A Kickstarter Tale of Woe

Kickstarter is pretty much a phenomenon right now and I know a lot of my friends have used it. I myself have only used it once but from what I have seen and understand is that there is a general rule of thumb and that is nothing is ever on time.

I have partaken in the Call of Cthulhu 7th Ed Kickstarter in 2013 and what was to be released in 2014 is now heading towards roughly Halloween this year. From what I understand there was lots of issues and Chaosium almost going under, followed by changes in management to help get the company back where is should and now being run by Moon Design.

As my first foray into the Kickstarting realm I cannot help but feel soured on the experience. I get that not all of them are like that but they have a tendency to always be a bit late and that is fair to an extent.

Shit happens as they say, artists get sick, ideas change and the project evolves with it potentially running wild. I’m pretty sure many of you can relate with your own experiences. I think the key to any Kickstarter is communication.

It’s disappointing as a consumer to have to wait for something your so excited about, especially something you paid for already but it’s even more bearable when you have an idea of how things are going. I know from the Call of Cthulhu 7th Ed that updates have been all over the play from frequent to non frequent and all the way back to frequent.

I have nothing against Chaosium nor the product. I know from managing a huge budget project that it’s frakking hard and I applaud that they are working extra hard these days on more updates and giving hope to all involved that this project will see the light of day. Other projects on the other hand sometimes don’t end in a Happily Ever After and if you have been a part of that then you have my sympathies.

I don’t think this will be my sole Kickstart but I am a bit more weary of the process but I think know now to keep my expectations lower and having the mindset to tack on extra time that the experience will be a lot better.

If you have had any rough Kickstarter experiences, let us know.

 

D&D Next Release Details

After an exhaustive public playtest, the time is nearly upon us! The new edition of D&D,  simply titled Dungeons and Dragons, is hitting shelves this summer into fall. The folks over at Dread Gazebo put together a great little synopsis of what that’s going to look like and when it’ll arrive.  It’ll start with the Starter Set in July, followed by the Player’s Handbook in August (some of which will be available at GenCon), then the Monster Manual in September, and finally the Dungeon Master’s Guide in November.

The books look really slick and while I’ve personally moved on to running a variety of other RPGs for the past number of years since D&D 4e’s release, I’m excited to see what the final product looks like and perhaps get a game started.

Click the link to get more details and see the fancy new covers:

Everything To Know About Upcoming D&D 5e Releases

 

Square Enix and the product of languishing delivery

Well Square Enix seems to have burned the biscuits of many fans who have ordered their fancy collectors edition of Lightning Returns from their site. Now when ordered you can select your delivery method from standard to expedited. Many clients have ordered as early as January and have in turn received confirmation of shipment however this is where things are hitting a snag. Now for those who have standard shipment you are pretty much in a wait and see mode but for those who actually have a tracking number some have seen there games stuck in one location for upwards to 5 days. Now is this a problem on the carrier side, Square Enix or their apparent store middlemen Digital River.

I for one ordered the collectors edition at the beginning of February and indeed got my confirmation that it was shipped. On their site it warns that the game may not make it for launch day which isn’t so bad. I can live with that without amping up my nerd rage but I can see why many are very angry at this point especially the ones who ordered well before I did.

From reading the forums Square is being completely unresponsive aside from their moderator asking to contact their customer support who will then send you to call Digital River because it’s not their problem (they only make the games…duhhh), then Digital River will A) tell you that your item rather then be there in days will take 4-6 weeks to arrive despite their previous shipping information they provided. That would mean a game you should be playing in mid February will be playable in your home at beginning to mid march.

I personally bought the collectors edition from them because it was the most robust edition. It had the watch, art book, game, dlc, etc compared to other retailers who just had extra dlc. With this experience however I like many others will simply have to look elsewhere.

I think in this instance though Square Enix needs to man up and just say hey, we f***ed up, sorry and we’ll do better. What happened to simple customer service. Oh and if you want to see drama unfold, feel free to hit up the North American Square Enix page.

Geek-centric Valentines Cards

If your looking for some awesome Valentines cards for that special someone then look no further then these two places.

First up we have Bioware who have some nifty Mass Effect themed cards as well as a few other interesting ones. You can get those here

Next we have vintage Batman 66 Valentines cards for you. These are simply awesome!!! If your looking for a little cheese to go on that card then these are the ones. My personal favorite that I used myself this year to much success is the Bat Computer one.

batman-valentines-1966-batcomputer

RPG Hub Movie Review: Europa Report

I love Netflix for certain things. The ease of which I can see movies, all the classics, not having to go the the video store but also because I have the chance to discover new things. Sometimes the best movies that you see are the ones you just pick out at random and Europa Report is one of them.

Europa Report is about a group of astronauts who are on a mission to Jupiters moon Europa to find signs of life. The premise is nothing particularly new mind you but it’s more in the presentation that reels you in.

