Tattoo Art & Dangerously Dolly

January 9, 2013

While derping around online between several video game forums, I tabbed over to Twitter to see what was good, and saw I had a mention from @DangerslyDolly – which is always exciting because she a fantastic woman, high-level Demon Hunter and a photography wizard. I’ve worked with her twice now, and was always extremely satisfied with my pictures, but more so, always really happy with experience. She is funny, professional and real. I love her attitude. ANYWAYS – enough gushing. She took some photos of me a while ago that landed me on the cover of a tattoo magazine, which has always been on my “bucket list”, and I found out via twitter that another image she took of me landed me an embarrassingly large page in a tattoo book! So, you can totally have me on your coffee table if you wanted. The book is called “Tattoo Art by Russ Thorne” and you can by it on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble. A Twitter friend from Ireland said he saw it in a book store over there as well, so just keep an eye out! If you come across it, please take a picture of my page ( and you! ) and tweet it to me! Here is the cover of the book and my page ( with some other fancy ladies! ) so check it out!

TattooArt

“Tattoo Art is a stunning survey of some of the most amazing tattoo work being done today. Over 140 photographs full of character, colour and attitude showcase the many styles and images with which people are marking their bodies, while a fascinating discussion of tattooing as cultural phenomenon and art form, as well as what some tattoos mean and what to think about before getting one yourself, runs alongside. In addition, throughout the book you will find feature spreads dedicated to some of the most talented and innovative tattoo artists working around the world, with photographs showing the progression of pieces from design or outline to finished tattoo. Whether you are a tattoo fiend, thinking about braving the needle or simply appreciate eye-boggling artwork, look on in awe.”

TattooArtRussThorne

Please follow Dangerously Dolly on her twitter, and if you want to look at some other pretty tattooed ladies then do yourself the favor and check out her official site! Go show her some love, and please, check out the book! I leave you all with the high res image used in the book. Thanks for all the support!

KKDD

Shootmania Mania

January 6, 2013

A lot has changed in the FPS scene in the last ten or more years. Where arena shooters like Quake and Unreal Tournament reigned supreme in the competitive scene, were slowly nudged aside by the tactical/arcade shooter like Call of Duty, Rainbow Six, Counterstrike, Gears of War and the rise of Major League Gaming (MLG). It’s argued that early Halo was a combination of arena/arcade style shooter but it’s latest incarnations have fans leaning more in the direction of tactical/arcade with its load-out system similarities to Call of Duty – regardless, Halo is still iconic in the competitive scene. The current competitive scene has a lot of people asking “Is the Arena shooter dead?” and the answer is no.

For those of you that aren’t aware, I’m currently sort-of-really-absolutely obsessed with Shootmania right now. Shootmania is an arena style “twitch” shooter. A lot of players are drawing comparisons between Quake and Unreal in regards to style and game play, and for this reason it’s giving many players a lot of comfy nostalgic feels. Shootmania is still in beta, and recently launched beta 2 adding many more options within the game allowing for more defense tactics and movement options. Shootmania is made by Nadeo, the same people who made the acclaimed Trackmania. Trackmania got Nadeo a lot of attention with its basic but by no means simple game play. Both Trackmania and Shootmania offer easy to understand map building capabilities, and Shootmania has many customization options – whether you want to customize your player skin, cross-hair or design your own map. Shootmania boasts an impressive amount of play modes, too. The competitive mode is “Elite” which is a 3v3 mode where the attacker must either eliminate all 3 defenders or capture the pole before the time runes out. There are many other modes, including several free-for-all modes, training modes and time-attack modes.

Me and some friends, casters and pro players at IPL5.

Myself, some friends, casters and pro players at IPL5 for Shootmania!

