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The thing about gamer girls

Okay people, I'm officially disappointed in you. No, I don't mean like “Super Hero Squad” disappointed in you, this time it's for real. I can't believe this is even something I feel like I have to talk about. But I guess I have to. I'm seeing debates over this flare up all over my internets, and I'm getting real tired of hearing about it. So here we go:

Gamer girls.

For those of you who have been hit very hard in the head, the term refers to women who enjoy video games, which, according to an extremely vocal part of the population, is a crime against nature, like the Frankenstein monster or Beverly Hills Chihuahua. If you're one of the people going “I don't get it. Why is this a big deal?” then congratulations, this post is not for you. Go enjoy my Iron Man cartoon review, people seem to like that one.
For the rest of you, I guess I get where you're coming from to some extent. I myself have raged about the current culture's “cool geek” mentality (see The Amazing Spider Man). I too find it frustrating when someone decides one day to slap on a pair of fake Buddy Holly glasses, watch one Iron Man movie, and then declare themselves to be “such a comic book nerd.” That's not to say that I hate people who are just getting into the genre and are just starting to explore the interest. It's the people who see being a geek or being a “gamer” as this season's look. It's the people who don't really care about the subject, but are just into it for the most shallow of reasons that truly annoy me, and I think that's the angle a lot of these people are coming from on the “gamer girl” subject.

Here's the thing though, when these people think gamer girl, they think this:
This picture is going to get more hits than the actual post, isn't it?

When they should really be thinking of this: know what, still probably gonna get more hits.
 “But wait!” you're saying, “that just looks like a normal girl!” Well, I can't believe I have to explain this to you, but those girl things you keep talking about are people too. Believe or not, they are allowed to have interests that don't fit you're standard idea of “girly” things. Not every girl is the high school hipster twatmuffin (which openoffice keeps telling me isn't a word, but totally should be) that you think when you hear the word. Hell, even the girl in the first picture could have a totally legitimate interest in video games that she feels she has to hide because she knows many people will just see her as not being genuine.

Look, people who only into geek culture for the look exist, I'm not denying that, but those people will pass regardless of whether or not you yell at them for it. Hell, those people probably don't even care what actual enthusiasts think about them. The only people you're really insulting on memebase or reddit are the genuine people with an interest in the subject.

So let's all just try to chill out, ride out the storm, and accept the fact that not everyone is not just an attention seeking poser.
While we're at it, can we get on that world hunger thing as well?


Legally Enforced Game Rating

I am not a huge fan of government censorship. Wait, sorry, I seem to have misspelled “I absolutely loath government censorship”. There is no reason for a group of people to dictate what the rest of us can and cannot see. Censorship doesn't just mean putting a black bar over something offensive, or bleeping out a bad word here and there. Whenever there is talk of forcing mature-rated television shows to only play after 10 or 11pm, I consider that a form of censorship. It's tampering with the flow of information in an attempt to protect the sensibilities of the young. 
Daddy, what's this 4Chan thing?
And it is so stupid.

I bring this all up because legislation is being considered that would force video games to all carry ratings. Now you're probably thinking “wait, don't all video games have those already?” Yes, but the ratings are not mandatory, much like the ratings on movies. 

I know what you're thinking now as well. “Well if they're doing it anyway, why does it matter if it's made mandatory?” As much as I may sound like a diehard republican for saying this, it's because this regulation will hurt small businesses and independent developers. It's one thing to expect EA or Bethesda to get their games rated or face a $5,000 fine, but to expect a few people working on laptops to jump through all those hoops just so that mom and dad can understand that “Blood-massacre 9000” MIGHT not be the best game for little Timmy is simply unreasonable, and in this case potentially deadly to the small developers. 
I know it SAYS extreme gore, but is right for my child?
Secondly, there is no point. Zero. I believe that what a child consumes from the media has one and only one effective regulator: the parents. If a parent is going to bring their kid to an R-rated movie, or buy them Grand Theft Auto: The one with more Prostitutes, then they will do it regardless of regulations. I ask you this, if all these games already have ratings on them, then why is this even a problem? I'll tell you why with a story from a recent trip to GameStop.
Mistake #1: Going to GameStop
8-year old (at most): This is the one I wanted mom.
Mom (too busy on cell phone to really pay attention): Okay, sure.
Guy at the counter: Ma'am, I have to inform you that this game contains a lot of realistic violence, and adult themes of a sexual nature.
Mom: (still too busy on cell phone) Yeah, okay, fine.
Will literally cut my child's soul out? Look, just buy the game so I can stop listening to him.
Mom up there is the problem. You can't really blame the kid, we all would have done this if we thought we could get away with it. M-rated games to kids these days are like R-rated movies to us; you were awesome if you managed to get into one. 

