Wednesday, October 31, 2007
[ding dong] Well hello, Happy Halloween! Aw, wouldya look at this, aren't you all just adorable! And what are you supposed to be? Oooh, a batman? And aren't you just the most darling little jedi I've ever seen... here you go kids, have some treats-no not candy, but some delicious history!
And what all happened in this most spooky of spooky weeks? Well, alot in the geek world.
October 29th was a busy day in history. First off, the goth nerd classic Nightmare Before Christmas was released on this day in 1993. Finally, hundreds of young goth girls have a fictional character they can totally crush on.
Also on Oct 29th, in 1969, those nerds at DARPA establish the first computer-to-computer network on ARPANET, a precursor to the internet we all know and love today. If only they knew...
More tasty brain treats after the jump!
One fine October 30th evening, back in 1938, America was sitting back in their comfy speakeasys, feasting on warm oakies while listening to the radio box when suddenly they heard this! Now don't be alarmed, you don't have to memorize the names of our alien overlords in history class, this was just Orson Welles' radioplay of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. But, this being the stupid ages and all, America freaked the fuck out! People genuinely believed we were being conquered... nowadays people are only dumb enough to believe that this guy is their idol.
Magic has always been the hobby of geeks and sleazy guys trying to pick up chicks at bars... here we're focusing on the former of course; so for you magic type geeks (I'm so sorry, illusionists) in 1926, on October 31st, (the 4th scariest day of the year) one Harry Houdini dies from a complications brought about by a ruptured appendix. Or does he.... oooooooEEEEEEEooooooo. Despite popular belief, he did not "die" from a punch to the gut, but the punch may have aggravated his already existing condition. And concerned that fakesters and con-icians might claim to have spoken to him from beyond the grave, he left his wife a 10 word code to expect should he ever actually attempt postmortem contact.
And of course, the most important thing to happen on any October 31st, was the very first halloween. Back in 1678, the earliest settlers of this great land, the slutty pilgrims, joined hands with their neighbors, the slutty indians, and celebrated with a great feast of candy and pumpkins. Also a slutty nurse was there. And all was well between these great peoples for the rest of history.
Finally, at the end of the week, on Nov 3rd in 1954, Godzilla stomped through a tiny Tokyo for the first time... and straight into our hearts.
Other positively horrifying things happened this week... but really, I don't want to give you kids nightmares. Now shoo! And don't egg my house you little brats!
Gaaawwwwwwwww! Next is "A Very Zelda Halloween," the highlight of which is the host wielding the Master Sword with full hearts, if you know what I'm saying:
Okay, I'm mildly sorry for showing you that. I promise this next one isn't as weird, it's just a nice boy singing about his Halo 3 obsession. Much better than "Buy Mii a Wii," really!
Going to a big Halloween parade? I know I am. And I also know I can't enjoy things outside of a structured context. So, who's up for some Halloween Costume Bingo?
That image is just a taste! Two 5x5 printable game cards, after the jump....
Frequently Asked Questions:
How's this work again?
If you see a costume, cross out the space. First person to get a row wins.
What if my opponent lies and says he saw something when he didn't?
Both parties have to see the costume, unless you are both unfalteringly honest people.
What if I see a costume I need, but my opponent has it on his game card and I don't want him to get the space?
Take a cell phone pic, and show it to your opponent after the costume in question is long gone.
I don't have a cell phone camera.
Can't help you.
What happens if I win?
The loser has to buy you an Incredible Hulk at a local tavern, and you have to drink it.
What if neither one of us ever gets a row?
Then I have failed as a game-maker and whoever has the most spaces wins.
What if I don't see any of these costumes the whole night?
That's ridiculous. I'm sure you saw Batman. Little kids and dogs count, you know.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
While I can't promise that watching this video from BlackNerdComedy won't be an extremely uncomfortable experience, you should still give it a shot. Beware some intense Wii box humping. I'm told that the song is a parody of T-Pain's "Buy U a Drank."
BlackNerdComedy [via Gizmodo]
Monday, October 29, 2007
Anyone else have a good costume? Surely there are some Chell/Weighted Companion Cube combos out there...
- Halloween Party ft. Sleepy Hollow and Creepshow
- FREE, 10pm @ Rififi, 332 11th Street, Manhattan
Tuesday, October 30th
- Twelfth Night of the Living Dead
- $18, 8pm @ CSV Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk St, 2nd Floor
Wednesday, October 31st
- NYC Village Halloween Parade
- FREE, 7pm @ 6th Ave b/w Spring St. and 21st St.
- Scaryville Circus
- $10, 315 3rd Ave, Brooklyn
Hit the jump for your post X-Ween recoup...
Thursday, November 1st
- Veg Out w. Some New Video Games
- After work @ your apartment
Sunday, October 28, 2007
and the "Rebel Without A Pulse" on the right.
