28 Jun 2012

Thursday Thoughts - Suns

We walk in our lives creating what we want to be. We work so hard to justify this small insufferable existence to ourselves and to others that we forget how important each individual person is.

We are great suns of life; we burn and attract others in our orbit. We are bright and large, some are brighter and some are larger. Some implode after time; others burn out and cut a swath of destruction across the various universes we have become part of.

We after time grow close to others. We pull them in and they in turn pull us in into their orbit. The various energies lick, touch and kiss each other as the forces of each sun mingle and mix. At times they join and burn brighter then anything else around them.

There are also those who burn each other and over time grow distant as they pull each other apart. The energy, the caressing flow between these bodies of light and warmth has not changed but they are destroying each other. So the bright suns pull away trailing ash and debris, memories of what was once so powerful and great.

It hurts so much.

It hurts because pain reminds us that we are not minute specs of life in teaming hives of humanity. It reminds us that we are each grand and filled with powerful energies that burn as bright as the sun.

The pain reminds us we are not alone. We are each important and valued.

That's the cost of loving someone.

27 Jun 2012

Wednesday New Comic Day – Nightwing

Dick Grayson, the first of the Robins. The gifted acrobat orphan and one time ward of Bruce Wayne. Raised in the Circus, grew up in riches, secret identities and fighting crime. When you look at the history of Nightwing no other sidekick has grown into his own.

Wally West did… but they fucked that up. (Read my post on the Flash)

The Super Jr’s (Boy and Girl) both have been rebooted so often they are all buggered up with no real identity outside of the ‘Super’ noun. Kinda lame if you think about it. Arsenal has been solo long enough but has never been given a chance to branch out and do his own thing. Bucky is an exception but he also skipped out on years and years and just came into play in the mid 2000’s, he fails to count he never grew up in the comic world. New Mutant’s grew up, became X-Force, some graduated into X-Men but they are back at being New Mutants again… Cannonball has been put through the refresh ringer so often it's like a ebay bidder in the last few seconds with the F5 key.

Find me a former sidekick who’s still around today and running his own awesome series over decades of comic continuity.

Here’s a hint: It’s Nightwing.

26 Jun 2012

Tuesday Table Top Fun – Warmachine Two Player Starter Box

So Tzar, my cousin, is getting the hitched. As per the second post of this whole blog, he is a big time 40k lover. It’s the IP he loves and some of the minis are very pretty… but you can see the desire for more. The cost and the dwindling quality of pieces with clunky rules that have been dated for years has started to dull that shine in his eyes. I admit to having that same look every once and a while.

I never got around to putting together and painting that whole Space Marine chapter with Mk8 armor, Scribor Lion Shoulder Pads, and facy resin bases... one day when I have time and the desire to hobby paint. Sure but until then, I have plenty of other dudes to paint and put together.

... only a short diviation in topic, I'm getting better...

I picked up the Warmachine Starter box for Tzar and I’m painting them up right now. To go with the work I've also collected a small carry case, tokens, card sleaves (color coded), templates from the various other people in the area. Yet the core, the very nuggit center of this delight is the Two Player WarMachine Starter Box.

What do I think of it?

Fucking go out and buy it. No lie, no bullshit. It’s awesome.

25 Jun 2012

Monday Media Fun - E3 and the new kids

Note: Getting all the links for the vids was taking too long so I suggest you just search on google, youtube or gametrailers for the videos on the games below.

Ahh… E3 has come and gone yet you’re left with an overwhelming sense of sequel with the showcased products of E3 2012. The new Intellectual Properties, or IP, seemed to have faded in the background. Yet with a few more sad seconds of searching you find a few nuggets of fun that have little or nothing to do with a previous game or are a non established, new IP.

I find it sad that these new games took a back seat to the sequels. Pushing new IPs should be a major feature for the various briefs that litter the convention floor at E3. Showing growth instead of stagnant iterations is important to the consumer.

You have Gears of War 4, Judgement, stuff… what ever, who cares. That’s not the point, remember when the first game came out and took hold of the audience? I do, I disliked the game but it sold well and it was pushed hard by publisher, developer and everyone else under the moon. It broke the rules because it tried something new… yet we see little new. Gears of War was the new game, now it has got some longer fangs and found a place to hang it’s coat.

Why?

21 Jun 2012

Thursday Thoughts - Leadership

Some recent events have left me pondering the need of better leadership. I will not say this is a political post but if there are anyone who reads this… pause… cricket sounds… pause, and is in a political post I’d be happy to get some feedback.

