Musings on CGI and Video Game Based Movies

Over the past couple weeks the world has been treated to some fantastic leaked footage of various trailers of upcoming movies thanks to some brave souls who broke the rules of SDCC during panels. There were some trailers that surprised me, some that swayed me to go see the movie next year, and some that did absolutely nothing to change my mind (I’m looking at you, Batman vs. Superman).

However, there was leaked footage for one specific movie that I was absolutely blown away by, Warcraft. Now, you can call my biased if you want due to my love for WoW, the older Warcraft games, and Blizzard itself, but Duncan Jones and Co. has made Stormwind, Blasted Lands, and I’m sure a couple others, come to life like any Warcraft (or WoW) player has never seen before. And not only did they bring to life these absolutely massive and grandiose worlds come to life, they made the Horde come to life.

Now, let’s not get me confused for a Horde player because I am totally all for the Alliance, but seeing Orgrim Doomhammer, Blackhand, and the others actually come to life on a movie screen, kind of gave me some chills. But, there was one tiny thing that bothered me when the footage leaked – a certain comment.

You’re probably thinking, ‘really, Jill, a comment grinded your gears?’ Why yes, young padawan, because of the time, skills, and dedication to make a movie like this come to life. If you were lucky enough to see the footage I’m talking about before it was taken down, you may know what I’m talking about. It was toward the beginning of the footage where someone said something to the extent of ‘Oh, great another Avatar, or ‘it looks like another Avatar.’ But in a tone that sounded like ‘Seriously? This is all CGI? Give me a break.’

Did you know a lot of beloved TV shows have a lot of CGI? Game of Thrones is an example. Yes, they do shoot on locations, so why couldn’t the Warcraft team do that? Well, one, can you tell me of a location where a castle, like Stormwind’s, exists that would be safe enough to film within? Also, I’m sure cost came into play as well. Game of Thrones has success behind it, whereas, Warcraft doesn’t – at least not yet. But the comment wasn’t made when a world was on screen; it was made when the orc’s/Horde were on screen. They are these big, green, menacing looking creatures with giant teeth and massive weapons. And, my god, are they spot on. A world and race people have loved for over 10 years (because WoW wasn’t the first game) has come to life in a brilliant way.

Don’t get me wrong, having actual humans do the parts would probably have been okay, but it would have taken a lot of time to get each of them made up, a lot of effort on the actors part to move and, well, act within the prosthetics/makeup, and- in all honesty – they would have probably looked absolutely ridiculous; puny, not menacing, not tall or big, like they’re supposed to be. Without CGI, I feel that the Warcraft movie would not do the justice that it needs to do for the fans who have been craving for this movie for a decade. If this was created 10 years ago, we wouldn’t have seen what we seen at SDCC.

Also, CGI takes a lot of effort for the artists to bring their creations to life. It takes a lot of work and a lot of skill. So, suck it up and enjoy it for what it’s worth; without it, a lot of things wouldn’t look the way it looks on the big screen or television.

Until next time, xo.

Advertisements

A Geek-tastic Wedding!

Whaaa!? She’s Back!

I know haven’t been around in quite sometime. I must say that planning a wedding, getting used to a job at a startup that grew at light speed, and dealing with depression and anxiety issues is quite the load to handle.

In my time away I got married, I got promoted, I gained friends, and I lost friends. Some family relationships fizzled out, but some new ones blossomed.

So where should I start?

Wedding?

Wedding sounds good. So, this is my opinion; you can agree to disagree if you would like, but the 1 1/2 years it took to plan the wedding – especially the last year – was an absolute nightmare. I would never do it again. Picking invitations; picking save the dates; picking a venue; picking a menu, where certain people should sit, what music should be played, what our song should be, what kind of cake, what should it look like… I could keep going, but I won’t. Some people think that all of that is absolutely fun. To me, unfortunately, it was not. And to top it off, I got pulled into my own bridal shower planning which that was a debacle in itself.

However, finally seeing it all come together on the day of, and how smoothly everything went and how nicely everything turned out, it was oddly satisfying.

