Friday, January 30, 2015

Kickstarter Board Game Projects: Conan & Trickerion – Legends of Illusion

I recently backed 2 very interesting Kickstarter games projects.

The first was the Conan board game.  You can still back the project here.

The second project I recently back was, Trickerion – Legends of Illusion. You can find that great looking game here

Both games look amazing, and you can still get behind both projects. Act now!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What disappointment looks like.

While many across the Northeast are in fact getting hit with a blizzard, here in Albany, NY, the predictions were way off and made for some very unhappy kids. I live with one and his sadness was without measure. School is open today. We barely have a dusting. And meteorologists are like the Sith as far as my kids are concerned...fooling them with their phantom menace of a storm that never came. 

One day I will have my revenge on the meteorologists!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Media To Help You Through The ThunderSnowPocalypse Of 2015

Here is an incomplete list of media to consider watching, reading, or playing while you are snowed in during the impending blizzard in the Northeast. The news keeps talking of "thundersnow," and "blizzard-cane" when referring to the 12-36 inch pile of frozen water you will likely find yourself under tomorrow. Don't get too caught up in the hype, though, it is just a snowstorm. At the same time, stay safe, don't drive unless you have to, and drink hot coco for 24-36 hours straight while spending time with family and friends.

In most cases the films listed were based on fantastic books. Feel free to read, too, instead of just watching a film or playing a game. I left video games off the list. You likely play them too much already.

Friday, January 23, 2015

I Now Have A Writing Blog Too...

Yes, WNWA is a blog in which I do all the writing, but some recent events have conspired in my favor, and the time has come to ditch one of my many art-related blogs (I had too many anyway). It's time to dedicate one of those blogs entirely to my work as a writer.  You can find the link here. I'm going to work it so that every site of mine links to every other site. If you want, you can get lost in a never-ending vortex of my work. It's a great way to spend your days.



New Design for Learn Tabletop RPGs Website

Yes Wizards Never Wear Armor is my gaming blog. Some may think it silly to promote another gaming site/blog right here on my own blog page. Not me. I'm not here for my ego. I'm here to talk about games, media and pop culture. If another blog is great, I'm going to sing its praises.

Erik Schmidt, a connection of mine from Google+, has redesigned his gaming site, Learn Tabletop RPGs and the results are stunning. I only wish all the game companies took as much care with making their games and sites as easy to understand as Erik has done with his site. Smart design should not be overlooked, and Learn Tabletop RPGs should be a model to anyone going forward as to how to design and present a gaming blog well.

For anyone new to gaming, or even if you have not gamed since you were a kid, Learn Tabletop RPGs is a great resource to help get you started. Great job, Eric!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the Best Cartoon on TV (right now)

We are in a renaissance of TV cartoons right now, and few people are noticing.

There have been many great cartoons for kids that have run on cable TV in recent memory. Almost all of these shows run way under the radar because in this country, cartoons are considered kids' fodder, and adults, especially adults outside of dedicated fans, rarely even bother to take notice of what is being produced. This is sad because there is a plethora of great work out there. All coming and going—and no one is noticing. I'm here to correct that. To help you see the light. To steer you straight. And to give you a break from stuff marketed for adults and show you that kids' shows can and are often as fulfilling as adult fare.

The main reason these kids shows are so good is because of the writers and artists. The other reason, I'm speculating, is that the shows don't matter enough to be overproduced and edited by massive corporate committees. The writers of many current shows obviously grew up appreciating much of the same under-the-radar kids' shows from the 70s and 80s. Battle of the Planets, Thundarr the Barbarian, Space Ghost, Land of the Lost, Voltron, Robotech, Transformers, GI Joe, etc, etc, etc... The list is too numerous to cite in any complete way. Even The Howard Stern Show was referenced when the line, "I told you not to be stupid you moron" was said on the show. —That blew my mind. Someone tell Howard!

So now, people who likely grew up in the 70s or 80s have worked their way into writing and artist positions and are creating new, fantastic cartoon shows. A short list is as follows: Samurai Jack, Ben 10, Teen Titans (not Teen Titans GO!) Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Adventure Time, Star Wars: Clone Wars, Generator Rex, Sym-Bionic Titan, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Over the Garden Wall, Regular Show, Clarence, and now Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

If you are unaware what you are missing, please, sit up and take notice. A few favorites I'd suggest hunting down are: Samurai Jack, Teen Titans, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is still currently running, (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Over the Garden Wall, Regular Show, and Clarence are all still running too!) and churning out fantastic episodes every week.

Last night I sat and watched a few episodes of TMNT on my Apple TV to catch up with my son. We watched an episode called The Croaking. I was blown away. So many things were referenced in one show I could not believe it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has not been one to shy away from making allusions, references, homages, and outright blatant borrowing of ideas and more from various sources of inspiration that the creators obviously loved growing up. The episode The Croaking was the crème de la crème of homage episodes they have done so far. Prior to this episode, the show has continually made references to Battle of the Planets as the Turtles watch a similar show on TV. Their next favorite show to watch is a Thundarr the Barbarian-type show, Crognar the Barbarian. These shows-within-shows are fully-animated, although we only get to see short clips as the Turtles watch.

As far as old school references go, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles even had one episode entirely dedicated to old school Dungeons and Dragons. The episode was called, Mazes and Mutants. My blog post on that can be seen here.

OK, so back to The Croaking. The episode opens with Mikey watching and episode of Crognar the Barbarian. After that, Mikey gets into trouble for making a mess and runs off. Who does he meet? A frog named Napoleon Bonafrog, a frog mutant modeled exactly after Napoleon Dynamite and voiced by the same actor, Jon Heder, too. The character even wears a hip-sack like Napoleon Dynamite, and is basically that same character, aside from being a mutant frog.

But wait, there's more!

The episode then goes on to directly reference Jar Jar Binks and Boss Nass and their interaction from Star Wars The Phantom Menace. Napoleon Bonafrog brings Mikey back to his clan of mutant frogs much like  Jar Jar brings Obi Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn to Boss Nass. The references do not end there. There are Apocalypse Now: Hearts of Darkness references. Colonel Kurtz-Marlin Brando-Don Vito Corleone references. And even a Wes Anderson-style montage.

The show has continually impressed me, not just with the writing and art, but with the multi-layerd approach the writers have taken that continually plays homage to one thing while still managing to stay entirely unique and engaging for kids and adults alike. My son gets none of these homages, (except for the D&D episode) and still loves the show.

But wait, there's still more!

Prior to the Turtles watching their Thundarr the Barbarian-style TV show, Crognar the Barbarian, they used to watch a show called Super Robo Mecha Force Five. This show managed to reference just about every 80s imported anime there was. The heaviest influences are Voltron, Battle of the Planets, and Robotech. See my comparison images below.

Aside from all this the show is fantastic and my favorite animated version of the Ninja Turtles yet. I greatly enjoyed the TMNT film, but this is better. The current Ninja Turtles film is not bad. Why they did not just bring the current TV show to the big screen is a complete mystery. The current show is fantastic. There is already a huge fan base and toy line. Why mess with perfection? Who the hell knows. Studios are crazy. A big budget film of the current characters could have been amazing.

The homages I have pointed out are by no means an exhaustive list. The show has referenced many other things. Off the top of my head, John Carpenter's The Thing and Christine are just a few.

At least we have Season 5 to enjoy. Let's hope the show does not get inexplicably canceled like so many other great shows. Fingers crossed.

Get watching and enjoy!