Gaming

Lego Batman 2 Trailer

Steel yourselves for a giggle fit because the launch of Lego Batman 2 comes with a suitably funny launch trailer. The free roaming sequel to the caped crusader’s first foray into the world of bricks promises more heroes, more villains and even more silliness and the trailer certainly delivers on that. Also, we finally get to see what it looks like when the Batmobile looses a wheel and the Joker gets away.

Lego Batman 2 is out now.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoOmSrrUsz8&w=853&h=480]

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Dan's Blog: MCM Debrief

For my part, I spent Sunday cosplaying as white trash.

The very first year that Steve and I appeared at the MCM Expo the event fell upon the same day as a Millwall game. It’s not a detail that I would remember were it not for the fact that it meant that my first experience of the con was sitting on a packed tube full of confused skinheads and teenagers dressed as cats. There has probably never been a more perplexed railway carriage anywhere in the world and I found myself developing an instant fondness for this oddball of a con.

I mention this story first because really the teenagers dressed as cats (and Pokemon and cardboard boxes and pretty much anything else you can imagine) are the heart of MCM. That’s not to say they are the only audience there (in terms of floor space, it’s probably the biggest comic con in the UK) but at its very core the event is about people who say the word “random” a lot, cutting loose and having fun. As a result, MCM has always had a kind if energetic buzz about it that you just don’t find anywhere else and it’s this buzz that is the key to why this year’s event was so successful.

MCM has taken some flak over the years for its rather diverse (random, you might say) range of exhibits. While other cons focus on comics or movies or trading or whatever, MCM goes for a bit of everything but in times such as these it’s exactly that kind of diversity that you need. If you’re only going to go to one comic con then the obvious choice is the one that lets you see as much as possible. MCM is not so much a comic convention as a convention for the sort of people who like comics. It’s a subtle distinction but one that breeds the kind of extremely loyal fanbase that descended in droves upon the Excel Centre last weekend.

Shot of the convention floor. It’s very hard to convey the sheer scale of the event.

For our part, we were taken completely by surprise by just how busy the con was. We brought our usual hefty amount of stock, expecting it to last the entire event (especially given a slightly disappointing audience turn out at Kapow) but instead found ourselves completely sold out of copies of Moon by 5pm on Saturday. The result was that Steve had to scurry back to Essex on Sunday morning, while I tried to learn how you sell prints of characters from a book you don’t have (turns out, you generally don’t). By 11am we were back up and running however and went on to smash our all time sales record by some way.

Moon #1 completely sold out.

I should mention, in the interests of fairness, that we had a much better pitch than at Kapow, being as we were right next to the auditorium and the booth for ASDF (who I’d never heard of before the weekend but who I’m pretty sure most teenagers would readily kill for.) This naturally translated into better sales but the fact that we took more than twice what we made at Kapow and paid less than half for the table left me pondering whether we’ll keep Kapow on our calendar next year.

Organisation wise we’ve got no complaints. Comics Village (who run the comics side of the event) have gotten very good at pre-show communication this time around and having every table get a small blurb in the program was a nice touch. Despite the huge crowds, there was always a volunteer on hand when needed and they were (as has always been the case) extremely helpful and friendly.

The aftermath. Huge thanks to everybody who bought the book and to those who have sent us such kind feedback on it. You guys are awesome.

The one part where the organisation fell down slightly was in the execution of the Eagle Awards on Friday night. The Eagles themselves are probably a topic for another day but the very low audience turn out was a bit of a shame. Steve and I certainly appreciate being able to hog the free beer but I can’t help but think that if they were properly publicised and perhaps held on the Saturday night, the turn out would have been far better. We ran into only two non-comics industry people at the awards and they confessed that they’d only found the event by chance. Given the announcement about the demise of the Eagles, I wonder whether the lack of publicity was a deliberate move to send the awards off quietly with an eye to focusing on next year’s new “MCM Awards.”

The Eagles is but a small part of the overall event however and a low turnout for one small part is not enough to spoil the experience of what was in all regards a fantastic convention experience.