So, where’s the geeky aspect to this? Well, I’m glad you asked. My husband and I decided that it wouldn’t have an actual theme, but it would be ode to our likes and favorite things altogether.

prorgramMy husband adores Mario and unfortunately our photographer did not get photos of these, but the way for people to find their seats were actually little Mario ? Boxes with the seat number inside. Actually, the boxes were these minus the candy. And who would have known that contacting the distributor of these lovely knick knacks, would actually mean you get a big discount than buying them at a store. We also found a Mario Star pinata and treasure chest that resembled one you would open in Super Mario 3, cut holes into them, and utilized them as our card holders.

To pay homage to my love for superheroes and comics (that has now rubbed off on my husband hardcore) one of my husband’s co-workers husband created a custom miniature comic to use as our wedding program. The inside was completely customized to our ceremony and all. Sorry that there’s not a better picture of it. As I’m writing this post, I’m noticing pictures I would’ve liked our photographer to take of things, haha. Also, we also had table numbers that reminded you of Clark Kent opening his shirt to reveal the “S” thanks to VanillaRetro over on Etsy.

cake-topperHowever, what I think takes the cake above each of these is the cake topper we had. Thanks to the awesome people over at Bobblegr.am they were able to create unique figures (technically just the head) of our likenesses and we were able to select a body to place them on. My husband’s favorite character is Captain America, so it was only fitting that he had the Captain America shirt. And me, well, I think it’s obvious who my favorite superhero is! Our cake was also somewhat comic themed with 8 action words you normally see within comics adorned on each of the tiers of the cake. We also made the tiers in red, yellow, blue, and green to symbolize some of our other favorites – like Iron Man & Hulk. Though the Bobblegr.am was a bit on the pricey side, it was a wonderful personal touch and it is a keepsake for the rest of our lives. It’s extremely solid and well created. I must say that it was money well spent.

Another little ode to a favorite of ours were our toasting glasses. We both love Game of Thrones and one day, shopping at this little multicultural store in Media, PA, we came across these beautiful gold-plated flutes. And the ornate design and intricacy of it just reminded both us of Westros and had the feel of royalty, houses, and kingdoms. I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

toasting-flutes

All in all, it was a wonderful day filled with joyous laughter, tears, and bright smiles. However, it went by in the blink of an eye due to not being able to really enjoy the day fully since we were playing host and hostess to our guests. If you have questions about anything you see here, are curious about where I looked for things, or just want wedding planning advise (even if its to vent!) please do not hesitate to contact me.

I’ll be back in a few to discuss more on the above topics.

Until next time, xo.

Game Review: LEGO Marvel Superheroes

 

I’m a bit behind since this game came out about a month ago, but I wanted to finish out the game to really get a good feel for it instead of playing some of it, raving about it, and then it not meeting expectations.

Now, I must say this game is cute; nostalgic even. Some of the characters they have accessible within the game just bring back memories from watching the X-Men back in the 90s and reading the comics back then. All of them as LEGO figurines touch my girlish heart. And if they ever make keychains- I want each and every one of them. This was also the first LEGO game I played that had actual voice actors too which brought a breath of fresh air to the LEGO game genre for me. I enjoyed the fact there was commentary. It made the game more fun and more humorous. Of course the little LEGO actions are funny, but when you have actual commentary like “Hulk Smash!” and he smashes someone, it makes it more worthwhile.

The landscaping and free play area is just mind-blowing. I loved having the ability to roam an almost accurate mini New York City of the Marvel-verse. I loved all the different costumes and characters that were available; however I did find it overwhelming. Sometimes I had to think, “okay, which Iron Man doesn’t hover?” since there are 6 different available Iron Man’s. That’s a little obsessive to me. Also, I found it overwhelming when it came to solving the little puzzles that involved multiple characters; especially remembering what twinkling color represented who.

