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Top 10 Mad Scientists

GeekOut Top 10s

Ahahaha! Ahahaha–!!!

… Ah. There really wasn’t much to laugh about, was there? Anyway, welcome back to our weekly Top 10, ladies and gentlemen, where we take a topic that you choose and we choose the best of the best in that category. Today’s subject is a little bit experimental, as we’re going to be looking at our Top 10 Mad Scientists and write up our thesis about their potentials for the top spot. We’ve taken a lot of candidates and we felt like we’d do something a bit different for this one. We’ve put a pinch of this and a dash of that together to give birth to a list which shows off the best of the best of these mad scientists. Creation is a powerful tool; so let’s see what these scientists can bring to life!


Top 10

10) Mayuri Kurotsuchi – Bleach

Captain of the 12th Division of the Soul Society’s militarised wing of Shinigami, dedicated to hunting the hollow and damned souls who still stalk the living world, and who’s vast counterparts dwell in their own little demi-plane and covetously eye the realm of mortals. The devastating powers of the greater Hollows like the Menos Grande and the Espada require the use of increasingly terrible weapons to use against them. Enter the head of the science division, who is a brilliant master of biology and chemistry, implementing toxins and biological engineering to create defences and countermeasures of awesome potency.

But he is waaaay off his rocker. He has no regard for life, evaluating everyone by their use as a test subject, including his second in command and hand-made “daughter” Nemu. Even his own mortal shell is just a plaything for his twisted brain, keeping his organs and inner workings in jars… somewhere, having greatly improved on his own design. When faced with an Espada with the power to destroy organs with only a “voodoo” doll, he feigns his own death by vomiting blood and folding at hideous angles, before standing, laughing it off, and straight up butchering the creature with barely a thought to the others who were suffering around him.

9) Doctor Evil – Austin Powers

Frickin’ sharks with laser beams attached to their heads!

Okay, so let me start by explaining that Doctor Evil is actually not always the one who creates; but he’s often the brains behind the operations. Sure he’s not exactly the smartest brain behind the operations, that probably belongs to his son, but he’s definitely amongst the most dangerous minds around. In fact, Doctor Evil probably is one of the least intelligent geniuses to have ever existed in all media.

You see, he’s rich as all heck (Somehow); He has legions of minions (Somehow); He has friends (Somehow) and (Somehow) he manages to do some pretty crazy things, such as intimidate the president of the United States of America, by playing footage from Independence Day. He’s not the brightest, but so long as he has access to so many people to build his crazy ideas, he’s going to keep on doing evil things. Now if only he would stop being interrupted by Austin Powers – Time to steal his mojo!

8) Doctor Albert Wily – Mega Man

Probably the epitome of a cranky old man, Dr. Wily is one crazy, creative scientist who managed to turn something good into something terrible. You see, Wily wasn’t always a cranky old man; instead he was once a colleague of the esteemed Dr. Light, a scientist who created robots for the betterment of mankind. Unfortunately, Wily being under his wing meant that Wily knew how those robots worked and was able to reprogram them into something much more sinister and evil. I guess, when your surname is ‘Wily’ you know you’re going to be trouble.

He’s actually had some degree of success, come to think of it. You see in the original game, he was actually taking over the world with the robots he stole. In the second game, he created his own robots to try and take over the world. In the third, he pretended to have changed his ways, whilst still manipulating robots. In the fourth game he captured an esteemed scientist’s daughter – and so on and so forth. If there’s nothing else to say about him, Wily somehow always manages to bounce back after being defeated by Rockman/Mega Man.

7) Algernop Krieger – Archer

Former Nazi scientist and master of cybernetic enhancement, dangerous biochemistry, and highly illegal sciences, Algernop Krieger works for the worst intelligence agency in the world, formerly known as ISIS (but undergoing several facelifts due to unfortunate connections with a present day organisation, you get the idea). Krieger has a catalogue of horrifying creations to his name, a pig/human hybrid, a goat/human hybrid, a crazy killer cyborg with multiple personalities, and some of the most messed up hallucinogens.

There are many questions best not asked about Krieger, many of which he has asked “Is it technically murder if they’re my clones?” and what happens to the hobos who he invites in for free meals, and what exactly happened to Len Trexler. Despite having never technically earned a qualification, Krieger is alarmingly intelligent, wildly unhinged, and a possible clone of Hitler himself. Probably better off under Malory Archer’s control than back in Brazil though.

6) Frank-N-Furter – Rocky Horror Picture Show

Doctor Frank-N-Furter, from transexual Transylvania, is an absolute genius madman who lives in a massive manor far away from most city life. In fact, when newly engaged couple Janet and Brad have a flat tyre, they notice the manor is the only place that they can get to. Thinking they could manage calling someone to come and replace their tyre, they’re invited in and are made to enjoy the customs of Doctor Frank-N-Furter himself, who takes extra special interest in the pair of them.

Frank-N-Furter claims to have found the secret of life itself; claiming that he was able to make a living being. He wasn’t lying, as he managed to make Rocky come to life; His vision of a perfect man. Say what you want about Rocky Horror Picture Show, but Frank-N-Furter is a true classic staple of Sci-Fi goodness. Of course, he is quite a parody of a certain “Ugly monster” which we’ll be talking about later in this Top 10, but my goodness, if I could look as good as Frank-N-Furter whilst making life, I know I would!

5) Professor Farnsworth – Futurama

Mad may not quite cover Hubert J. Farnsworth, the man who treats doomsday machines as family and family as layabout parasites who sit on his couch and shirk their jobs… because they are. Farnsworth has done it all, time machines, intelligent monkeys, killer robots – during his days contracting at MomCorps – and every other manner of reality warping and brain melting device. His masterpiece ship pushes the universe around it, all while remaining absolutely stationary, which raises the question “What if you have two?”

Farnsworth is a god amongst machines in a very real sense, and has created life on numerous occasions. The man’s senility coupled with his tendency to tinker with the fabric of reality makes for a rather daunting mix, and may indeed have been forced to destroy and recreate the universe or perform some similarly horrifying task to cover up some even more terrible blunder! And he may do it again without a second thought… but he is  already in his pyjamas.

