Top 10 Dogs

Dogs – We love dogs for how loyal they are to us humans. So whether you’re the type of person who likes to boop a puppers snoot, or if you’re the type to have a faithful companion, then this Top 10 is for you. We’ll look at dogs in all manners of geek media, so without any further delay, here are our Top 10 Dogs:

GeekOut Top 10s

Bow-wow, bark! Woof, woof. Uh. Wag. I dunno.

Dogs – We love dogs for how loyal they are to us humans. So whether you’re the type of person who likes to boop a puppers snoot, or if you’re the type to have a faithful companion, then this Top 10 is for you. We’ll look at dogs in all manners of geek media, so without any further delay, here are our Top 10 Dogs:

Continue reading “Top 10 Dogs”

Top 10 Dystopian Worlds

Let the dust settle, it’s time for Timlah and Joel to discuss their Top 10 Dystopian Worlds. Join us for a bleak look through some creative genius.

GeekOut Top 10s

A world gone awry, a land desecrated. People and creatures sparse and cultures completely gone to waste, this is a list of those worlds that we remember. Not just words: But these are Dystopian Worlds. It doesn’t matter how the world around them is falling apart. It could have been ravaged by rambunctious aliens, or it could have been war gone wrong. Perhaps nukes have gone off and all that’s left are wastelands, or perhaps they live in a bleak future, where people depend on substance to survive. All we know is that the lands we’ve chosen today are our Top 10 Dystopian Worlds.

Continue reading “Top 10 Dystopian Worlds”

Top 10 – Explosives

GeekOut Top 10s

Kaboom! Rumble, tremor, yes, it’s true that a good explosion is probably one of the most fun sounds out there – but have you ever stopped to think about the aftermath of said explosions? The lives potentially lost by the blast radius; the millions of pounds of damage caused by one of the most destructive forces out there? Well, it’s true, explosions are damn cool, yet they can be damn dangerous.

In this weeks’ Top 10, we’re going to look through our favourite explosions in media – If it takes place in an anime, a book, a video game, a TV series: basically anywhere geeky. We’re keen to nuke our way through this volatile list and set the foundations shaking. We’re bringing you our Top 10 Explosions!

Top 10

10) Andy D. Kaboom – Red Vs Blue


Caboose’s second best friend, after Church of course, was a bomb. Andy was constructed from pieces of an old protocol robot with only one mission, explode, preferably when in close proximity to the Omega AI, also known as O’Malley. It’s something of a fixation of his, almost as if his entire life revolved around that one singular moment, and yet he has so many other uses. He’s a multi-lingual translator, a broad bank of knowledge, and a highly sophisticated AI, who can also be handy in a negotiation situation as both a diplomat and an ultimatum.

Downside, Andy has an attitude problem, and it’s a big one. Aside from the need to constantly distract him from the concept of exploding, exploding, countdowns, or loud beeping noises, he’s also intentionally provocative and insulting to everyone he meets. It’s almost like he’s looking for a reason to go off. And yet he and Caboose seem to get on great, and no one mourns more keenly at Andy’s passing… or rather that time when Sarge swaps Andy for a skull and hopes no one will notice.

9) Stickybomb – Team Fortress 2: Demoman


Team Fortress 2 is a well renowned arena-styled game, where you and a team of bizarre brothers-in-arms go against an enemy team of brothers-in-arms. The team are rather diverse, from the slick and quick Scout, to the sneaky and stealthy Spy. But amongst all team games, there has to be that one person who picks the most destructive of them all.

Whilst Tavish Finnegan DeGroot might not be such an imposing name, the name Demoman strikes fear into the hearts of anyone who might be attacking. From his famed stickybombs to his rather powerful Grenade Launcher, you can bet your butt that the attacking team will be sent flying off through his explosions. None are more feared than the dreaded stickybombs, which are capable of destroying just about anyone who steps too close to one. Better keep your eyes peeled for this drunkard Scotsman.

