Author Archives: Crimson

Pop-Culture Marketing: Telling Moving Stories

23 Jun , 2016,
Crimson
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Geeks have been identified as one of the biggest spenders globally. They’ve got plenty of disposable income, are incredibly brand loyal when hooked, and as creatures of the Internet, are excellent mouthpieces for your products if you hit all the right notes.

This has led companies to devise new strategies for engaging with a geek audience – strategies that we define as pop-culture marketing.

Such creative campaigns can run the gamut (we’re no strangers to such strategies ourselves), using imaginative ways to spread key marketing messages like animation, comics, cosplay, geeky displays and even memes.

Of course, such ideas aren’t something any advertising suit can come up with.

Case in point being Gumtree’s campaign depicting Cosplay Flyer Distributors that gave the local cosplay community a good laugh with its treatment and botched aesthetics. Also, a casual search on Gumtree will reveal that Cosplay Flyer Distributor is a job that pays abysmally (only $6 to $12 an hour). That’s nowhere near the market rate for costumed appearances (which is typically $30 or more per hour) that cosplayers are generally familiar with. 

Original Image: The Cosplay Chronicles

Would you dress up and slap on make-up for a gig like this?Source: The Cosplay Chronicles

Of course, that’s not to say that companies can’t come up with great ideas and great campaigns.

In fact, we were tipped-off about one from Japan just last month called Hikkoshi More.

hikkoshimore

The Hikkoshi More website is presented in a colorful and charming manner.

Hikkoshi More is a site for information on moving services, targeted at young professionals and new families (moving from town to town for school or work is fairly common in Japan). It includes tips for first-timers, articles about how to cope with and smooth over the process of moving to a new town, and even sections on feng shui and interior decor.

Helping to present this information in convenient, bite-sized bits is the page mascot Kuronishiki, a black cat, and his master Momoa (an aspiring artist). Their adventures are serialized in a series of Cat Diary strips, which serve as anecdotes for handy advice such as techniques for packing, lifting bulky items, and even making new cat friends in an unfamiliar place.

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Kuronishiki and Momoa, from Hikkoshi More’s comic strip. Source: http://more-hikkoshi.com

 

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Some handy packing tips before a move. Source: http://more-hikkoshi.com

 

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Do you even lift? Source: http://more-hikkoshi.com

 

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There’s even a strip about Kuronishiki’s origin story, where he is paralleled with the Peach Boy of Japanese folklore. Source: http://more-hikkoshi.com

 

It’s impressive to see how a change in stylistics and treatment can turn an otherwise dry and boring topic like moving into something informative, without losing its essence.

While this campaign has found success in Japan because manga is so intrinsic to the country’s culture, the use of such techniques to sell a service or key marketing message might not be that much of a stretch for international brands either.

We’ll be examining more such examples in the weeks to come, so do check back with us.

Check out the Hikkoshi More site for yourself at http://more-hikkoshi.com.

If you have a lead on a site or campaign that’s a great example of pop-culture marketing, be sure to write us at info[at]neotokyoproject.com to let us know! We’ll be happy to take a look at it, and if it is a great fit for this column, we’d be happy to write about it! 

Monniker: Serving up Steampunk with a Twist

28 Oct , 2015,
Crimson
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We’re always on the lookout for new pop-culture inspired hangouts, and the latest one on the block – the one-month old Monniker – makes for both a fantastic chill-out spot and a place to satisfy your food cravings.

With it’s Steampunk inspired decor, tungsten lighting and wooden furniture, this cozy cafe on Balestier Road is every would-be aeronaut’s dream.

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Check out the awesome atmosphere!

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The cafe is replete with shelves filled with cool paraphernalia like these sweet, sweet goggles.

It evinces the interior of an airship plying the skies in an alternate, Victorian sci-fi reality, and serves up not just hearty breakfasts fit for adventurers, but also some really amazing mains like their signature Chicken Waffle Stack ($19), Fish & Chips ($19) and Ribs ($23).

The Fish & Chips was deliciously fluffy, and scented with a hint of lemon grass mixed into the batter, while the Ribs were succulent, tender, and dripped with BBQ flavored goodness.

