Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holiday readers! The Nerd Alert is taking a break until the new year, when it will be back with a vengeance!

In the mean time here is a picture of the Hulk fighting Santa.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gran Turismo 5

Readers should be reminded that the Gran Turismo series is not a racing game; it is a racing simulator. The distinction needs to made because those who pick up GT5 thinking that it will be like Mario Kart with Lambourginis will be disappointed.

The game is quite impressive. It has over 1000 cars, tonnes of customizable options, and track after track to test your racing mettle. However, the game has a very steep learning curve and the menus and options are difficult to navigate.

Other reviews have mentioned this, but it bears repeating; the new 'damage' feature is non-existent. So much so that a patch is coming soon, but that makes one wonder if the game was rushed out the door.

If you love cars, you will love this game. If you don't love cars this game will make you love them.

Tale of the Tape
Cost: $60

Length: The game is long. Very long. I will probably never be good enough to finish it. 

Is it worth it?: Yes. There is less than $1 per hour of entertainment here. Minor quibbles aside this is a new killer app for the PS3. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #648

After the sub-par offerings of Brand New Day, I was pretty skeptical when Marvel announced a new direction for ASM. The title will now be published twice per month and super-sized. Every issue will be written by Dan Slott, which at least deals with some of the problems created by having a rotating creative team every month.

I'll get right to the point: issue 648 is the best Spider-Man story in years. It shows Spider-Man at his best and funniest and Slott and Ramos treat us to a action packed page-turner. The issue nicely explains Spidey's status as an avenger, shows the reader his supporting cast, and re-introduces the Sinister Six, The Enforcers, The Kingpin, and the Hobgoblin.

Truly a great place for new readers to start enjoying the arachnid's tales and a new must read for any Spidey fan.

Tale of the Tape
Cost: $4

Length: 20 minutes

Is it worth it?: A resounding yes. Issues like this are why I enjoy comic books. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MODOK is in Marvel VS Capcom 3!

Some new fighters are shown in the latest MVC3 trailer. Included is MODOK, the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

X-Men Arcade Game Coming to PSN

Pretty sweet news from the New York Comic Con. Konami has finally gotten their act together and will be porting the arcade classic X-Men game to the XBLA and PSN.

You can be all 6 characters (Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, Cyclops, and Dazzler) and 6 people can play at once with a combination of online/offline play.

This is one of the many arcade only games that fans have been waiting for. Now hopefully we will see a release of the Simpsons Arcade game as well.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spidey's New Threads

Why do companies feel that they way to fix a book is to invent a new, crappy costume? This monstrosity is a cross between the black costume, the 2099 costume, and the Spider-Man Unlimited television show.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thor #615

The new creative team of Matt Fraction and Pasqual Ferry take over with issue 615. After a lackluster, 4-part (ugh) Mephisto stoyline, I was interested to see where the series is going. With the Thor movie coming out this summer this title will be one to watch.

Fraction does an pretty good job of setting up the next chapter in Thor's life; he asks the simple question of "if Asgard is here on earth, then what is in Asgard's place?" An interesting point, and since nature abhors a vacuum, we are treated to the invasion of whatever used to be Asgard by a mysterious new foe. However the book drags in places, and the overall story could have been told in half the pages.

The art works well and I am happy to see a lighter, brighter tone in a lot of the Marvel books since the Heroic age started. Ferry does a good Thor and I will be interested to see how he deals with large scale Ragnorok-type fights scenes.

The stuff with Volstagg is priceless, but all in all this was a pretty boring jump on point for new readers.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $4

Length: 20 minutes

Is it worth it?: No, not really. Not enough happens for this to be a key issue in a new story arc. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Collection Update: Fan Expo 2010

I made some choice acquisitions this past weekend at Fan Expo 2010. First off, I picked up a bunch of Marvel Team-Up issues for very cheap (about $1 each) so now I am half way to completing that series. I also grabbed a very nice Ray Harryhausen art book.

