Tagged: Wii

Win a Copy of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

CMS1_ beautyshot_01Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
presents a fantastic journey through the universe as Carl Sagan’s visionary series continues with COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY, arriving on Blu-ray and DVD June 10.  Debuting tomorrow, two days after the epic conclusion, fans can re-watch this legendary story 13.8 billion years in the making just in time for Father’s Day in spectacular high-definition.

We have ONE copy to give away to a luck reader. Details below.

Hosted by renowned astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson and executive produced by Ann Druyan, Seth MacFarlane, Mitchell Cannold and Brannon Braga, COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY features incredible bonus materials including a stunning five-part documentary on the making of this critically-acclaimed ground-breaking event.  Fans can also discover what connects us all and see the past, present and future of our galaxy with the interactive “Cosmic Calendar,” exclusive to the Blu-ray release.

COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY is the spectacular follow-up to Carl Sagan’s award-winning series that explored the remarkable mysteries of the cosmos and our place within it. This thrilling, 13-part adventure transports viewers across the universe of space and time, bringing to life never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge and a deeper understanding of nature. With an updated Cosmic Calendar, dazzling visual effects, and the wondrous Ship of the Imagination, fans will experience an unforgettable journey to new worlds and across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest and smallest scale.


vin-diesel-fights-off-aliens-in-new-riddick-trailerWhen it was announced that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane would be Executive Producer of an update the the classic Carl Sagan-hosted science documentary series Cosmos, it raised a few eyebrows. Even more people were surprised to learn that the funny man was a personal friend of new “Cosmos” host and renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

In honor of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey’s release on Blu-ray and DVD June 10th, we thought we’d take a look at some of Hollywood’s other unexpected geeks.

Vin Diesel

The beefy action star doesn’t necessarily fit the stereotype of a Dungeon Master, but Diesel has proudly been a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast for over 20 years!

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman VThe Oscar-winning beauty holds a degree in Psychology from Harvard University, and has twice had her research published in scientific journals.

Angela Bassett

Stella may have needed Taye Diggs to help her get her groove back, but Bassett never lost her academic groove. The acting powerhouse has her Bachelors in African American Studies from Yale and a M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama.

John Legend

The All of Me singer turned down Harvard in favor of a degree in English and African American Literature from UPenn. He even worked at the prestigious Boston Consulting Group before making a splash on the music scene.

Dolph Lundgren

Dolph PuinisherBefore he was Master of the Universe, Dolph Lundgren was a master of science, having earned a Bachelor’s degree from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, and a Master’s degree in Chemical engineering as well as a Fullbright Scholarship to MIT.

Rashida Jones

alg-rashida-jones-wallpapersThe Parks and Recreation actress didn’t rely on the privileges that came with her family name (she’s the daughter of music and producing mogul Quincy Jones). She worked hard and earned a degree from Harvard University. If that isn’t enough geek cred, she’s even created her own comic book series called Frenemy of the State.

Casey Affleck

Being a brother to Ben Affleck, Casey had his fair share of experience with giant stars—something that probably helped him during his programs in astronomy and physics at Columbia University.

Tatyana Ali

We all knew Ashley Banks had a good head on her shoulders. Who knew the performer who played her was so brainy too? When The Fresh Prince of Bel Air ended its run on television, the actress and singer took a break from acting to get a degree in Politics and African American Studies from Harvard University.

Emma Watson

Hermione Grainger is practically the patron saint of geeky girls everywhere, played to perfection for 10 years by the extremely talented Watson. It made us all proud to see Watson avoid the celebutante lifestyle her fame could have afforded her and choose to pursue a college degree—from Brown University, no less!

Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis Book of EliAs if being the voice of Meg Griffin on cult animated series Family Guy wasn’t enough to get fanboys drooling, she’s also a known World of Warcraft addict, often playing anonymously with strangers online. Maybe you’ll be a little nicer to that Goblin you come across the next time you play.

