Monday, December 23, 2013

Nova Phase

This weekend I was sent an advanced preview of the first two issue of Slave Labor’s comic Nova Phase.  I hadn’t heard anything about the book before I opened my email, so I didn't know what to expect.  Any book that lists Cowboy Bebop, The Rifleman, and Snatcher as influences immediately has my attention.  When I opened the files and started reading I wondered why this didn't exist earlier.  Nova Phase is a lot of fun. 

This isn’t a comic book, this is an extended cutscene from an early 90's video game and I mean that in the very best way possible.  Written by Matthew Ritter with art  by Adam Elbatimy Nova Phase mixes a space western story with retro video game style art.  It stars a bounty hunter who trusts too easily.  She gets involved with a rag tag group of adventures who are on the run from an evil army.  I've only read the first two issues but I’m hooked on the series.  If you grew up playing those early video games the style is going to hit you right in the nostalgia.  It’s too early for me to say how deep the story is going to get, but it has that madcap rollercoaster of action feel to it.  I called it fun earlier and I meant it.

The first two issues will be available on January 15th through Comixology.  If you prefer the feel of paper between your fingertips the first two issues will be collected into one issue and will be on sale in February through the SLG website and Amazon.  The rest of the issues will be continue to be released first on Comixology and then collected into print.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

All Swine’s Day 2014

This is my yearly reminder to tell you about the official holiday of That F’ing Monkey, All Swine’s Day!  This will be the fourth year I’ve been celebrating All Swine’s so I’m pretty excited to see there are people already excited for it.  So when is it?  What is it?  All Swine’s Day is the first Sunday of the New Year; so this year it is on January 5th.  It’s a celebration of friends who are close enough to be family and a send off of holiday gluttony. 

The holiday originated with me realizing that as I get older, family and work obligations make it harder to spend time with friends during the holidays.  I picked a day that was close to the holidays, but should be far enough removed that most people no longer have those other commitments.  Since so many people talk about dieting after the holidays I figured this would be one last indulgence before everyone starts trying to work off those holiday pounds.  Because it is a bit of a pig-out, the day picked up a porky name and menu.

I’ve served the same thing each year.  I make bacon taco shells in the oven and then have things like eggs, potatoes, ham, and sausage to fill the shells with.  Obviously if you choose to celebrate this wonderful day you can pick your own menu.  After everyone’s eaten we usually break out the Cards Against Humanity, but the important thing is you’re getting to spend time with people you may have been too busy to see.

All Swine’s Day has become one of my favorite days of the year, hopefully it will become one of yours too.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniature Game

Brandon and I text each other probably every other week about a game that we’d be buying if the two of us lived closer together.  Honestly I’ve been saving a lot of money by looking at a game and saying to myself, “I don’t really have anyone near me that would want to play this.”  When I was doing some Christmas shopping this Sunday I ran into a large store display of the X-Wing miniature game.  I haven’t been paying much attention to the game, but the display stopped me in my tracks.

The game is put out by Fantasy Flight and has really been gaining a lot of momentum lately.  The game is on its third wave of expansions so there are numerous different Rebel and Imperial ships to add to your dog fights.  Each expansion includes more than the ship model, it also includes things like the tokens and cards needed to use that ship in combat.  I’ve watched enough people playing it at this point that I really want to jump in.  I haven’t yet, but I’m pretty sure that at least the starter box will be coming home with me at some point. 

Of course I’m strange I don’t really want a bunch of the other ships, I’d just want to field 12 X-wings.  You should probably expect more updates about the X-wing miniature game in 2014.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Star Wars: Attack Squadrons

Some of the best Star Wars video game belonged to the X-Wing vs. TIE series.  It is probably one of the reasons I love the X-Wing fighter so much.  So I was very surprised to find out that a new game is currently taking submissions for beta testing.  You can go to and sign up for the beta. 

The game is going to be a free to play and features 16 player dogfights.  They already list game modes as Free For All, Team Dogfight, and Base Defense.  The game is set to include ship customization, team play, rewards, and regular updates.  Since this is a free to play game, you can all but guarantee that it will also include all sorts of items that will cost real money.

I’m going to try not to get too excited for this, but I have already signed up for the Beta.  There will be more information on Attack Squadrons as it becomes available.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Guinness Red Harvest

If you noticed there haven’t been a lot of Hangover Thursdays lately.  There is a pretty simple reason for that, I just haven’t had much time to go out and drink.  I also had such a stockpile of beer in my refrigerator I didn’t need to go searching for anything new.  So when I finally went back to my friendly neighborhood liquor store I was pretty surprised to see that Guinness has a fall seasonal on the shelves.  The beer I’m talking about is Guinness’ Red Harvest.  It’s a pretty ominous sounding title and I’m a sucker for things like that so of course I picked up a four-pack.

