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Press Release: Next Gen AR/VR Game “HoloGrid: Monster Battle”

Tippett Studio & HappyGiant Unveil Next-Gen AR/VR Game “HoloGrid: Monster Battle”

Berkeley, CA – March 30, 2016 – Tippett Studio and HappyGiant today announced an original Next-Gen Augmented and Virtual Reality gaming concept, HoloGrid: Monster Battle. A “Hybrid” Board Game, Collectible Card Game (CCG), and Digital Game in one, it delivers to players a new type of gaming experience.

HoloGridScreens06 Continue reading

Impending Doom Creeps Up On The Rebels. Wait, No That’s Spiders. It’s Spiders.

Take heed: This is not a full review. If you want that, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU – I mean, sure. Different strokes and all that. Anyway, we just take a look at one or two things. Written with the assumption that you’ve seen the show and as always, SPOILERS from here on out. Also there will be spiders.

This week on Rebels, it is the calm before the storm. Except no one told the Spectres that because their idea of calm includes fighting giant spiders. It’s all relative, I guess. This was a fairly light episode with much of the time spent brooding on what’s to come. Well, it boded; there was much boding done. But let’s not write off the entire episode just like that; there were some interesting things I’d like to discuss.

I warned you that there’d be blood spiders.

This being an episode centred on mystery (and horror, but nevermind that right now), I thought it would be a good idea to focus on several things that I found puzzling. Because instead of pretending to be all-knowing and wise, it’s far better to be aware that you do have gaps in your understanding, and accept that. For indeed accepting your failures is the truly wise thing and the mark of a great person. So if I focus on these things and you want to, I don’t know, think of me as great and wise, who am I to tell you not to? Continue reading

Two Conventions You Should Attend in Atlanta Forge a Partnership

PRESS RELEASE: DRAGON CON, INC. AND MOMOCON FORGE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP

Dragon Con, Inc., parent company of the internationally known Dragon Con pop culture convention, and MomoCon LLC, parent of the fastest growing all ages fan convention in the country, have formed an unprecedented strategic partnership to share resources, knowledge and experience to ensure that Atlanta continues to have the strongest fan conventions in the country.

DC_Momo

Importantly, Dragon Con, Inc. will provide MomoCon with back office and administrative support while the current MomoCon leadership, including founders Chris Stuckey and Jessica Merriman, will continue to organize the convention and serve as its co-chairs. Stuckey and Merriman will also take expanded roles with Dragon Con, Inc. and the Dragon Con convention.
Founded in 2005, MomoCon began as an outgrowth of Georgia Tech’s anime club. Its first convention attracted about 700 people to a free event on the school’s campus. Ten years later, MomoCon attracted some 22,000 total attendees (more than 60,000 at the turnstile) to a four-day convention held in the Georgia World Congress Center.

“In today’s competitive convention landscape, having Dragon Con and its founder Pat Henry on our side is an incredible advantage,” Stuckey said. “This partnership gives Jess and I the ability to pursue our vision for MomoCon while continuing to provide our fans with the high quality event they expect from us year after year.”

“We believe deeply in home-grown, well-run fan conventions that bring real value to the community,” said Henry, who was one of several Dragon Con founders in 1986 and serves as the company’s president today. “I am excited to be working with these two enormously creative entrepreneurs. I believe that their leadership will also help keep Dragon Con on the cutting edge of the convention scene.”

MomoCon 2016, which brings together fans of Japanese anime, American animation, comics and gaming, will be held May 26 through May 29 at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Dragon Con will celebrate its 30th year as the internationally known pop culture, sci fi, fantasy and gaming convention on Labor Day, September 2 through September 5 at five host hotels and the AmericasMart in downtown Atlanta. More than 70,000 people from every state in the union plus a few foreign countries attended Dragon Con in 2015.