Something I like a lot about Shootmania is the the simplicity of it. There are not a ton of weapons or power-ups to worry about; your main focus is understanding your movement, learning your maps and formulating a strategy that works for you and your team. The game is still extremely challenging, and you’re constantly faced with players with different play styles than you which keeps you on your toes. Another interesting aspect of Shootmania to me is how the terrain affects your game. Your base weapon as a defender is a sort of arm cannon with a 4 rocket burst, but if you stand on a rail-pad you can “snipe” using an instagib laser that is a one hit kill. If you find yourself underground or in a tunnel, you now can shoot what is called a “nucleus” which is essentially a grenade that explode on impact, or after a certain amount of seconds. Using the terrain properly for cover and weapon usage can certainly amplify your game. The simplicity but constantly learning curve is definitely appealing to many players, and keeps the game fun and engrossing no matter what mode you’re playing in. Just watch over for those laser hits – getting picked off early on is the worst!

Pixxel of the Frag Dolls with some Shootmania community news.

I love every aspect of this game and definitely plan to practice way more this year! I had the pleasure of working Shootmania for IPL5 and introducing new players to the game. I was really elated to see just how many people saw the game and wandered in to check it out. It was really great to get a tournament going and sit down with them and talk to them over the mic about how to play, instruct them on strategies and shit talk them when they failed miserably. It was fantastic. It was great to come home, log into Shootmania and see so many new players that were recruited from IPL5. Shootmania is already pretty hot on the competitive circuit, with a lot of amazing North American and European teams. At IPL5, European team “Colwn” took the win. I watched the European qualifiers, and they were my pick to win! I am excited about how well they did against a lot of the impressive NA teams, too. The matches were intense and it was fantastic seeing Nadeo, players, fans and new-comers cheering everyone on. These moments were a true testament to what Shootmania has in store for the competitive circuit. A great community and a game that is unreasonably fun to watch – there is so much ahead for Shootmania and I can’t wait to cheer-lead every step of the way.

Valkyrie of the Frag Dolls interviewing Colwn after they took first place at IPL5

Valkyrie of the Frag Dolls interviewing Colwn after they took first in Shootmania.

Shootmania will be released January 23rd and I strongly encourage you to pre-order now. Here are some helpful Shootmania related links:

Shootmania Reddit

Official Site

Frag Dolls

IPL Shootmania Twitch

Shootmania Twitter

Guarding the Globe: Issue 1 Review

January 3, 2013

Guarding the Globe is a monthly spin-off series of “Invincible” showcasing a Government funded and assisted group of costumed Super-Heroes. It’s easy for costumed heroes to get lost in the fray of all the other hero books out there – but the characters introduced so far seem to feel truly unique. Issue 1 throws us right into a battle with Kid Thor, a hammer-wielding strong-man, and Japandroid – a young Japanese android girl whose abilities seem to be unlimited as she can reprogram herself to do just about anything. We also meet Brit, the team leader, who boasts impressive invulnerability while also being a family man. This issue throws a lot on our plate all at once, which may be a bit overwhelming to new readers. Fear not! Although this issue introduces us to a lot of characters, events and sub-plots there is no doubt in my mind that with the fluidity of the writing this series will work itself out and remain linear in the process. The writing is fantastic, easy to follow and is peppered with a great sense of humor. The individual character writing is engaging and allows you to really get a feel for the individual characters and their personalities which is essentially the most important aspect when reading a comic book – especially one with such an impressive character roster! Some [spoiler free!] magic moments in this issue are Brit’s humanity while tackling a difficult family problem, and also his compassion towards a friends problem in the wake of it all. There is also a really clever Anthony Boudain reference in one of the sub-plots involving Kaboomerang, a sarcastic hero capable of telekinetic control over his explosive boomerangs and Best Tiger, who has a super-human ability regarding weapon precision.

GuardingTheGlobe01_2ndPtg

Overall, Guarding the Globe explodes with content right out of the gate. If this issue is any indication of what’s to come, then this series looks extremely promising. With the cast of diverse characters, engaging writing and the relatable sense of humor and pop culture references sprinkled throughout, this book certainly is begging you to keep reading, and as of now, I think I will.

