Street fair season in San Francisco kicked off this this past weekend with the 47th annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown. It tends to focus more on traditional Japanese culture - I arrived just as a Taiko drumming performance was ending - but it's also a precursor to one of my most favorite festivals, also happening in Japantown, later this summer: the J-POP SUMMIT Festival. As the name implies, J-POP is a celebration of all things related to Japanese pop culture - as they put it, "the latest in Japanese music, film, art, fashion, games, anime, food, as well as" (my personal favorite) "niche subcultures" -- and we got a preview in the form of an autograph and photo session with Ayumi Seto. She's a Harajuku Kawaii model turned Aomoji-kei fashion designer, and I spoke with her about just what Aomoji-kei fashion is, as well as about the nerdy influences in her new clothing line, "Aymmy in the batty girls," which takes most of its inspiration from American pop culture. (There are aliens and zombies involved.)
While I am certain - not - that most of you were either partying at Coachella or gettin' down to the MTV Movie Awards, many of your fellow readers were scaring up the usual mess o' stories that we didn't have room for last week. Compiled from the weekend thread with the help of Kyle LeClair, here are your weekend highlights of hilariousness.
Tipsters include: donnaryoko, Anyone00, SlyDante777, Dr.Gonzo82, Gallen_Dugall, Citrus_King, troi, andre_morelloMore >>
If you're a Community fan, you've already enjoyed two episodes featuring the gang playing Dungeons & Dragons. But if you don't listen to Community creator Dan Harmon's podcast, Harmontown, you don't know that you're missing weekly D&D sessions. Spencer Crittenden, who guested on the VCR game episode of Community, is Harmon's Dungeon Master. Yes, when you're as famous as Dan Harmon, you get your own personal Dungeon Master. Every podcast ends with Harmon, his cohosts and celebrity guests sitting down with Crittenden for a short campaign.
Future You Pictures Dan Harmon on the road in Harmontown
So you know he knows what he's talking about when he lays it down...More >>
Is it too obvious to note that in person, this star of the horror film Oculus is easy on the eyes?
If you're a fan of Katee Sackhoff, you already know that she can be tough. But you may never have seen her get so downright deranged as she does in this terror tale of a mirror that drives people mad, then reincarnates them as undead apparitions. Poor Karen Gillan may have thought the Doctor was a little mad, but her new onscreen mother redefines the term.
Fortunately, the real Sackhoff spared my life, and we had a nice conversation.More >>
Illustration by Matthew Steele
If you've left behind your rock star lifestyle of debauchery, you may recall when Guitar Hero was a huge phenomenon, followed quickly by the Rock Band Era. Including mobile spin-offs and exclusive titles, Guitar Hero currently has 18 games under its belt, and that number jumps to 24 when you include the DJ Hero and Band Hero series. Rock Band boasts a still-impressive 11 title catalogue, proving the rhythm - based model was not one to be tampered with. Both are undeniably great franchises, and deserve accolades for achieving remarkable sales, acquiring some tricky song licenses, and spreading the gaming community to a new audience. However, if we look back a few years, as we often love to do, we can see our old friend Donkey Kong, clapping his hands on the ground and making that strange hiccupping/laughing noise he makes. It's as if he's trying to say, "What about me? WHAT ABOUT ME?!" Poor guy. He asked me to prepare 6 reasons why his band's poster deserves to be on your ceiling instead of...who is that? Slash? Oh come on....More >>
First off, you might be wondering what Pathfinder is. Pathfinder is a tabletop RPG published by Paizo that is based on D&D and yet outsells D&D, at least according to some sources. This is pretty amazing considering the average person might not even know that table top RPGs besides D&D even exist. Before you fire up your defensive comments - I understand RPG sales numbers are murky. But nonetheless, Paizo went from being "the people who published the D&D magazines" (Dungeon and Dragon respectively) to "the people competing with D&D for the number one slot" in just a few years. Certainly I can believe that Pathfinder is outselling D&D at the moment since D&D is between editions and Pathfinder had some strong releases this summer. I personally play and enjoy Pathfinder, but it's far from perfect. Let's take a look at five of the best and five of the worst parts to Pathfinder.
The second episode of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead: Season Two was released earlier this month to the same critical acclaim that has become the norm for this post-apocalyptic series since the first episode of its premiere "season" came out nearly two years ago. The Walking Dead video game may not be as popular as its sister television series or even the comic it's based on, but in terms of character development alone it's of higher quality than both of them combined. The episodic series draws heavily on the adventure game genre, though it places a greater emphasis on character interaction and branching conversation than puzzle-solving. More importantly, it's one of the most engaging, immersive and downright effective entries in the entire medium of video gaming. While it's not a Triple A franchise in the same vein as Call of Duty, BioShock or Grand Theft Auto, The Walking Dead is hands down more effective at storytelling than all three.
Here are a few leaves other developers can take out of Telltale's book...More >>
One of many nerdy slot machines from last week's Vegas trip...
Before I get to the last-minute desk-clearing items, a guideline: I have been fishing several weekend comments out of the spam filter, so here's a heads up. If you only post a link, or a YouTube, with no commentary, and you do this multiple times, there is a better than average chance Livefyre will read that as spam. I will rescue everything I see, but I'm not on 24/7. Now you know. Here are some links:
-I almost never post about basketball, but this full-court 3D image-mapping is too cool not to share.
-When your plastic bags are in shreds, you have Bane cat's permission to meow.
-A Blackout is coming to Agents of SHIELD. No, not that kind - the show remains on the air.
-Taco Bell Crunchwrap pajamas are fun, but if you want them, it's already too late.
-Every WrestleMania match ever, ranked in order from 1-287.
-A guy I never heard of before will play Miles Dyson's kid in the new Terminator trilogy.
-Hardee's X-Men commercial implies women have to dumb themselves into men before they'll eat huge slabs of unhealthy crap. (I think they mean it the other way, but whatever.)
-Carmageddon ruins a childhood favorite song, much to the delight of parents who are sick of it.
-The spirit of Wesley Willis lives, and loves Sonic the Hedgehog.
-Adding virtual arms to the Oculus Rift.
-Suspended animation isn't just a jokey term for cancelled Pixar movies any more.
h/t to Gallen_Dugall and SlyDante777 for some of the above.
I'm not sure I'm done hating you yet, Dark Souls II, but I get you.
And if we're being completely honest, I also kind of love you.
After spending much of the last console generation avoiding the previous Souls games, I decided to give From Software's latest brutal RPG a try. And behind the often obtuse systems, occasionally baffling UI, and some initially rocky network performance, I found 8 ways to survive (and love) Dark Souls II.More >>
Luke's mother-in-law is former LAPD, a licensed property appraiser and a self-described crazy cat lady. None of which has prepared her for TR readers. All questions and answers are real.
I was treated to a Mexico vacation last week. My mom, who is turning 89 in May, decided that we needed a vacation in Puerto Vallarta. This was to be my 58th birthday present - gifts should arrive for April and her May birthday. For 30 years, my mom has been a very independent widow. She has traveled all over the US and Europe. This year, however she started to use a cane and did not want to try the trip alone. She needed a suitcase helper and I was it. This lady still volunteers 2 times a week at her police department (yep, it runs in the family).
So here is my take on the good and bad of our week in Puerto Vallarta. P.S. There's not much on night life - we were watching CNN by 10-11 p.m. every night.More >>