Posts tagged with "geeks"

For The Love of Comic Con 

By: Rodney Ramlochan × Elle Grant × Vaughn Lowery

New York City’s Comic Con is a key annual fan event dedicated to Western comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, movies, television and more. First held in 2006, this classic event was canceled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, devastating fans who look forward to this mainstay of popular culture. Yet this year, Comic Con made its triumphant return, though it looked a little different in the attendance of both its exhibitors and fans. 360 MAGAZINE got the full scoop from well-versed fan Rodney Ramlochan on how this event has changed. He offers comments on the good, the bad, the Covid, and the in between for 360 readers. Read Ramlochan’s full testimony below:

To say that I love New York Comic Con is an understatement. For over a decade, as a pop-culture geek, I’ve enjoyed the fantastic guests, panels, original art, unique exhibitors, industry merchants, and one-of-kind exclusives. It has always been one of my favorite events to cover, and as a die-hard fan, I was deeply disappointed that the pandemic caused last year’s convention to go virtual. However, I was thrilled to hear that the event was coming back in person this year. Since much had changed over the past eighteen months, I thought it would be cool to experience the event as a fan rather than cover it as press. I also wanted to test-drive ReedPop’s Metaverse membership for ordering in-person tickets and focus on the overall fan experience, including Covid safety precautions and notable differences between this year and cons from yesteryear. Here are my post-Comic Con impressions. 

I purchased tickets a few months ago in July using the MetaVerse presale process. Of course, this was before the uptick caused by the Delta variant strain. I didn’t expect any issues with purchasing online as I’ve never really had a problem buying 4-day or single-day passes in the past. Still, I was interested in trying out the new Metaverse Membership that gives you first access to NYCC badges, photo ops & autographing tickets. My mission this year was to get both an autograph and photograph with William Shatner, epic space captain of the Starship Enterprise and now a real-life astronaut. In addition to getting first dibs on NYCC in-person tickets, the Superfan membership allows you to buy MCM Comic Con, Emerald City Comic Con, and C2E2 tickets. You can also get paid digital experiences, exclusive access to video content and celebrity panels, access to exclusive NYCC merchandise online. 

The Superfan Membership process was relatively seamless. I signed up at the end of June using the Metaverse Membership email and bought tickets using a dedicated link on my profile page within a few days. I purchased single day passes for each day of the convention, and I was contacted for the opportunity to purchase photo ops and autographs in addition at the end of September. Overall, I’d say the membership was worth it. It’s perfect for the fan who would rather have a more significant window of time to purchase tickets. Outside of remembering to click on the notification reminder emails and follow the presale, photo ops, and autographs links, ordering is straightforward.  There are no worries about getting tickets for the exact days you want to attend. If you are good with the allotted time frame afforded by the standard ordering process, then paying for the Superfan membership may not be beneficial at this time. However, I do wonder what the future holds for purchasing tickets in the future. Suppose the Superfan method of buying in-person tickets becomes more popular. Will it impact the standard order process and make it more challenging to obtain single-day passes post-pandemic?  Only time will tell. 

As far as Covid safety protocols, enforcement, and logistics, the ReedPop and the Javitz Center team did a great job managing this. Before attending, I was uncertain why New York Comic Con needed a partnership with CLEAR Health Pass. Especially since vaccination proof was a requirement for attending and could be validated using vaccine cards and existing apps like the NY Excelsior Pass. In hindsight, standardizing the application that everyone uses for admission was a smart move. At the very least, it streamlined the process and expedited entry for most. I picked up my green ReedPop vaccine wristband at the Javitz Crystal Palace a few nights before opening. It took me less than 5 minutes to show the CLEAR app and retrieve the band, and in many ways, this process foreshadowed the overall feel and attendance for the convention. NYC began requiring proof of vaccinations in early September, and the event was following suit. The mandate may have impacted attendance, as I read many social media comments from individuals that stated they wanted to return or sell their tickets because they didn’t know the vaccine would be mandated before purchasing. But, as a whole, most people in attendance complied with the requirements. I was there all four days and only encountered two individuals not wearing masks on the main floor. I didn’t notice security enforcing the mask mandate, but I did hear that a vendor and few individuals had been removed from the showroom floor for not following the rules.  At my William Shatner autograph and photo ops sessions, plexiglass partitions protected Shatner and the fans. Partitions were used at all reserved signings and photo op sessions. According to ReedPop, 150,000 paid in-person attendees were at the event this past weekend compared to 250,000 in previous years. Even with 100,00 fewer people, this was the largest indoor in-person event held in New York since 2019, showing a great evolution from where things were at the start of the pandemic. It was good to see that all of the proper safety protocols were in place. 

