Showing posts with label childhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label childhood. Show all posts

Monday, 12 May 2008

The Return of the King

Mattel's Masters of the Universe (MotU), one of the company's most successful multimedia franchises, is to return in the Fall!

Behold King Grayskull, who will be a SDCC Exclusive! King Grayskull is the inaugural MotU figure to feature super articulation and classic detail sculpting by the Four Horsemen. Grayskull comes in a brand new package, featuring lights and sounds, which transforms into a mini Castle Grayskull playset.

Castle Grayskull was once home to King Grayskull, an ancestor of Prince Adam. He appears in the Episode, "The Power of Grayskull", waging battle and ultimately defeating the Snakemen led by King Hiss. King Grayskull's triumph was shortlived and he dies defending his kingdom from Hordak. During his lifetime, King Grayskull ruled with wisdom and compassion.

With the emphasis on the collectors market, and The Four Horsemen in the sculpting saddle, the revitalised MotU line is sure to raise the bar on what constitutes the very pinnacle in mass produced collectibles! Read my childhood Masters of the Universe recollection!

If anyone at Mattel is reading this, please contact me to discuss the possibility of running a 'give-away' competition during the holiday season! Thank you in advance.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Gears of War Boot Camp

This time last year I was Wii-living my childhood, and Gears of War was garnering critical acclaim! I couldn't justify purchasing an Xbox 360 - especially after my first generation Xbox had failed. Well, Gears of War has finally arrived for Windows, which means Boot Camp comes to my aid at long last!

Gears of War for Windows features the amazing tactical action and multiplayer excitement found in the Xbox 360 version, but also adds a variety of all-new content, including three new multiplayer maps, a new multiplayer mode, game editor, five new game chapters and DirectX10 support.

Gears of War thrusts gamers into a deep and harrowing story of humankind's epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde, a nightmarish race of creatures that surface from the bowels of the planet.With Gears of War, Epic returns gamers to the massively scoped worlds, memorable characters, co-operative gameplay, and hyper-realistic combat that gamers have come to expect from the franchise, plus a few new surprises.

I also purchased Common Wireless Controller (Xbox 360/PC). However, the pack-in also includes Crossfire - Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows. Don't make the same mistake that I did and purchase one separately! Amazon, erroneously, promotes it as a perfect partner! Sending this back for a full refund.

Monday, 1 August 2005

True Lies

First day of a new month and I was invited to spend it, on Exmouth beach, with relatives. The endless sand dunes evoked memories of playing with (and inevitably losing) Action Force/GI Joe and Star Wars figures - Hyena Tank (Cobra H.I.S.S.) and AT-ST attacking a Rebel seashore encampment. The rock pools contained untold terrors that reached their zenith with the advent of 1984's The Bluebottle or Portuguese Man-of-War invasion. This became an infamous urban legend! Out to sea? You'd better ask Police Chief Brody, Quint and Hooper!

The above recollections jolted a childhood faux pas made at Budleigh Salterton. A friend lost his Muton action figure (a repainted Deep Sea Diver with the helmet resculpted to allow for the radar, gun, and eye piece to be stuck on.) after he'd carelessly left it in his bucket. This had become a temporary home for a dying squid! Thankfully, I had a spare Muton (in my toy collection) and the tears soon stopped. A close call.

Although my encounters with sharks have been limited to marine aquariums and a basking shark (face to face whilst boating in Spain). The weekend we were in Hayle, a mako was spotted in St. Ives shadowing a group of children who were undertaking a surfing lesson. The instructor took them to safety because the mako is a predator and is known to attack humans in shallow water.

Successfully bid on the rarest Masters of the Universe exclusive: a ToyFare 2003 Faker MIB. No, I didn't pay an extortionate price. The key is patience and track auctions.

Dream Arcades has announced an official licensing deal with the MAME™ developers to include MAME™ software! Fans of arcade classics will be able to order arcade cabinets (including StarROMS) in time for the holiday gift giving season. If anyone gets stuck for gift ideas, then you know what I want under the tree this year aside from an automatic transmission Mercedes-Benz Convertible!

Within a month or so SCEE will release the much vaunted PSP. This may sport the recent OS update and include the browser out-of-the-box. I'm really looking forward to reviewing the first clutch of software releases.

Thursday, 28 July 2005

"He slimed me!"

I wouldn't profess to be an avid memorabilia collector, but I take pride in the pop culture ephemera amassed since childhood. Although Mattel's Masters of the Universe line is defunct there are bargains to be had for conservative collectors.