The big finds of the weekend were a copy of Strange Tales #89 (first appearance of Fin Fang Foom) and I traded my copies of X-Men #12 and #13 to Big B Comics for a very nice copy of Hulk #181.

In addition to completing Marvel Team-Up, I have also decided to search for Star Wars Tales (24 issue run) and Treehouse of Horror issues (15 issues so far).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Epic Mickey Opening

I am looking forward to checking out Epic Mickey. The opening cinematic can be seen here. The game has some very interesting and creepy visuals. And I need some reason to play my Wii. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Superman #702

Well, it only took 2 issues for the Grounded storyline to get annoying and pretentious. Superman plays basketball with some kids, discovers hidden aliens, and meets with an old man who works in a closed down car factory.

Oh and he also blackmails the aliens to use their superior technology to created a booming medical industry in the depressed former auto-city. That right folks, Superman is all about meddling in the affairs of regular people now. I can only assume that he will fly back in time and stop WWII next. The concept of Grounded is okay, but I am not pleased with this issue’s heavy handed execution.

Batman shows up at the end, so maybe if we are lucky he will tell Superman to stop being so high and mighty. Hanging out with regular people might be fine once in a while, but he has real, world-saving problems to deal with. While he was playing basketball alien super-robots took over Canada (okay that last part didn't happen but you get my point).

Tale of The Tape
Cost: $3

Length: 20 minutes

Is it worth it?: Not really. This was a pretty lackluster outing for JMS and crew. Barrows draws a great Supes though. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One Trailer

A pretty interesting trailer for the next title in the R&C series can be viewed here. 4 player simultaneous action can be fun, but also brutal and filled with many, unnecessary deaths. I will be interested to see if there is a good single player game or if it will be only online.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Expendables

For any fan of 1980’s action movies purchasing a ticket to this testosterone-filled explosion-fest was a no-brainer. Action movie fans will not be disappointed. The plot is fine and actually unnecessary. The cast is the real draw and the audience is treated to find out who would win if Stone Cold Steve Austin and Rocky Balboa fought each other. Or maybe you always wondered how a Jet Li/Ivan Drago fight would end. You will find the answers within.

Stallone does a good job of directing this band of tough guys and kudos to Sly for not using camera work so fast that it creates motion sickness in the viewing public. The movie is not Citizen Kane, but you will have two hours of fun.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $12

Length: 1 hour 44 minutes.

Is it worth it?: Yes, but only if you love action movies. Anyone else will find the movie "stupid", and they would be wrong. Dead wrong. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #156

G.I. Joe is back! And is written by Larry Hama! And it continues the story from the Marvel comics series! Needless to say I was pretty excited about this issue and fans of G.I. Joe will not be disappointed. We join the story in media res and the Joe team has gone into hiding as Cobra now works for the U.S. Government as mercenaries.

We see various members of the Joe team fend off (and kill) Cobra assassins while gathering to formulate a plan against Cobra. Hama does a great job with the characters he created and the art by Augustin Padilla fits the feel of the book well.

I did find it strange that the book abruptly ends. It seemed like there was a page missing. However, this did little to detract from a great read for a G.I. Joe fan.

Tale of The Tape

Cost: $4

Length: 20 minutes

Is it worth it?: Yes, but only if you are a G.I. Joe fan. New readers will find this issue a pretty strange starting point. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Modnation Update: Fail

So the big Modnation update hit late last night and I must say that I am unimpressed. While I am happy that I can can invite friends to xp matches, I was disappointed in the two biggest problems with the game: namely, load times and difficulty.

I can see no discernible difference in load times or the difficulty of the game (and yes I did make sure that the race was set to casual). The load times are still achingly long and the rubber-band AI is brutal.

