Over the Garden Wall One-shot Preview article

OverTheGardenWall_coverABoom! Studios has been great to us over here at Fear and Gaming, and we love the diverse crop of independent and brilliantly done comics they offer. We love to take the opportunity when we have it to post reviews and previews of their works. This is one of those chances. Below find a few page preview of “Over the Garden Wall” a one-shot comic by Patrick McHale and illustrated by Jim Campbell, and is an accompaniment to the first ever original cartoon by Cartoon Network. Please enjoy the preview and heavenly artwork. Make sure to pick up a copy of the comic as well. Make sure to follow me on twitter @rpdgame. For reviews of Boom! Studios’ comics, stop by Hank Van Hawkins’ blog here.

Buy Over the Garden Wall

 

 

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Marvel comics S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 Launch Party

Deadpool has a long history of working with, and killing, various members of SHIELD.
Deadpool has a long history of working with, and killing, various members of SHIELD.

Hello faithful followers and Marvel fanatics. Looks like the fine folks over at Marvel are actually sending out some information that isn’t cryptic or a reboot. High tech stuff, Deadpool, and it looks like and a half-dozen variant covers are just some of the information from Marvel with their S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 launch party too. Damn, I really hate acronyms, especially ones that long. I’m not a fan personally of SHIELD, their television or their role in the Marvel universe, but that doesn’t mean I won’t share the information with my greedy readers. And hey, There’s Deadpool.

So, in addition to some sweet images and actual information, Marvel is having retailers throw some parties to celebrate the #1 of the previous typed out acronym from Marvel. Eisner Award winner Mark Waid is writing the new series with a rotating cast of incredible artists with some serious gravitas in their backgrounds. Man, I love using Latin in my articles. Anyway, let us know what you think of the new SHIELD launch, and share our site with your friends. Without much more ado, here’s the Marvel information you’re waiting for below. Look out for the artwork attached as well.

 

Marvel Welcomes You to Level 8 For The S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 Launch Party!
Your Local Comic Shop is Your Place to Be on New Year’s Eve!

 

A large cast of characters is sure to be included in the new SHIELD launch. Yes, I am refusing to use SHIELD as an acronym typie thingie.
A large cast of characters is sure to be included in the new SHIELD launch. Yes, I am refusing to use SHIELD as an acronym typie thingie.

End the calendar year with a bang this New Year’s Eve as high-tech weapons, high-stakes missions and high-octane adventure come to a comic shop near you with S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 – the debut issue of one of the most highly anticipated titles of the year! In addition to being among the first to purchase and read this exciting first issue, fans will also be able to receive special items exclusive to these launch parties.

 

Along with All-New Miracleman Annual #1S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 stands as one of only two Marvel comics being released on 12/31 and Marvel making sure comic book stores nationwide are armed and ready to close out 2014 with a bang when these two books explode onto stands!

 

Written by Eisner-award winning writer Mark Waid and drawn by a rotating crew of top-flight including Carlos Pacheco, Humberto Ramos, Alan Davis and more – each issue of S.H.I.E.L.D. teams Special Agent Phil Coulson and his team with the best and brightest the Marvel Universe has to offer. From Thor to Ms. Marvel to Captain America to Howard the Duck. If you’ve got the skills – S.H.I.E.L.D. has a mission for you!

To ensure these parties are a success, each retailer opting in to the event will receive a S.H.I.E.L.D. Party Kit from Marvel, containing exclusive promotional materials. Check your Marvel Mailer for more information on how to opt-in to ensure your store has these exclusive promotional items including two-sided S.H.I.E.L.D. trading cards and Skottie Young lithographs.

But that’s not all! Don’t miss out on your chance to snag some exciting variant covers to S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 featuring your favorite Marvel characters! S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 Launch Parties are the best place to get your hands on one-of-a kind variant covers including John Tyler Christopher’s highly collectible Deadpool Party Variant, a photo variant featuring Agent Coulson and Agent May from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a set of 6 variant covers from Marvel’s rising star artists, the All-New Young Guns!

SHIELD_1_Cover

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (OCT140813)
S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 LAUNCH PARTY OPT-IN (OCT140820)
Written by MARK WAID
Art by CARLOS PACHECO
Cover by JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO

Deadpool Party Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (OCT140816)
Set of 6 All-New Young Guns Variants by MAHMUD ASRAR,

STEVE MCNIVEN, DAVE MARQUEZ, SARA PICHELLI, VALERIO SCHITI

& RYAN STEGMAN (OCT140817)

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Photo Variant Also Available (OCT140818)
Variant Covers by  SKOTTIE YOUNG (OCT140815) & MIKE DEODATO (OCT140814)

Blank Variant Also Available

FOC – 11/10/14, On-Sale 12/31/14

 

For more on Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D., please visit www.marvel.com. Join the conversation on Twitter and don’t forget to follow us at @Marvel [www.twitter.com/Marvel]!

 

Deadpool in B&W n almost as cool as deadpool in just red. And anything with Deadpool makes anything with SHIELD better.
Deadpool in B&W n almost as cool as deadpool in just red. And anything with Deadpool makes anything with SHIELD better.

To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook.

Boom! Box announces its first trade paperback ‘The Midas Flesh’ part 1

We’re always keen to see anything new from Boom! Studios, especially our writer Hank Van Hawkins. We’re even more excited to see something from the Boom! off-shoot Boom! Box. The cover for Midas Flesh is gorgeous, and the creative collective of Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb have crafted what looks to be an indie darling and cult hit. I’m personally brushing up on the series myself before the trade drops. Read on below for more details, and keep up with our blog to receive up-to-date indie news, especially Boom! Studios content.

This is the Emily Partridge cover for Midas Flesh
Gorgeous and haunting Illustration by Emily Partridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOM! Box, an Imprint of BOOM! Studios, Announces Its First Collected Trade Paperback with ‘The Midas Flesh’ Vol. 1
The Midas Flesh Vol. 1 TP Cover by Emily Partridge

November 5,  2014 – Los Angeles, CA – Nearly one year ago, award-winning publisher BOOM! Studios announced their newest imprint BOOM! Box, a home for comics “made for the love of it.” The publisher is now pleased to announce the collected first volume of the imprint’s inaugural series, The Midas Flesh. Created by the longtime creative team behind the Adventure Time comics, writer Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics) and artists Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb, The Midas Flesh is an edge-of-your-seat, save-the-universe adventure with two butt-kickin’ ladies and a dinosaur in a spacesuit. The first volume collects issues #1-4 of this quirky space epic and features a casewrap covered in striking gold fingerprints.

“When you create an imprint that’s intended to encourage weird, experimental, and eclectic comics, you have to start off with a series that really embodies that mission,” said BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “The Midas Flesh is just that for BOOM! Box. Ryan, Shelli, and Braden have already proven themselves to be some of the best storytellers in comics with their run on Adventure Time, and they’ve outdone themselves with The Midas Flesh. Plus: dinosaur on a spaceship. Hard to beat that.”

About The Midas Flesh: We’ve all heard of the Midas Touch. You know, the Greek myth about the man who did a number on himself by wishing for everything he touched to turn to gold? Well, you haven’t heard everything. Joey and her space crew have decided to return to Earth—a planet completely sectioned off, abandoned, and covered in gold—to find out exactly what happened to this once thriving planet and see if they can use that knowledge against the evil empire that’s tracking them down. As luck would have it, they just landed the most powerful weapon in the universe: some ancient dead guy’s body.

The Midas Flesh Vol. 1 trade paperback arrives in comic shops on December 3rd with a cover price of $14.99 under Diamond order code OCT141163. The cover is illustrated by Emily Partridge (Adventure Time). The Final Order Cutoff deadline for retailers is November 10th. Not sure where to find your nearest comic retailer? Use comicshoplocator.com or findacomicshop.com to find one! It’s also available for order directly from boom-studios.com.

 

ABOUT BOOM! STUDIOS

Founded by Ross Richie in 2005, Diamond Gem Award-winning “Best Publisher” BOOM! Studios (boom-studios.com) generates a constellation of best-selling Eisner and Harvey Award-winning original and licensed comic books and graphic novels with the industry’s top talent. BOOM! Studios is comprised of four distinct imprints. The original Studios imprint is home to Mike Carey’s Suicide Risk; James Tynion IV’s The Woods; Mark Waid’s Irredeemable; Sons of Anarchy; and Big Trouble in Little China. Steven Grant’s graphic novel 2 Guns was released as a feature film from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. BOOM!’s all-ages imprint KaBOOM! publishes Charles Schulz’ Peanuts; Jim Davis’ Garfield; Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, Regular Show, The Amazing World of Gumball, and Steven Universe; Mike Kunkel’s Herobear and the Kid; and Natasha Allegri’s Bee and PuppyCat. BOOM!’s experimental imprint BOOM! Box publishes The Midas Flesh and Lumberjanes. In June 2013, BOOM! acquired Archaia Entertainment (archaia.com). Archaia is the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning graphic novel publisher of Mouse Guard, Cow Boy, Gunnerkrigg Court, Rust, and Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand. In October 2013, BOOM! Studios entered into a unique first-look relationship with 20th Century Fox, giving the studio access to its library of titles and giving the publisher access to Fox’s vast catalog of films. In August 2014, BOOM! Studios began a similar first-look relationship with 20th Century Fox TV to develop properties for the small screen.

