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Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Archive for July, 2018

Amecon 2018 – Joel’s Summary & Gallery

Oh man am I tired. Well done Amecon, I am mentally and bodily drained. What a wonderful and weird weekend, and surprisingly well managed in the face of the adverse conditions.

I am not a hot-weather person, so the forecast of overwhelming heat was daunting in its own right, especially as I’d already resolved to cosplay (more on that later in the week) the concept of layering up beyond the basics of shorts and t-shirt was nightmarish, but I’d already made my decision. A lot of construction being done at Warwick meant some chronic reshuffling of the venue to allow space for all of the events taking place throughout the con, which meant a few insufficiently air-conditioned rooms. In many ways the weather turning on Sunday was a blessing, but I’m already getting ahead of myself.

I’m getting used to arriving on a Thursday to a convention. It usually offers an opportunity to socialise but this year, perhaps because we were not staying on-site (due in no small part to this year’s accommodation issues) we encountered very few people. We instead resolved to return to the hotel early, get a nice meal at the hotel, and kill the evening with some Magic.

Friday! The queue for registration was long and warm, we got a head start on making new friends (hello queue-friend, see you some other time) while the big monitor over the circle gave us an exciting countdown to an animated dance routine by AmeChan that made several reappearances during the weekend – why not, if you’ve put the effort into something like that then get your worth out of it. There were some organisational issues, not so much with managing reg itself, but managing the queue itself, but everyone managed to get through with little enough fuss before opening ceremonies.

Two complaints of my own for the day, apparently as a VIP (or premiere member, whichever) I did not get the traditional box of Pocky in my con-bag, does put a crimp in the start of ones convention, but I was more upset that I was barely boo’d at as I walked past the rest of the queue! Last year was such a delight, I was vilified, hated! None of that this year, shame on all of you.

I attended a handful of panels during the day, starting with an intro to Bunkazilla: a geek culture radio channel hosted online and created by Iain Boulton, his post-convention retirement project. A mech panel with a particularly dirty minded slant that proved as enlightening as it was entertaining, I suddenly understand far more of the jokes in Gurren Lagann. Then onwards to take, what would be a regular post in the traditional games room to prepare for the evening.

Now, Tim may have more pictures than I, but the end of my Friday was the GM’s Round Table panel, and I know I’ve said this to you both already but Chris and Lynsey, thank you both so much for making that panel what it was. While I enjoy hosting panels on my own, it was a much warmer affair to have you both on hand to answer those questions I could not, to really keep the conversation flowing, and turn the hour into an hour and a half.

In the panel we swapped stories, many of which not safe for this website, but tales of character ingenuity turned games master’s despair, conversations on the matters of player management, inter-personal disputes at the table, and some of our proudest and most embarrassing role-play moments. You – the audience – were fantastic, thank you all for the feedback, both positive and negative, it all helps make us better. See you in the future with something bigger and better than before.

There’s a lot of my Saturday I’ll need to circle around to in a day or two, suffice to say that I got an early peek into the dealers room and landed a harvest of dice and materials for a project that’s been in the works for some time. A panel about coffee in anime and gaming proved interesting, delving into how coffee has taken hold as a culture in Japan, although walking in to the gentle smell of a fresh brew was both tantalising, and a cheap trick to buy my affections, bravo. Thank you to those of you who joined the game of Dungeons & Dragons that evening, I shall say nothing about what took place, but those of you who played or witnessed were fantastic, and to you, my table is always open.

It is currently two in the morning, you’ll pardon me if I do not go overly in-depth on the subject of Sunday. I attended a variety of panels, saw some more friends, attempted to actually spend some time catching up with them, all of which felt inadequate, and so many of you I never even got to talk to beyond a quick “Hi, how was your weekend?” Let’s address some of the serious news of the day…

ChairChan is back.

It’s a convention meme that predates my time being involved with conventions, a chair, a magnificent chair, made wondrous by the adoration of its hoard of adoring fans, and the props that get left on it….

Y’know what, that’s not it.

My first convention was at Ayacon Apocalypse in 2013, and in the five years that followed I have learned and done a great deal, and consider myself to be experienced enough to know that I was spoiled, and that the venue may very well be the single greatest venue for an event of this kind, with rooms for panels and events, an enormous live-stage, party rooms, amenities, and on-site accommodation at reasonable rates, the Warwick Art Centre has it all. So the renovations taking place there now can only improve matters, right?

For now, they are a hindrance, an impediment that has caused something of a pall to be cast over next year’s Kitacon, and its bearers are the titans of the committee vacating their posts, and passing the baton down to a new generation of inveterate con-goers, event managers, and dyed-in-the-wool nerds. Their rest is well earned, but the duty of finding a new venue, even a temporary one for Kita 2019 is an uphill battle for anyone. Just don’t take us back to Nottingham guys.

Ame, we will see you again in 2020.

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The Road To 100%: AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome

This year, I seemingly have gotten a bit more serious about my 100% ventures in game. I got so serious, I managed to get 100% of achievements on Skyrim. When I finished Skyrim, I knew I had to get a new game and I wanted to go for a way different genre. I thought about games I say I really like, but hadn’t really committed the time required to get really good at. Then, my mind went back to Owlchemy and Dejobaan Games’ AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome, a title about freefalling from floating buildings whilst flipping off or thanking fans… And tagging buildings.

There truly is a game for every niche…

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GeekOut Bristol Meet – August 10th: GeekOut’s Bizarre Adventure

18+ Event

OH MY GOD!!

Get your stands out, it’s time for us to get ready for our very own Bizarre Adventure! With a new season of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure coming out later this year, it’s time for us to celebrate the ripple and of course, Za Warudo!

