SDCC 2014: Disney Infinity has a pop up shop and more on Marvel Super Heroes

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Wanna know more about Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, the interactive SUper-hero themed game? You’re in luck. Disney Infinity has a bunch of activities planned including a pop-up shop on 4th street. Mac’s new Marge Simpson line also has a pop-up shop and surely there are others we haven’t heard of yet. Here’s info on the shop and panels:

 
·         Disney Infinity Pop-Up Shop: From July 23-26, the Disney Infinity Pop-Up Shop, located at 343 4th Ave. (between J & K streets), will be the official headquarters of Disney Infinity. Open to the public from 5PM-10PM each day, fans will have their first hands-on experience with the game where they can play in both the Play Set mode as well as the newly updated Toy Box mode. Fans will be able to pre-order Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes and be treated to special guests, giveaways and other surprises.

·         Marvel Unlimited Plus Members Event: On July 24 from 3PM-5PM, Marvel Unlimited Plus Members can access the Pop-Up Shop for a special Open House event.  There will be special giveaways and other surprises.

·         D23 Member Event: On July 26 from 2PM-4PM, D23 Members can access the Pop-Up Shop for a special Disney-themed event. Alex Hirsch, creator of Disney Channel’s “Gravity Falls,” will be on site for an autograph session. There will be special giveaways and other surprises.

·         Marvel Games Panel (Room #6A): On July 26 from 12:30PM -1:30PM, Disney Infinity Executive Producer John Vignocchi will participate in the Marvel Games Panel to talk about Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes and reveal big news. Marvel will also be making a series of announcements for upcoming games. Be sure to check it out for more surprises and limited edition giveaways.

·         Marvel Booth (#2329): The Marvel booth will host Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes game demos and attendees will have a chance to play and pre-order the game. John Vignocchi will host daily on-stage presentations. There will also be limited edition giveaways and autograph sessions with special guests.

·         Microsoft Game Lounge (San Diego Hyatt): Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes will be showcased and fans will have the opportunity to get hands-on time with the game.

On the Scene: Bendis Announces Powers at E3

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by David Nieves

In what would have been a better announcement for San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel architect Brian Michael Bendis took the stage in the LA Sports Arena for Sony’s E3 Press Conference last night. He was up there to talk about his and co-creator Michael Avon Oeming’s series Powers. Sony made the announcement that Powers, the TV show, would be coming as content to Playstation. Though no trailer was shown, Bendis did have some concept art to show the crowd. Powers was announced to debut in December and PlayStation owners who subscribe to the PlayStation Plus service will get to see every episode for free. The TV series will take the form of a live-action, hour-long show, with approximately 10 episodes in the first season. Charlie Huston is the scriptwriter on the pilot, and former Falling Skies head writer Remi Aubuchon is on board to share showrunner duties with Huston.  Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming are credited as executive producers.

Being in the arena to hear the news was great, it truly felt like a big announcement. However, it seemed a bit out of place both for the event and it’s place in the program. With only concept art to go with the announcement and no casting news, one couldn’t help but think this would have been a much bigger deal next month at SDCC. As far as where they put Bendis in the lineup; he was brought on stage after the crowd had become amp’ed on Destiny and Little Big Planet news. In a room full of gamers, only a small fraction of the audience cared enough about the announcement to cheer. Sony didn’t seem to realize that a room full of gamers and a room full of comic book fans aren’t always the same audience.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m over the moon that Powers is even coming to TV. The series was fantastic, and it still holds up to this date. Watching Bendis on stage you couldn’t help but ask what PlayStation was thinking doing this now with almost nothing to show. Sony is sure to have a little more to announce on this next month in San Diego but for now let’s enjoy Bendis in a suit.

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Celebrate Torsten’s “Nerd Birthday” With His Crazy Party Favors!

Everyone has milestone events which they remember (or wish to forget).  Some are small memories, like a first kiss, while others can be momentous anniversaries marked each year.

