January 30, 2012

Game of Thrones: Season 2 Trailer Online

HBO has finally released a trailer with fresh scenes from the upcoming second season of Game of Thrones, which will continue the adaptation of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire saga and focus on his second novel in the series, A Clash of Kings.

Fans can enjoy a few moments of the beloved Daenerys and Jon Snow, plus some glimpses of the new characters Brienne, Melisandre, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Cressen and Margery Tyrell, and we also get a preview of all the sweet little conversations following between Tyrion and Varys.

I have no doubt they'll move the series along without the slightest loss in quality compared to the highly acclaimed first season, and I can't wait for the premiere.

Game of Thrones' new season kicks off on Sunday, April 1.

Game of Thrones – Season 2 Shadow Trailer

via SpoilerTV

January 28, 2012

Alcatraz - The 63s Trading Card Archive

The new FOX show Alcatraz has just started into its first season, and while the reviews of the first few episodes were rather mixed and criticize the often lazy writing and seemingly overall lack of direction, I really enjoy the show so far – not only for Hurley Jorge Garcia, of course. Sarah Jones is also hot, after all ;D

Alcatraz features a new escapee-of-the-week with every episode, and the showrunners already talked about how they believed that everyone would find their own favorite villain of the show, just like you had your own favorite trading cards back in the days.

True, they picked some charismatic faces for their first foes, like the enigmatic and creepy-as-hell Michael Eklund, who appeared in Fringe and Supernatural among so much other stuff. I bet it won't take all too long for Mark Pellegrino to show up as one of the reappearing inmates – that awesome dude plays a major role in almost any TV show I like.

So, I was bored last night and thought, why not make an overview website for all the Alcatraz creeps of the week? You can find the page here: Alcatraz – The 63s

I'm happy about every sort of feedback or scoop to update the list! Just drop me a comment or email.

January 26, 2012

Debut Trailer for Anime RPG Toki to Eien Released, Looks Gorgeous

Bandai Namco Games has released the official debut trailer for Imageepoch's upcoming RPG sensation Toki to Eien: Tokitowa, or Time and Eternity, as it will probably be called overseas, and it looks pretty awesome!

Imageepoch, who have risen to popularity with their Nintendo DS hits 7th Dragon and the Luminous Arc series, teamed up with anime studio Satelight (Macross Frontier) and Taiwanese illustrator VOFAN for Time and Eternity, which was announced as the "first HD-animated RPG," meaning that even the regular gameplay feels as if you're watching an anime. And the few short in-game scenes in the trailer look absolutely gorgeous indeed.

Now they only have to present an engaging story. A snippet from the description of the YouTube clip below reads as follows:

The game revolves around an 18-year-old knight, played by Tsubasa Yonaga. The knight is about to marry the Kamuza Kingdom's 16-year-old sorcerer princess named Toki, played by Kana Hanazawa. However, Toki learns from a fortuneteller that someone will attack the two during their wedding ceremony.

Check out the beautiful fresh trailer below, even if the gameplay elements are sort of rushing by way too fast:

Toki to Eien: Tokitowa – Debut Trailer

via Sankaku Complex

January 25, 2012

10 More Great Games for Your Android (Part 5)

Hey there, it's 2012 – as if you didn't know by now – and it's been a while since my last list of Android recommendations. So I guess it's time for a new compilation of some of the more recent Android games I've been playing recently – enjoy!

Earlier lists:

Bloons TD 4

Developer: Digital Goldfish Ltd
Price: $2.99

Bloons TD 4 is short and stylish for "Balloons Tower Defense 4", and that's what it is: a classic tower defense game where you have to pop balloons of different sorts. You can also play this one on your computer for free over at NinjaKiwi, by the way, and they have also released the fifth installment already. In Bloons TD 4, you can choose from a lot of different towers and things to defend yourself against the hordes of balloons, such like spike traps, cannons, and even ships and airplanes (which can reveal those sneaky camouflage bloons). If you win enough levels and gold medals, some bonuses are unlocked to make your life easier during the more difficult levels – and they're much needed: While you may be safe with a certain strategy in the beginning, the later levels are quite a challenge!

