Monthly Archives: May 2014

I’m going to be a panelist!

Video Game Hangout

Come join me tonight, as I discuss video games with some of my fellow bloggers!  This is my first Con-At-Home Hangout & I am very excited to be a panelist.  Video games are a huge part of my geek side, so it is going to be great to talk to fellow gamers about various topics.

If you’d like to watch along, email me for a link.  I will update this post with the link to the recording once it is available.

Showing my geekiness via my iPhone 4S

So, I love my tech!  Video games, computers, gadgets, cellphones, & more.  I’ve been jailbreaking my iPhone since back when I had a 3G!  I just love having control of my iPhone.  One of the ways I like to express my geek side is by adding tweaks & themes to my handy iPhone.  Currently, I am sporting a mix of fandoms on my lock screen that I wanted to share:

iphone lockscreen

I’m sporting Doctor Who logo in place of my carrier name thanks to Zeppelin & Doctor Who Mega carrier pack, changed my slider to include MegaMan, & instead of the stock camera grabber icon I have Star Wars Rebel Logo.

I like to switch the look up, so I am probably going to mix it up again in a week.  I figured I should take not of what I had already chosen & what had motivated me to choose each item in the first place. This way I can have guidelines when looking for replacements.  There is no shortage of tweaks & themes, so without an idea it can be quite daunting.  I used to have my wifi signal strength themed with Super Mario Bros. mushrooms: red was weak, orange was good, & green was excellent.  Haven’t been able to find a replacement compatible with iOS7, but I am constantly checking for something like that.

On top of the visual expression of my geekiness, I also have ringtones & alert sounds from Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong Level 1, Super Mario Bros., Doctor Who, Chuck, & Assassin’s Creed.  One lesson I learned the hard way: the TARDIS sound is awesome when you are expecting it, but out of no where it can be pretty jarring & a bit freaky.


How do you express your geek side via your tech: computers, smartphones, video game consoles, & more?

SDCC Countdown series

Tentative SDCC Wish List

Here is a working wish list for my first SDCC (in no particular order):

  • See/meet Stan Lee
  • Go to Marvel panel
  • Go to X-Men panel
  • Go to Once Upon A Time panel
  • Go to Doctor Who panel
  • See/meet Kevin Smith
  • Meet/see Nathan Fillion
  • Meet/see Joss Whedon
  • Go to Star Wars panel
  • Go to a Nerd HQ event/panel
  • Go to Big Bang Theory panel
  • Go to the Arrow Panel
  • Check out Studio Ghibli anything
  • See/meet Joe Quesada
  • See/meet G. Willow Wilson
  • Attend the 40th  Annual Comic-con International Masquerade
  • Take pictures with fellow cosplayers
  • Take part of at least one cosplayer Photo Op
  • Get some swag

As SDCC nears closer, what is one your wish list?

SDCC Countdown series

Cosplaying at San Diego Comic-Con 2014

The first con I attended was MegaCon in Orlando, FL close to 10 years ago.  It was a very last minute, disorganized affair.  I definitely didn’t get the most out of my experience because we only bought an one-day pass, had to drive to Orlando, & got there close to 2 PM.  Needless to say, I wore regular casual wear, as it was my first con experience.  Had I known what I would have in store, I would have definitely have brought more cash & insisted we got there early. We didn’t get to see any panels, but I insisted we stay to watch the Masquerade.  There was a lot of Fullmetal Alchemist cosplaying, as well as Cowboy Bebop. I bought a couple of t-shirts, but nothing else due to limited cash on hand.

In order to get the most out of my upcoming SDCC experience, I have decided I am going to cosplay.  So, with SDCC less than 80 days away, I am seriously starting to finish up my cosplaying plan of attack!  I will ambitiously be attempting to cosplay all 5 days on SDCC.  As a first time cosplayer, this may prove to be a tall order, but I’m planning big so that I can always adjust as conditions change.  Obviously after deciding I would be cosplaying, I had to figure out who I would be cosplaying as.


