How many games do you have sitting your shelf that you’ve already played through, and barely even look at anymore? And how many games are there that you’ve been wanting to play – maybe even for years – but you just can’t justify the purchase of them, perhaps even because of the collection you already have? Of course you can trade in old games to corporate companies like GameStop or Best Buy, and even purchase used games. But let’s be honest.. that’s kind of a rip. They don’t give you much for your trade-in, and turn around and sell it as used for more than twice as much.
This is exactly the conundrum a group of gamers was discussing over at Reddit a while back, and developed it into a solution. Now, you can head over to 99gamers.com to trade your games one-on-one with other gamers, and receive and pay amounts much closer to the game’s value. Personally, I love this idea. It’s a process that’s been much-needed in the gaming community for quite a while, and it’s finally here. To hear more about the service, we recently contacted Brandon Kruzeniski of 99Gamers for some questions.
NiB- What is 99gamers.com?
BK- 99Gamers is a video game trading community. Members use 99Gamers as a platform to trade directly with each other. Members add their unwanted video games and sell them to other members for a virtual currency called ‘coins’ which are valued at $1 per coin. Members can then spend their earned coins on other games.
BK- I’m one of the founders of 99Gamers with the other being my brother Jon.
BK- I originally got the idea for a video game trading site when I came across a post on Reddit about how someone would shoot darts at their game collection to choose which game they would play next. I realized that this random person had a bunch of games that I would love to play but just haven’t had the chance to. I turned to my game collection and thought that this person would probably feel the same way about my game collection.
I was also tired of getting ripped off by GameStop, knowing they would turn around and sell the game for double the next day. I knew other video game trading sites existed, but none of them were what I wanted them to be.
I wasn’t sure how many people would be interested in something like this so I decided to post it to Reddit and see what the response was like. I was thinking maybe a few hundred people would see it and I’d be able to get some feedback on the idea, but within a few hours the post was at the top of r/gaming and even hit the front page for a while, resulting in thousands of signups. I then knew enough people felt the same way I did so I went forward with the site.
BK- First, we save people a lot of money. Trading on the site is completely free so you’ll really start to see the savings add up quickly. 99Gamers is built by gamers for gamers with the sole intention of getting more value out of your game collection. We are a platform for gamers to trade directly with each other so the middle man can be cut out. Many people feel like they get ripped off when using trade-in services so 99Gamers can be used as that alternative.
I’ve also found that because you have access to such a large game library you are more inclined to try out games you may have not given a chance before. You are then more likely to purchase the sequel when it comes out. For example I hadn’t played the Dead Space series yet but after getting the games through 99Gamers I ended up buying Dead Space 3 new.
BK- We haven’t received any backlash at all. We’re still fairly new and have been mostly underground so it’s doubtful they know about us yet.
BK- We came out of beta about two months ago and we’re starting to pick up momentum. Just last week, it was nine months since I originally posted about the idea on Reddit so I did a follow up post about our progress so far. We ended up hitting the front page again which resulted in us more than doubling our user base within 24 hours. We went from having 2,300 members to now almost 6,000.
BK- Yes, I believe it has been received quite well. Both Reddit posts reached the front page which shows many people share the same feelings of not wanting to get ripped off by trade-in offers. When members trade directly with one another games can be offered at a lower value and people tend to appreciate knowing that their games will be going to a good home.
BK- Assassin’s Creed III and Far Cry 3 have been popular over the last few months. Now that the new Tomb Raider is out it usually gets picked up quite quickly. Pokémon games are of course always popular as everyone loves playing them. I’ve found people will often buy every game in a series together. The Mass Effect series has been very popular in the past.
BK- I actually had a list of games I had wanted when I came up with the idea and wouldn’t allow myself to get them through anywhere but 99Gamers. A few I’ve gotten are Kingdom Hearts, Max Payne 3, Pokémon SoulSilver and Assassin’s Creed II. One that I hadn’t yet received was Just Cause 2 but after the Reddit post last week I managed to grab it and it’s now on its way!
BK- Up next we’ll be adding PC games and digital codes. The search, browse and profile pages are getting a much improved new look. These will help members discover new and interesting games faster.