Leaders require one thing. Those who are willing to follow other wise you’re participating in a form of masturbatory, non sexually gratifying, social positioning. It’s odd stop looking at it and understand you need people to lead if you are to be a leader.

Leadership has been a topic of writing since the days of ancient Urg when Tug and Tro decided to listen to him. There are various ways of leading so many in fact I may spend a few blogs on the subject.

Now here is a big key to understanding followers of a leader. Leaders work for them. I’ll bring you back up to the top and remind you that you need them so in essence you work for the people because they are willing to listen to you.

Baby steps here folks, baby steps.

So what about when you’re left in charge?

20 Jun 2012

Wednesday New Comic Day – Batman and Robin

Oh the Robins.

I’ve been working on a three part review to look over the various Robins and linked characters in the Batman history.

The Boy Wonder is a neat creature.

I never liked him until I got older.

Yes, I disliked Robin. No matter what Chris O’Donnell, Burt Ward or any other writer and artist tried I never liked Robin. He was a dumb idea… just like Batman was a dumb idea. Go read my older posts on the big guy dressed as a bat.

Robin was colour, honesty, naivety, innocence and a reminder of where Wayne came from. Over the years since the departure of Dick Grayson (The first Robin), to become the character known as Nightwing, Robin was simply used as a contrasting foil for Batman outside of the odd villains.

19 Jun 2012

Tuesday Table Top Fun - BSG The Board Game

A 2003 TV mini series returned the last survivors of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. The drama was survival, set in space. The series was good. No matter how you feel about the last two seasons and the shows controversial conclusion.

BSG changed the way sci-fi presented itself. Use of computer animation, web series between TV seasons, developing characters… the mode of the show was a game changer. The mature drama, approach to serious subject matter and moral gray areas changed the idea of good and dramatic science fiction on TV
Someone at Fantasy Flight had a good idea.

Get some smart game designers make this into a board game experience that unique and that uses the strength of the TV series

In 2008, BSG the board game was released.

18 Jun 2012

Monday Media Fun - E3 and Hitman

E3 post 3 of 4.

Today ladies and sirs I look back at the year 2000. The debates were raging in fandom land on Scully and Mulder’s kiss. I had picked up a new PC that year after the failure of Y2K to keep my interest past 13 Jan.
The first victim of my PC was Hitman: Codename 47, followed by a slew of other releases. It was the first time that I could load the games I wanted on my PC. Before Hitman, I had to load my games on Old Bear’s PC.

As I remember Old Bear got cranky.

So I started up Hitman and the slick graphics gravelly voice took my senses away from me. Then the puzzles kicked in.

Yes dear readers, puzzles. The game is about hunting down and efficiently taking lives of virtual people. I know the difference between real and virtual, that’s a Thursday post for later. No the puzzles was how to go about the crime without setting off the alarms.

Stealth Action games are puzzle games to me. I love the genre. I like it when the stealth goes out the window to stretch the action in stealth action. I like planning each move creating more complex web of actions that lead to a perfect score.

I played all the stealth action games; Tenchu, Siphon Filter, Splinter Cell, Metal Gear, Deus Ex… you get the idea.

14 Jun 2012

Thursday Thoughts – Facebook 'Friends'

I’ve been trying to write this post over the last couple of days between, work, school and the wife. This blog is a hobby and as such it falls after the previous items.

Facebook

The internets or what ever sort of label you wish to use is growing. The cultural impact of being able to broadcast to anyone in the world as the levels of access to those broadcasts increase is simply staggering.

If you don’t know the who’s who in the social media scene I suggest looking somewhere else for the educational preamble. Just let it be known that Facebook is used by myself. I use it very simply unlike others I know. They use to keep professional contact with people, contacts and possibilities.

That divergence of use has started to cause rifts with me and the people I know.

I’m ok with that because I don’t care what they think and I do not need for them to like me. We’re not friends, and in some cases, anymore.

Step back with me as I explain my use of the social nexus tool called Facebook.

13 Jun 2012

Wednesday New Comic Day - the Flash

The 'new 52' Flash by Manapul
I loved the Flash. Not Barry Allen, he was too old for me. I mean Wally West. The first apprentice to break into the inner circle of the Justice League and graduate to equal status. He had a wife, ended with kids... Wally was special. He was the Flash for so long, yet the looming shadow of Barry Allen was a great back-story and motivator for Wally in his early days.

I liked Wally

Mark Waid introduced the idea of the 'Speed Force' and made Wally's connection to it special back in the 90's. Since then the Speed Force has stayed with the Flash mythos. If you care the Speed Force is an energy source that the various speedsters of the DC universe tap into in order to go really fast. If you can break the 'speed barrier' you can be anywhere at anytime or omnipresent for the fans of the English language.