Christina Applegate

Applegate may have gotten her start playing ditzy Kelly Bundy on Married with Children, but in real life the actress enjoys much nerdier pursuits. She is a hardcore gamer, spending much of her downtime on her Playstation, Xbox, and Wii.

So, out of all these geeks, tell us which one you want to have an intellectual debate with and why. We must have your answer posted no later than 11:59 p.m., Monday, June 16. The decision of ComicMix‘s judges will be final. The contest is open only to readers in the United States and Canada.

REVIEW: The Wonderful 101 – One-credible

The Wonderful 101 has been a year coming – it’s been part of Nintendo’s many show reels for the Wii U system since its release, and it was one of the most popular demos at last year’s New York Comic Con.  And it has been worth every minute.

Conquering alien horde Geathjerk has set its sights on Earth, and the secret army of the Centinels, code named “The Wonderful 100” is out last hope against with you leading them, the “101st”.  The team saves citizens, and then quickly deputizes them into duty, using them like building blocks to form weapons and tools to fight the rampaging monsters.

Another work from  Hideki Kamiya, produced by Atsushi Inaba, it’s got a lot in common with their Viewtiful Joe series for the Game Cube.  If Viewtiful Joe was a love letter to the Kamen Rider series, Wonderful 101 is a love letter to the Super Sentai series, the shows they use to bring us Power Rangers.  Like Joe before it, the game is rife with fourth-wall breaking comedy, over the top action and magnificent character design.

Also like its predecessor, the game is VERY complex.  With dozens, potentially hundreds of heroes and villains on screen at once, things can get very small very quickly, combine that with a control system that at various times uses all the buttons of the Wii U Game Pad, including drawing on the screen, the playing is required to do quite a lot, quite often.  Reasonable progress can be made with button mashing (and a very welcome “very easy” mode) but there’s enough opportunity for impressive combos and innovative gameplay to keep a dedicated gamer engrossed.  With a hundred hidden characters to find and many times that in hidden items, the replay value of the game is vast.  It takes advantage of the Wii U Game Pad to deliver a new playing mechanic.

The work pays off, as the story is filled with many twists and turns, skewering the tropes of tokusatsu while it tributes them.  The character design alone will keep you laughing for days. (Wonder Beer? Wonder Toilet?).  The theme song, “Heroes’ March” that plays under the action, is a wacky ditty that sounds like what would happen of John Philip Sousa did the theme for a Power Rangers show, orchestrated by Jim Steinman.

The complexity may make it the kind of game that might turn a casual player off, but for the hardcore gamer (not to mention fans of Japanese science-fiction) it’s a treat.

Features, Evolutions and Cool Stuff Coming for “Pokémon X and Y”

The newest entries in the popular Nintendo franchise aren’t due out until October 12th, but Pokémon X and Y have kept both in the news and the gamers’ zone of attention by a steady series of announcements about new features, and now new apps designed to work with the new releases.

Pokémon X and Y are the first games designed specifically for the Nintendo 3DS (as well as the newly announced 2DS, designed without the 3-D functionality for younger players), and will feature not only scores of new collectible creatures, but new forms of classic beasts.  New in this game is the Mega-Evolution, a new super-powered state of a Pokémon’s mature form.  Several classic Pokémon have been announced to be returning with Mega-forms including Mewtwo, Kangashkan, and just announced on the 4th, the original starters Blastoise, Venusaur and Charizard.  With the help of a new stone and a device called the Mega Ring, Pokémon who have formed a special bond with their trainers will gain access to this new form through events in the game.

Following up on the downloadable apps released with the last games, Pokémon Black and White, X and Y users will be able to download Pokemon Bank, an app that will allow users to upload their captured Pokemon to the cloud, with room for over 3,000 little monsters.  This will allow trainers to save captures not only from X and Y, but from both Black and White games as well, a process that could be quite time-consuming in past games.

