Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Newest paper sculpt project!

Sonic Screwdriver trio for my friend's birthday.

An interview with Adam Harum of Transolar Galactica.

They achieved their Kickstarter goal, and now the world gets more of their award winning sci-fi comedy!

Doctor Who themed lip balm!

Brought to you from Earthtastic! and A Bit of Geek.

Minecraft paper sculpt!

My submission to the Mojang community art contest. Watch the video!

A TARDIS desk lamp!

Instructions and babbling on how to make a TARDIS lamp from foam core!

Friday, October 28, 2011

So many choices and so little time.

I'm out of excuses. This week fails to deliver my big surprise. I expected to have it done before I left for Washington on Monday, but I didn't, and I arrived back in California late Wednesday night. Now I have my friends with me (yay!) and there was no chance of me finishing it in time.

The following weeks will be full of all sorts of fun, geeky happenings. The friends that are visiting are big into games themselves; the video and board variety! We have over a week of board game, tabletop game and video game goodness planned. I am psyched! The three of us all have 3DSes loaded with Four Swords adventure. It'll be awesome to play all together. Plus, I also have a DSi that has Four Swords on it, so Andrew can join us for the maximum four player experience!

Today will see us at the game store in search of a copy of the Battlestar Galactica board game. Here's hoping we find it!

I apologize for the short (and late!) entry. It has been super fun madness since my friends arrived and I've hardly had a chance to sit down and write anything!

So many to choose from!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Harvest Moon: Another chance (?)

Before I kick off this post, I'm going to issue yet another apology for not having my surprise ready to unveil! I'm at least extremely happy to inform everyone that it is well underway and I am 95% sure that it'll be ready for next week! Here's to hoping you all find it to be worth the wait. So, with that out of the way, let's dive into today's topic: Harvest Moon! There's a brand new one coming out for 3DS on November 1st, and it has prompted tons of sweet memories for me.

The cast of A Wonderful Life. Image found here.

I've been a big fan of the series for quite some time now. My first foray into the series was the Super Nintendo version courtesy of a recommendation from a friend. I instantly fell in love and was very sad when the game ended during summer of year 3. Fortunately, and to my great delight, the Nintendo 64 and Playstation versions continued on as long as the player wanted them to.

There are many fond hours and days in my memory of lying on the floor with my feet up on the TV stand, milking cows, pulling turnips and wooing the many ladies of the town (in these older versions one could only play as a boy *shrug*). I had a fantastic time tending to my farm and keeping the fields free of weeds. I named my animals carefully and lovingly, and made sure to get all of the eligible bachelorettes in love with me before I picked one. Seems perhaps a tad cruel, but it was just so fun for some reason.

Those giant red pounding hearts are addictive. Image found here.

I was never really a fan of the portable versions. I've played the majority of the Gameboy and Gameboy Color versions, as well as almost every DS iteration. I know many people that love Friends of Mineral Town for the Gameboy Advance, but I just about hated it. The town layout didn't appeal to me, and neither did the cast of characters. It has been long enough since I've played them that I don't remember particulars of the gameplay, but I know I gave it a legitimate shot. 

Harvest Moon is a game that I auto buy. I love the early versions so very much that I'm always hoping against hope that the new releases will bring back some semblance of that joy. I hardly ever read reviews. I try to just listen to my heart regarding how it makes me feel. I think that reviews have a certain amount of legitimacy, but something that one person dislikes could be something that another person does like. So I try to not put too much stock into their opinion.

I don't know what reviewers think of these two games, and I also don't care.
These are fantastic games. The opinion of someone else doesn't matter!
Images found here and here.

One thing that I really enjoy about this series is how universal it is. Pretty much anyone can enjoy it. My experience working at the game store showed me that! There were almost as many guys that looked forward to the new releases as there were girls. It was always a thrill to get into an unexpectedly fun conversation with a guy about how great Harvest Moon was. 

