Indie Game of the Week – Broforce

Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Snipes, Norris. These names are legendary but if you were born after the 90’s, you know them as those old dudes from “The Expendables.”  In my time, they were the reason you went to the theatre night after night. They are immortal and undefeatable in combat. Not running from explosions but running to them in slow motion, usually while uttering some awesome catch-phrase. They saved the world, got the girl and still managed to keep their sense of humor, even after half the city’s been blown up.

They are action stars.

This Indie Game of the Week, Broforce, resurrects these action gods and puts them in your hands.  So buckle up bro because it’s going to be an explosive ride!

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Broforce is an in development action platformer. It is brought to you by developer Free Lives and publisher Devolver Digital.  The mission is simple: free your bro’s, kill the bad guys and blow as much stuff as possible.  You and three of your other friends can take the role of an assortment of Bros. Bros ranging from Rambro to Brommando. As you battle your way through the fully destructible environment you have at your disposal an assortment of crazy weaponry. Brobocops chargeable hand cannon sprays more bullets than you can count! Bro in Black with his alien gun, blows just about anyone or anything to pieces!

The mission won’t be easy though. There are bosses and hazards to watch out for. Bosses like helicopters that spew missiles and giant metal behemoths that want nothing more than to land on top of you. That isn’t all though, explosive barrels, mines, and men with TNT strapped to their chest are exploding everywhere!

While annihilating half the world is easy in Broforce, everything pretty much blows up gloriously, the Bros are equally vulnerable, dying with just one bullet. The graphics keep things from getting too frustrating though, as most of the time you die in hilariously over the top explosions.

Speaking of graphics, Broforce does adopt the bread and butter of the Indie industry, bringing pixel graphics to its maximum potential. It uses these graphics in delightful ways and gives each character their own personality. This also keeps the levels from getting stale and being the same song over and over.

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The sounds and music in Broforce are particularly well done. When a rocket explodes near your bro, the camera rocks and you can almost feel the explosion almost go off in your ear.  This offers quite a bit of hilarity as a suicidal bomber screams at you, charging to his death.

As you unlock more Bros, the game only gets more interesting since no Bro really plays alike. Each brings their own weapon and tactics to the game.  Bronan with his huge sword can cleave the land in half sending enemies flying. Ellen Ripbro uses her rifle to shock and stun enemies completely immobilizing them, right before they explode horrifically. Many features that are currently in alpha/beta are also in the game, to keep any Bro sated as the developers finish up the game.

With a focus on Co-op style gameplay, you can plug in your controller and play across several game modes like, deathmatch, race mode, and explosion run. Included also, is a map editor that allows you custom craft your own levels/custom campaigns that will likely be tied to the Steam workshop to share with your fellow Bros. Did I mention the online multiplayer? While the multiplayer feature still has a few bugs left to be worked out, you can host online games or join them as you fight for freedom with your friends!

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Broforce is still an early access title and under development so you can expect some bugs. It’s still receiving updates and features are being polished. Free lives has planned to add more to the game including more levels, more Bros, and something called Explosion 3.0, which this player is looking forward to with glee.  Also they are adding even more touch ups to the sound and music in the game.

So pick up Broforce right now and fight the good fight for freedom, for America, for fun’s sake! You won’t regret it! See you on the battlefield bro!

See you next week!

Until then play some Indie games!

Martyr

TL:DR If  you’re interested in seeing this game in action, you can always check out my video review: Broforce

Broforce summary:

Genre: Action/Platformer

Number of players: 1-4

Platforms: PC and Mac

Playtime: Varies, Campaign 1-2 hour in current state.

Controller Support

Developer: http://www.freelives.net/

Publisher: http://www.devolverdigital.com/games/page/

Game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/274190/

Anatomy of a Death Knight – Inspiration

Welcome back! For those just tuning in, my name is John and I’m writing a series of blogs about the thought process for a new LARP character of mine, a Death Knight, mostly for your entertainment. But who knows, maybe I get lucky and give you, dear reader, a new awesome idea or two about how to go about this sort of thing ;-)

As mentioned in the blog post about the name for my Undead Knight, in my process of making a character or a costume, some things happen simultaneously, despite that I sometimes first make the character and then the costume, or the other way around.