The movie is filmed in a sort of found footage mixed in with standard style. Think of it more as a hybrid. You may be doing some eye rolling about now when you hear “found footage” but hear me out, it’s actually very well done and not in an overly exploitative way.

When I first started watching the first thing I remarked was that this seemed higher quality then usual for a movie I never even heard of.  I almost thought I had missed a gem in seeing this in the cinema. The found footage scenes I mentioned are all the camera’s on the ship or on the astronauts themselves. It makes sense and you never feel that they are carrying around camera’s “just because”. Their primary use is to keep the flow of the movie. Most of the camera’s for the found footage are all fixed so you don’t have the picture jumping around everywhere. This is a bit of a blessing as there is nothing more irritating then a shaky camera for an hour and a half. However I think some of the best shot scenery are those showing jupiter and Europa in a panoramic view. Beautiful work done depicting the scenery.

Tensions build as the movie progresses as there is more then meets the eye going on Europa. We all know from the beginning of the movie that something tragic happened but we slowly get to see how things ended up they way they did which I always find fun. Sometimes the best part is the journey and Europa does a great job of that.

All the characters are well developed and they all get to have their moment in the movie. I appreciate when they can make a movie like that and take time to make everyone important in some way as to not only help the movie progress but to be that much more involving. The acting by all  is very good.

The climax was rather predictable after a certain point which was a little bit disappointing. I don’t want to spoil it for everyone but I had a feeling that once we got that high note, it fell kind of flat. You just have that “ah well….” sensation. Maybe I was wanting to be more surprised by what they had found. Either way it doesn’t take anything away from the movie as a whole.

So if your looking to fill in some time during your night with a fun sci-fi movie then Europa Report is your next stop. It’s got good acting, a good story and may just surprise you. If anything it will make you wonder why you haven’t seen this sooner.

My Life with OCD

Today is Bell’s Let’s Talk day bringing awareness to Mental Illness so I thought I would take a moment to talk about my experience first hand dealing with it everyday.

To start let’s get this over with quickly, I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. For those who may now know this is considered an anxiety disorder where you have intrusive thoughts, ideas, compulsions and to find relief you develop rituals to handle them. Sounds kind of strange right but that’s the nature of it.

It can be debilitating at times and has certainly affected my life more as an adult then when I was young. As I child I experienced it in a much more mild form. For me it was making my bed three times before sleeping otherwise something awful would happen. I know that it was silly but I couldn’t help it. If I didn’t do it then I couldn’t rest properly until I made that bed three times.

Now that was not so bad when I think about it now. Soon it would develop into other everyday habits. Checking a lock multiple times. Re-reading paragraphs in books. I used to LOVE reading when I was younger. My friends and I used to play Dungeons and Dragons. In fact we occasionally still do but my experience was eventually muddled as the books I used to love reading were beginning to be unreadable with my rituals of re-reading paragraphs. And for what? I wouldn’t get into an accident, a loved one wouldn’t die and other things highly implausible. I just had to repeat actions over and over.

But I didn’t understand at the time what was happening or how to approach it. I just grew accustomed to it and continued onward. It seemed to soften as time went on and then came adulthood. I still had rituals but they became so engrained into my everyday life it all seemed so normal.

Eventually like all adults we have more responsibilities and as such stress increases. My OCD eventually increased. I had experienced two depressions and during my second depression my OCD went wildly out of control. I didn’t know what to do. In fact I didn’t know what to say. How do you tell people you are having absurd thoughts and that you perform rituals to keep things under control.

Luckily during my worse period I had my wife by my side. Obviously this took a toll on all of us at home. In fact I would say it took a toll with everyone to some degree as I became more reclusive. It finally came to a head when I wanted to end things. I knew I needed help and I had to find it.

I managed to find a therapist who was able to help me understand what OCD was and how I could not only keep it under control but fight it off. But let me make it clear that in my case there is no way that it will ever completely go away. I need to take constant medication to bring it under control and I have a set of tools  as I would like to call it in dealing with any obsessions / compulsions when they do come up.

Today I am in a better place. I have had to make a lot of changes to get me on a healthier path. I changed professions for one.

While I don’t make as much money as I used to the pressures are not there anymore that would put me in a place where I could lapse back into a depression or trigger my condition any worse then it is. It has the double edged sword mind you of now making ends meat but were not that bad off and if I look at all the positives, they sure outweigh the negatives.

I also started bringing things I used to love back into my life like reading. I still have problems but I have knocked off a few novels so go progress!

I have also been focusing on improving personal relationships by trying to bring down the walls. After my OCD went overboard I had built up such a defense system of guilt and shame that I blocked people out. As time has gone on and things are better I have been trying as best I can to get back to loving life and enjoying amazing experiences with those around. I’ve made new friends and now taking time to appreciate it all.

