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Archive for February, 2019

Skip – The Art of the Five Second Advert

Advertisers today have an incredibly difficult new premise to abide by: Grab my attention in five seconds.

Advertising remains a necessary evil, it keeps alive those forms of media that have no other practical means of gathering revenue, but we – the consumers, the YouTube watching generation – still find it to be annoying, intrusive, and too easily dismissed and ignored. We are not so captive an audience as the TV watching public, stuck to the couch while we wait for our desired viewing to return, perhaps vanishing into the kitchen or bathroom to attend to our plumbing. We can scroll past, we can install an ad-blocker, we can wait five seconds and skip… (more…)

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Please Read The Patch Notes

You know, I’ve sat here contemplating how to word this one, but the truth is that there’s only one way to word it. People really need to read the patch notes for games, or anything else. This rule doesn’t apply just to games either; sometimes a company will put our a major announcement, but then people will still be surprised when said announcement, whatever it may be, comes into effect. The truth is that people don’t spend enough time sitting back, trying to digest the information they’re given. This is, I guess, partly due to the immediate nature of the internet – and also partly due to overall laziness.

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Review – Alita: Battle Angel

Slowly but surely we are seeing those creators who grew up on anime and manga break into the industry and bring some of their favourite pieces to a more receptive audience. Robert Rodriguez has always worn his geeky side with pride, and his directing credits swing wildly between the more mature content and the kid’s action, you’d never believe that Dusk ‘Til Dawn was made by the same guy as Spy Kids. He also brought the Sin City comics to the big screen and made them household names, so to see him turn his action adventure skills to a 1990 manga (and a ’93 OVA) is something to be excited about. (more…)


Our Vision Going Forward

GeekOut South-West has been going for five and a half years; soak that in for a moment. We’ve been around long enough to see groups, events, website all come and go. We’ve been around long enough to reach a point where we’re established, some people call us reliable and we often get plenty of conversation around how much good we do for everyone. That, to me, is something I’m incredibly proud of. However, sometimes, you have to take a step back and really think about what your vision for something is. What has it been all this time? Has it changed? Today, I’m going to explore our vision for the rest of the year and beyond.

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GameBlast19: We Smashed Our Target

Yesterday, Later Levels’ Kim and Pete were up from 8am until 8am the following day, all in the name of charity. We mentioned before that we planned on joining them, which is exactly what both Jake and I did. We stayed up for the long haul, we had two targets to meet and achieve and we smashed both of them. Would we manage to get a character from level 0-50? Would we also manage to get our donation goal? It was a long night for us, but I’m pleased to say we managed everything we set out to do – and I couldn’t be more proud.

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Top 10 – Water-Wielding Characters

GeekOut Top 10s

By Poseidon’s beard, it’s time for another Top 10 and this week, we’re going to be diving deep into the world of water. These picks are all going to make a splash, as we are going to be analysing what we consider to be the best of the best Water-Wielding Characters. These individuals have command over water, or have abilities to conjure, manipulate or otherwise use water in a capacity to give them an advantage.

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GameBlast19: What To Expect on Saturday 23rd February 2019

Another year has passed us by and GameBlast is upon us again. Our friends Kim and Pete over at Later Levels are hard at work preparing a massive stream filled with a variety of games for a whopping 24-hour game fest. I’m always spurred on by these kinds of initiatives, so naturally I wanted to help out in any way I could. Now that GameBlast is tomorrow, we’ve arranged how we fit into all of this!

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“Watch Later” – Where Good Intentions Go To Die

File “Watch Later” in the same place as all of the books you bought and intend to read, and all the unplayed games in your Steam library, all of those Magic decks you’ve been meaning to build, and all of your unpainted miniatures yes I’m calling you out. I’m calling you all out! And I don’t get off lightly in this lecture, I have more books than I have bookshelves, and a terrible habit of not reading anything that isn’t a role-play accessory of some kind, I’m a terrible person. (more…)


Lasers and Liches – Kickstarter

This article has a weird back story so bear with me! I was just relaxing one evening and looking through my notifications and noticed I had a new follower on Twitter. Now I usually am quite curious about people who follow me on Twitter. I wonder if they don’t know me personally then I wonder which bit of random content bought them to me. So I begin to head down the so-called rabbit hole which led me to somewhere rather interesting.

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Three Netflix Reviews

I have been quite unwell, and with all the time spent glaring at a screen from behind my diseased haze I have consumed quite a lot of the newer releases on Netflix. Rather than draw out reviewing each of the more interesting titles until past the point where anyone is interested, here’s a trio of opinions in quick succession, and relatively spoiler free.

