Author Archives: Christopher

About Christopher

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Gaming Company News: Asmodee Merges With Fantasy Flight Games

Just announced today, game publishers Asmodee and Fantasy Flight Games are merging. This follows a merger earlier in the year of Asmodee and Days of Wonder.

Fantasy Flight Games, Asmodee Games, and Days of Wonder logos

Fantasy Flight Games, Asmodee Games, and Days of Wonder logos

 

As with the previous merger, today’s announcement states that the previously separate companies’ game studios will continue developing games independently. FFG gains access to Asmodee’s contacts and distribution in Europe and Asmodee gains access to FFG’s game development experience and titles like Netrunner, X-wing, Star Wars Edge of the Empire, Talisman, Battlestar Galactica board game, Battlelore, Elder Sign, and dozens more board, role playing and card games.

The previous merger with Days of Wonder gave Asmodee access to the Memoir ’44, Small World, and the Ticket to Ride game lines as well as Days of Wonder’s expertise in mobile game development. (DoW’s Small World and Ticket to Ride mobile games are exceptionally good.)

Asmodee is known for making a variety of games for both “gamers” and more casual/family players such as the Timeline series, 7 Wonders, Dixit, Seasons and many others.

All three of the previously separate companies were very successful in their own rights with large followings of players in several of their “cornerstone” games. I have a number of each company’s games in our home library including Timeline, Memoir ’44, X-wing, Mag Blast, and just about every variation of Ticket to Ride. Each had large exhibit areas at Gen Con last year and together would be the largest single exhibitor in terms of square footage at next year’s Gen Con should they keep the same “booth” size and demo areas. The combined companies are still dwarfed by mega toy and game makers like Hasbro, but have a combined library and distribution network much larger than other game con stalwarts like Mayfair, Steve Jackson Games, and Paizo.

The question is: Is Asmodee done merging and growing? If not, who do you think is next?

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Holiday Shopping Time: the Web Is My Co-pilot

Shopping online is nothing new and millions of people do it daily. But, for someone like me with a significant mobility disability, online shopping and home delivery is one of the biggest personal benefits to me of the Internet. It is even more of a boon to me during the holiday shopping season when the weather in the Midwest is generally not friendly to someone using a scooter to get around. Scooters, Cerebral Palsy, cold weather, ice and snow are not a fun mixture nor conducive to going from store to store shopping for gifts. Home delivery of whatever I purchase is another benefit because if, I shop at brick-and-mortar stores, I am limited to carrying only what I can fit in my scooter’s basket or bags I can strategically hook on my scooter’s various bits and protrusions. I can’t buy large items or high number of items, at least not without running back to my car to unload and go back in to shop more. (This is also why I prefer a close hotel at Gen Con so when my scooter basket gets full of con swag/games, I can run and unload in the hotel room.)

So, with Thanksgiving only a matter of days away I start to go into “Holiday Bargain Hunter Mode.” I consult Amazon Wish Lists, what I know  about my friends and family, and anything I recall hearing a gift recipient say they wanted and put together a sort of “mental shopping list.” Then, I go to what I call my “Deal Feeds.” These are a collection of RSS feeds from various deal and shopping websites that I scroll through multiple times per day watching for deals on items my gift recipients might want. Here are my favorites:

  • Woot! (http://www.woot.com/) is a sort of collection of daily deals. They have sections for electronics, computers, shirts, accessories, home, kids, tools, sport, and even wine. Most of the deals change daily and they have large selections in every category. The site and its daily newsletter have a quirky sense of humor and the community forum is great for finding out information about items you might be interested in.
  • 1 Sale A Day (http://www.1sale.com/) is similar to Woot! but is even more focused on one-day sales. Their deals are all over the board including clothes, electronics, jewelry, home decor, tools and hardware, and much more. But, most of the items really are only on sale for one day. So, you have to hurry to do your research on items to make those buying decisions.
  • Techbargains (http://www.techbargains.com/) is one of many deal aggregators and it focuses on technology items. This is where I go when I need computer parts or peripherals, A/V equipments, video games and consoles, DVDs, cell phone related items, and storage media. Other aggregators have similar listings, but Techbargains is one of the most well maintained with fewer expired deals not marked as such in its listings.
  • AntiRebate (http://www.antirebate.com/) is a deal aggregator but they espouse the opinion that “Mail-in rebates are a thing of the past.” The site’s goal is to find deals on just about every type of product but with the hassle of filling out rebate forms and hoping you actually get the money someday.

