Backhand Blog

Quick Thoughts: Flash Season One Finale, Hints At Season Two

Posted by on 1:50 pm in Nerd Film | 0 comments

Quick Thoughts: Flash Season One Finale, Hints At Season Two

The season finale that aired last week was an example of go big or go home. Now I’m sure a lot of people saw the “big moment” coming like I did, but we’ll get to that in a minute. This series has dealt with time travel on a very minute level and I have to say, that’s what sold me on The Flash. When the show started to get very sci-fi and explore these concepts that’s when I got hooked. Now towards the end of season one when we learn that Eddie is related to Dr. Wells/Reverse Flash we can pretty much see his self-sacrifice coming. And I think the writers intended this, saving a bigger trick up their sleeve, and on top of that I think We’re not done with Doctor Wells yet and I don’t think Eddie is dead yet either and here’s why: when Eddie killed himself, resulting in his future children, and by extension Dr. Wells never being born, he created a paradox. Dr. Wells is never born, never goes back in time to kill Barry’s mother, isn’t stuck in the past to create the Flash… classic grandfather paradox. However I believe this is the reason the singularity opened above Central City as well. Not because they failed to close it, but because of the Paradox. Now they made special note to show that Eddie got sucked up into the black hole, and I’m of the belief that you don’t show things on film unless you intend a purpose for them.   I will say one of my favorite moments from the finale came when Barry went back to save his mother, but was told to stop by his future self. If you blinked you missed it because it was a simple gesture of simply holding his hand up. Most might have been distracted by the heartfelt goodbye that followed, because losing one’s mother is quite sad, but what I loved about that moment was the implication that future Barry knows something more other than the timeline change we were warned about earlier in the episode. To me this moment had more impact than the death of Wells himself. We lose our main villain, by having him transform into his original (depending on how many forms he’s taken in the past) form then vanish from existence. It was a little lackluster because we had no real connection to Eobard, but to Dr. Wells. No emotion was felt there. I got more worked up the first time Dr. Wells talked Barry through his supersonic punch. That’s why I have no doubt Wells will be back. Going into even more spoilerish territory, Tom Cavanagh has signed on for season two, and Grant Gustin has dropped hints of a multiverse plot line for the upcoming season as well. This could leave us with multiple earth plot lines with a fully alive Eddie Thawne as well as Doctor Wells. It’s also been hinted at that the new series Legends of Tomorrow, another of the Flash and Arrow spinoffs starring Brandon Routh, will introduce the character of Rip Hunter of the Time Masters comic series who may have the potential to set the prime earth back on its initial timeline, partly erasing the events of the first season. What we...

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Spoiler-Free Review of Leaked Supergirl Pilot