Also, another thing that was a bit annoying to me was that it seemed that the game was slow to load for me. Now, I have one of the most recent Xbox’s (not the one they announced when they announced the Xbox One) and was not expecting the crazy load times that I had. Also, I felt like I was waiting for my Xbox to blow up with the way it sounded while loading. I made sure it wasn’t the console either by trying out my other games, worried that something was wrong with my Xbox, but that was not the case. So, I’m not going to lie that did take away from the game, as well as the glitches I encountered.  I don’t know if it’s caused by the loading issue but sometimes I’d had to restart the game or restart a level because a character got stuck in some god forsaken stupid place that did not allow me to get them out. For instance, Black Widow was a character on the board at the time. All of a sudden she disappeared and I continuously heard the sound of LEGO limbs breaking as I watched my LEGO tokens drop lower and lower. I even tried switching to her and seeing what happened and it wouldn’t even let me do that. So, I had to reset the level to fix it.

It’s stuff like this that turns me off from playing certain games. Since I beat it will I finish out the achievements? Most likely not, because I just don’t feel like dealing with the load times and the glitches. I’m not blaming the developer or my Xbox. It could be a defective disc for all I know. But that just takes away from a good game for me.

The storyline in general was good. I liked it. It was original. Loki-oriented of course since everyone seems to love Loki nowadays (thank you Tom Hiddleston). So, no complaints there!

So what’s my rating? If it wasn’t for the overwhelming of characters and abilities and such it would have a 10/10 for me. But because of this issue, I would say the game is an 8/10.

It’s a must play though for any superhero fan, especially a Marvel one, like me.

Until next time, xo.

New York Comic Con 2013 Recap: Saturday- 10/12/2013

Saturday was the big day for New York Comic Con 2013. You had panels going on for TV shows like The Walking Dead and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; panels for major video games like Thief and Batman: Arkham Origins; there was just so much going on Saturday with not a lot of time. Not to mention, a lot of overlap (not cool Reedpop). We really had to pick and choose our day on Saturday due to the overlap of panels. Also, it was impossible to get into the Main Stage Hall, where The Walking Dead, etc. was presenting, unless we had gotten there at like 6am. Even then it wouldn’t be guaranteed because once you left the Hall, you had to wait back in line (No, they don’t clear the Hall after each panel).

So, since we didn’t have anything to do until 1pm, we tried out some video games! Nintendo had a room specifically showing off games; Ubisoft was showing off games in the exhibitor hall; Intel was showing off, of course. But since we’re fans of MMO’s and MOBA’s we went over to Intel and tried out Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. It’s pretty cool. It really is just like Guild Wars, but with Final Fantasy characters and classes. I’m a fan of Final Fantasy, so I may get it if the price is right. We then tried out a new game that was at a booth across from Intel called Dungeon Defenders II. Yes, there is a first one out of the game, but I actually never played it. So, this was my first time playing the game. I’ll break it down for those unfamiliar like I was–

You’re teamed up with 3 other people to make a group of 4. Each of you pick 1 of the classes available- a knight, a huntress, a mage, or a monk. I don’t know if that’s how the original game is, but this is what the crew at the booth told me at the booth. And you have to protect your main base from waves of enemies. You do this by utilizing gems you gain from kills for placing down or upgrading barriers or weapons.  Also, each class has something specific it can do. For example, I was the mage; the mage could allow everyone in the party to regain full mana and could stun enemies for 5 or so seconds. It definitely was a fun game, but I feel like I’d get bored after awhile if that’s all there is. Maybe I should try out the first one… The best part of playing the game was using the sweet Razer mouse and Razer keyboard. It was the BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard and the Hex mouse. I definitely want the keyboard. It was very comfortable compared to what I have and play with. I wouldn’t mind the mouse either.

After we did that, we had to head to my photo op! Yes, I did a photo op. With who you ask? Well, none other than Pam from True Blood (picture is in the gallery below). She was the nicest person ever and really, REALLY tall, unless she had crazy high heels on. Where did we head then? Well, we had some time, so we went searching for some more new art. I can never get enough art to be honest. We picked up a Harley Quinn piece, 3 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pieces, another Wolverine piece, and a Captain America piece– and we already had two from Thursday. Can you imagine the walls in our room? We already had 4 pieces from the year before hanging on our walls. We then swore off of art pieces, even though we saw a lot more we wanted, which was perfect timing because it was time for our panel- Thief.

