The FANtastic Geek Gift Guide Nov25

The FANtastic Geek Gift Guide...

Christmas is coming, folks. And we know gift shopping can be a hassle. What to get your geek buddies that they don’t already to have? What to ask for because no one knows what to get you? We did a Gift Guide to Geek Art already, but thought you might be on the lookout for other ideas too. We did the research for you and have compiled a guide to satisfy every fan’s dream. For the Anime Enthusiast We know RWBY‘s not technically an anime because it’s American; calm down, folks! Calm down. Also, our Small-size editor’s wanted that Attack on Titan hoodie for a long time. Just sayin’. Attack on Titan Hoodie – $34.99 RWBY Ruby Figure – $34.95 Works of H. Miyazaki – $188.99 Crunchyroll Subscription – $6.95/month Princess Mononoke Art Print – $28 Eevee Earrings – $13.16 For the Tabletop Titan No one can understand why the board game organizer is so awesome unless they are a board gamer. Escape: The Curse of the Temple – $70 Dice Bag – $9.95 RPG Dice Set – $9.98 Dungeon Master Screen – $15 Board Game Organizer – $15-$50 King of Tokyo – $39.99 For the Comic Cavalier Marvel’s taking the Star Wars universe to great places… need we say more? Plus some other cool stuff. Star Wars Comics – $4.99 Inky Superhero Art – $30-$75 Superhero Fingerless Gloves – $25 Nimona Graphic Novel – $15.99 Ms. Marvel Comics – $2.99 DC Comics: A Visual History – $35 For the Fantasy Fiend That handmade Falkor, though! Lindsey Stirling album – $9.99 Elf Ear Cuffs – $27.75 The Name of the Wind – $10.79 Handmade Falkor – $131.83 The Grisha Trilogy – $36.53 Game of Thrones Dog Tag – $14.99 For the Sci-Fi Supporter The closest you can get...

Playing Video Games and Finding Community...

“Did you see that Darius pentakill last night?” If I was in an anime, my eyes would have popped out of my head. I was sitting at the table for Thanksgiving dinner, courtesy of my best friend Kyle and his extended family. The usual chatter was going on around us, but when the words “Darius” and “pentakill” reached our ears, we immediately turned to look at who was speaking. “Wait, what did you say?” my friend asked his 50-year-old aunt. Surely we had misheard her. She couldn’t possibly be talking about League of Legends, an online video game that both Kyle and I played regularly. “That Darius playing last night. He was amazing!” she repeated. Kyle and I looked at each other, dumbfounded, and then a grin worthy of Jake Peralta when Captain Holt does something particularly amazing on Brooklyn Nine-Nine spread across my face. She continued to explain that she was watching the e-sports 2015 League of Legends World Championships with her nephews because they were into it and she wanted to bond with them. (I believe the match she was referring to was the Flash Wolves vs. Origen quarter final, but I digress.) Go, Auntie Pam. Why are her words so shocking and delightful to me, a gamer in my late 20s? … Read the rest of this article on Christ and Pop...

Morality, League of Legends, and a God Who Didn’t Care...

I have never, I repeat, NEVER, found a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Oops, I mean, I have never played with a group of players with quite the level of negativity and hatred and bickering found in the League of Legends ranks. It. Is. A. Treat, ladies and gentlemen, with a capital ‘T’. If you can stomach the mental abuse via in-game chat, the game itself is very enjoyable and engaging (which stands to reason, otherwise who would put up with all the garbage that gets tossed at you by other players? Amirite?). When I first started playing League of Legends, I didn’t really have a problem with the raging, hating, unkind, unreasonable, idiotic, and any-other-negative-adjectives-you-care-to-throw-in people who found their way onto my team or the opposing team. That is to say, I was always able to stomach that side of the game relatively easily. I even found it quite amusing most times. For some people, it would bother them so much that they wouldn’t be able to play the game (and that’s fine. Not every game is for everyone). But I was able to enjoy League in spite of the negative community, especially since I had a great group of friends who I would regularly play with. If someone had asked me if I was a good person, I would have answered, “I’m not sure about ‘good,’ but I’m better than most.” However, I would also ridicule raging players, make fun of them, and insult them. Essentially, as soon as they made any kind of comment or did anything to show me they were a nincompoop, I would put in verbal shots whenever I got a chance because, after all, they deserved it, right? It’s not like they were going to...

