Friday, April 29, 2016

The Ten Games You Need on Steam

Semester is over! That means plenty of time to go outside, look at the sun, turn on your heels, go back inside, and start playing some Steam games!
Some of these games have been out for a while, some are even re-releases of classic titles with a fresh coat of paint, but none the less each one has it's own unique style that someone can spend hours lost in.
Here are ten games currently out that are a must this summer. Enjoy!

Let's start this thing off with a freebie: Trove. Free to play through Steam, this game is a hybrid of World of Warcraft and Minecraft, without compromising anything in between. You build a character, choose a unique class like Pirate or Necromancer, then explore the world collecting blocks you can turn into building material for some impressive Minecraftesque models. A new update just released for the game so check it out now and see what you can build.

Stardew Valley
What is it with farming games being so addictive? Stardew Valley is an homage to the Harvest Moon franchise, with the slight dash of crafting modern gamers are completely in love with. Tend cattle, raise corn, court the pretty girl in the next farm over, and then do it all again the next season. At $14.99 it's worth every penny.

Final Fantasy IX
Really they're isn't a Final Fantasy you can go wrong with, but IX is series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi's favorite game, as well as Mormon Geek's Joe Meyere's favorite Final Fantasy. The game's graphics have had a slight update since it was first released in 2000. $20.99 is the perfect price for playing this piece of gaming history, especially since now you don't have to switch between four discs like in the old days.

Cities: Skylines
Sim City has had a rough go the last few years, with Electronic Arts making some iffy choices regarding content. Cities: Skylines though take the gameplay of Sim City while cutting out EA's public mistakes. Spend hours covering the serene landscape with mile after mile of cement and steel.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
This could easily be yet another Lego video game, but trust me, it's not. Anyone who's a fan of DC's War of Light is going to get a kick out of playing their favorite lanterns in this set, including Sinestro, Atrocitus, St. Walker and Larfleeze. The Suicide Squad DLC and the Bizarro World DLC make this one of the best DC comics games besides the Arkham series.

Elite Dangerous
Space: The final fronteer. These are the voyages of the starship TeddyBonkers. It's mission: To trade material across the galaxy and hopefully upgrade the stupid starting laser so it actually does damage against pirates. This indie mega game is probably the most expensive on the list, but if you want to forge your own adventure in a beautifully generated galaxy with your own starship then it's well worth the money.

This game is like a recreation of the early days of the church, circa Brigham Young. You have a handful of settlers and winter is coming so you better get busy working or get busy dying. You have to make sure there's enough warm clothes for your people, tools to work with, and room for your people to expand as families grow. You're not building an empire, you're building a small frontier life, which has it's own deeply satisfying rewards to go with it.

Long Live the Queen
This is probably the oddest yet most addicting game I have ever played. You play as a princess preparing to take her role as a queen. In order to do so you have to navigate tricky negotiations with foregn parties, understand warfare, trade, etiquette, industry and all while maintaining your mood and coping with your mother's death. It's not your typical Disney princess fantasy, but once your in you're going to want to make your princess the best queen she can be.

Project Zomboid
This game isn't about getting rescued. It's not about finding the cure, or saving the world, or even about winning. It's about how long can you survive the zombie apocalypse. It's not as dark as other zombie games, and the gore is pretty tame compared to other games. If you're a zombie fan but don't need the gore, check this one out.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Last but not least is a classic. Taking place some 1,000 years before A New Hope, the game is a Star Wars game without messing up any of the cannon. The gameplay is based on Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 rules, which more games need to be based in. If you haven't played this game and your a Star Wars fan, well what's wrong with you?

What games do you like on Steam?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

8 Things I'm Looking Forward to in Civil War

I was going to do something finals related, since I just got done my last proper finals week (Only one more class before I’m 100% done and it’s a writing class! Yay!) but I just got off a long grave shift, so I thought I’d do this instead: a list of things I’m excited for with Civil War.

