Tales from Lilac City

Hey all,

 

Just recovered from my 2-day trip to the eastern most lands of Wa. Spokane was a fine city and the convention center was a good host. There was a lot of extra room though. Way too much elbow space, as if they were trying to make up for the lack of vendors and artists.

Anyway I had a good time with the guy and met some new folks. I also ran into Miss Haley’s bombshell Boutique folks and they knew how to party like it was 1999. We even made a little jaunt over to Idaho to get some Turkish food. I didn’t take nearly enough pictures especially with those that bought the book, but I do have a few that I’ll add here.

Leave a comment! Thanks

Crowsong

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These little beauties are our handmade stickers and bookmarks that we put together before the Con.
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I’m at Lilac City Comic-con

That’s right, G6 with Goldrush comics. Me (Crowsong) and my pal Miles Greb, and his editorial person Drew Pierce are going to be in Spokane June 3-4. Come by the Spokane Convention center Sat and Sun @ 10 am. I’ll have copies of my graphic novel Vile: Legends of Thunder Valley and other goodies too.

 

The complete Vile tale is here tomorrow

That’s right everyone. Although the printing hit a snag a few months ago, the complete tale is here and will be in my hands in time for Lilac City comic-con. I’ll be with my pal Miles Greb from ATGR comics. 60 plus pages of story and some other nice goodies.

 

I’ll have some goodies for that convention and I hope to see some folks out. There is more news to come. In the mean time, enjoy some interesting teasers from my next project “Ded-Head Made of Lead.

 

PS. Although Vile is finished, until we set up a publisher, the only way to get the complete tale is to write me through the website or through conventions. They are coming to your local seattle store soon however.

Lilac City Comic convention here.

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Too long, and more to announce

Folks, I am too sorry to even be here typing. It seems as though every time I type here, or post something, it’s been forever, so I won’t apologize anymore and we can all agree that I’ll be better about being a good friend. Awesome, moving on.

 

A few things, house cleaning, announcement stuff etc.

Vile is complete. The story of Hard Pants and Clem Styles has been told in graphic novel form. It was arduous, but it is finally complete. The team was up late into the night filing and editing and shifting and coloring. I wish I could say I was one of those people-my parts were done, and I was playing the role of oaf and being hard to get a hold of on the last day of deadline. Sorry again my dear friends Eleonora and Dyan.

PLEASE and pretty please preorder and tell your local comic store to carry Vile: Legends of Thunder Valley. It’s as independent as it gets and comics aren’t cheap to make. Indie Comics are never easy easy in any way. The finished book is 60+ pages of western-fantasy goodness.

You can trust this link and follow it to preorder the finished tale.

 

If you want to read the comic that started it all, it’s available here at Comixology and print on demand here. I’ll be posting some teaser pictures here over the coming days and getting ready for a couple of comic conventions, so, stay tuned. I promise to write more. Oh, speaking of teaser art, the featured image here is a western style scene from Vile. It features a character named Masterson Kline from the story. Antonio Brandao did an amazing job bringing his character to life and helping to define him and the other characters in the story. Anyway! Anyone is welcome to use it for non commercial uses. If anyone is interested in using art form the book as wallpaper for their computers, or home :).

Eleonora Dalla Rosa did the amazing colors on the previously described art too.

 

Oh, and we have prints coming today as well as a revised updated edition of Vile coming tomorrow, which is the amazing Black Sparrow’s B-Day. Happy Birthday love.

 

That’s it for now I think.

 

Belated fear piece

I haven’t written any of my blathering posts in a long time. Working on published work, or getting Vile out the door. That’s BS honestly. I’ve been procrastinating a lot, playing video games and coaching baseball. Crying a bit after the Cardinals lost to…the Cubs. The universe is right again after the fall of the mythic Maddon Cubs though.

 

Vile

Vile is everywhere in Seattle. One store in particular…Arcane Comics…has restocked 3 times. I can’t explain why, or how, or who or any other thing. The guys there are great, and Indy comics, or ones that the staff likes are behind the counter, right above all of their valuable ones. Tiny store, so shelf-space is quite valuable. Definitely considering an updated, ‘Arcane comics’ version for the world. Have it at cons and sell it in Arcane. Yeah, we’re going to do that. An Arcane edition of Vile. We meaning my Mac and me. If any of you guys at Arcane read this, by chance, (it could happen because I added them in my tweet) then thank you, thank you so much. Selling you folks copies is offsetting my serious and nearly debilitating habit of collecting comics. Bravo. Bravo.

