I Want One of Those!: DC Universe Online Reading List

We will probably never see a DC vs Marvel crossover, but if it happened I think the villain side of the story would be the most interesting

As I’ve already mentioned in the past I am a bit of a comic fan, but I’m also unfortunately rather a lazy one. Once upon a time I would be a regular at the local comic store, but those days are long gone.

However I am now in the process of rebuilding my graphic novel collection to bring me fully back up to speed with as much of the DC & Marvel universes as possible.  Last year I picked up a whole pile of ones I needed including a few surprising ones that I did not plan on picking up.

But that’s where the problem hits home you see, even being out of the loop for only a few years I’ve completely lost track of what forms part of the core universe for each. Obviously the newer titles are important, but obviously some of the older ones will have by now been retconned.

While this will not stop me wanting to read them, it would be good to put them on the back burner to get the important ones out of the way first.

For example, Spider-Man: Chapter One, which was supposed to ‘retell’ Spidey’s early years and an attempt at an interpretation of the character to modernise it. That series itself cause a few alterations to the Spider-Man cannon at the time, but I am aware that this series itself has been effectively subtracted as part of the Spider-Man lore so that its changes are completely undone.

It’s enough to make your head spin.

Thankfully however there has been some help for me at least when it comes the DC Universe. While Sony were working on DC Universe Online they had their own archive library, to be able to get all the characters and lore right for the game. While the library was very extensive it seems that they also had an internal ‘Essential Reading’ list.

Comic fan site Comics Alliance managed to get its hand on this 5 page reading list, which is incredible sight for people like myself wanting to catch up or anybody looking to get into comics properly for the first time. Below is a copy of the first page of that list, the rest of the pages can be seen over on their site http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/01/11/reading-list-dc-universe-online/.

This has been saved to my machine to make sure I will be able to check it when needed. I have not used it just yet as I already have an active wish list set up that i want to clear off first (http://www.amazon.co.uk/wishlist/1QEGSVGPJQCN0 for anyone interested).

Now all I really need is a similar list for the Marvel Universe…..Hmm, I wonder if the guys at Gazillion or Cryptic have one? I shall have to enquire!

Unsung from the rooftops

Today I saw a link on twitter to an interesting article on the Wall Street Journal website. I do occasionally check this site for some of the interesting news in technology, some of the their writers are good. However there is one section of news that I would not look there for – Gaming news.

Apart from the occasional article related to the finances of companies, such as news on Zynga’s profits and privacy breaches, gaming is not exactly what their core demographic want to read about. However that does not excuse the sheer ineptitude of the article in question.

Here is the article

The Unsung Videogame Heroes of 2010
No Mario Kart. No Beatles. No Halo. Here are the titles that existed under the surface of the hype but still delivered hours of fresh action for gaming pro and rookie alike

Check it out here http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576060003073227560.html

Did you go check it out? Are you done laughing yet?

These are supposed to be the games that got missed, the ones that slipped under the radar. Looking at the list I can only find one that would fit into the group and then only in comparison to everything else on the list and stretch the definition.  That would be Dance Central, overall its a fun new title that slipped under the radar kinda, if you count being eclipsed be the technology that the game was released to take advantage of.

Dance Central was nothing more that the Kinect’s answer to Just Dance, but it did what it was supposed to do and that was to take advantage of (show off) the power of the Kinect’s full body motion sensing technology. But it was the universally accepted as one of the best launch titles for the device.

So as you see I had to stretch it a bit there.

But the rest of the title’s most certainly hyped up to the eyeballs and then had an extra dollop of hype slapped on top for good measure. There is not a single game in this list that has not sold millions, or been praised by critics and gamers alike.  Just take a look at this list, and I would like you to try and see what other fault I spotted with their description of the list.

Fallout: New Vegas, Mass Effect 2, Gran Turismo 5, Super Street Fighter 4, God of War III, Goldeneye 007, Tiger Woods 11 & The Force Unleashed II.

