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Posts by James Bishop

  1. The Best Geek Podcasts the Internet Has to Offer

    There are many senses that a wayward geek can stimulate in order to further their enjoyment of the culture that surrounds them. Obviously, visual stimulation is one of the many that anyone reading this is employing. Kinetic stimulation can be satisfied with movement, as anyone trying to sell you motion controls is liable to pitch. However, one particular sense is rarely utilized in a manner befitting the subject. But thanks to an influx in quality podcasts over the fast couple years, we geeks no longer have to worry about leaving those auditory urges unsatisfied. Better yet, these podcasts span the gap between the various disciplines of geekdom in such a manner that allows them to sometimes “cross the streams,” as it were, without disastrous consequences. So, here they are, some of the best geek podcasts that the ‘net has to offer.

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  2. Geektastic Webcomics That Deserve More Attention Than They Have Received

    There are an absolute plethora of webcomics out there. Some have lasted for years while others are only just now starting out. Some are known for their humor, their brevity, their wit, their unique style or really any combination of these and many more. Some follow strict linear plots while others are just a jumbled mass of comics with a sort of tangible reality stretched to cover them. So, the chances are good that there’s at least one that will strike your incredibly niche fancy. Due to the ways in which the geeky demographics mix, if you’re reading this list on this site, chances are even better for at least one if not a whole bunch to be spot on. In fact, you might already know and love XKCD and Dinosaur Comics. But the world of webcomics is far larger than just those two or even three if you count Achewood. So, for those of you out there just dying for a new webcomic to follow, Geekosystem proudly presents a number of geeky webcomics that deserve more attention than they have received.

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  3. LulzSec, Anonymous and The Days Of Internet Rage

    Hacking seems to be on the mind of all those who utilize the Internet these days. It’s kind of a foregone conclusion that when you open something up to the vast legions of the web that it’s going to get wrecked by someone at some point. That hasn’t stopped folks from being incredibly lax about security, but this is a problem that stems from people who know little to nothing about the details making decisions in opposition to the advice they’re given from specialists. So the high-profile hacks of late were really inevitable.

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  4. Wii U, Wii Mii, Wii Us Together

    Nintendo’s press conferences remind me of the movie Signs. Keep in mind that Signs was made prior to last year’s The Last Airbender and long before the novelty of the twist ending wore off. Specifically, I’m reminded of the scene where Joaquin Phoenix’s character is revealed to hold both a home run and strikeout record. No matter what the coaches told him that he should do, he insisted on swinging as hard as he possibly could. And that’s where I associate Phoenix’s character with Nintendo. He’s being mocked in the movie by another member of the town for his penchant for always trying to hit it out of the park. As the scene comes to a close, he utters a line that feels completely in line with Nintendo’s current design philosophy, it “felt wrong not to swing.”

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  5. Actors Who Would Be Allowed Into the Geek Equivalent of Heaven

    When you die and potentially go wherever it is that people go when they’re dead — be it in the ground or some type of heaven or whatever — chances are you won’t be pleased with everyone that has been given a pass. Some people just rub folks the wrong way; it’s a fact of life. There is one bright side to this, however: If you’re going to this theorized place, it’s safe to assume that people similar to you are going to be going there as well. That means that all those geeky actors will be chatting it up in the geek afterlife, hopefully. But where do they draw the line? Clearly, some are more worthy than others. Some actors have been in multiple works that were seminal in their own right. So, here it is, finally, a list of the actors that are most worthy of being admitted to the geek equivalent of heaven.

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  6. Why the DC Relaunch Could Actually Be Pretty Neat

    The world of comics is an ever-expanding one. With each new title comes a bevy of new superheroes, villains and general populace that then must be worked with when dealing with the greater continuity. Sometimes, this can lead to interesting developments like The Avengers or one of their various incarnations or can even lead to massive crossover events. Regardless, continuity marches on and things become convoluted, complex and downright difficult to work around. It should come as no surprise, then, that DC Comics has decided to go ahead and “relaunch” their universe with all new #1s in September. It’s not as if this is setting precedent either. This is following in a long tradition of reboots, relaunches and general simplifications. These types of events are sometimes met with frustration on the part of fans, such as the M-Day aftermath in the Marvel multiverse, or with genuine enthusiasm, like the previous Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline in DC Comics. More often than not, these stories herald the death of many different versions of superheroes and others that fans have come to know and love. (Though it likely deserves to be mentioned here, the Spider-Man: One More Day saga is just too painful to talk about.) So, it’s with cautious optimism that I look forward to the coming “relaunch,” which you can brush up on over at The Mary Sue.

