Know Your Nerds

It’s important for every Geeky Girl to know what they’re up against out there.  And this awesome shirt from Threadless Tees (naked no more!) gives you a readily available look at the different types of Nerds out there, as well as their most relevant stats.

Nerdy Chart

Buy it HERE on Threadless for $18.  Best part is, it comes in the “girly tee,” which is MUCH more flattering than trying to stuff your woman-body into a man’s T-shirt.

Everything Changes

It’s Evolutionary.

Okay, enough Pokemon referencing.  For now.  I just wanted to let everyone know that things around here are (again) going through some minor changes.  I’ve been working on some behind-the-scenes stuff, and I think I’m ready to start implementing this new plan around here.

I’m looking at pushing this blog to the next level, with more regular posts and perhaps a move off the free wordpress site.  If I can find the time and funding, I might be moving Hot Pink Joysticks to it’s very own domain, which would mean all sorts of new toys and excitement around here.  But before I get to that, I want to prove to myself and my readers that the blog is ready for that.

What that means for you is a slight restructuring of posting formats and categories as well as a more stable posting schedule.  I will be posting about three or four times a week now, and using Twitter and Facebook for more random things.  You’ll be able to see my Twitter feed on the blog (thanks to a handy little Widget), and my Facebook page is found easy as cake with a quick search of “Hot Pink Joysticks” inside Facebook itself.

Specific segments will now include Fresh-Twist Reviews, Previewpalooza, The Featurette, Strings and Things, and Snippets and Snapshots.  Not every post I do will fit into one of these five categories, but they’ll be the main features on the site for awhile.  I may come back to the GM Project a little later on.

I’ll also be continuing my work on the Anime Addicts Anonymous blog.  Updates on those posts will be stuck up in Twitter and on the Facebook page.  ^.^

Thank you all for your patience, and let’s look forward to a new chapter in Hot Pink Joystick’s bloggy lifetime.

Geeks in Love

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted here.  I’m sure going to try and be better about that now.  The major thing that kept me from posting was, of course, the wedding.  Though the whole full-time student thing has been sort of a drag as well.  I’m working on getting some new things put together for Hot Pink Joysticks.

So I thought I would give you all a little look at my wedding, which was nerdy as I could make it without getting completely over the top.  I hope you’ll appreciate the geeky little details!

Ben and I were married on September 4th, 2010.  We tied the knot in my hometown church, a very small church nestled in a beautiful valley.

Wedding Dress
My dress was beautiful. An Alfred Angelo that was very fitted in the bodice and had more skirt than I knew what to do with. I’m talking almost two and a half feet of train.

Detail
The details on the dress were beautiful. This is the back, and it looked gorgeous bustled and out full.

Veil
My veil was pretty unique. Most veils have detailing around the bottoms and edges. This was a “reverse veil” with the detailing in the top. It worked perfectly because it didn’t distract from the dress’s details. And you can sorta see my hair in this picture, which I did in a style inspired by Padme Amidala from the Prequel Star Wars trilogy.

Shoes
As much as I wanted the Storm Trooper heels, I ended up with these lovely red shoes. Maybe they were like my Wizard of Oz slippers? XD

Favors
The favors were stacked up and done in our wedding colors — Claret, Jade, and Gold. Inside the little treasure boxes were a few Hello Panda snacks, a Japanese flower candy, and either a pomegranate or guava chew.

Nails
My nails! I ordered them from a great seller on Etsy (whom I’ll probably feature here soon), and I chose them because they reminded me of the anime Rozen Maiden. Though I’ve also been told that they’re reminiscent of Darth Maul and Darth Talon. I’m okay with ANY of these.

Colors
Here’s a sampling of the colors. I always hesitate to say “red and green” because people think “Christmas”. But our colors weren’t very Christmas-y at all.

Cyndaquil
On my bridal bouquet, I had a Cyndaquil charm. I chose it because Cyndaquil is a first-evolutionary stage Pokemon and symbolizes that my love for my husband has a lot of room to grow. He’s also a fire-type, which is reminiscent of how warm and wonderful love is.

