Fandom week in review
December 9th, 2011
07:14 PM ET

Fandom week in review

Here's a look back at some of the stories that had superfans in the geek world buzzing this week:

We got a longer look at the film adaptation of the beloved Dr. Seuss classic "The Lorax," and there's a lot more slapstick than one might expect. [Universal/Yahoo! Movies]

"Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace" is coming back to theaters in 3-D next month (whether you like it or not). [Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox/Yahoo! Movies]

And another look at the "Transformers"-ish "Battleship" movie. [Universal/iTunes]

Eight minutes of "Dark Knight Rises" IMAX footage will be unleashed on the public starting December 21 in select theaters before "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol." Here's an idea of what to expect. [Hollywood Reporter]

Changes in the new DC universe: Gail Simone is leaving "Fury of Firestorm" as co-writer after the sixth issue; Ethan Van Sciver will join the book in her place. Meanwhile, Steel joined the DCU in this week's "Action Comics" #4. [DC Comics Source Blog]

After some negative feedback from retailers, Dark Horse Comics founder Mike Richardson cleared up what the company called "miscommunication" over the pricing on its digital releases: "We apologize for the confusion and concern surrounding Dark Horse's recent announcement of simultaneous release in print and digital. We want to make it clear that nowhere in our announcement did we indicate that our same-day digital pricing would be less than that of our physical books." [Dark Horse Comics] FULL POST

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The games that hooked 'Chuck' star Zachary Levi
December 9th, 2011
05:55 PM ET

The games that hooked 'Chuck' star Zachary Levi

Zachary Levi is not your typical awards show host.

Most awards shows can often be lost in the glitz and glamour of the stars who show up. For the 2011 Video Game Awards, airing live Saturday night on Spike, the star of NBC's "Chuck," and bona fide nerd wanted to make sure this year's VGAs were about the gamers themselves.

"When I first had a conversation with the producers, I said, 'Look, I really wanna make this about gamers and gaming, and be really true and respectful to that world, because I am one," he told CNN Geek Out. "I feel like, in some years past, there's been playing to the stereotype, the kind of dude who's like 'heyyy let's game, I'm a bro,' kind of thing. And there are those gamers out there, but the gaming community is really broad."

In Levi's view, gamers are everywhere. "Essentially, almost everyone in the world games on some level. If you have a smartphone and play Solitaire or Angry Birds or whatever, you're a gamer," he said. "Whether you know or like it or not, you're a gamer now. That's becoming more and more evident as the years go on."

At the same time, Levi wants the awards show to speak specifically to gamers, even down to the comedic portions: "I want a lot of the humor to be inside baseball. The opening sequence video is going to be an homage to a lot of the games this season. But I want it to be smart, funny and something gamers really get. We're doing this for gamers." FULL POST

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My girlfriend is virtual: An American's experience with 'LovePlus'
Manaka, pictured here, is one of the girlfriends in "LovePlus."
December 9th, 2011
05:22 PM ET

My girlfriend is virtual: An American's experience with 'LovePlus'

In 2009, a game was released in Japan that took the country's gamers by storm. Called "LovePlus," the game was made for the Nintendo DS and allowed the player to take on the role of a male protagonist in a high school setting. Your goal in the game is to interact with young women at your school, befriend them, and get to know them.

"LovePlus" got off to a slow start, but since games of this type (called "dating sims") are popular in Japan, it's not a surprise that it gained steam. However, the amount of steam it gained was pretty major, as it sold over 240,000 units the year of its release. Considering that the average dating sim normally would not break 100,000 units, "LovePlus" was already making waves .. but there was much more to come.

The game got more international recognition thanks to a young Japanese man who chose to marry one of the game's fictional characters. However, very little of the attention was positive. Some American reporters deemed it a "publicity stunt" - people who may not understand that in an otaku world, real love for a 2D character is a perfectly acceptable reality.

Fast forward a few years to 2011, in which a group of American fans worked tirelessly to translate the game's into English. Since I had always been curious about what dating sims were like ( I had played very few since they are rarely imported to the United States or released in English), I wanted to take the opportunity to play the game myself and understand what it was that made Japanese male gamers react with such passionate fervor. FULL POST