Star Wars Video Games Are Great

Over my many years of enjoying video games, quite a few of those have been Star Wars games. It’s a good franchise with quite a lot of world built around it through various games, books, and the movies (of course). In this post, I’ll tell you about a few of my favorites without spoiling too many details of the stories. I know you’re terribly surprised that I like Star Wars games.

Note: before I continue, be aware that when Disney acquired Star Wars, they removed all but the main movies and current cartoon shows from canon. The old games and novels are now referred to as “legends”, so they may be accurate or may not be. Essentially, Disney can use what they like and ignore what they don’t.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

This is one of the many games that I own multiple copies of. In this case, I own the standard disc-installed PC version of the game as well as a Steam copy. I had to start here as it is one of the most popular Star Wars games and one of my personal favorites.

Knights of the Old Republic

The game has a thoroughly epic storyline where you follow a force-sensitive character who eventually becomes a Jedi. As with most RPG games of its era, you get to choose a lot about the character: name, appearance, gender, skills, traits, etc. As an RPG, it’s quite story-driven, so you’ll be making choices throughout the game, and those will often correspond with either the light-side or dark-side of the Force. Having a character alignment system based on player decisions should feel familiar to gamers today, but was not common when this game was originally released.

As Star Wars tends to, the game starts you off in the middle of the action; you’re aboard a ship during a space battle. There’s a quick bit of exposition to get you into the story, and the first scene is more tutorial than anything else.

As with most BioWare RPG games of the era, this game leverages an underlying rules system that will remind people of Dungeons and Dragons, since it is a D20-based system. I’m not familiar with the exact rules of the Star Wars D20 system, but I’m sure this is somewhat close to that pen and paper game’s rules.

For anyone who has played BioWare’s Baldur’s Gate or Neverwinter Nights games, this will feel very similar as those use the Dungeons and Dragons rules. And if you’re into BioWare’s newer games, you’ll feel some of where Mass Effect and Dragon Age came from.

Note: If you read my wife’s blog posts, you’d know that we love this game. We named our cats after characters from the gameJolee and Juhani.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

Strangely enough, for those who know that both Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: The Old Republic (The MMO) were created by BioWare, this game is made by Obsidian Entertainment. I don’t know the details for that, but I do know that this game was rushed to completion and not entirely finished when it was released. All the same, Obsidian did make some interesting additions and create a fun game here.

KOTOR_II

It’s built on the same engine as the first game and continues the same story. We follow new characters for this one, but it will reference things done in the previous game, so it’s best to have played that one first. Although don’t be disheartened by the canon being set from the first game. It needed to make choices about what the player chose for the first game in order to pick up here. I believe the canon is that the first game has a male protagonist and the second game has a female protagonist, but you’re obviously welcome to choose how you like.

The second installment in this series adds some new concepts to the game, especially with regards to the relationships your character has with her companions. This will feel very familiar for people who’ve played modern, western RPG games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age.

I mentioned that the game was rushed, but the Internet has banded together to save the day. There are community patches, which will fix bugs as well unlock content that was cut from the game before release. The content was cut to meet a deadline, so it’s unfinished content. It’s available if you’re interested though.

Note: if you’re into it, my wife did a series of posts about revisiting Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2 when she did a replay of it years ago.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed I & II

I first played this game on a console, which is great for this style of hack-and-slash gameplay. While the Knights of the Old Republic series could do well on either PC or console, this one shines nicely on a console. I know people that like hack-and-slashing on PC though, so do what you like! Personally, I like getting comfy on a couch when playing a game where I’m running around swinging a lightsaber.

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Force_Unleashed_2

I’ve paired these two together more for my convenience than anything else. I greatly enjoyed both of them and they follow one of my favorite characters to have ever been part of the overall Star Wars franchise, Galen Marek AKA Starkiller. I’m also a big fan of the actor who did the voice and motion capture work for the protagonist; and luckily for me, he attended a gaming convention near me where I was also in attendance! Needless to say, my wife was not happy about it (she wasn’t at the event). We’re both huge fans of his from this and other work he’s done.

This Force Unleashed series has a fun concept, since you’re starting out working for the Sith rather than the Jedi. Most games start you on the light side and let you choose a path, but this one starts you allied with the dark side. You still have some control of things, but it’s a good difference. In the game, you start as Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, so you’re traveling around the galaxy doing his bidding. In these travels, you get to hunt down the Jedi. The events take place between the original trilogy and the prequels, so it fits a nice area of the overall story.