Oh and for any of you who don’t know what we’re on about, it’s cool – Come along and enjoy our antics anyway, as it’ll be another great night of fun and games!

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Top 10 Posing Characters

GeekOut Top 10s

Step 1 for powering up your special move: Strike a pose! Do you have a good special move? No? That’s because you can’t pose. No posing skills and we can’t take a great picture of you! But not to worry, as although we may not have your back, we have gathered some of the finest posers from geek history to show you how it’s done.

Get ready to freeze-frame for victory. It’s our Top 10 Posing Characters.

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Beginner’s Cosplay Guide #6: Proper Props

Cosplay is a crazy craft; cosplayers all begin somewhere and the question is where? How does someone start cosplaying comfortably? Who can cosplay? What are the etiquettes behind cosplay and what does a cosplayer need to know? Can someone with an unsteady hand become a cosplayer? Can someone who has never sewn-up a hole create stunning works of art? What do you need to get started? In a series of mini-guides, I hope to quell some of these questions and more.

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AmeCon 2018 – Previews

So, with this heat devouring my ability to think coherently, my anticipated article will be temporarily suspended in favour of a quick look at the one thing consuming my time over the coming week, Amecon.

Always glad to return to the Warwick Arts Centre, the place where it all began so far as Tim and I go, meeting on the circle steps at Ayacon Apocalypse, part of a braying crowd demanding Matt Mercer be spanked with a LARP sword, now that I’ve seen some Critical Role I’m ever more pleased about that little story, and the autograph in my campaign notebook with a badly drawn D20 in his own hand.

But the work being done to the campus is going to cause some serious upheaval for the weekend, room changes for both the event and the accommodation, and no doubt it’ll still be causing grief for us all until the last day. We can make the most of what we have, this is still one of the greatest events on the national geek calendar. My panel, the GMs Round Table with Chris and Lynsey, a pair of very experienced GMs and DMs who will spend some time in the traditional games room running games for any fool willing to step to the table. Otherwise come find us in Helen Martin (apparently used as a cosplay holding area) on Friday at 20:30, for story swapping, and all those burning questions about role-playing answered, probably with three different answers.

As much as I want to go to Paper to Photoshop, after being a guest on a Bunkazilla podcast recently I feel near-obliged to go and check that panel out instead, I don’t own Photoshop, no bad thing. There’s a singing workshop later in the day before the opening ceremonies, a LARP panel that overlaps with Taskmaster, so I guess that’ll be an interesting decision to make hastily at the last minute before I go prep for the Round Table.

Aside from a long panel on coffee (which… duh) I’m afraid Saturday looks a little vacant for me, so I will be spending the day dipping into a smattering of panels in between long gaming jaunts before MadStravaganza which is always entertaining. But of course Saturday night is also the rock and metal night with the Party Pirate, the one night of the year I actually go out to party. It’ll be made harder this year for the need to migrate to and from accommodation, I will be staying off-site for the first time ever, but still, I can but make the best of it.

Sunday, I look forward to seeing the Adventure Bastards again, their last live show was something truly entertaining, if not entirely in keeping with the spirit of Call of Cthulhu and Lovecraftian horror, but that’s hard to make as entertaining as their show. Fortunately it ends right before the closing ceremonies.

All of this is under the presumption that everything goes according to plan, which it probably won’t. The best way to stay up to date and informed is to make sure you have the Amecon app installed. We can only enjoy what happens as it happens, and I look forward to seeing as many of you lovely nerds as possible. See you there.


Re-Writing Iron Man 2

It’s been something of a glaring weak spot in the MCU series to date, this weird and not entirely coherent nugget of poor decisions that gave the series a stumbling start into it’s long culture-dominating run. There wasn’t great uproar at the kit-bashed villain Ivan Vanko, who combined Crimson Dynamo with Whiplash to create… well whiplash with a different alter-ego, but there was definitely something lost in the rushed heap of Avengers seeds and hastily put-together plot that made for a pretty disappointing experience when held up against the rest of the series.

I’ve had some ideas on how the film might have been done differently, I also read this article by ScreenRant, turns out we agree on a few things, but here I get a little more specific. (more…)


MireMarsh – Kickstarter product preview

In the first part of my UK Games Expo Kickstarter roundup, I mentioned a game involving Goblins by Room 17 games called Miremarsh. Now that the Kickstarter is live I listened back to the play through that I recorded at UKGE this year and wanted to give my full opinion on it. As per usual, we would like to remind you that this is a Kickstarter Campaign and as such things can change, so some of the information here may be out of date by the time the game is published.

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Magic: the Gathering Arena Closed Beta – First Impressions

Last week, Wizards of the Coast were looking for people to stress test their latest video game endeavour. Many people were granted access to a closed beta, to which Wizards gave out keys to the beta testers, which they can hand to 5 other people. I was fortunate enough to have Jake give me a key, so I was able to take part in the stress test. Before that though, I got to know the game a bit – So, here are my first thoughts of Magic: the Gathering Arena.

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GeekOut Shrewsbury July ’18 – Steampunk’d

Did anyone get a head-count on the day? I think we surpassed thirty which is always a pretty good month, the pre-meet was a grand outdoorsy affair, as befits the season, although gaming wasn’t ideal given the furniture.

But so many of you showed up, and so many of you put the effort into the steampunk theme of the day. Top hats, waistcoats, the finest of attire, and a couple of artistic contributions to the inventors fair. Fun, laughter, games, and general geekery, and so much to do in the long gap between now and August’s Shrewsbury Event. (more…)