December 23, 2010

VBlog #4 - Happy Holidays!

As promised, I have created a Video Blog for my Protoss Nexus Gingerbread House (affectionately renamed the "GingerNexus").

I'll post up pictures later, but for now - enjoy!



Happy Holidays, and keep on gaming!

November 20, 2010

And the beat goes on...

Current exciting news:

1. Still pluggin' along with research: I'm meeting with Dr. C on a regular basis now, which is great and will hopefully keep me on a schedule. I've realized that I'm extremely goal-oriented, and I need to set goals and deadlines for myself the way classes and school used to do. Now that I'm working full-time, it's harder than ever to come home after 8/9+ hours days and attempt to read numerous scientific articles. I think I'll try the divide and conquer approach; I'll break my model into sections, then attack each one separately within a tentative timeframe. And no matter how difficult or daunting this task seems, I'm determined to see it through!

2. Playin' some games: I have a number of games on my "to-play" list, and I'm very excited to get at them. However, Black Ops has been released and my division of the PMS Clan (Modern Warfare 2) will be switching official to a Black Ops division in January...in preparation for this, I've been trying to ramp up my play time on the new game. I both like and don't like Black Ops - it feels a lot like Modern Warfare 2, as I suppose it should, but I miss the Special Ops missions and the maps. Oh, I *really* miss the maps...Black Ops has some great detail in it...but when does it become too much? I wonder if anyone else feels the same...

3. Holidays! Gearing up for the festive season by scoping out the game selections and figuring out what games to buy friends and family. I've also been invited to my boyfriend's family's annual Gingerbread House Party, and I'm trying to figure out a way to create a Starcraft II scene out of gingerbread...we're thinking either a Protoss Nexus (a pyramid out of gingerbread is easy, right?) or a Terran Command Center. Either way, I plan on incorporating my favorite race into the scene - candy-coated zerglings and creep! We'll see how this turns out... :D

That's all, ta-ta for now!
(BTW, hope everyone out there is doing well)

October 31, 2010

Video Blog #3 - Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear!

I know this isn't video game/industry specific....but I couldn't help but post this. Enjoy!


October 21, 2010

Fallout: New Vegas

Here are my initial thoughts on the game:

1. I LOVE the intro; Brings the player up-to-speed on the main character, the social/political climate of the West Coast, and the status of the "war." Not to mention it's downright beautiful! I mean...if you can get past all the nuclear waste and grime. I'm kind of all about that though; anything post-apocalyptic or utopia = super awesome in my book.

2. Some things never change - like the character creation! I find it amusing that they can create beautiful scenery and detailed characters, but the character creation functionality is poo. Sure, it gives you plenty of options to change, but on the super-tiny screen that shows your character's face, you can't really see any of the changes! And why does my character look like she always has a 5 o'clock shadow, no matter what settings I change? This is a carry-over problem from Oblivion as well...couldn't make a decent looking character no matter how hard you tried. Fallout is certainly better...but damn.

3. The story is fairly interesting, so far. I was drawn to Fallout 3, not only because I was born in and raised close to Washington D.C., but also because I'm a daddy's girl :-) The New Vegas storyline doesn't pull at my heartstrings, but I like some of the characters enough to continue on. Plus, I'm eager to see what this "New Vegas" is like, and see how it differs (if at all) from the actual Las Vegas.

4. I'm roughly 4 hours into the game, and I feel like I've barely done anything. I like this, however, as I expect RPG's to take hours upon hours to complete. I'm just now leaving the starting 'town,' and as eager as I am to get to New Vegas, I'm forcing myself to stop and look around the wasteland a bit.

So far, I'm diggin' this game! Stay tuned...

October 18, 2010

Video Blog #2 - New York Comic Con 2010

1. Still getting used to doing Video Blogs, hence they don't have any real 'purpose' yet.

2. Please pardon the poor camera quality and instability - walking and talking are obviously not my strong points.

3. Look at all the pretty, nerdy things!


October 4, 2010

A message from the ESA

Thanks to a great friend of mine, I was forwarded the following message from the ESA...



The Entertainment Software Association
October 4, 2010
Dear Friends,
In the past few weeks, we witnessed a unique series of events that reflected
the significance of the entertainment software industry. These include: an
outpouring of support from the political, scientific, business and legal
communities in defense of the constitutional rights of video games; a White
House ceremony at which President Barack Obama launched a national
competition to create a video game promoting math and science learning; and
a cover story in the Sunday New York Times Magazine about the importance
of games in education.  All of these occurrences represented more visible
proof of the positive impact our remarkable industry is having on society.
On November 2, our legal team will be before the United States Supreme Court,
defending the First Amendment rights of our industry's innovators, creative
artists, and storytellers. I am extremely proud of the respondents' brief we filed
with the high court, which clearly detailed why the California statute is unnecessary, unwarranted and unconstitutional. No less important, on September 17, a
bipartisan group of state attorneys general were among more than 180 First
Amendment scholars, social scientists and organizations representing entertainment
media, business and journalism that filed amicus briefs in support of our position.
Groups as diverse as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Cato Institute and
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined entertainment media companies and
others in opposing the California law as an unconstitutional infringement on our
right of free speech. The video game community also continues to show its
support through the Video Game Voters Network which now has more than
250,000 activists who believe in the First Amendment and are fighting with us
to protect it. To read the amicus briefs and other materials related to the
upcoming case, please visit our Supreme Court microsite.
By ensuring that computer and video games receive the free speech
protection they are entitled to, our industry can focus on creating innovative
products that are a source of entertainment and learning. This powerful
combination was highlighted on September 16 when President Obama
launched the National STEM Video Game Challenge at a White House
event as part of his national "Educate to Innovate" campaign. The Challenge,
which ESA co-sponsored, aims to motivate interest in science, technology,
engineering and math (STEM) learning by tapping into students' natural
passion for playing and making video games. 
Research has demonstrated that playing and making games fosters the
development of the critical thinking, design and problem-solving skills needed
to succeed in STEM subjects and motivate students to pursue careers in
these fields. The competition -- supported by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center
at Sesame Workshop, Microsoft Corporation, American Library Association,
The International Game Developers Association and other organizations --
will feature prizes for middle school students who design an original video
game, as well as prizes for emerging and experienced developers who design
mobile games that teach STEM concepts to young children.
The growing use of entertainment software as an educational tool was also
highlighted in the September 19 edition of the Sunday New York Times 
Magazine article Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom. The
piece profiled Quest to Learn, a New York City public school that has
incorporated computer and video games into virtually every aspect of their
curriculum in an effort to "support the digital lives of young people and their
capacity for learning." The fact that the influence of games in education
will continue to grow was underscored by neuroscientist Paul Howard-Jones
who told the Times that 30 years from now "we will marvel that we ever tried
to deliver a curriculum without gaming."
To respond to the expanding role that computer and video games are playing
in education and other aspects of daily life, an increasing number of institutes
of higher education are offering degrees in video game design, development,
programming and art. Our own research has shown a record 300 American
colleges, universities, art and trade schools will offer these types of programs
during the 2010-11 academic year, an almost 20 percent increase over
2009-10. 
I know in the weeks, months and years to come we will see even more
recognition of the many positive ways computer and video games are
impacting the American economy and society. As our Supreme Court case
demonstrates, we face challenges today. As our industry's history proves,
there is no limit to what our creativity can achieve tomorrow.  
Sincerely,
Michael D. Gallagher
Michael D. Gallagher
President and CEO
Entertainment Software Association

