Friday, January 29, 2016

DC Comics News: Hanna-Barbera Beyond

Hello you beautiful bastards of the Internet! Happy Friday to you! Thanks for stopping by. I hope all is going well for you. I found some interesting nuggets of information for you when I was wasting time on dccomics.com. So I figured I'd deliver it to the fine readers and supports of  this site. 


It appears that DC Comics is going to be tap their Hanna-Barbera assets, with a re-imagined twist. Four new series comics featuring some HB's more iconic characters, will be released in May. This run of comics is being called "Hanna-Barbera Beyond", and promises a fresh update to the aging titles of yore.

Scooby Apocalypse- The gang is back in this re-imagined near-future adventure. This time the monsters are real; having been mutated by a nanite virus, that "that enhances their fears, terrors and baser instincts." Fred, Velma, Daphoni, Shaggy and Scooby will be racing to a cure. The character design is by artist Jim Lee, art by Howard Porter (of Superman fame), and origin story by Jim Lee and and Keith Giffen (of Justice League 3001).

Future Quest- Future Quest finds Team Quest teaming up with classic Hanna-Barbera heroes the likes of Space Ghost, Birdman, Mightor, and more. With writing provided by Jeff Parker (Aquaman, Justice League United, Batman '66), and art by Evan "Doc" Shaner (Justice League Darkseid War: Green Lantern).


Wacky Race Land- Wacky Race Land is being described by DC as, "Take The Ant Hill Mob, Penelope Pitstop and Dick Dastardly, mix in a healthy dose of “Mad Max” and you get this dark and gritty take on Hanna-Barbera’s “Wacky Races,". The story is set on a dead planet full danger, from cannibalistic mutants, nanotech dust storms, and radioactive lakes. In the race to Utopia there can be only one winner. The vehicle design is Mark Sexton (Mad Max: Fury Road), art by Leonardo Manco (Hellblazer), and story by Ken Pontac (Reboot, Happy Tree Friends).

The Flintstones- DC has reported that writer, Mark Russel (Prez, God Is Disappointed In You), plans on using The Flintstones as funny platform to discuss ancient human culture. All of the core characters will be making a return, with modernized design provided by Amanda Conner (Harlley Quinn and Starfire).

 

What do you think about this? I think each of these will go one of two ways. They'll either be good or terrible. Let me know what you think in the comment section below. Or on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ by searching for BaicunnPress. Thanks for stopping by again. As always, I will see you later. 

-Chali Baicunn

Thursday, January 28, 2016

EA Pulls Booth From E3

Hello! How's it going out there in the wild today! Seems that the seemingly unsinkable ship, that is EA is growing very concerned about their relationship with their community. If you've read my previous posts, you'll know that EA and I are not on the best of terms currently. I'm not going to go into my personal feelings about EA today, but instead want to talk about some HUGE E3 news involving EA. 

Amid the blowback of several failed title launches, and the presumed PR nightmare of a growing contempt amongst many gamers directed at EA over the quality and value of their products. EA has decided to pull their booth from E3 showroom floor. Instead EA has reported that they will be hosting an event at the Club Nokia venue outside of E3. This event will be called EA Play. Unlike E3 the event will be open to public from June 12 to the 14th. On June 12th in London, EA will be hosting a similar event as well.

On EA's official announcement page, they are reporting that live attendees will get hands on time with demos, along with competitions, special guests, and exclusive schwag. On top of public access, they are also reporting that they will be live streaming their press conference, new games, and behind the scenes content. Gamesbeat is currently reporting that an EA spokesman is quoted as saying,

"It’s an all-new event that puts our players first and creates a play experience built around them.  Play LA will be at Club Nokia at LA Live on June 12-14, and Play London will be at The Mermaid on June 12.  Both events will kick off with a live press conference and offer hands-on with our games, and more."


The press conference is currently scheduled to begin at 1PM PT on June 12, 2016. It's presumed that the Press Conference and events will be live streamed on there Twitch channel here. If you're interested in getting more details about the event and how to get tickets, you should go to the official EA announcement page here and sign up for email updates.

So what do you think? Is this just standard PR? Or do you think that EA may have turned a corner? I personally hope they have. Let me know what you think. Please share and follow on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Thanks for stopping by again, and as always I will see you later.

-Chali Baicunn

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Midweek Breakdown - Tomb Raider Hits PC, Evo2016 Announcement, And More


Hello out there, and welcome back for another Midweek Breakdown. Where I throw some fun nerd news bits at your faces in a naive attempt to end your weekly purgatory. 

Scheduled to hit PC tomorrow (1/28) is Rise of the Tomb Raider. This title has been received well by gaming critics. With the capabilities of gaming PCs, this game is sure to stun on the platform. Sorry PS4 gamers, but you'll have to wait until the end before you can have a go.

If you enjoy ninjas that just happen to be adolescent mutated turtles, you might be very happy with the next bit of news. Unbeknownst to may people including myself, Platinum Studios in conjunction with Activism have been working on a TMNT game. The trailer just dropped. Not a lot of details available yet, but the game appears to be scheduled for a release this summer. Check out the video below:




Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Mortal Kombat X, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Head over to the official site; here for more details.

IGN recently got their hands on the new trailer for Justice League vs Teen Titans. I recommend that you check it out.



That's about all the content for now, but stay check back in next Wednesday for more.

