Silver Games return to Kickstarter for their D&D 5th Edition project: Ponyfinder - Dawn of the Fifth Age

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , , , , , ,

For those of you unfamiliar with Silver Games and Ponyfinder, Ponyfinder is a fanmade supplement for Pathfinder created by David Silver, head of the Silver Games LLC indy RPG company and published through the DriveThruRPG website often in PDF Format though it is possible to obtain a copy in paperback.

As the name implies, it uses Pathfinder rules to mix elements of the new My Little Pony series and Pathfinder setting together. The game is set in the Equestria expy of Everglow, a magic-rich world where in addition to the standard array of humans, orcs, elves and dwarves, a vast number of sapient fey animals have developed. The ponies of this world under the reign of Queen Iliana the first Alicorn, have founded the first and mightiest empire of the world, but there are various elements seeking to undermine the peace.

Unlike many 3rd party settings Ponyfinder was not only popular but also met with a lot of positive praise and though its release there was a slight redesign away from the original art and setting which matched the current My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic to avoid possible copyright issues from Hasbro.

Now 3 years later Silver Games after many requests and providing some very basic 4th and 5th Edition conversion rules in the past have now decided to return to Kickstarter to attempt to gain funding to create a full conversion of Ponyfinder to Dungeons and Dragon 5th Edition:

The story of Everglow has been expanding since we first Kickstarted the original book three years ago. The campaign and its non-standard races have brought joy and adventure to gaming tables across the world and we are proud to have created a series of products that are loved by so many.
But now we want to bring even more pony goodness to the table! With the release of 5th edition rules we have had many requests to convert our products to the new rule set. And we love our fans so that’s exactly what we are trying to do!

This project is all about converting the core books to fit another game system and adding fun new content for ponies to enjoy. In this case, the 5th edition of one of the oldest and most popular roleplaying games around, Dungeons & Dragons! You'll get the same setting and stories you love now, converted to 5th edition, polished, and rebuilt from the ground up with class focuses, spells, and other exciting options made for Everglow.

We love working with our fans to make them a part of our creation process so we are giving backers the chance to leave an imprint on our world! You can be the pony (or griffon, or steelheart, or...) that invented a new spell, piece of magical equipment, feat, or other similar gear for stalwart adventures to arm themselves with.

One non-mechanical item that will change from the core book to this book is the characters. While such ponies would certainly still exist, several have classes and kits that just don't appear in 5th edition, so a clean break for this edition of the book, featuring heroes built with this system in mind, seems the most prudent course to take. We are excited to rebuild our world and give it all the attention it deserves. We hope you will join us on our latest adventure in bringing ponies to Dungeons & Dragons.
The good news is that the Kickstarter has already met its goal of $1000 with the current total at this time of writing a mighty $11,697. The bad news is that many of the early backer rewards have been snapped up but if you are interested and have $20 then now is a good time to get your hands on a copy of the PDF on release. 

Kickstarter: Ponyfinder - Dawn of the Fifth Age  

Interested in obtaining a copy of Ponyfinder for Pathfinder?
You can read the reviews and purchase it at:
DriveThruRPG: Link
Amazon (Paperback): Original 2013, 2014 Edition, Bestiary, Forgotten Past, Tribes of Everglow

 Full credit for art goes to

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Hax Monster reflects on his experience with Grand Theft Auto 5 and lunch.

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , ,

Considering how Grand Theft Auto 5 thought it was so super special that it required umpteen releases, it’s worth noting that by ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’ this review refers to the first release on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. The online part of the game (GTA online is not a separate game) is not taken into regard.

Well, here’s a nice test for my personal reviewing scoreboard! This month I’m looking into Grand Theft Auto 5, since that title is quite relevant to the gaming industry as a whole and now has enough historical distance for a proper judgement without the honeymoon-period pink glasses. GTA is probably the most popular game of this moment, but when I played it my enthusiasm never exceeded the ‘meh’ level, which raised poignant questions for me. 