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  7. Geektastic Musicians That Deserve More Attention Than They Have Received

    Anybody that has played Portal -- or at this point, heard someone espousing the virtues of Portal -- has likely come across the musician Jonathan Coulton. His song from the ending credits, "Still Alive," has reached near mythical status in the realm of geekdom and potentially beyond.

    But Mr. Coulton is far from the only geeky musician out there. There are some obvious inclusions in a list of geeky musicians, such as mc chris, Freezepop and, of course, Weird Al. There are also, however, a number of musicians, bands and groups that exist just far enough out to the side of what might be considered mainstream that they deserve to be spotlighted. This is by no means comprehensive. For more artists, check out Nerdapalooza or Penny Arcade Expo. The first is a nerdy music festival while the second typically has concerts at night featuring many of these artists and more.

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  8. PlayStation Network Hopes to Bribe You to Forgive Them

    For better or worse, it seems like the PlayStation Network is slowly recovering from its unannounced demise at the hands of some rogue hackers that may or may not be associated with the Anonymous hacker group. Barring some leftover exploitation of the computer’s password reset page, there’s been little to report in the way of horrible things happening to Sony as of late. That’s because they’re preparing to completely re-launch it all.

    Who knows what’s going to happen during the Sony presser at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in just less than two weeks. But we do know they are not just ignoring the crisis they, as a company, endured either.  Through a special Welcome Back promotion, they’re going to be offering two free downloads of a small list of popular games to show some kind of appreciation to their returning customers. In addition, they will be offering a month of PlayStation Plus access. That’s all supposed to happen at some nebulous point after the store comes back online. As of writing this, that has yet to happen. The store is still, as they put it, “undergoing maintenance” until further notice. Even so, the list includes some impressive titles. LittleBigPlanet and inFAMOUS are two major contenders for the absolute best of what’s being offered. Those are two titles that, regardless of other circumstances, one should probably be pleased with adding to one’s collection of well-crafted games. But that’s part of the problem.

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  9. Movie Franchises That Died on the Vine at Number Four

    The newest release in the long-winded Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise is now in theatres. I’m sure, somewhere, somebody is rejoicing that fact. It’s probably worth mentioning that my despair didn’t stop said movie from raking in boatloads of cash. Literal boatloads. Okay, not really. But still, a lot of money was made.  My despair also had nothing to do with Roger Ebert giving the most recent iteration fewer stars than Mel Gibson’s latest outing, The Beaver. Yes, the one where he wears a beaver puppet on his hand throughout the film. That is what scored more favorably. This turn of events brought to mind other movie franchises that managed the trifecta but couldn’t quite pull off the fourth. Also, just to get it out of the way, I am fairly positive The Matrix would be included here were it not for the remarkably sane decision to stop at three.

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  10. Oh Good, More Modern Warfare is Coming

    Call of Duty, as a franchise, has never really been my cup of tea. It probably has something to do with my love for the PC for FPS gaming of any kind. But that hasn’t stopped me from playing and loving the stuffing out of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on the Xbox 360 or even from playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to completion. It also isn’t like I didn’t play its obvious predecessors; Medal of Honor was my FPS franchise of choice for a long time. Something just never clicked with me after the transition to Activision. Which is why the fact that I admit that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was a milestone for the genre is all the more impressive. It wasn’t that the game is (or was at the time of release) overly exceptional. It’s the fact that it pushed boundaries and challenged some very specific conventions that really made it stand out head and shoulders above the video games being published at Activision’s main competitors. Well, that and it was just well-crafted in general.

