Archive for the ‘Toys, Games and Fun’ Category

Shatner continues the ear punching

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

William Shatner, now 97 years old, continues his fight with the gorn.

At least he’s recreating a fight where he had his shirt on!

Happy Birthday Hutch

Friday, March 29th, 2013

My TeeFury Haul

Friday, March 8th, 2013

I just love TeeFury.  This site offers a new shirt design for that day, and only that day…and then it’s gone forever…almost.

Almost is because very now and then, they offer a grab bag day to clear out their inventory of remaining shirts.  The shirts are only $6, you choose your size, and you can order up to 12 of them…and it’s potluck.  Until the package arrives, you don’t know what designs you’ll get.

I’ve managed to miss EVERY grab bag day!  So when the February 2013 grab bag day arrived, I did the full 12.  I was really hoping to get the Indiana Mouse one I missed, or any of the constant Dr. Who shirts they have.  Here’s how it turned out.

The Precious Gem:

Acceptable:

The reject pile:

I’m selling all of these.  Don’t know yet if I’ll put these on eBay or what, but if you’re interested, make me an offer in the comments section!

  • Super Saiyan Man – Superman rips open his own shirt to reveal…an orange shirt with a Japanese character.  The heck? I had to look up this one.  Turns out it’s a Dragon Ball Z reference.  It’s probably cute…if you like Dragon Ball Z.
  • Camera Robot – This is probably cool if you’re a camera aficionado.
  • Boba Fett in Assassin’s Creed gear – Not my thing.
  • Tools of the Trade – I don’t even get what this shirt is for.  It must be a video game I don’t play.  Tools of the TradeOh, yep, I just looked it up.  Metal Gear Solid. And they sent me TWO of them!  That surprised me.  I didn’t think that TeeFury would stick you with two of the same shirt in a grab bag.  That kind of stinks.  I’m guessing they had a LOT of these left over and every grab bag buyer got one.  Any Metal Gear Solid fans out there?  This one is already for sale!

Not a great haul.  Honestly, only one gem, from a site that has gems that I pass by every day?  (I can’t buy every great shirt!)  Here’s hoping I can find the people who were salivating for that great shirt that got away (and wants it in 2XL).  I may even move a few of the “acceptable” ones to the sell pile.

 

Megatron versus the Windsor police?

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Despite this being an event in Canada it is indicative about our own country’s legal policies regarding toys realistically resembling firearms.

WINDSOR, Ont. — A 25-year-old Windsor man who allegedly pointed a handgun at his neighbours was arrested on Wednesday after police officers surrounded his west end residence.

The three-hour standoff forced the lockdown of a nearby elementary school, and drew a police response that included tactical officers, body armour, submachine guns, sniper rifles, a police dog and the mobile command centre.

“We treat everything as real,” said Insp. Kirk Mason at the scene after the man had been taken into custody.

“There will be a search of the premises and hopefully we’ll come up with whatever it is that he was waving out the window at his neighbours.”

But the man’s friends accused police of overreacting, and said his supposed handgun was a toy.

“It’s a Transformer,” said William Findley, 24. “It turns into a Luger. It’s an 80s-style Transformer… He’s had a really bad day. People are treating him like crap.”

Findley said his friend had a pellet gun in the house at one point, but it was elsewhere at the time of the incident, and the only thing left resembling a weapon was his “Megatron” toy gun… Mason said the original call to police was that the man had become irate over his apparent eviction, and that he’d begun “screaming and yelling” and pointing what looked like a handgun out the window of his upstairs unit… Emily, who lives next door and didn’t want her last name published, said she also saw the man point a silver-coloured pistol… Mason said charges are pending. “We’re going to be looking at some weapon offences at the very least, but we’ll have to give it some time to get to the bottom of it.”

Mason said the response level was reasonable, and in accordance with procedure. “Everything went very smoothly, as usual,” he said.

Regarding the complaints of some in the neighbourhood, Mason said: “Well, I’ll let the neighbours be the judge. If somebody’s wagging a gun in your face… I would hope that would get police attention.”

Megatron, the toy robot in question, transforms into a Walther P38, actually.

