The Week In Geek: WWE Elimination Chamber, women in FIFA 16 and more

Welcome to your (surprisingly hangover-free) Week in Geek round-up.

week in geek culture news

One of the WWE’s banner matches has returned to its own PPV – and tonight it will air exclusively on the WWE Network.

The Elimination Chamber sees two competitors begin in the foreboding steel structure, to be joined by four more at timed intervals, eliminating each other through pins and submissions until only one remains.

Since the match debuted in 2002 it’s typically been placed between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania on the calendar to either award a World title or determine a challenger for a World title match at Wrestlemania.

However, at tonight’s Network-exclusive event two other titles will be contested.

Intercontinental Title – Sheamus vs. Ryback vs. R-Truth vs. King Barrett vs. Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler

At the moment Rusev is doubtful for the match, so whoever replaces him will have a good opportunity to win the vacant Intercontinental Championship following Daniel Bryan’s second successive surrender of a major title. Sad as I am for Bryan, it was the beginning of legitimising the belt, and there’ll finally hopefully be good things in store for the winner.

I’m a Wade Barrett guy.

There’s also a three-team, six man Chamber match for the Tag Team Titles, which should create a lot of drama if wrestlers are released in a certain order.

Oh, and then there’s the small matter of US Champion John Cena vs NXT Champion Kevin Owens…

 

FIFA 16 to feature women’s national teams

A feature that should’ve been included long, long ago, the new instalment of EA’s annual glorified roster update will include 12 women’s national teams.

It’s a shame that it’s just national teams for now, considering how long overdue it is and the ever-increasing popularity of club leagues, but it’s nonetheless a great way to boost the great game in a new and exciting way.

Considering the ramifications of what’s happened to plunge FIFA into crisis over the past few days, a PR boost like this is pretty exciting, no matter how positive a relative drop in the ocean of negativity it may seem.

 

Grumpy Cat – The Comic

The Misadventures of Grumpy Cat and Pokey  was announced by Dynamite Entertainment this week. I really don’t know why.

“One of the most important responsibilities for today’s comic publishers is creating content that will attract fresh new audiences to experience the wonders of the medium, and Grumpy Cat is the perfect combination of unbearable cuteness, instant fan appeal, and established multimedia presence to make just such a thing happen,” said a Dynamite rep in a statement.

Not content with a line of merch, guest-hosting Monday Night Raw and even starring in a Christmas TV movie, there’ll now be a comic about a cat that’s internet-famous for making a grumpy face. I thought Garfield had this market cornered but apparently not.

The Week in Geek: Red Dwarf XI, TellTale Marvel and Age of Ultron

This week in geek culture, a sitcom was announced, a game was announced and a film I saw more than a week ago finally came out elsewhere.

week in geek culture news 

Red Dwarf XI and XII confirmed for Dave TV

There’ll be two new series of the sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf, to air on Dave in 2016 and 2017.

The announcement was made by co-creator and showrunner Doug Naylor, who is a surprise guest at this weekend’s Dimension Jump XVIII, a Red Dwarf fan convention.

The two series will be filmed back-to-back this autumn, and feature the core crew of four – Chris Barrie as Rimmer, Craig Charles as Lister, Danny John-Jules as Cat and Robert Llewellyn as Kryten.

reddwarfcorrie

As a cult TV favourite of nearly 30 years, naturally Twitter is abuzz at the news – some welcoming another shot of the universe’s most hapless crew, others unsure that the quality of years past will still be there considering a shaky second half of their BBC tenure and a deeply unpopular one-off special for digital channel Dave in 2009.

The debut of Red Dwarf X in 2012 actually won back some of that wavering fan base, stripping back the fluff which it had acquired during the late 90s, with simple stories and pretty decent gags.

It’s taken all this time to get the boys back together for a new series – and Craig Charles has left his regular role on soap Coronation Street in order to sign on – but hopefully the new series will be an even bigger improvement on series X.

Marvel and TellTale Games team up

As per Mashable, the storytelling masters at TellTale games are turning their attentions to the Marvel universe for future games.