The app and service is similar to Pokemon Box, a game and memory card released for the Game Cube for use with the Game Boy Advance releases, Ruby and Sapphire. Wii users could also upload their Pokemon captured in Diamond and Pearl to My Pokemon Ranch, a game that allowed you to raise and play with your monsters in a new way on a farm environment.  Unlike those games, since this app includes cloud storage of your data, the service will have an annual fee.  Details of pricing has not been released, tho the app will feature a trial period before payment will be required.

For those who haven’t picked up a 3DS yet (and let’s face it, even for those who have), Nintendo will add to its series of custom model systems with both a red and blue system with custom Pokemon graphics featuring the games’ legendary Pokémon, Xerneas and Yveltal.  The custom systems will be released on September 27th for $199.99, the system’s standard list price.  The price and the early date suggest the systems will not come with the new Pokémon games included.

[[[Pokémon X and Y]]] will be released on October 12th.  As that’s the same weekend as New York Comic Con, there’s some speculation that Nintendo will hold an event in New York to tie into the release.

Review: Little Inferno

The Wii U, released on 11/18, has a good assortment of games available, both in stores and through the Nintendo E-Store.  A happy surprise is the large  number of smaller indie games available on the system, and of them all, the most blissfully wacky is Little Inferno, from the Tomorrow Corporation, makes of World of Goo.  Little Inferno combines the infuriating “What do I DO?” feeling of the open form game, the dark whimsy of a Tim Burton movie, and the purifying warmth of fire, and creates a deceptively simple game that unfolds like an onion in a deep fryer, and is just as delicious.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0TniR3Ghxc]

The game consists of a fireplace, more specifically, the Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace.  Your job – burn things.  Buy things from a series of catalogs of flammable objects, place them in the furnace, set them aflame, find money contained within, use the money to buy more things to burn.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  As you buy objects, more become available.  As you burn more and more, you begin receiving mail from  the manufacturer, congratulating you on your proficiency.  Letters also begin arriving from another Little Inferno owner who seems to have learned a bit more about the company, and the purpose of the fireplace.

The game is dark, disturbing, and tantalizing.  Exactly WHY does the magnet make the gears in the Fireplace spin faster?  Where did Someone Else’s Credit Card come from, and why can you buy then in almost infinite quantity?  Why is the world getting colder?

For a company as family-friendly as Nintendo to select such a bent little masterpiece for not only a game for its new console, let alone a day-of-release game, is a bold move indeed.  This is a game CLEARLY not for everybody (It’s rated T-for-Teen), but for those who like dark humor, not to mention burning things, it’s a perfect little brain-bender.

Michael Davis: The Next Level

So there I was playing Battlefield 3 on my PlayStation 3 like the addicted gamer I am. Yes, gentle reader, this middle aged (I’ll be 26 in April…what?) is a serious no joke gamer.

You name the system I have it and it’s hooked up to my big screen in my living room. In fact, except for my office where I write this and my bathrooms, I have a gaming system in every room in my house.

I love video games.

At any given moment I’m playing four games at one time. One on the PS3, one on the X-Box 360 another on the Wii and yet another on an old you-never-heard-of system called a 3DO. Shit, sometimes I even break out the Dreamcast! If you don’t know what a Dreamcast is then you are way to young or way to jaded to continue to read this particular rant.

To this day I think Dreamcast is the greatest game system ever but then again I think telling a woman she does look fat in that dress is a good move, so what do I know? Like I said, there I was playing Battlefield 3 on my PlayStation 3 like the addicted gamer I am until I get to a level and no matter what the heck I do I can’t get pass this level. So when stuck like this what do I do?

I cheat. Duh.

Every major game release, of which the Battlefield franchise is one, has a strategy guide that costs a pretty penny and all I need do is consult said guide and I’m on my way to the next level.

What a waste of money.

I’m sure there are a zillion reasons to pay a grip for the strategy guide but the only reason I can see is to show me how to get pass a level I’m having an issue with. Anything other than that is a waste of my time and my money.

