Video Games

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Starbreeze / Overkill Pre-E3 & The Walking Dead Game Launch Event

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With E3 2015 wrapping up a couple days ago, we’ve been seeing some pretty cool announcements coming from the electronic world over the past week. Some fantastic-looking new games, new systems, new gadgets. Nerdy fun to be had by all.

Just before E3, however, I got to have a bit of that fun for myself. Recently, Overkill Software had an event they called the Hype Train for their game, PayDay 2. This happened back in February/March, but you can still see some of the info from it here. This event effectively solidified Overkill/Starbreeze as my favorite gaming company around today. While studios like Electronic Arts are nickel-and-diming us gamers with in-game purchases, and a studio like Gearbox is suspected of plagiarism, it’s getting hard to tell who the good guys are in gaming. Overkill made that a little easier with the Hype Train. Here are the basics: Overkill set a list of goals to reach with corresponding PayDay-themed prizes. These goals were met by fans purchasing the game, DLCs, characters packs, etc. Anything at all PayDay-related that was purchased from their official outlets in this time period went toward the Hype Train. As prizes were unlocked, anyone with the game got access to these prizes. So even if you just had the base game, but didn’t or couldn’t buy anything during that time, you still got the Car Shop Heist and the Hoxton Revenge Heist. The way they went about this event was very cool in that it was obviously for the fans. Instead of just being out to make a quick buck, they promoted the game and the additions in a way that engaged the community, and rewarded fans. I’ve seen a few cynical groups of fans criticize the gaming company for involving money in the event at all, but that criticism seems extremely short-sighted. Of course a business has to make money in order to continue releasing their brand of awesome. At least in Overkill’s case, they did it in a way that really gave back to their fans and their community – and not just the factions that could pay for it at that particular time.

One of the prizes released during the Hype Train affected me, directly. There was a possibility that a prize would be unlocked where Overkill would fly 10 heisters to L.A. for a Pre-E3 event. I’ll be honest – the details were incredibly vague at the time, and whether it would even happen or not had not even been announced yet by the time you had to enter to win this prize. However, to enter, all you had to do was send Overkill a tweet during a certain time frame. What does one tweet cost you?  Nothing. Nothing at all. I sent my tweet back in March, went about my life, and actually forgot about it.

That is until early June when I started getting messages from Overkill on twitter.  When they first started trying to get my attention, they hadn’t yet told me I won the trip. I was mid-sentence in a conversation with my husband, and checked a notification on my phone. I trailed off in conversation, and my eyes got very big. My husband asked what was going on, and I responded with “SOMETHING IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.” A few minutes later, Almir Listo, producer of the PayDay franchise, let me know I had won, and asked if I’d be available to fly to L.A. in exactly one week. Naturally, I freaked out, put everything in life on hold, and went. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I’ve been a big fan of the PayDay games for a while at this point, but even bigger, I have grown to respect and love Overkill as a gaming company. PC Gaming is one of my biggest hobbies in life these days, and these hotelguys were doing it right. I absolutely jumped at the chance to fly across the country and meet with them in person.

The following week was a blur of sustained excitement, and early on the Saturday morning following the announcement, I was on a plane. I arrived at the same time as several other heisters, and we instantly bonded. Everyone invited along, and everyone who met up with us from the studio were amazingly friendly and welcoming. We were all extremely excited.

We got to the hotel Overkill had us staying in – the Grafton on Sunset BLVD in West Hollywood.  A beautiful hotel that was rock-themed, newly renovated, and in a great location.  I walked with some of the other heisters to a nearby burger place, and had lunch. Afterwards, we were all in need of a nap – each of us had been traveling since early that morning, and were in for a long night ahead of us.

A few hours later, we were picked up in a limo, and given a tour of Hollywood before being dropped off at the event.

