2016 Year In Review: Video Games, Technology & Other Things Geeks Think About

(Hey, better late than never!)

It’s almost April and we’re still going with our insane geek awards, the Unicorn Poopies.  Doing the series has allowed us to look back at 2016 and identify some interesting trends.  As we approach 2017 Q2, we wonder if our favorite industries and companies are moving forward or just regurgitating what they’ve always done.  These thoughts apply to everything we geeks indulge in: technology, tabletop games, video games, digital media, television, movies, books, music, etc.

What I’ve enjoyed most about doing the Unicorn Poopies is that it has been a great catalyst for round table discussions and the exploration of future topics.  Now that Obi is focusing on Topover Star eSports, we’ve been able to use our award show as a way to introduce our new hosts: Beard_And_Hat, WarChildMKIV, and Tukah44.  We’ve rarely agreed on our picks, which has made it all the more interesting too!  Of course, with a ridiculous name like “Unicorn Poopies”, we’re clearly just trying to have fun and we hope you will join us on the fun!

Official 2016 Unicorn Poopies Geek Awards logo!

Official 2016 Unicorn Poopies Geek Awards logo – thanks, Beard_And_Hat – w00t!

The 2016 Unicorn Poopies have covered all aspects of geek culture but we have TONS of categories for video games.  We also have awards for film, TV, happenings, tech, anime, and more!  Starting around Episode 172 of HorsePLAY! LIVE (Thursday, March 30th 4am GMT / 11pm ET / 8pm PT), we’ll start wrapping up the series with non-gaming awards..  That is, if we can restrain ourselves from going off on long tangents (probably not happening).

Aren’t there enough video game and geeky awards already?

Sure, everyone seems to have their own awards platform but I promise no one has done it in a podcast format and stretched it over several months like we are doing.  Video game awards usually fall short because they consolidate categories with too much variety.  As a result, the winners are always the same: the big names or the artsy-fartsy stuff that’s thrown in for credibility, creating the illusion of fairness.

We’ve taken feedback from our community, collaborators, and favorite content to round things out.  I hope that, when you finish the series, you feel that we have presented the most diverse, entertaining award show.  It’s a series for the people, by the people.  It’s also a nice opportunity to show more love to things many have missed like some of our favorite and lesser-known indie games, Dungeon of the Endless, Enter the Gungeon, and Risk of Rain.

Dungeon Of The Endless - Greatest Of All Time?

An indie experience that blends our favorite genres and is exciting each and every time you play.  Easily one of the best values in gaming right now.

In this new award show format, the focus is more about deliberating on our picks.  For the most part, each category was a close race, though there were some clear winners.  You’ll note that, to qualify as a nominee, it had to be a thing that we enjoyed in 2016, but not necessarily a 2016 release.  This made things A LOT more interesting as many of us are still playing catch-up anyway.

This is going to be one doozy of an article so, if you just want to see the nominees and categories, skip to the end.  The stuff in between will highlight some of our favorite moments so far!

Overwatch character splash

 

Overwatch Is A MOBA And A Class-Based Shooter

Overwatch is indeed a MOBA or at least it competes in that space.  Whenever I say this, I get bombarded with arguments against my logic..  But this is my opinion so I’m entitled to it.  That said, I will explain further because I feel you deserve that much and I love you.

Originally, I was going to make this into a full-on article but we have a lot on our plates so I’m going to explain my logic here.  First, when I play Overwatch and the Hi-Rez clone, Paladins, I look at it as an alternative to Smite, Heroes Of The Storm, Gigantic, and the like.  As such, it feels very much like a MOBA even if it’s not classified as such.  For me, Overwatch scratches the same itch as a traditional MOBA.  Here are my counterpoints to every argument that I’ve gotten since I made this comment.

  • Developers and reviewers classify it as a first-person shooter.  Classification of things is more a marketing strategy than a true indicator of the core experience.  It’s a matter of positioning the product against the right competition and targeting the best market segment.  Before digital took over, music stores have always classified albums under different genres, mainly to see where they more units.  Would you consider Coolio gangster rap?  Probably not, yet that’s where he would fall under at times.  By the way, Riot Games calls League Of Legends an ARTS (Action Real Time Strategy) game yet we all know it’s a MOBA. #justsaiyan
  • There are no creeps.  I can safely say that most people who use this argument have not played many MOBAs and they’re likely using LoL as their benchmark.  Creeps are only a requirement in the MOBA variants referred to as line wars or footies, where pushing and hoard-style defense are the core mechanics.  While creeps and laning are associated with traditional MOBAs, not all MOBAs are line wars/footies nor do they require creeps.  In footies style of MOBAs, there are more RTS elements with the use of armies to help you push and control points but the core experience still revolves around hero combat.  In fact, in it’s simplest form, MOBAs simply strip away the minutia that make RTS games hard to play casually.
  • It’s more like Team Fortress 2 than anything else.  This is probably the most fair argument because, certainly, Team Fortress 2 is not a MOBA.  I’ve played a ton of TF2 and TFC.  With regards to art direction, the similarities are undeniable, but the gameplay doesn’t feel the same to me.  I feel that Team Fortress has always been more about the gun play.  There’s far less variety in TF2 as well.  Overwatch may attract the same kinds of gamers but I would not call it a clone, though the influences are certainly there.
  • Objective play is standard in shooters.  Now for a little history and background: MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.  It evolved from RTS games as a way to focus on micro rather than macro.  Most will say Aeon Of Strife (1999) was the original but I would also consider games like Herzog Zwei and Total Annihilation as precursors.  The key is in hero battle with varying degrees of resource management and customization.  It is team-focused and objective-driven.  The objective play is evolving beyond the standard lane pushing stuff: domination, CTF, deathmatch, escort, and other modes are appearing in many MOBAs.  As such, using the objective play argument doesn’t work anymore as the types of objectives and modes no longer differentiate the genres.  Also, since MOBAs evolved from another genre, it makes sense that they will borrow from other genres as they evolve and come into their own.

