Join Us To Celebrate Over 2 Years Of Geeky Antics & 100 Episodes!

Gang, we made it!

Over two years of Geeky Antics and 100 episodes of HorsePLAY! LIVE.  We could not have done it without you, our fellow geeks!  All the love, encouragement, donations, shout-outs, recommendations, referrals..  EVERYTHING helps us help others in their pursuits of passion, creativity, and geekdom.  Thank you!

NEW!  Text and call us at (646) 801-2149 – our new hotline!

100 episodes is a big milestone for any podcast so we HAVE to celebrate this feat with HorsePLAY! LIVE.  In this article, you’ll find some of our old videos (be sure to scroll all the way and click the “Read More” link), graphics you can use on your web site, and things we have coming up for Geeky Antics Network Global!  As part of our celebration, we’ll be bringing back the segment “Obi On The Podi” and bringing in everyone possible for a community call / crazy train wreck.  We hope you can join us for the live broadcast on Twitch!

HorsePLAY! LIVE started as yet another gaming podcast, with heavy focus on MOBAs (particularly League Of Legends), console wars, and strategy games.  Since those humble origins, we’ve become the voice of the Geeky Antics Network and our awesome community, affectionately called “The GANG”.  These days, we categorize our show as a comedy but, really, it’s all about having fun and discussing all things geek.  Geek culture..  That really needs to be a category on iTunes.  We hope you can join us this week, whether it’s your first time or not!

HorsePLAY! LIVE Podcast - Episode 100 Celebration - November 12th 2015

Can’t join LIVE?  E-mail mail@geekyantics.net or leave us VM at 206-415-4987. Tweet @GeekyAntics, @ObioneX2 and @Yogizilla. We’ll be celebrating HorsePLAY! LIVE and Geeky Antics Network milestones alike throughout the rest of the year… Especially since, technically, episode 103ish would be our official two-year milestone.  w00t!

If you dig podcasts, be sure to check out our Podcasts page and menu, right here on GeekyAntics.net, and the official GeekyAntics YouTube channel.  You can also check out our GANG show/event schedule, which we try to keep updated but usually fail at because reasons.  Now for some of the break-throughs we are celebrating!

 

COMING SOON To Geeky Antics Network Global

We’re building the GeekyAntics Network to go beyond typical podcast networks and media outlets.  Our goal is to set up automated and manual systems to help everyone grow their brand, maximize social media, and establish consistent, sustainable results.  We want to go beyond the “set it and forget it” mentality that a majority of online marketers have.  By working together and engaging in authentic, meaningful interactions, we are not only growing our individual brands but also forging relationships and inspiration to last a lifetime.  Remember: you are not alone.

There are lots of features and talents we’re working with to give content creators options and build G.A.N.G. (Geeky Antics Network Global) to be a one-stop shop for anyone looking to get into the gaming industry, writing, streaming, and/or podcasting.  Many of us have been in the field for many years and now we’re working together to lighten our individual workloads and stay motivated.  Here are some of the things in the pipelines:

  • New GeekyAntics Foundry feed with syndicated and exclusive podcasts.
  • GANG Minis feed with shorter podcasts and non-weekly shows.
  • Affordable podcast hosting alternatives for friends on PodBean, Podomatic, Libsyn, Spreaker, etc.
  • Managed services for podcasters and streamers including promotions, SEO, coaching, and social media management.
  • Branded short links and e-mail aliases to lend more credibility and trust to our independent contributors.
  • Custom reports, analytics, and insights formatted to provide actionable data, not mere numbers.
  • More premium services (including web design/optimization, graphic design, ghostwriting, copyediting, etc.) and referral directory!
  • …And other goodies to bring our friends unique, remarkable content and help content creators grow!

Community Favorite HorsePLAY! LIVE Episodes

JanelNo5 reacts to Bloo the Kitten (and unofficial GeekyAntics mascot)!

Choice Chamber beta interview with Michael Molinari of Studio Bean!

Walker Stalker Con Atlanta 2014 recap and The Walking Dead talk.

Net neutrality, Comcast sucks, and miscellaneous rants and raves!

Hearthstone first expansion, Curse Of Naxxramas, HYPE!

The ZombieCast HorsePLAY! LIVE mash-up show – with Shawn Freeman & Matt Bradford!

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Save Or Shave The Beard? #SaveOrShave #SaveObiBeard #ShaveObiBeard

#SaveOrShave ObioneX2's Beard #Movember2015 #TheGANG

To shave the beard or to save the beard?

THAT is the question.

Hey everyone ObioneX2 back again!  It’s here..  It’s time to decide my fate: save or shave The Beard.