12 Jun 2012

Tuesday Table Top Fun - The Human Sphere

I've mentioned this game before but as this is the third Thusday post I feel like I need to hit the game Infinity before I get labeled as Privateer Press only.

In the wargame world you accept the presence of the six side die, or d6 for short. How many games don't use the d6 in their mechanic? Well that's a hard question and I don't know enough games to give a real answer. I do know of one, Infinity. 

It uses the big boy, made famous by Tatical Simulation Rules better acknoledged as TSR. The makers of the table top miniature wargame Chain Mail and the pen and paper role playing game that followed, born from the Chain Mail rule set. That game was Dungeons and Dragons. 

Cue dark skies, run the thunder, flash the lights.

The tweenty sided die or d20 is used by Corvus Belli.

Who the fuck are these people? They broke all the rules, shattering them to have the shards fall around our heads. The floors glisten with what left of the illusions of the other games. They broke the rules so well, leaving only fine sprinkles of dust that in recompense they chose to give the rules for free.

Yes go onto their website, infinitythegame.com, download the pdf and enjoy. Infinity is worth the price of free. It's an ever evolving game that get updates and changes every so often. Each rule change, army addition and errata is added to the core rules, adjusted and put back in the free or best bin.

You see Privateer Press found a place to compete with Games Workshop, the big daddy of the wargame hobby. They took on the giant and through superior quality in rules, models and community they are rising to fight the monsters of the Hammers. If only to give you another choice. They beat the Workshop at their own game, they played it better.

Going back to Corvus Belli, Infinity is proof you don't need to beat Games Workshop. You can just be a good game and you'll sell. They came up with a smaler model list of such high quality our ilk could not but drool and desire such models. The game mechanics are a strange beast, but quick once you get past the programming of other game systems. The d20, the ARO, Crits... the lingo is littered with some new jive but the essence is still the same. 

So what did Corvus Belli do?

When you offer awesome, you will be ok. People will vote with the wallet. The rise of the game Infinity has encouraged other games to step out of the shadows and try to show the rest of the world that is table top wargaming. 

You see, Infinity is the not the replacement it's the other real choice. It does not tell you to pick one, it says you can have more then one. It's a simple choice to try out and look at what Infinity means. Its the big shift in the world of table top gaming. Not because it's the first. Because it's different and it's so different that the quality looks even greater when you get close to examine whats wrong with this game. 

Like every game it has it's flaws, there is no prefect game... i'll get to that another day. 

Good games come real close. Their efforts and evolution are worthy of the struggle. 

So take at look at what else is out there. Google the keywords below and enjoy.

Sedition Wars, Malifux, Anima Tactics and of course Infinity.

11 Jun 2012

Monday Media Fun - E3 and Tomb Raider

Ahh Monday is late. Why?

Well for one this is not my profession, this is actually the sixth or seventh thing on my regular list of priorities. If I was doing this as for say my job, this experiment in discourse and writing would be rated higher on said list.
As of now my wife, job, school, family, writing/drawing/painting come before this blog. This is an output not a product for sale.

So It’s media Monday and I’m starting this sucker off with a clip from Penny Arcade TV show Check Point.  

Seriously watch this show, the fact they are Canadian is awesome. The fact they are funny and smart is also good evidence that the internet is not full of the poorly edited shit that I’m pushing onto your screens at this moment.

It makes a brilliant shout out towards all of us who do nothing but bitch, curse and whine about why something is horrible and stupid. They do not work for us, they work for the people who give them money so we can buy their drugs.

So lets look back at Lara Croft. She’s the first victim to now internet media personality, Yatzee from Zero Punctuation. Alas that was during her first reboot. No lest look back, way back. A product of Eidos, now broken and sold to Square Enix with all their properties; Hitman, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, ect.

She was young, agile, did flips with her jumps and she could shoot guns at the same time. She was so John Woo. She had a series of adventures up until she died. She raided less and less tombs and instead tried to make her into a female action star to their success they rocked.

Until she was really made into an action star... I like Ms Jolie but the Tomb Raider flicks were bad. So with the failure to reach into the wallets of the once young gamers who now had a bitr more money Lara vanished. Then she came back on the current generation consoles... and once again I didn’t mind them, they were done well. I even played them until it was no longer fun... yet Lara had changed too much.

Much like those creatures of plastic surgery, she had way too much work done. You could never look at her the same way...

Then sometime a few months back, we saw a video of the new Lara.

Such promise, such vitality, such not like Lara Croft. Oh we saw instead the rebirth of a character that has been left to false gods and turned against her people.

