Category Archives: Gaming

SDCC 2017

SDCC was last month, and despite not getting tickets in the first round, I did manage to get a ticket again this year! I debuted a new full cosplay and a new pseudo-cosplay, which was very fun.

Antonio, gem, and I drove down Wednesday after work and had Berkeley Pizza for dinner. It was a short night, because we didn’t get down there early.

Thursday was the first time I wore my Tamatoa (the crab from Moana) cosplay. It was way too hot for it, but I enjoyed wearing it.

We met up with Tram and her friend Christian, and we spent most of the day with them. Maybe they’re good luck, because we got into Hall H for the first time. For reference, usually people line up overnight to get into Hall H. We heard an announcement that Will Smith would be in Hall H, which I just found silly. So what? It’s too late now. Antonio pointed out that maybe they announced it because it wasn’t full. He was exactly right. We walked right into the Netflix panel about Bright and Death Note. Will Smith was on the first half of the panel for Bright, and the whole thing was moderated by Terry Crews. It was pretty cool to be in there with them!

After Hall H, it was time for the Lick King’s Ice Cream Citadel! We got some tasty ice cream and posed with the Lich King! By then I was tired of my Tamatoa costume, so I changed into normal clothes because it was so hot. We had Greek fusion for dinner at Meze, at which we ate the last two years as well.

On Friday I wore my Magikarp Jump cosplay. It wasn’t 100% authentic at all, but it was fun. gem had the idea to use Boomerang for the video. Nice suggestion! We met up with our friends Krista, Kaitlyn, and David. I always run into Krista and Kaitlyn at the coolest places!

This was a day mostly for panels. I saw Robin Hobb: Beyond the Page first followed by Dare to Be Dynamite: Creative Vision with Pierce Brown, an author that gem loves. In the evening we watched a Mega64 panel and the Super Geeked Up Improv show, which was fun, although I wish there was more improv.

My favorite panel was Superstars in Children’s Fiction with Greg Grunberg, Lucas Turnbloom, R. L. Stine, Jarrett J. Krosocka, Jenni Holm, Matt Holm, and Molly Ostertag. We went because we thought it would be fun to see R. L. Stine, but we had no idea that Greg Grunberg, Parkman from Heroes and Wexley from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, would be there and is now a children’s fiction author. He was super nice! We chatted with him after the panel, and when I asked to take a photo of him and gem, his son (I think) offered to take one of the three of us.

My favorite part of the panel was when Greg asked R. L. Stine about the future of Goosebumps TV shows or films. R. L. Stine said he couldn’t comment. Greg told him that he’d trade him information about the next Star Wars movies. Too awesome.

gem wore her Woody costume, which was modified since last year. Previously she tried to keep it authenticate. This year it was more interpretive with a dress. I think she rocked it!

On Saturday, Antonio and I snuck in as professionals to skip the line. Yay. gem took some cool photos of me by the water in my Tamatoa costume.

I had to fight Maui of course. Why wasn’t he transforming? “Well, well, well. Little Maui’s having trouble with his look…”

There were a lot of great Moana cosplayers! Thanks to gem for taking so many wonderful photographs 🙂 There are more on my cosplay page.

We went to another tokidoki signing as always where Simone signed my tokidoki x Overwatch notebook. We also chatted with Jaycee, who worked for tokidoki. She remembered us from previous years, and we followed each other on Instagram.

Let’s not talk about waiting in line over an hour for a Star Trek panel but not getting inside. At least I got to chat with some cool people in line!

Kaleigh joined us that night, although we split up for a bit. gem and I hung out while Antonio met with her at the train station. We all met up briefly, but then that evening gem, Antonio, and I went to see the best brothers around, the McElroys! We watched My Brother, My Brother, and Me live in San Diego! It was really fun to see them in person. Too bad we didn’t get to talk to them. I had a question ready to ask, but there weren’t microphones on the balcony where we were sitting unfortunately.

On Sunday I wore a tried-and-true cosplay, Fix-it Felix Jr.! During a panel, I ran into Erin, a Vanelope von Schweetz cosplayer! We took some photos together after the panel. Her car was super amazing!

After chatting with her, we went to a Disneybound panel with Leslie Kay, Kit Leitmeyer, Loni Clark, Neil A. Williams II, and Sara Katz-Scher. It was pretty interesting to hear about how they come up with their outfits.

I ended the convention at the Disney group shoot! It was organized by Robert T Photography, who also took the photo above. You can see more of his photos from the event here on Facebook.

One videographer took video of us for the end of his cosplay music video. I’m in it briefly at the end as I dance around 4:51, but I’m right in front so you can see me clearly, haha!

 

Look how amazing this little Dopey cosplayer was! He seemed to have a great time with the other Disney cosplayers.

Antonio took this photo of me and gem in her Steven Universe cosplay! I think she did a great job with this. A lot of Steven Universe cosplayers carry a ukulele just as a prop, but this cosplayer can actually play it! Yeah!

There are plenty more photos of my Fix-it Felix Jr. cosplay here.

On our way out of San Diego, we stopped at Kafe Sobaka Restoran Pomegranate for Russian dinner. This is the khachapuri, which was filled with delicious cheese. Oh my god, I definitely need to eat this again. I also had chanakhi (lamb stew) as my entree.

And for dessert, I had sweet vatrushka with sour cherry and farmer’s cheese. Yum!

Until next year, SDCC!

Looking back on 2016, and looking forward to 2017

I keep hearing about how awful 2016 was and how 2017 should hopefully be better. There were a lot of celebrity deaths in 2016, and I was devastated by the presidential election. More personally, I was laid off from Toshiba in a huge reduction-in-force, and my roommate had to put our two dogs to sleep. Yeah, there were negatives. And yet I’ll be lucky if 2017 lives up to 2016.

I traveled to Europe and saw eight countries with three of my closest friends, gem, Antonio, and Anela, and visited two great friends, Jessica and Andrew, who had recently moved to Paris. I saw Denmark, the UK (including England and Northern Ireland), the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, and Sweden. It was amazing, and I swear I’ll get to sorting photos and blogging eventually.

I saw Disneyland Paris and our hometown Disneyland’s Season of the Force. I attended Devin and Lorena’s 30th wedding anniversary party that included a face-painted bar crawl and a 1920s speakeasy party. I saw Kristine’s first exhibit that she curated in LA – Firsts, Seconds and Thirds: African American Leaders in Los Angeles During the 1960s & 70s.

I watched Anela dance a few times, including Shimmy Shakedown featuring her and Melissa. I saw the Wet Silk art exhibit, met Jon Klassen at the LA Times Festival of Books, and watched an LA KISS Arena football game.

The Holi Festival was a colorful blast of fun. Here I am with gem, Tory, Sean, and Nicole. I also went to the Huntington Beach Cherry Blossom Festival!

I went to a number of photoshoots with Anela, including this Fourth of July shoot that I really enjoyed, a fairy photoshoot, cherry blossoms, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall and train tracks in LA where I also got to shoot gem!

I took a bunch of friends to the Alpaca Hacienda for Anela’s birthday, and we got to see feed and pet alpacas and a llama!

I watched Sherlock Holmes and the Time Portal as well as Sweeney Todd, and gem surprised me with tickets to see Patton Oswalt. I’d been wanting to see his stand-up for a long time, and he didn’t disappoint. I had the three most amazing meals of my life – two at Frame in Paris and one for Edward’s birthday at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Pasadena.