May 25th is one such day for me.This Star Wars Day/International Towel Day marks thirty years of my actively reading, collecting, studying, proselytizing comics.  May 25, 1984, I walked into a grocery store, and was instantly seduced by a black-suited Spider-Man. [Read more…]

Eventbrite uses social media to examine PAXEast

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PAX East, the hugely successful Boston version of the gaming show created by Penny Arcade, wrapped up last weekend. PAX Prime is held in Seattle, and they just announced PAX South, to be held Jan. 23-25 in San Antonio, Texas. There’s also a PAX Australia—all the shows are run by ReedPOP, which also throws a bunch of comic-cons worldwide, as you may be aware.

Eventbrite is a ticketing agency that helps sell tickets for gaming events and they teamed with social media analysts Mashworks to analyze all posts from Twitter, Facebook, forums, and blogs about PAX East during the three-day convention. Eventbrite sent us the above infographic after using social media analysis to see what people were socialing about the show. Eventbrite provided the following bullet points:   

• PAX East created a bit of a social media frenzy: the event drove a whopping 193,000+ social media posts, driving 500+ more posts than PAX Prime 2013 and 25% more social volume than PAX East 2013!

• There were more women in the mix than ever: 28% of people talking about PAX East were women, up from 25% at PAX East 2013 and 26% at PAX Prime 2013, indicating that female attendance and social sharing at gaming events is steadily growing.

• Move over, Nintendo! Indie games drove big buzz: Over a third of all discussion around game announcements and demos centered on indie games — great to see new names breaking through. Conversations studied ran the gamut, and general excitement about PAX East dominated social discussion (48%), followed by chatter about gaming tournaments, like the Towerfall tournament and the 25K Infinite Crisis Event (15%). Other discussion topics included cosplay (12%), game announcements and demos (10%), Panels (9%), and parties and concerts (6%). The biggest social spike of the convention was the announcement of PAX South, driving over 5,500 posts from excited gamers.


Now why are we highlighting this press release? It seemed to have several interesting aspects, not least of which the integration of more women into the PAX culture. In the past, there were some ugly incidents, but hopefully more mixed participation will help change that.

It also seems that Eventbrite is getting more involved in the pop culture event arena — well, heck everyone is. This kind of data mining could turn out to be quite revealing.

And also, it’s a little scary how much people can figure out from social media, eh?

It grows.

NAMCO HIGH, Andrew Hussie’s dating game of fanfic shipping, is live

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It’s called Namco High and it’s a browser based dating sim game, developed for Shifty Look by What Pumpkin Studios and Date Nighto LLC under the creative direction of Homestuck’s Andrew Hussie.

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You play the cousin of the prince from Katamari (the cousin’s gender is not named) and then you can date various Namco Bandai video game characters. Free characters include Galaga (from Galaga), Lolo (from Klonoa), Valkyrie (from Legend of the Valkyrie), Anti-Bravoman (from Bravoman), Meowkie (from Mappy) and Albatross (from Rolling Thunder); for some extra moolah you can flirt awkwardly with Taira (from Genpei Tomaden), Blue Max (from Sky Kid), Akiho Matsuo (from Wonder Momo), Nidia (from Dragon Spirit), Tomari (from Ordyne), Donko (from Taiko Drum Master), Hiromi (from Burning Force), Mr. Driller (from Mr. Driller), Richard Miller (from Time Crisis), and the three Homestuck character exchange students: Terezi Pyrope, Jane Crocker and Davesprite. Dating packs run about $4.95 or you can get everyone from $14.95.

I have to admit I’m old and I don’t know what I even just typed, except that you can play a high school dating game where Homestuck characters meet Galaga.
 
There’s more information from the developers in this interview, but there’s also this quote from Hussie:

I think I know what the people want, I said. What they WANT, is to be able to manipulate their favorite classic video game characters into a variety of lurid but safe-for-work romantic encounters. What they WANT, for instance, is to cajole a cute Katamari into some sort of kissing situation with the spaceship from Galaga.


For those still scratching their heads, Hussie is the creator of Homestuck, aka MSPaint Adventures, a massive online webcomic/game that has an army of teenaged acolytes. As far as I can tell, this is his first big venture outside Homestuck so…I’ll be curious to see how it works out, if I can figure out what’s happening.

