Archived entries for Hearted ♥

Mandatory Two Month Check-In

Sorry, this is going to be one of those “Has it really been X days/weeks/months since I last posted something?” kind of posts, which are the worst kind of posts. Seriously, I hate these posts, but what I hate even more is looking at the calendar each day and seeing that “X” number go up.

Being that today is exactly 2 months since my last update, which doesn’t feel very good, I thought now’s as good a time as any to check in, make sure the internets know I’m still alive, etc, etc, but mostly it’s because emails with subject lines like “ARE YOU OK??” have started to appear in my inbox. (Thank you for your concern, guys, I miss you too. For reals.)

I won’t bore you with details, but just know as far as Reasons Why I Haven’t Been Blogging go, I’ve had some pretty legit ones. They include, in no particular order, changing jobs (yes, again), a death in the family plus all the lovely complications resulting from it, something of a medical scare where for a couple of extremely nerve-wracking days my eye doctor thought I may have brain cancer (I don’t, so no worries), and finally, good ‘ol just not giving a shit, which is easy to do (or is that not do?) when you’re dealing with all of the above. Also, because of the new job, my commute is now an hour each way–on a good day–so by the time I get home at night I don’t feel much like doing anything except sweatpantsing and Netflixing (hot, right?), preferably at the same time, while mentally preparing to do it all over again tomorrow. And the day after.

2013 isn’t fucking around, ya’ll. Since last December it’s been one shitty thing after the next that I’ve had to deal with, like that Miley Cyrus VMA performance (whatever, I’m on a roll and everyone hates her anyway).

But things aren’t as bad as all that. On the job front, I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere in my career, like all the bullshit I’ve had to deal with over the past year has been leading up to something.

And speaking of leading up to something…

Shawn & Jaime

This is a thing that’s happening. That has been happening, I should say.  I got to know Shawn from Branded in the 80s soon after I discovered his blog last year–in fact (I will never forget this) it was this post about TMNT postcards that led to my finding it. Fast forward to a year later: we’re best friends, we do a podcast together, and suddenly we both find ourselves…available.  I couldn’t tell you how many tweets, blog comments, emails, and other miscellaneous communications we’ve exchanged since we first met, but I can tell you I’ve looked forward to every single one.

Somewhere along the line, I fell in love. Wait a minute, no, I remember the exact moment–it was a few months ago when I had a shitty day at work and Shawn drew this to cheer me up:

Ninja Turtle Care Bear

Despite the logistics (Shawn’s in Atlanta, I’m in Baltimore), somehow we’re making it work, thanks to Facebook, a Delta Skymiles card, and constant, often amusing updates about all the silly little things going on in our lives throughout each day. Of course the distance complicates things, and some days it feels like I’m dating my iPhone, but whenever we’re reunited I instantly remember why all of this is so completely worth it. 

So now you know why I haven’t been around much. The new job is making it especially hard to devote as much time as I’d like to keeping this blog up, and I can’t promise I’ll be able to post as much as I used to, but I am trying. I miss your comments, I miss the camaraderie,  but most of all I miss feeling like I know what the hell is going on in my dumb little corner of the internet.

100 Romantic Couples from Video Games

Note to readers: re-publishing this list from last year! :)

It’s Valentine’s Day!  And what more could you want than YET ANOTHER list about video game couples?  I know you’re excited. Don’t try to hide it.

I realize there’s no shortage of lists out there about video game couples.  I’ve seen them all:   “Best Couples”, “Greatest Couples”, “Top Couples”, “Worst Couples”, and my personal favorite, “Probably Gay Couples.”  (Etc, etc, etc.)

But on my list you’ll find romantic couples spanning decades of video game history: couples from huge, well-known franchises to small indie games,  as well as rare, older games you’ve probably never played or even heard of.  There are married couples, doomed/ill-fated romances, couples you know/suspect are more than just friends, cute couples, dead couples, on-again/off-again couples, and a few silly ones thrown in as well.

I began this project with a simple mission: put together the biggest and best unbiased list of canonical, romantic video game couples that I possibly could.  And what did I learn from all this?  That romance is alive and well in video games, and I’ve got a list of 100 video game couples to prove it!

(Listed alphabetically by game/series.)