Biting Bullets: LoL and Toxicity

I got yelled at the other day by a stranger. Full blown, at the top of the lungs yelled at. It was a dark and icy Winnipeg evening. I was driving home from my friend’s place and there came a point where I was yielding right onto a highway. As I waited, I saw a break in traffic and I thought I had plenty of time to merge. I misjudged the speed of an oncoming truck, though, and the driver had to slow down for me. I didn’t hear any squealing brakes or see any fishtailing, he just had to slow down a bit. We were approaching a red light so it’s not like he lost any time. But he honked and honked, drove up to the right side of my vehicle, and when he didn’t see me respond to his horn, backed up and drove around my other side, rolled down his window and let it loose. I looked over at his angry, yelling face, and I did not want to roll down my own window to fully hear whatever swears and insults he was shouting at me. “I think my anger towards you stems from your happiness with your own being.” I wanted to apologize. He was right, I had made a mistake. I had misjudged his speed. The roads were icy and maybe he had pumped his brakes or skidded a little, and that can be dangerous. But I was pretty sure if I rolled down my window in an attempt to apologize, I wouldn’t be able to get a word in before the light turned green. I would have had to shout to be heard, and “I’M SORRY!!” doesn’t sound very contrite when you’re yelling over the person you’re trying to apologize to. So I uncomfortably stared straight ahead, counting the long seconds until the light turned and I was able to drive off in relief. As I drove home, I realized the situation uncannily reminded me of League of Legends. My experiences in League are where my natural response (or lack of) came from. “Don’t feed the trolls,” the internet will tell you, and this is a habit I’ve picked up. I ignore the players who are angry at me. I call them jerks in my head for not understanding that I hadn’t meant to feed bot lane (i.e. die several times to the other team). It hadn’t been my intention to apparently ruin my jungler’s entire life by doing so. Sometimes the other player is just better, you know? It’s not always because I suck (and never because the Jinx yelling at me does, obviously. She’s Gold 2 and she never makes mistakes. She told me so herself). Ignoring the angry players doesn’t make it better, but at least it doesn’t make it worse. I can’t help turn that event with the angry driver over in my mind, though, wondering if I should have bitten the bullet, rolled down my window and attempted an apology. Maybe he had a bad day. Maybe he was just taking out other frustrations on me. Maybe if I burst out crying in front of him because he was yelling at me, he would have let me get out an “I-I-I’m sorry”? In a recent League of Legends match I played, I was jungling (running around the map killing creatures to level up while my teammates fight the enemy players) and made the mistake of starting to kill the dragon (a creature that gives the whole team gold and advantages when you kill it) at a poorly planned time. I thought only one enemy champion was nearby, but the entire opposing team was lying in wait. We were outnumbered. We died. We lost the dragon to the other team. Our Brand (Leaguers generally refer to teammates by their character names rather than their gamertags because who can keep track of those) was… well… “upset” was putting it mildly....

