Week of Geek: VFC Countdown Part 6, Just… so many Games!

by  | Category: Pop Culture, Super Fan
Bookmark and Share

Hello once again Geeklings.  We’re up to Part 6 of our Vaughan Fan Con Fandom Countdown.  Can you believe it?  The Con is THIS WEEKEND!  THIS SATURDAY!

So today I wanted to talk a bit about gaming, both the electronic and tabletop varieties.  Full disclosure: I don’t know much about this.  This is not one of the fandoms that I personally subscribe to, at least not in any really hardcore way.  But it is definitely a big part of nerd culture, so I think we should go over it.

As I discovered doing a bit of research, Board Games are not a new thing.  Like, at all.  They have literally been been around for thousands of years.  How many things can you name that have been around for thousands of years?  It seems our earliest ancestors liked to keep themselves amused, same as we do.  It’s a human condition.

Board games as we know them today first popped up around the turn of the 20th century.  One of the earliest versions of this was The Landlord’s Game.

You might know it by a different name: Monopoly.

Anyway, board games come in so many different varieties and versions that there are whole stores devoted to selling them.  From big, elaborate hours-long epics to small little card games you can play in a much shorter time, many a geek has gathered around a table with friends and family to throw down the dice, play their hand of cards, show off their vast knowledge of trivia and move their pieces over the cardboard battlefield.  It’s super fun, and I’d recommend it.

Speaking of Monopoly (cool segue), did you know it has also been made into a video game.  Wha?

By comparison to board games, Video Games are much, much, much newer.  We’re talking 1958, so almost 60 years ago.  Still seems like a long time for some, but compared to 5000 BCE, it’s a drop in the bucket of time.

And compared to the games we’re familiar with on X-Boxes and Playstations, the earliest versions were primitive with a capital ‘P’.  Regardless, that doesn’t make them any less ground breaking.

My thing was Super Nintendo.  My brothers had it when we were younger, so many a Super Mario or Duck Hunting game was played.

Now we have so many to choose from, and whole tournaments and afternoons are spent either solo or with favorite people playing video games.  And with the advent of the internet, you’re not limited by pesky things like geography and time zones to play with people around the world.  You can play games on your phones and tablets too, anywhere you want!  What an age we live in.

So, check ’em out!  We’ve got board games you can sign out and take home for your next game night.  We’ve got video games you can sign out and take home for your next game night.  And for more reading on the subject we got you covered too.

You can sample quite a few of these games this Saturday by checking out our gaming room on the 2nd floor and our Board Game Cafe on the 1st floor.  Amidst all the other fun stuff going on you can get a game in too *thumbs up*

Hope to see you guys Saturday!  Enjoy the rest of your week, and until next time, End of Line.

Don’t forget, Unleash Your Story is going down TOMORROW!

by  | Category: It's here!, What's Going On
Bookmark and Share

Click on the image for more details.  Hope to see you guys there!

Week of Geek: VFC Fandom Countdown Part 5, Marvel and DC Throwdown

by  | Category: Movie Madness, Pop Culture, Super Fan
Bookmark and Share

Hi again Geeklings!  We’re up to Part 5 of our Fandom Countdown, gearing up for our first Fan Con just a week from Saturday!  Are you getting excited?  I’m getting excited!

This week I thought I’d talk about 2 franchises which are currently battling it out for domination in film theatres across the globe, but before that they’ve been going head to head in comic book stores for decades.  One was the undeniable ground breaker, first publishing their most iconic character all the way back in 1938.  The other, though they only had their first publication the following year, is considered the cooler counterpart, really taking off in the 1960s and 1970s and allowing the political and social upheavals of the day to influence their work.  And now, one has been a clear groundbreaker in creating the practice of a ‘Cinematic Universe’ and the other is working really hard to play catch up… not always succeeding.

Yup, Marvel and DC Comics, and unlike the self-imposed animosity between Star Wars and Star Trek fans, these two guys actually have a legit rivalry going on, and have ever since they’ve existed.

