E3 Recap

E3 2018

E3 2018

I’m back from California, sun-kissed and head spinning with all the amazing things I took in. I’ll have a couple posts coming up about my trip, and as E3 was my main reason for heading to the West Coast, what better place to start?

First of all, I work in tech so I was able to nab a complimentary industry pass. I don’t recommend attending as a gamer. Glux had a rougher go of things with a gamer pass. Not only was the “gamer” community stereotypically smelly, rude and pushy-shovey, but once they were admitted they clogged up the lines and made everyone miserable. It was a much more enjoyable experience with Industry early access.

That said, E3 was like nothing I’ve experienced before. The booths, the swag, the calibur of other professionals buzzing around the show floor… It was so inspirational. I can’t even go into all of it, so here are my highlights.

Best of: Booths
Bethesda stole the show with an immersive Vault 76 walkthrough experience, complete with actors in each of the rooms to make it feel real. IGN got some amazing shots of the vault.

Vault boy at E3 2018

Well hello there, Vault Boy!

When entering the main hall of the convention center, Square Enix’s Mayan ruins-themed booth filled the immediate area. To celebrate Shadow of the Tomb Raider, they took us into Lara’s world, complete with a professional Lara Croft cosplayer stalking the grounds.

Of course, I spent a lot of time around the Jurassic World Evolution compound. Outside, there was a broken fence, presumably torn down by the velociraptor inside, as well as Denis Nedry’s Jeep. Through the looming gates, monitors showed the latest dinosaur creations and their specific DNA make up.

Finally, the Largest Booth Award goes to Fortnite for being the single game with the biggest E3 presence. The back third of South Hall was essentially an ode to Fortnite. The Battle Bus was there with props for a photo opp. Staff in forts handed out branded cups. There was even a mechanical llama pinata! Rows and rows of demos filled the rest of the area.

Demo time!
The first game I played was Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. In the 15 minute demo, 4 of us teamed up to take on one of three quests. Overall, it seemed the same as MHG on 3DS… just on Switch this time. Online play will be cool and there are some new monsters – my team of four was decimated by the new Elder Dragon Valstrax – but it doesn’t feel different enough to buy again.

Inside the Jurassic World Evolution booth, we sat down in a small theater where an Ingen executive gave a presentation about our mission as new park employees (and the risks involved). She told us we could choose to release and transport one of 3 dinosaurs into their designated pens… and then create a spectacle for park guests by provoking a dinosaur fight! Then we were ushered into the Jurassic Park compound where the demo stations were set up on three platforms. I played the Playstation version and enjoyed it. The dinos are so realistic and well animated. I’m not usually a fan of sims, but this is one I’m going to pick up when the physical release drops on July 3rd.

Jurassic World Evolution Jeep at E3 2018

… I think this was Nedry’s yellow rain slicker…

Luckily, Glux and I secured the very first time slots to play Super Smash Bros Ultimate. The standby line was… deterring to say the least. We got three matches so to make the most of it, we picked the two new stages first – the Sheikah Tower from Breath of the Wild and Moray Towers from Splaton 2. We let our random match up pick the final stage – he chose Donkey Kong’s Rumble Falls, which looked spectacular on the Switch! As for characters, I went with Bayonetta first and then loved the Inkling’s moves so much i played her twice. She’ll very likely be a new main for me. Glux tested the Inkling, then new addition Ridley from Metroid, and ended with Bowser. It’s worth the hype. I can’t wait to play again. As a bonus, we got Smash pins for being among the first to play!

Spotlight on Swag
Bethesda gave away the most swag. You couldn’t walk a booth-length without seeing 50 vault boy masks. Mine is hanging eerily in my office, successfully creeping out all who pass. They also had one of those souvenir penny presser machines set up with four different Fallout 76 designs. For 76¢ (appropriately) I selected the tricentennial design and then immediately preordered the tricentennial edition. In celebration of “Reclamation Day” party hats and cups were doled out to potential Dwellers. All that was missing, was Rad-free cake!

Twitch gave out some of my favorite swag of E3. You can attribute it to my high affinity for the brand, but they gave out purple sunglasses that I’ll actually wear. The tote bags they gave out are compact and quality with the cute Glitch logo. I also really liked their simple, branded nametag stickers that said “My Twitch ID is” with a big blank for your handle. I grabbed a couple to stick on my laptop and bujo.

What Nintendo lacked in swag, it made up for in content and quality. The Smash Bros logo pin is simple and nice. I’ll treasure it. They presented a lot of great photo opps with classic relics from Nintendo games too. DK’s tie, the Master Sword, Pit’s bow, Cappy… Sandbag was my favorite forgotten hero. Glad to see him get some much deserved appreciation!

