Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So this last weekend was the Anime convention in Busan, and as a resident genius on this kind of thing, I knew that I had to hit this up for the Nerd Evolution blog. If nothing else than to make another entry in my Korean Nerd Culture Watch segment. This particular convention is held every two months, so I took this opportunity to check it out and find out just what the Koreans think of when they think of anime. What I discovered was that it wasn't too far off from what we in America preceive, which is much the same as what is produced out of Japan.
We arrived at the Bexco center with the most open minds and with the most heartfelt intentions and were pleasantly surprised to find a large number of people participating in cosplay. We milled around for a while outside the convention and met some people in costumes, but quickly discovered that there were few foreigners...in fact, we 5 made up 50% of the foreigners at the convention, which made it easy for us to stop people and ask them some questions, about themselves and their costumes. Mostly, we just took that as an opportunity to get some really good pictures.
It was 4000 won to get inside the convention doors, which was a reasonable price (which is about $3 in the current market) but then I found that the convention mostly consisted of Fan-made items, all of which costing between 3,000-7,000 won (t-shirts I think were 10,000), which basically meant that they had me at the door, and then they had me at every turn. But it was okay, we enjoyed ourselves, but the convention definitely isn't for someone going on a tight budget. (Well, maybe that's not the case when you think about how I could have bought everything I wanted for under $50 total dollars). However, for you tight wads like myself, you can walk around and enjoy the cosplayers...maybe even pay 1,000 won (less than a dollar) for a hotdog in crazy grey bun covered in lettuce and ketchup.
Here's the slideshow I made of our experience. For those of you wondering, the song is "Oh My Friend" by Big Bang.
Basically, the average age of the crowd was 14 or 15 years old and consisted of lots of cosplay and lots of fan-made materials. It meant that there was a large amount of Yaoi (for those interesting in such things) and a whole lot of milling around and talking. It was fun to get out and see all the people getting worked up about comics and anime, but it definitely wasn't a Sakuracon or a Comicon. But then, I hear that the anime convention held in Seoul every month is more like those kinds of big name american conventions, and that this Busan one was kinda like the younger brother. Well, Busan is the second largest city in Korea, it only follows that it's convention is the second largest as well...
However, I have a theory that if the convention was held only once a year like Comicon, Dragoncon or Sakuracon, then it probably would have been different. Much bigger build up, many more events, and probably would have had a competition or two. Needless to say, it's definitely something you visit once, but I think I'll save up for Seoul's animation convention, which is much more about the animation side of things, and much less about the animations themselves, but I heard basically kicks a whole lot of ass.
In the end, I give the Busan Comic World festival a C, because it was averagely fun. Kinda sucky in some parts, but there were some really cool costumes to oogle at.
See you later, cowboys.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Okay, so this is the third installment of Korean Nerd Culture Watch, and this particular segment has to do with the picture posted at the head of this blog. Look at it again, very very carefully. See something off? Is that Dried Squid hanging there, and are those foodstuff in front of the VHS tapes?
The answer: YES (and the VHS tapes thing is a whole different commentary that I may or may not get into later).
That's right, this particular comic book corner market is actually a convenience store just across the street from the University of Ulsan dormitories. Apparently (and this is purely gleened for a basic understanding of the Korean language) the place lends them out to people, like a library, who have payed a 10,000won deposit (which is $10 in the States) to make sure that they can cover any books that get taken and never returned. But basically, you can borrow to your hearts content and read them for up to a week (or two I was a little fuzzy on that) before they start charging you late fees, but almost no one accrues a late fee. Now this is friggin' awesome, because you can borrow your favorite comics and then return them once you are done.
I find this is great for the college peoples, because that means they don't have a ton of comics cluttering their shelves and stuff, because that can get annoying. I mean, I like to own my comics and not borrow them (usually) but as any nomadic or semi-nomadic comic enthusiast can tell you, sometimes it's just annoying to lug all those books around. Especially when you realize that once you've read through them, you don't read through a lot of them again, especially if the story starts to blow in the end (and I reference GTO and Saint Seiya....that's right, hate me if you will, but come on, it really did start to blow and you know it).
So, who's skeptical about this being a full on convenience store? Well, here's another picture to prove it:
Anyway, apparently this isn't that common in Korea, but common enough that my roommate knew all about it. Right friggin' on. I feel like the luckiest bastard in Nerd Evolution history, mostly because I live so close to the store that it's nothing, and secondly, if you look carefully you might see some of the more popular comics on the shelves, like Bleach, Deathnote and One-piece.
