On the road again. . .

June 7, 2008 at 10:35 pm (gaming, geeking out, life) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

VGL

So a few friends and I bought tickets to Video Games Live months ago, and the day finally came this past Thursday! The few who didn’t already live in Winnipeg drove there for the event, and was it ever worth it. Three of us didn’t make any coolio costumes, but look at the ones Xal made for her and her buddy Laura! They are Moogles, of course, and all night long people were asking them excitedly to have their pictures taken with them. They’ll even be in a Youtube video starring all of the in-costume attendees, rumour has it! KUPO!

You may also notice the drinks in this picture. . . that bartender really knew how to make a delicious Rum & Coke!

|\|3rD5

I call this picture “1337 |\|3rD5!!!!1!

The audience was made up of a lot of stereotypical nerdlingers, which is perfectly alright! What else do you expect at a video game concert? All of us who went are a bit on the nerdy side. I had just never seen that many in one place before, so it made for an interesting atmosphere. Everyone was having a blast though, and that’s all that really mattered. Looking at this picture you can probably notice that the male:female ratio is a bit off. Female gamers FTW! Hey look, it’s Master Chief! That guy ended up winning the costume contest.

Costumes

Here are more dressed up people. The pink girl, who is someone from some Dreamcast game (Jeremy told me this, I had no clue) was getting super into it, but in a way that was annoying. That’s all I have to say about her: she was annoying.

There are also people I don’t know up until Cloud, then more people, then LINK! And MARIO! Not pictured is a guy dressed in a cardboard box painted like the Companion Cube from Portal. It was shoddy, but oh so wonderful at the same time. I think next time I go I’ll have to dress up. I really liked my Chocobo idea. . . too bad I can’t sew.

And now for the videos! These are ones I found that are actually from the Winnipeg show!

This is the music from Kingdom Hearts. Square Enix wouldn’t let them use in-game footage, so they cut together Disney clips of all of the characters that appear in the game *^_^* You can hear me woot at the first glimpse of The Lion King — the person who took this video was sitting probably a row or two in front of me because that was pretty much our view of the stage. Thanks, light stand!

This is World of Warcraft, for those of you who play it. I have to say, the music is great! I thought since my other two examples are Square and therefore have no video game footage I should add one that does. . . and I also wanted one that incorporated the choir, whom were spectaculant.

Then, of course, there was the first encore: One Winged Angel from Final Fantasy VII! I really only know the song because we used it in a play in Grade 11. . . but still, it is a good song.

Watch for the bass/cello(?) players headbanging in the middle of the song. It was wonderful. You could tell that the orchestra was loving all of the feedback they got from the audience — it must be a bit out of the ordinary considering the audience they’d usually play shows for is a bit older and likely less responsive to orchestrated music.

In the end it was a fantastic show, and apparently they have 50 songs and only play about 20 per show so I would love to go again to see what’s new. It was all a bit overwhelming, to be honest. . . the music really gets to you, especially when there is a live choir singing, and it can get emotional

It should be mentioned that in every town that VGL goes to the orchestra from that town is the one who plays in the concert. I assume they are given the music well before-hand to be ready for when the Video Games Live people arrive. It makes sense, since touring an entire orchestra around the world would take bus-loads more equipment and people. . . Playing our show was the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, as well as the choir who’s name I sadly can’t remember. All locals from Winnipeg, and all very talented individuals.

We also got the special treat of the Blindfolded Video Games Pianist playing Final Fantasy music! Here, I’ll find a video for that, too:

He obviously was not blindfolded here, but still. Beautiful. Yes, he was actually on the stage, but the feed was also going to the screen.

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The area in which Greg and Xal both have apartments is called ‘Osborne Village’ and it’s beautiful. I can see why I thought the city was ugly in the winter: all of the trees are deciduous thus making for no greenery come November. But, in the summer it’s a wonderful place. Everything you’d ever need was within walking distance, and even walking into the city itself didn’t seem that far because there is always stuff to see. The first night we had amazing nachos at a place literally across the lane from Xal’s called Carlo’s & Murphey’s (a strange Mexican/Irish Pub), and last night Greg showed me this amazing movie rental place called Movie Village where you can basically find any movie you have looked for in Thunder Bay but have never found. I found two Ewan movies I’ve been dieing to see, but I could never watch 2 movies in one night AND wouldn’t make Greg watch 2 Ewan movies so he rented Lady in the Water and we watched that. Rather, he watched it and I watched half before falling asleep.