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  11. Why The Kingdom of Loathing is Still Relevant, Awesome

    The Kingdom of Loathing has been around since 2003. In the grand scheme of things, that isn't a terribly long time, but in the grand scheme of online gaming, it has been around forever -- while maintaining its popularity -- about a year longer than World of Warcraft. That's pretty impressive for a game that many consider to be a more humorous take on Legend of the Red Dragon, or other incarnations like Legend of the Green Dragon, with perhaps a few major differences. That's eight glorious years of an unconventional business model -- donations and merchandise only -- and giggle-worthy adventures in the Kingdom. However, web games (especially browser-based games) often lose their luster after such a long period of time. The honeymoon wears off and players drift away, seemingly having fallen out of love with the title. How is it that Kingdom of Loathing, an off-beat pop culture multiplayer role-playing game with crude stick figure graphics, still continues to garner the interest of its long-time audience while also attracting new folks? Considering the most recent changes to ascension, now is likely the best time to learn or remember why Kingdom of Loathing is still awesome and maintains its relevance in a world of free-to-play, critically-acclaimed graphical games.

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  12. More Tough Decisions in Video Games, Please [Contains Spoilers]

    The problem with choices in games is that they’re mostly one of two things, neither of which actually counts as choices. They’re either an illusion of choice where the outcome is the same or they’re simply a question of which mechanic is better. If one option is quantifiably better within the game, it’s the obvious answer and therefore there’s little reason to pick the other. It’s rare to find a choice presented in video games that falls outside of this spectrum. But those that do are the ones that stick with you. They are the ones—when seriously considered and chosen—that can tell you about yourself as a person. Of course, your mileage may vary, but there have been a nice handful of these kinds of choices over the past couple years.

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  13. Lessons From Battlefield: Bad Company 2 That Probably Don’t Translate to Real Life

    When I turn my on Xbox 360 — not a Sony fanboy so much as I enjoy Blu-rays — I do so to play Battlefield: Bad Company 2. I own over a dozen other games for the system and they all lay dormant. When there’s so much to learn about life, love and warfare inside one single game, why play any others? On the other hand, there are definitely some aspects of Bad Company 2 that are probably a little far-fetched. Who knew that the various tricks and skills learned via a military shooter video game wouldn’t translate to real life? Head on past the break to see the absolute best lessons that don’t quite make sense outside of Bad Company 2.

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  14. Thinking With, and About, Portals

    Sequels are a funny thing. Those who played the prior game in any given series will come to the sequel with certain expectations. This has always been the case with sequels in any kind of media. It just so happens that video games currently bear the brunt of this. Whenever a game comes along that well and truly shakes up the preconceptions we have about games as a whole, the sequel to said game comes under some extra scrutiny. That’s where we find ourselves not long after the release of Portal 2 with the original’s release still seen with rose-tinted glasses. Portal is still seen by many, and perhaps rightly so, as the very apex of gaming. Depending on who you ask, they’re liable to give you one of many reasons. Some folks enjoyed the feeling of loneliness and despair that the abandoned testing labs of Aperture Science provided. Others simply loved the fact that there was a game trying to be funny again and mostly succeeded. Whatever the case, people love Portal. They surely do. But Portal 2 ain’t Portal. It could never be.

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  15. Great Nintendo DS Games Prove the 3DS Doesn’t Need to Rely on a Gimmick to Succeed

    It’s time to face facts, people. The Nintendo 3DS went ahead and launched without any clear defining title to back it up. I mean, when you think a title like Nintendogs + Cats is going to please your hardcore audience, perhaps it’s time to rethink a few things. Like, what you were even thinking in the first place and perhaps what drugs you were on at the time. We at Geekosystem feel your pain. It seems like it’s going to take some time for the 3DS to really pick up steam—if it ever does. In the meantime, we suggest going back to the old standby that never steered you wrong: The Nintendo DS. Sure, it might not be the prettiest gal in town, but it’ll stick by you no matter what. I’m not sure when that metaphor got away from me. The following list of Nintendo DS games shows that the last-generation handheld still has quite a bit more magic than the shiny new glassless 3D handheld, and though both handhelds are full of gimmicks, the best route for gaming isn't always to utilize said gimmicks--and in the case of the 3DS, the best route isn't to base an entire generation of gaming on a single gimmick.