Hard to believe it’s only TEN days until Captain America Civil War comes into theaters. David and I are already planning on dressing up in our Cap and Hawkeye costumes for a pre-screening (#teamcap) and my brother also bought tickets for when I visit them that weekend in Canada. PLUS, this is the first Marvel movie I’ll see in theaters after having seen all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All of this and never mind the fact that it has great reviews already. So anyways, here I go.

1.      Lots of Super Heroes: So despite it being a “Captain America” movie, we’ve been told that it’s pretty much Avengers 2.5 and with the addition of new heroes (which I’ll get to later) it’s going to be quite the show. I almost feel like I’ve betrayed Cap by not focusing on him primarily as I get ready for the premiere.
2.      Black Panther: Slotted for his own movie in two years, I think Black Panther is one of the things that Marvel is hoping to use to sell this movie. He’s #teamironman but I’m intrigued by him anyway. I know little about him, so I won’t try to sound like I know more than I do, since I knew absolutely nothing about him prior to Marvel announcing him for Phase 3. Regardless, he looks like he’ll be pretty awesome.
3.      A Death? This one is just speculation, but with some basis. People keep telling me that since Captain America died in the comic book Civil War that he’s bound to die in the movie. I’m hoping that they’re wrong, but if it’s done well, I guess I could try to stomach it. However, another potential casualty could be War Machine. Based on the fact that Rhodey looks like he’s out cold in one of the trailers, it could be a possibility, though I doubt that Marvel would put a major death in the trailer. I guess we’ll see.
4.      Winter Soldier: Last we saw Bucky (aside from the post-credit scene in “Ant-Man”) he was dragging Cap out of the river at the end of “Captain America Winter Soldier”. It appears that he’s broken free of his brainwashing, so it’ll be interesting to see him play the hero part with his new Winter Soldier skills as opposed to the villain.
5.      General Ross: We haven’t seen the Ross family since “The Incredible Hulk”, the segment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that many people actively avoid. However, it is part of the MCU (like I said in my last post) and I’m interested to see what kind of role General Ross will play in Civil War. I hated him (as I was supposed to) in Hulk’s movie, so I guess we’ll see how things go with round 2.
6.      Ant-Man: I thoroughly enjoyed Scott Lang in his film, so I’m super excited to see him in Civil War. From one clip I just thought it was funny to see him fanboy over Captain America and being recruited.
7.      Spider-Man: I was super apprehensive when it was announced that Spider-Man had been obtained by Marvel and that they were going to include him in the MCU. Three castings since the turn of the century seems a bit much. Honestly, I was kind of hoping they’d bring Toby McGuire or Andrew Garfield back, even though I didn’t care for them. Just for continuity. Since they’re not doing another origin story, I’m willing to give it a shot (there’s only so many ways we can kill Uncle Ben). Especially since Tom Holland a year to grow into the role before his own movie, it’ll mean he can have some time to grow into the age we’ve been accustomed to seeing Peter Parker as.
8.      A Villain? I know this movie has been marketed and sounds like hero vs. hero, but I’m still wondering if there will be something more, kind of like (from what I’ve heard, since I haven’t seen it) Superman and Batman teaming up at the end of their movie. I’m hoping there’s something at the climax that forces Team Cap and Team Iron Man to work together.

And with that, let the countdown begin. After today we’re into the single digit days until Civil War. That’s only 2 Agents of SHIELD episodes. What!?

What are you looking forward to the most about Civil War? Who’s side are you on? As for me and my house, Team Cap!

If you're going to SLC Comic Con's pre-screening at
the Gateway Mall, Hawkeye and I will see you there

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Part 2

Aloha! Happy Finals Week, BYU.... Thankfully my finals are over now and only one class took until I'm officially done my bachelors degree (even though I'm walking this week). To celebrate I've got a post for you about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This week is about three big movies for SHIELD: The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, and Thor.

The Incredible Hulk
Hulk/Banner saves New York from the Abomination
This Hulk movie (starring Edward Norton instead of Mark Ruffalo) starts with Bruce Banner already having become the Hulk and on the run from the military. While he's hiding out in Brazil, the military, led by General Ross and helped by Emil Blonsky, finds him. So he goes on the run again, all while trying to get help from Mr. Blue to take care of his little green problem. Once Bruce gets back to the United States, he reunites with his ex-girlfriend, Betty Ross, who is General Ross's daughter.

