission or compensation of the material’s owner.  He has brought this to their attention via a cease and desist letter, to which he was politely told by SYFY that they felt they were in the right because they got the permission of the Cosplayers who claim to be partial owners of the copyrighted material. 
Pictures like this one...which we aren't using for profit. We swear.

Now, once again to to avoid further confusion of the legality of this issue, I will sum it up. When a photographer takes a picture “regardless of who or what “ that images is now his or hers. He or she can do practically what ever they want with it. Within a certain scope of the law, ie other copyrighted material and or protected imaginary, just because the picture is of a person doesn’t mean the person is part owner. Take a painting for example, if I was to paint a picture of the President. Obama has no right to that painting because he isn't the artist. The painter did the work not  Obama. The same rules apply to film  as well. From the moment that picture is taken it is the photographer’s property. He can license it or sell it as he or she sees fit. How do you think celebrity nipple slips or photos of them from a nude beaches are being sold legally/? Any photographer that is reputable will offer a model or subject a release of image form when applicable. They will make sure the model is aware of the full intent of  the use of their image.
Sally could you grab the table of contents of the copyright law? No, not the table of contents to the table of - never mind
The only way a person can retain any or all ownership of that photo is by issuing the photographer a release form of their own. As sad as it is, if this doesn't happen the Cospalyer retains no rights. Thus is why this man is is threatening SYFY with the possibility of legation. From a legal stand point  it seems SYFY/  NBC  Universal go their hands caught in the proverbial cookie jar.
However for me I don't see it as a good little guy verses big bully company. 
             I think the morally right question is “who is caring for the Cosplayers?” They work so hard day in and day out on there costumes. Some spend months to years making it absolutely spot on. Just to have some jerk with a camera take their picture, which he or she will copyright and sell without  any more thought of them. I know that to put a law in place that would remedy this is almost impossible. However why do the Cosplayers, who did all work for the most part, not get a slice of the pie that I personally feel is rightfully theirs. I know, realistically, the guy who is potentially suing SYFY will get paid. My only hope is he dishes it out to the Cosplayers that helped him have images to copyright.
Sweet, innocent cosplayers

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nintendo introduces the 2DS. Seriously.

This is one of those things that sounds like a prank. The "2DS"? Haha, good one Something Awful. But in this case, it's not, it's instead another strangely baffling decision from Nintendo that could either turn out to be terrible or make them money hand over fist.

Here's the launch video:

The 2DS is a newer, cheaper, 3DS. It still has a 3D camera, but can't play 3D on its top screen. It also can't fold, and is shaped sort of like a Speak and Spell. Nintendo claims that its lower price of $129.99 makes it a cheaper option for families who can't afford the full 3DS. I'm sure that's true, but I can also see this leading to a lot of "MOOOOM! I WANTED THE 3DS!" this Christmas. Brats aside, what do you guys think? Brilliant or bust?

Happy 20th Anniversary, Power Rangers!

On this day in history, 20 years ago, the following words were heard for the very first time: "Ahhh, after ten thousand years I'm free! It's time to conquer Earth!" The rest of the story is well known by now - kids all over ate up the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, and it would go on to become one of the biggest and most divisive franchises of the 90s. Every kid watched the show, even the ones who pretended to be too cool for it.

I remember one day being cornered by a couple of bullies who wanted to make fun of me for being a fan. One of them got right in my face and saying, "I bet you think that blue guy is real. What's his name?" His crony immediately replied, "Zordon." In the greatest comeback of my little nine year old life at that point, I asked "How would you know, Andy?" The bullies turned on their own and I fled.

For me, the Power Rangers started an obsession with colorful heroes in spandex or armor, who transform with a magic word and fight for truth and justice. I stopped watching around the same time the rest of you did, when I was a kid. But when college came around, I suddenly was stopped in my tracks by a revelation that had never occurred to me as a child: "Holy crap, some of that footage probably came from a Japanese show." As I laughed at nine year old self for not figuring out something so obvious (I had always wondered why Rita talked like one of the characters in one of my Godzilla movies), I decided to go and look up the Power Rangers.

To my surprise, even back then the show was going incredibly strong. They had just started the show Dino Thunder, and my favorite Ranger as a child had come back - Tommy, the Green/White/Red and soon to be Black Ranger. For the first time, something I'd loved as a child hadn't stopped like He-man had, but had continued until this day. For a lark, I started watching an episode. And I was hooked from that point on.

These guys quickly became new favorites of mine.

