Monthly Archives: August 2011

Visual Novels That Are Made in Canada, an East meets West Ideal

Game designer Alfe Clemencio sits behind a small brown desk and calls to potential customers. He has two independent games to sell, and one for which he really wants to get some attention.  Yet, how he’s attracting that attention would be considered deviant, perhaps even backwards, by North American standards. He’s trying to sell them as a disk in a box.

Clemencio feels that having a physical copy of a game, especially an indie game, immediately increases its value and uniqueness to the player. While many developers find producing physical copies to be an actual barrier to publication, Clemencio believes that this is a phenomenon unique to North America.

“Back when I took my internship in Japan, I went to Akihabara. Right when I got there, I saw a store selling independent games from local developers,” said Clemencio. Akihabara is a region of Tokyo famous for its shops that sell “niche market” or “geek” merchandise. It is no exaggeration that within this region, you can find almost every video game released in Japan.

“[In North America], you hear people yelling ‘Digital download! Digital download!’ but you almost never hear about physical copies of [indie] games,” says Clemencio. Read the rest of this entry

Review: Justice League 1

The cover of Justice League 1 invites you in bold gold text to DC Comic’s “New 52”. It’s not just the headline either. The costumes look different, the attitude looks different, and we’ve even got a brand new logo for it. It’s too bad that the actual content doesn’t feel all that different. Geoff Johns provides a serviceable first issue that works as a good opener to the New DC, without trying too hard.  It’s an enjoyable read, but nothing substantial.

Justice League 1 opens big. Batman is running across rooftops trying to catch a bad guy while Gotham helicopters fly above, chasing him as if he was another criminal. The monster is about to get away, when Green Lantern smashes the beast into the ground with a green firetruck. It does the trick, but now the police see them. Batman vulnerable and the Green Lantern in plain sight, the helicopters turn their guns and fire. It’s good stuff, it just ends far too early to mean anything. Read the rest of this entry

Review: Flashpoint 5

Flashpoint is one of the least impressive stories about the Flash. I want to get this out of the gate immediately. Flashpoint can hardly be called a story, it’s more like staring out of a car window as scenery passes you by. There was always great potential here, perhaps even the beginning of a great Flash story. It’s just so damning on writer Geoff Johns that he could not use this interesting new world to any greater extent than undeserved shock moments and window dressing. Johns has had an impressive run of comics so far, but this is easily his weakest. A reader will rarely be so underwhelmed by Barry Allen than in Flashpoint.

Let’s recap the story so far. There’s an alternate universe and the Flash is going to fix it with Thomas Wayne Batman. This is all that happens. There is no character development. You don’t learn anything new about Barry Allen or Thomas Wayne. There is semi-witty banter followed by screaming and death. It’s a slideshow almost, like the ones your grandparents show you about their trip to Milan. And like watching their grandparents’ trip, the reader will have the same reaction, boredom and disappointment. Read the rest of this entry

Video: Fallout: Nuka Break, The Legend of One Man and His Desire for the Perfect Cola

This fan-made series is pretty hilarious. Written by Brian Clevinger, known for Atomic Robo and 8-bit Theater, it’s like a more violent, lower budget Firefly. There’s set to be about ten episodes in this series, with future episodes being 5 minutes long. I didn’t think this would be any good but colour me surprised, it is. There’s a witty script, and while the acting’s not comparable, the setting is interesting enough that I could overlook some of the mumbled lines. The props are reasonably authentic and it captures Fallout’s post-apocalyptic wasteland atmosphere remarkably well.

I recommend at least taking a gander at the first episode, especially if you’re a Fallout fan. They even use VATS in one scene, which is good, I guess. I thought it was weird, but it is pretty cool how they included that in an episode.

Review: The Ultimates 1

As I’ve stated throughout this website, I am a great fan of the Ultimates. I read all of Ultimates vol. 1 in a day, and from then on prayed every month that Mark Millar will finally get an issue done on time. Millar has since turned into a bad taste in my mouth, due to some questionable writing choices in his independent comics and his more or less apathy to his remaining Marvel comics.  This is no reflection the Ultimates, but boy, am I happy that someone who isn’t Jeph Loeb is finally getting their hands on this series.