The photographers seen here were subsequently eaten.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Snap Judgments - What If? Featuring Planet Hulk, Blue Beetle #20, Gotham Underground #1, Foolkiller #1
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Leonard Kirk, Rafa Sandoval, Gary Erskine, Fred Hembeck
Colors by Moose Baumann, Guru eFX, Sotocolor's J. Brown
Gets a B from Albo
I was always been fond of the old What If? books. They always took serious chances that the core titles would never dare, and no matter how optimistic the question (What If Uncle Ben Had Lived?, for instance) they always ended bad. REALLY bad. Like everyone dying bad. They made it seem like the Marvel Universe was always at risk of completely falling apart. Then there was a bad period where hack creators asked hacky questions with hacky results. This book is something of a return to form. It asks three simple questions about the Planet Hulk / World War Hulk Saga: "What If the Hulk Died and Caiera Lived?", "What If the Hulk Had Landed On the Intended Peaceful Planet?" and the one page strip "What If Bruce Banner Had Landed On Sakaar Instead of the Hulk?". They have Greg Pak writing it, who is responsible for all this World War Hulk business in the first place, so if anyone knows how it could have gone differently it's him. They're quick, simple stories, but they don't take themselves seriously and are just fun. And fun is something you don't get much anymore from Marvel comics, so take it where you can get it.
Blue Beetle #20 and the first issues of Gotham Underground and Foolkiller, after the jump...
Blue Beetle #20
Written by John Rogers
Art by Rafael Albuquerque, Colors by Guy Major
Gets an A+ from AHR
So the Sinestro Corps War is huge right now, all the smart kids say it's great, but I've never been a big fan of space. Except for Star Wars. And Star Trek. And - I don't like space when DC does it. So I got scared when I saw Sinestro's big pink mug on the cover of my favorite DC series, because I thought I'd be lost in a raging sea of space continuity. But the continuity on display here belongs to the title book - two unresolved Blue Beetle plot threads are addressed here, particularly the one having to do with Jaimie's reluctant mentor, The Peacemaker. The Battle Between the Corps is only shown at a distance, which allows Rogers to draw a surprisingly apt comparison to the USA's current actual war. Believe it or not, it works, perhaps because he keeps the details Sinestro Corps war vague, and wisely does not attempt to sum up what all is going on in that book. That's not to say there isn't a huge fight in this issue involving yellow and green rings; there is, and it's fun as all the action sequences in this superb series have been, but the highlight comes after the monster smashing. Through some some slightly dodgy plot mechanics, the issue culminates in a psychological show down where Jaimie, Peacemaker, and a surprising third party all have to face exactly how much control they have over what they are, and that self-realization proves more intense (and gorier) than the physical brawl that preceeds it. This ending is beautifully executed, and I'll admit; it had me wiping away tears the way only a good-vs-evil story in a superhero book can. That means I liked it.
Gotham Underground #1
Written by Frank Tieri
Pencils by Jim Calafiore, Ink by Jack Purcell, Colors by Brian Reber
Gets a B from AHR
Sweet, a new Bat Book! Sweet, it's all about villains! Sweet, it's...kind of well written? Writer Frank Tieri clearly isn't afraid to go for broke with campy characterization of our favorite Rouge's gallery - Two-Face's speech is peppered with gangstery yers-&-yas (as in, "I told ya"), Penguin has his proper share of five dollar words, and the Riddler actually says "Riddle me this" at one point. This is all for the best - if you have a bunch of rouges in the same room, the fun comes from letting several over-powering personalities bounce off of each other (Paul Dini's Almost Got 'Em is a great example). Unfortunately, there's also some staggeringly clunky lines that just don't make sense, either grammatically or conceptually. Example: "Yer about as happy to see me as a prostate exam." So he's happy as a prostate exam would be to see you? He's as happy to see you as he would be to see a prostate exam? This sort of sloppily writing occurs more than once, and this probably would have been an A issue with one more run through editorial. Still, it's bolstered by good art throughout by the reliable Jim Califioire, and two "killer" splash panels that leave a lasting impression.
Written by Gregg Hurwitz
Art by Lan Medina, Colors by Avalon's Andy Troy
Gets a C- from Albo
Uhhh... Some of the art's pretty good in this book... Hmm... Ok, the modern Foolkiller has always been Punisher-lite, right? If that's the way you think this book won't change your mind, especially since the F'killah is hardly in it. Also not helping is what writer Hurwitz once said in an interview with Newsarama: "I’m a Punisher guy. What Garth Ennis has done with Frank Castle really is what made me realize what comic books could do. The Foolkiller is obviously different in a number of ways from the Punisher, but he’s also perhaps the closest thing the Marvel Universe has to him." Uh, does Hurwitz not realize the Punisher is a Marvel character? I'm confused. Axel Alonso said of Hurwitz (also on Newsarama): "He was interested in writing a crime thriller and Punisher was off the table." So Hurwitz loves the Punisher. And so he did what other poor bastards who wished they could write the Punisher did: he dusted off Foolkiller. Big mistake. It's possible the book could get better as we figure out what's actually going on, but my hopes ain't high. Interesting note: One of Foolkiller's earlier appearances was in the original Omega: The Unknown series that Jonathan Lethem is currently faithfully remaking (and which I liked!), so he might be popping up in that book as well. 2008 may just be the year of the Foolkiller.
