Gaming Nostalgia

In the past few months, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about video games, particularly about all the games that I played growing up that can now be called retro, vintage or nostalgic. If you’ve been following my submissions at No Continues Media, you can tell that I’m a pretty big fan of “old-timey” PC games like Commander Keen, Crystal Caves and Jill of the Jungle.

After being in contact with a representative at Man Crates, a company that provides awesome gifts for men that come in wooden crates which need to be opened with a crowbar, I decided to write a little blog post about my personal experience with gaming and growing up. So follow along and relive your glory days of neon colors and 8-bit music.

Retro Gaming

Retro Gaming Crate from Man Crates

As a child, my family didn’t have any consoles. Not a Nintendo, not a Sega Genesis, not even a Dreamcast. What we did have was a PC, with so many shareware games we never got tired of playing them. At the time, we only had one computer for myself and my siblings to share and we often fought over whose turn it was to play the Incredible Machine or Jazz Jackrabbit, and boy did we spend hours upon hours playing those games.

Unlike most computer and console games in this generation, back then you had to make precise movements and jumps or you would fall and die and have to restart the entire level. Most games didn’t have a “save point” or re-spawning area. In fact, we were lucky to even get the three-lives-and-you-are-out option.

To me, it was the repetition, the music, the colors, and even the corny stories that got me hooked. That and the fact that we had a computer in my house from my earliest memory. My father (a computer programmer) taught my younger brother and I how to access these games, which were either on floppy disks or on a hard drive by C:/DOS, something most kids today would just look at you with utter confusion. It’s all interfaces and apps now.

There was never any particular boss or level that struck me as difficult or impossible. To me it was just the challenge of running through the game and enjoying the storyline (as corny as most were) or the music or colors.

It wasn’t until I got married that I got a chance to go back and explore the console games and the experience that most my age had when they were young. When Nintendo released the original Super Mario Brothers (all of them) for the Wii, I jumped on it and played it for hours at a time. Still to this day, I haven’t beat any of them, because they are so much harder than any other game I’ve played. It’s actual my goal this summer to beat at least one of them so I can claim I’ve beat a Mario game.

What is your favorite gaming memory? Did you grow up on Atari or Nintendo? Sega or XBox? Share your A-A-B-B-A-B-A memories in the comments below!

Note: A representative from ManCrates approached me with the idea of writing a blog post. No funds, goods or services were exchanged for this particular post. This was a personal choice to write about it because I enjoy gaming.

Rose, #NewWhoMarathon

It’s time! It’s time! As mentioned in my last Doctor Who blog post, I’ve decided to fill all the empty space of BBC airtime that Doctor Who isn’t on with reviews and blog posts dedicated to my favorite show. Each week, I’ll be live-blogging one-to-two episodes getting ready for the return of the show with series 9 this autumn.

My experience with this show started a few years ago in 2012 when my younger sister convinced me to watch this campy British sci-fi series with her. At first I wasn’t convinced, but I fell in love with it and can’t go a day without thinking of the Doctor, my Doctor. Since I have all this time before my favorite show comes back on the air, you are going to be subjected to my lifetime obsession of talking about it until I get a new episode. Lucky you! ;)

Really though, Doctor. Tell me. Who are you

So here we go, today, we will introduce ourselves back to Rose Tyler, and the man of mystery, the Doctor — along with a host of other characters along the way.

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Psst…if you have a favorite episode, be sure to check back over the next few months too read my live-wine-blogging analysis of it.

Doctor WhoOMG. I’ve missed this intro, I could totally sing in in my sleep and it brings a huge grin to my face every time I hear it, and in some cases, I get the geek-chills anticipating what is going to happen. I really wish we could stick with some of the original intros to the show and not the new instagram/digital one we have now — it doesn’t have the same camp to it.

WoooWeeewooowoo

Zooming in from outer space, we see the earth, the United Kingdom and into our favorite place to explore the rift in time-and-space, Cardiff.

