Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year Resolutions

So today's the last day of the year and I'm still questioning whether or not I'll survive the year.  I just can't get rid of this nasty cough.  Oh well.  This cold/mono/whatever has really whipped my ass.  I got sick the week of Thanksgiving and I've been sick ever since, to varying degrees.  It's the cough and extreme tiredness/exhaustion that I'm having the hardest time with.

But the sun keeps coming up and life goes on.  And tomorrow is a new year.

With a new year comes New Year Resolutions.  I make them every year, but I don't always complete them.  Some last almost the whole year.  Some are forgotten or given up on before the end of January.  Either way, I like setting goals.  It's fun and gives me an idea of what I want to accomplish in the next 12 months.

For starters, I have a lot of games.  854 to be exact.  And that doesn't count my PC games, just console games.  I have a really good inventory system.  I kind of have to with all those games.  Of all those games 435 are Xbox, Xbox Arcade or Xbox One games.  Of those 435 I don't have any achievements in 167 of them.  That's 38.39% of games with no gamer score.  So one of my New Year Achievements is to get at least one achievement in all the games I own.  That's a lot of games to play.  I'm pretty sure I won't be able to get an achievement in all of them.  I know, because I've tried in some of those games.  Either way, I'm going to try.

Speaking of gamer score I think I want to get my gamer score at or above 40,000.  I currently have 32,637 and I hope to get a couple more tonight before the new year rings in.  That means I have to get 7,363 in 12 months.  That's an average of 614 points a month.  I think that's very doable.  Especially if I'm going to be playing a lot of games.  I know a lot of people don't care about achievements and gamer score, but I like to see what I've accomplished in the year besides just knowing I spent X amount of time playing video games.  Besides some of those achievements might be hard to get.

I'd also like to complete (i.e. get to the end credits) of 12 games.  That's one a month.  Might be doable, but it will take some effort and planning to achieve.  I'm not sure what those games might be, but I know that a couple of them should be Summoner (PS2), Jedi Outcast (Xbox), Super Mario Sunshine (GameCube) and Final Fantasy VII (PS) since those were the games that started this blog way back on March 2nd, 2007.  That's a long time . . . 8 years exactly . . . and I still haven't finished those games.  I have noticed that since I started my YouTube channel I've finished several games.  That's promising.

The games that I'm the closest to finishing are:
Fable III
Final Fantasy XIII
Gears of War Ultimate Edition
Lost Odyssey
Rayman Origins
Tomb Raider
Final Fantasy Tactics (PSP)

I think finishing these are doable.  I wonder what other ones I can finish before the end of the year.  Is there any games you'd like me to play and finish?  I'm taking suggestions for my channel and for my New Year Resolutions.  Just name something in the comments and I'll let you know if I've got it.  If not, I might be able to pick it up.  I did get a lot of games through Xbox's sale the last 2 weeks.  Not that I needed more games.  But they were cheap and I video games are so much fun.

Do you have any New Year Resolutions?  If so, let me know in the comments.  Maybe there will be something we can work on together.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Double Fine December

So way back in September when I was filming my videos for October I planned on playing Stacking for the month of December.  You see, Costume Quest was made by Double Fine and Stacking is also a game made by Double Fine.  And there's an achievement in Costume Quest for finding a small nesting doll in a cave and a message pops up about Stacking.  In the Extras section of Stacking there's also reference to Costume Quest.  I knew these two games were done by the same developer, but I didn't know the other game I had planned for December was done by them as well.

I've wanted to go back and play Psychonauts and finish it for a long time.  Since my memory cards were stolen I would have to start over from scratch.  But that was okay because it had been a long time since I played that game. 

Unfortunately, I was playing scary or Halloween games for October (I thought Psychonauts would fit in well, but I didn't have the time for three games that month).  For November I had already planned on playing military themed games in honor of Veteran's Day.  So the earliest I could post videos of Psychonauts would be December.  It didn't really strike me as a "December/Christmas" type of game but I was going to do it anyway.

Unfortunately I got really sick at the end of November (still am) and my ability to shot videos ahead of schedule was pretty much squashed.  When December started I didn't have any videos recorded and I didn't have much of a voice to do so.  But the show must go on, right?

I filmed the  first episode of Stacking and moved on to Psychonauts.  I was filming that episode on Thursday which was the same night the Video Game Awards show was on TV.  While I was playing away apparently there was an announcement that Double Fine is going to crowd fund Psychonauts 2.  Yeah!  Of course I didn't find this out until the next night when I was trying to edit the video and check up on all the news I've missed that week (it's been very busy at work). 

Perfect timing right?  I didn't have this planned out other than to put up videos of Psychonauts in  December because that was the first available month to do so.  And it wasn't until I started filming that I noticed Psychonauts was also made by Double Fine.  So this month is more timely that I had planned and is a Double Fine month of videos for my Youtube channel.  I don't think I could have planned that out any better.

If you want to contribute to the making of Psychonauts 2 (and why wouldn't you) you can check out their fundraising here: Double Fine's Psychonauts 2 funding.  If you want to follow Double Fine on twitter they're at @DoubleFine.  Check them out.  And you can check out my Double Fine videos on my channel here: Pengwenn's Youtube channel

Monday, November 9, 2015

Things I've learned about myself from YouTube

I've been meaning to post this for awhile, but things in the real world have gotten out of hand for awhile and things are just now getting back to normal.  It's amazing how doing several jobs at the same time can wear you out.

In addition to my business review of starting a YouTube channel, I've done a personal review as well.  I've wanted to see how this new venture has been affecting me, good and bad.  There's been some surprising things I've learned about myself in the process.  Let me share them with you (in no particular order).

1) I sigh a lot.

It seems I sigh a lot while I'm recording.  I'm not really aware of it, but I hear it when I do the editing.  I've been trying to consciously think about NOT doing it but that makes me self conscious about other things and then I start fumbling my words.  I have adjusted my gain on the mic and maybe my sighing won't get picked up as often as it has in the past.

2) I say "dude" "guy" "all right" "seriously" and "no no no" a lot.

Sometimes when I listen to myself while I'm editing I think I'm in an old '90s stoner movie because I say "dude" and "guy" and "seriously" a lot.  I sometimes sound like I'm stoned too.  I don't know where I picked up this verbal ticks and even I find them annoying.  The problem is I don't know that I'm saying them until after I've said them.  I don't usually think about what I'm saying before I open my mouth.  These words just come out naturally.  I don't want to try and change them because I think that would make me sound pretentious.  I want to sound natural so I guess you'll be hearing a lot of "dude", "guy", "all right", "seriously" and "no no no" a lot.

3) I say "thank you" to AI characters (only sometimes sarcastically)

Like they really have a choice about helping me out.  They're programed to do specific things.  But sometimes I struggle with them not helping me out, so when they finally do, I thank them.  I guess thanking someone is a good things, right?  Unfortunately I also use "thank you" sarcastically too.  When someone (human or AI) does something not very helpful I thank them sarcastically.  That's just me.  I can't hold it back.  I sometimes get a smart mouth on me.  I use to control it better when I was in school because I didn't want to get in trouble, but I'm finding it slips out more often when playing video games.  Let the natural sarcastic asshole in me come out.  Sorry, I don't think there's anything I can do about this.

4) I make a weird clicking noise with my lips sometimes

I don't know how to explain this.  It's not a lip smacking, or teeth sucking noise, but it's not much different.  I usually do this when I first start talking, especially if I've been quiet for awhile.  I'm not even consciously aware I'm doing it at the time, but I hear it in the editing.  I've adjusted the gain on the mic so hopefully it won't pick it up as often.  Even though I'm not consciously aware that I'm doing it I think I haven't done it as much since I've become aware of it.

5) It's hard working two jobs.

Because I'm treating this like a second job I take everything I do seriously.  I started to keep track of time spent doing things and it's been eye opening.  To render, sync, save, edit, resave, compress and upload to YouTube a video that ends up roughly 30 minutes takes about 3 hours to do.  That means if I post a video five days a week it takes 15 hours just to edit and upload them.  That's not counting filming time.  I typically try to keep the filming to 45-50 minutes before ending the recording.  Some have gone longer.  Some shorter.  In the process of editing, I take that 45-50 minutes video and get it down to as close to 30 minutes as I can without losing continuity of the game.  So to make 5 videos in a week I need to film for 5-6 hours.  That's my Saturday in a nutshell.  Sunday is editing as much as I can.  The rest of the week is more editing or filming depending on what I need at the time. 

That means I spend about 20-30 hours a week on making content for my YouTube channel.  That's on top of my 40 hour a week job, laundry, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, real life crap, etc. that I've got to do.  At times it's exhausting.  I'm not getting paid to spend all that time doing this and I'm okay with that . . . for now.  I'm learning so much and it's so much fun to do.  Right now what I sacrifice if I need more time is sleep.  Which leads me to . . .

