Space… the final frontier, and like any untamed wilderness there are always struggles and conflicts for the resources and strategic advantages they might offer. While the physics, tactics, and possibilities offered by all out space-combat might go under utilised and appreciated in modern media, there’s one thing we can do in film, TV, and games, and that’s make it look epic!
Though the loss of life may be tremendous, and the horrors of war are made even more heartbreaking when the fallen are cast adrift in the endless dark… but damn it looks pretty! Here’s the Top 10 Space Battles.
They come in peace – But other times they come to turn your land into pieces, or just evaporated all together. Aliens are a tricky subject to get right; Do you make them into an evil species whose sole purpose is to cause carnage and mayhem? Or perhaps you turn them into a long forgotten race who is looking for their way in the cruel, dark universe. Whatever you like to think of when you think of an alien, there’s no doubt there’s many of them in pop culture.
This year has been quite a crazy one, full of lots of interesting decisions and a political vitriol abound. It’s been a year where we’ve seen legends disappear in the blink of an eye, as well as the year we’ve seen VR become more mainstream than ever. Honestly, just watch Ronnie O’Sullivan here. It’s excellent!
Ahem, laughing at people who can’t get the concept of Virtual Reality in their heads is fun, but we’ve got a strong year ahead of us in 2017. Whilst we could be fearful for what’s to come, we could also be happy to see that we’ve got a lot of great and interesting releases and general stuff to look forward to. This is our Top 10 list of Things To Look Forward To in 2017. A year that’s basically 2016, but one more.
10) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
“Yeah, one time the police were like “Dude, who killed you?” Brother never even ratted me out. He’s cool now, we’re good.” – Joel Smith 2016
Other than having a bit of a giggle at the title, about how dead men (apparently) tell no tales, this should be an excellent addition to what has been a truly spectacular series of films. I mean, all of these films were great fun. They might not have been very intelligent films, but they really didn’t need it. Disney did good with the first bunch of these, so I’m sure bringing people back for the latest instalment will be great fun as well.
Now, this ends up at only number 10 because, well, I don’t think anyone necessarily needed another Pirates of the Caribbean in their lives. We’re all gonna be thoroughly entertained once more with the antics of Jack Sparrow, but honestly, we didn’t need this. Not like some of the items in our list this week.
9) Rick and Morty Season 3
The creator of Community and a prolific actor of weird voices came together to inject a cartoon straight into the “cult classic” sensibilities with a mash-up of improvisation, parody, and messed up comedy. Rick and Morty slapped us hard with two seasons that whipped up a drooling fanbase demanding plush Meeseeks and spawning lunatic (but oddly convincing) theories and crying out for a third season…
What do you mean “A year and a half”?
Ok, so to tide us over this year we’ve had a series of claymation shorts and a fully animated Rick and Morty version of the State of Georgia vs Denver Felton Allen transcript which you should not read here because you will never hear anything else that so elegantly combines bad language and stupidity. Season 3 will be released 2017.
8) Gaming Reboots
Okay, so unlike basically everything else in the list, this is an incredibly niche audience we’re talking to here. If you were a gamer on the Sega MegaDrive, there’s no doubt you would at least be aware of the hugely popular title: ToeJam & Earl. It’s a game where you play as two funky aliens who go about their business by crashing into Earth, realising they need to fix their ship and get back to their planet. Groovy. They’re coming back for a release in 2017 as well! Looking forward to this one.
But that’s not all. There’s also the wildly popular PlayStation franchise Crash Bandicoot on the verge of a reboot too. In fact, I mentioned a bunch of the games coming around in 2017 in yesterday’s article. I’m excited to see them make a return, so here we go – Let’s get our game on this year!
7) South Park: The Fractured But Whole
It took a few tries for South Park to produce a decent computer game, but when they finally nailed the formula with the fantasy inspired “Stick of Truth” they really knocked it out of the proverbial park, and I for one am sincerely looking forward to seeing their super-heroic spin. Drawing from the adventures of Mysterion and the Coon to parody the recent cinematic slugfest, Superman vs Batman vs Civil War vs all of our wallets.
