Gamer's Notebook

Gamer's Notebook

Titanfall lands, the 19XX creator returns

By Chris O'Neal 03/20/2014

Titanfall is available now for the Xbox One, $59.99.


Ever since the 1989 film Robot Jox, kids everywhere have wanted an excuse to saddle up in an oversized robot and punch the crap out of something. Well, either Robot Jox or Rocky VI: The Quest for Rocky. Or Pacific Rim. The list goes on. Sadly, many a giant mecha (Japanese shortened version of mechanical) game has failed to live up to its hype. Until Titanfall, that is. Titanfall has rescued us from the gigantic robot fight simulator dry spell we've suffered since the 1980s.

Titanfall comes to us at a time when next-gen consoles are fighting for supremacy. The Xbox One and the Playstation 4 can both claim exclusives, but Titanfall was chosen for the Xbox One, and could become this generation's Halo.

Set in a futuristic world torn apart by war, Titanfall allows players to run about on their squishy, human legs as soldiers or, in multiple-stories-tall robots known as Titans. Each Titan is equipped with different attributes: The heavy Titan is a grenade-chugging, master-blaster juggernaut; the little scamp small (comparatively) Titan can literally run circles around its larger cousin but has smaller, weaker weapons; and then there's the well-balanced Titan with a little from column A and a little from column B.

As soldiers, players can expect to use zip lines between buildings and parkour their way up walls using jet packs and the like. Just because you're not in a robot doesn't mean you aren't dangerous. Players can scale the Titans and really do some damage to the mechanics. Then again, Titans can electrocute you as if you touched the third rail.

In the end, it's a beautiful shooter with the ability to fight in a robot, and that's all that matters. Most players will be so enamored of the Titans that they'll forget about the lack of private games or a real single-player mode, and if you're into that kind of thing it'll be just gravy.

When's the last time you played a hand of cards? Poker, Blackjack or the like seem to be popular in certain circles, mostly circles involving free drinks and all-you-can-eat shrimp. For those of us who aren't keen to walk into a casino, there's the wide world of collectible cards (sans Pokémon), and local artist Paul Roman Martinez has created a feast for your eyes with his new aviation-inspired deck, Dawn of Flight.

After the successful launch of the comic The Adventures of the 19XX, Martinez decided he'd transfer the vintage look to a deck of traditional cards, printed by Bicycle. A Kickstarter campaign to get the deck into the hands of collectors worldwide is midway through completion, with a funding goal of $27,000.

"I get a lot of questions and facts thrown at me about vintage aviation," said Martinez. "I had lot of fans who are really into aviation so I decided to do something just for those fans."

The cards feature vintage aircraft and, most notably, famous aviators such as Charles Lindbergh, whose estate was ecstatic to be involved. Lindbergh's likeness is used for the king.

"I wrote to a few estates about using the likeness of some aviators," said Martinez. "The Lindbergh estate was really excited about it."

Martinez says that the deck should be available toward the end of June. For Martinez, the details of creating a deck of cards were what surprised him the most. After consulting with collectors, he made a few adjustments.

"They look at the size of the border and want it as thin as possible. Magicians were interested, too, so there's a double-back card and another one is a blank one-sided," Martinez said. "These guys are passionate as much as anyone is."

For more information on Dawn of Flight, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/134284667/the-flight-deck-the-dawn-of-aviation-playing-cards 


Chris O'Neal pilots the Gundam known as Lady Appleton. Follow him on Twitter @agentoneal.

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