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Author: Martin

Martin is a writer and misanthrope from Gloucestershire, with an obses... er interest in comics, video games and animation. You can also find him at his blog, The Taste of Rising Bile, where he's in the middle of a cynic's guide to Disney films.

Signal Ops – PC review

Martin

[Editor’s Note: Our review is based on the version of the game released on the 3rd of April 2013. Images within this review are only from the first couple of levels of the game due to capturing issues.]

Last week, George Osborne, gave a speech defending his new onslaught against welfare to a load of Morrisons employees. What made this speech awful, beyond its content and Osborne’s innate, unlikeable, sneery demeanour, is that he very obviously tried to moderate his usual Oxbridge eloquence and sound more common, in an attempt to appeal to his audience. British became ‘Briddish’. ‘Want to’ became ‘wanna’ and ‘out of’ became ‘outta’. Frankly, it completely undermined his entire speech (or cunningly distracted everyone from its content, I suppose).

Why am I talking about politics on Pixel Bedlam? Well the moral is, there’s no point in trying to be something you’re not. Unfortunately, this is exactly what Signal Ops does.

The Greatest Super-Hero Cartoons

Martin

The comic book is the natural medium for the super-hero. This is an indisputable fact – it’s the medium that birthed them, that’s most featured them and has evolved around them. But it’s not the only medium that the super-hero thrives in. There’s another that’s had a long and fevered history with the super-hero, brought it to new audiences and brought out new sides of it. No, it’s not the cinema (where the super-hero has only really worked successfully en masse in the past decade or so). It’s radio.

Just kidding, it’s cartoons.

Yes, what other than animation can replicate the bright characters, crazy locations, mad props and insane action of a super-hero comic? Some pretty wicked shadow puppets maybe, but let’s stick with cartoons for now. To celebrate this joyous affair of moving pictures and lycra-clad super-men, here’s a non-definitive run down of some of the best super-hero cartoons ever made.

The Curious Case Of Captain Marvel – The Weird World Of Comics

Martin

If you’ve been reading this columns regularly, you’ll probably have spotted that I’m generally having them link into each other, like a strand of multicoloured handkerchiefs impossibly streaming from a magician’s sleeve. As such, I was going to write about someone who’s died a lot, picking up on the last instalment’s topic, but instead I’m going to follow up a quick aside I made and talk about Captain Marvel.

The Impermanence Of Death – The Weird World Of Comics

Martin

Over the last few instalments of this column we’ve looked at a few superhero identities that have been used by more than one character (Robin and Captain America, for the new or forgetful). Legacy characters like this are popular in comics because they’re a way of keeping names, and trademarks, alive and relevant (and to learn the importance of that, just ask DC about Captain Marvel). Individual characters aren’t always as timeless as the superhero identity or idea in general, so it pays now and then to get rid of them and replace them with a more relevant version. One of the best ways to sell this change has been to kill off the original as it immediately gives the new character an empty stage on which work and feel important.

The Michael Bay Ninja Turtles Casting Game!

Martin

Despite fervent wishes to the contrary and what the general silence about the project over the past few months suggested, it seems that Michael Bay’s cinematic adaptation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is still going ahead. He’s even made up with pouty breast-owner Megan Fox long enough to cast her in the new film.

I’m not a huge Ninja Turtles fan – I loved the original series as a kid, but I wouldn’t watch it now (the 2005 reboot is very good though and you should check it out). However, I am a massive Transformers fan, a love that will forever be tarnished by three cinematic travesties (and counting), so Turtles fans everywhere have my sympathy. Not enough sympathy, however, that I won’t indulge in playing…

Enduring The Future Of The Playstation

Martin

It’s nearly 11pm. I should be getting ready to go to bed. Instead I’m waiting to watch the Sony Future conference, to see the unveiling on the PS4.

I’m well prepared. I have a drink and some food to keep me going through what could be an hours long presentation. My laptop is plugged in, my dogs put to bed and I’ve got the official Sony livestream page open and ready half an hour before launch as I prepare my notes. How bad could it be?

Sliding Timescales – The Weird World Of Comics

Martin

If you read our last column you probably noticed that Dick Grayson started out as Robin in 1940, around the age of 8 and continued in the role ‘til 1984. Yet when he became Nightwing he was only in his late teens and is still now only in his mid-twenties (roughly). So why isn’t Dick Grayson an 80-year old vigilante, beating up thugs with a zimmerframe?

5 Licensed Games That Should Exist (And Be Awesome)

Martin

In an attempt to find something worthwhile to fill the last two weeks of a free month on Xbox Live Gold, I went back to 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game this past weekend. Despite the age-old truism that any video game based on a film (and often any other kind of non-sports license) will be crap, Ghostbusters was a lot of fun, mixing solid gameplay, an authentic feeling script, nice graphics and the films’ original actors (even if Bill Murray is mumbling through most of it). I still think it’s the closest thing we’ll get to a proper third Ghostbusters film. As I slime-tethered down ghosts online, it struck me how many surprisingly awesome licensed games have come out over the past few years.

The Many Robins Of Batman – The Weird World Of Comics

Martin

Welcome to this new feature on Pixel Bedlam, the Weird World Of Comics. With every instalment, I intend to explore something particularly odd, unusual or just plain stupid from this crazy medium and offer it unto you, dear reader, much like how a cat might kill and lightly maul a bird only to dump it on your bed for you to puzzle over.

Top 4 Most Annoying NPC Characters Of All Time

Martin

At their best, video games, as a medium, can rival any other at creating immersive narrative experiences. From thrilling plots and virtual worlds to endearing characters and gripping action, when done right video games can blow everything else out of the water. You wouldn’t see anything like Shadow of the Colossus in opera.

Unfortunately, not everything always goes right. Obviously some games are just outright terrible. Others achieve near greatness but are marred by just one character who’s not on the same page as the rest of the game. Join us now as we look at four of the most annoying non-player characters ever to be coded into life.