Selling and Killing and Killing what you Sell (again and again)

Retail work can be hell. Especially when you run your own business shop. There’s ordering, pricing, displaying, selling, keeping customers happy; Keeping track of trends, supply and demand, influx, stock, reorganizing, running the register. To some in Japan that in itself would be a good game. I’m sure that game even exists, but imagine if on top of running the store you also had to go and get your own supplies and products to sell? What if those products could only be procured by fighting monsters and getting strong enough to get more and more product to sell while also helping see your surrounding village and merchants grow and succeed as well? What if you had a dream of escaping the duldrum life of running a strom and just adventuring and discovering mysteries without the worries of that store work life? Yet, the only way to ever reach that dream was to actually make the shop so successful your adventure becomes everything it entails.

 

That is what MOONLIGHTER from developer Digital Sun (published by 11 bit studios) is a fanciful nutshell. Yet, that is a narrative painterly description of the game. While the game is ambitious, and very ice to look at, it definitely doesn’t reach the platitudes I have presented. That is not to say the game isn’t worth your time, as it definitely is.

Before I get to any of the praise let me discuss some of the “downfall” the game suffers IMHO.

Moonlighter is a grind if you’re not a seasoned and never fail gamer. I have seen speedruns and videos showing folks getting through this game easily, I am not one of those people, nor will I ever be. There is a lot to keep track of as you attempt to make money by selling your wares, yet keeping aware of what you have as items you procure are equally needed to upgrade your armor, weapons, and spells. The combat isn’t inspiring, there are no combos. You dodge and you hit, you remember patterns and you hope your fingers are fast enough to follow those patterns as you press buttons. Yes, that is like much combat but it offers no variety or ingenuity, but it does look good.

The store management is not as exciting as one would hope. The reactions from customers, knowing if an item needs to go up or down in price or kept the same, placing the items in a four grid, how many of an item, not accidentally selling an item you need to get the better word so you can survive longer in dungeons to get better items. None of it as actually fun. It can even be aggravating at times. I found myself yelling out loud at the customers, but they can’t hear me cause it’s actually just me yelling at my computer screen. Yet somehow it’s still fun. There’s something inherently fun about it.

That’s the big thing. Even when frustrated the game is a lot of fun. Helping that happen is the excellent pixel art along with an incredible soundtrack and sound design. These two things and the concept propel the world of Moonlighter into being a game you don’t mind having to go back to dungeons and to the store and to the dungeons over and over and over. If life in retail had a soundtrack and visual appeal like Moonlighter even more people would love it. It’s that feeling that makes me recommend the game to pretty much anyone who seeks a gaming experience both familiar and like nothing they have never had. Give it a spin… you’ll get sucked in even as you want to quit, which is a strange but great feeling.

MOONLIGHTER is available now on Windows, PS4, Mac, Xbox One, and Switch.

You can also get the OST on Bandcamp.

 

 

Over the Garden Wall and Into Hollow Town (Press release)

 

BOOM! Studios is proud to announce OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN #1, beginning a new five issue limited series set in the world inspired by the Emmy® Award-winning Cartoon Network animated series Over The Garden Wall.

Writer Celia Lowenthal (The Storyteller: Fairies) and artist Jorge Monlongo (Powerpuff Girls, Rugrats) send Wirt, Greg, and Beatrice on an all-new adventure in the Unknown as they stumble on a small town inhabited entirely by eerie porcelain doll-people. After Greg loses a shoe to a pond-turtle, it’s up to Wirt to earn money for a new pair, leading him to babysit some doll-children that may cause Wirt to stay in town forever…

OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN #1 features a main cover by Celia Lowenthal, along with variant covers by Natalie Hall (Adventure Time) and Miguel Mercado (Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers).

“With OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN, I’ve been trying to lean into and expand upon some of the great aspects of the show: adolescent social anxiety, patterns and tropes from fairytales, and – of course – spooky things from the woods that aren’t quite what they seem,” said Celia Lowenthal. “Over The Garden Wall is just such a good story; it’s really awesome to get to play around in its universe and, hopefully, do something new and fun!”

“I love everything about Over The Garden Wall –  the characters, colors, music… and the way horror and tenderness blend together,” said Jorge Monlongo. “Working on this new series so exciting.I enjoy drawing old houses and antique clothes, malefic trees, sinister creatures and frogs. But what I love the most is drawing Greg!”

OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN is the latest release from BOOM! Studios’ award-winning KaBOOM! imprint, home to comics for middle grade and younger readers including licensed series such as Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Peanuts, and Garfield, along with original series like Mega Princess by Kelly Thompson and  Brianne Drouhard, Bodie Troll by Jay Fosgitt, and The Deepby Tom Taylor and James Brouwer.

“I’m excited to head back to The Unknown for more adventures with Wirt, Greg and Beatrice,” said Whitney Leopard, Editor, BOOM! Studios. “Pat McHale created an amazing world with Over The Garden Wall and we’re really excited about this chance to introduce readers to more adventures with these amazing characters. Celia and Jorge have created a special story in OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN about family, responsibility and the true dangers of strange dolls, you don’t want to miss is.”

Print copies of OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN will be available for sale in September 2018 at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and the BOOM! Studios app.

For more on OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN and more from KaBOOM!, please visit www.boom-studios.com and follow @boomstudios on Twitter.

The Best Movie You’ll Never See

You gotta watch Cool Dad-Official Trailer from the team of Alex & Ariel Productions starring Jerry O’Connel, Andrea Rosen, Jay Jackson, Jay Lambert and more.  It claims to expire July 6th.  Hopefully it’ll be uploaded to Youtube or elsewhere.  It needs to live forever.

 

 

Phoenix Online is Going To The Stars

Adventures games are rarer and rarer these days so when one comes along, especially beautiful. indie and from a quality publisher I take notice.

The debut game of Spanish developer Risin’ Goat, A Rite from the Stars is a fun and clever point & click adventure game about Kirm, a young mute boy chosen by the Stars to undertake a mystical rite of passage to become a legend among his people.

In this coming-of-age story, players will explore the Mystical Island of Kaikala, home to the Makoa tribe, and pursue the three paths of Wisdom, Courage, and Spirit in any order they choose. Each path introduces new mechanics to solve unique challenges, ranging from action sequences to musical puzzles, with Kirm’s playable meerkat companion Mirk and guiding star Hoku on hand to collaborate on puzzle solutions and lend insight along the way.

A Rite from the Stars features beautiful 3D environments, a fully orchestrated soundtrack recorded with a live chorus, and a complete original Makoan language developed for the game! A Rite from the Stars will be released for PC, Mac, and Linux, and feature French, Italian, German, and Spanish translations on release. Learn more at www.risingoat.com.

The game is releasing later this year on direct download, Steam as well as other channels from Phoenix Online Publishing.

We will walk with Clementine one last time

Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season

Premieres August 14, Pre-Orders Available June 8

Clementine, now a fierce and capable survivor, has reached the final chapter in her journey. After years on the road facing threats both living and dead, a secluded school might finally be her chance for a home. But protecting it will mean sacrifice. Clem must build a life and become a leader while still watching over AJ, an orphaned boy and the closest thing to family she has left. In this gripping, emotional final season, you will define your relationships, fight the undead, and determine how Clementine’s story ends.

  • Emotional, Gut-Wrenching Story – See Clementine’s journey through to the end. As she builds a new life, you will have to grapple with new types of choices and live with the consequences as AJ looks on, learning from your every move.
  • More Control, More Tension – A new over-the-shoulder camera system, greater freedom to explore detailed environments, and scenes with unscripted combat capture the fear of living in a world overrun by the undead and create the most engaging The Walking Dead game yet.
  • Striking New Visual Style – The all-new Graphic Black art style rips the ink from the pages of the Eisner Award-winning comic book series and brings the world of The Walking Dead to life like never before. Supports 4K resolution and high dynamic range on compatible devices.
In addition, The Walking Dead: The Final Season will be fully dubbed in French, German, Latin-American Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese. It will also be subtitled in French, German, Latin-American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, Russian, and both traditional and simplified Chinese. Episode one voice packs and translations will be available for download on launch day.

Episode one of The Walking Dead: The Final Season will be available for download starting August 14, 2018 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One across all regions. The Final Season will also come to Nintendo Switch later this year.  Starting June 8, players will be able to pre-order the game on PC, PS4, and Xbox One for $19.99. All players who pre-order The Final Season will receive download access to each of the season’s four episodes as they become available. Players who pre-order on PS4 and Xbox One will also receive immediate access to The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series Collection, which gathers all 19 existing episodes of the award-winning series into a single package.
PC players who pre-order on Steam, GOG, GamersGate, or the Humble Store will receive 10% off the full retail price. Win10 pre-orders through the Microsoft Store will unlock season one of The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series. All pre-order offers expire August 14.