I participated in a high-altitude sleep and cognitive ability sleep study at Barcroft Station, White Mountain Research Center where I witnessed some of the most beautiful views of nature I’ve ever seen. I saw the B-52s and Flight of the Conchords live as well as a number of local ska bands that I see regularly. I went to Allison’s awesome gaybut party and finally made it to one of Bryan’s parties where I participated in some of the most stimulating conversation I’ve had in a while.

I cosplayed Luke while gem cosplayed Professor Layton at San Diego Comic-Con. I also cosplayed Fix-It Felix Jr., and a Pokemon Go trainer. I got to dress as a zombie later in the year as well! I attended the Sonic the Hedgehog 25th anniversary party and saw some improv such as Spectacles, ImprovCity, and more.

Two great friends, Gracie and Jon, got married, and I got to watch.

I worked for three months doing server and other hardware installation for California DMVs. While I was traveling across the state, I got to visit my friends Matt, Katie, and Marc. I also had the chance to have lunch with Chuck Sommerville, a game designer whom I’ve admired for a very long time. He’s incredibly fascinating and has done many interesting things, and he was every bit as nice as I could have hoped.

And I even got to meet Alex and Darnell’s beautiful new daughter, Meredith.

Now I’m sure I’m missing many awesome things about 2016, but that just proves my point. If 2017 is half as good to me as 2016 was, I’ll be very grateful. Happy New Year.

DMV server installation job and Nor Cal trip

I recently finished a temporary, contract job as a field technician for Form 10 installing computer hardware in California DMVs. Each day, two technicians would arrive at a DMV at 2:30 PM. We’d install new a new uninterruptible power supply and rack server, remove the old UPS and server, remove the old camera workstation, install and configure a new one, install new fingerprint readers at every window, and remove the old fingerprint readers. We’d leave whenever we were finished (usually between 7 and 10 PM), and then one of us would come the next morning to watch from 7:30 AM until 10:00 AM. And then we’d drive to the next DMV. As the team lead, I also had a bit of paperwork.

It was nice experience installation the rack servers. The hardest part was the physical act of getting it racked. It was also interesting seeing the DMV from the other side. DMVs have a reputation for being slow and boring, but in reality they’re staffed by normal people who are for the most part trying to help customers. And some of those customers are pretty bad.

The real difficulty of the job was the hours. Every other day I didn’t work until 2:30, which sounds good. However, when you consider that I’m in a different hotel each night, waking up, eating breakfast, working out, checking out by 11, and then driving to the next DMV by 2:30, there wasn’t much time for anything. There were tiny pockets of time. Maybe I could work out quickly enough, check out early, drive to the next DMV as soon as possible, and get there by 12:30 or 1. That gave me maybe two hours, but those free hours were in an unfamiliar place without any physical space for me to use. It was tough, especially being in Northern California or the Central Valley for a few weeks without being home.

Surprisingly I ran into three emergencies. First, one of the security staff members at one of the DMVs was taken away on a gurney. I don’t know what happened to her, but she was able to walk to the gurney herself. At another DMV, I heard a bit of a commotion between the staff and found out that an ambulance came for a woman who fell in the parking lot. It was raining hard that day, and I heard she fell unconscious. I don’t know if she slipped in the rain, hit her head, and was knocked unconscious or if she suddenly lost consciousness, causing her to fall. What I do know is that I saw security coning off a part of the walkway the had a puddle of blood. Apparently she broke her nose. Lastly, my partner and I witnessed a woman pulling away from a man, yelling things like, “get away from me” and “don’t touch me!” I got security, and my partner brought her inside while the man followed. It seemed to be a domestic dispute. Maybe she was overreacting and he wasn’t doing anything wrong. Maybe he was doing something wrong. I don’t know. But I do know that at the end of the day, she was okay, and that’s what matters. The police came and talked to both me and my partner, and they reviewed the security footage right next to me as I installed the server. It was an interesting day.

There was some chance for fun as well. I had some down time one day and decided to visit the local university, Stanislaus State.

I had never even heard of it, but I enjoy universities, and this one was certainly beautiful.

I also saw some cool wildlife. Yes, this photo is terrible. But there are wild turkey in the center!

And here’s a terrible photograph a baby deer! It’s right under the bush in the center at the top.

While in Sacramento, I had the chance to visit the Capitol Building.

I had to take a photograph with the bear! Former-governor Schwarzenegger bought this and left it in the Capitol Building.

I met an interesting woman with whom I went out twice while in Sacramento too. She teaches fifth graders, including many who have hearing impairments. She uses ASL in the classroom. I found it particularly interesting to realize she has to watch for children signing during tests as a way of cheating. She also plays roller derby in Sacramento, which is pretty sweet!

Chuck Sommerville, creator of Chip’s Challenge, lives near Sacramento. I asked him if he’d like to join a fan for lunch, and he agreed. It was awesome. Chip’s Challenge is one of my favorite games; I have an autographed copy of the original Lynx version. The lunch was a pretty amazing experience. He’s a bit of a personal hero of mine and has done a lot of cool things. He always has fascinating projects and shares progress on Facebook. Over lunch he told me a lot about the development of Chip’s Challenge, Chip’s Challenge 2, and Chuck’s Challenge 3D. I also heard about some more of my Lynx favorites like Klax, Todd’s Adventures in Slime World, Gates of Zendocon, and California Games (Chuck designed the skateboarding game). He also told me about John Romero (designer of Doom) and how they were both huge fans of each other’s work.

Chuck now works with LEDs. One installation of which he was particularly proud was the “Sensing YOU” installation in San Jose, which I had a chance to check out. It interacts with the phone game, Ingress, and responds to the motion of pedestrians passing under it. He actually got me playing Ingress now too. It’s a location-based game made by Niantic, the same developer who later made Pokemon Go. Ingress and Pokemon Go use the same underlying data.

Here’s a video of the installation that I took! I was with Matt and Katie, who I stayed with one weekend. They were very gracious to let me stay in their home and are truly terrific people. I had a wonderful time with them!

I’d never put up Christmas lights and enjoyed the opportunity to help them.

They looked great!

Matt has an arcade cabinet at home that his brother gave him as a gift. Here’s Matt and Katie playing Bomberman together. This photo makes me really happy honestly! They’re wonderful together, and I might have a soft spot for arcade cabinets too.

Visiting them was really fun. I got to see my friend Marc a couple nights that weekend as well. It’s practically unbelievable to me that I originally met these great friends through World of Warcraft!

That’s my trip! I got to add rack server installations to my resume, see all sorts of the more rural parts of California in which I had never stopped, visit Sacramento, and even meet Chuck Sommerville. It was a pretty good gig!

San Diego Comic-Con 2016

Luke Triton

SDCC 2016 was a blast! I cosplayed as Luke Triton from Professor Layton for the first time while gem cosplayed Professor Layton herself. I also did a quick cosplay of a Team Valor Pokemon trainer as well as my Fix-It Felix, Jr. cosplay from last year. I saw a number of panels, met a lot of cool cosplayers, got some free books, partied, and did a whole lot more. I was also very exhausted 🙂

Luke Triton

I was really happy with my Luke cosplay. gem and I stopped by the Capcom booth and took a photo with this picture of Phoenix Wright. There was a crossover Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright game, so we thought it was appropriate. I was hoping to run into a Phoenix Wright cosplayer, but it never happened.

Layton and Luke

Here’s a promotional picture of Layton and Luke if you’re unfamiliar with them.

