Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Avengers: Early Screening

No Spoilers

So this morning I had the absolute pleasure of watching a private early screening of The Avengers, which opens locally tomorrow but is due to release international on the 4th of May.

I'm not the biggest fan of the Avengers, and of all the movies that have lead up to this film event, I really only liked the Iron Man ones. But as soon as this movie started I was grinning like a little kid totally bedazzled by the awesomeness on the screen.

The Avengers kicks off with a scream and then never lets up save for a few moments to catch it's breath. But even in it's few 'slow' moments the movie is an absolute blast and I can not remember the last time I was so amazed by a big budget special effects movie. Block buster effects are a staple of almost every other action movie that's been coming out recently, but Avengers for me was able to make special effects special again.

Without giving away anything let me just say that the movie does sort of expect you to have seen the heroes individual films as it drops a lot of nods to them without explaining in great deal the points it brings up. This is fine though because if you're watching the Avengers chances are you have for sure seen these other movies.

Visually Iron Man would have to be the most stunning Avenger on screen, second only to Scarlett Johansson's bum, plus Tony Stark's constant banter makes him the most entertaining. On the other end of the spectrum would be Captain America who I thought had the most boring outfit and blandest character.

Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner was my favorite character in the film though, him struggling to contain the Hulk was nice and his subtle humor was a pleasant surprise when I was expecting most of the comic relief to come from Robert Downy Jr.

But the real star of the movie is the movie itself. All the characters get to rock the screen and have their own moments of glory and for something that has such a massive cast the film never ever feels bogged down. It truly feels like an epic.... sort of like the first time I sat through Lord of the Rings.

There's a lot of action, a lot of laughs and even a few moments that jerked my tear glands. It's also interesting to note that even though all the trailers for the movie are awesome, they give away little to nothing of the main plot, or at the very least there are a lot of surprises left in store even if you have watched the trailers religiously. For what it is, The Avengers is probably at the top of its game, and what it is is one hell of an action movie.

As soon as the movie finished I was so damn pumped...  be sure to stay till after the credits eh.
Massive nerd joy

Friday, April 20, 2012

Swords & Sorcery EP: The stuff of magic

Truly the Gods keep me in their favor.

When Swords & Sorcery EP released last year for the iOS it was a game that really sparked an interest for me. Not only was it visual interesting, but it stirred a bit of nostalgia for the games I grew up with as a kid.

Before getting my hands on a "Family Game" console or my 2nd hand Nintendo, I used to spend hours watching my uncles play games on their Commodore, at one point they even had a gaming machine that had the games on cassette tapes. Aside from just the look of the game, it was the feeling of awe that I felt as a kid that came back to me while reading up on of Swords & Sorcery EP.

It felt like a grand adventure in the purest sense - if that makes sense.

Like a story you tell a kid. It's not about scary bosses or blood shed. The hero is not tormented or out for revenge. In fact there's very little back story to the whole thing.

Ok wait - I'm getting a head of myself here. Let me first tell you something else that was pretty cool.

The other day I came across a nice wall paper for Swords & Sorcery EP and looking at it really made me want to play it. so I started looking around to see if there might be some sort of emulator or something for it on the PC. I asked a friend of mine (when I should have just asked Google) and he said that he didn't know. Then after going through a few screens of the game I got back to work.

Then I saw on my Twitter feed a share from Indiegames.com which announced the release of Swords and Sorcery EP on Steam.

Truly the Gods keep me in their favor.

After freaking the fak out I asked if my friend could pick up the game for me, as I don't have a credit card of my own yet (though I should really follow up on that)

So he bought it as a gift, I freaked out even more and then I had the enormous task of making it through the day so that I could fly home to play it.

To simply put it; Swords and Sorcery EP is a wonderful game. That feels so strange for me to say out loud because I don't I use the word "Wonderful" to describe things too often. Everything's either "Mad awesome" or "Farking cool" - but there is nothing better to describe the game.

