Cool Pics & Uncool Shit

Yo, did you ever want to consume your movies as one single, giant image? Well I’m here to tell you today my friends that you can. Just head over to http://swanh.net/ for your Star Wars: A New Hope inforgraphic. The whole thing! One picture! The future is a crazy place.

Speaking of crazy future bullshit: I don’t care whether Facebook suppresses right wing news in its human curated Trending box. It’s not that big of a deal for me. But when you START SPOILING MAJOR COMIC BOOK PLOT TWISTS BEFORE I’VE EVEN MADE IT TO THE GODDAMN COMIC BOOK STORE FOR NEW COMIC BOOK DAY?! Unacceptable.  That’s probably why Zuck is building that doomsday shelter, to stop the oncoming wave of enraged fanboys.  Don’t know what I’m talking about? Pic after the jump (don’t hit the jump if you want to avoid MARVEL COMIC spoilers).

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The VPH Review: Rockpockalypse & Tekken Card Tournament

rockpocalypse1

-Why is this game free? Usually Vince McMahon and the WWE, owing to their carnie roots,  will do anything in their power to make a dollar. This weekend’s Wrestlemania XXIX is making fans shell out 55 clams for what’s almost assuredly going to be bad wrestling and awful cameos. So the fact that the app equivalent of that is free is suspicious.

-Why would the Rock allow this game to be free? It’s using his likeness and his voice. Dwayne’s as much of a naked capitalist as Vince is, I’m shocked he isn’t trying to capitalize on every single WWE promo out there.

-The story is….well….. there is no story. You walk out of a trailer and you learn how to fight.  And how do you fight? By swiping your finger in one direction or another. Very similar to (i.e. a complete & total rip-off of) Infinity Blade but not nearly as fun or challenging.  Each foe you vanquish is a level.  I made it to level 3. And then the game froze on me.  How do you fix the frozen game problem? Why, you delete the game and reinstall it.  Well…..that was fun.

-I’m back. I decided to reinstall the game and give it another go.  After passing the 4th level I realized every level was going to be exactly the same.  This is the kind of game you’d give to a 6 year old at a restaurant to keep him busy while his parents are eating dinner.

Final thoughts: Gawd Awful

tekkencardtournamentlogo

Let me start by saying I love Tekken.  Am I good at it? Hell no, but I really really do like the game.  The characters are all unique and interesting, the move sets are diverse, and if you’re playing by yourself it really can be enjoyable. My problem with these games, and this game specifically, is that that learning curve to play multiplayer is just ridiculously steep. You’re playing against people who have been playing this game for the last 10 years nonstop and it makes the whole experience 0% fun.  Just ask ImperviousRex about the latest Street Fighter game  I’ve witnessed first hand controllers being thrown across the room (ImperviousRex: What? I can’t hear you over the sound of all these broken controllers). .  AND HE IS NO NEWBIE!!!!!! When I saw the trailer for this I said “Wow, maybe a Tekken game I won’t completely suck at.”  Here are my reactions to the new Tekken Card Tournament:

-Great, I have to sign in using Facebook. Can’t wait to impress everyone with my mighty Tekken accomplishments.

-OK, so far it’spretty interesting. Your deck of cards and how you decide to play them (focus cards, attack cards, and block cards) determines your course of  action.

-So to be good at this game or even to enjoy it doesn’t require any prior knowledge of Tekken or any fighting game in general.  It’s a basic card game where choosing the right card action at the right time grants you victory.  It feels like a fresh take on the card game genre.

-Final thoughts: An entertaining and unique game, but one that I feel will wear out its welcome after an hour or so of gameplay (IE: Family Fued & Draw Something)

Italian Side Quest- Israel

Kick ass hummus

(ed. note: Intrepid contributor ViciousPjuraHead is spending the summer in Italy and will be filing dispatches of a gaming or comic related nature, when he gets around to it.