For all of those who don't know, Portal is the bomb diggity when it comes to PC Games. Fold is about as close to a 2D Flash version of Portal that is out there. Each level is comprised with a beginning and goal, and the character shoots something from his/her arm that only activates when it hits a wall. While it's not a portal, it's an anomaly, a round bubble-like object that pushes you in a direction. It's a doozey to figure out, but with a great game design, interesting concept and beautiful sound effects, it's definitely worth your time. Additionally, when you think you're hot stuff at this game, try out the uneasy and doubleplus uneasy levels.
Strategies: If you make an anomaly face inwards towards the wall you're aiming at, once inside, you will be able to walk on that wall. You can walk back and forth and jump. You'll notice that the main character has a ball(s) chained to his leg. The number of balls chained to his leg is the number of unused anomalies you have left.
If you're a Battlestar Galactica fan and you don't want to wait till Nov 24th to see the big exciting Razor episode, hop over to this site ASAP and register for a free screening in a real live movie thee-a-ter on the much sooner date of November 12th!
Screenings are taking place in:
- Dallas/Ft. Worth
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Francisco
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Weekanerd NYC - The Free Edition: Free T-Shirts, Free Zombie Activities, and Free Everything, Forever
Friday, October 26th
- Leopard Premiere
- 6pm -10pm @ The Apple Store Soho (103 Prince) or The Apple Store Fifth Ave (767 Fifth Ave)
Saturday, October 27th
- Tompkins Scare Park
- Noon - 8pm @ Tompkins Square, Ave A and 7th St., Manhattan
Sunday, October 28th
- The Really Really Free Market
- Noon - 5pm @ St. Mark's Church, 2nd Ave btw 10th and 11th St., Manhattan
Nightmare: Ghost Stories
Where: 107 Suffolk Street at Rivington, Manhattan
How Much: $25 for the house, $5 more for the Maze, and $50 for a VIP ticket that lets you skip the line and gets you a "goodie bag."
Nightmare's scares are purportedly based on the paranormal experiences of your fellow Yorkers. There's a poster on the wall as you wait to enter the house that runs through a dozen or so types of ghosts that you may be seeing inside: poltergeists, apparitions, phantasms, etc. I've never been much of a ghost man myself, preferring more natural horrors like insane people with sharp instruments. Fortunately they don't stick to their mission statement too strictly, as the only ghosts I remember seeing are a girl that walked through a curtain as if it were a wall (a cheap illusion that is ultimately shattered when you have to walk through the same hole to continue through the house) and a possessed girl twisted into an unnatural position up on the ceiling.
A room densely packed with stiff, tattered mummies and lit by a strobe light. The exit is on the other side of the room and you have to maneuver your way through the mannequins, brushing dangerously close to them. Your savvy haunted house-going mind knows that among the fakes are one or two "live" mummies, but the strobe light makes it nearly impossible to keep track of what you're seeing. A flash of human eyes among the mass quickly disappears and you're left wondering if you ever saw them at all.
A small room with squishy body parts and guts and excrement under your feet, and a little pot-bellied woman with a knife who eyes you up and down, giggling and muttering to herself about what a fine specimen you are. Oh, and it smells rotting-flesh awful.
The most scared I got in the house was in a claustrophobia-inducing pitch black section of the house that had some "dead end" offshoots that led nowhere. Things were backed up, so our group would be standing still in the dark for minutes at a time. Everyone would reach out and touch the person in front of them every once in a while to see if we were moving yet, and while it was partly a relief to not feel someone because it meant I could move on, it was also scary because I didn't know where the hell to go. Due to the offshoots and the little hidden hallways the actors always seemed to pop out of, it became a very real fear in my mind that I had stumbled down the wrong path and wouldn't be getting out for a long time. It didn't help that every once in a while there was a loud bang from the other side of the walls that squeezed me from both sides and I was convinced the whole thing was going to come down on top of us.
The Maze, which was just a bunch of black flats set up with no decoration or spooky lighting, provided some good fun. It was inhabited by some great actors who always seemed to know just when to pop out from around the corner and into your face. It was also the only time I felt isolated, because I struck out on my own away from the group. Being face to face with a dead girl is much spookier when there are no other people in sight.
A general lack of creativity permeated the house. Most of the actors had on white or black leotards, regardless of the situation they were supposed to be a part of. For example, one cool setup involved walking "underground" through a hallway filled with deep sand (cork, actually) that swallowed your feet. It led to a glass display where someone was stuck in a coffin, buried alive. It would be unsettling if the unfortunate victim was dressed like me, but the ballerina look really ruined it.
Overall, the sets were sparse and the fun factor low. If I had paid for the visit, I'm afraid I would have come out feeling a bit stiffed.
Where: 542 W. 27th Street, Manhattan
How Much: $28 in advance, $33 at the door, $48 to skip the line
Outside of Blood Manor, an eight foot tall two-headed creature stalks up and down the line, leaning down to gurgle unintelligible things into guests' ears. An 11 year old boy is nearly in tears yelling at the group he is with: "I ain't going in there! One a ya'll take me home! I'm not joking, I ain't going in there! Please! Some eight foot freak looking at me! He was breathing on me! It ain't funny!" His voice gets higher and higher as his pleas continue. From the beginning it's clear Blood Manor doesn't take itself as seriously as Nightmare. I laughed (albeit nervously) more than I yelped in this one.