That is beside the point, of course, that the toy in question transforms from a robot to an artifact that resembles a genuine firearm.  It is my understanding that under current American law it is illegal to manufacture and sell toys that realistically resemble real guns.  Necessarily these items could be used to alarm police.  Some would say that this is for safety reasons but the real purpose is to compensate for an overly litigious age that desperately needs tort reform.

It does mean that no replicas of particular toys from my childhood will be reproduced.
I never did understand why a Decepticon Commander converted into a weapon for another individual to hold.

New Green Lantern video game arrives in a week!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Great Guardians!!! Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters arrives in stores on June 7th!

Inspired by the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero feature film Green Lantern, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters soars onto game consoles this summer, extending the theatrical experience of one of DC Entertainment’s most popular superheroes.  Players will use the most powerful weapon in the universe, the Green Lantern Power Ring, to build an array of weapons from green energy to defeat the Manhunters – an evil android race bent on destroying the Green Lantern Corps.

Packed with intergalactic missions, alien androids and out-of-this-world combat, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters is an action-adventure videogame that delivers the Green Lantern experience right into the hands of gamers.

Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters soars onto game consoles on June 7th for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS. Playing as gifted pilot Hal Jordan, the first human Green Lantern, gamers will create an arsenal of ring constructs and take flight in outer space and beyond to restore intergalactic order.  The game also features enhanced graphics, 3D Capabilities, Co-op gameplay, and features Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan!

This Facebook link also connects you to the 360 Energy Viewer where you can view exciting screenshots as if you were rotating around a motionless Keanu Reeves.

Oh…and I will have a game review for the Wii soon after the release.  Watch this space!

A triumphant Darth Vader

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

The warlord Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has been hiding in a cave-ridden desert region for 20 years, has been found and killed.  This according to Darth Vader.

Biggest educational time-waster ever

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

TV Tropes.  You get linked there to learn about a literary trope in television, movies, comic books, etc.  For instance, I’m writing about a female barbarian character, and in researching costuming I ended up reading about Chain Mail Bikinis.  This leads to what the Most Common Superpower is, and how this often involves a Victoria’s Secret Compartment hidden in a Cleavage Window, leading to Power Girl’s catchphrase, “My Eyes Are Up Here“.  And then you just start reading about super-heroines with Boobs of Steel.  And on every page, there are dozens of examples.  And… oh my gosh, it’s 4:00 AM and I haven’t written anything!

Apparently, I’m not the only person who finds TVTropes more addicting than… well, I guess “crack” but I wouldn’t be able to say from experience. I can say it’s AS addicting as Cracked.

P.S.  While composing this article, I ended up surfing the site for three hours before remembering to hit “Publish”.

Awesome preview movie for DCU MMORPG

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Oh yeah. I’m posting it. I can be a lemming if I try.

Scenes from the lost Babylon 5 Combat Simulator

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Check out these videos of a Babylon 5 space combat simulator video game that, sadly, was canceled only a month or two before it was set to be released in 1999/2000. The special effects still look great.

Rats.

Since no official video game has ever been made, you can make do with an unofficial free game, “I’ve Found Her.”  There’s also a full mod of “Star Trek: Armada 2” which converts it all to the Babylon 5 universe.

My toys! MINE!

Friday, June 4th, 2010

This week, a three-year-old named Grayson stopped by our house. He came into our home office and spotted all my comic book merchandise from DC Direct and others atop the book shelves.

He said, “Can I play with those?” and pointed to all of my MIB stuff (Mr. Miracle and Big Barda, three different Elongated Men, the Metal Men figures, Sam the Eagle, Ernie Pyle’s G.I. Joe figure, a Talking Presidents Donald Rumsfeld, etc.).

And I felt really sad to be a forty year old man with a bunch of toys I won’t let out of their boxes.