Should I base my criticism on the basic simple enjoyment that everyone else seems to be getting, or should I stick to my old pretentious way of reviewing, which is digging to it’s core trying to find some factor of innovation or artistic value that separates it from the bulk of franchises that the gaming industry unceasingly vomits out? Also, should I make peanut butter sandwiches for lunch or boil some eggs? The answers will be obvious soon, if they aren’t already, but my point is that I’m not blind to the general opinion on GTA V when mere sentences from now I’m beating it’s guts until it resembles a big pile of strawberry jam, which coincidently is also a nice alternative for my lunch.
So anyway, time for all that reviewing business that I’m here for. The following paragraph is not going to be much new unless you were trapped in a Mexican prison for the last few years and didn’t play GTA just yet.

The game revolves around three thugs trying to make their way in the criminal world of pseudo-Los Angeles and pseudo-California while being bothered at every turn by federal institutions, the police, gangs, Chinese drug dealers and the local Jehovah’s witnesses. These three characters mostly have personalities as complex as that of a dead budgerigar. There’s Franklin, an ambitious low-level criminal, Trevor, a cartoonishly psychotic criminal, and Michael, a criminal and also part time family man, who is trying and failing to credibly convey the conflict between these two allegiances. 

Together, they set out on a quest across the fictional state of San Andreas with a strong determination to be continuously pushed back and forth by stronger forces than them, whine about being pushed about and then, (spoilers incoming) about fifty hours of playtime after that the solution would have started to make sense, decide that killing everyone even remotely involved in the plot would be the best way out. Gameplay-wise the game consists for roughly eighty percent of shooting and driving with no significant difference since the last instalment of the series.

Now that I’m gazing at this huge fields of pimples I can’t wait to pop so they hurt my eyes no longer, I notice that the story pimple is probably the most humongous and painful one. The fact that GTA’s story couldn’t have been much worse if it was written by the lead writer’s pet rabbit would not have been so bad if it hadn’t gotten so much praise. However, it did get all that praise, which is why I mention it first. 

It’s very first issue are the characters, who all have that very peculiar trait that they all seem to be the same person under the skin. Of course, everyone looks differently, talks differently, sounds differently and has a different profession, but what truly defines a character’s personality is their motivation, their behaviour and their goals. Whatever else they have about them is mostly just decoration. In Grand Theft Auto, every character involved with the plot in the slightest is a self-serving, morally apathetic crook that does whatever is possible to accumulate as much money, sex or body fat as they can. If any of them was put in front of a gas station with a gun and a ski mask, almost of 90 % would go through with the robbery. 

 And a 100% of online players would too.

I’m not saying that every character should be a saint that does nothing but good, but I would have liked to see more traits distributed amongst the characters; traits such as doubt, fear, incompetence, happiness and the like. Since everyone is now as greedy as the lovechild of Scrooge McDuck and Martin Shkreli I don’t think I’ll ever meet less likeable people until the day that Adolf Hitler comes up to my house and pisses through the letterbox. Apparently Rockstar couldn’t afford more than two personality traits at Personality Traits R-us because they needed it to beef up their advertising budget, but if you want to hear me harp on the financial side of all this please see the video attached.

I do think that Trevor deserves some special mention. He in particular was hyped up by the mindless hypesurfers because of that he was (now in a wrestling presenter’s voice): Craaaaaaaaaaazy! Insane characters seem to sell the games they’re in like hot cakes these days. Remember the hype that Far Cry 3 generated with it’s ‘definition of insanity’ trailer? Well, Trevor is indeed insane. Although the only thing that that really amounts to is that he acts exactly the same as any careless player would if they had full control over their character’s voice and actions, which is being a complete knob. 

Apparently no-one in the studio realized that truly crazy murderers are rarely the people who make it a pastime to slap people in the face while ignoring the shower for so long that fungi start growing in their armpits. Usually, you can never tell insanity from the surface, which is the one thing that makes truly crazy characters intriguing and unpredictable; you never know what they are up to. With Trevor that’s not the case. 

 Still better than some of the student lets I've visited

Considering this as well as the fact that Franklin is just too dull to dwell on, Michael probably is the strongest of the three characters. At the very least they tried to give him some kind of disability to struggle with, which is not being able to build a happy family life alongside his criminal pursuits. That doesn’t take away that his arc feels a bit predetermined. At some point in the story he, out of nowhere, just starts acting nicely towards his wife and kids, without any development or change of character up to that point. And they are suddenly all OK with him and forgive him all his dickishness right away.

