Download and Play PickSix For iOS (Please)

Okay, dear RPadholics. I need you guys and gals to do me a favor. At your earliest convenience, kindly download PickSix for iOS. I don’t ask you for a lot (possibly untrue), but I would love for you to check out this app (certainly true). PickSix is a fun and simple fantasy pick ’em game with all sorts of possibilities. Currently, you can bet on NFL and League of Legends games, but the content opportunities are tremendous. It’s easy to envision PickSix used for the Oscars, the 2016 US presidential election, Premiere League, the MTV VMAs, etc.

In some ways, the extensibility of PickSix reminds me of the versatility of QuizUp. They both use a simple core mechanic to extend the fun of existing events by adding an interactive social layer to the mix. Similarly, both apps can be used for a wide variety of topics. Whether it’s a small group of friends or the millions of people enjoying a particular event, PickSix can make anything more fun through gamification. Of course, I want to hear about the content you’d like to see on PickSix, but before we get to that, I need to share my nerdy idea.

I’d love to see WWE PPVs on PickSix. The cards are usually set the week before the event and it would be fun betting on sports entertainment. I’m going to use the last WWE PPV, “Night of Champions,” as an example of what a WWE PickSix looks like in my (silly) head.

1) Out of the five WWE championships being contested at “Night of Champions,” how many will change hands?

  • 0-1
  • 2-3
  • 4-5

2) Who will win the WWE Divas Championship match?

  • Charlotte
  • Nikki Bella
  • No Contest

3) Seth Rollins is defending two championships. What will his “Night of Champions” record be?

  • 0-2
  • 1-1
  • 2-0

4) How many “Night of Champions” matches will end in a disqualification?

  • 0-2
  • 2-4
  • 5-7

5) How will Ryback vs. Kevin Owens end?

  • Ryback retains Intercontinental Championship
  • Kevin Owens wins Intercontinental Championship
  • Disqualification or schmoz

6) How many tables will be broken during The Dudley Boyz vs. New Day match?

  • 0-2
  • 2-4
  • 5 or more

 

(On a side note, my friend Kate says that I would use my WWE contacts to…influence PPV outcomes. I assure you that I have no such power and if I did, I wouldn’t use it that way.)

Obviously I didn’t give these questions too much thought, but I think you get the idea that PickSix can work for all kinds of things. Now it’s your turn! If you’re an iOS-using RPadholic, please download the game. I fully expect you to challenge me to some betting. Irrespective of your mobile OS, I’d love to hear about the content you’d like to see on PickSix. Please leave a comment below with your excellent ideas.

Coffee Talk #659: Nerd Canon and You

Canon is a touchy subject for nerds. Fundamentalists loathe when their beloved sci-fi and fantasy properties are taken in different directions by creators of non-canonical works. Others appreciate when established properties are taken in all-new, all-different directions. Today I want to talk about a few nerd-specific cases of canon and hear your feelings on the matter.

Star Wars Heir to the EmpireStar Wars: Let’s kick things of with one of the hugest nerd properties in existence. Many Star Wars fans were delighted by tales of the Expanded Universe (EU). The EU had several excellent Star Wars books written by several great authors. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm, it wiped out the existing EU and rebranded it as Star Wars Legends. Shortly after that decision was made, Disney created its own EU.

Many Star Wars fans were outraged by the move. They loved the books and felt robbed that they were no longer part of the proper Star Wars universe. While I empathize with that point of view, killing the previous EU didn’t bother me. I enjoyed the many Star Wars books I read and nothing can take that away. It doesn’t matter that these stories are no longer “official.” They entertained me and that hasn’t changed.

Gotham: Yesterday in the RPadTV Google Hangout, the Gotham television show was briefly discussed. This reimagining of a pre-Batman Gotham is controversial among nerds. Some people hate that Batman’s rogues gallery was up and operating well before the Dark Knight arrived to Gotham. I believe it was RPadholic Smartguy that said that having Joker without Batman doesn’t make any sense.

I definitely agree with the sentiment that having most of Batman’s villains in pre-Batman Gotham is silly. Like many comic-book fanboys, I am of the opinion that superheroes and villains fit into a nerdy chicken-and-egg scenario. Gotham is full of weird villains because some rich guy in a bat costume started being a vigilante there. Having these colorful criminals established in Gotham before his arrival doesn’t make sense to me.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t bother me that Gotham isn’t canon. What bothers me is that it’s a crappy show. The writing is trite and the acting is mediocre to poor. Bruce Wayne once said that criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot. Apparently they’re middling television actors too.

Marvel Secret Wars: Closing things out is Marvel’s Secret Wars crossover series. Due to a confluence of ridiculous events, the Marvel multiverse has become a singular mashup. The past few months of Marvel stories featured reimagined worlds and reimagined characters. All of this will lead up to the all-new, all-different Marvel Universe.