Both companies have gone through name changes, different management and ups and downs as far as sales, but each one has managed to stay relevant through the years, though it’s often been a struggle to adapt to changing times.  But the one thing about these two that I really want to highlight (’cause let’s face it, we’d be here all day if I tried to summarize the full history of both of these franchises) is their Cinematic Universes.

Starting in 2008 (almost 10 years ago, which just dawned on me) with the release of Iron Man, the still new Marvel Studios kicked off a new trend.  They decided to create what we now call a Cinematic Universe, or Shared Universe, where all of their subsequent movies share characters and plot points and all of them culminate into bigger stories.  And they’ve been so successful at this (both with fans and critics) that other movie studios want in on it too, and are rushing to create their own cinematic universes, DC included (Warner Bros is the studio that holds the rights to their characters).  After a couple of false starts, DC and Warner Bros kicked off the DCEU, or DC Extended Universe, with Man of SteelThey’ve still done well financially, but critics and fans alike have responded anywhere from ‘Meh’ to ‘SO ANGRY!’… at least until Wonder Woman came along, and hope was renewed once more with fans.  Ironic considering how long it took to get Wonder Woman on the big screen, with all the ‘Can a woman headline a superhero film?’ nonsense.  So proven now!

This November the two companies go head-to-head once again with Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League.

Has the trend in cinematic universes changed movies for the better or worse?  Will DC be able to pull themselves up dazzling heights?  Time will tell… but for someone like me, it’s plenty captivating to watch.

So I’ve got lists for the MCU, both their movies and their TV shows (which are connected too).

And here’s the DCEU…

And though it’s not tied into their film series, I’m going to include DC’s current crop of interconnected TV shows, commonly known as the Arrowverse, because they’re really good…

Final note; If I can get a little personal here (yup, Aunty Ali’s gettin’ nostalgic!), there was one time when Marvel and DC actually threw down in the comics.  It’s happened, but this time in particular was a moment that stood out for me.  In the spring of 1996, when I was 14 years old, Marvel and DC released a four-part crossover event that I bought religiously from the tiny convenience store a couple blocks from my high school.  The comic series is kind of obscure nowadays, but it’s always stuck with me.  Basically you’ve got two gods of two universes who want to pit their champions against each other, so you end up with a bunch of battles.  We’ve got Batman vs Captain America, Superman vs the Hulk, Wonder Woman vs Storm, Lobo vs Wolverine, Aquaman vs The Sub-Mariner, Flash vs Quicksilver, etc.  It blew my fragile, teenaged, burgeoning fangirl mind!

So where do you stand Geeklings?  Marvel?  DC?  Both?  Post away in the comments section.  To the surprise of probably no one, I like both.  Just like with Star Wars and Star Trek YOU CAN’T MAKE ME CHOOSE!  MY LOVE KNOWS NO BOUNDS!

Stay tuned for more Fan Con news, don’t forget about Unleash Your Story this Saturday, and until next time, End of Line.

Programs to squee over: Fan Con, Unleash Your Story and Snap Tag Win!

by  | Category: What's Going On
Bookmark and Share

I’m just gonna leave these here…

Click on the images or stop by your local library for more info *thumbs up*

Week of Geek: VFC Fandom Countdown Part 4, our own British Invasion…

by  | Category: Must-Read Fiction, Pop Culture, Super Fan
Bookmark and Share

Hi again Geeklings!  It’s week four of our Fandom Countdown.  We’re getting psyched for Vaughan Fan Con, which is just over 2 weeks away!  Click here, here and here to see parts 1, 2 and 3.

For this week we’re heading back to the UK (after our look at Harry Potter a couple weeks back).  For fandoms we sometimes have to do a little globetrotting, like with Japan last week.  But since two massive fandoms are from the UK I figured it’d be good to put them together and mention a few other favorite British exports while we’re at it.

First, let’s talk about one of the longest-running Sci Fi franchises of the modern era.  It predates Star Wars, Star Trek, and just about every other Sci Fi series you can name.  It had a bumpy start, premiering just the day after the Kennedy Assassination, and was often held back a bit by its low budget.  But, 54 years later, we still long for the time and space adventures of our favorite madman (and now madwoman) with a box.

