Monday, August 29, 2011

Sexy Taco Productions - Another EPCON 2011 video

More Shenanigans from the Sexy Taco Productions Guys. This one may make less sense than the first video. but, eh....

For more information on EPCON visit

Aspect Ratio - EPCON 2011 Zombie Walk

The undead are walking the streets of El Paso, as Ruben Rascon bravely interviews our guests for the El Paso Comic-Con and Guerilla Fest, at this past Friday's Zombie Walk in Downtown El Paso, on August 26, 2011.

For more information about EPCON, visit

(C) 2011, Retro-Cam Productions, all rights reserved.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sexy Taco Productions - EPCON 2011 video

Our friends at Sexy Taco Productions are at it again. This time they are bringing teh awesome in the form of a homemade commercial promoting EPCON 2011.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Aspect Ratio - Zumbathon for Japan Relief

Ruben Rascon III interviews Kazumi Dominguez, one of the organizers and founders of a great charitable event, Show your Heart, Japan Relief Zumbathon, which took place June 18th, 2011 at the Bowling Family YMCA.

There will be more Zumbathon events in the near future. To find out how to participate, please stay tuned to Augmented Reality, or visit Show Your Heart's facebook page.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One Last Piece of Advice - Jorge Santiago

Jorge Santiago Jr. was an El Paso raised comic book artist, famous for his numerous self-published comics drafted in the Anime/Manga style. He has created some of the Sun City's most exquisite original works including The Wolves of Sauriel, Good night Miss Goose, and the romantic self-contained graphic novel KCNO. He was also the editor of El Paso's first Manga-styled anthology series Gaiga. You will be able to see most of his work on his DeviantArt page, and read chapters of his premiere comic series here.

More important than his artistic body of work, however, is Jorge's tireless efforts in assisting local El Paso artists to succeed. Not only was he a respectable presence in the artist alleys of numerous local conventions, he was also a mentor to the manga-styled artists who took place in said events alongside him.

Jorge Santiago has moved away from El Paso to Atlanta, Georgia in order to pursue is masters in sequential art. By the community that he cared for so much, he will be dearly missed. In order to commemorate this moment, we at Augmented Reality Online Maganine have requested that Jorge write down one last piece of advice to cive to the El Paso comic community at large. This is the letter we recieved in response.

My name is Jorge Santiago Jr. I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and have been a geek who has loved comics, cartoons, and science fiction for as long as I can remember. I am also an artist who has self-published 7 graphic novels and counting and recently I made the most terrifying decision of my life.

All my life I have enjoyed the talents of great artists and creators; the dreams of imaginative men and women the world over. When I was a kid, I didn’t know how these works came to me, just that I loved them with all my heart. I began drawing at a young age, not because I wanted to become a creator but because I loved it so much. As I got older and took drawing more seriously, I found out about the people who entertained me as a child and what it took to get to their position. It didn’t faze me at the time.

In about the fall of 2010, I had finished 2 books for a local comic convention. I was living with my parents still and I was working a dead end job as a security guard while drawing in my free time. I was happy with this but then I looked at my life from the outside: I had not accomplished a thing.

I drew my comics with all my heart and I loved every second of it, but it wasn’t enough for me. I had wasted my college years in a major I hated and I wasted the two years after that in unfulfilling jobs and drawing when the boss’s head was turned. I was happy to live my life from one self-imposed deadline to the next, with a stack of finished pages to my right and a new book printed on the desk in front of me. I could print 15 copies of it. That means 14 people would get the chance to read it. I’d save a copy for myself as a trophy of my endeavors.

I hadn’t accomplished anything. I worked hard for months on a new book, my newest piece of expression, but only 14 people would get to read it? I tried internet promotion but it’s a slow process. I’m still neck deep in it. I made a decision using a line from one of my favorite science fiction movies:

Try not. DO. Or do not. There is no try.

I immediately got online and looked into going for my Master’s degree. Not because I need it, but because of the freedom it offers. College is a time for experimentation, where the labs and equipment are 30 minutes away and you can use them as much as you want, 24/7. College meant holding off payments on my student loans and a chance to get back some of the time I lost years before. If I went to college again, I could use what I know now to make something of myself!

But I couldn’t make a change here in El Paso; it was too safe here. If I failed I could simply fall back on my parents, get another security job and try from there. That would be the smart thing to do, but I think that a sink or swim attitude will make you fight harder. If you know you will die if you lose, you will fight until the last breath and you’re more likely to become a champion.