Overall, I had a great experience. The only real downside was the gamer-clogged lines and the location – LA was the dirtiest city I’ve ever seen and I didn’t feel safe there even in daylight. We Ubered exclusively after 7pm every day, not that LA was particularly walkable anyway. I’m hoping my company will have a presence next year so I can go back to the Expo, all expenses paid.

What were your favorite moments from E3 this year?

Advertisements

Shantae Half Genie Hero – 100%

I rarely finish games I start. It’s my biggest blocker when I want to buy a new game – do I want to spend money on something I’m probably not going to finish? I don’t buy books I don’t intend to read cover to cover so why do I do it with games? Well NOT ANYMORE! I 100% completed Shantae Half Genie Hero!

This year, I’ve finished every game I’ve started. I started Shantae: Half-Genie Hero last year, but then got distracted by other games. Coming back to it after so much time felt weird so I just started a new save and went back to the beginning. The very first stage (before the main plot starts) plays a super fun, poppy theme song as you run through the town defeating tinkerbats.

While many might see Shantae’s character design as sexist with her impossible proportions and skimpy genie outfit, I think she’s one of the best female protagonists in gaming. Yes, she’s sexy… and a total badass who is loyal to her friends and works hard at her job as Guardian Genie of Scuttle Town. She’s sarcastic, witty and doesn’t take any shit from her enemies. Her femininity is part of her power – those hip-shaking genie dances transform her into creatures that allow her to solve puzzles and save the day!

Her strong cast of supporting characters add to the story too. So much so, that the developers created new game modes to feature them. The Friends til the End expansion allows players to play as Shantae’s friends -Sky, Bolo and Rotty Tops- to save Shantae’s corrupted mind. Pirate Queen’s Quest features Shantae’s nemesis – Risky Boots – on a mission to create the final boss of Shantae’s storyline.

Every stage is incredibly detailed and beautiful. While the story requires you to revisit all the worlds several times throughout the game, Shantae’s ever-growing list of transformation dances make you see each world in a new way, sometimes from an entirely different angle. So it feels new every time. In fact, where stage repetition gets tedious and frustrating in other games, I’ve grown to love each of the stages in HGH. There’s always something to discover, which probably motivated me to reach 100% completion.

The Mermaid Factory is one of the most creative and fucked up stories I’ve ever played and it LOVE it.

The Shantae series is one of my favorite stories for sure. The costume DLC packs bring 3 new game modes into play that seem perfectly designed for speedrunning. That’s my next goal! My hope is that we will see her in the new Smash Bros for Switch (and maybe an amiibo of that cute curvy figure too!).

What games have you completed this year?

My Summer: Dead. Jurassic World: Alive!

Did you guys know about my borderline unhealthy obsession with Jurassic Park and dinosaurs? I just realized JW releases the same weekend I was supposed to visit home and guess which thing I’m choosing?

On Wednesday, I finally got a release notification for Jurassic World: Alive! and I’m just now coming up for air.

Basically, JWA takes what made Pokemon Go great and makes it so much better. You wander around the real world and encounter dinosaurs along the way. When you see one you want, tap it to initiate a mini game where you shoot DNA collecting darts from a drone. The range options are pretty great. The dino doesn’t have to be within your circle, but the battery life on your drone lasts longer the closer you are. On my way to work, I changed my route to catch a velociraptor on 9th Street. You can see how much battery you’ll have before you launch the drone. Once the drone is up, aim the crosshairs at the moving dot on the creature to collect DNA samples, which allow you to create and evolve your dinosaurs. So unlike pokemon, I don’t have a bunch of the same creatures junking up my inventory.

Collect enough DNA samples from a species, you head into the lab to create your dinosaur. Some are rarer than others and require more DNA to create. Level up enough and you can create HYBRID DINOSAURS.

You’ll want to keep an adequate dart supply for drone hunting, you spin supply drops. Sometimes you get cash or coins as well that you can use to evolve your dinos or speed up incubators earned from battle.

Yep. When you’re not hunting for DNA, you can pit your flock against randomly matched players. Obviously every creature has it’s own attack and defense style – smaller ones like dilophosaurus and velociraptor are super fast with high attack strikes, but low HP and defense. Some of the big carnivores will counterattack. Herbivores have higher defense and some have stunning attacks. You can have a mix of 8 dinosaurs in your lineup, but once in battle they’re randomized to a set of 4 you can use. I think this randomization goes a long way for keeping matches as balanced as possible

The battle objective is to defeat three of the opponents dinosaurs. When you do, a JP medallion at the top keeps score. The first to three wins! Toppling your opponents earns you coins and incubators that take from 15 mins to 8 hours (the highest one I’ve seen so far) to mature. Opening incubators nets you cash, darts, and rare dino DNA to help strengthen your line up. You can use cash to speed up the time.