Alan & Alice (Alan Wake)

from Alan Wake 

Alan & Alice - Alan Wake

Elc & Lieza

from Arc the Lad

Elc & Lieza - Arc the Lad

Ezio & Sofia

from Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Ezio & Sofia - Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Darren & Angelina

 from Black Mirror II

Darren & Angelina - Black Mirror 2

Ryu & Nina

from Breath of Fire

Ryu & Nina - Breath of Fire

Eddie & Ophelia

from Brutal Legend

Eddie & Ophelia - Brutal Legend

Alucard Tepes & Maria Renard

from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Alucard & Maria - Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Vincent & Catherine/Katherine

from Catherine

Vincent & Catherine/Katherine - Catherine

Chrono & Marle

from Chrono Trigger

Chrono & Marle - Chrono Trigger

Max & Monica

from Dark Cloud 2

Max & Monica - Dark Cloud 2

Isaac Clark & Nicole Brennan

from Dead Space 2

Isaac Clark & Nicole Brennan - Dead Space 2

Dante & Trish

from Devil May Cry

Dante & Trish - Devil May Cry

Laharl & Etna

from Disgaea

Laharl & Etna - Disgaea

Donkey Kong & Candy Kong

from Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong & Candy Kong - Donkey Kong Country

Diddy Kong & Dixie Kong

from Donkey Kong Country 2

Diddy Kong & Dixie Kong - Donkey Kong Country 2

Kite & Black Rose

from Dot Hack

Kite & Black Rose - Dot Hack

Hero & Lady Lora

from Dragon Warrior

Hero & Lady Lora - Dragon Warrior

Dirk & Princess Daphne

from Dragon’s Lair

Dirk & Princess Daphne - Dragon's Lair

Earthworm Jim & Princess What’s-Her-Name

from Earthworm Jim

Earthworm Jim & Princess What's Her Name - Earthworm Jim

Monkey & Trip

from Enslaved

Monkey & Trip - Enslaved

Cecil & Rosa

from Final Fantasy IV

Cecil & Rosa - Final Fantasy IV

Locke & Celes

from Final Fantasy VI

Locke & Celes - Final Fantasy VI

Cloud & Tifa

from Final Fantasy VII

Cloud & Tifa - Final Fantasy VII

Squall & Rinoa

from Final Fantasy VIII

Squall & Rinoa -Final Fantasy VIII

Tidus & Yuna

from Final Fantasy X

Tidus & Yuna - Final Fantasy X

Gabriel Knight & Grace Nakamura

from Gabriel Knight

Gabriel Knight & Grace Nakamura - Gabriel Knight

Dom & Maria Santiago

from Gears of War

Dom & Maria Santiago - Gears of War

Kratos & Aphrodite

from God of War

Kratos & Aphrodite - God of War

Ryudo & Elena

from Grandia

Ryudo & Elena - Grandia

Dr. David Stiles & Laura Stiles

from Gray Matter

Dr. David Stiles & Laura Stiles - Gray Matter

Manny & Mercedes

from Grim Fandango

Manny & Mercedes - Grim Fandango

Gordon Freeman & Alyx Vance

from Half Life

Gordon Freeman & Alyx Vance - Half LIfe

Master Chief & Cortana

from Halo

Master Chief & Cortana - Halo

Ico & Yorda

from Ico

Ico & Yorda- Ico

Lucas & Carla

from Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit

Lucas & Carla - Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit

Jak & Keira

from Jak & Daxter

Jak & Keira - Jak & Daxter

Roger & Jeanne

from Jeanne D’arc

Roger & Jeanne - Jeanne Darc

Sora & Kairi

from Kingdom Hearts

Sora & Kairi - Kingdom Hearts

Edgar & Rosella

from King’s Quest VII: The Princess Bride

Edgar & Rosella - King's Quest VII

 

