Monday, December 27, 2010

Your Shape Fitness Evolved: Weak 2-3

*sigh* Yup you're reading that right, "Weak 2-3." I overdid it a bit and hurt myself. Not too terribly, but enough that I'm going to take a small break and then ease back in.

That said I did lose some weight. Checked my scale and I weighed in at 209lbs., so I lost 6lbs. At least I'm losing weight.

There's one exercise I think that's checking to see if you have rhythm and balance. I swear the "Tap Back, Tap Out" is trying to make me look extra uncoordinated.

So next week I hope to up and running again. 'Til then I'll just work on dieting.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Little Satellite That Could

So this isn't really gaming related, but it's something near and dear to my nerdy little heart so it seems appropriate.

On Monday, Bad Astronomer posted about NASA scientists' confirmation that Voyager 1 has been in the heliopause for about 4 months now. We're all nerds here (and I'm sure most of you follow NASA and have heard the news already) but this seems like too momentous an occasion to just let pass.

Elmer Graphic Novel

I'm not sure what possessed me to buy the Elmer graphic novel - I have a vague recollection of seeing listed somewhere as a "must read" but I rarely agree with those lists. :-)

I was in my Friendly Local Comic Book Store the other day to buy the MouseGuard Legends of the Guard graphic novel when I spotted a copy of Elmer on the shelf. I took a quick glace at it and decided what the hell.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Your Shape Fitness Evolved; Week 1

Get ready to sweat.
So as the years have gone by I have gone from the some what toned lean frame I had in the Army to something that is a bit rounder.  I have in the past done diets and workouts with varied success only to stop doing them at some point for whatever reason.

Today I started a new workout.  So why am I writing about it here?  Well I'm going  to try to kill a few birds with one stone.  One, maybe writing publicly about it will help keep me on track.  Two, it will help to have me write something weekly to keep me working on my writing skills.  And three, it's a video game so this could be seen as a game review, though a review that quite a few weeks to complete.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Ms. 'Splosion Man Blowing Up Soon

Yup you're reading that right, "Ms. 'Splosion Man." With the obvious nod to Ms. Pac-Man, Ms. 'Splosion Man will be a sequel to Twisted Pixel's hit game 'Splosion Man.

Twisted Pixel felt that while they could just roll out additional levels to 'Splosion Man, they would not be able to really add anything new to the experience, so they didn't want to just do that. Instead, they wanted to add much of what was planned for 'Splosion Man and polish up the game itself. We will be seeing Ms. 'Splosion Man in 2011.

Paying For Free Content

I've been thinking about this topic for a while now - supporting those that offer free content.

Webcomics are an excellent example - we, the readers, are given free content that we enjoy and in return are asked to support the creator. The most obvious method is to buy books or merchandise - but how many of us actually do? Some of my favourite webcomics (PVP, Penny Arcade, Looking For Group) all offer collections of the comics for sale, but I only own the PVP Awesomology.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Don't Be a Douchebag

Stories about bullying are nothing new.  I’m sure each of us at least once in our lives has had to experience being made fun of because of something we liked or because of our identity, or just because some other kid had something to prove.  Whether we are singled out and picked on due to our gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, movie preference, or because of our actions, our statements or any other arbitrary reason, the act of bullying is uniformly unacceptable and reprehensible.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Review: Hero

Hero by Perry Moore
Disney/Hyperion Books, 2009

So, I had this dream last night where Eye-shuh suddenly appeared next to my desk. "Good job at not writing," she said. "Writing? I've done a crap ton of writing!" *I wave my hands emphatically at the monitor.* "How about a paper on the relevance of Library of Congress subject headings in the digital age?" "BORING!" "Okay, how about a one hour information literacy lecture on research methods??" "Our readers don't give a damn about your stupid graduate work, write something interesting!" *Eye-shuh then began to beat me over the head with my own keyboard, crumbs flying everywhere.* "FINE, FINE, I give up! How about a book review on a young adult superhero novel that I booktalked at a high school last week?" "That will do... mortal." (Really Eye-shuh, you're more demanding than my profs :P )

I know what you're thinking. Did I hear you just say that this is a YOUNG ADULT novel?? Yes, yes it is, and if you are a fan of superheros you should still read it. But Eep, this is classified as an issue book about *gasp* HOMOSEXUALITY. And again, yes, yes it is, and if you are a fan of superheros you should GET OVER IT AND READ THE DAMN BOOK ALREADY.

First Thoughts: Rage HD for iOS

Id Software has set a new standard for capabilities on the iOS platform with their recently released game Rage HD. Rage HD is a tie-in to drum up attention for their upcoming PC game (surprisingly) titled Rage. It is an on-rails FPS set in the Rage universe of wastelands, zombies, post-apocalyptic… yeh you've heard this before. While the setting is familiar, id did not cheap out on the graphics. Rage HD looks amazing. It could easily be misconstrued as a Wii game.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Netflix Announces Streaming Only Rate

Well we all saw it coming and it's finally here.  Today Netflix started offering a "Streaming Only" membership rate.  No more need to worry about DVDs and/or Blu-Ray discs from them.

Along with the new membership they also announced new pricing for all their plans (see new pricing below).  Netflix VP Marketing, Jessie Baker, stated in the Netflix Blog that this is the result of the large increase of TV shows and movies available on the streaming service and the fact that members are viewing more through the streaming service than DVDs.

Hospitals and Horrible Games

When I was ten years old I underwent major reconstructive surgery on both of my feet. All gory details aside, it was a necessary operation that allowed me to continue to walk in a (somewhat) normal manner. Eighteen years later, I have two lasting impressions from my time in the hospital. The first is the bitchin' scars on my feet that I usually attribute to that time I rescued puppies and kittens from a burning building. The second is that "The Three Stooges" for the Nintendo Entertainment System was a terrible game.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kinect Fail Kontinues

I too fell victim of not properly making sure my surrounding area was clear before playing the Xbox Kinect.  Below, our hero plays beach volleyball in Kinect Sports and during a "spike" manages to rip down most of his lightstring.

Overall though, despite the mishap I am enjoying the Kinect.  I really love the voice commands and hope that Netflix soon implements it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Late to the Party: Podiobooks

So, as usual I am late to the party on this - I have recently discovered podiobooks! What are podiobooks you ask? Why, let me tell you! Podiobooks are audiobooks released as podcasts. Clever, eh?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Desert Bus for Hope 4: It's time to make it rain for Child's Play!

Cancel all of your plans and crack open those piggy banks: it is time, once again, for the best damned internet telethon in existence - the 4th annual Desert Bus for Hope! You would think that watching people play what is arguably the worst video game ever created nonstop would be a torturous affair, but web comedy troupe LoadingReadyRun (Unskippable, ENN) and assorted special guests keep us all coming back for more, raising over $140,000 for Child's Play Charity in 2009.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Looking at Pretty Pictures Big Time Spider Action

It’s time for another Looking at Pretty Pictures and this time I’m going to talk about superhero books from last week. This week there was a big Batman event (Bruce Wayne is back) and a big Spider-Man event (he’s hit the “Big Time”). I’m going to talk about Spider-Man because it’s a beginning rather than an ending, so it’s easier to get into now rather than have to track down all of the “Return of Bruce Wayne” issues; and also because Peter Parker is just better than Bruce Wayne. (That last note is mostly for eye-shuh)

I haven’t read a new Spider-Man books in a while. The last thing I touched was the trade of One More Day which I will fully admit lies somewhere between not enjoyable and downright irritating. That being said, I haven’t heard too many bad things about the Brand New Day stories that followed the end of Peter Parker and Mary-Jane’s break-up. So once I heard about the beginning of the Big Time storyline I decided it was time to give the book a chance--and I have to say it was well worth checking out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Zombies have Risen Again!

