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Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Archive for March, 2015

April Events

We’ve had a fantastic month here at GOSW, and we want to extend our thanks to all of you for keeping us going and encouraging us to keep going. I look forward to meeting more of you to thank you in person, and April looks to be the time to do it. I have a busy month ahead of me, and a lot of plans that were put off that I’m starting to get time to accomplish, with a few minor diversions along the way:

e-Collectica Games Day

13-03-01-TableTopDay_logoApril the 11th is International Tabletop Games Day!

And it just so happens (as if by some bizarre coincidence) that e-Collectica are hosting their next Games Day on April the 11th, what luck. If you’re in the Shrewsbury area at the end of half-term swing by the Morris Hall on Bellstone for a little of the following:

  • Krosmaster Arena
  • Star Wars X-Wing
  • Fluxx
  • Takenoko
  • Viking Tomato
  • Munchkin
  • King of Tokyo

The cost of entry is the same as it ever was, £3 to get in on the door, or £2.50 if you get to e-Collectica and book ahead of time. Only a week and a half to go, so head on up to the market if you want to save yourself a little extra cash, and get a look at what’ll be on offer on the day.

The last few Games Days have been incredible, and the latest was an amazing success. Sadly this time, I won’t be there…

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AmeChibi

So begins a new era in the British convention circuit! Last year at KitaCon, the Kita committee announced a union between themselves and Ame to run a cycle of events, each taking it in turns to run one large and one small event annually, beginning with AmeChibi (and KitaCon in August). From April the 10th onwards, I will be there! Instead of at Games Day. Not entirely certain how I feel about this yet.

Come find me on Saturday in the games room. Don’t know where it’ll be, but I do plan on running something special in D&D 5th edition! I’m going to provisionally say I’ll start at 14:00, but keep an eye on the GOSW Facebook page because – as with all plans where RP is concerned – that time is subject to change. Either way, it’ll be after AmeChibi’s own ITTD celebration, because I’ll inevitably be joining that too.

Such Plans…

As a final note, we’ve been up to something for quite some time now, something that we’ve not been ready to share with you, but we’re getting close.

Very close now…

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The next GeekOut Meetup – And some chat about the website…

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today, I get the opportunity to chat to you all about the next GeekOut meetup!

Our meetups have been happening consistently, (I.E every month without fail,) since October 2013. Those who were here for this websites humble beginnings will remember that I said my first meetup consisted of just me and a friend, sat in a pub and chatting about all there was to chat about in geek culture. Once we joined up with Meetup, everything changed. We were recruiting people left right and centre. It seems there is a need for geek meetups in Bristol and guess what? There’s over 300 people on Meetup alone, who are willing to join in with the GeekOut meetups. Wow! Thanks to each and every one of you, I think we’re outgrowing our current venue (slowly).

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Top 10 games within games

Since games have begun, people have craved to play games within games. Mini-games, secret Easter egg games, you name it – we’ve wanted to play the games within our video games, like some ridiculous game inception. This is part of the joy of games, that you are able to not just enjoy the game you’re in, but any tip of the hat to other games along the way. Today, Joel and Timlah have been looking into the best games within games – and you may be surprised to hear this isn’t video game exclusive.

Join us as we have a look our Top 10 games within games!


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Top 10

10) Tabletop Games – Tabletop Simulator

How to play a tabletop game 101

How to play a tabletop game 101

We figured this might be cheating a bit, but I wanted to give a nod to this fantastic game regardless. Tabletop Simulator gives you a virtual tabletop in which to play your board games, RPGs, card games and more. One of the coolest things about Tabletop Simulator is the fact it’s added in real physics, which means whenever you place a piece in a board game we’re all familiar with, you can’t just click a spot (well, unless the game was made with that in mind). You need to “physically” pick up the piece, then put it down properly. That is fun unto itself.

Impressively, most of this is user created content, which means that fans are the ones who get to decide how to play their games within this video game. Or you could just be like me: When you start losing in a game, simply flip the table at your opponents. Fun times, fun times indeed. Also, lots of lost friends… Please don’t block me.