NSA scoured Azeroth for terrorists

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Edward Snowden’s leaked paper have released a lot of bombshells but none as big as this: the NSA sent agents to play World of Warcraft and Second Life in search of terrorist threats. You have to admire these agents for their dangerous immersion in worlds of trolls, night elves and avatar dress shops to keep us safe, but you never know where a threat might arise:

Online games might seem innocuous, a top-secret 2008 N.S.A. document warned, but they had the potential to be a “target-rich communication network” allowing intelligence suspects “a way to hide in plain sight.” Virtual games “are an opportunity!” another 2008 N.S.A. document declared.

But for all their enthusiasm — so many C.I.A., F.B.I. and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life, the document noted, that a “deconfliction” group was needed to avoid collisions — the intelligence agencies may have inflated the threat.


So many spies playing games…I’m sure this was ALL ABOUT going into chat rooms and asking if anyone happened to be making a bomb, and not goofing off at all.

Despite the heroic measures, no threats were found, perhaps because terrorists have moved on from Second Life to far more sophisticated platforms such as Angry Birds Friends

Titan To Publish Graphic Novel Based on Capcom’s ‘Lost Planet’

Titan have announced that they’ll be publishing a graphic novel based on the Lost Planet series of video games from Capcom. Called Lost Planet: First Colony, the story will be written by Guillaume Dorison and illustrated by Massimo Dall’Oglio.

[Read more…]

Kick-Watcher: Not Enough Rings

Zainab brought this Kickstarter to my attention a little while back, which seeks to bring the webcomic Not Enough Rings to print. Drawn by Veronica Vera and edited by Oliver Bareham, Not Enough Rings follows the story of Sonic The Hedgehog, affectionately poking fun at the characters and game design. Each new strip of the series takes place in an act of the game series (every level of Sonic is broken into three acts), meaning over the course of time new characters like Tails and Knuckles have shown up, and the slightly repetitive nature of Sega’s later level design gets a few jabs.

It’s a fun, silly, comic, and each new strip brings back memories of how alternately fun and frustrating the original games can be. The kickstarter has already achieved the target with only a few hours left to go, but that leaves plenty of time to push that total up further! I spoke to both Veronica and Oliver about their project.

[Read more…]

Play Kyle Baker’s Mass Murderer of Steel game

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Inspired by the backlash against MAN OF STEEL’s property destruction, Kyle Baker has ceated a flash game called MASS MURDERER OF STEEL that allows you to enjoy it endlessly. The game play is actually quite enjoyable as a tussling Zod/Superman smash into buildings and women scream.

“Enjoy high-flying mass destruction as you ignore the hideous death screams of the millions you are pledged to save! Use your super powers to wage a never-ending battle for self-important allegorical bombast! Bludgeon your senses into numbed awe!”

SDCC ’13: Gam3rCon is back

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As Comic-Con continues to morph into a loose confederation of events all centered around the Old Spaghetti Factory on 5th and K, Gam3rCon will also be returning. The full 4-day gaming-focused event will take place at the 10th Avenue Theatre, at 10th and Broadway. Activities include panels, a retro game arcade and energy drinks. 10-4 on that.

Gam3rCon, a four-day celebration of all things related to games returns to San Diego from July 18th-21st, 2013 for its fourth year as the premier gaming convention in San Diego. Gam3rCon 2013 features an old school Retrocade with timeless games, a competitive contemporary Video Game Arena, a community Tabletop Gaming Lounge, engaging Gaming Industry Panels, live geek-themed theatre, gaming-themed artwork, and geeky rooftop parties.
 
For one week in July, over 120,000 gamers, gaming industry members and pop culture fans from all over the world come to downtown San Diego for Comic-Con. However, Comic-Con is sold out months in advance and their doors close in the early evening. This means every day thousands of people are looking for something to do. Gam3rCon offers an affordable alternative, loaded with interactive entertainment that allows for maximum geeking out for hours at a time.  Gam3rCon runs daily from 2pm to 2am and aims to be the after hours destination event for gamers, geeks, and gaming industry professionals during Comic-Con International.
 