Honorable Mentions

Use these sites for your deal hunting and you’ll find about everything you’re looking for. Oh, and if I get hungry while I’m shopping, Grub Hub can hook me up with all sorts of delivered food options. E-commerce can be a wonderful thing for a Gimpy Geek!

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Yet Again, Neil deGrasse Tyson Rocks (via MarySue)

Science icon and host of Cosmos Neil deGrasse Tyson has got to be the coolest scientist around. He’s right up there with Bill Nye and Don “Mr. Wizard” Herbert. In speeches, TV shows, public appearances, and in his writings he he makes science fun and accessible to the average person while also advocating for good scientific study and policies.

Geek pop site The MarySue posted a wonderful video of Mr. Tyson at an appearance at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. In a gymnasium packed with spectators, he brought a 6-year-old girl out in the coolest Einstein shirt ever, to ask him a question. Her question, “how can first graders help the earth?” is both simple and wonderful. His response is fantastic. He urges her to explore everything: banging pots, jumping in puddles, etc., even if it annoys her parents.

The whole exchange is awesome and made me wonder how many times I told my son to stop banging, splashing, or whatever. I will definitely think about my response to him doing “experiments” later on. We need to explore. We need to experiment. We need to challenge conventional wisdom. And, we desperately need our kids to ask, “How can I help the Earth?”

 

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Dogs Playing D&D = Epic

So, it’s been a stressful, busy week. Perhaps, it has been for you too. So, instead of a long blog post today about something meaningful, I give you something I spotted on IO9 today

Dogs Playing Dungeons and Dragons!

Dogs Playing D&D painting for sale on Redbubble.net.

Dogs Playing D&D painting for sale on Redbubble.net.

Painting, for sale at Redbubble, complete with PHB, DM Screen, dice, minis, map, character sheet, Cheetos and Mountain Dew.

You’re welcome.

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

A Kickstarter Documentary: WoW MoM

There has been a lot of news in the last couple of months about GamerGate. It’s proponents say their “movement” is about ethics in journalism. However, there’s a large component of misogyny, bigotry, hate, and outright harassment of women gamers coming from nut job  GamerGaters. One upshot of all of this, of course, is giving a bad name to people who play games, especially video or online games. I’ve always been of the firm belief that games and gamer communities can be and are a force for good and are of benefit to people. For example, the local game con I help organize and do the website for, FlatCon, donates all profits yearly to Relay For Life. We play games and we do some good.

So, I think it’s important you know about how a game and its fans are helping in another way and a Kickstarter documentary wanting to tell the story. WoW MoM is a film in production about Terry Bolt, a grandmother who is coping with cancer by playing World of Warcraft. Terry was diagnosed in 2010 with Neuroendocrine Tumors (NET)/Carcinoids,  a rare and often misdiagnosed form of cancer that was responsible for the death of Steve Jobs. And, she was given 6 months to live. Four years on, she’s still with us. And WoW has helped.

Terry and Andie Bolt (via Kickstarter)

Terry and Andie Bolt (via Kickstarter)

While undergoing treatments and dealing with all of the side effects and despair, Terry was turned on to playing World of Warcraft as a means to cope. What she found in the WoW community and the game itself was not just an escape, but a new “family” who supported her and gave her an outlet for her pain and frustrations. As she says in the video on the Kickstarter campaign for WoW Mom, she can tell things to the WoW community she does not dare tell her family due to the stress and worry it would cause. Her daughter, comedian and voice over actor Andie Bolt, felt they should make a movie showing all of the positive effects WoW has had on her mom. In the process of making the documentary, going to Blizzcon, and being on shows like The Nerdist, they discovered many other WoW players in similar situations who have found love and support in their community.

Over 150 hours of footage are shot. Now, they need funding to get the rough cut done. Lots of cool perks have been donated by WoW and geek luminaries. I am kicking in a few bucks. I hope you can too.

Games can be good for you.

Gamers also can be.

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Favorite History Podcasts – Part Three

In Part One and Part Two of this blog series I introduced you to many of my favorite podcasts on history. They ran the gamut of historical topics from the Byzantine Empire and Ancient Warfare up through modern times and everything in between. In Part Three, I’ll introduce you to the first podcast I became addicted to on a mobile device and my two all time favorite history podcasters. As always, you can listen to episodes usually right from a podcast’s website or search via iTunes or your favorite podcast app.

