Posts Tagged With: spotlight

Veteran’s Day: Not Just A Normal Day For These Cosplayers

Today, in honor of Veteran’s Day and for those who served in the military and protected our rights, I wanted to spotlight certain cosplayers in our nerd community to share with us their thoughts on the holiday and whether their military background has made an impact on their nerd lifestyle. In this article, I talked to Matches Malone, a well-known Batman cosplayer from Boston who does charity work at hospitals around New England. I spoke to Wendell Smith, who not only is a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps but also is a member of of the cosplay group, the East Coast Avengers. Eric Moran is a man that wears many hats. He is an actor, body guard, wrestler, filmmaker, host and cosplayer. He is involved in helping inner city youth as well as anti-bullying events . He also speaks to kids at schools on how to be a positive and motived in their communities. Nelson D. Martinez is a lifelong comic book fan, who since returning from Iraq, attended Mega Con 2011 and has become heavily involved in cosplaying.


Nelson Martinez as Deadpool. Photo by Adam Jay.

E. Ortiz: How has your military experience affected your nerd/geek life or lifestyle?

Matches Malone: I think it pretty much gave me the discipline to do my character with integrity and honor, rather than letting it go to my head. I can do the character as if it was real and give the fans and people the magic of the character and the enjoyment of it.

Nelson Martinez: My military experience I would say, has never really had any type of affect on my nerd/ geek life. It’s keeping me busy at times, but doesn’t change my actual experience. I do find it cool though, that most movies and comics are in a way recognizing the military and somehow including them in various movies and comics that have been put out.

Eric Moran: It keeps me disciplined in the ways of taking care of myself, being respectful and staying humble to help others.

Wendell Smith: To be honest, I think my military experience has shone through some of my cosplays. There are a few people who have told me they knew I was prior military from the way I carry myself when I cosplay certain characters (i.e. John Stewart, Mace Windu). Overall my going into the military had initially snuffed out my creativity because of my duties while I was active duty.


Wendell Smith as Green Lantern. Photo by SF Design

E. Ortiz: Wendell, what do you mean by “carry yourself”?

Wendell Smith: Um, some call it military bearing, others call it that “you look like you don’t take too much mess” characteristic, organized, well behaved, respectful, having a disciplined look


Matches Malone as Batman. Photo by Otaku Haven

Do you feel that military service is misunderstood by most geeks and nerds?

Matches Malone: No, because those who go in have a idea of serving their country whether a geek or a nerd. Its just about doing something that’s honorable and something to be proud about.

Wendell Smith: I don’t think it’s misunderstood because, as I am finding, there are quite a few of us. I think that those who are not military may not understand that us military folk are just as big a group of nerd/geeks as they are. We just don’t get to show it, while on active duty.

Eric Moran: Not really, it’s all about how they were raised on what the military means to them.

Nelson Martinez: The military is looked at different by many. Some people have and show alot of respect for soldiers, especially for those who have fought in previous wars. I’d say in today’s time, more places have been military friendly and we have so many open doors to various things that in the past soldiers didn’t have, such as having better medical care, people you can go to and talk to, and just places giving military discounts; [it’s] very much appreciated by us. Of course people who are anti-government do have their own beliefs on what I would say, they might think we do. People who are ignorant and that don’t really know what the military’s actual job is, they blame us for the wrong reasons.

Man of Steel cosplay by Eric Moran. Photo by Adam Jay

Man of Steel cosplay by Eric Moran. Photo by Adam Jay

E. Ortiz: How do you plan to commemorate Veteran’s Day?

Matches Malone: Paying respects to my father and placing a flag on his grave and saluting the men and women around him, since he’s in the military section [of his cemetery]. Shaking hands with those who served their country – war or not – and thanking them for their service.

Wendell Smith: Talk to family and friends mostly. I don’t do alot of the fanfare because people tend to not be on their best behaviors during most holidays. My mom, dad, stepdad, and older brother are vets. So we’ll spend much of the day talking with each other. Then I have other family and close friends who have served as well, including two older uncles one who is in his 90 s and ther other in his 80 s

Eric Moran: Hopefully to pay my respects to my brother’s grave.

Nelson Martinez: I’m going to relax, I have the day off for Veteran’s Day; also going to go out to eat with a few military friends of mine.

In conclusion, I will leave you with this final thought by Matches Malone. “[Being in the military] is about making a difference for the better of everyone and we can all do good whether it’s cosplay or military or charity or just being there for a stranger in need. The difference is a choice we can all make. Any plus is better than a negative.”

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Inaugural Nerdvemberfest A Critical Hit with Players

Imagine you’re hunkered down at a table with six companions. On the table before you: boxes filled with colorful dice; a sheet with your character’s vital information; and stacks of books and graph paper. The Dungeon Master leans forward and whispers, “A fire beetle just bit you for four points of damage.”

