Archive for the Video Games Category

Cool stuff I want, Part 100,000,015: Vault 101 hoodie

Posted in Stuff, Video Games on May 19, 2013 by thebigsmoke

The very first “Cool stuff I want” which I posted was Fallout-related.  Here’s something new which I like from Bethesda, the Vault 101 hoodie.  Not sure about the quality of the “101” on the back, but otherwise I love it.

hoodie-fo-vault101-front
hoodie-fo-vault101-back
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hoodie-fo-vault101-flatback

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Now that the dust has settled… The Big Smoke at Kapow! Comic Con again

Posted in Books, Comics, Film, Television, Video Games on May 20, 2012 by thebigsmoke

I wrote quite a bit about the Kapow! convention last year, so I figured I may as well put up a few words about this year’s event.

At first I thought it was less popular than last year, but now I’m not so sure. I think maybe it was just better organised, as they used the multiple layers of the Design Centre a little more effectively. The artists (apart from David Lloyd) were not elbow to elbow with the retailers. The queues were managed well and they had a ticketing system for the panels, so there was no chance of queueing up only to be told you wouldn’t be allowed in. I remember queuing to try and see Thor last year was pretty painful, so I’m glad I was spared a repeat of that experience. I still think the Design Centre only semi-works as a venue, but overall they had made some obvious improvements to the planning.

I got to see Nick Frost and meet Jonathan Ross, which was very cool. Wossy was very friendly and patient with my shitty camera phone, so when I eventually get around to reading some of his comics I won’t be able to be anything but nice. Besides, I witnessed his wrestling prowess and am a bit scared of saying anything which might upset him.

Nick Frost was promoting Snow White and the Huntsman, which frankly looks a bit rubbish. Be honest, when was the last time they did one of these fairly tale adaptations and it seemed anything but lame? It might just about be better than the upcoming Jack the Giant Killer, which I thought was some kind of joke at first. That aside, he was pretty entertaining.

Good times then, capped off with lots of excellent food in great company, some drinking, and watching the drama of the Champion’s League final. I can’t write about Kapow! without mentioning the cosplay, and this year it was just as eye-popping as last. Well done to anyone who dressed up and a personal thank you to female Thor and Loki.

Fear of a black planet

Posted in Video Games on May 4, 2012 by thebigsmoke

Black Ops 2 has been revealed and it’s set in 2023.  I really am not sure how I feel anymore about the Call of Duty games.  I still have Modern Warfare 3 sitting around in cellophane waiting to be played (thank you Skyrim for using up all my gaming time).  I didn’t enjoy the first Black Ops game a great deal and another installment doesn’t exactly thrill me the way, say, the prospect of another Batman game would.

On the other hand, the future setting looks pretty sweet.

More guns than Charlton Heston’s secret bunker

Posted in Video Games on February 22, 2012 by thebigsmoke

I really enjoyed the first Borderlands game, so I’ve been looking forward to this follow-up for ages now. The game engine is great and Borderlands plays better as a first person shooter than similar fare like the Fallout games. The first game was defined by its frenetic action and its ridiculous number of artillery options. I hope they have added a few more role-playing or problem-solving elements for the sequel, but the newly-released trailer above is joy-pukingly awesome regardless.

Catching up on blogging

Posted in Books, Comics, Film, Stuff, Video Games on February 5, 2012 by thebigsmoke

Oh, hi. How’s it going? I was just looking over some of my old posts. A lot of the links are now dead and I’ve never had the time to update as regularly as I would like, but I’m kind of proud of things like this. In one post I managed to anticipate both The Expendables and Predators. Jason Statham is still rubbish, though.

For fun, let’s quickly run over a few bits and pieces from yesteryear together. Remember World of Hurt’s Kickstarter project? Well, it got the support it needed and I now hold in my hands a limited edition World of Hurt: The Thrill-Seekers graphic novel. If you’re interested in bagging one yourself, I think you can still do so via Jay Potts’ World of Hurt website.

I eventually managed to get a high quality version of High Contrast’s ‘Flashing Lights’ remix as well, but haven’t got it cut to dubplate yet.

Still on the subject of indulging myself, I bought that Spider statue from Reel Art. Currently it’s collecting dust in my bedroom, standing testament to my nerdery. I never did buy that sweet Hot Toys Scarlett Johnansson figure despite pining for weeks. I was probably worried that having both in one room together would be more awesome than I could handle.