More information on this case can be found here. Go crazy!

October 3, 2010

Halo: Quite the Reach..a mid-game review

Alright everyone...I tried.

I really
really
really tried.

Sadly, Halo Reach is just not a game I can really get into.
Oh, I can't wait to get the hate mail for this one. Let's see if I can't justify my feelings...

I played all of Halo 1, and I can  happily say that it was different, intriguing, and fun. I skipped Halo 2 after I tried the first level (couldn't get past the weird controls/game feel...no thank you), and I played bits and pieces of Halo 3 (mostly multi-player). So, I was really excited to dedicate myself fully to Halo Reach, since I hadn't done so in the past. I really wanted to get caught up in the hype and love for the story and game play. I really wanted to complete the campaign and try my hand at different multi-player styles. And yet, here are the big cons so far:

  1. Futuristic Soldiers can't Run n' Gun

I suppose I'm partial to fast-paced shooters. I grew up playing FPS's like Quake and Unreal, so when I encounter game mechanics like the ones found in Halo Reach, I get very frustrated - fast. Having power-ups is neat, but I would never suggest to have 'sprint' as one of these, as 'sprinting' should be something that every soldier has the ability to do all the time, Spartan or not. It also kills me that many of the guns have no scope (at least having add-ons to guns would be nice). Overall the controls seem slow (at least slower than what I'm used to) and unresponsive. I'd love to hit the left analog stick once to crouch, instead of 3 or 4 times. However, this could also be a PEBCAC problem.

     2. Lets do the same thing, over and over and over again!


After three levels of the campaign and a few rounds of multi-player, I keep having to force myself to put the disc in and keep playing. I have little to no interest in finishing the campaign; this may be because I didn't play all of Halo 2 & 3, but also because as of now all the levels are looking the same (both look and objective-wise). Now, I'm still fully committed to completing this game, but for some reason I'm not having nearly as much fun as I would have liked.


But have no fear, there is a silver lining:

  1. One small step for FPS's, one giant leap for Online Match-Making
I really like what Halo Reach is doing with the match-making process in multi-player games. Before I joined a clan and became accustomed to the way people interact in online multi-player games, I would avoid playing multi-player games unless I knew everyone playing. I knew I'd only interact with uber-competitive guys who would relish the idea of making fun of a girl playing video games. But in Halo Reach, I'm able to describe my gaming style and preferences, and the game will automatically match me with similar-style gamers. I love it! Too bad I don't love the game.

Now, don't totally hate on me just yet. I'm still determined to see this whole thing through. I'll make my final decision about the game later, after I've beaten the campaign and played many more online multi-player games. But for now...blah.

October 1, 2010

Video Blog #1 - PAX Prime 2010

Finally! An update!

Yes folks, and a long one at that. Below you can watch my very first video blog, which is all about PAX Prime. Now, I warn you, it's a long video blog....over 10 minutes of pictures and stories from Seattle, Washington. I'm going to make it a point to be more concise in my future video blogs, so hopefully this will be the only 6+ minute vblog. We'll see!

So, what are you waiting for? Take a look! :D

September 22, 2010

Wait for it...

So, I work at least 8.5 + hours a day at work, then another 2-3 hours at night because I'm slammed with deadlines for my job. Thus, I've not been able to write or film a post...and goodness knows all I want to do is talk about PAX and how great it was. I promise, as soon as this wave of work is finished....I'll write/film a nice blog post :-)

Also, I'm seriously looking for a film crew (or person) to help me figure out this music video (game-related) I'd like to do. I just don't have the technical know-how to film this, and I'd like to talk with someone else to figure out some more creative ways to get my message across. I know, vague, but I really hope I can get this little project off the ground before winter.

That's all for now! Back to the grind....

September 9, 2010

Update soon!

An update about PAX Prime 2010 and how amazing it was is coming soon! Sadly, I have work responsibilities that take precedence over fun :-(

Much love to the Frag Dolls and Cadettes - these ladies are truly incredible.

August 30, 2010

T-minus...

2 DAYS UNTIL PAX!!!

Well, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind. As soon as I found out I was a Frag Doll Cadette, my stress level has increased exponentially! At my full-time job I have more client meetings, requirements and design reviews, and training sessions than I have space on my calendar, and my after-work life isn't much better. Sadly, there's only so much time for gaming after work...but I wouldn't trade this for anything! There is still so much to be done before I leave...I just hope I don't forget anything!

I'm so excited for this event. I'm thrilled to finally meet the Frag Dolls, some of the most famous women in the gaming industry, as well as the other fabulous Fall Cadettes (and even some past Cadettes)! I'm not sure how much I can disclose as of now, but we Cadettes certainly have our work cut out for us! SO EXCITED!!!