What can I say about Thief besides that it looks phenomenal. The game play was smooth and swift. It was dark, but not too dark. I can’t wait for it to be honest. It pulled some pieces from Assassin’s Creed and Batman though. There’s like a special vision Garett can use and the ability wheel was very AC-esque, but that happens nowadays, but I like ability wheels better anyway. I feel like it makes it easier to switch through abilities that way. They did a Q&A with fans after, but there weren’t many good questions answered. One that I had, and was asked, was what’s the point though if there’s no XP system? To which the crew replied that they really wanted to focus on the stealing and looting because that’s what Thief really is about. However, there will be a way to buy upgrades and such, but it’s really supposed to be about being able to pull off the flawless heists. At the end of the panel we got some swag; a cool draw string bag with the logo on it and a really comfortable shirt with the logo on the front then on the back it says “What’s Yours is Mine.” Imagine your softest, most comfortable piece of clothing or thing you own and it’s probably this shirt.

After Thief, we then endured an hour wait for the world premiere of NBC’s Dracula which premiere’s on October 25th right after Grimm. Now, when I first heard about this show I was very, very skeptical. I’m a vampire fan, especially of the story of Dracula and the history of Vlad. So, when I first saw anything about this show and I saw this young, sexy male inter-mingling in American society, I was very confused– I needed to see this to really figure out my thoughts of it. And I will say that it has potential.  It takes place in the late 1800’s. Dracula, who is played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers (known for his role on The Tudors), is awakened for some reason that’s not clear yet, but he is now known as Alexander Grayson who is an American trying to bring his inventions to Europe, but for a purpose. He’s trying to bring down high society people who are big in the oil industry, but who are also a part of the society called the Red Dragon, who I believe killed him and his family. You really can’t tell though who has the good intentions. Is it Dracula with the good intentions? Or is it the Order of the Red Dragon? Who is the evil one? We really don’t know. It definitely needs some work. Hopefully it’s received well then I can actually see this series progress, plus Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a great actor. So, I want to see how he portrays this version of the iconic vampire.

And that was the end of our day. Check out the photos from Saturday below. Sunday will soon follow. I promise.

Until next time, xo.

Throwback Thursday: Parasite Eve

parasite eve

parasite eve

 

I think you can tell by the past Throwback Thursday’s that I really enjoyed playing my Playstation. But, really, who didn’t?

This game, for me, is another gem. It was released in 1998 by Squaresoft and was like a survival role-playing game.  You played the game as a female character, who happens to be a rookie cop, named Aya.  It starts off where Aya and a date are attending an opera show done by a character named Melissa Pearce.  However, during the opera, everyone in the audience, besides, Aya, her date, and Melissa, spontaneously combust.  Aya confronts Melissa who then says that Aya’s mitochondria needs more time to develop.  Melissa then runs, with Aya following, but Melissa turns into a best and has now named herself Eve.

I’m not going to go too much into it just in case others haven’t played it and would like to.  But, pretty much Melissa/Eve is a parasite or alien or some crazy being that is trying to birth what is called the Ultimate Being that would wreak havoc on civilization. Aya is the only one who can stop it from happening since she has the same genes Eve does that would protect her from spontaneously combusting. So, you pretty much run around killing weird looking beasts created by Eve and the orange spontaneously combusted to try to stop Eve from creating this Ultimate Being.

I found it fun because it was different and for once, besides Jill Valentine, you were a female protagonist. And, to top it off, the antagonist was a female, too! Also, the storyline was unique; it wasn’t something done yet. The graphics were good for the time and it perfectly captured New York City (that was the games setting), which back that wasn’t an easy feat.

I’ve actually be looking for this game, too. It’s extremely rare and hard to find just like Castlevania (I want the black labels, not Greatest Hits).  They did come out with a second one (maybe even a third?) too, but I didn’t get to play that one.

Until next time, xo.

