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Wednesday Whimsy

Wednesday Whimsy

By: Caelrona

Hiya all! The week is over already and I’m just sitting here wondering where it went. But anyway, Happy St. Patty’s Day to any of our readers who celebrate it. Aside from it being a small holiday; Sunday also brought us new episodes of The Walking Dead and Vikings; both of which I am loving so much. But today’s blog isn’t about television, no matter how much we all love it. Today I thought I’d talk about video games a bit. Lots of stuff happening on that front that I’m excited about; Minecraft just brought the 1.5 update which is murdering me with lag. That’s ok, Mojang, it isn’t like I was excited to play with the daylight sensors or anything. The newest Simcity was also released, but talk online says there are problems with it. Last but not least, Hidden Path Entertainment has finally stepped up to bring our beloved Age of Empires 2 into the modern age with an HD remake. So, let’s get started shall we?

03-20-13WW1

Mojang finally released the much anticipated Redstone Update; otherwise known as Minecraft update 1.5. I’ve been waiting for this for a while with a lot of anticipation, because the daylight detector is a much needed circuit component and I loved playing with random redstone circuits. Unfortunately, the update did more than just bring new items. It brought lag; horrible, terrible, game stuttering lag. I mean, my laptop probably isn’t the best machine to run Minecraft on anyway; but this is just ridiculous. I get lag standing still. Aside from that they also changed the way texture packs have to be laid out, which means a lot of work for me converting mine to the new layout. In the long run, I’m sure I’ll eventually love the Redstone update, probably after a 1.5.1 hotfix to address the lag issue, but for now; screw you too, Mojang. =(

03-20-13WW2

EA finally brought fans what they’ve been begging for with a brand new Simcity that has apparently crashed and burned since its launch. From what I’ve been reading, I’m really glad that I haven’t bought it yet. Apparently they are attempting to sell Simcity as an MMO, which is kind of silly. Take it from a Sim nerd; we don’t play Sim games to deal with other people. We play Sim games to control everything. An option to play with certain people would have been loved by pretty much all fans. Forcing us to play with random people, on the other hand, is not really welcome at all. We could just do PUG’s in World of Warcraft if we wanted to play with random players of questionable skill. Speaking of questionable skill; the AI built into the Sims is laughable. I don’t really think it can even be called AI, since there is no intelligence to it at all. They don’t actually have individual lives, as was promised. Instead they work at whatever the closest workplace is and live wherever the closest house is. But amid all the bad, there is some good news; apparently someone modded Simcity to work completely offline, proving the EA’s statements about online server play being integral to the game was a load of bunk. So hopefully the amazing modders out there can give us a functional Simcity that Sim-fans can love.

03-20-13WW3

Hidden Path Entertainment is making many oldschool gamers very happy with an Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings HD release this coming April via Steam. I was so excited when I heard the news. I spent plenty of time playing Age of Empires, and having my friends slaughter me in online play. I still play it occasionally, although the hoops I jump through in order to run it on my Windows 7 machine without glitching are ridiculous. All of which is precisely why I am so excited; the HD release will feature updated graphics and had been designed to run on newer machines and operating systems. No more crappy graphics caused by Aero. As a bonus, they aren’t simply updating Age of Kings; they are also including The Conquerors expansion all in one glorious HD bundle, which is nice because that means we won’t have to turn around and pay again just to get those 5 civilizations. The best thing? They are charging a measly little $19.99 USD for this (a perfectly reasonable price, in my opinion) instead of some ridiculous amount that gamers would still begrudgingly pay for their much loved game. All in all, Hidden Path Entertainment is full of win!

Of course there are tons of other games being released, or have just been released recently that I’m also excited about. I mean, we did just get a Walking Dead game, and they announced Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag for then end of this year. All of which is super exciting, and I’m totally looking forward to them all. But since I didn’t want to bore you with tons of game announcements, I stuck to what pretty much sums up as my Top 3. I don’t know about you; but I’ve got some gaming to do!