Do you love John Wayne movies and zombies? Then you'll love The Walking Dead! This new TV show is all about a no-frills "real-world" zombie apocalypse.  AMC is the all-American, old-Western network so this show does have its fair share of car-chasing, gun-toting cowboys and--I've heard--white supremacists.  It's got all the blood, gore and glory with a little bit of poignant humanity.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Alchemy for Android

I'm always looking for fun little apps for my phone and recently came across Alchemy while updating my pushup program, Drop and Give me Twenty (not recommended, btw).

Alchemy is a Doodle God (which you iPeople out there can buy) clone and is a fantastic little time waster for when you are waiting in line, are on the bus or are sitting on the pot. You start out with four elements: earth, fire, air and water, and work on making two element combinations by dragging their icons together. In the beginning it's pretty easy, water + fire = alcohol, for instance. But, as you progress, things get a bit more difficult. A mouse, for instance takes about 20 or so steps. O.o

So far I've made about 130 of the 330 possible combinations (admittedly, with a little help from online guides) in about four days. I seriously doubt this game will keep my attention long enough to get everything, but Alchemy is an enjoyable diversion, especially since it's free.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Pretty Gamer Interviews! 'AFK Tavern: A Place for Geeks and Gamers'

I can't count the number of times throughout the years that the topic of a bar or pub just for gamers has popped up. Probably thousands within my earshot alone. But today, in Everett, Washington - a dream of epic proportions is finally coming true. And get this: your 18+ friends are welcome.

When I heard about AFK Tavern through the grapevine I made a beeline for research and sent an interview request via email. On the other end of the tubes I found Kayla and Alison, two funny, kick ass gamers on a mission to bring our community together again - by offering up the one thing that's swiftly disappearing: a place we can come together and play.

Consumer Reports: The Kinect is Not "Racist"

So, GameSpot made some claims that Microsoft's Kinect has problems recognizing "dark skinned GameSpot employees" and that Kinect has no problem with light skinned people for the log-in aspect of the system.  By the end of their article they didn't outright say it, but it was heavily implied that the Kinect will not work with blacks at all for log-in.  This has been since misconstrued across the web as the Kinect being "racist" or proof against Microsoft that they somehow made another defective product.

Well, strangely enough, Consumer Reports of all places saw something wrong with GameSpot's story and decided to retest the Kinect using light and dark skinned people.  Their findings, turn on a light:

Marketing: Activision nails it with 1st 'CoD: Black Ops' commercial (video)

Thank You. It's about gorram frakking time. Someone finally created an ad for a first person shooter (FPS) that doesn't fall face first into the laziest pitfalls of the genre. The semi-animated "realism" of a war torn landscape with a gritty blue, grey, or brown haze. Fade into game footage of a super generic soldier walking, running, crouching with his weapon (nearly *always* male) - and add an explosion involving a tank, helicopter, or building. Finally the gruff voice over or terrible voice acting that might describe the thin plot. Swap a fatigue color here and a landscape there - rinse and repeat for every first person shooter ad nauseum.

It basically offends my sensibilities as a marketing nerd. =P

Hello Nurse! (Yaoi-Con, Day One)

Day One Begins

The day begins in the late morning (overslept!) but it's all good since nothing really begins until this evening. I have to admit, I like the pace of this con; it seems the organizers aren't morning people either since everything begins after 12 pm and continues into the wee hours of the morning. I head downstairs to pick up my badge and goodie bag and witness the full swing of a hotel in the throes of a convention.

Its fortunate that Carmen made me pre-register since a very long line greeted me that afternoon, luckily it was for everyone else, pre-reg's scooted through very quickly in another line. Security is tight, I had to present my picture ID and the email of my preregistration, I was then given a wrist bracelet and badge both of which I must have at all times to participate in any part of the convention. They are very serious about security here and take every precaution that no one under the age of 18 somehow slips past.

Day 1 is still very relaxed. No panels, just registration, swap meet, opening ceremonies, bishie(1) bingo and a screening of Rocky Horror Picture show much later in the evening.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The assassin your assassin could kill like

With Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood just around the corner, I've found myself dwelling on the AC series in general and Assassin's Creed 2 in particular. And you know, the more I think about him, the more I like Ezio Auditore. Maybe it's just me, but he feels like a breath of fresh air compared to all the grizzled war veterans, PTSD-suffering teenagers and psychopathic killing machines that seem to populate our fair medium. Ezio is confident, friendly and outgoing, with a sense of humor that extends beyond mere oneliners. He's the ultimate charming rogue; engaging, smooth, and a ladies man.

Now who else do we know that's like that?


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Travels of Terror: Great Places to be for Halloween

I love Halloween!  It's the special, mysterious time of year when we celebrate spirits and let our dark sides out!  It's a time when change is in the air, from the leaves to the weather to our own preparations for the winter.  My birthday is also right near Halloween, but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

As much as I love Halloween, I am absolutely terrible at finding suitable (read: comfortable) costumes, and I always wait until the last minute.  Every year, I find myself wishing that I could just get outta town, forget about the whole dressing up and collecting candy affair, and get out into the world to have a really unique Halloween experience.

Here are my top travel destinations for Halloween (in no particular order):

Quest for Amigurumi

Are you familiar with amigurumi? They are knitted or crocheted stuffed animals / anthopomorphic things / weird stuff. My all time favourite is (of course) Cthulhu:

FYI: Cthulhu is the pink one in the above picture, made by my friend Angela.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A stranger in a strange land (Yaoi-Con, Day Zero)

October 28th, 2010

I'm going to Yaoi-Con.
There's a part of me that winces, just a bit, when I say that out loud. We all know that there are certain stereotypes and assumptions made about specific fandoms and yaoi is definitely one that comes off as a bit... strange. I mean, it's basically gay anime/manga made for women, it's the equivalent to the romance novel; only gay.

In Japan, the genre is referred to as "Boys Love" and manga/anime made for gay men or gei comi is yet another genre unto itself. My introduction to yaoi came by way of my best friend Carmen who will be my tour guide, and yours, on this little adventure in San Francisco.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to - Make Batman's utility belt out of yellow duct tape

It's no secret that I love Batman. So when someone says to me, "I bet you could make a utility belt out of yellow duct tape," well, hell yes I can. I doubt I'm the first person out there to have done this, but hopefully with Halloween just a few days away I might be able to help some of you last minute costume makers out there.

What you'll need:
  • Two rolls of Duck Tape brand yellow duct tape (I just barely used two, so if you're careful you can probably get away with one; though I wouldn't recommend trying. Buying two gives some wiggle room.)
  • Adhesive velcro (try to find one that says its adhesive is very strong)
  • A pair of scissors

When all was said and done it took me around three hours to complete.

Review: Revolution!

Revolution! is a board game in which you're secretly bidding against your opponents to control territory and gain the support of the masses.

Revolution! is produced by Steve Jackson games, is for 3-4 players and a game lasts about an hour.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MLB 10 The Show Predicts the Giants to Win in 7

Are you excited for the World Series? If you're a Texas Rangers fan stop reading now. Go read something else here at Pretty Gamer (I hear there's an excellent review for Angry Birds or some good tips on dealing with zombies).

Are they gone? OK.

The Creation of a Pretty Gamer

Despite the happy and joyous geek couples you see at Comic-Con and the Penny-Arcade Expo, playing their Nintendo DS games together, this isn’t always the case. Some of us date “normal,” or in this case “abnormal,” people who don’t believe in our coveted lifelong pastime of gaming. Sadly, I occasionally hear the comment of "that’s a waste of time", or "there's no point in spending so much time doing that". In an effort to show that games aren't a waste of time I instituted mandatory game time. I'll be chronicling my epic journey with a brand new gamer that hasn't held a controller since Tetris was hot.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Adorable slightly video game related Youtube of the day

I want a ferret. I think they are the most adorable animals ever. My boyfriend use to have one that would steal his Mountain Dew cans and arrange them in a secret fortress under his bed.

Thus, why I think this is the most adorable video ever:

Quick Review of Angry Birds for Android

Angry Birds has finally come to Android phones. The popular iApp can now be downloaded via the Market for free (with ad support). An ad free version is planned for some point in the future.

So is it worth all the hype?