We stopped by the Behemoth booth like we do every year. One guy running the booth, Larry, recognized us from last year when gem asked if Hatty was going to be in attendance! He remembered that gem wrote a note and gave it to him to give to Hatty in 2015. He was awesome!

We went to a number of interesting panels starting with “Retellings and Remixes” with Marissa Meyer, Renee Ahdieh, Colleen Houck, Anna Todd, Jodi Meadows, and Colleen Oakes. gem’s a big fan of Marissa Meyer. Although I hadn’t read her works, they sounded interesting, and she was a great speaker. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work in the future. The panel focused on retelling fairy tales and classic novels in a reimagined way.

“Nedist TV: The Boundary-Pushers” featured Bryan Fuller, Michael Green, Steven Moffat, and Alicia Lutes discussing the new acceptance of genre TV with a focus on American Gods and Sherlock. They also went into tangents about accepting all kinds of peoples it definitely went anti-Trump at times.

“A World After Harry: The Changing Genre of YA Fantasy” featured Sarah J. Maas, Jessica Cluess, Gena Showalter, Thomas E. Sniegoski, Soman Chainani, and Tobie Easton discussing how young adult fiction has changed after Harry Potter. It was interesting to hear how authors set themselves apart from J.K. Rowling.

In “Creating Immersive Game Story,” Chris Avellone, Leah Hoyer, and Elbert Perez discussed game narrative, going into how to really engage players well.

J. Jonah Jameson

My favorite panel was “Cosplay as Storytelling” in which Adam Savage, Jay Justice, and Deborah Nadolman Landis discussed cosplay and how it’s a form of storytelling. Adam went into how cosplaying isn’t just wearing a costume, but it’s a type of performance. I definitely know what he means. Look at this awesome J. Jonah Jameson I met. He’s not just in a costume. He’s performing; he’s telling a story. And he’s great!

The last panel I attended was the “Spotlight on Marissa Meyer,” which was interesting. Unfortunately we were a bit late due to an autograph session, but it was still fun.

tokidoki autographed photo

Did you hear about the new tokidoki x Peter Anargirou collaboration? I printed one of my photos and took it to Simone Legno’s autograph session. It’s fascinating how great artists and creative people of all types and collaborate, and I love collaborating with people in small ways. Having him draw on one of my photos was a cool way to collaborate with him, and since gem’s in the photo, she got to be in on it as well! Now it looks like gem is photographing the cute Kaiju!

I also got a copy of Heartless autographed by Marissa Meyer as well as Red Rising autographed by Pierce Brown. I came out of the con with a few other few other free books as well – An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks, and Bombs Away: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove. I wasn’t a fan of the last book by Turtledove, but I’ll give this one a try.

Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Party

The three of us attended the Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Party at the House of Blues, meeting two new friends and running into an old friend, Pat, as well. It was a ton of fun – a lot more than I expected. It was sponsored by Totino’s, so we got to eat some greasy snacks, but we also took shots and I had a few White Russians. I took a photo with a cool Sonic the Hedgehog cosplayer, we got some swag, and I talked a lot. There were games to be played there too, but I didn’t touch them honestly. At the end of the night, the staff recorded the audience yelling “Sega” to be used as the intro for the next Sonic game. After the party we went back to the hotel for more drinks. There was live music at the bar, and I did a little Balboa swing dancing. It turns out that I’m a decent dancer (to a drunk crowd of SDCC attendees).

Pushkin

gem and I met our friend Mike for dinner at Pushkin Russian Restaurant. It was so delicious! I hadn’t seen Mike since New Year’s Eve, so it was good to see him. Afterward we checked out the Nerd HQ party, but it wasn’t that good honestly.

Pokemon Go

There was a Pokemon Go panel in Hall H, the largest hall at the convention. Previously, you’d need to line up over night to get into Hall H. This year, you could line up for wristbands, given out at 9:00 PM. We checked out the line around 8:30 PM, and it was huge. Absolutely huge. And then we found out from the guy working there and watching the line that the night before the line was that long, but he didn’t know if they got wristbands. He got off work at 1:00 AM, and the wristbands hadn’t reached that far back. Yeah, we decided to skip Hall H. However, there were rumors that Niantic would release something for Pokemon Go in the panel, so a ton of Pokemon Go fans congregated around Hall H or above it. Convention staff started yelling at people to leave. I’d like to add that they never once tried talking like normal, civil people, and they also made up lies to get us to leave. Not cool. What was cool was when people realized that if they line up for the Mrs. Field’s Cookies stand, they were no longer just loitering. Yep, that line pictures above was for cookies – totally not Pokemon Go. And by the way, nothing was released in the panel.

Pokestop

Pokemon Go was extremely popular. Here Professor Layton checks for Pokemon since there’re lures on the Pokestops near her.

Nintendo Lounge

This guy working in the Nintendo Lounge loved gem’s Ariel and asked for a photo with her. Look happy they look! This guy was awesome.

Nintendo Lounge pokeball

Here I’m in my quick Team Valor Pokemon trainer cosplay with a giant pokeball.

Nintendo Lounge pikachu

When meeting pikachu, you need to give him a big hug so that he knows you’re his friend.

Nintendo Lounge pikachu

Once he’s been lulled into a false sense of security, you bust out a pokeball and catch him!

Star Trek

Star Trek was also very popular this year as it’s the 50th anniversary. MAC had a building designed to look like the saucer portion of the Enterprise while they showed off their Star Trek makeup. I didn’t care about the makeup, but we took the opportunity to stand on transporters as Layton and Luke! Plus, Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura on Star Trek, was there.

Joker and Harley Quinn

I asked these two cosplayers if I could take their photo because I thought they had great costumes. The Harley Quinn cosplayer noted that most people don’t even ask and said they’d be happy to pose.

Joker, Harley, Layton, and Luke

Professor Layton and the Curious Clowns

Actually, the Joker cosplayer recognized gem’s cosplay and asked us for a photo! How cool 🙂

Fix it Felix Jr. and Boo

Here’s a shot of me in my Fix-It Felix, Jr. cosplay along with a Boo cosplay from Monster’s, Inc. How cute is that cosplay?

Akuma

This Akuma cosplay is great too. The cosplayer was nice enough to find a good spot to take the photos. gem noted that you could sense his personality and mannerisms change as he got into character just like Adam Savage said cosplay often does.

Xena and Gabrielle

Last but certainly not least, this is Bernadette Bentley and Cathy Kutz as Xena and Gabrielle respectively. It was awesome to run into them and take their photo because I was already a fan. They were really nice!

My 30th birthday (over a month ago)

birthday

My birthday was really amazing this year. I wasn’t feeling so happy with things around that time, but the day was so perfect and I felt so loved that it lifted my spirits immensely. I couldn’t have imagined a better day.

my birthday, henley

My plans were in the afternoon, leaving my morning free. It just so happened that Henley was playing at a park in Irvine with Alex and Darnell that morning, so things worked out perfectly. I met them at the park and had a great time. Henley was so excited to see me and is absolutely adorable. I played with him for a while, and when Darnell said I had to leave, he threw a little bit of a fit. He also wished me a happy birthday and even sang. <3

my birthday

In the afternoon, I headed to gem’s where gem, Anela, Edward, Antonio, and Kaleigh celebrated with me. And by celebrate, I mostly mean eat!

