pixarpediafeature

Welcome to the first in a new format of Sunday Suggestions, where instead of suggesting alternatives to products, I will be reviewing them. As it is Pixar week I have decided to review one of my favourite books when I was younger, Pixarpedia.

Pixarpedia Review Blog Blowfish

Details:

The Pixarpedia is a book dedicated to everything Pixar created by DK. DK like to produce books like this centered around different films, shows, and games. This book was written in 2009 and features all the films and shorts from before that date. They did do an updated version where they included Toy Story 3 and Cars 2. The book has 352 pages with 3 main divisions. These divisions are:

Forward – A  forward by Andrew Stanton, an introduction into the history of Pixar, a timeline, and how they make the films.

Movies.. – Dedicated to every Pixar film, character, and setting. Each character gets a write up with information about them, while each setting is explored and described.

…and Beyond – A few pages for each film including easter eggs, hidden details, fascinating facts, and staff interviews. It also includes an index of all terms mentioned throughout the book.

Content:

As a huge Pixar fan having a book full of every character you can think of, including non talking characters, is great. Each character has a description of them; with the more well-known characters having more written about them. I find the sheer breadth of characters astounding. The fact that the authors found time to write up descriptions on obscure characters is brilliant. Throughout the book there are various text boxes containing little snippets of info separated from the overall content. All the pictures and image have been taken straight from the films. In the Movies section all the characters are seen as the characters they were in the film, so for example, Hamm from Toy Story has info about his role in the film, a fact file containing his full name, occupation, and talents, as well as some plot points he was involved in. It is in the Behind the Scenes pages where they list the credits. Each film has it’s own style with different fonts, colours, and decals. The Behind the Scenes pages are very nice with some great facts and hidden details. They show where each A 113, hidden Mickey, and Pizza Planet truck appears in the films. The staff interviews are good too.

pixarpedia pages review Blog Blowfish
Example pages from Pixarpedia

Final Thoughts:

Pros:

A great book for any Pixar fan.

A good way to learn the different characters and their roles in the films.

The superb behind the scenes pages.

The insane amount of supporting characters.

Cons:

Maybe the main font could be nicer. (All I could think of)

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Pixar, character design, and animated films in general. It is a great reference book, which you will find you dip in and out of. I would give this fascinating book…

4.5/5

If you would like to buy this book it is available on Amazon UK.

 

 

nintendo blogs

Since I got my first ever Nintendo console, I have been a huge Nintendo fan. And now I have a Wii U it is good to keep up to date with all the Nintendo news. I find blogs are the best way, as they are regularly updated.In this Sunday’s Suggestions I hope to show you some great and informative Nintendo blogs.

My Nintendo News

My Nintendo News

My Nintendo News does exactly what it says on the tin. It supplies Nintendo news to its readers. Any bit of news concerning Nintendo whether it is a rumour, gossip, or hard fact, you can be sure it will be on here. The site also gives you a head up on any Nintendo deal that is worth your while. This is my go to for Nintendo News (duh) purely for the sheer amount they post.

Wii U Daily

wiiudaily

As I mentioned, I own a Wii U. So Wii U Daily is another obvious choice for my reading pleasure. Wii U Daily doesn’t post as much content as My Nintendo News, but in my opinion they add a bit more info and thought into their posts. They also do articles on topics, as well as just the news. A good choice for a more in-depth look at the Wii U in particular.

Nintendoblog

Nintendo Blog

The Nintendo Blog is a tumblr blog dedicated to all things Nintendo. The owner is called Devaughn, and he likes to post and reblog anything to do with Nintendo. He usually posts a little bit of news with some fan art and Nintendo humour thrown in.  Worth a look if you want a chuckle.

compilations

For each new gaming generation, the old one becomes obsolete; or so you would think. Retro gaming has received a surge in popularity with more and more people taking out their old childhood consoles and enjoying them again as they did when they were kids. With the love of retro gaming, has come game collections; games that contain more than one retro game. In this post I hope to suggest some great collections of games that you can still buy and play on relatively new consoles.

Midway Arcade Treasures

What can be more retro than arcade games? This great cd contains 24 Midway arcade games and was available on the Playstation 2 and Original Xbox. All of the games were originally arcade machines of which some of them were ported to other consoles. Of the games on here a couple stick out to me. Toobin is a classic game where you are a man on a rubber ring having to avoid different obstacles while cruising down a river. Another good pick is Paperboy, where you take the role of a paper boy delivering newspapers to your subscribers , while vandalising non subscribers homes. You should be able to pick up a copy of this compilation on Ebay or in a local charity shop really cheap.  Check out the 2nd and 3rd versions too.

