Tuesday, 27 May 2014

MY LIFE AS A VIDEO GAME - Behind the Scenes - EPISODE 7 / 8

Behind the Scenes from Episodes 7 and 8 - We just have fun on set!
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MY LIFE AS A VIDEO GAME is a live-action online series created by Leon Films. It is set inside the world of video games. A series by gamers for gamers.

This story arc of this video game web series is inspired by the kung fu adventures of Double Dragon, Streets of Rage and Final Fight video games with a little bit of Street Fighter influence. Real life video games abound in this epic web series. These are some of the best retro arcade games from the 80s. All your favourite video games are here in real life. If you like AVGN, Smosh or just love gaming in general, you'll love our video game web series Hope you enjoy it!


Petros L. Ioannou as DON DEWITT
http://www.twitter.com/PetrosOfSparta (@petrosofsparta)

Jennifer Polansky as KERA ALTHORN
http://www.twitter.com/JenniferMya (@jennifermya)

Brent Black as MENU
http://www.twitter.com/brentalfloss (@brentalfloss)

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Solar Roadways: The Awesome Future of Energy

Solar Roadways; what are they. They're a technology that could literally solve a billion issues of our current world.

They are a type of extra-durable solar panel that could replace all our highways/motorways and regular roads the world over. This revolutionary technology generates energy through solar power, it is clean, it is highly efficient and actually has a whole host of advantages you wouldn't expect. For example, they have embedded LED lights and are pressure sensitive so at night they're basically a giant Time-Square billboard being able to tell you what's going on like Slow Down, or Children Crossing. They can be adapted to create paths when theres works going on or in a parking lot where they want to add disabled spots. This is a huge deal peope but you don't have to take my word for it. Go check it out right here at this video and after that, come back here and read the rest.

Have you seen this video? GOOD. Just look at the change it could make to our lives, how much it can advance them. Solar Roadways are a technology that could do so much for our lives from their efficiency to the fact at they just look damned cool.

This is incredible people, Solar Roadways could change the world we live in, new jobs, more energy, clean energy at that, solar energy has this problem of well, space, we either need to take up huge fields or slap them on our roofs, which really is not doing anyone any favours. But our roads are just sitting there, doing nothing but being driven on and they're constantly changing or expanding, with the problem of that being that they need extensive work to change a feature, even creating a new crosswalk takes days, now it's a simple bit of code and some light-changes. Our streets would be safer, our roads will be safer to drive on. 

The technology of the road hasn't dramatically changed since Roman Times with the exception that since the invention of the car, we've struggled to pay for these machines that make our lives easier but at the same time, a living hell. Now we can make everything more efficient and an efficient road system means a much more efficient world. This isn't going to change our lives for the better, this will save a ton of money, reduce our energy dependence and as we make our cars more and more reliant on other means of energy we can make this the next step in our infrastructure, changing the world forever. Playgrounds, Homes, Schools, Roads, Cities, Offices, the world will never be the same again, but it won't be a world we are afraid of just one that is easier to live in and better to live in. Not to mention Solar Roadways are going to make the world look like we live in the future. I think this technology is AWESOME. So go check it out and please help make Solar Roadways a possibility for the future. Solar Roadways are the technology of the future, the future is bright and the path to them is on and lit up by it's lit up by Solar Roadways. 

Go watch the video, click on the links and leave a comment below telling me what you think. Go out there and make a difference.

Original Source: http://elitedaily.com/news/technology/need-convincing-solar-roadways-worth-funding-video-will-help/604220/?utm_source=FBTraffic&utm_medium=fijifrost&utm_campaign=CMfacebook

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Why an X-Men "universe" works but a Spider-Man "universe" doesn't:

Marvel's The Avengers movie has sent the world of cinema into a tailspin. While a lot of stand-alone movies weren't succeeding particularly well at creating critical acclaim in the first place outside of Christopher Nolan's seminal Batman Trilogy, now they are being forced to create entire universes around the properties they do own. You'd think that Warner Bros. would have been the first ones to create a unified cinematic universe and the ones giving it their dues, after all, they own DC comics and the licenses to their characters in their entirety unlike Marvel/Disney, who don't actually have the movie licenses to several Marvel characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men who are owned by Sony and Fox respectively. Not to mention they'd successfully done it twice on TV, once in the DC Animated Universe and once just using Smallville. But in spite of not having many of their star players, Marvel are the ones who brought their heroes together in The Avengers first and they are reaping the rewards of a crap ton of money and an ongoing franchise. So naturally this being Hollywood and all, everyone else has to cash in on this "collective universe" style of storytelling where they bring together dozens of heroes into one big movie and milk it for all it's worth, except DC are failing to realise why The Avengers worked in the first place, because each character had their stories set up in their own stand alone movies, not just Superman and Batman, who apparently the later of which isn't even getting his own stand alone this time around. But I'm not here to mock DC for their efforts, I do that enough on Twitter. I'm here to talk about two other companies, Sony and Fox and their attempts to create a collective universe using the superhero properties they already own, Spider-Man and the X-Men.

Now to Fox's credit, they'd already been doing X-Men long before Marvel released the first Iron Man or even the original Ang Lee Hulk, but they were stand alone movies, just like each Marvel movie, with no real ties to spin offs or anything like that until the tragically bad X-Men Origins: Wolverine, now they want to do Deadpool stand alone, the Magneto stand alone became First Class, and now they're trying to create a universe based around X-Men just as much as Marvel has the Avengers. They're also trying to add The Fantastic Four into this universe as they own the rights to that too. Sony on the other hand, are trying to create a series of films, "one per year" in fact to quote them, based around the ever-popular but with diminishing returns as of late, Spider-Man. This started because they made The Amazing Spider-Man after Sam Raimi, director of the original Spider-Man trilogy, wouldn't put up with their interfering bullshit any more after the dismal third entry, so they scraped Spider-Man 4 and made The Amazing Reboot-Man.

Now Spider-Man does have the rather impressive collection of characters in his "universe" as it were, from the Clone characters like Ben Reilly to Spider-Man 2099, which I've gone into a bit more in the past to his fantastic rogues gallery including the Sinister Six, Venom as an anti-hero and a ton more really cool characters. The problem however is that Sony wants to milk this cash cow for all it's worth and turn this into a fully fledged universe of it's own making already confirmed spin-offs for the Sinister Six, a group of villains who really serve no purpose outside of being villains to Spider-Man despite what their comic run says, Venom, a character who MUST be introduced via Spider-Man otherwise he makes absolutely no sense and apparently it all has to do with the evil Oscorp... corp.  From Green Goblin to Electro to Spider-Man himself to the Lizard, all superpowers stem from here. So it's really going to stretch this character thin and really going to milk it for all it's worth. I believe it's going to cause it to crash and burn, we've already seen that Amazing Spider-Man didn't do nearly as well as the previous movies nor did it's sequel, which critically has been panned but is still making enough money to clearly warrant the continuation of not only Spider-Man's films but to build a whole universe around it. They're already having to push the limits of what Spider-Man has going for him often repeating aspects in movies that we'd already seen in the previous Raimi-helmed trilogy. I admire their attempts to do something better, I really do and best of luck to them, but Spider-Man is one part of a larger universe, he's a single character in a single city, where apparently everything is Oscorp's fault. It's going to take some serious skill and balls to try and pull this universe off, something that based on the last two entries, they going to struggle to do.

X-Men on the other hand is a different story, unlike The Avengers, the X-Men is already a team united, and has a basic causal link between heroes powers. Ignoring the Fantastic Four reboot for a second, the X-Men and all the superheroes in these movies have got a common cause for their powers, they're mutants. In fact Stan Lee himself said it best when he said "... they didn't need to be exposed to gamma radiation or bitten by a radioactive spider, they were just born this way, it was easy." And so too is it easy for the writers behind these movies to say "this guy/girl was just born this way". In fact never once have the X-Men in their movies been referred to as superheroes in the same way as Superman, Batman or The Avengers have been. The heroes and villains in this series are complex characters who are just born with their gifts rather than bestowed upon them. This makes for a much more unified universe and as such, the X-Men characters can spin-off into more than just solo films, there can be whole new characters like X-Force, who are in the same universe but don't even need set up like Spider-Man, they are already set up by their premise "they're mutants". Marvel pulled off something miraculous and pretty soon we'll be finding out just how far they can push it with Guardians of the Galaxy, but X-Men, it's already it's own universe. Hell, I always get a little surprised in the comics when the X-Men crossover with other characters because it gets a little confusing when there are heroes who aren't mutants in this world. The X-Men has as diverse a cast as the rest of Marvel combined, hence the recent Avengers Vs. X-Men storyline. And this is where Fox may struggle, will the Fantastic Four be mutants or will they be something else, that's the question if they're going to merge these properties together. 