Why is the strategy guide a waste of money if it can help you get pass an impossible level?  Because real gamers don’t use strategy guides…they get the information free on the net. I freely admit I may be additive to gaming but I’m no where near as good as some people so I need help every now and then. Most hard-core gamers measure success in hours, as in how many hours it takes them to finish or “beat” a game.

Not me.

It can take me weeks sometimes months to finish a game. In some cases I never finish a game. I just leave it until I can come back to it and figure it out. So, no, I don’t use the net to resolve every single road block I come across but I’m not a fan of  “puzzles” as in figure some shit out instead of shooting somebody to get to the next level.

I only resort to the net when something strikes me as so dumb (making me even dumber because I can’t figure it out) I no longer want to deal with it. That moment came in Battlefield 3 in a level called ‘ a rock and a hard place.’

I get to the part in this level where a Russian jet is tearing me and my team’s ass apart. To defeat this jet I have to find a stinger missile launcher and take it down. I find where the stinger is but there is no stinger and after about an hour of trying to equip the words that say stinger missile (only the word is there; the missile is nowhere to be seen). I’m pissed as shit so I go on the net to see what simple thing I’m missing.

The walkthrough on the net is simple enough, in fact I did every single thing it says to do on the walkthrough but I still cannot equip the stinger.

Do you know why I can’t pick up the stinger and blow the Russian jet out of the sky? Because the game has a glitch and no matter what the fuck I do I will never be able to grab that stinger because the game is corrupted, flawed, broken or whatever you deem is the right word for something that does not work in a video game.

I’m beyond pissed when I learn (on line) that this is the issue with the game that I paid $60 goddamn dollars for.

Then it hits me.

This is the reason video games are not doing anywhere near the business in the movie theaters that comics are doing. Except for one franchise, Resident Evil, video games made into movies are woefully lacking the punch at the box office that comics have in the film industry.

Video games have a massive legion of fans but cannot translate those eager thumbs from the controller to pulling out their wallets to buy a couple of movie tickets.  You would think that video game movies would be leading box office sales any and every weekend they debut.


Here’s my theory for what’s it’s worth why the video game industry still eats the dust of the comic’s industry when it comes to movies.

At the heart of the video game industries attempt to bridge the movie world is a great big glitch. Much like the glitch in Battlefield 3, which I now have to return to Game Stop and explain to them why it took me months to return the game.

Because it took me months to get to that damn level, Dick Heads…duh.

In a nutshell the video game industry is still a babe in the woods compared to comics. Comic book creators, publishers and even the evil empire that can be publishers have a long relationship with the other evil empire, Hollywood.

Hollywood and the creators of comic book content are at a point now (mostly) where we respect each other and (mostly) that respect results in movies like The Dark Knight.

Hollywood does not really respect the video game industry yet that’s why you get movies like Max Payne.

Great game franchise, movie not so much. Truth be told, I really liked that movie but then again I love the Max Payne games and I’m sure that accounted for the reason I liked the movie so much. It really tried (at certain points) to do the game justice.

Therein may lay the heart of the video game glitch, again in my opinion, to get a hit in Hollywood you just can’t depend on the fans of the original material. You are not driving a 40-year old woman dragged to see Max Payne by her husband into a video store no matter how bad she may like the movie.

And she won’t like the movie because it will make no sense to her because she has not played the game.

Get it?

To put it another way, I loved the original David Lynch Dune movie. I loved it because I understood it having read the book. My date at the time, a Sunday school teacher, looked at me after the film and asked, “What the fuck was this about?”

Yeah, she was a Sunday school teacher.

Make no mistake, the video game will get it right and then all (except me because I’m Master Of The Universe!) will bow down to what will be the most powerful engine in the movie business. That is going to happen, when I can’t say but it’s going to happen.

Well that’s my two cents. Now I’m off to Game Stop (greatest store ever) to return Battlefield 3. I’m sure they have encountered this before and will have a fix all ready for me.

I wish I could say that about Hollywood and the gaming industry.



