Friday, August 13, 2010


So this has been a crazy week!

Monday I worked, then came home, did tons of laundry and washed the dishes and cleaned, and played some Uncharted 2 online.

Tuesday I worked, came home and did more cleaning, then had an excellent sushi dinner at Haru with a friend.

Wednesday I worked, went to the philosophy club for a little while, came home, played some LittleBigPlanet (yay Marvel DLC!!), then played more Uncharted 2.

Yesterday I worked, came home, went to make dinner and be productive, saw my friends were online playing Uncharted 2, and proceeded to play it from 7pm until 5:30 am.


This morning I woke up early to call my doctor's office when they opened to make a follow-up appointment for tomorrow, then slept a little longer, got up, did some editing for Gaming Target, and met my friend Andrew for lunch at Midtown II. Now Christina is coming over to play video games for the rest of the day :D Yay!

Also, it is BEAUTIFUL outside. I can't remember a day this beautiful. I am sitting here with the puppycat purring on my lap, enjoying a lovely breeze. Tonight I'm going to do a lot of writing. But for now, it's relaxation time.


Monday, August 9, 2010

I Did Get One Thing Right

I did A LOT of gaming this weekend.

All the other stuff...not so much. Especially the eating and sleeping part.

I played lots of Critter Crunch and Borderlands with Anthony, and then last night played another 4 hours of Uncharted 2 multiplayer with my Canucks (and some new friends, including a very interesting guy from Moscow).

Tonight, I really need to play games I'm reviewing (oooh, I should review Critter Crunch! More like Critter CRACK), and do some writing. Also laundry. Also...sleep.

Off to work.

PS - My laptop finally broke yesterday :( the hinge gave way at long last with a gut-tearing snap. I am sad.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Inception, Evil Cats, Cupcakes *heart*

So Myke, Eric, and I went to get some food, and then saw Inception on the Imax at King of Prussia. While not as amazing as the Franklin Institute, it felt great to see it again. I can't wait to own that movie so I can watch it whenever I want. It's just so good.

Afterwards I came back here and played more Uncharted 2...I'm close to the end. Well, I'm way more than halfway done, but set on Hard makes some of the firefights a little difficult. This morning I made it to my favorite chapter, "Heart of Ice," and then hopped in for some multiplayer. I caved and bought the DLC, mostly because I want those trophies and didn't realize they were exclusive to the DLC pack.

Also, my Nintendo DSi wasn't holding a charge - I tried to charge it yesterday and when I busted it out for some Pokemon, it wouldn't go on. Blzzzzzooop! On and off, on and off. This morning I scrutinized it, looking at the charger, Googled it and looked at some images, and went so far as to try to troubleshoot on Nintendo's site when I realized the damn wire had been chewed through. Thanks a lot, pup. With the application of some kitten tears, I was able to get it to work, and my DSi is charging in the kitchen.

In other, unrelated news, anyone want a cat?

Anthony is headed over today to play some Borderlands. Woo! It's been too long. I'm looking forward to getting back into it. I have to do lots of other things today, including finish this article I started this morning (well, technically, I started it ages ago in a notebook I can't find, so today I just wrote the intro and I'm hoping I'll be able to find the paper copy I wrote. I know - how barbaric!). I also need to take care of some physical mail, do some laundry, and get some groceries. (I was made fun of last night because I write hearts on my grocery list next to the food I like. :P) Oh, and I want to finally break in my cupcake factory and see how great these mini-cupcakes really are.

Hopefully when I return, I will be filled with icing and success.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Naps, Trophies, Dinner

I napped after work last night, which is always a death knell for productivity. Afterwards I did play some of one of the games I'm trying to review (the Soldner-x games), then tired of it and re-started the Uncharted 2 campaign for the fourth time. I got a handful of trophies and made it pretty far into the story. I was interrupted by text messages, instant messages, and drunken phone calls. I feel myself becoming less certain of things and more confused by them, but I just think that my plan of going with the flow is the best one I have right now. I woke up about two hours ago, fed the cats, and have just been reading more of this crazy book Hyperion. It is very good.

It seems that I have lost the fine art of dinner inside the apartment, and even outside, I generally order breakfast or some other strangely alien food I must learn to consume in my post-acid-refluxalyptic stomach. Last night, I mixed some Cheez-its with cashews and almonds in an attempt at making an instant party mix in a bowl. It was good, but neither satisfying nor filling; here I am, awake and hungry and unsure even of what I want to eat. Well, I know what i want to eat, but I can't - a bowl of cereal with milk and a glass of orange juice. How I miss orange juice. And to hear the coffee maker's purr as it fills the apartment with that sweet aroma...