Jirachi
My bridesmaids all got a Jirachi charm. Being the Pokemon Wishmaker, it was a symbol of how Ben and I would be working together to make our dreams come true.

Han and Leia
These were our cake toppers. Done in the traditional Japanese Kokeshi-doll style, I couldn’t resist them when I found them. Though Leia did need some emergency bun surgery after taking a tumble from the top of our cake…

Champange Glass
These were our champagne flutes. Yes, they do say “Live Long and Prosper.” The phrase also adorned our invitations. Who says Trekkies and Star Wars fans can’t get along?

Ben and the groomsmen had cufflinks with the Imperial insignia on them.  They were very nice, but it seems no one got a picture of them.  I’m a little disappointed of that, though I can try and snap one here to add.  Our special music was “Towa no Hana,” the opening theme to the anime Ai Yori Aoshi.  The wedding party walked in to the Hogwart’s Hymn, I entered to Tifa’s Theme, and we all recessed to Neville’s Waltz.  It was wonderful.

At the reception, we had named all of our tables and included a small blurb about what the name meant.  Most of our guests, after all, weren’t quite as nerdy as we are.  We used Stark, Wirblewind, Zelda, Hufflepuff, Naboo, Executor, Rahl, Helper, GIR, Shaak Ti, Rydia, Kokeshi, Totoro, Firefly, Hyatt, and Home One.

It was a very lovely wedding, if I do say so myself. XD  And I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a glimpse inside.

Back to My Roots

I’ve been taking a long, hard look at the blog and where I’ve gone with it.  It’s been over a year since I made my first post, and I’m not sure I’ve grown very much in the directions I wanted to go when I started it all.  So I took a little time off to just step back and think everything through.

For those of you who don’t know, I dream of someday writing full time for a gaming or anime publication.  This blog, while always being a labor of love and a way for me to express my geeky side in a public medium, is also supposed to be helping me develop a strong, unique voice before I start looking for paying work.  It’s part of the perks of being a college student — I can keep going to school to follow my dream and use my spare time to work on the blog here.

When I started Hot Pink Joysticks, I wanted to create an environment where I could express myself — and that person is both a girly girl and a nerd.  But over the past months, I’ve really lost sight of that.  I’ve become worried more about categorizing posts and creating interesting segment progressions.  I’ve been pushing myself to post daily while maintaining a broad cross-section of the nerdaverse.

Things around here are going to change.

I’m hoping that these changes will be good, not only for me, but for all of you as readers of my blog.  I’ve spent the past few days wading through the problems I was having and plotting out proper solutions.  The next two weeks are going to see a lot of changes around Hot Pink Joysticks.  Post categories will remain mostly the same, but some of the HPJ Segments will be changing.  You’ll notice the look of the blog changing as well, and maybe even the tagline, I haven’t decided that yet.

What I hope you can look forward to is a new face behind the super-pink-blog.  I hope that you will find my posts to have an even higher standard of quality than what I’ve previously been putting up.  I also hope to return to my original ideals for this blog — a feminine perspective on the nerdaverse that only a geeky woman can provide.  While the female demographic is on the rise in all areas of geeky pastimes, our voice isn’t yet truly heard.  What’s more, I want to provide a strong link between nerding and the ability to be a girly girl.  But know that I’m not attempting to alienate my male audience.  True, there will be a lot more of a feminine perspective and a lot of more “girly” topics, I’ll still be providing good quality content on news and reviews and other things that matter to geeks and nerds everywhere, regardless of gender.

Thank you for your time, HPJ readers.  I hope you continue to read, even after this mini-crisis.

Video Games 101

Welcome to another edition of Nerding 101 with your friendly Professor Nattata. ^.^ Today we’ll be discussing Video Games 101 — Current Generation Consoles.

