Sunday, April 29, 2012

Annnnnd. . . . More Updates!

Soooo....if you really want to be a gem and show your support, I created a facebook fanpage!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Patchwork-Nerd/195406440527927

Please go there and like it!  As soon as I'm done with school I will be really working hard to update on either a weekly or every-other-day basis and you will get a lot of quick updates on facebook!  Please add and I will be sooo happy!

I've got a really special post I'm working on to celebrate the summer!  Thanks for hanging in until then!  You are all such gems!

PS: My views have SKY ROCKETED the last few days....you guys and gals are amazing!

Xoxo!!!!

Until then tootles!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In Control - The Epic Survival of Bowser's Big Blast (Mario Party 2)


Despite the fact that I've been wading through the busy waters of a complete and utter finals week(s) from hell , I decided to take time out of studying to tell you a little story that happened about two weekends ago.  This story involves Mario Party 2 for the Ninetendo 64.  Why do I feel all of you gluing your faces to the screen?  Oh yes, because MARIO PARTY 2 IS AWESOME!

Like I said, our story started on Saturday.  My boyfriend and I were at a friends house hanging out with a large group of friends.  After watching a Hockey game, playing Carcassonne (A Game I plan on reviewing sometime in the future!), and eating way too much Chinese food and ice cream. The gentlemen of the group decided to play some Mario Party 2.  I, being the one girlfriend in the group that gets excited about this type of idea, decided to watch gleefully.  It didn't hurt that I had a Brony there to nerd out with! Still, the game finished up and the players rotated.  Despite my warnings, everyone insisted that I play.  I was okay with this, to be honest.  I've always loved Mario Party because when you suck at gaming you learn to enjoy losing (it just sucks for anyone paired with me in the mini-games).

The game progressed, business as usual.  I was dying right and left, my boyfriend was kicking everyone's ass despite being one too many beers in (they played the drinking game version in the previous game), and the overly satisfying array of quotes were flying around the group from a clip I had introduced them to earlier in the evening....

This video will have an effect on you. How warped you are will decide a LOT.

All in all, everything was normal as usual.  Then the dreaded arrow of doom landed on the mini-game that would lead to a moment of epic-ous-ity (can be substituted with epic-win-dom or epic-il-icious-ness) that would challenge the very idea that drives Mario Party.  Before we get to that game (HAHA the titles MIGHT be a spoiler!) let's discuss that idea.  Mario Party is built on random-ness (also know as random-a-saur-ous or Indiana Jones and the Random of the Crystal Fridge) from head to toe.  Is there some strategy involved?  Yes.  Does it require some degree of skill?  I'm living confirmation.  But a lot of the game is based mainly on luck and the scale deciding it's bored and going to tip in your favor.  One minute you have 83 stars and a few steps on the Bowser space and Boo attacks later (from the one bastard who hoards their coins) and you are left with nothing but your shredded dignity and the promise that you will be the one shmuck to get the pity coins towards the end of the game. 

With that said, there are some games that are designed to do nothing but mock you.  These games take all your accumulated years of button mashing practice and ability to strategies your moves and says, "Aww- you think you have free will!  That's ADORABLE!"  One such game that stands out is "Day at the Races" where you have nothing to do but pick a minion to win a race, and hope like all hell that you chose wisely.

When in doubt, vote thwamp!
But this particular day we weren't blessed with this games subtly middle finger.  Oh no, we got the great and powerful, "Bowsers Big Blast"!  For those of you unfamiliar with the game (and shame on you!) the object of the game is pretty simple, but fittingly twisted.  You and your three counterparts stand in a line in front of a group of five switches.  You each take turns going up to the switches, picking one, and waiting to see what happens. All the while a large, menacing Bowser head waits behind you, begging for blood.  Pick a good switch and you will get nothing more than a puff of smoke from Bowser's nostrils, but pick a the ONE bad switch and you will be met by a count down that leads to an inevitable explosion.  Rinse and repeat until only one man (or lady) is left standing.  There really is no strategy to the game beyond decide a switch and pray, but the numbers can be stacked against you.  If you are last in line you only have two of the five switches left to chose from, so it is more likely than not that you will be the first to blow up.  

On this particular day fate, seeing that I was an easy target, decided to have me go last.  Everyone was certain that I would be gone by the end of the first round.  My fellow players all picked their switch, successfully dodging the bullet.  It came time for me to go, my two switches waiting eagerly to have at me.  I picked my switch.  A puff of smoke.  

I had made it.

I had survived the second round.  

Surely this was only luck of the temporary kind?