Posted by on 11:19 am in Nerd Film | 0 comments

Spoiler-Free Review of Leaked Supergirl Pilot

I’m going to begin this by stating that I went into watching Supergirl not expecting it to be any good. This has nothing to do with gender bias in the leading role, or DC vs Marvel. Solely to blame is the marketing company who released the terrible trailer a week ago. By now we’ve all read the blogs and articles jokingly comparing it to the SNL sketch of the Black Widow Movie about a girl superhero doing girly things – and honestly this was a fair comparison based on the footage that was first shown to us. Now anyone that believes that the “leak” of the Supergirl pilot was an accident, is truly naïve. We no longer live in a world where bad publicity is good publicity for a TV show or film. Public opinion can get a show canceled or bring it back from the dead. Shows with locked in fan bases are being scooped up by competing networks left and right, and even nontraditional media outlets (read: Netflix, Hulu, Yahoo Screen) because linear TV is going the way of the Dodo. The reason that disgruntled intern finally got fed up with getting coffee and seeded Supergirl out to the world via every torrent site imaginable was for one simple reason: to gauge public opinion before it’s premier this fall. But it’s a double edged sword. Last year there was another DC property that did this, excuse me, had their show leaked early: Constantine. When rumors surfaced that the crescendo of the pilot involved a battle with a hell demon, I was fully onboard. Then there were talks of reshoots, and then the final product. Constantine battling a shadow version of himself – a gripe I had with the Evil Dead Remake, mind you. Stop censoring your art and give me some bad ass demons from hell! The reason for even acknowledging this is Constantine has been canceled by NBC, and while it wasn’t a bad show, they let what people thought of the leaked pilot shape the final product.     So now that brings us to Supergirl. A show that’s the antithesis of what the trailer would have you believe it is. It even mildly addresses a few feminist issues both around being a female hero and being called girl in comparison to her cousin Superman. It makes it even more of a wonder as to why that trailer was cut the way it was after seeing the pilot. As a standalone product, repeat, as a standalone product Supergirl is a solid pilot and very entertaining. On the surface dissenters might believe that this is a rehash or even what Smallville should have been. The sad part is, while part of that is true, Smallville was just ten years too late both in the special effects department and getting Kal-El his powers. While for me the first few seasons of Smallville were very “X-files with Superman” with a monster of the week episode based around kryptonite almost each week, Supergirl not only makes sure to set up its overarching storyline and monster of the week in the pilot it practically combines the two. Unlike The Flash or Gotham where we’ve thrown as many iconic villains at the viewer so far this first season, the Red Hood...

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Daredevil Is The Show Agents Of Shield Wants To Be

Posted by on 11:05 am in Nerd Film, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Daredevil Is The Show Agents Of Shield Wants To Be

Ben Affleck’s near career suicide from the early aughts have produced more horse-beaten jokes that we care to remember, Daredevil (and Gili) being amongst the worst offenders. However the recent powerhouses of Marvel and Netflix have teamed up to produce not only a mature, adult, television drama that, at times, has you forgetting you’re watching a superhero television show that wrongfully gets lumped in with the likes of The Flash, Arrow and Agents of Shield.  That’s not to say those shows don’t have their places or built in audiences, or aren’t good shows (the former more than the latter), however Netflix’s Daredevil does a lot to not only keep my attention, but induce those all to frequent binge watching marathons. The first thing Daredevil does right is it doesn’t treat the audience like their idiots. Let’s look at Agents of Shield season one. They took the extremis plot from Iron Man 3, extended it a bit and rolled it into Deathlok all while having quotable lines constantly referring back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was painful, eyerolling exposition as if to constantly remind us that AofS was just as cool as Iron Man –  as the tag line this season reminds us:“It’s all connected.” and desperately tries to hook viewers while at the same time spoiling films like The Winter Soldier or Age of Ultron for those who don’t happen to catch those films opening weekend. Meanwhile there’s Daredevil. Whose simple references are left up to your imagination. Does it take place in the MCU? Well there is a company at the heart of the story, Union Allied Construction, that is responsible for “fixing up the city” – yet zero references to the Chitauri invasion until an offhanded newspaper cover near the end of the series. So to answer my own question, yes it does. Daredevil stands on its own. It doesn’t rely on talking about Thor or Iron Man and how cool they are as if your nostalgia from seeing the midnight showing of Avengers will somehow make you enjoy a Patton Oswalt cameo. It also respects that there is an adult audience looking for an adult drama with a super hero component. What makes it special, beyond even the films in the MCU, is that equal time is given to our villain. Guardians of the Galaxy is arguably my favorite Marvel film so far, Ronan the Accuser is still a bit of a generic bad guy – religious fanatic seeks revenge. While that speaks nothing to Lee Pace’s performance, he was fantastic with the material he was given, Wilson Fisk by contrast is the most three dimensional villain so far in any superhero film or TV series. If you look at season one of Daredevil, it’s not just an origin story for our hero Matt Murdock, but for his nemesis The Kingpin. Instead of just cutting to scenes of bad guys doing bad guy things, they really craft whole episodes around Fisk’s point of view. The motivation behind his actions. Are there clichés with these characters at work? Sure there are. Local boy moves home to help out the neighborhood he grew up in is just the first that comes to mind, but it works. And what makes them work is that they took them, expanded and...