Maxim & Selan

from Lufia

Maxim & Selan - Lufia

Alex & Luna

from Lunar: The Silver Star

Alex & Luna - Lunar: The Silver Star

Hiro & Lucia

from Lunar II: Eternal Blue

Hiro & Lucia - Lunar II: Eternal Blue

Nall & Ruby

from Lunar: The Silver Star, Lunar II: Eternal Blue

Nall & Ruby - Lunar

Mappy & Mapico

from Mappy-Land

Mappy & Mapico - Mappy-Land

Max Payne & Mona Sax

from Max Payne

Max Payne & Mona Sax - Max Payne

Zero & Iris

from Mega Man

Zero & Iris - Mega Man

Solid Snake & Meryl Silverburgh

from Metal Gear

Solid Snake & Meryl Silverburgh - Metal Gear

Samus Aran & Adam Malkovich

from Metroid 

Samus Aran & Adam Malkovich - Metroid

Guybrush Threepwood & Elaine Marley

from Monkey Island

Guybrush Threepwood & Elaine Marley - Monkey Island

Liu Kang & Katana

from Mortal Kombat

Liu Kang & Katana - Mortal Kombat

Atrus & Catherine

from Myst

Atrus & Catherine - Myst

Junpie & Akane

from Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Junpie & Akane - 999

Ryu & Irene

from Ninja Gaiden

Ryu & Irene - Ninja Gaiden

Oswald & Gwendolyn

from Odin Sphere

Oswald & Gwendolyn - Odin Sphere

Oki & Ameratsu

from Okami

Oki & Ameratsu - Okami

Pac-Man & Ms. Pac-Man

from Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man

Pac-Man & Ms. Pac-Man - Pac-Man

Kyle Madigan & Aya Brea

from Parasite Eve

Kyle Madigan & Aya Brea - Parasite Eve

Don & Adrienne

from Phantasmagoria

Don & Adrienne - Phantasmagoria

Phoenix Wright & Maya Fey

from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Phoenix Wright & Maya Fey - Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Ash & Misty

from Pokemon

Ash & Misty - Pokemon

James & Jessie

from Pokemon

James & Jesse - Pokemon

Popo & Nana

from Ice Climbers

Popo & Nana - Ice Climbers

Chell & Companion Cube

from Portal

Chell & Companion Cube - Portal

Prince & Farah

from Prince of Persia

Prince & Farah - Prince of Persia

Hershel Layton & Claire

from Professor Layton

Hershel Layton & Claire - Professor Layton

Jack Russell & Ridley Silverlake

from Radiata Stories

Jack Russell & Ridley Silverlake - Radiata Stories

John Marston & Abigail

from Red Dead Redemption

John Marston & Abigail - Red Dead Redemption

Chris Redfield & Jill Valentine

from Resident Evil

Chris Redfield & Jill Valentine - Resident Evil

Leon Kennedy & Ada Wong

from Resident Evil

Leon Kennedy & Ada Wong - Resident Evil

Claire Redfield & Steve Burnside

from Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Claire Redfield & Steve Burnside - Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Jaster Rogue & Kisala

from Rogue Galaxy

Jaster Rogue & Kisala - Rogue Galaxy

Brian & Gina

from Runaway

Brian & Gina - Runaway

Yuri & Alice

from Shadow Hearts

Yuri & Alice - Shadow Hearts

Wander & Mono

from Shadow of the Colossus

Wander & Mono - Shadow of the Colossus

Ryo Hazuki & Nozomi

from Shenmue

Ryo Hazuki & Nozomi - Shenmue

James & Mary Sunderland

from Silent Hill

James & Mary Sunderland - Silent Hill

Vyse & Aika

from Skies of Arcadia

Vyse & Aika - Skies of Arcadia

Sonic the Hedgehog & Amy Rose

from Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic & Amy - Sonic the Hedgehog

Shadow the Hedgehog & Rogue the Bat

from Sonic the Hedgehog

Shadow & Rogue - Sonic

Spyro & Cynder

from Spyro the Dragon

Spyro & Cynder - Spyro the Dragon

Fox McCloud & Krystal

from Star Fox Adventures

Fox & Krystal - Star Fox Adventures

Ryu & Chun Li

from Street Fighter

Ryu & Chun Li - Street Fighter

Mario  & Princess Peach

from Super Mario

Mario & Princess Peach - Super Mario

Toad & Toadette

from Super Mario 

Toad & Toadette - Super Mario

Lloyd & Colette

from Tales of Symphonia

Lloyd & Colette - Tales of Symphonia

Jackie Estacado & Jenny Romano

from The Darkness

Jackie & Jenny - The Darkness

Link & Zelda

from The Legend of Zelda

Link & Zelda - The Legend of Zelda

Neku & Shiki

from The World Ends With You

Neku & Shiki - The World Ends With You

Johnny & River

from To The Moon

Johnny & River - To The Moon

Derek & Angela

from Trauma Center

Derek & Angela - Trauma Center

Nathan Drake & Elena Fisher

from Uncharted

Nathan Drake & Elena Fisher - Uncharted

Lucien & Lenneth

from Valkyrie Profile

Lucien & Lenneth - Valkyrie Profile

Amon & Sara

from Vandal Hearts

Amon & Sara - Vandal Hearts

Sandor & Elin

from Vay

Sandor & Elin - Vay

Thrall & Jaina Proudmoore

from World of Warcraft

Thrall & Jaina Proudmoore - World of Warcraft

Fei & Elly

from Xenogears

Fei & Elly - Xenogears

Shion Uzuki & Allen Ridgely

from Xenosaga

Shion & Allen - Xenosaga

Did your favorite couple make my list?

 

 

More about my obsession with keyboards & synthesizers…

This is kind of a tangent I started in my last post, which was also synthesizer-related, and it was getting pretty long, irrelevant (and probably boring!). So I thought I’d give it its own space.