8) Holy Hand Grenade – Worms

The Holy Hand Grenade is a reference to Monty Python, for anyone who isn’t aware. But in Worms, the Holy Hand Grenade is truly one of the most powerful explosives in the game. Put your Dynamite away, hold back your Super Sheep and by god, why on Earth would you throw the crazy Banana Bomb? No, it’s all about blast radius and strength of the explosion, so if you need power to destroy whole chunks of land, the Holy Hand Grenade is the weapon of choice for you!

Okay, so perhaps it’s a bit risky. If you lob it incorrectly, it might bounce back into an area of you and your team’s worms and then who knows what’ll happen to them? I’ll tell you one thing, having one of these landing at your worm’s body is not going to be a pleasant way to end proceedings. You might as well have skipped rope instead.

7) The Bomb – Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

I don’t think I’ve played a game that builds so much tension with so little action. A one player sits in a room with a suitcase bomb while others sit outside and try and talk you through deactivating the bomb one module at a time, and it’s that composition that makes this game great. Simon Says, complex wire sequences, symbol matching, the wickedly composed word codes and the demanding “needy modules” that require your frequent attention.

For the player in the room, it’s heart-stopping, as you watch the timer tick down, and every misstep brings you closer to the sudden darkness. The player outside is left helpless and yet burdened with responsibility, holding your life in their hands. Communication brings frustration, music, timer, and the sudden blare of the alarm clock (why the hell is that even in there?) shred the nerves like a cheesegrater… of emotions. And at the end of it all the quiet relief of success and a job well done, or blackness.

Funny thing, the bomb doesn’t really explode as such, not in the big fiery way we’re all familiar with. There’s a boom, and everything goes black. It’s all rather elegantly final and makes for a great game.

6) Gambit’s Cards – Marvel


The card-slinging Cajun is one of the most famous X-Men of all time, making it frankly disgusting that he only ever appeared briefly in one X-Men film and it was a lousy spin-off. But that’s a rant for another day. Remmy LeBeau actually has the power to infuse any object with powerful kinetic charges causing them to explode violently with a concussive force rather than a ball of fire, and can channel that power down his staff to create collisions that can shatter bones and walls alike, but that’s not what everyone knows him for.

A thief raised in New Orleans, he turned the parlour trick into a weapon when his mutant powers manifested, making the common playing card into an icon, small enough for him to charge quickly and easy for him to throw accurately. He has a variety of other powers, many linked to his kinetic control, that make for one of the most charismatic and darkly suave characters in the entire Marvel Universe, and he is perhaps better remembered for his moral ambiguity and accent, but the guy can turn poker into russian roulette with a thought.

Where’s his movie Fox?

5) Turnabout Countdown – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies


Bringing about the dark age of the law is quite the accomplishment, but in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, that’s kind of exactly what happened. For those who are uninitiated in the crazy world of Phoenix Wright, you play as a defense lawyer who always believes in his clients. In this particular title, you play as the famed lawyer himself, Phoenix Wright.

This case was called Turnabout Countdown, because it was all about the counting down of a time bomb. Injuring dozens of people and blowing up an iconic courtroom for the games legal system, this was a very impactful scene. One of the main protagonists, Apollo Justice, even took the brunt of the explosion. After he recovered, he needed a break from his law office, the Wright Anything Agency. During his time away, he gained wrong information which turns him on one of his friends.

Oh and the guy who placed the bomb was called Ted Tonate. He’s pictured above.

4) Spirit Bomb – DragonBall Z


Kamehameha! Okay, so the Kamehameha wave is one of the most devastating attacks in all of DragonBall and that’s A-Okay! I mean it’s a signature move which causes some serious damage, exploding land all around… But what about the single handed most dangerous move in Goku’s arsenal? The Spirit Bomb is the name of Goku’s arguably most deadly attack and damn, does it cause a serious amount of damage?

The Spirit Bomb is the collection of energies from the spirits of the world. Effectively, he draws upon the power of all of the people, all of the creatures and all of the wildlife. Any energy that can be spared, which is then turned into one massive ball of raw energy. When it’s finally ready, Goku throws this at his opponent which sorta crushes them – before the explosion happens. This strange ability doesn’t always explode… But when it does, things are going to disappear rather quickly.

