Posts Tagged With: spotlight

Modern Video Games: Children of Fantasy Geeks and Pixels

Heads bopping back and forth for hours, gazing at a TV screen, in houses all across the country – it was amazing! The wonder of playing Pong at home for the first time seems incomprehensible compared to the video gaming that computers such as Lenovo’s new laptops are capable of today. When you realize this was your grandparents age, it’s pretty mindblowing. Even more amazing is the convergence of technologies and disciplines it took to make video games what they have become. You could get into a big argument over whether the true ancestors of current video gaming were Pong and Pac-Man, or a cult-followed tabletop collection of three role-playing guidebooks, called Dungeons and Dragons.

Separate Beginnings

Video game history starts in 1947 – about the time the Cold War began. Then, as Bloomberg reports, a pair of inventors patented a Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device. Players placed clear plastic sheets with targets printed on them over a TV picture tube, and directed beams of light to hit the targets. That fell as far away from modern video games as role playing games of the day fell from Dungeons and Dragons. Those miniature warfare games were strategy exercises employing mathematical formulas and a variety of dice to recreate historic battles.

It took 25 years for any really marketable video games to reach the market. Most people saw them in movies before they saw these limited release games in arcades. Computer Space, with a screen display appearing similar to the later Asteroids, had been produced in 1971, but still seemed futuristic two years later when IMDB.com says it made a cameo appearance in the film “Soylent Green.” Another early film star was Pong, which took a bow in 1974 s “The Parallax View.” Meanwhile, socially withdrawn number crunchers with rich imaginations gathered their alter egos as wizards, princesses, thieves, and warriors around tables for entire weekends. By then, these fantasy gamers had models of their characters, and often three-dimensional landscapes on which to move them around.

The mental demands of Dungeons and Dragons limited its audience. Involving multiple dice of diverse shapes with complex calculations to determine any outcomes, it challenged players who wanted faster action. Hard as the math was, the imagination could demand even more. The best players maintained their characters for the entire period of the game.

Computers faced similar challenges in computing ability. Both display capacities and their ability to calculate actions lagged behind the market’s demand for both action and interactivity. Air hockey and foosball were then still as popular as many video games in arcades.

Computers and Imagination Marry

That began to change with 1983 s fully animated Dragon’s Lair by Don Bluth of “American Tail” fame, according to IMDB.com. Laser disc technology permitted multiple player-driven plots. It was the first truly interactive video game to reach arcades – at least, the first with a plot that the user was able to help shape. D&D fans could be a real knight facing off against a genuinely scary dragon to save a princess lovelier than any prom date they would ever get. As the 1980s advanced, computers got more powerful, and technology got more affordable, the range of video games expanded, but it took a global crisis to make the biggest difference.

With the end of the Cold War, the government opened the Internet – which it had primarily developed as a defense resource – to the private sector. The flood of investment brought in during the 1990s made it seem like connection speeds and microprocessor speeds were in a race to keep up with each other. Now, laptops are able to let gamers fight dragons, or even each other, in Massive Multiplayer Online Games. These have completely developed virtual environments, no math necessary, and high definition images instead of just pixels bouncing back and forth.

Categories: video game history | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Motivate Yourself to Work on Cosplay

I am absolutely terrible at motivating myself, but recently I feel I have gotten better at it. I know myself and many other cosplayers always have difficulty when it comes to finding ways to push ourselves to work on cosplays. It is a tedious task that many of us want to push back…until it comes close to a convention! So, I am now writing various ways that we can attempt to motivate ourselves to work on our cosplays so we are not crunching before a convention

Look at your favorite cosplayer

Any time I feel unmotivated I look at pictures of other cosplayers, especially the fantastic Yaya Han. I admire her work greatly and I want to, someday, possess the skills that she has and the patience. Every time I see her cosplays I get a push to work on my own. So if you have a favorite cosplayer, or multiple cosplayers, I suggest going through their cosplays and looking at them. Look at every detail and think about how you would go about making that cosplay.

Watch cosplay music videos

I adore watching CMV’s, especially Ackson’s, MLZStudio’s, and ChillyWillyTube’s. It is a great way to put yourself at a convention again without actually being in one. Look around at all of the cosplays in the background, the pictures being taken, and of course the cosplayer(s) being showcased.

Sit down and plan your cosplay

Take a few minutes to sit down and think about how you are going to make your cosplay(s). Picture yourself wearing the cosplay after working hours upon hours to complete it! It can help motivate you if you think about the finish product and how excited you are for it.

Take W.I.P (Work in progress) pictures!

What is more motivating than watching your beloved cosplay slowly become pieced together? Take pictures of your work periodically so you can see how far you have progressed. By reflecting on all of the progress you made, you can become motivated to finish what you have started so you can see the final outcome!

Talk to friends while you work!

