Author: thescapeart1st

Thinker. Astronaut. Adventurer. Nerd.

True Detective gets a Josh Budich Screen Print

The conclusion to HBO’s True Detective left us with our jaws dropped. No one expected a show like this to rise from the earth but we were thankful that it did. Right before the season’s end, Spoke Art released an amazing limited edition screen printed poster by artist Josh Budich. This amazing piece titled “Time is a flat circle”, is drawn and colored in true Josh Budich fashion. Like much of his past work, his choice of color and incredible attention to detail really capture the tone of that we have all grown to love about True Detective. The piece is a limited edition 18×24 4-color screen print on french lemon drop paper and was available until March 7th through Spoke Art, but will likely be available on Ebay and other similar marketplaces. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one and will likely post photos of the poster in the near future. Any fan of the show would kill for this piece of collectible artwork for their apartment and i foresee the value of this piece rising over the next few months.

Check out Spoke Art for more artwork by Josh Budich - http://www.spoke-art.com/

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The Wolf Among Us Episode 1

Graphic Novel meets Cinematic Adventure Game

Following the success of the Walking Dead adventure game series, Telltale Games has really upped the anti in terms of  compelling storytelling in the adventure game genre. Their newest release “The Wolf Among Us”, fuses beautifully crafted, graphic novel inspired, cell shaded animations with a choice driven murder mystery. The inspiration for the story came from the Vertigo comic book series “Fables“, which takes characters of fabled fiction and places them in a contemporary world. You play as protagonist Bigsby Wolf; The unpopular “big bad wolf” and chain smoking sheriff of Fabletown. Bigsby finds himself at the forefront of a complex mystery involving the murder of the kings daughter Faith, a now deceased prostitute. As Bigsby travels further down the rabbit hole, the curtains around this fabled world become darker and darker, revealing more about the corruption in Fabletown and its shady occupants.  The gameplay in the Wolf Among Us is almost identical to that of The Walking Dead, but with a few additional directional nuances that can only come from experience and creativity with the games development. The casual nature of this game makes it appealing for anyone interested in a good story, while the conversation pieces and quick time action events, keep you engaged and on your toes. Mature audiences can appreciate the presence of adult themes, while also experiencing a creative spin on fables we’ve all enjoyed as kids. Being a huge fan of comic books, adventure games and Vertigo’s work particularly, this is an exciting venture that i cannot wait to see unfold in the future. Telltale games has crafted a brilliantly unique formula and style of adventure game that delivers mature, cinematic stories, of which we can only hope to see more of.

Episode 1 is currently available on Steam, Playstation 3, Vita, OSx, and IOS. You can pick up the 5 episode season pass of The Wolf Among Us on Xbox live arcade  for $14.99, which seems to be the best value right now.

Mondo: Best Posters of 2013

Mondo has always been at the forefront of cult movie artwork and this years screen print’s did not disappoint. In 2013 we have seen some incredible stuff from emerging artists and veterans alike – Kilian Eng, Kevin Tong, Randy Ortiz, Drew Struzan, and Jay Shaw to name a few. If you know anything about Mondo’s releases, you know they are extremely hard to get a hold of. Following them on Twitter is definitely the best way to get your hands on any of these great pieces. Randomly, they’ll tweet out that a poster will be on sale soon. Then, at an undisclosed time, they will tweet that the poster is available for purchase. At that point, everyone and their mother rushes to the website to order them as fast as possible. I have never actually been able to get my hands on one, but i will never stop trying!

Until then, here’s what i believe to the best posters Mondo has released in 2013.

You should be reading this: The Infinite Vacation

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The Infinite Vacation Synopsis

This is Mark (below). Marks your average run of the mill nice guy. His life pretty much sucks, he hates his job, he’s perpetually in a funk, he’s not great with the ladies and he’s got a serious addiction to “The Infinite Vacation”. What is the infinite vacation you ask? Well my dear friend, not only is it a widely popular cell phone app and portal to every possible eventuality you could imagine, but it’s also the title of Nick Spencer and Christian Wards fantastic hardcover graphic novel (release on 7/10). The Infinite Vacation tells the story of Mark’s quest to find himself, in a sea of infinite realities. With the possibility of vacationing to alternate dimensions at a whim, Mark’s escape from his own reality results in him constantly visiting other Marks, discovering different renditions of himself, had events in his life been slightly altered. After racking up enough frequent vacation points, Mark becomes one of the biggest users of the app.

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As the story progresses, Mark misses an opportunity with a beautiful girl at a coffee shop, who ends up being a Deadender (someone who believes in a life without the infinite vacation), thus planting the seed that eventually leads him to take hold of his own life. In a strange turn of events, Mark soon meets three of his other selves who make him aware that many of the other Marks are being killed off. We find that his constant vacationing has caught the watchful eye of the infinite vacation corporation and Marks story begins to unravel;  revealing a much larger conspiracy pitting him at the center of a multidimensional collapse where he is forced to make the most important decision of his life. This decision will not only change Mark forever but life itself.