  •  The Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast (napoleonbonapartepodcast.com/): According to the podcast’s website, this was one of the first history podcasts online. Produced from 2006 to 2009, over 59 one hour-long episodes were recorded on the life and career of Napoleon Bonaparte. The two hosts, Napoleon scholar David Markham, residing in Canada and, Napoleon fan and podcast entrepreneur Cameron Reilly, residing in Australia, collaborated to create the longest podcast, in terms of both number of episodes as well as recording length, I have ever heard of covering just one topic. David and Cameron are unabashed fans of Napoleon and try to put him in a more positive light than traditional English based history usually does. Back when I listened years ago, all of the episodes were free. Now, only the first 19 episodes are free, but that’s 19 hours plus of content. If you like it, the remaining 40 cost a flat $10 for all of it. Still not bad. I spent many hours listening to this series and it is highly recommended! (Side note: Cameron’s company, The Podcast Network, also produces other shows including The Life of Caesar which I plan to try soon.)
  • The History of Rome (www.thehistoryofrome.typepad.com/): Produced by Mike Duncan, this 179 episode series covered the Roman Empire from the founding of Rome through the fall of the Western Empire. He elected not to continue on to do the Eastern, or Byzantine, Empire which survived many centuries after the fall of Rome. This was not my first podcast addiction, but it was my first “must check every week for a new episode” podcast. Mike is a fan of history and it shows in this series. This was my first encounter with a podcast where the creator truly does it solely for the love of the topic and sharing knowledge with the audience. In fact, he mentioned only after quite a few episodes that he added a donation button to the site at the urging of fans in the site forums. The podcast got so popular, Mike was able to organize “History of Rome Tours” to famous sites in Europe for him and fans of the show! Mike’s plain language story telling and dry humor make this my second favorite podcast of all time. After 179 episodes, a marriage to Mrs. History of Rome, two household moves, and the birth of his first child, Mike felt it was time to end the series in 2012. I was truly sad and missed the weekly updates. But, then he resurfaced…
  • Revolutions (www.revolutionspodcast.com/): In September of 2013, Mike Duncan returned to podcasting with Revolutions. In this ongoing podcast, instead of covering one topic or civilization, Mike is doing multi-part discussions of various revolutions throughout history. So far, he’s covered revolutions in Britain and America. The show is currently discussing the French Revolution and will cover the Haitian Revolution next. The show looks at the causes and effects of the revolutions and Mike’s background in Political History definitely shows. I’m just getting in to this one, but it’s very good so far. Oh, and he’s now doing tour tips again!
  • Hardcore History (www.dancarlin.com/): Dan Carlin hosts what is my all time favorite podcast on any topic. Dan is renowned in the podcast world for his work on Hardcore History and his more frequent series on politics, Common Sense. (Both found at http://www.dancarlin.com/.) Dan has a background in “old media” journalism but made the transition to “new media” impresario. His vocal delivery is fast, passionate, and assertive. He calls himself a “fan of history” not a historian, but the topics he covers are well researched and covered in-depth. He tries to ask tough questions and he will challenge your assumptions and the myths we learn in school. His episodes notoriously run longer than he plans, take more episodes to cover than he figures, and entertain me endlessly. It may take a few months between episodes, but every episode is worth it. If you only have time for one podcast, this is it.

Most of my favorite podcasts are labors of love, created by one or two person outfits who do it because they love history. I make a point of tossing these guys the occasional donation or I make a purchase in their store to “pay back” for the entertainment they’ve given me. Bandwidth, servers, etc. cost money. And, do not forget the opportunity costs in time spent on making these podcasts! I believe content creators should be fairly compensated for their work and I urge you to support those creators whose content you enjoy, too. You can usually find donation and/or store links on their websites.

If you’ve got some favorite podcasts of your own, tell me about them in the comments below!

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Favorite History Podcasts – Part Two

Yesterday, in Part One, I listed three very good podcasts covering the Byzantine Empire, the Norman Conquests and Migrations, and the entirety of world history. Today, in Part Two, I will give you three more covering ancient warfare, general topics in history, and one from an interesting fellow in England covering history from a decidedly British view. You can find these podcasts via the linked websites or search in iTunes or your favorite podcast app:

  • The History Network .Org podcast (thehistorynetwork.org/): started by two history buffs who just weren’t satisfied with the quality of history podcasts available back in 2005, the History Network is actually home to three podcasts. The first, which is the namesake and “flagship” podcast, is simply called “The History Network Podcast” and covers all of human history but is, as its creators, Angus and Nick put it, vaguely military” in focus . It is now in its 17th season and its episodes, running from about 15 to 30 minutes each, usually cover a specific topic. Topics can be about a specific battle, commander, campaign, operation, or anything else “vaguely military.” It is a scripted show with Nick Barker reading about the topic. The fun part is the producers actively solicit scripts from listeners, so if you’ve ever wanted to write for a history podcast that is downloaded millions of times, here’s your chance. I get behind on my podcast listening, but I can binge a whole season of these bite-sized, focused podcasts in a day or two. Their website also hosts a store with past seasons to purchase, as well propaganda films from both sides of World War II, special long form topic episodes and interviews, and a new podcast on historical war games that I have not had time to listen to yet.
  • Ancient Warfare Magazine podcast (thehistorynetwork.org/category/ancient-warfare-magazine/): this is the other popular podcast from the History Network. It is a companion to a Ancient Warfare Magazine which can be purchased at https://www.karwansaraypublishers.com/shop/. However, this podcast has some notable differences from its parent. Where their flagship podcast is broad, covering all eras of history, the AWM podcast is focused on one topic, ancient warfare. Where the parent podcast is done in small episodes, AWM is usually an hour or more long. And where the original podcast is one narrator on script, AWM is a panel discussion of usually four experts discussing and expanding on a topic covered in the most recent issue of Ancient Warfare Magazine. If you want to listen to four serious history nerds discuss topics like Greek phalanxes or what did Roman Legionnaires really use in battle, this is definitely for you.
  • Binge Thinking History (www.bingethinkinghistory.com/): this is a cool, “home-grown” podcast by Tony Cocks from somewhere in the UK. I’ve been listening for a few years. Also known simply as “BTHP,” Tony does this podcast for the sheer love of it. It is not his “day job” so the episodes can be a little infrequent. But, they are good. Tony really gets into his topics. His method is to pick a bigger topics, say the history of the Royal Navy or the RAF, and spend several 30 minute or so episodes on it. He references multiple historical sources, includes sound effects for “decoration,” and has some really cool ways of enhancing his reading of quotes from historical figures by using sound enhancement. You have to hear it. Tony is just an everyday bloke doing a podcast for fun. And, he makes me feel guilty for not doing one myself.

There are a couple of other small, one or two person, efforts that were pretty good but faded away. Of those, Historyzine, produced by Jim Mowatt, was my favorite of those. Another Brit, Jim was doing a very detailed series on the War of the Spanish Succession. Alas, he has not done an update since 2010 but I leave the website here for you to check it out as long as you are OK with not getting the ending. Maybe, he’ll return someday.

Tomorrow in Part Three, my all time favorites covering Napoleon, Revolutions, the History of Rome and some Hardcore History! Feel the History Nerd Power!

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Favorite History Podcasts – Part One

Podcasts are a wonderful thing. You can listen or watch them on computers, game consoles and Internet streaming appliances via various apps, or carry them with you on a mobile device like a tablet, smartphone or MP3 player. They can be about any topic under the sun and, anyone can produce one if they want to. All one needs is a basic computer and microphone, some cheap or free software, and a web site to host them on for download. The barrier to entry is low, with no need of a big media company to produce or distribute the content.

I am a huge history geek and podcasts about history are my favorite. World history is a vast topic and there are podcasts on just about any specific area of historical study a person might want. I tend to be most interested in ancient and medieval history as well as almost all aspects of military history. Below is Part One of my listing of favorite history podcasts, in no particular order of preference. You can find these via the linked websites or search in iTunes or your favorite podcast app:

  • 12 Byzantine Rulers (http://12byzantinerulers.com/): This podcast from history author and lecturer Lars Brownworth discusses in detail 12 emperors of the Byzantine Empire, also known as the Eastern Roman Empire. I’ve been fairly well versed in the Roman Empire for some time, but until I discovered this series I knew little about the half of the empire that survived the fall of the Western Roman Empire by a millennia. This is the first podcast I ever listened to even before I had my first iPod.
  • Norman Centuries (http://normancenturies.com/): Another podcast series by the aforementioned Mr. Brownworth. This one covers the conquests, migrations, and lasting impact of the Normans. The Normans were descendants of Viking “Northmen” who came exploding out of Scandinavia in the Middle Ages. From the podcast’s website:

    In the course of two centuries the Normans launched a series of extraordinary conquests, transforming Anglo-Saxon England into Great Britain, setting up a powerful Crusader state in Antioch, and turning Palermo into the dazzling cultural and economic capital of the western Mediterranean.