Thank you again for stopping. Please share if you liked what you read. I hope this made waking up a bit easier for you. If there's anything I missed or you have some feedback be sure to let me know via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or in the comment section below. As always I'll see you later.

-Chali Baicunn

EA's Battlefront Update: Legit, PR Bullshit, Damage Control?

Hello and welcome back again! Thanks for stopping by. Brand new Star Wars Battlefront news just released, and oh boy is it good-ish news. I'm trying to be hopefully optimistic, but with the shit stain that EA keeps leaving in my life it's going to be hard to do. I have not hidden my feelings about this game. I have been more than disappointed. As an interesting side note, I did not lock down my PSN account, and over the weekend, myself and my 5 year old became the owners of the Season Pass. Although this was my fault and I do not expect any refunds, I am now $115 deep in this... So I'm going to keep posting on it, and calling out the bullshit when I see it, and give praise when it's deserved. With that said, this post and any future posts about Battlefront and it's Developer/ Publisher will be subjective, but I will present logical & possibly inflammatory arguments to support my opinion. You'll also see several times in my posts that I refer to EA and DICE interchangeably, and that's because EA owns DICE and so as a concept they are the same thing. So let's not delay any further and jump right into the post. 

Battlefront is finally getting an update today, and EA is being a little more transparent. All of the details are outlined on in a post titled "The Road Forward" written by Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir; Senior Producer for Star Wars Battlefront. And with this update comes a bit of renewed cynical optimism for me. I'm honestly not sure that EA/ DICE can save this title, as they are going to be restricted to what the engine can do. Also at this point, any of the changes asked for by the community are completely dependent on EA's ability to listen to it's audience.

First we'll start with the really bad. If you remember in last weeks Midweek Breakdown, I had mentioned that Battlefront Community Leader; Sledgehammer70, had congratulated the community in smashing the Christmas Holiday Community Challenge. He was so pleased to tease us with a special gift for the community, in the following post made on the Battlefront Community Page:

"Just before the holidays, we kicked off the first Star Wars Battlefront community event, where we asked you to play 500,000 hours as Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. 

Today, we’re happy to let the community know that you smashed the 500,000 hours played mark, playing over a total of 1.2M hours as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo between START and FINISH. Most impressive.


This achievement is worth a special reward that directly ties to Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. What could this reward be? In true Jedi fashion, it will be revealed in the coming update this month. You will want to look to Hoth to show the fruits of your labor once the January update has been released. Stay tuned to our official channels for more details."  

This tease left many in the community to speculate that the gift would be playable tauntauns. Well the wait is over. The update is coming today, and do you know what these def bastards gave us? Mother fucking Luke and Han themed outfits when playing as either on Hoth! Fucking really?! You know and I both know that the tease was masterful execution of PR bullshit.

To be fair though, there are more updates being released today. (Link to the release notes at the bottom of this post.) Along with some pretty significant balancing tweaks, we're also getting some well needed spawn adjustments. We can also now play Blast, Droid Run, Drop Zone, Hero Hunt, and Heroes vs Villains multiplayer modes on Raider Camp. This is the same map used in Tatooine Survival. EA also made the following promises in their announcement:

"In February, we will continue to add more free content for all players, including a new Survival mission on Hoth, and a brand-new Hoth multiplayer map that will support our larger game modes including Walker Assault, Supremacy, Fighter Squadron and Turning Point. Speaking of Turning Point, we are also excited to make this popular mode available on all maps that currently support Walker Assault and Supremacy in the February update.

In March, we will be adding another exciting new multiplayer map on Endor that will support Walker Assault, Supremacy, and Turning Point, and an additional Tatooine Survival map."

So it looks like we'll be getting a bit more free content. I believe these kinds of changes are great steps in the right direction. And I will even thank EA and DICE for do these things. But wait there's still more...

The other major parts of today's update have to do with adding private match functionality, Community Events, and Daily Challenges. I currently do not know how well or even the mechanics of private match making. I have so far been unable to find information on the number of players allowed, or game mode restrictions. I know people have been asking for it, but it does little for me as most of my friends have abbandoned this sinking wreck due to hollowness of the game. It's probably safe to say they won't be coming back just for private matches, a few maps, and some added balance.

Community Events and Daily Challenges are a whole other beast. Honestly this announcement makes me think that DICE/ EA are not really in touch with the realities of gaming. Especially when we look at what the follow section of their public announcement says:

"The introduction of Daily Challenges and Community Events. These are designed to rally the Community around certain goals and objectives, giving players the chance to earn credits and unlocks even faster. We'll have more news regarding Community Events and Daily Challenges in the days ahead."

Just let that sink in for second... If you've played Battlefront for any extended periods of time, you should realize that at some point credits become useless and stop adding any depth to the game. After unlocking ever gun and ever Star Card, the only thing to spend credits on are skins. As I and many other reviewers have pointed out, the skins are lazy and add nothing to the game. Many people have even argue that they may even take away from the game, as most of the alternative skins simple remove the helmet from the stormtroopers, and this is not ok with many a Star Wars fan. 

