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10 Self-Care Tips for Streamers

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I started my streaming journey three years ago on the RealWomenOfGaming Twitch channel. I didn’t know much about streaming, but it seemed like fun being able to hang out with people while playing games in the privacy of my own bedroom. I remember the day well – which is saying something, considering I can’t remember what I had for breakfast.

I lived in Los Angeles at the time. It was a Tuesday afternoon. I played Funcom’s The Park for the first episode of a horror series called “Wanna Don’t Wanna.” I finished the game in about an hour, then I ended my stream.

Three years later, I still stream horror games for Real Women of Gaming. I’m on the Mixer channel now, with occasional appearances on Twitch. I also stream on my own 3-4 days a week under VanriTheRogue.

In my time streaming, I’ve come up with some self-care tips that help me. I’m really hoping they can help you too:

Read the rest of this entry

Review: Portal & Portal 2

Recently, I was asked to stream the Portal games. Of course, they were games I was interested in, but never had the pleasure of playing. Ok, that’s a lie. I was terrified that I would rage harder than I ever have at a game. I have always loved puzzles but there is a level of frustration that comes with them that can send me through the roof and fast.

However, I almost never say no to streaming requests and I almost never say no to Vanri’s streaming requests. Also, I had the honor of interviewing Ellen McClain so I should play her game. Right?

Portal

You awake in a cell with a robot talking to you. Not the oddest start to a video game thatm_img_27895 I’ve played but I’m down, let’s do this. Your character, Chell, is tasked by GLaDOS, to go through a series of tests. At the end of these tests you will be given cake. The tests start out simple enough. Go here, do this, place that here, make it to the exit. Wonderful. Then you receive the portal gun. You shoot it at one location, shoot it at another and create a portal. It’s hard to explain but what you are doing is creating a direct connection between two points, no matter the distance between them.

The whole point is to complete the tests set before you by GLaDOS. It will require finding ways to open the exit, usually by placing a companion cube on a button that will open the door. Usually. You will have to do so by creating portals, unlocking, opening, redirecting and a LOT of jumping. No two puzzles are the same. The rooms are vastly different but with a sense that you’ve been here before, since they all look the same. Each puzzle growing harder, more death rays to avoid, disgusting water not to drop into and making yourself a little motion sick once you figure out how to gain momentum.

These tests continue as GLaDOS taunts you, belittles you and throws everything except the kitchen sink at you (not for lack of trying). I, surprisingly, moved through the game with relative ease. Getting stuck once or twice, frustrated once or twice. Nothing too terrible. You do face some enemies, turrets, and obstacles that will kill you. I did have to restart a few levels a few times.

o2hhbvqI found the game oddly relaxing, fun and challenging. I looked forward to streaming it and not giving up. I came out with a sense of accomplishment and a renewed respect for actors everywhere. Ellen is a WONDERFUL person and GLaDOS was a TERRIBLE, if not hilarious, robot. Only amazing actors will make you love them and hate their characters.

All in all, it is a wonderful game with a great story line and interesting puzzles that will make you think. The twists and secrets throughout the game keep you guessing.

(Pro tip: Listen to the ending credits song.)

This is a MUST PLAY Game!

Portal 2

This time you awake in a cozy looking hotel room. A smaller robot rushes in and disasterportal-21 immediately strikes. I was tickled to hear the voice of Steven Merchant (and JK Simmons much later in the game) as the environment was literally coming down around me.

This sequel is a much bigger game with a much bigger story line. You go through so many twists and turns that it’s hard to keep up. Your gun doesn’t change but you get new things to play with, like paint! I’m also terrified of falling and, my Goddess, did this game love showing me that I could fall to my death OFTEN.

Now… let’s talk about frustration. Every ounce of it that I thought I would feel with the first game, I felt it tenfold in Portal 2. I got frustrated often, found myself having to look up several answers online and even scared people in my chat. Oh yeah, that happened. They ran.

The game is harder by far, longer for sure, and left me with more questions.

It is also ripe with hilarity, insults and opportunities to curse. So many opportunities.

There is a LOT to this game that is hard to talk about without giving away major plot points. It is wonderful in that it isn’t what you expected or thought it would be. The story takes turns and actually plays with your emotions a bit. You leave the game unsure of what just happened and wondering, what’s next? I doubt that question will ever be answered but how my brain plays with the possibilities.

This is a SHOULD PLAY game if you don’t get frustrated easily or don’t mind scaring your neighbors.

