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 http://www.finalfantasyxiv.com/ 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.