So we've established that more credits are kind of meaningless in the macro-scope of the game. Then if history repeats, and we assume that community rewards for completing challenges and events will be more character skins. So this equation would then apply:

 More Credits + More Skins = 0 Net Gain

This is speculation at this point. But it feels par for course when it comes EA and its subsidiaries, and is absolutely the dumbest way to reward people play for playing the game. It adds no depth or substance to the core game, and only pisses of those of us who purchased a over hyped product with high expectations. This shallow attempt at appeasement, will only further decrease interest. Thus setting up a scenario where EA cuts its losses and stops truly supporting the title.

The final bit of news released with the update announcement was details about the Season Pass DLC. As expected the DLC will be released quarterly, with expected releases in March, Summer, and Fall of this year, and one more release sometime in early next year. The following list and descriptions are taken directly from the update post:

"Star Wars™ Battlefront™ Outer Rim (March 2016) - Fight among the factories of Sullust and battle within Jabba the Hutt's palace on Tatooine
Star Wars™ Battlefront™ Bespin (Summer 2016) - It's hunt or be hunted in this action-packed experience set in the Cloud City of Bespin
Star Wars™ Battlefront™ Death Star (Fall 2016) – That’s no moon! One of the most iconic locations in the Star Wars universe makes its debut in Star Wars Battlefront.
Star Wars™ Battlefront™ Expansion Pack 4 – Title TBA (Early 2017) – We will have more details to share about this exciting new expansion pack in the coming months."

Many of these changes seem to indicate that EA and DICE are listened; at least some what listening to the community. But they've had since November to address these issues and have not. So why now? Is it because the swell of Christmas noobs that have beaten down the forums with complaints? Is it because of the hordes or vocal and disappointed reviewers? IDK...

EA ends their announcement with the following:

"At DICE, we're passionate about what we've created with Star Wars Battlefront, and are committed to supporting not only the game but all of our fans over the months ahead. We can’t wait to keep traveling through the galaxy far, far away, with all of you."

The above statement just really rubs me the wrong way. Yeah it's a great sentiment. It makes people feel warm and fuzzies. But, after personally witnessing at least a decade of EA's consumer abuse. In their slowly escalating extortion campaign of releasing what can only be described as underwhelming and incomplete titles with pay for DLC. Each proceeding title worse than the last, in content and in sales. It really just seems like EA and it's subsidiaries are seeing just how far they can push the line before gamers revolt.

So here are some parting thoughts for EA/ DICE: How many people in the Battlefront community have to tell you that they want substance, not skins? How many people have to complain about your lack luster performance before you supply their needs? And honestly you wouldn't be so bad if your marketing hype machine wasn't so good, and your business model so opaque. Again, I'll admit that you took baby steps today, but is it that you cannot provide for the wants your fan base due your inability to deliver? Or does your failure come from some morally abstract authoritarian concept that you alone may be the gatekeeper of the needs and wants of your customers? I'm personally leaning towards the latter. Your names have become synonymous with a concept of everything that is wrong with the gaming industry. If I'm wrong prove it! Own your mistakes, make good on your hype, and earn back the respect of not just your customers but the greater gaming community.

At this point, I'm a bit more hopeful. However, I'm not holding my breath. EA has screwed the pooch so far,  I can't expect much more for the fixes. And with that I'm done for now.


Thank you guys for stopping by. I really appreciate your suppose. So what do you think. Am I over reacting? Should I take it a bit easier? Let me know on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or in the comments sections below. Please share, and as always, I will see you later. And as I said earlier you can expect more Battlefront content in the future. I'm going to beat this dead horse until it becomes a horse zombie, and starts trying to change other horses into zombie too. (Well that an excessively convoluted metaphor, but I think it works.)

-Chali Baicunn

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 GDC Awards: The Nominees Are In

Hello people of the Internet! Thank you for stopping by! I hope that you're all having a fantastic day! Yesterday we talked about the Independent Game Festival Awards, and today I have a list of the nominees for the Game Developers Choice Awards. You'll see that even some of the nominees for the IGF made it into the running for the GDC. Hope you enjoy, and I'd like to get your feedback on the nominees.


The 16th annual Game Developers Choice Awards will be presented on March 16th starting at 6:30PM PT. The event will be hosted by Robin Hunick. Known for her work on Journey, Boom Blox, MySims, and The Sims 2. As well as being to co-organizer of the Experimental Gameplay Workshop at Game Developers Conference. This year both The Witcher 3 and Metal Gear Solid V managed to snag 4 nominations. Check out the whole list of nominees below. However, the nominees for the Lifetime Achievement, the Pioneer, and the Ambassador Awards have note been announced yet. Be sure to tune in at 6:30PM PT on Twitch (here) to watch the awards. Make sure you keep watching after the GDC Awards, as the IGF Awards are scheduled to start immediately after on the same channel.   