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 The Infinite Vacation Overall

Though this book took what felt like forever to wrap up, fans of the infinite vacation were surely rewarded with its closing. This is probably one of the most astounding books i have ever read. It has pushed the medium in ways that many other comics haven’t in years. Very rarely do a writer and artist work in such perfect harmony as they do here. Nick Spencer’s writing is comical and light-hearted at times, but he injects a dark and cynical edge that comes as a welcomed surprise later on in the book. Christian Ward’s art is hands down jaw dropping from page to page. The frame layouts are beautiful and often times do not adhere to any kind of concrete structure, leaving each page more like a canvas than a strip. His use of color is fresh and breathtaking. With what seems like hundreds of patterns and textures, he crafts beautifully trippy, trans-dimensional landscapes and overlays. Bob Ross’s head would’ve surely exploded were he to gaze upon this work. They’ve even inserted commercial advertisements for the infinite vacation product within the comic. With great quotes like “Go anywhere. Be anything. The Infinite Vacation”. The ideas herein are well expressed, executed, and presented beautifully. The Infinite Vacation has so much to offer in terms of thought-provoking storytelling, that I don’t know one person i wouldn’t recommend this book too. This is a must read!

 

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Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number trailer revealed

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We all loved Devolver Games psychological massacre Hotline Miami, and fans everywhere have been dying for more ever since it’s release. Yesterday this teaser trailer was dropped on youtube for the sequel, and final installment called “Hotline Miami 2 Wrong Number”. A lot of people were wondering how it is even possible to make a sequel to the first Hotline Miami but  truth be told, fans everywhere are very excited for this. The first game introduced us to a fast paced action maelstrom of pixelated violence and nostalgic challenge. This of course, was refreshing and something we had not seen in sometime. Aside from being a game that is so addicting in its challenge, Hotline Miami’s theme takes us into a deeper level. Questions are asked of the nameless main character about the enjoyment of hurting others and owning up to this responsibility. No one ever really thinks of the actions one takes when playing a game like this, so it was interesting to see that level of depth. This ultimately brought HLM into the indie hall of fame. The second HLM begs to be bigger than the first and i think the masterminds at work behind this one will not disappoint.

This excerpt from the youtube channel goes over a little bit about the story line of Hotline Miami 2 and what gamers can expect from the final installment.

“A brutal conclusion to the gruesome saga, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number follows the escalating level of violence through multiple factions born from the events of the original game and driven by uncertain motivations. Step into the murderous mind of several distinct characters – each with their own motivations and methods of execution — as story lines intersect and reality slips away into a haze of neon and carnage. Blistering combat, an unmistakable visual style, and a powerfully intense soundtrack will once again push you to the limit and questioning your own thirst for blood. Coming to PC, Mac, and Linux in 2013. Maybe.”

You can read more about the release of Hotline Miami 2 at these other gaming sites:

You should be reading this: Five Ghosts

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Five Ghosts Synopsis:

If you haven’t heard about Five Ghosts’ yet, then you may – A) be in a coma, B) be living in Lancaster Pennsylvania with the Amish, or C) a rotting corpse with super aids. For the rest of us who remain clear of stds and among the living – this Kickstarter comic book project has been a beautifully stylized and engaging, short run masterpiece. Recently picked up by Image comics, its the brain child of Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham, Five Ghosts takes us on an adventure that can only be compared to that of Indiana Jones or Alan Moore’s “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. It’s mystical tone is dark and the artwork carries the look and feel of an aged horror comic from the 1950′s. The stories main character Fabian Gray is a treasure hunter for hire, who comes across a strange artifact called “The Dreamstone” which ends up granting him the powers of 5 literary ghosts. Armed with the ghostly abilities of Merlin, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Musashi, and Dracula; Fabian Gray packs an advanced arsenal of skills which we have never seen in comics before. The first issue of Five Ghost’s introduces us to Fabian and his use of these different abilities. It is almost as if when he calls upon them, he becomes them for these moments of complete badassery; His actions mirrored with each ghost by his side. This makes for some incredible visuals that are really well executed given the overall “aged horror” aesthetic of the book.

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Along his path to adventure and enlightenment, Fabian Gray battles some pretty intense foes – Nazi’s, ancient spider cults, pirates, giant spiders, and of course, the ghosts within himself. The spirits that haunt Fabian often chatter to him, letting him know that he is not a suitable vessel for their power. Fabian struggles to control the ghosts that inhabit his body. From time to time, he unleashes the unrelenting power of Dracula’s ghost. With his mind overcome with power, Fabian turns into a brutal killer with no conscience, and a blood thirsty appetite for destruction. The power of the stone, though endless and all-encompassing, does comes with a heavy price, and Fabian soon finds that his body and soul are being torn apart. He must find a way to survive the parasitic and powerful grip of the dreamstone, while keeping it out of the hands of those who wish to use it for their own oppressive means.