3) The Atom Bomb – Fallout 3


The number 3 slot is occupied by the only explosive ever to spawn a religion and a political party. It’s also amongst the best known decisions to make in a game, the ultimate Big Red Button: Would you kill a city full of survivors, lose the trust of the people, and cut off your supply of sidequests for a stack of caps, an achievement, and the most luxurious apartment in existence… and a bigass explosion?

The bomb at the centre of Megaton is pivotal in Fallout 3, a huge plot point and a question I am always asked despite never getting far enough in the game to answer “Did you blow up Megaton?” A religious order believes truly that the war of 2077 was a time of rebirth, bringing all people together in “The Glow” of Atom, and that the unexploded bomb is a holy symbol. And on voting day 2015 in Shrewsbury, my pencil hovered curiously over The Children of the Atom on the ballot paper. Whoever you are, I didn’t vote for you, but I love you.

We have a tie for #1! Choose your winner!

1) Voltorb/Electrode


Oh this is a difficult one. Let’s start with the older entry, the Pokemon the really encapsulates the term “Self Destruct”.

If you’re a veteran of the series you’ll have fond memories of burning through Repels to keep the incessant zubats at bay, the fingers crossed behind the Gameboy trying to capture an abra before it teleports, and the suicidal efforts of wading through the powerplant amidst these volatile little balls of electrical energy. They appear to have either gathered to feed, or they’re born there. They’re rumoured to have spawned in a bizarre energy surge in a pokeball factory, which would explain the uncanny resemblance. Or they originate in Indonesia. Or Greenland. Or Poland.

The Route 10 Power Plant is the only place one could find the legendary bird and posterboy for team Instinct, Zapdos, but the unwary are best advised to stock up on potions and be wary of items. That’s not an icon my friend, that’s a bomb with a smile on it’s face. If you’re lucky they won’t self-detonate immediately, opting instead to zap, shock and roll out some pain, giving you chance to catch one for yourself.


1) Creeper

Creepers Valley

Yes, the Creeper is making it into this vote at an explosive joint number one, but there’s some very clear reasons why. Whilst Voltorb is more nostalgic, the Creeper became an internet phenom. From the early days of Minecraft, where people would turn around and see a Creeper and literally scream, to the current days where Creepers are still an annoyingly terrifying prospect to encounter, these creatures know how to make quite the impact.

Whether it’s because they’re bright green and look absolutely devoid of life, or if it’s just because you know they’re going to damage your beautiful house and garden, these creatures will come towards the player and explode. It’s enough to make you shiver, thinking about all of the work you’re going to have to redo. It’s probably why they made bricks in the game, so you could literally damage control these explosions. But do NOT let them get hit by lightning, whatever you do. You do not want to meet a supercharged Creeper.

Honourable Mentions

Some explosions are memorable, but others not so much. But these would-be forgotten explosions do need to at least be mentioned, as they left a crater in our minds and hearts… Because no matter what you say, explosions are still damn cool!

Michael Bay

WARNING: Explicit content

When he’s not too busy blowing up the box office, Michael Bay is busy blowing everything else up. Okay, he’s not an explosion in and of himself, but basically everything he produces is a massive explosion and we’re not upset about that. Even in the above Epic Rap Battles of History song, Michael Bay is blowing minds (and ratings) out of the water.

Whilst there’s no single explosion we can point at, I’m sure if you watch any Michael Bay film, you will feel that sense of “I’m waiting for the explosions now…” He’s a great director, who could be even better if he’d reign it in a little bit. But ultimately, I’m happy to wager that you’re content with watching some pretty explosions happening on screen!

Nathan Explosion – Metalocalypse


Sadly disqualified for not actually exploding, Nathan Explosion is the frontman and lead singer for the globally worshipped death-metal band Dethklok. Explosion lends his rumbling growls to the band’s thunderous instrumentals, and has incredible stage presence despite only ever standing still, shoulders hunched and staring angrily into the middle distance. Despite not actually being a bomb or anything like it, Dethklok is notoriously followed by massive destruction in which fans are accidentally killed in their hundreds, and the (literally) die-hard audience returns more maimed and disfigured every gig.


