Monthly Archives: June 2014

Geek Out: E3 2014 Coverage (Part 3)

So, one of my favorite times of the year is here: E3!  I love watching the live stream of the presentations & finding out what is coming out in the next year & beyond.  It is a lot of information to take in, especially during such a short amount of time, but I will do my best to discuss the highlights of what has already been released that have me geeking out.  Here is Part 3 of my E3 2014 Geek Out! [Check out Part 1 & Part 2]

  1. Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One*)
    I really enjoy Lara Croft’s adventures, so this is a title I was already going to be inclined to like from the jump, but the trailer also makes the story look very complex & interesting. Great line at the end of the trailer, too!

    So, it was shown during the Microsoft presentation & implied as exclusive to the Xbox One, * but there is the possibility that it may also be coming out for PS4 & current-fen consoles, at least overseas?  Check it out for yourself
    : Amazon.com vs Amazon.co.ukUS-vs-UK-Tomb-Raider
  2. Project Spark (Xbox One)
    I already discussed my affinity for games that give the players the opportunity to create our own world within the game’s universe, so this game seems to fit right into that category.  I don’t currently own a Xbox One, but this definitely makes a great case for doing so, if only a bit down the road.
  3. Evolve (PC, PS4, & Xbox One)
    This is 5 players: 4 co-op against 1.  I like the idea of each of the co-op players having a different role & specific mods/upgrades/weapons.  Plus, playing as the Kraken versus 4 other players also sparks something of curiosity in me, definitely in a good way.
  4. Ori & The Blind Forest (Xbox One & PC)
    This game looks breathtakingly beautiful.  It gave me the same feel as Okami, which I absolutely loved.  This game is definitely a huge contender to push me into buying a Xbox One sooner than I had originally planned.
  5. Bloodborne (PS4)
    The big surprise reveal during the Sony presentation, the glimpse into this game seems to be very promising.  I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more news, just to make sure!
  6. Fable Legends (Xbox One)
    I enjoyed the options the first two installments of this series gave me as a gamer: good or bad.  The added components of good guy co-op & the overlord villain sound like great replay value.  It does seem to take away the nuance of controlling your destiny, but I still think it is a change worth checking out.

That wraps up my E3 Geek Out.  Make sure to check out Part 1 & Part 2, if you haven’t already!

What were your favorites out of the games debuted at E3 2014?  Did I leave something out that you think should absolutely be on the list?

 

#FGBMovies – Con-At-Home Hangout: Movies

Monday night means another Female Geek Bloggers Con-At-Home Hangout, this time it was #9 Movies with Williesha & Gwen.  As always, had a blast. Due to some tech issues, it is only the audio, but it is still awesome!

We discussed a wide array of movies: The Princess Bride, Star Wars, Harry Potter, TMNT, Jaws, The Avengers, The Lord of the Rings, & more!

Make sure to follow us on Twitter & on our respective blogs!
Me @GeekSideShowing
Williesha Morris @WillieshaMorris & myfreelancelife.com
Gwen @ageekandheroven & ageekandheroven.com

Geek Out: World Cup 2014

As you probably already picked up from previous posts, I played soccer all the way through high school.  I would practice with the local boys’ team when I was a young girl, since there were no girls teams for me to join.  Unfortunately, due to some regulation or something, I was unable to actually play in any of the games.  I started off as a midfielder, but when I was finally able to play on my middle school’s girl’s JV team, I was recruited as the goalie.  Mostly because there was no one else, but I really took to the position.  I played goalie 3 years in JV & then all 4 years of high school.

As a goalie, soccer video games generally are no fun & much too stressful for me.  I don’t get the thrill of playing as Messi, because I still think about the game as a goalie.  FIFA video games are, therefore, not my favorite; it’s simply too much anxiety.  I was able to enjoy FIFA Street, however, because it was so different.

So what does any of this have to do with the World Cup, you might ask.  Well, while I may not enjoy playing soccer video games that simulate real play, I absolutely love watching  well played soccer.  The World Cup, in particular, has always been fun for me.  I watch every match.  I’m from Mexico, so obviously El Tri is a favorite, but I am also excited about the USA.  Actually, thanks to USA beating Panama during qualifying, Mexico squeaked into the World Cup.  Good looking out, USA!