So that’s good news I suppose.

4) Otto Octavius – Spider-Man

A megalomaniac who’s body has irreversibly fused with the mechanical tentacles that he uses to manipulate radioactive and dangerous substances, Doctor Octopus is possessed of a determination to achieve great scientific achievements and damn the consequences or who is harmed or what master is served along the way. The classic Spider-Man nemesis was superbly brought to life by Alfred Molina with a subtly different adaption, but can we please talk about the whole mind-swapping thing that happened in the comics?

Octavius managed to implant Peter Parker’s mind into his own decaying corpse (long story) and take the place of Spider-Man. After being forced to understand what made Spidey a hero, the life he’d led, Otto decided, not only to take up the mantle of the Wall Crawler, but to be an even better version! Superior Spider-Man, complete with mechanical spider-limbs! Seriously for quite some time now the Spider-Man of the comics has been the brain of one of his biggest nemeses riding around in Parker’s body. Kinda weird, kinda cool, all mad science! This may be a few too many exclamation marks for a single paragraph, but damn Marvel, that’s some seriously crazy narrative.

3) Victor Frankenstein VS Henry Jekyll

How are you supposed to choose the best mad scientist from classic literature? We didn’t. We’ll make our cases for our favourites; you choose who’s just crazy enough for the number 3 slot.

Frankenstein’s Argument – Timlah

Doctor Victor Frankenstein is a scientist who studied chemical processes for a living, when he suddenly came across a way to effectively create life itself. From understanding how living beings decay, along with a morbid fascination for how to create life in an inanimate object, Victor set about making a humanoid. Now, presumably, Victor stole body pieces, or at least was donated them but this is never really fully described.

Victor creates Frankenstein itself (or Frankenstein’s Monster as it’s often referred to) and whilst an impressive feat, he is mortified with what he’s created. He wanted to make life; but he didn’t expect it to be so ugly a being. Fleeing his creature, Victor lives with the regret of making his monster, who went around murdering. They say you cannot kill what you did not create, but they rarely tell you that what you create may kill you.

Jekyll’s Argument – Joel

Henry Jekyll’s greatest achievement in life was proving that man is capable of tremendous goodness and terrible evil. In an effort to separate, control, and ultimately destroy the evil side of man he creates an alternate personality, a wholly different creature within his own mind made of his darkest urges. Edward Hyde is a monster by deed only (not the freakish mutant that pop culture seems to have conjured up by NOT READING THE BOOK), beating men to death, indulging every dark urge with a strength born of unbridled rage.

If we’re talking about the creators of classic monsters, Frankenstein may have had a mishap toying with the nature of life, but Jekyll found out how to unleash the monster that dwells within all of us. In the end of course, the sweet and loving side of himself that remained chose to make the ultimate sacrifice to spare everyone the wrath of Hyde. Maybe not quite so mad all told, but y’know, still pretty out there.

2) Rick Sanchez – Rick and Morty & Doc Brown – Back to the Future

It’d be negligent not to list these two side by side in the same entry, as Roiland and Harmon have never hidden the parody origins of Rick and Morty.

Emmet Brown may not be quite so unhinged as his caricature but his lunatic devotion to his craft makes him rather dangerous. Building a time machine out of an old Delorian and taking a hormonal teenager back in time with him was dangerous to begin with, but from there the two just seem to enjoy toying with reality! They spend the subsequent movies generating every paradox that geeks and nerds would deliberate for years to come, but that may not be the end of Doc Brown’s legacy.

Rick Sanchez began life as a drunken parody of Emmet, but has become something unknowably terrible. Wanted by every major government in the known multiverse, including one his many duplicates formed among themselves, Rick may no longer be from his own universe, in fact he may have changed his family for an exact copy repeatedly. He’s an embattled veteran of terrible wars, a convict of the most secure prison in existence, and has fought against the galactic government, the council of Ricks and the devil himself.

No doubt which is the madder scientist, but you can’t fairly separate the two.

1) Doctor Ivo Eggman/Robotnik – Sonic the Hedgehog

Doctor Ivo Eggman, or Robotnik depending on what you’re used to, is one evil, evil man with a glorious mustache. He’s usually seen flying around the place in a strange pod called The Egg Mobile; or the Egg-Pod… Or– Y’know, let’s not list all of the names right now. The point is, he flies around in this strange pod, has some very cool theme tunes dedicated to his flying around and he’s got a very freakish obsession with trying to kill off a blue hedgehog, as well as capturing woodlands creatures.

Sure, it doesn’t sound all that mad, but when you think about the sheer volume of things he’s created, it’s a wonder where he gets all of his funding from. However as long as he has his Egg Mobile, he’ll always somehow manage to get out of any certain death situations. He’ll escape back to his hideouts, which includes a freakishly large battleship called The Egg Carrier… And he’ll just get on with his next invention. Love him, hate him, regardless it’s undeniable that he might not be far from the truth when he calls himself the world’s greatest scientist. Depending on the game, show, comic or otherwise, he can be quite the complex moral character. Whatever side he’s on, he’s always creative, always persistent and always dangerous. He’s definitely the maddest scientist on this list.

Think of it like this; whilst all of the above scientists are thoroughly accomplished in their own rights, Robotnik has made robots, who create things that he dreams up. Robotnik then has created something that is able to aid him in creating more things for himself.


Honourable Mentions

This list was full of characters that we really didn’t want to forget about; so much so that we decided that for once, two slots on our honourable mentions just wasn’t enough. So here’s six honourable mentions that we even considered putting into our main Top 10 list itself. Remember that we’re going to make a Top 10 eBook? This entry will become an exclusive Top 20!