In case you’re interested in getting Vile digitally, go to comixology. Here’s the link. Not the Zelda one.

http://bit.ly/1FULiCO

Comics I’m reading

The Midnighter is hitting for me, and it’s hitting hard. Nothing is pressed or forced, the dialogue is snappy and seeing Dick Grayson make a couple of appearances gives Midnighter a place in the DC universe for me. I love seeing his personal life. Somehow, some way, this gay super-droid’s personal life seems more real than Peter PArker’s Or Bruce Wayne’s.

Head Lopper

Seriously, this is the kind of comic book that reminds me of why I love fantasy, and comics and so many things. Reminds me of Samurai Jack in a way. Hope that’s not insulting. It’s daunting to see it next to my comic I have to say. Vile is bare bones at 16 pages and $2.99, and Head Lopper is what, 100 at 5 or 6 bones? Ridiculously good-deal.

The Fade Out

Outside of a couple of things, like the Maltese Falcon, I’ve never been much of a noir guy. Kenshi at Arcane (I’m really not pandering here) suggested it was a good read. It is. It really is. I love Brubaker so much I want to be his housekeeper and go through his trash can and read his notes. Or bake him cookies or something. No spoilers here.

Space Riders

Another Kenshi suggestion. Picked up number one and it’s electric man, electric. I’m hoping Electric catches on. Anyway, this is the kind of comic, I imagine, that the cool guy I hung out with in High school read. The guy that dropped out and did drugs and had an anarchy tattoo. Had a T-Bird but quoted Bukowski. That’s a crappy description and I still hope you pick it up. It’s on issue #4 I believe.

Enough…now you read my words. Written last night. Goodbye.

Lightning, Lightning and Thunder. Lightning and thunder but there aint no rain.

-Guthrie Kennard

Real writers

I’m hoping to get to where I’m writing a ton again, though. I subscribe to the Warren Ellis newsletter, or blog. From the Thames Delta. Damn I like that title. Also, Keeping up with Kelly and Matt. Like we’re on a first name basis, right? Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction. I’m in it for the Kelly Sue bits. And the Chip Zdarsky. That dude is clever. I’ll link to their posts below so all 3 of your faithful readers can go over there and have a look. Sign up. Don’t unsubscribe though-Ellis is a demi-god and has those demi-god powers.

Warren Ellis’ latest newsletter

OMG is Matt and Kelly…with Chip

On to my ramble

Clean and Me

This, I hope, is the type of writing that is clean and free of pretense. No longer soiled by whimsy or defiled by fantasy. Strict adherence to order and minimal joy or candor.
Where do you even start? “You” being me in this case, being a coward and hypocrite. You raced long enough to circle back around to what you were running from. You thought it was something to catch, that you’d chased. You took the baton and raced on. I’m seriously not trying to use cliches or other things that make some things sound more exciting by making them sound like other things.
But, I think that since you’ve seen what you’ve done, and how you’ve become, that you can realize you were running in place of a ghost-a wraith from the past. You’ll look around and you will be okay with not being a prodigy, or a pioneer in anything. You will stop and be thankful you’ve become me.
Writing exercises
I want to take Spider-Man and have him sit down with the Punisher. Nick Fury and Captain America too. Have a general discussion. Or, I’d like to write that. I know, there’ve been people to do that before. It’s always done in comic-book style (imagine, that right?) and conversations are done light heartedly, or within crazed battle scenes. I want to do something different and see what makes them tick. But…I can’t. All i can concentrate on is my phone vibrating and these small bushes on the rooftop. I just did a triple-take. An honest to goodness triple-take. Only referenced in hushed whispers and top secret encoded writing amongst abnormally gifted observational artists. What makes these things fucking tick? The scions of American comic culture and heroic archetypes can go to hell. I want to deconstruct these fertile little rotodendrums. Holy hell. That word and description is all wrong. Spell-check cant even help me with that blunder. Seriously though. Are they stoic? Can they be stoic if they’ve never been…the opposite of stoic? Is this why we come up with jargon and colloquialisms? To describe nonsense like this? I nailed colloquialisms if you noticed? Oh sweet wonderous surprise…there are abnormally large wheat stalks to my left. Are they stalks? I’ve delved too deep into this blackish brackish pond. I must return to my comics below.
Richard

Comic stores where you can find Vile

Hey friends. Right now, Vile is available in 3 locations in and around Seattle, with more to come. Arcane has sold out and restocked once already, so go get your copies.