Teamwork for the win

The other day, I watched a professional League of Legends match while I was washing the dishes. I can’t remember exactly which teams were playing because I was focusing on the dishes, like a good husband. And one of the casters remarked how the team (I will call them Team Talent) with the big statistical advantage in the game was not guaranteed to win. “It’s a team game,” he said. I understood what he meant. Team Talent’s players were good enough to have gained a massive advantage in the early part of the game, where the ten players are spread out across the map and engaging in small skirmishes. But now the time for small fights in the game was coming to an end. The teams started to group and the  “small skirmishes” became full blown team fights. When I fall, I am not alone; my team is there to pick me back up. However, the team with the severe disadvantage (I’ll call them Team Underdog) was better at teamwork, and they knew it. They played it calm and patiently waited for their moment to strike. I am pretty sure the dishes took twice as long as normal for me that night. I watched Team Underdog walk along a knife’s edge. Just one mistake at this point would be enough for the other team to destroy them. Then Team Underdog suddenly struck as if they had finally found that crack in the armor they were looking for. In a moment the battlefield was a flurry of flashes. Of the ten players, only two came out alive, and barely. But they were on Team Underdog. With no one left to stop them, victory soon followed. As I finished the dishes, I thought about the caster’s words: “It’s...

Link doesn’t need a better plot...

As a female gamer, I feel like I’m scrutinized a lot. I don’t usually mention the fact that I’m a woman when I’m online gaming because a) I don’t think it should matter, b) if I do, and we lose, then the reason we lost MUST be because I’m a girl, and c) if I do and we win, I get a lot of attention and the guys in the lobby often start hitting on me. So I have to be good at every video game and every style to get approval, and even then it’s not the kind of approval I appreciate? I have to dominate at Halo to be considered a “real” gamer, even though that kid over there sucks just as much but it’s okay because he’s a boy? I’m not trying to whine here or say, “Woe is me, blah blah blah,” I’m just generally curious about this attitude. Gender is the chromosomes we got stuck with. It reminds me of when I hear people complaining about Nintendo and that they need to offer better plotlines in their games. “Link should talk.” “The story should be more interesting.” “Please kill Navi.” Ummm… no. Except maybe that last one. Here’s the thing, Legend of Zelda does what Legend of Zelda does best, which is interesting gameplay and puzzle solving. We’re not going to see intricate plotlines along the levels of a game like Mass Effect, because that’s not Nintendo’s strength. And remember when they did something drastically different with the release of Majora’s Mask, and so many fans complained? (Ironically, that is one of my favourite Zelda games, though I’d argue Nintendo was still playing to their strengths with that release. It was amazing.) Where am I going with this? I promise. Hang in there. Nintendo is in a whole different league...

Guild Wars is my sandwich...

In my journeys across the great, expansive world of the Internet, I have come to learn that community is ultimately what makes or breaks an online environment, whether it be in the context of an online game, a forum, or even an entire fandom. I’m a sucker for lame metaphors, and I’ve concocted a doozie to apply to such an examination as this; the online environment itself can be represented by a tasty sandwich, with its community represented as the cheese. Let me first offer an example centred on one of my all-time favourite online roleplaying games: Guild Wars 2. As a sandwich, I see this game as a big tasty reuben (Arguably my favourite sandwich! But not everyone likes them, so if you’re one of those people, just try to see things from my point of view for the sake of this little metaphor). It is a breathtaking beauty to behold, incomparably delectable, highly and unhealthily addictive, and undeniably one of humanity’s finest creations. The cheese is perfectly melted into the sandwich, in such a way that the two are indistinguishably unified and interpreted by the taste buds as one single delicious entity. I prefer communities where we can all move toward our collective betterment together. Now let’s turn things around and talk about the other side of the proverbial pancake. I cannot discuss online game communities without mentioning League of Legends, a game notorious for its unwelcoming, quick-to-anger community of players. And this, more than any other aspect, heavily detracts from new players’ enjoyment of the game. I mean, it really seems like an otherwise great game; I was a big fan of the DotA mod in Warcraft 3, and the similarities between the two are undeniable. I see League of Legends...