The AR feature is one of the best I’ve experienced. I find it endlessly amusing to bring my brood to life in MY world. Here’s a dilophosaurus and a nundasuchus in my office, a majungasaurus asking some folks for money in Tompkins Square Park, and an allosarus picking up my MealPal at 5 Napkin Burger. The graphics and details are pretty insane.

It’s a hell of a battery drainer, but I’m enjoying it so far. Now I have an excuse to get outside and wander new neighborhoods with Muldoon. Because I can’t go hunting dinosaurs without Muldoon to protect me!

Visiting Alternate Dimensions

Yesterday after work, my friend Maria and I were in need of an escape. From ourselves. From this planet. So we checked out VR World in midtown- a virtual reality arcade. It’s the largest on the planet, in their words.

img_9828

Checking into a Pixar-like animation about an old man who fixes broken dreams.

I’ve only slipped into VR a handful of times because I find it dangerously addictive and a little nauseating if I stay too long. This is definitely the future of gaming, entertainment and probably human living.

We walked in and were presented with three options, a 2 hour, all day and moveo access. A 2 hour pass was $40 so we went with that. Our wristbands allowed us to scan into the queue for games with our gamer tags. But we could only be in one queue at a time so if we scanned into one game and then went to another while we were waiting, it canceled out the first game. So it took some strategic planning on our part. Luckily, none of the lines were very long. Mostly we were able to scan right in and play.

VR World hosts over 50 experiences ranging from games to 360 movies and music videos. The “museum” on the mezzanine had several different experiences that allowed us to explore the planet or disappear into different stories from the comfort of swivel chairs so we didn’t risk wandering off down a flight a stairs.

We warmed up with a plank walking experience. It was freaky. We walked out onto a beam high above the city and then stepped off and fell to the sidewalk. My heart rate shot up to 84bpm from 60. Maria was also not a fan.

From there, we teamed up to take on some robots in a shooting game. It felt crazy. I screamed out loud when a robot snuck up behind me and I could SWEAR I felt one crawl over and grab my leg. I’m terrified of robots so that didn’t help, but I was astonishingly good at the game.

They also had Job Simulator, Rick and Morty Virtual Rickality, Zombie games, an archery game and so much more to explore. I’ll definitely go back next week to try out more experiences. It’s a great little escape in the middle of the realest city in the world.

 

 

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Game Update.jpg

Admittedly, I’m not the most loyal South Park fan. But we’re in a bit of a doldrums for Switch releases until July, so I picked up South Park: The Fractured But Whole with some birthday money. I had no expectations going in. I might have been a little afraid I wouldn’t like it because I didn’t know what I was getting into and I’ve been out of touch with the show for so long.

My character is the gassy new kid in South Park and eager to make friends. All the kids are playing superheroes and Cartman reluctantly invites me to create a character and join his group – Coon and Friends. We all have character sheets DnD style that you complete by talking to various adult characters about gender and sexuality and religion.

IMG_9438

I’ve totally fallen in love with it. All the kids have their own unique superhero personas with the most creative costumes and phrases. Mosquito is my favorite! The way he plays off the actions of others in battle always makes me laugh. When Cartman/Coon attacks, Mosquito will say something like “Coon makes ’em bleed so it’s time to feed!” All of his blood puns and digs are brilliant. I keep him in my party all the time, both for the jokes and his powerful life-draining attack.

Completing challenges for townspeople allows you to take a selfie with them and gain followers. Building your following helps you level up and unlock new objectives. Here I am with Morgan Freeman at his taco stand.

IMG_9493

My “superpower” comes from my time-bending farts. Collecting certain mission items allows me craft special Mexican dishes and unleash powerful farts that turn back time to negate an enemy’s turn or stop time so I can get around dangerous situations and get some free shots on a 6th grader. I can combine my farts with other kids’ super abilities to solve puzzles and reach new areas of the map. There’s also a hilarious toilet mini-game in every bathroom in South Park. Some toilets are harder to master than others.

IMG_9492

The battle component is super entertaining. Aside from the witty superhero banter, the battles can take on various forms with nontraditional objectives. In a battle with Towelie, the goal isn’t to defeat Towelie; it’s to burn four piles of weed scattered around the room to get him high. There are roving hordes of 6th graders around town that will give chase until you defeat them. Once you talk to the PC Principal, there’s a new battle mechanic that gives you a free punch when your enemy says a microaggression.