Moving on from Italy I decided to head to another country that begins with an I.  ISRAEL!!  Luckily I have some friends there who I had visited over Christmas and since I was already in the neighborhood I thought I’d take a little trip back to the Promised Land.  Though this time, getting into the country was a little more difficult.

My first attempt was through Israir with an 11:55 PM flight.  I got there two hours early as per international travel protocol but two hours wasn’t enough.  If you’re heading to Israel, protocols state you have to arrive three hours early. Whoops.  After an hour of trying to get on the plane while being asked a series of outlandish security questions I was told I would not be getting on this flight and to try again tomorrow.  How outlandish, you ask? Well, it was to the point where security read  my Facebook messages and looked at my bank account to make sure that I was in fact a public school teacher and not lying about my profession.  The situation wasn’t helped when security noticed I told me friend that I would shave before the flight; This prompted a new round of questions about why I would want to shave.

Acre – Seat town close to Tel Aviv

I decide to go home and sleep at my friend’s house and try again the next day through El Al.  I get there three-and-a-half hours early, just in time for the fun to really start.  I get yanked out of line by security again, this time though I get the pleasure of a tiny room all to myself  for the next three hours.  I was told that my bags would not be allowed on board with me and that I would have to submit to a full body search.  Naturally I just comply and don’t make a fuss because I have nothing to hide (ed note: yeah right).  When all was said and done I was escorted to my seat with a few minutes to spare and and only after the seat-belt was around my waist did airport security leave my by myself. As you can imagine, a great experience.

Upon my arrival to Tel Aviv I was told to go to lost and found and file a missing luggage report.  I was given a very nice tote bag with a shirt, shorts, socks and various toiletries (ed. note: Score!!).  My luggage finally did arrive… two days before I was set to leave.  All that nonsense aside, once in Israel my time I had a crazy, exhilarating, exhausting time. From floating in the Dead Sea, side trips to Acre & Jerusalem, and culminating with a Dark Knight Rises showing (which surprisingly had an intermission), Italy and Israel really knocked me on my ass.  Though welcoming me home is none other than……..ACE FREHLEY. I LOVE YOU ACE!!!!

Enjoy the photos!!

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On Restraint, with Bonus! Time Travel Gallery

I have disposable income and am quick on the draw with my credit card.  That, combined with Amazon Prime, leads to hasty purchasing decisions, especially when they fall into the “Nerd Spectrum” (ed. note: Ugh.).

Perfect examples: I woke up today convinced that I needed to by a PS Vita.  Keep in mind, I have ZERO time to play one. I’ve barely played my PS3 over the past two months! My time is now split between work, this site, catching up on reading, comics, and  time-, soul-, and money-sucking Facebook games. So throwing a PS Vita into that equation is foolish at best and a complete waste of money at worst.  And yet…I still want it. I have the means to acquire it. Right now if I want.  I know I’ll eventually lose this battle, especially when this hits:

Maybe it’ll be a moot point, when WordPress reveals that their adrates are $100/hit/day. Then I can can repurpose the 10 hours I spend at work towards something far more useful, like playing video games in my Forever Lazy while becoming a hermit.  Dreams! We got ’em.

– Then there’s this: Welcome to rip off town, population: YOU

While struggling (ed. note: overstatement) with whether or not to buy a PS Vita today, I started playing Avengers Alliance on Facebook.  It’s basically Outernaughts but in the Marvel Universe.  Or I guess since this came first, Outernaughts is Avengers Alliance set in space and with stupid knock-off Pokemon.  As I had thought, my ravenous need to play Outernauts  has already greatly subsided and my dalliance with AA is fading even quicker.  Mostly because THIS GAME IS STUPID BULLSHIT THAT IS WHOLLY ARBITRARY, MAKES NO SENSE, NAKEDLY WANTS YOUR MONEY AND IS DUMB. Everything costs either gold OR Avenger points OR S.H.I.E.L.D. points which you somehow deplete doing game mandated activities, yet it’s mysteriously hard to suss out exactly how you earn them back. Well, I guess not THAT mysterious (see pic above). Can you not earn them in-game? If not, then this is just a ridiculously gussied-up money pit designed to trap comic fans & children. I’ll give it a day, after that it’s heading for the Big Deletion bin in the sky.