Down the road we plan on adding consoles and gaming accessories into the mix as well as some more exciting features. Our main goal continues to make buying and selling games as easy as possible so our members can spend more time playing games.
You can visit 99Gamers here: http://99gamers.com – Hopefully you’ll find something you’ve been wanting. Let us know how it goes!
Doncha just love The Guild? One of the best acted, funniest written, most colorful TV shows out there, and it isn’t even on TV!
The Guild‘s comic counterpart is also funny, poignant, and well written. As well as colorful. Of course, this is no doubt because the folks involved in the creation of the show are also involved in the creation of the comic. So all the back stories we get from our beloved characters is indeed canon, and I shall remember what Vork’s grandfather was like and chuckle at seeing the torrid story of Bladezz’ modeling career all over again when I watch my favorite episodes. Oh, and how Clara met her husband? Good times.
The art is as colorful, cheerful, and charming as the show, and captures the characters perfectly without needing to be photorealistic portraits of the actors. And it’s really fun to see the characters actually interacting as their avatars within game world environments. Makes me kinda wish we saw more of that in the show. I bet that’s a huge budget jump, though, huh. Well it’s great to see here.
This Guild collection is composed of several characters’, well, origin stories, framed of course with their interactions while playing The Game. It’s enriching for those who are already fans, and gives a solid foundation for anyone new to the series. This particular collection also leads right up to Episode 1. My favorite character story by far has to be Zaboo’s, because of the cute and hilarious little mini-games sprinkled throughout his journey. Wouldn’t it be cool if they could make those into actual interactive puzzles in the online version? Oo. You can steal that idea, Felicia Day.
Bottom line: I highly recommend The Guild in general, and this collection is an excellent way to start, or enrich, your Guild fandom. ~Prof. Jenn
This is a follow up to my last WoW post about the upcoming Female Panderan Models. A few weeks ago, Blizzard finally released the Female Panderan model and they look amazing! All the images are from World of Warcraft.
They aren’t just skinny pandas, they resemble the Male Panderan, but still retain that female quality. It isn’t quite a male with a bow on its head, but it isn’t that far off either. Some people might not like the models, but then they don’t have to play them. With the beta getting into full swing more people can play with both Panderan models and find any bugs that might occur. This way the designers can make the models even better. And in a complete turn around, the female models seem to have better animations than the male models, which get stuck in the frame pose from time to time. It is usually the female models that have the most issues, so it’s nice to see that Blizzard must have worked hard at making the female models even better this time around.
Dominion is a game of chance, strategy and conquer published by Rio Grande Games. Dominion is a deck building card game where you create your own deck as you play. In Magic the Gathering, you begin the game with a deck that you have already created, while in a game like Munchkin you create your spread from a deck that everyone chooses from. In Dominion, each person starts with ten cards, and purchases from the decks that are available to others.
Confused? Actually it’s quite simple once you understand the mechanics of the game.
In the magical box, there are five main classes of cards:
VICTORY cards – These are signified by green embellishment and generally have no value during the game, but the point of the game is to end up with the largest amount of land.
TREASURE cards – These are signified by gold embellishment and are used during the buy phase of your turn. They typically generate coins to spend on other cards (and sometimes they have other effects).
ACTION cards – These are often signified by parchment white embellishment. These generate effects during a player’s turn offering them bonuses. Some also issue negative effects for the other players.
CURSE cards – These are signified by purple embellishment. A curse card during play is much like a Victory card, but it has a negative point value that counts against your final tally.
REACTION cards – These are often signified by blue embellishment and can be used outside of your turn in response to a certain event, like an attack.
So , Ali… How do you play the game?
Thank you for asking, internet stranger!
Before the game begins, there is a setup phase. In the base game, there are 25 of them. The card titles are Adventurer, Bureaucrat, Cellar, Chancellor, Chapel, Council Room, Feast, Festival, Gardens, Laboratory, Library, Market, Militia, Mine, Moat, Moneylender, Remodel, Smithy, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Village, Witch, Woodcutter, and Workshop. You have ten of most cards and they are the cards you can purchase throughout the game to create your deck.