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 Overall:

Five Ghosts is an epic adventure tale that luckily made it into the public eye despite barely breaking it’s Kickstarter pledge goal. This passion project has surely impressed a lot of comic book fans so far and i cant wait to see how this one wraps up! You’ll still be able to start from the beginning of this one, as they’ve already done second printings of the 1st and 2nd issues. Issue 4 of Five Ghosts should be hitting the shelves sometime in late June or early July.

Xbox360 Dead Space 3: Co-op Mayhem

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The highly anticipated action horror shooter for Xbox360 Dead Space 3, has finally arrived. The final conclusion to Isaac Clarke’s battle against the necromorph invasion has some pretty impressive aspects and a few weak points. Though Dead Space 3 has many things that make it slightly different from the past two games, the two features that set it apart the most are the co-op story mode and the custom weapon system. The cooperative gameplay of DS3 actually works really well, and mutilating necromorphs with a friend is a ton more fun than the death match mode of Dead Space 2 (which pretty much sucked). In this final conclusion to the horror masterpiece, Issac and Carver team up to uncover the mystery of the marker and it’s place in the universe. See more about dead space 3 co op in the video below:

You should be reading this: EAST OF WEST

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This past March, Image comics released what i believe to be one of the most anticipated new series of 2013 – East of West. In my opinion, this may be one of the coolest and strongest first issues I’ve ever read! Jonathon Hickman’s dystopian western apocalypse, takes you to an alternate dimension where US history has been greatly altered. With each panel, Dragotta leads you down an in-depth and violently complex rabbit hole, forcing the reader to question more and more as you move forward. The incredible attention to detail is astounding, as each panel compliments and establishes each character extremely well. The story opens with the three horsemen rising from some kind of strange burial ground. The lone phrase “The dream is over”, lays alone on the first page, while “And then the world will follow” serves as great foreshadowing to this epic. As you progress, historical allusions to civil war era – end of the world prophecy, major battles, and what resulted in the creation of “Seven Nations of America”, paint a new picture of the United States.  The story soon flashes forward to 2064, where the three horseman are fully grown, bad ass, and ready to raise hell. Our western quest for the apocalypse begins.

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I can’t give too much away because the beauty of this book is discovering it’s intricacies for yourself. I would HIGHLY recommend picking it up as it is an ongoing story and you’ll be addicted to it after the first issue. This is definitely something your going to want to add to your weekly pull list. Never before have we really seen the post apocalyptic genre take this kind of angle, and i couldn’t be happier to see where Hickman and Dragotta take us. This book is bound to have many memorable characters and i can already see many parallels the creators may have taken influence from (Garth Ennis’ - Preacher). East of West is a gritty, ruthless, take no prisoners tale that will hopefully deliver the end of the world to us with a bloody smile on our faces.

Xbox One Revealed!

For what seemed like an eternity, the long anticipated console has finally arrived! After 8 long years Microsoft’s skilled engineering team has finally completed its next generation system. The console has some very interesting features but honestly after all this time, i cant help but feel slightly let down. With all the great features Microsoft has added to the console, they have added well planned limitations to corner the gaming market.

I give you the Xbox One Revealed:

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Overview:

The Xbox one is expected to be an entertainment powerhouse. The console will feature seamless Kinect support and integration and apparently runs three operating systems simultaneously. So, if you are watching a moving on Netflix but immediately want to jump into playing a game, it is as easy as swiping your hand. I imagine this to be something like a constantly running dashboard which you can toggle between at will. Or if anyone out there has seen the film “Minority Report”, you know what im referring to. As far as system specs, the Xbox One comes stocked with 8GB of RAM, an 8-Core CPU, a 500GB hard drive, a Blu-ray drive, HDMI in and out ports, USB 3.0, 802.11n wireless, and more. I also believe it requires the Kinect, which has a powerful voice sensor so you can command your xbox to take actions for you without a controller. This will likely function for the dashboard use and for all the motion capture games which are soon to follow. The drawback to this is that the Kinect is always on, watching and listening to you all the time. Kind of creepy if you ask me! As far as the games themselves unfortunately their’s no backwards compatibility (sad face). This has been a reoccurring theme with every new console that comes out as we move towards a more cloud based, straight-digital gaming world, and should really be no surprise to anyone. In my opinion this may deter many consumers from purchasing within the first few years. Not only are their still a ton of games that many of us haven’t played on the Xbox360 but because the average 40 something parent, won’t be as comfortable having their credit card information on a cloud somewhere, on a system that their 16 year old plays daily. With all the hacking that has been going on lately, i can see why. In any case, this is clearly a tactic to remove places like game stop from the consumer purchasing equation. One of the other major questions is – “How do i lend a game to a friend or play used games?”. The answer is, you can – but you must pay a lending fee to Microsoft to do this and while it’s in the ownership of your friend, you will have absolutely no access to the game. You will likely be transferring the product key to them (digitally) and at that point i guess it is up to you to discuss the trade back offline.