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe extending beyond cinemas and onto the small screen – with Daredevil on Netflix and Agents of SHIELD still performing well – it’s been theorised that a new game from the team which brought us Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead episodic adventures would somehow fit in with ongoing major story developments.

Reviews are generally excellent for the TellTale games, and I’m pretty sure that a steer from the Marvel creative team could make their new games an even bigger deal. But we’ll have to wait until 2017 to find out – we’ll be even deeper into the MCU by then so this would have to be a pretty ambitious story!

The Avengers: Age of Ultron released in the US

Bless your cotton socks, you Americans – you’re only now able to experience the new Avengers movie. This isn’t really news, just a bit of a ‘nyeh nyeh’ as I saw it well over a week ago!

I did really enjoy the new effort, and having since read the reviews made a personal decision never to let reviews affect my own enjoyment of something ever again – sure, it’s more set-up than execution but it’s beautifully done, very well written and features some amazing fight scenes, but what else was I supposed to expect?

The Transun Travel Bucket List

This is an entry for the Transun Travel competition, where one lucky winner will receive a chance to travel to see the Northern Lights! T&Cs here.

 If you want to enter, you’ve only got until Thursday – simply write a blog post detailing your three dream destinations, and tweet your post to @Transun using the hashtag #TransunLights.

I never used to be a great traveller; I get very restless on planes, and even more so on coaches – especially one particular school trip which took me to Austria. From Yorkshire. Yep, that took a while. But actually I’m taking two trips in the next two months – three in three if you count the exotic locale of Manchester for a Comic Con in July – to Tenerife and Paris, and I’m very excited to take turns in the sun and the city of culture.

But this comp has really got me thinking – if money were no object, where in the world would I want to go? You’ve got your usual standout choices like New York and LA, and while they’d be brilliant cultural experiences I’m looking for something a bit different here.

 

Toronto

I have always wanted to go to Canada; I don’t know why really but it seems like a very friendly place that’s got some great landmarks and activities. Toronto is Canada’s biggest city by population and as such, there’s got to be plenty to do there. According to Lonely Planet Toronto speaks more than 140 languages, quite a cultural blend! Of course in Canada ice hockey is a religion, and so I’d want to take in a Maple Leafs game – they’re one of the most storied clubs in the NHL’s long history so it’d be a great choice in terms of tradition.

toronto maple leafs stadium

Its art gallery is one of the largest in North America, so I’d definitely spend a good few hours browsing the various works, and if I could do the famous EdgeWalk atop the CN Building I’d be very pleased – albeit very scared too!

 

Tokyo

Figuratively a million miles away from North American culture, I’d love to visit Tokyo. One of my best friends has lived in Japan for the past year, and given his proud northern English heritage I was as surprised as anyone to find out he’d be moving there – the culture shock must be immense.

But Tokyo has always had this otherworldly vibe to me – even as Westerners get more switched on by each passing decade, Japan and especially Tokyo has a unique way of life for residents and tourists alike. Bright lights in the Shinjuku and Shibuya districts; diverse cultures and lifestyles; and a ridiculous but enthralling non-stop buzz about the place.

 

Like a lot of people I was turned onto Tokyo by the film Lost in Translation and have wanted to visit ever since seeing it for the first time. It looks like such an exciting city, and I’m such a fan of Japanese cultures and traditions that the NHK World TV channel is often watched at home!

The Northern Lights!

This might seem a bit hokey considering the circumstances for writing this post, but the Northern Lights is one of the most fascinating phenomena I’ve ever heard of and I would LOVE to see it in person one day.

Aurora Borealis

Among other less likely places like Principal Skinner’s kitchen in The Simpsons, “AURORA BOREALIS!” is visible from places in high latitudes in Scandinavia and (here comes the science bit) is basically caused by radiation from the sun exciting particles in the Earth’s magnetic fields up in the atmosphere. Around the poles where the magnetic field are weaker than the rest of the planet, the radiation gets through and collides with airborne particles to create swirling patterns of light that are simply stunning.

Of course, up near the poles it gets a little bit nippy, and I’m not really a fan of the cold but I’m sure I could find plenty of other fun activities to fill the daytimes like snowball fights and maybe even an attempt at skiing.