My point is this, what would mandatory ratings change? Mom here, or an imaginary dad in the same situation, is still too busy on her cell phone to pay attention to what she's using as this week's distraction to raise her kid for her, and until we can somehow regulate that, we're just wasting our time. 

What it will change is that it will strangle the independent game makers and bump up the prices on everything else.


Unsung Heroes: Red Wolf

Today, Dr. Wimbletington's journey of knowledge takes a less Caucasian approach.


Trailer Trashing: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters describes itself as a “dark twist on the fairy tale which...”
And I can just stop right there. There is really no reason to keep going. We have all seen the “dark twist on a fairy tale” a million times, we've seen monsters hunters done to absolute death these days, and I guarantee at least half the people who saw this trailer thought “Constantine meets Brothers Grimm.”

I liked Constantine. I...didn't hate Brothers Grimm. I guess. It was just kind of bland and ill-paced, but it had some strengths. This? I don't even know what to make of this.

First of all, where on earth does this take place? Hansel and Gretel clearly sound American, the old guys she headbutts for some reason starts off sounding German, but by the end of his sentence sounds Scottish, the teenager sounds like he's from Iowa, but the whole thing looks like an old time German village.

I also have no idea when this is supposed to take place. There are straw-thatched roofs but also machine guns? Firearms are present, but they still use crossbows?

And then we have the witches. Oh God, these witches. I said in the video that I missed the time when we didn't just lump all mythological creatures into one, gray skinned, super strong entity that had to be killed via decapitation. Witches aren't really strong like the one they're fighting early on. They can't splinter trees or tackle Hawkeye thirty feet back. Also, if witches are so terrifyingly deadly, how do Hansel and Gretel kill one as children, ostensibly just by whacking it with a stick?

But none of that matters, because apparently “we aren't hunting witches.”Okay? Why not? Why set up this elaborate scenario where the primary job skill of your protagonists is killing witches, show us that witches are apparently a big problem, and then throw in this twist that “ermegerd, it's not witches anymore!” It never WAS witches to us. The idea of there just being witches is new to the audience. If it was a sequel to a Hansel and Gretel movie, where they fought witches in the first movie, then it would have some merit, but here, it's just unneeded drama on top of an already confusing premise.

All in all, this trailer is just a mess. The vast majority of it is just posing, and one liners, and explosions. Yes, I know that's the general action movie advertisement, but when they just say “you've gotta be kidding me” with no context, I have no idea how I'm supposed to feel about it.

I don't think there are going to be any surprises with this one. I'm calling another forgettable shoot 'em up here.


3 reasons King of the Nerds has already angered me

Never before has the mere concept of a show's existence filled me rage in the same way that the upcoming TBS show King of the Nerds has.

Some of you may be confused by that statement. After all, the name of my blog is Geekasaurus Mike, I talk about movies, video games and superheroes, so should this be something that I'm optimistic, if not even excited for?
In short, no. In long, nnnnnnnnnnnnoooooooooooooooo.

And in article length:

#3: This show almost certainly doesn't understand the concept of geek or nerd, and worse, don't really care.
I want you to picture two scenarios, and tell me which is the more likely.
In the first, a group of people at TBS are sitting around, possibly discussing the odds of a Man of Steel at the box office, or maybe raging about the ending of Mass Effect, when one of them suddenly gets an idea.
"Hey, I've got an idea," says the guy will we name Stan. "We like this stuff, and I bet there are a lot of other people who do too. What if we got a group of those guys together and, I dunno, had them take part in a competition geared towards this interest group?"
The other people in the room nod their heads, congratulating Stan on his idea, and set about researching upcoming or popular titles to base imaginative competition on quickly so they can get home before the new episode of Doctor Who/marathon of Battlestar Galactica starts.
This show is so much better the 19th time I've watched it.
For the second scenario, I want you to imagine a group of corporate big-wigs in their meeting room doing big-wig-y things.
This is what google image came up with for big wig. I felt it would be a crime not to share.
One of them, who we will here call Archibold, looks up from his dense files on demographics and ratings and says:
"Well it looks like "The Big Bang Theory" is doing well. Guess people like to watch nerds now. Tell Johnson to rope up a couple of them and make a reality show. That ought to bring in the fast cash without putting work into it."
The big-wigs all agree, then set about delegating the task to probably the least qualified person in the office so they don't miss their tee-time/yacht auction.

So which is the more likely scenario? Well the first one certainly has some real-obviously its the second one that wasn't actually a question.

And what, you may ask, is wrong with that? Well, I'm writing this one first because it's kind of the basis of all the other issues. Just keep in mind how network reality TV is run while we go from here. Just know for now that it probably means TBS does not care to understand what they're showing, and they don't care to get the audience to understand.

#2 I like the contestants. And it terrifies me.
If you were not at maximum head-scratching before, then you almost certainly are now. Isn't the most important part of any show an ability to connect with the people on the screen? If I like them, doesn't that mean I'll like seeing them?

In doing research on this show, I watched through a lot of the "meet the contestants" videos on youtube. With an exception of one or two of them, they seem like relatively nice, upbeat, intelligent individuals who are there to have a good time.

In other words, they are everything that the network hates. 
Think about the reality shows that have been on recently, and remember that intelligent people are, in terms of reality drama, incredibly boring. Someone working on his PhD in astrophysics simply isn't going to do the mind-boggling stupid things that rednecks on TLC will. Networks probably believe that people will find the concept of nice people getting along and behaving intelligently mind numbingly dull, and will fear a ratings plummet when people realize that none of them are on the verge of ripping their shirts off and screaming at each other.
Though the shirt thing could be a blessing.
Even if they don't, this is not a show that's being marketed towards nerds, it's being marketed to general audiences. A person who doesn't find video games or D&D or comics that interesting will not see any appeal in the day to day lives of these contestants. The only two weapons that the network can feasibly use in this situation are contrived situations and heavy editing. These people may be nice in real life, but I'm willing to bet that at least a few of them are going to be manipulated into being creepy, awkward or jerks. Or all three.

Liking the contestants also angers me because of my own suspicions of what the network is hoping people will find appealing about this show. Sadly, I think it more likely that they're going for a "man, look how weird THESE people are. Glad I'm not a nerd" approach. They wouldn't use those words, make it overtly obvious, but listen to the sound effects they put over the peoples voices in the "meet the contestants." They are sly, sideways winks at the audience. A look at the fourth wall that says "can you believe this guy/girl?"

In short, they seem like ladies and gents that I would hang out with, and I'm annoyed FOR them.

#1: What is a nerd/geek anyway?
Now I'm not going to go into the difference between "geek" and "nerd" here. Seriously, the phrase nerd comes from Dr. Seuss. What I am going to do is tell you some news that you may find shocking:

YOU are a geek. 

Unless you are Boring McDullerson, you are a geek in some way or another. "No I'm not!" some of you are undoubtedly saying. "I'm not a geek, I like sports! I can name every pitcher on the Cubs since 1972." Well you know what? THAT IS AN INCREDIBLY GEEKY THING TO KNOW. Being able to name every coach or player on a team, and their stats for a season, gets you nothing in the long run. It is practically useless trivia unless you work in the sports industry. It is of no more value than my ability to name all 11 Doctors (well, twelve if you count Peter Crushing, who was in some of the stand-alone movies, but that's beside the point).

At the end of the day, watching 12 hours of football has gotten you no farther in life than my 12 hour Skyrim marathon. "But sports are the more socially accepted passtime" you could argue. While you are right to some extent, that largely depends on what group in society you spend time with. Imagine a huge football fan, who has no interest in what is considered "geeky", in the middle of comic-con. He or she would be just as out-of-place with nothing to say as an avid Trek fan would in a crowd of Green Bay Packers enthusiasts.