Until next time,

Caelrona – signing off! ❤

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All Inked Up.

By Caelrona

 

Hiya all! Caelrona here, yet again! This time I’m going to give you all a break from the anime, and talk to you about something else I am rather passionate about… tattoos! Yes, it’s true! I, Caelrona, am addicted to ink. Not just any ink, however, but geeky ink! My passion is not limited to just looking at the amazing, awe-inspiring ink that brave souls get and share on the internet (serious, go have a gawk! Freakin’ awesome stuff,) but getting my own geekink. I have several tattoos myself and like the millions of other ink’d geeks across the world, I use my tattoos to show my geeky passions for the things I nerdgasm over.

That’s right my fellow geeks, geeky ink is on the rise! Anything and everything from Video Game references (Triforce, anyone?) to chemical compositions and beyond have been permanently inked into our fellow geeks tender hides. Honestly, I don’t understand why geeks didn’t get in on the tattoo bandwagon way earlier in the game. I understand that traditionally tattoos were reserved for rebels (or idiots) but really, who is more rebellious than a geek? Seriously, we kick ass at not sticking to tradition; in fact it’s kinda why we’re geeks. We ask questions and poke and prod things that normal people stay away from. Besides, we already proclaim our geekiness in every other way; permanent reminders of our most beloved geeky things? Yes, yes please! I’ll line up for some of that, please and thank you!

The ideas for geeky and nerdy tattoos are about as boundless as the many amazing things we geek out over. Geeky video game tattoos? They’ve been done hundreds of times, maybe even thousands. (I mean, really, even I have one ;P ) Geeky book/movie tattoos? Also done! Knitting, computer, science, memes… you name it and someone is passionately geeky enough about it to have gotten a tattoo done about it.

 

Getting a tattoo is a deeply personal experience; and by that I mean that it is different for everyone. Some people dither forever on their tattoos, designing the ink themselves, or having them drawn out specially; and others just look at something and decide ‘I have to have a tattoo of that!’ Every single person is different, and when it comes to tattoos this is especially true. Some tattoos hurt more than others (but yes, before you ask, it DID hurt) and some even tickle (No joke, they can tickle!) Some tattoos are seriously personal reminders, some are whims made permanent; but they are all works of art that are special to someone.

So, my fellow geeks, are you now thinking of getting your own geek ink? Or perhaps, like me, you’re now itching to get some more? My advice to you, is to do what you want! (Also, Pics or it didn’t happen!) Part of being a geek is being true to yourself, so if you want to get that ‘Arrow to the Knee’ tattoo, then go for it! If you want a meme tattoo; well, it is your body so you go ahead and get that rage comic tattoo on your bicep. Tattoos are an exciting new area of geekdom, just waiting there for you to explore it if you’re interested. As for me, I think I’m going to be adding to my collection of geek-ink very soon…

PODCASTS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME* *IF YOU SHARE THE EXACT LIKES AS ME.

By @hmsbeefnuts

Four years ago, I didn’t know what a podcast was. Or, if I did, I certainly had no interest in listening to them. Right now however, I’m listening to a podcast, I listen to podcasts when I walk my dog, when I chill out, whenever I can really. I only really listen to music now in my car, the rest of the time, I want to listen to like minded geeks, comedians, journalists and ex pro wrestlers talk about important stuff, or more likely, rubbish for an hour or so. I have found most of the podcasts I currently listen to on my own, for to my knowledge, few of my friends listen to them. I thought then, it was about time I wrote a little something about the shows I never miss, shows that offer free entertainment every week, and who can argue with free?

VIDEO GAMES

Eons ago now it seems, Gaming website Gamesradar.com had one of the greatest podcasts of all time, TalkRadar. Sadly this has gone, but the current crop of gaming goodfellas are back with a new podcast, RadioRadar. Only one episode old, RadioRadar is a serious gaming podcast, with a sense of fun, a great listen for all the relevant gaming news. Here is a link to Gamesradar.com, where you can find RadioRadar, as well as another podcast, and one of my favourites. GamesRadar UK Podcast is quite simply anarchic genius. All the regular hosts are funny, interesting and simply awesome. I always laugh at this, Cundy is a personal hero of mine, top bloke.