I have been very pleased with Mexico’s play during the Group Stage, especially that of goalie Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa.  As a fellow goalie, it is thrilling that he won Man of the Match in the match against Brazil.  He absolutely deserved it because no goalie has shut-out Brazil so far.Ochoa Man of the Match

Not to be outdone, USA goalie Tim Howard received the same honor for his performance in the game last night against Portugal.  The first goal he let in was tragic: he slipped on the wet field ( or “pitch” for my British friends) right before the goal was kicked.  But his play during the entire game, rightly earned him the Man of the Match.Tim Howard - Man of the MatchToday’s Group A & B matches ensured that Brazil (1A) faces Chile (2B) & Netherlands (1B) faces Mexico (2A) in the next round.  I am excited to see the next USA game later this week.  Check back for my reaction to the games this week in a post later this week!  For now, all I can say is “Goooooooooooooooool!!!!!!!!!!!!”

 

 

Defined my childhood: console video games

#tbt: Defined My Childhood: ATARI 800 & 2600

Atari console

Atari = old school gaming

The consoles that started it all for me.  My maternal grandfather always loved technology & so, when the ATARI 800 came out in 1979, he bought the console for my mom.  I’m not sure if this is something she asked for or not, but I reaped the benefits!  I was a precocious child, so I was very interested in technology & how things worked.  I especially enjoyed puzzles & patterns, something that has stayed true to this day.  I played Pong a lot, though my mom says I wasn’t very good.  But hey, as a 2-3 year-old, I think I was pretty awesome!

In 1985, my mom bought the ATARI 2600 for Christmas, since she saw I enjoyed playing the ATARI 800 so much. The elegant simplicity & simultaneous complexity of the games this console brought into my life were wonderful.  I loved the joystick controller; some games should only be played with a joystick, in my opinion.  There is no doubt in my mind that my affinity for arcade machine controllers with joysticks stems from my ATARI 2600 playing. [See my post on my top single-player and top multiplayer arcade games for more.]Atari joystick

Both ATARI consoles were an important introduction to video games & they began my diverse interest in gaming genres. It also helped hone my developing eye-hand coordination, which would serve me well later on as a soccer goalie, volleyball player, & 1st base in softball.  I don’t remember playing ATARI games that were multiplayer with anyone other than with my mom, so it definitely wasn’t something that I remember bonding me with other fellow emerging gamers.

In upcoming posts of this series, I will be discussing the games that really defined my childhood on these consoles (in no particular order): Centipede, Joust, Pac-Man, Pong, & Space Invaders.

Do you have any ATARI memories?  What ATARI game made the biggest impact on you as a child?

Photo credit: striatic / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit: 
mrbill / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

SDCC Countdown series

Some travel tips for those with chronic pain going to SDCC

I recently read a fabulous post by fellow Female Geek Blogger member, Kristen Kirk, discussing travel tips for anyone who suffers from chronic pain & fatigue, mainly fibromyalgia.  Check out her spot-on post!

Kristen brought up so many great ideas & suggestions, I felt compelled to add my two cents to the discussion in an effort to also help as many fellow sufferers as possible.  I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a year ago & I have made various lifestyle changes to help minimize my symptoms.  But I didn’t let my diagnosis stop me from doing one of the things that fuels one of my biggest passions: traveling!  Since my diagnosis, I have flown across the Pacific to Hong Kong, then up to Beijing.  I took the bullet train form there to Xian & back to Beijing, before flying back to Hong Kong & back to Mexico.  I also have flown to Guatemala & Honduras.  All this required proper planning, but it was definitely doable!  I hope my tips can help fellow persons living with fibromyalgia or other chronic pain.

Photo by Isabel Gutierrez. Copyrighted 2014.

Photo by Isabel Gutierrez. Copyrighted 2014.

I am flying to San Diego for SDCC this year from Eastern Mexico, which forces me to connect through Mexico City’s international airport.  This translates into hours of uncomfortable seating awaiting my next flight.  Here are some of the things I do, in addition to the things Kristen stated in her post, to help me get through even the most grueling of flight itineraries:

Pick an Appropriate & Supportive Carry-On
My doctor suggested using a backpack over a messenger bag or anything that caused my back to be unbalanced.  With this logical advice in mind, I have found a backpack with proper back support & good straps is preferable to a rolling carry-on, unless the rolling carry-on is a 4-wheeler. Not only does a proper backpack help me limit what I am taking so I don’t overexert myself, it also distributes the weight evenly, instead of having me pull on just one side.  A good & supportive backpack can be a bit expensive, but not much more than a good quality rolling carry-on.  Since I need to take my laptop & lot of gadgets when I travel in order to teach online, I settled on this beauty of a backpack
Disclaimer: I am not paid to endorse this product, I just love it so much & felt compelled to share!