Cardiff Rift in Time and Space

Rose Tyler is that every twenty-something who is still living or who has ever lived with their parents. I know that messy room all to well, and the day-to-day activities of a life without a specific purpose or life path. Just the daily grind.

Rose Tyler S1E1

Oh Rose, you have to take that lottery money down. Wilson isn’t going to come up from the old basement for it. BTW, is that the same elevator from ‘Closing Time’ (S6.E12) with Matt Smith and James Corden? What a creepy, creepy basement. It reminds me of something from a horror movie and is no place I would ever go. Especially if I heard those bumps and crash, I would nope my way all the way back upstairs and away from all the somebodys-gonna-get-dead-up-here-things.

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Creepy mannequins all alone in that basement….or are they?Who the heck shut that door? You’re screwed Rose. I told you, nope your way back upstairs before the living plastic gets you.

Is that someone mucking about

One reason I really like Rose is the way she talks. No high-class or low-class language, just somewhere in the general middle. Her expressions, her sass and demeanor remind me of someone who doesn’t give two-shits, but still doesn’t know what to do with their life.

And the first fear of  the Whovian universe comes alive and after Rose — the living plastic (Autons) — and boy are they buff!

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I’ve never liked mannequins, and this episode — no matter how campy — made them seem even more fear-inducing. But wait, will Rose be saved?

Run! -The Doctor

Of course she will. Oh Christopher Eccleston, I’ve missed you so much. Even though you were only with us for a season, you were my first Doctor and will always hold a special place in my heart.

Death Count: 1, Wilson, the Chief Electrician of Herrod’s Department Store

I'm the Doctor, by the way. What's your name?

Rose

Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for you life!gif

This line is one of the most iconic lines from this episode. It is the Doctor and Rose’s first meeting, and it amuses me that neither one realize that they have just met the person that will change their lives in ways they couldn’t even imagine.

The music, the set and the special effects are notoriously indicative that the BBC hadn’t given it’s full support to the show quite yet. If you watch past season four, there is a huge jump in cinematography, special effects and budget which really can change the tone of the entire show.

Rose, why are you still carrying the arm? I would have thrown it as far away as possible. Or set it on fire. Or chopped it up. Or anything but keeping it with me.

This is the first time in we see the TARDIS in the new series, and you can bet that any fans of Classic Who were practically squealing at this point. For me, the first time I saw it, I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was important.

The TARDIS, which if you didn’t already know stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space, which is the basis of which this British sci-fi show is all about.

Oh Jackie. You annoyed the bloody hell out of me in the beginning, but I grew to love you with each and every appearance, especially because you and the Doctor play off each others opposite personalities so well.

Mickey

Oh Mickey, or should I say Ricky? *SPOILERS* This character, known first as Rose Tyler’s casual boyfriend is introduced within the first 10 minutes of the episode and we see that he is the typical English man who loves his football, and Rose knows that all too well.

Easter Egg Possibility #1: At minute 10:10, there is a picture that is missing from the wall behind Jackie’s head. I’m curious if it has always been missing, or if it was a small nod to something that either Russell T. Davies or Steven Moffat will give a nod to later. We’ll see. XD

What are you doing here?

Oh, that elusive cat door. It shows up in another one of my favorite episodes, Adipose. Even though it may not mean anything, I’m taking note of small details which keep showing up throughout the series, we know Davies loves to troll his fans.

The sonic screwdriver sneakily makes it way into the viewers vision for the first time. This is a tool of the Doctor’s which he uses to get out a multitude of troubles, open doors (except wood!) and change course of events. I love how instead of guns or weapons, the creators gave the Doctor a screwdriver as his get-out-of-trouble card making him a pacifist in terms of actions.

I'm in my dressing gown Jackie Tyler

Oh lord, Jackie. You are the absolute best in the scene and totally steal it from the Doctor, and he knows it.

Damn. I want to know what the Doctor knows. Who else are aliens? Whose gay? And why are we never introduced to any more famous ones? Are there celebrities that are aliens in the Whoverse? These are some questions I’m dying to get answers to.