I haven’t finished Stick of Truth yet to be entirely honest, but I’ve played more than enough to know that I need to play The Fractured But Whole, and sincerely hoping that there’ll be a third addition to the series because I think it has a lot of possibility. And the way things are going in the TV series there’s a lot of material to play around with.
6) Spiderman Homecoming
You know this makes sense – It’s about bloody time we get a reboot of Spiderman. It’s about time we get one that mimics the comics better too. No more odd dancing Peter Parker like during Spider Man 3 in 2007, no, no, much better. We’re about to get the Spiderman that showed up during the Captain America: Civil War film that happened during the early half of the year. You know, the younger Spiderman who basically acted like spidey should?
The joy of Spiderman Homecoming is that we’ve had a taste of what to expect from our new Spidey and it’s excellent. The actor, Tom Holland, was an absolute joy to watch during Civil War and couple this with the now cinematic cannon that we’re used to with Tony Stark, this is going to be amusing, but yet at the same time a downright excellent cinematic experience. Watch out for this one – It might be one of the year’s best.
Old Man Logan as we’re calling this one, is one of those films that when you say it out loud, doesn’t sound like an appealing title. Knowing that Logan is all about the titular character Logan, AKA Wolverine, you realise that having an “Old Man Logan” theme is a lot more intriguing to begin with. Sitting neatly halfway down our list, Logan we feel could be one of the best films of 2017.
If you’ve not watched all of the other Logan films, you likely will not need to – However you certainly will get more out of it if you catch up with the rest of the series. This is going to be the last film in the Logan arc, so it’s worth checking out, even if it’s to see the end of a pretty long era of films.
4) Dark Tower Series
Stephen King usually brings gold to the screen, big or small. With the sheer volume of material he’s produced across his prolific writing career under his own name and a collection of pseudonyms, there’s plenty to pick and choose from, dozens of highlights, a few minor flops but overall some amazing stories to make real. This year we’ll not only see a remake of the eponymous clown horror IT, but 2017s big summer blockbuster looks set to be the start of his fantasy/western epic, the Dark Tower.
Idris Elba will be stepping into the shoes of gunslinger of a knightly order, Roland Deschain on a quest to rebuild his world, and he alone would be enough to drag me to the cinema. I’m no huge fan of Stephen King, but he’s got some indisputable works of art in his catalogue, and I believe the Dark Tower is amongst them. Perhaps once the films are well under way I’ll pick up the books; don’t want to ruin anything by being the guy saying “They missed that bit” like I did for all of the Discworld films.
3) Star Wars Episode VIII
Star Wars episode VIII (or 8 for those who hate Roman Numerals). This is a huge one for cinema, as we’ll get back that scrolling wall of text that we’re oh so used to at this point. We’ll be getting back the major characters in more than just cameo appearances and we’ll continue Ray’s story. Perhaps most tragically this might be the last time we see Carrie Fisher, (as Princess Leia,) make an appearance on screen, due to her sudden departure earlier this week. Our thoughts go out to the family of those affected most by this.
You know that this one deserved a top three slot, although we relegated it from the mass importance it should have had on this list, down to ‘only’ third place. I know, third place isn’t exactly a bad spot to be in, but it’s still only third place compared to how we would have rated 2015’s The Force Awakens. But that’s simply because we knew this was coming… As there’s going to be a Star Wars film every year for the next few more years as well. It’s nice, we should still be hyped for it… But we kind of expect it now.
2) Baby Groot – Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Ok, while we love the look of all of Guardians of the Galaxy’s greatly anticipated sequel, and once again Drax the Destroyer looks like he may have some real show-stealing moments, there will be one thing and one thing only that puts geeky butts into cinema seats. It is Groot.
Now I may have my little rant about how the saplings of Groot’s species actually have softer, more supple cell structures that form their larynges and can therefor talk comparatively normally, until they mature and are reduced to limited vocal ranges that can be differentiated by little subtleties only. But he’s SO CUTE with his little button and angry adorable killing spree! Plus you have to respect exactly how much can be conveyed three little words and tone of voice.
But seriously does anyone have any tape?