I’m writing this in my current apartment in Sandy Springs, Georgia. I’m living day to day while I wait for school to begin at the Savannah College of Art and Design in September. I’m drawing a lot here, and I’m meeting some exciting people who are helping me improve myself and are inspiring me to better myself.

So what parting advice would I, a big nobody from El Paso have for anyone who reads this? Talent is not rare; a lot of people have talent. The real rarity is drive. I’ve known great talents who have fizzled out because they didn’t have to the drive to make something of themselves. So my advice to you is if you love your talent and you want to do anything, you need to make the steps needed to secure your own happiness.

Whatever it is, whatever it takes, don’t stop fighting for it until you’ve made an impression on something or someone. Make them remember you and maybe one day your mark will be on a little boy or girl who started drawing or writing or making music because they loved something you made with all your heart.

Thank you very much for your bold words of advice, Jorge. We at Augmented Reality Online Magazine wish you all the best of luck in working towards your masters degree.

Monday, August 22, 2011

This Friday! Zombies Wanted!

This Friday, August 26 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm EPCON is going to have its second annual Zombie walk starting at Alfresco Friday's (1 Civic Center plaza) and ending at LIPS Lounge. (510 N. Stanton) There will be live performances by Guerilla Fest bands SoundonSound, Scordatuta Vita, Spydalee the Illadopest, and The Red Queen Effect. The first 30 zombies that show up will recieve free passes to EPCON. What's Up Magazine and Fusion Magazine will be in attendance taking pictures, and we'll be there along with partners, Sexy Taco Productions to film the mayhem.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Aspect Ratio - FAL-Con 2011

In this episode of Aspect Ratio, Ruben Rascon presents the highlights of FAL-Con 2011, which took place this past July 30th and 31st, 2011 at UTEP's Union East Building.

Directed and produced by Ruben Rascon III
Camerawork by Michael A. Solseth
Edited by Ruben Rascon III

(c) 2011, Retro-Cam Productions, all rights reserved.

Counting Sheep

In this article for 8bitfix, I discuss why Catherine has so far been so successful in the American gaming market.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Punisher #1(2011) Review

By Mike The Fanboyable
August 20, 2011

Mike The Fanboyable here!! My first post here at Augmented Reality. Thanks , Alicia and Mike!! Hope I can make a significant mark among the excellent talent here!

About 12 years ago, Marvel relaunched its iconic justice-thirsty vigilante The Punisher, a.k.a. Frank Castle, with the very popular ongoing series that started with th 12-issue arc, "Welcome Back, Frank", which was written by Preacher-duo, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, with covers done by Tim Bradstreet, and its success launched other popular Punisher titles like The Punisher Max series. Now, as it happens when a decade has ran its course, a character like The Punisher needs to be rebooted, due to running out of ideas, like launching a title called Frankencastle(ugh), and try and rekindle an interest in the character after declining sales. This task has been handed now to writer Greg Rucka(Wolverine, Gotham Central), and artist Marco Chechetto(Squadron Supreme, Daredevil) on The Punisher.

In this first issue, the story opens with a 5-page sequence with no dialogue, in which, at a wedding, the bride and groom are massacred, along with many other guests, by a pack of armed men. We are then introduced to two recently partnered detectives who are investigating the mass wedding shooting, Walter Bolt and Oscar Clemons. Bolt and Clemons are persuing some leads, but so is Frank Castle, via an inside source.

In the next half of the issue, we see a then-Officer Bolt being interviewed by a detective as he's been promoted for "supposedly" taking out a group of mobsters by himself. Hmm? What really happened? You have to see for yourselves.

I thought this was a very effective entry of The Punisher for this new re-launch. Rucka handles The Punisher in this issue in such a way that he seems like a force of nature. He's barely seen, and this creates a sense of mystery around the character. Rucka, rather gives the spotlight to Bolt and Clemons, as each has his own problems. This aspect gives an appropriate "Seven"-type vibe.

Checchetto art is fluid and brings effective shadowy strokes giving the story a gloomy atmosphere. His style is perfect for this type of grounded story.

I'm very much looking foreward to this series. Rucka and Checchetto so far seem to understand how to make Frank Castle work, and keep him fresh with readers. It's out now. Don't miss it.

3.5 out of 5.

Friday, August 19, 2011

CONTEST TIME! (for those going to EPCON)

Check here for all the info you need about EPCON.