These days, I'm into the Japanese versions of the shows just as much as the American ones (maybe more so in the case of the last two series). I'm going through the backlog of all of the episodes that I missed, currently on Lightspeed Rescue. And four years ago, I attended a Power Rangers convention where I actually got to hang out with some of my heroes from back in the day. I still love the look of awe and jealousy I get from some people when I tell them I had drinks with Austin St. John, the original Red Ranger.

So why has this show gone on, almost entirely uninterrupted, for twenty years? The cynic in us wants to say it's because of how cheap it is to produce, but that's not it. The truth is twofold: The first part is that kid will never get sick of brightly colored heroes and giant robots. But the second is this: Power Rangers is one of the few stories left on the planet where the heroes and villains are black and white, where good always conquers evil, and where the power of love and friendship can solve almost any problem. This sounds like cheap and lazy storytelling in this day and age (and sometimes it is), but when you watch a season like In Space, RPM, or Dino Thunder, you realize that when done right, it's totally engrossing. Even in the darkest world, the Rangers stand tall.

So thanks for 20 years, guys. Don't stop morphing any time soon.

Although if the next season could be somewhat decent I'd appreciate it.

If you're interested in getting into Power Rangers, here's some reccomendations to get you started:


The show that started it all, MMPR is just as cheeseball as you remember. But what sets it apart from other cringe worthy entries in the series (Turbo, Samurai) is how invested in it the actors are. The reason we, as kids, believed in this stuff is because the actors all seemed to believe in it, too. They may not be the best actors in the universe, but they gave it their all. By Season Three, this version of the show starts to go a little more comedic, but it works for me.


The first time a serious, season long storyline was attempted in this show. It's not perfect, and the acting hasn't gotten any better, but it's still remembered fondly for what it brings to the table, and certainly worth your time for the drama between Andros, the Red Ranger, and the evil villain Astronema. Also the first season to include my favorite - infighting amongst the villains. Plus, you can not miss the finale, Countdown to Destruction.


I admit, I haven't gotten to Time Force yet. I just hear it's really, really good. So...check it out.

Ninja Storm's gonna be a controversial choice on this list, but I think it's worth watching. This is the season that decided to take a satirical look at the franchise, with a lot of fourth wall breaking and humor. Combine that with a pretty sweet storyline for Cam, the Power Rangers technical helper, and you get a fun season.

Dino Thunder is my favorite season, so I'm biased. But beyond the return of Tommy, the show is what I like to call "Mid-90s Joss Whedon does Power Rangers." It takes place at a high school, the characters are fully developed and full of fun quips, the villains are really interesting and layered, the action is awesome...really, just watch this show.

Here's the thing with SPD: It's got some of the best acting the series has ever seen. The problem is that it's mostly wasted. The first twelve episodes or so and the last five are fantastic. Everything in between is really uneven. I'd watch it if you want an example of the potential Power Rangers can have, but don't expect magic.


 And last, but not least, one of the most beloved series of all time. The last series before Disney cancelled Power Rangers and it was bought back by Saban Brands, RPM is noted for departing 100% from the Japanese source material and giving us a dark tale of a bubble city on the edge of a wasteland controlled by an evil machine empire. Great acting and direction elevates this series, which is also the first to sit down and try to explain Power Rangers tropes like explosions when they pose. 

 As a last note, here's an interview we did last year with two former PR actors:


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gone Home: A Bonus ACE OF VIDEO GAMES by Kyle Johanessen

In my mind, Gone Home isn’t really a game. It is a 3D Highlights book that you find at the doctor’s office when you were a kid. Only instead of finding shapes in the environment, you find wonderfully crafted bits and pieces of an amazing, heartwarming story. You learn about the inhabitants of this house through the items they left behind and over the course of the four or five hours (if that) you spend in that house, you come to care for all of them.

For the two of you who don’t who don’t know, the game is set in 1995. The time frame feels more like a necessity to the story rather than a conscious choice. You simply could not tell the story if everyone had a cell phone and easy access to email and the internet. You “play” as Katie, a 20 something coming home unexpectedly from a year in Europe. You come home in the middle of the night to find a note from your teenage sister, Sam, and the house seemingly abandoned. There is a huge storm brewing and the note is ominous in nature. Add a creepy message on the answering machine, and some flickering lights, and it seems the game is set to scare the bejeezus out of you ala Slender or one of its clones.