Yup, the Doctor is in!

First airing on November 23rd, 1963, Doctor Who was meant to be a family-friendly educational program, mixing Sci Fi with history for younger viewers.  But over the last few decades it has grown into so much more.  With several doctors giving it a fresh look every few years, the show’s been able to reinvent itself while still keeping to it’s tried and true tropes; an alien travels through time and space defeating evils and setting things right while taking a few companions along for the ride.

Who has always had it’s fans, but when the show was rebooted in 2005 for a new generation it acquired quite the following.  The new series’ mix of drama, comedy, big ideas, action, adventure and much cooler special effects hit the marks for many viewers.  And even this late in the game, the show is about to hit another first, by making the 14th incarnation (if you count the War Doctor) of the Doctor a woman.

So check out our Doctor Who DVDs, Blu Rays and Books (including Graphic Novels).  All of time and space… where will you go?

Now let’s switch gears a bit to one of the other big geeky British exports, one that, in some ways, helped to define fandom as we know it and is one of the oldest examples of such a thing.  Let’s stop by Baker Street for our favorite consulting detective.

First appearing in the novel A Study in Scarlet all the way back in 1886, Sherlock Holmes has become one of the most well-known characters in history… so much so that some people don’t realize that he is a work of fiction and just assume he’s a real person.  Regardless, for most people if you ask them ‘Name a detective’ odds are they’ll say ‘Sherlock Holmes’.

He was popular back in the 19th century as well, so much so that when author Arthur Conan Doyle tried to kill him off in “The Adventure of the Final Problem”, a short story published in The Strand Magazine in 1893, there was a public outcry.  Had that happened today the outcry would likely form on the internet.  Back then fans made their disappointment known by writing letters and cancelling their subscriptions (that may seem almost quaint by our standards but it did get the message across).  Doyle would bring the character back a few years later with “The Adventure of the Empty House” but would marvel at how upset people got over a fictional character.  Clearly the power of fan outrage was still a new thing to the Victorians.  Also a new thing?  Some of the earliest examples of what we now know as fanfiction was written about Holmes.

Holmes has appeared in so many movies, TV shows and books (not all written by Doyle, some by many authors) he could have his own library.  But some would argue that what helped got modern fans back into the die-hard love was the show Sherlock.  First airing in July of 2010, this modern, smart and powerful update of the Sherlock Holmes story has earned a huge following worldwide.  And fans have had to learn to be patient, because the show only has four seasons and a special, and each season is only 3 EPISODES LONG!  Some seasons also aired up to a couple of years apart!

As much as I love shorter TV seasons, that’s a little low even for me.  Why?!

Fans have been split on how good the fourth season was, little bit on the third season too, but all agree the first two seasons are great!  Check em’ out.  And I’ve got a list of recommended reads for Sherlock and mystery fans in general.

I’ve noticed, and I’m sure other fans have noticed too, that there’s some common elements between Sherlock and Doctor Who.  Though Sherlock tends to steer clear of fantastical elements, both shows feature a hero (or sort-of-hero in Sherlock’s case) who value intellect over a lot of other things.  Both praise loyalty, friendship, curiosity and the idea that the world (or galaxy) is much bigger than one would suspect at first glance.  And both shows have delightfully bonkers villains (Moriarty and The Master).  And they share writers and show-runners too, so there’s that.  Good times.

And to wrap up, here’s a couple of other BBC or English-produced shows you may want to take a look at; Merlin, Downton Abbey (not Sci Fi or Fantasy, but man, does it have its fans), Orphan Black and Being Human (there’s an English and an American version of that show).  Anything I’ve missed?  Post in the comments!

I’ll leave you guys with this fan-made video of The Doctor and Sherlock finally meeting!  Be sure to check out our other teen programs, including Unleash Your Story and the Teen Writer’s Club, as well as our new photo contest.  Stay tuned for more Fan Con news, and until next time, End of Line.