One of the most significant differences between this year’s Comic Con and past shows was the notable absence of large exhibitors like Disney, Marvel, DC, Image, Sony, Amazon, SYFY, and distributors like Funko and Midtown Comics. Of course, it didn’t come as a surprise, as we had been receiving no-show notices practically every week leading up to the event. I’m sure it deterred some folks from attending, but I think it helped provide a unique experience for those who did. It minimized the crowd and offered other smaller exhibitors an opportunity to showcase their properties and spend more time with fans. As a result, I spent a lot more time than I would typically have at smaller booths. For example, I met the great folks at Plunderlings, a boutique toy line presenting a fresh take on fantasy universes from a Caribbean perspective. Although some of the major players weren’t present, there was an excellent turnout for anime fans from Toei Animation, Funimation, VIZ Media, and Tamashii Nations. Without having to compete for floor space, it seemed as if their exhibits doubled in size. If you were a fan of these companies, it was probably the first time in years that you could casually stroll through their exhibits without waiting in line. Although it was less crowded, the show floor did not feel empty. As expected, Saturday and Sunday saw an increase in volume of attendees, but nothing compared to the previous years. 

One of the most extraordinary changes this year was the unveiling of the new Javits Center expansion project. It took a few minutes to figure out exactly where floors 4 and 5 were, but once you found them in the building adjacent to the old center, you were treated to the fantastic skyline and river views on the way up to the panel rooms and the new Empire Stage. There were a few blockbuster live panels, including Ghostbuster and The Boys; however, many panels like Sandman Act II and Wheel of Time were pre-recorded videos. I did sit in on the Sandman panel, but post-viewing, I felt a bit underwhelmed – watching a video of writer Neil Gaiman, audiobook director Dirk Maggs, actor James McCoy (who voices the title character), and actor/filmmaker Kevin Smith (who voices Merv Pumpkinhead) was not the same as seeing them in person. In addition, ReedPop introduced a new reservation system for the larger panels instead of the “badge tap-in” process used in the past. I have mixed feelings about this, as it didn’t appear that anyone’s reservations for the panels were being checked. It may have been because there was excess capacity remaining at the events I attended. However, I will note that the folks at the Tamashii Nations booth to purchase their exclusive Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Son Goku figure did check for reservations. 

Overall, expanding the panels to the new venue resulted in two significant outcomes. First, it allowed more space to return to smaller fan-focused panels, which featured creators interacting with their fandom instead of pitching major studio events.  Second, moving the panels out of the main building allowed for Artist Alley to take back a prominent role I felt it had lost over the past few years. This year, the Alley was front and center, featuring principal mainstays like Fabian Nicieza, Chris Claremont, Rob Leifeld, and Scott Synder amongst many others. I especially enjoyed chatting with Ben Bishop, one of the key artists on TMNT’s The Last Ronin. 

Undoubtedly, many of this year’s Comic Con changes resulted from how best to host an event during a pandemic, but many of the changes also focused on improving the fan experience. As a result, NYCC 2021 felt more like the NYCC of 2011, but with a few notable improvements. Creators were able to connect more with their fandoms, fans were able to stop and appreciate exhibitors and artists more, and ReedPop unveiled a few new processes to streamline crowd control and help fans maximize their time at the event. It wasn’t perfect, but as a fan, it exceeded my expectations, and I’m even more looking forward to a pandemic-free NYCC next year. 

360 MAGAZINE covers NYCC
360 MAGAZINE covers NYCC
360 MAGAZINE covers NYCC.
Rodney Ramlochan attends NYCC on behalf of 360 MAGAZINE and meets William Shatner.
from marvel for use by 360 magazine

KING CONAN #1 hits stands this December

JASON AARON AND MAHMUD ASRAR RETURN TO THE HYBORIAN AGE TO TELL THE LAST STAND OF CONAN!