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Should You See Tomorrowland This Weekend?

Posted by on 9:24 am in Nerd Film, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Should You See Tomorrowland This Weekend?

Imagine for a minute if Gore Verbinski’s Pirates of the Caribbean was released now in 2015. Now imagine the film itself, with the mood-setting fog on the bow of a navy vessel instead opening at Disneyland, on the actual ride where a kid riding the plume at the moment of the drop where (what used to be the skull, now replaced with the squid faced Davy Jones) says “dead men tell no tales” he was magically transported to the time of pirates. You might feel cheated at first for paying to see a blatant two hour Disney commercial. This is how Tomorrowland opens. Disney buffs, of theme parks and films alike, might simply take this as a homage and those who only frequent the west coast park will get a chuckle when they hear the likes of “It’s a small world”, however anyone who’s been to Disney World or Epcot within the last thirty years is either going to love or hate the first twenty minutes spent introducing us to the world of Tomorrowland. It’s like an Easter egg hunt to see who can find the most Disney references crammed into the 1960’s world’s fair. And that’s the biggest problem with the film overall. Each scene adds to world building of Tomorrowland, whether in this world or the next, but the film really struggles to find traction. While Brad Bird does an excellent job with set pieces, and building the action, it doesn’t do much to further the story. We’re told (and shown) that Tomorrowland is this magical place. We’re drawn, much like our main character, to the mystery of what Tomorrowland is. How we’re show this wonderful place is through the button that’s mysteriously given to our main character, Casey Newton (Britt Roberts), through some convoluted circumstances that would take its own article to explain. The transport gimmick you see in the trailer is pretty much the extent of its use, so don’t expect to see it expanded upon in the film. What’s more it uses the trick a few too many times, that because of the pace, by the time our band or characters get together, we’re all but worn on the concept. For all its faults, Tomorrowland is a beautiful film though. It’s pretty to look at, but not much gets accomplished. The easiest parallel to draw without spoiling too much is to look at The Matrix. In The Matrix, nothing is accomplished. By the end of the film you’ve had a lot of pretty action and set pieces but all that they have managed to do is determine that Neo is the one. Had there been no sequels (love them or hate them) the story would have ended there. If you look at the Matrix as a whole trilogy, in comparison to Lord of the Rings where it’s obvious that Fellowship of the Ring is the first act of a single story, Tomorrowland gets stuck in that rut. Two thirds of its story is character building, and it’s interesting. I want to state that I’m on the side of the writer here, and I feel that there were multiple stories he wanted to tell, but there was not enough time to do so. We spend what feels like a quarter of the film with one character only to dismiss them to...

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Maybe You Missed It: Crysis Trilogy