The party was at the Hollywood House of Blues. Technically, it was only half a block from our hotel, and we easily could have walked, but the limo ride was fun either way. There were 3 floors of drinks, food, music, fun people, games, and announcements. It was crazy. Immediately upon walking into the gate, I met Damion Poitier – the voice of Chains in the PayDay games. He was incredibly nice, and all for hanging with the fans. He also made the absolute best faces in all the pictures that were taken of him that night (see his twitter feed for more of these amazing faces).damion  We also chatted with Eric Etebari, the voice of Dallas, throughout the night as well. In fact, every time we turned around, there was either Damion or Eric. I’m pretty sure they wanted to be BFFs, but were too shy to say so (right? RIGHT??).

We were also greeted by shambling zombies everywhere. Since this event was the launch party for Overkill’s The Walking Dead, they made a point to really put you in the mindset of hanging with zombies. Now – I organized a large-scale Zombie Walk for years. We had some incredible zombies over the years, but none with the constitution of these Walkers. Never once did I see a single zombie break character, even for a second. One in particular made a point to sneak up behind various party people, waiting just inches from the back of their heads to notice him. The reactions were priceless.

zombie Next were the announcements.

Overkill’s The Walking Dead was obviously a huge one. There are a couple other TWD games out right now, but they’re both completely story-driven, not shooters. Since the Left 4 Dead franchise, I think we here in the gaming community have been itching for an awesome, new zombie-themed shooter. We saw a bit of the gameplay and graphics from the new TWD game, and it’s looking pretty badass. And it looks like there will also be a little crossover from the PayDay franchise. The game doesn’t come out until next year, but I’m already psyched for it. You can watch the trailer for it, and find out more details here.

Next was the announcement of PayDay 2 coming to consoles. In fact, they had several machines set up with PayDay 2 loaded up to try it out. I’m not a big console person, myself, so I asked some of the other folks in my group how it held up in terms of a console shooter. Since they were all fans of the PayDay franchise on PC previously, they were able to definitely say that the translation from PC to console was very well done. The controls are intuitive, and the game played just as well on console. So if you’ve been wanting to play PayDay 2, but just aren’t into keyboards and mice, look forward to that release.

 

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Lastly, and possibly most importantly, we were surprised with the announcement of the StarVR system. This entire thing looks amazing. The StarVR system is Starbreeze’s answer to the recent Virtual Reality craze. It’s a headset that’s lighter than the Oculus, and instead of smaller circles to look through that are straight-ahead, the StarVR system has a wide screen that allows for peripheral vision. This may sound like a small difference in systems, but in reality, the way the StarVR is laid out allows you to really, and truly immerse yourself into the game much more than most other VR systems that are announced right now. Granted – the StarVR is still in process, as are many other virtual reality systems, and some changes and competitors may still arise. At the moment, though, it looks like Starbreeze is on the right path with this one. Here’s a Hands-on view from the E3 conference:

Overall, there were a ton of unexpected, and fantastic surprises at the Pre-E3 party. Friendships were forged, and a ridiculous amount of fun was had.

The next day, we had dinner plans with the Overkill gang, but were free until then. Some heisters explored Hollywood, some hung out at the hotel and gamed a bit. I had some friends in town, so I joined them for a killer waffle brunch. Then we were all given an address to meet up at.

The address led us to the historic Chinese Theater in Hollywood, and the shopping center behind it. It was a little bit confusing to know where we were going at first, but once we saw that there was a Dave & Busters, we all thought ‘of course they’re going to take a bunch of video game nerds to the gaming place.’ We were right – and thrilled to be.

starbreezeWe were joined by Almir Listo, Simon Viklund (who composes all of the music in the PayDay games), and Karl Lakner (art director for Overkill). A relaxing dinner with great conversation was followed by a lot of selfies and group pics. We all got the chance to really talk with these accomplished fellows one-on-one, and ask any burning, heisting questions we may have had.