1) Nintendo Switch
The number one slot on our list today is the Nintendo Switch, a games console that, let’s be frankly honest, could end up being the next Wii… Or the next Wii U. Whilst the Wii U certainly was a damn good console in it’s own right, it really didn’t meet the same praise as the Wii and quite understandably so. It was effectively just the Wii with a weird tablet controller to connect to it as well. It’s strange it wasn’t released as a backwards compatible tablet peripheral, which granted you’d need to slot into your Wii controller via the jack, same as the Nunchucks, but nevermind that…
The Switch has turned a lot of heads – I bet you’ve heard of it, but if you haven’t, the interesting concept behind this console is the fact that the controller can effectively be a console in it’s own right: a handheld one. So you can take your gaming from your living room, then get told by your ol’ gran that she needs TV for her TV time and you can take your gaming from the TV down to your hand… You don’t lose out, she doesn’t lose out. With rumours circulating that Pokemon might make the Switch as well, this could be a massive boon for Nintendo and this could even be another major success. Watch this space is all I can say here.
Have we got you excited for 2017 yet? Good, because we’re excited for two relatively selfish reasons as well. We love to do things here on GeekOut South-West, as I’m sure you’re well aware… However, it’s time to reveal what we personally are really, really excited to be doing next year:
Revamped GeekOut Website
It’s frustrating that this hasn’t happened sooner, as I’ve been working my butt off on this. As I was developing the new website this month, I stumbled into a problem, where the hosts seemingly dropped off all links that weren’t brand new to the site. This meant that I had to do a lot of backtracking and trying to fix anything. Having not heard from the hosts for a while, I assumed the worst – That I’d have to port everything over… But fortunately, I’m a good developer me – I kept backups.
After restoring everything, the website came back to normal and I was able to continue development. I was amazed – But hey, it’s all back and it’s all going ahead smoothly again. It’s late – Very late for my initial plan of having it released by the end of November, but I suspect it’s going to not be too much longer. The wait really will have been worth it. Forums; A ‘Geek Events Calendar’ which can be edited; Unlockable profile badges; Our usual wit and much more.
Around half past six on Tuesday we’ll be glued to our computer screens awaiting our chance to return to the Warwick Arts Centre, desperate to get our names down in that ever narrowing window, despite the promise of more spaces than ever we will still be desperately clinging to keyboards and hope.
And why not? Between Kita and Amecon we have two incredible teams to bring us some of the biggest, loveliest, geekyest events in the country. Your average comic convention these days is a big marketplace that you have to pay to enter, and gaming conventions are halls filled with demos you can queue to watch people play. At Kita and Ame we are one leviathan family, getting drunk and nerdy until the small hours, launching ourselves out of bed, through breakfast and away to do it all again.
If we don’t get in, 2017 will officially be a bigger let down than Duke Nukem Forever.
That’s it, we’re finished now until 2017. We’re done writing, but hey, if you’re out and about today and you’re in Bristol, why not come and celebrate it with us? We’re going to be in the Old Market Tavern from 6pm until 1am, celebrating the new year in, with competitions and games and amazing people. Come along – but wait, why not help us with 2017 in a different way? Give us your vote for next week’s Top 10, the first in a new and important year for us all!
To everyone who has stuck with us through thick and thin, through better and worse, in sickness and in health – We do… Solemnly declare that we’ll be up to no good next year as we’re going to be better than ever. In the meantime, what did you think of this list? Have we got you looking forward to some great media next year? What did you think of the Nintendo Switch being our number one choice? As always, comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.
I feel it premature to label 2016 as the worst year ever, because I remain the eternal pessimist. There is always room for 2017 to be worse, there are always more celebrities, more that politicians can do wrong or completely destroy, and we are enduring the short-sightedness of the industrial revolution now more than ever.
But you don’t come here for the doom and gloom, I’ll be starting a new blog for that. My own blog, with politics, and outrage. (more…)
At this time of the year, people like to take time off work. They like to spend time with their family and to enjoy a nice glass of warm mulled wine. They like to play games, they like to catch up on a spot of reading. It’s precisely the right season to be jolly and to fill the mind with a lot of wondrous text – And that’s why you’re here, right audience?! Oh dear, I’ve lost you again haven’t I? Nevermind, for those of you who stuck around, here’s my favourite 10 books to read through the Christmas season.
