Star Wars Episode VII Will Be An Original Story

In case you were like me, rolling your eyes at the thought of a new Star Wars sequel based on one of those novels everyone pretends to like, worry not! Disney has followed up yesterday’s bombshell acquisition of Lucasfilm by announcing that Star Wars Episode VII will be wholly original.

So that’s one bullet dodged, but with this news also comes the revelation that Episode VII is written by George Lucas, at least in its current form. Which is fine, depending on which version of Lucas we’re dealing with. Hopefully there’s someone else in the room with him, preferably someone who isn’t afraid to tell him “no” when the need arises.

George Lucas today feels quite similar to Gene Roddenberry during the early years of The Next Generation; a towering figure perhaps better utilized in a detached showrunner or executive producer role, because when he gets anywhere near pen and paper, bad things tend to happen.

disney pictures logo
Ready to be greeted by this bad boy in 2015?

No word yet on just how original this original story will be, how far after Jedi it’s set (or if it’s even the true sequel everyone’s expecting), who’s in it, who’s directing, and so forth.

So until the news comes down that Episode VII will feature an invigorated Rebellion led by Zac Effron against Darth Jonas and the remnants of the Galactic Empire, let’s all just relax for now.

Source: io9. Image: GamingTruth; The Royalty Exchange.

Community Returns On Several Dates For Maximum Confusion

Boys and girls, start your facepalms!

First, there was the original season four start date of October 19th, which turned out to be more a metaphysical the-power-was-in-you-all-along sort of deadline that NBC didn’t feel the need to meet. That’s okay, we know they’re very busy people.

Then, after a week or so of silence, Canada’s CityTV announced that new episodes of Community would air on Friday, November 9th… in Canada only, naturally. Those of you without a little Canadian in you (would you like some?) may know CityTV best as the odd little logo in the corner of all your torrent downloads and Tumblr screencaps.

But wait, there’s more! Shortly after the CityTV announcement, Community cast member Yvette Nicole Brown tweeted that there is indeed an American airdate: Thursday, February 7th, 8PM. Months after the show was supposed to air and almost exactly the date Joel McHale jokingly predicted on Jimmy Kimmel a couple weeks ago.

However, for those of you fearing that torrent downloads of the Canadian broadcasts would impact the ratings that actually matter when NBC finally takes the show out of the can next year, worry not! CityTV got their date wrong. It’s actually January 11th. Oh wait, now it’s not. It’s TBA. Whoops!

So until even further notice, October 19th will now happen on February 7th. The only explanation that makes any sense to me is that NBC wants this thing to fail, which is ridiculously shortsighted of anyone who has put this much investment into anything.

*crumples paper, tosses it behind my shoulder*

Source: Splitsider; @yvettenbrown Image: The Iconophile.

The Ancient Aliens Drinking Game!

Editor’s Note: This post was put together as a collaborative effort between our very own Thor McOdin and forumer Shisho. See, this is the fun you miss out on if you’re not on the forums! – Del.

By now you’re likely aware of The History Channel’s Ancient Aliens, a dubious examination of suspected extraterrestrial activity throughout Earth’s past. Similar to the ongoing march of soulless reality programming on TLC (hey, remember when they were owned by NASA?) Ancient Aliens is an example of The History Channel’s questionable grasp of their own mission statement.

As fallacious as the science is, and as disreputable as host Giorgio A. “Crazy Hair” Tsoukalos appears to be, Ancient Aliens is unwittingly hilarious. Therefore, we feel that it’s the perfect target for our first Caffeine-Fueled Drinking Game!

Note: the C-F team cannot condone attempting this ordeal with anything less than a 6-pack per person, given the content you’ll be dealing with. Additionally, under no circumstances should you spend actual money on this show in any form. You may regret that more than the hangover.

With that in mind, it’s time for the game!

