Moment of Geek

Semi inspired with the recent censoring going and we haven’t had the Muppets on for awhile. Here is another way to look at things in this weeks Moment of Geek.

 #Muppets #MacktheKnife#MomentofGeek #5280Geek

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Your Quarters Worth

10 Female Singers You Should Know About, But Might Not

Bands performing during Outside Lands Music Festival at Golden Gate Park

by John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

I suspect many people are a lot like me.

Music is and has always been a major part of my life. An array of songs become the soundtrack to my moments and my days.

As a youth, I grew up on the oldies my father played from his vinyl collection and the classics that were spun on New Jersey 101.5 {1}. The Beatles, The Stones, The Doors, The Who; the list is endless.

One thing that always lacked, however, was an adequate amount of female voices and instrumentalists in the music industry. Continue reading “Your Quarters Worth”

Smurfs High Five

It’s a DC dominated #NewComicsDay as we get some promising new titles. Here is Smurfs High Five to help you narrow down what you’re looking for.

shazam #1Shazam #1> The superstar team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Dale Eaglesham reunite to launch the first all-new SHAZAM! monthly title set in the DC Universe in almost 20 years! (What took you guys so long?!)
Teenager turned super-hero Billy Batson struggles to balance school and superheroics! (Guess which one is more fun?) But when Shazam unlocks a shocking secret deep within the Rock of Eternity, it challenges everything he knows about the worlds of magic and his family’s future as its champions! Also, witness the bizarre team-up of Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind as they set off to build a society all their own! Don’t miss the start of an epic run in the making as “Shazam and the Seven Realms” begins! (S) Geoff Johns (A/CA) Dale Eaglesham

Smurfs Take> One of the most under used characters in the DC Universe. I have always had a soft spot for this character but when you have Superman you tend to be overshadowed. I know its hard to write for a character who is a kid without making more focused on younger readers. When they brought him back in one of the restarts as a back story for the Justice League books I was impressed. I know it lost momentum but I still think that goes back to making the character relatable. Regrettably we just can’t have the Shazam from Kingdom Come pop up but the potential for this title is huge.

manhunter #1Martian Manhunter #1> No matter what you know about J’onn J’onnz, you’re not prepared for this! The acclaimed team of writer Steve Orlando and artist Riley Rossmo (BATMAN/ THE SHADOW, BATMAN: NIGHT OF THE MONSTER MEN) reteam for a reinvention of the Manhunter from Mars in this twisted, unexpected series. Back on Mars, J’onn was about as corrupt as a law officer can be, and when a reckoning comes for his entire society, he’ll get a second chance he doesn’t want or deserve! One shocking murder, and an unexpected fragment of the Mars he lost, will change his life-and the course of the Earth-forever! (S) Steve Orlando (A/CA) Riley Rossmo

Smurfs Take> Another character that has been hard pressed to find something other than a supporting role. Always left on monitor duty it seems for the Justice League but there is so much more they could do with J’onn. You think with a character that literally can become anything it would be much easier to find a home and a storyline for him. This might be that chance.

gl 2Green Lantern#2> Someone is transporting a mysterious cargo out of the Great Void, and it spells trouble for the universe at large! Hal Jordan interrogates a member of the Spider Guild for answers and uses his pheremones as an interrogation tool, but can he extract the info in time?! Meanwhile, Volgar Ro makes a play for Earth while its emerald protector is off-world! (S) Grant Morrison (A/CA) Liam Sharp

Smurfs Take> For the first time in a very long while it felt amazing to read a Green Lantern comic. How the story was told, the art, just the feel was something of greatness waiting to break through. Yes it was only one issue but what an issue. Mystery, monsters, and Hal Jordan.

doomsday #8Doomsday Clock #8> The critical and commercial hit series by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank continues following the shocking revelations of last issue. As the truth behind Dr. Manhattan’s actions against the DC Universe are revealed, Ozymandias turns to the only being who can stop him: Superman. (S) Geoff Johns (A/CA) Gary Frank

Smurfs Take> The only thing I would change about this series is when it comes out. It’s worth the wait and a great story that I didn’t think DC could pull off but it’s fantastic.

