Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What I've been up to...


Being a teacher means I had a Christmas break, and that’s where I’ll start: I got to spend time with my family for a party, and then with friends from my old theatre group at another. I went to a Farmer’s Tan Market show, and there I saw about a million people that I only ever communicate with through facebook nowadays. It was really fun. 

my filmmaker friend and I
I really enjoyed having money for Christmas. I bought my family gifts, for once. I’ve always been too poor to buy my family much, but this year I went all out. I love giving sooooo much more than receiving, and so this year was a big deal for me. The best gift I bought was a book called Crap Taxidermy for my cousin. The other best gift I got was PEZ for my family, in memory of my grandma. My gran used to get PEZ every year. The worst candy in the world, but you have to love your grandma for it!

So, past Christmas, I spend New Year’s at my friend’s new apartment, and there I also won my first game of poker. My break ended in January and I managed to get this book I wrote read through for edits.

Back to work, my first week was marred by cold that kept kids home (which made my day easy). I also gave my own feedback on a book and read many others. January was a little boring, but it’s been a month of looking forward, reading, and working.

the singer of Farmer's Tan Market and myself
Forward: I started some plans for taking a day to go skiing next month, camping this summer, and potentially doing some theatre-related stuff. I also have a count on the number of days until my Spring Break: 42 working days, 18 weekend/days off, so 60 total. I get 9 days off for Spring Break in March, so I’m planning to get my book near the finishing line so that I can begin submitting it later this year (hopefully around July).    



Reading and Editing in 2015


This past month, my life has been turning pages and scratching out words. A big author posted a critique-friend-connection to her blog, and I found a few people to swap writing projects with. One of those turned out to be a good match, and so I read and gave feedback on her entire novel. That was probably the most enjoyable thing I did this past month. I really love critiquing books, and it’s so much more fun when the book is already quite good. I’ll pimp out that book and author here when she releases it, but I don’t want to say anything now for privacy reasons. 

After that, I reread A Storm of Swords, my favorite of the A Song Of Ice And Fireseries, and then I went to the book store and shuffled through a mountain of paper. Truth is, my favorite type of book is 3rd person, past tense. It’s getting harder and harder to find new books in that style. I try to read YA books often, since that’s what I want to write, but I get so tired of 1stperson being used over and over that it’s hard to find anything to want to jump into.

What I ended up reading next was a random pick: Half A King by Joe Abercrombie. I had never heard of him or this book before going into the book store. I judge buying random books on if the title sounds interesting and if the first page grabs me. This book did, so I bolted through it in a few days. It was a good read. Fun. Well-written. Fast-paced. I read it because the book I wrote is about a prince, and I wondered what other authors do differently.

Now I’m reading Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang at the suggestion of the person whose book I just gave feedback on. I just finished the first story last night, and it might be the best short story I’ve read since I, Robot. I’m not usually a fan of short stories, but this was very weird and interesting.

I leave a book at work to read during lunch hours, and that one is currently The Scorch Trials, which is the sequel to The Maze Runner. TMR was a very good book, which I flew through, but I got immediately hesitant to continue with TST because I hate it when characters go through an entire book’s worth of torture only to gain more torture immediately in the sequel. I first got The Scorch Trials right after finishing The Maze Runner, but I only read the first few chapters before needing a break. I like my characters to find a little relief between books. After battling grievers, I felt like the characters deserved a year to enjoy life. I don’t know. I set the book down for 5 months, and I’m just now considering finishing it. I had the same problem with The Hunger Games. I hated the idea of Katniss going through a second game. I never thought that the first book needed a sequel. I thought it was perfect as it was.

So, other than that, I’ve been editing The Unraveler using feedback I’ve been given. I know it has to be perfect when I submit it to have any shot, so I’m taking my time with it. I’ve got other books in the process of writing, but I won’t be focusing on them until I get this one done. The others are great, though! I’m excited!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Game of the Year


So, this list isn’t a list of my favorite games that released out in 2014… this is a list of my favorite games I played this year. Some are old games that I just finally got around to, some are new games. To compare this 2014 list, here’s 2013’s.

2014 is THE YEAR OF NEW!
This past year has been about my new systems. I bought both a Wii U and a Playstation 4, so most of the games I played were on those systems.

So, without further ado, my 2014 list of favorite plays (in no particular order):


Assassin's Creed: Black Flag

This game was one that I bought on a whim. I had a break from work (I’m a teacher, so I get off most holidays), and I wanted an open world to explore. I played this on PS3 (I didn’t have PS4 yet) and I was incredibly impressed. I doubt that there could even be a better pirate game. The ship sailing mechanics astounded me so much! MORE THOUGHTS BY ME ON THIS GAME HERE!

Pikmin 3

This is a game I got for free with the Mario Kart 8 promotion. I loved both Pikmin 1 and 2, and so 3 was a natural get for me. While controlling 3 characters at a time and the inferior control scheme (as opposed to the Gamecube controller) makes me rank it the lowest in the series, Pikmin 3 was still a marvelous play and an absolute must-own for anyone with a Wii U. MORE THOUGHTS BY ME ON THIS GAME HERE!


