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Qalamari's blog

9:40 PM on 12.27.2008

Donate to a good cause, chance at free WoW for life

It's been far too long since I've written anything here, and although this isn't an original story, it's nice to be blogging again now that the holiday craziness is in the past. Anyway. I saw this on Ctrl- Alt-Del this afternoon and thought it deserves as much exposure as possible.

Katherine Allen is a Blizzard employee, and in the spirit of the season is participating in a charity marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It's a great cause, but the reason this may be relevant to your interests is that if her target of $5500 is raised she'll be giving away a card with 300 months of WoW on it to one of the donators. That works out to 25 years of looting Murloc snouts and /dancing in Ironforge. Even if you don't win the grand prize there's a chance at a free year of World of Warcraft for three donators.

You can check out all the relevant information here. I know times are tough but it's a worthy cause and quite a valuable prize.

Q   read

12:18 AM on 10.09.2008

Quickblog: Last chance at Fallout swag!

No, not my last Fallout puppet. I'm saving that. It may be hard to play the game next week with it wrapped around my thumbs, but screw it. I'm gonna try.

Bethesda is celebrating the end of the Penny Arcade comic run by giving away some of the leftover swag on their blog. All you need to do to enter is send an E-mail to [email protected] and tell them which of the comics was your favorite. Prizes include the hilarious Vault Dweller's survival guide, seen below as well as a few of the Vault Boy puppets like the one I gave away last month. There was some fierce competition for that one, so I assume there'll be some interest in this. Good luck!


7:02 PM on 09.15.2008

Fallout 3 puppet contest: And the winner is...

Hi all,

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who entered my contest. I'm serious when I say I wish I had something for all of you-- sadly, in the end there can be only one winner, which means over 30 of you are going to be disappointed by what you read here.

Right up front, I'd like to thank The Golden Avatar for allowing me to use his Random Name Selector program to determine the winner of this contest. I was considering other ways of selecting someone randomly such as assigning everyone a number and using the /random function in WoW or throwing darts or something, but this worked out much better.

I apologize for the ad in the center of the video. I'm not very familiar with screen capture software, and this was the first one that I came across that was free. I'm on a budget, so that was an important consideration. I added a picture of the puppet to the top of the screen to push the ad out of the name list, so I hope everything is still legible. Without further ado, here's the winner!

Congratulations to the lucky winner. Just send me a PM with your contact info and I'll get your puppet shipped out as soon as possible.

I'd like to give KamikazeTutor and EternalDarkwing something special as a consolation prize. They both put in some extra effort on their avatars and I'd like to reward that. If you guys send me your contact info, I'll send you one of the cards that were passed out at the Fallout 3 demonstration.

It's made from a special cardboardium alloy I think.
It can be easily converted into a small home defense desktop nuclear device, or so it claims. You can see the whole thing here. I hope they won't mind me posting their full-size avatars here for everyone to see.

With any luck, I should be able to have some late PAX impressions up by the end of the week. Sadly I wasn't able to hang out with the Destructoid crew for the majority of the show-- a mistake I intend to rectify next year. Once again, congratulations to Dr. Rockso. If those of you who entered want to change your avatar back, (I know Necros' most recent one gives him a warm feeling) feel free to do so now. Thanks again for playing!

Q   read

5:44 PM on 09.13.2008

CONTEST REMINDER: Fallout 3 puppet- The final countdown

Make sure you hear what Gabe and Tycho start to say around about 1:58 or so, and keep an eye on the crowd.

This is it. Your chance to win a Fallout 3 puppet from PAX will soon be in the past. I wish I had one for everybody, but the sad fact of the matter is I only have one to give away. It's not too late to enter though, just click that link for the unbelievably easy entry requirements.

During the past week, I've been immensely entertained going through the C-blogs and seeing people's friend lists populated by a smattering of Vault Boy avatars. It almost made me feel like... a master... of something.


All kidding aside, I think the avatar contest has been a huge success and if I come across anything else cool to give away I'll probably do the same thing. The community's obvious love for the Fallout series has prompted me to pick up the original two games in the series--and from what little I've played, I think I now understand the enthusiasm surrounding everything even tangentially Fallout related. The feeling of absolute freedom to play in multiple, completely different yet valid ways is a refreshing change. Of course-- you all knew that already, that's why you want the puppet so bad, right?

None upside-down facing to the right? I must confess myself to be disappointed.

You have until 11:59PM Pacific time on Sunday night to enter. Avatars that are not somehow associated with the Vault Boy at the end of the contest are ineligible. I'll be posting the winner in my blog on Monday night. Good luck!

Q   read

8:35 PM on 09.09.2008

CONTEST REMINDER: Win a PAX Vault Boy puppet

This was just about as awesome as it looks.

My last post was swiftly pushed off the front page, which I suppose I deserve for posting at midnight. Fortunately Mr. Zimmerman was good enough to post a link in his Scraps column last night. There are some really great avatars on display, and so far there are very few repeated.

