Monday, November 4, 2013

I got's me some questions damn it!


Sometimes when you are reading a comic, or watching a movie or TV show you have questions. Questions that are never answered. Sometimes it's because of time, sometimes it's because the writers didn't think it through, so here are a few of the questions that keep me up at night (well that and the insomnia!)

Gremlins-

So you cannot feed the Mogwai after midnight or it turns into an evil reptilan gremlin. but at what point is it safe to resume feeding your mogwai without having the little bugger become a cackling ball of teeth, claws and attitude? Is it sun up? Noonish? What, See now if someone ever give
s me a mogwai, I might have to let the poor little bastard starve becasue frankly I don't know when it's safe to feed it!

Highlander- 

So if they loose their heads they die right? what about if you chop em in half? exactly what portion of the body has to leave the cranial region to be considered adios immortal? if he looses his head and shoulders will he spend hours or days in agony as the rest of his body regenerates, or will he just buy the farm right there, what about if we Darth Maul him, then what? hey should I ever need to fight the Kurrigan for the prize this info would be damned important!

Star Wars (Episodes 1-3) 

O.K. so if midichlorians are the source of the force the micro organisms that literally do all the heavy lifting in the Star Wars universe, and we know that concentration of them in the blood is important (Obi Wan freaks when he finds out Anican's concentration is even greater than that of fabled Jedi Master Yoda. so then do amount of midi chlorians matter? Sure Yoda could put the smackdown on Anican just on the raw power vs skill in using. (I.E. if vader is more powerful he lacks Yoda's skill with manipulating them) Are some areas more or less force heavy (and would this matter?) when Vader lost about 30-30% of his body in Episode 3 did this affect his ability to use the force if he had less Midichlorians, and if not, Why not?

Field of Dreams-

How the F*** did they mistake this for heaven? I have lived in Iowa for most of my life, don't get me wrong it's a great place to live, but Heaven? really? Oh come on now! drive the boarder any time from any bordering state, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, take your pick! Do you hear choirs of seraphim or harps when you hit the state line? neither do I.

Transformers (Original cartoon movie, not the Michael Bay crap!)- 


how is it that when the Ark crash landed and left the autobots and decepticons in a massive scrapheap within, then some 5 thousand years later was able to build them all good as new from shattered parts. but about 5-6 good hits from Megatron, and Prime dies? Why the hell couldn't the ark/teletran 1 not just reassemble him from the damn blueprints? it makes no GODDAMN SENSE!

Anyway these are the kind of thoughts that plague me, Maybe I need to have a soak in the tub with some Mr. Bubble, and figure it all out...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

random art: comic edition-










Review: Bolt Action


World War II is an era that has been popular with gaming for some time. It was a war where many feel there was a justification  for us to enter, and there was a real sense of unity and accomplishment that (at least for the United States) didn't seem to be there in wars after that point. Many great games have tried to capture the feel of world war II from many perspectives from the large scale games like Axis and Allies, and World in Flames, to the more tactical level of games like Memoir 44, and Flames of War. But recently I picked up a newer 28mm miniatures wargame that puts the action into a squad level war. The game is called Bolt Action, and it is written by Rick Priestly who had originally penned the first edition of Warhammer 40,000, and Alessio Cavatore, who is also a former GW employee who worked on their biggest titles. So in this review there will probably be some comparison to Warhammer for several reasons.

I had originally picked this game up with less than much in the way of intention to play it. I found it on www.thewarstore.com as a starter box. which comes with 40 miniatures, order dice, and Terrain as well as a rule book. Now here is the first place to compare it to warhammer (and flames of war for that matter) in most starter games, you get either an abridged rule book or a digest sized rule book, pushing for you the player to buy the "official" rule book later. In the case of Warhammer and 40k, this means after spending $120 on the starter box, they want you to eventually spring for the full rule book for about another $80.00. In the case of Bolt Action (and other Warlord games products) the Starter comes with a full freaking hardback copy of the rules. I had originally bought the game for the minis and terrain figuring them useful for a savage worlds WWII game I was considering and getting it through the warstore dropped the original $90.00 price tag to about $72.00 US. so even if the rules suck, at least the minis would be usable elsewhere.

