Dinos Takeover Los Angeles!

We planned a simple trip to Los Angeles, CA. Our plan was to visit the E3 expo and do some sightseeing. What I hadn’t planned on was Los Angeles BEING TAKEN OVER BY DINOSAURS. I should have known. The marketing was everywhere: The dinos have left the park. They just didn’t mention that the dinos went to LA.

My first dinosaur sighting was in Downtown LA. We were at the convention center, innocently perusing the aisles of the show floor at E3.

Raptors at E3

Raptor!!! It was behind a fence. I can’t be sure if the fence was electrified, but it did look damaged. People were lining up for an experience nearby so it must have been safe… maybe the raptor was tranquilized…? Paralyzed? lol

The following day, walking down past the Walt Disney Concert Hall… another tranq’ed dino was found, in a cage. It seemed like it was baking in the hot sun! (Is this inhumane??)

Triceratops tranquilized for travel?

We decided to inspect the situation further, by waiting on a ridiculous line for what was called the Jurassic World Fan Fest event. We were told there would be VR games, giveaways, and free movie tickets maybe??

Entering Jurassic World

After the long wait, we made it to the entrance. And what did we find? FREE T-SHIRTS!!! YASSS! So that was a good start. Once we made it inside the giant JW doors…

AHHHH!!

A friendly T-Rex was waiting just inside the entrance!! Yikes! Luckily it must have been trained to only do photo-ops instead of eating people, so there was no carnage. And he was super IG-friendly, of course. I mean, this is LA after all.

Resting in the shade…

It was hot af that day. I’m pretty sure I got sunburned at this event. Some dinos were lounging in a more shaded photo-op area. The dino above was just laying there looking pretty spent. I tried to take a selfie with another dino that was popping out of the vegetation. (Blue?)

Dino Selfie

We wanted to check out the VR game thing but the line was insanely long and they were having technical difficulties even getting it started up. So no. We also got raffle tickets that were supposedly eligible for a free movie screening but the booth to trade in the tickets wasn’t set up yet either. What kind of half-assed event was this? Dinos are baking in the sun in questionable conditions, humans baking in the sun on line for the event, and then some of the attractions weren’t even doable?

At least I got that free t-shirt!

Later in the day, we went to Santa Monica Pier. There weren’t any dinosaurs. Plenty of old people, if you count them.

Santa Monica Panorama

Santa Monica Pier Panorama (featuring Carney)

Santa Monica from the top of the Pacific Wheel

Ugh. I loved Santa Monica. Next time I go to LA I might just stay in this part of town. The boardwalk is really fun. I bought a conch shell for my niece to hear the ocean. There were rides and we ate delicious tacos and drank various margaritas. We even saw some fancy plane thing that I barely got a photo of, but apparently it’s a cool rare thing! (Carney, help me out here in the comments please! lol)

Cool airplane thing!

We also saw a police van with surfboards rigged up on top, tourists struggling with selfie-sticks, a cute baby, and the Bubba Gump Shrimp mascot. Important things!!

The next day, we spent a majority of our time in Hollywood. I won’t clog up my blog with all of the celebrity homes that I took photos of, but you can peruse the full album on my Flickr page. Here’s a nice panorama I took from the Hollywood Hills:

Hollywood Hills

We took a bus tour to see the sights of Hollywood, which was a lot of fun. In addition to the Hollywood sign and the celebrity homes, we were driven through Beverly Hills and around Rodeo Drive.

Dinosaur of a tree in Beverly Hills

Rodeo Drive

All the palm trees!

After our tour we stayed in Hollywood to hang out. We checked out the Walk of Fame and other popular sites, but we wanted some more authentic experiences. And alcohol. So we stopped at a couple of bars in Hollywood!

