REVIEW: Awakening #1 (Archaia)

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Awakening, like all zombie stories, starts the same way. Someone notices that something isn’t right and  they either ignore it or try to do something about it. They tell someone who’s skeptical and then, suddenly, it’s undeniable.
However, in Awakening there’s no suddenly. The build is slow and magnified by the artwork. It’s hard to tell what you’re seeing, just as it’s hard to tell what’s really happening in the city of Park Falls.
The art is some beautiful hybrid between sketching and collage. At first I thought it was messy, but then I realized it was like a good score or well dome lighting in a movie. My inability to fully see detail in Awakening enhanced my experience of the story. Much like the artwork in 30 Days of Night.
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But the artwork isn’t Awakening’s only selling point. The ground felt familiar but not over done. The story doesn’t jump straight from confusion to panic. The only person (aside from the post-omnipotent narrator) who believes the increase in murders in Park Falls is due to anything aside from bad days is a crazy ex-scientist who runs around in a surgical mask…
There’s room for this type of character because of the slow build and the the fact that the rest of the world isn’t yet in on the new world order. There’s no prepping or fighting. It’s all suspicion and finger pointing.
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The detectives are trying to solve the murders, the crazy lady is trying to convince our protagonist she’s a reliable source and our protagonist just wants to go about his day like the sky was secure.
Park Falls calls in a specialist and there might be a little less skepticism going around.
The first issue of Awakening is free on ComiXology. Subsequent issues are are $1.99.
[rating:4/5]

Dead Rising 2 was free with XBox Gold

screenlg4Microsoft started giving out games to Gold subscribers twice monthly and one of the games in August was Dead Rising 2. Well that sounds like all my favorite things: zombies, action, video games, and FREE.
I downloaded the game and booted up. I was immediately confused. Apparently all this shit went down with a zombie apocalypse and and then it was solved (mostly). People built strong walls and made a serum for people who get bitten so they don’t turn.
My character was this dude who people knew of and has a patchy history and a dead wife. He in this entertainment competition whee he rides a motorbike and does tricks and fights captive zombies. This is kind of the into and tutorial.
screenlg1SUDDENLY, all hell breaks loose and there are zombies everywhere. Ohnoes. Now I have to beat my way through the throngs of zombies and rescue my child who’s waiting patiently backstage. Gah, I hate having to escort children and stuff.
So you have weapons that you pick up wherever like a guitar or an axe or a broom. The more you use a weapon the more it wears until it actually breaks. You’re charged with grabbing your baby and making you way out of the arena to safety. Apparently I was also supposed to be saving some other people along the way… oops. I’m so bad at additional objectives.
I get outside and run around a bit until I find a safe place because there are just fallout shelter kind of places scattered around just in case something like this happens. I don’t know if it was a cut scene or what but they’re totally blamng me for the invasion in the arena. People totally think I’m a terrorist. Rude. I’m under the impression I had nothing to do with it.
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After a lot of back and forth the people running the shelter are like, “Ew your daughter is bitten. Leave her outside.” And I’m like, don;t worry about it. I’ve got
medicine even though I totally don’t.
Now I have to go find medicine. Guy runs through the the shelter until he finds a secret exit that leads to the mall. In a backroom of the mall the is a place to craft weapons (if you find a key) and  a place to  get into the real mall.
In the mall you have to fight your way to the pharmacy and  get the medicine in time to get back to  the daughter. Ugh, timed missions are the worst. Especially when  you’re allowed to detour and try on clothes in the  stores. Yes, you can play dress up and use random objects as weapons. I personally liked the skateboard.
screenlg6Dead Rising 2 felt a little chaotic to me. There were almost too many options. I could run around killing zombies or trying on clothes or doing the mission or exploring the places or playing the slot machines (Yeah, those were there too.)
Normally, I love having options and feeling like a game has an open world but this felt falsely open. If you did too much of one thing then the other things pop up and kept you forcefully on track. Also, I don’t know if it’s because Dead Rising 2 is older but I felt the controls were clunky and not as accurate or responsive as they should be. In a hordes of zombies situation I don’t want to deal with clunky controls!
It was hard to tell if it was a serious game (there’s a dying little girl I’m responsible for) or just a silly game (I can wear costumes and use toys as weapons….
I got frustrated and bored and because it was free I didn’t feel like I was wasting anything by letting it collect virtual dust. Dead Rising 2 was good enough for the price but not good enough for me to  play through. Le sigh.