A world gone awry, a land desecrated. People and creatures sparse and cultures completely gone to waste, this is a list of those worlds that we remember. Not just words: But these are Dystopian Worlds. It doesn’t matter how the world around them is falling apart. It could have been ravaged by rambunctious aliens, or it could have been war gone wrong. Perhaps nukes have gone off and all that’s left are wastelands, or perhaps they live in a bleak future, where people depend on substance to survive. All we know is that the lands we’ve chosen today are our Top 10 Dystopian Worlds.
The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted the results of last week’s vote. Well we’re certainly not ones to chicken out of a tough list, but we did flock together with Kevin from The Mental Attic to get the job done. He helped us to gather up a veritable aviary drawn from geek culture, and try and arrange them in to some kind of logical order. I don’t know what you do for fun on a Thursday night but this is our kind of party at GeekOut.
Hiding one’s face from either a brutal deformity, or possessing some amazing powers and contain whole entities, such as demons and gods. But don’t let that put you off donning a mask, whether it was this past Monday on Halloween, or if you just want to cosplay as a character with a mask, we’ve got just the list for you.
So come and join us as we celebrate those who would shroud their faces, as we don’t need to see their full features to appreciate who they are. This is our Top 10 Masks list and you’d better believe these guys have nothing to hide.
10) Roadhog – Overwatch
Starting lightly, Roadhog is a character from Blizzards universally acclaimed team shooter title. Although Roadhog can be described as anything but light, there isn’t too much to say about this individual. Massive health, massive size and a very smart theme to the destructive brute, this piggy certainly will be hooking you and blowing your head off with his shotgun.
He can’t score much higher due to the fact he’s just one character from a very diverse range of characters. In a game where a hulking brute is second fiddle to a scout-like character who sparked controversy due to the way she stood, Roadhog is a giant amongst mortals. But, even with his incredible size, it’s not enough to topple the rest of the list. Still, we love his snout-esque gas mask!
9) Aku Aku – Crash Bandicoot
A powerful mask which comes to the aid of Crash and Coco in their times of need, Aku Aku is a sort of guardian spirit in mask form. When the two bandicoots are in trouble and in dire need of a friend, Aku Aku is there, floating around them to take the damage for them. He’s selfless and he’s brave; he’s smart and he’s wise – this mask is exactly who you’d like to find floating around next to you.
Whether it’s his massive wooden eyebrows, or whether it’s his calming voice, you can bet that Aku Aku will find a way to help you succeed. Collect three of him and you’ll be slicing through the enemies like you’re a knife through butter. After the third Aku Aku power-up is obtained, you become invincible for a limited amount of time, instantly killing all enemies. However, that doesn’t stop you dying to falling from great heights…
8) Jacket – Hotline Miami
Critical acclaim aside, Hotline Miami was kind of a big deal in the world of indie games. Playing through this gritty title as Jacket, whenever you start a level with him, you typically have to choose a mask for him to roam around in. Of course for fans of the franchise, the most iconic mask is Richard the Rooster, which brings no benefit to the player, but it’s a damn rooster mask and seeing that before you get shot up is pretty much terrifying.
Hotline Miami took the world by storm and people have even come to our meetups wearing a Rooster mask ala Hotline Miami. So as Jacket receives instructions to go and take down the shady underworld of Miami in the 1980s, he must take with him a mask. The one I recognise the most is the pig mask, which is featured prominently on most of the artwork of the game. It’s brutal, it’s bloody and it’s downright fun sending criminals to their graves! Oh justice…
7) Masked Man – Mother 3
Spoilers in the video
Fans of Earthbound and the Mother franchise rejoice, I could not forget about the highly important scenes of the Masked Man from Mother 3. If you’ve never played Mother 3 because you cannot read Japanese, I can basically explain what happens but this is a very spoilery part. If you intend to play this game and don’t want to know what happens, your spoiler warning is incoming… 3, 2, 1…
So in Mother 3, you play as Lucas. After you seemingly lost your brother due to a freak accident, your father Flint goes on an emotional rampage. Lucas, alone and afraid, sets out in the scary world, often encountering this horrible person, known only as the Masked Man. He was incredibly strong and seemingly quite young too, able to take out your whole party single handedly. Your life is only spared by your Franklin Badge, which deflects all lightning damage to the caster. Learning of this item, the Masked Man flees time and time again.
