What Google One-Billion-Dollar Twitch Acquisition Means For Streamers & eSports

Originally, this article was titled Watch Out YouTube – Someone Is Building A Better Twitch!, which is kinda interesting.  It seems fitting that I drafted this weeks ago and now we know that Google is going after Twitch.  There’s still no confirmation on the details of this deal but we know it’s going to happen inevitably.

Google can afford to buy out Twitch but they can’t afford to ignore them much longer.

In around three years, Twitch started as a dream and has become something of a big deal.  Even if you’re not a gamer, here is why you should pay attention to Twitch developments:

  • Twitch already surpasses Facebook and Amazon in peak usage..  In less than half the life span!
  • Success in Twitch is more about the message, personalities, and engagement thereof, whereas YouTube places more of a focus on production value.
  • There are countless niches and opportunities for partnership within Twitch; by design, Twitch allows even smaller brands to be discovered.
  • Gaming is surpassing the movie industry and Twitch is getting ahead of this curve or paradigm shift.

Twitch is a serious business.. and it’s seriously fun.  There are a lot of casual streamers but everyone has a chance to build residual income or even do what they love full time.  The Google acquisition of Twitch threatens this yet it promises the hope of badly-needed, long-awaited  improvements.

But what about eSports and competing technologies?

First of all, what makes Twitch special is the warmth and diversity of the platform.  Gamers with aspirations to be pro players can watch skilled players do their thang and borrow some moves from their playbooks.  Geeks looking to make new friends can find more engaging, authentic individuals to connect with.  There’s something for everyone.

Monkey In Striped SuitAnalysts with no real connection to the gaming industry beyond PR contacts and monetary interest are touting the purchase as a move for Google to break into the multi-billion-dollar eSports market and blah blah blah.  That’s fine and dandy but that’s not the real news here.  The Verge explains:

Twitch is said to believe that Google can help the company become what it wants to be — the definitive platform for watching and streaming live video gaming. The company raised $20 million from investors in 2013 and is likely to turn a profit this year. But capital isn’t enough to allow Twitch to scale its technology and infrastructure to keep pace with its growth. It had plenty of offers from venture capitalists looking to give it more money, said the source, but what it needs is a partner that can help it handle massive amounts of live and user-generated video on a global scale.

From a business perspective and for the benefit of the gamers, Twitch should be left as-is.  The media coverage leads us to believe it will be and Twitch only seeks to keep pace with it’s rapid growth.  That means we can finally get the features that we have long awaited:

  • Tools for smaller streamers and brands.
  • Commenting and native content engagement beyond chat.
  • Complete social media integration on an opt-in basis.
  • Easier video management, filtering, and showcasing.
  • More optimization for mobile and older computers.
  • Export options for audio and video files.
  • More stable servers – less connections dropped!
  • More consistent video stream quality – YAY!

The last one is the most important thing because, as much as YouTube stinks for the little guys, you ultimately keep your content and can take it wherever you want.  On Twitch, it can sometimes feel like your content is being held ransom and whored out (pardon the expression).  They’re getting better about that but you still have to get creative if you want to extend beyond their ecosystem.

Now that we have all that as a backdrop, let’s talk about the competition and what this all means for eSports.  I would say Twitch is in a class of it’s own.  There is a wide breadth of content, tons of third-party support, many helpful contributors, a receptive booming community, and so much more going for it.  In spite of the massive growth and scope, the community still feels very tightly-knit and everyone has a shot to help it grow and have a stake in the growth.  That’s huge.  YouTube can’t offer that right now.

MLG - Major League Gaming Pro Circuit 2010

So then there’s MLG.  I do not see this as a threat or a direct competitor.   There are lots of reasons for this but suffice to say GameBattles and the MLG have had plenty of questionable events (I’ve experienced this first-hand).  YouTube and Twitch should not merge but they should key off each other.   They should not try to be an alternative to MLG because they’re already something bigger.  We could all agree that Google+ should not be shoe-horned in either.  I feel Twitch has been so successful because of the fact that they balance pro and casual content.

The clueless monkeys in suits are saying that the merger of YouTube and Twitch would be a “synergy nuke”.  Stop it.  There can be a lot of great integration but to make Twitch and YouTube one and the same would kill everything that makes Twitch special.  MLG and countless other platforms can provide the pro-only focus but that should not be what Twitch is all about.

Back to business talk, let’s be honest here: a lot of games and tournaments are becoming more self-sufficient so the need for a dedicated broadcasting platform is not really there.  Twitch should continue to support and churn out new personalities that cannot thrive in any other ecosystem.  That is their sweet spot and their unfair advantage.

Rumors or not, this deal is happening.  Google has to make a move now before Twitch’s value sores any further.  It’s quite interesting that suddenly YouTube export is working properly.  There’s no doubt that this acquisition has been long in the making.  That said, at least it’s Google and not Sony, Microsoft, or any other megacorporation that would make Twitch into a self-serving noise machine.

We need to take this conversation over to HorsePLAY! LIVE and our other shows.  Get your thinking caps on,  geeks and gamers.  These questions still remain:

  • When will the deal be finalized?
  • How will it take shape?

What do you guys think about Google’s plans for Twitch and their 30-billion-dollar shopping spree?  Does it excite you or are you worried?  Sound off  on t poll and comments area!

 

Are You A Geek.. The “New”, Sexy Kind?

What is geek? Or who.

 DISCLAIMER:  The opinions and views here, as always, are those of our contributors and not our organization as a whole.  That said, this editorial is meant to provoke and inspire..  Join the conversation.  Labels are never 100% accurate but they do help us connect and identify with each other, no?

If you don’t understand half of the jokes on The Big Bang Theory, that doesn’t mean you’re not a geek. If you can’t explain why Captain Picard is superior to Captain Kirk – that may be a problem. And it’s a problem because geek can be cool. Geek can rock.

It’s been suggested that the historical usage of the term, geek, refers to 20th Century circus performers that challenged conventional perceptions and experience. The bearded woman. The dwarf. The man or woman who would bite the heads off of live chickens. But the term, geek, came back into currency in the last twenty something years and it came back to mean something else entirely.

On the one hand, geek came to be substituted for nerd – a socially  and emotionally challenged, highly intelligent, obsessively compulsive, introverted, fearful personality type. At least that’s what Dr. Seuss seems to imply. [grin] But the present usage of geek is almost sexy and, almost, cool. Geeks can be desirable and geeks might just save the world. Or, at least, we would like to believe that geeks will save the world.

While nerds tend to barricade themselves in their domain of interests and ignore the challenges of ordinary human experience, geeks want to live and they want to feel alive. Geeks get excited about the things that people get excited about – supercars, intercontinental business class flights, and attractive, exciting lovers. All of which means that the geek wants to own acceptance, approval, praise, celebration and, oh yeah, a whole lotta love.

