Monday, March 31, 2014

Performance Enhancing Legends. by Seth Oakley

Note: I don't know who this is. He probably doesn't take drugs. -Ed
I told Mike that he needed an eSports writer for his blog, someone to cover analog and digital gaming. He sticks his hand out for me to shake it. We were sitting in a bar, and I’d had a couple, so I shook it. He says, “Welcome aboard!” and it hits me.


Too late.

Now he’s bugging me to write an article about Performance Enhancing Drugs in eSports, (This was your idea, buddy. - Ed) so here goes.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Episode 94: TV's Cody Stark!

Picture Cody Stark, host of Good Day Sacramento and Awesome Shoe Aficionado, invited The Ace of Geeks onto his show. So we thought it was only fair to invite him onto ours - right before he had to go and introduce Stan Lee. We'll discuss the wonders of working in television, and how much we all love turning off our sense of disbelief at the movies. Pacific Rim is so much better that way!

Episode 94!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Answer to Life, the Geekiverse, and Everything: an Ode to Nerding out- Jarys


     We have been kicking around the idea of adding some fiction to our blog, when our intelligent and attractive writers have some fiction to share. I hope to have some to share with you soon, but, for now, I hope this poem will hold you over. A few hundred years ago, English writers would preface works of fiction with poems, often Anthems or Odes. Below is my attempt to create such a thing. You don't have to be polite, tear it apart in the comments. Or share it with your friends and get them to send me hate mail. I NEED CRITIQUE TO IMPROVE KTHX.

     More seriously, I tried to write a love letter to the feeling of what the Dwarves of Discworld call "Craic" or "the sheer pleasure about what you are doing and where you are doing it." Let's call that last detail context, and context is certainly important. If you read further, you will find that I tried to identify what contexts were good for Craic and what contexts were bad for Craic. Of course, all references to death or loss of life are purely metaphorical. Please enjoy and I hope we have more for you soon!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

But They Deserve to Be Done a Second Time. By Chris Brecheen

Editor's Note: This article is the second part of a two part series on the subject of Hollywood Remakes. Check out Part One, by Jon Cain, here.

Anyone know how many plays Shakespeare wrote without looking it up on Google? The answer is 38 or 40, depending on if you count the two we know have been lost. However, here is a more interesting question: do you know how many of those plays were original stories of Shakespeare’s own design?

The answer is one.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

They Were Done Right The First Time. by Jon Cain


Editor's Note: This is Part One of a two part discussion on Remakes in Hollywood. Check out Part Two, by Chris Brecheen, here.

          Allow me to set the scene, my friends. A quiet theater, on the 16th of June 1960,  erupts with shrieks of horror, at the sight of Janet Leigh stabbed to death in a shower - a scene that is one of the most recognizable in film history.  The infamous shower scene was a master stroke, by a master film maker. It scared the ever loving shit out of a great many people, and the ones who weren't scared were shocked that Janet Leigh met her end as quickly as she did.  Arguably, Alfred Hitchcock did more with a bottle of chocolate syrup then anyone else in history. The movie Psycho was a cinematic achievement that was many decades ahead of its time, and an instant classic. It's in my top five favorite movies of all time. So as you can imagine, I was madder then hell about the 1998, sub par, shot for shot remake. The film was such a piece of excrement that I am getting nausea writing this. There are just certain things in life you don't touch,  because they were done right the first time.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bioshock Infinite: Your Argument is Invalid. (Part 5) by Chris Brecheen

 This is Part Five of Chris's epic deconstruction of Bioshock Infinite, and how it proves video games can be art. Witness the other parts here:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Three reminders:

One - I’m jumping right in from the previous articles with no recap

Two - this article necessitates spoilers

Three - this article is not concerned with decoding the plot itself.

I have some bad news.

I’ve spent about four parts of this article lulling a growing audience of geeks into a false sense of security—making them think that I would do nothing but heap praise on one of last year’s most popular (mainstream) titles—and now I am going to turn on them by pointing out where Bioshock Infinite fell on its face.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Episode 93: How Can we Stop Bullying At Conventions?

Picture The Ace of Geeks presents their first ever comic-con panel from Wizard World Sacramento. We're joined by cosplayers Lauren Harrington, Mary Anne Butler and Ashlen Rose, plus a fascinating audience, to discuss bullying within geek culture, and what can be done to fix it. But before that, Ashlen, Lauren, Stephanie and Mae Linh join us in our hotel room to discuss the first ever Wizard World Sacramento!