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire

One of the better known N64 and PC titles in the Star Wars universe is Shadows of the Empire, which features daring protagonist, Dash Rendar. As you may expect, he’s a “Han Solo”-type character. The game was received well enough at the time. It’s not renowned for any reason, but it is still playable if you’d like to. There are purchasable versions of it on gog and Steam.

Shadows_of_the_Empire

The story is set mostly between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and has you loosely involved with the events of the films. The game released with a novel and comics in a move likely to build hype for Star Wars leading up to the special editions of the original trilogy.

The game featured a few game modes, so it’s not just running around. There are scenes where you’re on foot as Dash, scenes where your ship is “on rails” and you shoot at incoming fighters, there are literal “on rails” levels where you jump along train cars in a 3D platforming style of play, and there are scenes where you ride around on speeders. There’s plenty of variety, and the chance to fight IG-88. In all, it’s a fun game to check out if you enjoy Star Wars!

Wrap Up

Yes, I know there are many other great Star Wars games. For example, I own the games in the Rogue Squadron series, but I just wanted to wrap up this post. I’ll write something about the Rogue Squadron series at some point.

If you’re looking for more used-to-be C-canon for Star Wars goodness check these or any of the other classic Star Wars games. You won’t regret it!

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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.

Hellboy, Sci-Fi Captains, and Flying Creatures – Geekout 23

Are you as excited for this list as I am? Probably not, since I’ve seen the prompts. Let’s jump right into this one! Today I’m tasked with naming Two characters from Hellboy, Four Fictional Sci-Fi Captains, and Four Fantasy Creatures that Fly.

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Let’s put it all together!

Two characters from Hellboy

Nope. I wasn’t excited about this one. The extent of my Hellboy knowledge is that I’ve seen parts of the movie a couple of times, many years ago. I also can’t come close to naming two characters.

Hellboy

Yep. I’m cheating here probably. This is all I’ve got. I know there’s the blue fish-looking guy and some others, but this is the only name I can come up with.

Four Fictional Sci-Fi Captains

This is one of the ones I was excited about, since there are some great choices.

Malcolm Reynolds – Firefly/Serenity

Malcolm is the Captain of the Serenity, a Firefly-class transport vessel. I’m not going to sit here and try to sell you on the show, I’m sure I (and others) have done that before.

Jean-Luc Picard – Star Trek

An honorable member of Starfleet, Jean-Luc Picard captains the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I’m betting most of you knew that already. He and Kirk are Star Trek’s best known, which makes sense having each captained Enterprises on television and movies. And if you want to bother him, just barge in and call him John Luck Pickerd.

James Holden – The Expanse

I originally watched this series, but started reading the books before finishing watching the first season of the show. Now I’m nearly done reading the sixth (the most recent) book in the series. Season two will be out soon. It should cover the events of the second half of the first book. I’m looking forward to it. James Holden is a good captain of the Rocinante.

Han Solo – Star Wars

Didn’t think I’d skip this one, did you? Go Han Solo! This scruffy-looking Captain of the Millennium Falcon joins up with the rebellion after agreeing to ferry Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Have you really not seen Star Wars? If not, let me know. I’ve got recommendations for where to start!

Commander Shepard – Mass Effect

“I’m Commander Shepard and this is my favorite blog on the Internet.” – Commander Shepard

The protagonist of the Mass Effect series he/she captains the Normandy. I don’t want to get too into the details, since they’re pretty significant to the stories of the games. When playing the game, you decide whether Commander Shepard is male or female, so it’s hard to pronoun in this post.

Four Fantasy Creatures that Fly

One of the most useful abilities for a creature is flight. This level of mobility makes creatures useful in stories as hunters, mounts, and sometimes both!

Dragons

I’m not really sure what I need to say about Dragons as you should know of these already. There are plenty of types of dragons, and many of them are capable of flying. D&D players enjoy telling you the alignment of dragons based on the color of the dragon. It’s a thing.

Flying Bison – Avatar: The Last Airbender/Legend of Kora

In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang is often accompanied by his lifelong companion and friend, Appa. As a flying bison, Appa is able to carry Aang and his friends in their travels. Flying bison are very large creatures without wings, so how they manage to fly is quite mysterious. We know they’re using airbending (air magic from the show) somehow, but how they can keep such a heavy creature up is beyond me!