If you know me or have been reading G'nerd long enough, you may know I'm a Robert Rodriguez slut. So imagine my joy when I turned a corner in the house and saw the neon sign: "Titty Twister: Open From Dusk Till Dawn." There was the Cheech lookalike greeting us at the door (unfortunately not giving the infamous "Pussy Speech"), the Selma Hayek lookalike vampire stripper hissing for a tip of our blood, and the exploding band lookalikes playing (well, miming) that awesome jam from the movie: bum bada dump dump dum dum dawwwng. This G'nerd's dream!
In general the house is much more dense than Nightmare. There are more rooms, and each set is dressed to the extreme. There's an obese blood smeared guy sitting at the head of a dinner table munching on the last bits of his guests, guys chasing you through strobe-lit rooms with chainsaws, and even a section where you don 3D glasses for a surprisingly fun effect. Simply: these guys aren't afraid to have some fun, and their fun becomes your fun.
There are a lot of animatronics and fake people where real people would be more fun. The guy in the electric chair, for instance, would be a lot more intense if it were a real guy writhing and screaming rather than a hissing animatronic jolting stiffly back and forth.
It really wasn't very scary, aside from the strobe light chainsaw bit.
And the Winner Is....
Blood Manor. Despite not being scared, I had a great time in the house. I felt like there was a lot of variety and care in each setup, in contrast to Nightmare's sparse and slightly homogeneous rooms.
Nightmare: Ghost Stories photos by Jaisen Crockett
Blood Manor photos by James Edstrom
Just when I think I can't possibly love artist Karl Kerschl any more, he comes out with something like this. Yowz. Why don't all comics look like this? Why don't all animated films look like this? This retelling of the original Teen Titans' origin looks to be astoundingly gorgeous, and I can only hope it's the first of many Kerschl/DC projects. The first three pages can be viewed on his blog, a well as the new DC Previews catalogue.
As we saw with his work on All Flash, Kerschl has the rare ability to draw super-powered kids that actually look like kids, as opposed to muscled-out adults who happen to be four feet tall. I like the tone of the writing as well, even as the first three pages jump right into some serious generational re-contextualization (get it? ConTEXTualization? Text mes- sorry.). What I'm trying to say is I don't mind that Dick Grayson is IM'ing. I think it's great that we can have a new version of an origin story without having it to be set in some non-specific, pseudo retro time period. As a late-comer to superhero books, I never really got to know Dick during his sidekicking days, and I can't think of a better way to get to know the original Robin than through Kerschl's superb artwork. January can't come fast enough.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
If you're of a certain age, let's say old enough to have owned a un-ironic He-Man shirt, you probably have a bunch of old cassette tapes slowly disintegrating in a box somewhere. Some tapes may be easily replaceable. Others you may have no desire to replace. But if your tape collection includes home recordings of your junior high school garage band, or taped-off-the-radio music blocks complete with early '90s commercials, or even that awesome Muppet Babies soundtrack that is now out of print, if you can believe that....these are artifacts of the past that may actually be worth preserving.
The USB Cassette Achiver allows you to easily transfer cassettes to your computer via a USB port. You can save the content as an Mp3 that will live forever in digital immortality. Of course immortality isn't cheap, and this highly specialized machine is currently going for $169 (and that's the sale price). Still, serious archivists and techheads with a weakness for nostalgia may want to add this to their Decemberween wishlist.
Via Cool Hunting
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Are movie marathons so different than actual marathons? I've never run a actual marathon, but I'm still gonna say no, they're exactly the same. Both require endurance, proper hydration, and proper stretching. Seriously, you can get cramps from sitting. But most geeks already know that. I'm talking to you, gamers.
Tomorrow, theaters around the country are hosting screenings of the complete Saw series, topping off with a midnight screening of Saw IV. I'm not a big fan, but four movies for the price of one is a sweet deal. It should also be interesting to compare the movies back to back, keeping in mind that director/producer James Wan and writer/producer Leigh Whannell have managed to knock out a new one of these things every year since their initial success in 2004. IV is the first of the series not to be written by Whannell, and instead Marcus Dunstan of Project Greenlight "fame" has taken over the task of making up all those wacky torture machines.
Ticket info after the jump...
A list of all participating theaters can be found at Break.com. Long story short, it's playing in the following states:
Fellow NYC geekanerds who are into that sort of thing can buy tickets for the Manhattan and Brooklyn screenings on Fandango. All the screenings start at 6pm.
Final Thought: When I saw the Saw IV poster for the first time, I thought that pig lady was actually hooked up to a medical IV. That would have been hilarious, but I guess that sort of visual pun is beyond the Lion's Gate marketing team.
I know, I know, 300 parodies are so last week's meme. But I find this bit from Robot Chicken highlarious.
UPDATE: Those Cartoon Network folks pulled the video from YouTube. You can view the whole Robot Chicken episode at their website. Ehh, what's wrong with these people? More people seeing your show = more people making an effort to see your show = more money made from advertisers for your show.
