Saturday, June 28, 2014

Finally Xilva!

Several years back when Andy wrote the first few scripts for Midieville they looked much different than anything we have on the website.  The stories were meant to be full 10-20 minute animated adventures following a trio of creatures sent on quests by the king.  Those three adventurers were: Marvin the blue wizard, Gidju the dragon and Xilva the elf.  Though when we started making the Midieville shorts they were mostly just a way for us to cut our teeth in animation and served as tests for things we wanted to try out.  For logistical reasons, the lovely Xilva was cut from those and we just never found a good story point to add her into the fray... until now.

Now that we're taking the world of Midieville and putting it in our upcoming Nintendo Wii U game, Of Mages & Pages, Xilva has a place in the land of Midieville once more.  So, I present to you a peek at one of the oldest and most neglected characters from the 3twins wheelhouse, Xilva the elf.  This concept drawing comes from S. LaDon Ware.  Xilva will be joining our heroes at some point in the game and finally take her place next to Marvin and Gidju!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cult Games (Part Deux)

So what makes a game a 'cult classic'?
One of the most basic of these elements is an ability to relate to the hero(ine). This can be as simple as the character you’re playing is funny and likable (an plumber in red overalls) or as complex as it becoming an extension of yourself (a silent scientist in a hazmat suit). You care about the character and what succeed along with them.
The second element is they have to do something and it has to matter enough to motivate your character, and you to keep playing. Hack up robots with a lasersword- yawn. Hack up robots with your lightsaber as you learn the ways of the Force and save the galaxy- now we’re talking! Action goes part of the way, but having to reason to act takes it further.

The third element in conflict or challenge; something or someone the hero has to overcome to achieve their goal. This often involves great risk to your character, up to and including ‘death’.  Sometimes the obstacle is a benign as naughty green pigs trying to steal your eggs or as dangerous an evil AI that promises you cake while trying inventing new more deadly traps for you to overcome. Anything worth doing is work taking a risk for; thankfully in video games you get multiple chances. ;)

Unlike other mediums of storytelling video games have the ability to make you an active, not passive, part of the experience.

Just like this guy:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


You know you loved it when Tony Stark ended his press conference at the end of Iron Man with “I am Iron Man.” Just a simple one line wrap-up avoided confusion, potential lies, and concern over secret identities. I would like to be able to say “I am Batman.” I am not.
As a kid, Adam West was Bruce Wayne to me. I was born at the right (or wrong) time to accept Batman as a campy and fun superhero that took up the challenges of fighting campy super villains, getting in an impossible escape situation, managing to escape despite that fact, and proving weekly (same bat time) that good will always triumph over evil. I was at the right age to appreciate that lesson, and there will always be a part of me that wants it that way.
As an adult, I enjoyed the darker Dark Knight from Tim Burton’s vision to Frank Miller and beyond. That is the hero I would like to be as long as I could rise above the temptation to turn to crime. Sure it would be cool to have the arsenal of super powers others have (everyone wants to fly, right?), but isn’t it somehow much cooler to be able to hang with those elite heroes without any special abilities beyond those you have achieved through discipline alone?
Imagine your escape!
                                                                                                                        ~ Chuck

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Superhero for a Day

In honor of my oldest son's birthday, today's post touches on the innocence of a child's imagination. It came to my attention that my four-year-old wants nothing more than to be a super hero when he grows up. He believes that Gotham City is a real place, that Clark Kent is somewhere out there disguised, and that monsters actually can creep from under his bed in the night. To think of such a innocent mentality might sound silly or childish. But that's the point, in fact, all of us at have to dig deep down to find that creative mindset.

You may be able to recall a time in your life, even if it's many years ago, where everything was worry free, full of milk and cookies. And the worst thing you had to face was a skinned knee. The days when playing outside until the sun hit the hills, and you heard your named called name across the neighborhood ringing in dinner time. Believe it or not, video games were a luxury rather than a pastime. For some of us, video games were not even a possibility yet!