Book Expo/Book Con 2018 Video Haul

I recorded a very long display of things I picked up at BookExpo & The Book Con 2018. Along the way telling stories, detailing the books and more. With over 120+ books a cataloging is also planned, but for now enjoy this video.

Book Expo Collage Previews

BookExpo 2018 runs Wednesday (5/30/2018)-Friday (6/1/2018) followed by The Book Con on June 2nd and 3rd.  In advance of excitement I have made two “collages” of books being featured at the shows in some fashion.  This is not everything I am interested but it as example of the show in many showing middle grade, young adult, comics, cook books, memoir, non-fiction and traditional adult fiction.  If you love books keep your eyes open for these covers when they hit your local stores and other places.

The Incident is Unforeseen but Completely Worth it

Traditional point and click 2D third person adventure games at high levels with excellent voice acting are a rarity. Especially in 2018. Unless of course the publisher is Application Systems Heidelberg, who this year are also publishing an HD remake of the first Nelly Cootalot game and the new detective story from Grundislav Games where failure is an option to completion.

In Backwoods Entertainments story, Unforeseen Incidents, things seem pretty innocent at first. You step into the life of a likable, charismatic layabout named Harper who is living in an alternative universe. You quickly learn that things aren’t as simple as they seem though and soon you’re propelled into a conspiracy and mystery of possibly mythic proportions. There’s a group of colorful characters you meet along the way, fully voice acted with a performance showing care and concern for each line and even stupid joke. Visually, it’s really great, especially the backgrounds. The character designs are definitely an aesthetic that will be hit or miss with each person. Art is subjective after all, but the details in each location are impossible to be amazed by.

 An important part about a quality point and click game outside story is game play. How are the puzzles? Do they make sense? Are they too easy? Too difficult? Too illogical? Does lateral thinking apply or out of the box. A combination of obvious and trying to actually have just try things is such a difficult balance, yet the writers and programmers of this game definitely found it. While some thought processes definitely get lost in translating the games native language of German to English, nothing in my playthrough ever felt impossible. Did I get stuck? Of course I did… did it ever frustrate me? Not once, and there were many reasons for that; As stated the art, which I personally find to be extremely enjoyable; The subtle music and sound design are also superlative.

What really kept me going was the plot and the characters going through this intense adventure that keeps getting bigger and bigger. Harper is just a perfect protagonist. In a film he’d be Val Kilmer, Matt Damon, Jake Gylenhaal, Paul Newman, Mel Gibson, Gérard Depardieu or any number of everyman actors. Someone who is good looking but not too good looking, intimidating without being fearsome, someone you can relate to in a variety of situations and want to see succeed no matter the odds. He has great co-stars as well in an older best friend and genius, a no nonsense journalist, a former boss, a tough as nails park ranger, and a cadre of individuals along the way that just add something to the entire environment, each created with as much care and consideration as our protagonist so none feel one dimensional even in their simple roles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suffice to say I highly recommend Unforeseen Incidents and consider it worth your time, brain process and appreciation.

The game is available now (released May 24th, 2018) and can be purchased on Steam, GOG, Humble, or direct from the publisher at a cost of $20 usually.

A Quick Pre-Look at Book Expo/Book Con 2018

Although my attendance of Book Expo and/or The Book Con at this time are not guaranteed with the show less than a month away I wanted to use the information currently available to pretend I was definitely going and what excited me most in my personal world of pop-culture.

A full guest list for both events aren’t up yet, but combining the lists for the events, as well as info culled from other sources these particular people’s appearances alone excite me in no particular as date of writing:
Dave Eggers, Rick Riordian, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Trevor Noah, Nicholas Sparks, Jill Lepore, Kathryn,Ellie Kemper, Viola Davis, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Chris Colfer, Brad Meltzer, James “Murr” Murray, Brooklyn Allen, Charlaine Harris, Charles Soule, Chuck Palahniuk, David Baldacci, Rep. John Lewis, Kami Garcia, Mariko Tamaki, Scott Westerfield, Shannon Hale, Taye Diggs, Walter Mosely.

