Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Weird Wins

I claim the hundredth web log entry. Me. Sir Thomas. I have to claim what I can in these damnable times.

EDIT: I was lead to believe, by my erstwhile writer and strange game Enthusiast, Howell, that we were on the hundredth post at this current time. That is why you might have seen (I doubt it) a version of this post with a "hooray for a hundred" sticker at the end, and some kind of whimsical explanation that I wasn't actually stealing the hundredth post, I just had something to say, and I was buying time until I had something to say, until I thought about my subject here. We are not, I repeat, not on the hundredth post. We are on the ninety-second, with eight drafts saved. This means my colleague miscounted, and I was lead astray. Do no fret though. I shall endeavour to be the hundredth post anyway.

So anyway. ParaNorman.

I have seen adverts for this movie popping up every now and then, but not very often lately. At a recent movie viewing (yes, the Dark Knight Rises was the current movie of choice. I am considering a review. Possibly a video one) I found a recent trailer for ParaNorman. It intrigued me, and since I have been given a handy... platform for my daily ponderings I decided to look a little more into it and report back here. And I'm rather glad I did.

First, the movie. As you can see, it's a horror, and an animated horror at that. A family friendly animated horror actually, dealing with spirits and other worlds and ghosts and ghouls. And I can already see a certain bulb flashing on in your head. Sometimes these bulbs have different names, say, The Nightmare before Christmas, The Corpse Bride, James and the Giant Peach (be quiet, some scenes from that movie terrified me as a child). The lights inside your head all lead back to one thing however. Tim Burton.

Now, I'm not certain about you... regular people, but I can't help but feel that Tim Burton has become rather saturated in the current market of Family Friendly Comedy Horror lately. A feeling that isn't helped by his latest instalment Frankenweenie.

I'm not here to badmouth Tim Burton. He has done brilliant work in the past, some true treasures, and I would not want to soil his name. I am merely suggesting that... if one person constantly produces items on the same subject, with little competition, the public can become... disillusioned with them. It doesn't mean their work has decreased in skill, it just means that variety is the spice of life. It's just the issue that, if you invented the formula, it would be a little insulting to call the work formulaic, and since his work is the only one present, it seems even worse. I believe this would be the best point to make some kind "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" joke, but I honestly can't think of one. Make one up yourself.

ParaNorman deals with a boy, Norman Babcock. He is a loner, and weird, and generally disliked in school. This is not just because he has hair resembling that of a common or household paintbrush, but because of his ability to talk to the dead. Social seclusion has never caused me to develop a super power, but perhaps the curse of being a recluse is that I am not shunned enough. I shall have to attempt to go out into public some more, and see if a little extra shunning causes me to have the abilities of an arachnid or some such development. Then I shall be a super powered recluse. Enough speculation. Norman discovers an insidious plot, involving a three hundred year old curse, his unfortunately unstable Uncle and the dead rising from their graves. Now he has to save the town by using his gift of speaking to the dead. See what I mean about new?

An indication of what exactly awaits is the fact that ParaNorman is by the animators behind Coraline. You remember that movie? Well, fine, another Trailer for those who have forgotten.

If you amnesiacs in the readership have put away your laudanum and got your memories in the right way round, you will remember that Coraline was a very disturbing movie, with some very good Animation and a fresh story. This is something that it shares with ParaNorman by the look of it, while Frankenweenie up there is literally a combination of different horror movies that have been in film since it was... well, in black and white. Again, I have no issues with Burton's work, but Coraline and ParaNorman seem more enchanting to me because they are new, a new company, a new story, a new take on the world of Family Friendly Animated Horror. Perhaps it is a niche, but I feel it is a niche that needed to be filled.

Now... with the movie discussed I want to put forward my take on the people behind it. The LAIKA/ house animation studio. Facebook page for the studios here if you're interested.

From all I have seen (and I have done hours of extensive research) the people of Laika studios do what they love. I know it's a strange comment to make, but it should give you an idea of their work ethic at least. They want to put time, effort, their own lives and emotions out there... Judging from their own personal web logs, they associate with Norman on an emotional level. No, they never had to deal with mystical powers and talking to the dead, but they were outsiders. They didn't belong in their schools, people thought their weird, perhaps they were shunned by the 'popular kids'. 