The Beard means alot to me and really want to keep it but my wife, Fefela, really wants it gone.  What do you guys think?  Vote will your wallet!

…Well, you don’t have to vote with your wallet but it helps.  After the poll, I’ll share how scoring will work.


(If the poll does not display properly, try this link – http://poll.fm/5erz7)

Optional:

The poll will be open throughout October and possibly into #Movember, which would be ironic if I do end up having to get rid of the beard.  (Yogi:  We found a loophole.. You can keep the mustache so that still counts for Movember!)  Here is how points will be counted:

  • Vote on PollDaddy = 1 point
  • Click on Save/Shave Beard Links = 5 points
  • Donations to Save/Save = 10 points*
  • Wishlist Purchase = 15 points*

*Must include in donation note which one you support (save or shave).

Here is our old poll, already in progress!  This one may be counted in the event of a tie.  http://www.easypolls.net/poll.html?p=55f1cb6be4b0c3d16faab68e

Oatmeal Grows & Shaves A Beard

True story. Kids LOVE #TheBeard!

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Christmas Merriment, Hope, Joy, & Musings For All – Happy Holidays!

A blue Christmas?

I just had the pleasure of enjoying a heart-felt article written by Alister Kennedy of 42 Level One and Star Wars RebelsCast UK.  It is so authentic and moving that I felt I really needed to open up more myself as we celebrate the holidays.  I hope I get a chance to share Ali’s words but, for now, I hope I can at least find the courage to share what my heart and soul feels I should.

For starters, this year has been the hardest year for me and my family, though I try to shelter them from my pain and struggles as much as possible.  It all started with when two folks, Patty Vollherbst and Lauri Flaquer, stole all the credit for the hard work I put into a web site I was developing.  I was willing to do tons of work for free and on the cheap (and I did end up unpaid for most of the work)..  But apparently the fact that I asked for money for the tons of work I put in didn’t make me a team player.  I think it’s fair to ask for less than a fourth of what would have otherwise been a $15,000 job just for starters by other standards (I know because I check what the competition charges).

If you want to know just how much I hate thieves and stealing of credit for work, read my content/creative work theft article on Y3B.  I am a very forgiving and understanding guy, more than most, but theft is something that really makes me a sad panda, whether you steal someone’s work or you refuse to pay for it.

Usually, I don’t like to call people out but I need to release this burden and, since addressing it calmly with the offending parties did not work, I will share with ears that will listen and hearts that care.  This event set off a chain reaction.  Rumors were spread that I was over-charging or trying to milk customers.  Of course, these rumors did not include the fact that our Project Manager was MIA for over two weeks and the lines of communication / chain of command were vastly unclear.  I lost other clients in the process because, you know, negativity is more pervasive than anything good.

Then there were deaths in the family, betrayals by loved ones, fighting off sickness, endless car problems, and much, much more.  It all seemed to come together in spikes.  Just when we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, things went pitch black all over again.  Needless to say, it’s been rough.  Losing Robin Williams didn’t help either.  Sure, I didn’t know him but it felt like the end of a great era, perhaps a portent of things to come.  I’m not saying suicide is the right choice but I can relate.  Depression really does hurt.

In spite of all that darkness, I still feel a glimmer of hope and joy.  It’s hard not to during this time.  I look back, even at recent years, and recall better days…  I know better days will return, too.

So here I am contemplating, musing even, and remembering the merriment and goodness of this holiday season.  I hope you’ll allow me to share these emotions and unadulterated thoughts with you today…

 

What Christmas Means To Me

Christmas has always been a special time to me.  It’s not because I can expect some neat gifts and maybe extra spending money, though that is nice, but rather the love and spirit that the season usually brings.  This is a time of reflection, family, compassion, and countless memories.

As a parent, I get to enjoy the merriment and laughter of young ones running about and opening presents frantically.  Truth be told, this year won’t be big for gifts at all and we’ll be happy to at least enjoy one big meal.  The key is that we’re together as a family.  Hopefully, we can put our worries aside and enjoy some board games, reminiscing, and much needed laughs.

Christmas 2009 at Casa Yogi

Christmas 2009 at Casa Yogi

Friends and family.  That’s what Christmas means to me.  When I say “friends”, I mean the few that actually give a damn and stick around.   Those are the rare treasures that the holidays bring us.

As a Christian, I do believe we should bring back Christ into the holiday but I do not force that upon others.  As long as we all exercise a spirit of giving, compassion, and gratitude, we can all get along.  With the weather getting colder and the days getting darker, it’s easy to fall into depression and angst.  This is when we need hope and love more than ever.

Christmas now also marks the one-year anniversary of HorsePLAY! LIVE and the Geeky Antics network (well, almost).