Now you may notice a lot of these names of famous actors or personalities. This speaks to me in my world. There are traditional authors too though whom I love and the opportunity to tell them how great their work is, to hear about their latest and then remind you it exists or is coming soon is all tantamount to just who I am as a person. Also, if I can get an amazing photo of them it’s always a bonus as I do pride myself on my photography.

One of the top things is that on top of celebs, arcs, meetings, and more, both Book Expo and Book Con will try to have the feel of a big pop-culture con with the Diary of Wimpy Kid display.

Here’s some current BEA/BookExpo Links that exist from publishers:
https://redlightningbooks.com/BEA2018
https://www.sourcebooks.com/bookexpo.html
http://macmillanlibrary.com/2018/04/25/macmillan-library-lj-slj-day-of-dialog-bookexpo-2018/
http://www.simonandschusterpublishing.com/bea/

If you want this year’s Publisher’s Lunch Buzz Books previeweing the Adult and Middle Grade/YA Books for this years Expo you can download there for Kindle, Nook, etc. over at this link.

And if you’re curious to see what a schedule for ME looks like? Well you got that too.

If there are updates to offer this article will recieve them. Keep an eye on my twitter as well though.

Five Points Festival returns with a new home in Brooklyn NY!

Designer Toys, Street Art, and NYC’s Best Craft Breweries and Food Trucks Collide at the Brooklyn Expo Center!

New York, NY (April 19, 2018) – Five Points Festival, a designer toy, street, and alternative art festival is excited to announce the return of the much-anticipated event for 2018! Taking place the weekend of June 2-3rd, 2018 – at the awesome Brooklyn Expo Center, the festival will bring together the shining stars of the Designer Toy, Kaiju & Sofubi, Craft Beer, Food and alternative art worlds.

Featuring a dynamic lineup of counterculture artists and artisans from around the world. The event is a 2-day celebration of toy designers and customizers with an extensive international Neo-Kaiju and Sofubi section, original street art, independent comic artists, gourmet food trucks and craft beer presented by Clutter Magazine and sponsored by 50 Years of The Outer Spacemen, and Lagunitas Brewing Company.

Enthusiasts familiar with art toys will have the chance to meet some of the world’s most iconic artists and brands like Huck Gee, Instinctoy, Kidrobot, James Groman, Jason Freeny, Ron English, Super7, Tara McPherson, and Mighty Jaxx on the show floor, where they will be featured alongside artists from the U.S., Japan, Germany, Korea, the U.K. and elsewhere, some showcasing in NYC for the first time, and all with unique, original pieces for sale. Anyone who has attended mainstream art shows or comic cons will find something completely unique at Five Points – a gathering of visual innovators, rebels, creators, and the misfits that are driving the future of commercial & counterculture art.

Tickets to Five Points also include access to a gathering of some of NYC’s outstanding craft breweries and food trucks serving during all regular Festival hours. VIP Ticket holders will gain special early access privileges each day of the Festival, as well as entry to Friday night’s Designer Toy Awards, the world’s premier accolade for designer toy artists, and an all-around excellent party.
Join us at Five Points Festival at the Brooklyn EXPO Center for designer toys, art, craft beer & food, and so much more…

When:

Designer Toy Awards @ the Brooklyn Bazaar
Friday, June 1st: 7pm

Five Points Festival:

Sunday, June 3rd: 11am – 5pm
Saturday, June 2nd: 11am – 6pm
Doors Open at 10am for VIP’s.

Where:

Brooklyn EXPO Center
72 Noble St, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Cost:

Daily and full weekend passes available

Saturday Only Admission: $30*

Sunday Only Admission: $25*

Weekend Pass: $40*

VIP Pass: $125

*Early bird rates

Roll like a P.I.M.P – Get a VIP ticket for Five Points Fest 2018, Designer Toy Awards & Early Access and MORE!

DTA Ticket – Party with us at the Designer Toy Awards and rub elbows with the best in the industry! – THE ONLY WAY TO GET A TICKET!

Exclusive Toy – Mini Erosion Molly by Kenny Wong and Instinctoy from Japan.

Exclusive Badge – With swank art just for VIPs

VIP Preview – Get in an hour early both days

Saturday Night Party – VIP Access to our Saturday Night shindig, too!

Official event poster is below. Designed by amazing West Coast poster and tattoo artist, Thomas Fernandez (https://www.instagram.com/liveradstudios/ ).