Monthly Archives: January 2012

The most magical place on Earth! (Don’t sue me Disney!)

Japan is being awesome again. This time, they’re building a Gundam theme park, set to open in April – “Gundam Front”!

Ok, so it’s not quite on the scale of Disney Land – it’s 2050 square feet, and it’s inside a shopping centre in Japan’s man-made island Odabia in Tokyo. But even so, a Gundam theme park! In addition to free exhibits – including a display of Gundam models and a Gundam shop (how can I get one to open in my hometown?), and the second Gundam Cafe – there’ll also be a paid area (1000 Yen, or £8.30 for adults, 800 Yen or £6.60 for kids) which will include Gundam artefacts, a viewing area showing a film on the giant Gundam statue and other related videos, and photo spots where visitors can pose with characters!. No doubt more awesome stuff will be added as the project gets under way.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go sell my girlfriend for a ticket to Japan….

Oh, and for those of you that can read Japanese, here’s the original article on Bing Japan.!

A brief word on SOPA/PIPA

I know that this topic seems to be everywhere on the ‘net at the moment, but please indulge me in adding my small voice to the chorus of dissent. The reason SOPA/PIPA (that’s Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act) are currently filling every blog, newsfeed, and website is that they pose the single largest threat to the internet as we know it ever. And no, that’s not hyperbole!

One of my favourite websites, Topless Robot (a geek news blog) summed up what SOPA/PIPA would mean for it here. And for those to lazy to follow that link, here’s the part I’m talking about;

“No one asked about what my feelings are regarding SOPA/PIPA, because that would be stupid. SOPA and PIPA are both awful, absurd laws, and if either of them come to pass Topless Robot will be shut down and I will be immediately out of my job. Based on the laws as they currently stand, every single article I wrote today — because of a quote, picture or video I ran — would be an illegal use of copyrighted material. Yet shutting Topless Robot and sites like it down does nothing to stop actual online piracy, which is what these bills are purportedly trying to stop.”

And that is true of this blog too. Admittedly, we’d probably be pretty far down the list of sites to shut down/sue, after they’d taken care of the big guns like Facebook, Wikipedia, and the like, but sooner or later someone would take offence at the fact one of us wrote about a particular piece of IP or mentioned a copyrighted name, and we’d be shut down. The US government would shut down a blog run by British citizens – Although we’re based in the UK, WordPress is a US company, and they host all this shiny stuff – and there’d be nothing we could do about it, short of never mentioning any copyrighted material ever again, because that apparently makes us IP Pirates. If I’m a pirate I at least want a cutlass.

“But” I imagine I hear some of you cry “We’re not in America! We can’t affect this!” Well, for those of us dreading this act passing not only for what it will mean with the US World Police shutting down websites, but also with other governments suddenly thinking this is a good idea, the good folks over at American Censorship have a petition lobbying the US State Department which can be signed by non-US residents to express the international community’s disagreement with these preposterous legislations (they’re also the ones that made the video at the bottom of this post. Check it out if you’re unsure on the details of all this SOPA/PIPA business).

This is something that everyone using the internet – geeks or not – needs to know about, and needs to do all they can to prevent being passed. The internet is a unique creation, a platform of open speech and information unparalleled in the course of human history. SOPA and PIPA would censor that information and quiet the voices with their massive scope and easy to abuse powers. If you care about the free sharing of information, if you care about free speech, or if you care about sharing the truth, then you care about the internet, and you should care about protecting it.


Could this be the Games Workshop film we’ve been waiting for?

That, for those of you unaware of this project, is the trailer for the fan-made Warhammer 40,000 film The Lord Inquisitor. Not only does it look fething epic, it also has (semi)official backing from Games Workshop themselves. GW have notoriously fickle and complicated IP copyrights, and trying to get a deal with them to do anything is nigh-on impossible (as the makers of the German fan film Exterminatus discovered a few years ago). However, the Lord Inquisitor seems to be succeeding where others have failed. Posting on the project’s website Erasmus wrote;

“So GW really  wants to see this project finished and they want me to have a kind of license that allows me to make non commercial Warhammer 40.000 movies.  I mean, how cool is that?:)”

It seems that far from sending in the lawyers to shut the project down, GW actually wants to see the film get made, and is making efforts to see that from a legal standpoint, it can happen. At the moment it’s all just a promise from GW whilst they investigate the legalities and their own convoluted IP processes, but the fans seem optimistic, and with good reason.