Game of the Year
Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt)
Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)
Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Rocket League (Psyonix)

Honorable Mentions: Her Story (Sam Barlow), Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo), Undertale (Toby Fox), Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo), Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)
 
Innovation Award
Her Story (Sam Barlow)
Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo)
Undertale (Toby Fox)
Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)
The Beginner’s Guide (Everything Unlimited Ltd.)
Honorable Mentions: Rocket League (Psyonix), Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (Steel Crate Games) Cibele (Star Maid Games), Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix), Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)

Best Debut
Studio Wildcard (ARK: Survival Evolved)
Toby Fox (Undertale)
Moon Studios (Ori and the Blind Forest)
Moppin (Downwell)
Steel Crate Games (Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes)
Honorable Mentions: Asteroid Base (Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime), Question (The Magic Circle) Thomas Happ (Axiom Verge), Dinosaur Polo Club (Mini Metro), MidBoss (Read Only Memories)

Best Design
Rocket League (Psyonix)
Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)
Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios/ Bethesda Softworks)
Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)
Honorable Mentions: Her Story (Sam Barlow), Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo), Undertale (Toby Fox), The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt), Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios / Microsoft Studios)

Best Handheld/Mobile Game
Lara Croft: GO (Square Enix Montréal / Square Enix)
Fallout Shelter (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
Downwell (Moppin / Devolver Digital)
Her Story (Sam Barlow)
AlphaBear (Spry Fox)
Honorable Mentions: Prune (Joel McDonald), The Room Three (Fireproof Games), Subterfuge (Ron Carmel and Noel Llopis), Pac-Man 256 (Hipster Whale and 3 Sprockets / BANDAI NAMCO), Sage Solitaire (Zach Gage), SteamWorld Heist (Image and Form), You Must Build a Boat (EightyEight Games)

Best Visual Art
Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios / Microsoft Studios)
The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt)
Star Wars Battlefront (DICE / Electronic Arts)
Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)
Honorable Mentions: Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami), Rise of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix), Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), The Order: 1886 (Ready at Dawn / Sony Computer Entertainment), Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room / Sony Computer Entertainment), Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)

Best Narrative
Her Story (Sam Barlow)
The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt)
Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)
Undertale (Toby Fox)
The Beginner’s Guide (Everything Unlimited Ltd.)
Honorable Mentions: Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room / Sony Computer Entertainment), Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks), Until Dawn (Supermassive Games / Sony Computer Entertainment), Cibele (Star Maid Games), Soma (Frictional Games)

Best Audio
Star Wars Battlefront (DICE / Electronic Arts)
Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios / Microsoft Studios)
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)
Crypt of the NecroDancer (Brace Yourself Games)
Honorable Mentions: Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks), The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt), Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix), SOMA (Frictional Games), Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment), Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)

Best Technology
Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)
The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt)
Star Wars Battlefront (DICE / Electronic Arts)
Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
Just Cause 3 (Avalanche Studios / Square Enix)
Honorable Mentions: Rise of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix), Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo), Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo), Halo 5: Guardians (343 Industries / Microsoft Studios)

Thanks again for stopping by! What do you think? Do you agree, do you not? Let me know on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or in the comment section below. I'm currently getting everything organized, so that I can bring you more content with more substance. Make sure you share if you like what you see, and I hope to see you back here in the future.

-Chali Baicunn

Monday, January 25, 2016

IGF: Let's Talk Indie Awards


Hello and thanks for stopping by! Hope the internet is working in your favor today! Today, I want to raise awareness about the Independent Games Festival Awareness. Let's be honest; indie games don't get much press, and to be fair some indie titles suck. (Just putting that out there.) The IGF Awards are a great way to start looking for the next great indie titles that don't suck.

The competitors have been thinned from the original 750 into 7 distinct categories by 400 industrial insiders. Up for grabs is over $50,000 in prizes plus $30,000 for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. Check out the following list of the nominees and honorable mentions taken directly from igf.com. The 18th Annual IGF Awards will be hosted March 16th from the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, immediately following the Game Developers Choice Awards. Be sure to tune on Twitch via the live stream found here on March 16th starting at 6:30PM PT to watch both the Game Developers Choice Awards and 18th Annual IGF Awards.

(The following is taken directly from the IGF Announcement page)

Excellence in Visual Art

Honorable Mentions: Forkride Grilltime Sloth (Black Pants Game Studio [Sebastian Stamm]); Epistory - Typing Chronicles (Fishing Cactus); Kingdom (noio & Licorice); Alto's Adventure (Snowman); Future Unfolding (Spaces of Play); Astroneer (System Era Softworks)

Excellence in Narrative

Honorable Mentions: Oxenfree (Night School Studio); Orion Trail (Schell Games); Cibele (Star Maid Games); Contradiction  (Tim Follin / Baggy Cat Ltd); The Writer Will Do Something (Tom Bissell and Matthew S. Burns)

Excellence in Design

Honorable Mentions: Gang Beasts (Boneloaf); Imbroglio (Michael Brough); Duskers (Misfits Attic); Chaos Reborn (Snapshot Games); TIS-100 (Zachtronics); Soft Body (Zeke Virant)

Excellence in Audio

Honorable Mentions: Heart Forth, Alicia (Alonso Martin); The Beginner's Guide (Everything Unlimited Ltd.); Gnog (KO_OP); Oxenfree (Night School Studio); Kingdom (noio & Licorice); Inside My Radio (Seaven Studio)

Nuovo Award

Honorable Mentions: Enough (cabbibo); Sentree (Glitchnap); Affordable Space Adventures (KnapNok Games and Nifflas' Games); Vignettes (Pol Clarissou, Armel Gibson); Future Unfolding (Spaces of Play); Sage Solitaire (Zach Gage); TIS-100 (Zachtronics)

Best Student Game

Honorable Mentions: Anarcute (Anarteam); Gathering Sky (A Stranger Gravity); Not Everything is Flammable (DAM: David Shiyang Liu, Alex Hu and Mac Lotze); FAR (Mr. Whale's Game Service); Sumer (Studio Wumpus); Bad Blood (Winnie Song)

