In 2003 Cyan Worlds, creators of the mega-hit video game Myst, released Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. It was planned to me a truly cooperative MMO where players would help each other solve puzzles and continue the story begun in the five titles that made up the main series.
Sadly, it was not to be. In 2008 the game was taken off-line; lack of subscribers being the main reason sighted for its downfall.
My first memory of seeing Liv was on the poster for That Thing You Do, a musical comedy released in 1997, the year I turned 12. I remember thinking how sweet and cute she looked. I didn’t actually see the film until a few years later when it aired on Australian free-to-air TV, probably in ’98 or ’99.
Variant covers for comic book issues have been a staple of the industry for some time now. The first comic book to have a variant cover was 1986’s The Man of Steel #1. While there were technically variants before this, they were all due to small differences such as distributor logo. Man of Steel #1 was the first to receive variant artwork, which is what variants are mostly known for nowadays.
Variants played something of a not unsubstantial role in the “spectator boom” of comics in the 1990’s. There are a lot of pieces to the spectator boom puzzle which I won’t go into here, but if you’re interested you can read this great article by Michael McCallum on ComicBooked.com.
To give a brief history of the boom, people suddenly got the idea that buying a comic and holding on to it for 10, 20, or 50 years would eventually put their kids through university or pay off their house. Big firms such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times wrote articles about the possible future value of these once unpalatable items and so people started buying comics by the armful.
While I said in my previous postthat I didn’t actually mind Sonic Forces, there is no avoiding the fact that it just has not been a hit with the vast majority of Sonic The Hedgehog fans or gaming fans/ professionals in general. This has resulted in a lot of people asking “what’s next” for the Sonic franchise, myself included.
In my reading of various fans opinions of what the next move for Sonic could be I came across several incredibly interesting videos by fans Billiam and TheKazeblade on YouTube. While all of their videos are well worth a watch, they made two points that really struck out at me;
Sonic is – and has always been – reactionary. (Billiam)
The Sonic franchise is now so fractured that the brand identity is at risk of becoming completely obscured. (TheKazeblade)
Billiam and TheKazeblade were making their points in regards to gameplay decisions and designs throughout the Sonic franchise since (roughly) Sonic Adventure. Let’s take a look at those points a little more deeply.
Last night I finished the main story portion of Sonic Forces, and you know what? I rather enjoyed it!
Given the amount of negativity surrounding the game within the Sonic fan community I expected Forces to be at best another Lost World, at worst another Sonic ‘06 (not that I’ve actually played that one). Instead, I found it to be somewhere between “above average” and “pretty good.” A solid 7 out of 10 I’d say.
If you play and/or collect any kind of collectible card game (CCG) chances are storage is an issue. After you start building up your collection into the thousands figuring out where to put them all will be one of your biggest concerns.
I’ve been playing Magic: The Gathering for around four years now and I’ve amassed a collection of 12,500+ cards. Throughout this time I’ve tried many different methods of storing them and while some worked, others didn’t. In this article I’ll go through what some of those were and how I found them.
Recently I had let go of my first love; comic books. I had been reading comics pretty much continuously for 24 years, most of that with a monthly standing order at my local comic store. Comics were my favourite hobby, my addiction. When something is that big a part of your life for that long a time it is very hard to let go. However, I was not prepared to give up on the comic book medium completely. No, siree! If monthly comics were no longer practical, then I was going to do the next best thing; I was going to move to collected editions!
However, it was not just a quick switch. I had to prepare! Remember, this was a 24 year habit I was moving away from. Certain “i”s had to be crossed and “t”s needed to be dotted. Here’s what I did to ready myself for the big change.
Something I used to collect pretty passionately was retro video games.
My focus was on Sega, particularly the Mega Drive (or “Genesis” to any Americans) and their last console, the Dreamcast. I also had a few Master System games that I could play via the Master Converter and tried the Saturn out for a little while but never really go on with it.