Writer Jason Aaron, artist Mahmud Asrar, and color artist Matt Wilson will return to the saga of Conan the Barbarian this December in KING CONAN! The superstar creative team relaunched the tales of the Robert E. Howard hero in 2019 to critical acclaim and are back in this long awaited limited series that will take the story of Conan further than has ever been revealed in ANY media to date!

As Robert E. Howard posited, when King Conan grows restless on the throne, he sails west, toward land and adventure unknown. Now see the first step of King Conan’s fateful journey from Aquilonia, as an old and terrible danger threatens to end the saga of the Cimmerian once and for all!

“I knew as soon as Mahmud, Matt and I finished “The Life and Death of Conan” in CONAN THE BARBARIAN, one of the absolute personal highlights from my career as a comic book writer, that I wasn’t done hanging out with everyone’s favorite Cimmerian,” Aaron said. “As King Conan rode into the sunset at the end of that story, with his son, Prince Conn, by his side, I always knew where I wanted that story to take us next. Now at last comes that next chapter, as Mahmud, Matt and I reunite to reveal a pivotal moment in Conan’s life as a king, as a father, as a mortal enemy of snake-worshipping Stygian wizards and as a barbarian who was born to chase the wind, even to the ends of the earth.”

“By Crom, we’re finally bringing the barbarian-turned-king to the readers,” Asrar said. “It’s criminal how much I’m enjoying drawing each panel in this book considering what we’re putting him through.”

Don’t dare miss the first issue of the adventure of a lifetime when KING CONAN #1 arrives on December 15th! For more information, visit Marvel.com.

How to Stay Safe Gaming Online

Online gaming should be a fun and rewarding experience that, critically, does not have any lasting impact. Staying safe online is vital, especially when gaming, as it is all too easy for a fun and innocent activity to become malicious when the right steps have not been taken. That does not mean to say that gaming online is a dangerous activity. In fact, when you take the right steps, online gaming can be just as safe as playing in person with friends.

Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network, otherwise known simply as a VPN, is a great measure that everyone should use while gaming online. When you connect to a VPN, you connect to an encrypted server, which means that it becomes a lot more difficult for cybercriminals to track your movements. Not only does a VPN allow you to play anonymously, but it also hides your IP address, which makes you even more difficult to track.

Only Play on Trusted Sites

Before you begin playing online, it is important that you check to see that a site is trustworthy. There are many ways that you can check to see how trustworthy an online gaming site is; you could:

  • Check player reviews – looking at reviews of a gaming site, particularly the negative reviews, should help you learn if the site is unsafe. Make sure to check reviews at a respectable website.
  • Check for the right icons; some sites, like gambling sites, should be regulated by a range of international organizations. You should check to see if the site features the icons of the gaming authorities before playing.
  • Do your research; simply just reading up on the best gaming sites to use can help you to find the best, safe sites. Rather than doing the research yourself, you can easily compare the sites in one place and get playing a lot faster, safe in the knowledge that you are using a trusted site. Click here to compare. 

Keep Your Personal Information Private

Of course, sometimes, when you are buying an online game or signing up, you will have to input your personal details (only after checking the site is safe), but in other situations, you should keep your information private. For example, if you are playing an online multiplayer game, you should avoid using or giving out any personal information, including your name or location. Even if a player seems to be a friend of yours, you should never exchange personal information.

It is also vital that you use an appropriate username that does not give too much of your personal information out. You should also make sure to have a different password for every online gaming site that you use.

Install Anti-Virus Software

If you have taken the previous steps, then you can be pretty confident that you will be safe while playing online, but it is always better to be safe and sorry. You should install anti-virus software on your device to give you that extra layer of added security.

If you are playing games on a free site, it is common for these sites to use adverts, some of which might host more harmful, malicious software. You should be using a VPN and anti-virus software at all times to make sure you are staying safe online, whether you are playing a game or reading Wikipedia. 

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photo by John Sullwold for use by 360 Magazine

Cicadas Take Over LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester

New York City has avoided a major Cicada invasion – until now.