I think I'll make pancakes and try to see if I can have Vitamin Water. If not - Nicole 0, Acid Reflux - 350.

We're seeing Inception again today in a few hours. I plan to do yoga, make breakfast, play at least another hour or so of Uncharted 2, get a shower, and then after the movie, perhaps try to finish the Soldner-x games, as unforgiving as they are. Easy discouragement does not a good reviewer make.

EDIT: Vitamin Water - the one with the guarana in it - is another thing I cannot have. Acid reflux rearing its ugly head, heart pounding out of control. Hopefully a shower will slow this down.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Can I Get A Wha Wha?

My life is full of distractions and bottlenecks.

Translation: I want to spend the next 2 hours playing Double Dash.

This weekend is going to be full of catching up on some major things: sleeping, eating, gaming, cleaning, and writing. At least, I hope that's what's going to happen. I have no plans tonight (other than to play some more Uncharted 2 with my Canadians) or Sunday (other than possibly catching up on Borderlands with Anthony). Tomorrow Myke and I are going to see Inception AGAIN because it deserves another viewing (and we have free tickets to the King of Prussia Imax).

Today, however, I need to go to work. Sorry, Mario Kart. But our princess has to go to another castle.

More later.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How Could I Forget?

I forgot a very important game from the list I made the other day, and that is BORDERLANDS. I beat the game when it first came out - playing as the Siren by myself - but now, my friend Anthony and I are playing it together, split-screen co-op once a week at my apartment. It's been fantastic! I forgot how much I really love that game.

After work, my friend Myke and I had dinner, and then we headed to meet with a group of local, independent game developers. They have a meetup once a month. This was our second time in attendance. I was really nervous the first time - I have no experience with development, and I was worried I'd feel out of place. But the group is incredible, very open and awesome, and exchanging ideas with so many like-minded people was exhilarating. This meeting was even better, and I look forward to working with them on many projects in the months to come.

Myke and I walked home and continued many of the discussions started at the meeting, which went on in my head even longer after we separated. I would love to get into video game creation and be a writer. For now, though, I do love working for Gaming Target and writing about games. I don't know what I'm going to do about school right now - I feel like I'm at a strange and wonderful crossroad. I got home, played some Uncharted 2, did some editing, and now it's definitely time for me to sleep...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shutter Island = SOB

So I didn't hook up that router last night, but I was determined to do it when I got home. I decided to watch Shutter Island first - without making dinner - and proceeded to get completely obliterated by it. I sobbed for the entire ending. It destroyed me! I then fought with the router for half an hour, and when I finally bashed it into submission, played some more Uncharted 2 with some new Canadian friends - and an old one! Good times. Right now I've got a terrible headache, so I'm off to bed.

Also, I'm reading a terrific book right now that my friend Dave lent me - it's called Hyperion by Dan Simmons. (I re-read Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World last week - another one that made me cry. What's with me??) Hyperion is really amazing so far - definitely recommend it. I'm also reading Monster Nation, an online zombie novel by David Wellington, and I'm working on getting back into The Walking Dead. So many games/movies/novels...sigh.

Ah well. Off to dream :)

Games I'm Playing

Well, I had an entire blog post mapped out in my head for this evening detailing all the games I've been playing for fun, but instead I played Uncharted 2 multiplayer for 4 hours with a bunch of Canadian kids, so I'll give a brief list with comments instead:

Medal of Honor Beta: sadly over now, but was a blast! Very looking forward to the game in October.

Metal Gear Solid: downloaded it on the PSN and I've been playing it on my PSP. I enjoy it, but don't have enough time to play it.

Pokemon Soul Silver: first game I bought with my DSi - played it quite a bit at first but now only play it here and there. MGS has taken over my portable gaming time.

Uncharted 2: recently got back into the multiplayer which, on nights like tonight, reduces my productivity greatly :P

I am also nearly finished Final Fantasy V, which I put down when XIII came out, and I'm about halfway through the original F.E.A.R., which I picked up ages ago when I first bought it on the cheap at Gamestop and haven't gone back to since. And let's not forget Resistance: Retribution, which I still haven't finished (or Death, Jr!). It seems my portables are the most neglected lately...