The Roosevelt Hotel

We started at the Roosevelt Hotel, to experience how rich movie stars of the 1950’s might have enjoyed their cocktails. It was fancy. I mean, check out that indoor fountain! But the prices were fancy too, so decided to check out a speakeasy on Sunset Blvd. called Adults Only. The fake store front was a pretend porn video store, but when you walk in there was only slight amounts of porn and large amounts of old VHS tapes from the 1990s, from Sleeping Beauty to Indiana Jones. All fake placeholders put up in the vestibule, because only a few steps brings you into the actual bar, which was GORGEOUS.

Dimly lit, classic vibe speakeasy Adults Only.

On the big screen they had some old black and white movie that we couldn’t name. The menu consisted of movie titles that described the flavor and theme of the cocktail. It’s kind of dark but I took a picture to give you an idea. (I was drinking Clueless!)

The menu was in a VHS cassette case!

OK, so there were no dinosaurs here, but we were enjoying some delicious alcohol in some very old bars! (Well, old by California standards, anyway.)

At this point, you may be thinking that I had exaggerated about the dinosaurs. I DIDN’T. We encountered many more dinosaurs the next day – at Universal Studios Hollywood!!

Hogwarts Castle

We stopped at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter first. There was a scary dragon on the Harry Potter 4D Experience ride, but that’s not exactly a dinosaur. I get it. But don’t forget… Universal also has a Jurassic Park.

Jurassic Park – THE RIDE

Sadly, I didn’t take any photos of the dinosaurs that I saw within Jurassic Park – The Ride. It was a water ride (not a log flume by definition, as we were in yellow raft style vehicles) that took us through Jurassic Park. But then we realize that the dinosaurs had broken out of the park! They were roaming through the ride area! We got sprayed and splashed as we went through, but nobody on our raft was prepared for the big drop. Tensions rose as we climbed to the highest part of the ride, readying ourselves for the final, sharp angle drop and then… A GIANT T-REX HEAD DESCENDS DOWN ON YOU. Adding just that extra amount of terror and adrenaline as you begin to drop straight down into the water below! AHHHH!! And then as you land the entire raft is hit by a giant WAVE of water and literally everyone comes out drenched. There’s no ‘oh if I sit on the edge I’ll be dry.’ Nope. Everyone. Gets. Drenched. And then they direct you into the gift shop, stocked full with clean, dry, brand new Jurassic World t-shirts celebrating the new movie. I see right through your marketing tactics, Universal!!

Then we saw Blue.

Blue

Unlike all the other dinos we had seen, Blue was not in a cage. Blue was not behind a fence. Blue was not tranquilized. Blue was THERE. Being FIERCE. People lined up to take photos with Blue, but the danger was reallll!!

Blue getting angry.

Blue was very realistic. She moved and blinked and roared and screeched. She chopped her teeth at the young babies being offered for ‘photo ops’ (aka lunch?!?!) and scared the bejeezus out of some little boy that was watching on the sidelines. He almost cried. That’s how real Blue was. It was no joke. I should have taken a video instead of photos. Oh well!

I bet you won’t ever see as many dinosaurs in Los Angeles as I did!! Anyway, if you enjoyed the pics from my trip, there’s many, many more on my Flickr Album. Check it out below! Hit the side arrows to move to the next photo. Let me know what you like!

LOS ANGELES

 

Oh yeah and don’t forget to see see Jurassic World in theaters now!!

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E3 2018: A Brief Recap

This year, my awesome friend Carney and I decided to take a trip to Los Angeles and attend E3 2018! I just got back and while I intend to write a blog about the ENTIRE trip, I wanted to do a quickie overview of E3 first.

LOS ANGELES

Things that were great about E3:

  • Game Demos. Obvi. If you can manage to get into a line, playing some of the latest games is one of the best parts of E3. I played Super Smash Bros. for Switch, as well as the new Monster Hunter. However, those were the only demos I managed to play. More on that later.
  • Swag. While not QUITE as impressive an offering as I remembered in 2013, there is still a decent amount of free stuff to get at E3. Tote bags, Vault Boy masks, and free Drakes snack cakes were some of the most prevalent finds at the convention center.
  • Decor. For some reason, the booth setups at E3 are always the coolest. I’ve gone to NYCC, PAX East and PAX West and none of it compares to E3 when it comes to life-size dioramas and game world immersion.