Besides my growing desire to use the developer console to remove every character from the game, the other consequence of the personality of characters is that they make every event in the story utterly predictable. After all, events are driven by characters and their motivations decide how they change story events. Since everyone has the same 
motivations this never really leads to interesting or surprising results. 

That neatly takes me to the next half of this pimple, namely the story arch and general build-up. I don’t think I need to say so, but there are more spoilers coming up than you’d find in the game’s auto mod shop. I’d keep reading though, I wouldn’t be afraid of just two spoilers! But more to the point; the story generally goes as follows. Due to complete coincidence, low-level thug Franklin meets retired old fart Michael, who then adopts him as his protégé. After a completely coincidental reason forces them to make some money quickly the two of them start making a criminal career for themselves and are then reunited thanks to pure coincidence with Trevor, who once worked with Michael. Then, their crime spree brings them under the control of corrupt government officials who threaten to expose them if they don’t do their bidding and from this point on the story’s ‘pushing about’ phase begins as the three anger group after group and then spend the rest of the game’s runtime avoiding said groups until you come up to the end after a climactic final mission. 

Grand Theft Auto then gives a great example on how not to execute multiple endings. There are three endings in total. The first is a proper ending which, after the climactic final mission you just did, lets you do yet another final climactic mission where, as I mentioned, you simply murder almost every character involved with the plot. The other two let you kill either Michael or Trevor and since I never quite hated anyone like Trevor before, I slammed the ‘kill Trevor’ option like it was a stinging mosquito. Then, the mission had me drive to a location and then had me shoot Trevor in the head after a one-minute car chase. Nothing more. There is no truly difficult gameplay, not one story thread is resolved, save for a dialogue dump you get after the mission, and the story ends with a weak ‘pffffffffff’. 

The same applies to the Michael mission, which does everything the same but then at the very last moment gives you the option to reverse your choice of killing him. However, when you select this, he dies anyway, exactly the way he would have if you had chosen to kill him. So essentially the developers managed to ruin the branching endings idea a second time in the execution of one of their branching endings, which makes it a fractal failure.

I know that, for the average player, harping on GTA’s story is like criticizing a Formula 1 car for it’s lack of baggage space, so let’s get to the gameplay. Not a lot has changed here since GTA 4; it still consists almost entirely out of driving and shooting which are both executed quite competently, although Rockstar’s reliance on standard auto-aim is a bit peeving for me. I would prefer to see them remove auto aim especially now that a multiplayer is introduced because, obviously, every player will use that in multiplayer and if that becomes standard then we sacrifice even more gameplay in the age of ‘press X to pay respects’, where the ‘play’ part of gameplay is becoming more and more vestigial. 
So what has changed? Well, the only new feature that influences the majority of gameplay is the ability to switch between the three protagonists during missions. However, there are two big bugbears with this system. The first one is that, since you don’t want to do any activities three times over, you most likely will have spent all your playtime with one character, which has all the upgraded weapons. So obviously you are going to use this character for most of the missions, which makes the system a bit moot. Secondly, the system is as organic as a cement mixer. Most of the time you will be switching to another character simply because the game tells you to. In those cases I don’t see why the game doesn’t just switch me automatically, since I have no choice. Also, the system theoretically lets you jump in when you are in a firefight with the three characters and one of them gets overwhelmed. However, the AI can always save itself and doesn’t need your help, except for rigidly predetermined moments where they instantly forget how guns work. Then the game vibrates the controller, emits an atrocious sound and flashes the screen, telling you to switch to the other character. So essentially, the ability to switch is only needed or used in moments where the game forces you to do so. 