The brainstorming began by acknowledging my limitations:

  • I’m currently not able to get too crafty to make intricate components for my outfits.
  • I am not wig-savvy, so long dark brown hair was what I had to work with.
  • I have trouble maintaining my core body temperature regulated, so I’d need to be able to use layers that I could adjust as needed, but not lose the identity of my chosen cosplay character.
  • Comfortable foot attire is a must.

With this list, I began trying to see who I would cosplay as.  My first instinct was Carmen San Diego because I loved her, the video games, & the TV show!

Carmen San Diego

Requirements:

  1. Red trench coat (could buy)
  2. Red hat (could buy)
  3. Black gloves (check)
  4. Yellow scarf (could buy)
  5. Loose, long dark hair (check)
  6. Maybe tiny versions of the Eiffel Tower or other monuments I would have stolen (could buy online).

The problem was that if I got hot & took off my coat, then what?  So, the brainstorming continued.

Next, I was talking with my best friend, with whom I geek out about video games & football (see Time Crisis II discussion in my arcade post), & we came up with Lara Croft.

Requirements:

  1. Long brown hair in pony tail/braid (check)
  2. Shorts/Pants (check)
  3. Black fingerless gloves (check)
  4. Turquoise tank top (check)
  5. Thigh holsters (could buy online)
  6. 2 play hand guns (could buy online)
  7. Small leather backpack (could buy online & I don’t need much convincing to buy a bag)
  8. Hiking boots (check)
  9. Various options for jacket or hoodie (could buy)

We had a winner!  I checked out possible items on Amazon & scored big.  The guns are originally orange, but that isn’t anything a little spray paint can’t fix & they come with the thigh holsters.  I can have the holsters altered/reinforced a bit if needed, but other than some hair gel, I should be good.

One down!


I’ve seen various Assassin’s Creed cosplay pictures on Pinterest, which had me dying to try it.  I was giddy about gender-bending Ezio, but my mom brought up a good point: the hood makes it hard for anyone to see my face & for me to see everything around me. I was going to SDCC for the very first time; I wanted to meet people & see as much as possible, so this idea would hinder both those objectives.  Also, I’d have to really have intricate accessories, so that if I needed to take off the coat, I’d still look like an Assassin.  And so, my dream of being an Assassin would have to wait for a future SDCC or other Con.  Once, I know how I’m likely to react to walking around all day at SDCC & whether I’d probably overheat or not.

I am freakishly pale right now, because I have had a couple of health issues this year and thus have seen little sun. So my genius mother said, “Could you go as Morticia Addams?”  YES, yes I can! I geek out over the Addam’s Family movie all the time & have made my mother watch it a couple times, so it was actually quite shocking that I hadn’t thought of this earlier.  Anjelica Huston & Raul Julia were perfectly cast as Morticia & Gomez Addams.

Requirements:

  1. Pale skin, enhance with makeup (check)
  2. Tight, black mermaid shape dress (could buy)
  3. Black lace to add to black dress (could buy & add to dress without too much work)
  4. Makeup for intense smokey eyes & red lips (check)
  5. Loose, long dark hair (check)
  6. Blood red nail polish (could buy)
  7. A silk red rose (could buy)
  8. Gothic rings (could buy)

So I had another one down, three more to go!


I decided I wanted to be a classic super hero & started looking for options. Wonder Woman was a possibility, but I thought I would get too cold & I wasn’t sure wearing a corset an entire day was gonna be the best idea.  I didn’t want to wear a wig, so I was looking at the brunettes out there in the super ‘verse.  I came up with Kitty Pryde, but I couldn’t find a way to make it work for me right now.  Did I really want to have to carry a dragon the entire day?  I thought of Catwoman, especially since Anne Hathaway’s version had been a brunette, but all the Catwoman costumes I found were either very slutty or full body, but near transparent, so no to that idea.