They obviously brought their experiences with that along for this project, not in the treatment and eventual fate of those considered popular, just in the way Norman is shown handling his situation. Personally, knowing this information, I'm going to be a bit disquieted when I eventually watch the movie now, and consider what personal experiences could have been poured into the moments of bullying, segregation and emotionally crippling situations. Or perhaps I'm just reading too much into this.

These people are weird. They're also dedicated, and they know their audience. "What do I mean by that?" you ask. I mean mailing a buried coffin to Neil Gaiman with a stop motion zombie model inside it. "What the f-" you begin, before I silence your expletive with this link.

Sometimes, when a movie or game is marketed too much, it's because it is recognisably bad and people want to market it as much as possible to sell as many tickets opening night as they can. Something about this marketing ploy seems less greedy to me. I'm not certain what it is exactly. Perhaps it's that this is the first time I've actually heard of it, and I had to look into the movie personally to discover their unusual packages? I don't know. Believe what you will, this only makes me want to watch the movie more.

The official website (along with trailers, character descriptions, animator game, book extract, interviews with the cast and creators... and well... a whole collection of oddities... is here.

Facebook for the ParaNorman movie is located here. Twitter is here. They also are on Instagram under "ParaNorman". I honestly believe there are too many methods of communication in the current world. Sometimes I want to go some place where no one will ever look for me, or visit... an internet recluse if you will... Perhaps I will try Google+.

The official blog... or Tumblr... or whatever they are currently calling a collection of information in one place about specific subjects... is here.
(I like to call such things Encyclopaedias. That is a link to the Encyclopaedia of ParaNorman)

Now... I'm uncertain how this twitter thing occurs... but... oh dear. @ParaNorman and #Weirdwins
Should any of them see this web log, I would very much like to hold a discussion with them where possible. Perhaps there shall be tea. Or if the discussion would be held over a long period of time via some kind of electronic means, perhaps there shall be many cups of tea. If they would like to offer me a writing job, as I find myself sadly lacking in the employment department, I will require something slightly stronger than tea to celebrate with.

Good day, my friends.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Obscure Games you might not have heard of: Persona 3

So, Howell's back again for another obscure game.
Although I confess, this isn't hugely obscure. That is to say people might recognise the name at least.
But dammit Jim, it's not well-known enough!

So. Shin Megami Tensei.
More specifically, it's spinoff, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona.
More specifically again, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3.

I'm sticking to the third one, just because it's the main one I've played.
Not to say I've completed it, but, well, I know what happens...And the only other one I've touched is Persona 2, and only briefly.

I don't half ramble at the beginning of my blogs do I?

Anyway, I thought I'd write about this one, as, well, I enjoy it. I even wrote an essay on it, which may get paraphrased in here in tiny bits. But yes. It, along with most RPGs, gets brushed under the carpet by Final Fantasy, and as much as I like the Final Fantasy games, I still think that's a shame.

So, on my fifth paragraph, it's about time I start.

Why yes, he did just shoot himself. Oh, I should mention, the game's themes are a little messed up. This is me, did this surprise you?

So, you're the new kid in school, your parents are nowhere to be seen, and you get put in a mixed-gender dorm. Hmm, this seems more like a dating sim setup. But surely this isn't one of those kinds of games?

Oh, sorry odd angelic girl, I'll just close the door.

Oddly enough, that gameplay does form a large chunk of this game. In fact, to cut this blog a few paragraphs short, this game is a *deep breath* Dating Sim/Monster Breeding/Dungeon Crawling/Japanese RPG, or DSMBDCJRPG, maybe. Do try to keep up.

You see, I'll come back to the dating sim idea. For now, monsters. In this game, you control a party of up to 4 characters at once, but each character has what is known as a Persona (Ahh, the title, it makes sense! Now what about Shin Megami Tensei? Oh, that just means True Goddess Reincarnation, let's ignore that).
A Persona is "another side to a person's character, behind the mask they put up for people in real life. Or simply, it's a summon. It's how you do magic or special skills. You, the main character, have a unique gift however. You can use multiple Personas (not sure what that tells us about his psyche...).
Early on, you meet Igor, the owner of the Violet Room. In there, you can merge Personas into (normally) a better, stronger one. And depending on the related Social Link to the Arcana of Persona you are creating, it can gain bonuses.