Sound like a typical night roleplaying? Then consider that at Nerdvemberfest, held Nov. 17 in Fort Washington, Pa., there were 190 board games available for play and dozens of roleplaying games underway at the same time.

I spent my session in a well-run, well-contested pick-up game of basic D&D. To my one side, a group played “Call of Cthulhu.” A little further away, the chief organizer Matt “in the hat” Aaron ran the new Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. Another table played the forthcoming board game “Eldritch Horror.” Many of the tables welcomed new players to on a continual basis. Reserving a spot at the game cost only five dollars – the only fee associated with the event. They even provided donuts for people to snack on between sessions.

Several attendees remarked that the most surprising thing about Nerdvemberfest was how smoothly the event proceeded and how friendly and welcoming the atmosphere was. For example, if a player were deathly afraid of spiders and a spider attacked them in the game, the player could point to a card on the table with a large “X” on it and – poof! – the spider would be transformed into another nasty creature. Well, unless you were playing Call of Cthulhu that is.

Matt told Nerd Caliber that the hope is to hold more events in the future with even more variety of games, including war games. With the hundreds of people who came out to support this event and the overwhelmingly positive response, it’s hard to imagine that the next Nerdvemberfest won’t be an even bigger success with gamers hungry for more.

Learn more at

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Why Next-Gen? Games Are Awesome Right Now

The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are nearly a decade old. Their hardware is so outdated that even the most budget-friendly gaming PC’s match its specs. In fact, if you play game on the 360 or PS3, you probably own a newer, thinner and more efficient version of the original consoles. Given the age and number of refreshes from the current generation, the Xbox One and PS4 seem way overdue. There’s just one thing – right now, the Xbox 360 and PS3 are in their absolute prime.

Breaking Records
Rockstar spent more than a year ramping up hype for Grand Theft Auto V. The success of the series, alongside other games like Red Dead Redemption, helped GTA V fly off the shelves when it launched in September. So quickly, in fact, that the game earned an unbelievable $1 billion in just three days. For some context, it took “Marvel’s The Avengers” 19 days to earn the same amount. GTA V is the most successful launch in entertainment history, not just gaming, as Forbes points out.

What makes this figure more impressive is GTA V is, for now, current-generation console only. There will be no version for the Xbox One or PS4 and a PC version is still a floating rumor. Rockstar made a clean billion dollars (and more) off two consoles getting replaced in a month.

Pushing Limits
Look at games made for current generation consoles in 2007 and compare them to a game released this year. You won’t believe they were even made for the same console. First-person shooters like Battlefield 4 use advanced physics engines letting players level entire buildings on a map or break levies to flood a town. Those were features not possible in the early days, and now it’s the standard on these old consoles.

On the other side, this could be a bit of foreshadowing, considering the upcoming consoles. It took developers years to master the hardware under the hoods of the 360 and PS3 and the first rounds of games released in 2013 and 2014 for the next-gen consoles will hardly be fully optimized. We won’t see what the next-generation is really made of until several years down the road.

Perks of Current-Gen
It’s not as if your current-generation consoles tragically shut down when the new ones launch. Microsoft and Sony will continue to support them for years and developers will still make games for both generations. Current owners get some perks for the transition between consoles. Microsoft announced it was ditching its annoying points system and now lets enthusiasts buy games with real money instead of the pointless (no pun intended) conversions. Gamers on both the 360 and One get to take advantage of this as Kotaku points out.

Free games are also going out during this process. Microsoft gave Halo 3 as a free download for Xbox Live subscribers this month, and have been handing out freebies for the past few months before that, as reported. The next-gen consoles will be awesome, no doubt, but gamers with a 360 or PS3 have years of fun to look forward to. For the current-gen, 2013 is a great year for gaming.

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KING OF THE NERDS! Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong at New York Comic Con 2013

Producers and hosts Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong talk to us about the second season of KING OF THE NERDS at the New York Comic Con 2013! Interview conducted by Ashley Rogers.

Check out KING OF THE NERDS Season 2 at TBS!

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The Perfect Response to Trolls — Warning, NSFW Words

While it would take too long to say all of this to every troll on the Internet, so many of them so richly deserve this that it has to be shared. It is a much less costly method of dealing with them the the solution that Jay and Silent Bob came to at the end of “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.” Maybe less physically satisfying, but much safer.

Enjoy, and remember as I warned in the headline, this has some NSFW words, of the British kind, if you catch my drift.