2012 in review

December 30, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 120,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Violence and Video Games: Scapegoatism

December 16, 2012

I usually stray away from blogging about sensitive content that may offend people. I would never want to offend any of you, and always try to keep my blogs fun, light, personal and informative. I decided tonight to make a slight change and blog about a relatively unpopular opinion. Now please, before I begin, let it be known I value and appreciate other people’s opinions. I am open-minded and friendly in all my debates, and I do not want anyone to read this and feel I am being patronizing. I write on the subject hoping it will be regarded as an open forum and would love to hear all your opinions on this.

I’m sure by now everyone has heard of the events regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The news of this shook me to my core. It’s always a huge loss for humanity when events like this occur, and unfortunately it seems these events happen all too often. These were children. These children could not have any inclination that when their parents dropped them off at school and kissed them on their foreheads – that this would ultimately be the last time. Their lives were taken from them because someone was sick. The shooter was a 20-year-old boy with a history of mental illness and other disturbances. Now, we will never know the full story of his upbringing and we will absolutely never, ever understand him. We will never know his thought process, his feelings or his motives. Not only did he take the lives of 20+ children, he took the life of his own mother. It’s hard to wrap ones head around because the vast majority of humanity can not relate to this behavior at all. The shooter was more disturbed than we will ever be able to cognitively understand, and that essentially is wholly the reasons for his actions.

More like, Video Games: Society's scapegoat.

More like, Video Games: Society’s scapegoat.

For some reason though, it seems that people are so quick to look past the fact that this child was mentally ill, and rather start placing the blame on other unrelated issues; primarily the finger is pointed at video games. Sure – you can cut me off right now and say that I’m biased because I am a martyr of sorts for the video game industry and community. I can say that I grew up on video games and am extremely well-adjusted, but this isn’t about video games. It should never be about video games. It’s being reported that because this child played Mass Effect 3 that he was “encouraged” to commit this act. What about the millions of others that played Mass Effect 3 – what crimes have they committed? Why whenever there is an act of violence by a young adult are video games thrown into the fray of excuses? What about the young adults not exposed to gaming, what is their excuse? To blame video games for encouraging violence is just a scapegoat for inattentive parents and an easy way out for society. Instead of addressing actual issues like mental health, which is a way bigger issue in regards to violence than it seems anyone wants to admit. We don’t need less video games. We need to be more attentive and offer more support to young adults suffering from any of the array of mental health issues plaguing children. I realize this is easier said than done, but what has been done? Whenever a mass shooting happens people continually talk about the changes that need to be made, but once it’s out of the news it seems to go completely out of mind again until the next incident. It’s so easy to use video games as a distraction from the real issue but let’s be real:

The world has been an extremely violent place since way, way before video games.

The world is a mess. We are so quick to turn away from violence occurring in real-life physical wars going on and place blame on a war simulator instead. Remember when the Columbine shooting happened, and everyone blamed Marilyn Manson? They hardly focused on the two shooters. They immediately blamed Marilyn Manson – not because he was there, not because he personally encouraged them to commit this act, but simply because he made music that these two kids happened to listen to. What if these kids listened to Enya – would she be to blame? I doubt it. Here is an interview with Marilyn Manson from the film Bowling for Columbine. I happen to feel he makes extremely poignant points on actual issues.

Humanity has a lot work to do. A lot of the time I feel embarrassed to be a person. I wish I could just go back to being star-dust and float through space and time unencumbered. Despite the violence, the blaming – the omnipresent sadness that floats in and out of all our lives, there is still so much good in the world. More importantly there is so much good YOU can do as a person. You are an individual and you have so much to offer. We as people have so much power. The power to destroy, but also the power to repair and rejuvenate and make a difference. We are the one species capable of so much on such an individual level. I think if we all stopped being stoic and malcontent, we could really make a difference.

Here are 26 great examples of positive humanity in motion.

