Monday, May 25, 2009

Always Remember...

...that freedom isn't free.Thank you to all the brave men and women of our armed forces who sacrificed so that we might have the freedoms that we so often take for granted.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Level UP" Your DnD 4E Game!

Many months back, the Dungeons and Dragons community took a blow when Wizards of the Coast decided to cancel the print editions of Dungeon and Dragon magazines. Sure. They still have them available as online editions but you have to subscribe to Wizards' Dungeons and Dragons Insider and, even if you did that, nothing can compare to having a paper magazine to carry around in your back pocket.

Enter "Level UP".

Published by Goodman Games, Level UP is a nice quarterly magazine with a mixture of DnD 4E info for both players and DMs alike. What's even better is that Level UP is 4E ONLY! There's no articles or advertising here from games that you don't even play. It's all 4E, all the time. The topper? For only $2, you not only get the print copy to carry with you but also a free PDF copy for the DM that wants to read on his desktop!

The first issue is on shelves now at your local game shop. Inside, you'll find new weapons including the arbalest (a heavy crossbow with 1d10 damage and longer range than the standard) and character paths (the Arbalestier for the aforementioned weapon, the Crimson Cleaver and the Cudgel Thug). For DMs, there's a set of new monsters called Behemoths (the dinosaurs that were missing from the Monster Manual in 4E) and a fully playable adventure featuring the new beasties! On the "fluff" side of things, there's a new diety, a random monster name generator and more. And to round things out, there's even question and answer columns where readers can get advice from a hobgoblin (weapons and military matters) and an archmage (DM advice on managing your group).

All in all, Level UP is a great replacement for both Dungeon and Dragon magazines and I see potential here for it to top them both. Here's looking forward to issue #2 in July.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Top 5 Entertainment Earth Exclusives

I had so much fun selecting the top 5 Star Trek Entertainment Earth items last week that I decided to hit up the EE Exclusives department today and pick the creme de la creme. These are all based on my own personal geek proclivities so feel free to discuss your own tops in the comments. And away we...go!

#5 Alex Ross Flash Gordon 7-inch Ming (black)
As a child of the '80s, who didn't love the Flash Gordon movie? Cool hero? Check. Scantily clad babes? Check. Awsome villain? Check. Queen soundtrack? Check. Hordes of winged men in homoerotic leather? Wait. What!? (Insert the sound of suppressing childhood trauma here.) But the centerpiece for me was Max von Sydow as Ming the Merciless. He was up there with Darth Vader and Cobra Commander in my 8 year old eyes. And now EE has this exclusive figure (based on art by none other than the genius Alex Ross by the way). Coolness abounds!
EE Exclusive Alex Ross Flash Gordon 7-Inch Ming (Black)

#4 The Dude (Unemployed) 8-inch Action Figure
The Big Lebowski is one of those movies that just gets in your psyche and never leaves. With it's quirky characters and oddball storyline, I consider it a post-modern masterpiece of cinema. And part of the reason for that is Jeff Bridges as...The Dude. And now all the fans of the show can put this cool EE exclusive Dude figure (complete with the Rug that ties the room together) on your shelf right next to that bowling ball shaped collectors DVD that you picked up (or am I the only one who got that thing?). The Dude abides.
EE Exclusive The Dude (Unemployed) 8-Inch Action Figure

#3 Star Wars Boba Fett and Carbonite Maquette
Again back to the '80s child in me. The Empire Strikes Back was the 2nd movie that I ever saw in the theater. (The 1st being Herbie Goes Bananas but that's a story for another day). Even as a 6-year old kid, I saw the badassedness (Is that a word? If not, I just coined it! Dibs!) of Boba Fett. He has all of 4 lines in the movie but, in those 4 lines, he told me that he's as big a villain (if not bigger) than The Vader himself. Plus, he's the one who captured Han Solo! And Han Solo was the coolest good guy on Star Wars and I figured that if you could take him down, you must be a hard ass. And so, my obsession with Boba Fett began. Over the years, I've collected various posters, toys, statues and whatnot of the bounty hunter. Now EE tempts my wallet again with this exclusive maquette of The Fett and Han Solo in carbonite. It's by Gentle Giant who are known for making awesome sculptures. I wonder if encasing my wallet in carbonite will help. Nah!
EE Exclusive Star Wars Boba Fett and Carbonite Maquette

#2 Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy Krueger Maquette
And we return to Gentle Giant for our number 2 pick. Readers of this blog will already know that I'm an avid horror fan so it should come as no surprise to see Freddy Krueger show up rather high on this list. I could look at this Freddy maquette for hours. It's just so amazing a sculpt! Freddy looks so awesome in this animated form that it makes me wish someone like Adult Swim would get the licensing to make this a reality. But it's the oblivous teenage girl in her panties (Yeah. That made you click the link didn't it?) that tops this one off. Her expression is priceless. Plus she's holding on to a Jason Vorhees doll. What more could you ask for? 1. 2. Freddy's coming for you...
EE Exclusive Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy Krueger Maquette

