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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! (more…)


Top 10 ‘Useless’ Protagonists

GeekOut Top 10s

You left us with a real tough challenge this week; You chose the Top 10 Useless Protagonists. When we really dissected the name, we realised that the term useless is pretty strong to apply to anyone. Also, to consider a protagonist useless is an even harder concept, as when you consider the purpose of a protagonist, it’s simply to get the story from A to B, via means of a character that you rally behind. Therefore, it’s got to be a main character, which automatically removes candidates such as Yamcha (Sorry, at no point has he been a main character).

Now that we’ve discussed what the protagonist element of this Top 10 is, it’s time to dissect the useless element. To be useless means you are without any use… In other words, to say a protagonist is useless is primarily a useless endeavour (at least, in most cases). With this said, useless is very similar to inept… Which is way more defined a concept. As such, we’re going for a Top 10 Useless Protagonists, but we’ll often dip into the inept. Rules for this list out of the way with, let’s get on with it!


Top 10

10) Vault Hunters – Borderlands

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The lowest entry to our list because, let’s face it here, Mordecai, Lillith, Roland and Brick aren’t exactly good for nothing. They help accelerate the plans of Atlas’ Commandant Steele by locating pieces of vault key, and there’s all of the sequel material in which they are pretty damn pivotal. But there’s two major points against their overall effectiveness on the story here.

1 – They show up at The Vault they’ve been hunting for just to discover Atlas already found it. The Vault opens up and the contents immediately kill the major villain who you’ve been failing to thwart all game.

2 – The whole thing was Handsome Jack’s plan! Start to finish, with Angel’s guiding hand, the Vault Hunters have been enacting the will of the biggest bad in the galaxy.

Well done folks, still feel like a hero? Good job there’s a new cast for Borderlands 2, they might actually accomplish something.

9) Guybrush Threepwood – Monkey Island

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Guybrush Threepwood is well and truly a mighty pirate… Or at least, that’s what he keeps introducing himself as. See, Guybrush really is less of a mighty pirate and more of a mighty pirate fantasiser. I mean, he manages to put a ring on the finger on Elaine Marley, so he’s got something going for him, but he manages to always cause some insane blunders which means he needs to get out there and… Uh… Plunder, I guess. Guybrush really isn’t your stereotypical main character, which is why so many people loved him and still do to this day. But unlike his advasary, the ghost pirate LeChuck, he really is nothing special.

He’s a low lister on this list, as he does manage to accomplish just about whatever he sets his mind to… But Guybrush, although not truly useless, certainly falls under the category of the inept protagonist. He’s someone who basically does stuff and that’s great. It’s not really like he thinks about the grand scheme of things, or why things happen the way they do. A prime example is in LeChucks ship at the start of the game The Curse of Monkey Island. Oh sure, he manags to escape alright, but he only does so because he winds an old friend up to the point of reducing the man to tears, then blows up some skeletal pirates, breaks the cord keeping the cannon secure and boom – The cannon is fired one more time and he blows up the whole god damned ship in the process. I don’t think he really thought about his safety there, or even what the hell he was doing. Still, a success nevertheless.

8) The Kid – Little Inferno

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It’s so very cold outside, so stay sat in front of your very own fireplace and burn your useless old belongings to keep warm. And so you do, as a young boy with his brand new Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace by Tomorrow Corp you sit unmoving, immolating stuffed toys, wooden soldiers, and play with a miniature universe as the entire world about you dies.

The girl next door dies, she tells you all about it in her upbeat letters, while you sit there burning stuff. She sends you gifts, you just burn them. Your house is destroyed, and all you can do is go and ask what to do now, before being picked up by the Weather Man and whisked off to somewhere new.

Don’t get me wrong, Little Inferno is a work of art, but damn that kid! He was beyond hopeless.

7) Marty McFly – Back To The Future

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Okay so get this… We’re led to believe that one of the major characters of Back to the Future is… Doc Brown?!

All jokes aside, Marty McFly really isn’t all that special, yet he’s treated with a lot of respect. Interestingly, we only thought about Marty McFly, as we almost inducted Morty from Rick & Morty… However, as that show literally explains, the stupid brain waves of Morty are used to disguise the genius brainwaves of Rick. Needless to say, that’s a pretty big power, so Rick keeps him around for this very purpose. Meanwhile, Marty likes to ride skateboards, plays the guitar and plays lots of video games.