January 22, 2012

Resident Evil 6 Revealed, Reactions Differ

Capcom have revealed Resident Evil 6 and the fanbase is not so sure yet about whether it's a really cool, new thing to look forward to, or why it's just barely Resident Evil anymore.

While the fresh announcement trailer admittedly looks like a fun adventure to blast your characters through, the series certainly isn't going back to good old Resident Evil 4 creepiness, but instead looks more expensive, explosive and polished with each new outfit.

Check out the trailer below and decide for yourself, and if you're thirsty for more, visit PC Games for some new image material.

Resident Evil 6 – Announcement Trailer

Oh...and um, that logo...

January 21, 2012

Lifelike Beavis & Butt-Head Sculptures

Make-up artist Kevin Kirkpatrick, who just worked on the two upcoming movies about two pretty different Abraham Lincoln characters, seems to be a fan of Beavis and Butt-Head, since he crafted two amazing, frightening real-life sculptures of the cult show's metalheads for this weekend's Conjoined 2 art show in Los Angeles:

I started from scratch 2 and a half weeks ago. I'm very tired, but very happy. Special thanks to Nicole Michaud for the beautiful hairwork, and Jason James for help with the molds.

click for more in Kevin's Facebook gallery

Made of silicone, acrylic eyes and teeth, and human hair, those guys are as lifelike as I could imagine them to be, and Beavis' face might even haunt you in your dreams.

If you're in the mood for some more incoming nightmares, check out the older, but also pretty awesome and super-creepy untooned Homer Simpson by pixeloo, who also did Stewie Griffin already.

via Nerdcore

January 19, 2012

U.S. Justice Shuts Down Megaupload

This week's big WTF! goes out to all the surprising drops of news concerning the mega-popular online file-sharing service Megaupload, and hip hop producer Swizz Beatz, who was outed as CEO of Megaupload yesterday.

That guy must have earned way more money than I thought, but that's not even the stunning piece of news right there: Only today, the U.S. Justice Department got together and spontaneously went rampant like The Hulk on Megaupload, shutting down the website and arresting the founders, among them the notorious and repeatedly convicted German Kim "Dotcom" Schmitz.

It's funny and sad at the same time how even Wikipedia already talks about Megaupload in the past tense, while half of the file-sharing internet community is probably ripping out their eyes in disbelief right now.

The way I read it, they didn't even give the Megaupload guys a chance to respond to any accusations, and we're mighty interested in how this whole thing is going to evolve.

Edit – Well, that didn't take long: Anonymous retaliates.

Luna Sea: New Single Coming in March!

J-rock fansites are going mad, official homepages and announcements are in constant overload, and all this because Luna Sea just revealed the meaning behind their mysterious website countdown: A new single will come out on March 21!

That's great news, of course, since the band is one of the most renowned and popular rock bands from Japan. The yet untitled single will be their first release since "Love Song", which was released way back in November 2000, if you leave last year's Japan charity song out of the equation.

You can find more information on the official Luna Sea Facebook page, just don't be surprised about the numerous editions – they know their fans will pay the price anyway.

January 16, 2012

Premiere Day for J. J. Abrams' Alcatraz

Hurley fans rejoice: The time has come for the premiere of the latest show produced by J. J. Abrams, Alcatraz. Created by Lost and Deadwood producer Elizabeth Sarnoff among others and starring Lost joker Jorge García, the show is heavily and especially anticipated by...you guessed it: Lost fans like me.

So, what is Alcatraz all about? Let me tell you via Wikipedia, or simply watch the preview trailer below:

When San Francisco Police Department Det. Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) is assigned to a grisly homicide case, a fingerprint leads her to Jack Sylvane (Jeffrey Pierce), a former Alcatraz Island prisoner who died decades ago. [...] Madsen's interest is immediately piqued, and once an enigmatic, knows-everything-but-tells-nothing government agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) tries to impede her investigation, she is doggedly committed.