Only TEN of the Kingdom Cards are used during each game, so game can vary greatly on the cards chosen. Some people play where someone will select the cards, but we do it this way. There is a deck consisting of an extra “Kingdom Card”. We randomly select ten of those cards and they are placed on the table in addition to stacks of Victory cards and stacks of Treasure cards (of varying values/costs). These are the stacks that you will use to build your deck.
Each player starts with 3 Estates and 7 Copper. This is your starting “deck”. You shuffle the cards and draw five cards. The first player then gets to participate in the following steps for their turn:
1. ACTION: If you have an action card in your hand you choose to play it. It can give you a bonus or screw an opponent.
2. BUY: You start with one buy for your turn. If your ACTION gives you a bonus buy, you can buy two things. You use whatever Treasure cards you have in your hand (gold embellishments) to purchase a single card from any of the decks that you can afford. The purchase price of the card is located on the bottom left of each card. You don’t need to use all of your coins, nor do you need to use multiple buys if you are granted them.
3. CLEAN-UP: At the end of your turn, all cards in your hand (and purchased card) is placed into your face-up discard pile. You then draw five new cards from your deck.
The player on your left’s turn then begins. They have their action, buy, and clean-up rounds and then it continues to you.
When your deck is all facing upwards, you shuffle it and that becomes your deck. The first few turns consist of a lot of shuffling, but once you amass a sizeable deck each time you draw you get a hand that is customized to your own strategy.
The game is over two ways:
When the stack of the highest Victory card has been depleted (in the base game that is the Province card)
When a certain amount of stacks on the table have been depleted (it varies on the amount of players).
When gameplay ends, it is each players responsibility to separate the cards of their deck (to file away for another game) and count the Victory cards they have collected. The person with the highest score is the winner.
I understand that this seems like an extremely confusing game, but I have found it to be SO much easier to deal with than Munchkin. In Munchkin there is such a variety of cards it tends to be overwhelming. In Dominion it keeps the actual action cards to a minimum and allows you a better understanding/utilization of what is available.
The best part is that with 25 different cards available, there are so many permutations of what you could actually play. It keeps the game fresh and the cards work differently together so your strategy alters during the time you spend. Also, it’s easier to keep some of the more devious* players in check. When there are three hundred different cards, it’s hard to keep some people honest.
After you’ve gotten the hang of the base system of Dominion, you may even consider adding in the expansion sets.
Intrigue pulls in the seedier side of things with the addition of Baron, Bridge, Conspirator, Coppersmith, Courtyard, Duke, Great Hall, Harem, Ironworks, Masquerade, Mining Village, Minion, Nobles, Pawn, Saboteur, Scout, Secret Chamber, Shanty Town, Steward, Swindler, Torturer, Trading Post, Tribute, Upgrade, and Wishing Well.
Seaside lets you gets you waterlogged with the addition of Ambassador, Bazaar, Caravan, Cutpurse, Embargo, Explorer, Fishing Village, Ghost Ship, Haven, Island, Lighthouse, Lookout, Merchant Ship, Native Village, Navigator, Outpost, Pearl Diver, Pirate Ship, Salvager, Sea Hag, Smugglers, Tactician, Treasure Map, Treasury, Warehouse, and Wharf.
Alchemy lets you dabble in mixology with the addition of Alchemist, Apothecary, Apprentice, Familiar, Golem, Herbalist, Philosopher’s Stone, Possession, Scrying Pool, Transmute, University, and Vineyard.
Prosperity lets you get your greed on with the addition of Bank, Bishop, City, Contraband, Counting House, Expand, Forge, Goons, Grand Market, Hoard, King’s Court, Loan, Mint, Monument, Mountebank, Peddler, Quarry, Rabble, Royal Seal, Talisman, Trade Route, Vault, Venture, Watchtower, and Worker’s Village.
Cornucopia adds more variety with the addition of Fairgrounds, Farming Village, Fortune Teller, Hamlet, Harvest, Horn of Plenty, Horse Traders, Hunting Party, Jester, Menagerie, Remake, Tournament, and Young Witch
Hinterlands encourages your wanderlust with the addition of Border Village, Cache, Cartographer, Crossroads, Develop, Duchess, Embassy, Farmland, Fool’s Gold, Haggler, Highway, Ill-Gotten Gains, Inn, Jack of All Trades, Mandarin, Margrave, Noble Brigand, Nomad Camp, Oasis, Oracle, Scheme, Silk Road, Spice Merchant, Stables, Trader, and Tunnel.
