Sunday, December 13, 2015

Marvel, Phase 7

Marvel is still kicking so much ass right now.  But a thought occurred to me.  They have this massive overarching story with Thanos building up, but what about after that?  In Guardians of the Galaxy they introduced Knowhere and the concept of massive celestial beings destroying worlds.  They could easily build toward a massive Galactus story line.  


Problem: Marvel doesn't currently own the movie rights to the Fantastic Four and several of the associated villians like Galactus.  

A lot of fans are trying to pressure Fox into selling the rights back to Marvel or getting into some sort of Sony/Spider-Man contract with them.  But, if I were Marvel, I would just wait it out.  They've had several of their characters revert back to their ownership without paying a dime.  Punisher, Daredevil, Ghost Rider... Fox is failing miserably with Fantastic Four.  Marvel has already discontinued the Fantastic Four comics due to lack of sales.  There's not real incentive at this point to pay anything for the franchise.  Marvel can essentially just wait Fox out.  

Fox, on the other hand, faces paying $200 million for another bad movie in a 3rd attempt to create a successful franchise.  They can try to sell the franchise back to Marvel in attempt to recoup some of their lost money.  Or, they can do nothing, and the franchise license expires. 

There's no rush for Marvel.  They've demonstrated with Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy that they can take less popular comic characters and build a successful movie with them.  Actually, two of my favorite movies so far.  There isn't much of a question that they could do the same with F4. And fans have had enough exposure now to characters like Black Widow, Hawkeye, War Machine and Falcon that it's not unreasonable to see them get their own movie. On top of that, with Doctor Strange, Black Panther and now Spider-Man back in the mix, and it's looking like Downey Jr is going to do an Iron Man 4, likely focused on the real Mandarin... there's no real shortage of the 'top shelf' Marvel brand characters coming to an end anytime soon. Marvel has time to plan. 

If and when the F4 franchise and all the villians come back to their ownership, they can do a proper reboot.  While, in the mean time, be building with small nods and easter eggs toward a Galactus story.  There's no time table, and the more head nods they have at it, the more epic the story becomes over time.  Fans will be able to reach back to Guardians of the Galaxy.  It'd be pretty much a shoe in for a big Avengers flick.  You have a F4 movie, Silver Surfer arrives as the herald of Galactus, F4 finds a way to turn him and then the Avengers get a movie where they are brought in to deal with the coming threat of Galactus. Done deal. 

Just a really great idea of the top of my head. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Destiny

I've been playing Destiny now for about a month or two. I still don't know what it's about. The story feels as though it's been gutted somehow. There's so much missing.
*spoilers*
A giant space ball called the traveler shows up and send man kind into a golden age, like the monolith in Kubrick's 2001.  Man moves out into space in or own solar system and colonizes.
Then bad guys show up. Not one group. Several. The Fallen, which are war like aliens. The Hive, which are like space demons. The Vex, which are evil robots that turned Mercury into a robot? And the Cabal, who's basically like the mafia. Think the Huts with Mars instead of Tattoine. 
As a player, you can be human, an exo; which is some sort of machine being, or an awoken; which I have no idea what they are. But you run into some in the asteroid belt. 
Are the exos made by man? The traveler? The Vex? You have no idea. And it doesn't appear to matter on the game. The awoken, where did they come from? And it doesn't seem to matter when you talk to the queen if you're like her or not. 
Going through it... I still don't quite know what the hell is happening. All I know is that the game looks beautiful and play is so smooth. It's a fun game. I just wish Bungie didn't dumb down the storyline and add a result make it incomprehensible. 
I hope they add to the storyline in the form of DLC. It seems like there was a lot more there, but for this reason out that, it was cut out. Unfortunate.
That being said, the chances that I will be playing the game much longer is unlikely outside of group play for special events. That's where the DOC should be focused. Not the story.
Additionally, an opportunity seems like it was missed with characters of different races. They should have had parallel story lines, but different dialogue that represented the different character races. The queen could have questioned the Exo race about ' killing it's own kind' in hunting the Vex.  Could have accused the Awoken character of abandoning their people to help the humans. Etc...
Just seems like opportunities missed.
I've also heard a lot more story was included, but prior to release, whoever manages the pocket book got the idea to release story content over time and make more money.
As a capitalist, I'm all about making money. But, one thing you need to do that with gamers is a dedicated fan base. Lol at Bungie's other venture with Halo. They made tons of money from that game BECAUSE of the story. They made tons of money on DLC because of the story.
Destiny had the potential to be a story of unbelievable proportions, but by trimming the story (if that is true), you lost a good portion of the audience thay would've paid for DLC.  I know I personally won't.
I'll just wait until it's free a couple years from now. If it doesn't become a free download, I'll just watch a long play on YouTube.  Course, I'm so uninterested in whatever the story might be, I won't lose sleep if I don't find out what happens or what anything means in the game.