However, at the end of it, not all of us were ready to call it quits. Almir had to leave us, but Simon and Karl were dead-set on seeing a movie. We walked over the Chinese Theater, and all grabbed tickets for Jurassic World, but still had a couple hours to kill, so we went back to D&B’s to play some games. I got to shoot ridiculous amounts of aliens and terminator-bots with Karl, and then even more dinosaurs with Simon. A few of the other Overkill guys joined us for the movie – and were more than happy to talk about the weapons, explosions, and landscapes they designed for the PayDay games, and what went into them. The gentlemen we got to meet from Overkill were easily some of the nicest, friendliest, and most welcoming people I’ve met in a long time.

The next morning, I flew the 7 hours back to my usual side of the country.

It was a crazy, jam-packed, exciting, whirlwind of a weekend that I never expected to happen.

 

I cannot thank the guys at Overkill, and especially Almir and Karl (who were both incredibly friendly and accommodating) enough for the experience. You guys made 10 little heisters’ lives incredibly bright for that weekend.

bioshock

The Art of Bioshock Infinite Review

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Bioshock Infinite was released last week, bringing a new, exciting chapter of the hugely popular game series for fans to obsessively play for days at a time. I, myself, am a fan of the franchise and when I heard about a book release accompanying the game which would outline the artistic development involved, I was thrilled to have the chance to review it. The Bioshock games are known for their complex story lines and tormented characters, but I think the real core of these games is in the mind blowing art work. I still remember my first time watching the opening sequence for Bioshock. I felt real terror and fear living the experience of sinking on a huge ship, watching people and flames plummet in to the ocean around me as my character sank deeper and deeper. Then, the elation of discovering Rapture, the city under the sea, glowing and majestic, yet abandoned and incredibly eerie at the same time. Bioshock has never settled for less than ‘holy shit amazing’ in the visual department and by the looks of The Art of Bioshock Infinite, this latest installment is no different. songbird2

The introduction to the book is by creative director Ken Levine and he explains that the process of developing a video game on the level of Bioshock Infinite is far more complicated and time consuming than some may assume. ” the process of making anything—and certainly an Irrational game—is grueling and exhilarating, exciting and depressing, thrilling and scary as hell. For every idea that makes it into the game, a dozen are put against the wall and shot.” This book puts this process on display for you, showing the character and world development, sketch by sketch. Hundreds of pieces of art and ideas were thrown out in the editing machine, but no less impressive. It becomes obvious right away that the artists who created this new Bioshock universe toiled endlessly to achieve the perfect effects on every single detail of every puzzle piece that eventually became Bioshock Infinite.

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I found the notes explaining the process behind the art development as intriguing as the pictures themselves. To get a glimpse in to the great care and immense thought behind every detail in this game feels like peeking in to someone’s window and watching them create. Someone with more artistic chutzpah in their little finger than I could achieve in a lifetime. Watching the floating city of Columbia come to life in these paintings and sketches is so much fun, but for me the best part was being witness to the birth and growth of the enigmatic characters of Bioshock Infinite. Booker DeWitt, Elizabeth and Songbird are focused on heavily, their personality and story details being just as imperative as their styles and physical make up. Readers are invited to observe the ideas behind Sky-Hooks, airships and the menacing, powerful Heavy Hitters.

The Art of Bioshock Infinite is a beautiful, enlightening lesson in video game development. It’s not quick, easy, simple or lacking in sacrifice. At least not a game on this level of quality and brilliance. I haven’t actually played Bioshock Infinite yet, but reading this book makes me feel like I already have an intimate knowledge of the people and creatures (or machines) that make up the city of Columbia. Whether you’re a fan of the Bioshock franchise or just a lover of artwork, this book is definitely satisfying and worth having on your shelf. It’s been a real treat for me and has only increased my desire to experience Bioshock Infinite for myself.

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Updated Female Pandaren Models

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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.

 

Skyrim

Makin’ Love, The Skyrim Way: Warming Up.

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(Installment One in The OverLady’s ongoing review series on Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)

 

The Anticipation.