I want to like this game but Sony is making it very hard.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

God of War: Ghost of Sparta Teaser

Sony had a great panel at the San Diego Comic con. A lot of big announcements but I was most excited to see some footage of the new PSP God of War game. You can check it out here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Street Fighter III

What a year it is turning out to be for fighting fans! Capcom has also announced that Street Fighter III will be heading to consoles soon with some great online features. Check out the story here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Batman #701

Grant Morrison gives us the missing story between RIP and Final Crisis. I should say "one of the missing stories" because Final Crisis was so convoluted and crummy that I have to assume that Grant Morrison had a myriad of great ideas that made sense but the big, bad editors at DC overruled his creative control.

When he writes a comic book, Morrison either gives us a fantastic story or nonsensical garbage and the jury is still out on this storyline. Part one is interesting enough that you want to read part two, and Grant Morrison writes a great Batman.

I would also mention that Tony Daniel does a great job with the pencils. He has come a very long way from his early Image days and his style really fits Gotham City.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $3

Length: 20 minutes.

Is it worth yet?: Yes, but that could all change with part 2...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Street Fighter X Tekken

Huge announcement from Capcom at San Diego! There will be a pari of cross over games between the world warriors of Street Fighter and the tournament champions of Tekken. Check out more here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Superman #701

Issue 701 marks the start of J. Michael Straczynski's "Grounded" storyline. The basic concept is that Superman is walking across America to reconnect with the people. The story has some elements of Neil Adams and Denny O'Neil's Green Lantern/Green Arrow stories from the 1970's.

It is an interesting idea, and while I picked up the issue with some trepidation, I must admit that it is off to a good start. Superman does some interesting things just walking around and talking to people. Helping out the average person with day to day problems that are not the normal alien trying to take over the world type stuff.

The problem with JMS is that his stories can be great, but sometime they are pseudo-intellectual psycho-babble that is convoluted and boring. This story could go either way. Still, issue 701 makes me want to read issue 702, and Eddy Barrows draws a great Superman.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $3

Length: 20 minutes.

Is it worth yet?: Yes, but only if you are interested in seeing where this goes. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Marvel Vs Capcom 3: New Characters

Another video out on the net shows the Super Skrull, Chun Li, Trish, and Dr. Doom. DOOOOOOOM!

Doom is great, but normally he isn't very good in the MVC games. Hopefully he'll have a better showing. My excitement for this game is continually growing.

The folks at That Video Game Blog have the video posted here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #637, Grim Hunt Part 4

And so another potentially good story ends on a lackluster note. Warning: there will be spoilers.

So apparently the death of Kaine and Mattie Franklin drive Spider-Man to the point where he is ready to kill. He even rips off a woman's face. You read that right, Spider-Man uses his sticky fingers to pull the skin off of Mrs. Kraven's face. He doesn't kill her though. He does almost kill Kraven, but the new Madame Web (previously Spider-Woman II) talks him out of it.

Yes. Having the Kingpin order a hit that almost kills Aunt May doesn't cause Spidey to kill, but seeing his evil clone die sends him into a psychotic rage. On occasion I wonder if the writers have ever read another Spider-Man book before.

The art is inconsistent, as the regular artists needed an assist (again the problem of having a book out almost every week).

This is a great example of how the story could have really built up over the last 4 months. Instead we got it in a single month. I would only pick up this book if you have already invested in the first 3 parts.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $4

Length: 20 minutes.

Is it worth it?: Um. Sort of? Unless you bought parts 1-3 just read the wikipedia entry. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gran Turismo 5 Trailer

You can view the E3 trailer to Gran Turismo 5 here.  I am a big fan of racing games, and GT5 looks pretty sweet. I should mention that the Gran Turismo series are designed to be racing simulators, so speed, turns, and damage are are accurate to real life.

If you only like cart racers where you can shoot someone in the back with a missile this will not be the game for you, but the gaming community has been waiting for this ever since the poor showing of GT4 on the PS2. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue just whetted our appetite, and on November 2nd we get the real thing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Superman #700

Reaching 700 issues is quite a milestone, and one would expect the 700th issue of Superman to be an epic event. Sadly, this issue left a lot to be desired. There are three stories and some of them work better than others. Robinson and Chang give us an epilogue to the 100 minute war where we get to see Lois and Superman reunite. A pretty good story that gives a nod to the Superman Movie.

