Wednesday, January 30, 2013

RIP Young Justice

I’m about ready to switch comic alliances. To anyone not in comics this is big, like switching the kind of underwear you wear, but DC is really leaving me with no choice. First they quasi-reboot their entire continuity and give us this New 52 trash, then they bomb the Green Lantern movie, and now this: Young Justice will not be in Cartoon Network’s 2013-14 lineup, essentially cancelling it. 
Oh, what’s Young Justice you ask? No, it’s okay, I don’t blame you for not knowing, since DC is too busy trying to convince everyone that healing Batgirl’s spine was a good idea they haven’t really promoted the best cartoon they’ve had since Batman the Animated Series. Young Justice follows a team comprised of the Justice League’s sidekicks, called the Team, who are deployed by Batman to go on covert ops missions in order to stop a secret cabal of villains called the Light from destroying the League and taking over the world. The first season was hands down amazing, Every character had their own intriguing story arch full of surprise twists and more emotional draw-ins then a book about the pioneer’s puppies. The thing that sealed the deal for me was that they brought one of my longtime favorite super heroes, Superboy, in as a main character, complete with his trademark tee shirt. Although they do take liberties with the original continuity, I personally am not a purist (Unless DC does something stupid, see earlier rant on New 52, and extended edition coming next week) and loved the changes they made in Young Justice, like Superboy being a broody anti-social, and Miss Martian being a flake.
The second season took place 5 years after the last, introducing a pile of new young heroes to the team, including Lagoon Boy, Batgirl and Wonder Girl. The story became a little harder to follow with the addition of so many new faces, but it still worked, and this time centered on a secret alien invasion, but the show was put on hiatus mid-season last year. Now it’s all but official: Young Justice is cancelled.
Here’s my question: What is DC doing? At this point they’re pretty much on life support with comic sales dropping since last year, most of their movies either crashing and burning and then cancelling popular shows like Young Justice and Green Lantern. Nolan’s Dark Knight movies was pretty much the only thing they really had going for them and even then Rises had more than its fair share of problems. As of now, DC is looking at rebooting Superman this summer with Man of Steel, rebooting Batman in four years, and after that putting together a Justice League movie much like the Avengers last summer. I really hate to say this, but unless DC makes some major changes soon, they’re might not be a company left to make a Justice League movie!
So here I sit about to give a tearful goodbye to my precious Young Justice, and maybe to my favorite comic book company with it, hoping against hope that they manage to pull themselves together soon before we lose Batman and Superman forever, while wondering if Hot Topic still had those light up Iron Man boxers I was looking at the other day.
For a sample of Young Justice, click here!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Video game sales restrictions

Confession: I bought Saints Row the Third for XBox 360 because the idea that I could play a Grand Theft Auto game while dressed as Ronald McDonald filled my little heart with glee. Turns out the game was glitchy and the story was unimaginative that wasn't even helped by the fact that Burt Reynold's made a guest appearance, but the fact is that I like violent video games. I'm the guy who picks up the Blood and Guts feat in Fallout 3 that makes every kill look like I just put the guy in a blender, but for +10% damage how can you argue? Legislation is once again being looked at to restrict the sales of such video games to minors and, despite my love of gore, I personally agree with every word.
Now let me say that I am not representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, any political organization, movement, fast food chain, underwear brand or video game distributor, this is just my own little humble opinion, but I do agree with the idea of not allowing Mature or Adult Only video games into the hands of minors. Do I think that these video games should be outright banned, which is usually the next logical step brought up in the argument? No, I do not and here's why:
I consider video games to be an art form, meaning that they're a format for self-expression. Granted, it's hard to find the artistic value in Saints Row the Third, but play a game like Red Dead Redemption, or the Assassin's Creed series, and tell me that they weren't the painstakingly loving children of someone who wanted to create a unique experience. I will never be the one to ban nude or violent images from the world of art, since it is some of these images that have impacted us the most in our history, so I will not say that they should be banned from video games. 
Here's an interesting fact for you: No act of violence has ever been directly traced back to video games. Granted, people have done acts of violence that resembled what is seen in some video games. I'm reminded of a young man a couple years back who smashed a window of a game retailer and stole a bunch of copies of Grand Theft Auto 4, only to be caught while trying to steal a car, but the kid was on drugs or something at the time. I honestly don't think that video games make kids violent, because if that was the case then every child of a less-than-vigilant parent would be running around the streets trying to make the world into a video game, and that's not what we're seeing. What I do believe is that video games desensitize children to the realities of the world, as well as expose them to adult situations and themes that they do not need to be exposed to at such a young age. Let's go back to the Saints Row the Third example. Not even talking about the people shooting people, in one playthrough I saw excessive drug use, prostitution, several sexual acts performed, swearing, human trafficking, theft, destruction of property, arson and racism (And before you ask, no I am not proud that I played this game, but come on I got to dress up as Ronald McDonald...).
What i'm saying is that while violence is being focused on for a lot of these discussions, they'res a lot more to this story than people shooting people in make-believe.
In conclusion, I know a lot of people are already on board with restricting video game sales, my goal here is not only to give argument as to why I think it's a good idea, but to give some more insight into the world of gaming so that you can better make an informed decision for you and your family. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What do you want to see?