Things that were pretty shitty about E3:

  • Lines. LINES!!! I quickly realized that E3 actually stands for Everything has 3 Hour Lines. Because that’s how it is. We got there at 9am and by the time I was scanned in and at the Nintendo booth at 9:24, the line for Let’s Go Pikachu was 3 hours long. It was very disheartening. The only reason I was able to play the Smash demo was because they forced us to book time slots in advance. But now I’m actually grateful they made me do the extra work because that at least ensured that I got to play SOMETHING. Jeez.
  • Lack of Panels. There were not many ‘events’ planned for E3. Not that it would have mattered, because you’d probably have to commit an entire day to waiting on the line to get in. But one of the best parts of conventions are celebrity panels. Why aren’t there any at E3?
  • The Cool Nintendo Events Weren’t Actually At E3. The Splatoon 2 Tournament was held at a theater offsite and you had to line up at a specific time on June 11th (BEFORE E3 EVEN STARTS) to get wristbands. Guess what? My flight was only arriving at that time. Same deal with the Smash Bros. Tournament – that day they were giving out tickets at the same time as my Smash Bros. demo time slot. Soooo wait in a line in hopes of getting tickets to watch the Smash Invitational, or actually go to E3 and play the demo I had registered for in advance. Naturally we went with the sure thing. But why was Nintendo forcing us to pick which thing was a priority? It felt very unfair. I caught a few glimpses of the tournaments on live feeds they had on TV screens. Whoop.
  • You Can’t Even Go to the Major Press Conferences. Yeah yeah I don’t have a press pass. But in the game company livestream videos, it always looks like a huge auditorium filled with fans in attendance. In reality, those are all paid professional press badge holders at those events. They are getting PAID to cheer. Actual die-hard fans don’t even get to go to the press conferences. Hmph. Plus they hold the press conferences early in the morning when the rest of us plebs have to wait in lines to get in. We don’t even get to watch unless we wanna burn mobile data.

You might sense my disappointment in E3 by now. You would be very correct. I quickly realized that the lines are likely to be much more manageable when I go to the Nintendo NYC store and play in the E3 Demo Area in the convenience of my home state. Honestly, my time spent away from E3 was much more fun. I did lots of cool touristy things and had a blast in LA. I’ll blog about the rest of my trip in a day or two. But for now, check out my Flickr album and enjoy the VISUALS of E3…. at least it’s a very IG-friendly event.

Carnies Come to Taproom 307!

What do you think of when you hear “Brooklyn, NY”? For most people, maybe it’s the Brooklyn Bridge, or the Barclay’s Center, or Junior’s Cheesecake. (All wonderful things!) But when it comes to me, I think of Coney Island!

Coney Island is so much fun to visit. They have roller coasters and amusement rides, a minor league baseball team, a beachfront boardwalk, a museum, an aquarium, and of course the freak show! There is an old world kind of charm that still lingers on Surf Ave. I used to go there a lot when I lived in Park Slope – I recommend that everyone visits Coney Island, and the original Nathan’s Hot Dogs location at least once! This is also the home of the Coney Island Brewery, which has awesome beer and hosts lots of super fun events, like when they hosted a Cinnamon Toast Brunch to celebrate the launch of their Cinnamon Toast Kolsch beer.

But I know. Sometimes it’s hard to make the trip. From where I live now, it’s like a two hour endeavor to get to Coney Island. Luckily, Coney Island Brewery understands that it’s not easy to get to them all the time, so they coordinate with local bars in Manhattan to bring a little bit of Coney Island to the heart of the city!

Most recently Coney Island Brewery hosted a tap takeover at Taproom 307. It was SUPER fun! I was greeted by a stilt-walker before I even got inside.

