First thoughts on RB3

Okay, so I haven’t started my official review of Rock Band 3 yet (I just got the game yesterday), but I played it some last night, and I just have to post a few thoughts that have already come up.

First of all… What is the deal with not being able to form a band online anymore? My cousin and I had a band together on RB2, and now we can’t form a band together. And if we play together online, we don’t even see each other’s stand-in band members. I really do not like this feature at all– the whole point of the game Rock BAND is that you play as a BAND, am I right?

I must say, I do like some of the new outfits that come with RB3. Unfortunately, many (most) of the clothing is the same as RB2, but there are a few extras that aren’t too bad. Instead of being able to purchase clothing, however, you have to play certain challenges or whatever to unlock certain items of clothing. It’s a little strange, but not that bad, I guess.

Of course, the best thing about the game (other than the KEYBOARD parts, of course!!) are some of the songs. BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, YES!! Also, Werewolves of London– one of my weirdest favorite songs. Although the keyboard part is amazingly repetitive, it’s so addicting! And Andrew would want me to mention Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4,” one of his new obsessions.

I’m still mad about the new band thing. RB4 better fix this, or I’m totally not buying it. Otherwise, so far, it seems like it’s going to be a great game.

My football teacher

So yesterday, I got the call that my cousin Russell passed away. Since I’ve moved to Virginia, away from my parents, he’s basically been my father over here. Every Sunday, I would go over to their house and spend time with Russell, Vickie, and Andrew (who’s my age and is my best friend-who’s-related-to-me). While Andrew and Vickie would take naps on Sunday afternoons, usually, Russell and I would watch the football game together. I’d say, “Why are they kicking the football instead of throwing it?” and he’d patiently explain what punting was. He would tell me the name of the plays, and what the object of the game was, and why the players were doing what they were doing on the field. He even answered my stupid questions like, “What’s a first down?” and “Why did they just get a penalty?” (This latter question would almost always be answered with, “Because they’re the Redskins, and the jack*ss referees are always wanting to penalize ’em.” Russell was a die-hard Redskins fan.)

He also taught me how to play billiards. He took Andrew and me to a pool hall one night and set up the balls for me, and said, “Okay, hit that one into the pocket.” I shot and missed. So he set up the balls again and said, “Okay, try it again. But aim this time.” Mystified by the advice, I tried to figure out how to aim differently than I had the first time. I shot again, and missed again. “Nope, you’re not aiming. You gotta aim, sugar. Try it again.” Although I never actually did learn how to aim, I did learn how NOT to aim, and I had a lot of fun in the process.

It was hard to watch him be in pain after he got sick. I wanted to hug him every day, but he got so thin I was afraid I’d break him. But you know what? Even when he was in so much pain, he would still smile at me every time I came to see him, and he’d tell me I looked beautiful, and he’d give me more lessons about football, and he’d try to pronounce Troy Palomalu’s name and get it wrong (“Palawala… Pamalama… Pokehiku… whatever the hell his name is…”). Or, after a rough coughing spell, he’d mutter a string of curse words, followed by a “Loooord Miss Annabelle!’ which is, apparently, an “old saying” that no one’s ever heard of. This got to be a joke with Russell and Andrew and me. Right in the middle of a long string of curse words, he’d just pop that phrase in there, and it was so unexpected that we couldn’t help but laugh, which in turn would make him laugh as well.

Lord, Miss Annabelle… I’m gonna miss that man.

Cake decorating FTW!

So my brother and my sister-in-law recently shipped me my birthday present from them, which was… drum roll… a cake decorating kit! YES. Lauren’s been making and decorating cakes up in Boston for a while now, and actually has been selling them and making some pretty decent money. Very cool. So now I’ve caught the cake decorating fever!

I’ll definitely have to post pictures of my cake-making endeavors on here. I made a cake last year for my birthday party… The party theme was the video game Portal (the cake is a lie), and so of course, the birthday cake was a replica of the Portal cake. Here’s a picture of that wonderful cake:

the cake is a lie...

So now that I’m armed with a super-duper cake decorating kit, think of all the awesome possibilities. 🙂 I’m thinking some awesome video-game-themed cakes in the near future… yeeees.

(P.S. If you want a recipe for this cake, hit me up in the comments section. My mom and I basically invented our own recipe based on my personal taste in cakes and the pictures of the cake in the game. It tastes REALLY GOOD.)

Jumanji!

I love this movie. It’s one of those movies that I can pop into the DVD player just about any time and watch it. It just never gets old. I call it one of my “cleaning movies”– whenever I get on a cleaning kick (to be honest, that’s really rare…), I stick one of these movies in and go to town. It’s usually either Jumanji, the first disc of the sixth season of Scrubs (by far the best disc of the best season of the best show– I mean, it’s got the episodes “My Musical,” “My House,” AND “My Best Friend’s Baby’s Baby and My Baby’s Baby”– all really stellar episodes on one disc), or my personal favorite– Twister. Arguably the best movie of all time. Srsly. (And by srsly, I mean… it’s srsly arguable. It’s probably not the best movie… but it is awesome. I mean, rockin’ tornado effects, a trite plotline that you don’t have to pay attention to in order to understand the movie, flying cows, and… anyway… I digress.)

Anyway. The point is, I’m currently watching me some Jumanji, curled up in my favorite leather chair in my Star Wars pajama pants, wrapped up in my Super Mario Bro. fleece blanket, with the extremely pungent but pleasant scent of Mrs. Meyer’s Cleaning Day Countertop Spray wafting from my newly-sparkling-clean kitchen, and a container of all-natural Choban greek yogurt (pineapple!!) on the table beside me. Ahhh, what a good way to end the evening.