You play a lone Scythian who is traveling on a quest. A long the way you meet a few people and after a bit of chit chat you discover that there is a terrible storm coming. I really don't want to talk about the plot too much, but know that there are dark slumbering spirits to wake up, ancient artifacts to discover and an adventure to be had.

The controls are very simple, you use the two mouse buttons and click to move or right click to enter into combat. But like the simple pixels the game uses to build its beautiful world, the equally simple control mechanics give way to some exciting game play.

Boss fights involve dodging light beams and hurl back projectiles with your sword, and exploring is all about venturing for the sake of venturing, because though you do get a few nods as to what you need to do now and then, a lot of the game is you having to find out things for yourself.

And even with such simple mechanics, none of it is short of amazing. The feeling of awe and even a dark feeling of dread at times that the game invokes is amazing. Even the combat though point and click, is exciting and epic.

Aside from the very beautiful graphics and charming characters, the music that scores your adventure is the stuff of magic, and is in fact one of the strongest parts of the game. I read one reviewer somewhere say that he wanted Jim Guthrie, the games music composer to "score his life". If only such things were possible. I guess the closest thing would be that the Steam copy actually comes with the OST for the game and I've been waking up to it since I got it.

For some reason the game reminds me of the show Adventure Time as well - though I can't really say why. But it's that kind of adventure. Where everything is wonderful... even the baddies that are out to get you - I was awed by them because it just felt like you had stumbled in on something a lot bigger than you in a cosmic sense..

To simply read about the game and see the screens is only a glimpse at the magic. This is truly something that needs to be played to be appreciated - and even the the video that follows barely captures the awesomeness of it.

You can check out reviews for the game here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dark Souls: PC edition Interview

Game Trailers released a very cool interview with one of the Dark Souls Dev team members, and he had a lot of info on the up coming pc edition of the game.

Darks Souls PC will feature new baddies

The video is here for you to check out, but the main points for me was that aside from the extra weapons and armor sets that will be added to the pc edtion, there is also a new story line added to the game which involves the player traveling back in time to meet up with the legendary Artorias.

At the moment he is but a great story that you hear about while venturing through the world of Dark Souls. Through certain quests and such you can get his Mighty shield which is arguably the best shield in the game, as well as a light and dark version of his great sword.

But it will be awesome to meet up with him and see what happens. There's also some hints at meeting up the 'alive version' of the Dusk of Oolacile, who currently is a sort of spirit that haunts this one area near a lake.

The PC edition has new Armor sets

There are also going to be additions to certain areas of the game including major developments to Dark Root Garden which at the moment is one of the games major PVP areas.

There are also new enemies in the game along with two bosses, one of which is a farkin Dragon. Now Dragons play a huge part in the lore of Dark Souls, so it will be interesting to know exactly who this new (or old) dragon is and what role did it play in the fall of his kin.

For a Dark Souls fan this is farkin exciting stuff and I hope some of this makes it to consoles as DLC - if not I have no hesitations about buying the PC version.

Check out the interview

And then?

And then I finally have a bit of time on my hands.

I know that it might have seemed I had a lot of free time because I'm always playing some game or other and running off to have grand adventures here and there, but for the last few months I've been involved with FBC TVs production for our News Broadcast.

Months and months of staring at the same graphics and tweaking this, tweaking that. Granted I wasn't as heavily loaded with work as others.

My Girl friends brother who also works with me, had the hard task of putting together our virtual news sets, and he also did all the 3D work for our opening titles.

I was sort of the clean up guy. Adding lights and effects to his work. I did however do all the After Effects stuff which was a pain in it's own right. But the whole thing was a lot of fun and very interesting to put together.

We had our big News launch last Sunday and it was the longest 30mins ever. Sitting there watching our baby go live on air, and gritting our teeth through all of it hoping that nothing goes wrong. And nothing did.... nothing major anyway.

The entire TV and News team did a great job and I don't think I've ever been so proud of my work mates before.

