Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Nerdversity Discussion: Autism and the Geek world

Before we get into this discussion, as it forms part of the next batch of reviews, lets just define Autism. Autism is a spectrum wide neurological disorder. It's NOT a disease and cannot be cured. It encompasses a wide range of symptoms, ranging from how well a person can communicate with others, to how they see the world around them, to how they process information in the world around them. There's a myth that people with Aspergers and Autism don't have feelings. They do, many have a difficulty showing their feelings, or understanding how they should feel in certain situations.

In recent years, as anime has exploded, more and more people on the spectrum have found themselves drawn into Anime and Manga. Many people have asked why this is. One of the biggest reasons I can think of, would be the characters. There are many that are large and bombastic, yet make use of simplistic non-verbal communication and facial expressions, which helps many autistics that aren't that adept in understanding facial expressions, learn and understand better, help them understand how the characters are feeling, which in turn, helps them in real life.

The plots are linear and aren't busy, which really helps autistics understand the flow of the story, without a lot unnecessary background material, that a lot of Austistics would focus on and miss crucial plot points. 

Many anime and manga characters help autistics in another way, as many are socially awkward outcasts and seeing these characters on the screen actually overcoming problems and becoming more socially acceptable can help them be more friendly and open. This overall open and clean style, along with realistic plots, allows many austistics to jump in and understand the story and the universe, as well as talk to people who are also fans.

While anime may be the big thing to help autistics now, back in the 80s and 90s, Autistics and people with developmental disabilities turned to 2 series. Thomas the Tank Engine and Tugs. Both of these series were made by the same person, David Mitton. They both shared a very similar style in regards to simplistic plots and plain faces on the characters, this helped many autistic children understand facial expressions better, as they were large,clear and were narrated on screen. 

The plots were also very easy to understand, as they were usually condensed between 5 and 20 minutes.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Slimer Chocs

There's no denying what cultural impact and significance that Ghostbusters has on today's society and pop culture at large. How much impact that Mr. Stay Puft, Slimer and the No-Ghost emblem have, along with catchphrase of "I ain't afraid of no ghost"

One of the last items from World of Sweets we're going to be looking at, is the bag of Slimer Chocs. The little tag has the hazard stripes, with the "No-Ghost" logo and slime drooling down it. They come in a net bag, similar to a bag of coins.

There's about 100 grams worth of foil wrapped chocolate in this little bag. The chocolates come in 3 designs. A screaming Slimer. Slimer eating something. Slimer looking at the viewer, almost expectantly holding his hands. The majority of the bag seems to be the screaming version.

Taking the foil off, we can see that it's a vague milk chocolate shape with green creme filling, resembling slime. Overall, the chocolate quality is very cheap and doesn't taste as good as it should, same with the creme filling. It felt like a very cheap Christmas chocolate.

Nerdversity Reviews: Slimerz Bubble Gum gumballs

When Ghostbusters was released in 1984, it became a cult phenomenon, spawning a sequel, a whole slew of merchandise, quotes from the movie became part of everyday speech. 

In 2016, World of Sweets obtained the license to produce Ghostbusters themed sweets and sell them at retail. Slimerz is another example of this. Retailing for 30p from most stores, Slimerz are slime filled gumballs. They come packaged in a small tube of 5, It comes themed after the other pieces in the line, with the hazard stripes on the sides and screaming Slimer.

The back of the packaging is open and allows the buyer to see the gumballs. They usually come in an assortment of 2 white, 3 green. Like all the items in the World of Sweets line, they're themed after the original 1984 movie, not the 2016 reboot

The gumballs come in 2 varieties, lime green and white. They both have the "No-Ghost"emblem printed on the front. They measure about an inch across.

The inside of the gumball has green filling that's supposed to resemble slime. However, it does very little to add to the flavour. The gum is that traditional cheap gumball, where you get that sharp burst of sweet flavour, then afterwards, the flavour goes and you're left with bland, flavourless gum very quckly. It's also not that great for bubble blowing either. Though 30p for 5 gumballs is pretty cheap, especially for themed ones.

Nerdversity Reviews: Ghostbusters Popping Candy (Apple)

In 1984, we were introduced to the Ghostbusters, a supernatural horror comedy. It didn't take long for it to become a cult phenomenon, spawning a sequel, a reboot, a cartoon series, numerous video games and a whole slew of merchandise as well.

Rolling on to 2015,when Ghostbusters was celebrating it's 30th anniversary re-run at the cinema. UK Confectioner, World of Sweets was granted the license to make sweets based on the Ghostbusters brand. This is one of the other pieces. The Apple flavoured popping candy comes in a small foil packet. The packet is the same as the previous one, this time replacing the "No-Ghost" logo, with a screaming Slimer. 

The back of the packet features the same black background as all the other items in the World of Sweets Ghostbusters assortment. 

The popping candy itself is a green colour, much like Slimer himself. There is a faint apple taste while the candy is popping, but that quickly fades. 

Nerdversity Reviews: Ghostbusters Popping Candy (Strawberry)

In 1984, Ghostbusters debuted in cinemas. It was considered a smash hit and a pop culture phenomenon.