So there's this comic convention I helped video tape all the panels for last year called the El Paso Comic Con, or EPCON for short. I did some other stuff as well such as this small video about what your zombie survival plan would be... but that was all back when the founding members of this blog were still known by another name... but that's in the past where as EPCON is back for a second year in a mere 3 weeks! Exciting right? I personally think so because this year I, as reader//watcher[girl], am sponsoring a 2 day "Anime Theater" (or festival, call it what you like). Here's a breakdown of what the current plan is to show.

Day 1- Science Fiction
Zaion ~I wish you were Here~ in it's entirety
Macross Frontier ep 1-2
Project Blue Earth SOS ep 1-2
Jyu-oh-sei ep 1-2
Galaxy Railways ep 1-3
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time movie

Day 2- Zombies and a bit of others
I am the Zombie!? ep 1-2
High School of the Dead ep 1-4
Kurozuka ep 1-2
Ga-rei Zero ep 1
Tokyo Majin ep 1-2
Phoenix ep 12-13
Batman Gotham Knight in it's entirety

You'll also see plenty of the Augmented Reality crew at the convention. They have a booth, and I'll be there at different times during the day when my buddy Elijah is running the anime room for me. Well be filming different parts of the convention, asking attendees random questions and a few other things so please swing by the booth! I'll also be hosting a History of Manga panel the first day (saturday the 10th of September) when the convention starts. So attend that if you can ^_^ I'll probably be giving away something special at my panel, so be there just in case I do.

BUT I'm actually giving away some sweet prizes based solely on Augmented Reality readers. So far I have a 3 piece set of Magical Modoka buttons from Robo Gato's first set of gashapon buttons. I managed to score myself the entire set but had a few duplicates, I even managed to get two of the rare special edition one (Ricky only made 6 of em!), so one of those is part of the prize package I'm putting together.

I'll be adding more as the days and weeks past for the con so keep checking back on this entry to see the new ones. I'll also be posting updates on the r//w[g] Facebook page, so keep and eye there as well.

How to Win:
1) be sure to like/friend all these FB pages-
Augmented Reality
3) Complete all of these-
a) draw Akia as if she were attending a comic convention
b) write a haiku about going to a comic convention
c) take a creative picture that promotes the El Paso Comic Convention
d) give Ricky at Robo Gato a handshake and tell him he has to let Alicia know "your name" did so (make sure it's the name you submit in your email)
e) let me know what your favorite Zombie and science fiction anime are
f) submit a picture of your best undead face, and one of your best super hero pose
4) Leave a comment that says something about how you found out about Augmented Reality Online Magazine.
5) fill this out an email it to
Your Name (like this Alicia B)
Best way to contact you if you win
If I have permission so show your submission on Augmented Reality

In order to pick up your prizes you will have to come to the "Anime Theater" (festival) at anytime the convention is running. If I'm not in the room at the time ask the staff member who is in the room when I'll be back and I'll be sure to get you your prizes as soon as possible. I'll give further instructions on how to prove you are the winner once that time comes XD

Prizes are currently tentative and may change!
I might have multiple sets of prizes if there is a big enough response to this blog and on the Augmented Reality Facebook page.


The 3 Magical Modoka buttons that are marked (I might attempt to get the rest of the set for you before the convention buuuut that's a maybe)

Tsukihime DVD 1
Tsukihime Volume 1 Pictures, Images and Photos

A custom free scarf commission from Akia
I'll show you more examples if you win. This prize will not be given out at the convention but closer to the cold months in El Paso. If you happen to be out of town... I might still be able to ship one to you or switch this to an art commission... well see

Awesome videos on Youtube (WIP TITLE)

How’s it going everyone? This is MAS8705, and welcome to a new segment on Augmented Reality that I like to call, “Awesome Videos I found on Youtube” or something like that… I’m not really good at putting titles on new topics, but hey, let’s call it a W.I.P.

Anyway, how this works is simple. Sometimes when I go on youtube, I see this one video that makes me go back and watch it several times over just because it is that awesome. Granted that in the future I might use one session to post my own created videos or material, but we can hold off on that for the moment. So once a week, might as well give it credit for all to see. Sometimes I’ll feature one video, or sometimes I’ll feature more than one, depending on what I can find in the week. Another reason why I did this was that back at FAL-Con, one follower of the show approached me and told me that she liked my rants, and had no idea that Freddy Kruger was going to be in Mortal Kombat. It was a pretty awesome feeling to have to know that not only does someone read your work, but also thanks you for it. Also I am willing to leave this open to other fellow bloggers that want in on this fun too, the last I want to do is to be doing it solo (although with Freddy and the “Good Vs Evil” and the Top 5 EVO moments, might as well make this a segment in itself right?)