In today's day and age, playing outside until dusk isn't even a reality anymore because of the long list of parental worries. Working that nine to five grind can also make it exhausting to take the kiddos outside, to the park or for a bike ride. It is important though, to take the time to embrace that inner hero inside your heart. Kids are only kids for so long, after all. Whether you are a parent now, plan to be soon, or not even considering it at the moment; it is important to remember to dust off your super cape and put it back on for old time's sake. Be a super hero for the day, or be one forever, the choice is yours and yours alone!

If you could be a superhero for a day, who would you be?

Photo courtesy of Rodgers Photography of Grand Junction, CO

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Story of my Oar's Bite

Hello All, Naaj the Red Witch here again! I know you have you been waiting a long time to hear the rest of the tale of the "bitten oar." As I was touring with the fairies on my new found enchanted oar. We decided to take a detour through the wonderful and intriguing Magenta forest!  Why you ask?!

Have you ever flown with fairies before? Well their wings can do the most amazing things to the clouds! As we made our way the clouds were disrupted and a peculiar thing happened. I felt the most forceful chomp on what could have been more than just my oar. WHAT! A sky shark must have been hunting in the area and saw the commotion of the clouds similar to ripples on the water and charged at the biggest thing he could find, ME!

I gotta go, Anell is calling for me, that spoiled brat. Next time I'll tell you what happened to that shark!

~ Naaj

Monday, June 16, 2014

E3 excitement

Last week was E3 and like always there were some awesome gaming announcements.  One of the new games coming to the Wii-U that has really excited me was presented as "Mario Maker."  This game should be released in 2015, but take a look at this video for how awesome this will be!!!   I can't wait!


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Video Game Storyboard Designer

In one of my earlier blogs I touched based on storyboard artists and there importance in the entertainment industry. Today ‘s post is focused on video game storyboard designer's role. The average income for this position averages between 65 to 70k a year but experience is a big determining factor in pay. In short the designers role can range from short quick sketches to detailed, either on paper or computer. These sketch out the entire visual workings of the game play, levels and characters and it is the game designers and artist job to weave these rough sketches into the final project. This is just a brief highlight of the many important functions that fall under this title. Above is an example of what a storyboard sketch looks like (Spiderman, Keith Tucker - Cartoonist).


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cult Games

It’s said that video games are going to surpass other methods of mass entertainment in the early 21st century. So will video games ever become as common an experience as listening to the radio, watching TV, or going to the movies?  Chances are good as more designers understand that story-driven games are a prime motivator, not just an afterthought.

Think of some of best games you’ve ever played- did they have characters, places, and plots you could relate to?  More than likely that’s the case. Getting people to play a game is easy, make it accessible to them. Getting people to keep playing over and over and want more after they’re done takes the elements of storytelling that best-sellers and cult favorites are known for.

What are some of your favorite cult games, and what is it about them that keeps you coming back?


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Superhero Genre Has Come A Long Way

I’ve been re-watching the X-Men movies this week in anticipation of finally going to see X-Men: Day of Future Past. It’s hard to believe that 14 years have gone by since the original X-Men first hit theaters, and a lot has changed in the genre since then. Prior to X-Men, few superhero films experienced very much critical or box-office success. And especially thanks to the campiness of the Joel Schumacher Batman films, few thought that anyone would take superhero movies very seriously. And only the die-hard fans questioned 20th Century Fox’s decision to tone-down some of the comic elements in X-Men, most notably forgoing colorful spandex suits in favor of black-leather costumes – a fact that Cyclops even jokes about just before the movie’s climax.

But I think X-Men’s attempt to appeal to a more mainstream audience ultimately succeeded and paved the way for a slew of superhero movies in the years to follow. And as the genre grew, it seems that the general public’s acceptance of all aspects of superheroes did as well. We now have two Spider-Man franchises where his blue and red suit is no issue at all. And the masses flocked to see The Avengers without batting an eye at watching a massive battle against an alien army. If only we hadn’t rolled our eyes to such things back in 2000!