The second story has Dan Jurgens tell us about an early meeting between the Dick Grayson Robin and Superman. The story is solid and the best in the book, but it does have the advantage of not needing to follow modern continuity.

The final story is a prologue to JMS's Grounded storyline. Eddy Barrows does a great job as penciller. He has a pseudo-Bryan Hitch feel to his work, and the detail works really well for a Superman story. I am not too excited about Grounded. It kind of feels like the pretentious babble that JMS sometimes comes up with.

Shame on DC for trying to promote the rest of the Super-Books in the back of the issue. This could have been another feature, or some pinups, or something, but instead is was self promotion for the less popular books. The issue is all over the place, and even Superman fans will find this issue unsatisfying.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $5

Length: 20 minutes

Is it worth it?: No. With 71 years of history Superman has a lot of great issues, but this isn't one of them. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Prepare yourself for Mortal Kombat

Any fan of fighting games knows and loves Mortal Kombat. Wait, back that up: any fan of fighting games knows and loves Mortal Kombat 1-3, after which the series became Krappy.

Warner Brothers interactive is bringing back MK by issuing a new title in 2011. The story will be a re-telling of 1-3 and will include 24 of your favourite fighters with more available post launch via download.

All new fatalities and a new x-ray system will bring back the over the top gore that made the series famous, but the solid juggle system looks like it has made a return as well.

Check out the trailer here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #636: Grim Hunt Part 3

A great Spider-Man story continues on, but the stress of producing a book 3 times a month is starting to show. Joe Kelly gets some help from Zeb Wells on the writing duties, and the art team is different for pages 1-18 and pages 19-22. This does nothing to help the flow of the story. Is it too much to ask that the same artist does all parts of a 4 part story?

Anyway, Kraven has returned and we see a fantastic twist with Kaine. I am looking forward to the final chapter, but I feel that this would have been more suspenseful if I had to wait 4 months until the end (instead of 6 weeks or whatever).

Tale of the Tape
Cost: $4

Length: 20 minutes.

Is it worth it?: Still yes, although the change in artist is disappointing. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Daigo the Beast!

EVO 2010 has come and gone and Daigo "The Beast" Umehara has once again defeated the best in the world to become the Street Fighter Champion.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #635: Grim Hunt Part 2

Joe Kelly and the artist duo of Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano give us another solid page turner in the second installment of the Grim Hunt. Spider-Man and the rest of the "spiders" (those with spider-powers) continue their fight against the family of Kraven the Hunter.

I won't reveal too much, but I will say that this is the best Kaine issue ever made. Great to see Mysterio involved as well, but Diablo is mysteriously missing. It makes me wonder if Mysterio was supposed to be in the first part of this story.

Some okay back-up material as well, but I am not sure how well Stan Lee's 2 page per issue story is working. You don't really get a sense of what is going on with only 2 pages.

All that being said this is Spider-Man how it should be, but with the thrice monthly publishing it will be over before you know it.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $4

Length: 20 minutes. 

Is it worth it?: Yes. This was a great comic book story. A bit dark for Spider-Man but then again so was Kraven's Last Hunt. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Weird Stuff from Diamond Previews

This month's issue of Previews has a bunch of Halloween costumes. As you can imagine they are embarrassing for all involved. The picture above is from page 383 and is the G.I. Joe: Cobra Sassy Deluxe Costume.

I have seen many G.I. Joe episodes and read many G.I. Joe comics and I do not remember any such Cobra Troops.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Modnation Getting a New Patch

The folks over at That VideoGame Blog have reported that a hefty patch is coming for Modnation Racers. Sony has heard the outcry of fans and the patch will include new mods, levels, but most importantly a lower difficulty level.

I am a fan of racing games but the rubber-band AI is brutally hard at times. Sure, you can still beat the game with perseverance and tenacity but there should be an easy mode option for the casual gamer. The other problem with the current high level of difficulty is that beating the computer AI is necessary for unlocking different mods.