Now we see this.


LINK

"I don't think I'm that kind of Croft." says the new Lara.

We agree and we do with applause and joy. Lara good bye, you were wonderful and your time has come. Everyone this is our new friend Lara and she has adventures to show us... ones we have never seen before.

That ladies and gents is why I'm excited about this new iteration of Lara. Because it shows promise and it's a look back at her, back when people put their best forward and not recycled the best of their creators. This shows some guts and hopefully it comes out well.

That's one part of E3, it's a trade show with promises. It's a future, one that looks like has a Lara.

Enjoy

Next Week: We are taking note of, Seven... Forty Seven

good night

7 Jun 2012

Thursday Thoughts – Riots

Canada has been pretty angry these days. Last week I went on about some of my opinions on the Quebec student protests. This week I’m hungry like wolf, queue music…

So like the big bad wolf, I have a question.

Why do you go around and break stuff, hurt people or get completely out of control? Why do you not understand you’re not hurting the government or other targeted groups? You hurt your community and you hurt your cause. You become villains for your actions; you raise the very people you need for change to rally against you. You hurt their jobs, their stores and their streets. You’re the one wearing masks…

On a side note, only bad guys and superheroes where masks. You folks are not mobs filled with Batman. You’re this this guy.

Yeah, you’re a douche.

I understand the moral ‘right’ to rise up and engage against injustice, oppression and violence. That ‘right’ is based on self defence, for when you are being attacked. Yet self defence is a gray area. You fight hard, but trying not to become the same or worse then those you fight. You’re fighting towards an end, only long enough to solve the issue and return to peace. The moment self defence grows past that end you are now assaulting; you are no longer in the gray.

The whole idea of that end, that reason for taking up arms and defending your rights is the protection you trust when you cross over into violence. It may never protect you after all the bullets are spent, fires put out and bodies buried but you made the effort with that understanding… or did you?

I fail to see the reason behind the recent violence at the protests and riots in Canada. What justifies the destruction and rage? Is Canada that bad off, are we in such dire needs that armed revolt is the solution? Are we that similar to the uprisings across the world in less stable nations that we need to take up torches, pitchforks and anger to assault the castle on high?

I don’t think so. We (sic Canada) may be slow to change or fail to keep change but is it worthy of rising up in arms bring fire and blood to the streets and homes of our neighbours?

No, Canada is not.

Understand that when you start violence you are inviting more violence. Do not cry out that you have been shot or put down in a rough fashion. You were violent and the response is measured against the sole objective to end the violence. Sound familiar… this response is the self defence of the community. We in Canada have made it the right to defend itself from within and outside. The Police are allowed to get rough. The Army when called will play rough. The Army trains to win wars, not hug you or rescue kittens from trees.

Mind you the Police and Military when acting under what's called 'Aid to Civil Authority' do not have a blank check. They work within rules, the same rules you have discarded. I think it’d be hard to stand on your box crying out against the rules and then demanding that your rival adheres to them as well. I most cases they are following the rules you have broken. Yes they are given leeway, but they still have to pay for the leverage they use on occasion.

Oh, time for me to sum up.

My parents had two things to say about violence.

Mama Bear would say ‘If you’re going to play rough, expect to get hurt. If you don’t want to get hurt (sic unwilling) then don’t play rough.’

Old Bear would say ‘I don’t want to see you boys fighting when I get back. If you do I’ll kill the winner.’

Violence comes at a cost, I’m not sure those who’ve recently taken to the streets with violence or to do violence understand the cost. To be fair, it’s a much debated topic if violence or when violence is accepted, no one has the answer but we all come to understand there is a cost. Someone will pay for the blood, the fire and the loss.

Think next time figure out if you’re willing to go that far into debt.

The gamble is yours.

Peace.

6 Jun 2012

Wednesday New Comic Day - Batman


So there is a guy dressed up as a bat and you need to take him seriously. His superpower is being awesome. Look at this guy, minus the obvious crazy Bruce Wayne has got the looks, the athleticism, intelligence and skills of ninja, detective, medical examiner and scientist in almost every discipline.

You just rolled an 18 on almost every stat. If Batman was a D&D/Pathfinder character you'd be called up for cheating and forced to swallow you cheating dice, sheet and pencil chased by some Mountain Dew and Cheetos

So the 'New 52' Batman.

5 Jun 2012

Tuesday Table Top Fun - Evolution or Death

*Shout out to Frontline Gamer. Drop this fine dude's site a look and tell him what you think.
Enough of the pandering, time to get back to work...

People who make table top games need to sell you what they make. As you buy things, they introduce more things to buy. This is needed for the company to continue to make the money it needs to do its job... sell you fun.