In the heyday of the 64 version, my sister and I spent many happy afternoons with our male cousin taking turns playing our files. I recall our parents urging us to go outside and enjoy the summer days, but we were addicted and in love with our virtual farms. 

The spectrum of Harvest Moon games is so big. It's interesting to me how many different ideas Natsume has been able to incorporate. Of course, I'm not a fan of all of them. Some of the games I downright hate. I love the original formula, and I'm a stickler for consistency, so whenever there is change that I perceive to be bad I get very upset! Although, I don't think that is unique to me. 

It's my personal opinion that the game developers want to make sure the titles don't become stale, so they attempt to incorporate new challenging aspects. I totally get that, and it's valid, but the "challenges" that they add end up being cheap and incredibly frustrating. Case in point: Magical Melody. It is, hands down, my absolute favorite Harvest Moon title. However, they added one of the stupidest features ever: the random "fall up" pits in the mines. How can you even fall up? This stupid feature makes it next to impossible to get to the bottom most layer of the mine, which is where the player has to get to find one of the power berries. I'm still very bitter about this.

Aside from the 64 and PSone versions, Magical Melody and 
Save the Homeland are my absolute favorite versions.
Images found here and here.

If anyone ever asked me (and they did frequently at the game store) what my favorite Harvest Moon game was, I would immediately say Magical Melody. To me, it is perfection (aside from that stupid mine thing). Magical Melody has so many amazing, enjoyable features! The player can choose male or female, the graphics are super cute, the beginning of the game gives you the option of three different places in town to live, there are tactical challenges of finding good soil, you can buy more land and expand your farm empire, there are tons of in-game characters, the story line is great, the town is really big and it develops organically as more people move in. It is amazing! If anyone has ever been curious about the Harvest Moon series, then please go get Magical Melody! It's available for Gamecube and for Wii. The Wii version removed the playing as a girl option, but other than that it's the same.

Save the Homeland is another fantastic version. It's for PS2 and I really love the graphics, controls, characters and town. The only real downside to this version is that once you 'save the homeland', the game ends! So frustrating. There are a bunch of different ways to save the homeland, and once you do you successfully "win", so the game starts over. You appear in town on day 1 as if you'd just moved in, but you get to keep all of your money, house items and farm animals. The player has to forge relationships with the townsfolk all over again, and find a new way to save the area. If it weren't for the game ending aspect, I'd say this version was perfection.

Some cute Harvest Moon art. I love the character designs!
Image found here.

Just the other day I found out about the newcomer to the series, Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns. It comes out on November 1st, and I can't believe I haven't heard about it until now! The one real advantage to working at the game store was having video game news thrown at me literally every day. It didn't take too much effort to keep up on the things that I loved. Now that I don't work there anymore though it is super difficult to find all of the information that I want to have! There's just so much of it! 

I watched the trailer/gameplay video for the game and I'm feeling fairly hopeful. I won't be able to buy it when it comes out, so this time I'll have a chance to read reviews and hear player feedback. I have my fingers crossed so hard that it'll be the portable version I've always wanted. Each DS iteration has let me down worse than the one before it, yet I keep buying them. Come on Natsume, please don't do it to me again.

Looks promising, right?! It's also available as a regular DS game
for a whopping ten dollars less. I'll probably go with that option.

Now that I've spent the day writing all about Harvest Moon, I am feeling some serious withdrawals. Perhaps I'll go fire up the Wii and play some Magical Melody for Gamecube. That sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day <3


Thursday, October 13, 2011

I need your help! Pretty please!

I'm looking for as much feedback as I can get for some new projects that I'm hoping to work on. I need to get an idea of the interest levels on some products that I want to make! It will help me out so so much if as many of my readers as possible leave me a comment letting me know their opinions on the following items :) It would also be super if you shared this entry with some like minded friends, that way I might get their thoughts too!

There are so many craft projects floating around in my head and I'd love to start selling some creations. I know that the items I'm making/planning on making interest me greatly (or else why would I be making them?) but I have no idea what other people are thinking or feeling!