On the market today, there are three home consoles that are available for purchase in this – the seventh generation of home video gaming. Please note that today we’re just talking about home consoles and not handheld. We can talk about handheld consoles at a later date. If you enjoy playing video games at all, or are simply looking to get into the newest generation of video gaming, you’ll need to educate yourself on your options to make the best choice for you. After all, a home console is an investment these days, and no one wants to make an unwise investment in this economy.

Console #1: The Xbox 360

The Xbox 360  is produced by the Microsoft company and is the second home video gaming console from the company.  Initially released in 2005, the Xbox 360 completely sold out in all sales regions (except Japan) in it’s initial month.  Today, over 41 million Xbox 360 systems have been sold worldwide.

Pictured here is the most commonly recognized form of the Xbox 360, though if you go out to purchase a brand new Xbox today, you’re more than likely going to be looking at one of the new models, which is slimmer than the one pictured here, and is also black.  The new models are very impressive, sporting five USB ports, integrated WIFI capabilities, and a 250 GB hard drive.

Currently selling for $300, this system is an investment.  But Microsoft has announced that with the release of the Xbox 360 Slim (the new black models) that they expect the system is only halfway through it’s life cycle and plans to continue producing it until 2015.  So even if you were to purchase this system now, you’d be getting a good solid five years out of it before anything new comes out, and you’ve got five years of games behind you already.

And if that $300 price point is a bit high for you and you’re willing to sacrifice the storage space in the hard drive, a very new release has just happened in America – an Xbox 360 Slim with a 4GB hard drive selling for $200.

Console #2: The Nintendo Wii

Second, we have the Nintendo Wii.  Perhaps the most well-known home gaming console system currently available, it is produced by the Nintendo company – a leader in video gaming, both console and handheld.  Released a year later than the Xbox 360, the Wii has sold more units than either of it’s competitors, hitting nearly 74 million units sold worldwide since it’s initial launch.

The Wii has the ability to play both Wii titles as well as the titles of its predecessor, the Nintendo Gamecube.  It contains only 521 megabytes of internal storage and uses external memory cards to provide the user with space to store save files and such for games. It also features motion control – the first of the current generation consoles to offer motion-controlled gaming.  It has ports for 4 Nintendo Gamecube controller and can handle four Wiimotes (the name for the controller used to play Wii games).

The Nintendo Wii is currently selling for $150 and is the most affordable of the current generation systems.  And it’s honestly good that it’s the least expensive console, as Nintendo has not given any sort of lifespan expectancy for the Wii, stating only that they will continue to produce it until they have run out of ideas and meaningful content for the system.

Console #3: The Playstation 3

The last console on our list today is the Playstation 3.  Produced by the Sony company, it first hit the markets in 2006, the same year as the Nintendo Wii.  It sports the least amount of sales overall, having sold just over 38 million units worldwide since it’s release four years ago.

The Playstation 3 (often shortened to “PS3”) is the only of the current systems to provide the ability to play BluRay Discs — and in fact uses the BluRay as it’s medium for video games.  It comes with various sizes of hard drives, from 120 gigabytes to a full 320 gigabytes.  The current slim edition runs very quietly and smoothly.

It sports very little extra other than the BluRay, but for many, that is more than enough.  For those with big, flat-screen TVs and HD cravings, bluray is a great way to go.

The Playstation 3 sells for between $300 and $350 on the market today, depending on the size of the hard drive you’re looking for.  It is the most expensive console on the market, considering that bluray players on the market go for well over $100, that often factors in to the decision on purchasing this particular console.  There’s no word on how long the PS3 will be on the market, which may make some nervous at spending that much money on a home console system.

So how do you go about deciding on what console is the one for you?  I mean, it’s a big investment, and you don’t want to end up making a decision you’ll regret.  So here I’ll provide a bulleted list of the pros and cons of each system, and you can make your decision and get into the wonderful world of home video games!!