6) I'm sleeping a lot less since I started my channel.

I was typically getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  Even though that was enough sleep sometimes I woke up tired.  Now I'm up editing until 11:30pm or 12am before finally calling it a night and slipping in between the sheets for some shut eye since I have to get up at 6am for work.  Except I can't shut my brain off.  I miss writing and being creative and the editing process on my videos is filling that void in me.  Because of that my brain starts reeling when I edit.  I think of all the possibilities and my juices start to flow.  By the time I need to go to bed my brain is in full gear. 

I've tried everything I could think of to shut my brain off so I can get to sleep, but so far nothing has helped.  I'll lay in bed until 2:00 or 3:00am before my body is finally so exhausted my brain doesn't have a choice but to power down for the night.  This means that I'm only getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night.  You would think that I would be dragging myself around the next day at work.  But I'm not.  Oh sure, my ability to come up with the quick answer is a little bit slower, but I get there eventually.  Physically I feel fine.  Mentally I'm just a little bit slower than normal.  And all this lack of sleep hasn't caught up to me by the end of the week.  I usually only get an extra couple of hours of sleep (5-6 hrs) on the weekend from what I get during the week.  I don't know if this lack of sleep will eventually catch up to me and rear it's ugly 3-headed monster at me and pound me in to oblivious sleep like Rip Van Winkle, but so far it hasn't affected me and I feel fine.

7) I'm not as depressed as I once was.

Every now and then in my life a wave of darkness seems to come over me.  It usually comes when I start thinking that I'm not where I want to be in my career, my life or my relationships.  The darkness threatens to overwhelm me but it usually passes within a couple of days or a week or two.  I've learned to embrace the darkness instead of fighting it.  That seems to help it pass much quicker than it would otherwise.  Like a fleeing summer thunderstorm.  It comes in menacingly, dumps a bunch of rain all over you, but that moves out and leaves everything fresh and new behind in it's wake.

Ever since I starting my channel I haven't noticed those coming thunderstorms.  I don't know if that's I'm just too busy to think on those things that trigger the depression in me, or some other reason.  I do know that I'm very happy doing everything for my channel, even if I find it exhausting at times.  It's playing the games, the process of editing and making something and seeing that finished product out there in the world that I really enjoy.  I don't care that I'm not making any money off of YouTube.  Yet, that's all the stories you hear about is some YT celebrity striking it rich where reporters wonder why.  I don't care.  The process makes me happy and that's good enough for me.

Well, those things are just some of the stuff that I've learned about myself since starting my YouTube channel.  There's more I could tell you, but I've bored you enough so far.  It's been a fascinating experiment for me and I'm glad I'm doing it.  And I'll continue to do so for a long time, I hope.  If you're interested you can find my YouTube channel here: Pengwenn's YouTube channel.  I hope you have as much fun watching as I've had making the videos.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My start up business 6 month review

When I sat down and finally decided that I was going to do something about starting a YouTube channel, I made the conscious choice to treat it like a business.  More than a job, because that's just what you do to pay the bills; this would be treated like a start up business.  Now, that doesn't mean I started doing things with making money as my top priority, which is what people generally think of when someone starts a business.  Making money off of my YouTube channel has been the farthest thing from my mind.  And it's something I'm not even remotely interested in at this time.  I was looking at taking this seriously and handling it professionally and in a timely fashion.

I very easily could have said that I was going to start doing YouTube as a hobby.  You know, "I'll post a video whenever I feel like it".  I didn't want to do that.  I also didn't want to make promises that I couldn't keep.  I was going to get serious about this, but I was also going to have fun with it.

So, before I even started I sat down and a made a plan.  It was a 3 pronged attack.  I didn't put this plan together on a whim.  I actually thought about it for several weeks before I committed anything to paper.  I'm very careful about things.  Especially setting goals . . . and starting a business.

Prong #1 of my attack was titled: Physical/Equipment/Hardware.

I sat down and started to make a list of all the physical things I would need in order to start capture videos for YouTube.  This part of the plan was the easiest and the one that I was the most familiar with and most ready to execute immediately without too much research and preparation.  Before I could even start to capture videos I needed the equipment to do so.  I already had the consoles to play games on and capture from, but I needed a capture devise.  In my research of capture devises I settled on the Elgato HD 60.  The only problem with that was that I also needed to get a new TV (one that had HDMI inputs) and a new computer.  These were extra expenses I probably wouldn't have thought of if I had just jumped into this without a plan.

Getting a new TV and laptop can get expensive.  And it was.  But the benefits for things beyond capturing were worth it.  But I had to plan ahead and make sure I had the money to get the items I wanted.  But also to get the best that I could afford.  Is there better out there?  Absolutely.  Could I have afforded them?  Nope.  What I got has been very good, although storage space on my laptop is sometimes lacking.  File management is an almost weekly thing.  External hard drives are on option, but I'm back to saving up for the things I want.  This is a business.  I'm trying to be responsible.

Once I had all my equipment in place I could start working on prong #2.  Software/Social media.

The hardware is great but it needs software to help it run and work.  Same goes with starting a YouTube business.  I had to do a lot of research when it came to this part of my plan.  Software is so much more selective according to personal taste and function that it gets overwhelming to me at times on picking a specific program to do a specific thing.  With the extra expense of a new TV and computer I didn't have the money to get some of the software that I really wanted to get.  I still don't have the funds but I'm saving up for them and hopefully I'll get able to get them soon.

One of the things I wanted to get was video editing software.  Unfortunately with no funds left for development I had to settle with what I could get for free.  That was Movie Maker software that came free with my laptop.  If you've been watching my channel since the beginning you'll know that I was having a lot of audio problems while I was recording.  I bought, tried and returned several microphones before I finally settled (somewhat unhappily at the time) on using Audacity to record audio knowing I'll just have to spend extra time syncing up the audio and video file before editing.  Not the solution I was hoping for, but I had to make it work.

I think I have.  But I still have lots to learn.  I've tried to spend some time learning Audacity and Movie Maker so I know what I'm doing and hopefully learn to do it better all the time.  It hasn't been easy.  I did searches for "how to" videos online and most of them haven't shown me anything that I hadn't already figured out for myself on my own.  I know there's still a lot I don't understand and/or use that I could, but I'm getting there.

But no all of prong #2 is software related.  I have a Twitter account.  I've had one since 2009.  But I really wasn't using it.  No particular reason either.  I just didn't think about it when I wanted to say something.  That was what this blog was for.  I followed a bunch of people (that list grows and shrinks as I find new people and/or drop people I don't like anymore).  I just never been one to communicate in 140 characters or less.  I'm not an emoji child.

Starting my attack on prong #2 meant I needed to get on Twitter more and use it.  This has probably been the hardest part for me.  I'm not an extrovert by nature.  I'm not a complete introvert either.  I can be very extroverted but usually only with my close friends.  With strangers it's much scary.  And I've have to keep everything within that 140 character limit.  If you've read this blog at any time you know I can be a bit wordy at times (this time included).  I like being able to explain myself.  My thoughts and ideas are brief so why should my communication be as well?  I think I'm falling down on the job as far as this is concerned.  I'm getting better.  But I'm not where I want to be at this time.

The other part of the "social media" aspect is this blog.  My blogging hasn't been consistent.  Ever.  I've set goals to do it X number of times a weeks.  But when I force myself to sit at the computer and type something up when I have nothing to say things don't go well for me.  But hopefully you've noticed that I have blogged more than I have in the past.  There's room for improvement, but I think I'm getting better.

I'll go into prong #3 at a latter post.  That's a whole other story that hasn't written itself yet.

So, why am I telling you this?  Because it's my 6 month review for my new business.  And while it's my start up and I'm doing this for myself right now (more on that later), I still hold myself accountable for the content that I put out.  And you're my friends, so I think you should know my thought process on this whole thing.  When I tell people what I'm doing on YouTube they just don't get it, unless they're a gamer.  And forget about talking about this with my family.  Parents just don't understand.

Even though I don't have the views or subscribers right now, I'm not worried about it.  I'm just trying to make content that I love and enjoy.  Hopefully that will come across in my videos.  And hopefully other people will find it and love the same things that I do.  Will I get better at it?  I hope so.  Will more people watch?  I hope so too.  This has been a whole eye-opening experience for me.  In good ways and bad.  But don't worry I'm going to blog about that too.

So what do you think about my new start up business?  Have you seen any of my YouTube videos?  How did you find them (hint: you can find my channel here  )?  What do you think.  You can leave me a comment here, or you can leave me a comment on one of my videos.  That would be nice.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Double goose eggs, really?

So I was playing a couple of new games recently.  Nothing serious, just trying to dink around in some games to get a feel for them.  And I got a couple of achievements in the process.  But they weren't worth anything.