Sure, we don’t disapprove of the youngsters lifestyle, but for crying out loud! Just because he played a lot of video games does not make him good at shooting a gun! If anything,

6) Billy – The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy#

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Probably the biggest idiot on this list is our dear child friend, Billy. He’s definitely nothing special and you’d certainly not expect the Grim Reaper to literally be bound to be this kids friend for all eternity… But that’s just how it goes when the sister of dear Billy is Mandy, the evil and manipulative little girl that she is. Conversely, Billy has a heart of gold, but thankfully that’s not literal as otherwise people would try to kill him for his heart alone.

Nevermind, Billy doesn’t have any powers and it’s infuriating. He is obscenely gross though, so he has that going for him? Ah, boys can be so, so icky…

5) Charlie – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Here’s a kid who earns a factory by being less lousy than a bunch of other kids who were randomly selected by their unrelenting devotion to one of the least healthy foodstuffs in existence.

Really need I say more on the matter? It’s not like Charlie doesn’t succumb to temptation like the others, he just manages to wriggle his way out of it without the need for a song, dance, and a gang of Oompa Loompa’s with a wheelbarrow. His most defining action is giving back his gobstopper.

That’s just in the Gene Wilder version, in the more recent (worse, but not all that bad if we’re honest) version he basically just talks to Wonka until the Mad Chocolatier has enough flashbacks for his daddy issues to be resolved.

4) Flute Cop – Axe Cop

flute_copAlright, so you have a flute.

When Axe Cop found the perfect axe at the scene of the fire he became the greatest Good Guy of this or any other world, the pinnacle of the arc of destiny that would send him into a legendary career of decapitating Bad Guys from the back of his mighty T-Rex, Wexter. In his mission he has many friends and allies: Grey Diamond, Sockarang, Liborg, Uni-Baby, and his closest partner in fighting crime, side-kick, brother, Flute Cop!

That’s a guy with a flute. At one point he was an avocado with a unicorn horn and he was vastly more impressive but that flute does, basically nothing. He’s a great sounding board, a humourous straight-guy to Axe Cop’s comedy, but in a world of evil moons and rabbits who break all the rules, a flute ain’t doing much for anyone.

3) Twoflower – Discworld

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Ah, Twoflower. The little tourist hailing from the Counterweight continent, bane of Rincewind’s peace and wellbeing, living danger-magnet in a hawaiian shirt if such a place as Hawaii existed on the Disc. Our intrepid adventurer comes equipped with camera, phrasebook, general obliviousness to his surroundings and the most deadly travel accessory known to man.

The put upon Wizzard is swept into interesting times, watching in horror as danger from all corners narrowly misses Twoflower and instead has a stab at him. The eldritch terror Bel Shamharoth, the cruel dragonlords of the Wyrmberg and C.M.O.T Dibbler’s sausage inna bun, Twoflower survives more by blind luck than any design or aptitude. His antics inadvertently start a revolution back home, for which he is jailed, and once again saved by providence and is landed one of the highest ranks in his nation’s government.

Not bad for an insurance salesman on holiday.

2) Mario

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Yes Mario is on this list and he’s all the way up at number two! It’s hard to believe that this really rather well known hero could end up on this list, but you need to understand something here… Mario, in the main games, is supposed to be a plumber. He’s never done actual plumbing in a game. No, going down pipes does not count as plumbing, would you please just stop it. No, plumbing isn’t going inside of Bowser either. How rude…

But nevertheless, Mario is super successful at being the hero, even though he’s actually genuinely useless at his supposed profession of choice. I bet he just calls himself a plumber so that way he has an easy time explaining what he does to the locals.

‘So, what do you do?’ asked Toad.

‘Uh, it’s a me, Mario theeeeee…’ Mario paused, struggling to find anything adequate to explain his employment status. Suddenly, he heard a flush, ‘… Plumber!’

Suddenly, a large beast with a spiky turtle shell on his back known only as Bowser comes out from the restroom. ‘Oi, red hat. You a plumber? Good. You’re needed in there.’

And to this day on, Mario became the sworn enemy of Bowser.

Ah, toilet humour.