The Xbox 360

  • Wide Variety of Games
  • Intuitive Gaming Interface
  • Massive Amounts of Storage
  • Cordless and Corded Controller Options
  • Triple Core Processing
  • Durable
  • Good Warranty and Product Servicing
  • Reliable Company
  • Plays DVDs
  • Compatible with Netflix Streaming
  • Connects with PCs for Music and Video
  • Solid Graphics and Sound
  • Fantastic Online Play
  • Controller is big and sometimes clunky
  • Older models have over-heating problems

Nintendo Wii

  • Great for the Casual Gamer
  • Wonderful for Children and Families
  • Interactive Play
  • Streams Netflix
  • Intuitive Controls
  • Simple controller design
  • Durable, Reliable System
  • Long-standing, Reliable Company
  • Many interesting control add-ons
  • Small, Compact Design
  • Most Affordable System
  • Does not support DVD play
  • Very few games for the “hardcore” player
  • Motion Control can be quite finicky
  • Less impressive graphics than it’s competitors

Playstation 3

  • BluRay Compatible
  • Online Connectivity and Play
  • Superior Graphics and Sound
  • Solid Console-Exclusive Titles
  • Most Storage Space
  • IBM-Designed “Cell Processor”
  • Corded and Wireless Controller Options
  • Lots of “System Extras”
  • Access to the best Roleplaying Titles
  • Comfortable Controller
  • Most Expensive System
  • Limited Game Choices
  • Not Good for the Casual Gamer

The Ivories Man

Do you like video games or anime?

Of course you do.

Do you like good music?

You’d better.

Would you like to combine those two things into one, awesome, delectable, heart-pounding experience?

Well you can!  And lots of people do.  But perhaps the best of the best out there is a man by the name of Micheal Gluk, also known as Piano Squall.

Piano Squall performs arrangements of gaming and anime music on perhaps the most amazing instrument of all time – the piano.  (Now, I may be biased, after all, I’ve been playing piano since I was a mere four-years-old.)  His performances are all charitable, proceeds go to organizations like the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Race for the Cure, Baltimore Reads, the Maryland Food Bank, the Matthew Foster Foundation, and Tsunami Relief.  He’s been a guest at over thirty conventions, including some of the big-daddy anime conventions, like the massive Otakon.  Micheal has also been featured in such publications as IGN, MTV, Newtype Magazine, GamesRadar, GameDaily, The Otaku, and Destructoid.  He even toured parts of Brazil as part of a live orchestral game music concert series.

In 2007, Micheal released his debut album, also completely for charity, entitled GAME.  This album became the first ever video game/anime piano solo album to be entirely published by an independent musician. Proceeds from his album go to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Micheal’s inspiration comes from the fight he watched his grandmother struggle in with Multiple Sclerosis.  She battled the disease for forty years, and died peacefully in her sleep in 2006.  Micheal describes his grandmother as “…an endless giver both of her possessions and her love.”

Having watched my own grandfather struggle with a disease, though not MS, I understand how touching and emotional the process can be.  The fact that Micheal Gluk has been able to channel his love for his grandmother into something so wonderful, so touching, is beyond my ability to accurately portray in words.   All I can do is feature him here on my blog and help to spread his amazing message of hope and triumph — his message of following your dreams and doing what you love.

His music is beautiful, his arrangements spectacular, and his technique amazing.  I could listen to him play for hours.

Please visit Micheal “Piano Squall” Gluk’s website and purchase his album Here. For $10 — and a charitable donation at that — you will not be sorry or disappointed that you spent the money.

And if you’d like to try out some of his original arrangements for yourself, you can! He provides all of his arrangements in the form of downloadable sheet music on his website. He merely asks that if you decide to keep any of the sheet music that you consider making a donation to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

What an amazing, charismatic man with more passion than most will ever show. Let us all try to be a little more like Piano Squall. <3

Beer and Pretzels for the Uninitiated

“Beer and Pretzels” is the term often given to games that are fairly silly and easy to grasp.  They’re usually a great way to introduce people to gaming because they’re really fun and not very intimidating.  I mean honestly, for someone who doesn’t really have the desire to learn how to roleplay, a Dungeons and Dragons rulebook is an extremely frightening thing with all the numbers and terms and dice and math.