Friday, October 22, 2010

ChuChu Rocket coming to iThings

If you were any kind of Sega fan back in the day, you've played ChuChu Rocket. Even if you've never heard of ChuChu Rocket, or are no kind of Sega fan, you may still enjoy this news.

It's coming soon (late this month) to iDevices everywhere.

How Nintendo continues to print money

Nintendo thought process:

Everyone has a Wii. Everyone. Now that the craze is coming to an end, and sales are starting to curve down, how do we get them to buy another Wii?

Well, Nintendo, we could always put out a hot looking Wii in a different color...hey, isn't it that one guy's birthday soon? You know, the one with the mustache?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Back in the Fitness Saddle: A #fit4pax Update

Oh hai there #fit4pax! It's... Been a while, yes. What's that? Where have I been? How are my fitness goals coming along since PAX Prime 2010 ended? Well, um, you see what had happened was...

What's the deal with Steampunk?

Defining steampunk was a common theme at VCon, and I wish I had written down what Cherie Priest had to say on the subject. From what I can recall (I am old, and have a bad memory) Cherie was against pigeonholing steampunk - it's not about narrow focus, and is more than just corsets and tiny hats. Why exclude those that see steampunk as something different than you do? Why not welcome in other ideas and expand your horizons?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Survival of the Fanciest: Zombie-fighting tools for the discerning protagonist

I know, I know. Zombies again. You should all know how to properly survive the zombie apocalypse by now, after carefully studying the wealth of popular materials out there: Zombieland, The Zombie Survival Guide, Resident Evil, Motivated Youth on the Internet, World War Z and the other contemporary and historical materials. Even Shaun of the Dead teaches us how to survive the zombie apocalypse with a sense of humor and optimism.

But sometimes, surviving isn't enough. Sometimes, a little style and sophistication is what's required to get us through the dark, viral land where our brains are the hottest commodity (yes, in more ways than one!) and the world turns against us.

For these times, we turn to Etsy.

Review: Shadow Hunters Expansion Set – Bring Your Poker Face!

Shadow Hunters is a board game for 4-8 players in which you play a character from one of three factions: Shadow, Hunter or Neutral. Shadows are essentially the villains in this game and, in order to win, they must kill all the Hunters. Hunters are aligned on the side of good and win by killing all the Shadows. Neutrals are unique in that the win condition depends on the character you’re playing. The objective sounds fairly straight-forward and easy, but there's a catch: you don’t know which character a player has and therefore don’t know what their faction is.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010



A stark room with a single light over the table. Four people sit around the table, clutching cards in their hands and warily watching each other. There are a number of cards and a single d10 in front of each person. The room has a palitable sense of tension.

Player 1:

I choose to fight the Large Angry Chicken.

Player 2:

Now it's a Humongous Large Angry Chicken!

Player 3:

Ha! Now it's an Ancient Humongous Large Angry Chicken! Take that!

Player 4:

I will help you for all the treasure cards. If you say no, I'll play a Wandering Monster and guarantee you loose the combat.

Player 1:

*sighs* I hate you all.

Gamer - overlooked gem that does video game movies proud

Disclaimer: This review is more or less, spoiler free.

I put Gamer in my Netflix DVD queue because I wanted to see how bad it was. It did terrible when it was in theaters and received mostly poor reviews. I'm one of those strange people who enjoys watching bad movies with a big bowl of popcorn and my sarcasm meter turned up to full power.

The movie was buried in my queue, and I didn't give it much thought, even forgot about it until it popped up in my Instant Queue yesterday. "Who the eff added this garbage?" I yelled to no one in particular. Deciding to take a break from Combat Arms, I turned sarcasm to max and hit the start button.

I think it was probably the opening of the movie, the first 10 - 15 minutes, when a beefy looking soldier in the middle of what looks like a war says "hold on, I gotta teabag this guy real quick!"....that was when I realized how wrong I was, and how amazing this movie was going to be.

Monday, October 18, 2010

World of Warcraft 4.0.1 First Impressions: Muscle Memory, my Ancient Nemesis!

"This is going to be horrible," I mutter darkly over TeamSpeak, watching the cheerful Mac rainbow whirl carelessly in the center of my screen and the Blizzard downloader bar chug away at a snail's pace.

"Don't worry about it. You'll be fine," my guildmates' voices soothe even as they start respecing their characters. It's easy for them to be nonchalant. They're actually good. They wouldn't know noobery if it came up and crit them for 40k in the face.

The last 10% finally drains away; the launcher announces with cheery world-ending charm that I am now permitted to play. I log in only to find myself, almost immediately, facing one of the hardest bosses I have ever encountered in my 4 year WoW playing career...

Grape Soda is Better When it's Made by a Librarian

So, Jones soda has come out with a line of Buffy the Vampire Slayer sodas. This is possibly the most ridiculous marketing ploy I've ever seen.

Disclaimer: I'm not a diehard Buffy fan, and I haven't really seen anything except for what I sparingly remember from the first season and maybe a couple episodes of that spinoff Angel. I don't think this really hampers my ability to aptly ridicule these sodas.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pokémon Puns!

I feel like this is something I should've discovered FOREVER ago! My Pokémon-sense should have started tingling the second this appeared on the internet!

If you've got a few minutes and need a quick oh-god-the-week-isn't-over pick-me-up this is the perfect thing.

Review: Dixit

Dixit is a visually stunning board/card game. The game had been recommended to my gaming group before PAX, but we hadn't had a chance to try it out until recently.

Dixit is for 3-6 players age 8 and up and an average game takes about 30 minutes.

Each turn a player is the Storyteller - they look at the six cards in their hand and come up with a one or more word sentence to describe the card they've chosen. Telling the other players the sentence, the other players then look through the six cards in their hands and choose one that best matches what the Storyteller described. The Storyteller then takes the cards, shuffles them face down and turns them face up on the table. The other players then use a numbered token to choose which card they think was described by the Storyteller.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Games for the whole family

I read Family Circle magazine on occasion (great recipes!) and in their recent edition I came across an article that lists "Video Games for Families: 19 Terrific Releases for Tweens, Teens, and Parents Too." I'm usually pretty skeptical of articles of this nature. The media tends to demonize gaming and, as a result, suggestions made for families tend to be restricted to fluffy Wii shovelware.

In this case, I was surprised and impressed with their list. I could tell they put a lot of thought into their choices, and the picks illustrate the author's understanding of video games.

Fruit Ninja: My Phone is a Katana!

Are you a ninja? Have you ever found yourself desperately wishing you could practice your new slashing technique but were constrained by the ever-watchful eye of a disdainful society?* Have you ever wandered through a marketplace, staring at the plethora of ripe fruit and suddenly imagined slicing your way through the juicy sweet harvest leaving a glistening trail of fruit pulp behind you, only to realize that slicing up a farmer's bounty would be inappropriate and probably make said farmer cry or become excessively violent?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review: Gloom

Gloom is published by Atlas Games, and is a quirky, cheerful and uplifting card game. No, wait, that's not right. Gloom is horrible, depressing and a ton of fun!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nerd: The New BoyScout

Monday morning I went to the Medical Center on campus looking like the Elephant Man. I looked absolutely grotesque, and after a long wait I was finally seen by a doctor. She concluded that it was probably a really bad reaction to a bug bite, but wished she could have seen it earlier so she could tell if it had gotten better during the 1.5hrs I'd been in the waiting room.

"Wait," I said, "I took pictures."

"Yay," she said, "I love MIT students, always prepared."

I don't think it's just MIT kids who are always prepared. I see this all the time: people using their smart phones or nDSi's to take pictures of interesting events or of a cool poster they want to google later.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Extreme Teethbrushing Action! A Review of Heavy Rain

“They want me to brush my teeth,” I gawked, looking at the controller like it had suddenly sprung bristles and minty white paste. “They want me to brush my gorram teeth.”

And in that moment, I realized that Heavy Rain was one of the most brilliant games I'd ever played--And I'd barely gotten two minutes in.

