The Professional Gamer - April 25, 2015

Hey everyone! We had a great time at ComicFest / StarFest. Then went back to work with crippling deadlines. Which means, I'm well behind on getting our interviews out on podcast.  Look for those in the next few weeks. This also means I haven't spent a whole lot of time with enjoying myself in the evenings. Regardless, here's what I've been up to this week.

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StarFest / ComicFest

We're at ComicFest today selling some sweet art stuff. Come down to the Hilton Garden Inn at DTC today and check it out. Artist alley is open from 10am today and Jim will be running around interviewing people. We hope to see you there!

The Professional Gamer - April 18, 2015

Hi readers! This week has been another busy one at the office.  With the boss gone, I'm responsible for keeping things moving along on a lot of projects.  In spite of that, I had managed to have some geeky fun this week.  I'm thinking more about the role of media in the world and how comics work.  I also played some video games.  And I, along with Crystal and Chris, will be ComicFest tomorrow.  Come over to the artist alley and say hello, and maybe buy something?  Regardless, read on to see how I spent my geeky week.

Watching: I have again spent most of my week watching episodes of the PBS Idea Channel.  At this point, I've watched 100 of the (currently) 145 episodes.  The most interesting episodes this week have been the discussion about what fiction is and whether it exists.  Crystal and I had some fun discussing the issues brought up in these episodes.  My opinion is that fictional realities are as real as any other cultural constructs that we deal with everyday like the nation-state or money.

Reading: I'm still making my way through Understanding Comics.  I'm now in the last section and should be finished early next week.  I'm really enjoying the book still, and every page provides a new revelation on the craft of comics.

Playing: My gaming has again been limited to Fantasy Life and Hyrule Warriors.  Crystal and I are now concentrating our efforts on the Termina Map in Adventure Mode, which frequently requires you to compete against an AI team to collect more keeps, KO's, or rupees.  This competition adds an interesting twist to keep the game interesting.

That's all I have for this week.  We'll be at the ComicFest portion of Denver StarFest tomorrow, so please come by and say hello.  Have a great week and game on!

DCC 2015 Beer - Hulk's Mash

DCC 2015 Beer - Hulk's Mash

Continuing the ancient tradition of beer brewing, Denver Comic Con in partnership with Breckenrdige Brewery, have announced the new beer for this years convention, Hulk's Mash. This years beer is a "delightful pale ale made with mango puree and Mosaic hops. It sounds mild-mannered, but don’t be fooled. Mosaic hops produce an aromatic punch of mango, lemon, citrus, and earthy pine scents. Loads of pulverized mangos heroically balance the hoppy aroma and flavor."

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In Review - Black Hole

There have been many novels, graphic or otherwise, about the feelings of isolation and rejection that most of us experience during high school.  But few have handled this type of story with the such a skillful and grotesque treatment.  In Black Hole, a new disease has emerged among the teenagers in a 1970's Seattle suburb.  A disease that is passed through sexual contact and leads to monstrous changes in those infected.  The story that unfolds is not a quest to cure "The Bug" or even to understand it.  Instead, Charles Burns presents the story of five teenagers, some who are infected and some who aren't (yet).  As we follow these characters, we see a drama of love, rejection, and acceptance.  


Burns's art tends towards a stark black and white, with spare use of hatching to convey a sense of volume in his subjects.  This art style lends itself well to the story the Burns is telling.  His world is dark and scary, full of doubts.  Burns harnesses his high contrast art style to great effect for a number of scenes that involve dreams and hallucinations.  In these scenes, the dark inking vastly overwhelms the white space, highlighting the confusion of the characters.


Although there are some fantastical elements to the story, Black Hole is fundamentally about the struggles that the characters face. This, I feel, is one of the ultimate strengths of both Science Fiction and Fantasy. As discussed in above, Burns also uses dreams and drug induced visions frequently in the story.  These narrative methods are used effectively for foreshadowing and examining inner conflict within the characters.  Without spoiling it, the end of the story is rather grim for most of the main characters.  

To summarize, Burns has produced a very compelling graphic novel.  The dark nature of the story can make it somewhat difficult to read, and it may not have been the sort of novel that I would have selected to read on my own.  However, I think Black Hole has a merit beyond mere entertainment and moves into the realm of literature.

Overall: 3.5 / 5


The Gameslave Podcast - Episode 207

We have another great podcast episode for you all this week.  We ended up recording at Chris's house this week, which made for a good change of venue.  Show notes and relevant links are below the audio stream.

  • The Weekly Happenings
    • Chris - Murdered: Soul Suspect, Majora's Mask
    • Crystal: Majora's Mask, Hyrule Warriors, Reinventing Comics
    • Jim: Understanding Comics, Fantasy Life
  • News
    • Being vs. Controlling Avatar in Game (link)
    • Yoshi's Wooly World and Amiibos (link)
    • Fire Emblem (working title)
    • StarFest is next week

The Professional Gamer - April 11, 2015

Hello everyone! This week I managed to survive some tight deadlines in my professional life (hooray for working 24 hours in the past 48), and still had some fun.  Or at least, I managed to have some fun earlier this week when the deadlines were not quite so crushing.  I spent some more time watching some more cool YouTube stuff, playing some games, and reading the comic book of comics.  If these sound like fun things to you, read on to get the details.

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The Professional Gamer - April 4, 2015

Hello readers.  Another week gone and I've had a lot of fun.  I've managed to do some reading, gaming, and watching of moving pictures.  I'm having a lot of fun preparing for TCAF, but am a bit behind on my reviews. You should see a few more posts from me in the upcoming weeks, so keep an eye out for those.

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In Review - Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here

The sequel (of sorts) to the original Poorcraft graphic novel, Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here covers how to have a vacation when you don't want to spend a lot of money. The content of the story is again presented by Penny (with help from Nickle) to her friend Mil.  This time, Penny and Mil have planned a vacation together.  But trouble is brewing from the start when Mil struggles to carry in her bags.  From this point on, Penny presents Mil with plentiful advice about vacation and travel on a budget, while still having loads of fun.


Diana Nock returns to illustrate this sequel, and the art is similarly humorous in the comedic sections and more clear cut in the informative sections.


Similar to the original, Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here has a simple plot that serves the purpose of introducing the key learning concepts.  In this case, Ryan Estrade presents guidance for everything from packing and transport, to how to find safe, comfortable, and affordable accommodation, to how to have all sorts of fun while you are away from home without getting suckered by exploitative tour organizers.  Estrada does a good job in continuing the conversational style set by the original Poorcraft.  


Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here lives up well to the precedent set by the original.  If you ever travel anywhere, and I know that most of us do, you should definitely pick up this book, once it is available to the wider public (I backed the Kickstarter, and so have earlier access to it).  Keep an eye out at Iron Circus Studios for Wish You Were Here to go on sale.