 

 

 

killmonger 1Killmonger #1> THE BRUTAL TALE OF A MAN WHO WILL STOP AT NOTHING FOR FREEDOM…
One day, Erik Killmonger will rise up and attempt to steal the throne of Wakanda. The throne he believes he is owed. But long before he became “Killmonger,” there was a boy known as N’Jadaka. A boy who was stolen from his home and taught only the world’s cruelties. A boy who knew the Black Panther only as a fairy tale, a whisper from strangers. This is the story of a man who driven by revenge. This is the legend of Killmonger. (S) Bryan Edward Hill (A/CA) Juan Ferreyra

Smurfs Take> I love that out of the movies we are getting series like this. A way to connect the characters to the Marvel Universe in a more complete fashion. One of those characters that needs a bigger expanse is Killmonger.

Weekend Geek Update

#Podcast #WGU live from Alamo Drafthouse Littleton Cinema Your Turn Game Night. The crew pat themselves on the back for calling the Daredevil Netflix debacle and the new info coming out about if we will ever see them again. More on Disney+, San Diego Comic Con is creating a museum and looking for members.

A follow up on the Jackman story from last week. Crazy Rich Asians is a bomb? Captain Marvel and Godzilla  trailers. Mario cart is coming to Denver and William Shatner is giving you a gift for the holidays. All this a way more on Weekend Geek Update

Doctor Who

One episode left and here is Smurfs Take on Season 11 of Doctor Who

Over the decades Doctor Who has been and meant many different things to me. Hero, champion, defender, inspiration, wit, the list is long lets face it. With every regeneration the Doctor being a mix of the same and something different from the last but always excited to see what happens next. I’m feeling all of that and more with the current regenerated Doctor having one episode left in Jodie Whittaker’s freshman season.Doctor-Who-s11

To be honest this first season has not been the best with more misses than hits. Everyone has been asking my thoughts and feels about the season, either I have deflected or avoided because I wanted to look at it as a whole picture.  The first episode is never a fair gauge or by any means the tone being set for the rest of the season. Thank god because I was not impressed with what felt like a rushed episode. I didn’t even have time to care about the loss of a character that was there specifically for some form emotional attachment and reaction. A monster that is best explained as the Tooth Fairy in a story that just felt unfinished and incomplete like the grand opening of a department store that isn’t really ready. I think that has been one the biggest plagues for this season; the writing. 

I have enjoyed the episodes being a little longer and in some of the episodes the time was well spent. But in many cases its not and Ghost Monument is a perfect example of time wasted, when we finally get to the TARDIS; the focus of the whole episode, it’s just glossed over. The interior is completely new! But because the writing was so bad and felt they had to explain everything to the viewer it took away from us experiencing the joy and excitement of the story. This is one of the common problems for most of the episodes, the need to explain instead of show. I understand with Sci-Fi there comes a certain level of political and social statement but if told well you don’t notice and it makes you think about the world around you. When the story is stopped to tell me what the point is out of fear I’m not getting the message is just bad writing. Not every episode needs to have a statement, there is such a thing as just a good story or, character building. But when you are really good you can have it all and not even see it till the end like Kerblam. We go to the planet Amazon and have our minds set to who the villain is just to get the curve ball at the end, the perfect balance and one of the better episodes of the season. Most of the episodes have left little to no time for the monster face off. All this build up trying to create suspense, and explain the meaning of every little detail is tiresome. There have been a few very cool monsters, some solid twists but the fact is we are still stuck on Earth and no soundtrack.

season 11 dr Jodie Whittaker’s take on the Doctor has been entertaining and fun; while fresh still has a great classic feel to it harking back to Baker and Davidson era right down to not flying the TARDIS well. I fear her Doctor however may suffer the same as Matt Smith’s did with the writing being more the problem than anything else. She is engaging and wonderful with every thought laid out for all to hear I just wish we had got more time with her and same goes for the companions. Sticking with more of the classic Who formula of multiple companions has been a hit and I feel we have hardly scratched the surface. Only getting a deep look into Yaz thanks to Arachnids in the UK and Demons of the Punjab. Gram and Ryan just stuck together most of the time to help bridge the gap between them that we see a resolution to at the end of It Takes You Away. Believable outcome? Who’s to say since these character are exactly the same since episode one. The one I would like to see more of is Graham, I can’t help but get a Jamie feel from him in every scene he is in. The comfort and ease with the Doctor, the questions at the right time and emotional range are fantastic. Yaz is just sort of angry most of the time and Ryan is scared and confused, I can only hope in the seasons to come they can expand their range a bit more.