Hiya folks! First week of school and I'm more busy than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest, so I've got no real post, but what I would like to know is what would you like us to write about in the future? What topics or fandoms would you like us to indulge? Let us know in the comments!
Also, don't forget to check out our Pintrests!

I drew a Cubone! :D

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Minecraft - Feed the Beast - Mad Scientist style

To start off today's post: a humorous story.  My nieces and nephews love it when I come over.  Not simply because they like to see me either.  Within moments of me walking into the door at my parent's house Sunday, one of my nephews approached me and asked "Did you bring your laptop?!" in a very excited voice.

That's right.  I somehow have my nieces and nephews addicted to Minecraft, despite the fact that they have never actually played it.  It ended up with all of them (except the little guy learning to crawl) crowded around my small laptop screen to watch me play.  Then comes the barrage of things to do, and sadly, I can't do all of them.  After nearly dying twice, it was time to head upstairs for dessert.  When they were all leaving, my nephew (the same one who approached me before) asked my mom for some paper and a pen.  Moments later, he was asking me how to spell my name.  He left me a cute little folded note entitled 'open these'.  I opened it up to read 'Bring your laptop, Andrew.'  Well, so much for the 'cute' part.
That aside, Minecraft has been keeping me very busy.  Feed the Beast has officially launched some of there mod packs.  One of them is called the 'Mindcrack' mod pack.  I've been really enjoying playing this one.  Here are some screenshots:

I changed my minecraft skin to look a little bit more like me!
This is a world anchor.  It was supposed to keep my base loaded when I wasn't there (so the machines would run).  I found out later that it required Ender pearls to run (been super hard for me to find those!).  I got angry, so I flew up and put it up on the ceiling where it has stayed ever since.  I just learned that I could turn off that requirement.
These are the barrels that I use to sort things that I have a lot of.  It may be hard to notice, but the rightmost barrel one up from the bottom contains leaves.  I discovered that the electric chainsaw tears through trees rather quickly.  In about 15-20 seconds, I can make an entire small tree disappear.
I have a skylight in my base for solar panels.  A few times, spiders have dropped in to visit.  This one spun in place for about 30 seconds while I stared at it in confusion.
These sorting machines hook up to the barrel as well as other chests.  I love sorting machines.
These chest allow me to send items to different machines in my secret lab without having to walk over and put the items in myself.  I even have it hooked up so that all the results get sent to the chest on the far left.
My 'older' machines.  In the back, you can see my geothermal generators.  I found a massive pool of lava underneath my base that I am pumping up to my base to use for energy.
The bigger, newer machines.  The one on the right is a blast furnace.  The one on the left is a grinder, for grinding up ore.  You can also kind of see my sorting system working.  The little items in the purple boxes are flagged to go to my 'machine output' chest.
Better look at my geothermal generators.
View of my base from the stairs.
Another look at the industrial grinder and an electrolyzer
My solar panel array.
My fully automatic tree farm!  Doesn't require me to babysit it at all.
This whole area used to be a giant lava lake.
This is the level it is at right now.  The obsidian is the old 'surface' level.
My magic room!  The enchanting table from vanilla minecraft, and some items from a mod called Thaumcraft which allows you to do 'magic'.
Another shot of the magic room
My old farm, with two of the Thaumcraft golems hanging out.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Hobbit, an unexpected problem