Wii U offers new power, new games, long wait times

Wii U ControllerThe [[[Wii U]]] was released on November 18 to a gleefully waiting public with midnight release events and the requisite pomp and circumstance.  The system offers a big jump in power and screen resolution, the first system from Nintendo that’s HDMI-compatible.  Add to that a good raft of first and third-party games available, a new layer of social media interaction and a strong (albeit coming-soon) set of media streaming functions, and you get a solid system designed for the family and the hardcore player in mind.

The system is not without faults, tho. It’s slow. Painfully slow.  It required a system update before any games could be played (taking almost 90 minutes to download, exacerbated by the demand on Nintendo’s systems from EVERYONE needing it), as well as a separate update for each and every game before they started up, averaging five minutes each to download and install.

Once the games load, however, they are gorgeous.  The new addition to the Mario Bros franchise draws from a number of chapters of the series, including many from the latest 3DS edition, and adds on many more.  The showpiece game, [[[Nintendo Land]]], (included with the Deluxe Set, available separately for Basic Set purchasers) is a series of “mini-games”, but in name only.  Each is an engrossing and deep game featuring franchise titles like Metroid and Pikmin, games not yet featured in stand-alone games on the system, but do a good job of keeping them in the public’s mind.  The new GamePad works well with the new games, as well as being able to function as a TV remote, allowing you to power up everything at once to use the system.  Many games can be played entirely on the GamePad, allowing the TV to be used by the rest of the family.  It lacks any local storage to allow you to play games independent of the main unit, but that’s more wishful thinking than a real issue.

The system is backwards-compatible with the Wii, but this too is very slow.  It runs through a software-based emulator that provides a bare-bones Wii menu and interface.  Gone is the ability  to send email to other Wii systems, as well as the ability to import Miis, the system’s personal avatars.  You have the option to transfer your Wii’s system data to the new Wii U, but it’s an all-or-nothing option; there’s no way to pick and choose what game saves, Miis or other system data, and once it’s transferred, your old Wii is returned to Factory specs.   Fine if you’re  planning on tossing it in the closet, or on ebay, but if you were hoping to keep it as a second system, you’re somewhat out of luck.

Each game has its own bulletin board in the MiiVerse, part of the social media platform the Nintendo Network, where you can both write and draw notes about the games, share game tips and if possible, get a few laughs.  At the moment, there’s no way to choose what game boards to see,  or to sort the so the games you own and play, making accessing your preferred boards a bit cumbersome.  And of course, getting to the MiiVerse is…slow.

Coming in the next month are the various streaming media channels like Amazon Video and Hulu Plus, joining Netflix which is already up and running.  The Gamepad will also be the center of a service known as TVii, the details on which are a bit sketchy; details will be forthcoming as the service is unveiled in December.

There’s clearly room for improvement in the system, but what’s available now is well worth the expense, and  if you’ve not already gotten a Wii U, the wait.

Nintendo Wii U digital promotion offers benefits for Deluxe owners

The Nintendo Wii U Deluxe Set, listing at 349.99, is already sold out before its release on the 18th

Nintendo of America today announced a benefits incentive program for purchasers of its new [[[Nintendo Wii U Deluxe Set]]].  By signing up with their Club Nintendowebsite and registering their system purchase, users will receive a ten percent “points rebate” on purchases of WII U made through the Nintendo e-Shop.  In addition, for each five hundred points earned in this fashion, users will receive a five dollar credit on future purchases in the eShop.

Club Nintendo allows users to earn points by registering their Nintendo purchases, and by taking brief surveys about the reasons for purchase and opinions on gameplay.  The points can be redeemed for downloadable games or collectible accessories.  High points earners are also eligible for rarer limited-edition items, made available for free.