Sailor Moon 2012

November 7, 2012

I grew up on Sailor Moon and definitely feel it was a pinnacle in my childhood. I have two Sailor Moon tattoos and still watch episodes on YouTube whenever I am feeling down. It hasn’t lost any of its humor or magic to me. Sailor Moon and the Sailor Scouts taught me to be brave, to by myself and that feminism is awesome. They fought for love, justice, equality, and the well-being of the world; physically and morally. As a kid I looked up to the girls in a fantastical sense. I know it’s just a “cartoon” but the messages every episode sent still ring with truth and relevancy to this day. Every Sailor Scout had a very defined personality and character traits, and it was so easy to align with one as your favorite. I decided to make some fashion sets for each [inner] Sailor Scout based off their personality. I tried to add as much nuance and detail as I could. I had way too much fun making these – and probably spent way too much time on them. This is how I envision the scouts if they were personified modern-day teenage girls. For those that were big fans of the show, I know you’ll notice lots of quirky details in these sets, and I hope you love and appreciate them! If they are well received, maybe I will do the Outer Scouts and some of the more iconic villains. If any of you are curious, my favorite scouts are Venus and Jupiter. Who is your favorite?

Sailor Moon
Sailor Mercury
Sailor Mars
Sailor Jupiter
Sailor Venus
Sailor Venus by krystipryde featuring philosophy lip gloss

Extra-Life: Play Games, Heal Kids ( Now with more FragDolls! )

September 18, 2012

For those of you that are unaware, I am a Frag Doll finalist. I am one of 9 girls in the running to be the next Frag Doll, and for me that means making my gaming career dreams come true. Beyond career dreams, I will be attaining personal and moral goals of reaching out to people in the gaming community, competing again and working with a group of girls to help build excitement in the industry by organizing events.

One such event is the Extra Life charity they are partaking in. I personally love this charity, and have donated and participated in streams to raise money for a couple of years now. If you’re not familiar with Extra Life the idea is simple – play games, heal kids. You can donate at any time, but most participators organize events in which they stream gaming and work to earn your donations. A lot of these streams go for 12 to 24 hours. All proceeds go to the children’s hospital of the streamers choosing. The Frag Dolls are running several events to raise money to reach their goal amount which they will donate to Oakland Childrens Hospital.

Check out the Frag Dolls YouTube channel and their website for more videos of the girls and more information on their Extra Life shenanigans! This year, whether I make it as a Frag Doll or not I will be supporting Extra Life through the Dolls’ – so please join me for all their streams, and donate! Even if its just a couple bucks, it makes a difference. The beautiful thing about gaming is our community. We are a huge community and we can and do make a huge difference. Think, if you just put off getting that DLC for one more week and donate that money you will quite literally be changing a child’s life for the better. It feels good – I promise! The Dolls reward charitable behavior by offering rewards and give-aways. If you support me and the Dolls, I will be doing my own 12 or 24 hour stream! I know a lot of you have been asking for me to do a 12 hour stream, and if you tweet the Frag Dolls and let them know you’re supporting them through me, I’ll do a personal stream. I have a huge library of games across all sorts of consoles, and would love to play with anyone joining the stream. All money I raise will also go towards the Dolls efforts to helps kids at Oakland Children’s Hospital. Help me help them help kids! Say that three times fast, phew!

Follow the Frag Dolls!

Twitter

Facebook

Website

YouTube

Twitch.Tv

Lets all harness our inner Dr. Mario and help kids.

By playing video games.

I won’t take no for an answer!

Seriously.

Thanks For Playing: Bastion, Quantum Conundrum, Terraria

July 25, 2012

Oh, hey! So, I was kidnapped briefly by a band of Jawa’s, but after some bartering and slave labor I am back home, blogging safely. I have been asked a lot recently about my YouTube channel and if/when I would ever put content up on it again. I had really only wanted to review The Tester episodes as they aired, because I don’t quite understand the YouTube universe, but people keep subscribing and asking, and I figured hey – it would be another way to get content up on my blog, so why not? Everyone wins. I think.