The Umbrella Academy

What do you get when you cross X-Men with Preacher?

It’s an academy of kids with super-powers being trained by an eccentric old lunatic with a monocle, his monkey butler and robot maid! It’s been a while since they all got together, one died, one vanished through time, the others just filtered away to live their own lives until the only one that remained was sent to the moon. This all makes sense, right? We’re keeping up? Based on the 2007 Dark Horse comic series of the same name, the show takes us on a story of loneliness, time-travel, family conflict, and why eccentric billionaires shouldn’t keep secrets from the children they purchase.

Plot beats are fairly predictable once you’ve got a solid grasp of the characters involved, the end of the world is coming, there’s a time-travel plot including a time-cop agency that’s done moderately well, although it’s impossible not to draw comparisons to the agents of heaven from Preacher. Also like Preacher the tone strikes an odd balance between comedy and heavy drama, you have Robert Sheehan playing his own typecast of troubled class-clown with super-powers that he laid down in Misfits* alongside a fifty-something time-traveller in a child’s body, and opposite them you have Ellen Page as “the plain girl”, a mother torn apart by celebrity and relationships, an edgy “Nightwing” dealing with his own ego, and a man who has spent years alone on the moon.

All in all, not a bad watch, nice to see something that is neither Marvel or DC, and the performance from all parties is thoroughly enjoyable. The series does not balance its tone as well as Preacher, which can make it hard to invest in the stakes or characters, and of course the constant reveal of secret after secret does rather have you twiddling your thumbs waiting for the next “grand reveal”. Still, not a bad series, and easily worth watching an episode or two.


*Another Misfits and Preacher bridge, after a dramatic cast-shift in Misfits the character niche occupied by Robert Sheehan was taken up by Joseph Gilgun who plays the vampire Cassidy in Preacher! I hope those two are friends.


The Dragon Prince – Season 2

An improvement on season 1 which was already good, and I’m glad I gave The Dragon Prince chance to develop. We pick up where we left off, a potential war between humans and elves is beginning to reach the boiling point, and the only ones actively trying to put a preemptive stop to it, the newly orphaned prince who has the inexplicable ability to talk to animals, his older half-brother whose determined to learn magic despite the human inability to tap into primal energy, and an elf who is slowly learning to trust humans but whose scrutiny is proving far to useful to ignore.

Again, the real strength of the showrunners shines through in their character and world building that they proved in Avatar: the Last Airbender, although the narrative is still hitting some fairly tame plot-beats. Our main villain is, once again, evil for the sake of being evil, and I can see no reason for him to have gone kill-crazy. His best friend, the deceased king, was nothing but loving to him, heeded his counsel, gave reasons when he turned it down… anyway, let’s kill that rant early.

The show sticks to the D&D party paradigm, each party member fulfilling a role within the group and within the adventure, you can practically see the DM’s screen in the backgrounds of certain scenes. At times it feels a lot more “kids show” than Avatar ever did, but it doesn’t make it less fun, and the fact that you can consume a season in an afternoon makes it worth committing a bit of time to.

Velvet Buzzsaw

End this with one hell of a moodshift, a new horror that has been on Netflix for a couple of weeks now, we have a story of a mad artist whose work causes strange deaths among those who sell it. Told from the perspective of those in the art industry, the world we occupy is quite removed from a classic horror setting, bright, cheerful, full of life and business, no one is isolated, no one is removed from society or cut off from rescue, and that alone makes this an abnormal and interesting approach.

Our cast of characters are cutthroat and volatile, consumed with their own dramas, almost oblivious to the terror unfolding around them, more caught up in their own dramas, undermining and outdoing one another, that by the time it occurs to anyone that anything spooky is going on they’re already screwed. It’s a joyous thing to enjoy watching a cast of characters that you utterly despise, and there’s something a little cathartic about watching a horror film where you are not encouraged to feel bad for anyone except for Zooey Deschanel in the role of “innocent”.

It’s different, but I cannot say that it’s all good. The all star cast is great, sure, but it’s never proof against a failed experiment or a horror film that lacks tension. While I enjoyed what I watched, I found it all too easy to simply not pay attention to the story, skipping great chunks of the inter-personal drama, having to backtrack occasionally for bits of tension I’d inadvertently ignored while working on something else (work’s good, you?) and coming back to enjoy the grizzly moments and Zooey Deschanel finding another body and none of the nearby police thinking to arrest her for always finding the bodies.