Thus, unless you are good at the game you cannot really create or share very well with only a few options. No word on when this patch hits, but it will be a welcome addition to a potentially great game. Still no word on the load times though.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Marvel Vs Capcom 3 Gameplay Trailer has a series of trailers showing some of the gameplay for the upcoming title. It looks quite good and I was surprised to see some variation on the classic finishers like Iron Man's Photon Cannon.

Any character with a gun  (Dante, Deadpool, Chris) looks like they have a pretty similar moveset, so I will be interested to see if the characters play differently.

This is my most anticipated release of 2011 and it should be yours as well.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day readers! To celebrate check out the official website of Captain Canuck here. The good Captain was the first Canadian superhero. In the (then) future of 1993 Canada is the most powerful country in the world and Captain Canuck works for CSIS.

Just like what really happened in 1993.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Ray

Hollywood legend Ray Harryhausen turns 90 today. He is responsible for some of the greatest stop-motion effect in movies, such as the Ymir from 20 Million Miles to Earth, the Talos from Jason and the Argonauts, and Medusa from Clash of the Titans (the 1981 original, not the new piece of garbage). You can see more here at Ray's website.

All the best to a genius in the industry.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Donkey Kong Returns

Those of you who read my E3 post know that I am pretty excited about Donkey Kong Country Returns. Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aime was on Jimmy Fallon promoting the new game.

Tales of Monkey Island

Once upon a time PC gaming was a magical land of point and click adventures instead of a black-hole of FPS where the main objective is shooting as many people as possible in the face. The Monkey Island series is a fantastic puzzle game where the player controls the unlikely hero Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate.

The series did zombie pirates before they were cool and the puzzles are excellent. Last year, Telltale games released the latest adventure, Tales of Monkey Island. Originally released serially in 5 separate parts, the whole game has recently come to the PSN as a package, and fans will not be disappointed.

The voice acting is top notch and the humour is well-placed. My only issue with the game is the controls. They were obviously designed for the PC and the mouse-based controls don't work well with PS3 controller.

If you enjoy puzzle games, point and click adventures where you can't die, and would like to return to a more innocent age of gaming, this is the title for you.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $20 (way cheaper than the $50 on the Wii or the $35 on the PC)

Length: It depends on how often you get stuck on some puzzles (avoid checking the internet for hints), but you should get at least 20 hours out of the whole tale. 

Is it worth it: If already love Monkey Island you should pick up this game, and if you have never played a MI game you should give it a try, but if you only like games where you get to yell "Boom! Headshot!" let this one pass on by. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #634, Grim Hunt Part 1

My readers are well aware that I am unhappy with the state of ASM lately, and so it is with cautious optimism that I approach the Grim Hunt storyline.

Basically Kraven's family have put Spider-Man through a Gauntlet of challenges to weaken him so they can kill him and the other spiders (those who have spider-based powers) to resurrect Kraven himself.

The Gauntlet was hit or miss, a miss-mash of great and crappy stories. Hopefully Grim Hunt will be more consistent. Correction: hopefully Grim Hunt will be consistently awesome.

The issue was a very intriguing and exciting start to what I assume is one of those stories where "nothing will ever be the same". The art by Michael Lark and Stephano Gaudiano is much darker than we would normally see in a Spidey tale, and it fits the Grim Hunt perfectly.

Joe Kelly can write some great stuff, and he is off to a good start, but he does require a certain amount of Spider-Man knowledge from the reader. Madame Web, Kaine, Spider-Woman II, Ezekiel,  and Spider-Woman III, along with a bunch of Kravens all make appearances without much explanation who they are. This issue is great, but not a good jumping on point for new readers. I loved it, but I feel that someone picking up a Spidey comic for the first time would be totally confused.

There are a couple of back-up stories that add to the fun (including a 2 pager written by Stan Lee) and make the overall product well worth the price of admission.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $4

Length: 30 minutes

Is it worth it?: Yes, if you already are a Spider-Man fan. All others should read some older issues first and then come back to this one.  

