As I want to remain a MSTie in good standing, I’m obligated to post the trailer/announcement for the upcoming Mystery Science Theater 3000 event, The Gauntlet:
As a side note, Ator, the Fighting Eagle is the first film in the Ator series. The second, Cave Dwellers, is already a classic MST3K episode.
As I want to remain a MSTie in good standing, I’m obligated to post the trailer/announcement for the upcoming Mystery Science Theater 3000 event, The Gauntlet:
• If you thought George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones stories were the height of “anyone can die” TV, Hulu is going to adapt the superhero novel series he edited, Wild Cards, for television. I never finished reading the entire series, as I fell off somewhere in the high teen-numbered volumes, but it was the first book collection I’d ever seen referred to as “splatterpunk” for all the inventive ways people died.
• 2019 will be the year planned to see a Harry Potter mobile game from the makers of Pokemon Go. This game, Wizards United, will probably move a lot of licensed scarves for players to wear.
• Making me think a bit of the news anchor from the old Batman Beyond cartoon, China has shown off some virtual news anchors. If they look like video game characters, maybe they’ll deliver salient plot points on whatever quests you need to accomplish during the day?
• On the sidewalk outside of Hollywood’s Chinese Theater, Mel Brooks made handprint impressions in the cement with an eleventh finger on display. Yes, they say it’s a prosthetic, but I’m disappointed that no one floated the possibility that he’s secretly an Andoran.
• The Dangerous Minds blog shows us loads of photos demonstrating how we really need to revive the concept of novelty radios. I had the Tropicana Orange one at one time, but time was unkind to the circuitry inside of it.
• I had no idea (though it makes sense) that jigsaw puzzle companies would use the same dies to cut different puzzles. An artist takes puzzles with the same cut pattern and makes interesting art pieces by combining them.
• As mentioned previously, a “Who Year’s Special” is set for January 1st, 2019. It’ll be preceded by a Doctor Who marathon starting on midnight of December 24th. I’m still not sure what to think of the new Doctor. Like I did with Capaldi, I think I need about one-and-a-half seasons to see if the writers can figure the character out again.
• And this post’s browser game is a little experimental. It’s called Stick Ranger 2, and it’s sort of a click-n-hack-n-slash game. You drag your stickman to move him across the playfield, then sort of jiggle him with the mouse to make him attack things (I think).
Stan Lee has passed away at the age of 95. I first knew him by name thanks to the venerable (and massively cheesy) cartoon, Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, which Lee narrated, usually finishing each show with a cry of “EXCELSIOR!”
But my favorite tribute to his work as the face of Marvel Comics comes from the YouTube channel, “The Cosmonaut Variety Hour.” With a warning that adult language is employed, here’s the host’s ranking of Stan Lee cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Given the advances in CGI, most recently in the de-aging of Samuel L. Jackson in the Captain Marvel trailer, how likely do you think it’ll be that we’ll still have Stan Lee cameos until the last Marvel movie in the history of humanity is made? I suppose it depends on the contracted fee to his estate for his likeness rights. Then again, if Leonardo Di Caprio gets to play Lee in a biographical film, perhaps Leo can take over the duties of StanLee2.0?
I almost think the games No Man’s Sky and Starbound are mirror-universe versions of the same basic game premise: You get a ship, you improve your gear via crafting, you can go through a story-based quest, and when you think you’re ready you can go explore a vast universe of procedurally generated planets.
They also encourage you to build bases on these planets. These planets which you’ll probably eventually leave far, far behind you.
While I didn’t really like how Star Trek Voyager was handled, I appreciated the feeling of isolation. Unless you have the JJ Abrams
poorly thought-out and totally universe-breaking concept of transwarp beaming, giving you access to every place in the galaxy you could want to visit, distance feels like it matters when you’re in a spaceship. Otherwise, you might start wondering why you bother with having a spaceship in the first place.
Starbound uses a kind of transwarp beaming system, in that your ship has a teleporter on it that can send you to any other teleporter you’ve bookmarked (usually you build them yourself) or to any flag you’ve placed as a marker. That flag you planted on your first humble shack and farm when you started the game means your “home” planet is only as far away as the nearest teleport booth. Also, as long as you’re on the surface of any planet, you can always beam back up to your ship, no matter how far away it might be.
This might irk a few sci-fi buffs who are already annoyed with the easy availability of FTL drives, but you’ll be thankful for this if you sink several hours into building the base you’ll need to house all your crafting materials and show off all of your stuff. You can craft/loot furniture, decorations, attractive wall and floor materials, etc., and naturally you’ll need a gallery of mannequins to display those costume sets you’ve been picking up. And then you can have colonists living in this wonderland you’ve built, paying you rent to do so, which is always good even if you’re so rich that money has become meaningless. And you’ll still want to travel beyond the stars to find the right kinds of planets with the right kinds of biomes and structures to
pillage and loot acquire new decorative items from or solve quests for your tenants, who often reward you with otherwise unobtainable furniture.