I was also in a advert for this concert that FBC is putting up to launch our school Holidays and also raise a bit of money for the victims of the recent flooding we had over in the Western part of Fiji. I got to share the camera with this octopus that is trying to encourage kids to brush their teeth. The above pic however has no relation to the actual ad. I just don't like octopi.

In the middle of all this I did pick up a game last week.

I got this game called Vanquish which has to be one of the maddest shooters I've ever played.

It's this frantic sci fi shooter with giant robots, awesome guns and this Jet boost thing that lets you zip all over the place while blasting the shizz out of everything around you.

The game it's self is a few years old now, but you don't feel it. The graphics are mad awesome and the gameplay is great.

I also picked up too very awesome indie titles on Steam. Last night I spent the late ours mesmerized by the glow of Swords and Sorcery EP, which can only be described as "Wonderful."

It's been a great year for me as a gamer because I have come across so many titles that are fighting for soft spots in my gaming heart, and Swords & Sorcery has really won me over. For sure I'll be writing up something about this soon because I need to have this game as a post on my blog (to make it cooler)

Another game that I per-purchased last week is a fun little monster called Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet which is a stylized shooter that I haven't had a chance to play because it released this morning. It is however installing at the moment through Steam :D

Another awesome bit of News we got yesterday was that the TV show I host on Saturdays, pulled 642 texts in 15mins last weekend. We have these movie passes that we give away and to win one you need to send in a sms to answer a question. 642 hits in 15mins a lot, in fact last week we pulled 337 in 15mins. It's just nice to know that so many people are watching the show, and it makes me wanna find bigger prizes to give away.

Wait... I did mention on my blog that I host a TV show right? Shizz I can't remember... Will have to go through. But any how yeah I do and it's show that looks at up coming movie releases. Cool thing is that next week my co-host and I get to have a look at the Avengers before it releases locally so that we can review it for our show :D

Speaking of which... I need to run off now because i have to go shoot this weeks episode.

Chat soon.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition

Well it's official. The greatest game of all time, Dark Souls is coming to pc... and it's bringing with it two new bosses and a brand new area!

Faaaaaarking Awesome!

Yes... I am going to buy the PC version. Yes I am a Fan Boy

Check out the PC announcement trailer.

Monday, April 9, 2012

And then?

And then tomorrow I go back to work after a four day Easter weekend.

Well it was meant to be a four day weekend but I had to work on the 1st day of it, which was a Friday, but it wasn't too bad because I had like the whole three seasons of Avatar: the last air bender to keep me going. The week before I had bought myself an Ukelele, so I took this to work as well. In between render times for my video and graphic files I just practice playing a song or two.

My girlfriend had to work that day too so that night we were both pretty much spent.

On Saturday morning after dropping my GF at work (yeah she worked Saturday too), I headed over to a friends place. He was having some complications with his other half so I decided to take him some breakfast. After which we had a quick smoke over some video game trailers before shooting off to town to muck around for a bit. This was nice cause it had been a while since the two of us had hung out in town.

That afternoon we played some PS3 and chilled with a few beers. I hardly have friends over, not sure why though. After dropping my buddy home my GF and I went for a drive, before heading back home to some old DVDs, chocolate biscuits and cuddles.

We tried watching a movie which was recommended by some friends called "Frequently asked questions about Time Travel" but this movie ended up being a snooze-fest. Just cause a movie is choked full of sci fi nerd references and a awkward title; doesn't mean it's gonna be good.

My girlfriend and I was spent the rest of the night singing to the ukelele.

Sunday morning was a bit annoying because I missed out on a Yum Cha breakfast with some friends. But my GF and I made something nice at home so it's cool. After working on some stuff around the house we headed off to a lunch over at my GF's grandmother's house. This was pretty sweet cause we spent the afternoon with her cousins sipping tea and sharing laughs.

I spent the night reading the Game of Thrones novel which so far is very awesome, even though I've seen the TV series till current. I'm so buying the rest of the books this week because I hate having to wait a week to see what happens next in the show.

O and then my GF and I played Rayman Origins until the batteries on one of our controllers died.