Rio Grande Games will also be releasing a replacement pack (for when your regularly used cards get oogey) in March 2012, an expansion called Dark Ages in August 2012, and an expansion called The Guilds in Spring 2013. Visit their website here.
*Devious players aren’t bad people. Some people really take gaming seriously and always want to win so they operate differently.
There is one new web series you should check out in the New Year: Standard Action. It’s based on Dungeons and Dragons and other fantasy RPGs, but incorporates all kinds of pop culture. In D&D terms a “standard action” is an action that allows you to do something, i.e. attack or cast a spell. Standard Action was created by Joanna Gaskall and is shot in Vancouver. It has a small main cast, with many guest actors as the series goes on.
The cast stars Joanna Gaskall as Edda, an Elven Barbarian, Daniel Johnston as Martin, a Druid allergic to trees and who won’t heal, Edwin Perez as Fernando, an eternally optimistic half-Halfling Bard, and Tara Pratt as Wendy who prefers to be called Gwenevere and is more concerned with her looks and reputation than most other things. The series’ first four episodes are to introduce the characters to the viewers and to each other. The show then moves onto a quest to save Wendy’s and Fernando’s friends which morphs into saving the area.
Standard Action has 13 episodes (plus episode 6.5), which are all short and easily watchable in one day. The production value of the episodes are excellent. Everything from the costumes, makeup and setting are very well put together and believable. The writing is some of the funniest I’ve heard in a long time, web series or not. The dialogue is snappy and clever. There are many references to D&D, modern music, and more. If you don’t play D&D or any other type of fantasy RPGs, then some of the jokes might not make sense to you, but I don’t think that will detract from any enjoyment of the show. Each of the characters has a distinctive voice, all the while mocking (in a lovingly way) the tropes of their characters.
Speaking of characters, for a short web series the characters start off well developed and continue to evolve as the show goes on. They don’t get along at first and fumble their way through to the end, but at the end the group comes together to defeat the villain.
There were a few issues I had. First, in a few episodes the visual (mouth movements and prop sounds) didn’t match up to the audio. Secondly, I had some video stuttering where the audio kept going while the visuals were frozen. However, I am willing to blame those two things on Youtube, my internet connection, and my choice in watching it in 1080p. Perhaps with a better connection or a smaller size, those issues would not occur. My other minor problems was that sometimes the actor’s dialogue was hard to hear and the music got a little loud. Those are minor like I said and can be overlooked.
If you’d like to watch Standard Action you can watch it at the website http://watchstandardaction.com/ (which is linked above as well) which links to the videos at Youtube. Here’s the first episode to see if you want to watch the show:
Since it’s the Christmas season, and since Christmas is about sharing, I thought it would be nice to share two of my favorite Youtube channels with everyone. They are both focused (mainly) on gaming. Both channels have some swearing, so if you are sensitive to that, you should skip them. If you aren’t, you might like them! Give them a shot either way and see if they work for you.
First up is OMFGcata. It started out as a channel for commentary about the WoW Cataclysm Beta, but has since branched out into Minecraft, Skyrim, SWTOR Beta, Terraria, The Witcher 2 and more. The leading force behind the channel is Jesse Cox, a voice actor, but he has amassed other cohorts to enrich his channel. They include: Pride, Blondie, the whole Minecraft RPGMakers Crew, and many, many more.
Jesse has the habit of singing anything that comes into his head. He also has the habit of picking up anything he can in games (specifically Skyrim) and becoming overburdened. He plays through games how he normally would, if not filming, and not for fans, much to the annoyance of some viewers. Jesse does take suggestions and tips, but it never dictates his playthroughs.
The videos on OMFGcata are funny and entertaining, all one could ask for in a Youtube channel. Here’s a video of his latest Skyrim video:
The second channel is The Yogscast. It also started out with WoW videos, but has then branched out to encompass many other games including, Minecraft, Saints Row the Third, Heroes of Newerth, and more. The two main commentators are Simon and Lewis who fumble their way through many games. Occasionally accompanying them on adventures are Hannah (who has her own playthroughs on Yogscast 2), Peva, Tinman, Fumblemore, and many others.