Then I saw that Amazon had a Female Green Lantern costume that had rave reviews.  It came with a green mask & a ring.  A huge plus, it was not transparent!  I figured I could always spruce it up & that it would be a good foundation.  If anything, I could be Jade if I wanted to get specific.

Requirements:

  1. Green body suit (could buy)
  2. Green eye mask (could buy, included)
  3. Green Lantern ring (could buy, included, or upgrade if needed)
  4. White opera gloves (could buy)
  5. Smokey eye makeup (check)
  6. Black boots (check)

We had another winner!  Now, I could participate in the DC Cosplayer Photo Shoot on Saturday of SDCC!  Just two left!


I have a full length dress in leopard print from a previous Halloween costume, which I am repurposing into an interpretation of Pebbles Flintstone all grown up.  I will just need to make a bone barrette for my top bun & do an exaggerated cat eye.

Requirements:

  1. Leopard print dress (check)
  2. Cat eye makeup (check)
  3. Bone barrette (could fashion)
  4. Hair in a top bun (check)

For my last cosplay idea, I wanted to do something sci-fi.  Since I had had such success on Amazon, I gave it another try.  I lucked out & found more non-slutty Star Trek options.  I chose a Classic Star Trek Science Officer mini dress.  I’m 5’4″, so this is probably not going to be as short as pictured on the model.  I could even wear black tights under so I don’t get too cold & take them off if I get too hot.

Requirements:

  1. Classic Star Trek dress (could buy)
  2. Starfleet Science Officer Badge (could buy)
  3. Classic Communicator (could buy)
  4. Black boots (check)
  5. Optional black leggings (check)

So there you have it, my SDCC cosplayer plan of attack.  I”ll be posting updates with pictures as soon as I have my components & we get closer to SDCC.  I will be doing a practice trail run in the upcoming weeks, so be on the look out for my pictures!

Multiplayer at the Arcade

Some of my fondest video game memories as a child & teenager happened in an arcade.  Don’t get me wrong, being able to play on your console at home was AMAZING, but it couldn’t compare to the sweet victory over an opponent in public, in front of (ideally) a bunch of spectators.  Yes, 1-Player games had the boasting upside of attaining a high score, but 2+ Player games had the thrill of the instantaneous gratification of glory over an opponent or joining forces & taking on a baddie.  I will most definitely go into the 1 Player games I adore/hate in the near future, but today’s post is about the 2-Player & up-to-6-Player, arcade games that I remember most fondly.

I was usually the immediate under-dog, because I was generally one of a handful of girls who weren’t just there in a baby-sitting capacity & because most boys are overconfident.  My version of babysitting while at the arcade, much to my little brother’s vocal chagrin, was having him stand right next to me while I played for hours.  As you can guess, he was not a fan.

As I grew up, I continued to venture towards the arcade area in restaurants, movie theaters, malls, & even rest stops.  Funny story, I was once accidentally left behind by my church’s Youth Group at a rest stop while we were driving to Disney World for an organized bonding trip because I was playing one of the Street Fighter II series in the mini arcade section.  Thankfully, I was playing solo & then against other persons, so by the time I realized what had happened, they were already on their way back.  But, they left me for over 20 minutes before realizing I had been left behind, all this in a time before cell phones (the horror!).  My rest stop “buddy” completely failed at her one job, but then again I also didn’t notice she was nowhere near me either, so we both failed at our assigned task.  With my left over 50¢ I called my mom from a pay phone to let her know what had happened. Needless to say, I stopped going on trips with that group after that ordeal.  I even searched out an arcade while visiting Paris for the first time & had the great pleasure of annihilating a truly horrible French guy in record time playing Tekken 3.  I didn’t need advanced French to understand his boys were dogging on him after his pre-match trash talk didn’t hold any water.

So without further ado, here is my list of the top 10 multiplayer arcade video games:

10. Rampage
1-3 Players


Audio is a bit distorted, so adjust your volume accordingly.