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  16. Who the PlayStation Network Hack Really Affects

    The external intrusion, as Sony is wont to refer to it, into the PlayStation Network is kind of a big deal. Straight from their Q&A about the situation, Sony confirms that there are 77 million accounts that could possibly have completely compromised data. All data from the profile, such as name, email, birthday and address, plus maybe more, is in the hands of those who hacked the network. Smooth move, Sony. That said, they have finally announced that they have no evidence that credit card information had been gleaned. Unlike their personal data tables, they’d deigned to encrypt all of that. That hasn’t stopped people from coming out of the woodwork to blame Sony’s data leak for their own financial issues however. As other outlets have pointed out, that’s possibly due to being on high alert for such things.

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  17. Reboot Retrospective: Mortal Kombat

    I have fond memories of the original Mortal Kombat. I was a bit too young for the arcade but that didn’t stop the youngest of my father’s brothers and my oldest cousins from bringing around the cartridge. To me, Mortal Kombat was the game that my uncle schooled me in with that code that turned blood on. My father found the gory combat a bit… much. That didn’t stop me from hitting ABACABB when he wasn’t around. My attachment to the franchise only grew stronger as I grew older. While I didn’t own the second or third installment, my friends did. I’d spend the night with others just to use their SNES. They’d suggest going out and playing tag and I would carefully explain why we should instead play games inside. Sub-Zero and Stryker were my weapons of choice. Some folks lump those who play fighting games into one solid group when, in reality, there are many different camps involved. For example, we weren’t Street Fighter kids; we were Mortal Kombat kids. Somehow, this divide still seems to continue despite all rhyme or reason. I haven’t played Street Fighter for any length of time since my Sega Genesis saw regular play. So you can imagine the kind of nostalgic baggage I bring to the table when I say that I have mixed feelings about the latest installment of Mortal Kombat.

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  18. 6 of the Coolest Multi-Platform Franchises Since 2000

    The new millennium has been mighty kind in terms of fruitful franchises. Some older, niche works have received revitalizations while other equally niche works have risen up to help fill out the greater cornucopia that is, shall we say, geekdom. But which of these newcomers really has the strength to stand up over time like the old standbys? That’s the real question here. So, here’s the criterion: To be considered, the franchise must have some kind of multimedia, multi-platform presence. Basically, each franchise must have three different forms of media involved, be it comics, manga, film, video games, anime series, or something similar to those listed. Call it the equivalent of the triple threat; some franchises have the ability and some do not. All of these have that quality in spades.

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  19. Unopened Anxiety and the Pile of Shame

    Every gamer has their own private Pile of Shame. That is, everyone has a stack of unplayed, unopened or unfinished games that they tell themselves they will one day get around to playing. For those of us who spend any amount of time working in the gaming editorial business, that pile tends to be exacerbated by unrequested review copies and a tendency to purchase anything and everything on sale. I mean, c’mon, Borderlands: GOTY edition was $7.50 on Steam yesterday. That’s the full game and all the DLC! How could someone resist that? But I digress. There are a number of reasons for the Pile of Shame beyond just the desire to have and hold. As those who were introduced to games as kids grow up, their ability to purchase the ones that they truly desire increases. Unfortunately, this typically corresponds with a distinct lack of free time to play them. Another slightly more perplexing issue is the anxiety that comes from having so many games that it’s nearly impossible to pick one to play, at least, insofar as to give the game the time it really deserves, that players end up not playing anything at all. That or they play something they’re already intimately familiar with instead. My own problem is a little from column A, a little from column B.

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  20. 6 Popular Bloatware Programs That Aren’t Going Away Any Time Soon

    There’s really nothing quite like getting a new piece of hardware. Anyone who has booted up their own computer, laptop, phone, what-have-you, for the first time can attest to the fact that there’s just something…right about a fresh slate. A clean start to the internet and other activities, as it were. But then you start adding what many might refer to—with sometimes incredible vitriol—“bloatware” to your device of choice. It just feels natural to have some programs installed, but that’s only due to their proscribed nature and, often, longevity. For one reason or another, the various software on this list have committed the ultimate crime: They are too large for no good reason. Sometimes it’s the feature creep that gets them and other times they’re just a waste of space in general. Of course, this list is by no means comprehensive, as there will always be more bloatware out there to skewer, but these are some of the most common, widespread instances of bloatware out there.

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