Spotted it yet? Yes that is right the are all sequels, with the exception of Goldeneye 007 which is a remake.  So how exactly they all ‘delivered  hours of fresh action’ with that fact in mind just put the proverbial cherry on top of the whole thing.

Now as I made sure to mention at the very start of this post that the Wall Street Journal are not exactly known for its gaming credentials. However I find it incredibly difficult to believe that nobody at all in their editorial process saw this article and didn’t at least recognise 1 of these titles that should not have been there, then used that question the accuracy of the thing.

This is all before you get into the details of what they have actually written about the games themselves. Kratos is after Ares in God of War III? I’m sure we finished him off long ago? RPG’s are nothing more than pressing A to attack & B to defend, while New Vegas requires complex tactics?

What was this guy smoking and where can I get some?

You want a title that was overlooked this year, Try Singularity or Enslaved: Journey to the West both seemed to get overlooked somewhat and are were great games.

I do so look forward to next years unsung heroes, Little Big Planet 2, Gears of War3, Uncharted3, Elder Scrolls V & Mass Effect 3.

I Want One of Those!: Razer Hydra & Switchblade

Well the year has already seen it first trade show, namely the International Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. While most of this show is about what is coming up in the terms of televisions and laptops, there is always plenty of interesting bits of gaming news that comes out too.

This year was no exception, and top of the crop this year in my opinion was Razer. They displayed two bits of tech for this year that really caught my eye.

The Razer Hydra

It seems that motion gaming is well and truly here to stay. What started with the Wii has now been copied by both the PS3 & 360, in the form of the Move & Kinect. I’ll admit that I have not bought either of those just yet, as to this point neither company has shown me anything that makes them stand that much above the Wii.

It was only a matter of time before the PC got in on the act directly, without the need for hacked versions of the Wii & Kinect controllers. The answer was first displayed at last years CES in the form of the Sixense technology, but this year saw Razer come packing its latest version of the tech, The Razer Hydra.

This was shown off to great effect with come custom-made Portal 2 levels, specifically designed with the Hydra technology in mind. As the video below shows these specially added levels with see you using the motion & positional sensing of the kit to twist, scale and move blocks and portals in three dimensional space.

My favourite example about a  is when the sneak up behind a turret at about 1:30, picks it up and then using the control to push it further away from them into a laser beam. This is followed by them showing off the ability to twist a mirror block to redirect the same beam in a way that would simple not be possible normally.

The Hydra is set to be released in April in a special bundle with Portal 2. The version of the game included in the bundle will support the controller natively obviously, but will also include a bunch of specially created maps & puzzles designed with the controller in mind.

With a  rumoured  sub-$100 pricetag on the bundle – I think I will have to grab one come April.

The Razer Switchblade

This was their big new prototype, and is meant to be the gaming equivalent of a net-book. The prototype Intel ATOM based mini laptop comes with a 7 inch touchscreen and a small yet comfortable looking keyboard. What is good about the keyboard buttons are customisable and will change based on the game you are playing.

This is done with the use of a second LCD screen underneath the keyboard, that projects up to the buttons surface in a similar way to those expensive MINI-LCD keyboards you can buy. However if you really wanted to use standard keyboards & mice the device will include Bluetooth & USB support for just that reason.

For a prototype and Concept device, this thing has certainly got a lot of people’s attention, myself included. The best part of the me is the on the fly configuration of the LCD keyboard. I will be keeping a watch on development of this to see if they can get it beyond the concept stage and into something they can actually bring to market.

Video below is IGN’s talking about the device after getting a press hands-on.

Could be an expensive year for Gaming Tech.

Getting Motivated

Yesterday I shared with you a few of my resolutions for the year, ones that for a change I intend to keep. Going by my past experience however, I know what I’m like. I’m easily distracted and if I don’t keep on top of them I will let them slip to a side without realising.

So to counter that I have decided to reward myself for each of them I complete, that way I will always have a reason in the back of my mind telling me to do them. Nothing motives people better than greed at the end of the day, myself included.

