I have some time on my hands these days so I figured I should go back and play some games that I either bought and never started, or started and never finished. Some of this is largely due to Steam Summer Sale or just too busy with E3, Gamescom, and PAX happening the last couple months. To the list!
I’ve always been shocked of people wanting to reinvent the wheel with everything. Sometimes things aren’t broken or don’t need to be changed. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a great example of this. I picked this up during the Steam Summer Sale, but never got a chance to fire it up. I’m looking forward to the nostalgia trip to the action movies of my childhood. I’ve heard from enough people that the actual game is great, as it hasn’t strayed too far from the core mechanics of Far Cry 3, which was one of my favorite games last year.
I actually feel bad about this one because I love everything that Klei does. Really. Mark of the Ninja was one of my favorite games last year and Don’t Starve looks to be an amazing game that I just haven’t been able to fire up. It is downloading now, so looking forward to giving it a try.
This is a little cheating as it just came out last week, but I am looking forward to playing Outlast. I love horror games, and from everything I have read about Outlast is that Red Barrel has really delivered on bringing the survival horror genre back to life. Downloaded and ready to go.
2013 has been an off year when it comes to shows for me. I have really only gone to a handful of shows and even those I can’t even remember some of them. BUT it looks like my fortunes are changing in the coming months! So many shows worth going too! Here are some of the shows that are on my list (or tickets on my fridge!).
August 6, 2013 – Kurt Vile @ The Showbox Market
August 11, 2013 – Best Coast @ Neumos
September 4, 2013 – Austra @ Neumos
September 6, 2013 – CHVRCHES @ The Showbox Market
September 9, 2013 – Grouplove @ The Crocodile
September 10, 2013 – The Weeknd @ The Showbox Market
September 13, 2013 – Campfire OK @ The Crocodile
September 14, 2013 – James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) @ Neumos
September 21, 2013 – Wild Belle @ The Crocodile
September 27, 2013 – Little Boots @ Neumos
October 23, 2013 – Haim @ Neumos
If you happen to read my blog you probably know I am attempting to lose some weight before PAX Prime and part of my plan is to use a Fitbit Flex to help me keep track of everything I am doing and have a daily goal. One problem, NO PLACE HAS THEM IN-STOCK! NO ONE! REI, Target, Best Buy, Amazon, Fitbit themselves has an 8 week backorder! What on earth happened? I’m going to try Brookstone tomorrow and if that doesn’t work then I might look into Craigslist. I am hopeful I can find one.
I wouldn’t say I have been battling my weight, but being in my mid 30′s, trying to date, being on camera more often, makes me feel I need to look my best. Today I weighed in at 186lbs, which I was pretty happy about. I typically hover around 188 to 190, so it was nice to see myself under 190. With 40 days until PAX Prime I really want to try to hit 175lbs.
In-Door Soccer. We have an in-door soccer team at Zombie Studios, and we are now on our 4th season. This has been a great way to get my endurance back to a normal place. Though getting in my mid 30′s, I’m starting to feel it in my knees after games. Another reason to lose some weight.
Dog Walks. I take Scout around First Hill, but we don’t venture too far from the homestead. Recently I have been taking him with me out to the bars, which is nice to feel social, walk around Capitol Hill, and let Scout meet some new people. It is pretty funny when he goes to Linda’s with me. Good times.
Fitbit. I’d like to track my progress a little more and force myself to daily goals. To help reach those daily goals I plan on getting a Fitbit Flex once I can find a store that has them in-stock. Mix the tracking with the iPhone app of food tracking I can get a much better idea of what I need to do daily in terms of activity and foods.
Limit Soda. I actually don’t drink THAT much soda anymore, but I do tend to have one at lunch. So I’m going to TRY to cut as much soda out of my diet as possible. Wish me luck on this one, it is going to be hard.
7 Minute Workout. Finding time to workout is a pain. I am a team sports guy, so the idea of going to the gym or treadmill for an hour just isn’t for me. I’ve decided to try 7 Minute Workout which is an app on the iOS. If you haven’t seen the 7 minute workout, it is just that, a 7 minute workout developed by some scientists. I don’t argue with science, and I have 7 minutes a day to do it.
Well that is my plan and my goal. Getting to 175 pounds would be amazing.
Warning: This is going to have spoilers.
Naughty Dog did it again proving that they are easily the best developer in the industry with their latest game The Last of Us. Previous games such as Crash, Jak & Daxter, and the more recent Uncharted have been extremely well crafted, but The Last of Us takes all of that knowledge and understanding and provides easily an experience unparalleled in gaming.
When Sony and Naughty Dog announced The Last of Us, there was a little reservation due to it being a “zombie” game. As everyone can see zombies have become all the rage and even with the amazing pedigree of Naughty Dog you couldn’t help but be fearful of it falling into the traps that we see with all modern interpretations of a global infection. I have to give credit to the Sony marketing staff and Naughty Dog for their razor like messaging on not allowing the game to fall into the zombie bucket.