Both geeks and nerds will overthink things. They are information junkies but that doesn’t mean they know how to effectively use information, filter and sift it, make good decisions or act upon it. The geek, however, makes a better effort to derive some kind of value from the data collection. Their motivation to do so, of course, is money, power and influence. Of course, most of them won’t admit to their ambitions. Because it would look bad. It would look Chatlanian.

Beyond the general distinction between the nerd and the modern geek, there’s several behaviors by which you can recognize the new, sexy geek.  Below are five behaviors that I have observed:

Grooming

The new geek knows how to groom and dress up for the occasion. They don’t have to turn it on all the time but when they do, they do it well. They go for the cut, color and style and you don’t get that at a barbershop or low cost, franchise hair cuttery. Male geeks get manicures and pedicures. They shower daily and know a little something about maintenance cosmetics and fragrance.

 

miss-rohr-and-the-woodsmans-pal

 

Of course, you are likely to find them in a bathrobe, underwear or birthday suit at home where no one sees them.

Relationships

The new geek knows how to relate to people that are interesting to them – colleagues, friends, lovers and successful geeks. They have some understanding of how to respect, cherish, support and savor the people meaningful to them. They try to remember birthdays, they choose and give thoughtful gifts and they expect likewise. They can be devoted friends and lovers but only as long as their friends and lovers are interesting, intense, and live up to their expectations.

 

Pray

 

The 30 something new geek has 3 or more friends, was involved in 3 or more romantic relationships and has more than 100 “friends” across social media. They talk about the bad shit is going on in the Ukraine, Egypt, Nigeria and elsewhere.

Neo-hedonism

Though it might be tempting to suggest the new geek is a neo-epicurean, modesty and, perhaps, virtue is not basic to the new geek think. Like the neo-epicurean, the new geek is a materialist. They love life, the world, and the unrestricted promise (false or otherwise) of happiness and pleasure.  Obviously, the new geek makes a poor missionary, patriot, revolutionary, saint or soldier.

Unlike the neo-epicurean, the new geek seeks self-gratification with a little (or lot of) license and zeal. They gush about the things that give them happy – Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest give them a voice for such material, self-centered self-expression. They make passionate customers., but also fickle if you can’t keep it interesting.

 

birthday lobster

Any kind of spirituality a new geek does always comes with a heavy handed materialism. Not a shallow or ruthless materialism – but an undeniable interest in the physical world and one’s physical well-being. The new geek is very comfortable with the paradox of wanting to save the world without the self-denials that come with a deep spirituality.

Gaming

Geeks love games and not just computer or traditional parlor games. They love to game life, excel, compete, and receive honor for their achievements. Every geek has to know and have played Sid Meier’s Civilization and played God-level and won against near impossible odds. It’s the ultimate litmus test of geek sexual performance. Or I jest.

 

Pandamonium Hearthstone Card Back Faryna

 

Seriously, the new geek games in one way or another. Everquest, World of Warcraft, Poker, casino games, day trading, etc. – two or more of these things should evoke nostalgia, fond memories of glory and comrades, and a shit-eating grin for the new geek. Candy Crush and Farmville do not count.

Higher Consciousness

The new geek is not simply egocentric, but his/her egocentrism expands to the far reaches of the universe, multiverse, life, time and culture. So, yeah, the new geek likes sci-fi, fantasy and/or end of the world content. The new geek knows something about Doctor Who, Mad Max, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate, Terminator, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Any of which can seem outrageous when such higher consciousness is self-expressed in cosplay or other geeky antics.

But there’s another side to this higher consciousness that is sensible – curiosity, open-mindedness, problem-solving, creativity, empathy, and a deeper connection with the world, with others and with creation. This is often expressed by a desire to do the right thing, save the world, or make a difference.

Luna Moth 3 Faryna May 2014

 

The new geek gives money to causes because that’s how we live out our secret super powers. Batman, Superman and all the X-Men may inspire us, but we can slap down the spare change and make things happen. Five bucks here, 20 bucks there and $100 – more than a few times in a year. They might not have the time to give to the homeless, poor or whatever but they know if they don’t throw money at several causes and fundraisers – they aren’t doing what they can.

Are you the sexy, new kind of geek?

Is there anything else that you would modify or add to this list?    Share them with us in the comments! Because the new geek makes awesome comments.

 

 

Stan Faryna is writing an epic  sci-fi, fantasy, end-of-the-world story that is going to be a multi-week New York Times best-seller and hit HBO TV series. Or so he hopes.

HorsePLAY! Marvel Puzzle Quest Strategies With CaptinChaos & Yogizilla

In keeping with the #RetroFriday spirit, EP20 of HorsePLAY! LIVE delved into the simple little games that have us addicted.  Are games like Hearthstone and Marvel Puzzle Quest the real next generation of gaming we’ve been waiting for?  We think so.

Here are some of the highlights of the show before we jump into some Marvel Puzzle Quest strategies.  We did not quite get into Hearthstone as heavily as we wanted in the episode but don’t worry: we’ll be revisiting the game lots..  Yeah, I know: we talk about it lots here at Geeky Antics – we’ll convert you yet!

Obligatory News:

  • ARS Technica Steam game library usage and ownership stats.
  • Microsoft announces XBox Originals Channel.  New video games..  Sure, we’ll have those too..  Eventually.
  • Bungie veteran, Marty O’Donnell fired without cause.
  • Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings a flop so far… or are they?
  • Twitter changes have been rolled out – hello Facebook Junior!

Opinions & Discussions:

  • Dear consoles, please focus on GAMES..  We have enough videos and junk to consume as it is.
  • How Marty discovered Bungie years ago.
  • Remember the precursor to Halo?  Neither do we.
  • Macs have games too!
  • Imagine if Halo was an Apple exclusive..  YUCK.
  • The state of the gaming industry is pretty sad now BUT…
  • Tabletop gaming and indie games are on the rise – YAY!
  • Twitter, if you become craptastic like Facebook, FUCK YOU!

Don’t forget: if you want to join the conversation, perhaps disagree with our points or shed some light on things, leave us voicemail at (206) 415-4987.  Keep it simple and sweet, por favor – we will play them during our shows and discuss!