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.

 

The Motivation.

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.

 

SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Preparation.

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.

 

Physical Map Included With Game

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Creation

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.

 

S'Leife DLeina

 

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!

 

Deal With It- This is an animated Gif. Click it.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

hidden

Press Release: The Hidden, Available Now on Nintendo 3DS

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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.

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Ground Kontrol Inaugural Ladies Night

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Last night Ground Kontrol Arcade in Portland, Oregon had their inaugural Ladies Night free play event. There were prizes from Things from Another World & Shebop, a craft exchange (I brought a pair of 1-up earrings and took home a technicolor stuffed Dalek). I had a great time and cannot wait until the next one!

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Ground Kontrol Arcade LADIES NIGHT!

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Ground Kontrol is proud to present the unveiling of its inaugural ladies’ night event, “Ms. GK”.

This night of lady-centric gaming and free-play night, will also have some other fun and exciting things to do!

**With an all-female deejay set (deejay ReighLee, DJ Ava Delay, DJ Pippa Possible) and a female-centric staff, we aim to bring a warm and welcoming ambience to Portland’s plentiful gamer crowd who may or may not know the awesome safe and sweetass space we provide every night, including this special night.

**Casual tournaments of both Burgertime and Bride of Pinbot and corresponding prizes from our sponsors SheBop, Things From Another World, and perhaps more!

**For those of you who are crafty, there will be a table set up for a free geeky craft exchange: bring a craft, take a craft!

FREE-PLAY!
CASUAL TOURNEYS!
DRINK SPECIALS!
CRAFT SWAP!
DANCEABLE MUSIC!
PRIZES!
WIN AT LIFE!

COST: $3 for ladies, $8 for gents.

Come enjoy this cozy event, we’re pulling out all the stops.

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

Video Game & Movie Releases – November

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Sorry for the delay, I suck! Below is a list of upcoming movie and video game release dates to keep your eyes on, and wallets handy for.

Video Game Releases
Nov 2 – MAG: Escalation — PS3
Nov 2 – GoldenEye 007 — Wii, DS
Nov 2 – Hoard — PS3
Nov 2 – Auditorium — PS3, 360
Nov 2 – James Bond 007: Blood Stone — PC, 360, PS3, DS
Nov 2 – Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 — PS3, 360
Nov 2 – God of War: Ghost of Sparda — PSP
Nov 4 – Kinect — 360
Nov 4 – Kinect Sports — 360
Nov 4 – Kinectimals — 360
Nov 4 – Kinect Adventures — 360
Nov 4 – Your Shape: Fitness Evolved — 360
Nov 4 – Dance Central — 360
Nov 9 – Karaoke Revolution Glee — Wii
Nov 9 – John Daly’s ProStroke Golf — 360
Nov 9 – Call of Duty: Black Ops — PC, PS3, 360, Wii, DS
Nov 16 – Dance Dance Revolution — PS3
Nov 16 – NBA Jam — PS3, 360
Nov 16 – EA Sports Active 2.0 — PS3, 360, Wii
Nov 16 – Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Hero Gauntlet — PS3, 360, Wii, DS
Nov 16 – Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood — PS3, 360
Nov 16 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — PC, PS3, 360, Wii, DS
Nov 16 – Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit — PC, PS3, 360, Wii
Nov 18 – Zumba Fitness — 360, Wii
Nov 23 – Splatterhouse — PS3, 360
Nov 23 – Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom — PS3, 360
Nov 23 – Michael Jackson The Experience — Wii, DS, PSP
Nov 23 – Crazy Taxi — PS3, 360
Nov 27 – Gran Turismo 5 — PS3
Nov 29 – Golden Sun: Dark Dawn — DS
Nov 30 – Epic Mickey — Wii
Nov 30 – Nail’d — PC, PS3, 360

