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Fighter’s Block: The Best Game to Play During NaNoWriMo

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So, show of hands: who is participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s an annual challenge that writers take to create a 50,000-word novel in one month. One epic month where you are not allowed to tell yourself, “This is terrible. I should throw everything out and write it again.” A month of late nights and early mornings, a month of word sprints to see how much you can write in ten minutes, a month where you find yourself cancelling plans with friends because you have to work on your novel, a month of spontaneous plans with friends while you are procrastinating on your novel.

Which I am not doing by the way. I am sacrificing the time that I could be spending working on my novel to help you, my fellow WriMos. Please stop judging me. I have plenty of time to reach my word count goal for today. So there.

So, here’s a fun game that can help you raise said word count each day. I especially love to use it when I know I’m going to have a full schedule during the day, i.e. work and streaming. It’s called “Fighter’s Block.”

“Fighter’s Block” can be found here. You start at Level 1, fighting the “Not-A-Block” monster. And how do you defeat this monster? By writing!

You set a goal for yourself based on how many words you’d like to write. Personally, I like to set my goal for 500 words, but it’s completely up to you. The number of words is the amount of health that your enemy has. As you type in the text box beneath the “battle,” the monster loses health. But when you stop typing, your avatar loses health, and will continue to lose health until you finish mulling over what to write next. So the game forces you to write fast without concern for whether it’s “good enough,” making it perfect for WriMos.

If you need to stop for any reason, that’s not an issue. You can always pause the game until you’re ready to start again. Additionally, you can change the speed of the monster’s attacks, the size of the text, the font, and the color scheme of the page where you’re typing. And the more you write/play, the more you level up, and you can unlock new avatars to use.

All of these settings are great additions, but the real value of “Fighter’s Block” comes from its concept. It provides a fun way to increase that word count and get your thoughts down without worrying about the quality of them. (For now, anyway. Revision comes after the work is finished.) So, if you’re a gamer and a writer, check it out, and have fun!

Top 10 Movies about Video Games

No, this list isn’t movie remakes of video games or movies inspired by video games. This list is about movies where video games are a major part of the plot of the movie. So no Doom, Prince of Persia or Tomb Raider. Sorry, I’ll save that for another list, or three.

10. The Last Starfighter (1984)

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Too young to recall this one? That’s okay, I watched it so you don’t have to. Our main hero here is amazing at video games and beats the game called The Last Starfighter only to find out it was just a test and he’s transported to another planet to help them defend an attack on their home. Thank you, IMDB, for reminding me of the plot. I did enjoy this movie, 30 years ago. I wonder if it’s due for a reboot? I’d be down for that!

9. Wargames (1983)

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This movie almost didn’t make my list. Why? I didn’t remember it very well. So I watched the trailer and OH YEAH. Now, it isn’t as video game related as most of the movies on this list. The initial intention is that he is trying to hack into a video game company to play their games early on and ends up hacking into the government and nearly starts World War 3, thinking he is merely playing a video game. Actually, the computer thinks it is a game. It’s an interesting one, to say the least, and isn’t a bad movie at all.

8. Tron (1982)

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This list can’t exist without mentioning Tron, a movie I saw once a LONG time ago. However, without it would we have video game inspired movies? The world will never know. A game designer is sucked into the very world he created. Funny how the original calls him a hacker, but in Tron: Legacy he is called a virtual world designer. Oh, how the times have changed.

7.  The Wizard (1989)

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The only thing terrible in this movie is the Power Glove. No, seriously, it was TERRIBLE. A young boy (not pictured because why would there be a usable gif of the main character when we have this jerk to look at) is a savant at video games. So, what is the natural thing to do? Ditch your parents and go cross country to join THE gaming tournament. Kids, DO NOT try this at home.

6. Brainscan (1994)

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I nearly forgot about this movie. The only reason I remembered it was because, in my research, I came across the anthology Nightmares (1983). A movie about being sucked into a game. This stirred my preteen crush for Edward Furlong and BOOM I remembered this horror movie. A young teen wants to show a new game to his school’s video game club (crap do I feel old) and murder ensues!

5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)

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I will admit to 3 things: 1) I needed to consult with Vanri on this. It is a movie based on a comic and features a lot of video game like things, but does it fit this list? She said yes. 2) I like the soundtrack for this movie WAY more than I like the actual movie. 3) I rewatch this movie only for Brandon Routh. 4) HE’S THE BEST LOOKING SUPERMAN, FITE ME. (I know, that’s 4 things, give me a break).