So, during EP20, we hit upon a lot of key strategies for newbies and players having trouble in Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign.  The idea is to prevent endless grinding and dropping money, which sucks unless you have tons of money and time to throw away.  Here are some of the things Chip Cella (a.k.a. @CaptinChaos)  of The B-Team Podcast, our resident MPQ ninja, suggested to keep the game fun and help you PWN (without making it into a lifestyle game):

  • Save Hero Coins for roster spots.
  • Focus your ISO on maxing your top characters, rather than leveling them all up evenly.
  • Keep “Fishnet” Black Widow or Amazing Spider-Man in your to keep your teammates healed.
  • During PvP events, farm newbies instead of going for difficult targets – use the skip button to avoid needless knock-outs.
  • If you’re just starting out, grind the campaign and AI battles to get easy ISO and Hero Coins..  Farm newbies too.
  • Do not waste Hero Coins on health packs – they regenerate once you go below a five count.
  • Remember: this is not Candy Crush..  MPQ is the match-three puzzle game for strategy lovers and deep thinkers!

Here are some other tips that I have found useful.  I will preface these tips by saying I avoid any scenario where I am playing for several hours at end.  I love this game and want to avoid burning out on it and making it a grind like I did with my previous mobile game of choice, Rage Of Bahamut (a.k.a. Mobage’s relentless money grab).

Original Black Widow (a.k.a. Fishnet)

Fishnet & The Support Crew

Original Black Widow, affectionately called “Fishnet”, is easily one of the Top 5 characters in Marvel Puzzle Quest.  She compliments any team you add her too, especially against teams that need black, purple, and blue matches to activate abilities.  Her abilities can best be described as follows:

Heals and steals.

Ideally, you want to place her alongside a higher-level, tankier (high life/hit points) character(s) with same-colored abilities.   This will prevent her from taking too much damage, which is good since she can be one-hit by certain characters (i.e. Wolverine).  Some good teammates for her include…

  • Storm
  • Moonstone
  • Venom
  • Bullseye

For heavy grinding sessions, I find the combination of Daken, Fishnet, and Moonstone/Thor/Wolverine works really well.  Daken adds stacking damage and tanks incoming damage while the third character provides the burst damage and “bigger body”.  Your preferences may be different depending on how aggressive you want to be.  Admittedly, Daken takes time to build up damage with strike tiles but his self-healing ability makes him great.

Marvel Puzzle Quest - Amazing Spider-Man - Spidey

Fishnet Black Widow is what I would call a support character.  If you don’t have her, there are other options for mitigating damage, whether you are healing or blocking damage.   Amazing Spider-Man is likely your next best bet since he can stun AND heal.  Here are some other solid picks:

  • Modern Black Widow
  • Bullseye
  • Yelena Belova Black Widow
  • Captain America
  • Iron Man Model 35
  • Iron Man Model 45
  • Magneto (ALL)
  • Loki
  • Moonstone

Support roles go beyond healing and stealing.  Characters like Yelena Belova (evil Black Widow), Loki, Magneto,  and Bullseye can create and manipulate special tiles, which can be devastating against opponent teams that rely on them.

Marvel Puzzle Quest: Captain America VS. Moonstone

Between Captain America and Moonstone, I feel Moonstone is the best pick.  Captain America feels like an under-powered Iron Man Model 35.  Here is why he sucks:

  • His powers/abilities take too long to ramp up.
  • His damage output is poop.
  • He is balanced and, by extension, not very good at anything.

Captain America does have more HP than most support characters.  He also has a stun ability plus the ability to cycle abilities but, if the countdown tiles get removed, his effectiveness is negated.  Cap is just not good for aggressive wins and, thus, using him becomes a grindfest…  Meh.

Moonstone, on the other hand, can manipulate the board, do massive burst damage (based upon how many red tiles are in stock), and she can stun opponents.  She is amazing yet she doesn’t get nearly enough love.  I love you Moonstone.

Ms. Marvel..  Or Is That Moonstone?

Continue reading HorsePLAY! Marvel Puzzle Quest Strategies With CaptinChaos & Yogizilla

The DocRoe Chronicles: Who Is DocRoe, Online Dating SUCCESS, And NEW! Sunday Show

First of all, I say goodday to you my friends, and let me introduce myself:

I am DocRoe, 25 years old (i think), born in Carlow, Ireland in the wonderful year of 1988,  so you can figure out my exact age every year.  I suck at math.

Carlow is a town you probably never heard of and, well, I don’t blame you.

Here it is, an aerial view of Carlow: Aerial View Of Carlow, Ireland

Traveling agents would say it’s a wonderful little picturesque towny thingy with a lot of character,  my best description is this:

It’s an absolute shithole.

I grew up there until about the age of 5 or 6, and then my parents finally got it in to their dusty little braincells that this place blows,
and moved across the pond to Belgium.   Talking about a shithole, that country isn’t all that better. But that story is maybe for another time.   I lived there practically all my life, from 5/6 until 20.

But then something happened in the boring life of The Doctor.
He met a girl.  Online.

She was the most amazing person he ever talked to, met,                       and had the privilege to hang out with.

And she still is.

One year after meeting her at the age of 20, I decided to just say       “fuck y’all” and leave Belgium to move in with her.  I moved all my stuff by train, and the next stop was Groningen, Netherlands.  That’s where i still live today.  Also, my favorite movie is Boondock Saints.

Now that you know who the hell I am:

HELLO!!!!

I have arrived here at G.A.N.G. to bring you columns and a new web/radio show.   I’m not going to tell you what or how or when. It’s on Sundays.   And that’s all you’re getting from me!!!!

I will co-host this show with my dear friend Obionex2 here in this lovely community.

Wait, Doc, go back.
COLUMNS?!!
Who the hell does that nowadays?!!

Well, me, for starters.  What will my columns be about?  Anything I fucking feel like..   But mostly series, movies, games and music.

Where to find the best games and movies you HAVE to see and which you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT TOUCH!!!  Right here.

(That last part goes for series as well.)

So yeah, here i am, and i’m coming for your soul!
If you guys want me to discuss anything about any subject, just let me know and i probably will, if i feel like it, ok, you win. I will.

And for now: SEE YA NERDS!