Woah, slow down Howell, Social Link? Arcana? Okay.
Every Persona has an Arcana, like those seen in Tarot cards, you know, The Priestess, The Heirophant, The Fool, The Devil, all of them.
Every Social Link you make has their own unique Arcana too.
So if the Persona's Arcana has a high level Social Link, it gets bonuses.

So what's a Social Link? Oh, that's the dating sim-like aspect.
You see, you're a school student. A new one at that. So what's something you might need to get? Friends.
The gameplay is actually split into several segments of the day. Morning, which is usually School Time, with lessons, which, unless relevant, are skipped. Afternoon, which is when you can socialise, or get jobs for money and stat boosts, and Night, where, like any normal student, you venture into the Tower of Tartarus, and go around killing monsters called Shadows. What, you don't do that?

I mean, this isn't weird, right?

So, you might be wondering. I mentioned creepy things. All you've seen is a weird tower, named after the pit of the underworld, and a guy shooting himself. Sorry, I should go into that.
You see, that's not a gun. Well, it is, but...
It's an Evoker. It looks like a gun, goes BANG like a gun, but doesn't kill you. It's explained that it gives the feeling of death to the user, which clears their minds completely, allowing their true persona to shine through, their Persona. That's just how you summon the monsters.
Old video, but relevant. And amusing. Don't try this at home.

So, suggested mental suicide, and the underworld. Still, it's Japan, so not so weird.
The Dark Hour. This is an hour between one day and the next. To the usual person, they either sleep through it, or they don't notice it happen. That'd be because this is what happens to normal people in the Dark Hour.

It's like a depressing Abbey Road isn't it?

Yeah, we get trapped in coffins, and likely blackout. Nothing big and creepy.
For those who are awake however, they have to fight the Shadows. That is, if they have a Persona, or know how to use it. The game suggests the others are killed by Shadows. So hey, you're lucky you can fight.
You might think, "I'd rather be in the coffin". Oh, the plot thought of that. You see, the Shadows have a bad effect on people. They make them all depressed and zombified. They call it Apathy Syndrome. The end results being coma, or suicide. Yup, suicide is apparently all because of monsters we never see.

So, you go around killing them, and then, on every full moon, BOSS BATTLE!
The game has an in-game calendar, which forces the progress in the story.
So, you kill the boss, and people return to normal. Then the next one starts showing up.
The initial stages do seem mildly repetitive, but the rest of the story keeps you from thinking that most of the time. You get to know people, you can even fall in love.
And even get scenes like this. I SWEAR IT'S NOT A HENTAI DATING SIM!

So, I've managed to skirt around the main plot, and avoided big spoilers. I'm impressed.

I could go into how the game's constant progression feels like the days ticking you closer to death, and other factors, but I'll be nice, and just leave you with the intro video to the PSP version I play.

And as an added bonus, a picture of one of the many Persona you can create. Maru.

Oh yeah, happy 99th post on the blog!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Star Wars: Call Me Maybe

Because everything is better with Star Wars. Yes, even that.

What I expect from The Dark Knight Rises

I Enjoy Partaking in Terrible Movies

Greetings, Sir Thomas here again. Though on the weekends I am Geoffrey Dahmer, owner of a roadside cafe. Please use my more common moniker.

I find that I enjoy the occasional bad movie. And when I mean bad movies, I mean good movies, movies that enjoy self parody, are not afraid to crank up the silliness, the gore or the absurdity. I have found solace, in the recent months, from such amazing titles as "Hobo with a Shotgun" and "Ironsky". Firstly, a tale of a vigilante homeless man killing paedophiles, rapists, murders and thieves on the streets of the worst city imaginable, using only a shotgun and a friendly hooker. I believe it is based somewhere in New Jersey. It's like the latest Batman feature, if he was poor. And used a shotgun. And was homeless. And Catwoman was a prostitute. So not much of a stretch.