1) Daphne – Scooby Doo

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Daphne is one of the ‘gang’ in Scooby Doo and she’s an iconic character from the series. This isn’t the first time we’ve included a character from the Hanna-Barbera Productions classic on our Top 10 lists, so we’re glad to get another one in. Daphne is instantly recognisable with her red hair, blue top and green scarf. She’s not dumb, but she’s certainly far from any of the more useful characters on the show.

She has no qualities which makes her of any true use. You could argue that Shaggy also has a similar fate, but between the two, Daphne has even less use in that she often does just act as a damsel in distress. See, whilst Fred generally has the plan and Velma has the ideas to make it happen, we’re left with three characters: Shaggy, Scooby and Daphne. Whilst Shaggy might have his off moments, he certainly makes up for it with some uncanny bravery for a scaredy cat. He usually will act as bait for the baddies. Scooby helps, by being a dog he brings some useful skills, especially when he’s being rewarded… But Daphne’s just Daphne… God damn she is so useless in this show.


Honourable Mentions

Some characters are simply and utterly rubbish at what they do… And these are two more characters that deserve to be mentioned on our Top 10 Inept Useless Protagonists list.

Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler – Whitechapel

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Ok, I feel a little bad for this one. DI Chandler is a good detective and a good cop. In every season of Whitechapel he solves the crime in just enough time for things to get good and dramatic, despite his ever clashing team, crippling OCD, and the sheer terror of the horror-themed criminals that Whitechapel pitches against him.

But there’s one major problem. It seems there’s a curse upon poor Chandler, as he’s never yet managed to bring a single killer to court. The New Ripper, the Copy-Krays, the Bogeyman, the Witchhunter, the Flayer, every single one has died in bizarre circumstances just as the team have them bang-to-rights. Had the show been renewed for one more season, the one it richly deserved, we may have discovered why every criminal they uncovered died before being brought to justice.

Lan Hikari – Mega Man Battle Network

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Lan Hikari really is far from useless, as he’s managed to save the world from some evil viruses and programs. If you’re uninitiated, Lan Hikari is from the Battle Network series of Mega Man, which also had it’s own anime. In the anime, Lan is viewed as a plucky, eager and energetic kid who has a great heart. In the games he’s viewed as much too… And his partner in digital virus busting is the titular Mega Man. Pretty impressive that he can control Mega so easily…

Except at the start of every game in this franchise, he manages to forget everything he’s done. He goes so far, that he forgets even how to bust viruses at the start of every single one of the games in the franchise and has to be re-taught how to do it! It’s a little insane – and whilst I respect the fact gamers need to be taught how to play the game (especially when there’s new features, or if you’re new to the game), the fact it so bluntly tells you “THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT!” is a little over the top.


We’re now absolutely fed up of these characters getting so much glory, when they effectively add nothing to the story. It’s time for us to put this list to rest and tell these characters to get back to what they do best, which isn’t much really, but at least we’re being honest about these things here. While we wait for these useless ones to get out of here, help us decide what Top 10 we cover next week. We never said we weren’t useless at making up our minds..!

That’s it for this week, from Daphne to Twoflower, we’ve covered some pretty useless and inept characters indeed. But what did you make of our list this time? Did our reasoning of including ‘inept’ characters resonate with you, or do you think that made this list too easy? What about the order of our list? As always, let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


e-Collectica Games Day 2016

The thing about a town like Shrewsbury is that it would take you a full lifetime to uncover every corner, unveil every hidden gem. There are alleys off alleys, doors you could walk past a thousand times and never notice, and amongst them are some of the venues e-Collectica have used for their Games Days. The hall upstairs from a church, a hall hidden behind some shop fronts, and most recently the Darwin Community Centre, a little hall just outside of the town centre that’s innocuously concealed behind two gates and a fairly blank looking door, and a faded sign. About the biggest marker on the place is the Pokestop… or maybe the guy stood in the gate on Google Streetview?

When I led this commenting on hidden gems, I was absolutely talking about the Darwin Community Centre. As tucked away as it might be, that place has everything a bunch of enthusiastic gamers could want! Tables!

 

But seriously, there were a few issues in the build up to Games Day, namely a few of the staff being unable to attend due to illness or other engagements; this put some of the schedule out, but it didn’t stop people from enjoying themselves. People arrived and delved straight into the library of demo games, a few people brought new things to try, including guests from the Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare presenting historical skirmish games.