Red Dead Redemption

This is a game that actually made an “honorable mention” in last year’s GOTY post from me. I got to Mexico and quit… well, I’m happy to report that I got the urge to play the other half. It was awesome, one of the best stories ever told in videogames. Much like Black Flag was the best pirate game, Red Dead is certainly the best cowboy game ever made. I cannot wait to see what’s next in the series! MORE THOUGHTS BY ME ON THIS GAME HERE!

Mario Kart 8

Best is a word I use too much, I guess, but Mario Kart 8 is the best racing game I’ve ever played. The DLC that came out is great, too. My friends started a weekly tournament, which we played for many weeks after! I even won a good portion of them! I have, somehow, become extremely good at this game, to the point where I barely have anyone to compete with. MORE THOUGHTS BY ME ON THIS GAME HERE!

Skyrim

This is a game that made the same list last year. At that time, I hadn’t even beaten it yet. 2014 allowed me to do so, finally, after putting a million more hours into it. I also achieved the status of a platinum trophy. I will probably end up playing Skyrim again in 2015, since I have the goal to get all of the rest of the DLC trophies. I did a massive writeup about my thoughts on this game. MORE THOUGHTS BY ME ON THIS GAME HERE!


Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U

Smash is the game I obsess over every time it is announced. I watch videos, read blogs, I click on the smashbros.com site, I surf smashboards.com, and I OBSESS. Sometimes, I think my anticipation of the game is almost as fun as actually playing it. It’s so much fun to speculate over which characters and etc. will be in the game. I’m doing something really special for my inevitable blog post about Smash, but I’m going to take my time on it. It’s already the longest post I’ve ever made, and I’ve made TONS of new artwork specifically for my review. I’m thinking that the end of January/beginning of February will be when I post this, and when I do, I’ll update here, too.


Mass Effect 2 and 3

I didn’t play the first game, because I owned a PS3 and began with 2. 2 was a game I started when it first released, but I never finished it. 2014 was the year I took to beat the game, and the sequel, too. This game had amazing world building aspects. I loved the alien races and graphics. The dialog and dynamics of choice were cool, too. This was almost a tie to win my GOTY award, but I chose the other because this game’s ending was a little frustrating. MORE THOUGHTS BY ME ON THIS GAME HERE!


Honorable mentions: (still just games I played in 2013, not necessarily released)

Super Mario 3D World – Very fun but quite easy! I beat this within a few short play sessions and got most of the stars/unlockables!
Shadow of Mordor – A fun sandbox with an enemy system that created a personal story of my adventure
Assassin’s Creed 3 – I played half of this game after Black Flag, but it’s not as good. Still quite fun, though
Fallout: New Vegas – I revisited this game so that I could platinum it. I began a new playthrough to do some evil
Wii Fit U – An exercise game I put a lot of time into. I was hoping for DLC, but they never made any
NES Remix – I love retro Nintendo, so this was right up my alley. I hope they made 100 more of these, covering all the old systems
Sonic’s Sega Genesis Collection – A game I got with Christmas money last year. It was fun enough for me to platinum!


The Oxyborb Blog Game Of The Year for 2014


Infamous: Second Son & First Light

Strangely enough, I never wrote about this game on my blog. I suppose it’s because this game was so good that I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to say about it. I loved the past Infamous games, and guess what? I loved this one. I played Second Son twice! I got the platinum, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
 

a pic I took from the top of the Space Needle
Infamous has been a series that has helped me through extremely tough times. I beat the first two games after going through a divorce and leaving Seattle, a city where I learned so much. I learned how to make friends. I learned how to be alone. The first two Infamous games felt like the spirit of Seattle, they felt like the experiences I was going through. Loss. Anger. Sadness. Survival.

I loved Seattle. I loved being in motion, a place where things were happening.
Seattle was a city I missed, and then Sucker Punch, the developers of Infamous, announced that Seattle would be the city setting for the next game. I was stoked. I saw the game and yearned for it because it was my way of going back. Of course, I realized that the game’s Seattle and real Seattle were not 1 to 1 or even nearly the same, but the spirit of the city is what made me feel at home again. I climbed the Space Needle. I walked into silly hipsters with their coffee. Second Son brought me back to Seattle at a time when I really was missing the city.

My emotional reasons for loving the game are not the only reasons why I picked it. Truth is, I had a dilemma between picking Second Son and Mass Effect. ME has the better story, but SS has a great story too. SS has better characters, but Mordin is the best character.

The biggest reason why Second Son wins for me is gameplay. Being a conduit is FUN. I love all the powers in Second Son and First Light. Neon is ingenious. Concrete, smoke… video…  these are powers that were designed for an urban environment. They were extremely well thought out, and they were extremely fun to use. Second Son had an extreme variety of things to do and ways to play. It was impossible to get bored.

So, I guess that’s it for 2014. Thanks for a great year on my blog! Let me know what you think in the comments, in fact, tell me what your personal GOTY was!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!
UNRAVELSPACE UNRAVELTIME