New video from Epic Rap Battles

In the past, Nice Peter and friends have given us such gems as Hitler vs Darth Vader and Doc Brown vs Doctor Who. Now the latest Epic Rap Battle of History is out. This time it’s between Mozart and Skrillrex. Check out the video below.

What’s your favourite Epic Rap Battle? Who do you think won this round? Answers in the comments!

About

Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

Endgame Singularity

In keeping with our Kurzweil week, Endgame Singularity is a computer game focused on the idea of a newly aware artificial intelligence hiding from the world as it explores its capabilities.

Created by indie-publisher emhsoft, this free to play (but sadly never developed to its full potential) game casts you as a benevolent intelligence, aware that humanity is not yet ready to discover your existence. You must survive in the human world and to do that you will need to innovate, inserting yourself into key locations, taking on agents and infiltrating humanity.

Throughout this process you are the embodiment of technological progress, with your ability to develop new and frighteningly advanced technologies grows logarithmically as the processing power that you have access to increases – until you reach the point of absolute technological singularity.

While there is still a Google group for the discussion and further development of the game, Endgame Singularity last released a patch in 2010 and would appear to be effectively finished unless new developers join the project.

The game can be downloaded for free (legally and legitimately) from the developer here.

Played Endgame Singularity? Tell us about it in the comments.

About

Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

Ten years after the Lord of the Rings trilogy hit cinemas, Peter Jackson’s latest memorial to J. R. R. Tolkien has opened to the public. Where the trilogy covered a book per film, this time The Hobbit has been split into three films covering different aspects of the same book.

Within the cast there are a lot of familiar faces – Ian McKellen has returned as Gandalf, Ian Holm is back as old Bilbo (used mostly for framing), as well as Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett as Elvish Lord Elrond and Lady Galadriel respectively. There are several well-placed cameos too – Elijah Wood’s return as Frodo was used to frame the opening of the film, setting it as a flashback during Bilbo’s writing of the Red Book just prior to the start of the original trilogy while Christopher Lee reprised his role as Saruman for several brief scenes.

Onto the plot: as can be expected, The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey follows the plot of the book closely, staying true to its roots. A lot of backstory to the world of Middle Earth is covered, and this exposition is handled well although it does tend to tell more than show. Throughout the film, historical reference is made (like in the first trilogy) to events not directly connected to the plot, but which affect the wider world.

From the start, the film is lighter, more whimsical than the original trilogy and in many cases this humour works well; especially in scenes like the dwarves cleaning after the feast the film really shines – that’s not to say that the lightheartedness works well in all places. At times there does seem to be a cliched, and at this point slightly tropic trend towards big, brutish characters with squeaky voices/behavior not really suited to their position – like Skids and Mudflap in the recent Transformers films, or the robots in Doctor Who: Dinosaurs on a spaceship. In both cases the subversion irks (although younger children may adore it) because it feels forced. Other than that though, the characters worked well. The returning cast stayed true to form (Andy Serkis spoke at length during filming about how difficult he found it to resume the role of Gollum after ten years away) and the newcomers (mainly Martin Freeman and the dwarves) each brought their own magic to their roles – though young Bilbo did at times dip into common Martin Freeman mannerisms seen throughout his career.

Throughout, you can see the effort, love and devotion applied to all aspects of the film, from the dialogue between characters, the pacing (splitting between action and gorgeous shots of New Zealand’s scenery as needed to give viewers time to digest what they are watching), the scoring and the effects.

There were enough hat-tip moments that fans of the first trilogy will recognise while at the same time the film stands well enough alone that it can – and will – act as an entry point for a new generation, unfamiliar with Jackson’s previous works.

Overall, The Hobbit was everything expected of it, and a worthy successor to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It should go down as a hugely successful hit and will keep the Tolkien estate afloat for a good many years to come.

What did you think of our review? How about your views on The Hobbit? Did you like the book? Let us know in the comments.

About

Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future there is only (Total) War(hammer)

A bit of breaking news for you; not content with working on the excellent looking Rome: Total War 2, Creative Assembly have partnered with table-top miniatures behemoth Games Workshop to bring their worlds to life using Total War mechanics.

So far very little has been revealed over how this might work, and the sources suggest that THQ will retain the rights to produce games based on Warhammer 40,000 so this may just be Warhammer Fantasy that gets the Total War treatment. We’ll have to keep an eye on the situation as it develops further.

Regardless of how things turn out, Creative Assembly have proven time and time again that they know how to make great wargames – couple that with the fascinating worlds of Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 and there’s a good deal to be excited about!

If Warhammer Fantasy is given the Total War treatment, which would be your favourite race to play as?

About

Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

Blood and Chrome Review: Episodes 1 and 2

When Battlestar Galactica ended in 2008 I think a lot of people wanted to see more. Caprica was a good place to start but it failed to grip audiences immediately and ended after its first season. After its cancellation Blood and Chrome’s future looked uncertain; what was originally pitched as a television series detailing the first Cylon war attracted interest from viewers but concern from studios. For a long time it was pondered among the fans whether Blood or Chrome would get made at all.

That wait is now over…
Continue reading

About

Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

Hooked from the beginning: John Dies at the End

Two friends in particular have been singing praises of John Dies at the End since it was released last year. A few days ago I gave in and bought it, wanting to read it before the movie adaptation gets released at the start of 2013. Today, sat on a bus, I read the first few pages. I was instantly hooked.

No spoilers here (I’m not far enough in yet to have spoilers), just great writing. For example, the very first dialogue in the book is a phonecall:

“Hello?”
“Dave? This is John. Your pimp says bring the heroin shipment tonight, or he’ll be forced to stick you. Meet him where we buried the Korean whore. The one without the goatee.”
That was code. It meant “Come to my place as soon as you can, it’s important.” Code, you know, in case the phone was bugged.
“John, it’s three in the-”
“Oh, and don’t forget, tomorrow is the day we kill the president.”
Click.
He was gone. That last part was code for, “Stop and pick me up some cigarettes on the way.”

I have no idea yet what Dave and John are up to, but from that conversation alone, I know it’s going to be an interesting ride.

You can purchase John Dies at the End here. Read it already? Tell us about it in the comments.

About

Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.