My obsession with synth music is pretty well-documented around here, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned my equally-obsessive love for the instruments themselves. I’ve owned many keyboards and synthesizers over the years–nothing that could exactly be considered professional-grade, mind you, but ones emblazoned with Yamaha, Casio, and Korg that are just expensive enough to make me feel like a total amateur unworthy of their ownership.

Sidebar: I never took piano lessons, but I can play pretty well by ear; to the point where I can make people think I’ve had lessons (much to my older sister’s chagrin, who actually did take piano lessons). I usually just need to hear a piece of music one time and I’m able to pluck out the melody with my right hand while figuring out the chords with my left. It’s gimpy and retarded and not at all the way you’re supposed to play piano, but I make it work somehow.

Skill-wise, I’m basically just a slight step above Keyboard Cat.

Anyway, my family ended up buying an upright piano secondhand just so my sister could take lessons. (Well, either that, or my mom just felt she needed another nice-looking piece of furniture to drape with frilly doilies and knickknacks,  which, if you’ve seen my parent’s house, you’d know is entirely possible.) Whatever the case, it was cool to have grown up in a house with a piano. I ended up playing the damn thing more than my sister did.

Before we got said piano, however, we had this little beauty:

Pink Casio SK-1

Yes, it was even PASTEL PINK, just like the one pictured above. This is the Casio SK-1 that was produced in 1985 and came in an array of cool colors. If you’ve ever heard the Whitetown song “Your Woman” (one of my favorite obscure, under-appreciated tracks from the 90′s) you know what this thing sounds like because that song sampled the shit out of it. The pink one happens to be the rarest, and I’m kicking myself for allowing my parents to have gotten rid of it in a yard sale. I’ve seen this particular “toy” keyboard go for hundreds on Ebay, no joke. (More about the SK-1, including an original print ad, can be found here.)  I’m still very much lusting after the old pink SK-1 I used to have. I could buy a black one right now on Ebay for about $20, but I WON’T. I demand it to be pink. But somewhere out there lurking in the wild is a pink SK-1 with “Hood” Sharpie’d on the back…because my Dad always made us label EVERY toy that was expensive and could get stolen, like my Game Boy. I guess he figured nobody would want it if they couldn’t show it off.

The main keyboard I have right now is the 76-key Casio WK-500, which is quite large and currently dominates one corner of my office. I like it because I can hook it up to my computer and use it with software like Cakewalk…not that I have any idea what I’m doing, but I do enjoy tinkering and making cool sounds come out of it. It’s a hobby more than anything.

Casio WK-500

Anyway, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately over at Vintage Synth Explorer and looking up cool synthesizer videos on YouTube, especially ones that show circuit-bending (which is how a lot of your dubstep sausage is made) techniques used on toy pianos (another semi-obsession of mine), like this awesome circuit-bent Muppet Babies keyboard.

I’d really like to buy more equipment and get more into this sort of thing, and actually learn to make coherent-sounding music, and not just my usual retarded mimicry. When I inevitably start that one-woman synth band I’ve been dreaming about–which is really just an elaborate excuse to wear tight pleather and neon eyeshadow–I have my stage name all picked out and everything. I’d reveal what it is, but your head would explode from the sheer awesomeness.

The cool surprises in the mail just keep coming. (I heart UnderScoopFire!)

HashyWhen I came home this evening after nine grueling hours at the office (ten if we’re counting my commute) and saw a package in my mailbox from UnderScoopFire, one of my most favoritest places in all of internetlandia, my crappy mood melted away and it was almost as if I hadn’t just spent all day in a drab, fluorescent-lit server farm with no windows, which is totally what it’s like where I work now, but hey, I’m not complaining because it pays my bills and keeps me in video games, and damn this sentence is getting kinda long.

If you’re a regular around these parts, you should already be familiar with UnderScoopFire.  Headed up by Howie Decker, UnderScoopFire is one of THE greatest websites for children of the 80s–you know, us cool kids who grew up during the raddest decade in pop culture history and now have these things called “jobs” and “grown-up responsibilities.” It’s like, a total drag, FER SURE. That’s why I love Howie’s site so much. It reminds me of the days when my biggest worries were not having a cool lunch box and missing cartoons on Saturday.

