Graphic Novel Showcase: The Adventures of Tintin

Hello All!  I’d like to do a quick showcase of one of my absolute favorite graphic novel series.  Growing up The Adventures of Tintin was one of my favorite reads and as I’ve been re-reading them again recently, I’d like to do a showcase so you to can enjoy them as well.

In the series, Tintin a French reporter along with his dog snowy travel the world to various places solving crime cases and unraveling political intrigue along the way.  The books are somewhat comical, but also give a fantastic snapshot of the period of history during which they were written. (1930s – 1960s).  Each book is its own adventure however some of them do interconnect (almost like a TV series).   Some of them are self contained fictional stories, while others he becomes deeply entangled in actual historical events.  They are light hearted, action packed and a great read for anyone looking for a good adventure graphic novel.  I hope you guys enjoy these books as much as I have!

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Dave’s top ten video games of 2016 – 10 – Pokemon Sun and Moon

This is a recent one, and is the last game I got that I consider I’ve played enough of to be worthy of a place in this years list (that’s why you won’t find Final Fantasy 15 or the last guardian on the list). These games shook up the formula for Pokemon by revamping the challenges your trainer faces, replacing the series staple gyms with the island challenges that require different actions from the players to complete than simply battling, though they do end with a battle against a totem Pokemon, a special version of a certain species that is more powerful than the other Pokemon of the same species. 
The feature that I find the biggest improvement is the addition of “ride Pokemon”. These Pokemon do the jobs of HM moves on the other titles, allowing you to fly, break rocks, swim, and all other things. This is a major benefit as you would end up with a Pokemon in your team who was useless for combat, but had all the moves required for you to get around the world. Now these jobs are all allocated to these ride Pokemon, leaving your entire team open for exactly your team of choice. 
Another interesting feature is that, as well as the usual addition of new Pokemon, there are also new forms of classic Pokemon by the way of “Alolan form” Pokemon. These are special versions of said Pokemon who are unique to this region and have different typing and abilities, examples of which would be Alolan Raichu who is now an electric / psychic type, Alolan geodude and evolutions who are now dual rock and steel type, and even to both Alolan Vulpix and family and Alolan Sandshrew and family, who are now ice type. This is a great addition for old fans to be able to see old Pokemon in new ways. 
The storyline of this Pokemon game has been greatly improved, with more cutscenes, more actual in depth characters, and a little Easter egg that makes the whole story very tragic. 
Finally, while this may sound small, I find it massive. There is the Poke Pellago feature which allows all of your Pokemon that you’re currently not using be put to work on a set of islands that allow them to grow pokebeans, grow berries, hunt for stones and shards, and train up in specific stats or levels. This is great, and it means that all the Pokemon you have in the boxes are actually put to use, and you don’t feel so bad about not using them much. 
This is the biggest shakeup that’s been given to the Pokemon franchise in a long time, and in my opinion it is very well done and makes the best Pokemon release in the series. There are rumours of an enhanced third game coming out to the Nintendo switch, hopefully adding the following Pokemon feature found in the game files as well as more things to do and maybe even more Pokemon, as well as the whole thing being in full HD. We can only hope the rumours turn out as good as they sound. 
Stay tuned for number 9 (sorry I’m running late, I’m really not feeling well at the moment)

Games of the Year – Dishonourable Mentions

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, I welcome you to the 2016 completely arbitrary and overall pointless event that is Dave’s Top Ten Games of the Year!!!!!!
This year will be slightly different. I shall post one game a day until the first (the 31st being honorable mentions). Number ten shall be posted tonight, but to keep all of you satiated til then, I present those who couldn’t have been further from this list. The ones that missed the mark so drastically you’ll swear they were being aimed by storm troopers. I present to you…
The Dishonourable Mentions
Street fighter 5

This one has sort of managed to redeem itself in the months since its release, but at launch this game was an absolute mess. Modes were completely missing (including story mode and an actual arcade mode), net code was spotty at best, and the games you COULD play online were plagued by rage quitters as there were no punishments for leaving games early so it wouldn’t count the loss. The gameplay itself was solid, but for all of its errors, it has since been written off by long time fans of the franchise, who have since gone back to ultra street fighter 4
Slashy souls

