Month: April 2014

Wii U Wednesday: E-Shop, or How I Learned to Love the Gamepad

I’ve frequented the Nintendo e-shop on my 3DS, but I prefer a physical game. I got a digital copy of The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons thanks to preordering A Link Between Worlds. The other digital game I have is Four Swords Anniversary Edition, which undoubtedly was another fortunate free download for the Zelda fan.

I got an email a week or so ago notifying me that my Club Nintendo rewards points were about to expire. (Um, what? What good are they if they expire? This is the same reaction I had to finding out my plastic Charlie card, my subway pass I’ve had for the past 8 years, was about to expire.) I had to pick a reward in order to use up the points instead of losing them.

My pick came out of the Wii U e-shop. I selected my ultimate nostalgia game from my Super NES days: Super Mario World!  I was so pleased that it was in its original form with no edited text.

The DS remake said "crazed Iggy Koopa," but the SNES version differs.

The DS remake said “crazed Iggy Koopa,” but the SNES version differs.

is it weird that I always thought these were teeth, not clouds?

is it weird that I always thought these were teeth, not clouds?

Not only did I now have an old favorite that I could play on my newest system, but I found a whole new appreciation for the game pad. I complained about Super Mario Bros. Wii U having the same thing on screen and on the game pad, but there is a definite advantage to this: I can play exclusively on the game pad! I’ve played with the TV off, in another room, walking around, and while streaming Netflix on the screen. It’s like a giant game boy, and I freakin’ love it. It’s been a huge game changer for me, and I hope to make more use of the retro game selection in Wii U’s e-shop soon!  I’m hoping Super Mario Kart makes an appearance for Wii U as well.

Amazing Race Recap: Accidental Alliance

this hotel in Switzerland is alluding the the previous race destination, Italy!

this hotel in Switzerland is alluding the the previous race destination, Italy!

Okay, first of all I want to retract what I said about Jet & Cord last week.  I’ve been watching season 16, the first season to host the cowboys, and I think I’ve gotten a better picture of them.  They definitely do their own thing, and I really respect that.  I think in a Race without Youtubers and Globetrotters, I’m banking on the cowboys.

In this episode, teams left Italy sul treno for Chiasso, Switzerland.  From there, it was basically a race around Switzerland with, as the title suggests, a big emphasis on the accidentally formed alliance of Dave and Connor, Jen and Caroline, and Leo and Jamal.

Dave and Connor are inexplicably furious at the Brenchels for playing the game, and are hell-bent on revenge.  Caroline and Jennifer can’t pull their own weight, so they’ve latched onto the father-son team.  Leo and Jamal would rather be in the top three with these two teams than the bigger threats of Jet and Cort and the Brenchels.  Though I know this is their strategy, they seem to get way too into this “race family” to a point where I can’t stand them throughout this episode.  And y’all know how I feel about Dave and Connor.  (Hate ’em!)

Throughout the challenges, these three teams helped each other through and alienated the Brenchels.  Jet and Cord flew under the radar, bolstering my appreciation for this duo.

Tasks included:

  • Cleaning up a hotel room trashed by a band and making it up for guests to meet Helga, the gouvernante‘s standards
  • Searching & solving a math problem to determine the year of their respective Ford Mustangs on exhibit in the Swiss Museum of Transport
  • Delivering milk with Bernese Mountain dogs for the RoadBlock

Here’s how the teams finished:

  1. Dave and Connor → they won a 2015 Mustang for the victory; such a sweet prize for such an undeserving team.
  2. Jet and Cord
  3. Leo and Jamal
  4. Brendan and Rachel → take that alliance!
  5. Jennifer and Caroline → it’s a non-elimination week, so the blondes are safe yet again.

My feelings on this episode are best summed up as expressed by former racer Meghan Camarena, @strawburry17, via twitter:

Proud of @brendonvbb12 & @RachelEReilly. I hate when @AmazingRace_CBS becomes more about bullying than the actual competition.

So I’m routing for Brenchel and the cowboys until the end.  Surely one of these teams will make it into the top 3!  I’m betting the blondes and next to go.