Game Review: James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes (Nintendo 3DS)

James Noir's Hollywood Crimes

James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes

I needed a puzzle game to satisfy the crave I had for a Professor Layton-esque game. In my search through the internet, I found this. And luckily, my local GameStop had it. I must say that, in a whole, the game was pretty good and definitely satisfied the craving I had, unfortunately it made me want another puzzle game (so, if anyone who reads this has a suggestion, send it my way).

The game makes you choose if you’re a male or female, so I assume that the story is a little different between the two, but the basic premise is that you are selected to be on a television show called “The Incredible Puzzle Masters,” but a slew of murders start happening; the victims- past contestants of the show. So, you’re called in to help solve some of the puzzles left at the crime scenes.

There are definitely tons of puzzles. You have puzzles you encounter as a contestant on the show, while helping out with the case, and in your hotel room within the fan mail you get. However, they’re not very varying. The type of puzzles you encounter become repetitive as you get deeper into the game. There was maybe one or two new puzzles, but nothing more, nothing less. So, to be quite honest, I was a bit disappointed with that. What really draws you in, in my opinion, was the story line of the game.

I had no idea who the killer was until the killer appeared. That’s what really kept me going in the game. When you had one idea of who it could be, all of a sudden it could be another person you’re affiliated with. It definitely keeps you guessing, thinking, and on your toes. Especially when— no, I won’t spoil anything.

You know what adds to the experience, too, the sound effects/music. It keeps really creepy when you’re dealing with puzzles involving the killer, then seems sleuth-like when you’re just piecing together the crime, and so on. It does add to the experience of the game.

The other downfall the game has is that it used live people to act out the scenes and talk. So, when the voice was playing through the speakers, the mouths movement didn’t go in sync….and I’m not talking a slight off sync…I’m talking about they just looked like they were moving their mouths up and down like those Jib-Jab character cards. If you made the effort to use live people to act, at least make their mouths be in sync with their voices. It looked so ridiculous.

All in all, it was a fun game. I’m definitely not going back to play the other side (the male) or going back to play the fan mail or contestant puzzles I missed because it’s probably all repetitive. I got the story I wanted and the type of game I wanted to hold me over for a while and that’s about it.  If you’re a puzzle game fan, you got to definitely try it out. If you’re not, avoid it at all costs.

 

Until next time,

xo.

Throwback Thursday: Castlevania Symphony of the Night

Castlevania Symphony of the Night

God I loved this game. I wish I still had it, but I had shitty friends back in the day and they stole my Black Label Final Fantasy 7 and this one. I loved this game before it came out because, 1- I love vampires, I always have and always will and followed the Castlevania series; 2- when they were covering it in gaming magazines I loved the art. It was gorgeous; so detailed, all gothic-like era (which is a period of art history I love as well).

Once the game came out and I received it, I was immersed in the game. I mean, the storyline was pretty basic. Alucard, protagonist, comes to destroy Dracula’s castle, fights super natural things, meets a girl, meets the antagonist… pretty normal to me, but was drew me in was that when you went into a new room something was different, something was new. It wasn’t the same thing over and over again. Of course, yes, killing stuff was repetitive, but what you were killing and the look of the rooms were always different. The bosses were amazing, too. My favorite was probably the final form of Dracula that was just so cool looking to me with his giant wing/claws. The weirdest one was Granfaloon. It was just a giant moving orb of naked bodies. And when you hit it, bodies would fall from it. It was just really strange, but whatever- to each his own.

Now, maybe someone could solve this mystery for me, because I swore that there was a monster or a boss that was made of just completely swords. It floated around and spin in a clockwise motion, then at times- to attack- the swords would jut out. I swore it was in Symphony of the Night, but for the life of me I can’t find this one. Anyone know/remember? Because that was definitely another favorite boss of mine.

Anyways- Another thing I liked about it was that, to me, it was challenging. The game definitely wasn’t a walk in the part in my opinion. It definitely did test you and challenge you; making sure you utilized the right special power (holy water, cross, etc.), making sure your armor was right; the rings were right; etc. It was almost like for each boss, you should’ve had a different game plan and set going in. I loved that.

As for the games successors— eh, I could forget a couple ever existed…

But yes, this game is definitely a great memory of playing for me.

Until next time,
xo.