The large insects, which are 1-2 inches long, are part of the largest brood of periodical cicadas in the nation. The last time they came to New York in 2004, they arrived around May 13.

Dozens of LEGO Cicadas have overtaken iconic NYC attractions like the Statue of Liberty in LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester‘s MINILAND attraction, a LEGO replica of New York City. Matthew Graham, Master Model Builder of LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester, was able to replicate these intriguing insects with 22 LEGO bricks including bricks like bucket handles for legs. These LEGO creatures will be on display until mid-July for guests to spot.

Also at LEGOLAND Westchester, you can enjoy the ultimate two-story indoor LEGO playground and escape the summer heat! Surround yourself with millions of LEGO Bricks, take flight on Merlin’s Apprentice, blast skeletons on Kingdom Quest ride adventure, see your favorite characters on LEGO 4D Theater, and build epic LEGO creations alongside master builders! More information on LEGOLAND Westchester activities can be found on the official website.

LEGOLAND Westchester is consistent with updated guidance from the state of New York and the CDC, following all COVID protocols. Face coverings for guests who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required, but still recommended.

Hours are 12pm-5:30pm, last entry at 3:30pm. Limited capacity, tickets available here.

photo by John Sullwold for use by 360 Magazine

photo by John Sullwold for use by 360 Magazine

Computer illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Becoming a Programmer: Possibilities & the First Steps to Take

Contemporary tendencies, as well as the crisis, are forcing many specialists and even students to change jobs or even completely alter their professions. You have to learn new skills and gain new knowledge. In this case, the profession of a programmer can be an excellent choice. It’s profitable and highly demanded nowadays. In this article, we will try to focus on how to begin a career as a programmer from scratch.

You should start your path to a career as a programmer by answering the questions, “Do I need programming at all? Will I be able to withstand all the difficulties of the profession?” These questions do not apply to those who study or studied in a specialty close to programming. If you were better at math than in the humanities at school, if you like spending a lot of time in front of your PC, if you want to learn something new, then programming is the field suitable for you.

Where to Start

There are several options for the development of events, as a result of which a person is destined to become a programmer:

  • The first one is the parents-programmers who taught their children. These kids don’t even need to go to university. 
  • The second option is the fashionable profession of a programmer that attracts a school graduate. After school, a young person chooses a major related to the programming field. 
  • The next option is a hobby that has grown into work.

If none of the above is about you, then you have a choice of four options:

  1. Self-education. This option can be used both independently and in conjunction with other methods. The Internet is full of sites, books, and applications that help you learn various programming languages and technologies. Even though it is the hardest path for beginners, it is not worth giving up at the very beginning. If you are a student, even in a programming field, and hesitate if you can find enough time for self-education, make use of the professional programminggeeks services that will help with too complicated tasks. Meanwhile, you will be able to concentrate on the relevant topics and aspects.
  2. Higher education. If you graduate from high school and want to be a programmer, then go to college and choose a major related to the field. But don’t forget about the necessity and importance of self-education as well. The choice of a college should be approached with high responsibility. Study the programs carefully and choose a college that meets your expectations for the future profession.
  3. Mentor. It is beneficial if you manage to find someone who will agree to help you and direct you. This person will suggest suitable books and resources, review your code, and provide helpful advice. You can look for a mentor among familiar programmers, at IT parties and conferences, on online forums, and so on. The most crucial is not to be too shy. Ask an IT specialist you are fond of, and quite probably, you will get a positive response.
  4. Specialized practical courses. Try looking for courses near your place of residence where you will be taught a programming language or technology. Select courses attentively. The best option is to find a course that provides a possibility of employment after graduation.

Final Say

As you can see, almost everyone who would like to become a programmer has got plenty of opportunities. If it is your dream, select one of the above options and start implementing your dream into reality.

relationship illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

Find Your Happiness With Hypnotherapy

Cupid has been slacking this year. Singles need to settle for virtual dates if they want to maintain social distancing regulations and have a love life, and relationships have been falling apart all across the globe. So, we need to change the direction of Cupid’s arrow towards ourselves and start practicing self-love.