MWAHAHA. I give this store a BIG FAT A+ for innovation. And their prices are good along with some very happy workers who definitely love Americans.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Back when I was in Middle School, Starcraft had just came out and I was trying my best to get a copy of it, but I was failing miserably. It seemed like the game to get and everyone was in love with it, but then, a few years later, when I was finally able to start playing the game, I found out that only the really nerdy people played it anymore...and that's because it required lots of thought. I wonder if it would have been different if we had a channel on TV that talked us through strategies, then maybe it wouldn't be as nerdy...
..but then what would talk about here in our blog?
So, as part of my second installment of NERD CULTURE WATCH in Korea, I thought it very pertinent to bring up Starcraft TV. In Korea, there is like 4 channels dedicated to gaming, and I don't mean like America's G4, but more like 100% of the programming is games. Not commentary on games, not game conventions, but people playing the games and voice overs explaining what they are doing. One of these channels runs Starcraft 24 hours a day. Nothing but starcraft all the time. It's strange, but watching it can be fascinating when you have nothing else to do for a couple of hours.
Here's a glimpse of Starcraft TV.
Basically, if you want to touch up on the newest strategies--or you just want to watch a buttload of terrans get zerg rushed--then turn your Korean TV dials to MBC GAME and you've got yourself 24 starcraft fest.
If you don't want starcraft, try the other gaming channels, they've got WoW, Lineage, Go, and other games on there too. Personally, I'll just keep watching the starcraft channel, mostly because that's a lot more interesting than watching someone play an MMORPG for 16 hours straight. I mean, sure I can play an MMORPG for 16 hours straight, but watching someone else do it when I could just go ahead and do it myself, well, that's just pushing the envelope.
I give the Starcraft channel a B, because sometimes their explainations are a little junkie. But it's a great idea and just goes to show you how much Korea is in with the Nerd Crowd.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Unbeknownst to some of you audiencey-types, I'm actually living in South Korea right now, and since this blog has experienced a rejuvination of sorts, I figured it was time that I make a post. I know, that destroys our entire scheme of 2 a month, but what the hell, it's September where I'm at. Actually, it'll probably post just fine when I actually finish this thing.
Anyway, so I know you all may be wondering what the hell a PC bang (pronounced BONG like the thing you smoke with) is, and I answer: A giant friggin' room where every korean person and their brother goes to play Starcraft. Okay, not just Starcraft, but WoW, Counter-strike, Portal, Lineage, Monster Hunter: Frontiers (that new MMORPG only in Asia) and so on. It's like the gaming nerds wet dream.
And who wouldn't be friggin' impressed with it? I mean, its like 20+ computers all LANned up and loaded with everyone's favorite shoot 'em, kill 'em, build and destroy 'em games, all for 1000 won an hour. Ah, that's the catch isn't it. Yeah, it costs you $1 every hour, but who wouldn't shell out a buck an hour to kill, maim, and utterly destroy their best friends in the most humiliating way possible? I don't know anyone. I mean, if you think about it, how much does it cost you play a game of Street Fighter at the arcade anymore? 50 cents, a dollar. And how long do you last? Two minutes, maybe three if you're lucky.
But lets say WoW, CS, and Starcraft just aren't your thing? (What the hell are you doing in a PC Bang then) Well, you can still use the computer for T1 speed internet access to check your email, chat with your friends, or generally just surf your favorite sites. The best part about a PC bang is that there's also food somewhere in the room that you can munch on for a small fee. At some of the higher scale places, you can even order it from the computer and have it brought to you when its done being microwaved, cooked, or taken out of the fridge. They just charge it to your bill at the end and WAM! you've had yourself a good old time.
Now, I know a PC bang doesn't technically fall under our category of stuff we talk about here at Nerd Evolution, but it is the place to be if you are a PC gamin' nerd, so I thought it was pertinent to discuss. I mean, if I were taking a trip to Korea (psst which I am) I would like to know where I can get my relatively cheap gaming fix.
So, I give the PC Bang an A+ for freakin' awesomeness.
Oh, and I give the food at a PC Bang a C (be careful, some of it will kill you)
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Episode 2, Dnd Movie review
...... IT SUCKS MAJOR.
It violated our brains and our chasity.