For me there were two highlights – delicious Watermelon Wheat Ale and the professional Sword Swallower: Claire Kasper! She was beautiful and talented, and of course very friendly and nice. Not only did she swallow a sword, but she used a hammer and nailed a nail up her nose. 😱

I got a video of the sword swallowing. Claire had this crazy wavy looking sword. Seemed pretty risky! Check it out!

Sword Swallowing

Love it!!! She’s so cool! Anyway, we had a lot of fun and I highly recommend everyone to check out Coney Island Brewery beers, events and the brewery itself! It’s super fun and they do lots of giveaways. I got Mermaid Pilsner pins and CIB sunglasses.

They give out raffle tickets when you buy their beer at the tap takeover, and then give out cool prizes! My friend won a sweet cooler!!

Interview with a Pokédeck

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 Pokémon 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 “Pokédeck.” Throughout my set of beautiful cards, you will find an assortment of the 721 Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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 Poké-nerds, this is exactly like the movie “Giratina and the Sky Warrior.” The artist who made this deck is clearly a devout Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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 Pokédeck that I’d evolve like most Pokémon. 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 Pokédeck. 

I think this tarot deck will take me on a deep journey towards seeking inner peace and enlightenment, while also fueling my fandom for Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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!!

Dessert Goals!

Heyyy I know I just posted a blog about Kirby but the sweets don’t stop there! Yesterday I couldn’t play the new game because I was busy being Kirby in real life… inhaling sweets at an event called Dessert Goals!

I’ve gone to a few foodie events in NYC before, and I thought this one was really nicely put together. Other events I’ve attended were underwhelming, had outrageous lines at the booths, or were vastly under-decorated. Not this time!

#DessertGoals was held at Sound River Studios in Long Island City. Sure, there was a line to get in and the booths had some lines, but nothing too crazy. The vendor selection was varied and excellent quality. There was decor all around, celebrating the joys of delicious dessert (and disco, for some reason). Freebies were also available, as well as the gorgeous backdrop of the Manhattan skyline via the East River.

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It was a lot of fun! I’m glad I was vigilant and got the early bird tickets this year. This is an event I’d attend again! Yay Dessert Goals! What’s your next dessert goal?? lol

AC Pocket Camp Updates

Mayor Gluxie doesn’t want her fans to forget about her! She has been hard at work maintaining and updating her AC: Pocket Camp campsite, and there are plenty of updates to discuss! She was very proud to announce that after months of searching, she finally caught the elusive Tuna!

Mayor Gluxie caught a tuna!

But that was something that was more of a personal achievement. There have been tons of updates in the Animal Crossing Pocket Camp mobile game in the past few weeks and things are not showing any signs of stopping! If this is a sneak peek at the potential we could have in daily activities in future AC games, I think the future looks very bright.

Gardening has become a much more interesting activity, for starters. Not only have new hybrid flowers been sprouting up, but the game creators have started rolling out in-game gardening collection events! Using limited-time-only seasonal seeds, you can grow new flowers that can attract rare creatures. So far we have seen special butterflies and even bejeweled bats in the most recent Gothic Rose event! As you collect these rare creatures, you are able to share them with your friends, or trade them in for brand new furniture series items and clothing! It’s a really fun way to encourage visiting your friends, and to introduce new series themes to the franchise. I am very excited to see what new furniture the game will come out with next!

 

More updates have been rolling out, seemingly on a weekly basis!

When there isn’t a gardening event, the game is adding new animal characters to the game, or introducing a new furniture series via rare material collection events. Currently there is an Crystal Collection event going on, and players collect rare crystal shards by completing requests for animals around the campsites, which will unlock new Crystal furniture series items.

Another fun feature that has been added to Pocket Camp is the ability to change the outfits of your favorite animal friends! Once you reach a certain friendship level with an animal, you have the option to change their look. You can give them a new shirt, a hat or even glasses! Not all clothing items are compatible with all animals of course, but it’s really funny to change their looks!