In the meantime, I’ll settle for little details like the name of the book the Doctor is reading in this episode, and it happens to be the Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. To inspire other Whovians, I’m starting to keep a book list from the entire New Who series that will be uploaded in the new few episodes.

book

New Ears

The Doctor seeing himself for the first time seems sort of odd, but if you are a fan of the series, this has major implications for later. In the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who (aired 2013), we learn a secret that explains Nine’s behaviour at this point. The events of that particular episode and this one must have happened quite close together as it seems like the Doctor has never seen himself in a mirror before.

Jackie, how on earth did you not hear the crashing of your glass coffee table break? Even I’m not that oblivious.

 

So what you're saying is the entire world revolves around you

TARDIS COUNT: 2

Squee! It’s the TARDIS again.

“Now forget me Rose Tyler”

How could anyone forget the Doctor? No one can ever forget the man who wants to be, more than anything, forgettable to the people he is saving.

I just got chills, it is the very music of Bad Wolf. The haunting sounds of what will be…

Ooh, that yellow bug. I’ve always wanted one. I’ll trade plastic Mickey a garbage can for one.

 

Mickey Jones Garbage Can

Mickey, please don’t….it could be a rabid raccoon, a feral cat, or worse, living plastic that is going to kidnap you and replace you with an obvious fake that I can’t believe Rose doesn’t recognize, but of course you have to go and touch it.

Pizza. -Mickey Jones

Sweetheart. Babe. Sugar. That’s the first time Rose seems to notice anything is wrong.

Rose still can’t believe fully what she has started to realize with her own eyes until she walks into the TARDIS. This is the moment that all of us soon-to-be-Whovians held our breath for. We knew there was something great in that little ole police box, but just like Rose, we couldn’t hardly believe it ourselves.

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Death #2: The death of Mickey’s plastic Auton

 

If you are an alien, how comes you sound like you're from the North? Lots of planets have a north

If you are an alien, how comes you sound like you're from the North? Lots of planets have a north_2

Nine pulled off this line absolutely perfectly. Eccleston and Piper really played off each other for the Doctor + Rose relationship. It’s what brought me into loving the series as a whole — their perfectly sarcastic friendship.

Eye of London Doctor Who

One of my favorite parts of this show is how relatable it is for anyone who watches it. It references real-life landmarks, pop culture and other parts of the world’s history that make us feel like the Doctor really could show up on our doorstep. One of these such is the London Eye (pictured above), an iconic London landmark that is recognizable around the globe.

Fantastic

Fantastic!

This line from Christopher Eccleston shows us how Doctor-y he really is. He was perfect to bring the elusive Doctor back to life and this quote has become a catchphrase for this ninth incarnation of the Time Lord from Gallifrey.

You can see the Doctor begin to get emotional when the Nesting Consciousness starts talking about the war. A war we know nothing about if you are just jumping in at New Who.

“I couldn’t save your world, I couldn’t save any of them.”

Jackie, I know you are confused by how to work the VCR, but when you see walking dummies, RUN! But next time, don’t throw your purchases on the escalator.

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Death #3: Clive

Deaths in Doctor Who

This is the moment, this is the moment that you know that Rose Tyler is there to save the Doctor and not the other way around. The Doctor seems so pleased by her actions. Whether it is because she saved his life or he didn’t’ have to kill, he is happy.

My big question, how did they make the Eye of London a transmitter. Who was it that put it there. The Daleks? The Autons? These are questions I must get answers to!

Species in Rose S1E1

And its over. What a frakkin’ rush! I miss watching this show every weekend. It was something I looked forward to and I can’t wait for it to be back on the air again. But alas, we have to wait until the fall of this year to get anything new from Capaldi and Clara.

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In the meantime, I’ll still be running this weekly series filled with my sometimes sarcastic, sometimes fangirl and sometimes obsessive fact-checker remarks. Follow along with me as we explore the world of Doctor Who. Be sure to tweet me @radicalgeekery with the hashtag #NewWhoMarathon.

Doctor Who: New Who

Ooh-ee-ooh-ee.

