Friday, 27 February 2015

Leonard Nimoy Tribute post

Leonard Nimoy
1931 - 2015

It is with the heaviest of hearts that Nerdversity 101 podcasts announce the passing of screen icon Leonard Nimoy. We have all grown up watching Nimoy on such TV shows and movies as Star Trek, Transformers, Bonanza, Rawhide, Mission: Impossible, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and In Search Of...

He wasn't just a TV and movie star, he was an accomplished author and musician,

His memory will live long and prosper. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Book Review - “Lethbridge-Stewart: The Forgotten Son”

“Lethbridge-Stewart: The Forgotten Son”
Written by: Andy Frankham-Allen
Published by: Candy Jar Books – Cardiff UK

Are you a Whovian?  Do you like Classic Era Doctor Who?  Was the Brigadier one of your favourites of the Doctor’s friends?  If you answered yes to any of those, then “Lethbridge-Stewart: The Forgotten Son” by Andy Frankham-Allen (author - Space 1889) from Candy Jar Books should be on your “Must Read” book list.  This is classic Doctor Who story telling, and even without the Doctor expressly in the picture, his presence and influence is tangibly felt none the less – this is Doctor Who in every sense of the word.  Taking place shortly after the events that brought Colonel Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart of the Scots Guard face to face with the Doctor for the first time in “Web of Fear”, “The Forgotten Son” begins the story of what happened to Alistair in between his encounters with the Mad Man in a Blue Box.  What happens and where do these events take him?  Well, that you’ll have to read for yourself.

I will say this, however – once I picked up “The Forgotten Son” and started reading it, I flat devoured it, reading the entire book all in one go.  I could not just set this one aside and walk away in the middle of the story and I am certainly looking forward to the next installment!  It felt like I was watching it on television, picturing it clearly in my mind’s eye as I was reading, hearing the characters’ voices as I watched the events unfold.  Much like the “Sara Jane Adventures” offered a deeper look into one of the Doctor’s best loved companions; “Lethbridge-Stewart” offers a deeper understanding of one of his greatest human allies.  For me, while there were a couple plot twists I did predict as I was reading, other plot twists really caught me by surprise, rather like unwrapping a present you didn’t expect.  I won’t tell you which ones because that would just spoil the surprise!  Let’s see which ones you can figure out before they’re revealed.

I find it odd and slightly tragic that our beloved Brigadier’s story has not been written or shown before now.  He was the quintessential ally of the Doctor, a Companion who didn’t actually travel with him on his magical TARDIS, but he was there when our good Doctor needed him on Earth during the Classic series run in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s where he met with the Second Doctor and came to know his third, fourth, fifth, and seventh incarnations as the story progressed.  But with this series, that oversight is certainly being remedied and we get to see another side to the Brigadier not seen in the series, getting an inside look into what made him the man he was as glimpses of his past, the events of his relative present (within the context of the story), and his eventual future, play out with each new book.  Coupled with the episodes we know from the series, a more complete picture of Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart begins to take shape and he becomes even more the hero we cherish and friend of the Doctor we love.

This book is available February 26th, 2015 in paperback format directly through the distributor (10% off and free shipping), which I highly recommend.  Who knows, you might be able to get Andy to sign it if you get the chance to meet up with him at a convention or book signing.

Review by Elleinah "Katt" McCairn, podcaster/staff - Nerdversity 101

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Nerdversity 173 - An Interview with Sam J. Jones

GORDON'S ALIVE! in this podcast at least. Join Aaron, Alex, Steve and Katt as they sit down and talk to Flash Gordon himself, Sam Jones. In this interview, we not only talk about Flash Gordon and the impact that's had on his life and career, but we also talk about his other works, ranging from Code Red and The Highwayman, to The Spirit and Ted. 

In this podcast we also discuss his upcoming documentary movie called Life After Flash, which is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter.

Life After Flash Kickstarter - donate here to get some cool rewards. 

Life After Flash Facebook - Follow the progress of the Kickstarter and movie here. Get updates, read articles and so much more

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Nerdversity 172 - LEGO Anniversary Special

As the LEGO Company celebrates its 81st Anniversary and the LEGO Brick celebrates it's 61st anniversary, Nerdversity decided to sit down and talk about LEGO's rich history, as well as our thoughts on the brand, plus what we hope for the future of the brand.

Note: When recording this, we didn't realise that there are new LEGO City sets coming, as well as a return of LEGO Pirates. Furthermore, we learned from the LEGO ideas website that sadly, the Ghostbusters firehouse wasn't picked, the BBC and the LEGO Company are producing Doctor Who sets. 

Discqus on the podcast garden page
Comment below on this page
E-mail us:
twitter: @nerdversity101

Nerdversity Reviews - VR Troopers (Genesis/Mega Drive and Game Gear)

Nerdversity has spoken a lot recently about a franchise we love here: that being Power Rangers and we admit, we love it's Japanese origins in Super Sentai, but one other thing we're fans of here at Nerdversity is other Saban shows. Last year, we had the opportunity to talk with Brad Hawkins, famous for his role as Ryan Steele in the VR Troopers TV series, well, did you know there was a game made of the series in 1995 for Genesis/Mega Drive and Game Gear?

VR Troopers has a fairly standard plot in regards to gaming. Grimlord puts a new Arcade machine in Tao's Dojo, which sucks Ryan, Kaitlin and JB into the virtual world. The three of them must fight their way back to Reality.