Ubisoft’s Crew content and Closed Beta information

Racing for the next generation with The Crew
Racing for the next generation with The Crew

Time to get with it those of you looking forward to The Crew. Ubisoft has a load of new information for their upcoming closed beta as well as season pass for the Crew. There’s a too much information to summarize here. Well, actually there’s not TOO much information, I’ll just let Ubisoft do the talking with their press release below.

What are you most looking forward to from Ubisoft? The crew? The new Assassin’s Creed? Let us know.

UBISOFT® DETAILS THE CREW™ LIVE CONTENT PLANS & KICKS OFF CLOSED BETA

SAN FRANCISCO — November 6, 2014 — Today, Ubisoft® revealed Season Pass and live content details for the action-driving MMO, The Crew™. The first of four themed Car Packs, new missions, new stickers and tuning kits will start rolling out to players in January 2015 with new PvP modes to follow shortly after.

Each pack will be available for purchase on its own for $6.99, or all packs can be purchased as part of the Season Pass for $24.99. Season Pass holders will have access to two exclusive cars at launch on December 2 and will receive early access to each of the four car packs one week in advance.

The Crew Season Pass will be available for the Xbox One and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, and Windows PC. The Crew Season Pass will be included in The Crew Gold Edition. This digital edition is available on the Uplay® Shop, across PC digital channels as well as on PlayStation®Network and Xbox Live (Xbox One only).

The Crew Season Pass includes:

  • Two exclusive cars – McLaren 12C and Ferrari 458 Speciale –  available to Season Pass holders at launch
  • One-week early access for all add-on car packs content
  • Four packs, 12 cars total:
    • Extreme Car Pack- available January 2015, includes performance cars, perfect for exhilarating, high-octane missions
    • Speed Car Pack- available February 2015, includes sports cars, finely tuned for breakneck-speed races
    • Vintage Car Pack- available March 2015, includes vintage rides, fashionable for missions set in iconic American locales
    • Raid Car Pack- available April 2015, includes off-road vehicles, highly recommended for all-terrain missions
  • 23 additional tuning kits unlocked to spec out the Season Pass car line-up for premium performance on any terrain
  • All official paintjobs and rims for each car
  • An exclusive sticker delivered with each car pack

TC_post-launch_UK_1415289183

With the release of each content pack included in the Season Pass, there will be new missions corresponding with each pack’s theme, available to all players free of charge. New customization options, paint jobs, rims, interiors and tuning specs will also be released on in-game stores.

Additionally, the closed beta for The Crew starts November 6 and runs through November 10 on Xbox One and the PlayStation®4 system. Players who preordered The Crew in North America will gain guaranteed access to the closed beta. Other players can still register for a chance to play at www.thecrewgame.com/beta.

The closed beta will allow players to explore the entire United States and complete challenges in the Midwest and East Coast, two of the five regions available in the game. The PvP lobbies in these regions will be accessible and two of the five spec classes, Street and Dirt, will be available for players looking to customize and fine-tune their ride.

The closed beta will be accessible to all Xbox Live and PlayStation Network members, however some online features will require an Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus membership.

Ferrari for all. Hard to say anything bad about this European mid-life crisis on rims.
Ferrari for all. Hard to say anything bad about this European mid-life crisis on rims.

The 2014 Game Critics Awards Best Racing Game of E3[i], The Crew takes gamers on a wild ride throughout a massive open world recreation of the United States filled with exciting challenges and populated by other real players. The Crew will be available on December 2 for PlayStation®4 system, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Windows PC.

For more information on The Crew Season Pass, please visit thecrew-game.ubi.com/portal/en-US/order/index.aspx.

For the latest on all of Ubisoft’s games, please visit ubiblog.com

Nintendo’s New Digital Content for Nintendo systems

N3DS_SonicBoomShatteredCrystal_title_screen

It’s been slow around Fear and Gaming he past few days. I was put up in the hospital getting my spine straightened out. I had a bit of adamantium added to my skeleton, and a tune-up and hard-drive upgrade tee hee. Thanks for the well wishes friends. Now, onto Nintendo News. 

Nintendo has been doing a great job lately not only revamping their digital portal, and that trend continues today with the highlights below. They’re also making a genuine effort to get virtual console games to the people with Super Mario Advance. Pokémon Puzzle Challenge  is another treat for the sweet teeth of our faithful Pokémon fans as well.

If you’re looking for some more retro fun and discounts after splurging on Mario and Pikachu, then have a look at a couple delicious delectables  from the Sonic family.

Stay tuned for more news soon, and take in all the great images provided by Nintendo and yours truly. 

Also, if you haven’t had your Pikachu and Pokémon fix after this article, stop by one of my favorite blogs that is put together with love and dedication by Blue Hobbes here! The blog is done lovingly and with dedication. Blue Hobbes is moving, so stop by his blog and wish him luck.

If you’re having a hankering for some DC tv and comics content, stop by Hank Van Hawkins’ page here.

Press start for some Pokemon fun
Press start for some Pokemon fun

NINTENDO DOWNLOAD HIGHLIGHTS NEW DIGITAL CONTENT FOR NINTENDO SYSTEMS – NOV. 6, 2014

Nov. 6, 2014

This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:

Nintendo eShop on Wii U

Sportsball is a sport about...balls.
Sportsball is a sport about…balls.
  • Sportsball – In this fun local multiplayer game that entertains a room full of friends, up to four players take the reins of exotic birds that flap, tackle and dunk balls into the net for points and glory. Play against your friends in more than seven game modes, or customize options to create your own. Call up all your buddies, hop on your birds and play Sportsball! Click here to watch a trailer for the game.
  • The Swapper – In this atmospheric sci-fi puzzle game set on abandoned space station, solve puzzles by creating clones using the Wii U GamePad controller. Click here to watch a trailer for the game.
Yeah, more...Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, can we get a New movie for Howard the Duck or one for Spider-Ham? Ugh.
Yeah, more…Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, can we get a New movie for Howard the Duck or one for Spider-Ham? Ugh.
  • Disney Infinity (2.0 Edition) – Disney Infinity (2.0 Edition) allows you to conquer a game universe with endless opportunities to create stories and action-filled adventures featuring new Super Heroes, characters and powers. Enjoy up to four players in online multiplayer, use your Wii U GamePad controller to create your own worlds in the Toy Box, activate missions or unlock toys in Play Sets. Click here to watch a trailer for the game.

Virtual Console on Wii U

  • Super Mario Advance – Play the Game Boy Advance remake of two NES classics, Super Mario Bros. 2 and Mario Bros., offering hours of running, jumping, lifting and POW action.

Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS

  • Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal – Free Demo Version – Try it before you buy it. Download the free demo version of Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal. Sonic must team up with Tails, Knuckles and new friend Sticks to rescue Amy from the clutches of Lyric and his robot army. Click here to watch a trailer for the game. The full version of Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal launches exclusively for Nintendo 3DS on Nov. 11.
  • nintendogs + cats: Golden Retrievernintendogs + cats: French Bulldognintendogs + cats: Toy Poodle – The fun of the nintendogs games returns, with multiple breeds to choose from, accessories for your puppies and kittens to wear, and the ability to let your puppies and kittens train and compete in different challenges and activities. Plus, get a free nintendogs + cats theme for your Nintendo 3DS system when you buy one of the nintendogs + cats games in the Nintendo eShop. You’ll find the download code for the free theme on your Nintendo eShop receipt. See the game information page for offer details. Download codes are available while supplies last and expire on Dec. 31, 2015.

Virtual Console on Nintendo 3DS

3DS_VC_GBC_PokemonPuzzle_SCRN_02_cr

  • Pokémon Puzzle Challenge – Journey to Johto for the ultimate puzzle challenge! With the help of many favorite Pokémon, you will take on Gym Leaders like Jasmine, Pryce and Falkner on a quest to become the Pokémon Puzzle Champion. Use lightning-fast reflexes to form chains and combos that will help clear all the challenges that await you. Click here to watch a trailer for the game. Plus, you’ll get a code for the Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Special Demo Version with your purchase of the Pokémon Puzzle Challenge game. You’ll find the free demo code on your Nintendo eShop receipt. Download codes are available while supplies last and expire on May 31, 2015.

Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS

 

  • PIKMIN Short Movies – Watch the colorful antics of Pikmin as they jump into three short movies: The Night JuicerTreasure in a Bottle and Occupational Hazards. Directed by Shigeru Miyamoto, the three shorts are available in HD for Wii U and in 3D for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. Get all three in one pack in the Nintendo eShop. You can also download a free demo of the Pikmin 3 game in the Nintendo eShop for Wii U. You will be able to transfer your data to the full game if you decide to buy.

Nintendo eShop Sales

  • NintendoeShop on Nintendo3DS
    • Siesta Fiesta is more than 30 percent off (reduced from $5.99 to $3.99) until 8:59 a.m. PT on Nov. 13.

Price reduction:

Also new this week:

 

N3DS_SonicBoomShatteredCrystal_02
Sonic Boom has gorgeous visuals, though we haven’t given it a spin yet.
N3DS_PlanesFireRescue_01
Join the fight against forest fires. Clearly, SOMEONE didn’t listen to Smokey.
N3DS_Nintendogs+cats_poodle_01
This dog has definitely went straight through the uncanny valley to the creepy as possible creepy puppy plateau.
WiiU_TheSwapper_03
The Swapper is a great game with some solid indie type cred.

WiiU_Kemonomix+_01 WiiU_TheSwapper_02 N3DS_SafariQuest_04

WiiU_Kemonomix+_title_screen

 

In addition to video games available at retail stores, Nintendo also offers a variety of content that people can download directly to their systems. Nintendo adds new games weekly to the Nintendo eShop on the Wii U console and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, the Nintendo DSi™ Shop for the Nintendo DSi system and the Wii™ Shop Channel for the Wii console.

The Wii Shop Channel offers games and applications and uses Wii Points™, which can be purchased via the Wii Shop Channel. The Nintendo DSi Shop offers games and applications and uses Nintendo DSi Points™, which can be purchased in the Nintendo DSi Shop.

Remember that Wii U, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, Nintendo 2DS and Nintendo DSi feature parental controls that let adults manage some of the content their children can access. For more information about this and other features, visit http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu or http://www.nintendo.com/3ds.

Exposing Thatnerdshow.com: homophobic and anti-Muslim Facebook postings, fake followers and attack articles

Full disclosure: Until a few weeks ago, I had an unpaid blog at Thatnerdshow.com. I quit in short because of much of the content of this article. I’ve made a few appearances that I now regret on their podcast. I quit because I was asked to edit the article that was posted to Thatnerdshow.com. David Herring’s poser article. I refused to edit it after reading it. I’ll go on in detail below. This is also a lengthy article with images, and several sections. If you’re wondering what it has to do with Gamergate, read on. The behavior I point out and link to both sides of Gamergate and the behavior of Marcus Blake and thatnerdshow.com shows unethical behavior, which I am a witness to, that Gamergate has legitimately railed against. The behavior as evidenced below by David Herring shows what women’s rights groups, the mainstream media and others point to when they say members of the gamer/nerd and Gamergaters community attack women and publicly shame them for not behaving how gamers want them to.

David Herring and “Opinion” articles

Although I hate to insert myself into news, and I also hate to bring attention to bad journalism and writing and give possible publicity to hate speech and attack articles, I feel the need to bring the article written by “writer” David Herring to the light of day. I hate to even link to the article in question, but here it is David Herring “article” on Liz Katz. I feel the need, and drive to post about it and expose David Herring and the owner of Thatnerdshow.com because I was asked to edit this article. I was also on the podcast where David Herring called Liz Katz a fraud and that he was going to expose her. I have an entire email thread, or two, where I point out to Marcus Blake, the owner of thatnerdshow.com, that it was poorly written, contained zero evidence, and sounded like a shaming article that was borderline liable and defamation. I was told to basically shut my mouth and quit if I didn’t like it. So, I did. I’ll add excerpts from the email threads below that I had with both Marcus and David.

I took it upon myself to reach out to David Herring before I even saw his article, because Marcus asked me to be an editor for the site, which is the only reason I stuck around, and David’s article was the first assignment. I asked David if he was using Chicago or AP style for his citations, because as he points out, this was supposed to be an expose. He was revealing how Liz Katz was cheating people out of their money and other things, so, I assumed he knew how to write an article and make accusations like he made. Before hearing back from him, I read the article and noticed the lack of anything substantial, the fact that he quoted someone calling her names, referenced her IMDB account and alleged porn background. I didn’t see an expose; I saw a cowardly and bitter attempt to use an article to pay a woman back for not acting in a way that was “legit” or nerdy enough. He also hid behind the op-ed curtain.

I wasn’t going to risk my contacts in the game and comics industry by being a part of the piece of trash Marcus Blake and David Herring were okay with putting up. I didn’t want anything to do with another “nerd” or gamer-type seeming to attack a female public figure either. Beyond that, Liz Katz is a human with feelings and a life and doesn’t deserve to be attacked for absolutely no reason whatsoever. One of the problems with articles like the one David Herring wrote is, there is no specific accusation of wrong doing. He’s accusing her of being fake. Of being a poser. She’s not a REAL nerd. Somewhere along the line, David picked up a degree in what is authentic. Liz Katz can’t possibly be real because of what? She didn’t interact with her fans in a way you and the other person you quote in your article? Because she has a porn background? What exactly did she do to be called a shyster? She’s preying on the cosplay community? How exactly?

After my back and forth with David, and Marcus, David agreed that he wouldn’t post the article, or his feelings wouldn’t be hurt if it didn’t get published. I told him he had writing ability and he should consider what he’s writing. I got on a soapbox, but I thought it was the right thing to do to warn him about posting the article. I told him I take being a writer seriously, and have it tattooed on my arm. I quit Thatnerdshow.com (I wasn’t being paid, just writing my blog) and didn’t want to continue discussing the issue with David before he wrote me back. I’d said my piece in a professional way to Marcus and I moved on from the subject. I thought the issue was dead, and then I saw the article posted to thatnerdshow.com. I’m supposed to be objective as a writer, and I admit that it startled me. So, I started to do some research and investigating into how authentic David Herring was. See what he stated himself to be. A writer? A Christian? Okay. I checked his twitter account and Facebook page, and did some digging on the internet, just like he did with Liz Katz.

Accountability

What David has to understand is that, even though he wrote an “opinion piece” he still needs to use some sort of standards. Once you attack someone, and you post to the internet and claim to be a writer, you’ve become a public figure just like the one you’ve “exposed” for being an alleged fraud. You’re not popular, or liked liked like your target, but once you call someone else to account, or hold them accountable, you have set a standard, and guess what? You have to meet those same standards. So, here is David, this is your time to be held accountable as a writer and person that is holding the torch for nerds everywhere. You end your article, literally, by saying it is you, or “us” that are the victims. I have to say, I’m pretty shocked at what I found out about this person that writes and is a co-host for thatnerdshow.com. I feel bad for the other writers that have to have their content next to his. David has posted multiple homophobic, insensitive, border-line racist, anti-Muslim and other hateful, mean spirited comments. He also states he’s a Christian, and I’m pretty sure Christians aren’t supposed to act the way David Does on Facebook and Twitter. Below, I’m up what I’ve said with screenshots from his public pages. He has an abundance of pictures with women showing cleavage, has many many views on politics that are far right-wing. The political views are of course legal and not the focus of the article. But, his extreme views and insulting comments and behavior are. Let’s take a look at some of David Herring’s highlights.

Here's a picture he posted about feminists.
Here’s a picture he posted about feminists.

Ok, this picture is clearly offensive to women, feminists and others. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s look at some more, as they get progressively worse. Again, keep in mind that this is someone that is supposedly a professional writer, and he is appearing on thatnerdshow.com’s podcast and posting reviews about comics, movies, tv shows and other things your kids might read.

The World trade center and a world without Muslims?
The World trade center and a world without Muslims?

Now we’re getting to who David Herring is as a person. I’m not sure if he created this image, or just posted it on his page. Hateful and just calling this anti-Muslim is an understatement. Very Christian of you David. This guy is writing about Archie Comics. Let’s see some more, because we’re not even close to being done.

David's homophobic rant on facebook.
David’s homophobic rant on facebook.

I’ve blurred out the other people involved in this post David made to Facebook. It’s a screenshot that shows the time and date. It’s more than a year old, but it’s still there, and he still said it. Apparently David doesn’t appreciate being put “on blast” in public. I understand David, believe me. He clearly thinks being in the closet while being gay is an insult worthy of posting. This is likely the most horrible post by David, because it comes from his mouth and isn’t a meme, or an image reposted. I’m not sure how you play this one down. I’m sure he was upset, but it’s no excuse. He’s a professional writer and has, I assume, some sort of an audience. Even if he doesn’t, what he has written is out there to be found. Marcus Blake is clearly okay with it, or hasn’t vetted him. That’s understandable. But, what’s not understandable or forgivable is the fact that Marcus willingly allowed, and edited and posted the attack article.