So for my first ever experiment in the GM project, I’ll be working with a group of unsuspecting (okay, maybe slightly suspecting) women who haven’t roleplayed before.  Luckily, I’ll have one in the group who has roleplayed and enjoys it, which I’m hoping eases the rest of the group into things nice and gently.

And what game am I choosing to introduce these attendees of my bachelorette party to the world of roleplaying?

Kobolds Ate My Baby is a small, hilarious roleplaying game designed by an independent publisher/designer called 9th Level Games based in Pennsylvania.  The game runs on what they call the BEER Engine (after the stats used to make up your character – Brawn, Ego, Extraneous, and Reflexes) and provides a lot of fast-paced absolutely hilarious pandemonium.  Players take on the role of a fuzzy creature (a Kobold) with a mouth full of teeth and a body that is almost 90% stomach.  The point of the game is really to collect as much food (and babies are the most delicious of all Kobold delicacies) and return it to the great King Torg (all hail King Torg).

So I hope to bring a few new girls into the world of gaming through this fun little game.  I’ve got my map and my plans all ready to go.  Now I just need to finish brushing up on all the rules and prepare to introduce these girls to gaming.

Wish me luck~

Anime Laws of Physics – Part 3

Welcome to the last segment of the Anime Laws of Physics.  (Last, that is, unless I decide to be creative and come up with some of my own.)  Thanks again to Ryan Shellito and Darrin Brigh for these hilarious items.  As always, I’ve taken the titles of their Laws and expounded on them just a tad.

Twenty-first Law of Anime Physics: Law of Inconsequential Undetectability
Wounded
If something has gone unnoticed, it holds no consequence.  This law usually involves wounds the size of Texas or missing body parts.  Until the injury has been noticed, it has no effect.

Twenty-second Law of Anime Physics: Law of Juvenile Intellectuality
Child
Children are smarter than adults. And almost always twice as annoying.

Twenty-third Law of Anime Physics: Law of Mandibular Proportionality
(from A. Hicks, Tom Williams, and Ben Leinweber)
Nom nom nom
The size of a person’s mouth is directly proportional to the volume at which they are speaking or eating.

Twenty-fourth Law of Anime Physics: Law of Feline Mutation
(from A. Hicks)
Neko mimi
Any half-cat/half-human mutation will invariably be female and possess cat ears and/or tail as a result of the mutation.

Twenty-fifth Law of Anime Physics: Law of Conservation of Firepower
(from Tom Williams)
Giant Gun
Any powerful weapon capable of destroying/defeating an opponent in a single shot will invariably be reserved and used only as a last resort.  After all, there needs to be SOME sort of suspense. :P

Twenty-sixth Law of Anime Physics: Law of Technological User-Benevolence
(from Tom Williams)
Gurren Lagann
The formal training required to operate a spaceship or mecha is inversely proportional to its complexity.  The most complex of mecha can be piloted through nothing more than the fighting spirit (also known as the Lagann Principle).

Twenty-seventh Law of Anime Physics: Law of Melee Luminescence
(from Tom Williams)
Dragonball Glow
Any being displaying extremely high levels of martial arts prowess and/or violent emotions emits light in the form of a glowing aura. This aura is usually blue for ‘good guys’ and red for ‘bad guys’. This is attributed to Good being higher in the electromagnetic spectrum than Evil.

Twenty-eighth Law of Anime Physics: Law of Non-Anthropomorphic Antagonism
(from Tom Williams)
O.O
All ugly, non-humanoid alien races are hostile, and usually hell-bent on destroying humanity for some obscure reason.  Apparently in non-humanoid alien races, Envy goes a step too far.

