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Pic of the Day > Play with Us by Evil Cheese Scientist

Play with Us

Play with Us by Evil Cheese Scientist

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Pic of the Day > Bouncer by GogDog

Bouncer

Pic of the Day > Subject Delta by Isaac Renteria

Subject Delta

Toy Fair 2011 > NECA

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(Check out my NECA gallery here.)

As always, NECA had some fantastic stuff on display at Toy Fair this year. Randy Falk, the Director of Product Development, gave me a tour of their major action figure lines for 2011.

Review > Young Eleanor & Little Sister (Bioshock, NECA)

Roger Ebert recently brought down quite a controversy on his head by stating his belief that videogames can never be art. It’s a surprisingly Grumpy Old Man position for someone who’s usually as reasonable as Ebert, but given his age, reputation and so forth, I guess he’s allowed a few of those.

If I were to attempt to refute his argument, though, I think the first exhibit I’d offer would be Bioshock. Created by 2K (formerly and now once again Irrational) Games and published in 2007, Bioshock is a first-person shooter that bursts the conventions of the genre by offering not just a great story (gamers had seen that before, i.e., Half-Life & Half-Life 2) and the usual great graphics, but by having an incredible, cohesive artistic vision and even introducing players to a little bit of philosophy. As I watched the opening intro to that game, and the bathysphere came up over the ridge to reveal the underwater city of Rapture, I knew Bioshock was going to be–ahem–a game-changer.

One of the game’s moral quandaries is whether to “harvest” or “rescue” the Little Sisters–corrupted little girls who have been transformed by mad scientists into living generators of ADAM, a sort of genetic mana that allows you to gain all sorts of superpowers. Protected by the iconic Big Daddies (cyborgs in giant diving suits), Little Sisters haunt the dying city of Rapture, harvesting ADAM from corpses and chattering mindlessly to their Big Daddy escorts.

Pic of the Day

NECA Bioshock - Subject Delta/Little Sister

NECA Bioshock – Subject Delta/Little Sister by Ed Speir IV

Odds ‘n Ends > Post-SDCC Ennui Edition

  • Apologies for the lack of updates the last couple of days, but in the wake of SDCC there’s really just not much news going on. Feel free to pass along something…maybe a Toy Aisle Trolls? Anyone…?
  • I saw the NECA Predators at TRU last night. They looked great, but there was no classic Predator, which is the  one I really want. Have they officially announced when we’ll see a masked one?
  • On a related note, NECA’s kicking ass with their Bioshock stuff. I haven’t even played BioShock 2 yet and I want some of those toys.
  • Dr. Mrs. Ghostal and I saw Inception over the weekend. I loved it. I don’t think it’s a whole lot more than an incredibly creative heist movie–to paraphrase Treebeard, Christopher Nolan has a “mind of  metal and wheels,” but I find his movies lack emotion–yes, even Inception with all its characters’ angst about the nature of reality. (I do think The Dark Knight managed to get at some disturbing emotions, primarily due to Ledger’s performance.) But I digress–I really enjoyed Inception.
  • I love this fake Oregon Trail movie trailer–“Here Lies Poopface” had me laughing for ten minutes straight. It’s really only funny if you played the game as a kid, though. I agree with DMG that it’s probably only funny as a trailer. Hollywood, listen to me: do not make this movie.
  • Oh, some MOTUC notes, in case you haven’t been checking out the Poester Gallery (and if not, shame on you): The Heroic Guards 2-Pack has been delayed to December so that they can give the guards Keldor boots, rather than He-Man boots. The guards will still come with shin-guards. Also, they’re hoping to give Battle Armor Skeletor purple feet, like the vintage figure, and King Hiss’s big snake head will have an articulated jaw.

Doc Thomas Probes > Most Wanted

These days, we collectors have a lot to be thankful for – the shift in quality of action figures over the past two decades has turned once-small, barely recognizable, barely moveable plastic playthings into fully articulated, awesomely detailed, instantly identifiable works of art that we’re glad to have displayed in our kitchen, to be briefly admired by last night’s mistake before we kick her out of the apartment. Yes, toys have come a long way, and with the expansion of the market has come a bigger range of great properties picked up and plasticized for our collecting pleasure.

If you’re anything like me, and I know I am, you can look in front of you right now and see an amazing range of amazing toys including Bender from Futurama, the Heath Ledger Joker from The Dark Knight, several Daleks, the amazing Masterpiece Grimlock, WALL-E, at least a dozen different Skeletors, Big Daddy holding a Little Sister’s hand, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cobra Commander, an entire shelf of friggin’ Muppets, and Richard Nixon’s head. That is range, my friends. The sheer mass of different characters that have been made into great toys is amazing and wonderful – and yet, there are still plenty of favourites that are yet to be immortalised in plastic. These are

<<MOST WANTED>>

Guest Post > Ed’s Toy Fair Videogame Figures Roundup

You all know me. Know what I do. So, you’re probably asking yourselves, why does Poe keep inviting his videogame enthusiast, Lost-obsessive kinfolk ‘round these parts to offer up n00bish takes on something he clearly know next to nothing about? That’s akin to bringing a Master Sword to a Hammer of Dawn fight… wait, that’s a gaming reference. I’ve got to remember my audience.

It’s akin to modeling a new Weeble with 98 points of articulation. It just don’t make sense, son.

Review > Big Daddy (Bioshock 2, NECA)

20081230072700!Bigdaddy-bioshockI believe videogames are an art medium, one that’s already comparable–in terms of commercial success–to film, the dominant art medium of the twentieth century, (compare the sales of Halo 3 to the box office receipts of The Dark Knight). But while videogames have been around for over a third of a century, there are very few examples of games that one would, without hesitation or qualification, refer to as a work of art.

But there are games that approach that ideal, and Bioshock is one of them. Dark, atmospheric, well-written and acted, with gorgeous graphics and some not-entirely-risible attempts at social commentary, Bioshock was easily one of my favorite videogame-playing experiences of the last few years.

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