VCon 35

This year VCon 35 was held October 1-3 at the Vancouver Airport Marriott (which, FYI, is neither in Vancouver nor especially close to the airport). According to its website VCon is the oldest general-interest science fiction and fantasy convention in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. This year's theme was Steampunk.

Friday, October 08, 2010

More reasons to love Steam: Killing Floor sale plus new DLC

Steam is awesome because they love gamers. Straight up. This is why they're successful.

So, it's no surprise that with a new Killing Floor DLC out, they've slashed the price of Killing Floor PLUS all its DLC in half.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Late to the Game, But I'm Here!

Hi there, I’m zezspecs, and I'm here to tell most of you tales from at least 3000 miles away and 5 hours in the future.

Someday the sexbot pinball machines will be among our robot overlords

There's a little pizza place in town that my boyfriend, his boss (who's a good friend) and I visit every Tuesday because we can get two calzones for 6$ (they're delicious). Every week we go in and order our calzones before heading over to their little collection of arcade games, pile of quarters in hand. They have such classics as Area 51, Bubble Bobble and pinball. I'll sometimes hop in a Bubble Bobble game when one of the boys dies a horrible death, but usually I'm content to either play pinball or whip out a game on my phone.

The pinball machine used to be a classic Popeye machine. They replaced it recently.

Meet "The Machine - Bride of Pin*Bot". She's a totally innocent robot who just wants to be a real girl. Only your love (and some nice paddle shots) can help her. Enjoy playing on/with her body!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

For Animators and People who Love to Cry

Apparently, my secret PAX swag this year was mono; so I've been home sick all day trying to cope with my latest bout of disease. Delightful. So, I've spent part of the day semi-conscious, clicking on random links and exploring the tubes. I happened upon this page, which led me to what was probably the saddest animated short I've seen since Kiwi!.

Sintel is about a girl and her dragon. It's about 15 minutes long and--I'm going to warn you--fairly tragic. But, it's a beautiful animated short film, and the graphics may have you drooling.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The All-Consuming World of Minecraft! Or: Say Goodbye to Your Free Time!

If you haven't already heard of Minecraft, or if you haven't already invested countless hours into the creation of mind-numbingly gargantuan subterranean fortresses, then let this be a warning to you! Minecraft is dangerous business!

Is the 3DS worth as much as your Xbox?

Nintendo hasn't yet officially announced an American price point for their new handheld, the 3DS, but based on the Japanese pricing the rumors going around* are suggesting 250$ - 300$.

That's a lot of money for a handheld! Especially given the fact that I'm still rocking my DS Lite, and have quite a few friends who never upgraded from the original DS. Then again, I still have my SNES and that didn't stop me from buying a N64, GameCube, and Wii.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Advice: Dating when you live in the boonies.

You've got questions, Tajah's got answers! Today, how on earth do you plan creative and fun dates that won't break the bank when you live outside the big city?

Pretty Gamer: What are some cheap but fun date ideas in the greater King/Pierce counties? - Anonymous

Cooking With No Groceries

I have this problem with grocery shopping. It always seems to take too much activation energy to make it worth it. I can subsist for months on free food from events around campus (yes, I am one of those people who shows up to events with plastic bags so I can smuggle the next weeks lunch home), so my budget is about $60 for food every three months.

But Friday night I got a text message from my roommate: "I'm making swordfish, what are you making tonight?" It had completely slipped my mind that our mutual friend (my bff) was coming to visit us for the weekend and we had planned to have a "fancy" dinner to welcome her. When I peered in the pantry my shelf had 6 boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese: 3 pokemon shaped (purchased around April) and 3 Scooby Doo shaped (purchased sometime in '09). Neither of which seemed fancy enough to accompany swordfish steaks. A couple minutes of googling later (search terms: box macaroni fancy, fancy mac and cheese, kraft mac and cheese recipes) I settled on attempting a random conglomeration of shit from the fridge. And here is the awesomeness that resulted.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pretty Gamer Drunken Friday Night Podcast #1

In honor of Drunken Podcasting Month, as decreed in the month of September by the magnanimous Z over at Hipster, please!, we here at Pretty Gamer decided to give podcasting a go.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An Open Letter to my PAX Boyfriend

book review: suck it, wonder woman

I love Olivia Munn. I really really do. I think she is hilarious, a fantastic and outrageous TV personality, and someone who does what she wants without worrying about what people think of her. Suffice to say, as soon as I saw her book, Suck It, Wonder Woman! was up for pre-order, I did so immediately.

Review: Forbidden Island

Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to capture the four sacred treasures hidden on Forbidden Island. But wait, there's more! The ancient mystical empire that hid the treasures also designed the Island to sink if intruders ever came to Forbidden Island. Will you and your team be the first to enter Forbidden Island, find the treasures, and make it out alive!?

(*dramatic music*)

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Beautiful Piece of Virtual Cartography

I have always been slightly obsessed with maps and mapmaking. This is partly due to my time spent as a boy scout, but it’s also a very big part of my personal gaming history. There was an age, well before the advent of gamefaqs, when charting your course through a game meant creating your own maps. I have fond memories of graphing paper, pencils, and a penchant for tracing each of my steps through games like Zork, Rogue, and Prince of Persia. I wish with all of my heart that I hadn’t thrown my notebook full of these maps out during a cleaning fit in highschool. In the pursuit of personal archaeology, that would have been a goldmine.

Strike A Pose: Part II

OK, I did bad science guys. =( It always pains me to admit when that happens but sometimes your experiment is just frelled from the beginning.

So the way most experiments work is you think doing action A will produce reaction B so you try to create an environment where no actions C, D, or E occur so you can test the validity of your A = B statement. Sometimes though, you don't really understand the whole picture or miss obvious things. And sometimes there are these things called confounding variables that effect both dependent (B) and independent (A) variable creating a false relation between the two.

In terms of my study I was hoping to say that dressing nicely (action A) would boost my mood (reaction B). And it did for the first couple days. Every morning (after I got dressed and looked in the mirror) and every evening at midnight (I decided on midnight as I wouldn't be asleep before then and definitely would still be up for a couple hours after).

Friday, September 24, 2010

OMG it's finally here: A Civ V Review

Where Eep and Sake sit down on IRC to discuss their initial reaction to Sid Meier's Civilization V.

Eep: So I guess we should be upfront and say that we are both Civilization nuts. We were originally going to just buy one copy of this game and share it, but discovered on release day that a one copy household wasn't going to work. I started playing with Civ III and have logged more hours into Civ IV than I care to admit.

Sake: I actually started with Civ IV, and have been known to disappear into it for unhealthy stretches of time.

Eep: Well, what do you think of Civ V now that you've had a chance to play it a bit?

PAX JAX Code Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered! The lucky winners of the PAX JAX Promo Codes are:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: Poo Card game

Who wants to play Poo?! Wait, where are you all going?!

The mighty [E] interviewed on G4!

G4 did a neat little interview with four PAX Enforcers! Check out Jabberwocky, Dammit Liz, Chiparoo, and Kethenn talk about Enforcing and how they got involved with PAX.

Review: Mass Effect 2 DLC Lair of the Shadow Broker (warning for minor spoilers)


TO: All employees
FROM: The Shadow Broker
RE: Lair

Greetings to all personnel. As of late, I have received a large number of emails and memos from employees wishing to comment on the current administration of my lair as well as the recent industry competition from one Dr. Liara T'Soni. In the interest of fair disclosure, I felt it necessary to lay out some of my recent business decisions as well as address some of the comments and complaints I have received.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lets talk about fat

I am a fat chick. There is no getting around this. I'm 5'4" tall and currently weigh 183lbs (just hopped on the scale to see what damage my PAX/reception/flu stint had done to my progress). I accept this because, well, denial is a river in Egypt and I currently live in Tucson.

A few nights ago, during the worst of my late night coughing fits, I was chatting with one of my online girlfriends who we will call C, who also happens to be a self-styled fat chick, about people's relationship with the word fat. And boy, is it skewed and unhealthy to a major degree.