The other major video game podcast I listen to, well, it isn’t really about video games at all. Podtoid is a 2 hour glimpse into the mind of games industry hate figure Jim Sterling, as he talks a load of rubbish with his colleges Jonathan Holmes, and others. I can’t really explain what this podcast is about, but expect Willem Defoe movie pitches, Jim’s ideas for crazy schemes that Jonathan Holmes can get involved in, (past adventures have included grave robbery, a one man zoo, and a pirate adventure cove with a rotting corpse). Not for the easily offended, but this is genius, very different, but comfortably similar, every week is a sonic adventure to the dark reaches of the human mind, in a funny way, check it out here.

GEEK/COMICS

When TalkRadar died, the regular crew went out on their own and created Lasertime. Lasertime is a podcast obsessed with nostalgia. Great topics such as WWE, 80’s adverts, movies, food and drink mascots, TV shows, they cover something for everyone, always funny, always interesting, well worth a listen. An offshoot of Lasertime is Cape Crisis, a podcast dedicated to comics and comic related subjects. One again, I can’t talk highly enough about this one, and these guys are partly responsible for my comic obsession. The same guys do Lasertime, so if you like that, you are sure to like this too.

The Geek Box and Comic Conspiracy are both podcasts that are produced by the same people, slightly different casts. The Geek Box discusses all things of a geek nature, usually things in the news, Comic Conspiracy is obviously a comic based podcast, and deals with all the news of a comic bent. Check them out here.

COMEDY

King of Edinburgh, Richard Herring is always doing something podcast wise. He is one of my favourite comedians and is always worth a listen. Currently he is in Edinburgh and doing his daily podcasts from there, as he interviews fellow comedians. Another comedy podcast is The Comedy Button, from some of the same people who bring you The Geek Box. This is always funny, with stories from the cast and genuine tomfoolery.

RANDOM OTHER SUBJECTS

A new one for me, RodPod is Rowdy Roddy Pipers podcast. Expect old school wrestling stories, with no holds barred. Some of the things I have heard on this have shocked and amused me greatly, Piper has met a whole lot of people and lived a life few others could even imagine. Amazing.

Mysterious Universe is a great podcast all about the weird and the strange. From Bigfoot, aliens, ghosts and every other strange thing you could imagine, this is a wry look at the world of science, science fiction and the paranormal. Always interesting.

Good Job Brain is a podcast from the people who brought you The Geek Box etc. Basically QI on the radio, Good Job Brain is a quiz/general knowledge podcast that takes different subjects every week. Very interesting and funny. It is thanks to this that I know what the juice from a Beaver’s anus is used for in food stuffs!!

That’s enough for the time being I think. Hope you like some of these suggestions. Catch you soon.

All Geek To Me’s Geek Olympics: Final Round

By @hmsbeefnuts

Hello Geek Sport’s fans, and welcome to another, slightly delayed, post covering the greatest Geek Character’s competing in a series of events, loosely based on Olympic sports. You can read the first article here, and the second here. So without further a do, here we go…

HAMMER THROW

Thor, The Hammer Bros. Timmy Mallet, Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine, M.C. Hammer.

Now this event has been seriously mis-booked by the Geek Olympics’ organisers, oh, that would be me, never mind then, on with the fun. The Hammer Throw is a simple enough event, pick up the hammer, and throw it as far as you can. Beloved 80’s TV Children’s entertainer Timmy Mallet steps up to the plate, struggles to pick up the hammer, twists around, and flings it wildly, behind him. He scores a mighty throw of -2m. Oh dear. Next up The Hammer Bros from Super Mario Bros step to the plate, pick up the hammer and proceed to throw it in a high arc, straight up, and straight down, but being turtle things, perhaps they don’t fully understand the rules. They score 4m, an improvement, but not much of one.