Madsen turns to Alcatraz expert and comic book enthusiast Dr. Diego "Doc" Soto (Jorge Garcia) to piece together the inexplicable sequence of events. The twosome discovers that Sylvane is not only alive, but he is loose on the streets of San Francisco, leaving bodies in his wake. And strangely, he has not aged a day since he was in Alcatraz, when the prison was ruled by the iron-fisted Warden Edwin James (Jonny Coyne) and the merciless Associate Warden E.B. Tiller (Jason Butler Harner).

Alcatraz – Official Trailer

While I'm still a little reluctant to hype my own expectations for the show, I'm certainly looking forward to the pilot tonight.

2 Broke Girls: Fuck Yeah Kat Dennings!

I'm just started watching 2 Broke Girls a few days ago, the new comedy series with Kat Dennings (Darcy from Thor) and Beth Behrs as the eponymous two ladies with no money. What's the big deal, you ask, and you're right – it's certainly not the funniest or best comedy I've ever seen, and it's actually rather crappy at times.

But...I can't tell you how much I've fallen in love with Kat Dennings after only a few scenes. She's easily the star of the show, acting the shit out of her character and delivering her punchlines in such an adorably dry and lovely way that you have to smile even if it's just the next lousy vagina joke in the script. Just her character is reason enough to spend a few minutes of your week with this show.

Check out the opening scene with Max at her best:

2 Broke Girls – Opening Scene

Did Lana Del Rey Blow Her Cover on SNL?

The internet has found a new focus to hate on, and this time shit hit indie starlet Lana Del Rey, who performed her breakthrough hits "Blue Jeans" and "Video Games" live on TV for the first time during last Saturday's Saturday Night Live.

Over the last few months, voices all around the web got louder that Del Rey allegedly was more of a viral internet sensation made to sell than an actual authentic and self-made talent who rose to stardom all by herself, and indeed it's quite baffling how much hype the 25-year-old generated with her debut single alone.

Now, while Del Rey's performance on SNL really wasn't awesome or outrageously brilliant, I have certainly seen much bigger stars delivering much worse shows. It's still a bit sad to see her underwhelm everyone like that, but feel free to judge for yourself:

Lana Del Rey – "Blue Jeans" (Live on SNL)

Del Rey's debut album "Born to Die" will be released on January 31, by the way.

via ame & CraveOnline

January 14, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises: Trilogy Closure Curse Incoming?

There's quite a buzz and demand right now for John Couture's VideoETA post where he's musing about why The Dark Knight Rises is destined to fail.

Besides stating quite some facts where I'm compelled to agree with him, the post includes the following awesome and pretty much spot-on infographic by Dan Meth:

The Trilogy Meter by Dan Meth

While Dan might be dead wrong about his Indiana Jones trilogy rating or the popularity and quality of The Dark Knight, the overall message of the image pretty much speaks the truth: most third parts are pretty bad. Let's just hope we don't put our faith in Nolan for nothing! =)

First Super-Boring 007: Skyfall Image Appears

If there's one thing all those countless media blogs are currently guilty of, it's posting this utterly uninteresting picture of Daniel Craig from the upcoming new James Bond movie Skyfall and praising it as the most fantastic awesomest thing out there right now. My source even called it a "stunning shot" – lol.

Naturally, they're just doing it for the clicks. As am I.

Heh! By the way, here is what IMDb says about the plot of the new movie:

Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Awesome. Uhm well...but please check out Daniel Craig staring pensively at the edge of a swimming pool at night, while you continue waiting for some more exciting visuals about the upcoming latest installment of the 007 franchise:

"Holy smokes, this is going to be the best Bond movie ever!"

via Empire Online

IAmTheRain: Best Of Coming Valentine's Day, Song Selection Sheet Leaked

David Händel's former solo project IAmTheRain may have been declared dead after the release of last December's Christmas surprise album "Impressions Of Depression", but there's still one more thing fans can look forward to before the new project ProximaShines takes off and Händel quits IAmTheRain once and for all.

As we reported earlier, Händel once planned to release two more albums to complete his IAmTheRain streak – a Best Of album and a collection of remastered classic songs recorded prior to the inception of IAmTheRain. The latter release is still happily floating in limbo, but we finally received some new information concerning the now expanded Best Of album, which will be released on Valentine's Day this year.