Given that character names evoke images in my head, the name needs to fit the outfit and the other way around. If you want to know how I arrived at the conclusion that the name needed to be Human, European, Gothic, ‘rough’ and ‘earthy’, and how that’ll influence the look of the costume, read on for more on the subject.

With the conclusion I wanted my Evil Knight to be an Undead Knight, I looked at what I’d draw inspiration from. Undead are a big staple in Fantasy (and sometimes Sci-Fi) fiction and have often been visualized. You’ve got your slow moving Zombies, incorporeal Ghosts, dangerous Wights, magic using Liches, huge ‘Frankenstein monsters’ and many more.

When I need visual inspiration, it’s a toss up between one of two approaches: Google image search or going to an existing franchise I regularly use. For the latter, there are three Fantasy franchises I use the most: Lord of the Rings, Warhammer and Warcraft. There are other franchises I use, but those are either occasionally and/or very specific (e.g., Magic: The Gathering) or mostly for story and background purposes (e.g., Dungeons & Dragons).

For this project, I chose the second approach. All of my favourite franchises have got Undead within their realms, so I set about to find the right one.

First, as I intend to one day roleplay my Evil Knight, even if it’s only to convey the right feeling on photos, I looked at the personality of Undead within the various universes. I don’t want to play a character without his own personality, his own will.

That means I ignored Warhammer. The majority of Warhammer’s Undead are enslaved to the will of either powerful Necromancers or powerful Vampires, and this knight I want to make neither a Necromancer’s nor a Vampire’s minion.

When I look for inspiration, I look for distinctiveness. Clear style elements and unique ideas to borrow or to tweak – things to help me make a memorable character, with an equally memorable costume and look.

Lord of the Rings has very distinct Undead(-esque) creatures, the Ring Wraiths, but these are enslaved to Sauron. The Army of the Dead has no knights amongst its ranks as far as I’ve seen. Even if I’d be ignoring that, they’re literally vaguely visualized. Ignoring Lord of the Rings, then. With two down, that means one left: Warcraft.

At this point, I have to admit that although I really thought about all of the above, Warcraft stood out from the beginning, as the universe houses one of the major inspirations I have for Evil Knights to begin with; the Lich King and his Death Knights.

Even though there are more Undead in the Warcraft universe than the Lich King and his Death Knights, such as the Forsaken, a whole race of Undead creatures, the Lich King and his Death Knights have the biggest ‘cool’ factor in my book. First, the Lich King himself:
lich_king

And, of course, the Death Knights, who I showed earlier:

tumblr_inline_mwlzv3qj131ss1kcf tumblr_inline_mwlzuy8omJ1ss1kcf

I don’t know about you, but I’d say these ladies and gentlemen are rather distinctive. And in the lore it’s pretty clear they’ve got their own personality, especially since World of Warcraft’s story got an update in the “Wrath of the Lich King” expansion.

Yup, I’ve got my inspiration: my Undead Knight isn’t going to be a mere Undead Knight, but a Death Knight! Stay tuned for the next part :-)

Today’s Featured Cosplayer Lolian Progress

Today’s Featured Cosplayer Lolian Progress

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Why do you cosplay?

I really like the challenge of sewing and prop making but I’m not confident enough to have anyone but me wear what I make!

How long have you been cosplaying for?

Since 2009

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What was your first cosplay and why that choice

It was Miku! I’d come across her image one day in a forum and just adored the design, I made this horrendous thing I’m ashamed to call a cosplay and proudly went to a con in it. It was just as her popularity happened so I was mobbed by photographers, which was awesome at the time but now its more like “Well crap there’s ton’s of evidence of that train wreck”

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What was your first con?

Supanova 2004, Brisbane Australia

What has been your favourite chr/costume ?

Seista 00 from Umineko no Naku Koro ni

Do you make your own costume and what has been your hardest challenge?

Yes I do and as I try and do more challenging cosplays every time I pick a new design, everything feels like the hardest thing i’ve ever had to make. As a result I do nothing but complain online about it!

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Do you have any other hobbies apart from cosplay?

I’m pretty boring, I just like to read.