They are best known for their Minecraft videos and especially their ongoing series, Shadow of Israphel, but many people found them because of WoW. Lewis and Simon used to make podcasts, but haven’t updated that in quite some time since they are very busy. Much like Jesse; Lewis and Simon tend to play games that they want to play, even when fans scream for more Minecraft.
Every video they make has something humorous happen, from Simon pushing Lewis into deep holes to the two men being scared by Creepers. Here’s their latest Advent Calendar video:
(Installment One in The OverLady’s ongoing review series on Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
Waiting for the release of a new RPG is like waiting for the release of a new book the author take years to build. The author has perfected his/her craft and curated a loving readership.
While I fancy to use completely current comparisons (Which, in this case would be the ever-loved Harry Potter book series), an extremely beloved and more content-accurate comparison would be a combination of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and her Lives of the Mayfair Witches series. These books, besides being highly anticipated through every book by her loyal and loving readership, chronicled a carefully crafted and elaborate history of thousands of years. Most of Rice’s stories in these series took place between the 18th century and modern day, though entire chapters were often devoted to delving into ancient history and speculative lore of New Orleanean, French, Scottish, and Egyptian vampires and witches. As an historian by study, Rice’s tales wove an intoxicating mix of real-world history with her fanciful and lush imagination. The richness of her work was not for the feeble, as many of her books hit the 1,000 page mark with ease and grace. Much like these books, each Elder Scrolls game offers much of this richness in the world, the story, and most certainly the history… each touting at least hours of gameplay, depending on how thorough the player decides is necessary.
On November 11, 2011, Bethesda released Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which is probably fairly well-known by this point. With much of the hype and erratic anticipation of arguably any of the Harry Potter series, but with the specific history and richness within the pages of Anne Rice’s most famous series, Skyrim is already a new classic to the RPG repertoire. Regardless of the fact its kin (Oblivion and Morrowind) both won game of the year and Skyrim is already nominated once so far, it already wins game of my heart until Elder Scrolls VI comes out in the unforeseeable future.
Cracking into a new video game, especially one I know is going to leave me in a state of orgasmic shock every time I play, comes with a set of simple but necessary rituals I have developed over the years. Before settling in for hours of delicious gameplay, I must have things in order. I mustn’t have any unfinished chores. (Something which I believe has come with feeling responsible to my partner as well as exponential nagging guilt I would otherwise feel towards myself!) The only thing I should be getting up for, save emergencies, is the direst of bathroom trips.
As a firm believer in daily decadence, here is a general list of what I make my gaming nest out of– especially in the colder months:
Hot tisane? √
Full bottle of water? √
100% juice? √
Dried fruit? √
Apple or other fresh fruit? √
Quinoa or another super-yummy and equally healthy nom? √
Cozy & non-binding clothes? (Leggings/sweaters/soft ballet flats are my norm) √
At least one blanket for an unexpected chill? √
Heating pad on high for pre-emptive back care? (A true Pro-Tip from a seasoned gamer, trust me on this.) √
At least one lap-ready cat? (Note: any cuddly pet or partner will do wonderfully!) √
Optional item for the spry: Balance ball to sit on instead of the couch. No √ this round, my older cat punctured my last one!
***I will get a photo in the near-future of this ridiculous spread for everyone, but trust that a well-put-together gaming nest is essential for optimal gameplay and submersion into the world.***
The Lamentation (of this woman).
As I have since switched to MacBook after Oblivion came out and mostly have neglected upgrades to my desktop PC since Fallout 3, I decided on a first– playing and Elder Scrolls game on console! I was a bit worried about playing on Xbox 360, worry of a completely baseless and totally biased nature, of course. In any case I pre-ordered it through Amazon for the same store price and still got the cute map inside. It arrived in the morning right before I headed to work, where I got to agonize all day about it.
I actually only got to play for a couple hours as there were things to be done (Remember, loose ends equals silly amounts of guilt!) and of course prepping my costume bits for the Swashbuckler’s Ball the following night. Insert work all day Saturday & Sunday. I finally got to put in some time Sunday night and ALL of Monday… No, really! Approximately 12:35pm to 2:30am, save a couple hours of dining and partner face-time before he cuddled up with me and did homework while I played. Up to now, I would say I’ve amassed a modest 20 hours.