I think a collage tells the food story better than individual photographs. Let’s go clockwise. On the top-left is a strawberry shortcake mochi. Yep, that’s a piece of strawberry shortcake wrapped inside mochi. Delicious! Everything in the top-right was brought by Anela as well. Two kinds of cookies and two different kinds of pastries! Below that one is mango-jalapeño salsa I made and some pastries Antonio and Kaleigh brought from Porto’s that were delicious. Below that one is fondue! gem was the mastermind there, but she enlisted the help of some others too. We ate it with a variety of things, but I’m using a slice of apple in the photo. The bottom-right is a bacon-wrapped hot dog. The bottom-left corner shows three big desserts. gem bought the two pies – cherry and apple, and Antonio and Kaleigh brought the great tres leches cake. Lastly, the photo above that was taken before we realized the grill wasn’t working. I moved the hot dogs into the oven.

my 30th birthday

Look how beautiful that dessert plate is! gem even supplied some homemade ice cream. How many calories is on this plate alone? I don’t want to know.

smm

After eating, we played some games. gem had been raving about Spyfall, so we tried that. It’s a party game in which everybody gets a card with a location listed (such as “Sesame Street” or “Pink Paradise Stripper Bar,” both locations used when we played) except one player gets one that just says “spy.” Players take turns asking each other questions related to the location, forcing the spy to have to try to answer without actually knowing the location. It was a lot of fun! We also all made a level together in Super Mario Maker – Peter’s 30th Birthday Bash. I wrote about it on Polygons and Pixels, and you can find it by using ID BBD9-0000-01E1-1F90.

It was great to kick off my 30’s with close friends and a ton of desserts – my favorite things. Really, I’m just glad to be surrounded by so many loving, wonderful people. Thanks for making me feel special and being so special yourselves!

The last day of gem’s twenties

gem's birthday

Last month we celebrated the gem’s birthday by celebrating the last day of her twenties! She wanted to do something that reminded her of her twenties (although we modified for out appropriate ages).

gem's birthday

We started with Jell-O shots! But as it was a work night, we started early… and used champagne. gem gave me the calorie count too, because that’s what’s important now, haha.

03

Dave & Buster’s was the perfect location for the celebration. We started with dinner (after snacking at her place). When gem couldn’t decide on a dessert, Edward and I insisted on ordering two.

gem's birthday

Squeezing into a photo booth, we did our best to all get in the frame. The birthday girl’s best wasn’t good enough. You’ll notice she’s the only one not visible in any of the photos.

gem's birthday

Round two was better. Now we can see gem! We’re a really gorgeous bunch.

gem's birthday

gem played some Kung Fu Pando Dojo Mojo by following along with Po and punching the sensors. She was a lot better than I was! We also played a few rounds of air hockey, some trivia, and my favorite – Pac-Man Battle Royale.

I think Anela’s ready to play professional football after this. She seemed to get into it! I played a game with Anela that involved hitting lit up sensors faster than your opponent that was pretty fun. gem and I also played a DDR knock-off. I didn’t catch the names of any of those games. Edit: Thanks, YouTube! It’s called Gridiron Blitz!

gem's birthday

After D&B’s, we headed back to gem’s to eat some macarons. We split them five ways, hence them looking all cup up and ugly here.

gem's birthday

It’s not a birthday without “Happy Birthday” hats! Most of us even sat up for the photo…

gem's birthday

Even some of gem’s stuffed friends joined in the celebration by wearing hats.

gem's birthday

Speaking of hats, my gift to gem involved hats in a way. These are characters from Jon Klassen’s “I Want My Hat Back.”

Okay, this is embarrassing. “I Want My Hat Back” is a children’s book that gem and I both like. I already had voices for every character, so performing it as a stick puppet was the next logical step. You should support Klassen by purchasing it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

It seems to me that gem ended her twenties with a pretty terrific night.

September! 30 yoga classes, 24 dance classes, 12 dances, and lots of friends

 

atomic ballroom

Happy October! While I didn’t get as much reading done in September as I wanted, I did a lot of other things. I took 30 yoga classes in 30 days at Purple Yoga, which was fun! When I realized I was close, I decided I could totally do it. And it was easy!

dancing

I also got the New Student Special at Atomic Ballroom, giving access to unlimited classes for a week. I took 24 dance classes and went to 12 dances, including evenings at Atomic Ballroom, Folly at Dapper Day, and dancing in Downtown Disney. You can see a lot of wristbands in the photo at the top. Alicia took this great photo one of the nights we went to Atomic. Yoda tried to squeeze into the photo too.

Atomic

I don’t know who Cynthia is, but I’m stealing Luke’s Snap since I’m in it too.

I tried 6-Count Lindy Hop, 8-Count Lindy Hop, Salsa, Country Two Step, West Coast Swing, Country Line Dancing, Collegiate Shag, Bolero, Foxtrot, Milonga, Argentine Tango, Cha Cha, and Charleston classes. I already like Lindy Hop, and it’s still my favorite, but I found that I really enjoyed Argentine Tango and Country Line Dancing too – all for completely different reasons. Oh, and I might have tried to belly dance too. There’s totally no video. Thanks gem, Anela, Luke, and new friends for making the week fun! I ran into old friends and acquaintances and met a lot of new, cool people at Atomic too.

And I did squeeze in two tragedies by Euripides and some of The Aeneid as well as picking up Super Mario Maker. My body’s ready for tomorrow’s vacation! Time for Michigan with Duncan! I’m going with him on his yearly trip, leaving Friday and returning a little over a week later. Plans include a cottage, dinner with old friends, Canada, Niagara Falls, and Detroit – a nice combination of staying busy while also resting. Let’s go!

 

iHookah, relaxing with friends, and more

iHookah

In addition to the OC Fair about which I already posted, my weekend was full of some other things too. For starters, Antonio and I went with Anela to iHookah, where she danced.

Thankfully, that’s a still photograph and not a video. In that case, let me assure you that Antonio and I are amazing dancers. Thanks to iHookah for posting photos! It was Antonio’s first time smoking hookah, and it was a good time. I really like iHookah too; they have great service, and the staff is super friendly. It’s fun to watch Anela dance too!

I also hung out at gem’s a few times. On Friday, gem, Anela, and I had dinner, watched TV, and played Super Mario 3D World with gem’s brother. Sunday night, after the OC Fair, gem, Antonio, and I took turns playing Splatoon. It reminded me of being a kid!

As usual, what a terrific weekend!

San Diego Comic-Con 2015

San Diego Comic-Con 2015 was super awesome! It was my first time cosplaying besides wearing my Aquabats costume one day last year, and it was really fun. My favorite part of these conventions has always been looking at the cosplayers and getting photos with them; it’s interesting to participate now. I attended with gem and Antonio as usual. I cosplayed an Aquabat, Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats, and Fix-It Felix, Jr. from Wreck-It Ralph while gem cosplayed Sadness from Inside Out, Woody from Toy Story, and Vanellope Von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph. Here are some of the cosplay highlights! Thursday I wore my Aquabats costume. It made the most sense because I was going to their concert later that night. 19679329421_208dc2019a_o The first photo I was asked to join was this one, shot by Kenneth Yeast. They were posing near me actually! The photographer took a photo of my business card and was nice enough to e-mail me the photos. From left to right, that’s me, @freeddc, @kaitlynfreed, and @lilbelle74 from Instagram. I’ve seen them on Instagram through Aquabats tags and concerts for a while, so it was especially cool to get photos with them. Aquabat and Elsa at SDCC 2015

This is @hollandtayloegedney (Instagram) who won an award this year for her Elsa cosplay. She was really nice, and it was fun talking to her.Aquabat, Finn, and Fionna at SDCC 2015

After I posed with Finn and Fionna from Adventure Time, gem worked her Snapchat magic to turn them into Aquabats!Aquabat versus WalkerWalkers can’t stand the might of an Aquabat.Aquabat, Joker, and Harley at SDCC 2015


I wouldn’t want to be hit with that hammer! Aquabat and Dangerous Pixie Harley Quinn at SDCC 2015
*boink* Ow, my head! Edit: When I first posted this, I didn’t even realize that was Dangerous Pixie!Daredevil and Aquabat at SDCC 2015


I also met my favorite hero, Daredevil! Edit: This is Tony Rios, @EL_LOBO209Aquabat headstand at SDCC 2015
I got in some yoga too.Aquabat crow at SDCC 2015


And a little more. On Friday I cosplayed Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats.Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats
While in line for a panel, some Aquabats lined up behind me.Professor Monty Corndog, Woody, and Minions at SDCC 2015


Woody (gem) and I posed with some minions too!