The-DoctorI love the new opening credits and music, I love the Doctor and companions, and the new TARDIS is great but would like to see more of it. Was it a good season? To be honest I am left with a feeling of wanting. No soundtrack I am finding more and more annoying, creepy noises does not fill that hole. There wasn’t a dare to be great moment in my mind. Nothing stood out as the Doctor has arrived and I can only think of one Monster that I hope we see more of.  And while I can appreciate a new approach some stories should be better polished before hitting the air. I can only hope next season will be better as they start to find their stride. For now I will go with an alright season and one I can’t wait to put behind me and look forward to the last episode of the season and the Christmas Special.           

Your Quarters Worth

Top 10 Best Video Games of All Time

Part 2: Games Released 2000 or Later

By John Andreula

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Back in August I released the preeminent list of the best video games of all time from before the year 2000. It was a somewhat snarky look at the top games of the retro past.

There was a lot of clamor and hub-bub about the content of that list. Good. These are the things us nerds are supposed to debate.

Please remember what I said then because I’m going to say it again here. My lists of the best video games of all time are indisputable.

Today we fast forward to the more recent past.

I don’t much care for many of the video games from the past decade as they are all reiterations of time-told stories. All companies release nowadays are sequels, reboots, spin-offs, rip-offs and knock-offs of games that achieved any commercial success.

Some amazing video games get forgotten in the abundance of content we have gotten particularly spoiled by in the last ten years. Some of those more recent relics were awesome. Now their manufactures give those franchises minor graphical upgrades.¹ It is all rehashed versions of video games we have been playing since we were young.

That’s not the point of this list. The point is that this list showcases the games that wowed us when quality still mattered. This list of video games contains the greatest intellectual properties software designers produced in the year 2000 or later.


HALO (2001)

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If you played video games and you didn’t play HALO, then I would guess you lived under a rock somewhere without a color television or the internet.

Halo was the next level of video games. It was like Goku achieving Super Saiyan in terms of setting the standard in home gaming.

First person shooters were generally ‘meh’ before HALO. Then we got our minds blown.

We put on our diapers and stocked up on Mountain Dew. We pulled the blinds tight and pulled all-nighters while we battled the flood on Legendary in co-op mode.

The story was deep and well-written. For being a space marine fighting aliens with laser weaponry, Master Chief was an accessible protagonist. We wanted him to win and we were going to help him do it.

HALO excellently showcased next generation home console hardware and its capabilities. We chose HALO over going out or getting laid because it was that good…and because we were that addicted to the game.

DEADRISING (2006)

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Much like HALO was the reason to own an XBOX (and stay indoors), DEADRISING was one of the main reasons to upgrade to an XBOX 360.

Holy cow! DEADRISING was fun!

It was the first game that allowed us to experience the zombie apocalypse in an open-world or “sandbox” style.

It was well done all around. The art was beautiful, the zombies were endless, as were the options of weapons and methods with which to dispatch them.

There was even a challenging, but compelling story which involved saving various people within the mall and battling a variety of psychos.

I must confess I never beat the story, but I did spend countless hours mowing down, driving over, chopping up, beating bloody, and walking on top of the heads of plenty zombies.

CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR (2008)

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I spent over seven days playing the multiplayer of CALL OR DUTY: WORLD AT WAR with my nerdy gamer friends. We yelled into our headsets much to chagrin of our families and roommates. We would chase that next kill, which lead to that next level.

After achieving fifty levels players got to decide if they wanted to keep playing with all the weapons and perks they unlocked or they could “Prestige.” Prestige meant gamers got a new badge next to their call-sign in the pre-game lobby. Players friends and the rest of the trolls were so impressed and jealous of their obvious high level of skill.²

Choosing Prestige also meant players had to start the whole process from scratch. All unlocked kills and perks were erased. Gamers had to kill and level up and unlock everything they already unlocked. I was sucker for playing that long, let alone Prestiging even one time. I had comrades who did it several times.

Despite spending so much time playing the game I was usually the one who ran out and drew fire from the enemy. I died and my buds got to pick up the kills from the enemies that exposed themselves by killing me.

I had fun with the multiplayer, but that was not even the real reason to own and play the game.