Instead of the 20 previously submitted songs, a leaked tracklist sheet includes a whopping 34 (!) songs spread over three CDs, which feature even more than the five earlier announced unreleased songs (including "Passenger 41" below) – there's a whole bonus disc with 14 additional unreleased songs in the current line-up.

IAmTheRain – "Passenger 41"

The 14 bonus tracks include the long-anticipated regular edit of the once 32-minute-long epic "What Does It Mean?" as well as full versions of the former intro "Disastre Digital" and the B-side "The Longing", songs which didn't make the final cut for the latest new album like "Gauge" and "Unknown Sympathy", and a lot of demo and studio live recordings of several never-before heard and probably never really finished songs.

Promising a whole lot of precious music for all IAmTheRain fans out there, the Best Of collection will also feature thoroughly remastered versions of almost all the songs on the first two discs. I'm already more than fond of the package in its current state, so keep your eyes open and check out the tentative tracklist for the whole thing on the leaked sheet image below – just know that I can't promise that this isn't only a pool of songs available for the collection and not the final selection at all. An * asterisk indicates previously unreleased songs, by the way.

Leaked IAmTheRain Best Of Album Tracklist Sheet

January 12, 2012

Indie Games You Have to Play: Dawn's Light

Over a month ago, I recommended John Wizard's great Lilly & Sasha trilogy in one of my "Indie Games You Have to Play" episodes. After sort of falling into a heavy retro RPG addiction, I went to check John Wizard's portfolio again and found even more games by Australian indie developer Daniel Newey and his partner in crime Andrew [last name unknown to me].

Dawn's Light was actually the first RPG Maker VX game Newey created under his John Wizard moniker, and it's another great example of exciting retro role-playing in the finest SNES tradition. I already played through the first part and just started Dawn's Light 2 a few weeks ago, and I'm still baffled by the professional game design, which relies on funny quests, hilarious characters, a cool story, and many exciting locations instead of the usual repetitive grinding.

I can only recommend these games to you; they're affordable and will certainly warm your heart with nostalgic goodness. And Newey wasn't lazy at all – he even made two short Christmas special episodes with the characters from Dawn's Light, namely A Christmas Tale and Another Christmas Tale, both of which are free and fun.

Head over to John Wizard Games to grab the games, and if you want to know more about Daniel Newey, check out this interview with him at Gamezebo, and just below you'll find the trailer for Dawn's Light 2.

Dawn's Light 2 – Official Trailer

Cliffbuzz Code Optimized, Loading Faster Now!

I like my blog and wanted to keep it that way, which is why I took up some reworking behind the scenes, optimized the chunky Blogger template code a bit and added a few things. First of all I wanted to improve the load time of the blog, which was always rather bad and sometimes made your browser stop in the middle of everything, just because there was some assy JavaScript loading itself to death somewhere.

So, I took a look at the (already heavily modified) template and also used GTMetrix to help me find some of the weak points. Some of the things I changed, removed and added:

  • Stripped a lot of unnecessary CSS, moved inline styles to the head, and optimized the markup
  • Removed laggy JavaScript like the Facebook Like Box to the upper right (now it's just a button linking to my Cliffbuzz Facebook page)
  • Replaced the DISQUS combo widget to the right with a recent comments-only widget
  • Added some SEO-related stuff like meta tags and page-relevant information
  • Added some share buttons, so you can now share posts on Reddit, tumblr, Digg and Google+ as well or bookmark them at delicious
  • Removed some unnecessary queries and redirects
  • Changed some font stuff and minor layout details
  • Hid some of the comment and backlink stuff no one needed
  • Removed a lot of Blogger's if-includes which were not relevant for the site
  • Added new buttons to my social profiles and a new logo!

I still have to optimize the somewhat weirdly formatted post footer (not speed-relevant, just to optimize compatibility), but at least the Buzz loads a lot faster now – on my own machines, that is, and I hope on yours too!

If you have some recommendations or feedback, I'd love to hear it! Leave a comment if there's anything you'd like to add =)

Dir en grey: Remastered "Uroboros" Turns Out Fine

Japanese metalcore heroes Dir en grey have just re-released their 2008 album "Uroboros", after producer Tue Madsen remastered the hell out of it. Apparently unsatisfied with the original mix of the album, the band chose Madsen for the task, who also did the mastering for their latest album, 2011's "Dum Spiro Spero".

