Archives for April 2014

The Challenges Gamer Girls Face – What Stigmas & Biases Exist?

UPDATE:  We’ve had tremendous response from this post (yet the comments are lacking.. Hmmm…) and I realize that some are still very uncomfortable with T&A, even though it is relevant.  I’d hate for our fellow gamers to miss out on an important discussion over something so trivial.  So I have changed it.

Sorry fellas..  But the show must go on!

Here is a parody video that should lighten the mood for those that find this subject matter a bit touchy.  I’m sure many of you have seen this already (Seth Green, Michelle Boyd, etc.):

The previously featured image of GamerGirl90 (read on) is what some guys imagine (or hope) your average gamer girl would look like.  This is not very realistic, for a few reasons.  The reality is that we gamers come in different shapes and sizes, folks.  Besides, jaded gamers tend to expect the worst in the faceless entities they play with over the interwebz.  Apparently, all us gamers are fat, lazy slobs with acne..  Or at least that’s the stereotype.

For some background info, check out HorsePLAY! EP18 – the HD video is provided up there.^^^

Over at Be Like Water, they have a Woman Crush Wednesday theme.  We shared the Lady Sif / Jaimie Alexander Woman Crush Wednesday post here because, let’s face it: that’s the sort of stuff that draws people in.  Sure, there are list posts, cute-overload animal photos, silly memes, cheats, and other SEO, traffic-boosting subject matter but those are not particularly evergreen.   The female form is art: timeless, beautiful, and intriguing to most of the world..  I know even some gay guys that find boobies (I’m more of a booty guy myself) appealing..  It must be a guy thing!

GamerGirl90 - A Man's Idea Of A Gamer Girl

GamerGirl90 is just an everyday girl.. And she just happens to play games.. And be easy on the eyes. Just sayin.

Now let’s set the stage further: this is the story of the disappearance of GamerGirl90 and the drama that ensues when geeks as a whole can’t play nice together.  GamerGirl90 used to be a DeviantArt contributor (here is some of GamerGirl90’s DeviantArt work).  Sadly, she was scared away due to trolls and clients who refused to pay her for commissioned work (after she delivered the goods, mind you).  She was a very engaging individual.  Not only is she easy on the eyes but she is quite talented as an artist.  DeviantArt, hell, the geek community has suffered a great loss.

This sort of thing happens all the time..  And it’s a bummer.

Shriek Unveiled By GamerGirl90

Cynical geeks may think that people like GamerGirl90 are attention-starved, inauthentic posers.  The most prevelant stigma dictates that attractive women can’t possibly be “true gamers” or real geeks.  But look at that artwork – the coloring is beautiful..  And that is a rough work.  What people fail to see is that geek culture is so pervasive that we’re no longer the minority.  Heck, jocks and pop culture junkies are more of a minority now.

So let’s look at heard numbers to prove a point.  Wikipedia confirms what a lot of studies have suggested.  Almost half of the gaming populice are women!

In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (30 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (18 percent).” Entertainment Software Association’s 2013 study found that 45% of game players are female, 2% decrease from last year’s figures.

Thank goodness for that because, let’s face it: the screechers are the worst of them all.   Seriously, though, this just goes to show that we should not longer be shocked that we encounter women in our favorite games.  Sadly, biases continue and the assumption is that women only play social or casual games.  The statistics speak for themselves: gamer girls run the full gamut in terms of gaming preferences, appearance, personalities, and more.  There are more differences within sub-groups than gender yet some folks will desperately hold onto their ignorant assumptions…  Why?

GamerGirl90 Flirty (Yet Classy)

Is this sort of thing classy, tacky, or just plain pathetic?  Is this just a mere marketing stunt?

It’s easy to let our biases guide us towards hasty judgments and bitterness.  The general assumption is that women that make themselves known online are attention whores but that is not always the case.  Let’s be honest: if you got it, flaunt it..  More importantly, we all like attention and doting to a degree (hello, social media).  We humans are social creatures, after all.

For the sake of brevity, I will insert a page break here.  Click onwards to read more, where we’ll tackle the core issues.  For those who only came for the eye candy, at least leave a comment and share before leaving..  Thanks! *wink*

[Read more…]

Ye Olde #Hearthstone Tavern and Inn #YOHTAI Issue No. 2

Greetings friend!

This is Sparta!

 

THIS IS, err, YOHTAI – Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern and Inn. 

YOHTAI is where we can add friends, connect, share, brag, bitch and whine about Blizzard’s game Hearthstone and other things. We also conversate and participate in live and recorded podcasts including HorsePLAY! LIVE and others. And, ok, we do some tips, cheats, and strategies…

If you haven’t read it, check out the YOHTAI Issue No. 1 here:

http://geekyantics.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/ye-olde-hearthstone-tavern-and-inn-16-april-2014-issue-no-1

I’m ready! I’m not ready!

In the comments below, flaunt your OP internet and social game skillz – tell us your Hearthstone ID (Battle Tag), your in game name, your real name (if you dare), your city, connection points, and share your thoughts on Hearthstone with us.

Hearthstone News

Ranked Play Season 1: Pandamonium is almost over

Season 1 is coming to a close at the end of the month, and with it your chances of acquiring the Pandaria card back for your collection.

Pandaria Card Back

Pandamonium Hearthstone Card Back Faryna

 

Fireside Gatherings FLOP

The Fireside Gathering is on. If you can log in three devices on the same router, you can get the Fireside Gathering card back. Blizzard’s big idea, however, was a big flop with hardly any HFG parties anywhere. Blizzard’s lack of commitment and investment in this social event leaves us with some questions about their community skills.

Sometimes, I forget things…

Our genius suggestion: A plushy Hearthstone Pillow awarded to the first 300 Fireside Gathering leaders signed up for the Cinco de Mayo slash This is Sparta bash. What Cinco de Mayo Bash?! Exactly.