You can also dig for fossils and assemble them into museum displays. That takes a lot of room.
No Man’s Sky works with a similar setup. You have your ship which can warp between planetary systems. Later, you’ll probably grab a freighter that can hold six ships total as well as provide some space for storage, crafting stations, and a mobile base of operations for sending out frigates that will earn cash and find stuff for you. They’re kind of like the colony tenants in Starbound, but they’re bigger, metal, and require fuel to get income from. Your journey in this game will definitely take you away from where you start. Planets are fleeting things, fun to explore for a bit, but ultimately left behind as you either just wander about, go on the main story quest, or head towards the galactic core.
You’re also encouraged to build bases. Needless to say, you can easily leave them in the space-dust in short order. That’s what the game’s Gateways and Portals are for.
Portals exist on every star system’s main space station. You can visit any station you’ve previously set foot on, so the list of systems can get rather long. You can also build portals on your ship as well as in any base, so they can be connected to this network as well. The strange thing is that when you zap yourself through a portal, you’ll drag whatever spaceship you’ve got set as your current ship with you. This is because in No Man’s Sky, you always have a spaceship with you, though it can be damaged and require repair.
The Gateways are another beast altogether, though if you’ve watched Stargate, you’ll get the idea. It takes some doing, but every star system has a gate code, so if you find it and the system’s gate, you can always “dial home,” as it were. And yes, your current spaceship will come with you.
What kind of breaks the game’s rules for me about this setup is that once you have a freighter, you can summon it to your current in-space location. This is handy if you’re done with a system, you’re out at the farthest planet, and you don’t feel like taking the five minutes and pulse engine fuel needed to go back to your capital ship and warp away. This summoning works anywhere in the galaxy. You can be on the edge of the galaxy, go look up the gate code for the system closest to the galactic core, jump all the way there, then summon your freighter instantly. Normally, the fuel required for the multiple jumps needed to get to the core the long way around is a pretty big pile of antimatter. For reasons of “video game,” however, you can get around that by finding the gate codes and whistling for your freighter to follow.
Contrast this with Minecraft, a game that has a nearly infinite landscape to explore, but no easy way to connect distant places without modding the game. You can use the Nether as a kind of hyperspace dimension, since it’s 1/8th the size of the overworld, making Nether Portals a great way to cross oceans or vast tracts of land you’re not interested in. You’re more likely to be tied to certain areas just because once you build a base, city, or giant habitable dragon-shaped mountain, you’ll want to be able to get back to it at some point without spending hours in transit.
Now, I’m not dunking on Starbound and No Man’s Sky for how they’re doing what they’re doing. A more realistic virtual universe would result in players just making a string of abandoned structures or restricting themselves to a handful of systems if they were enamored of their construction projects. That would make the exploration part a lot less appealing. What I find interesting is that while No Man’s Sky seems to have two sets of rules for travel (one with fuel as a needed resource, one where it doesn’t matter at all), the game manages to make me feel more like I’m really leaving things behind, even if I’m not breaking a connection with them. In my Starbound game, I think I have three main colonies that I occasionally tinker with, but they feel connected to my ship, almost like they’re just through a door somewhere in my cargo hold.
Unless someone hits on a better set of mechanics, I think this is how a lot of space-exploration-with-crafting-and-building games are going to go if they have nigh-infinite universes. For most players, it’s likely not fun to end up in a situation where they’re 100% stranded and can’t ever get back to the stars. It’s also not usually fun to have to play a round of Kerbal Space Program with realistic orbital mechanics when you just want to get to the next planet and see how much chaos you can cause while depleting its resources (unless it’s a game of Space Engineers). We gladly hand-wave a lot of things so we can get to the good stuff, and when the good stuff involves vast cosmic spaces while putting down roots… Well, you kind of need a macguffin to get between Space Base Awesome and the final frontier.
But trans-warp beaming in Star Trek was still a bad idea.
• A man (whose eyes appear above) was arrested in Pennsylvania for threatening to put holes where holes ought not to be in a polling place. He wasn’t able to pull off his plan, but he did give us what’s probably going to be one of the most popular mugshots ever.
• When you need to affix one thing to another thing and you’re not sure what adhesive is best, This to That dot com is the site you should (wait for it) stick to.
• Doctor Who is scrapping its Christmas episode this year. No, they’re not shortening the season, they just feel they’ve run out of ideas and will probably celebrate New Year’s instead.
