Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sleeping Dogs

I’ve missed a lot of quality games over the past year.  Between the rate that games come out and a dwindling amount of free time my Xbox sees less and less time turned on.  I recently downloaded Sleeping Dogs when it was free to Gold Members but I didn’t get around to actually playing it.  I had heard that the game was good, but I’m still surprised how much fun I’m having.

The story is set in Hong Kong where you play an uncover cop infiltrating the Triads.  The game really captures that cinematic experience.  I mean, I’m not an expert on Hong Kong but the game accurately reflects the Hong Kong John Woo introduced me to in his old movies.  The writing is strong so far, but I’ve only seen a third of the game’s plot so far.  Your character has a chip on his shoulder and a troubled past because of course he does.  It's every action movie cliche and it's wonderful.

I’ve been describing the game as a Grand Theft Auto with Arkham Asylum’s combat system.  It’s a large open world filled with side missions and collectables.  When it’s time to take down some bad guys you’re facing off with anywhere from three to ten guys.  Just like in the Batman games you have to be patient and time your counters and strikes or you’ll be hit from all sides.  The environmental attacks are extremely fun, I think my favorite involved slamming someone's head inside a urinal and then punching him while he was still inside it.

The game isn’t free Xbox anymore, but you can still pick it up pretty cheaply.  Amazon currently has it for 15 dollars.  If you missed it when it came out like I did, I think you’ll have a great time in Hong Kong with Sleeping Dogs. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Legend of Muscles Glasses

The Epic Meal time guys have started a new series of videos called “The Legend of Muscles Glasses.”  The first video was released last week and I have to say I like it a lot.  The series is not going to include the original Muscles Glasses though, that person is no longer involved with Epic Meal Time and hasn’t been for awhile.  It’s a weird situation and I’m sure the truth lies somewhere in between both of their versions.  Regardless of why, it sucks that he won’t be involved.

I’m looking forward to the future episodes.  Hopefully they’ll keep up the humor in the first.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Royal Rumble Fallout

I don’t talk wrestling much on the website.  For whatever reason I usually don’t have much to say about it.  I’ve thought a lot about the product over the past two nights and I wanted to get some of those thoughts out to the general public.  Before the comments come, yes I know wrestling is scripted.  I look at it as part scripted show and part stunt show.  I’ve seen enough matches close up I’m usually able to tell when a punch or kick really connects. 

Wrestling is unique in that its audience gives immediate feedback.  Sure, sports teams get cheered or booed but that isn’t scripted.  The players are out there trying to win the game; they weren’t told when they leave the locker room which team is going to win.  When wrestling fans don’t like something about the product, it’s heard.  Sunday night was the perfect example of that.

The character of Daniel Bryan is that of the underdog facing the evil corporation.  He doesn’t have the look that the WWE normally pushes.  But his charisma makes you like him.  His athleticism surprises you.  As far as storylines go, having when where you’re being kept down by the boss is a classic.  The people watching should rally behind you.  Daniel Bryan’s story of being kept down by “The Authority” has been going on for 5 or 6 months now. 

During the WWE’s latest PPV Bryan again put on an amazing match, but the focus of the PPV was the Royal Rumble.  The winner of the 30 person rumble goes on to headline WWE’s biggest PPV event, Wrestlemania.  Bryan’s match was the first one after the pre-show match.  Throughout the night the crowd booed title matches and chanted for Daniel Bryan either by chanting his name or his “Yes” catchphrase.  When it was revealed that he wasn’t in the Rumble the crowd was nasty. 

Last night’s Raw had “the Authority” mocking fans for not getting what they wanted.  I’m not an industry insider; I can’t tell you if this was the plan all along.  It’s entirely possible the WWE saw what was happening and had to make changes.  I honestly hope so.  The crowd reaction Bryan gets is amazing; the audience has already made him a champion.  If he keeps getting screwed over and neglected the fans are going to grow bitter (and there are plenty of bitter fans about this already).  At some point it becomes not the storyline holding your hero back, but the actually behind the scenes company. 