About Dragon Con
Dragon Con is the internationally known pop culture convention held each Labor Day in Atlanta. Organized for fans by fans, Dragon Con features more than about 3,000 hours of comics, film,
television, costuming, art, music and gaming over four days. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About MomoCon
Founded in 2004 by Jessica Merriman and Chris Stuckey, then students at Georgia Tech, MomoCon has grown from a 700 person on campus event to one of the largest conventions in the southeast United States for fans of video games, animation, cosplay, comics and tabletop games. More information about MomoCon is available at www.momocon.com/.

On Rebels, Chopper Gets A Fwiend And The Rebellion Gains An Ally

Greetings, fellow human! Note that this is not a full review. If you like that, cool, but here we take a look at a couple of aspects of each episode and discuss them. Best read after having watched the episode, and as always SPOILERS from here on out.

In this episode of Rebels, entitled The Forgotten Droid, Chopper gets a fwiend. And indeed that’s pretty much the only thing that happens and thus the only selling point. As I demonstrated to my not-a-Star-Wars-fan sister. Over and over again. I made it her special hell.

It was at this point that they started singing Hakuna Matata, and everything became right in the world.

Building

The benefits of telling a story in a TV show instead of a film is that you’re allowed to do so much more and do it in vastly different ways. The purpose of this show, as I understand it, is to demonstrate how the rebellion came to be. This usually takes the form of showing our Spectres fighting small scale battles against the Empire, or demonstrating said Empire to be cruel and ruthless and thus making it worthwhile to overthrow them, or highlighting how various people came to be a part of the rebellion. But there is another way – one that is quite important but not quite as flashy, and when done right is done subtly. It’s also something that many role-playing gamers may know well: resource building. This is the gradual accumulation of resources through various means. Sometimes it’s as simple as ‘Press Enter to accept Cmdr Millicent into your team’ – the most common of recruitment drives known to military the world over (I assume). Sometimes it’s stealing supplies or ships so that you have an armada with which to advance ‘The Cause’, and certainly you may recall one of the previous episodes where the rebels captured the ship carrier that played such a central role in this episode. That was one of the more obvious examples of resource building (or RB for short).

RB is an absolutely necessary component to this kind of show, and the kind of story it’s trying to tell. As Zarm, a regular commenter on this website (hi Zarm!), made mention several weeks ago in the comments, Phoenix Squadron has a … let’s call it a quick turnaround. They frequently experience losses of manpower and resources – and simply showing that, week after week, does strain viewer credulity. But by indulging in RB, by demonstrating where those pilots and those A Wings come from, lends weight to their use in action scenes. They’re no longer Redshirts, or background objects to make the action seem tense, but actual beings whose presence has narrative importance. And those A Wings are no longer cheap bits of machinery that are easily replaced (that is to say, they may be, but I wouldn’t know), but that they’re valuable resources that the Rebellion has struggled hard to acquire, so that the loss of a single snubfighter has the potential to severely impact the Rebellion’s fighting strength. To briefly give a historical example, we saw this during the Second World War, during the Battle of Britain. Daily the Luftwaffe would send wave upon wave of fighter planes to harass military bases, damage industrial and civilian areas and in general be a nuisance. They had hundreds, if not thousands, of aeroplanes at their disposal – but the continual loss of planes or pilots was not something they could afford or sustain. Compare that to British and Allied pilots who, if shot down, could return to work the next day – simply because they had been shot down above friendly territory whereas if the Luftwaffe were to be shot down then they could expect a lengthy stay in a POW camp. And beyond that, these Allied pilots could fly in new planes supplied by the ATA. Their shot-down vehicles, too, would be salvaged and reused – if not as planes then as something else of value to the war effort.

By now you may have spotted something wrong with my line of thinking, and don’t worry, that’s on purpose*. This episode wasn’t about A Wings or Phoenix Squadron. It was about AP-5, the eponymous forgotten droid (yeah I said it, fight me), as well his supply ship joining the Rebellion, swelling its ranks with another ship, but more importantly the presence of AP-5 provides the Rebellion with much needed insider intel as well as a useful tactical mind. It was a great way of introducing what could potentially be a key asset to the Rebellion – and it was also done in a fairly subtle way.