Drink whenever…

giorgio tsoukalos ancient aliens meme

    • Someone suggests that aliens existed in history because a painting, wall carving, jar, or other bit of art “suggests” alien activity, while completely ignoring the religious aspects of said art because obviously “gods don’t exist.”
    • It is implied the aliens are gods. You will be destroyed no matter which episode you watch.
    • Crazy Hair says something to the effect of “it was aliens because [insert blank here] doesn’t exist!” Complementary to the aformentioned god rules.
    • George Noory of Coast To Coast AM makes an appearance. Take two drinks if you wish it was Art Bell instead.
    • Someone gets history, mythology, or part of a culture so mind-numbingly, astoundingly wrong, that you wonder if the “expert” in question has even opened a book in his or her lifetime.
    • The narrator says words like “clearly,” “perhaps,” or “it is likely” when suggesting that the answer to alien activity on Earth is right before our eyes.
    • They slip in some actual experts who are actually talking about a subject they know about (such as that poor man from the Joseph Campbell Foundation) in order to make it look like they are talking about aliens. Look! A real expert talking about smart stuff! He has a degree and everything!
    • Someone suggests a bird, carpet, chariot, flying elephant, ray of sun, or pretty much anything not on the ground in a piece of artwork could’ve been representing a spaceship.
    • Anyone mentions the book “Chariots of the Gods.” You should be plastered in the first fifteen minutes of the show due to this rule alone.
    • You shut off Ancient Aliens and start watching the South Park parody episode “A History Channel Thanksgiving” instead. Many of these rules should still apply.

Finish your drink if…

star trek voyager kazon humans meme

    • Crazy Hair compares something in a piece of art to a modern invention and suggests aliens gave ancient cultures that piece of technology. For example, in one episode a bracelet on a carving was compared to a wrist watch, thus proving aliens not only need to tell time despite having hyperdrives or faster-than-light travel, but prefer Swatch to digital.
    • You spot producer Kevin Burns’ name in the credits and briefly mistake him for the far more successful documentarian Ken Burns of The War fame.

Stop drinking if…

    • Anything Crazy Hair says starts to make sense. You’ve had enough.

We hope you enjoyed the game! Join us again next time for more alcohol-fueled entertainment. Until then, we’ll be trying to catch Giorgio Tsoukalos before he starts a war with the Narn.

Disney Purchases Lucasfilm, New Star Wars In 2015 (UPDATED!)

UPDATE!: A few early details on Star Wars Episode VII have surfaced.

While I was busy absent-mindedly jotting down random snarky comments about wrestling, Disney went ahead and acquired all-things Lucas for a cool $4.05 billion. That’s billion with a heavy thud-to-the-floor B sound, or more zeroes than you perhaps expected Lucasfilm to still be worth in 2012. You cynical little bastards, you.

We may need a little time to let this news sink in, but for now, several points of interest come to mind:

1) If you thought Jar Jar Binks was annoying before, wait until Disney gets their hands on him.

2) This probably won’t adversely affect the quality of the Disneyland rides, which have already been dumbed-down for the prequel crowds.

3) If any of that money flows towards EA and Bioware’s The Old Republic, that could be exactly what the struggling MMO needs to stay afloat another few years, free-to-play or not.

Oh right, and a little something called Star Wars VII was announced alongside the acquisition news. That seems like it could be a pretty big deal. Right? Of course, the bigger implication involves even more sequels. Quoth the original press release from Disney:

Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

There’s so much to contemplate here and I’m not even a Star Wars fan, more of a Star Wars those-first-two-movies-were-good-and-also-KOTOR. Do they adapt the novels set after the original trilogy, with all their fanfictiony goodness and Mary Sues? Do they ignore the expanded universe entirely and troll everyone? Will the whole thing be an ill-conceived star vehicle for Miley Cyrus and Dwayne “Tooth Fairy” Johnson?

Oh wow. Watching the fan response to this unfold is going to be hilarious.

Source: Joystiq.

