Grim Fandando Action Figures are the Shizzle!

14 04 2009

I’ve been dreaming about two things over the last 10 years. The first dream is obviously getting that small beach house in Caribbean with Kate Beckinsale… the second dream is Grim Fandango getting action figures!

ooh yes! These awesome Grim Fandango figures of our heroes Glottis and Manny; custom-made by Iain Reekie, are indeed awesome and deserve to be produced in their thousands!

If anyone feels like sending me one they will earn a place on my Xmas card list!





Spock rocks with Star Trek XI

13 04 2009

Just posted on the BBC website it turns out that Spock actor Leonard Nimoy gave fans a special treat!

Sci-fi enthusiasts in Austin, Texas turned up for the classic film only to find Nimoy introducing the first public showing of director JJ Abrams’ prequel.

The film was given a six minute standing ovation and one filmgoer said fans were “crying they were so happy.”

Star Trek, the 11th film in the franchise, is due for release on 8 May.

It follows James T Kirk as he graduates from Star Fleet Academy and becomes captain of the starship Enterprise.

Chris Pine takes over the role of Kirk which was played by William Shatner in the 1960s television series and seven of the films.

The prequel had its official world premiere in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday night.

Film company Paramount arranged for Nimoy, along with the film’s writers and its producers to unveil the film to hardcore fans first and the audience from Monday’s unexpected showing immediately started posting reviews on Twitter.

One fan called it “the best Star Trek movie ever” adding, “yes, it even beat Wrath of Khan”.

Another said, “the cast is superb, the story is compelling, the action is exciting”. Another simply added: “Just saw the new Star Trek movie and it MELTED MY PANTS!!!!!”

The enthusiasm carried over to the Sydney Opera House premiere, where one viewer reported “there were a lot of moments where the audience spontaneously burst into applause”.

*Review excerpt from news.bbc.co.uk





EA Games Godfather II promo = FAIL!

13 04 2009

I’ve been meaning to write about this for the past week, but have only just got round to doing it.

On Tuesday news hit the web that Electronic Arts had shipped knuckledusters (brass knuckles) to some online game reviewers within the Godfather II press pack.

This obviously seemed like a great promo and is quite a clever novelty, however EA overlooked the small issue that knuckledusters are ILLEGAL in some states.
Possessing them is apparently a first-degree misdemeanor is most states.

Just another example of online engagement gone wrong!

Better luck next time EA!





Rob Welkner talks Coin-Op TV, Desert Survival, and the Power of Flight

12 04 2009

This week I had time to catch up with another of my online buddies, Rob Welkner for a Q&A. Rob is host and founder of Coin-Op TV which is an LA based live streaming show on everything Gaming.

Let’s see how Rob handled the CScraps Q&A experience!

Q1: What is an average day like in the Rob Welkner universe?

I spend a ton of time in front of the computer and on the Internet.  We broadcast COIN-OP TV LIVE once a week on Thursdays but that doesn’t mean the work ends there.  The days leading up to a show I am generally doing research on the guest, collecting graphics and video clips to show and reading gaming news and catching up on events.  After an episode airs then I have to make sure that everyone out in cyberspace knows about it by linking on forums, sending out a press release, facebook, twitter, myspace, you name it!  It’s amazing how little time I actually spend doing the show versus the marketing and promotional side of things.  I also do all the booking for guests, graphics and edit the remote video segments.



Q2: Did you ever imagine you’d be knee deep in the gaming/entertainment industry 5 years ago?

I’ve always liked the video game industry as both a fan and as a media journalist.  I used to attend E3 (the largest gaming expo in Los Angeles) while in college.  When I launched COIN-OP TV I expected it to last a few years but I had hoped that it would be further along by now.  What is missing to the puzzle is a company to get behind the show as a sponsor.  We make things look and sound as great as possible and most times we fool people into thinking that the show is a high budgeted produced show but in reality it’s not.  If I had a budget then I could assign people different duties and even expand our reach and quality much further.



Q3: What type of games do you like/hate the most and why do you feel that way about them?

Always been a fan of arcade games and pinball.  It was a real shame to grow up in the 1980s and see both the rise and decline of the arcades.  I understand why things went the way they did with the growth and accessibility of home consoles and PC gaming but it doesn’t mean that I was happy to witness it all go away.  Some of my favorite arcade games are Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Robotron, Crazy Climber and Tempest.  If I see one of these games lying in the back of a store or restaurant you can bet I’ll be sneaking over to drop a quarter in to play.

The games I play now are mostly on the Xbox360.  I love the Guitar Hero franchise as you can tell if you have seen my show.  Some other games I play are Gears of War, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Katamari, Portal and Mirror’s Edge.  I like games that are crafty, clever and original.  Gears and Rainbow introduced an amazing ‘cover’ system that helped re-define first person shooters.  When it comes to games like Call of Duty – the graphics and gameplay are great but I prefer the duck and cover technique of games that let you hide behind things.  It’s a shame more first person shooters haven’t adopted this into gameplay.