Hearthstone Fireside Gathering Card Back Faryna

 

Hearthstone Gear

Show off your Hearthstone gear. Send us a pic of you and your gear and we’ll feature it in YOHTAI. Send the pic to me (Stan) at stan.faryna@gmail.com

Below, the Hearthstone Pillow.

Hearthstone Throw Pillow

TOSH.0

TOSH.0 still don’t got love for the Hearthstone. Whazzup with that? He know internets? Obviously not. Because Hearthstone is one of the hottest iPad app downloads going on. It’s averaging 4.5 stars, got 7086 ratings overnight, and Hearthstone is at the top of the app download list.

Get in there and fight, Maggot!

Tweet Tosh and tell him what’s up: http://twitter.com/danieltosh

 Get in there and fight, maggot!   cc  

The queue sucks!

Get more servers, Blizzard!

Hearthstone Que Sucks Says Faryna

 

Hearthstone Cheats

Some of us are casual gamers – playing less than 10 hours per week. But if you can log in for 30 minutes, you can collect the 40 gold daily quest reward with a little help from you friends at YOHTAI. Log-in, let your friends know you need a “little gold” in the chat and then take turns winning and losing to get that quest reward.

Tip No. 13

No one likes losing most of the time.
If you can’t survive to round 10 in most fights, whip out your credit card and throw down $20 on some cards. But not until you can survive until round 9. Because you need some tested and true ideas about how to play the game before new cards can help.
YOHTAI Groups and Beyond
YOHTAI is on Steam and Facebook!

Hearthstone School

If you’re new to Hearthstone, there may be some confusion about Rankings. We know there’s 25 rankings including Legend. But after you get to rank 20, you proceed (or not) to rank 19. This is not a bug.

Hearthstone Level 18 or 23? Faryna

#YOHTAI Issue No. 3 is here.
Job’s done!

 

The GANG Minute: Game Mechanics Show, FTL Advanced, And GANG Cameos

Greetings and salutations, geeks and gamers!

There’s been so much going on in the world of Geeky Antics that we have not been able to report everything as it happens via our blog or even Twitter.  This installment of The GANG Minute will provide some highlights so you can get all caught up…  We’ve got lots cooking and the GANG is ROCKIN!  Here are the highlights…

NOTE:  Be sure to take the poll at the end – we need help brainstorming for our new show!

Gaming Death Podcast

GANG May 2014 Guest Appearances & Previews

On Thursday, May 1st 2014, I will be joining The Gaming Death podcast at 9pm Eastern, which is live on Twitch just like HorsePLAY!  It should be interesting as there will be like five or six people on the show.  Right after, Chip Cella a.k.a. CaptinChaos from The B-Team Podcast will be joining us on HorsePLAY! LIVE Episode 20 (the title is currently undetermined) to talk about some of the following items as part of our #RetroFriday initiative:

  • What the “next-gen” REALLY is..  or should be.
  • The games we’re playing instead of “da newness”.
  • Marvel Puzzle Quest strategies and call-ins.
  • Core concepts in TCG/CCGs.
  • A mini Hearthstone survival guide.
  • What makes strategy games so replayable?
  • Can puzzle fighters be considered strategy games?
  • Some of our favorite strategy games of all time.

We’ll also be setting the stage for a real throwback episode, where we’ll talk about classic and retro-style games.  We’re just waiting to see when Fred Rojas from Gaming History 101 can join us so we can go DEEP!   I’m working on trimming some of the fat for EP20 so we can have  more time for our featured topics and do more community interaction.  We’d also like to do more Freeballin’ to talk about whatever!  Maybe we’ll get to #TheDustOff and talk about the latest games sucking our souls away…

The B-Team Podcast Logo

 

FTL: Advanced Edition – Hidden In Version 1.5x And Up!

In case you missed it, the long-awaited expansion to FTL: Faster Than Light Advanced Edition was released on April 3rd 2014.  If you’re like me, you eagerly anticipated this, couldn’t find a firm release date, and probably got tired of waiting..  Then it snuck up on you like a ninja in your underpants!

FTL Advanced Edition

It turns out that, for many of us, this was not an auto-update thing.  Everyone who owns FTL: Faster Than Light does get the expansion for free BUT you might have to manually download v1.5x from Humble Bundle or wherever you bought the game if you went DRM-free.  Steam FTL players probably did not even notice.

FTL - Clone Bay Is Off - Crew Are Dying!

The changes are very subtle (you won’t see a new intro video or splash screen, in case you were waiting) until you poke around a bit and engage in extended play sessions.  You’ll have to enable Advanced Edition content whilst choosing your ship and prepping your crew members.  You’ll notice that the randomized encounters are more varied now, there are new ships, visuals have been (and usability) improved, and the clone bay provides an alternative to the med bay..  Just to name a few changes.

I hear there are also new ships but I can’t confirm this personally until I unlock more of them.  I currently have around five space ships unlocked, BTW.  The biggest change has to be the clone bay.  The fear of losing crew members used to be the biggest thing for me but the clone bay makes life in space much easier.  Suddenly, having enemies board your ship is not as scary, whether you have blast doors or not.

Other FTL advanced features that excite me:

  • Hacking
  • Mind control
  • Backup battery

FTL used to be one of my most-played games on Twitch and the expansion makes me want to suit up in a bad way.  There are times I wish the game went a little deeper on the simulation side but the rogue-like elements (i.e. permadeath) make the experience new and challenging every time.  I recommend playing on Easy or Normal, difficulty unless you don’t mind dying..  A LOT.

FTL: Faster Than Light - Spool Up The FTL Drive!

Burst lasers – PEW PEW PEW!