The great anti-hero game.  Instead of trying to save people or the town, here your task was to destroy it as completely as possible, & if you could kill some people in the process, even more points for you!  Ripping off King Kong & Godzilla just enough so as to not get saddled with a copyright infringement lawsuit, this game had you choose between George (aka: King Kong knock-off), Lizzie (aka: Godzilla knock-off), & Ralph ( a giant werewolf just to spice things up).  Button mashing plus destruction are always a fun combination.  The way the story justifies this complete disregard for human life is by having the characters be the victims of experiments at the hands of the evil-doers of Scumlabs.  Though, with a name like that, at least a few suspicions should have been raised prior!  This game was, as is the case with all of the great arcade video games on this list, ported to home consoles.  I personally think that the joy of button mashing is best experienced on an arcade machine, console controllers (even the ones modeled after the arcade game) are just not as satisfying.

9. Mortal Kombat II
1-2 Players

The Mortal Kombat series is definitely not my favorite fighting game (Spoilers!), but it had an undeniable grip on arcade all goers since it was released.  The sheer gore on the screen was enough to draw a crowd.  The audio was also very attention grabbing & appropriately loud (for an arcade), Scorpion yelling, “Get over here!”  And the announcer, Shao Kahn,was always very even-keeled but validating, “Flawless victory” & “Excellent.” Plus it had the buzz of having secret characters & other goodies such as character & level specific fatalities.  Some of the fatalities were just hysterical: Reptile takes his human mask off, grabs the opponents head with his Go-Go-Gadget tongue, rips off the opponent’s head, eats it, then smiles at the camera & rubs his tummy in satisfaction.  My favorite fatality was “Friendship”, even the announcer was confused by the non-violent nature of it all. The other bit of memorable humor was the “Toasty” taunt (Check out this video for an explanation of the Toasty taunt origins).  My character of choice was Reptile because he could become invisible & spit venom at you as a projectile weapon, plus he had that orb that knocked the opponent down.

8. The Simpsons
1-4 players

Gang up with three friends & button smash your way through Springfield with The Simpsons.  This game was just fun, plus snarky catchphrases from our beloved characters.  I loved playing Bart, who would smack anything on the screen with his skateboard.  I enjoyed how you could get the individual characters to interact in certain combos, such as Homer carrying Bart, or when the characters got sent flying into the screen.  This game didn’t break any new ground, using a tried & true template from one of the games further on this list (Spoilers), but it was fun nonetheless.

7. NBA Jam
1-4 Players

I heard a game call out, “He’s on fire!!” as I walked passed.  It was NBA Jam, & I was hooked.  Not only was this the first game with NBA licensing, but everything was exaggerated for maximum fun. 2-on-2 basketball at its finest.  Throwing elbows was the only way to defend & jumping unnecessary high added to the fun of this game.  The game was also chuck full of easter eggs, which are always a great addition to a game’s replay value.  This game spawned various sport 2-on-2 officially licensed games by the NFL, NFL Blitz, & the NHL.

6. Time Crisis II
1-2 Players

The only light-gun, shoot ’em up game on my list.  While definitely not the first of it’s kind, it was definitely the one I enjoyed most & spent a lot of money on.  I’d go to the bowling alley & play through this entire gem with my best friend at least once a week during high school (we’d also bowl). I, like many my age, had been introduced to shooting games with Duck Hunt on my NES, so shooting at the screen with a light, plastic gun was already familiar.  What Time Crisis series did was to add the petal pushing & shooting off-screen to reload, etc.  I loved the multi-tasking involved in this game because it made the adrenaline flow faster.  The co-op was also great, because you are both helping each other, but there is still a bit of bragging to be had.  The gun upgrades & health, blowing up stuff, & memorizing where the bad guys would emerge to kill them in record time, all made this such a great game for me to play multiple times.