I am going to do my best to not recount an overview of the game, one can google that or check out the Skyrim wiki on Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls site. With that said, I will also do my best to give my take on it as both an astute gamer and Elder Scrolls fangirl.
Meet S’Leife DLeina, now level 11 Dunmer (Dark Elf to the layman) with a penchant for Alchemy, Sneaking, Light Armor, Smithing, Two-handed weapons (currently an Orcish warhammer), and most certainly collecting books. Check out her sexy Elven light armor, isn’t she a babe?!
For those of you who may have played past Elder Scrolls games, you probably also noticed the distinct lack of choices in the character creation menu. As someone who loves her detail, this was very disappointing to me. Oblivion had a near- Sims 3- level of character detail in the creation menu. I fucking loved that. I loved getting to pick and choose literally every physical characteristic of my new elf’s face… not to mention the ability to give my past Dunmers a luscious shade of lavender on their hair. On the flipside to this disappointment, I will acknowledge how awesome it is the elves look much less human. They look like, well- elves!
(I had a far-fetched aesthetic fantasy Skyrim would bring back the ability to layer clothing like in Morrowind… It’s still just a lofty dream!)
On the topic of choices, let’s talk about the lack of stats! On the main screen during gameplay, the only stats shown are your health/stamina/magicka bars, if they are less than 100% charged. There is no menu or ability to see how high your specific abilities are beyond while you are actively doing something. Oh, the computer keeps track so the end user doesn’t have to. I was really wary when I read about that as well as the open-ended nature of not having any classes.
The intent, which I think works extremely well, was to allow players to develop their characters more naturally without constraints. I am very much reminded of this strip from the web comic Stuff No One Told Me. By allowing the player to organically develop their character, they can sate all of their human curiosities while still continuing to progress in the game and evolve their character. Progression of stats and in turn, leveling, is done on a by-use basis instead of a “Oh I HAVE to go do this thing again, if I want to level, since I am stuck with these areas as my major focal points”. Wariness be gone, I think I love the classless system!
On a similar note, this lack of class system rigidity can achieve some fun combinations that definitely “break the rules” of traditional RPGs. Want to wear heavy armor but focus on alteration magicka? Do it! Oh, you like wielding bow & arrows, but love close-range attacks? DO BOTH!
I will wrap things up now, as I have been away from my game for a bit too long (:::reaches for paper bag to breathe in:::), but I will leave you with the following as a preview of what I will be talking about next time: NPCs! Dealing with them, living life, and manipulating them, alive or dead.
A few weeks ago, Blizzard, the maker of World of Warcraft, held Blizzcon to showcase all of their games; WoW, Diablo III and Starcraft II. They started off the con with information about their new WoW expansion, Mists of Pandaria. They showed off a lot of new things such as the new playable race, Pandaren, a new class, Monk, new mobs to fight, and new locations to explore. One thing they didn’t show off was the female model for the Pandaren.
There was a picture of a Pandaren with a bow on it’s head, and many people wouldn’t mind that being the female model for the new race, but I don’t know if that will happen. Apparently the creator of the Pandaren has always drawn females as Red Pandas. People fear that female Pandaren will be slimmed down to fall in line with the other female races.
Blizzard has changed female (and male!) models before. In the Alpha version of WoW, Troll females were just as hunched over as males and seemed to have more facial choices. For whatever reason, Blizzard decided to change the model into what is now used today. The female Troll model has limited facial options and many Trolls tend to look the same. There’s a video of the Alpha Troll model here. Below is an image of the current female Troll model.
They also seemed to have slightly altered the Tauren female model from the Alpha version. It doesn’t seem to be a huge change, like with the Troll females, but it’s still an odd change as the Alpha Tauren female looked fine. Here’s a video of all the Alpha models, Troll and Tauren included. Below is an image of the current female Tauren model.
As I said before, Blizzard even changed male models for Blood Elves back before Burning Crusade was released. The Beta male models were slim and not as muscular as the other male members of the Horde (minus the Forsaken). There were some complaints that the Beta models looked “too gay” or “too pretty”, this might not have been why the change was made, but no one knows for sure.