Howie sent me a really kind, personal, handwritten note, which I won’t share, but (spoiler) it basically says I’m awesome. The feeling is mutual, Mr. Hecker Decker. Here’s what else was in the package:

UnderScoopFire Package

  • 2 packs of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie cards (because, well, I’m me)
  • 1 pack of Marvel Universe Grab Zags, Series 1
  • 1 pack of Avengers Grab Zags, Series 1
  • 2 loose Marvel Grab Zags: a Wolverine Light-Up Projector, and a Hulk Pen (totally awesome!)
  • …and an UnderScoopFire sticker, with its mascot Hashy looking particularly menacing as he wields The Force

This also happened:

Cat > UnderScoopFire

My cat Simon Belmont knows cool stuff when he sees it. Or sniffs it…

I decided to leave those TMNT movie cards in the pack because I have a complete set of them, but don’t have any unopened packs, so these are perfect to keep with them.  But you know I couldn’t resist opening up those Grab Zags right away. Here’s what was inside the Avengers pack:

Avenger's Disc Launcher

An Avengers Disc Launcher! It may not look like much, but this little baby is POWERFUL. I was half-expecting the thing not to even work when I squeezed the trigger, but damn if it didn’t hurl that disc all the way into the next room, much to my cat’s delight. So much fun. I’ve already had to confiscate it twice.

Moving on, here’s what was potentially inside the Marvel pack:

Grab Zags Collection

And here’s what was actually inside:

Hulk Pen

It’s…another…Hulk Pen. (Wah wah wah.) I had a 90% chance of getting something different than the loose items Howie already put in the package, and this is what I got instead. But it’s all in good fun, and honestly, the best part is ripping that little mystery package open! And hey–my extra Hulk Pen is up for grabs to anyone who wants it. First person to email me their mailing address gets it.

And naturally, this is the first thing I thought to do with it:

UnderScoopFire is Awesome!!!

Those triple exclamation points are TOTALLY deserved.  Thank you, Howie, for this totally cool and unexpected box of goodies. I’ve told you this privately before, but it’s worth repeating here — UnderScoopFire is such a great podcast and blog, and one that gives me a real sense of belonging. You’ve built a community of like-minded, nerdy 80s adult-children that I wouldn’t trade for all the Garbage Pail Kids stickers on Earth! It is truly awesome.

P.S.

By a strange twist of fate, the latest issue of Game Informer also came in the mail today, which I’m sharing because, well, besides being extremely relevant to what Howie sent me, JUST LOOK HOW FREAKING COOL IT IS:

Game Informer - LEGO Marvel

Game Informer - Front & Back Cover

 

You guys are the best. (More Christmas stuff & thanks!)

Over the holiday break a number of different packages arrived unexpectedly on my doorstep–Christmas gifts from some of my favorite people! This has been one of the hardest holidays I’ve ever had to get through, but coming home to these little surprises really helped cheer me up. For real, you guys–it meant a lot.

Thanks Shawn!

Shawn from Branded in the 80s sent me a box full of awesome. I’ll start with my favorite thing first:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Poster Book

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: man I love being a Turtle  this TMNT poster book (still shrink-wrapped!) is one of the best gifts I got this year. My favorite TMNT collectibles come from the era of the first movie, which for me represents the height of Turtlemania. Not to mention Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is hands-down my favorite movie of all time.

TMNT Movie Poster Book

TMNT Shot Glasses

You know what else helped get me through the holiday? Booze. This pair of Raphael shot glasses was just what I needed.

TMNT Shot Glass - Front

Fact: vodka tastes better out of a Ninja Turtle shot glass.

TMNT Shot Glass - Back

Pac-Man Arcade Candy

Have you ever seen a more awesome candy tin? The candy inside is even yellow and shaped like Pac-Man.

Pac-Man Candy

Garbage Pail Kids & TMNT Stickers

Shawn’s packages are the best because he always includes stickers. Not just any stickers, though–the really good shit that would have gotten front-page treatment in my sticker book back in the 80′s.

Garbage Pail Kids & TMNT Stickers

Thanks Kal!

Kal, my friend and Ambassador of all that is Cool from Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Cool, sent me this totally rad Foot Clan vehicle with “Destructo-Disk!” Sounds highly dangerous. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from Kal, who’s always introducing me to Things That Look Unsafe. My TMNT collection is seriously lacking in anything from the 4Kids cartoon era, especially the toys, so this was perfect.

TMNT Razorjet

Thanks Derek!

Derek, a.k.a. The Goodwill Geek, surprised me with a care package full of great stuff, including some original Christmas-themed poems.

Goodwill Geek Gifts

McDonald’s Christmas Ornaments = McAwesome

I especially like The Grimace, who just can’t seem to manage those lights with his pathetic, stubby little T-Rex hands.

McDonald's Christmas Ornaments

A Christmas Story Cookie Cutter

I can’t wait ’til next Christmas. My neighbors and all my friends are going to get a tin of homemade “Electric Sex” cookies.

