Author Archives: RichiCrypt

Slamming it : 1 – The birth of a comic book.

 Our first book has been spawned into the world, kicking and screaming as it goes. As with any birth, it’s creation was not without complications. Deadlines where missed and lots of swearing and screaming ensued…Mainly on my part as I paced endlessly around my cluttered bedroom which has become the makeshift base of operations for Slam. Cursing myself for being such a lackadaisical prat, I ranted and screamed at anybody that would listen. Normally, I would cry on the usually comical shoulder of our main writer, Ben Cook. But at this point in time I was left alone in the creative wilderness as Ben was swanking around Reading festival, dressed as a pilot swigging from a large bottle of value Gin. A happy bun-bun I was not.

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“Slamming it!” Issue: 0 prologue

So, here’s a thing.
I love comics, ever since I was knee high to a grasshopper my love of comics has propelled me forwards, it has consumed and shaped every essence of my persona.
When the tiny little me learned that joining the ranks of the Ghostbusters was not a viable career choice (Well, one that got you paid anyway), I instantly locked my sights on creating comics, and while I’m not entirely rambunctious about the various connotations of fate, I firmly believe that my purpose on this planet is to create comic book media for the consumption of other like minded individuals.

This blog post you see before you, fair Internet traveler, is the documentation of my progress along this path. But as you’re a few episodes behind on this particular saga, let me very quickly get you up to speed:

I’ve always drawn comics, ever since I could pick up a pencil. A majority of the creative storytelling school assignments I was given as a child where handed back to my educator in the classic four colour format, often to the chagrin of my tutors.
My first foray into the world of independent comics was published when I was 16, with the help of two good friends, and guided by a mysterious industry artist I know only as Jone-Zee.

I dabbled in web-comics for a few years, my most notable and longest lasting stint was on a fan piece called Ghostbusters: Apocalypse, A completely unscripted venture that would twist and turn depending on my moods. It is here that I cut my sequential teeth proper and met the fantastic colourist Ben King.

After that I focused mainly commission work, and a few strips that have never to my knowledge seen the light of day.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been working with Ben Cook, an ambitious young writer with great aspirations and even greater stories locked within his bulbous noggin. With him I’ve helped shape and form our little indie imprint, Slam-Comics. Recently, I have switched places with Ben as the driver behind the project, allowing him to focus more on writing while I keep my eyes on the business end of things and occasionally churn out a couple of pages. This is where you join me, true believer. This is just the start of this story, and I intend for it to continue for quite some time. Join me as I detail the trails and tribulations of getting my work, and the work of other local artists out of the languishing depths of our sketch-pads and hard-drives, printed, and into the sweaty hands of comic fans everywhere. This is just the beginning, and there is hopefully oh so much more to come!

You can catch up with us at slam comics at our facebook page HERE!

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.

Duke Nukem Forever: A Counterpoint

I’ve been waiting for Duke Nukem forever since it was announced, I was obsessed after I got my hands on Duke Nukem 3D, and in fact, the very first comics I ever submitted to anybody were actually Duke Nukem strips. Unfortunately they were submitted to the deputy head of my primary school, which in hindsight was probably a poor choice, but I didn’t care, I had balls of steel.

So understandably I was excited when I heard the king of vapourware was finally hitting store shelves.

I’ve seen the furore explode on the Internet and the terrible reviews…And I’ve waited until I’ve finished the game to wade into the maelstrom…and now I must say…  It’s a good game!

It certainly isn’t the second coming of the FPS messiah that it was hailed as, but honestly after 15 years of development hell I don’t think anybody really believed the spin anymore. I certainly didn’t. And it certainly doesn’t deserve to be maligned the way it has been by the gaming media. I’ve seen truly broken games receive better scores than Duke. Which certainly leaves this player scratching his head. I’m not really going to focus on the interactive environments, or the bulk of the story here, most people will have seen enough of these aspects in previews to get the general idea of what is going on.

The game does what it says on the tin. It’s Duke Nukem. It plays like a Duke game. Forget what you’ve learnt from Call Of Duty, Halo, BulletStorm and the other FPS you’ve played, it’s useless here! Duke doesn’t use iron sights, he doesn’t cling to objects for cover, and he certainly doesn’t engage in frivolous plot exposing cut scenes.