Aeon Of Strife (1999) vs. DotA (2003), both of which were custom games within Blizzard engines.

  • Call Of Duty has abilities too.  Sure, you have superpowers and killstreaks in Call of Duty but is that the core experience?  No, it still comes down to the gunplay.  In Overwatch, effective use of your abilities is equally or more important than your shooting skills.  Also, MOBAs have a way of making you feel god-like when you use your superpowers and I don’t feel that CoD abilities are as epic, though they are certainly game changers.  From a game mechanics perspective, the core mechanics in CoD encourage you to camp and play selfishly to max streaks whereas Overwatch is more about fluid team dynamics, complimentary abilities/roles, and objective aggression.
  • The control scheme is more like a shooter.  Actually, this argument supports my opinion further.  If you look at most MOBAs, you typically have four to five abilities, including a super/ultimate.  The way Overwatch controls are laid out, it feels like Smite, Gigantic, League Of Legends, DotA 2, and just about any MOBA that is relevant.  In a pure shooter, whether it is first or third-person, the majority of controls are dedicated to the gunplay: ADS, reload, secondary fire, firing mode toggle, etc.  That is not the case in Overwatch.
  • Nope, it’s a shooter.  Last I checked, shooters are about ranged combat almost exclusively.  How, then, do you explain melee-based characters like Genji and Reinhardt?  This is where the arguments really fall apart.  Both MOBAs and shooters revolve around precision but Overwatch is about ability precision.  Headshots help but it’s more about positioning and using abilities the right way and time.

[Read more…]

The GANG Minute: Farewell To ObioneX2 And Twitch Stream Team?

We want to thank everyone who has applied to be part of our stream team or contribute in some other way.  This installment of TGM will address what we’re doing on that side so please read on.

Obi Moves On From GeekyAntics… Officially

If you’ve been keeping up with our HorsePLAY! podcast or just the general decline in community events, video uploads, and live events as a whole, it’s been clear that certain folks have been distant.  One of those folks is our pal, Obi.  With TSE (Top Star E-Sports) gaining traction and Obi having terrible time management to boot, we’ve decided it is best to part ways.

Obi will always be part of the GeekyAntics family but it’s clear that he can’t handle even the responsibility of showing up.  To be fair, it’s been difficult for all of us.  Life is full of adversity and shifting priorities so it’s only natural that folks will come and go.  As one of the originals, this is a “good bye for now” rather than “farewell forever” scenario.

At this point, all this is a formality since Obi has been less and less involved with the show for over a year.  Now y’all can stop asking if Obi left the show or not – there’s the answer!  Don’t worry: we’ll send off Obi officially in the next couple of weeks, so you’ll have time to say bye (we reckon he’ll really disappear now LOL).  Stay tuned to our podcast.  Our podcast feed is sexy – check it out!

ObioneX2 Clone

This is not ObioneX2 but it sure does look like him!

 

No More GeekyAntics Stream Team.. For Now

This departure alongside other disappointments has had me thinking a lot more about how we will do things in 2017 going forward.  For several months, things have been brewing in the GeekyAntics Network.  Rather than get into all the behind the scenes stuff, suffice to say that we are restructuring things, streamlining, and shifting our focus.  The reality is that there is a lot of work involved with running this network and, while everyone involved has benefited in big ways, only a handful of people contribute consistently.  This leaves us carrying a lot of dead weight and, to be frank, it’s burnt me out financially, spiritually, and even physically.

As such, I have made the personal decision to no longer invest in actively supporting or building a stream team, not on Twitch, YouTube, or Beam.  Instead, we will focus on podcasts and written content.  Anyone who wants to contribute will have to show that they’re not just trying to ride our coat tails and get free advertising, which seems to be the case with most.

[Read more…]

Smite December 2016 / January 2017 Events, Gem Discounts & Ultimate God Pack SALE!

If you listen to our podcasts, play games with us, or watch our streams enough, it’s probably no secret that we really, REALLY love Smite (except for Obi, because he’s weird and doesn’t really play games).  Hi-Rez Studios has been wonderfully supportive of the GeekyAntics Network and gaming community as a whole.  In fact, 2016 has been a banner year for Hi-Rez as they have risen to the top as a competitive game and preferred MOBA alike.

To celebrate the awesome year that has been 2016, the folks at Hi-Rez Studios have gems discounted and the Ultimate God Pack at 50% OFF!  Even better, you still have a few days to take advantage of the Odyssey 2017 event, which runs through January 4th 2017.  This is an opportunity to earn free skins, portrait frames, icons, and more.

Gems will be on sale for a limited time at the following prices (USD):

  • 200 Gems: 3.34 USD
  • 400 Gems: 5.35 USD
  • 800 Gems: 10.04 USD
  • 1500 Gems: 16.74 USD
  • 2500 Gems: 23.44 USD
  • 35000 Gems: 33.49 USD
  • 8000 Gems:  66.99 USD

That’s a 33% markdown – NOICE!  I just bought some gems not too long ago and I think I’m gonna stock up on some more.  You can’t beat it at this price!  The way I see it, this is a nice way to throw a smaller studio a tip for a job well done.