Movie Releases
Nov 5 – Megamind
Nov 5 – For Colored Girls
Nov 5 – Due Date
Nov 10 – Morning Glory
Nov 12 – Skyline
Nov 12 – Unstoppable
Nov 12 – Cool It
Nov 12 – Helena from the Wedding
Nov 12 – Tiny Furniture
Nov 19 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Nov 19 – Heartless
Nov 19 – Me Too
Nov 19 – Nothing Personal
Nov 19 – Queen of the Lot
Nov 19 – The Next Three Days
Nov 19 – White Material
Nov 24 – Burlesque
Nov 24 – Faster
Nov 24 – Kawasaki’s Rose
Nov 24 – Love and other Drugs
Nov 24 – Tangled

How to Train Your Nerdlin’

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My 6 ½ year old is a gamer, he has an older Xbox 360, a Wii a PS2 and a computer in his room. In addition to these he has a DSi and an iTouch. Why on earth does a 1st grader need all of this you ask? The answer is that I’m selfish and I got sick and tired of sharing video game time with him.

Yes we do some co-op playing and he really enjoys watching me play Mario Galaxy (1 and 2) but if we didn’t have the newer Xbox set up in the living room while he has the Wii (his system of choice) set up in his bedroom I would never get a chance to play my games and would be stuck either watching Lego Star Wars/Indian Jones or listening to him whine about wanting his turn.

Every parent has their own style and I don’t think that any ONE style is correct. I chose to let my child have a TV and video games in his room, you can call me a bad parent for this, I don’t really care. I know that his life is more than TV & video games, we read (books AND comics, he’s a mini geek what do you expect), play ball in the yard and ride his bike.

There is one thing that irks me though. I have always sworn my son would never be “that kid” (sorry if I offend any of you who’s child is “that kid”) you know the one, the kid who has his face shoved into a handheld game system everywhere he goes, the grocery store, family gatherings, walking from the street to the car, at the aquarium, zoo, etc. So far I have been fairly successful at setting the limits on this. If his DSi or iTouch leave the house he is limited to using them on longer car rides only, that if he gets stuck I don’t want to hear it because I’ll get car sick if I try and play while in the car. And he knows that if at any time, at home or on a car ride, someone speaks to him and he doesn’t reply because he is too engrossed in the game it will be taken away for some amount of time.

But then I stop and think; am I being a hypocrite? I CONSTANTLY have my iPhone in my face as I’m walking around, and I mean constantly. I’m on twitter, facebook, checking emails, playing Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies. Maybe I should start following my own rules before he wises up and points it out to me.

I really enjoy having a child with the same interests as I do. It’s so much fun having someone who is just as excited about a new Doctor Who episode as I am, or watching him experience the magic that is Star Wars for the first time. It’s GREAT having an excuse to buy those nerdy toys that I’ve convinced myself I’m “too old” to buy. But I’m NOT sharing my video game time, unless it’s my husband, and that is another story entirely.

Fable III Cover

My Kingdom for a Fable (3)! Review: A Rebellion

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Ever wanted to lead a rebellion? Wanted to run your own kingdom? Wanted to be the ultimate Lute Hero?! Well here is your chance to do all three! Yes, that’s right, Lute Hero. I think someone needs to get on that, could be the next big thing. My adventure with Fable 3 started at 11:35 at night where I decided to travel to the midnight opening with my cane, because my busted and painful knee meant nothing when I could start playing Fable 3 that very night. A note though, don’t take a friend who doesn’t have a 360 and doesn’t really like the Fable series because s/he will rip off the plastic and the sticky bit of your game without feeling or emotion without your permission. It was tragic.

So what are some of the biggest changes for Fable? Well, get this, the Hero has a voice! Yes that’s right ladies and blokes! Your very own Hero, male or female, will actually have the ability to talk, and uses that ability every so often! No more are the days of the pantomime character who expresses feelings and actions with only expressions. Kissing will sound like ravenous dogs biting at meat, and the sex will have you wondering… well, will just have you wondering what exactly they’re doing. They also have employed some top notch voice acting with their characters, such as Stephen Fry, John Cleese, Simon Pegg, Sir Ben Kingsley, and Bernard Hill.

