FEATURE: Gaming Rituals

FEATURE: Gaming Rituals

13 Mar, 2015

I take a look at some of the conscious and unconscious things that gamers do in preparation for their favourite hobby.

FRIDAY FEATURE: Hoarding for The Gaming Apocalypse?

FRIDAY FEATURE: Hoarding for The Gaming Apocalypse?

14 Mar, 2014

I take a look at the possible reasons behind why gamers might build up large backlogs of games that they may never get around to playing. I also suggest a method that might help gamers avoid this and buy in a more conscious way in the future.

FRIDAY FEATURE Models From the Movies and TV Shows

FRIDAY FEATURE Models From the Movies and TV Shows

7 Mar, 2014

We take a look at the model kits of famous cars, planes, boats and even spaceships from your favourite films and TV shows and create a Geek wish list. At a recent Toy Fair myself and Silver Fox checked out many stands but during the walkabout I was drawn to some of the model stands. I was surprised and pleased by the quality of the models on offer and how many were from films or shows. It got my mind racing with the thought of building some of these models so I could make scenes from my fave movies. How about the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard or Eleanor from Gone in Sixty Seconds or the famous red Ferrari from Ferris Bueller or even the Tumbler from Batman? Cars not your thing then what about Captain Scarlet’s Angel Interceptor, Tom Cruise’ F14 from Top Gun, a Viper from Battlestar Galactica or the Millennium Falcon herself. As we look into the models from the movies and TV shows we find there really are four  companies that are offering these kind of model kits. We have Revell, who are well known for their models and now for their awesome looking remote control machines, Airfix who have good models but not many in the Geek arena, Polar Lights (Round 2) and  the not so well known and hard to get hold of Moebius Models. So want to know what type of models they sell? We have chosen some of the best to look at in case you wanted recreate some of your favourite vehicles from your top TV shows and movies. First up are the cars and let’s start with Transformers. The first live action Transformers movie showed us three versions of Bumblebee. Number one was the easter egg for fans of the cartoon with the VW bug and then we got the 1977 Chevrolet Camaro until the Autobot decided to get a little more modern with the 2010 Camaro SS. Revell actual have all three models with the two movie versions in the movie yellow but for me if I was going for one on the shelf it would be the 2010 model because...

FRIDAY FEATURE: The Risky Business of Gaming

FRIDAY FEATURE: The Risky Business of Gaming

20 Dec, 2013

Games are great fun, but could you get more out of your games by embracing the risks and mistakes that you make rather than chasing ease and perfection?

FRIDAY FEATURE: A Look Back at Xmen: Battle of the Atom

FRIDAY FEATURE: A Look Back at Xmen: Battle of the Atom

8 Nov, 2013

Bernice and Shane from the Children of the Atom podcast discuss the recently concluded Battle of the Atom event in the X-Universe. WARNING: SPOILERS ABOUND!! Shane: So Bernice, Battle of the Atom chapter 10, the final chapter, came out this week and just 5 minutes ago you finished reading it, as did I approximately 12 hours ago. So, it’s all over. What did you think? What are your immediate thoughts? Bernice: I have two immediate thoughts. The first one is that, like so many events, it started off really strong and then it slightly overstayed its welcome for me. S: What other events would you say that happened to? B: AvX. I was amused to discover recently that A+X is still going. It’s like, let it go. I don’t know, I wonder how many people are still buying that title? Anyway, my other thought with regards to Battle of the Atom is that it was really, really complicated. I didn’t have too much trouble keeping up but, man, so many X-Men! S: So, for the benefit of people who don’t know, shall we quickly recap the key points? B: Yeah.   S: So, Battle of the Atom is basically a direct continuation of the story that Brian Michael Bendis has been writing in All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men. Each of those titles since AvX have focussed on either Scott Summers’ team of rebels or Wolverine’s team back at the Jean Grey School. So, to understand Battle of the Atom, you need to have caught up on those two titles. The other current X-Men titles aren’t as relevant, maybe little things here and there from X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men. B: In a nutshell, Battle of the Atom is where a team of X-Men from the future arrive and say, ‘You’ve got to send the original X-Men back because you’re ruining the future.’ S: We should clarify that a key plot point from All New X-Men is that Hank McCoy from the present brought the original five X-Men into the present in an attempt to show Scott Summers the error of his ways. B: I don’t know if you agree but I think...

