Category Archives: Games

Articles about Games including video games, board games, card games and any other games we chose to cover.

Athletics at ArtPrize: Competition in the CrossFit community

Every year ArtPrize brings tens of thousands of people to the Grand Rapids, Michigan to look at the artwork that the competing artists have entered in the competition.  Those at the 8th Day Gym this weekend who joined the crowds or participated their activities, were treated to an extraordinary competition.  At the 8th Day Gym’s GR Games, the artist’s art and medium is the competitor’s body and their tools for sculpting are intense exercise.

Winners at the 8th Day Gym
Winners at the 8th Day Gym

The 8th Day Gym is a huge, converted garage.  The bays for working on cars and trucks were converted to exercise areas that open up to make it an indoor/outdoor exercise facility.  This weekend the facility was host to the GR Games, a CrossFit competition of speed, strength, and endurance.

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While competitive exercise may not sound exciting, watching a room full of these athletes speeding through handstand push-ups was impressive.  Following that, the competitors would dead-lift from the floor to full extension, then back to the floor, often in one smooth motion.

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For those who wandered through the playing field with a camera, the team dead-lifting was amazing and a bit scary at times.  Speed was the priority and there was no requirement that it be gently placed back on the floor.  When the lifting went to the next team member, the lifter would be moving to make room for them as gravity completed its return.

One of the final events, and, perhaps the most unusual was a race around the block with weights suspended from either side of a metal bar across the competitor’s shoulders.  When the team members returned they were treated to a final session of dead lifting and the winners were declared.

the first place team was 8th Day Gym’s “It’s Not Bulking Season” with Brandi Harr, Rachel Elery, and Heather Paas
the first place team was 8th Day Gym’s “It’s Not Bulking Season” with Brandi Harr, Rachel Elery, and Heather Paas

In the women’s competition the the first place team was 8th Day Gym’s “It’s Always Bulking Season” with Brandi Harr, Rachel Elery, and Heather Paas.

“Lake Effect” with Kara Marsman, Danielle Beaudreault, and Chrissy Meinel
“Lake Effect” with Kara Marsman, Danielle Beaudreault, and Chrissy Meinel

Taking second place from Holland was the CrossFit Lake Effect team “Lake Effect” with Kara Marsman, Danielle Beaudreault, and Chrissy Meinel.

The “Wild Sisters”, Megan Sculley, Geena Militello, and Janell Hernandez
The “Wild Sisters”, Megan Sculley, Geena Militello, and Janell Hernandez

From Saginaw’s Next Level Fitness, The “Wild Sisters”, Megan Sculley, Geena Militello, and Janell Hernandez, took third place.

Taking top honors in the men’s competition were Josh Woodhull, Phil Serzo, and Torey Throop of the “Mavens and Misfits”
Taking top honors in the men’s competition were Josh Woodhull, Phil Serzo, and Torey Throop of the “Mavens and Misfits”

Taking top honors in the men’s competition were Josh Woodhull, Phil Serzo, and Torey Throop of the “Mavens and Misfits” from CrossFit Maven, CrossFit Treetown, and Crossfit in the D.

“Lake Effect” team left to right, Regan Quaal, Anthony Davis, and Jack Klingbiel.
“Lake Effect” team left to right, Regan Quaal, Anthony Davis, and Jack Klingbiel.

Matching their ladies, Holland’s CrossFit Lake Effect Mens’ “Lake Effect” team took second place with, from left to right, Regan Quaal, Anthony Davis, and Jack Klingbiel.

the “Essential Elements” team with Craig Stocker, Drew Cooper, and Pete Rasmusen
the “Essential Elements” team with Craig Stocker, Drew Cooper, and Pete Rasmusen

From the Vernon Hills, Illinois gym, CrossFit Carbon, the “Essential Elements” team with Craig Stocker, Drew Cooper, and Pete Rasmusen took third place.  Craig and Drew, both Phys Ed. teachers, certainly made their students proud.

For more about National Art Examiner John N. Collins, find him on TwitterInstagram, Youtube, and Facebook.

