NerdAtlas Buy-Guide: Last Minute Finds

So, it’s happened to you. Christmas is next week and you have yet to do any of your Christmas shopping. Well, thanks to a little thing called Amazon, here’s a list of nerdy items that will arrive at your door in time for the holidays!

For The Gamer Nerd: Logitech G502 Proteus Core Gaming Mouse

This is the perfect mouse for any serious PC gamer. It’s fully customizable and fairly affordable!

$80.00

For The Internet Junkie: Grumpy Cat Plush

Everyone’s favorite meme cat, to have and to hold and to scare you late at night.

$22.00

For The Otaku: A Geek in Japan

Hector Garcia’s book is perfect for Japanophiles of any type – covering everything from the nation’s popular culture to tradition and history. A great pick for any otaku.

$20.00

For The Creative Nerd: Ball of Whacks

This “ball” is comprised of 30 magnetic pyramid shaped pieces that act as building blocks. This quirky toy comes in several different designs and is perfect for fiddling with at the office or in class.

$35.00

For the Cold Nerd: “Grown Up” Snuggies

From Harry Potter house robes to Batman, Amazon offers a long list of adult sized snuggies for nerds of any type. Not only are they comfortable, but they are sure to guarantee a good laugh.

$20.00 – $30.00

Good luck out there!

– E.B.

NerdAtlas Holiday Buy-Guide: Medieval Maniacs

Popular franchises like Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings subscribe to “high fantasy” type environments. These settings are often heavily dependent on Western European medieval history and aesthetics. However, any legitimate medieval history nerd can tell you there are a lot of inaccuracies and liberties taken in these scenarios (which makes sense, since it is fantasy.)

Anyways, I decided to make a special list of Christmas ideas for the medieval buff that doesn’t just lump in high fantasy hoop-de-walla. This is the buy list for that person who actually can tell you the lineage of the Kings & Queens of England and know the difference between a broadsword and a claymore…

Medieval Chess Set

Easily one of the most popular games in medieval times, this hand painted set features carved polystone and a walnut playing board. Perfect for any aspiring master tactician.

$160 and includes free shipping: http://www.chesshouse.com/Medieval_Chess_Set_p/we5516.htm

The Book of Chivalry of Geoffroi De Charny

Don’t let the lackluster cover fool you. If you have a wannabe knight in your midst, this is the seminal work from the time period outlining the most important of a knight’s virtues: chivalry.

$14: http://tinyurl.com/q8968kt

 Knitted Knight’s Helm
This knitted helmet will keep your head and face warm in the winter – no promises about protection from errant blades however.
LEGO King’s Castle
While perhaps not the most historically accurate depiction of medieval life/warfare, the LEGO Castle series offers some fun sets. This King’s Castle is one of the best, perfect for lords and ladies both young and old.

Functional Armor

These armor sets can be bought piece by piece or in a full collection. Each article of equipment is functional, thus intended to be worn and, theoretically, used in fighting. Great for theater, faires, cosplay, etc.

Price varies: http://www.medievalcollectibles.com/c-5-functional-armour.aspx

Coat of Arms

If the special medieval nerd in your life has ancestry of European decent, you can purchase a print of his/her coat of arms. Orders can also include a brief synopsis of the family history and there’s the option to order it in a variety of styles.

Price varies: http://www.heraldryandcrests.com/category-s/134.htm

Happy shopping!

– E.B.

NerdAtlas Holiday Buy-Guide 2015: Otaku Edition

With the passing of Halloween, so begins the time of year when everyone hunts for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. NerdAtlas is here to help nerds and those who love nerds find the right present, no matter the sub-genre!

This week’s buy guide focuses on gifts for Japanese pop culture lovers and nerds. Since many of these suggestions rely on picking a favorite series/character, do some sleuthing and find out your otaku’s favorites and then get to work with these options:

Gundam Wing-Suit Models

For the nerd who loves to build – these models are rated in difficulty from high grade to perfect grade, based on intricacy. Find out your nerd’s favorite wing suit and get them the whole kit and whatever modeling accessories they may need (paint, x-acto knives, etc.)

Price ranges from $25-400: http://www.gundamplanet.com/gundam.html

Electric Takoyaki Maker

For Japanese food and cooking buffs, this appliance is a fun and easy way to make the famous Takoyaki. These sweet pancake pastry puffs are not only delicious, but relatively simple to make.

Prices range from $25-75:  http://tinyurl.com/takoyakionamazon

Kotobukiya Collectable Figures

Kotobukiya is a company famous for its art design and craftsmanship in collectable figures – you can find a host of Japanese and even American pop culture figures, rendered in very detailed statues and articulated figures. Perfect for any collector or uberfan.

Price varies: http://store.kotous.com/

Studio Ghibli Music Box

Hayao Miyazaki’s movie studio is responsible for the creation of countless iconic characters in the world of animated cinema. If your otaku loves movies like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, these music boxes make excellent and charming keepsakes.

$46.60 (shipping not included): http://www.strapya-world.com/products/42914.html

Super Kawaii Plushies

Everyone wishes they could cuddle up with their favorite characters from their anime/manga of choice. One of the best online anime/manga swag retailers, RightStuf, offers an extensive catalog of adorable plushies and plush backpacks for really great prices. Plus, you get free shipping in the US with a purchase of $49+.

$10-30: http://www.rightstuf.com/site/main/

Crunchy Roll Subscription

This paid online streaming service is the Netflix of anime. Get a subscription and give your Japanophile the gift of endless hours of television marathons. Goes well with some pocky. The all access membership also includes unlimited manga from many of the biggest publishers – a GREAT deal.

$6.95 per month/11.95 per month based on plan: http://www.crunchyroll.com/premium_comparison

Happy buying!

– E.B.