If you haven’t played Animal Crossing Pocket Camp in a while, it’s definitely worth an update and a second chance! Get to collecting!!

PS – I have a long weekend and a LOT of things to blog about. Sorry in advance for filling up your inbox in the coming days lol!

Hermione at Wizard U

Last weekend I had tickets for an event called Wizard U. It was advertised as a Harry Potter wizarding experience for adults aged 21+ and would include fun activities, classes, potions, etc! Cosplay encouraged! Sounds awesome, right?

Years ago I had put together a ‘sexy Hermione’ costume for Halloween and I’ve been very excited to wear it out again! I made some photoshop comps of the costume when I took pics before I left… check em out!

All of my friends said they loved the costume! Which is great. I wish I could say I loved the Wizard U event, but that’s another story.

They said the doors would open at 1pm and that the Orientation would begin at 2pm. We got to Irving Plaza (the venue) around 1pm and there was a HUGE LINE to get in. Once we finally got inside, it was a bit chaotic, and there weren’t many signs to figure out what the different ‘stations’ were that had been set up around the venue. There was no decor either! The main events were set up on the stage, where the House Heads and the Professors would improvise skits or magical lessons with volunteers picked from the crowd. Unfortunately when random people were picked to go on stage, they were doing improv games… and when random awkward untrained people are subject to improv… it’s usually boring and not funny. For example, a Professor put students under the Cruciatus Curse and it was essentially a bunch of adults playing Simon Says on stage.

There was also wand-making in the upstairs area, but the line was so long that I didn’t even bother. I should also mention that there was almost nobody else in full cosplay, except for a Dumbledoor that I saw, and maybe one or two others. 😨

I wanted to have some Butterbeer. That was a priority for me. It was a cocktail made up of butterscotch vodka (or vanilla vodka? Both? I forget exactly what it said lol), cream soda and topped with whipped cream. As someone who has an extreme sweet tooth, I really liked it. But it was $11 for a small cup. I did not get seconds.

There was one area of Wizard U that I did enjoy, and the line wasn’t too crazy long. Probably because the signage was tiny and it’s likely that few people knew it was even happening because it was tucked away down a hall. It was Divination. There was a Professor who would tell your fortune!

The Professor did a hand reading. She said that my love line had a lot of activity, but specifically at the END of the line… so I should keep up with yoga classes because I was going to be very popular in the nursing home! LOL I loved it! It’s also probably true… 😅

Anyway, the event was supposed to last until at least 6… but I left after about two hours. It was an event that COULD have been cool but just wasn’t executed well. I wish I had the resources to try and host an event of this scale. It’s probably really hard. There’s really only one logical next step here. I must go to the Harry Potter World at Universal Studios someday!!

Metroid: Samus Returns Event

Samus is back, baby!

Got my Samus t-shirt ready to go!

Got my Samus t-shirt ready to go!

Nintendo fans have been begging for YEARS for another Metroid game, and now the time is finally here! Metroid: Samus Returns has been reimagined for the 3DS with beautiful new graphics and controls. To celebrate the big day, there was a fun event held at the Nintendo NY store in New York City. I stopped by to check out the event! Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for it’s entirety so I missed the cosplay contest, but it was still pretty cool!

The event was held in the big upstairs area, and they had a table set out with lots of goodies for everyone in attendance!

Metroid Swag

Metroid Swag

For those keeping score, we have vinyl Metroid: Samus Returns posters, Metroid head cookies (arranged in the shape of an M!) as well as regular posters for the game. Not bad for freebies!

As guests walked into the event space, the next thing you notice is the huge Metroid backdrop with Samus Aran featured in a classic pose.

Who can resist a photo op? Not me.

Who can resist a photo op? Not me.

Of course I had to get a pic with my favorite Bounty Hunter! #girlcrush

The next feature of the event was the Metroid fan art that had been submitted in advance. It was on full display at the event and the artwork was really fantastic!

