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No GravatarShiny! Or maybe not so shiny, according to a lot of fans.

The news was announced today at San Diego Comic Con. Firefly, a cult classic directed by Joss Whedon was aired on Fox for only 14 episodes, along with the movie Serenity, but it has a massive following. The Browncoats, as fans call themselves, have been raging and crying for something to fill in the Serenity crew gap, so QMx Interactive, Fox Digital Entertainment, and Spark Plug Games have put Firefly Online together to try to attempt to quell the fire. But will it be enough?

Most likely not. For one, fans are still (and rightly so) carrying a grudge against Fox for canceling Firefly in the first place. Joss Whedon refused to give in to Fox’s demands to change some scenarios and character personalities, and thus, Firefly was gone as quickly as it swooped in.

"Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"

“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”

Secondly, it will initially come to iOS and Android devices once it releases in Summer of 2014. Although I’ll admit that there are a number of great games for these operating systems, Firefly Online will burst with popularity and quickly die out because MMORPG’s are not really meant for tablets or smartphones; they’re really meant to be experienced on a PC.

Thirdly, Spark Plug games have some big shoes to fill. Titles by Spark Plug include Plight of the Zombie, Puzzle Quest, and Dairy Queen Tycoon. Their track record doesn’t show that they could pull off something this huge, since their games are more fun and simple based. Also, their graphics are very cartoon-ish, so to try to take on this mission to satisfy hundreds of thousands of fans is pretty daunting.

Looking at the trailer, it doesn’t look promising. And I’m sorry to completely lose hope because if you follow me on twitter or facebook, you saw my all caps tweet about how excited I was. Digging deeper, I became more disappointed the more I read. At best, it looks like a game to keep yourself occupied when you’re waiting for your friend at Starbucks or between college classes. I want this game to be gripping, competitive, and upstanding of the Firefly and Joss Whedon name.

Could it be great? Sure it can. The trailer didn’t reveal anything more than the main objective of the game, which is to find a crew, get a job, and keep flying. I suspect that it will be a time-passer on the iOS and Android devices, but maybe it will become something better when and if it hits PC.

By Houston Christopher On 5 Nov, 2012 At 12:13 AM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Previews, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThe Wii U has finally hit stores…sort of. At GameStop’s across the country there are demo units of the system that showcase the new hardware. I was fortune enough to get some time with it and enjoy the Rayman Legends demo that comes with it.

Right off the back I didn’t think that it worked. Not in a technical standpoint but a physical one. The controller, which is im sure a huge gripe with tons of skeptical buyers, feels great. It’s natural to hold and actually makes sense. It made me excited to know that I wouldn’t be upset with the product whilst playing a new Mario title or Metroid or Zelda. Personally I want a completely new Star Fox title but that’s for another time. The controller is sprinkled with Nintendo magic that makes it unique but still sensible. Im very sure once you try it you’ll be sold on it.

On a technical level everything is gorgeous. The demo unit has a very clean menu system and the interface is very good. Obviously this isn’t how the final product will appear but I can’t complain with what I saw. Once I started playing the Rayman Legends demo (the only demo available by the way) I was hooked. Although I have seen this demo before, it being the same one displayed at E3, getting a hands on approach with it was great. I ended up playing the demo multiple times because it was that good.

There are two different game modes to experience during the demo. One is your standard platforming with a musical twist. It’s smooth and I can’t wait to play the future levels that will come in the full release. The other is a sort of single player co-op experience. You control your character until a certain point where you use only the touch screen. The character on the screen is controlled by the computer while you assist it by either attacking enemies or manipulating the environment. It was very enjoyable and thankfully you can play that section with another person.

The visual’s for the game are nothing short of stunning. Colors are vibrant and pop out. They engross you and you become enamored with the world around you. Character models feature a certain level of charm that only Ubisoft can bring and it certainly shows. Needless to say this game was like playing an HD 3DS game that is plugged into your television.