Midway Arcade Treasures Cover
A Good Collection of Arcade Games
Paperboy
Average Paperboy Street
toobin
They see me Toobin

Rare Replay

Undoubtedly one of the best known and most successful publishers has to be Rare. They created some of the best games of the 90s including Banjo- Kazooie, Conkers Bad Fur Day, Battletoads, and Perfect Dark. So when in 2015, they launched Rare Replay, a collection of classic Rare games, on Xbox One, it was a large success. The Rare Replay featured 30 games all made by Rare over 25 years from 1983 to 2008. This disc is full of classics, so certainly worth a look if you like retro games. You can buy this from hundreds of retailers for around £20.00.

rare replay games
Not that Rare anymore

Sonic Mega Collection

As a massive Sonic the Hedgehog fan, I couldn’t miss this compilation off the list. It contains 7 classic Sonic games off the bat, with another 7 more obscure games you can unlock. You can play the classics Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, and Sonic and Knuckles as well as Sonic 3D blast and Sonic Spinball. This game was able to be found on the Gamecube, Playstation 2, Original Xbox, and the PC. You can find it cheap on Ebay on all of these platforms.

Sonic Mega Collection
Press Start for Fun
Sega Mega Collection
Sega Mega Collection Cover Art

NES Remix

Nintendo have been so good in the last few years at getting NES and SNES games onto their virtual consoles. But recently they took it a step further by creating a game that takes the old NES games and revitalises them for the new consoles. NES Remix makes you complete different challenges within the 16 games featured. The challenges could include speedruns, trying not to die in a level, or killing as many enemies as you can within a time limit. Some of the games remastered are Super Mario Bros, Excitebike, and The Legend of Zelda. This game is for the Wii U and 3DS and should be able to be found in any good game store and on the Nintendo eShop.

NES Remix Sprites
NES Remix
NES Remix Cover Arts
NES Remix Cover Art

feature

In 1974, a Hungarian gentleman by the name of Erno Rubik, created a cultural icon. Having sold over 350 million items, the Rubik’s Cube became the toy of the decade. Since it’s creation the cube has gained so much popularity within the puzzling world there are even World Championships held each year to see who can solve it the fastest. There have been many different kinds of cube from the normal 3x3x3 to 17x17x17, as well as many in different shapes like spheres, barrels, and crosses. This post will not include any of these variations, but other puzzles I think would challenge and delight any self respecting Rubik’s Cube fan.

Japanese Puzzle Box Fiendish

If you ask anyone who can solve a Rubik’s cube, you will find out that there are different moves that must be done to complete it.This puzzle box is the same. It has a series of 21 steps that must be followed to open it. These moves are obscure and subtle and would give anyone a challenge. Although the relatively high price, this quality item is definitely worth it. If you are interested you can buy it on ebay here.

Japanese Puzzle Box Fiendish
Japanese Puzzle Box Fiendish

Gordian’s Knot

The reason I feel this puzzle would appeal to a Rubik’s fan is first the colour scheme, and secondly the skill needed to complete the puzzle. When someone completes a Rubik’s cube, they will immediately mess it up and start again. With this puzzle, once you have taken apart the knot, it takes skill to get it back again. So like a cube, if you have memorised a solution you can do it again and again and impress your friends. If you would like to buy one you can find it on Amazon here.

Gordian's Knot Toy
Gordian’s Knot Toy

Oskar’s Maze

The reason I chose Oskar’s Cube was because of its cube shape and puzzle idea. With the Rubik’s Cube you must work on each side separately, but also as a whole cube. This puzzle is similar, the rods sticking out of the middle must be directed along the maze on each side, but moved along the maze on the other sides too. It takes patience and skill to get from the square to the circle and back again. Unfortunately, it is out of stock at the moment, but keep checking the website as it is certainly worth buying here.

Oskar's Maze
Oskar’s Maze

smm

Having picked up a copy of Mario the first day it came out (with added Amiibo) I have had some time to play the game. Game maker’s are not a new concept, but have rarely been released on consoles. As one of my hobbies is making games, I have experienced many of these game makers and put them to use. I hope to use my experiences in this post as I note games for fans of Mario Maker. I won’t be talking about Mario paint, mainly because Mario Maker is so similar you could almost call it a sequel.