Loving yourself and caring for yourself first will help you find the happiness you are capable of having.  Society has placed a stigma against single people as if it is a condition brought upon by them being unworthy of love, and some people allow this mindset of others to enter their own thoughts.  Allowing these outside variables to influence your opinion of yourself will only amplify the negative feelings you have about what it means to be alone.  You have the ability to challenge these feelings and these thoughts which will lead you to seeing your own worth.

An effective way to help change your mindset and guide you to a more positive outlook is to practice hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is essentially meditation but with a goal.  So why not take meditation practices a step further?  Hypnotherapy, as the name suggests, is a therapy.  Counter to pop culture depiction of hypnosis associating people clucking like chickens while being hypnotized, hypnotherapy is a proven tool. Albrecht Wobst, H. K. MD, from Anesthesia & Analgesia writes “Contemporary clinical investigators claim that the combination of analgesia and hypnosis is superior to conventional pharmacologic anesthesia for minor surgical cases, with patients and surgeons responding favorably.” Research on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy continues to grow.

So, how can we use hypnotherapy to help with loneliness? First, we need to understand hypnotherapy.  Certified clinical hypnotherapist, Christine Deschemin, shares “A typical approach of hypnotherapy is for the hypnotist to deliver verbal suggestions that are tailored to the needs of the client.” She also shares that you can practice hypnotherapy on your own, with just an audio guide from her app, UpNow, to get you started.  “Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state of awareness. This state achieves the ‘bypass of the critical factor’ and as a result enables you to make changes to the self-defeating behaviors and self-limiting beliefs, bringing you then to your desired target state – sleeping better, becoming slimmer, and managing pain more easily for instance.”  

So, we can target the negative feelings triggered from loneliness due to the adverse connotations we associate with being alone through self-hypnosis.  Our subconscious thoughts have a strong impact on the way we view and approach different things in life and by practicing self-hypnosis, we can help change those thoughts.  We can learn how to enjoy our own company and grow to value it.  We can also help diminish anxiety about the future, and the depression and hopelessness that sometimes comes with being single and actively searching for a partner with no avail.  

When you work on yourself first, and you start to manage your own struggles, you will also start to attract better people around you.  Building up your confidence and independence will help you to fearlessly work towards your goals. The closer you get to your goals the more confidence you will have.  Working on yourself and your independence will become your priority, as it should always be.

Remember, being in a relationship is not the determining factor of success, but there is nothing wrong with wanting a partner either.  Yet, in order to love someone else you have to learn to love yourself first, practicing self-hypnosis will help you get there. 

With the pandemic bringing a new type of challenge for those looking for love and happiness, we are in a constant search for new methods of how to cope and navigate those struggles. Christine Deschemin’s app, UpNow, was created to enable people to practice hypnotherapy on their own in a safe and affordable manner. You can use hypnotherapy audios from UpNow to bring you to your full potential and find what you’re looking for. 

Gabrielle Archuleta illustration for gaming article inside 360 MAGAZINE

Can Playing Online Darts Be Good As In-Person?

Online darts are getting more attention than ever. They were always popular with a certain class of players, but now people want to know what online darts are really about and if they can replicate the real-life experience. And in many ways, yes, online darts can be a great substitute for live play. There are even many areas where they offer a better experience, though they are still not for everybody. You will have to conquer the learning curve of online play if you’ve only played the traditional way all your life. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of online play.

Online Darts are More Accessible

One of the best things about online darts is that you don’t have to leave the house. As long as you have your setup, you can pick up a game with anyone in the world. While you won’t have the same ambiance as if there was an audience watching you, you can still have other people watching and commenting. People love discussing and interacting with players. You can even stream a game live or post it on platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, or IGTV.

Playing Online Can Feel Lonely

Many people love the social aspect of darts as much as the game itself, so playing alone may not have the same charm. However, you could do things to make the game feel more interesting. You could get your family involved or have a few friends over if it’s possible. If not, a zoom call or group FaceTime could help you to regain the community experience.

The People You Can Play Will Challenge You

Online dart can take your skills to the next level. You’ll get access to a much wider talent pool, and you’ll have the chance to test yourself with players you would probably never play against in real life. 

