Author Archives: tavia.

About tavia.

My parents let me watch and read way too much science fiction and fantasy when I was a child. Now that I'm grown, I'm bored and I can't wait for SkyNet to awaken or the super-virus to cull the human population. I'll be safe because I've learned to reason with robots from Data and the Terminator franchise... and I eat gummy vitamins by the fist-full.

Halloween is hard for non-humans

You know how in movies or TV shows the main cast will head to a haunted house or hayride and surprise surprise there are actually dead bodies masquerading as dead bodies? Hate when that happens.

But I suppose dead bodies being actual is a better surprise than zombies really trying to eat my flesh.

I already hate answering my front door because of the fact that there’s a waiting human interaction. Imagine the horror (literally and social-emotional) when I have to figure out that to say to someone who not only doesn’t want my candy but also wants to come in and eat my flesh! Ugh. It’s hard enough trying to get rid of the Kirby vacuum people and they understand language.

Do I still need to be polite to real monsters on Halloween or does self preservation and my desire to only interact with real humans reign supreme? Is that racist?

Sorry monsters and zombies, but I won’t stock up on flesh though you’re welcome to candy, just like everyone else. And, human or not, if you try to get handsy or across the threshold you may end up decorating a local haunted house.

Everyday Survival: Going to Work

Going to work is, on the surface, a straightforward and simple task. Unfortunately people are often caught off guard by the simple perils of going to and being at work that they fail to prepare properly for.

So, lucky you, you’ve got a job. But now you’ve got to keep it and if possible improve it by way of financial compensation or upward mobility in the organization that give you said job. This is not as simple as simply showing up and doing your job. No, people have to see you and formulate opinions about you and that’s where everyday survival tips come in.

Everyday Survival: Going to Work

1. If you’re on time, you’re late; if you’re early, you’re on time.

No one care that you have a life outside of work or that traffic exists or that anything aside from you got to work in time to be set up and working before it’s time to punch in. It shows forethought and self-management and give you the time to put yourself and your thoughts in order so as not to just jump in a react. That’s how dogs get skunked and bouncers get punched. Take you time to show up, assess the situation and your place in it, an then join in.

Leave early – Earlier than you think you need to. Give yourself at least a half-hour of early time because you’re better off tweeting in the parking lot for 20 minutes than running in out of breath just 5 minutes late.

2. You stink.

As a human, you likely sweat and it probably smells. If you’re a lady, you’ve got lady parts and those sweat and smell sometimes too – sorry dudes, it’s just a part of life, like this “ball sweat” I’ve heard about. No one wants to smell your stink. I mean, we’ve all had some epic long weekends in our twenties where we woke up on the couch and wondered what that smell was only to find out it was us. Maybe your face, under arms, or private parts.

It’s biology and it’s nothing to worry about. However it it something to be aware of and in control of. People notice smells and they’re distracting. so distracting they make you seems less intelligent – Why would I trust your opinion on sales strategies if you can’t even wash yourself properly?

Keep a stash of toiletries in your car or bag. Deodorant, mouth wash, floss, tiny disposable toothbrushes, wet wipes, feminine hygiene products – including scented liners and summer’s eve wipes.

Notice the lack of “perfume” and “cologne”? That’s because those things stink and make people gag or get migraines and make you smell like you have human stink that hiding under chemical-flower stink. Don’t try to mask your funk, fix it.

3. Murphy’s Law is Law

Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. When you’re going to work, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Don’t put off car maintenance. Don’t try to squeeze in a coffee before the train instead of getting it in the city once you arrive. Don’t assume they’ll clear the snow enough for their to be a reasonable number of parking spaces. Don’t trust that capable of wearing white and eating food and drinking coffee before a big meeting without an incident.

Don’t go to work everyday under the assumption that because you have a job today you still will tomorrow. They may like you but business isn’t about feelings and if you don’t prepare for the worst and preempt issues like missing handouts, double booked conference rooms, skipping lunch, having a headache, then you’re not being realistic and you should be saving up for unemployment.

4. You’re not that pretty without makeup.

Sorry, ladies but in the real world, we don’t live in a Dove campaign. On the other hand it’s not YouTube beauty guru land either. If you have a meeting, complete with a meeting maker and someone who outranks you, put on a little  makeup. It sucks but it’s true.

Women are expected to wear enough makeup to look naturally fresh-faced and healthy. Mascara, BB Cream, blush and lip gloss are all it takes to look like you give a shit. Just like men should know when buttons all the way down a shirt and a tie are appropriate, women should know when people want to look at a filtered version of their faces.

Keep those four basics on hand at all times so you can always run to the bathroom and quickly put on a face people want to see. Guys, maybe keep a shirt and tie handy (but for God’s sake, don’t let it get wrinkled).

5. Assume you’ll be stuck here.

This is where my crazy, paranoid, apocalypse fever dreams come in. Look at your car and think about what you’d need if you were on a major highway and traffic just stopped for hours. Do you have what you need?

More than half a tank of gas at all times?

A bottle of water that’s not frozen solid?

A spare phone charger?

Your toiletries so you can show up without looking like you’ve been in traffic for hours?

An emergency car kit?

Your insurance information?

Self-defense skills?

Something to kill a zombie with?

A good playlist and or data plan?

A hair tie in case you get hot?

Your boss’ phone number?

Sneakers in case you need to walk/run?

A healthy imagination?

What do you consider a necessity for every day survival when you’re going to work? Nothing? Other things? Something I over looked?

5 Video Game Futures That Could Be Awesome

Sometimes the present is boring and the future takes too long to get here. No hover cars, no robots, not a single alien. In video games we get to see the possibilities for the future good, but mostly bad. But I don’t think the bad is really all that bad. If you look from the right angle, some of these video game futures are kind of awesome.

1. BorderlandsBorderlands2boxart3

If you’re a psycho or a bandit in the Borderlands future your life expectancy is probably not very promising.

