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.