Round two came and went.  No one died, so it came time for me to pick my 50/50 chance.  

I survived again.

This was beginning to get the attention of the other people not playing.  This sort of thing doesn't normally happen.  Two rounds, no deaths, and a successful pick two times out of 50/50 odds.  Of course we all were so certain this wouldn't last.  

Third round.  No deaths again.  My turn and.....

Still alive.

Everyone was beginning to go wild.  Their eyes glued to the screen in anticipation.  My hands were becoming clammy lumps, tightly clenched around my controller.  

Fourth round.  No one died, again!  The other players were showing signs of pride at avoiding death this much.  Their breaths all stills as I neared the top and took my place in front of my switch.  A light tap of the "A" button and....

Smoke.

This DOESNT HAPPEN!  

The room was now in chaos!  We all become so invested in this game as if this luck meant we would now be playing this game for the rest of our lives.  

The fifth round came and went with no deaths.  I finally was getting a break in video games I so rarely get.

And then....

3....

2....

1....

BOOM!!!!

Just like that we were all snapped from the trance the five, deathless rounds had placed us within.  Suddenly we all were reminded that we were playing a game that was programed to destroy us and how little control we really had.  The first death marked the start of a quick spiral down.  But you know what?

I WASN'T THE FIRST TO DIE!

True, I did not win the game (it's hard to create stories that truly epic in real life) but I did manage to survive through that five round gantlet that wanted nothing more than to have me dead.  I'd liked to think that the game was tipping it's hat at me as if saying "Fair enough, I'll come back for you later." and refocused targets.  

I know it might seem like a simple thing.  But trust me, if you are ever locked in a game of "Bowser's Big Blast" and manage to stick it out past 2 or 3 rounds, you will begin to feel the tension and pressure I felt that fateful day.  I'll certainly never forget it!

Tootles! <3 
Xoxo,

Your Patchwork

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Movie Rants - The Hunger Games



Yes!  After almost two weeks (or is it 3?) since it's release I've finally found time to properly put my thoughts into strong, understandable words.  I guess I've been avoiding this one for a few, silly reasons.  First off, I loved it so much, arguable too much.  I have read the book and I was afraid that my initial fangirl giddy-ness would make the review suffer from,

1.) Over hype and 
2.) Talking about the book and making this more of a comparison than a review.  

Letting my fangirl urges cool seemed like the best remedy to this problem.  Second, this is my first, real attempt at a movie review.  You might think it silly that I'm being so serious about something.  After all, I've written video game reviews and the like with no such stage fright.  Well, here's the deal.  I adore movies.  If there is one thing that my parents raised me on, it is good cinema.  I have been collecting a very strict movie pallet for a long time and it doesn't help that I watch more movie reviews on thatguywiththeglasses.com than any decent person should.  This inevitably has put a great deal of pressure on me to create a review that is both insightful and original.  I didn't want to just rant about what was bad for comic relief, nor did I want to sing the movie's praises beyond an unmatchable level.  Long story short, I want to give myself somewhere to go with future reviews.  With that said, I'm going to do my best in my analysis of The Hunger Games, I will be critical but fair (fingers crossed) and do my best to do more than shout the call of the fangirl squee. (Please note I will do a separate discussion of the book series at a later date!)  Now let us begin.  Welcome, welcome my fans, and HAPPY HUNGER GAMES!

Let's start this off blunt and right.  This movie is an experience.  You don't have to read the book to enjoy this film and you can have read the book and not leave angry at the adaptation.  No, this manages to somehow fee like a movie (a problem a lot of book to movie adaptations struggle to overcome) while remaining faithful to the source material.  The look is beautiful.  Keep in mind, the beginning of the film has a rushed, somewhat sporadic style of editing but I feel that this only creates tension for when we finally get to the reaping where the shots are long and the camera is as eerily still as the actors.  The cinematography matches the emotions of its scenes and I feel this is something that many movie creators fail at.  The camera and editing are rushed when they need to be.  You could argue that you have no idea what is going on in the more violent scenes because of this pacing, but you can tell this is done purposely.  After all, in scenes with brutal carnage it is necessary to shake things up so that the PG-13 rating can be maintained and thus make this movie still accessible to it's target audience.  