Smite NuWa Xmas Elf Card

Smite has been one of the top games for celebrating Christmas and keeping the holiday spirit going.  My only lamentation is that the event period is just too short.  I really want some more stabs at the brutally hard Fanrir’s Wonderland, a 15-round test of might.  It’s a chance at Christmas-themed goodies and exclusive Odyssey content..  Plus it’s a great way to sharpen your skills (or just rage REALLY hard)!

Personally, I think we need longer event periods.  There are too many games running weekend-long events.  At best, they’ll do it for a couple of weeks.  Why not a month or two?  Make it a big celebration!  We need more Christmas cheer beyond the materialistic thing it’s become thanks to retail!

Smite Fenrir Xmas Card

Some of the community has taken to Reddit to complain about the in-game events but I’d say that they are some of the best around.  Of course, you got to expect negativity and trolling on Reddit so take it with a grain of salt.  I will admit that I am a bit biased because Hi-Rez is based in my home state of Georgia and they’re just good people overall.  That aside, Smite is just a really good game.

Admittedly, I still prefer Heroes Of The Storm due to the focus on team performance over individual performance but Smite is the game that has caught on and DAMN is it good.  It takes everything we love about MOBAs and makes it far more accessible and sexy (seriously).  The beautiful 3D graphics and T&A sure don’t hurt – there’s definitely lots of fan service in Smite and I’m okay with that!  Heck, if you want to make man bulges a thing in games, go for it..  People should stop being uptight over a little exposed skin.

Smite Goddess Aphrodite 2014

Those of you who played during the closed alpha/beta on PC remember how janky the game used to be.  It’s come a loooooong way and it’s thanks to the commitment of the devs and community alike!  Sure, you could say the same about League Of Legends but I feel Smite has more of a finger on the gaming community pulse (and they’re not flipping us that finger).  There, I said it.

What’s nice about Smite is that it’s easy to learn and hard to master, which is the mark of a great competitive game, if you ask me.  You can set your skills and purchases on automatic so all you have to do is focus on the action.  This is great because let’s face it: item building and skill progression are two areas where too much time is wasted..  It’s also where toxicity is introduced as everyone swears they know THE “best” build.  SMH…  Also, if you ever introduce a friend to a MOBA, you’ll find they waste half of the game in the shop while their lanes get pushed and bases get destroyed.  LOL!  Good times.

Neith Goddess Smite Wallpaper

It’s been an amazing journey watching Smite grow.  In spite of the controversy surrounding the scantily-clad characters and so-called “blasphemous” themes, Smite continues to attract new and returning players alike.  The trolls have tried to stop it but this game is taking off.  In a space where we have alternatives like Gigantic, Overwatch, Battleborn, Paladins, and more available on consoles, Smite does A LOT to stay fresh and fun (so fresh and so clean-clean-clean)!

Smite Neith Goddess Cosplay By XJennyan

BTW, January 5th through 8th is the Hi-Rez Expo IHRX).  You may not know this but Hi-Rez has other great games like Tribes Ascend and the new-ish Paladins.  There’s also Smite Tactics and Jetpack Fighter.  HRX will celebrate these games, cosplay (see Neith cosplay by Jennyan above), and the Smite World Championship.  I really need to make it to Atlanta but the timing is kinda rough for me.  If you go, let us know and share pics with us, plox!

Anywho, play Smite – it’s FREE!  If you plan to play on Xbox One, message me, Yogizilla, and I’ll hook you up with my referral code..  Then we’ll both score some EPIC LOOT!

Rainbow 6 Siege “Operation Red Crow” (Season 4) Update Impressions, Operator Analysis & New Gameplay Meta

Operation: Red Crow has been out for around a week now so now may be a good time to share some early impressions and discuss how Siege is evolving. Red Crow has been a massive and super satisfying update for Rainbow Six Siege. Many of the content farm sites have focused on the bug fixes and new Japanese operators but they’ve missed out on some key details and insights.

Yes, there’s tons new skins, victory animations, and visual tweaks. Kapkan, Sledge, and Thermite are amongst the first to receive ELITE skins.. If you got the coin, these skins are pretty damn impressive! There’s also complete uniforms, new headgear, and more cosmetic goodness. That’s all nifty and encouraging because it shows commitment to keep the game fresh and give us all ways to stand out (and support a fantastic game).

Sledge is the King Of Scottland??

…Cool story, bro!  What about the Season 4 impacts to gameplay, particularly ranked?

Rainbow Six Siege: Casual Vs. Ranked Competitive Multiplayer (PvP)

While I love Terrorist Hunt and Situations are a nice challenge, the competitive multiplayer is my bread and butter on Rainbow Six Siege. Heck, I don’t really play anything outside of ranked, though custom games can be good for funsies and lulz. I’d like to discuss what I’ve noticed so far since the update.

First off, Casual is surprisingly less competitive than it used to be, yet matchmaking is much faster and reliable there. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise. At the start of every new season, we competitive gamers flock to the ranked queue. Even the casual folks seem to gravitate towards ranked, which is good and bad (don’t get me started on the habitual leavers and AFKers). Once people hit gold or platinum in the last few days or weeks of the season, they’ll stay in casual to maintain their precious ranks. Siege Season 4 looks like it will be no different but I have to say: the tryhards are really out in full force! I ended last season around Gold IV and now I’m struggling to get back to Silver, mostly because people dick around too much in ranked.

