All posts by aceattorney

Wondercon 2017 Photos

Wondercon 2017 was held last weekend in Anaheim, bringing together thousands of fans of pop culture, comics, anime, and everything in between.

There was no shortage of things to see and do for attendees, with the main exhibit floor completely packed with artist booths, comic book publishers, and a wide assortment of retailer booths.

Cosplayers naturally came out in force. Popular costumes featured Wonder Woman, Princess Leia, and Spider-Man, but virtually every superhero you can think of was represented by a cosplayer.

Check out all the photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aceattorney/albums/72157680393157000

Iron Fist is the Game of Thrones of the Netflix-Marvel Universe

Finn Jones as Ser Loras Tyrell (left) and Danny Rand (right)

After binging nearly all of the 13 episodes of Iron Fist, I came to realize not only how the series is the best Marvel show, but it is actually similar to another terrific series: Game of Thrones.

Be forewarned that this article will be filled with spoilers, so only read ahead after you’ve watched both shows!

  1. Finn Jones

If the actor who plays Danny Rand, otherwise known as The Iron Fist looks familiar, it’s probably because you recognize him from Game of Thrones. Jones played the character Ser Loras Tyrell, The Knight of Flowers in Game of Thrones.

  1. Political intrigue

Game of Thrones is known for its intricately detailed look into the political intrigue between the various houses seeking to claim the Iron Throne. Iron Fist has its fair share of political battles, whether it is between the Meachums and Rands, Gao and Bakuto, and even within the Meachum family.

  1. Sibling rivalry

Joy and Ward Meachum are siblings, and Danny Rand is like a brother to them, which means they all get to compete for the love of Joy and Ward’s great dad, Harold Meachum. Harold incidentally tries to turn them all against each other for his own evil devices. The rivalry turns messy, of course, just like how things often got out of hand among the Lannister children in Game of Thrones.

  1. Betrayal and backstabbing

This point stems from the political and sibling rivalry aspects of both shows. It was just wonderful to see the twists and turns that Iron Fist took, from Colleen Wing’s double betrayal, to Bakuto’s betrayal, to the Meachums’ antics. The backstabbing in Game of Thrones have far more deadly results, but you have to appreciate that Iron Fist manages to attach real consequences nonetheless.

  1. Faction wars

All of the different Houses and heirs to the Iron Throne in Game of Thrones make for plenty of opportunities to battle both politically and to the death. Iron Fist doesn’t have nearly as many factions vying for power, but it’s the first time the Hand was exposed as an imperfect, fractured organization. The different power-hungry characters in Iron Fist keep the show’s story turning in unexpected and interesting ways.

  1. Magic

The use of magic in both shows is rather subdued, without giant spectacles displayed, but with enough power to be significant. Danny Rand’s magical power is called upon during important moments throughout the series, but is not really the focal point – it’s more about the man wielding the magical power of the Iron Fist.

  1. Resurrection of the dead

Aside from the White Walker zombies, there is legitimate resurrection of a few characters in Game of Thrones. And like them, Harold Meachum is shown to come back from the dead as a living, breathing man. He just comes back a little bit on the psychotic side.

  1. The main kingdom/”throne”

Game of Thrones has the Iron Throne, and in Iron Fist, we’ve got the Rand Corporation. Control of either means ultimate power and wealth, and a huge part of both shows has to do with gaining the seat of power.

  1. Melee weapon fights

Sure, both shows have projectile weapons, but both Game of Thrones and Iron Fist feature mostly either hand-to-hand combat, or melee weapon fights. The wonderful intimacy of close quarters combat lends to bloody good fun. Plus, we get to see our favorite characters let out pent up rage over their sworn enemies.

  1. Religion

There are a handful of varying religions represented in Game of Thrones, sometimes being the crux of important plotlines through the series. Iron Fist’s title character is quite religious. Danny Rand’s reliance on Buddhist teachings come up several times, mainly to calm down help center his Chi.

  1. Culture shock

One of the greatest aspects of Game of Thrones is how different and varied the cultures are represented on screen. Differences in language, attire, attitude, and values are readily apparent, and result in creating wonderful scenes of culture shock amongst characters who visit different lands. Danny Rand experiences severe culture shock when he returns to modern society after being raised as a monk for the past 10 years. This unfortunately makes him naïve to the ways of the western world, but it also means he’s probably got a good heart too.

