Last week, Wizards of the Coast were looking for people to stress test their latest video game endeavour. Many people were granted access to a closed beta, to which Wizards gave out keys to the beta testers, which they can hand to 5 other people. I was fortunate enough to have Jake give me a key, so I was able to take part in the stress test. Before that though, I got to know the game a bit – So, here are my first thoughts of Magic: the Gathering Arena.
Looking for a card game where you get to judge cartoon characters? Looking for something quick and easy to set up and play? Want a game with lots of unique looking characters, random questions to ask about them and to be co-operative? Well, I think you’ve just described Unusual Suspects; a game where you see a bunch of suspects and ask a witness a bunch of random questions, from if the suspect is interested in politics, to if they have a record player. Sound strange? Well the clue was in todays title!
Chris recently attended PlayExpo in Manchester – and when he was there, was able to get a hold of many developers and get plenty of pictures. Join us as we look through Chris’ gallery of PlayExpo. More articles on PLAY Expo Manchester to come later in the week.
To us Westerners, we think of this genre as “The same one that Power Rangers is in”. Known as Tokusatsu, this style of highly specialised special effects makes for a striking viewing experience. Regardless of what you think of Power Rangers, join Timlah as we take a look at Ultraman Orb.
We’re home from Kitacon Karnival 2016, a convention that was very SAFE. More on that as we go on, but because we’re just back from our weekend, it’s time for us to share with you some of the images of Kitacon. We meet up with familiar faces, met plenty of new friends, swapped details with many people and found that a lot of people there read our site! We love you Kitacon; we’ll be back next year. Join Timlah through our look through Kitacon 2016.
Mononoke is NOT Princess Mononoke, before you begin to question why I’m talking about the classic Studio Ghibli film on Halloween week. Instead I’m talking about a TV series that came out far later (2007), an anime series which spanned 12 episodes and was about a medicine man who peddled his wares. Don’t worry, this series is damn spooky but is it spooky, or is it just another cough? At least we have a medicine man to help us through this one.
As far as I can tell, the story of Mononoke is seemingly about a class system and a medicine seller who seeks out Mononoke, or Yokai (demons/monsters to those not in tune to Japanese folklore) to destroy them. In the episodes I saw, which appeared to be two self-contained episodes with a beginning, a middle and an end, the medicine seller was helping to get rid of a Mononoke that was haunting a pregnant lady.
The lady called Shino took shelter in an inn from heavy rains. She pleaded, demanded that she was given a room so she could hide from killers and raise her baby. Although the inn are reluctant because they are already at maximum capacity, they begrudgingly let her stay in that room. It turns out the inn used to be a brothel that the innkeeper ran… And this is where the horror sets in. In order to keep the women working at the brothel, she got them to, you might have guessed it – Abort – any unborn children… And so, needless to say, the yokai that Shino is visited by is in fact a baby.
This isn’t a jump scare, or a gore, or anything like that. This is a psychological horror, with some unsettling themes and scenes.
The audio is great, the opening music is really interesting, with the right blend of fun and intrigue. As is typical of anime, it’s an incredibly unfitting song for the series that’s about to unfold in front of you (Weirdly, the last theme that I felt was truly fitting of it, was Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo‘s theme!)
Most importantly, the voice actors in this are great. They make you feel uneasy when they need to and there’s plenty of emotion in what they say.
I’ve only seen the first two episodes of this series so far but it’s worth a look at, especially if you’re looking for something that is a little visually unsettling. It’s not exactly the best, nor the worst in terms of its presentation and the animation is truly lacking for me (especially for a series that came out in 2007). What it does have though is an incredible sense of style. It’s very unique and therefore it made for a highly entertaining (albeit odd) viewing session. The animation style, to me, feels lax, but I’m unaware of the techniques they employed to make it… However, this is clearly an experimental piece.
So if animation is what you’re there for, you may or may not be slightly disappointed, depending what you’re looking for. If you’re there for a deep story, it’s… Certainly got a lot going on so that should keep you entertained, but it appears stories are going to be separated out throughout the 12 episodes. The voice acting is great and the overall theme is quite interesting. I’d recommend having a look at the very least! Have you seen Mononoke? What do you think about the heavily stylised art? Let us know what you thought or are thinking about it in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.