Rather than being an action game like later Power Rangers games, British developer took a leaf out the first Power Rangers game book and made it a fighting game, in the same vein as the likes of Street Fighter. The title screen has the options for story mode, 2 player and options. Options menu allows you to change the difficulty, set the round timer and how many rounds per fight.

Now, unlike other fighters where you pick a character and you're locked to that until the end of the game, you can swap your Trooper between fights. Each trooper comes armed with an array of punches, kicks and throws, as well as special moves ripped right from the TV show. Though to be fair, if you're going for the Genesis version, at least use the six button controller, as the specials are put on the X,Y and Z buttons, which is better for gameplay. It makes using JB's Laser Lance a lot easier by just tapping the X button instead of forward + punch.

Though speaking of gameplay, the controls feel very floaty. Until you can get the accuracy down, you'll find yourself flying across the screen with jump kicks and jump punches that won't connect, same for counter moves. Plus you'll find yourself taking some cheap damage from opponents when you fly over them and they'll counter with an uppercut or kick to you from behind. AI can vary game to game and from opponent to opponent, even between rounds. Some enemies might be stupid enough to walk right into your attacks, allowing you to claim an easy, perfect victory. On other occasions, you might find yourself scraping by with barely any health, as sometimes the AI can be very cheap. The first fight, Tankotron, he has a tendency to sweep kick you in the corner, same for repeatedly uppercutting.

The heroes:

  • Ryan Steele (Atomic Shuriken)
  • JB Reese (Laser Lance)
  • Kaitlin Star (Power Ring)
The enemies
  • Tankatron
  • Decimator
  • Darkheart
  • Kongbot
  • Magician
  • JB Clone
  • Kaitlin Clone
  • Ryan Clone
  • Kamelion
Between rounds, you enter Battle Grid mode, just like in the TV show. However, forget about using any of your special moves here, you're restricted to punches and kicks. The trick is to defeat as many Skugs as possible in the alloted time. This is done by knocking one skug into the other. However, in Battle Grid mode, the skugs are cheap as they will always knock you down with a flying kick or flying punch. Do NOT get trapped between them, as they will cheaply pummel your Trooper, which only lucky button mashing will get you out of, well, maybe a few times. Despite being a bonus stage to rack up more points, you actually HAVE to beat the stage by surviving the clock. Failure means you go back to the previous fight and you have to beat him all over again to have another crack at the Battle Grid stage,

The music and the visuals do a good job of emulating the look and sound of the show. Each of the characters has a few pieces of short syntheised speech, which is usually little more than just a few karate yells. Plus Ryan and JB yell "YEAH!" or "ALRIGHT!" when picked on the select screen.

The mega drive/genesis version is fairly cheap on places like eBay, except the Game Gear version, which is a little more harder to find and thus more expensive, but there's very little difference between either version. 

In conclusion, it's not exactly the worst game ever made, but it's no masterpiece either. I'm sure fans of VR Troopers could look past the flaws, steep difficulty and random AI and find something fun, enjoyable and something to love. Same for fighting game fans. 

Discqus on the podcast garden page
Comment below on this page
E-mail us:
twitter: @nerdversity101

Monday, 2 February 2015

Video Game Console Review: Hyperkin Supaboy

What is the Hyperkin Supaboy? It is a portable handheld clone of the Super Nintendo hardware, the machine features a 3.5 inch LCD screen, rechargeable Li-On  Battery, Stereo Sound and the ability to play not just games from the USA but also Japanese Super Famicom and a small selection of PAL SNES games yes that'ss right this machine takes real carts.

So on to the main part of the review, on the face of the console we have all the buttons that you come to expect from the SNES D-pad, Face and Trigger buttons, the D pad does not have much give but seemed to get better after a few rounds of Street Fighter but it does feel slightly mushy, through thankfully not 2DS Dpad mushy, the buttons do the job fine, but i found that the B button was sticking, but that was on my unit, and at the time of writing i have seemed to have fixed the problem, the sound for the most part is not bad at all, through so some reason there is a slight buzzing sound in the background at louder volume, but i found it not to be so bad when using headphones.

Another features this machine brings to the table include, being able to use the included AV lead to hook the Superboy up to a TV and play it on the TV as if it was a actual SNES system to the point of the console itself even having 2 controller ports on the face of the unit so you can use SNES controllers through i found out controllers will only work when using the AV lead but least the picture quality is not too bad through you do still get the buzzing i have talked bout, but the buzzing only seems at it's worst when there is no music playing to be honest it's the only thing i can say Hyperkin got wrong with this machine.

So the question I think folk are going to ask me will be, "should I bother to buy this machine?" that all depends the Supaboy is a well built machine considering the buzzing sound which seems to be the only chink in the console's armour, in a nutshell if you want a machine that saves you having to own both Japanese and US hardware i'd say go for, but if you are the kind of person who wants the true experience of the SNES/Super Famicom this machine is 100% not for you.

I award the Hyperkin Supaboy a 7.5 out of 10, it was so nearly an 8 honest but that buzzing and the short battery life of two and a half hours that slightly let the machine down, but if you look past these floors, the other thing that saved this review for the Supaboy is that yes you can use Super FX games on the console so you can at least play Starfox on the move!

This has been a review for the Nerdversity101 website written by Steve Burrow, catch you next time for another gaming releated review