If this film makes the long run to completion, it could finally be the film that fans of the Warhammer 40,000 franchise (or 40K as it’s called by players) have been longing for. Judging by the quality of what’s been released so far, it’s on par with any major cinematic release, it’s being made by real fans with a passion for the lore and the universe it’s dealing with (neither of which could be said for the failed Bloodquest attempt), and it looks to have a far more compelling story than the lacklustre Ultramarines film released in 2010 – a film which was backed, supported, and promoted by GW, and written by one of their big-name authors, Mr. Dan Abnett.

I for one have my fingers firmly crossed that this film makes it, and will be slaughtering heretics in the Emperors name to ease it’s transition from Youtube trailer to feature-film reality (Legal note: I won’t really be slaughtering anyone. It’s just Hyperbole).

Cake + Stormtrooper = WIN!

That, ladies and gents, is 6’2″, 300 lbs of Stormtrooper shaped cake, and one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. It was made by the talented folks at Oak Leaf Cakes for the Arisia Sci-Fi convention in Boston. Check out their site for some WIP shots of this amazing cake.

Now, I wonder if I can get one for my birthday cake this year….

How to ruin your relationship with your gaming partner…Or not.

It’s a common misconception in much of the media at large that gaming is a horrific vice in which your partner or spouse can become ensnared within, wasting hours and hours of their time trapped in the clutches of a terrible gaming addiction.

Lately I’ve seen increasingly silly articles giving advice on how to steal back your other half, and quite frankly these articles are more damaging to the relationships they intend to save then any gaming binge ever was.

First off, if your partner is spending every waking moment playing a game, losing their job, friends, and estranging their family members due to excessive gaming, there is a larger problem at the root of this behavior. I would say they are escaping something. But I’m no shrink.

It’s always struck me a little hypocritical growing up that my parents would spend hours and hours watching TV, but then scream at me for playing more then a few hours of Nintendo. In essence it’s the same thing, if anything, gaming is a lot more engrossing then any TV show or book can ever be, and it’s a lot more fun!  Treat your partner with the same graces you would expect to be treated if you were watching TV or reading a book. Most games, especially a lot of online multiplayer games are incredibly complicated affairs that require lots of concentration and quick thinking. So if you come in, plonk your keys on the side, and turn the stereo on, you can expect a frustrated sigh or two. Also, trying to engage them in conversation is futile; you will get only sharp remarks in return, especially if they are using voice-coms while playing. My girlfriend regularly likes to blow dry her hair about six feet away from where I am playing MW3, of course this is not only incredibly loud for me, but everybody on my team is instantly deafened and their game is thrown off. It’s incredibly rude and inconsiderate, but it’s not exactly a relationship breaker. Please remember, we are trying to concentrate.

Another common bit of advice given in these articles is to parade sexually around the room and especially in front of the TV on which they are playing. Don’t do this. You will either be ignored, or have something thrown at you.

If I’m just about to get my MOAB on and some bitch in her panties starts wandering in front of the screen: I will first scream, and then proceed to throw my large collection of empty bottles at them. This is not a cool thing to do at all. ALSO, if you are so threatened by gaming that you feel you have to lure your partner away from it with sexual favors, what does that say about your relationship and the role you play in it?

Perhaps your partner just wants some time to relax on his or her own, or with their friends online? Myself, and most men I know, only really communicate with each other via Xbox Live. Gaming is not the solitary experience it once was many moons ago. Trying to distract your partner while they experience it is certainly not going to place you very highly in their social hierarchy.

In some extreme cases, I have seen people encourage the sabotage or destruction of games, consoles, and computers. DO NOT EVER DO THIS. For one, consoles and gaming rigs are damn expensive. The last thing your partner will ever want to do is spend time with you, or even continue a relationship with you after this. The only thing this is going to do for you, is to show you as the immature, attention seeking prick that you really are.

My advice to anybody feeling the cold shoulder of a gaming spouse is this: Get a hobby. Your partner obviously has one that’s pretty fulfilling; perhaps you should take a leaf out of their book and get your own one. Or better yet, attempt to play games WITH your partner. MW3, L4D and many others now have split screen multiplayer, express an interest in what they are doing and I guarantee you will get more attention then any of the tips these toxic articles give. And who knows, you may enjoy yourself!

Lots of love, RichiCrypt.

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