The ‘All Ribbed Up’ dish sure lived up to its name.

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The sea bass filet was fluffy beneath the batter, and melted in our mouths.

There was also the sinfully savory Chicken Waffle Stack – buttermilk waffles generously sprinkled with maple syrup sandwiching a chunky slice of cheese-topped chicken. It was served with a fried egg (sunny side-up), and complemented by a homemade mushroom sauce that smelled faintly of truffle.

We have to admit that the Chicken Waffle Stack was our favorite. XD

We have to admit that the Chicken Waffle Stack was our favorite. XD

Monniker also has an amazing assortment of alcoholic beverages, and their barista-in-residence whips up not just amazing coffee and tea, but also Iced Valrhona Chocolate ($7).

Monniker is a great place for a cuppa.

Monniker is a great place for a cuppa.

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Plenty of chocolate shavings and even a chocolate chunk to help with your sweet fix.

All in all, Monniker’s a great place to while away your afternoons, and we’re really excited to see what else they’ll have to offer in the months to come.

If you’d like to check Monniker out (they’re also open for event bookings), they’re situated at:

ADDRESS
387 Balestier Road
Singapore 329795

OPENING HOURS
7:30am – 4:30pm

CONTACT/RESERVATIONS
(+65) 62502433

They’re also holding an Opening Promotion, and a special complimentary drink promotion just for Halloween, so be sure to check out their Facebook Page for more details!

Fate/Grand Order – Gold, Leveling and Progression Guide

9 Aug , 2015,
Crimson
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“Fate/Grand Order is easy”, said no weeaboo over.

While the interface itself is fairly straightforward, the shitty RNG that plagues the Grand Summon system often results in erratic rolls, and has the tendency to screw you over with a whole bunch of Craft Essences rather than fresh Servants.

This can often mean that if you’re not a pay-to-win, Saint-Quartz spamming player, you’re going to either be behind on the curve because your Servants aren’t cutting it level wise, or you’re often out of AP, which you need to maximize your story progression.

Thankfully, there are daily Event Quests in game that are designed to help you speed things along, and they aren’t that hard to master.

The trick to it, we realized, is the Sunday Event Quest – the Master Training scenario. We got an early start before last week’s Unlimited Maintenance Works thanks to that, and it’s really helped us come out ahead in the grind.

You can access Dailies through the Chaldean Gate option in Stage Select, and you can start blowing through them as early as Level 10. Just make sure you’ve got Shielder and your Starter up to at least Level 10 using XP-up drops, and you should be all set.

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You should have plenty of Exp-Up drops early game, so DO put all your eggs in one or two baskets.

Like all other Dailies, the Master Training scenario has three difficulties and cost either 10, 20, or 40 AP.

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Everyone loves a good Event Quest. :3

1. Master Training (AP 10)

Mooks are werewolves with an average Level of 6 and 3,800 hp, with either Saber, Lancer or Assassin Classes.

Boss is a werewolf Assassin with a Servant level of 15 and 13,765 hp. Abilities include a Critical rate buff and a multi-hit finisher.

Rewards 1,650 xp upon completion.

I-it's not like fighting werewolves is difficult or anything. :o

I-it’s not like werewolves are hard at lower levels or anything. Well, maybe if you have no friends…

2. Master Training (AP 20)

Mooks are ghosts with the Assassin class, an average Level of 10 and 6,000 hp.

Leader is a Level 25 ghost with 27,074 hp that can paralyze your party and inflict debuffs.

Rewards 8,310 xp upon completion.

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Once you’ve gotten the hang of farming Master levels, it’s easy to get into the spirit of things. 😡

3. Master Training (AP 40)

Mooks are primarily lamia between the Level 12 to 18 range with the Caster class and average 8,000 hp. Every now and then, you might also encounter shadow Servants with the abilities of Medusa (Rider), Euryale (Archer) or Stheno (Assassin).

Boss is a Level 40 demon with the Caster class, 58,503 hp, buff skills and really big damage potential.

Rewards 34,140 xp upon completion.