RAW Rambling 10/29/12: The Madness Returns

Years ago on an earlier incarnation of this site, I ran a weekly column called RAW Is Madness. It was a very simple premise, and hardly a unique one: I would watch episodes of WWE RAW as they aired and when it was over, voila! A few thousand words had somehow appeared on my screen, plodding on about DX crotch chops or crappy Nickelback theme songs or insufferable celebrity guest “general managers”.

That’s not going to happen this time. I may be crazy, but I’d prefer to imagine that I’m crazy for better reasons than dudes and ladies in tights pretending to kill each other. Wrestling may have come a long way since the halcyon days of those old Madness articles, but not nearly far enough to justify writing myself into an institution.

Also, every episode of RAW is three hours long now. All of time and space cannot contain such lunacy!

So here’s what’s going to happen: I’m going to watch WWE RAW every week with this here writin’ window open, and if some words should just happen to randomly fall onto the page, then so be it. This won’t be a series of blow-by-blow recaps like you’ll find on 411 (they’re still operating in 2012? Now that’s madness!) nor will it be in the same league as Brandon Stroud’s fantastic Best & Worst of RAW column. It’ll just be whatever thoughts, erudite or mundane, that fall into my head during those three hours. Take it or leave it, kids.

So, here we go!

LAST TIME ON BATTLESTAR GALACTICA WWE RAW: Or rather, Sunday’s Hell in the Cell pay-per-view, which felt oddly named considering how only one match was in the cell and it ended in about the same time as the diva’s match preceding it, and without a clean finish. Also, John Cena was inserted into the AJ Lee storyline for some reason. Follow the t-shirt sales, I guess. AND NOW THE CONCLUSION!

wwe mick foley

• Always nice to see Mick Foley, but is it still a surprise to see him when he shows up every month? He and CM Punk set up Team Foley vs. Team Punk for Survivor Series, which is three weeks away, just in case you didn’t think there’s enough PPVs on the schedule.

• A JTG sighting! (Still employed, 5 years and 169 days!) Wild JTGs can be found in tall grass. He’s fed to Ryback who I guess already caught a JTG at some point and doesn’t need another one. A few years ago it was Sho Funaki in this spot, right? Afterwards, Ryback gets on the mic (!) and shouts something about being hungry. So… we’re going to keep getting that until the Goldberg chants stop, aren’t we.

Orton/Barret is what it is. I thought Orton was supposed to be off shooting a movie somewhere?

• WWE short-term memory loss #1: last week AJ “resigned” as GM, this week it was a “firing”.

wwe daniel bryan kane hell no

Team Hell No/Primetime Players? May as well. Anything to keep the tag division’s recovery going full tilt, and Daniel Bryan/Kane still soaking up the spotlight. The champions stealing pinfalls from each other is lots of fun, though it must suck for anyone keeping track of win-loss statistics. Mr. Layfield?

• No one gets heat quite like Vickie Guerrero. Vickie Heat is the new X-Pac Heat. Still a notch down from “John Cena Theme Song Heat” for me personally, of course. All praise to the holy mute button: conquerer of endless Garageband loops.

• Vickie’s presentation of evidence regarding the Cena/AJ connection started to remind me of the trial scene in Chrono Trigger almost immediately. Cue the music!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFtRyxrQieI

Now keep it going on a loop for the next ten minutes because this whole segment is terrible. If what we’re getting here, ostensibly a 1:1 rehash of Chris Jericho’s footage of CM Punk walking into an English pub circa-Wrestlemania, is the net result of Vince McMahon’s warpath through the writer’s room, then maybe he should’ve kept his mouth shut.

• I appreciate the continuity with Kofi Kingston and R-Truth. Keeping them aligned post-tag titles helps perpetuate the illusion that continuity even exists in this company, and there are worse people than those two to help build-up Antonio Cesaro.

• I am so onboard with the 3 Man Band if it means getting more Spinal Tap skits. “We’re transcendent.”