Beyond this there are not many revolutionary features. Sometimes the game will use a story mission as an opportunity to throw a different mechanic at you that is used for one occasion only, such as one pretty disgusting torture minigame. However, they often share the ‘press X to pay respects’ problem of being nothing more than a formality that you can’t fail. For instance, one mission has you abseil off a building and throws a new set of controls at you to use. However, there is no time limit, you can’t overshoot your goal or fall, no skill is required and you can’t fail the procedure. Weirdly enough, these mechanics are only used on that one moment, which lasts about eight seconds, after which they are tossed forever. It really makes me wonder why they are even there, since I am not challenged, nor am I enjoying myself. If you could organically abseil off every building in the sandbox I would have applauded that but apparently Rockstar doesn’t trust players with such toys. God forbid, they might actually find something fun to do with it!

That brings me to my next gameplay-related problem, which became the most annoying one after I had finished the story missions: There just aren’t enough activities you can do organically to make money. Taxi-driving and stock trading were a start but it pretty much ends there! No organic assassination missions, nearly no enemies to fight besides the police and nothing to set yourself as a goal. Stuff like this is the lifeblood of a good sandbox and I still hail The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as the absolute king of making endless content by providing endless missions and a load of organic activities. That game, and, on the other end of the spectrum, Mafia II, showed that a large open world is all very well, but if there is nothing to do there it only provides a barrier between story missions. 

 Well we have three options.. all involve shooting people.
The most prominent story missions that the game has to offer are the heist missions, which consist of your characters and a few NPC’s preparing and then executing a score. These heists got a lot of attention prior to the game’s launch, which is why I want to go into this separately. In short, the entire concept let me down. The first problem is the fact that, like many more story missions, the manner in which you complete the heist is very strictly determined. You can’t even drive to the location in a car of your choice since the mission simply restarts if you try to do so. Also, the rewards you get for the heists have no link with how difficult or large they are, which is a consequence of the story. Some heists are initiated by the characters on their own accord, but sometimes they are forced into doing so for someone else and as a consequence that other party will take the money. 

On one occasion an entire heist, consisting of one large mission and multiple ancillary ones, was done simply to raise enough money to buy a helicopter to transport the take of a later heist for the negligible distance of less than a kilometre. The heist that was executed to be able to afford the helicopter was more difficult and intense than the heist that it was in service of and the most absurd thing of all was that an earlier mission had you steal a helicopter exactly like that yourself, which took next to no effort. So essentially, that entire heist is just wasted effort that doesn’t serve the story or your wallet. 

What is also wasted effort is the fact that heist crew members gain experience for each heist they do but even if you stick to the same ones all the time their experience barely increases since there are so very little heists in total. Also, not every member is available for every heist. 
The game’s intention is to make you choose between a short-term advantage by taking an expensive but experienced crew member or the long-term advantage by taking a cheap rookie that stays cheap but will get good after a while, but since there’s no experience gain that falls flat. And if you pick an unexperienced crew member the game will make sure you know it. Your chosen partners will make extremely stupid decisions and the three protagonists won’t stop banging on about it. 

But what for me ultimately condemns the heists is that there’s no way to initiate them on your own. I would have loved it if you could pick a target, store a getaway car somewhere, get some guns and masks and just go but you can’t. Heists are little more than a formality most of the time. 
Then there are a few more issues. For instance, the game world could have been a bit larger. The world is a medium-sized island which has possibly the smallest desert in existence and which tries to cramp way too many mountains and towns in a small space. As a consequence, there is no distance between locations and consequently the map doesn’t quite feel like the US state it tries to impersonate. A location like a mountain range or desert needs to be a bit more stretched out and needs to have less props per square kilometre to feel genuine. 

Weirdly enough there were a few parts of the map that were almost empty, but that is not the good kind of empty, where the developer consciously decided to make a certain area less full, but the bad kind of empty, where entire hillsides seem to have been forgotten by the level designer and don’t have the forests or rocks that would logically suit them. All the attention they’ve had was a quick visit from the grass brush tool. Besides that the game still occasionally doesn’t manage to load new chunks of the game world when you drive through the city quickly, the health bar is so tiny that it is almost impossible to see when you are about to die, nearly all voice actors chosen for the job have fairly generic voices which makes their characters less memorable and the stupid random insults of passers-by can get very annoying.

 Finally onto the good stuff.