The Gam3rCon team is eager to expand upon the success of its previous years. “This year, we’re focusing on two things – packing the place and even more engaging programming,” says co-founder Brian Bielawski. “We want to encourage people who come to Gam3rCon for one thing to try out two or three of the other amazing things that we offer.” A crowd favorite is one of the most popular features, the Retrocade, a room dedicated to the classic systems of our past where people can play old-school Atari, Sega, and other games they—or their parents—played as kids.
 
Gam3rCon will take over all four floors and the roof of the 10th Avenue Theatre, and feature live video game tournaments on a 40 foot screen, geek-inspired theatre including “GAM3RS the Play”, tabletop gaming sessions by local game masters and indie-game developers, industry panels and discussions, an art gallery by professional artists in the game industry, and rooftop parties every night with live entertainment, food, and drinks all with an amazing view of the San Diego skyline.
 
Returning sponsor USAopoly is joined by MRI/Black Powder Ultra, Mad Catz and Microsoft. “This year, we are excited to welcome our first ever energy drink sponsor,” Bielawski continues. “We are excited to bring them to the gaming world because we have seen Black Powder Ultra, which was originally designed for athletes, wildly increase gamers’ performance.”
 
Gam3rCon is an all-ages event with activities ranging from the earliest traditions of dice and cards to the latest innovations in digital gaming experiences. Bielawski shares that at Gam3rCon, attendees “make friends and memories that will be with them for years.”

Here’s the first full trailer for Batman: Arkham Origins

This would be the prequel to the first two games in the Arkham series, then. Featuring a younger, less experienced Caped Crusader than before, the story will see a parade of villains descend upon Gotham in order to try and take out Batman, apparently as part of some scheme planned by Black Mask. The trailer below doesn’t offer any gameplay whatsoever, instead offering a short film setting up one of the more anticipated parts of the game – a fight between Batman and Deathstroke.

[Read more…]

Nice Art: Attract Mode’s Comics Be Video Games art show

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TCAF is coming at us, and bringing with it a plethora of cultural events like Attract Mode’s Comics Vs Video Games art exhibit, and there’s a lot of tasty stuff right in that link above, including the Kyle Fewell piece above.

All the art will be on sale and the show kicks off with a party on Thursday night: May 9th at 7pm, at Comics Vs. Games’ new home, Bento Miso, #100 – 862 Richmond St W. There will be pizza and beer.

A few more art pieces below:

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Kris Mukai

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Dan Dussault
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Natasha Allegri

Today’s money breakdown from the Penny Arcade Report: paying for journalism with panty shots

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The Penny Arcade Report is a video game news and commentary site run by….well, we’ll let you figure it out. Yesterday editor Ben Kuchera ran down the economics of running a website in dollars and cents. Although he’s talking about video games, it all applies equally to comics journalism:

So now it turns out I need around 1,500 readers to get that $5 for my hypothetical site. Say I want to pay myself $500 for the month. It’s not a ton of money. I need 150,000 page views. That jumped right up there, didn’t it? Now look at sites that employ a number of highly skilled, professional writers that are full time and making a livable wage. You’re suddenly looking at millions and millions of page views required to keep everything afloat, much less expand. Tens of millions of page views. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of unique readers.


Kuchera makes the argument that running lots of cosplay galleries to pay for journalism is the way to go:

But let’s get back to the general ecosystem out there: How do sites justify running longer, in-depth stories that won’t bring in the huge page views? I have bad news. They write shit. Popular shit.

I stopped getting mad at the “Top Ten Japanese Panties I Jerked Off To Last Night” stories on certain sites when I realized that the hundreds of thousands of page views those articles received helped pay for a writer to spend a week gathering sources and do original reporting for a feature.

The “Sexy Cosplay” galleries are worth an epic amount of page views, and they get passed around social media, so the uniques aren’t bad either. The sad truth is that the content you hate on most gaming blogs is usually incredibly popular, and helps them pay for any solid reporting you do enjoy.


