Known Superheroes, Animated Sci-Fi, and Fantasy Races – Geekout 28

Many topics we’ve seen in this series of posts as I try to keep up with a page-a-day calendar I received last year. The calendar challenges me to name some geeky things each day. I go a little beyond that, trying to write something about each one as I go. Today, I’m tasked with naming Two Superheroes without a Secret Identity, Four Animated Sci-Fi Films, and Six Fantasy Races.

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Let’s see how it goes!

Two Superheroes without a Secret Identity

Most superheroes maintain a secret identity, so they can have some semblance of protection for their loved ones and normal lives in general. Sometimes the heroes are considered vigilantes working outside the law, so need the protection from the government as well as from the villains. Whatever the reason, there are some who cannot (or choose not) to maintain separate lives.

Dr. Manhattan – The Watchmen

After turning his transformation, Dr. Manhattan might have the powers to hide his new identity, but I doubt he cares enough to deal with it anyway. He’s completely blue and has incredible powers. He’s probably one of the most powerful characters in all comics. Ever. I don’t remember many calling him anything except for Dr. Manhattan.

Dr. Strange

Considering that his name was already Dr. Strange, that’s certainly not keeping things secret to use it still. My guess here is that what he’s fighting is too obscure for most people to even notice or care. He’s not fighting the normal villains like the Avengers. The magical world is separate enough that he probably doesn’t bother with a secret identity.

Iron Man

Doubt this was always the case, but the current cinematic version of this character almost immediately dropped that secret identity, revealing that he is Iron Man. I think it fits well, since the character is too arrogant to avoid the fame and glory.

Four Animated Sci-Fi Films

This is surprisingly challenging, since there aren’t that many good ones to be honest… Most science fiction films are not animated.

Titan A.E.

I’m probably the only person, but I really enjoyed this movie. I’ve seen it quite a few times actually. It’s objectively not a very good movie, but it has some elements that I enjoy that will seem familiar to any science fiction fans. You’ll probably laugh at how many famous people there are doing the voice acting for this not-so-successful film.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

I hope you weren’t worried about “Spirits Within” when you saw “Final Fantasy”. Yes, it would have qualified for this category, but I’d rather pull this one. This film is part of the Final Fantasy VII Compilation, taking place after the events of the game. Some Final Fantasy games would be considered fantasy, and some are a combination of fantasy and science fiction. Final Fantasy VII is one of the science fiction ones where there’s a world of technology, including some ahead and some behind our own. Mostly it’s just different from our own.

If you’ve not seen this film, I’d steer clear of it if you have yet to play the game. I know it’s challenging to go back to a 20 year old game, but I think it’s worth playing. Once you’ve played the game, the film will provide an interesting continuation to the story. I don’t know how the Final Fantasy VII remake will be, but I’d still recommend playing the original game first.

WALL-E

I love this movie. It doesn’t have the heart-wrenching beginning like Up, but it’s still full of emotion as well as fun. Foreign contaminant. It takes a bit of a comedic approach at times, but it’s got some strong environmental warnings. In the film, the Earth is no longer suitable for human life, and humans now live on generational ships in space.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Even being a Star Wars fan, I’ve yet to see this film. When it was coming to theaters, it looked more like a children’s film than a Star Wars movie. I know that the Clone Wars TV Show and also Rebels are good, but this I’ve never heard good things about. I may watch it at some point. We’ll see.

Six Fantasy Races

If there’s one area I’ve expertise in, it’s this one. Here we can cross into Dungeons and Dragons as well as plenty of fantasy novels. And I’m skipping humans, despite their being a race within the fantasy genre.

Elves

The standard race that appears in most everything. Depictions of them vary from being taller than or shorter than humans. Nearly always though, these pointy-eared creatures, are considered wiser and longer-lived than humans.

I debated bringing in the different types of elves, but that seemed a bit unfair. Many worlds have various elves, Tree Elves, Wood Elves, Forest Elves, High Elves, Dark Elves, Night Elves, etc. Each of these have different traits, characteristics, and societal structures.

Dwarves

One of my favorite bits about dwarves, though not consistent, is that even the female dwarves have large beards. Always makes me laugh, because it would be challenging, given the stoutness of dwarves in general, for humans to tell the difference. Could make for some awkward and potentially insulting pronoun-usages.

Dwarves are always shorter than humans, and are nearly always miners of some kind. They’re often greedy, hoarding gold, gems, and jewelry within their mountains. They’re also stocky fighters who can drink ale with the best of them.

Halflings

Halflings are a very short race, even shorter than dwarves most times. You may also know them by Tolkien’s name for them, Hobbits. Their small stature makes them light-footed and good at pilfering and burgling. Often overlooked for their size, most stories and gaming systems feature them more powerful than some might expect. Judge them by their size, do you?

Orcs

I often feel bad for Orcs, because everyone immediately assumes they’re all evil monsters based solely on their monstrous appearances. I’m sure there are stories where an Orc as good, but I’m not currently thinking of one. Orcs in Tolkien’s world are monstrously-perverted Elves if I remember correctly. If that’s the case, that at least means that they’d share some characteristics with the Elves. Are the Orcs smart? Are they wise? Would they, if they could, create a society of their own?

Gnomes

This nuisances come in garden variety or as illusionists. Probably more than that, but I had to make the joke. Gnomes are tricksters sometimes, and as such specialize in illusions if you play RPGs. They’re also very small, which you probably guessed based on the garden ones.