The winner of the Royal Rumble Sunday night was Batista, a wrestler who left four years ago to become an actor.  He has a part in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie; so he’ll like win the belt at some point so when he’s doing interviews about the movie he can be referred to as WWE Champion.  If that sounds ridiculous that is exactly what the Rock did last year around this time.  That too is part of the backlash.  It’s as if the company is saying forget about the men and women who travel four or five days a week and bust their asses for the audience.  Instead put all the attention on an actor who will be around for a couple of months and then take off again. 

The WWE network is launching at the end of February.  They are hoping people sign up for 6 months of service at 9.99 a month.  This is a huge risk for the company since it pretty much dismantles their old Pay Per View structure.  I would think when going towards kind of venture that they’d be more likely to give their audience what it is demanding, but what do I know?  It’s entirely possible I’ve been played by their writers; after all I just devoted today’s update to their product.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Stargirl Bombshell

Comic companies make a lot of money making pictures and merchandise of sexy women.  That’s the industry and I don’t really see that changing any time soon.  There have been times when a comic’s cover made me mildly embarrassed to purchase it, but for the most part I don’t think about it.  Most the statues I own are male, so it’s possible I was subconsciously a little creeped out by statues of mostly naked women in action poses.  For the past couple months DC has been doing a series of “Bombshell” statues.  They are of current DC women in retro pin-up style and even have a bit of airplane nose art on their bases.

The most recent solicited is of Stargirl.  I love the character of Stargirl.  I love airplane nose art and vintage cheesecake.  The combination of these two things had a very different reaction.  It made me uneasy.  The statue is very well done, but reading about Courtney growing up changed the way I look at this.  I feel like I’m seeing a sister or daughter posing for a pin-up and I don’t think I like it.

The strangest thing is the costume she is wearing in the statue shows just about the same amount of skin her actual costume shows.  Normally her midriff is exposed, that’s covered on the statue.  The statue shows more of her arms and back though.  There is no logical reason for my reaction.  It's probably a good thing I have a son and not a daughter.

To show my hypocrisy knows no ends, I think the Black Canary Bombshell is one of the sexiest statues I’ve ever seen.  I can’t say I’ve ever cared about the character and I almost ordered that statue.   

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Detroit Cobras

The Detroit Cobras are a pretty recent obsession of mine.  I really only started digging into their music for the past two months.  I honestly don’t even remember how I stumbled upon their fantastic garage rock.  The blend of rock and blues/soul singing just feels smoky and dirty.  I like it a lot.

A good number of their songs are old covers, but they’ve got a few originals too.  You can check out their website at

Friday, January 17, 2014

Flash Friday: Speed Strike Flash

Happy Flash Friday everyone!  I know it’s been a while since we’ve seen the Scarlet Speedster here on That F’ing Monkey but I haven’t had much to talk about until now.  There is some cool Flash news coming down the pike so I’d expect to see Flash Fridays more frequently.  Today’s topic I found by complete accident.  I was walking down the aisle at Target when I saw the new Batman line.  One of the figures caught my eye and when I pulled him from the peg it revealed the Flash Figure behind him.

Speed Strike Flash isn’t going to be on the top of anyone’s wish list because of its sculpt.  The clunky belt is an odd choice.   But I don’t want to sound like I’m bad mouthing this figure because I think it’s important to point out that this is the only non-Bat related figure in the line.  Seriously it’s Batman, Bat Villains, and the Flash.  After years of complaining that there isn’t enough Flash merchandise on the shelves I’m not going to complain about this one.

We do have to mention that Flash comes with two spinning weapons, or as the toy packaging puts it “Dual Weapons Spin!”  If you go by the information posted on the back of the package I guess the weapons are supposed to be made out of Speed Force energy.  Although I don’t think they are going to be much help fighting a fire.  Still the weapons are an odd shape….

