One of the great things about being a fan is that you can be an obsessive fan. You can memorize trivia, speculate on elaborate theories and have conversations entirely in quotes from your beloved franchise. And the Internet makes it easy to find fellow superfans who won't judge you for your love.
Unfortunately, small subsections of these dedicated fandoms practice the same exclusionary tactics that once prevented them from finding comrades. Sometimes their actions are intentional and sometimes they're accidental. Either way, the message is the same: "If you're not like me, you're not a true fan." Fandoms should be inclusive, but these folks are preventing that...More >>
2014 ended three weeks ago, but our wrap-ups of 2014's best and worst ended yesterday. It's fair to say we consumed a lot of entertainment, enjoyed many things and had almost as much fun vocally destroying the things we didn't like so much. And as I hope was evident, not every Topless Robot contributor had the same ideas about what those things were.
Which is why, as we look to the year ahead, I've gathered together as many of our regular contributors as possible for this list, in which they all describe what they're geeked out about for 2015. From board games to RPGs, action figures to adaptations - and in one case, even the rumors we long to hear - it's a varied, insightful and excitable sneak peek.More >>
I've always loved being at the forefront of technology. Being an early adopter, however, has its downsides, like when you pick the wrong format, which I have frequently done. As a kid, when the other children were asking for an Atari 5200, I was begging for (and received) a Vectrex. I invested an obscene amount of money in HD-DVD which, on paper was the superior system. Then there was the time I spent $200 on a Diamond Rio, the first commercial MP3 player with its whopping 32 megs of storage, or roughly enough space for an album at low enough bit rates. Gadgets are expensive, but for nerds like me, they are ambrosia, and usually worth every penny. Nothing is quite as fun as unboxing a new toy and showing it off.
As technology improves, science fiction is quickly becoming reality. My children will never know what it's like to live in a world without touchscreens or Netflix. As sad as it is to think that they won't experience enjoying Saturday morning cartoons with a bowl full of sugary cereal or having to adjust the tracking on the VCR, they also get the privilege of experiencing technology that, for my grandparents, would have seemed like magic. As 2014 comes to a close, it's time to look back at that magic by taking a look at the ten best gadgets the year has brought us. Get your checkbooks (or Apple Pay) ready, kids: it's time to start planning for 2015's holidays.More >>
I'm really proud to be a member of the Television Critics Association. Television has some of the most amazing work being created today, and we get to spend two weeks straight with the people who make it. Oddly, the TCA Press Tour has shrunk from three weeks to two weeks, but there are more than twice as many networks now. The big four - ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox - used to take two or three days each (RIP UPN and The WB, but we have CW now). Now they've all shrunk to a single day for their whole slates, and crammed in a ton of days for cable networks. Now that HBO, Showtime, FX, AMC and even Netflix and Amazon make great shows, we get them all coming to talk to us, and we somehow lost a week due to consolidation.
So, I've just been hanging out with superheroes this week. After The CW brought the casts of Arrow and The Flash to the Television Critics Association, Marvel had their chance with a panel for Agent Carter. After the panel and stayed for evening cocktails, and members of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. stopped by for drinks too. I got to speak with producer Jeph Loeb and actor James D'Arcy (Jarvis on Agent Carter) but had to share Dominic Cooper, Hayley Atwell and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Ming-Na Wen with a few of my colleagues.
ABC/Image Group LA The Agent Carter TCA Panel
When millions of dollars get put into a movie, we like to be able to tell; while we still may have loved Guardians of the Galaxy if it had been made in James Gunn's basement with puppets and a live Motown band, it wouldn't have been quite the same. We got a great finished product from the ground up. Yet the industry often notices only half of that equation: while no truly great movies have been made from a bad script, how many times have bad scripts had millions of dollars pumped into them? Mega-budgets cover everything from marketing to meetings over cocktails...and somewhere in there are music and sound. Even though a movie may be dumb and we may be furious at what we are seeing onscreen, part of the reason the screen evokes any response at all is what we are hearing. So let's seek solace in the warm corner that is the soundtrack, while the deep, dark murky caves of this year's letdown films close in around us. Here are some of the greatest soundtracks from some of the not-so-great movies of the year.More >>
Geek & Sundry Somehow, this show continues to not make this list. But Wil Wheaton's smug face does.
RPGs are a somewhat unique medium in that there is very little agreement about the good and the bad. For everyone that hates a setting or system, there are others who completely love it and lull their newborns to sleep by reading to them from the main rulebook. Every RPG system seems to appeal to someone, even if it's just a small group of people with very similar ideas on how fantasy swords should work. Also, RPG fans occasionally seem to hate buying things. Entire enclaves exist on the web of angry roleplayers that believe all RPG development stopped after their favorite edition, claiming everything that came afterward was nothing but a money grab.
Personally, I disagree. I like RPGs and find them inexpensive, good returns for value and don't mind getting new editions after 5 years or more. I am generally well-disposed to new releases and assume someone, somewhere, will like them. One only needs to go to a gaming convention and find that one guy in the corner running his favorite RPG from 1986 to confirm that there is some truth to this. However, this isn't to say that all is roses and honey in the RPG world. Every year there are things that are bad, and things that just aren't good. Read on for the 9 worst moments in RPGs this past year.More >>
The CW The Flash and Arrow on The CW
For the last week I've been at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, and I'll compile my twice-annual list of the 10 nerdiest moments from TCA. However, when the CW put on a joint panel for The Flash and Arrow, I couldn't wait to write about it. 16 people sat in two rows on the stage, including the Prison Break reunion of Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell as Captain Cold and Heat Wave, Victor Garber and Robbie Amell sitting in separate chairs, Brandon Routh representing what you already now know as a potential Atom spinoff, and Matt Nable representing Arrow's Ra's al Ghul. The leads of both shows were there, including Katie Cassidy, Grant Gustin, Tom Cavanagh and John Barrowman, but as you can imagine, not everybody had breaking news to reveal.More >>
Image Comics is the publisher of such titles you've probably heard of such as Spawn, Saga, and a little something even non-fans are probably familiar with called The Walking Dead. Their third annual ImageEXPO, at which they announced all their cool new stuff coming out this year was held in San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts this past Thursday, January 8, 2015. Here are some of the highlights!
2014 was the worst year in videogames since the modern HD era began. Think about it: how many truly original, amazing experiences did you have with controller in hand? I'll tell you. While Sunset Overdrive was a blast, and the new COD pretty good, and ditto Forza Horizon 2, most of the best moments in gaming came from "definitive," and/or "ultimate" editions of previously released titles from the prior generation: The Last of Us, Tomb Raider, Diablo III, and, the best of all, GTA V.
The closest we have to a new experience was P.T., the terrifying demo from Hideo Kojima to introduce Silent Hills, which only takes twenty minutes to finish. Tops. (Here's one more: Telltale Games Tales From the Borderlands ep1 was a fun, hilarious three hours.) Everything else ran the gamut from massively disappointing, meh, or just plain broken.
Here are the worst games of the year...More >>