5.  Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes
1-2 Players (could technically be 4 player*)

Introducing tag team fighting that kind of allowed for 4 players*, if you actually tagged in & out with a partner in real time with the game. This style led to the visually stunning Tekken Tag Tournament many years later, which I also love.  So, you loved Capcom fighting games & the old school X-Men game, well then this is a dream come true! I enjoyed playing this as a real life tag team experience with 3 other friends, this way you can do more taunting!  A new kind of strategy needs to be used in order to have the best offense & defense, as some super power moves do substantial damage even when successfully blocked.  I would rotate my secondary character, but I always played Wolverine.  Can’t resist a “Berserker Barrage!”  I loved the nostalgia revamped with favorite characters, such as Mega-Man.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
1-4 Players (Deluxe)

As a child of the ’80s, TMNT were awesome.  If you were lucky enough to have access to the deluxe 4 player version of the arcade game, then you & 3 of your friends could have fun endlessly button-mashing all over the baddies.  This was such a great cooperative onslaught that it could bring together complete strangers.  I personally liked playing Michelangelo, but didn’t have a problem playing any of the other three.  Just fun all around.

3. X-Men
1-6 Players (Deluxe)

All the fun of co-op button-mashing mayhem possessed by TMNT, but with super powers?!  And the deluxe version was 6 players?! Sign me up & take my money!  The ’90s introduced me to the X-Men via the spectacular cartoon series, X-Men: The Animated Series, on the Saturday morning cartoons on Fox.  These X-Men were based on Jim Lee’s version of them in the comics.  I had four characters I loved playing: Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, & Colossus.  Wolverine was obvious: “Berserker Barrage!”  Not only is the character a bad ass, but in the video game I’m pretty sure he could use his powers a lot more often than the rest. Nightcrawler was my second favorite character <Bamf!> & so the fact he was included in the game just warmed my heart.  Storm had the best range with her power & was particularly effective against Magneto.  Colossus Smash!  The fun & nostalgia I have for this game led me to playing X-Men Legends & X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, both on the Playstation 2.

2. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
1-2 Players

http://youtu.be/lGSKZgEnbYI

This game set the standard for 2-Player fighting games.  I remember skating (it wasn’t weird, keep reading for context) up to this game & the hoard of people around it, while checking out the arcade section of the local roller rink as a young girl (see, I told you skating was contextual).  The commotion & excitement was electric.  Instant glory or defeat in front of an eager audience.  It was hard to get time alone on the machine to learn the moves & transcend beyond sheer adrenaline fueled button mashing, but it was well worth it.  The only thing that I think started on this game & has held true for every fighting game since is if I am not Player 1 on the left side, everything is “backwards”.  I blame it on my dyslexia; if I find myself on the right side trying to take over the machine, be forewarned I am immediately going to try to out maneuver Player 1 to gain possession of the left side of the screen!  I usually played Chun-Li, not just because she was the only female character, but mostly because she was a bad ass.  Energy projectile: check! Lightening Kicks: check!

1. Tekken 3
1-2 Players

My favorite multiplayer arcade. Period.  I love fighting games, so that is why Tekken 3 is my #1.  Of course, I am not alone in praising this gem, as it routinely shows up on top game lists.  I really enjoyed playing Tekken 2, but this game was a revelation.  The graphics, the music, the sounds effects, the fleshed out stories. ❤️  My two favorite characters are Jin, because he beautifully combined both of his parent’s fighting styles, & Eddie, because I have always been interested in capoeira.  I remember going to the Borders (R.I.P.) & looking up the chains & special moves for Jin & Eddie in GamePro Magazine (R.I.P.).  I memorized each’s 10-move chain special attack & could perfectly execute them.  It was a thing of beauty: 30 seconds in & my opponent, computer or human, was toast.  I learned to always block as my first move, just in case.  I even learned to almost completely overcome my right player “backwards”-ness, that is how much I played this game.  For a while in high school, I was really good friends with the guys who worked at the arcade by my house & every day after school I would swing by & play.  Oh, the glory of the master key & unlimited free credits.  Those guys deserve a special place in gamer heaven, though their boss would probably beg to differ.  To this day, whenever I see an arcade, I look for this game.  The console ports are fun, but there is something lost in the art of executing combo chain attacks when you can simply assign them to a button.  For the fighting game purist in me, the arcade is where these games are meant to be played.