A few quick tips for new FTLers: burst lasers and ion weapons are likely your best bets for an aggressive, crippling loadout.  Drones and missiles hog up resources, plus they can be dodged or countered by elite ships.  That said, missiles penetrate shields and can cause really nasty damage.  The last thing you want in outer space is a fire that goes out of control or hull breaches that suck the oxygen away.  I reckon that would suck.

 

#RetroFriday – The Granddaddy Of MOBAs And RTS Games

I’ve been teasing Herzog Zwei for a long time and finally got the ROM recording environment perfected.  I’ve been super stoked to share this with you.  I’m a big fan of SEGA but Herzog Zwei is more than just a great SEGA Genesis game.  Herzog Zwei inspired MOBAs and RTS games as we know them today. yet it remains mostly unknown.

Herzog Zwei - Two-Player PvP - SEGA Genesis

Two-player Herzog Zwei takes place in a split screen.. no peeking!

Please like, favorite, and comment on the YouTube video.  I think everyone should play this game at least once.  Herzog Zwei holds up surprisingly well today..  And it is not the hand-holding BS we see today, either.  Did I mention the game let’s you play as a mech (Land-Armor)?  It’s like Transformers..  Without Michael Bey.

We also invite you to join our #RetroFriday Steam community group Herzog Zwei and AirMech discussion.  If you love strategy games but need something fast-paced, these are two fantastic games worth checking out.  Let me know which 8-bit and 16-bit classics you’d like me to play [more of].  Every #RetroFriday, I’ll stream and record retro games from indie developers and classic consoles.  Others are doing the same so be sure to check out the hashtag.

 

Hearthstone Heroes Of Warcraft Title Banner

#YOHTAI – Join Us For Hearthstone Streams & Game Nights!

Our beloved Stan Faryna, the hardest working man in social media, has been rallying our fellow geeks and get #YOHTAI off the ground.  Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern And Inn is a place for Hearthstone players to share their Battle Tag and make new friends.  We have a Steam community group, too:

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/_hearthstone

This Hearthstone Steam community group is unofficial..  But it’s fun to be one of the handful of groups dedicated to the game.  Let’s make #YOHTAI the biggest unofficial community for Hearthstone and play more together.  Join us and we can do some Twitch streams and videos together, maybe even exchange some tips!

In around two weeks since we started this social initiative, I have made five new friends on Hearthstone.  That’s significant considering I have been bad about adding people I play against during matchmaking.  Sworen from The B-Team Podcast recently whooped my ass with a Warlock “test deck”.  It was brutal..   I need new Hearthstone friends.

 

We Need Help Coming Up With A Show Name!

We’re getting closer to releasing a pilot episode for our NEW! game theory/mechanics and strategy podcast.  Right now, I am unsure about the name but I have some good ideas for logos and banners.  Could you give us a hand?

This new show, codenamed “Strategery” (yes, we know that’s not a real word), will have revolving hosts and guest hosts that will include hardcore gamers, casual players, game developers, marketing specialists, analysts, and scientists.  The idea is to provide fresh perspectives on the inner workings of games, both tabletop and digital.  We’re gonna go hard and deep with our ANALysis!

Game Mechanics Table / Graph By Incentive Research Foundation (IRF)

[ source: Incentive Research Foundation ]

As this table shows, there’s lots in play when we are playing games.  Analyzing these subleties can help us foster a greater appreciation for the amount of work that goes into gaming.  If you’re not into game design or any of the business-side, the knowledge is helpful for identifying right-fit experiences or developing new strategies..  Break the meta!

Currently, we are leaning towards the first half or so being deep discussion on a theme for the week (along with the usual pleasantries and banter) and the second half shifting to tips, tricks, and strategies.  There will be a heavy focus on strategy games and anything with an online or team focus.  Our game spotlights will include Hearthstone, SolForge, League of Legends, Smite, DotA 2, Marvel PuzzleQuest, and AirMech.

Once I get some concept art together and firm things up a bit, expect an update to this article or some quick comments.  For now, I think that covers all the stuff we’ve been meaning to cover here on GANGnet.  Stay tuned for more great content.  There’s going to be lots more variety coming up (if all goes well) including stuff covering Doctor Who, geek social issues, anime picks, and comic strips.

Want the latest Geeky Antics right in your inbox?  Sign up for our FREE newsletter.  Once we get enough e-mail subscribers, we’ll start sending out weekly newsletters and kick off more community events, giveaways, contests, and MORE!

http://eepurl.com/SZQe9

Many thanks to the over 100 people who are following and subscribed to our blog via RSS and e-mail digest.  We are humbled by the tremendous response we have gotten in just a few short months.  #GeeksUnite

Essential Albums of the 80s and 90s: Combustible Edison- I, Swinger

Combustible Edison – I, Swinger

Year of Release:  1994

Essential Tracks:

  • Cadillac
  • The Millionaire’s Holiday
  • Breakfast at Denny’s
  • Cry A River
  • Spy Vs. Spy

Quick!  What do alt-rock and punk bands have in common with easy listening and lounge music acts?  Give up?  The answer is simple: Sub-Pop Records signed them!  That’s right.  The record label that brought us Nirvana’s debut album, Bleach, and was known for all sorts of heavy-hitting acts is also responsible for bring us a key player in the short-lived swing resurgence that happened in the 90s.

Yeah, that was a thing and the group in question here is Combustible Edison.

Combustible Edison, also known as The Combustible Edison Heliotropic Oriental Mambo and Foxtrot Orchestra, was started by former members of a Providence, RI rock band called “Christmas” as founders of the band, The Millionaire (Michael Cudahy) and Miss Lily Banquette (Liz Cox) attempted to piece together a fourteen-piece orchestra for a show that The Millionaire had written called “The Tiki Wonder Hour.” The orchestra evolved and morphed into the five-member group which was signed by Sub Pop!

After an EP and single release, they officially released a debut album entitled I, Swinger in 1994.