DNF is the 80’s action movie of video games. It exists in it’s own retro bubble and people need to accept that. You wouldn’t compare Total Recall to The Dark Knight. Both are sci-fi action adventures, but it’s impossible to even start to draw comparisons between the two. I can see how this would be a major turn off to the modern gamer, especially a player that didn’t experience the heyday of Duke, let alone the cult 80’s movies that DNF quotes and references constantly. Add to the fact that DNF’s game play hasn’t really evolved from Duke 3D, and still involves circle strafing and lots of trial and error in battles. If you didn’t expect this, it could probably come as an almighty boot to the face.

From the looks of it, most people didn’t expect it.

I don’t want to be one of those guys that points at people that didn’t enjoy the game and screams “YOU JUST DIDN’T GET IT!” But 3D Realms certainly had their target audience in mind when they were developing the title, and it shows. A guarantee a LOT of people are not going to like this game.

By no means is this game flawless, the console ports are plagued with choppy graphics, long load times and sluggish aiming, problems the PC version doesn’t have. A constant reminder that this game was originally a PC exclusive and was only ported to consoles when Gearbox got involved. I had to turn the controller sensitivity up to 10 with aim assist to get any real joy out of the aiming, I live in hope that Microsoft will patch in mouse and keyboard support to the xbox one day…It’ll probably never happen but a guy can dream. I had no problems with the driving, platforming, puzzle, and underwater sections like some people, so I can’t really add any criticisms on them. They delivered a welcome break from the hectic gunplay. I mentioned earlier in this piece about trial and error, something that was once a staple of PC gaming, if you died it was your own fault, and you needed to do something differently. This is fine on PC, when you can save at any point of the game and are not constricted to the checkpoint save systems of a console. Couple this with the intense difficulty of the game, and the long load times and you have a recipe for frustration. Personally I think they could have handled It more like the Xbox arcade version of Duke Nukem 3D’s replay system, which allowed you to go forwards and backwards throughout your last moments and choose your ideal respawn point to better tackle the obstacle that caused your demise. It’s not a game breaker, and most obstacles and bosses only really require 2 or 3 reloads to get you to fine tune your approach and kick ass. The regenerating health/Ego bar is something that kind of irks me personally, I would have preferred the old school method of hunting for first aid boxes, but that’s probably just me!

Another thing people have been complaining about is the hive level. It’s a direct homage to Aliens, a dark disturbing environment where face hugger inspired impregnators and the truly terrifying octo-brains roam freely. The game is clearly taking cues from survival horror titles in this section, with a nice little nod to Dead Space hidden away within the alien architecture. But the level design isn’t what is putting peoples backs up it’s the fact that women impregnated with alien spawn are bound in the otherworldly goop and their only hope is for you to put a bullet in their head…Just like in Duke Nukem 3D.

Why is this a shock to people? Why was it fine for you to do the exact same thing in 1996, but in 2011 it’s a terrible thing and the game is “rampantly offensive”? Yeah, it’s pretty dark, and even Duke himself is sombre in the face of the horror that the aliens have committed.

It’s the scary alien level in a sci-fi game, it’s not overly gory and disgusting like the aforementioned Dead Space, but it is a little disturbing…Not as disturbing as the “No Russian” scene in Modern Warfare 2 but enough to be on par with the moon levels in Duke Nukem 3D.


The Multiplayer aspect is something nobody seems to be talking about. In essence the original Dukematch has been given an upgrade, it’s the same game my buddies and I hijacked the schools network to play. It’s a frantic scramble for the biggest and baddest guns on the map, you have to move quickly because soon every corner of the map will be littered with player placed trip-mines that can easily end anybody’s devastator driven killing spree. Multiple game modes have been added, from Team Dukematch to Hail To The King and the now infamous Capture The Babe.  An experience system has been shoe horned in to allow you to unlock customisable outfits for your character, also furniture and girls for your own swanky Vegas high-rise apartment unlock themselves as you rise through the levels. It’s fun old school hyper violence at it’s best!


In closing: I will reiterate that it’s a good game, not an amazing game. But nowhere near as bad as people are making it out to be. It’s certainly aimed at the older more hardcore crowd and is perfect if you’re an 80’s action movie fan after a challenge that’ll make you smile along the way. My advice to you is, if you have a gaming rig that can handle the Duke, go with the PC version. If you still want to take a peak and don’t mind a few jagged edges on your graphics and have no worries about loading times feel free to dive into the console version. I loved every second of it!

I certainly feel that this game needed to be released, not just for fans, not for the money but as closure for the hundreds (literally) of people that worked hard and put everything they had into this project over the years.

“I guess sometimes we want greasy hamburgers instead of caviar…” – Randy Pitchford

Oh and stay after the credits.

By: Richard J. Crypt

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