Driving is crap there, no matter what season it is.

We’ve decided that Thunder Bay very much needs an area like Osborne Village and a place like The Forks. The little shops and restaurants there were spectacular, and I even got The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales! I read the first one (The Frog Prince) aloud to Greg and Jeremy one morning. . . those Grimm brothers don’t really know proper story structure. In any case, I’m excited to read more. There are at least 100 fairy tales in the book. Coolio!

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Anywhoo, I thought I’d be stuck in Winnipeg for a few extra days, but it turns out today was a perfect driving day so away I went! I left at noon Winnipeg time, and I have to saw that it was a pretty nice drive. It was sunny, but the car wasn’t too hot. I only stopped once for gas (at a Full Service station which freaked me out) and then once for Timmie’s in Dryden to buy a Large 2/2 and 20 honey crueler Timbits!!

I know a lot of you drive to Winnipeg a lot, so I will ask you this: Have you ever grown sort of attached to certain vehicles whilst driving? What I mean is — have you ever been in a small convoy of two or more vehicles, and you get to a passing lane and all pass one super slow transport at the same time, and you sort of feel like giving everyone a high-five? The you drive in a line for awhile (maybe playing leap frog a bit). If you are driving alone, or perhaps even if you are with someone, you begin to talk to this vehicle as though not only the driver but also the vehicle itself can hear you. “Go ahead, you can pass me! I know I will only catch up again.” or “Oh no, white truck, you have a terrible case of rust. Poor thing.” Then, suddenly you look in your rear-view mirror and the white truck has turned off onto a side road and for a moment your heart sinks like you’ve lost a close friend. . . You soon gain other relationships with other vehicles during the eight hour drive, but you never forget that one white truck that you drove along with for two hours. I’m sure it happens on all long drives, maybe just to insane people. . . but it happened to me on the way to and from Winnipeg. Today it was a silver car from Saskatchewan and a white transport. They both left me 😦

Wolf!

Oddly enough, I saw no deer either way on this trip. I saw rabbits in Winnipeg, red-winged black birds, a wild turkey on the way home today, and the scariest: a wolf! At first I thought it must have been a statue because it was standing at the edge of the woods alone and regal. Then I kept an eye on it as it did the same to me, following me with it’s soul-piercing gaze until I finally was able to break eye-contact with it — it helped that if I didn’t look away I’d have veered into oncoming traffic. I have never seen a wild wolf before, and I guess part of me always thought that it would look like a friendly Husky, with it’s tongue sticking out and most likely two different coloured eyes. No, my friends, wolves do not look like Huskies. They are larger, their eyes can be defined simply as ‘devilish’ and they only stick out their tongues to wipe your blood from their jowls. I was shaken for about a minute after seeing it, and I was in a car driving 100km/h down the highway! I was driving a Kia, mind you, so I’m sure if the wolf wanted to it could have opened that thing like a tin can full of Lindsay flavoured sardines. He’d probably just eaten a moose or something.

—-

Anywhoo, woot for updating! When I returned home my dad told me that e TBayTel guy came out and fixed our Internet so it’s normal speed now! Apparently I was using the wrong AV adaptor for the modem and fried it, so that explains a lot. That’s not all that happened since last time I updated, but deal with that however you can. I’m not updating about every day since then.

Cheers!

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The cleanliness of pirates.

April 10, 2008 at 2:19 pm (gaming, life, munnie spending)

Oh boy. . . I may have to do this blog in sections. There is just so much happening in my life! At least I like to think there is, when really it’s all basically video game related. Surprise?

SECTION ONE: CLEANLINESS

More than a week ago now I had the sudden urge to clean out the cupboards in my kitchen. I was sick and tired of opening them, closing them, opening them again, then closing them only to open them once more to see if there is a morsel of food that I may have missed. Most of the things were expired, or had just been sitting in there for literal years.

On the left here you will see the “garbage” pile, meaning the stuff that I did not place back into the cupboards. Those waffle (ROFFLE!) cones have been in there since I was about 15 or 16. That’s nothing compared to what I found next. . .

These two boxes of delicious salad toppings were found in a wicker basket (no lie) in the very back of our lowermost cupboards. Before you look at the picture below, my dear reader, take a stab at it — just guess what year these are from. Judging by the packaging I figured they may have been from the early to mid 1990’s. . .