Via The Ramblings of Some Audio Guy
Hit the jump for the full tracklist.
Foghat - Slow Ride
Poison - Talk Dirty to Me
Pat Benatar - Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Social Distortion - Story of My Life
Encore: Kiss - Rock and Roll All Nite
Co-op Encore: Beastie Boys - Sabotage
Mountain - Mississippi Queen
Alice Cooper - School's Out
Cream - Sunshine of Your Life
Heart - Barracuda
Boss: Tom Morello - Guitar Battle
Encore: Rage Against the Machine - Bulls on Parade
Co-op Encore: The Strokes - Reptilia
The Killers - When You Were Young
AFI - Miss Murder
The Who - The Seeker
Priestess - Lay Down
Encore: Rolling Stones - Paint It Black
Co-op Encore: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Suck My Kiss
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
The Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK
Sonic Youth - Kool Thing
Weezer - My Name Is Jonas
Encore: Pearl Jam - Evenflow
Co-op Encore: Blue Oyster Cult - Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll
The Dead Kennedy's - Holiday in Cambodia
Scorpions - Rock You Like a Hurricane
Aerosmith - Same Old Song and Dance
ZZ Top - La Grange
Boss: Slash - Guitar Battle
Encore: Guns N Roses - Welcome to the Jungle
Co-op Encore: Bloc Party - Hellicopter
Santana - Black Magic Woman
Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock
White Zombie - Black Sunshine
Tenacious D - The Metal
Encore: Stevie Ray Vaughn - Pride and Joy
Co-op Encore: Matchbook Romance - Monsters
Slipknot - Before I Forget
Disturbed - Stricken
Queens of the Stone Age - 3's and 7's
Muse - Knights of Cydonia
Encore: Living Colour - Cult of Personality
Slayer - Raining Blood
Eric Johnson - Cliffs of Dover
Iron Maiden - Number of the Beast
Metallica - One
Boss: Lou - Guitar Battle
Encore: The Devil Went Down to Georgia
An Endless Sporadic - Impulse
Backyard Babies - Minus Celsius
Bret Michaels Band - Go That Far
Die Toten Hosen - Hier Kommit Alex
Dragonforce - Through the Fire and the Flames
Fall of Troy - FCP Remix
Gallows - In the Belly of a Shark
The Hellacopters - I'm in the Band
Heroes del Silencio - Avalancha
In Flames - Take This Life
Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
Killswitch Engage - My Curse
LA Slum Lords - Down N Dirty
Lacuna Coil - Closer
Lions - Metal Heavy Lady
NAAST - Mauvis Garcon
Prototype - The Way It Ends
Revolverhead - Generation Rock
Rise Against - Prayer of the Refugee
Scouts of St. Sebastian - In Love
Senses Fail - Can't Be Saved
The Sleeping - Don't Hold Back
The Stone Roses - She Bangs the Drums
Superbus - Radio Song
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sweetest Ride - Ares' Iron Manmobile, Mighty Avengers #5
Reading Bendis' Ares is such a joy! He's always pulling some crazy snit, like here where he decides the best way to get to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier is to jab a sword through one of Ultron's Iron Man clones and pilot him like he's no doubt done before to some Asgardian dragon.
Gore galore, sidekick banter, Lex Luthor's Bondage Party and more after the jump...
Most Ridiculous Splash Page - Justice League of America #14
While I might not go so far as to say I don't want any bondage porn in my comics, this is a just little extreme.
The Magic of Comics - The Programme #4
I love a good show of comic language. This panel is as simple as they get--a foot, a shoe, and a man holding his hand out. And it's clear that somebody got knocked the pluck out without the use of motion lines or any other little cheats. Purty.
Best Sidekick- Mrs. Primo, Terror Inc #3Terror Inc features one of my favorite female characters in current comics, Mrs. Primo. Her poised sense of dignity even when dealing with mountains of gore (and earlier in the book, high speed car chases) makes her the book's comic relief as well as an action hero in her own right.
Second Best Sidekick - Miss Thompson, Penance: Relentless #2
This was a really good week for assistant banter. I'm not sure when this Miss Thompson character was introduced, but she's awesome cause she tells it like it is.
Most Oddly Disturbing Image - The Umbrella Academy #2
There's a lot of strange stuff in this series, but the most disturbing moment of the series thus far comes when Kraken pulls of his mother's coat to reveal....some sort of Victorian era mannequin with human organs. The little wheels on the bottom of the contraption make the whole thing particularly sad and ridiculous.
Clone Alert - Penance: Relentless #2
That's supposed to be Tony Stark in the top panel, but damn if he doesn't look just like Mr. Gone from The Maxx.
Beatdown of the Week - Sentry vs. Ultron, Mighty Avengers #5
Wheeewwweee! Ultron can take some serious damage, and Sentry sure can deliver it. A couple panels before this he was hitting her so hard that Iron Men clones were flying out of her... If you can imagine.