Leg Lamp Cookie Cutter

Operation Adhesive Bandages

I don’t think these will mend my Broken Heart, but they’re an awesome addition to my collection of pop culture Band-Aids.

Operation Bandages

Michelangelo Happy Meal Toy

This Mikey racer, along with the other TMNT Happy Meal toys I picked up, plus the others I got in my stocking on Christmas morning, make a complete set for me. BOOYAKASHA!

Michelangelo Happy Meal Toy

Thanks Wes (& Emily)!

Last but not least, my buddy Wes and his lovely wife Emily sent some homemade goodies from their kitchen. I have no idea what these things are, but they’re freaking delicious. (And Wes–you guys are totally a “Hallmark couple,” by the way. That Christmas card photo is ridiculous.)

Christmas Cookies

 

Because I’ve been a good girl this year…

…also because Target was having a sale.

I finally pulled the trigger on the 3DS. I’ve only been lusting after it for the entirety of 2012, here, here and here.  I’ve been working very hard lately, so I think I deserve it. I’ve been too busy and stressed out to really get into the holiday spirit this year–or at least, I haven’t truly felt it yet, if that makes sense–but gifting myself a shiny new electronic toy certainly helps. The candy canes on my head were necessary, trust me.

Merry Christmas to me.

(Side note — Ew. Jesus. I shouldn’t be allowed to take photos at 2 a.m.)

I decided to go with the XL model, mainly because I skipped the DSi XL and kinda always regretted it. Also my eyes aren’t getting any younger and I know the 3DS has been known to cause eye strain, so I’d rather not squint at a smaller screen. This particular model is the special 2012 holiday bundle that includes Mario Kart 7 pre-installed on the 3DS. Kinda sucks that it’s only available in blue and not red, but whatevs. The color won’t affect my enjoyment.

Nintendo 3DS XL with Mario Kart

I’m a big fan of the Professor Layton series of puzzle games and have played all of the previous ones, so naturally this was the first game I put in my cart:

3DS Professor Layton Miracle Mask

I’ve also been dying to play the Adventure Time game (Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?) so I couldn’t resist picking this one up too:

3DS Adventure Time

Oh 3DS, how I’ve longed to hold you in my arms and now I finally have you! You know, using black and white for this photo was a good move. It really helps capture the moment.

We’re going to need some time alone here, guys.

It's a Kodak moment.

Meet Mandy and have some delicious Chocolate & Cream Cake

Chocolate & Cream Cake

Today I’d like to introduce you to Mandy Anne Curtis, a fellow blogger, geek, designer, and all-around nice girl.

Mandy Ann Curtis

On her blog Chocolate & Cream Cake, Mandy describes herself as just “a small-town girl living in a nerdy world.” And every time I read that tagline, you better believe I sing it inside my head like Steve Perry.

I was introduced to Mandy via a mutual friend & TMNT fan on Twitter earlier this year who rightly guessed that we’d have a lot in common. I’ve been following Mandy’s blog ever since.

Here’s a sampling of some of the cool and geeky things you’ll find over there:

  • Nerd News— Gigantic round-ups of movie, comics, gaming & related news, fan art, and links from around the web.
  • Obsessed — One-shot reviews of the things Mandy’s currently obsessing over.
  • Fictional Fancies — A place to gush over the fictional characters we’re crushing on.
  • Lusting After— Like virtual window shopping for fashions, decor, collectibles and trendy stuff.
  • Geek of the Week— Introductions to other cool geeks.
  • Haiku Revieu— Movie reviews plus a haiku summary.
  • Renter’s Delight— Decorating ideas, projects and inspiration.
  • A Life More Pinteresting— Nifty Pinterest finds.

I enjoy Mandy’s blog because it’s like a cheerful, geeky, girly sanctuary away from the seedy, dark corners of the interwebz I usually frequent and the sausage party fest of man-children that is The League (not that that’s a bad thing; I love you guys!).

Mandy humored me today by posting my own contribution to her Fictional Fancies feature, in which I shamelessly reveal my lust for a character from Veronica Mars. I don’t usually do such outrageously girly things, but every now and then it’s been known to happen. Maybe someone spiked my Fruity Pebbles with estrogen this week.

Anyway, Mandy totally gets an internet high-five from me. Do check out Chocolate & Cream Cake and follow Mandy on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest.

 

 

Pac-Man Weddings: More Popular Than You Think

Pac-Man Weddings are Popular

Thanks to the internet savvy of geeky, obsessive brides-to-be and visual crack sites like Pinterest, I’ve seen more pictures of video game themed weddings than I have ever cared to. These days, extreme geek weddings are becoming more and more commonplace, as a whole generation of kids raised on video games are growing up and getting hitched.