Regardless, I want to get as much content as I can up on here again, and this would be a great way. Maybe I’ll even get the hang of it. I’ll basically be reviewing and discussing games I’m playing, experiences and eventually I’ll try to get some streams up. I get asked every day what I am currently playing, and making a video and a short blog entry is not only great for me, but an easy way to answer that question. It would be awesome if you guys would answer in a response video, or a comment with what YOU are playing – give me ideas! I am crazy and video game hungry and NOTHING CAN STOP ME.

+10 internet points if you make it through the entire thing.

E3: Where Console Rumors Go To Die

April 17, 2012

It’s that time again, gamers. With E3 just around the corner, it’s no surprise there are so many rumors floating around within the community. With talk of new additions to our favorite franchises, to totally new [exclusive] titles – E3 is definitely the queen bee when it comes to game gossip, and putting the rumors to rest. Every year we see new titles and other additions to our current generation, but it’s been nearly seven years since we’ve had a “console war”. This year marks the first in seven that we’ve started to really hear some next-gen console rumors, and it’s only a little suspicious that it all starts a few months before E3 is set to open its doors.

My favorite part of console rumors, is fan created images of their ideas!

Many people feel it’s “too soon” for next-gen, saying that our current gen is more than capable of going strong for many more years what with DLC and downloadable games from new studios giving our current-gen more staying power. Others argue it’s been seven years and that’s the longest we’ve gone between a console war, and that we are due for “next” next-gen, so to speak. My personal opinion? I don’t necessarily think we need next-gen within the purported year they are speculating, but I think now is a good time to start “thinking” about new consoles. The Xbox 360 was released in 2005, with the Wii and Playstation3 released a year later in November, and for some this feels like eons ago while for others it feels like only yesterday. I do feel that with the addition of DLC and online capabilities, that it makes sense to put more time between new consoles. Ultimately, companies want to make money. Even with the inevitability of new consoles, how many people would be able to realistically afford it? If they plan to push the technology of new consoles to the limit with expansive hard-drives and pricey memory, how many people would even be able to afford the launch price? One of the rumors going around is the consideration of doing away with disc drives, and proceeding with games just being downloadable. If that is the case, the price inflation of adding a larger hard drive alone would be caustic, not to mention not being able to play any of your previous consoles games that you’ve already paid for. Also, what if the competing console keeps their disc-drive as incentive to buy their console instead? Would that sway you? While Steam is successful in their download only set up, I feel that success is based largely on the fact they cater to a PC audience. While more downloadable options is never a bad idea, going solely downloadable could prove to be detrimental. Why not just get a high-performance PC, then? In defense to our current generation of consoles, I feel more people would rather play a game that gives an overall fantastic and provoking experience over a game that just delivers gimmicks and impressive graphics. So why the rush to next-gen? I feel we have so much opportunity with our current systems. That isn’t to say that I don’t get excited at the thought of new systems, the very idea of new games or technology within this industry makes my heart flutter. As a matter of fact, I was at E3 in 2005 when our current gen was at its peak right before release!

As E3 approaches, the collective imaginations and hopes of gamers are running rampant with just what possibilities lie in wait just around the corner. For a lot of gamers, E3 absolutely feels like the pinnacle event of their year, with overwhelming announcements and insights to the gaming industry, a plethora of informative press conferences and the honor to go hands-on with unreleased games and technology. This E3 will no doubt give us some solid perspective on what to expect in our gaming future.

3 Games I’d Love To Remake

April 14, 2012

There are a lot of games that get the opportunity for a remake. Some aren’t as hot as the originals; such as Golden Eye, while some hit the spot like Kid Icarus and even Donkey Kong Country: Returns. Obviously, these are my own personal opinions, but if I had the opportunity to captain a proverbial game development ship, I’d remake  following three. What would you remake?