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Can’t say I enjoy snaking around with these guys. =_=;;

This is the toughest guy you've gotta kill. :o

This is the toughest guy you’ve gotta kill. 😮

Since gaining Master levels improves your abilities and also replenishes your AP, you can speedily farm levels as long as you’re able to hit all the right leveling break points. With enough level ups, you can also increase your party size, and attempt the same scenario at a higher difficulty.

The risks are definitely worth the reward, and it’s not uncommon to gain 20 Master levels on a good day before you hit a point where you can’t level up on the quick and need to wait for your AP to recharge anymore.

Does Master Level matter?

A higher Master level means better Master skills, a bigger party of Servants, and more AP to expend for Event Quests and Story Mode.

Being a Master means more than just wearing a swanky jacket.

Being a Master means more than just wearing a swanky jacket.

Right now, my Master rank is 45, with Level 6 in all Master skills. My AP is 70, and my party cost is 69. That means I can run a full party of 5 4-star Servants, or a full party of 3-star Servants with some sick Craft Essences, and that makes clearing stages a breeze.

Daily Quests for Fun and Profit

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Daily Event Quests are the path to victory. There’s even a handy list in game that reminds you which days are the best days to play!

If you’re just starting out, your best bet is to focus on doing a whole bunch of daily Event Quests rather than jumping ahead with the story.

Some recommended Event Quests to start with are:

Monday, Wednesday & Saturday:

Treasure Vault (QP). Mooks and bosses are primarily Caster types. You’ll need lots of QP to level up your Servants later, so start farming this Event Quest early and often.

Monday & Thursday:

Gathering Sparks (Three Knights). Exp-Up drops for the Three Knight Classes Saber, Archer and Lancer. Focus on this if your preferred Servant is a Saber, Archer or Lancer.

Tuesday & Friday:

Gathering Sparks (Four Horsemen). Exp-Up drops for the Four Horsemen Classes Assassin, Berserker, Caster and Rider. Focus on this if your preferred Servant is an Assassin, Berserker, Caster or Rider.

Saturday:

If you’re in a fairly comfortable position, or have a sizable enough pool of Servants to choose from, you can also do Congregation at Dawn (woohoo, MTG reference!), which has Exp-Up drops for all seven Classes.

Developing a Routine:

Because my starter unit was Ushiwakamaru (Rider), I went with Sunday (Master Training) > Monday (QP) > Tuesday (Four Horsemen Exp-Up) > Wednesday (QP) > Thursday (Three Knights Exp-Up) > Friday (Four Horsemen Exp-Up) > Saturday (QP) > Sunday (Master Training).

This netted me a good amount of QP and Master levels early game and helped to offset some really bad 40 Saint Quartz pulls.

My personal routine now is Monday (Three Knights Exp-Up) > Tuesday (Four Horsemen Exp-Up) > Wednesday (QP) > Thursday (Three Knights Exp-Up) > Friday (Four Horsemen Exp-Up) > Saturday (QP) > Sunday (Master Training).

Once you’ve found a routine you’re comfortable with, the game will turn from an annoyance into a breeze.

Fate/Grand Order

3 Aug , 2015,
Crimson
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I don’t usually play mobile phone games, but for Fate/Grand Order (mostly because the Fate series is my one weeb indulgence), I decided to make an exception.

Grand Order is the latest in Type Moon’s long running Fate franchise. For those of you who have not been exposed to the awesomeness that is Fate, well, think of it as a history lesson for otakus on crack, with a heavy dose of the supernatural thrown in.

In the setting, magicians vie for supremacy in Holy Grail Wars, with the ‘heroic spirits’ of famous persons from the past as their battle companions. These spirits are categorized loosely into RPG style archetypes like Archer, Assassin, Berserker, Caster, Lancer, Rider and Saber, and possess both mysterious powers and arcane relics (called Noble Phantasms) inspired by their real-world legends.

I could go on and on about the setting and all, but it’s really easier to just scoot over to the Type Moon Wiki for a quick look.

Say hello to Mr. Genderswapped Rin Tohsaka.

Say hello to Mr. Genderswapped Rin Tohsaka.

Now, on to the review.

Fate/Grand Order puts you in the role of a fresh recruit in Chaldea, an organization that oversees human history (it’s kinda like S.H.I.E.L.D., but with magic users).

