Surfy Review

Surfy Splash | Surfy Review | Surfy is a new mobile game by Australian developers DreamWalk, inspired by old school classic California Games (recently returned to the spotlight by JonTron). As the name suggests, the game focuses on surfing, using an endless runner style mechanic, which extra points awarded for landing jumps and avoiding obstacles like birds and whales.

Surfy Wave Riding | Surfy Review | The controls are simple enough, tap left to turn left (or move up) and tap right to turn right (or move down). The one that always slips me up, however, is the control for performing tricks. If you rise out of the water with enough speed, a little wheel will appear in the upper left hand corner of the screen. The tutorial instructs you to “land jumps by spinning to the green marker,” but then don’t really explain how you’re meant to do that (I’ll admit the animation does give a hint, but I missed it the first 30 times I watched it) so I kept reaching up my left thumb to try to manually spin the thing into the green, which is impossible.

Even after I figured out that you could spin the dial either way by holding down the left or right sides, it was still very difficult to land jumps as you needed to be right in the middle of the green area for it to count. Not to mention the fact that the tutorial tells you to “hold the arrows to turn,” when tapping them usually does the trick.

Despite these frustrations, I did manage to play close to 100 times, even if I never got very far.

Surfy Surfers | Surfy Review | I did like the fact that you could choose from 4 different surfers right off the bat and that they included both boys and girls of colour. While the game is free to play, you can purchase in-app currency with real world money. This currency can then be used to buy power-ups or unlock better boards. Boards can also be unlocked by successfully completing challenges.

While lacking in depth, Surfy is a welcome distraction and the challenge of successfully completing jumps definitely adds to the replay value. There is also a multiplayer option available by linking your Facebook account, although I didn’t get a chance to try it out myself.

Surfy is available for free on iTunes.

*Full Disclosure: While the game is available for free I was furnished with a pre-release copy by the developers. All opinions are my own.

EMP Museum Fall 2014

EMP Museum Fall 2014

As I mentioned back in my PAX Prime 2014 recap, I took an extra day in Seattle after the con had wrapped up to check out the EMP Museum‘s Science Fiction exhibit. And, unbeknownst to me at the time, the museum was also hosting exhibitions on Fantasy and Horror, two of my other favourite genres. The horror exhibition was especially exciting for me, so I thought I’d take a little time to share my experience with you.

Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic

This was the first exhibit I decided to explore. The whole thing was organized around the ideas of archetypes in Fantasy, like The Rogue or The Iron Woman. They even had a little interactive quiz where you could find out what archetype you fit best and then at the end of the exhibit you could take a picture of yourself as your archetype and buy a poster of it. I’m clearly The Maiden Warrior… however, I opted not to buy a poster.

Even though the exhibit itself was fairly small, there were tons of little details that really made it come alive. There were armoured trees and fake straw underfoot to make you think you were in a medieval village somewhere. Some of the neatest items on display were actual manuscripts by Ursula K. Le Guin and George R. R. Martin. And of course, let’s not forget the dragon.

You can find out more about the exhibit (including more pictures) here.

Icons of Science Fiction

This part is actually part of the permanent collection at the EMP, with a small Science Fiction Hall of Fame at the end. Again, the collection was smaller than I anticipated, but it was still really cool to see so many artifacts up close, including actual maquettes from films like Alien & Superman. I was a bit of a special effects nerd as a kid (growing up during the dawn of the blockbuster probably had something to do with it), so I was having major nostalgia feels. My mom’s actually the one who introduced me to Sci-Fi and Star Trek: The Next Generation was family night viewing, which added to the feels.

Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film

This was the most unexpected exhibit and actually my favourite. I’m finding that my inner horror hound is coming out more and more lately, so it was especially cool to see one of my favourite genres treated so reverently. The exhibit was curated by a selection of influential horror directors, namely Eli Roth, Roger Corman, and John Landis and centered around 8 handpicked movies, including Les Diaboliques, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Suspiria. There were also awesome interactive exhibits on sound design and a screaming booth, plus lots and lots of memorabilia and props. I think my favourite prop was the original control panel used in Frankenstein (1931), but sadly my pictures of it didn’t turn out.

You can find more about the exhibit here.