I’ve unintentionally played a gnome in a game of D&D. I was playing a Human Bard with very close ties to the Druids, and had requested a Reincarnation rather than a True Resurrection if I were to die in my adventures. It happened, and the Reincarnated brought my character back as a Gnome. Luckily, the Bard’s abilities at performing were epic, so he was able to resume his previous life. Just a bit shorter

Goblins

And everyone’s favorite race to hate, the Goblins. More than a decade ago, a comic called Goblins Comic was created. I haven’t read it in a long time, so I don’t know where the story has gone. It seems to still be going though, so maybe I’ll check in on it. What’s interesting is that the story follows two sets of main characters, some traditional characters, and a one is a group of Goblins. It’s great, because Goblins are not often the main characters of stories and are generally just the evil creatures that adventurers kill at the beginning of their quests.

Wrap Up

Next up for your geeky enjoyment is General Geekiness, Gaming, and Comics. See you next time!

“Yeah, I wouldn’t place a lot of confidence in what you just heard. Over and out.” – Wolf, answering a pager.

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Elves, Cameos, and Companies – Geekout 2

On today’s Geekout challenge from my page-a-day calendar, I’m supposed to list: Two Middle-earth Elves, Two Celebrities [who] have Made Cameo appearances on The Big Bang Theory, and Four Video Game Companies.

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Looks like those icons must indicate the category, I’d guess it’s fantasy, general geekiness, and games.

Two Middle-earth Elves

I’d say the toughest part for this one is choosing from which of Tolkien’s texts I should make my selections. I’ll admit that I’ve never finished the Silmarillion, but I’ve read half the book more than once. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, however, each have more than enough elves to choose from.

Elrond

Appearing in The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, and The Return of the King, this elf stays important throughout the series, unlike some who make appearances in only The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. Additionally, he always seems somewhat mystical, and is relatively nice to the characters we’re following.

Thranduil

The more reclusive and less-trusting elf, Thranduil and his elf brethren create an interesting challenge for Bilbo and his Dwarven allies, imprisoning the dwarves until their barrel-riding ally manages to plan their escape. While I’m not too happy with his portrayal in the recent movie adaptation, I like the character, since he offers such a different view of the Elves than we received earlier in the book while meeting Elrond. Not all elves share the same opinions it would seem!

Two Celebrities with Cameos on The Big Bang Theory

Now here’s finally a tough question for me. I’m not much of a fan of The Big Bang Theory. While it’s got some good geeky humor, the show seems to ridicule nerds and geeks, casting us often in a poor light. There are funny points, and jokes that are certainly for us exclusively! Maybe it’s just me though!

Wil Wheaton

As a child actor, I was not a fan, however, I’ve come around to Wil Wheaton following his roles on Leverage and The Guild. I do know that he was on an episode of The Big Bang Theory. I didn’t watch the episode, but I heard something about the cast and him. For some reason I’m remembering something about bowling. Maybe I’m way off on this one.

Brent Spiner

I heard about this as well, so I hope I’m right here. I remember something about it, since it made for a double Star Trek cameo. I recall something about a birthday. Either way, Data is an awesome character with really interesting development in The Next Generation, and Brent Spiner really played him well. Since Star Trek, I’d have to say my favorite of his characters was in Independence Day. So many people didn’t even notice it was him!

Four Video Game Companies

Now this is a laughably small number of game companies to name. I’m guessing someone thought four would be a large number, since most of the questions so far have asked for two.

Square Enix

As a fan of many classic RPG franchises, including Chrono Trigger/Cross, the Final Fantasy series,  and the Star Ocean series, it would be difficult to exclude the creators of those games who now comprise Square Enix.

Their current direction is somewhat questionable at times, however, I am hopeful that the FF7 remake will not be the disappointment many predict. In addition, I’ve appreciated some of the games they’ve published, including Life is Strange.

Blizzard Entertainment

Talk about a company that really got in a decades long groove. Warcraft was a good game, and I remember IPX connection games of Warcraft II so long ago! Everything changed with Diablo, Starcraft, and Battle.net! Talk about an acquisition, Blizzard North bringing along Diablo set the stage for this company’s triumph in online gaming. Never again was there a need to try and get LAN games going with friends. Online gaming was now easy.

This company is never the first in their genre, but when they show up, they take over. Their development efforts seem to stretch on forever, but if they let a game reach release, it’s impressive. These days I think Heroes of the Storm is the closest they have to a non-success, but only because it’s not the top MOBA.

Quantic Dream

A company close to my heart, Quantic Dream does not disappoint. No, not even with Beyond: Two Souls. The creators of Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy, two of my favorite games. Interestingly, Indigo Prophecy was originally called Fahrenheit outside the US, a crazy thing, since we’re nearly the only country using that system.

The games this studio creates aren’t for everyone; story-focused games are their expertise. As a player, you’re guiding a movie more than anything else. There are skill-based challenges and story-impacting decisions to make which determine how the story will end. I’ve watched the endings of their games more times than I’d like to admit, and I’ve played through each game quite a few times as well.

BioWare

At this point, you may have noticed my story-driven, role-playing game focus. I must include the creators of the Baldur’s Gate series of games. Yes, I cite them for that, since that’s where I first experienced their games. Those games used D&D rules, so that was quite fun for me!

Using similar rules to D&D, their Star Wars game, Knights of the Old Republic, was (and still is) one of my favorite games. If you’ve not played it, I recommend giving it a try sooner rather than later. It’s not a new game, so the controls are starting to show their age. The story and adventure are quite fun though! They were not the creators of Knights of the Old Republic II, however, they came back to the series with The Old Republic, their MMO that I do still play!

Now, before anyone tries to have me strung up, yes, I played and loved Mass Effect and Dragon Age! They’re great games that show that BioWare can take those same skills and transition from D&D and Star Wars to their own worlds with Dragon Age and Mass Effect respectively.

Wrap Up

It seems I’ve managed two of these posts in a row. That won’t last, however, I’m hoping that The Big Bang Theory questions doesn’t become a trend – I’ll exhaust that expertise quickly!