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Worth Watching: Pontypool

I take full advantage of streaming Netflix. Often the movie selection is heavy with shitty, straight to DVD films that no one wanted to watch from jump street. However, every so often I find a gem! This weekend I found Pontypool.
Pontypool is an easy title to overlook. The name means nothing to you if you’re from most of the world. But that’s kind of the point when you realize what’s happening as you follow the story.
Slow to start, Pontypool is one of those movies where neither you nor the protagonists know what’s happening or why. Something is happening and everyone is scared and confused. The film focuses on a radio jockey who can’t hold his tongue and his tragically devoted producer and production assistant.
Unlike most zombie/infected movies, the conflict centers not around the biting and attacking but around the other symptoms.
In a small town in the French Canadian province of Ontario, people start acting strangely. They do the typical zombie things like attack in groups, hunt the uninfected, and chanting random phrases.
Oh, most zombies don’t chant random phrases? Yeah, I thought that was weird too.
In Pontypool the infected show symptoms via their impaired speech and then obsession with specific words… There’s a scene in the film where the radio jockey has to fill air time and realized it’s time for obituaries. He highlights each death in their small town in a way that’s both poetic and disturbing, matter of fact and high level enough to still feel respectful.
You should definitely check out Pontypool for a different perspective on a common trope.

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The Land of The Video Game Apocalypse

Video games and the apocalypse go hand in hand. Player One is always that one guy with shit to do and an appointment on Tuesday trying to make his (or her) way through this mess and help all these people out—how’d they survive before Player One came along?
But, we keep coming back to these needy people in their dangerous world because of some romanticism that we can hack it, fix it, or beat it into submission.
Of all the video game apocalypses, which is the worst; which is the best? Is it the overwhelming zombies of Resident Evil, the galactic invasions of Mass Effect, the aggressive extermination in Halo, or some other hellish scenario?
If given the choice, I’d find this Unicorn Apocalypse from the Samsung Mobile commercials and be there. I don’t know all the details of Unicorn Apocalypse I just know those are two things I need to see in one place in order to die happy.

Some of my favorite and most feared video game apocalypses

Continue reading “The Land of The Video Game Apocalypse”

Zombie Dash (Android)

I didn’t have much hope when I downloaded Zombie Dash by Italy Games. It’s hard to find a good app game that isn’t just like some other app game. There’s only so much you can do on a touch screen and with the short attention span mobile games require.
Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised with the high-speed, side-scroller.
Continue reading “Zombie Dash (Android)”