• Jerry Lawler returns in two weeks. Look, I don’t want to be that guy, but the commentary has been generally improved by his absence. I would rather have JR and especially JBL stick around – or Scott Stanford elevated to the big time, or William Regal brought up from NXT, or the surprising return of Uno and Dos – than see Lawler back on RAW.

wwe beth phoenix aj lee

• Having AJ back as an in-ring performer feels like a true return to form. Pitting her against Beth Phoenix is just sauce for the goose, Mr. Saavik, especially considering how I thought she was already gone. I want to see AJ vs. Phoenix every week for as long as possible, which unfortunately for me and fans of decent women’s wrestling everywhere, would appear to be tonight and tonight only.

• I’m setting my watch to the inevitable Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara split. That will be a fun angle, assuming that a mouthpiece is found for Sin Cara if necessary. But man, why couldn’t they have done this years ago with Mysterio and Ultimo Dragon? It was all right there.

• Someone buy Michael Cole a Latin dictionary.

• “In WWE ’13, you can do all the things you’ve been doing in every WWE game Yukes has ever done, and with a graphics engine that hasn’t been updated since the beginning of this console cycle! All with last year’s roster and miscellaneous trappings from before the RAW 1000 refresh, so the game will look immediately dated! In stores today!”

• Don’t read too much into Susan G. Komen unless you want to become cynical. See also: learning too much about dairy production, can’t enjoy milk any more.

• Paul Heyman’s picks for Team Punk include The Miz (a funny choice if you saw Punk’s opinion of Miz in the Best in the World documentary), Team Rhodes Scholars, Alberto Del Rio. Which means the makeup of Team Foley, as always with Survivor Series matches, will be the dudes currently feuding with the aforementioned names: Kofi Kingston, Team Hell No, Randy Orton. Ryback is of course Foley’s proxy, which I suppose implies that Cena’s injuries are worse than reported. I’ll take it!

That’s all for RAW Rambling this week. It shall return, minus the lengthy preamble, and continuing to pass over entire segments which did nothing and went nowhere AKA the entirety of Smackdown. So until next time, when I shall expect a gargoyle-esque statue of Beth Phoenix perching somewhere in every arena.

wwe beth phoenix
Ah! Just so.

It’s Dangerous to Go Audio, Take This: Zelda Symphony

Video game music is something that is near and dear to my heart. Even as a wee bairn in the 80s, or was it the 90s? Anyway, whenever it was last century, I could be found using my passed-down cassette player to record the various sounds that console sound chips at the time struggled to force through the family tube television. I think only the addition of rabbit-ears antenna would have made this opening paragraph more dated. Man, I remember listening to FDR on the wireless….

Anyway, my desire to capture the euphoric soundtracks of Kabuki Quantum Fighter and Low G Man aside, I say this because I needed a preface for my next statement: I never really found the Legend of Zelda soundtracks as enthralling as others might. Now, hold your white-maned horses, I’m not saying that I ever found them awful and there are some great tunes in there and I listen to and enjoy a lot of the ZREO stuff, but I never found it resonating with me unlike, say, Suikoden or Shining Force or Breath of Fire or, yeah, some of the Final Fantasies.

So when I decided to attend the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses event, it was more in support of the concept and the spectacle than the intense physical desire to hear the “dun dun DUN!” bit performed by a hundred bored musicians performing material that they would surely feel was below them. It was also out of a desire to see some big breasted milk maidens, or at least some saucy Gerudo ladies. Failing that, I would settle for a particularly handsome Hyrule soldier. Failing that… I’d go with a Goron. Take what you can get. They seem like they’d be good cuddlers.