Tabletop Review: Defenders of the Realm

I had some friends over the other night and we played our first game of Defenders of the Realm. I had first heard of this game a few months ago, and had been wanting to try it. I picked up a copy at PAX, and couldn't wait to play it.

Defenders of the Realm is a fantasy based co-operative board game, for 1-4 players ages 13 and up. An average game takes about 2 hours. As a co-operative game, the players work together to a common goal - the game has similar mechanics as Arkham Horror, if you are familiar with that game. The art for the game is all done by Larry Elmore, and it is awesome!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DJ Hero 2 Set List Announced

Last year Activision introduced DJ Hero.  Basically a Guitar Hero-esque game for people that wanted to be virtual DJ's instead of in a band.  I reviewed that game and thought it was pretty good, but a niche game.  The game sold well enough that Activision is putting out sequel.

Arts & Crafts with Sculpey: How to make Portal Dice!

I've made little things with Sculpey since the first time I spent hours making clay dinosaurs and put them in the oven to harden, only to find out that THAT clay was water-based crap that *doesn't* harden when you cook melts.  I was a sad panda that day.

I have soooo much Sculpey clay, and I've been thinking of things to make with it, just to get rid of some of it at the very least.  It was then that it hit me: Portal companion cubes. As Dice!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Don't mess with my movies!

There have been number of movies that have been re-booted or had a delayed sequel. Re-booting refers to a movie studio redoing an existing movie. A delayed sequel is a prequel/sequel that comes out years after the previous movie.

Here are a few examples of what I am talking about:

Rebooted: Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans
Delayed sequel: Star Wars, Indian Jones, Die Hard, Tron

I was having an interesting discussion the other day with a friend about this. Are we the first generation that held on to their childhood movies, retained a feeling of ownership? Would the previous generation feel the same if Casablanca was rebooted?

Friday, September 17, 2010

PAX Prime 2010 Swag Report and Giveaway!

Free goodies were more difficult to come by this year than in years past; swag was largely hidden away and coveted, and there were usually requirements to achieve items.  I saw more surveys this year than ever, along with scavenger hunts, punch-cards, and long lines for t-shirts and nylon cinch bags.  For a recession year, though, there was an extravagant amount of free stuff! Check out my Flickr page for a description of all the swag pictured (after cut and right).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Penny Arcade Expo Photo Journal

PAX is so immense that it's easy to miss out on entire sections.  I've been shocked at the range of photos I've seen post-PAX and amazed at the things I didn't see!  I'm already starting to gear up for next year and thinking about the shots I want to get.

Here is a small collection of the best of my PAX photos (about 1/10th of the whole!), take a look, and I hope you'll see something you like!

Looking at Pretty Pictures 1: Non-Persepolis Marjane Satrapi Books

This being the first installment of Looking at Pretty Pictures, I’m going to explain a little about the column before I start with the real content. As far as I know I’m going to be writing this series for the near future about comics. I’m mostly planning to write about awesome things that people may not hear about because they don’t go to the comic book store once a week (or three times a week). Occasionally there will be bits about superheroes, but for the most part I’m going to try to write about other things. So now that I’ve gotten that little introduction out of the way let’s get to the comics.

This time I’m writing about two books from Marjane Satrapi. She is probably best known for making the Persepolis books, and while the Persepolis books are really good I think it’s probably worthwhile to focus on two of her lesser known works Embroideries and Chicken with Plums. Embroideries is a series of short stories told by a group of women drinking their noon tea, and Chicken with Plums is the story of the last days of her great uncle Nasser Ali Khan.

Book Review: The Color of Earth

The Color of Earth by Kim, Dong Hwa
New York : First Second, 2009

The Color of Earth is not a book that I would have picked up on my own accord, despite being a graphic novel, a genre that I know and love. However, I'm glad this was included in my readings for my Young Adult Literature class. The artwork is a combination of classical Korean landscapes and modern Japanese anime and is quite lovely, though not a style I generally seek out. The story is of a young girl, Ehwa, living with her widowed mother in timeless rural Korea, and follows her as she begins her journey towards womanhood, discovers love and begins to recognize her mother as an individual with her own wants and needs.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Strike a Pose!

So term began last week here at Hell MIT Hell. And I once again realised one of the reasons I love living off campus: getting to wear normal clothes.

I'll admit, my fresher and sophomore years I wore the standard nerd-girl outfits of baggy black "witty"/nerdy shirt and some kind of well-worn pant or ill-fitted skirt. But then I took a year off (to build this beauty) and discovered the world of fitted clothing that didn't come from woot or thinkgeek (not that I don't love them).

Pax Panel Review: Aquisitions Incorporated: D&D Live!

I was only able to see two panels at Pax this year: The Of Dice and Men play and the Acquisitions Incorporated: D&D Live panel. From the panel description:

Gabe, Tycho, and Scott Kurtz begin an adventure with one goal, find a way to bring back Wil Wheaton’s deceased character, Aeofel. This is unscripted Dungeons & Dragons before a live studio audience... and through the magic of TECHNOLOGY, the audience influences the game! Bring your cell phone and guide Jim Darkmagic, Binwin Bronzebottom, and Omin Dran to riches or ruin.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

PAX SEGA party!

Many people know I'm a huge SEGA fangirl.  While my more affluent friends and neighbors were button mashing away at their Nintendos (and Super Nintendos (and then Nintendo 64s)), I was playing Sonic the Hedghog, BioHazard Battle, Jurassic Park, Aladdin, Pitfall and Primal Rage on my Sega Genesis.  Sega defined my childhood in a way, and while I was fueled with a jealous rage at my lack of Nintendo when I was young, that rage turned into pure Sega pride as I got older.

PAX Prime Demo: The Drumskulls Game

At PAX I got the opportunity to play a pretty neat demo: The Drumskulls Game. I talked to one of the devs, and he said the thought process that started it was: "...everyone has a Rock Band drum kit, and you can't really use it for anything but those games. Plus, everyone loves zombies. We decided to combine the two."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Duke Nukem Forever, Yup It's Real

So another year and still no Duke Nukem Forev...........wait, what?  It's snowing in hell?!?!?

My First PAX

PAX Prime 2010 was my first PAX, but I didn't go in blind - a number of my friends are well-seasoned PAXers, so I theoretically knew what to expect. Theoretically. Because even though I had heard tons of stories and gotten tons of advice, it was still very much OMGWTFBBQ!!!

Baby's First PAX

Last Saturday was a momentous occasion for our little family: it was turn1p's first PAX, and she turned 6 months old that day! I was a little nervous for all the many things that might go wrong, but I have to admit that it could hardly have gone better. All three of us thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend and can't wait to do it again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Geek and Gamer Girl Anthem: Team Unicorn FTW

Remember Stupid Tall Hot Girl aka Riley from The Guild? The FPS headshot queen that devoured Zaboo's heart, loins, and possible sanity? Well, the actor that plays her is Michele Boyd, and I think she's my favorite member of Team Unicorn ("Geek Girls: Like unicorns, we're not supposed to exist"). Check out their Geek and Gamer Girl Anthem video featuring Seth Green! (lyrics below):

Friday, September 10, 2010

Street Fighter High - The Musical

Did you ever wonder what it would have been like if cast of Super Street Fighter had gone to high school? Wonder no more, a fan film has been made to answer that very question.

In addition to playing spot the characters, see how many teen movie references you can spot!

PAX Panel Review: Of Dice and Men

On the Friday evening of PAX, Critical Threat Theatre premiered their play “Of Dice and Men”

Written by Cameron McNary, Of Dice and Men is about a group of gamers in their 30s and their fall out when one of them enlists in the marines and gets deployed to Iraq.

Going into this panel, the only thing I knew about it was: it’s a play and it's about D&D. In reality however, it was so much more than that. While watching this play, I realized they were telling my story, and the story of all the people around me in that room.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

PAX Panel Review: Myth of the Gamer Girl

I’m just going to come out and say it. This panel sucked.