Many pro players like to play games against casual players for fun. Having a pro watching you play could help you work on your technique and strategy. They may give you some great general tips like what their routine is and what they did to improve the way they play. Being able to have this kind of one-on-one chat with some of the greatest players is one of the advantages of online darts.

Online Play is not Intuitive

The biggest thing about online darts is that darts is not a game people associate with online play. To play online, you will need to invest in a good setup. Some people use a smartphone mount for video, but it would be better to invest in a high-quality webcam.

Contrast that with something like online casinos. If you check Onlinecasinos.co.uk, you’ll find tons of casinos that replicate the online casino experience to a tee. Some of the sites featured on Onlinecasinos.co.uk are even better than live casinos in many cases. For instance, very few in-person casinos will give money to new players just so they can play. The gameplay is also very immersive on some of the games, and they can be much more exciting than traditional options.

However, the same can’t be said about darts. While it’s a fun way to play, it’s also not an improvement over real play. 

Competition is Easily Accessible

Know that while many people decide to play online darts for fun, there are also leagues when the tournaments are played 100% online. The Webcam Darts Association is a great example. They will allow you to compete against top players from all over the world, and they hold regular tournaments and keep rankings. They are one of the first and most recognised online darts organisations in the world.

You can decide to join a team or play solo. That is great if you want to get that feeling of camaraderie that you would get in a real team game. While it may not have the same intensity, the more interactions you have the more fun and life-like the game will feel.

All you will need to get in the league is darts, a dartboard, and a webcam with a mic. That’s it. The league will provide the rest. And the best part is that it’s totally free to join. They also have a massive community, and you can connect with available players in minutes. Any time when you get an itch, you can log in and join a game. They are the closest to the real darts experience that you can get. If you’re intrigued, we strongly suggest that you check out online darts leagues and their requirements.

The Best Aspects of Online Darts

Online darts are probably the best way to get some real practice in. You get to play with other people who match your game or better and work on your technique. The difference is that you won’t have the pressure of having other people watch you, which can take a lot out of your game.

Online darts is also a great way to get ready for a big game. Again, you’ll have much less pressure and will be able to work out some of your kinks.

However, don’t expect online darts to replicate the pub experience. Playing one-on-one against someone or having your teammates congratulate you when you make a difficult out is something that can be hard to reproduce online. There is still a strong social component to them and a huge online community, so you won’t feel completely isolated.

If you weren’t sure about online darts or whether the game was for you, hopefully this guide helped you better understand the game and its community. We suggest that you at least give a few games a try and see how it feels. Playing online darts may be all that you need to take your game to the next level.

You may also check out sbobet for additional information on this subject.

360 MAGAZINE illustration for online gaming by Symara Briel Wilson

Forgotten Vintage Gaming Consoles

The video game console scene these days is quite settled, boring even. Sony and Microsoft have a stranglehold on the market, with the PlayStation enjoying a healthy lead on the Xbox. And then you have Nintendo doing their own thing with the Switch on the handheld segment, despite the rise of mobile gaming. 

All this is a far cry from the early decades of video game consoles. Consoles had some crazy innovations in the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, as the designers were experimenting quite a lot. Naturally, the technology was also quite primitive in terms of computing power, graphics, and display, resulting in some extra weirdness. 

These are some of the vintage gaming consoles that never made it to the big leagues in the cut-throat video games market. Some were from small brands while others are from the big names we still see churning out consoles and games today.

Fairchild Channel F 

Despite being the first home console to use cartridges and a microprocessor, the Fairchild Channel F failed in the console market. Pitted against the legendary Atari 2600 (home of Pacman), the Channel F ended up decidedly second-best. 

Before the Fairchild, other consoles like the Magnavox Odyssey came with games built-in, which severely limited choice as well as graphics quality. The Channel F came with two built-in games and a library that eventually expanded to include over 26 games. 

The cartridges for these games were called “videocarts” and had games like Tic Tac Toe, Space War, Spitfire, and Shooting Gallery. Though it had a decent list of games, the Fairchild Console could not match Atari’s popular arcade games. 

And the controllers were also decidedly poor quality, breaking rather quickly. The F in Channel F stood for “Fun.” The fun stopped for Fairchild in 1983 as sales declined and they ended production after a six-year run that started in 1976. 