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I had the chance to field a playtest of a little something I’m working on for something bigger: Six Goblins in an Overcoat. Players take the role of one of six goblins doing their best to present themselves as a single normal human trying to navigate a human town and break into a cat orphanage to get at the tasty, tasty cats inside. It was short but sweet, brilliantly chaotic, limbs were abandoned, swapped, badly coordinated, and I think it could go somewhere with a few more experiments. Anyone who’s in, just say the word…

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And of course the day would be woefully incomplete without the raffle. It’s nice to hold a ticket that could win me something other than a bottle of wine, a pack of chocolates, or some ornament that’ll end up a Christmas present for someone who likes that sort of thing. A bag of dice for the first ticket, followed by Dobble, and finishing out with Back to the Future, which I did not think had a board game… the more you know.

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Finally, the most important news from this Games Day, that there will be another. It was starting to look doubtful, but the venue and the people just made for a much better time, and more importantly a much longer time. Every event so far has had to shut down by 17:00, we squeezed an extra couple of gaming hours into the evening and made full use of every minute, we were still fighting for Tokyo right up until the last call.

There is no fixed date for the next event, but keep an eye on e-Collectica’s Facebook page, or just stay with us on GeekOut South-West, you know I’ll be all over it.


10 Influential 80’s Geek Films

I thought it would be fun to see what kind of movies were out in the 80’s that may of influenced the hacking games that I posted last week. The 80’s were a full of lots of slightly (and in places not so slightly) tacky movies. This is not a Top 10 by any means, the films are just ones that I remember having an influence on me and possibly my peers around the same time.

The Wizard


Weird Science (1985)

Cheesy most of the way through a classic John Hughes film where two high school “nerds” attempt to create the perfect woman ending up with Kelly LaBrock (schwing). The computer nerd of the film (Wyatt) reaches the maximum he can do with his current equipment and then proceeds to hack into an unnamed system. Cue transitional video with large tapes rolling in the background to denote activity. Yes kids this was how data was both saved and loaded on corporate systems in the dark age of the eighties.

Link: [Weird Science on IMDB]

Real Genius (1985)

A young Val Kilmer (schwing) plays Chris Knight a genius at an institution for the gifted who is duped into making a military laser (because lasers were cool in the eighties). Along the way they meet the guy who lives in their closet Lazlo who helps them alter the destination of the test. During the film you’ll see lots of cool kit, lasers, ice that turns to gas, fun uses for liquid nitrogen, eighties style graphics, some social engineering and an interesting use for popcorn.

Link: [Real Genius on IMDB]

Wargames (1983)

Matthew Broderick plays a whizz kid who hacks the school computer, first of all changing his grades and then takes things further by hacking into the government security and plays a game with it. Trouble is the game he chooses is called “Global Thermo Nuclear War” and the game is not a game after all but a simulation that goes horribly wrong and causes a real reaction. Switching to Defcon 1…. BOOM

Link: [Wargames on IMDB]

Short Circuit (1986)

Ahh… I love this film so much. Although it does not involve a lot of hacking the genius of the film (played by Steve Gutenburg) does try to hack into the robot that has gone rogue due to a power spike. The robot names itself Johnny 5 and goes on a journey of discovery trying to prove that he is actually alive to avoid being dismantled by the military. I also forgot to mention the presence of Ally Sheedy (schwing)

Link [Short Circuit on IMDB]

Electric Dreams (1984)

If you have seen the more recent and awesome film called Her, just imagine almost the same film but in the 1980’s with more hair, cheesy pop and a big trak! Yes the computer who is named Edgar starts to get jealous of the new relationship Miles is getting into with Madeline who had moved in upstairs. At one point Miles think it’s a good idea to pour champagne onto the computer which only makes things worse. We here at GeekOut must state that pouring liquids onto electronics is generally a bad idea and not something we would advise. However this film is very cheesy but has a place in geek history and on top of that has a great soundtrack including a classic by Phil Oakey from the Human League.