So there’s the list! Glad to have got myself thinking about travel in preparation for where I’ll be going over the next few weeks.

For geeks, it’s “what are you into?” not “what do you do?”

I read a great article the other day about social etiquette. When introducing someone with more than just a name, how do you normally do it?

“[My friend] ends up feeling like her occupation is the only way she can connect with people, and if they don’t find her work interesting enough, then she must not be very interesting.

And that’s a lie, of course.”

When you’re watching an old film where a bunch of characters are talking at a party – it happens in most Woody Allen films if you’re stuck for an example – you always hear them say “this is Frank, he’s a lawyer” or “this is Wade, he’s a professional wrestler.”

Well, Wade, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.

bad news barrett gif

More and more we’re seeing that a person’s job doesn’t have to be the very thing which defines them, if they choose not to let it.

For some it’s fine if you love and are dedicated to your job, but there are many people who prefer to be known for another aspect of their life – their hobbies, fandoms and other features.

Etiquette in geek culture

It’s especially true of geeks, for whom to paraphrase one of geekdom’s icons Simon Pegg, is about wearing your geek status with pride. Whatever you’re into the most is surely the most interesting thing about you to others – even if it’s for them to wonder how you can get so obsessed with Star Trek or zombie movies, you can always take the opportunity for a mini-squee. If nothing else the people you meet will certainly find it an interesting experience!

For me personally, meeting a new person gives me the chance to find out what they’re into, and find out if there’s some common ground we share.

In fact, more often than not you’ll find me very obviously displaying my own influences on what I’m wearing! Today for example, I’m rocking a Mirror’s Edge logo t-shirt, but even on a colder day you’ll be able to spot the SEGA badge on my jacket.

We’re thoughtful like that sometimes, us geeks. And I’m not suggesting you incessantly grill a new acquaintance to find out something interesting about them – just a few polite questions like:

  • What are you into?
  • What was the last film you watched?
  • What have you been listening to?

Even if you don’t manage to figure out a talking point, you’ve at least passed the time getting to know each other, which is still very much a positive – I’d be very pleased to spend some time shooting the breeze with new people, especially as I’m currently trying my best to get out of an especially socially awkward stage of my life.

All it takes is a bit of positivity and no more than the usual dose of geeky enthusiasm. Try it yourself!

 

The Week in Geek: D’oh!

It’s time for another geek culture round-up, this week covering The Simpsons, Daredevil and a band I’ve been listening to a lot lately instead of updating the blog.

week in geek culture news

No more Simpsons home video releases

 

As tweeted by showrunner Al Jean, The Simpsons will no longer have a home video release on DVD or Blu-ray, with season seventeen being the final available set on disc released last December.

He went on to state that DVD sales were no longer profitable, and with the recent launch of a dedicated streaming service for individual episodes, you can’t really argue. The Simpsons archive has also found new success Stateside as the FXX network bought the rights to screen it for three quarters of a billion dollars. It now shows 24 hours of Simpsons per week.

So with the newfound ubiquity of the world’s most successful TV show, maybe the time is right to cancel those home releases. A certain collector may tell you that he gave up buying after season 13 anyway because that’s when the show went waaay the hell downhill – and perhaps even the hardcore fans gave it four more before the drop in sales – but whatever.

Daredevil drops on Netflix

Speaking of on-demand streaming, I predict confusion ahead on Ben Affleck’s Twitter account (if he even has one) when a torrent of comic fans start tweeting their love for Daredevil on Netflix.

But sadly for him, they’ll no doubt be referring to the brand new Netflix-exclusive series starring Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio. All 13 episodes were released simultaneously for binge-watch appeal, which takes anyway any of the agonising waits fans are currently exposed to for the likes of Arrow, Agents of SHIELD and, (shudder) Gotham.

As my out-of-control DVD collection can attest to, I’m not a subscriber to the service but with the release of this series and the promise of more to come, me and my lady are currently in advanced negotiations to sign up – mainly so I can enjoy the small-screen return of Mr D’Onofrio, whose performances in Law & Order: Criminal Intent were a massive highlight of what’s still one of my favourite cop shows.