This is an oddity and the only mobile game on this list. Released to promote Dark Souls 3, this game is everything that the dark souls series isn’t. While it is definitely too much to expect the atmosphere and storytelling, the timing and dexterity required in the main series games are completely gone, replacing them with an endless runner where you mindlessly tap to destroy anything in your path. Mobile games have shown they can be very competent, with games like Infinity Blade being a perfect example of how to translate the Souls series combat style to a touch screen. Slashy souls stands out as a very quickly made cash in to a series that is otherwise a set of masterpieces. 
Everybody’s gone to the rapture

A genre that is growing in popularity is the so called “walking simulator”, a game that doesn’t go out to offer a lot of action or high octane gameplay, but rather to tell a story as the player explores the environment. Certain titles in the genre do have puzzles, or at least have the player need to discover the storyline by looking at everything around them. Everybody’s gone to the rapture has none of this. You wander through a beautifully rendered version of a British village that is strangely abandoned, viewing visions of certain events that led to everybody disappearing. The problem is that the pacing is dreadful, your character walks so slowly, even when using the very well hidden run button. Add to this that the village is very empty and contains a lot of places where nothing happens, you spend a lot of time double backing on yourself because you’ve walked into a dead end where nothing important to the story had happened yet. This title could have had so much potential, but it was let down horrendously. 
Star fox zero

Star Fox … How on earth do you mess up Star Fox? Nintendo found a way. In keeping with a lot of their current activities, Nintendo decided to try and reinvent the franchise and “innovate” the gameplay by forcing in the motion controls using the game pad. This wouldn’t be too bad if it were implemented well or optional, but it’s not. You are forced to use a control scheme that is broken, making what would otherwise be a great, fun game a nightmare to play. All Nintendo had to do was make a HD Star Fox, and they failed
No man’s sky

Sean Murray is a liar. Let’s just start off with this. He stated in no uncertain words that the game would feature multiplayer. That you could meet other players. That you could effect galactic relations between species. That the animals would react to each other and to the player just as real animals do. That the planets would orbit their star realistically. That the distance from their star would effect the ecosystem of the planets. None of these things are true. The game that was released was a glorified cut down minecraft clone that stops being enjoyable very soon after starting when you realise the gameplay cycle consists of mining ores and fuels until your oxygen and atmosphere systems need refuelling, so you go and mine the things you need for that, and then you go and fly in your ship until you run out of fuel and repeat the whole process again. Aliens are just as boring, with none of them leaving their ships, and being represented by a single image when you interact with said ship, where they only act as a glorified shop. Essentially, this game could have been great, but it was a let down that was sold as something else, with some of the boxes of the game even having a multiplayer icon that was covered by a sticker. No man’s sky was sullied by one man’s lie, and in my eyes and the eyes of a good many other people, that will forever mark it as a disaster that can never be reclaimed.
Battlefield 1

This is more of a disappointment of what could have been. With a trailer released at the same time as the Call of Duty Infinite Warfare trailer, it seemed to be a huge break from the norm. In an era of modern military shooters, releasing a game set in World War One was a massive step, as no AAA games have put people into the shoes of those who took part in one of the greatest tragedies in human history. Sadly, when it was released, it turned out that a lot of this was set dressing, with the game playing like every other shooter on the market, featuring nothing mechanically that makes the game noticeably different from games set in world war 2 or in modern settings, which was missing a huge chance of making a truly unique experience. Instead, we ended up with another iterative instalment of the series. 
Rollercoaster tycoon world

The mighty have fallen. Rollercoaster Tycoon was a groundbreaking series that has won a lot of awards throughout its life for its innovative mechanics, changing how people approached management games. Even when they changed up the style of the game with the third instalment, it was still a great management game in a whole new way. The trouble started with the badly handled, fee to pay Rollercoaster tycoon 4 on mobile devices, and now with world they’ve shown that the talent behind the previous games has completely left the company. There is a clear lack of passion behind the title. The graphics are terribly done to a point where they distract, the way buildings interact with eachother is broken, the patching system is a mess, and the whole thing is filled with glitches. You constantly find yourself fighting with the interface to get anything done. This is a sad fate for a classic series. Happily, the minds behind the third instalment went on to create a TRUE successor, but that’s a story for another day (hint)
Mighty no. 9

