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Jessica’s Christmas recap

Well since everyone else is talking about what they got from Santa, I might as well chime in too.

My big toy this year was an iPod Touch, which is seriously cool. The Mr. is going to get an iPhone in a few months (weeks, if he can’t hold out that long) and he didn’t want me to feel jealous using my old non-smart, noob phone. But since I can’t break my Verizon contract for more than a year, he got the iPod so I can still download apps, listen to tunes, and surf the innerwebs. I love it! I hate talking on the phone anyway, so now I can just email people from anywhere.

I’m also very excited about Zelda Spirit Tracks for the DS. I’ve already started playing and I love it. One of my top 5 games (on any console) is probably Zelda Phantom Hourglass, and so far Spirit Tracks is very similar. I’ll do a full GBU review once I put in a few more game hours, but I think it’s going to be heavy on the Good and light on the Ugly.

One of Santa’s elves also gifted us New Super Mario Bros Wii. It still has the classic Mario feel, but with a modern spin. I like that Jamie and I can play together, even though the gameplay suffers a bit. We have a tendency to bounce off each other’s heads… right into a fiery pit. But it’s fun nonetheless and I can see us picking it up again this weekend for round 2.

I think that’s it as far as electronics go, and I’m sure you don’t want to hear about all the girly things I got from Santa. Suffice to say, Santa was very kind to me this year and I couldn’t be happier. Hope your holidays were great as well. Happy 2010!

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January 7, 2010 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | Comments Off on Jessica’s Christmas recap

Fan-Made Feature Length Zelda Movie… whaaat?

So a group of people got together and made their own independent film based on the Zelda games, called “The Hero of Time.” And it’s almost 2 hours long. Insane, right? This takes cosplay to a whole new level.

I can’t figure out how to embed the darn thing here, so you’ll just have to click the link. LINK! Get it!

Link

December 16, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , | Comments Off on Fan-Made Feature Length Zelda Movie… whaaat?

Best show on TV (LOST, duh) returns February 2010!

ABC confirms that Lost will kick off its sixth and final season (sad face) with a two-hour premiere on Tuesday, Feb. 2 from 9-11 pm. The requisite recap special will start things off at 8 pm — though I suggest spending all of January watching season 5 on BluRay in preparation instead. Lost will return the following week, where it will own the Tuesday 9 pm time slot.

I don’t mind the switch to Tuesdays, and I’m very happy with the 9 pm slot. Unavoidably, after each episode my guests and I sit around for at least a half hour discussing the WTF moments and commenting on:  how badass Benry is;  how Juliette is eleventy million times better than Kate;   how Jack needs to STFU and stop crying;   how our theories from last week are totally null and void this week because the writers just introduced another mind-blowing revelation; and how much we still miss Charlie. Ok, maybe that last one is just me.

Speaking of MIA Lost characters, this article/press release mentions that a character we haven’t seen in a while will be returning full-time in season 7. Can you spot it?

November 20, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | Comments Off on Best show on TV (LOST, duh) returns February 2010!

Super Mario World Wedding Proposal

This is how a gamer nerd one-ups the now cliched JumboTron proposal.

From the guy’s YouTube page:

My nerdy way to propose. On October 15th 2009, it was our 5 year anniversary so i decided to propose. She may not look too surprised in the video but you should of seen her afterwords, she couldn’t sit still!!! And no it wasn’t staged, but I did sit her down told her to play some Super Mario World, but she totally didn’t know she was being recorded!!

Say it with me now, “Awwww.”

October 20, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | Comments Off on Super Mario World Wedding Proposal

Wow! Some WoW cakes

Next time your favorite WoW fanatic is craving something sugary, why not whip up a Warcraft-inspired cake? Here are some examples:

First up, a cake made to look like the bank in Ogrimmar.

Ogrimmar bank

Next, a Paladin jumping out of a laptop screen.

Paladin cake

And, a Horde cake.

Horde cake

More cool cakes and links to the bakers on the original post over here. There’s only one way these could be improved upon for Chuddy’s birthday next year… ICE CREAM CAKES!

September 9, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | | 1 Comment

The Empire Muggs Back

I don’t really know what Mighty Muggs are, but these Star Wars toys are pretty cute.

And they can be yours! From Craftzine.com: Lucasfilm asked artists, comic book creators, toy designers, and celebrity fans to transform blank Mighty Muggs into custom art depicting their favorite characters, creatures, ships and scenes from the Star Wars saga in the project, The Empire Muggs Back. Then collectors and fans can bid on all the art pieces which are auctioned by The Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Hurry, the action ends on Aug. 14, 2009!

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | | Comments Off on The Empire Muggs Back

When parenthood and nerdery colllide

In a good way!

When you become a new mom or dad, you’ll probably have little time for your video games… so why not get your fix by dressing up baby like your favorite Nintendo character! I love this little knitted Link outfit.