The first game I tried out was Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.  It was free to Gold members on Xbox One so I thought I'd give a shot.  It's been a long time since I've played a Metal Gear Solid game.  I've been thinking of trying to play the whole series for my YouTube channel but that would take forever.  Plus there are a couple that I'm missing in order to complete the series.

There was also a couple of achievements highlighted for that game and one of them was to start the game within the time frame that that achievement was active.  So I did.  I started the game and the achievement popped up.  But there was no gamerscore tied to the achievement.  Bummer.

So I put in another game.  One I've played before, but not on an Xbox.  Abe's Oddysee for the original PlayStation was remade for the PlayStation 3 (and probably the PlayStation 4) and was now available for the Xbox One.  It's now called Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty. 

I played this game on the PlayStation and I wondered how it would translate to the Xbox One system and controller.  For starters, it looks stunningly beautiful.  I was blown away with the upgraded graphic and how smooth things were.  So blown away that I pulled a level to open up the floor before I realized that one of the Mudokans I was suppose to rescue was sitting on the trap, scrubbing the floor.  Oops.  Which is exactly the name of an achievement that popped up.  But it also wasn't worth any gamerscore.

What's the point of having "achievements" where you actually have to do something and achieve something if you don't get rewarded for doing it?  I'm not saying turning on a game and pressing the start button is worthy of an achievement, but if you're going to have it in the game, give me something for it.

And I know there's an achievement for rescuing all the Mudokans in a level and that's worth something.  Why can't accidentally killing one be worth something too?  If you give points for doing that you might have gamers actually feel sorry that they failed and got someone killed.  They might try even harder to save everyone the rest of the game.

There were a lot of these types of "no gamer score" or "stupid actions" achievements in the beginning.  Developers weren't sure about achievements and how gamers would react to them.  But hey guys, it's been awhile.  We all know what achievements are and what they mean.  People are obsessed with increasing their gamerscore (present company excluded of course, but you're not buying that are you?).  Developers, you can do better man.

I got both achievements in about 10 minutes of each other and that double dose of goose eggs were enough to turn me off of those games for awhile.  I will play them.  But right now I want to play games that reward me for playing them.  Is that so much to ask.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I'm in Dead Space

I totally forgot something.  I only remembered it as I was playing a game.  I'M IN DEAD SPACE.  At least my name is anyway.  My gamertag is Pengwenn but all my friends call me Peng.  And that name can be found in Dead Space.  And there's an achievement tied to the name and all.  I haven't unlocked it yet, but I'll be sure to let you know when I do.  Here's a little screen shot of Dead Space with Issac lovingly looking at my name that I took from my gameplay.  The video will be up in October for my Halloween/scary month of video games.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September YouTube schedule

So, now that Lego Star Wars is complete I can finally focus on some other games.  The problem is I'm not sure exactly which game to focus on.  For completing the story or earning all achievements/trophies.  So for the month of September I'm trying a few games out.

I'll still be playing and posting Rayman Origins.  I think I'm getting close to the end on that one so I want to see it through.  Those videos will continue to be posted on Thursdays.

For Monday's I'm posting some Dark Cloud videos.  This is an old PS2 game that I had almost finished before my stuff got robbed.  I loved the game so I would really like to see if finished (even though there are no achievements or trophies to earn).  This can be a really long game and I don't know if I want to tie up Mondays with this game for a very long time.  We'll see how it goes and if anyone watches those videos and says anything.

For Tuesday's I'm posting Halo videos.  I have a confession to make about Halo.  I've played Halo in the multiplayer a lot, but I've never completed the campaign in any of the Halo games.  So . . . I thought this game might be a good one to keep myself on track and finally finish the campaigns in all the Halo games.  Kind of like what I did with Lego Star Wars.  This too might take a while but at least I can finally say I've played them.  Even though I own all of the versions for the first Halo game I am playing the one in the Master Chief Collection on my Xbox One.  It looks pretty.

On Wednesdays I'm trying out some Prototype 2 from my PS3.  This isn't a game that I would normally pick up and play but it was a free PSN download a while ago and I tried it and liked it.  It's vastly different than any type of game I've played so far.  And while I'm loving the game I'm having a hard time going back to it.  I can't seem to remember the controls and I fumble around trying to do things that came naturally the last time I played it.  I just might need more practice in the game.  This is one I'm not sure if it will be a full play or not.  I'll have to wait and see what people think before I decide.

On Fridays I wanted to do something special, but I couldn't decide what . . . or exactly which game.  I'm going to do "Final Fantasy Fridays" and post videos from Final Fantasy games.  The problem is I can't decide which Final Fantasy game to play.  I like so many of them.  I want to finish FF X-2 because I'm curious about the story because I've finished FF X.  But I was almost finished with FFIX when my stuff was stolen and I REALLY liked that game so I want to finish that game.  Plus, I really like Final Fantasy Tactics and FFVII is a game that started this whole blog so I should really try to finally finish that game.  Maybe I'll rotate and do a different game per month.  We'll see.

As for October, I've got some Halloween inspired games that I'll like to post so anything that I post in September might take a break for awhile.  I hope you don't mind, I'm just trying new things out here.  I'll keep you posted.

Is there any of those games that interest you?  Have you played any of them yourself?  What game would you like to see me play instead of those?  I'll take suggestions.  If I don't have the game I might be willing to go out and get it so I can post videos of it on YouTube.  Just let me know in the comments.  And check out my YouTube channel to watch me play games, die (a lot) and generally make a fool out of myself.  That's me.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Digital or Disk?

So I perfected Lego Star Wars and bought my Xbox One.  And I'm loving it.  I'm having a blast in Titanfall and Destiny and recently Gears of War Ultimate Edition (of whatever it is called).  But all this excitement has me thinking.  And that's a scary thing.

I have a shelf full of game cases for all my systems going back to the PlayStation.  I'm running out of room to put new game cases.  I can't image what it will be like a year or two from now.  So I've been thinking about going all digital vs. buying disks.

I probably wouldn't have even considered this a couple of years ago but having the Games with Gold option every month it's nice to get a full game and not clutter up a shelf with a case that will never be used.  Plus I don't have to flip around a big CD case looking for a game disk of what I want to play.  I know the Arcade titles have always been digital but in the past I've preferred to buy a disk when I wanted a retail game.  Now I'm rethinking that.

I don't store my disks in the case they came in.  Instead I put them in to a very big CD folder (which I'm running out of room in between my PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games).  Those game cases are now just decoration . . . and clutter in my living room.  I guess I could always pull a case out and look through the insert manual for help in playing the game.  But wait, games aren't coming with inserts anymore.  And there's no organization to my shelves at all.

So why not digital?

That's what I've been asking myself for the last couple of months.  When I started to budget for getting an Xbox One and heard the announcement of a 1TB system I knew I had to get that larger hard drive space . . . especially if I wanted to get all digital.  On my 250GB hard drive on my Xbox 360, I've run out of space several times.  All of my Arcade titles are now stored on a thumb drive and I've deleted all the extra stuff for games that I probably won't play for awhile.  I figure I'll just re-download them if/when I play that game again.  File management has been a bitch.

A 1TB hard drive should be big enough, right?  If not I guess I'll have to look in to some external storage for my XBO.  I like not having to flip through a case but instead flip through a couple of titles on my screen.  And there isn't the hassle of having to get up to change disks whenever I want to change games.  I can see the beauty in going all digital.  But it doesn't feel like I "own" anything when I purchase a digital game.

I love to read but I have no interest in going to a digital platform for books.  My tablet is a Nook from Barnes & Noble but I have no interest in reading a book on it.  I prefer the paper and glue method of delivery that I've used for years.  I feel like I "own" those books , , , even if I've only just checked it out of the library.  There is something about holding something in your hand and saying "this is mine" that is very satisfying to me.  That's why I've been buying disk copies of games.

And it always seems to me that I can find cheaper copies of the game if I buy the disk than if I buy a digital copy.  Recently I've been looking for a copy of the game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West for Xbox 360.  I saw that GameStop had a used copy for $3, but in the game store on my Xbox a digital copy was still going for $15.  Now why would I want to spend $15 on a game when I could get the same game for $3 somewhere else?  (In fact I got the game for $1.50 somewhere else so I saved even more money.)  For less than $60 I was able to pick up 5 games only one of which was new (Gears of War Ultimate Edition $40).  For less than $20 I was able to pick up 4 more games that I wouldn't have been able to if I had purchased the digital version of Enslaved.

Until digital pricing goes down on older games I'm not so sure that I want to spend more money than I have to for older games.  That doesn't mean I won't buy digital at all (and I won't stop getting Games with Gold games for free if I like them).  But maybe I only pay full price on new games.  You know, when the digital copy is the same price as a disk copy.