My disorder is a daily struggle even under the best conditions but I count myself lucky to have those who are around me. I have learned a lot about who I am through this process and to appreciate all the little things in life but most of all I wanted to let people know today by letting them past my walls that they are not alone.

Millions around the world experience problems even more complicated then my own. Maybe you are one of them but know that you do not stand alone. There is help out there and people you can turn to. Don’t silence your voice. Talk

#BellLetsTalk

RPG Hub Movie Review: Rob Zombie’s Halloween

We all know the John Carpenter’s classic Halloween. There have been many movies made in the franchise which have been both good and outright terrible but the mythos of Michael Myers has lived on. However after the Halloween: Resurrection movie did…not so well, a new direction was called for and in came Rob Zombie. Yeah I know right? You may remember two of Zombie’s other works, House of 1000 Corpses and it’s sequel The Devil’s Rejects. We will get to those another time so let’s just talk Halloween.

The story of Zombie’s version of Halloween is not entirely different from what was already established by Carpenter. Michael kills when he is young, then he is institutionalized, then escapes, kills some more and voila. The only difference is that this version is a little more gritty and more dark. This is not a bad thing mind you but Zombie has tendency in all his movies to make everyone seem like raving hillbillies.

This is how we are introduced to Michael as he is in a rather dysfunctional family who has a father being a mega drunk douche that even hits on his own daughter and then the polar opposite in his mother who by the way works as a stripper. This somehow is all a catalyst to the killer Michael is to become. There are some elements which were somewhat intriguing in that he liked to wear masks when younger and even made masks for himself in the institution. All of this likely a way for him to protect himself. Once he escapes it’s slasher fest right till the end.

There seems to be three schools of thought when it comes to Halloween. Those who want a more rationalized Michael that can be explained, those who want a supernatural version and those who simply want him to be left unexplained. Zombie seem’s to take a middle ground between all these aspects.  As mentioned we are to somehow think his childhood may have played a role but we are always left wondering if that is the simple answer. Later as the movie progresses though Micheal is put through the wringer so to speak by being stabbed, shot in the body twice and a glazing head shot. None of course kills him. So does this mean there is something supernatural to him as well? Maybe he is just really fucking lucky.

One of the biggest logical drawbacks to the movie is Michael himself. We are to believe a child who loved the candy so to speak ended up a 7ft tall muscular power house when he showed no inclinations for physical activity whatsoever. It may not seem like a big deal but with the more grounded  / realistic approach that Zombie seem’s to be going for, it breaks any credibility he had going for him.

Though it may seem like I am griping a lot about the movie, Halloween is a fun viewing. The action is almost constant, Michael as a character is extremely imposing and the supporting cast of characters are all played quite well. Sheri Moon Zombie plays a sympathetic mother whose family is butchered but still has love for the child who committed those crimes.  Malcolm McDowell plays a new twist on Dr Loomis who is a bit a prick and is more out for himself then helping Michael.

I think with how convoluted the Halloween franchise had become I was glad they opted to do a reboot. I am just not sure that this is the version I would want future sequels to but I also cannot help but think it was still very enjoyable to watch. Sometimes that is the thing when classics are remade and that is we are afraid of change. Zombie has proven he can make a good horror movie but I would like to see him try newer elements then rehash similar themes from his previous movies.

RPG Hub Movie Review: The Innkeepers

This is one of those movies that I first discovered in the video store. It had that intriguing cover and an interesting story. But despite all that I kept getting other movies but it was always on my hit list. So when I got my first free month of netflix I managed to find it and voila, it was time to see this movie and boy was I glad I ever did.

The Innkeepers follows Claire and Luke as they spend the final few days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn before it closes. They not only work they but are also trying to investigate the potential haunting by a famous spirit named Madeline O’Malley. All they need is that one big break for them to prove her ghosts existence. The concept is typical for a ghost story but with the small town feel and charm of the building, it really works.

The pace of the movie is slow as you begin to learn more about the building and Madeline but there is always something going on so you never feel like the movie drags. What helps is that both Luke and Claire are very witty and enjoyable characters. You really feel like you could hang out with them. They are very down to earth with no extraordinary quirks and I think that works for them and the movie as you don’t have to digest some complex character along with the story. You really are here for the enjoyment of the movie. There are a few other characters but they have their purpose and like Luke and Claire have nothing that takes your attention away from what is happening.

As things begin to develop you do encounter some scares but nothing truly gory or grotesque. The scariness is purely atmospheric and the ghosts you see are nothing to cringe at. Everything is done is such a way that it makes this movie extremely accessible for those who don”t want to be grossed out. This is very rare nowadays where shock value seems to always be a priority.

The Innkeepers is one of those movies that I believe will stand the test of time. It doesn’t try to shock people and it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. It just tells a damn good story that you can munch on your popcorn to. I highly recommend that you rent this on any given day and give it a whirl. You will not be disappointed.