Wario Ware DIY (Nintendo DS)

One of my favourite games, and should be yours too, Wario Ware DIY brings out your game designing ability in a fantastic way. If you don’t know of Wario Ware games, they are basically console games filled with mini-games usually around 10 seconds long that can be won by doing fun and interesting things. As you can probably tell, this game gives you the ability to make your own Wario Ware mini games. Although simple in idea, the tools that are given to you give you so much flexability that you could create almost any 2d mini game you can think of. You can create your own characters and objects, change the rules and win conditions, and also create your own music. The game is also full of other mini games created by the staff, as well as the option of creating your own comics too. If you enjoy Mario Maker, and would enjoy playing around with the rules and behaviours, this game is definitely for you.  Although not currently in production, you can still find them on ebay and in game stores for very low prices.

Wario Ware DIY
Some of the Creation Screens

Sploder (Online)

If you aren’t so confident with creating the rules and behaviours of a game, why not just play around with the objects! Sploder is an online game making service where you can make 1 of 5 styles of games: arcade, platformer, physics puzzle, shooter, or 3d. One thing that is very similar to Mario Maker is the ability just to click and drag the items you want into the scene where you want them. The different styles of games gives you different options depending on the item. You can find this tool at www.sploder.com.

Games Choice Sploder
The Game Choices of Sploder
Sploder platformer
Sploder Classic Arcade Game

Game Maker: Studio (Software, Windows)

If you really enjoy Mario Maker and are determined to create bigger and better games, Game Maker is for you. Game Maker is one of THE tools for creating 2d games with very little coding. You create rules and behaviours by choosing and changing the ones you need. You can add your own graphics made in external pieces of software and create characters and scenery from them. It should be easy to pick up if you have a little experience, but can be mastered as you go through resulting in some very good quality games. You can find a free version on the website, but you can splash out on the premium versions if you really want to take it seriously.

Game Maker Studio
Game Maker Studio

fifa16 Harry Kane

With the next generation of Fifa being launched this week on the 24th in Europe. I thought I would take the time to list some games that I believe any Fifa player would enjoy. For some years now I have been an avid Fifa player, much to the detriment of my other work, so I feel I should be able to appeal to the Fifa fans.

Jumpers for Goalposts 5

Having played many of the previous versions of Jumpers for Goalposts, I feel the 5th version brings all the great aspects of the previous games together. The premise of the game is the player takes on the life of a footballer. They learn all the different skills on the training field, and then get given offers from different teams around the world. You can try and work your way up the leagues either by getting your team promoted or by signing for bigger clubs. In each game you play you get different chances to score or contribute to a game like taking a penalty, completing a long pass, or scoring a volley. If you mess these chances up your team will lose, but if you score each one you will win and climb the table. The game isn’t just about football… you can hire and fire agents to help you get better teams, you can buy cars, home ,or assets, and you can even get a girlfriend! I think Fifa players will enjoy the career aspect of this game, but also enjoy the different extras a player can do. Can you bring your player from the lowest league to playing for their national team in the World Cup? You can play this great game at mousebreaker.

Jumpers for Goalposts 5
Me probably missing a free kick.

Power Soccer

Before I found Fifa, I actually played this a great deal. Power Soccer is 3D online multiplayer game you can play in your browser. One of the things I really liked about Power Soccer was the really cool customisation options; you could create your own club crest, change your kit, and also change the appearance of each of your players. I also really liked the shop features where you could buy extra customisation options as well as different goal celebrations. The tournaments and cups really added to the enjoyment allowing your team to show what they were made of. If you like the idea of Fifa, but can’t be bothered to play it on a games console, I would definitely recommend Power Soccer. You can play it here, but you do need to have a PC and not as Mac as you have to download an .exe file for it to run. It also can’t be played in Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

Power Soccer
I hope you fit in the criteria because it is a good game… trust me.

Big Win Soccer

Whether you love or hate FUT (Fifa Ultimate Team) you can’t deny its popularity with players and YouTubers. Big Win Soccer incorporates the FUT functions in this neat IOS and Android app. In this app you buy and sell different players based on their ratings. You can also add improvements to your players to help them win. This game is also reminiscent of Football Manager, as you don’t control the players you watch them play. The packs are similar to Fifa with bronze, silver, and gold packs that can be opened with the in-game currency. If you like Fifa Ultimate you will be used to this game’s mechanics, and with the charming aesthetic, I think you will find it an enjoyable app to play. You can download this app for free on IOS and Android.

Big Win Soccer
Create Your Own Dream Team!

monopoly

If you get involved in board gaming as a hobby, you soon realise that the mass-market games are somewhat frowned upon in the community. Games like Battleships, Life, and Monopoly don’t offer the challenge and gameplay that hobbyists enjoy. So I know what you are thinking “My favourite game is Monopoly!” As fun as some people find Monopoly, others really hate it, so in this list I hope to provide some better board games that incorporate particular aspects of Monopoly, but aren’t so well known, so that people won’t immediately say they don’t want to play.