Ahahah. I just LOL’d… I happened to look up from my blog just in time to see the part of the movie where the two monkeys on a motorcycle speed by the cop and Alan in the police car. I can’t help it. It makes me giggle every time. Silly monkeys.

Anybody out there have a movie/movies that you can just watch over and over again? Anyone? Bueller?

YEAH!

I just pwnd at some Search & Destroy on Call of Duty 4 with my peeps. ‘Tis a good evening. That is all. Thank you.

Game review: Scratches (PC)

Scratches: Director’s Cut, by Nucleosys (PC)

So I’ll be honest here. This is one of my favorite computer games, but it isn’t for everyone. I happen to be one of those people who enjoys both intense action games AND the slow-paced mystery-solving games. Scratches is one of the latter. In the following review, I’ll break the game down piece by piece and let you know my opinion of the game. At the end of the review is also an ADHD Factor– things to consider if you’re ADHD, from a fellow distracted gamer. So crack open a can of Dr. Pepper and enjoy!

Synopsis: HORROR/PUZZLE/SUSPENSE ADVENTURE. In this first-person game, you are Michael Arthate, a horror novelist who goes to stay at Blackwood Manor, a crumbling old Victorian manor, in order to get past your writer’s block. While there, however, your attention is drawn away from your novel to the mysterious past of the house, compounded by creepy diary entries and strange scratching noises at night. What happened to the Blackwoods? Where are those scratching noises coming from? Are you alone?

Pros: excellent story with much suspense, great setting with beautiful scenery (if you like creepy old decrepit Victorian mansions, which I do), surprisingly good voice acting, realistic puzzles (mostly).

Cons: some of the puzzles are so difficult they’re mostly a cycle-through-your-inventory-trying-everything-you-can thing, the point-and-click screens do not allow for very good mobility and exploring.

(These scores are out of 10)

Graphics: 9          For the most part, the game is very lovely. The decrepit mansion, which is the game’s setting, has the right feel to it: spooky and old. The point-and-click method of moving around the game, however, is less than perfect, which is why the graphics lost a point there.

Storyline: 10          I admit it—I LOVED the storyline of this game. It’s mysterious, suspenseful, and keeps you guessing until the very end. Where are those danged scratching noises coming from?! The storyline really made this game, I think. Speaking delicately so as not to give anything away, it was one of the most awesome/terrifying/mysterious endings to a game I’ve played yet. Seriously, this game is worth it based on the story alone. The characters are extraordinarily fleshed out, considering you never really see any of them and mostly read their writings or hear their voices on the telephone. P.S., with the Director’s Cut version, you also get a sort of “epilogue” mini game where a reporter returns to Blackwood Manor to find out what happened. Worth it!

Gameplay: 7         The gameplay itself is relatively simple: you point-and-click from one screen to the next, moving around the mansion and its grounds, in search of random objects with which to interact. You might find a boring tool somewhere in a drawer that will come in useful later on when trying to poke a hole in a can, or you might find a diary full of strange, crazed ravings. Items you pick up are stored in your inventory (Michael must have HUGE pockets) and can be used when the time is right. For some gamers, this is not the right game—it can be boring or monotonous just wandering around for three in-game days clicking on objects. For others, it may be way too difficult and require the use of an online walkthrough.

Controls: 9.5        As with the gameplay, the controls are relatively simple, just pointing and clicking. You have a cursor shaped like a hand that will change shape when you scroll over something with which you can interact.

Replayability: 7.5  This was a hard one for me to decide. I had to take my own feelings out of the equation and think like an average gamer. I actually love playing Scratches over and over. I guiltily admit that I required liberal use of an online walkthrough the first time I played the game, and so replaying it gave me the chance to try and remember what I did the first time by myself. Occasionally, I will still get stuck and have to refresh my memory (I’ve played it through maybe seven or eight times now). Some people will play it over and over; others will put it back in its box and never glance at it again.

TOTAL SCORE: 43/50= 86 (a solid B)


The ADHD Factor: Sorry, Scratches. As much as I love this game, it took a toll on my ADHD. The wandering and the getting-stuck-at-10am-on-Sunday-and-not-being-able-to-find-a-use-for-the-stupid-rope made me get up and leave my laptop in frustration several times. As previously mentioned, I started using a walkthrough guide after hitting my frustration level several times. There is also not a lot of flashiness (although there are some cool moments during the dream sequences). This game is a test of endurance and patience as well as skill.

Reminds me of: Scratches reminds me of Myst (PC).

O hai.

This blog is going to basically be randomblings (random ramblings) by me. I will be posting about a plethora of topics including video games, cats, job-searching, ADHD, candy, the color purple (the actual color, not the movie), jewelry-making, life-experiencing, grammar, television, movies, dieting and exercise, music, being in a band, rockin’ out, pwning n00bs at Call of Duty, Words of the Week (this week’s word: plethora), organic food and snacks, writing, living on a budget, psychology, English, game reviews, and more.

I am:

– Sarah (nice to meet you)

– an avid video gamer

– diagnosed with ADHD (sorry in advance for any unfinished sentences in

– in a Christian rock band

– a lover of words and grammar

– a graduate student in clinical psychology

I have:

– a B.A. in Psychology & English

– an Xbox 360, a Wii, a Playstation 1, and an original NES

– a cat

I do not have:

– grace or balance

– a job

– a clear idea of a direction for my life (yet)

So this is what I’m going to blog about: finding my niche, finding my purpose in life, etc. And along the way, all the strange, awkward, really-out-there, funny, sad, face-palming, knee-slapping, groan-producing, giggle-spawning situations in which I frequently seem to find myself. Oh, and maybe some video game reviews. ‘Cause I feel like it.