– The other rash purchase I was considering this morning (Pro-tip: get out of bed, spend less money) was an iPad subscription to Game Informer.  The preview issue that they’re currently offering is a solid visually, though not as tricked out as Wired.  What initially gave me pause was, “Don’t I already get all of my game journalism online for free; why should I start paying for it now?”. The impetuous side of my brain, of course, was all “It’s only $20! It’s cool, you should totally buy it!”. First, shut up brain. Second, I managed to put the iPad down and wander off to make breakfast.  While doing so I thought, “Wait, Game Informer. Isn’t…isn’t that the magazine that Gamestop tries to pawn off on everyone along with their BS Player’s Edge cards? Didn’t they TRICK me into paying for a subscription to this nonsense once?” and after a quick trip to the knowledge box, I had my answer. No thank you, game Informer, NO THANK YOU.

-A quick note on game journalism: when I was growing up,the best days of the month were the days that GamePro and Electronic Gaming Monthly showed up.  Do you remember those massive year end issues of EGM? One year I think the holiday issue of EGM clocked in at over 400 pages.  Pure bliss. After the jump, TRAVEL BACK IN TIME TO A SIMPLER TIME IN VIDEO GAMES.

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Help Me I Am Obsessed with Outernauts

The culprit LOOK UPON THE DEVIL AND WEEP FOR THE END OF YOUR FREE TIME. Seriously Insomniac, what are you doing to me? I’d read about Outernauts the other week and basically gleaned “Like Pokemon, but in space AND on Facebook!” from the article.  Then a friend (an agent of evil, for sure) sent me a request under the most Perfect Storm-ish conditions possible (bored, weekend, blahing around on the Web) and now I don’t know where the last 72 hours have gone.

In a nutshell, you’re an explorer of space tasked with finding, trapping & subjugating cute aliens, than forcing them to fight other equally cute aliens, in the hope of forcing them to undergo hideous transformations which will bring about the ability to trap & subjugate other cute aliens, ad infinitum.  The grinding aspect of this game is no joke; the part that seems like a joke but is not (maybe a Killing Joke) is the perfect engine that Insomniac has created to ruthlessly separate you from your money, micro-transaction after micro-transaction. One day your riding high on the hog and then some indeterminate time in the future you’re in the poor house, surrounded by virtual monsters. Because guess what? Every action in the game requires energy, which of course you have a finite amount of. An when you run out (or don’t have enough to fight, which is often) the game will helpfully remind you that you can BUY more energy/building elements/star gems.  The worst part of all of that is that, if you want to speed through some of the grinding or really improve your characters, you must use star gems.  Problem is, you cannot earn star gems in the game; you can only get them through trading real word dollars.

I have thus far managed to not spend any money playing, but I have wandered away from my machine several times to try to find my wallet (unsuccessfully).  I’m not sure how long I can hold out though.  My only hope is that the obsession will fade, just like it did with another Insomniac browser-based game, that had launched in tandem with the last Resistance game.  It was a combination of  Risk, Command Conquer, and Farmville, only with more explosions & alien invasions. Insidious.  Clearly they’ve been honing their money-separating chops for some time now.

The sick part of it all is that I know  what the purpose behind this “game” is.  It’s nakedly obvious and I don’t even care. You see, I have to level up PooFlinger.  I have to. 

This Made Me Laugh Hysterically

Hello?(via) More from Marques Cannon when I get a moment (slammed at work today; another reason to click on those ads!). Also keep an eye out for our new fan page on Facebook, news on upcoming interviews with two web comic creators, two indy game developers and the owner of a local (non-Gamestop/Best Buy) game store. Good stuff on the way!