To counter my dear love for original Ultimates series, I should also note my tepid reception of Jonathan Hickman. Despite owning most of his independent work, I have grown tired of him since discovering that he writes every single comic with the same unsubtle underlying themes.

With my own biases aside, I will now say that “The Ultimates” 1 (now finally an ongoing series) is an amazing first issue. The plot continues from Ultimate Fallout and Avengers vs. New Ultimates (though you don’t need to read those series to understand what’s going on here). Nick Fury is director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and organization which has expanded past the United States-mandate into an organization that spans the globe. The Ultimates, a team run by S.H.I.E.L.D., includes Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man and, perhaps most significantly, not Captain America. Fury is shown to nearly have a personal empire as he commands some of the most powerful people on the planet. However, Fury fails to realize that in his expansion, he may have over-extended his reach. Read the rest of this entry

Quick Review: Batman Incorperated 8

This is one of the worst things Grant Morrison has ever written. Search the Internet for spoilers, avoid the actual issue like the plague if you can. The writing is mediocre, and the art burns your eyes with the heat of a thousand suns. The issue is more or less nonsensical. Despite his attempts to make the internet look like a video game, Morrison has little to no understanding as to how a video game works. A better artist might have saved this issue, but as it stands, it only contains the worst parts of Morrison’s habits and the art of a sociopath bent on the destruction of humanity.

If you want, I can give you the only reason to read this comic right here: Jezebel Jet is alive and works for Leviathan.

There, now you never need to wonder what happened.

Score: SATAN/5

Review: Batman: Gates of Gotham 1-5

Scott Snyder has proven himself with American Vampire and his run on Detective Comics to be one DC’s best writers. Gates of Gotham, however, is not quite at that level. It is by no means bad or unreadable but it doesn’t capture the same thrill and intrigue that his other comics have done.

The story of Gates of Gotham regards the destruction of Gotham’s landmarks, where the city becomes a character in a plot that spans decades of its history. Batman (Dick Grayson) and all of his allies must stop whoever is responsible and discover their motives before Gotham becomes unrecognizable. The best attributes of the story are its characters and how it elaborates on Gotham’s past. I really enjoyed seeing Damien antagonize Cassandra Cain, and  Tim Drake’s wit and Dick trying to hold all three of them together. They all make the story interesting and better realized. Read the rest of this entry

Video: Portal Fan Film Is Awesome – Makes Me Want More

Portal: No Escape premiered at Comic Con and is likely one of the best renditions of video games into film. It only thing it’s missing is GLaDOS and turrets, but even with the narrowed down elements of just Chell with a portal gun, it is still quite entertaining. I don’t think you could really expand a Portal film beyond 60 minutes, just because the monotony of seeing tests on film with only one visible character gets a little boring after a while. However, I endeavour someone to try, because I am so pumped for another adaption after only seeing six minutes of film.

Video: DC’s “New 52” Commericial is Out, and Reminds Us of 90s

I have been telling everyone I can that in order for DC’s new 52 initiative to be a success they need average people to know. Not comic book fans, not sci-fi nerds, not software engineers. DC needs anyone who doesn’t regularly read comics, but could, given they knew it existed and was a valid medium of expression. And when I write needs, I mean needs. They have been spending far too much money for their initiative to be a flop. Whether or not they succeed is going to determine the fate of the company and whether it can take any risks in the future. Read the rest of this entry

Review: Daredevil 2

Mark Waid is on his second issue of Daredevil and things are looking good. Waid has relaunched the title with a shocking amount of hope and optimism compared to the Frank Miller inspired years that have preceded this. The first issue brought the revelation that Daredevil could actually enjoy life, and have fun in his job. The second issue continues that though is not quite as entertaining as the first. The main problem is that not much happens in this issue. Captain America runs after Daredevil because of events surrounding the Shadowland mess, and then there’s Murdoch dealing with his case.

This is a tad unfair, since Waid continues to do write the series well. The dialogue’s great, some of the banter is funny, and personally, I’m glad Daredevil’s stopped talking like the Marvel version of Batman. Read the rest of this entry