Zombie Training – Guest post by Jamie Gibbs

Regular readers will know Jamie, as he’s one of our most prolific commenters. Based on that, I assumed he had enough time to send us a guest post on Training for the Zombie Apocalypse… and he did!
The zombie survival workout – 4 workouts you need to not get eaten
The Buddhists say that your body is a temple. The Buddhists are liars. Your body is no more holy than my browser history is free of questionable Google searches. Don’t listen to them. Your body isn’t a temple.
Your body is a weapon.
And when the proverbial world fan is spinning the proverbial shit everywhere, you’re going to need your weapon in tip top shape. Don’t bring a butter knife to a gang war and don’t bring an overweight, wheezing sack of meat to a zombie apocalypse. Here’s how you fine tune that body of yours, from head to toe, against the oncoming hordes.
Rule #1 – Cardio
Yes, Zombieland rules apply here. Fatties do indeed die first. Before you even think about slaying zombies en masse, you’re going to need to be able to outrun them. Not only that, but you’re going to be doing a lot of walking across the desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape, so you need to be damn sure that your stamina is as high as possible.
So what do you train for; distance or speed? Surely it’s better to outpace zombies for the first few hundred metres and then slow down once they give up chasing you. That’s a good point, except for one thing. Zombies don’t give up. They don’t get tired. You will, sooner or later. And that’s when they’ll make you an entree. Always opt for long distance walking and running when you train. If you can, spice it up with hill climbs and interval treadmills work. You’re likely to hit the countryside at some point, and those inclines are tough.
Your general survival completely depends on your ability to outpace the undead all the friggin’ time. Throw in a sprint every now and again during your workout so you can be sure you can rely on that extra burst of speed if a shuffler gets too close for comfort.
It’s all in the shoulders
I’ve seen enough zombie movies to know that if you want to properly down a zombie, you need to use blunt force trauma. Unless you’re a master at decapitating bodies in a single stroke, avoid sharp weapons and opt for your sledgehammers, crowbars and cricket bats. Most zombies are the slow, shuffling type, indicating that the only part of their brain that is active is the basal ganglia, the ‘reptilian brain’. That little sucker is buried deep inside the brain tissue so you’re going to need a lot of force in order to cave in the skull and keep a zombie down for good.
Strength training for using these big, blunt weapons needs a lot of work on your back and shoulders. If you think that biceps are the way to go, think again. What are you, applying for Mr. Universe? The force of your swing and the strength you put into it comes from the shoulders, so make that a priority when strength training. Pushups and overhead presses will give you the strength you need to swing a bat with enough force.
Tighten the core
If you’re anything like me, the weekend pizza and beer sessions have left you with a slight paunch, making you more than a little front heavy. If you need to make a quick getaway or are knee deep in flesh-hungry undead, this will give you some disadvantages, the biggest of which is you dying a hell of a lot quicker.
Get shot of that beer gut as soon as possible and tighten up your core – your abdomen and back muscles near your spine. Every athlete knows this is one of the most important sets of muscles to train, as once you sort that out the rest of the body starts to fall into place. Sit ups and squats are your best friend in building up your core muscles and losing that belly.
State of mind
Even though blunt objects should be your weapon of choice, the one thing that you need to keep sharp is your mind. Complacency leads to stagnation, which leads to you getting eaten. The last thing you want is for stress to get the better of you and for you to freeze up mid swing, leaving you open for attack. Throughout your workout, add in some stretches, yoga and meditation to keep your mind focused and clear. Your brain is the biggest advantage you have against zombies (hence why they find it so damn delicious) so use it.
Jamie Gibbs is the overweight, wheezing sack of meat that is doing his best to get into shape before the zombie apocalypse finally hits. You can find him on his fantasy blog Mithril Wisdom by day, and brooding over the city rooftops at night (that last bit might not be entirely true).

Finally! | The Walking Dead – Episode Two: Starved for Help

With such an amazing Episode One of The Walking Dead I was growing more and more devastated every day that Episode 2 didn’t show itself. Well, The Walking Dead – Episode Two: Starved for Help has finally come out of hiding.
As promised, this episode will feature all new scenarios and decisions. New characters will be introduced and old characters– if you didn’t see them to their death– will return.
Rather than dealing with the immediate aftermath of the zombie outbreak, Episode Two: Starved for Help deals with the group trying to settle in to life in the post-apocalypse. Food is running low and desperation is running high.
[wpspoiler name=”Check out the summary video for Episode One: A New Day (it’s Filled with SPOILERS):” ][/wpspoiler]
[wpspoiler name=”If you’ve already played episode 1 and you don’t mind seeing SPOILERS for Episode Two, check out the launch trailer.”]