This has been uttered by many a Whovian, and this year marks a special date in ‘New Who’ history. As of March 26, 2005, this British sci-fi series we all love has been on the air for ten years. Because I am one of those die-hard fans (despite my misgivings about Steven Moffat), I wanted to give a proper tribute to the show that has changed my life.

I am and always will be - the optiist. The hoper of far-flung hopes. the Dreamer of improbable dreams

The rest of Season 9 doesn’t air until this autumn, I’m giving it another run through from the beginning with Episode One, “Rose,” until the latest episode, “Last Christmas,” featuring Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi. Each week I’m going to watch an episode and live-blog it.

*SPOILERS*

Even though I’ve seen every single episode at least once, I want to see it again from a fresh perspective exploring the storylines, actors, spoilers and details about each episode. I’m looking for you to join me each week  and let me know your favorite parts of each episode

The New Who Doctors

1. Nine (Christopher Eccleston) – (13 Episodes)

2. Ten (David Tennant) – (48 Episodes)

3. Eleven (Matt Smith) – (44 Episodes)

4. Twelve/Thirteen (Peter Capaldi) – (14 Episodes)

You don't just give up. You don't just let things happen. You make a stand! You say no! You have the guts to do what's right, even when everyone else just runs away. -Rose Tyler

Be sure to follow me at the hashtag #NewWhoMarathon on twitter @radicalgeekery each week.

How Comic Books Made My Marriage Better

Many people tend to see comic books and superheroes as geeky or a waste of time and something that isn’t as valuable as any other hobby or interest. Pulling a Kayne West, I’m gonna have to interrupt those people and pull out my  big ole’ BS meter. Exclusive thinking like that actually shuts off entire groups of people, interests and relationships. Not only are comic books good for the children’s learning (see here), they can enhance and create relationships between people.

During the last few weeks, my husband and I have had some major life stressors so we’ve been doing what we usually do to de-stress and relax, watch our favorite shows together, one of which happens to be the DC comic-book inspired Arrow. It might have been the two consecutive weekends at conventions (ECCC and Sakura-Con) but I had the urge to be a bit creative while we were watching and turned him into a comic book hero, the Blue Arrow.

The Blue Arrow

The show that inspired this photo is one my husband started watching a few years ago  as his interest in comic book to TV show titles started to happen. To be honest, I wasn’t interested at the beginning and couldn’t understand why people would want to watch it, especially when most shows of this nature couldn’t even pass the Bechdel Test. But, like anyone who resides in a small apartment knows, there are times you will catch a glimpse of whatever TV show, movie or video game your roommates or partners are involved with.

I would occasionally see what was happening on screen but it wasn’t until an episode in the third season entitled The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak (S3, E5) that I really got into the storyline and the characters, I mean who wouldn’t love an episode that starts out with a goth Emily Bett Rickards totally kicking ass in coding and hacking?

Felicity SmoakAfter that episode (which I actually saw three times in one week), I binged watched the entire show in about two weeks so I could catch up with what was happening. I couldn’t believe how excited I was getting over a comic book vigilante hero.

Knowing that my husband and I could share such nerdy interests without feeling ashamed helped us to appreciate each others hobbies more.

After realizing that I really enjoyed these shows, as did my husband, I had an epiphany. Why wasn’t I actively getting involved with these shows, movies, books and more with him? If it made us both so individually happy and excited, think of how geeked out we could get together if I started to engage him in one of his favorite pastimes. What other parts of our marriage was I missing because I simply didn’t get his interests or thought they they might be ‘silly’? And this is how it all started. From there we enjoy shows like The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, and Gotham — all of which are based off comic book characters.

During our nerd-out TV nights we often have conversations about what the characters are doing, why they are doing and perhaps what we would have done differently if we were in their shoes — learning more about each other. In addition to just watching the shows, we’ve jumped in headfirst to the comic book and graphic novel world. Even though we have different tastes in artwork and writing, we’ll often swap books so that we can share our favorites with each other.