Adorable! I can see the whole fashion line… Link, Mario, Yoshi…

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | 2 Comments

What about my family?! – Harrison Ford montage

Harrison Ford is a family man. Who can argue with that?

August 11, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | Comments Off on What about my family?! – Harrison Ford montage

Lego Spinal Tap! These go to 11…

These are SO GOOD! Two of the best scenes in This is Spinal Tap, done in Lego stop-motion.

Nigel’s guitar room:

And, my all-time favorite scene of the film… Nigel’s “Mach” piece:

Well done.

August 11, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , | Comments Off on Lego Spinal Tap! These go to 11…

Guitar Hero On Expert While Solving Two Rubik’s Cubes

Does this kid have talent… or just too much free time?

I have learned two things from watching this video. Kids still play with Rubik’s Cubes (who woulda thunk it), and I never want to play Mr. Crowley on Guitar Hero.

August 9, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | | 2 Comments

Crocheted Mario Raccoon Rug

Check out what one geeky crafter whipped up for her boyfriend’s birthday – a Mario Raccoon rug!

That’s 386 granny squares of pure nerdy flavor. “Enemyairship” from Craftster, we salute your crafty skills.

July 30, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , | Comments Off on Crocheted Mario Raccoon Rug

GBU review for Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day (Nintendo DS)

This little game marries entertainment and education – and therefore is referred to as “edutainment.” How cute. Little brain teasers and exercises stimulate your thought processes and get the wheels turning again, but packaged in mini-game format so you don’t even realize you are … gasp … thinking. And since you’ve probably already wasted a few hours (and brain cells) playing your 360 or PS3, the games really do take a matter of minutes – combined. The idea is that you first set up a profile and run a brain age test to determine whether your responsiveness is that of, say, a perky and attentive teenager or a tired old grandpa. By completing a few exercises a day, you will hypothetically see improvements and reduce brain age.

 Brain Age 2

Good: The puzzles are very simple to figure out, but challenging enough to give your brain a little workout. In this increasingly dumbed down world where even our cell phones have tip calculators (I’m not hating, I love this feature), we sometimes forget how to add anything larger than 2 + 2. It actually kind of feels good to challenge yourself.

The interface is user-friendly and makes great use of the DS capabilities. Most of the time you are writing on the screen with a stylis or speaking into the microphone. It works for either left or right handed folks. The host of the game, Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, is an actual neuroscientist whose avatar slips in for funny comments and tips on how to improve your cognitive thinking. One interesting tip I learned – knitting can actually help stimulate your brain waves.

My favorite feature of the game is actually one of the “bonus” levels they give you as a reward for logging in a certain number of days. There’s a simplified Tetris-like game called Virus Buster that is just the most addicting thing I’ve ever played. There’s also a Sodoku feature that you can play if you are so inclined. Personally, I’m not interested.

Over all I think this is the perfect game to throw in your purse (or whatever dudes carry) to play on the subway or while waiting for a table at a restaurant. It’s quick, easy, and fun.

Bad: If you really think that you’re going to get smarter by playing this game, then you’ll be disappointed. It may awaken your cognitive abilities or improve your memory somewhat, but I wouldn’t bank on lasting effects. I found that my interest dropped off after a few weeks, and I no longer log in on a daily basis to play.

It can get a bit repetitive, but that is kind of the point. You are supposed to get better at the different puzzles and track your progress. I imagine this would get real old after months of “training” (but then you could always buy the original Brain Age to mix it up).

Ugly: Nothing really. This is exactly what it presents itself to be – short, simple puzzles intended to make you think for a few minutes after zoning away at your desk job. Not earth-shattering, nor does it set out to be.

June 29, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , | Comments Off on GBU review for Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day (Nintendo DS)

GBU review for Sims 2 Double Deluxe (PC)

A little out of date, considering the Sims 3 has been released, but I’m never one to keep up with the latest and greatest. Actually, I just never buy new releases because they are hella expensive!

So, however many years too late, I bought the Sims 2 Double Deluxe for a whopping $19.99.

Good: The game, like its predecessor, managed to suck me into a black hole for several nights, where nothing existed but my Sim and her perfect little house. I remember being in college and playing the original Sims… on a Friday night… until 4 am. Sad, I know. Sims 2 has a more customizable and better quality Sim with new outfits and the ability to be fat or thin, young or old. You can create a family complete with toddlers, adolescents, adults, and even octogenariens. You can have a massive Tudor-style home with antique furniture and dark wood, or a cute one bedroom rancher with kitchy neon signs and hot pink carpets — and anything in between. The most fun is had by entering a cheat code, giving yourself 100,000 simoleon dollars, and decking out your house in the most luxurious or obnoxious decor you can imagine.

It was fun discovering different things for the Sim to do that differed from the first game (at least as far as I could remember), like yoga or DJing a party. Sims 2 Double Deluxe includes the base game as well as the Nightlife expansion pack and Celebration Stuff pack. With Nightlife, you can go “downtown” to hang out at bowling alleys, restaurants, clothing boutiques, etc. You can even try to put the moves on another Sim on a hot date. Just make sure a jealous husband or wife isn’t around — or prepare to tussle.