Naturally, being the typical spiky-haired anime-style protagonist that you are, you quickly get embroiled in all sorts of trouble, and have to plunge through time to save the world.

Of course, as in all things Fate, the Master (that’s you) isn’t capable of going it alone since you know, people tend to die when they’re killed. That’s why you’re relegated to more of a support role, slinging heals and buffs while your Servants handle the heavy lifting.

Gameplay switches between a simple map-based navigation, VN style narration, and fights with some repetitive mooks and the occasional stage boss.

The navigation's pretty straightforward. I mean, you can't get more obvious than that.

The navigation’s pretty straightforward. I mean, you can’t get more obvious than that.

The story reads like a visual novel. Also, who woulda thunk your kouhai would be part-Heroic Spirit?

The story reads like a visual novel. Also, who woulda thunk your kouhai would be part-Heroic Spirit?

Attempting stages consumes AP (like any other mobile game), and naturally, you have to conquer stages to progress in the story.

Combat is simple and essentially a spin on the Rock, Paper, Scissors (and in this case also Lizard and Spock) system, coupled with match-3 elements.

You can check out how the Servant classes interact by clicking on Menu. You can also select Menu if you want to Flee the battle.

Check out how Servant classes interact by clicking on Menu. You can also select Menu if you want to Flee the battle.

Each Servant has a predetermined pool of color-coded cards determined by their class, which contain Arts (Blue), Buster (Red) and Quick (Green) moves.

Check out your Servant's status screen to find out what Attack cards he has.

Check out a Servant’s status screen to find out what attacks they possess. Building a team with good synergies can go a long way.

In a nutshell, Arts cards increase the Servant’s NP (Noble Phantasm) gauge, which allows them to pull off their special attacks, Buster cards inflict a large amount of physical damage, and Quick cards add to your Critical chance in the following round, allowing for bigger numbers on a successful hit.

Each round, the game pulls five cards, and after making tactical decisions such as using Servant abilities or Master buffs, you can lock in three of the five cards to form an attack chain.

Plan your moves before you hit the Attack button, because there's no way to go back. Luckily, the cards you're dealt each turn are displayed prominently.

Plan your moves before you hit the Attack button, because there’s no way to go back. Luckily, the cards you’re dealt each turn are displayed prominently.

Chaining the same type of moves can grant a stronger effect (a successful Arts chain fills the NP gauge of all Servants participating in that attack by 20%, for example), while chaining three attacks by the same Servant (by picking 3 similar portraits rather than move types) grants an extra attack. You can combine both move chains and Servant chains for even greater effect, but such occurrences tend to be rare.

Filling up a Servant’s Noble Phantasm gauge lets you use their special attack. These stronger moves also fall under the Arts, Buster, or Quick categories, so chain them strategically to take down difficult enemies.  Each Noble Phantasm activation also comes with animation and cut-ins, so Fate fanboys who’ve always wondered how some of these attacks look like, rejoice.

Darius III's Noble Phantasm - who doesn't want to be trampled by demonic elephants and hordes of undead?

Darius III’s Noble Phantasm – Athanaton Ten Thousand. Who doesn’t want to be trampled by elephanthulhu and hordes of the undead?

There are currently 59 Servants and 36 Mystic Codes (called Craft Essences in the game) to be collected, and rolling for them is done lottery style through the Grand Summon interface.

These Servants include fan favorites like Arturia, Cu Chulainn and Gilgamesh, as well as brand new ones created just for Grand Order. Nasuverse followers will also recognize Mystic Codes such as the Black Keys, the Kaleidoscope and Rin’s pendant in the Craft Essence pool.

You get a free low-tier summon each day, which may result in a 1-star, 2-star (or extremely rarely) 3-star unit or item. You can also make additional low-tier summons with Friend Points acquired from fighting alongsideton your contact list.

Spend more in-game currency, why don't you?

Making ten premium pulls with 40 Saint Quartz has a guaranteed chance for a 4-star unit or item, so spend more in-game currency, why don’t you?