*Mostly

It’s perhaps unkind but true to state that this show has not, on many an occasion, been the most subtle in its storytelling. Probably most viewers could spot a mile away any plot twist or character development before it had time to take full form (as evidenced by the return of Ketsu Onyo as she aided the Rebellion. I’m sure many called that she would come to aid the rebels).

Who knew tactical geniuses had such cool shades?

Speaking of subtlety, if I may be forgiven for drawing a negative comparison (I loathe to do this, usually because it’s often tacky and unecessary), I’d like to draw your attention to another show: Star Trek.

I do apologise

I do apologise

Star Trek: Voyager was rather notorious by utilising a form of RB. For those unfamiliar with the show, the premise was that the starship Voyager was, via a Deus Ex Machina device known as The Caretaker, flung to the other side of the galaxy, and it was the job of the crew to make the 70,000 light-year journey home. This sounded good – until you realised that at the end of every other episode saw one crew member or another say ‘this new technology ought to take a few years off our journey’. It was about as subtle in its resource building as Zeb in a gun factory. Rebels has a similar task at hand: it must build the Rebellion up into something that looks capable of taking on an entire fleet at the end of Return of the Jedi. And, like Voyager, it must also do quite a large amount of RB on a near weekly basis.

But unlike Voyager it occasionally takes great pains to hide this fact, usually by making them into character-centric episodes. In the past we’ve had episodes like the B Wing episode, or the Ryloth episode, where the gaining of new technology was obviously the goal from the start, but the focus was almost entirely on its characters. In the former, we explored Hera’s back-story and her love of flying. In the latter, Hera had to overcome her backstabbing, traitorous father* in order gain a base of operations for her squadron. But Forgotten Droid surpasses these attempts, because once again the narrative focus is not on the need for supplies (this quite literally takes place in the background), but Chopper and AP-5. It’s through a heart-warming sharing of character background that key information is dropped, like Chopper’s military experience and Apey’s tactical expertise. And later we’re shown that AP-5, a lowly navigator droid, knows that the Rebels’ safe port is in fact a trap. How he knows is not explained – but for now that’s not important. What is important is that he knows. These scenes are brief blink and you’ll miss it moments, but ones that delivers possibly vital information.

*Not bitter at all. Honest.

Exactly what did Chopper do to get Hera looking so unresponsive? Dude’s evil, I tell you.

But this does come with negatives. Earlier I made a point of the necessity of demonstrating where Phoenix Squadrons gets its pilots and war materiel. I made this particular example because it focuses on the events and people in the show itself (see, I wasn’t losing it!*). As things are, Rebels tends to focus its world- and resource-building for the benefit of the movies rather than for the show itself. This is understandable – particularly as we once had an expanded universe that gave us back-stories on a number of characters who were seen for a whole two seconds on screen. Again it’s understandable and to a degree I accept this as both necessary and good. But at the same time, especially in the case of RB, I do feel that the show could do better by focusing on building up its own resources. This is mainly because the series itself has, in the second series alone, greatly expanded its scope, so that it could be thought of as a universe in its own right – and one that doesn’t really need to feed another universe, or even feed off it. (I’m terrible at metaphors, so for clarity the other universe I’m mentioning is the movie universe).

*Well, I am, but not that time.

It’s a young show so of course it needs to learn on its big brothers and sisters (to haphazardly mix metaphors), but it’s quickly moving beyond that necessary crutch to a point where it can stand on its own two feet, and at that point it ought to learn away from RBing for the movies and just concentrate on itself.

Michael Dare

P.S. I suck at metaphors.

Bringing Maz Kanata to Life

 Some awesome material courtesy of Lucasfilm about the upcoming TFA Blu Ray – check it out!
Lupita Nyong’o is now sharing a brand-new bonus clip from the upcoming Blu-ray & digital release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens! You can take a look behind-the-scenes with Lupita as the 1,000-year-old smuggler, Maz.

Plus, starting today, the official Star Wars app also has a new emoji featuring Maz! To download or learn more about the app, visit: http://strw.rs/SWAppMaz or Lupita’s Instagram page at:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrived in Digital HD April 1st and Blu-ray & DVD April 5th.