August 25, 2010

RIP Franz Vonlichten/E.S. Posthumus

Although not directly gaming related, I had to post something about this. I have been a fan of E.S. Posthumus for years after I instantly fell in love with their first CD "Unearthed." My love for their compositions and musical expression deepened with "Cartographer," and I even claimed one track as my 'theme.' Even in gaming, I have chosen to go by the gamertag "Selisona" in honor of my favorite E.S. Posthumus song "Selisona Pi." If you enjoy music that stimulates the imagination and soul, then please listen.


Wow, just listening to it again brings tears to my eyes. This song was my anthem as I battled my way through college, tested my fortitude by joining a sorority and a fraternity, found myself through hip-hop dance and fought for my very own fencing club. I'm deeply saddened to know that one half of this unforgettable team is now gone, and I fear that I may never hear music quite like this again.

::Sigh:: I may just be emotional right now...but my deepest condolences go out to Helmut Vonlichten and the Vonlichten family. Rest In Peace Franz, and in turn, Rest In Peace E.S. Posthumus.

August 7, 2010

I'M A FRAG DOLL CADETTE!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's right ladies and gentlemen...I received the email on Wednesday evening, and it's been torture keeping it a secret! I wanted to scream it from the mountain tops when I found out, but I had to wait until the Frag Dolls officially announced it on Friday! AAHHHHHHHH :D :D :D :D :D

Before I go into details, I want to thank a few people for putting up with my crazy antics/nervous tendencies/procrastinating ways:

1.Jason – My boyfriend, and the creative genius behind our film projects. Without him, my video applications wouldn't be nearly as well lit, filmed, edited, and directed (or fun :D ).
2.My parents – Thanks for all the support, even if mom doesn't quite understand it all.
3.Jess – My bestest, who always puts up with my larger-than-life ideas. Thanks for gaming with me when no other girls would.
4.All my friends and family – You all have provided so much love and support. I only hope to continually return the favor.

Now, back to the FDCs (Frag Doll Cadettes):

Our first event is PAX Prime in Seattle, Washington on Sept. 3-6th. Jason and I had already made plans to go to this event, so it will be interesting to see how this works out logistically. In any event, it should be a blast and I'm super excited to meet and hang with the Frag Dolls and the other lucky Frag Doll Cadettes for Fall 2010! Seriously, I can't believe I made it.

And in honor of the current Spring and future Fall 2010 Cadettes, Frag Doll Siren (one of the newest Frag Dolls) made a fantastic video - check it out!

SOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dream come true, anyone? :D

July 18, 2010

For the love of all things RIDICULOUS

First off, my Frag Doll Application is finished! This time around, instead of me sitting in front of a camera and answering questions, my boyfriend suggested that I should read a story. I loved the idea, and spent the next few days creating my storybook; laying out all the pictures, deciding what videos should be displayed as I spoke and when, and creating the storybook text. Jason (my boyfriend) and I spent the next week setting up lights, filming scenes, and trying to find time to sleep somewhere in between it all.

I submitted the written portion of my application on Friday afternoon, and my fantastic boyfriend spent the entire day editing my video interview. Now, you might be thinking "But Kim, the video interview is only a 3 minute movie....what could possibly take him so long to edit it?" WELL - aside from horrible traffic, sleep deprivation, and crashing computers, we also had to deal with creating a "living storybook," complete with videos and green screen captures. Here are pictures, just to show you how massive this "video interview" undertaking was...

 (Lights filling up my Living Room)

 (Massive Green Screen)

(My mom on the green screen) 

(My boyfriend, the talented director) 

 (Me, being a princess)

(Me, being a Space Marine Princess)

(Test Run!)

(The Set - look at all those controllers!)

(Opening page of my storybook)

(Reading beneath the camera)

(So many controllers)

(Last day of filming)

As you can see, we put a ton of effort into this film. Little did we know that tragedy would strike just before the deadline. When we tried to render the final product - Jason's computer crashed! We didn't realize it at the time, but one of our green screen film captures was causing the problem, so every time we tried to run the 30+ minute render, it would crash. Running out of time, Jason thought quickly and rendered a copy of just one film take - that of me in front of the camera reading the storybook (sadly, all his hard work editing would not be submitted). After that was rendered, we only had a little bit of time to send the video through yousendit.com - and just sending the video took many hours. At this point, I wasn't even sure if my application would be accepted, since the video interview would probably be received after the deadline.

We were pretty bummed, but this whole experience has inspired me to do better and plan ahead for these applications. I've already started thinking about what I'll do next time...

And just so you all can see the difference in the movie we did send to the Cadettes and the one we should have sent in, here they are:

Film (no green screen captures or editing):

Film (edited, final version that should have been sent in):

July 12, 2010

Grrrrrr

I'm super frustrated with my Frag Doll Cadette application this round. I have every block imaginable - writers block, creative/artsy block, GAMING BLOCK....It suddenly feels like everything I think or do isn't correct in the slightest. Ugh.

Sorry, I had to let some frustration out here. I'm hoping to have it all done by Thursday night (due date is midnight Friday). I think the worst part is knowing that no matter what I do for the application, the final decision still comes down to a random drawing.

Curse you chance, curse you.

July 8, 2010

Favorite Openings

As you can tell, I haven't been in the mood to write anything deep or meaningful recently...so I will continue my random blog posts with my favorite video game openings!



Chrono Cross
I distinctly remember hearing this song before I even knew what this game was. I had a demo cd for this game with only five songs on it - this song being the first track. I would listen to it on repeat for the longest time, and I didn't care what the game was about - I knew I had to have it. I still have my copy of the game, and I'm tempted to go back and replay it....and for the record, the OST for this game is amazing.



Final Fantasy VIII
"Liberi Fatali" is certainly one of my favorite songs by Nobuo Uetmatsu (although, I tend to love all his songs), but the video for this fits so well! Of course after I saw this opening I knew I had to get the game...I believe my cousin had it, and after a while he was kind enough to give me his copy :-)



The Legend of Dragoon
Not the greatest intro movie, but it certainly had me hooked! Well that, plus the cover of the game box. This one just brings back good memories...



Dynasty Warriors 6
"Ok, first I'm going to throw my cape and distract you. Then, I'm going to run on water, do some flips and stuff, nearly sink the ship when I land on it too. Next I'm gonna fight a little bit, but as soon as Lu Bu shows up I'm going to get super-human strength in just my hand and rocket-launch my weapon at him...finally, I'll fight Lu Bu one-on-one, while in fire, in the middle of the sky. Sounds like a plan!" - as told by Zhao Yun. I love the extreme ridiculousness.