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If you picked up a copy of Moon #1 at MCM then we’d love to hear what you think. Send us an email at btbcomics@gmail.com or let us know on facebook or twitter!

For Anyone Who's Ever Played an Old School Game: Go Right

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiePaAHK3jE&feature=player_embedded

This succinct and beautifully thought through video by Youtuber RockyPlanetesimal tells you everything anyone who never owned a SNES or a Mega Drive needs to know about old school gaming. It’s the single minded pursuit of a simple goal. To keep going right – whether you’re gigantic, tiny, an arabian prince, a superhero, an italian plumber, a knight with rickety armour or an Earthworm that simple premise saw a billion gamers through tough times. God bless you, you’ve got the right stuff!!

Skyrim Mod Turns Dragons Into Macho Man Randy Savage

In what is probably the silliest act of programming ever performed, a modder named Fancy Pants┬áhas created the “Macho Dragons” mod for Skyrim. Now, instead of being menaced by giant flying lizards on your travels, you can come face to face with giant, reptilian versions of the late wrestling legend Macho Man Randy Savage. The dragons come complete with Savage’s trademark shades and cowboy hat as well as an array of Macho quotes with which to thuum you into oblivion.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bifmj1O3D24&w=853&h=480]

 

You can download the mod from here.

Ooooh Yeaaah!

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BTB Awards: Best Game

Winner – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

2011 was a massive year for gaming. It was the year that saw Modern Warfare 3 make more money in its first weekend than James Cameron’s Avatar, it was the year that a virtually unknown game called Rift stepped up and bit a chunk out of the mighty World of Warcraft and it was the year that the world went Skyrim mad.

 

Skyrim is the fifth instalment of the Elder Scrolls series, Bethesda Studios’ groundbreaking sandbox rpg franchise. The point of Elder Scrolls games is to drop the player off in a massive fantasy setting and leave them to explore at their own pace. The level of detail applied to games is legendary (Patrick Stewart is on record as saying that the character notes he received for his part in the previous Elder Scrolls game were some of the most detailed he has ever been given) and at 300+ hours of gameplay Skyrim is no exception.

To call Skyrim “big” is something of an understatement, Skyrim is HUGE. You can quite happily clock up 20-30 hours of play without ever leaving the first city and after weeks of trekking through the eye-wateringly beautiful mountains you’ll still have barely scratched the surface. Couple that vast scope with a combat system that manages the difficult feat of being equally exciting on both PC and console, graphics that will take your breath away and some of the best quest writing in years and it’s easy to place the game of the year crown on Skyrim’s head.

It was very nearly not that simple of course. For some time it very much looked like we’d be looking at a head to head battle between Skyrim and the third instalment of Bioware’s Mass Effect series as both games squared up for a November 11th release. Had both releases gone ahead we would have been looking at one of the biggest clashes since Mario vs Sonic and given the pedigree of the Mass Effect franchise it’s a hell of a tough one to call. Perhaps fortunately it’s a call we’ll never have to make as Bioware decided to abandon the Christmas market and moved their release date into early 2012. There have been plenty of great games but with Commander Shepard out of the way there really isn’t anything in Skyrim’s league.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjqsYzBrP-M&w=853&h=480]

 

Runner Up – Game Dev Story

There have been a number of fantastic PC and console games released in 2011 but given the meteoric rise of mobile gaming this year it seemed right to grant the runner up prize to something that fits in your pocket. Of the games on offer I think I’m going to have to give the prize to Kariosoft’s charming Game Dev Story.

Game Dev Story sees you take over the running of a video game company in the early 90s and gives you a set number of years to turn your little venture into a multinational programming empire. You get to decide what kind of games your company will produce (I became a pioneer of the Action/Golf genre) what staff you will hire to do the job and how your games will be marketed. It’s full of sly references to the evolution of gaming and if you like old fashioned sim games then it’s an absolute must.

Come back tomorrow for another BTB award!

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