Griffin

Common in fantasy settings, griffins are mythical creatures composed of features of a lion and an eagle. They’ve got wings and talons from the eagle and have hind legs, bodies and tails of a lion. I think there’s some disagreement on the features of griffin heads, but I usually think of a lion head with a beak. Either way, they fly using those wings, so count for this list.

Interestingly, my character in the Solar Exalted game I’ve mentioned previously just finished taming a Griffin as a makeshift mount. Should be quite useful as I need to fly quite high very soon.

Thestral – Harry Potter Series

These creatures are visible only to those who’ve seen death, which means they’re invisible to many. They’re almost skeletal horses with bat-like wings and are how the carriages are pulled to Hogwarts Castle in the Harry Potter series.

Wrap Up

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Tune in next time for a post covering General Geekiness, Gaming, and Comics.

Flying Cars, Grimm Tales, and Bond Villains – Geekout 20

Writing a blog post nearly every day means that I can write about all kinds of geeky topics. It’s been interesting writing these this year. So for a backstory, I received a page-a-day desk calendar for Christmas. On the calendar, it challenges you to list some geeky things based on three prompts it provides each day. I take that, and I write a little bit about each of my responses.

For example, today I am supposed to list Four Films in which Flying Cars appear, Four Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales, and Four James Bond Enemies. If I’m restricting my answers in some way, I’ll usually explain how.

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Let’s see how this day goes!

Four Films in which Flying Cars appear

For this, I think I’ll distinguish that flying cars and near-ground hovering cars are not the same thing. I’d also like to think that the name “car” is not required for these vehicles, but they should be car-like.

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

In atmosphere, it’s common to have “speeders” in Star Wars. There are landspeeders, snowspeeders, airspeeders, etc. in their world. I’d say that the airspeeders seen in the second of the prequels are most certainly an example of flying cars in a film.

Back to the Future Part II

Where this movie’s going, we don’t need roads. In this film we seen flying cars landing on streets and continuing to drive. These cars use a hovering technology to lift them up into the sky as flying cars. We get to see this quite early, since Doc Brown has converted the DeLorean time machine into a flying car before the events of the movie take place – or in the future past… OK, let’s not go there.

Star Trek Into Darkness

They may not be common in Star Trek films and TV, however, flying cars do exist in the world. In fact, if you saw Star Trek Into Darkness, you watched current Spock’s fighting prowess on display while he was standing atop a flying car.

The Fifth Element

In The Fifth Element, our main protagonist is a cab driver named Korben Dallas. His cab? A flying cab, because the film is full of flying cars. I don’t have to get into the details of the film too much here, which is good; I wouldn’t want to spoil the movie for anyone who wants to watch it. I enjoy the film, and think Gary Oldman and Chris Tucker play some amazingly fun characters in the film!

Four Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales

And in this category, we’ll see how these both Grimm and grim tales have been adapted into modern version we still tell today!

Rapunzel

I’ll focus on what most people won’t know here, and I’ll assume that most people have seen Tangled. In the Grimm’s story, Rapunzel’s soon-to-be father is caught stealing food from the witch’s garden. The food was a craving from his pregnant wife. He is allowed the food in exchange for the soon-be-born child.

You know the locked in the tower and climb the hair bit of the story, but the prince part has some changes as well. He gets Rapunzel pregnant and plans an escape with her during his visits. Before they can complete the plan, Rapunzel foolishly gives away his visits, and when he next climbs up, the witch is the only one there. She pushes him onto thorns, blinding him. A bit more violent eh?

This is surprisingly a happy story, since he eventually finds her from her singing. His sight is restored by her tears and they raise their children happily ever after. This version takes a dark turn, but ends up in the light.

Hansel and Gretel

Again, the story starts as we all know it. The children are taken into the woods, because the family will not be able to feed them during the famine. They children leave stones as they walk, so they may follow them home. The next time they’re unable to get the stones, so they use bread crumbs. Could have worked if animals (likely mostly birds) hadn’t eaten the crumbs.

The children are now lost in the woods for days and, unlike the candy-houses of modern day, find a sugary bread and cake house. Obviously the starving children eat some of the house before being lured inside by the witch who discovers them eating her house!

The witch enslaves Gretel and is fattening Hansel for a meal, force-feeding him. Lucky for the children, the witch has poor eyesight, so when she checks to see how plump Hansel is getting, he shows her a bone instead of a finger. This fools the witch, but she eventually decides to eat both children immediately.