What Cons are you doing this year and which one is your favourite?

This Year is Kitacon, McM Expo May, London Film & Comic Con, McM Expo October. They all have reasons for being my favourite!

What impact has cosplay had on your life ?

I think it’s made me more confident, which is always nice. I have some useful skills now, I’ve got an amazing group of talented and ridiculous friends and I now have more fabric than I know what to do with.

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Tell us a funny or amusing story about one of your cosplay experiences.

This is only probably funny to me tbh, when I was making the prop for my Odin Sphere cosplay, I used martini glasses as the mould for my clay. I’d “lubed” them up so the clay wouldn’t stick to the glasses or so I thought. When it came time to get them out, it wouldn’t budge! I shoved a sharp clay making tool in between the glass and the clay to try and lever it out, the tool smashed through the glass and into my palm. Blood was going everywhere, the stupid clay was still in the glass, my cat chose that moment to jump on my paint work, i’m bawling my eyes out. Anyway long story short I ended up throwing those martini glasses at the ground as had as I could, which ended up working and 2 years later I still have a scar in my palm. Cosplay.

https://www.facebook.com/LolaInProgressCosplay
http://lolainprogress.deviantart.com
http://www.cosplayisland.co.uk/profile/view/LolaInProgress
https://twitter.com/CrownsAndLace
http://instagram.com/lolainprogress

Any else you would like to tell us?

I’m not as scary as I look, promise.

lp7

Today’s Featured Cosplayer Aisha Anime

Today’s Featured Cosplayer Aisha Anime
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Why do you cosplay?

I cosplay as it is a form of creative expression, you can be whoever you want and make your own variation of a character.

How long have you been cosplaying for?

12 years

What was your first cosplay and why that choice

Pikachu was my first because It was my favourite anime show at the time and everyone recognises Pikachu.

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What was your first con?

London MCM expo

What has been your favourite chr/costume ?

Caitlyn from League of Legends, her hat is amazing and purple is my favourite colour.

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Do you make your own costume and what has been your hardest challenge?

Yes, it is hard getting the stitching to look neat, sometimes the machine eats my material.

Do you have any other hobbies apart from cosplay?

Play video games and watch foreign movies.

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What Cons are you doing this year and which one is your favourite?

London MCM, Hyper Japan, LAGC, possibly Al-con, and Eurogamer. I love Hyper Japan you have such a variety of perfomances, stalls to shop from, great fresh Jpaanese food and now games to play!

What impact has cosplay had on your life ?

I can’t imagine my life without cosplay, it is a way to socialise and dress elaborate without needing a reason.

Tell us a funny or amusing story about one of your cosplay experiences.

I was cosplaying as Viki from Suikoden and someone asked to hold my staff, he then banged it on the ground and shouted ‘You shall not pass!’, I laughed and said wrong character

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cosplay page – https://www.facebook.com/aisha.anime.ahmed
blog – http://aishaanime.blogspot.co.uk/
twitter – https://twitter.com/aisha_anime

 

Today’s Featured Cosplayer – Aranel Cosplay

Today’s Featured Cosplayer – Aranel Cosplay

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Why do you cosplay?
The interest originated through wanting to bring my favourite characters to life and show my love for them.

How long have you been cosplaying for?
I’ve been cosplaying for seven years now.

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What was your first cosplay and why that choice
It was Meg from Bakuretsu Tenshi (Burst Angel) a Japanese manga and anime. She was an awesome strong willed chick with a cowboy hat in an anime with giant mecha!

What was your first con?

Auchinawa in 2008

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What has been your favourite chr/costume ?

My female version of Jace Beleren from Magic the Gathering. Was so much fun to make and wear because I love the game so much

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Do you make your own costume and what has been your hardest challenge?

I make all my own costumes from scratch, occasionally buying simple things which would be more hassle and cost to make. My hardest challenge has always been budgeting for costumes, I just can’t do it.

Do you have any other hobbies apart from cosplay?
I play a lot of Table top games like Magic the Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, I collect anime and comic figures. I’ve also been a horse rider for 16 years and used to help retrain ex race horses.