Champions Online Review, part 3

Friday, March 26th, 2010

This installment, I will cover combat and tutorial zones

Once you create your character, you’re ready for combat. What better way to introduce you to the mechanics of the game than to land you smack dab in the middle of an alien invasion! Fortunately, you have the best superteam, the Champions, assisting you.
During this tutorial, you are introduced to the game mechanics such as attacking, draining power for energy, and blocking for defense. On the way you are given various mini missions, such as rescuing civilians, assisting emergency teams, gathering info on the invaders, and of course blasting aliens back to their home planet.
After you successfully finish the training mission and are rewarded for your efforts, you then have a choice of participating in two more instances (or crises) in the southwest desert, or northern Canada. In both, you will be introduced to arms, science, or mystic crafting, where you collect the necessary components to craft items for offence, defense, general utility, weapon/power enhancement, or various instant powers (summoning robots, healing, shields etc.)
After the crisis is resolved (for now) you can finally play the game proper. You can start by purchasing new powers gained by leveling through training, and crafting new items. You can also continue searching for missions through contacts in the desert or Canadian zones. If you feel you leveled enough, you can return to Millennium City, and start missions there.
The game zones themselves are worth mentioning. The second introductory zones, as mentioned are a desert, and arctic zone. The desert zone contains a ghost town (complete with ghosts) a radioactive wasteland, supervillain prison, and a wild west theme park, all with unique adventure possibilities. The Canadian zone includes patriot/terrorists, supernatural threats, and clone armies. All designed to be a formidable threat to your character.

In the next installment, I will cover Millennium City, some of the later zones, major villain groups, supergroups and teaming, powersets, and missions unique to this MMO.
In the meantime, here is a MashOn comic of my character Psyche. Enjoy!

Champions Online review, part 2

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Character creation is basically the same with both Champions Online and City of X, with some exceptions. Most notably, are the number of Characters you can create per server. In COH, I believe you can create 10 heroes or villains on each server (please correct me if I’m wrong) In Champions, for now you are limited to 8.
In the actual character creation, Champions allows for 5 major frameworks (Psionic, Magic, Mechanical, Martial arts, or general powers) divided further into 3 minor frameworks which can be used individually, combined with others within the major, or other minor powers outside the major. For instance, A player may choose to use electrical powers under force. He might then decide to augment his powers further by adding an electrical generated shield (still within the framework). He THEN might decide to use mechanical based shielding for protection, thus, choosing a power outside of force.
After setting up powers and the costume, the last thing is naming. In most MMOs that I’ve played, all the popular names have been taken. For instance, in COH, I wanted to name a character Scattershot, but the name was already taken. In my case, I came up with Scatterstrike, which solved my problem. However, in most cases, I’ve seen characters named ‘Devildood’, ‘Mightyguy123’, etc which to me, spoils the work and imagination that you put into character creation (it reminds me of trying to create an anonymous yet cool sounding user ID on a message board, only to find that 100 other users had the same idea). Champions solved this problem, by connecting the names to the User ID of the character. IE, I have a character named Psyche, which I created from the pen and paper days. I created a character based on her, and successfully named her, despite the fact there were at least 50 other characters named Psyche. Below is my character, then and now.

Next up, gameplay

Some Screenshots from Champions Online

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

I meant to post these the other day, but for some reason, these pictures would not scale down. Thankfully, Mike fixed this problem.

Champions Online review, part 1

Monday, January 4th, 2010

I have received this MMO as a gift last week, and find it a significant improvement over Acclaim’s City of Heroes/Villains, but not without flaws.

First, a bit of history…

Champions began as a pen and paper RPG back in the early 80s. It would spawn the HERO system, which could be used for a variety of different genres (fantasy, space, secret agents, etc.). Plans were made for a computer game based on the series, but was eventually scrapped. After a brief revival in the RPG field, the game has finally entered cyberspace.

The theme of the game is simple. You start out as an up and coming hero who can choose from a wide selection of powers, ranging from strength, speed, magic, etc, to help protect Millennium City. During gameplay, you will encounter a wide range of foes, almost all stemming from the RPG. These include the muscled monster Grond(basically a four armed Hulk) the furious and fun loving Foxbat (sort of like Die Fleidermaus from The Tick, except worse) and the ultimate arch fiend, Dr. Destroyer. Villain groups include my personal favorite VIPER(like COBRA, except with brains) PSI (an organization where all members have some sort of Psionic powers) and possibly others.

