Would You Rather / Hateful Ace / The Witness

Hello dear readers!  Things are going well; I am waiting on my editor at Skyhorse to have a look at the final draft of the MS.  From there it’s line and copy editing.  I can’t wait until I can share the cover with you!!

In the meantime, I wanted to share a few neat games with you.  For one you will need nothing but people, for the other you will need people and a deck of cards, and for one you’ll need the game itself and a thinking cap!

I played a game called Would You Rather on New Years Eve, and it is fascinating.  It’s a game where one person posits a question to the group, and each person has a go at picking the thing “they would rather”.  The devil’s in the details though; the best ones are the ones that divide the group in half.

Here are some of the “would you rathers” that stuck with me.

Would you rather: never have eggs again, OR never have berries again?  (To clarify, “berries” are things that are berries in common parlance, not any technical bullshit like “tomatoes are berries” or “strawberries aren’t berries, they’re aggregate accessory fruits”.  And never having eggs again includes anything that eggs are in.)

Would you rather: Whenever you encounter stairs, you don’t know what they are or understand what they work, and to use them someone must explain them to you, OR have every article of clothing you wear jingle like it’s full of a ton of loose pocket change?  (To clarify, you don’t remember you don’t understand stairs; every time you encounter them is like the first time, and you simply cannot use them until someone helps you grock what they are.)

Would you rather: Have your mind in a gorilla in a lab being experimented on, with the knowledge that you will eventually be retired to a sanctuary at the end of your life, OR have your mind as it was at 4 years old, in a horse, working as a trail-ride horse.  (To clarify: as a gorilla, you are you with all your experience and knowledge.  You may have a chance to communicate with your captors, or a chance to escape, but only after years of failed attempts.  As a horse, you are you as you were at 4 years old.)

It yielded some interesting discussions.

Another game you will need a deck of cards for.  It’s called Hateful Ace, and it’s a neat party game as well!

BTW there’s a huge market for collectable decks of cards right now; Kickstarter has been a boon for designers!

So, grab a deck of cards and shuffle it up.

The game is about trying to guess how good or how bad something is, according to the person talking about it.  Good things are red, not so good things are black.  High cards are more, low cards are less.  So a red ace is best, a black ace is worst.  A red 7 is pretty good.  A red 2 is just barely ok; black 2 barely not ok, and a black 7 pretty bad.

So someone goes first and draws a (secret) card.  They look at it and formulate something to say that will enable the other players to guess the card.

Say I draw a Jack of diamonds-

I’d have to think of something I thought was pretty good.  It could be something that happened to me, or something in general that I made up.  I might say something like “…When you see your book cover for the first time.”  And one by one, the other players guess what card I have.  If someone nails it bang on, guess stops, and they’re awarded the card as their point.  If no one gets it, it goes to whoever is closest.  In the event of a tie, you can do either carry the point over, or do a tie breaker question with another card.

When it’s someone else’s turn, I won’t know what card they have and have to guess it using their clue.  So if I said to you, “Seeing someone achieve their lifelong dream of becoming a published author, and you really dig their book,” what would you guess?  I’d have to guess

because to me that’s pretty damn good.  (By the way, that 10 of diamonds comes with 3D glasses; it’s a set of 3D playing cards!)

The last game I want to mention quickly is “The Witness“.  It’s a puzzle solving game where you wander around a beautiful island and solve puzzles.  I can’t say too much without it feeling like spoilers, so I’ll just show you some pictures, and then a link to a video review from one of my favourite content creators right now, Justin MacElroy.

So it’s pretty beautiful and beautifully pretty!  The puzzles are fun and challenging, and truly there are some innovative things to stump you until you have a lightbulb moment.  I really recommend this game if you like solving puzzles!

So that’s all for me for now.  I’ll keep you posted about the progress of my book, Sleep Over.  I hope to update here more regularly, even if it’s just to say hi and to show you neat stuff I’ve found, writing or otherwise.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Heidi out.

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PAX 2013: Top 10, and the Record Speed Bureaucracy that Got Me There

Well hello there!