Clay Carmine of Gears of War chainsawed me in the neck! gem performed some Snapchat witchery again. Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats
Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats meets Professor Utonium of the Powerpuff Girls!Professor Monty Corndog and Breaking Bad at SDCC 2015


Breaking Despicable? I guess this minion found someone despicable to follow. When I asked for a picture, Jesse said “yeah, bitch.”Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats
And here I am with the Aquabats! Professor Monty Corndog is much more obscure than just the Aquabats costume, so I knew no one would really recognize it. Luckily the Bat Commander said, “Professor Monty Corndog… is that you?” It was so worth it to get this photo with them!

My final cosplay was Fix-It Felix, Jr. from Wreck-It Ralph, which I did on Saturday and Sunday.

Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015


More Snapchat voodoo from gem. I really love this.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Mario Kart
Here I’m fixing up this kart. Awesome Mario Kart cosplays!Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Companion Cube and Chell


I also fixed this adorable Companion Cube while posing with her and Chell.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Maleficent
Speaking of adorable, isn’t this Maleficent just the cutest? I think this was my favorite cosplay of the con. My heart kind of wants to explode.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Fix-It Felicia


I high-fived Fix-It Felicia!Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with luchadores
Later I got in a wrestling match.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 and the Flash


I even tried to fix the Flash right in the head!

I wasn’t in costume for these, but I saw some cool cosplays while I eating dinner too.Seymour Krelborn at SDCC 2015
Feed me, Seymour! Feed me all night long! Check out that Audrey II!Globo-Gym Purple Cobras at SDCC 2015


I couldn’t resist a photo with the Globo-Gym Purple Cobras!

Woody and Dhalsim
gem even did yoga with Dhalsim!

The Aquabats concert was amazing. Here they performed a cover of The Pixies’ Where Is My Mind. They also showed a video they’re going to pitch to TV execs to try to get The Aquabats! Super Show! picked up. It showed the MCBC begging a cloaked wizard to help. He reveals himself to be Jack Black, absorbs the Commander’s powers, and transforms into an Aquabat. He agrees to help and talks about how we’re all Aquabats before using his magic to transform a bunch of celebrities into Aquabats, including Weird Al Yankovic, Tony Hawk, and more. It was very cool.

Aquabats Set List


They even signed my set list!

The MCBC
I also met this guy who isn’t wearing a costume because he’s a regular guy. It couldn’t be the Bat Commander. The Bat Commander doesn’t wear normal shirts like that. He was really nice, and he talked with me about getting more involved with the Aquabats. It probably helped that gem gave him a bunch of snacks! And speaking of gem giving snacks, she gave care packages to other people, such as Todd from Toddland. He was super cool. Technically gem got his number!

gem and Allie Brosh


We saw Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half. Her panel was moderated by Felicia Day, and it was super great. gem gave Allie some cookies and snacks, and Allie was very appreciative and nice. They hugged and took a photo together. We also saw a panel about Jhonen Vasquez, creator of Invader Zim. He was very down to Earth and discussed how scary it is that some people identify with parts of his crazy comics.Aquabat and walkers
We ran the Walking Dead Experience, and I did it in my Aquabats costume. It was really fun.

We arrived in Petco Park as survivors, and someone escorted us inside, claiming it’s safe. Of course, walkers showed up, and we had to run. They’re all played by volunteers who couldn’t really hurt us, but I got into it and definitely ran hard and dodged walkers. Eventually we met a second group of survivors who weren’t as friendly. They killed our leader when they found out we didn’t have supplies. Our talks were cut short when walkers approached, and we all had to run again. At the end, they decided to cull the weak. They chose someone from our group to kill, and it ended up being Antonio. They had him kneel as they raised a club to kill him. Luckily for him, walkers arrived once more, and we ran for it. Antonio said that as the walkers arrived, someone (presumably staff) lifted him to ensure he didn’t get trampled. It was so much fun!19648644496_d9eee621fa_o


Let’s see… what else. We ran into Bryan Lackey, a fantastic trumpet player. I know him from Skapeche Mode and Failed to Victory. He was really friendly and stopped to chat with us for a while before taking a photo and friending us on Facebook!

Spaceship Warlock
We also went to an art exhibit called Super Video Game Land by Anthony Bulcao at the Mission Brewery. He paints scenes from video games and is really talented! He had two painting from Spaceship Warlock, an old adventure game I loved as a kid. I was most excited for those two. He said he wasn’t confident about including them, and that I was the only person who talked to him about them. I’m glad I did!

I also participated (badly) in a kazoo and ukulele play-along, met Rikki Simons, voice of Gir (and more) from Invader Zim, played games at the Nintendo Lounge, and sang along with gem while she played Martian Girl in a line. Such an awesome weekend!

I know they’re not going to read this, but thanks to all the people who asked for photos and appreciated my cosplay – the Aquabats group photo, the jedi, the dude with the swords, and the three or four other people who liked my Aquabats costume, and the Nintendo employee, Quailman, the little Captain America, Ariel (who was excited and wanted a photo after I asked her first), and the other 14 or so people, especially the little kids, who liked my Fix-It Felix, Jr. It made me very happy!

Hello, 2015

Last year was a pretty fun year. I was pulled on stage during a clown show, went stand-up paddleboarding, and went wakeboarding. I attended Katie and Matt’s wedding. I started doing yoga this summer and have stuck with it consistently. I switched to a bodyweight workout routine and have been doing that regularly. San Diego Comic-Con was a lot of fun, and for the first time, the roles were reversed; people asked me for pictures. (I was in my Aquabats costume.)

I attended a ton of concerts, including but not limited to Reel Big Fish, The Maxies, The Originalites, The Aquabats, Koo Koo Kangaroo, GOGO13, Half Past Two, Sugar Stems, The Interrupters, The Holophonics, The Skatalites, Suburban Legends, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Los SuperSpies, and so many more. I watched a bunch of improv, mostly at ImprovCity and Spectacles. I attended some Risk! Live. I went to a Teenage Mutant Pizza Party and the Scott Pilgrim Picture Show with CinemAttack! There was Dapper Day, Walking with Dinosaurs, a Civil War reenactment, The Great Gatsby party, the OC Fair, and LA Kiss. There was some Yadi Presents burlesque, a performance of Wizard of Oz, Chicago, Big River – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Man of La Mancha, and other performances. Lots of fun stuff.

Edit: Oh, man, how can I forget the Tall Ships Festival or being a guest on the Twisted Nether Blogcast?!