    If you thought the Normans were just the oppressors of the Saxons in England and got really annoyed by some guy named Robin Hood, give this one a listen.

  • A History of the World in 100 Objects (http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/): My best friend since 1979, a fellow geek, introduced me to this one. This is a unique podcast produce by the BBC for radio and also distributed online. It covers the entirety of human history by using 100 objects on display in the British Museum. It’s a really cool concept because as you listen to an episode you can visit the series’ website and see photos and other additional information about the object. I think it’d be a great teaching tool in schools as well.

Give these a listen. Tomorrow, Part Two…

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Leveling the Gaming Table: 64oz. Games Is Live!

I love all types of games. Give me traditional board games, like Monopoly and Clue, or old school card games, like Rummy and Pitch, or more stereotypically “geeky” games, like role playing games, “Euro games,” miniatures, war games, worker placement games, deck building games, etc. and I’ll at least try them. There’s just something about sitting around the gaming table and having some fun with a game that makes my world a little better. Sometimes, it’s the friendly competition, but most of the time it’s just the social aspect of it mixed with a great game that makes it worth doing.

We have a group of gamer buddies who have been playing various types of games together for a long time, a couple of us for 30+ years now. We’ve played just about every type of game. About a decade ago, some newer folks fell into my gamer orbit, including one friend, Tim, who is blind. Some games, like RPGs, don’t necessarily require sight to play. You just provide materials in Braille or electronic format that’s accessible to screen readers and add more verbal descriptions of visual aids like maps. Other more traditional card games are generally easy to manage because Braille playing cards have been around for a long time. But, some of then newer types of games, like card games with many different cards containing text on them, are harder to play without sight. We’ve always thought there must be a way to make some of these games more independently accessible to Tim. Luckily, someone else thought that and did something about it.

64oz. Games logo from their website

64oz. Games logo from their website

Tim turned me onto a Kickstarter last Spring for a small company called 64oz. Games. The company is a small start up designing their own games but they also wanted to make them playable by gamers who are blind. If you watch their video on the Kickstarter campaign site, they describe how, as they researched making accessible games, they realized no one was doing this or knew how to do it. They looked at lots of games and brainstormed what may be possible. They figured out what they’d need to create Braille lables and sleeves for cards as well as QR codes to embed card text readable out loud by a smartphone. (iPhones and Android phnes both have built in screen/text readers with iPhone’s VoiceOver being superior right now.) To make the Braille labels en masse, they needed a Braille embosser. (Think of it as a large, “printer” similar to an old dot matrix printer but with no ink. Just pins that poke the bumps into proper paper, card, or plastic stock. They’re expensive and loud.) Then, they selected a slate of games to offer accessibility kits for. They don’t sell modified games. I assume that would be a licensing hassle for a small outfit. But, what you got from the Kickstarter, depending on your backing amount, was one or more kits to modify a game of your choosing. Several in our group backed it and all chose different game kits so we could widen our selection of modified games in our collective libraries. (I chose a family favorite, Guillotine.)

Example of transparent sleeves with Braille for cards (via 64oz. Games)

Example of transparent sleeves with Braille for cards (via 64oz. Games)

Examples of QR codes added to cards (via 64oz. Games)

Examples of QR codes added to cards (via 64oz. Games)

They also researched and designed Braille dice, beginning with the symbol of game geekiness, the 20-sider!

Braille 20 sided die from 64oz. Games

Braille 20 sided die from 64oz. Games

I received my kit for Guillotine last week and, soon, I’ll get that game adapted and go play it for the first time with Tim! I also got the big 20-sider which looks alright. It’s got some funny edges here and there and I’m going to go old school and crayon in the numerals, but it’s nice to have. I’m very pleased with the quality of the kit overall. I’m glad I helped them get started.

And, “get started” is what they’ve done Today, I received an email that their web store is up and running at www.64ouncegames.com! On it, right now, I see kits for sale for:

  • Love Letter
  • For Sale
  • The Resistance
  • Coup
  • This Town Ain’t Big Enough For the 2-4 Of Us
  • CoinAge
  • Tiny Epic Kingdoms
  • Guillotine
  • Boss Monster
  • Kill the Overlord
  • Farmageddon

They had more choices during the Kickstarter, like a kit for Dominion, so I know more kits are coming. They also sell the 20-sided Braille die and their own tactile card game, Yoink! They promise color blind kits for games soon too, which is personally great for me. My stepson and my son are both color blind as well as are two other guys in my gaming group. Games with low color contrast between playing pieces, board illustrations, etc. can be a real impediment to playing so I’m glad these color blind adaption kits are coming!