Settlers of Catan

Although pretty well-known today, I feel Catan deserves a place on this list. This game is similar to Monopoly in a couple of crucial ways; trading and building. My favourite aspect of Monopoly is the ability to trade properties with other players to try and get a better portfolio. Settlers also encourages trading between players allowing them to swap their resources to help them build. The trading is more serious, however, when you take into account the fact that you may giving your opponent the very resources they need to beat you… so beware… an offer of 5 brick for a sheep is not a good deal. The building aspect of Settlers is also reminiscent of Monopoly. In Monopoly players are able to place houses and hotels in the properties they own by paying a particular amount of money to the bank. Once these properties are placed, you can gain extra money from each player that lands there. In Catan you also build properties and infrastructure; settlements, cities, and roads are the main pieces. A player must pay particular resource cards to build anyone of these items, but with these items brings more resources. For every number rolled joined to your settlement you gain one of that resource, while a city will give you double! As well as these mechanics, Catan adds exploration, risk, and skill that Monopoly can’t offer.

Settlers of Catan
Settlers Of Catan Board

Going, Going, Gone

One rule that is often contested among Monopoly players is the use of auctions. Some players enjoy the auctioning of the game’s properties, while others find it a needless hassle. It you personally love the madness of an in game auction, Going, Going, Gone is for you. In this game you all have to try and collect sets of valuable treasures from paintings to comics, much like collecting sets of properties in Monopoly. At the beginning of each round the treasure cards are placed near buckets. During the round the players drop their money into each pot and the person who has paid the most for each item wins it. These auctions would be fairly easy, but there is a time limit speeding it up. You must get your bids in as quick as possible or they won’t count and you could lose the treasure you really need. The auctions are even more frenzied than Monopoly ones.

going going gone board
The Board Game Cover
going going gone 2
The Components

 No Thanks

As all good Monopoly players know set collection is the aim of the game, and in No Thanks the aim is similar. In No Thanks the aim of the game is to get the lowest possible score at the end of the game. The cards are numbered from 3 to 35 and are stacked in the centre to be drawn by each player going round. Each card you collect adds that amount of points to your score. You will find that there are many cards you really don’t want to take so that is where the chips come in. Each player is given a particular amount of these chips which can be placed on a card that you don’t want. However, you could have used all your chips and have to take the next card. This is where set collection comes in. Each number that you get is added to you, but if you get a number higher or lower than that number it only counts as the lowest number. So if you have a 25 card and then pick up a 24 it will only count as a 24. Set collection is crucial to winning, very similar to Monopoly.

no thanks card game
Wanna play? No Thanks

wally

As a massive fan of Where’s Wally, or Where’s Waldo for the Americans, I find it hard seeing all the blatant copycats of Martin Handford’s classic series of books. Books like Where’s the Meerkat, Where’s Bin Laden, and Where’s Mo, all seem to be cash ins on the popularity of Where’s Wally. However this does not mean that there aren’t books that are good for fans of Wally. This week I chosen some books that I feel any fan of Wally would enjoy.

 Where’s Stig

This book takes the popular cast of BBC’s Top Gear and puts them in search it book form. I really like the art style of this book as it is reminiscent of eBoy, who create pixel art towns and cities. The book is as controversial as the tv show it is based on with the book containing elements of some of the outlandish trips and challenges. Like Where’s Wally, you must find the main character, the Stig, as well as the rest of the cast. Also like Wally, it contains fun word play and jokes that are found throughout. Although not for children, Where’s Stig would be a good search it book that adults can enjoy. The book can be found here.

Where's Stig
Where’s Stig Scene of the Studio

 

I Spy Books

I Spy are are a series of books containing scenes of different objects that must be found. These objects are set up in a fun and interesting way. The pages of the book contain a riddle of what you can find; some of the riddles are easy, while some need logical thinking. They even made video games where you wander around a place solving mysteries. I think a Where’s Wally fan would enjoy these books because they contain a lot of colour and require the reader to find objects.

I Spy Book
Scene from an I Spy Book

Look-alikes

The Look-alike books are so amazingly done, I defy anyone to look at them and not immediately take a second look to notice the detail. In these books every scene is made of household objects. All the scenes were built by Joan Steiner from everyday materials. At the back of the book you will see a list of every object used, but try to get as many items as you can before you peak. A Where’s Wally fan should enjoy finding each item, however small, in each scene. You can see a video about Joan and her work here, or you can buy her books here.