In 2016, World Of Sweets released a whole slew of Ghostbusters themed sweets. One of the things they released was 2 lots of popping candy. It comes in a small foil packet, with the Ghostbusters logo on the top, the No-Ghost logo on the front, overlapped over a city scene, which is New York. On the bottom of the packet, we have the hazard stripe theme again, with the POPPING CANDY - STRAWBERRY FLAVOUR on the striping.

The back of the packet follows on from the other World of Sweets Ghostbusters sweets. Its black background with the ingredients in the white box. The hazard stripe descriptor is on the top of the ingredients box.

Popping Candy has been around for decades and has been a staple for many children growing up from the 70s to today. If you've never experienced them, they're little piece of hard candy that pop when placed on the tongue. These have a slight Strawberry taste to them, but it's quickly overridden when the popping happens.

Nerdversity Reviews: Ghostbusters Candy Proton Beams

The 1984 Ghostbusters movie became a cultural phenomenon, even back in the 1980s. In today's society, it's considered a pop culture phenomenon, 

In 2016, the same year as the reboot, UK Confectioner, World of Sweets had obtained the license from Sony/Columbia to produce sweets for the UK market, themed around Ghostbusters. Here, we have Proton Beams. Unlike the others, which were themed around the 2016 movie, these, like the jellies are themed around the 1986 movie. The packaging is slightly different here. It's open, where you can see the candy inside and the bottom section has the silhouettes of the original team crossing the streams.

The back of the packaging however, follows on from the others by reusing the black background with hazard stripes on the top and bottom. Nothing on the left side, The right hand side has all the ingredients and nutritional information.

Once they're out of the package, many British people will notice that they are the classic fizzy fruit flavoured laces, that many of us grew up with throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s. They were a mainstay of our childhoods, where we could buy loads of them, as they only cost a penny. In this bag, they come in many colours and assorted fruit flavours, as they're simulating the proton beams from the movie.

Nerdversity Reviews: Ghostbusters Interactive Jellies

In 1984, Ivan Reitman directed the first Ghostbusters movie. It was a supernatural horror comedy from the minds of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. 

Whereas the Hi-C and Slime Tubs were nostalgic throwbacks, yet designed to promote the 2016 movie, these Interactive Jellies are based on pure nostalgia and are based on the original movie. They come in a black bag with hazard stripes on the top and bottom of the bag. There's a large No-Ghost emblem in the middle and it shows how the jellies work.

The back of the bag continues the black theme. There's also the hazard stripes on the top and bottom. As well as having the ingredients and nutritional information, they also show how the jellies work again.

Inside the bag, you get white ghosts, which have a faint coconut or vanilla taste, whereas the red No emblems have a faint strawberry taste. Many people would consider them more gummy like, rather than jelly.

As they are more flexible than people think, you can actually make the No-Ghost emblem without it breaking. They fit together well. However, they only fit in the classic way, so sadly, no chance of logo customisation here. 

Monday, 29 August 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Hi-C Ecto-Cooler

In 2016, Paul Feig released his all female Ghostbusters reboot. Despite heavy promotion, it was considered a failure. 

To the excitement of Ghostbuster fans everywhere, Coca-Cola announced it was bringing back the Ecto-Cooler drink, which was last seen in the 90s, before sadly fading. The drink returned as 11.5 oz cans or here, the 6 oz juice boxes, which are sold in packs of 10.

The cardboard sleeve has the new logo on it, which is the slime dripping down. The middle piece is all the nutritional information and then the final piece is the promotional material for the Ecto-Cooler and the 2016 movie.

The juice boxes have the new slime logo over the image of oranges. It promotes the new movie coming soon to theaters.

Like the original drink, its a green colour and has a strong orange taste to it. It's cool and refreshing, especially on a long, hot summer, like what we've been having here in the UK.

Like with H. Grossman's stuff, Coca-Cola has done a great job in cashing in on nostalgia for Ghostbusters in general. Sadly, Ecto-Cooler never made it to UK shores, so this is an all new experience for myself. I fought tooth and nail to find these here on UK shores, so if you live in the UK, be prepared to pay around £20 for the 10 pack of juice boxes. I've yet to find the cans over here. I can honestly say that it was worth the price and the hassle to find it. 

Nerdversity Reviews: Ghostbusters Slime Tub (Mr. Stay Puft)

Earlier this year, Paul Feig released his reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise. Despite heavy media attention and a large promotional campaign, the movie was critically panned and was considered a commercial failure.


To tie in to the new film, H. Grossman created the Slime Tub. The final figure in the series is Mr. Stay Puft. He comes on the standard card for all the Slime Tub figures.

The back of the card is exactly the same as other releases as well. All these slightly cheaper toys all have the same card backs.

The pack in figure this time around is Mr. Stay Puft. He stands around an inch tall, like the other figures in this collection. He's molded in white plastic with the details painted on. Due to the size of the figure, there aren't that many details on him and there's no STAY PUFT on his sailor cap. Like with the other figures, he has no articulation, so therefore is just a desk display.

He comes with that same barrel of slime that all the others do. Same warning stickers and same No-Ghost insignia on the top, This is that same slime we loved as kids, but were never allowed, because it would ruin clothes and carpets.

H. Grossman really knew how to capitalise on the nostalgia factor of these three figure sets. They retail for about £2 from most UK stores, but can be found online. They feel like they could have had a home in Kenner's Real Ghostbusters line. We'd have bought these in that line for £2 as well