Expending Saint Quartz (acquired through completing objectives and stages or through real money microtransactions), by comparison, guarantees a 3-star or higher unit.

The cost is fairly prohibitive though, and with the very iffy RNG system (I’ve been rolling more Craft Essences than I have Servants), you’re better off saving them till later when the game gets patched and things become a little more stable.

I-it's not like my Luck stat is E rank or anything right? Right? ><;;

These pulls. T_T I-it’s not like my Luck stat is E rank or anything right? Right? ><;;

Needless to say, this means that while the game has it going with the story, the biggest woes plaguing it right now are all design related.

Fights tend to be repetitive and lacking in variety, the recharge rate for AP is tediously slow (which reduces replay value), and Servant balance is questionable at best.

For example, I’ve pulled some really abysmal 4-star Servants, while most 5-star ones I’ve seen are insanely overpowered, with ridiculous parameters and abilities. 1-star and 2-star Servants, by comparison, are little better than chump blockers and the same disparity applies to Craft Essences as well.

She sure can pull off that dress, but seriously, most underwhelming 4-star unit ever.

Sure, she can pull off that dress, but seriously, most underwhelming 4-star unit ever.

This, of course, begs the question – could the game have been tested more rigorously before release? It’d have definitely mitigated the slew of QQing the devs are seeing on social media to say the least.

Fixing these problems in the first few weeks will be crucial, since player satisfaction and retention pretty much makes or breaks mobile games.

Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if this title manages to take off once the teething pains are over.

While the system lacks in polish, the game is faithful to, and builds upon, the source material. It documents several Holy Grail Wars that never made it onto the small screen, and that’s sure to whet any fan’s appetite. The art is generally pretty, the animation smooth, and the sheer number of new Servants makes for more story and waifu (or husbando) potential. 

Fate/Grand Order is currently gated for Japan (to keep us ignorant gaijin types out), but we all know dedicated fans will find a way. It’s also unlikely that there will ever be an English port, but the game’s intuitive enough that you can manage without knowledge of moon runes. 

Final Verdict: 3.5/5

For more information about the game, check out the Official Site at: http://www.fate-go.jp.

Heroes of the Storm Enters Open Beta, World Championship Announced

21 May , 2015,
Crimson
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If you’ve been following our recent adventures in the Nexus and have been itching to play, then you’ll be happy to know that Heroes of the Storm has officially gone into Open Beta!

What this means is that you’ll be able to log into Battle.net, download the game here, and instantly brawl to your hearts content with your favorite Blizzard heroes from Diablo, StarCraft, World of Warcraft and more!

We’ve had a great time with the game in the past half a year or so since we got into the Technical Alpha, and we’ve seen the game evolve with the feedback of testers and the community. It’s a great game that encourages teamwork through structured, map-based objectives, boasts a fun skill tree system reminiscent of Blizzard’s other franchises, and plenty of familiar faces for Blizzard fans.

We also appreciate how toxicity and baiting has been kept to a minimum thanks to systems Blizzard has put in place (though I’d still encourage players to get on the U.S. servers), and this makes the game incredibly friendly to new players who are totally unfamiliar with the team brawler genre.

For a more in-depth look at the game, check out the promo vid below:

Heroes of the Storm is also set to become a strong competitor in e-sports, with the Heroes of the Storm Southeast Asia (SEA) Championship organized by our friends at Asiasoft (more information can be found here).

Qualifiers will be held in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines, with the Regional Finals to be held on 8 August in Thailand. This tournament will see the winning team square off against others from around the globe at BlizzCon 2015 for a shot at the World Championship title.

Who's gonna make it to BlizzCon? We're also anxious to find out!

Who’s gonna make it to BlizzCon? We’re also anxious to find out!

This pretty much means that there’s gonna be a lot to look forward to with Heroes in the months to come so be sure to keep tabs on the Heroes of the Storm SEA Facebook Page for more updates!

Event Alert: Gundam Docks at Singapore

7 May , 2015,
Crimson
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Gundam Docks at Singapore - Image 1 (Photo credit © SOTSU・SUNRISE)

Photo credit © SOTSU・SUNRISE

If you’re a fan of the Gundam franchise, then you’re in for a treat.

