12.19.2013

Doodle Master

This past semester I had a lot of classes that required more listening than any sort of contribution, so I often found myself doodling while writing copious notes. Though it may seem like I wasn't paying attention, I think doodling helped me concentrate on what the professor was saying as opposed to staring off into space or sleeping. Sometimes I even drew out a concept from the lecture. Sometimes.

Okay, my doodles usually had nothing to do with the lecture or even the class, but looking back at my nicely decorated notebooks is a bit gratifying. Let's go with the excuse that they made studying more pleasant during finals week. Here are few of my favorite doodles accompanied with some awful handwriting:






9.25.2013

Overhaul

I thought I was going to do some super cool things with this blog over the summer, but, as you can see, that didn't happen. Instead, I'm going to use this for my random musings, cool Internet finds, and generally whatever I feel like writing. Once upon a time I heard a great way to build your writing skills is by keeping a diary, so I suppose this will be it!

Please feel free to look through my old posts and visit randomhavok.com for video game news and reviews - seriously, go there.

Here are some goals I have for myself:

  • Learn Japanese
  • Consistently write for this blog
  • Make a video game
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo
  • Read "Atlus Shrugged" 
  • Finish "The Last of Us" 
  • Make Random Havok super popular 
  • Get an internship this summer 
  • Move to San Francisco 
  • Become a better writer 

I'll end this post with this silly picture from today's Lunar Moon Festival that was put on by the University of Oklahoma's Vietnamese Student Association. 

Me and my friend Tomo



6.19.2013

Reboot

Hello, friends.

If you came here from some RSS feed notification or something of that manner, you are the best. You are the best for checking back to this very slow website that crumbled under my demanding schoolwork and normal work. But you checking here means there is hope. Hope that this little blog will one day thrive again!

And it will, but as something different than before. This time, this blog is personal. If you were hoping for more of my video game feature writing and news, head over to randomhavok.com - that's where I'll be posting all that work. But if you were hoping to read and see more about my shenanigans, hopes and dreams and latest video game endeavors, keep it here.

I'll be leaving all my old content up so feel free to browse through that as you please. And for news you really should check out randomhavok.com. So now that's out of the way, lets get this thing started.

I'm Miranda. I love to play video games, I have a fashion sense that is something close to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's "New Kawaii" - though not nearly as intense - and I love to write. I just finished my second year of college and I recently fell in love with San Francisco and all it has to offer. I write for not only this, but also for randomhavok.com - go check it out. I started it up with my best friend who I'm incredibly lucky to be working with.

I have a few posts planned for the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for them.

Thanks for stopping by the site!

3.03.2013

Why you should pre-order video games


Months before a game is to be released, one special phrase is uttered at every GameStop and can be found on almost every video game advertisement: pre-order. While some gamers shrug off the suggestion, pre-ordering games isn't a bad idea for this month. March is no November, but as far as this year's video game releases go it may as well be.

It's good for your budget


USA Pre-order stats!
Click for a bigger version.
Via VGChartz
Right now, I have two games with my name on them and could possibly have had more if I would have planned ahead. Pre-ordering gives consumers the option to put down as little as $5 on their game. Strategically paying off a portion of the game months before could help in the long run. Dropping $60 on a game isn't ideal for those of us who have to pay bills and buy groceries.

I typically put down $15 - $30 on each pre-order. Regrettably, this strategy does not work for online pre-orders that require you to pay in full.

You'll get exclusive content


In addition to spreading out your hard earned cash, pre-orders usually come with some sort of downloadable incentive. When I picked up Halo 4 in November, I receive about 9 DLC codes for an Xbox theme, in-game gun, avatar items... the list goes on. It was pretty good as far as free DLC goes, but so far my favorite incentive has been for BioShock Infinite.

Regardless of where you pre-order the BioShock Infinite, you receive a code for finkmanufacturing.com. This website is BioShock Infinite's prequel puzzle game, Industrial Revolution. Each level requires the player to aid the Founders or the Vox Populi, the game's revolutionaries. Both the story and final reward change based on which group the player supports. The game's story is told though newspaper clippings and product requests from the Founders and Vox Populi.



Well...


As great as pre-ordering is, nothing is perfect. On Feb. 17, Bungie announced it's new project Destiny. Cue excitement! However, Bungie also announced though Destiny will not be available until sometime in 2014, it is already available for pre-order on all current generation and next-gen consoles.

Wait, what? So you want me to pre-order a video game that I hardly know anything about or even know much about the consoles it will be released on? Right. I know pre-ordering isn't mandatory, but why open pre-order so early when the launch date is perspectively more than a year away? As much as I support pre-orders, what kind of message are Bungie and Activision sending through this move when all we've been given is a few screenshots and a lot of talk?