Games can be a lot of fun and anyone who wants to play with their friends and family ought to be able to. I’m glad 64oz. Games is out there making this happen. Now, time to do some shopping. I think Tim would totally dig playing The Resistance.

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Geek Genre Actors Doing Good AS Their Characters

As fans, we sometimes have trouble separating actors from the characters they play. We can be a little disappointed, or downright devastated, to learn that they’re just actors playing a role and making a living. Further, some actors often try to distance themselves from their characters for various reasons, usually as a result of feeling typecasted and limited in their acting opportunities. For example, Leonard Nimoy raised an uproar in the 1970s with his book “I Am Not Spock” which offended Trekkies worldwide. Classic movie actor Basil Rathbone felt he was constrained by successfully playing Sherlock Holmes and came to hate the character. Actors, even when made famous by a beloved and iconic role are still just actors pretending to be someone else temporarily.

There are times, though, when an actor will portray a character on their own time just to do some good, cheer up a sick child, or pay back a kindness. I spotted a story on IO9.com about Peter Capaldi, the current (Twelfth) Doctor Who, making a short video as The Doctor to cheer up a 9 year old boy with autism whose nanny he loved had just passed away. The video is short but it is sweet that Mr. Capaldi took the time out to make it and send it to a boy he did not know. I started thinking about other recent instances of celebrity actors reprising their roles, sometimes in full costume and makeup, just do bring a little cheer into some fans’ lives.

Johnny Depp Visits Kids As Captain Jack Sparrow

Apparently never aging heart throb Johnny Depp totally gets how fortunate he is and likes to give back to kids. According to an article on Koopstarz, Mr. Depp travels with one of his Captain Jack Sparrow costumes, wig, makeup, etc. and is known to visit children’s hospitals and schools in character. In one instance, he also made a surprise visit to a school near where On Stranger Tides was filming. A female student had written him a letter asking him to visit and he showed up with the letter in hand and gave the little girl a hug in front of her classmates. See, bloody pirates ain’t so bad.

Johnny Depp visits school as Captain Jack via the Daily Mail

Johnny Depp visits school as Captain Jack via the Daily Mail

Robert Downey Jr. Spreads the Stark/Iron Man Charm

There’s no denying the Robert Downey Jr. and the character Iron Man have made each other more famous worldwide than they ever were before the two hooked up. Downey’s performances in three Iron Man movies and the Avengers have been a huge part of those movies earning billions of dollars for Marvel. RJD has had his ups and downs in his personal life and career and, it is rumored, he can be a bit of a prima donna. But, there is no denying that he is willing to give back, especially to kids. Some examples:

Jaime Alexander Visits Sick Kids As Lady Sif

Marvel posted an article about and photos from a November, 2013 visit by Thor movies actress Jamie Alexander to the Childrens Hospital off L.A.

Jamie Alexander visits the Childrens Hospital of L.A. as Lady Sif (via Marvel)

Jamie Alexander visits the Childrens Hospital of L.A. as Lady Sif (via Marvel)

She did not just visit the sick and hand out posters and DVDs. She did it in full Lady Sif of Asgard costume complete with shield and sword.

Chris Pratt Visits Childrens’ Hospital As Starlord

Apparently, the Childrens Hospital of L.A. is the one to get treatment from, if you want to also meet Marvel superheroes. In August, Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt attended a special screening of the movie at the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles in his costume as Starlord. According to an August 22, 2014 article on Blastr, Pratt had stated previously that he had literally stolen some of his costume pieces after the movie wrapped so he could do this sort of thing in the event that the movie became a blockbuster. Sure enough, it became the biggest movie of 2014, almost everyone knows who the Guardians are, and Pratt kept his word. He delighted the kids at the screening and even visited some kids separately who were too ill to go to the group screening. One of those kids happens to be a huge Lego fan. It just so happens, of course, that Pratt ALSO starred in The Lego Movie so he spent some time with this fan, too, doing his character, Emmett, from the movie! He gets double credit for doing not one, but two characters in the same day to cheer up some sick kids!

Chris Pratt visits chidlrens hospital as StarLord

Chris Pratt visits chidlrens hospital as StarLord

These are just a few examples of actors using their fame to give back. Know any others? Post them in the comments below.

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.