Nathan’s metal-growls are pretty much just his voice, as he talks in the exact same rumbling monotone except with less rhythm or volume. He and fellow band members, Skwisgaar Skwigelf (lead guitar, taller than a tree), Toki Wartooth (rhythm guitar, not a bumblebee), William Murderface (bassist, Murderface) and Pickles the Drummer (drummer, doodily doo ding dong doodily doodily doo) live lives of excess thanks to the incredible riches that death-metal have afforded them, and pursue the most metal lifestyle they can possibly muster in a way that certainly doesn’t parody anything.

We’re out of natural disasters and there’s no more dynamite. This article has gone up in a puff of smoke, so don’t let us cloud your judgement any more, as we’re now passing on to you, the GeekOut South-West audience. Let us know what you think next week’s Top 10 should be, amongst these three dynamic choices.

Just like the best of explosions, these articles have to come to an end at some point – and you’ve been patiently waiting for the smoke to clear and the rubble to settle. But don’t be alarmed, we’ll be back next week with another Top 10 – But in the meantime, let us know what you thought of this weeks list. Did the right explosion make it to number 1? Do you think we forgot any in particular? Did we order the rest of our list well? As always, let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

Top 10 – Companions

GeekOut Top 10s

Ah yes, the companion. Unlike the sidekick, the companion is something that might not necessarily follow you because it believes in the same things as you do. Instead, a companion is there because it wants to be by your side, for whatever reason. Continue reading “Top 10 – Companions”

Cosplayer Highlight – Andy Valentine

Cosplayer Highlight

Welcome back once more ladies and gents to another week of Cosplayer Highlight.

We’re slowly coming towards an end of this series *Audible groan of sadness from everyone*. Yes, it’s sad I know. But don’t worry – We’ve got another 5 great interviews including todays one which is with the awesome Andy Valentine. We’ll then be wrapping up the series at Alcon where we’ll grab a bunch of cosplayers and do a podcast. Oh yes, we will! If you’re coming to Alcon, drop me an e-mail at and we’ll get you involved! Otherwise, I might just randomly run up to people and get them involved in some way!

Andy has been taking commissions for a while now and has been gaining more and more popularity, even being asked to be a guest for some conventions. He sells props and costumes via his store which is powered by Etsy. Genuinely an interested and interesting individual who I noticed is attending Alcon, Andy took the time to sit down and have an interview with us. Let’s see what he has to offer!

Interview with the Cosplayer – Andy Valentine


Q: Welcome to GeekOut South-West! In case our readers are unaware who you are, could you give us an introduction of yourself?

A: Hey. I’m Andy Valentine of Valentine Cosplay. I’m obviously a cosplayer, but also a prop and costume maker based out of Bristol.


Q: I’d first like to thank you – I’ve known about your cosplays since I started cosplaying (last year) and I find them incredible. When did it all start for you? What were the driving factors behind your first costume?

A: Actually not all that long ago in the scheme of things. I went to my first con mid 2013 so have only really been on the circuit for a little over a year. My first cosplay was a version of Ezio from Assassin’s Creed 2 which I’d just replayed in the weeks leading up to it and re-discovered a love for the character. At the time, I’d never used a sewing machine, never hammered, cut, or finished leather, never made foam armour; none of the things I needed to do in order to construct the outfit, so it was a major learning curve and threw me right in at the deep end.


Q: How proud were you of your Ezio costume, have you modified it since and would you do anything more on it?

A: Initially, not proud at all. When I finished the build, I stood back and looked at it, then looked at the skills I’d picked up along the way, and decided that I could definitely make it better, so I started the whole thing again. By the time I got to the end of version two, I was proud with what I’d done. The first time I put it all on and looked in a mirror I thought “Damn, I can’t believe this was a pile of fabric a few weeks ago”. I still love that feeling.

Since the con, I’ve sold that outfit, so there won’t be anything more done to it. Not by me anyway. Version one I still wear out sometimes though. I installed EL wire around the trim of the outer tunic so that it glows at night and wore it to BrisFest last year. That thing got a lot of love amongst the drunks.