However the Borderlands future is an entrepreneur’s dream. From magic powers to treasure chests everywhere you turn, it’s a wondrous place for those with plans and ambition. Would you like to run a bar like Moxie? Maybe have an army of brutes like Handsome Jack? Or, maybe you’d like to start a simple minion  operation like Claptrap? It’s all possible!

Sir Hammerlock is an anthropologist of sorts and even though he’s lost a limb or two, he’s having a ball. Of course there’s a constant threat of death an destruction and the wildlife is out to get you, but that just spices up life on Pandora.

What’s the fun in  just safely walking from point A to Point B with no threat of being stomped or devoured?!

2. Mass EffectMasseffectlogo

Ignoring the very end, Mass Effect was a damn good future while it lasted. Unless you were sick or enslaved or from a place that got invaded while no one was watching…

But! for people who live in the Citadel or on Commander Shepard’s ship life is pretty fun. There are so many different aliens to mingle with. Different planets are waiting to be mined for resources or treasure. There are bazaars for buying, discos for dancing, and beautiful views every which way you turn. And every time you want to go somewhere, you get to hop on a space ship.

Maybe (likely) a big draw for the Mass Effect future are the characters in it. Mordin, Garraus, Harrot… Any future that produces people like that, must be a wonderful place… aside from the constant threat of  interstellar destruction.

3. HaloHalo_Generations_by_Halcylon

Sure, life on the ground might be a bit chaotic with all the indiscriminate killing and various types of grenades being thrown at the suicide grunts and highly explosive vehicles but Spartans don’t live on the ground. Hopefully no one lives on the ground considering it’s pretty much razed except for the beautiful and indestructible buildings.

Oh and how beautiful are the buildings?! If there’s a dystopian, post-apocalyptic place to be stranded, one of the Halo colonies would be perfect. If there aren’t any Spartans or Flood or Covenant or other type of weapon-wielding juggernaut around, you could make yourself quite comfortable in one of the many abandoned buildings.

Hell, even if there are killer factions around, there are piles of weapons caches as well to help you defend your turf. Most buildings also have some kind of anti-air weaponry waiting to help keep your city beautiful.

4. Resident EvilResident Evil - Apocalypse (2)

Very few people will agree with this one because it seems like Alice is the only person who survives this future without being controlled by robot spiders or locked in a coma pod. …Actually Alice might have died and been a clone or two a few times.

All that aside– and also ignoring the the fact that the zombies in this future are psychotic, monstrous  beasts– notice that the zombie populations in the Resident Evil future are in massive hordes. Massive as in the entire population of California is gathering around this one building. That means everywhere else in California is empty and worry free.

Alice is a badass but she have a 50/50 save to loss ratio for her party member (at best). If your goal is to survive, avoid Alice.

Find a comfortable place outside a city to cal home and wait for whoever is fighting in this chapter to drop some bombs on the horde and know it’s not your problem. The skies (except in the one chapter there seemed to be vicious bird things…) are clear and the air is safe to breath.The pollution is no worse than it’s been and no one interrupts your shows to tell you a celebrity is having a baby. Even the bandits have to work hard to earn their keep.

5. Dead Risingscreenlg4

In Dead Rising 2 the zombie threat is mostly under control. Under control to the point where zombies are used in entertainment.

People choose to group up around zombies to watch them get their comeuppance. The uprising was quelled and now, instead of cleanly ridding society of zombies, zombies are props and the virus is a controllable condition. This sounds so great!

Maybe zombies feel pain, maybe they don’t but using them for violent entertainment is a bit barbaric. No worries, there’s even a group of activists that fight against that part.

All that nonsense aside, this is a future where you can find work on a zombie clean up crew, the malls are open, and the zombie virus can be kept at bay with pills. A boring lunch time walk requires a solid bat, just in case.If you’re spending a day at the beach, you pack sunscreen, towels, and a crowbar!

Who doesn’t want a world that’s mainly organized but has a bit of extra spice to kick things up a notch?

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How to Trick People Into Liking You…

People are fairly simple creatures who are easily tricked because of their addiction to patterns and basic context cues. People want to trust you, like you, not need to kill you. Heck, you could be an asset to their team if you turn out to be someone they can trust, let their guard down around, and learn to lean on.

We see characters like Daryl on The Walking Dead become fan favorites both in and outside of the show while still being kind of dickish. That’s because in fiction people aren’t real. In fiction, people can’t have all the minutia that actual human relationships are based on.

In reality we dislike people because of their minutia and, surprise, it’s that same bit of detail that makes us either likable or leave-able.

So what are the little things we can do to trick people into liking us?

1. Ask them questions about themselves and their feelings the LISTEN to their responses.

Most people listen to respond rather than listening to understand. Think about it the next time you observe a conversation. The person who isn’t speaking hears something they think they know about and have a response poised and ready on the tip of their tongue. They’ve officially stopped listening to understand the other persons point and are just waiting for a break so they can respond.

This is rude and selfish. If you’re telling someone about your dearly departed grandmother and you see their eyebrows raise up and their mouth do that “O” shape where  they clearly have something to say about hospice facilities while you’re still talking about… Well it doesn’t matter now because clearly your audience doesn’t care.

Don’t show people you don’t care about what they’re saying by listening to respond rather than to understand. Sit, Listen, and take time to process what you’ve heard. Then respond. Keep in mind, sometimes the best response is just agreement or acknowledgement. “I hear you.” “That’s the worst.” “I can’t believe that.” “I’m so sorry you had to experience that.”

2. Be helpful when you can and give a brief reason when you can’t.

Sometimes it’s nice to just sit and do nothing or let someone take care of you. Sometimes it’s super rude even if you technically have nothing to do.