Gamer's + Tiny Houses

Back when I was in IT, A/V tech, graphic arts and other computer based careers, I played a lot more video games than I get to now.  It's a choice I've made, to catch up on music recording and run a YouTube channel.  I don't have the time to do those AND work a full time job AND still have time to game.  Not right now.  I plan to come back around to it in another year or so.

A side rant about that.  In having to choose which games to play in the little time that I have, I've found that 'Full Movies' and 'Long Plays' are a great way to enjoy the story lines of the games I opt not to play.  I started doing something similar a while back, but in an episodic format, so when I wanted to get the story line to a game like Halo prior to the release of the next installment in the franchise, I could revisit the storyline in a condensed format.  Now that Full Movies and Long Plays are something many people are doing, it's giving me the choice to skip certain games and just watch the those later.  Loved the Deadpool, Injustice and Alone in the Dark this way.  

Back on topic.  I would go to work, and then go home and game. My whole life was spent behind a screen. And to be clear, I'm not knocking it at all. I love to game. I love that capitalism has freed us as humans to a point where we don't have to spend every hour of our waking lives to try to scratch out a living.  I love that we can work 40 hours a week doing something productive to society, and frankly that isn't that difficult because we can do it just sitting at a desk drinking coffee, and enjoy the remainder of our time.  

Certain things became apparent to me while doing so. First, it doesn't matter where I live because I'm always in some sort of climate control. Second, I was wasting a lot of money renting an apartment or owning a house. Money I could potentially be spending on gaming.  Gaming systems.  Higher definition TV.  Etc... Just generally improving and expanding my overall gaming experiences.

It's often made me wonder why gamers don't look more into RV or Tiny House culture. If gamers are like me, and the ones I know generally are, I had too much space. I basically spent the majority of my time at home in my gaming room, which was 9x9, or sleeping. Which also doesn't require much space. But I was paying to heat and cool a whole 1200 sq ft house. Dealing with neighbors. Dealing with room mates. Cleaning. Maintenance. Property taxes. Yard work... omfg... I hate yard work. Bane of my fucking existence. But why? Why was doing all that? 

It was cutting into my gaming time. 

Now I live in an RV.  And my first year in the RV I got A LOT of game time in.  The lifestyle is cheap.  An RV or tiny house is essentially a glorified gaming room.  It's just the fridge of mountain dew is a little closer to the game chair.  Win.

The generally accepted gamer haven is an apartment.  Apartments maximize time by leaving the maintenance of the living space to a land lord.  But they are expensive.  And static.  Moving sucks.  If you get a great job in IT security in Dallas and you're currently in San Diego... fuck.  That's expensive.  And for a lot of people, prohibitively so.  I personally lost out on 4 different job opportunities in cushy IT positions because I couldn't afford the move.

Now, I understand there is a stigma with RVs.  They are just too similar to trailers to outsiders.  So, for perspective, here's some tiny houses.  Tell me that wouldn't be good enough for a gamer's bunker of mega-painful doom.




Gamers and nerds are total life hackers.  What could nerds accomplish if they set their sites on these tiny houses?  How could they tweak these things?  Doctor Who Tardis?  Enterprise themed?  Tron themed?  Just saying.  Even with no geek tweaks, as a gamer, you could be living debt-free, chasing job opportunities and spending more money on games.  How in the hell is that not a total win?