Radica Games Consoles

The modern handheld consoles like PSP, GameBoy, and Switch are designed to play many different games. But in the past, we had consoles that were basically one-trick ponies – they only came with one or a few handfuls of in-built titles. 

Radica Ltd is a name that many who were kids in the 1980s and 90s may not remember. Though not as famous as Sega or Nintendo, the US manufacturer was quite prolific in the handheld consoles market, mass-producing devices between 1983 and 2006. 

Though they became famous for consoles that carried titles from the biggest brands like Sega and Taito, Radica actually started in the gambling business. The company initially launched collectible game consoles for casinos. 

These had classic games like Blackjack 21, Poker, and Solitaire. Though thoroughly outdated by modern standards, the vintage feel of the games does make Radica consoles great from a nostalgic POV. Online variations have been designed to model modern blackjack tables as found in top land-based casinos.

Radica did not do anything innovative in the design department. Their consoles largely copied the design set by others. The company was eventually acquired and fully absorbed by toy giant Mattel in 2006. 

The Vectrex

We take screens for granted these days – be it on handheld consoles or mobile phones. But there was a time when consoles had to depend entirely on an outside video output source (and they still do for PS5 and Xbox Series X). 

The Vectrex was an idea that came far too soon – in an era when screens were still bulky, monochrome, and highly pixelated. Launched in the early ’80s, the Vectrex came bundled with its display, which was like a mini-TV. 

The display was black and white, with a series of plastic color overlays that you could place on the screen to make the objects look red, green, or blue. Though it had way better graphics than contemporary consoles, thanks to vector graphics instead of bitmaps (smooth lines), the console was ultimately a failure. 

For one, it was incredibly expensive. And the allure of not needing a TV for gaming was not huge in those days, especially as this was not a portable device. It was one of the major casualties in the great market crash of the video game industry in 1983.

Virtual Boy

Virtual Reality is a cutting edge technology that holds a lot of promise in gaming. Yet in 2021, it is still a niche in the video games landscape – a fast-growing one at that, but still in need of evolution. So you can imagine how primitive a VR-based console must have been way back in the 1990s. 

Launched by Nintendo in 1995, Virtual Boy was a good 20 years ahead of the technology. The 3D game system came with a cool VR headset and a connected controller, and games in full monochrome glory. 

Yes, Virtual Boy games had to be enjoyed in red, as the hardware was not capable of outputting in any other colors. It had a real “Terminator vision” vibe to it, which was probably intentional given how popular those movies were back then. 

The hardware was quite bulky, with the headset being quite cumbersome. And it was also quite notorious for causing headaches and eye strain to users. The one major game available on the Virtual Boy was Mario’s Tennis. 

Though the stereoscopic 3D was quite impressive for its time, the console was widely panned by critics and users. It was a commercial failure as well, due to insane pricing. Nintendo did try to make it more appealing by dropping the prices but to no avail. The Virtual Boy sank without a trace. 

Gabrielle Archuleta illustration for gaming article inside 360 MAGAZINE

The Best Microgaming Slots for Pop Culture Enthusiasts

Popular culture spans several categories, including entertainment, sport, news, politics, fashion, and technology. These are generally recognised by people in society at any given point in time as having the most dominant influence on the population. For example, it could be a television show, song, sport, or US president. 

As the things and people involved in pop culture are so ‘popular’, it is no surprise companies try to capitalise on their popularity by releasing a number of products. The products can be anything from posters to toys. However, one of the most entertaining ways for pop culture enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the things they love, is by playing the latest online slots games. Over on BestCasinoSites.net you will find a detailed selection of slots games reviews but what are the best Microgaming slots for pop culture enthusiasts?

The hit television show, Game of Thrones, has played a significant role in pop culture ever since the first series aired in 2011. There were 73 episodes broadcast over eight seasons and it concluded in May 2019. The series attracted record viewing numbers and a huge fans base thanks the complex characters, epic sets, and deep storylines. As a result, Vulture ranked the series’ fans as the most devoted in popular culture, which is some recognition considering it was up against Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Harry Potter, and Star Wars.