Although all the exhibits were pretty small, I still spent enough time in the horror exhibit that I didn’t even have time to check out any of the music related stuff before I had to go catch my bus back to Vancouver. However, I still felt like I got my money’s worth.

If you happen to find yourself in the Seattle area I definitely recommend checking out the EMP Museum. They even have an Indie Game related exhibit opening in November.

Spicy Korean Popcorn Recipe (Vegan)

Sweet & Spicy Korean Popcorn Recipe | To help us get into the Halloween spirit this weekend Rick and I had a little horror movie mini-fest in our living room. Inadvertently we ended up going with a vampire theme, since Rick isn’t really into slashers or other modern horror tropes and I’m hopelessly addicted to all things Gothic. Our first film was my beloved Black Sunday, which Rick had never seen, while the second was a new film that had unusually high Netflix rating called Stake Land.

Both films were excellent and I highly recommend them to anyone who hasn’t seen them yet. Stake Land was sort of like a vampire take on 28 Days Later… think elegiac post-apocalypse with monsters. And of course Black Sunday was pure Gothic cheese with masterful cinematography by Mario Bava.

However, the real star was the surprisingly easy and completely delicious twist on regular ol’ popcorn I put together for the occasion. Inspired by this pin, but not a big fan of Sriracha myself (I find it too acidic), I instead reached for my favourite source for an instant hit of heat: gochujang!

Spicy Korean Popcorn Ingredients I’m sure I’ve raved about this fermented wonder condiment before, but just a teaspoon of the sweet and spicy paste really will transform anything you put it on. Because it’s fermented there’s a little bit of umami, a long with a slightly smoky heat and just a touch of sweetness. And the method for making this amazing super popcorn couldn’t be easier.

Spicy Korean Popcorn Sauce First thing you’re gonna wanna do is make the sauce. Simply melt 1 Tbsp of vegan butter (or real butter if you eat that stuff) over the stove or in the microwave. I’m lazy, so I nuked mine. Then stir in 1 tsp of gochujang. You can add more if you like extra heat, but I found that ratio worked best for me. You get a bit of lasting heat, but nothing a good glass of water wouldn’t cure. Just stir it all together until smooth and you’re good to go.

Spicy Korean Popcorn Bag Trick Next, pop your corn. We buy dry kernels in bulk and pop them in the microwave using a paper bag. Just add 1/4 Cup of kernels to your bag, fold down the top and microwave for 2 1/2 minutes or until the popping slows to 1 second between pops. Of course, you could just add the sauce to your microwave brand of choice, or use an air popper.

Spicy Korean Popcorn And finally, dig in! I dare you not to eat the whole batch yourself.

Sweet & Spicy Korean Popcorn

3 Cups Popped Corn
1 Tbsp Butter or Margarine
1 tsp Gochujang

Melt your butter and then stir in the gochujang until everything is smooth. Poor the sauce over your popped corn and toss to coat. Enjoy immediately.

Friday I’m In Love

Fight On Mass Effect Dane Ault Press Start 3 Ltd Art Gallery

Fight On Mass Effect by Dane Ault available at Ltd Art Gallery

It’s been a rough couple of weeks here at Gamerwife HQ. Nothing specifically bad happened (other than back to back food poisoning, but that’s another story), I just feel like I’ve been twisting around in a vat of quicksand all month and finally decided to stop fighting it.

And guess what? I’ve managed to float to the top.

Not sure how long that’ll last, but I’ve got two great charity related projects in the works and Rick and I are planning a little getaway in the middle of November.

Sorry, I had to neglect you all for a little bit. Thanks for sticking around.

Also, I finally joined Instagram. Prepare to be drowned in cat photos!

Your Kickstarter Pick:
Animal Gods – Action adventure set in bronze age Europe with a fantastic deco-ish art style, a female protagonist and open world exploration. Zelda fans take special note!

Link time!
The perfect antidote to gun-wielding nut jobs and online terrorists.

My experience working in the industry was remarkably similar.

Say what you will about Buzzfeed, but they knocked it out of the park yet again. #slutoween

More women in games would be nice, but it goes deeper than that.

My inner West Coast girl cannot get enough of these Haida style Star Wars prints.

The difference between sexy dudes and sexy chicks in games.

100% historically accurate.

Fantastic last minute Halloween costume idea!

Sorry, not sorry.

And finally, the last thing you should ever read about GamerGate.