Ouya


I've been packing these out for a bit at work but never once bothered to pay attention to it.  Last night, I actually looked at the box and realized this wasn't some rehash of an old game system with a revamped look, but an actual gaming system I had somehow completely missed. 

I got home and looked it up and found that it's not just a gaming system, it's a Linux-based, open-source gaming system.  For $99.  Open-source meaning, you can do anything you want to any part of the device or operating system.  It also comes loaded with a dev kit, which means you can plug the system into your computer and design your own games, load them to the market place and sell them.  Well, you have to have a certain amount free to play because the deal with open source is everything is free.

Even more amazing is the size.  



Are you kidding?  That's it.  I've been trying to merge gaming culture with RV living and this thing may have just given me that wonderful missing piece.  And, now, for more info, is a banging hot, brilliant, gaming, nerd chick that I wouldn't be opposed to sleeping with if given the choice:



Like android based phones (Android being Linux based, and this system being Android based) there are normally two versions of an app... the free one that is limited in some way, and the full version for a $1 or something like that.

I'd always thought designing a game would be a fun thing to try because it combined all of my hobbies into one: writing/recording music, computer graphics, story writing/telling, video editing and... obviously... gaming.  The reason I never have is because I know myself.   I'm the type of person that; if I love something and have to do it as a job, I begin to hate it.  I didn't want to ruin video games for myself by designing them.  I had already ruined music, video editing and computer graphics for myself at one time or another as a result of doing them as a job and it took me a long time to get back into them.

But, it seems silly not to now.  It's all right there, it's all free.  Blender, Gimp, Ardour, Celtx, Unity, Ouya, Kdenlive... Every possible tool I would need for any type of game is now at my finger tips for free thanks to Linux, and having had the time to learn them thanks to Scott AFB giving me an extended unpaid permanent vacation to explore myself, I've learned them all pretty well.

For more information on the systems themselves, here is a series of really well done videos by a bloke from Aussie-land.




Air Droid?  Fuck yes.


And, for reference, I would not sleep with this man.

Alone in the Dark!  What a great old game!

In the 3rd video, you may have noticed he talks about all the emulators you can load.  I literally just did a video about loading an N64 emulator to your Ubuntu based system and finding out I can use it on a console with all kinds of other games makes me kiddy.  Like this video of a hot nerd girl washing the batmobile:

Part of me thinks I should end every blog with this video.


Oh, and here's my video about loading Mupen64Plus on your Linux based computer:

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Punisher

Jon Bernthal!  That is a good frickin choice. I love Punisher.  I think most people do because we want someone like him to exist to right the real wrongs out there.  If you consider the popularity of shows like Dexter, it shouldn't be surprising. A killer of killers. The concept is appealing because it touches our primal instincts. That someone could prey on the predators in society. That there is something monsters of men have to fear at night.

There's this line most vigilantes don't cross because they don't want to become what they fight against. Frank Castle doesn't have that line. At all. He doesn't see mafia henchmen, child murderers, serial rapists or other hired killers as humans, but rabid wolves that prey on the innocent. He doesn't believe in caging a rabid wolf in the hope it'll get better, he puts the animal down so no one else can be hurt by it.  Because of this, he rarely has repeat villains.

I think introducing him in a series format is genius because, while I love the movies, they would never be big. They can't. He is a solid R rated character and parents aren't really thrilled about bringing their kids to see a comic book movie that's rated R.  People not into comics won't be likely to see it cause they won't know who he is. But by introducing him in a successful show that is set in a darker setting, with a great actor that can do intense roles, it shouldn't be hard to spin a Punisher show off of it. 

Punisher plays a role in Civil War in the comics, albeit a small one. Having the option to use him is just one more tool at Marvel's disposal.  There's this great scene between Punisher and Captain America where Cap just beats him senseless and Castle refuses to raise a hand to defend himself. Cap wants him to fight back, he's a killer and he goes against Cap's morales in nearly every way.  Frank on the other hand sees Rogers as a good man and, while Cap wants to believe Castle has no morales and is just a plain killer, he simple states he won't raise a hand against Cap.  He doesn't attempt to rationalize or explain, he just takes the beating.

