E3 2012: Microsoft Announces Xbox SmartGlass

UPDATE: Screenshots added. It seems that Microsoft has taken their commitment seriously to integrate their OSes across all of their devices. Using Xbox SmartGlass, users can connect their tablet or smartphone to their Xboxes to enhance gameplay, media consumption, and to control Xbox navigation. While not terribly exciting in and

E3 2012: Halo 4 Gameplay Demo

Opening their keynote with an anticipated bang, Microsoft showed the very first live gameplay demo of Halo 4. Master Chief crash lands onto a lush green world, with the trusty Cortana at his virtual side. As the Chief investigates, he discovers Covenant forces, but the main opponent appears to be

E3 2012: Nintendo Wii U Detailed

Getting a jump on the yearly gaming marketing spree that is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Nintendo took to the internet to launch their Nintendo Direct Pre-E3 video, showing the world the finalized look and details of the Wii U.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata hosted the video, detailing the Wii U’s technical specs, in light of its initial design philosophy.

Here are all of the pertinent details:

Wii U GamePad

Click for larger image.

There are a few differences from the prototype version of the GamePad first introduced at last year’s E3.  Thankfully, the analog joysticks replace the prototype’s thumbsticks, and the button placement has been slightly shifted for a more ergonomic fit.

Hit the jump for the all of the revealed details of the Wii U – such as NFC support, social networking, and conventional control schemes!

NYCC 2011: “Kill Shakespeare” Co-Creator, Conor McCreery

At New York Comic Con, we had the privilege of speaking with Conor McCreery, co-writer and co-creator of the fantastic comic Kill Shakespeare, brought to the masses by IDW Publishing.  McCreery works with Anthony Del Col, his fellow writer/creator, and artist Andy Belanger to bring us this unusual and action-packed twist on the some of the Bard’s most famous characters.  All hail from Toronto, and share both a deep love of Shakespeare and a passion for bringing the rich and varied tales to life in this new way.

In this interview, McCreery sits down with Open the Fridge and tells us everything we need to know about the creation of the ongoing epic known as Kill Shakespeare.

Open the Fridge: Please tell us a little bit about the comic, and about your role in developing the world of Kill Shakespeare.

Conor McCreery: Well, first of all, despite the title, we come to praise the Bard, not bury him! Kill Shakespeare is an action-adventure comic that takes all of the Bard’s greatest heroes and most menacing villains and puts them into the same world and same story and pits them against each other on a quest to either save or kill a mysterious wizard by the name of William Shakespeare.  Our story is not a retelling of the plays.  In our world, Juliet meets Hamlet. Lady Macbeth is sleeping with Richard III both literally and figuratively. Iago comes to Othello and says, “Look, I know I ruined your life but if you can find it in your heart to forgive me, I swear I will be your brother again.”

And in that space, our main character is Hamlet, and he’s washed ashore in this strange Shakespearian land.  He’s torn between two factions, both who believe he is a figure of prophecy; one who believes he’s fated to kill this wizard Shakespeare, who they say is the source of all woe, and one that says he is actually fated to save this benevolent creator, William Shakespeare, who’s been pushed away from the world and only Hamlet can bring him back.  And, “oh, don’t worry about why he was sent away in the first place, Hamlet, just bring Shakespeare back.” So in a nutshell, that’s Hamlet having to kind of go through the shifting sands of allegiance – people trying to befriend him, people trying to use him, and people ultimately betraying him.

OTF: How far have you progressed in the story line?

CM: There are 12 issues and we’ve written all of them.  The first six have been in a volume in trade for about six months and the second six we actually have here at the con, it’s a NYCC con exclusive and won’t be released in stores until about mid-November.  And that’s the entirety of the first arc – does Shakespeare exist, is he an evil wizard, a benevolent creator, or something in between and what choice does Hamlet finally make?  And yes, I did use “choice” and “Hamlet” in the same sentence. Going forward we have two more arcs that we’ve played with, sort of like the Hamlet trilogy, involving some characters we’d like to get involved in the story – Prospero from The Tempest, Titus, Beatrice and Benedict, and plans for some other characters as we flesh out this Shakespearian universe.

Hit the jump for more details about Kill Shakespeare, the story that turns the world of the Bard on its head!

Volume 1 is available now; Volume 2 is set to release on November 22nd. Plus, for those Toronto-adjacent, a staged show of Kill Shakepeare will be at Soulpepper’s Word Festival at the end of the month!

NYCC 2011: Ashley Eckstein Part 2 – Ahsoka Tano & The Clone Wars

Continuing our conversation with actress Ashley Eckstein, Open the Fridge inquired about her work on the Star Wars television series, The Clone Wars, currently airing on Cartoon Network.  Her character, Ahsoka Tano has come a long way over the course of the series, and Ashley shared her thoughts on Ahsoka’s past, present, and future.

Open the Fridge: With the fourth season of The Clone Wars now underway, are you pleased with where Ahsoka, as a character, has gone in the last three years?