Episode 93!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What Does the New Robocop Tell us About Modern Action Films? by Mike Fatum

This has been a decade of remakes. Hollywood, desperate to make back some of the cash of the good old days, has turned to the 80s, and even 90s, with an eye on bringing back old franchises. If it ever made money, you can guarantee we'll see another version soon. And Robocop is no exception.

The original Robocop was, depending on who you ask, either the epitomy of the ultra-violence of the 80s action flick, or a winking send up of that entire genre. Certainly, the campy performances, excessive use of blood-packets, and mustache-twirling villains lend credence to either theory, but watching it again a few weeks ago made me pretty sure it was a satire. The director, Paul Verhoeven, has a playbook of films that could read this way - Total Recall, Showgirls, and Starship Troopers to name a few.

The new Robocop came out just a few weeks ago, and hasn't exactly lit the world on fire. With a 49% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and getting crushed by the Lego Movie at the box office (which is, admittedly, a far superior movie), it's probably not being considered as the launching point for a new franchise of Robocop flicks. And, considering how well Robocop 2 and 3 came out last time, that might be for the best. Still, I saw Robocop this past weekend, and I think we can learn a lot about how movies have changed in the past twenty seven years.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Was it Really That Bad? Spiderman 3. by Kyle Johannessen

(Editor's Note: Poor Kyle has been doing a series for us, viewing movies considered "terrible" by audiences at large to see if they've been misjudged. Before this, he's done X-men 3 and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.)
One of these days, I will try and watch a movie that might have some redeemable qualities to it. Today is not this day. I’m back again to give you the re-review of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3. Just a little background on me and Spider-Man: he has always been my second favorite super hero (right up there with Superman. Yes Superman, bite me, he’s awesome) and I had, up until this point, loved Sam Raimi’s live action take on the character. Especially Spider-Man 2, which is still the best Spider-Man movie of all time. So believe me when I say that Spider-Man 3 was one of my most highly anticipated films of 2007. Finally getting to see my favorite Spidey villain, Venom, was especially exciting as this was a villain that didn’t just beat up Spidey, but ruined Peter Parker’s life, and made every attempt to destroy him, both physically and mentally. He also looks bad ass. Hey ED! Give me a bad ass picture of Venom right here!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why is Being a Much Fun? by Mike Fatum

Trolls. The scourge of the internet. Every time someone is having a good time, some troll has to come along and ruin it. They're awful. They say and do terrible things just to get a rise out of you. A troll will follow you wherever you go, just to laugh at your misfortune. They'll invade everything you hold dear, just for the purposes of destroying it and giggling. They're awful. Nobody likes them. And yet, there are hundreds of them across the internet. I've never understood it. Until...

My name is Mike Fatum, and last Sunday, I was a troll.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Orphan Black: The Best Show You're Not Watching

I've got  a dilemma.  Help me out here folks.  How do you tell your friends about a great TV show without ruining any of the surprises, suspense, and mystery?  Especially when the vaguer you get with your synopsis, the less likely your friends are to take the time to watch it.  One show last season grabbed my wife and I and had us riveted, waiting for the next episode like no other show.  And I know I would have been pissed if someone had described too much of it to me.

Orphan Black.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Unwanted Attention at Conventions, by Lauren Harrington

(Trigger Warning: Contains Sexual Harassment discussion.)
Something that non-geeks and first-time convention-goers don’t expect is bullying at conventions. The Ace of Geeks held a panel at Wizard World in Sacramento this year regarding this matter, which I was a part of, but with only 45 minutes to talk, we weren’t able to cover all of the things “bullying” encompasses. You all will have the opportunity to listen to our intriguing discussion with the audience of the panel soon, but for now, I’m going to try to elaborate on what there was nowhere near enough time to talk about.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Prepare for Titanfall. by Mike Fatum

I ran through the smoke, billowing all around me. Gunshots sprayed out of a nearby building, and I ducked inside for cover. In front of me, an impossibly large winged reptile took one of my friends in its claws and made for the sky. I tried to shoot it down, but my bullets made no impact at all on its leathery flesh. The desert streets, once filled with life, were filled with corpses, and in the distance, I saw movement. The enemy. I ran from cover, jumping into the air. My jump-pack made the leap twice the distance of a normal man, and I flew through the air, hitting the jump again to take myself even farther. A slanted wall extended in front of me, and I ran across it, dropping down in front of my quarry.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Review: South Park: The Stick of Truth. by Jon Cain