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

Honorable Mentions: The Beginner's Guide (Everything Unlimited Ltd.); Panoramical (Fernando Ramallo & David Kanaga); Affordable Space Adventures (KnapNok Games and Nifflas' Games); Twelve Minutes (Luis Antonio); Oxenfree (Night School Studio); That Dragon, Cancer (Numinous Games); Cibele (Star Maid Games); Soft Body (Zeke Virant)

I am personally interested in checking out several of these titles. I've included a short list of games that I will be checking out in the future. I've also included the descriptions that were submitted with the entries into the IGF Awards:

Her Story:
Her Story is a crime fiction game for PC, Mac and iOS that takes place entirely on the desktop of a 90s era police computer. Players search through a database of interview room video footage to piece together the story of a woman questioned seven times by the police.




Darkest Dungeon:
Darkest Dungeon is a challenging gothic roguelike turn-based RPG about the psychological stresses of adventuring. Recruit, train, and lead a team of flawed heroes against unimaginable horrors, stress, famine, disease, and the ever-encroaching dark. Can you keep your heroes together when all hope is lost?




Oxenfree:
Oxenfree is a single player adventure game that's equal parts coming-of-age tale and supernatural thriller. You play as Alex, a bright, rebellious teenaged girl who brings her new stepbrother Jonas to an overnight party on a decommissioned military island. The festivities are framed by a dangerous sneak to a forbidden beach, celebrating with friends and navigating prickly situations with enemies. But the night takes a horrifying turn when you unwittingly open a ghostly rift spawned from the island's cryptic past. How you deal with these events, your peers, and the ominous creatures you've unleashed is up to you.




Thanks again for stopping by. Keep dropping by for more updates on all things nerdy. If you think something isn't getting enough coverage, hit me up on twitter or using the contact form on the home page. As always, please share and comment, and I hope to see you in the future.

-Chali Baicunn

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dishonored 2: Ooooo Shiny! And 344 Days Away ;(

Hello, and how's it going out there! Thanks for stopping by. Today we are bringing another archival post from E3 2015, out of the vault. I've taken the liberty of updating the post some, and included some new info, and videos. Enjoy!

-Chali  

From Bethesda's E3 2015 Showcase, the world was given it's first look at Dishonored 2, from Arkane Studios. In the next chapter of the Dishonored series, you'll be returning to the Empire of the Isles. Playing either as Corvo Attano, from the original title, or as the former princess Emily Kaldwin. The Empire is under attack again, this time by an "otherworldly usurper". Your return to the Empire take 15 years after the events in Dishonored, on the island of Serkonos. It's been revealed that this island is Corvo's birthplace. Arkane has promised that the new title will keep the original mechanics; allowing players the freedom of choice in the sandbox environment that they enjoyed in Dishonored. Arkane even announced that it will be possible to complete the game without kill anyone.The title originally was slated for a Spring 2016 release. However, the release has been postponed until December 30, 2015. Now strap yourself in, and let your optical cortex be assaulted the beautiful game trailer below:


Official E3 Trailer


What did you think? I think it's very pretty! Now what are we going to do for pretty much a full year?... Well shit! I guess while we wait for a year here's some more Dishonored 2 videos.

Who Is Emily Kaldwin


Welcome to Karnaca



Thanks again for stopping by. I'm sure there'll be more details released by the end of E3 2016. Keep checking back for more details. Please comment and share. I really appreciate all of the support the site has received. As always hope to see you in the future.

-Chali Baicunn

Midweek Breakdown - E3 Official Dates, Poe Dameron Gets A Comic Book, And More

Hello out there in the wonderful world wide web! I hope you're not too terribly scarred from yesterday's philosophical post. It's Thursday, and you're probably questioning the reason you got out of bed. Work sucks, and you're now stuck in the weekly purgatory that is Friday-eve. Well fear not for today, I'll be introducing the first installment of a new weekly series; The Midweek Breakdown. Making sure that you're properly informed on all things nerdy going on in the world. This is going live today, but the series will be making a weekly appearance every Wednesday.

ESA officially announced that E3 2016 is scheduled for June 14th through the 16th at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Coming in next, USA Today announced that Poe Dameron will be getting his own dedicated series. Marvel's Star Wars creators Charles Soto and Phil Noto will be taking up the reins. The Poe Dameron series will be written by Charles Soule of the "Lando" and "Obiwan & Anakin" series fame, with art supplied by Phil Noto. Noto had previously provided art for the "Chewbacca" series. The series is slated to release April of this year.

ESPN recently added an eSports section on their Sports Portal. ESPN is promising to cover everything esports related. If you're interested cruise over to espn.com to check it out.

In case you somehow missed it, we have the first Suicide Squad trailer released since Comi-Con:



Also just out, Disney has announced, that it ill be delaying the release of Episode 8. Originally scheduled to release in June 2017. Release has now been pushed out until December 2017. It should be noted that Avatar 2 is also scheduled to release at the same time. 

In other Star Wars news, a patch is coming to Battlefront sometime this month. Along with this announcement came another from Star Wars Battlefront Community Manager; Sledgehammer70. Sledgehammer put out the following statement on the Battlefront Community page:

"Just before the holidays, we kicked off the first Star Wars Battlefront community event, where we asked you to play 500,000 hours as Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. 