Thats all for now! I'll probably have another post at some point in the future with more fantastic Video Game Openings!

July 7, 2010

Love [CG Style]

I usually don't write about this kind of stuff - but I read a blog post recently (written by an amazing woman and dear friend) about love and, specifically, favorite famous couples. I've decided to write a similar blog post about my favorite Video Game Couples (sappy, I know). So, here we go! (In no particular order...except for this first one)

Tidus and Yuna from Final Fantasy X
Nothing says True Love like Tragedy. Tragic romances are certainly my favorite, and the love story of Yuna and Tidus is no exception. I certainly don't want to give away the story here, but it is well worth playing the 80+ hours of Final Fantasy X just to find out what happens to these two reluctant love birds. Not to mention that they have one of the most beautiful love themes - I consider both Suteki Da Ne and To Zanarkand their themes, To Zanarkand being my favorite (Listen here!)


Zelda & Link from The Legend of Zelda
I don't know a single gamer who doesn't love, or at least know of the love story between the elf-boy Link and the Princess Zelda. Classic and timeless; a young boy gifted with strength, determination, and a sweet set of weapons is chosen to save the land of Hyrule and its Princess, Zelda, from the evil Gannondorf. "Zelda: A Link to the Past" was one of the first games I ever beat, and being the impressionable young girl that I was, I couldn't help but love the game and the couple the story centered around. Ah, young love :-)


Nate Drake and Elena Fisher from Uncharted
What's not to love about this couple? He's the sexy 'tomb raider', she's the cute but gutsy reporter, and both kick some serious booty. Nothing spells romantic like a nice night searching for hidden treasure while dodging traps, encountering big bad baddies and engaging in mass shootouts....::sigh:: Some girls have all the fun...



Dart and Shana from The Legend of Dragoon
Such a sweet story! A love that grows between childhood friends... after Dart returns from a war to find that Shana has been taken away for mysterious reasons. Did I mention that they get to turn into neat Dragoons with sweet armor and wings? Oh, and don't listen to those haters talking about how this is a carbon copy of FFVII, they just don't get it ;-)


Wakka and Lulu from Final Fantasy X
I like this relationship, if only because it makes little sense. He is the happy-go-lucky Blitzball jock and she's the gothic magic caster....so how'd they get together? I dunno, but I like this representation of opposite-attraction.


Serge and Kid from Chrono Cross
In one world he was meant to die...but in another, he was meant to fight, search for a long-lost past, switch bodies with the big baddie, and of course - fall in love! A story about what should have been and what is...Twilight could learn a thing or two from this couple (just kidding ladies, just kidding...)


Amy and Raphael from Soul Calibur
What is one thing that I love more than fencing? It's a slightly creepy, slightly disturbed, possibly undead fencing couple! Raphael, the gentleman fencer turned vampire, has decided to take a young woman, Amy, under his wing....to which he trains her to fight and at one point, even promises to change the world for her so that she might fit in...creepy, but I love it!

Lu Bu and Diao Chan from Dynasty Warriors (and history)
Now this is a power couple. An invincible general of warn-torn China who falls in love with a servant girl and ends up killing the man he considered his "father" for her (among other reasons)....ahhh, such a love as to be known throughout history as the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms."


Largo and Jann from Valkyria Chronicles
Largo
Jann
As much as I would love for these two to be an item...they're not. But, anyone who has played Valkyria Chronicles should get the reference.  "Oh Largo, you're the only man for me!"


Well, that's all for my favorite video game couples. But which ones did I miss? Let me know :-)

June 23, 2010

Frag Doll Cadette Academy - Fall 2010

Is it that time already? It seems like just yesterday that I sent off my Spring 2010 application...I'm eager and pleased to announce that they have made a few changes to this Fall application, which is due at the latest on July 16th! Only three weeks to complete the following:

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Resume
  3. Gaming History (2 pages)
  4. Video Interview (3 minutes max)
  5. Photos (2)
For this Fall semster, and all other Cadette semesters, the Frag Dolls will be evaluating applicants based on their "Casting Call" criteria, and not the minimum requirements stated above. They estimate that they will select 20-25% of the top applicants (those who they see could one day become Frag Dolls) and place those girls in a random drawing for the final 12 chosen to be Cadettes. Needless to say, I'm extremely excited about this round, and I can't wait to submit my application :-)

I've also made some progress on my Video Blog...and by progress, I mean I've thought more about it, and figured out what (or more specifically "who's") camera I will use. I'm really trying to come up with some creative concepts for this Vblog - my only concern is the execution. I can day-dream all day long about how things can look and what should happen, but making this a reality will be much more difficult than I anticipate, I fear.

In light of this, I'll be pulling ideas and techniques learned through all my recent escapades dealing in film. I'm so thankful to know and work with such talented people in the area. Most recently I was commissioned to be a spokesperson for a nearby electronics company, and working with this production group, in particular, has provided me invaluable experience with technical film, special effects, and on-screen practice. Not to mention that I also completed two small independent films with their help (check out my earlier blog post about the 48 Hour Film Project, and click the link for the actual film!).

I'm also getting back into some other creative past times, most recent being a new Hip Hop dance class I signed up for (attended the first practice this evening!). I can't explain how thrilled I am to have found this class, and I'm already eager for next week's lesson...but, this is completely off-topic :-)

As always I'm open to ideas on what to do for video blog segments, both creative and technical gaming aspects. Give me an idea, and I'm sure I'll be able to work it into a video blog at some point.

Oh, and uh...I heard some big game convention happened recently...I think it's called E3, or something? Has anyone heard anything about this? ;-)


June 14, 2010

Mixed Emotions

At long last, I have returned! Sorry for the delay – I’ve been quite busy, as we all have, but fear not! Gaming is still a top priority of mine, and due to recent events I’m more determined than ever to continue this blog, share my (womanly) thoughts on gaming, and continue to train with the PMS clan.

I’d like to cover a number of items in this post, including my thoughts on recent Frag Doll announcements, my plans for PAX PRIME, and my ideas and concerns over starting a Video Blog. Commence Operation: Mixed Emotions!