Spending $500 on a ToyFare exclusive is anathema to me, but mint sale swag like The Mutant Slime Pit™ is irresistible at $4.99 (available from Toys "R" Us) and includes Slime® compound and exclusive exploding Mutant Warrior™ figure. As I never owned Hordak’s Slime Pit or Fright Zone (spied on the shelves of Tesco's Lee Mill superstore in the '80s), there’s no danger of duplication and the Four Horsemen Studios' sculpts outclass any at McFarlane Toys.

Continuing with the Mattel collectible theme. The Hot Wheels 1989 Batmobile is a definitive die-cast model and surpasses those released by ERTL® or Toy Biz. The 1:18 object d’art is in short supply and an investment. Anton Furst would be proud.

The news that Star Wars Episode III is to bow on DVD this November should come as no surprise! What does the Hollywood moneymaking machine make of the rapid street release schedules (P2P aside)? Rental revenues are in decline compared to the heyday of the Betamax Vs VHS war. Over the past decade I've built a modest digital home cinema, act as consultant on the subject (cables should be factored in as 10% of the overall budget) and prefer to watch movies at home with family and friends. This is in favor of spending money on a scheduled theatrical performance that is subject to travel expenses, ancillary costs and time investment.

Fancy subversive movie and current affairs commentary? Listen to Statler & Waldorf: From the Balcony.

Thursday, 30 June 2005

Return of the Joker

Can you keep a secret? I've created closet space for Mattel's Hot Wheels Batmobile (1:18 scale) and Batman Begins Deluxe Powered Batmobile!

Since watching '70s reruns of Adam West's tenure as the eponymous 'camp crusader', I've been a self-confessed Batman fan. Consuming comics, toys and board games. The childhood memory of eating Nabisco Shreddies (containing Tom & Jerry Shrinky Dinks*) is enshrined with those Saturday morning adventures!

[*Remember The Black Hole (1979) Shrinky Dinks Weetabix pack-ins? The U.S.S. Cygnus melted in the oven!]

Friday, 6 May 2005

Swan Lake

The sky is clear blue and New Labor has secured an historic third term in power without my support.

I'm in a nostalgic gaming mood and have sourced a copy of LucasArts very rare VGA version of Loom (1990). In a move mirroring Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Loom's ambitious creative cue is derived from Tchaikovsky's ballet "Swan Lake". The SCUMM game engine was anything but!

Jennifer Garner cuts coquettish charm in this irresistible picture, and reminds me of a childhood friend.

With Hanson's Penny & Me a serenade. She's a Texan treat at no mistake!

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger has been dispatched from Amazon UK's warehouse. I grabbed an initial retail copy thanks to a hefty discount, but will wait for 10.4.1 before installing!

Monday, 21 March 2005

Light in Dark Places

Today I ordered the remaining Dr Who stories missing from my DVD collection including The Ark In Space, Ghost Light and The Leisure Hive (superlative soundtrack score). For any interested Whovians, (Blackstar) is worth a visit during their £9.99 promotion period. Also of note is the forthcoming release of Quatermass and Day Of The Triffids (1981) on BBC DVD. The latter initated months of childhood nightmares.

Dr Who Online published my review of Rose.

Saturday, 12 February 2005

A Galaxy Of Stars

Recently I was contacted by a Star Wars & Doctor Who convention organizer. Their next convention - to celebrate the return of Doctor Who and the release of Revenge of the Sith - is scheduled for April 16th at Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset. At time of writing the following guests have been confirmed:

Star Wars
*David Prowse (Darth Vader)
*Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett)
*Kenny Baker (R2-D2)

Doctor Who
*Colin Baker (5th Doctor)
*Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier)
*Mary Tamm (Romana mark 1)
*Wendy Padbury (Zoe Heriot)
*Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown)

A stellar role call at no mistake.

During childhood I was a Whovian and visited Longleat's Dr Who Exhibition on more than one occasion. However, my most cherished Dr Who memory is of the 20th Anniversary Convention in April 1983. All tickets had been sold, but Mum worked her considerable charm and we were admitted as VIP guests. Here's the only photographic record of that amazing day.

On the subject of stars. I bought Mum a copy of Tatler magazine. Mum singled out cover star Selma Blair, who resembles my late Canadian Grandmother (in her teens), as my future wife! Wishful thinking.

Saturday, 30 October 2004

Here's Johnny

This evening Five bolsters its channel lineup with S1 of The Dead Zone. Based on characters and situations from the best-selling novel by Stephen King, The Dead Zone is a unique psychological thriller that combines an eclectic mix of action, romance, the paranormal, and a continuing quest for justice.