During a fight at Culver University, Bruce turns into the Hulk and ends up having to protect Betty, who had ended up in the line of fire of her father's men. Bruce and Betty go on the run, making their way to NYC to meet Mr. Blue who tries to get rid of Bruce's Hulk problem. Seemingly cured, Bruce and Betty end up in custody and Blonsky persuades Mr. Blue to use Bruce's blood to give him more power. Bad move, Mr. Blue. Blonsky, now the "Abomination", is rampaging in NYC, which persuades General Ross to let Bruce fight him. With some help, Bruce wins and then goes on the run. Finally in isolation, he tries to learn to control the Hulk experience. Meanwhile, Tony Stark comes to talk to General Ross about a "team" that's being put together.

Random Trivia/Connections:
   The serum that Bruce was originally trying to replicate was the same Super Soldier Serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America in "The First Avenger".
   General Ross, Bruce's initial nemesis in this movie, will reappear in "Captain America: Civil War", coming out next month.
   In the post-credits scene, Tony alludes to the Avengers team, which concept was introduced to him during the events of "Iron Man 2", which occur concurrently with this movie.
   In "The Avengers", Black Widow mentions that SHIELD has been keeping the army away from Bruce since the events of this movie.

While definitely different from the Mark Ruffalo Hulk, I actually enjoyed this movie, despite hearing that it wasn't very good. One critique I have, which is actually more of a critique of "Age of Ultron" is that we haven't seen Betty Ross since this movie. Why is Bruce even considering anything with Black Widow when Betty is out there? Did something happen with her to push them apart or has it just been the passage of time since 2008 when this movie happened? Seven years is a long time, but I just wish they would address it. Maybe they will in "Civil War" when General Ross appears? I doubt it, but who knows. When it all comes down to it, this movie is worth watching. Even though the actor for Bruce Banner changes between this one and "The Avengers" it still fits as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (it's not like he's the only one who's been recast; just look at War Machine).

Fury gives Stark a good talking to.
Iron Man 2
Right on the heels of "Iron Man", Tony has announced that he's Iron Man. Meanwhile, Anton Vanko is plotting against Tony Stark. Six months after outing himself, Tony has helped establish peace in some powerful countries and he's opened the Stark Expo. However, he also has the government after him, questioning if the Iron Man suit is safe in the hands of Stark. They want him to hand it over, but of course that's not Tony's style. He ends up leaving the trial humiliating his rival, Justin Hammer.

However.... Tony also is dying. His arc reactor is slowly poisoning his blood. Accepting his impending death, he appoints Pepper Potts to succeed him as CEO and a Natalie Rushman replaces Pepper. Later, while Tony has a mid-life crisis (or end-of life crisis?) on a race track, Vanko attacks him. Long story short, Iron Man beats Vanko, Tony learns that Vanko's father works for his father, and Hammer hires Vanko to create suits for him. As the mid-life crisis continues, Rhodey shuts down Tony's birthday party, resulting in a drunken super suit battle (drunken on Tony's end). Humbled for once, Tony is able to save himself, with the help of Nick Fury.

Meanwhile at the Stark Expo, Hammer unveils Rhodey as War Machine, which turns out is controlled by Hammer. So while Tony rushes off to save Rhodey, his body guard Happy Hogan and Natalie Rushman (who is actually Agent Romanoff aka Black Widow of SHIELD) rush off to help stop Hammer. War Machine and Iron Man fight off Vanko and Tony rushes off to save Pepper from an explosion. And finally two share a kiss. Yay! As the movie ends, Fury says that they want Iron Man as a consultant for the Avengers Initiative. Finally, in the post-credit scene, Agent Coulsen arrives in New Mexico and finds a strange hammer that leads us into the next movie...