Video game themed zippered pouches.

I have one made from yesterday. It is a practice mock-up, so it's not what final versions would look like. Picture it straighter, and with a d-pad that doesn't look super wonky xD I have some kinks to work out of my design, but overall I'm excited by the potential. These could be used for pretty much anything and I plan on creating them in a few different sizes. They can be wallets, coin purses, nick nack holders, dice bags, pencil pouches, you name it! Whatever you want to put into these things is up to you!

In terms of design, what sorts of things would you like to see? Any specific gaming generations? How about a fabric preference? Soft or sturdy? Malleable, or something that holds its shape? Would you like to see something with a wrist strap, or perhaps a key ring attachment? I really want to hear your thoughts!

Paper cut "vignettes"/scenes.

Based off of the birthday card that I made for my nephew, I started to have a lot of ideas for a fun application of Mario/video game paper cuts in a larger sense. How great would it be to make scenes from games, or pictures of game characters out of paper cuts? I could frame them; what interesting pieces they would be!

How does everyone else feel about this? Yes? No? Interesting at all? Would you like it for yourself, or as a gift to someone else? How about a limited run? High quality copies with only a few available for purchase?

I am really enjoying creating at home and getting in touch with my crafting side while still incorporating my love of video games. I want to share what I have with the world, and more than that I want to provide something that excites people in the same way that it excites me.

Your feedback is invaluable. And so incredibly appreciated. I apologize for still not having the new and exciting thing up on my blog. The endeavor is proving to be more complicated than initially thought, and seeing as it requires Andrew's help (and he's working overtime lately!) things are simply moving slower than we had anticipated. It's still in the works though, and hopefully I'll be able to unveil it to everyone shortly!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gaming galore: which games make you feel good?

Alright, this entry might be a little bit scattered. I had something else big and new planned for today's entry, but due to unforeseen circumstances it's not ready in time! It should be up next week though, so be sure to check back! Instead, allow me to talk on subjects such as 100% completion of NSMB Wii, yet another foray into the world of Link's Awakening, a fabulously geeky sewing project and a fresh replay of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.

Oh my, is this entire entry going to be 
about Nintendo? How did that happen?

As I've been clearing the Wasteland of radioactive bugs, slavers and raiders, Andrew has been plugging away at New Super Mario Bros. Wii. We have continued our split screen setup to great effect, and the other night he finally reached total completion! He can play the same levels over and over again, trying and failing, learning and repeating. Over and over and over again. I cannot do this. He's played the majority of world 9 by himself. The levels get crazy difficult, and there are no midway markers. His quest to find every single star coin became too much of a challenge for me. The placements require more patience than I possess. Andrew did it though! The game provided very little fanfare, which was disappointing, but it did show a screen proclaiming collection of all star coins in the game. I took a photo with my phone, but apparently something went awry because it's no longer on my phone.

Pretend that this is a photo of Mario in an epic pose,
celebrating the total conquering of every single star coin.

Moving on from my embarrassing phone fail, let's talk about Link's Awakening! A well loved, and sort of under-played, Zelda game for the original Gameboy. It was later re-released as Link's Awakening DX for the Gameboy Color, and just very recently it was re-re-released as a 3DS download. 

A long time ago, I had DX in my possession. I don't remember where it came from, and I don't remember what happened to it. Oddly enough, I also ended up owning the Gameboy version, and again I have no idea where it came from. I tried to play it a few times because of my love for Zelda games, but holy crap is it difficult. I gave up and re-started repeatedly at the insistence of other people that raved about how amazing it was. 

During one of my attempted play-throughs I actually managed to get kind of far into the story. I really love the item collection/trading aspect, and I love that the shovel makes an appearance! I loved all of the digging in Seasons/Ages! At this point I don't recall why I stopped playing my file, but I suppose that's neither here nor there. The point is that my friend Jacki purchased Link's Awakening on her 3DS and was texting me about how fun it was. I agonized over the thought of buying a game that I already owned, but now that I'm so used to electronics having rechargeable batteries I wasn't fond of the idea of scrounging for double As for my Gameboy Color. 

