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Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Archive for September, 2015

GeekOut Plays: Stonekeep Episode 1 – Nooo Thera!!!

Welcome folks to the very first GeekOut Plays. Joel and I have eluded to this game in the past as a game we’re both highly fond of, at least from a nostalgic point of view. It was also a game we both unanimously agreed was pretty tough… Then again, we were both young when we first had a crack at it.

I’ll be bringing 2 videos out every week until I have completed the Let’s Play, or until I get so frustrated that I give up… But hopefully I’ll stick it out. I don’t know how long the game really is, nor do I know how hard it gets down the line, but if you’re thinking of playing this as well then watch my videos first as a way to get introduced to the title.

If the video above doesn’t entice you to watch through this play through, then perhaps nothing will… Unless I let you know a little bit more about the game? Yes, the acting is superbly cheesy, but this was one of the earliest examples of a proper dungeon crawler. Okay there were some in the 80s, such as Gauntlet, but this was the first of its kind to feature pre-rendered environments, digitized characters AND live-action cinematic sequences. This game was ahead of its time!

But that didn’t make it highly successful. It was met with moderate success but ultimately, it became a mostly forgotten about gem… Until now. I got the game for free from GOG, however it is now $5.99 which really isn’t a dreadful price to pay. It also comes with a digital form of the manual, which was a huge selling point for the game. I’ll be going over the manual in a future episode of the Let’s Play.

Let me know what you thought about my style of LP and if you enjoyed the episode. Also, let me know if there was anything you didn’t enjoy about it. So far, recording these videos have taught me a lot about editing and also vocal recording. Eventually, I’ll make sure to get a better microphone, however whenever I wasn’t talking, I used a silence effect to stop the buzzing noises.

Please, please, PLEASE remember to like, comment and subscribe on YouTube if you have an account there and hey – Tell your friends! Share it on Facebook/Twitter and perhaps one day I’ll find a way to wrangle that dastardly Joel into a GeekOut video. Next week, the next two videos will go live… But we’ll start to make those as a secondary post, so we keep our usual articles going as well as videos.

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Prologue – Inspiration

Shield-Nano-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiResAny of you ever take part in NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month began in 1999; it’s a yearly effort to encourage creative thought and determined effort to a deadline. Participants have from the first minute of the first day in November until midnight on the thirtieth to complete a fifty thousand word novel from early planning stages to finished product, or at least a first draft. It’s a great way to get people motivated, bringing people together in a supporting network to get that niggling “I’m going to write a novel one day” feeling out of your system once and for all. (more…)


BristolCon 2015

That’s it, BristolCon 2015 has been and gone already. If you blinked, you would have definitely missed it. So what went down in this years’ event? Read on to find out more.

BristolCon 2015 (more…)


GeekOut Podcast #2 – GET A GRIP OF YOURSELF, MAN!

In this weeks’ GeekOut Podcast, we discuss rules within games and genres. As is seemingly becoming the norm for us, we managed to go so far off subject, we ended up in the realms of achievements and more.

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We’re hoping to keep the podcasts to a consistent biweekly basis from here on in, so the next episode of the GeekOut Podcast should hopefully be on Sunday 11th October! If we can manage more, we’ll do more too! We’re also going to move our audio away from Soundcloud, as we cannot afford the hosting plans. We’re likely going to create some spiffy graphics and upload all of our audio to YouTube, but if you have any better ideas for hosting podcasts, please let us know!

Podcasts aren’t all we’re doing now. Did you know that Timlah has finally gone ahead and recorded his first ever Lets Play episode? He’s playing the Dungeon Crawling classic, Stonekeep, a classic game that both of the GeekOut guys are hugely fond of. It’ll go live on Wednesday along with a post, so keep your eyes peeled for that and let him know how good (or bad) he is!

Over to you: What genres do you know that have strict rules and what genres could you not play if they didn’t adhere to their rules? Hey, do you want to get involved with the GeekOut Podcast and just chat nonsense with Joel and Timlah? Let us know in the comments below, over on Facebook and Twitter, or shoot us an email.