Before the witch can throw Gretel into the oven, she tricks the witch into leaning in first, and Gretel pushes her in, killing the witch.

And as we saw with the last tale, the story ends happily here. After the grim, cannibalistic encounter ending in the children murdering an old woman, they escape home with the witch’s treasure. Their evil stepmother, the one who wanted them gone in the first place has died, and the treasure now makes the family rich and happy.

Rumpelstiltskin

Like with Hansel and Gretel, this one has it’s darker element maintained well in modern versions. I forget exactly how the girl gets locked up by the king, but I believe her father had claimed that she could spin gold from straw. Anyway, once locked up, she’s told to spin the gold or be killed.

Luckily (or perhaps unluckily?) a magical being shows up to help. He offers his services in exchange for her jewelry, and spins the gold. I forget how many times this exchange happens, but eventually she’s out of items to trade for his services. The king has also declared he will marry her if she can spin gold again. Without anything to offer, he demands her first-born child as payment and does the deed.

Avoiding death again, she’s set free and marries the king. When their first child is born, she refuses to give him up, offering instead riches. In an uncharacteristic bit of generosity, he offers to rescind his claim if she can guess his name within some time period. No one knows his name, so she’s doomed (likely why he was willing to offer the opportunity).

She searches for him in the woods at night, and she somehow manages to find him talking excitedly to himself about his great success. In his excitement, he refers to himself by name, and she’s able to return home and give his name at the final opportunity to guess. He leaves without the child, and we get another happily ever after.

Cinderella

The story of the wicked stepmother and stepsisters is consistent here. She’s good and kind as her mother instructed her just before dying, which doesn’t help Cinderella much. Of note, Cinderella is not the German name of her, it’s the English. I just searched, and it seems that it’s “Aschenputtel”, and the Internet tells me that literally means Ash Fool.

I recall there being something done in their version that triggers the magical elements with the birds. I don’t recall what it is, but she does get help from birds in this version (it wasn’t just Disney’s version!) They help with chores and such, so she can be done in time for the ball. You know, the ball where the prince is looking for his bride. She’s left behind anyway, and the birds give her the outfit. I don’t remember how, but I recall it being the birds still.

There’s no midnight thing, but after the ball she makes an escape from the prince. To be honest, I’m not sure why she does that! Unlike in some modern versions, there are more nights of balls. Cinderella returns again, and the prince looses her again when she escapes while he’s walking her home. Failing again to find her, he plans a “trap” for the third night. While the ball is in progress, he has the stairs coated in a sticky substance to keep her from running away. When she tries, one of her golden, yes golden, slippers gets stuck. Now the prince has a way to find his bride-to-be during the day!

Ready for the less-than-pleasant part? In order to fit into the slipper, at the suggestion of their mother, one stepsister cuts off some toes and the other her own heel. Each in turn is thus able to fit the slipper, nearly fooling the prince. The noticed bleeding feet eventually giving away their disturbing treachery. Obviously, when Cinderella tries on the slipper, not only does it fit, but the prince recognizes it’s her.

And just in case it wasn’t disturbing enough already, those evil stepsisters get their eyes either poked or plucked out (I can’t remember which) by the birds from earlier. A bit gruesome there. At least Cinderella and her prince get a happy ending!

Four James Bond Enemies

This says “enemies”, so I’m going to allow myself the main villain or their henchmen. I’ll try to avoid hitting the same film multiple times, since that’s no fun. Although a couple I could pull their whole set of enemies and be happy with the result!

Goldfinger – Goldfinger

The titular character of a Bond film, this antagonist is obviously gold-obsessed, even killing someone and painting her with gold. To be honest, I don’t know if the paint killed her, or if she was dead first. Been forever, since I’ve seen the movie. Either way, he’s plotting some evil that you can watch the movie to learn about!

Janus – GoldenEye

Spoiler Alert! I like this character too much to exclude him from this list, but I attached that spoiler alert just in case. This is the assumed name of Alec Trevelyan, known also as 006. Bond was fooled into thinking he was killed by General Ourumov in the beginning of the film. Since Ourumov is the traitor working with him, that obviously was faked. Anyway, he’s a brilliant villain played by Sean Bean, so how can you dislike the character?

Jaws – Multiple Films

This giant brute is a recurring character in the Bond franchise, and attempts to kill 007 more than a couple of times. I most know him from Moonraker, because he was included in the bonus level of that title in the GoldenEye video game for the Nintendo 64. Jaws is depicted with metal teeth, which, in addition to being scary and iconic, can bite through quite a lot.