…and on a personal note

Seems I’m not being as active on the blog as I’d like to be. Apologies. I’m working on a few new ideas which will hopefully see some upturn in terms of a regular blogging schedule.

To say I’m sorry, here’s a clip of Fugazi frontman Guy Picciotto hanging out of a basketball hoop. We cool?

 

The Week in Geek: Seth Rollins, Bruce Campbell and Smash Bros.

Happy Easter, everyone! May your day be fun and chocolate-y.

week in geek culture news

Wrestlemania 31 – the best in recent memory?

I’ve watched Wrestlemania 31 twice in the past week – once, as it unfolded, and a second time over pizza and beer with friends, trying not to squee too hard at the conclusion of the main event, which saw Seth Rollins cash in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Aside from a few dodgy bits, I really must say that this year’s Wrestlemania was my favourite since I started watching them again – so since about 27 or 28. I haven’t been up to date on every single detail in that time but this event featured a lot of good-to-great matches and even the weaker ones had some great moments – notably the entrances for Sting vs Triple H, which were as understated as ever in the latter’s case.

With Rollins’ capturing the title and Brock Lesnar’s resigning, I’m suddenly optimistic about the title picture again, while the secondary titles in the hands of John Cena and Daniel Bryan should also make things a lot more interesting. More than anything though, Seth Rollins as a smarmy heel champion is going to be brilliant.

Ash vs Evil Dead

Well, the new cinematic remake certainly didn’t do the franchise any favours, but the release of a poster for a new ten-part TV series starring Bruce Campbell in his most famous role might be cause for celebration.

ash vs evil dead poster starz tv

Starz has a reputation for a certain grit in their production, and I’m sure that the channel which made Spartacus will have no issue with goring up a new TV instalment of the iconic film series, set to debut in the autumn.

Of course I’m a little concerned as to whether the original gang can pull off another successful visit with Ash, and there’s always the concern that we’re sinking even further away from fresh and original ideas (as we’re bombarded with yet another summer of TV remakes and long-since-unnecessary big screen sequels) but given the self-awareness Evil Dead always had, it could be dealt with quite nicely during the TV run.

Who should join Super Smash Bros. next? You decide!

Well, not YOU, but as reported by GameInformer (on April Fool’s Day) you can visit the official Nintendo website and put forward your suggestions for a new character to join the ranks of the Super Smash Bros. roster. There’s been some confusion over whether or not suggestions are limited to Nintendo-only games, but at the time of writing it does appear that ANY character can be submitted. So while some may root for the more Nintendo-friendly characters like Toad or even Bayonetta, it looks like you won’t be overly ridiculed for thinking maybe the likes of Gordon Freeman should be in there. Hmm. Actually, that is a great idea…

The Week In Geek: Live Long and Prosper

Saying goodbye to Leonard Nimoy, plus two big pieces of sequel news.

week in geek culture news

Leonard Nimoy passes away

There’s been a huge outpouring of emotion at the news that Leonard Nimoy passed away today at the age of 83.

Though he’s played many roles and directed many different things, obviously a lot of people know him best for his portrayal of Mr Spock in the Star Trek series and films – including me.

I can’t begin to imagine where I’d be today without having loved Trek so much as a kid – and nor do I want to. Spock was cool, logical and calculating in a big old universe full of emotions, and his detached approach will no doubt have influenced many a curious mind like mine.

It’s very sad to hear this news today.

spock hot dog

Alien 5 may discard previous films

It started as a bunch of concept art on what was thought to be an abandoned project, but when the designs for a potential Alien 5 surfaced, the internets went crazy and District 9 director Neill Blomkamp had to eventually confirm that it was actually back on.

But with the presence of Michael Biehn’s Corporal Hicks appearing very much alive and well in the concept art, and the fate that his character met very, very early on in Alien 3, could the new Fox effort actually force the latter two Alien films out of canon?

He told AlloCine that this won’t be the case; only that “I want to make a film that’s connected to Alien and Aliens. That’s my goal”.