Metroid Fan Art

More Metroid Fanart

I wish I had skills like these artists! The event continued on from there, but didn’t make for great photos. There was a mass of people gathered around to play some Name That Tune with Metroid theme music. The Nintendo staff gave away prizes to those who answered correctly!

Sadly, I did not cosplay at this event. I was coming straight from work, so my red Metroid t-shirt was all I could muster. Thankfully, another Zero Suit Samus cosplayer came out to the event, and my friend Peter got a photo with her, so I’ll share it. She looks great – I just wish she had worn a wig! Brunette Samus is pretty cool though.

Peter with Samus Cosplayer!

All in all, it was a great event! I had a lot of fun, and it’s so awesome to see so many people excited for a new Metroid game. I’ve only played it briefly so far, and it’s really hard – just like the original! The new controls take some getting used to, but with some dedication I’ll get there.

It’s definitely nice to see some more great 3DS games coming out, because I really love playing 3DS on the go. It’s a great way for me to pass the time on my commute to work. I know the Nintendo Switch is portable too, but it’s still big and clunky to carry around. Plus it’s more expensive than the 3DS, should something horrible happen and replacement is needed… lol!

In closing, I love going to Nintendo NY events. They are always great! The cookie definitely had way too much fondant but I appreciate the effort and free food. Here’s a picture of my haul, including the event swag, the game, Metroid amiibos and my bonus Metroid keychain! Booyah!

My Metroid Goodies!

My Metroid Goodies!

Hands On with the Nintendo Switch!

Woo what a weekend! Everyone has been talking about the Nintendo Switch ever since the presentation last Thursday, which introduced the system and showcased the new Joy Cons – the convertible controllers that come with the Nintendo Switch system. But I felt lucky because I had a ticket for the Nintendo Switch Preview Event in NYC! I was able to get a hands-on demonstration of the Nintendo Switch system, the Joy Cons, software and more!

The event was held at a secret off-site location in midtown, open only to invited ticket holders. (I was able to get a ticket by logging into my MyNintendo account when they first announced the event. This apparently triggered an event invite to be sent to me at the time. So what have we learned? Log into MyNintendo once in a while!) I went with one of my besties, CarneyVorous. We braved the cold wintery weather and it was SO worth it!

20170114_185030As we approached the entrance, we were surprised to see that Link from Breath of the Wild was guarding the door. Well, Link and a dozen event coordinators. Everything was very organized, which was nice. They checked our tickets and finally after long last… WE WERE INSIDE THE SNEAK PREVIEW EVENT!

The event consisted of two large rooms. The first room had a glamorous setup with a main stage, glass windowed demo cubicle setups, and a third of the room dedicated to Legend of Zelda demo stations. The second room had a huge area dedicated to Splatoon 2 demos, as well as third-party titles and a Super Mario Odyssey photo-op station! It was a lot to take in. We didn’t even know where to start! Sadly, the Zelda line got ridiculously long in a short amount of time, so we decided to make the most of our time by trying as many fun demos as we could.

Our first stop was Splatoon 2. Who could resist? To make the experience even more *new*, the demo we played was done on the Nintendo Switch in hand-held mode. This means the player is watching the Switch screen with the Joy Cons attached to the sides. This mode is pretty similar to playing on the Wii U Game Pad, which I personally enjoy a lot. The Splatoon controls were set to use the gyroscope. It can be tricky if you’re not used to playing that way, but the Switch console is light and easy to move around as needed. I also decided to try out the new Splatoon weapon which was introduced in this latest title – the Splat Dualies! I thought they were pretty sweet. They shoot fast and it’s easy to aim. I played very well, got second place in my winning team with those Splat Dualies! (Did much more terribly with the Splat Roller in the second round. Sad face.)

Splatoon 2 on the Nintendo Switch in hand-held mode.