Basically, go to your local GameStop and give the Wii U a shot for yourself. From what I gathered it will definitely be worth the purchase. The question is whether or not you will shell out the cash day one or wait until the library grows. I personally expect great things to come from Nintendo due to their lineage and their big promises. Just be sure to go into the demo with an open mind and hope for the best in the near future. The Wii U will launch in North America on November 19, 2012.

Wii U Hands On Impressions via sfxxPLAY

By Charles On 24 Feb, 2012 At 09:08 PM | Categorized As Animation, Editorials, Featured, Movie News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarJust when you think the saga has ended, something new comes around to re-ignite the debate surrounding a US version of the classic anime. But this time, it’s something new: not another studio signing on to remake the film using western actors and a western setting. No Keanu Reeves as Tetsuo, or the sudden announcement that Chris Columbus is at the helm.

 

No, this time I’m here to announce that American Akira has already been made. And released. Really? Yep. It’s called “Chronicle,” and it’s been out for a few weeks now.

Don’t believe me? Just type “chronicle akira” into Google and see what pops up. Go ahead, I’m not going anywhere.

See all those links? Interviews and message board discussions? People have already taken notice of this. And the one thing they haven’t really been doing? Bashing it. Seriously, this movie is getting good reviews from all sides. Which is the main reason I went to see it this past week. I was going to skip it, because I was expecting a crappy cam-flick that mixed Cloverfield with Paranormal Activity, but I was sorely mistaken. Chronicle might be one of the tightest, most compelling “documentary” film’s I’ve seen recently.

Which brings me back to the Akira comparison. There are a few elements to two films share in common, aside from the telekinesis and city-devastating battles. Some of them rather obvious, some of them rather subtle. But believe me, they are there. Allow me the chance to recount a few of the more striking ones.

  • Andrew is Tetsuo. Yeah, pretty obvious when you look at the two of them. Both are loners. Both are angry. Both inherit a striking amount of power, and feel no guilt in using it. Both succumb to their power by film’s end, and need to be put down in order to stop widespread destruction. The difference? One is an orphan trying to fill the hole in his life with something tangible and emotionally supportive. The other is an abused teenager, seeking to become the apex predator and finally put an end to his torment.
  • Matt is Kaneda. Also obvious. Kaneda was respected, confident and protective of Tetsuo. He often supplied the voice of “reason,” or at least rationality, when the other “went off the deep end,” and started expressing his rage. And in the end, he had to save Tetsuo from himself. Matt is the confident cousin, the one family member Andrew can rely on. He tries to bring Andrew out of his shell numerous times, and help him make friends. And he is the one who insists they establish rules on using their powers, lest they overreach and kill someone. The difference? Kaneda was a normal kid with a beam weapon. Matt has the same power as Andrew.
  • Akira takes place in a dystopian world fraught with stratification, class warfare, decadence and greed. It served as a critique of the economic and political situation in Japan in the late 1980s. Chronicle is set in 21st century America, and released during one of the most polarizing Presidential campaigns in history. Both film work because they reference and exist within the time frame in which they were released. The difference? Neo Tokyo, a manifestation of Japan’s fear of nuclear holocaust and the destruction of Tokyo, rose from the ashes of that same destroyed Tokyo, and represents a world post-nuclear conflict. Chronicle lives in an ongoing global recession.
  • Akira is, at its core, the story of the least among us becoming the first. Tetsuo awakens his power, uses it with reckless abandon, rebels against the military and the government, and tries to re-start the universe to fit the emptiness he feels inside (if that’s what you got out of the final scene). Andrew wants revenge against the people who abused him, and takes great joy in being the “apex predator” in his small world. At the same time, he confronts the loss of his mother, and the anger he feels at his father, first by filming his world, then by lashing out against it. The similarity: both eventually devastate a city, and gather national attention from their outburst.