The Black Adam Award For Ripping A Dude In Half - Terror Inc #3
Worst Dialogue - Countdown #28
So this kid went and hung out with Brother Eye, the semi-evil super computer. That's fine. Corny, but fine, this is DC after all. But the way "E-Mail" and "Web Site" are emphasized makes this feel like one of those newspaper strips for old people that build an entire punch-line around the mere use of the word "MySpace" or "text-message". That kid should be killed.
Last Update: 12/24/08
Portal. Portal. Portal. Sorry, let me pull myself together. So, Portal, right? We're a little obsessed here at Geekanerd, but that's understandable; the game is only a few hours long, so what are you supposed to do with your new found love and devotion once it's over?
Well, scouring the internet for auxiliary fan content and behind-the-scenes info is a good start, and that's exactly what we did. For hours, and hours, and hours. But our psychosis is your gain; we've compiled a selection of the best Portal detritus on the net, starting with this heartwarming fanart by the talented McGibs of deviantART. Aw. That kind of happy can only come from some sort of hallucinatory psychotic episode, but I suppose if you're a test subject in an abandoned laboratory you welcome the relief of insanity.
Descend further into the murky depths of Portal obsession, after the jump....
10/08/08 MILDLY EXCITING HIGHLY PUBLICIZED NEWS: You may have heard of a fan mod with a Valve stamp-of-approval. This is of course Portal: Prelude, and it's available to download now. If I sound less than enthused, it's because my love for Portal was 99.9% about the brilliance of the writing and the eerie thrill of getting to know the environment of the Aperture labs. But I'm downloading the mod as we speak, so expect a review before long.*
*UPDATE: Screw that. I played it for about twenty minutes, and that was enough. The solutions are unsatisfying, and the writing is a poor imitation of the original with bad English-as-a-second-language grammar. If you're hurting for more Portal puzzles without all of that pesky brilliant writing, you might as well download Portal: Still Alive from XBox Live.
07/14/08 MILDLY EXCITING E3 NEWS: A new version of the game for the XBox 360 is due this year, with new levels. You can listen to GLaDOS announce it.
06/10/08 RED HOT NEWS ALERT:
Ooh boy. Grab a napkin, boys and girls, cause this link will make you drool. Kotaku brings us the casting notice for a primary character in PORTAL 2, that's right, the game that Valve has been super tight-lipped about, that they said wouldn't be coming out until 2009. This notice includes a LOT of info about what we can expect from the sequel and one of it's main characters, who is not GLaDOS or Chell. It IS however someone that will ring a bell for crazyfans, but I won't say any more in case you think you can wait a year without getting spoiled about this sort of thing. You're only fooling YOURSELVES, people!
My thoughts on these startling revelations are below, skip over the next three paragraphs if you think you can hold out.
***POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR PORTAL 2 START***
The character description indicates pretty strongly that the writers be using a similar format to the original; it sounds like Cave Johnson will guide you through the game much like GLAdOS did, as she could also be said to go from "sidekick to principal antagonist". I'd even go so far as to guess that we never see him (he is described as "dead", after all), and our only visual clue is portraits like these throughout the game. The fact that he's dead might be intended as a surprise, but whatever, I knew the ending of Portal Classic before I played it, and that did little to dampen the impact of how it all unfolded.
As the Kotaku article says, this sounds like a prequel. I think that's an excellent way to go about expanding the franchise, since both in-game dialouge and the aforementioned website give a ton of implied history to build on. It does present a possible problem in giving us new features of the Portal Gun, since presumably the model we've played with would be the best of all possible Portal Guns thus far. Maybe we'll see an experimental prototype with features that were later deemed unreasonably dangerous. And will we see a bustling new vision of Apeture labs, with labcoated people milling around? I kind of hope not, but we'll see.
And in all of this excitement, wither GLaDOS? And Chell, for that matter. Maybe we'll see her in the background of Aperture Science at some point, verifying my personal theory that she was a janitor before becoming a test subject. But since Cave is the "principal antagonist", we can assume GLaDOS will be regulated to a secondary role, if not less. I don't know if I can handle that kind of disappointment. But I can't believe the writers could resist the chance to give us a look at GLaDOS in her early stages; as the Aperture website states, she was originally created as an AI unit to run fuel-line de-icers. So depending on how far back in the Portal chronology we are, a glimpse at her first Neruo-Toxin massacre may be too much to ask.
***HERE ENDETH THE SPOILAR***
Anyway, on with the show....
I. THE WEIGHTED COMPANION CUBE
The Weighted Companion Cube has proven to be Portal's breakout star. Here's some fun ways to relive the good times...before all that unpleasantness with the furnace.
- Make the little martyr your desktop wallpaper!
- Create your own with origami!
- Injest it into your body!
- Or just buy one! Valve says WCC toys be available in time for the hollerdays.
Blogger Michael Climek of Foot2Mouth ponders the appeal of the Companion Cube, and pits it against the only competition for most beloved video game inanimate object of all time: The Ocarina of Time.
UPDATE 3/31/08: Those who have a hard time separating their games from reality may not want to look directly at this next photo, which I stress is not Photoshopped...
Canadian street artist Posterchild is responsible for this bit of mind buggery, click the pic for more photos and info.