The worst thing you can say when you’re on a team or doing anything with other people is, “That’s not my job.” This one phrase is a sure way to make people side-eye you with utter, unabridged contempt. It’s worse than, “no” or “I don’t know how” or  even making an excuse that makes it clear that you don’t want it.

“That’s not my job” is somehow both dismissive, condescending, and mean. You’re rubbing it in that they still have work to do AND you’re not going to help; not because you can’t but because you just don’t want to.

It doesn’t hurt to help. If anything you gain skills and build a rapport with people through a shared struggle. And if you can’t help someone, don’t waste their time whining about all the things you have to do or how your arm hurts or whatever your real or fake reason is. They asked for help not a time suck. Again, this is selfish. This person is so busy or overwhelmed that they’ve humbled themself and asked for help.

Apologize with a sentence (not a run-on) explaining why you can’t. “Sorry, I’m in the middle of cooking these beans (they understand that the beans will burn if you leave them, you don’t need to explain).” “Sorry, I don’t know how to swim; maybe Joe does? (it’s great if you can offer an alternative; but don’t commit someone else to helping)”

3. Do what you say you’ll do.

The worst people are the people who can’t be relied on. People who can’t bother remembering to do things for others and are regularly letting people down.

It’s not just about being the kind of person that people can’t depend on, it’s about being the kind of person that makes life harder for other people. Your slack needs to be picked up or projects can’t be completed or children go hungry and die (in extreme cases).

The solution isn’t to shy away from responsibility, it’s to recognize that what you do or don’t do effects other people and get it done.

4. Try not to complain. If you must, follow up with your solution and plan.

Everyone hates their job. Everyone’s life is hard. Everyone’s body starts to fail after 25. Everyone could stand to lose a few pounds or tone up or eat better. Shut up and do something about it or just shut up.

Complaining gives people this great feeling of release because it’s good to get things off your chest– unless you’re the person listening to the complaints. Complaints are not communication. People who complain want sympathy not solutions which means there’s no real role for people who listen to complaints.

If you want advice, ask for advice. If you want to complain, get a diary or come ready with your own advice.

Like listening to understand, have conversations WITH people, not at people.

5. Mind your manners.

The weird thing about killing people with kindness it that they never seem to see it coming.  I had a roommate in college (who is alive and well to this day) who hated me– specifically she hated having a roommate. I went out of my way to pretend I didn’t notice.

I was nice to her and respectful of our space. I didn’t try to be her friend or invite her to parties. But I was kind to her friends and let her use my refrigerator and offered help when it was convenient or relevant. Eventually she and I genuinely got along swimmingly. I forgot she made me feel unwelcome and she forgot to make me feel unwelcome. The kindness ended up killing the animosity.

Being nice doesn’t cost you anything, doesn’t make you look bad, and doesn’t make life harder. Making the effort to mind your manners is not only basic decency but also the finishing touch you need to make your personality the kind that people are fond of.

So can you trick people into liking you?

Making a habit of all five of these things will guarantee more people will like you. Unfortunately these are not tricks. These are just things that people should do and other people will respond to.

You can fake them for a time, but eventually you’ll either grow to be a more likable person or your true colors will shine through and you’ll get a lot of side-eye and hear a lot of whispered conversations.

P.S.: Sorry if this headline tricked you into clicking. TLDR: some things don’t come naturally but you if you try them you might like the results.

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My Boyfriend is a Monster: I Love Him to Pieces (by Evonne Tsang)

On a whim I picked up a graphic novel from the 80% off shelf at Comicopia with low expectations and a piqued curiosity for something apocalyptic (as always). One of the books I grabbed was My Boyfriend is a Monster: I Love Him to Pieces by Evonne Tsang. This is one in a series of books about girls who love boys lacking some of the qualifications to make them human. Most of these boys are also deadly dangerous and in the case of I love Him to Pieces, deadly contagious. Le Sigh. Dumb bitches live for love.

In I Love Him to Pieces Dicey is a Jock (the only girl on the school baseball team) and Jack Chen (always referred to using his full name) is a nerd. They’re paired up together on a project to raise an egg for health class and end up getting along swimmingly. Jack Chen is awkward and doesn’t have many friends in school. He’s an only child and his parents are always away on business because they’re both scientists. Dicey on the other hand, is popular with a super close relationship with her widowed father and young brother.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because that what the books is about mostly. Page after page of a cutesy, high school relationship in its budding stages. It was well crafted and well drawn and well… if you’re looking for a zombie tale, it’s well boring.

So, against all odds (expect not really at all), Dicey and Jack decide to be a couple and go on a corny date during the school day. They ditch school and take the bus to a park where they hear police and stuff going places… Finally, the zombies!?

Psych, this is where we spend time chatting with their parents and being lame as shit.

So I won’t spoil it but this is like three quarters into the book so it’s not exactly a riveting tale of survival and mayhem.

Final Thoughts on My Boyfriend is a Monster: I Love Him to Pieces [SPOILERS]

  1. I get why this was 80% off. It’s nothing that would call for high demand. A very ordinary tale on both the romance and zombie fronts.
  2. Jack Chen’s parent’s know exactly what caused the zombie outbreak, and how to cure it and it’s totally a non-issue and all the fucks can go back in the box because there was no need to give them.
  3. The characters are kind of stick figures (not because of the art, which is good) in that they’re just very basic outlines of individuals. Jock and Nerd. Jock carries bat all the time, Nerd knows everything about all the things.
  4. This isn’t a BAD book per se. It’s just not a good book or graphic novel or story… I think a middle school girl might like it. It has that simplistic story telling and happy-go-lucky outlook that’s just not realistic for those of us well versed in the apocalyptic fiction.
  5. For 80% off, I Love Him to Pieces was worth a read. It was easy and light and good looking.

Free Comic Book Day 2014: IMAGE Comics

Gasp! Not only will there be free comics on Free Comic Book Day but Image Comics  is using this wonderful geek holiday to allow even more newbies entry into the wonderful world of comics and stories with pictures.  Image Comics is launching $1 first edition first issues!