Even worse, GameStop is offering posters with each pre-order. I want one of those posters. I know by the time I make my decision on what console I want, those posters will be no more. Thank you Bungie/Activision for jumping the gun.

via GameStop.com

You'll get an experience that shelves can't offer


Midnight launch events are amazing. I've made so many friends, connected with GameStop employees and won some cool swag by answering trivia questions. There's nothing like being around people who, like you, are willing to sit outside of a shopping center for hours on end, rain or shine, to get a video game. 

Ultimately, the best part of pre-orders is getting your money to the people who deserve it. As much as I enjoy saving money by purchasing used games, I feel like it's important that when a gamer really wants a game or admires a specific company, buy it new. It's like whenever my favorite band puts out a new album, I make sure I purchase the physical copy because I feel like it helps the band more and it means more to me. So if you do it for something, do it for those developers so they can make you great games in the future. 


2.06.2013

Valentine's Day gift ideas for your geek

Anyone can go to Walmart and buy a generic box of chocolates and a depressing bouquet of flowers. To really impress your valentine, you need to earn the power of love.

Whether you are finding a new gift for your significant other or trying to impress your crush, captivate your valentine's pixelated heart with some of these gifts: 


Custom Controllers 


Sure, you could buy your honey a sweet custom controller from a website like Imagine Customs, or you can save yourself $40+ and customize a brand new controller yourself.

Sometimes less is more.
All you'll need for this is a brand new controller, sharpies and stickers. Carefully open the box - you'll want to keep this to wrap the controller later. Then decorate to your heart's desire!

On my boyfriend's controller, I wrote phrases he says when he games and drew cool designs.*

If you are worried about mixing and matching colored sharpies, I recommend purchasing a black controller. Since only metallic colored sharpies will show up, you can keep your color scheme simple.

*If the gamer receiving this gift likes to play for hours on end or has sweaty hands, the sharpie will fade after a few months. This happened to my boy's controller.


Video game box valentine 


Instead of going out to an overcrowded movie or playing Black Ops 2 until the point of frustration, take a second and try a new game knowing little to nothing going in.

Rule Japan with me?
If you weren't planning on giving a game - presumably because your valentine already owns all the titles worth having - think again. Co-op video games make for great gifts, especially when they are only $9.99.

Take the time to stroll through the used games section of GameStop, pick up a co-op game, use your smartphone to look up a few reviews and go out on a limb and buy something random. This is how my boyfriend and I kicked our Modern Warfare 3 rage.

Once you've chosen a game, do something cute with the cover. If you manage to pick up a game with the original case, do something simple like a word bubble from one of the characters on the box art or add a decorative heart boarder. Not only will this serve as a cute substitute for a valentine, but it also marks the game as something special between you and that person.

If you are feeling truly creative, take the box art cover out of the sleeve and decorate the white side with a poem, cute drawing, collage... the possibilities are endless.


Quick gifts


If you are short on time, here are some easy to order gifts for the geek of your life:

Geek jewelry


Easy, classic, jewelry. It's difficult to go wrong with one of these bad boys.

Potion necklaces via GeekyCauldrons
Energy sword earrings via LicketyCut


Geek plushes


These cute plushes come at a high price, but they are well worth it. 

Salvador the Gunzerker via Cyberscribe
Crochet moogle via amiamour



Geek figure with a lovey dovey quote


Collectible vinyl figures from Funko are adorable! They make for great desk companions.

Khal Drogo vinyl via Amazon
Cortana vinyl via Amazon

When writing out your Valentine's Day card, keep a theme by writing something relevant to your gift. For example, if you are giving Khal Drogo, write 'to the moon of my life.' Reversely if you are giving Daenerys, write 'to my sun and stars.'


Of course, all these gifts go great with chocolate.

What are your plans for Valentine's Day? 

1.07.2013

And the award goes to...

In 2012 our world survived one of the many predicted apocalypses, Master Chief woke up and we gamers were given beautiful new titles like Dishonored and Journey to satisfy our anti-sequal appetites.

During the final days of last year and the beginning days of 2013, video game websites and magazines have taken time to reflect on the video game accomplishments of 2012. Ultimately, they end their analysis by honoring a single title the Game of the Year award.

Here' s who won this year:

IGN - Journey
GameSpot - Journey
Nick.com - Power Rangers Samurai: Super Samurai ... :)
GamesRadar - The Walking Dead
Spike TV's VGAs - The Walking Dead
Edge - Dishonored
Kotaku - XCOM: Enemy Unknown
X-Play - Borderlands 2
Game Informer - Mass Effect 3

As it is with almost every year, no one game ever stands on top of all the lists. For us gamers, that's a good thing. It means that while we wait for the big games of 2013 to be released, we have a nice list of games to play that are guaranteed to satisfy.