Posted by on 10:00 am in Backhand Blog, Backhand-Not Featured | 0 comments

Crysis: The Game That Started it All   In the gaming industry there a few games that benchmark the graphics capability of the hardware that run them. Crysis is one of those games. PC review magazines had their hands all over Crysis as a benchmarking tool for graphics processors and central processors when the game came out in 2008. It was a standard for benchmarking for a long time. Where does that leave the sequels? Well, to accurately understand that, you must look at all aspects. Crysis introduced a lot of features that were new to shooters in general. It had a S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-esque leaning, lots of platforming options with the “strength” ability, and overall allowed the player a fairly free range of movement. It had what was called the “Nanosuit” which was the protagonist’s biological-suit that served as a weapon against a very powerful enemy. It had multiple abilities, all activated individually and all using differing amounts of the suit’s “energy.” When just using the suit, you were particularly vulnerable, but once you activated an ability, you became a weaponized killing machine. The main abilities were strength, speed, cloak, and armor. Strength could be used to jump higher and do powerful melee attacks. Speed could increase your running speed to a humanly-impossible gait. Cloak made you almost undetectable. Cloak was only really effective while not moving, as your cloak only kept you hidden while low to the ground and/or you were not in motion. Armor made you impenetrable by bullets for an extremely short time. Armor was the last resort, and depleted suit energy extremely quickly. As far as world goes, Crysis was open-world, in a sense that was nearly impossible to render at the time. You needed an extremely high-powered PC to be able to run at even “medium” quality. Aesthetically, it was beautiful, the environment was very “real” and everything interacted with each other in a certain way. Trees would sway with the wind, in the direction of the wind. You could even use a gun to shoot down branches of trees on the beach. As far as story, Crysis offered a captivating, but still somewhat linear story. It kept you guessing at times. I found that I kept thinking the game was almost over, and was continuously reminded I was wrong. The length of it was daunting at first, but it wasn’t too bad in the end. The characters, while seemingly emotionless in their facial expressions at times, offered a very good connection to the story. Many of the missions drudged on very long in an effort to accomplish a quite elaborate objective. Many times I found myself surprised that I had not even scratched the surface of the objective. I felt extremely rewarded when I ended up finishing one of the objectives. I had a sense of accomplishment after having traveled far and wide to do what the mission ledger required. Overall, Crysis was ahead of it’s time in more than just what everybody knows it was for. Graphics were only part of it’s innovation, and that alone still impresses today.   Crysis 2: The Runt of the Litter   Crysis 2 was the first game to showcase Crytek’s new CryEngine 3, which was heralded as one of the most innovative game engines to be designed. Albeit it was...

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Streaming Spotlight: Joshua Finks

Posted by on 1:47 pm in Backhand Blog | 0 comments

Streaming Spotlight: Joshua Finks

Joshua Finks Phoenix-based game enthusiast and streamer. He takes pride in finding skill-based games, and specifically more-than-just-shooting shooters.

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Top 10 things in real life we never need to do in games

Posted by on 5:40 pm in Backhand Blog | 1 comment

Top 10 things in real life we never need to do in games

It occurs to us that there really are some things in life that you just don’t want to have to do in games.

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Clutch Con 2015: Dive In!

Posted by on 2:14 pm in Backhand Blog | 0 comments

Clutch Con 2015: Dive In!

Opening day of Clutch Con experienced its fair share of problems. Actually, it was only one problem; the network went down and no one could seem to get it working again. Gamers made due with the time they’re not spending playing CS:GO and League of Legends. There were drinks and bags (or cornhole if you’re dumb) going on and some gamers had resorted to setting up their own LAN on the long tables to “get the party started”, so to speak. Empty promises of network solutions continued to roll by the press table as we sat, listen to techno music and watch the grip crew apply duct tape to everything. There’s a couple gentlemen sitting at a desk which is being projected onto the main screen for commentary. Having faith that the network would be up soon, i did end up waiting about 9 hours for the tournament to start. Once the network was up, however, everyone was eager to get game time going. Teams from all over the United States, Canada, Brazil and Switzerland brought their best game to Denver, CO to take home the prize money in Clutch Con’s anual contests. Some popular teams that were in attendance:  Team Karma, Cloud9, Fnatic and Elevate just to name a few, most of which have twitch streams regularly for when you want to check them out. On top of the CS:GO tournament, which was the main event, there were also smaller tournaments for League of Legends, Super Smash Bros, DOTA 2 and even cards against humanity. Webroot security had a booth demonstrating their new security software and educating pc gamers on the dangers found in untrusted intnernet sites. A huge cosplay contest took place Saturday with all sorts of game and comic book characters in attendance and Warumono Desu was there to judge the costumes. My favorite costumes were Tiny Cloud, Lightning and the Umbrella SWAT team. Around 11 pm each night, the lights go a little dimmer and the DJ’s roll out to play music till 4 am, allowing all the gamers to play 24 hours a day the whole weekend. some gamers didnt even bother to go up to their hotel rooms, they just slept at their computers at night or took random power naps throughout the day. Exhausting as it was, everybody showed up bright and early sunday morning for the semi finals and finals of the CS:GO tournament which began with Fnatic vs Team Liquid and Cloud9 vs Elevate. These heated matches took up a good portion of the day and were definitely exciting to watch, as each team worked together the way you imagine a finely tuned engine running. Fnatic and Cloud9 proceeded to the finals where an unexpected domination by Fnatic earned them their first LAN title this year....