Link: [Electric Dreams on IMDB]

The Wizard (1989)

Fred Savage plays Corey Woods whose brother Jimmy turns out to be awesome at Video games. They both run away from home and compete in what I think is the worlds first video game competition ever on film. It’s a terrible film in my opinion but really was a vision for what has only in the past 5 years or so become a reality where we now have E-Sports channels. You cannot watch The Wizard without acknowledging that the whole thing was basically a massive marketing move by Nintendo in the quest to promote a new game. I’d like to say they did well to disguise the whole thing like a film and the storyline was fantastic but that would be a big fat stack of lies. I do need to point out that the film includes the rarely seen and utterly useless Powerglove. Oh… Christian Slater is also in this film (schwing)

Link [The Wizard on IMDB]

Tron (1982)

You can’t mention eighties computer movies without talking about Tron. Kevin Flynn (played by Jeff Bridges) ex-employee of ENCOM takes it upon himself to find evidence that the corporation stole four video games he created. When hacking into the system something goes horribly wrong and Kevin is consumed by the computer and has to literally fight his way through as a program. It was genius back then and the 2010 reboot of the film was actually quite good which in itself was a rare thing.

Link [Tron on IMDB]

D.A.R.Y.L

A normal boy is dropped off in the middle of the woods and found by a childless couple. However this is no ordinary boy and before you ask: no, he is not made of wood and no his nose does not grow when he lies! Nope, Daryl is actually a super sophisticated robot that is now trying to be recalled by the military. What was it with the military in the eighties? Daryl learns human socialisation, human traits and emotional responses. I remember watching this film as a kid and being utterly captivated by it.

Link [D.A.R.Y.L on IMDB]

Superman 3 (1983)

Probably the worst of the three superman movies in my opinion but has some classic geekery in it. Gus Gorman played by Richard Pryor has a hidden talent of being a computer genius. Working for Wealthy businessman Ross Webster (think Donald Trump) he manages to bypass the internal computer security with ease. So next time you think the government is taking too much in tax, log onto the HMRC website and when your asked for a security code type in “OVERRIDE ALL SECURITY” it’s sure to work, the eighties tell us so.

Link [Superman 3 on IMDB]

Robocop (1987)

When Robocop was released it was vastly talked about  for being graphically violent and hard hitting. I was only 12 at the time it was out in the cinema and rated 18 I had to wait a fair few years before I was allowed to see it. You know I think it still stands tall to this day as a film that broke boundaries. Alex Murphy a regular cop on the mean streets of a futuristic Detroit gets shot by a street gang and then rebuilt into the worlds first cyborg policeman. The geekery is all over this film from the moment they begin to put Alex back together to the unveiling of the ED-209 mech run by the greedy OCP Corporation. This was another film that received a reboot in 2014 but there was something missing from it in my opinion and the original for me still stands as a better film. all together now “Dead or alive you are coming with me”, “Your move.. creep”

Link [Back to the Future 1 & Back To The Future 2 on IMDB]


 

I’m sure there are a lot of films I have missed, if you can think of any to add to our list then drop us a comment. If you’re one of our younger readers and have not seen these films then we encourage you to go and check them out. Then come back and tell us just how bad/ you thought they were.

[1] Schwing


Top 10 Eccentric Characters

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What do you get when you cross a character whose motives are rather simple and ingenious, with some really garish clothing that really doesn’t suit anyone in the world? Or how about when you cross a character who wears a full suit to a gymnasium and ends up schooling those guys in their workout wear? Generally, you end up with one rather eccentric character, someone who breaks conventional norms.

Yes, the eccentric is often an integral part of a story; They’re there and they help progress the plot, though you might not always expect what they are going to do. This is because the eccentric has a mind of their own, a purpose only they can determine… and we just get to sit back and watch how they go about a rather simple world. This is our salute to the men and women who are seriously out there.


 

Top 10

10. Donkey – Shrek

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It’s hard to be normal when you’re a donkey that talks. There’s no need to sing, or hum, or whistle, or dance, or talk to absolutely everyone until they hate you, imprison you and generally belittle you in any way possible but dammit if you’re not going to try to be friends with them all. Donkey is enthusiastic and so filled with nervous energy that it repeatedly gives him very close to death, one such incident resulted in an unlikely wedding and a brood of half-dragon donkeys.

Comedy foil to Shrek’s serious performance (a rarity for a Mike Myers role) Donkey provides most of the goofiness and very obviously Eddie Murphy style shenanigans, but there’s a quirky charm to Murphy that he lost somewhere around the Nutty Professor sequel that he manages to reclaim as the loveable misfit ass with a love of music and absolutely everyone.