That set up for a creepy/spooky ghost story is cemented in one of Sam’s journal entries. Her narrated Journal entries are the primary way the story is told and the first few prepare you for horrors to come. As you progress through the house and deeper into the story, however, it is revealed that Gone Home is something much different than another Amnesia or similar haunted house games. There are no shadows looming in the corner. No ever present threat. No monsters to hide from. This story is about Sam and her unfolding relationship at her High School. Saying too much would give it away and experiencing the story first hand is just a real treat.

Sam’s journal entries are a delight and beautifully and convincingly narrated. I constantly found myself tearing entire rooms a part for one more piece of the story or one more clue into this family’s lives. It’s unfortunate that the character you play is the least developed. You learn little about her personality (if she even has one) throughout the game and even in the time its set it, I found it odd that she would be so out of touch with the goings on of the family. Some of her reactions to items she finds or Sam’s journal entries are priceless, however.
Another really great aspect is the music. No music plays as you explore the house. The only sound being the thunder outside and the pouring rain, or maybe a TV that was left on. But every so often you come upon a cassette tape player (remember those?) and find one of Sam’s tapes from the local bands that she started frequenting when she moved to town. This bands are just spot on for the kind of garage band acts that they represent, with sound quality matching the absurd lyrics and song structures. They really add something to the time period, and tell you a lot about Sam’s personality. You learn quite a bit about the parents as well. Their relationship isn’t as fleshed out as Sam’s, but it is always nice to find a little extra bit about them as the story progresses. It’s sort of a shame that they turn out to be rather unlikeable, but going into too much detail would once again ruin the story.

What the game does masterfully is begin with a felling of dread, quell any such notions that this is a game full of cheap scares and monsters, but then infuses you with a completely different sense of dread. There is an area of the game that locked from the beginning and the atmosphere and vibe you get from this area is incredibly foreboding. As you progress through the story, as heartwarming as it is, it seems as it is just going to end badly. The stakes for Sam are piled on, sorrow is eloquently expressed, and your fear turns from ghosts and monsters to Sam’s well being as she struggles with being a teenager in the situation that she has found herself in. My heart was beating so fast as I finally was able to unlock this last area. It is truly unique for me to be so emotionally invested in video game characters. Mass Effect 3 and Halo 4 are the only games that have ever truly evoked any sort of strong emotional response for me. But I will never forget how Gone Home made me feel in those final few minutes. I didn’t want to go on, but I had to know what happens next. I imagine it is similar to what any sibling would feel being in that situation.

The game is not entirely without its faults. It is a VERY linear game, though it does try to hide its progression a little. There is also little-to-no game play other than finding the clues. Most of the clues are hidden in plain sight, and the ones that aren’t are likely to be discovered eventually as the story necessitates. It is for these reasons that I have a real hard time defining Gone Home as a game. And even though its story is fantastically told and expressed, I find it difficult to justify the nearly $20 price tag. However, if this is what I have to pay for something so thought provoking and eloquent, then I guess that’s ok.
My last entry talked about how I am considering quitting video games as they are getting in the way of my more creative endeavors. Gone Home has confounded that notion, inspiring me to sit here and try and tell you about an experience that I had through this “game” that has certainly did an excellent job of melting my cold dead heart.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dark Horse to produce more Serenity Comics - but is it something more?

Dark Horse Comics quietly released the above image last Friday. It's one of those internet teaser thingies, this time for the idea that Dark Horse is producing more Firefly/Serenity comics. not a huge surprise. Dark Horse has been producing Firefly comics for years, including the excellent should've-been-the-plot-of-the-movie Those Left Behind, and the disappointing Shepard's Tale. So what makes this different?

Well, it also included this image:

Hmm. Now that doesn't seem like a side tale or a piece of backstory. That seems like a teaser for a continuation of the series. Could Firefly be getting a new season in comic form, just like Buffy and Smallville before it? Queue the internet mildly freaking out. (Spoilers for Serenity the movie after the jump.)

Death Threats Over Affleck Casting: An Editorial by Jarys Maragopoulos


That's how I feel about the news of death threats made toward Ben Affleck out of the "Man of Steel" Facebook page  They write that:

"It’s quite another, and totally unwarranted, to message death threats to the page admins over it. make a threat of violence against any person is completely unacceptable and it diminishes the credibility of ALL superhero genre fans and dismisses you all into a non-relevant “lunatic” category. ...have turned off private messaging this morning. We have no plans of when it might be turned back on again. If you don’t like a casting choice, please find respectful ways, non-violent ways of expressing it."