N. Gin – Crash Bandicoot

Doctor Neo Cortex’s right-hand-man; definitely the science behind the evil masterminds plans. N. Gin replaces Doctor Biro after the events of the first Crash Bandicoot game. Being part cyborg himself, N. Gin has a natural affinity for learning about sciences and creating evil machines and lasers. He’s seriously dangerous and seemingly has a nuke stuck out of his head. He’s not one to be trifled with and in the events of Crash 2, he’s seen in a giant mech suit that he built. Crazy, inventive and dangerous – A bad-to-the-metal-bone mix.

Rintarō Okabe – Steins;Gate

Okay, he’s not really a mad scientist, but he seems to think that he is. In all honesty, the amount of things Okabe has actually made could probably be counted on one hand. But he refers to himself as a mad scientist, which is “so cool”. But, even though he seems obsessed with branding himself in this way, he might not be far from the truth. He has extensive knowledge about time machines and he’s got a small team who are willing to help him with his strange, yet often interesting creations.

Professor Putricide – World of Warcraft

 

This is one strange, strange man – But trust me when I say he’s hugely important for the story of Warcraft in general. He’s the mad scientist behind the development of all forms of blight, plague, ooze, scourge, and death delivery. You can find him in a 25-man raid in Icecrown Citadel’s Plagueworks wing. He may be a relatively simple throw-away character in the grand scheme of things, but really if he didn’t exist, the scourge may not have plagued the world of Azeroth as much as they had.

Doctor Nefario – Despicable Me

Long time colleague and mastermind behind the villain, Gru owes most of his success to Nefario’s various constructs and contraptions, as well as the horde of genetically engineered yellow bubbles of usefulness (whose blueprints can be seen on the wall in the kid’s room, the prequel is a lie!). Nefario’s days of villaining are behind him, but he’s content to work behind the scenes so long as his works are only used for evil.

Singed – League of Legends

Literally called the Mad Chemist, Singed is one of the earliest League of Legends champions to have been introduced. He is a master chemist, so he’s great with toxins such as poison. He’s also pretty good with adhesives as well. He can slow his opponents down and just poison them; a slow brutal death. He’s able to handle himself pretty well in a fight, often favouring a slow, poisonous kill over an all out assault. He’s dangerous and can seriously change a team fight, as well as being durable in combat by himself.

Lex Luthor – Superman

It can sometimes be easy to forget that business mogul and CEO of Lexcorp is not all business, but can pull off science when he needs to as well. As a man on a mission to defeat a god, Luthor has mastered most fields of science and engineering, and constructed a suit of armour designed to tackle the Man of Steel himself. It’s no small feat, although his biggest to date may be stealing forty cakes. That’s as many as four tens.

And that’s terrible.


Everybody, cover your heads, there’s yet another assault on our cities by giant mechs! Send out those electronic pulses and switch them off – The monsters are alive and it’s all down to these mad men who got a taste of power… And they liked it. But science can be a very scary subject indeed – That’s why these men are so mad after all. They do what the rest of us could only dream to accomplish and it’s all because they have had that taste of power. Scary, to think that typically it’s age that makes you most mad.

Our experiment was a complete success and we ended up producing more in our results than anticipated; They called us mad, they said it couldn’t be done, but we’ve now listed our Top 10 favourite Mad Scientists. A little bit sad, but we couldn’t remember any female mad scientists: is this a niche that just needs to be captured? Let us know if you know of any female mad scientists in the comments below, or why not let us know what you thought of this weeks Top 10? Did we get the right candidates in our list, or did we forget about the best scientists known? Do you agree with our order? As always, leave us a comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


Top 10 – Fictional Celebrities

GeekOut Top 10s

Worlds filled with fictional characters require people to fulfil every role. While we may follow the riveting adventures of school children and taxi drivers, they remain fascinated by popular characters that are only popular to them. You’ll never see a film starring these actors, nor read the works of the authors listed here, but to someone who doesn’t exist they’re very, very real.

If that made any sense, plough on gentle reader, through our Top 10 Fictional Celebrities. (more…)


Top 10 Fictional Documents

Amidst the worlds of literature, film and other media there are a host of works that simply don’t exist. From novels that sweep the world, textbooks of the strange and wondrous, and instructions on how to do the impossible. Though we may never have access to the miracles within those pages, we get to see their fictitious impact, because words matter.

Here we catalogue the finest works of non-existent prose, poetry, documentation, and scripture. Join us as we list the Top 10 fictional documents.

(more…)


Interview – Christian Ward

I like comics. I take an unusual approach compared to many enthusiasts, seizing upon every little detail of a Marvel movie and studying it in depth in an effort to uncover some easter-egg a layman might not observe, occasionally picking up a volume of something that catches my eye, including a few non-super titles like Transmetropolitan or Beyond Wonderland. The art, the complex and interwoven stories picked up by dozens of writers, each adding their own unique interpretation.

The morning before the Shrewsbury Meet I had the chance to sit down in the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse with Christian Ward, comic book artist for Marvel and Image amongst others. Christian’s unusual style and colour palette sets him apart amongst the more traditionally styled comic artists, and his unique talent has led him to a unique project.

Black Bolt, leader and King of the Inhumans is receiving his first ever solo storyline, unattached to his part-alien part-god family, and Christian has been tasked with bringing the man who dare not speak to life on page. In addition we’ll be introduced to some characters entirely new to the Marvel Universe, and he got the first shot at immortalising their image. The first issue of this unique saga is released tomorrow at comic book shops everywhere, and this is what we discussed:

Much credit to Tim for editing out the sounds of the Coffehouse going on behind us, rendering our conversation to video, and finding Throne of the Cresent Moon, well done that man. And of course thanks Christian for taking the time to chat with me. Check out the amazing people he discussed here:

Scott Wegener – Atomic Robo
Nathan Edmondson – Image Comics
Kieron Gillen – Young Avengers
Saladin Ahmed – Black Bolt

If you’re in Shrewsbury on Friday then you can get your copy of Black Bolt signed by the artist’s own fair hand, information on the signing event hosted by Infinity and Beyond can be found here, but so long as your within easy reach of a comic-book shop you can grab your copy of issue 1 tomorrow (Wednesday, 3/5/17) following the Inhuman King’s first solo adventure.