 

HorsePLAY! EP53 – Christmas 2014 Special PART 1

After some crazy tech issues with HorsePLAY! LIVE Episode 52, we decided to keep the one-year anniversary celebrations going.  With Christmas right around the corner as well, we were feeling particularly nostalgic.  Most of the memories took us to happy places but there were some anger-inducing memories too.  We try to keep the salt to a minimum as we share Christmas memories, favorite HorsePLAY! moments, and rants.

We play quite a few voicemail messages and enjoy many laughs with our live chat.  One of my favorites was the drunken karaoke game review with DekardC.  Of course, to kick off the episode, we have a hilarious (and pretty catchy) dubstep Christmas intro theme.

Please leave us some well wishes via voicemail – (206) 415-4987 – we love you!

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Walker Stalker Con 2014 Atlanta Highlights & Musings #WSCAtlanta #TWDFamily #TWTT #HorsePLAY

Yomar Lopez a.k.a. Yogizilla with Zombie Cast & Travis Love

Happy Halloween!

I know it’s a little early but the coming weeks will be very busy for us on the network.  We’ll be with our families and catching up on projects here and there..  Don’t worry: while we may not be streaming, blogging, or podcasting much, we’ll be here in spirit..  And probably watching lots of horror movies and shows.  I know I will be watching American Horror Story and maybe Sleepy Hollow with my wife.  YAY!

Happy Halloween - Trick Or Treat - Tasteful Anime  Witch Wallpaper

 

I’m still on that Walker Stalker Con high but, sadly, I can’t enjoy it as much.  Duty calls as projects pile up and my family prepares to move…  But enough about me!

Here are a few videos that cover the highlights at Walker Stalker Con Atlanta 2014.  If you’ve never been to WSC, you’ll know what to expect.  If you went last year, you can get a feel for what has changed.  Read onward for some highlights and the burning question:

Is Walker Stalker Con [or conventions in general] a mere money grab?

I want to say that I really enjoyed the convention but, as with anything else, there were opportunities.  We’ll get into that after the “video break”.  Sit tight, friends!

 

HorsePLAY! LIVE EP45: Walker Stalker Con Post-Show

The GANG Minute / Geektastic Vlog Mashup: My Personal WSC Highlights & Concerns

On-Location At AmericasMart Atlanta: Walker Stalker Con Fan Reactions & Event Photos

 

Walker Stalker Con was a fun event to go to as a fan and there was plenty to cover as media.  There were tons of panels, celebrities, vendors, and other attractions.  WAY too much to cover in proper detail.  Here are the main things that stood out for me.

Before I share my impressions and opinions here, I want to note that this was my first Walker Stalker Con but I have been to many conventions.  Typically, conventions are forgettable to me but WSC has something special to it.  I believe my feelings here may be in the minority because I don’t get excited by autographs and star-studded events.  Before I share my thoughts, here is what I look for in a convention to consider it worthwhile:

  • You’ll enjoy the event regardless of how much money you spend.
  • Vendors get enough foot traffic to justify booth costs.
  • Autographs and photo ops are subsidized or minimal to provide more time/focus for other events.
  • Event schedules account for waiting/travel times, breaks, and the like.
  • Merch mark-up covers costs but does not exhibit extreme profit margins (i.e. greed).
  • It is clear that fans of all kinds are the priority.
  • Media is given proper access and treatment without taking away from paying guests.
  • Behind-the-scenes information and anecdotes..  Stories worth sharing!

These are some of the things I’ll be pondering as I share my thoughts on Walker Stalker Con Atlanta.  Now let’s jump in!

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Mini Zombie Photo Journal: #WalkerStalkerCon #Atlanta 2014 | #TWTT #HorsePLAY

UPDATE:  Had some tech issues.  All sorted out now.  This was supposed to be a early morning piece.  My bad!

Day One of Walker Stalker Con was pretty darn awesome.  It’s already almost time to head back but here are some quick highlights.  I apologize in advance for some of the crappy photos but, hey, it’s something!

 

IMG_20141017_131131

 

Eric and James of The Walker Stalkers podcast kicked off the event sharing a brief history of the event.  It’s hard to believe it hasn’t even been two years since WSC started.

 

They discussed how the event started as a simple fan meetup.  The expected turnout was 1K but, instead, over 10K people showed up.  This year, they are expecting over 50K at the event.  Their growth has been amazing and inspiring!  This reminds us that podcasts are still ripe opportunities.

 

20141017_132529

 

Walker Stalkers LIVE reminded us that this is a true fan event.  Eric and James offered General Admissions attendees a chance at a free VIP upgrade by playing The Walking Dead Family Feud.  It was awesome seeing old TWD cast members sitting right there with the fans.  The energy and wit the actors brought was refreshing and it really set the tone for the event.  This is huge considering Dania, a.k.a. Michonne, cancelled at the very last minute and other issues overshadowed Day One.  To that I say “shame on you” to the managers and agents who failed to see the importance of this event.