In short, the rules did not in the least, suck. Bolt action is an amazing game, with simple and concise rules, that offer a plethora of tactical options as well as tactical obstacles. Initiative is at the heart of this game and it is handled with special order dice, which have the six major orders written on them- Fire, (don't move, and fire with no penalty) Advance (move standard, fire at penalty) Run (Move 2x, no fire) Ambush (hold at the ready) Down (not an action but a reaction, to force a penalty on a shooting unit) and Rally (pull demoralized troops into action) each unit on the field puts one die in the cup which is drawn randomly. If it's your color you assign it and it's capabilities to one unit of your choice. units that have gone (leave the die by the unit) cannot react. This makes order of your actions as well as choice vital to a successful strategy. Morale also plays a great part in game, not just the standard if you are less than 50% strength roll a morale check, or flee. but when you have been successfully shot at (even if you lose no troops, you gain a pin marker, representing your soldier's realization of their own mortality. Any unit with pin markers must make an order roll to perform an action after the action is declared. Each pin counts as a -1 to that check. Failure means they won't act and are effectively pinned down by fire. Success means you go for it guts and glory. this makes suppressing fire and timing more effective in game than in most minis games with firearms in play.  While each army gets some special rules based on their nation and the like (Russians for example get a free 11 man green infantry squad, and germans get an extra dice when firing light machine guns) The game does not rely on a litany of special feats or rules breaks that often go forgotten like in some games. The minis are mostly plastic with some metal and resin for most vehicles, and are well sculpted and very nicely detailed. Armies do take on an almost stereotypical look of each nation (US Troops chomping on stogies, the Brits with the Walrus mustaches, and so on.) They are distinct enough to recognize unpainted without being too over the top.

If there is a downside to this game it is in the same initiative system I mentioned before the more stuff on the field the longer turns will take. meaning this is not an ideal game for super large mass combats. In short Memoir 44 or Flames of War may be good games for running the storming of Normandy. This game is for more personal firefights. Taking a section of Stalingrad to fight a few blocks of door to door combat, vs trying to take the whole damn city.you probably want to keep your game around 1000 or so points or it can get out of hand. Mind you that is still a lot to play with for the detail, My 1000 points of russians inludes 55 men, a command staff, med crew, medium mortar, and a t-34 tank. Not too Shabby. Also Warlord games seems commited to bringing out all sorts of forces for the game. After Christmas I intend to start building a French army, just to be able to field a Char 1B. Players can also build Belgian Polish and Italian forces with either free pdf supplements or add on army books. The core book gives great starting lists for the US, Britain, USSR, and Germany. So you will have plenty to work with even if you don't rush out and buy every army book they make.

If you like games like Warhammer 40,000 or Flames of War Bolt Action is probably right up your ally. and unlike Warhammer the cost of units is still quite reasonable. $120.00 will put you into a full 1000 point army. where a 40k starter is maybe 1/3rd of a full army for game. So what are you waiting for man, join the war effort today!

Verdict - 5 out of 5 stars

no, really? Oh come on man!

When I saw this last week I just could not believe it. Seriously He-man, Smurfs, E.T.,  G.I.Joe, comic books all satanic? REALY!?!? is it possible that these things could be simply taken at face value? I mean you get upset because a 2 year old has more interest in He-Man than in reading the bible.  You know children also have more interest in playing with an iPad than they do with reading the great works of literature. Well at least this kind of right wing religious nut job bullshit is a thing of the past. Right.

O.K. I stand corrected. If this kind of film proves anything (besides a perfect example of Poe's law in action!) it is that religion can be just as dangerous to kids as any other fanaticism. if it's all the same I'll keep my He-Man toys, and not force my kids into a make believe Jyhad O.K.? 


Friday, October 25, 2013

In Defense of George Lucas or, Amy Farrah Fowler is full of crap.