Top 10 Steam games under $10 (Sort of…)

I’m what you’d call a patient gamer. I scour the depths of Steam looking for deals and hidden gems. Sometimes they pop out at you, sometimes they’re hidden. Either way you can have an amazing gaming experience on nearly any budget.

(Before I start a quick note on how I choose these games. Every single game I choose are games that I have personally played and can vouch for. I realize that there are many games out there under the $10 mark that could easily make this list. This is MY list. I did not include games that are Free OR under $5. I also looked for a plethora of games that could be enjoyed by various audiences and appeal to many types of gamers. That’s that. I hope you enjoy the list and please, feel free to let us know what you favorite $10 and under game is, and if there are any suggestions you may have.)

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10. To the Moon. Originally released in 2011, “To the Moon” is a game that relies on its story. The game play itself is nothing to write home about, however, that’s not what this is about. I refuse to say too much in fear of giving anything away, but It’s all about the story. This tale is a ride full of emotion which leads to a cathartic experience. Fans of the Super Nintendo Console era will find the art style delightful. I highly recommend you give it a try.

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9. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Yeah, that’s right! I got a game originally released in 1992 on here. This point and click adventure game holds up like nothing I have ever seen. You get to play a brand new adventure with one of the most iconic movie heroes of all time. This pixelated adventure manages to capture the essence of Indiana Jones far better than anything else released after the original film. Even without the star aspect the game is solid and worth the play through.

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8. The Elder Scrolls Online. This game retails for $19.99 … HOWEVER, it regularly goes on sale for $9.99. Yes, there is an expansion that costs $29.99. Yes, you can subscribe to the game for benefits. Yes, there are in game purchases you can make. The game, at its core, is a fantastic experience worth a look. Spending less than $10 on this experience is well worth the cost, and I would have ranked it higher if it were always on sale. If you see this on sale and are looking for an excellent and refined adventure that has come a long way since it’s Elder Scrolls Craft inception it originally was, give it a try. I promise it won’t disappoint.

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7. Ikaruga. A Vertical Shooter that takes a standard concept and turns it on its head by including a mechanic that wants you to get hit… Vertical Shooters have been around since the beginning and have evolved into vibrant displays of reaction time and memorization. Ikaruga gives you that experience in a unique way while maintaining the difficulty associated with these types of games. Enjoy.

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6. Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You. Big Brother is watching, and you are he… She… Whomever. A point and click adventure style game from the perspective of a Big Brother agent tasked with finding out the culprit behind a terrorist attack. This game skirts the line of right and wrong and gleams with air of caution. You are responsible for interpreting the data you discover and ultimately make the decision. Are you right to ruin this life? Are you 100% sure? You decisions matter.

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5. Limbo. Limbo is a quick adventure game that gently mixes side scrolling puzzles with horror. I often find myself eerily quiet while playing. There’s a lot going on in the game and it thrusts you right into the middle of it without any real context. It’s the following period of discovery that the game represents that really sells this as one of my favorite little adventures of all time.

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4. Fallout: New Vegas. This iteration of the Fallout saga is arguably the best. There are bugs, sure. There are also a ton of mods to help the game look and feel more realistic that also do their best to get rid of the bugs. Fallout: New Vegas delivers an excellent story that really plays well with the “What happens in Vegas” mantra. Well worth the hundreds of hours of game time you’ll enjoy.

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3. Portal 1 and 2. If you haven’t played a portal game yet, stop what you’re doing and grab one up. You can often get both on sale for a combined cost of under $10. These games are polished. They have excellent game play, fun characters, and are iconic masterpieces. Do yourself a favor and pick these up!

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2. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath. In which you play as a beastly bounty hunter that has sworn off guns and uses various critters and varmints to help him capture his prey. It has an amazing Dystopian Western feel combined with unique characters RPG elements. Stranger was a favorite of mine growing up (My bias is showing, I know) and could be yours as well. Check this gem out asap.

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1. Undertale.  What a wondrous ball of perfection. I have a hard time even writing about it. Everything about this game is lovable. The soundtrack mixed with the visual style and complemented by the fantastic characters… It has so much going for it. Even if your not an RPG enthusiasts I highly recommend giving it a try. It’s won over many people that were turned off by the visuals. Why not you?

Oresan’s Magnificent Foes: The Necromancer Dance Party…

You step gingerly into the dust covered room of the depths below. You’ve entered a long forgotten temple. As you scan the room for dangers you notice above you a faint light flickers into existence. The orb pulses lightly. Suddenly brilliant prismatic light pours outward in swift moving rays. The room comes alive. Near the back of the room a single spot light bathes a hooded figure in light, showing them off to the world. It displays enigmatic footwork, swiftly turns on itself with a deft twirl, and quickly thrusts one finger skyward! It begins to sing… Unerringly you watch. Drawn in by this presence.