Top 10 Collectables

GeekOut Top 10s

This time, we’re gathering up every thought we could think of, to create a collection of… Well, collectables. Because of just how broad the collectables collective truly is, we decided to limit these collectables, based on two major criteria. A collectable to be considered for this list needs to either be:

  • A vast range of different things to get.
  • Something you get lots of to get something special in return.

As such, we’re not going to accept really vague collectables, or objects that are put in game with no big reward. We considered just about everything we could think of, from video games, physical mediums, literature, tv series, films – You named it, we’ve thought about it. These are the Top 10 Collectables within geekdom, but this is such a broad subject, get your typing fingers ready, as you’ll likely know of one we totally forgot!


Top 10

10) Rings – Sonic the Hedgehog

Were you expecting to see the Chaos Emeralds here? Hah, you would have been sort of right anyway. You see, rings act as a sort of life indicator for Sonic. As long as he has one ring in his possession, he doesn’t need to worry about being hit so much. He can be hit with freaking missiles and those rings will protect him. In the Casino Nights Zone, you can spend these in the slot machines. Furthermore, collect one hundred of these shiny objects and Sonic gets an extra life (as well as quickly needing another ring!)

However, whilst they give score, health and even extra lives, it’s when you collect ALL of the Chaos Emeralds that things get truly interesting. The power of the Chaos Emeralds send Sonic into a Super Sonic state, but at the cost of rings. Starting from 50 rings, Sonic gets faster, becomes invincible and gets to be a bright yellow colour, just like the Saiyans of DragonBall. Just like them indeed…

9) Cards – Trading Card Games

Less a collection, more an addiction. Whatever your chosen game there’s always a new set, a new pack, a new deck to build, some new mechanic to exploit. And it’s amazing how quickly the odd booster becomes a quick box every now and again, and a bedroom becomes a shrine to cardboard.

Be it Magic: the Gathering, Pokémon, Weiss and Schwartz, YuGiOh, or any of the other thousands of CCGs there’s a collection for everyone, ready and waiting to capitalise on your capital. Mercifully they’re moving into an increasingly digital format, with Mojang’s Scrolls, Blizzard’s Hearthstone, CD Projekt’s Gwent. It may surprise you how much space little slivers of cardboard can occupy, but the digital copies are no cheaper.

8) Djinn – Golden Sun Franchise

It’s weird to think of collecting spirits of the planets as a collectable, but clearly they are collectables. There’s so many of these blighters, that getting all of them is pretty impressive. Through three main series games, Isaac’s team, Felix’s team or Matthew’s team will collect Djinn, learn the power of the elements and become powerful adepts.

The Djinn do powerful as all hell attacks, but usually at the cost of your stats and class. Sometimes you have to battle one to get it to join you, other times you have to do a relatively complex puzzle. Sometimes still, you have to beat optional bosses including a Superboss that many consider to be one of the hardest in any RPG. They are there for you to collect, they make bigger and more powerful summons as the game goes on and they look awesome when you summon them.

7) Comic Books

Here’s the geeky classic. Shops in forgotten alleys filled with boxes upon boxes of back issues, diehards trawling through each and every one looking for that missing copy to complete the story, pick out some unique cover by a particular artist, or the occasional rare comic worth a small fortune to the right man, to be squirrelled away and treated with the same reverence as one might treat the original Magna Carta.

The world of comics is enormous, stories written and rewritten, major universe events, characters coming and going, and all the big companies produce limited runs and collector’s editions for special moments, with alternative cover art. The value of a rare items is incredible, magnified tremendously by an autograph, so it’s little wonder that people are so keen to hunt down anything they can find, just in case.

6) Minifigures – Lego

Though it’s an awesome toy – without question the best construction toy on the market as testified by its use in industry – you’d never really consider Lego a collectable item. There are sets that can be completed; film, television, and video game based sets; but nothing that one might obsessively gather in a feverish need to complete the collection as a whole. But the minifigures bear all the hallmarks of a classic collection.

Starting in 2010, series one of the minifigures feature such simple but fun characters as cavemen, zombies, and crash-test dummies. Series seventeen will star dwarf berserker, 80’s yuppie and man-on-the-cob. They’re certainly not running out of ideas any time soon, and even better this Lego collectible can be mixed and matched better than any other on this list.

5) Pogs

C’mon 90s boys and girls, you know it and I know it. These things drove parents mad, made collectors even more mad and people didn’t know what to do about them. Everything you loved from the 90s became a Pog! From Pokémon, through to famous bands, there was a Pog for everyone of every interest. There were whole board games which took the Pog craze and made them even bigger.

Naturally, that left Pogs as a sort of a strange collectable from the 90s. It wasn’t because the official Pog game was any good, that was just using a slammer to slam into Pogs and then playing pick up afterwards. Instead, Pogs mainly became collectable, an intrigue for many, a fascination for a few. Seriously, we miss these circular cardboard pieces with pictures on them.

4) Riddler Trophies – Arkham series

One of the most iconic depictions of the caped crusader, the Arkham series is renowned for its character work, detailed world, flowing combat style and mixture of gameplay that offers something for everyone; even the obsessive collectors. Dotted around Gotham’s darkest corners, the Riddler has left neon-lit trophies for Batman to gather, often concealed, or warded by some complex lock or trap.

Some of them include some pretty cool unlockable content, lore, character skins or models, challenge maps, a secret boss (depending on the game) but mostly they just add a new challenge, something else to work towards for that 100% completion. It’s also a lot of fun shaking down Nigma’s henchmen and spies for info, changing the dynamic of combat, saving the key-goon for last.

3) Dragon Balls

One by itself makes for a great hat bobble, apparently, but other than that, they are just rare orange orbs with stars in them. These titular collectable balls are oft-forgotten in the realm of the DragonBall fandom. They are bright, they are powerful and they always serve as a major function in the series, so they’re obviously very valuable to collect.

