Posts Tagged ‘Borag Thung Earthlets!’

The Fuckest Uppest

Monday, October 6th, 2008

The Force Unleashed is a video game that?s been in development for some time. It was originally described as “The Star Wars Event of 2007″, which obviously didn’t happen, in fact the game was held back for so long that some wags dubbed it “The Force Unreleased”. However, it has finally appeared, and offers the chance to play the part of a backwards lightsaber wielding badass, who generally slaughters people and smashes stuff up with the force. What more could you want from a game?

The game’s technical innovations include Digital Molecular Matter, which applies different properties for different materials, so that wood splinters, metal bends and glass shatters, the Havok physics engine, and Euphoria AI. This might sound totally awesome and groundbreaking (no pun intended), but the reality is that three different software engines rucking up against eachother can create some seriously funky effects. At one point in the game I became entombed in the gooey gums of a sarlaac, which I’m sure wasn’t meant to happen. It brought back memories of an old Nemesis The Warlock game on the ZX Spectrum, in which the player, on reaching a particular level, would invariably appear trapped in the interface under the screen with no way of getting out. Didn’t anyone playtest that thing? That game sure as hell didn’t have any real world physics simulation (but on the other hand it did allow you to spit acid).

I don’t play a ton of games these days, so the prevailing feeling I get from The Force Unleashed is nostalgia for Dark Forces and the Jedi Knight series. It even features Dark Troopers, which initially gave me cause for concern, but when you look at the timeline (a couple of years prior to Episode 4) it’s not too distant from that of Dark Forces (uh, a year after it?). Hey look buddy, that stuff matters to some of us, OK? The original reason I bought a PC back in ’95 was so I could play Dark Forces (along with the excellent flight sim TIE Fighter), and a few years later I upgraded specifically to be able to play Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight (do I need to tell you at this point that I’m a Star Wars nerd? Really? Did you not read any of the other posts?).

 

Dark Forces

Dark Forces: Nicking the Death Star plans, Part 13

 

 

In Jedi Knight, Dark Forces? central character, the mercenary Kyle Katarn found a lightsaber and gradually learned the jedi arts of pushing people off ledges and jumping three times higher than normal. This game also featured live action cutscenes, which was pretty damn impressive in 1997. The guy that played Kyle had the grizzled, hero with a past look down, but I think I saw him in one of those soft porn dramas that Channel Five used to show late at night. At least I don’t recall seeing him get down to business, because that would have been far too harrowing. Later, in Jedi Outcast, he acquired lots more polygons and an adversary who bore more than a passing resemblance to Barney the Dinosaur. In Jedi Academy you actually played a different character, but seeing as you could finally use the double bladed saber Darth Maul style, nobody was fussed about whether you were still Kyle.

 

The Force Unleashed: I have a badass feeling about this

The Force Unleashed: I have a badass feeling about this

 

 

So anyway, for all its next gen sparkle, lush graphics and compelling storyline (which I liked, although I’m not sure I quite bought the big twist, and was that droid really using the force?), simply put, The Force Unleashed is the latest iteration of the Jedi Knight games, and as I’ve always been a fan of lobbing stormtroopers about and then lightsabering the shit out of them, that most definitely gets a thumbs up from me.

 

 

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Judge Not

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Leeds has often been called The Cradle of Civilisation, and it’s easy to see why when there’s an event as enjoyable as Thought Bubble. Once again I’m hearing nothing but good things about Saturday’s Comics Convention/Festival/Thingy.

Relieved that I had managed to get the new issue of Hope For The Future printed on time (get it here, bitches. Well, after I get some more printed, that is. Big up to our friends at Print X for doing such an excellent job, incidentally), I was able to abandon my usual irascible and hateful demeanour and just enjoy the event. As we were setting up I was casually sliding underneath our table, and was told off by a zombie, for contravening heath and safety regulations, which set the template for the day. Shortly afterwards, a couple of Mega City Judges walked by, and I (trying to show off my geek credentials) suggested to “Judge McMahon” that his boots should be bigger. He suggested that he should smash my face in with a daystick. It’s good to see some of these people don’t break character.