I guess I knew things were going to be a bit special when I arrived to the throng of people outside the Chicago Theatre. It was never going to be an empty house, of course, but we’re talking sell-out levels here with about 3,600 people turning up for the event. Everyone, including myself, was using the opportunity to load up on Streetpass connections (thanks for helping me get those Streetpass related Theatrhythm trophies, guys!), which may have dulled conversation a bit but, hey, we were honouring our silent protagonist that way. As an aside, if you’re going to a Zelda concert and are planning to go all Streetpass, don’t make your Mii Link. It’s really the super most obvious thing ever and now I have about 40 of them running around in Mii Plaza and I have to pick which ones are going to be made into Kokiri Burgers. Kudos to that one creative Zelda Mii though.

zelda concert
In a field where even orchestral tracks are usually synthesised, it’s impressive to see any sort of live symphonic performance, I think.

“Excuuuuuuse me, Princess” you might be thinking at this point, seeing as I haven’t mentioned anything about the, y’know, music yet. The music was excellent. I mean, I can’t say much about it, you have to listen to it. It was really good work and made me appreciate the music of the series more. Even the best quality sound file rips pale in comparison to some of the goodness we got that night. I got goosebumps during the opening and as the evening went on, I realised how many more evocative Zelda tracks there are than I had previously remembered.

Speaking of realisations, you don’t really realise how many concerts would be improved by a giant screen showing skeletons being hit with swords until you witness it yourself for the first time. We got served up a dungeon medley, a Kakariko Village medley and then the (awesome) Song of Storms. Of course, being October in Chicago it was already raining so all the jokes had already been made but there you go. Here’s a replacement joke: What do you call it when Link takes a dump in the TARDIS? Legend of Zelda: A Stink to the Past. Ho ho ho.

For those of you still with me after that, then the concert proper kicked in. Four movements, each one revolving around a classic game of the series: Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and Wand of Gamelon. Or maybe it was Link to the Past. Biggest reaction of the night goes to Irish conductor Eímear Noone pulling out her Wind Waker baton (uhuhuhuhuhuh) for the Wind Waker movement. I can’t say that every performer on stage that night loved Zelda or whatever, but both Eímear and organiser Jeron Moore certainly know their stuff.

Even the merchandise was (relatively) reasonably priced. $35 for a t-shirt and poster may seem like a lot but this is in a city where $35 will get you two cokes, if you’re willing to let your server spit in the second one. Always get your merchandise straight away, guys, or you’ll end up like me when I went to an Authority Zero concert and got a small t-shirt after the event in my excitement, which works great for a 6’3” man with a 34” waist. Luckily, I got my swag early and spent my time laughing at everyone else. No, I’m joking, I was really trying to look down Skyward Sword Zelda’s dress. No, I’m joking, it was Saria. Okay, it was Groose (that hair!). Don’t tell anyone.

zelda concert cosplay
Flash in a theater? Last time I did that I got probation.

I tried to get some photos but as my C-F assigned camera is a box with a bird inside holding a slate and chisel a la The Flintstones, I decided to use my cell phone instead. So I was not afforded the chance to herd cosplayers together with my giant camera yelling “Smile! You’re on Herpaderp Website!” but I did get this great shot of my boots when I forgot the camera was on a two second timer. I am not bitter.

Things wrapped up with three encores. Three really obviously planned encores but we ate it up at this stage as no-one was ready to leave. Ballad of the Wind Fish, Gerudo Valley (for the ladies, or at least the ladies who steal men to get themselves impregnated, so the cast of Maury, I suppose) and a Majora’s Mask medley (by popular demand because everyone knows Majora’s Mask rocks). Rocks, moon. No? Okay. You don’t understand how Pavlovian you are until someone pretends to leave and comes back three times and you cheer each time.

Real talk, I’m not saying you should go to this thing if you have no interest in Zelda or orchestras or video game music in general. It’s too expensive for that, the cheap seats are about $30. If you’re on the fence, however, I say go for it. It’s an experience and the sense of a very real, tangible community experiencing this long-running game series with you. The music was great, with some really interesting takes on some of the tracks, the laughs were many and no-one even whined about the convoluted timeline too much. It was wonderful. How many opportunities will video game fans get to enjoy something like this? I doubt I’ll get to see Suikoden: Symphony of the Crap Side Games any time soon.

