Well Nintendo Direct has done it again, it’s announced another blockbuster title, making the Nintendo Switch look ever sweeter. This time around, for the first time, you’ll be able to get a main series Pokemon title on your TVs, thanks to the power of the portable machine. There are numerous great things about Gen 8 and numerous questionable aspects, so here’s all that everyone knows so far (and indeed, my take on it all).
So long 2017! You were mostly terrible but there were a few redeeming qualities, not least of which the advent of GeekOut Shrewsbury. On Thursday we rounded out the year in true geeky style, a mountain of board games, Callum’s Nintendo Switch (thanks man), and our first super secret santa.
The Little Dessert Shop Pre-Meet
This was my first trip to the recently opened Little Dessert Shop, and I am not disappointed by what’s on offer, I thought I’d grown sick of sweet foods over Christmas, enough to skip the waffles, but not enough to resist a brownie and custard. The table size was a little small for some serious gaming, but there’s always space for a quick game of Love Letter between coffees. Thanks to the lads behind the counter, you were nothing if not entertaining.
A Very Busy Montgomery’s Tower
To say that Monty’s was busy is an understatement, in fact we had a while to wait before we could claim our seats, and no other table was available for us apart from the little ones we use to rack up the games. But we’re nerds, and never short of something to do. Callum and Murray settled into a Pokemon battle, while I played some pinball and chatted with Ben until we managed to occupy some furniture and bust into a game of Magic.
I also broke out some of my new Christmas presents, including new favourite Rhino Hero courtesy of our very own Timlah (cheers Tim, expect your presents soonish) which will need to be expanded upon at some point; and the DC Deck Builder Heroes Unite, featuring the D-list of DC heroes, but some of the better mechanics from any iteration of the game I’ve played thus far. I did not get to try the Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle deck building game brought in by Harley, who ran an RPG later in the evening.
Around 21:30 the music began, because it’s the bizarre half-formed space between Christmas and New Years where time is irrelevant and no one has to work unless they’re retail, service or emergency services. I neglected to consider this possibility, and may have to restructure next December’s GeekOut Shrewsbury to account for it. Still, it didn’t stop the progress of the Christmassy roleplay taking place in the corner, which I hear involved a murderous reindeer, and Mad Max elves. No doubt I’ll hear the rest of the story another time.
Thanks to everyone who put in to the Super Secret Santa, especially whoever brought the Trumpisms book, which shall take pride of place next to my volumes of George W. Bushisms. I can also say that whoever put in the Ferrero Roche, your present was equally well received. We wound down early as the music only got more intrusive, squeezed in a quick game of Surakarta on a custom board made by John, which cracked spontaneously in the middle of the game surreptitiously moving my pieces allowing me to gain the brief advantage I needed to turn the horrible losing streak I’d started on.
This year has been quite a crazy one, full of lots of interesting decisions and a political vitriol abound. It’s been a year where we’ve seen legends disappear in the blink of an eye, as well as the year we’ve seen VR become more mainstream than ever. Honestly, just watch Ronnie O’Sullivan here. It’s excellent!
Ahem, laughing at people who can’t get the concept of Virtual Reality in their heads is fun, but we’ve got a strong year ahead of us in 2017. Whilst we could be fearful for what’s to come, we could also be happy to see that we’ve got a lot of great and interesting releases and general stuff to look forward to. This is our Top 10 list of Things To Look Forward To in 2017. A year that’s basically 2016, but one more.
10) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
“Yeah, one time the police were like “Dude, who killed you?” Brother never even ratted me out. He’s cool now, we’re good.” – Joel Smith 2016
Other than having a bit of a giggle at the title, about how dead men (apparently) tell no tales, this should be an excellent addition to what has been a truly spectacular series of films. I mean, all of these films were great fun. They might not have been very intelligent films, but they really didn’t need it. Disney did good with the first bunch of these, so I’m sure bringing people back for the latest instalment will be great fun as well.
Now, this ends up at only number 10 because, well, I don’t think anyone necessarily needed another Pirates of the Caribbean in their lives. We’re all gonna be thoroughly entertained once more with the antics of Jack Sparrow, but honestly, we didn’t need this. Not like some of the items in our list this week.
9) Rick and Morty Season 3
The creator of Community and a prolific actor of weird voices came together to inject a cartoon straight into the “cult classic” sensibilities with a mash-up of improvisation, parody, and messed up comedy. Rick and Morty slapped us hard with two seasons that whipped up a drooling fanbase demanding plush Meeseeks and spawning lunatic (but oddly convincing) theories and crying out for a third season…
What do you mean “A year and a half”?