I have a few problems with the Secret Wars. The obvious one is that most of the stories aren’t very good. The secondary problem is that the crossover event interrupted several books that I was enjoying. Lastly, none of these stories matter in a canonical sense. The Marvel Universe is going to reboot and my time has been wasted with months of filler stories. While part of my problem with Secret Wars has to do with canon, most of it is that the damn thing is taking too long and most of the writing has been forgettable.

Your Take: Looking back at what I just wrote, I suppose canon doesn’t matter much to me. A good story is a good story, whether it’s official or not. Naturally, I want to hear your thoughts on nerd canon. Feel free to use the examples above or bring up any of your own. Do you place a high value on canon? Or is something entertaining simply entertaining?

Vaping Diaries #347: Mad Carpenter Curve V2 Box Mod Interview

The Mad Carpenter makes some of the most beautiful handcrafted box mods in the vaping business. The company’s Curve Mod featured gorgeous workmanship and an ergonomic design. Its followup, the Curve v2, features the same design language as its forerunner and adds a Yihi SX350 variable-wattage chip. At Vape Summit III, I caught up with The Mad Carpenter owner and craftsman Brandyn Young to talk about the Curve v2.

While the original batch of Curve Mods features various types of woods, the Curve v2 combines wood burls and Alumilite resin. The latter material has allowed Brandyn to get super creative with numerous color combinations. A lot of my friends at the show were enamored with the beautiful aesthetics of the Curve v2. I was absolutely smitten with the red, blue, and purple box Brandy was holding throughout the interview.

I’ve always found it amusing that so many mod collectors are high on various European box mods. In my opinion, companies like The Mad Carpenter and Harlequinn Woodworks make box mods that are every bit as beautiful as anything coming out of Europe. As someone that places high value on customer support and service, I’m more comfortable purchasing a high-end American box mod than a high-end European box mod, simply because it’s easier to get something fixed should something go wrong. Personally, I feel happy when I buy a made-in-the-USA product from an American small business.

The politics of personal economics aside, you should definitely check out my chat with The Mad Carpenter Brandyn Young on the Curve v2 box mod. Curve v2 mods are beautiful pieces of vaping art that are made right here in Southern California. The video below shows various finishes available. If you have any ideas for a custom Curve v2 color combination then check out The Mad Carpenter on Instagram and drop Brandyn a line.

Vaping Diaries #346: The Beginning of the End E-Liquid Interview

From the vault comes a Vape Summit III chat with The Beginning of the End manager Casey Doty. A friend from another e-liquid company told me to check out The Beginning of the End because he knows that I’m from New York and miss New York cannolis. Said colleague hails from Brooklyn, so I took his word that this company had an amazing cannoli juice. I was delighted to discover that The Beginning of the End makes a fantastic cannoli e-liquid. RPadholic N8R and I were also charmed by the company’s Southern hospitality — really warm and fun people. In the interview below, Casey told me about the company’s concept, the background of the juice maker, and three current flavors.

The Beginning of the End e-liquids are made by Christopher Bowman. Trained at Le Cordon Blue culinary school, Christopher uses his background to create layered and complex e-liquids. The Beginning of the End juices that I tried featured multiple notes, offering different (and delicious) flavors on the inhale and exhale.

The three flavors Casey told me about were Trinity, Serenity, and Verticality. Naturally, I was enamored with Trinity, as it was the only cannoli e-liquid I was aware of when this interview was filmed. If you’ve enjoyed cannolis in the past then you must try this juice. If you’ve never had a cannoli then go out and eat one before trying Trinity. Next up, Casey told me about Serenity. Vaping this e-liquid is just like eating a lemon bar at a coffeehouse. You get the tangy lemon, sweet crust, and powdered sugar. Last, but not least, was Verticality, a strawberry pastry e-liquid that Casey equated with a Pop Tart.

Casey also told me about an upcoming e-liquid from The Beginning of the End. It’s a rum-infused peach cobbler that’s aged in oak barrels for two months. I tried a bit at the show and loved the direction the juice was heading in.

To learn more about The Beginning of the End, check out my chat with Casey below.

Guitar Hero Live Preview

Once one of the biggest franchises in videogames, Activision’s Guitar Hero series has been dormant since 2010. That’s going to change on October 20, 2015 with the release of Guitar Hero Live. With a reimagined guitar controller, a revamped visual style, and an all-new GHTV mode, Activision hopes that Guitar Hero Live will appeal to a new generation of gamers and longtime fans of the series.

The biggest and most obvious change to Guitar Hero Live is the controller. Instead of a single row of five buttons, the new controller features two rows of three buttons. In normal and harder difficulties, the new button arrangement is pleasantly challenging; you’ll often have to hit multiple buttons in multiple rows. For newcomers and those that enjoy music games but aren’t very good, the easier modes allow for single-row play.

It took me several songs to get used to the new controller and even then I didn’t have enough time with it. I enjoyed being challenged by the different permutations of button presses. The dual-row “chords” make the game more interesting and difficult (in a good way). While some claim that Guitar Hero Live approximates power chords, I disagree. The game is certainly more fun with the new controller, but still a far cry from playing an actual guitar. I don’t see that as a fault at all (go play Rocksmith for that) — just disagreeing with some game writers.