The Game of Thrones slot is a 5×3 reel game available in both 243 ways-to-win and 15 lines. The game allows you to choose between the four great houses of Baratheon, Lannister, Stark, and Targaryen. There are different rewards depending on which house you choose to represent and you can hear the Game of Thrones theme song playing as you spin the reels. The banners for each of the main Houses of Westeros are symbols on the reels along with A, K, Q and J royals. Fans of the show will also notice the Iron Throne, which is the Scatter symbol and the Game of Thrones logo, which acts as the Wild symbol.

Remaining in the world of visual entertainment and we come to the Jurassic Park online slot. The first film in the ongoing series was released in 1993 and directed by Steven Spielberg. The original film and the whole series are based on attempts by human beings to create a theme park based around real dinosaurs. The success of Jurassic Park has led to the creation of comic books, collectable figures, video games, theme park rides, exhibitions, and live shows. Due to its place in pop culture, Microgaming made the move to create an online slot and it was released in 2014. Complete with symbols of Velociraptors, T-Rex, Triceratops and other Jurassic Park creatures, the Microgaming Jurassic Park slot is a 243 payline video slot with 5 reels and 3 rows. The game is easy to play as you are immersed into the Jurassic Park world thanks to the graphics, music, and sound effects.

As highlighted above, both sport and movies play a big role in popular culture. In addition to the Jurassic Park slot, Microgaming have also released a game based on The Terminator. You must go back to 1984 to find the release of the first Terminator movie and this was directed by James Cameron. The film starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, and has achieved a great legacy. In 2008, The Terminator was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and it has been named as one of the 30 Most Significant Independent Films of the last 30 years. Step forward The Terminator 2 online slot by Microgaming. The second film also became a cult classic and the slot game features all the main characters on the reels and clips from the actual movie. The biggest prizes in the game come from the T-1000 symbol and it is possible to win 129 times your total stake. 

In terms of sport, football has long been the one with the greatest fans base. Football is the most popular sport in the world, with millions of fans around the globe and this has led to the creation of various products. You can purchase football shirts, figures, cards, stickers, posters, paintings, books, comics, and so much more. This has led Microgaming to develop the 5-reel video slot called Football Stars and it has received rave reviews thanks to the great features and entertainment. The reels feature a selection of football players plus football boots, kits, and even a stadium. As you would expect, the star striker pays the most and the Football Star Deluxe logo symbol is the wild.

Other sports based slots games created by Microgaming include Cricket Star, which plays in a similar way to the football game.

With new additions to their catalogue every year, what will be the next top Microgaming slot for pop culture enthusiasts?

King in Black: Return of the Valkyries

Jan. 2021 is hitting hard with the return of the Marvel Universe’s finest warriors, the Valkyries, in the brand new King in Black: Return of the Valkyries.

The story is written by Jason Aaron and Torunn Grønbekk with Nina Vakueva providing the art. The stars of the series will be Jane Foster, Dani Moonstar and Hildegarde, and a brand new Valkyrie will be introduced and given an origin story.

The Asgardians will face off against Knull, who seeks to overtake the Nine Realms with his unrelenting darkness. As Knull moves throughout the galaxy, it becomes evident that only the Valkyries and their new secret weapon are equipped to deal with him. What is their weapon, and is it enough to help them fend off Knull and save the universe?

It all comes to a head Jan. 6, but you can see never-before-seen art in the stunning trailer for King in Black: Return of the Valkyries by clicking right here.

Grønbekk called the Valkyries “powerful women who navigate both the spaces of the living and the dead,” adding that they are just inherently interesting to her.

“The role demands a perspective on life and battle that is quite unique; they see the whole picture, always, and when you combine that with the great humanity you find in characters like Jane Foster and Dani Moonstar, you get something really special,” Grønbekk said. “It takes courage to see the world through the eyes of a Valkyrie (especially when that world is under attack by Knull!), and that makes for complex and exciting stories of the kind I want to tell.”

This is the Valkyries greatest era, and it’s available for purchase on comic book shop shelves everywhere Jan. 6.

To find a comic book shop near you, you can click right here.

You can follow Torunn Grønbekk on Twitter and Instagram, Jason Aaron on Twitter and Instagram and Nina Vakueva on Twitter and Instagram

You can learn more about Marvel by clicking right here, and you can follow them on Twitter and Instagram.