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Help re-build the Enterprise D Bridge!

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Alright Star Trek fans, it’s game time. A group of fans are working to restore the Enterprise-D bridge that was used in the Star Trek: The Experience Las Vegas attraction. While Paramount Pictures worked closely with series producers Herman Zimmerman and Michael Okuda to make this model as accurate as possible, it was basically thrown away once the attraction closed rather than preserving it. (Many trekkies will know that the actual bridge was destroyed for the film Star Trek: Generations.)

The restoration crew plans to not only restore the bridge, but also updating it with actual touch screen to emulate the LCARS control surface used during production. Obviously a task like this requires a fair bit of cash, so they’ve launched an indiegogo campaign to raise $240,000. Like such campaigns, there are perks for larger donations, and these ones are pretty unique. Some of the offered perks include a working LCARS terminal, a replica of Captain Kirk’s original chair, or even…..a romantic evening on the bridge with “complete privacy until the next morning.” That’s right. Happy nerd couples can get it on, captain-style, right on the bridge of the Enterprise-D…for a price.

All in all, this is a major project, but one that fans can reap the benefits from for years to come (once completed, the bridge will be open to the public). If you’re interested in chipping in a few dollars, or just want to spread the word, check out the campaign page for more information.

Click past the break for the campaign’s promo video.

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Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes 11min Trailer

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Konami had a big week of announcements for the 25th anniversary of the Metal Gear franchise. Aside from announcing plans for a live-action movie adaptation, Hideo Kojima showcased an 11-minute promo video for Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, a brand new open-world project that uses his studio’s Fox Engine for stellar real-time graphics rendering. The same video was shown at Penny Arcade Expo this past weekend.

While some wonder if this level of detail is possible on current gen systems, Konami has stated that while MGS:GZ and the Fox Engine run on PCs that are similarly spec’d to a PS3 and 360, they are also developing these projects for next-gen consoles as well.

Check out the amazing video after the break.

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New Final Fantasy XIV v2.0 trailers showcase overhaul

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Game design, especially massive multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPG), is a tough business. If not designed properly, a game can flop massively. Case in point: Final Fantasy XIV. This game had a slew of bugs and design flaws that made it nigh-unplayable. Instead of trying to hide behind a slew of slow updates, Square Enix announced a complete overhaul, including new staff. Re-titled Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, the game will introduce a new version of the franchise’s signature Limit Break system and an altered storyline.

The game is currently undergoing server-load tests. Alpha testing begins this winter. The current version of the game will go offline starting November 11, 2012.

If you are interested in becoming an alpha tester for the game, sign up here.

In order to create hype for the re-launch, new trailers were released; one that featured the new story line, and one that features the aforementioned new Limit Break system. Square Enix also posted an hour-long special talk to discuss some of the upgrades in detail. All three videos are available to watch after the break.

Having an MMO fail as spectacularly as FF XIV did, Square Enix has a major uphill climb ahead of them. I personally am not sure if I will give this game a shot, but I will say this, it does look pretty.

Are you going to give Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn a shot?

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BBC’s Sherlock to get official Manga adaptation

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BBC’s latest version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes,” (aptly titled “Sherlock”) is an incredible series. Placing the brilliant yet controversial detective and his associate in modern-day London was a perfect fit for the pair. The series, with two seasons under its belt and plans for a third, is a world-wide sensation, and has not-surprisingly spurned a massive amount of fan-fiction, especially from the yaoi fanbase (I dare you to read some for yourself). Even the series’ star Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) mentioned his knowledge of the existence of yaoi dojinshi of the pair.

Looks like it’s time to stir up the fangirl fantasy pot even more. Kadokawa’s Young Ace magazine is announcing in its October issue that a manga adaptation of the BBC series will debut the following month. The first issue will adapt the first episode from Sherlock (“A Study in Pink”).

The announcement page (full-size picture is available after the break) depicts Sherlock and Watson, along with announcing the artist “Jay,” who will be drawing the manga. While each character retains the same facial details as their real-life counterparts, I feel that they look significantly younger in this adaptation.

I can only imagine how many fangirls have squealed over this announcement, not to mention the amount of fan-fiction that’s going to literally skyrocket.

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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII announced!

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Looks like Square Enix isn’t done with the Final Fantasy XIII series yet. During an event in Tokyo this week. series director Motomu Toriyama announced Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. He claims that Lightning will return as a much stronger character than she was in the first two FF XIII games, and that this game is the conclusion of her saga.

The game centers around a 13-day countdown until the end of the world, and players must save humanity within 13 days and 13 nights.