Ready?

Both of these products expired 22 years ago in April and June of 1986. If they expired then, who knows when they were actually purchased? They’re older than my middle brother, and possibly even older than Devin who is 24! ‘Great Beginnings’ indeed.

Among all of the spices and sprinkles of the “spice cupboard” I found some old Apple Pie seasoning from when Thunder Bay had a Loblaw’s*, two ancient boxes of Tabasco, and one bottle of Red Hot that had mysteriously turned brown on the top and remained red on the bottom. It’s called decomposition, I think.

*My spell check told me that Loblaw’s was not a word and that I must have meant “Lobular”. LOBULAR, of course! Thank you, Spellcheck.

SECTION TWO: PIRACY

I finally received Minish Cap in the mail!

Upon looking at the envelope it came in, and noticing that it said “Hong Kong” I knew I was in for some trouble. I was right. It is a bootleg, OH NOES! I wouldn’t have minded terribly if I’d have been able to play it no problem, but the cartridge was a tight squeeze into my DS and the memory is simply a battery that once dead will erase my game.

I have many pictures of it, but so that this entry is not filled to the brim with pictures I will only show you this one. I have used the professional image editing abilities of Photoshop to draw perfect circles of red around the problem areas.

Here I am comparing the inside of my Superstar Saga to the pirated copy of Minish Cap. Notice the Nintendo copyright on the Superstar Saga. The battery in Zelda is evident and the foreign blue label a bit worrisome. I did notice that my perfectly legal Pokemon Emerald also had a battery, but apparently they were used in some games and not others Minish Cap not being one of them. I’ve also circled the code on the front of the Zelda cartridge. Why? Well, when I found out it was a bootleg a bunch of sites told me that I should contact Nintendo, and so I did. The first man I talk to told me as long as that code was on the label than it is legit. Really? You don’t think pirates in Hong Kong can print boxes, player guides and the labels themselves without being able to figure out how to put a certain number on it? Everything else pointed to piracy, but it was obvious this guy didn’t know what he was talking about. After a bit more research I called back, and this time got a very helpful lady who didn’t know the process, but admited it and found a form she needed to fill out — where I bought the item, if I thought I was getting a Nintendo product, etc. I also reported it to eBay and to Paypal and successfully got a refund *^_^*

I know this probably happens to people all the time and they just let it roll off of them, but I am not that person. I am a person who likes JUSTICE!

SECTION THREE: PARTING WITH MONEY

I’ve been trying to be good with money, but I took a trip to Cash Converters yesterday and that never ends well for my wallet. I found Dark Cloud and Dark Cloud 2 for a good price, and so I bought them. I had been researching what PS2 games were good, and they both seemed to get a great rating and were recommended for people who like Zelda! What I like most about it (though I haven’t started to play them yet) is that as opposed to turn based fighting you just walk up to the baddie and swing. No cut scenes, no epic music, just swing and death (for the monster hopefully, not yourself). I’ve been told that’s probably why I would not like the Final Fantasy series: too much turn based fighting.

Plus, not to judge a game by it’s cover, but look at it! It looks like just the right mix of awesome and adorable. What’s with game characters fighting with wrenches?

I’v also been playing Lego Star Wars a lot more, ad it has turned a bit more 3D. In any case I am in love with it.

FINAL SECTION: LIFE IN GENERAL

My month of eating healthy is over! Last night I celebrated by going to Wendy’s, and you know what? It was pretty unpleasant. Nothing tasted as good as I remember. Maybe it was guilt, maybe it was because I looked it up and it was 880 calories, or maybe it just never tasted great. Even the fountain pop, which I loved, was sweet and almost unbearable. I don’t crave it anymore, so that’s good news. Now I’ll eat chips and stuff occasionally, but I think I will still generally stay away from fast food. I’m going to try to eat it once a week or less.

I still crave pizza. The first thing I ate on Monday was a slice. That is one food that’s not only good because of evil fast food chemicals. Pizza is genuinly DELICIOUS!

Anywhoo, I should get working on a shot list etc. for MIS. It’s coming up really fast, and we must be prepared for it.

Cheers!

P.S. I made this for my siggy on the Gamespot forums, and now I will put it here because it excites me:

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The Force is as strong as a small pony.