 

20141017_131839

 

Lots of great surveys were featured in this game of Family Feud.  The big one is shown above, when contestants were asked, “What are the biggest threats in The Walking Dead?”  Sadly, spoiled food and squirrels did not make the board.  Doh.

 

20141017_134137

 

The main panel room on the 3rd floor of AmericasMart building 2 is huge.  There is not much scheduled in the space, which is a shame, but the setup is nice.  Great lighting and set pieces.  This event space in Atlanta is impressive and spacious, yet it’s not overwhelming like, say, Jacob Javits Center in NYC.  There is a certain warmth here.

 

20141017_141321

 

The next panel I caught was Emory University’s Zombie Ethics discussion.  They went deep on the allure of The Walking Dead and what defines ethics under normal or apocalyptic circumstances.  Are zombies sentient enough to be subject to ethics ?  Is mistreatment of zombies animal cruelty?  Does choice and free will determine the responsibility of ethics?   I really enjoyed the discussion so expect a write-up on it.  There were audio issues but the presenters and experts were wonderful so I stuck around for the whole thing.

 

[Read more…]

Kickstarters Ending Soon & Major Twitch Updates – Time Is Running Out!

Well, folks, I was hoping to share the latest HorsePLAY! LIVE HD video with you guys buuuutttt..  Twitch has been funky.  We’ll get into that but time is of the essence!  Here’s last week’s video instead.  It’s relevant.

We have some HUGE news and time-sensitive items so be sure to read on, gang.. There are critical items for Kickstarter and Twitch users here!

HorsePLAY! EP34 is up on iTunes, Stitcher, and our official GANG podcasts feed.  Here is the embedded MP3 player, for your convenience.  In this episode, a girl joins us. JanelNo5, a rising Twitch superstar, makes this show a non-sausage fest – YAY!

Kickstarter: Fire With Fire PvP Tower Defense Game

First things first, Fire With Fire is close to being funded but we only have a couple of days.  On Sunday, August 10th 2014, this Kickstarter project comes to an end.  Currently, we need around 300 backers if everyone pledges the $6 or more (the minimum is $1).  We can make someone’s dreams come true! #GeeksUnite

Other indie games we are excited about on Kickstarter include Factions and Bacon Man, which end on August 10th and 15th, respectively. Spread the word. It only takes a few minutes to help good content go viral!

Sorry Twitch Store Closed

Major Twitch Changes & What You Need To Know TODAY

Twitch has wasted no time mixing things up now that Google is backing them with their bottomless pit of munnies. Justin.tv closes it’s doors which leads us to believe Twitch will start to compete with Ustream, Playstream, and other streaming platforms. This worries me a bit.

My concern is that the focus will shift from gaming and Twitch will become as noisy as YouTube. This is great for established video personalities but terribad for the rest of us. Let’s not forget that the Twitch brand implies gaming (i.e. twitch gaming like we see in MOBAs and FPS games). Diversifying content would ruin the brand identity. I guess only time will tell!

Hosting is one of the biggest features to come. After months of testing, now everyone can now host their favorite streamers on their own channel. This is a great alternative to simulcasting or Twitch raids, but it will not replace it. There are some key distinctions between hosting and comparable tactics:

  • All followers and views go to the hosted streamer.
  • The host will not generate video archives.
  • Hosting channels will not appear live on the mobile app (yet).

Twitch CEO has announced a new VOD policy on the official Twitch blog. Starting August 27th, past broadcasts will be removed unless there are highlights associated with them. Partnered streamers and Turbo users will have more time to work with their archives but everyone else will have a 3 to 14-day window to work with old videos.

During EP34, I went off on a rant because the changes to how Twitch handles VODs came suddenly. Sure, we saw the writing on the wall but now we have to hustle to make sure all that content we have created over months or years doesn’t go to waste. There are lots of things that need to be in place before Twitch enforces these changes.

Ironically, soon after our live show, I realized Twitch implemented quick exports and highlighting. Now you can do exports as a two-step process without loading up different pages and tabs. This was desperately needed. Sadly, I am noticing that YouTube is getting overloaded and bouncing back videos during batch jobs. Argh.  BTW, they are aware of the server capacity issues (officially as of August 6th 10:50am PT).

http://blog.twitch.tv/2014/08/update-changes-to-vods-on-twitch/

Video highlighting is much easier and cleaner now. You can create multiple highlights during one session. Again, brilliant.. And this update actually works properly so YAY! You can also see all highlights associated with a source video at a glance AND export without creating a highlight first. This is far more intuitive so great job, Twitch!