Comics are an investment and people want to know if there worth the price of a mediocre sandwich or nah. This way you can get a variety of stories from Sex Criminals to Lazarus to try and, maybe, like.

Check out the list of Image firsts below:

ALEX + ADA #1
A sci-fi drama set in the near future and perfect for fans of the TV show Fringe and the Spike Jonze film Her. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But when Ada is dropped into his life, will Alex keep her? Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148356.
BLACK SCIENCE #1
Grant McKay, former member of The Anarchistic Order of Scientists, has finally done the impossible: he has deciphered Black Science and punched through the barriers of reality. But what lies beyond the veil is not epiphany, but chaos. Now Grant and his team are lost, living ghosts shipwrecked on an infinite ocean of alien worlds, barreling through the long-forgotten, ancient, and unimaginable dark realms. The only way is forward. The only question is how far are they willing to go, and how much can they endure, to get home again? Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148357.
DEADLY CLASS #1
Welcome to the most brutal high school on Earth, where the world’s top crime families send the next generation of assassins to be trained. Murder is an art. Killing is a craft. At King’s Dominion High School for the Deadly Arts, the dagger in your back isn’t always metaphorical, nor is your fellow classmates’ poison. Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148358.
EAST OF WEST #1
He has been called Abaddon. The Reaper. Fool’s Bane. The Grey Walker. You speak his name in hushed tones, if at all. You fear him and all he represents. He is the ultimate state of all things. He is Death. But, in the past, Death found peace. For his betrayal, the rest of the Four Horsemen snatched happiness away from him forever. Now, Death rides with Crow and Wolf in search of those who wronged him. We would tell you to pray, but it wouldn’t do any good. You have earned what is coming to you. Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148359.
LAZARUS #1
In a dystopian near-future, government is a quaint concept, resources are coveted, and possession is 100% of the law. A handful of Families rule, jealously guarding what they have and exploiting the Waste who struggle to survive in their domains. Forever Carlyle defends her family’s holdings through deception and force as their protector, their Lazarus. Shot dead defending the family home, Forever’s day goes downhill from there… Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148360.
MANIFEST DESTINY #1
In 1804, Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark set out on an expedition to explore the uncharted American frontier. This is the story of what they discovered lurking in the wilds… Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148361.
PRETTY DEADLY #1
Sandman meets Preacher in PRETTY DEADLY, where Death’s daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her tale of retribution is as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage. Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148362.
SEX CRIMINALS #1
Suzie’s a normal girl with an extraordinary ability: when she has sex, she stops time. One night she meets Jon… who has the same gift. And so they do what any other sex-having, time-stopping, couple would do: they rob banks. Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148363.
VELVET #1
When the world’s best secret agent is killed, Velvet Templeton, the Personal Assistant to the Director of the Agency, is drawn off her desk and back into the field for the first time in nearly 20 years… and is immediately caught in a web of mystery, murder and high-octane action. Sexy and provocative, VELVET is a dark twist on the spy genre. Image Firsts edition is available with Diamond code FEB148364.
ZERO #1
Edward Zero is the perfect execution machine—a spy who breaks the rules to get things done. When a stolen device appears in the center of a long-running conflict, Zero comes to retrieve it. The problem is, the device is inside a living, breathing, bio-modified terrorist and there’s an entire army after it. Image Firsts edition available with Diamond code FEB148365.

 

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The CW’s The 100 is…

...Lord of the Flies. The 100 is about a far future where humanity lives on a space station and they send all the delinquent youths back to Earth to determine is the planet is habitable. … Um, they’ve proven they can’t be trusted so you send them on an important mission to see if earth was survivable? Good plan.

Murphy’s Law

Kill the pig!

All the 100 have these wristbands that monitor their vitals and let the folks up on the space station know they’re alive and thriving or dying slowly. Of course the take-charge psycho realizes you can just take the wristbands off and  let the people who “sent then down to die” think they’re dead and dying.

There’s like one black guy and he’s the noble voice of reason. While their leader is all “they’ll make us prisoners and poor again.”

But reason, neither heartfelt nor rage-filled, won’t do much when they have to face Grounders! Whats? People who stayed on Earth and survived by adapting and becoming something no longer human…

Murphy’s Law

We have fundamental, moral differences. Being good is right! Being bad is fun!

So there are a bunch of youths running around on the surface being total assholes while monsters lurk. Some want to be good, some want to be bad. That’s essentially the plot. Also, that’s essentially the plot of Lord of the Flies.

They’re nerds, bullies, brats, and followers. There’s cool kids picking on losers, noble and strong kids trying to do the right things, and a bunch of expendable others to either punch or defend.

There isn’t a conch … actually, the one guy who decided to be in charge has a gun and everyone else has shanks.

We're up here, and they're down there. We should kill people up here so people up here can live. I disagree...

We’re up here, and they’re down there. We should kill people up here so people up here can live.
I disagree…

The unique (and only interesting) aspect is the people on The Arc (Get it? like Noah’s.) trying to survive and figure out what’s going on. The council keeps talking able a culling and the engineers are noticing that that drop ship that was ejected because of a serious malfunction didn’t leave any damage and no one’s heard from any of the prisoners who are under some mysterious quarantine.

Humanity is screwed from above and below. I’m currently rooting for the Grounders to kill the 100 and the engineers to use the fact that they’re THE ENGINEERS on a SPACE STATION to their advantage.

 Here’s the super-long official summary of The 100:

 

Because The CW...