I agree with the page moderators wholeheartedly; these posts degrade not only our (fans) image, but our self-image as well. I find it increasingly difficult to proudly identify with a group when I know that the image conjured by that group's name is one of unreasonable fervor and violent anger. Such calls to murder someone (over a MOVIE) send a sobering hush through the community and it is no surprise to me that the page moderators have disabled their portion of the conversation giving lifeblood of the internet: anonymous or near anonymous comments. Someone has poisoned the well and the whole edifice has to be blocked off while the powers-that-be and fans alike hope that the contagion settles once again to the inky depths. We look at one another embarrassed, muttering "I wouldn't have said that, I'm not like that. Who's like that? No true geek would say a thing like that." 

But they did. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Episode 73: Drawing a Blank

Picture The Ace of Geeks Podcast records literally RIGHT after a showing of Mike's new favorite film of the summer - The World's End! (So of course, we'll review that). Plus, we're joined by Lauren Harrington as we break down Amazon's new fan faction program, and discuss our reactions to the casting of Mr. Matt Damon's Best Friend as a certain Caped Crusader.

Episode 73!

Friday, August 23, 2013

What is Anxiety? by Jonathan Howe

This image by Suzanne Sutton
You ever get that moment where you want to do something but, somewhere in the depths of your mind something tells you that you shouldn’t. That’s anxiety. defines anxiety as distress or uneasiness of mincaused by fear of danger or misfortune. What this means is, you’re afraid to do something because the outcome, no matter how good or bad, scares you. I know how that feels. I live with anxiety problems everyday. See, I’m currently unemployed and I have been for about 2 years. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have tried looking and I even had some interviews. My problem is, I don’t try hard enough because I get scared or nervous of being rejected. I’m sure there are a lot of people that feel this way. You find something you want to do; losing weight, asking someone on a date or just wanting to do something outside your comfort zone.
All people have that small voice in the back of their heads. The problem is, that voice is louder for people with anxiety. The voice isn’t there to stop you from doing bad things, it’s there to stop you from doing things you really want to do. That voice fills your head with negative thoughts even before you act. Before you can even think, “I have a good feeling today is going to be a good day.” that voice is screams in your head saying, “Today will be a bad day. Just stay home and do nothing. It will be less painful.” And here’s the problem, people with anxiety,  they listen to that voice. They don’t smack it in the face and yell back louder. They take what that voice says and believes it. They don’t try and fight it or ignore it. Pushing that voice away is a very hard thing to do for a person with anxiety. There are people that don’t get other people with anxiety. They just say, “Suck it up!” or “Why are you worrying? Nothing bad will happen.” Unfortunately, even though a person with anxiety may want to believe them, that voice in their head is louder than their friend’s.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

BEN AFFLECK is Batman in Batman vs Superman

Hopefully not looking like this.
Folks, it's being reported everywhere from Variety to Kotaku that Ben Affleck is going to don the tights of a major superhero for the third time (Ok, in Hollywoodland he was technically playing George Reeves) and be The Caped Crusader for the big team up with Superman.

I know what all of you are thinking. In fact, I'll show you what all of you are thinking:

As for me, well, I have loved Affleck's work in recent years. I think he plays the "decent guy in a shitty situation" well, as shown in The Town and Argo. But I'm reeeeally unsure about the idea of him playing The Dark Knight. Batman needs to be able to project an aura in infallibility that I'm not sure Affleck's ever done before. Bale did it while also appearing vulnerable, and that was great. So far, I've only seen Affleck do vulnerable.

What do you think of this casting? Brilliant, or terrifying?

Here's the title of the fifth Pirates of the Carribean movie.

Image by Zodiart from Deviantart

We've known for some time now that Disney is gonna milk this Pirates thing for all that it's worth. And with literally billions of dollars being ranked in every time they put one out, it makes a whole lot of sense. Especially when you've got a star like Johnny Depp, who would like nothing better than to play Jack Sparrow until he dies.

Seriously, the guy dressed up as Sparrow and hid on the actual Pirates ride at Disneyland.

So with the official announcement some years ago that they would be making a fifth through eighth Pirates movie (or third through sixth if you don't want to count the bad ones), it was only a matter of time until we got some more info. Today, they finally delivered on the tiniest sliver of information. Ladies and gentlemen, the title, of Pirates of the Carribean 5.