The best part about this policy change is that it will remind Twitch streamers to do what they should be doing already: creating highlights and bookmarks. I can’t tell you how many channels I visit that are barren when they are offline. It’s quite sad.

Now that Google is in the mix, I am hoping for some SEO enhancements. Tagging, social integration, commenting, and enhanced search would rock. I would also love to see differentiation between live and archived content. This would give archived content far more value and give streamers like myself more of an edge by allowing us to create themed content and events.

To our fellow streamers, the best tip we can offer now is to make sure you not only click “Save Forever” on videos but also highlight and export whenever possible. Don’t forget to bookmark, too! It looks really seksy when you have a wide variety of content available on your channel when you’re offline. In some ways, I like the presentation better than what YouTube currently does.. But a little customization wouldn’t hurt here!

Oh wait.. We forgot the biggest update!

Copyrighted music on streams is now a no-no. Google is not enforcing strikes or other stupidity yet but they have gone back and retroactively muted all video segments where music is found.. Unless it is royalty-free or officially licensed (they are not set up for the latter yet, obviously).

We saw this coming but it sucks. We recommend avoiding song requests or background music all together because it will limit the value of your recordings, even if you focus 100% on the live experience. Of course, there is always the option of playing your own music for yourself or only having in-game music but be wary of games like Typing Of The Dead: Overkill, which uses licensed music. I learned the hard way to lower game music just to be safe; otherwise, no YouTube highlights, which sucks!

1.2 Billion Passwords Stolen By Russian Hackers

1.2 Billion Passwords Stolen.. Google Responds

Holds Security of Milwaukee reports that Russian hackers have stolen 1.2 billion passwords to online accounts worldwide. The affected sites and platforms have remained undisclosed but, just to play it safe, you may want to change your passwords. I recommend using unique passwords for your most critical resources like online banking, control panels, and government sites, just to be extra safe.

Google has responded to this news by offering rewards to more secure sites. Using SSL, encrypted passwords, login lockdowns/timeouts, CAPTCHA, and other security methods will increase your search rankings. I wonder if there will be less of a penalty for longer load times since security hardening tends to compromise performance.

Assassin’s Creed: Rogue Confirmed After Leak

Ubisoft confirms that Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is coming this year as a Christmas Season 2014 release alongside the highly-anticipated “next gen” Assassin’s Creed: Unity. This news comes after a video was leaked. Now console gamers on both sides of the generation gap will be covered.

We have mixed feelings about this. Personally, I love the AC series (though the original is really hard to go back to now) but I think this overkill. Major franchises like this should not be annualized because quality suffers and discerning consumers are overwhelmed with too many options. Yes, game publishers, not all of us spend $5000 or more on video games each year, no matter how hardcore we may be.

I feel gamers have plenty of content to catch up on and enjoy as it is. This news only frustrates me. I may be in the vocal minority here but what do you guys think? Let us know via voicemail or in the comments below.

HorsePLAY! LIVE  iTunes-Friendly Podcast Cover

HorsePLAY! LIVE Where Geeks Come To Play!

Our First HorsePLAY! LIVE iTunes Review

We usually don’t push for iTunes reviews because we realize people are using other platforms.. And iTunes isn’t very intuitive when it comes to leaving reviews.

That said, we got our very first iTunes review from Normii477 from Zombie Cast and Knuckleballer Radio. Thank you, Normii! Your words really touch our hearts and get us even more fired up to bring you more great content. I agree that what I love most about our show is the chemistry Obi and I have since we contrast and compliment each other so well (some would say we are a married couple LOL). Of course, the live interaction on the GeekyAntics Twitch channel keeps things interesting every week. We love you guys – even the trolls!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/horseplay!-live-where-geeks/id837770294?mt=2

You guys really get what we are about and that’s awesome. We want HorsePLAY! LIVE to be the radio show and interactive platform where geeks can get their fix on a wide variety of discussions, events, and news. Keep the reviews coming, gang!

Stitcher is still our preferred mobile podcast app so please use their Facebook integration to leave us comments and give us some thumbs up lovin. Don’t forget to tune into us on AllGames.com every Thursday at around 5pm Eastern. AllGames.com has their own live chat – join the IRC channel and tell them the GANG at HorsePLAY! LIVE sent ya. You’ll get a warm welcome, just like we did when we joined the network! BTW, we’d LOVE more voicemail messages and bumpers at (206) 415-4987 – save our live listeners the torture of having to listen to us rant for two hours or more. *wink-wink*

Play hard and play smart, geeks! *insert heart here*

E3 2014 Predictions And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter #E3Live #E32014

E3 2014 - XBox Vs. Playstation

UPDATE:  Watching the Twitch E3 preview with @DJwheat and gang.  In just a few minutes, Microsoft is doing their Day 0 press conference.  There’s a lot of wishing and hoping for Fallout 4 (and a new Gears Of War).  That sounds AWESOME to me but I won’t hold my breath, simply because Bethesda has already shot down that notion and they’ll want to let Elder Scrolls Online marinate a while first.  The next Fallout won’t be for at least another year or two.  What do you guys, think?