Today, we’re happy to let the community know that you smashed the 500,000 hours played mark, playing over a total of 1.2M hours as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo between START and FINISH. Most impressive.

This achievement is worth a special reward that directly ties to Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. What could this reward be? In true Jedi fashion, it will be revealed in the coming update this month. You will want to look to Hoth to show the fruits of your labor once the January update has been released. Stay tuned to our official channels for more details."


Some in the Battlefront community are speculating that this means we'll be seeing tauntauns in game soon. 

And finally, it's been announced that Darkwing Duck will be making a return to TV in 2018, on Disney XD. Disney has promised that the show will have a “gritty look that this generation of kids love.” but retain the “same energy and bumbling crime-fighting spirit”.

Thanks for stopping by again guys! I really appreciate it. If you think we missed anything, let us now. Please share, and comment. I appreciate feedback. And always, I hope to see you in the future.

-Chali Baicunn

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Is This Who We Are?

Hey guys! Thanks for stopping by. Today we have guest post from the vault. This is a philosophical post of sorts, written by my friend DANG, regarding his loss of faith in humanity. Read on and enjoy!

-Chali

Sometimes, in life, you see or hear something that changes the way that you feel about the human race. In some cases you walk away from your experience with a profound sense that humans are good and that life really is all flowers, sunshine and people caring for each other. Other times the news is more grim and you just have to wonder why we allowed ourselves to procreate and shouldn't we just be wiped off the planet like the scourge that we all are? Philosophically speaking, the reason that we are so affected by news of how humans treat each other, (good or bad,) is simply because we now all have a horse in the race. In our polymorphous society we cannot simply separate one group's actions from ourselves because politically we are not allowed the time-honored method of coping which is to separate ourselves into groups (that would of course be racist or something.) We are all in this together and therefore any good or evil that we encounter is part of us personally.

So, I recently heard a true story that immediately darkened the skies of humanity. A story so vile that I felt that I could never look on the human race the same again. A story, not of murder or abuse (which we have all come to accept with some sort of detached nonchalance) but one of mutual hedonism that aggravated every fiber of decency that was in me. I passed this story on to a friend anticipating a similar response, and although the depravity of the subject was new to him, he did not react as I would expect. I was anticipating at least some measure of appalled disgust and what I got was simply slightly intrigued nonchalance. His reaction to the story destroyed my faith in people even more than the story itself. What kind of a world do we live in if we are so desensitized that we can no longer have an emotional reaction to utter depravity. He blamed his lack of surprise on the internet, particularly 4chan. I guess that I understand.... but that doesn't mean that there isn't something deeply wrong happening here.

So now I will tell you the story and let you decide for yourself whether you are at all affected by the knowledge that is about to become part of you. Please let me know, for posterity of course, what you felt when you read it. Here goes:

I have a friend who is a doctor in an urban emergency room. He sees homeless patients several times a day. The other day he treated a  homeless man with a colostomy bag. In questioning the unfortunate gentleman he came to realize that the man had been selling his ostomy hole for sex. That's right - he had been letting other bums fuck him in his side hole for probably malt liquor and some Kools. At first I called b.s. and told my doctor friend that this couldn't possibly be true at which time he explained to me that it was true and that the homeless man had a nasty case of gonorrhea in his 'side-butt.'

There are so many details that are left unanswered about this situation. Were all the other holes occupied? What exactly does an ostomy fuck go for?..... It really did blow my mind.

Am I just a naive shut-in to be affected by this story? Is this something that I should just have expected to hear about someday? WTF!

BY DANG

Thanks for stopping by. If you feel like a BBQ brush and a gallon of antibacterial soap can't get you clean now, I'm sorry... ish. Hope you were entertained. Please be sure to share and comment. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for updates on new posts and more. And as always, I hope to see you later. 

-Chali Baicunn 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

PSA: Tamper With A IoT Doorbell -> PWN A Network

Hello out there, and thank you for stopping by again! I'm coming to you today with a fun little factoid, and to point out a larger issue with IoT or Internet of Things devices. Hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think. 

Recently IoT devices have taken off in popularity. I'm sure you're all familiar with the networked power adapters that provides power control over your home network to devices connected to AC power. (If not see the picture of the Belkin WeMo.) The market since the introduction of these kinds of devices has exploded.

Belkin WeMo
The deluge of cheap ready to use, plug and play IoT devices seems to have saturated every corner of the online retail market. From pages of Amazon to the bid sniping battles of ebay. It seems that every electronics manufacture out there is rushing to have you buy their next great gimmick. From thermostats, to lighting, to even security systems, all connecting directly to your home network. Forget to turn the heat down? Do it with your phone. Didn't turn off the lights? There's an app for that. Want to keep your house safe while you're away? There's a system for that. You're probably thinking your life couldn't be safer or more convenient with IoT, right? Then you're thinking wrong.... Well wrong-ish. And this takes us to the following example.

Ring with mounting plate
The fine researchers over at Pen Test Partners (their site here) recently discovered a novel hack, that let's you steal WiFi encryption keys. Through one of these new IoT devices. Introducing; Ring Doorbell from ERA Home Security. This little device appears pretty innocuous at first glance. In fact it has some nice features. Basically, it acts like an automated doorman of sorts. Ring is meant to mount outside your home, and send alerts to your cellphone whether at home or away. It's equipped with an on-board camera that will broadcast to your mobile device and allow you to interact with the person at your door. Sounds like an extra layer of security right? Well it would be if not for 2 flaws in its design.