Twenty-ninth Law of Anime Physics: Law of Follicular Chromatic Variability
(from Spellweaver)
Pink Hair
Any color in the visible spectrum is considered a natural hair color. This color can change without warning or explanation.  This is sometimes attributed to the genes that also give anime characters such pointy faces and thin bodies.

Thirtieth Law of Anime Physics: Law of Follicular Permanence
Perfect Hair
Hair in anime is pretty much indestructable, and can resist any amount of meteorological conditions, energy emissions, physical abuse, or explosive effects and still look perfect. The only way to hurt someone’s hair is with bladed weapons!

Thirty-first Law of Anime Physics: Law of Cryo-Adaptability
Winter Shorts
All anime characters are resistant to extremely cold temperatures, and do not need to wear heavy or warm clothing in snow.  They’re basically the opposite of reptiles, their bodies constantly adjust to the opposite of outside temperatures, making them continually comfortable.

Thirty-second Law of Anime Physics: Law of Indecent Invulnerability
(from Nyctomania)
Little Armor
Bikinis render the wearer invulnerable to any form of damage.  In fact, bikini armor is one of the most protective substances known to man.

Thirty-third Law of Anime Physics: Law of Nasal Sanguination
(from Ryan Pritchard and Jason Aylen)
Nosebleed
When sexually aroused, males in Anime don’t get erections, they get nosebleeds. No one’s sure why this is, though… the current theory suggests that larger eyes means smaller sinuses and thinner sinus tissue. Females don’t get nosebleeds, but invariably get one heck of a blush along the cheeks and across the nose, suggesting a lot of bloodflow to that region.

Thirty-fourth Law of Anime Physics: Law of Nominative Clamovocation
(from Luiko-Ysabeth and Adrian Hsiah)
Kamehameha
The likelihood of success and damage done by a martial arts attack is directly proportional to the volume at which the full name of the attack is announced. (Also known as the Goku Principle.)

Thirty-fifth Law of Anime Physics: Law of Uninteruptable Metamorphosis
(from R. A. Hubby and Nateal Falk)
Transformation Sequence
Regardless of how long or involved the transformation sequence or how many times they’ve seen it before a transformation sequence will not be halted. Some attribute this to the fact that antagonists witnessing a mecha/hero/heroine transforming are too stunned to do anything to interrupt it. Others believe that anime characters have an innate ability to slip into an extra-dimensional space shielded from the world that allows them as much time as they desire for their transformation sequence.

Thirty-sixth Law of Anime Physics: Law of Flimsy Incognition
(from Conrad Knauer)
Itty Bitty Mask
Simply changing into a costume or wearing a teensy mask can make you utterly unrecognizable to even your closest friends and relatives.  This is because anime characters don’t deal well with change, especially in appearance.  After all, most anime characters never wear differently styled clothing through an entire series — any chance in that routine can throw the people around for a serious loop.

Contain the Infection!!

It’s time for another Snapshot Sunday here on Hot Pink Joysticks! Today, I’ll be showing you what it’s like to play a game of Pandemic, a board game designed by Matt Leacock and published by Z-Man Games in 2008.  The basic premise is that you and your fellow players need to work cooperatively to save the world from four very infectious diseases spreading across the continents at an alarming rate.

Outside Box
This is the Outside of the box for Pandemic. It’s about a pretty decent-sized box, but not overly huge. It fits comfortably in my messenger bag.

Close-Up Publisher
Here we’ve got two close-ups. The artwork on the front isn’t spectacular, but has sort of a gritty real feel, which is neat considering the game’s subject matter. And LOOK~ The publisher – Z-Man Games.

Instructions
If you’ve ever played a common, popular board game, such as one produced by Hasboro or that you can purchase at Toys ‘R Us, you’re probably familiar with the tiny little instruction packets that come with. Pandemic comes with a full-size, full-color pamphlet that details all the game’s instructions in a clear, concise format.

Blank
This is what the board looks like without any of the pieces placed.