I'll be straight with you, I have given up on the Big Bang Theory some time ago. Mostly because of the change in the show's dynamic. Once we brought on Amy and Bernadette the show has gone from Penny being the outsider looking in, and being accepted into the group on some kind of equal footing, to Penny being queen bee of her own group, and rolling her eyes at how big of dorks the men in her life are. This has really changed the show from a Frasier like feel of justifying but laughing with us to the TV equivalent of "let's laugh at the nerds!" So when I first heard the "incredible story" of how the character of Amy Farrah Fowler (played by former Blossom star Mayim Bialik) had rendered Raiders of the Lost Ark pointless naturally I was curious. Supposedly ruining one of the greatest action movies of my generation, with supposedly incredible and clever logic upset quite a few Indiana Jones fans!) It took me a while to see the episode. and To all those folks who wear Bazinga T-shirts, and think the show is some kind of Gospel. I can easily point out that despite her genius level I.Q., she is in fact so very and wholly without a doubt incorrect.

Her theory goes as follows, that without Indiana Jones' interferrence the events of the film would have played out the same. Belloq would still die along with a whole group of Nazis after stealing the Ark of the Covenant from it's resting place in the Well of Souls. "Oh no she didn't!" right? Sure Belloq pretty much signed his death warrant by throwing in with the third reich, but one small problem with her theory.

The flaw in the theory is this she implies that the wrath of God/Nazi slaughterfest that happened at the end of the movie was the whole point. all them dead German soldiers and officers would have dide regardless of Jones being there or not. but where did they take the Ark? Simple, they took it to the other side of an Island with a German submarine base on it. Now I highly doubt that opening the Ark, here to assure the Fuhrer's Prize would be confirmed before it's trip to Berlin was so important as to abandon a working shipyard in a time of war. In short not every soldier on the Island went to the opening of the arc more than half probably stayed at base to continue fueling, repair and monitoring for allied threats during the opening of the Ark. What's more any basic millitary protocol would have required some form of check in, after some amount of time, after they failed to check in,a search party would have been sent to report on the missing group. No Indiana Jones to hightail the Ark of the Island after the opening killed Toht, Deitrich, Belloq, means that once the German patrol came up on this scene of grizzly carnage caused by the wrath of God on the Nazis still would have left the Relic in the hands of the German millitary, and it may have been bombed, crated back to Berlin, or even dropped into the ocean. But due to Doctor Jones being present, he and Marion put it into the hands of US military intelligence. Where "top men" would study and pack it in a warehouse. Had it been left on the island we honestly have no Idea what the German army or Hitler would have done with the golden chest containing the fragments of the ten commandments. Thus while Indiana Jones may not have gotten the Ark for the University to study. his actions and his involvement with the  search for the Ark does indeed matter. His involvement did indeed change the outcome of events.

Look I am not the genius that Sheldon or Amy are supposed to be, but apparently I know a bit more about basic military protocol.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Top Ten disappointing video games


So just to be clear, this is not a list of the top ten worst video games, As that list is going to have a lot of familiar complaints (such as attacking E.T. on the Atari, or Cheetahmen on the NES) This list is games that  disappointed me. It's a pretty subjective list but it you may notice some obvious titles missing such as Duke Nukem for Xbox360/PS3. It didn't disappoint simply because I had no expectations of this game being worth a damn and only played the demo. But again these are games I felt the need to complain about some may have good points but all fell flat in some way.

10- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 (X-Box 360) While the game itself is actually pretty good, especially the demo level where you are escaping Vader's fortress, it is also painfully short. I mean really short. I beat this one in less than a weekend, with time to do all sorts of other things. by comparison part 1 took me like 3 weeks. This game should have been an add on pack instead of a full game.


9- Kengo Legend of the Nine (X-Box 360) In my opinion, the best fighting game bar none is a little title released by square called Bushido Blade. Any company rereleasing this with updated graphics on an current gen console will indeed bet my money! It is an almost simulation of sword fighting, with pl;ayers choosing different weapons, and each character having expertise in some more than other. but it didn't stop there. You could kill a man in one good swing, no life bars, no whiz bang special moves, and damage affects you correctly. You get an arm hit, the limb is far less useful. So when Kengo, a samurai era fighting game from the developers of Bushido Blade came out, yeah I jumped. and then I played it. In short it has all the earmarks of a typical fighter with the theme of Bushido Blade kinda in there somewhere. Serious letdown. Just do me a favor. take the original game update it to PS3/4/Xbox 1 style graphics and you have a sale otherwise don't waste my time.