Because The CW…

Ninety-seven years ago, nuclear Armageddon decimated planet Earth, destroying civilization. The only survivors were the 400 inhabitants of 12 international space stations that were in orbit at the time. Three generations have been born in space, the survivors now number 4,000, and resources are running out on their dying “Ark” – the 12 stations now linked together and repurposed to keep the survivors alive. Draconian measures including capital punishment and population control are the order of the day, as the leaders of the Ark take ruthless steps to ensure their future, including secretly exiling a group of 100 juvenile prisoners to the Earth’s surface to test whether it’s habitable. For the first time in nearly a century, humans have returned to planet Earth. Among the 100 exiles are Clarke, the bright teenage daughter of the Ark’s chief medical officer; Wells, son of the Ark’s Chancellor; the daredevil Finn; and the brother/sister duo Bellamy and Octavia, whose illegal sibling status has always led them to flaunt the rules. Technologically blind to what’s happening on the planet below them, the Ark’s leaders – Clarke’s widowed mother, Abby; the Chancellor, Jaha; and his shadowy second in command, Kane – are faced with difficult decisions about life, death and the continued existence of the human race. For the 100 young people on Earth, however, the alien planet they’ve never known is a mysterious realm that can be magical one moment and lethal the next. With the survival of the human race entirely in their hands, THE 100 must find a way to transcend their differences, unite and forge a new path on a wildly changed Earth that’s primitive, intense and teeming with the unknown.

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PAX East 2014 | Organic Panic


1978876_224701924385529_1851087260_nOrganic Panic
is a  puzzle-platformer about a Protein vs Produce apocalypse. Technically the protein (Meats and Cheeses) have already won and the Produce are living in fear while they’re hunted for sport.

LastLimb, created by brother David and Anatole Branch, funded Organic Panic through a kickstarter campaign and got greenlit on Steam Greenlight. Obviously this game makes a good impression.

But what was it like to play Organic Panic in real life?

Kae and I played Organic Panic at PAX East and got a copy of the comic which details the story. We used XBox 360 controllers on a PC build.983632_226653834190338_414048056255896916_n

  • Single player was fun and reminiscent of old-school platformers like Sonic The Hedgehog or Donkey Kong with a bit of a Super Meatboy twist.
  • Each character has special abilities (fueled by collecting magic stars) like the ability to shoot whatever material they’re in contact with, throw water, set things on fire, and telekinesis.1010122_224401007748954_746872795_n
  • Each ability comes out in the comic (Produce is magical and Protein is technological, duh), which explains how the Protein took over, what the Produce plans t do about it, and why there are all these portals around.
  • The levels weren’t exactly continuous stories (at least not what we played) as much as they were action based puzzles — which is totally normal for levels on platformers. Each level started with a different character so you couldn’t really choose your favorite and stick with it. The cherry with it’s shooting ability was really fun. But if you can only be one character per level, it means the characters aren’t all equal on all the levels. However, it makes sense if you read the comic and know that the old Apple is sending the fruits on missions through portals to support his master plan.1975125_224032251119163_885536456_n
  • In multiplayer, we were each given a character that had to work with the the other to solve our way to the door (end of the level).
  • Multiplayer levels were more like single-screen puzzles with each fruit on one side and the objective door some where visible but out of reach.10014643_225249220997466_1604416436_n
  • Playing with a friend in this way was fun and frustrating. If one player dies, you reset. And boy did we die a lot. You have to talk it out and point and shout and try and fail and finally, victory fist pump when you win.

Organic Panic was a fresh take on cute and campy platformers and post-apocalyptic resistance. It felt both familiar and unique with a solid psychics build and “fleshed out” characters. The game was easy enough to pick up and play though there were some place where you could run out of mana and then you were just stuck and had to restart the level. They’re short levels so it wasn’t a big deal.

Keep an eye out on Steam, because it’s coming soon.

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PAX East 2014 | Borderlands the Pre-Sequel

Borderlands the Pre-Sequel is set between Borderlands and Borderlands 2 (see how it’s both a prequel and sequel?) and takes place on the moon of Pandora. (Because 2K Australia was behind getting this game out, everyone on the moon is Australian.)

I died a little when I heard there would be another Borderlands game AND it would be staring Claptrap! Well, Claptrap will be one a four playable characters.

This game will follow the rise of Handsome Jack, who is your boss/leader.

Most of the gameplay seems the same as it was in Borderlands 2– which is a pro in my book. There are a few new features like cryo-bullets that freeze enemies so they can be smashed.

This time, because you’re on the moon, there is a new piece of gear you get: your O2 thing. They called it “Oz” in the demo. Oz lets you double jump, hover, and super stomp (especially cryo-frozen bandits). You’ll also have the pleasure of blowing bandits off the moon when you grenade them!

Check out the Borderlands the Pre-Sequel developer overview below and the write up on the 2K Games blog.

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Semi-practical, Post-Apocalyptic Dress Up

As a faithful apocalypse fan-girl I always look for ways to incorporate my passion into my everyday life without triggering institutionalization. Is it possible to subtly cosplay, prep, or otherwise support my passion for the end of the world? YES! With semi-practical, post-apocalyptic dress-up!

I’ll show you a few examples of how you might pay homage without looking like you’re planning “an event.”

Bare Necessities

A simple, day outfit that covers the edgy side of apocalyptic dress-up. Feel pretty in a practical thermal dress and leggings wile you carry your junk in a handy utility belt instead of a snatchable purse.

In Case of Survival - Bare Necessities

Clementine from The Walking Dead game

Dressing up as the inspirational little girl from Telltale’s interactive apocalypse is pretty easy since she wears pretty comfortable everyday clothes. It’ll be kind of like a secret cosplay.

In Case of Survival - Clementine from The Walking Dead Game

 Maya the Siren from Borderlands 2

Everyone’s favorite badlands boss bitch can be your inspiration without too much fuss. You might want to add a bit more blue (aside from the shoelaces) with some accessories like a scarf, headband, or jewelry (especially on your left hand  where Maya summons her power orb).