Regardless of whether or not video games are art, video games certainly contain art and music is one of the most amazing forms of artistic expression. Over the past 40 years or so, composers and technicians have crafted superb tracks first out of beep and boops and progressing further and further to the fully orchestrated soundtracks we (sometimes) enjoy today. Symphony of the Goddesses showcases this art form and evokes so many emotions and memories in the listener as most good music does that there’s really no reason for me to restrict it as “a video game concert.” This is music and you should listen.

For more information on Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, which will be touring Texas, New York, Florida, California and Alberta, Canada in the coming months, check out their website.

Joss Whedon. Mitt Romney. Zombies.

In this quick little video taken straight from Joss Whedon’s lovely kitchen, the Avengers director and Buffy scribe has managed to stumble upon the one voting bloc in America crazy enough to vote for Mitt Romney: zombie apocalypse survivalists.

I can see the attack ads now: “Barack Obama says he’ll chase down the terrorists wherever they are, but is he weak on the walking dead? Vote Romney.”

Coincidentally, most of Romney’s supporters could be old enough to actually be undead, or rich enough to be a Count of some kind. They certainly have the right deathly pallor going on.

Source: Facebook.

The Merch Table #3: Life-Sized Daleks, Sexy Japanese Shirts, & More!

Welcome back to The Merch Table, prospective buyers! Like a poor marksman, we missed last week’s target due to technical issues… something about white screens and other inside baseball. Nothing keeps the humble merch salesman down for long, though! There be geeky wares to hawk!

This week, we’ve got everything from prohibitively expensive Doctor Who paraphernalia to super wacky Japanese things on the table for your perusal. So, go ahead. Peruse!

life size dalek replica

Life-Size Dalek Replica

So, what is it? A Dalek!
Where can I find one? Firebox.
How much? £3,496

Weighing in at well over £3,000 – that’s about $5,500 to you and me, Russ – this life-sized Dalek replica has all the bells and whistles: the plunger arm extends, useful for sucking the faces off hapless Torchwood scientists; the head rotates at a full 360 degrees; and the blaster arm is on a ball joint, so it can be wiggled around provocatively.

If for some reason you can actually afford to drop five fat Louie’s (colloquially referred to as “The Big Bonus”) on a Dalek, be aware that it doesn’t levitate. Have fun with the stairs!

senran kagura breast shirt

Senran Kagura Mega Breast Hyper T-Shirts

So, what is it? Creepy anime shirts from Japan.
Where can I find one? Hobby Stock.
How much? Your immortal soul.

Searching for the next step up from one of those famous “looking for a Japanese girlfriend” shirts? Are you really into anime? Are relationships not your thing? Or do you simply give no fucks about what random passersby think of you?

If most or all of those conditions apply, then and only then should you consider purchasing one of these shirts. Just please, for the love of whatever god you believe in: don’t wear these in public.

Or do. That could be funny. Also, the more guys taking themselves out of the dating pool the better the odds become for the rest of us.

firefly inara poster print

Firefly Les Femmes Poster Set

So, what is it? Prints of Firefly characters in an art nouveau style.
Where can I find one? Quantum Mechanix
How much? $29.95

The series may be long done and a sequel to Serenity all-but impossible, but at least those of you still carrying a torch for Joss Whedon’s space western have tons of sweet merch to clutch to your chests, as you weep softly and mutter something about the sky being taken from you. This set of character art prints rank high among all that merch.

There’s also one of Saffron all by her lonesome and a set for the dudes, if you’re more of a “les fommes” kind of person. Or female. Or sly.

pancake floor pillow

Pancake Floor Pillows

So, what is it? Big floor pillows shaped like buttered pancakes!
Where can I find one? Unica Home.
How much? $600 to $750.

If you’re actually wealthy enough to own that crazy Dalek featured above, why not top off your spending spree with this massive set of pancake-shaped floor pillows? Or save that money for another Dalek and make them dance. Pfft. Rich kids and their toys.

