Man, there’s SO MUCH going on this week that we’re going to cut through the normal rambling intro and get right to the schedule…
Tuesday, January 31st – Video Game Releases: Final Fantasy 13 #2 & Soul Calibur 5 – I personally was an avid player of Final Fantasy 2 & 3, on the Super Nintendo, and so we’re up into stratospheric numbers as far as sequels now. It escapes me the wisdom of naming the game Final Fantasy XIII Part 2, instead of just going with lucky number #14, but maybe that’s why I don’t have a job marketing video games. From what I’ve read, though, fans of Final Fantasy will be pleased with this new sequel that is the equal of, but perhaps not greater than, Final Fantasy #13. It doesn’t look like there are any MMO features to this – might have to wait until we get the X-Box 720 for that ever to happen again.
Then after that, you’ve got your Soul Calibur 5. I’ve always been more of a Street Fighter / Mortal Kombat man myself, but any franchise producing it’s fourth sequel has got something good going for it, and so I salute you, Soul Calibur!
Wednesday, February 1st – New Comic Book Day! – Don’t make the mistake of lumping in WINTER SOLDIER #1 this week with other recent new series that Marvel has launched, without much fanfare. It’s not a mini-series or a marketing cash grab, and one big sign of that is the man writing it: Ed Brubaker. Brubaker, who we were actually pimping for earlier this year when the first issue of FATALE was released, is the man who actually revived the character of Bucky back in September of 2005. And he did it in such a convincing way, that even those (like me) who protested that some characters like Bucky & Jason Todd could not possibly be “brought back” in a convincing and respectful way, were silenced.
Well, Marvel killed him again (sort of) in Fear Itself, and then revealed to us recently that, well, no, he didn’t actually die. So that makes it Bucky 2, Death 0, and now Brubaker is taking the reigns on an ongoing series featuring Bucky and Black Widow that promises plenty of super-spying & espionage. Which will probably be made easier since everyone thinks that Bucky is dead. But we know Brubaker can write these kind of stories, and he’s really the only guy you’d want helming this series. Marvel is undoubtedly looking to get some of their mojo back in 2012, and this series can only help. Since Brubaker is wrapping up his run on CAPTAIN AMERICA soon, your best bet to read him in the superhero books will be WINTER SOLDIER and as one of the collaborators on AVENGERS VS X-MEN, later this year.
The other notable launch this week is from IDW Comics. IDW has already had some experience launching an enormously popular hobby-store gaming license into a relevant comic book – their DUNGEONS & DRAGONS comic series has been lauded as one of the smartest, most well-written books on the shelves. Now IDW is turning their attention to producing a comic book based on MAGIC THE GATHERING, and it starts with a #1 issue this week. They’ve tapped writer Matt Forbeck, who has experience writing not just graphic novels but role-playing games on his resume. Obviously the easy sell will be for Magic players – the first arc takes place in the plane of Innistrad, which will be a familiar name to players of the card game – but IDW is pushing this series hard to any fantasy enthusiasts, and given how well they’ve done with D&D, we’ll probably be doing the same!
Wednesday, February 1st – 6pm & 7:30pm – D&D Encounters –We’re officially into Season Six of Encounters!! A new format of play for D&D that has really been a hit, the Encounters experience allows you to essentially “drop in” on Wednesday nights for a quick, one-hour D&D encounter that is not part of a sequential story. In other words, you don’t need to worry if you can’t make it every week, because the experience is setup in a way that whoever shows up each week will not need to have participated in anything prior. If you participate regularly, you can bring back the same character that you begin with since week 1, but character progress is well-paced enough so that you can show up for the first time in week 7 and not be totally outclassed with your brand new character. Each Encounters season lasts 13 weeks, and is supported by our RPG Reward Points program. You can also read more about the Encounters program here, on D&D’s official website.
Wednesday, February 1st – 8pm – TV: CBS Special – Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials 2012 – Can’t wait to watch this year’s Superbowl, but I’m sure that at least half of our readers are looking forward even more to the commercials, or the all-important non-football portion of Superbowl Sunday. Will E- Trade, Pepsi, Bud Lite & Doritos continue their commercial dominance, or will we see some new players on the scene this year. Who will put out the big dud of the year, the commercial that always falls flat to a quiet room that expected more, before everyone breaks out into self-righteous proclamations of “That was SO DUMB!!”. Nothing like spending 3 million dollars for everyone to mock your product!
For all commercial lovers out there (myself included), maybe DVR this CBS special on Wednesday? No duds in this pack, as Jillian Michaels and Boomer Esiason bring you a full hour of only the GOOD commercials!
