Inside the Nintendo Labo

With birthdays come presents, and so on Friday when I (and thousands of others) received the Amazon Treasure Truck alert for Nintendo Labo pick-up in NYC and a friend suggested this be her gift to me… I decided to go pick one up!

Amazon Treasure Truck!

I’ve never purchased anything through Treasure Truck before, so I was interested to see how it would work. My pickup location was near a Whole Foods, so I walked over to the store and found the truck stationed around the corner. There was only a short line – I don’t know if that’s because I got there on the early side, or if the demand is low for this game, but I was relieved that this wasn’t going to take too long. A table was set up for people to enter to win a free Nintendo Switch, and other workers were scanning our Treasure Truck QR codes and handing out the huge Nintendo Labo boxes.

Practice Tutorial: Joy Con Holder

The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit is a collection of “Toy Con” construction sets, as well as a Nintendo Switch game to guide you through the assembly and facilitate the cool game features that the Toy Con unlock. While the game is certainly geared towards kids, an adult is most likely required during the Make phase, which can get a little complicated! I’ve only made the RC Car Toy Con so far, check it out!

The RC car has no wheels, and is powered by the Joy Con inserted into the side, causing vibration down the legs of the RC car, propelling it forward. (It only works on hard surfaces, and my room is carpeted so I just used the Labo box.)

The RC Car set comes with a cardboard car to follow along with in the instructions, a matching ‘antenna’ to stick on the Switch console, as well as a few extra add-ons and stickers! It also comes with a second cardboard RC car that you can build if you have a second set of Joy Con to use with it. Right now I only have the gray set, but I’m going to get a colored Joy Con set with a birthday gift card. (SIDE BAR: I really can’t decide which color Joy Con set to get! Red and Blue, or Neon Yellow and Pink?? They are both really cool! I wish there was an Orange and Blue option… Leave me a comment on which set I should get tho!!)

You probably wanna see the RC car in action. It’s actually pretty loud. I made a quick video for you to see that this actually works. In the video you can see that I use the Switch console as a controller and press buttons on the screen to make the RC car move – and I can control the left and the right independently if I choose. That’s cool and all, but a little bland, right?

When you complete the initial construction and play through the mechanics, you are taken to the next phase of the Nintendo Labo game, the Discover phase. In this separate section of the game, you can explore some additional features of the new Toy Con you just built, and see some suggested new ways to play. When it comes to this RC Car that I made, did you realize that since the Joy Con utilize built-in IR technology that this RC car also has a fully functional ‘night-vision’ camera?? I didn’t, until I was checking through this Discover section! I used it in the day time but in my photo here you can clearly see the camera POV of my RC Car as it sits on top of the Nintendo Labo box.

There are other hidden features in the RC car, such as the ability to auto-navigate via use of reflective tape. There is also a ‘two player’ mode for people who have a second set of Joy Con. You can build that second RC Car that I mentioned and set up RC Sumo Matches! Or try racing them! Or come up with something else… I had fun freaking out my cat with my RC Car!! lol

OK so now you have your RC Car, and maybe a friend to RC Sumo with, but you still need to add a little SOMETHING to make this more fun? Nintendo Labo also provides a few extras to customize your RC Car. There is a Plow attachment, an Elephant head attachment, and a Sunglasses attachment. The Discover section also shows ideas on how to use paints, markers, and all sorts of materials to really customize the RC car and make it special. As a bullet journal enthusiast, I have plenty of washi tape and stickers on hand. Here is my final RC Car Masterpiece:

My RC Car! Does he need a name??

What do you think of my RC Car? If anyone else has this game and wants to race or sumo wrestle their car, hit me up!! lol

Since Nintendo Labo is so hands-on and mysterious to everyone, I’ll continue to document my construction of Toy Con projects for future blog entries. Unless you totally think this is over-sharing and want me to stop, let me know in the comments about that too hahaha!!

In closing, Happy Earth Day! And Carney‘s Birthday! Plus it’s Nature Day in Animal Crossing Pocket Camp! (Not to mention there’s ANOTHER new feature coming soon in ACPC! I’ll blog about it when it’s released!! Yayyyyy!)

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Interview with a Pok√©deck

ITS MY BIRTHDAY!!!! *rah rah* The animals in my Pocket Camp are all wishing me a happy birthday. How cute! But more importantly, I got an amazing gift yesterday at my birthday party. My always-thoughtful and amazing bestie¬†CarneyVorous gave me what is called a Poke Box. It’s a deck of tarot cards that are Pok√©mon themed and beautifully designed. I couldn’t wait to try them out! I’ve learned from Carney that a good way to get a feel for how a new deck will work for you is to do a ‘deck interview.’ I ask a list of questions to the deck, pull a card to get an answer, and get to know the deck a little. Here’s how it went:

Tell me about yourself.