One of the most popular gamer wedding themes that keeps cropping up is Pac-Man. I guess it’s not hard to understand why; Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man are the original video game power couple, after all.

Here’s a round-up of some of the Pac-Man wedding stuff I’ve come across—wedding cakes, cake toppers, garters, invitations, etc.—which seems to range from shoddily-made and tacky to tasteful and classy.

…or as classy as planning your wedding around a big yellow orb who stuffs his face with pellets can be.

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Gamer Wedding Protip

Here’s a wedding planning tip for you gamers: the Pac-Man theme is tired. If you really want to make a splash, go for something more adventurous and less conventional like Toad and Toadette or (probably) gay Sonic and Tails.

Do video games ruin marriages? Survey says yes.

Via Scoop.itShezcrafti

Do video games ruin marriages?

According to a new study by Brigham Young University, excessive gaming often leads to unhappy marriages, and in many cases, divorce.  The Chicago Tribune reports:

The researchers surveyed 349 couples with at least one spouse who plays a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), such as World of Warcraft or Eve Online, about their marital satisfaction. World of Warcraft, by far the most popular MMORPG, has more than 12 million subscribers worldwide, about a quarter of them in North America. The median age of players is about 26, and more than a third are married.

The results confirmed what Neil Lundberg, one of the study’s authors, already suspected: “Gaming widows,” spouses who lose the attention of their significant other to gaming, aren’t happy with their marriages.

More than 65 percent of spouses who don’t play video games said they fight with their husband or wife about gaming, and 75 percent of respondents said that their spouse’s habit has negatively affected their marriage.

Via www.chicagotribune.com

The survey findings seem to jive with a statistic I found from last year that claims 15% of divorces are due to game addiction.

Of course, the flip side to studies like these are those cases where gaming is a mutual passion, and something that spouses often share.  When I played World of Warcraft, I knew plenty of married couples who had no issues logging four or more hours per day—as long as they were doing it together.  I also knew people in the game who met, fell in love, and later married.

Moral of the story: couples that play together stay together!

Would you drink this cleverly-named ‘Princess Bride’ inspired wine?

Via Scoop.itShezcrafti

Alamo Drafthouse has announced the launch of a signature wine inspired by THE PRINCESS BRIDE in honor of the 25th anniversary of the film. The name of this signature wine program, “The Bottle Of Wits,” is derived from the iconic “battle of wits” scene when Westley first rescues Princess Buttercup from Vizzini and his henchmen.

Princess Bride Inspired Wine
Via veryaware.com

It’ll go great with an MLT!  (That’s mutton, lettuce, and tomato.)

LABYRINTH Graphic Novel Prequel Explores Origins of David Bowie’s Goblin King

Via Scoop.itShezcrafti

LABYRINTH Graphic Novel Prequel Explores Origins of David Bowie’s Goblin King. Archaia will release a prequel graphic novel in late 2012.
Via collider.com

Relive Your ‘Saved by the Bell’ Days with this 8-Bit Style YouTube Game

For everyone who ever grew up watching Saved by the Bell, indie filmmakers The Fine Brothers have created this kick-ass “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style YouTube game chronicling a day in the life of Zack Morris as he goes on a quest to date his feather-haired dream girl, Kelly Kapowski (who else?).

You can play it here:

Styled like an old 8-bit game, all the familiar characters, settings and cheeseball high school plots are sure to conjure up some good ‘ol SBTB nostalgia.

(Because somewhere, deep down, you know you still heart Zack Morris.)

This way to more Adventure Games on YouTube!

Tim Burton’s Gallery of the Weird and Wonderful

tim-burton-gallery

Check out the awesome new gallery over at www.TimBurton.com, which is a teaser to promote upcoming limited-edition book The Art of Tim Burton.  The book will contain over 400 pages featuring 1,000 illustrations from the imaginative (and lovably twisted) mind of Tim Burton.  The gallery is completely flash animated, and is one of the coolest and most creative uses of Flash I’ve seen.

Visitors are invited to user their mouse or keyboard to navigate Stain Boy, the on-screen character who guides you through the gallery.  Kinda like playing a video game, you can move Stain Boy through doors, get close-up views of artwork hanging on the “walls”, and occasionally he’ll do some kooky things.  Oh, and be sure to turn your sound up to catch the whimsical Sugar Plum Fairy music.

tim-burton-artwork

If you sign up with an email address, you’ll get access to the Private Gallery, which features additional Burton-esque goodness.  Signing up will also get you on the mailing list to receive news and updates about The Art of Tim Burton. I imagine there’s going to be huge demand for this book, so better keep your beady little eyes on this one.