In the past week, everyone has been asking me if I am excited about E3.  I don’t know how to answer without sounding like a bitter old man or being a wet towel..  Truth is: I’ve barely given E3 much thought.  Everything I want from gaming is here and now so it was not a big deal to me..  Then, during HorsePLAY! LIVE EP25, TCollins89 asked why E3 is on weekdays. It got me thinking:

E3 is not for the everyday or common gamer.  So what is it really about and does it really matter?

http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-131961/TS-867919.mp3|titles=HorsePLAY!

DISCLAIMER:  What you are about to read is an editorial.  This, like anything else on Geeky Antics, is the opinion of me, the author.  I may ruffle some feathers but I am being honest and open here.  Keep an open mind.  I am not trying to belittle anyone.  We can disagree peacefully!

As far as I’m concerned, E3 is a glorified trade show meant to hype up gamers who, somehow, can’t get enough content or want more fuel for the console wars. It is geared towards marketers, suits, developers, and journalists.  Think about this:

How many of the presenters actually PLAY games?  Are they gamers first or marketing/business people first?  I reckon the latter is often the case.

For most, E3 is just an excuse for a change of scenery or time off from work. I would venture to say the only way you are looking forward to E3 is if you want the social experience or are super hardcore about gaming (i.e. you have to play every single major game that is released).  This is wishful thinking but I think I’d care more about console gaming again if the entry points were more appealing, at least for the software itself.

That may sound harsh but I think I have finally converted back to PC for good. There are countless reasons but, for me, it’s simply because all my friends are sharded amongst different games and the PC offers too much bang for your buck to even consider dedicated console gaming. I can’t justify the cost or budget the time for a console right now.  As a family man, it does not help that my kids are growing up and playing games with daddy is no longer cool.  Without the bonding experience, console gaming is ho-hum.  I just don’t have the time or interest to do single-player games.

I love my XBox 360 but, for the first time in around ten years, I have let my XBox LIVE subscription lapse for more than two months. My video game wall of shame beckons yet I do not feel compelled to fire her up. I am satisfied by my options on the PC and I don’t have to worry about the hidden costs or suddenly finding that online support has been shut down.

Granted, I have been mostly playing Hearthstone, League of Legends, and SolForge lately but I have a library of games on the PC that excites me every time I look at it. With my consoles, I have mostly felt depression and regret for the past generation or so. I will eventually get an XBox One to play with friends but I do not feel left out of the water cooler conversations.

Now, I can already hear people saying that E3 is about electronic entertainment (hence the name E3 – Electronic Entertainment Expo) as a whole. That is true but it can’t be denied that the expo focuses on the gaming consoles more than anything. With that in mind, consider this fact:

During the transitionary period between console generations, we can’t expect fresh, innovative games. The developers will stick to the console with the greater install base until they figure out how to take advantage of the new framework.

I have nothing against Watch Dogs or Titanfall. I just don’t think they are system sellers for me.  They are the games that are good now because there is nothing else.  Besides, after how Microsoft botched up the original XBox to 360 transition, I think they will play it smart and keep the 360 going for another two to three years.

Glorious PC Master Race - Dirty Console Peasants

[ source: comicvine.com ]

I am no elitist but the future of gaming has been on mobile devices and the PC.. For a while now. $300-500 gets you solid upgrades for your PC and you’re good for a while. With consoles, you have the hidden costs of accessories, DLCs, micro transactions, macro transactions, forced annual releases, preferred server access, season passes, etc. Yeah, I am a smidge jaded and cynical..   But I am also hopeful, especially with so many brilliant small studios and indie developers paving the way (THANK YOU)!

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The Wonder That Is Woman

Joan of Arc

The wonder that is woman

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Maya Angelou, Still I Rise

 

What is woman?

What does it mean to be a woman in our time? What is her place in the world? What is her situation? What are her problems?