After Capcom decided that they were going to quietly kill off the mega man franchise, many fans of the blue bomber were crying out for their favourite games to come back in some form. Keiji Inafune stepped up and said that he was going to bring the fans exactly what they wanted by making a new franchise with all of the aspects from his old games that the fans craved. He took it to Kickstarter, and it was crowd funded in mere minutes, ending up making the amount he wanted many MANY times over. The problems started when it became clear the project was changing from what was originally promised to the people who backed it. Then it started getting delayed many times, and more people got worried. The final straw was when Keiji Inafune attempted to crowdfund another TWO projects, a spinoff from the still not finished Mighty No. 9 called Red Ash, that was supposed to be a return to the mega man legends style of gameplay, as mighty no. 9 was supposed to be to classic mega man. People were nervous about this one, as he was asking for more money before his first project was complete, which isn’t really the done thing. Then it was revealed that Red Ash was already funded by an outside publisher, and that the backing on Kickstarter was to unlock stretch goals, many of which were things that people felt should be in the base game anyway, and most of which weren’t even revealed, moving to a lot of people to take back their money. Then the game was released, and it was amazingly sub par. Missing the mark of the original pitch completely, backers were given a game that played almost nothing like mega man, and that clearly didn’t show any benefit from the extra time spent developing it. 
And these are, in my opinion, the worst or most disappointing games of this year. Join me later when I will start the top ten BEST games of the year. 

G-Men From Hell, the movie?

 

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Just in time for Halloween The Drawn Word has a new Mike Allred’s G-Men from Hell Retro 1960s trading cards Kickstarter project launching to produce a set of cards based on the Mike (Madman) Allredcharacters, complete with a preview card #0 for the upcoming Madman 25! commemorative card set, which will document “Madman’s 25-year career in just as many cards—but with an unrevealed spin.

“We had a few slots to fill in our print run,” Irving reveals. “And I wanted to produce a retro set that begged the question ‘What if there were a 1960s G-Men film?’ I gathered local film friends of mine and we staged ‘movie stills’ from Hell for Monsters, an original story I came up with for this project. Only three of the cards were printed and this gives us a chance to make the ‘full’ set.”

 

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The 13-card set jumps around in numbering and, when read in total, forms the basis of a story that pits the early Allred characters Dean Crept and Mike Mattress, undead gumshoes, against everything from dinosaurs, monsters, she-devils, cavegirls, and astroapes. Along for the ride is a younger version of Dr. Flem—because time travel also plays a part in the story. Assisting Irving is director Eric Miller (Flem), actor Dietrich Teschner (Mattress), and Richmond-based burlesque performers Zhora Nova and Em Claire

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“Christopher Irving was one of the first folks to ever enthusiastically support my work, and has since become a great friend,” Michael Allred (Madman, Silver Surfer, iZombie) says. “Brimming with talent and imagination, it’s been great fun to let him cut loose on this project with some of my earliest creations!”

Be sure to hop online and check out the G-Men from Hell Kickstarter project, it runs from Halloween day until November 21st with a goal of $666. Madman 25! launches on April 1st for a May to June release.

Blind Collectables : Holding Endorphines Hostage?

Before I start this off I hasten to add that I am not saying blind boxes are bad. That would be amazingly hypocritical of me as I am addicted to the Pokemon Trading Card Game. This is simply me putting across a viewpoint I thought of for people to mull over. Please don’t kill me. 

Blind boxes, blind bags, booster packs, even random lots from places like eBay. As nerds, we love them. We can’t wait to grab massive armfuls of the things and then proceeding to bound home to free them from their cardboard/foil holding cell and release the beautiful contents. They are literally Schrodingers box of small plastic wonders. Before you open them they could be anything (within reason. You wouldn’t expect to open a TMNT mini figure blind box and find a live Komodo dragon. That would be a bit weird). 

When you open the box, there are three feelings you can get. You open the bag to feel happiness when you find a regular item you don’t have, you feel amazing when you find a special rare item you don’t have, but then there is the feeling of annoyance when you open the box and find something you already have, especially if it’s a rare variant and out of all the ones it could have been, it has to be the one you already have (and having pulled 4 Kyogre EX and 3 Groudon EX from Pokemon Primal Clash boosters, I know those feels).

The very reason that there are rarities in these boxes is for the purpose of making you have to buy more boxes than there are collectables, making sure you get the majority of common items quickly and then having to hunt down the rare ones. There are some companies that release boxes that are guaranteed to contain a full set, giving die hard collectors a way to ensure a whole set, but these are few and far between.

