Hey everyone! Solar here, filling in for Noah, talking about my geek specialty – Video Games.
This week is GDC – The Game Developers Conference. It’s a big deal in the video game community, advertising itself as the “World’s largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event”. For 5 days, over 24,000 attendees including programmers, artists, producers, designers, musicians, and business professionals will attend lectures, panels, and showcases.
This year, GDC will have 8 major summits: Artificial Intelligence, Community Management, eSports, Free to Play Games, Game Narrative, Education, Independent Games, and Smartphone & Tablet Games. Each of these summits offer attendees opportunities to be taught by the best in the industry, including keynote talks by developers from Blizzard and Gearbox, and other experienced devs.
The choice of the 8 summits is fascinating to me, because it represents the areas that people want – and NEED – to learn more about in this industry. Indie Games are always a staple at GDC, but Mobile and Community games are rapidly becoming more and more popular, as major MMO creators are rethinking their processes and trying new things, and mobile games are becoming more and more community-based all the time. Free to Play games are an entirely seperate beast, but that model is starting to leave distinctive marks on the MMO and Mobile game industries, with huge games like Clash of Clans and League of Legends leaving their destinctive marks on the way we pay for games.
Speaking of which, an entire summit of GDC is dedicated to eSports. The scenes, the fans, and even the money are getting bigger every year in eSports, and companies like Twitch, Valve, Riot, and Blizzard are leading the way. With eSports teams and players both getting awards spots (albeit, fan-voted ones) at last year’s Game Awards, nobody is doubting anymore that eSports are a thing. But that’s a whole ‘nother article.
Let’s talk about what’s really important about GDC. It’s possibly the best conference where indie and triple-a devs meet together under a mutual understanding – how freaking hard it is to make games. GDC is home to the IGF – The Indie Game Festival, arguably the most prominant indie-only game awards. GDCPlay offers attendees chances to play games that are being shown off by developers trying to get their foot in the door. It also offers devs a chance to network with other indie devs who have made it further and programmers from companies like Sony, and get tons of advise, contacts, and sometimes even capital. And best of all, it offers students an inside look at the industry and the people in it. In fact, our own EAE Master Game Studio took one of 8 winning spots in the IGF Student Showcase for their game Cyber Heist last year.
Alright everyone! It’s time for GEEK MADNESS!
On the show on Friday, the five of us drafted 30 characters or people that we think are prominent or influential in the Geekdom. We got two more from the listeners, and now all 32 of them are going head-to-head in a monthlong tournament to decide who is the King of the Geekwave for the next year! Vote for your choices, and tune in on Friday March 6th to see who makes it to the sweet 16 and listen to our hosts argue for their picks.
Kingsman: The Secret Service plays like a James Bond movie that never happened. The Kingsmen is a spy agency that defends the interests of Great Britain around the globe. This movie isn’t trying to break ground in the spy genre. Instead, director and screenwriter Matthew Vaughn flaunts the conventions of years past. Unlike the current iteration of the Bond franchise, Kingsman openly mocks the dreary, serious spy films like the Bourne movies. Instead, Vaughn calls back to the lighter and, dare I say, cheesier Bond films of the Rodger Moore era. Kingsman celebrates the 60s and 70s, when pasty British gentleman went around the world, stopped the vile plots of eccentric millionaires, and miraculously never caught gonorrhea. Through this lens, Kingsman can be summed up in a scene where regal Colin Firth says “Manners maketh the man” before thrashing multiple goons with a umbrella.
Kingsman, unlike the Bond films, is a fish-out-of-water story. Needing to find a new Kingsmen, Galahad (Colin Firth) turns to the hoodlum Eggsy, played by the newcomer Taron Egerton. Despite Eggsy’s low class status, his father was a former Kingsman killed in the line of duty. Despite being mocked by other Kingsmen for not choosing somebody from the upper-class, Galahad believes that despite his un-gentlemanly background, Eggsy has what it takes to join the ranks of the uber-British Kingsman and stop the plans of Dot Com Billionaire Richard Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson).
In Vaughn’s impressive film canon, Kingsman is very similar to another of his comic book adaptations, Kick-Ass. Both are incredibly violent films that serve to deconstruct their respective genres and whose protagonists are lower class white males thrust into a stylized world that clashes with the realism of current life. But Kingsman is also an across-the-board improvement on everything Vaughn did in Kick-Ass. Don’t get me wrong, Kick-Ass was an interesting, sometimes great, movie, but Kingsman is already the front runner for best action movie of the year. The fights are hyper-stylized and fun, all leading up to a fight scene in a church that is best left unexplained, but will go down as one of the most innovative and exciting action scenes of the past couple of years. The cast also doesn’t disappoint. Colin Firth is fantastic as the agent Galahad. He quickly casts away any doubt about his ability to act in action scenes. Firth alone is a great reason to see this movie. Taron Egerton also does well as the protagonist in this film. The rest of the supporting cast, (Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Sofia Boutella, Samuel L. Jackson) is great with Jackson excelling as a Tech billionaire with a lisp.
On a final note, Kingsman does walk a very fine line from being a fun, dirty deconstruction of the spy genre, to becoming the very thing it homages back to. Kingsman mostly avoids failing this trap until the very end up of the movie, where a joke goes a bit too far and stumbles into crudeness. I understand the authorial intent in those final moments, but the joke doesn’t land as it should.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a crass, ultra-violent affair that isn’t for the more modest among us. But anybody interested in action or spy genres who wants to see a cavalcade of exploding-head fireworks should love this movie.