While the album came out in the 90s during the (mostly ironic) swing revival, the album and music could fit in during the Big Band era of the 20s, 30s and 40s!

I, Swinger opens with “Cadillac” which opens with a swinging and bouncing drum beat and upright bass.  This is kind of a Big Band, ballroom style that could easily be the intro to a song by Glenn Miller or Benny Goodman (look them up, kids!) The song continues with a call-and-answer melody repeated by vibraphone, harpsichord and organ mixed with The Millionaire’s funky rock n’ roll guitar style. This culminates with a boogie-woogie piano riff and comes grinding to a halt after all of this repeats itself. It’s hard to believe that this was all done and composed by a five person group!

The second track on the album is arguably the most famous track by the band (and is, in fact the first song of theirs I heard in 1994).  “The Millionaire’s Holiday” starts with some soft drum play and guitar styling that could easily be mistaken for Dick Dale (again, look him up) with some floating organ over top. This is the track where we are introduced to the beautiful vocal styling of Miss Lily. It’s a two minute song with somewhat nonsensical lyrics that seem to point irony at the fact that this is swing music (“If your pad is a wax museum, be a swinger if you dare”) and Lily’s old-timey blues lady voice is almost and instrument in and of itself. Why is this song so pivotal in the history of Combustible Edison? One word: Commercials. This song was used in ads for everything from soda to cars to video games. It was also used in the soundtrack for “Four Rooms” which the band did as well.

This is immediately followed by a track that almost doesn’t fit the album.  That is not a bad thing by any means and the track is one of the best on the record. “Breakfast at Denny’s” almost sounds eerie with it’s slower pace, floating vibraphone sounds, sparse bassline, wood block percussion sounds and floating guitar. Throw in the “aaah’s” of Miss Lily and the deeper male voices of the group and the somewhat middle eastern sounding guitar melodies in the middle of the track and this could easily be turned into an entire movie soundtrack. In fact, this one was also in Four Rooms.

Four Rooms - A Comedy Compliments Of The House

“Intermission” is next.  The track literally sounds like one that would be used in an old movie theater during an intermission. I wish I could say something special about this one but, while it’s good, it doesn’t stand out. What does stand out, however, is yet another number with Lily’s vocals.

“Cry Me A River” sounds like a song that could have been a standard in Billie Holiday’s repertoire and that pretty much explains it.  It’s a bluesy, break up song. Lily’s voice is decidedly as sexy as could possibly be on this track as she sings “Cry me a river. Cry me a river. I’ll cry a river over you…”

“Impact” is next which sounds like a crazy abstract jazz piece that could have been done by Miles Davis during his “Bitches Brew” sessions.  It almost has an impromptu jam feel to it that would make any jam band (e.g. Phish or The Grateful Dead) fan happy as well and this transitions nicely into “Guadalupe” and it’s tango feeling and more of Miss Lily’s sweeping voice and a faint hint of The Millionaire’s surfer rock electric guitar.

The remainder of the album just seems to find the group having a good time and embracing the fact that they are a swing band through and through. There are goofy melodies and repeated themes from the beginning of the album (“Carnival of Souls.”) The Millionaire’s guitar style further shows itself with some more tango rhythms and some more showcasing of the group’s keyboard sections (“Veldt.”) Miss Lily even delves into foreign language lyrics (German in “Surabaya Johnny.”)

Two track bring round out the album perfectly.   While Combustible Edison did the soundtrack for Four Rooms after this album, they certainly put forth the images and style that they were meant to do scores for old spy movies and this is the whole idea of “Spy Vs. Spy.” The title itself conveys the sense of a spy flick and the strong backbone of percussion and keyboards are augmented by some more of that guitar sound! Then it all changes up to a fast paced jazz piece done on a harpsichord and back to guitars again.

Out of breath from that last one?  Well there is one more. Since the group came from the orchestra used in “The Tiki Wonder Hour,” would the album be complete without the theme from that production? Here it is. Very light and soothing. A nice way to close the album.

Jazz and lounge, Swing, Ironic, Hipster music, etc.  Whatever this is called now, Combustible Edison fits the bill and made quite a career out of it. There were more albums where this came from, but I feel this is the essential one! Sub Pop made a great decision signing these guys along with their already heavy-hitting lineup of Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Nirvana, etc. And while the swing revival may have died at the turn of the century, the music itself never will, so go ahead and embrace it. Listen to this album, sit and chill with your martini (“A glass and a shaker. Our host is a real scene maker”- The Millionaire’s Holiday) and enjoy the stylings of The Millionaire (guitar), Miss Lily (vocals and bongos), Nick Cudahy (bass), Mr. Peter Dixon (organ), Aaron Oppenheimer (percussion) and special guests Brother Cleve and Michael “Laughing Boy” Connors: The Combustible Edison Heliotropic Oriental Mambo and Foxtrot Orchestra!

 

Cake VS. Pie – Who Is The Winner? (Please Take The Poll Too!)

Today we are here to continue an ongoing debate.  This will be a culinary battle mixed in with a batter of vlogging, a yearning for good eats (and wimminz), and a call to action for YOU: join the GANG and have your geeky goodness shared with our growing community..  There might even be cake or pie in it for you, whichever you prefer.  Now onto the tasty business…

Cake versus pie…  Which is better?

I’ve been wrestling with this debate for a long time.  If you’ve followed me on the “social medias” long enough you know that I share food-related stuff quite a bit on Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.  I am a foodie.

We as geeks tend to have a stable of snacks, quick meals, and comfort foods.  Nothing beats marathon gaming sessions with your favorite snacks and adult beverages (if you are of age, of course).  I love my sweets but this decision is still tough.  Cake or pie?  Hmmm…  Maybe you can help me!