2 of Swords: I’m a “Pok√©deck.” Throughout my set of beautiful cards, you will find an assortment of the 721 Pok√©mon found in the sixth generation of the series. On the Two of Swords we see a blindfolded Samurott wielding what appears to be an unsheathed Doublade, standing beneath an ominous crescent moon. There are seemingly endless choices and countless possibilities of what Pok√©mon you might encounter in this deck. Do not let the information overload overwhelm you!

What are your strengths?

Knight of Cups: My cards are beautiful depictions of Pokémon living together in their world. The artistry of the illustration will inspire and motivate you to keep learning to read these cards. In the Knight of Cups, a Knighted Piplup rides the back of a mighty Keldeo, a water-type Legendary Pokémon, as they pass a small stream. This scene is an imaginative example of the potential outcomes of a reading with this Pokédeck. But while the romantic fantasy shown on this card is enchanting and reassuring, do not be too taken in by my charm. I am still a tarot deck, with deep spiritual messages and lessons to be learned. Just because I am cute does not mean I am not to be taken seriously. Do not have unrealistic expectations that the guidance will be easy or happy all the time. Do not assume that because there are Pokémon on my cards that this deck is for children. Most assuredly, I am not.

What are your limitations?

The High Priestess: I am a tarot deck to be used to help you develop your intuition and gain connection to Higher Powers. I am intended to help you seek out the deep questions within your subconscious mind and help focus your path to enlightenment. On my card, Cresselia the Psychic-type Legendary is illustrated as the High Priestess. She is guarded on both sides by the Black and White Legendaries, Zekrom and Reshiram, the yin and yang of the Pok√©mon world. Remember that this deck is to guide you on a spiritual level, and I can’t predict who is going to beat the Elite Four.

What are you here to teach me?

Four of Swords: The card I am showing here is what appears to be the remains of an old Regigigas, asleep for centuries and overgrown with moss in an old temple in the mountains. (Yes Pok√©-nerds, this is exactly like the movie “Giratina and the Sky Warrior.” The artist who made this deck is clearly a devout Pok√©mon fan!!) Imagine the complete stillness and silence of the scene on this card – this is the level of concentration and relaxation that you can strive toward. Your life has had it’s share of challenges lately, so take this time to relax and reach a refreshing zen state. Recharge your batteries. Also note that there is one separate Aegislash laying beside the Regigigas – this suggests that there is one key issue in your life that we need to explore and address to help you achieve your goals.

How can we best collaborate?

Seven of Swords: I need you to be committed and not sneak away if my readings seem too complicated or intimidating. Psychic/Ghost Mythical Hoopa is shown on this card, stealing  a pile of Aegislash (the themed Pokémon for the Swords suit) and using one of his rings as a portal to easily transport away from the scene. Hoopa is winking, showing that he is crafty and prepared for his stealthy heist. Use the information that you learn from my deck strategically for best results.

What’s the potential outcome for our relationship?

The Chariot: You want to be the very best, like no one ever was? I am here to help you achieve victory! Every challenge along the way, with courage you will face. You will battle every day to claim your rightful place! I could sing the whole theme song for you, but this card with Lucario riding in a Coliseum under a starry sky, in a chariot pulled by two Luxrays is pretty much as epic of a visual you need to get the idea. One of the Luxrays shown is a SHINY Luxray, making the illustration even more special. Lucario is wielding a gleaming golden Aegislash in a confident and strong gesture. The Chariot card represents strength and courage, victory and determination… all of the facets you need to be a Pok√©mon Champion. You got goals and dreams? We’re gonna catch ’em all.

How will you evolve over time?

Ace of Wands: Yes, one would think that because I’m a Pok√©deck that I’d evolve like most Pok√©mon. However, like the image on the Ace of Wands, showing an illuminated Ho-Oh flying off towards a rainbow in the sky… I am Legendary. I can help you use creative powers to unlock inspiration, and use your instincts to hone your intuition more clearly. It is more likely that YOU will be the one doing the evolving!

What is your special move?

Four of Cups: My specialty is looking introspectively and contemplating decisions. This card depicts an Eevee that is deep in thought, with three cups holding different evolution stones set up before him. This scene indicates that Eevee is trying to mull over the important decision of which evolution stone to choose. However, Eevee is so deep in thought that he does not notice the fluffy Cottonee floating next to him, offering another cup… the option of more unknown possibilities. Keep this card in mind and remember that while this journey may teach you the strength of looking inward to find answers, there are still other possibilities to which your eyes might be blind. Remember to seek advice from external sources as well as through this Pok√©deck.¬†

I think this tarot deck will take me on a deep journey towards seeking inner peace and enlightenment, while also fueling my fandom for Pok√©mon and appreciation for the artwork and thoughtfulness that went into the creation of this deck. The creator really did their homework both on the messages of the cards and converting them into themes that work directly in the Pok√©mon universe. I’m really so impressed with this deck, and I think that the interview was correct in that the beauty of the deck will keep me inspired to use it daily. I am already in love!!

