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Influental Women in the Gaming Industry: Yoko Shimomura

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The gaming industry would not be the same without Yoko Shimomura. She is a talented composer and musician. Yoko has used these talents to bring some of our favorite video games to life.

Yoko was born in Japan in 1967. She started playing the piano at a young age and found that she really enjoyed it. Yoko then graduated from Osaka College of Music in 1988.  After graduating Yoko knew that she had options on how she could share her talents with the rest of the world. She knew that her music had the power to make the world a better place.


She decided to pursue a career in a field where she would become one of the most famous video game composers in the world. Yoko started her journey by working for Capcom. From 1993 to 2002 Yoko worked for Square Enix. From 2003 on Yoko has been working as a freelance composer.

Yoko has given life and beauty to many different video games throughout the years. She has worked on the Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam soundtrack to give it a lighter and more upbeat feel. Gamers can listen to Yoko’s stylings as they restore the land in the Legend of Mana soundtrack. Anther popular RPG is the Kingdom Hearts games which Yoko also lent her talents to. Final Fantasy XY has also benefited from Yoko’s talents as a composer.

Yoko Shimomura has given the world of gamers much beauty. She shows that all kinds of talents are needed to make the gaming industry great. She has taken risks to bring her music to the world and they have, thankfully, paid off. Yoko is an example of how hard work and creativity makes the world a richer place to live. Sometimes your talent can even make multiple worlds richer.

Always keep sparkling.

The Importance of Black Panther and Movies Like It

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 Black Panther hit theaters with the might of a superhero. People have been flocking to the theater and taking to social media in support of this amazing movie. Pictures of fans in costume, sold out theaters and fans renting out theaters to help more fans see Black Panther are just some examples the influence that this movie already has.

However Black Panther is not the first superhero movie to feature a hero who is a person of color. There has been a long road to get us to this point and it is important to pay homage to some of those movies as well.



1993’s Meteor Man is the first superhero movie to feature a primarily non-white cast. When a mild-mannered teacher gains superpowers, he tries to rid his neighborhood of gang activity. This movie did not do well at the box office, but it still broke ground for more movies to come.










Not every superhero movie is going to be serious. Like most slapstick versions of this genre, Blankman did not do well in theaters but is considered more of a cult classic. This Wayans’ brothers movie featured a socially inept repairman who doesn’t gain superpowers but, instead, uses his brains to make his own gadgets. Maybe Blankman can teach us that we don’t need Batman’s money but instead just need some know-how to become our own heroes.


Spawn came out in the summer of 1997 to modest box office success. One of the problems with Spawn is that even though it’s lead is a person of color, many of the other characters that could have been from the original comic were not. Still, it showed that a serious superhero movie could feature a non-white hero and still have a meter of success.


Blade is probably one of the most successful film franchises in this article. The Blade Trilogy was a first for Marvel. It proved that a superhero movie could star a person of color and be a hit in the box office. Also, yay for vampires.











Another well known movie that has done a lot to help pave the way for movies like Black Panther is Hancock. Hancock came out in 2008 and was a huge hit at the box office. It is a dark take on the superhero genre that audiences loved.

These movies helped make it possible for Black Panther to be taking its rightful place in the superhero genre. I think that Black Panther will now be able to help inspire and make the way for even more movies like it.

Black Panther has proven many things with its opening week. A cast that is primarily made up of people of color can be successful in the superhero genre. Fans have been wanting this movie. They have wanted this representation of culture and power. They finally have a movie where they can see themselves and they are flocking to it. Fans are showing how this movie has inspired them to lift up others in their communities to be able to experience it.

Black Panther‘s smart writing is truly a gift to the superhero community. We have a hero who is just trying to figure out how to do what is best for his people while finding his footing in his new role. His younger sister is a respected princess who has found her place in STEM. There are multiple women of power in different roles throughout the kingdom. There are strong allies and enemies who have complex reasons for their actions throughout the movie. The visuals, music, costumes and culture are a thing of pure beauty for fans to witness.

Black Panther and aforementioned movies have great roles of importance in the movie industry. Here’s to many more amazing films to come!


Always keep sparkling! 

Top Ten Favorite Board Games

Board Games have always been a huge part of my life. Snowed in winters left little option for my family other than games to keep everyone entertained when I was growing up. Big family gatherings also always resulted in marathon gaming and even some rage quitting. Here, in no real order, are some of my favorite Board Games for all ages.

10. Clue


Clue has always been a go to game for me. It all starts with a murder. Every player picks a character to play. Every character is a suspect. Cards are sorted by room, weapon and character. One of each is put in an envelope to indicate who done it, where and with what. Players roll the dice to move from room to room. Once in a room players may hazard a guess to be proven or disproven by the other players cards until someone has a final guess. They must then move toward the center, say their guess and check to see if they are correct. The game has gotten a bit of a revamp, including a new character and is still wonderfully fun. There is also a hysterical movie based on the game.  