They contain the mighty Shenron, a dragon of immense power. Shenron can grant nearly any wish the summoner wants, but there are certain limitations, such as if the wish relates to another person, they must want the wishes to occur too. He cannot do things for those who are unwilling.

2) Pop Vinyl – Funko

Though it may not be to everyone’s tastes, the oddly distorted and slightly chibi-fied renditions of pop/geek-culture characters are unquestionably loved by enough people that any comic-book shop you wander into has been partially absorbed by shelf upon shelf of Funko’s immense collection of figurines.

Is it because there’s something for every fandom in their catalogue? Could it be the incredibly esoteric figures that delve deeply into the obscure corners of comic-book, movie, and anime fandom with lesser known characters and costumes? Could it be that they’re cheap and easy gifts and featured heavily in lootcrate and its’ imitators? It’s probably all of those rhetorical questions and more!

1) Pokemon

Not even the most up to date list!

“Gotta catch ‘em all”

Thinking back across the years, very few collections stay in one big pile. You have comic books, but they’re all different collections. You have trading card games, but time goes on and sure, older cards in mint condition are worth quite a bit, but nothing is quite as priceless as catching them all, no matter what Gen you’re in. Whether it’s Kanto, Johto or even Alola.

So why not grab your gameboy, gather your decks, both virtual and physical, get your mangas, Pokémon have to be caught in different ways, for different media formats. After all you won’t catch them all on the handheld titles by trying to buy them. Unless you buy a cartridge with them all already pre-loaded, but where’s the fun in that? It’s the ultimate franchise of catching them all, 90s-present.


Honourable Mentions

Some collectables are just there, as if you really don’t think much about it. One day, you’re roaming through the lush hillsides, then you have to get yourself home. As a dragon falls from the skies, you happen to see that as it lands, something really important to pick up is right there. You rush up to the dragon and you can’t help yourself. You look around, feeling dirty, but you’ve gotta get it. You reach towards the dragons skull and you pick up…

Books – The Elder Scrolls

The Elder Scrolls franchise has many, many pages of books for everyone to read through. From the informative books to introduce you to the lore of a town, to spell books, to books about Lusty Argonian Maids, The Elder Scrolls games know how to really add flavour to their worlds, but many people don’t even bother with these books unless they get something in return for having them.

If you’re looking for a collection to try in Skyrim, why not start a book collection? Go on out to the wilds, find as many books to take to your quaint Breezehome, put them in your shelves and watch angrily as they all lamely fall over. Even worse, when you let Lydia anywhere near your books. Worse still, when you FUS RO DA!

Video Games

Look on your Steam account by going to your library. Or if you’re a console gamer, check out the number of downloads, discs and cartridges you have. It’s quite the number I bet, as you are never quite settled on just one game. No, you want one of many games, but even with your extensive collection, you still have no idea what game to play. It is the curse of being a video gamer.

My Steam collection has over 200 games, which back in the 90s would have been a hugely laughable idea. Why would you have so many games, you silly individual; and yet the idea wasn’t that farfetched even then. So I implore you to explore your collection of titles, pick out something different and give it a go! You’re gonna enjoy it… and then you can get another game to replace it.


We’ve gone far and wide to bring you the most collectable collections a geek could have. Sure, we could have gone a step further and figured out the most collectable of all the Trading Card Games (but technically, that’d go to Pokemon). We could have figured out the most collectable of all plush toys (but technically, that’d go to the Pokemon Center). Hmm, I’m seeing a pattern – Our most collectable anything within all of geekdom is of course Pokemon, but now it’s up to you. We want to collect all of your clicks on our poll to help us decide what our votes are for next weeks’ Top 10 list.

When all is said and done, we like to wrap up everything that we’ve got in lots of bubble wrap and keep it all safely tucked away, ready to be brought out to show during dinner conversations. Just casually show off the fact you have so many of these collectables in your life, be proud of the oddities and trinkets you pick up. Whatever your collectable of choice is, geekdom is absolutely chock-a-block full of them… So let us know: What’s your personal favourite collectable item, be it physical, digital, fictional or real. As always, let us know how we did in our Top 10 this week and tell us: Do you agree Pokemon deserved the top slot? Comments go below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


Top 10 – Super Tiny Characters

GeekOut Top 10s

It doesn’t matter if you’re ten sizes too small, when your heart is ten sizes too big. Good lord, that’ll give you chest problems. Yes, heroes come in all shapes and sizes and we’re here to celebrate those who reached optimal size. Some of you may call them small, others may call them super tiny, whatever you call them, we’re here to look past all the boring small characters and find the Top 10 Super Tiny Characters. Please, watch where you’re stepping for this one… (more…)


Gunpla Resources

Last time I wrote for GeekOut South-West I spoke of my new favourite hobby, Gunpla aka Gundam Plastic Models. Since then, I’ve built several models and even completely customised another, which I’m presenting to Timlah at some point in the future as a gift for, well, everything.

  • Timlah’s notes: Thanks Kev! It looks awesome!!

But I realised that something was missing from the primer I wrote last time, some additional information on the resources you can use if you’re diving into the world of Gundam model kits, how useful they are and my own recommendations. So that’s what we’ll focus on for today.

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Winning Without Winning – Succeeding at Failure in Online Games

It’s the last round; the bomb is planted and nobody has a kit.

There’s just one tower left; before long the base will fall.

Pushed back to the final point and already down a player; it’s time for the defenders to take their last fight.

Sadly, none of these are the enemy team tonight. They’re yours and man, losing is just the worst, isn’t it?

It’s the dual nature of team-based competitive games. When the only difference in whether you win or lose is whether or not your team of players can play better than theirs, the rush of a well-earned win is irreplaceable. Equally though, the competitive drive is just as much a curse as it is a blessing when the semi-random nature of online matchmaking is allowed to poke and prod at your ever-dwindling patience. You can’t pick your teammates without putting a party together, which isn’t always as easy as it sounds. You sure as heck can’t pick your opponents, and what are you supposed to do about getting matched against amazing players when your own teams seem to consist mostly of orangutans, Tamagotchis and bags of hammers that have somehow been trained to use a mouse and keyboard? It’s so dangerously easy to become apathetic, frustrated, and downright mad at a loss.