Of all the characters in the hero catalog, the Punisher is the closest one to reality.  More than one person with high levels of training have talked about how they have given serious consideration to going that route. To actually going out and taking their training to hunt down and stop gangs and other hardened criminals. I will not be surprised if someone finally takes action.

Dawn of Justice

When I watched Man of Steel, I couldn't help but think, 'Dude, they are destroying the friggin' world.' Talking with some friends, we compared notes and everyone was blown away by the staggering amount of destruction. I loved it because it showed, for the first time on the silver screen, just how powerful Superman was. They didn't hold back.

But, that being said, it was a little insane because, there had to be a sequel. Was Metropolis gonna be fine and dandy in the next movie? There's no way. They leveled that fucking place. How many people died? Yes, he saved the world, but there would naturally be a huge swath of people who would blame him for attracting Zod to Earth to start with; blame him for the death of their loved ones if they were in a building that collapsed, blame him for the financial ruin for the billions upon billions of dollars in public and private property damage.  He would be a bitterly divisive figure, even if he was just as 'a friend' here 'to help'. 

“I was surprised because that’s the thesis of Superman for me, that you can’t just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences…There are other superhero movies where they joke about how basically no one’s getting hurt. That’s not us. What is that message? That’s it’s okay that there’s this massive destruction with zero consequence for anyone?” - Zack Snyder on Man of Steel backlash reguarding the level of destruction.

Well, that's good at least. That shit drove me nuts when they destroy half a city in the movie and in the sequel, it's all good and nobody is pissed off. There should be massive fallout to deal with. Financial consequences. And it sounds like there will be. That is a very good sign on the direction DC plans to go with their cinematic universe.

Financially, it makes sense as a vehicle to bring Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen and Lex Luthor.  All for different reasons obviously, but it works as a vehicle for introduction.  For Batman, we all know his story. We don't need another Batman origin story.  Besides, it looks like he'll be making two appearances in the same summer in Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.  We will get a full dose of Batman and his world. And of course he will see Superman as a threat.

"...And in fact, one of those buildings was Bruce Wayne's building so he knew people who died in that Black Zero event." - Ben Affleck on the importance of the destruction on the first film as a driving cause for Dawn of Justice.

For Green Arrow, thanks to the success of the TV show, an origin story isn't necessary. DC has decided to keep their TV and Cinematic universes separate, but also retain the rights to its characters and are planning to recast movie versions of characters with active TV shows. Oliver Queen may, or may not, be among them.  But as a fiscal contributor to the reconstruction of Metropolis, very easy introduction.

And then there's one of Sup's main villains, Lex Luthor.  You can bet that he had money wrapped up in Metropolis and suffered heavy losses. It's not hard to picture Jesse Eisenberg as a young, successful tech entrepreneur after Social Network, and he would have a vested interest in both rebuilding what he lost in the destruction of Metropolis and capitalizing on its renovation.

Works as a way to bring Aquaman and Wonder Woman in too because now their kingdoms and people are threatened.

That World Engine landed in the ocean changing the atmospherics and gravity which would also have major impacts on ocean life.  And with the amount of destruction in Metropolis, you can bet there's going to be unintended consequences from debris and pollutants in the water.  As someone who has a vested interest in the Sea Realm, Aquaman would have to show up. Based on the poster they released with Jason Mamoa titled 'Unite the Seven', it may be a hint at uniting the Seven Seas, meaning he's not the king yet, and foreshadowing the direction of the movies. It could also mean uniting the 7 main heroes to form the Justice League like he did in the comics. Twice. Maybe it's both. Zack Snyder and Chris Nolan love layered meanings.

Wonder Woman, as an Amazon, has an interest in protecting humanity. After the events of Metropolis, how could she stand on the sidelines? The world nearly ended because of the existence of one being. As a protector, she would have to come forward and take steps to ensure humanity's safety. There would be no alternative for her.