Video Games: My Worst Enemy by Kyle Johannessen

The Chokosabe clan lands their samurai armies near one of my coastal villages. I hadn’t seen them coming. We were allies once, going so far as to marry my eldest daughter into their clan to gain exclusive training rights. But now, in an act of cowardice, they have risen up against me. The village is only guarded by a few archers and yari pikemen. They cannot possibly stem the tide of the onslaught of the nearly twenty-five hundred men about to storm the keep. And unlike the peasants manning the fort, this army is completely comprised of Samurai. They battle is over in minutes, and my coastal village burns. What the Chokosabe don’t know, however, is that they landed right between two of my own armies. Sandwiched between two of my most powerful forces, both led by seasoned and extremely loyal generals, the Chokosabe cowards have nowhere to run. Before they know it, they are attacked from two sides by a force nearly quadruple their own. Once again, the battle only takes minutes.
The armies of the Great Kyle-san look something like this. -Ed

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Five Reasons You Should be Reading Saga - by Alexis George

Like it or not, comic books have always been at the heart of geek culture.  Nowadays, comic stores are a dying breed and conventions like Comic-Con keep their printed graphic novels limited to a few tables on the exhibit hall floor. That being said, comics are still hot as ever. Movie adaptations are reaping in the millions. Comic reader apps like ComiXology boast instant accessibility to over 40,000 comics. It’s hard to go a day in a big city like San Francisco without seeing at least one Superman or Batman shirt.

Now if you’re involved in any kind of geek social circle, you've probably heard the name SAGA thrown around recently (and if you’re caught up in modern comics, you’re probably sick of hearing about it at this point). Following its premiere in 2012, its picked up three Eisner awards and a nomination for a Hugo. Even if you aren't big on comics, it’s important to note that SAGA has been praised and promoted by several geek icons, Felicia Day being one of them.

Here’s a brief list of the reasons you should try to hunt down a copy of this series, even if you don’t like comics.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New trailer for Titanfall is INCREDIBLE

Titanfall, the new game from the creators of Modern Warfare 3, has been on my radar for some time. I love the smooth, fluid combat of the Modern Warfare series, but I've always wanted to see it applied to a subject matter I'm more interested in. Like, I don't know, humans with jetpacks fighting alongside giant mechs.

You heard me.

Check out the latest trailer for this game, straight from German video game show Gamescom. If the combat is HALF as fluid and fun as this looks, this will be my game of the year. And for those of you boycotting the Xbox ONE, feel free to get it on PC instead.

Where do I begin, Pro Wrestling? by Jon Cain

How does one quantify pro wrestling?  A good question, and not one easily answered. Pro Wrestling means a lot of things to a lot of people. Take me, for example. Wrestling is my life blood. My passion, when I step between those ropes, all things seem to disappear. I have not a care in the world aside from giving my fans or my haters a show like they have never seen before. In the immortal words of Shawn Michaels  “Why? Because I can.”  There is something about it that is almost therapeutic in a way. Some could ague that I have been dropped on my head too much or taken one to many chair shots. No I don't think so. When you live with this kind of passion in you, the fires of hell aren't hot enough to burn it away.
            So as I look at the landscape of Professional Wrestling today, I am saddened. It looks like a post apocalyptic world clinging to hope. I am not referring to the Indy Scene. That lush jungle and wealth of amazement lies just beneath the surface. I am referring to what the most common denominator thinks is Professional Wrestling, and that leaves just one key player, the WWE. Don't get me wrong TNA has talent, and so does ROH, but when you say pro wrestling, people go “oh yeah WWE.”
To truly understand how the WWE is killing the world of wrestling you need to know a few facts. Fact number one: the WWE claims to be sports entertainment not wrestling.  Fact two:  They have ran off or fired anyone who has disagreed with The McMahons way of product building. Fact three: They lack the ability to enter into a partnership with anyone and not throw their weight around. Fact four: Just because you are an amazing talent doesn’t mean you will be a star.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Board Games at Gamestop?

Eagle eyed listener Skylar Woodies saw this while at a Gamestop in Indiana for GenCon:

Your eyes are not deceiving you, and he didn't get mixed up on the store (check out the ads on the right, if you don't believe us.) This is a Gamestop...selling board games. Specifically, in this picture they seem to be selling the X-wing miniatures game and Munchkin, but our intrepid source tells us the inside of the store also had the Dungeons and Dragons board games, 7 Wonders, Netrunner, and a few more staples.

