Fellow post-apocalyptians: The Girls' Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse

So I’m still in the middle of The Move That Never Ends. (Swear to god, guys, this has been happening since the beginning of March. MARCH. It’s now almost May.) Since my mind is almost completely consumed by the house hunting process and trying to keep my kids from blowing up the corporate apartment The Company rented for us, I have (sadly) not had the chance to give much thought to the apocalypse.
But I didn’t want to just fall off the face of the planet. So I give you… “Fellow Post-apocalyptians,” whereby I write about someone (or some people) who also write about the apocalypse.
Of course, if I do this, you have to promise to come back to ICoS immediately after visiting the other site. Understand? If you don’t, I will hunt you down and take out my house hunting frustrations on you. And your computer. Mostly your computer.**
** I’m kidding. Mostly.
Continue reading “Fellow post-apocalyptians: The Girls' Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse”

Review: The Walking Dead – Episode One: A New Day

Episode One: A New Day definitely has places to be and paths to take you there but to say it’s on rails would be doing it a huge disservice. Maybe a choose your own action adventure on rails would be most accurate as it is most accurately not of any specific genre.

Episode One: A New Day of The Walking Dead[1. A copy of this game was provided for review by Telltale games.] is finally out and it has all kind of expectations to live up to. The comics, the show, and what’s current in action adventure gaming today. Telltale Games set out to please everyone and no one. For the game to be successful it must stand on its own but still make sense within the The Walking Dead universe.
We’re introduced to The Walking Dead universe in Episode One: A New Day at the kickoff of the zombie apocalypse rather than weeks in as we are at the start of the TV series.
Immediately, we’re introduced to our main character, Lee Everett[2. A black man in the back of a police cruiser. Le Sigh.] and we get to decide what kind of person he’s going to be based on how he completes conversations–or doesn’t.  Not saying anything is an option, it’s also the default when you time out.
See, in the story summary video below there are choices being made that bring to along to those places and those conversations–those outbursts aren’t standard. Lee rarely says anything without your consent.

The game definitely has places to be and paths to take you there but to say it’s on rails would be doing it a huge disservice. Maybe a choose your own action adventure on rails would be most accurate as it is most accurately not of any specific genre.
However, to get a bit more specific, Episode One: A New Day offers some first level game things that should be noted.

The gameplay mechanics of Episode One: A New Day:


As is to be expected from a choose your own action adventure on rails, the game quickly introduces the method for choosing. The method is pushing the button that corresponds with your choice.
If you have the hints on, you might be notified after making a choice that you’re now seen as a nice guy, or an asshole, or a sketchball. It depends on what you decide to say.
Conversation choices need to be made quickly (sort of) or you’ll be stuck with the default or your choice will be “silence.” Saying nothing can sometimes say a lot about you.
Action choices, while they need to be made quickly can also be left to inaction like saving This Guy, That Guy, or neither. Though often in action choices you must choose.
Objects also must be found to complete a number or scenarios… So maybe this is a choose your own action adventure puzzler on rails. Anyway, a small number or items are kept in your inventory to be used either on people or thing to either solve them or win them over.

The story of Episode One: A New Day:[3. Of course, I get a little butthurt about the black man being carted off to jail for murder as an introduction, though it’s heavily tempered by my happiness that a mainstream game is actually staring a person of color as a regular person rather than a shaman or witch doctor or gang member or rapper.]

I was immediately engaged in the story presented in Episode One. The officer in the car is transporting Lee to jail but doesn’t believe he’s truly guilty. Out the window you–you’re allowed to look around as much as a real neck would allow– might see shambling people, and car accidents.
Eventually, you hit a person (zombie) and it knocks the police car into a ditch. Sorting yourself out at the bottom of this ditch is where you sort out how to control the character, interact with your environment, kill stuff and really do all the basic tutorial stuff. Lee comes to grips with the fact that something terrible happened and people are all fucked up.
Making your way through a neighborhood, Lee finds a house and is charged with making a friend or three to eventually get himself out of the suburbs.
Lee’s murdering past comes up often as a kind of haunting character motivation piece. Thankfully there aren’t any flashbacks.