Is that an UPDATE in your Pocket [Camp]??

While we all anxiously wait for the inevitable announcement (someday) of an Animal Crossing Switch title, most fans are content to play Nintendo’s mobile version Pocket Camp. I really want to give them kudos because I think this game encompasses the AC feel and cuteness of the main franchise, while seamlessly adapting it to a mobile platform and play-style.

People complained about it a little at the beginning, but Nintendo has been adding a TON of updates and new features to this simple mobile game. It seems that every two weeks there is a new in-game event regarding holidays, gardening or collecting items to craft fun new themes.¬†This week there was another big update and there are even MORE new features! I am pretty psyched about ’em and I wanted to make sure everyone was aware and would log in and start playing some more!!

Gulliver!

The first new addition to AC Pocket Camp is Gulliver and his ship! No, not a space ship… it seems that Gulliver has hung up his space suit in favor of a sailor suit and is now in the import/export business. What’s really going on here is the game has finally added the ability for you to get rid of extra furniture or clothing items (if you befriend enough animals, you end up with some duplicate t-shirts automatically). And not only can you get rid of these unwanted items – Gulliver will bring you treats in return! Depending on the rarity of what you are throwing out, Gulliver brings snacks of varying star rating that you can give to animal friends to help them level up. It’s a win-win! And you don’t have to worry about shooting him down because Gulliver shows up at regular times and is super easy to find in ACPC.

The feature that Nintendo seemed the most excited to announce is apparently the most controversial on the internet right now, the Fortune Cookies! Personally, I think they are really cute. People are complaining b/c they are basically ‘loot crate’ cookies that give you a random item and you might end up with a repeat.

Pocket Camp Fortune Cookies

From what I’ve seen, there are 5 types of Fortune Cookies: Marshal’s pastry cookie, Rosie’s pop star cookie, Filbert’s rocket cookie, Timmy’s cookie and Tommy’s cookie. The first three are pictured above and can be purchased with 50 leaf tickets. The cookies contain new, rare furniture items and clothing to collect. And the best part – if you do manage to collect all the items and have the right animals visiting at your camp, you can unlock cute little “Memories” which I can only assume are little cut-scenes.

Filbert Fortune Cookie Prize

What people seem to be upset about is that the Marshal, Rosie and Filbert cookies can be purchased with leaf tickets as well, and at 50 leaf tickets each… that is a little pricey. But maybe they don’t realize that these premium cookies are also in the regular rotation. I bought a Filbert cookie for 5,000 bells yesterday and got this cool Control Room Desk without spending a penny!

Keep in mind that the log-in bonuses to kick off this new update are two fortune cookies, and then 5 days worth of 10x leaf tickets, so Nintendo is giving away a decent amount for free. And if you play diligently, it’s actually pretty easy to accumulate plenty of leaf tickets without buying a premium pack. I have yet to spend any money on this game. I think Pocket Camp is pretty generous for a freemium game. They make it much easier to get premium currency for free than some of the other mobile games I’ve played on my phone.

So aside from this controversial new Fortune Cookie feature, there are even more updates in Pocket Camp that I think are even better. They are just little things, but bring more of the full Animal Crossing experience to the game. New animal requests have been added, and in certain requests you can actually select which fruit, fish, bug or flower that you want to give away. Also, the ‘perfect fruits’ that were introduced in ACNL can now pop up in your fruit trees at random. Which is great, because if you choose to gift a perfect fruit in an animal request, they will give you bonus treats and sometimes even a fortune cookie!

But if you’re a long-time hardcore AC player like me, then the new fish and bug additions in the update are the most exciting! I caught a loach the other day! AND they added the ability to see the quantity of each item that you already own when you catch a fish, pick up a fruit, catch a bug, and pick up a shell. No more wasting inventory with a million corals because you forgot you already had them. It makes managing your items a lot easier.

Maybe the haters don’t like this new update, but I am once again re-inspired to log in and check on my campers. I would also like to mention that one of my favorite things about Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is that your favorite animals NEVER LEAVE. It’s not like the other AC games where townies will slip away in the night leaving an empty lot and broken hearts behind. In Pocket Camp, the animals stay until you say so! You can keep them forever and dress them up. I truly hope this sort of idea is passed along into the next AC game. Nothing is worse than the loss of your favorite animal bestie lol!

OK well I gotta go do some missions and earn some more fortune cookies because I want to unlock these new Memories! Have you been playing Pocket Camp? Are you excited or upset about the new features? Let me know your opinions!

Danaeryzard & Alaria: The Crystal Cursed Diadem

OK y’all it’s time to get nerdy. After completing my first-ever DnD session with my awesome friend Carney and our always patient DM “Tall Sven”, I realized that I took diligent notes. Naturally, I’m going to keep writing out the adventures of Danaeryzard & Alaria in our DnD game!