Top 10 Anti-Heroes

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Well, a lot of shapes anyway. They also fall all over the moral spectrum, from the earnest and righteous paladins, to the dark and brooding strangers. The bleaker end of the scale tends to bring us more compelling and dynamic characters, filled with conflict, unpredictable renegades with nothing to lose.

Come join us once again dear readers, as we plumb the depths of dark and brooding in this week’s Top 10 Anti-Heroes!

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Video Game Review – The Stanley Parable

Viral video games are common place now-a-days, but in 2013 we were introduced to The Stanley Parable which took off on the internet hard. It’s no wonder, the game has a clever storytelling mechanic, with a fun but really easy to understand underlying story. But now it’s time for us to step back and look at this title subjectively and decide whether or not The Stanley Parable is worth your time.

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Story

You’re a number, really Stanley. Number 427.

I mean, that is the story of the game. You’re an easily replaceable number who has been a strong cog in the wheel for some time. One day, you decide to stop pressing buttons as you are told and you gain a sort of sentience and want to know more about your employers. You realise all of your colleagues are gone and you set on a journey to go and find your way around these strange offices.

Gameplay

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You cannot jump and straight away if you give it a try, the game will tell you this with an achievement saying that you tried to jump. The gameplay is more or less a case of walking around and clicking on some objects to interact with them, which really isn’t revolutionary.

The game excels in giving us a set of rules which the game explains to you via narration. What happens next however is then down to the player to decide: Do you follow the arbitrary path that you’ve been given, or do you go off tangent? The amount of times I found myself just lounging around the staff room, or hiding inside of a broom closet just because I liked the idea of not progressing and having a bit of banter wit23h the narrator was highly amusing. Basically, with this game, expect to break the rules.

Audio

Relatively minimalistic, but the most important point of the game isn’t in the music. It does have some nice ambience which helps to set the tone, but like many indie games, it doesn’t have anything special in the music department. The truly special part of the audio however lies within the voice actors.

The narrator is played by Kevan Brighting, who is a fellow Brit with a damn fine voice if I may say so. The casting was perfect as he speaks with utmost clarity and every emotion that the narrator is feeling is reflected perfectly in his inflections. Honestly, you play this game mostly to hear him speak, so they cast this exquisitely. In March 2014, at the Tobacco Docks in London (same place as Rezzed this year, don’t forget to check our gallery out), the 10th British Academy Games Awards nominated Kevan Brighting for best performer in a video game. He was beaten to the punch by Ashley Johnson (as Ellie from The Last of Us).

Graphics

Have a look through our gallery for The Stanley Parable:

Overall

Should you go running to the hills to go and play this game immediately? I’d argue not, but don’t get me wrong: I’d still recommend playing it at some point. It’s a great little title, but the game suffers with just how short it is. But the very experience of going through the game and hearing the different ways the narrator can taunt you, or help you change your story based upon your rebellious streaks, is worth it.

This isn’t a long game, it’s not a hard game but it is a memorable one. The voice acting is stellar which is exactly as you’d expect from a game of this sort. Whilst there’s not much to do in the gameplay, nor is there much story to cover, there’s enough intrigue on the initial play through to see you go through to the end. Further to this, once you’ve beaten the game once, you’ll want to know all of the different endings and different nuances the game throws at you, depending on how you play the game. It’s also a lot of fun going for some of the achievements. There’s one achievement where you click on a door a certain amount of times, where the narrator then decides to take you on a wild goose chase to click doors and printers. It’s all around fun.

Have you played The Stanley Parable? What do you think about it? Was the game too short, or was it just long enough for you to enjoy it? As always, please leave your comments below, over on Facebook and Twitter.


Remaking a Classic – Car Chases

If any staple of action films has been done to death it’s the car chase. We almost expect it, it’s something to keep the pace fast, increase the tension, and a good excuse to throw in a few explosions, and yet it’s quite possible to get bored during this intense moment. Have we seen it all before? Or is there scope to get creative with the car chase to breathe some new life into it? (more…)


I Wanna Be The Guy

Indie Freeware, now that’s a genre that makes most people run to the hills. Not because they’re bad, but usually because they come as a .exe file, which naturally scares people away. “Viruses!”, I hear you shout, but this is the story of a title about The Kid. This title features no viruses, but a lot of frustration and a lot of pixelated red mist scenarios. From the never-ending spikes to the incredibly intricate jumps required, this is no easy task.