IMG_9494

Of course, being South Park, the content is rarely clean. There are naked breasts. Hilariously offensive themes, language and items to pick up (I laughed for a good 10 minutes when I acquired a jar of “boogers and cum” and the jingle played. I had to battle two Catholic priests to avoid molestation and beat up Raisins Girls. I’m not even that far into the game, I don’t think and I’d had to give a drunk man a lap dance… AS A FOURTH GRADER. In a rockin’ shark costume.

IMG_9497

There are definitely some uncomfortable moments that are a little harder to laugh at. And most shocking is that it’s now on Nintendo Switch. I wrote to Nintendo every month for a year asking for Binding of Isaac on 3DS and that’s MUCH tamer comparatively!

What I love most about this game is that it takes place in the imagination of a child. I’m reminded how I played games as a kid. My imagination made so many worlds and abilities real for me. There’s no greater period of creativity than childhood and South Park: The Fractured But Whole lets me return to that time, while simultaneously being shocked at the incredibly adult level of inappropriateness.

Splat Fashion 3.0.0

Splat Fashion

With the release of 3.0.0 last week came over 100 new pieces of gear. I’ve always been a fan of throwing on a bit of military flare so mixing the new gear with some of my favorite pieces and weapons has me losing hours creating new looks and planning my ability builds.

IMG_9076

This is my standard gear look for ranked. Special Forces Beret with a mix of power chunks that suit my particularly strategic, versatile and insightful play-style, black inky rider stocked with sub up and speed up, and blue Moto boots with pure ink resistance.

Splatoon Deco Brush InklingSplatoon inkling hero shot replica

For these two, my coat changes sometimes based on what role my team needs me to play. My custom painted F-3 gives me an offensive advantage with pure special ups. When I need a defensive edge, I suit up in my Forge Inkling Parka with ninja squid and swim speed ups so I can make quick sprints or getaways to regroup.

IMG_9234

I’m still building out a lot of the newer gear – my White leather F-3, gas mask, pilot goggles (not new, but look hot af with the F-3s) and shark moccasins – but they’ve all been upgraded for max slots. I love the way they can change up my look while sticking to the theme I like.

Of course the military look couldn’t be complete with head to toe camouflage, right down to the weapon. The Moist Ghillie Suit paired with the Bamboozler creates an all-natural look well suited for an ambush! Also this set up cracks me up.

The options are becoming a bit overwhelming. Aside from saving certain gear to different amiibo, I wish there was a better way to organize my inventory. I don’t like any of the org options currently available. Honestly, I’d rather organize my own “closet” according to my priorities.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

While I’m a little confused about the TMNT theme of the upcoming Splatfest, I AM relishing the fact that I’ll essentially have three weeks to farm my Splatfest T to build out all this new gear.

What are your favorite pieces? Do you adhere to a certain type of aesthetic?

Binding of Isaac Tarot Interview

IMG_8283

I’ve always viewed this deck more as a novelty – a collectible from one of my favorite video games ever, The Binding of Isaac. I’ve never used it before. This is a completely virgin deck! Until now. The cards depart from the traditional suit structure, instead calling on items from the game to represent suits. So I took some creative liberties to identify the parallels.

Keys = Wands
Bombs = Swords
Pennies = Pentacles
Hearts = Cups

Check out my other deck interviews.

Tell me about yourself
The High Priestess
I am the mediator between light and dark, the guardian of the unconscious and the link between reality and the inaccessible reaches of the mind. My understanding of the Universe runs deeper than The Basement.

What are your strengths?
Five of Pennies
Nothing distracts me from spiritual development. Coins may help you achieve success in the game, but in the end, it always comes down to heart. Let’s focus on keeping your heart full over your pockets.

IMG_3839

What are your limitations?
Ace of Pennies
Don’t talk to me about the material world. I’m not interested in wealth or career issues. I want to help you manifest your inner potential and achieve your spiritual goals.

What are you here to teach me?
Ten of Bombs
How to survive taking the hits. Life can be a bullet hell run. The people you love and trust might back-stab you. There will surely be loss after loss after loss. Keep restarting.

IMG_9419

How can we best collaborate?
Ace of Keys
Let’s just go for it. No instruction manuals. We’ll figure it out along the way, breaking through walls and unlocking mysteries.

What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
Three of Keys
We’ll open doors to self-exploration and gain control of all around you. Your horizons will expand in all directions as we journey onward together.

IMG_3591

Amazingly, in this interview there were a lot of subtle nods to the game in the personality of the deck! I was expecting darkness based on the nature of the game, but the energy is pretty playful. The game connects the earthly with the dark and the light, so I feel like this deck has a good grasp on bridging those realms to open my perception and intuition.

Want to know whats in your cards? I’ll read them for you starting at just $5!