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Old Dirty Gamers: Episode 14 (X-Rated)

Posted by on 3:24 pm in Backhand Blog, Backhand-Not Featured | 2 comments

Old Dirty Gamers: Episode 14 (X-Rated)

We discuss sexuality in video games and get into some odd conversations. This weeks special guest; Dillon (Cleaver) filling in for Eric and Trish bringing in the female perspective! Catch up on the show now at Glitchslap.com!...

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There Came an Echo

Posted by on 11:00 am in Backhand Blog, Featured Topics, Game News | 0 comments

There Came an Echo

    There Came an Echo, the second game from Iridium Studios. You might (or might not, it’s cool) remember them from our breakout indie hit, Sequence, which was released on Steam in late 2011. They got bored after a while, so we decided to make a second game! We also had some dirt on Wil Wheaton (Star Trek, Eureka, The Big Bang Theory) There Came an Echo is currently being developed for the PC, and should release in approximately mid-2014 on Steam. The $90,000  is primarily for the art department: the money will be used directly to hire an art director and a 3-D modeler for a period of approximately fourteen months. Iridium Studios already invested heavily in our sound team, recording studio, actors, and programmers, but They need your help to round out the team! Though this game is absolutely, from-the-ground-up designed for use with a vocal recognition system (and we’ll highly encourage you to at least try it!), we believe in letting players enjoy their entertainment as they see fit. So, alternate control schemes for both gamepads and keyboards will be available. There Came an Echo is a game in which you, the field commander of a small squad, use your voice to direct your units around a map to accomplish various objectives. There’s a list of predefined commands, which might include “open fire,” or “Corrin, head to Bravo 3.” Limiting the dictionary to a few hundred entries helps to improve voice recognition, as the system (unlike, say, Siri) doesn’t need to differentiate a large number of words. Still, those aren’t the only things you’ll be saying: for every existing command and unit, the player can define a custom phrase that acts as an alternate. For instance, instead of “Grace, hold position”, you might choose to say “yo girl, hold up”, or instead of “weapons free”, you might say, “not the gumdrop buttons!” You’ll be able to direct your troops in a style completely your own. At various points throughout missions, your units will make various observations and come back to you with questions. “Sir, I’ve got a clear shot on an enemy target thirty meters away. Should I take the shot?” “Sir, do you want me to link back up with Grace? She’s under heavy fire.” You’ll need to survey the situation and give an informed “affirmative” or “negative”. It’s a dialogue, not a soliloquy. Finally, there will be numerous environmental factors that you can affect throughout the game. Previously placed mines can be detonated remotely: “Mines 1, 3, 11, detonate.” Automated defense systems can target specific units: “Turret B, target Enemy Unit 5.” There are myriad possibilities for these types of interactions within gameplay, and these are just scratching the surface. Art is arguably the most expensive component of any modern game, and it’s the primary reason we’re running this Kickstarter in the first place. A ton of work goes into any modern title’s aesthetics: character and environment design, 3-D modeling, animation, texturing, and so on. It’s a lot of work, but we want There Came an Echo to look as unique as it plays. To help envision the game’s style, we asked concept artist Noe Levya to give us some target renders for the game. His work…well, it speaks for itself, we think. A typical firefight in...

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