Whilst you are correct in assuming I Wanna Be The Guy is a parody game, that’s not all this title is about. From the get go, you’re met with a barrage of nearly impossible tasks. If you walk left then drop down the first hole and start to walk to the other, you’re met with a wall of spikes that tries to off you from the very start. This is the first in thousands of frustrating but well-designed traps.

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This type of game is known as a Rage Game, or (more accurately) a Trial & Error game and the genre dates back before I Wanna Be The Guy came out. But there was something so rage inducing about IWBTG that many people remember this as one of the hardest games of its kind. I, however, remember it as a way to test my patience and my endurance, for I completed it a long time ago. Amusingly, I consider this a crowning achievement of when I was 18 or 19… Somewhere around there, alright?

I’m tempted to start doing a full recording of me playing the game, getting through levels and have a death-o-meter. A recording of the time I manage to beat the zone, then a montage of all the previous failures before leaving the area. Why? Because I think it’d be rather amusing to watch at the very least. However, IWBTG isn’t the only rage game in existence and I’m looking to play some more of these, as I enjoy testing my patience.

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Bullet-hells are also in my radar too, as I really am into a challenge. Heck, my current main challenge is becoming platinum god on Binding of Isaac, but along the way I do like to do other games too. I’m not sure what’s given me the drive to become a gamer who takes on harder games, perhaps it’s the thrill in knowing that video games are designed to be beaten in the first place? Not all video games are designed specifically for this, but the vast majority are.

If there are any games you think I should go and have a crack at, let me know what they are. Perhaps they’ll end up on our YouTube channel soon enough, which I am working at bringing you all content on. It’s a slow process, which makes me fully appreciate people who do it full time and for a living. Running a website is tricky, running multiple channels for content is really tricky… But if there’s any way for me to share my passion for geekdom, which does include video games, then I’m all for it!

There’s a lot of games I’ve not finished… But this ties in nicely with my quest to get Perfect Games on Steam. Some of my games, sadly, are impossible to make perfect, but we’ll be covering this in our next GeekOut Podcast (Hear our previous one here), which can be heard this Sunday. Let me know in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter, if you’d like to see me trying some pretty tricky games in the very near future. I’m looking into getting an Elgato, as the little capture device I have isn’t quite performing as well as I’d have hoped, but I previously mentioned it’s not exactly a spectacular one.


The Geek Of Things

Over the last year and a bit, Tim and I have argued hard over the one subject that really divides us. One of the subjects anyway, we argue a lot, usually once a week over the Top 10’s but I’m getting sidetracked.

What makes a topic geeky?

We’ve covered subjects from tabletop games to pro-wrestling, and every genre of film, game and even dabbled a little into music, literature and technology. I even accused a former employer of mine of geekiness on the subject of football (during my interview, thanks for the job John) because he could probably go as in-depth on the subject as I could about Dungeons & Dragons.

Through the long hours of debate and pointless name calling, we’ve come to a fairly broad but satisfactory understanding of what makes a geek thing geeky, and more to the point, what about loving it makes us geeks.

Fundamentally what defines a geek is the difference between us and “the cool kids”. It’s not so much that we like different things, but it’s our willingness to get far too excited and passionate about them. Cool is easily defined by a general disinterest in any one thing, or in anything at all, even if that disinterest is only expressed and not truly felt.

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But when a geek or a nerd finds something that they find interesting they dive in with both feet first. We do the research so that we can talk about it for hours, we absorb every piece of media, and grab every bit of merchandise we can get our greedy mits on until there’s very little left of ourselves and we are only an extension of “the thing we now love”. Right up until we find a new thing.

Oh we never let go of the old thing, we just repeat the process until we’ve absorbed something else, and again and again building up a collage of passions and an encyclopaedia of knowledge that embed themselves on our personality, and shape the way we view and interact with the world. That’s not to say that our personalities are exclusively made of the things we love, more that our personalities inform what we choose to imprint upon, and as we imprint we accentuate ourselves.