I’m inspired daily. Books, Youtube, Movies… and Games. Specifically video games. Video games have done a ton of creative legwork and created iconic and influential monsters and villains for our every need. You just need to take the time to convert them. This particular foe was inspired by the Crypt of the Necrodancer videogame. This is my second entry in a series called “Oresan’s Magnificent Foes” in which I will be detailing entries in a personal Monster Manual of sorts. Each entry will include a little blurb about What the foe is, Why it exists, and How I went about creating it. I hope you enjoy it, and if you have any suggestions, comments, or would like to see me create a foe based off something you love (or loathe) please let me know in the comments below. Read the rest of this entry

Howl’s Moving Castle: An Anime Review

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Howl’s Moving Castle is an extremely popular anime that is based on a book by Diana Wynne Jones. It was written as a screenplay and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

Howl’s Moving Castle is the story of a young woman named Sophie. Sophie is the oldest daughter in a family whose father has died. Becuase of that Sophie feels that she must stay at the family hat shop to help her beautiful mother run it. Sophie doesn’t seem to mind much as she thinks herself unattractive and more suited for working. Her country is at war and there is also a mysterious moving castle on the loose whose master maybe a heart eating demon so it is better for a maiden to stay indoors anyway.

After Sophie insults the Witch of the Waste she is put under a curse. Sophie leaves home to find a way to lift the curse. She finds herself in Howl’s castle as the new cleaning lady. There she gets to know not only the mysterious Howl but a whole cast of characters. Perhaps there she can lift her curse.

I love Howl’s Moving Castle. It was my first Miyazaki film. The artwork alone is reason to watch the movie. Like all Miyazaki films the pastoral scenes are rich and gorgeous. The design of the castle is whimsical and a basically becomes a character in and of itself. In fact all the characters are really well done. Honestly, Sophie’s snark alone is worth watching for.

I would highly recommended Howl’s moving Castle. There is just a certain feeling you get from a Miyazaki film. Well for all except one that is. It is a feeling that everything will be alright. There is plenty of peril in the movie. Airships are fighting. Demons are also trying to gain supremacy but you know that so long as the castle is moving you are safe.

So give it a try if you haven’t seen Howl’s Moving Castle give it a try. If you have you are probably due for a rewatch.

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

 

TooManyGames 2018: An Overview

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This year, we had the pleasure of attending TooManyGames again!

I am excited for this convention every year for one big reason…. Indie Games Showcase!

Unfortunately, we had zero time to prepare for this event. We didn’t talk to guests this year, but we were very excited to see Charles Martinet, the Voice of Mario, and Kenny James, the voice of Bowser. Again, we weren’t able to talk with them, which was disappointing, but it was fun to see new guests with such an amazing background. I had several friends who were thrilled to get the chance to meet them.

However, I was sad to see that Keith Apicary wasn’t there. He had became a weird and hilarious part of my TooManyGames experiences.

The gaming hall was a bit smaller this year, making room for more competitive gaming. The food was in a different section all together, making for much more seating and faster food lines. It also created a much calmer area, if you were overwhelmed by the noise.

The vendors room was full and I was happy to see new vendors this year. My little horror heart was hovering around Death Couture and chatting with Megg Morbid about custom orders.

But let’s talk about the best part: the games! There were video games, card games, board games. So many to play, never enough time. Let’s go over a few favorites.

Wither Studios is working on Immure. This is a game we played a little last year and more of this year. Their game looks amazing and has come far in the past year. We are excited to play the final product. Here is a little bit about Immure…

Immure is a 2.5D psychological horror video game currently in development. Throughout this dark, twisted story, the protagonist Will Wicker traverses through a mysterious mansion that contains many strange realities to uncover the horrible truths behind each locked door. Will is desperate to escape this house of hells and discover the secrets of his past. Will soon realizes he has the ability to wield the Shining Trapezohedron, a supernatural crystal with strange powers. How far into the depths of hell must Will venture before finding solace? …

ParaLily is another amazing horror game. This is our first year seeing it and love how absolutely passionate Nate and Jeff are about their game. We watched two women striving to play as far as they could and the pure anger and devotion with each time they died and refused to quit… well, it was a thing of beauty to watch.