Stay Hydrated
I make sure to take my refillable water bottle whenever I fly to stay hydrated at all times. No need to have a headache on top of being fatigued during/after flying!  My bottle clips onto my backpack, so it is hands-free carrying.  When I am in the US or any other country with water fountains, I refill as needed, just don’t forget to empty it prior to going through the security check-point.  Even if I need to buy a bottle of distilled/purified water, I empty it into my refillable water bottle.  I also carry vitamin C boosters, etc. to help my system while traveling.

Comfortable Shoes are a Must
Back pain is directly related to your feet.  If your feet are not being supported, that chain reaction goes to your ankles, to your knees, & so forth.  As the song goes, “Head, shoulders, knees, & toes. Knees & toes!” So comfortable shoes are an absolute must!  Of course, comfortable shoes are not cheap, but they are less tiresome on your body & that is worth its weight in gold to me!  Comfortable shoes in combination with the compression socks, which Kristen mentioned in her post, are a double whammy of relief when traveling.

Invest in an One-Day Pass at the Airport Lounge
If you have a connecting flight with a layover of more than 3 hours, seriously consider buying a day pass for the airline lounge.  Kristen mentioned splurging on the most expensive seat you can afford, but I think that one-day pass to the airport lounge is more doable, specially if there is a long wait when connecting.  For example, the Admiral’s Club, which serves American Airlines & all other oneworld Alliance members, sells one-day passes for $50; same price for Delta’s Sky Club.

Photo credit: Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Photo credit: Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Airport lounges are similar to first-class: once you have been in one, you really dread being in the “regular” area of the airport.  Airport lounges provide you with extremely comfortable seating, complimentary refreshments & snacks, superior restrooms, plentiful electrical outlets to charge your gadgets, & other amenities such as free wifi. They will make an announcement to let you know when you need to start heading towards your gate for boarding & alert you of any gate changes &/or delays.  If you think about all of what you get, it is definitely worth the money when you are staying for hours at an airport between flights.  Sometimes you end up spending more time at a connecting airport than the actual individual flights, so this is worth the consideration.

Once on the Plane, Settle in.
I truly settle into my airplane seat.  My unpack/packing may seem a bit much, but it is so routine now that it doesn’t take much time at all & is completely worth it.  There is definitely a method to my madness!  I typically choose to fly in the window seat, because while you lose a bit in the leg room, you don’t ever have to get up for someone else to go to the bathroom, plus you get wonderful vistas as you fly.  Of course, the flip-side is that you have to be the one asking other people to get up so you can go to the bathroom.  This is not such a big deal because I fall asleep as soon as possible on the plane. I actually acquired this trait in my early years due to getting air-sick, but I have found that I am less fatigued & in less pain overall if I sleep for a large portion of my flight(s). I have a little pillow for lumbar support as well as a neck pillow, one of those U-shaped ones. I use a small space saver bag to flatten my travel pillow, along with my travel fleece blanket, so it easily fits into my carry-on backpack; my little neck pillow fastens onto my backpack & weighs nothing.

Carry-on essentials

My carry-on essentials for good sleep: laptop backpack (to store stuff), my neck pillow, my lumbar pillow, my light fleece blanket, eye mask, & ear buds. [Not pictured: space saver bag, essential oil of lavender, iPhone, & refillable water bottle.]

Once I am seated, I settle in.   I place my little pillow in my lumbar & position my neck pillow.  Next, I unfold my light fleece travel blanket & set it on my lap for easy access.  I take a small vial of essential oil of lavender, which I then dab on my temples or even my blanket sometimes to help me relax & avoid any unpleasant “airplane” smell.  I take off my shoes & place my feet on top of my laptop bag, since my legs are a bit short to relieve the stress on my knees.  I put my earbuds in my ears to help block out the engine noise during take off.  I set my iPhone on airplane mode & its Pod on a timer to start approximately 20 minutes into the flight, to ensure we are at the appropriate altitude once it starts playing, with a custom playlist cued to help keep me relaxed.  In order to really get some rest, I use an eye mask to block out light, which in conjunction with my earbuds block out as much as possible.  Basically, create my own sleeping, relaxation pod.  As we are taxi-ing to the gate upon landing, the packing commences. I just pop my travel pillow in my space saver bag, sit on it to get all the excess air out, & voila! Back in my carry-on it goes with everything else.