Friday, June 25, 2010

Batman #700

Grant Morrison can be pretty frustrating. Sometimes he creates some of the best comics ever, and sometimes he creates artsy incoherent garbage that we are all supposed to worship in awe. Thankfully his work on Batman #700 is just nice solid storytelling.

I won't go into much detail, but it is a time travel story of sorts, allowing Bruce Wayne to be part of the action even though he isn't the current Batman. The tale also showcases Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne as the current and future version of the Bat. Different artist contribute to the different time periods, which works nicely for an anniversary issue.

If you are a Batman fan you probably already picked this one up, but if you feel like giving Gotham city a chance this is a great jumping on point.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $5

Length: 30 minutes

Is it worth it?: Yes. This is comic book storytelling at its finest. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

E3 2010

Well another E3 has come and gone. To be honest I couldn't really care about the big announcements (Nintendo 3DS, Natal, PS3 motion whatever), but I am looking forward to a bunch of games.

Marvel VS Capcom 3 (PS3)

Epic Mickey (Wii)

Castlevania Lords of Shadow (PS3)

Metal Gear Solid: Rising (PS3)

Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

Metroid: Other M (Wii)

Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light (DS)

The 3rd Birthday (PSP)

God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP)

Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fan Expo Recap - Collection Update

I got a chance to check out Fan Expo this past weekend and came away with some great finds. Firstly, I picked up the great Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale trade Haunted Knights. This collects their three Halloween specials from 93-95 that were precursors to the epics Long Halloween and Dark Victory.

Secondly, I got a great deal on the Rebirth of Thanos trade, which collects pre-Infinity Gauntlet Silver Surfer issues and really is a must have for any IG fan.

I also grabbed an old issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland from the folks at Big B Comics. This particular issue had a huge 20 page article on stop motion master Ray Harryhausen.

Finally, I purchased a fabulous print from Toronto area artist Michael Cho. His vision of Darkseid perfectly captures the character, but the kicker for me was his inspiration for the layout came from his childhood memories of the steel mills in Hamilton, Ontario. You can check out more of his work here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Avengers #1

As the main launch title for Marvel's Heroic Age, Avengers #1 had pretty high expectations when it hit the stands last week. Fans will not be disappointed. The art was top notch (as was to be expected from a master storyteller such as John Romita Jr.) with great panel layout and excellent action.

The plot was exciting and gives the reader just enough to want to know more; Brian Michael Bendis can sometimes buy into his own hype and over-write a book, but this was a solid story from beginning to end. Kang makes an appearance and it was great to see a classic (he first appeared in issue #8) Avengers villain be front and centre for this relaunch.

I hate to see a relaunch because we all know that in about 4 or 5 years they will return to the original numbering to sell a landmark issue, but that seems to be the way that the industry rolls these days.

The last panel is genius, really hooking the reader and guaranteeing a purchase of issue #2. I won't say any more but you should definitely check it out.

I was not impressed with the 2 page spread of every Avengers member: there were a lot of characters (the young avengers) that new readers wouldn't know and Bendis should have named each hero. This issue is supposed to be a jumping on point after all.

Also, why is Steve Rogers' costume so ugly? He looks like he was rejected from the mock-turleneck page of the Sears catalogue.

Minor quibbles aside this was a great issue.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $4

Length: 20 minutes.

Is it worth it?: Definitely. This is superhero storytelling at its finest. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pelican Dual Triggers

One of the criticisms consistently laid on the PS3 controllers is that the L2 and R2 buttons are strangely curved downwards. Many games use these buttons as a trigger or attack button, so it is pretty important that usage fells natural and comfortable. The bizarre curve forces your finger to slop downwards off the controller and your hand needs to compensate.

The folks over at Pelican thought this too, so they came up with some neat little plastic accessories that clip onto the PS3 controller (pictured above). Selling at $5 per pair these little beauties create a more natural and comfortable feel for the PS3 controller.