Outbreak counter
This is the Outbreak Counter. In the game, whenever you have a city that “explodes” (obtains more than three markers of a single disease), you must increase the Outbreak Counter. If you get up to ten, the game is over and you’ve lost.

Infection Rate Counter
When an Epidemic card is drawn, the Infection Counter goes up. This determines how many cities get hit with more of the diseases when each turn is ending.

GOOOAL
The Goal of Pandemic is to get a cure on each of these four diseases. (They’re nameless and marked only by color.)

EPIDEMIC
These are the Epidemic cards. When you draw one of these, all hell breaks loose on the board. Ben and I played with five, the normal difficulty. You can play with four for an introductory game, or six for a “heroic” game.

Player Cards Back of Player Card
This is a player card. It can be used like a plane ticket or discarded with a number of other cards to create a cure for a disease. Pictured is “Washington”, an American city. :P

Infection Card Back of Infection Card
This is an Infection Card. At the end of a player’s turn, a number of these are drawn and then infected with diseases. This is the intense action part of the game.

Special Events
Thankfully, there are Special Event cards to help along the way. Otherwise, the game would destroy you. I promise.

Marker
This is in-game you.

Cards
Each marker is linked to a Role Card — the card that tells you what your special abilities in the game are. There are five roles — the Scientist (who can cure diseases with 4 cards of a single color instead of 5), the Dispatcher (who can move players around the board as though he were moving himself), the Researcher (who can exchange cards much easier than the rest of the players), the Medic (who has the ability to cure all the blocks of a single color from the city she occupies, instead of one at a time like most), and the Operations Expert (who can create Research Stations much easier than anyone else).

Our Roles
Ben and I ended up playing the Scientist and the Researcher (respectively).

Diseases 1 Diseases 2
These little, colored cubes are made of wood and are very nice markers for the diseases.

Cardboard Markers
These are the small, cardboard markers that do a few lovely things for the game. On the far left, is the Infection marker, it slides along the Infection Counter. On the far right is the Outbreak marker, it slides along the Outbreak Counter. The middle four are markers for the cures. They slide down onto the four circles that represent the diseases on the game board.

Research Stations
These little wooden houses are the Research Stations. They mark cities where you have built a research station.

Dance, Boy~
To start the game, Ben got Antilles to do a dance for us. I don’t think he was very happy with the situation.

Starting
This is what the board looks like all set up and ready to go! Let’s hope we can save the world!

Oh noes~
OH GOD THE FIRST EPIDEMIC!

So many diseases
Look! The diseases are EVERYWHERE!

WINRAWR
OMG WE DID IT~

Hi Puppy
Antilles was happy that he would not be consumed by the blocky diseases.

Hope you enjoyed a look at Pandemic~

Show Your Support

When Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver came out many months ago now, the English ROMs (a copy of a game playable on a computer with the aid of an emulator) were everywhere about a week before you could buy a physical copy of the game in the United States.  Someone I knew was playing on said ROMs.  My best girlfriend and I were determined not to give in to the temptation of playing the highly anticipated game before we could have our physical copies.

This sort of story isn’t odd today.  Games, anime, software, music… it’s all available for download for free in tons of corners of the internet.  And thousands and thousands of people download it for free every day.  And when that content is downloaded for free, the industry suffers.

People say it doesn’t make that much of a difference — that the downloads are a drop in the bucket for these giant celebrities and whatnot.  Well, this might be a decent argument for huge musical artists or even American movie stars, but that argument doesn’t hold any water when it comes to anime and gaming — especially anime and tabletop RPGs.  The people who work in these industries don’t make much money.  In fact, most animators in Japan make barely enough to get by.  Writers for tabletop RPGs are often freelancers, and even those that aren’t don’t make a ton of money.  These people are working very hard every day to make these things gamers and otaku consume.

When one person doesn’t pay for that product, it doesn’t make that much of a difference.  But when tons and tons of people stop paying for the products, the industry starts to fall apart.  The anime industry in America today is much smaller and crippled compared to where it was ten years ago at the start of the new millennium.  Many licencing companies in America have shut down.  Manga licencing companies are also shutting down at an alarming rate, and those that remain are cutting down on their titles to help stem off losses.