Enter four women who kind of work in the gaming industry, but are not there to talk about their professional lives. Instead, we get 45 min of them blabbing about how they became gamers and why they want to be called “Gamers” vs “Gamer Girls.”

Epic Mickey is SO EPIC.

So PAX was this weekend. I spent most of my time in the expo hall enforcing. While there, I stumbled across this awesome little booth by this small company called Disney. This small company had three booths. One was for Tron (which is so much awesome I don't even know how to start describing it) and the other two were for this little known character of Disney's.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

PAX Hiatus!

I should have posted this on Thursday, but as a warning to any new readers we get over the next few days: there will be very few posts. The Pretty Gamer team is at PAX!

Normal posting will resume on Tuesday!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Guide for PAX Newbs: Essential Gear for the Con

With PAX just around the corner, I thought I'd point out a few items that you will definitely want to pack for the trip. If you've been to PAX before, you'll already have an idea of what gear you need for the show. But for all those PAX newbies out there, here are a few things you just can't go without for your first year.

How To: Get delicious BAWLS in your mouth for PAX!

At PAX 2004, I discovered the elixir of the gods. BAWLS. A delicious caffeinated, carbonated energy drink in an awesome blue bottle and a great name. Bawls also comes in a root beer flavor called Geek Beer.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Horde and the Microcosm

For those of you who see "microcosm" and think "what is that crazy bitch on about this time?!", it essentially means "a small version of a larger system".

I've been thinking a lot recently about the large range of personalities and groups that are formed out of a huge gathering like PAX.  There are some very, very different perspectives about gaming and about PAX, so what I want to know is:  why are YOU going to PAX?  What do you want to do, what is on your "must see, must do" list?  Will you be enrolling in tournaments?  Scouring the Expo hall for goodies?  Playing tabletop games?  Trying to seek out your buddies and play some DS games or go to lunch?  If you're not going to PAX, then why not? 

Dissecting the PAX Panel Lineup

Have you ever been curious about what's really being talked about at PAX?

Wonder no more, as I have grouped the list of 114 panels into categories to help us all better see the overview of what, exactly, we talk about:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Final Fantasy XIV Open Beta Begins (UPDATED)

(Update: Square Enix has just postponed the FFXIV beta due to "critical bugs". Check back soon for a new start date.)

A quick note to all the MMO players and Final Fantasy fans out there:

Final Fantasy XIV's open beta is opening on September 1st - that's this week! If you want to be a part of it, get on over to and sign up.

For the uninitiated, Final Fantasy XIV is the successor to Square Enix's wildly successful previous MMO, Final Fantasy XI. The new version bears a lot of resemblance to its predecessor in terms of races and classes... and of course, what Final Fantasy game would be complete without chocobos?

Cthulhu Dice – Steve Jackson Games

Cthulhu Dice is a quick dice and token game from Steve Jackson Games – makers of some of my favourite games! The game is for 2-6 players and most games last 5-10 minutes. The game comes with a big custom 12 side die, 18 glass tokens, and the rule sheet. At this point there are 6 colour variants on the cool Cthulhu die:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Zombie Overload?

So not to long ago Rockstar Games announced they have new DLC coming for Red Dead Redemption.  One of those pieces of DLC will be the Undead Nightmare Pack that will include ghost towns and zombies.  This got me to thinking, are we starting to over do the zombie thing?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Advice: Sister set me up with a guy via email! Awkwardness ensues.

Pretty Gamer:

My sister has given my email address to a gentlemen that saw a picture of me at her apartment. They're very good friends and she's been trying to set us up for a while now. He emailed me a couple of days ago and I've been tearing my hair out trying to figure out what to say in these emails. It's really awkward and I have no idea if my emails are coming off as too brusque. I've tried to walk a fine line between informal and casual since we don't know each other well, should I ditch email and ask for his phone number instead? But if I do that, what if he same thing happens over the phone? I hate awkward silences.

-Socially awkward in Seattle

Wheaton's Law for the track

Because I now live in the desert after spending three years in the Pacific Northwest, I am a HUGE fan of working out at the gym. Running outside in 105 degree heat? I'll pass, thankyouverymuch.

Tracks are a lot like roads. Most gyms have the slower traffic keep to the outside while speedier runners get to hug the walls. Unfortunately, you do not need a license or lessons in order to gain access to the gym and therefore some people run like drunk drivers. This makes Eep angry, and when Eep gets angry she gets mean and stabbity.

My experiences at the gym have inspired me to draft up some simple rules in order to keep your running space from becoming a Mad Max nightmare. Otherwise, you never know when you will run into me and the spikes I have started strapping to my elbows.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Echo Bazaar: Social Gaming, RPG Style

Social gaming has been the "hot" trend in online games for the last couple years or so, much to to chagrin of longtime traditional-style gamers. It's easy to look down on Farmville, or Frontierville, or CafeWorld or whatever it is all my aunts and cousins are playing these days. I can be a painfully casual gamer (I own just about every PopCap game) and tend towards games with a social component (hence my love of MMOs), yet I never could get into any of those Facebook offerings. Maybe it was the lousy graphics that turned me off. Maybe it was just the idea of giving any app on Facebook permission to touch my personal information. Or maybe it was my inane need to feel cool and hate on things that are popular.

Addicted to Fable II, send help!

Yes I realize Iʻm helplessly behind the curve, but this is the first year of my life Iʻve lived with an Xbox near by and had the time to spend some quality days with it. I realize why none of my friends mentioned this game to me, I canʻt seem to stop playing it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Scott Pilgrim, or How to Fail At Romantic Comedy

I can't seem to figure out what genre Scott Pilgrim vs The World was. Even after seeing it, I felt like it could've fallen into one of several categories: comedy, for the constant slapstick and deadpan delivery; action, with epic battles full of martial arts and outrageous weapons; or maybe fantasy, since this is an alternate reality with subspace highways through people's minds, where death by defeat means you will explode into a pile of coins.

Explosive movie of the year: The Expendables

The Expendables was awesome!

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to add: I didn't go to the movie with high expectations, like many, I expected it to be corny, dumb and blood-soaked. And still people have asked me, "Why did you go see it if you expected it to be stupid?" To which I reply, "Have you not seen the line-up of action stars? How could you not go see a movie with Stallone, Statham, Rourke, Lundgren, Couture and Jet Li with a cameo made by the Governator himself? Are you insane?"

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gaming with kids (Part 1) - Changeling: The Dreaming

Ever since I was little, I adored games. Not just of the video variety, but any type; board games, hide and seek, elaborate games of pretend that my sister and I learned whole secret alphabets for, you name it. But my favorites were always the ones that we did together as a family and I like to try and keep up that up in my own family as well. So now, for your reading pleasure, I bring you the first of my recommendations for kid friendly, but still fun for grownups games.... Changeling: The Dreaming.

Make me a sammich. NEWB.

If you've ever played Halo, or really any multi-player game with matchmaking, you will love the following video of Xbox girls getting revenge...

(Thanks for the link Rulesaremyenemy!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh Twitter, why do you tweet without me?!

So there has been an ongoing issue with people's Twitter accounts posting various things without their knowledge - usually advertising links ("I lost 20 lbs in two weeks, click here to find out how!")

As usual, NEVER EVER CLICK THE LINKS! I cannot stress that enough - chances are it will take you to a site that will try and install malware on your computer without your knowledge, or will ask you for some sort of login credentials.

So what do you do if this happens to your account? Follow these simple steps:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rape Jokes, Webcomics and Wheaton's Law

Warning: Some Explicit Content and "Adult" Language

Penny Arcade is a popular webcomic for gamers, because it relates to gaming issues, its writers are fervid gamers, and an entire gaming convention was forged out of the idea that gamers can come together to form a community dedicated to the proposition that gamers are awesome. The writers, Gabe and Tycho, have become revered as some incarnation of the demi-gods, and their popularity has skyrocketed in the last ten years along with their triumphant inclusion into the Time 100’s list under Artists.