Gems of GenCon

GenCon 2014 was a fabulous experience. The con was brimming with great people, amateur films, swag and lots and lots of games! Gaming giant, Wizards of the Coast, was there in full force, with the completed launch of Dungeons and Dragons 5E and an entire exhibit hall dedicated to Magic: The Gathering. Competitor Fantasy Flight Games had a great show too, with a massive plot of real estate in the main show room. Their play space and shop were busting with people every day, and by Sunday they had sold out of the majority of their retail.

Still, the best part about GenCon is the way indie games and Kickstarter projects can shine. There’s room for everyone at the con, and you can practically feel the enthusiasm permeating the Convention Center.

Today’s post is a collection of some of my favorite finds this year. Throughout the rest of the week, there will be more in-depth articles about specific games, movies and features. Get psyched!

Gems of GenCon:

Indie Game Delight: Iron & Ale is a card based drinking game from Table Forged LLC. Funded through Kickstarter, the game revolves around each player assuming the role of a Dwarven Lord/Lady. Then, you do what all dwarves love to do: mine for gold, fight and drink. Players complete Mountain challenges and Meadhall challenges for “honor” – player with the most honor wins. The Meadhall challenges are where the game rewards players for belching, cursing, arm wrestling and dancing like dwarves – failure results in a drink penalty. It is loads of fun, with or without alcohol, and these guys sold out in the first days of the con.

Wonderfully Ridiculous Short: Qunitipus is the story of a hand shaped alien rebel fighter-pilot who crash lands on Earth. Now, you might think that watching a film of a hand walking around the Earth would be terrible, but this was one of my favorite films at the GenCon film fest. The hand, performed by Chris Murdoch, is so surprisingly expressive, you actually get the sense of a narrative and action. It sounds weird, but trust me, if it’s at a con near you, you should watch it.

Surprisingly Innovative Game Demo: Golem Arcana. This latest concoction from Harebrained Schemes was very popular, with some of the most enthusiastic demo players on the show floor. Look for a special feature from the private demo I had with game maker Mitch Gitelman on Thursday. This game has the potential to shake things up in the table top world for years to come. I’m very excited about it.

Most Niche Retail Booth: Yes, thanks to Doctor Who, the resurgence of the fez hat has gripped the nerd world in its velvety claws. Fez-O-Rama had hats for every nerd, from dice rollers to Lovecraftians. It was fun to try on these hats and the custom options were very cool. These folks also get props on presentation as this was one of the best looking booths at the con.

Wonder Woman Princess!Cutest Cosplay: I am totally bias, but this Wonder Woman princess cosplay was the most adorable thing I saw at GenCon. She was a sweet kid, when I asked her (and her mother) if I could get a picture she immediately struck the classic crossed arms pose. Proof it’s important to have female superheroes in the media! Give this girl her Wonder Woman movie! (Okay, soapbox moment over.)

I hope you enjoyed this little round up. If you’ve never been to GenCon, and you love board games, you must get there in the coming years. Look forward for more content in days to come.

– E.B.

Airship! Airship! AIRSHIP!

Yes, the above title is a modified reference to The LEGO Movie. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading right now, go find your closest $2 movie theater, and go SEE IT.

This is a post featuring a bunch of cool airship swag that promises to elate any steampunk nerd heart.

Imperial Chinese Airship Print

Jefferson Trader – $25.00

DaVinci Inspired Airship Model

Wands and Whatnots – $235.00

Greyfriar Inspired Airship Necklace

Klockwerk Kreations – $30.00

Airship Engineers Tool Bracer – with real tools!

Got Steam? – $200.00

Steampunk Airship Pin – (Check Store for a whole gallery of options)

Scarlet NRG’s Baubles – $14.99

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you might have caught on to my serious passion for LEGO. As a personal side note, I wanted to include a link to a great LEGO Cuusoo set (don’t know what Cuusoo is? Read this!) The set is a fantastic, imaginative steampunk style airship. Most of the LEGO mock-airships I’ve seen are just pirate ships with wings attached, I like this model because the design is original and well constructed.

Ssorg’s LEGO Airship Mock-up.

The frame for the “balloon”

If you like what you see, consider voting for support here: http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/17123

Until next time.

– E.B.

 

Loot Crate – Nerd Swag Delivered to Your Door

Loot Crate is a service that strives to capitalize on the popularity of surprise grab-bag giveaways and nerd swag on the Internet. Here’s how it works; Join Loot Crate for less than $20 a month, they find a bunch of products and brand partners to construct a “crate” based on a theme, it gets delivered to your doorstep! The retail worth of every box is over $40, so you are getting great nerd swag for a primo price.

August’s crate was based on the theme “CAKE!”

I joined last month for their “Warriors” themed crate – inside was a great t-shirt, digital comic redemption codes, a munny figure and other treats. It wasn’t as impressive to me as the amazing January crate I saw promoted from a previous month, but I was still pleased with the retail value and theme. I am definitely keeping my subscription.

The January Crate – “LAUNCH!”

There are two similar services to Loot Crate – Nerd Block and Booty Bin. One of the reasons I decided to try Loot Crate was due to the positive reviews and comparisons. Nerd Block apparently has great retail value, but no real content curation/theme. Booty Bin is a rip-off. I might also give Nerd Block a try next month, just for a comparative analysis but I have been REALLY pleased with my Loot Crate experience thus far.

Additionally, another big draw to Loot Crate is the fact that each month, they choose a “Mega Crate” winner from their subscription base. These crates include game consoles, exclusive collectibles and other high price memorabilia.

Mega Crate Swag – Expensive Valve game Collectibles!

I definitely recommend giving Loot Crate a try, the price and retail values are a great deal. Also, it’s fun when you get mail, so why not?

– E.B.