Next, we wanted to get an up-close look at the Nintendo Switch Joy Cons by checking out the glass cubicle 1-2-Switch Demo Stations! The 1-2-Switch game utilizes the Joy Cons in a way that showcases all of the new features it has to offer, including HD Rumble technology. This game is unique in that you don’t really need to look at the screen to play – it’s all about playing with other people, making eye contact, interacting with humans… you know, scary stuff.

The 1-2-Switch Demo consisted of Quick Draw, Milking Cows (yep) and Counting Marbles. Each game showed a different feature of the Joy Con controllers. I will note that the Nintendo reps insisted on using the wrist straps with the Joy Cons for this game. Very sensible – and side note! – the wrist strap adds an extra half inch of width to the controller, which makes it even easier to hold.

Quick Draw showcased the Joy Con’s basics, such as motion control. Milking Cows introduced new ways to feel awkward around your friends (because yes, the game is exactly what you think it is) and also makes use of the L and R buttons that have been incorporated into the new controllers. Counting Marbles was the most interesting game in the 1-2-Switch Demo, because it featured the new HD Rumble effects. The Joy Con simulated the feeling of small marbles rolling around inside of it (and does an EXTREMELY CONVINCING JOB doing so) and you have to guess how many marbles are “inside.” You determine this by moving the Joy Con and “feeling” the marbles sliding around and clicking against one another. It was pretty amazing! The HD Rumble is very responsive and I am very interested to see how other games will incorporate this new technology.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Demo Stations

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Demo Stations

One of my all-time favorite games has always been Mario Kart. I would play after school with my friends on the N64 back in the day, and I haven’t stopped since! Playing MK on the go has always been a strong selling point… so being able to play MK8 Deluxe in full HD while on the move is going to be AH-MAY-ZING! To give us the full experience, Nintendo set up some fun ‘simulation’ demo stations. In the picture above, you see a fake diner with demo stations, as well as some guys in what looks like an RV? Or some kind of van?

Playing MK8 at

Playing MK8 at “the diner”!

Here I am “at the diner” enjoying some MK8 Battle Mode in handheld mode – which I won with Bowser, btw! It’s great to have some authentic battle mode back in the mix.

We also tried out a demo station that was set up to look like we were playing on an airplane. (Awesome idea!!) They set up the chairs to have those awful tray tables, and placed the Nintendo Switch in tabletop mode for us to play. Tabletop mode is when you have the screen standing up with the kickstand, and the Joy Cons are removed from the sides so that two people can use them and play while watching the screen. I will say that as a veteran MK player, I did not mind the Joy Cons for this game. Yes, if you’re using the Jon Cons, it is a small controller. Like I mentioned before, the wrist strap helps a lot with that issue. It takes some slight ‘getting used to’ but it’s not bad at all, and having usable L and R buttons meant that my game play was as good as ever! Please note that in this side photo, we were also trying out Mario Kart with the Joy Cons in what I am calling “nunchuck mode,” which is similar to the old Wii nunchuck and Wii Remote setup… without that cumbersome cord connecting them together! You can play with the Joy Cons as nunchucks, yet sit however you prefer, so that you can play comfortably. So much easier! Imagine how much better air travel will be when you’re challenging the random stranger sitting next to you to a Grand Prix!

We also tried out some other games, such as Street Fighter, Just Dance 2017, and PuyoPuyo Tetris. We got some cool swag – Nintendo Switch hats, pins, cookies, water bottles… It was a really good event. I wish they would host events like this every week! *sob*

Only 44 days until Nintendo Switch is released in stores!! Comment if you’ve got it preordered! What are you excited to play? I’ll leave you with a few more photos from the event…

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Battle Mode

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Battle Mode

Joy Con [puppy] Controller

Joy Con [puppy] Controller

Tetris!!

PuyoPuyo Tetris!!

Nintendo Switch and Accessories

Nintendo Switch and Accessories

Nintendo Switch Main Stage

Nintendo Switch Main Stage

Super Mario Odyssey Photo Op!