9) Mini-games – WarioWare

Also somewhat cheating, we’re now picking a game that is actually entirely about playing mini-games. Fans of the WarioWare series will be familiar with what I mean but if you’ve never picked one up before, these are games that ask you to beat mini-games that characters from Warios world challenge you to. WarioWare is the ultimate in producing a game that revolves purely around the mini-games.

Most of the mini-games last no longer than a few seconds, with only the “Boss Stages” taking longer. Even then, the Boss Stages are so short in comparison to an actual boss stage, that you still feel like it’s just a mini-game in a much bigger game… of Mini-Games. Plus the nature of the Wario character helps to spur you on, wanting to beat Wario and his greedy ways at his own games. Damn you Wario, you might be perfect as a villain and as a mini-games guy.

8) Dice Poker – The Witcher

Dice Poker Witcher

Looking for a quick in-game buck and then feel the rush of disappointment when you remember you’re not playing a freemium game? The Witcher has the perfect solution! Dice games of chance for gold.

In a game filled with very real characters, and darker facets of life, like racism, drug abuse, and worse, it’s nice to take a well earned gambling break.

I’m entirely sure that some of the players have rigged dice. How the hells do you roll a perfect straight bar one dice, and then roll exactly what they need on that one dice in a single roll?

For more information on the risks of playing dice with dwarves in seedy farms in farming taverns, go to Gambleaware.org

7) Waterloo-O – Psychonauts

Waterloo-o

Every mental asylum has a Napoleon, and this one has a particular mental block keeping him from getting on with his life. His great x10 grandfather – the actual Napoleon Bonaparte – has beaten him endlessly in a game of strategy that is naturally taking place entirely inside his own head.

Now, the game of Waterloo-O itself is not fully playable in Psychonauts, most of the part you play is persuading the pieces to believe in Fred Bonaparte in the hopes that he’ll finally believe in himself, but it has some elements strongly reminiscent of many great board games: resource management, construction, and warfare. It’s a fun little pastiche of strategy games woven into a narrative.

6) Galaga – Tekken 1

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Tekken is a fighting series that I hold very dear to my heart. I remember when I played the original Tekken on my PlayStation 1 and found out about Gon, the most adorable little dinosaur fighter ever. Smash mouth, brutal action in this series, a game that prides itself on the players intuition and sense of defensive timing, rather than all out aggression.

In the original Tekken, there was a lovely little homage to Galaga. A fun space shooter, this wonderful game was also a game I spent many an hour on as a child, so seeing it in my favourite fighter was that much more satisfying. Even better, if you beat the Galaga game properly, you unlocked one of the coolest characters in the Tekken 1 roster: Devil Kazuya. If you played Tekken 1 and didn’t know about this little feature, I want you to go dust off your PS1 and play this. Right now.

5) Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax – Saints Row the Third

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Saints Row the Third is a game that prides itself on being wacky, crazy and very different to its competitors. So when I heard about this mini-game within Saints Row the Third, I thought “Yeah, this makes sense!” Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax (PGSERC) see’s the Protagonist of Saints Row the Third play in a game-show styled shooting gallery.

What’s made even better is when you play through PGSERC, you are basically playing Saints Row – You’re just shooting guys! But you’re getting scored and having a game show host announce how well you’re doing. What’s more, there’s several levels of this insane shooting gallery! I have a really bad sneaking suspicion that if this was a real life game show, it would be pulled off the air pretty quickly. Thanks Professor Genki and your stupidly adorable cat head.

4) Blitzball – Final Fantasy X

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Blitzball is basically a flying version of football.

There, I said it. That’s all that needs to be said. Well okay, there’s a lot more to it than that. Blitzball is a game that requires skill, timing and patience. The Blitzball itself is a spherical ball that has some studded spots coming out of it. As such, it’s not quite the same as kicking a football, but similar. The Blitzball itself is a strong bit of equipment, able to withstand kicks but if it makes impact with you, wow! That hurts!