Lil’ bits o’ butter are also included, but as any Canadian worth their weight in loonies will tell you, even giant pancakes are nothing without maple syrup. It’s a cliché because it’s true, goddamnit!

persona 4 glasses

Persona 4 Glasses

So, what is it? A replica of the glasses worn by Persona 4’s protagonist.
Where can I find one? Ami Ami.
How much? ¥7,350

Whether you call him Souji Seta, Yu Narukami, Charlie Tunoku, or a name of your own (spoiler alert: it’s Charlie; anything you come up with is wrong), dude wore some pretty swank glasses. So hit that link and buy a pair of your own since you’re so jelly. And why wouldn’t you be? They made Charlie a boss.

These are almost certainly non-prescription, though I figure it’s child’s play to get real lenses slapped in ’em. I doubt they’ll help you see through fog, unfortunately.

Wasn’t that fun, kids? Join us again next week for another round of geeky merch to explain fruitlessly to your significant other. It never ends!

Civilization Online Exists, If You’re In Asia

It does what it says on the tin: a weird Asia-only Civilization Online is currently under development by some weird Asian studio called XLGAMES, exclusively for gamers in Asia and those of you over here with access to weird Asian online games.

It’s weird.

I stress that point, perhaps too much, because it’s such a bizarre tangent for this series to take. Right from the inception of those arcane play-by-email modes in Civilization II and Alpha Centauri, online gameplay has never been Civilization’s strength. Not even Civilization V and Civilization Revolution managed to turn multiplayer into anything other than a minor bullet point at best, or an afterthought at worst, despite significant overhauling and streamlining.

And yet, here we are. It’s 2012, and the unlikely three-man band of 2K, Firaxis, and Korea’s XLGAMES is putting out an online Civilization game specifically for the Asian market.

All misgivings aside, I actually really like the idea of regionally-focussed Civilization games, if only to spotlight those smaller cultures that would never see facetime in the mainline numbered titles. However, the concept works for me only if it keeps the traditional, single-player Civilization style, and distills the experience down into something smaller and tighter, like an expanded scenario pack, or what Colonization was to Civilization IV.

civilization gandhi nuclear weapons
Don’t test him!

So it’s just the “online” part that throws me off the wagon this time. But I guess that’s just how everything works over there. There’s big, big money in that Chinese/Korean free-to-play online business model, and less and less in subscriptions and solitary experiences.

I’ll bet ten of your MMO currency unit of choice (Zen, since I still have a Star Trek Online account) that Firaxis has little-to-no involvement with this. So if you must play the blame game, direct your scorn at 2K. And then watch as they laugh all the way to the bank.

Source: Joystiq. Image: Giant Bomb; TVTropes (rabbit hole warning!).

Ming-Na First On Deck For Joss Whedon’s S.H.I.E.L.D.

When we last left our heroes, they existed merely as a tentative character outline filled with very Whedonesque names and personality blurbs. Now, Ming-Na is the first to be cast, taking on the role of Agent Melinda May, previously known to us as Althea Rice.

You may remember Ming-Na best, or at least most recently, as Camile Wray from Stargate Universe, one of the better characters from that gone-too-soon series. Okay, so maybe Chloe was the only bad character, but still. It’s nice to see SGU actors reappearing on high-profile shows.

If you’re somehow reading this from the perspective of a gamer with no other entertainment interests, Ming-Na was Aki Ross in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and also appeared as Chun Li opposite of Jean Claude Van Damme and the late, great Raul Julia in Street Fighter: The Movie. Oh, memories! Memories we’ll never be rid of!

street fighter movie chun li
Never forget.

I’m just glad that her nickname “The Calvary” wasn’t changed. Now excuse me while I go steal it for one of my XCOM characters.

Oh yeah, and Agent Coulson is returning. Or reanimating, depending on the context. My money’s on robot, but only because vampires are done.

Source: Deadline.