Come June, Bandai Namco Asia and Takashima Department Store will be holding Gundam Docks at Singapore, a 4,000 sqm showcase featuring more than 200 Gundam plamo at Takashimaya Square, B2 and the Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza.

There will also be two 6 meter tall sculptures – Amuro Ray’s iconic RX-78-2 and Char’s Zaku (which goes three times faster) on display. These 1:3 scale statues are the centerpieces for a daily multimedia light show that will bring the dramatic conflict between the Principality of Zeon and the Earth Federation to life.

Collectors can also expect to purchase exclusive plamo kits from more than 10 stores in the Civic Plaza, and indulge in their love for Gundam.

Admission for the exhibition is free, and the exhibition will open from 10am to 9.30pm daily. For more updates and details on the exhibition, check out www.gundamdocks.sg.

 

REG in Singapore Vol. 9: More immersive than ever!

4 May , 2015,
Crimson
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If you’ve been following some of our posts about Real Escape Game in Singapore‘s events, then you’ll know we’re suckers for immersive reality games.

Vivid Creations and SCRAP, the creators of Real Escape Game in Japan, first teased their plans for an island-wide event sometime last year during the press preview for their Shingeki no Kyojin inspired REG, and we’re really glad to know that their latest adventure – Escape from the Conspiracy – will turn the entirety of Singapore’s downtown and heritage belt into a puzzle-lover’s playground!

Check out the trailer below:

Games will run every weekend in June 2015, and get this – there is no time limit! This means that you can play as long as you want and take as long as you want, so long as you’re done within the day.

If you’re interested, check out their ticketing information and website below:

Escape from The Conspiracy

VENUE: Singapore Art Museum (Briefing Location)

DATES: Every Saturday and Sunday in June 2015

TIME: 11:00, 12:00, 13:00 (Game Briefing)

TICKET PRICING:

Limited Early Bird (Single): $22 | Limited Early Bird (Group of 6): $120 | Standard Online (Single): $27 | Standard Online (Group of 6): $150 | At‐the‐door: $30 |
For block / corporate booking, please contact us at 6522‐0527 or shihui@vivid-creations.biz
Tickets are available on PEATIX platforms: http://reg-theconspiracy-day1.peatix.com (Day 1)
For updates and more information, visit our website: http://www.realegame.sg
• No time limit.
• All sessions are conducted in English.

Heroes of the Storm Open Beta announced

22 Apr , 2015,
Crimson
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HoS_Announce_976x250EN

If you’ve followed our work, then you know that we’re huge Blizzard fans. That’s why we’re super excited that Heroes of the Storm is finally going into OBT, and that’s news we wanna share.

Recently, Blizzard announced that the OBT is set for 20.05.15, with the official launch on June 3. We’ve also caught wind that AsiaSoft, the official HotS publisher for South East Asia has plenty of exciting activities planned to usher in this kick-ass team brawler.

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So in this throwback to Uldum, you’ve got to capture temples that shoot lasers at the enemy base.

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One thing we’ve enjoyed about the maps is how flavorful they are. Collecting skulls in the Haunted Mines gives you a pretty kickass NPC helper, for example.

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The meaner and uglier they look, the more fun they are to play. Azmodan’s a great pusher, for example.

Of course, we’ve been playing this game in between building costumes and running cons, and the most awesome thing about OBT is that there will be no further wipes. Any current progress or hero unlocks in the CBT will carry over to the OBT and post launch, which means no more grinding from 1 to 40 again or unlocking heroes and talents, folks.

We’ve had a ton of fun in the Alpha and CBT, and if you’d like to try your hand at a team brawler that’s fairly easy to get into and revisit some old friends from Blizzard’s kickass titles (there’s even The Lost Vikings, come on!), then Heroes of the Storm’s for you.

If you’d like to get an early start on Heroes before it goes into OBT, be sure to click on over to AsiaSoft’s Heroes portal to grab yourselves some Beta keys (note that this redemption is open to users in Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore only, with limited keys available daily).

We’ll see you folks in the Nexus!