The battle of cute and deadly Mar27

The battle of cute and deadly

Tired, old Yoda was strolling along through the Dagobah swamp like nothing was wrong when suddenly Mega Gnar popped out of the mist and pummeled into Yoda with his great, big fist Yoda force-shoved him back, Gnar landed on his feet Gnar leapt away through the air as they both felt the heat of a lightning bolt crashing between them on the ground and Pikachu came tumbling through the air with the sound of “Pika!” he cried as he zapped Gnar away then “Kupo!” Mog the moogle chose to join in the fray for a moment there was silence, when from out of the fog sinking teeth into Mog’s ear was the Rabbit of Caerbannog Then River Tam, Skull the Troll, Reepicheep, Krtek the mole, Mogwai Gizmo, the Duck of Doom, May Chang’s panda and Rocket Raccoon shouted “for Narnia!” and “Bring the pain!” and “I can kill you with my brain.” Killua Zoldyk sauntered in with a sigh dodging every strike like it was easy as pie Gizmo tried with a leap to jump on his head Gnar was standing by a tree and looking kinda fed Nibbler toddled in, confusion on his face Skull the Troll aimed to smash his head in with a mace Then Nibbler bared his teeth, they were ready to rend And he gobbled up the group entirely. So satisfied. The...

Pi Day @ Geekdom House Mar16

Pi Day @ Geekdom House...

Once a year, nerds and geeks alike gather around the fireplace to celebrate Pi Day with, well, pie. We did the same because, you know, we’re geeks too. Our goal was to have a meal with a variety of pi-es, the more creative the better. We capped the evening off with everyone’s favourite pi-e-shaped game. The Appetizer: Pi-neapple Spears [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”6″ gal_title=”Pi-Day 2015 Appetizers”] The Main Course: Pizza Pi-es and Shepherd Book’s Pi-e [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”8″ gal_title=”Pi-Day 2015 Main Course”] For Dessert: Butter Tarts, Rice Krispie Chocolate Fruit Pi-e (Commander Alli made it), Chocolate Pi-e, and of course Apple Pi-e [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”9″ gal_title=”Pi-Day 2015 Dessert”] The Entertainment: Trivial Pursuit [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”10″ gal_title=”Pi-Day 2015 Games”] We did modify the game a bit. Someone brought a Doctor Who version of Trivial Pursuit cards; we added these to the 1981 version of Trivial Pursuit, which well, pre-dated all but two of us. All the “Roll Again” squares on this 1981 version of the game became Doctor Who trivia. Most of the Doctor Who trivia was near impossible for anyone but the die-hard Whovians (although one question in particular seemed horribly easy). THE ANSWER WAS THE NAME OF THE CATEGORY. (Category: Time Lords. Question: What race are the Rani, the Monk and the Valeyard? Answer: Time Lords.) Needless to say, they got it right. What did you do for Pi-e Day this year? By the way, the owner of the Teemo cup lost Trivial...

Bombs away, League

Hurling bombs is no way to win parents to your side. That’s what I feel in response to “Open Letter to Parents of League of Legends Players,” posted on the LoL forums. Look, I get it. I hate it when players quit early regardless of the reason, regardless of the game. There are few things more frustrating when you’re pushing your lane than the support disappearing like bacon for breakfast. But I have to ask, what is your end game? Do you really want to reach out to parents and have them acquiesce to your request and preserve the integrity of the game, or do you simply want to rally the chorus of players that already agrees with you? The way I read it, as both a gamer and a parent, I feel like it was the latter and the former was completely missed. If your child plays League of Legends, would it be possible to talk to them about when it is appropriate to start a match and when it is not? The points made are solid: Teaching kids responsibility for their actions, honouring their commitments, and recognizing that there are real people on the other end of the matrix. It is easy to see why Kotaku called the lessons “sensible,” and if you can get to the heart of the concern, I’d agree. But this letter is not going to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. There’s a reason why Gabe from Penny Arcade responded the way he did (with a rage that burns like a thousand suns). Suggesting that Gabe simply missed the point and dismissing his argument entirely with, “I was disappointed that they got it wrong, but oh well,” suggests that perhaps you are the one who missed...