Thoughts?!

Clone Club Catch-Up: Lots of Big Reveals!

As every episode of Orphan Black seems to do, “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion” gave us a lot of new information and a lot of questions.  I loved this episode even more than the season premiere.  Here are some of the big reveals to keep you up to date with the Clone Club!

 

Art Joins Clone Club

Sarah has told Art everything, and he’s committed to helping. After Sarah receives a call from Kira via Felix’s phone, Art tracks the signal to a motel. Art and Sarah go to investigate, but Kira’s gone. Daniel shows up, and Art confronts him which Daniel promises will lead to trouble for him. Sarah, meanwhile, follows a trail of Kira-sized clothing to a garage behind the laundry room. A man clasps his hand over her mouth and tells her to get in the trunk of the car if she wants to see Kira.

 

Mrs. S is a Total Badass

IMG_0488 When Sarah is let out of the trunk, she attacks her captor thinking he’s a Prolethean. Mrs. S, strapped with a shotgun, pulls her off of him.

“Who’s side are you on, S?”

“Yours, love. It’s always been yours.”

Turns out Mrs. S had staged the ransack of her home and she’s brought Kira to the Birdwatchers, who had helped Mrs. S relocate with Sarah and Felix as kids. Mrs. S plans to take Kira to London to keep her safe, leaving Sarah behind. This obviously doesn’t sit well with Sarah, and Kira too is feeling uneasy about the situation. Sarah gets a moment alone with her daughter, and the two decide that they should leave. Barry and Brenda, the Birdwatchers, are supposed to be arranging transport for Mrs. S and Kira, but Mrs. S senses something’s wrong. The sound of an engine turning over alerts them to Sarah and Kira’s attemped escape. Barry runs outside to stop them. Mrs. S prevents Brenda from doing the same by stabbing a fork and knife through her hands, fixing her to the table. Barry has broken the window through on the truck Sarah and Kira are in, and Sarah is doing her best to fend him off. A shotgun blast stops him— it’s Mrs. S to the rescue. She steps aside so Sarah can drive away.

“Who got to you?” she demands of Brenda, still nailed to the table. “I found God,” Brenda says, “and God has deep pockets.” Brenda wants to know what Kira is so special. Mrs. S tells her it’s Project LEDA. Brenda doesn’t know that that means. “Good,” says Mrs. S as she shoots her too.  We know for sure she’s got more information than she’s let on, but I believe Mrs. S is on Sarah’s side. I can’t wait to learn more about Project LEDA.

 

Rachel Calls the Shots

Cosima has joined the Dyad, claiming she never trusted Sarah. She and Delphine get to work setting up the lab. Rachel comes in and gives Cosima and assignment; she wants her to find out why Sarah is different from the rest of the clones.  I’m eager to learn more about Rachel.  She’s the most mysterious of the clones for now.

 

Helena’s Heart is Unscathed

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The Prolethean preacher from the diner, Mark, liberates her from the hospital and brings her to this Prolethean farm. Tomas is back by her side, self-mutilating— what is this with religious extremists? The farmer reveals that her anatomy is reversed, organs on the opposite sides, a mirror of her identical twin, Sarah. This is why she survived the gunshot. Mark ends up killing Tomas. It’s clear the Proletheans want Helena in their possession.

 

Alison’s Got Troubles

There are lots of developments for Alison in this episode. She attends Aynsley’s funeral, and while holding her family’s coats sees suspicious messages on Donnie’s phone including, “she makes her own choices,” and “placate her.” This leads her to rightly believe that Donnie, not Aynsley is her monitor. She confesses to Felix that she watched Aynsley die, while drinking nips of vodka on break from rehearsal of her increasingly odd musical. Felix says they must come up with a plan to test if Donnie is her actual monitor.

“Got any ideas, or just want to keep drinking?”

“I think I need to keep drinking for a while and then I’ll have an idea.”

They do set him up, and Alison does confirm that he’s her monitor. She calls Felix to get her out of her home for a while, but he’s busy going away with Sarah and Kira. I’m worried about Alison!