Look-alike General Store
Trumps General Store… Can you see the playing cards?

Bonus: Where’s Walle?

whereswalle

Adobe Illustrator Logo

Last week’s suggestions were alternatives to Photoshop, so this week’s are alternatives to Illustrator. Illustrator deals with vector graphics and is pretty much the industry standard for design and graphics. I have been using it for a few years now, but before I bought it I had to find alternatives. These alternatives are either free or cheap and do a great job as an Illustrator substitute.

Inkscape

This is by far the best substitute for Adobe Illustrator. It has all the same features that Illustrator has, and it also has another great feature… it is completely free! For anyone who wants to design logos or t shirts, but doesn’t want to shell out a chunk of change for Illustrator, Inkscape is for you. I used this for a while before getting Illustrator, so I know how similar they are. You can find this great piece of software here. If you need any assistance this youtube playlist by Derek Banas should teach you the basics. You can download Inkscape for Mac or PC!

Inkscape User Interface
One of the many great things you can do in Inkscape.

Pixelmator

I know I mentioned Pixelmator last week, but bear with me. As well as being a good photo editor, Pixelmator also can create vector images. If you open up Pixelmator and press Cmd > Shift > V to open up Vectormator. You can now add simple vector shapes to your images. This is by no means a full piece of vector software, but it is really handy to have there while you are editing your bitmap pictures. You can find out more about Pixelmator here.

Vectormator
Vectormator User Interface

YouiDraw

This great online app is a simple way of creating logos, drawings, or paintings. It is the logo designer that can be used as a vector image creator. You can start of with any number of vector templates or you can start from scratch. The different tools offered to you make it a cheap and easy to use app that can be accessed online. The tools work as you would expect them and produce pleasing results. You can find YouiDraw online here.

youi draw vector
Logo Designer by Youi

What should I suggest next week?

minecraft_2

Since I have been playing Minecraft since Beta 1.4 or something like that, I have come to know the game pretty well. So for this week’s suggestion Sunday I think I will suggest some games that people who play Minecraft will enjoy. This list won’t be full of Minecraft clones. but games I feel take some of the best features of Minecraft and run with it.

Minecraft Skins
Selection of Minecraft Characters

Little Alchemy

This takes the crafting side of Minecraft to a new level. You start with the 4 elements: fire, wind, earth ,and water. With these four elements you can make 550 items ranging from villages to tyrannosaurus-rex by combining two items together to create a new item. You simply drag and drop one item onto another to combine them together. You can only combine the two items at a time, but once you have created that item you can find it again in the menu to the right. An item that is underlined can’t be combined any more and is the most complete element it can be. Each item combination works logically for example water and lava go together to form obsidian much like in Minecraft. I think any fan of Minecraft will enjoy discovering what each item does and how to create new elements. You can play the game here. Or if you need help this website will give you a random combination as a hint.

Little Alchemy
550 Items to Make

Gnomoria

Aesthetically, this game is similar to Minecraft; the world is pixelated and has singe isometric blocks that build mountains and scenery. The main point of Gnomoria is to guide your gnomes to create different items that will help them build their world. You direct the gnomes to do different tasks like mining, woodwork, or defence. You have to build up your town using the different materials that you gnomes collect. You can also set up defences around your town to avoid a battle with goblins, by training your gnomes to fight in the army. The better your town is the more gnomes you will get join you. You can buy the game here. Rather than drone on, it would be better if you check out this video.

Gnomoria
A Roof Over Your Gnome’s Heads

 Lego Worlds

Without much fanfare, Lego World launched earlier this year on Steam. It has been billed Lego Minecraft, but personally I think it goes further than that. While Minecraft has blocks, Lego Worlds has bricks. These bricks are exact representations of their real life counterparts and give much more variety in building compared to the standard blocks in Minecraft. Both games have interesting mobs; Minecraft has endermen, creepers, and silverfish and Lego Worlds has polar bears, eagles, and camels. Lego Worlds have vast expansive worlds to explore with many different biome much like Minecraft. The one thing I think Lego Worlds has beaten Minecraft on is the building. Lego is a building toy so creating it in a game gives people endless opportunities. To be able to build a great castle and then walk around it is fantastic for any fan of Lego. As much I love Minecraft I hope Lego Worlds does just as well, and I am sure with the popularity of Lego it will be successful. You can buy this game on Steam here.

Lego Worlds Mining Machine
Mining Machine
LEGO Worlds Mushroom Biome
Mushroom Biome