In Case of Survival - Maya (Borderlands 2)

 Alice (Resident Evil Extinction)

Alice always manages to sty fashionable throughout the end of the world. Actually, she seems to get increasingly more fashionable as the apocalypse worsens… It’s hard to pick just one of her outfits to be inspired by. Though once you eliminate the outfits that are outright unpossible due to them being half CGI and half PVC, there’s some great material work with.

In Case of Survival - Alice (Resident Evil Extinction)
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Just Cover You Calves and Ankles

Way too often I see games, movies, tv shows and whatever else where people are trudging through the zombie apocalypse and, surprise, they get bit on the calf or ankle. Duh! Cover your calves and ankles and this problem disappears.

See, when people die they fall down. On the ground. Around that area where your feet are… That area you’re not usually looking in when you’re walking forward. I see some of the best shooters and fighters kicking through knee-high weeds and then ARRGGGH somethings got their leg like a shark attack.

Seriously though, I can’t feel bad for you if you see a bun of zombies crawling and laying around and you don’t think to protect your most vulnerable parts. You don’t even need combat boots or women’s boots (though women have no excuse for not covering their calves and ankles with boots). Rain boots, though your feet will stink in like six minutes, are perfect. Can you bite through rubber? I can’t.

And you know what the first suggestion will be? Cut the leg off! This may or may not work. Sometime it does, sometime it doesn’t (even in the same fictional universe in some cases). But even if it does, you’ll be hobbled and they’ll be whispering about not wanting to take care of you or how you’ll slow everyone down. This is all the best case scenario where you actually survive the bite and amputation. Because there’s the slow descent into infection and death from either the bite or the amateur doctoring.

Your calves and ankles don’t need to be covered with some indestructible, adamantium-type shit. What’s important is, can’t it be easily torn or bitten through? If no, you’re good. Also important, can you comfortably flee from not only shambling corpses but also fully ambulatory, aggressive humans.

TLDR: Cover Your Calves and Ankles

1. Dead people fall down; living people look up. You can’t change this, just deal with it.

2. Getting bit on the leg is a dumb way to die. Even if they try to save you, you’re dead-ish. They’ll laugh when they tell your story as a cautionary tale to children.

3. Most any boot will do because most people can’t bite through boots. (Also, animals are less likely to hurt you if they have an extra layer or leather or  soccer shin guards to get through.)

4. Don’t cover your calves and ankles to the detriment of your mobility. There’s no point in just being safe from the crawlers if you can’t dodge the walkers or out run the humans.

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Review: OBLIVION

I feel like mentioning that this review has spoilers is the right thing to do, but really Oblivion spoils itself in the first five minutes and this review turned into more of a recap.

I don’t think good movies tend to start with five minutes of exposition explaining the setup and back story and what the main character’s job is and who that lady in his bed is and oh let’s not forget “the mandatory memory wipe five years ago.” For fuck’s sake. So now I know you’re not who you think you are.

Apparently aliens invade Earth because they’re greedy. To kick things off they blow up the moon which makes everything on the planet go haywire. After that, the aliens dropped troops and fucked shit up. Then the aliens got fought off but left the planet in ruins. The Humans built a thing called The Tet and are going to use it to travel to Titan (the moon by Saturn). Before that though, they want to harvest all of Earth’s water because it’s theirs and they want it. Unfortunately, there are still aliens kicking around the planet like… say, a resistance. Weird, they totally lost the war, why won’t they just go home? Tom Cruise works as a repair man charged with keeping the water things online. And the Scavs (left over scavenger aliens still fighting for some strange reason… If only he still had his memory).

Note: This all happened in voice over. The movie hasn’t really started yet. Just lots of sweeping imagery of really pretty devastation and oddly alien looking structures…

We got Oblivion in the mail from Netflix and kept if for at least a month before watching it. Maybe that was the first sign. There was just something repelling us before we even opened the package.

Eventually, Tom Cruise shuts the fuck up and the movie starts. He hops in his plane and does his round to check the water things and make sure the drones are online and whatever. This movie already sucks.

Tom Cruise plays Jack and some redhead plays Victoria, a team. She mans the comms and stuff from their loft and he does the rounds in a futuristic plane, making sure the water things and drones are online.

Jack keeps having these dreams or this pretty brunette. I wonder if that has anything to do with his mandatory memory wipe. Oh well let’s ignore it for now. Down on the surface he repairs a drone with some gum and gumption.

[This was so hard to watch from the jump but it’s even harder to write about.]

The drone is in a football stadium and Jack takes this opportunity to tell an elaborate recap for a game that neither Victoria nor the audience wants to hear. The drone comes online and starts acting sketchy like it doesn’t recognize him or actually sees the Scavs behind him.

Onward he goes, fixing drones and staying out of the “radiation zones.” Jack follows a drone signal to this busted up library and finds a book he falls in love with and SURPRISE the drone is a trap. It’s just a trick under a tarp. There are Scavs watching him and trying to catch him. Hopefully they eat people aliens clones whatever he is.

He’s Tom Cruise so he gets away.

More flash backs. Jack goes to a secret hide away he has filled with Earth stuff like books and a record player. Oooo, why’s he so obsessed with stuff? Why can’t he just follow the rules and be content like Victoria?

The Scavs send a signal and it ends up being a message off planet. Something falls out of the sky. HQ tells Jack not to check it out but he does. It’s pod filled it sleeping astronauts. Oh snap, on is the chick from his dreams. A drone comes along and scans the bodies and starts shooting. Jack is all, “WTF, they’re humans!” So he stands in front of the drone to protect the lady from and shouts his name and it shrugs as best as a drone can and goes back to making rounds.

He brings her home and his wife is not pleased. The lady is like, “They must have woken you and Victoria up first.”

NOTHING IN THIS MOVIE IS SURPRISING.

Astronaut (I think her name is Julia) wants her flight recorder. Obvi the right thing for Jack to do is go AWOL and take her. Scavs come and bob them and drag them off.