So there you go, my travel tips to minimize fatigue & pain while traveling.  See you in SDCC!

If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments!

Geek Out: E3 2014 Coverage (Part 2)

So, one of my favorite times of the year is here: E3!  I love watching the live stream of the presentations & finding out what is coming out in the next year & beyond.  It is a lot of information to take in, especially during such a short amount of time, but I will do my best to discuss the highlights of what has already been released that have me geeking out.  Here is Part 2 of my E3 2014 Geek Out! [Check out Part 1]

  1. Destiny (PS4 & Xbox One)
    This game looks great & seems to have great gaming mechanics.  Halo-esque, but on the PS4? Plus, there is a super sweet bundle featuring a white PS4? Sign me up!
  2. LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS4)
    I am a huge fan of Sackboy & co.  The fact that LBP 2 allowed you to create your own levels & then publish them so other players your actually play your level was just spectacular.  So with this new installment in the series, it is surely a fun time to be had again.
  3. Mario Maker (Wii U)
    Speaking of creating your own levels, hello Mario Maker!  You can go retro or not.  You can recreate original levels or mix it up.  The possibilities are only bound by your imagination … & I am sure the game’s UI.
  4. No Man’s Sky (PS4)
    A “truly open world” with an “if you can see it, you can visit it” mentality.  No two players start/spawn in the same place, giving each player a different experience.  I am sure there will be a plethora of DLC in the future for this game as well, given it’s concept.
  5. Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4, Xbox One, & PC)
    I’ve enjoyed the last two installments of the Batman series.  The UI & gaming mechanics are seamless & enjoyable.  I particularly like the slow-mo close-ups during fight sequences.  The games are also visually stunning.  This game has all of that PLUS now you can drive the Batmobile! I mean, come on!

Of course there is still more to my E3 Geek Out, so make sure to check out Part 1 & upcoming Part 3!

Geek Out: E3 2014 Coverage (Part 1)

So, one of my favorite times of the year is here: E3!  I love watching the live stream of the presentations & finding out what is coming out in the next year & beyond.  It is a lot of information to take in, especially during such a short amount of time, but I will do my best to discuss the highlights of what has already been released that have me geeking out.  Here is Part 1 of my E3 2014 Geek Out!

  1. Legend of Zelda (Wii U)
    So, as you probably already know, I love Zelda games.  Nintendo has had me buying new systems since I was a child (granted, it was my mom buying the console systems & games back then – Thanks, Mom!), sometimes for the sole purpose of playing the new Legend of Zelda game.  Seriously.  I’m not ashamed of it because they are so splendid & great.  The latest game, slated to come out in 2015, brings Link into an open-world concept that is slightly mind-boggling.  If you are a die-hard Zelda fan, you know this is thrilling!    Damn you, Nintendo, for convincing my little gamer heart to fork over rupees for the Wii U!  You evil geniuses!  Check out this trailer with some actual game play!
  2. Assassin’s Creed: Unity (PS4, Xbox One, & PC)
    These games are ALWAYS gorgeous, plus I love sneak assassinations.  The fact that co-op is now part of the regular storyline is also very exciting.  I can hardly explain how excited I am about this upcoming game.
  3. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4)
    I have enjoyed this series since its inception.  Well, I wasn’t a fan of the zombies at the end of the first game nor was I thrilled with the final enemies in the second one being hopped-up humans … well, the case is I am usually annoyed with the final enemies, but it is still such an enjoyable gaming experience.  I love the puzzles, the climbing, the sneaking, the fighting, the gorgeous graphics, & the voice acting.  This is possibly the last in the series — the game’s title & Sully saying, “Alright, one last time,” in the trailer could still be a psych out with a prequel or something down the line <fingers crossed> (think Metal Gear Solid, see below!) — so I will definitely be playing this one when it comes out in 2015!
  4. Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
    Legend of Zelda + Dynasty Warriors = Hyrule Warriors!!!!!!  Okay, so this is the melding of two of my favorite franchises. My love for all things Legend of Zelda has already been discussed in this post, but I also love the hack & slash beauty of Dynasty Warriors; it is my guilty pleasure.  When I saw this game was announced & that the playable demo on the E3 floor had Zelda being a bad ass herself as one of the playable characters, well my heart was set.  As if a new open-concept Legend of Zelda wasn’t enough, you had to seal the deal, Nintendo!
  5. Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain (PS4 & Xbox One)
    This looks as serious & weird as I have become accustomed to when it comes to Metal Gear Solid, especially the cinematic trailers.  There is so much blood in the trailer, & the robotic arm?!  What?!  Poor Snake just can’t seem to catch much of a break, which makes it fitting that Jack Bauh … I mean Keifer Sutherland will be voicing him this time around.  So, yeah, I will definitely be checking this game out when it is released on the PS4 in 2015.