Of course they are, because they turn into inline roller skates. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

X-Wing Storage

I almost went two weeks without mentioning X-Wing!  Considering how much of my free time has been taken up by the X-Wing game and reading Edge of the Empire (the Star Wars RPG) I’m actually surprised that it took me this long.  Today I wanted to document the storage solution I picked for my X-Wing pieces.  I didn’t come up with it on my own; I spent some time looking over other people’s picks over at  The Plano 5231 is an extremely popular choice; if you look it up on Amazon it will actually group it together with X-Wing models.  I went with the 3952 since it is like having two of the 5231 cases glued together.

As you can see in the picture it is a dual sided setup.  Right now I have the Rebels and the Imperials separated so they each have their own side.  As my collection grows that could certainly change.  It isn’t as impressive looking as the Battlefoam I use for my Warhammer figures, but the Plano box only costs me 24 dollars after shipping.

The outside portions can be accessed without opening the actual box.  This makes them really easy to get into quickly.  The outer portions are also much shallower than the interior ones.  On one side I’ve loaded my range/movement templates, dice, and all the tokens I would need in a normal game.  To be honest I could move some of the squad number and target locks to the other side, I have so many I could never actually use them all in a game.

The other outside section is pretty empty.  I have another set of range/movement tiles.  Eventually I want to replace the cardboard ones with a nice set of acrylic but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.  I also have all my scenario tokens.  Out of everything on this side I’ll probably use the asteroids the most and since I’ll only need to get to them during the game setup that shouldn’t be a problem.

Besides being a little blurry this is the inside of my Rebel side.  I have all the ship stats, flight bases, and movement dials for my five Rebel ships inside.  It doesn’t look like I have five Rebel ships here because I have three X-Wings stacked on top of each other.  I trim the plastic clamshells the ships come in to give them a better fit in the case.  My A-Wing and Y-Wing are loose in the case, I need to get some foam to go on top of them or buy a couple more and stack them like I did the X-Wings.

My Imperial side is more filled out.  The TIE’s wings are so large I can’t stack them like I could the Rebel ships.  In addition to that for each basic set came with two TIEs to the one X-Wing.  Even with all the space used I still had plenty of space for flight stands, ship stats, and flight dials.  I also have my extra damage deck thrown in there.
Besides the extra damage cards I mentioned I don’t have any cards in my Plano case.  That’s because I bought the Ultra Pro Dual Deck Box.  The box holds all my ship pilots on one side and on the other it has space for a damage deck and my upgrades.  It also came with two dividers so keep my damage separated from my upgrades and my Rebels separated from my Imperials.  The box doesn’t fit inside my Plano case but I still think it is worth it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I’ve spent a lot of time sitting around a table rolling dice and pretending to be someone I’m not.  Like most role playing groups I started with Dungeons and Dragons.  It didn’t take long after that though and I was buying rule books from any game I could get my hands on.  I can still vividly remember the first time I saw the Shadowrun book sitting on a store shelf.  It was at a store called Comic’s Etc which is long gone.  The movie theater it was next to is now a hair salon and cosmetology school.  The Fun Machine arcade it was across from, I don’t even know what is in that space now, I just know it isn’t Street Fighter cabinets. 

Shadowrun is one of my gaming group’s favorite games.  It’s something we always come back to after trying something different.  So when the publishers of Shadowrun created a fantasy game called Earthdawn we were already interested.  Slowly in the game’s fiction we were teased that Earthdawn and Shadowrun were set in the same world.  We were hooked.  Suddenly we had dropped our machine guns for crystal swords.  We went from Street Samurai to Sword Masters, our Deckers became Beast Masters, and our Mages became…well they stayed Mages actually. 