Work continues to go well. I cleaned out my closet. And yes, that’s worth mentioning. I attended Henley’s first birthday party and gave him a big smile with his present. I finished off Mists of Pandaria and started Warlords of Draenor. Sorry, but a little video games had to leak into this too. I got my backlog (my list of games, books, movies, etc.) that were purchased but never finished down to 340, which is pretty good. When I started counting in April, I had 471 items that needed to be beat/watched/read. I got rear-ended while driving for the first time. That’s not really much of an accomplishment, but I handled it at least. It was my 10-year high school reunion a few months back, and that was a lot of fun. I also cooked a bunch – stuffed bell peppers, pizzas, calzones, salads, salami wraps, pork chops, steaks, a cake, lemon bars, brownies, and more delicious things. I, a straight man, went out for a drink with a man I met on a dating site. I got stung by way too many bees.

It was a cool year.

2015 started with a party with close friends. Just a minute or two into the year I got to witness a friend propose to his girlfriend.

We’re off to a good start.

Birthdays, plays, farmers markets, yoga, and more: a very full weekend

What a super full weekend. Friday was Halloween, also known as Jonathan’s birthday! After work, I rushed through some last minute Hallow’s End activities in World of Warcraft and Mad King Thorn in Guild Wars leaving for the long journey to Jonathan’s party. It was downstairs. I might have had about 3900 calories worth chips, wings, pizza, alcohol, and other food that day. Maybe. And that might have been way too many carbs yet still under my protein goal. Whoops. Anyways, it was fun hanging out and watching Jonathan play scary games. I got to give some candy to trick-or-treaters too!

Strawberry-dipped donut

On Saturday morning I headed to the farmer’s market and picked up some usual treats – hummus, feta, and dolmas. When I was about to leave, I saw this donut and had to get it too. I can happily report that it was tasty.

Saturday was also my mom’s birthday, and my brother had the idea that we could take her to a show. The Man from Earth was playing at Stages, so I picked up some flowers and met them at their house before we went to the play. It was really good! It’s basically the story of a man at his going-away party who explains to his friends that he’s a caveman who has survived for more than 14,000 years. It was very interesting even if the quick summary there sounded kind of dumb. After the show, we ate at Angelo’s & Vinci’s Ristorante, where I had eaten once previously. The service was kind of iffy, but I liked our waitress anyways, and the food was delicious.

gem found out about a free yoga class on Sunday at the Anaheim Packing District. I went with her and definitely enjoyed it. The instructor owns a nearby studio, and a woman in the class just got back from China because she works for Disney and was there for the new park. After the class, we went to that farmer’s market, because you can never go to enough farmer’s markets in a weekend. Oh man. So many good foods. I bought spicy feta, olives, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, pluots, persimmons, strawberry Greek yogurt, and cheese crisps.

Grilled cheese and salami

Next we went in the Anaheim Packing House for lunch. I had an amazing grilled cheese with salami from the Black Sheep Grilled Cheese Bar. The salty flavor of the meat went so well with the grilled cheese. I’d definitely eat there again.

popbar

I keep hearing so much about Popbar’s gelato, sorbet, and yogurt bars, so I had to stop there. Somehow I thought gem was raving about, but she’d never been there. I think all the great things I’ve heard have actually just been from Anela. But she was right, because it was pretty fantastic. I had a pumpkin gelato bar dipped in white chocolate, drizzled in dark chocolate, and covered in waffle cone crumbles. Man. I want another one right now.

Dinner

Sunday was later filled with chores around the house, video games, Netflix, and of course, more eating. This time it was just eating a bunch of the foods I purchased at the farmer’s markets. And then I needed to sleep it off!

The Scott Pilgrim Picture Show

The 2nd Scott Pilgrim Picture Show!

Friday night was the 2nd Scott Pilgrim Picture Show, an amazing interactive film screening by CinemAttack at the Frida Cinema in Santa Ana. The idea is similar to screenings of the Rocky Horror – a movie with lots of audience participation. I bought this poster along with a poster representing the original Scott Pilgrim Picture Show from last year too. I didn’t even notice until later that the one for last year was signed by Tyler Jacobs, the creator, and numbered.

Audience participation, a costume contest, garlic bread, a light show, and more. What’s not to love?

Scott Pilgrim Picture Show Marquee

gem and I got there about 45 minutes before the doors opened so we could hang out. I had to get a picture of the marquee!

Bread makes you fat?!

Even though bread makes you fat, they handed out garlic bread to the people waiting in line. Sweet!

Flyers!

The walls were plastered with flyers for the Toronto International Battle of the Bands, the Katayanagi Twins, Sex Bob-omb, the Clash at Demonhead, and more. It was a pretty nice touch.

Scott Pilgrim photo op

There was a photo op with Scott Pilgrim and a photographer. They said they would post all the photos on Facebook and then you could go find and tag yourself and save the photo. However, I’ve yet to see them posted. In addition, only a handful of people got to take pictures with this before everyone filed into the theater. After the screening, it was already gone. They said people could take the flyers, so I suspect someone might have grabbed this early. Oh well.The Scott Pilgrim Picture Show

Edit: They posted them! Here I am chilling with Scott! The photo was taken at the CinemAttack photo booth, so credit goes to their photographer whose name wasn’t mentioned. They encouraged sharing the photos, so I think it’s cool that I’m posting it here.

The Chaos Theater

Overhead, a CinemAttack! banner was hanging. CinemAttack is the events company hosting the Scott Pilgrim Picture Show. It was created by a man named Tyler Jacobs. While I’d been looking forward to the event for some time, I hadn’t realized until the night before the show that Tyler Jacobs is Christian Jacobs’ (the MC Bat Commander, lead singer of the Aquabats) and Parker Jacobs’ (lead singer of GOGO13) brother. The a pretty rad family. I’m also glad I found Tyler Jacobs’ independently of his brothers. I had a moment to stop and say hello to Tyler as well, and he was quite friendly. I’m glad I did.

You’ll also notice the movie was being shown in the Chaos Theater!

Coins for throwing!

With the posters I purchased, I received two bags of “coins for throwing!” When an evil ex is defeated, you’re supposed to toss coins in the air. It was fun and definitely added to the experience.

Scott Pilgrim Cosplay Contest

Yes, yes, this photo is horrible. Anyways, there was a costume contest as well. There were a number of Scotts and Ramonas as expected but also a Gideon and even a Vegan Police! The guy who came as the Vegan Police even had a green laser.

The movie was a lot more fun to watch in this setting. Words on the screen would direct you to yell lines aloud, and during songs, they would progress karaoke-style. There were also instructions sometimes, including high-fiving a neighbor or jumping up to pretend to play DDR along with Scott and Knives. When an evil ex was defeated, they’d remind you to throw your coins in the air. There were also light shows during the scenes with the bands playing, which really added to the awesomeness. When the Vegan Police came to depower Todd, green lasers shot out everywhere. It wasn’t enough for the fans as they began to cry out for our Vegan Police. Luckily our cosplayer saved the day; when we saw his green laser hit the screen and track Todd, everyone cheered!

Scott Pilgrim or gem?

After the movie, gem stopped to pose with her ukulele like Scott does with his guitar. I wasn’t sure it was going to come out, because the lighting wasn’t great, but I’m pretty happy with the photo. gem actually hasn’t seen it yet. Hopefully she likes it too.

There are some more photos in this album.

And now I get to look forward to their next presentation: The Teenage Mutant Pizza Party!

San Diego Comic-Con Day 3: Adult Swim, a 3D printed ukulele, Nintendo, Tazy, and other adventures!