Next up, Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine, who despite his name, has never actually thrown a Hammer. He has put people in figure four leg locks though, and he proceeds to drag M.C. Hammer, proving that you can indeed ‘touch this’, in the middle of the stadium and tries to apply the submission move. Unfortunately for ‘The Hammer’, M.C. Hammer is too legit. Too legit to quit, and as he is wearing frankly ridiculous parachute pants, the figure four is ineffective, M.C. Hammer breaks free and runs off. Greg is shamed and arrested by Green Lantern Security. That leaves Thor. He has brought his own Hammer, which he throws, and it keep going and going and going. Unfortunately, it comes back to his hand. Thor scores 0m. Gold Medal goes to The Hammer Bros. with a mighty 4m.

RUNNING

Flash, Quicksilver, Sonic, Superman.

Everyone seems to love the 100m and stuff like that. Personally I can’t see it. 9.65 secs and it’s all over. So this race will be from the starting point in our Geek Olympic Stadium here in Cardiff, all the way around the world, and back to the stadium. The contestants line up, eagerly awaiting the starter pistol. BOOM! The shot is fired and everyone is off. 9.65 secs later Flash crosses the finish line. Oh. Gold Medal Flash.

ARCHERY

Katniss Everdean, Merida, Robin Hood, The Green Arrow, Hawkeye.

You all know the classic way archery contests are held, same deal here, everyone lines up, and its the person who hits the bullseye most wins. Simple really. Hawkeye goes first, he lines up an arrow, steadies himself and fires. The arrow hits the target, and explodes, destroying the next persons target too. The Green Arrow is pissed. He takes out his arrow, lines up and fires one straight at Hawkeye. Luckily its a boxing glove arrow, it knocks Hawkeye out cold, but with no target to hit, Arrow is shit out of luck.

Robin Hood is fully in flirting mode with both Katniss and Merida, which is frankly, well, a bit dodgy, are they even of age yet? Anyway, so entranced is he with both maidens, he fires wild and misses his target. The fact that he is a cartoon fox didn’t really help matters to be honest either. But there we are. It seems Gold is going to the fairer sex today. Katniss and Merida take turns in firing arrows, both hitting bullseye after bullseye. The deadlock is broken however, when Merida suggest they try to see who is the best an horse archery. She is. And she wins. Katniss is forced to go home empty handed, home to her weird Lady Gaga inspired Capitol City. Gold goes to Merida.

WRESTLING/BOXING/MMA/JUDO/KARATE BASICALLY FUCKING SOMEONE UP

Hulk, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Thing, Jason Statham, Bruce Lee, Rocky, Mr. T, Rowdy Roddy Pipper, Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Andre The Giant, The Rock, Wolverine, Deadpool, Chewbacca, Hagrid, Legolas, Batman, Jon Matrix, Ivan Drago, Indiana Jones, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolfman, Bigfoot, Conan, Khal Drogo, A Predator, An Alien and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

This event is basically just a Royal Rumble Event to see who is the hardest Mofo in the universe. I’m not even going to attempt to try an describe the chaos that went down in this event. All super powers, all weapons are allowed, no rules apart from, when you get thrown over the ropes, your out, or if you die in the ring, your out. Simple right. All participants start in the, frankly, massive ring. This goes on for hours, and what initially seemed like a brilliant idea, has become a nightmare. Hours pass, and finally two contestants are left, Jason Statham and Batman. Clearly the two hardest people in the known universe, and the best two at beating the shit out of people.

There can only be one winner though. Both have never been beaten, but Batman is just slightly better, sorry Jason. Batman smashes his opponents face through the mat, and throws him over the ropes, simple, but effective. Gold Medal, and award for best person at fighting ever, Batman. Was there ever any doubt?