The tandem of the extremely well executed story and probably the best voice performances made playing The Last of Us more in line with watching a film or reading a book. I couldn’t help but become attached to Joel and Ellie, and even Callus (the horse). The transitions from Fall to Winter was powerful and made my heart sink. Traditionally when you do a character control swap you lose something, but the characters were so well developed in The Last of Us it felt extremely natural to play at Ellie, then swap back to Joel.
I give the writing staff a huge amount of credit for NOT filling in all the gaps. While playing the game I could see various influences such as Children of Men, The Road, and True Grit, but the one influence that really struck me after completing the game was the Coen Brothers’ adaptation of No Country for Old Men. First you have the drive of the characters. Joel reluctant chaperone that grows into a man on a mission and will do anything to protect Ellie. I see Joel as a mixture of Llewelyn Moss and Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. Moss having the traits of being the reluctant participant and Chigurh being brutal honest darkness who will do anything to achieve his goal. Both characters make choices to murder, and you quickly find that Joel has been presented with these same choices after the infection. He is a flawed man who has had to make difficult choices. Outside of the character development the lack of filler was the really the connection to No Country for Old Men that rang true. During the season changes they didn’t go back and retread or attempt to fill in the gaps. The ending being even more powerful by just ENDING. After Joel escapes from the Hospital with Ellie and he lies to her about there not being a cure, the game could have ended there. Giving the player control I assumed that there would be a reunion with with Joel’s brother, but ending the game Joel lying again Ellie saying ok and credits just instantly reminded me of the ending of No Country for Old Men. The instant reaction is that something is missing, but really you are given all the story you need and really the way it was handled is brillant. Joel will do anything to protect Ellie.
I have to give a huge amount of credit to the staff at Naughty Dog for crafting such a well executed game. Ever detail is there and the lack of detail only makes it more interesting. I also have to give Sony credit for allowing Naughty Dog to not fill the game with fluff to make it more approachable. Congrats to those involved for making easily the best game of the year and probably a game that will be viewed as a watermark for our industry.
With today’s 22-8 vote by the NBA to stop the Kings to move to Seattle, I was struck with the fear that the Sonics or NBA will never return to Seattle. It took a number of years for the bad taste that the NBA left after approving the relocation of the Sonics to Oklahoma City back in 2007. The desire to have a team grew grassroots as support from fans, local government officials, and local ownership started to develop. In comes Chris Hansen, with a lazer like goal to bring back the Sonics to Seattle. Having someone this passionate about bringing a team back was infectious to NBA fans in Seattle. This is the type of owner you want to have when you have water cooler discussions about your favorite sports team. Even with all this momentum growing in Seattle, the vote made it clear. The NBA won’t be returning anytime in the near future.
As someone who would enjoy having the NBA back in Seattle, I am fearful that this groundswell of local support will soon dry up as fans feel betrayed twice now by the NBA. When David Stern talks about 28 years being a factor in keep the Kings in Sacramento, yet the 41 years of the Sonics appeared to have little to no factor back in 2008, you can’t help but feel defeated, slighted, and betrayed.
With concerns about the NBA not being competitive enough with its current 30 teams, discussions of expansion have been very quiet the last couple years and sadly I personally don’t expect the NBA to want to expand until 2020.
As someone who was a huge fan during the Kemp/Payton championship runs in the mid 90′s, it is sad to see the NBA not returning to Seattle and probably not returning for a long time. Maybe by the time I retire I’ll be able to go to Sonics games because it looks like it is going to take that long.
2013 has started and I thought this would be a good time to write down some goals, so next January I can go back and read these and tell myself I have either accomplished something or I need to look into getting some professional help.
Let’s get right to it. I’m lonely. I’m turning 34 this year, and it isn’t getting any easier as I get older. I’d like to actually be in a relationship. I want to make dinner for someone other than myself. I want to see a movie or a show and not feel like I have to drag a friend or go alone. I’d like a companion that I can have a two way conversation with (this is directed to my dog Scout, who keeps me company, but really can’t hold a conversation). Really it would be nice to just be around someone who enjoys my company as much as I enjoy theirs.
With dating being a total bust the last couple years, I’d like to establish some stronger friendships out there. It has been difficult with moving and changing jobs the last couple years. When I was laid off from Sucker Punch, I think the thing that I was disappointed about the most is I just started to feel like I was part of the team and my co-workers were my friends. After that, I hardly see any of them. I have a fair amount of good friends, but I don’t have many if any come over for Thanksgiving friends. It pains me to say, but I get jealous when combing through Facebook and other social media outlets and seeing a group of people having a good ol’ time. I’d like that. Can I get an invite? Perhaps I can make my own. I think I’ll have some more parties or get togethers at my apt, since people seemed to have a good time at my Election Day Party. But back to the point, more friends to do things with would be great, and hopefully they have single female friends.
Working at Zombie Studios has been great. I feel empowered to try things that I really would never be able to try at any other studio. 2013 should be an exciting year with everything we have in the works with continuing to support Blacklight: Retribution, our secret Unreal Engine 4 title, and some other things we have in the works. I’m very excited.