But then, during the climax of the game, something happens. The Masked Man remembers who he was… No, who he is. He was Claus, your long lost brother. He slowly remembers in the middle of a fight with Lucas. It’s then that he finally feels as if all the weight of the world has been lifted from him. He realises the terrible crimes he’s committed in the name of a false idol… And he takes off his mask. Revealing himself as your brother, he smiles and finally casts his one last lightning attack.
Claus took mortal damage.
There, that wasn’t so hard was it..? Who’s cutting onions in here?
6) Vega – Street Fighter
Or Balrog, depending on what language you play in, Vega is a Spanish narcissist whose mask is as iconic as the claw blades he wields in combat. Fighting for beauty alone, the mask serves to protect his face from hideously disfiguring wounds or worse, blood splatter from his victims temporarily marring his glory. He has a loathing of the ugly, and goes to rather unpleasant extremes of violence and aggression when attacking anyone that does not meet his high standards.
It’s fairly understandable of course, after seeing his mother killed by an ugly man and fixating upon that as a symbol of evil, and beauty as emblematic of heroism and bravery. The only alteration he has made to his own appearance are tattoos that mark him as a villain, iconic of his gang ties and associations with M. Bison’s super-mafia, Shadaloo. His face however is to remain unblemished… although I’d be seriously intrigued to see what happens if he ever gets scarred.
I’m going to take a few moments to try and compose myself, I shamelessly preordered the second game so I can play it a day early and I’m not ashamed of that fact. To the point though:
Dishonored delivered a stealth gaming that the most recent Thief title simply couldn’t, and while the mask is not what won it a BAFTA or earned it a sequel (starring Stephen Russell of the original Thief Trilogy as Corvo Attano) it shapes that game in a rather iconic way. The skull like vision came to the visionary Piero Joplin in a dream – no doubt visited upon him by the enigmatic Outsider – in which he claims death himself stared back at him.
Aside from becoming an icon of fear amongst the Dunwall aristocracy, Corvo’s mask serves to protect his face, his identity, contains a handy zoom function, and also represents a little of himself too, a fractured personality who bears the spectre of death, and the decision whether or not to bring that spectre down upon the heads of those who made him appear to be a murderer.
4) Guy Fawkes/V
Seasonal, I know, but the nature of Guy Fawkes has rather changed over the years as general mistrust in politics grows, and rebellion struggles against the comfortable chains of cushioned lifestyles. In the comic V for Vendetta we are introduced to a man who adopts the face of that famous failed terrorist who was caught before managing to blow up parliament. He has taken on the personal mission to finish what his adopted likeness began.
Hugo Weaving superbly delivered the character to us in the 2005 film, and it’s no small feat to perform behind a fixed smile. Yet we are given rage, passion, calculation, sorrow, and joy, all concealed so cunningly behind that vicarious visage, and delivered through subtleties of movement, measured words and timed silences. Little wonder that the face replaced the green morph suit that had once represented the more anarchic divisions of the Anonymous anti-establishment movement.
3) Jason Voorhees
The truest masked murderer of all, Jason Voorhees is one of the world’s most iconic characters in any medium. A true slasher icon, a horrific and terrifying presence and all in all, an amazingly memorable design. The hockey mask came to represent the fear that he brought, rather than the sport the mask was designed for. Of course, he’s not the only masked murderer around. The concept of a masked killer however is a rather hard one to judge.
Whether you’re a fan of Friday 13th and feel Jason is well placed, or if you think Leatherface or Halloween’s “The Shape” are a better candidate (I.E Michael Myers), there’s no doubt that the masked murderer trope is huge. But who do YOU feel is the best masked murderer of them all? Here’s a tiny sample and you guys can shape what this part should look like:
We’ll check back to see how many votes each one got by Monday and we’ll see who you all deemed to be the best masked murderer of them all!
2) Majora’s Mask
What can we say, other than the fact that this mask is not only titular to the whole game, but it was featured in one of the most important RPGs ever to be released? You take up the helm of Link once more, going about your heroic deeds to go and save Hyrule… But oh my, you’ve been met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?
