Category Archives: EDITORIALS

MY GAMER ID

A lot of people play games. Some do it for fun, some actually do it for work and some actually make games for a living. A lot of the time they all get squashed together under the “gamer” label, which for me was actually something I wanted to be acknowledged for. Granted I’m not the type to go around screaming “Gamer Pride,” I just try to be myself like Steve mentioned awhile back. The thing is though I didn’t grow up in a Western society where the idea of individuality was encouraged. It’s not that the people where I’m from were against it more like it was just considered an oddity, an alien concept if you will. Conformity was their comfortability and that made me quite uneasy and very misunderstood for the most part. Over there people generally did the same thing (of course with variation) and the only labels people had were either you were “in” or you were “out.” I remember the first time the topic of conformity was brought to my attention; if you’ve watched the movie 21 Jump Street then you’ll get what I’m talking about somewhat. I was a “one strapper” when it came to wearing my back pack and one my friends took notice of that. After a brief discussion on why “two strapping” is “cooler” and me defending my want of being comfortable and myself, she looked at me and said “individuality isn’t really that cool.”

Some may say that that was a good thing. More generality than specialty. As mentioned everyone did the same thing; hobby wise people were into watching anime, playing video games, listening to music or playing sports. But there are no “gamers” in my hometown but everyone I know loves playing videogames, hell if you owned a console you were actually considered “cool.” Well more like “that guy has money, I can play on his system for free.” I actually had a guy come to my house in the morning just to play DoTA the whole day just so he wouldn’t waste money at a cafe (I don’t put out that easy, he’d buy me lunch and dinner :P). Anyway, I didn’t want to be another sheep in the herd so I tried to identify myself with something close to me which was gaming. You could say I was a hipster back then, when people were listening to popular music on the radio I was listening to Ska on my mp3 player. I was really on my own when I wanted to talk about games because most of the people I talked with only played a certain game somewhat comparatively to western gamers and the general love of the Call of Duty games. I wasn’t a social outcast, I was generally out going, hell I was a cheerleader at one point in time.  I’m not trying to get dark or anything but I was alone in what some may consider a lifestyle I tried to indulge in. But that’s the weird thing, labeling myself as a “gamer” wasn’t a negative connotation, sure people found it weird that I tried to dissect the meaning behind Shadow of the Colossus or once used The Power Rangers’ Megazord as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity (I went to Catholic school), instead I was regarded as creative and unorthodox in a good way.

Usually this is the part where you’d hear about “what gaming has done for my life” and all that jazz but that’s not really the point of this little article. I mean sure gaming has influenced my college and career path by wanting to become a game designer, but that was actually a calculated choice more than it was a desire. Gaming is what it is; a culture, a hobby or whatever. Sure you can say it defines me but I spent most of my time trying to define it. I don’t need it in my life but I certainly want it to be. I hear it a lot of the times that being called a “gamer” is a certain “social crutch” which leads to a lot of problems.

Being a certain label isn’t a bad thing. It’s isn’t something that you need to call attention to either. Most of the time it just so happens it is a part of you who are and I believe there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Let it identify you but don’t let it define you. I’m Ted and that’s my Gamer ID.

COMICS REVIEW: AGE OF ULTRON #1

Why can’t he hold all these Avengers?

Ultron is the mistake that Hank Pym should be remembered for. For the uninitiated, Hank Pym is the original Ant-Man. He was one of the founding Avengers, constantly deals with an inferiority complex since he works in the same universe as Mr. Fantastic (Doom has the same problem), and is known for a comic in which he smacked Wasp up; the actual writer stated decades later that Hank Pym was never a wife beater, but the idea has been cemented in Marvel canon. It’s also what people always bring up.

Ultron is the real menace though. Ultron is the AI based off of Hank Pym’s brain patterns that conveniently decided it hated organic life. The latest appearance of Ultron was during Abnett & Lanning’s cosmic Marvel run where it was very good at what it wanted to do (unless it has shown up in the mean time). This however appears to have no basis in the actual 616 universe, but rather it’s the Avengers’ version of Age of Apocalypse. It’s a dystopian society ran by Ultron; an Earth that’s his base to wreck havok on the rest of the galaxy. It’s also not perfect.

Brian Michael Bendis’ best work was his street level heroes and not his Avengers’ run. Spider-Man, Moon Knight, Daredevil, and especially Alias (AKA Jessica Jones) were all fantastic; his Avengers’ run suffered from having too slow of a development along with some of his other work. It’s just particularly obvious when he’s dealing with a wide variety of characters. Bendis is a big champion of story decompression; to him, a story should be as long as it needs to be and not necessarily be contained in a 26-page comic in any way. This makes it better to wait for a trade paperback over buying singles.

Age of Ultron seems to be suffering this; the start of it was interesting, riveting, and engaging, but it felt a bit hollow. Swamp Thing and Animal Man (the current Nu52 versions) have suffered recently from such developments, and Age of Ultron may be following suit. The art by Bryan Hitch resembles the Marvel in-house style; it’s standard cape comic fare without much variation, but it isn’t horrible either. It’s clear he was on a deadline, but it doesn’t completely distract from the script he was portraying.

Bendis’ story is very reminiscent of both Age of Apocalypse. Ultron has taken over, and he has the ability to infect people with nanotechnology (think more Prey from Michael Crichton than Deus Ex). It’s also including Bendis favorite Luke Cage in a role, but not exactly the primary one. Hawkeye and Spider-Man (Peter Parker) are the focus of this first issue. If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic, especially Robot Apocalypse storylines, you’ll enjoy this. To me, this was a disappointment, but my judgement is reserved for the second issue.

Moon Knight, my favorite crazy hero, had his last run build up to this (also written by Bendis). It ended abruptly for Bendis to work on this. He doesn’t appear until that second issue, and from the build-up on that comic it was expected that this would be a universe event. It’s merely an alternate universe setting which may very well be better in the end.

Pick this up if you’re a fan of Bendis, Bendis’ Avengers’ cast, or apocalypse settings. Otherwise, wait until it’s finished and buy the trade paperback at the most. Or just stay away; there’s plenty comics and games that could use your patronage.

NUREVIEWS OUYA DISCUSSION


A discussion on the OUYA game console. Will this console succeed? Who is their target audience? Did Sameer save you any pizza? Answers and more in the NUReviews OUYA discussion!

Tegra 3 Showcase: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBl-goBrWno
EUROgamer’s OUYA article: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-07-14-saturday-soapbox-the-trouble-with-ouya
Penny Arcade’s OUYA article: http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/the-reality-of-the-ouya-console-doesnt-match-the-hype-why-you-should-be-ske