Our source also says to take it with a grain of salt: Apparently a similar experiment was tried in San Francisco and ended up going away as quickly as it popped up. But still, video games are moving more and move into online sales. It would make sense for Gamestop to reach out to the tabletop market, especially since there are boardgames based on Halo, Gears of War and Bioshock out or coming out soon.

So what do you all think: GenCon stunt, or a peek into the future of Gamestop? And what will this mean for your local game shop?

Hit the jump for the full res image.

The Future of Technology - Today! by Lauren Harrington

Geeking out over new tech is one of my favorite things to do. What really sparks my excitement is when I see something new that was obviously inspired by science fiction. Many major inventors will openly admit that their ideas are heavily influenced by a SciFi series, movie, or book that they love. Something that’s been around a while that is branching out is GPS (predicted by Arthur C. Clarke). It can be used for awesome things like geocaching, but it is also used to constantly track us using our phones and (if you have OnStar) cars. Some predict it will be used to track where we are, send that to whatever company is relevant to that location (Burger King, Macy’s, etc.), and then we can get feedback from that company. 
I'm watching you RIGHT NOW.

A recent read of mine, called Feed by M.T. Anderson, predicts that those feeds from the GPS will rule our lives. The feed itself is much like Google Glass, and the book references a precursor to the brain-implanted feed as being glasses like Google Glass.  In this world, corporations own and run the feed and its content, telling users what to get and where to buy it. The story is set in the USA, where the mass of the population doesn’t question the source of their products, or how they are made, though they are vaguely aware that the processes to make everything they need and want (including oxygen) is killing the planet, and is causing the lesions that are steadily increasing in number on every individual. The corporations begin to advertise lesions as fashionable in order to prevent consumers questioning their methods.
The book is written in the words of a teenage boy. Anderson uses colloquialisms so that we read the story in the boy’s thoughts, rather than as an edited novel. Modern words like “dude” are replaced with “unit,” which is an intriguing choice, and makes me wonder if the corporations had coined the term to remind consumers of what they are to them. The objectification of consumers further proves how twisted the world has become.

The events in the book (written in 2002) are things that we are not far off from becoming today, which is frightening. The world that we face now is on the fast track to chemical ruin, so long as the masses continue to remain oblivious to what is really happening behind the scenes of everything they purchase. We must educate ourselves and use books like this as warnings to the future that very likely could be ours. The technology we use can either destroy us, or help us, and it is up to us, the consumers, to decide which is the outcome.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Could Obi-Wan Kenboi Be Set To Make A Ghostly Return in VII?

With all the rumors and possibilities surround of what the seventh installment of the Star Wars Universe has to offer, it's hard to tell what to take seriously. But if you fallow the rumor mill and the forums, you know the idea of  Emperor Palpatine coming backing in Episode 7 as a force ghost is being kicked around. However according to Latino Review he many not be the only one.  They say three very creditable sources have confirmed that Obi–Wan Kenobi will be returning in spirit form as well. Take this with a grain of salt - nobody's actually confirmed it yet.

I ain't tellin' you NOTHIN'.

    Still if you ask me this has the potential to be  great.  I mean realistic Palpatine was in my opinion the only good part about the prequel trilogy. Seeing him work weave his master plan. Just under him was Obi – Wan.  You saw him go from Padawan To Master. You felt the pain of him losing his apprentice to the Darkside of The Force.  So to bring them two back in any capacity in my opinion would rock. So  long as Ewan MCGregor and Ian McDiarmid reprise there roles as the two. However until this is confirmed we just have to hope that this is going to pan out.   

-Jon Cain

EDITORS NOTE: I agree with Jon, if, and only if, Obi-wan is a brief cameo in this thing. We'll discuss more in an upcoming podcast. -Mike

Episode 72: You Can Hear it in Your Feet

Picture The Ace of Geeks Podcast steals away to the top floor of a mall to get this week's podcast to you. We'll break down what we loved and what we hated about Elysium, discuss what Elephants have in common with Toph from the Last Airbender, and break down our favorite animes as we answer some fan mail!

Episode 72!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Can art ever really be "bad"?

It's a tornado, made of sharks!
First of all, this blog post/conversation starter/rant began with a discussion with Chris Brecheen, and wouldn't you know it, he has a damn fine blog of his own. You've probably read one of his articles "Changing the Creepy Guy Narrative", as that one kind of blew up about a month ago, but you should check out the rest. It's full of really insightful advice for aspiring writers, and a healthy dose of snark for everyone else. Here's the link:

Now on to the meat of our discussion for today.