I start this game as I’ve started the other two, being insanely good and fair, and like in Fable II, a lass. If you have a Fable II save on your 360 it will upload it and references will be made to what the former King or Queen did before, regardless of your starting gender. I usually play the game three times at the least; Angelically good, Morally Ambiguous, and Horribly evil. Although with this installment, the characters and story telling make me feel guilty for doing anything Other than being the best person ever. Hence my evil campaign goes slowly, so I’m not bogged down with metaphorical guilt.

As you may or may not have heard, the new addition to the Fable series is a two-parter, story-wise. And here is where I review what steps (in a somewhat reduced spoiler way) are to be taken that will end the evil rule of your brother, King Logan! *Please insert gasps here*

Within the first five minutes of play you will have to make several decisions that affect your moral standing right away. This leads to your mentor, Sir Walter Beck, deciding that now is the time that a revolution is needed, and that night he takes you and your faithful dog out of the castle, with Jasper, your butler, following, as faithful as your dog is. It is then revealed that your Mother, (in my case) the Hero Queen, was not the last Hero of Albion, you are! *Pretend to be shocked now* You soon gain the ability to cast magic, a fire spell, with a gauntlet instead of the usual Will ability inherent in the blood. Then you find the Sanctuary.

This is an interesting, and very important place. This is where you will go almost every time you pause the game. Your Armoury, Dressing room, Trophy room, and Xbox LIVE room is found here, as well as game options and a look your Hero’s skills and morality. Jasper stays here and will let you know when something happens or he wants to talk to you. It’s also the place where you’ll find and take quests, and even manage your real estate ventures, or even divorce your spouse, (should you not want to do it face to face.)

Your first task to start the revolution is to gain supporters and followers. But of course it would be too easy to just walk up to the different areas and get them to agree to help. First are the Dwellers, then the village of Brightwall. The King of the Dwellers needs you to do three tasks for him to prove that they can trust you, which involves you going to Brightwall. While in Brightwall you must prove yourself to the people there in order for them to help the Dwellers. To get the help that you need you must makes promises to the people; To give the mountains and land back to the Dwellers, and to re-open the Brightwall Academy. If you want to be evil then you must wait until the end to do anything about these promises. Fake your sincerity while you press the button if it makes you feel better.

Sir Walter and you are then off again after an interesting encounter with Hobbes, to Mourningwood! To a ragtag bunch of soldiers who are fighting Hollowmen. Help them fight off the hollowmen and you’ll have your next set of supporters after giving another promise concerning the Royal Army. Then you’re off to Bowerstone, one step closer to the Bowerstone Castle and freeing the people from their oppression. You’ll meet the Resistance in the sewers and have to prove yourself once again. And you’ll have an interesting run in with Reaver. Yup, Reaver is still sacrificing people to keep his immortality, and he’s dressed for the occasion. You must promise to help the poor and the children of Bowerstone Indrustial to get this support. (Did I mention a heavy Steampunk influence? Because I make Steampunk costumes, and I was practically drooling.)

Along your travels you are allowed to go off and complete other quests, or work for some extra gold to pick up some items, or to save for a rainy, bloody, day, (start amassing money now, Trust me.) Fable II players, remember the gargoyles? The ones that would insult you if you got close, that you had to shoot? No they’re not back. It’s worse! Gnomes. That’s right, talking, insulting, annoying, gnomes. That you have to shoot. And you’ll do it gladly if you find them.

Next up, I’ll go over the last step to the revolution and the ultimate threat. Note to those who can freak themselves out by playing games at night, or thinking of creepers in a dark hallway while you’re in it, alone; this last part is not to be played in total darkness. … Just me? Oh,… well, then you can just ignore that….

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