There is a small period of time where this is in the main story arc, which allows you to unlock Wakka. Once you’ve done the main story tournament of Blitzball, you can then access the game whenever you go to a save point… And it’s a lot of fun!

3) Chicken Kicking – Fable

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At the end of the pier in Oakvale, gather honest and noble men to play a game of skill, strength, dexterity, and mental instability! Test yourself and earn the title that you couldn’t be bothered to spend money to get rid of, plus it’s kind of funny hearing people whisper behind you “Chicken Chaser they call ‘im.”

Of all the in-game gambling options in the vast array of RPGs, this poultry-punting pastime is only for the morally questionable, and certainly not for vegetarians. Feathers will fly (because who can resist that joke?).

2) Geometry Wars – Project Gotham Racing

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What the dickens is this? Am I trying to deceive you by suggesting that a very well known game in Geometry Wars was actually featured in a racing game?

Well yes, actually. It was made as a sort of Easter egg mini-game inside of Project Gotham’s garage. You were able to play a full demo of the Geometry Wars game and guess what? It was so popular, that it became its own stand alone Xbox Live Arcade game.

The reason this is so far up the list is simple:

  1. It was a mini-game that was turned into a full fledged game because of how popular it was.
  2. It only became the most downloaded Xbox Live Arcade game of all time!
  3. It was made by the devs just to test how to use the Xbox controller.
  4. The designer of the game’s surname is Cakebread. That’s a point unto itself.

1) Magic: the Gathering – Magic: the Gathering

Enter the Dungeon

Credit: Gatherer

 

Unhinged was a parody of introspection, self reference, and in the cards Enter The Dungeon, it becomes a parody of recursion. Both cards force the players to play another game of magic, the winner of which gains benefits within the game currently being played. You’re playing a game of Magic in a game of Magic, a game within a game. What a damn nuisance!

You have to set aside whatever is going on in the game at the time, and play with whatever is left in your deck! It’s a cruel and demented soul that plays that card to force the other player to lose half their life, but why would you do it just to search for two cards? Mean! Weird!

 


Honourable Mentions

We’ve seen the best of the best in games within games, but sometimes a shout out, or a nod to a game within a game is just as good. These two honourable mentions are an adorable tip of the hat for games within a game.

Nintendo consoles – Pokemon

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I can no longer tell whether the Nintendo consoles in the bedrooms of every protagonist in every pokemon edition since Red/Blue is just a consistent piece of not-so-subtle advertising, or whether it has no just become a running joke.

I often find myself wondering if anyone in the pokemon universe plays pokemon. We all know they’ll have Legend of Zelda on tap, but for the kids whose parents hate them enough to force them to stay home and attend school while the other kids are living on the road and combating wild and deadly creatures and criminal organizations, do they get to play the tame home edition?

Pong – Game Dev Tycoon

Game Dev Tycoon logo

In Game Dev Tycoon, you play through the game in hopes to be the next big gaming company.

I’ve recently been playing this game through once again and the very first game I made was “Pong”. Okay, it wasn’t the real Pong, but I chose a sport simulation game called “Pong”. As you make the game, there’s a Pong poster that comes to life and starts to play itself when the game is near completion.

This is only in the first level, but throughout the game there are these subtle little nods to games; including Theme Hospital. Because it’s not really a game within a game, but a nod to a game within a game, I thought it still deserved a mention!


 

For this weeks vote on the next Top 10, 3 of our previously mentioned Top 10’s for you all!

What did you think of our list? Do you think we’ve forgotten any that really deserved at least a mention? Do you agree with our ordering, or has our love for Magic: the Gathering gone a little too far this time? As always, comments below, over on Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you felt! Please remember to cast your votes for your next choice of Top 10! Also, if you have suggestions for future Top 10‘s, let us know!


Berserk review!

Some anime are made to be shocking, some are made to be really darn cool. Other anime are romantic in their own way. This is an interesting blend of all of those and so much more (hold out for the romance, trust me…). I would regard this as one of the great anime of the late 90’s. The anime was ahead of the game for its time and the manga was quite influential to a really famous game of today, Dark Souls.