I was skeptical at first but have since come right around. If you play any shooter on the PS3 this is a must purchase item, but even if shooters aren't our bag you'll see (and feel) the difference in any game you play.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Super Mario Bros Mashup

A friend sent me a link to a great Super Mario mashup game. Check it out here. You can play the original Super Mario Bros game as Link, Simon Belmont, the dude from Contra, Samus, or Mega Man.

It is like being in an episode of Captain N.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Collection Update: Megator

I normally would update my collections here, but a friend of mine recently acquired a piece so face-smashingly awesome that I thought I would share.

As most of you know, He-Man was a beloved toy line from the 80's that sold fantastical, muscle-bound heroes and villains with two syllable names. The line had a much loved animated television show and a slightly less loved live-action movie with Dolph Lundren in the lead role. Near the end of the toy line Mattel had a bunch of crazy ideas such as our green friend pictured above. Megator was a giant from Pre-Eternia (which as we know from history books and the nature channel being from pre-anything means that you are oversized and badass). The toyline was in its death throws so Megator was only sold in....Italy.

Yes, apparently my fratale were such the He-Man fans that Mattel could justify actual production of these huge figures (the normal He-Man figure stands just above his knee).

So scarcity puts this one at a pricey level on the secondary nerd market but ebay came to the rescue and my friend now has this giant jade hippie to proudly display on his coffee table. While still awesome, we should be honest: the character design on this was pretty lame.

"Hey Bob, what if we mix the Hulk and Conan?"

"Great idea Fred! This will save He-Man!"

One can only assume that Mattel received most of their character creation ideas from children. No one who didn't have the innocence of a child could come up with the name Fist-O.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fan Expo Guest List

Hobbystar has released the guest list for the Fan Expo in Toronto, Canada at the end of August. There are some pretty big names attending: Stan Lee, Adam West, William Shatner, David Cronenburg, James Marsters, and much more. You will even be able to see the old Batmobile from the 1960's. More info can be seen here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Modnation Racers Demo

The demo for the upcoming release Modnation Racers hit the PSN last night and I so I thought I'd check it out in anticipation for next week's release of the full game.

Despite the fact that majority of parts, clothing, and tracks are locked, you have a lot of choice in creating your own racer, car or track. You cannot use your creation in the demo but you can save it to your hard drive and use it once you buy the full game. Customization and the play, create, share philosophy will be the major driving force of this game.

The controls are tight and have a bit of a Mario Kart meets Burnout feel to them. This is not a racing simulator, so those of you who hope for some kind of Little Big Planet Gran Turismo will be disappointed. The weapon selection seems limited, so I hope that the final game has a wider variety.

I was disappointed in the brutal rubber-band AI. There were several races where I was in 1st place until just before the finish line: I was then shot with a missile and came in second or third.  A lot of racing games use rubber-band AI because it is a easy way to program difficulty into the game. However, this is a lazy programmers way out of creating a game with a good, balanced AI that provided a proper level of challenge. This won't stop me from picking up the game next week, but I am disappointed that they went the easy route in terms of AI.

If this game interests you in the slightest you should download the demo. It is free after all and you will get $0 worth of fun out of it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Siege #4


This was one of the worst comic books that I have read in a while. I won't waste much more space. Stay away.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $4

Length: 20 minutes (I am being generous).

Is it worth it?: No. One thousand times no. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

Back in 1990, before Johnny Depp made pirates cool, Lucasarts developed a point and click adventure that revolutionized the genre. In The Secret of Monkey Island you took control of Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate who used, gave, pushed, pulled, picked up, walked to, and talked his way to victory over the villainous Ghost Pirate LeChuck. In my youth this was one of my favourite games. I remember my brother, father, and I spending countless hours trying to figure out what to do with that rubber chicken with the pulley in the middle.