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What Cons are you doing this year and which one is your favourite?
Kitacon, Dee con, London Film and Comic Con, Glasgow Comic Con, Scotland Comic Con and Auchnawa! Hopefully!

What impact has cosplay had on your life ?
It’s made me alot more creative and taught me a whole bunch of new skills! It’s also made me more confident in myself and made me come out of my shell.

Tell us a funny or amusing story about one of your cosplay experiences.
When I was cosplaying Wonder Woman I had lots of little girls coming up to me and being really happy and excited that I was here. It was really adorable!

https://www.facebook.com/aranel0cosplay

https://twitter.com/eternal_aranel

Any else you would like to tell us?
If you want to cosplay then just find a character you really love and just go for it. It’s a fun silly hobby at the end of the day!

 

Costume; taking useful inspirations, and the issue of history

Since I started the hobby of running around and hitting people with pretend weapons back in 1992 -  I was in my first year of secondary school and wasn’t even a teenager  by that point – I have gone from modified charity shop finds (American readers and anyone familiar with Macklemore’s ridiculously catchy song may recognise the terms Goodwill or Thrift shops for the same purpose) to much costlier methods of kitting myself out.

Sadly, those early costume creation sessions did not really look like this 

They involved finding shirts and jackets that could be cut up to try to convince myself that they didn’t just look like a shirt or pair of trousers that had been attacked with a pair of scissors and/or a needle & thread. Sadly, no photographic evidence exists of any of this dark time in my life.

Fortunately more modern and post apocalyptic games were my saviour. Now my inability to sew was a feature! I could also stop worrying whether my kit looked like it wasn’t just modern kit with bits cut off, and stuff sewn on.

A tall skinny kid in his late teens dressed like it's the late 90's

Modern settings in the late 90′s meant I never learned essential costuming skills.
Photo by Tracey Willis

That’s me, the tall lanky kid. I was so skinny back then, and was probably 18 when this photo was taken.

That’s not to say that you can’t achieve good results with plain t-shirts, scissors, and thread, but it limits what you can do. Somehow, despite my best efforts, I managed to find photographic evidence of just how unimpressive my costuming efforts were back in the late 90′s.

Later on, when I had disposable income, I started buying actual costume pieces and commissioning people to make the things I wanted.

The author in bright and shimmering costume.

Every single piece of this costume was bought or commissioned.
Photo by Tom Garnett

Now, nearly twenty-two years on, having hand-made (well… with a sewing machine) a grand total of one piece of costume from scratch (an outer layer tunic ) it is finally time to start making things myself.

On the list of things to make are items used for lots of layers of basic cloth kit; so tunics, trousers, shirts, and jackets. Maybe even a coat. I’ll also be looking at leather work with a mind to making leather armour, but starting small with things like pouches and decorative ornamentation. The plan is to start practical work on these projects over the summer, with planning, design, and research being done in the interim.

So let’s look at history as a starting point.

A grumpy looking man with mussed up hair stands around looking fantastic.

If I was a historical nut, I would never have worn this coat, with that waistcoat, and that shirt.
Photo by Nick Meredith

Whilst I’m not a historical accuracy nut (because that period in history that we are recreating simply does not exist) I like to mine history for inspiration. After all, there’s a reason that people did things, and largely that’s because they worked for the context in which they lived in.

For example, armour that has an opening for cleavage is exactly the opposite of useful, which is why you do not find it anywhere in history. Unless the setting you are playing in has something in effect which would counteract that (and it can be as simple as it being magical) then the message your costume sends out with that cleavage window is that the wearer of this armour is not ready for a serious battle.

Cleavage and exposed flesh were an integral part of her armour. In future generations, they would further develop and strengthen their Homeopathic armouring techniques.

You’re ready for a fight? Suuuuuuure… Unless of course you’re the progenitor of Homeopathic Armour?
Painting by Clyde Caldwell

If it’s ceremonial armour rather than practical armour, or if it’s clothing in the style of armour and not actually providing you with the combat advantages, then sure, go ahead. If it’s magical, and the stylings are thus affectations, then go on.

If your setting is such, where this highly stylised armour is encouraged, then carry on, but make sure that the setting actually supports it with internal logic that makes it work, or you risk looking out of place, or looking like you don’t belong. I would encourage people making armour for women to try to provide more options though. Ideally ones that aren’t designed for the men to ogle.