9. Emmet Brown – Back to the Future

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A student of all sciences, Emmet Brown (“Doc”) is the inventor of the very first ever time machine… A freakin’ DeLorean. I’m sorry, I could stop this entry right there. I mean he decided that the best machine to build a time machine around is a DeLorean?! Alright, whatever. Let’s think about some of the less practical aspects of his life.

Well, he came from a rich family – And decided that the best use for all of the money is his Time Travel project. Don’t get me wrong, it’s clear that spending all of that money was a good thing, because he actually managed it… But when you think about it, all of that money is gone and all he’s got to show for it is a DeLorean. With catch phrases such as “Great Scott”, the Doc is certainly more than a little bit out there.

8. Johnny Bravo

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I want you to go to a beach – I know this is a weird thing for a geek to ask a fellow geek (I don’t get along well at beaches personally). I want you now to look around at all of the people on the beach. You’re going to find a man who is similar to Johnny Bravo there. Crass, crude, a little bit rude, but over all they’ll have a very toned body. Does it necessarily make them strong, or manly, or even heroic? Not in the slightest.

But what separates Johnny Bravo from the boys on the beach is his incredibly diverse set of… Shall we say interests? He’ll chase any woman, even alien women, but he’ll always blast out his catchphrase “Ooh mama!” even to his own mama! Sadly, perhaps Johnny Bravo isn’t too different to some of the muscle heads out there, but if there’s one thing he knows how to do better than anyone else, it’s The Monkey. Dance on, Johnny. We salute you!

7. Mr Satan – DragonBall Z

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Mr Satan, or Hercule, if you saw the English versions of DragonBall Z, is a bit of a light relief from the otherwise generally serious show that is DragonBall. On Earth, he is considered the strongest human (Although this is certainly something that belongs to Krillin… I mean even Yamcha could probably beat Mr Satan). No matter, he’s got his own sense of style and with his image to protect, he has plenty of powers which makes people not only question him, but kind of pity him.

For instance, he believes his own hyperbole, which he puts so much conviction into. If you think that’s not bad enough, he worked for ages on developing a technique, which goes by many names. Be it the Dynamic Mess Em Up Punch, the Megaton Punch or otherwise, he believes this is the most powerful punch in the world, to which Android 18 was rather unamused by. Still, it’s with his showmanship attitude and flair for hamming it up that Mr Satan gets through so much. He won the Cell games, did you know?

6. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

“HOOOOOO!” – ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan

Okay, this man is utterly barmy and we have to love him for it. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan is a retired professional wrestler, who was infamous for shouting out “Hooooo!”, being damn proud to be American and for being incredibly loud. When he had his eyes set on something, he became hell bent on getting it, often to his detriment. With this said, he is an iconic character from the world of what was then called the World Wrestling Federation.

For the wrestling fans out there, you may be wondering why we chose Hacksaw over the one and only Macho Man Randy Savage? It’s simple: Macho Man was indeed pretty darn out there, incredibly eccentric and outright entertaining as all hell. But “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan didn’t even need clothes, or to constantly say “yeah” to be eccentric. Macho Man is amazing, don’t get me wrong for a second, but the “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan deserves a little respect. Besides, he’s the only character I’ve ever known to be so out there that he’s allowed to carry his 2×4 everywhere with him. I mean that… Everywhere.

5. Professor Elemental

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Character and stage persona of the exceptionally British rapper Paul Alborough, the Professor is a pith helmeted adventurer and steampunk airship captain with an orangutan butler named Geoffrey who’s hopped all over the world, through time and into untold levels of peril. He’s bounced across time, space and a variety of dimensions in pursuit of… something, probably a better brew than he can find at home but it doesn’t seem likely. More recently in pursuit of aforementioned orangutan butler who appears to be missing.

And yes, I got to interview the man behind the lunatic, and I am far too proud of the fact.

Anyway, the man himself is comparatively down to earth and approachable, with only a few traces of the personality bubbling and brimming behind the amicable smile. To say that the Professor is a character is true enough, but it’s a character deeply rooted in his creator, that maniacal and gleeful fiend that Paul Alborough has been sitting on for far longer than he’s been bringing him to the stage.

4. James – Pokemon

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One of the Team Rocket duo, James deserves a spot in this list, simply because he’s a man who happens to have some of the most incredible sense of style and timing. I don’t think he does it for dramatic effect, I think his brain is wired in such a way that he only sees himself being prepared for any event. Of course, with Team Rocket, the plan is pretty simple: Capture that Pikachu as best they can.