Berserk is an incredibly popular manga, but the anime didn’t do quite as well. No, don’t worry – The anime series is incredibly fun to watch. Let me put this into context for you: Amongst my favourite anime are some of the cheesiest series imaginable. I adore Nichijou, I absolutely loved Working! and I love Dragonball for it’s cheekiness, as well as Dragonball Z for how over the top it became… Then there’s Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo… So where does Berserk stand amongst these?

Source: TeamLiquid.net

Source: TeamLiquid.net

 

Oh death, gore, blood and demons! Yeah..!

So Berserk follows a lone warrior called Guts, who used to travel and fight for different groups here and there. A mercenary, as it were. Guts then comes across Griffith of the legendary Band of the Hawk. Griffith bests Guts in combat and Guts is forced to join the Band of the Hawk. He does so well with them that he quickly becomes a Raid Leader for the company. The Band of the Hawk fight against demon-like entities called Apostles, humans who have made a pledge (a sacrifice) to The God Hand, a group of archdemons.

A part of this series that truly set it apart from many other shows I had been watching at the time, was the strong theme of friendship. It felt like the anime wasn’t quite what the manga was, which explores deeper meanings. The anime, albeit gory and fast paced, felt like it was showing people the importance of coming together… Okay and a lot of gore.

Berserk_vol01

The biggest crime of this series, however, is that it didn’t finish. This is a long standing manga series that was adapted to anime and it only ran over two arcs, or 25 episodes in total. With the amount of content in the world of Berserk, you’d think we’d have gotten further than we did. I’ll go more into further anime of Berserk shortly, but the first arc was over with in just one episode… Aptly episode 1! One interesting thing is although there are some strong differences in the anime series from it’s manga source, it manages to retain the story of the manga quite faithfully. So whilst there are differences, you are effectively getting the same story – Not bad going!

In 2012, two of three films came out for Berserk: the Golden Arc. The Berserk anime series followed the Golden Arc, but these films represented the start of an adaptation for the whole of the Berserk manga series. In 2013, the third of the film series came out and all three films were met quite positively. They were released by Viz Pictures and hopefully they’ll keep adapting more of the manga into films.

Also, what is up with this incredibly unfitting opening theme music?

Over all, Berserk (the original series) is brutally harsh but wonderfully well executed. It’s gory and it doesn’t hide from the series, although there are masses of modifications, a lot of detail hiding and it didn’t continue, opting out at just 2 arcs in. One day, perhaps we’ll see more of Berserk turned into films, like the three Golden Arc films. One thing is for certain though: If you’re into action, gory, bloody anime – this is one of the greatest ones of all time.

4/5 for Berserk!

Have you seen Berserk? Are you a fan of the serious Guts character? What about Griffith and his burning desire to be king? Comments below, over on Facebook or on Twitter and let’s discuss this one further!


Vampires, Film Stars and Monsters

Of all the many monsters of myth and legend, none make for better films than vampires.Enigmatic and deadly stalkers of the night, sourced from a thousand legends from a thousand cultures throughout history, with many conflicting accounts of their strengths, their weaknesses, and their origins. There are a few things that the majority of vampires have in common:

  • Bloodlust – Mostly a direct need to feed on blood, but many vampire myths talk of full-flesh cannibalism, blood-rites, or simple anaemia or a blood-borne disease that carries vampirism.
  • Aversion to Sunlight – No vampire likes the sun, not one. Even dhampyrs (half-vamps) like Rayne or Blade prefer the dark to the day. It varies between an irritation to a lethal reaction to the hard light of day, but it’s always there.
  • The Bat Motif – Vampire bats are the most famous haematophages, with the possible exception of mosquitoes, but they’re not quite so scary. Vampires and bats all share the fangs and the night life, so they tend to get along just fine.