It’s this dynamic that has created a frustrating experience in Rainbow Six Siege and other competitive shooters. Eventually, high-ranked players won’t see any incentive in risking their MMR and they certainly won’t play with their friends, if they consider them less skilled. Players will leave matches just to avoid losing a rank, even if there’s still a good chance it could be won. These issues are compounded further by the fact that ranked matches seem to have a higher rate of disconnection and split squads. Without the slot backfill you get in casual, it leaves teams crippled.  Rage quitters and rank preservers are really ruining the game and ending friendships.  It’s silly.

Mr. Rage Quit | Is this you? If so, STOP IT!

I believe Ubisoft will address these issues well before Year Two content is announced or leaked. They have already committed to at least one more year of steady content so they’ll do what they can to have the platform succeed.. And we, the players, want it to succeed! In spite of the glaring issues with ranked play and how brutal the first few weeks of the season are with all the tryhards, competitive play is where it’s at for me so I’ll stick through it. Ubisoft has also hinted that they don’t think they’ll keep pushing out new operators in the long run so, eventually, we’ll see the game stabilize a lot more.

Now, the change with the biggest impact this season is the shorter rounds. Ranked round timers are now a minute shorter. Ubisoft says this is just a test and the goal is to get people more coordinated and efficient with their decision making. The actual effect is that it makes pick-up groups even less fun and even people whom regularly play together find themselves running out of time. Every match I’ve played in seems to come down to the last 30 seconds or so.

MEME: Never seen war war before? Oh, it's just like Call Of Duty. (NOT!)

I appreciate the design logic behind the faster rounds but the unintended results suck. People are droning far less so, when your team gets wiped, you have no cams. As such, instead of getting players to embrace the intended gameplay experience, what we’re seeing is more Call Of Duty style gameplay: lone wolf players running-and-gunning, not communicating or working together. While blitzing is a perfectly viable strategy, I don’t want to see this game devolve from tactical shooter to pew-pew-pew-WHEEEEE clusterfuck.

[Read more…]

Rainbow Six: Siege October 2016 Update Preview & Season 4 Wishlist

With the next major update coming for Rainbow 6 Siege tomorrow (Thursday, October 27th 2016, to be exact), many are still speculating what the future operators will be. Ubisoft has been very good about avoiding leaks.  We’ve tried to get coerce some comments or find some reliable sources but we got very little. Of course, you can always leave it to Reddit to feature know-it-alls and trolls who claim they have privileged information. Word on the street is that there will be more fire, perhaps a napalm grenade, white phosphorous explosive, or some sort of flamethrower. The latter would be quite OP in a game that is so heavy on CQC (Close Quarters Combat).

https://www.reddit.com/r/Rainbow6/comments/3wt3ab/leaked_dlc_operator/

Rainbow Six Siege Japanese Operators Leaked

For us folks in the GeekyAntics Xbox community, we’re more thinking about the stuff that really matters (though the hot newness is always fun to talk about):

  • How can we make a great game even better?
  • What will keep this game fresh and fun?
  • Can we please fix multiplayer?

To tackle these questions, we have to look at things from the perspective of a game designer, not just avid gamers. It’s easy to fall into the trap a lot of jaded gamers have fallen into. On the Ubisoft support page, the entitlement and trolling is out of control. Players assume that Ubisoft abandons their online games yet the proof points to quite the opposite. Just look at the major update to Tom Clancy’s The Division patch 1.4, which addresses everything the community outcry has been highlighting: character balancing, abandoned groups, bullet sponge enemies (time to kill too long), incursions (time to complete too long), and damage scaling, making for a far more enjoyable experience for all, particularly in PvE.

We’ve identified several questions and challenges to be considered as Ubisoft continues to iterate upon an already fantastic game. Many of these questions are common concerns we hear from our fellow Tom Clancy shooter fans:

  • Do you want to cut down on players going outside?

  • What about “exploits” in Bomb mode (i.e. guarding the bomb from outside the objective)?

  • Should the glare from sunlight be reduced? What about gadgets to mitigate the effects of darkness and bright lights? Would this impact the game negatively?

  • How do you get players to play objectives and roam less? Should you?

  • How do you avoid splitting the player base while keeping serious players together and trolls separated?

  • More daily/weekly challenges, unlockables, and other sticky features

  • Acknowledge and reward players who display good sportsmanship, don’t leave matches often, and put in many hours a day/week.

  • Should you display how many players are on which modes or at least the total online players?

With those design tenants in mind, the following wishlist comes to mind. The first few are what we consider critical to the continued growth and success of the game and the rest are more “for funsies”. Let’s look at some of the items line by line, then we’ll discuss!

Critical Wishlist

  • Stabilize net code and session management – disconnections during ranked and unknown

  • Improve accuracy and reduce “magic shot” and “lean glitching”

  • More utility options for operator kits, particularly with explosives.

  • More breaching options so you’re not “stuck” when Thermite dies

  • Maps that allow for more sniping, stealth, and long-range combat, improving the gameplay variety beyond the usual CQC

More Game Modes

  • Blitz – Lightning round matchups in smaller areas of the maps. Variants for Hostage and Secure Area.

  • Tactical Supremacy – Two rounds of gameplay in the standard formats with a special rule: you get style points. The team with the highest score in the end wins.

  • Scavenge – Sweep hot zones for cargo shipments.

  • Mics only?

Player Incentives & Good Behavior Reinforcement

  • Communication – Reknown bonus for mic players?

  • Sportsmanship – Reknown bonus for good sportsmanship when playing down two or more players (not if they are voted out or TKed, though)

  • Patience – Stay in queue reknown bonus and bonus multiplayer for staying within a reasonable radius of objectives

  • Kudos – Give bonuses to players who are friendly, good team players, and/or communicate effectively

Fixes For Troll Kicks & Griefing

  • No or limited vote kick option for ranked

  • Show who started the kick vote?