Been a while.  It’s been a little slow going on the writing front; sometimes it’s a slog, and you just have to muscle through it.  ._.

I just got back from PAX!  Penny Arcade Expo is a huge gaming convention in Seattle, and this year it went from Friday August 30th to Monday September 2nd.  Four days of wicked awesome gaming fun with my best friends, and 80,000 other people.

We had an 8 bed room at a hostel.  I made a nest up on the top bunk by the window, and it was excellent.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

This is perhaps the most clutch example of bureaucracy I will ever recount.  I still cannot believe it happened.  Truly, I am in the luckiest timeline.

9PM the night before leaving for PAX: someone in my group posts on our coordination thread that they just realized that their passport was expired.  The rest of us gave our condolences and continued packing.

So at about 9:05PM, the night before we leave, I also discover that my passport is expired.

There was much freaking out, but I kept it together.  Discovered that it was possible, though not likely, that I could get a new passport in time to make my 11:30 bus the next morning.

10:05PM: get passport photo taken.  Thank goodness for late night convenience stores that take passport photos.

That night I packed and figured out the timeline for the next day.  If I got up at 6, I could get in line for the passport office at 6:30.  When it opened at 7:30 I was the first in line, of about 40 people.  I explained my situation to the teller with a good a mix of urgency, optimism, and cheerfulness, but with an underlying panic that was impossible to conceal.

Longer story shorter, my new passport was handed to me at 11:17AM.  I was in a cab at 11:20, and on the bus with all my friends at 11:25.

I cannot believe that worked.   The people at the passport office in downtown Vancouver are wizards, literally wizards.

Bonus: my friend who was in the same predicament got his passport as well and made it to PAX in time for An Afternoon With Patrick Rothfuss.

Onto PAX!  Here I shall share my top 10 games to check out.

#10: Against the Wall

Against the Wall is a first-person platforming-adventure game set on the side of an infinite wall.  You have a weapon/tool equipped to manipulate sections of the wall, pulling them outwards so you can climb on them.  This game looked challenging and fun and I look forward to trying it out. (by Michael Consoli)

#9: Mushroom 11

I only got a quick look at this game but it seemed really neat; you’re herding an ever-growing fungus through a side scrolling maze. (by Itay Keren)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkFGbMYmeT8#t=5m54s

#8: Orbitor

There was a contingent of Australians up on the 5th floor of the main convention hall, near the PAX10, and I had a brief peruse to see what would catch my eye.  Orbiter jumped out at me because of how insanely beautiful it is.  It’s a space game where you orbit stars and moons and blow them up for energy.  The effects are eye catching and the soundtrack is great.  Just a beautiful game that I look forward to playing more of.  (by Tim Stasse)

#7: Aarus Awakening

This game was eyecatching- everything in it started hand drawn on paper.  The concept was neat and challenging- little beasty-dude can teleport to where your mouse cursor is.  I had a tough time picking it up, but that was mostly because I was exhausted by the time I got to it.  This is one game I will be playing again, when I have skills like basic hand-eye coordination, and brain function once again.  A neat game.

#6: Cannon Brawl

Cannon Brawl is out right now.  My husband plays it a lot.  He was very excited to meet the creators of it; he made a shirt and they were pretty thrilled to see how into their game he is.  They signed it for him, and played the game with him.  The creators are super cool, and their game is absolutely fantastic.  Think Worms Armageddon meets tower defence, with real time zeppelin warfare and destructible terrain.  It’s super fun!  Check it out, and get your Cannon Brawl on.

The next three on the list are all about sound.  Visuals and gameplay are great, but mostly it was the soundtrack that drew me in.

#5: Soundodger

It’s like asteroids, but you can bend time.  Oh and also the soundtrack sometimes kicks into reverse, and so does everything else but you.  It’s hella cool, and free to play.

#4: Electronic Super Joy

Sidescrolling 2D platformer that has a kickin soundtrack to accompany you on your perilous journey.  The look and feel is really great.  Bought it when I got home.