Thankfully my childhood memories were not shattered and the recent HD re-release still holds it own as a point and click adventure game full of puzzles, excellent music, and zany humour.  The game requires you to walk around a series of islands, pick up items, and use these items to solve puzzles. It may seem pedestrian or boring compared to Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto but this game represents the pinnacle of its genre, and wouldn't it be nice for children to play something that require more strategy and problem solving than deciding what kind of machine gun would best kill their online foes?

Tale of the Tape
Cost: $10
Length: At least 5 hours
Is it worth it?: A definite yes. If you have never played the game before you will get $2 worth of fun out of the game and if you have played the game before you will love the nostalgia factor: a great touch in the game allows you to switch between the HD graphics and the original MS DOS visuals.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Toy Show This Weekend!

I will be doing another toy show this weekend so anyone in Southern Ontario should stop on by and get some great deals on old, collectible toys and luchadore masks. More info can be seen here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

EVO 2010

The Evolution 2010 tournament is open for registration here. There promises to be some great tournament action  featuring Super Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter II HD Remix, Tekken 6, Marvel VS Capcom 2, Melty Blood (I had to wikipedia that one), and Tatsunoko VS Capcom.

Start practicing...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Marvel VS Capcom 3

Huge announcement from Capcom and Marvel: the fan favourite versus series will be getting a new installment. You can read more about it here. I am nerding out over this. The trailer is great, and I am loving the Chris Redfield/Hulk match-up.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spider-Man: Fever #1

Due to the utter odious and sub-par storylines that are coming out of ASM lately, I am always pleased to find a solid and interesting Spider-Man story, especially one as eclectic and unique as Fever.

The story is a homage to 1960's Spider-Man and Dr. Strange stories and fans of that era will be pleased with the dialogue and visuals. I do have one minor quibble: the editor should have noted that this story takes place before Dr. Strange loses his mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. Currently in the Marvel Universe Dr. S has lost his ability to conjure and was forced to give up the magical title. I know that not every fanboy follows Dr. Strange so closely, but the result is jarring for anyone in the know.

Tale of the Tape
Length: 20 minutes. 

Cost: $4

Is it worth it?: A definite yes. This is the best Spider-Man story in a while (and the best Dr. Strange story in a long while) and I am looking forward to the next issue. However, it is a sad state of affairs when a random mini-series has a better story than a character's flagship title. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

R.I.P. Gene Kiniski

Nov. 1928-Apr. 2010
Canada's Greatest Athlete has passed away from cancer at the age of 81. Long before Canada had Bret Hart or Chris Jericho, it was a tough kid from Edmonton that ruled the squared circle of the Great White North. His matches with Whipper Billy Watson were legendary fare on the CBC. More on the story can be read at Slam Sports.

My condolences and prayers go out to the Kiniski family, but I am heartened that at the age of 81 he lived a good, full life and did not succumb to the tragic, early end of many others in his chosen profession.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #626

I have mentioned this before, but it merits further repetition: thrice-monthly publication is not improving the quality of this book. Stories are never consistent in their quality and it become increasingly apparent that a large number of filler issues have been commissioned to meet such a heavy publishing burden.

ASM #626 reads like a filler issue, but it shouldn’t. It is part of the ongoing Gauntlet storyline (destined to be remembered as one of Spidey’s worst) and whatever happens should engage the reader. What the reader gets instead is a mediocre gang-war type story with the Red Hood selling the Scorpion’s original costume. Spidey teams-up with a new Lady Scorpion to take down the bad guys, and the conclusion of the issue shows the Lady Scorpion selling the costume to Kraven’s daughter. There. I just saved you $3. I will be writing a letter to Joe Quesada soon about the awful editorial decision to publish the book so often.

Tale of the Tape
Length: 20 minutes
Cost: $3
Is it worth it?: No. ASM is getting worse and worse. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Eleventh Doctor

The new season of Doctor Who started a couple of weeks ago on the BBC and it is fantastic. Matt Smith has really hit the ground running and does a great job of filling some big shoes left behind by David Tennant.

For those of us in Canada, the SPACE network will begin showing the 11th Doctor's adventures this Saturday. More info is here, and I would encourage everyone to tune in.