With the first trailer for Burton’s Alice in Wonderland released earlier this week and the announcement that both Burton and Depp will begin work on a Dark Shadows movie, this is shaping up to be one hell of a good week for Tim Burton fans.  Thanks to @simplyburton for sharing the gallery news!

Worst Valentine’s Day Gifts for Gamers

Valentine’s Day is just 1 day away.  So what have you gotten for your sweetheart who loves video games?

Stuck for ideas? There’s a ton of good blog posts out there recommending awesome V-day gifts for the special gamer in your life.  Great stuff like  this, any of these, and (my personal favorite) this.

But for all the great Valentine’s Day gifts for gamers, there’s a whole lot of bad ones.  And bad Valentine’s Day gifts can lead to crying, shame, and the withholding of sex.  Lucky for you, I’m here to help you avoid such pitfalls by reviewing some of the worst gifts possible.  This is especially helpful for you non-gamers who know you want to get your Valentine something gamer-related, but have no idea what NOT to buy.   And if you’re a gamer yourself, you should know better.

Warning: Giving your significant other any of the following items for Valentine’s Day may result in a swift and immediate breakup.

Wii Fit

Wii Fit

There’s nothing like giving your partner a Valentine’s Day gift that not so subtly suggests they should lose some weight.  While I don’t think it’s quite as bad for a girl to give this to her man, I do pity the guy who makes the mistake of buying this for his girlfriend, especially if she didn’t ask for it. Getting a Wii Fit is analogous to receiving a bathroom scale, which, FYI, usually tops the lists of worst Valentine’s Day gifts.  Even if your intentions are completely innocent, stay on the safe side and just assume that on some level, whether subconsciously or not, she will get offended.

Generic Game Systems

Generic Game System

For gamers, there’s nothing quite as disappointing as receiving a generic game system as a gift, especially if you had your heart set on a real one.  You know the ones I’m talking about–they’re the no-name “all in one” consoles with built-in games that QVC tries to pawn off on clueless moms around the holidays, or the Brand X game systems that resemble controllers collecting dust in some bargain bin at Toys ‘R Us. They’re easy to identify because A) they’re cheaply priced; B) they usually say things on the box like “you’ll never need to buy another game again!”; and most recognizably C) THEY DON’T FUCKING SAY “NINTENDO”, “XBOX”, or “PS3″ ANYWHERE!  Nobody, I repeat NOBODY wants one of these worthless pieces of shit as a gift on any holiday, let alone Valentine’s Day.  Avoid!

Stupid Gamer T-Shirts

Stupid Gamer T-Shirt

There’s a lot of cool gamer t-shirts out there, but also plenty of uncool ones.  If you plan on getting some geeky gear for your favorite gamer, make sure you at least buy one that doesn’t make them look like a complete douchebag.  As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid anything that says “1337.”  Also terrible are shirts based on shitty games, shirts boldly proclaiming how much you “pwn” (unless of course you really don’t, and you’re just trying to be ironic), unfunny custom design jobs that nobody understands but you, or perhaps this shirt.

Rock Revolution

Rock Revolution

Also known as the game that ISN’T Rock Band or Guitar Hero.  So if your BF/GF had their heart set on either of these games for Valentine’s Day and you get them Rock Revolution instead, congrats, you fail.  It’s almost like the developers deliberately made this game to trick naive people into buying it thinking it’s one of the other two.  The tracklist is surprisingly not horrible, but hardly any of the songs are performed by original artists.  The game has also received terrible reviews from most critics and game sites.  Compared to Rock Band and Guitar Hero, Rock Revolution is undoubtedly the red-headed stepchild.

Plug ‘n’ Play TV Games

Plug n Play TV Game

These little one-trick ponies are a close cousin to the aforementioned Generic Game Systems, and they come in a wide variety of games ranging from crappy to crappier.  These are the kinds of video game products you buy for someone that only likes or has ever played one video game in their entire life (usually Tetris), your grandmother who only knows how to play card games, or young children who you don’t yet trust enough not to fuck up a real console.  These plug ‘n’ play devices are typically very gimmicky, with product designs that go out of their way to let you know what game you’re playing, and uncomfortable controllers. While there are SOME decent retro plug ‘n’ play devices that mimic classic game consoles, they usually have exceptionally shitty controllers and/or a limited library of built-in games. The only time it’s acceptable to buy one of these toys is if you’re unable to acquire a real Atari or Commodore 64 and are desperate to play your old favorites.  Buy your Valentine the real thing instead!

Hope I saved you from a sex-less Valentine’s Day!