Majora’s Mask features many different masks, from the amazing Deku Scrub, through to the Majora’s Mask itself. The looming creepy moon, the feeling of impending doom you feel as you play this game is simply staggering… And it’s made even worse as you’re presented with various scenes where Skull Kid is wreaking his havoc upon the land. This was one of those games that shook the very foundations of what video games could be… And it got a very fitting re-birth in terms of its 3DS remake.
1) The Mask
Jim Carrey I would label as an acquired taste. He has his style and it is the over-the-top goofy exaggeration of everything that one might call over acting if he weren’t so very good at it. It may seem odd to some that he’d be chosen to play a man possessed by a mass murdering green mask known simply as Big Head. Oh yes, the original Dark Horse comics painted Stanley Ipkiss a very different shade of green, lots more blood, gore and violence than you’d want from the family friendly version we got to see.
There’s surprisingly little overlap between the two, Stanley Ipkiss finds a mask that possesses him, gives him incredible power that helps him secure the woman he loves, take down some mobsters and generally be a glorious anti-hero. The character was originally a cross between The Joker and Jekyll and Hyde, and would never have samba’d his way free of an army of cops.
There’s a whole world of trivia to delve into with these two, from the differing origin stories, to the spin-off where DC’s Joker gets to don the Mask. But if you loved the film as a kid like we did then get your hands on some comics, because things get a whole lot weirder.
Of course masks are a rather hard concept to get your head around, (or indeed into). Where does the definition of a mask end and a helmet begin? It’s hard to say, but what we know is none of our list are considered to be wearing a helmet. Perhaps a helmet needs to be a hard construct which covers the entire head? Either way, in definition of the worlds they’re from, these characters are all masked or are masks. Nevertheless, here’s some more masked goodness for you!
Kanohi – Bionicle
Following a short burst of “edgy” toys directed at older kids within the Technik range, Lego struck collectible gold with the masked warriors, the Bionicle. The Toa were powerful heroes washed up on the isle of Mata Nui, gathered their masks of power and set about saving a world they barely knew. Each mask gave them a unique strength,ability, and a certain distinctive style too. And they weren’t alone either, generations of Toa followed over the years (and are still being released today) all with their own mask collections.
Mask powers vary, from simple strength, and speed, all the way to manipulation of space, time, the very minds around you. The Bionicle range came under some controversy for using the names of Maori gods and similar use of their language, Kanohi itself is the Maori word for face, but the series endured, and now we see a leviathan range that only now seems to show signs of stopping.
Did you ever wonder exactly how easy it would be to make people think you’re someone else? I know everyone makes a huge thing out of Superman’s alter ego basically being him in glasses, but he puts on a tremendous act for Clark Kent, let’s not forget those heroes who cut holes in a sleep mask and thought they’d be safe from ever being identified. Who is that recognisable by their cheekbones and eyebrows that a tiny bit of black felt is going to function as a disguise.
Robin/Nightwing, Green Lantern, The Phantom, Mockingbird, Black Cat, Black Canary, I mean really guys, come on, I know everyone rips on Clark for adjusting his quiff and ditching the tie in a phone booth, but really are you doing any better? Kudos if you get the ones that also turn your eyes into shiny white orbs, not sure how you’re doing that, but honestly, half a job can sometimes be worse than doing no job at all.
And, y’know, thanks for saving the world a bunch of times I guess.
That’s it, I’ve covered myself long enough and now I’m about ready to reveal my true identity. I’d not turn a blind eye to what you, our beloved readers, have to say on the matter. Whether you think some of these don’t fully constitute as masks, or if you think that we’ve not unmasked enough of these characters for you to decide, that’s all down to you to let us know… But before you do, could you spare a moment and vote for one of these three for next weeks’ Top 10?
Now that I’ve finally revealed myself to all of you, it’s up to you to take a good look. Sure, these heroes and villains may be a bunch of misfits to you and me, but they’re ultimately the best chance we have. What do you think of our list this week? Do you think we’ve forgotten some rather important masked characters and have to tell us? Do you think we ordered some of these the wrong way around? Did you seriously not think of “The Mask” when you thought of “Top 10 Masks”? Let us know what you thought in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit. As usual, keep your suggestions pouring in!