For each of the resolutions I came up with a slightly different reward.

For my Weight Loss goal, the reward is purely financial. Basically for every day that I do my 30 minutes of Wii Fit, I am putting aside £1, which means that at the end of the month I will have an extra £30 to do with what I wish. Now I know its my money anyway, but there are certain things I only allow myself so much of a budget for each month.

Games are one such item. As much as I love them I limit how many I actually buy, because if I didn’t I would just bankrupt myself in no time at all. So this £30, which is outside my normal gaming budget, means that I could get an extra game a month if I wanted too. Likewise for PC Equipment, There I only buy myself essentials – this way i could treat myself to the odd bit of kit that I just want.

There is a secondary reward for this – I did my first 30 minutes last night and the bloody Wii Fit told me I classified as Obese. I know their guides for what is obese, overweight etc is nowhere near reality and I was only just on the line but still that was annoying and I will get that dealt with.

For the Podcasting, well that is actually a reward itself as I actually love podcasting. When I started messing around with it, it was just to look at it in terms of how it could be used to help in marketing and enhancing other projects. Now its something I actually look forward to, more so now that Gow & Craig (TurkeySaladBoy) have moved on from Thirteen1 as it a chance for us all to catch up.

For the Blogging, this is another one where I am indulging myself a little. Now aside from games I also enjoy comics, but likewise I limit how many of them I buy on a regular basis. I used to have a fairly substantial graphic novel collection as a result, but while I was at university I decided to sell all of them on. This is something I regret and am slowly working on rectifying.

So if I meet my target of at least 3 updates a week, that are not republishing of my Thirteen1 content, for the whole month then I will allow myself to buy a new graphic novel. Primarily they will be from the list of ones that I stupidly but there are also some new ones that I’ve had my eye on but couldn’t justify the cost of.

A New Year

Suppose I should start this blog post with the obligatory salutation – Hope you all had a great Xmas and new year.

Personally Xmas was fine until a couple of days ago. It was at that point that my immune system decided that it needed a break and left me open to the flu bug I had been successfully avoiding until then. Not that I let that stop me enjoying the new year. Having long since given up on combatting the crowds at the clubs at new year, the wife and I normally just have a few drinks and watch films.

This year it seems that Gow had exactly the same plan, so we joined him and a few other friends and had a few drinks while playing some games. Being Gow he had decided to set up his shot roulette wheel. Being me, a few shots in I promptly forgot having spend the day chugging flu medications.

With that mistake I was granted my last lesson of 2010. Lemsip + Beer & Shots = a bitch of a hangover while you
are already ill.  So anyway that leads us to today, a new year.

As is traditional I have made a couple of resolutions, they were however things I was planning to do anyway.

1 – Lose some weight

Now I’m not vastly overweight, but over the last few years the Guinness’s have started to catch up with me. I have begun to develop somewhat of a beer gut. I’m not cut out for the gym. I’ve tried in the past and all it’s done is cost money, besides I’m only looking to lose a few pounds.

Instead I’m making use of the Wii Fit I bought for my wife last year. I will do 30 minutes a day until the gut starts to fade away.

2 – Podcast more regularly

Since Gow left Thirteen1 for his new job, the schedule on the Drinky Talky Thing has been somewhat erratic. All three of us have got incredibly busy and finding the time to sit down and record one. We have however over Xmas we have worked something out and the podcast should be more regular in the upcoming months.

So watch this space for that.

3 – Make more regular updates here

Yes I know I said this last year but I really do intend to be more regular with my updates here. To help with that I have a whole pile of my Thirteen1 content that will steadily be moved over here, starting with the drinking games but also some of my old reviews hands on stuff.

On top of that I aim to do at least 3 updates a week, even if they are only short opinion pieces on some random gaming news story or bitch about some stuff that has bothered me during the day.

To that end the WordPress App is now back on my phone, so I can use that to take advantage of any downtime – leaving a simple matter of editing