Now while you can still love the original "Uroboros", you have to admit that the often muddled mix and tinny, weak drums took away from some of the joy of the heavy and experimental songs. So, did Madsen's effort help the sound of the album? Oh, but yes!

The remastered songs mostly profit from the work that was done and now feature much more punch behind the drums, easily noticeable if you just compare the sound of Shinya's snare hits, for example. Songs like the heavier "Vinushka" and "Reiketsu nariseba" feel more intense now, while the majority of the songs also comes with a much clearer production. This works out fine in the case of songs like the ultimately pretty "Inconvenient Ideal" or the heavy, sinister "Doukoku to sarinu", which make it easy for you to discover all the little beautiful stuff hidden in the instrumentals now. Kyo's voice and vocals also profit a lot from the remastering and don't get buried in a muffled instrumental overload anymore.

Not all songs have been improved by Madsen's efforts, though. Especially the beloved "Toguro" or the playful "Stuck Man" didn't have to be as clear as they now are and felt more "right" with the rougher sound of the original mix. Then again, you probably won't ever listen to the old versions of "Glass Skin" or "Dozing Green" again after you enjoyed the new ones. And while nothing has been re-recorded for the second release, the so-called "Remastered & Expanded" edition of the album now features the long version of the intro "Sa Bir", a remastered version of "Hydra 666", and the "Respira" prelude to "Bugaboo", which was only performed during live shows until now. All those additions aren't really worth spending any money on the remastered "Uroboros", but they're a nice touch for fans who must own everything.

Overall, you will certainly enjoy the new release of the album, but you still have to decide yourself whether to purchase it, if you already own the original. If you didn't own "Uroboros" yet, you can't go wrong with the new edition.

January 10, 2012

ProximaShines Releases First Digital Single

Earlier than expected, ProximaShines has launched its first official piece of music with the brand-new digital single "It's Kristah", which you can download for free right here!

ProximaShines is the new band of David Händel, who is known for his former solo projects IAmTheRain and Caotic Gene. Switching from a lot of experimental stuff to focusing a more intense sound, ProximaShines sets out to deliver more serious and even better material than all of Händel's earlier projects. Check out the single below to get a first impression!

And more happy news are also following from Rival Turf: The guys have just reduced the cost of their debut album "Annihilism" by 100 percent – which means you can grab the whole thing for free now, too! Check out the new post on the official homepage for a quick link to the 11-track album (plus bonus material) and enjoy the hell out of it!

ProximaShines – "It's Kristah"

»  ProximaShines – "It's Kristah" (Digital Single)
»  Rival Turf – "Annihilism" (Free Album Download)

January 9, 2012

Sherlock's 2nd Season Continues in Style

Tonight I watched the first new episode of BBC's hit series Sherlock, which has just returned for its second season and just keeps getting better and better. I really think everyone should watch it.

"A Scandal in Belgravia" finally introduces the much anticipated character of Irene Adler to the modern-day setting of the series, and actress Lara Pulver did an amazing job as Holmes' peculiar romantic interest. But most of all, of course, it's great to see the fantastic duo of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return as the quirky leads, and I can't forget to mention the superb screenwriting, which turns this into some of the finest and most entertaining 90 minutes to watch right now.

The second new episode, "The Hounds of Baskerville," actually ran last night already, and since it's based on arguably the most famous of all Sherlock Holmes stories, it certainly delivers some more outstanding TV. I'm already craving my next Sherlock fix and I'll watch it as soon as I can. But for now, good night, and feel free to check out one of the season 2 trailers below:

Sherlock – "A Scandal in Belgravia" (Promo Trailer)

By the way, I can't wait for Cumberbatch and Freeman to reunite for Peter Jackson's upcoming The Hobbit, where Freeman plays the leading role of Bilbo and Cumberbatch's voice will bring life to the dragon Smaug. Awesome!

