Monthly Archives: March 2014

Review: King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

king of kong

I was born only eight months before the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was released in the U.S. While my life was filled with various other activities, video games have been a part of it since I was five. I feel that I and others of my age group have a unique perspective, since we are young enough that we do not remember a time before video games, but old enough to remember much of the progress of the industry. One of the most curious things to come out of video games is the competitive gamer. Unlike most people who play games for fun or for relaxation, these individuals take this form of entertainment very seriously. The 2007 documentary King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters follows two such gamers as they battle back and forth for the Donkey Kong high score world record.

At the time that the documentary opens (in 2006), the record is held by Billy Mitchell, who set the record back in 1982 at the age of seventeen. Until this point, the closest score submitted to Twin Galaxies, the arcade that manages the official records for Guinness, was nearly 300,000 points less than Mitchell’s score. Enter Steve Wiebe. After he was laid off by Boeing, Wiebe began playing Donkey Kong to give himself something to do, and immediately began to excel at the game. After some practice Wiebe submitted a taped score to Twin Galaxies for consideration. Unfortunately, his tape was ultimately rejected, which set off a race between Mitchell and Wiebe to set a new world record.

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Filed under Andrew Hales, Gaming, Movie Reviews, Movies

Editorial | Review: ACID

***** SPOILER ALERT *****

This review will be discussing plot points which may be considered spoilers. Consider yourselves warned.

I have gotten my hot little hands on a copy of Acid, the first novel from author Emma Pass.  The author is from the Midlands, UK, and her European roots come out in certain word choices and, of course, measurements.  Fortunately for Therefore I Geek readers, I have read the book and am here to lay out the good, the bad, and the ugly about it.

The Good: The main character in this book is one Jenna Strong, who is in a maximum security, male only prison at the tender age of seventeen for parricide.  The book is set in 2113, in a UK that is completely cut off from the rest of the world.  A lackadaisical government has been thrown out of power by an anti-terrorist arm of the military/police force called ACID (Agency for Crime Investigation and Defense) and a police state has been in place for about 100 years.  As far as the good of this book goes, the well designed acronym is pretty much all it has to offer.  That, and the perfect use of the subjunctive tense.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Books, Editorial, Tracy Gronewold

Around the Web March 21, 2014

It’s Friday, thank the maker.

One of Hollywood’s biggest fanboys, Patton Oswalt is going to be guest starring on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Oswalt, whose standup routines frequently feature references to geek culture, will play Agent Erik Koenig. Details about the character’s role in the show are still unclear, but Koenig as a comic book character dates back to 1966 with Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.

Patton Oswalt

Oswalt’s rant from Parks and Recreation is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard, so I’m looking forward to seeing him on Agents, especially now that I’ve found my cable remote and have caught up on the show.

Slowly but surely Marvel has been leaking out little bits of information about 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Fans have recently gotten some nice clues, including what Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver will look like and a brand new teaser trailer that shows Iron Man’s helmet turning into Ultron’s head. One can only assume this is some hint at how Ultron will come into being.

I’m really glad Marvel is putting out a couple of movies a year now, because I don’t think I could wait till next summer without losing my mind if there weren’t other stuff to keep me occupied.

Wrapping things up is today’s Follow Friday (#FF):   Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys). Eddie has provided us with his list of Steven Spielberg’s ten greatest films.  I’ve got to say I agree with Eddie for most of this list.  I don’t know that I would have included A.I.: Artificial Intelligence–though it’s been a long time since I’ve seen that movie so I may not remember how good it is. I also didn’t realize exactly how often John Williams composes for Steven Spielberg.

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I would also like to know where The Animaniacs would fall on Eddie’s list.

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Filed under Around the Web, Weekly

Geek’s Night of Comedy

Geek's Night of Comedy

I have found that one thing nearly everyone can agree on is that laughter is a good thing.  Just about every sub-sect of society has their own brand of comedy, and geeks are no different. Last night’s Geek’s Night of Comedy in Virginia Beach was an enjoyable celebration of all that geek humor has to offer.  The show grew out of a post-performance conversation between three local comics, Sid Bridge, Derek Williams, and Tim Loulies.  All three identify themselves as geeks and were lamenting the fact that although they love geek humor, it was difficult to use it in their acts, which were designed to appeal to a much broader audience.  Instead of wallowing in their frustration, the three founders decided to strike out and start a comedy show focused on geek material. Using their personal and business contacts they were able to set up the first Geek’s Night show at the Virginia Beach Funny Bone. The first show was a surprise hit and by the third show, they were selling out the venue.

Last night was the seventh Geek’s Night show. I went and enjoyed myself completely. All of the acts were good, but a few still stand out in my mind a day later. I always find Derek Williams’ humor very relatable—probably because I also regularly attend conventions.  Host and co-founder Tim Loulies has some very amusing material regarding the zombie apocalypse and weight loss.  Although Joseph De Paul and I have talked at length about “angry bus farts” in movie trailers, I’d yet to hear his routine and it left me in tears. Also his magic melts my brain.  Sid Bridge has some impressive bass skills, though I’m still trying to pry his theme song out of my brain.

The night’s closing performer was James Rodatus, who has become quite special to the Geek’s Night show.  Recently James was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and as a result, the Geek’s Night has mobilized to raise money for ALS research. The Geek’s Night show has always been involved with a charity, originally joining with the 501st Legion to raise money for childhood Diabetes, but when Sid, Tim and Derek, learned about James’ diagnosis they immediately shifted gears towards various ALS charities.  James’ performance was both funny and touching.  He discussed various parts of his treatment in ways that made them seem far less serious than they truly are.  By the end of the night $720 was raised for Emory University’s ALS Center.

The very talented James Rodatus

The very talented James Rodatus

The Geek’s Night of Comedy has a bright future and not just in the Hampton Roads region. There are upcoming performances scheduled in both Richmond, VA, and Orlando, FL.  In addition to taking their show to other comedy clubs, Geek’s Night of Comedy has been hitting the convention scene.  When I asked Sid what, if anything, made convention shows different than the standard Geek’s Night show he replied that because the crowd is in their element, the normally shy and socially awkward geeks were far more willing to relax, making for a more enjoyable show.

These guys are absolutely worth checking out, so be sure to keep an eye out at your local comedy club and upcoming conventions.  I would also like to extend a special thanks to Sid Bridge and Joseph De Paul. Both performers were gracious enough to give me a few minutes of their time for some brain picking and it was greatly appreciated.

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Filed under Andrew Hales, Events, Geek Life