#1 Back to the Future II Delorean Vehicle
What better way to top out a list that's dominated by '80s childhood memories than with the car that could actually take me back to the '80s? Back to the Future is in my top 3 '80s movies. The other 2 being Ghostbusters and Monster figure out the order. The adventures of Marty McFly and Doc through the past (and future) filled my childhood mind with thoughts of sci-fi and time travel (and probably contributed to me not getting a girlfriend for quite a while...but it was worth it). And what makes this EE exclusive Delorian vehicle #1? (Like it needed anything else?) It can fit 3.25 inch action figures. Yes. Now G.I. Joe can hop in the Delorean and travel to the future to help the Rebellion fight Darth Vader. Oh! Now I'm excited! I want to see Snake Eyes vs. Boba Fett. My head would explode at the awesomeness!
EE Exclusive Back to the Future II DeLorean Vehicle

That's my shameless EE plug for now, folks! (i.e. Buy something via one of those links and support my blog addiction.) Now stay tuned here for more geeky fun!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Help Resurrect Ecto Cooler

As a kid in the '80s, it was my goal to be a Ghostbuster when I grew up. I rushed home every day after school, tossed my bookback in a pile and rushed to plop my rear on a beanbag to watch The Real Ghostbusters cartoon. After the cartoon was over, I headed to Ghosbusters HQ (a shed in my yard with a hand painted Ghostbusters logo nailed above the door) to hang with friends, stop ghosts and sip Hi-C's Ecto Cooler.

Ecto Cooler was this awesome orange/tangerine drink made by Hi-C with that loveable little spud Slimer on the box. And, best of all to me as a kid, it was green!

Well. Time has moved on. I didn't grow up to be a Ghostbuster. Instead, I'm a father, blogger and geek which I've come to realize is just as cool...except I don't get to lug around an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on my back. Now I want to share those childhood loves with my kids. I have access to my DVDs of the original 2 Ghostbusters films and the original run of the Ghostbusters cartoon. But, sadly, there is no longer a way to get Ecto Cooler. Coca Cola (the makers of Minute Maid and Hi-C) let their license expire some time around 1997 and Slimer was taken off the box. This was a good 6 years after the Ghostbusters cartoon had ended I might add. But Ecto Cooler proved so popular, it was still made sans Slimer until 2001 when the name was changed to Orange Tangergreen. Shortly after this, the green coloring was dropped. Then, in 2006, the name was changed again to Crazy Citrus Cooler. Finally, in 2007, this drink too was discontinued and Ecto Cooler vanished altogether.

Now we fast-forward to the year 2009. It's the 25th anniversary of the original Ghostbusters film. Atari is releasing a much anticipated Ghostbusters video game written by and starring the original writers and cast. There are rumors flying of a Ghostbusters 3 film coming in 2012. What better time to revive Ecto Cooler for a new generation of Ghostbusters fans?

So I have started a grassroots campaign to get my beloved childhood beverage back on the shelves. If you're a fan of Ghostbusters and remember Ecto Cooler or if you're just someone who would like to help this old geek bring back a childhood memory, please click the link below and contact Minute Maid (the branch of Coca Cola, inc. that makes Hi-C) and ask them to bring back Ecto Cooler.

Then Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Fark, e-mail (links for many of these are conveniently supplied in that little button at the bottom of this post) and whatever else you have a link to this page to anyone who might be interested. Spread the word!

Contact Minute Maid here and demand your Ecto Cooler!

Update (05/14/09): While preparing to start a petition to bring back Ecto Cooler, I came across this petition already started. So sign that too while you're at it. Once it gets 10,000 signatures, it'll be sent to Minute Maid.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Slime Your Game System!

Some weeks ago, Amazon announced a special Slimer Edition of the upcoming Ghostbusters video game. It comes with a lot of goodies but the one that stood out for me was the graphics to put on the side of my Xbox360. However, the Slimer Edition is a bit out of my price range. So imagine my joy when I found out that GamerGraffix was going to release a series of game system skins for not only my Xbox360, but also Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii. Not to mention the series of wall graphics available soon. I will definitely be skinning my Xbox360 with the Slimer skin while playing the upcoming Ghostbusters game coming June 16.

Skins are high-quality, graphic designs made of proprietary materials that are easily peeled and readily applied to videogame consoles and other electronic devices using a specially-formulated adhesive. Skins undergo a high-resolution printing and patented doming process to produce sharp and colorful designs that are flexible, washable and have a thickness of 35 Mils. Gamer Graffix's unique adhesive enables consumers to remove the Skin without voiding the manufacturer warranty of gaming consoles or other electronic devices.