So whether he’s dressing up as a lady and having a larger bosom than anyone else, or he’s crying over his belt buckle, James is a man who puts his sense of fashion first. He’s faked amnesia, because he sort of believed his own amnesia, at least whilst it was convenient. He’s an oddball, he’s not really afraid to revel in that fact. Still, if you’re going to steal a Pikachu from some snivelling children, the best thing to do it in is a hot air balloon in the shape of a Meowth face, right? No one will see THAT coming at all…

Oh and James is loyal, but in bizarre ways too. He once gave up his entire bottle cap collection for Meowth… And not only that, he even cares for his opponents, having told Ash that he’d rather take an honest Pokemon battle over underhanded tactics. If nothing else, James does his dastardly deeds with style and class.

3. Ruby Rhod – The Fifth Element

Chris Rock in an elegant evening dress with multiple hair bobbles and a stick mike should paint a clear enough picture in your mind for interstellar DJ extraordinaire, lover to the stars, in the stars and personality super-titan Ruby Rhod but it doesn’t quite capture the character. I don’t actually think words are adequate to sum up the strut, the wildly swinging pitch of his voice, the leopard print that somehow seems to have reached into his mind and taken control.

Even once the action steps up several notches, bullets start flying and bombs start being thrown around indiscriminately, Ruby Rhod’s panic stricken screams somehow manage to keep the same level of ferocious energy, and faced with the end of the world and being one of the only people who can stop it he’s still giving it every ounce of energy he has, and that’s a lot of energy.

2. The Mad Hatter – Alice in Wonderland

Interestingly, the Hatter started this list much lower down until someone screamed “change places”.

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Tea is a noble enough pursuit, some might even call it a lifestyle. In a world entirely dominated by pervasive madness we find a man who seems to have particularly taken it all to heart, master of ceremonies to the eternal tea party in the middle of the woods, a mere throwaway character in the original tale who has become some great mythological figure to fans of Lewis Carol’s epic. The Mad Hatter has seen many hundreds of iterations, including DC’s villain Jervis Tetch, variations in Tim Burton’s interpretation, Once Upon a Time, and the terrible pawn of the Jabberwock in the Zenescope darkly reimagined version.

But the man himself was of little consequence to the story compared to the many weird and wonderful characters, the Red Queen, the March Hare, the Mock Turtle, and yet ask someone to name a character from Alice in Wonderland how many would say the Mad Hatter before Alice. But still, there are more important things to discuss over a nice hot pot of tea, such as the time for example, and how much of it there is.

1. Sheogorath – The Elder Scrolls

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The Daedric Prince of Madness himself makes it to our number one slot, because of many reasons, but I’m going to focus purely on a few things. Shall we begin with this demons attire? As you can see above, his demonic armour is a little bit of a miss-mash. He likes the colour purple, a colour of royalty, but the armour seems to be a little bit… Unfinished? But he’s a man of class, he walks with a cane, with well kept hair and a trimmed beard. He loves his luxury and it shows in everything that he does…

But then, we move on to how this demon talks to you. He talks to you as if you have even the slightest bit of an idea what he’s going on about… But there’s a lot of method in everything that he says. You feel as if he has an important message behind everything he says, so let’s end this list on quotes from the master of madness:

“You are the best Septim that’s ever ruled. Well, except for that Martin fellow, but he turned into a dragon god, and that’s hardly sporting…”

“Do you mind? I’m busy doing the fishstick. It’s a very delicate state of mind!”

“The game is a foot. Or a leg. Or all manner of severed limbs!”

 


 

Honourable Mentions

Woah, hold your horses there. We’re not done with our list just yet. There were way more characters that we considered, but we thought we’d throw in these two extras as usual. They might not have made the list of our Top 10 Eccentric Characters, but they certainly are eccentric in their own right. A little out there, or even wholly bizarre, these two deserved a nod from us at the very least.