 

Alright guys, thoughts?!

Game of Thrones Goodness

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I’m loving season 4 of Game of Thrones so far, and I found last week’s episode particularly powerful and hilarious.  We got the big reveal behind Joffrey’s poisoning resulting from Sansa’s necklace, and we ended on another amazing show of power and intelligence from Dany, as the collars of the former slaves that now fight for her rained down upon the people of Mareen.  Before it turned sour, we got a fun little roleplay with Arya and the Hound gulping down rabbit stew.  The first laugh out loud moment for me came right at the beginning, during a rather suspicious conversation between Margaery and Olenna Tyrell.

 “You may not have enjoyed watching him die, but you enjoyed it more than you would’ve enjoyed being married to him, I can promise you that.”

Truth, Grandma Tyrell.

My favorite line, perhaps in the series, came from Tyrion.  His situation is bleak, falsely imprisoned for the murder of his nephew.  We all know Tyrion is too smart to have carried out this murder; he even says he wouldn’t have been gawking over the body if he’d known what was to happen.  He puzzles out who would want him framed for this, but is go-to person when something is amiss in his life is off-limits here…

” …but say what you will of Cersei; she loves her children.  She is the only one I’m certain had nothing to do with this murder, which makes it unique as King’s Landing murders go.

Hah, is it just me or is Cersei’s craziness starting to get really fun?  Now that there aren’t any Starks around to threaten and things have gone awry for her, I’m enjoying seeing her on screen a lot.  And WOW are those dynamics with Jamie getting complicated!

Let’s hope tonight’s Game of Thrones is just as great as last week’s!

Any theories, kids?

Friday Favorites: Bad TV

It’s no secret that I watch a lot of really bad TV.  When you live alone, TV provides a pretty essential background of dialogue to remind you that there are other people on this planet.  I always have something playing; reality TV that you can completely tune out is perfect for background noise.  I keep it on while I play 3DS, while I write, while I browse online, and while I cook.  (But never while I’m reading; books deserve my full attention.)

I thought I’d take inventory of some of these horrible, guilty pleasure shows, and share them with you here.

Four Weddings

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I make every effort in life not to be a super girly girl, (simply because I’m not one!) but I do have a small fraction of my being that is a girl stereotype.  That part of me is the part that loves Four Weddings.  I’m such a sucker for weddings.  While the dress is probably my favorite part, I prefer Four Weddings to Say Yes to the Dress.  This show lets you see the full picture of four weddings in each episode, and thus gives you insight into all the other fun details of the day.  A friend of my friends was in an episode and I was dying to see that… so I purchased the season on Amazing Instant Video.  This is a great show to leave on as you go about your evening and you might find yourself planning your wedding while you do.

 

Toddlers and Tiaras

IMG_0469This is a car crash of a show: you simply can’t look away.  Complete with absolutely insane parents and ridiculously spoiled children, this show has a plethora of cringe-worthy moments.  Yet, there’s something about Toddlers and Tiaras I love.  I think it’s the poise of these well-polished girls, dressed eerily to look four times their age.  I’m not a parent, and I’d never make my kids do pageants if I were, but if for some reason my kids wanted to, I would go glitz.  Fake hair, fake teeth, tons of make-up: all par for the course.  The tanning I have a problem with, not because little kids shouldn’t be tanned (well, maybe.  But they also shouldn’t look 25.) but because I’m pale.  What’s wrong with being pale?  I’m not defending pageants at all.  I am not a fan.  However, I think a good contestant has a certain control over their movement that any dancer would envy.  I’m impressed and entertained by that full package.

 

Super Nanny

IMG_0475One summer, my brother was interning in the city so he took up residence in my living room.  This wasn’t so bad for me; I simply had to move my no-pants-TV-time from the couch to my bedroom.  I fall asleep to TV, and reality TV you don’t care about is the perfect thing to keep on as you drift away.  Unfortunately for Joey, this was the summer that I was obsessed with Nanny 911 on Netflix.  Sounds of screaming kids wafted through the walls while I snoozed and he begged for silence to sleep.  I don’t know why I started watching Nanny 911.  Maybe I had eaten through everything interesting on Netflix.  After finishing that series, I moved on to Super Nanny, which is sadly the reason I started my Hulu Plus subscription.  Revisiting both, I think I like Super Nanny better.  It’s less gimmicky than Nanny 911, but either will do.  Just keep the volume down low if you’re planning on sleeping through the screams!

