Pokemon GO

Ten strangers meet at midnight in a small triangular park in central Austin barely big enough to house a small mosaic and a patch of grass. The strangers were attracted by a Lure module that was placed at a Pokestop.

This is hardly a rare sight as I’ve come to discover. Adults all over Austin, and the country, are playing Pokemon Go late at night. I do it because I can’t stand the over 100 degree weather of Austin’s summer and because I happen to be awake late at night.

Pokemon Go initially felt like a real life Pokemon Safari Zone. You walk around and run into pokemon that you can only catch by throwing Pokeballs and fruit to. But once you discover good locations the game becomes something different.

It’s a unique social experience – playing Pokemon Go. Walking down N. Lamar we realized that the best place to go was wherever there was lots of Pokestops, and because our neighborhood was a deadzone, we started searching the city. We found new stops and new gyms and explored parts of the city we never would have before. I caught my first Magikarp and Psyduck on a small walking bridge above the Colorado River.

We were on foot but we saw other Pokemon Go players in cars. You can tell because there is almost always someone in the passenger seat holding a phone and they stop or slow down at every Pokestop to collect pokeballs and other goodies. N Lamar had no fewer than a dozen people walking around visiting pokestops and fighting gyms.

It’s not rare for a person on bike to stop and talk to you about where his friend said he spotted a Charmander. Or a car to stop by and ask if you’ve caught anything good, and then drive off after you’ve directed him to where you found your first Pikachu.

Pokemon Go is a wonderful Adventure. Millions of people trying to catch digital monsters, again, after 20 years.

A hundred students gather around a field at midnight. Recently added Pokestops and the 4 lures that were placed in the Quad attracted all the late night goers. Groups discuss Pokemon and complain about the number of Magikarp this area has. Except the few that desperately want that Gyarados. I am one of those few. It’s fairly quiet save for that light chatter until a figure in the dark yells out, “Valor”. Many yell “Yeah!” in response.

“Mystic!” another counters.

“Instinct!” yells the last group.

The commotion dies down and everyone continues to sit relatively quiet around the field. I sit on a bench watching the people go by and listening to the discussion when the final outburst of the night happens. “Dratini!” one yells. Other’s repeat. Everyone is now looking at their phones trying to catch their first Dragon type. Swipe. Snap… Catch.

SXSW Indie Corner Impressions

The indie games were the big draw for me at SXSW Gaming Expo. I didn’t have costume to enter to the costume contest, and I couldn’t figure out exactly what time we were supposed to watch the Smash tournaments, so I spent most of my time trying out a variety of indie games.

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Super Sky Arena:

The first game we looked at was Super Sky Arena. The game is star fox multiplayer with a lot more color. Moving around and shooting was familiar enough but what was difficult to get used to was using the right stick for boosting and braking. It doesn’t act like the c-buttons in Star Fox because Star Fox makes you constantly moving even while braking, but this game lets you hold still for however long you’d like. One of my kills came from just standing in spot shooting at 2 ships who were fighting near by. I enjoyed it, just like I enjoyed Star Fox before it, and then it was over and I had to move on. I did win the match, which was nice.

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Rivals of Aether:

Next we walked by a game that looked a bit like a pixel version of Smash, which turned out to be just that. Rivals of Aether has you fight as one of several furry animals in an attempt to, like in smash bros, knock your opponent off the stage. I picked Absa, who is a lighting goat, and I fought in a 4 player free for all in which I emerged victorious. I received an Absa button as a reward, which is probably my favorite souvenir from the expo. The game is fun, fast paced action that managed to secure my vote for multi-player game.

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Inversus:

Othello with lasers. That’s how I kept hearing the game described by passer-by’s. It’s an apt description. You play on a black and white grid and try to shoot your opponent. And like in Splatoon, you can only move on your own color. Matches are very short. We played 2v2 but observed a few 1v1 matches. It’s a simple design but it works well, and given the option, I’d play it again.

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Read Only Memories:

Soft Colors and interesting character got my attention but it’s the humor and style that got me hooked. Read Only Memories is probably my favorite game of the Expo and my vote for best single player game. It’s an odd looking cyberpunk game. Not what you’d expect from a booth that had Neuromancer sitting on their table. The game looks friendly, but I think that works to it’s advantage. It’s a point and click style adventure, that I played just enough to know that I wanted to play more. I grabbed a poster and a card added it to my wishlist then moved to the next game.

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Soft Body:

I don’t even know how to describe Soft Body. It’s a sort of surreal puzzle game with hypnotic music and when I sat down to play it, it was almost like there was no Expo happening behind me. It’s relaxing, and while it did seem like there was a bit of challenge to be had if I kept playing, it was still definitely a calm game. And I would have liked it for that alone.