This is a big event in the gaming industry, as it seems that gaming is taking a step backwards to step forward. The next-gen console war is soon to raise questions about what features consumers really want, what they can afford and how they interact with their entertainment media in the living room. These new systems will surely be costly, from a hardware perspective – but what is Microsofts end goal? The backwards compatibility issue is sure to be at the heart of their plan looking forward, so as to corner the market, kill used games, put game stop out of business, and take away a lot of the purchasing power that gamers have. The Xbox one is changing the rules of how to consume this content, much like the music industry has done with itunes. Let’s just hope bureaucracy doesn’t get in the way of fun. Only time will tell which console will win, but one thing is certain if you want to play –  your going to have to pay.

 

Aliens Colonial Marines: What went wrong!?

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Aliens Colonial Marines Game Synopsis:

If there is one thing that infuriates me more than anything, it’s a harsh let down (frown). It’s that point where your expectations are so high that your imagination takes over, fantasizing over a perfect ending to something you’ve wanted for so long. Like in 500 days of summer. When your expectations do not meet your reality, the walls come crashing down and you either move on, or your extremely disappointed. Well my friends, the latter couldn’t be more true with Aliens: Colonial Marines. Being someone who grew up loving the Aliens films and universe, i was really excited for this game’s release. Aliens has a large place in my childhood and played a big role in my love for sci-fi and horror. Like most fans, I thought that because gearbox was creating Aliens, that it would be on par or even close to that of the Borderlands series. But no, not only is it nothing like Borderlands, it’s not even a half way decent shooter. Stiff gun play and movement limit the free flow of action, combined with an uneventful story that doesn’t capture the Aliens aesthetic, really hold this one back.

There is a ton going wrong with this game but well keep it to two main components that should have been hammered out way before release.

Artificial intelligence:

The AI between aliens, your fellow marines, and even other enemies is all over the place. Aliens make inauthentic movements, are extremely predictable, and are generally really easy to kill. Your teammates, aside from occasionally helping you in a battle, take an infinite amount of damage and never die. This is unfortunate, because it makes the game a lot less challenging and makes you feel like you can still overcome any fire fight because your teammates will clean house for you. They often get in the way when your trying to run down hallways and have some of the worst dialogue I’ve ever heard. It would have been better if you were completely alone, with only your communicator as a guide until you team up with friends for cooperative play. This would have maintained the “isolated tension” aesthetic of aliens while still offering those who want to bug hunt with friends the option. Ultimately, Your fellow marines have little to no character development and are mainly just tour guides on your trip through a graphically dated version of the Aliens universe.

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Graphics:

Death animations are stiff and unrealistic. Shooting aliens up close doesn’t yield any kind of enjoyment factor or cool looking enemy death’s. Killing enemies with explosives result in red polygonal chunks, rather than smoothed over blood and gore. (Dead space does a much better job of accomplishing this). During game play you may experience flashbacks to playing Unreal Tournament, you’ll then realize that it’s 2013 (and want to kill yourself). In one area, your forced to walk through an alien infested sewer with water dripping from low ceilings. As falling water meets raw sewage you’ll notice that the water animations are completely pixelated. The game glitches often, if your teammates are too close to you, you can see through their bodies. One time i was actually able to walk through a door without opening it (….without GOD mode on). If your playing on a console, sometimes you’ll notice what looks like a refresh scan move from the top to bottom of the screen. Even some of the worst games I’ve ever played didn’t have this glitch.

Overall:

Aliens Colonial Marines has many more negatives than positives. Running around blasting xenomorphs with your pulse rifle has never been so boring. All that really happens here is you run around with your fellow marines, talk for a while about something uninteresting and kill some Aliens, then rinse and repeat. Colonial Marines doesn’t offer the depth, atmosphere, and story that you look for in an Aliens game. The developers poor attention to detail is what really makes this game suffer, and what will ultimately make it forgettable. Im going to go out on a limb and say that this is probably worse than the Aliens Vs Predator game that came out in 2009. The Aliens franchise does have a somewhat sordid past when it comes to video game renditions, but this game was supposed to be “the one”, our NEO for the Aliens fans, but most of us can’t help but feel a little bit betrayed by this seemingly unfinished release. Though the game looks like aliens, it just isn’t doesn’t live up to the franchises potential or it’s $60 price point. At best this is a red box rental, or a used purchase, once it drops to $15 in a month.