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CON CALENDAR
JULY
Con•Gregate, NC
Winston-Salem, NC, July 11-13, 2014
AUGUST
DragonCon, GA
Atlanta, GA, August 29 - Sept 1, 2014 DragonCon, Atlanta, GA, August 29 - Sept 1, 2014

PAX Prime, WA
Seattle, WA, August 30 - Sept 2, 2014 PAX Prime, Seattle, WA, August 30 - Sept 2, 2014

SEPTEMBER
Wizard World, TN
Nashville, TN, Sept 26 - 28, 2014 Wizard World, Nashville, TN, Sept 26 - 28, 2014

OCTOBER
GeekGirlCon, WA
Seattle, WA, October 11-12, 2014 GeekGirlCon, Seattle, WA, October 11-12, 2014

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Monday
Jul212014

episode 122: Con*Gregate

This week, Rhonda reports about her experiences at ConGregate, a fan con in Winstom-Salem, North Carolina. Listen to hear all about this great experience! We continue our summer book recommendations based on your vacation destination of choice.

Links

Con*Gregate

Laura Haywood-Cory with Baen Books
Allegra Liana, the Chainmail Chick
Randy Richards, Paul Revere: The Zombies Are Coming
Tricia Barr is FanGirl
Edmund Schubert
Emily Lavin Leverett, editor and author
Janine K. Spendlove
Doc Geressy, The Sci-Fried Eggs show
Larry Correia
Stuart Jaffe
Paula S. Jordan on DarkCargo

SUMMER BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

BEACH

Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (The Blogess) 
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

MOUNTAINS

Grave Witch - An Alex Craft Novel by Kalyana Price 
The Stand by Stephen King

INTERNATIONAL 

The Sun Also Rises by Earnest Hemingway 
The Bone Woman by Clea Koff

Let us know about any local cons you are attending and your book recommendations for the summer!

Until next time, game on! 
Regina & Rhonda 

Episode 122

Wednesday
Jul162014

Continue?: Bullies, Video Games and the Concept of an Extra Life (Part II)

Author's Note - This series of essays discusses the tribulations I faced as a child and teenager in very explicit detail, and is extremely personal. However, it was very therapeutic to write, and while there are some embarrassing revelations about my youth in the piece, I feel that it is still worth sharing. Also keep in mind that I am not censoring anything that happened to me, so there are very harsh words in this text. For that reason, I will place this behind a jump. I have added images, including some original art I made in Photoshop in high school that, in retrospect, suggest the duality of lives I discuss in the essay was a prevalent thought even back then.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul142014

episode 121: Toni Lesatz: MyBookAddiction

This week, we chat with writer, gamer, blogger, and mom, Toni Lesatz from My Book addiction. We have a great chat about writing, gaming, and website promotions. 

LINKS

GameFly
Goodreads
Sewer Shark
Into the Dead
Zombie Gunship

For Toni Lesatz: MyBookAddiction
Facebook
Goodreads
Google+
Instagram
Pinterest
Twitter
Youtube

SUMMER BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

BEACH

Blood Sucking Fiends by Christopher Moore
Odd Thomas: An Odd Thomas Novel
 by Dean Koontz
Extra Credit by Nina Post

MOUNTAINS

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris 
Moon Called
 by Patricia Briggs
Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle

INTERNATIONAL

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Life of Pi
by Yann Martel
Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak

Until next time, game on! 
Regina & Rhonda 

Episode 121

Friday
Jul112014

Continue?: Bullies, Video Games and the Concept of an Extra Life (Part I)

Author's Note - This series of essays discusses the tribulations I faced as a child and teenager in very explicit detail, and is extremely personal. However, it was very therapeutic to write, and while there are some embarrassing revelations about my youth in the piece, I feel that it is still worth sharing. Also keep in mind that I am not censoring anything that happened to me, so there are very harsh words in this text. For that reason, I will place this behind a jump. I have added images, including some original art I made in Photoshop in high school that, in retrospect, suggest the duality of lives I discuss in the essay was a prevalent thought even back then.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul092014

Review: Divinity: Original Sin

Recently I received a gift of Divine Divinity and Divinity: Original Sin on Steam as a belated birthday gift from one of my best friends, David. He had been keeping watch on Divinity: Original Sin while it had been in development and thought I might like it. I had never heard of the series nor its creator Larian Studios, but I was willing to give it a go.

Divinity: Original Sin is a top down, third person, isometric view RPG. Think of the way the Diablo series looks and you get the idea. However, the game play has very little in common with the Diablo series.

First things first. The character creation.

Character creation is interesting because you start by making two characters. The appearance editor is okay. It has a several options for both male and female characters, but nothing really to write home about. However, the class or abilities portion of the editor is where it shines. Yes, you have 11 classes to choose from, but each of these can be modified by the player during creation. Playing a Wayfarer but don't want the Pet Pal talent? Change it to something you feel will be more useful. The only part of the editor I took issue with was the character portraits. Despite there being many, I really felt like it was still too easy to come up with an appearance for your character that didn't have an analogue in the portrait selection.

The visuals and audio for the game are both well done. The maps and general animation are on par for this style of game, but the spell and particle effects really kick it up a notch. Some areas you walk through will have seeds and leaves blowing by your field of view, making the game feel more alive and further immersing you in the game. The sound track for Divinity: Original Sin is truly top notch. Normally I tend to turn music way down or off in games because often times I find it jarring and that it doesn't fit the mood of the game. Not so in this case. The first time I heard the theme music at the beginning of the game I was hooked. And the music in the game is no different. It just sounds great and works.

Looks like you passed out around a lot of combustibles, little goblins.

Where Divinity really shines for me is the feel of the game play. I have never played an RPG video game that feels so close to playing a pen and paper RPG, ever. The game doesn't spoon feed you your quest information or where to go. You have to spend time conversing with NPCs and looking for clues. For the most part I really like this, but there have been a few times now where I've missed a vital clue or it just seemed there wasn't one.

The combat also feels like a table top RPG too. When out of combat you just roam around at your leisure, but once you go into combat it goes to an initiative based turn system like most pen and paper RPGs. Once in a fight you rely on action points to determine your movement and what attacks or actions you can take. This might not sound very interesting, but believe me when I say that the combat in this game is some of the best turn based combat I’ve ever experienced in any game. There is so much that goes into an encounter that it's really hard to describe it with out writing a small book, but i'll touch on one of the coolest parts; that being the area effects. With your elemental attacks as a magic user or a ranged attacker, you can set the field on fire to burn anything coming at you. Fire isn't working? Cast a rain spell to douse the fire and create steam clouds which you can then hit with lightning to electrify. This is just one example of many.

My only real issue with Divinity: Original Sin is also one of its strengths. The conversation. On one hand you have these great moments of dialogue between your two main characters that can reveal a lot about their personalities and back story and reward you with in game bonuses. On the other hand dialogue with random citizens is the same thing over and over. I would have preferred that there be no conversation option with the background players because they all pretty much have the same dialogue options which tend to be pretty jarring and pulls me out of the immersion of the game.

Divinity: Original Sin in a very well done RPG. I think for true fans of the genre it's a game well worth owning and playing over and over again. If you are hoping for another Diablo clone or something hack n' slash, don't bother.

 

Remember the Athenians.