While Ironsky is based on the moon, partly, with an attack from moon Nazis looming, one used-to-be-black-fashion-model (no relation to Michael Jackson) has to somehow convince the hot Nazi woman that Hitler wasn't all he cracked up to be. With a threat of iPhone powered lazer death beams from space, he has to act fast before the American president (who is so close to Sarah Palin that I bet they use the same hunting rifle) can hand over all the power of America to the charismatic Nazi forces.

Well, as you can see, I enjoy the occasional partaking in B-grade, low quality good concept movies. Even though sometimes they have good quality, and amazing concepts, the spirit stays the same. So I am very, VERY glad to announce that one of the best B-movies out there, Starship Troopers, is getting a sequel.

Why am I so glad about this? Specially since the Starship Troopers movie already has at least TWO sequels, neither of which really made an impression on the B-movie industry? Well, just... LOOK at it. It's a Halo movie practically. With the original cast (yes, that includes Neil Patrick Harris) returning for this animated slaughter-fest, this new sequel is looking impressively put together. And the dialogue is perfectly serious, with JUST enough cheese added to it to make it seem like a real B-movie. Of course, you can say that it's relying a little too much on big explosions and scenes, and you lose some of the original charm with the lack of staying close to a bunch of live action people being ripped to shreds by the giant insects... But this gives me a little hope for the Starship Troopers label at least.

If you have any B-movies you suggest I watch, or even terrible ones, then please do suggest it in the comments. I will say now, I have watched "The Room". All of you who know what this is, you know my pain. All of you who don't know what this is... perhaps drop a comment to show your interest in this subject.

Good day, my friends.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Dark Knight is Confused.

48 hours to go!!

The Dark Knight & 60's Robin

There's not long to wait now until the conclusion of Chris Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, and the reviews that are being posted online are almost unanimously positive - but while we all have to wait a little longer, here's a video I came across that asks the question: "What would Burt Ward's Robin make of Nolan's batman universe?"... Enjoy!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Fan Film: Dirty Laundry

Okay, here's a fan film for you, by the name of Dirty Laundry. No, nothing to do with the 2007 film with Rockmond Dunbar (thank you Wikipedia) or the Don Henley song (thank you Don Henley).

Why is this film so good? Aren't fan films usually terribad? Well, actually they aren't always, sometimes they're pretty damn good. Given that this one stars Thomas Jane in the lead, with Ron ****ing Perlman in a supporting role, I'd suggest you give it a chance.

Oh, just don't watch it with the kids around. This one has (gasp) naughty words and (ohnoes) violence and stuffs. Yes, your kids probably know more swear words than you anyway, but Social Services takes a hard line.

What's that? What is this a fan film of? Well, that'd be telling...

Friday, 13 July 2012

Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut: Review

So, a while back I promised that as soon as I finished a replay of Mass Effect 3 I'd give you all a wonderful review of the new Extended Cut DLC. By now I reckon you must all think I'm a really, really slow gamer. I promise I'm not completely useless, but a few real life commitments took over (including my performing in support of Gillian Mother****ing Clarke I might add; glory in my magnificence!) and it's taken forever to get this written up. Sorry about that...

Anyway, enough about me. You don't care about me, you care about Mass Effect. And so you should, as I've never stabbed a Husk with a kitchen knife, much less an omni-blade. Spoilers abound, after the handy cut...

1st Robocop poster from comic con.

Can't wait for this...

Borderlands 2 Trailer

Sir Thomas here again. Get it? Got it? Good.

A new trailer for Borderlands 2 has emerged, and it's amusing, incredibly satisfying, and slightly childhood ruining.

Exactly what genius decided to put these things together? That song, and this video? I mean, it's not exactly the first thing that pops into your head is it? What is the best song to put the whole sale slaughter of masked bandits to? Wimoweh, from Lion King. The remixed version. Right, that's makes perfect sense.

But damn if this doesn't work. Say everything you want about Borderlands, it certainly knows how to advertise. I hope to be playing this straight after it comes out. And I hope to be playing this for a long time after with friends.