It’s tough to say what kind of games I dislike.  I never got into driving, flying or sports games.  I guess sometime in the future I’ll give them all a second chance but for now I’m a big fan of rhythm games and always look forward to what new version of Guitar Hero or Rock Band is on the horizon.



Q4: What’s the funniest Coin-Op TV moment you can recall.

I’m a serious person with drive and determination but I always try to make sure that everyone involved with COIN-OP TV has a good experience.  I’m in constant communications with Brian Gramo who runs www.TheStream.TV network as for show ideas and brain-storming.  I spoil my lovely co-host Hailey Bright in just about every way possible and make sure that guests who come to the show are relaxed, comfortable and know that we aren’t going to ambush them with questions they’re not prepared to answer.

The funniest moments are usually un-planned.  There are only a handful of live/streaming shows about the video game industry out there.  So if you come on COIN-OP TV you can expect the un-expected.  Not long ago we had a designer from Neversoft (Guitar Hero) on the show and we got a chance to perform a GH: Metallica song on the show with me singing and playing guitars while he played drums and Hailey played bass.  It was a fun show and widely embraced by the fans.  Some of my favorite guests in the past have been Rocco from Mega64, Marissa Petroro (Deal or No Deal), Tommy Tallarico, Chris Gore (G4tv) and so many more I can’t even keep track.



Q5: Coin-Op is fast approaching 5 years old in September. Do you have anything special planned to celebrate the occasion?

In October 2008 we had a huge anniversary party to celebrate four years of doing COIN-OP TV.  The entire year was full of exciting things.  The live show built a strong team with me hosting, Hailey co-hosting and Brian running the network.  We made cool anniversary t-shirts that said ‘since 2004’ on them to show people that we’ve been around and not going anywhere.  The party was a huge success and there are pictures and video floating around all over the Internet.

In 2009, we released a new DVD collection titled COIN-OP TV DVD Volume 2 which is the ‘best of’ the second year of the video podcast show.  I plan to produce and release a volume 3 edition before the end of the year.  With the economy the way it is now – we may hold off on having a large anniversary party celebration – however in May there will be a big party that involves myself and many friends involved with the show in Los Angeles.  In addition to releasing new things and partying – we are always looking for bigger and more important people to bring on the show – send us your suggestions!



Q6: Coin-Op has evolved over the years from Video-Podcast to a Live-Streaming show. Where do you see it evolving to next?

When I launched COIN-OP TV in 2004, the majority of people were still viewing video content on dial-up modems.  It was pathetic how small and lo-res my video clips had to be just so that they didn’t take hours to download.  Eventually technology improved and now video streaming on the Internet is as easy as ever.  The video podcast show involved us traveling to events and shooting self-contained video interviews with game designers, collectors and artists.

Things have flipped now with the live streaming show.  We invite guests into the studio and have a longer time to talk with them and even let our live viewers interact with their own questions and comments.  When Brian launched www.TheStream.TV in Sept 2006 it was one of the only independent live/streaming networks out there.  Streaming live video has become quite the norm these days.  When people started doing audio podcasts, I made video podcasts and when everyone started doing video that’s when we started doing live-streaming.  It’s great to be a pioneer but in many ways you don’t get the reward that you expect.  I think for now we’ll continue doing the live show weekly and try to groom it into something that video game developers take notice of and make sure to put COIN-OP TV on their list of places to visit when promoting new games.





Q7: If you were stuck in the middle of the desert with Brian Gramo and Hailey Bright, how would you survive and subsequently escape?

Well, Brian is pretty tech savvy – he is almost like a MacGyver type in which he can manufacture things from out of nothing.  I’m sure if we had some type of technology with us he could figure out a way to make it work.  As for Hailey – one of her greatest ‘skills’ is making other people happy.  So if we were stuck in a desert for days or months, she would be able to keep both Brian and myself from going insane.  Now that I think about it – I wouldn’t mind Brian escaping and just being stuck with Hailey for a long time in the desert!



Q8: If you could be an animal for a day. What would it be and why?

Always would choose a bird or some kind of hawk.  The ability to fly has always been a dream since childhood.  I can’t imagine how nice it would feel to sore through the open sky and look down at clouds and mountains.  The ironic thing is that I am terrified of heights and just about the biggest wimp when it comes to roller-coasters.

COIN-OP TV LIVE airs live on Thursdays at www.TheStream.TV

The show is archived on the website the next day for all to view on archive.

Additional video content and articles can be found at www.coin-op.tv

You can also find Coin-Op TV at these links:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=50796546961
Twitter: http://twitter.com/coinoptv
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/thirstyfilms
TheStream.TV: http://www.thestream.tv/series.php?s=4





Plants VS Zombies

10 04 2009

It’s Good Friday which means everyone in the UK has a 4 day weekend starting today!