I talk about a lot of stuff that’s NOT food related in this vlog but one issue I encounter is particularly discerning: whether flan is a cake or a pie.  This here is the tie breaker.  The interwebz provide some useful knowledge.  Wikipedia, which never has false information, says the following on flan:

Not to be confused with crème caramel, also known as flan or flan de leche.  Flan is an open pastry or sponge cake containing a sweet or savoury filling.

Taste Of Home: Flan - Look At Dat Slice!

[ source: Taste of Home ]

Flan is my favorite.  It’s creamy and melts in your mouth..  Hey, stop that smirking.  It’s not just texture.  The flavor is satisfying in ways that only putting it in your mouth can explain..  Except maybe for when idgets make it very eggy (like a terribad egg salad).  Great flan is something to write home about, I promise!  Now that we know flan is categorized as cake, that tips the scales A LOT.

Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake - By Chef Dennis Littley

[ Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake Masterpiece by Chef Dennis Littley ]

Cheesecake is a close second to flan.  These tasty cakes come in many varieties.  Some are topped with marsipan (essentially edible, sugar-rich modeling clay), others have fruity toppers, graham crusts, or cookie crumbs.  The variety in the cheesecake world makes it a clear winner and a great boon for the cake cause.

If you’re ever in NYC, be sure to try some Junior’s cheesecake.  It’s not by any means the best of it’s kind but it rarely disappoints.  Last I checked, there are Junior’s locations opening up everywhere, including one in Grand Central Station that serves sandwiches, beverages, and many varieties of cheesecake.  Ah-nomnomnom!

Pecan pie Is OP..  When made right!Now  in the pie’s corner we have a Georgia favorite: pecan pie.  Thing is, GOOD pecan pie is hard to come by.  The problem with pie of any variety is that people tend to burn the top..  Or they make the filling TOO rich (or too bland).  I have a sweet tooth but, HOLY MOLY, I want to taste the distinct flavors, not go into a coma.

On the flip side, you have to be a special kind of nincompoop to mess up cake.  You bake it in layers and then you add your little touches afterwards.  Let the egg timer be your guide, young padawan!

Supernatural - Dean Says, "PIE!"

In short, I have rarely been disappointed by cake whereas pies often leave much to be desired.  I know that on the show Supernatural, Dean acts like pie is OP.  His love for pie is a bit contagious.  He is very adament about having Sam bring him pie..  And it got me thinking a bit.  Really, he made me question my belief but I think this issue is settled..  At least for me.

…And the winner is…

(You’ll have to skip to the end if you want my final verdict.)

During the“Cake Vs. Pie” Geektastic Vlog two-part series I talk about the need for more women.  We’ll be revisiting that as well as the deep discussion about the good and bad of gamer girls.  As we often do, we provide all sides of the debate to encourage you all to chime in.  Perhaps there is no right or wrong…  But I still choose cake.

…Now it’s your turn!

Leave some comments  explaining why you choose one or the other.  The best part about this debate is that everyone has an opinion and there really is no right or wrong answer..  Except maybe for vegans, unless they cheat on their diets.  For that, I am sorry.

Feel free to share your thoughts on anything else I have covered on my vlog.  I talk about all sorts of random things in my Geektastic Vlog including why I chose XBox over Playstation, the stupidity of pet fees/rent, and my #BirthdayBash on Twitch.  There’s also a Mega Man OST and some more Hearthstone talk (#YOHTAI)!  You can leave us comments below and/or VM at (206) 415-4987.

Thanks to those who encouraged me to share my crappy videos here on GANGnet.  We hope you will do the same (these are our current G.A.N.G. projects and openings)!

A Review Of Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah”: Tell Your Grandma To Bring The Car Around, She Might Not Like This One

Noah is a movie directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler, The Fountain, Requiem for A Dream), and is about the Old Testament Bible story of Noah. You know the one. No, not the “let my people go” guy, the one with the big partyboat with all the animals.

The trailers for this movie were sort of deceiving. I wouldn’t say they lied to you about anything but they did kind of omit a lot of the more interesting parts of the story. It looked like one of those epic history movies but with Bible people and for some reason there was a firesword powered by god in the trailer. Well… Those are part of the movie, alright, but I would like to point at the director again. Darren Aronofsky scoffs at the idea of making a normal movie.

I’m not a religious person but I do have a fascination with religious mythology and the Old Testament is a well of all sorts of weird and kind of cool mythical lore that hasn’t been plundered as much as others, and Aronofsky seems to hold the same view on it.

Most direct adaptations of Bible stories are usually made by Christian filmmakers for Christian film audiences, so they usually range from inoffensive but boring to audiences that are not devout Christians to mildly offensive conservative propaganda to snuff films made by crazy drunk religious psychopaths.

Mel Gibson can't believe I said that and now believes I'm in alliance with the Jewish mafia

Oh yes, Road Warrior, this movie is… Actually, even though it does have it’s fair share of Old Testament-level violence it’s nowhere near as violent as Passion of the Christ.

Honestly this movie isn’t even that insane if you think about it, it’s actually all and all a pretty faithful adaptation of the story and tone of the Old Testament, it tackles pretty much all the focal points of the story. Cain’s descendants are dickbags who don’t care about who or what they destroy, which has led to ruination of God’s green earth, so God wants to drown them all in a flood. Noah and his children are the last from the line of Seth (the third son of Adam and Eve, the one that wasn’t a dickbag but didn’t get ganked), who are a bunch of nomads and one day Noah gets visions of the flood, which leads to the revelation of building the arc to shelter the creatures free of sin.

Really, the movie delves deeper in to the myth than most religious adaptations of it, it brings in things like the Nephelim who helped Noah as a way to redeem themselves to god and also things like how everyone is kind of related already because creationism but people still need to bone to continue the line and how the closer you are in generation to the first of men the more superhuman things you can do like crazy longevity and strength and even some supernatural things.