Although later viewings confirmed that it did not hold up, as a youngster who was far too young to watch it, I rather enjoyed Alien 3…well, except for that ending obviously…and that’s actually the latest Alien film I’ve seen. (Yes, that includes the extremely needless prequel that was Prometheus).

But yeah, I think I might give this one a go.

 

Blade Runner 2 confirmed

And in another piece of news regarding Harrison Ford’s shrinking bank account, he’ll be back to complete his trilogy of franchise characters by returning to the world of replicants in Blade Runner 2, which is set to start shooting next summer.

Although he’s helped come up with the story for the sequel, Ridley Scott will not be directing – instead Denis Villeneuve will be handling that side of things.

According to BBC News, the story will take place decades after the events in the original film.

 

With all this, and an R-rated Power Rangers ‘deboot’ that’s actually surprisingly good considering the low budget (and Dawson’s in it), it’s been a pretty big week for geek culture, has it not?

DawsonCrying

 

Don’t cry, Dawson – you can check out previous instalments of The Week In Geek right here.

The 30-Year Old Geek

My thoughts on turning 30 – good and bad.

This week I celebrated my 30th birthday. I’d been in two minds about it, but I’m now decided it’s fairly cool.

First of all, it’s a nice round number, and if there’s one thing us OCD maths fans appreciate, it’s a good round number.

But apart from that, I had a weird memory of something the other day.

30 years old and still taking selfies. To be fair though, I didn't really start doing them til last year.

30 years old and still taking selfies. To be fair though, I didn’t really start doing them til last year.

The year was…well, okay, let’s not get into that. But I was at college one time, listening to a Media Studies lecture, when I got to a weird thought.

In 2015, I’ll be 30 years old. But that’s absolutely miles away, why am I even thinking about it?

Well, it happened, and I don’t know why but I still remember myself thinking that thought and dismissing it. True enough, it really was that long ago, and even the year itself seemed all distant and practically science fiction. You know why they named the comic 2000AD when it was created in 1977? Because they didn’t think the comic would still be around by then, and it was some fantastical year that nobody dared dream about.

Just like that, I didn’t dare imagine where I’d be in the year 2015, when I would turn 30. In college I’d made a pretty decent music video for a project with my friends (think Jackass meets garage band performance…no, actually in a garage, the song was punk) and harboured some sort of thought that that was what I could do with my life. (I recently uncovered the video, and after getting ripped off at Max Spielmann’s, was able to get it converted to DVD. It definitely holds up.)

Joey Friends turning 30

It’s not so bad, Joey.

As it turns out, I’m still rather undecided what I really want to do with my life. It somehow involves the written word, though, and it’s partly through blogging that I’ve realised this. For once though I’m just glad that things have opened up for me, when for the longest time it’s just been about surviving the day.

30 is supposed to be some massive milestone isn’t it; time to stop dicking about and settle down, basically. But I don’t see why getting a year older should be the slap in the face you think it should. If you wanna heed it as a warning, that’s cool, but don’t let it stop you living your life, if that’s the live you wanna live.

(I should put that on a coaster or a t-shirt or something.)

There are a lot of things I’m thankful for this week as I start a new era in my life, and one of them is the fact that it’s a new era; I’ve got to say, the majority of my twenties was pretty bloody bleak, and it just so happens that I’m arriving out of that particularly dark tunnel just in time to start my thirties.

I’m actually excited about the future, and it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way. Between now and February 2025 I aim to absolutely destroy.

That particular destruction begins tomorrow with many drinks with many friends. If you see me at the bar, mine’s a pint of John Smiths. Here’s to thirty.

The Week in Geek: Steam’s employee of the month and more

This week, DC Comics decides on another reboot, and there’s a new depressing reminder of how old we’re getting.

week in geek culture news

Gabe Newell: Steam support worker

I’ve personally never had any issues with my Steam account, but given the relative few purchases I’ve actually made on it I’m sure there are serious Steamers out there who have had cause to contact Steam support. One fan took it upon himself to contact the head of Valve, Gabe Newell, to address a problem he’d been having and casually mention that Steam support was lacking.