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Breaking: Marvel to Make 4 New Series on Netflix, Leading up to “Defenders” Mini-series

Marvel Studios put out a press release this morning in which it announced it would be working with Netflix on four new live-action series that will lead up to a mini-series in which the four heroes will team up as The Defenders. Straight from the press release, as per the Wall Street Journal online:

Led by a series focused on “Daredevil,” followed by “Jessica Jones,” “Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage,” the epic will unfold over multiple years of original programming, taking Netflix members deep into the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Netflix has committed to a minimum of four, thirteen episodes series and a culminating Marvel’s “The Defenders” mini-series event that reimagines a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.

The inclusion of Jessica Jones as the second of the four is a welcome sign that Marvel is continuing with its comittment to expanding the diversity of the comic book world, both in comics themselves (see yesterday’s story Spolier Alert: New Ms. Marvel Teased in Captain Marvel #17 ) and in the broadcast and movie universes as well.

With the setting being Hell’s Kitchen, I would expect a look more like the gritty violence of the CW series “Arrow” than the lighter, science fiction influenced super-spy stories we have seen in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” so far, although nothing in the press release indicates that is the tone the series will take.

This might also be what Billie Dee Williams was referencing this past weekend at Rhode Island Comic Con when he said he was shooting a pilot for Netflix this week. I assumed it had something to do with Star Wars, as he dropped the name “Rebels” during his panel, but maybe he will be playing a character in the new Daredevil series. My vote would be for Robbie Robertson, former editor in chief and current publisher of The Daily Bugle.

After the break, check out the entire press release.

Landmark Deal Brings Marvel’s Flawed Heroes of Hell’s Kitchen, led by “Daredevil,” to the World’s Leading Internet TV Network in 2015

BURBANK, Calif., Nov. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) today announced an unprecedented deal for Marvel TV to bring multiple original series of live-action adventures of four of Marvel’s most popular characters exclusively to the world’s leading Internet TV Network beginning in 2015. This pioneering agreement calls for Marvel to develop four serialized programs leading to a miniseries programming event.




Led by a series focused on “Daredevil,” followed by “Jessica Jones,” “Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage,” the epic will unfold over multiple years of original programming, taking Netflix members deep into the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Netflix has committed to a minimum of four, thirteen episodes series and a culminating Marvel’s “The Defenders” mini-series event that reimagines a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.

Produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Television Studios, this groundbreaking deal is Marvel’s most ambitious foray yet into live-action TV storytelling.

“This deal is unparalleled in its scope and size, and reinforces our commitment to deliver Marvel’s brand, content and characters across all platforms of storytelling. Netflix offers an incredible platform for the kind of rich storytelling that is Marvel’s specialty,” said Alan Fine, President of Marvel Entertainment. “This serialized epic expands the narrative possibilities of on-demand television and gives fans the flexibility to immerse themselves how and when they want in what’s sure to be a thrilling and engaging adventure.”

“Marvel’s movies, such as ‘Iron Man’ and Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’, are huge favorites on our service around the world. Like Disney, Marvel is a known and loved brand that travels,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “With ‘House of Cards’ and our other original series, we have pioneered new approaches to storytelling and to global distribution and we’re thrilled to be working with Disney and Marvel to take our brand of television to new levels with a creative project of this magnitude.”

This new original TV deal follows last year’s landmark movie distribution deal through which, beginning with 2016 theatrically released feature films, Netflix will be the exclusive U.S. subscription television service for first-run, live-action and animated movies from the Walt Disney Studios, including titles from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Disneynature and Lucasfilm. Netflix members can currently enjoy a wide range of Disney, ABC TV and Disney Channel films and shows across the 41 countries where Netflix operates.

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $42.3 billion in its Fiscal Year 2012.

About Netflix

Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with over 40 million members in more than 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month, including original series. For one low monthly price, Netflix members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

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No Female-Led Marvel Movie Before 2017

Don’t expect to see a “Captain Marvel” movie from Marvel Studios any time soon – or at least, not one with the current Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers. Or any female-led movie, for that matter.

That is the word from Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, and therefore the person most likely to know about these things. He did an interview with the site about the future plans for Marvel movies, and it was picked up all over the comic book blogosphere. When asked straight out if Marvel would have a movie with a female lead character, Feige said there wasn’t one in the works currently, and Marvel is planning out the 2016 and 2017 releases. He went on to justify this by citing the many heroic, world-saving performances by female characters in movies like “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3.”

As the site The Daily Dot points out, however, Black Widow wouldn’t have even had a chance to save the world in The Avengers if Joss Whedon hadn’t insisted on having her in what was planned as an all-male cast.

Many sites and commenters have pointed out what seems like a discrepancy in the level of risk that the studios seem to claim for a female-led superhero movie, and the risk of making a movie with characters like a sentient tree and a machine gun toting raccon. DC received the brunt of this criticism for its statement about how risky it would be to make a Wonder Woman movie, and now Marvel may be about to get lambasted by the same critics. But, if you look at the numbers the comic book studios have to go on, the decision is understandable from a business sense, if not acceptable from a social sense.

