Somewhere in its show-tuney middle, Disney's animated musical Frozen throws a bone to the young monster geeks in the audience. Elsa, the magically (and literally) frigid young Queen who can freeze fjords and cause climate change and sculpt ice palaces out of the brisk air with a few waves of her hand, conjures up a personal bodyguard: "Marshmallow," a formidable giant made of snow and ice.
He's cool, no pun intended, but only the latest in a long list of terrifying pop-culture monsters confined either to wintry seasons or chilly climes, or both. Some are just grotesque version of arctic or Antarctic fauna, or aliens comfortable at equivalent temperatures on their own planets. A few are actual snowmen, monstrous supernatural versions of Frosty, as in the low-rent 1997 horror favorite Jack Frost or the even creepier wholesome "family" film of the same title that came out a year later. You may recall that even the slow-witted "Abominable Snowman" that affectionately plagued Bugs Bunny melted when he got below timberline.
But most of what falls into the category of "Abominable Snowmen," sometimes known by their Himalayan name of Yeti, are shaggy, burly giants that haunt the cold places, and are generally quite content to be left the hell alone. They're rarely a danger to humans so long as we're sensible enough to stay where it's warm.
Here are 13 of pop culture's most memorable hyperborean horrors:More >>
YouTube's "Numberphile," Brady Haran, has it all figured out - if you play a perfect game with no mistakes, going first and dropping your token in the center spot assures victory every time. It's a mathematical certainty. He also runs the numbers of many other scenarios.
Maybe that's why the hideously ugly new version pictured above now has multiple methods of play?
Continue for the video proof...More >>
Jason K. Helton
There's nothing quite like a console launch to get gamers riled up. At the start of the 2013 holiday shopping season we're graced with not one but two major console launches: the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. This is great news for gamers, because having the two dominant console companies throw down at the same time means innovation, inventory and affordability. It also means that if you've been telling the kids no to the Wii U thus far, you won't have any problems finding one this holiday season.
In recent years, a large part of the excitement of console launches is seeing who can actually get one. With the wonders of Internet shopping, it was pretty easy to ensure that you got the console of your choice on launch day, provided you made the leap to pre-order before you actually knew the specs. Even still, it was possible for some time to ensure that your system would be arriving at your home on launch day, but where is the fun in that? Why sit in comfort at home waiting for the UPS truck to arrive with your bundle of electronic joy when you can instead freeze your collective asses off waiting in line in hopes of being one of those lucky, procrastinating (or poor) few who couldn't or wouldn't pre-order, who end up walking out victorious?
Really, though, doesn't EVERYBODY win when you do that?
(If the answer is "no," you just need more practice.)
In the game of Slash - or as it should be called, SLASH! AHHHHH-AH! - you draw cards with names of personalities from "History, Mythology, Literature, Film, TV, Comic Books, Video Games, I don't think we have any think specifically from poetry but I could be wrong." You then get to make your case as to who their best fictional partner would be, and why.
Five of the cards are left blank for you to add your own names, so if you really want to block your opponents, feel free to write in Tupper.Adam. Hypothetically. Because the game doesn't exist in mass-produced form yet...but it's very close to meeting its Kickstarter goal.
I know you've been playing this unofficially for years - but now you get to claim that it's a "game" with "rules" that isn't merely "boner fuel."
Pitch video after the jump.More >>
Since 2007, Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed franchise has redefined the third-person adventure game. For the uninitiated, the series thus far has told the tale of Desmond Miles, a bartender who is forced to explore the genetic memories of his ancestors using a device known as an Animus. Through this genetic wayback machine, he's explored the lives of several relatives who were members of the Assassin's Brotherhood through the Crusades, Renaissance, and more recently, Colonial America.