FRIDAY FEATURE: Geek Guide To…Alberta, Canada

FRIDAY FEATURE: Geek Guide To…Alberta, Canada

1 Nov, 2013

In the first of a new series, we give you the lowdown on the geekiest places to visit when you are out and about all over this great planet of ours.  This feature focuses on Alberta, Canada after I headed there to visit the town of Vulcan.  After spending a week in the province though, it was clear that Vulcan wasn’t the only place to put Alberta on the geek map. National Music Centre, Calgary This may not immediately spring to mind as being particularly geeky but stick with me here… It holds a collection of instruments from throughout the ages and public tours are available with very knowledgeable tour guides.  Geeky highlights start with a fully working organ which was used to create the in-theatre music during the black and white film era (which was rescued from some guys basement!).  Then you can have a go on a Theremin and try to recreate the iconic Star Trek theme tune.  Near the end of the tour is the exact synthesizer that the music for Close Encounters was created on. Source – National Music Centre – Elton Johns piano   Beakerhead Beakerhead is a series of events that merges arts, creativity and engineering.  The people behind it are trying to encourage the innovators of tomorrow by making science interesting and engaging.  They hold various events throughout the year which culminates in an explosion of arts and science in Calgary.  Recent events have included appearances from modern day folk hero and astronaut Chris Hadfield and fantastic stage shows which have wowed audiences with fantastical displays from the world of science. Photo source – Beakerhead   Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary If fantasy is more your bag, you should definitely check out Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary.  If you, like me, imagine that your daily walk to Sainsburys for your lunch would feel much more epic with a Direwolf by your side, then this is the closest you will ever get. The Sanctuary looks like a normal house from the front but behind is a large enclosure where the 6 rescued wolfdogs can roam in safety.  Your visit will allow you to go into the enclosure and meet the wolfdogs.  No barriers,...

FRIDAY FEATURE: A Town Called Vulcan

FRIDAY FEATURE: A Town Called Vulcan

25 Oct, 2013

For those of you who may not know,  I’ve dedicated a whole year to crossing off as many items of geekery of my Geek Adventure list as possible.  They have ranged from creating my own superhero, going Nessie hunting, spending the night in a haunted house and even meeting Joss Whedon (my personal favourite). A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get on a plane and head to a country I’ve never been before in order to cross another item off the list.  Number 24 –  Visit the town of Vulcan in Canada Why was it on the list?  Well, what self-respecting Trekkie wouldn’t want to visit a place named after our beloved Spock’s home planet?  It was an adventure just waiting to happen… After a comfortable flight and catching up with some sleep in Calgary, we set off on the hour and a half’s drive to Vulcan.  Surrounded by vast plains, the town seems to pop up out of nowhere, and with only 2,000 residents, it’s a small place.  Named after the god of fire by a surveyor with a love of Roman mythology, the town was named Vulcan in 1910, well before we had ever heard of Starfleet, the Enterprise or ‘Beam me up Scotty’. Its history is steeped in agriculture but over the years they decided to embrace the very thing that caused people to stop and take their pictures next to the towns sign. Nothing says ‘Welcome to Vulcan’ more than a replica Federation ship they have on entry into the town.  It was unveiled in 1995 and has plaques around the base written in English, Vulcan and Klingon.  Talk about geeky photo opportunities!     Once you have sufficiently exhausted your Star Trek poses, the next stop would be the Trek Station.  Situated behind the starship, it’s the perfect place to stock up on your Trek merch.  And if you are up for a giggle, you should definitely take advantage of their photo area.  You can chose uniforms from all different Trek eras and pose with some cardboard cutouts of your favourite characters.  Or if you are wanting to take a unique souvenir, you can have your picture...