UPDATE 6/21/08: Lively Ivy, a Portal fangirl after my own heart, has created these smart ready-to-wear WCC earrings. Hit the picture to link back to her site for DIY goodness.
A search for "chell/companion cube slash fic" yields surprisingly few results, but try to console yourself with this fan art by DeviantARTist saejinoh. I particularly like the heartbroken GLaDOS in the upper left hand corner.
And speaking of GLaDOS....
For those of us who came down with a light case of Stockholm's Syndrome for our omnipresent robo-captor, here's the first of three YouTube vids that compile all 25 minutes of GLaDOS' dialogue. At last, no pesky visual stimuli to distract from the enchanting delivery of all those hilarious one-liners about death and torture.
UPDATE 2/07/08: If you're looking for a specific quote, Soundboard.com has put together this handy labeled selection of some of GLaDOS's more choice lines, available for MP3 download and suitable for start-up sounds and answering machine messages. Though they are missing some of my favorite lines such as "Did you just throw that thing-we-don't-know-what-it-does into that Aperture Science Emergency Incinerator Unit?!" I want that as my Empty Recycle Bin Sound.
Ever wonder what those detached pieces of GLaDOS AI are saying before you usher them to a fiery death? As seen in this next video, the Blue Core reels off the ingredients for, guess what, a cake. A cake that includes sediment shaped sediment, fiberglass surface resins, and an adjustable aluminum head positioner.
The Orange Core is apparently responsible for GLaDOS's curiosity AI. As noted by a YouTube commenter, it sounds almost exactly like Gir from Invader Zim, and I half expected it to start singing the Doom Song. Although I'm really glad it didn't.
Here's a compilation of the images that flash on GLaDOS's screen when you finally come face to anthropomorphizied face. The images mostly concern cake, farm animals (an attempt to show her contempt for biological beings, perhaps?), cake paired with a variety of vaguely threatening tools, and a few pictures relating to science - the very first image is the most enegmatic, a group of what look like scientists. I wonder who at Valve was tasked with putting this stuff together, they certainly look like they could be original images.
You can also read a good chunk of GLaDOS' in-game dialogue in Wikiquote's Portal Entry. It's also got transcriptions of the graffiti from the hidden rooms, including those plagiarized poems about the Companion Cube (suitable for away messages and board sigs).
UPDATE 5/31: Ooh, here we go. Don't know how I missed this for so long, but GameFaq contributor Ayelis put together a full game script, which neatly transcribes all the game dialouge in orderly paragraph form.
III. THE MUSIC
The End Credits Song...perhaps the most satisfying moment in the history of video games? If you've played the game, chances are you already downloaded the MP3. The song is by internet superstar recording artist Jonathan Coulton; he's blogged about writing the song for Valve and is even good enough to include the full lyrics and chords.
UPDATE 10/25/07: Okay, the search is over - I just found the best Portal thing on the net. The GLaDOS techno remix. Brilliant. Haunting. Hilarious. The second work of musical genius Portal has inspired. Here's the MP3.
UPDATE 01/18/07: Aussie YouTuber 256byteram sounds a bit embarrassed about his feat of fandom, judging by his video description:"Bah. I liked the terminal theme from Portal so I made it real!" The effect is incredible, despite rough camera work. Note the use of a Commodore 64 Sound Chip. Hard. Core.
UPDATE 3/9/08: Two more exceptional pieces of Portal inspired music:
A voice sample remix in the same class as The Device Has Been Modified, Neurotoxin by Midi the Kid is gobsmackingly entertaining and well-produced. It more or less tells the entire story of Chell and GLaDOS' misadventures, and really captures both the humor and the foreboding atmosphere of the game. Gnerd Editor Albo's personal fave.
There are lots of Still Alive remixes out there, but this one is the best. It's got new vocals, background loops, GLaDOS clips (of course) and it comes with a seal of approval from Jonathan Coulton himself, via his blog.
UPDATE 3/30/08: Jeruselem-based band missFlag offer up a version of Still Alive that departs from the robotic novelty of the original, and instead covers the song as a professionally-produced, alternative rock track.
IV. REACTION and OFFICIAL SITE
Portal is currently rated a mere 90% on Gamerankings, as judged by 21 reviewers who mostly fault it for it's length, or it's lack thereof. However, the Orange Box which Portal is part of is rated at 96%, which means it's the fifth best video game of all time, beaten out by the overrated Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the overhyped Super Mario Galaxy, the bit boring Metroid Prime and... Soul Calibur? Really? On Metacritic it's chalked up a reader review average of 9.7 based on 1195 votes. The most entertaining review comes from Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation, who found himself at a shocking loss for criticism, and colorfully refers to the ending as "balls tighteningly fantastic".
An oldie but a goodie; the Aperture Science Enrichment Center's website. A great viral site that'll be a lot easier to navigate if you remember your old MS DOS commands. You can log in with any name as long as you enter the password as "Portal", but you can get more content, such as a brief history of Aperture Science, by entering some info found within the game - username "cjohnson" and password "tier3". Make sure you apply to be a test subject, so you can fill out a questionnaire that reads like a cross between a job application and a psych profile. Only with more questions about your threshold for pain.