1. Contra


As a kid I really loved this co-op game for Super Nintendo. Like a lot of American releases, it differs a bit from its Japanese title. Regardless of the difference between releases, either would make a fantastic remake. In 2002, a remake was released for Playstation 2, and while not awful it did not truly deliver to its fullest potential in my opinion. With this current generation, and its graphical and diverse engine capabilities, I visualize it as a FPS with the option of third person. The unique and alien-esque levels would translate well both in a campaign as well as online maps. The array of different specialty weapons you can collect throughout Contra would add a lot of interesting depth to online battles. The weapons are more futuristic which reminds me more of Halo or Unreal Tournament, and less like the realistic Military shooters like Call of Duty and Killzone which are popular today. With weapons like the Fireball gun, Spread gun and even protective personal barriers – I can see this playing out so fantastically in a FPS environment. My one pet peeve with FPS is how short the campaigns always seem to be. Yeah, I get it, FPS games are all about the multi-player, but I’d selfishly like to see both a long (even co-op! ) campaign and innovative online play. The story is simple and sweet Sci-Fi, two government soldiers are on a mission to investigate and neutralize what they believe to be a terrorist agency called “Red Falcon”. In reality, Red Falcon is actually the code-name for the main alien entity. I think this game would do fantastic as a remake, and I can already envision myself buying new maps off PSN. Last year around this time during a pre-E3 release, Konami teased what seemed to be a new Contra. Well, consider my fingers crossed.

2. Pokemon: Trading Card Game


While this obviously isn’t a traditional “video” game, the release of Magic The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers has proven that turning a card game into a video game can be pure gold. Pokemon has an absolutely huge and long running fan-base, and I know so many people who would love more current gen titles. In a style similar to MTG:DotP I can envision a colorful solo campaign, in which you defeat random trainers and gym leaders, collecting new and one-of-a-kind cards with every win. You could even implement a “badge” system, so that when you collect so many or all the badges, it awards you with rare cards or perhaps a promo code for a game related DLC. Besides the obvious online mode where you could play against friends, I think it would also be interesting to implement a chat room of sorts where people could discuss and trade cards, or duel each other while gambling cards. I know a lot of people are Pokemon “purists” and there could even be a region amongst the game for just the first 150 Pokemon. Another unique way to earn cards could be through a tiered system of X hours of play, or also completing certain goals within the game, such as playing so many rounds with a Ghost type Pokemon deck, etc! With Pokemon garnering such a large fan-base, this game could allow kids to continue to play with each other. My deck? Oh, psychic type. I love me some Psyduck.

3. Earthbound


As one of my favorite RPGs, Earthbound separates itself from the rest of the SNES RPG age by being quirky and hilarious. I can see a remake of this so vividly in my mind that it almost makes me nerd rage that it hasn’t already been done. I’d be content with a remake being for Wii, or a more ideally, DS or 3DS. I could absolutely see the looney animations of hitting a neighbor or a feisty lamp-post with a frying pan burst in 3D hilarity. Regardless, I don’t think Nintendo fully realizes its fan-base within this series in the US. We got Ness in Super Smash Brothers, but that’s not nearly enough. Nintendo recognized him as iconic enough for Super Smash Brothers, so I don’t feel a remake would be so far-fetched. The game is set in modern-day suburbia, which is quite different from most RPGs and definitely lends a hand to the humorous atmosphere of the game. While most the playable characters have psychic abilities, most the weaponry and attacks in the game are from normal items such as a yo-yo, slingshot or a frying pan. One of my favorite elements of this game has to be the pop culture references peppered throughout, I can only imagine the references that could be implemented in a remake nearly 20 years later. Even though the game is pretty humorous, the plot is still gripping and even thought-provoking. The main antagonist is a creature named Giygas who is turning humanity against each other using our own innate evil. Turns out, Giygas isn’t weak to frying pans or slingshots – but to pure human emotions! To me, this is such a wonderful plot that could be fleshed out into more detail while lending more to character development. To really give it a face lift, I think the idea of making it third person perspective could be interesting. This game is such a gem, and now with the release of another classic remake, Kid Icarus, I really feel now is the perfect time to resurrect some of our generations favorites for both ourselves and a younger generation to enjoy.