I don’t currently own any of the current next-gen consoles, mostly because I didn’t feel there was anything terribly exciting on them to warrant the upgrade price tag.  I already knew that the 4th quarter of 2014 was going to be huge in terms of new games hitting the market & I had already set aside money to buy a PS4.  But between the two Zelda games, I am now seriously saving in order to purchase a Wii U.  Of course, I am sure there are other games that will make the purchase even sweeter, but Nintendo likes to parcel out big news throughout E3 & is not confined to one big tell-all presentation.

Of course there is still more to my E3 Geek Out, so make sure to check out Parts 2 & 3!

Female Geek Bloggers Con-At-Home Hangout #8 Sci-Fi

#FGBSciFi – Con-At-Home Hangout: Sci-Fi

Monday night, I participated in the Female Geek Bloggers Con-At-Home Hangout #8 Sci-Fi with Kelsey & Amanda.  It was great fun, as has been my experience with these hangouts. Check out the video!

We discussed a wide array of sci-fi: spanning from movies, to animation, to books, & to tv.  A little Star Wars, Star Trek, Ender’s Game series, Doctor Who, Serenity/Firefly, & more!

Make sure to follow us on Twitter & on our respective blogs!
Me @GeekSideShowing
Amanda B. @geekphoria1   geekphoria.net 
Kelsey @craftylilkels   aprilsprinkles.blogspot.com 

Some snazzy new upgrades to my blog!

I am pleased to announce that I finally installed Photoshop on my new laptop!  It allowed me to create my nifty new header (please see above).  I am thrilled with how my sketches representing a snippet of my geek outs turned out.  The TARDIS looks a bit unstable, but I kind of like how it appears to be in flux, making it extra timey wimey.

I will be adding to them as time passes, but it is seriously already crazy late/early in the morning & I have a very long day of waiting in airports tomorrow.  Why must inspiration always strike at the most inappropriate times!  Actually, <light bulb!> I can sketch whilst seemingly endlessly waiting at the airport for my connecting flight!

Well, now that I have finished a project I was working on the last two weeks, I will be back to blogging, & apparently sketching some more.

I’m trying to think of what I can draw to represent The Lord of the Rings series, since I tried drawing the ring & it looked incomprehensible!  Any ideas?  I’m open to suggestions!

Defined My Childhood: Console Video Games

#tbt: Console games that defined my childhood

So, apparently I have yet to master the art of scheduling a post to auto-publish at a predetermined time & date!  What was supposed to be Thursday’s post is now Friday’s!
Cie la vie!

I have been thinking a lot about video games lately, & I decided I would go back down memory lane to consider which games I love, potentially which games I disliked/hated, & ultimately, what gaming has meant to me.  My childhood was filled with enriching video game experiences.  I already started by looking at my favorite multiplayer arcade video games in a previous post, but this post will start a series consisting of the consoles games that defined my childhood.

Generations of kids have shared experiences, and therefore connection, because of video games: shared frustrations with a boss, the NES cartridge troubleshoot, or taking the “secret” shortcut.  It united us, albeit in some ways superficially. But, this bit of shared escapism was no different than the shared reading experiences of generations before.  It created communities through the simple connection of that shared experience.  A lot of criticism is levied towards the video game community for creating isolated or anti-social individuals that do not go “outside & play” with other kids.  But, I have found that gamers will find each other in a crowd & can become instant friends.  It is not rare to instantly decide you like/dislike someone based on what was/is that person’s favorite game.

“Do you like Zelda? … I do, too!  Well, I already know I am going to like you & we are going to be fast friends!”

For me, video games have greatly honed my eye-hand coordination & helped me learn to cope with my dyslexia in a fun way.  They taught me to plan, but be flexible & make necessary adjustments on the fly.

So, I invite you to also think about your most memorable childhood console video games.  Have you too bonded with a stranger over your mutual love or dislike of a video game?  What did gaming mean to you then & how has that affected you today?