So, let’s have a look at more of David’s internet comments etc. I think it’s a safe question to ask when I ask “David, how can you claim to be a professional writer, or Christian with behavior like this?” Professional writers are trained not to post what he posted. It’s early on in communications, journalism and other classes you take to learn to write. I think it’s safe to call into question his nerd credentials as well. Being so judgmental of nearly every group that isn’t his isn’t a tenet of nerd society. Now, on to more of his hateful behavior.

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This one is the most disgusting picture of the lot. David doesn’t post a comment, but posting a picture of someone that looks a lot like David, that is waiting for 2 girls to pass out from being roofied is horrible. Waiting for the roofies to kick in? This is what people are talking about with the dirty and dark corner of the internet filled with people like David. These jokes aren’t funny and they aren’t okay.
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Here David shows of his mastery of “Female logic”. Yeah, exceptional grasp of how women think there David.
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Classy. Use of an insensitive insult and using Muslim like it’s an insult. It’s pretty common knowledge that President Obama isn’t a Muslim and publicly states he’s a Chrisitan David. It’s against the Quran to deny Allah. But, who needs facts? Not writers right?

 

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Stay Classy David. Keep up the standards.
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Nice addition of the hashtags there David! Have views on feminism?
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And here I present this uncalled for comment about Aids in Africa. This is how Christians and journalists are supposed to act in public? This is the thing we’re supposed to say? What a hateful and callous remark. “Then how come they got so much aids?”
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Here’s another considerate post by Mr. Herring. Because killing people with plastic bags, or posting this kind of thing is humorous, or compassionate and showing love like Jesus taught?

 

 

Here are a few of his comments from Twitter.

 

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Less smarter than you…hmm. The irony here.
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Still keeping that classy thing going huh? Can you imagine Wolf Blitzer posting something like this?
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Because we all know how great being gay is for your career. Must be why so many people call it the closet. So much light and access to equal rights in the closet.

There are so many examples on his facebook page, and there are more that I could post here. I honestly got sick of investigating David for this article. His posts are hateful and mean spirited. Except when he’s talking about his adorable dog or sticking up for Christian’s rights, or posting the rare comment about being a Christian. The majority of his activity seems to be focused around professional wrestling, and retweeting other people’s comments on Twitter. I’ll end the section on David with this racist, pro-violence on women, copyright infringing and disgusting use of Mario characters repost by David. I’m not posting the link to the video itself, just the screenshot where David Herring reposts the link and image to it, unaccompanied with no comment. Why post this video and not denounce it? Regardless, here it is.

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Ok, just a few more. David makes it a point to state that he’s a writer, and according to this posting on eLance.com, he surely is putting himself out there as a writer. But, if he would’ve proofread his posting, he’d see he made a couple of errors. I know, I’m pointing out every little mistake he makes now. I admit that. He did go really far out of his way to attack more than one person and group on his Facebook page and Twitter though. He’s targeted every group except for animal lovers and white Christian Republicans. I can state with some certainty though, most upstanding, god-fearing Republicans and Christians would stay away from the majority of what David says and posts. That’s one of the reasons I’m posting most of this; to shed light on what he says, because many of the views he expresses would shame the groups he claims to be a part of. I know I’m ashamed to know that David Herring is doing the same thing as me. I’m not talking about breathing, I’m talking about throwing letters together to form sentences, and then take those sentences and put them together and calling it writing.

If you're looking for a writer with a strong desire and penchant to post ridiculous things like Racist videos, homophobic rants, David Herring is your guy.
If you’re looking for a writer with a strong desire and penchant to post ridiculous things like Racist videos, homophobic rants, David Herring is your guy.

Marcus Blake

Marcus and his connection to the rest of this piece may be unclear to you, but i’ll try to clear it up.  There are two sections here on him: The first is his knowledge and blessing of the David Herring article. The second is not a legal, but ethical issue. I don’t have evidence outside of what he told me personally on the phone, because he was cautious enough not to put it in writing. While what I have isn’t evidence of wrong doing, it points to unethical behavior.

In addition to him giving the okay to David’s article, and actually physically posting it to his website Thatnerdshow.com he also knew about the content and I advised him I thought it could be liable. He told me that it’s an opinion piece and he’s ok with that. He also goes on to claim that he owns the news organization several times in emails to me. I think this is relevant. If there is liable, then this is evidence. I don’t know that Liz Katz will take action, but I do know that she has been made aware of the situation.

Screen shot of email response from Marcus Blake
Screen shot of email response from Marcus Blake

As you can see, he’s okay with attacking people as long as it reads as opinion. He attacks Michael Bay. Saying Michael Bay sucks or can’t direct or produce is one thing, and David Herring’s is another. Keep in mind, Marcus himself calls thatnerdshow.com a news organization several times, and it’s his. We know how many news organizations are okay with attack ads don’t we?

Buying followers-“No one checks that”

Marcus told me in a phone call that he was okay with the buying of Twitter followers on Twitter. Before I quit, I had been on hiatus from thatnerdshow.com for months when I moved to Seattle. Marcus had informed me months ago, in a mass email, that he couldn’t pay freelance rates anymore, even though he never really did. He probably paid me around 60-70 bucks over six months and over 40 articles. I decided to stay on because I wanted experience and wanted to keep my skills sharp, and I thought the show had potential. It really did. Marcus, although abrasive, moderately socially awkward and jerky sometimes, is intelligent. Co-host Brendan Smith is bright, well read and can be engaging. They both seemed to go out of their way to criticize a lot in my opinion, but I thought we had a chance to do something good with game/comics/nerd stuff. I was getting into some conventions and the site hired Alex Moore, another good writer personality. I decided to stay on. Back on point, I decided to help utilize our enormous twitter following. We had thousands of followers and I thought there was no reason not to promote our product to them. I sent out some tweets about the podcasts and my own blog. I waited, and I saw zero results. I mean, none. Surely some of those people would visit the site and my blog from my twitters postings. I mean, with over 40,000 followers you’d expect someone to accidentally click on the blog. That wasn’t the case. So, I decided to do some digging.

I went through all of the followers for @thatnerdshow, and I noticed something strange. There were thousands and thousands of followers with just that little place holder image, the egg. Thousands. They seemed to never end. There were a couple legitimate followers, but it seemed all of them were fake. I set to checking with Marcus about the issue. In the meantime, I took to reporting the followers to twitter for SPAM because I thought some of them could be malicious. I honestly assumed that Marcus had hired someone to help promote the show, and they were using black-hat methods. While waiting for Marcus to respond to my issue, I took to the Twitter airwaves and set out to start a dialogue. I wanted to make genuine connections. I started tweeting to people, and sending links, and asking questions. I offered to do reviews on games if developers sent me their copies. I wanted to talk to people that were fans, or potential fans of the show. That’s what Twitter is for, I thought. We started to see some genuine activity again. I’d done this earlier this year and was able to add followers then too. I wanted That Nerd Show to be successful, and I wanted to be proud of working for it.

I started writing some again, this is around the beginning of August, and I kept up the interactions. Marcus contacted me one day in October to discuss my own comic book, which for nearly a year has pledged to help produce, and about being the Editor at large for Games with That Nerd Show. Wow I thought, it’s a promotion. Even though I’m not being paid, I can have some bright young writers working with me, I can create good content. That in turn will turn into some money through advertising. I guess that’s how it works. Or, Marcus will get money from advertising and that will trickle down to me. We talked about hiring in Seattle and giving me my own game podcast. I put things into work in my mind. Then he told me that he wanted to talk about the Twitter issue. This was a little while later, weeks or so maybe, from when I’d brought it up. He went on to tell me that he felt it was needed to compete and get some of the bigger companies, advertisers and others to pay attention to us. And besides, “No one checks that anyway” He said. That’s a direct quote on the record. Now, I wasn’t interviewing him, but I’m a writer and he didn’t say that was off of the record. He told me it was needed. I told him that people do check that stuff, and an indie game company brought it up to me. It really happened, and I told him that. I am genuinely trying to look out for this company, this entity that I’m trying to help grow. He told me he understood in essence, and that we will stop since we have so many. We can start adding real followers soon. Or, that I could do it. I agreed to keep going and that once we got going with me as the editor, I’d go through and phase out those followers. I should’ve quit then, but, I didn’t until days later. I thought I was helping. Even though I wasn’t involved, I still feel bad about not quitting then.

I can be a bit over anxious sometimes, and I’ve been accused of being a diva. I consider it having high standards, or scruples. Marcus said I was overreaching, and I’m smug or arrogant. My issue is with when people like Marcus, or David, say you’re overreaching or getting on a soapbox. I try not to go with the flow, and right is right. Wrong is wrong. I understand that there are areas that are grey, believe me. I don’t like compromising my morals and standards though. I don’t believe in cheating. That’s where the Gamergate aspect of this comes in, in my opinion.