Well, you shouldn’t. Harder than it sounds? Absolutely, but I’m here to show you why a hard-fought loss is actually one of the best things that can possibly happen to you in online gaming… as long as you know what to do with it. Winning is great, but only by analysing your mistakes can you improve and those are much easier to spot in a loss than in a victory. You just need to know how to self-analyse, so here are some pointers to help get you started on winning your losses.

The Sliding Scale of Overcome to Overwhelmed

The first step in making the most of a loss is also the most intuitive, because it’s often the first thing that will naturally come to mind anyway. “Wow, that sure was a close game!” and “Wow, we sure got a mudhole stomped in us that would bring a 30% alcohol-by-volume tear to the eye of Stone Cold Steve Austin!” are two very different beasts which have to be approached differently. It’s not always a totally clear immediate distinction, either, because frustrated annoyance can make a close loss feel like getting stomped, while frustrated apathy can make a stomp feel like a close loss. Before asking yourself what went wrong, it’s important to sit back, take a breath and ask yourself: how close, realistically, was that game? This can be done from memory or, if you’re serious about improvement, it’s often worth skimming through the demo/replay, assuming your game of choice has that feature. Identifying how close you came to winning is hugely important in putting everything else about a loss into context.

The Three Points of Focus – Us, Them and Me

To make a productive start on analysing your losses, there are three questions you can ask yourself after a match. The way you look at answering them will change from game to game, since different games have different formats. For some games, like MOBAs, these may apply to entire matches. For others, like CS:GO, individual rounds. However, the concepts can be applied to any player-vs-player competitive game, even 1v1 games with a little tweaking.

The first question: What was our win condition and how did we fail to achieve it?

A win condition is exactly what it sounds like. Within the context of the match you just played, what specifically did you have to do in order to beat their team with your team? This can be tricky to pin down in games with random matchmaking as often everyone on the team has a different idea of what the win condition is, but it’s not impossible. In CS:GO, it may be that their AWPer on B site was getting the vast bulk of their team’s kills, therefore keeping them pressured above all others or, conversely, avoiding and killing their team around them may have left them outmatched in firepower, allowing you to take more fights and win more rounds. In Dota 2 it may be that their heroes were weak in the early-game and strong late-game while yours were the opposite, meaning that your window of opportunity would have been to get aggressive as soon as possible, turn that into tower kills, control the map with wards and presence and never allow them to make a comeback. In Overwatch it may be that the enemy were using far more ultimates than you to secure fights and leaving themselves at what the competitive community often calls an ultimate economy disadvantage and your team could have taken points by capitalizing on that more effectively, or perhaps their supports were frequently out of position and could have been killed early to win fights. To wrap everything together, as well as figuring out the things you didn’t do which could have led to a win, identify any things which you did do which were unnecessary for your win condition. Did you spend that extra 5 minutes farming your next item when you should have been looking for kills? Did you spend 30 seconds looking for solo kills while your team was preparing to push a vulnerable area, and by the time you grouped up with them that area was no longer vulnerable? Identify these and you’re well on your way towards improvement.

The second question: What was their win condition and how could we have stopped them from achieving it?

Just as you and your team have a win condition, so do the opponents. The easiest way to stop them from achieving their win condition is, of course, to reach your own first, but often when push comes to shove that’s not a viable option and you’re left to identify what they have to do to win and stop them from doing it. Let’s take our earlier Dota 2 example. If your team has failed to dominate the early-game, the enemy are now free to work towards their own win condition of avoiding fights and farming until their heroes hit their main power spikes and suddenly they can throw you so far across the map that you land in a Heroes of the Storm match. In this situation it’s often productive to focus on their win condition and anything you can do to mess with it. Stealing their jungle camps, forcing their attention with split pushes which spread them around the map where they can be picked off, doing anything possible to prevent them from comfortably preparing for a late-game win. Being able to look back at a loss and recognize times where the enemy were doing something to work towards their win condition which you could have prevented can prepare you for those improbable, clawed-back-from-the-brink games where you win by leaving the opponents unable to close out the match and slowly neutralising their advantage.

The third question: What could I, individually, have done better?

In team games, by far the most common trap I see people falling into is blaming their team for everything, not taking full responsibility for their personal screw-ups. This is rarely conscious and almost everyone falls victim to it at some point. This can boil over into becoming frustrated in-game and giving your teammates grief which, for the record, never helps. If someone’s being counter-productive, mute them. If you’re considering communicating in a way which is counter-productive, follow the system of Stay Targeted, Focused and Understanding.

In other words, if you’re considering giving people grief, remember to S.T.F.U. and keep playing.

But I digress. The final and arguably most important question to ask yourself following a loss. Disregard your teammates’ mistakes – it’s good to recognize them so that you don’t make the same ones yourself but – and I cannot possibly stress this enough – you can’t control or change what other players do. Ask yourself, simply, what you could have done better. Look at the shots you missed, the kills you could have gotten by acting just two seconds faster, the teammates you could have saved by healing them instead of someone already close to full health. Don’t focus on how your teammate let you die that time, focus on how you died and shouldn’t have been in that position. Don’t focus on how your teammate couldn’t finish that important kill, focus on how you also missed the shot in the first place. It’s especially important not to forget this in games where you felt like you carried your team. Even if you did, you did not play a perfect game, because in pretty much any modern competitive game that’s impossible when you account for human error. No matter how hard you carried, there’s always something you could have done something better. That goes for every player of every skill level and any successful professional gamer will tell you the same.

Applying the theory

All of this, of course, is just a set of pointers and guidelines, something to point you in the right direction. The most important part – and if you only take one thing away from this, it should be this – is that winning isn’t everything. A loss can be just as valuable as a win, if not more, if you take the time to look at how and why they happen and for that reason, why be upset by them? Losses are a necessity, and a beautiful one. Competitive games are all about the rush of competition, about proving your skill, about the satisfaction of being the better player. Without the sting of losing, winning wouldn’t taste nearly as sweet. So, embrace it. You’ll get that win back sooner or later.