Yeah, I won't have any little inserts or "24 hours free Xbox Live Gold membership" cards in a case.  But I also won't have a case cluttering up the space in my living room.  I'm running out of shelf space as it is.  And with digital some games have the option to pre-purchase and pre-download so you're ready to play the game from minute one on the day it comes out.  I like that.  But whether it is digital space or shelf space I don't see myself stopping to buy video games anytime soon.  New or used.  I only see more video games in my future . . . especially this holiday season.  Lots more games.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Xbox One is in the house

Since I finally perfected an Xbox 360 game I got the reward of treating myself to a new Xbox One system and games.  I was so excited when I opened it up and hooked everything up.  There were a lot of downloading and updating to do so I didn't get the chance to play on Friday.

I did get the chance to look at my friend's list and finally see what my friends were playing.  It was so annoying on the Xbox 360 so see my friends playing "Xbox One" and not know what game it was.  Now and I could see.  And what were they playing?  YouTube.  TV.  And "watching a video".  Really?  That's what you were doing?

After all the grief I had been getting for the last couple of years of not upgrading, yet when I finally do that's what everyone was using their system for?  What about games?  Do my friends still play those?  Maybe this is just the void before the storm as there are lots of great games that are coming out this holiday season.  Let's hope so.

But when I was finally able to get online and play, my friends online were still only watching TV or videos and not playing games.  I was starting to get sad.  Then I put in Titanfall.  And then I felt better.  It would have been great to play with friends, but it was still nice to play a game that I had waited a long time to play.

You see, there were several games that came out that when they did so they were for both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.  Of those games, I decided to wait to get them for the Xbox One instead of the Xbox 360.  That meant I wasn't playing Titanfall, Destiny and Shadow of Mordor.  I could have, but it was my choice to wait until I could get the newer system.  I think the only exception to that was Thief.  I just couldn't wait to get that game on an Xbox One.

I don't know how many of the great games that will be coming out this year I'll be able to afford.  I hope my friends that do have some of the games that I do have will play with me like they use to in the old days.  I guess we could always watch TV or YouTube videos together too.  It's just not the same.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I finally achieved perfection!

Well, I finally did it.  I perfected an Xbox 360 retail game.  Now, I've perfected several Arcade titles, but those games don't usually require the time and effort commitment to getting all the achievements that a full retail game does.  Retail games are also a lot more gamerscore than Arcade titles (at least they were).  It's so much more fulfilling to see 1,000 in gamerscore next to a game instead of 200.

Now, technically I've "finished" several retail titles.  Meaning I've finished the story and gotten to the end credits.  But I've never perfected the achievements in a retail game before.  Now, I did it in Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.  And it's the third time I've played the game.

The first time I played that game I completed it with my brother, dain bramage, in co-op on the Playstation 2.  We completed all the Lego Star Wars games together on the PS2 and when we found out those games were out for the Xbox 360 we doubled up and got those games again for the achievements.  We knew what we were in for since we had already played the game and thought it would be a piece of cake to play those games again and get that allusive 1,000 perfect gamerscore.

So, for a second time I started playing the game.  This time we were working mostly on our own.  We did get together to play the arcade mini-game so we could get that achievement.  Other than that I've been playing the game alone.  And I don't remember it being that hard to complete.  Unfortunately some jackass(es) broke in to my house about 6 years ago and stole all my games . . . and more importantly my game saves and memory cards.  They stole a lot of items, but they also stole hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of my life in game saves.

At the time I was robbed I only had 2 achievements left to earn.  The one for collecting all Gold Bricks and the one for completing the game to 100%.  The last achievement I had earned was to get all the Mini-kits, which I had earned about a month or so before I was robbed.  I was that close to finishing the game.  But once I got all my stuff back, I had to decide if I was going to start the game over for a third time just for those last 2 achievements.  I had to make that decision for several games (Lost Odyssey being one I was about 4 hours away from finishing based on friend's estimates).

I didn't make that decision right away because just the thought of it overwhelmed me.  All those game saves lost.  Pieces of time ripped right out of my life with no hope of ever getting those moments back.  Did I want to do it all over again?  For every game?  Was it worth it?

I've always wanted to perfect a game and I figured that Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga would probably be my best bet.  So I restarted the game . . . for a third time.  I would play the game when I was interested so there were times when I didn't pick up the game for months.  When I finally get all my shit together to start recording gameplay and posting to YouTube I made a decision that I would use that medium to motivate me to finish the game and finally perfect it.  It worked.

Even when I didn't want to play the game anymore I knew I had to make a video to post online.  So I took out the game and played it.  There are times in the videos that you can probably tell how frustrated I was getting with the game.  A lot of that came from the fact that I was replaying it for the 3rd time and I thought it would be easier.  It wasn't sometimes.  And that made it more frustrating for me.  But on Sunday night I finally finished the last missions and the game showed me 100% completion.  Except the achievement didn't pop right away.

The same thing happened when I "earned" the achievement for getting all the Gold Bricks.  The game showed I had all the Gold Bricks (160 of them) and it let me build the fountain, but didn't give me the achievement.  I had to go in and complete a level before the achievement would pop.  The 100% achievement did the same thing.  Can I tell you how anti-climatic that is?  You work really hard and play the game for over 60 hours (for a third time), finally earn the final achievement but the game doesn't give it to you unless you do something else instead.  And you couldn't just jump in a level and jump out.  No. You had to play and complete the level.  Just give me my damn achievement!  I earned it.

I played the extra level and finally got the achievement to pop.  Woohoo!!!  I did it.  I perfected the game.  Below is a breakout of the levels you have to play to complete the game.  Since I didn't do very well in some of the levels I had to replay some of them multiple times.  That hellish Into the Deathstar blue barrels flight mission was the worst.  I think I played that level more than 20 times before I could get all the barrels in the time limit.

36 Story based levels (6 per movie)
36 Freeplay based levels (6 per movie)
36 blue barrel levels (6 per movie)
12 extra movie based levels (2 per movie)
36 "Super Story" based levels
6 extra game based levels (including revised levels, Lego City and New Town)

That's a total of 162 unique levels to play.  You can't say the game doesn't offer up enough content.  Even if it's the same 36 levels over and over and over and over again.  But at least it's done.  In the Lego Star Wars II game the only achievements I haven't earned are to play the vehicle missions without dying (and you can't have any extras turned on).  I think I'll wait on working on those achievements until sometime later.  I'm a little burned out on Lego Star Wars right now.  (But if any of my friends would like to jump in to my game save and see if all my achievements will pop up for them in their game, let me know.  It will cost you an hour of multiplayer game play in a game of your choosing [provided that I own that game]).

The closer I got to finishing the game the more I decided to set myself a goal and reward.  I would finish the game by the end of July (actually finished it August 2nd) and reward myself with finally buying an Xbox One.  I refused to buy and Xbox One until I had completed, or perfected, a game on the Xbox 360.  Now that I've accomplished that, I can finally get my XBO.  I get paid on Friday so look for me online this weekend on my new system.  I earned it.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga = the game from hell

So I've been focusing on finishing up Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga because I'm so close to the end.  I've even put Dark Souls on hold until I can finish Lego SW.  After this last week I was beginning to think that would never happen.

For some reason I had a lot of problem collecting all the blue barrels in Jabba's Palace.  Not all of my failed attempts were due to my stupidity.  Three times my game glitched on me and I got stuck in a room with no way out except a Jawa door that wouldn't let me through.  It was really frustrating to spend four and half minutes just trying to get through a door when I only have 10 minutes to play the level and my game is going "uh oh, not for you".  It's frustrating.  Almost enough to quit the game no matter how close I was to finishing.

But that level has nothing on Into the Deathstar.  That level is a BITCH FROM HELL level!!!!!  I think I tried that level more than 20 times before I even started to get close to finishing it.  The first couple of times I spent 8 out of my 10 minutes just clearing the first area of the 4 Star Destroyers.  It's kind of hard to find and pick up 8 more blue barrels in only 2 minutes.  Impossible is more like it. 

I even got desperate enough to send a message to all my friends that I thought might have the game and be willing to help me out.  I told them I was desperate.  I was hoping that they would come to the aid of a damsel in distress.  While I was waiting for them to respond I opened up my game to strangers.  Big mistake!  I had a someone jump in and he spent the whole time just switching ships.  He never fired his gun.  He never collected a blue barrel.  He did absolutely nothing.  Well . . . not exactly nothing.  He did change his ship every second or two and then tried to fly in whatever opposite direction I was trying to fly in.  Since you share the screen (even over Xbox Live) you can image how well that got along.  I think I had to kick him out of the game 4 or 5 times before I finished the level.  Well, actually I ran out of time to be honest.