This is the latest in a series of promotions intended to drive business to the Nintendo eShop. The release of [[[New Super Mario Bros 2]]] for the 3DS offered a 50 point Club Nintendo bonus for buying the downloadable version of the game.  Another promotion running now allows users to receive a free downloadable game with the purchase of one of a select set of new releases for the 3DS.  Nintendo does not offer their downloadable games at a discount over the store-bought versions, which makes them far more profitable to the company – while saving money on printing and shipping of physical media, they also receive the full price of the game, not just the wholesale price made if sold to a retail store.  It also eliminates the resale market – the downloaded games cannot be sold back to a store, and can only be transferred from one system to another a limited number of times. Special offers like this are clearly intended to make the digital purchase more appealing to the user.

With this offer, a fifty dollar or higher game would effectively earn an immediate five dollar rebate towards further eShop purchases. However, the final list of Wii U games available through the eShop has not yet been revealed; only four retail games have been announced so far, including NintendoLand, which already comes with the Deluxe Set.  Nintendo customer service reps have stated it will include their both “full-size” retail releases like New Mario Bros Wii U, as well as many smaller games at lower price points.  Their retail games are delivered on a DVD, which holds up to 4.2 GB of data. It’s almost certain most of their releases do not fill those discs to bursting; if they did, only about 8 retail games could be stored on the system’s 32GB internal storage. The system does support additional storage via SDHC cards, and while external hard drive support has been reported, no details are available.  So at the moment, the viability of downloading a high number of their retail games is questionable, rendering the ability to truly take advantage of the promotion somewhat limited.

 The  Wii U Deluxe Set retails for 349.99, but is already sold out via pre-sale, and like many new systems, is commanding usurious prices via ebay and other secondary markets. It features, for an additional fifty dollars over the basic system, an extra 16 GB of storage, the game Nintendo Land, and additional accessories including  a  charging cradle for the new Wii U Game Pad.

While the promotion begins officially in December, all Wii U purchases made starting on the day of release (Nov. 18th) will qualify. Details on the promotion are being made available at the Nintendo site at http://ddp.nintendo.com/

‘Sam & Max’ Coming To Nintendo Wii October 7th

‘Sam & Max’ Coming To Nintendo Wii October 7th

Way back in April, we were excited when we learned that Sam & Max, the wickedly funny PC adventure game based on the long-time indie comic and Eisner winning webcomic, was making its way to home gaming systems. The point n’ click nature of the game made it a perfect fit for the Nintendo Wii controller.

Telltale Games has been pretty mum on the subject since. Maybe because they were busy launching their newest episodic game based on the Strongbad web cartoon.

But now they’ve announced that the Sam & Max Season One will be coming to the Nintendo Wii on October 7th. Not only that, but if you preorder the title from Gamestop, you’ll receive an exclusive CD with more bonus content then an anamorphic dog detective can shake a psychotic rabbit thing at: behind-the-scenes featurettes, trailers, artwork, music, and desktop wallpapers. The game will retail in North America for $29.99.

See the official trailer below.



Top Cow Launches Darkness, Witchblade Search Tools

Top Cow Launches Darkness, Witchblade Search Tools

In a press release issued this week, Top Cow announced the debut of a pair of Google-powered search engines themed around two of their most popular properties, The Darkness and Witchblade titles.

With each normal, everyday Web search conducted on one of these Top Cow-branded search engines, users gain a chance to earn Swag Bucks, which are digital dollars that can be redeemed for Top Cow comic books and other prizes at the Witchblade and The Darkness Swag Stores, including iPhones, plasma TVs, digital cameras and game systems like the Sony PSP and Nintendo Wii.

One of the most interesting aspects of the promotion, in my humble opinion, was this note:

In addition, Witchblade and The Darkness toolbars are available to download for Internet Explorer and Firefox Web browsers so that users can utilize the search engines more readily. The toolbars also feature quick links to Top Cow’s MySpace page, message boards, news blog, online store and more. There are no pop-up windows, no spyware, and no adware — guaranteed.

[Bold highlight added]

No spyware and adware? Color me intrigued — but before I install anything, I’d love to hear about other users’ experiences. Anyone willing to give it a shot?