The main thing to remember here is that Chronicle is not a copy of Akira. Nor is it really an homage either. The borrowed elements within the film are more “flavor” than “story,” and are themselves part of the storytelling method. The situations are different, as are the resolutions. Hell, even the characters are different. The only real thing they share is the theme: a lonely boy becomes powerful, and then uses that power.

It would be more appropriate, then, to refer to Chronicle as a “spiritual successor” to Akira. It does everything the previous film did, and does it well. It doesn’t cheapen the story, or dilute it in some way. Chronicle is tense, well plotted, extremely believable and authentic by the end. And enjoyable, can’t forget that. It’s very enjoyable.

 

By otakuman5000 On 7 Feb, 2012 At 09:21 PM | Categorized As PlayStation, Previews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Everyone from the early 90’s should know of the awesomeness that is the Simpsons Arcade game and the many quaters or tokens that you needed to beat the game. Konami has linked up with Backbone entertainment (the guys who brought us Bionic Commando and Marvel Vs Capcom 2 with Capcom among others in the last couple of years) to give us another shot to play this classic. This PSN/XBLA game will come with all the bells and whistles attached with the original US game an unlock-able Japanese Rom and other hidden secrets and gems of the game. Check the trailer below.

The game is coming right before the Simpsons 500th episode,and if your are a play-station plus subscriber you will get to play the game for free, so check your PSN update later on today if you have and as always you can get a free trail of plus if you haven’t already to take advantage of the sale but be warned you will have to re-up your subscription to keep the game. XBLA users the game is already out, so in the words of abu hurry up and buy then hit us up on our facebook page and see which of us are playing the game.

By Charles On 21 Oct, 2011 At 04:58 PM | Categorized As Featured, Reviews, Television | With 0 Comments

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There was so much riding on Terra Nova, that failure was not scene as an option. It was easily one of the most hyped shows going into this fall TV season, and for good reason:   It was a sweeping epic that blended together the future and the past. The production and writing team was culled from some of the most prolific and well known in the science fiction television universe, including perennial show-runners Brannon Braga and Rene Echevarria, who cut their teeth on Star Trek in the 1990s. And it had the backing of one Mr. Steven Spielberg, the original voice of “bigger is better”. Never had a science fiction show had so much hype and hope riding on it to succeed where others had failed in the past. So much hope, in fact, that FOX Broadcasting threw its weight behind it and set it up as one of the biggest shows of the Fall season.

It almost worked. Terra Nova debuted to around 9.5 million viewers before settling in at around 8 million in subsequent weeks. While this isn’t really a bad thing for any other show, because so much was riding on Terra Nova to be the “Next Big Thing,” the fact that it’s not comes off as a disappointment.

Which is a shame, really, because Terra Nova is easily one of the most entertaining science fiction-type shows of late not to come out of the United Kingdom. Barring the inevitable comparisons to UK stalwarts (and imports) “Primeval” and “Sanctuary,” Terra Nova presents an alternative version of the future that carries on the traditions set by some of the classic authors in the genre, while keeping itself firmly grounded in appeal as a family show. And it has dinosaurs. Can’t forget the dinosaurs.

The show follows the Shannon family: cop-father Jim, doctor-mother Elizabeth and children Josh, Maddie and Zoe, as they attempt to build a new life in the colony of Terra Nova, which exists on a time stream that runs parallel to ours, but is currently experiencing the Cretaceous Era, a time where the dinosaur is king. The setting alone would make for an interesting series (which, by the way, Discovery Channel has already done repeatedly), but added into the mix are themes of conservation, intrigue, rebellion and more dinosaurs, who are often at odds with the colonists.

See, in this future world, mankind has so destroyed the planet that we need air masks to breathe outside, fresh produce is non-existent (which makes for an interesting scene in the premiere involving a single orange), and families are limited to 4 people tops to prevent rampant overpopulation. Violators are often fined or imprisoned. Such is the fate of the Shannons, when Jim and Elizabeth welcome into this forsaken landscape youngest daughter Zoe. And the price they pay for this indiscretion is Jim being thrown in jail, and Zoe taken away.