*update* 

Couple of items here. Arcane comics in Ballard has purchased 15 copies of Vile total. I’ve restocked 3 times there. Tiny little shop with knowledgeable staff and an area upfront near the register that moves copies. Other than their exceptional staff, easy to find location and well placed new comics, I cant figure out why they’ve sold so many copies of the book. Other stores have sold copies, but just not as well as Arcane for some reason. Anyway, I’m clearly not complaining, but, I wonder if it’s because I live a block away? Some things to think about.

Subspace comics in Lynnwood WA. is now on board to carry Vile #1. It’s in the back of the store in their Independent area. It’s a great well lit shop that is next door to an AWESOME used video game store named Another Castle Games. Cool and helpful staff. I found a copy of Shadow of Colossus for 16.50, and a copy of The Getaway for $1.00. Crazy good prices. They have a new, unopened copy of Shadow for $40.00. Anyway, if you’re in the area, stop by both stores.

Arcane Comics

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5809 15th Ave NW

Seattle, WA 98107
Tel : 206-781-4875

http://www.arcanecomicbooks.com

 

Mighty Moose Comics

Mighty Moose Comics
4015 Factoria Blvd SE
Bellevue, WA 98006

(425) 643-9924

 

Zanadu Comics

1923 Third Avenue

Seattle, WA 98101

(206) 443-1316

 Subspace comics

Vile issue #1 available via INDY PLANET

That’s right. Vile issue #1 is available to order via Indy Planet. IT’s available via Amazon Kindle already, but not physically. I’ll add the link below. We will also have it available in shops in Seattle WA and Portland Oregon. Don’t ask me why I abbreviated WA and not Oregon either.

 

The first store to physically carry Vile #1 will be Mighty Moose Comics in Bellevue, WA. at the Factoria mall.

Thanks to Ka-Blam and to Sara Machajewski for the late late help.

Order physical copies of Vile via this nifty highlighted sentence.

Remember to follow me, and please remind others to follow us as well.

@RPDgame

Justice League Dark Review: The devils that you know

Justice League Dark Review Trades 1-4

By Hank Van Hawkins

JUSTLD_Cv20_6n9gwkxwyb_ Well, my last review was of the TV show and DC character Constantine. Strangely enough, he has a huge part in the Justice League Dark. Of course it has only been recently that I have worked through the first 4 graphic novels and I have to say that it is not only a great concept but it is enthralling and very well executed all the way through.  I saved my judgment as well as my excitement until I at least got through the most current graphic novels.  Personally I was at a loss when Deadman and Frankenstein “Agent of Shade” solo titles we’re cancelled early on the New 52. I have always found these two characters enthralling for a number of reasons. After fretting awhile I realized almost immediately that Deadman also has a prominent part in The Justice League Dark! I was excited if just for his membership alone. Suddenly I was upset for not picking this title up sooner. Then as I began to collect and really get into the graphic novels soon enough low and behold Frankenstein has also become part of the Justice League Dark team. Not to mention the fact that my all time favorite Swamp Thing has now made his appearance. I also love the fact that The House of Mystery serves as The Dark League Justice’s defacto headquarters. That is yet another title I always love to see rebooted. 
 
    That all being said, and with unbridled enthusiasm, I totally dove right in and it’s getting pretty safe to say it is one of my new favorite titles now. As always, I had my doubts at first despite having so many favorite characters of mine. Also seeing how I have never really read much of the Justice League title itself because it always seemed to be so busy to me with our heroes constantly coming and going. Yet, now I understand the appeal of a title like Justice League Dark, even though it sounds like an overly busy idea. They keep the story line flowing right along with the character appearances, which are sometimes brief but, always poignant in tying together the stories. I have been introduced to characters I never knew of before as well. It is great how DC has brought together all of these darker more supernatural figures in their universe into one team. This title generates and maintains excitement from issue to issue. I guess one of the cool factors about the regular Justice League title is having so many heroes in one place on one team fighting a common foe. Now with the Justice League dark, the other characters who are not quite heroes can come together on their own as well as with their Justice League counterparts. 
  
