A tabletop game renaissance is upon us. With the success of the Unrivaled Tournament Series in Las Vegas this past November, many tabletop gamers have been left to their corner of the table eagerly anticipating the 2018 game lineup. Last year’s smash hit titles ranged from household favorites Ascension, Munchkin, and King of Tokyo to games of lesser-known popularity with Epic Spell Wars 2, Nevermore, and Villager & Villains. As the 2018 series looks to begin with finals taking place this August in Chicago, gamers from around the country are eagerly anticipating word on what games could help them win eternal glory (and a sweet payday). Now we can all just sit here and count our meeples, but I’ve compiled a list of the top five games I’d love to see in this year’s Unrivaled Tournament Series: Continue reading
With the release of the Avengers: Infinity War trailer dropping earlier this week, and the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi due out in a few days, nerd-dom is at its highest of levels right now. And while I cannot wait to see The Last Jedi in theaters on opening day, I’ve come to realize that I am more excited for Avengers than I am for Star Wars.
To some, this may seem sacrilegious. The franchises aren’t even in the same category or genre. How can they even be compared?
Earlier this week, Mark Hamill expressed his feelings about the Star Wars franchise on Good Morning America:
“When I read the script, I was stunned. These films now are being made by people that were children when the first films came out. They were the generation that grew up as fans and now are in charge of the franchise. It’s wonderful to be associated with something that makes people so happy. It’s escapism…we don’t want real life, it’s too harsh…”
Hamill isn’t wrong. Star Wars is quite the escapism for fans to leave the real world behind. And while I long for a release from the monotony of the day to day, Marvel has taken this idea on a different path.
In 2008, Marvel Studios’ Iron Man rocked box offices and started a ten year journey to the moment fans have waited for next year. In one film, they created the foundations for a franchise that rivaled Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and even Star Wars. What Marvel Studios did was allow the world to see that superheroes were still relevant in modern society.
I was never much of a comic reader as a kid (surprise!), mostly because they were expensive and I nor my parents could afford them regularly. But where older comics dealt with issues plaguing the WWII era – Captain America punching Nazis – many of the modern comics did not line up nicely with modern worldly issues. (Again, I’d like to restate that I did not read many comics as a kid, so perhaps I just never noticed that they did.) So when Iron Man rose to meet the challenges of war during our currently state of affairs in 2008, a realistic type of escapism occurred.
Maybe it could also be that I never discovered Star Wars until I was in my teens. Maybe those that grew up with the franchise connect more closely. Maybe it’s Marvel’s marketing to produce two movies a year that intertwine so seamlessly , where Star Wars is playing catch up with Rogue One and the upcoming Solo film.
Hamill’s right in that we all want an escape, but for me I want that escape to seem real. That doesn’t mean that I still don’t want to be a Jedi at heart, or that I don’t want to create screen-accurate Jedi cosplay, or that I can’t wait for an Obi-Wan Kenobi solo film. But for me, I watched that Infinity War trailer, ten years of emotion and excitement game me goosebumps. I love the Star Wars franchise for its fantasy entertainment, but the Marvel films to be more a more realistic, hopeful sort of fantasy escape for me.
What do you think? Which movie are you excited to see more? Do you think these franchises will see in an end in the near future? I’d love to continue the conversation in the comments below.
Avengers: Infinity WarTrailer
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer
As I sit here at my desk pretending to do work that matters, I find my thoughts woozily drifting off to to the stars of 2183 and interstellar space travel. Sipping my green shake in my N7 hoodie, I fondly remember my expedition with Garrus, Wrex, and most importantly Commander Sheppard. Ten years have passed, and still the journey is as fresh as the day I started.
With Mass Effect: Andromeda released earlier this year, the Mass Effect series celebrates a Continue reading
In an interesting move, the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special has had it’s first tug into canon.
In the new Star Wars anthology book, From a Certain Point of View, there are 40 fun stories highlighting the ancillary characters in our favorite galaxy far, far away. The love and attention given to background characters in the Star Wars universe has long been a linchpin of its popularity starting with the release of the toys from the very first movie. Characters that had no lines and sometimes barely a second of screen time got a name, a figure and a back story. These would lay the foundation for some of the best Star Wars literature ever released. Although now cast to the “Legends” pile, the great “Tales of the Bounty Hunters” was one of my favorite examples of this. The story of Dengar and his wife saving Boba Fett is a classic… But I digress.
One of the stories contained in From a Certain Point of View is called, We Don’t Serve Their Kind Here by Chuck Wendig and is a fun little tale of Mos Eisley Cantina’s bartender, Wuher who mentions two characters by name, Ackmena and her wife Sorschi.
Why is this important?
BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT BEA ARTHUR’S CHARACTER ACKMENA FROM THE FLIPPIN’ STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL IS NOW CANON AND THAT IS BOTH AWESOME AND HILARIOUS!!
Anyone who knows me, knows I have a love for a LOT of different things. Some wonder how I can keep track of it all, but I’d say if you ask the people who really know me what my favorite things are, they’ll tell you, tacos, coffee, road trips, Dinosaur Jr, cardigan sweaters, and Godzilla.
So it is with a very, very heavy heart that today, we say goodbye to Haruo Nakajima. Better known as Godzilla.
Not just ANY Godzilla either. Nakajima was THE original King of Monsters in the 1954 film. However, perhaps more importantly, he remained to play Godzilla in throughout the Showa era until his retirement from the role, ending with 1972’s Godzilla vs Gigan. These are the Godzilla movies that most of us who grew up with them know and love the best. From starting out as the frightening, then transforming to the goofy, the crazy, the occasionally trippy, the monster, the hero. The King.