Johnny Smith (Anthony Michael Hall) once led an idyllic small-town life. Employed as a science teacher, Johnny took great pleasure in showing his students the wonders of the natural world. He was engaged to a loving fiancée named Sarah (Nicole deBoer), a fellow teacher he'd known since childhood, and was a good son to his widowed mother. Johnny's life was nearly perfect... until the day his life was interrupted by a near-fatal car crash that left him in a deep coma for six years.

The Dead Zone is the perfect entree to Halloween.

Monday, 18 October 2004

Dirk The Daring

During my second year of undergraduate study (1994-95) Maya Personal Learning Edition (PLE) was unrealized and Computational Geometry Algorithms Library (CGAL) was incomprehensible to the mathematically challenged; producing a lavish storyboard is one thing, translating it into binary code is quite another.

Putting my lofty CGI ambitions on the shelf to collect dust (so-to-speak), I specialized in audio and video production. These two mediums* have held me enthralled since childhood and BBC Radio Devon had already broadcast several of my documentaries on their now-defunct teenage magazine programme 90 Miles Per Hour (1990).

At the time BBC Radio One was broadcasting (in Dolby surround) Batman: Knightfall (1994). I decided to produce a 10-minute documentary comparing and contrasting the adaptation of comic books into audio form. Producer/Director Dirk Maggs had established himself as an audio auteur and graciously invited me to the Soundhouse recording studio to interview him during post production on The Amazing Spiderman (1995). And there I made Dirk’s professional acquaintance. Famed comic book artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, 1985) was able to provide his own insight, via a studio link, too. It is my intention to publish this documentary online in RealAudio format.

In 1998, whilst in the gainful employ of Reuters Business Information, Dirk hired me as a foley artist/studio assistant on BBC Radio 4 family drama The Gemini Apes. During the recording sessions I met screen legend Christopher Lee and the affable Garrick Hagon; who portrayed Luke Skywalker’s ill-fated best friend Biggs Darklighter in Star Wars. The majority of Garrick’s exorcised scenes, from a New Hope, were not reinstated in the recent DVD release to the detriment of the story.

Presently, Radio Four is broadcasting The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - The Tertiary Phase. And, as ever, Dirk’s audio production is at the vanguard of broadcasting technology. You can listen to an experimental 5.1 mix (with suitable decoding equipment) online now.

[*I’ve always been perplexed by individuals who are anxious to stereotype and pigeonhole! The following question appears to be enshrined in interview vernacular: What part of the media are you most interested in? The honest answer is the media in all its rich diversity.]

Wednesday, 8 September 2004

Minority Report

The announcement of the second Cruise/Spielberg collaboration, The War of the Worlds, is a compelling proposition. H.G. Wells, alongside authors J.R.R. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll, enriched my childhood literary experiences and had a profound impact on my thinking. I discovered Wells' opus via Jeff Wayne's seminal "The Musical Version Of" LP - Sony UK is preparing a 5.1 surround sound edition for release in 2005 - belated thanks to Kevin Simpson's Dad, Nick. The first movie adaptation (1953) was a thinly veiled anti-communist subtext, which secured an Oscar for special effects. With Wayne's filmic endeavour suffering from a protracted gestation, Spielberg has an opportunity to revisit The War of the Worlds as post 9/11 allegory.

Don't miss the chance to download the latest single of the week from iTMS (Europe only). Baby (Off the Wall). The sensuous Sirens hail from Newcastle, UK, and their sound echoes the urban grooves of All Saints and the Sugababes with added feistiness!

The last few days have afforded me little opportunity to post! However, over the next few weeks there will be a duo of major editorials concerning a couple of my hobbies.

Wednesday, 21 July 2004

What's your childhood trauma?

As a follow-up to yesterday's comic book themed post. I'm delighted to now be associated with a cool German site dedicated to the exploits of the Caped Crusader.

On the subject of Dark Knights. Last evening after weeks of waiting, I finally viewed the Angel series finale. The mood, atmosphere and rain-soaked conclusion captured the zeitgeist of my life. The team went out fighting!

Saturday, 29 May 2004

Urban Hymn

In last week's episode of Tru Calling. A Medical student had unresolved issues/repressed memories concerning a traumatic childhood experience and found closure! How I envy her!

My current 'gothic' disposition is adroitly surmised by The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" (1997)!