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Details from the Telltale Games Press Release
 
[wpspoiler name=”Details from the Telltale Games Press Release” ]
The Walking Dead is set in the world of Robert Kirkman’s award-winning comic book series.  Lee Everett, a man convicted of a crime of passion, has been given the chance for redemption in a world devastated by the undead. Players experience life changing events, meet new characters and familiar ones from the original comic, and also visit locations that foreshadow the story of Deputy Sherriff Rick Grimes. The Walking Dead offers a tailored game experience – player actions, choices, and decisions affect how the story plays out across the entire series.
The Walking Dead: Episode Two – Starved for Help is the second in a series of five episodes. Each episode is available for 400 Microsoft®Points on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360® and for $4.99 per episode or as a $19.99 season pass on PlayStation®Network. The Walking Dead is also available as a $24.99 five-episode season pass on PC and Mac from the Telltale Online Store and other digital outlets.
The Walking Dead: Episode Two – Starved for Help is rated ‘M’ (Mature) for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, and Strong Language by the ESRB.
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5 Apocalyptic Lessons From Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach, the final installment-prequel in the Halo series by Bungie, chronicled the initial invasion and downfall of the human race on the planet Reach to the Covenant.

The planet Reach is humanity’s last line of defense between the encroaching Covenant and their ultimate goal, the destruction of Earth. If it falls, humanity will be pushed to the brink of destruction.
source

Known for it’s fairly short campaign mode and extensive multiplayer offerings, Halo: Reach is a perfect way to learn a few apocalypse life lessons. Continue reading “5 Apocalyptic Lessons From Halo: Reach”

Dead Island – Game of the Year Edition

Dead Island GOTYE X360Deep Silver must be proud of Dead Island. Why? Because they’re giving it a fully loaded Game of the Year Edition. Sure that doesn’t actually mean it’s won or even been nominated for anything but it’s nice to be recognized—even if it is by yourself.

Dead Island – Game of the Year Edition isn’t really, for recognition or even for Deep Silver, it’s for us. Well I own the game already. It’s for those of you who don’t already own Dead Island and weren’t really to ready to commit.

See in a Game of the Year Edition you often, including this time, get all the DLC that first round buyers paid extra for. Lucky you, loser me.

Patience is a virtue in many an apocalypse. So, if you didn’t run to the store and throw money at the clerks like you were stocking up for some lean times in your fall out shelter, you can sit back and get the game with the following perks (also, GOTY editions are usually cheaper than initial releases):

Dead Island has already grown a huge fan base, having sold way over 3 million copies worldwide. This new edition gives players who are yet to experience the mega hit Dead Island a version packed with content: including the “Bloodbath Arena” mode, the “Ryder White” story line and the weapon blueprint for “The Ripper”. This complete Dead Island package includes all the gripping extra content that was previously only available digitally.

“Ryder White”:
This story line offers a new unique perspective into the incidents in the main story of Dead Island: This time the player will get the chance to play as Ryder White, the antagonist of the main game; learn more about his motivations and why, from his point of view, he did what he had to do. This fresh take on the Dead Island story shows Ryder White both as a military man and a loving husband. The story stars Ryder White as a newly playable character and offers a single player campaign with several hours of story content with twists and turns that will shed new light on the happenings in the main game. Two blueprints and weapons will further expand the already impressive arsenal of Dead Island.

“Bloodbath Arena”:
In “Bloodbath Arena” four different arenas offer new challenges that can be played alone or in coop mode. It’s a desperate fight for survival where waves after waves of unrelenting zombies attack, one more gruesome than the next! In “Bloodbath Arena” characters can loot experience points and items and bring them over to the campaign mode. Players can show off their skills in zombie fighting with the newly implemented leaderboards.

Dead Island – Game of the Year Edition” will be released on June 26, 2012 in the USA and Canada and on July 06, 2012 in European countries for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC.

Source: Deep Silver press release – Tuesday 22nd May 2012