This morning over breakfast we watched a movie called Shame which starred Micheal Fassbender, now this film was interesting. Not something for the family, I guess it would be classed as an erotic movie? It was amazing because it had a strange subject matter but was also very sad and thought provoking. The movie was about this sex addict that couldn't seem to find any meaning in anything he did, so we get to see what he goes through as he struggles for some sort of connection with anything meaningful. This is putting it very briefly - but yeah it was an awesome movie. It was a departure from the sort of stuff we normally watch, so that in it self was refreshing.

Later we headed down to a local hotel to chill by the pool side and share the afternoon with my GFs cousins and sister in law. I took the ukelele down so it was a fun filled afternoon complete with music.

We took a lot of photos which was sweet because my GF is always wanting more photos of her and I. It was a beautiful day to be out too, cause the sun was nice and bright but it was actually very cool, at least down where we were. It's times like these that I'm thankful to live in a tropical country, cause you don't need too much funds to chill at a picturesque beach when there's nothing else to do.

We spent the night watching two movies with Peter Dinklage; the first one being The Station Agent and the other being a sweet little movie called Penelope which could have almost been a Disney Cartoon.

All and all I really had a great weekend thanks to my Girl friend and I really wanna find more things for us to do together. I also had a lot of time to myself which allowed me to reflect a bit on a few things. I do that now and then: Reflect.

Thank the gods for the short week ahead and it's a pay week too, so next weekend we'll have funds to live it up even more.

Hope you had yourself a great Easter; what did you get up to?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Travelogue: Dark Souls

Very awesome video that really shows off the sights of Dark Souls

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lone Survivor : First Impressions

So last night I got home to a house without electricity.

Since Fiji is dangling on the tail end of a tropical cyclone we've been getting constant power and water cuts. This really sucked because I was looking forward to playing the brand new game I bought yesterday by the amazing indie developer Jasper Byrne.

I first came across Byrne's work when I got my hands on his Silent Hill 2 demake title; Soundless Mountain. For something only 8 pixels high, that game did more to quench my horror gaming needs than most AAA titles.

His latest work is a labor of love that took more than a year and a half for him to put together, all by himself. It's called Lone Survivor and it's been killing the review scores on a lot of game sites across the interwebs.

I didn't get to play this thing till about 5 in the morning when I woke up to find the electricity had come back on. After splashing a bit of water onto my face I sat down at my pc in my darkened room, with the wind and rain strangling the windows, the perfect backdrop to one hell of a game.

The first thing that pops about Lone Survivor is the graphics. The game is done in beautiful (and I use the word loosely) pixel art, reminiscent of an old school NES game. I took a great liking to it, I actually still play Splatter House 2 over and over on my NEO GEO emulator, so Lone Survivor looks like a gem.

The story is very simple; you are a Lone Survivor of some sort of disastrous outbreak that has left the entire city (and maybe even the world) in ruins. The only other thing 'alive' out side are these hideous mutants that stalk the dark corners looking to make you their new chew toy. The lead character has now name and is simply known as "you" in the menus.

The gameplay consists of you having to explore this derelict world to find items to help you survive, and maybe find out just what happened to everyone else.

The game is intended to be a survival horror in the purest sense of the phrase, focusing on scavenging, exploring and coping with being alone. In fact the game does a really great job of making you feel alone, and it even has these little events that make you wonder just how well your troubled little mind is dealing with the events that you're being faced with.

The controls are very simple and everything is very nicely explained without feeling like the game is explaining too much. You save the game by taking a nap and you need to eat and drink to keep yourself going. Combat in the game is very simple, but is often encouraged to be avoided. In stead of shooting there are stealth elements to resort to. Plus things like shooting noises and the light from your flash like only attracts unwanted attention.

To fight the isolation there is a plush cat that you can talk to. This doesn't always help though as some times you get these mad hallucinations. At least I think that the guy with the box head and the other one with the white face aren't real. I've screen of finding a real cat at one point... I can't wait for this.