You can check out my previous posts about SDCC 2014 here:

Day 3 – Saturday

We wanted to go to the Adult Swim Fun House again, which meant another line for tickets. The couple in front of me were super awesome, and I had a great time getting to know them.

sdcc leia and han solo cosplay

They cosplayed as Leia and Han Solo. Apparently they had cosplayed as Indiana Jones and the boulder earlier (with the woman cosplaying Indiana Jones). It sounded awesome. She showed us a photo on he iPhone, but it was hard to see. Her cousin is a Master Builder at Legoland! What a cool job, eh?

Tazy Phyllipz shared photos he took at SDCC on Facebook, and I found one of them as Indiana Jones and the boulder! Awesome!

IMG_8753

There was also a Pizza Hut sponsored TMNT Pizza Thrower. I had this toy as a kid and wanted to launch pizzas with it at Comic-Con, but I was second in line when they closed it for lunch. Oh well. I did get some free pizza courtesy of Pizza Hut though.

IMG_8781

There was a booth promoting their 3D printers, and they had a 3D printed ukulele. gem was, as you’d expect, pretty thrilled. We asked a lot of questions, and they talked to us both about 3D printers and the ukulele. I think they got a kick out of gem having her ukulele and being so excited too.

At the Nintendo Lounge, gem and I played Phoenix Wright vs. Professor Layton. I’m looking forward to the game because I love both of those series. It’s pretty amazing that it happened at all!

sdcc rosalina cosplay

I saw a beautiful Rosalina cosplay from Super Mario Galaxy, and the woman agreed to take a photo with me. She looked great!

We were craving pizza, so we ate at Pinzimini in the hotel and got some superhero-themed pizzas.

After dinner, it was back to the Adult Swim Fun House and the Meatwad Full Dome Experience. The staff remembered us again, and we chatted a bit. There was one exit to the fun house we had never used – the karaoke cage. They only let you out if you sing. We aimed for it and managed to get that exit this time. Antonio avoided it and went out the cat butt again. gem and I sang Spice GirlsWannabe to get out. It was fun! We got our free t-shirts again, and the staff member with whom we became friends asked us for a favor: he wanted a t-shirt for his friend. They were out of the exact size he needed, but we still managed to get a t-shirt for him to give to her!

IMG_8819

On our way out, we saw a mooninite! gem asked for a hug, and when she hugged it, she mentioned that she smelled good, causing the actress inside to giggle.

sdcc tazy

On the way back to the hotel, I noticed a Ska Parade t-shirt, and then I noticed that it was actually Tazy Phyllipz! Ska Parade is an Orange County-based ska radio show, and Tazy is the host. He also holds Ska Parade Lounge events once per month at the Slidebar in Fullerton. It was pretty cool to run into him, and I think he was excited to get recognized as well. We talked for a few minutes. I told him about the Aquabats show and even showed him the Martian Girl cosplay, which he enjoyed. It also turned out that he booked the bands for the OC Park Summer Concert Series, and he suggested I come on Thursday. I was already planning on it because I like GOGO 13. He dropped some hints about some other things happening that I’d enjoy too.

IMG_8830

We ended the night with duck rolls and a bacon chicken ranch pizza from The New Yorker. Delicious! While we ate, we watched Adult Swim. I guess their marketing worked. I’m not sure I’d ever seen a full episode of the Boondocks before, and it was hilarious!

And then I slept!

You can also read about the last day here:

Who ya gonna call?

The 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters

Today’s the 30th anniversary of the release of Ghostbusters, so I put on my uniform and set about watching my friends defeat Gozer.

The 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters

They needed my help defeating Slimer, too.

Growing up, I always really loved the Ghostbusters. I had a plastic proton pack with particle thrower, a trap that opened when I stepped on the pedal, and a PKE meter. Sometimes my grandparents would ask me to come to their house to bust some ghosts. My uncle would also mail me “ghost turds.” (Lint from his laundry.) Of course, I had lots of other toys too – action figures, the Ecto-1, the Highway Haunter (a car inhabited by a ghost in the form of a giant praying mantis), the firehouse, the containment unit, and more.

Harold Ramis played Egon, directed Groundhog Day, and wrote Ghostbusters (among many other credits). His death in February was probably the first time I felt true sorrow at a celebrity’s passing. In the first movie, I noted that Janine tells Egon she has a bad feeling and believes he’s going to die. About thirty years later, Egon’s actor is the first of the Ghostbusters’ actors to pass.

A lot of fan art flew around Reddit after his passing, and these two were my favorite. I try not to look at them at them too long because I don’t like being depressed. It’s also interesting that Venkman was originally written with John Belushi in mind, but he died before the screenplay was completed. Slimer was a nod to John Belushi. I guess in this picture, Belushi and Ramis finally get to see each other again.

The recent game has a good story that can be considered a sequel to the movies. As a game, it does contain parts that I’m sure wouldn’t have been part of a movie if the game had been a film (such as fighting the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man again), but it’s still very entertaining. I don’t know if the planned third movie’s going to be good or not, but hopefully it’s great even while taking the series in a new direction!

T.M.N.T. vs. C.H.U.D.: Sewerpocalypse

I had a fun conversation with Chris Grant, Polygon Editor-in-Chief and former Joystiq Editor-in-Chief.

Goodnight, weekend

We really managed to pack in a lot of fun this weekend. I saw Alex for the first time in half a year, played some WoW, went on a 17 mile bicycle ride, talked comics with the waitress at California Shabu Shabu, hiked up Turtle Rock View Point, went to a BBQ, went swimming, indoor rock-climbed, worked on my game, almost finished a DIY vinyl toy, and watched Scott Pilgrim.

I’m beat.

Wreck-It Ralph

Disney did it again with Wreck-It Ralph. I watched it this morning and was thoroughly impressed.  Parts of it were definitely predictable, but even if I knew where it would lead, the journey is what’s important after being infused with the Disney magic. And that’s not to say I saw every twist.

There were more to the game references than just character cameos. Seeing gaming culture in the movie was fun as it followed the change in popular games and the culture as a whole; although, it was odd that people were even in an arcade. That seems a little old-fashioned, but I do wish I had an arcade like that near me.

In addition to the main feature, there was an animated short at the beginning called the Paperman. While Wreck-It Ralph was great because I’m a gamer, the Paperman is a true masterpiece. You should definitely watch both!

Beatbot the Beatbox

Beatbot the Beatbox 1

Has it been long enough that I don’t have to be embarrassed by this? Beatbot the Beatbox was a game that I attempted to make a game development course at UCI. It never got anywhere near completion. You can read more about it here, where you’ll also find a PowerPoint presentation, documentation, and the download.

General Comic-Con

Chalkboard

Last weekend was Comic-Con, and I went with gem and Antonio. I had a ton of fun, and I wanted to share a few things over a series of four posts. Above, you’ll see the chalkboard that was in our hotel room. I don’t know why they’d put one in a hotel room, but it was fun. gem customized it for us!

While waiting in line for an Archer panel that filled before we could enter, we saw these two Atlantians yelling at us land–dwellers. They were pretty entertaining; if it wasn’t for them, being in that line would have been wasted time.

tokidoki hat

I bought a tokidoki x Marvel hat from the tokidoki booth featuring Captain America, one of my favorite heroes. Simone Legno, tokidoki creator and artist, was there, and he autographed the hat. He also drew Adios and the tokidoki symbol of a heart and crossbones. Adios is my favorite tokidoki character. In fact, Simone has also drawn him on my 360.