So many times the lords of darkness have been put to the silver screen, and in so many different forms that they can barely be called a single creature, and more a category. Werewolves are always werewolves, and Frankenstein’s monster will always be called Frankenstein by those with limited mental capacity, but vampires are a lore unto themselves. (more…)


Game Design with Timlah

Look through your Steam library, or your XBLA account. Perhaps you opt for PSN, or an OUYA? How about Android or iOS? One thing that you’ll likely have started to dabble in at some point whilst on any of these platforms are indie titles. While I attended Rezzed, I was lucky enough to get my hands on some upcoming new titles – Indie titles which were great fun.

Something else happened whilst I was there; my latent interest for developing games has come back to me. It’s something I’ve not delved too deeply in for a while, but I decided I wanted to make a devlog of kinds… and I want you all to help me through this. I want to make a game and I want people to see the progress I make along the way. When it’s made, it’ll be hosted on GeekOut South-West, free to download and play. Criticise me as much as you want, this is why I want to indie dev for you all, a game I’ve made with your feedback.

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Kickstarter Highlight – Sidekicks

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I love super-heroes, I particularly love alternative takes on the genre, always have since I first watched The Tick and Freakazoid.

I support anyone who brings an original take on the genre, and Sidekicks most certainly does that. A band of disenchanted second-fiddles and super-lackeys begin taking matters into their own hands. Issue one saw a successful kickstarter campaign, raising more than double what author Russell Brettholtz required and allowing for work to begin expanding the series into many more issues.

Those issues have been pencilled, but money has finally depleted – as is the fate of anyone who chooses to self-publish – and issues 2 through 4 remain uncoloured. Hence a new campaign. The same team will be returning to complete the next three issues, which will see some real storyline developing. Villains are rising, heroes are dropping, and only sidekicks are left to pick up the slack. (more…)


Sublevel Zero – Super procedural space adventures with so much freedom!

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Sublevel Zero is a fantastic looking upcoming 6 Degrees of Freedom shooter which is following in the footsteps of some of the great indie games we’ve seen over the past few years. With procedurally generated levels and Oculus Rift support, looting and crafting systems in place, this game has really set itself apart from its current competition. It’s a roguelike game too, meaning once you’re dead, you are back to square one.

The joy of games like Sublevel Zero is its replay value. In a permadeath game, where the levels are never the same, you can come back to this game time in and time out with no issues of seeing the same old things.

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The game is in first-person, so as you can imagine on an Oculus Rift, this game is quite intense. The ability to look around in Oculus Rift is honestly amazing, especially with the stylised low-poly graphics. For a game of this kind, whilst you could have something all realistic (and believe me, that will be cool to see), I like this game being the way it is. It’s beautiful in an oddly digital way.

Oh, but you’re like me. You’re running Linux or Mac and we’re teasing you with all of these fantastic games. Stop right there! Sublevel Zero is being made for Steam and it’ll be available for PC, Mac AND Linux. It’ll be Oculus Rift compatible and is being distributed by Mastertronic. We can expect to see this awesome title over on Steam in summer this year.

This game grabbed my attention whilst I was at Rezzed, so much so that I made sure to grab the attention of the developers for a quick chat about their title! Don’t forget to go and check out the developers at their website Sigtrap Games, or drop them an e-mail. You can also get a hold of them over at Twitter (@SigtrapGames).

Sublevel Zero is looking like a superbly executed space adventure, so if you’ve not got enough spaceships in your life – You know where to get your next fix!

What do you think of Sublevel Zero? What was the last 6 Degrees of Freedom game you played? As always, leave your comments below, over on Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you think!


Cosplayer Highlight – Rose Cosplay

Welcome to cosplayer highlight, where we look to share insider tips and tricks from the cosplay community, how you can get into the hobby yourself and generally trade wonderful stories about the cosplayers.

Today, we’re joined by a cosplayer, Bryony Harris, who has a large following on Facebook. She really does deserve more attention for her outstanding work as Warcraft characters, as well as all of the amazing work she does in cosplay. She is also a friend of a cosplayer we’ve previously had an interview with, Komplex.

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