X-Men works on it's own, it's got it's own universe, method for powers and social setting that really is quite globe-spanning. We can see Wolverine stand alones, or maybe one day a Gambit stand alone. Spider-Man is a hero who works on his own or could work with a team like The Avengers but to create a whole universe around one character's premise is a little crazy. X-Men created it's own universe without ever needing to create a universe and now Fox are capitalising on the success they've already had and adapting to new expectations of Marvel and DC's expanding universes. Sony on the other hand feels desperate to milk their cash cow Spider-Man for all they can and they're going to try to create heroes and villains who are directly related to Spider-Man but without Spider-Man in the movie. At least when Warner Bros did Supergirl in the 80s, it was clear she was from Krypton, and didn't need an accident to happen. But every character will have to be introduced in a Spider-Man movie and then you end up with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, frankly an absolute clusterfuck.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Would Final Fantasy XIII Have Been Better On Smartphones?

Final Fantasy XIII is a very strange game. It's a game that has a lot of potentially good ideas but really screws about with them. Now, one thing that simply won't save it is the fact that it's got an awful and I mean awful storyline. The character motivations don't make a lick of sense nor do they even remotely align with their actions. However, it seems in many ways that it would have made an excellent mobile game for smartphones.

Most smartphone games essentially play themselves while you control from behind the scenes. Take Plants vs. Zombies, you set up the tactics and place your plants down and they fire their pellets and what not without you having to interact with them or a similar game, Crystal Defenders by Square Enix themselves, a tower defence game. All these aren't about you selecting how your guys attack but where and what they attack. Final Fantasy XIII is kinda like that but on a console - and way higher budget.

The field map is also similar in Final Fantasy XIII, taking a queue from games like Plants Vs. Zombies or Angry Birds, they're simply level after level, there's no towns, no-one to talk to because they're unnecessary, you can access a store between turns on Jetpack Joyride, using money earned from the levels. The RPG elements are, for lack of a better word, dumbed down in mobile games, they're few and far between. This is similar to Final Fantasy XIII's field map, it's one long corridor taking you from one area to the next, there are no real towns or NPCs to interact with. On a console game where you sit down and play it for hours expected to get involved in the story and the gameplay. However on a mobile game you sit down a blast through a few levels on your way to work on the train. You can kinda do that with FF13, because there's no reason to sit down.

So with that, I ask the question; would Final Fantasy XIII have been a better game on smartphones? Probably, it wouldn't have had the budget, but it would have been a fun play through the game. There are significantly lower expectations for mobile gaming, which is just one of the many reasons I don't think mobile gaming is a threat to consoles. They're more like gaming from 1985, used to kill time, graphics aren't of paramount importance, they're just there to burn away the clock until you do something, which Final Fantasy XIII's gameplay is uniquely suited to, it's move from A to B, Level 1 to Level 2, kill some monsters with minimal reflex effort, so it's all about the pre-battle tactics and occasional quick switch up to keep the game exciting.

The sequels, the bizarrely named "XIII-2" and the 90s name inspired "Lightning Returns", are a different story because they went for more open elements in XIII-2 and more action elements in Lightning Returns, neither of which are well suited to the time-passing style of mobile gaming. I've already said my peace about Final Fantasy as a series in general, so it really comes down to this, do you think it could have been better received as a mobile game than as a console. If the high expectations hadn't been there and it had only been used as a game to pass the time, would it have been so reviled or at least so divisive. Would the Final Fantasy series reputation be in better shape? We'd already seen a bit of decline but Final Fantasy XIII was the, pun intended, Limit Break, it was the move that shattered the series dealing more damage than the previous titles had but it certainly wasn't what did all the damage. 