  • Surrender option?  (NO!)

  • Segregation of griefers

  • Bonuses for playing drug-free

Operation: Dust Line... Rainbow Six: Siege, now with more cocaine??

Miscellaneous Wishes

  • Make situations co-op and bump up rewards, perhaps?

  • Buzzsaw device for breaching (an alternative to Sledge and Thermite)

  • A device that cuts ropes when they cross window thresholds (may chop a head off if a player tries to peak)

  • Give IQ a gun with EMP charges?

  • OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon) options with corner-rounding camera for tactical insertions

  • Snake camera (a’la Splinter Cell)

What about the Japanese operators everyone is clamoring for? I know many are hoping for katanas and shurikens, which would be cool.. But I don’t see that as being very realistic because it’s kind of racist. I must admit, though: it would be cool to have a melee option that was more reliable than the tiny little knife. It’s embarrassing when you fall short of a melee kill. On the flip side, it’d be cool to have an operator that can’t be easily shanked. Maybe he can catch the blade with his hands and counter. Oooooh – no we’re talking!

I think the Japanese operators will be more on the side of realism than fan service. With the Japanese being world leaders in tech, maybe we’ll see some really cool high-tech gadgets. Perhaps a robotic aide or virtually indestructible recon device? I’d personally love to have more diversionary gadgets like a persistent noisemaker machine. Smoke and explosives can do this well but it always feels like a waste when you use them so frivolously and have such a limited supply to work with.

We may finally see a quartermaster type operator or addition of new gadgets with the season 4 expansion. It’d be nice to have field refills because it sucks when your main weapon runs dry. Even better, maybe one of the Japanese operators will have “quick draw” options so you’re never caught with your pants down during a fire fight. I’ve tried to ask enemies to allow me to refill before continuing our duels but it rarely works, sadly. Anywho, lots of potential with the Japanese operators so we’ll have to wait and see!

Putting It All Together

First and foremost, people are tired of the issues with the net code. Mismatches on rank, random team disconnections, and strange issues with fluctuating latency have the community begging Ubisoft to “stop making online games” or “sell to a better company”. With the latest incremental update (not the official season update), matchmaking has become far slower, creating more civil unrest of the entitled geek variety… [Read more…]

@_ReElise Kickstarter Countdown: Lessons Learned About Christian Video Games & Creating Urgency

Fellow geeks and creatives, this is the official 48-hour countdown for the ReElise Kickstarter project.  In case you’ve missed all the hoopla surrounding this project, we’re excited because this is an ambitious project that incorporates a lot of things that we love: hip-hop, retro flava, hand-drawn graphics, JRPG mechanics, exploration, fun gameplay, and a story with lots of feels.  In an industry where metoo-ism dominates, it’d be nice to see something unique succeed and we’re all about the underdogs!

I’d like to take this moment to provide some simple opportunities to help this Christian video game project reach more people.  Here are some “quickies”, straight from the Kickstarter page:

  1. Subscribe to our mailing list – http://eepurl.com/cdfqS9
  2. Comment on anything you find mentioning ReElise – let’s show our unity!
  3. Share our art and talk about ReElise on Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
  4. Use the tags #elamaan #reelise #noroomfox to help spread the movement
  5. Share our videos on YouTube wherever possible
  6. Introduce us to bloggers, journalists, podcasters, and video personalities so we can get more reviews, interviews, and guest articles out there so we can tap into new communities and media outlets – let’s make more friends!
  7. Share our promos on your timelines regularly (but don’t spam please) and tag 5 friends that will respond to specific aspects of the project (i.e. black game dev, hip-hop, Christian themes, hand-drawn graphics, awesome sound track, JRPG)

Now, for anyone getting hung up on the Christian video game aspect, do not be alarmed.  The themes in this game are very much relatable for people of all walks of life.  In fact, we’re finding that the secular response has been far more positive than what the Christian community has been, which is rather surprising.

Below, we’ll get into some of the revelations we’ve discovered and reinforced along the way…

[Read more…]

The GANG Minute: ReElise Kickstarter, ZombieCast, Dan Aykroyd, @TheStaceyRoy, #KombatKids 2

In this special web-based edition of The GANG Minute, we’re gonna keep it short and sweet..  Here’s lots of eye candy and people that we absolutely HEART!  If you love video or just hate reading (the ADD is REAL), we have tons for you to check out.  Here’s an overview:

  • ReElise gameplay sneak peek – a GeekyAntics Exclusive on YouTube!
  • Ghostman & Demon Hunter Show featuring Dan Aykroyd
  • Tedakin confirms plans for KOMBAT KIDS 2
  • Community gaming featuring Titanfall 2 & Rainbow Six Siege
  • Why Stacey Roy is one of THE BEST people in our community!
  • HorsePLAY! LIVE EP140 & TWTT EP58: Justin Fox ReElise Interview & AMA

Speaking of ReElise, Justin Fox will be on ZombieCast TODAY at 8pm ET / 5pm PT.  He’ll be making the rounds on other YouTube/Twitch channels and podcasts.  If you want to book him for your show, leave a comment below – we’ll be happy to introduce you!  Also, be sure to check out ZombieCast on their official site!

Zombie Cast Promo | zombiecast.net | Justin Fox / ReElise Interview

ZombieCast Featuring Justin Fox of NoRoom LLC / ReElise Kickstarter Monday, August 22nd 2016 | 8pm EST | http://allgames.com

 

Ghostman & Demon Hunter

We are proud to have Ghostman & Demon Hunter on the GeekyAntics Network.  These guys are part of a select group of podcasters whose pedigree far surpasses most..  Yet they remain humble and engaged.  They recently had Dan Aykroyd on the show to talk aliens, haunting sites, human cloning, and, of course, Ghostbusters.  Check out G&D on their official web site or wherever great podcasts can be found!