Just last week, Marvel announced it was cancelling one of the MarvelNOW launch titles with an all-female cast, The Fearless Defenders. As a business, Marvel doesn’t make such decisions based on any kind of deep-seated misogyny, it does so for one reason – sales numbers. As a movie studio, Marvel Studios sees that, overall, female-led books sell less than male-led, or mixed group books.

Does that mean it shouldn’t take on that higher level of risk? Absolutely not. And maybe this is where Marvel’s parent, Disney can come in and slap some sense into them. Disney has made successful movies with female leads for more than half a century. Look at “Mulan” for example. If Disney can have a hit in the US with a movie set in ancient China (not America) with a Chinese (not white) female (not a dude) lead that pretends to be a guy (gender identity), how much risk would Marvel really take on by making a movie featuring a strong-willed white blonde woman from Boston in a butt-revealing bathing suit-like uniform?

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New York Comic Con 2013 – Saturday Cosplay Gallery

Our third collection of cosplay pictures from the New York Comic Con 2013 is up! These awesome pictures are taken by photographer Adam Etheridge. Stay tuned for more videos and photos of what we saw at NYCC 2013!

You can view our Thursday collection here! And Friday’s collection here!

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Categories: new york comic con 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

REVIEW: Lost Planet 3

Lost Planet 3 is a third person shooter developed by Spark Unlimited and published by Capcom for Microsoft Windows, PS3, and Xbox 360. The game is the prequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition and Lost Planet 2, and takes place on the same planet of E.D.N. III. The game will take a more story-driven narrative approach to the campaign similar to the first game. Unlike previous games in the series, which were developed internally by Capcom, the game was developed externally by Spark Unlimited with Matt Sophos serving as game director, though series creator, Kenji Oguro, is still attached as franchise creative director. This follows a recent trend of Capcom games being developed by Western developers rather than internally, such as DmC: Devil May Cry. I will start off this review by stating that Lost Planet 2 was one of my favorite games of 2010, and I believe is probably one of the most enjoyable co-op experiences I have ever played, other than the Borderlands games. With that said, I was kinda disappointed to hear it was going back to the style of LP1, and was focused on giving a more in-depth single player experience. The single player experience is not bad, but isn’t toppling any milestones either. The game takes place long before the events of LP1. The game follows the story of Jim Peyton, a colonist who is working for the Neo-Venus Construction company, or NEVEC, who later become the main antagonists for the series by helping mine the planet, and sending minerals back to Earth, where his family awaits him.

The writers of LP3 deserve some praise. This game does a great job in showcasing each character by giving them moments that build their character, as well as showing their history. This can be seen in video messages between both Jim, & his wife back home, giving his character more of a backstory, showing his motivation on why he is doing this. game play-wise Lost Planet 3 keeps the third person shooter action that was akin to it’s other titles. You will find yourself fighting the native Akrid by using an arsenal of weapons to shoot at their glowing weak spots, and A.I opposition, sad to say the A.I in LP3 isn’t very good. It doesn’t bring up a challenge as it starts to feel like repetitive firefights over the course of the game. However if you do want to change it up, you have access to the Rig. Your mech which you use to traverse the landscape of E.D.N. III. Also while in this Rig you take on a first-person view, and will use this Rig to accomplish some key objectives, as well as fight off some of the larger enemy Akrid. However these battles can get boring, as you mainly have to wait for the Akrid to attack so you can counter. Despite this, because of the Rig, it helps LP3 stands out from other shooters by giving the player a different option of play styles, than it’s very basic third person shooter scenarios.

The setting of LP3 is one of the games strong points. E.D.N. III has never looked better, and players will see this frozen over planet in different ways. Using the Rig you can traverse this planet however it can be pretty dull after awhile. The interior set pieces are one of the differing sets you will see in contrast to the snowy environment. Character designs is also practically good, not the best but the character models are showcased well in cutscenes. Akrid design is also reminiscent to LP standards, as they resemble inscetoid like hybrid creatures, with these glowing weak points.

Despite not having co-op LP3 does offer a Multiplayer experience. From multiple gameplay types varying from Deathmatch, King Of The Hill, and Capture the Flag with a unique Lost Planet twist to each. But it’s nothing spectacular, and given the very standard gameplay of the overall game, it can get boring quick. Overall, Lost Planet 3 is a pretty decent game. Nothing really groundbreaking, but the strong acting, greatly detailed snowy environment, and Rig action is the games strong points. However the repetitiveness and very standard gameplay is what makes this game just another third person action game at it’s core. Lost Planet 3 gets a 3 out of 5.

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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 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 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.

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