When I heard Peter Jackson was in production of a Hobbit film, like most geeks I got excited. I had grown up reading Bilbo's classic adventure, and I even like the animated movie (It may be also that I physically resemble the Gollum from the cartoon). When I heard that the story would be made into two films I thought that was fair and didn't think much of it. Then when I heard that the story would be three films, and that the first film had a run time of nearly three hours, I felt a clenching feeling in my chest I used to get when I'd have to review a  comedy for the paper.
This wasn't a good sign.
Last weekend I sat down and watched the Hobbit and I sadly have to say that, both as a geek and a film buff, I was disappointed. And while I'm fully aware that most geeks have already seen the Hobbit by now so this is pretty much a retro review, I still wanted to throw my two cents in.
Let me start off by saying that somewhere in the three hour extravaganza, there is a good movie. Scenes like Bilbo's unexpected dinner party with the dwarves, as well as his riddles in the dark with Gollum were taken straight from my imagination in beautiful clarity. Jackson still knows how to make a world of dwarves and elves feel real, which actually kind of added to the overall problem.
Here's where my issue is: The film is padded to psychotic levels. Whenever the party goes from one place to another they insist on showing endless scenes of mountain landscapes and waterfalls of all things, to the point where I felt I was on an endless hopeless journey, only instead of looking for a dragon I just wanted the credits.
Another piece of needless padding was the fight scenes. In Lord of the Rings the most characters they had to keep track of in a fight was nine, which is a pretty sturdy number but it was pulled off well. Here most of the time they have to keep track of 14 characters in the fray, which they attempt to accomplish through cutting to them one or two at a time. This makes the spectacle a confusing mess and a few times I thought I'd have to throw up in the popcorn bucket. On top of that several of these scenes just go on for nearly a good five minutes. They'res even one piece with them running around in the goblin caverns which I swear took half an hour. At one point I don't care how many interesting ways you can knock a goblin off a cliff, I just don't care anymore.
Here's the sad truth about it: Yes, I would watch this movie again, but not in theaters. I'd watch it in my own home with a fast forward button, the same way I'd watch 2012 and cut through all the irritating talking. The film has about 45 minutes of needless nonsense that could've easily been cut for time and left in the extended edition. I'm honestly scared to see if this thing will even get an extended edition, since the only thing they could conceivably add is the party's conversations between place to place.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Geeky Mad Libs!

Ever do mad libs growing up?  It's been years since I have.  I watched some YouTube videos where people were doing mad libs, and I was laughing really hard with all the stuff that they were saying.

To do a mad lib, you pick a word that matches each category given.  Then, you read the paragraph, substituting your words into the numbered places. (Wikpedia has a decent explanation

Without further ado, a geeky mad lib!

Don't scroll to the bottom, or you'll spoil what all the blanks are used for.

Here are the words:

1. Number:
2. Noun:
3. race:
4. title plural:
5. Noun:
6. Number:
7. race:
8. title plural:
9. place plural:
10. noun:
11. Number:
12. adjective:
13. race:
14. verb ending in -ed:
15. verb (unconjugated, for example run, drink, etc):
16. Number:
17. adjective:
18. title:
19. Adjective:
20. piece of furniture:
21. Noun:
22. name of a place:
23. plural noun:
24. verb (present tense):
25. verb (present tense):
26. verb (present tense):
27. verb (present tense):
28. noun:
29. verb (present tense):

<1> <2>s for the <3>-<4> under the <5>,
<6> for the <7>-<8> in their <9> of <10>,
<11> for <12> <13> <14> to <15>.
<16> for the <17> <18> on (his/her/its) <19> <20>
In the <21> of <22> where the <23> <24>.
<16> <2> to <24> them all, <16> <2> to <25> them,
<16> <2> to <26> them all and in the <27> <28> them
In the <21> of <22> where the <23> <24>.

Want the reference?  You can scroll down even further.

The paragraph comes from the Lords of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkein.  It talks about the rings of power that were created in the books.