After that disastrous experience I changed my settings to set my game to invite only and thought I would give it one more try before giving up on the game entirely.  It turns out I'm glad I gave it another shot.  I was able to finish the level and ended up with just over 2 minutes to spare before time ran out.  I was completely shocked, stunned and utterly bewildered, befuddled and confused.  But also extremely ecstatic and thrilled.  I couldn't believe how close I was to giving up and crying myself to sleep and never playing this game again when the very next play through I beat it with time to spare.  I haven't listened to the audio for that level yet so I hope I don't sound like a complete idiot.  It's just that I've been working on trying to finish that level for almost 2 weeks and I finally did it.  It will be awhile before that video is posted, just don't judge me to badly for my reaction.

Now that my blue barrels were all collected I could focus on the remaining 4 gold bricks I needed in order to get all 160 gold bricks.  I had to do the original Gunship Calvary level, the alternate New Hope level and the Lego City and New Town levels.  I've tried Lego City and New Town before but could never get all 1,000,000 studs before giving up.  It took a couple of attempts for Lego City and I had to pause my own recording of New Town to watch a video online to find out what I was forgetting to do before I could finish New Town.  But all of those are now done.  Unfortunately I'm not done with the game like I thought I would be.

When I got the last gold brick I waited patiently for the achievement to pop up.  It didn't.  I couldn't figure out what I needed to do to get it to pop.  I even went outside the Cantina and built that gold fountain with all the gold bricks.  Nothing.  After the Deathstar blue barrel fiasco I was so furious that my anger went immediately to a cold blue fire.  Bypass the yellow, red and white hot stuff.  I was glowing blue.  If it wasn't so late at night I probably would have gone nuclear too.

I was able to calm down enough to go online and see if anyone else had problems with getting the gold brick achievement to pop.  Turns out lots of people got all gold bricks but didn't have the achievement pop.  Even back to 2011.  I read several posts that said you need to go in to a level and play it with all your 'super Jedi powers' and then the achievement will unlock.  Eh?  The achievement isn't for playing a level (all or which you've already completed in order to get the 160 gold bricks) after you've got all the bricks.  It's for getting all the gold bricks.  Period.  End of achievement.  If you want someone to play with all those 'super Jedi powers' make that a separate achievement, or put it in the description of the achievement that we're required to do.  It's bullshit and it makes no sense.

I haven't gone back in to a level and played it to unlock it because I realized that I'm not actually done with the game like I thought I would be after I got those last 4 gold bricks.  It turns out I forgot about the "Super Story" levels in each movie.  That means I have to play all those levels all over again and finish each move in less than an hour and I think I have to get 100,000 studs as well.  Yeah me!  My completion percentage is somewhere at 97.6% or something and I still have to play through all levels, all movies, all over again.  Someone shot me now.

I don't remember the game being this torturous on the Playstation 2.  My brother and I played and completed both Lego Star Wars games to 100% but I don't remember it being anything like this.  Since we completed this game on PS2 and I had almost completed this game before my stuff got robbed, once I do complete the game it will be for the third time.  And I will never play it again.  If any of my friends want help picking up achievements or collectibles they are going to have to pay up big to get me help them.  Sorry guys.  That's just the way it has to be for me. 

Right now I've got 6 more levels to play and film and then I'm done.  So at least 6 more hours in hell.  Let's hope that it only takes one run through for each of the super stories.  With my luck this hell will keep me sucked in for an additional 6 hours on top of that.  How many levels are there in Dante's Inferno (the book, not the game).  I'm sure Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga has got to be one of them.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A little less Dark Souls . . . for now

So I've noticed something when I play Dark Souls.  I get a headache.  A very bad headache.  I don't know if it's because the game stresses me out.  Or I just get too mad and frustrated with myself when I play it that my brain cramps up on me.  What I've also noticed is that I also get a headache when I edit my gameplay footage of Dark Souls.  This is not good.

I don't exactly know what to do about that.  I want to keep playing the game.  When I'm not dying I'm actually enjoying myself.  The problem is I'm dying a lot.  And over stupid stuff that shouldn't get me.  But it does.  And now that I've noticed that it is effecting my editing I'm at a loss of what to do.
I don't know if it's because I know I would rather play other games that I'm less terrible at or not.  I mean I like Rayman Origins.  And I die A LOT more in that game.  But it doesn't frustrate me as much as Dark Souls does.  And I don't get headaches editing the gameplay. 

I've been trying to figure out what to do and so I've been focusing on finishing up Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.  I'm almost done too.  I've only got one level for the blue barrels left (a stupid vehicles mission) and just 4 gold bricks left to do and then I'm done with the game.  I can't wait to earn all achievements in that game.  Every chance I get to film some gameplay has been in that game.  I've got about 9 videos filmed but not edited yet so I'm debating about making all of the videos I post for the next little while Lego games so I can finally be done with the game.

My reward for finishing the Lego Star Wars achievements and getting 100% in the game is to buy myself an Xbox One system.  I can't wait, but I promised myself that I would until I finished at least one retail game on the Xbox 360.  I've completed several arcade titles but I haven't finished the achievements in a full retail game and I would feel guilty about moving on to a new system without having done that.

I've been asking all of my friends what XBO games to get since my budget will be limited.  Of course that means I'll still have time and games to play on my 360.  Which means I will finish Dark Souls . . . it just might not be for awhile.  Does that make me a bad gamer?  I hope not.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Permanent delete is actually . . . permanent

So if you ever get the message "do you want to permanently delete this" you better be sure that's what you actually want to do.  Who knew "permanent" actually mean gone forever.  What's the point of a recycle bin if you don't throw files in it?

Here's what happened.  I was cleaning out some folders on my laptop and I accidentally had a folder called "synced-needs edits" checked off.  This is a folder where after I've synced up my audio and video files I dump them there until I can have the time to edit them.  I had 15 files in the folder.  When I hit the delete button I got a pop up message saying something about the files being too large to fit in the recycle bin so do I want to delete them permanently.  I clicked yes because I was cleaning out my folders and I would have emptied the recycle bin before logging off anyway.  Big mistake.

I didn't realize that my synced-needs edit folder was one of those files.  For some reason when I hover over a folder for too long my system thinks I want to select it.  No, I don't want to do that laptop!!!  But I hadn't realized this is what had happened until I went looking for some videos to edit.  At least not until I tried to find it and open up a file to edit a video.  The problem was I couldn't find the folder.  And that's when it hit me.  I had deleted the folder . . . permanently.  I guess that's what I get for not paying attention.

So, now my folder is gone and all my synced videos are gone.  So I spent most of Sunday and all of Monday night resyncing my videos.  It's a good thing I hadn't deleted the raw videos and audio files when I was cleaning house.  That's 15+ videos that I've got to process, sync and then save.  And to top it off I deleted part 3 of 5 in a new game that I haven't posted about yet.  Luckily I still had the Elgato footage and could piece that together and reprocess before I could then resync.  It's been really frustrating the last couple of days.

Every now and then I have those moments when I don't pay attention to what I'm doing and then end up doing something completely stupid.  Thankfully with this little boo-boo the problem is recoverable, albeit time consuming.  I had some plans that I wanted to put in to place this week but those are now on hold while I try to get caught up on editing.  Maybe in the next week or so.  Barring any other disasters I should be able to put everything in to play by the first week of August.  I'm really excited about those things.  I can't tell you about them now, but I hope you'll be excited to see what I've got planned.  If not . . . it's okay to pretend you're excited.  I won't mind.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The deaths that keep on coming

So, I thought playing Dark Souls would be hard.  I was right.  But there's another game out there that I'm playing that's even harder.  In a way.

Before I even started playing Dark Souls everyone told me how hard the game was and that I should be prepared to die a lot.  Since I usually die a lot anyway, I figured it would be 10x worse than normal for me.  Sure enough, when I started that game I started to see how brutal it can be.  It took awhile before I got my first death, but after that they came along at a steady pace.

It's not just the deaths that are bad.  It's how tough the game is to play, survive and manage your attacks and defense.  It's one thing to die a lot, but another to be aware of when you've lost stamina and need to back out of a fight for awhile to regroup and recharge. 

And then there's the blocking.  It's one thing to hold a shield up and just wait around until the enemy starts hacking at you.  You're protected and you don't take the damage you know is coming.  In Dark Souls, blocking doesn't work that way.  You have to time your parry skill at just the right moment.  If you're too early, or too late, you're going to take a lot of damage.  And there's nothing you can do about that.  Each enemy has a different attacking style and sometimes several variations of moves.  It's not always easy to figure out the best time to activate your parry skill.  It ends up being a lot of trail and error.  With error usually leading to death.

But while I'm finding Dark Souls tough to play, and I'm dying a lot, I think there's another game that I'm having more of a problem in right now.  What game could that be?  Rayman Origins.


I know that sounds weird because Rayman Origins doesn't come across as a brutal or unforgiving game like Dark Souls does.  But apparently I die a lot more in that game than I have so far in Dark Souls.  In the video that I editing last night, and should go up this week, I had 25 deaths alone in about 23 minutes of game play.  That's not good odds if you ask me.  And what's funny is that I wasn't keeping track of my deaths while I was playing.  But at the end of the video I make a side comment that "I must have died 25 times".  Turns out I was spot on.  Who know.