The acting in the movie is pretty good.  Russel Crowe is really good as Noah, he’s tough and isn’t afraid to shank Cainites who want to get on his godboat but does show that he’s still a man with a conscience and he doesn’t take his choices lightly.

Jennifer Connelly plays his wife and looks super haggard and old throughout the movie. She’s pretty good but there is one scene in the movie with her crying and begging Noah to reconsider a choice where she does go in to kind of funny diva acting territory.

Emma Watson plays Ila, an orphan girl that Noah adopts who becomes the wife of one of Noah’s sons, and as far as the younger actors in the movie she is hands down the best one. Hell, the only good one.

Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham (lel) and Japheth are pretty mediocre actors and spend most of the movie in the background doing nothing of note. Except for Ham. Ham’s substory is kinda funny because it’s him spending half the movie crying about how there aren’t any girls for him to stick his dinger in to and then the other half is him being “fuck you dad! [impotent crying intensifies]”

Mickey Rourke plays Tubal-Cain, the king of the Cainites and the sort of antagonist of the movie. He’s good, makes for a solid villain.

And Sir Anthony Hopkins plays Methuselah, the grandfather of Noah and longest living man according to the Bible. I wasn’t sure if he was supposed to be a villain at first because this is Hannibal Lecter but instead he’s more like my grandpa if he was a mountain hermit with some jesuspowers of the first men.

That’s pretty much it for the actors.

The movie’s visuals are pretty interesting. The CG isn’t realistic but it sort of tries to be, but I don’t think this is bad effects work (like a Shayamalan movie) as the effects do actually have some beautiful shots. I think the idea was to create a sort of storybook aesthetic as these are stories retold through generations. It’s a weird comparison but it’s kind of like the 2013 Riddick movie where the effects aren’t what you would consider top of the line but they do sort of create the aesthetic of paintings in some shots.

The movie has the Nephelim, who in this are these malformed rock giants who were once angels that god was disappointed in, and they are great to look at, as they look both strong and horrifying but also very sad and pitiful. They’re not CG on the level of Transformers but they’re designed and animated in a way that creates way more sympathy for these creatures than the highest resolution renders exhaust flaps on identical flipping robots destroying Chicago.

And this movie also incorporates actual science in to it, which probably makes fundamentalists way madder than the shanking and talks of boning in this movie.

Noah Movie By Darren Aronofsky - Nephilem - Giant Monster - Poster / Concept Art

The best sequence in the movie is when Noah tells the myth of creation where the days are a metaphor for billions of years, starting with the big bang, the forming of stars and solar systems, the forming of earth, the origins of life in the ocean to dinosaurs all the way to man and even in the time of Noah it’s implied that evolution still has a way to go because there’s stuff like dogs with armadillo skins.

So, overall,  I really liked this movie. I don’t think it’s even all that offensive to Christian audiences if they’re not the kind that takes the Bible’s word as scientific fact.  I came to see the movie because I heard of all the weird things in it but it ended up being a movie where I actually got invested in what’s happening.

Hearthstone iPad App Now Available – Not Just In Canada!

Great news, everyone!

Last night, the hardest-working man in social media (that I know personally, at least), Stan Faryna, confirmed that Hearthstone is now available in the iOS App Store – EVERYWHERE!  That’s right – you can get Hearthstone on your iPad, without having to do anything crazy!  Go get it FREE..  Really..  Do it now!

…Still haven’t downloaded it?  Maybe the Official Hearthstone iPad Trailer will motivate you:

UPDATE:  The iPad app is almost exactly the same as the PC and Mac game.  Multiplayer is completely cross-platform, unlike Marvel Puzzle Quest..  So you don’t need to grind on every version.

The Hearthstone iPad soft launch ended in the blink of an eye.  It should be no surprise by now.  Blizzard has been accelerating their timetables with Hearthstone.  Just look at how fast the game went from public beta to full launch (though, arguably, that was a soft launch itself).  Once Blizzard starts teasing things and getting more specific with features, we know they’re right around the corner; otherwise, they tend to be very vague..  Or hire cute girls, which we’re fine with, either way.

Hearthstone Conference - iPad App Demonstration

We suspect that the iOS app will increase the user base twofold, maybe more, in as little as three months.  I know tons of my friends have been waiting for mobile platform support because, let’s be honest: we don’t always want to sit down in front of a monitor or TV for hours at end, especially if that is what we do for work.

We’re excited to have more Hearthstone friends so don’t be shy – add us on BNet!  Personally, I am particularly curious to meet more women on Hearthstone (not for hook-ups, I promise) because, let’s face it: most dudes can’t hold a decent or deep conversation.  I love my bros but…  Yeah, many of us are lacking intellectual appeal.

Hearthstone - Angry Chicken and Abomination Minions

Anywho…

Some people may still be sitting this one out.  They’re likely the folks that don’t like PvP or judge things by their metaphorical covers.  More single-player content is coming with Curse Of Naxxramas and that will certainly be the big launch we have been waiting for..  But the game is fun right now..  Come join us!

If you need more reasons to give Hearthstone a real try, visit our friends at AllGames.com and check out the our AGN HorsePLAY! blog and podcast feed there.

I will say this: the iPad app is not without it’s flaws.  I have tinkered with it for over a week and find that I get disconnected or the app crashes randomly.  Quite a lot of my losses have come from that.  It seems the app is unforgiving if you have spotty connectivity.  Regardless, I love Hearthstone and wholeheartedly recommend it to you, our friends and fellow geeks.

Now git off yer bum and download Hearthstone already!  Did we mention it’s FREE?

Download Blizzard Game Clients –https://us.battle.net/account/download/

HorsePLAY! Peterborough Is Great And So Is Hearthstone, Right Matto?

HorsePLAY! LIVE
Episodes 17  – Let’s Move To Canada..  For Hearthstone!

