9 "Generic" Lego Minifigures Obviously Based on Real People

Monday, June 15, 2015 at 5:00 am


If I say the word "Lego," odds are the first words that cross your mind will be "bricks", "studs", or "little yellow people."

It's those last ones that drive a lot of Lego enthusiasts, myself included. Being able to build any world your imagination can dream of is great, but even the most fantastic creations are a little bit lonely without those tiny, ever-smiling faces to populate them.

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The 10 Things I Noticed Most at Hello Kitty's Supercute Friendship Festival

Friday, June 12, 2015 at 5:00 am


Not quite a concert and not quite a convention, Hello Kitty's Supercute Friendship Festival hit Los Angeles last night. It was, shall we say, a unique experience. Like many other male humans on this planet, I have found myself drawn into this fandom by my wife, and it still feels like being on an alien planet at times.

I don't know that it's all any less weird to me after last night - but I whipped up a li'l list of the things I think I managed to figure out.

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The 17 Best Pop-Culture Dinosaur Cameos

Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 5:00 am


Obviously dinosaur buffs glory in such primordial favorites as The Lost World, King Kong, The Valley of Gwangi, One Million Years B.C. and the Jurassic Park movies. But there's another, hardcore level of dino-nerdom for whom even a scrap of stock footage on a sitcom, even an allegorical dinosaur in a political cartoon, indeed, even the little green brontosaurus on the sign of a Sinclair gas station is a sweet breath of muggy Mesozoic air. Such scavengers may even find ourselves watching for the nearly subliminal dinosaurs in the opening of The Big Bang Theory.

So, with Jurassic World opening, let's acknowledge a few of the dinosaurs who turned up for just a scene, or maybe even just a tantalizing glimpse, in movies - or TV shows, or comics, or whatever - that weren't really properly of the dinosaur genre:

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Via an Ex-Employee, 7 Things You Didn't Know About Working at a Major Theme Park

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 5:00 am

Sam Churchill

Ah, Southern California! If you're known for one thing that's not traffic, medical marijuana, avocados, earthquakes, and a drought that will wipe us off the face of the earth in the next two years, its theme parks! Chances are, if you've lived in Southern California, you or someone you know has worked at a theme park at least once in their life time. Myself, I spent three long years behind their artificial walls of fun. (no, not THAT major theme park in SoCal. The other one. ...no, the OTHER one) When I came in, I was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to work. By the time I left, people were cheering like I was Steve McQueen at the end of The Great Escape. I learned and experienced a lot of crazy things in my time there, and I thought I'd share them with you.

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8 Fantasy Book Series You Should Check out if You Love Game of Thrones

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 5:00 am


George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire has taken the world by storm. The complex - and still unfinished - series of novels has earned high praise for its gritty (sick of that word yet?) and realistic portrayals of love (sex), war (blood) and political maneuverings (backstabbing). R. R. Martin's writing style adopts a no-holds-barred approach that is as far a cry from R. R. Tolkien's work as you could imagine. And yet, much like the whole of the fantasy genre, the dense continents of Westeros and Essos owe their genesis to Middle-earth, even if they present a much more cynical view of it.

Still, let's not forget who brought the Seven Kingdoms to the dance in the first place, as it goes without saying that Martin's genre-defying story would never have infected popular culture as it has without the fantastic HBO adaptation that is currently in the midst of its fifth season. The premium show brings Martin's characters and complex plot to life in a long-form storytelling manner that even Peter Jackson's lengthy Lord of the Rings film trilogy could not approach, at least in terms of depth. Now, ordinary folks who otherwise wouldn't have been caught dead in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy section of their local bookstore can't get enough of the genre; if you weren't already a fantasy nerd, HBO's hit series has probably given you the itch, so why not scratch it?

Here are eight series you should give the time of day if you love Game of Thrones.

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4 Ways Sense8 Adeptly Reads the Minds of Genre Fans (and 4 Ways It Fails)

Monday, June 8, 2015 at 5:00 am


I'm always a little worried when one of my pop culture heroes puts out something new, particularly when their track record is mixed. I was late to J. Michael Straczynski's (henceforth known as JMS so I don't have to continuously have to check the spelling of his name) Babylon 5, discovering it during it's somewhat mediocre fifth season, but thankfully I was quickly filled in by bootlegged VHS tapes in time to fully appreciate the final episodes. While I can find little fault with the series, including the weaker entries, and I absolutely adore his work on Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, his other attempts at genre writing have been mixed. None of his Babylon 5 spin-offs have come close to capturing the magic of the series, Thor was one of the weaker films in the MCU, and while I've heard of Jeremiah, it never caught my interest. The Wachowski siblings have a similar place in my heart: I absolutely loved all three films in the Matrix series, regardless of their faults; V for Vendetta was incredible; Cloud Atlas was stunning, but just when I think it's safe to get excited for something new from them, I think back to Speed Racer.