Some of those deaths were stupid on my part.  Either because I wasn't paying attention or because I had trouble doing something right.  Other deaths were because the game made getting something, or going somewhere almost impossible to do unless you do it perfectly.  So I guess the game can be unforgiving.  But it's not known to be like that.  Dark Souls, on the other hand, has that for a reputation.  You know what you're getting in to when you play that game.

I thought Rayman Origins would be a fun, light, easy game to play that would break up the brutal nature of Dark Souls.  Turns out Dark Souls might be the game that breaks up the frustrations and agony of playing Rayman Origins.  I still like the game and will continue to play it.  I just hope things get easier.  But so far, it doesn't look like it's going to turn out that way.  No matter what game I play, the deaths are just going to keep on coming for me.  Over and Over again.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Posting schedule and new games coming soon

I've finally got things settled down on the capturing front and I'm pretty sure I can set a schedule and stick to it for when I'm posting videos.  It's subject to change, because, well, I'm a girl and I like to change my mind.

I've currently got three games going at the time.  Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Dark Souls and Rayman Origins.  So I'm going to post a new video in one of those games three days a week.  I'm almost done with lego Star Wars so I'll be looking for a replacement for that game when I'm done.  For now, I think I'll post new videos Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I might add to that as I get more games filmed and edited.  We'll have to see.  I would eventually like to get to a point where I'm posting 5 to 6 times a week.  But I'm not there yet.

I've actually done a lot of filming in two other games.  I don't want to spoil those for you now, you'll just have to wait to see what they are.  I think they show a good mix of the types of games I like and the systems I play on.  One is a fun classic and the other is one I would never think of to pick up and play, but I actually found that I like it a lot (except for a pesky boss battle that I'm stuck at). 

Now that I can capture from any of my Playstations or Nintendo systems, the possibilities have really opened up for what I can film.  I'm so excited.  Except for Nintendo's posting videos of their games "system".  I'm doing some research on that.  I'd love to post Pikmin videos, but while Pikmin (the original) is listed on their "white list", Pikmin 2 is not.  Does that mean I can post Pikmin 2 videos?  That's what I've got to find out.  But that's an issue for later on down the road.

While filming is fun and the editing sometimes isn't, I don't mind.  I'd much rather spend my day being frustrated over some editing issues than the work I do for my job.  I get more satisfaction out of the editing than anything I do for my employer.  I'm getting better at the editing and I hope it shows in my videos because I sure do love making these.  And I can't wait to show you what else I've filmed.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Poll Results - What new game should I start next

So my poll has been closed for awhile but I finally have the chance to give the results.

What new game should I start (and capture)?

  • Dark Souls
  • Darksiders
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • Dishonored
  • Rayman Origins
  • Red Faction: Guerilla
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

There were 2 votes for Dark Souls and 2 votes for Rayman Origins.  I know who voted so you can't hide from me.  It was a little bit unfair in that I started playing Rayman Origins before the poll closed.  I might even have posted a video before it closed as well.  I really just needed a change in the games I was playing and that one sounded like a good c
choice at the time.

Since the poll has closed I've actually started 2 new games (and picked up some achievements and trophies in both of them).  I've started Dark Souls on my Xbox 360 and Prototype 2 on my PS3.  I'm editing the video for Dark Souls now and I'll get to the Prototype 2 edits in the next day or so. 

I'm really excited about the Prototype 2 games for a couple of reasons.  1) I finally was able to get my PS3 set up to capture video and sound.  It tool a couple extra chords and devices to get it to work but I think it will be worth it.  I used a new audio program for the first Prototype video so I'm interested in seeing how that turned out.  I used Audicity to record.  It's a test video so hopefully things will work out but I'm still tweaking the settings.  And 2) I really liked that game.  Once I got a hang of everything I was having a lot of fun flying through the city and killing bad guys . . . and innocents some time when I needed a snack to munch on.  Don't judge me.  I got all the way up to the Hydra boss battle, which I did have some trouble with but it's still all good.  Look for Prototype 2 videos coming to my YouTube channel soon.

I think I've finally got things under control enough that I can commit to a schedule for posting on my channel.  I'm going to try to post 2 videos a week during the summer and hopefully get up to a 3 videos per week schedule once this blistering heat stops turning me in to a puddle of water with no energy to do anything.  That doesn't mean I won't be posting an extra video or two every now and then.  Just depends on how fast I can record them and edit them while still working a full time job.  Got to pay the bills somehow. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I live in Hell and I'm losing my mind

I think I'm gong to lose my mind.  There's so many things that are frustrating me now in my life that I just want to go stark raving mad and get hauled away to the loony bin.  At least then I might get some peace of mind or at least a mental vacation for awhile.  And someone else can pay for the air conditioning.

Work: I've had so many meetings lately that some days I spend less than an hour sitting at my desk actually getting work done.  Why so many meeting?  I've been there so long that I'm the resident expert on everything so whenever a new project starts up that effects our unit, I'm asked to be the SME (subject matter expert).  Even when I'm too busy and they assign someone else in my place that always fails and I'm roped in later on because the original person can't handle it.  Well guess what?  I CAN'T HANDLE EVERYTHING!!!!

Also, due to the fact that I've been there so long and know everything, I'm also the trainer.  And I'm damn good at it (I did get my degree in education).  We've tried to split it up and have other people train on some things and that hasn't worked out very well.  I have to step in and "re-train" someone because they are so hopelessly confused.  It takes about 6 months to fully train someone so that they can function completely on their own and even then they probably haven't seen everything yet.  We had a new assistant start last June.  He got fully trained around late November/early December.  In January we had another assistant start.  He's almost done training, hopefully in the next week or two.  And guess what?  We have another person starting next month that will also have to be trained.  All these meetings and training are in ADDITION to my regular job.

Video capturing:  I've been so excited to finally get set up to capture video of game play and put them on line.  I've had some bugs and I thought I had everything worked out.  I spent a lot of money to get equipment to correct audio issues and at first it was working just great.  Then I seemed to have problems again.  The same types of problems.  I haven't figured out how to fix it permanently but I have figured out a work around.  Unfortunately that work around triples the time it takes me to edit a video.

Editing:  Now I'm having a new problem come up in the last couple of days.  Every time I go to edit a video when I get about half-way through and try to cut something out my whole video gets corrupted and I lose everything.  Not lose permanently, as I can always scrap the project I'm working on and start over from scratch.  But there is only so many times I can take trying to edit the same video file over and over again after it crashes each time before I start to go mental.  That's why I haven't posted a video in awhile because I can't finish editing any of the ones I've got recorded.  I think I'm going to have to edit in stages.  After I make a few cuts and things haven't crashed then I'll save the file, close out, reopen and try again.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.  I'm not happy.

Weather:  I live in Arizona and the winters are absolutely lovely.  The summers, on the other hand, are brutal and I hate them.  I've been here for the last 19 consecutive years and I'm starting to feel like that's 12 years too long.  I can't take the heat anymore.  I can't take the endless blue skies with not a cloud to be seen anywhere.  It looks good on paper, but 114 degrees sure doesn't feel good in real life.  Yes, I have a pool and can take a dip to help cool off but that requires getting out in the sun and the heat.  I was only out there for about 20-30 minutes yesterday at lunch and I got burned.  Add a nice sunburn to the "uncomfortable heat" factor and you can see why the summers suck.

I miss a change of seasons.  Where snowy lawns give way to spring flowers.  Where cool breezes give way to sunshine and worth.  And then the air turns crispy and brisk as colder air comes in heralding the first arrive of winter and snow.  It's the cycle of life.  In Arizona you only have 2-3 months of "wonderful" and then 7-8 months of "bake in hell you SOB" weather.  I'm tired of it. 

I hear of other places getting inundated with rain and I openly beg them to send some my way.  Then I start to think.  Why should they send it over to me?  Why don't I just go to the rain?  Or at least somewhere that has weather and hopefully a change of seasons.  It's a scary thought about picking up to move just because of the weather (that and the fact that my job is sucking the life out of me) but I don't know how much longer I can take living here. 

Of course, I feel that way every summer and somehow I get through it.  Then the brief "winter" comes and I love living here.  But then the summer comes back and the cycle of my life repeats itself.  I'm finding this summer particularly awful.  I think we've had almost 2 weeks with temperatures above 110 every day.  That might be new record.  I don't think my other frustrations are helping me.  It's hard to get excited about editing after I've come home from a very stressful day at work.  And then when the editing doesn't work . . . .  You get the picture.