Oh anime, you don’t really leave any stone unturned, do you? One moment you’re telling us of the epic tale of an Alchemist and his brother whose soul is bound in a suit of armour, the next you’re telling us of a guy who wants the worlds energies to be lent to him so he can unleash a devastating attack upon the world. But no, this anime is all about a girl who is in secondary school. Ah, it’s slice of life comedy time.
Socially awkward and all around creepy, Watamote tells the tale of Tomoko Kuroki, a young girl in high school. Whilst she’s really good at dating simulators, she’s not particularly good at chatting to boys (and indeed even girls) in her school. The realisation of her unsociability dawns on her quickly and Tomoko sets out to improve herself, through many different means. As you can imagine, hijinks and hilarity ensue.
Tomoko doesn’t have many people she can chat to. She gets along with her family and her very limited friend pool (note: 1). As such, she spends most of her time engrossed on the internet, studying ways to get better – Or she plays dating simulators, in the hopes that she can be better at chatting to people in the real world. Of course this rarely proves to be the case and she’s generally happy when she’s able to talk to anyone, including her brother.
Visuals and Opening Sequence
Fans of a bit of simple metal will enjoy the opening theme tune of Watamote.
This isn’t a normal comedy, where you just see silly things happen a lot. No, this is a sweet little series, which has 12 episodes on Crunchyroll which can be viewed for free in standard definition. I’d highly recommend this series if you’re happy with silly humour, which features a girl who is just all together a strange girl.
Alternatively, were you the socially awkward boy or girl in your school? Perhaps this series, as funny and as over-the-top as a slice of life comedy usually gets is, will be a harsh reminder that you too were, or still are like this. If this is the case – Let us know what you are/were like in the comments below, over on Facebook and Twitter.
The common differences are simply condensed to these three steps:
- Price: GIMP is free to use, though you are always free to donate to the project. I’d highly recommend donating if you have a few quid spare and you’re looking for an application like Photoshop. Photoshop is upwards of £100, although it’s to be noted that Adobe now offers a monthly package for Photoshop, the cheapest of which is £8.57 as of the time of writing this article.
- Power: Whilst the price difference may be a reason you’d immediately go for GIMP, you have to realise that yes: You are lowering some of the power you get. Photoshop can be used for a large variety of projects, however GIMP is a lot more limited. It’s good for your basic image manipulation, or spriting, but it’s not so good for Text manipulation, 3D effects or adjustment layers.
- Compatibility: Photoshop isn’t available here on Linux, but it is available on some versions Mac and Windows. GIMP is available on Linux, Max & Windows.
Now that we’ve gotten the differences out of the way, let’s look at GIMP and debunk the myths that it is hard to use.
Much like Photoshop, there are toolbars for all of the tools you’d expect. You have layers for working on individual elements of a picture and you have backgrounds. You can choose to go with a black, white or transparent background, allowing you to manipulate the images in any way you want. In the image below, you can see that I’ve been busy at work with different pictures for our logo, along with some… Sneak peaks, let’s just say.
Okay, so I’ve only made something simple, but GIMP is the software I’ve used since day one here on GeekOut South-West. I’ve always been a fan of it, so I’d implore you to at least check it out if you need to do some image manipulation. It produces some seriously high quality works.
It’s lightweight, it’s pretty powerful and yes – I’m a huge fan of it. For free software, this is honestly all that you can ask for and then some more. In an article I did some time ago, I showed how it could be used for spriting. But that’s not all this application can do. It has enough powerful tools to make your very own wonderful scenes, or to touch up an existing piece of art. It’s the tool I’m going to be using through making my very own adventure video game, for all of the textures and sprites I could ever need.
Have you used GIMP? Do you like it, or do you prefer to use Photoshop? What’s the reason for your preference? As always, give us your comments below or over on the Facebook or Twitter page. I hope I’ve given you the confidence to begin image manipulation.