Ok, so to tide us over this year we’ve had a series of claymation shorts and a fully animated Rick and Morty version of the State of Georgia vs Denver Felton Allen transcript which you should not read here because you will never hear anything else that so elegantly combines bad language and stupidity. Season 3 will be released 2017.
8) Gaming Reboots
Okay, so unlike basically everything else in the list, this is an incredibly niche audience we’re talking to here. If you were a gamer on the Sega MegaDrive, there’s no doubt you would at least be aware of the hugely popular title: ToeJam & Earl. It’s a game where you play as two funky aliens who go about their business by crashing into Earth, realising they need to fix their ship and get back to their planet. Groovy. They’re coming back for a release in 2017 as well! Looking forward to this one.
But that’s not all. There’s also the wildly popular PlayStation franchise Crash Bandicoot on the verge of a reboot too. In fact, I mentioned a bunch of the games coming around in 2017 in yesterday’s article. I’m excited to see them make a return, so here we go – Let’s get our game on this year!
7) South Park: The Fractured But Whole
It took a few tries for South Park to produce a decent computer game, but when they finally nailed the formula with the fantasy inspired “Stick of Truth” they really knocked it out of the proverbial park, and I for one am sincerely looking forward to seeing their super-heroic spin. Drawing from the adventures of Mysterion and the Coon to parody the recent cinematic slugfest, Superman vs Batman vs Civil War vs all of our wallets.
I haven’t finished Stick of Truth yet to be entirely honest, but I’ve played more than enough to know that I need to play The Fractured But Whole, and sincerely hoping that there’ll be a third addition to the series because I think it has a lot of possibility. And the way things are going in the TV series there’s a lot of material to play around with.
6) Spiderman Homecoming
You know this makes sense – It’s about bloody time we get a reboot of Spiderman. It’s about time we get one that mimics the comics better too. No more odd dancing Peter Parker like during Spider Man 3 in 2007, no, no, much better. We’re about to get the Spiderman that showed up during the Captain America: Civil War film that happened during the early half of the year. You know, the younger Spiderman who basically acted like spidey should?
The joy of Spiderman Homecoming is that we’ve had a taste of what to expect from our new Spidey and it’s excellent. The actor, Tom Holland, was an absolute joy to watch during Civil War and couple this with the now cinematic cannon that we’re used to with Tony Stark, this is going to be amusing, but yet at the same time a downright excellent cinematic experience. Watch out for this one – It might be one of the year’s best.
Old Man Logan as we’re calling this one, is one of those films that when you say it out loud, doesn’t sound like an appealing title. Knowing that Logan is all about the titular character Logan, AKA Wolverine, you realise that having an “Old Man Logan” theme is a lot more intriguing to begin with. Sitting neatly halfway down our list, Logan we feel could be one of the best films of 2017.
If you’ve not watched all of the other Logan films, you likely will not need to – However you certainly will get more out of it if you catch up with the rest of the series. This is going to be the last film in the Logan arc, so it’s worth checking out, even if it’s to see the end of a pretty long era of films.
4) Dark Tower Series
Stephen King usually brings gold to the screen, big or small. With the sheer volume of material he’s produced across his prolific writing career under his own name and a collection of pseudonyms, there’s plenty to pick and choose from, dozens of highlights, a few minor flops but overall some amazing stories to make real. This year we’ll not only see a remake of the eponymous clown horror IT, but 2017s big summer blockbuster looks set to be the start of his fantasy/western epic, the Dark Tower.
Idris Elba will be stepping into the shoes of gunslinger of a knightly order, Roland Deschain on a quest to rebuild his world, and he alone would be enough to drag me to the cinema. I’m no huge fan of Stephen King, but he’s got some indisputable works of art in his catalogue, and I believe the Dark Tower is amongst them. Perhaps once the films are well under way I’ll pick up the books; don’t want to ruin anything by being the guy saying “They missed that bit” like I did for all of the Discworld films.
3) Star Wars Episode VIII
Star Wars episode VIII (or 8 for those who hate Roman Numerals). This is a huge one for cinema, as we’ll get back that scrolling wall of text that we’re oh so used to at this point. We’ll be getting back the major characters in more than just cameo appearances and we’ll continue Ray’s story. Perhaps most tragically this might be the last time we see Carrie Fisher, (as Princess Leia,) make an appearance on screen, due to her sudden departure earlier this week. Our thoughts go out to the family of those affected most by this.
You know that this one deserved a top three slot, although we relegated it from the mass importance it should have had on this list, down to ‘only’ third place. I know, third place isn’t exactly a bad spot to be in, but it’s still only third place compared to how we would have rated 2015’s The Force Awakens. But that’s simply because we knew this was coming… As there’s going to be a Star Wars film every year for the next few more years as well. It’s nice, we should still be hyped for it… But we kind of expect it now.