  1. Dragon

Daenerys Targaryen (“Dany”) has three dragons for pets in Game of Thrones, and Danny Rand faces off against one in Iron Fist. Sure, we don’t get to see Iron Fist’s dragon (only his red eyes), but both Dany and Danny possess the power of dragons.

The E3 2017 Survival Guide for First-Time Attendees

For the first-time ever, E3 is opening its doors to the general public. If you’re considering purchasing a ticket and attending, this guide will help you plan your trip to the biggest video game industry event of the year.

I’ve covered E3 as a fan and journalist for over 10 years and although there have been a few changes throughout the years, it is still a wondrous spectacle that gives attendees an intimate glimpse into pre-release games and hardware. However, one does not simply walk into the halls of the LA Convention Center. A little planning can help you maximize your week.

Tickets – Show Floor Only

There is an early bird special going on for E3 tickets. Early bird tickets have sold out! The first 1,000 tickets will be sold for $150 per ticket, and the remaining 14,000 tickets will be sold for $250 each.

Keep in mind that the tickets sold to the general public will not give you access to everything that goes on at E3. There are game demos that are given only to industry professionals behind closed doors, press conferences, parties, and other events that general attendees will not have access to. There is still a ton of awesome things for you to do though.

The show floor is split between two main halls, the East Hall and the West Hall. When the official E3 website publishes the map, you’ll want to examine it closely to find out where your favorite publishers’ and developers’ booths will be located.

And speaking of the show floor, it will be open during these hours:

DATE HOURS
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 12:00PM – 6:00PM
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Thursday, June 15, 2017 10:00AM – 5:00PM

Be forewarned that there will be an enormous crowd of people waiting in a massive line at the beginning of each day just to get onto the show floor. You should either plan to arrive to the Convention Center very early to get to the most popular booths at the start of the day.

Once you get onto the show floor, make a beeline directly to the booth you’re most excited to check out. All of the major publishers and developers will have their biggest video game titles available to demo on the show floor, but you should expect there to be a massive line, so plan accordingly. While most lines will not take more than two hours to get through, there are some that may take longer. The line to check out HoloLens at the Xbox booth last year capped almost immediately after the show floor opened, and the folks who managed to make it to the end of the line had to literally wait in line the entire day.

One of the biggest pro-tips I can give you is to check out the Xbox and Playstation booths if the line at a third-party game publisher’s booth is too long. Both of the Xbox and Playstation booths will be filled with game demo stations for first and third-party titles, and the lines tend to be far shorter than the lines at the dedicated third-party booths. That said, a big reason why you may want to brave any of the long lines is for the great swag that are handed out at the end of the demos. Free and exclusive t-shirts, pins, lanyards, and other fun swag are fun collectibles that may be worth waiting in line for (keep in mind that all swag are available in limited quantities).

Additionally, there are some game demos that are not hands-on. You may be waiting in line for hours simply to watch a video presentation of a game and not actually get to play the game itself. Be sure to find out if this is the case before investing your time waiting in a long line.

Lastly, while you’re waiting in a line or just walking the show floor, keep your eyes open. Game developers and celebrities will be wandering the floors as well, and many will be happy to take a selfie with you if you ask politely.

Xbox Fanfest

Although Xbox Fanfest hasn’t yet been officially announced for E3 2017 (hopefully Xbox will give us some news soon), Breaking News: Xbox Fanfest at E3 2017 has officially been announced! For the past few years, Xbox has held a Fanfest during E3, but Xbox Fanfest isn’t just one event. Folks with a Fanfest ticket have been given a free ticket to the E3 show floor, a VIP invitation to the Xbox press conference, an invitation to a special Fanfest party, a swag bag, and other awesome perks. Here’s a link to info about last year’s Fanfest.

Getting a ticket to Xbox Fanfest is no small task. You have to arrive at a designated location (usually the Microsoft Store in Los Angeles) by a certain time, at which point a free raffle is held for 500 Fanfest tickets. I read that there were nearly 1,000 people who entered the raffle last year. The demand for a Fanfest ticket has grown each year, and folks have camped out overnight just to be first in line to meet and greet representatives from the Xbox team.

If you are lucky enough to score a Fanfest ticket, you’ll be in for a fantastic E3 for sure.

Attire

Industry professionals will be dressed in traditional business attire, but that doesn’t mean fans need to wear a suit. Los Angeles will be warm during E3, and although the Convention Center has plenty of air conditioning, it can still get warm inside. Dressing comfortably should be a priority. Wear comfortable shoes for all of the walking and standing around that you will do. T-shirts are perfectly acceptable, but keep a hoodie in a backpack for cooler mornings.