 

I guess I’m not feeling too guilty about watching these shows… one of these or a similar show plus the TV’s sleep timer is essential to my nightly routine!

What are you guilty pleasure shows?

Hell’s Kitchen Recap: 15 Chefs Compete

The blue team has lost a lot of dead weight. The red team has been on a roll, but they are far from perfect. There’s dead weight on this team as well. I knew tides would have to turn so Red could become leaner and meaner.

A very emotional Beth complains that being from Louisiana means that no men will let her work in restaurants. Is that a thing? Women can’t be chefs in Louisiana? I highly doubt that.

Chef Ramsay noted that no one was emerging as a leader. He instructs each team to elect a captain for the night’s dinner service. On the red team, Melanie steps up as captain. As my early favorite, I’m both glad and a little nervous, knowing that if the red team went down, she’d be accountable. The blue team selects Anton, much to my chagrin; I can’t stand the way this guy yells!

We go straight into dinner service. Melanie is leading her team from the fish station, while Anton has decided to be a “floater,” which basically means he micromanages then takes credit for everyone’s work.

It’s an exciting night in Hell’s Kitchen because there will be chef’s tables in the kitchen. Red hosts Elizabeth Perkins from Weeds. Blue hosts my favorite Halliwell sister and the hottest mom in Rosewood, Holly Marie Combs! JP seems to enjoy Holly as much as I do.

Holly is a genuine joy!  She seems to really have fun with the Hell's Kitchen experience and the drama that comes along with it. Her on screen tag reads PLL and I love me a good Ella Montgomery, but she will always be Piper Halliwell to me!  I have logistical problems believing she could be Lucy Hale's mother.  Maybe I'm just getting old.

Holly is a genuine joy! She seems to really have fun with the Hell’s Kitchen experience and the drama that comes along with it. (Though her on screen tag reads PLL, she will always be Piper Halliwell to me! I have logistical problems believing she could be Lucy Hale’s mother. Maybe I’m just getting old.) 

Dinner service is shaky at best. Melanie’s command of the fish station is lacking. Blue delivers food to the chef’s table without bringing them by the pass for Ramsay to okay. The result is Holly’s companion getting undercooked scallops— not a great move. At the end of the night, I think Red had more problems. Chef Ramsay agrees, as the blue team won dinner service.

Surprisingly, Melanie does not get put up for elimination. Her leadership qualities remain unproven, and the failure does indeed fall on her shoulders. I think she is one of the strongest chefs there, so I’m glad she’s safe.

Instead, Red puts up Beth, the obvious choice, and Sandra, a confusing choice to me. Beth has been mentally absent like, every service. I kind of like Sandra. She’s made mistakes, yes, but who hasn’t? Seems like the read team wants her gone, though.

Rams rightly sends Beth home, citing that he can’t see her leading a kitchen.

“Beth thinks that the reason she hasn’t advanced in the culinary industry is the fact that she’s a woman in the south. I think it’s because she can’t cook.”

25 Years of Game Boys

Mine!  Original, Color, Advance, DS Lite, & 3DS!

Mine! Original, Color, Advance, DS Lite, & 3DS!  Can you tell which colors I like?

Last weekend, as I hurried to pack an overnight bag to spend Easter at my parents’ house, I grabbed what I call “my Game Boy.” The device I actually grabbed is my trusty Nintendo 3DS, but I can’t get by the mental block that it’s a Game Boy. I sent a tweet to that sentiment:

Picture 2

Little did I realize, the next day was the 25th anniversary to the Game Boy’s release in Japan. What timing, Nicole! Then, on Monday, Masable posted this timeline validating my feelings that my 3DS is indeed a Game Boy.