With that, our All Geek To Me’s Geek Olympics comes to an end. Thanks for reading. Catch you soon.

Gaming For Girls Part 5

By Kirkiechick

Hello boys and girls, it is I, Hmsbeefnuts with an introduction for one of our regular contributers here at All Geek To Me, Kirkiechick. Here, she valiantly continues her quest through Arkham City, and looks ahead to ventures new. I’ll be back on Wednesday for some Whimsy, but for now, sit back, relax, as we venture into the exciting world of Gaming for Girls…

I have news everyone! I have managed to complete Batman Arkham City 100% in Story Mode. All be it on Easy, but at least I know how the story “ends”! Don’t worry I will try not to reveal too much now! I left you the last time with trying to get into a weapons store as Catwoman for Poison Ivy. I managed to do this. Then I had a decision to make. Catwoman had heard the radio conversations about the progress of Batman. I had to decide whether to save him or not. I’ll let you find out for yourselves the outcome of either decision 😉

Back to Batman’s storyline, I awoke and was able to continue with the story. I found the next stage was to continue to fight goons and pick up clues as to the manipulation of Arkham City. Eventually a showdown had to take place. I shall just say that the showdown and subsequent conclusion to the story is amazing and knocks the socks off Arkham Asylum. I was so pleased with myself that I had eventually finished the storyline of Arkham City. Since then I have been working on the side missions and collecting the Riddler Trophies and solving the riddles for Batman and as Catwoman. So guys if you haven’t played Arkham City yet, I suggest you do as you are in for a treat!

I have found that some of the Trophies are hard to get. This frustrates me as I keep trying and trying. Hopefully I’ll eventually get them! It is fun to switch between playing as Batman and as Catwoman. The side missions are fun and there are still plenty of goons to dispatch! I have upgraded fully for Batman and Catwoman.

I haven’t been playing on LA Noire or Lost at all, as I have been concentrating on Arkham City. Hopefully I will play more of them now. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into a good gaming session with LA Noire. Happy gaming guys!

Code Breaker: How Online Passes and DLC are Making Playing Games A Pain

By @hmsbeefnuts

This article originally appeared on GameNTrain.com

Two Fridays ago, I went to my local games emporium and picked up SSX on the 360. I hadn’t pre-ordered it, but I know a few guys there and I’m always polite to them, and so they slipped me the pre-order bonuses that they were offering for the game. These amounted to a new character and a whole new mountain to race my snow boarder down. Excellent, it always pays to be polite! I made my way home, I had a few hours before I needed to start work, and thought there were few better ways to kill time than relaxing with some off piste action. Unfortunatley, it was not going to prove so easy to enjoy my game.

I slipped the disc in, the game started, and an update had to download. 20 seconds later, I restarted the game, here we go! Oh. I have to enter a code to download my online pass. OK, here we go, a 25 character code, lets enter that with my pad, that’ll be easy. OK finally ready. Except, I remembered I had the pre-order bonus DLC. Could I be bothered? I decided that if I didn’t do it now I may lose the code sheet. Another two 25 character codes, input with the awkward method of control pad. Finally, after about 10 minutes I was playing the game. I liked it a lot actually. Now I know that 10 minutes isn’t a great deal of time, and that I can hardly complain about getting free stuff, at least it would be churlish in the extreme. However, this DLC and Online pass malarkey has really started to piss me off. Games are supposed to be an enjoyable pass time, to relax and forget the stresses and strains of working and relationships etc. DLC and these codes that gamers are constantly having to input, basically amounts to a few minutes of Data Entry before we can enjoy the game we have spent £40 on. That’s too much like work to be considered fun.