The first three Guitar Hero Live songs I played were a mess due to a combination of the new controller and songs I was completely unfamiliar with. I recall butchering a song by The Black Keys, murdering a Fallout Boy song, and demolishing two songs by two bands I never heard of (I fail at modern music, fyi). After getting accustomed to the new controller and switching to a different kiosk that had songs I knew, the game was easier. Part of it was simply spending time with the controller, while part of it was my deep love of Warrant and Faith No More.

Guitar Hero Live adds some significant visual changes too. Instead of cartoon-like graphics, the game uses live concert footage from the perspective of the guitar player. You’ll see your bandmates and the crowd as you play. The visuals change depending on your performance. I’ve never paid too much attention to the graphics in previous Guitar Hero games and the new graphics were mostly lost on me in the bit of Guitar Hero Live I played. I’m so focused on the notes that I block out most of the visuals. That said, it was cool to watch other people play and there are plenty of gamers that watch the whole screen while they play music games.

In addition to the main “Live” mode, Guitar Hero Live features GHTV mode. This mode features different channels of music, allowing constant access to a variety of new songs and different genres. Songs in GHTV mode feature music videos from the associated acts, as opposed to concert footage in Live mode. While you can play along with a GHTV song as it’s streaming, replays require a microtransaction purchase. It’s an interesting approach compared to traditional scheduled downloads, but I’m not sold on it just yet. I need to experience GHTV when it’s full functional and accessible to millions of players before making any judgements.

If you’re interested in the developer of Guitar Hero Live (and I hope you’re interested in all creators of the games you play) then check out FreeStyleGames. Acquired by Activision in 2008, the company has experience with music games, including B-Boy, DJ Hero, and Sing Party.

For the most part, I enjoyed the brief time I spent playing Guitar Hero Live and am excited to play more. Part of it is that I haven’t touched a music game in years and part of it is because the new controller is lots of fun. I’m confident that fans of the old Guitar Hero games will enjoy Guitar Hero Live and curious to see if it will appeal to younger games (i.e. those pesky Snapchat kids).

Guitar Hero Live will be available on October 20, 2015 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

Today’s Poll: Ellen Hoog vs. Darya Klishina

Similar to my weakness for female bass players, I have a soft spot in my heart for female athletes. Beautiful women that are high-level athletes make my brain shut down. I just can’t process it. Let’s take Darya Klishina and Ellen Hoog, for example. The former is a statuesque Russian long-jumper, while the latter is a Dutch field hockey player. They both excel in their respective sports and they’re both stunning. Which athlete do you think is sexier? Kindly take today’s poll and let me know. If you need more photos to decide, I’ve posted a photo of Darya followed by a photo of Ellen after the poll.

[poll id=”195″]

Darya Klishina

 

Ellen Hoog

Jessica Jones Netflix Trailer Live, Series Starts November 20

Marvel has released a teaser trailer for the upcoming Jessica Jones series on Netflix and announced its release date. Following up on the success of DaredevilJessica Jones is the second direct-to-Netflix series from Marvel. The current plan is to release Luke Cage and Iron First series before the four heroes team up in The Defenders. Jessica Jones will be released on November 20, 2015. Similar to Daredevil, all 13 one-hour episodes will be available at once, so plan your binge-watching accordingly.

As for Jessica Jones, she was a reluctant superhero that retired due to a traumatic experience. She went onto a successful career as a private investigator, as well as a reporter for the Daily Bugle, before serving as a supporting character in various Avengers books. Her stories are very unique, with dark and mature twists. It was fun reading Jessica’s transformation from a b-list hero to a victim to a confident woman to a kick-ass mother. Her books are some of the most “real” stories in the Marvel Universe.

While the Jessica Jones trailer doesn’t reveal much, the visual style is striking and reminiscent of the Alias comics the character starred in. Like her future teammates in The Defenders, Jess is considered a “street-level” hero in the books. I expect the series to dark, to keep things consistent with Daredevil and to reflect the character’s nature (and also because lighting is expensive!).

I’m really looking forward to Jessica Jones for several reasons. I’m a fan of the character and I enjoyed the Daredevil show. I’m anxious to see how Marvel continues its Netflix buildup to The Defenders. Even though I’m familiar with her story, I’m already rooting for Jess to overcome her dark past and emerge stronger than ever. Sadly, one of my favorite aspects of the character won’t be seen on Netflix; I love how she looks at her superhero career as a failure, but the young Marvel heroes are all Jessica Jones fanboys. After you check out the trailer below, be sure to check out the Young Avengers panel under the trailer so you can see firsthand what Jessica Jones fanboys are like. And when you’re done with that, kindly let me know how you feel about Marvel’s Jessica Jones series on Netflix. Excited?!? Ambivalent?!? Hate it already?!? Leave a comment and let me know (please!).

“Jessica Jones as in Jewel?!?”

Jessica Jones As in Jewel 640