Overall Episode One: A New Day:


1. The art style is great. It’s not intended to be Mass Effect-real or straight up cartooney. There’s a great mix of comic art and animated effects. To me, it felt new and worked well with the game.
2. Nobody is perfect. I hated something about every character, which to me is good because it means they’re not trying to make super familiar likable characters. Everyone, felt really regular and realistic. I think they did a better job of humanizing characters than the TV show did[4. Sorry, can’t help but compare.]
3. Maybe because I’m a nerd and I love graphs and stats, but I was geeked to see the comparison at the end of the level about who made the same choices you did. Were you among the majority? Did other people stay silent when they could have spoke up?
It’s a great feature that ads a bit of perspective and community to an otherwise solitary experience.
4. It’s not as heavy as the chow or the comics. People die and impactful decisions need to be made but they don’t unsettle me. I feel like playing through some of the decisions  in the show and the comics would have been really difficult.
5. There can be a lot of hurry up and wait. It’s urgent to get to X or to do Y but you can spend eight years searching a room for the A or you have to talk to every singly person before you can progress. I don’t care about some people and their motives
6. In order button mashing is how you fight. So, a zombie attacks and the screen flashes “x” and you tap it and then it flashes “b” and you tap that and you can win, lose or not die but not really win. Personally, I like being in full control of a hit stuff button.
I’m having fun playing and so excited to find out what happens next in Episode Two.
[Rating:4.5]

Remember, the full five episode season of The Walking Dead for PC and Mac is available for purchase via the Telltale Games Store (http://www.telltalegames.com/store/) and other digital distribution outlets as a season pass for $24.99.  Once launched on Xbox 360, each episode will cost just 400 MS Points, and on PlayStation 3, each episode will cost just $4.99, or $19.99 as a season pass.

Telltale Games' The Walking Dead Video Game!

Ohmigawd, Ohmigawd, Ohmigawd! I’ll try to breath, but, it’s finally happening. No, not the apocalypse. The Walking Dead video game. They said it would but after waiting so long (at least it felt like so long) I thought, maybe it was just an idea that wouldn’t really come to full fruition.
Then, one day, I saw the AMC choose your own adventure motion comic game thing, Dead Reckoning, and thought that was the game. I mean, it was awesome but not what I expected from Telltale Games. They make games not promotional content. (By the way, check out the AMC promotional games for The Walking Dead, they’re generally awesome.)
Finally, today, I got the press release  along with the video for the “Choice Matters” trailer:

Tellale explains the details in today’s press release:

Telltale Games and Robert Kirkman, the Eisner Award-winning creator and writer of The Walking Dead for Skybound Entertainment and Image Comics, announced today that the first episode of the game series based on the critically acclaimed comic book series, The Walking Dead, is now available for download.  Players can purchase the PC and Mac versions from the Telltale Games Online Store, as well as Steam and other digital distribution services.  The first episode is also available for download now on PlayStation®Network for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and will be available Friday, April 27th on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

Every system (except the Zelda/Mario/Exercise console)!
Continue reading “Telltale Games' The Walking Dead Video Game!”

Graphic Novel Review: DOLLHOUSE VOLUME 1: EPITAPHS

Publisher’s blurb:
The Rossum Corporation’s Dollhouse technology has gone viral with a synchronized phone call that wiped the minds of everyone it reached, turning them into mindless killers. Those who avoided the call–including show favorites Echo, Alpha, Mag, Zone, and Griff–must try to survive in the sudden apocalypse and be wary of Rossum’s expansive technological reach.

In DOLLHOUSE VOLUME 1: EPITAPHS (Dark Horse) [1. This book was provided for review by Dark Horse] we get a look at the worst case scenario for the imprint technology used in Dollhouse the TV show. Robo-calls are made to just about everyone in America and if the person at the other end answered the phone, they were hit with an imprint. The imprint erased their personality and replaced it with that of a blood-thirsty killing drone.
Imprinted people have no actual reasoning or logic, just standing orders they’re compelled to obey. If every last person is dead, they don’t just snap out of it because the job’s done. Nope. They can either go on to task number two, be erased, or be reprogrammed.
Is a person still a person if you remove them from their body? Similarly, is a body still a person without the individual person inside of it?
It has always been easy enough to decide that a zombie should be killed. A change takes place that removes them from the Human bucket. Not only do they die but they also look dead and act inhuman.
What if they only did one of those things? Would we be so quick to pull the trigger or swing the bat if Mrs. May still looked exactly the same except with a new rage behind her eyes?
Continue reading “Graphic Novel Review: DOLLHOUSE VOLUME 1: EPITAPHS”

Camping: It's practice for living post-city.

I am not here. I am off camping in Wales with my husband, where I am spending the time walking up hills, looking at castles, complaining about hills and wishing I didn’t get thirsty so often.
I’ve always loved camping and walking holidays, and this time I’ve chosen one with as few mod cons available to me as possible (I drew the line at lack of showers; though all the places we’re staying have only 4 minutes of hot water).
And while it’s not true survivalism we’re doing (I have access to a town and shops, this is a HOLIDAY) It is far from a luxury break, and it’s excellent practice for the post apocalypse.
Continue reading “Camping: It's practice for living post-city.”