9. Eldritch Horror

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Evil is stirring. The Ancient Ones are rising. Only you and your cohorts can close the gates to stop them. Careful though, failure can lead to madness or worse. Eldritch Horror is a great cooperative game to play with friends or family.

8. Cranium


Cranium was a favorite of my friends and I in college. It has something for everyone with different categories in which to shine. Complete the task before the time runs out and you will have game night glory. Fail, and well, everyone looks like a fool when they play so just have fun.

7. Sorry


I played a lot of SORRY! growing up. It is a fantastic game that is fairly simple to play. Everyone picks a color for their tokens. Players then use the plastic dome to pop dice. You move that number of squares. Depending on what you land on determine if further action will be taken. Be careful though as other players can bump you back to start while gleefully exclaiming; “SORRY!” This game may end up on lists of games that certain friends cannot play together.

6. Life


I wish that real life was as easy to navigate as this game. LIFE  is a game meant to represent, well, life. Players get to choose whether to start with a career or go to college and then move their cars throughout the board from there.

5. Operation


The buzzing sound from Operation still sends me into a rage to this day. In this game you are the doctor. You must remove the things that are ailing Cavity Sam with tiny tweezers. One wrong move and you get the buzzer and it will be someone else’s turn. The player who has removed the most ailments wins.

4. Tokaido


Who doesn’t love to go on a road trip? In Tokaido you are playing to see just who travels best. Who gets the most points for food, sightseeing, shopping and charity. Each playable character has different perks to help you have the best vacation ever! The art on this game is also beautiful as an added bonus.

3. Pictopia


I just bought this as a gift for my Goddaughter and the whole family loved playing it. Everyone chooses a color and then rolls dice to progress throughout the board. Squares let the rest of the players know what kind of question they will have. Some are cooperative. Some are solo. The questions have a mixture of classic and newer Disney characters. The Disney version of Pictopia s bound to be a crowd pleaser.

2. Candyland

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I don’t care how old you are, Candyland is awesome. It is a simple game based more on colors and picking cards for player advancement. It is bright and fun. Oh and yes, you can fall on squares that send you back on the board so don’t let the happy looking landscape fool you.

1. 13 Dead End Drive


13 Dead End Drive is full of traps. Plays have to bluff their way out of the mansion in time to win. The board is a 3D house that the plays can use to their advantage. It is a great game with a new sequel game 1313 Dead End Drive!  

I hope you have found some fun new games to play, or remembered a favorite from your childhood. Either way go play a board game and always keep sparkling!


Bears Vs Babies: A game review

20170627_171516 On July 4th, while many Americans celebrated with Fireworks and cookouts, my friends and I sat down to play Bears Vs Babies. As fans of the creators, we had been waiting to play it since the game had been announced. We were not disappointed.

Bears Vs Babies is honestly just a very entertaining game. It is also fairly easy once the players get started. There is a mat, and cards that are shuffled together. Some are babies who have different slots on the mat. There are some cards to give the players different actions. The other cards are pieces to help the player make a totally awesome monster!

The game encourages players to first go through a practice round, which is always helpful, depending on the experience level of the players. After they are comfortable, then it is time to get down to business and make some monsters. Players are given a number of cards. All babies are discarded face down on their appropriate color slots. Monsters are put together during each player’s turn.  


The tricky part is that the cards have to line up with the stitches so it may take a few turns before a monster can be properly assembled. There are points on the cards which let you know how powerful each card is, so the more cards the more powerful your monster. All of the cards with the heads have a color that correlates with a baby pile, or they have a rainbow meaning they could fight any group. The goal of the players is to defeat the evil baby armies. If the player can, then they get the points. Some cards in the deck enable other players to trigger a fight between a player of their choice and the baby armies so it is a good idea to pay attention to what your friends are building.

Bears Vs Babies is brought to us by the brilliant minds of Elan Lee and Matthew Inman. Yes, the creators of Exploding Kittens. Bears Vs Babies has all of the humor of Exploding Kittens. It felt quick to play between trying to make my monster and strategizing against my friends. The art on the cards is well done. The monsters are funny and sometimes even fancy. In short, it was a great game that I cannot wait to play again.

I would rate Bears Vs Babies: Must play.

Always keep sparkling!

Influential Women in the Gaming Industry- Kate Edwards

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In 2012, the International Game Developers Association needed a new director. Thankfully IGDA choose Kate Edwards. Really, it wasn’t a hard choice to elect Kate Edwards. She is a talented and intelligent person who uses her unique perspective to problem solve.

Kate Edwards really is an amazing brain. She is an applied geographer, writer, and content culturalization strategist. Kate’s background includes geography, cartography and geopolitics. She has traveled extensively which has given her wonderful perspective. All of this education and experience are tools that Kate successfully uses.