…………..

Danaeryzard knew she had done it this time. The black smoke rising from her latest wildfire had attracted… something. Or someone. She could sense the approach – but only barely, as though the footsteps were gliding along the wind itself. There was no sense in trying to hide, her guilt was proven by the steam still pouring from her lizard-like nostrils. Dany shrunk back into the hood of her cloak and hoped the approaching figure would pass her by.

When she saw the horns peeking out from the side of an overgrown bush about a yard away, Dany felt an instant wave of relief. Maybe it was only a goat? 

The Tiefling female seemed so small when she stepped out, but her face was brave and confident, albeit a little lost. Her horns were her most prominent feature, followed by her long flowing hair. She would be beautiful, if only she had dragon scales…

“Was that you, roasting all of these birds?” the Tiefling asked with a wink.

Dany noticed that the Tiefling was carrying a few dead and fire-singed quails. Her intuition told her that this was not a threatening approach. Danaeryzard dared not reply, her mouth still hot with flames.

“My name is Alaria… I’ve been trying to make my way through this forest. Are you alone out here?”

Dany gave a shy nod in response. Alaria motioned to sit nearby, and without speaking Dany indicated consent. Alaria passed one of the smoking birds to Dany and they sat together sharing their small meal in silence. Eventually, after eating and drinking some water, Dany gathered the courage to speak.

“I am called Danaeryzard the Dragonborn. Truth be told, I have been exiled from my home, so yes, I am on my own. I know this forest quite well, maybe I can point you in the right direction.”

The two spoke a bit more about where the Tiefling was from, and Dany learned that Alaria was a Rogue traveling alone and seeking companionship. Dany worried, as she always did, about getting too close to anyone. But accompanying someone towards the edge of the woods, that wasn’t much risk was it?¬†

They walked no further than 50 feet before they came across the small clearing in the forest. A tiny field, surrounded by large trees, was enclosing a peculiar scene – two large Bullywugs leaning over what appeared to be a recently killed human fighter. They were dressed in typical Bullywug fashion, their humanoid bodies in soldiers uniforms, only with bulging frog heads bursting from their necks. They were croaking out laughter about their latest kill, and didn’t notice the approach of Dany and Alaria. The sight of these Bullywugs repulsed Dany. She had seen these kind many times back in her homeland. Bullwugs often associated with some of the baddest and least savory members of her family’s Dragonborn clan and she had heard tales of some of the nasty business they did. Dany was certain that these Bullwugs in the forest were not any more innocent and would pose an immediate threat.

Without a word, the two silently readied their bows and began the battle. It was terrifying for Dany; she had never seen real battle before, and felt completely unprepared. Her light crossbow shots were missing and the Bullywugs had a nasty bite. She was attacked first, and was brutally bitten by a fast-moving Bullywug. Before long, Dany found herself on the brink of passing out, but saw Alaria handling the fight with great proficiency. As she blinked in and out of consciousness, Dany felt a jolt of pride for her new friend. 

It must have been a few hours later when she finally woke up, but Alaria didn’t seem too worried that Dany had blacked out. Maybe this sort of thing had happened to her new friend before, Dany couldn’t be sure. But she could tell that the battle had been won. Apparently Alaria had also checked the dead human body for anything useful, and this was when Dany realized the benefits of being friends with a professional thief.

After the success of their quick battle, they decided to continue traveling together. Dany lead them through the edge of the woods and they could see the Castle of Drachen from miles away before they got close to the city limits. The white castle shone brightly like a beacon and they reached the castle gates easily. The two were welcomed as friendly travelers, which was a bit of a shock to Dany. She had grown accustomed to strangers being afraid of her due to her lizard-like appearance, but everyone in Drachen seemed to be unaffected by her unique race. They decided to stop at the pub first to rest up and get a drink.

Inside, the pub was bustling with all kinds of people. Dany and Alaria nervously kept to themselves, and chose a table near the door. Within a few moments, an impressively large Magistrate was joining them at the table. He introduced himself as Kolari, an officer of the Royal Expeditionary Guard. They barely finished their polite replies before Kolari began pleading for help.

Kolari explained that Princess Pema, the beautiful royal princess who lived in Castle Drachen, was distressed. One of her favorite Diadems had been stolen by a pack of Jackalwere bandits in the desert between Drachen and Dragonlance! Kolari implored to them to please come to her aid, as they had no  more soliders available in the barracks for this quest. He promised to pay them 100 GP if they could return the Diadem safely to the castle. 

Dany and Alaria weren’t quite sure what to make of this random stranger’s desperate request, and by the looks on their faces it was pretty obvious to Kolari as well. He told them that they could think it over, but if they were interested in joining the Expeditionary Guard, that they should meet him that evening at the castle.