Random Trivia/Connections:
   When Tony and Fury talk near the end of the movie, there's a news report about an incident at Culver University, the same incident involving the Hulk in the previous movie.
   A prototype of Captain America's shield is seen in Tony's lab.
   When Fury talks about Coulsen's absence, he mentions an incident in the southwestern part of the country, which we find out in e next movie is a small town in New Mexico.
   Wakanda, Black Panther's home country, is seen on a map.

I've heard lots of critiques on this movie (most of which come from my friend Justin). Honestly, it was a decent movie. Not my favorite, but I just think they were doing too much. We had the action with Vanko, Tony's blood poisoning, the Stark Expo, the stuff with SHIELD, and all the stuff between Tony and the US government. Just felt like there was a lot going on. In total though, a few important key points still affect other movies: Black Widow was introduced, War Machine was created, and the Avengers Initiative is introduced.

All those muscles put to waste.
Flashback to the 10th century AD, we see the beginnings of Norse mythology and we see Odin and his Asgardians defeat Laufey and his Frost Giants. In the present, Odin's son Thor is getting ready to become king. However, the Frost Giants attack. In anger, Thor goes to the home of the Frost Giants with his brother Loki and four friends, but instead of fixing things he makes things worse and he basically gets grounded... To earth... In New Mexico. Where he gets hit by a car. So around the same time that  Jane, Darcy, and Erik (who hit him with the car) get him conscious again, Agent Coulsen finds Thor's hammer. He proceeds to take all of Jane's research on wormholes. It's about at this point that Thor sneaks into the facility that SHIELD built up around the hammer, beating every SHIELD agent until he gets to the hammer, only to find that he can't lift it. He's permitted to leave the premise with the help of Dr Erik Selvig, but manages to nab one of Jane's notebooks on his way out.

Meanwhile on Asgard, Loki discovers that he's really a Frost Giant (kind of a runt of a giant) so when Odin basically goes comatose he takes the reins of the kingdom. He strikes a deal with Laufey and the Frost Giants in order to secure his reign. Meanwhile, Thor's friends travel to Earth to try to get him out of exile, only to have the Destroyer attack. Being willing to sacrifice himself for Jane's safety, Thor's power is restored and he's able to defeat the Destroyer before returning to Asgard to take care of Loki. Loki ends up double crossing and killing Laufey to try to prove himself to Odin. A fight ensues between the brothers with Loki trying to destroy the Frost Giants with the power of the bifrost, but Thor destroys it. With both brothers hanging over the abyss, Odin wakes up and saves them in the nick of time, except that Loki decides to drop to his apparent death. Meanwhile, not knowing that the bifrost was destroyed, Jane is left waiting for Thor to return, so she continues with her research. Some time later, Selvig gets taken to a SHIELD facility where he is shown a mysterious blue cube that he is to study. Unbeknownst to Fury, Selvig is being manipulated by Loki.

Random Trivia/Connections:
   The prologue takes place in Tonsberg, Norway, so it's likely that this is when the Tesseract ended up on Earth, since that's where Red Skull found it.
   Though a minor character in this movie, Clint Barton/Hawkeye makes his first appearance here at the SHIELD facility that was built around Thor's hammer.
   Coulsen's activities in this movie occur just after his departure from Iron Man 2, explaining where he went.

Not one of my favorites but I do have some highlights. Darcy, Jane's intern, is my favorite. "You hit him with your car." "You tased him." "Yeah, I did." She's just so funny and quirky. Highlight of the movie (and its sequel). Although the development of Thor from prideful jerk to humble hero was a bit fast, I did enjoy it. It sets the tone for all of Thor's heroic, selfless acts in the movies that follow. I'm also a fan of Thor's Asgardian companions. Nice round group of people and they kick major butt.

Alright, that's all for now. Next week I'm planning something Disney related. Something nice to celebrate graduating (even though I still have that one class).

Friday, April 8, 2016

Highlights of FanX 16: A Photo Collage

I experienced so many fun things at FanX this year, and unfortunately have very little time to write about it. Though it goes without saying that I really enjoyed it, and I had a blast!

 So rather than putting together a report on it weeks or months later, I put together this photo collage to show the highlights of what I experienced.

Though it's different from the report I normally do, I hope you enjoy!