8- Heavy Rain (PS3) I knew going in that this wasn't supposed to be Halo, or Uncharted. It was meant from the get go to be an interactive movie. However, the best movies draw your players in the first 10 minutes. This game lets you simulate waking up in the morning in a way that makes the Sims seem like an FPS. Snooze fest. What little I got out of this title was please no more.

7- Circus Maximus (X-Box) This game actually prompted me to buy an X-box, the idea of historical chariot racing and combat was appealing enough to make me think this is the kind of games I would love to try Bought this and Halo the same time, and well I finished Halo, and forgot the name of this stinking turd until i started researching this article too much going on for one player but 2 player is boring as watching paint peel.

6- The Adventures of Willy Beamish (Sega CD) Before Heavy Rain pushed the interactive movie idea, Dynamix did so for Sega's Sega CD taking advantage of the new audio and video technology to make a new kind of interactive adventure. Crippling load times and less than rewarding game play make me really regret spending actual money on this. 

5- Red Steel (Wii) So the Wii will let me aim a controller like a gun? WOW! and that should make FPS games more real right? Meh, after an hour my arms were tired and I was bored of this so so attempt to make a hard edged FPS for the Wii.


4- Final Fantasy Dissidia (PSP) So since Square made Bushido Blade another fighter from the same company might be worth it right? but I better download the demo just to be sure. So far not bad it seems like a fluid but very different fighting game. Hey look there is the full game, let's pick it up. And then let's drop it like a hot rock for being almost nothing like the demo.


3- X-Men (NES) Back in the day a friend of mine found this game in an arcade the cartridge just sitting there, so he swiped it. He invited me to try it. Maybe he said he swiped it to hide the shame of paying actual real currency for this game which has as much to do with X-men style drama and action as A documentary on Stephen Hawking's life will have hardcore martial arts action. PASS!


2- Grand Theft Auto III A lot has been said of this sandbox game and for the most part popular games are popular for a reason. I felt like i was playing a crazed autistic who would beat upon anyone he met, and then hide from the cops. My experience with this game was poor enough to sour me on sandbox games for some time the Godfather was a much better game.

1- Gladius (X-Box) As game companies go, Lucas Arts has always had a great reputation. While most games based on movies suck, X-wing, Tie Fighter StarWars Battlefront all amazing. and then there are the non star wars games, Loom, Curse of Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion,and Grim Fandango all instant classics. So a combat game of gladitorial combat, how could they screw this up? apparently supremely easily. the game used RPG style combat ala Final Fantasy and long ass cutscenes. why in a game where visceral combat was the whole point would you go to some bullshit JRPG combat scheme? It boggles the damned mind! Recently Lucas Arts folded after several disappointing games and being bought by Disney. After this game I am less saddened by this news.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The League of Extraordinary Bloggers: Halloween

So the theme this week is Halloween, that being said it's time to try something new, so with that in mind, Nerd Rage Against the machine presents- The Best and Worst of Halloween!


BEST TRICK OR TREAT CANDY!


The Lion Bar- Maybe it's the fact that finding this awesome British candy bar here in the states requires me to order on line or an 8 hour trip to St Louis, but damn they are the kind of candy that if I found in my Trick or Treat bag (or my daughters) I would indeed be in heaven. Chocolate, caramel wafer and rice crisps make this damned delectable, with only the much vaunted Reece's peanut butter cup taking a close second.

WORST TRICK OR TREAT CANDY-
The Root Beer Barrel-I am not kidding when I say I would rather get a toothbrush in my bag than these horrible tasting solid sugar lumps of doom. they taste more like the nastiest licorice I can imagine than they do any actual root beer I have ever had, and to be honest I enjoy a nice root beer. But I would imagine vinyl siding to taste better than these horrid lumps, at least the toothbrush would be useful. 

BEST VAMPIRE MOVIE-

Shadow of the Vampire- This film NAILS IT! it is a fictional retelling of the filming of FW Murnow's Nosferatu. with John Malcovitch as Murnow, and the ever creepy Willem Defoe as Max Schreck. Incredible performances the vampire is an actual monster, not just someone tarted up who moans on about a beast I am lest a beast I become bullshit. This is an incredible film, from the talent to the story to and to the setting. 