Next installment, I will cover game mechanics, and comparisons between the other Superhero MMO, City of Heroes.

The 15 Worst Comics of the Decade

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

The 15 Worst Comics of the Decade – ComicsAlliance.com.

the Darker Seid of Life

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

By all means we at Monitor Duty should have written dozens of histories and recaps and essays about DC Comics’ vile Kirby demon, the evil New God Darkseid.  By now there should be hundreds of references and odes of love.  If kicked we might see it happen in the future, but I do not care to do that now.

Recently when I should have been working I googled for Grant Morrison interviews about Darkseid.  To tell you the truth I do not think that Mr. Morrison has anything profound  or unusual to say about the character but I like the way he puts together words and descriptions.   He puts together ideas that are not necessarily new or great in ways that are interesting and entertaining.  Honestly that is a good thing.  It does not matter whether the ideas are his or not.  His 52 co-writers claim that his virtue is not his creativity but his fearlessness.  He will go where his fellows will not and that seems like a strength to me (and a burden to editors and marketing staff).

Grant Morrison successfully delivers upon the marketing and communication of old ideas mixed together in way that editors would not let less experienced writers attempt.  That is the only reason I bother looking for his interviews.  I like his words; Ienjoy good poetry.  I do not care to give him credit for new meanings or new ideas.

Here is a quick Darkseid link dump.  It might be nice if, in the future, Monitor Duty has the greatest and most authoritative Darkseid link directory.  Let us leave that for the future.

  • Marc Singer, who is not the Beastmaster, writes a defense of Darkseid against the Howling Curmudgeon, in that he declares why the character is a good one, but insists the biggest injury upon the character is its overuse.  They agree on the character’s three best stories but alos there are moe good stories with the character.  The most profound note is that the character is used best in stories where he seems to die a permanent death.  I think that the character is not made better by having no inner conflict, but to have the character have an inner conflict is to write him out of character.  Most good characters have inner struggles; to an extent it easier to see the super-villain in this case as a plot device.  In this light most villains are plot devices more than characters.  I can think of exceptions like Lex Luthor (depending on the writer, of course) and Doctor Doom, both of whom are self-realized as Darkseid is.  Yet Luthor (again depending on the writer) has a character arc involving his own jealousy, need for attention, his place in the world, and possibly friendship with Superman.  Doom struggles with vanity above all.  Darkseid has not issues.  He merely is.  He will never grow and he will never learn.  He will simply act, conquer, enslave, and at the end of the story arc in question he will die.  Occasionally he gets trapped in the Source Wall or something.
  • A lot of this comes from a September calling for Darkseid essays.  Who has the time?  The point is that Darkseid “is a person” and I cannot say it is wrong because I sadly have read less Kirby New Gods material than I should, due to cost constraints.  As it is, what I declared in the point above is that recently Darkseid is a more a plot device, an abstract menace (as Galactus has almost always been) because while he may have been a person with a personality most writers simply treat him as an abstract personification of a dark ethos.
  • The best response is this: by Keith Giffen in his Ambush Bug mini-series.
  • Andrew Hickey insists that Darkseid’s desire to seize control of all life, the universe, and the entirety of creation and existence is borne out of fear of death.  Mr. Miracle is the logical counterpoint and the arch-enemy of Darkseid because as an escapological archetype he is positioned outside of the constraints of control.  Yet Scott Free himself is still not a direct and successful contrast because Darkseid name him and set his purpose.  That is Mr. Hickey’s point anyway and I am not certain I buy into it.  This plays all into ideas of “degrees of freedom” but as a Liberal Democrat (in the UK political sense) Mr Hickey’s views about what is acceptable as a definition or execution, application of freedom is suspect.
  • The first Darkseid story I ever read was not the entire story but the final chapter of a JLA/JSA team-up story.  As was the the fashion at the time the occasional/formal meeting between the League and the Society finds it self linked to a third super-team, in this instance the New Gods.  I remember Justice League of American #184 (and here is the cover) because the New Gods were not only definitely super-heroes in this incarnation (and there is nothing wrong with that) but Darkseid has a personality, he is a villain with motivations and relationships.  In point of fact the bulk of the story is about relationships as well as a rise to power.  Upon his return from his most recent death in the New Gods strip from Adventure Comics, Darkseid punishes the Injustice Society for accosting his son Orion, clearly with a view of propreitry and seeing Orion as a creature, a prince, someone whose fate is more tied to Darkseid’s whim than mere encounters with bad guys.  Orion’s group consists of a Leaguer and a Society member.  All the split-groups  (I love how they follow the Gardner Fox tradition) consist of such a configuration.  For isntance Batman’s group has Mr. Miracle and the Huntress because both are versions of him in the different worlds of the different teams.  At this point each team resides in a different dimension of the DC Comics storytelling.   Because Darkseid has his relationship with the New Gods he seeks to teleport Apokolips to the spot where Earth-2 resides, destroying Earth-2 and thus landing his domain inside a universe where there would be no heroes, and no heroic New Gods.
  • OAFE assesses/contrasts two Darkseid action figures making his size and sculpt major emphasis.  The Mattel version, which is the one really looked at, comes with a Mother Box as his accessory, and despite being smaller than the DC Direct Darkseid figure, is apparently just better.  Of course there is a brief history asserting that Darkseid only recently became a Superman villain despite that his first appearance was in a Superman comic.  He also discusses Grant Morrison’s formulation of the Anti-Life Equation.