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In our occasional series Geeking Out Hard we go all out describing whatever it is we’ve gone completely mental over at the time. In these happy few pieces you can read all about whatever favourite subject was, but in that you can also see clearly the kind of passion I’m talking about.

So I put it to you, dear reader:

What makes a geek? And what makes someone cool?

And what are you geeking out about right now?

Join the discussion in the comments section down below, or on our Facebook page. Alternatively if you’d like to tell everyone about what you’re Geeking Out Hard over, you can submit an article to us HERE.


WWE – Why I’ve Been Pulling For Seth Rollins

Professional Wrestling is an entertainment medium that splits the masses, for it is entertainment shrouded in mystery, intrigue and deception. It’s public knowledge how some matches are carried out, thanks to wrestlers talking about their sometimes harrowing experiences via biographies and other mediums. However, in this day and age, these men and women who put on phenomenal shows are slated for not being what some call true fighters. Perhaps they’re not a true sense of the word fighter, but honestly, I consider these individuals some of the toughest and bravest people on the planet, doing high-risk stuff just for peoples enjoyment.

So far, this year has been an incredible year for the WWE. They’ve introduced a lot of brand new talent to their already sizeable rosters. From the developmental circuit down in NXT, to the main stage on Monday Night RAW and Thursday Night Smackdown, the amount of potential the wrestlers have and display is superb. Now however, it’s time to look past all of this and talk about some of these talents. For this article however, I want to discuss one man… Seth Rollins.

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At the time of writing this article, I’m sat here having just finished watching the Night of Champions Pay-Per-View on the WWE Network, as I was really excited to see it! By the time you read this article, the results will be done and we’ll see where the company are going with their stars. From the recent addition to indie sensation Kevin Steen (now known as Kevin Owens), to The Black Sheep, Braun Strowman, the WWE is filled with truly talented and gifted individuals. One man who has been at the forefront of the new wave of talent is the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins. He retained his World Heavyweight Championship last night, but lost the United States Championship.

He’s been the archetypical heel (bad guy) for quite some time: Cowardly, conniving, cunning heel who wins by any means necessary. He’ll take a dirty win if it means he gets to retain his title, but during the SummerSlam Pay-Per-View, he beat John Cena to gain the United States championship. This is an interesting position Seth found himself in, as he took on not only Cena for the United States rematch, but also he has to fight the WCW legend, Sting. As many websites stress, this was a way to potentially make Seth turn face (good guy) and make him a future star, burning bright. Either that, or because of the way he’s been booked, he’ll be remembered as nothing more as the guy who sleazily got his way through every victory.

Whatever your view point on the state of wrestling, Seth Rollins or anything of this kind, there’s one thing that’s actually undeniable. The presence of WWE has gotten much larger and much more in your face than it was previous. In the early 00’s, we had what we call the Attitude Era, with figures like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Chris Jericho and more. These men and women of the squared circle were charismatic and all around incredible athletes, who endured unimaginable pain. They did so just because they enjoyed putting on a show by putting their bodies on the line.

Move on some years and we’re in the 2010’s. In 2015, there are more gamers and geeks than ever in the wrestling industry. Heck, the World Heavyweight Champion himself is a geek and quite a big one. In the video below, you can see the Champion sat with fellow wrestling star, Xavier Woods, enjoying a spot of Turtles in Time. But this wasn’t just a one off YouTube video. No, he’s been in Smosh videos (as shown above) and more.

Well known for going to Comic Con with other WWE Superstars, Seth Rollins is a man that geeks of the world can get behind. Couple this with the fact he’s a phenomenal athlete, he’s living proof that geeks can make it in the world, no matter what they choose to do with their life. As such, I am rooting for the biggest bad guy in the company, Seth Rollins. I can’t wait to see him become the biggest babyface and eventually, Seth ‘the man who runs the place‘ Rollins.

Have you seen Seth Rollins in action? Did you see Night of Champions and want to weigh in on your opinions for the nights results? Hopefully you enjoyed this tangent away from our typical articles, but if you have any comments, leave them below, or over on Facebook and Twitter!