These are the questions which our clumsy and stumbling journey has brought us as we further reflect on the female gamer and geek – here, on the Horseplay podcast and elsewhere. Warning: this is not a flirtation with feminism. Nor is it an introduction to the self-enamors of a boyish circle jerk.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Woman, like Man, is not to be ignored, rejected or exploited – nor should she get an armful of get out of jail cards to play with reckless whim. Woman belongs here just as does Man. She represents a mystery, a wonder and a good which transcends our infantile ambitions to possess and use her for our own purposes. When I say, good, I do not mean a commodity, but a boon, a gift and a blessing.
Immaculate Conception
Mary, Mother of Jesus

It does not require great imagination to understand her as a boon, gift and blessing when we consider her as a mother. But motherhood is not the only blessing, she is a treasure as a wife, daughter, sister, saint, hero, etc. – if she pursues her identity with dignity, grace and love.

Thank You

Thank you, women. And thank you who work, who contribute to culture that lifts up the human spirit, and who serve in causes and missions that bring compassion and hope to all of the human family. Thank you, every woman!

Women have contributed to human history as much as men. And in every noble endeavor including science, art, and culture.
Marie Curie
Women have made great sacrifices and faced great challenges just as much as men. Humanity is blessed by the presence, excellence and gift of great women.
Rosa Parks.
Sadly, history and popular culture does not admit to enough of the evidence of women’s achievements and contributions – but we are not so ignorant nor of limited imagination to deny the unrecorded evidence of culture, progress and hope to which women have made contribution.
..
Edith Stein
Edith Stein

A woman’s dignity derives from these things and much more. It is a dignity, however, that has often been unappreciated, unacknowledged, and, sadly, much abused.
Queen Rania of Jordan
When the woman rises (as Maya Angelou proclaims in her poem), humanity rises. When the woman rises into a daybreak that is wonderously clear, we rise to it together – men, women and children.
Liu Yang

Folly

There remains obstacles to the full integration of virtuous women within social, political and economic activities. There remains inequalities and prejudices that prevent the woman from being freely herself, a boon, a gift and a blessing. There remains injustice, violence against women, and the abuse of women which are perpetuated by human folly – yours and mine.


This folly ends when we honor the dignity of the woman. It ends when all of us allow ourselves to accept, celebrate and praise her dignity in the individual woman. It ends when the individual woman demonstrates her dignity as a woman and she rejects the vulgar, dehumanizing and savage passions which we must all struggle to reject.

Mother Teresa

Men (and boys) must see women who exemplify what a blessing she is as mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, professional, leader, hero, etc. They must see women of great dignity with their own eyes. Otherwise, the ignorance and folly of men shall continue.

Make it so

If the task seems daunting to women (to be virtuous), the burden upon men must be to search for signs of her dignity, honor her when those signs are demonstrated, and defend her dignity against the savage ambitions and behavior of the stupid.

Even in a game.
Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz


Especially in a game. Because contrary to the anti-social perversions of the infantile and undeveloped gamer, geek or otherwise (of which there are too many), the best games are social activities where we learn and exercise good graces, deepen our relationships with others, and truly enjoy each other.
Angela Gheorghiu
Good women can bring much to a game including sensibility, humanity, coherence, loyalty, organization, communication and, last but not least, community skills.

Let go of the pain and anger

The need to hurt, humiliate, offend and/or dominate others (online or offline) is a symptom of a sickness, a disease and all that pain you now bear up in an undignified and demonic manner.


But do not give up hope. Not on you. Not on us. This is not hell and what is broken can often be mended – especially if the patient is pure of heart.

To think and believe otherwise is to be confused, miserable, broken, and deeply maladjusted.

Or do you believe me to be mistaken? Tell me. Comment below, shout at me on Facebook or give me a hat tip on Twitter.

Angela Gheorghiu sings the aria “Vissi d’arte” in Puccini’s opera ‘Tosca’
Stan Faryna
6 June 2014
Fairfax, Virginia

HorsePLAY! Marvel Puzzle Quest Strategies With CaptinChaos & Yogizilla

Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign

In keeping with the #RetroFriday spirit, EP20 of HorsePLAY! LIVE delved into the simple little games that have us addicted.  Are games like Hearthstone and Marvel Puzzle Quest the real next generation of gaming we’ve been waiting for?  We think so.

Here are some of the highlights of the show before we jump into some Marvel Puzzle Quest strategies.  We did not quite get into Hearthstone as heavily as we wanted in the episode but don’t worry: we’ll be revisiting the game lots..  Yeah, I know: we talk about it lots here at Geeky Antics – we’ll convert you yet!

Obligatory News:

  • ARS Technica Steam game library usage and ownership stats.
  • Microsoft announces XBox Originals Channel.  New video games..  Sure, we’ll have those too..  Eventually.
  • Bungie veteran, Marty O’Donnell fired without cause.
  • Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings a flop so far… or are they?
  • Twitter changes have been rolled out – hello Facebook Junior!