So, what multiplayer coin-operated arcade video games are on your list?

SDCC Countdown series

The SDCC adventure continues …

Today involved a flurry of Comic Con related activity.  I’m had started trying to plan out my schedule without overdoing it, but I’m starting to lean towards planning big & then I can always choose to cut a couple things out.  Better than not planning enough & missing out!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am part of the wonderful Google+ group, San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) Community, & was sent a notification this afternoon regrading Chris Hardwick’s @midnight Live podcast early bird sale opening, including the needed ticket code to participate in the early bird sale.  Well, I wasted little time heading over to the Balboa Theatre website & purchasing my ticket for Friday night’s show.  That is one more item on my SDCC Bucket List (post with complete list coming soon) checked off!

Next, I was checking out another great SDCC blog chuck full of useful info, SDCC Unoffical Blog, & came across the Off-Site Events Calendar.  This promoted me to remember I had wanted to check out the San Diego Symphony’s Comic-Con Concert series ever since I read that JJ Abrams’ Star Trek would be shown with live symphony accompaniment.  While I was looking for that show, I saw that Thursday night is the Video Game concert & I bought my grandstand ticket. Wasn’t the Star Trek concert, which is on Saturday night & conflicts with Masquerade (also on the SDCC Bucket List), but still another item on my SDCC Bucket List checked off!  Right after buying my ticket, I noticed a serendipitous notification from San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) Community announcing a two pass giveaway!  I signed up just in case; I’m still eyeing the concert of Danny Elfman’s music from Tim Burton films on Friday night ,but wasn’t sure if I would be cutting it too close to get to @midnight 30 minutes later.  If you’d like to take your chances to win, check out the contest details.

Also on the Off-Site Events Calendar listed for Sunday evening, The Voice Tour.  For under $50, it will be a great end to my SDCC adventure!

What off-site events have you already made arrangements for or are hoping to attend?

San Diego Comic Con 2014, Here I Come!

As I turned thirty a little over two years ago, I decided I was going to stop letting the things I truly wanted slip away any longer.  So, I started making a bunch of bucket lists: travel, movies, books, etc.  My goal was to refocus my life in such a way that I would be happier, feel more fulfilled, & connected.  This involved life changes at every level, but now I am definitely reaping the benefits of that massive shift in my life.

On my geeky bucket list was going to the San Diego Comic Con. After many years of wishing I could go, I finally have my wish granted! I missed my window of opportunity last year because I didn’t register & get my member ID in time, but as soon as the registration window opened up, I registered in preparation for 2014.  I started mentally preparing for my 2014 trip last year.  I joined a great Google+ community, San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) Community, that has not only been very informative, but also incredibly welcoming and supportive.  Ever since it was an option, I have watched the panels on Geek Nation or via youtube, so I already knew that going to at least one panel was a must.  I started checking out flight routes & options to San Diego.  I tried to get a sense of a minimum budget.

And then, the date for open badge registration came & I woke up extra early, made sure I had everything at the ready, & then stared at the blue circle loading thing in the waiting room until I was thankfully let in to purchase everything I wanted: Wednesday Preview Night, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday!!!!  It was a SDCC miracle!  As soon as that rush started to subside, it hit me that I had to now figure out my rooming situation.  Eek!  So of course, I patiently awaited the hotel pre-sale with fingers crossed.  I lucked out again & scored a very reasonably priced hotel on the shuttle route.  I have my flight, which thankfully does not entail a mini tour of the continental US, & so now all that is left to do is the super fun part: planning what I will wear, do, eat!

My next few blog posts will include this next phase of planning as SDCC nears, just over 2 months away!  Have any of your been to SDCC before or are planning to go this year?  As a first-timer, I welcome all info & suggestions, so please leave me a comment!