In addition to Aperture Science greeting cards, Valve released this holiday video an Easter egg found in the Aperture Science website. The gangs all here; guest of honor The WWC, a lurking turret droid, the gnome from Half Life 2, Team Fortress 2 ornaments, orange boxes, and stockings bearing the logos of the three Orange Box games. GLaDOS's invite must have gotten forwarded to her spam filter.
Valve didn't seem to anticipate the explosive success of Portal, as they made only one official Portal shirt, which is of course, totally sold out. You can put in a pre-order for when they restock, or you can check out this unofficial The Cake Is A Lie T-Shirt. Or this one. Okay, or THIS one. Jeezy Creezy, how about some originality, people? I know it's hard to avoid copyright infringement, but did everyone just forget that (SPOILER ALERT) there really was a cake? It was deliciously moist.
Update 12/10/07: The Valve Store restocked their ugly portal shirts! And added new, holiday themed Portal crap! This is the best Christmas ever! Details.
Update 12/16/07: A commenter on this post pointed us to some more sweet fan-made Portal shirts based on more obscure quotes from the game. Definitely the best of the unofficial lot.
Update 01/08: Happy New Year! I'm still obsessed with this game! Valve finally got it's ass in gear and has three great looking official Portal shirts on their site. Also, people have been commenting on this post with other good sites for unofficial shirts with a lot more choices.
VI. EVERYTHING ELSE
A few more obscure items before we close... [MORE obscure? -ed.]
Merry Xmas! Some nerds in Denmark decided to have a Portal Night at their local nerd bar....sorry, it's hard to type while I'm opening Orbitz up in the sidebar...
Those drinks are all detailed on the Official Site, but you can probably recognize a few...come on, don't those shot colors look familiar? Doesn't the drink in highball glass look delicious and moist? The others all make total sense once you click on the link, it's all quite brilliant, really.
Any Gun Turret fans out there? This one's for you.
UPDATE 2/28/08: Speaking of those lovable Gun Turrets, reader El Ramos left a comment on this post pointing to a video called A Day In The Life Of A Gun Turret, which offers a sort of The Office-esque take on how the turrets spend their days. I had in fact seen this video when it made the rounds in January, but I admit I left it off this page because I felt it failed to capture the unique character, the soul, if you will, of the turrets it depicts. A month later, I've decided maybe I need to loosen up. Hit the link to check it out in high res on Gametrailers.com.
Honestly though, I feel this drawing by Deviant Artist odaleex has more to say on the subject of what turrets are really all about. Click to check out the full res image on it's original DA page.
Update 6/20/08: Portal and Spore. Two great tastes that go great together. Here's a Turret made with the Creature Creator. Even the personality is right! I hope it's as deadly as it is adorable.
A headshot of Alesia Glidewell, the woman Chell was modeled on. The resemblance is definitely there. Apparently Alesia is a freelance filmmaker. Hey, I'm a freelance filmmaker. Sounds like we'd have a lot in common. Sigh.
A Queer Theory interpretation of Portal. It's provoking it's share of hate from commenters, but if you're like me and have a high tolerance for pseudo-intellectual over-analysis and all things lesbian, this is serious paydirt. UPDATE: Here's an even more self-serious interpretation, one that makes some interesting points about those springs Chell wears. UPDATE 2/22/08: Wow, another well thought out reading of the game, this time focusing on the role of GLaDOS as a sort of corruption of the ideal mother figure. UPDATE 4/7/08: Game-ism.com analyzises GLaDOS with the thesis that she's a prisoner as much as Chell, and her goal is freedom either via death or the destruction of Aperature labs. While I personally don't find that this interpretation rings true (my own theories on the importance of GLaDOS's motivations can be found at this Escapist Forum), it's a good exploration of the character and the post is making major waves on Digg, possibly in part because of a bondage-tastic picture of GLaDOS as a human (semi-SFW).
And to top off this Geekåsbord of Portal content, here in it's embarrassing entirety is the actual fan e-mail Geekanerd editor Albo sent to Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director of game development at Valve:
Subject: Portal Appreciation Letter
Date: October 19, 2007 4:41:43 PM EDT
I just finished playing Portal through for the second time in as many days, and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the amount of careful thought you and everyone involved put into making such a solid, unforgettable game. The last stretch where the shiny surface of the game world begins to crack and fall apart instantly became on of the most memorable gaming experiences I've ever had. It gave the feeling of breaking completely out of the game, not to a new level or even a new game but to a completely new experience, a new level of understanding. Like if I was playing Tetris on my Game Boy and suddenly I realized my thumbs weren't controlling the falling blocks, my MIND was controlling the falling blocks and the falling blocks were controlling my thumbs. I believe they call it a paradigm shift. It was refreshing to play a game that was crafted with so much care. The writing and voice acting, two things that many game developers seem to treat as an afterthought, were among the best I can recall. And ending with a song! After the game is over and you've already won us over and you wouldn't be thought less of if you just rolled the credits and cut to black, you hit us with a song! And not just some throwaway ditty, but a legitimately great tune. For the first time in a while I felt appreciated and respected as a gamer. So thank you for that.