There are very few constants in life. We know that change is ever moving, and death is everyone's final chapter. However, a lesser constant is at work even as I write this. What is it I speak of, you may wonder? It is that someone, somewhere, is getting offend by something. It doesn't matter the topic or its nature. There will always be one person it pisses off. Take, for example, the television show South Park. They have made their living, and their livelihood off of offense. The creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, make no bones about offending people. To them, whole world is full of jokes and nothing is off limits. Much to the dismay of South Parks critics, this has lead to major success. The show, because of it's vast success, has branched out from television to many other mediums, including video games.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bioshock Infinite: Your Argument is Invalid (Part 4) by Chris Brecheen

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Two quick reminders:
1- This is part 4 of a multi-part article, and I’m jumping right in without much of recap.
2- While I’m not decoding the end or discussing the plot directly, there will be spoilers.

(I’m also going to be doing some minor spoilers for Alien. But seriously that was like thirty years ago, so get over it.)

Sorry about the delay in part four. A rhinovirus that looked like Alan Rickman had plans to take over my body like Nakatomi Plaza tower, and it took my Bruce Willis white blood cells a few days to crawl through all my blood vessels and kill them all one by one.

(Oh also Die Hard spoilers. My bad.)

Friday, March 7, 2014

MMO...RPG? By Jarys

     If you are like me, you share an an avid love of video games and tea. But this article is not about tea. Video games are vast and myriad worlds of discovery, accomplishment, and immersion. Whereas previous analog games, such as Stick and Hoop or The Game of Life, were mostly a system of gameplay wrapped around the shape of a central concept, video games are heavily influenced by role playing games. Ah, role playing games. Keep your top hat metal game pieces and spherical throwing object, if you have ever wanted to pretend to be a wizard, throwing lighting bolts from your hands and saving villagers from unreasonably sized lizards, an RPG is the game for you. Or let us instead posit that you want to be a cybernetic-ridden  gangbanger on the mean streets of Seattle, you are in luck, there is an RPG game for you. Want to be a ghost, wrestling with your past as you try to move on? There is an RPG for that. Perhaps you want to be a bunny. Well, guess what? Yep. There is an RPG for every genre of fiction, no matter how bizarre or hormone driven.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Final Season of Clone Wars: A Preview by Horatio

Members of groups like Saberguild, the 501st, and Rebel Legion, were invited to attend a limited screening of the final four episodes of Star Wars: the Clone wars at LucasFilm’s Presidio location. Our screening preceeds the eventual release of the entire series on March 7th through Netflix.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Walking Dead, and the Futility of Choice. By Justin Rhodes

The Walking Dead by Telltale Games has undoubtedly been the most enjoyable gaming experience I have had in the past year, but my opinion is not entirely shared by the gaming community. Though many consider much of the game to be “on rails,” The Walking Dead is a thought-provoking piece that forces us to ruminate on ideas larger than the work itself. I speak mainly of the age-old philosophical/psychological debate of free will vs. determinism. Are we completely autonomous in all thought and action, or are we being guided by the invisible hand of fate, while our actions only appear self-guided? This article argues that player choice and free will are illusory. While the popular opinion may be similar (at least in attitude towards player choice) the real question is: Why is a game whose primary draw is high-intensity split-second decision making so heavily criticized for the choices it offers being meaningless?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

If Lyn Shepard Cares About Writing, She Should Actually Read Books. by Jasmine Joshua

I wanted to be an actress, but my parents said that I should go to college and get a degree in something useful. So I majored in Creative Writing (take THAT!). My favorite authors are Terry Pratchett and Tamora Pierce, but Brian Jacques’s Redwall series initially sparked my passion to write. Needless to say, I was never interested in writing The Great American Novel. I wanted to write about knights and magic and castles and fantasy, specifically YA (Young Adult) fantasy because that is what inspired me to become a writer. I cannot TELL YOU the struggle I had in college because of this. Teachers and students alike sneered at my “genre writing.” It took me years to recover from the ego-beating I received in university writing classes from closed-minded assholes who claimed that writing about girls with swords wasn’t worthy of my page or their eyes.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Episode 91: None Pizza Left Meat

Picture The Ace of Geeks Podcast welcomes back Erik Dahl for the second week in a row! We discuss the Point and Click Adventure Games of yesteryear, give hints about our LARPs to come, discuss interesting pizza ordering and delivering techniques, and give a tribute to one of our favorite authors, who recently passed away, Aaron Allston.

Episode 91!