P.S.  Maybe next time a schmexy picture of Le Doc? Stay Tuned!

grtz
DocRoe

The Infamous #HorrorFrog & Show Notes/Previews – Leave Us Voicemail – (206) 415-4987

A few of you have suggested that we post our show notes more often here to encourage more voicemail messages and such.  We’ve been doing that for HorsePLAY! LIVE and The Gaming Death Podcast but we welcome any and all kinds of voicemail.  Here are some of the things we’ve been discussing if you want to keep the conversation going:

  • Why Hearthstone is such a big deal
  • Tips and tricks for Marvel Puzzle Quest & Hearthstone
  • Is Hearthstone a pay-to-win game?
  • Greatest games of all time (The GOATs)
  • Our defining moments in gaming
  • What are the most random games you’ve ever played that you think most missed (and should play)?
  • Games that were great because they inspired new concepts
  • Games that are great because they are still fun years later
  • Why are Internet trolls so prevelant?
  • Drunken karaoke (thanks DekardC)
  • XBox Originals Channel – YAY or NAY?
  • Console gaming is dead – it’s all about all-in-one entertainment!
  • How close are we to drones delivering our goods?
  • Marvel Agents Of SHIELD vs. Arrow
  • Objectification of women and biases surrounding geek girls
  • The rise and fall of social games (a.k.a. Facebook SPAM)
  • The cardinal sings of League Of Legends players
  • Have we as consumers become too spoiled or impatient?
  • Broke Wars: Nintendo VS. Sony
  • Sony predicts 1.3 BILLION loss over fiscal year
  • Indie games are the future of gaming!
  • No, we’re tired of indie games.
  • No, we’re tired of big studio regurgitations.
  • We geeks are just jaded all around, amirite?
  • Transistor art style: beautiful or more hipster pandering?
  • Microtransactions VS. Macrotransactions
  • Popular games with the worst virtual economies
  • What defines the value of something?
  • Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare..  Does anyone care?
  • Capcom is bouncing back – Mega Man, PLEASE!
  • Can gardening be considered geeky?
  • Fantasy sports can be geeky..  Sports themselves, not so much.
  • How do you define a geek or nerd?
  • Labels suck..  But they have a purpose!
  • #RetroFriday VOTES for NES, Genesis, arcade, etc.
  • Sports games are games too!

Hopefully those snippets should provide some good talking points.  There’s a lot of gaming stuff there but anything geeky or random is cool, y0.   Speaking of RANDOM, on Episode 81 of The Gaming Death Podcast, they brought up the horror frog

Horror Frog Breaks It's Own Bones To Form Claws!

Yes, this is a real thing.

According to the NewScientist, the horror frog breaks his own bones to form claws.  WTF?  It’s the real-life Wolverine!  That is pretty darn sick.  I can relate, too, because my home life is often just as masochistic!  LOL..  Sorry, I could not resist!

Personally, I find nature so fascinating.  Here in Georgia we see all sorts of weird critters, like the paper wasp.  These wasps are comparable to hornets and are usually found down South, where creepy crawlers seem to be abundant.  The coolest thing about the paper wasp is that it builds nests out of a paper-like substance.  It creates this substance using harvested materials and it’s own saliva.  Kinda gross yet kinda neat.

Paper Wasp Nest In Yucatan, Mexico
WARNING: Do NOT approach a paper wasp nest.. They are VERY protective.

I had one of these things hang out with me in my house recently.  It was surprisingly friendly but that stinger was scary.  Lately the wasps here in Georgia fly really close to me, especially by my ears or the back of my head..  It makes me feel…. Violated. O_O

Anywho, on future episodes of HorsePLAY! LIVE we’re going to be returning to our roots in League Of Legends and cover more indie games (of course).  We’ll continue Hearthstone talk too since that’s definitely on rotation for years to come.  On EP22 or so, we should be wrapping up the #RetroFriday kicker series.  With that…

Tell us what your favorite moments in gaming are.  What made you a dedicated or hardcore gamer?  What are your G.O.A.T. picks for games, both tabletop and digital?  Are there any games you really love that you think people missed?

While we’ll be ending the #RetroFriday mini-series, we’ll continue to do weekly videos and streams.  Be sure to join our Steam community groups.  Simply look up #YOHTAI, #RetroFriday, and HorsePLAY.  The links are also scattered throughout the site. 8)

Do you have any fun stories or random thoughts to share?  Call us and leave a voicemail at (206) 415-4987 – if you don’t, Stewie will PEW PEW PEW you with his ray gun!  Also, take this poll, por favor.

Gaming Clan Leadership Basics & Understanding Pro Gaming

WOW!

It’s been over 7 years since I posted this piece on gaming clans and the conversation is STILL going over at my personal website, Yomar.me (a.k.a. Y3B)  – clearly, we gamers are on the same wavelength.  Being in a gaming clan is fun and rewarding.  It makes games more immersive or at least replayable..   But it can also be a lot of work so there’s good reason some people stay solo.

This is a conversation I’d love for us to have here at Geeky Antics, where it is a lot more relevant.  Think about all the stuff we as geeks do – podcasts, videos, indie games, gaming clans, or whatever tickles your fancy – how many times do flakey people and drama queens create more work for you?  The eSports scene is booming.  More and more gamers dream of being sponsored, championship winners, or at least winning some free stuff.

The reality is that maybe 1% of all “hardcore” competitive gamers are sponsored AND can make a living off it.  The cost for that may be losing your love for games.  Is it really worth it?  Well, it depends how competitive you are.

For me, being in a gaming clan is more about the social experience, collaborating on stuff beyond games, and getting more out of our video games.  Thing is, do your fellow clan members feel the same way?  If not, do they know just how much work goes into pro gaming?

The tournaments with the biggest prizes are highly-selective.  You’re lucky if they take in 16 players from any given region.  Of course, there are always local tournaments at hobby shops.  Those can be great fun and provide supplemental income..  Or maybe just street cred.  The point is that, no matter how good you are, you always have to consider there is someone with more free time and commitment than you.

Are you willing to pay the price to be a top-tier pro gamer?

Dreamhack Tournament Bracket For Starcraft 2

League Of Legends and Starcraft 2 may be the most competitive games out there today.  There are so many people playing and qualifying for the big tournaments is daunting.  Well, maybe SC2 doesn’t have quite the gameplay hours of LoL but the gap in skill between good players and awesome players is quite significant.  They measure that gap mainly in APM (Actions Per Minute) and, well, if you suck at multitasking and buckle under pressure, playing SC2 professionally could burn you out quickly.

I like the way Dreamhack handles tournaments.  They recently held a Hearthstone tournament with $10,000 in prizes.  This tournament was open to the first 128 registrants but, in other tournaments, there is usually a small buy-in.   This is fair considering there are prizes at every level.  What’s nice about it is that you can very well be the unknown, low-ranked player who pulls some upsets.  That makes for a great narrative.

The barrier to entry is certainly low here.  Now, you could argue it takes $200-300 to build a top-tier competitive deck in Hearthstone but you can reduce that cost by running a Hunter deck or playing more.  Also, compare that to Magic: The Gathering where you’re spending at least $500-700.  Just sayin.

Dreamhack is one of the biggest players in the pro gaming circuit.  These guys are based out of Sweden yet they are known throughout the world.  You may not play Starcraft 2, DotA 2, LoL, WoW, or even Hearthstone..  but chances are you’ve heard of Dreamhack.

Dreamhack Valencia 2012 - VLC 2013

Just look at the scene in the photo above.  Dreamhack really puts on a show.  Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this experience?  Dreamhack events double as massive LAN parties too.  By most standards, this is the biggest digital festival out there.