For great examples of fantasy armour with an underlying realism to it, look no further than the Lord of the Rings movies. History informs much of the armour design, not just real world history for understanding the mechanics of said armour, but the history of the world that they inhabit.

These armour pieces tell a story.

Two suits of Gondorian armor and an Elvish suit of armor from Weta's display at Armageddon 2003, Wellington NZ.

Two suits of Gondorian armor and an Elvish suit of armor from Weta’s display at Armageddon 2003, Wellington NZ.
Photo from TheOneRing.net

As do these

Serious looking men step through the smoke in their heavy armour

From Event 2 of Empire; the Varushkan general and his command unit go to war.
Photo by Tom Garnett

Featured Cosplayer – Aperture

Todays Featured cosplayer is Aperture Cosplay

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Why do you cosplay?

Cosplaying is something I do for fun, I love going around as the characters and trying to make my own costumes of these characters. It is how I express my love for a show, video game, anime ectect.

How long have you been cosplaying for?

Since around 2009, I think that was when I went to my first expo in cosplay. It may have been 2010 though, but I properly started getting into cosplay and creating the costumes in 2012.

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What was your first cosplay and why that choice

My first cosplay was Craig from South Park, at the time I loved the show and after getting the chance to make a hat in textiles class I decided that I would cosplay him!

What was your first con?

Telford MCM, still one of my favourite expos to this day.

What has been your favourite chr/costume ?

GLaDOS is my ultimate favourite, this is probably because I adore the character and I am proud of the costume I made of her. It was the first time I made my own prop for the costume and I am happy with how it all came out; even if I updated the costume more than once since Winter LFCC 2013.

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Do you make your own costume and what has been your hardest challenge?

I have recently started making my own costumes from scratch or mostly from scratch, I think getting use to the sewing machine and actually taking the first snip of fabric is always terrifying! Right now I am planning to make my first dress for a Captain America cosplay from scratch so this is probably going to be my hardest challenge so far. Other than that making the skirt for my Yuno Gasai cosplay and trying to work out how to sew the netting in took a while.

Do you have any other hobbies apart from cosplay?

Writing mainly, and creating short films and such since I am currently studying Film. I would love to make a cosplay video from an expo or some videos containing cosplayers but I think I am more focused on the making side of the costumes. I do have a plan for a cosplay related video though, if I get the chance to make it! I also do a lot of Face Painting which is also on my cosplay page as I do characters like Scar from The Lion King and creepy Zombie things.

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What Cons are you doing this year and which one is your favourite?

I’m going to MCM London , both in May and October, LFCC in July and October I think? And Collectormania, maybe a few others like London Anime and Gaming Convention depending on the dates! Probably LFCC, it has all the buzz of London MCM with half the crowd. (I’m not the best in crowds) Plus Natalie Dormer at LFCC will be amazing, especially if I get my Joffrey costume done.

What impact has cosplay had on your life ?

Quite a big impact actually, I met my boyfriend at a convention cosplaying and I have met tons of amazing people through expos and finding the photos after.

Tell us a funny or amusing story about one of your cosplay experiences.

I passed out as Catwoman once at London MCM, the people gave me tons of gummy bears and water though so all was good! Other than that chasing the MotherF*cker through Collectormania as Kickass was pretty hilarious.

Last of all share with us your different social profiles and website if you have one. Of course!

Cosplay Page: https://www.facebook.com/aperturecosplay

Cosplay Island: http://www.cosplayisland.co.uk/overview/jessliekspie

ac2

 

 

Indie Game of the Week – Bardbarian

Indie Game of The Week – Bardbarian

Welcome ladies and gentlemen as this is my first official article for the Crystal Anvil a small introduction is in order.

My name is Jorge or as I go by on the internet Martyr. I am an avid gamer and let’s player from Las Vegas, Nevada. If you’re not familiar with LPers, we are those silly people who play games and talk over them a lot and yell expletives. (I kid, kinda…)

I have had the pleasure of running in the Indie circles for several years now and in August of 2013 began reviewing Indie games, and posting videos to YouTube. Every week I will be posting an article to The Crystal Anvil and bringing you a taste of the Indie gaming world.