So let’s begin, shall we? This first video actually was posted a few days ago by “CookieWaits” which is a mashup of Tom Waits and Cookie Monster called God’s away on Business. When you watch the video, you might be surprised to hear how closely this guy’s voice matches Cookie Monster. I’ve seen this guy’s music video and it is hard to believe that his low tone of a voice seems to be cookie monster. Anyway, this guy uses various clips from Sesame Street to match Cookie Monster’s lips to the song and it comes out especially well! Watch closely and be amazed, meanwhile look out for the part with the typewriter, that part came out especially well…

Next video was from a week or so ago that also inspired me to start this new segment. It is from user “Trpchakai” which she shows off her “Wheatley Puppet” from Portal 2. While most people usually have some very cheap knock off of a character, this Weatley is eerie realistic with its eye movements. Of course the blasted doll squeaks when it moves, but look at it! (I would throw in that clip of Patrick’s look at it clip, but this is far from ugly). If this proves anything, it is that the mechanics in Portal’s Cores is actually possible! Someone in Disney needs to approach Valve to do something portal related so that we can really see what this can accomplish.

Finally might as well round it off with three in order to start off on the right foot… Err.. Give me a minute… Alright here we go.

Now why would I post this video? Well this week, the Nostalgia Critic posted a video of the Top 11 Best Batman TAS episodes and his number 9 was actually this episode, “Mad Love”. While the critic always has great points (and points out great moments from the episodes), he left out this one part of batman actually laughing. Batman Laughing? Isn’t that one of the few things in this world that can cause it to end abruptly?

I’m surprised that no one has made this clip on youtube yet, and even if they did, I couldn’t find it anywhere… Like the old saying, if you want something done, do it yourself… Anyway, I can understand how this can be overlooked, but still, that would have been perfect to point out…

Anyway these are some of the awesome videos I found this week, I hoped you enjoyed and will come back next week to enjoy more. As a special bonus, here is one of the best lines from Batman TAS.

What does this scene and “The Dark Knight” have in common? The Joker Burns Two-Face! (Kudos to VenomShock for that joke).

Thanks for watching, and if you have any videos that you would like to share, be sure to either leave a comment or send me a message. See you next time...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

999 [NDS Review]

Yo yo yo interweb dwellers Akia here with her very first video game review for Augmented Reality! ... kind of fitting since this game in a way is about some form of augmented reality.

I finished 999 a few weeks back with plans to review the game right after playing so I wouldn't lose the "feelings" and "emotions" that were left after playing for a few days almost non-stop... but I just never got around to doing so. Sorry about that and I hope this review helps you decide to buy or maybe not buy this wonderful game, cause I sure adore this one! (also I used the review system 8bitfix uses but modified some of it.... hopefully I can come up with my own later but thanks to them for creating a good template)


Developer: Chunsoft
Publisher: Aksys
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Puzzle, Survival Horror
Rating: Mature
Release Date: November 16, 2010
Japanese Title: Kyokugen Dasshutsu Ku Jikan Ku Nin Kyū no Tobira,
lit. "Extreme Escape: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors"

This particular game is what we western audience have come to know as a visual novel- a game more heavily full of text than actual action or game play. There's usually more of a focus on a story that has multiple endings that a game aimed at challenging your reflexes. This is one of my favorite types of games to play, and the fact that a really good one is on the DS is a breath of fresh air from some of the not as good ones such as Hotel Dusk and Theresia.

999 opens with you playing as a male character named Junpei (ya, he has the same name as a quirky character from Persona 3) waking up in a locked room with a red watch looking bracelet attached to his wrist and a door with the number 5. He's a college aged guy and it seems like he has never seen this room before. After a small bit of racking his head as to why he's in this strange place, Junpei slowly begins to remember that he was kidnapped by a masked figure who's voice had been warped somehow. Once Junpei has discovered a way to escape from the room (or should I say once you've found the pieces to unlocking the number 5 door) he meets up with 8 other victims who seem to be in the same predicament as he; they all remember being kidnapped by a masked figure. They are soon told that they are trapped on a ship for what their capture is calling "The Nonary Game". Turns out this is now a game of life and death where death is more frequent than not because the victims only have 9 hours to figure out a way through 9 doors, of which the last door is the key to their freedom. To make matters worse, no one can escaped through a locked door with just their self, they have to rely on each other. Heads clash because of this, others go rolling.