JUSTLD_v4-DC-Cv_534dd4e1608ee3.95157135The art work is sharp and the covers of the comic books have been very eye pleasing, which is a large part of their appeal on the newsstand as well. The aesthetics work great and the characters not only fit with one another, they strangely relate easily since they are indeed all outcasts. The directions and liberties they take with my beloved characters is great. A part of the arc has the team getting separated for a bit from one another and the direction it takes is awesome and constantly refreshing. I am a comic reader that so often times will put the book down when it gets to a critical  or exciting point to save the excitement for later.  Despite having the Graphic novel, I still try to read one issue at a time. The action is lightning fast and non-stop and makes it hard to refrain from the issues because the complexity of what is about to happen next. It literally keeps me on the edge of my seat. One could read it so fast, but I choose not to, to savor these moments. I don’t think a title has covered so much ground and brought such engaging characters together like this before. The shadowy grey area between this world and the next is explored in grave detail. It is a very complex title but one that pays off in sure fire adaptions and suspense-holding arcs. I know I am going to sound like a blushing fan boy but this is a serious title that will enthrall readers for years to come. I can’t wait for the movie to hit the big screen either! I can’t wait to see that day. In the mean time I will stay up to date with the comic books. Justice League Dark is a winner.  
 For more about DC comics, stop by DCcomics.com

‘Square Heroes’ from Gnomic Studios preview

I'm square and ready to make combat with your friends via cross-platform mayhem.
I’m square and ready to make combat with your friends via cross-platform mayhem.

Square Heroes is a game that I’ve been looking forward to for months now. Although I’m mainly an RPG guy, with interests in RTS and some sports games, my eyes have been opened by some great indie games lately. Many of my regular readers know that even though we report on big companies like Ubisoft and Marvel comics, our love is independent comics, games and music. So, when I found Square Heroes while trolling through Twitter for goodies to review, I was pleased to find this quirky looking indie game.

Cartoon shooter with cross-platform play

Cross platform was one of the features that was supposed to change games as we knew them. Windows and Xbox 360 promised this feature last generation, but it never truly materialized. It seemed like one of those features that would fall by the wayside. Like Smartglass , Cross-platform took a bad seat to features like twitch integration and a renewed focus on VR like Oculus Rift. Luckily, Indie companies don’t always follow the trends and do what they want. That’s the case with Gnomic studios and Square Heroes. Being able to play with friends that have Windows while I fire up my Mac laptop is important. I can’t even count the amount of times I was disappointed to find out I couldn’t play a game with friends because they’re still playing on Windows based PCs. It’s a missed opportunity in my opinion, and I’m pleased to be able to soon encourage my pals to play Square Heroes with me. The co-op options and arena format lend themselves perfectly to this game.

Speaking of teaming with friends, another feature that has been ‘Left 4 Dead‘ is couch co-op. This type of play hasn’t been a hallmark of PC/MAC games, but it’s offered in Square Heroes. Not only can you play LAN or online if you happen to find yourself in a friends living room or bedroom, but it looks like you’ll be able to snuggle in closer than comfortable on your pals futon and really smell those Doritos he had for dinner. I’m not certain about how the couch co-op works with PC/MAC yet, but I’ll find out soon once I take a look at the MAC version that Gnomic provided to me.

Features

I pointed out a few, but here is the full list of features provided by Gnomic.

  • Online and local multi-player, at the same time. AKA couch vs couch gaming.
  • Cross platform multi-player.
  • Unique arms-race gameplay mechanic where chosen weapons are earned during each round by collecting loot.
  • Unlockable weapons and hats with stat-buffing perks.
  • Various game modes including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Gnome Hunt, Team Gnome Hunt and Survival.
  • Numerous challenging Achievements.
  • Seven stylish 2.5D arenas of doom.
  • Originally scored music and professionally crafted sound effects. ( I really want to start reviewing sound effects and music for games, so I’m going to be paying extra attention to this in Square Heroes)

The Appeal

What do you mean I need legs to be in an arena combat game? Wait, I don't have legs?
What do you mean I need legs to be in an arena combat game? Wait, I don’t have legs?