Just as Kolari was finishing his speech, a mysterious looking elf walked by and scoffed at Kolari. “Recruiting again, are we Kolari? Why don’t you leave these people alone for once?” The moment became awkward and Kolari made his leave. The elf lingered a few moments more. She introduced herself as Ezra and said that she too wanted that Diadem – but not to give back to the Princess. Ezra offered that the two join up with her and the Midnight Ring, and they would be paid 200 GP for completing the task. It seemed that Alaria knew more about this Midnight Ring, but Dany was oblivious. Dany thought that Ezra seemed a bit shady, and expressed her preference to help Kolari.

In the end, they decided to go to the castle and see if they could speak to the Princess directly. Inside the glorious Castle Drachen, they were taken directly to the throne room. Princess Pema awaited them and asked again that they help her. Dany and Alaria were outfitted with extra rations, some extra gold, and horses by the Quartermaster Thamdid. Dany was also gifted a Cloak of Protection, which was beautiful and exquisitely crafted. Before they realized what had happened, they were on their way to retrieve the stolen Diadem.

While she wasn’t thrilled to be heading back towards Dragonlance, Dany and Alaria began their journey with full speed. After two days on the road, they came upon a road that lead through an ancient ruins. The crumbled remains of old buildings lined the road, and as they approached they saw a wounded warrior laying by a tree. He was clearly alive and struggling, so they approached him with concern.¬†

They told the wounded man that they had come from the castle. He immediately asked if they were searching for the Diadem. He began to speak frantically about a curse and how they needed to stop the ritual being planned by the evil Sun Wizard. Dany had no idea what he was talking about, but she wanted to help him. He was very handsome, even with his bleeding wounds. The man says that his name is Hendricks and he thinks the Jackalweres that attacked him must not be far away. Dany and Alaria scouted the area and discovered that there were indeed two Jackalweres hiding out in a nearby ancient building with broken stone walls. 

Dany used her magic orb to create a minor illusion cantrip to draw out the Jackalweres. Again, she learned that her lack of combat skills were going to be a problem if she gets too close to an enemy. Much like in their last battle, Dany found herself as a giant target, fending off foes while Alaria did most of the real attacking. The outcome was another success, and while everyone was a bit worse for wear afterwards, they came out with extra gold and a health potion. Alaria offered the potion to Hendricks, which Dany thought was very generous for a Tiefling. Once they had completed a long rest, the trio continued onward to find the Diadem.

As the dirt ground began to turn into yellow sand, Dany knew that they were getting closer to Dragonlance. When they approached the mouth of a large dark cave, she found her confirmation – the cave door was guarded by a magic stone dragon head. Beneath the head of the dragon was a message scrawled in Draconian: “The password is Gold.”

This clue gave Dany a sinking feeling in her core. Gold Draconians. Would she never escape the demons of her past? Or would they continue to find her and torment her? She whispered the meaning of the message to her travel companions. They deliberated for quite a while, arguing with the magical stone head who responded to their questions as though it thought it was a real dragon. “What are you talking about, ‘password’? I haven’t the slightest idea,” the stone dragon head replied, turning its dragon snout upwards snootily.¬†

“But it says right beneath you that the password is GOLD!” Dany insisted, feeling very foolish to be having an argument with a dragon-headed gargoyle.¬†

“What are you talking about? That’s nonsense. ‘The password is gold?'”

As soon as the stone dragon head spoke the word gold from it’s own mouth, the door swung open and the three rushed in. They made their way down a dark, barely lit cave hall, which ultimately led into a torture chamber. It was empty, aside from a dead human body still outstretched in what must have been an extremely painful position. They looked at the body with pity as the door swung behind them and locked them in.¬†

The resourceful group realized that the only way out now was through a hatch in the ceiling. They stacked up storage boxes littered around the room and climbed their way up, and they barely made it to the second floor of the dark cave. Alaria fell on her way up, knocking boxes and crates over with a loud bang and commotion, but no enemies on the second floor heard it… because they were all distracted by what appeared to be a magical seance.

Three Jackalweres were standing before a masked man floating in a protective, bright yellow magical orb. The Sun Wizard! He was holding the Diadem and appeared to be in deep concentration. His lips were moving, speaking inaudible words with great speed. 

“The ritual! He must be stopped!” cried Hendricks as they closed in on the enemies. But as soon as they made their move, the Jackalweres quickly turned to confront their challengers. Dany and her companions began to fight these strong werewolf-men. Hendricks told Dany and Alaria to proceed and stop the ritual while he distracted the Jackalweres. Dany was more than happy to sneak away from the fight, after how the last two battles had not gone well for her. Alaria and Dany each stepped deeper into the cave towards the Sun Wizard, and they noticed that the impenetrable shimmering orb was actually being held up by 4 crystals located in the corners of the room. Each taking one side, Dany and Alaria began to attack the giant magical crystals that controlled the Sun Wizard’s orb.¬†

For the first time in her life, Dany’s breath weapon was useful. She was able to aim her firey breath properly and attacked one of the crystals – burning up a slimy Flying Snake in the process. Each crystal only took two hits before they broke down into shards, which ceased the magical spell that created the orb protecting the Sun Wizard.¬†

Dany saw that Hendricks had handled the Jackalweres decidedly by this point, and all that was left was to attack the Sun Wizard himself and get the Diadem back. But before she could even raise her light crossbow, the Sun Wizard threw the Diadem towards the group and disappeared with a high-pitched screeching laugh that made their skin crawl. 