You may even want to pack a mini camping stool for those long lines, unless you’re comfortable with sitting on the floor.

Off-Site Festivities

Be sure to check out the activities going on outside of the Convention Center. Publishers usually set up booths and tents at LA Live, which is across the street from Staples Center, where fans can play games and engage in other fun activities.

EA will be hosting their EA Play event again this year. Unfortunately, EA Play will take place at the Hollywood Palladium, which isn’t exactly close to the Convention Center. However, I highly recommend setting aside some time to take an Uber or Metro to EA Play to demo some great games and score a bit of swag.

Lodging & Transportation

Staying at a hotel near the Convention Center during E3 can be very expensive. You may want to consider checking out hotels outside of downtown Los Angeles for more reasonable costs. If you do, make sure you find a hotel that is close to public transportation (click here to learn more about LA Metro), which will be far less expensive than renting a car (parking near the Convention Center usually costs at least $25 per day) or taking Uber rides. For example, the Cities of Downey and Norwalk are less than 15 miles away from the Convention Center, and the 460 express bus line can take you from the Norwalk Bus Station to the Convention Center in only 20 minutes, which is an incredible feat considering the amount of traffic LA has.

Enjoy the Sights

While you are in LA, you may want to take a couple of days to do some sight-seeing. Universal Studios Hollywood recently opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Disneyland or California Adventure are always great to spend time at. You can also go to Santa Monica and enjoy the beach, or take a trip down to the beautiful beaches in Orange County.

Tweet Me

E3 will be a blast, no matter how you decide to approach it, but a little advanced planning can go a long way to make the best of your week. Got any questions or thoughts? Send me a tweet @aceattorney.

LTTP: Wolfenstein: A New Order

In 1992, id Software released Wolfenstein 3D, a ground-breaking game that had PC gamers enraptured by its high levels of violence and fast-paced action. The franchise’s sixth title, Wolfenstein: The New Order, was released 22 years later in May 2014.

Wolfenstein: The New Order was well-reviewed and critically-acclaimed, but I was probably too busy playing Titanfall, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Mario Kart 8, and Watch Dogs to bother with what I thought was just another mindless shooter. I eventually bought the game when it went on sale later that year during Black Friday (for $20, I couldn’t resist). But instead of popping the disc into my Xbox, the game went right into the ever-growing pile of games in my backlog. It remained in that shameful pile for over two years.

A few weeks ago, I made a half-hearted joke about how my New Year’s resolution is to play through my backlog (which happens to include Fallout 4 and GTA V), and a friend mentioned that he loved Wolfenstein. I figured that it would be one of the quicker games to get through, considering it isn’t an RPG, and I was in the mood for just a quick gaming session, so I finally freed the game disc from it’s plastic-wrapped prison.

The cutscenes were the first big surprise for me. Sure, I had heard that Wolfenstein was good, but no one told me just how stylized, contemporary, and hip the cinematic direction was. As the story progressed, I was just stunned at how the main character, B.J. Blazkowicz, and supporting cast were all incredibly memorable and compelling. I have to give tremendous credit to writers Jens Matthies and Tommy Tordsson Björk for bringing these characters to life with real emotion.

The setting isn’t just a side note either. While the game tells a tale of science fiction, it uses the alternate history setting to speak of the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust and of the sacrifices remarkable men and women during the real history of World War II. This brevity makes each level and mission that much more engaging and important. I couldn’t wait to see where the story would go after completing each level.

To be sure, the gameplay is repetitive, but it wasn’t terrible. I did enjoy the stealth-like options to playing the game. Sneaking up behind Nazis and insta-killing them with a single thrown knife or a takedown is more fun than just dual-wielding automatic shotguns and mowing them down all the time. Ultimately however, the gameplay really only feels like busywork for the player. Thankfully, Blazkowicz’ inner monologue and radio communications with other characters keep the levels from being completely mindless.

Viewing history through Wolfenstein’s sci-fi lens did not diminish the writers’ intent to depict during that horrific time in human history. Through allegories, the game was able to successfully portray the brevity of what the Jewish people suffered through and lost, and the heroic accomplishments that everyday people achieved against all odds, perhaps more than any other first-person shooter based on WWII. This connection to history made playing through Wolfenstein a journey to remember and cherish.