It’s Supernatural! (Highlights from Creation Con in Bellevue)

13 Apr

By Sandy Sheehan (Guest Post)
(Photos used with Permission and are copyright)

Creation Entertainment is best known for hosting and having exclusive guests from certain television shows, namely Xena, Warrior Princess and Star Trek. I have been to a handful of The Next Generation events back when they were young and they have come a long way from simply spotlighting one or two stars and showing a blooper reel. These days, they are focussing on Supernatural, Riverdale and Stranger (to name a few). This for-profit company differs from most other similar events and non-profit conventions such that it tours. Most casual fans are turned off by the high price of a pass, and it is tiered (the more you pay, the better access you get). Unlike non-profit conventions, the vendor area (at least at the Seattle conventions) are minuscule, except, for the huge tables full of photos to be signed and some fandom related items.

Since they currently have the monopoly on Sam and Dean Winchester from The CW’s Supernatural, I have been to the last two they had in Seattle, WA (technically it was Bellevue). Plenty of fans go this show multiple times, and the consensus is that Seattle was the best, mostly due to the smaller size.

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The Vintage Tempest’s First Days with Star Wars: Legion

11 Apr

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Fantasy Flight Games has a new miniature battle game for Star Wars fans to enjoy. Legion is different from Armada such that players are commanding soldiers than spaceships. The rules are the same; the dice are different coloured and length of time to play better than the space-faring cousin. It’s possible to play short skirmishes. I went to a demo at my nearby game store to get my Jedi on and instead went Sith!

I am impressed with the plastic figures which come in the base set. Vader and Luke command their respective forces, and the bits include barriers for the Stormtroopers or Rebel Forces to hide behind. With no surprise, since laser blasts are guided by the roll of an eight-sided dice, neither can hit the broad side of a barn. The rules are nice and simple. Those who have played Armada know how this game works. Combat moves fast.

As for how much larger these battles can get will depend on expansion products offered. Prop packs to recreate battles on other planets exist, and for the adventurous modeler, Mos Eisley can be recreated.

With only two major factions offered in the main box, the enjoyability comes in how many times can Vader lay the smack down on Luke. I normally side with the forces of good, but to know how powerful Vader is requires looking at this character translates into gaming. The abilities are by no means unique. For Vader, he has “Master of the Force,” which means one of the upgrade cards can be ready for use. Luke has “Jump.” Since both are Force users, they have “Immune: Pierce” to sidestep certain attacks and “Deflect” since they have lightsabers to bounce laser blasts.

This game is no different from the augmented reality cousin, “Trials of Leadership” in Star Wars: Jedi Challenge. The electronic version has you pointing your wand (lightsaber) to direct forces to strategic points to defeat the opponent. The miniatures have a lot of rules to consider and it is more turn-based to decide the outcome of the game. I enjoy this physical version more for the simple reason that calibration for the said stick is always fickle and the click from this stick feels off when compared to using measuring sticks to find out how far a team can go in the battlefield.

This game has potential when expansions come out. I’m looking forward to Hoth (Empire Strikes Back) and seeing AT-ATs enter the field. In the items offered now, the smaller AT-ST and RTs are available.

In what is available now, it’s possible to simulate the land fight from the Battle of Endor. No Ewoks are available yet, and as for whether Fantasy Flight Games will include them, fans will have to wait and see. Inevitable sets will include the Separatist Droid army commanded by Dooku, the Clone Troopers with Yoda and the First Order with either Kylo Ren; General Hux; Captain Phasma in command. The latter can be fun and perhaps this time, Phasma will not get her butt kicked. She is an embarrassment in the films.

For diehards, I can imagine a multi-table setup where players move from infantry battles to get to a waiting cruiser, and whoever captures that, moves on to a space-based fight in Armada. To play this sequence can be epic. However, to have all the miniatures needed to recreate it is a pricey investment. I’m sure the rules can be adapted so fans of LEGO Star Wars (the scale is almost the same) can use minifigs. It may be cheaper than buying Fantasy Flight’s products, and at least for me, it can be more fun than playing another TT Games licensed product.

Will There Be More Sailor Moon Musicals after Le Mouvement Final in North America?

9 Apr

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

North American or Japanese, musicals must be seen live. When it is not possible to attend either due to location or cost, sometimes the next best thing is to see it at the movies. Whether that’s with a remote broadcast or adaptation, these shows rarely disappoint. When paired with a pop culture phenomenon, especially Sailor Moon, visions of New York Radio City’s The Rockettes style performances come to mind. Just do not tell the Sailor Senshi. They may go on a tirade. This particular series is retelling the manga by Naoko Takeuchi and they been playing in Japan for over two decades. The story arcs are expanded upon and even goes into bold new directions. Not every Japanese pop culture enthusiast may know this subgenre. To keep track of everything from Japan means having both ears to the ground. Officially, only the soundtracks exist and bootleg videos are a grey area. The first overseas performance was in 2015 in Shanghai, and the North American premiere of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical—Le Mouvement Final, presented as a pre-recorded performance, started late last month. Screening made its way to Cineplex Theatres Canada last week.

I am very thankful CineLife Entertainment for overseeing an international distribution; more screenings are being added, and I suspect this video tour is still rolling out.

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Rev Up for Shawn’s Top 25 SNES Games (Part 1)

7 Apr

By Shawn Trommeshauser
(Dreaming in Digital)

Growing up in the 80’s, I have fond memories of every system — from the Intellivision to the PlayStation 4 — I played from back then to now. Whether you’re shooting ducks with a bright orange light gun to performing in a rock concert with a plastic drum set, video games have always tried to offer a safer and cheaper way to thrills to any experience you could imagine. This is the thing I love most about gaming, the advancements and imagination put into using the technology to its fullest. There is always a gimmick.

My absolute favorite era was the 90’s. The console wars were in full swing with Sega trying everything in their power to chip away at Nintendo’s market share in North America, and Sony getting ready to take the gaming world by storm with a 3D revolution. It was a time of desperate innovation and cutthroat competition that made the 90’s one of the most amazing times to be a gamer. Every new advance in technology was changing what could be done with a game design more than ever before. These advances were arriving faster with each year that passed.

From the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s Nintendo was king. Sega had their loyal fans, but their 8-bit console, the Master System, never took off in North America the way it did in Europe. Nintendo’s first venture into the video game Market revived an industry that had fallen apart under older companies such as Atari in the early 80’s and ended up giving them a virtual monopoly on console gaming in Canada and the US. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) hit the market like a tidal wave and it wasn’t long before everyone was using the name ‘Nintendo’ interchangeably with the term ‘video game’.

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