Lightsabers and Surfboards

Stefan A. Slater's blog about whatever's on Stefan A. Slater's mind (e.g., Ewoks, Pipeline and speaking in the third person).

Category: Video Games

WonderCon, Bioshock Infinite and The Walking Dead

This past weekend was one for nerdy indulgences: My girlfriend and I went to WonderCon for the first time (no, we didn’t get dressed up… though we were thinking of doing Rogue and Gambit — her idea, believe it or not), I played way too much Bioshock Infinite and I watched the season finale of the Walking Dead — which, unfortunately, was a rather disappointing way to end the weekend. Here’s a quick breakdown:

WonderCon

We had a blast at the convention in Anaheim. JB bought a signed addition of Saga, and I picked up a super cheap copy of Couriers and a subscription to Geek Magazine. Oh and JB bought me a Death Star T-Shirt that says, “Visit the Death Star! It’s no moon!” I might be wearing it right now.

The event was a lot of fun, and it was quite the crash-course in geek culture — I’ll never understand the appeal of wearing rotating Ewok ears or getting into a heated debate over Magic: The Gathering, but it’s entertaining to see how people have flocked to the fantasy and sic-fi genre and made it a part of their day-to-day lives. Plus, JB and I got a quick introduction to cosplay. Case in point: WOLVERINE (See below).

wolverine_by_lianthus-d5zxi01

Talk about commitment: Those mutton chops, ladies and gentlemen, are absolutely real. When we saw him on Friday morning — and, yep, he’s as ripped as J.C. himself — I couldn’t shake the thought that he must start his day by repeating this lil’ mantra: “Be Hugh Jackman, Be Hugh Jackman, Be Hugh Jackman.”

On that note, who doesn’t want to be Hugh Jackman, at least for a day?

Bioshock Infinite

Instead of reworking two short stories and finishing up some research for a new freelance project, I played Bioshock Infinite. I kept using the same excuse too: “It’s like research for new story ideas!” Did I develop any new story ideas? Nope. Did I end up losing sleep that I really couldn’t afford to lose? Yep. Do I want to abandon my entire workday just so I can go back to fighting an unrelenting wave of robot George Washingtons? You bet your steampunk buns I do!

All jokes aside, this game gives me a lot of hope when looking towards the future of video games: Successful shooters don’t have have to be seizure-inducing clones of every single Michael Bay movie ever made. Successful shooters don’t have to be jingoistic military training games. A good, popular shooter can actually be sophisticated (shocking, right?).

Video games can be used to tell a story — one that causes you to feel emotions, root for a strong, well-rounded character and immerse yourself into a highly detailed and extremely clever world. And Bioshock is a prime example of this kind of storytelling potential.

If you can’t already tell, I’m in love with this game.

But moving on…

The Walking Dead

G.O.T series première aside (it was a good one, too), the real let down on Sunday was The Walking Dead.

Quick warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!

OK, back on board? All right, well, the episode was a bit of an underwhelming letdown. The whole third season kept building us up for some kinda of climatic clash between Woodbury and the Prison folk, but in the end, the whole fight just fizzled out.

But that’s not what got my zombies gears all ground up and disappointed: My issue was with the final, and in my opinion, untimely, departure of Andrea.

Right off the bat, I have to admit that she was one of the weakest characters in the show. (Do you know anyone that actually liked her?) My girlfriend described Andrea as being inept — and annoying, if I remember correctly — and I won’t challenger her on that.

But take a quick look at this:

Andrea-Full-620x911

That’s Andrea from the Walking Dead comic. She’s a strong, independent character, who becomes Rick’s top deadeye and eventual second in command. So why Walking Dead writers, did you choose to make the TV Andrea so absolutely whiny and desperately clingy? Why couldn’t you place a strong female character front and center? It’s so utterly strange that these writers would take a comic with so many assertive female characters, only to give most of them the backseat in favor of putting the boys in the TV spotlight. No bueno, AMC. You can do better.

Anyway, here’s a link to the season four preview. I need to head back to my freelance writing so I can save up enough cash to make my own robotic George Washington. Wishful thinking, probably, but it’s best to aim high.


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Bioshock Infinite: High Hopes

Bioshock-Infinite-delayed-again-console-yourself-with-these-screenshots-1Aside from my copy of Six-Gun Snow White finally arriving in the mail (it’s a gritty Old West spin on Snow White fairy tale—how could I not love it?), the new Bioshock trailer came out today too.

The promotions for Bioshock have been top-notch. The Beast of America trailer was brilliantly edgy, and I’m absolutely smitten with the Truth from Legend trailers (Gonna date myself, but I remember watching In Search of… reruns on the History Channel, so the whole ‘70s-era investigative show spoof really hit home in a special way — honestly, Leonard Nimoy singlehandedly fueled my belief in Nessie.) Each trailer or promo builds off my favorite spin with this new Bioshock sequel: The time period.

The developers could’ve picked any era in American history. Hell, the past two games dealt with Post- and Pre-World War II social concepts (the whole capitalism/Ayn Rand thing was pretty palpable), so to rewind the clocks back to the turn of the twentieth century is a wonderful departure and exiting stuff for me, mainly because I’m a history nut.

That time period (1900 to World War I) was defined by American Imperialism and a collective scientific zeal. On top of that, the U.S. was introduced to a new wave of radical thinking too, from women’s suffrage to workers’ rights, and from what I understand, the game aims to examine all of it. And, like the proverbial possessed cherry on top of this electronic sundae, there’s an added Stephen King sort of supernatural twist. So, all in all, I have high hopes for this one.

Now, if I could just dig up some cash to pre-order it. Donations, please?