Catching The Avengers: Age of Ultron with Subway Singapore

Apr , 2015,
Crimson
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The Subway brand has always been pretty forward looking with their marketing, having supported fashion shows, concerts and independent film makers. That’s why we weren’t surprised, and were even a little impressed when Subway Singapore decided to work the pop-culture angle.

Apart from releasing a hilarious TVC featuring their latest tuna bacon melt, the company also called upon fans to partake of an online contest to win tickets to The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Cosplayers were also invited to attend the screening in costume (kudos to the good folks at Here Be Geeks for making this happen), and all in all, this made for a pretty interesting evening.

Superfans and cosplayers mingled at the event area just before the screening.

Superfans and cosplayers mingling at the event area just before the screening.

We spotted some of our cosplay friends in the mix.

We spotted some of our awesome cosplay friends. Sadly, Ultron didn’t put in an appearance. 🙁

As for the movie proper, we’re going to give you the lowdown and hopefully keep it as spoiler-free as possible.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is the sequel to 2012’s big hit, and picks up following the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D. Tired of all the fighting and hoping to create a lasting peace, Iron Man Tony Stark decides to mess with powers beyond his ken and this leads to the creation Ultron, a sentient peace-keeping software.

The program soon runs-amok, and the team comprising Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Thor have to band together to stop him. Along the way they encounter Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch), and in true comic book fashion, the good guys eventually win but at great cost.

Needless to say, the movie is formulaic. It fits the mould of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies to a T and is laden with action, top-notch CGI and special effects (we especially loved the Hulkbuster moments). Hardcore comic book fans might notice that Ultron’s origin story deviates from the original, but that’s something I’d forgive considering everything else.

For an ensemble movie with such a large cast, Joss Whedon does a brilliant job of telling the story. The pacing, even if it’s a little forced at times, also kind of worked in his favor.

The film opens in-media-res with a massive raid on a Hydra base in Sokovia, and the action doesn’t really let up. That’s why I’m especially glad for the small pockets of peace and contemplation that take place between the fighting and explosions.

These scenes give more emphasis to characters like Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye (whom I’d like to call the most death-flagged character in MCU history), and helped develop the burgeoning romance between Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanov.

Fans of course can also expect easter eggs galore, and more than a few tie-ins to happenings in other franchises (such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D). There was plenty of foreshadowing as well, and we know for a fact that The Avengers are all set for The Infinity War when it releases in 2018.

Overall, it’s a great geek fix for this weekend.

If you haven’t yet, check out the trailer below:

REG Vol. 8: The Last Garden

9 Feb , 2015,
Crimson
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We’ve supported Real Escape Game in Singapore since it’s inception several years back, and they’ve never ceased to impress. Now into it’s 8th edition, they look set to wow us even further with The Last Garden, which appears to be their most ambitious adventure yet!

Promo image courtesy of Vivid Creations.

Promo image courtesy of Vivid Creations.

This time, the story revolves around a futuristic Singapore in the year 2065, and players are tasked with finding a legendary orb hidden in Gardens by the Bay to save humanity.

Unlike previous iterations, players have free range of Gardens by the Bay, and no time limit from the venue’s opening to closing to play and solve the puzzles. What’s more, the timing is near perfect for a perfect for geeky couples on the Valentine’s Day weekend, and there’s a couples promotion to make this a date with a difference.

We’re thinking of saving the date ourselves. If you’re a fan of Real Escape Games too, then this is definitely something to consider.

LAST GARDEN: Save Nature, Save Humanity

VENUE: GARDENS BY THE BAY
DATES: 13-22 FEB 2015
SESSION TIMINGS:
13-15 FEB 2015 | 20-22 FEB 2015: 11:00 – 20:00
16-19 FEB 2015: 15:00 – 20:00

TICKET PRICING: Limited Early Bird: $27* | Limited Couple Promo: $50* | Group Promo (buy 5 get 1 free): $165* | Standard Online: $33* | At‐the‐door: $35* | * Inclusive of ticket fee and entry fee to Flower Dome

For block / corporate booking, please contact 6522‐0527 or info@realegame.sg
Tickets are available on PEATIX platforms: http://lastgarden.peatix.com
For updates and more information, visit http://www.realegame.sg