One of our favorites is a newer series, and more independent than most comic books you will come across called Saga written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. Without giving away too much of the plot, Saga is the story of two star-crossed (literally, it is set in space) lovers dealing with war, drama, marriage, children, politics and family while trying to live as normal of a life that they can together. Sounds pretty much like what most people (sans war) have to deal with everyday, right?

Comic books aren’t just for kids anymore, and adults can like superheroes. We shouldn’t exclude an interest or hobby just just because it seems less important than what our culture generally deems ‘important’. Take that risk, be a superhero to your partner and see what sort of comic books and superpowers they are. Tweet me @radicalgeekery with the hashtag #comicbookcouples

 

 

 

 

 

Prepping for Emerald City Con 2015

With just over a little more than a week to go, Emerald City Comic Con is fast approaching and I am just so dang excited (!!). This will be my third year attending, and first year ‘working’*.  Even though my full cosplay isn’t together yet, I’m quickly getting things organized so that this year won’t feel as hectic and scattered as last year..

*As a freelance geek journalist, I’m covering the event for a few different blogs that I write for. Be sure to follow me on social media to catch where and for who I am writing for!

ECCC

There are so many things for me to look forward to at this years con, especially since ReedPOP has absorbed ECCC into it’s family of conventions. Their particular style of organization and efficiency at cons is well-known and respected, and I’ve already seen that in the information that the PR and social media team of ECCC has released so far.

This year, I’m planning on attending several panels as well as picking up a photo-op or two and making sure to get the signatures from my favorites. Here is a quick-run down of how I hope this year happens for Radical Geekery.

Panels

I am so impressed with the selection of panels this year. In the past, I’ve only gone to one or two and haven’t paid too much attention to any other panels as they didn’t hold my interest as much as I thought they could — in fact, last year I didn’t attend a single one.

This year is different.

With the incredibly array of artists, actors, performers and names at Emerald City this year, the panels over-exceeded my expectations in both recognizable names and content. I actually had to make a spreadsheet so that I could attend my top choices while still getting a chance to wander around the rest of the convention floor. Here are my picks for next weekend:

Friday

  • Taking Fandom Seriously — 10:50 AM – 11:40 AM
  • Ten Years of the New Doctor Who —  1:50 PM – 2:40 PM

Saturday

  • How To Be a Nerd for a Living: Your Career in Nerd Culture — 11:40 AM – 12:40  PM
  • Gigs and Careers In Fandom & Geek Culture  — 4:30 PM – 5:40 PM
  • Clark Gregg & Chloe Benn:t Agents of A.W.E.S.O.M.E. — 6:00 PM – 6:50 PM

Sunday

  • Curtis Armstrong: The Scribe of God — 12:00 PM – 12:50 PM
  • Firefly with Gina Torres and Morena Baccarin –2:00 PM – 2:50 PM
  • Women in the Gaming Industry Panel  — 2:50 PM – 3:40 PM

Cosplay

As sad as it was for me last year, I didn’t end up cosplaying at all. The first year I attended ECCC, I put together an amateur Leela (Futurama) cosplay and had so much fun with it. After realizing you really have to plan ahead for this type of geekery, I was able to plan two days of ‘dressing up’.

Radical Geekery

I won’t go into too much detail on this post, but I’m doing a casual/punk Harley Quinn outfit on Friday which I’m especially excited about as I’ve recently delved headfirst into Harley Quinn canon and lore. On Saturday, my first love of nerddom will show itself as I’m working on a Bad Wolf Girl cosplay from the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special. And to make sure I don’t exhaust myself with cosplay this year, Sunday is going to be a general ‘nerd-girl-at-a-convention’ attire.

Personally, I’m itching to see what everyone will be cosplaying as this year. Most cons typically have an influx of certain characters or fandoms and I’m guessing this year we might see an influx of Doctor Who, Marvel & the Arrow outfits….but that is just a speculation.

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Leave a message in the comment section and let me know what you are planning on going as this year!

Special Events

I feel like ECCC outdid themselves with special events this year, but you won’t hear any complaints from me. From a Laser Guardians of the Galaxy experience to Drinking & Drawing and a Guardians of the Galaxy inspired burlesque show, this year seems to have a special event for just about anyone.