So let’s get to it shall we?

If you have ever played D&D or any RPG for that matter then you surely have heard of the fabled “Bard”. Minstrel and jack of all trades, they bring not sword or fireball into combat but a jaunty tune. Unfortunately, this makes them a rather questionable character.

http://youtu.be/2Ohk5Swy-04 – The Gamers Dorkness Rising

Okay, to be honest, Bards kind of suck. However, in Bardbarian, brought to you by TreeFortress games, that couldn’t be more wrong. You play Brad who has decided he is done with his axe wielding, mob grinding, glory seeking days and instead embraces his love of music. Rock music! This doesn’t change the fact that monsters besiege the town from all sides and wish to get their hands on the town’s shiny crystal. Brad whips together an Axe-lute and thus his new adventures begin.

Bardbarian is a mixture of action/rpg with resource management thrown into the mix. Brad must survive 20 waves of monsters and 4 bosses as he summons allies/buffs them with his new found lute powers. At first, Bardbarian is an extremely difficult game, as the waves get more difficult and fierce. Thankfully, though Brad falls, he will rise again. When defeated, you are brought to an upgrade screen, where you can upgrade Brad or his party members. The upgrades don’t stop there, as you can upgrade the town and increase its defense. For example, you can hire the town drunk to vomit on the floor, which debuffs enemy troops. There is a town pet to collect gold and other upgrades when available. Finally, you can build trainers to enhance your party from the moment you summon them.

Bardclass

 One of the key elements in the game is how the party members bring different tactics to the game and keep it refreshing. This gives it massive replay value, as you discover and hone your tactics to overcome all 20 waves.

Bardbarian may not be the most beautiful game but it certainly has a quirkiness and personality all its own. It does this in part, by bringing familiar gaming references and other popular Indie characters like Meatstack, Octodad and Shellrazer into the mix.  The music is entertaining. As Brad jams out his on Lute, a small rock solo plays. I still find myself giggling at this occasionally. The controls are smooth and the game does feature controller support for Xbox controllers. The user-interface is sleek and manages to keep it simple for IOS and Android users but isn’t overt about its cross platform roots. This keeps the feel appealing, even on the PC.

 Bardbattle

Also featured in the game, are two extra game modes if you get bogged down from defending the town from wave upon wave. Survival mode puts you in the middle of a closed off area as enemies begin to appear all around. Brad must gather allies and use his buffs and stuns carefully or be overwhelmed.  Included also, is an escape mode that challenges you to see how far you can go. With multiple updates planned including a Sandbox mode, Local Co-op and Steam workshop. (If you buy it on steam.) Bardbarian packs quite the punch and might change your outlook on the musical profession.

Thank you for joining me and I hope to bring some awesome Indie games into your life!

See you next week!

Until then play some Indie games!

Martyr

 

TL:DR If  you’re interested in seeing this game in action, you can always check out my video review:  http://youtu.be/LLMLq5cKzRk

Bardbarian:  http://treefortress.com/app/_bardbarian/

LARP in schools and education …..not just hitting kids

L.A.R.P. Why is it relevant to education?

 

What possible educational benefit, you might ask, can there be from two people hitting each other with swords or axes or, for that matter, long, thick poles with large pointy bits on? “None,” you may say. It’s nothing more than boys and their toys. Well, at the risk of sounding arrogant you would be wrong!!

For those of you who are still reading this and have not clicked wildly at the computer, muttering under your breath like Muttley, from the Dastardly and Muttley cartoon, let us go for a short walk together.

Walks always start somewhere; this one starts about twenty years or so ago in a barrack block in Wool near Dorset. Everyone in the room I bunked in we’re confined to barracks due to an imaginary misdemeanour. It was after the NAFFI had closed and we were still up late on a Saturday night. Without the benefits of a telly or a radio and having listened to “The Greatest Love II” tape for the twelfth time we were bored. One of the lads asked if we had some dice, ten minutes searching and begging around the block found us with five or so six sided dice (d6). Another half an hour or so and we had paper, pencils, rubbers, coffee and very importantly Jaffa Cakes. Trooper Haig then sat us around a table , gave us a piece of paper each and pencil and drew a very crude map then put it in the middle of the table saying “your all tired after a long walk and your in this small village what would you do first”. After an uncomfortable silence I suggested that maybe we would find something to eat.