But now that it’s acceptable for superheroes to exist on screen just as they do in the comics, isn’t it time that we saw Wolverine in his iconic yellow and blue (or brown and tan) costume? Oh wait – maybe that does pop up in X-Men: Day of Future Past! Don’t spoil it for me!

Until next time,


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Shark House Concept

Today I decided to share with you all a really cool concept image that I received from S. LaDon Ware last week.  This concept features The Red Witch Naaj's house made out of a sky shark.  This image or one similar to it will be featured in our second DLC after the game releases!

That's right, our game, Of Mages & Pages: Teento's Revenge coming out on the Nintendo Wii U will have DLC (or as Nintendo calls it "Add On Content").  What will the DLC offer?  Well, for now I'm going to leave that under our hat, but you can expect it to be extremely worth it! 

I know I personally am quite hesitant with spending extra money on DLC unless I feel it greatly adds to a game.  That is the approach we are taking with our DLC.  But more on that later!  For now, just take a look at the cool shark house to get another feel for the world of Midieville featured in our game!


Friday, June 6, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past!

Greetings All,
Went out to Denver two weeks ago for my Daughter's graduation and that weekend she and i saw "X-Men: Days of Future Past".  We really enjoyed this outing into the X-Men Universe and as the credits were rolling the first thing out of my mouth  was "Welcome back Bryan Singer!"  After the X-3 debacle, it was good to finally see some semblance of normalcy (as much as You can have with a movie adaptation) returned to the world of Our favorite mutants...plot holes not withstanding.  It was nice to care about these characters again after the mess that Brett "The Rat" Rattner made of X3 and the disappointment that was "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."  The healing process that began with "The Wolverine" came into full fruition (IMHO) with DOFP, and I for one am ecstatic about it!  If You haven't seen it, invest a warm Saturday afternoon in a cool movie theater, a $15.00 bag of popcorn, and remember why You first fell in love with Charles Xavier's School of Gifted Youngsters and The rest of the Mutanfold.  Here's to hoping You will be delighted as I was.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Denver Comic Con

Next weekend June 13-15 marks Denver's Comic Con extravaganza. The tickets are nearly sold out, and last year the lines were reported to be hours long with some fans being turned away due to overcrowding.  Last year the attendance doubled with over 60,000 fans! (From My advice is get your ticket now , if you haven't already, and be prepared for the lines. Well worth the wait, of course!

The list of special guest appearances is stellar. A couple of my favorites coming to Denver this year are Lou Ferrigno (Hulk), Chandler Riggs (Carl from Walking Dead), and Michael Rooker (Merle from Walking Dead). Some of the planned events include Sci-Fi speed dating, you know in case you want to find the love of your life! Of course, the Hall of Games/ Toy maker's Guild will be featuring their showcase. The Vector Lounge will have all of your favorite classic video games and pinball machines. Let us know, will you be heading to the Denver Comic Con, or another one?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Graphic novels vs. comics

I came late to the comic book world.  Oh sure, I read comics when I was a kid, but they were usually in the Sunday paper.  One strip at a time.  Peanuts, Marmaduke, Wizard of Id, that kind of thing.  I think the first real comic book I read was Teen Titans or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, back in 1986, when my roommate gave me one to read.  Being an independent kind of guy I gravitated towards the obscure and picked up Xenozoic Tales-Cadillacs and Dinosaurs.  I never really wanted to get into the mainstream world of DC or Marvel.  Now that all these superhero movies are coming out, I am really enjoying some of the classics.  Spider-man, Avengers, Green Lantern, etc.  Now I keep hearing about Graphic Novels, WHAT?  The first time I had heard of these it was simply a comic book with no words.  Just pictures and you used your own imagination to fill in the story behind all of the pictures.  Has something changed in this genre?  Did they start adding words or was my first experience with Graphic Novels a fluke.  What exactly is he difference between and Graphic Novel and a traditional comic book?  What do you prefer and why?  


Confused in Comic Land