ParaLily is one little girl’s adventure to retrieve her dear stuffed dinosaur Patches, who in the middle of the night sprung to life and took off through a mysterious door. This strange journey will take Lily through a set of dangerous and terrifying parallel universes, as she attempts to retrieve her little stuffed runaway. Lily can shift between the parallel universes at will; which will help her avoid danger, and solve puzzles while traversing the paranormal universes.

Super 80’s World is a mobile game that is all about the 80’s, mullet included. It’s a bright neon world all about saving this decade, from big hair to cassette tapes, it was a trip down memory lane for me and I’m interested to see this finished product.

Dr. Noid Wormser hates the ’80s and has vowed to erase the decade. Armed with his power glove of doom, he’s finally able to realize his evil plan.

Only one man can stop him. That man is Dan Camaro.

In this mobile platform-runner, you collect old-school memorabilia to save the decade. Every year is a new world to explore, from coin operated arcades to the neon streets of South Beach, you’re sure to get your ’80s fix.

So pop your collar, fluff your mullet and lace your kicks… It’s time for Super 80s World.

I run into people I know often, especially at cons. I didn’t expect to run into someone I knew working on a game I knew NOTHING ABOUT! Red Essence Games is working on Mask of Semblance. Nik Hagialas is the lead artist and writer which explains why I love the artwork. I loved listening to the game concept and can’t wait to get my hands on the full release!

Red Essence Games is currently working on its flagship title, Mask of Semblance! A boy wakes up in a mysterious place to find a sentient Mask artifact. With the mask as your companion you will travel through a mysterious world encountering themes of the self and the mind, nature vs. technology, and the cyclical nature of life.

One Day West Games was also there showing off their successful Monster Highway, which we’ve talked about before. I was excited to see them still going strong with their unique board game and working on something new that I can’t wait to play!

After a nuclear power plant melts down, a tiny alligator transforms into a gigantic beast – and it’s a little cranky!

Build roads, move your car and be the first to get back to your HOME BASE!

Hyper Galaxy Studios I had the pleasure of seeing my first TMG. Back this year they showed off a more polished game, still hard but amazingly well done. This side scrolling sci-fi game will surprise you!

Horizon’s End is going for those nostalgia feels with The Great Gaias. An epic RPG is in the make and we are looking forward to what tales this title has to tell.

I had to pleasure of purchasing Risky Arcade. I haven’t played it yet and will be giving a review once I do. I have no doubt this board game will do amazing things. Not only is it an interesting concept but Dominique is driven and passionate about her game. Can’t wait to open it up.

There were so many games, you may say too many games… and I know I missed some amazing ones here and I am sorry. I hope to be giving you details on each game as they come to Kickstarter or full release.

Thank you to all of the Indie Developers. Keep making amazing games for us to play!

GLOW: A Review

 

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GLOW is a Netflix series based on a television series that ran from 1986 to 1989. The show centers around a bunch of misfits, mostly actresses, trying to find meaningful parts. They come to an audition that turns out is actually going to be a female-centric wrestling show.

The 1980s where a time of changes in the world. Wrestling was no exception. Up until that point wrestling happened in territories owned by men of means. The McMahons were signing wrestlers based on talent, not territory and putting together television with this talent. Thus helping wrestling in becoming mainstream. However there was still no place for women. Women who wrestled were a sideshow, booked to help sell tickets when things were stagnant. Or they were arm candy for men, to be kidnapped and bedazzled at ringside.

Then GLOW: GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING aired. It was campy. It was full of glitter and drama. It had a cast of all female wrestlers who entertained America. It also ended all too soon, without warning, even for the ladies who worked it. Netflix took this story to make their own, and it is wonderful.

Don’t let the glitz fool you. GLOW also has hard hitting themes written in the script. They address the difficulty of women finding work in both fields of acting and wrestling at the time. The show is also hilarious. They also have worked to put real instances from the original into episodes,  including an episode in season two which looks exactly like the original.

The costumes are fantastic. The everyday dress of the characters really helps to add to the story. The hair and makeup is used to help show the difference between the wrestling world and the actresses who portray them. The soundtrack is also a great tool that the show uses. The music perfectly lines up with the story, adding to the mood of the scene.

In short I adore GLOW. As a little girl I drew strength from some female wrestlers. As a women who has rediscovered my love of it I am thrilled by the strides women have made in the industry. GLOW helps remind us fans how far we have come and how far we still have to go while giving us some serious laughs. I root for so many of these characters. I love their high moments. My heart sinks when they have a low point.

 I would highly recommend this series to anyone.

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!