Red Harvest Stout is billed as a smooth and alluring stout.  The package I found was a four pack of 14.9oz cans.  The new stout has an ABV of 4.1% compared to the 4.2% of regular Guinness.  While it pours the same creamy head of a Guinness, Red Harvest looks much different once everything has settled.  The familiar black is replaced with a dark red.  The taste is a bit sweeter than that of a regular stout, in fact it feels more like someone poured a mixture of a Guinness and an Irish Red.  If you want a hearty stout, this isn’t the beer you want.  If you want a something along the lines of a Half and Half this isn’t a bad way to go.  I’d rate it as an average beer.  There are better options out there, but you could do far worse.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Incoming Holidays!!

We are quickly getting to the end of the year.  With that brings all the normal holiday craziness.  I’ll be rushing to finish everything I need to accomplish at my real job so I can take some time off.  Next week should be pretty normal but after that updates will get more sporadic.  After all I have to start getting things ready for Christmas, New Years, and All Swine’s Day.  If you’re new to the site, there will be more about our favorite holiday next week. 

I also wanted to thank anyone who commented here, sent emails, or texts about the family situation going on here.  Without going into too much detail; things are headed in a positive direction.  The situation is far from over but it’s better. 

I did end up downloading Starbound.  It’s a dangerous, dangerous game.  I’m pretty sure once it finished installing someone snuck into my house and knocked me unconscious.  When I came to hours had passed and my little monkey person was hanging out in the underground house I had built out of cobblestone blocks.  I can see myself losing a lot of time to this one.  I think I need to check out another planet though; my starting one is inhabited by extremely aggressive, fire-breathing birds. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Starbound Trailer

I’ve been following Starbound for a while now.  I haven’t really gone down the rabbit hole playing games like Terraria or Minecraft but something about Starbound really struck me when I first say it.  The game is in its Beta right now and YouTube is full of people already posting “Let’s Play” videos.  What I’ve seen looks impressive and I wish I had the time to jump into it myself. 

Pick your race, travel to different planets, and then explore at your own pace.  There are monsters to fight, items to create, and after that you’re pretty much left to your own devices.  What to build a giant castle?  Sure you can do that.  You can go on dungeon crawls and find all sorts of treasure too.  Take on giant boss fights?  They’re in there!  What you do in the game is really up to you. 

Don’t just listen to me though.  Check out the trailer that was released last week.  You can see exactly what the game is capable of.  I’m sure I’ll be spending some time on Starbound soon.  If you do get into the game, remember it is in Beta.  A lot of the streams of it I’ve seen have had random crashes in it, but that’s pretty much what Beta is for.

Friday, December 6, 2013

WWE Stackdown

Over the years building blocks like Lego and Mega Bloks have come out with all sorts of licensed sets.  Movies, cartoons,  games, comics, and sports have shown up in one brick from or another.  While there have been a few surprises down the line, I feel I have a pretty good grasp on what is happening in those toy lines.  I was completely surprised to learn about the WWE Stackdown sets and even more surprised to find out they were already showing up on the shelves of toy stores.

Obviously when you think wrestling you think about building blocks; it’s a natural combination.  Well that’s not true on any planet I’ve been to.  That doesn’t mean that the sets can’t be a lot of fun though.  The flagship of the series launch is the Train and Rumble set.  The two story set has plenty of workout gear for your wrestlers to train with.  Have your wrestlers throw each other into a locker, weight bench, or off a scaffolding.  It also comes with Rey Mysterio and Sheamus figures. 

Sin Cara comes with a figure catapult, a giant ring to jump through, and some torches that are probably meant to represent pyro.  So you pretty much are given props to create a Sin Cara entrance.  I can’t imagine that adding a lot to the value but the figure is the real star of this pack anyway.  Considering the original Sin Cara's track record they really should have packaged him with some medical supplies.  Maybe a wheelchair or a stretcher. 

Kofi Kingston actually comes with some things that can be used.  His set includes scaffolding, a ladder, and he comes with a title belt.  Want to put on ladder matches with your figures?  You’re going to have to get the Kofi set.  What to have a title belt?  You’re going to have to get the Kofi set.  Out of all the sets, this is the one that seems the most wrestling related.  In fact the other sets just start to get weird.

Damien Sandow, the intellectual savior of the masses, comes with an office.  Seriously he comes with a chair, a table, and a presentation board that has one of his shirt designs on it.  He also comes with a microphone, a must have if you want your figures to cut promos on each other.  The table is not meant to be used during your matches because it doesn’t even split in half. 

Then we have Santino.  I get that Santino is used as a comedy gimmick.  The man’s sense of humor and timing are great.  His set comes with a giant cage that he and a cobra can fit into.  Yes his finisher is called the cobra but he isn’t carting a real cobra out.  And why would he go in the cage with a cobra?  I’m very confused by the whole thing.

Finally is the Undertaker set.  He’s the biggest name attached to any of these sets so it isn’t surprising that it looks cool.  It is an odd mix of Undertaker images though.  The set has cemetery gates and a funeral urn that has been used in many of the Undertaker’s stories.  If you package these items with a demonic looking Undertaker it makes sense.  Instead you get “American Badass” Undertaker riding a motorcycle.  The figure and bike on their own do represent a version of the Undertaker; they just don’t go with the other accessories at all. 