He also suggest that ad blocking is Very Bad and whitelisting site you like and sharing the content is the best way to support them. Hm. Sounds familiar. Anyway, Kuchera’s comments will come as no surprise to anyone who is in the interweb business, but he lays out the economics in a fairly stark fashion. It also explains why you usually have to monetize with physical goods rather than eyeballs, and why there is very little actual journalism on genre sites.

REVIEW: Gaming and Comics Collide in HAWKEN:GENESIS

Archaia, who makes a strengths out of the crossroads between comics and other visual media, has taken on another estuary zone in HAWKEN: GENESIS, bringing a comic based on a free internet gaming hub, HAWKEN to readers. Flood zones between visual media can be tricky, especially in gauging the right audience for a comic, since there’s not a one to one correspondence between gamers and comics readers in this case. But there is overlap, and Archaia are setting out to find out just how wide that swath is, and how much interest gamers might take in comics and comics readers might take in gaming. What they’ve produced, however, is a graphic novel true to the traditions of comics, featuring the aspects of the comics medium that can even more fully explore the world of HAWKEN in a sci-fi tradition. Add to that a commitment to bringing in comics artists who are well-versed in the medium to interpret the world of gaming into sequential narrative.

 images-2HAWKEN: GENESIS is a hardback collection with a strong design throughout, courtesy of Scott Newman, suggesting that quality graphic novel creation was one of the priorities of the team. It not only contains individual “chapters” of the narrative, drawn by individual collaborations between artists and colorists based on the unified writing of Jeremy Barlow steering the story-creators Dan Jevons, Miles Williams, and Khang Lee, but also “interstitial story” elements between chapters that convey meta information by Andrew Nielson and Heather Nuhfer. This is an interesting choice because it harks back to gaming elements, but also ties into the kind of comics extras provided in dense comics works like WATCHMEN and LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. These extras convey a sense of total world creation and heighten the suspension of disbelief in the comics experience.

[Read more…]

Tomb Raider is back at Dark Horse

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Continuing the parade of 90s media giants coming back to life, Dark Horse has announced details of their team up with Crystal Dynamics™, for TOMB RAIDER: The Beginning, a prequel to the upcoming Tomb Raider video game reboot due March 5. A 48-page hardcover, “TOMB RAIDER: The Beginning,” was written by lead game writer Rhianna Pratchett, lead game writer for TOMB RAIDER, with art by Nichola Daniel Sela, and Andrea Mutti, if the poster is to be believed. The cover art is by Tomb Raider art director Brian Horton.

Whilst penning Lara’s origins story for the game I had lots of ideas about the world she and the other characters inhabited, and the story behind their voyage: it was great to be able to flesh out the world of TOMB RAIDER and work with the talented team at Dark Horse to bring Lara Croft back to comics,” said Pratchett in a statement.

The new TOMB RAIDER game features a younger, less improbably proportioned Lara as she discovers her proclivity for jumping into tombs full of skeletons.

The entire “TOMB RAIDER: The Beginning” comic will be available as a bonus when you pre-order TOMB RAIDER at Best Buy.

Preview of the Legend of Zelda: HYRULE HISTORIA

A few months ago Dark Horse announced they were publishing The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, an authorized art book of the storied video game franchise. Such was the excitement for this book that it knocked off Shades of Grey from the Amazon best seller list for a while, and money from The Beat’s Amazon affiliate link paid for all our Christmas presents.

Offering never-before-seen concept art, behind-the-scenes commentary and an exclusive comic by Zelda manga-ka Akira Himekawa, Zelda fans of all ages are sure to be gaga for this book.

The book comes out on the 29th of January, and Dark Horse promises a beautiful package with an introduction by legendary producer and video-game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. It’s also, with over 100,000 copies sold through Amazon alone, guaranteed to be one of the biggest selling books of the year from a comics publisher.

And here’s a little preview. Crank up the ocarina and enjoy.
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