999 proves to be one of the games the NDS was made for. I haven't played a game that utilizes the dual screen feature as well as 999 does since Trauma Center Under the Knife 2. Needless to say if you've heard of this game, you know it is a puzzle game. Puzzle games are really well suited to the NDS as the bottom touch screen can be used to turn shapes around, pick up items, combine them as well, and many other features such as searching a room. While this is a survival horror game there aren't any zombies or some weird virus, but I can't say much more without spoiling a key plot element for 999.

Like most visual novel type games, backgrounds are usually Photoshop edits of existing places and characters don't move much other than some mouth flap animation and a few motions. 999 is no exception to this rule, but it still has some pretty good graphics that make you feel eerily trapped with what seems like almost no other way out than to play by the rules of this "Nonary Game".

Sound & Music:
This is a non-voice visual novel, and there aren't any cut scenes that I recall other than an opening and ending animation. The soundtrack on the other hand is very very good as most games from Japan (from my experience) tend to be over American ones. Each track has moments of which they are played, and by using music Chunsoft was able to create an atmosphere that made you feel helpless and at other times like you were in control. Here is one of my favorite tracks from 999-

999 is a puzzle game, and its a challenging one at that. Each puzzle has a different set of directions, but to be honest a bulk of them are really easy. It's not til you get to door 6 or so that you actually feel challenged. Other than puzzles the game gives you very few choices other than which doors to pick, places to search and a few times you are asked a question. Don't get me wrong, these choices are very important as many lead to your death. This game has If I remember correctly about 6 endings two of which are happy and the rest of which aren't so much.

Replay Value:
You'll have to play this game at least 5 times to get all the endings (slight spoiler but two of the 6 are pretty much the same and there really isn't a need to replay if you've gotten one of them). I highly recommend getting them all because this game relies heavily on getting each ending in order to understand the premise behind this game and as to why the Nonary Game is being played.

999 is a game that defines why the DS is one of my favorite systems handheld or not. The game handles really well, has great graphics for the type of game it is, has one of my all time favorite soundtracks and has a story that will haunt you for days even after you have finished playing. The only reason I gave this game a 9/10 is because the localization is pretty wonky. There are some hilarious mistranslations and words that make no sense >.<

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

He's Dedicated to Roses

Status: Ongoing

Read: Left to Right

Stars: 7/10


------story: 9/10

----artistry: 7/10

--------flow: 6/10

"My" Summary:

Ida is a girl.

Forced to bow and scrape to Miss Mimi-- a pretty, rich girl who's personality makes her Queen of Bitch-dom....and making Ida's life miserable is just one of the perks that come with the crown.
In order to relieve the stress of her life as a girl, Ida dresses as a boy in secret; and with her two friends---who just think she's a girly guy---they go and beat the crap out of people.Sounds like fun, right?It is until Gang Naru sees her fighting form and falls in love with her.---and all the while thinking that Ida is a guy---Now everyone thinks that handsome Naru is (sadly) GAY!!!Ida really want's to tell him the truth!But what if her classmates--who follow Mimi's example of friendship--find out?!Miss Mimi has the fate of Ida's family in the palm of her hand.............and she definately won't like what Ida's doing.

Link to read online!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Aspect Ratio - EPCON Drink 'n' Draw

In this episode of Aspect Ratio, Ruben interviews Julian Lawler and El Paso's artists at the Garage Tequila Bar for Drink 'n' Draw, in celebration of EP-Con 2011!

(c) 2011 Retro-Cam Productions, all rights reserved.

This month (and last week of July) in Gaming History

How is it going everyone? This is MAS8705 and for today’s rant, I’ve decided to take things easy this time. There will be another 500 word rant later, but for today’s talk, it will be a little more informative than usual, so sit back, relax and be sure to read and watch. I’m going to tackle three things in today’s post.

First off, before I get started, I would like to say that while I do pick the topics for the rants at random, I also would like to start taking requests on topics that you think I should discuss. If I started off with Nintendo Porn, I am practically open to any suggestions. Just be sure to keep it as clean as possible and have a link to the article (if there is one) so that I can do a proper research before performing my rant. So after you finish reading this week’s Rant under 500 words, you are welcome to leave a comment below to suggest new rants or email me for anything you would like to see. Now why would I go through the hassle of explaining that? Well, to be honest, I am running out of ideas. It is one thing to crack two rants a week, but it is another to have constant ideas available.