As a reminder, the contest ends this Sunday at 11:59 Pacific time. To make sure as many people as possible have the opportunity to enter, Here's a link to the contest details. If you'd like to enter, please post in the other thread with your changed avatar. Good luck to you all!

Q   read

12:53 AM on 09.08.2008

CONTEST: Win a PAX Fallout puppet!

I'm sure it's clear to even the most jaded Destructoid reader that PAX is widely considered to be pretty much the best thing ever. I've been meaning to write a bit about my experience at the show. Unfortunately for my plans, school started the day I returned, and work's been kicking me square in the ass for the last week. Still, as a couple of wise men once said, sometimes you just have to grow a pair and make time for blogging.

With that being said, I'm sure most people here couldn't care less about my pedantic ramblings and are here for the contest. Can't say I blame ya. Here's the deal.

Penny Arcade has been doing a special series of comics for Bethesda to promote the upcoming release of Fallout 3. There was an hourlong demonstration of the game on Saturday, and during the show everyone in the audience recieved a facedown card. The group I went up to Seattle with wasn't entirely composed of hardcore gamers, so I ended up with a couple of extra cards. These were redeemable at the Fallout booth for one of a variety of prizes, ranging from T-shirts to signed and framed posters to what I'm giving away here; a Fallout "Vault Boy" puppet.

It's still in the original bag for you obsessive types. These are currently going for between $20 and $75 on eBay.

It took a little while to figure out how best to give it away, but I think I've come up with an answer. It's simple, doesn't require much effort and to the best of my knowledge hasn't been done before. All you have to do to be entered into my contest is change your avatar to some form of the Fallout series' Vault Boy mascot and post in this thread. Only one post per person will be counted in this thread... you can post multiple times, but it won't help your chances of winning. I will choose one of the posts randomly at 11:59 PM Pacific time on Sunday, September 14th. Everyone is welcome to enter, but I'm a broke college student and can't really afford to send it internationally. If you want to enter and are from another country you're welcome to do so, but I may have to ask you to pay the shipping if you win.

To change your avatar, just click the "YOU" tab at the top of the site. Then click "My profile." There should be a button on screen that reads "Edit your profile." The top box will be where you should enter the URL for your avatar. I recommend copying the link for your current avatar and keeping it in a safe place for when the contest is over. During Workmeng Week I put my squid avatar at the top of my profile, for example.

The puppets were everywhere on the last day of the show.

I know lots of people track their friends' posts by their avatar, so I apologize in advance for the confusion this may cause. Unfortunately I don't have time or the experience in the Fallout universe to go through a lot of fan fiction or anything like that. Keep in mind, it's only for a week. Good luck!   read

11:22 PM on 08.27.2008

Reminder: Free Pokémon at PAX!

I'll be busy most of tomorrow packing and doing last minute trip preparations. Before I leave though, I wanted to make sure and remind those people who are planning on attending the Penny Arcade Expo to bring their DS's (as though you don't have it with you already?) and if you have one, a copy of a DS Pokémon game. The details are right here. All you need are three critters you don't particularly care to keep, and to be in the same room with me at some point during the show.

If you can't make the show and still want the Johto starters, just send me a PM and I'll arrange a time to trade with you wirelessly once I get back.

Onward! To Seattle!

Q   read

1:55 AM on 08.15.2008

PAX, Pokémon, and you!

It's no secret to regular readers of this blog that I am a big fan of both Pokémon and the PAX show. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how to combine my two passions and also show the community a little love.

And then it hit me.

I am totally committed to filling out my Pokédex. And when I say "committed" I don't mean it in the sense of "dedicated," it's more in the vein of "They're coming to take me aWAYYY ha-hAAA!" As a result of this (ahem) committment, I played through Pokémon Emerald multiple times to unlock the starting Pokémon from Johto: Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile.

These three are some of the toughest critters to get in the current generation, but fortunately they can be forced to reproduce. My flash of insight was something simple-- I've been playing around with the breeding mechanic of the games since it was introduced in Gold and Silver, why not do it on a large scale? So I have. And what's perhaps more important, I'm willing to share. If you're into Pokémon and you're going to PAX, just find me during the show, and I'll be happy to trade you one or all three for whatever junk Pokémon you're willing to be rid of.

As a reminder, this is what I'll be wearing at the show. Should be easy to spot, yes?

The critters I've bred for the event each have two Egg moves they wouldn't normally start with and don't learn on their own.

Chikorita starts with Leech Seed and Leaf Storm in addition to its standard Tackle and Growl.

Cyndaquil begins with Will'o'Wisp as well as Flare Blitz plus its standard Quick attack and Leer.

Totodile comes packing Crunch and Dragon Dance combined with its standard Scratch and Leer. Teach it Waterfall and it becomes a very effective and versatile physical attacker.