That Casey Jones fan film was also finished and you can watch online here. The Turtle costume is a little ropey, but it’s actually a great little film. I watched the whole thing and enjoyed it quite a bit.

A year ago, I raved about Rolling Thunder and it just got a UK Blu-ray release. It’s currently on sale at Amazon for £8.99 which is a total bargain as far as I’m concerned.

Arkham City, the Arkham Asylum follow-up, surpassed my expectations. I played it to death before Christmas and it’s easily the finest comic book-related videogame I have ever played.

Yeah, yeah, I know — I should make a concerted effort to update more regularly. And I will, I promise. In the immediate future, I plan on adding to my “Guide to Reading and Enjoying Comics”, but first need to select suitable reading material.

MW3 g3ts Th3 Big Smok3 3xcit3d

Posted in Video Games on May 24, 2011 by thebigsmoke

The Big Smoke was a little underwhelmed by Black Ops, but Infinity Ward’s latest looks impressive as all hell. The gimmick with this one seems to be they are replacing the letter “E” with the number “3”. Presumably this is something which appeals to the youth market. Does anybody know?

Now that the dust has settled… The Big Smoke at Kapow! Comic Con

Posted in Books, Comics, Film, Television, Video Games on April 17, 2011 by thebigsmoke

The Big Smoke spent the majority of last weekend mixing with fellow nerds at Mark Millar’s Kapow! Comic Con, and has since been trying to find time to post up a few pictures and some comments. The convention, held over two days at the Business Design Centre in Islington was a fairly impressive effort, but there was some room for improvement.

Way back when The Big Smoke was just The Little Smoke, he used to frequent the UK Comic Art Conventions held at the University of London. It was a simpler time, when “cosplay” was still called “dressing up”. Comic books, although popular, were not the drivers of popular culture that they are today. When L’il Smoke attended the UK Comic Art Conventions, they consisted primarily of awkward young men, and some genuinely creepy slightly older men, poring over boxes of musty paper.

The last UK Comic Art Convention was held in 1998, and since then the San Diego Comic Con has shown that comic conventions can be big business. As the superhero movie genre has taken off, San Diego has become more and more important as a platform to launch new releases. Superhero movies are aimed at the mainstream and the excitement they generate brings new readers to comic books, which has caused publishers to re-think their strategy. Although the industry still panders to male adolescent fantasies, there has been a shift towards writing titles in a way which will resonate with a broader audience.

Advertised as “an event dedicated to comic books and the films, TV shows and games they inspire”, Kapow! felt like a real attempt to establish a British rival to America’s larger conventions. With sponsorship from IGN, it perhaps felt more corporate than previous British conventions, and it was all simply done on a grander scale. There were bigger stars and events, with consequently more media coverage, and more attendees than ever seen before.

Although the venue was just about big enough to accomodate everything, the Business Design Centre is filled with assorted outlets and agencies that jarred with the spirit of the convention. The line-up of guests was impressive on paper, but a number of them pulled out at the last minutes and there were some embarrasing gaps on the panels. On more than one occassion, The Big Smoke saw Millar trying to keep the crowds entertained by standing in for other guests. In addition, the most exciting events, like the Thor panel, were filled up so quickly that only a minority got to experience the very best that Kapow! had to offer. These gripes aside, there was lots to see and do for fans of more than just Hollywood blockbusters.

Happily, there was an array of stalls offering comics for sale, with lots of bargains to be found. There were also dozens of independent writer/artists pushing their self-published works, and for these individuals The Big Smoke felt considerable pity. For self-publishers, it is near impossible to compete with established creators working for popular titles. Touting indie work at a comic convention has potentially got to be one of the most depressing activities for anybody creative.

The Big Smoke raised a glass to those poor souls on Saturday night, swiftly following it with several more glasses of varying sizes, containing assorted alcoholic beverages. Nursing a terrible hangover on Sunday, and clutching several rare issues of Frank Miller’s Daredevil in his sweating palms, he cast a weary eye over proceedings. He took in the balding Gambit, the paunchy Blue Beetle, and with willpower worthy of the mightiest Green Lanterns, shifted his gaze away from the cleavage of a young lady dressed as Black Cat. It might not have been perfect, the cosplay may have been cringeworthy, but the first Kapow! Comic Con was certainly a lot of fun.

























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