Now then, let’s talk about big events in gaming that happened earlier this month. As some of you gamers know, earlier last week we had EVO, which is a worldwide fighting tournament that features the greatest fighters from around the world playing games like Marvel vs Capcom 3, Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition, Mortal Kombat, Blazeblue: Continuum Shift II, and Tekken 6. In case you missed the action, you can always look up the videos, BUT you will find it much easier to just watch this video.

Each of these moments are mind blowing. I mean, an 8 year old who moved to the top 48 in MvC3 (what did you accomplish when you were eight?!), Justin Wong still pleasing the crowd, deadpool trolling, and some of the best fights you will ever see in street fighter. I saw some of those fights in Super street fighter 4, and my mind was blown watching each fight in the finals. If you have the chance, I would highly recommend watching the finals, for you will not witness such great fight anywhere else.

Now there was one other event that happened this month, in fact it was this last weekend. Recently there has been in increased rise of charity marathons that feature “Games being done quick Quick.” There have been marathons for All Zelda games, Final fantasy games, Mario games, sonic games, Kirby games, resident evil games, and so on. While I almost named off all the Bonus stage marathons, they weren’t the ones in action this weekend. Over at Speed Demos Archive, we got “Summer Games Done Quick” that featured 50 different games beaten in just over 50 hours. I know what you are thinking, “wouldn’t they play 50 short games to finish it easy? You would think so, but games like Castle Crashers, Rayman 2, Legend of Zelda minish cap, even Kingdom hearts 2 & birth by sleep were all shown and raised over $20k for the Organization for Autism Reasearch. Truly, it is great to see the gaming community unite together for a good cause, (previously the also did Japan Relief and prevent Cancer as well raising $25k & $53k respectively.) Funny to think of how watching someone beat a video game fast can inspire people to donate, I mean what is the deal of these “Speed Runs” anyway? Well I could tell you, but then again I have a new story idea I got to work on now. I’m MAS8705, and next time, we are talking speed runs (or Sonic when I can properly finish that topic).

One Night in Hill Valley

No, Really! This actually happened! It's only a coincidence I happen to own the PercyFX iPod app which allows its users to make customized movie clips like this!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rich Boy Cy on The Rocky Horror Picture Show

So… Which one of us is writing this article? It’s me! Cyberpunkish! Rich Boy Cy is my Twin brother. Cy decided to dump all this on me so… You know… I told him if he let me keep Catherine and bought me a Gundam Model Kit, then hell yeah I’d do it!

So basically what we have for you all today are two different viewpoints.

The Movie: Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Location: Outside the Plaza theater.

The Crowd: VAST

It was amazing! But I go through all of that in my video portion. Cy hated it. He was pelted with a Hotdog and toilet paper! WAHAHA! So watch these two videos and enjoy! We’ll have more Rich boy next week, as well as my interview with Dj Shonen Neko Takaya! Take care everyone!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Coming Soon: Mike the Fanboyable

Augmented Reality is getting a new regular contributor! introducing Mike the Fanboyable, who will be bringing news, reviews, and videos featuring the finest in mainstream american comic books and graphic novels. Look forward to his first article soon. In the meantime, feel free to check out some videos he's already made for his own YouTube channel.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

El Paso's Anime Heritage

Another anime convention has come to an end. The Fellow Anime Lovers Convention 2011 was a success enjoyed city-wide by all who attended.

Oh wait, let me modify that. It was a success enjoyed venue-wide by the 30 give-or-take who attended, the greater numbers occurring on Saturday, while the 30 some-odd people who attended until the end of the convention at Sunday night showed their faithfulness through to the end of the event, despite showing up late to the panels taking place early in the morning and, according to a couple of interviews I conducted for an unrelated panel, were not entirely satisfied with the event.

I don’t want to diminish the value or the importance of the convention. I also don’t want to insult anyone who attended. After all, they are the guests, it is up to them what ways they enjoy the convention. The only reason I bring this up is to point up a very specific problem we’ve had in general hosting anime conventions in El Paso. The fact that attendance was enormously lower on the second day of the con was a problem that Fal-Con shared with its nearest competitor, Las Cruces Anime Days, which took place in January and had the same grievances with both attendance and negative feedback of the convention.

