Friday I’m In Love

Samus Devi of War by Craig Parrillo

Samus Devi of War by Craig Parrillo available at Bottleneck Gallery

Sorry for the lack of posting this week, who would have thought that splitting my time between three booths at PAX East last weekend would have left me this exhausted. Oh well. Despite losing my wallet on the second night I had a great time, met lots of amazing people and saw so many inspiring games. Getting to meet fellow bloggers Liz (Being Geek Chic) and Kaitlin (PwnLove) was an absolute highlight, as was all the support I received in the light of my own boneheadedness in misplacing my wallet in a foreign city. Sigh.

I’ll be sharing more details, plus all my fabulous PAX loot next week, so stay tuned for that.

For now, it’s on to the links!!

Struggling indie studio launches “Kickfailer” to encourage players to make in-game purchases and keep the company afloat.

“I don’t like the assumption that all people who play games want big chain saws and women in bikinis. It’s like, really? Not all gamers are teenage boys, and even teenage boys want more than that.”

How to teach your friends how to play Magic. And not want to kill them.

Need to kill some time not talking to relatives this long weekend? Why not get a vintage game for your phone?

The greatest article you will ever read on Adventure Time. Ever.

The science of “making biscuits.”

New study realizes difficulty, not violent content, is key to what makes gamers aggressive.

Emoticons in the 17th century?

The always excellent Pixelkin has a guide to family gaming available for FREE!

And finally, Comics Alliance editor Andy Khoury lays down the law on self-styled “protectors of geek culture,” a.k.a. misogynist ass hats. via Almathea

Take My Money Tuesdays: Flying Hamster II

Welcome to Take My Money Tuesdays, where I highlight video game or otherwise geeky crowdfunding campaigns that I think look interesting or deserve a little extra attention.

Flying Hamster II Overworld Flying Hamster was a well received hamster themed SHMUP released for PSP, Vita and iOS in 2010. However, unlike many smaller devs, for the sequel they decided to go big and ambitious, eschewing the SHMUP formula that propelled the original to over 1.7 million downloads. Flying Hamster II is set to be an action platformer with RPG elements in the Wonder Boy/Monster World in with an open world structure and multiple playable characters.

Flying Hamster II picks up directly where Flying Hamster left off, with heroic hamster Newton defeating the Nerdy Alien Boss and devouring his tasty Golden Seed. However, the seed has an odd effect, turning Newton into a Pig. Newton must then travel the land to find a cure, discover new seeds with new effects, and unlock special abilities tied to new forms.

Flying Hamster II Red Dragon In addition to the Pig and Hamster forms, Newton can also become a Snake, a Bear, or a Frog, all with different abilities. These abilities and other power ups can also have an affect on which areas of the world you can access. For example, Ice Boots will help you cross a river of lava, while the Frog form will allow you to swing from your tongue and rotate the game world around you.

While nothing in Flying Hamster II is brand new, the way they’ve blended together the platformer and RPG elements into a fun and fluid experience shows how indie games can reinvent old genres for a whole new generation of gamers.

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box March 2014

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box March 2014

I’d mentioned in my Mail Box post that I’d been thinking about canceling my Vegan Cuts Beauty Box subscription, but a good January box an excellent February box convinced me to keep going for a few more months. And I have to say, I’m happy that I’ve kept going with them. I even bought The Be Cruelty-Free Box last month since it is such an amazing value.

As usual, there were hits and misses in the March box, but definitely more hits than misses. My favourite product by far was the LVX nail polish in Orchid. First off, the colour is magnificent. Perfect for welcoming spring, but still rich enough for those of us taking our time to thaw out. Second, the packaging is super lux. It might just be aping the Tom Ford packaging, but it is lovely and very rich feeling. And finally, and most importantly, the polish is very well pigmented, easy to apply and is very chip resistant. I put my nails through the works on a daily basis and I didn’t see any chipping until about 4 or 5 days in, which is much better than my experience with drug store brands. Although, at $16 a pop normally, these polishes are probably something I’ll be asking for as a gift in the future rather than buying for myself on a regular basis.

The next most exciting products were the facial care samples from Antipodes. I’d been curious to try out an Antipodes product as I only ever seem to hear rave reviews, but the rather spendy price tag had been keeping me away. This month’s Beauty Box included two product samples, one for the Grace gentle cream cleanser and one for the Rejoice light facial day cream. Both products are incredibly rich and a little goes a very long way, which is good considering they are both in the $50 a pop range normally. I haven’t been using either of them long enough to really gauge their effects, but neither of them has broke me out or caused any weird rashes, so so far so good.

There were also samples of Acure argan oil and argan stem cell shampoo & conditioner. Both bottles are very healthy sizes and would be perfect for including in your gym bag or weekend getaway kit. The products themselves are both very rich and moisturizing and are pleasantly fragranced. The shampoo, like many organic moisturizing shampoos, does not produce a ton of lather, but seems to do a good enough job of cleansing the hair without being drying. However, it may not be the best choice if you have very oily hair.

The misses this month are both good products, they just aren’t nearly as exciting as the products already mentioned. The organic sugar scrub by Pure Natural Diva Botanicals is nicely scented and does the job, although I’m happy enough making my own sugar scrub as I need it. The argan oil spray sample from Eden Allure was initially intriguing, but the tiny spray bottle sprays in a straight line instead of a mist, so it was a little more difficult to use than I had assumed. But, despite my apparent lack of enthusiasm, both will no doubt be used up by the time I get my next box.

What are your favourite organic beauty brands?

Friday I’m In Love

Ni No Kuni The White Witch by Barrett Biggers

Ni No Kuni The White Witch by Barrett Biggers available at Society 6

By the time you read this I will be in Boston, working the floor at PAX East. I’ll be splitting my time between the gamesbymo (#798) and Hololabs (#1087) booths, and spending some time promoting A.N.N.E. at the Kickstarter Arcade. It’s not going to be the most relaxing weekend, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Please come by and say hello if you find yourselves in Beantown this weekend.

Link time!

Is the Occulus Rift sexist? Research into how women view 3D seems to point to yes. via Almathea

Voice of Spiderman finds Spiderman memes. Narrates them. Puts the whole thing online.

Huge dig planned in New Mexico in hopes of uncovering buried games, including E.T.

On reputation systems and Titanfall’s cheater server.

Give your money to: An interactive adventure for the sight impaired.

Why lack of outcry doesn’t indicate the lack of a problem.

How fiction differs from storytelling and what that means for the future of games writing.

Guess what? Turns out passing the Bechdel is good for the bottom line.

A heartbreakingly personal account of the healing power of nerdy escapism.

And finally, Metal Cats. I swear, that last one is the most metal cat I have ever seen.