Top 10 Weaponised Toys

GeekOut Top 10s

What was once a symbol of childish innocence and the joyous revelries of youth so easily turned into an engine of death. Perhaps by design, by mistake, by technology or by mysticism, there’s nothing quite so creepy as a toy turned deadly. Despite their cuddly and fun exterior, you wouldn’t want your kids playing with these…

Or would you?

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Top 10 – Running Gags

GeekOut Top 10s

Nothing screams in-crowd quite like a running joke. One person does or says something stupid and never gets to live it down, a weird moment of inspiration catches fire and spreads through the gang, or some reoccurring verbal tic becomes a catchphrase. Comedians know this, so do game designers, writers and artists of all types. A good gag can be brought back time and time again, recycled and replayed and somehow it only gets funnier.

Join us as we revisit some of the best recurring gags in geek culture. Ten of them to be exact. And some honourable mentions.

What can I say? We have a pattern.


Top 10

10) M’aiq the Liar – The Elder Scrolls Franchise

M’aiq has been in so many of the Elder Scrolls games now, that he’s a bit of a running joke. But more than that, he’s actually full of rather interesting lines of dialogue, depending on how you interpret his meanings. He runs seemingly aimlessly, from place to place, just sharing his stories, which is hard to believe. He’s not exactly renowned for telling the truth, hence his title.

Only just clawing his way onto our list, M’aiq is definitely an in-joke for Elder Scrolls fans. Well, if not M’aiq himself, his great, great grandson, who is also called M’aiq. This Khajiit knows more than just a few lines of dialogue and usually runs around at quick speed. He’s worth catching up to for a quick chat, so if you find him roaming around Skyrim or even any of the other TES games, stop for a chat!

9) Troy and Abed in the Morning – Community

Unlikely friends in the Greendale Community College study group, sports jock and cool kid Troy Barnes and awkwardly nerdy and fourth wall breaking Abed Nadir bond over a mutual immaturity, creativity, and generally childlike view of the world. Through the various misadventures of their time at college with the others in the group they turn the world upside down, warp genres and create entire worlds. But in their downtime they host a show, Troy and Abed in the Morning.

The catchy jingle, enthusiastic “guests” and the delightful hosts of Troy and Abed in the Morning make it a cheery and oddly grounded highlight of Community’s otherwise deeply bizarre and twisted world. The fact that the boys are making the whole thing up and there are no cameras, or that the guests often have no idea what’s going on, has absolutely no bearing on whether or not they’re enjoying themselves.

8) “Reticulating splines” & Llama fascination – The Sims and SimCity

Everyone who knows the original Maxis brand of Sims titles, extending out to SimCity, will be fondly remember the strange loading words of “Reticulating Splines”. Many of us to this very day are uncertain of what exactly that means, or even if it was just some crazy in-joke, starting from SimCity 2000. In actuality, it was literally made to be a nonsensical phrase intended to just make the Maxis guys laugh. Besides: It sounds cool.

Of course, The Sims is well known for one animal. No, not the pink flamingo! I can only be talking about the Llama, a majestic creature who can be used in everyday conversation. With an insult option for calling someone’s mother a Llama, there’s plenty of different options for how to use the Llama. These include dressing up as one to be a mascot for a team by the same name, bleating like a Llama being an illegal form of interrogation, rejecting a date by saying you need to wash your Llama. Yeah, Maxis are a strange bunch.

7) Horse Mask – Tomska

Creator of the ASDF animation shorts, Thomas “Tomska” Ridgewell is a favourite online comedian of mine. While ASDF may be his most famous series, his life action skits are as good if not better, and his recent fascination with his horse mask has added another rather disturbing layer of comedy. Meet Mrs Johnson.

Appearing in multiple, completely unrelated videos, Mrs Johnson basically a man in a dress and a horse mask who appears long enough to spout a catchphrase “I LOVE IT”. It shouldn’t be funny, but I love the surrealism of Johnson’s appearance at any moment, and it takes one hell of a dark twist when she gets her own skit entitled “Horse”. Sounds like there’s more backstory than what has been hinted at so far. Or Tomska’s just making crap up as he goes along.

6) Short Jokes – Fullmetal Alchemist

“Who you callin’ so puny he could be squished by a bug?!” – Edward Elric.

The Fullmetal Alchemist himself appears to have a running gag, well it was sooo hard to see this one coming. That’s because he is really short and due to that, various characters will allude to this. But he doesn’t like to be reminded of his physical limitations, so he will get pretty angry at anyone who dares insinuate he’s a tiny little man. After all, it’s no different to calling him a child, which he resents. He’s not.

Now, it doesn’t matter how you say it, he really doesn’t want to hear it. He won’t even accept it if you say you didn’t mean it in that way. He’s been known to psyche himself out as well, as he once crawled through some vents, stating how glad he was that he was small enough to fit in the vent, before pausing and screaming out “Aah! I just called myself a tiny little runt!” Oh Edward, we hope you never grow up.

5) Kenny Dies – South Park

Kudos to Parker and Stone for keeping a joke that should have worn out years ago fresh enough that we don’t hate them for dragging it out. This is a joke that has transformed, been cast aside and brought back, observed from every angle and yet… never dies.

The joke originates with a former classmate who was never present and was therefore presumed dead on a daily basis. In early seasons Kenny was killed off every episode only to respawn the very next week. This culminated in an entire season of the gang grieving his death until he spontaneously returned with no fanfare in the last episode. And now Kenny uses his powers for good.

Kenny’s immortal curse now has an overly elaborate backstory wrapped in eldritch mysteries, and looks set to take centre stage in the upcoming game The Fractured But Whole.

4) Wirt’s Leg – Blizzard

Wurt is a running joke in Blizzard’s Diablo franchise, but has gone further than just the Lord of Terror’s titles. He started off as a man in the original Diablo, who basically had his leg tore off by the big bad evils in the game. Then in the second and third games, you could get Wirt’s Leg as an item. In World of Warcraft, you could get Wirt’s Third Leg and in Diablo III you could also get Wirt’s Other Leg. Oo err.