I ALWAYS start a Google Hangout with my friends when I am going to work on cosplay. Sometimes we all work on cosplay together, and sometimes we just talk about various things. It’s a great way to have fun while working. Plus, once you finish something you have an immediate audience to show it to! Your friends are also fantastic people to bounce ideas off of and to ask advice. If you are stuck in a ruff, who better to ask than your friends?!

Featured Image Taken By Ithlia Lin

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AshB Images: Interview with Cosplay Photographer Ashley Badie

We interview photographer Ashley Badie, owner of AshB Images about her love for cosplay photography and what she thinks about shooting at different conventions. Filmed at Otakon 2013. Also includes cosplayers SunsetDragon as Merida and Silva Halo as the Black Cat. You can find more information about AshB Images here!

Interview conducted by Spectra Cosplay.

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Surprise, Surprise…The Superior Spider-Man is “No Brand New Day”

If you’re an older Spider-Man reader, then you remember the days when Peter Parker was married to M.J.

It was a rarity in comics-a happy, stable relationship. Peter and M.J. made one another stronger. She and he had careers and their own villains and, well, that dynamic lasted for more than twenty years. No matter how tough life became, you could always look at Peter Parker and realize that the nerdy kid grew up, got the girl, and lived (usually) happily ever after.

So Long and Thanks for All the Webs

Then in 2007 and 2008, Dan Slott and the creative team at Marvel undid everything.

Undid the marriage. Undid all of those years of web-slinging. Undid Kraven’s last hunt and Venom and “Secret Wars.” “One More Day” and the resulting “Brand New Day” reset the Spider-Man universe and tried to recalibrate the fun that they had felt the comic had strayed from. And yet it wasn’t fun. The stories weren’t light or deft. Critical reaction was mixed, to put it kindly. To me, it felt like Marvel dropped a lit match in my comic collection and burned up all of those amazing issues.

So Dan Slott and Marvel tried it again with The Superior Spider-Man, which ended Amazing Spider-Man at issue #700 and launched a whole new Spider-Man. To keep it short, Doctor Octopus switched minds with Peter Parker and trapped his consciousness in that dying body. That meant the new Doc Ock Peter Parker had all of Peter’s memories and understood Spider-Man’s mission. The final issue of ASM was a rushed story with a lot of backpatting and hat tipping from people who worked on the book. It is, perhaps, a hair less annoying than “Brand New Day.”

So I started reading The Superior Spider-Man with fairly low expectations. I felt betrayed that they erased all of the years of my iconic hero and then they decided that wasn’t enough so they went off and killed him, too.

What I Never Expected

Here’s the big surprise: I liked The Superior Spider-Man. I really like it. Once they dished off the whining ghost of Peter Parker and gave Doc Ock free run, it meant that you could see how a different person-one with a vicious streak to boot-would handle living as Peter Parker.

And the stories are tense and the kind of fun I think Slott was trying to capture in “Brand New Day.” In short, I hate how we were given The Superior Spider-Man. I disliked everything about the ending of ASM. I didn’t even care for the beginning of the Doc Ock era as Spider-Man, but I love the direction of this storyline and am glad that it has been extended.

Besides, if I want to see M.J. and Peter married again, I still have those issues bagged and boarded.

Categories: marvel comics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bethany Maddock’s Deadly KILLER FROST Cosplay at OTAKON 2013

At Otakon 2013, we took a few moments to talk to cosplayer Bethany Maddock about the amount of time and detail she put into her Killer Frost costume that was based specifically from the DC Comics’ and NetherRealm’s video game INJUSTICE: Gods Among Us. If you want to see more of her cosplays, you can find them on her Facebook page here!

Interview conducted by Spectra Cosplay.

Categories: otakon 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Comic Review: Robyn Hood #1

Review: Robyn Hood #1 (Zenescope)
By: Erin DeBorba

Ever since I was little, I loved the stories of the original Robin Hood, the man hood stole from the rich to give to the poor. The man who gave people a future, even though he risked his own. From the stories, to the Disney adaptation of the story, I was always a fan. So when I heard that the Zenescope team had started a new project, Robyn Hood, I was thrilled.

Robyn Hood is the story of a woman who has taken on the role of a thief, so that she could support her broken family, however, little does she know, that her whole world is about to turn upside down.

Issue one of Robyn Hood opens up with a car accident, and quickly flashes back to a fight scene between a man from Myst, one of the Realms connected to Earth, and a warrior woman. Once the battle is over, the man, now known as Shang, finds a baby girl. Although his superiors are against it, Shang is determined to find the baby a home, and does just that.

This baby girl, however, ends up living a life of thievery and darkness. Her mother is sick, her father kicks them out, and she ends up having to take on more than a girl her age should be able to.