(Some spoilers from here on out....be wary!) 
Now what is the plot you may be asking (all 3 and 1/2 of you!) and it's pretty simple to understand.  Katniss Everdeen is a girl living in a post-apocolypic North America, now known as Panem.  The country has now been divided into twelve districts all of which are lead by the Capitol.  Years ago the districts tried to rebel and failed.  As punishment, every year each district must offer up one young man and women between the ages of 12 - 18 to battle in the Hunger Games to the death.  Only one winner comes out.  This particular year in which the movie is set, Katniss volunteers in the place of her 12-year-old sister, Primrose.   The movie proceeds to follow her adventure through this frightening experience.  

Aside from the technical aspects of the movie, the story just flows so naturally.  The pace is great and we somehow find time for all of the major events and character development that often makes book to movie adaptations flubby and unbearably blunt.  This is how to adapt a book into a movie.  You remain faithful to key events, have faithful adaptations of the characters, and offer your film version of the story.  Book-to-movie's often forget that they are movies, meaning they are a largely VISUAL media.  Movies need to show a lot of things that we get paragraphs and paragraphs about in the course of a few minutes (and in some cases even less) without bluntly throwing it in our faces.  Take for example I was watch the movie Eragon the other day (yeah, I'm a sadist, I guess) and the movie suffered from one major flaw (aside from the shit script).  The movie didn't feel like a movie.  People were making long speeches out of nowhere, narration was in places where the audience could infer what was going on, and the movie overall made me feel like I was an idiot with how much information they were handing me.  The Hunger Games is clever about it's presentation and that is so refreshing.  The story is imaginative, the world feels real without being cartoon-ish, and you get close to the characters and our invested even if you can predict the outcome.  This movie makes you care.  

Lastly, I don't think movie could have been more perfectly casted!  Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss is so dead on that it will send chills up your spin.  I could go on and on about each individual role so I'll just hint at some fun highlights.  Stanley Tucci as the silver-tongued television host, Caesar, was one of my personal favorites because of his charm and wit.  You could tell he had fun in his role.  The same could be said about Elizabeth Banks as Effie Tinket.  She was a doll (be it a doll I wanted to strangle).  

Overall, if you love good movies, you'll appreciate this.  If you love action, it's up your alley.  And if you’re looking for a refreshing story of strife amongst a large evil, well, get your butt in the seat.  This movie will force you to feel and we need more of that in an age of stiff, bland cinema.  

What did you guys think of this movie?  Did you love it?  Hate it?  Did you cry (I DID I DID!)?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Until next time....


Tootles!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Side Projects

Oh boy, I'm good at bitting off more than I can chew!  Lately, my school work is getting pretty intense with final projects coming up!  I've also been actively involved in my Dungeons and Dragons game 1 to 2 times a week!   Now, on top of writing this beloved blog of mine, I've got an itch to start writing again.  I've got two main projects going on.  One is a children's chapter book and the other is an fantasy novel.  I would love to give you guys details, but I'm a naturally over protective person when it comes to my writing.  I barely let myself reread or even friends and family that I've known for years.  I hope to keep you guys in the loop as far as my process goes and who knows?  Maybe someday I'll be announcing a publication on here!  That would be a great joy to share with you all!

I'm going to try very hard to keep myself productive and not stretch myself too thin!  Even if I can't give plot details, would anyone be interested in updates on my writing process?  I sense a new article coming!  Thanks again everyone for putting up with my lack of fully, fledged updates!

Tootles for now!

Xoxo!

Wishing You All A HOPPY Easter!

Hope you are all enjoying your holiday!  Here's some silly junk to tide you over!

It always comes back to eggs

Gotta catch'em all!

Good News Everyone, it's Easter!

The Egg is a lie!

Hello?

Let's get this party started!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Some Quick Updates

Just a heads up boys and gals!  First, thank you to all the new followers and viewers!  You have no idea how wonderful it is to log on to not only see that my view numbers have gone up, but that people have left me comments!  Keep them coming!  I love hearing your thoughts and impute!  If there is anything you'd like to see more of, I'm all eyes and ears!  Second, I'm in my last year of college and this semester is starting to wrap up.  With that said, we might see a slow down in my posts.  I will do my best to keep articles coming but some of them might need to be brief blips.  Your understanding is greatly appreciated!

Also!  I'd like you all to know that once my school year wraps up I hope to get started on creating my first videos.  Please keep in mind that I have no experience with video or editing so the first videos are going to be rough, very rough!  Additionally, if anyone has advice on how to get video footage onto editing software, I'd love to hear your tips.  I have a mac if that helps!  Feel free to leave me some advice hear or email me at besidethecontroller@yahoo.com

Again, it has been amazing to see my small but strong fanbase begin to grow.  I hope to only make you guys happy with the work I produce.  Thanks for all the support!

I leave you with this....



Tootles!