The Gamgergate connection

For all that’s been said about Gamergate, I genuinely believe that they have points. I believe they really do care about nepotism or cronyism and favoritism in games. I believe that the community of Gamergate felt attacked by a few journalists and the media in general. The problem with the media’s reaction to Gamergate is, the people that were being criticized are the people reporting about the issue. That’s a conflict of interest. The outside, or more mainstream media quickly jumped on some comments made by some crazies, once the mainstream media actually caught up to the story, and it discredited the movement. And believe me, it is a movement. At first I thought it wasn’t that important. We’re talking about video games here! Right, but it’s deeper than that because video games are a billion dollar industry. The other arms of entertainment certainly have their own media problems, but I can say that they are much more harsh and pay closer attention to the industry. 21 billion dollars or so to be exact. (Source Theconsumerist.com) Have a look at this article on ‘The Consumerist’ for more statistics and citations, it’s a more in depth read and outline with some great stats. Article by Kate Cox. (Also, David Herring, this is one way to use a citation.)

I’m not trying to derail this article by focusing on Gamergate and I do believe some of the people in Gamergate went way way too far and their behavior is beyond horrible. It shouldn’t be excused.

But, I do know that the type of behavior displayed by That Nerd Show and David Herring is what Gamergate was talking about in the beginning, before their ideas were highjacked. At least that i what I’ve seen. Deception in the industry. Thatnerdshow.com doesn’t really focus that much on games, but MSNBC doesn’t focus on world events as much as politics. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a news organization. And According to Marcus Blake, his site is a news organization. The issue is about deception and fooling not only gamers and fans, but also trying to manipulate the system. If a game fan, or someone that is looking for comics news, or movies and commentary runs across your Twitter page, they see 64,000 followers. They may think, “Oh, this is a reputable source. How else would they get all of these followers?” That’s the issue. It is to me anyway. I talked with a few people in the game industry, especially a few indie game developers, and this made them pretty angry. I started to get some flack on Twitter because I was asking for opinions first. I wanted to get the pulse on the issue. I’m writing, I’m putting things out there so I’m ok with catching some unintended shrapnel so to speak. People are passionate about this kind of thing.

A long track record of deception

The deception doesn’t stop with Twitter. After finding so much detestable content on David Herring’s pages, I decided to look into my former bosses’ background. Marcus Blake is also an author, podcaster, blogger, former co-host of ‘Dualing Patriots’ podcast, a songwriter/musician, a comedian apparently, and according to multiple postings, including his own website, an award winning writer. We will get to the award winning part later. Knowing Marcus is a writer, I decided to look at several sources where his books were sold including Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads.com and others. I’m including links and have several screenshots to support my belief, or opinion, that Marcus has himself engaged in deceptive practices with false reviews. False reviews and fraudulent ratings are in fact against FTC guidelines in addition to being unethical. Here is a more in-depth article on a lawyer’s website. (Source http://kbhilferlaw.com) Especially when you’re a writer and owner of a news organization.  It’s called “astroturfing” because it’s not grass roots, it’s false and it’s fake. I believe what was done on Twitter, which he admitted to, is the same thing. If you’re interested, go to @thatnerdshow on Twitter and have a look at their followers. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see the sea of fakes.

The first example of fake reviews is his Amazon.com reviews. Each book only has 1 review at the time this was written, it’s pretty indicative of what’s going on.

 

I think the name of this book is quite appropriate
I think the name of this book is quite appropriate

Look closely at the name of the reviewer. On first inspection, it doesn’t appear to be off. When you look closer, you see the deception. And again, this isn’t direct proof, but circumstantial and the clues are there, and it’s why I say it’s my opinion, but I’m certain that Amazon can track these reviews back to Marcus Blake. The reviewer is from Chicago, Marcus’s home town. He even wrote  book about “Return to Wrigley” with that title. Let’s have another look at a screenshot and go to the included link to see where I’m going.

ChicagoBook Worm’s Amazon.com activity

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I could only fit in four of his reviews in this screenshot, but follow the link. You’ll see that the Chicago Bookworm has six reviews. All of them are for products created by Marcus Blake. Five books and, “ahem” a ‘song’ written and recorded by Marcus. I hate to use those quotes and italics so much, but I use them to show that those terms and uses are suspect at best.

Ok, so we have those reviews from the Chicago Bookworm, and all of them are on those Marcus Blake products. Suspicious, but not really concrete proof. Just some more smoke signals.

We can move on to Barnes and Noble and other sources now.

Then there are the reviews on Barnes and Noble’s website, where the only reviews are by anonymous, and are eerily similar to one another. So similar in fact, that many of those anonymous users only activity was rating other books written by Marcus. There is one other review, and that is by the user name “texaspublican”. Yep.

Here is the link to his Barnes and Noble page. It show’s 24 reviews, all anonymous except for the one by Texaspublican. Marcus Blake Barnes and Noble page.

I was unable to find any reviews of his books on iTunes. He’s told me that he hates MAC and Apple though.

Let’s move on to other aspects of Marcus and his writing and career.

On his personal website, as well as other postings, he claims to have won the following awards. All of which I was unable to verify, or even find the awards. The only references to these awards are through Marcus’s own self promotion. In fact, the only place the phrase “American book choice awards” appears on the internet, is in relation to Marcus Blake and his web content. Anywhere on the entire internet. I thought it could’ve been spelled wrong, and I tried every possible variation when it comes to those awards he said he won, but found none. The closest was the STIFF awards, but those are for Seattle film makers.

  • 2008 American Book Choice for Fiction Award Winner for my book Returning Home
  • 2008 S.T.I.F. Award Winner for my book Sex Game
  • National Literary Awards sponsored by the National Literary Foundation in Chicago

Again, I was unable to verify these awards via the internet. If someone is able to find proof of these awards, I’d be happy to see it. If they can’t be found, is this deceptive?

Here’s another little nugget. It’s not illegal, and it’s not unethical, it’s just hilarious because he has a stand-up routine on his website. He’s not standing up and he added laugh tracks to the routine. Oh, and it’s not even remotely funny. I know, it’s adding insult to injury, and it’s likely not adding to my case. I’m going Hunter S. Thompson on this thing and going a little Gonzo. These fiends have to be stopped!!

Marcus Blake laugh tracks

Are you a published author, if you own the publishing company?

The company that publishes his books, TM publishers, its website returns with a page not found. I suspect that TM publishers is Truesourcq media. That’s speculation, right now, but more hair brained schemes have been thrown out there as conspiracy theories, actually, by Marcus Blake’s own people. So, connecting the dots, the physical mailing address listed for TM publishing, is the same address listed for Truesourcq media, which is actually a residence. The address is given on Marcus’s website here. I’m using it as a citation. It’s listed as a company, which  is public knowledge.
http://marcusmaverickblake.com/home/?page_id=167

Same address as Truesource media, which is the company he works for. I have his email address from an email from him there. That company creates physical print products, among other things and apparently, that is the address for a construction company as well. So, the same company that publishes his books, is the same company that prints his books, which is the same company that Marcus at least works for, and I suspect he is at least part owner. The contact listed for Truesourcq is Clint Stutts, who Marcus also did a political podcast with not long ago called ‘Dueling patriots. Ok, he writes, or well, he doesn’t write much, his “news organization” does a podcast about nerd stuff and has people that work for free and posts reviews, or hatchet attacks like the one by David Herring. What is of note is the deception, the awards that can’t be tracked, the fact that he basically prints his own books, purchases his twitter followers and rates his own books. In fact, outside of goodreads.com, the only reviews of his books are by either anonymous, or an amazon.com account that appears to be him.

This links shows him rating his own books without concern about being noticed. Not sure if he didn’t care or know they would show up that way, but his name is there with a 5 star rating. His book “Atlantis: Revelations” does actually have some genuine reviews, or seemingly. That is the only location where his books have been reviewed, that I have found anyway. I guess it’s not against any rules to rate your own book, but the fact that he is rating his own books on Goodreads, makes me think he is rating them other places as well.

All of these things aren’t hard evidence. A lot of it may not hold up in court. But, a lot of what thatnerdshow.com and Marcus Blake is doing, and allowing to be done isn’t illegal, it’s just unethical. Although some of the evidence I present may not hold up in court, hypothetically, it might. We’d be able to trace his IP address and connect him or whomever did it. We’d also be able to find out more about his Twitter by following the paper trail to the shady company he hired to get those followers. The only evidence (other than the smell test and common sense) I have for him paying for those twitter followers is what he told me himself, that I would swear to in court. Twitter of course will investigate the amount of dummy accounts that are following @thatnerdshow.com. They’ll see that another company and IP is logging into the account, trace that account back to where it is, see the name of that company and what it does and it will hopefully shut down the Twitter.