I said earlier that DEADRISING was the reason to own an XBOX 360, but that was just a half-truth. The other half of the reason to get MICROSOFT’s second generation video game hardware was the bonus mode in CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR.

Contained within the game was a mode called Nazi Zombies. Up to four players were holed up in a run down house while wave after wave of zombie virus infected Nazis tore boards off the windows and entered the house in an attempt to eat brains.

In the early levels players could keep the Nazi zombies at bay through skilled head shots and continually boarding up the windows, but by the time they reached double digit levels the hordes became so intense that death was all but an inevitability just about to occur.

Nazi Zombies did not count toward levels or Prestige over on the main game modes, but it was by far the best part of the game.

I have never experienced such a scary and claustrophobic gaming experience as I had with Nazi Zombies from CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR. All I needed was a dark room and a big screen TV with the sound turned way up.

FABLE (2004)

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Once in a while gamers needed a break from zombie slaying. That’s usually when we got back in touch with our nerd roots. That’s when played adventure and role playing games. There was none better in either genre than FABLE.

Players could choose to simultaneously excel as a warrior, mage, and an archer. They battled everything from gnolls and trolls to (spoiler alert) your sister.

The story was rich and compelling and the graphics were beautiful. The game even offered enough replay value to make it worthy of at least one additional play-through.

As players determined how to proceed in-game, their responses to different choices and actions caused the main character to evolve.

If pure and good choices were made, the character would be met by cheers and gifts by the local townspeople. He would even get a halo and angel wings.

If evil and dark choices were made, like stealing and killing townspeople at random, then a cloud of blood would surround and follow the character and eventually he would grow devil horns from his forehead.

I still haven’t figured out if there was a purpose or secret to kicking the chickens, but it sure was funny when they all attacked me.

grand theft auto: San Andreas (2004)

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I honestly could have named any grand theft auto game from gta III on, but grand theft auto: San Andreas was where ROCKSTAR GAMES stepped there gta game up.

First off, ROCKSTAR made the bold choice to have it’s main character be African American and from the hood. Before this iteration all the previous grand theft autos had basically the same middle-aged white Italian guy ripping people out of cars and running from the cops.

The story of Carl Johnson creating his gang from nothing and taking over the whole city through gang-banging drive-by’s may not be for every gamer. However, those who would purchase and play any grand theft auto game know you would not be leaving your house for quite some time.

More than likely gamers played so much that when they closed their eyes to go to sleep after a marathon session they would still see Carl pedaling his bike and jumping fences. It was burnt into theirr vision when they closed their eyes.

By the way, both biking and jumping fences were firsts in grand theft auto: San Andreas. They added yet another layer of playability and quality to an already vast open world created by its predecessors.

With unlimited choices of debauchery and mayhem for players of all types mental disturbances, this was a must-play video game.

Beautiful Katamari (2007)

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Not all games needed to be violent to make this list, just most of them.

However, once in a while a video game comes along that blows even a hardened desensitized mind like mine. Beautiful Katamari is one of these games.

Beautiful Katamari is hard to describe. I remember when my step-sister had first told me about this game. I was like, “What the hell is she talking about?” So don’t be surprised if you are saying the same thing when I’m done.

Gamers control the prince. His dad is the king and he sends players out into the world with demands of building celestial formations such as planets, stars, and comets. To do this they must push around what appears to be a lopsided rubber bouncy ball and pick up objects.

When the prince first starts out he can only pick up small objects like match-sticks, origami, and poker chips. As his creation grows like the body of a snowman he can start to pick up people, cars, and large animals. Eventually his creation will be large enough to pick up buildings, cruise ships and entire islands.

Beautiful Katamari is an intense and difficult game due to time limits and other constraints that prevent the silliness from being too easy or juvenile.

It is one of the best games I’ve played in the past two decades and it is quite possibly the most original and unique video game I have ever played.

BIOSHOCK (2007)

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BIOSHOCK changed the dynamics of story-telling and game-play in the first person shooter genre.

As an FPS, or first person shooter, the trend at the time was all about multiplayer. BIOSHOCK’s creative team at 2K GAMES decided that it would not worry about a multiplayer experience. Instead they would put all their effort and energy into the single player campaign.

Their gamble payed off huge! The story and visual design of BIOSHOCK stands above the majority of games ever made.