One liner notes:
Sexual Tenion rod of Dragons
Blue Lips loves his master
Cg is Cg
Jailbait = more CG = Ow Brain
Man Eating Scrolls
Random Purple Guy
Masks are worse the CG
Better time = Brick to Important places
Better Movie = kill cast + Hire Monkies
Queen Elizibith wana be *beep* *beep* *beep* GO AWAY
Where did the blood go....?
Where is the creepy Ear tenticle?
Writers tased then shanked
NO SOURCE METERIAL WAS USED
Oh thank you sweet embrace of death
Edit out the scenes that make sense
Our Conclusion, Makes more sense as a porno
F- on both sides
Dnd Movie 2 Wrath of the Dragon God
Oh the sweet embrace of.... wait this is a better movie
Guest star Steven Lynch
Where is the five headed Dragon of freaken Doom
first of all this is a much better movie. That doesn't make it a GOOD movie but it's a better movie.
Go reading your sourece meterial
So we actualy enjoyed this movie, it was fun and it was exciting, it was your standard fantasey movie but it is standard. It was fantastic after watching the first one.
The Blood was back
we gave it a C and a C+
Sorry Agian for the crappy notes, they will improve as I get used to doing this
Now for a moment of Happiness
Kosh and Nick
Now lets start with Nerd Evolution Episode one
lets start off by saying OMFG I sound terrible....
however I need to suck it up and say hey this is a decent start.
Our E-mail is NerdEvolution@gmail.com
So episode one is a review of Bubblegum Crisis
with guest starts from Star Craft
Theres not much I can say about it that was not said in the review, My show notes will get better but right now I have alot of backlog so I wana get this out there but show notes will imporve as I do them durring the creation process, so once agian forgive me
Friday, May 30, 2008
Okay, so this game came out in November, and well, I've had it since then, but since nothing amazing has come out on the DS since then, I thought it time that I picked the talking stick and gave you my speel about Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings. And because only one poster has the floor at a time, you're gonna have to deal with my opinions...and my embedded videos for your viewing pleasure. Hey, why not, I did it for Phantom Hourglass, and that seemed to work out.
Basically, this game is the continuation of the story that Squareenix presented in FFXII, complete with archrivals and best friends. This dual screen version, however, takes place a year after the events in FFXII, with Vaan flying his own airship with Penelo after Balthier and Fran 'stole' the Strahl. That's right, VAAN's good old friend and motherly figure is back to travel the skies again, in search of treasure and advancement. Digressing, the two groups enter Bervenia in order to obtain the Cache of Glabados, but come face to face with Ifrit in the process, the aftermath of which destroys Vaan's airship, leaving him back at square one in Rabanastre. But not for long, when a mysterious airship derelict comes crashing out of the sky and Vaan's crystal gets the thing running again, bringing the new crew to the sky islands. They come in contact with a new race and join the fight against the Judge of Wings, growing ever closer to "Eternal" who is apparently the god-like person of this world. (That's an interesting thought since this is technically the same world as Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story, both games that took place at different times in the world of Ivalice, but 1200 years before)
Anyway, the following video shows the entire prologue ten minutes of the game. First, it starts you off with a tutorial, which is great the first time around, but really really annoying when you are a veteran player of the game and it's telling you how to move the camera and control your character...well, I wouldn't have been able to beat the Judge of Wings if I didn't know how to do that, now would I.
Anyway, yeah, so after you've gotten passed the basics, you meet up with Penelo. (Die hard fans of FFXII should be squeeing right now.) Then, you get to head into a room with your old enemies and fight something big and scary...well, watch the video, then I don't have to explain.
Cool, eh. Yeah, unfortunately, what that video doesn't show you is the cumbersome movements that come out later when you finally become able to summon. Yes, there is summoning in this game just like there are in almost every other Final Fantasy that exists, but this summoning is sorta like calling minions to fight in your advanced rock-paper-sissors game. No seriously, your melee guys get worked by flying dudes but rock against ranged opponents, your ranged guys shoot all fliers out of the sky like they were standing still but get jacked when something brings the good old fashioned can of whoopass, and your flying units come tumbling down when they get hit with arrows or magic, but seem to be untouchable by the melee enemies. Basically, if you like chess or really like the gameplay in Final Fantasy Tactics, you'll love the way this game plays out.