Ghostman & Demon Hunter Show Featuring Dan Aykroyd Of Ghostbusters Fame

Community Gaming

We’ll be playing the Titanfall 2 open multiplayer tech test this weekend, starting on August 26th 2016.  Join our networks: AllGames, GeekyAntics, GamingDeath, and Horrible Gamers.  We’ll be playing primarily on XBox One but there will be PS4 action, too!

Titanfall 2 Open Multiplayer Tech Test

In addition, we’re still playing Overwatch, Rainbow Six: Siege, The Division, and Star Wars: Battlefront..  Amongst other games on Xbox One.  On the PC front, we’d love to play more Cards Against Humanity, The Jack Box: Party Pack, Van Helsing, or whatever’s clever.  Send me, Yogizilla, a tweet for more deets and follow the GeekyAntics Network on Twitter.

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E3 2016 Schedule, Previews & State Of The Video Game Industry

All right, all right, all right!

We’re right in the thick of E3 and we figured now is as good a time as any to go deeper on what we can expect this year, not just for the expo but for the gaming industry as a whole.  Of course, there’s only so much you can cover in an article before eyes start to glaze over so, for more discussion, be sure to tune into R9Cast, Horseplay! LIVE, Gaming History 101, The B-Team Podcast, 42 Level One, and other great shows on the AllGames and GeekyAntics networks.

This E3’s theme is Inspiring Worlds.  I’m ready to be inspired..  But I’m not holding my breath.  If the past decade or so has taught us anything it’s that the big brands driving the industry just want to collect easy paychecks.  They’ll keep regurgitating the same old crap so long as we buy in..  But maybe we will be surprised – hey, there’s always hope!

…Inspire my world, BABY!

E3 2016 | Inspiring Worlds | June 14-16 2016

I’ll be inspired if we see something new this year.. That isn’t VR.

…And, now, the obligatory E3 presser schedule, in case you missed it:

E3 2016 Livestream Schedule (Corrected)

Sunday, June 12th 2016

  • EA – 1PM PT / 4PM ET

  • Bethesda – 7PM PT / 10PM ET

Monday, June 13th 2016

  • Microsoft – 9:30AM PT / 12:30PM ET

  • PC Gaming Show – 11:30AM PT / 2:30PM ET

  • Ubisoft – 1PM PT / 4PM ET

  • Sony – 6PM PT / 9PM ET

Tuesday, June 14th 2016

  • Nintendo – 24-Hour Gameplay Bonanza

  • Other – Random surprises from Activision and others?

Since 2015, Twitch has been open with event coverage, allowing broadcasters to co-host and crowdchat E3 pressers.  Sharing is caring, which is a lesson Nintendo should pay attention too..  But more on that later.  Don’t forget to use the proper tags when chatting about the event! #E3onTwitch

 

E3 Highlights, Hopes & Predictions

EA – Outside of Mass Effect, I’m not expecting any “drop your pants” moments from Electronics Arts. It’s a shame because we continue to see the old guard becoming less and less relevant. I mean, just look at Konami and Capcom. Expect sports, racing, and Battlefield.

Okay, to be fair, I think Titanfall is an under-rated franchise and from what I’ve seen of Titanfall 2, I am eager to play. The multiplayer is fun and fast-paced.. Plus it has mechs. You can’t go wrong with that combo.

Now, if you want to really have a drop-the-mic moment, EA has a few options. They can announce a deep discount on the year-long EA Access. They’ll likely announce new games in the vault which is cool but not earth-shattering. The only way EA will get my jollies all tingly is if they bring back Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer with more polish or dust off one of their classics. Maybe General Chaos or Mutant League Football? Yeah, I know: wishful thinking.

Oh yeah, e-Sports will be a big thing. I’ll give EA that: they at least are bolstering competitive gaming but I wish they diversified beyond the typical sports and shooter games. A new (and good) Burnout would be great. Heck, I actually liked Burnout Paradise – call me crazy but… Crossing my fingers!

Bethesda – At the top of everyone’s list is Elder Scrolls 6 but I wonder if it’s too soon. People are still playing Skyrim and it’s endless mods; furthermore, Elder Scrolls Online fills the void quite well. Then there’s the elusive Elder Scrolls: Legends TCG/CCG set to release on PC and iOS. I think they have Tamriel covered for now and should lean towards delay another major Elder Scrolls installment to get it right.

Looking at the most recent releases and buzz, we can expect new announcement regarding Dishonored 2, Wolfenstein, and The Evil Within. The latter is interesting because the game got mixed reviews yet it sold quite well. The Evil Within is a reminder that, even when people ask for something, they remain unhappy; after all, it’s as close to classic Resident Evil survival horror as we’ve seen in recent times.

A new Wolfenstein would be interesting but I would like to see announcements about significant expansions to DOOM and plans for the franchise as a platform. Since ID is under the Bethesda umbrella, I wonder how soon before we’ll see a new Quake game but, again, it’s familiar territory.  Still, it’s what the people want.  New DOOM modes would be awesome and that’s highly market.  As for forgotten games, the fans seem to want a new Prey so maybe we’ll see that, too!

I’m curious to see if Bethesda can lead the way with a new IP as it seems all the big studios and publishers are sticking to safe plays. I’m surprised they haven’t jumped into the sci-fi arena beyond Fallout. Something less.. Dystopian? Oh yeah..  Everyone has been begging for a remastered Skyrim so I’m sure that will be announced in place of a new Elder Scrolls game.