Frag Doll Announcements
As some of you know, I’ve wanted to be a Frag Doll for the longest time…and now more recently, a Frag Doll Cadette. I’ve applied once to the Frag Doll Cadette program, but I wasn’t chosen to be one of the lucky 12 for the Spring 2010. I’ll be applying again in the Fall (if they decide to continue recruiting girls for 6month internships) and I’ve already thought of a few ideas to make this application video better than the last.

Recently, the Frag Dolls announced the addition of two new Frag Dolls (and I mean FRAG DOLLS, not Cadettes). I read this announcement with mixed emotions – on one hand, I’m happy to see that the Frag Dolls are letting new women join. On the other hand, I continue to see others achieve one of my greatest goals. Luckily, I’ve turned these “mixed emotions” into fuel for both my career and creative endeavors. I now have a whole list of things to strive for, and my resolve for getting better in competitive gaming is at an all-time high.

Side note: Congratulations Siren and Glitch! Please know that we’re all very happy for you…if not just a little jealous ;-)

PAX Prime
I'm buying my tickets soon! I'm very excited, as this will be my first video game convention ever! I hope to compete in some of the tournaments there, meet some very interesting industry experts (and fans), test out some new games, and explore Seattle, Washington. Now...I just need to figure out the plane ride and hotel space... :-) If anyone else is going - please let me know! I'd love to meet up and say HI!

Video Blog
I'm playing with the idea of starting a Video Blog. My only real concerns with starting this is 1. having the time to create, film, and edit "posts" and 2. having these "posts" be interesting and entertaining enough for people to watch. I do feel, however, that having a Video Blog would 1. force me to come up with regular updates and 2. would get me to be much more relaxed on camera. I've had a little more experience being on film within the past year, but I'm nowhere near where I want to be.

So...perhaps I will try this Video Blog idea that I have. I probably won't be able to put up any Video posts until a while from now, as I still need to obtain video editing software and a camera... Oh, and words of encouragement are very welcome :-D

TTFN!


May 9, 2010

48 Hour Film Project

This past weekend I joined a group of extremely talented individuals in making a short film for the Washington D.C. 48 Hour Film Project. Still not game-related...but I'm telling you, there is nothing like making a movie. It's not the prep work, or the editing, or even the filming that makes it entertaining - it's the people you work with that make it worth it (although watching the final product for the first time as a group comes in as a close second).

The 48 Hour Film Project is a competition where teams create entire short films (4-7 min in length) in 2 days...which is *way* harder than it sounds. My group ended up making a 70's/80's stop-action monster flick called "Kill the Monsters", which is probably one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. Our film, along with many others, will be premiered throughout the week at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland. Tomorrow night at 9:30pm is my group's film premiere, and I couldn't be more excited! If the crowd doesn't laugh at our over-the-top grind-house 70's dark comedy....then something is wrong with the world.

I'll be posting pictures from the set, but only after tomorrow night's premiere.
[Update...]
Here are a few pictures taken on set:

 ("Kill the Monsters" title screen)

 (Chase scene - Stop Motion Animation to be added later)

(The film crew)

 (Resting between scenes)

 (Home-made flame-thrower...kids, don't try this at home)

And now, here is the actual film....

Next Post: Actual gaming content, including Boy Scout merit badges, Gamasutra, and college gaming degrees!

May 5, 2010

Gaming news, articles, degrees, and a concert

Finally, back to the main point of this blog....gaming! I have a whole list of things to discuss in this post, and so I will begin (in no particular order):


1. Gamasutra
By recommendation of a close friend, I signed up for an account on Gamasutra.com. I love this site and appreciate the multiple video game company and job listings...although I'm unsure of how helpful this will be for me. There is even a section for a blog, but I am currently unable to link it to this blog (and I just don't feel like posting on two different sites). If anyone knows of a remedy for this, please let me know. I'll have to dive into the site further for more information...

2. Boy Scouts Video Game Merit Badge
I was a Girl Scout for 13 years and it was already bad enough that we had merit badges for 'cooking' and 'sewing' (which, to be honest, are important skills to learn)...but this is just downright cruel. Perhaps cruel is not the word I'm looking for. It's more unfair...as to my knowledge, there is no equivalent of this merit badge in the Girl Scout world.

In looking at the details of the merit badge, the earning requirements seem to fall directly in line with every other merit badge: Learn the pros and cons of video games, create a schedule for school, chores, and video games, teach someone else how to play a video game, etc...so earning the badge will be a piece of cake. I only wish that the Girl Scouts would create their own similar, if not exact, merit badge. This just shows how the public still views video games as an all-male activity/hobby :-/

I found one article discussing the Boy Scout merit badge, which lead me to another site which seems to be the closest thing to a Girl Scout merit badge/interactive site (found here). I don't know, I know girls like ponies and sprinkles and stuff....but I think it would go a long way to offer a video game merit badge for Girl Scouts. Anyone else agree or disagree?

3. Gaming Degree at George Mason University, Fairfax VA
Figures that a year after I graduate my university decides to offer a bachelor's degree in video game design. In all honesty, I think this is a great. A close family friend is currently working on his second bachelor's at GMU, this time in the Computer Science department for a B.S. in Video Game Design. So far, my friend is really enjoying the classes and what he's learning :-) I believe GMU is offering a bachelors in Art (music, graphic art, writing) and Science (programming) for the degree, but I wonder how students who would like to get into the business-side of gaming would work with this?

In the end...this just makes me want to go back to school :-/


4. Distant Worlds Concert and Distant Worlds II
I'm finally getting things set up for the Distant Worlds concert at Wolf Trap on July 30th (Friday) at 8:30pm. I have a few interested takers, and I think it'll be a fun night relaxing on the lawn, eating food and listening to some fantastic music :-) Also, the Distant Worlds II soundtrack is available for download here. Honestly, I think I prefer DW 1 over DW 2, but certain songs (like the Prelude, Main Theme of FFVII, Zanarkand, and Terra's Theme) really get to me. I highly recommend both soundtracks, and if you get the chance to see the concert live..all the better :-)

That's all for now!

May 3, 2010

I have returned!