The latest in the series, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, deviates from this formula in that instead of controlling Miles in the real world, you instead are at the helm of an unnamed new hire at the mysterious entertainment arm of Abstergo Industries, tasked with exploring the now cloud-based genetic memories of Desmond, specifically the Pirate/Assassin Edward Kenway. With the forthcoming avalanche of new gaming systems on the horizon, Ubisoft has pulled out all the stops to make Assassin's Creed IV relevant for both current-gen gamers as well as those who've already pre-ordered their Xbox One and/or Playstation 4. The question is...did it work?More >>
Back in 2009, I read all the raves reviews and scoured the message boards in excitement for Batman's big intro on the current generation of consoles, Batman: Arkham Asylum from developer Rocksteady. Like most, I am a fan of the caped crusader. Further, I love Batman: The Animated Series which the Arkham games shares DNA: the writers, the indispensable Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman, Mark Hamill as the Joker and an art style that borrows heavily from the Burton films.
I was thrilled at the opening of Asylum. Batman is escorting Joker into the asylum, but the Bat knows something is up. "It was too easy," he mutters. In the first few minutes, all the player does is walk Batman down long hallways. Simple, yet with Paul Dini's writing brought to life by Conroy and Hamill's verbal sparring I was enthralled. Then the gameplay took over. After about thirty minutes, I was still just beating up goons over and over with the square button to attack and triangle to counter. Make no mistake, the gameplay was tight, but I wasn't having any fun. Two years later Arkham City arrived, but only managed to keep me engaged for a few hours.
Looks like third time's the charm.More >>
You remember these right?
Role-playing games are a bit harder to get started on than some hobbies. You have to meet up in person, find a table, and go someplace where you won't get reported as a terrorist for talking about stabbing people for hours. There's also a fairly brutal life curve: when you are young it's hard to find places to play, but you have lots of time; when you get old(er) you have places to play, but little time to spare.
You also usually need to find at least three people to play with, which I have difficult at times. People move away, get jobs with weekend hours, and RPGs tend to be a hobby that people "grow out of." I have friends who have played in the same groups for decades, but I've also had at least three generations of gaming groups fall apart due to life pressures. Nothing dramatic, but more the sort of centrifugal force of family life and responsibilities that go with adulthood. Demographically, way more people enjoy things based on RPGs or products that grew out of RPGs (Magic the Gathering and Munchkin, for instance) than actually play the games anymore; this is despite the fact that it's easier to game now than ever. Forming a gaming group is hard work and there's no easy way to do it. But it can definitely be worth the effort and it can pay back ten times over with fun. So why not try it out?
Here are ten suggestions for ways of getting back into RPGs:
For the sake of those who don't read all the weekend comments - some of our regulars host an online game and are looking for new participants. [obligatory legal blah blah - this game is fan-hosted and maintained, and not officially connected to Voice Media Group in any capacity.]
Anything else on your mind? I would like to put one question out there: we currently do spoiler threads for Agents of SHIELD and The Walking Dead (and Doctor Who when it's on); one vocal community member has asked for American Horror Story to have one. I don't want to go overboard and do talkbacks for everything, but what say all of you about AHS...or anything else?
Video game cheat codes can make you never die, turn you invisible, or hand you magic weapons that never run out of ammo. Sometimes it's just as simple as giving you 27 extra lives in shit-fuck-hard Contra. Point is, they're meant to help you get ahead in some way. (Except for things like "Big Head Mode", which is freaking everywhere and quite possibly the lamest secret you can include in a game. Has anyone in history ever actually used and enjoyed a game's big head mode? It probably only takes the developers five minutes to toss it in and no one really gives a crap about it.)
Anyway, there are also the following, which aren't just lame, but actively terrible, like the developer who included them hates you and fun as well. Woe be unto you if you use codes like...
Bought a violent video game.
It was as a work expense.
Isn't that awesome?
OK, my Haikus suck and the game in question is Flying Wild Hog's Shadow Warrior reboot.
Seeing as how I have a little bit of time right now while it downloads, I may as well get a few things out of the way while I wait. I have two personal objectives with this list: to write it in one weekend, and to write it using no obscenities. Considering that (A) it usually takes me an entire week to to proofread, (B) I could give Denis Leary a run for his money, and (C) I have a head cold ... this final result should be interesting.More >>