That was my first sentence uttered in my first ever game of Dungeons and Dragons. The game never finished, it never really does, that character retired after a long and distinguished career as a ranger. I remember thinking then I wish that was real. I wish this game went on longer. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if I could do this in real life?

Now fast forward ten years I’ve left the army and now work in a school which, to be fair, is much the same as the army but with less heavy artillery! Part of my job is to support the drama lessons. Under the guidance of a lady who would become a very close friend I taught many lessons and enjoyed them almost as much as science which is my first love. She gave me artistic licence to develop schemes of work and help with many productions. Kate even allowed me to put a production on of my own it was wonderful. One dark grey and depressing day I went to see my friend for lunch and a chat and we got talking about me in the army and how it links with the things and abilities people need to survive. Not the digging for grubs and making a three story shelter out of nothing but leaves, but the other stuff, the deeper stuff. Things like discipline, confidence and self awareness those things that you only learn about your self when you’re close to the breaking point. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could teach someone those things without sending them to the army, without all the shouting and being shot at? We then had a long debate about how some of those things can be learned through drama. I disagreed, I do that a lot, but I was wrong. During the winter term of that same year we worked together on a project based on the film “The Matrix” we taught the students how to stage fight. The students loved it. They couldn’t get enough and the finish articles were outstanding. That’s when I knew I had been wrong; the self control practiced by the group was mind blowing. Flippantly I said “so Gladiator next then” Kate said she could get hold of some latex swords and shields so lets go for it. It took her the next twenty minutes to tell me about a group of people who she used to spend weekends with dressing like medieval knights running around the countryside hitting each other with swords and shouting spells at each other while working out a story.

It was Dungeons and Dragons but for real!!

Unfortunately Kate hadn’t been for years and only kept loose contact with the odd one or two of the people from that old group of friends and that concluded that conversation. This left me feeling a mixture of emotions. Happy that my idea was already a reality and had been running since before I was born. Sad that if I had known this before I could have joined in I could have seen what it would have been like? Lived the dream if you don’t mind the cliché.

I then moved schools.

It must be some thing with drama teachers. The drama teacher at my new school told me about this group of people who he regularly meets with four times a year. He spent a great deal of time telling me about his antics and the battles he had fought and the scrapes he’d been in. He invited me to be a Mongol for the weekend at an event he has been going to for the last fifteen years. Unbelievably it was the same group of people that Kate used to meet with. I was worried at first but it was amazing. It was such good fun. But something struck me, other than a sword, about the weekend. The feeling I had while defending the camp, the stress caused by the loss of a character were all the things I wanted to teach the students how to cope, to equip them for real life and it could be done through role play in a safe environment and it was fun.

Why is L.A.R.P (live action role play) relevant to education? That was the question I opened with and after all of the rambling it comes down to these brass tacks. History, Drama, Social Skill, Citizenship, Numeracy, Literacy are just some of the academic subjects that are included in the L.A.R.P group.

You can throw the students into a situation where, after training, they have to defend themselves and others that you just cannot do in a conventional lesson. But by far the biggest benefit is it allows staff to access some of the most difficult students to work with. I took fifty students who were the all students that are deemed to be difficult students. I spent the entire day with them and they were all amazing. And all through the “fighting” and looking after the camp there was not one, NOT ONE problem all the students behaved in a most amiable manner. Even the food we provided which was nothing more than bread cheese and fruit was enjoyed in the spirit of the game. The experience so impressed the staff at the area we used that members of the public commented on how good they were and we now have an open invite.

So if you can show me a way of teaching all these things, in a way that is as equally dramatic and just as much fun then I’ll try it until then LONG LIVE Live Action Role Play (L.A.R.P.)