Again, this isn’t typically my kind of game, but I’m willing to take a look at a game by hard-working indie companies. So, what’s the appeal to me other than it’s independent? I’m a big fan of Castle Crashers, and Square Heroes reminds me of that in a way. The visuals are closer to Super Meat-Boy, but the semi-side scrolling nature and the possibility of co-op mayhem looks fun to me. Collecting “Mountains of loot” as the trailer points out is always a fun time too.

The ability, though apparently simplistic, to customize a character is always a huge draw for me. Creating a custom Nord in Skyrim or creating a neanderthal in NHL 2014 was fun for me, and there’s something personal and engaging about making my own character. I’ll never forget my characters in Fallout-3 and Fallout New Vegas either. My time with my character in New Vegas helped provide me with part of the name of this blog too.

More info and the Blah Blah Blah

Here’s more information on Square Heroes that includes their website and even a video for the game. Please check back here for the latest on the game and for my review that’s coming soon. The game released already on Linux and PC, and I’m waiting anxiously for my MAC version to post so I can dig in. Spread the word about the this blog too, where we make it a point to give unvarnished reviews, news as soon as we get it and some opinions and more fun quirky per square inch than any other game/comics/nerd site anywhere.

Developer:
Gnomic Studios
Based in Perth, Western Australia

Release date:
Oct, 2014

Platforms:
PC / Mac / Linux
Steam Greenlight

Website:
squareheroes.com

 

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.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 2.11.21 AM
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.
Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 2.03.15 AM
Here David shows of his mastery of “Female logic”. Yeah, exceptional grasp of how women think there David.
Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 2.02.04 AM
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?
Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 4.48.04 AM
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?”
Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 4.46.57 AM
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.

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 2.18.16 AM
Less smarter than you…hmm. The irony here.
Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 2.19.39 AM
Still keeping that classy thing going huh? Can you imagine Wolf Blitzer posting something like this?
Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 2.15.24 AM
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.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 4.43.18 AM

 

 

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

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 6.04.45 PM

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.

 

POKÉMON OMEGA RUBY AND POKÉMON ALPHA SAPPHIRE DUAL PACK TO RECEIVE IN-GAME BONUS

i_42181

Hey Faithful friends and trainers. Nintendo has some really really fresh Pokemon news, and I know you’re excited to hear. I’m trying to get this out to you as soon as I can, and I am adding some nice images for you. To keep up with the very latest and up-to-date news straight from your source, follow me here and on twitter. Here ya go!

 

Fans who want to pick up both the Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire games when they launch for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems on Nov. 21 now have access to a special offer. The Dual Pack launches on Nov. 21, exclusively at Best Buy retail stores, on BestBuy.com or on Amazon.com at a suggested retail price of $79.98. Separately, each game sells at a suggested retail price of $39.99. The Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Dual Pack includes both games, letting players experience both adventures (not to mention the ability to capture both Legendary Pokémon).

In addition to both games, the Dual Pack includes a pair of in-game download codes that can be redeemed for 100 Potions each. Starting a new Pokémon game with 100 extra Potions is a treat for players who want to be well-stocked for their epic journey through the Hoenn region.

The 3DS Porpas Dual pack
The 3DS Porpas Dual pack

i_42181Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire are reimagined versions of the original Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire games, which launched for the Game Boy Advance system in 2003. Not just simple remakes, both games offer updated graphics and new features like Soar, which allows players to travel on the back of Mega Latios or Mega Latias. Players can also decorate their personal Secret Bases and enter Pokémon into in-game Pokémon Contests. Fans may even learn the mysterious origins of Pokémon Mega Evolutions.

 

Both Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire will launch in stores and in the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS on Nov. 21. People can also purchase the digital version of the game at Nintendo.com and have it sent directly to their Nintendo 3DS system. (Click here to pre-order the game now). The Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Special Demo Version is also now available. Visit Nintendo.com to learn how to receive a download code.

 

For more information about the games, visit http://www.pokemonrubysapphire.com.