Good day, my friends.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Extra Credits

Greetings, I am Sir Thomas. Not Saint Thomas. Not Lord Thomas. And certainly not Lord British, that is a completely different person entirely. I will repeat my moniker until you manage to repeat it.

I am here today to tell you about certain people. I am talking to you about them because I had literally nothing else to talk about. These are the people I turn to when I want to think of something new, perhaps something innovative, perhaps something I've known for a long time, but never looked at from a particular angle. I was racking my brains to think of something, anything, to present you with. In my hubris I turned to these people for inspiration, something to think about. I decided, the moment the page had loaded, to instead tell our dear readership about them instead.

These people are James Portnow (in Blue), Daniel Floyd (in Green) and Allison Theus (in Pink), or, as I shall hence on call them, "Extra Credits". They are a mostly gaming show that examines the industry, the structure, the jobs, the market, the laws, the best moments that have ever happened and the darkest shadows that have crept across their medium. These people, these talented, intelligent people, have made me feel as if I am the future of a new art form, an unexplored horizon... and then a few episodes later, can make me consider myself a base beast of ignorance and spite, and question my choices in life. They do not shy away from the hard questions, or the ugly and difficult truths.

Make no mistake, they are not all about gritty realism and the issue of gender politics in games. They spread humour in their videos, through art, word play, and just... to me... the atmosphere. There are very few places on the internet I go to learn and laugh. This is one of them. I suggest you watch it. If not for the fact that you're learning from people directly involved with a developing industry, but for the fact they are always on top of the latest and most vital news. A PIPA and SOPA episode? Certainly. Crowdfunding and Kickstarter? Of course. They even recently had a Politician guest starring to discuss how the public can effect Government, because their fans sent in so many letters displaying their feelings of powerlessness when PIPA and SOPA were introduced. They go above and beyond the cause.

To me, although I blush to admit it, these people are something to aspire to.I know it might sound strange, but someone who does a day's honest work, comes home and develops an internet show with their friends, just to better inform and educate the masses... there is something noble in that. An honesty to them, if you will. Perhaps I am aggrandising them too much, I am rather a fanatic of theirs, but I'll give you an example of what they do.

A while ago, Allison, the artist, had an issue with her arm. I'm not certain what it was directly, I am no doctor, but I believe recalling that it was an issue with the tendons. This would make drawing, her profession, incredibly difficult for her, and she would require an operation to fix the issue. This operation, since she is in America, would have to be paid for out of her own pocket. She did not have the money.
The people at Extra Credits turned to their fans. They made it clear, it was a charitable donation, they asked you only give what you can to help Allison. The result was... incredible.
Fans gave money so quickly that they reached the desired amount in a few hours. Then they kept giving. Extra Credits had inspired so many people that the final amount received staggered all previous expectations. And now, they had an issue.
Allison had her operation, a smashing success, with guest artists coming in in droves to take her place and support Extra Credits while she recovered. But by the end they had a lot of money extra. Ask yourself what you would do in that situation. Refund it? Impossible. Give it away? It rather defeats WHY these people gave the charitable donations to you, doesn't it? How about giving it back in a different way?
These people, these wonderful people, came up with a plan. They would take small time developers, indie companies surviving off of scraps, and they would nourish them. They would support games with these funds. And what is more, the fine people at Extra Credits are aware of all the traps and foils of the Game industry. They knew when people were being abused, or tricked, by crafty Publishers. They lined these problems out in front of the audience, and they killed them all, promising that they would be a fair Producer, and all money made by this venture, would fall straight back into the fund to Produce bigger and better games.

I do not believe I have to tell you anything more. These people are honest. If I was to describe them in one word, it would be Honest. Yet, this is my own opinion. My own beliefs of them. You should watch. You should observe, and either deem me mad, or praise their excellence. I ask for none myself. It is their work. I merely pointed it in your direction.

Good day, my friends.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - 14 minute Featurette

Not long now...

Directive 1: Serve the public trust....

Robocop was the first 18 rated movie I ever saw, I must have been around 11 or 12 at the time (VHS FTW) and it's one of those films that's stuck with me over the years.  The sequels & spin offs were largely forgettable but Paul Verhoeven's modern day messianic story is, to me at least, one of the greatest science fiction films of all time and certainly (imho) is his best work.