Anyway, if you’ve been living under a rock, Scott Pilgrim is a horrible leading man (Haaaave you met Ted?) who does stupid stuff because he’s got a boner for Ramona. The best parts are the fights with the Evil Exes (“I’m BI-FURIOUS”) and the amazing cameos that you spot throughout the movie. Also, Beck put together amazing songs that I listen to often. Is there really any more to know? #TeamKnives

4. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

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Wreck-It Ralph is an adorable movie filled with lessons, video games, great characters, and mayhem. I happen to love it. It’s all about poor Ralph, who is treated poorly for being the ‘villain’ while not being a bad guy. He goes off to find people who will truly appreciate him. You know what, just go watch the movie. You don’t need to read this. If you’ve seen it, you know what a great movie it is and if you haven’t, you are missing out.

3. Ready Player One (2018)

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I haven’t seen the movie yet or read the book. Now stop booing and understand I was busy and broke at the time and with great movies coming out every 5 SECONDS. I MEAN COME ON, GIVE US A BREAK. I just haven’t gotten to it. I’ve heard very mixed reviews about the movie but we cannot deny how PACKED it is with video game references, virtual reality, and pop culture. I mean, I’ve only seen the trailer and I know. Look, that is Tracer from Overwatch running next to Chun-Li from Street Fighter. It’s on my list, I promise I’ll watch it soon.

When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. – IMDB

2. Gamer (2009)

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Actually a great movie, I enjoyed it. I also don’t sit down and pick apart movies, was I entertained? Yup! Good movie. Now the initial premise is pretty easy and previously seen before. Prisoners can get out early if they win the game but is our main character really guilty of his crimes? The spin? The prisoners are controlled by a gamer. They are merely playable characters in a very deadly game. 300 wins? You go free and as the team closes in and gains popularity, things begin to go awry.

1. Stay Alive (2006)

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THIS IS MY MOVIE! Oh my October, do I love this movie. This movie even spurred several projects that, years later, I am still working on. I love this movie. An alpha tester got his hands on a new type of game and all hell breaks loose. Die in the game, you die in real life. It’s amazing, I love it. Is it the greatest movie ever made? Hell no. But it’s a great movie. There are some curious changes to the story of Elizabeth Bathory that are questionable, but the overall movie is amazing. I’ll still never get over several things that happened and I’ve watched it more times than I can count. I love it and if you love horror, you should check it out.

Is there a movie I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Gaming News: Black Friday Edition

Hey everyone! It’s November which means it’s almost time for gorging ourselves on Thanksgiving… oh, and that little thing called Black Friday! I’ve found the deals going on this year at Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc and I’ve laid out the specs for you. Whether you are looking for games or a new console make sure you look here!


Xbox

One X – 1TB – Gold Rush Special Edition Battlefield V – $429.99 at Best Buy

One X – 1TB – $399.99 at Wal-Mart (other bundles $70 off)

One S – 1TB – Minecraft Creators Bundle – $199.99 at Best Buy or Wal-Mart

Controllers – 39.99 at Best Buy and Target – $39 at Wal-Mart

X-Box Live 3 Months – $12.50 at Wal-Mart


Playstation 4

1TB – Marvel’s Spider-Man Console Bundle $199.99 at Best Buy and Wal-Mart

Controllers – $39.99 at Best Buy and Target – $39 at Wal-Mart


Nintendo Switch

Super Mario Kart Deluxe Bundle – $299.99 at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target

Controllers – Starting at $14.99 at Best Buy


Games

Select Games at Best Buy – $19.99, $24.99, and $29.99

Select Games at Target – $15, $25, $29.99, $35

Select Games at Wal-Mart – $12, $17, $25, $35

Red Dead Redemption 2

  • $59 w/exclusive Steelbook at Wal-Mart
  • $59.99 w/collapsible cup at Best Buy

Fallout 76

  • $59 w/exclusive Steelbook at Wal-Mart
  • $59.99 w/Vault boy keychain at Best Buy

Microsoft Store Deals


PC Gaming

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop – $599.99 at Wal-Mart

  • 8gb memory
  • 1TB storage
  • i5 processor
  • 15.6″ Screen
  • NVIDIA GTX 1050i 4GB Graphics

Numerous deals at Newegg.com – entirely too many to list! Lots of PC’s and laptops with a few hundred off. As well as parts on sale.


I would love to give you more information about PC Gaming, but we all know Steam keeps it’s Autumn/Black Friday Sale pretty well under wraps. It is coming up, so keep an eye out for it! Also, Amazon has their Black Friday under wraps as well, but they already have Pre-Black Friday sales going on, so head over when you get a chance. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and good shopping on Black Friday (and Cyber Monday)!