Q: Your Facebook page shows just how professionally and seriously you take cosplaying and it’s a real delight to read through. We recently did an article on the upcoming calendar: Men vs Cosplay. When did you decide you wanted to take that next step in your costume work? Was the step from hobbyist to a more professional level tricky?

A: To be honest, I still entirely consider myself a hobbyist, albeit a hobbyist that is getting some amazing opportunities. Being ‘successful’ within the community isn’t all that difficult I find. Obviously, being able to construct quality cosplays is a must, but also it’s an attitude thing. If you’re a decent human being and other people like you, they’ll share your stuff and you’ll get more exposure. If the professional photographers like you, they’ll want to photograph you in your outfits, meaning the quality of the photos taken of you increases, and thus the cycle of increased sharing begins again. This wheel keeps turning and eventually the right person will see your stuff and want to work with you. This is how I got asked to be in the Men vs Cosplay calendar. The organiser saw a photo of mine taken by the very reputable photographer Lucas from Super Cosplay Guys / Girls and invited me to be a part of it, so obviously I jumped at the chance. That’s the other tip: make yourself available.

One of Andys WIPs at the moment


Q: We ask this question of all of the cosplayers who do interviews with us here on GeekOut South-West: What costumes have you done; which were your proudest and least favourites?

A: Ok… so, in chronological order:

Ezio – Assassin’s Creed 2
Commander Shepard – Mass Effect 2
NCR Veteran – Fallout New Vegas
Vaas – Far Cry 3
Prince of Persia – Warrior Within
The Lone Wanderer – Fallout 3
Kurt Cobain – Nirvana
Tom Raider (Rule 63 Lara Croft) – Tomb Raider
“Dick in a Box” – Lonely Island Music Video

Andy as Tom Raider (Rule 63 for those who don’t know is for any fictional character of any gender, you will be able to find the same character as the opposite gender).

Fortunately I can still remember them all considering it’s only been a year. What a fun year it’s been though!

My favourite one to date was the Fallout Lone Wanderer. I tried to take that outfit to as “other level” as I could and had tonnes of little details in it, including a glowing Nuka Cola Quantum, my business cards were in a Mentats tin, full leather armour, screen accurate 10mm Pistol, and a massive AER-9 Laser Rifle. I had a bunch of photoshoots with some amazing photographers in that attire and was so overwhelmed by the results. The attention it got on convention floors was unbelievable too. Definitely a franchise I intend to revisit, costume wise.

Worst moment was probably Prince of Persia. The armour and whatnot was fine, but I made some bad fabric choices for the trousers and wrap, as well as using a poor quality wig, and now looking back at it I can’t help but see the issues. We all learn from out mistakes though, so onwards and upwards from there.

Ooh, very er… glow-y! Thanks to this Instructable for this picture!


Q: I’ve noticed you are extremely engaged with all of your fans, how often do you get approached by newer cosplayers who are looking for advice and inspiration to move to that next level?

A: Roughly three or four times a day. I get a lot of messages on my page from people wanting advice or tips, or just wanting me to plug their new page (not something I do, but that’s a side point). I think engagement with your followers is key. Heck, I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the love and support I get from those guys, so I owe them everything. That’s why I like to give back whenever I can, and I’m always happy to help someone out if I can.

Snake? SNAKE!? — I’m not finishing this joke.


Q: In this interview so far, we’ve discussed your costumes and your geekdoms. We know about the costumes you’ve made but the next question we have revolves around the convention scene. Which have you attended? Do you think the convention scene is important for cosplayers and why?

A: As far as conventions go, I go to pretty much as many as I can afford, though that’s getting easier now that I’m being approached to go as a guest more often. I’ve been to loads all up and down the UK: too many to list really. I’ve haven’t really got any preference of the kind of event, so like to try and explore as many different ones as I can.

Not only is it important for a cosplayer to get “out there” and have your work seen, but they’re a hell of a lot of fun. I get to spend a weekend surrounded by awesome people who like the same stuff that I do, chilling out, having a few drinks and laughs, meeting my followers, and admiring everyone else’s cosplays. If nothing else, you can pick up loads of inspiration from what other people have made too.