The Taunting Frenchman – Monty Python

ARGH. It was so hard to narrow all of Monty Python down to a single, solitary character, a single eccentric individual that serves as a prime example of the comedy collaborative that sums up what British eccentricity is. Had we called this list some like “eccentric groups” or something…

~sigh~

Anyway, such is life, and so we find lurking in those most honourable deeps the continental gargoyle, cow thrower, ballistic flatulator and general all round silly person the Taunting French Guard from The Holy Grail. Why? Well there was probably a better pick, but in addition to the creative insults carved from the frenchman’s second language and the ballistic use of cows, you can’t help but love the sniggering behind the crenelations and general helmet-tapping, raspberry blowing, barefaced cheek of John Cleese’s most memorable moment from the film.

Jayne Cobb – Firefly

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It was a tough call between Jayne and Wash, and while Wash’s fascination with kids toys and Hawaiian shirts was great, somehow we just couldn’t pass up on the man they call Jayne.

Gun toting for some is a profession, a job, a calling perhaps, rarely a hobby, but there’s just no describing the way with which Jayne embraces the thug life. While he does not fit in with the unconventional sort in a conventional way, with his permanently fixed dour and/or grumpy expression, there’s no small amount of pleasure to be found in the grin his bobble-hat brings to his down-turned face, or the way he feels that a gun is adequate exchange for a person.


 

Okay, let me try to get a hold of this list. We need a dose of daily sanity to counteract this list of whacked out nutjobs, but hey – At least they have their purposes. Sure, some of the characters are literally written to be eccentric, such as Sheogorath, but at least he fits the mould so beautifully. Now I turn to you to help us cast our vote to next week:

For next weeks list, if you’d like to get involved and write it with us (Joel and I get together on Thursdays to discuss the list), then please just drop us an email. As always, thank you very much for reading, please remember to vote for next weeks’ Top 10 and let us know what you thought of this list. Did you enjoy it? Were there any characters we missed, or you felt deserved higher on the list? Perhaps you feel some of our character choices were spot on? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. As always, keep being you: because you rock, much like the characters in this list!


The Future!

We all know that this is the “Back to the Future 2 year” and we’re all annoyed at the general lack of hoverboards. Now, there are some very smart people working on actual hover-tech using the hoverboard as the primary focus, but let’s actually look at what our immediate future looks like:

The Future is Awesome

I recently discovered this thing:

How cool is that? I get so annoyed at being jabbed in the face by short people waving umbrellas around. I’d want one of these, and even if I didn’t have one I’d be way happier being hit with slightly more rain than a metal spoke when I pass someone on a wet day.

Currently this is a heavy item that can’t be used for very long at any time, but the Kickstarter made ten times what was requested, if they can’t shrink that down and extend the battery life a little with that much more money in pocket then they’re clearly doing something wrong. There’s scope for using these to create “warded areas” in the same way you would a parasol or gazebo, a little cost-intensive maybe, but really cool!

My biggest problem with umbrellas is having to hold one, not having that hand free to do other things like check the internet, and having that arm up constantly starts to get a little exhausting. Maybe that’s lazy, picky, whatever, that’s me, and I may have a solution…

airdogKitesPersonal drones are a thing now! I think it’s a little vain and pointless that the first use we’ve used them for is selfies, but that’s the beginning of some potentially very cool stuff. Camera drones have some terrifying connotations but for personal use, and media use they can let us record things like sports that require concentration, and more to the point, both hands. Climbing, windsurfing, whatever you’re up to, it’d be so much easier to have a drone programmed to follow and record rather than a second person. A trained cameraman would create a better video, but he/she would also be bigger, and may not be that big into windsurfing.

Bringing me to my idea: Air umbrella drones! It would just hover above your head, following you around keeping you dry and happy! If that gets invented now, you saw it here first. Any engineers reading this? I want my name in the credits.

Technology is ruling the world right now, and engineers, electricians, programmers and other very clever and very skilled people are carving a niche for themselves. One of the biggest leaps forward for innovators is the flourishing 3D printer industry. Prototypes can be created cheaply and effectively, no need for moulds or unnecessary wastage, straight from virtual to physical model, and success or failure can be determined that much faster.

The latter half of this decade will see the creation of a lot of very cool stuff with some very practical benefits, and hover-tech may well see a revolution in haulage and transportation one day soon. We have virtual reality, telepathic technology, self-driving cars, and for some time now we’ve been able to send instant messages to people across the world on a whim from wherever the hells we like.

We may not have landed on Mars yet, hoverboards may be a screechy mess that require specialist tracks to be able to move, and holograms, lightsabers and digistruction aren’t things. But suck it up people! We live in the future now! And it’s awesome.