Oddjob – Goldfinger

I couldn’t do it! I like Goldfinger and wanted to include him, but I’m adding his henchman, Oddjob here as well! This henchman is strong, and also has a blade in the brim of his hat (likely a chakram). As a result, he is able to throw the hat as a weapon to decapitate his target.

Also, you’re practically cheating if you choose him as a character in the GoldenEye N64 game… The character model (and thus hit box) is shorter than the other characters! Don’t remember him being that short in the film, so perhaps the game developers just wanted a short character and chose him.

Wrap Up

Wrote a lot more than I intended today! Anyway, make sure to follow my blog to catch the next post, which will cover a Gaming, a Comics, and a Sci-Fi topic!

Zombies, Bat-romance, and Yoda Quotes – Geekout 16

With weekends only having 1 page, I’m at page 16, which means I’ll be about 52 days short of 365 for the year. By my calculations, I’m about 1/20th of the way through the calendar. Daunting! This set of topics looks interesting though! Today I’ll be naming Four Games with a Zombie theme, Two Batman Love Interests, and Two Classic Yoda Quotes.

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Not sure what I’ll trim the lists down to here!

Four Games with a Zombie theme

These have certainly been popular over the years!

Slow zombies, fast zombies, smart zombies, dumb zombie, a nerd’s book by Zombie Seuss.

I liked how open-ended this question is, since it also allows for both board and video games. Based on its saying “a Zombie theme”, I would think it would need to be more than just having a zombie or two in it. Zombies are in D&D for example, but it’s not zombie themed.

Resident Evil/Biohazard

A classic game that was utterly terrifying when it first came out. It’s a bit laughable now, but graphics and gameplay have come a long way since the original of these hit store shelves. In some ways, the restrictive camera and difficult controls made the game harder and scarier. The game takes place in a mansion filled with zombies. I’ll not dive into the lore, but I will say that it’s extensive. The game features an exploration element, because you can learn more about the lore by exploring more locations and reading as you play.

Just don’t get turned into a Jill sandwich by the voice acting’s quality in this game…

Dead of Winter

I’ve not played this game enough times yet, but I’ve enjoyed it when I have. This is a (mostly) cooperative board game where the players take control of survivors struggling in in a zombie apocalypse scenario. The game mechanics work well as you try to feed everyone and defend yourselves against the hordes.

Zombies!!!

Not exactly the most strategic of games. This one has a large bag full of plastic zombies, and you’re exploring city streets trying to find a helicopter to escape. Also, yes, those exclamation points are in the title of the game. The cool mechanic in this one is that players move their own survivor piece as well as the zombies, so other players can really mess you up! Good luck surviving!

Left 4 Dead

Fast zombies! This was one heck of a crazy game! This is a first person shooter, cooperative game. You work as a team traveling from one safe house to the next, killing zombies and trying to make it to the next stop in one piece. Ammo and medical supplies will be there, so get there before you run out. This game’s zombies often run right at you, so it was fast-paced excitement when it came out.

Two Batman Love Interests

Superhero romance is always a dangerous issue, since it often means the pairing of two already-known characters. That leads to a circumstance I’m not keen on. I’ll explain what I mean by this in my selections.

Catwoman

If you’ve seen movies, cartoons, or comics, you know this is a thing. Even if nothing exists in the content you’re viewing, there are often hints at past/future interest between the two. Catwoman isn’t just straight up villainous, which is what makes her such an interesting character. She’s teamed up with the good guys before, and has motivations for what she does.

I know there’s something to establishing relationship through shared struggle, so perhaps this is an added factor in their relationship. Either way, I don’t get the impression that Catwoman is a character included only as a love interest for Batman, which is why she’s a good character in her own right. Just get her movie right next time…

Although, in all seriousness, I don’t think it has ever been romantic involvement (could be wrong), but I find the Poison Ivy and Catwoman relationship more interesting. I thought I’d heard a rumor of a movie about Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn. We’ll see if DC movies can redeem themselves…

Wonder Woman

I am fairly certain there was at least one story arc where Batman and Wonder Woman were at least somewhat romantically involved. I’m not a big fan of the concept, however, as too often female characters only exist as the male character’s love interest. Wonder Woman is great, and my opinion of her as a character increases as I learn more about her! Is it a thing that supers go for other supers? Maybe.