The game has these mad bits where the world around you sort of shifts into this eerie 'other world' and it's really creepy when this happens. I think that the sound plays a huge part in the scare factor too, this game has some mad music and sound effects that really hit the mood home.

It's hard to explain what it is that really gets you hooked on Lone Survivor, but what comes to mind is that it reminds me a lot of Silent Hill. Its got a sort of "mess with your head" thing going, and as you play and explore you're not sure why you're going on except to find out what else might be out there for you to find. There's a real sense of dread that hangs over the whole game as well, that feeling that even when every thing looks safe, you can sort of sense that there's something lurking not to far away that wants to get you.

Lone Survivor really feels like the type of horror game that got me hooked onto the genre in the first place. There's a great review for the game over at Destructoid that you should check out if you want to know a little more about it, and if you like it you can buy it for yourself here.

As far as horror titles goes I strongly believe that this games deserves a place right up there with games like Silent Hill or ... actually I can't think of any other title this would sit comfortably with. Most other horror titles like Dead Space or Resident Evil are a lot more in your face when it comes to horror elements, and though Lone Survivor has plenty of blood and gore, it's not an action game. Instead it opts to be very subtle and a lot more crafty with it's scares.

I guess you could say it's like the Journey of horror games.

The thrill is in the experience that Lone Survivor creates. The individual elements are nothing compared to the sum of its parts. It's some thing that needs to be played because just looking at these screens don't do it justice. Definitely the coolest horror title (indie or other) that I've had the pleasure of playing in a long while.

ZOMBIE PARKOUR 2 needs your support!

Even though I've worked on two short film projects and hope to dish out even more in the not so distant future, I don't really consider myself a film maker; at least not in the traditional sense.

I'm just a guy that has a few ideas of my own that I'd like to see play out and I'm fortunate enough to have friends that are willing to help bring these ideas to life.

It is very hard though to get a movie done. Even if you have like minded people putting in their time and effort to help out, the sheer cost of the littlest things add up like crazy.

Recently I had the pleasure of getting in touch with Bozant Katzakian, an independent film producer from NYC. He is part of the creative genies that produced the very awesome short "Zombie Parkour."

Zombie Parkour was a huge hit on the net and has gained over 160 thousand views to date. Now the crew behind the fun zombie action short are hoping to do a sequel to the project, aptly titled Zombie Parkour 2.

If you've seen Zombie Parkour (which is just up there at the top if you missed it) then you would know that these guys are very passionate about what they do. Especially looking at some of the risks the actual Parkour guys are putting themselves through.

We had no budget to really make this film but we pulled it off and the feedback has been incredibly positive. 160,000 hits on youtube ain't bad but its only the beginning. There's so much more we can do. We've just scratched the surface.

To get Zombie Parkour 2 under away the dedicated crew is looking to raise $25,000. This will go towards such things as wardrobe for the characters, as well as make up and prosthetics for the zombies. The money is also needed to secure such things as permits for shooting locations and even to do up certain environments to prepare it for scenes, not to mention paying for insurence for the actors and equipment.

Basically the guys are out to make Zombie Parkour 2 bigger and better than the first one, with huge action sequences, scarier zombies and madder Parkour moves.

Like I said, the first Zombie Parkour has already accumulated over a 160 thousands views online, now imagine if even half those views were kind enough to donate as little as a dollar towards this new project, the crew would be well on their way to making their project a reality, and giving you another mad awesome zombie short.

In the crews own words:

You'll help in taking the Zombie genre into someplace new and fresh and spreading the art of Parkour to more people around the world, and you get to possibly be a part of it and to also help advance peoples careers and possibly yours. If you can't donate anything then just spread the word.

Remember that even giving as little as a dollar could help these guys out. You can however donate as much as you want and you even get some cool extras if you do decide to contribute more.

You can visit the Zombie Parkour 2 "kick starter" page over at Indiegogo.com to make a donation. Simply click HERE to find out more about the project and how you can help.
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