So fast forward 25 years and Robo is getting a reboot, I'm normally cynical about such things but the cast looks good, and if this teaser is anything to go by, the new film is going to have the same kind of vibe as the old one - count me in as being a little bit excited...

Obscure RPGs you've probably never heard of, or will unlikely ever play - Suikoden

So, It's been a little while *ducks from all the "boo"s and bottles being thrown*. Unfortunately, life gets in the way sometimes.

Anyway, on with the show.

So, it has come to my attention that my two main areas of expertise in nerd culture, is mildly obscure anime, and very obscure videogames. Particularly RPGs. As that list is very long, and very geeky, I thought I'd show it some love on the blog. So this might become a regular (for me at least) section.


For the purposes of this blog, I'll talk only about the first 2 games, and not mention 3, 4, 5, or any of the spinoffs.

So, Suikoden. Made by Konami for the Playstation (3, 4 and 5 on PS2, and one spinoff, Tierkreis on DS).
So, shocking that it's Konami yet you haven't heard of it? Strangely, it has always been quite a 'cult' game, never becoming as massively popular as Final Fantasy.

So why am I bothering talking about it?
Not just because I'm a hipster gamer (No, I'm not, I just love JRPGs).
It's just that these games have amazing story, great gameplay, (Oldschool JRPG battle with an 'Auto' attack button? Thank you so much!) and amazing characters.

Oh the characters...I should really mention that. Every Suikoden game has one thing in common. Recruitable characters. Not a shocking prospect. However, the sheer amount. 108 is the usual number, with it occasionally going higher with 'bonus' characters. Now I don't just mean there are 108 characters you just befriend. How about a diagram?

There we go. The 108 recruitable characters in the first game. The ones with blue borders are your shopkeeps, mapmakers, etc. that can't fight in your battles. Those in red? Those can be in your party. Up to six at any time (with the top left being your player character, so he has to be in it).
A nice added bonus is that, due to the games taking place in the same world, you begin to see familiar faces if you play multiple games, and occasionally, if save data from previous games exists, you can get their old, awesome equipment, as well as some other bonuses on occasion. But the best part about these characters? They all have their own stories, varying from a ditzy teleporting magician, a family of blacksmiths all working to become better than each other, a former enemy army commander, to a little old gambling lady.

I mentioned army commander. Because that is essentially what you are making. An army. You see, while this is mainly a normal RPG, there are several army segments, different in each game.

These army battle however are rather important, as they are the only time that your recruited characters can die permanently. And that means bye bye to your completion bonus, and your good ending.

Yes, these games also can have multiple endings, or at least added bits, normally simply by getting all 108 characters, though in the second game at least, certain actions, along with whether or not you recruited everyone, can give you many different endings.

So that shows the interesting gameplay and the characters, what of the story? This time, I really won't give spoilers, as I'll talk of the series as a whole. Simply stated, they are all about war, usually caused by runes, like the 27 True Runes, which give people immortality, as well as untold power. So, war inevitably breaks out over them, and so begins several stories of betrayal, friendship, war, death, and glory. Enjoy. Oh, and here's a nice little opening video from the second game and a reminder, it's a rare game, yes, but there is the internet. I'm sure you have your means.

And as an added note, I'm kinda going as the main character from the second game to October's London MCM Comicon expo. Should be fun to see if anyone recognises me. The tonfa will make it quite fun too.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Ladies and gentlefolk, Alan Moore!

The infamous bearded master of comics and hater of the big screen is at it again, dividing more fans than marmite.
Moore has always been pretty against the visual medium especially in regards to his own work and he certainly hasn't been shy to say so with bitter words about adaptions made from all his work even the legendary watchman by Snyder which I though had a better ending than the comic and I loved the comic (I'll be crucified by Alan Moore die hard fans now) .

 I should add hes not happy about the new before watchman series coming out and maybe hes right there, its clearly a gimmick and even a few of the talented writers and artists working on the project say the same. when Alex Garner was asked if he thought DC comics was running out of new ideas he said;

'More like following a tradition of riffing on previous titles.

