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Posts by Rollin Bishop

  1. Time to Dust off the Wii, Here Comes Zelda

    There is really nothing to argue about here. Even if you are the most devoted of Nintendo fans, someone that purchases every major release they come out with, you have to admit that 2011 has been a rather dry spell for an already mixed history of software releases on the Nintendo Wii. The impending release of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword might be hailed by some as a reason to pardon Nintendo’s lack of titles but, it doesn’t change facts.

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  2. Skyrim is Here, Along With Bethesda's Enormous Ambitions

    As I write this, I am anxiously awaiting the delivery of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I’m not waiting because I have to -- it’s my day off -- and I’m not anxious because it’s a game with "Elder Scrolls" slapped on the front. I’m waiting because Amazon’s release date delivery can sometimes mean the product showing up around eight at night, and I’m anxious because I loved Fallout 3.

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  3. Much Ado About Whedon

    Joss Whedon and I don’t necessarily mix well. That isn’t to say I dislike the man or the various creations he has been part of over the years. It’s merely an observation that while I overall enjoy his work, there have been times where, for me, he’s missed more than he’s hit. Like any other human being on this planet, he makes mistakes. Also like any other human being on this planet, everyone has their own opinion about art. That said, I’m a firm proponent of Firefly and all that the show entails. Nathan Fillion still has me watching Castle, though I generally loathe the way the show is paced. As someone who grew up with Toy Story, Whedon’s works have rarely been out of my life entirely, but I could never warm up to either Buffy or Angel. They never captured my rapt attention like they did for so many others, and there truly are so many others out there who loved it. There’s a certain section of people out there that praise everything Whedon and condemn all of those who dare question the simple fact that he is the best and has always been the best. To them, everything he touches is silver and gold. Maybe even platinum. There are also entire communities focused on following Whedon’s ripples in the world. For those of us who don’t connect our identity with Buffy or the like, however, there’s a much more even-keeled approach.

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  4. Video Games Based On Comics That Are Worth Your Time

    With the release of Batman: Arkham City, it has become increasingly clear that video games featuring our favorite characters from comics are still very much in demand. It just needs to be good enough to deserve our attention, like any piece of entertainment. Rocksteady can’t carry that torch alone, however, and luckily they don’t have to; there are a plethora of games out there featuring comics if you know where to look. So, without further ado, we at Geekosystem present our list of video games based on comics that are worth your time.

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  5. Technology Waits For No Man, Not Even A Computer Programmer

    The world of technology waits for nothing. It’s probably not news to you that we’re innovating, creating and developing new technologies faster and faster as years go by. For example, new interfaces can lead to entirely new ways to interact with objects, both domestically and otherwise. But even with the accelerated growth in the technology sector that we’ve seen just during our lifetimes, trying to actually gauge that from our own perspective is almost impossible. We’re just too close to the action. Perhaps, then, a story of my childhood, my father the computer programmer and Wolfenstein 3D can successfully relate just how quickly things manage to move and how little we often recognize it ourselves. Sometimes, it takes the experience of watching it happen to another person in order to fully appreciate the circumstances we live in.

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  6. Good Television That Is Being Threatened From the Inside

    Every year, there are a dozen or so shows on television that are cancelled or never make it to the point where they are even given the green light to begin. It’s more often that pilots are picked up and dumped after a few episodes than just about anything else. It is just the nature of the game. Less frequently, an already established show teeters on the edge for one reason or another. Something has gone wrong and the show nears the brink for a combination of reasons, but typically with one main driving force behind them. It is unusual for more than a handful of shows to be so close to the abyss. Now, that’s not to say that all of these shows will be cancelled, but merely that there are a number of factors in play that could significantly threaten them. We at Geekosystem present, a list of good television shows that are threatened by their own decisions.

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  7. Steve Jobs Was Your Elvis

    As the joke goes, I first learned about the passing of Steve Jobs on my iPhone. But I’m not much of an Apple devotee; it’s the first I’ve owned and that’s only been since this summer. I don’t have a MacBook -- never have -- and of all the various iterations of iPod devices, I’ve been gifted an original iPod Nano and an 80GB iPod Classic over the years. The only money I’ve directly given to Apple in my lifetime has been through iTunes and perhaps the recent purchase of my iPhone, though I’m not positive how much of that actually trickled back to the corporate overlords. All of this is to say that I don’t have a huge investment in Apple and never have. But the passing of Steve Jobs is not something anyone involved in the tech scene can ignore.

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  8. Most Disappointing Upgrades in Tech

    If there’s one thing we can be sure of in this world, it’s that companies will generally release an upgrade for their primary gadget or software if the original was well-received. This can range from the minor upgrade to the spiritual sequel or even an entirely new endeavor with the old name slapped on. There will always be those riding the coattails of their former achievements, but there are also those companies who seem to be genuinely trying to improve their product and just miss the mark. Whether it’s a matter of public perception, a number of times they fall short of their goal, or a combination of factors. Both of these can lead to disappointing results -- financially and otherwise -- that can leave the general public jaded. So, here at last is our list of the most disappointing technology upgrades and additions.