Ring mounting screws
The first flaw is in it's construction and installation. Home users want ease of installation. To provide this for their users, Ring provides an easy to install mounting plate. Once the mounting plate is in place the Ring unit drops in and is secured to the mounting plate by 2 torx (see pictures). Ring is offered with a free replacement if stolen, so theft of the unit is really a non-issue. And none of these construction flaws really matters if it weren't for a software flaw that is exploited through the use of the GIGANTIC ORANGE setup button on the back of the Ring. When depressed the Ring goes into an AP (access point) setup mode. Then you can connect to it with ease and pull the SSID (network name) and wireless passcode in plain text from a simple URL in the Ring's interface. All that needs to be done after that is for the doorbell to be put back in place, and for the tamperer to walk away with your creds.
Back of device
So what?! Someone can get free WiFi... What's the big deal? Well here's the point. You bought something to make your home more secure, and in turn you left your home network vulnerable. It may not seem like much, but chances are you're transmitting a lot of secure data on your home network. Stealing your data potentially has way more value and far less risk than anything that could be physically stolen from your home. With anytime access to your home network in the wrong hands, you're screwed!

(In the interest of full disclosure, Ring did fix the software within three weeks of Pen Test Partners reporting it to them, and a simple firmware update will eliminate this particular exploit. Go HERE for the full write up on the exploit mentioned above.)

So now we're to the end, and this is where I make my point. A lot of IoT devices have these kinds of issues. The Ring is no exception, it was merely the latest example. Most of the exploits found in IoT devices have been due to a complete lack of thought being put into security. Many manufactures in their rush to release a visually appealing device into the market, have accepted sloppy/ bad coding. I have followed many IoT exploits, and I make no claim to be a good coder. But the fact is that I'm a shit programmer, and have been able to spot the errors in the code of exploited devices.

If you're going to use IoT, please research the devices you plan to purchase before you do. Make sure it's made by a reputable company. Google search for known exploits for that device. Once you've deployed IoT at home, check for firmware updates regularly. Connect your IoT devices to a separate network in your house than the one you do everything else on. This will require another router to be purchased, but a router is cheaper and easier than trying to clean up your credit later.

Thanks again for stopping by, and reading. Hope you found the post informative and entertaining. Please, share and comment. As always, have a good day, and hope to see you in the future. 

-Chali Baicunn 



Monday, January 18, 2016

Paradox Girl: The Hero We Need

Hey folks! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a great last couple of days, and that Monday isn't sucking all the joy out of the awesomeness that was your weekend. So let's start the week off with something new. Hope you enjoy!

-Chali



It's not everyday that we get a new kind of heroine. A heroine that is unique in both their origin and in their approach to dealing with their situations. Comic books have a long history of female characters that are fully developed, but unfortunately they sometimes feel forced.

Today we have that new heroine story with Paradox Girl (PG). Written by Cayti Bourquin, and illustrated by Yishan Li, with editorial provided by Peter Bensley. PG is not your typical heroine let alone your typical super hero. Although time travel is no mysterious mechanic to comics; PG deals with it in the most unique way I have seen. She's funny, quirky, and unique. PG doesn't have a typical origin, as she has slipped forward and backwards so many times, that this is hard for her to even pin down what that is. Spending a good portion of her time literally living with and interacting with her past and future selves. With a brilliant layout that easily illustrates both non-linear and multi-linear storytelling. The artwork just feels right for this series, and with the standout narrative; You're not going to want to miss out on this series.

I was lucky enough to get a full copy of issue one to review, and do an email interview with Cayti and Peter. Check that out below:

Chali: The first thing that struck me about the Paradox Girl issue I read was the dialogue, art, and timeline. It felt kind of like a mix of Quinton Tarantino story telling with Axe Cop flair. This may all be in my head, so; What is the real inspiration for PG?


Cayti: That's an interesting if unconventional comparison.  It's sort of great how different people approach art and what they see in it.  It's a difficult question to answer I think.  My writing style and creativity is a cumulative mix of the stories and storytellers I've been exposed to and the anxieties and issues of my personal life.  I think that's probably true for all writers.  I didn't sit down and think 'gosh, I want to make something like X with a bit of Y'.  I know that the biggest influence on me has always been the late Satoshi Kon.


Chali: The first issue does a great job of laying out the pretext, and method for how a heroine with Paradox Girl's powers would use them. As well as making it clear, that her origin is lost even to her. But how did she get her powers, or is that just apart of the mystery?

   Cayti: It's not really even a mystery to be explored.  There's a hundred true stories, and at any given minute it could change.  Paradox Girl doesn't really have an origin point anymore, which is ridiculous of course, but such is her nature.  In pop culture time travel stories, we see impossible situations (such as the birth of John Connor) arise and wonder 'what happened the first time through?'  PG is like that, but in a constantly refreshing loop.  She gave herself the powers for all I know. 


Chali: I noticed that she gets knocked around a bit throughout the story. Does PG have any other powers besides time travel?