That is if they’re looking, and they notice. Let’s hope they do. Because people like Marcus Blake and David Herring count on the rest of you to not look, to not check. To take what they’re spitting out at face value. They don’t expect you to look and read. Start looking.

 

Nintendo’s List of Super Smash Bros. features and more

Intruder Alert
Intruder Alert

Ladies and gentleman, for those that did not sit through Nintendo’s hour long video presentation for Super Smash Bros. here is a breakdown of many those features that were revealed. In addition, there is a ton of great screen shots and extra images for my faithful readers. Dig in everyone. Can anyone say “Amiibo support.”

 

8-Player Smash: In a major first for the franchise, a special mode lets eight players fight simultaneously in local multiplayer. This option appears only in the Wii U version, and lets players compete on even larger stages to accommodate all the characters.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   WiiU_SmashBros_102314_SCRN_01amiibo Figures: When a player touches an amiibo figure to the Wii U GamePad, the character joins as a “figure player.” The amiibo figures can gain levels to become stronger and add equipment as they gain experience through battling. Players can have amiibo fight one another, and amiibo will bring you presents from the battles they fight in.
Custom Stage Creation: The touch screen of the Wii U GamePad makes it easier than ever for players to build their own stages and eventually share them with friends and other players around the world using broadband Internet access.
Controls: Players who own the Nintendo 3DS version of the game can use their Nintendo 3DS systems to control the action on the TV screen, in addition to the many other control options available.
Importing Fighters: Fans of the Nintendo 3DS version of the game can immediately benefit from the fruits of their smashing labors. Players can import custom Nintendo 3DS fighters to the Wii U game, along with their customized equipment, costumes and hats.
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Special Soundtrack Offer: Everyone who buys both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U versions of Super Smash Bros. and registers both games on Club Nintendo by Jan. 13 will receive a two-disc soundtrack of music from the games.
Mewtwo: Like the soundtrack, this series veteran fighter will be made available as free downloadable content in spring of 2015 for anyone who buys both versions of the game.
Modes: The Wii U version of the game offers many new modes and different ways to play that keep players coming back for more:
  • Smash Tour: World Smash is a fighting party game that looks like a board game. Players use items, spin a wheel and advance around the map. Up to four players can compete at once as they navigate the board and gain fighters and power-ups they can use in a final battle.
  • Special Smash Mode: Players can customize battles with unique parameters.
  • Coin Battles: Players compete to collect coins from other players.
  • Stamina Matches: Players fight until their hit points reach zero.
  • Classic Mode: One or two players fight through a series of battles and advance as long as they survive. Many random events can shake things up, and players can adjust the intensity settings. The more difficult the game, the greater the rewards.
  • All-Star Mode: Like in the Nintendo 3DS version, opponents appear in chronological order. Only this time, the newest fighters appear before the older ones, and two players can battle through this mode together.
  • Event Mode: One or two players take on set character- and theme-based battles. Clearing stages helps players see the way forward.WiiU_SmashBros_102314_SCRN_12
Masterpieces: This menu gives players a peek into the past lives of some of the Super Smash Bros. characters. Players can play cut-down versions of the characters’ greatest games.
Stages: The Wii U game offers more stages than any game in the series. The expanded Big Battlefield makes its debut in addition to the traditional Battlefield Stage. The Great Cave Offensive, based on the underground labyrinth found in Kirby games, challenges players to avoid potentially lethal danger zones – or throw their opponents into them. The Jungle Hijinxs stage, based on Donkey Kong Country Returns, lets players fight in the foreground and background. Blast barrels shoot players from front to back and vice versa.
Tunes: The game includes hundreds of music tracks, songs and jingles that players can listen to and settings to customize what music plays during game play. Players add songs to their library by collecting CDs that appear while smashing or after completing challenges.
WiiU_SmashBros_102314_SCRN_02
Movies: When players clear Classic or All-Star modes, they’ll be treated to a brief movie featuring whichever fighter they used. Every fighter has a movie, so it’ll be a challenge to view them all.
Ridley. Yes, Ridley: Fans have been clamoring for Ridley to appear in a Super Smash Bros. game for a while, and now they’re getting their wish. But true to form, Ridley appears in an unexpected way. Players will find him in the Metroid series-inspired Pyrosphere stage, but he does more than just hassle players. If one player attacks Ridley enough, Ridley will join that fighter’s side and attack others. Players (including the one on Ridley’s side) can KO Ridley to earn a point toward the match result total. And if Ridley consumes enough energy, he will become Meta Ridley and all the more vicious.
Characters: The Wii U version offers 40 characters and the use of Mii characters from the start. Each character’s moves match those found in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, so players who hone their skills in the portable game will have an edge over opponents in the console version of the game.

 

WiiU_SmashBros_102314_SCRN_13

 

Football Seasons for iOS review: Stuck on the end of the bench.

The Artwork for Football seasons, I can easily say, the very best thing about this game. By far.
The Artwork for Football seasons, I can comfortably say, is the very best thing about this game. By far.

Football seasons is a game created by Makeitapp, look them up if you have time.

I’m not a big soccer fan, or a card game player, so I wanted to start with that admission. I have, however, gained an appreciation and respect for both in the past few years. I picked up Football seasons because of my desire to switch my main focus of the blog to independent games, comics and literature and I was provided with the link by the makers of Makeitapp. Since I love sports, baseball mainly, I’m going to try to take you through a play by play of my experience with the game. An unboxing of sorts. Hope the new format works.

As soon as I start up the game, there is a prompt to upgrade. I Assume to a paid version. I choose not to upgrade. (Edit: I’ve gone back and checked for the upgrade and it must be a message for people that already had the game, asking them to download a patch. I have the most recent version) I notice right away the music is extremely loud, even on a two setting on my iPhone 5s. I notice a bit of bad grammar right away also. I believe it’s translated from Italian, and I believe the developer is Italian, so it’s not that big of an issue. Not until I reach the tutorial, where I am learning about my cards and there’s a glaring omission. “Inly”, instead of only. The article I am writing as we speak won’t even allow me to type that word with simple built in spellcheckers. So that’s a big red flag for me. A misspelled word in the very first section of a game where they’ve already asked for money.

There are four starting modes on the main screen. Solo, Online, pass and play and local. Only the solo option is available to begin with. You must win season 7 to advance to online mode naturally. That is without paying for credits. The pass and play mode costs 50 credits to buy. (note: I came back to edit this because I played through three seasons, and won 3 championships, and only earned 20 credits. That’s after sitting through ten pop-up adds at least, and watching 2 videos. To give you an idea of how much credits are, 1000 credits are $7.99. The store credits option starts with 190 credits for $1.99. The structure seems weird, and I’m not going to do the math, but it looks ridiculous. The best “deal” looks to be 3500 credits for $21.99. It don’t like that it is even possible to spend that much money, unless there are some really cool uniforms and other cosmetic stuff. That’s absurdly high for an App. You also have the option to remove adds for $1.99. Also, each of the first two “seasons” were one game long. The third was a couple of games at least.)

The fourth game mode is local, and if you can believe it, it costs 100 credits. Keep in mind, I’ve only earned 20, and it costs $1.99 for 190. That’s gouging in my opinion. It costs you nearly 2 clams to play locally…on your phone. I’m not a believer in paywalls for content that’s included.

So, I exit to turn down the still blaring theme music that is reminiscent of a baccarat or poker game. I could swear that the music is turning itself up, because I have my phone set to nearly zero, and the in game music set to barely registering, and it is still piercing through.I get the music worked out, but I’ll be darned if the audio sound effects aren’t killing me.

Never saw this card or player in my time with the game. He seems to be calling to me with those "Come bring your money or you can't really play this game" eyes.
Never saw this card or player in my time with the game. He seems to be calling to me with those “Come bring your money or you can’t really play this game” eyes.

I put together my squad by assembling my deck of cards. Ok, that was quick, I get to move on and play! I get to figure out the wonderful nuances of the world’s favorite game. Wait, I need to edit my team, I don’t know who’s playing what position. No dice. I can’t edit the selections once I’ve made them. So, I am quickly prompted to the go to the season screen, which tells me that the highest ranked team wins a match…um, ok. No skills, no abilities, just the highest deck wins? Ok, so I click the prompt, and it takes me to a screen that asks me if I’d like to earn free credits? I only have to sit through a video…ok. I put down my phone, and I assume an ATT commercial plays. I pick up my phone, and there’s now a pop up add.

Yawn, ok, finally a game now. Well, I X out of the pop up, and apparently I’ve won the game…and my season is over. There are no scores, no chance to do anything. I’ve only assembled a deck of random cards, of which I have no clue what they do. So, here we are at the end of a “season” and I’m told I’m the coach for Tuna city for next year.