Ever the hero that the internet has made him out to be, Kotaku reported that Newell himself got back in touch and offered to help resolve the issue personally – and a couple of hours later, the issue was resolved. Newell even gave permission to the user to tell of his experiences through screenshots and social media, replying to the query by saying “everyone here at Valve is in support” when it comes to helping their gamers get good service.

It’s a pretty amazing response but naturally, I’m wondering if he could do with a bit more resource in support so that he can get back to work on something else.

 

New 52 – Old 52? DC Comics to do…something.

I never know what’s happening with comics publishing any more. Universes created, destroyed, synced up, whatever – all seemingly an excuse to churn out a few more issues every month. The New 52 line from DC debuted in September 2011 – 52 new stories which replaced everything DC was putting on the shelves. Titles were cancelled and relaunched anew, and it was heralded as a great jumping-on point for new readers.

As is this. Business Wire has reported that in June, DC will launch 24 new titles to go alongside 25 existing books following the Convergence event which will see Brainiac, well, converge all universes into one. A good idea for anyone wondering why there are more than one version of any given character running about without regard for continuity, the ‘universes’ have long been a good way for publishers to branch their characters off down two dimensional forks of the same path.

Despite fans’ belief that the option remained for DC to go pre-52 by leaving little trapdoors open, we think that things will go on as they are, with an added element of inclusion by “publish[ing] something for everyone”, as co-publisher Dan DiDio said in the report. Sounds okay to me.

 

The Sims is 15

And in the nostalgia section this week, The Sims franchise turns 15 years old. Good god. First launched on February 4th, 2000, the first in the series was pretty groundbreaking in terms of minute detail and adding a personal attachment to both storytelling and ‘god mode’. It made my Influential 15 a few months ago and still holds some amazing memories for me from the first time I played. I even pop on the second game every now and then to see who I can upset by swearing at or burning the dinner. Knowing now it’s managed 15 hugely successful years is a double-edged sword of emotion for me; while it definitely deserves that level of achievement…man, it makes me feel old.

Call yourself a writer?

The secret of my success: writing for the love of writing.

I’ve been writing scripts and stories since I was 13. Well, that’s not strictly true; to say that would make it sound like I’ve churned out pages and pages of storylines and characters every week for the past 17 years, and that simply isn’t true. For one thing, it could have been even longer.

writing advice

A writer’s desk, this afternoon. Not pictured: legible handwriting.

But I certainly do remember writing an episode of a sitcom when I was at high school about two young men going on holiday and trying to meet women – the only problem was I’d never been on holiday anywhere except Bridlington for my entire life up to that point, and so had to resort to what I imagined young men would get up to on holiday in Brid.

Fortunately from my memories it was pretty much the same thing I’d been doing up until that point anyway – playing arcade games and staring at girls, the only key differences among the menfolk being the presence of booze and the absence of parents.

Much as I’d love to say those scripts were either amazing or completely rubbish, I don’t remember much more than a couple of cheeky references to bands I liked at the time (like the song on the radio being performed by The Ugly North – see what I did there?) I do clearly remember though how much I loved writing them from that young age.

I never really thought of myself as a writer until recently because I’ve never got any distinctive level of recognition from it. I always thought that, to be a writer, you had to be published. However, that only makes you a published writer. A writer writes, and through the years I’ve certainly saved enough drafts, binned enough printouts and published enough blog posts both in a personal and professional capacity to be able to call myself a writer.

I do have something of a list of achievements in my career so far, but nothing makes me feel prouder or more accomplished than putting in a good shift. Not only did I manage to finish a novel some years ago, I even got up the nerve to submit it to a couple of agents. And while those responses weren’t ideal, at least I did it.

And whenever I look back on all my half-finished scripts and half-started novels saved on my computer, I always take heart that although I don’t yet have the discipline to finish something I’ve started – or for that matter, the time to develop that discipline (the finished novel came about during a prolonged period of unemployment so I certainly had the time, if not the discipline due to that damn Playstation 2) – I’m rarely lacking for ideas. The fact that I’ve managed to keep up with maintaining a blog for over two years now definitely counts for something too.

And as such, that’s really the only advice I can give. If you want to be a writer, you should start by writing. The rest will follow.