But in their social circles, these people thrive. That football fan is now in an intense, in-depth discussion about whether Jay Cutler just kind of needs punched in the mouth, or if he needs a really hard punch to the mouth. And you do not now passionate conversation until you have heard a group of fans discussing a fight between Batman and Superman.

My point is that "nerds" and "geeks" aren't some separate society of murlocs (HG Wells reference? Anyone?) that should mystify "normal" people. Everyone is passionate about something, and that something can be totally useless outside of its sphere, but there are just some things that have been arbitrarily assigned the name "nerdy."

And what does that have to do with King of the Nerds? Well, that separate realm of murlocs is exactly what TBS is portraying these people as, with their ironic sound effects and constant reminding us that "these guys are NERDS."

But, as always, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Archibold got the right guy on the case, and we're going to see some fun, innovative competitions between good-spirited, intelligent individuals. And maybe A unicorn made of bacon and dreams will arrive.
Why hasn't THIS been made a show yet?


New forums page!

Hey there everybody,

Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the "forums" page and found that the last one had completely died. It's okay though, no information lost...mainly because no one used the old forums.


But now we have an all-new forums page. Just click the tab in the upper right hand corner, then find the register button in the upper right of that. Registering an account takes literally less than two minutes, and it's a great way to get discussion going.

Please read the Rules page under General Discussion, but as long as you don't do anything too mind-numbingly stupid, that shouldn't be much of an issue.





Trailer Trashing: The Lone Ranger

I'm going to be honest: I'm not all that up on my Lone Ranger mythos. I know that he's kind of a superhero, sort of a Batman or Green Hornet (the Adam West era versions) of the wild west, I know his horse is named silver, and I know that there is a good chance that this movie will become Johnny Depp is a Native American: the movie.
Man, just look at me be eccentric.
Now I don't know a lot about the Lone Ranger, but I know a lot about what happens when Johnny Depp is given a role that is supposed to be a supporting one: it becomes the Johnny Depp Show. Remember the newest Alice in Wonderland and how that movie is, shockingly enough, supposed to be a bout the titular “Alice”? Yeah, I defy you to tell me that movie wasn't way to much about Depp's Mad Hatter. I mean, seriously, the dance he does at the end? Why? What was the point outside of having him to something quirky? Same goes for his Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That movie was not about Charlie, it was about Willy, and I think the movie was weaker for it.
Note who is in the center here, aka NOT ALICE
That's not an attack against Johnny Depp. I'm sure he's a great guy, and for the charmingly eccentric niche that he fills, he's probably the best that there is. This is kind of an attack on the marketing and editing departments of the projects that he's attached. I'm sure everyone in the production was given memos about making sure they got everything out of Depp that was humanly possible so they could go to town with the marketing later.

Which brings me back to The Lone Ranger. As someone who is not really steeped in the story of the character, my primary fear is that this movie is not going to be about the Lone Ranger, but about Tonto, or rather, it's going to try to be about the Lone Ranger, but all the good lines/scenes and memorable moments are going to be given to Tonto to remind us all “hey, there's Johnny Depp.”

Breaking away from Depp, my next biggest issue going from the trailer is the lack of practical effects. Like I say when the train piece flies off, it comes off as gimmicky. Essentially everything that's over the top, with the train scene bearing special mention, is quite obviously CGI, and it kind of pulls me out of it. I had the same reaction to the Goblin King in “The Hobbit” (see GotRT podcast #3).

Looking at some of the marketing for the game, a predominant thing that comes up is the Lego Lone Ranger line, with a few 3D models that bear a resemblance to the Lego video game franchises. If they're already considering a game, it concerns me on the one hand that this may just be a reboot they made just in the hopes of a cash cow (though really, is there any other kind?) but on the other, maybe if they're going this deep into marketing and products, then they've put a lot into the movie as well.
Hi-Ho...plastic? Away?
So sign me on as pessimistic, but that doesn't mean I'm not open to being wrong. 



Skyrim: Dragonborn for PC

To say that I'm hooked on Skyrim is like saying that Charlie Sheen just might have a substance abuse problem. I won't tell you how much time I've logged in specifically, though Steam certainly does, and I feel somewhat ashamed.