So far I've made it past the second dungeon/temple/whatever. I'm about to go trekking for the key for the third area. I am really enjoying myself and I'm so glad Jacki kept talking it up! The game is just as difficult as I remember it being. I've been hung up on all of the same spots that I was stuck on from my very first play through. How is it that I haven't remembered anything? 

Screw this stupid raccoon and his sensitive nose.
photo found here

I'm feeling determined though. I will get through the entirety of Link's Awakening this time! Of course, this just tacks onto the fact that I have yet to complete the last temple in Link to the Past. Someday.

In addition to all of the exciting gaming that Andrew and I have been participating in, I've decided to put a lot of energy into crafting! I've had a few ideas in my head and I've finally put forth the effort to execute them. Seeing as Andrew and I are playing through all of these games together (excluding Link's Awakening), I have tons of time to be creative during the day while he's at work!

My most recent project came together in about five hours and was the result of my soon-to-be-four-years-old nephew deciding to be Mario for Halloween! I was thrilled when my sister sent me a photo of him in his costume and I immediately decided that I wanted to make something to go with his outfit. I was originally thinking a 1-up mushroom, but Andrew suggested a Koopa shell. Behold!

I'm a little loud at the end there. Apologies.

I have my hands in a few other fun and geek-related projects, but they're GIFTS so I can't post them here just yet. As soon as the items are received I will be sure to post photos. It'll happen sporadically over the next few months. In addition to sewing though I've been doing some paper crafts. Not these kinds of paper crafts, but more like... flat pictures. It has been a lot of fun and really rewarding. I found my inspiration here. This guy makes the most amazing paper crafts. He makes me feel so invigorated to try new and difficult things. 

Since starting the paper crafts my mind has been turning and I have a great idea for a new project. After I wrap up some Halloween decorations I'm going to start on some bigger paper ideas. I can't wait to share them here!

All of my blogging hype around Paper Mario 3DS has me essentially frothing at the mouth waiting for it to be released. Unfortunately for me, it doesn't even have a release date yet. So two days ago I finally broke down and told Andrew that we had to start playing Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door together. We were supposed to start Epic Mickey once we finished NSMB, but it'll have to wait.

I absolutely adore the stage battle system in this game.

I imagine that our foray into Paper Mario will be similar to how we've been playing Fallout; I play the majority of the time while he provides helpful hints, and sometimes he'll play small stretches of the game. This works well for when I'm tired but he wants to do something. The majority of the time he's content to watch me play, which works well for me because I really enjoy playing! 

With Andrew's encouragement I have been playing so many more games lately. It's wonderful. As I've gotten "older" I find that I (naturally) have less time to sit and play games for long stretches of time. The responsibilities of life and all of that frequently take over and I don't finish games, or I can't play them for so long that I forget where I am and I feel compelled to start a new file.  My love for gaming never wanes, the actual playing just slips to the side. It has been a while since I've been completely engrossed in a game, and my memories of those times are so full and fond. 

It started again over the summer when Andrew and I began a new file in NSMB. We played every night until we beat the game. It's happening again with Fallout. Almost every night we visit the Wasteland and I progress slowly through the main story, filling my character's life with side-quests. I love my 3DS dearly, but my portable gaming has come to a bit of a stand-still. I've started to pick it up more often with the likes of Okamiden and Link's Awakening now. Everywhere I turn there are satisfying gaming experiences to be had, and I just opened a new one with the creation of a replay file in Thousand Year Door. 

There are so many fabulous things to be grateful for and excited about! Mine happen to all revolve around video games somehow, and I am OK with that. Which games make you feel full and complete? Which games can you play over and over again? I'd love to know!


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