Combining these three creative powerhouses could end up one of two ways: a science fiction producing Voltron, or a twisted three-person creative Brundlefly. The trailer of Sense8 was ambiguous at best. The only clues we're given are that eight people, scattered across the world, have some level of interconnected psychic power, abilities that allow them to interact with each other regardless of distance, and that they can draw upon the skills of their fellow psychics. It's a concept that all three writers are experienced with; JMS has covered telepaths very well in B5, and the concept of learning abilities instantly was a very important plot device in the Matrix, but can these plot devices carry an entire series? Let's find out...Mr. Wizard, I need everything you have on Sense8! Beware, possible spoilers ahead!

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7 Ways This Weekend's CatCon Is Your Fault

Friday, June 5, 2015 at 5:00 am

Screencap of Lil Bub's Big Show
Lil Bub will make an appearance at CatCon LA this weekend.
In some ways, cats and geeks go hand-in-hand. Cat-eared cosplay kids make anime conventions their homes away from home and Hello Kitty Con brought in oodles of fans last fall. Still, there aren't a lot of places where feline fans can get together and talk about Whiskers and Sylvester while waiting in line to catch a glimpse of Lil Bub.

This weekend, cat pals will have an event of their own when CatCon LA makes its debut. The brainchild of Susan Michals, a writer/producer and caretaker of a Maine Coon named Miss Kitty Pretty Girl, CatCon is a two-day gathering that will bring together fans with artists, filmmakers, authors and others who are as passionate about creativity as they are about their pets. The reasons it exists are probably because of you.

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The 10 Best Video Game Cinematic Trailers (for Terrible Games) of All Time

Thursday, June 4, 2015 at 5:30 am


Let's just get this out of the way at the top: you're not going to agree that all of the games on this list qualify as terrible, but for my purposes, they sure as hell are. In a world where Evolve gets a 9 out of 10 from a three-letter outlet that shall go unnamed, we need to reevaluate what it means for a game to suck.

In the modern gaming age, consumers spend a lot of money on this stuff, and in the modern reviewing age, outlets want to maintain relationships with distributors; essentially, seeing anything below an 8 on a well-regarded review channel should be seen as a failure by major developers. Anything below a 7 and you're starting to get into steaming pile territory.

The silver lining to the following particular turd-bombs (trademarked term) is that they arrived on the backs of stellar marketing campaigns, each of which were kicked off by incredible CGI cinematics that stand on their own in terms of quality despite the crappy finished product they were used to hawk. Here are the top ten...

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10 Reasons why the 2012 TMNT Cartoon Is the Best Version in all Media

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at 5:00 am


As a dyed in the shell Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan, I knew I wasn't going to like the 2014 movie reboot. Yet for some strange reason I wasn't frothing at the mouth in paroxysms of nerd rage over it. That reason is Nickelodeon's 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. Why should I waste my time with a bastardized movie when the perfect adaptation of TMNT is already on my TV?

It's not that I expected to love the current cartoon either. It had huge shoes to fill since the 2003 cartoon series was so great. The new turtles' three-toed elephant feet didn't fill me with confidence either, though having the same number of toes as fingers makes sense after the initial shock wears off.) But the new series won me over after just the pilot. Now it's become my preferred iteration of the TMNT; it's just a shame Playmates's toyline cuts so many corners or I'd be spending all my daily list income on it. If you've been ignoring it for superficial reasons, here are ten semi-SPOILERY reasons why you should give it a shot. If you only only experience one experience one version of the many varieties of TMNT, make it this one. (The original live-action movie is probably a better jumping on point for newbies because it's both excellent and a smaller time commitment, but work with me here.) It's in its third season now, but you'll marathon through the episodes quickly; I must warn you that the current TMNT series is as addictive to humans as pizza is to terrapin teenagers.

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The 15 Oddest Game Cabinets at Twin Galaxies' New Arcade and eSports Events Center

Monday, June 1, 2015 at 5:00 am


Yesterday, Topless Robot had the honor of being one of a select handful of media outlets invited to the launch of a new facility for Twin Galaxies - yes, the videogame records people you might remember from The King of Kong, if you weren't already familiar with them otherwise. Unfortunately, it isn't open to the general public on a regular basis at this time, but the massive facility in Banning, California (not far from the Cabazon dinosaur exhibit seen in Pee-wee's Big Adventure) will be playing host to major gaming events in the future, and has assembled a massive collection of arcade machines - not just video games, but an even more impressive collection of pinball games and other oddities.

We'll have video from the event later today (or as soon as I get it edited). In the meantime, however, allow me to present a handful of the strangest - and in some cases, most WRONG - cabinets and cabinet art on display.

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