Add to that the three games I'm playing to review, the demo I'm previewing, and the fact that in the break-up, my ex got our PSN account, so I want to re-play all of my PS3 games to rebuild my trophy collection, and...yeah. Let's just say I'm having a lot of fun with gaming right now :) I'm actually sort of overwhelmed by the choices, and seem lately to default directly to Uncharted 2.

But ok, it's VERY late, I was supposed to set up a a router, so I'm going to do that and then get to bed.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Long-Overdue Update/Shadow of the Colossus

So, I've been absent from this blog for quite some time. Grad school was kicking my butt, and in February, I started working at a site called Gaming Target, which has been amazing. I took a break in the spring from school and got really into writing at Gaming Target and Press 1, where I still have a column. In March, I went to PAX East, and in June, I got to go to E3, which was AMAZING!! I had an incredible time out there. After that, I broke up with my boyfriend, I was in the hospital twice for tachychardia (from stress), I've been diagnosed with acid reflux (from stress), I had a (VERY) brief love affair, and I've finished tons of games, books, and movies, and I'm very nearly at the end of Gurren Lagann, which I've been watching for ages. I do plan on writing a lot more in here - especially about my experiences at E3, which I think are worth writing down on a personal level as much as they were on a professional one. I was also promoted to Senior Editor at Gaming Target, which is pretty awesome! I tried to write about everything I saw at E3 but only managed to scratch the surface. There are tons of reviews I need to get back to, and a lot of games I want to play as well.

Which brings me to the second part of this post...

I just beat Shadow of the Colossus.

Backtrack: when I saw the trailer for the Last Guardian last year, I became obsessed with Fumito Ueda:

I went out and found a copy of Ico (pronounced EEE-CO, not III-CO), his first game, after reading all about it, played it, and promptly fell head over heels in love with it. Ico is a beautiful story of a boy, born with horns and cursed to be sacrificed, who escapes from his fate and helps a ghostly girl escape from hers. (It's more complicated than that, but I don't want to spoil anything.)

I bought Shadow of the Colossus after but I was afraid to start it with all the things I'd heard about it. Having gone through a break-up and then what was basically another heartbreak at the hands of the brief love affair boy, I decided maybe it was time to exercise some catharsis in a depressing game. Normal girls would probably just watch The Notebook; I wanted to play a game in which my moral choices to brutally murder beautiful creatures would make me sob into my cat.

Shadow of the Colossus is the tender tale of a horse and his boy, similar to the Neverending Story, except instead of riding on Falcor to save the girl, you stab him in the fucking head, repeatedly and mercilessly. (Did I need to curse there? Have you PLAYED this game? If you have, then you understand expletives can be necessary in this description.) You are Wander, and you want to bring a dead girl back to life, so you go to the End of the World and appeal to the powers there. The powers that be see that you've got the magic sword needed for just a certain little job he needs done, so he sets you to it - you must kill the embodiments of the 16 colossi that line the walls, and then he will grant your wish.

You go out, get on your trusty steed, Agro, hold your sword up in the sunlight to pinpoint the location of the Colossus, and ride off to find it, your bird soaring high above your head. You find the Colossus and discover very quickly that things are not what they seem. There's no impersonal swordplay, or grenade-lobbing. There's no Quicktime events, or RPG battle systems. You plain and simply find the symbol on the beast, climb up the beast, and then stab it to death. And you must do this 16 times. 16 times!!

I stopped crying after the 4th, but at the 14th, my weeping started anew (how couldn't it, with his tiny little body that moved like a sweet dog?). But it was the end that I couldn't bear.

SPOILERS AHEAD!! WARNING!! Please be warned!!

It was one thing to lose my precious horse - watching as Agro fell, listening as Wander screamed his name. It was another to be judged by my townspeople, taken over by a demon, and then turned into a baby - just as my love awakened! Will he ever atone for his sins? But at least Agro turned out to be alive, and now we can all be together as a happy family - right?

However, I've heard people say that this is supposed to be the spiritual predecessor to Ico - that this boy born with horns is a sign. Is he Ico? I thought Ico was born in a town in which every generation, a boy was born with horns and had to be sacrificed to the castle? Or, perhaps, is this where it all begins? Does the beautiful girl grow bitter towards the townspeople and grow evil, causing a boy to be born each generation with horns, forcing them to sacrifice them to her? Does she change the castle - is this really the castle from Ico thousands of years in the past? Already the end of the world seems so old, and yet perhaps it is far older.

That is all for today - I have some more editing work to do. Tomorrow I am going to comment on all the games I'm playing (and the ones I was playing that have since gone stale), and perhaps comment on some other things.