As much as I’ve been violently chopping the game to bits in the previous paragraphs, never let it be said that I think Grand Theft Auto V is a bad game. The point of a review for me is to list all the things that are wrong with the game since they are the things that need to be improved and provide more interesting topics to write about. Also, they require attention as a counterpoint to the universal acclaim of games like GTA. But that acclaim is not entirely wrong. As I mentioned, the driving and shooting are both executed competently. The driving physics might feel a bit modified to make driving really easy, but you do get a feel for the road you’re on and at the very least get the sensation that you are in a car, rather than on a noisy magic carpet. 

Graphically, GTA is very beautiful. The colour palette makes the world look real and effects like fog, which is there to hide the inevitable limit of the draw distance, look great. Unlike what you’d expect, the game is very well optimized and doesn’t suffer from framerate drops when things get busy. Bugs are very rare, compared to most triple-A releases. Unlike the aforementioned hillsides that Rockstar seemingly forgot about, the more civilized areas of the map are very detailed. Every backyard looks different and seems to have had special attention. And one thing the story at least did well is nicely escalate itself. We start off from small beginnings, stealing cars for next to no money, after which the story builds up until near the end, when you find yourself robbing banks and performing assassinations. 
So in conclusion, GTA V is ok. It’s not the most monumental achievement of mankind since the invention of strawberry jam like some would have you believe but it’s certainly better than the infinite wave of dumb zombie- or android games that the industry endlessly generates from every orifice. From a consumer’s point of view it is a very reliable choice if you just want another timewaster in your Steam library, but if you ask me, there are already enough ‘reliable’ choices around and considering that you could easily flog flesh-eating spiders as long as they bear the Grand Theft Auto logo, I think we can ask a bit more risk-taking from the franchise. 

Risk-taking that goes further than just having one or two measly heist missions or having three boring protagonists instead of just one boring protagonist. Change the setting to somewhere else than a generic city in the US, try exploring new means of delivering the story than just alternating cutscenes with gameplay, explore new art styles, anything that’s worth a double take. Taking risks is what gets you beautiful things you couldn’t imagine beforehand and shows one’s intention to actually make something with artistic merit rather than to simply milk a familiar name. Now, with ‘life lessons from Haxmonster’ over, I’m off to lunch.

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North East Retro Gaming and GEEKS Lincoln Comic-Con 2016 Experiences

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , ,

First of all I apologise for posting this a little late this month unfortunately I haven't been in the best of health and had a bit of difficulty putting fingers to keyboard when it came to putting this all down.

Earlier this month on the 2nd & 3rd I attended North East Retro Gaming (NERG) in Newcastle, I had learned about NERG early this year and was initially not particularly excited about the idea due to the travel but it turns out my friend the delightful lady from Buzy Bobbins loves pinball machines and convinced me to give it a shot and attend with her.

I will say now I was not disappointed and very much enjoyed my time there with it been well worth the trip.

For those of you unfamiliar with the event NERG is a yearly event for the North East of England and NERG 2016 was the 4th annual event with there been hopefully many more to come.
The aim was to collect together 100 video arcade machines, 60 pinball machines and 60 consoles which visitor could view and play alongside various stalls selling classic game and consoles as well various video game toys and paraphernalia.

In addition the event has various competitions such as a Iron Man gaming event were contestants play a series of games and add together their score from each game, a Street Fighter 3 Tournament, a host of tombola's, raffles and a pair of cosplay competition for adults and children.

Not quite the full hall but you can see most of the machines.

While there was a series of issues that arose leading up to the event such as a change of venue due to road closures for a local marathon the people behind NERG dealt with them well and kept everyone informed through frequent and detailed updated on their website and by email, they also did a deal with a local hotel the Ramada Encore for special offers for those attending the event. 
This meant that there were slightly fewer machine available this year but I certainly think it was well worth the £25 weekend ticket. 

There were also some issues on the day itself and it was to be expected that these machine (some of them older than myself) may break down over the day but even though the mechanics on hand were amazing often repairing machines in less than 20 minutes and it was certainly interesting to get the chance to look inside a few of these.

One of the most charming elements I found was that with the retro consoles not only was there the chance to play some consoles that never hit European markets but they also had little information plaques next to each one so it was interesting to lean about each machine and its successes and failures. There was also a remarkable amount of games on hand for each console and those that didn't have the physical copies often contained emulators that contained nearly the entire library.