Final Fantasy XIII's story still had it's issues, characters like Lightning, who became a giant mary-sue for the creators, Snow, who clearly had some kind of mental deficiency, and many of the other issues with characters like Hope, Vanille, Fang even Sahz, who was probably the best character in the series and criminally under-used, had his stereotypical afro and the weird Chocobo-baby in his hair... seriously, who thought that was a good idea. Worse even, who thought it was a good idea to have that chocobo grow up to become a half-naked woman-bird hybrid in the next game called Chocolina, seriously what crack were they smoking when they created Chocolina... Man this game blows...

On point again; story is kind of an afterthought in mobile games, they'd still be in a mobile version but lessened perhaps, which funnily enough if you watch Square Enix's 16 bit recap of XIII where it's quickly summarised, it actually makes far more sense than the actual game. So there we go, perhaps XIII wasn't a game that should have been on consoles but perhaps an interesting mobile game that casual players could enjoy because that seems to be more of the idea with the game, it appeals more to a casual audience.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Should Spider-Man Be Only Peter Parker in the Movies?

Okay, so for those of you who don't know, Sony has basically come out and said "No-one will be Spider-Man in the movies except for Peter Parker." Now for a company that seems so hell bent on the whole "building a universe based around Spider-Man and only Spider-Man because we don't have any other major properties", this is very limiting. In addition to all the variations of Spider-Man that have been around over the years, there's already a whole (and frankly superior) trilogy of movies based around Peter Parker and his time as Spider-Man. So this means no Miles Morales, no Ben Reilly and no Miguel O'Hara. These are the three primary other Spider-Men, and they all could tell their own unique stories. 

Instead Sony has gone ahead with what is frankly a bit of a bat-shit idea and is going to milk Spider-Man for all it's worth, or more appropriately, Peter Parker. They're going to tell the story of the same guy again, over another trilogy, and probably a further trilogy after that if they don't reboot him for a second time. But here's the kicker, with great characters come great responsibility, except Sony isn't willing to use that responsibility. I get that Peter Parker is the most recognisable Spider-Man, just like Bruce Wayne is the most recognisable Batman. But the truth is, they've done Parker, twice now. And they didn't even vary the stories all that much, they're still telling the same story with some slight variations and everyone praises them for "Non-Organic Web Shooters", which by the way, I personally think is a dumb-as-shit, and I don't get why everyone complained about the dude with mutant Spider powers having the ability a spider does, to shoot webs. Yes, I know it's the original comics, doesn't make it any less dumb, it's like giving Superman a jet pack to fly despite the fact he has all these other insane superpowers.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic. They aren't even considering telling a new story, or maybe they think they are, I just don't know. It's very confusing at this point. The thing that irks me the most though, is Ben Reilly is a story that could be told while still using Peter Parker, giving the Scarlet Spider some time would give the Peter character a much needed break. Okay, so maybe the Clone Saga doesn't have the best reputation, but it's at least better than repeating the same stories over and over and over again. In an ideal world I'd love to see 2099 Spider-Man or more importantly Miles Morales come into the story. But we don't live in an ideal world... oh well.

Monday, 5 May 2014

To Those Who Spoil Game of Thrones...

Now, I love Game of Thrones, I love the characters, I love the plotlines, although I sometimes think there's too many but that's another story for another time. Meanwhile, those of you who think it's fun to post facebook status updates or photos or tumblr's or tweets or whatever that spoil Game of Thrones... To those of you who want to spoil Game of Thrones on the internet. I will look for you, I will find you... and I will go Red Goddamn Wedding on your ass!

Punk ass motherf-ers ruined that whole damn episode for me... THEY WILL PAY!

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Sunday, 4 May 2014

Hollywood is a Mad Mad World... with Batman

So, Elvis, Chaplin and Batman walk into a coffee shop...

I took this photo yesterday. I think it just sums up Hollywood in a nutshell. And people aren't even batting an eyelid. I like to think that having lived here for three years now, I'd feel less surprised by this kind of stuff but... NOOOOPE.

Hollywood is a damn strange place people, be prepared for some weird ass shit if you ever move here.