With great power comes great responsibility, however, and Gabe and Tycho don’t seem to understand the influence they have acquired or the role they play in promoting a legitimate gaming community of respect and mutual appreciation of all things gaming.  The latest commotion surrounding Penny Arcade is the clash over a recent webcomic which involves a joke surrounding an unpleasant situation involving prisoner rape. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No girls for Activision

I recommend everyone go read this article which was posted over at Gamasutra about how Activision, the company that brought us Guitar Hero, views female characters. It's an interesting read and after looking over it and the titles that Activision has put out I have decided to boycott their products.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tabletop Games and You: Choices for a Better Tomorrow!

Hi, everyone! I'm angie k and I'm a gamer!

(Waits an appropriate amount of time for "Hi angie k!")

Gamer. Usually that title is used primarily for those of us who play video games, either on our portable devices, computers, or television consoles. But there's another type of gaming that is quite popular with "the kids today" - tabletop gaming.

Yes, yes, I'm sure that table top gaming is nothing new to some of you. Some of us pride ourselves on how many games grace our gaming shelves, closets, and/or rooms (Yes, rooms). But not everyone is a table top gamer, and I realized that perhaps it's because people need some hints to get them started. So, here are some of my favorite tabletop games.

Jane Austen's Fight Club

I just randomly happened upon this video today and knew exactly the audience to appreciate it.

You're welcome.

Pink Lancers are "Deadly Cute"

So maybe you saw the pictures Cliff "Cliffy B" Bleszinski of Epic Games has posted of his girlfriend with her personalized "Deadly Cute" pink lancer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Anime n00b Goes to Anime Evolution pt. 2

Being the absolute newb that I am, I decided to do a little research into this “Anime Evolution” thing. Until recently, I never really questioned what it was and all I really knew was that I was going to be working there whether I liked it or not.

I emailed Jason Rako, AE’s Media Manager, to ask him what I should expect as a first time attendee and any advice he could impart upon my unblemished soul. I have posted his response to me in it's entirety, as I found it both terrifying and informative.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Random Google Image Search Of The Day: Cute Cthulhu

Today's words were "Cute Cthulhu" which may have been cheating. As a rather large Cthulhu fan, I already own and posses most things that involve Cthulhu being cute. However, today's picture is one I haven't seen before! yay!

Gaming On A Busy Schedule

One of the tried and true stereotypes about video games is that they are for kids. Honestly, who can blame people for thinking that? Between work, errands, family obligations, and everything else an adult has to deal with there is not a lot of time left to beat a JRPG or master a Street Fighter character. That doesn't mean that we should give up our favorite activities, though.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An Intro to j0z1e: Gamer, Wife, Mom.

Maybe I should just say juggler? Every day is a balancing act for me to try to be a wife and mom while maintaining my inner gamer. Is it hard? Yes! Do I play as many games as I used to? Sadly no. Is it worth it? Every time I see that huge gummy smile, I know it definitely is. Even now, I am doing my best to type one handed while I feed my 5 month old daughter, who some of you might know as turn1p.

Anime n00b staffs Anime Evolution (Pt. 1)

This weekend I will be leaving my safe little island and traveling to Vancouver BC to Staff at Anime Evolution. My very first Anime Convention!

But Miss Z! You don’t even like anime!!

Oh I know. Sadly, when you have friends who are also working at said convention, they may try to guilt trip you into going too.

Ok so you’re working an anime convention and you don’t know anything about anime?

Umm pretty much! The last anime I watched was Ranma ½ and that was years ago. Also, Sailor Moon was pretty bad ass… But I’m pretty sure the whole show won't be all about those two series.

Thankfully, Anime Evolution will have several floors dedicated to gaming - where I will be working my little butt off! I will be bringing you all my report from the convention floor plus pictures, so be sure to check in next week for that.

Anime Evolution is at the University of British Columbia in the beautiful city of Vancouver, Canada. Show runs from Aug 13th-15th

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Silicon Sisters Girl Gaming Company --more harm than good?

I don't know how I feel about this. They have the right intentions at heart perhaps, but I am entirely against trying to "make games for women". Why don't we just introduce more women into gaming as it already is? I really don't see how creating more Sims games is solving any problems or breaking any barriers.

Random Thoughts Inspired by Online Dating

On Fishing

On Father's Day, someone I'm following on Twitter sent the following advice from his dad that I found exceedingly apropos to my own dips in the dating pool:

"There are other fish in the sea. But sometimes you have to be wise enough to cast your line in another fishing spot."

I decided to get back into online dating at first not so much to find dates, but as part of my own Anthropological Relationship Research Project where I examined my dating history and tried to learn from it. More specifically, if I could get a more comprehensive list of traits and personality types that I found attractive and/or was attracted to then somehow um... well... yeah. Basically I was hoping that maybe some kind of pattern would emerge or I'd have some kind of magical epiphany. I'm not sure if this is making any sense whatsoever, but when I saw that quote fly across my twitter stream, I realized that maybe - just maybe, I was fishing for salmon in a lake stocked with catfish.

Monday, August 09, 2010

All Roads Lead to PAX! Travel tips you can use anytime.

With the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) just under a month away, I’m hoping all of you have already bought your train/plane/boat/starship passes to Seattle already!  Waiting until this late in the game can be a gamble, and depending on where you’re coming from - it could pay off handsomely (last-minute travel deals for exactly what you need are rare but can happen) or you’ll really end up paying for it. 

There are some great resources on the PAX forums regarding international travel, Travel from Oz, travel in general (2008), travel music, and roaming nomadic gamer groups on planes, trains and automobiles.  Check out some of these great information caches!

For those of you who have yet to purchase a ticket to PAX, or are thinking about your next adventure, here are some really basic travel suggestions for airline travel (We’ll work on other types later; comment if you have specific questions!):

"You Play Pretty Well": In which Angie K discovers the community of gaming

Hi. My name is angie k, and I'm a gamer.

(Waits an appropriate amount of time for “Hi angie k!” from the crowd.)

I've been a gamer since I was a kid, but I haven't always gone by that label. I never really embraced the term “gamer” until I went to my first Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in 2008. By all accounts it “sucked”; the lines were long, there was NOWHERE to sit down, there were “too many” people, the concerts were “too full” for me to see the stage, etc. I put the word “sucked” in quotation marks because my first PAX was anything but sucky. Yes, the lines were really long and my feet hurt and I never got to play some of the games because the expo room was packed, but at PAX I found out that there was a gaming community out there and I wasn't alone.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Your local game shops: Stereotype City or AwesomeTown

I recently found a really great tabletop gaming store here in Columbus called the Guardtower. Weirdly, I felt really powerful in this discovery, like I’d finally found the Ark and it was time to melt some Nazi faces off. Perhaps the reason I felt this way was because the only other store I’d known about was, well, super creepy.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

How To - Easy to make, recycled throw pillow

I have never denied that I am a tree-hugging dirt-worshiper. In fact, I'm rather proud of the fact that I care deeply about the environment. Because of this I have a hard time just throwing things away, especially stuff that still has good life in it.

When my husband and I combined our houses we found that, between the two of us, we had somewhere around a million bed pillows. Now, accounting for guests and everything, we really only need four so that left me with all of these damn pillows that needed dealing with. For obvious reasons thrift stores don't want your nasty old bed pillows and neither does the SPCA. I didn't want to just throw these out and decided to get creative.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Book Review - Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon

Guild Wars was my first big online gaming experience and certainly the game that made me a fan of the MMO genre at large. For the better part of three years, I logged hundreds of hours in Tyria. I’ve played nearly every class, completed all three major campaigns, tried my hand at way too many flavor-of-the-month PvP builds, and finished first in more rollerbeetle races than I care to admit. I fell for Guild Wars hard, and a dozen MMOs later, it’s the one that never leaves my hard drive.

Girl on Girl Hate

I wish that Team Gina had made a video of this song before they broke up since it is really hard to hear the words in this clip. While I love "Rock the Like" and "Butch/Femme" (even though I'm married to a man, shhh), "Girl on Girl Crime" really spoke to me on a level that most songs don't. (And seriously, go buy it. It's a great song, from some amazing artists for $.99.)