P.S. Please be safe! We all know Black Friday has the ability to get out of hand!

Ronin Warriors: An Anime Review

220px-Ronninwarriorsdvd1 Ronin Warriors, known as Yoroiden Samurai Troopers in Japan, is one of those amazing older anime that simply does not get enough love.

In 1988 Japan premiered a new anime. Yoroiden Samurai Troopers would run for thirty-nine episodes. It would premiere in America in 1995 under the name of Ronin Warriors. The show would then continue to run on syndication thanks to networks like Cartoon Network.

The story centers around four armored warriors who each have special weapons in connection to the elements. They are the only thing standing in between a terrifying warlord known as Talpa and his minions. Talpa has set in motion events in modern Japan for himself to rule the mortal world. Each of his minions has power to fight one of the Ronin. Therefore the Ronin must find each other in the chaos and join forces to defeat Talpa. They are also aided by a student named Mia, a young boy named Yuli and a masked man known as “The Ancient.”

Ronin Warriors has a fantastic plot. It blends the history of Japan with the supernatural. It takes an interesting “what if” question and spins a story of friendship and overcoming the odds. One more interesting thing about Ronin Warriors is that it is an anime with a transformation sequence for male characters. Yes that is correct. A “magic boy” sequence where our male heroes are transformed into their armor.

While the animation is dated it does still hold a real beauty. The sequence for the transformations is one of my favorites. It is cleverly done featuring Japanese cherry blossoms with drums. The character designs are actually very minimalist, which serves the story as we are worried about the end of the free world here and not what the boys are wearing. That being said everyone has their own style and color. The hairstyles alone are worth watching for.    

The music is also a little dated but it fits the show. It adds to the fight scenes and the transformation scenes.

Ronin Warriors, thankfully, came back to syndication when I was in High School. My friends and I loved it. We still quote parts of it. Ronin Warriors did seem to be a favorite of a lot of American anime fans at that time. It also spawned some wonderful fanfictions, one of which is very sadly no longer anywhere to be found. In short, it is a fun show which had a great fandom.

Would I recommend Ronin Warriors? Most assuredly. Please give it a shot if you haven’t already.

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Always keep sparkling!

 

Review: Visage

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Developer: SadSquare Studio
Publisher: SadSquare Studio
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Early Access Release: 10/2/2018
Expected Full Release: 2/2019

What’s it about?
Visage is an indie psychological horror game from SadSquare Studio. Funded by Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight, Visage is one of the many spiritual successors to Silent Hills P.T. 

Visage can be considered a haunted house game. You are exploring a rather old and large house, attempting to uncover the terrible things that have happened there. As the game is in early access, there is only one chapter available thus far.

What did I think?
After playing through the demo, which is currently available on steam, I can tell you that Visage is a phenomenal game so far. You can certainly tell that the developers have put a lot into this game and have used their Kickstarter funds wisely.

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This game gets intense very quickly. The opening scene can be triggering for some, so proceed with caution. After the jarring beginning, you find yourself in a giant house with almost no direction. You’re meant to explore, to find your own way, however there are tutorials on how to use necessary items.

Visage takes an excellent approach on managing your character’s sanity. You can do one of two things to keep yourself from going insane: take pills or stand in well lit places. The pills are easier to find than well lit places. You also have to find lighters, candles and lightbulbs to help manage your sanity levels.

The story of the first “Visage” is compelling, terrifying and sad. You are uncovering the story of the brutal death of a young girl without a jaw. But you need to be quick about it, or else she’ll kill you for snooping. Your only sign that she’s anywhere near you is her labored breathing.

There are some jump scares in the game, but my favorite thing about Visage are the fake outs. You can hear something and be absolutely certain that it’s right there, just inside the next room. You have no choice but to go in there, terrified. And, when you do, the noise stops and you’re alone. I love the build up of suspense, especially when it doesn’t end in a jump scare.

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Do I recommend it?
Oh, yes, I very much do. Visage is the first horror game to actually frighten me in years. It didn’t just make me jump or feel tense, it actually lingered with me long after I finished playing. I can’t wait to see what the final game looks like. For now, though, check it out on Steam and tell me what you think in the comments below!

Influential Women in the Gaming Industry: Marisha Ray

ray-marisha-image Marisha Ray has done almost everything. She is a voice actress, producer, actress, host and stunt performer. Sher is also an avid gamer.

Marisha has been playing games and kicking butt since she was a small child. She loves all kinds of gaming. This passion has been able to help fuel her career and take her on the path that she now walks. Marisha has an impressive resume. She has been voice acting for years and has given us many fantastic characters.

