Geek Flea XI

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Will this be the Geek Flea that finally brings the Videodame to the wilds of North Jersey? Only time (about two-and-a-half weeks, give or take) will tell! She’ll also need to figure out the transportation sitch! But she really wants to make it out to one of these, like whoa!
Where will YOU be on Saturday, April 16th?
Get all the info below (taken from the Unwinnable website):

Saturday, April 16th in Kearny, New Jersey…It’s Geek Flea XI! Munch on delicious snacks while you browse two floors with over 50 tables of toys and collectibles, knickknacks, videogames, clothing, art and more! Grab tickets for raffles and win the dorkiest things you can imagine! Thaw out from the winter and get into spring with the coolest geeks in North Jersey. Entry is FREE for all. 10am to 5pm

Featuring live DJ sets by DJ Victrola, Anthony Mennuti, Brian Molloy and DJ Kursse!

Sponsored by 80s TeesLoop Lounge, Iris Records, Paradox ComicsSilk City Tattoo, Big Kev’s Geek StuffComic Explosion, Hoarder Art and Chucky Farms

RSVP on our Facebook Event Page!

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Tables are SOLD OUT! Email us at geekflea@unwinnable.com to snatch one up, reserve a place on our waiting list or to get on our vendor mailing list for future Geek Fleas!

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Unwinnable organizes Geek Flea for two reasons. The first is simply hang out with our local North Jersey geek scene and have a good time twice a year. The second is to support the website – every dollar of profit we earn at Geek Flea through table rentals, merchandise sales, raffles and our two tables of collectibles goes directly into maintaining the site and supporting our editorial budget. That said, we thank you for your patronage!

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April 16 – 10am to 5pm
First Presbyterian Church of Arlington
663 Kearny Avenue, Kearny, NJ 07032-2935

Assassin’s Creed #5

AC5Now that Assassin’s Creed has wrapped up its first story arc, it would seem to be a fitting time to start making some overall assessments. As a finale, issue #5 is a touch better than serviceable, finally putting Charlotte de la Cruz into real-world action, and providing an opportunity to meet and get a little bit of insight into the motivations of the Joseph we’ve been listening to de la Cruz’s Brotherhood handlers argue about for the past four issues.

I do still have some niggling complaints. The action logistics, for one, are still a bit loose. At one point a character is revealed to have secretly placed a timed explosive, with a delayed triggering system over which he has no control whatsoever but still detonates at exactly the right moment. Similarly, de la Cruz makes her first kill in manner clearly designed to absolve her entirely from responsibility from the reader’s point of view but leaving her as a character carrying the full weight of her guilt.

This in itself could be an interesting twist on the action film cliché of the anti-hero who performs morally reprehensible actions “because he has to”—think in particular of the moment at the end of the film when the action hero confronts the disarmed villain, worthy of death, and declines to kill him. The villain then produces a hidden weapon when the hero turns his back, allowing the hero to kill the villain in a moment of quick-draw self-defense. The story gets to have it both ways, providing the audience the satisfaction of seeing the villain die without having to take on the moral taint of extra-judicial murder.[1]

Continue reading Assassin’s Creed #5

Assassin’s Creed #4

AC-4As an action narrative, Assassin’s Creed #4 delivers a number of welcome indications that the series is just about ready to start delivering on the promise of its first issue. As Massachusetts Bay Colony assassin Tom Stoddard’s story comes to an end, the burden of action shifts to his present-day relative Charlotte de la Cruz, who in the final panel comes to the realization that she is going to need to step out of the VR chair that has largely confined her for the past two issues and rely on her own strength.

From the beginning, Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery’s Assassin’s Creed has gestured toward a fictional universe in which neither side in the intergenerational war between Assassins and Templars had an unqualified claim to the moral high ground, embodied mostly in Tom Stoddard’s indifference to lives incidental to his mission, and the conflict between his ethical standards and those of his contemporary descendant (and, it is assumed, those of the reader). Assassin’s Creed #4 enriches that conflict by offering a Templar character the chance to act as an individual moral agent, and re-centering its focus on the motives of a modern-day Assassin who may or may not have betrayed the order.

Continue reading Assassin’s Creed #4

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Grayout: Now You Begin to Understand Me

I’m not sure I’ve ever played a game as frustrating (in a great way) as Grayout, Neven Mrgan and James Moore’s followup to Blackbar (the two games are set in the same dystopia; Grayout is a prequel). I’m not sure I’ve ever played a game that frightened me as much, either.

Grayout’s protagonist and player-character is Alaine, a woman living under a totalitarian regime who has recently awoken in a hospital after an accident. That’s all I’ll say about the well-written and well-paced narrative, to delve too deeply into the plot would be a crime, but for anyone who’s already played Blackbar or has any experience at all with dystopic stories—you’re probably already clenching your teeth.

Continue reading Grayout: Now You Begin to Understand Me

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Brothers and Sisters of the Creed: Unsung Assassins

After the Kenway family played their part, the gaming scene was flooded with the Assassin’s Creed franchise. There was a large DLC coming for Black Flag, a title for the PS Vita, and two new full games being made so that Ubisoft could make their money. This meant, however, that many of those products were easily overlooked and their characters forgotten, as the oversaturation led to glitch-filled games and weak, unexplored protagonists.

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation holds the distinction of being the only game in the series with a solo female protagonist to date, however, the limitation of the Vita and the nearly paint-by-numbers storyline took a lot away from the title. Aveline de Grandpré is a New Orleans native of French and African descent who uses various costumes to infiltrate the worlds of the social elite and slaves, while hiding her true identity as an assassin. The setup is brilliant, but it is underused. She struggles with her dual lives while having an odd relationship with her father—who may have been in love with her, depending on how one reads into it—and has to fight her own mentor, Agaté. It is an odd look at male figures in her life. Aveline accomplishes so much though, ridding New Orleans of all Templar activity, but the story goes by so fast and everything feels vastly abbreviated from the normal games, so the growth isn’t there. Players got a bit more character depth because there was almost no meta story to take away, but it was still a drop in the bucket compared to the others. If there is any character I want to be given another full game, it is her.

Continue reading Brothers and Sisters of the Creed: Unsung Assassins