Joe, Spencer and me, as we wait for the press conference to begin

Cosplayers and children from the Make a Wish Foundation at the Press Conference

The celebrity guests who attended the Press Conference

Relaxing in the press room after the press conference,
while waiting for the other events of the day to start

Peter Davison, who plays the 5th Doctor in Doctor Who,
during his celebrity spotlight panel.

Spencer, at the mic to ask a question during the Peter Davison panel

The Geeky Parenting panel, which featured the Geeky Mormon,
Jake Dietz (third from the right)

Sylvester McCoy, who plays the 7th Doctor in Doctor Who,
walking around among the audience during his celebrity spotlight panel.

Levar Burton, host of Reading Rainbow,
and actor that plays Geordi LaForge
in Star Trek: the Next Generation,
 during his celebrity spotlight panel.

Stepping out of the TARDIS with my handy sonic screwdriver.

Me and a group of friends pose for a group picture at FanX

I found R2D2!

Gillian Anderson, who played Sculley on X Files,
during her spotlight panel

George Takei, best known for playing Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek,
during his spotlight panel

David, Spencer and me cosplaying as the Avengers

Me and Joe, in costume, at FanX

The contributing writers of Mormon Geeks who attended FanX this year

 Paying homage to the end of the first Avengers movie by eating shwaarma 
while cosplaying as the Avengers

A shot on the news of the Avengers saving the day in Utah

Thor ponders the question of which is mightier,
the sonic screwdriver or the magic hammer

Avengers Assemble...inside the TARDIS!?

Spencer and me, waiting for the start of the Doctor Who Ultimate XPerience

The celebrity guests and moderator for the Doctor Who Ultimate Xperience

Spencer gets to ask a question to the actors for three of the Doctors and the actress
for one companion at the Doctor Who Ultimate Xperience

Me cosplaying as Thor, and posing with Mjolnir,
at the end of the second day of FanX

The 10th Doctor has arrived

Alex Kingston, best known for playing River Song in Doctor Who,
during her celebrity spotlight panel

The Doctor seems surprised at how much bigger
the TARDIS is on the inside

Me cosplaying as the 10th Doctor inside the Infinity TARDIS

"Hello! I'm the Doctor!"

The 10th Doctor steps out of the TARDIS

The Doctors take on a dalek

Me and Spencer, cosplaying as the 10th and 11th Doctors

I think this is the 10th Doctor cosplaying as a jedi and the 11th Doctor
cosplaying as a Ghostbuster; either that, or whoever added the special effects
for the sonic screwdrivers couldn't figure out what they were or how they worked
Jerremy Renner, best known for playing Hawkeye in the Avengers movies,
during his celebrity spotlight panel

Me posing as a 10th Doctor action figure

The Doctor (me) and his newest companion (Katie), in the TARDIS

The 10th Doctor in his TARDIS, with his sonic screwdriver ready for anything that comes

The Star Trek: Who's Your Captain panel
(during which I stood up with a question/comment)

Spencer and I went in together for a photo op with Matt Smith 
(best known for playing the 11th Doctor in Doctor Who);
I'm going to say that I was going for a sneaky look in this picture, 

rather than being caught off-guard by the photographer

Me cosplaying as the 10th Doctor in one of his classic poses

The Doctor, ever ready with his sonic screwdriver

Three t-shirts I bought as souvenirs at FanX

Bookmarks of Superman, Green Lantern, and the 11th and 10th Doctors

These three pieces of Doctor Who fan art form a panoramic picture

The additions to my Doctor Who fan art

Star Trek and Star Wars fan art

Legend of Korra and Avatar: the Last Airbender fan art

New additions to my superhero fan art

I finally added the last book of a fantasy series to my collection
If you're reading this, you've made it to the end of my photo collage. I hope you enjoyed the pictures of my adventures at FanX this year.

And if you're curious, this year at FanX, though I'm not going to reveal how much I spent, I will let you know that I bought 14 new pieces of fan art (not counting 4 bookmarks, 3 t-shirts, a book and a photo op).

Now I'm looking forward to attending Salt Lake Comic Con, which is less than five months away!