To be honest I’m just incredibly excited to be there this year and can’t wait to share all the geekiness with you, my readers. Be sure to follow me on twitter and instagram @radicalgeekery as well as the media organizations @fanpup101 and @nocontinuescast to catch all the happenings at Emerald City Comic Con this year.

Restaurant Reviews: Fiamma Burger

Note: With the permission of the editor-in-chief, I’ve decided to repost some of my articles written for The Western Front here on Radical Geekery. Today’s review was originally posted here, on November 5, 2014 and all pictures and text are my original work. 

Fiamma Burger

Some cold and blustery nights here in town, you just have to ‘eat-in’, and that is exactly what I did last Saturday, when I picked up my favorite comfort food in all of Bellingham — a burger and some fries.

Known for their diverse menu of burger choices, which include: pork, lamb, turkey, salmon, and veggie; along with its great downtown location at 1309 Railroad Ave., Fiamma Burger is well-known in our city of subdued excitement with locals and students alike.

Seeing as Fiamma was a decidedly Bellingham institution, I decided to go with their B’HAM burger and a side of hand tossed garlic fries which came out to a little over $10 in price, but well worth it in taste.

This particular burger usually comes with a beef burger topped with cheese, prosciutto (a salt-cured Italian ham), an egg, shoe-string potatoes andsmokey sauce on a regular bun for just under $7.

As a allergy-friendly and vegetarian option, I went with a veggie burger on a gluten-free bun omitting the smokey sauce and prosciutto. Out of all the burger joints I’ve visited in town, Fiamma seems to be in the top percentile for being able to provide these options to patrons who need and want substitutions in their meals.

As I brought the brown paper bag home containing my meal, I could smell the garlic fries wafting their delicious scent and had a to sneak a few before I even got out of the car. If you haven’t had a chance to try their famous garlic or sweet potato fries, they are a must.5459a730b8194.image

Overall, I would give Fiamma Burger an eight out of ten points, with two missing points for the price, which is not student-budget friendly. To find out more about Fiamma’s menus (breakfast, lunch & dinner) you can visit their website.

Radical Geekery is getting SuperBetter!

SuperBetter

Every life has those little serendipitous moments, those epiphany instances and those unexpected life changing happenstances that sometimes make you stand still with wonder and confusion. Recently I had one of these moments and teasingly decided to call it my ‘super better’ moment.

What is super better you ask? It’s a phrase coined by game designer and psychologist Jane McGonigal a few years ago that I recently came to know through a TED talk that my husband recommended me to watch. Now, I’m a little hesitant when it comes to TED talks as everyone thinks they are wonderful, but I saw that this one was about videogames (one of my favorite topics), so I sat down to watch it.

Isn’t that a great talk? I find it incredibly inspiring and it helped me to feel that my choice to go into the video game industry was a legitimate choice and was more than just a flash-in-the-pan career move. Jane McGonigal took what I wanted to say about my path of work and put it into words that anyone could understand — even my 67-year old mother-in-law who told me she could see how games were something that could have not just negative benefits, but incredibly positive ones as well.

After watching the talk, I actually downloaded the SuperBetter app and began to play around with it. Even though it hasn’t had an update in two years (!!) it still can give you a basic gameplay at getting super better yourself. I’ve actually started to feel better once I realized I can ‘play’ my life as a game and still be a happy and productive member of society.

Along with this view on what games can really mean, her book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (which just happen to be sitting on my shelf for over a years) has also started me on one of those paths that will change your life, just like Radical Homemakers did for me about three or four years ago. There is just something about the book that has hooked me, in fact, I would call it what my blog is all about…radical geekery.

Jayne's Hat Firefly Yahtzee Ship

So here is to another layer of enjoyable cognitive dissonance, a different way of viewing the world, and a drastic change of thought. Here is to getting superbetter.

Allons-y from RadicalGeekery.Com

Becky, @radicalgeekery