Dishonored cover via Wikipedia
Although I have not had the opportunity to play all the fantastic games that were released this year, I can confidently declare Dishonored as my Game of the Year. It was the first game that after I had completed the campaign, I immediately wanted to play it all over again. Oh the choices! The moral conflicts, hidden items, objectives and side quests beckon you to play the levels over and over.

I've played other stealth games such as Assassin's Creed, but there was something special about having the option to engage the target in combat, murdering him in the shadows or knocking him out and disposing  him in a nonlethal way that drew me in.

Sure, there were some glitches because no game is  perfect, but ultimately Dishonored was the best game I played all year and has earned a place on my favorites list.

If I had the opportunity to play Journey or The Walking Dead, maybe my choice would be different. Too bad I don't have all the time or money to invest in these award-winning games. Time to wait for the markdowns.

What was your Game of the Year?

P.S. Sorry about the absence. To see what I was up to click here!

9.02.2012

GameStop Expo 2012

Only a few days ago, I was in Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio surrounded by unreleased video games I was itching to play. There were so many options, and I wish I would have had enough time to play them all. By the time 4:00 p.m. rolled around, my hands were full with free stuff and my head was spinning from all the awesomeness I had just experienced. Say farewell to sleep and money my friends, because when these games come out, you'll be hooked.


Fable Journey for Xbox 360 Kinect

The Games 


My first encounter with an unreleased game at the expo was in the VIP room an hour before the event opened it's doors. Amid the food displays, water jugs filled with fruit punch and gamers sorting through their bags filled with goodies were two stands with a playable level of Lego Lord of the Rings.


This Lego adaption had the typical quirky comedy infused with the already great Lord of the Rings storyline. As expected, each character had unique abilities. For example, any tall character could throw Gimli so he could break high targets. Yet another game on my 'to buy' list. In addition to Lego Lord of the Rings, I managed to get my hands on Dishonored and Halo 4.

Dishonored was everything I hoped it would be; grungy, laced with blood and lots of stealth. I only played a few minutes into the level, but for what I played I know it's going to be amazing. My favorite ability was mind control - it's not everyday you get to scurry around as a rat.

I was too short to properly see the screen.

The lines to play Halo 4 were surprisingly short. After watching only two games, I got my chance to play. My boyfriend and I played a single Free-for-All match with a total of 12 players, each on their own screen.


Multiplayer played like a dream. It was the perfect mix of Halo 3's general gameplay and Halo Reach's items, classes and abilities. There are also a few new additions, such as the ability to sprint by pushing down the left thumb stick. For the little bit that I was able to play, I know this upcoming November will be filled with sleepless nights. 


video


The Swag


What's an expo/convention without free stuff? In addition to my goodie bag for being a VIP member, I picked up quite a bit.


Agent 47 Bag - Adventure Time Lanyard (2) - Adventure Time Button (2) - I'm a Fighter Dead or Alive Necklace - Power Up Lanyard - Sonic the Hedgehog Hat - Signed Game Informer posters - GameStop Bag - NOS Lanyard - Skylanders Figure 

Also, I was one of the very lucky winners of a Square Enix drawing. Every hour at the Square Enix booth, a few prizes would be given to the people who held a winning ticket. In the first drawing round, I won the second prize pack; a set of six Final FantasyXIII-2 figures!




Aside from all the free stuff, I made some sweet purchases as well. My boyfriend and I purchased a Retro Lancer Replica along with a Creeper vinyl figure - both of which were cheaper at the expo than they were online. 



The Experience 


Out of the three general sessions offered, I only went to two. Activison's was first on the list, I skipped Ubisoft's to play games and Square Enix's was last. These sessions were a lot different from what I expected, but more on that later.

My favorite thing from the expo was meeting the editorial team of Game Informer. Since Game Informer was the magazine that really got me interested in video game journalism, it was an honor for me to meet the team who is responsible for the magazine's success.

Me and the Game Informer editorial team

If only I would have had more time. I could have played the WiiU, Assassin's Creed III or even would have waited in the never ending line to try Black Ops 2. There was so much to try, but in between the general sessions and waiting in lines, there just wasn't time for it all. Maybe next year I'll pass on the general sessions and sped more time on the floor.

Overall, the expo was definitely worth going to. Between playing awesome unreleased games and the great free merchandise, I know the GameStop Expo is something I will continue to go to. Whether or not I choose to be VIP is a story for another time.

For more pictures from the expo, check out my Facebook gallery.


Yours truly,
HavokRose