Friday, 24 September 2010

Movie Nerd Makes Life Size Alien Queen and Power Loader in His Basement!

Movie buff Alex has a lot of spare time on his hands and those hands are creative little fellas. On his youtube channel he shows off his impressive work and talks about how he created them. These two in particular made me VERY jealous;

Making of video for the Alien Queen model;

Alien Queen

Made for just $100 and in only 2 weeks!

Making of video for the Power Loader costume;

Power Loader

He made it in 2 weeks, for a budget of about $230.

You are my new hero.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The King of Kong: Steve Wiebe reclaims high score!

Anyone who's seen the 2007 documentary 'King of Kong' will know how epic this news is. If not, stop right here and go watch it...

Steve Wiebe started pursuing the world record high score on classic arcade game 'Donkey Kong' while unemployed, the documentary followed his quest (now working as an algebra teacher) to beat reigning champion and rival Billy Mitchell.

The film ended on a high back in 2007 with Wiebe victorious, but Billy Mitchell won it back not long after the films release, then lost it again for a little while to Hank Chien. And then, like the Empire striking back Mitchell got it back all over again...anyway, Wiebe reclaimed the top spot on the 30th of August, with 1,064,500 points. Yey! It makes me feel all warm inside.

I don't think we've heard the last of this epic saga.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Pimp My Console

I wish my 360, PS3, Wii and all my other consoles could transform into Autobots with lazer-guns, and then combine to make some kind of mechaconsolezilla...

Ahem. Anyway, 'Console modding'; proof that no matter how cool, powerful, innovative and portable a manufacturer can make their latest console, a tech-geek will come along with a soldering iron and make it even better.

One of the most popular mods out there is to take a TV based console and make it into a handheld. Ever wanted to play Zelda 64 on the go? Here's a portable Nintendo 64;

This professional looking orange marvel is by John Grayson, it uses two Canon BP-915 camcorder batteries for about 3 hours of game time. A Sony PSone screen, complete with the N64 console motherboard. And it's kitted out with the rumble pack, memory card and SuperPad 64 Plus controller.

How about the 64's younger brother, the criminally underrated Gamecube?

This one is by modder 'Hailrazer', who does commissions at a price.

But why make a home console into a portable? Isn't a DS or a PSP good enough? The Sony PSP is just a portable PS2 after all, right? WRONG! This is;

The PalmPS2 By Brian Gardiner. Packing a 5" LCD screen, a built-in DVD drive, a single memory card slot, and stereo speakers. Imagine playing Shadow of the Colossus on the go!

Sega didn't quite make it in the handheld market with the GameGear, but what would happen if you turned the most underrated console of all time into a portable gaming device? Well, this;

Featuring a custom designed case, 5" LCD display, and a built-in 16MB memory card. The portable Dreamcast is powered by two rechargeable batteries, for up to 1 1/2 hours of gaming. I'm not sure about the control positioning, but it looks pretty damn slick. And C'mon! Shenmue and Chu Chu Rocket on the move!

If all of these just aren't retro enough for your portable gaming needs what about these;

The Nestari is by the console mod master 'Ben Heck', combining the NES system and an Atari 2600 console into one polished, wood-finish package.

More wood? Check out this SNES handheld, it's a bit special;

Sometimes console modding can create freaks of technology that should never occur...

The Frankenstein's monster of console modding, a MegaDrive/NES monstrosity!

You know what would make your beloved home console that little bit cooler, a nice Star Wars mod;

Now we're talking serious geeky business, the Millennium Falcon Xbox!

Gamecube AT AT, it's the perfect fit! Anyone for a spot of Rogue Squadron?

N64 Tie Fighter. Old Star Wars toy + console the modder got at a yard sale for $1 = Awesome. It just needs a nice paint job.

And the Pièce de résistance...Drum roll...

HOLY SHIT! R2-D2 comes with a Xbox, Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, Atari 2600, Megadrive, NES, SNES and a PlayStation. He's also got a built-in sound system and projector!


Saturday, 11 September 2010

My name is Phil and I'm addicted to Anime

The Early Years.

I've loved anime since around 1994-95. During my early teens Channel 4 went through a period of showing anime late at night. During one of my late-night channel surfing sessions I found myself transfixed by the super deformed styling of the characters animation and the swear words that came from their mouths. It was a WTF moment that changed everything. My attention was caught long enough to take in the preceding ultra-violence and nudity, and from there on I was hooked! I was 13, seeing a cartoon with guns, gore and titties was possibly the coolest thing imaginable at the time.