I mentioned a very scientific word in the title didn’t I? Yes, Endorphines are basically things in your brain that make you feel VERY good about something, for example, like pulling that 1/100 clear with glitter pony. There is a negative to this however, as not only can the rush be addictive, but it can be exploited. When you open a blind box you always hope for something good, and if you don’t get it you’re tempted to try again and again. You get the urge to buy more and more until you get something you really want, only then getting the positive endorphine feedback that you crave. This can take a long time, and also a large amount of money, sometimes costing multiple times more money than entire sets of regular figures or sets of living card games (card games with an entire set in a box) will cost.

You may be thinking that it sounds like gambling, and in many ways it’s very similar. Once in Japan, Bandai got into trouble when they did a blind figure Gundam promotion with Coca Cola, hiding small figures on the bottle caps, covered by a plastic shield. These figures gained such high values that the Japanese government considered the difference between the cost of the drink and the potential value of the item to be breaking their gambling rules, and forced them to make the domes clear, thereby making the figures much less valuable. 

Random packed games also have their own negative side too, with the rarer cards or figures tending to be more powerful than their common counterparts. This makes competitive play very challenging as you could have a very good collection, but someone who has paid more money for their collection will have a much more versatile and powerful library to choose from.  

So, the question were left with is, even knowing all of this, why do we still love them? Well this topic is much bigger than just me, and so I’m opening the floor to all of you. What do you think about the topic? Do you think they’re a waste of money, or does the endorphine Rush defeat any negatives you might think of? I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I look forward to hearing your discussions with eachother in the comments 🙂

– Dave

Dime Novel Legends on this episode of the Nerdrahtio podcast

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We sat down with JE Russel and Paul Mundheim to learn more about their upcoming Kickstarter campaign for their Western Themed toyline, called Dime Novel Legends. These guys partnered together, got help some from other big namess in the community and have made something we are excited about!

Listen via itunes or stitcher, (Links can be found in the drop down menu) or you can just click the embedded player below!   Make sure to keep scrolling after the player to see the press release. (additional images and links will be added too)

http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/022-dime-novel-legends_87572

Announcing a LEGENDARY Western-Themed 1:18th Scale Toy Line Kickstarter Campaign!

Dallas/Forth Worth — When searching for highly articulated action figures in 1:18th scale, aisle 3C is looking like a modern ghost town these days. Therefore it’s no surprise that a number of small companies are striving to fill the gap for collectors of this action figure scale.

To this end, Chicken Fried Toys (CFT) is proud to introduce their Dime Novel Legends (DNL), their first-ever lineup of 3.75-inch, fully articulated, collectible action figures that bring back the essence of the American Frontier West. These 15 realistic reproductions of iconic Western archetypes feature authentic styling and looks, and include numerous accessories and gear that historically reflect the period between 1835 and 1895. This line will be introduced via Kickstarter campaign on October 1, 2016 and will run for six (6) weeks.

The Dime Novel Legends lineup will encompass characters drawn from the rich history of Frontier America during its expansion westward. While easily identifiable, these characters do not represent any single person from history, film or literature. Rather, they are an amalgamation taken from the collective imaginations of enthusiasts who have long dreamed of accumulating an entire Western community of cowboys, townsfolk, lawmen, bandits, and Native Americans from an often ignored and nigh-forgotten part of America’s unique and rich history.

Chicken Fried Toys will introduce these iconic action figures intended for the adult collector featuring 16 points of articulation as part of a Kickstarter campaign beginning October 2016.
Wave 1 will include:

Continue reading

latest Podcast interviews Jason and his kickstarter for THE KINGDOM action figures

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Sam, Silent Tom, and Drew interview Jason from Spero. He gives us the lowdown on the property, from comic book, and now action figures via kickstarter.  You can listen via the embedded player below, or use the drop down menu above to subscribe to us on Itunes or Stitcher for easy mobile listening. Be sure to check out his KICKSTARTER HERE and the SPERO FB PAGE HERE.

the images that we talk about can be seen HERE.

You can see some prototypes at Alyosha’s both at Joe con this upcoming week. You can also see me and Drew there! (Say Hi!)   We will be doing some live youtubing, and recording some short podcasts and videos from con, so be sure to subscribe to our youtube, like our fb, follow on twitter etc, if you want the latest, all through the main menu above.

WOTK lineup