2) Baby Groot – Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Ok, while we love the look of all of Guardians of the Galaxy’s greatly anticipated sequel, and once again Drax the Destroyer looks like he may have some real show-stealing moments, there will be one thing and one thing only that puts geeky butts into cinema seats. It is Groot.
Now I may have my little rant about how the saplings of Groot’s species actually have softer, more supple cell structures that form their larynges and can therefor talk comparatively normally, until they mature and are reduced to limited vocal ranges that can be differentiated by little subtleties only. But he’s SO CUTE with his little button and angry adorable killing spree! Plus you have to respect exactly how much can be conveyed three little words and tone of voice.
But seriously does anyone have any tape?
1) Nintendo Switch
The number one slot on our list today is the Nintendo Switch, a games console that, let’s be frankly honest, could end up being the next Wii… Or the next Wii U. Whilst the Wii U certainly was a damn good console in it’s own right, it really didn’t meet the same praise as the Wii and quite understandably so. It was effectively just the Wii with a weird tablet controller to connect to it as well. It’s strange it wasn’t released as a backwards compatible tablet peripheral, which granted you’d need to slot into your Wii controller via the jack, same as the Nunchucks, but nevermind that…
The Switch has turned a lot of heads – I bet you’ve heard of it, but if you haven’t, the interesting concept behind this console is the fact that the controller can effectively be a console in it’s own right: a handheld one. So you can take your gaming from your living room, then get told by your ol’ gran that she needs TV for her TV time and you can take your gaming from the TV down to your hand… You don’t lose out, she doesn’t lose out. With rumours circulating that Pokemon might make the Switch as well, this could be a massive boon for Nintendo and this could even be another major success. Watch this space is all I can say here.
Have we got you excited for 2017 yet? Good, because we’re excited for two relatively selfish reasons as well. We love to do things here on GeekOut South-West, as I’m sure you’re well aware… However, it’s time to reveal what we personally are really, really excited to be doing next year:
Revamped GeekOut Website
It’s frustrating that this hasn’t happened sooner, as I’ve been working my butt off on this. As I was developing the new website this month, I stumbled into a problem, where the hosts seemingly dropped off all links that weren’t brand new to the site. This meant that I had to do a lot of backtracking and trying to fix anything. Having not heard from the hosts for a while, I assumed the worst – That I’d have to port everything over… But fortunately, I’m a good developer me – I kept backups.
After restoring everything, the website came back to normal and I was able to continue development. I was amazed – But hey, it’s all back and it’s all going ahead smoothly again. It’s late – Very late for my initial plan of having it released by the end of November, but I suspect it’s going to not be too much longer. The wait really will have been worth it. Forums; A ‘Geek Events Calendar’ which can be edited; Unlockable profile badges; Our usual wit and much more.
Around half past six on Tuesday we’ll be glued to our computer screens awaiting our chance to return to the Warwick Arts Centre, desperate to get our names down in that ever narrowing window, despite the promise of more spaces than ever we will still be desperately clinging to keyboards and hope.
And why not? Between Kita and Amecon we have two incredible teams to bring us some of the biggest, loveliest, geekyest events in the country. Your average comic convention these days is a big marketplace that you have to pay to enter, and gaming conventions are halls filled with demos you can queue to watch people play. At Kita and Ame we are one leviathan family, getting drunk and nerdy until the small hours, launching ourselves out of bed, through breakfast and away to do it all again.
If we don’t get in, 2017 will officially be a bigger let down than Duke Nukem Forever.
That’s it, we’re finished now until 2017. We’re done writing, but hey, if you’re out and about today and you’re in Bristol, why not come and celebrate it with us? We’re going to be in the Old Market Tavern from 6pm until 1am, celebrating the new year in, with competitions and games and amazing people. Come along – but wait, why not help us with 2017 in a different way? Give us your vote for next week’s Top 10, the first in a new and important year for us all!
To everyone who has stuck with us through thick and thin, through better and worse, in sickness and in health – We do… Solemnly declare that we’ll be up to no good next year as we’re going to be better than ever. In the meantime, what did you think of this list? Have we got you looking forward to some great media next year? What did you think of the Nintendo Switch being our number one choice? As always, comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.
I feel it premature to label 2016 as the worst year ever, because I remain the eternal pessimist. There is always room for 2017 to be worse, there are always more celebrities, more that politicians can do wrong or completely destroy, and we are enduring the short-sightedness of the industrial revolution now more than ever.
But you don’t come here for the doom and gloom, I’ll be starting a new blog for that. My own blog, with politics, and outrage. (more…)