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Entertainment

CGI Nostalgia

We all remember ReBoot, right? Early CGI cartoon that brought to life the inner workings of computers and the anthropomorphic data living within, excellent story, great characters and villains… I mean, it was kind of trashy, but for a kids show in the mid 90’s it was good stuff, and ran until 2001. And let us not forget Beast Wars which ran from ’96 to ’99, casting fuel on the fire of CGI’s rise to prominence on the animation scene.

But here’s the thing, shortly after these series ended there was a flurry of new computer-animated shows that attempted to ride the popularity of the new and revolutionary animation style available. Today they look dated, the graphics have been outdone a thousand times over, the animation is poor, textures are all plastic and reflect light oddly, and object interactions are entertaining to say the least.

But they’re still well worth a watch! Some of them are approaching twenty years old, and to see the difference in animation quality now compared to then is something truly staggering. The series below have some serious pros and cons, but as fragments of animation history, they are well worth dredging up… if you can find them.

Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future

The serialised adventures of a science fiction hero torn straight from the pages of the 1950’s comic strip, and keeping all of the worst science involved, like manta rays that filter feed through the upper atmosphere of Jupiter, advanced civilisations on Mars capable of strip mining Venus, complex and technologically advanced creatures living on orphaned planets that survive by steeling the water of others, and the idea that punching a monitor actually hurts The Mekon.

Each episode was one of a two-parter, embracing the serialisation of stories in the old pulp comics, and racking up suspense to keep people watching. It also meant that slightly longer tales could be told of daring adventure, in which our hero always comes out on top through superior aim, ace piloting skills, and being generally good at being the protagonist.

Max Steel

Josh McGrath became the cybernetically enhanced superhero Max Steel to sell toys for Mattel. A nineteen year old son of a weapons engineer and scientist involved in an accident involving nanotech, imagine a cross between DCs Cyborg, the Borg, and the Energiser Bunny, because his biggest weakness is a limited power supply that causes him to grow weak and potentially die. Don’t forget kids, even superheroes need batteries. Oh but he came with one hell of a battery of villains, Psycho, a heavily modified cyborg with a love of violence and ill-gotten gains, John Dread, the man-behind-the-curtain who craves the tech powering Steel, Bio-Con the man-snake, and John de Lancie!

This one got resurrected, and even had a few films to its name, but the rebooted series and live action film are far better known than the more obscure series that ran from 2000-2001, and it’s hard to come by those old episodes now.

Xcalibur

Here’s my favourite of the lot, a Canal+ import from French-Canada. Though taking the name, the series is wholly fantasy and removed from the Arthurian mythos, combining heavy amounts of magic with some wholly created components. A plucky and upstart heroine is accompanied by a mystic monk, a mighty warrior woman, and an irritating miniature pet dragon as they attempt to free a kingdom from the yoke of an evil sorcerer who dwells in a flying castle. It’s a D&D adventure pure and simple, and I watched it religiously about seven years before I ever played the game.

The people sound like typical fantasy NPCs, in fact you may hear a few familiar voices, I’m fairly sure I heard one or two. You may also notice how tiny the hands are of most characters… uncomfortably small, and there are a lot of cunning uses of hats, bald characters, and skin-tight metal armour so that things look “right”.

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Why Professional Wrestling Is Now A Geek Subject

Since the decline of the Attitude Era, WWE, the largest wrestling promotion, has undergone rapid change. From a change in wrestlers and the presentation, to the audience themselves. I’ve written on numerous occasions about pay-per-views, such as this past weekend’s Wrestlemania and NXT TakeOver. Today, I’d like to chat about why pro wrestling is actually a geek topic. Hopefully, this’ll explain why you see so many wrestlers at Comic Cons!

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Top 10 Frogs

GeekOut Top 10s

Humans have been telling stories for a long time. One of the most popular stories passed down through the ages, is about the frog who was a prince. They say that a princess kissed the frog, which lifted the curse from the prince. Well, they say you’ve got to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince, but today we’re not looking for a prince. We’re looking for the best frogs in all of pop culture, in this week’s Top 10 Frogs.

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Thoughts on NXT TakeOver: New York

NXT TakeOver is the biggest show for the developmental branch of WWE. It’s known as one of the most exciting brands in all professional wrestling and it’s a crying shame that every show isn’t quite up to the callibre of NXT, however then we would be spoilt for choice. This past Friday night, NXT TakeOver put out an incredible show, which is just what the exciting brand keeps on giving. With five titles up for grabs, there was a buzz about this show and the results of the show were, largely, quite exciting. So, since I mentioned on Friday that this weekend is WrestleMania weekend, here’s a quick summary of NXT TakeOver: New York, as well as my thoughts about the results.

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Wrestlemania 35 Weekend Is Here

Professional wrestling is often considered to be an art. Other times, it’s just really funny. They sometimes try to touch upon some serious issues, or they decide to go completely off the rails and just have fun. No matter what though, wrestling is entertaining and I love it to bits. Every year, I end up writing something to do with wrestling and today is no different. On the build to Wrestlemania 35, here are the stories that have captivated me the most, as well as the two which have sort of left me wondering why it’s being done.

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Rick & Morty vs Dungeons & Dragons

Funny how something labelled as a “versus” really shows great coordination between both sides.

That’s basically the whole story here, if you like Dungeons & Dragons & Rick & Morty… then it’s a good comic, as one would expect from a story penned by Patrick Rothfuss, fantasy author and famed D&D player with the PAX team, occasional guest star on Critical Role, and he’s a standy-up DM like me. Jim Zub co-penned the piece and has a back-catalogue of D&D comics under his belt. (more…)


Top 10 – Inspiring Fictional Mothers

GeekOut Top 10s

Motherly figures are amazing when they’ve been portrayed correctly. The matriarch of the family can be strong-willed, strong in general or sometimes just mentally in-tune to their children’s needs. As tomorrow is Mother’s Day, today is the perfect day for us to take a look at some of the amazing mothers in film, tv, video games and comics in this week’s motherly loving Top 10. (more…)


Top 10 Terrifying Tech

GeekOut Top 10s

Technology is marvelous, isn’t it? From the powers of the internet, through to robotics like Asimo, tech has changed our lives. However, in the real world and in fictional works, some technology isn’t used for the betterment of mankind, but rather to further an agenda. Look even further and you see that sometimes the well-intended is outright terrifying. Here are our Top 10 examples of terrifying tech.

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Old Viral Videos (That Still Make Me Laugh)

Memes used to not be called memes – Rather they were called Viral Videos. These were hugely successful videos which, during the earlier days of the internet, usually only took off because they were universally funny. It feels like these days anything can be a meme. “Oh that meme is self aware haha”, people will say as they look at an image someone put together, specifically mocking something their little group of 100 people likes to mock. Very good, folk, very good. Now move aside whippersnappers, here are some classic viral videos – Which of these do you know?

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Doom Annihilation – A Most Ominous Trailer

Remember how I was pretty vocally optimistic about the future of video games and film. Remember how I thought Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed had some major positive points that made me feel like there might be hope? What I didn’t tell you is that I actually quite enjoyed the new Tomb Raider film, thought it was alright. I started to feel like there was hope, a genuine upward swing, and hell, I even said as much in the comments of my Captain Marvel review.

Then my dear friend Mike sends me this: (more…)