Wirt has had many different legs, which have appeared over at least 5 different games, from Diablo I, II and III, World of Warcraft, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. He was also a test item in the Blizzard MOBA Heroes of the Storm. Now, don’t forget, the most important thing about Wirt’s leg is the ability to create portals to incredibly secret cow levels. They’re so secret that everyone knows about them… Because Wirt’s Leg combined with a tome of town scroll totally makes a portal.

3) Phrasing! – Archer

I think we’re all a little tired of “That’s what she said”, this isn’t the 90’s any more and frankly I think we can all agree She has a dirty mouth but doesn’t have a lot to say otherwise.

Now where do you even begin with all of the jokes in Archer? Between the creative insults, the worst passwords ever, the voicemail pranks, and LAANNAAAA there’s so much to choose from. But phrasing rather escaped the show and slipped out into the real world. It’s quick, effective, and points out an innuendo far faster than She ever could, and it spread so fast that the show not only stopped using it, but made a joke out of no longer using it.

The in-jokes of Archer spring up so naturally and organically that it makes the cast feel more real, and less written. It feels like these people are living and working together rather than being thrown together in a comedic situation. And now that series 8 has begun I have to ask…

Seriously, are we not doing phrasing any more?

2) Bart Simpson Writing on the Chalkboard – The Simpsons

Bart Simpson has started up every episode of The Simpsons with a different bit of ‘detention writing’ to put up on the chalkboard of his classroom. Sometimes, these lines he has to write are just purely silly, such as not putting gum under his desk, but other times, it’ll be reference to a real life event or celebrity. He has, in the past, mentioned presidents along with big name celebrities (although they rarely specify the full name of the celebrity).

It seamlessly blends the real with the typical cartoony values that Springfield has become customary of. We don’t watch an episode of The Simpsons without thinking of those ridiculous Simpson openings, either. Bart makes up one of the two major parts that changes episode by episode, also meaning that he’s been doing this since the late 80s. Now, in 2017, we’re going to finally see the writing on the wall for Bart and his family, as it’s officially coming to an end.

This is probably the longest running gag on this list, so if you’d like to see some of these amazing jokes for yourself, check them out at Bartsblackboard.com.

1) Stan Lee – Every Marvel Comic Universe Film

When a returning cameo is so good you have people on the edge of their seats in the cinema waiting for it you know you’re onto a winning formula. The face of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee keeps showing that face in as many films based on his properties as he possibly can, and he’s escalated from a quick and unsubtle look at the camera to being the centrepiece for some of the MCU’s funniest moments. We’ve seen it all from a brief appearance as Hugh Hefner to a librarian obliviously sorting through returns while Spidey and Lizard tear each other to shreds behind him.

The prevailing theory is that Stan is actually playing a recurring role rather than just popping up as a friendly face, Uatu the Watcher, an ancient being tasked with witnessing the most important events in the universe. The kind of power that would give him might explain how his presence spans the cinematic, television and animated aspects of the Marvel property, as well as popping up across the Galaxy, meaning he may well play some kind of important role in the upcoming Infinity Wars.

Throughout 2016, fans waited on tenterhooks as the grim spectre of death stalked one beloved celebrity after another, wondering with each cameo if it could be his last. Of course if he doesn’t turn out to be an actual immortal, then he’ll always live on through his works.


Honourable Mentions

While many jokes will outlive their series and outreach their audience, there are a few that will remain as a calling card for those niche little groups and die-hard fans. Some just fizzle. But let us not forget them, but let us also not list every single one of them here, we’ve got a word count to keep to and nowhere near the man power to list them all. Here’s some honourable mentions.

Ghost Nappa/Nappa Haunting – DragonBall Z Abridged

We’ve mentioned it before and we’ll mention it again – We love abridged series, so much so that today at the GeekOut Bristol Meetup (8th April 2017), we’re hosting an abridging challenge with some great top prizes. Now that we’ve shamelessly plugged this, let’s continue with this entry.

Ghost Nappa is a character that was dreamed up from the pure stupidity that is Nappa. In the actual series of DragonBall Z, he was quite an imposing character, with a lot of seriously deadly skills (at least early in the show). After Vegeta ruthlessly despatches him, Vegeta cements himself as the real bad guy here. However, on DragonBall Z abridged, it seems like Nappa’s personality has an everlasting effect.

Out pops Ghost Nappa, complete with a theme song and all! He’s really damn annoying and he haunts Vegeta occasionally on the Namekian saga. Even in death, it seems like Vegeta can’t get rid of this once proud, but rather unintelligible Saiyan warrior.

Chinese Swearing – Firefly

How do you get around censorship when you really want to swear liberally? Well, a host of sci-fi series would suggest making up your own swearwords that don’t appear on any list, but Joss Whedon’s verse had a rather cunning addition to its backstory that allowed for as much cussing and grotesquely creative insults as you could want, all able to be shown to an American audience during dinner, because it’s all in Chinese.

So it may not be hilarious, but it’s a running bit that adds flavour to an awesome world and deepens its history. When Mal launches into a long string of unintelligible syllables we all know what’s going on, and can’t help but imagine that somewhere there’s native speakers in the audience either covering the ears of the children in the room, or wincing at Nathan Fillion’s wooden and badly pronounced delivery.


 

Some jokes outstay their welcome, get old, and get stale. And yet somehow you guys never seem to tire of our Top 10’s. That’s fine, we love making them, probably more than you guys enjoy reading them. And just like every week you get to pick which Top 10 we discuss next week.

What jokes tickle your funny bone no matter how many times you hear them? What are your favourite running gags? Tell us in the comments or Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

Hey, you there, I see you like our Top 10’s! That’s great, but we need your help now. We are thinking of writing up our Top 10’s as an eBook. Interested? Let us know what you would like to see in our Top 10 eBook!