Being out of sorts can kill you post-apocalypse

So it’s no secret that I’m in the middle of a move. Still. (Swear to god, this move just will not end.) And since this gongshow just keeps going (and going…and going…), I’m a little discombobulated.
Seriously, my brain will not compute a damn thing.
This is…not necessarily a good thing. I’m disoriented, I don’t know where I am, I don’t know my way around the city, blah blah blah. I’m guessing this is pretty normal for someone who’s just arrived in a new city and is still finding their way around.
That’s all well and good now, in the pre-apocalypse. But after the world ends? Not so much.
Continue reading “Being out of sorts can kill you post-apocalypse”

The PROTOTYPE® 2 live action, choose your own adventure, 18+, UK Advert

Sgt James HellerPROTOTYPE® 2 is  bring democracy to the UK to  spur capitalism as a marketing venture. It’s a lot to wrap your head around, I know. But, in a nutshell:

1. There’s a new advertisement for PROTOTYPE® 2 in the UK. Rather game play or a cinematic trailer, it’s got actors—Real people playing the roles  of characters typically animated by designers.

2. If you’re on facebook, you can vote on the ending of this advertisement.

3. PROTOTYPE® 2 is a very violent game and to stay true to that, this ad will be as well. Therefor, this ad will be ran post-watershed and recommended for viewers over the age of 18.

4. This is a thing is happening in the UK.

Check out the Press release from Activision for more information:

PROTOTYPE 2®, the sequel to Radical Entertainment’s original best-selling game of 2009, will be launched in the UK with the world’s first ever over-18 live outdoor advertisement.

At an iconic west London location at 9:00 p.m. (BST) on Sunday 22nd April, the live ad will feature actors playing the parts of PROTOTYPE 2’s new protagonist Sgt. James Heller and his nemesis Alex Mercer, as well as Blackwatch military and the disease-ridden Infected.

Recreating action from the game, including a gruesome and bloody confrontation between the Heller and Mercer, the content has been recommended as only suitable for those over the age of 18 due its explicit nature, with an agreement to perform it post-watershed in order to avoid a younger audience.

“Due to the nature of PROTOTYPE 2’s content, the game has been rated by the BBFC and PEGI as certificate 18.  This live action advertisement reflects the game in its hard-hitting, fantasy nature and whilst we’re excited to bring this new game to our legions of fans, it would be inappropriate for under 18s to view it” commented David Tyler, Activision’s Minneapolis Business Unit EU General Manager.

The five minute long experience will be streamed live on the PROTOTYPE 2’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/prototype for those of age unable to experience the action live, offering fans around the world a chance to watch the production unfold.

As the PROTOTYPE 2 live ad reaches its crescendo, fans will have the opportunity to vote for one of two endings via the PROTOTYPE 2 Facebook page from 20th April.  The ending that receives the most votes will feature as part of the grand finale of the advertisement.

To watch the PROTOTYPE 2 live ad stream and vote on the ending, head over to www.facebook.com/prototype.  While there, be sure to join the PROTOTYPE Army – a community of over 453,000 (and growing) fans that receive constant updates from the team at Radical.  To find out more about PROTOTYPE 2, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/radical_ent and check out the game’s official Web site at www.prototypegame.com for the latest trailers, screenshots, special promotions and more!

PROTOTYPE 2 will be available for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system on 24th April 2012, and for Windows® PC on 24th July 2012.

The PROTOTYPE® 2 live action, choose your own adventure, 18+, UK Advert

Sgt James HellerPROTOTYPE® 2 is  bring democracy to the UK to  spur capitalism as a marketing venture. It’s a lot to wrap your head around, I know. But, in a nutshell:

1. There’s a new advertisement for PROTOTYPE® 2 in the UK. Rather game play or a cinematic trailer, it’s got actors—Real people playing the roles  of characters typically animated by designers.

2. If you’re on facebook, you can vote on the ending of this advertisement.

3. PROTOTYPE® 2 is a very violent game and to stay true to that, this ad will be as well. Therefor, this ad will be ran post-watershed and recommended for viewers over the age of 18.

4. This is a thing is happening in the UK.

Check out the Press release from Activision for more information:

PROTOTYPE 2®, the sequel to Radical Entertainment’s original best-selling game of 2009, will be launched in the UK with the world’s first ever over-18 live outdoor advertisement.

At an iconic west London location at 9:00 p.m. (BST) on Sunday 22nd April, the live ad will feature actors playing the parts of PROTOTYPE 2’s new protagonist Sgt. James Heller and his nemesis Alex Mercer, as well as Blackwatch military and the disease-ridden Infected.