That’s great but how does this relate to gaming clans?

Well, I wanted to pain a picture about how competitive pro gaming really is.  Some people throw on a tag and think they magically become pro gamers.  There is a lot to it.  To me, there are not many gaming clans out there because loyalties lean towards the personal gains rather than the fellowship.   Most clans are what I would call competitive or scenario squads.

To be fair, it’s easier to manage smaller groups when competition is the main focus.  You need a personality fit above all because you can’t train that.  Skills can be improved but chemistry you usually either have or you don’t.

In any successful organization, there is unity under a single-minded purpose.  This is critical.  You can’t mix together casual gamers with uber-competitive ones.  If that situation develops, split the clan into sub-groups or divisions to keep things civil.  I mean, some gamers think that we all focus on one game for months or years at a time.  That’s just not realistic but those are the expectations at times.

Lord Of The Rings - The Motion Picture Trilogy

LOTR (Lord Of The Rings, for the unitiatied) is a great example of  the power of having a single purpose or goal.  This is the vision that binds us within a thriving organization.  In LOTR, lots of things happened but, ultimately, it was all about destroying the darn ring.  They succeeded because they had laser focus.

The frustration for people in gaming clans usually takes two forms:

  • You guys expect too much from me – I don’t have that sort of desire  or time/money to commit!
  • You guys are not serious enough – I’m tired of losing!

Often in coaching/mastermind sessions with clients and collaborators, I’ll talk about the importance of managing expectations.   It’s easy to join a clan but working together as a cohesive unit is a whole different matter.  As we hinted earlier, some people avoid clans all together because they feel they’re all about work and drama.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

NoF - Absolut Nipply
N-o-F.com – Since 1999 (Well, officially, at least.)

When we recruit people for NoF, we simply look for folks that are active and friendly.  If everyone gets along and we have fun together, what else really matters, amirite?  We’re not looking to be the next Team Solo Mid, Team Liquid, Gambit, or whatever..  We just want to have fun and meet new people.  It’s great that we can travel just about anywhere, online and offline, and meet local Nips for some debauchery, good conversation, and gaming fun.  Of course, if we detect someone is purely about winning and being “pro”, we kindly let go because we know the cost for that would sacrifice who we are at heart..  And gaming would become a chore.  Eff that!

How about sore losers?  Are they worth recruiting if they are skilled enough?

Well, you can’t play League Of Legends without running into trolls (see the featured image).  Sore losers LOVE to blame their teammates and fail to see they become part of the fail sauce due to their poor sportsmanship.  Avoid these types of players.  They are a plague to gaming clans and squads, especially once you stop winning most of your match-ups.  People will leave and, eventually, they will too so there’s no point catering to them unless they are truly willing to conform and compromise for the sake of the team.

We can go on and on about what makes a sustainable gaming clan thrive, not just survive.  Here are some of the things we discussed in the linked article and the comments thereof:

  • Leaders inspire, managers merely bark orders.
  • The servant-teacher is a type of leader that remains humble, learning as much from others as he teaches others.
  • The best leaders listen more than than they speak.
  • Squads and clans function for different purposes, though they share similarities.
  • Finding a gaming squad/clan is much like job hunting: all parties should make sure it is a right fit.

Go ahead and read the full article over at Y3B.  I’d love to see what you all think.  After reading the article, let’s bring the conversation back over to the Geeky Antics community.  Here are a few questions to ponder:

  • What is the biggest stumbling block for gaming clans or squads?
  • Does recruiting women add to the stability or instability?
  • What is the average shelf life for gaming groups of any kind?
  • Is there a sweet spot for the max size of a clan?

Leave us a VM at (206) 415-4987 and drop some comments in the spiffy area below.  This is a great discussion and I love hearing the stories everyone is experiencing in gaming spaces all over the place.

Don’t be shy..  Gather around the fire (hey, at least I did not say hearth) and join the conversation.

Yogizilla's Blankity Blank-Blank (Y3B)

*** NEW! You can find an updated article on the essence, importance, and benefits of social gaming clans by clicking here! ***

“Hey, look at all those nifty acronyms people have attached to their handles and screen names. That’s really cool – I want one too!” That is exactly what I think runs through the heads of many people that join or create a clan. People want to feel like they are a part of something bigger than them. It’s just human nature.

With the next-gen gaming consoles tapping into an online gaming market that has existed for many, many years on the PC front, gaming squads are arguably more popular than ever. For most, it’s just about hanging out with some people or being part of the most kick-ass team and getting some big wins under the belt. Whatever way you chop it up, people are in these…

View original post 1,735 more words

The Challenges Gamer Girls Face – What Stigmas & Biases Exist?

UPDATE:  We’ve had tremendous response from this post (yet the comments are lacking.. Hmmm…) and I realize that some are still very uncomfortable with T&A, even though it is relevant.  I’d hate for our fellow gamers to miss out on an important discussion over something so trivial.  So I have changed it.

Sorry fellas..  But the show must go on!

Here is a parody video that should lighten the mood for those that find this subject matter a bit touchy.  I’m sure many of you have seen this already (Seth Green, Michelle Boyd, etc.):

The previously featured image of GamerGirl90 (read on) is what some guys imagine (or hope) your average gamer girl would look like.  This is not very realistic, for a few reasons.  The reality is that we gamers come in different shapes and sizes, folks.  Besides, jaded gamers tend to expect the worst in the faceless entities they play with over the interwebz.  Apparently, all us gamers are fat, lazy slobs with acne..  Or at least that’s the stereotype.

For some background info, check out HorsePLAY! EP18 – the HD video is provided up there.^^^

Over at Be Like Water, they have a Woman Crush Wednesday theme.  We shared the Lady Sif / Jaimie Alexander Woman Crush Wednesday post here because, let’s face it: that’s the sort of stuff that draws people in.  Sure, there are list posts, cute-overload animal photos, silly memes, cheats, and other SEO, traffic-boosting subject matter but those are not particularly evergreen.   The female form is art: timeless, beautiful, and intriguing to most of the world..  I know even some gay guys that find boobies (I’m more of a booty guy myself) appealing..  It must be a guy thing!

GamerGirl90 - A Man's Idea Of A Gamer Girl
GamerGirl90 is just an everyday girl.. And she just happens to play games.. And be easy on the eyes. Just sayin.

Now let’s set the stage further: this is the story of the disappearance of GamerGirl90 and the drama that ensues when geeks as a whole can’t play nice together.  GamerGirl90 used to be a DeviantArt contributor (here is some of GamerGirl90’s DeviantArt work).  Sadly, she was scared away due to trolls and clients who refused to pay her for commissioned work (after she delivered the goods, mind you).  She was a very engaging individual.  Not only is she easy on the eyes but she is quite talented as an artist.  DeviantArt, hell, the geek community has suffered a great loss.