This month’s Loot Crate has been my favorite so far (keep in mind I’ve only had December 14, January 15 and February 15). I was able to unbox mine while we were streaming our show live – it was definitely a highlight of my weekend! Thanks everyone for being a part of it! Have you ever heard of Loot Crate? It’s a subscription crate. For more information, go to their website at www.Lootcrate.com.
Let’s take a look at what they had in store for us this month:
This month’s theme was “Play.”
READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline
This novel is actually the book of the month for the new book club launched by Nerdist.com. I imagine since Loot Crate and Nerdist are in cahoots this was a very deliberate choice for a crate item. We talked about the book a lot on the show, but suffice it to say it’s a must read for us at the Geekwave. You should probably give it a try yourself, too! Here’s a link to the amazon page: [link]
SUPERFIGHT: the loot crate deck by superfightgame.com
This is what the box reads: “This is a 100-card version of the viral card game SUPERFIGHT, designed exclusively for Loot Crate by Skybound. These cards are only available in this exclusive deck. Create hilarious fighters with these cards, then argue over who would win in a fight between them.” If you missed our show on Friday (February 20th), you missed us playing a round of this on-air. The way the game works is that two people develop a fighter from the cards they draw, and then everyone argues about which one would win in a fight. This is practically what we do every day so it came naturally to us. I recommend taking a look at buying a legit copy from superfightgame.com because it looks hella awesome.
Waka-Waka Poster by Manny Peters
Included this month was awesome wall art. Pacman wall art. Who doesn’t need more geek eye candy? It’s a 9”x13” poster of a blueprint design of a cartridge of one of our favorite videogame franchises ever. While suitable for framing, my copy of this print came a little beat up, so I probably won’t be framing it, but re-gifting it.
These things are pretty cute. I’m not much of an artist myself (my claim to fame is that I used to do Gaiaonline avatar art – really really bad Gaiaonline avatar art). But these are vinyl figurines that you can decorate yourself! The one they included in the crate came with three erasable markers so you can decorate over and over again. But hey, look at these ones real artists came up with: [link] [link] [link]
My crate came with an ant hexbug. Now. I would normally never have purchased one of these things for myself or for anyone else. What can I say, robot pets came and went for me in the year 2002 with the robodog. And I wasn’t impressed then. But my green little robot ant is pretty speedy. And when it hits an object, it reverses direction. Pretty smart for a robot insect.
Along with the Loot Crate magazine they include in each crate, these were the obvious inclusions in the box. But there were some other things. There was a little loot crate pin – which I added to my pin collection:
But not only that there were two other less than obvious things included! One was a LootCrate Official Member ID card. I thought, that’s a cool gimmick. Upon reading my Loot Crate magazine I discovered that the ID on my member card could get me awesome access to an exclusive FIREFLY online ship. I didn’t know much about Firefly online before this moment, but I do have a pretty sweet premium ship now. I’ll talk more about Firefly online in another post. For now, feel free to check it out. And feel free to be jealous of my awesome ship.
The second less than obvious thing… the whole crate turned into a boardgame! The crate included some rock, paper, scissor dice. Which I thought, neat! some interesting six-siders. But! They were actually the dice to a boardgame called “Crate Packing Simulator 2015”. The back of the magazine included four player tokens and all the goods necessary to play the boardgame – who can assemble their crate first?? To find out you must play the game! So cute. So innovative. Definitely beats the space diorama that came with December’s crate.
An awesome thing about Loot Crate, if you didn’t know, is that every month there is a MEGA crate. It’s basically a lottery among all the people who subscribe to Loot Crate, and one lucky person wins the MEGA crate. Unfortunately it wasn’t me this month. But maybe one day… /stareswistfullyintospace
Take a gander at February’s MEGA Crate!
I can’t wait for next month’s crate!
Hello everyone! Welcome to The Geekwave Blog, the University of Utah’s best source for geeky news and entertainment! Let me tell you a little bit about how this is going to work.
Our five awesome show hosts, Solar-Claire-Noah-Allie-Kelby, will be posting regular content in their Geekdoms of choice. Hopefully we can make this stuff as fun and informative as possible. On top of that, we’ll post breaking news and commentary as soon as we hear about it, and we’ll also be posting information on upcoming Events happening on and off campus, especially those sponsored by us and our UofU Club partners. We also have great dreams of doing all sorts of fun things on here, such as polls, competitions, and giveaways.
We hope that you really enjoy this blog and that it can be a place where geeks of all walks of life can read and community (yes I made that a verb). Be sure you also like our Facebook page at facebook.com/geekwave and listen to the show, Fridays from 2-5pm.
Here’s the Flashback Friday jams we played on the Midday Mix today. Listen each Friday at Noon for your favorite tunes from the past. Tweet us your requests @K_UTE.
Keith Sweat – “I Want Her”
Aaliyah – “Back and Forth”
Al Green – “Here I Am”
Brenton Wood – “Gimme Little Sign”
Los Lobos – “Come On, Let’s Go”
Freddy Fender – “You’ll Lose a Good Thing”
The Gap Band – “Burn Rubber”
Mtume – “Juicyfruit”
Marvin Gaye – “Mercy Mercy Me”
Tom Tom Club – “Genius of Love”
Timex Social Club – “Rumours”