Ashley Eckstein: Yeah, I’m very happy with where she’s gone!  We have the most amazing writing staff.  People ask me all the time about story ideas that I have, and I say, “Anything that I would come up with would pale in comparison to what our writing staff comes up with.”  I feel that she’s matured a lot.  I feel like she’s gone in a direction that I think everyone was hoping she would go in, in terms of growing up, becoming a little less snippy, a little less of a sidekick, and more like she’s one of the gang.  She’s really just one of the gang now.  You don’t really look at her as, “Oh, there’s Ahsoka making another snippy comment to Anakin.”  I think she’s really earned their respect. 

OTF: I know that there were plenty of fans who were a little skeptical at first that this was going to be a character for the younger audience, but we’re definitely impressed with where she’s gone and how she’s matured, just as you said.  What do you think makes her so appealing at this point?

AE: Oh wow.  You know, I think what makes Ahsoka appealing is the fact that she’s kind of relatable.  Even though she’s this alien girl in a galaxy far, far away, her emotions and the things she’s going through are very relatable, especially for more kids that are watching the show.  There are a lot of girls who have really taken to her.  They see her struggle of wanting to be the best Padawan she can be, the struggle of doing what’s right, the struggle of letting people down, and they can relate to her emotions. [cont’d]

Hit the jump for the thrilling conclusion of our two-part interview with the wonderful Ashley Eckstein!

NYCC 2011: Ashley Eckstein Part 1 – Her Universe

At SDCC back in July, Open the Fridge had the pleasure of speaking with actress Ashley Eckstein about Her Universe, her rapidly-expanding female sci-fi clothing and merchandising company. With the continued surge of proud fangirls stepping into the limelight (and buying Her Universe gear!), we decided to catch up with

NYCC 2011: Max Payne 3 Preview

Normally, when company boasts on a fact sheet that they are set to create “the most cinematic, sophisticated action shooter yet made,” the jaded gamer in me can’t help but roll his eyes. But when that company is Rockstar Games, you sit up and listen.

Few developers are experts in creating truly captivating gaming experiences.  Rockstar, however, is one of the few. L.A. Noire and Red Dead Redemption are just two recent examples of their ability to take a hold of a period-based genre and create one hell of a character-driven story in a fully fleshed out world.

From the looks it, Max Payne 3 will be just another gem to add to that list.

At NYCC, Rockstar (or R*, as the cool kids are saying) held a closed-door preview at their booth to demo an early build of the game, and we at OTF were happy to be in attendance.

Hit the jump for the full preview of Max Payne 3!

NYCC 2011: Hasbro’s 2012 Preview, Part 2

Our coverage of Hasbro’s preview of their upcoming lineup continues with their biggest brand yet: Star Wars! New in 2012, Hasbro is launching a new game and collectible series, Star Wars: Fighter Pods!  Miniature characters are placed in small, connectible plastic spheres, and the fun begins!  In addition to characters,

NYCC 2011: Mass Effect 3 Preview

At the Microsoft booth at New York Comic Con this past weekend, gamers were treated to a demo of the hotly anticipated Mass Effect 3.  Guests were able to get their hands on the E3 demo, playing through the section of the game where Shepard and crew has to assist Mordin Solus in saving his work from being destroyed by Cerberus.

BioWare’s Community Coordinator, Chris Priestly, was on hand, herding the masses lining up for hours to the limited demo stations available.  Amidst the craziness, he was kind enough to walk us through the demo and give us a little preview of what’s to come.

It hurts a little to write this, but Mass Effect 3 comes out March 6, 2012 and not tomorrow.

Open the Fridge: We’ll start off with an easy one: just how awesome is this game going to be?

Chris Priestly: (laughs) It’s really good. The team has worked really, really hard essentially so that when the third chapter is over and Commander Shepard’s trilogy is done, all of are fans go, “Well damn, I’m really sorry it’s over, but THAT was the way to go out!” That’s what we want.

OTF: Wonderful. So, what can you tell us about the demo you have on display here at NYCC?

CP: Here is a section of the game, you play as, of course, Commander Shepard. You have Garrus [Vakarian] and Liara [T’Soni] with you on Mordin Solus’s home planet, trying to save a female Krogan. If you know the story of Mass Effect, the Krogan are a race that are impeded from reproducing, due to an introduced genophage that prevented most females from being fertile. But now that there’s a female that fertile, Mordin wants to possibly solve and undo the genophage, and Commander Shepard is trying to rescue this female Krogan from the Cerberus operative who are there to taker her for their own nefarious doings, shall we say.

Hit the jump for more about new gaming mechanics and more about the final chapter in this mission against the Reapers!

NYCC 2011: Hasbro’s 2012 Preview, Part 1

Kicking off the convention weekend right with a “Preview Night Party,” prolific toymaker Hasbro offered journalists a sneak peek of their 2011 and 2012 product lineups from iconic brands like Transformers, Marvel, G.I. Joe, and Star Wars.

OTF was graciously invited to attend the party, and the little kids in all of us are actually pretty excited!

First up: the robots in diguise!  Hasbro introduced us to the upcoming Transformers lineup in classic action figure scale. Scheduled for a release scheduled sometime in 2012, these figures are based on the recent Transformers Prime television show on The Hub network.

Hit the jump for more Transformers, G.I. Joe, and The Avengers! Also, stay tuned for Part 2 for details of their newest Star Wars products!