I used to think that DLC was a great idea. It extended the life of many of my favourite games, added new quests, characters or multi-player maps. I was happy to part with the extra cash on the few games that I deemed worth it, and then… DLC went crazy. Every game had DLC, and the DLC seemed to be more and more essential to the game. Almost as if developers were purposefully leaving parts of the full game out, just so they could charge consumers for it, and make extra money. But surely they wouldn’t do that right? Surely they wouldn’t charge you for DLC that was already on the disc. The Disc you bought for £40? Oh. Then we had day one DLC. That means that you bought the game, day one, probably had your free pre-order DLC, and then the developers had released further campaigns or maps etc. on your consoles download store. To get the full experience, you have to pay once, and then pay a little more when you get home. If the DLC is ready day one, it should be on the disc, for free. At least wait an appropriate amount of time before you come begging for more money.

I am quite simply becoming disgusted by this terrible grab for money. Now you might say that Jon, you don’t have to buy any of the DLC, no one is forcing you to buy it. You’d be right, no one is, but that doesn’t make it any more right. DLC done right is still a fine thing. Look at Bethesda games Oblivion and Fallout. Oblivion is an example of the very worst, and very best examples of DLC. Remember the reaction to Horse Armour? £5 for some shitty armour for your horse. However, DLC such as The Shivering Isles and Nights of the Nine expansions, offered a great deal for you 800 odd Microsoft points. Likewise the Fallout games. Each piece of DLC added something solid and worthwhile to the game. Yes it cost you a little more, but I at least thought you got your moneys worth. DLC has to be done correctly. Customers shouldn’t feel like they are getting ripped off. Price is important, but also timing. I can understand giving stores exclusive DLC in order to secure pre-orders, but when these exclusives become too much it all gets a bit ridiculous, see Batman Arkham City. Most stores had different DLC exclusives, it was a tough choice deciding where to pre-order the game.

Online passes are another aspect of gaming that has raised its ugly head recently, but is now firmly ingrained in the culture. I have never understood the reasoning behind the online pass. It goes a little something like this. A consumer buys say, SSX. After a few week, they get bored of it, and trade the game into a store, perhaps in order to afford a new game. Another customer then sees SSX in the store as a used game, picks it up and starts to play. Now companies like EA aren’t happy with this. They use the excuse that networks and servers that enable online play are expensive, and that the extra people who haven’t paid to play on it are driving up costs. The online pass then helps pay for these new players. Buy a new game, play online for free, after entering a code. Buy a game second hand, expect to pay £10 for the privilege of playing online.

All sounds pretty fair? Well it’s absolute bullshit. Only one person is using the game to play online. Firstly, the person who bought it new, they played online, then they sold it. They aren’t still playing it online are they? The person who has bought it second hand, well, they are still just one person, and if they are playing online, that’s still the same amount of people taking up server space, even though that person has changed. The extra people on the server excuse is absolute shit. The online pass is just an excuse for publishers to make money on used sales, which they can not do any other way. Used sales by the way are the main reason that game shops can survive.

In the UK our major game retailer GAME, has been recently rumoured to be closing, after some financial problems, which has resulted in it not stocking some huge games, Mass Effect 3 in particular. Used game sales help keep game retailers afloat. Yes there are undoubtedly problems with trading in your old games, you certainly won’t get a fair price, but they are an essential part of gaming culture for some consumers. Many people use trade ins in order to buy new games. Companies like EA may not get a piece of the action, but in many cases, people who buy used, would probably not buy new. EA are probably not losing a great deal of money this way. However, their draconian methods of trying to control consumers is far more likely to drive people away than secure sales. Look at Ubisofts DRM. We don’t have time to get into that here, but not being able to play your game unless you are connected to the internet is quite simply criminal.

Companies need to understand that making things harder and more expensive for loyal customers, is not the way to keep customers loyal. Punishing people who have paid you money to buy and play your game is counter productive. Is it any wonder that piracy is on the increase? Make things easy for people, and they will buy new, but most importantly buy. Make things hard, and more and more expensive, and people will look elsewhere for their entertainment, and perhaps pirate it. No one makes money from pirated games. Games should be easy and fun in order to play. Codes, online passes and increased DLC, are not aiding this process. They are making it a pain in the ass.

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