Now, I know I’m talking a lot about anime, but that’s because the results of pirating are so readily seen in that industry.  But if this trend continues in the gaming industry as well, similar results will start showing.  The cracks will become ravines, and the industry will crumble.

If the industry crumbles, there won’t be new games or anime for you to consume.  Period.

I hear lots of excuses for why people don’t pay for their anime or games.  I took care of the “it doesn’t really hurt anyone” above.  But I also hear “it’s too expensive” a lot as well.

If that’s the case, then you need to choose where you’re supporting wisely.  If you can’t afford every new game that comes out in a month, choose the one that’s most important to you and buy that.

In fact, here’s a list of ways to afford your gaming or anime habits legally:

  • Purchase a Gamefly account.  For about $20 a month, you can play as many games as you want.  They mail the games out to you much like Netflix does with movies.  You can play as many games for $20 as you can play during the month.  If you find a game you really like, you can buy it through Gamefly.
  • Speaking of, Purchase a Netflix account.  Netflix has a SURPRISING amount of anime, and with the Instant Stream features, you can watch some on your computer or TV (if you have an Xbox or other way to stream Netflix to your TV) just as fast as if you were illegally streaming online.
  • Buy used games.  Used games often come at a fraction of the cost, and are just as good.  If you can wait a little bit for the new title, or you’re looking for a game that’s a bit older, Used or Pre-owned is a great way to go.
  • Borrow from friends.  If you have gamer friends or friends who watch anime, share the wealth.  You can talk it over and if there are a couple games coming out you really want, each of you can buy one of them.  After all, it’s hard to play two games at once.  If you want to watch a new series of anime, talk to your friends first and see what they can lend you before you head to the internet to stream or torrent.
  • Look for discounts online.  There are lots of online retailers (Like eBay, Amazon, and RightStuff!) that sell anime for very reasonable prices.
  • Purchase legal PDFs.  If you can’t shell out for a physical hardcover copy of a tabletop RPG book, you can find legal PDFs for purchase on websites like Drive-Through Gaming.
  • Watch anime through Legal streams, such as on CrunchyRoll and Funimation.

But, you may be asking, is it ever okay to download something for free?  In my opinion, sometimes it is okay.  For instance.  I own a Nintendo64 and a copy of Ocarina of Time.  However, I can’t take those things with me everywhere I go.  So I also have an N64 emulator and Ocarina of Time on my computer.  (It’s fun to be able to play while I’m waiting for class to start or something.)  Also, if you own a hardcover copy of a gaming book, I also don’t see anything wrong with also having PDF copies, so long as you own the physical media.  Same goes for anime — if you have legally purchased the DVDs, it’s okay to have the files on your computer in addition to on the DVDs at home.

Fansubbing is also alright, to an extent.  When an anime is released in Japan and hasn’t been licensed in the United States yet, fansubbing can help to create an active fanbase in America, which shows American licensing companies that the anime is popular enough to do well in the states.  The ultimate goal of fabsubs should be to get the anime licensed in America, not to cripple the money those companies are trying to make to recoop the fees they incurred through the licensing process.

The important thing for fansubbing is to take down the streams when the anime has been licensed in America.

So you’ll notice me trying to aid in the cause to support the industries that I someday hope to be working in on the blog.  Whenever I review something, I’ll be linking to places where the item can be purchased or watched (in the case of Netflix).  If the game can be rented, I’ll provide a link to Gamefly.  I will not ever provide links to torrents or illegal streams.  If there are ever links to fansubs, they will only be for unlicensed anime.

I hope that you all will raise your Nerd flag proudly and support the industries whose products you consume.  Someone worked hard to create that game you’re playing, that anime you’re watching, that book you’re reading.  It’s only right that they be compensated for the work they’ve done.