Hendricks confirmed that the ritual had not been completed and that the Diadem was safe to take back to the castle. They didn’t defeat the Sun Wizard – and that was certainly a problem – but they did achieve their goal! They successfully retrieved the stolen Diadem!

The ride back to the castle seemed to go much faster than the trip out to the desert. Dany was feeling so good about being able to control her breath weapon that she didn’t even mind that Alaria insisted on wearing the Diadem during the entire ride home. She felt that Alaria was a great teammate – the Tiefling was agile and had wonderful aim. With practice, the two of them might be a serious force!!

Back in the throne room, Princess Pema was grateful. On top of their promised reward (which had increased to 120 GP each due to the success), she offered them official positions within the Expeditionary Guard, with a weekly pay! Dany felt so proud. Never before had anyone given her a smile Рlet alone a reward! Maybe being exiled from her homeland was the best thing that could have happened to her. 

………………….

I hope you enjoyed the latest chapter in the Dany & Alaria DND saga! After our next session, I’ll post another novelesque blog! It might take a few weeks to get to the next chapter but stay tuned.

No PAX East for Glux

I am sad to report that I had to make a last minute decision to not attend PAX East 2018 this year. I had intended to go as a panelist for the StreetPass Game Show, which has now been running for a couple of years! But I suffered an injury last month and don’t feel up for traveling the distance or getting bumped around on the crowded show floor. So I decided to sit it out this year.

ANYWAY… I’m really proud of how the game show has progressed since it’s inception at Eternal Con back in 2016. Let’s see how it has evolved!

The original StreetPass Game Show was 100% manual. My awesome friend Sean built a game board out of PVC pipe and we switched out the answers between rounds, just like on old school Family Feud in the 1970’s. We performed in front of a crowd of 30ish and the room was packed. Everyone left smiling!

Here I am as Host Princess Peach laughing maniacally in front of the hand made PVC pipe StreetPass Game Show board in 2016!

Once the word got out about the StreetPass Game show, another awesome friend Miz Sylver helped us bring the game show to the modern age by converting the game board into a PowerPoint presentation which we could project onto a large screen. This made the game show something that we could take easily on the road. Scaling the game board onto a big projector screen made the game show that much more EPIC at PAX East, which had an actual theater for us to host the panel in. Check out the difference!

The StreetPass Game Show game board looking very captivating at PAX East 2018!

But what really makes me proud is that the game show can go on without me! We have the formula figured out and I know that the panelists doing the game show will do an amazing job this year, with Miz Sylver AND Sean both leading the way at PAX East 2018. I’m sad that I won’t be there, but hopefully another opportunity will arise for the StreetPass Game Show to be hosted at a future con that I can attend. (Maybe even NYCC? Don’t hold your breath but it would be cool to host a game show there!)

If you’re going to PAX East 2018 on Saturday night, don’t miss the StreetPass Game Show! Check it out and tell me all about it! I wish I was there….

Detective Pikachu Review

What. A. Weird. Game.

Nope, overall I’m not happy with the new game “Detective Pikachu” which came out for Nintendo 3DS last week.

For those who are unaware, Detective Pikachu is based on an upcoming movie that isn’t out until next year. And Detective Pikachu is not like other Pikachus, with their cute squeaky voices and mannerisms. This Pikachu has a deep voice and talks in a strangely gruff manner. To me it was extremely off-putting and not amusing or funny in any way. It was a major distraction to me the entire time.

The game works similarly to Professor Layton games in terms of exploring different areas by clicking on things that show up with a magnifying glass indicators, keeping notes and putting together the clues to solve mysteries. But it was NOT difficult or challenging like Professor Layton games. In between this ‘evidence collecting’ exploration game play, there are cut-scenes and overly simple “Press A at the right time” action sequences. On top of that, there times when Detective Pikachu decides he has something to say, and you are forced into watching these redundant Pikachu cut-scenes where he reviews info that you literally just discovered two seconds earlier and then has a sloowwwww fade out before returning back to your game play. Like why?? I would have loved to turn that feature off.

I’m going to post some vague spoilers here. I don’t recommend playing this game. Your life will be okay if you read on lol!!

To end each case, you use logic to solve whodunnit mysteries for random Pokemon owners that you encounter. But what really annoyed me was that there was a completely unresolved subplot. The character that you control is a young man searching for his missing father, and his missing father used to be Detective Pikachu’s partner. Detective Pikachu has amnesia and can’t use his Electric abilities. They never find his father. They never address the fact that they don’t find his father. They never explain WHY Pikachu and your character are able to communicate easily despite him being a Pokemon and you being a human. WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS???