(video after the cut)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Join us on the Fit4PAX Challenge!

Overall, the Fit4PAX Challenge isn’t so much about weight or vanity as it is about being prepared for what will possibly be your craziest weekend of the year. Stamina is key, and improving your overall health will mean you can keep going for longer and take in even more PAX awesome.

The challenge started about 6 months ago when I decided once and for all that I was going to lose 60lbs by PAX. Then, using Twitter and Facebook, I invited my fellow geeks to join me. Now many of us are working to meet our goals while sharing our successes and challenges, supporting each other, and helping get #fit4pax! What’s next? We’d like to invite you to join us too - it's easy!

dating bravery

I love The Gun Show webcomic and it's epic wisdom that creator KC Green imparts unto the world.

The comic you'll find after the break is one I found particularly hilarious and relevant to our dating section.

Book Review - The Atrocity Archives

The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
Ace Books, New York. 2004

Welcome to the Laundry, Britain’s answer to the Cthulhian things that go bump (or, more likely, squish) in the night. However, just because Bob Howard’s job involves saving our universe from unspeakable horrors, it does not mean that he can escape the bureaucratic paperclip audits. In The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross combines urban fantasy and Lovecraftian horror into a suspenseful thriller where computers hold the power to open portals into other planes of existence.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Gamer Girls Gone Wild

There are few signs more obvious that gamer culture is male-dominated than the existence of booth babes. For the uninitiated, booth babes are skimpily-dressed models hired to stand next to products at conventions to draw the eye’s attention. Specifically, the male eye’s attention, using sexuality as the lure. After all, sex sells, right? And gaming companies are here to sell to men. That’s their target market, their cash cow, that 18-35 group of guys that they are certain will universally respond to a bit of T & A better than just about any other advertising technique on the planet.

Zombie Dice - Steve Jackson Games

Zombie Dice is a great dice game from Steve Jackson Games. According to the dice cup, the game is for 2 or more players, will take 10-20 minutes, and is recommended for ages 10 and up. Caution: it's not for children under 3. So what about the 4-9 year olds, eh? Should they be cheated of the glamour and honour of being a zombie?! I guess that's up to their parents to decide.

In the beginning...

From a very young age I remember playing video games with a fervor and passion that bordered on addiction, going as far as being late to my first day of first grade because I insisted on getting past whatever level it was in Super Mario Bros. that had the black background with the white trees. I remember realizing that reading in Final Fantasy was not optional.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Complex Passwords

So everyone, today we will learn about Complex Passwords!

Passwords – they are everywhere! Love ’em or hate ‘em, you probably use them often, if not daily. Passwords are one of the most basic types of authentication used – your basic Who You Are (user id) combined with What You Know (password).

What being a pretty gamer means to me

Pretty isn't a naughty word. Or, at least, it shouldn't be. We have placed such bizarre limits on what "pretty" is or isn't in our society that we have turned something that should be a kind sentiment into something demeaning and insulting to many women.

emorimiku introduces emo

I think it's fair to say that I've always been a geek or, at the very least, been into geeky things. Most of my memories from early in life are of playing games or reading comics. However, when I was younger those activities didn't seem as abnormal as they do now because all my friends read comics and played games as well. Over time, however, most of my friends for the most part gave up the geeky things.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Random Google Image Search Of The Day

You may not know this about me, but I fucking LOVE pink.

If you come to my house, you'll notice that my bed is pink, my curtains are pink, I have pink wind chimes and a pink dresser... the list really does go on and on. The funny thing is, I grew up HATING pink, and then one day, it turned into the most awesome colour ever... somewhere around age 25.

Pretty Gamer Nakki Arrives!*

*I feel like I should be wearing a Sailor Scout costume and posing while shouting that.

Hi! I'm Nakki, and the most important thing about me is that I am awesome.

I could pretend to be modest and hide that statement in backdoor compliments, but nah. It's better for you if you know that about me straight away.

Guys are Handsome, Girls are Pretty

The title is a riff on the line from Kindergarten Cop, truly though it doesn't matter.  When I first heard the term "Pretty Gamer" my brain did the typical guy thing: pictured a Bettie Page type carrying a dice-bag, a D&D book in one hand, game controller in the other, and wearing a Red Dwarf t-shirt. Then I read what Pretty Gamer is about.  And I have to agree.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I have a confession to make: I'm still a little uncomfortable calling myself a 'gamer'. It's not that I'm embarrassed about it; it's just that I've spent a very large portion of my life avoiding any type of label whatsoever.

Health, fitness and loving yourself.

In December of 2009, I was 210 lbs, terribly unhappy with myself, and was at a total loss on how to help myself. I hated gyms, and it seemed no matter how little or what I ate I couldn’t lose weight.

Then, a co-worker suggested an iphone app she used to count calories called “Lose it”. I was very skeptical at first, but I decided to give it a go.

SkimbleCat's Bio

Hello everyone! You can call me SkimbleCat.

I grew up on military bases throughout Canada. Somehow I picked up the idea that being a girl is weakness - I avoided dresses, makeup, giggling, crying - anything I thought was girly was automatically weak and should therefore be avoided. I always had more male friends than female; I just couldn't relate to girls my age. To this day I have to work at not recoiling or being insulted when someone infers I am girly or lady-like.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Events: Ladies Night at the Comics Dungeon!

Our very first event listing is for a comic book Ladies Night, at the classy Comics Dungeon in Wallingford, on August 14th from 7 - 9 PM!

sometimes what you see isn't always what you get

I thought this was a pretty insightful and hilarious commentary on how we treat people based on their looks, and what value we place on beauty over other traits. (video after jump)

what is a pretty gamer?

My name's Patrick, and I'm a blogger and gamer from California.

I think a pretty gamer is an empowered one. It's often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but everyone can see that the pretty people are the ones who are happiest with themselves. I think it's the contrast between self-identity and the perception from outside the gamersphere that really draws me to this site. Finding gamers of any stripe who are confident and proud of themselves is hard; many of us didn't grow up with the greatest self-image in the world, and it seems like gamer culture is just now getting a shot at showing off that we can be pretty too.

Pretty Gamer Logo Contest

We need a fab logo to replace our lovely controller boob lady! Sadly, however, we all seem to be lacking in awesome graphic design skills. So, we’re going to bribe you to do it.

Random Google Image Search Of The Day

Sometimes, I like to do a Google image search with random words that pop into my head to see what I find. I'll be sharing with you all when I find something today.

Welcome to the beginning

When I bought the URL "Pretty Gamer" I didn't even think twice about the name. It was just the first cute-ish idea that popped in my head, and I wondered why no one had thought to grab it before now.

Given the reaction to the title when I announced it on Twitter and called for writers, I can see why it was open.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On Being Pretty

"No way, I couldn’t do that."

Such was the voice of my internal gut reaction when I was first invited to come on board with Pretty Gamer. While I have long been a professed gamer, it was the first word, “pretty," that threw me hard.

What I did on my summer vacation OR what a pretty gamer means to me

I grew up a socially awkward only child in the heart of it all: the sweet, wonderful Midwest.

There’s a fact. Here’s another one: one thing I truly treasure is a story. Doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, long or short, completely pointless or if it changes my whole life perspective; I want to hear that story that you’ve got to tell and I want to hear it over a game of Monopoly. What else do you have to do while this game is dragged out over the next seven hours because you won’t give me that last railroad?

Friday, July 23, 2010

What Pretty Gamer means to a Nomad

In most of my gaming life, I never, ever, thought I would end up writing for a blog called "Pretty Gamer". Sure, I own My Little Ponies, Jill Valentine is my hero, I like sappy romance movies; but I've never really understood fashion, I'm bad at makeup, I lack self-worth (physically, not fundamentally, and for me it's also very existential; more on this later!), and I have never really considered myself "pretty". In fact, at one point in my life, I would have suggested--as one of our fellow bloggers has--that "pretty" is diminutive, "pejorative" even.