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After taking on the mantle of Director of IGDA Kate used her power in the best way. For the betterment of those who didn’t have a voice in the industry. She forayed her raining and talents to help tackle some very difficult problems for the network of the world’s game developers. Kate took a firm stand about Gamergate and sexism in the gaming industry. She also was outspoken about the topics of diversity and unpaid “crunch” time

Kate resigned as Director of the IGDA in 2017. She stated; “I felt it’s time for me to move on. When I first took the IGDA role, I told the board that this is likely a three- to five-year mission for me, and here I am nearly at five years. My top goals were to reinvigorate the IGDA’s relevance, reinstate the IGDA’s core mission as an advocacy org and voice for game developers (not companies), and to emphasize the ‘I’ part of the IGDA and strengthen our international presence.” Kate believed that after five years it was time for someone with a different skill set to help IGDA continue to move forward.

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In short Kate Edwards has made our world a little better place through her hard work at IGDA. She took an unflinching stand against injustice. She made the road a little easier for those in the gaming industry moving forward. Kate has shown us that by being brave and hard working you can make a change in the gaming industry. She has also had a good time doing it in cosplay.

Always keep sparkling!

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: An Anime Review

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You honestly just cannot beat Mobile Suit: Gundam Wing. It is anime with a great Manga to continue the story. Mobile Suit: Gundam Wing has it all: character development, complex plotlines and characters, political intrigue, cool war machines. Best of all is that is the cool war machines are piloted by teenagers who are struggling to do what they think is right in a universe full of corruption.

The characters, particularly the five pilots, are some of my favorite anime characters. They are five teenagers from different colonies. They come from various families. Some are orphans. Some have grown up wealthy while the others haven’t. None of them know each other before the series begins. All of the pilots do have one thing in common: they have been chosen and trained to take down the corrupt organization that is oppressing the peoples of space.

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The rest of the cast of characters, of which there are many for a one season show, are also fairly amazing. The villains are complex albeit more than slightly odd at times. They further the storyline with many twists. The pilots also have allies in unexpected places. One of whom is Relena Dorlan.

I am going to take a few seconds to highlight Relena. She is the first character the audience really gets to know. Gundam Wing is seen through her eyes in turn with the pilots. Relena is also a teenager living a privileged life on Earth when the series starts. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that her journey is amazing through the show.


She is the “everyman” character that shows us the world of Gundam Wing. Relena is yet another female character that gets a lot of flack for being young, kind and sticking to her principals. I have always liked Relena. I think some of the problem viewers have with her, particularly the English speaking ones, is that something of her gets lost in translation. People want her to be perfect but not so annoying as well as many other contradictions. In reality, she is just a kid trying to make the best of the insane situation the war has put her in, just like the Gundam pilots. 

Gundam Wing is beautiful to watch. The settings of both Earth and Space are well animated. The soundtrack is one more that was part of the soundtrack of my teen years while Gundam Wing ran on reruns. I know it is an older anime but a lot of the themes are more then prevalent for today’s audience. There is also a sequel in the form of a movie called Endless Waltz. If you like your anime full of intrigue and science fiction, then this is for you.

Always keep sparkling!

Influental Women in the Gaming Industry Satine Phoenix

satine Satine Phoenix is a true force in the gaming industry. She has been using her fame to promote gaming. Satine has also helped force people to rethink stereotypes about the gamers who play Dungeons and Dragons and how.  

Satine is not what the media portrays a gamer to be and that is important. Too many times we have seen the same depiction of Dungeons and Dragons players. A group of mostly white boys in their mom’s basement. However that isn’t even what most of us gamers in the community are anymore. We are of many races, genders and playing styles. We livestream; play in gaming stores, play on our computers, we gather wherever we can and yes sometimes that is in our parents basements. Satine knows that the perception of gaming needs to change with us.

satine gorg

Satine has worked in both the porn and fetish industries. There she gained confidence in herself. She also met many different people and found that many of them are huge nerds. Together they would read the same books and game together. Satine decided to use her fame to broaden the spectrum of what a gamer is.

Satine and her friends have made calendars featuring different geeky women. She has used her gifts to draw female monsters. She animates videos. She plays Dungeons and Dragons with all kinds of gamers. In 2010 she started a web series called I Hit It With My Axe.  There she gathered women of all different backgrounds; many some of whom were porn stars, strippers models and a hairdresser, to play Dungeons and Dragons.

satine dance Satine has been also become a big part of Geek and Sundry There she has been spreading the good news about Dungeons and Dragons. She has gamed for charity. Satine has also has an awesome series where she gives Game Masters different tips. She has gotten the opportunity to play games with Wil Wheaton on Tabletop.  

In short Satine Phoenix is a talented, hardworking and giving member of the gaming community. She seeks out nerds and gives them a spotlight. Satine reminds us that it is cool to be different. We should seek out what makes us happy and then share that with the world. She is helping us break Dungeons and Dragons out of the basement and into the mainstream where is belongs.

Always keep sparkling!