I'm finally back from my vacation to Hawaii (and then some) and I have a whole list of things to discuss. I think I'll make it easier for my readers and break each section into different posts...starting with the one about HAWAII!

I know, it's not game-related...but I can't help but share how amazing Hawaii was. My boyfriend and I traveled to Kauai, one of the more remote islands of Hawaii, and we had a blast. I would love to post all my pictures here, but I don't think the Blogger site would be happy with 1,000+ uploaded pictures. So, here are just a few :D

(Japanese Garden at the Honolulu Airport)

(First waterfall of the trip - after an hour horseback ride)

(Horseback Ride!)

(Na Pali Coast from our Sunset Cruise)

("Secret Falls" after a 2.5 mile kayak trip and a 1 mile hike)

(Sunset view from dinner)

(View from our Villa at the Nihi Kai - in my new PMS shirt!)

Overall - had a great time, got to take some great pictures, and one girl even commented on my PMS Clan shirt. I think it was a definite win!

Next post: The Washington D.C. 48 Hour Film Project!

April 19, 2010

No updates for the next week.

Fair warning - I will be gone for the next 7 days to the beautiful island of Kauai in Hawaii! The only downside to this (if there were actual downsides to this) is that I will not be able to game for that week. But honestly, I can take a week-break from gaming for this ;-)

More gaming updates to come next week!

April 12, 2010

It's Official!!!

I'm one of the newest members of the PMS clan - North American division of Modern Warfare 2 for the Xbox 360!!!

My official name in the clan registry and on the forums is now PMS Selisona, and I'll be changing my gamertag on Xbox Live shortly to match :D I've also been given a big sister (Yay PMS Enigma!) who has even invited me to join her small team (Omega Squad)! I'm probably going to take her up on the offer, since it would be a great introduction to small teams...but I do eventually want to join an official all-girl PMS small team. Omega Squad is a co-ed team, which both PMS and H2O division leaders agreed to, but it is not recognized as an official PMS/H2O team...the upside? It doesn't require 4 additional practice hours per week! Perfect for right now, when my schedule is going crazy <.<

That's all I have for right now - I'll be writing another post about the ex-Infinity Ward heads and their new company....oh drama, drama everywhere.

[Update...]
I'm such a nerd. I just received my PMS clan t-shirt and keychain in the mail today. Here are pictures!
(A little wrinkled, but there it is! "PMS Clan - Play like a girl" with the keychain laying on top)

(Back of shirt - "Selisona" my gamertag on the back! Official name is PMS Selisona)


::sigh:: I love it! It's nice to work hard at something and have it pay off :-) Now, I just need to find a video game convention/tournament to go to so I can represent my clan....

Also - I read an article today on the newly created enterprise called "Respawn Entertainment" - formed by the two ex-Infinity Ward employees Jason West and Vincent Zampella. Not only that, but they've partnered with EA, which I think is a great decision on both parts. EA seems to be having trouble competing with the various game franchises and developers nowadays, and so I believe that this may help to revitalize the company - and with a semi-powerhouse company like EA, Respawn may become a huge contender in the future as well. Activision's original claims that West and Zampella also seem to be true - that both the creative leads where secretly discussing a partnership is EA for a while now. Although I wholly disapprove of Activision's method of letting the two employees go, I find it interesting that these two men have bounced back so well - and so fast - and I only wonder if this situation will escalate into something more.

Off to do some shopping...in my new PMS Clan shirt!

April 7, 2010

WCG Ultimate Gamer

I watched the first episode of WCG Ultimate Gamer - Season 1 on Hulu.com last night...and boy, where do I begin....

First off - I had no idea how awesome Amy Brady is - not only is she one of the founders of the PMS clan (her gamertag "Athena" gave that away) but she's also a FRAG DOLL?! I knew her as Valkyrie (Frag Doll) instantly, but I had never seen a picture of "Athena" - co-founder of PMS - so I was pretty shocked and excited to see her on there. Obviously, she'd be a great contestant on the show :-)

Now, I'm all for a good competition - that's kind of an essential part of video gaming - but like any reality TV show, the developers/producers of WCG Ultimate Gamer couldn't help but add a little "drama" to the mix. For example, instead of giving the gamers their space, they decide to place all 12 in one loft for the duration of the show. I understand this concept (every other reality TV show does this), and I understand that good drama equals good TV, that ratings are all that matter in most cases, and that it's probably best to keep all the contestants under a proverbial 'lock & key'. But I think I would have been just as happy with a good old TV show about these gamers and their challenges, minus the "living together" part. Granted that's not a big part (yet), but I'm only 1 episode in.

Also, a friend of mine mentioned how it seemed unfair that some very good gamers lost the competition because of games like "Rock Band" or "DDR" - but I have to say that if you're going to be the "ULTIMATE" gamer, then you have to be good at all the different types of games...yet another reason why I won't apply for this; racing games will be the end of me (snowmobiles not an exception). Those, as well as sports games and "music" games like Rock Band and DDR....all of which I'm horrible at :-/


In light of all this, I still find the show somewhat interesting. I'm planning to watch the other 7 episodes (eventually, as things are busy again), and I'm eager to see more of how the show (and contestants) characterize gamers and the gaming community. 


 Also, I find it hilarious that one of the male contestants noted that all the girl gamers on the show were "relatively attractive" and that he couldn't think of them as "serious" gamers. - I'll need to think about that statement a little more, as I'm sure there is a good theory I could pull out of this...

And finally - this is my fourth and final week of PMS Recruitment. I've already submitted my PMS name to my recruitment manager, and even that has been approved (yay!). Now, if only I could find a Big Sister....

March 30, 2010

Sharing the Awesome...

Even if you're not really into gaming, here is a link that I think everyone will enjoy. It's for the Nintendo 3DS, a 3D-version of the DS. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the DS or DSi or DSi lite - I don't own any of these, but I have played a few games on the DSi and I appreciate all the different things you can do with them, ranging from picture taking to wireless multiplayer gaming...but this new 3DS is just neat! I'd get one just to look at it all day long :-) Take a look for yourself and let me know what you think!