Under attended and unsatisfied. That is the current state of anime conventions that take place in El Paso and Las Cruces.

The way I see it though, neither convention is actually doing anything wrong. I think LCAD and Fal-Con were both well run conventions that begun in the same grassroots manner as some of the country’s most well-known conventions: A-KonAnime Expo...The people who run these conventions do everything possible, and yet somehow they’re met with animosity by the fans for not doing all they can to keep their attention.

But are they really? I staffed at Fal-Con and I know personally that the head of staff did all he possibly could to make sure there were two full days of activities going on. If there were any issues with the scheduling it was because some staffers were late and some early morning panels went temporarily understaffed or cancelled. The attendees were also often faced with the choice of going to a panel scheduled at the same time as a major event, such as the Cosplay Masquerade, leaving those panel rooms empty.

And let me throw in here that while those sound like major problems they happen at EVERY convention.

The people on either side of this issue are doing what they’re supposed to: The staff is filling the time of the convention to the best of their ability and the attendees are attending in a way that is to no surprise or extreme. So, why do we have this problem?

It’s because we’re not sure why we’re there.

Think about it. We’re sure that all anime conventions are a product of the fans, brought to life by people who were fans during the birth of the mainstream American anime culture. However, that initial stage of development only resulted in the most major events like A-Kon and AX. Later conventions sprung up because there was a need for an anime con to take place in a more remote state like Georgia or Ohio.

We in El Paso are in a unique category, because we are neither a major site for anime, nor are we a major state. What’s more, A-Kon takes place in a city that is a several hour drive from here. If we ever feel inadequate about our conventions, it is because one of the great grandfathers of anime conventions takes place a stone’s throw away and is a decade too fast for us to keep up with.

Despite these shortcomings, we certainly do want El Paso to HAVE a successful convention. Why is that?

Well, because it’s part of our heritage.

I had explained in my previous article how I first got interested in anime, and I used to think I was alone in my belief that anime was innately more popular in El Paso by virtue of the fact it was originally aired here on Spanish language TV. Since then I’d written an article on LCAD for Borderzine, and I’d found out that there were several people who shared the same ideas as me.

We here in El Paso are an anime culture. We liked it before it was cool. We’d seen the full Dragon Ball Z saga several times before American audiences got their first chance to watch it aired in English on Toonami, to say nothing of our light years-ahead comprehension of series that had yet to even hit in America like “Knights of the Zodiac,” “Samurai Pizza Cats,” “Magical Do-Re-Mi…”

But do we ever try to celebrate that heritage when we throw a convention? No. We just try to follow the same model as the big conventions. The problem with that is the big conventions are the big conventions and they are already successful in doing things we haven’t yet done, so our growth is stunted.

We forget that we are El Pasoans, and the one thing El Pasoans are known for more than anything else, it’s doing things differently. El Paso is different from the whole state of Texas. People here live in different houses, eat different foods, and live different lives. We’re mostly a minority, but the way we are a minority makes us a majority in our own personal city. The traditional model for throwing an anime convention hasn’t been working here, no matter who has tried it and how. So what should we do?

We should invent a whole new model.

How should we do that?

Well, that I’m gonna save for a later article.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

[GIS] Basic Supplies // What Akia's' Working On

[check out the Basic Supplies entry]

I decided that since I am no longer a beginner Gundam builder that I'd share my tips and techniques for building kits. I'll be going over supplies (basic, advance and specialty), types of grades, pre-build tips (for all sorts of kits whether they're super deformed, high grade, no grade, etc), building tips, finishing tips and more. I'll also be getting together a few review videos and a list of places you can get kits and supplies either in El Paso or online as well as how to videos. I know some people are visual learners while others learn by reading ^_^

Currently I'm working on two kits both of which that are Astray Red Frames. I'm also learning how to use metal files since the type of files I was using didn't leave the Gundam pieces on a previous kit smooth :( One of the kits is a master grade and the other is a SD.

This one is master grade. It's going to take me a while to build due to the complexity of the panel lining. I plan to make a review video once I have finished this kit. I also plan on taking some really good pictures of mine when it's done. This has been a dream kit of mine for a while.

Fal-Con's biggest event- Good VS Evil!