Apparently my team did much better with me as coach. Obviously! Did you see the way I stacked those random cards together? I pushed that prompt, and I watched that video. I’m headed for the Hall of Fame. One “game” played, I start a new season, and I’ve reached a pivotal moment. Keep in mind that i’ve made it through the tutorial, and I’ve seen nothing remotely resembling soccer except for a soccer ball shaped prompt, and men in soccer clothes on cards.

Ok, a new tutorial screen, where I get to know about the draw icon, it lets me know how many cards Ill draw by playing the card. Great, I’m learning. I’m able to put together my deck of seven once more, and I notice a new card! It shows what looks like a train or bus terminal, with a bag left unaccompanied near the seats. Someone really needs to notify TSA. Moving on, I assemble my deck once more. This time, I notice I can look at my cards and see their information, so I look at this apparently all new deck, and I pull up the most plentiful card of them all. A grumpy looking Italian player named Difensore. Creative! He’s Italian.

I’m liking that the game isn’t taking itself too seriously, because, I’m not either. It has an old-school feel that reminds me of those games in the 80’s and 90’s that skirted using real teams and inserted humor into their games. Ok, so good old Difensore doesn’t have any special abilities, so I move on to other cards in the deck to assemble my unstoppable one-game-wonders. After figuring out that I can look at my cards, I find out that my TSA bag is actually a bench…with no abilities. Shame, that. Nothing worse than an empty bench with no abilities. I select another card, with a rather smug looking player named Attaccante. I have no idea where these names are coming from, but I’m going with it. Attaccante has no special abilities either, so I move into just filling the rest of my cards. Attaccante and Difensore both have card rankings of four, so I fill my deck with a couple of them. Oops. Looks like my draw is full after 4 cards, so I remove that worthless bench card. Stupid bench. Wait,  can’t edit my squad. But, I’m the coach. I only find a prompt that lets me move to the next screen. I tap the screen a few times and nothing. Has my team gone on strike? No…looks like the game has frozen…already. Ugh, back to the drawing board maybe? I’ll skip ahead to save you all from the drama of the details, and get past the play-by-play that I so dearly love.

 

Going back to the main screen, I notice on the first screen, a medal in the top left corner, which says Cadet, and under it “Showcase sad!!” Yeah, the showcase must be REALLY upset to use two exclamation points. I get through the menu to turn down that crowd noise again, and get back to trying to play. Now, I get to play season 2, and I’m told the first season needs to be deleted. Ok, that’s fine. Maybe that’s why the last session bugged out.

 

So back to build my deck. Follow hints, one swipe up moves your player into the cue, two fingers switches between players, and a double tap gets you the info on the bak of the card. Which by the way, features no stats or information. Ok, same deck it looks like, with that bench again. Guess where you’re going, bench? Straight to the…oh. Moving on. Now, season 2, I can select competitions. Even though I’m told it’s a pivotal time in May, I get to the game screen, and there are no big matches in May. But…you told me this was important.

So, I’m sent to use the remainder of my deck from the manage screen, and I’m told that all of the strength points in the league turn into points in the standings. Ok, isn’t that why we play the game and not just on paper? Or is this playing the game on paper? Ugh, mind melt here. There should be at least some kind of..match, or competition, shouldn’t there be? Even though they are cards? My remaining cards are made up of BENCH, and a scrub whose name I can’t check, because I can’t edit my selections after I’ve put them into the cue, and I have three copies of said scrub, and good old grumpy Difensore. At least he has a four ranking.

 

After all of this, I load out, and I’m told to blow the whistle, which leads me to the league screen, which is a cute old school radio TV hybrid, it looks like? I’m prompted to touch a channel button. The main screen shows there are still no big matches in May, and the previous screen shows fans cheering, a logo for Brazil…and no results. Ok. Here we have the cup final screen? Tuna City is taking on Milano. Awe!? No sweet play on words for the Milano Mascot? Why are all the other teams named after real cities, and I have to be Tuna City? Ok, here we go. I have two Difensores going for me and my, what’s his name? Oh yeah! Attaccante. Time to play some soccer. Wait…before I can press anything, it shows…a total? 2-nil? With the shot totals. This can’t be right. Now what? Is it simulating? There’s a channel button for plus, minus and power. I push the minus button because the plus is blacked out. On to the power button…ok…more “free” credits. I can gain three if I simply watch a video. Sure. A video for Boom Beach, which looks like a game where you can actually, you know, play? So, I X out of my pop-up add and find that I’ve “Hit the double” and I’m coach of the year. Why wouldn’t I be? Hello? My team is so good that they can win while I’m watching videos for other games. I’ll jump ahead some more for your sake now, because I have a feeling I know where this game is going.

 Continuing the chase

Ok, gotta jump in here. I’ve started my third season, played two games and the game does seem to be getting deeper, in a sense. There are three teams competing for the cup, and the team with the most fame wins. That’s a new metric. I’m told via prompts that I can view the teams to view their stats, or points. I cannot. At least not this first season, because the hints are active. There are well drawn logos and numbers there next to them that I can see. Yay, pretty pictures. That seems to be the theme with Football Seasons. Nice things to look at, but nothing to do. Videos, other game videos, really well drawn cards, but no actual…game. So, now the fame system has been implemented and I get a couple of new red cards with an arrogant looking ponytailed man named “Leader”. No special abilities, but he does have “talented” as his home country. Wow. I have two of those and play them, and at this point I’m honestly trying to get through to where the inevitable pay wall is that won’t let me advance until I spend some money. Looking at the pay structure for the in-app purchases in the app store earlier, they are pretty steep.

Ok, league screen now, and I’m told to push the “above ball icon” and there is no “above ball icon,” there are two below. No more walk through and play-by-play, I should’ve learned my lesson last time. I’m moving on to impressions, the good, and what I’m loathing. It’s clear that the cards are stacked against me in winning coach of the year with the same cards as last year. No way to get new cards, or change the results. This is where I get frustrated and buy credits. At least I think that’s what the game wants. It’s in my head.

 

Impressions

I’ve found a game with little purpose, and a whole lot of components that do not work. Prompts that tell you to click them, and they don’t work. Systems that are implemented, but don’t make sense and aren’t used again, and some shoddy language implementation. The sound, while solid and good quality, is ear splitting and impossible to set to a reasonable level without muting. There are also sounds in the game that sound familiar, like basic game assets, which, is understandable, this is supposed to be an indie company.

I played through, or tried to play through, the rest of season three, and even though some of the options open up with the hints off I win the season on my second try. I win the cup pretty handily after actually being able to play a couple of games with my deck, and I’m unable to advance because I didn’t win coach of the year. I was met with a pop-up add after nearly every screen, and even though I wasn’t offered another video, I have to think that my team was penalized because I didn’t watch it. The game has an annoying tendency to default to the start screen when the phone goes to sleep mode as well, as it is prone to do while I write my review.

 

I get an overall feel of, simply put, a money making opportunity here. The way the in-app purchases are set-up, and the lack of polish on this game, it can’t be anything more than a chance to funnel money. And even though I won the championship in the third year, I need to play it again? That makes zero sense. I won, shouldn’t I need to go the the 4th year? And one more note. For some ridiculous reason, even though I’ve assembled a deck of my best cards, after season two, your remaining cards, which are your worthless ones, are playing in what the game deems “big matches” against teams that show no visible cards. I lost 5-0 to the Horns Town, which had no cards showing in the default game screen in my second play-through of season 3. The next play-through I won.

There clearly wasn’t enough play testing done with the game, as there is no screen for the settings where you’re preparing your deck, you cannot exit or go back to rearrange your deck, and the game freezes if you click on the screen a couple of times. While technically not broken, and mostly playable, it skirts the line of playable and not playable. Even the default loading screen is set to the wrong proportions and the players featured are stretched taught across the screen. There are currently not enough reviews on the English or American version in the App Store. The game actually doesn’t even show up when you search for the title Football Seasons either.

Good:

Artwork is very well done. The team name was kind of cool, like your starting club, which is called Tuna City FC. Did I mention the artwork yet? The cards, while lacking in information, have great character design. I hope that most of the proceeds of this game go to the artist.

 What I’m loathing.

I could almost cut and paste most of the article into this section to be honest. I’m pretty upset at this game and about putting it in with other true indies in my ‘Instant Indie’ as well. But, I’ll go over the items again.

  • You can’t edit a deck once you’ve placed your cards
  • On screen “tips” that don’t let you read them because your screen moves too fast to next screen
  • Systems introduced, then not used again
  • Constant pop-up adds
  • Seasons that consist of one game
  • an obvious pay-wall that is gated and won’t allow you to progress through season 3. You have to make it through 7 seven seasons to unlock the next mode
  • A ridiculous pay structure
  • Little value and no real deck, no collection of cards. Unless I was able to unlock a different deck or better cards after buying something, or getting past a certain year.
  • Outside of a short tutorial that wasn’t spellchecked, you really don’t know what’s going on. One second it’s your cards’ skill, then it’s a fame system, then it’s neither? How do you get more cards when you’re doing the solo game?