*** Featuring Matt Bradford of VGO & Zombie Cast ***

 

In this episode, HorsePLAY! LIVE becomes The Derailment Extravaganza (or is it Bonanza) once again.  Matt Bradford from Zombie Cast and VGO (Video Game Outsiders) returns to HorsePLAY! to help us stay raw, silly, and off-topic.  Some may know him as @MattoMcFly or “Moto”.  He’s also known as one of the writers for the Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition, AllGames, and GamesRadar, amongst other things.  We know him as one of our favorite Canadian geeks! Guinness World Records 2014 - Gamer's Edition - With Matt Bradford!

Matt confessed that any time after 11pm Eastern on a week day, he is essentially brain dead.  As a result, we get the sillier, more random Matt’O.  Somehow, he manages to give spoilers for our own show.  There are the usual wild tangents and shenanigans, but we mainly talk about Hearthstone, The Walking Dead, and freemium games.

We don’t do nearly as much League of Legends talk these days.  Matt groans at the mere thought.  It turns out that he may actually enjoy the game but the toxic community as seen on Reddit and other social media scares him away.  There are plenty of mainstay games we would like to play with our friends and fans – LoL is certainly one of them so give it a try…   Stan Faryna did! #YOHTAI

Show Highlights:

  • Golf is just something for bored richies to show off how much money and land they have.
  • WWF does not make us think about endangered animals.
  • “There’s a lot of cool cats on the AllGames network.”
  • HorsePLAY! LIVE is the perfect show to be brain-dead on!
  • Matt Bradford plays the hand harmonica.
  • Yogi is a very loud Puerto Rican, NOT a Mexican.
  • Sword Art Online is like dot.hack and Photon..  And it’s coming back for Season 2!
  • Apparently, everyone is too young to remember Photon.
  • We all love The Guild.. And Felicia Day.. Wil Wheaton, too.
  • Chris Hardwick is a narcissistic douchebag.
  • “WTF is in the basement??”
  • Twitter is getting rid of #hashtags..  Brilliantly stupid.
  • Third-party Twitter apps are WAY better than the official one.
  • Twitter is going to kill their existing user base.
  • “90% of the population mis-uses hashtags.”
  • Hearthstone iOS app is available only in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand..  Sorta.
  • You can now rejoin Hearthstone matches if disconnected.
  • Fashionably late The Walking Dead S4 finale reactions.
  • When is free-to-play really pay-to-win?
  • Hearthstone is NOT a pay-to-win game..  We explain why.
  • Did we mention we are now part of the AllGames family now??
  • Tons of other geeky antics and train wrecks, as per usual.

Canadian Bacon Vs. REAL Bacon..  An Uncooked Comparison

Matt Bradford has also put the Canadian bacon debate to bed.  This is his official statement, and I am paraphrasing:

Is that even ours?  I don’t think so..  It’s an abomination.  Canadian bacon is ham, NOT bacon.

“Moto”, you are a man above all men.   We love having you on the show and hope to have you join our geeky antics more.  Now, we need more G33k Grrlz and a little less Mancrushes..  It’s starting to be a sausage fest over on HorsePLAY! LIVE..  Where’s the bacon??

In case you missed it, HorsePLAY! is on the AllGames Network Thursdays at 5pm EDT.   HorsePLAY! LIVE (HD) is on Twitch at 11pm EDT.  Come join us on the IRC and Twitch chats!

Essential Albums of the 80s and 90s: NWA – Straight Outta Compton

NWA – Straight Outta Compton

Year of Release: 1988

Essential Tracks:

  • “Straight Outta Compton”
  • “F*ck The Police”
  • “Gangsta Gangsta”
  • “Express Yourself”

Okay. Here we go. I am going to start this with a disclaimer. I am a white male who did not grow up in the “hood” and am in no way a racist individual. Got it? Good. Here we go.

Time to go back to the 80s. Look around the streets and listen. Boomboxes were everywhere. Rap was everywhere! And there came a time when a small cross-section of the rap genre reared its ugly head- Gangster Rap! Who was on the forefront of this controversial musical movement? A lot of groups were but leading the charge was a formation of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella and Eazy E (Eazy Muthafuckin’ E R.I.P.).

I am, of course, talking about NWA! That’s right. Ni**az With Attitudes! What a storm this group caused! The media flipped out because of the violent and explicit language they used. Parents lost their minds and kids loved it because “they said bad words.” (Admit it. You did. I did. We all did.)

In 1988, this group hit big after some lesser known stuff and really caused the world to pee its pants with the album “Straight Outta Compton.”

The album opens with a punch in the face in the form of the title track after a warning to prepare yourself. “You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge.” And here we go! Verses are traded between Ice Cube, MC Ren, and Eazy E. They all get to show off their style of rap here and this continues through the rest of the album.

Track two is the one that most people are familiar with and the one I am sure everyone is waiting for me to talk about. Here it comes. “Fuck The Police.” Let’s set the scene. NWA is holding court in a case against the police department with Dr. Dre presiding as judge. Ice Cube, Ren and Eazy E are all giving testimony against ignorant police officers. Violent? Yes. Unnecessarily explicit? Maybe. Hilarious? Yes! After all the testimonies are given via traded verses between the “prosecuting attorneys,” Judge Dre gives his verdict. Guilty! And then you hear the cop being dragged out of the courtroom. All through the song, you get the chant of “Fuck the police… Fuck, fuck, fuck the police” as a hook in the chorus all over 80s beats and 70s funk. Catchy? You bet!!

Most tracks on the album tell a story of street life and the trials of “gangsta life.” This is continued in “Gangsta, Gangsta.” More funky music and a great hook: “I’m the type of ni**a that’s built to last. If you fuck with me, I’ll put a foot in yo’ ass. I don’t give a fuck ’cause I keep bailin’, What the fuck are they yellin’? GANGSTA GANGSTA!” This is followed by a line from the legendary KRS One (look him up, kids): “It’s not about salary. It’s all about reality.”