To date I have made two characters: A Nord named Tim who's philosophy is that any problem can be solved with the proper application of hammers, who I played as basically a good guy, and the Brenton wizard I'm playing now called Radaghast, who is a tad on the more evil side in the same way that Michael Jackson in the 2000's may have been a tad on the paler side than his 1980's version.
Hardly even noticable
There is almost nothing about this game that I don't love, so when Steam's winter sale put all the current DLC on sale, I of course bought it all. There is a new bit coming out for PC in the near future (early 2013 was the only release date I could find) called Dragonborn. I know that it's already out for X-Box, but I don't have one of those.

Now, in my opinion, the Dawngaurd DLC...could have been stronger. Sure, I like the vampire lord powers, I like the new characters, but I feel like it's a bit weak as far as content goes. And I have to ask: an entire expansion on vampires? I don't know, I guess steeping into the vampire lore just seems out of place to me in a game that's predominantly about vikings and dragons. But hey, I'm having fun with the vampire quest line (saving the Dawnguard stuff for my more "good" guy) so I guess it's all good.

Then there was Hearthfire, which I found a bit of a letdown. I just don't think it went far enough with what it was trying to do. I like the idea of building your own house, but the problem was that the house you built wasn't really yours. It was a predetermined building that you just poured money into until it was done. I wish that they just had empty rooms, with a full list of furnishings you could put in each one so that you, the player, could decide "I think this room will be my library" or "this will be my bedroom. In short, it was linear gameplay disguised as a customizable experience.

Now I've heard quite a bit about the Dragonborn DLC. I know that you get a shout that lets you ride dragons, which I'm sure is awesome, but is kind of a no-brainer. I hear that there are these powerful objects called "black books" that give you borderline absurd powers, and you know what? I like getting absurd powers in my add-ons. Just make sure I have to be a reasonably high level to get said powers.

From what I've read, Dragonborn seems like the first true expansion pack to the Skyrim universe, rather than just an extra quest line slapped on. I'm excited for it, and if you enjoy roaming the frozen north of Tamriel, then I think you should be too.


Pokemon X and Y Announced!

So the impression I may have given in my rant against PETA is that I'm a fan of Pokemon. In reality...yes, I'm a big fan of pokemon. I won't get into details, because I already did in that post, but let's just say I've been playing them since the first games.

Nintendo has just recently released information regarding their newest addition to the pokemon franchise: Pokemon X and Pokemon Y, scheduled to be launched this October for the 3DS. So as a lifelong fan of the series, how do I feel about these games? Well, I have to remind myself that I don't own a 3DS, and probably won't own one by October, so this one may not effect me for a long, long time.

That doesn't mean I can't comment on the trailer that was just released, however.

The first thing to hit the eye is, of course, the updated graphics. My big problem with Black/White and their immediate sequels was that while they sort of went to a 3D world, it seemed to be caught in a sort of awkward halfway point that only sometimes looked like real 3D, and sometimes just looked like a really awkward 2D. That is not the case if this footage is anything to go by.

Graphics here aren't quite the dream game that fans have been clamoring for since the early days, but it's certainly a step in the right direction, so long as the graphical improvements aren't just in the trailer video and nowhere else.

The other bit of information we get here is the three new starters, and I'm far more optimistic about these than I was with the gen 5 versions. The grass type is probably my least favorite. He just looks so happy and cartoon-y, which I know is a staple of the series, but that goofy grin just kind of looks, well, goofy. Also, I'm having trouble understanding what about his design alludes to being a grass type.

I'm stoked about this fire starter (pun totally intended), simply due to the probability that this one might not be fire/fighting, which is a type set that I think is largely over saturated. Arcanine is one of my favorites in the whole series, and I'm hoping this fox/dog design will produce something similar in its evolved forms.

Finally, we have the water type. The biggest surprise here is that they took this long to make a water starter based on a frog. I thought after turtles it would be the most obvious thing, but apparently alligators, otters, penguins (though that was awesome) and whatever mudkip was supposed to be came first.

There wasn't a ton of information in the trailer, and I'm hoping to update the watch on this game as information becomes available, but those are my initial thoughts on seeing the new trailer.