Ubisoft – Rainbow Six: Siege has been a real treat, as much as people like to poop all over it. It’s an unapologetic, pure multiplayer experience and they keep building upon it by adding more customization and characters. I’d like to see new gameplay modes and I’m hopefully they’re committed to the game as a platform and not a one-and-done release.

Any announcement related to Assassin’s Creed will make me eyeroll. The series went from being one of my most beloved to a crapfest of regurgitated junk. I’m hoping they dedicate enough resources to Ghost Recon. In fact, call me crazy, but I wouldn’t mind a remastered GRAW. Those games were great for competitive play, as much as people laugh at the possibility that they’ll become forgotten pack-ins.

The Ubi Art division has the potential to churn out more quality, unique games. Child Of Light, Valiant Hearts, and Rayman are a good start. Let’s see more. This is one of those few times where I’m okay with artsy-fartsy in my games.. Because the gameplay is FUN!

Nintendo – We’ve been promised anime shows, mobile games and deeper online experiences for 2016 but so far we haven’t gotten many specifics. Nintendo seems to be hanging their hopes up on Zelda for now and they’re hoping that the anticipation will be enough to bridge the gap before they make the next major announcement.

There’s no Nintendo NX demo yet so what we really need to hear about are some compelling partnerships and maybe some surprising new IPs (yeah right). The reality is that Nintendo remains a toy maker and can’t seriously compete with Sony and Microsoft directly.. Right now.

On the bright side, they’re finally opening up and playing nice with others. Games will be ported to mobile. Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem will be the first free-to-start offerings on iOS and Android. Miitomo also shows promise of a world where Nintendo realizes that this Internet, community building, and social media stuff is not a passing fad.  I think they’ve also learned that you need more than a gimmick to be relevant these days.  Anyone remember Wii Fit?

Nintendo Wii Fit Meme - Your Heart Rate Is Zero

Sony – We can expect more ports and perhaps more revivals of old games. Sony has been “leading” this generation in terms of console sales but they’re lacking in the variety department. With that, I think they’ll hope that PS Neo and VR hype will be enough. Perhaps we’ll have an immediate launch and price announcement?

VR has some momentum still so I’m sure Sony will announce more about their offerings thereof. Hopefully, this will be a platform they will stick with as we all know how bad of a track record they have with new formats (Blu-Ray was a rare win for them). That said, No Man’s Sky still has people hyped but you can play that on PC so it’s not exactly a secret weapon. More on that in a bit!

At the risk of sounding like a total anti-Sony fanboy, I feel they’ve become too complacent with their lead. Having marginally better hardware and capitalizing on poor timing / bad wording is not enough to maintain a lead. I have yet to be even mildly tempted by anything the PS4 is offering so we shall see.  I wonder what they can do to top last year’s Shenmue announcement.  Some may say the game is over-rated but there is great potential with the franchise.

E3 Save Shenmue Kickstarter | E3 2015

Microsoft – XBox One Scorpio & XBox Mini talks are all the buzz right now. I believe these are two very different offerings than what people expect. One is a significant upgrade, a huge leap rather than a mere iteration like PS4-Neo is compared to the base PS4. The slim XBox One people are expecting I believe will be more of a budget media-focused device comparable to Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, etc. This makes sense because then the devices are not fighting against each other. Of course, this is more than what I hope for but leaked information points to a more questionable direction…

It’s likely that Microsoft will announce a formal partnership for VR content delivery but I would avoid investing in that mess of a space. Sadly, VR is one of those things you can’t ignore, though it’s a niche thing and will likely go away again. Let’s see if the porn industry makes a strong push for it. Again, I do not claim to have inside sources but, logically, this is what I believe makes the most sense. While everyone is wasting time on VR, I’d like to think Microsoft will pursue better things.

What I’d like to see from Microsoft is a concerted effort to give their game studios creative freedom and put those acquisitions to work. There’s a lot of wasted potential there. The Lionshead thing was unfortunate, to say the least. Cross-buy, cross-platform, and cross-play are all things I’d love to hear more of. Get these studios involved and don’t force Windows 10 or a new marketplace down our throats as it limits the community, IMHO.

PC – Nvidia will talk about their latest proprietary circle jerk. People who have the money to buy their stuff will get free gear. The 10 people there will climax about all the big numbers. Everyone else will go grab something to eat. I love PC gaming but the elitism of it makes it rather disgusting. What’s more: PC gamers spend lots of time online so are we going to REALLY learn anything from the PC gaming show? I’d like more of a focus on software rather than the hardware crap.

Evolution Of Video Games: The Road So Far

I believe to truly appreciate where things are heading and what we hope for, we should look at how the video game industry has evolved/devolved over the years. Video games were originally marketed as toys or novelties. Games used to be extremely challenging and the reward resided in fun gameplay and the sense of accomplishment you got from discovery and perseverance.  Nowadays, they seem to pander and focus on mass appeal rather than provoking and inspire us in fresh, new, and FUN ways.

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7 Nifty Things About Septic Systems & Garbage Disposal

Here at GeekyAntics, we like to cover all the things we geeks think about or at least should be aware of. It’s usually fun or useful stuff. Today’s featured article is in the latter camp, thanks to our ongoing collaboration with Martin Septic Service of Georgia. Enjoy!

Now, you may be reading this thinking, “But, wait, I don’t own a house.” That may be true but you don’t want to deal with a crappy (quite literally) situation in the future, do you? Here are some things you should know, even if you are a renter or soon-to-be homeowner.