Anyway, at the height of my retro collecting I had six consoles (multiples of some) and around 150 games. It was a lot of fun playing the older games and the magazine Retro Gamerfulled my desire to get more.
If you do a bit of Googleing you’ll find there are heaps sites out there for collectors. However, it can be hard to distinguish the good for the, well, not so good. To help out with this I thought I’d talk about three of my favourite collector websites.
I’m not really a New Year’s Resolution kind of guy, but with so much changing in the last two to three months — being married, immigrating to the UK, moving into a new house, having to find a new job — it felt like 2018 is a good time to take stock of things and re-evaluate. So I had a think and came up with the following collection resolutions.
Quality Over Quantity
I recently read Collection Control: 10 Tips to Tame Your Hoard from GeekDad here on Medium. One part of the article really stood out to me;
3. Quality can be better than quantity
Hobbies can be expensive, as you undoubtedly know. When I first started collecting action figures as a teen, I bought what I could afford, which wasn’t much. However, as an adult, I realized I had a ton of lower cost figures. Sticking to my budget, I could never afford the stuff I really wanted, but here I was stuck with a multitude of cheaper figures. It was a big collection, but it was pretty lackluster. Sure, I could have saved my money, but I was an impulsive teen and didn’t have the patience. However, I was able to turn my numerous low-level collectibles into a few key pieces that are highlights of my collection. Would I rather have a handful of loose figures, or that dream mint-on-card collectible? I may have downsized, but I also upgraded.
I can’t believe that this has never occurred to me before! It is, of course, a very simple and obvious idea and yet it hadn’t hit me. One of the biggest issues I had when moving is packing and unpacking all the collectables, and don’t even get me started on the amount of things I have back home in Australia!
Not getting as many “little” things would make moving somewhat easier. For example, for the (approximately) £75 I spent on the set of five Doctor Strange Pop Vinyls I could have bought one high quality statue. While Pop Vinyls are cool and all, personally I’d prefer the statue. Thus, this is something I’m going to strive to do going forward; being more selective of what I spend my money on. Rather than buy a heap of cheap items I’ll endeavour to by better quality — and possibly more limited — items.
Keeping with the theme of being more selective, I’m going to double down on something I talked about in my Starting a New Collection article; having a collection focus. I feel that the breadth of items I’ve been picking up over my various collections is a bit too wide so I’m going to take another look at this and pair the focus down to just those things I’m really interested in. For example, I’ve already decided I’m not going to pick up the new Sonic the Hedgehog Pop Vinyls as I don’t particularly like the new designs (apart from Eggman which I will probably get) and already have the originals. Thus, that money can be put into something I really want to have in my collection, such as all those Archie Sonic comic back issues I need.
Enjoy What I Have
This may sound obvious, but something I really need to start doing is enjoying what I already have before buying more stuff. I’ve a bad habit of buying new graphic novels, books and games before I’ve read/played the ones I already have.
I’ve 156 games in my Steam library. Of these I’ve played 76, of those 76 I’ve completed only 57 (the stats on the page are a little out as some games I had to play off line to have then run properly, such as Bayonetta).
Of the 91 books I’ve catalogued, I’ve only read 31 of them. That’s 50 odd I’ve not yet picked up. I don’t even want to think about what the numbers are for graphic novels.
Going forward I’m going to try and finish at least 5 things before I buy any new ones. Yes, this may be hard given things such as Steam sales and the release of much anticipated books/ graphic novels — and I might give myself a pass when I finally bring my X Box One over to the UK from Australia and pick a few of the games I’ve missed over the last two years that I’m really keen to play— but in general I’ll try and not add to the collection until I’ve gone through at least a good portion of it.
So that’s my collector’s resolutions for 2018. How many will I stick too? Well, to be honest it depends on what cool stuff is released this year. Honestly, I think the last one is going to be the hardest to do as I get way too excited by new books, comics and games but I shall try my best.
Perhaps later in the year I’ll look back at this post and evaluate how I’ve done. Until then, wish me luck. 😀