My assumption is that these questions might be answered in the upcoming Detective Pikachu movie. But that movie doesn’t come out until next year. By then this game will be irrelevant and forgotten.

Don’t get me started on the Detective Pikachu amiibo. The only cool thing about it is that it’s huge. But that means it was $30. What does it unlock? Pikachu cut-scenes that you might have missed in the game. No thanks. (I bought it bc FML I am obsessed with collecting Pikachu stuff lol.)

It is really cute tho.

Another [useless] thing I liked was that the game came with a digital download for a Detective Pikachu home menu theme. It plays latin inspired music like in the characters’ favorite coffee shop, and features a little cameo from Mimikyu.

The cute Pokemon characters throughout the game were fun too, I must admit. Being able to communicate with other Pokemon via Detective Pikachu was pretty adorable as well. But overall the game was pretty disappointing to me. The unresolved subplot and complete lack of any post-game whatsoever make this game a “definite pass.”

Have you played Detective Pikachu? What are your thoughts?

Facebook Detox

It’s time for a rant. This is something I think everyone should strongly consider!!

I remember the day in 2005 when my small private art college was FINALLY accepted onto a new social website called Facebook. It was hard for my school to get on board with the site, because we were so small. All my friends at major universities were already on Facebook. I was jealous! At the time, you were required to have a college email address from an approved college in order to create an account. (It was initially intended to be an ‘online yearbook’ for students.) Then my nerd friend told me that sva.edu was finally an accepted school email address and I signed up right away!

Fast forward a year to when the iPhone was first released, and the era of the smartphone began. It took me a while to get a smartphone, but when I finally did I regarded my phone as a status symbol. I could now reach the internet regardless of my location! Of course, Facebook was one of the first apps I had on my smartphone.

 

It’s something about the NOTIFICATIONS. They draw you in. You feel compelled to check them, even when the content they are notifying you about is most likely the most unimportant thing you need to read. On Facebook notifications are literally a RED BOX begging for your attention in the corner. They show a number if you have multiple notifications – “Oh jeez why do I have 43 notifications??” You suddenly feel both popular and important, but also overwhelmed and anxious about having to review them all, and possibly follow up in some way. How did we suddenly feel the need to be this busy?

Our society has developed a form of self-imposed ADD. I noticed this around 1999. When I was in high school I was in a video program and we had some film history workshops. One of the directors I studied was Stanley Kubrick. If you’ve ever watched a Kubrick film, you might recall that the movies feel ‘slow’ by today’s standards. Kubrick’s movies were edited in a way that was not rushed… shots would linger on for many seconds before cutting to an actor saying a line… then another long pause… It was about soaking in the imagery as much as it was about telling the story.

But as the “MTV” style of editing began to gain traction, fast edits were everywhere. If a shot lasts more than 5 seconds on screen today (other than news), I am shocked. It’s constant, flashy cuts with moving transitions and letters flying across the screen… there is no stillness. There is no pause. There is no time to soak in anything. You must pay full attention or it’s likely that you will miss something. So what happened? Commercials got shorter. Today there are commercial spots as quick as :6 seconds long. And that’s just TV – there are flashier ads and content on the internet. You don’t even realize it when you’re watching, but this is so that companies can sell more ad space and shove more content down our throats!

I’ve decided I’ve had enough of this self-imposed ADD. I can’t do much about changing how advertisements are created and sold, but I can control what content I am looking at on my smartphone. I decided to delete the Facebook app from my phone. This doesn’t mean that I deleted or deactivated my account. (The Glux Blog Facebook Page is still there and I have no plans of taking it down!) Honestly, I use Facebook to log into other sites, that I just can’t be bothered with dealing with that headache if I were to delete my account. And I don’t want my friends to think I’ve dropped off the face of the earth, so I still repost my IG photos to my FB profile.

But, Facebook has actually been proven to be detrimental to the mental health of young people. I’m pretty sure it’s also not great for Facebook to be so ingrained in the lives of everyone else, regardless of age. There is a toxic mix of FOMO, Keeping Up with the Joneses, having to be perfect, politics pulling people apart, internet trolls, cyber bullying and mind-rotting memes on Facebook. I’ve had enough. I don’t need to argue with random people about sports and politics. I don’t need notifications distracting me during the work day. I just don’t need Facebook in my life.

Not to mention the recent scandal regarding the privacy concerns with Facebook!