I've noticed some of my crabbiness has been getting into my commentary in videos (at least as far I can tell while doing what editing I can).  I'm trying not to let things get to me but it's hard when you're hot and miserable all the time.  I'm going to push through it and hopefully things will get better.  At leas the weather will get better . . . in about 6 months.  Until then I'll just keep living in Hell and losing my mind.  I'm pretty sure I don't have much left.  It's been fried from one thing or another for a while now.

Monday, June 1, 2015

A new game (Rayman Origins) and the last of my audio problems (hopefully)

So I started a new game for my YouTube channel.  I was getting really frustrated with Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga that I needed to take a break.  Normally when that happens, I would play something new and not go back to a frustrating game for a very long time.  One of the reasons why I started the channel was to keep me honest and coming back to games I’m in the middle of to make myself finish them because now I have to post a video of game play . . . even if no one is watching.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to play.  Hopefully something more fun and happy that what Lego SW was turning out to be for me.  I picked Rayman Origins.  It’s one of the poll votes and the poll wasn’t done yet, but I still picked it.  For some reason I really want to play Dark Souls which I hear is a really brutal game so I’m hoping that Rayman will lighten the mood when I play it.  I’m sure I’ll have lots of games on the go at any given time.  Rayman just happens to be the next game I picked.

 At hopefully it will be the last as well.  Not for playing games, but for audio problems.  I finally had the extra money to fix my audio issues.  I no longer need to use the built in mic on my lap top and have to sync up the audio and video when I’m editing.  I now have a set up that will record the audio IN the video capture so there’s only 1 file to render, process and edit.  Instead of have 2 separate files for each step.  Part 1 of Rayman Origins was the last capture done with separate audio and video files so I’m excited that I finally figured everything out.  Even if it did cost a lot of money to get it to work the way it should have the first time.

I haven’t really edited the next video yet.  Just listen to the first part of it.  I think it sounds AWESOME!  It’s like night and day.  I really love the sound and think I sound so much better.  I still sound stupid at times, but I don’t think a new audio set up will fix that.  One thing I did notice is that you can really hear my dog Zoe’s nails click on the wood floors as she walks across the room.  It picks up sound so much clearer.  I don’t know if there’s anything I can do about that now, other than to keep my dog off the floor, but I have plans to fix that in the future. 

I have an old desktop computer that I really can’t (actually don’t want to) use anymore.  I need to go through the files and save anything I want to keep and move that over to my lap top.  Then I can get rid of the big brown box and the SUPER BIG FAT monitor.  Those will go in the garage for storage and maybe a Craig’s list posting.  I can then turn that computer desk space over to my gaming and move my whole set up in to my office instead of sitting in the living room.  That way you won’t hear Zoe’s nails as she walks across the floor all the time.  I will need to get a small TV to set up in that room before I do, but hopefully I can take care of all of that soon.

The only downside to this plan is that I work from home at least 3 days a week and I’m not sure how I feel about having my gaming set up in the same room.  1) it will be too distracting when I’m trying to work and would rather do anything other than work (i.e. every single day), 2) when I’m done working I like to get out of the room for a nice break and not go back in to it again until the next time I work from home.  Sometimes, after a particularly rough week I won’t go in to my office at all on the weekends.  I feel like I’m trapped in a cage while I sit there and work and I don’t want to interfere with my gaming or desire to game.  I’ll have to figure something out.

The other option is to move my gaming set up in to what I was making my craft room.  It’s currently mostly storage right now.  I’ve been slowly going through the boxes there and cleaning things out or moving them to a more permanent storage location.  Most of the boxes being moved are Star Wars figures and toys.  I hate to admit this, but I’m starting to consider selling those on Craig’s list as well.  I could make thousands (although not as much as I spent on them). 

The downside to using that room is that I don’t have wired internet access in that room.  I would need to see how the wireless is working in that area because it seems to be hit or miss around my house.  The upside is that my gaming station wouldn’t be a temptation while I’m working and I wouldn’t feel like I’m trapped in a cage all day if I work and then game in the same room.  The upside is that my roommate could also use that room for their gaming, if they wanted to, and it wouldn’t matter if I was home working or not.  While it’s in my office, on the days I work from home it would be unusable.  Another downside is that I was hoping to create a calming, soothing retreat where I could go and work on crafts.  Having a bunch of gaming equipment and stuff in the room doesn’t really lend itself to a Zen-like environment.  I’ve got a couple weeks before I can afford to buy another TV and clean up the old computer space so I’ve got time to decide.

Once I do figure everything out and get a final setup of where/how I want to do things I might post a pic or blog about it.  If I can find a replacement battery for my digital camera I might even do a room tour.  But that’s more money to spend.  Isn’t getting/keeping electronics working properly wonderfully.

In the meantime, why not enjoy my last (hopefully) terrible audio video before the video with my new set up comes out.  And it’s a new game.  And I pick up a couple of achievements.  Yeah for me all around!


Friday, May 29, 2015

The end for Frag Dolls

Sadly, I found out today that the Frag Dolls are ending.  You can read their blog post about it here.

I started playing video games a long time before I played anything online with other people.  I was hesitant at first at doing so because I was a girl and "girls just don't video games".  The first game I played online was Star Wars Battlefront on the original Xbox.  I think I played every night for more than a month before I finally said anything in the matches.  When I did, it blew some people's mind that I was a girl.  They just thought I was stupid because I spelled penguin (Pengwenn) wrong.

I got a lot of flack those first 2 weeks I started talking when people started to learn I was a girl.  People wanted to play with me and just wanted to hear me talk.  They would do everything they could to get me to say something.  They would follow me around and shoot at me, even if we were on the same team.  They wanted to get a rise out of me enough that I would say something.  It was annoying, but I'm more patient than they could possible imagine.

Occasionally I would get fed up and yell at them and then they would talk smack to me about swearing and being a girl, and why was I playing video games, and why I was so bad, and what my problem was, etc.  If I ever got in to a battle with someone and they were watching, they wouldn't help me out.  They would stand back and watch how things turned out.  If I won, they would say I cheating because that's the only way a girl could win.  If I lost, they would say I should stop gaming and get to the kitchen because I was so terrible.

And then there's all the sexual harassment crap I had to take from all the assholes out there because I was a girl.  Don't get me started on that.

There was a time when I wanted to give up gaming online because of all the harassment I was getting.  It didn't last long though because I really loved playing Battlefront . . . and I just stopped using a headset when things got really bad.

I did learn how to find really cool guys, that might be surprised that I was a girl, but didn't seem to care about it.  I was a gamer to them.  Someone who liked playing video games with other like-minded individuals.  As long as we had fun they didn't care if I had tits and a vagina.  And sometimes they even forgot that I did.

I have several memories where one or more of my guy friends stood up for me while playing matches online.  Killafoola was the first.  MasvHdWundHarry was the fiercest.  And Evil Ric, cyberWRAT and NatraZamataZ seemed to be the most welcoming of letting a girl play with them.  They have been my friends since the beginning and they still are today.

I remember when I first discovered the Frag Dolls.  I was thrilled that there were other girls playing video games and that I wasn't alone and there was someone else to relate to.  I followed what they were doing.  Even sought out their advise a time or two.  They gave me hope that things would get better, and to remember to keep playing until they do.

They were right.

Things have come a long way since 2004.  It's still not perfect.  There are still douche bags online that think the only way to talk to a girl is by tearing them down.  Luckily I've gotten older and wiser and know how to avoid and/or ignore them most of the time.  I am a strong woman, and gamer, because I saw in the Frag Dolls that it was possible to become one.

Sadly, I haven't followed them as much as I use to the last couple of years.  I've grown more confident and secure in myself as a gamer.  I was still happy that they existed for all the new girls coming in to gaming that could use the help support that I didn't have initially.  It's sad to see them go.  I hope that support will continue from all of us lady gamers to help another generation of woman pick up a control or keyboard and mouse and kick people's asses.  It's really fun to do so.  Whether your or guy OR a girl.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

I curse a lot when I get frustrated

So, I was editing my next video for YouTube and I noticed something.  When I get frustrated I curse.  A lot.  Everything started to fall apart when my game got glitchy and I couldn't get a minikit.  I tired over and over again to fit it and try to get it, but it didn't work.  All I could hear was me swearing, over and over again.  I thought it was really funny (not at the time though) so I added credits to the video and added a "swear count" to the credits.  You should watch the video and you'll know right when I start to lose it.  Did I miss any?  Should I go to anger management classes?  You tell me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New Achievements!

So I picked up some new achievements this weekend.  It's been awhile since I've earned any so I'm excited.

The first one I picked up was in the Arcade game Scramble.  I haven't played that game in a long time.  Actually the last (and only) achievement I earned in that game was from 6/1/2007.  Wow!  Talk about some time lag. 

I wasn't really looking to play that game.  I was actually seeing if I still had the digital download for Gears of War Judgment and I came across that game.  I couldn't remember what type of game it was so I loaded it up and tried it out.  Within in the first two minutes I got the achievement.  Maybe subconsciously I knew how close I was to another achievement and that's why I started it up.  Maybe I should listen to those voices inside my head more often.  It might help my Gamerscore.