Except for the units. Basically, unlike Tactics, your characters are not the whole army, but the commanders. Thus, at the beginning of each battle, a series of "Espers", or little fighty minions that are basically advanced fodder, are "summoned" by Vaan and assemble themselves in their respected groups. If you know what you are doing, you can keep them united by style of combat, but if you just don't pay attention, you'll end up having your flyer controlling ranged guys, your melee controlling healers, etc. Once you get the hand of it, though, you might as well just sit back and watch the mayhem, because eventually even the best plan becomes throwing all your units into fighting the boss while your healers keep everyone alive, or you start mass producing units from the summoning platforms like you're playing a game of Starcraft. Prepare for zergling rushes, they'll happen to you if you don't capture the enemy's summoning platform.
Anyway, the story is interesting throughout the game, but I can tell the graphics designers weren't expecting the slightly better than 256 x 192 pixels, because the video cut scenes, like the opening, are beautiful better-than-64 type graphics, but when the actual game play drops in, you feel like you are back in the Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced game. There are moments when Vaan is obviously sitting with his mouth open, and only because it is a simple rendering of anime style surprise can you tell. I guess it happens occasionally.
Interestingly, despite the fact that you have a horde following you, which make it hard to move units, you have to keep track of like 40 different fighters all at the same time, the music has an airy white noise overtone, and the story survives on the premise that there are islands in the sky, this game has a lot of addictive values. It's hard to put down, if only because it requires your full attention while you play. It's simple, its fun, and it has a good story...oh yeah, and it's from final fantasy, so you know it's going to have those amazing scenes where a giant behomoth comes flying into the air, growls, and then spits balls of fire that rain hell down fromt he heavens upon the earth....so you keep playing because you just can't stop...
All in all, I'd have to grade this game a B for being an interesting sequel. I like the idea of continuing the storyline on a different consol, like FF Crisis Core, because it makes you feel like the original is still untouched in the story if you don't have the money to drop to find out more, but if you do, you can feel like your favorite stories are following you.
I give it a C for music, a C for planning, but a HUGE A+ for addiction. That's right, I'm playing it again...right now...while I....
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Aha, after some time off, and after a post about a video game, and another post about a video game, and a post about a TV show, I get to return once again to my bread and butter: Comic books. I don't think any of you really understand just how much I subsist on comic books, I mean, basically I can't get through the week with out downing one comic book. It used to be that I wouldn't be able to make it through the day, but once I got over that addiction, I was able to have a fairly average life.
But I digress back to the Topic at hand. So, as you know, I'm the resident occult fanboy here, so it's not all that surprising that Witchblade is my pick of the blog this month. There's not a whole lot particularly occulty about Witchblade, I mean despite the fact that the witchblade is an extention of the Angelus and the Angelus stands in direct opposition to the Darkness, who gets his power from, well, demons, the Witchblade is the balancing force in this game of light and dark. Well it was until somehow Pezzini got all knocked up by the darkness and there was this big old fight with the angelus over it in the spin-off miniseries "Firstborn."
Some of you nerdy types out there might be saying, "But wait, didn't Pezzini lose the Witchblade, how could you possibly be telling me that Pezinni was knocked up by the Darkness and the Angelus actually cared?" Well, fello comic fans, turns out, the Witchblade and the Darkness both felt the urge to breed and so, without their wielders' knowledge, they got it on.
Sure, doesn't make sense, but well, with Dani possessing the Witchblade, the story was going downhill anyway, so I'm glad they revived it. But Basically, in order to save her baby from being a pawn in that little game between the dark and the light, Dani's witchblade split in half and some of it returned to Pezzini, thereby creating 2 wielders...unless you happen to be counting and remember there's that one galavanting around Asia, in which case there is three, but we're not going there, since like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there's technically only supposed to be one, but somehow there's 2000....
But that's another story for another time, maybe after I few posts I'll be able to get into that one with you, but let's get back to this story, shall we?
So, yeah, basically, after all the crap that happens in Firstborn, which was a beautiful comic series really, Pezzini comes back in full force to start investigating a series of really weird murders around town, and little do they know it, but Dani and her new boy toy are all caught up in it. Well, really it's all Dani's boy toy, but he apparently has plans for her and her witchblade....
Thankfully, they kept on the artists from the Firstborn set, which made me all giggley like a schoolgirl when I saw that, and I have not been able to put this thing down since. I mean look at it...it's all....shiney.
So, yes, I give this comic an A for story line and an A for art. Oh, and an A for research because they definitely got their early christian history right on, which made me smile.