I would advise that if you head to next years  event that you think of a few games you want to play on retro consoles a head of time as it will really help with the overload of choice that can occur.

I didn't even realise you could make your own cartridge for these never mind make one that fits a SD card 

Since the two of us were together we decided to have a competition of our own and see who was the better retro gamer while we looked around the event.

Our first match was on the absolute classic Tehkan World Cup, aka. Tecmo Cup which was the first multi-player soccer game featuring a trackball controller. Programmed by Michishito Ishizuka it was released to arcades in 1985 by Tehkan, Ltd., the former name of Tecmo.

While the trackball was initially tricky to use this turned out to be one of our favourite games of the day as it soon turned to fast passed action and a hard fought 5-3 victory to me.

Our next stop was just next door and another classic, Joust developed by Williams Electronics and released in 1982 is a mixture of cooperative and V.S game play were the goal is to take down waves of other gladiators on flying mounts.

This one I firmly dominated setting me ahead in a our little competition but this lead wasn't to last as we moved onto PaperBoy another arcade classic from 1985.

Now I've never been a great player of PaperBoy on home consoles and the unusual controls for the arcade machine certainly didn't help me here and I soon found myself losing all the houses on my route.

This was only the beginning of my losing streak as we moved to Pinball machines where I was quite trounced in the scoreboard.

 Just a pair of the machines were I faired rather badly.

Since balls in reality were not working in my favour I decided to see if digitally I'd do any better with Marble Madness and its freshly fixed trackball and thankfully things did seem to pick up.

Marble Madness has quite a bit of history to it but I think CGRundertow sums up my feeling on the game perfectly.

As the day continued we had a lot more games but I think I'm just going to post a few last honourable mentions:

Xavi Bowling on the XaviXPORT: Have you ever seen a console and thought "What The Hell?" thats what we did when we saw this though credit where it is due it actually was fun to play. Victory to me.

Twinkle Star Sprite: We only had ten minutes to try out this bespoke arcade machine by Pixel Arcade so we picked a game a random and found Twinkle Star Sprite a 1996 competitive scrolling shooter arcade game originally created by ADK. 
Whoever came up with this was a genius and it was certainly addictive to play. Victory to Buzy Bobbins. 

Parodius: Just by naming this game I've written myself into a corner, honestly just click the link or type Parodius into Youtube and enjoy the utter random chaos of this parody shooter. Victory to Me

With a narrow victory to me by just 2 games clinching the win on Sunday we headed home, while initially not in the best of moods as we left due to fatigue once we managed to sit and recover we agreed we had a great time. One thing that stood out to me was the general politeness and courtesy of my other con goers, there were very few instances of people shoving past me or bumping into me in spite of the crowd, kids were kept under control and generally everyone was pleasant, friendly and helpful. 

One final thing that really made me smile however was the opportunity to share some of my childhood games on the Amiga 1200 with a friend and been able to go back and replay some of my favourite games.

 Now to the bit I simply don't want to write about the GEEKS Lincoln Comic-Con 2016 that was on the 9th & 10th. Now if you've been following the blog you'll know I enjoyed last years event but was with slight disappointment due to the shambles of a cosplay competition  and that I had worries about this years event due to its relocation to Epic Centre on the Lincolnshire Showground.

If I had to describe this years event in a word it would have to be Meh.

If I could have two words it would be: Over Priced.

If I could three words it would be No Travel Options. 

Seeing a pattern yet?

I only attended the Saturday of this years event rather than the full weekend for two reasons, firstly my experience of the previous year was that its possible to see everything in a single day and second there are no local buses that travel up past the Lincolnshire Showground on a Sunday making it not possible for me to attend.

Considering the Epic Centre is extremely expensive to hire and there is a number of similar or larger venues located amongst Lincoln I can only guess that the choice was influenced by the availability of parking. Its been suggested that the target audience has also shifted towards those with a large  disposable income and that the increase in price and requirement for a car to attend is a way of dissuading poorer attendees who are less likely to purchase items at the event and this makes sense, when I was there it honestly felt like I was in a tourist trap of a convention.