Today is the highly-anticipated release date for the new Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Map Pack. I've already added Microsoft Points to my Xbox Live account (stupid, since I really didn't want to give Microsoft any of my money...or seem like I'm giving money to them) so as soon as I'm able to I'll be downloading the 5 new maps. Apparently only 3 of the maps are new, as two of them are well-known maps from Call of Duty 4 (Crash & Overgrown). The new ones sound interesting though (taken from Wikipedia: "..three new maps: Bailout, a multi-level apartment complex; Storm, an industrial park littered with heavy machinery; and Salvage, an abandoned car junkyard in the middle of the snow.") Exciting!


Oh, and if I didn't have a for-real job (that I love), I would definitely look into doing this: WCG Ultimate Gamer - Season 2. Now, I'm not big into reality TV (except for that one show "Who wants to be a Superhero?") - but this intrigues me. I haven't looked into it much, and I'm not going to apply or anything...but if anyone else knows information about this (stories from the first season, how the show conveys gamers and gaming to the public, etc...) let me know :-)

March 29, 2010

Playing Around

Like the new look? Blogger has just released a new Design Template that provides a bunch of new images, layouts, and fonts for further blog-customization. I'm going to try to make this a more "game-themed" blog (look-wise), so it'll be changing again shortly. Until then..hope you don't mind the bright colors :-)

PAX East was this weekend, and from the pictures I've seen so far, it looks like it was a TON of fun! I wish I could have gone - but now I'm trying to look for other video game conventions happening in 2010. Does anyone know of any?

Here are the big ones that I'm aware of:

  • E3 - June 2010 - Los Angeles, California (trade-only)
  • PAX Prime - September 2010 - Seattle, Washington
  • Consumer Electronics Show (CES) - January 2011 - Las Vegas, Nevada

In other news, I spent a very relaxing weekend playing Modern Warfare 2. It was very nice to share the experience with my boyfriend and parents (all of whom are cheering me on with my PMS training). At one point my father even played for a bit! My only qualm with the game is that they don't allow the players to bring in "guests" like in Halo or Left 4 Dead - some of my friends don't have an xbox or xbox live, but we would LOVE to play together online in team deathmatches or free-for-alls. Le sigh.

Week 3 of recruitment for PMS starts today! I'm excited to test out some of my newly unlocked items...it's funny how I figure out one thing, fall in love with it, and then never divert from it...like the Assault class (First Recon). I was playing that for the last 25 levels (leveling in the online multiplayer world, mind you) but only now have I created my own class with my chosen Assault Rifle, secondary weapon, and special equipment. I'm enjoying this much, much more :-)

End for now!

March 25, 2010

Distant Worlds

Oh...I'm so there.

Clicky!

Training

Prepare thyself - this will be a long one....

I'm halfway through my second week of training for the PMS clan...and I'm loving it! I can tell I'm getting better; I don't just run into the firefight all willy-nilly as I usually do, I tend to hide more and strategize, and I take the time to breathe and aim...and thanks to this, I've come out on top in many of my gaming sessions :-) The girls I'm training with are amazing, not only at playing Modern Warfare 2, but as women who do incredible things with their lives. I've met mothers, tattoo artists, business women, make-up artists, animal refugee founders...the list goes on. As an added bonus, the H20 guys are also a lot of fun to play MW2 with - they're very nice and respectful, and always defend the PMS girls if some of the other guys in the game start bad-mouthing them (which happens a lot, sadly).

In training, we don't just go into public games and play - we'll do private matches with just the PMS girls (members and recruits) to do specialized training, such as Duck Hunt for sniper training (4 girls snipe while the rest just run around and try to dodge the bullets) or one-on-one knife fights (knifing only) or Micheal Myers (one person can knife only, all others must hide/run but cannot shoot or knife back). Many of these sound like fun practices, but they actually hone in on different skills (Duck Hunt for sniping fast-moving targets, Micheal Myers for learning to use cover and really discovering all those "hidden" places in the maps). We've even done a free-for-all practice where we could only use sniper rifles, but we weren't allowed to camp (meaning we HAD to run around and practice something call "quick zoom"...which is really hard!). Just with these few practice games, my sniping and knifing skills have gotten so much better. I can't wait to practice more tonight!

One hot topic that is going around all the forums (and was even mentioned on the radio station 99.5) is this new website called GameCrush.com. I read this article, and I have a few thoughts of my own...

  1. To all the girl gamers out there: Is any self-respecting girl gamer really going to sign up as a "PlayDate" for this? Or even like the idea? I suppose the keyword here is "self-respecting"...
  2. The article likens the elite PlayDates (known as "JaneCrush") to the FragDolls...please don't. The Frag Dolls have been here for years, have proven their worth and skill time and time again in legitimate tournaments, and work closely with Ubisoft (a formidable player in the gaming industry). Perhaps GameCrush would like these girls of "JaneCrush" to become as famous as the Frag Dolls...but they are not, and will not, be the same.
  3. Guys - if you want to play games with girls, it's a lot easier than you think. Just go to Google and run a search for "Girl Gaming Clans" - there are many out there, all full of women who love to play games and are always willing to play with guys who treat them with respect. Plus, you don't have to pay.
  4. Is this a good business idea? Yeah, sure. But there are some flaws in the business logic (one that stands out the most in my mind is the xbox live portion - so a guy gets a girl's gamertag...and now he has that, forever. He could message her all the time, what's stopping him? I suppose the girl could block a user, but then she's cutting out a potential "client"....just silly, as xbox live is already poorly designed).
  5. "...from what we can tell, most of the girls on the service genuinely like to play games and are simply interested in getting paid for it. " ........I beg to differ. These girls aren't getting paid to play games. They're getting played to be "flirty" and "dirty." Would they still get their 60% cut of the sale if they just video-chatted the entire time and didn't play the game? My guess is yes. Will they earn money if they just play games on the site and don't get guys to pay money to play with them? No. So technically they're not getting paid to play games - it all depends on how appealing they can be to the guys searching the site.
  6. Your thoughts? Comments are always welcome :D
Now, onto something much cooler: I was visiting one of my favorite sites the other day (The Awesomer) when I came across this! In the same vein as the Blind Gamer who beat Zelda, this is a game specifically made for the vision impaired - meaning the entire game is played through sound cues and no visuals. Pretty neat, if you ask me!

I'll be writing more in a few days - too much to do in too little time! 