That’s it for the first wave of Stackdown.  There were some seriously strange decisions made when designing these sets.  I hope they take off enough that we see at least another wave, because I can’t wait to see the oddities they come up with for wave 2.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Star Wars Risk: Original Trilogy

I’ve had board games on the mind a lot lately; it might have been the new Cards Against Humanity expansion or it might be all the Table Top episodes I’ve been watching.  Regardless I knew I needed to spend some time rolling dice.  The biggest challenge is finding the time and finding additional players that also have the time to do play.  There have been a few Kickstarters lately that I had to stop myself from funding because I knew I’d never get around to playing what looked like an awesome game.

 So I was lucky enough to find the time and some players to play some Risk.  When delving into my closet I was surprised to find out I don’t actually own a version of vanilla Risk.  I have Godstorm and Star Wars Risk.  Being that all the players are big Star Wars fans I went with that version.  There are two different versions of Star Wars Risk; one for the Original Trilogy and one for Clone Wars. 

Star Wars Risk differs from standard Risk in a few ways.  The first is the factions.  Playersr will be controlling the Empire, the Rebellion, or the Hutts.  Each of these groups has their own conditions for winning.  The Empire needs to wipe out the Rebellion, the Hutts need to control certain planets on the map, and the Rebellion needs to kill the Emperor (or wipe out the Empire).  Each army also has a different number of planets they start the game with and a different number of troops.  The Empire has the largest starting army and controls the most planets.  It’s a thematic change but is mostly balanced out during gameplay.

Those aren’t the only additions either.  Depending on the cards played during the game, there is Force setting that affects how many cards the Empire and the Rebellion get and how easy/hard it is to destroy the Death Star.  That’s right, I said the Death Star.  The Death Star can actually destroy a planet and any armies on it.  It isn’t easy to fire the Death Star but it’s quite effective when it does go off.  There are also fighter, bomber, and capital class ship tokens.  These ships help out dice rolls; either by adding to the number you rolled or by changing the dice type.  Finally the Empire gets to place defensive bunkers.  There bases make it easier to defend an area but one of them houses the Emperor.  If the Rebels manage to kill the Emperor they’ve won the game. 

If you’re looking for your own copy I’m sorry to say it’s been out of print for a while now.  The price on eBay seems to fluctuate pretty wildly on this one, so if you keep an eye on the auctions you may be able to score one at a reasonable price.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Door to Hell

Did you know there is a place on Earth called The Door to hell?  It’s a crater in Turkmenistan that has been on fire for decades.  And well, I like fire.  I also like science, so today’s update is going all “you got your chocolate in my peanut butter” and combining the two.  The SciShow YouTube channel just did a video about The Door to Hell or the Darvaza Gas Crater.  Check out the video below for some pretty amazing fire footage and a bunch of facts about how it came to be.

So seriously, this thing has become a tourist attraction.  I wonder if there are travel packages for pyros.  I can see it now, “Sir on your vacation you’ll see four volcanoes and cap everything off with a trip to the Door to Hell.”  Maybe I should start that.  I wonder how many fire themed vacation spots there are out there.  SciShow does some pretty amazing videos, without pandering to fake science stuff.  You can help them make cool science videos by checking out their subbable page (CLICK HERE).  Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed the science and fire.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

WWE 2K14 Custom Belt Glitch

We’re back.  Special thanks to anyone who sent concerns either through email or comments.  While I was pretty busy last week I did manage to spend some more time with WWE 2K14.  I talked about picking the game up last month but I just finally got a chance to really start playing it the way I wanted to.  The game lets you create your own Universe by creating shows, PPVs, belts, arenas, and wrestlers.  While in years past I would play shows mostly dominated by my own creations they were still made up of about 50% real wrestlers.  This year I wanted to really tell my own story.

So I created an army of fake wrestlers.  When I realized that just the characters I normally create weren’t going to be enough I started throwing together quick characters to fill the gaps.  I created brand new arenas and belts for my champions to hold. I spent hours modifying move sets or tweaking character entrances.  Finally I was to a point where I’d be able to actually play the game.  I still had some changes to make, but I could start my Universe.  As my shows neared the end of the month we were headed to the first PPV and the first big title matches.  And then my game froze.

My first PPV had three championship matches on the card.  I tried all three of them and would end up locked up or in an infinite loading loop.  Hours and hours had already been put into this and now I might have to redo a huge portion of it to add normal belts.  I wasn’t happy.  I ran to the internet for help.  I disabled entrances and replays.  I installed the game to my harddrive.  Anytime I tried to play the title match in Universe for a custom belt the game would freeze.  While experimenting with the Universe mode I found my own workaround. 

When viewing the card in Universe mode go to the title match you want to play.  When you press edit to change the match you will be given two different options.  One is to change the match completely and the other is to just change the participants in the match.  For this you want to pick “change the participants”.  You’ll get another warning message that says if you change the people involved in the match it will no longer be a championship match.  At the character select screen the two wrestlers who were scheduled to wrestle should already be selected.  Click accept and you should be able to play the match.  It’s entirely possible that this won’t work for you, the game is pretty damn buggy, but I’ve been able to play 3 different title matches because of this trick.


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