An interview with ghost busting gamers, Grant Wilson and Mike Richie

Mike Richie and Grant Wilson from Rather Dashing Games
Mike Richie and Grant Wilson from Rather Dashing Games

Grant Wilson is best known as one of the co-founders The Atlantic Paranormal Society from which sprang the shows “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Hunters International”, and “Ghost Hunters Academy.”  In recent years Grant and his childhood friend, Michael Richie joined forces to form a gaming company, Rather Dashing Games.  These industrious gentlemen now have published five games, a steampunk novel and much more to come.

John N Collins (JNC):Could you give us a quick lineup of your products?

Grant and Michael: As far as books go, we have only released the first one so far. Our second book should be out late summer/early fall. As for products from our company Rather Dashing Games, we currently have five games out with two more to be released sometime this year. Our two bestsellers, Dwarven Miner and Pirates, Ninjas, Robots, and Zombies are fun, approachable titles that scratch the itch of more complex games. Our next game, Graveyards, Ghosts, and Haunted Houses is going to be a blast!

JNC: You also have a novel that you co-authored that is of the steampunk genre. Tell us a bit about it.

Mike: It’s called “Brotherhood of the Strange”. It’s the first of our hopefully many Steampunk adventures. We both love Steampunk, and wanted to make an immersive sandbox style world that included the many various aspects of the genre, rather than only focusing on one or two of them. The story focuses around an inventor named Degory Priest who is trying to secretly undo the damage done by the Brotherhood of the Strange, a secret society to which he and his estranged brother Edward belong.

JNC: How did you two become involved in steampunk?

Grant & Mike: We have always loved Jules Verne, Sherlock Holmes, & H.P. Lovecraft, as well as old machinery and clockwork. Once we saw this emerging genre at cons such as Dragoncon, we both fell in love and dove head first into it. Grant even cosplayed as a steampunk ghostbuster. A “Spectral Eradicator” if you will. Mike enjoys prop making and coming up with believable ways that the fictional technologies could work in the world of Steampunk.

JNC: Now Grant, this may surprise some of your fans, but I hear you also have been pursuing another career, this one in music. Tell us about that.

Grant: Well, I taught myself how to play piano and guitar when I was 14. I’ve been composing every since. I’ve been in a few alternative rock bands over the years but it wasn’t until relatively recently that I was able to focus on it. I have my band, Carpetshark, that is currently on hold for a few, but my big push is with my solo piano music. I have one album out right now “1.618” and another on the way “Liquid Earth”. It’s just very relaxing piano music. I was really surprised by how people reacted to it. I get emails from people saying they are getting married to it, meditating to it, and how it helps kids focus, or rest. All good stuff!

JNC: Will you be bringing CD’s and Games to sell to the convention in addition to copies of your books for signing?

G&M: I imagine we will!

JNC: Games, Books, Movies, and Ghosts! Do you have any other surprises coming our way?

Grant: I don’t know about any more surprise categories but we will have many surprises in each of those categories. After our the Kingship series, we plan to write our baby; our series of high-fantasy novels we have been working on since we were teenagers. It’s an epic story that has grown and matured over the years. One we are very excited to tell.

JNC: Where can folks find more information on your games, books, music, and such?

Grant:
Rather Dashing Games
The Brotherhood of the Strange Books
Grant Wilson on CD Baby
Grant Wilson’s official website

JNC: Many of us were disappointed you couldn’t make it to the Wizard World Fan Festival in Chicago a few weeks ago but we are looking forward to seeing you in Cincinnati in a few weeks! Thanks so much for the update!

Grant: I was just as disappointed. Let’s collectively blame the weather!

Grant and Mike will be at the International Steampunk Symposium in Cincinnati this weekend April 24 to 26, 2015.

Grant and Carpetshark will be performing at Origins in June and Gen Con in July.

For more about John N. Collins, find him on TwitterInstagram, Youtube, and Facebook.

The gentlemanly sport of 1860s base ball

Base Ball without the gloves
Base Ball without the gloves

Back in 1860’s when the sport was young the name of the game baseball was two words, not one.  Though some did wear gloves, many base ball players thought it unmanly to do so.