Bruce Wayne

Wednesday, 26 May 2004

Knights Of The Magical Light

Just completing the audit for my first ever DVD-R backup! This is tedious, but best practise as I can finally shelve my vast CD-ROM collection and reclaim valuable shelf space!

Collectors of 80's animated series should consider Visionaries: Knights Of The Magical Light (R2 DVD)! Visionaries joined a long line of Hasbro toy licences, that garnered successful cartoon spin-offs!

Hasbro's The Transformers (arguably the greatest toy line ever) were a staple of my childhood! Memories of watching Megatron, Optimus Prime and Starscream remain vividly fresh - albeit "blighted" by Timmy Mallet (who gave Mike Myers his first break)! And it's a testament to the endurance of the toys, that the newly released Transformers game, developed by 80s powerhouse Melbourne House (now an internal development studio of Atari), has garnered critical acclaim in the press!

Purchased a new pair of Nike Shox trainers (or sneakers as my late Canadian Nan would say). Still prefer DKNY, which I haven't seen since my last trip to Covent Garden, London.

Saturday, 15 May 2004

Summer Sunshine

Jennifer Garner's first headline picture, 13 Going On 30, looks like a family friendly Generation X romp! The trailer conveys Garner's charisma, sense of comedic timing and effortless charm! There's even an homage to Michael Jackson's Thriller! Jennifer's come along way since a guest role on Felicity (also created by Alias' JJ Abrams).

Universal's postmodern romantic comedy Love, Actually utilises the narrative structure of George Lucas' superior American Graffiti (1973) and connects the various sub plots via a commercial soundtrack. It is a pleasing diversion, that stars several of my favourite UK actors and a cameo from Dido too! Lookout for Rowan Atkinson's shop assistant - priceless! Blackadder how I miss thee!

After taking a ride on the Dungeons And Dragons Roller Coaster at their local theme park, a group of kids are thrust into an unusual world and given magical weapons which they must use to try and find their way home, ever pursued by the evil villain Venger... Marvel's animated series Dungeons & Dragons (1983) is now available on DVD. Cool! It'll be worth investing in the 4 disc box set, which is released in the Autumn/Fall.

In addition to my very fond recollections of viewing D&D on BBC television. Atari's arcade gem Gauntlet (1985) will be forever associated with my childhood! Generous amounts of pocket money financed the adventures of Thor (the Warrior), Questor (the Elf), Merlin (the Wizard) and Thydra (the Valkyrie). Mac gamers with a predilection for retro coin-op gaming may want to visit MacMAME, developed by Aspyr's porting maestro Brad Oliver.

In stark contrast to the fearce thunderstorms of the past few days. Today the sky is clear! And it's time for a weekend bike ride.

Wednesday, 12 May 2004

The Green Death

Since 2003, I've been steadily building my Doctor Who DVD collection at £11.99 a pop! Early this morning the latest release arrived courtesy of Her Majesty's Royal Mail! The Green Death is one of my favourite stories from the Jon Pertwee era and now takes pride of place alongside Pyramids Of Mars, Earthshock, Resurrection Of The Daleks et al.

A few weeks ago I watched, and thoroughly enjoyed, the Dalek Invasion Of Earth - that enduring and iconic image of the Daleks crossing Westminster Bridge was forever imprinted into my young mind via the pages of the Dalek Omnibus, which I still own sans dust jacket - too young to appreciate the value and used the inside back cover for sketches when I ran out of paper one Sunday afternoon many, many years ago! Who'd be a fine artist eh?

Regarding the restored disc. Has anyone else noticed a soft line running down the image, roughly at the halfway point? Presumably some artefact from the source material/restoration process? Otherwise a clean print and remarkable work in spite of Auntie's historical faux pas - deleting all those episodes back in the day! And the CGI option is a terrific nod to the comic serial (thanks Marvel for reprinting them in the 1980s). Imagine The Chase with a few of those spruced-up saucers and Mechanoids?

The Doctor Who restoration team are doing a sterling job and have re-ignited my interest in the show (it was a staple of my childhood)! Now if only the BBC would release the twisted tale Terror of the Autons, which I watched at the Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Convention, Longleat (1983)! Yes, BBC Video released the VHS version in 1993... May need to auction my vast VHS collection on eBay! Any takers?

Fellow Toonami fans. You maybe interested to know that my friends at The Iconfactory continued, on Tuesday, with their new icon freeware releases. This week it's the Justice League! It goes without saying that this set is cooler than Pluto! Incidentally, I've started watching Teen Titans, and it compares favourably with Batman Animated! The action figures, from Bandai America, look great!