#3: Crypt of the NecroDancer

This is a fantastic concept that’s so well implemented I could have played this game all day.  You move to the beat of the music to keep your combo multiplier going, and it rocks my socks.  This had such a crowd around it, mainly because they had a DDR pad hooked up to it, so people had to get their feet moving to the beat to dodge skeletons and fight dragons in this roguelike rhythm dungeon crawler. No picture could do it justice; you have to hear it to believe it, and everyone watching was bobbing their heads along to this awesome game.

#2: BattleBlock Theater

This game was round 2 of the Omegathon, and boy oh boy was it fun to watch.  It’s like Smash Bros, but with more game types, and with the cute factor pumped to 500%.  Customizing your little battle dudes before the fight is super fun; there’s a jillion different heads to get.  I bought it when I got home, and have a stoic lion head as my mug of choice.  Want a party game?  This is the one.  Epic fun times ahead with Battleblock Theatre.

#1: Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Holy moly this was fun.  Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime at the top of my list for sure: it’s beautiful, sounds amazing, and is so inventive I fell in love with it immediately.

It’s two player co-op.  You and your partner are manning a ship, and there are four guns, a shield, a giant space lazer, and thrusters, and you have to operate the ship in real time while being assaulted by space aliens, and simultaneously trying to save whole planets that are being attacked.  It’s super fun, and I cannot wait to play more of it.

But wait there’s one more: it was the most hilarious thing to watch and then to play.  Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a game where you play an octopus in disguise as a normal human dad, trying to fake his way through normal human stuff without letting on that he’s an octopus in a suit.  Controlling the jelly-noodly-flip-floppy-cephalopod resulted in constant laughter.  Having to do such mundane things as “Get your daughter the milk” and “Make coffee” resulted in near catastrophe as my flailing tentacles sent things flying around due to my inept control.  It was so, so funny, and I will make everyone that comes into my house play it, so that I can laugh at them.

So that’s *my* PAX10.  PAX11 I suppose.  There were so many games, and even more that I list here that I’m looking forward to.  The final round of the Omegathon was “Spy Party” and I think I’ll get it and play the heck out of it, and I will learn a new meaning of the word “subtlety”.

(My lanyard by the end of the con!)

That’s all for now folks!  Thanks for checking it out.  I hope I’ve inspired you to take a look at a few of these games and see if you like them.

Cheers.

Heidi out.

Watch. Dogs.

Allow me to digress from the topic of writing, if you will, and share with you some amazing gameplay footage.

…this is me, and probably all of r/gaming right now.

Because of this:

Oh.  My.  Glob.  Right?

The setting (Montreal?!), the little details (trash blowing in the wind?!), the swagger of the main character (last time I played a character with that distinct of a walk, I found myself waiting for busses with my hip cocked out, waiting to tip my hat at passing cowboys).

My biggest excitement, though, is caused by, what looks like, much more realistic NPCs.  It’ll be a huge step up for immersion when games can get NPCs right, and this game looks like it’s taken a pretty good stab at it.   A woman running back to her friends to solidify plans?  That guy trying to save his wife in the car crash?  People doing anything other than standing around: huge step up for realism.

And on top of all this, the concept of Watch Dogs is HUGE.  Being able to connect with all the electronic devices around you, gather information, control things- this could be good.

I’m always hesitant to get excited for a game, but this one… this one had me at hello.

Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.

Flu Symptoms May Include Creepy Minecraft Roleplaying.

Gosh, I’ve been sick for almost all of January.  Not stellar.  Aaron’s been home all week too.

‘Tis a plague house, be gone, be gone!

To distract myself, I’ve been playing Minecraft again.  New worldtype: super flat.  It’s bedrock, 3 layers of dirt, and nothing else.  Oh, except for the pre constructed villages scattered about.  Most are about half a days run (a Minecraft day) from each other.

So I made a survival world to roleplay as a farmer (normal world type, not superflat).  He wakes up- in a snowy wasteland- with no knowledge of how he got there.  There are no other people to be seen.  Some pigs and cows are scattered about the sparse tundra.  He makes a crude shelter and rakes precious seeds from the frosty grass with his bare hands.