I was recently perusing yet another article about how Vin Diesel is going to be playing Groot the Tree in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. Which, by the way, is either hilarious or terrifying. If they follow the comics, it's hilarious, because Groot literally only says "I am Groot." It's terrifying if they don't, because god damn it, all Groot should say is "I am Groot." It's part of the wonderful joke.

However, my eye was drawn to a different part of the article. I've seen several articles speculating on Monsieur Diesel's part in the Marvel Universe ever since he started meeting with them. And every single one has said a similar thing: Diesel is known for the "terrible" "awful" "disappointing" etc etc "The Fast and the Furious" movies.

I'm not sure what movies those people saw. I know, for the past three or four years, the highlight of my summer has been watching Vin Diesel, the Rock and a bunch of other action heroes do ridiculous stunts with just enough plot to hold things together. Amongst my friends, these movies are known as "fun", "awesome" and occasionally "the best movie of the summer."

Take a look at Vin Diesel's face right before the Rock smashes him through a wall, and tell me it's not glorious.

This brings me to an interesting point. We, meaning humanity in general but also geeks in particular, apply a set of standards to art that we consider objective. Certain things are "bad", and certain other things are "good." The Phantom Menace is "bad." Game of Thrones is "good." These are things that, when you enter into a conversation with any other geek, will be considered objective truth. Maddeningly, it will often anger people if you insinuate one of these accepted truths is wrong. For example, tell any comic book geek that Superman is more interesting to you than Batman, and six times out of ten you'll make them see red.

Here's an example:

This is considered "good." Hell, this is considered one of the highest forms of art.

This is Rob Liefeld. That should tell you all you need to know.

Now, let's not focus on the differences in these two pieces for right now, let's focus on what's the same. Both are hyper exaggerated pieces that show a battle scene. You can't really tell what's going on in either without staring at it for a good ten minutes. So why is Picasso an Artist, and Leifeld a Hack? Subjectivity, my friend. When we go to an art gallery, we expect to have our expectations challenged, and to have to think. We expect comic book art to tell us the story as simply as possible. Now I'm not, by any means, saying Liefeld is trying to challenge our expectations or create high art. But let's say you take aliens from the planet Beeblebarg and show them these two pieces of art without any context. They'll decide which one is "high art" based on their own experiences and context.

This same process happens at the movies every year. When someone says "That guy's a terrible actor", what they really mean is "I did not connect emotionally with the way this character was performed." Half of us, apparently, love shaky cam as a cinematography style, otherwise those movies would never sell a dime. But if you ask anyone in my circle of friends, shaky cam is the Devil Himself.

When we decide that certain art is objectively good, and other art is objectively bad, what we're really saying is that our personal opinions hold a certain kind of Truth. And honestly, they don't. My opinion that John Carter was a great movie is just as valid as your opinion that Man of Steel is. We might argue about it, we might have valid points about the merits of one over the other, but neither of us will ever be right. You can never be objectively, 100% right about art.

Last week, I met three or four people who vigorously defended The Phantom Menace. And while the rest of us might be aghast at that, and want to continue to hound George Lucas to an early grave about the film, for those four people the film hit their expectations and context correctly. It was a "good" movie. They're not wrong, just because the rest of us didn't like it. And the sooner we can start to accept things like that, the more open Geekdom will be.

Don't kiss. DO NOT KISS.

Now I'm not saying stop debating. God knows I love telling people that I think they're wrong. But we have to do that knowing, in our heart of hearts, that we will also never be right.

Grand Theft Auto: Online Revealed

That's a player, in his apartment, looking at a player flying a jet.
This morning, as promised, Rockstar Games unveiled the gameplay trailer for the online mode to Grand Theft Auto 5. They've promised it will revolutionize online play in the same way that GTA3 revolutionized single player gameplay. How, you ask? Well, take a look at this video and find out:

Here's what we learned from that video:

1) Online mode will have missions, leading us to believe that there's some MMO style gameplay in the mix.
2) There is a "create a mission" mode, allowing you to create and customize your own races and deathmatch style games
3) Players can purchase property including apartments and garages to stash their ill-gotten gains.
4) You can make teams, or "crews" to run the city with you, robbing banks, knocking over liquor stores, and competing in races and activities like base jumping and golf.