Back at the Scav base, which seems to be the stadium, Morgan Freeman sits across from Tom Cruise and says a ton of cryptic shit that doesn’t matter. He turns on the lights to reveal ZOMigawd they’re all HUMANZ! Eventually, after a bit of snarling and posturing, the humans let Jack and What’s-Her-Face go. In parting, Morgan Freeman is like, “If you want the truth, check out the radiation zone”

HQ wants Julia…. Some shit happens and Victoria gets Jealous and gets HQ to try to kill Jack and her (clever). Victoria dies and Jack gets away with the girl. They run around a lot. Sometime in all this Jack shows Julia his lair and Julia reveals she’s his wife and she’s been asleep for 63 years.

The drones are sent to kill Jack and he runs away and eventually goes into the “Radiation Zone” and discovers it’s just the territory covered by THE OTHER JACK CLONE. The Jacks fight and Julia gets shot and I feel no surprise.

So much sigh.

He takes the other Jack’s plane to the other Jack’s house and kisses the other Jack’s Victoria. He steals a first aid kit and takes it to Julia and then takes Julia to Morgan Freeman’s rebels.

They use drone parts to make a bomb that only Jack can make because he’s the repair man that the drone know and love. Then, because he’s a wanted felon, the drones descend on the base and kill most of the people and break the bomb.

Jack decided he should deliver the bomb himself and Julia is like yay! we can die together and I’m like yay! they’ll be dead and it’ll be over.  So they box up Julia and he flies to HQ because, “You wanted me to bring you the survivor.”

On the way there he decided to listen to the flight recorder. Um, that’s a vital piece of human history you’re taking on a kamikaze run. That could come in handy when rebuilding and explaining to the Jacks and Victorias what happened.

He gets in there and there’s a bunch of incubating Jacks and Victorias and the HQ lady is still acting like there’s nothing weird about that. but when he says he’s excited to meet her she says he’s lying. “I just want my people and Julia to survive.” Oh now poignant and cryptic and totally not a lie.

Die already, please!

So HQ isn’t suspicious at all and the drones hanging around don’t feel they should even gear up. they just hover while Tom cruise open up the body case and “This isn’t the survivor you were supposed to bring us (it’s Morgan Freeman because he was mortally wounded and wanted to take part in the kill).” He says something corny and blows up The Tet.

WHERE’s JULIA?!

They tricked her into going into the body box and then shipped her to the lair.

Three Years Later… Julia is at the lair with a little girl that apparently they had time to conceive.  Some of the people from the Morgan Freeman team and the Jack that (semi)original Jack beat up and stole from arrive at Julia’s door and she’s geeked because she has “him” back…. Um isn’t half the planet’s current population Jack and Victoria clones? Any Jack will do since they all seem to be drawn to her? Is she like a Queen Bee now?

Apparently Jack has been searching for her ever since he shot her because love at first sight and nostalgia and reasons

God Oblivion was an awful movie.

 

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First Impressions: MARS: War Logs

First Impressions vs. Reviews

First Impressions are based on demos while Reviews are based on entire games.

MARS: War Logs is set in the war-torn, waterless future of Mars. Surprise, you colonized Mars and its supply of one gallon of water didn’t last to sustain a whole planet full of people.

According to the Purple Prose introduction narrated by the most pathetic grunt in the Water War, there’s a war on and there are Water Gangs fighting for control and—I don’t think there’s a society anymore. I think this is like post-apocalyptic anarchy on a colonized planet. Deep.

Well, our grunt is in a truck with other folks heading to elsewhere. Apparently he’s been captured and is a POW (prisoner of war) being shipped off to the enemy camp.

(Keep in mind, all this is being told through Purple Prose and cinematics. Try as you might, you don’t get to play in the train, in the loading bay, in the gen pop area… No playing for you.)

Innocence in a box

Innocence in a box – That’s him in the corner. That’s him in the spotlight.

Finally this sad little lad with the emotionless reading voice telling me of all the horrors of war arrives at the enemy base. Yay, I get to play! PSYCH!

The kid’s introduction to the POW is a foul-mouthed gang of other POWs who wish to make passionate love to his butthole. The portly gang leader is Fatso. Literally, his name is Fatso.

Our idealistic little runt fearing for his rear-virginity? His name is *Le Sigh* Innocence. Yes, his name is Innocence.  Take a minute to eye-roll and regroup.

So Innocence is all, “But I don’t want to be but-raped.” And Fatso is all like, “But I’m a villain and this is prison and you’re new so… Dibs!”

(You still not playing the game yet.)

So then this dude comes up and stands at the edge of the argument with his arms folded and I’m like, “YES! Finally I get to play, I’m gonna brawl this Fatso!”

NOOOOPE.

Dude stands there with his arms folded and his eyes narrowed. And Fatso is like, “Whadda you want?”

Dude stands there with his arms folded and his eyes narrowed. And Fatso is like, “This doesn’t concern you.”

Dude stands there with his arms folded and his eyes narrowed. And Fatso is like, “The Boy is Mine.”

Dude stands there with his arms folded and his eyes narrowed. And Fatso is like, “You’re Crazy!”

Dude stands there with his arms folded and his eyes narrowed. And Fatso is like, “Let’s get out of here guys, this guy’s crazy.”

Dude stands there with his arms folded and his eyes narrowed. And Fatso is like, “This isn’t over.”

WHAT THE FUCK!? (Pause for head shaking and or eye rolling.)

Okay, so whatever, you finally get to play now. Now that nothing is happening, you get to play.

And by play I mean you talk to Innocence and decide if you want to be a hard ass or a nice guy (your reputation matters). Apparently Innocence is just an introduction and Roy is our main character. He’s like, “I’m Roy.” And Innocence is like, “Ohmigawd, ROY? The Roy?”

Roy, local badass and side burn aficionado

Roy, local badass and side burn aficionado

Roy’s like, “Yeah, The Roy.”