How is it going everyone? This is MAS8705 and I am not going to rant today, but rather to discuss Fal-Con! Much like everyone else on the Augmented Reality Team, I enjoyed my time at Fal-con as not only its guest, but as a staff member as well, Hopefully we will get to see more conventions in the city so that we can have more interactions with the community. While the two day event had alot of things to do, one thing that caught my eye was the panel called "Good vs Evil." Hosted by Sexy Taco Productions, it was going to be a featured video that the team would edit. The reason why I was excited about this though was that it had something that El Paso conventions didn't have before, FULL ACTION STAGE COMBAT! That's right, every person here was part of an action sequence where we pretend to fight each other and have lots of fun doing it.

I'm going to say a few more things about this, but here is the video in case you want to start watching it...

The planning itself took about 30-45 minutes and the filming took another hour or so. Of course a few of these fights aren't meant to be taken seriously (as you can tell by some background fights and a few featured fights), but everyone here was having a great time putting together their own fights. Another thing you might have noticed was how each person in the fight was brought down one way or another, except Sonic Man, who apparently after winning his fight, ran off and was not seen again (Truly he was the smarter of the fighters due to it ending literally in a stalemate). Also in case you didn't figure it out already, I was the man wearing the red shirt (and took it off to reveal a blue shirt) and wearing a top hot/black cap. I would like to say I looked pretty badass in spite of being dominated by the storm trooper, but hey at least I got to walk away from the fight, he suffered from a heart attack and died when he was done (death notes can do that to you of course >.>).

The event went over its time limit a bit, but in the end, it was a great show for those who watched and those who partook in the event. If anything else, we should really try and do more of these events whenever we can. I mean, some conventions have decided to do a battle chess cosplay and those are awesome, if we can have something like that then we could really have something. Until then, please be sure to be ready for the next convention on Sept 10-11 EPCON 2011 and FrankenCon on the weekend of October 28.

I'm MAS8705, and that was still under 500 words, but really more to the point that has been my analysis of FAL-Con 2011.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

MAS's Rants under 500 words: Renting Games becoming more difficult?

How is it going everyone? This is MAS8705, and today I’m going to rant on something that has rubbing me the wrong way for the last few months; renting games. No articles to share, no pictures to show, no videos to watch; this is going to be a flat-out rant this time, so if you are looking for humor in this one, you might be disappointed. I promise though, the next rant will be more clever. Until I get around to the next rant, let’s get this one over with...

*start the count…*

With the increase of people using Netflix, it would seem that video rentals are becoming obsolete. I can’t say for sure what alternate video rental places there are outside of blockbuster, but there was one called Hollywood Video in El Paso, Texas. It was a great place considering how their selection of movies and games was much bigger than blockbuster. Sadly they had to close due to the economy. This means that Blockbuster is the only place you can go to rent anything. While this isn’t really a problem per ce, it is getting irritating that I can’t find the new games to rent. Recently, I wanted to rent Alice: Madness returns and the new Dynasty Warriors Gundam game, but they aren’t at any of the blockbusters; all they have new is Duke Nukem Forever (A rant of Duke Nukem in the future? Time will tell…) and I really don’t want to waste my time with that game. What really pisses me off though is that all the other blockbusters outside of El Paso has the games available. Am I missing something here? Why the hell does El Paso get left out but other cities get the chance at these games?

Recently, Redbox also has begun to carry games as well. This is great because it works in the same way that you pay for the time you want to hang on to it. This would be even better though if they had more of a selection. Yes, you can claim that because they just barely started, thus they don’t have much, but they have a “Coming Soon” where they show what games they are going to add. They don’t have these games mentioned from earlier, but they are going to have the Smurfs soon. O yeah, Smurf takes a higher priority in the view of the distributors.Heaven knows that the game is going to completely suck.

Before you start saying “Why don’t you just get Gamefly then?” Well, I don’t have a thing against Gamefly, but I don’t like the idea of having to pay a subscription fee if I don’t plan on renting games every month. Not to mention something could happen in the mail system that you could get blamed. So where am I going with this?Simple really, Blockbuster needs to stop neglecting the gamers; otherwise if they do go bankrupt, the gamers are really going to suffer. Otherwise, I really hope that we will get to see a Netflix type service soon. There is Onlive but I haven’t heard much from it yet, but I don’t think they work in the way that Netflix does on the xbox, PS3, and Wii. All I can hope for is that if it does have to come to Netflix, I can put a freeze to subscriptions if I decide I don’t want to rent anything for the month. This is MAS8705, and that was my rant under 500 words.

Word Count: 492