But there's more to it than even that. Our friends over at Gamespot have a huge article they put up today with even more details. Here's some of the juicier tidbits:

1) There will be a stock market, where players can buy and sell stock in what I can only presume is a player run economy.
2) Jumping into GTA Online from your GTA5 single player game will be seamless - you simply select your Online character from the same character wheel that allows you to switch between the three main characters.
3) The game will borrow Red Dead's free roam mode - when you jump in, you're randomly matched in a world with 16 other players. However, you'll be able to use your friends list to jump into different games. (More proof that everything Rockstar's done over the past few years has been a testing ground for GTA5.)
4) The game will suggest roles for each member of the crew to fill on specific missions, but allow you to come up with your own tactics to complete them.

Now GTA Online will not be available at retail, but will patch into the game on October 1st. Which is a smidge painful, but at least it will allow me a little bit of the single player campaign before I lose my entire life to the online mode. How about it listeners - who wants to form a crew?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Xbox One Delayed to 2014 in Eight Markets

The Xbox One, previously launching this November in 21 markets around the world, has now reduced that number to 14. Microsoft has listed the usual localization reasons, and needing to partner up for apps in the now-left-out eight countries. The list of countries still getting it in November is:

• Australia
• Austria
• Brazil
• Canada
• France
• Germany
• Ireland
• Italy
• Mexico
• Spain
• United Kingdom
• United States
• New Zealand

While those left out in the cold are:

• Belgium
• Denmark
• Finland
• Netherlands
• Norway
• Russia
• Sweden
• Switzerland

The ones in Europe amuse me the most, as they can literally drive for an hour or two and get their very own console in November. People of Europe - is it very difficult to import, say, a French console if you live in Belgium?

For Microsoft's education.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Google Maps: A Closet Whovian. By Jon Cain

            I am a Google user. I know they keep track of me, and use my browsing data to try to sell me stuff, but I don't care.   When I start my web browser of choice,  my home page of Google pops up to greet me. I see it, and it looks like the face of an old friend.  However much as I like the search engine, the web browser, and the Android O.S.  I am not a fan of Google Maps. To be frank following Google Maps has gotten me horribly lost on more then one occasion.  I detested Google Maps until today.  “What could have happened to change my hardened heart?” one could ask.  It wasn't good directions, for once. It wasn't a new layout or new innovative design. No this was simply a noble little Easter egg. 

It's bigger...on the - well, you know the rest.

            Who am I kidding it is THE MOTHER BLEEPING TARDIS!!!!  I kind of feel a little like William Shakespeare's Juliet “ My only love sprung from my only hate!  Too early seen unknown, and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me,  That I must love a loathed enemy.”

I know it is kind of weird but damn it is true. I want to hate Google Maps, but now I can't.  There are three things in my humble opinion that assure us there is a God and he loves us.  These are in no  particular order:  Table Top Role Playing Games, Transformers, and Doctor Who.  To know that one of those three has made such an impact on the world, that Google puts an Easter Egg in. It makes me want to have a geekgasm to the point of almost unconsciousness. They have not invented words to describe how epic Google Maps have now become.  The moment they put the Autobots’  headquarters or the entrance to the Underdark I will never  leave.  It would  be almost to perfect  to view with our mortal eyes.
This is MY suggestion for the next one. -Ed
                  Even though the last two will probably never happen we still have The Tardis.   We can now know what it would be like to walk around in it in first person. Get a feel for what it might be like to be The Doctor or a companion.  Exploring the control panel getting to see the heart of the Tardis.  Seeing for yourself it is really truly bigger on the inside then the out.  Just talking about this makes me all giddy, it is really hard to hold back my  waves of geekgasms  the more and more I gush over this amazing Easter egg.  Some how calling it an Easter Egg seems to not do it justice though.  I mean this thing can't be contained by something as miniscule and insignificant as an Easter egg.  This is the T-REX Egg of All Easter eggs my friends.  We all need show it  the kind of respect that it deserves.  I am not saying you need to pledge a blood oath, or sacrifice a fatted calf or goat. You should however take a few moments of silence and send a thank you prayer to the Whovians at Google.  

                  For those of you who want to try this, and I know you do, here is the link:
This link will have all of the instructions and everything you to know  to experience this for yourself.   I know personally that if this is a preview of things to come from Google Maps. They may have brought me back into the fold. Clearly they have a good bead on what the users like and are not afraid to give us bonus stuff like this. Yeah it may serve no point other then to waste time, but it is The Tardis and that  my friends is never a waste. So go forth my fellow Whovians spread the news. The Doctor has taken over Google Maps and reap the benefits.