I was aware of Japanese animation prior to this, but it was these Channel 4 late-night sessions that really exposed me to the whole phenomenon. I'm glad I got into it when I did, before it become oversaturated. With that first wave of films and OVA distributed by Manga Entertainment it achieved a cult status in the West that made it cool. There was the obvious legendary titles such as Akira and Fist of the North Star, but the ones I remember most fondly from this time squander in near obscurity now...

Cyber City Oedo 808

This sealed the deal. A 3 part mini-series (it’s a massive crime only 3 episodes were ever made!), about 3 convicted criminals in the future who are employed as part of a 'Cyber Police' unit to reduce their life sentences. They have to follow orders and keep in check thanks to an explosive collar around their neck! I’ve only seen it once since watching it back then on TV (a borrowed VHS from a friend years ago), and I’ve only seen it in the English dub (bah!). But from what I can remember this was the most kick-ass awesome action anime I can recall.

If you’ve not seen it and like your old-skool action stuff like Guyver, Crying Freeman and Ninja Scroll I highly recommend this forgotten little gem. Although, I think it’s quite hard to get a none import DVD and even harder to get a version with both the original subs and the English Dub on one disc.

Legend of the Four Kings

Hardly anyone remembers this one, but the few that do always get excited when you mention it. It follows 4 brothers who are the descendants of the divine Dragon Kings, trying to live normal lives on Earth with their supernatural powers and ability to transform into dragons. Obviously this being Japanese animation evil forces come to ruin their precious little lives and all hell breaks loose. I would love to re-watch this series on DVD, but unfortunately it goes for ridiculous money on import.

3x3 Eyes

This series follows Pai, a 3 eyed Sanjiyan Ankara (powerful mystical being) who is the last remaining of her kind and her immortal companion and protector Yakumo. Another I haven’t seen since it was shown on TV that isn’t easily available or affordable on DVD. I remember it having viciously brutal action sequences, taking full advantage of Yakumo’s immortal power of resurrecting from any wound, no matter how severe. He even had the ability to grow his limbs back; so he would get cut up, mutilated and severely beaten and just keep coming back!

A Pop Culture Phenomenon

The first wave of anime to hit our shores during the late 80’s and early 90’s boom caused controversy in the press, newspapers protested at the ‘ultra-violence’, depraved nudity and sexual violence seen in films like ‘Urotsukidōji: Legend of the Overfiend’. This notoriety cemented its cult status in the West.

It became more and more readily available on VHS, the local video store even had some Manga videos and I was introduced to the awesome bio-mech action of Guyver and the zany madness of Dominion Tank Police. Kids at school thought I was weird and immature watching these ‘strange cartoons’.

When I started college a friend there was selling his entire collection and I bought them all. I couldn’t get enough. But I wasn't alone in my habit and with commercial shows like 'Naruto' anime was no longer as cult cool as it once was, but my addiction continues with some of the newer generation, revisiting old favourites for nostalgic reasons and catching up on the classics I should have watched.

Going To Tokyo

During my 2 week Tokyo honeymoon I don’t think I could have geeked-out better anywhere else. All the comic and toy shops and arcades were EVERYWHERE! You couldn’t escape the anime goodness in Tokyo. All that culture, my heart was finally home. 'Mandarake' was the place to be; ‘one of Tokyo's largest vendors of used anime and manga-related products. The store stocks collectibles, VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs and used manga, toys’...

(me at the entrance to Mandarake)

I might have come home with a few little mementos from Tokyo (possibly a suitcase full).

Studio Ghibli and the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo

Studio Ghibli continues to push the envelope on 2D animation, from classics 'Princess Mononoke' and 'My Neighbour Totoro' to the stunning 'Spirited Away'. Animated film really doesn’t get any better than Ghibli! I knew one place I needed to visit was the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka.

It’s charming and quaint, but unfortunately photography was forbidden inside this enchanting building. Although…

(the robot from Laputa! This statue is on the roof of the museum)

Of the new generation of anime?

One of my favourites is Elfen Lied

The animation is technically excellent, colourful and fluid. A fascinating story following a new strain of the human race knows as the Diclonius, held captive and experimented on in a facility. Lucy a dangerous Diclonius girl escapes the facility and kills all that get in her way. But she is injured in the process and develops a childlike split-personality in the outside world, only reverting back to her true self when in violent situations. The attempts to recapture Lucy by various characters is where the anime becomes really entertaining and often harshly brutal. The violence is exceptionally gory; limbs fly around the screen, body parts are cut into segments, heads are decapitated, blood paints the scenery and the violence is treated almost like an art form, which some find overly gratuitous. In my opinion it’s a fine example of modern anime.

There’s so many great films and OVA I could go on and on forever, but I wont…

so yeah, crack is cheaper and probably better for your social life than a nerdy anime obsession.