Thought Bubble not only focuses on the traditional twin pillars of comic conventions, signings by professional comics creators and a ton of merch, but equally important to the day are the independent creators like us, and the cosplayers. A lot of people roll their eyes when they see cosplayers but I think it adds a lot of colour to the event, which would otherwise be predominately ragged, mundane looking men in t-shirts. And to be honest, I’d rather see Harley Quinn and Catwoman than, well, people who look like me. Talking of which…

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was by this. It doesn’t come across in the photo, but this guy was massive. He even had the cyborg asthma thing going on as well. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to taking that many photos (the ones I did get are all up on the Thought Bubble Facebook Group page) so I missed out some other notable costumes. By the way, I don’t care what anyone says, Vader with boobs is not canon.

Andrew has sold out of Chimpanzee Democracy, and has decided not to get any more printed, because he hates giving people what they want for money. He also hasn’t drawn any comics in ages even though we keep telling him his stuff’s ace. Rest assured we will keep nagging him. Oliver is a non combatant in the ongoing war of sequential art, but had brought his trusty ukulele along to give him something to do with his hands. He also offered to write a song for anyone who came to our table, but ended up musically accusing somebody of being a paedophile. This is probably not good business practise.

Similarly, offering all your sketches for just 50p is a bit daft, especially when some of them are quite good because you prepared them beforehand. I was inundated with requests including group portraits, Spider-Man and Stephen Hawking, which I dutifully completed, but neglected to take photos of any of them for posterity. On the plus side I managed to shift my “Edward Cullen: What a cunt!” pic. I guess now I need to do one where I call Wolfboy a bellend. What do you say, Twilight fans?

When you’re hell bent on selling your stuff there’s not much time left for networking with your comics making brethren, and certainly none for queueing up to meet the guy who writes “Elf Wizardz”. But having said that I think we had more people stop at our table than in previous years, many of whom said they weren’t massive comics fans but just came by to see what was going on and decided to stay because it looked interesting, which strikes me as very healthy. And the monkey on the cover thing? Totally works!

I had a brief chat with Award Winning Artist Neill Cameron, who I think got tired of me constantly referring to him as Award Winning Artist Neill Cameron, as he claims he hasn’t won any awards, but I reckon he’s just forgotten. You should check out his book Mo-Bot High, but don’t take my word for it. This review sums it up better than I ever could. We also finally met the guys from Geek Syndicate, who are thoroughly decent and charming fellas. I seem to remember them filming us trying, and failing to explain what HFTF is actually about. This is something I have difficulty with at the best of times, which is why I prepared this handy visual guide:

I’ll be honest with you, by this time some drink had been taken. I realise that’s an incredibly boorish thing to go on about, but we are no doubt friendlier when in our cups, even if our diction, penmanship and spelling suffers. Oliver was doing his usual trick of laughing loudly at someone else’s comic (in this case My Cardboard Life), and for some reason we were singing the hits of Boston, but this is just an indication that we were having a good time.

Soon after this we were swanning around the Alea Casino, like a badly dressed Rat Pack. In previous years we have bailed fairly earlier and found some dingy pub in favour of the after party, but this year we hung around. Pausing only to start a rumour that they were going to show Labyrinth in the screening room – I think we even started to believe that this would actually come to pass and we would be confronted by Bowie’s oversized junk on the big screen – we then moved on to the dancefloor, which resembled a wedding disco for nerds. People seriously lost their shit over the themes from Ghostbusters and Poddington Peas. After a while it turned into a bit of a 90s indie night, and I have to hand it to whoever had the idea to play Kandy Pop by long forgotten one hit wonders Bis. I thought we were the only people in the universe who remembered them (although I always preferred this), but everyone else was dancing along. This made Andrew’s night. Seriously, if he’d found a mint copy of Amazing Fantasy 15 in his loft he wouldn’t have been happier.

I saw a lot of happy faces that day, and that’s a testament to what a great atmosphere this convention has. We had a whale of a time, and can’t wait for next year. Congratulations to the organisers, for putting together such a successful event, and thankyou to everyone who came up to our table for a chat. And if you bought anything I’ll love you forever. Yeah I’ve turned over a new leaf. No longer am I the most miserable sod in comics (not while the guy that ran the UK Web & Minicomix Thing is around. JUST KIDDING. Or am I?).

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