While Amazons had chosen to leave mankind to learn to take care of itself, in the same way you eventually have to take the training wheels off your child's bike, an outside threat beyond humanities ability to defend itself from is altogether different. 

And Amazons, unlike Atlanteans, do ultimately care about what happens to humanity, where Atlanteans just want to be left alone. That dynamic in itself sets a pretty interesting stage for a huge battle later when Atlantis, a place of myth even to the ancient Amazons, finally has had enough of the surface dwellers and launch all out war on the surface world, placing the Amazons, as the protectors of mankind, on a warpath with Atlantis. 

And all of this has been covered in various comic runs, so I'm not making stuff up here. A lot of source material to reach back on. 

AND, everyone seems to forget, Supergirl is already out there!  Wha?!  How?  Man of Steel prequel comic bruh.  Yeah dude. That's where the spaceship comes from. And it addresses who is onboard. Who's dead. Why there was an open capsule.  And, in case you miss it in the comic, they reference the Thanagarians, paving the way for Hawkman and Hawkgirl. 

In addition to all this: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Suicide Squad, Lex Luthor... A cinematic Flash has been cast, as has Cyborg, Dwayne Johnson is going to be Black Adam,  Metallo is one of the next bad guys followed by Braniac (finally!)... It's hard to keep up with it all. It seems like we get a new casting every other day. They've green lit friggin everything.

And unlike Marvel, who had to do a slow build towards their utterly amazing Avengers world that ties in movies, TV, Netflix series, one shots and online comics, DC's characters are really well known and iconic. This isn't a jab at Marvel. I love Marvel and what they are doing. It's just, DC can actually do the exact reverse of Marvel and have it work. They can actually jump in with everyone and split off to solo and team up movies because their characters have well known origins.

I don't even see this as a DC vs Marvel. I want them both to succeed because that means more badass superhero movies for everyone. With the exceptions of Spiderman and Captain America, DC has just always had more iconic characters. Marvel cornered the market on anti - heroes with Wolverine, Ghost Rider,  Punisher, Deadpool, Venom and the like, where DC stayed away from that dark territory until the Red Hood. 

All in all, I'm excited to see what they do. The great thing about movies is, even if they suck, the money they make can finance something else that might turn out awesome.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Franchise Characters

Super hero movies are big right now.  The biggest they've ever been.  And it is drawing in so many huge name actors who want a chunk of the profit from a franchise character... but then can't wait to not be in the franchise. It's been both great, and frustrating as a fan. 

Take Robert Downey Jr.  His career was basically relaunched via Iron Man.  I think he's great as Tony Stark.  Yet, now he's very luke warm it seems about playing the character.  At least, that is the impression that is given.  There are other actors who are following this path.  They get the character role, and then have only a modest or diminishing interest in the character and what they can do with it as an actor. 

That doesn't appear to be the case currently with Henry Cavill as Superman.  After reading about him early on, and how he dove head first into the comics to get a deeper understanding of the character, I was happy.  It reminded me of Hugh Jackman when he landed the role of Wolverine and has just completely and thoroughly embraced it.  He put himself on a crash course to learn about the character and absolutely loves the fact that he gets to play the character.

After reading those recent comments, I'm even more happy.  I loved Man of Steel and I thought Cavill was an inspired choice for the role.  Finding out he loves the role and wants to continue and doesn't just see it as a paycheck or a launch pad like some of the actors makes me want to support the movies that much more. 

Tobey Maguire for example, didn't seem to dig being Spiderman... But Andrew Garfield LOVES it.  Which has made me love hiim as Spiderman.  Garfield's 2011 Comic Con appearance and following comments about Spiderman and how much the character meant to him, made me a fan of Garfield's.  And while a part of me wants Sony to lose the rights to Spiderman so they revert back to Marvel, I want Garfield to remain Spiderman because I like him as an actor, I like him as Spiderman, and he loves to be Spiderman which I think is the best part for me.

I just hope we get to see more fans of characters get to become the characters they loved growing up.  I think it makes for a stronger performance, a better movie and longer continuity because they want to continue playing that character for a long time.