Q: When the costume is off, what are you like as a person? Do you feel any different when you are wearing a costume?

A: I’m wouldn’t say I’m a different person really. Maybe a tad milder when I’m at home, but not a lot. If I’m not strutting around in cosplay, I’m typically making it, or planning it, or exploring one of the geekdoms that lead me to it. Also, I flutter between feelings of finding it weird how often I get recognised as a con with strangers coming up to me who know me, through to finding it odd that people don’t recognise me in my regular life (and why would they, really?). It’s like I’m living two lives sometimes, but I quite like that.


Q: We love to celebrate Geekdoms of all kinds and we like to get together and discuss. Stepping away from cosplay for a moment then: What other geeky hobbies do you have? Would you say it’s fairly common amongst fellow cosplayers?

A: 100%. At the end of the day, something lead us all down this path, and I don’t think it matters what it was, just that we all got here. Personally, outside of cosplay, I also LARP, although I’m super new to that and still finding my place in the world there, but it’s super fun and certainly something I’m looking forward to exploring more. I’m a big gaming fan too – hence so many of my cosplays being based on computer game characters. I play a lot of PlayStation and Xbox online with my friends and love collaborative gameplay. Other than that, I’m a bit of a sci-fi nerd. I’m actually working on a full sleeve tattoo of all the Star Wars bounty hunters at the moment. That tells you quite a lot about me really. If it’s got Boba Fett on it, I want it.


Q: Thank you for your time with us so far. This is the last question but please: Humour us here. This week, you are our “Super Sensei Guru” and a cosplayer wants to take the next step in making costumes and props, they also want to start working with more complex materials. They’re unsure how to get started and they don’t have much space. How important is it to have your own space and tools to work with more complex materials?

A: Unfortunately, it can often be pretty vital. Wood especially. Take it from someone who set up his first workshop in his spare room: sawdust gets everywhere. If you have a small amount of outdoor space it’s ideal. I tend to do my woodwork in the garden now that the weather is better, and it means the house stays in a much better shape. As for tools, you can get off the ground with pretty inexpensive equipment. I always recommend starting with any old jigsaw and mouse hand sander (about £20 a time) but then the best dremel (official Dremel tools) that you can afford, as that is the most used item in my toolbox by a mile. I use a Dremel 3000 (which are still only about £45) with an extension shaft and it’s amazing for creating smooth curves in wood, finishing foam, trimming clay, cutting metal; just everything that any budding cosplayer and prop maker might need. The good ones come with long warrantees too, which trust me, you’ll be thankful for.

Once you have your tools, get on YouTube. There is such a wealth of information on that site that it’s really easy to find out how to do things. That’s pretty much how I learnt most of what I know now. That plus trial and error. Don’t be afraid to mess something up nine times, as the tenth time you may well nail it. Practice, practice, practice and you’ll get there eventually.


I’d like to extend my thanks to Andy Valentine for taking his time to have this interview with us today.

Getting to that “next stage” is something that not every cosplayer would want to do. For me, I’d like to get to the point where all of my costumes look relatively professional – But not necessarily to the stage where I’d be taken from place to place. I love the interaction between fans – Even the interaction between the people and the costumes. Ultimately, it’s down to what you want to get out of cosplay; be it a chance to mingle or a chance to be seen. It’s always amazing to think that with a costume on, you’re not just a face in the crowd, but instead a distinguishable character.

An interesting point Andy raised in the above interview was the power of YouTube for information. Everything I’ve done has been from watching YouTube, including knowing what kind of materials to get. Then there’s the case of using the correct tools for the job. Thanks to this interview I went out and got myself a “wannabe Dremel” after having looked it all up. Money gets tight, so you never know – Perhaps having a wannabe Dremel (which cost me a mere £20) will then lead to me getting an actual Dremel. I also finally got myself something a bit more than a single surgical knife because it got quite tiresome cutting foam and fabrics with that tiny little thing!

Join us again next week for another awesome Cosplayer Highlight, where we’re rejoined by a lovely member of the Anime League forums.