Seymoure

I wasn’t expecting Little Shop of Horrors cosplay at Comic-Con, but it’s one of my favorites so I was happy! Here’s Seymoure and the Audrey II. It was a puppet, so he could control the plant.

Behemoth was there again with a great, arcade-like booth. Although they did have Castle Crashers, they were heavily featuring their new game, Battleblock Theater. It’s a very fun platformer to which I’m looking forward very much.
I’ll have posts about gem’s toy, the Aquabats, and John Scalzi soon!

Manny Pacquiao: Pound for Pound

Manny Pacquiao: Pound for Pound for iOS | iPhone/iPod, Reviews, Boxing

After boxer Manny Pacquiao was robbed of the WBO Welterweight title on June 9 by two judges who must not have been watching the Pacquiao-Bradley fight, I wanted to see Pacquiao redeemed. Because he doesn’t fight on my command, I settled for playing Manny Pacquiao: Pound for Pound on the iOS. This boxing game is presented in third-person with the camera behind Pacquiao featuring boring fight mechanics, an upgrade path that isn’t fun, and a ridiculous story.

I gave it a 2/10.

Reaction to Nintendo’s E3 press conference

E3: Nintendo’s Press Conference and a Touch of Yesterday | Blog | Game Boyz
The bad:

  • Some ports of older titles

The good:

  • New Mario game for Wii U
  • New Mario game for 3DS
  • Wii Fit U with pedometer
  • NintendoLand amusement park game for Wii U with other Nintendo franchises as minigames
  • Moving a game (not all) from TV to gamepad
  • Zombi U, Ubisoft’s survival-horror, with real-time inventory management on gamepad while game world on TV

Chuck’s Challenge 3D Beta – Package A – Full Playthrough


After sharing a short clip of the Chuck’s Challenge 3D beta the other day, I decided to record some more. There are different packages of levels, and this is a full playthrough of the first package. Keep in mind that this is only the beta. Things are likely to change.
Despite playing Chuck’s Challenge on the iPhone, I had a great time playing CC3D. Besides being 3D of course, there were a few other changes that made it different enough to keep it fresh. If you fond memories of playing Chip’s Challenge on the PC, make sure to try out Chuck’s Challenge 3D!

Guns of Icarus Online Beta Gameplay Video


I recorded my first match in the Guns of Icarus Online beta. I don’t have the intention of writing a full preview right now, but I have a little bit to say. My opinion on the game is mixed. As a proof of concept, it’s good. We’ll just need to see how popular the game is when it retails and if the bugs are fixed.
Audio is fine, and the style of the graphics is very cool. It doesn’t look to be a AAA title in this department, and that’s okay. However, the gameplay is a little troublesome. I had a lot of trouble just running around the airship. The core concept of the game is fighting with other ships; the core of the gameplay I saw was trying not to fall off the ship, especially when it felt like I’d sometimes move through the railing.
The beta didn’t have enough people playing to have full teams. This meant that I was running back and forth between gunning and piloting. I imagine the game would be much more awesome if I was working on a coherent team. Note that I said “coherent team.” Simply being on a team that doesn’t work together isn’t enough. However, if the person piloting is actually talking to the gunners, it could be very cool. The game pitted two ships on the red team against two on the blue team, I think. It would help if I could figure out whether another ship was red or blue though!
It’s too early to know for sure how the game is going to be. I’m definitely still excited to play it more. I think the true test will be when there are enough people to have full games!

Chuck’s Challenge 3D


The beta of Chuck’s Challenge 3D was released for some Kickstarter supporters recently, and I had the chance to try it out. It’s a port of the iOS game, Chuck’s Challenge, which is itself similar to the amazing Chip’s Challenge from the Lynx and PC. The video is short because it’s just a quick look at the game. You’ll have to excuse a couple times where nothing seems to be happening; I was trying various inputs just to see how it worked.

Sonic x Vapor

Sonic x Vapor | Blog | Game Boyz
Nike has a campaign called “My Time Is Now” that uses an interactive video. As the video progresses, you can click on various soccer players to read about them. You can also sometimes find areas to click that branch the video in a new direction.
One of these branches leads to a playable Sonic game, Sonic x Vapor!

Portal 2 Sounds

Portal 2 Sounds | A Portal 2 Soundboard containing all in-game quotes and dialog.
I think I may have found the greatest site on the Web. Yes, of course it’s a Portal soundboard. It lets you choose between Portal 1, Portal 1 Music, Portal 2, Portal 2 DLC, and Portal 2 PTI (as well as TF2 and TF2 Music). It also lets you search quote text and search by the speaker. It’s really easy to find your favorite quotes, which is good because I didn’t know how often I wanted to listen to Portal quotes until I found this site!

Marvel vs. Capcom 2

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for iOS | iPhone/iPod, Reviews, Fighting

Capcom recently brought Marvel vs. Capcom 2 to the iOS, and I tried it out on my iPhone. In case you don’t know, this is a fighting game featuring characters from Marvel and from Capcom. It was originally released in arcades and on Dreamcast and has since been ported to many other systems. The iOS doesn’t usually do well with games that require buttons, and fighting games really do. I was cautiously optimistic because Capcom’s Street Fighter IV did decently on the iOS. Unfortunately, I was let down by Marvel vs. Capcom 2… However, it seems like Capcom just wanted to cash in on hype for the Avengers film. At $4.99 on the App Store, I recommend you pass on this one.

Beat Hazard Ultra

Beat Hazard Ultra for iOS | Reviews, Shooter

Beat Hazard Ultra is an awesome Steam game turned iOS title that has found a way to eat at my time even when I’m not at my computer. Published by Cold Beam Games, it’s a “twin stick shooter” without the sticks. Beat Hazard Ultra features procedurally-generated levels based on your own music. I loved the Steam version but was doubtful about the iOS version. However, I was proven wrong when I tried it and was amazed!

Autographed Chip’s Challenge

Chip's Challenge
Chuck Sommerville, creator of Chip’s Challenge, autographed my copy of the game! Chip’s Challenge has been one of my favorite games for as long as I can remember. I’ve been wanting to get Sommerville’s autograph for a while but only recently actually asked him. He’s also the creator of Chuck’s Challenge and the soon-to-be-released Chuck’s Challenge 3D. I’ve interviewed him for Game Boyz, which you can read here.

Portal 2, Hoard, Sequence, and Shatter

I’ve been playing a handful of Steam games lately.
Portal 2
gem and I began working on the co-op chambers last week. By the time she had finished the single-player game, my computer die, leaving us unable to play co-op. We just not got back around to trying it. I’m really enjoying it. Like all the other mechanics in the series, there’s that initial figuring-it-out phase, and then things just start clicking. I also like that sometimes I don’t even know what’s happening; I’m just doing what gem tells me and finding myself who-knows-where.
Hoard
Hoard is a fun game I reviewed for Game Boyz but never beat. There’s no story mode or anything like it. Rather, there’s a large number of independent maps. The game looks sort of like an RTS, but you control only a single dragon and are tasked with burning towns, kidnapping princesses, and increasing your gold hoard. While there’s a lot of replayability, I did manage to complete every map.
Sequence
This seems fun so far. It’s a little corny and lacks some polish in the graphics and voice-acting, but it’s still enjoyable. It’s sort of an RPG or dungeon crawler in which combat is done through keyboard or controller DDR. It’s a neat concept, but it’s grindy. I’m going to keep playing it for now, but I doubt I’ll finish it.
Shatter
OMG EXTREME BREAKOUT!!1!one! At least, that’s what it seems like. It’s fun but not groundbreaking.