Final verdict?

For what you need to spend to unlock everything for this game, I’m pretty sure you could buy a better game. You could definitely buy an older copy of Fifa for a console. It’s a shame that this game was made and wasn’t designed better. It really is. I hate to call something a money grab, because independent developers have it hard, and their job isn’t easy by any stretch. I spend a few hours researching and writing an article, and some games take years. But this game doesn’t give you a game. It gives you ways to spend money to play that game, and their methods are not new or clever. Give a decent game, make upgrades and cosmetic changes and perks available. It’s been done before and there is a template for it, and just because you’re supposedly small, which it doesn’t seem Makeitapp really is, doesn’t mean you can price things this way and be sly and sneaky in the way you make your in-app purchases. So, I don’t make the claim lightly. When the only thing that works in your game, is the in-app purchases, and the revenue generating pop-ups and videos, then what else can the game be. Stay away from Football Seasons. Far away.

Writers note:

I have a backlog of indie games that just didn’t cut it, or weren’t finished, so instead of bashing them mercilessly like a cynical ass, I didn’t write a review. I’m okay with that. Some games don’t make the grade. Sometimes indie games have quirks, or a lack of polish and it’s okay too. This is the first time that I’ve actually been frothing and loathing about a game through my blog. I planned initially to put the good and the bad, what makes me angry, but many of my games that I review, don’t make me angry, so I’ve left off the “loathing” aspect of my reviews. It’s back.

I reached out to Giulia Sergi for clarification on their in-app purchases before writing this article, and did not receive a response at the time I published. I let her them know that if an in-app purchase structure was annoying me, that it would annoy my readers as well. It’s never a good sign when developers or their PR people outright ignore your requests for information.

I also featured the app in my new article ‘Instant Indie’ along with some other games, comics etc. I also asked for the name of the phenomenal artist that worked with them, and was able to find the name Flavio Fausone and a translated interview with him here. That’s all for now kids!

Soccer fan? Have you played Football Seasons and have a different view of the game? Let me know.

Follow Richard on twitter for the latest game news and articles.

Teaser trailer for ‘Deathtrap’ Early Access.

The Deathtrap teaser trailer lies within.
The Deathtrap teaser trailer lies within.

Here’s some brand spankin’ new information from one of the bigger and more successful Indie companies around, NeoCore. They brought out one of the most highly anticipated, nearly AAA quality games ‘The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing’ II this year. I was SO disappointed in the way the company handled their botched release of the MAC version, which I, and they still haven’t recovered from. But, on to different things.

Deathtrap looks like a clever take on Tower Defense, and it actually challenges you to be clever in it’s motto, or mantra. That’s a pretty high bar to set by a company that’s known to be pretty clever themselves. Read on for your teaser trailer you faithful followers of all things foolish and fun.

Anyone ever played the Van Helsing games?

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The Invasion Begins: Teaser Trailer for Deathtrap Early Access

The Deathtrap Early Access launch is only a few days ahead and you might be wondering what this game is all about. Get a sneak peek of three different maps, various skills and deadly traps and watch as the Sorceress breaks her way through the waves of monstrosities in the Early Access Teaser trailer for Deathtrap.

Be clever, be quick – and show no mercy.

Click to see the video!
http://youtu.be/TDZ4L6zcBtI

 

Fast Facts and Links

Name: Deathtrap
Genre: Tower-defense
Developer: NeocoreGames
Publisher: NeocoreGames
Release date: Q1 2015
Price: $19.99
Platforms: Steam (Windows, Mac);
Xbox One, PS4 (coming later)
Multiplayer: Co-Op, PvP
http://deathtrapthegame.com/Facebook Facebook: /DeathtrapTheGame

Twitter Twitter: @DeathtrapGame
NeocoreGames DevBlog: devblog.neocoregames.com
twitchtvlogo
 Twitch:/neocoregames

NeocoreGames Forums: forum.neocoregames.com
YouTubelogo
 YouTube: NeocoreGamesVideos

Steam Store: /app/310510< /a>

‘Instant INDIE’ or ‘Too indie this’

The instant-indie independent thought collection by Indie-and-a-jones
The instant-indie independent thought collection by Indie-and-a-jones

I’m trying out a sort of round-up via various feeds, mostly Twitter. I scour my feed and send out a call for submissions to be included. The submissions include indie comics, indie books and of course indie games. Most of what I include I’d read or play myself, and the rest some of my friends and fans should  dig. Hmm, maybe ‘Indie Dig’ would be a better title. I’ll likely do this in addition to the news/reviews/previews I’m doing, just to make sure some of the great independent content doesn’t get over looked. Remember to share with your friends to help the cause, and use the hashtag #wernd. It stands for unity-We are indie. Thanks, and read on.

Imaginary Cities

Inspired by the surreal accounts of the explorer and ‘man of a million lies’ Marco Polo, Imaginary Cities charts the metropolis and the imagination, and the symbiosis therein. I’d love to focus more on writing and literature. This is creative non-fiction.

http://www.influxpress.com/imaginary-cities/

Tales of Maj’Eyal and T-Engine4

Topdown tactical RPG rogue-like game and game engine

Cashstronauts

Another creative Canadian based Developer. Cashtronauts is a twin-stick space capitalist game with one simple goal: get rich. Sounds good to me. 16-bit-ish Borderlands meets Contra? Yeah, I’m down.

World Zombination.

“As if Pixar wrote a love letter to the zombie craze of the oughts.”

That’s my quote btw @rpdgame 🙂

Football Seasons

Football seasons is an IOS card game based on the world’s favorite game-soccer. It’s a pretty deep experience and I’m not sure there is another game like it. It’s from Italian developer Make it App, which is also a game dev. tool.

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Gamercamp 2014

Great for noobs and has some great ticket prices. Seminars and some great conversation. Toronto, Ontario INTERACTIVE & GAMES FESTIVAL OCTOBER 17, 18, AND 19, 2014.

IndieGameStand 

‏@IndieGameStand 

I’m getting this and installing this today hopefully. Grim’s Journey looks fun and well done. Hoping it’s easy to put down, because I REALLY need to get some reviews done. Go now and download.

On Sale! – ‘Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey’ for PC, Mac + DRM-Free! Save 20%! https://indiegamestand.com/store/1133/letter-quest-grimms-journey/ … #indiegame #gamedeals

Follow Richard on Twitter and Facebook to get more news and exclusive game content.

‘THE COLLECTOR’ FINALLY AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH

ARCHAIA TO MAKE SERGIO TOPPI’S
‘THE COLLECTOR’ FINALLY AVAILABLE
IN ENGLISH

BOOM! Studios releasing the collector for us English speakers.
The Collector coming in English

THE COLLECTOR Cover by Sergio Toppi
May 29,  2014 – Los Angeles, CA – The late Sergio Toppi is considered one of the greatest sequential masters of our time, influencing generations of comic artists and illustrators with his beautifully detailed line work, including Sean Gordon Murphy, Simone Bianchi, Walt Simonson, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Francesco Francavilla. Archaia, an award-winning imprint of BOOM! Studios, is proud to announce the September release of THE COLLECTOR, Toppi’s longest-running original series, now translated into English for the first time since its debut in 1984. Archaia previously published Toppi’s SHARAZ-DE: TALES FROM THE ARABIAN NIGHTS to much acclaim.

 

Toppi’s breathtaking line work and composition will leave you staring at his pages for hours. While this oversized edition serves as much as an art book as a comic, the adventures of the globe-scouring, daredevil Collector will appeal to fans of the Indiana Jones movies, Five Ghosts, or Doc Savage.

 

“Not everyone realizes how much of an influence Toppi was to some of today’s most successful creators,” said BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “When Archaia released SHARAZ-DE early last year, new fans began to discover what a classic illustrator he truly was. Now, with this English translation of THE COLLECTOR, one of his seminal works, it’s our pleasure to continue to publish the masterworks of one of the all-time greats.”

 

Far from the auction halls of the elite, The Collector seeks out rare and mysterious artifacts across the world. He is as at home in the salons of Paris as he is in the jungles of Borneo. Set against the backdrop of late 19th-century colonialism, THE COLLECTOR is a delightful, swashbuckling adventure! This edition features an introduction by Sean Gordon Murphy (The Wake).

 

THE COLLECTOR hardcover graphic novel arrives from Archaia in comic shops on September 3rd with a cover price of $34.99. It will be available for pre-order through comic shops starting May 28th. Not sure where to find your nearest comic retailer? Use comicshoplocator.com or findacomicshop.com to find one!