The latest model change came back before Cataclysm was released. The Worgen male and female models went through a lot of changes; from looking, some would say, more wolf like to becoming more feral. The female model came under the most fire as they lost a little of the muscle they had and didn’t really seem to match the male Worgen model. Here’s a video of the Alpha models. And below are images of the Alpha and current models.
It’s all personal preference and personal opinion on whether you like the old models or the current models better. I’m just hoping that the female Pandaren aren’t going to be too different from the male version.
I recently had a chance to have a chat with Ground Kontrol employee Dawn Manske. Ground Kontrol has been around for nearly 10 years, its current incarnation — v 3.0— is the most elaborate and visually stunning version yet; having been designed to emulate TRON. And the bathrooms are all Pac Man themed!
I celebrated my 30th birthday at Ground Kontrol this past August and have spent a ton of time playing games and hanging out since then. My personal favorite games are the Doctor Who & Twilight Zone pinball machines and the muli-game machine that has Tetris, Bubble-Bobble and one other that I can’t remember because I never bother to play it. They don’t start serving alcohol until 5pm so I have been able to bring my 7 ½ year old with me on a Sunday afternoon, he likes the big Pac Man battle game the most, with the Doctor Who pinball as a very close second. The old school Star Wars arcade games are a little too hard for him and make him angry.
Many celebrities visit Ground Kontrol when they come to Portland; most notably Wil Wheaton and Chris Hardwick. Both of whom have tweeted about it to their followers on Twitter.
NerdsinBabeland: It’s notoriously difficult to get a job at Ground Kontrol, how long have you been working there and how did you swing the job?
Dawn Manske: I have been working at GK for almost a year. But, I have been in love with GK for almost six years! I spent my 21st birthday gaming with a few tumblers of wine, it was glorious. Itis true, it is not easy to get a job here. The big reason is, there just isn’t a lot of turnover here! Even with all the mundane stuff of a normal bar/arcade/retail environment, everyone really does like their jobs at Ground Kontrol, myself included.
How I got the job was purely perfect timing and happenstance. I have been friends with some of the staff for a bit and when they were looking for a new weekend person right after the big remodel finished, I was shoulder-tapped as I had some extra space for a second job. I will say this, you must genuinely be into gaming and a genuine fan of Ground Kontrol to work here and, knowing a few people never hurts.
NIB: What is your job at GK? Do different people do different things or is it mostly even across the board?
DM: My official title is arguably the coolest one of all titles at Ground Kontrol, which is that of the Game Warden. I work mostly day times, meaning I deal with the kids and have time to deal with games if they need some loving. I sell classic console games when people are here to buy and keep things in as much of an orderly state as I can. In addition to my official title, I also am much of the voice behind GK’s Facebook and Twitter postings as well as various promotional work. On most Rock Band Tuesday nights, you can also find me whipping up all the tasty geek noms for people. Sometimes, I do fun stuff as a GK representative too. Like, when I got a photo with the uber-ridiculous Tommy Wiseau in one of my Ground Kontrol t-shirts and on November 18th I will be one of the art judges for Captain Picard Day.
If my own position is any indication, many other employees span across a few different positions too; we all have our awesome uses to make GK as consistently awesome as possible.
NIB: Tell me about the remodel, how did that impact your hours/work?
Honestly, I was hired partially because of the remodel. But, knowing the state of the place very well prior to the remodel, I am confident the remodel is nothing but a positive impact. A lot of things got streamlined due to it, making the work environment easier to manage.
NIB: Before the remodel bands used to play there (my husband’s band being one) what kind of special events go on now that full on metal boy shows don’t happen anymore?
Now that traditional band shows aren’t really a feasible option here, GK has gotten pretty creative with what it can do. The aforementioned Rock Band Tuesday lives on and the DJ sets have amplified, it doesn’t hurt the upgraded sound system is amazing. Every last Thursday we do the Videogame Quiz Show, it’s pretty intricate and fun to watch, complete with a custom buzzer system and sweet video game sound effects throughout. Recently we hosted Keith Apicary for an awesome live nerdcore show as well as hosting a couple of the fancy new Transformers pinball tables for their traveling promotion. I would love to see us get more nerdcore artists to do shows here, as they don’t require the same kind of space as a full band and they are of course– super nerdy!