We are then taken to a scene in Myst, where a villager asks a favor from a powerful woman. After telling him that the person he seeks is not ready, and to be patient, we switch back to the life of the girl, unknown at the time. Being in high school, she faces challenges of being alone, having people not like her, and more. After standing up for herself against a group of bullies, our heroine steals a car and takes off, leading us back to the opening scene.

After being hospitalized, sued, and thrown in jail, our heroine is then pulled into a portal via the powerful woman from before. Though before she can find out who she is, an arrow strikes her heart, and soldiers surround them.

In a closing scene, the soldiers ask what her name is, and before the end of the issue, she claims, “My name is Robyn.”

Not only does this comic keep you on your toes, wanting more and eagerly awaiting the next issue, but also the artwork is stunning, colorful and eye catching. Pat Shand does an incredible job with the story, and his artists and the Zenescope team do a great job as well.

Keep an eye out for my review of Robyn Hood Issue #2.

Erin

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MENACE and AIRI of QUEEN’S BLADE by A&J Cosplay!

Photos and video of ConnectiCon 2013 are coming up shortly, but for now, check out our first feature with Alissa and Jess of A&J Cosplay! KBV Photography took some awesome shots of their cosplay of Airi and Menace from the series Queen’s Blade! These shots were taken at ConnectiCon 2013. Check them out below!

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Categories: queen's blade cosplay | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Emergency Cosplay Kit: The Essentials You Need To Protect Your Costume

With all of the work that goes into putting a cosplay or costume together, the last thing you want is anything to happen to your costume the day of the event or to be uncomfortable. There are a few things you should always have readily available when at a convention or other event for just in case. Pull together a little emergency kit a couple of days before an event. Waiting to do so until the last minute will likely result in the forgetting of something important and unneeded stress. The best thing to do is to create a list of what you will need. Here are some of the essentials that I think every emergency cosplay kit should have:

Small sewing kit

Hopefully you won’t find yourself needing a sewing kit when you are at a convention but you don’t want to need one and not have one. Seems come undone and hems can fall. If you catch it early enough, you can fix it with a needle and thread. Bring thread in every color used in your costume and a package of sewing needles. Don’t forget a small pair of scissors and some snaps.

Safety pins

There will be some instances when you won’t have the time to sew something back together and other times a needle and thread just won’t cut it. Safety pins are great for attaching undergarments to you costume so that they don’t show. They are also extremely useful for quick fixes when you don’t have enough time

Double-sided fashion tape

Clothing moves when you do. There’s really no way to get around it but having to pull clothing into its proper place constantly can not only be annoying but it can make you too self-conscious to enjoy yourself. Double sided fashion tape works great in a pinch if you come to find out that your costume isn’t sitting on your body the way you want it to.

Tide pen

As much as I try not to be, I’m a pretty messy eater so I can almost guarantee that I’m going to spill something on myself. Nothing makes me more furious than spending a lot of time and money on a costume just to turn around and stain it. Instead of not eating the entire time, have a stain removing pen at the ready so you can nip the stain in the butt right as it happens. Even if you aren’t a messy eater it’s still a good idea to have a stain removing pen handy just in case someone else spills something on you.

Super glue

Cosplay costumes can be rather intricate and have a lot of components to keep track of. Heat can melt glue and some things fall off for no apparent reason. Whether you have to fix an acrylic nail or refasten the sole of your shoe, you will be glad you packed some super glue.

Blotting strips

Even if you don’t have particularly oily skin, it’s a good idea to carry blotting papers with you. Pictures are snapped left and right at conventions and the last thing you want is a shiny face. Many blotting papers also come with a dusting of powder already on them so you won’t have to carry around a powder compact as well.

Band aids for blisters

You are likely going to be spending a lot of time on your feet in some uncomfortable shoes. Of course, you should always practice wearing your shoes before any event so you can learn how to move around smoothly in them but you should also be prepared for a little bit of discomfort. When making your costume you should always make sure that you have comfortable shoe insoles and blister pads, but be prepared because you still might get a blister or two. Bring some band aids just in case.

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A sense of humor

Above all it’s important for you to enjoy yourself and have fun. Everything rarely goes perfectly so having a sense of humor is essential when participating in cosplay. Even if your costumes doesn’t turn out the way you planned or you forgot the head piece, remember that cosplay is supposed to be fun and a form of stress relief.

(Featured Image from Frontline Design.)

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Awesome Blair (Soul Eater) Cosplay by HollyGloha! Photos by Angelwing!

If you are familiar with Soul Eater, then you definitely know the cat creature, sometimes confused as a witch, named Blair. This awesome cosplay was done by HollyGloha Cosplay at A-KON 2013. Photos were taken by the amazing photographer Angelwing. Check them out!

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FanimeCon 2012: The Photography of Bill Hinsee

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Categories: Cosplay | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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