The game takes place in an underwater dystopia. The protagonist ends up crash landing an airplane just outside of the surface entrance. When he enters the underwater pseudo-Atlantis he discovers freaky disfigured denizens that have gone insane trying to push their evolutionary limits. Their forced evolution is done through the discovery of Adam, which is some sort of bone marrow or stem cells that when injected unlocks powers like control over electricity, flames, and telekinesis.

As the story unfolds, the main character has to make moral choices in whom to save, as well as how far he will go to evolve himself. The more he does the easier the game becomes, but in pushing forward his own evolution how much of his humanity will he retain?

The baddies are awesome. The scenery and music made it one scary play-through. This is one that should not have been missed.

Wii Sports (2006)

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Be honest. The only reason you bought a Wii was for Wii Sports.

And you immediately regretted it when you let go of your Wii-mote and it impaled your flat-screen.

Good thing Nintendo decided to include warnings at the beginning of their games. They even sent out those controller condoms to make sure we didn’t lose any more hardware.

Despite the costly expense of damaged televisions, stereos, and fine wall art, Wii Sports was freaking sweet!

The bowling, baseball, tennis and other games actually made users feel like they were playing the actual sports.

Alright, maybe not, but you definitely got a workout and broke a sweat while you were playing.

It was almost as fun watching others play as it was playing yourself. Young children to elderly adults all got in on this one, and it still plays.

NINJA GAIDEN (2004)

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The final violent video game on the list may possibly be one of the most violent games of all time; NINJA GAIDEN.

The main character Ryu Hayabusa had some sort of story. Some people he loved got killed or kidnapped, I’m not sure. He gets really pissed off and grabs his Kitana and cuts the holy heck out of throngs of bad guys.

With each kill Ryu receives experience orbs that are multiplied by combinations and skilled-kills that allow players to unlock a variety of techniques and weapons to further the level of ultra-violence.

Like many Japanese games, you are given a grade at the end of each level based on the ease and techniques players used to best the level. This leads to more experience points and more unlocked skills and weapons.

It wasn’t about the experience points and grades at all though. It was about being a ninja.

The XBOX and PS2 versions of the game allowed players to do things that only a ninja could do in ways that had never been done so smoothly in video games before it.

Players could run up and across walls and drop down to decapitate an opponent. They could swing a Kusari-Gama, or sickle on a chain, and cut through a line of enemies like butter.

NINJA GAIDEN was extremely difficult, but immensely fun.

GUITAR HERO (2005)

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Don’t act like you haven’t at least tried GUITAR HERO.

This is the game that truly let nerds like myself pretend for just a few songs that I was Slash or Eddie Van Halen.

GUITAR HERO made me feel like I was a rock star that could power slide across my living room and kick my TV.

The playlists were awesome and it was accessible to gamers of any generation or gender.

The varied difficulties allowed beginners to share screen and game time with those who mastered the game and could play DragonForce on expert.

Just writing this is giving me the urge to turn on my Wii and start strumming away.


When reading the descriptions of the games above it’s easy to see the similarities to games available today on home consoles, in the few remaining arcades, and even available as apps for tablets or cell phones.

Almost half of the games on the list are in fact sequels or spiritual successors to earlier games, but they too deserve mention for the groundbreaking features, stories, and gameplay that they offered.

I recommend going immediately to the local GAME FORCE or miscellaneous video game reseller and sell all the crappy games you own that were produced in the last ten years. Use your trade credit pick up the ten games on this list.

harris game force
Harris, owner of GAME FORCE, in Boulder Colorado

Don’t have a video game reseller near you? Still living under that rock, but at least now you have dial up internet? Try Ebay. All of these games are probably available for purchase there.

You probably will never need to buy another video game again.

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane with me.


I look forward to the discourse we will inevitably receive about the games that are missing from this list as well as any details I undoubtedly got incorrect in my descriptions.

Remember this was an opinion piece that is one hundred percent correct.

Please feel free to comment with any glaring omissions to the best post-2000 video games of all time. We look forward to your correspondence.

¹See the entire catalog of games or demonstrations of the hardware on Xbox 1 and PS4.
²Prestige on CALL OF DUTY did not actually determine a players skill, only the amount of time they had squandered playing the game, much like the achievement score on XBOX 360.

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