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Kingdom:

Kingdom caught my eye early on but every time I passed by it, there was someone playing. I never got to play it, but I did get to see people riding a horse along the most serene looking vistas. One of the booth runners saw me and asked, “Would you like to run a kingdom?”. Um.. Yes. Unfortunately, I never got to try, but I am still very interested.

The expo did it’s job. I got to play games I may not have discovered otherwise, and with most of them, my short time was not enough.

Super Mario Kart

1979113_847831291924562_1221500572124091835_oIt was cold and rainy. I was about to compete in a game I had scarcely played in 20 years. There was hot chocolate and cookies being served as people warmed up for the Super Mario Kart tournament. It was a small but enthusiastic field of racers; I lost all my confidence the moment we stepped foot in the Game Over video game store.

We got in a few practice rounds:

Myself, my brother and my nephew during the practice rounds.

Myself, my brother and my nephew during the practice rounds.

Then we raced. I did well the first round, which was VS races. The second round was Battle mode, in which I had to eliminate my cousin to move on. The final round was a GP race. I lost, finishing second. I still got a prize, and overall it was a satisfying tournament. I look forward to next time.

Me losing to first place.

Me losing to first place.

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Rainbow Road, raced for fun after losing

 

 

 

 

 

pictures taken by: https://www.facebook.com/gameoverroundrock

2014 in review

I thought it was fun seeing the summary they give me of the year. Here it is if you want to see.

Also, Happy new year everyone. ^_^

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

GoldenEye

 

Just yesterday I went to Game Over to see if they had any good co-op games to play. While browsing a guy asked if my cousin and I wanted to join a Goldeneye Tournament. On a whim, I did and I took first. The person in the photo with me took second. I’m not sure who they are, I didn’t get a name but they were coo.

I also didn’t expect a prize when I entered, but I got one: A gift card (shown above.) With my giftcard I bought Shadowrun (SNES) and a Birdo Plush. Birdo is the first trans character in video games which why I bought the plush. It’s also quite soft.

 

Austin Comic Con

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This weekend was Wizard World Comic Con Austin which was also my first convention. I decided to make a sort of fem Young Justice Robin, and my cousin dressed as Conner. We spent most of the first day wandering around, checking out the different booths and looking through the artist gallery. I was very awkward all through the convention but especially this day. I have social anxiety, I’m just glad the show floor wasn’t as loud as even a mall is, where I tend to get dizzy and have trouble breathing, often with or because of crying. I think that helped me stay moderately calm.

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The second day I got to meet one of my childhood heroes Jason David Frank, AKA the Green Ranger from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers(Picture Above). I also went to a panel by Christopher Judge so I got to see him speaking, which was by far one of the best panels. I bought tons of art prints the second day, including a picture of Buffy The Vampire slayer as a Loteria Card.

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The third day was mostly dedicated to going to panels and taking pictures of some of the cooler cosplays, like the one above, the Dark Knight (as he introduced himself) who insisted I be in the picture with him. Unfortunately, our camera crapped out on us and I don’t have any pictures of Conner and I, in fact, that Dark Knight picture was the only decent one with me in it. Panels I got to see the third day were Breaking the Stereotypes, Diversity in Geek Culture, J. August Richards, Alison Mack, and another panel with Jason David Frank. Then we saw the first half of the costume contest and then we left and it was over. I’m now addicted. More cosplay and conventions to come.

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Shadowrun (plus personal update)

Things aren’t as desperate as they were last time I posted but not incredibly better so I could still use any commissions I can get, either art or writing. If anyone wants to hire me just email or Skype me.

After months of owning it, I finally got a chance to sit down and relax with some Shadowrun Returns. I finished it today and I have to say I am not at all disappointed. Playing a Decker actually wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be. There was only one moment in the game that I enjoyed doing a matrix run and it was partly because I had a team in a fire fight behind my deckers with my men protecting us while we hacked. The story was pretty enjoyable and reminded me a lot of the Genesis Shadowrun (kinda).

Character customization was at about what you’d want as far as stats but if you don’t build a character for combat, then boss battles get a little rough. I decided to ultimately focus on Body, Quickness, Intelligence and Charisma as my stats. And Pistols and decking being my primary skills. I like the talking options that extra charisma gets you, so I usually max that out in games that have it or something like it as an option.

I would definitely recommend Shadowrun Returns for any fans of Shadowrun and anyone looking for a fun turn-based strategy RPG type game.