Thursday, February 2nd – GROUNDHOG DAY!! – “Excuse me, where is everyone going?”… “To Gobbler’s Knob, it’s Groundhog Day”… “It’s still just once a year, isn’t it?” It seems crazy that we might see the groundhog predict for us an early spring, when on some days in January it seemed we were still waiting for winter to start. But maybe he’ll predict 6 weeks and we’ll get our proper freezing misery in this year after all. Either way, Thursday night is a great night to pop in the classic Bill Murray movie classic and remind yourself about all the important things in life that keep us getting out of bed in the morning. Like comic books! And love! But mostly comic books.
Thursday, February 2nd – 6:30pm – Crossroads Church board game club – Crossroads is a new non-denominational church that recently moved to downtown Lansing, actually, just around the corner from us! I spoke with Noah, the preacher / organizer for their organization and he wanted our customers to know that they have a pretty large gathering of people to play board games once a month at the Grand Traverse Pie Company, also right down the block from us (corner of Allegan and S Washington). So if you want to check that out, head down there on Thursday at 6:30pm. You’ll probably even see some Clem’s demo games down there! They have a website, and a page for their Board Game night, here.
Thursday, February 2nd – 6:30pm – Magic the Gathering Standard tournament – We run fully sanctioned Standard tournaments for Magic every week, starting around 6:30pm. We also support these tournaments with great prize support using our Magic Reward Points program. Of course, for these tournaments to be sanctioned, we need 8 participants – most of the time, that’s no problem, but sometimes during college finals or bad weather, it can be a stretch, so make sure you call around and get your friends to come with you! Looking forward now to the next set, Dark Ascension, due on our shelves on Friday morning. Make sure you come in and trade in the cards you’re not using anymore and get ready to pick up a box or two of the next set! Check out our current stock online, and figure out which cards we’re taking in.
Friday, February 3rd – Magic: Dark Ascension official release date – Today’s the day! Dark Ascension goes on sale. If you missed our Facebook post on it last week, you can actually preview all 158 cards of the set online – good buzz so far, looks like the Innistrad block is going to be a complete winner!
Saturday, February 4th – 10:30am – Heroclix Supremacy League tournament – The Supremacy League is here! This is a great organized-play structure that will be entirely up to you, as to when you play – you just schedule times with other Heroclix players to get together at our store, and report the results to us! However, to kick it all off, we need one starting tournament to “seed” everyone to get started. That’s what we’ll be doing this week, in place of our usual Heroclix tournament.
Saturday, February 4th – 1:30pm – Board Game Club – This is our regular “first Saturday of the month” board game group that meets right here at our store (or more technically, at Downtown Subs / New York Burrito next door). It’s a great chance to try out some new games, as we usually have test copies of new and popular releases available. It’s also a great chance to play any of your regular favorites, since there’s a good chance you’ll find some other people to play with you. We have a LOT of free store-owned games to play even if you don’t have any of your own. You can pay $1 for a drink cup and refill it all day from the guys behind the food counter, or also grab lunch while you’re there. There’s a clean and well-organized game store right next door for you to peruse with your downtime – what a great way to spend your Saturday afternoon!
Sunday, February 5th – Time TBD – D&D Living Forgotten Realms – Each Sunday, a new D&D Living Forgotten Realms experience begins. The “Living” nature of this event is such that, just like Encounters, you don’t need to have participated in previous installments to come and participate. Unlike Encounters, however, this is much more of a typical role-playing game setting – we usually go 4-5 hours, and you can expect to level up, perhaps pick up some new items, etc., through the course of the event. Bring your own character starting at any of the following levels – 1, 5, 8 or 11, and then you’re off and running. Keep an eye on our forums for a new thread for each week’s adventure, and to RSVP for your spot at the table! You’ll also want to confirm the time of day that they play, as it sometimes varies.
Sunday, February 5th – Noon – Magic: Dark Ascension Release Party – We sure do realize that it is Superbowl Sunday, and the slight (to massive) crimp that could put into our release party attendance. It’s a pity that we didn’t realize it a couple months ago when we had to schedule our events with Wizards of the Coast. So we WILL BE at the store to host this release party, if you’re looking for a game on Sunday. And, you know, if everyone is too busy watching football, we’ll lock up at like 12:20 and go catch some of the 24 hours of pre-game programming!
Sunday, February 5th – 6:30pm – TV: Superbowl – No additional comments here, just pointing it out. Since the Lions didn’t quite make it this year, who are you rooting for? Manning? Brady? Maybe just rooting for a massive brawl sometime during the game?