Two Classic Yoda Quotes

I’ll follow the rules and only pick two for this one, but Yoda imparts some great wisdom on Luke in the short bits of conversation shown on screen. I took “classic” here to mean that the quote should come from the original trilogy only.

That is why you fail.

When Yoda lifts that X-Wing using only the power of the force, Luke doesn’t believe what he’s seeing. Yoda informs him that it’s the reason he failed, which in talking about the force makes a lot of sense. It also makes plenty of sense for us as well.

When we approach a difficult task, expecting it to fail, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. We’re not trying as hard, since we’re expecting a failure anyway, why would we try as hard? Why would we make adjustments to try and make it succeed when we’re expecting failure anyway.

Wars not make one great.

Luke went looking for the “great warrior” Yoda to train him, but that’s one way in which Luke is terribly wrong-minded when he reaches Yoda. He believes Jedi to be warriors. This is an easy misconception given the little he knows of them (and his previous training). He was first taught about a Jedi weapon and told about a war, but Jedi are really the peacekeepers of the galaxy (or they’re supposed to be).

Greatness isn’t about who can defeat whom in battle. Great people improve the world around them and help other people. Yoda has fought in war, but it’s not what makes Yoda great. In The Empire Strikes Back, you don’t see Yoda teaching Luke to wield weapons and fight opponents. He isn’t shooting at human-shaped targets with a blaster or pointing a lightsaber at them. He’s learning to center himself and control his own body. He’s learning to become a better person. A Jedi.

Wrap Up

Did I seriously just succeed after catching up? That’s awesome! Keep watching next time for some more geeking out! The next one will be about fantasy, general geekiness, and gaming.

Laser Weapons, Fairies, and SNL – Geekout 15

Now that I’m back on track, let’s see if I can get a good streak going. Today I’ll be listing Four Fictional Weapons that use Laser Technology, Four Named Fairies, and Six Cast Members of Saturday Night Live.

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Sounds difficult right now, but I think I can handle it. Let’s get diggin’!

Four Fictional Weapons that use Laser Technology

Not sure whether laser-targeting would qualify. Perhaps it would. We’ll see if I need to go there. Let’s get started with some laser weapons.

Laser Pistols and Laser Rifles – Fallout 4

This game has a few different types of weapons, and one of those types are the laser weapons. They’re reasonably OK. Having ammo for all of your weapon types is a challenge in this game.

Sentry Turret – Overwatch

Wow are these things currently really annoying. I think they’re laser weapons, but I’m not 100% on this. Either way, they’re neat. Symmetra can currently put up 6 of these little things, and they’ll destroy you if you step near them!

Iron Man Suit – Iron Man

As if this suit didn’t have enough weapons. I recall him having some lasers in the suit.

Death Star – Star Wars

Lasers combining together to create a beam powerful enough to destroy a planet? Check. Thermal exhaust port that would be an impossible target to hit unless you’re a jedi? Check.

Four Named Fairies

I’ll need to be careful that my choices here are actually fairies and not something similar to a fairy. Also, it says “named”, and I would think of “Fair Godmother” as a title rather than a name.

Tinkerbell – Peter Pan

Boring choice here, but Tinkerbell is a well-known character. I’m also fairly certain she’s a fairy.

Navi – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Hey! Listen! This is easily the most annoying character on this list! You can tell, because many of you will have read that in her voice! At the start of the game, you get Navi. Joy!

Razzly – Chrono Cross

Razzly is a strange member of your party in Chrono Cross. As many characters are in Chrono Cross, she’s optional, and she can be missed entirely. Her in-game profile says she’s “A Forest Fairy”.

Queen Mab – The Dresden Files

One of the most powerful characters we’ve met in the Dresden Files. She’s part of the Winter Court, one of the two Faerie Courts in the Dresden Files. The Dresden Files is one of my favorite book series ever written. If you’ve not read it, go check it out!

Six Cast Members of Saturday Night Live

They’ve had so many at this point, so I’m going to go through a set that did some SNL-inspired movies. Plenty of these cast members did more than one and also cross over into the others’ movies!

Dan Aykroyrd

Beldar Conehead. Some chewing gum? Plenty of classic characters here, but I’ll reference the Coneheads skit where he played an alien with a cone-shaped head.

Will Ferrell

What is love? Well, Steve, that’s something you’ll learn about eventually. For now, you just go ahead and keep dancing like an idiot, Steve Butabi.