The funk, flow and anger continues. There is a great self-referential track about how bad the lyrics are (“Parental Discretion Iz Advised.”) There is another single to follow up “Straight Outta Compton” which could be considered a slow jam, cover, and sample-heavy groove: “Express Yourself” which takes directly from Charles Wright’s R&B song of the same name and allows Dre to take a solo role. There are remixes of tracks that they released before this debut (“8 Ball,” “Compton’s In The House,” “Dopeman.”) And it all comes to a close with Dre and Yella producing a track that could easily be the soundtrack to a group of urban teens breakdancing in the streets (“Something 2 Dance 2,”)

All in all, this album, while controversial enough to cause Tipper Gore to go on a rampage (look it up), is a great slice of history when it comes to rap. You like the stuff from today? This is where some of it started. You don’t like rap? Do yourself a favor and at least listen to this album which has a permanent place in my list of essential albums from the 80s and 90s that you must own or listen to before you die. Little 9 year old Jake approves and current mid 30s Jake continues to approve.

Ye Olde #Hearthstone Tavern and Inn (16 April 2014) Issue No. 1

Greetings! Hello! Buna!

This is about Hearthstone. It’s about you. It’s about us. It’s also about games, good game play and, oh yeah, it’s about geeky stuff. Welcome bros, women of astounding warcrafts and (last but not least) transgender, illegal alien immigrant-persons from P3X-774.

Among other things, a good game provides a platform for social experience, frell, and the Noxian ritual of life. It brings people together – friends and family. And/or it allows people to connect and get to know each other. Hearthstone doesn’t do this well. Or not yet. But we can pick up the slack here at G.A.N.G (Geekly Antics Network Global).

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This post and future Hearthstone posts at Geekly Antics will be our official Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern and Inn (YOHTAI) – where we can add friends, connect, share, brag, bitch and whine about Blizzard’s game Hearthstone and other things. We’ll also be able to conversate and participate in live and recorded podcasts including HorsePLAY! LIVE and others. And, ok, we’ll do some tips, cheats, and strategies.
Why are you here?!
 
In the comments below, flaunt your OP internet and social game skillz – tell us your Hearthstone ID (Battle Tag), your in game name, your real name (if you dare), your city, connection points, and share your thoughts on Hearthstone with us.
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When you add a friend in game, tell them about YOHTAI! Because the more, the merrier!
What you want?!
Don’t know what to say? Try this:

Good game and thanks for the add. Want to talk, share and brag about Hearthstone? Check out Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern and Inn (YOHTAI) at http://geekyantics.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/ye-olde-hearthstone-tavern-and-inn-16-april-2014-issue-no-1/… 

Feel free to add the hosts of Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern and Inn in the Hearthstone game and beyond.  This will also make us friends on all other Blizzard Battle.net games, including Starcraft II Arcade and Diablo III, though I have not tried those yet.
Stan Faryna
Writer, Gamer, Online Strategist and Seer, Entrepreneur and Gardener.
Fairfax, Virginia – USA

Battle Tag:  Faryna#1872
Twitter:  @Faryna
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/Faryna.FanPage
Blog:  http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com
Yomar Lopez (Yogi to friends)
Interactive Marketer, Internet Strategist, Social Media Person, Game Designer (And Fanatic), somewhat-Capable Writer and Co-Host at HorsePLAY! LIVE
Battle Tag:  Yogizilla#1722
Twitter:  @Yogizilla
Facebook:   http://facebook.com/GeekyAntics
Blog:  http://yomar.me
Twitch:  http://twitch.tv/yogizilla
Skype:  Yogizilla
… 
Obionex2 (or just plain “Obi”)
Game Hitman and HorsePLAY! LIVE Co-Host
Battle Tag:  ObioneX2#1894
Twitter:  @Obionex2
Twitch:  http://twitch.tv/obionex2
Skype: HorsePLAY! LIVE
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What’s wrong with the picture above?

Tips, Cheats, News, Rants and Raves

In the near future, the issues of YOHTAI will overflow with tips, cheats, rants and raves here. Feel free to contribute. Email your tip, cheat, news, rant, rave or whatever to stan.faryna@gmail.com. Please put YOHTAI in the subject of your email.  We’ll share them in upcoming installments of YOHTAI!
19 April 2014 (Easter Vigil and Yogizilla’s Birthday)
Happy Birthday to Yogizilla (aka Yomar Lopez)!



18 April 2014 (Good Friday and Passover)

Hearthstone ringtones? We’re talking to music producer and artist Adrian Klein about making them for iPhone and Android. Would you donate $2 for your favorite Hearthstone ringtone?

Tip No. 42

You can never have too many friends on this lonely planet – or elsewhere!  
Make (add) friends in Hearthstone by adding a recent match opponent. Or from a shout out (comments) here at the Hearthstone Tavern and Inn.

Hearthstone Add Last Fighter as Friend



Are you a comics fan? The SECRET ORIGINS of the World’s Greatest Heroes in The New 52 can be revealed! This new series start with the origins of The Last Son of Krypton and Kara Zor-El, Supergirl, plus the first Robin, Dick Grayson. Check it out here.

17 April 2014 (Passover)

Hearthstone iPad App

16 April 2014 (Passover)
Hearthstone Tavern and Inn Facebook Cover Art? Would you donate $10 for a personalized Facebook Cover Art? We’re working with some graphic designers to come up with some very cool artwork.
15 April 2014 (Passover)
Tip No. 17

Friends make everything better! 
Having trouble getting through the daily quest? Or it just takes too long? Ask a friend to help you out and let you win the two quest battles in a friendly fight. And don’t forget to return the favor. That’s 40 gold in 10 minutes or less!
Friends help in Hearthstone Quests


Job’s done!