April 5, 2008 at 2:41 pm (gaming, geeking out, munnie spending)

This new site layout is sort of strange. It seems like a step backwards from where WordPress was before, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. Perhaps it’s just a temporary thing and they’re making larger changes? We’ll have to wait to find out.

So the other day I went to the Secret EB Games for the first time just to waste half an hour (though it’s been open for probably a year or so now), and man that place is HUGE compared to the EB Games in the mall! Through my feminine wiles (see: none) I managed to obtain a free Phantom Hourglass poster. I went in with the intention of not buying anything, or if ANYTHING I was going to buy Professor Layton and the Curious Village. . . but somehow ended up with Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga for DS.

I’m excited for it, because the first game I ever bought for my DS (save from Brain Age 2, which isn’t really a “game” per se) was Lego Star Wars II. I played it regularly for a few days when something went horrible wrong, and every level became glitchy beyond playability. I’ve checked on Gamespot (my new web obsession site) and it’s a problem every cartridge had. Futureshop let me bring the game back after a week, no questions asked, but how could a game even be released with that many glitches? Especially a game like Lego Star Wars which is moderately popular on all systems and by all ages? I’ve noticed the price has dropped a lot, maybe to get them off the shelves, but I feel bad for kids who get that game and don’t reach the glitches until it’s too late to return them. . . there is no way to complete the story mode in that version.

Luckily for myself and everyone else who bought LSWII, LSW:tCS has all of the levels that LSWII had, plus the levels from Lego Star Wars I and the original engine has been scrapped in favour of a new one, which also allows the touchscreen to be used. You can tell this version was made just for the DS. So far it seems mostly side scrolling — there is a fourth wall that you can never see — though it still has depth so you can move on the X, Y and Z axis’, the camera is just relatively fixed and only moves up and down with you. LSWII was a 3D world with no fourth wall, so we’ll see if in the later levels it goes back to that format.

Even though I am enjoying the game thus far, it makes me feel a little bit ripped off in a way, because if it’s all platformy then it’s doing that same thing that The Simpsons Game did. The DS is perfectly capable of handling 3D landscapes (it does it all the time with RPGs) and yet developers seem to think that even if they make the game 3D for other systems, the DS version must be a platformer. On every other system The Simpsons was an awesome 3D adventure! However, on the DS it had absolutely no depth and was therefore very easy, as well as linear both literally and in it’s objectives. Objects were never hiding behind something, or beside you. . . they were always just in front of or behind you. So HOPEFULLY Lego Star Wars is more 3D in the levels to come. . . though I’ll still love it.

Getting away from Lego Star Wars for a bit, but not away from gaming: I challenged myself to finish most of my games before I treated myself to another. So, for the better part of the past few days I have been slaving away (happily) finishing games that would have otherwise sat on my shelf for months to come.

First was Super Mario 64 DS, though I only managed to get 91/150 stars. I beat Bowser and to me that counts as finishing the game. Plus, it’s a really fun game so I know I’ll go back to it and try to get more stars when I’m bored.

Next on my plate was Chocobo Tales. This is a great little game with elements of RPG, mini-games and trading card battles. It’s also in 3D, the graphics are beautiful for the DS, and the controls are simple and intuitive — so Lucas Arts take note. The battles were the most difficult to pick-up again, but I remembered pretty quickly what to do and after 6 hours more of playing it is also complete!

Let’s see, after that I remembered that I was on Bowser in Super Princess Peach, so I went back and had him beat within the half-hour. I left it alone for awhile months ago because he was frustrating me, so I guess all it needed was time.

Finally, I picked up Mario Party DS and FINISHED story mode! Finally!! Bowser took a few frustrating tries to beat, but luckily (because I cheated and turned the game off when something didn’t go my way) I didn’t have to play any of the boards twice. Wario was kicking my butt on the last board, but I showed him! GO YOSHI!

I have beaten Bowser to a pulp 3 times in as many days!

Anywhoo, only after those games were completed, and ONLY THEN was I allowed to start a new one.

This has been long and game filled, so I will stop it there. Nothing much has been happening except for DSing, my Boston Legal Season 2 DVD arriving, location scouting for MIS and me learning French with the help of My French Coach (once again for DS). ALSO I am only TWO more days away from being able to eat a slice of pizza or some tacos. . . I’m pining for them, as well as for the fjords.

Cheers! . . . now where has the bloody Spellcheck tool gone?

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