Today, I wanted to take a walk down memory lane by showing you my Game Boys and talking about the handheld games I’ve been playing. You’ll be hearing a lot about Pokémon, since it’s my favorite handheld game. Since my gaming past is inextricably linked to my brother’s, you’ll be hearing about him a lot too. The Game Boy is officially as old as I am, and I can’t remember not having one. If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed my phone case is a Game Boy too.

When I upgraded from the 4 to the 5, I HAD to get same case.

When I upgraded from the 4 to the 5, I HAD to get same case.

Let’s jump into it—

IMG_5208My brother and I both received original Game Boys in the original gray. We call this “the brick” these days. This sucker took 4 AA batteries. Mine sadly doesn’t work anymore, but it’s proudly displayed on the shelves in my living room.   We both got the bundle with Tetris, and the other game I remember getting off the bat was F-1 Race. Where my gaming love really took off was with Pokémon Red. This game was purchased for my brother prior to the pokémon craze. Someone at a store recommended it, and we had never heard of it. Unfortunately, my brother was freshly 7 years old and his reading skills weren’t up to par for this game. At 9, I was better equipped to enjoy this game and was well into it before I realized everyone else was playing it too. After Red version, I played Blue. I was in love.

Game Boy Pocket missed us entirely.

IMG_5209Game Boy Color rolled around in time for Pokémon Yellow Version – Special Pikachu Edition. My Game Boy Color was teal; my brother got lime. Holding this thing today, I can’t believe my hands were comfortable around this tiny device! I guess I’m used to a wider device these days. I loved the Game Boy Color, though. It also got me through (the super underrated) Pokémon Trading Card Game, Pokémon Silver, Gold, and Crystal.

IMG_5210Next came the GBA or Game Boy Advance. I got a pink one and I’m fairly certain my brother got a silver one? I don’t remember because he got the FireRed SP when it came out. I stole it for a while but he took it back rather recently. (I kind of still want one, if anyone’s looking to get rid of one…) Anyway, GBA was a big switch for me but it was necessary to play Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, FireRed, and LeafGreen. The only other GBA game I have currently is Donkey Kong Country 3. I’d have to go digging through my parents’ basement to find the others!

IMG_5213My brother got a DS before I did. He got the original, thick version. (If you’ve been following along, he’s now two versions ahead of me. Being a high school girl is apparently too time consuming for quality gaming. However, this is the last “Game Boy” he’s owned. I’m more of a gamer than he is these days.) I’m estimating I got my DS Lite, the pink one, around my senior year of high school. It obviously came to college with me. I have a ton of DS games, but notably I played Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver on it. I have a ton of other DS games from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks to Nintendogs: Dachshund and Friends. I was so attached to my DS, that my college boyfriend went out and bought one because he got so jealous.

IMG_5212The decision to buy a 3DS was released after I graduated college, and the decision to purchase one was not an easy one to make. I hate 3D. My eyes hurt all the time and I didn’t want to play in 3D. I’m happy to say now that buying my aqua 3DS was the best decision. I am even more attached to my 3DS than my DS, even though I play with the 3D off. I don’t remember it I got Black & White before or after I switched over to the 3DS, but Black 2 & White 2 were definitely played on it. Pokémon X and Y, being the first versions made for 3DS, were obviously played through on it as well. I have a ton of 3DS games too, mostly because so many great games were remade for this system, notably The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Star Fox 64 3D. Most recently, I’ve been playing Yoshi’s New Island and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. I’m always looking for new games, because you can’t beat portability!

I guess that sentence is really what it comes down to: portability. I miss my Xbox or my Wii U when I’m away because transporting and setting up a system elsewhere is ridiculous. To be able to play in the car, or on the train, or waiting for an appointment just can’t be beat. As a multi-tasker, I love to be able to play while I watch TV. I’m a Game Boy girl. When you see me, phone in hand, you know that. Happy 25th, Game Boy! I wouldn’t be me without you.

What Game Boys did you guys have?

And if you’re a Boston local, I want to tag your Mii with StreetPass! Seriously, let’s get together…