From watching the presentation (which is available after the break), it is clear that this game isn’t your typical Final Fantasy outing. Outfit changes affect abilities rather than being just cosmetic. Characters will be more dynamically controlled (i.e. able to hang off ledges, duck behind corners, etc…), and in a first for the series, able to move characters around during battle.

One of the major aspects of this game that Toriyama was touting was the fact that the game’s world runs in “real-time”. Transportation runs on a strict schedule, stores open and close according to the time of day, and even certain aspects of the dungeons will only be accessible at certain times.

I was surprised to hear that Lightning was making a comeback, since the DLC for FF XIII-2 supposedly provided closure to her story. Apparently not enough, according to Square Enix. While the new controls and real-time world features are a nice addition to the Final Fantasy universe, they are definitely not new concepts in the video game industry. Even the time-travelling, world-ending plot is old news (coughcoughThe Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Maskcoughcough). Regardless of these facts, I am looking forward to see how Square Enix puts their own spin on these features.

Oh, and one more thing….where the hell is Final Fantasy Versus XIII?!?!?!!

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is slated for release in 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Click past the break for a video of the presentation, as well as some released images of the game’s world and creatures.

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Metal Gear Solid live-action film greenlit

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During the Metal Gear 25th Anniversary Party last night, creator Hideo Kojima announced a live-action Hollywood film adaptation of Konami’s Metal Gear Solid. Columbia Pictures will produce the film, and Sony Pictures Entertainment will produce and distribute the film.

Avi Arad has been announced as producer for the project. Arad has ties to both Hollywood and Japan; he was a major producer behind the first few Marvel Studios films (Spider-Man, Iron Man, X-Men), has been involved with Dreamworks in their planned adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell, and was installed as a chair of Production I.G., LLC (the company’s American branch).

While I think this is a fantastic move by Kojima and Konami, I am curious to see who will be tapped for writing the script. Plus, I’m sure many people will agree with me that David Hayter, the iconic voice of “Solid Snake”, needs to be involved in one way or another. Hell, I could definitely see Hayter play the part in-person. Those of you who wonder if he’s physically fit enough for the role, just look at the insane bootcamps that were created for the 300 movie and for the Spartacus series. A few weeks in that hell, and he’ll be ready to go.

On a side note, it’s been 3 years since Dreamworks announced they acquired the rights to GITS, and the only news since then was a writer swap. C’mon Dreamworks, at least give us an update, and please please please do NOT screw up my favorite franchise of all time.

Correcting a Leaning Figure

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Leaning figures, I loathe them, I cringe at the thought of them. I now eyeball every figure with one thought, not how well sculpted it is, or the price, nope it’s will this lean? In a year is it going to be laying sideways on my bookshelf or wedged into a standing position jammed into a corner? Will this one take out at least 3 other items around it when it does?

After looking into it online and listening to guys complain about miniatures and how to fix them, I decided to try to fix my leaning figures. Mainly my 1/6th scale Auron statue. Before moving to my current location he spent many long years on my bookcase in a room the sun assaulted 3/4 of the day, it was toasty. Over time he started to lean back to such an angle the pegs on his base would no longer hold him upright. I am sure the heavy sword didn’t help his balance. I resorted to cramming him in a corner propped up by his sword wedged against something, usually a wall.

Now there seems to be a few theories out there about how to best fix a leaning figure. The first is to put it back into its original box and let the packaging work it out. This method seems like it would be iffy and take quite some time. As I also do not have his original box so this won’t do me much good.

The 2nd method was to use a hair dryer set on high to warm up the plastic and slowly push it back in shape. I may try this method on the next figure a much smaller Intron Depot one that won’t be able to handle the 3rd method. I’ll get back to you on that one maybe this weekend.

The 3rd method involves immersing the warped section in near boiling water, that sounded catastrophic, so I decided this would be a great idea. I have the start photo here of Auron, as you can see pretty bad on the lean.

before correction

Currently he is propped up against our knife block. I was taking the picture with one hand and holding the base down with the other so the feet were cut off in the picture.

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Haganai’s second season promo loves its own cuteness

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Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai was one of those series I didn’t know whether or not I’ll enjoy it, and therefore put it off for awhile. After watching the first few episodes last week, I may have to marathon the remainder of the season in order to prepare for season 2, scheduled to start sometimes next January (don’t I already watch too many anime series based on a high school club?).

In this cute promo video, Yozora and company attempt to describe what’s so great about the series (and fail miserably). If you’re a fan you should definitely take a look (after the break).

While the promo was originally shown at the MF Bunko J imprint’s 10th Anniversary Summer School Festival in July, production company Media Factory only started to stream it last Sunday. At least now we have a release time-frame. To hold fans over until then, a special disc will be released September 26th, which will include the 13th (unaired) episode from season 1, as well as a brand new OAV. No word yet if this bonus disc will make its way stateside.