This sort of thing happens all the time..  And it’s a bummer.

Shriek Unveiled By GamerGirl90

Cynical geeks may think that people like GamerGirl90 are attention-starved, inauthentic posers.  The most prevelant stigma dictates that attractive women can’t possibly be “true gamers” or real geeks.  But look at that artwork – the coloring is beautiful..  And that is a rough work.  What people fail to see is that geek culture is so pervasive that we’re no longer the minority.  Heck, jocks and pop culture junkies are more of a minority now.

So let’s look at heard numbers to prove a point.  Wikipedia confirms what a lot of studies have suggested.  Almost half of the gaming populice are women!

In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (30 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (18 percent).” Entertainment Software Association’s 2013 study found that 45% of game players are female, 2% decrease from last year’s figures.

Thank goodness for that because, let’s face it: the screechers are the worst of them all.   Seriously, though, this just goes to show that we should not longer be shocked that we encounter women in our favorite games.  Sadly, biases continue and the assumption is that women only play social or casual games.  The statistics speak for themselves: gamer girls run the full gamut in terms of gaming preferences, appearance, personalities, and more.  There are more differences within sub-groups than gender yet some folks will desperately hold onto their ignorant assumptions…  Why?

GamerGirl90 Flirty (Yet Classy)

Is this sort of thing classy, tacky, or just plain pathetic?  Is this just a mere marketing stunt?

It’s easy to let our biases guide us towards hasty judgments and bitterness.  The general assumption is that women that make themselves known online are attention whores but that is not always the case.  Let’s be honest: if you got it, flaunt it..  More importantly, we all like attention and doting to a degree (hello, social media).  We humans are social creatures, after all.

For the sake of brevity, I will insert a page break here.  Click onwards to read more, where we’ll tackle the core issues.  For those who only came for the eye candy, at least leave a comment and share before leaving..  Thanks! *wink*

Continue reading The Challenges Gamer Girls Face – What Stigmas & Biases Exist?

Ye Olde #Hearthstone Tavern and Inn #YOHTAI Issue No. 2

Greetings friend!

This is Sparta!

 

THIS IS, err, YOHTAI – Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern and Inn. 

YOHTAI is where we can add friends, connect, share, brag, bitch and whine about Blizzard’s game Hearthstone and other things. We also conversate and participate in live and recorded podcasts including HorsePLAY! LIVE and others. And, ok, we do some tips, cheats, and strategies…

If you haven’t read it, check out the YOHTAI Issue No. 1 here:

https://geekyantics.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/ye-olde-hearthstone-tavern-and-inn-16-april-2014-issue-no-1

I’m ready! I’m not ready!

In the comments below, flaunt your OP internet and social game skillz – tell us your Hearthstone ID (Battle Tag), your in game name, your real name (if you dare), your city, connection points, and share your thoughts on Hearthstone with us.

Hearthstone News

Ranked Play Season 1: Pandamonium is almost over

Season 1 is coming to a close at the end of the month, and with it your chances of acquiring the Pandaria card back for your collection.

Pandaria Card Back

Pandamonium Hearthstone Card Back Faryna

 

Fireside Gatherings FLOP

The Fireside Gathering is on. If you can log in three devices on the same router, you can get the Fireside Gathering card back. Blizzard’s big idea, however, was a big flop with hardly any HFG parties anywhere. Blizzard’s lack of commitment and investment in this social event leaves us with some questions about their community skills.

Sometimes, I forget things…

Our genius suggestion: A plushy Hearthstone Pillow awarded to the first 300 Fireside Gathering leaders signed up for the Cinco de Mayo slash This is Sparta bash. What Cinco de Mayo Bash?! Exactly.

Hearthstone Fireside Gathering Card Back Faryna

 

Hearthstone Gear

Show off your Hearthstone gear. Send us a pic of you and your gear and we’ll feature it in YOHTAI. Send the pic to me (Stan) at stan.faryna@gmail.com

Below, the Hearthstone Pillow.

Hearthstone Throw Pillow

TOSH.0

TOSH.0 still don’t got love for the Hearthstone. Whazzup with that? He know internets? Obviously not. Because Hearthstone is one of the hottest iPad app downloads going on. It’s averaging 4.5 stars, got 7086 ratings overnight, and Hearthstone is at the top of the app download list.

Get in there and fight, Maggot!

Tweet Tosh and tell him what’s up: http://twitter.com/danieltosh

 Get in there and fight, maggot!   cc  

The queue sucks!

Get more servers, Blizzard!

Hearthstone Que Sucks Says Faryna

 

Hearthstone Cheats

Some of us are casual gamers – playing less than 10 hours per week. But if you can log in for 30 minutes, you can collect the 40 gold daily quest reward with a little help from you friends at YOHTAI. Log-in, let your friends know you need a “little gold” in the chat and then take turns winning and losing to get that quest reward.

Tip No. 13

No one likes losing most of the time.
If you can’t survive to round 10 in most fights, whip out your credit card and throw down $20 on some cards. But not until you can survive until round 9. Because you need some tested and true ideas about how to play the game before new cards can help.
YOHTAI Groups and Beyond
YOHTAI is on Steam and Facebook!

Hearthstone School

If you’re new to Hearthstone, there may be some confusion about Rankings. We know there’s 25 rankings including Legend. But after you get to rank 20, you proceed (or not) to rank 19. This is not a bug.

Hearthstone Level 18 or 23? Faryna

#YOHTAI Issue No. 3 is here.
Job’s done!

 

The GANG Minute: Game Mechanics Show, FTL Advanced, And GANG Cameos

Greetings and salutations, geeks and gamers!

There’s been so much going on in the world of Geeky Antics that we have not been able to report everything as it happens via our blog or even Twitter.  This installment of The GANG Minute will provide some highlights so you can get all caught up…  We’ve got lots cooking and the GANG is ROCKIN!  Here are the highlights…

NOTE:  Be sure to take the poll at the end – we need help brainstorming for our new show!

Gaming Death Podcast

GANG May 2014 Guest Appearances & Previews

On Thursday, May 1st 2014, I will be joining The Gaming Death podcast at 9pm Eastern, which is live on Twitch just like HorsePLAY!  It should be interesting as there will be like five or six people on the show.  Right after, Chip Cella a.k.a. CaptinChaos from The B-Team Podcast will be joining us on HorsePLAY! LIVE Episode 20 (the title is currently undetermined) to talk about some of the following items as part of our #RetroFriday initiative:

  • What the “next-gen” REALLY is..  or should be.
  • The games we’re playing instead of “da newness”.
  • Marvel Puzzle Quest strategies and call-ins.
  • Core concepts in TCG/CCGs.
  • A mini Hearthstone survival guide.
  • What makes strategy games so replayable?
  • Can puzzle fighters be considered strategy games?
  • Some of our favorite strategy games of all time.