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  9. On Updated Collections And Sequels II: The Secret of the Ooze

    This console generation, more than any other, looks back at its predecessors with an incredible amount of nostalgia. There’s never been quite so many ways to play the games of years past as there are currently. Even most handhelds can play games from their prior iterations via digital downloads. The Nintendo 3DS has a way to do this and the PlayStation Network allows for downloads of PSOne Classics. But over the past two years, and it seems like more of the same for the near future, retail versions of remastered collections have begun cropping up at an ever-increasing rate. Just off the top of my head, there’s been The Sly Collection, the God of War Collection, and the recently released ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection. That’s just counting Sony. Microsoft’s Halo: Anniversary, Nintendo’s Star Fox 64 3D, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D are part of the same trend.

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  10. Ancillary Characters That Take Community From Good to Great

    Community is far and away my favorite show currently airing. The writing, the situations they find themselves in, and most of the characters as they are portrayed by their respective actors are brilliant. But Greendale, the fictional campus that serves as Community’s setting, isn’t amazing because of the study group that meets around the table or due to Joel McHale’s ability to deliver stunning monologues. It’s not because Donald Glover really is one of the best things to hit mainstream television in years, though these are all true. It’s because the world they inhabit is filled with interesting people and the promise that other equally interesting people exist beyond that. It’s the range and breadth of the ancillary characters that compose the background for Greendale that truly take the show from being good with above average writing to the point where Todd VanDerWerff can pontificate for pages about a single episode. So, here’s a list of the best ancillary characters Community has to offer.

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  11. Netflix Sells Apples, Qwikster Sells Oranges; Consumers Of Fruit In General Outrage

    I’m a fairly recent neophyte when it comes to Netflix. As I’ve been subscribing for just under a year, I have little-to-zero investment in what was once my experience with the service as compared to what it is now. Even then, I didn’t begin seriously utilizing what I had until late March or early April; the loss of Showtime didn’t faze me as it happened before I knew what I had. The more recent announcement that Starz would be ending their deal with Netflix in 2012 didn’t shock me either. The old media giants are still recoiling from the new ways, and often. Besides that, Starz never really had the best selection as a channel, though my love for Disney borders on obsession. Perhaps the biggest change for Netflix, prior to this week, was the introduction of separate plans for DVD-by-mail and streaming customers in July.  For those following along at home, this was where Netflix began to dip heavily in the eyes of customers. Those who had been with Netflix since the introduction of instant streaming had grown accustomed to receiving both DVD-by-mail and the instant gratification of streaming services. The announcement that they’d have to double their investment in order to receive the same benefits as before was not received well, to put it mildly. However, it makes perfect sense with the spin off and reveal of Qwikster, which will ship games as well as DVDs, as a distinct entity from Netflix.

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  12. Video Games Franchises That Don't Need A Story But Attempt One Anyway

    There are thousands of video games out there that make no pretense about having a story that the players should care about. Entire genres avoid story and plot, favoring natural emergent narrative and other such terminology over designer-driven experiences. That isn’t to say they are better or worse than their counterparts, but only to say that ludic and narrative elements aren’t always both present in video games. That’s more or less to say that sometimes, a game is entirely about the game and not about the story behind it. The mechanics at play are what make the game what it is. But even then, developers often feel the need to add some kind of plot to their digital offspring. And so we arrive with a great many video game franchises that have a story, but don’t really need one.

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  13. Tokyo Game Show 2011 Recap

    The Tokyo Game Show, obviously hosted in Tokyo, Japan, is one of the two major gaming conventions hosted outside of North America, with the other being Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. As one might expect, the Tokyo Game Show is often awash with Japanese developers and has, in the past, been host to many of the Japanese developers' game revelations, announcements and declarations. But with the Japanese gaming industry’s stagnation as of late, Tokyo Game Show has increasingly become home to fewer and fewer announcements, with other conventions, like the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, increasingly revealing those tidbits of news that Japanese developers might have previously saved for TGS. That said, TGS still is home to a number of noteworthy items so here’s a brief recap of TGS 2011 for those at home.

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  14. Children's Cartoons Available on Netflix Instant That Adults Should Love

    Netflix is a veritable wonderland when it comes to shows that you a) missed when you were younger, or b) never saw the entirety of for one reason or another. Unfortunately, those that reach the glorious cloud known as Netflix Instant won’t always be available to impulsively watch at whim. That’s why the Instant Queue exists, after all. It functions mostly as a bookmark, letting the user save their place. But even with the Instant Queue, there are titles that come and go. Given the shaky nature of the old film giants’ relationship with Internet streaming companies, the situation could change at any given moment. So, really, the best idea would be to get your fill before they disappear. And, of all those things that might not crop up elsewhere, children’s cartoons that are amazing as an adult are perhaps the least likely to reappear. Here’s a handy list of those that are worth seeing before they’re gone for good.