If you need to catch up on the series, or are interested in checking it out, the first season (minus the 13th episode) is available to watch on FUNimation’s website.

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And now…time for a random comedy moment with Gamarjobat

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Ever find yourself online late at night, browsing your favorite sites, and find yourself watching a string of videos of a certain person or group? That was me, re-watching some great performances by the Japan Comedy Duo, Gamarjobat. These guys perform a mix of slapstick, miming, and cheesy acts, all with seeming boundless energy. The fact that they only communicate with the audience and with each other via grunts means their comedy can be enjoyed world-wide without language barriers.

Do you have a relative who likes to perform old magic tricks that are easy to figure out? These guys takes those tricks and performs them with such comedic timing, that it’s an absolute blast to watch.

Ketch! (red mohawk) and HIRO-PON (yellow mohawk) found success in several countries, including England. In 2009, they even starred in a British TV pilot, called Ketch & HIRO-PON Get It On

I believe the duo is still performing to this day. I hope they will make it back to the states eventually. For now though, you can enjoy their performance on “Jason Manford’s Comedy Rocks”…

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Avengers Gag Reel + Blu-Ray release details

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A gag reel from Marvel’s The Avengers surfaced online Monday. The 4-minute video has your typical line flubs, prop issues, and a few stunts going awry. However, fans will also enjoy watching Joss Wheadon hamming it up on the set with the cast, Tom Hiddleston as Loki doing a spot-on impersonation of Alan Rickman’s character from Die Hard, and Thor…who apparently can’t catch anything. This is the first time Marvel has decided to include a gag reel in any of its home film releases.

There was also two extended scenes posted online; one of Bruce Banner having an extended chat with Harry Dean Stanton after his drop from the carrier. The other being a longer conversation between Loki and a possessed Barton. Interesting enough, both the Barton scene and the gag reel were posted by a brand new YouTube account, which just screams plant, so Marvel can hype up the upcoming DVD/Blu-ray release of the movie and then pull the account when they feel like it. Regardless of their intentions, the released footage was very enjoyable to watch.

You can watch all three videos after the break.

The film will be released on September 25th, 2012 in 3 different packages; a premium $49.99 4-disc Blu-Ray Combo Pack (BD-3D, BD-2D, DVD, Digital Copy, and Digital Download), a standard $39.99 2-disc Combo Pack (BD-2D, DVD), and a $29.99 1-disc DVD. The Digital and both Blu-Ray versions will include additional featurettes not found on the DVD. Pricey to most, but considering I spent more than that on the Tron Legacy and Star Wars Blu-Ray premium combo packs, not to mention it’s a kick-ass movie,  it’s something I definitely plan on picking up.

Marvel is also utilizing Disney’s Second-Screen App for the Avengers. The app has been regularly updated for the past 2 months with behind-the-scenes content and games, which will lead up to the home video release.

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NicoNico to stream Animelo

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Animelo is an annual summer multi-day concert featuring theme songs from a variety of anime series and video games, plus special collaborations between some of Japan’s musical superstars.

This year’s event, titled -infinity-, will be hosted at the Saitama Super Arena over two days (August 25th and 26th) and will feature over 35 artists, including May’n, LiSA, Hatsune Miku, Yui Horie, and Daisuke Ono.

Now, if you’re like me, and don’t live in Japan, or have the funds to fly over, NicoNico has you covered. Not only will they live-stream both days of the concert series, but in order to get fans hyped up, NicoNico will also broadcast live footage of Animelo 2011 and 2010 for three days before the 2012 concert.

Like all good things, there is a catch. The 2010-2011 footage will stream for free starting August 21st at 9pm JST, which is about 5am PST. And if you want to watch the 2012 live-stream, you’ll have to pay for it. More info is available on Animelo’s website.

If you have never watched Animelo before, now is the time to see what you’ve been missing.

Are you planning on staying up to watch?

Epic Tea Time with Alan Rickman

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Alan Rickman can seem to do no wrong. He is the embodiment of so many memorable characters (Hans Gruber in Die Hard, the Sheriff Of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, and of course, Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series). The man could literally read out of a phone book and millions would watch it. Admit it, you would.

Now, Rickman brings his dramatic talents to…making tea. The entire sequence took probably 10-15 seconds to shoot, but it’s slowed down and stretched to a 7 minute masterpiece. Even in super slo-mo, Rickman’s intense glare and deliberate movements are intensified to spellbinding, almost scary heights.

The music is from the Inception soundtrack, specifically the track titled Mind Heist.

This is part of a series of videos from Portraits in Dramatic Time by David Michalek.

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