After a few terrifying nights spent in his snow shelter, he decides to set off to find a warmer place, where he could grow crops, and try and make a farm, like he had in the before-time.

He takes the meager possessions he’s accumulated and sets off north.  On the frozen beach, he makes a boat and sails, and sails, and sails for what feels like forever.  At last he makes shore on a sandy beech.  There is green grass, and a lush forrest.  He makes shelter in the woods and once again survives a few frightening nights.  The creatures that come for him in the dark fade to nothingness as he falls asleep…

At last he sets off and finds a nice, flat plains area to start his farm.

It was a struggle, but he wound up with a log house, a huge irrigated field of wheat, a pen each of sheep, cows, chickens, and pigs.

When he was content, he explored nearby areas.

There were strange people in a village nearby.  They wondered around seemingly aimlessly, giving him no notice.  The creatures that would attack him in the night disregarded these strange village people.  He explored their village and found books, which he borrowed, leaving them food and some metal in return.

He spent days pouring over the books.

He learned of a strange ‘nether’ place, where strange creatures lived, and glowing stone hung over endless pools of deadly boiling lava.

He learned of strange magics practiced using enchanting rituals and bizarre ingredients.

He even read of strange islands in his own world that were covered in a strange fungus and had giant mushrooms growing on them.  His heart sped up when he read of the ‘mooshrooms’ that roamed them in vast herds.

He prepared for a long journey, taking many tools, supplies, and food.

Once more he set off by boat, skirting continent after continent in search of the mushroom land.

When he found it he stayed the night and was delighted that there were none of the monsters he was now so used to.  Only the mooshrooms seemed to be able to live on the strange fungus land.

He got out his wheat and tempted a whole herd of the animals to follow him.

He swam, leading them back towards his farm.

He set out 9; by the time he ushered them into the pen he’d prepared for them, but 3 were left.

He bred them and made a nice herd of mooshrooms for his very own.

Several days of contentment followed.  But the farmers thoughts turned dark one night, durring a thunder storm.

He dug out a basement for himself and crafted a magical enchantment table.  He began tinkering with the arcane arts.

The farmer would emerge at night, roaming the desert to the west in search of the night monsters.  He slayed them all mercilessly, gathering power to use in his arcane experiments.

He journeyed to the nether and fought even greater foes.  The frustrations of being on fire almost drove him back to the safety of his farm, but he continued on, exploring a strange constructed fortress full of fiery creatures.

With new ingredients, he dared new, powerful potions.

With the eyes of one of the night monsters and the strange substance from one of the fire creatures, he crafted a curious device: when thrown, it hovered up in the air, flying away from him to the south-west.  He followed it, picking it up where it landed.  It took him to the ocean, and he again took to the sea and followed the strange eye-construct.

It led him deep into the earth, to a frightening underground lair.  There he found dungeons and chests and new strange bug monsters…  and the makings of a strange portal.  He’d read that he’d need many of the night-eye devices to activate it.  The books at back at home told of people going into these portals and never coming out…

He went home, still debating what to do about the ‘end’ portal.  He lives on his farm, tending his crops and animals, and taking shelter in his house at night, where the books that tell of the strange places sit on his shelf, staring down at him, tempting him to go back to that underground portal and finish it.

Heh, anyway, that’s the first of my Minecraft sick worlds.

…And then I got food poisoning.  Nothing like Minecraft to take my mind off of stuff like that.

My curent one is a flatland, where I ran from village to village until I had enough material to make an enchanting table.  I vowed that the village that gave me the final diamonds I needed would be transformed into a paradise in the flatland.

So far it has lots of light, is surrounded by trees, has a grassland plains, and a few mountains.  I’m working on a stone (stone!) hall, and have just sectioned off an area free from slimes and lit it well enough so monsters won’t spawn there.  Got a lot of crops growing, and have pens of chickens, cows, sheep, and pigs.  Things are going well.

I like my flatworld.  It’s on hardcore mode though, so if I die, it all goes away.  I’m holding out pretty well so far.  Pics will happen if I don’t die.  🙂