Opinions & Discussions:

  • Dear consoles, please focus on GAMES…  We have junk to consume as it is.
  • How Marty discovered Bungie years ago.
  • Remember the precursor to Halo?  Neither do we.
  • Macs have games too!
  • Imagine if Halo was an Apple exclusive..  YUCK.
  • The state of the gaming industry is pretty sad now BUT…
  • Tabletop gaming and indie games are on the rise – YAY!
  • Twitter, if you become craptastic like Facebook, FUCK YOU!

Don’t forget: if you want to join the conversation, perhaps disagree with our points or shed some light on things, leave us voicemail at (206) 415-4987.  Keep it simple and sweet, por favor – we will play them during our shows and discuss!

So, during EP20, we hit upon a lot of key strategies for newbies and players having trouble in Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign.  The idea is to prevent endless grinding and dropping money, which sucks unless you have tons of money and time to throw away.  Here are some of the things Chip Cella (a.k.a. @CaptinChaos)  of The B-Team Podcast, our resident MPQ ninja, suggested to keep the game fun and help you PWN (without making it into a lifestyle game):

  • Save Hero Coins for roster spots.
  • Focus your ISO on maxing your top characters, rather than leveling them all up evenly.
  • Keep “Fishnet” Black Widow or Amazing Spider-Man in your to keep your teammates healed.
  • During PvP events, farm newbies instead of going for difficult targets – use the skip button to avoid needless knock-outs.
  • If you’re just starting out, grind the campaign and AI battles to get easy ISO and Hero Coins..  Farm newbies too.
  • Do not waste Hero Coins on health packs – they regenerate once you go below a five count.
  • Remember: this is not Candy Crush..  MPQ is the match-three puzzle game for strategy lovers and deep thinkers!

Here are some other tips that I have found useful.  I will preface these tips by saying I avoid any scenario where I am playing for several hours at end.  I love this game and want to avoid burning out on it and making it a grind like I did with my previous mobile game of choice, Rage Of Bahamut (a.k.a. Mobage’s relentless money grab).

Original Black Widow (a.k.a. Fishnet)

Fishnet & The Support Crew

Original Black Widow, affectionately called “Fishnet”, is easily one of the Top 5 characters in Marvel Puzzle Quest.  She compliments any team you add her too, especially against teams that need black, purple, and blue matches to activate abilities.  Her abilities can best be described as follows:

Heals and steals.

Ideally, you want to place her alongside a higher-level, tankier (high life/hit points) character(s) with same-colored abilities.   This will prevent her from taking too much damage, which is good since she can be one-hit by certain characters (i.e. Wolverine).  Some good teammates for her include…

  • Storm
  • Moonstone
  • Venom
  • Bullseye

For heavy grinding sessions, I find the combination of Daken, Fishnet, and Moonstone/Thor/Wolverine works really well.  Daken adds stacking damage and tanks incoming damage while the third character provides the burst damage and “bigger body”.  Your preferences may be different depending on how aggressive you want to be.  Admittedly, Daken takes time to build up damage with strike tiles but his self-healing ability makes him great.

Marvel Puzzle Quest - Amazing Spider-Man - Spidey

Fishnet Black Widow is what I would call a support character.  If you don’t have her, there are other options for mitigating damage, whether you are healing or blocking damage.   Amazing Spider-Man is likely your next best bet since he can stun AND heal.  Here are some other solid picks:

  • Modern Black Widow
  • Bullseye
  • Yelena Belova Black Widow
  • Captain America
  • Iron Man Model 35
  • Iron Man Model 45
  • Magneto (ALL)
  • Loki
  • Moonstone

Support roles go beyond healing and stealing.  Characters like Yelena Belova (evil Black Widow), Loki, Magneto,  and Bullseye can create and manipulate special tiles, which can be devastating against opponent teams that rely on them.

Marvel Puzzle Quest: Captain America VS. Moonstone

Between Captain America and Moonstone, I feel Moonstone is the best pick.  Captain America feels like an under-powered Iron Man Model 35.  Here is why he sucks:

  • His powers/abilities take too long to ramp up.
  • His damage output is poop.
  • He is balanced and, by extension, not very good at anything.

Captain America does have more HP than most support characters.  He also has a stun ability plus the ability to cycle abilities but, if the countdown tiles get removed, his effectiveness is negated.  Cap is just not good for aggressive wins and, thus, using him becomes a grindfest…  Meh.

Moonstone, on the other hand, can manipulate the board, do massive burst damage (based upon how many red tiles are in stock), and she can stun opponents.  She is amazing yet she doesn’t get nearly enough love.  I love you Moonstone.

Ms. Marvel..  Or Is That Moonstone?

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

Is A Girl Gamer But Doesn't Go Around Announcing It

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*

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