Future Propaganda

Given that some of these issues are prevalent in our own world (and, given the prevalence, I doubt we would actually make it into the 23rd century), Terra Nova had a lot of heavy material it could easily cover pertaining to current social issues. Well, it really doesn’t (at least not from the 5 episodes currently aired). Less than twenty minutes into the first episode, Elizabeth, Josh and Maddie are already on their way to the past, recruited by the Terra Nova project to be part of the 10th “Pilgrimage” to this new, unpolluted world, and Jim has broken out of jail, rescued Zoe, and charging headlong after them.

That point, which marks the formal beginning of the series, is also where the tone drastically changes from pseudo-political science fiction, to fish-out-of-water family drama, as the Shannons settle into life 85 million years into the past. Formerly alien and exotic things like fresh fruit are now everywhere. The air is so clean, the pilgrims need to get adjusted to it. And of course, the dinosaurs. Can’t forget the dinosaurs.

At its core, Terra Nova isn’t so different from any other family show (and it is a family show, make no mistake) currently on the air. Jim struggles to fit in before becoming the only cop in the colony (why they need one escapes me, what with half the colony being military. Not to mention the fact that Jim sort of broke into the past…and out of jail). Elizabeth has to juggle a hard job, a family, and a supervisor who wants to sleep with her. Josh and Maddie find love interests before the first episode is over, and they pan out pretty much as one would expect them to. And Zoe…is sort of there. Given everything that’s going on around them, and the fact that they are currently living in a world that looks and feels like ours, but plainly isn’t, there is a wealth of other storytelling possibilities there to cover without resorting to more of the same, expected plots that other shows have. Like what the real deal is with the Sixers (think of them as the “Others” of Terra Nova, members of an earlier pilgrimage who ran off after their attempted coup failed). Or just exactly what happened to Commander Taylor (an amazing Stephen Lang- you will start watching the show just for him after a while) after he crossed over and spent 100+ days alone in the height of Dinosaur domination.

Human melodrama aside, Terra Nova might be one of the most beautiful shows in the history of television. Pulling visual effects that wouldn’t appear out of place in a SquareEnix game and overlaying them into the lush wilderness of modern Australia gives the show a true feeling of being someplace out of time and untouched by human hands. The greens are green, the blues are blue, and the forest is alive, sometimes literally. Seeing as how Spielberg is part of the production team, and he did give us the splendid Jurassic Park back in the early 90s, it seems fitting that the show manages to create a world that is alien but also familiar.

Lunch time, everybody get in line…

And the dinosaurs. Can’t forget the dinosaurs. Currently, they’ve only shown a few of the hundreds of species available to choose from when crafting a tale set in the Cretaceous (and those few have only shown up a few times), but the ones they’ve chosen fit the bill. Not enemies (though they sometimes feel the need to attack and eat colonists), definitely not allies (except maybe the Brachiosaurs), but neighbors that the colony must learn to live with and not disrupt as much as possible. But when they do collide with the humans, it creates for some truly tense moments. (Watch the interesting, and visually stunning, second episode to see what I mean.)

Hey guys, what's going on in this article?

One of my friends told me, after seeing previews that seemed everywhere this summer, that Terra Nova reminded him of Avatar with dinosaurs. And that comparison isn’t exactly wrong- like the much hyped, visually stunning James Cameron movie of 2009, Terra Nova is heavy on scenery, light on story (at times), and designed to be escapist fluff that entertains you, but not much beyond that. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad show. Putting aside all the connotations ascribed to science fiction, what you get is a solidly produced diversion from the crime dramas (though this has them), family oriented dramadies (also these) and reality TV that seems to be the entirety of the broadcast and cable schedules. Will it win any awards? No. Will it be renewed? Hopefully. The planned 13 episode arc, which concludes in December, has a lot of potential left in it, and if it can find a gripping meta-plot, it has a good chance to come back.

Welcome to Terra Nova. It’s not perfect, but it sure is interesting. And fun.