Before she could start acting though Marisha tained at many companies such as; Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Academy of the Dramatic Arts, Point Park University Conservatory of Performing Arts, and the Governor’s School for the Arts. These companies helped Marisha hone her craft.

In 2012 she was able to star in and help create a fantastic series called; Batgirl: SPOILED. Ps I would LOVE to see more of that story. Batgirl is a great example of the creative nature of Marisha. Taking something she loves and building upon the story for others to enjoy. From there she has only gone forward. Including what most of us are most familiar with.

Critical Role is a show that has is a fan favorite for many tabletop gamers. It has also been a way for so many to get a start in Dungeons and Dragons and as a tool for Dungeon Masters with new players. Marisha has been on both campaigns and the one shot adventures of this nerdy group of voice actors. She has given players an excuse to be awkward and to make mistakes as they play through her characters. Marisha brings a real sense of fun to Dungeons and Dragons. I have written before about one of her characters Keyleth and how she inspired me as a gamer. 

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Marisha also is in charge of the Critical Role Podcast. She has been the producer of an awesome show called Signal Boost! Which is a really fun project that showcases everything from comics to music. Every episode has a different host. Which means viewers get a plethora of different interests to look into.

Marisha is a free spirit and an uber nerd. She has made space for herself in the gaming world where she can be totally herself. Marisha has made more space for women as well.

Marisha is proof that creativity breeds success. That you can be yourself, take your interests and make a career that you love out of it.

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You can see Marisha every Thursday night on Critical Role!

 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!  

 

Games to Get Excited About – November 2018 Edition

The 2 games I’m most excited about this month are probably not a big surprise. Everyone is excited about the upcoming Fallout 76 and if you are a survival buff like me then you are equally excited for Ark: Extinction. Just in case you aren’t familiar with these, let’s have a chat..


Fallout 76 – November 14, 2019

So if you have ever wanted an apocalyptic game, you probably have heard of the Fallout series. It starts with Fallout 1 that takes place in 2161 and the following games go all the way to 2287 in Fallout 4. Well, this time Bethesda is taking us back in time to 25 years after the bomb drops – in 2102. Only, it’s not just a prequel, it’s also a multi-player game! Fallout 4 takes us to the doors of the bomb shelters opening for the first time after the bombs drop and we can play with our friends in this new/old world that is the largest dynamic world in Fallout history.

You can still play solo (for those who hate people), but if you choose to play multiplayer then there are no characters in the world that aren’t players and this sounds really fun. The price of Fallout 76 is the normal AAA price of $59.99 and up. If you want to see some video on it, check below. I’ll admit that I haven’t played any but Fallout 4, and thanks to a hard drive malfunction.. Not much of that. But, this looks like a ton of fun and I’d recommend it if you have the extra cash.


 

Ark: Extinction – November 6, 2019

So let’s start with the basics. Ark: Extinction is the third DLC for the base game Ark: Survival Evolved; which is a survival game set on an island, on another planet, full of dinosaurs. Be prepared to craft your own clothes, shelter, hunt for food, and survive the carnivores. This new DLC takes us back to where it all began, Earth. It’s hard to tell just how much time has passed because Earth is now a wasteland full of mutants, but it’s obvious this is the future because of the technology – and the new dinosaurs. Not only do we have mutated dinosaurs here, but also technological creatures to worry about. Not to mention, those mutated dinosaurs that have turned corrupted. These will always hunt you down if they see you, plus, they get pack mentality and can raid your base for the element you have gathered.

This new world looks awful and amazing at the same time. There are new gadgets, like drones, that become available. There might even be crafting of your own “pets” if they decide they don’t want us taming the tech creatures. This is going to be the hardest planet to survive on yet, but you can always make it easier by taming yourself a Titan. Yes, a Titan. There are two confirmed so far – the Frost Titan and the Forest Titan; that are tamable! For a peak of what’s to come check below. If you don’t own Ark at all then you have to buy the base game ($49.99) first, but if you have it then Extinction is $45.99 (there is also a bundle).  I would absolutely recommend this game for anyone who likes survivals. I have all the Ark’s and have not been disappointed yet. I mean there are mods upon mods to make the world what you want and even other maps and whole other play styles. Can be great for role-play as well.

 


 

So, if you enjoy survival games or apocalyptic MMO’s then pick these games up this month! You can head over to buy Fallout 76 here or run over here for Ark: Extinction on Steam! Or head to your local game store for a copy! That’s all for this month, time to get looking at what comes out in December! Til then, play what you love!