Super Mario Odyssey Photo Op!

The PVGC Spring Regionals 2014

So sorry I haven’t written a blog in a while.  Specifically, a GAMING related blog.  I started a new job recently, and even MORE recently blew my back out so it’s been tough to find time to write.

Despite my back feeling like crap, last weekend JDubz and I took a trip up to Sturbridge, MA to attend the 2014 Spring Regionals of the Pokemon Video Game Championships (PVGC).  I had been preparing a team for a month so I wasn’t going to skip the competition!

Want to hear about my team/strategy?  If you have any suggestions please comment!

My PVGC Team

Introducing my team!!

  • Blastoise
  • Gengar
  • Kangashkan
  • Dragonite
  • Marowak
  • Zoroark

You might think… that’s kind of a weird doubles team.  I’m not a big fan of gimmicks or relying on status moves to win battles.  I’m more of a guns blazing, offense-only kind of player.  So my strength is in having Pokemon that either deal out hard hits or Pokemon that can really roll with the punches.  My team is a little misleading.  I only have Zoroark in there to throw people off of their game.  He’s not EV trained or anything, just there to make people wonder “Am I battling Zoroark right now?” during turn 1.  Dragonite, while awesome, is also just there for show.  Dragonite is my fairy-bait.  Since my Gengar is a fairy-killer, I have the popular Dragonite on my team so people will feel compelled to bring out their fairy types into battle in case I’m using a dragon type.

The four Pokemon I always use are Blastoise and Marowak (team A) and Gengar and Kangashkan (team B).  Marowak has Lightning Rod ability, which will keep Blastoise safe.  I keep Gengar and Kang together for fighting ghost types, plus Gengar has Levitate to keep him safe from Kang’s Earthquake.  Both Blastoise and Kang have their Mega Stones as held items so I have options against my opponents.  When fighting a team with ghost types, I keep Kangashkan with his Scrappy ability and Mega-Evolve Blastoise.  Otherwise, I go Mega with Kang for that extra hit that you get with Parental Bond, which really helps Power-Up Punch.

Of course, my team is vulnerable to many types and has plenty of holes.  But in this generation, there’s no real safe type combination, so everyone just goes with their personal style.  My team didn’t hold up well against the tough  competition at PVGC, but I did win my first match because of my team’s synergy.  My opponent didn’t account for Marowak’s Lightning Rod and got locked into a harmless Lightning Bolt attack with his Choice Scarf on Gardevoir.  It’s usually careless errors like that which determine who wins and who loses.  Unfortunately for me, that first win made me cocky and I made some questionable choices in my second two battles.

After 3 matches, they announced there would be a lunch break.  JDubz found out that if you had any losses by this point, you had no chance at Top 8, and since my back was killing me we decided to call it a day.  We still had a lot of fun and I know that while my team struggled a bit in doubles… it will be great for singles battles at PAX!  (Btw if you are interested in learning who won the regionals, check this link out!)

That’s right, this upcoming weekend is PAX East 2014.  My back is still messed up so I probably won’t be able to walk around all weekend at PAX.  However, since Nintendo isn’t showcasing at the convention, I probably won’t be missing too much.  But what I DON’T plan to miss is my panel… the Pokemon X&Y: Competitive Trainer Seminar!  I’m hosting a panel, along with JDubz, Pete from SPNYC, and KC and JV from the Pocket Players on Saturday, April 12 from 1-2pm.  I was really afraid I might miss the panel, but I think my back can survive for an hour.  I put too much work into making this panel happen, I refuse to not attend!  The only other thing I’m going to make sure to try out is the PAX Pokemon League.  It’s a popular singles competition where you can seek out and challenge gym leaders on a few different skill tiers.  If you beat the designated gym leaders, you get a badge.  Collect all of the badges in your tier and you can fight the PAX Elite 4!  How cool is that??  So I’m excited to try out my teams in a singles environment.

Wish me luck!