In 1860 the game was played by Beadle’s Rules which is used by many members of the Vintage Base Ball Association.  The fellow with the bat at the home plate was called the striker.  It was the pitcher’s responsibility as a gentleman, to pitch the ball as close to the center of the home base as possible so as to present a hittable ball for the striker.  The pitch was generally an underhand throw, much like pitching a horseshoe.

Pitcher Michael Page following through
Pitcher Michael Page following through

While there were no penalties to the pitcher for a bad throw, there was no room for deception.  If a pitcher were to put a foot beyond the pitcher’s plate (15 yards  from the home base) or were to start a throw without completing it, a baulk would be called and all men running bases would be entitled to advance one base.

Later rules, such as in the 1867 Haney’s Base Ball Book of Reference used by The Greenfield Village National Base Ball Club, allowed the referee to warn the pitcher that he must throw hittable balls if the pitches were not hittable.  If the pitcher continued to throw an additional three unhittable balls, the striker would advance to the first base.

At the end of the game the teams line up and shake hands
At the end of the game the teams line up and shake hands

Similarly, in the 1860 rules, there was no penalty for strikers to pass up good pitches but to swing and miss a pitch was considered a strike and three strikes were an out, ending the batsman’s turn.  In addition to giving more power to keep the pitcher honest, Haney’s also allowed the umpire to warn the batter if they were not swinging at hittable balls.  On subsequent hittable pitches, he would call a strike if the striker didn’t swing.

By Beadle’s Rules a striker with a successful swing was called out if an opposing player caught the ball on the fly or after only one bounce.  By the time Haney’s rules were printed, fair balls had to be caught before the first drop in order to be considered an out though foul balls caught on the first bounce were considered outs as those were harder to catch, being out of the normal playing field.

The Douglas Dutchers Base Ball team
The Douglas Dutchers Base Ball team

For some anachronistic, summertime fun don your Victorian garb and check out an 1860s style base ball game at Greenfield Village, and other venues or join one of the many Vintage Base Ball Association clubs and take a swing at it yourself!

For more about John N. Collins, find him on TwitterInstagram, Youtube, and Facebook.

Youmacon 2014 is on and going strong with the art of Cosplay

Youmcon Chairman, Morgan Kollin and Grand Rapids artist, Erica Willey
Youmcon Chairman, Morgan Kollin and Grand Rapids artist, Erica Willey

Youmacon 2014 started Thursday October 30, 2014 and continues through Sunday November 2, 2014.  It is taking place again at the GM Renaissance Center and the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit, Michigan.

Youmacon is Michigan’s biggest Anime conventions as well as one of the top Anime conventions in the Midwest.  This year the GM Renaissance Center announced a new policy that forbade the wearing of masks and carrying of “simulated weapons that can be construed as real by an employee or tenant.”  This had many attendees concerned as their cosplay (the wearing of costumes, carrying related props, and playing of the characters of their favorite cartoon, video game, anime, or other characters) requires the carrying of the character’s props.  Fortunately this has not seemed to damper the energy of the cosplaying crowds.  The main areas where the con is occurring is not holding to this standard and neither is the Cobo Center.

Youmacan is known for having one of the Midwests biggest an best cosplay/costume contest (and trophies!) and that is happening this evening.  The cosplay competitors will meet for instructions in the Masquerade Green Room at 6 p.m. with the competition beginning at 7 p.m.

In addition to the cosplay/costume competition there are a number of photoshoots scheduled for fans of different genres to meet up and be photographed as groups, panels on cosplay, costuming and a wide variety of other topics in the fandoms.  Special guests include some of the top names in the voice acting industry Todd Haberkorn, Ian Sinclair, Brad Swaile, Tony Oliver, Ken Pontac, Tia Ballard, Caitlin Glass, and many others (check the guest list for a the full lineup and links to their profiles!)

So if you didn’t get to wear your Halloween costume long enough, want to see some awesome costumes, or are wishing for some indoor excitement on this cold, November weekend, come on down to the Cobo Hall and GM Renaissance Center for some good cosplay fun!

More about John N. Collins

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