                      Don't get me wrong, DC isn't doing this because watchman was an incomplete work
                      that demanded prequels and sequels. its doing this because its commercially viable. and
                                                      who cares so long as its done well?'

so who does care?, well, me. Alan Moore cares, you?

Garner is basically saying yes its just for cash but hey it could be great and here I sit very on the fence. On one hand here DC is going against the will of the creator *biblical voice* and creating this stuff as a gimmick but with the talent working on it maybe they'll create something great, maybe they'll put a fresh spin on a great set of stories and characters and come out of this smelling like roses. whats wrong with that right? but heres the sledgehammer landing on that purring kitten of success, then what? DC do a great watchman, it sells, fans love it, it makes money, then what? More sequels? a prequel movie? and if they're all successful? an animated kids TV show with the cheap graphics and terrible voice acting? this is the road to rostarch being a bobblehead on the front of some 5 year old girls school desk and alas the original story is butchered and bastardised. the original story cut up and sold off in parts like your nans old car.

Anyway Moore is now writing his black and white films described as 'noir' and 'occult', I for one cant wait for this, its a multi- layered story spun across a series of short films, First ones called 'act of faith'. keep your eyes peeled. funny Moore should suddenly write for the big screen after all his beard muffled complaints but maybe its because hes involved in the whole creative process with this one.

Toodle pip.

Yes Toby.... yes you are.

A Conversation With My 12 Year Old Self: 20th Anniversary Edition

Friday, 6 July 2012

Game of Thrones + Star Wars = Win

Gamers FTW - Foldit

If you're a gamer you've probably been told off a fair few times by your mum for wasting your time on something that's no good for anyone.

Well, it's not true! Turns out gamers are super-good at solving some important scientific problems. I'll let Hank from the wonderful SciShow explain it to you (on a side note, SciShow is freaking amazing, go subscribe).

And you can help! Yes, you. Go forth to and make the world a shiner place.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron: Through the Matrix trailer

Behold carbon based units - the latest trailer for the next Transformers game...

... WANT!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

99 Problems...


I don't really do only picture web logs, but I found this amusing.

Good day, my friends.

Who's the monster?

I really should get around to playing MineCraft...

Star Wars Droids: The Jawa Adventure

"C-3PO and R-2D2 embark on a rollicking adventure when the Jawas hijack an experimental Mon Calimari starship. Enjoy this Star Wars fan film written and directed by Brad Murphy and created in 3 months by the June 2012 graduating class of the Digital Animation and Visual Effects School!" 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Higgs Boson Explained.

To those of you who've heard the news but aren't sure what the Higgs Boson is (and why it's discovery is so important) then this little video might shed some light on why I spent the day having a little physics based nerdgasm...

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The most astounding fact...

Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was asked in an interview with TIME magazine, "What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?"

This is his answer:

The Most Astounding Fact from Max Schlickenmeyer on Vimeo.

Starry Starry Night...

Good lord this is beautiful... (I added the song underneath because... well... it seemed fitting)

Starry Starry Night by Don Maclean on Grooveshark

"I've often wondered about how the night sky looked to Van Gogh when he painted 'Starry Night.'  
This is an homage to him, and to his painting, one of my all time favorites. We see him standing here, looking up at the night sky...probably in awe, as he wondered how he would capture the beauty he saw. As well, this was the view from the sanitarium he was staying at, as it's well known that the poor guy was quite mentally troubled.  
I wanted this piece to be somewhat magical and fantastic, not just a normal night painting. Hence the large moon, large stars, transparent clouds etc., yet keeping a mostly realistic feel to it.  
If you see the original painting, you see so much's as if he saw the vibration on all the objects, as if he wanted to capture the wind! Thanks for looking, and I hope you enjoy looking at it as much as I enjoyed creating it:) Done in Photoshop in about 7 hrs using matte painting techniques.

It reminded me of one of my favourite episodes from Dr Who - where the titular hero gets to meet Van Gogh to fight an invisible chicken monster thingy...

The new series can't come soon enough... 

The 4 types of Dinosaur...