Below this, I’ve listed all the kaiju movies he’s done. You’ll notice that he wasn’t JUST Godzilla. He was the original Mothra, Rodan and Mogera as well as a host of others.
Outside of the beloved Kaiju movies, he was also in a few of Akira Kurosawa’s famous samurai film, notably, Seven Samurai.
Nakjima is still considered the best suit actor ever. To the Japanese film industry, he was what Andy Serkis now is to mocap. You knew when he was in that suit because he had certain moves, the way he walked, fought, waved his hands around, reacted to things… So many people are dismissive of Godzilla movies as rubber-monster-camp. To an extent they’re right. Just watch some of the goofier entries. I won’t deny the campiness of those films. What you can’t be dismissive of, is the talent that really brought Godzilla to life for so many of us. I’ve often said that the greatest actors are the ones that make you forget who’s behind the portrayal. With the heavy suits on though, Nakajima instead reminded us who was inside the portrayal.
In an interview, he was asked, “What is Godzilla to you?” and his response nails it;
He’s my partner! He’s my partner. He can’t be a character without me, but I get inside and he’s the boss.
He’s the boss, but I’m his partner. We can’t stand alone. We’re partners because we share the same feelings.
The wonderful thing is, he never stopped being a hero to legions and generations of kaiju fans. Up to this past year, he was still making the rounds. Hitting the convention circuit, always smiling, always happy to meet new and younger fans. He was kind and humble for his station. In this new age of CGI, as wild as it is, you can never replace the fun and heart of those older films.
Just as you can never replace Haruo Nakajima.
Here’s a short video of the last time Nakjima donned the Godzilla mantel. In 1983. The suit he’s wearing here was made for Godzilla’s 25th Anniversary in 1979. However, the wonderful thing is, once he’s going, he IS Godzilla. Those classic, signature moves, the stance… That’s love.
- 1954 – Godzilla (Godzilla, Newspaper Writer)
- 1955 – Godzilla Raids Again (Godzilla)
- 1956 – Rodan (Rodan, Meganulon, JSDF Officer)
- 1957 – The Mysterians (Mogera, JDSF Officer)
- 1958 – Varan the Unbelievable (Varan)
- 1961 – Mothra (Mothra)
- 1962 – King Kong vs. Godzilla (Godzilla)
- 1963 – Matango (Matango)
- 1963 – Atragon
- 1964 – Mothra vs. Godzilla (Godzilla)
- 1964 – Dogora, the Space Monster
- 1964 – Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (Godzilla)
- 1965 – Frankenstein vs. Baragon (Baragon)
- 1965 – Invasion of the Astro-Monster (Godzilla)
- 1966 – The War of the Gargantuas (Gaira)
- 1966 – Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (Godzilla)
- 1967 – Son of Godzilla (Godzilla; water scenes only)
- 1967 – King Kong Escapes (King Kong)
- 1968 – Destroy All Monsters (Godzilla, Military Adviser)
- 1969 – Latitude Zero (Gryphon, Manbat, Giant Rat, Lion)
- 1969 – All Monsters Attack (Godzilla)
- 1970 – Space Amoeba (Gezora, Ganime)
- 1971 – Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Godzilla)
- 1972 – Godzilla vs. Gigan (Godzilla, Comic Book Publisher, Defense Forces Officer)
I’m going to go for the top 10 reasons here. I’m not making a top 10 list per se, I’m just going to list the reasons as they’re in my brain. A word of warning. Here there be spoilers.
………Okay, just so you’re listening, there’s spoilers. I mean, go watch the series, it’s only 4 20-ish minute episodes.
Okay. You’ve been warned, here it goes: Continue reading
This is a long and difficult post. However, I really need to get this off my chest.
A friend of mine and I had a good conversation a while back. It was about gender/race swapping comic book characters. He, as a black man, had some pretty good insights on the subject. Honestly, he’s one of the smartest geeks I know. He will beat you in quite a lot of comic book trivia. But ultimately his opinion boiled down to a simple truth;
If it doesn’t define the character, it doesn’t matter.
I’d never thought of it that way, but Continue reading
If you thought that the Unrivaled Tournament Series was starting to sound like those emails your grandma gets from a Nigerian prince with untold fortunes, that’s exactly how Darren Holt, Executive Producer of the Unrivaled TS, felt as he jokingly discussed his concerns about the initial public perception of the event. After reading my original article about my excitement and apprehensions, Holt reached out for a quick phone interview to clarify some of the information I had reported. In addition, CEO/Founder Michael Williams of Oomba also took the time to write an extensive comment regarding the public’s concerns. Here’s a breakdown of the information gathered from these sources:
The Unrivaled Tournament Series encourages players of every level to support their local game stores while promoting a love of gaming as a whole. This will help to expand the market, drawing in new players of all ages. Because of the rise in the gaming industry, Holt sees a place where tSports (Table Top Sports) are almost equal to eSports.
“Legitimacy is everything,” Holt states, in regards to the information given and displayed to the public. When asked about the lack of details to the public, Holt explains that it was necessary to Continue reading
It’s a movie that you didn’t realize you wanted to see as bad as you want to see it. People don’t generally say, “Man, I loved Jumanji/Zathura”, but they do. For some reason none of us can explain, we love this series.
It’s like “Hackers”. Man, that was a cheesy movie, but not only will I watch it every time it’s on, I will sometimes just be in the mood to watch it. Why? I can’t explain it. It’s just fun.
So….Who’s coming to see the new Jumanji with me?
Up until recently, if you were labeled a professional gamer, most people would think that you must be involved in the rise of popular competitions for eSport games like Overwatch, Rocket League, League of Legends, etc. However, table top gamers have been waiting in the shadows for their chance, and now it is happening.