Now on the lead up to the event GEEKs were relatively poor with their organisation of information and feedback on the events Facebook page, information like local transport options and day schedules were posted but were buried under general chatter and questions and their own drive to push for more ticket purchases.    


While the event on the day was better organised with events been announced over tannoy there were still issues with microphone failures and the ticket checking was slowed considerably by only a single person having a working bar code scanner which left us queuing in the rain.

Once in it was goody bag time for the early entry and whilst there were several varieties of goody bag they had all been sorted into boxes so if you attended with a group you would would usually end up with nearly identical stuff. My lucky dip was a DVD of Batman Gotham Knight, a Sign of the Deathly Hallows necklace and a Blake7 poster which together was worth about £5 hardly exciting stuff but to be expected, I managed to get a peak at a few other bags and there were a mixture of books and other DVDs.  

As we entered the event was split into three sections, the entrance area where the Epic Centres Catering had set up with tables and chairs, last year there had been some concerns over the lack of available food venues so this was a welcome sight while I brought myself a packed lunch and can't personally comment on the food other than the outrageous prices (£3.50 for a small tart that costs 80p elsewhere, £10 for a Sandwich, typical convention mark up to ripoff visitors) it seems the catering group screwed up badly with people reporting been made ill by the chips (bad or unclean oil has been suggested) and one person found that their sandwich upon opening was moldy.


The second section was the collection of shop stalls, while I mention last year I was a little disappointed by the stalls been a bit repetitive, well someone must of read that and passed the word along since this year there was but a single anime related stall (a stack of pre owned mangas ) and a box containing about 8 XBox games (I refuse to acknowledge that as a video games stall). No, this years theme was mixed meme shirts, posters, old collectable Star Wars, Doctor Who and Thunder Bird figures or various toys which was interesting for the first two stalls then got repetitive and crushed my dreams of my old toys been worth anything.
Oh and Pop figures, Pop figures as far as the the eye could see. 

 Pops for The Pop God, there were other stalls with stacks higher than me but I wanted to show a picture with variety.

Somehow with more stalls there was less variety though there were a few oddities like the little comic themed cravat scarf for dogs, or made as you wait rubber cosplay supplier and outfitter who had two stalls for some reason, or the hama bead artist who stole all their designs from Deviant Art and Pintrest but in all honesty I'm having trouble recalling anything note worthy or memorable.
To summarise I enjoy stalls at these events because they are unusual, because they offer new or uncommon goods and experiences, because they are selling items I would find difficult to obtain however this felt like I was going through a huge Forbidden Planet Bargain Bin with the same few items on offer over and over. Don't get me wrong I like pops but they are honestly beginning to tick me off on how they are just taking over convention stalls.

Having managed to look at the entire range of items on offer in less than 30 minutes from entering I was dishearten to put it generously and decided to spend the rest of the day watching the panels.

The final section was various seating arrangements for guests to sign autographs and various photo shoots with a small area off to the side with chairs where the panels took place, like most convention prices often started at £15 and went up from there for autographs and photos depending on the actor but unlike most conventions there was very little queuing time which many autograph hunters said was a great bonus.
This was also the area for their retro gaming section but more on that later.

As someone who is a occasional causal viewer of Doctor Who the early morning panel wasn't of any particular interest to me but I wanted to see if there were any interesting insights, while the actors introduced themselves I still had no clue what characters they were (apart from Winston Churchill) but the crowd was a bit hesitant with questions to begin with and just as the questions began to pick up the hour was over.

With no interest on watching little kids do light saber training and having seen it all at the Sheffield comic con I went to see the cosplays of the new arrivals as the doors now opened to the normal ticket holders and amongst the typical super hero costumes there was some real gems.

Just a special mention here while Deadpool is a pretty common sight about the con now days this chap had the goofing around attitude which makes Deadpool a fun cosplay to play.

With a little more time to kill I noticed a stumbled across the retro gaming section initially mistaking it as part of a neighbouring stall that was selling second hand odds and ends, now I wasn't expecting another NERG but Sheffield Comic con had managed a few XBoxs and arcade machines and what did Lincoln have? Four Plug and Play knock off consoles of a Mega Drive, & Atari which were decent and the and a god awful pair of ColecoVision & Intellivision which perfectly replicated how the originals barely worked and was horrible to play.