This is a downward spiral...

You see, only a few of us young people are truly trapped in the older money free bodies of older people. There is a slew of people who play table top games, but that number is finite. In other words, once we buy their stuff... we no longer have a need to give them our money.

So they make more stuff... sell or die

To sell you stuff they need new rules (if they sell rules, Corvis Bell is one that does not), models and extras... you know the fancy templates, markers and tokens.

This past weekend Lock and Loaded happened. It was a big deal for the people who play Warmachine, Hordes, Iron Kindoms RPG and the other various products of Privateer Press. They ripped off the NDA for Colossals and the interwebs were flooded with spoilers, bitches and praise. ‘Not enough new stuff, giant money grab, Unbound is too much like Games Workshop’... it just goes on and on.

Was Colossals a good idea?

Jury is still out but it’s a change that feels, as of now like an evolution rather than a full shift in the game. That I think is a good thing. Players love their games.

The game is their experience of fond victories and major failures. The game is their investment of time, money and effort. Learning and discovering new things in the world of rules and options.

The producer of the game evolves the relationship with the player to that of an agreement. I will make things for you to buy and these things will be fun and rewarding to you. The player buys the product supports it and the cycle becomes stable. Over time slow growth is more possible and less likely to break the game and the agreement with the player.

Yet if the game stays the same the players will run out of things to discover. They will no longer try. Evolution is the soft way to change the game. Harsh edition changes ala Wizards of the Coast abusive fun with Dungeons and Dragon and Games Workshops battery of their own IP are current evidence towards the negative reaction or harsher changes.

Softer changes will eventually call for a larger shift, but they may also weaken the core rules as what happened to the Third Edition of D&D. As more rules and options expanded the game to players it also widened the cracks in the game creating full on holes. Wizards of the Coast had to do a quick fix with D&D 3.5 before their addition started to pull apart the core elements of the game. Piazo took over and carried the lessons learned from 3.5 and evolved the game and have slowly expanded their rules... but the danger is there.

So Privateer Press has increased the load to their system. Lucky for them the system is pretty simple and as a result robust enough to so far have handled the variations used in the game. Even expanding the game into the new Iron Kingdoms RPG is going to be interesting to see how the core system of their game takes the new expanded load.

I also don’t think Privateer Press is going the route of Games Workshop. As their most compared competitor this fear/point comes up more and more often. I think Privateer Press is surviving, breathing if you will. The release of two new books a year with only a once every two month slender magazine is slow. It's nothing compared the rain dance instigated by the Wizards and Workshops. The constant flow of models spaced over a larger time frame may be annoying to players but as long the quality is kept up and possibly even improved there is no reason to pull out the torches.

Those may have been the tool to deal with the game companies of old but this new generation of table top games rely on much more then releases.

Hell other then Privateer Press and the odd duck, most have the rules for free online! Go ahead grab them up, these companies are selling models not a rules set. Look up Infinity as the leader of this strange pack. They've exploded due to a few factors I'll yammer about later, just know that one those high points are the quality of their product, the product being what they charge coin for...

We have so many options to deal with. Taking to the Internets and attack a company is useless. It's a war of attrition with your wallet. There is only so long they can live without your money. They will live and die by their own work. Collossals is a neat idea, a change. If anything it's a red light that makes other companies regard it as slowing down.

That may be a good thing. 

I think actually so far the most recent release is a good thing. It’s evidence that the company understands its limits and is willing to not drown its customer base in too large of a release. As you begin to expand rules, you don’t want to break them so a slow release with a level of higher quality. This is a demonstration of respect to the customers and the agreement with those same customers.

We call those customers players.

I’m a player.

4 Jun 2012

Monday Media Fun - E3 and Splinter Cell

So it's Monday and on Monday's I like to look at multimedia and yammer about things that have captured my ADD riddled attention.

By the by I love my video games.

I've been enraptured since I spent time on the Old Bears Apple IIc. Playing a slew of games off 5" floppies, I'm not talking about the hard cased, 3" disks. When those things came out I was a pig in shit. Media transfers have of course become better, ZIP, Superdisks, Jazz, CD's, DVD's, Blueray... it's crazy.

I'm meandering again... sorry.

The 7th generation of consoles has been a neat ride so far. At this point and time technologically we gots lots. Graphical fidelity, 7.1 surround sound and some really complex game play. But the development cycle for games that really push the hardware to the limits are taking close to three years in many cases. By then the next big tech or breakthrough for developing video games has adjusted and risen the bar.

Yet it's taking longer and longer to make some of these games... time = money.