March 12, 2010

BioShock 2 - Complete

I was going to write a lot about my end thoughts on BioShock 2, after finishing the Single Player campaign mode last night with my bestest, but D-pads Are Us has done a great job of covering most of what I was going to say. Here are my few additions to his post -

*Caution: May Contain Spoilers*

  • Ummm..what happened to all the people? Grace? Poole? THE DAD?!?! Did we just leave them down there...for BioShock 3?
  • The dad who was leaving voice recordings (Matt M-something?) touched my heart, and I would have liked a side-quest where we meet him and help him find his daughter, Cindy....and as a side-note: Don't set up good/interesting characters and then never show them. Grrrr.
  • I agree with what the link above says: Essentially the first 8-10 hours of the game are almost *exactly* like BioShock 1. It isn't until the last leg of the journey that you begin to do some different stuff, which I did think was VERY cool (if only because it shows how intricate each character type is, and how much effort the game creators put into the back stories of each). But the overall storyline of this game was nowhere near as epic/crazy as the first one - still pretty good though :-)
  • As more of an inside joke: The most important thing this game lacked = the clown's voice and laugh for the Circus of Value. A close second = the crazy singing splicers.
  • Big Sisters = pretty freakin' sweet. And scary. Super scary. Stop screaming.
  • It would have been nice to re-visit some of the original maps from the first game - most notably Andrew Ryan's office, maybe the core of Rapture too...
Overall - a good sequel. I mean...it could have been A LOT worse. But I enjoyed it, for what it was. Perhaps in a few months I'll pick it up again and try it on a harder difficulty...but for now, onto Mass Effect 2/Modern Warfare 2!

Favorite quote from the game (would have been "It's the circus of value! HAHAHAH"):
Love is just a chemical. We chose to give it meaning.
                                              -Eleanor Lamb, Rapture

March 9, 2010

Rapture

I wrote a very long blog post last night all about BioShock 2, and the pros and cons of the game...only to click the "Publish Post" button and have the system send me an error message saying something about a "failure to post." I lost the entire thing, and I was too tired/frustrated to re-write it. So, here's a short recap of what I was going to say:


*Caution: May contain spoilers*


I love the BioShock series.


Pros of the game:

  • Level of detail in not only characters and backstory (the voice acting is very, very good), but also the creation and development of Rapture
  • Being a Big Daddy
  • Exploring the new levels
  • Listening to the audio diaries (I love them!)
Cons of the game:
  • Very similar story to the first one (New tyrant, splicers work for new tyrant, new tyrant is an enemy of Andrew Ryan..)
  • Surprising how easily the splicers are able to take down my Big Daddy, even with the suit and big guns (seems like you start with a very small health bar in the game)
  • Insufficient Funds - I'm roughly halfway through the game, and I'm just now getting enough $$$ to buy ammo and health kits
Creepiest parts of the game:
  • Walking around in near darkness with a flashlight (the bloody bodies everywhere doesn't help...)
  • So much water! For those of you who know me, I'm a terrible swimmer, so I'm already a little nervous around water in the real world. However, Duke Nukem totally ruined water in video games for me, so I'm even more paranoid...
  • Big Sisters, and their god-awful screams
Overall:
  • The story is not as good as BioShock 1 (although, it's still pretty compelling)
  • Security Bots are the end-all, be-all (I sometimes set alarms off purely to summon security bots so I can hack them and have my army of 2 :D)
  • Can't wait for the BioShock Movie! If they actually make it, that is...
In other news, I've only played a tiny bit of Modern Warfare 2 recently, as I've been dedicating my time to fixing my car, spending time with my bestest while playing BioShock 2 (yeah, it's a team effort), and gearing up for joining PMS. Sadly, I missed the Pre-Recruitment meeting last Sunday due to being out of town with my boyfriend and best friend (yay for seeing plays in Philly!), so hopefully I can start the 8+ training hours per week next week. Don't get me wrong - I'm dedicated - but I feel like it's going to take me a little while to get used to this new addition..not to mention re-arranging my schedule....but I'm excited!


March 5, 2010

The wait is over!

...and I didn't make it. But that's ok - I know 3 of the ladies who made it pretty well (considering I really only started talking to them on Sunday evening), and I'm SO happy for them! Congrats ladies! Please take TONS of pictures, tell me ALL the stories, and...put in a good word for me? ;-) Also, here's the link so you can see the lucky ladies.

Now that that's over...what will I do? I know! Join the PMS Clan! I've already submitted an application for the North American division of Modern Warfare 2...I'm not sure when I'll hear back or when I'll need to start scheduling in practices (8 hours a week!), but I'm pretty excited to get started. I think I want to try and hit some tournaments/events too, when I get the chance. I'm not even sure where to begin looking for those, but I think I'll get a good idea of what's going on through the PMS/H2O website.

If only PAX East weren't so soon..and so far away. I would like to go, but I hear that all the Saturday passes are  sold out...not to mention I have a b-day photoshoot to attend that Sunday (yay J. Vankim photography!). I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled for any other neat events happening on the East Coast - and if anyone knows of any, drop me a line!

Off to play some Modern Warfare 2 before my guests arrive for my ever-famous GAME NIGHT! TTFN!

March 4, 2010

MW2 FTW

Mmmmm, I like it. It took me a little while to get used to when I started playing, but by the end of the evening I was holding my own on the battlefield in Modern Warfare 2. I like the interface and the way the game looks, although my only pet peeve is the button layout: Click in the right analog stick to melee?? And click and hold the left analog stick to sprint?? I was never a fan of having to click down the analog sticks for anything, but maybe I'll get used to it. Other than that, I'm quite enjoying the game :-)

I downloaded a new app to my android phone (a widget, actually) that periodically updates me on the latest news and events in the video game world. At some point in the morning, it alerted me to this article, which is probably one of the best things I've heard about in a long, long time. I love stories where people come together for a common goal or to help one another. This really brightened my day, in the midst of all the chaos and stress :-D

Frag Doll Cadette update - the Frag Dolls sent out a message through twitter last night stating the following: "To gamers who applied to our Cadette Program: we won't be able to announce new Cadettes until Friday at the earliest. Hang tight!" Well...there you have it.

Another short one for tonight - too much to do!