I think there is something to be said that properly written the villain is a character but this applies to every character.  It is also important to note that the ending of the story as well as how often the character appears has serious impact for story quality.

Superhero Facebook

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Too funny.

Free Destructoid stuff during Twitter Party on Friday!

Friday, August 21st, 2009

I’m passing this along from my friend at Rocket XL:

We just set up a Twitter party with Destructoid … We’ll be giving away a PS3 Slim and limited edition Eddie Riggs (Jack Black) statues to lucky followers who tweet using the hashtag #brutallegend during the party. Below is some info about the Destructoid/Brutal Legend Twitter Party you can share:

• Party Date: 8/21/09 (Tomorrow!)
• Start Time: 3PM Central
• End Time: 5PM Central
• Prizing:
· 1 – PS3 Slim
· 5 – Eddie Riggs Statues
· 25 – Fan Packs (stickers, zipper pulls & patches)

• Join the party with the hashtag #brutallegend

• Follow @dinomas and answer his questions to have a chance to win the Slim PS3 and other prizing

• Use a Twitter tracking service like www.tweetgrid.com, with the #brutallegend tag, which will help you follow the party in real time

• Destructoid posting – http://www.destructoid.com/we-host-a-brutal-legend-twitter-party-you-win-a-ps3-slim–144995.phtml

We’ll be working with other Brutal Legend initiatives as well and let me know if you want to be kept up to date. Also, if you have any questions pls feel free to ask and definitely let your readers know ASAP, as the party takes place tomorrow at 3pm Central.

Brutal Legend Doth Cometh!

• All things Brutal Legend – www.brutallegend.com

• Join in the discussion – www.twitter.com/brutallegend

• Breaking Brutal Legend news – www.facebook.com/brutallegend

6 Islands of Horror — No, Real Islands!

Monday, June 8th, 2009

I hate Cracked.com. Mostly because it’s an addictive site that can eat up productivity like no one’s business. Just one list after another. They have some very witty writers, although their unedited nature with swear words in every article, sub-heading and very often even page titles makes it a bit hard for me to take. I just don’t like patronizing sites that I cannot link people to without including, in good conscience, warnings to the audience.

So here’s your warning: Swear words everywhere. Also, this story is not for the faint of heart. Warning over.

Now, read about 6 Real Islands Way More Terrifying Than The One On ‘Lost’, including one that sounds like the Well of Souls if it were an island, a haunted island, a cannibal island of terror… and an island that subjected Japanese soldiers to their own alligator version of Quint’s U.S.S. Indianapolis monologue.

Winner of funniest name for a web site award

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

John Cleese’s Nigerian Lottery