   Cayti: I think PG's power over time sort of creates a time immutable state where, sure, she can be injured; but it's just another time jump away to stop her from being hurt in the first place.    Even in the first issue we see her save herself from getting crushed, -which results in her being able to save herself from being crushed.  We never get to see what happens if she hadn't done that. Seems silly typing it out, but in the book it really works.  I think cause and effect are sort of broken when it comes to PG so expect lots of side effects from that in the future.
 

I bet she wishes she could shoot laser beams or something though.


    Peter: Regarding PG getting knocked around - I recall that Cayti and I discussed that PG probably has some kind of danger sense arising from not being anchored in time. She never jumps into the past or future and finds herself inside solid rock. The same sense may tell her to jump away when her present is about to become immediately fatal. So she can be injured, but that instinctive awareness may protect her from anything that would obliterate her outright.


Chali: I really appreciated the layout and art styling that was used to communicate the non-linear and multi-linear timeline. In particular the "purple time string" that would travel out of one frame and into another with PG as she jumps through time. What is the real name for that?


    Cayti: Thanks!  One of the joys when writing the first script was being able to play with the format.  Some of this ties back to your question about inspiration, and Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves is absolutely where that idea came from.  The pages of the book themselves are not just the canvas, but part of the story itself.  In the script it's just referred to as 'teleport in' or 'teleport out', which is sort of a boring name isn't it?  Let's call them Paradox Skips.



Chali: A certain amount of attention has been placed on the sexualization and subordination of female characters to male characters in pop culture by some lately. PG obviously needs no man to save her, but have you caught any flack about her fighting monsters and crime in a short skirt and heels? And if so what do you have to say to haters?


    Cayti: Not yet, but it's not unforeseeable.  I guess my response is: she also fights giant monsters with a whisk, so she's not the most practical or sensible person anyway.  Nor does she need to be.  I certainly didn't imagine her to be oversexualized, just a woman who's confident in her appearance and likes business suits.  If someone hates the fact that she has legs or breasts or other anatomy or clothing that they object to, I hope they can enjoy the comic anyway.  It certainly wasn't my intent to upset them.

I think there is progress to be made in racial and gender equality and certainly to reduce as said, 'the subordination of female characters'.  I want to be part of that progress, but that doesn't mean we all agree on how that should be done.  I hope I'm making the right steps, but unfortunately I'm not Paradox Girl and cant' remember the future.


Chali: As of right now, your Kickstarter campaign has 263 backers and you've reached $8,571 of your $10,000 goal with 25 days to go. What are your plans for PG when this campaign is over? Will you continue to sell the issues outright from your site, selling them to the wider market through distributors, or will you be introducing a subscription style service?

   Cayti: It's rather unbelievable to me that so many people would want to read the things I've written.  Yishan has done an absolutely amazing job in breathing life into PG and getting her onto the page.  I want to be able to continue to share stories and bring laughter (and tears) to people.   I'm grateful to Hana Comics and to the Kickstarter community for giving me the opportunity to do so.Thank you!

   Peter: I can field the question about future plans. Assuming this campaign is successful - and it's sure looking that way - we plan another campaign for issues 3-4, and then issues 5-6. At that point we'll be able to look at a TPB, which is much easier to get into stores than individual issues. The point of these campaigns, as well as to raise funds for production, is to connect PG with her potential fanbase. Depending on what that fanbase looks like when this round of campaigns is over, we'll make a decision about where to go from there - whether it's direct sales, selling through comic shops, more Kickstarter, something more web-based - we'll be looking at all the options to find what works best for both our character and her readers. It's all on the table.
 

I recommend that you go check out Paradox Girl. Go here to get a preview. And if you like what you see, please head on over to the Kickstarter campaign here. The campaign backer packages are pretty sweet! You can also checkout the official Paradox Girl website here.


Thank you for stopping by! I cannot thank you guys enough for your support. I was really concerned that since migrating to a new host took so long, that the site traffic numbers would have fallen off completely, but you guys have been coming back and providing feedback on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Your feedback means the world to me, and I'm always surprised that you guys actually like reading what I write. 

I also want to give a shout out to Cayti and Peter, for giving me the opportunity to review and cover their work. Please follow @hanacomics to follow along for more updates!

-Chali Baicunn

Friday, January 15, 2016

Green Leader: MC Chris Tested BaicunnPress Approved

Hello out there. I hope you're all having a fan-fracking-tastic Friday!I wanted to bring you something amazing to waste your employer's clock time with today. So I'm pulling this one out of the vault. Originally discovering this indie-comic through an MC Chris Facebook post. I was unsure of what I'd find on the other side of that link, and so I was astonished find an evocative human story. (If this doesn't make you feel something then you're broken.)


In case you're unfamiliar with who Green Leader is; I recommend that you check out the following video before continuing on:





Please enjoy!









What happens next?...

You'll have to see for yourself. Go check the rest of Green Leader out on Daniel Johnson's website, and while you're there check out Space Mullet . It's a fantastic sci-fi webcomic that's updated twice a week. I promise you will not be disappointed, and you'll have no shortage of material to waste your bosses time with.


Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you enjoy Green Leader and Space Mullet. Let me know what you think, in the comment section below. Please like and share on social media. Be sure to follow and turn on tweet notifications for @BaicunnPress, to get alerts when new content gets posted. As always thank you very much for all of the support, and I hope to see you again in the future.  

-Chali Baicunn