So by now it’s very clear that the writing is not good and the voice acting ranges from cringe-inducing to pretty good. However, since I only started actually playing the game a minute ago, I powered on.

Uh oh, Fatso and his gang are waiting for Roy and Innocence in the courtyard ready to pin down Little Buddy and slip it in the back. (There’s a lot of swearing and Fatso is really keen on rape).

Tutorial fight time! I like tutorial fight time. I get to play the game and beat up bullies. X to hit. RT to distract them. A to break their defenses.

Cool got it. Let’s punch more people!

Nope. Time to sit and chat with Innocence. Go hither and fro. Chat with dudes.

Okay, this is an RPG so you’re not going to just side-scroll style fight through the world until you hit a boss. Roy is running around (with Innocence in tow) exploring the base with a surprising level of freedom for a POW.

Mutants are sad

Mutants are like people only mutated and sad. And oddly spiritual.

They fight a few other prisoners and a beast and meet the mutants. The story and the game really start to take off. The dialogue stays horrible but the story is fascinating. In this war-torn world, there are people called Technomancers who control electricity, underground monsters called Moles that make it really hard to dig for water, and possibly mysterious ruins from the colonists who first settled on Mars.

Developer(s) Spiders
Publisher(s) Focus Home Interactive
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network
Release date(s) Windows
April 26, 2013
XBLA
July 26, 2013
PSN
August 13, 2013
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Mars: War Logs Pros:

A mysterious technomancer

Mysterious technomancer is mysterious.

1. The story is interesting a possibly unique. With all the hokey dialogue and waiting around, the story is what kept me around.

2. Innocence fights with you instead of acting as another obstacle to keep track of. He doesn’t finish any off on his own but he’s definitely more partner than package.

3. The game world is large and the menus are extensive creating  a deep and interesting experience for just $9.99.

Mars: War Logs Cons:

I assume this is a boss.

I assume this is a boss.

1. Holy shit the dialogue is bad. It’s outright laughable at some points and not helped by the fact that a lot of the voice acting is sub-par.

2. Can I say the fact that it’s not a book is a con? I truly like the story but didn’t feel like I was a necessary part of it. Maybe that’s because it was a demo so it was just a teaser of what’s to come. I just didn’t feel moved so much as curious.

3. The demo felt long. If a game is truly engaging it should steal hours of your time and have you looking around in surprise because you didn’t realize how immersed you were. Mars: War logs felt like it was taking too long. I wasn’t pushing forward but trudging. I found myself annoyed when I accidentally retraced y steps because UGH I just want something interesting to happen.

Overall, what I think of Mars: War Logs:

Moles are not your friends. But if they were you wouldn't dig through their home and then murder them indiscriminately...

Moles are not your friends. But then again, if they were you wouldn’t dig through their home and then murder them indiscriminately…

During a time where games aren’t launching and tax season may or may not leave you broke, Mars: War Logs is definitely something to look into. It seems like it will provide hours of entertainment with an interesting story.

I realize I’ve mocked it relentlessly but that’s because the game does manage to stumble into a writing trap where things are described too beautifully or characters aren’t dimensional enough. Paired with the voice acting, that would be fine for reading aloud in class, it gets a bit laughable.

The silliness though, doesn’t detract from what is a pretty solid game with decent graphics and a large, interactive world. There are side missions, craftable weapons, upgrade trees and a lot more. For $9.99!

Try the demo and see if you can live with the writing and reading.

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The Maw is the Most Adorable Apocalypse Ever

Maw and Frank being totes adorbs.

Maw and Frank being totes adorbs.

Most apocalyptic video games are bleak and depressing. They’re set during a time where things are going or went horribly wrong. Twisted Pixel managed to take those aspects, cover them is pink frosting and sunshine, tie it up in a bow and deliver The Maw. A similar yet very different kind of game about the apocalypse and friendship.

The main, playable character in The Maw is Frank. Frank is an alien on an alien planet. He’s abducted and crashed on a strange world with a strange, purple fellow captive. This giant, one-eyed, purple creature has the affect of a puppy. Like any good dog, he’s hungry and loving.

MAWPreview3

Due to his giant mouth, the purple fellow is called Maw. Maw is tethered to Frank via a collar-bracelet situation. I guess that’s just so he doesn’t fall off a cliff because when Frank wants him to come closer her just hollers, “Maw!”
Frank takes Maw under his wing and goes about trying to escape this planet. On their way Frank discovers that Maw loves to eat the Yums native to this planet. Oh well, whatever keeps the slobbering beast happy.

Frank and Maw make their way across the planet with Maw eating everything he can and Frank kindly keeping him alive. With each Yum Maw eats, he grows. Some things he eats cause him to take on their characteristics—a very useful skill when traversing rough, unknown terrain.

Spicy food can sometimes have adverse reactions.

Spicy food can sometimes have adverse reactions.

Maw and Frank face enemies and obstacles of all kinds while trekking across the planet. As Maw’s size increases it starts to become clear that this might become a problem. How big will he get before he tops off? Will he top off? Will he start eating asteroids and planets? What if he eats a sun…

Oh, snap. Now I get why these intergalactic mercenaries wanted him destroyed.

Aside from the cutest best friends ever, The Maw also offers a relaxing game with solid mechanics and challenges worth taking on.

He seems to be getting bigger...

He seems to be getting bigger…

Neither Frank nor Maw speak aside from Frank calling Maw (which is good because bad voice work can really ruin a game) but the story is fairly clear and engaging. The game is quick, but not too easy.

2013-03-22 20.43.14

Personally, I think being eaten by Maw is a perfectly acceptable way to go. I’m a huge fan of the game and the characters and the feeling I get when playing it. I even have a Maw plush toy, and my best friend has a Frank plush (he shouts “Maw” when you press the telepathic orb on Frank’s head.

Buy The Maw; play it; love it; buy it for your friends.

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