1. Septic Systems Are Everywhere

Before talking with Vince Martin of MSS (that’s Martin Septic Services, for short), it never struck me just how much we take septic systems for granted. If you are used to living in big cities like I am, transitioning to rural areas can be tricky. After tons of research and probing Vince with the right questions, I learned that septic tanks are used by one in five U.S. households nation-wide but, in the South, that number is at around half and growing. If you live in a trailer or rent a house, chances are you have a septic system. If you own a home, those chances are even higher.  Septic systems come in many flavors but, basically, you have a septic tank, a bunch of pipes, and a drainfield where everything ultimately ends up.

How Septic Systems Work

2. Smart Water Usage & Conservation

Water conservation is always a smart play and it’s great for the environment, but it is absolutely crucial when you have a septic system in place. In our household, we’ve gotten better about spreading out laundry and doing smaller loads. We’ve also gotten into the habit of running the water less and lower pressures. Even spacing out bath/shower time makes a huge difference. I know, we all love our long showers and bubble baths but the idea here is to give the septic tank enough time to drain. Trust me, you DON’T want that thing to overload!

3. The Economics Of Septic Systems

A routine inspection and preventative can be as little as $300. Conversely, replacing a failing septic system can cost you anywhere from $3000 to $15000, depending on what sort of system you need for your land. As is the case with any other major investment such as a car or a house as a whole, being proactive is best (and MUCH more affordable). When you consider the exorbitant costs of emergency services and the huge mess a drainfield can become due to septic system negligence, investing in routine work makes A LOT more sense… And take this from a really frugal guy – ME!

What do you flush/drain and NOT?

4. What NOT To Flush Or Drain

Hazardous chemicals such as bleach, disinfectants, and cleaning solvents should never be washed down the drain, if at all possible. Of course, if you’re cleaning your sink, bath tub, and other water basins, this may be unavoidable so consider using natural cleaning solvents for smaller jobs. The trick here is to do simple cleaning on a regular basis so you don’t have to use the harsher stuff for the really tough jobs.

Even everyday items can be pesky. Coffee grounds (in large amounts), food scraps, onion skins, potato peels, pasta, rice, banana peels, and oil/grease are the biggest offenders, yet folks wash them down the drain all the time. Cigarettes and other non-biodegradable items are a HUGE no-no, too.

As a good rule of thumb, any starches or items that expand are huge troublemakers. It may seem silly but, if it doesn’t break down easily under hot running water, opt to put it in the trash or in a proper waste receptacle.

The biggest matter of debate here are eggshells. While they are arguably good for sharpening garbage disposal blades, they are surprisingly resiliant and may cause clogs/build-up in conjunction with other tough everyday items such as paper towels and cotton balls. Lots of advice out there says eggshells are safe but I’ve done some pretty exhaustive research and that advice may be a bit short-sighted. Better safe than sorry!

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Cats Vs. Dogs – Why Cats Are Awesome Yet Often Misunderstood – PLUS A Poll!

I love all animals but it’s no secret that I have a soft spot for cats.  Here is a brief love letter to cats, the under-appreciated stars of social media and homes around the world.  Don’t forget to take the polls!

Why do we love cats so much?  Maybe it’s the fact that they are not easily won over.  You really have to earn a cat’s love and trust.  Maybe it’s the subtle ways they show their appreciation.  It’s like figuring out a mystery.  I find myself fine-tuning my observation skills just trying to observe our cats.  Maybe it’s simply because they’re just so cute.  Just look at this kitten below, just begging to be rubbed and/or played with!

If you really can’t stand the “cat propaganda” (I’m looking at YOU Kevin..  LOL), scroll down for the poll..  but, really, hear me out.  I have a case to make here! *wink*

Super cute kitten is laying down, ready to play and/or be rubbed!

Cats are independent and self-sufficient.  They’re arguably moody and choosy.  Some consider this a bonus, others feel it simply makes them jerks.  I say they just have more personality than your average dog because, let’s face it: most dogs will be your best friend once you feed them.  For those that think cats have no loyalties or are indifferent, maybe you have trouble forging bonds.  I’ve had cats wait at the door when they accidentally got left outside.  Bloo often knocks on my door just to hang out with me in the man cave, too.

Bloo In A Human Pose | Bloo Says, "Sup."

Bloo chillin’ like a villain.

I have a theory about people that don’t like cats: they are usually people with serious trust issues and/or a huge need to be the center of attention.  Cats have a way of seeing into your soul so, if you have something to hide, chances are you won’t like cats.  So far, it checks out with everyone I know.  One friend whom I love dearly comes to mind: they don’t add people to Facebook unless they vet them first..  And they use alter egos and pseudonyms when they’re online.  They’re the kind of people that freak out when you tag them or mention them in a social share.  That level of paranoia and anti-social behavior surely does not mesh with feline co-habitation!

Kitty says, "Why don't you love me?"

Why don’t you love me? *tilts head*

Here are some links related to weird people who hate cats.  It seems I’m not the only one suspcious of animal haters and cat agnostics!

In my experience, hardcore anti-cat people are abrasive, insecure, paranoid, or just plain annoying.  Coincidence?  Perhaps.  Correlation does not equate causation..  Of course, my cats have had a good track record of picking out the really turds in my circles of friends and family.  I feel cats are more connected with the spirit world, emotions, and impending threats..  Most dogs we’ve had just bark at just about anything because, well, they’re lovable dumb creatures like that.

The following is our latest poll on the @GeekyAntics Twitter..  Hopefully it doesn’t break anything!  You should vote for cats on Twitter, too – before it’s too late!

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