WORST VAMPIRE MOVIE-

Twilight (series)- Yes I realize that hating on twilight is more obvious than hating on the Star Wars Prequels but that won't stop me from doing it. I did try to sit through the first one, I went throught 4 years of film school, and watched a lot of dreck, so how bad could it be? Bad. It was less of a vampire film and more about a group of people with super powers that seemed to emulate the powers of vampires. The dead eyed stares of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were hardly any help here. The only plus is that Edward was smoother with the ladies than Anican Skywalker, but only by a little. 

BEST HORROR COMEDY MOVIE-

Evil Dead-2- This is a no brainer, take a horror script, add Bruce Campbell, and shoot the whole damn thing like a 3 stooges film on acid. The Result? This is why Bruce Campbell is a cult film hero, right here. a man who can deliver exact comic timing and still go insane enough to cut off his own hand with a chainsaw making it both creepy and funny at the same time. The sequel (Army of Darkness) Is also verymuch worth seeing. 

WORST HORROR COMEDY MOVIE- 

Scary Movie (series)- I sat through Scary Movie 2 with a friend of mine who thought I would like it because in his words I like "dumb comedy" you know like Monty Python, or the Venture Brothers. I sat through this 2 hour cinematic bowel movement stone faced. Not one scrap of celluloid inducing so much as a smile, and yes I was willing to give it a try. The jokes (if you can call them that) seem like the kind of crap high school kids would come up with for a pep rally. Mostly consisting of "remember this piece of obvious pop culture" gags using the most obvious toilet humor to play them to their conclusions. and no movie from the creators of has proven to be one iota better. I could fill this blog with my loathing for this piece of garbage but why bother? 

BEST FAMILY FILM FOR HALLOWEEN-

Hotel Transylvania- I know some of you out there are crying foul right about now. "what? Not Nightmare before Christmas?" "How dare you?" "Tim Burton's Masterpiece is a work of Genius!" Well, I disagree. Tim Burton is a highly derivative director who took 90% of his visual cues from Robert Weine. Don't believe me? Watch the Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, and compare the look of Burton's films. The architecture? Check, The characters? Check (doesn't Edward Scissorhands look just  like Cesare?) Yes it has some very catchy tunes but it's not the greatest film ever made. And I will admit this is also true of my choice, but as a father to a beautiful baby girl, it strikes a chord. The gags are cute, the film flows well and is written with adults in mind with many jokes, and the whole thing was directed by Gennedy Tartikofski (Dexter's Lab/ Samurai Jack) what's not to like? 

WORST FAMILY FILM FOR HALLOWEEN-

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark- O.K. Not a horrible film, but definitely a poor choice if you have small kids around. I'm Jus sayin'

MOST OVER RATED MONSTER- 
The Zombie- Look, I get it zombies are a great stand in for an overwhelming tide of humanity infecting what is pure in humanity. Romero's Night of the Living Dead could have been an analogy for  the communist threat. Now a day it could be a stand in for consumer culture or a culture to inwardly obsessed with the digital world to make a mark in the real one. But they are also a great monster because they have almost no sympathetic side in their purest form. It's not racist or evil to hate or want to riddle zombies with more lead than a Chinese toy factory. They are a survivalist's wet dream for an enemy. A real communist, may have a point or even be able to rationalize with you. But not Zombies they are solely here to make you one of them and eat your brains. but Aliens, Vampires, and Lycanthopes can all be sympathized with, even loved. This is why there are so many games and movies about zombies, kill em' no one will mind. 

MOST UNDER RATED MONSTER- 
Mankind- Lets be fair until we find real monsters, Man is the template for all of our made up ones. We have a history of being unwaveringly cruel, evil and vile. and this makes for some of the scariest stories. from the Shining, to Psycho, to even Tod Browning's freaks where the menagerie of deformed folk were not at all evil and the most twisted foul beasts in the film were the so called normal and beautiful people. In short we really can be the true face of evil. 

Now let's see what trick and treats the rest of the league has to offer! 
The Monster Cafe
Nerd Out With Me
Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks
the 30ish Year old Boy
Team Hellions
Diary of a Dorkette
Cool and Collected