This kinda goes in line with dating. I’m overweight by 10 or 15 pounds, but in the dating scene I might as well be 100 pounds overweight. Most of my weight is in my face, which doesn’t help. When I tell people I am 191 pounds, they don’t believe me. Well I’d really like to be around 170 to 175. I’ve been trying to get there for years, but I’m ready to make some changes. The Zombie Soccer Team helps, and I’m trying to eat better these days. This is something I plan on posting about more frequently here for support.
I’ve been a little too lose with money the last couple years. I try to keep a nice nest egg for emergencies, but sadly that nest egg has shrunk while credit card bills went up. In 2013 I hope to watch my money, make better choices, pay down some of my stupid debt that I gained in my 20′s, and be able to take a vacation or something in 2014. If I’m able to keep everything inline in 2013, I should have my car, one credit card, and tax bill all paid off by next year.
I love living on First Hill. It is great! I’m close to everything! Work is just a short bus ride away. I can walk to concerts or dinner anytime. Scout enjoys barking at all the Seattle University students walking by. But as much as I love living on First Hill, I’d like to own my own place, especially being 34 soon. There are some nice places in Columbia City, which I think are going to sky rocket the next couple years. The proximity to the city and being on Central Link Light Rail makes it ideal for future growth. Scout also would like a yard or some grass to call his own.
Well you can see 2013 should be an important year for me. I am hopeful that it turns into a memorable year and that I’ll be able to tell stories about it to someone other than Scout.
If you know me at all, you know I love music. Going to shows. Meeting people into music. Meeting bands. Making friends. Music is food for my soul. Like any year, I have my favorite albums that stuck with me through the entire year, and here we go!
Mumford & Sons happens to be one of those safe bands that you can listen to anytime of the year and feel good. Their latest album has some really nice songs to listen to including I Will Wait, that stings no matter what type of mood you are in. Also how can you not enjoy a band that plays a banjo as if it were a metal song? Go watch Mumford & Sons play at Red Rocks. While you are at it go watch Big Easy Express, which has Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, and the lovable Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros tour across the US via train.
I am not a hip hop guy in the slightest, the closest I got was being into the Beastie Boys, and the occasional Sir Mix-a-lot song, but really hip hop is not my scene, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis The Heist. The first time I heard Thrift Shop, I feel in love the the saxophone hook and the quick lyrics talking about poppin tags and looking for a come up. It was genius. Besides the comical, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis tackle questionably one of the most touchy subjects in hip hop speaking openly about homosexuality with Same Love. Touching in every way possible. This song is historic. To make this story even more special, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are an independent local guys from right here in Seattle, and The Heist landed at #2 on the Billboard charts and #1 on iTunes when it was released. No major label support. Amazing stuff.
Tough as nails, two piece garage noise band from Nashville? Count me in. I heard Jeff the Brotherhood U Got The Look from MLB The Show, and they happened to be opening for Best Coast. What I witnessed was a fast paced, garage band, with pop tendencies. Everything I love to listen too. Hypnotic Nights released shortly after that show, and it has become my go to album when going to work or on a drive. Almost every song is fun to listen too, especially ode to drinking and weed smoking floating river down river Sixpack. There is just something enjoyable about listening to these guys. Not to mention the guitarist plays with only three strings!
Maturity. That is how I would describe the latest album from Japandroids, Celebration Rock. I love everything from Japandroids. Post Nothing is one of my favorite albums, but as I grow older, my tastes change and sometimes I hope that the bands that I love mature with me. With Celebration Rock, Japandroids did just that. Mature. They have found a perfect mesh of the things I love about their previous albums as well as bring more structure and soul to their songs. Upon listening to The House That Heaven Built, it becomes apparent that Japandroids have grown up.
Deep Sea Diver is kind of a fluke. I have never heard of them until they happened to be on tour with Wild Belle. I decided to listen to their latest album History Speaks, and found a solid album with great guitar work, solid lyrics, and sultry female vocals. Upon seeing them live, I quickly became a fan. Songs like NWO and the upbeat and fun You Go Running, Deep Sea Diver is another local Seattle band worth checking out if they come to your town.
I’m a sucker for female singers, and have a huge soft spot for Best Coast’s first album Crazy for You and their sophomore album The Only Place is pretty darn good. Just something adorable about Bethany Cosentino singing songs about heartbreak and love of California. As someone who grew up on the West Coast, and lived on the East Coast for a bit, her songs resinate with me, especially the first song The Only Place. I mean how can you not love a song with a chorus of “We got the ocean, got the babes, got the sun, got the waves. This is the only place for me”. Can’t argue with that.
I love Band of Skulls. Guitars. Guitars. More Guitars! The rock blues trio from England just continues to come out with solid albums. Returning for their second album, Sweet Sour, Band of Skulls continues where they left off with catchy dark blues blues inspired songs like The Devil Takes Care of His Own or the haunting duet Bruises. It is rare to find a band blend harmonies so well, and such strong female vocals on a song like Lies. A total package when it comes to a band, great to see live as well. Also Russell Marsden plays some of the most beautiful guitars ever built!