NIB: How do you obtain new games?
I know the owners all have some games, for their personal use and it’s often through happenstance a new game falls into Ground Kontrol’s lap. Recently, a private owner of the classic Twilight Zone pinball sold the table to GK. In its roughly 17 years of existence, it had never been played publicly at all. Needless to say, this gem is in the mintiest of mint condition and has been quite popular since it’s lived at GK.
NIB: What are your favorite games?
My favorite arcade cabinets we have: Crystal Castles, Rampart, Pole Position (R.I.P.), Tetris, and Championship Sprint. Pinball tables: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Bride of Pinbot, Twilight Zone, Lord of the Rings, and Theatre of Magic.
Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade
511 NW Couch St.
Portland, OR 97209
Open Noon-2:30AM Daily
All Ages Admitted Until 5PM
21+ & I.D. Required After 5PM
Majesco Entertainment Embarks on a Paranormal Adventure with The Hidden, Available Now on Nintendo 3DS!
Utilize the Nintendo 3DS camera to scan, detect and hunt ghosts day or night in real-world locations!
Edison, New Jersey – November 3, 2011 – Majesco Entertainment (NASDAQ: COOL), an innovative provider of video games for the mass market, announced today that The Hidden, an augmented reality (AR) ghost hunting adventure for the portable Nintendo 3DS™ system, is available now. Developed by 1st Playable Productions, The Hidden turns your handheld device into a portal to the astral plane and allows you to investigate real-world environments with the Nintendo 3DS camera in order to search, capture and destroy supernatural entities as a paranormal investigator.
“The new genre of augmented reality is an exciting direction for video games because it combines the real and virtual worlds in an unprecedented way,” said Jesse Sutton, CEO, Majesco Entertainment. “The Hidden is all about bridging worlds which conceptually is a great fit for the ghost hunting theme. Gamers everywhere will get a thrill out of discovering what’s truly hidden in some of their favorite real-world spots.”
Experience the world of augmented reality like never before as you utilize the Nintendo 3DS camera to help you scan, detect and hunt ghosts. As a member of the elite squad known as the Ghostly Entity Investigation and Strike Team, (G.E.I.S.T.), you must work with your team to destroy evil spirits and neutralize mysterious outbreaks that pose threats to all mankind. To find every ghost in the game, players must also bring their Nintendo 3DS with them to new locations and investigate the world around them in twelve exhilarating missions.
Additional features of The Hidden include:
- Prepare to battle powerful bosses using your full arsenal of acquired tech. With unique strategies required for each enemy, you will soon find that some become long-running nemeses.
- Perfect the tracking process to catch the stealthiest spirits, banish stubborn creatures that can’t be destroyed, and take down the malevolent entity behind it all.
- Engage in different activities including:
o “Scanner”: Scan your current area using the Nintendo 3DS camera and Wi-Fi hotspots.
o “Tracker”: Hunt for ghosts and pull them out of their world and into ours.
o “Shooter”: Hunt and shoot ghosts using the latest in paranormal weapons tech.
o “Wormhole”: Navigate through tunnels of another dimension while battling ghosts.
o “Stealth”: Avoid being detected by entities that are too great in number or extremely tough to handle with your equipment.
- Take photos of entities with the Nintendo 3DS camera and keep a log of your discoveries while using your map to keep track of where you’ve been.
Rated E10+, The Hidden, for Nintendo 3DS™ is now available for the suggested retail price of $29.99. To watch the launch trailer and find out more, please visithttp://www.HuntTheHidden.com/.
Majesco Entertainment Company
Majesco Entertainment Company is a provider of video games for the mass market. Building on more than 20 years of operating history, the company is focused on developing and publishing a wide range of casual and family oriented video games on all leading console and handheld platforms as well as online, social networks and mobile devices. Product highlights include Zumba® Fitness, Cooking Mama™, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Hulk Hogan’s Main Event. The company’s shares are traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol: COOL. Majesco is headquartered in Edison, NJ with offices in San Francisco, CA, Bristol, UK, and a social games development studio in Foxboro, MA. More info can be found online at www.majescoentertainment.com or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/majesco.