So I deleted my app on Sunday. I still have Messenger to talk to my friends. I still have Instagram to share my photos bc that’s mostly what I enjoy doing on the internet these days (besides blogging of course!). I realize that these apps are both owned by Facebook and my little ‘protest’ isn’t exactly sticking it to Zuckerberg… but I am already seeing positive effects in my daily life. I am not wasting time looking at memes. I’m not getting anxiety because I can’t afford a lavish vacation, fancy car, new kitchen, huge game collection, or whatever else people like to show off on their newsfeeds. I can focus on my own happiness without comparing myself to others. I can focus on work without constant distraction. Not to mention… my phone battery lasts longer now!

This is my Facebook Detox. And I like it.¬†ūüėé

Danaeryzard the Dragonborn

I’m a gamer but I will be the first to admit that I have very limited ‘tabletop gaming’ experience. If years of playing board games like Monopoly, Life, and Mall Madness counts, then sure. But otherwise, I’m a total noob. Recently a couple of my friends and I have been talking about getting a Dungeons & Dragons group together. It’s my friend’s first foray in being DM (dungeon master, aka the person who ‘runs the game’), so we’re all noobs, which is nice. I’m hoping that my experience playing RPG video games like Pokemon have helped prime me for this new style of battle… but we shall see!

The first thing you have to do before you can play D&D (aside from finding enough people to commit to starting a campaign) is create your character. There are many various races to choose from, and from there you pick a profession or “class” which gives you additional stats, abilities, tools, etc. You must also establish a background and personality traits that will drive your character to act in certain ways, depending on the situation. It can be very overwhelming!

I like to pick the path less traveled, so I decided to choose the Dragonborn race. I always loved dragons because I’m a fantasy nerd. A friend of mine from art school was an amazing dragon illustrator, but he passed away just about a year ago. (His family has kept his web portfolio up in his honor, please check it out if you are interested:¬†www.elasticdragon.com) I’m dedicating my inaugural D&D character to him!

Dragonborn race is cool because you have dragon scales, can unleash a dragon breath, and you can speak the ancient Draconian language. I decided to be cheeky and name my character Danaeryzard Targeleon, which is a combination of Danaerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones and the names of the Pokemon Charizard and Charmeleon. Yes, I’m a dork. That’s why you love me!

As part of the character development, you have to establish a backstory. Here is mine:

Danaeryzard Targeleon is a Dragonborn Sorcerer. She was born into a darkly aligned Gold Dragon Draconian family that prided themselves on their strength and fighting abilities. However, Dany was born smaller than her kin, and with a wildly destructive magical ability that she had no idea how to control. Rather than trying to understand her powers and help her to wield her magic safely, she was ostracized by her family and peers. Throughout her childhood she was bullied and ridiculed by the otherwise proud and loyal Dragonborn village, located in the Plains of Dust in southeast Ansalon of Dragonlance. 

In her early teens, just as she was reaching adulthood, Danaeryzard noticed that her magic was becoming increasingly powerful and she was less able to control it. Her dragon breath fire was far stronger than her peers. She felt the power increase when she was emotional, which was most of the time in her teenage years. One fateful day, Dany was at an outdoor market, searching for shiny jewels (her personal favorite). An exceptionally rude Dragonborn from her clan named Krin Antalach decided to antagonize her and tell her to leave the market. Naturally, she became upset and as she turned to leave, she was pushed from behind by one of Krin’s friends and as she fell, she accidentally let out an enormously dangerous and fiery dragon breath. The market booths, built mostly of wood and canvas, were all up in flames within minutes.¬†

Danaeryzard was immediately blamed for the incident. She was deemed a threat to their society, because she could not control her magic. She was told to leave town and never return, upon threat of death! Left with only the supplies on her back, she escaped into the woods and has been ‘on the run’ ever since. Despite constantly being hurt by her Dragonborn kin, she was devastated to be thrown out of their society. She knew the only way to have a chance at a family again would be to control her power. But she didn’t know any other Sorcerers or anyone who was skilled in advanced magic. Her hope was that in exile, she would have the time and concentration to learn to control her powers.¬†

In part she was right, because as she journeyed in the shadows, she came upon a glass orb. It was at the bottom of a stream where she had stopped to fill her water canteen. When she pulled it out of the water, the orb felt hot to the touch and began to glow red. Danaeryzard knew that this was not merely a glass orb, but an arcane focus with which she might better use her powers. 

Practicing is not easy when you don’t know what you’re doing. Dany knew that her power was from her Gold Dragon bloodline, which meant she had the strong power of fire within her. In her attempts to ‘practice’ using her orb, she burned down several acres of forest on multiple occasions. This often attracted unwanted attention to her location, including from a certain Tiefling to whom her destiny would ultimately be tied…!

I’m leaving it somewhat as a cliffhanger here because I’m waiting for Ali to write her Tiefling backstory. We will meet and be outcast buddies together!

Welp, you can see how involved this game is already, and we only played a practice battle so far! We went and got fancy d20 dice sets over the weekend, and hopefully will officially begin our campaign soon. I’ll be sure to post more blogs about our progress… assuming we make any! lol

Do you play D&D too? What’s your character like??