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  15. Misguided Console Add-Ons You Might Have Tried to Forget

    As the previous list makes painfully obvious, the makers of games tend to jump off the deep end when it comes to conceptual designs. Often enough, what looks great on paper doesn’t actually turn out to be such a good idea. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t always Nintendo making these kind of blunders. Historically, Sega probably has the worst track record here. But no console maker is safe. Microsoft, so far, has been the most reluctant to release peripherals or add-ons and therefore doesn’t feature. That said, Kinect from Microsoft and the PlayStation Move could appear on this kind of list down the line but, as of the time this is published, that remains to be seen. After all, motion controls are kind of standard these days. So, as a companion piece to our list of most misguided handheld peripherals, we at Geekosystem present our list of most misguided console peripherals.

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  16. Handheld Gaming Peripherals That Were as Misguided as the Nintendo 3DS Slide Pad

    The somewhat startling reveal of the 3DS Slide Pad, while hilarious, isn’t exactly unprecedented. Nintendo is notorious for releasing a variety of peripherals that are either misguided attempts to provide functionality they should have had at launch, or to fill relatively niche purposes, but they aren’t the only purveyors of crazy add-ons. Nearly every handheld ever released has at one time or another decided to further extend its capabilities by tacking on an external device of some kind. That’s not even counting accessories made by third parties; we’re talking strictly those things produced and sanctioned by the makers of the system. To remind those of you out there that might think Nintendo is out of their mind that they are surely not alone, here’s some of the most ridiculous accessories and add-ons released on handheld gaming devices over the years.

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  17. Why Jon Finkel Was and Is My Hero

    I would definitely go on a date with Jon Finkel. That is to say, if I were single. And into dudes. But the point is that Jon Finkel, as a human being, is someone of interest, a former Magic: the Gathering world champion and straight up smooth. Even after a former Gizmodo intern managed to, well, drag his name through the mud, the internet backlash was something to behold and Finkel’s responses to the debacle have thrust him squarely upon the nerd pedestal. In a good way. A little history here might be needed: At some point in the past, Alyssa Bereznak got drunk, made an OKCupid account and ended up going out on a date with Jon Finkel. These are the facts as they have been related to us. Apparently, not disclosing your status as a former world champion in a sport -- ESPN covered it, therefore, sport -- is grounds for disgruntlement. And there’s the rub; she’s perfectly within her rights not to want to date Mr. Finkel, but making a blog post about it where she purposefully calls him out by name and characterizes him in the poorest terms imaginable is downright despicable. If the tables were turned here and Finkel had made a similar post, he’d have been drawn and quartered as well. It’s not like she couldn’t have seen this coming.

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  18. Lessons the PlayStation Vita Can Learn From the Nintendo 3DS Launch

    The Nintendo 3DS is not exactly off to a great start. After launching at an unrealistic price point of $250 only a handful of months ago, the system has already been slashed down to $170. According to a rather poignant post from Nintendo, this was done to increase sales of the hardware which would in turn lead to more software sales and future development. If you can’t get the console in the hands of the consumer fast enough and build a market for games, you’re basically doomed. But the Nintendo 3DS isn’t the only handheld coming to market. The PlayStation Vita from Sony will be trying to force its way into the scene sometime over the next year and it’s not like the PlayStation Portable had an amazing reputation in North America, especially compared to the Nintendo DS. Hopefully, the debacle that was the Nintendo 3DS launch will provide some pointers for Sony’s handheld.

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  19. GameStop's Attempt to Suppress OnLive Actually Made Everyone Aware of OnLive, Oops

    The gut reaction to GameStop pulling OnLive coupons en masse from retail PC copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution usually includes the words “how dare they,” or something to that effect. The legality of it all has been discussed to death, with mentions of tortious interference floating about, and GameStop has come under fire for the missive pretty much unanimously. Except for the fact that Square Enix issued what amounts to a public apology and acknowledgement that they had not previously informed GameStop of their third party coupon inclusion. Obviously, whenever the publisher, developer, or whoever includes something in the packaging, the end consumer is going to feel cheated if they don’t receive the full product. Cutting open factory sealed copies in order to remove a slip of paper and then selling them as new anyway is, ethically speaking, kind of shady. But so is trying to slip coupons into the games for one of GameStop’s direct competitors.

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  20. The Boring, Mundane Things We Do In Video Games

    The world of video games is a magical place. The possibilities are near limitless when everything about the reality that the player inhabits is constructed from the ground up. Sometimes this provides fantastical journeys outside of space and time while other times it can poignantly encapsulate actual reality. And even further still, this can sometimes lead to introducing rather mundane, normal activities to the lives of the avatars we inhabit. There is most certainly a reason that these actions are included in games. David Cage, from developer Quantic Dream, has gone on record as saying that without the mundane things presented in Heavy Rain, “it would have been impossible for players to really attach themselves to the game's protagonist and really feel his pain throughout the game's story.” So, in short, here is a list of mundane things we do in games in order to more fully connect with the protagonist and their surroundings.

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