 

J P Mottram

Time out room manager Sidney Stringer Academy

AKA  Perrin Luns Khan of The Luns clan of Mongols second sword and war leader to the steppe alliance

Tobias Tap the traveller

Lighthawk officer commanding the Talon of Light

Featured Cosplayer – Nesabi Cosplay

Todays Featured Cosplayers is Nesabi Cosplay from the UK

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1 – (c) Ace (facebook.com/aceampphotography)

Why do you cosplay?

A good question! I think about this question a lot, and it’s not an easy one to answer! With me, some of it comes from the theatrical nature of cosplay – I love dressing up – but I love the idea of really bringing a character out of the screen. The process of creating a costume is one of the most amazing experiences for me. Interpreting that design and producing something from that is really rewarding.

How long have you been cosplaying for?

A few years now, but I’d have to say I only got really serious about it a year or so ago. That’s mainly because I had other commitments before that simply didn’t leave me with time to pursue the hobby more seriously, though. I’ve always loved cosplay, even when I wasn’t doing it myself.

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(c) JP (http://www.flickr.com/photos/96351058@N03/)

What was your first cosplay and why that choice?

My first cosplay was Soma Cruz from Castlevania. I’m a big fan of the Castlevania series, and ‘Aria of Sorrow’ very quickly became my favourite title in the series. I adore Soma’s character and his progression throughout the game in light of the things he finds out. I also love his character design – so much of his design relates to his nature and that really appeals to me. I would love to make that costume again at some point. There are a lot of things I would do differently this time around!

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(c) Ace (facebook.com/aceampphotography)

What was your first con?

That would be one of the London MCM Expos, but I couldn’t put a date on it! In terms of conventions in the more traditional sense, that would be Amecon 2012.

What has been your favourite chr/costume?

Probably Raiden from Metal Gear Rising. Although I had some experience playing with materials, he was my first armour cosplay. His design is what made me take the plunge into making my own armour, so I think that costume will always have a special place to me. That armour’s also been amazing for me because I got to work with the amazing guys at Konami at London MCM Expo last October and I’ve met so many incredible people as a result of it.

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(c) Uberpixel (http://www.flickr.com/photos/uberpixelphoto/)

Do you make your own costume and what has been your hardest challenge?

I do make my own costumes these days, yes. I’m really trial and error about how I go about making armour. I tend to pick up materials on a whim and mess about with them until I can work them in a way I think will be beneficial and then store that knowledge for later use. I love working with new materials, and I love trying to work out what material will be best suited to a particular piece of armour. In terms of challenges, it’s really been about believing in my own abilities. I find it hard to accept when people like my work because I only see the things I want to improve on. I’m getting better at that now – I finally admitted to myself that I’m actually proud of my Raiden armour, for example – and that’s a huge step for me!

Do you have any other hobbies apart from cosplay?

Of course! Although cosplay does keep me busy! I’m a researcher by profession, which I love. I play games, albeit not as many as I’d like since I started making costumes. I also adore cycling, and I collect a Japanese character called Kapibarasan.

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(c) Faramon (facebook.com/sosayweallfaramon)

What Cons are you doing this year and which one is your favourite?

I don’t really have a favourite! This year, I’ve already done Minamicon, and I’ll be at Kitacon as well as both London MCM Expos. As for other conventions, I have a few in mind but I haven’t confirmed on them yet. One I’m really tempted by is Sunnycon as Quinton Flynn (Raiden’s voice actor) is a guest and I’d love to meet him.

What impact has cosplay had on your life?

It’s been incredible. I’ve met some of the most amazing people through cosplay. The community’s great and it’s something I’m honoured to be a part of.

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Tell us a funny or amusing story about one of your cosplay experiences.

One of my favourite things about cosplay is when wearing a new costume you don’t necessarily realise the limitations that costume adds. So trying to do anything normally becomes a challenge and often leads to (in my case at least) silly things happening.

Last of all share with us your different social profiles and website if you have one.

I’ve got profiles on a few sites, but these ones are updated with cosplay stuff most frequently:

www.facebook.com/nesabi.cosplay

Twitter: @nesabi_cosplay

Any else you would like to tell us?

I love cosplay and I’d say to anyone thinking of making a costume to go for it! You’ll be surrounding yourself with some seriously creative and interesting individuals, and you may find you possess skills you didn’t even realise you had!

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