Why is this stuff just as or even more fun than doing it in real life? Beats me, but somehow it is.

Bad: The weird fun only lasts so long. First, taking your Sim to the toilet or cooking three meals a day is only fun the first half a dozen times. After a while, it’s tedious. They introduced desires or life goals in this game, where you designate whether your Sim will be most interested in marriage/family, career, wealth, etc. When you achieve a goal in your chosen desire, your Sim is happier and more persuasive. In game, this means very little and is more annoying than anything. They also tried to make the Sim more realistic, so that if your lazy Sim never exercises, s/he will physically gain weight. Also, unless you enter the cheat code to turn it off, there is an aging feature. After something like 27 Sim days, your Sim will turn from an adult into a gray haired, slouchy granny. It’s fun watching the transition from a baby to toddler to teen to adult, but way lame when you’re trying like mad to reach the top level in your career but before you can max out your skills you suddenly enter retirement age.

Ugly: The game is not designed to run on laptops, and many people have experienced problems trying to do so. Me included. I have a newer laptop and it’s still unable to play the game. Major downfall, considering I’d specifically purchased the game to play on the laptop while the bf is using the desktop. My other gripe — the game becomes super repetitive after two or three days of (nonstop) playing. You are almost forced to buy expansion packs to keep it interesting. And as I found with Celebration Stuff, some of the expansions are a rip off. In said “Stuff pack,” I got a handful of catering tables, party balloons, and birthday cakes. Not something I’d pay extra for (although for some reason I’m eyeing the pets pack and H&M clothing pack).

All in all, I’d recommend Sims 2 for a weekend or two of fun, at the pricetag of $20. That’s a bargain for games these days. But don’t expect the fun to last more than a couple weeks at max.

Related: the genius behind CTRL + ALT + DEL has captured the essence of the Sims beautifully.

It's funny 'cause it's true

It's funny 'cause it's true

June 10, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , | 2 Comments

Is Conan’s Tonight Show backdrop a shout out to Mario?

If you’re a fan of late night television, and well-versed in classic video games, you may have noticed something interesting about Conan O’Brien’s new Tonight Show backdrop.

At first glance, the screen just seem like shades of blue and odd random shapes. A bit art nouveau. But a few eagle-eyed nerds (and I mean that with respect) realized that it is a darn close match to Super Mario Brothers.

Conan's backdrop in comparison to the video game

Conan's backdrop in comparison to the video game

LOL. If this wasn’t an intentional shout-out, then the game was surely the inspiration for the set designer. Maybe Conan has a covert deal with Nintendo to subliminally coax his viewers into buying a Wii 😉

June 5, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , | 1 Comment

GBU review for Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo DS)

Hi, this is my first time posting to MCC, so introductions are in order. I’m Jessica, a.k.a. Baby Girl (lol) and NOT, by definition, a “gamer.” But I do like playing from time to time, and offer my reviews from a casual player’s perspective. So, without further ado… 

I love the DS because most of the games aren’t a huge commitment, and usually aren’t too hard. Phantom Hourglass is my favorite DS game so far, combining fun interactive aspects, a cute storyline, and acceptable level of challenge.

Good: It’s Zelda! This game has all the familiar sound bites and graphics from previous editions (think along the lines of Wind Waker), and is immediately engaging. The casual gamer can pick it up with no prior knowledge of Zelda games, or games in general, and figure out the general gameplay. The boards are short enough that they don’t exasperate the player, but offer enough content on each level. 

Without a doubt, Phantom Hourglass utilizes the interactive and innovative capabilities of the DS to the full extent. Most of the gameplay uses the stylus for action – whether moving Link or engaging in battle, or plotting a course for the boat to travel the different maps. There are loads of fun things to do, like drawing notes on the screen, controlling Link’s boomerang, using traveling bombs, and at one point players even have to blow into the mic to mimic blowing out a torch. Creative! 

Traveling between maps is also fun, as Link sets sail on a boat. Mini challenges include fishing for a rare fish, discovering hidden treasure on the ocean floor, and battling a secondary character who has a grudge against Link’s shipmate. This helps break the game up a little and is just as enjoyable as the main plot. 

Bad: Well apparently there are online components to the game, where you can battle another player in an arena. To be honest, I didn’t even try this so I can’t comment on it. It just seems unnecessary. 

Ugly: The dungeons get pretty darn repetitive. In fact, there’s only one dungeon that players go back to several times during the storyline, progressing a bit further each time. The idea is that throughout the game, Link discovers more “time” for his Phantom Hourglass, which allows more time to complete new levels in the dungeon. But timed games always add extra pressure and there were plenty of times when I couldn’t finish the level before time ran out. Part of the challenge? Yes. But also incredibly frustrating? Hell yes.

zelda phantom hourglass screenshot

zelda phantom hourglass screenshot

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , | 2 Comments