Recreating action from the game, including a gruesome and bloody confrontation between the Heller and Mercer, the content has been recommended as only suitable for those over the age of 18 due its explicit nature, with an agreement to perform it post-watershed in order to avoid a younger audience.

“Due to the nature of PROTOTYPE 2’s content, the game has been rated by the BBFC and PEGI as certificate 18.  This live action advertisement reflects the game in its hard-hitting, fantasy nature and whilst we’re excited to bring this new game to our legions of fans, it would be inappropriate for under 18s to view it” commented David Tyler, Activision’s Minneapolis Business Unit EU General Manager.

The five minute long experience will be streamed live on the PROTOTYPE 2’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/prototype for those of age unable to experience the action live, offering fans around the world a chance to watch the production unfold.

As the PROTOTYPE 2 live ad reaches its crescendo, fans will have the opportunity to vote for one of two endings via the PROTOTYPE 2 Facebook page from 20th April.  The ending that receives the most votes will feature as part of the grand finale of the advertisement.

To watch the PROTOTYPE 2 live ad stream and vote on the ending, head over to www.facebook.com/prototype.  While there, be sure to join the PROTOTYPE Army – a community of over 453,000 (and growing) fans that receive constant updates from the team at Radical.  To find out more about PROTOTYPE 2, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/radical_ent and check out the game’s official Web site at www.prototypegame.com for the latest trailers, screenshots, special promotions and more!

PROTOTYPE 2 will be available for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system on 24th April 2012, and for Windows® PC on 24th July 2012.

The PROTOTYPE® 2 live action, choose your own adventure, 18+, UK Advert

Sgt James HellerPROTOTYPE® 2 is  bring democracy to the UK to  spur capitalism as a marketing venture. It’s a lot to wrap your head around, I know. But, in a nutshell:

1. There’s a new advertisement for PROTOTYPE® 2 in the UK. Rather game play or a cinematic trailer, it’s got actors—Real people playing the roles  of characters typically animated by designers.

2. If you’re on facebook, you can vote on the ending of this advertisement.

3. PROTOTYPE® 2 is a very violent game and to stay true to that, this ad will be as well. Therefor, this ad will be ran post-watershed and recommended for viewers over the age of 18.

4. This is a thing is happening in the UK.

Check out the Press release from Activision for more information:

PROTOTYPE 2®, the sequel to Radical Entertainment’s original best-selling game of 2009, will be launched in the UK with the world’s first ever over-18 live outdoor advertisement.

At an iconic west London location at 9:00 p.m. (BST) on Sunday 22nd April, the live ad will feature actors playing the parts of PROTOTYPE 2’s new protagonist Sgt. James Heller and his nemesis Alex Mercer, as well as Blackwatch military and the disease-ridden Infected.

Recreating action from the game, including a gruesome and bloody confrontation between the Heller and Mercer, the content has been recommended as only suitable for those over the age of 18 due its explicit nature, with an agreement to perform it post-watershed in order to avoid a younger audience.

“Due to the nature of PROTOTYPE 2’s content, the game has been rated by the BBFC and PEGI as certificate 18.  This live action advertisement reflects the game in its hard-hitting, fantasy nature and whilst we’re excited to bring this new game to our legions of fans, it would be inappropriate for under 18s to view it” commented David Tyler, Activision’s Minneapolis Business Unit EU General Manager.

The five minute long experience will be streamed live on the PROTOTYPE 2’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/prototype for those of age unable to experience the action live, offering fans around the world a chance to watch the production unfold.

As the PROTOTYPE 2 live ad reaches its crescendo, fans will have the opportunity to vote for one of two endings via the PROTOTYPE 2 Facebook page from 20th April.  The ending that receives the most votes will feature as part of the grand finale of the advertisement.

To watch the PROTOTYPE 2 live ad stream and vote on the ending, head over to www.facebook.com/prototype.  While there, be sure to join the PROTOTYPE Army – a community of over 453,000 (and growing) fans that receive constant updates from the team at Radical.  To find out more about PROTOTYPE 2, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/radical_ent and check out the game’s official Web site at www.prototypegame.com for the latest trailers, screenshots, special promotions and more!

PROTOTYPE 2 will be available for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system on 24th April 2012, and for Windows® PC on 24th July 2012.

Comic Review: The Strain #1

The Strain #1 [1. Review copy provided by Dark Horse]
When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Center for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event-an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness.
* From director Guillermo del Toro and novelist Chuck Hogan (Prince of Thieves)!
* Adapted for comics by Eisner Award-winning writer David Lapham!

I’ll be honest, I have no idea if The Strain is going to go apocalyptic or not- but it’s a damn good comic.
Continue reading “Comic Review: The Strain #1”