The first edition of Earthdawn was released in 1993.  It went out of print in 1999.  After that there have been fan re-launches giving us the second edition, the classic edition, and the third edition.  Now a new Fasa is on Kickstarter raising funds for a new edition.  The Kickstarter is for a new Player’s Guide and a new Gamemaster’s Guide.  Right now the reward choices involve PDF copies, softcover, and hardcover books.  If you want to get really ambitions you can pay to have the game developer run you through an online game.

This kickstarter started on the 13th and has already raised the 10,000 they were looking for.  That doesn’t mean you don’t want to go check it out yourself though, especially if you’re a fan of the role playing game.  Additional funds are just going to help the other books they have planned get published, so it’ll help things a new Companion or a book on the Questors.  They haven’t added these stretchgoals to the Kickstarter yet, but I don’t think they were expecting to clear their goal so quickly.  There are still 29 days to go in this, so it is probably worth keeping an eye on.  Check it out for yourself by clicking HERE

Friday, January 3, 2014

Sin City’s Big Damn Book is Too Damned Big

On June 25th Dark Horse is releasing a massive Sin City collection called “Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City.”  The 1,344 page book will retail for 59.99 and contains all seven of Sin City stories, or as the press release says, “Every blood-soaked page of Sin City to date!”  If you’ve never read Sin City, you really should.  Even some of the later stories that aren’t as popular are still worth the read.  I do have to wonder about the collected edition though.  What are people doing with books this big?

When the second Geoff John’s Flash Omnibus came out it was going to be an instant purchase, then I saw the size of the book.  I wasn’t sure it was going to be something that was comfortable to read.  This new Sin City book is over 1,000 pages.  I can’t imagine ever picking that up on a whim and reading it.  It’s quite possible I’m wrong here.  I don’t want to sound like a crotchety old man screaming about the kids on his lawn here.  Am I alone here?  Can collected comic editions get too big?
As a side note I’m not talking about those beautiful, oversized artist editions.  Those are big for a reason and I totally understand that.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

X-Wing Unboxing

I’ve been talking a lot about the X-Wing game recently.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that I ended up with a pretty good starting fleet after Christmas.  I’m the guy with a full sized astromech droid in his computer room and an X-Wing tattooed on his arm, eventually I was going to cave and start playing this game.  Because playing games like this by yourself is boring I started looking for people to toss the dice around with me.  The first obstacle I ran into was people balking at the cost.

The X-Wing core box set runs 40 dollars.  Numerous Targets have had this marked down to clearance prices, but you can also find them online for less than 30 dollars.  As the pictures will show below, you get quite a bit for your money.  After the initial purchase you will want more ships.  Additional fighter cost around 15 apiece (again they can be found cheaper online).  There are larger ships available too; those come with larger price tags.  I really was more interested in dogfight aspect of the game and have stayed away from ships like the Millennium Falcon and Slave 1. 

Inside the starter box are a quick start rule book, a full rule book, 4 sheets of counters that need to be punched out, dice, a range template, lots of cards, and three fighters.  Like most starter sets, you get a lot of the essentials.  If you can find it at a good price, I really recommend picking up two of the set.  That gives you a solid amount of dice, asteroid templates, and movement templates. 

The game comes with two different sized cards.  The pilot cards are standard sized player cards but the game also uses a much smaller card for upgrades and damage.  Through some trial and error I found out these cards are called “Mini American”.  That’s important if you want to put your cards into sleeves.  The set comes with 3 attack dice and 2 defense dice.  You can buy more dice separately, but again two starter sets will take better care of you.
I also wanted to show how much comes with the additional ships.  Besides getting a pre-painted model you also get a movement dial, upgrade cards, pilot cards, and any additional tokens you need for that fighter.  The model sculpts are pretty detailed and while I only have 11 ships to go by, the paint applications have been well done.  Considering other table top war-games sometimes sell single, unpainted figures for 20 plus, I think you get a pretty good value out of the additional fighters.
I think that is enough X-Wing talk for a few days.  Probably.


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