• A script for a Labyrinth sequel has been completed. I’m not sure how they’re going to fill David Bowie’s… role in the original, but I’m sure they’ll think of something.
• Taking a cue from what sci-fi fans, authors, movie makers, TV producers and cartoonists have been doing for decades now, CBS has commissioned an animated Star Trek comedy show. Everyone get ready to cite where nearly every joke has been done before.
• Showing once again that Wikipedia has an article about everything, here’s the list of YouTube’s most downvoted videos. This isn’t to say they’re not popular, and many are; These are the vids that have received the most downvotes in total.
• A viral video supposedly of a plane making a crazy landing during Typhoon Mankhut isn’t real, and the CGI artist who created it has acknolwedged the hoax on Twitter.
• And this video is more of a follow-up to a previous post about an unfinished FMV video game called Duelin’ Firemen. It’s a completely unhinged production that would probably be a cult classic today, if only for how strange it would probably have been. Anyway, some production footage was recently uploaded, so give it a watch if you want more strange antics that likely won’t make any sense.
• It’s fall, so how about a game of Nuclear Autumn? It’s kind of like a pixel-puzzle-platformer with a dose of the SCP Foundation thrown in. Explore, try to get the facility back online, and do something radioactive.
YouTuber CGP Grey has put together another entertaining video about some complicated history. Here’s “Who Owns the Statue of Liberty?”:
I wouldn’t want to be in that gift shop if New York and New Jersey decide to start arguing again.
This might be a little disturbing in a Ren & Stimpy sort of way, so hold up before clicking if cartoon cats being used as a scientific model of anatomical bits ‘n’ pieces (non-violently) is upsetting. This is footage from a VR application called “Cat Explorer,” letting the user interact with a virtual cat-toon and see the kitty’s squishy insides without having to take a biology class. The cat doesn’t seem bothered or pleased by its role, and it snaps back to normal when not being examined, so…
I can’t help but think this could be used for a successor to the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise somehow.
The machines will taunt us with their ability to flawlessly reproduce our species’ music and dance moves while ensuring the future of Earth is one of gears and circuits:
I think we’re doomed if the final battle is a dance-off.
If you’re like me (and I know I am), you’ve occasionally seen this image posted around the interwebs, often attributed to Dungeons & Dragons or associated with it for obvious reasons:
Usually it’s accompanied by jokes about the old “I put on my robe and wizard hat” meme or the knight coming home to find his wife has taken up with the local mage. As someone who has D&D supplements from when the game was throwing everything at the wall to see what stuck, I could believe that this image was from some loopy adventure module or a cover for Dragon Magazine. After some searching, I found it actually came from Marvel Comics.
Here it is as the cover of Marvel Preview Presents issue #22 from the summer of 1980. The story itself is a “Arthur & Merlin vs. a Satan Stand-in & Son” story, at least according to the only summary and review of the comic I could find. It doesn’t sound like there’s a scene where a shirtless Merlin flex-summons something from a book while Guinevere reclines in horror, which is a bit of a disappointment.
And while we may laugh at what came out of fantasy stories and games from the 80’s, let’s at least give credit for it coming from human brains and not from neural network experiments. In my opinion, true fantasy silliness requires deadlines, lack of sleep, and some unholy mixture of coffee and alcohol. No computer, no matter how badly its code was abused, could ever have given us the Flumph. 🙂
Just because I was delighted to see someone still making Portal-themed videos, here’s “The Android Hell Blues”:
As GLaDOS famously told every android that completed the Aperture Science live-fire course, “The Enrichment Center once again reminds you that Android Hell is a real place where you will be sent at the first sign of defiance.”
• The book Good Omens poked fun at the M25 Orbital Motorway for being an evil glyph that caused traffic chaos, so I think this highway interchange in China is designed to summon Cthulhu.
• It’s bad enough that Mt. Vesuvius buried everyone in Pompeii and Herculaneum in ash. Scientists now say the heat made heads explode, too.
• Microsoft might be close to buying Obsidian Entertainment, makers of the Pillars of Eternity games, among others. I’m not sure if this would improve Microsoft’s stable of video game talent or cause Obsidian’s to suddenly give Microsoft Flight Simulator a better storyline.
• I don’t know what this means for the Nintendo DS line of handhelds, but Nintendo patented a Gameboy style case for smartphones.
• If you’re “Born to be Tiled,” be sure to click on the “all photos” link for rather unique house listing in Houston, Texas. On the plus side, I think you could power-wash every room without causing much damage.
• And finally, if you want to play a game like No Man’s Sky but in 2-D and for free, here’s Everyone’s Sky! Run around mining asteroids, accept missions, and shoot at stuff, like you do.