We’ll also be setting the stage for a real throwback episode, where we’ll talk about classic and retro-style games.  We’re just waiting to see when Fred Rojas from Gaming History 101 can join us so we can go DEEP!   I’m working on trimming some of the fat for EP20 so we can have  more time for our featured topics and do more community interaction.  We’d also like to do more Freeballin’ to talk about whatever!  Maybe we’ll get to #TheDustOff and talk about the latest games sucking our souls away…

The B-Team Podcast Logo

 

FTL: Advanced Edition – Hidden In Version 1.5x And Up!

In case you missed it, the long-awaited expansion to FTL: Faster Than Light Advanced Edition was released on April 3rd 2014.  If you’re like me, you eagerly anticipated this, couldn’t find a firm release date, and probably got tired of waiting..  Then it snuck up on you like a ninja in your underpants!

FTL Advanced Edition

It turns out that, for many of us, this was not an auto-update thing.  Everyone who owns FTL: Faster Than Light does get the expansion for free BUT you might have to manually download v1.5x from Humble Bundle or wherever you bought the game if you went DRM-free.  Steam FTL players probably did not even notice.

FTL - Clone Bay Is Off - Crew Are Dying!

The changes are very subtle (you won’t see a new intro video or splash screen, in case you were waiting) until you poke around a bit and engage in extended play sessions.  You’ll have to enable Advanced Edition content whilst choosing your ship and prepping your crew members.  You’ll notice that the randomized encounters are more varied now, there are new ships, visuals have been (and usability) improved, and the clone bay provides an alternative to the med bay..  Just to name a few changes.

I hear there are also new ships but I can’t confirm this personally until I unlock more of them.  I currently have around five space ships unlocked, BTW.  The biggest change has to be the clone bay.  The fear of losing crew members used to be the biggest thing for me but the clone bay makes life in space much easier.  Suddenly, having enemies board your ship is not as scary, whether you have blast doors or not.

Other FTL advanced features that excite me:

  • Hacking
  • Mind control
  • Backup battery

FTL used to be one of my most-played games on Twitch and the expansion makes me want to suit up in a bad way.  There are times I wish the game went a little deeper on the simulation side but the rogue-like elements (i.e. permadeath) make the experience new and challenging every time.  I recommend playing on Easy or Normal, difficulty unless you don’t mind dying..  A LOT.

FTL: Faster Than Light - Spool Up The FTL Drive!
Burst lasers – PEW PEW PEW!

A few quick tips for new FTLers: burst lasers and ion weapons are likely your best bets for an aggressive, crippling loadout.  Drones and missiles hog up resources, plus they can be dodged or countered by elite ships.  That said, missiles penetrate shields and can cause really nasty damage.  The last thing you want in outer space is a fire that goes out of control or hull breaches that suck the oxygen away.  I reckon that would suck.

 

#RetroFriday – The Granddaddy Of MOBAs And RTS Games

I’ve been teasing Herzog Zwei for a long time and finally got the ROM recording environment perfected.  I’ve been super stoked to share this with you.  I’m a big fan of SEGA but Herzog Zwei is more than just a great SEGA Genesis game.  Herzog Zwei inspired MOBAs and RTS games as we know them today. yet it remains mostly unknown.

Herzog Zwei - Two-Player PvP - SEGA Genesis
Two-player Herzog Zwei takes place in a split screen.. no peeking!

Please like, favorite, and comment on the YouTube video.  I think everyone should play this game at least once.  Herzog Zwei holds up surprisingly well today..  And it is not the hand-holding BS we see today, either.  Did I mention the game let’s you play as a mech (Land-Armor)?  It’s like Transformers..  Without Michael Bey.

We also invite you to join our #RetroFriday Steam community group Herzog Zwei and AirMech discussion.  If you love strategy games but need something fast-paced, these are two fantastic games worth checking out.  Let me know which 8-bit and 16-bit classics you’d like me to play [more of].  Every #RetroFriday, I’ll stream and record retro games from indie developers and classic consoles.  Others are doing the same so be sure to check out the hashtag.

 

Hearthstone Heroes Of Warcraft Title Banner

#YOHTAI – Join Us For Hearthstone Streams & Game Nights!

Our beloved Stan Faryna, the hardest working man in social media, has been rallying our fellow geeks and get #YOHTAI off the ground.  Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern And Inn is a place for Hearthstone players to share their Battle Tag and make new friends.  We have a Steam community group, too:

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/_hearthstone

This Hearthstone Steam community group is unofficial..  But it’s fun to be one of the handful of groups dedicated to the game.  Let’s make #YOHTAI the biggest unofficial community for Hearthstone and play more together.  Join us and we can do some Twitch streams and videos together, maybe even exchange some tips!

In around two weeks since we started this social initiative, I have made five new friends on Hearthstone.  That’s significant considering I have been bad about adding people I play against during matchmaking.  Sworen from The B-Team Podcast recently whooped my ass with a Warlock “test deck”.  It was brutal..   I need new Hearthstone friends.

 

We Need Help Coming Up With A Show Name!

We’re getting closer to releasing a pilot episode for our NEW! game theory/mechanics and strategy podcast.  Right now, I am unsure about the name but I have some good ideas for logos and banners.  Could you give us a hand?

This new show, codenamed “Strategery” (yes, we know that’s not a real word), will have revolving hosts and guest hosts that will include hardcore gamers, casual players, game developers, marketing specialists, analysts, and scientists.  The idea is to provide fresh perspectives on the inner workings of games, both tabletop and digital.  We’re gonna go hard and deep with our ANALysis!

Game Mechanics Table / Graph By Incentive Research Foundation (IRF)
[ source: Incentive Research Foundation ]
As this table shows, there’s lots in play when we are playing games.  Analyzing these subleties can help us foster a greater appreciation for the amount of work that goes into gaming.  If you’re not into game design or any of the business-side, the knowledge is helpful for identifying right-fit experiences or developing new strategies..  Break the meta!

Currently, we are leaning towards the first half or so being deep discussion on a theme for the week (along with the usual pleasantries and banter) and the second half shifting to tips, tricks, and strategies.  There will be a heavy focus on strategy games and anything with an online or team focus.  Our game spotlights will include Hearthstone, SolForge, League of Legends, Smite, DotA 2, Marvel PuzzleQuest, and AirMech.

