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.