Chris Kattan

Names? Steve and Doug Butabi. You’re brothers? No…. YESSS!!!! OH MAN! Definitely the crazier of the Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan duo, which takes some work.

Molly Shannon

She’s a Superstar named Mary Katherine Gallagher. And as usual for an SNL-inspired movie, she’s a bit out there.

Mike Myers

It’s Wayne’s World host, Wayne Campbell! May be the main character of the sketch, but I’m jumping to the better character.

Dana Carvey

Garth Algar is definitely better than Wayne. If you’re gonna spew, spew into this. I love Dana Carvey’s impressions, so he’s on the list despite my not wanting to go over on this list. And yes, the next one had to be included.

Tim Meadows

Leon Phelps, the Ladies Man. Oooh a lady! Did you watch SNL in the 90s? OK, you saw plenty of Tim Meadows. Did you see this movie though? It’s not as popular as some of those others, but I do enjoy it. Saved one of the best movies for last here.

Wrap Up

Game, Comics, and Sci-Fi are coming up tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Fictional Elements, Greco-Roman Movies, and J.J. Abrams – Geekout 10

Well into the second week of this, I’m hoping to get back on track. This seems to be the day. Some large numbers here, but I think I can get some good answers to these. Today we’re looking for Two Fictional Sci-Fi Elements/Materials, Six Films Based on Greco-Roman Mythology, and Four Films or Television Shows Created by J.J. Abrams.

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That first one, the sci-fi one, is a cake walk. The fantasy prompt should also not be too hard to come up with, even with six being the number. The general geekiness question about J.J. Abrams at first seemed easy, but “created by” might be the challenge here. Let’s get started!

Two Fictional Sci-Fi Elements/Materials

Well here’s an easy one. Don’t even have to leave Star Trek and Star Wars for this one.

Transparisteel

As the name implies, this is a strong, transparent material. If you’ve played any Star Wars games, you’ll have come across this material frequently. It’s often used for “windows” on starships, cockpits and other areas needing transparency.

Dilithium Crystals

Any Star Trek fan will immediately know these crystals. They’re used in the warp drives on starships in the Star Trek universe. As such, they’re important in many episodes of Star Trek.

Six Films Based on Greco-Roman Mythology

I’ve not seen plenty of these, but I do know of their existence. Surprisingly difficult, since I’m (for now) unwilling to accept multiple Hercules movies.

Troy

This movie follows Achilles and depicts the events of the Trojan Horse. Definitely qualifies for this category.

Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief

Based on the first book in a series, this is a light take on mythology. It’s a modern setting, but involves gods, their children, and plenty of other mythical creatures.

Hercules

I’ll lump both Rockules and the animated Disney movie together for this. I’m not a big fan of either of these two movies, but they exist!

Clash of the Titans

Classic movie. I’ve not seen this one either. It’s about the titans, so it fits the prompt.

300

Yes, I’m counting this one. The same as the Trojan horse story, this seems to fall into the realm of myth closely enough.

Wrath of the Titans

I did not see this movie when it came out a few years ago. Was it good? I was guessing not, since most of this type of movie aren’t. Also about titans, so fits the bill for this one.

Four Films or Television Shows Created by J.J. Abrams

I’ve been wrestling with the idea of what constitutes “created by”, because I’d like to consider it to be something he had the idea for, produced, directed, helped write, etc. I started with three TV shows that I believe qualify, but couldn’t come up with anything else that I thought fit the bill.

Lost

My wife and I really enjoyed watching this show. There were points where it was not-so-good, so it’s hard to evaluate its legacy at this point. I think it suffered from the same issue that many shows do, which is they don’t set out with a full story and are making too many changes as they go. Each season gets a focus, throwing off the rhythm.

Fringe

Walter. The show is good, but Walter makes this show. Some great characters and a lot of fun here. This show is supposed to go off the rails a bit, so it’s fun that it does. Setting expectations for the win!

Alias

I only saw a few episodes of this show, but my wife watched it consistently. She seemed to like it, but I never got around to catching up from the beginning.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I didn’t want to use this example, since he’s not the creator of Star Wars. He didn’t even say, “hey I want to make Star Wars VII”. I think a more accurate description is that Disney wanted to make episode VII and he was selected to work on it. I’m fairly certain he was involved in screenplay, directing, producing, etc. I guess I’ll call that enough and include it here.

Wrap Up

Didn’t finish it as well as I would have liked, but I did manage to get there. Calling that a win for now.