Once I get some concept art together and firm things up a bit, expect an update to this article or some quick comments.  For now, I think that covers all the stuff we’ve been meaning to cover here on GANGnet.  Stay tuned for more great content.  There’s going to be lots more variety coming up (if all goes well) including stuff covering Doctor Who, geek social issues, anime picks, and comic strips.

Want the latest Geeky Antics right in your inbox?  Sign up for our FREE newsletter.  Once we get enough e-mail subscribers, we’ll start sending out weekly newsletters and kick off more community events, giveaways, contests, and MORE!

http://eepurl.com/SZQe9

Many thanks to the over 100 people who are following and subscribed to our blog via RSS and e-mail digest.  We are humbled by the tremendous response we have gotten in just a few short months.  #GeeksUnite

Essential Albums of the 80s and 90s: Combustible Edison- I, Swinger

Combustible Edison – I, Swinger

Year of Release:  1994

Essential Tracks:

  • Cadillac
  • The Millionaire’s Holiday
  • Breakfast at Denny’s
  • Cry A River
  • Spy Vs. Spy

Quick!  What do alt-rock and punk bands have in common with easy listening and lounge music acts?  Give up?  The answer is simple: Sub-Pop Records signed them!  That’s right.  The record label that brought us Nirvana’s debut album, Bleach, and was known for all sorts of heavy-hitting acts is also responsible for bring us a key player in the short-lived swing resurgence that happened in the 90s.

Yeah, that was a thing and the group in question here is Combustible Edison.

Combustible Edison, also known as The Combustible Edison Heliotropic Oriental Mambo and Foxtrot Orchestra, was started by former members of a Providence, RI rock band called “Christmas” as founders of the band, The Millionaire (Michael Cudahy) and Miss Lily Banquette (Liz Cox) attempted to piece together a fourteen-piece orchestra for a show that The Millionaire had written called “The Tiki Wonder Hour.” The orchestra evolved and morphed into the five-member group which was signed by Sub Pop!

After an EP and single release, they officially released a debut album entitled I, Swinger in 1994.

While the album came out in the 90s during the (mostly ironic) swing revival, the album and music could fit in during the Big Band era of the 20s, 30s and 40s!

I, Swinger opens with “Cadillac” which opens with a swinging and bouncing drum beat and upright bass.  This is kind of a Big Band, ballroom style that could easily be the intro to a song by Glenn Miller or Benny Goodman (look them up, kids!) The song continues with a call-and-answer melody repeated by vibraphone, harpsichord and organ mixed with The Millionaire’s funky rock n’ roll guitar style. This culminates with a boogie-woogie piano riff and comes grinding to a halt after all of this repeats itself. It’s hard to believe that this was all done and composed by a five person group!

The second track on the album is arguably the most famous track by the band (and is, in fact the first song of theirs I heard in 1994).  “The Millionaire’s Holiday” starts with some soft drum play and guitar styling that could easily be mistaken for Dick Dale (again, look him up) with some floating organ over top. This is the track where we are introduced to the beautiful vocal styling of Miss Lily. It’s a two minute song with somewhat nonsensical lyrics that seem to point irony at the fact that this is swing music (“If your pad is a wax museum, be a swinger if you dare”) and Lily’s old-timey blues lady voice is almost and instrument in and of itself. Why is this song so pivotal in the history of Combustible Edison? One word: Commercials. This song was used in ads for everything from soda to cars to video games. It was also used in the soundtrack for “Four Rooms” which the band did as well.

This is immediately followed by a track that almost doesn’t fit the album.  That is not a bad thing by any means and the track is one of the best on the record. “Breakfast at Denny’s” almost sounds eerie with it’s slower pace, floating vibraphone sounds, sparse bassline, wood block percussion sounds and floating guitar. Throw in the “aaah’s” of Miss Lily and the deeper male voices of the group and the somewhat middle eastern sounding guitar melodies in the middle of the track and this could easily be turned into an entire movie soundtrack. In fact, this one was also in Four Rooms.

Four Rooms - A Comedy Compliments Of The House

“Intermission” is next.  The track literally sounds like one that would be used in an old movie theater during an intermission. I wish I could say something special about this one but, while it’s good, it doesn’t stand out. What does stand out, however, is yet another number with Lily’s vocals.

“Cry Me A River” sounds like a song that could have been a standard in Billie Holiday’s repertoire and that pretty much explains it.  It’s a bluesy, break up song. Lily’s voice is decidedly as sexy as could possibly be on this track as she sings “Cry me a river. Cry me a river. I’ll cry a river over you…”

“Impact” is next which sounds like a crazy abstract jazz piece that could have been done by Miles Davis during his “Bitches Brew” sessions.  It almost has an impromptu jam feel to it that would make any jam band (e.g. Phish or The Grateful Dead) fan happy as well and this transitions nicely into “Guadalupe” and it’s tango feeling and more of Miss Lily’s sweeping voice and a faint hint of The Millionaire’s surfer rock electric guitar.

The remainder of the album just seems to find the group having a good time and embracing the fact that they are a swing band through and through. There are goofy melodies and repeated themes from the beginning of the album (“Carnival of Souls.”) The Millionaire’s guitar style further shows itself with some more tango rhythms and some more showcasing of the group’s keyboard sections (“Veldt.”) Miss Lily even delves into foreign language lyrics (German in “Surabaya Johnny.”)

Two track bring round out the album perfectly.   While Combustible Edison did the soundtrack for Four Rooms after this album, they certainly put forth the images and style that they were meant to do scores for old spy movies and this is the whole idea of “Spy Vs. Spy.” The title itself conveys the sense of a spy flick and the strong backbone of percussion and keyboards are augmented by some more of that guitar sound! Then it all changes up to a fast paced jazz piece done on a harpsichord and back to guitars again.

Out of breath from that last one?  Well there is one more. Since the group came from the orchestra used in “The Tiki Wonder Hour,” would the album be complete without the theme from that production? Here it is. Very light and soothing. A nice way to close the album.

Jazz and lounge, Swing, Ironic, Hipster music, etc.  Whatever this is called now, Combustible Edison fits the bill and made quite a career out of it. There were more albums where this came from, but I feel this is the essential one! Sub Pop made a great decision signing these guys along with their already heavy-hitting lineup of Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Nirvana, etc. And while the swing revival may have died at the turn of the century, the music itself never will, so go ahead and embrace it. Listen to this album, sit and chill with your martini (“A glass and a shaker. Our host is a real scene maker”- The Millionaire’s Holiday) and enjoy the stylings of The Millionaire (guitar), Miss Lily (vocals and bongos), Nick Cudahy (bass), Mr. Peter Dixon (organ), Aaron Oppenheimer (percussion) and special guests Brother Cleve and Michael “Laughing Boy” Connors: The Combustible Edison Heliotropic Oriental Mambo and Foxtrot Orchestra!

 

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