FRIDAY FEATURE: The Dark Leviathan of Gotham City

FRIDAY FEATURE: The Dark Leviathan of Gotham City

18 Oct, 2013

In this writer’s opinion, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has been everything and more that a Bat fan could wish for, but there is a depth to his stories that add so much extra intrigue. In the final film of the trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan explores the themes of Thomas Hobbes’ book The Leviathan. Is Batman anything but the illegitimate force of good that stops the criminals in Gotham city or did the Gothamites elect Batman as their protector? Thomas Hobbes argued that in order to have a full life, people needed a leviathan to get out of the state of nature. The state of nature is where every society begins. Everyone has complete freedom but it is unruly, harsh and everyone is out for themselves. There are no laws to protect the individual from harm and they make the most of what they can. Hobbes describes life in the state state of nature as: ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.’ In order to move forward the people choose a Leviathan who can lead them to greater things. In the Leviathan the people give up some of their liberties to accept the Leviathan as the leader of the state. From this position, the Leviathan can establish law and policy in order to make sure that people can have things such as property and if they are taken away from them unjustly, then punishments will be given. The theme of the leviathan goes through each one of Nolan’s films but is felt the most in The Dark Knight Rises. In Batman Begins we are shown that the police are corrupt and although the law is on their side the people know that they have no real help from this police force. The city itself, Gotham, is portrayed as a city in which everyone is out for themselves. The only person any individual can rely on is themselves and the police are willing to betray the city’s civilians in order to help the mob bosses such as Flacone. This is clear in a scene in which Rachel Dawes is about to get mugged. The only person who is willing to step up against these people...

FRIDAY FEATURE: War Comics: Britains Lost Genre?

FRIDAY FEATURE: War Comics: Britains Lost Genre?

27 Sep, 2013

When I was a kid, the comics I read didn’t feature superheroes, racing around in costumes fighting crime and super-villainy. I wasn’t even that aware of them. They were occasionally on television and of course Superman was a big fixture after the success of the films, but in terms of comic books they didn’t really get a look in. Back then, I didn’t buy comics from a comic store, I bought them from my local newsagent. They had a whole shelf of them, between the stacks of newspapers on the bottom and glossy magazines in the middle shelves and they featured very different heroes from the ones we are familiar with today. Because back in seventies Britain, it seemed that War Comics for boys was king. Yet there is scant trace of it today. War stories have always played a big part in fiction, and it is fairly easy to see the attraction. Conflict narratives make for easy definition of “goodies” and “baddies” even if we wince a little at is as adults. Heroism and life and death tension are natural and unforced when your setting is a battlefield. You can dial it up to tell gritty, almost horrific stories of survival in the face of certain death and dial it down to tell action/adventure stories where no-one really gets hurt apart from an easily “othered” set of uniforms on the other side. War Comics pretty much had the whole spread covered. Commando and Starblazer Probably the natural place to start when examining  War Comics  is Commando. First published by DC Thompson in 1961, Commando was produced as a series of pocket-sized black and white story books and is still in print today, although with a circulation well shy of its peak of a staggering 750,000 issues sold. There always seemed to be a new Commando on the shelves, with a painted front cover and dramatic title. Each story was a one-shot with new characters and new situations, which meant a certain amount of jeopardy for any given character. Its rapid publishing schedule, and one-shot nature did lead to a certain amount of plot repetition, but also meant that in the drive to keep...

FRIDAY FEATURE: Comics and Digital Piracy

FRIDAY FEATURE: Comics and Digital Piracy

21 Sep, 2013

 Join GS team member Leo as he and some creators from the comic industry who include Mark Waid, Jim Zubkavich, Rob Guillory, Scott Wegener and more delve into the controversial area of digital piracy. As a comic fan, I’ve often thought a lot about how print comics fare when the internet making digital comics and even digital piracy more prevalent. I’ve had quite a few conversations with friends and fellow comic readers about the subject. It was after one such conversation with my friend Michael that I wanted to know not just what I thought or what my group of friends thought about digital comics and digital piracy, but rather what the people who bring us the floppy pages of comic joy that we read every month thought about it, and how they felt it was helping or hurting them and their livelihoods. After a brainstorming session in which I attempted to boil down the digital controversy to just two questions, while leaving them open ended, I sent out a flurry of emails. For those creators that were kind enough to reply and answer the questions posed by this comic fan, I sent these questions: Digital comics are making a huge impact on the comic industry. How do you think they’re affecting print comics and the industry as a whole? Digital piracy is also a big topic in the comic community. What do you feel is the overall effect of piracy on comic sales, both digital and print? Do you feel like it wins over enough fans to make it possible to overlook, or is the effect totally negative? The responses were varied and interesting. Below, I’ve broken down the responses by question as answered by each comic creator, and even one comic fan and friend. Let’s see what they had to say about the first question. ”Digital comics are making a huge impact on the comic industry. How do you think they’re affecting print comics and the industry as a whole?” Digital media is changing the landscape for every outlet: music, video and print, so comics are being swept into that maelstrom just like everything else. The intensity of that change is reflected...