How the hell is a emulator of this garbage this worth £50? Kids would rather do homework than play this.

Getting over the fact that advertising this as a retro gaming section was barely technically correct I noticed that there was no signs or notes or staff, the "consoles" had just been plonked down and left. As the only person old enough to actually have a few very early childhood memories of the ColecoVision & Intellivision and thus a chance to figure out the terrible menu selection and controls I found myself instructing several fellow bored looking curious onlookers on how the damn things worked.

Understandably most people who tried gave up after a single game due to the unresponsive pads that just didn't work most of the time and tried to get a go on the far more popular Mega Drive but some guy was determined to finish Alien Storm and wasn't coming off the machine after losing all his continues.

For some reason basic etiquette like keeping quiet during a panel was lacking from some of the con goers

With another hour ebbed out painfully slowly I returned to the panel as the kids filtered off from their light saber training, I was ready for My Dalek Has A Puncture as from the title it sounded interesting and I was guessing it would be cosplay or comedy related. When I discovered it was a autobiography I suppressed a groan but decided to listen anyway on the chance it would be somewhat interesting or at least I tried.

With the initial error of the laptop not working so there would be no presentation with the panel this was followed up by microphone errors every few minutes growing ever more frequent, while Mr Becker tried to continue it was difficult to hear him as the increased attendance of the con had risen the background noise considerably. Then as a finishing blow various groups of people obviously not interested in the panel used the area for a sit down break talking loudly over him, I've not had the desire to slap people so hard for a while now.

Giving up on the panel I decided to take a bathroom break only to be accosted midway by someone making a fuss over over my cosplay, pleasantly surprised and a bit disorientated by the sudden attention I realised they thought I was a different character as I had removed my Payday 2 mask when I politely apologised and explained I was in fact a different character they started trying to shame me for wearing a video game cosplay to a comic event. 

No I am not a social butterfly at these events, I'm not the type to go up and bond with people over costumes or just introduce myself as I tend to interact with people better over joint tasks and working together so I wasn't expecting to make a hundred or so friends but this was the final nail in coffin in the convention for me as something in my head just clicked. So with walking away a "F$%k you and F$%k this S$%ty con" I went off to finish my business before returning to my friend to explain that while I did want to see the stand up, the cosplay competition and the Red Dwarf panel I wasn't prepared to wait about bored out of my skull for another few hours and that I was leaving but they were welcome to stay.    

Unfortunately they were also finding it difficult to find things to do and were reluctant to stay without me even though they really wanted to see the Red Dwarf Panel, so we both ended up leaving annoyed and generally upset and miserable. 

So well done Lincoln Comic Con I think my biggest frustration is the mixture of disappointment and anger caused by the whole thing, in spite of everything I had managed to get myself excited for the event and feeling positive only to have it crushed by the utter boredom of the day.  

I shouldn't be clock watching praying for time to move faster during an event I'm supposed to find fun because the organisers expect us to be bottomless wallets and the presence of generally inconsiderate crappy people.
Combined with the fact that the ticket was bought for me as a gift and while I get angry if I feel like my money has been wasted it makes me even angrier when its other peoples money spent on my behalf.  

It almost makes it worse that a lot of people had a great time and that a lot of first time convention goers loved it and that GEEKS actually had a positive turnout, if it was a complete mess of an event then I would feel justified in having found it so generally tedious. It just makes it all the more obvious that I'm not really the target audience and that Lincoln Comic Con is focused now towards celebrity autographs and photos.         

Since GEEKS have stated their "new permanent home from this year onwards is the massive Epic Centre on the Lincolnshire Showground" this will be most likely the last review on the GEEKS Lincoln Comic Con I will write, because honestly for the price and content it better for me to go to Sheffield, Nottingham or Skegness events because they will have more to do there, have better public transport links and if the event turns out to be a bit dull I can go and see the local sights and amusements rather been trapped waiting for a once every 2 hour bus that costs over £5 each way.

 Should of been name Geeks Lincoln Star Wars and Doctor Who Con.

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