January 6, 2012

Game of Thrones RPG Looking Promising

Game of Thrones was one of the hottest TV newcomers in 2011, spawning quite a demand for George R. R. Martin's epic novel series and other related media. Gamers were only served a pretty disappointing strategy game, though, but that wasn't the end of the line yet.

Not at all, apparently: Paris-based studios Cyanide are currently developing a role-playing game set in Westeros, which looks rather promising so far! It actually looks a Dragon Age spin-off to me, which wouldn't be the worst thing, right?

With George R. R. Martin also involved in the project, there's much hope for a good storyline, and it's no surprise that the mood and settings seem really appropriate in the trailers. Check out the new "winter trailer" below and keep yourself updated via the game's official website!

Game of Thrones: The RPG – Winter Trailer

January 3, 2012

IAmTheRain Dies, But ProximaShines

After releasing a pretty awesome ensemble of 3 albums, 2 EPs and 8 singles, alternative idol David Händel shuts down his solo project IAmTheRain after two years – only to make way for a new sound and a new direction!

ProximaShines is Händel's latest and brand-new project, another one-man band with him directing every piece of the cake. And being the busy man he is, he has also released two teasers near the end of 2011, which hint at the sound ProximaShines will be moving towards.

The two teasers still miss vocals and feature a pretty raw sound, but if you've been following Händel's career over the last few years, you know that vocals are always the last thing on his to-do list. Anyway, click the play button and don't forget to check out the new ProximaShines Facebook page, where you will find all the future updates first.

ProximaShines – "Pretty In The Sunshine" (Teaser Ver.)

ProximaShines – "Beauty Is A Weapon" (Teaser Ver.)

Font Time: Lost Type Co-op is Awesome!

Web designers rejoice: A collaboration between Tyler Galpin and Riley Cran called Lost Type Co-op offers just what you need when you run out of the necessary professional typefaces: A collection of pretty cool fonts with the best purchase model there is – name your own price!

So you can naturally grab all the beauties like Quaver or Mensch for free, too. And that's awesome, because web designers are rarely rich men. For now there are about 40 fonts available, most of them absolutely worth at least a few dollars, and let's hope that Galpin's and Cran's project continues to deliver fresh freebies in the future.

via Nerdcore

January 1, 2012

Sneak Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2 Soundtrack

With a bit of luck, Final Fantasy XIII-2 will be much, much better than its lackluster prequel. Although that won't help me much, since I can't see myself playing this one anytime soon due to a serious lack of PlayStation 3.

The potentially less linear and more focused sequel looks promising, but has already been labeled a "sales disaster" after its initial release in Japan. Doesn't surprise me! But I've never been disappointed by Final Fantasy scores, so I grabbed the soundtrack of Square Enix's latest and reluctant franchise flagship.

Now you know, soundtrack-wise, Final Fantasy XIII was not bad at all. It had quite its share of beautiful music and awesome themes. So I'm not biased right there. But the XIII-2 soundtrack really goes yet another step to all-out dancefloor trance and chillout ambient music. In the later Final Fantasy years, there has been a steady direction towards that current sound, but I don't know if it has to be that much electro and that little fantasy at times. It's almost as if they're about to rename their franchise to Future Fantasy soon.

There's a lot of reminiscence concerning variations on known XIII themes, as well as a pretty pack of new awesome melodies. Masashi Hamauzu, the sole composer for XIII-2, is no nobody, after all: He was already onboard for the predecessor as well as on the superb Final Fantasy X soundtrack, so that guy can deliver if he wishes to, and that he does on this score.

If I wanted to pick out a handful of songs, I would have to pick too many to show you that this is just another entry in the league of extraordinary RPG soundtracks. Just do yourself a favor and skip over the new "Crazy Chocobo" theme, you don't want to ever listen to this. But if you liked the predecessor's score, there's no way around this one for you, so I'll leave you with only a few little excerpts from the four-disc set, and the lovely E3 trailer:

Masashi Hamauzu – "Congratulatory Fanfare" (FFXIII-2 OST)

Masashi Hamauzu – "Eclipse -Aggressive Mix-" (FFXIII-2 OST)

Masashi Hamauzu – "Plains of Eternity" (FFXIII-2 OST)

Final Fantasy XIII-2 – Official E3 Trailer