The next achievements I got were in a new game.  I put in Rayman Origins and made a video in that game that should be released later this week.  Yes, I know it's one of the options in my poll which doesn't close yet, I just wanted something fun and bright and cheerful to play since Lego Star Wars was driving me crazy.  So much so, that there will be a "swear count" in the credits at the end of one of my videos once I post it.  I'm not done editing it (or counting swear words) so it probably won't be up for another day or two.  When you watch it, you'll understand.  At least I hope you will.  And it's all my fault.

I also spent some time today working towards 3 achievements in Gears of War Judgment.  And no, I don't seem to have the digital copy on my hard drive anymore.  I'm working on finishing the campaign on insane and I have a friend that is helping me out.  I'm playing on insane.  He's playing on casual.  We were able to play the 3rd chapter before we called it quits.  I should get the achievement for hardcore, insane and co-op once we finish everything.  That will be 125 points for my Gamerscore.  After we do that, we talked about working on the getting the stars and declassified mission achievements.  I think that will bring in another 100+ points, but those are much further down the road.  Let's just try to get through the campaign first, shall we.

I am seriously trying to get to (and possibly over) the 30,000 mark with my Gamerscore before the end of the year.  I've got a full time job that sucks the life out of me Monday through Friday, plus a bunch of other things going on in life.  It's doable.  It's just going to take me awhile.  That's kind of one of the reasons why I wanted to start a game that I haven't played to help me get some achievements.  And to experience something fresh and new.  But, mostly for the achievements.  What can I say.  I like achievements.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New Poll: What games should I try next?

So it's been awhile since I've had a new poll up on my blog.  But I've got one I want to start now.  It might be a short window to vote so vote early (and often).  You can vote for as many as you like, as many times as you like.  I don't know when I'll shut the poll down, but there is a nice long holiday weekend coming up that I would like to spend time playing games.

I've been playing a lot of Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga because I'm trying to get the last two achievements I need to finally get a disk game to 100% for the achievements.  I've finished the achievements in several Arcade games, but never with a full disk game.  But . . . I'm getting a little tired of playing that game all the time since It's the third time through the game for me (once completing on PS2 and once again on Xbox 360 before my stuff got stolen). 

Now I want to start playing something else as a little break.  I've narrowed some choices down to the following.  I will be making videos of me playing them and posting on YouTube so what would you like to see me play.  These are all games that I haven't played before so the experience would be completely new for me.  Vote and let me know what I should dive in to.

What game should I start playing:

Dark Souls
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Rayman Origins
Red Faction: Guerilla

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Clueless . . . .the sequel?

So I usually spend my Sunday afternoons editing the videos I made earlier in the week.  This Sunday was particularly dreadful.  My epic failures from the last video continued into this one.  I don't know why because they were filmed in different days.

I only have myself to blame though.  I really screwed up in the game and instead of letting my audio run while I went online to figure out what to do to fix things, I stopped the audio and then restarted when I was ready to play again.  Unfortunately I had to do that more than once.  I ended up with 3 audio files for one video.  Getting those to sync up and edit was a pain in the butt.

After all was said and done and while I waited for my video to upload to YouTube, I called my brother dain bramage.  I had some questions to ask about external hard drives and such.  I mentioned my editing nightmare and he asked why didn't I just sync up all the audio initially and then render the file into one file (my audio and video are separate files now with the way I have to do things) and then edit that.  I wouldn't have had to edit the video and audio files separately and then have to constantly have to check that things were synced up.


It's such a simple thing.  But it blew my mind.  Why didn't I think of that?  I'm the one playing around with the editing software so I should have been able to figure that out.  Or at least make a guess that something like that would work.  But no.  I was so set in the painful way that I've been editing that I couldn't think outside the box to make it better.  What took almost 3 hours to do could have been done in less than an hour.  Mind blown.

The main reason I wanted to talk to my brother was to ask if it was okay to use an old external hard drive that I had been using for my old Windows XP machine that is now completely worthless.  I had a bunch of stupid questions to ask because I'm not a computer geek like he is, but he helped me figure things out and told e how to reformat the drive once I've taken off all vital information that I want to keep.

I also had to ask him how to get all my writing that I've stored on little floppy disks on to my laptop so that I could keep them and possibly work on them.  We talked about the size of floppy disks and he said they were only 1.44mb in size. 


That's all?  I remember when floppy disks came out (I'm dating myself here) and I can't believe that that was only how big they were.  So I asked him who big a CD had for storage.  He said only about 700mbs.  What?  Really?


I then tried to do the math in my head on how many floppy disks you could store on a CD.  Or how many floppy disks you could store in 1 gigabit of space.

Pow! and Pow!

I was thinking I would need a lot of space to store all the short stories I've written over the years because I have a lot of 3.5 floppy disks but it's actually not that much.  I was thinking that I would need at least an 8gb thumb drive but I think I could get away with a 2gb drive and have room to spare.  I thought I had a lot of writing but when you put it in that perspective, I really don't.


I hate it when I don't know something because I hate looking like a fool.  Tonight I looked like a BIG fool.  And with simple things too boot.  Maybe I'm too focused on other things that I don't really pay attention to other things.  I mean, nothing I learned tonight is earth shattering.  I don't just learn of a cure for cancer or how to stop hunger in Africa, but it was still weird to have my eyes opened to such simple things that I was unaware about before.

I wonder what other things people know that will blow my mind.  It seems my can be so easily blew, but I wouldn't think of myself as naïve.  Clueless maybe, but not naïve.  Maybe my life can be a sequel to that movie.  A good preview of my cluelessness can be found in my latest video.  Check it out.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

So, I sound like my sister and I sweep to the left

I've noticed some very interesting things about myself.  Some gaming related and some not so much since I've been posting YouTube videos.  It's been very fascinating, but probably only to me.

For starters I hate the sound of my voice.  And I sound like my sister.  But that doesn't mean I hate the sound of my sister's voice.  It's just when I'm editing the videos I don't really listen to myself other than to sync audio and cut out those dead spots where I'm not saying to doing a lot.  I never really pay attention to how I sound.  Even after I've done the initial edit and I'm checking things I still don't pay attention to sound of my voice.  After I post it online and can listen to it for real (without the pressure of editing) that's when I really notice what I sound like.

The first time I heard on voice on YouTube my gut reaction was my sister was talking.  But just a younger version of her.  She is older and there's six years between us, but I'm talking more years than just that.  Not teenage voice.  Just younger than I/she is today.  It was really weird.  I had to stop and think for a moment that it was really me saying those things and not her.  I never thought we sounded a like in real life so it was weird to hear it in video.  And it wasn't just the sound, but the phrasing and words used as well.  I guess that's to be expected since we grew up in the same household we're bound to be influenced by the same things.  It was just weird.

Also, I learned that I hate the sound of my voice.  IT JUST DOESN'T SOUND LIKE ME.  I mean the me that I hear when I'm talking doesn't sound like that.  I don't "ummm" all the time, do I?  I just don't like it.  I don't pay attention to all that stuff when I edit but listening to it for fun, really isn't "fun" to me.  Please tell me I don't sound that bad.  It's okay to lie.

The other things I learned about myself is that when I go in to a room that I need to search or clear out enemies in, I usually sweep the room starting to the left and moving around the room in a clockwise way.  I don't know why I do this.  The only thing that I could think of (from my psychology and anthropology studies) is that I'm right handed and if I were physically standing in a room I would move through the room keeping my left side to the outside wall so I could keep my right hand (hopefully holding a sword or a gun) pointed out in to the center of the room to defend myself.  Yes, I'm a nerd to think of things in that way.  It's just really weird. 

If I try to circumvent the room going right in a counter-clockwise direction it feels a little weird and funny to go that way.  That doesn't mean to don't go that way occasionally.  I just seem to prefer going to the left.  And that has nothing to do with my political preference either.  I don't think I would have ever picked up on this except for the fact that I can now watch how I played and see the kind of things I do.  This isn't something I think about while playing.  It just happens.

If you stop to think about it, do you notice anything you do while you play that you might not know why you do it?  I know of a couple people on my friend's list that would fire their guns in Gears and War and try to get a full clip perfect reload right at the start of the match.  They said it would give them a damage bonus when they ran in to the enemy.  The problem was the "bonus" always wore off before they even say the enemy.  And they would run out of bullet when they did finally find the enemy.  Silly boys.

Good, bad or otherwise, I'm learning some things about myself as I make game videos.  Once I get better at the audio and editing stuff I wonder what else I'll find out about myself.  If you watch my videos and notice things I say/do on a semi-regular basis, let me know.  I'm on a path to self-discovery.  Just don't tell me I sound like a little kid.  That's my sister's voice your talking about.