In light of this I thought it reasonable to mark the occasion with a post of equal awesomness.

I’m a regular follower of the Halflife2.net forums and was put on to this little beauty of a game called “Plants VS Zombies”, which is a different level of genius (and was also blatently thought up by a group of stoners).

The idea is to stop the horde of zombies by growing offensive plants.

Looks fun!

You can sign up to play the game before public release AND get a 10% discount by going to Popcap.com

Enjoy!





Seth Caskey talks Acting, Social Media, and Zipper Malfunctions

2 04 2009

A few days ago I had the pleasure to quiz my online pal Seth Caskey who’s an actor in LA.

As usual the format was 8 questions designed to tax the mind to the point of breaking while revealing as much of the inner workings of the subjects mind as possible.

Let’s see how Seth got on:

Q1: So what is an average day like in the Seth Caskey Universe?

No two days are alike, and that’s what I love about it. I’m somewhat of a workaholic, so I spend some time everyday working my craft. I love meeting and connecting with interesting people, online and off. I currently work a part-time “survival” job (that’s actor-speak for a non-acting job). I take my dog out for a hike around Runyan Canyon every morning, spend some time with my wife, drink at least six cups of coffee and am currently training for my next marathon. That’s about as typical as it gets.

Q2: Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

I am currently shooting a web series called End Result with the extremely talented writing/directing team of Heath Vinyard and James Calahan. We are almost halfway through the first season with plans to have it ready to come out later this year.

Q3: Was acting always your number one choice of career?

Have I always wanted to be an actor? Yes. Was it always my number one choice of career? No. My wife and I got married straight out of college, and I felt a sense obligation to have a more predictable 9-5 job. I worked for a number of years in the communications field and eventually as a freelance graphic designer – all while pursuing acting part-time. It wasn’t until a few months before my 30th birthday that I stopped running from the one thing that makes me the happiest and approached my wife with the idea of moving to Los Angeles. That was a little more than two years ago, and it’s been the best journey ever.

Q4: If you could act in any tevision series (past or present) which would it be, and why?

Alias. The show redefined television. It introduced a kind of storytelling that wasn’t around in 2001. It was a relationship drama and action-adventure ride all at the same time. It introduced the concept of mythology and elements of science fiction that were completely accessible to the average viewer and totally grounded in the believability of its characters. The caliber of the cast was outstanding, and I believe it opened the door for many of today’s most successful shows. (and it’s JJ Abrams – come on)

Q5: What’s the funniest acting experience you have had during your career?

There have been quite a few, but one one that stands out was being onstage in my first musical, dancing my heart out with my zipper down. I thought the audience was laughing at my outstanding comedic performance. Nope, just the zipper.

Q6: If you were stuck on a desert island and you could bring 2 worldly items/people/things, what would they be?

John Locke and MacGyver.

Q7: You’ve got a very strong online presence with Twitter, Facebook, your personal site, and your blog. Do you think presence in social media is a must for professionals in the world of today?

Without a doubt. As a professional actor I am an entrepreneur and CEO of my own company. It’s impossible for a business to survive in today’s market without a strong web presence. I have been online since the late 90’s, but it has only been within the past few months that I’ve become strategic about social media specifically. Social media is about relationships. And success in any business comes from building strong relationships with your customers (fans), vendors (producers, writers, directors) and colleagues.

Taking a clue from some other actors who are doing this successfully like Brea Grant (@breagrant), Greg Grunberg (@greggrunberg) and Michael Urie (@michaelurie) and with the help some social media experts Laura Roeder (@lkr) and Patrick Redknap (@PatrickRedknap), I’m discovering ways to do this more effectively.

Q8: If you could be an animal for a day. What would it be and why?

HA! Great question. I would have to say my dog Schmiegel (@thedailyschmoo). I would give anything to know what he’s thinking as hs looks at me in certain moments, and what is it about eating someone else’s poop that is so damn appealing.

You can check out more of Seth and his projects at the following locations online:

Seth’s Official Site: http://www.sethcaskey.com

Seth’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/sethcaskey

Seth’s Blog: http://realityofdoing.wordpress.com

I also strongly recommend that you check out the web series End Result.

I just watched the first part and enjoyed it thoroughly….. beware though! Seth is dishing out some torture on one of the bad guys!





AVG sends me a freebie….. NICE! :)

24 03 2009

I’ve always made sure all my machines have up to date anti-virus software over the years. Most recently I began following the official AVG Twitter account (@officialAVGnews).

The boys and girls at AVG are nice enough to tweet about the various things happening in the world of personal computer security, which I think is a great way to reach consumers.

Anyway… earlier in the week I recieved a letter from London telling me that as I am one of their 100th-150th followers on Twitter I’ve won a license for AVG Internet Security 8.5 for the year………. Whoop!! 🙂

AVG are also running other promotions via their Twitter account so start following them now: @officialAVGnews