But that's not all! Destructoid will be representing at PAX to be sure, but I know there are lots of you who couldn't make it this year, or will be too busy at the show to hunt down the freak in the Mario Kart hat. That doesn't mean you're out of luck! If you can't make it, I'll still be happy to send you any or all of the special critters I've made up for the event via Wi-fi. All I ask is that you send me a PM through Destructoid with your Trainer card information. Mine is listed in the image on the sidebar of this blog. From there we can set up a time to make a trade. Please note, I won't have time to do any trades this way until well after the show is over, so your patience is appreciated.

I'd like to thank both Vongore for helping me get these ready and SWPM for rekindling my interest in the game by sending me the Pokémon Ranch on the Wii. Vongore would like me to add that he's willing to take special requests for specific Pokémon since he's just completed his Pokédex in Pearl.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm super excited about this year's PAX. I'll repost this as a reminder when it gets a little closer to the show. Just two weeks to go!

Q   read

1:09 AM on 08.09.2008

Thank you, Dyson and Codemasters!

Yesterday I received the copy of Overlord: Raising Hell I won in the contest back in July. It was the lone bright spot in an otherwise completely brutal day.

I'd just like to thank both the staff at the site for holding such far out and entertaining contests, and Codemasters for sponsoring this one in particular. They really went above and beyond, sharing the love with everyone who entered this competition.

I haven't had a chance to crack the game yet, but I thouroughly enjoyed the demo I played, and am very much looking forward to playing the full version. Thanks again, you really made my day!

Q   read

3:23 AM on 07.11.2008

PAX for beginners

I was talking on Steam's IM with the inimitable SWPM a couple of days ago about my experience at PAX last year. I really started to get on a roll, and with less than 50 days left until the doors open, I thought others who haven't been or are curious about the experience might like to know a little more about what to expect once they enter Arcadia. This is only through the lens of my own experience of course... your mileage may vary.

I wrote a bit about the convention in my last post. I can say without hyperbole that it was one of the greatest experiences in my life. I'm going back this year, and I'd love to meet as many of you folks as possible.

Part of it is like any other convention you would go to... Blizzcon, Baycon, Comicon, what have you. Everything is video-game themed, though. There's lots of game companies showing off their stuff. Sony was doing a HUGE promotion for Drake's Fortune last year... I won some framed art and a ring in a really nice little box, and a T-shirt. Gonna have to buy that game to even it out one of these days.

I'd show the box the ring came in and the T-shirt, but I'm camera-shy.

The heart of the convention is the game floor where they show off all the new stuff. Last year they had Bioshock, Metroid Prime 3, Ratchet and Clank, Drake's Fortune, Rock Band etc. all playable, months in advance of their release. They also demo card and board games here. This room is constantly the most crowded and the most noisy... this is where you get the majority of your show swag, and it's also where the vendors are set up, so there's often people running around with really cool stuff they've just won or bought. There's rooms set up all around the hotel with different themes. One is just stuffed with tons of board games that you can borrow, there's another with a bunch of retro consoles set up anyone can play. If you want, you can bring your own games and play them, too. I'll definitely be bringing a few decks of Magic cards. The lobby areas have piles and piles of those big Sumo recliner beanbags all over the place... you'll often find people settled down there playing DS or PSP games wirelessly.

If you choose to, there are competitions you can participate in. There's what they call a "distributed tournament" for portable games... you start with two tokens and can wager them against other competitors in any game of your choice, from Mario Kart to Pong to Puzzle Quest. Whoever has the most tokens at the end of the event can win some pretty impressive prizes. Some of the vendors have prizes you can win too-- nVidia gives every PAX attendee a T-shirt and a badge-type pin with a 5 digit number on it. If you can find the other person at the show with the same numbered button, you can win some really awesome PC gaming stuff. This is the very definition of "Needle in a Haystack," but it's fun seeing how far people will go to try and find their match. There's also the "Omegathon," which takes place over the entire weekend and has an unbelievable gaming prize for the ultimate winner. Last year it was a fully loaded Scion Xb with game consoles built in, the year before that it was a gaming collection valued at over $10,000. Omeganauts are chosen randomly from PAX preregistrants and are pretty much treated like rock stars over the course of the convention. The last major event is the Omegathon final, where the last two competitors battle it out on a game that remains secret until it's go time. In years past, epic games of Pong and Tetris were played out before the crowds, so most people were expecting a similar retro game last year. Instead we were treated to this.

I think the guy standing in front of me might have made a mess on the floor when he realized we'd be seeing Halo 3. He had easy access, too-- he was wearing a UtiliKilt.

There are scheduled events and panel discussions every day, but you don't have to go to any of them. If you do, there are industry leaders talking about everything from music in games to getting your game idea out there to... well, pretty much anything you can think of. The big events though are the ones where Mike and Jerry (Gabe and Tycho) are actually there. They do a comic strip live in front of the audience... it's really cool to watch the art taking shape right in front of you. There're also a few major speeches and events... last year Wil Wheaton gave the keynote address, Assassin's Creed was demonstrated live for the first time worldwide, and there was a surprise visit from the worst movie director ever, Uwe Boll.

There are concerts every night. I got to see Jonathan Coulton live last year before he exploded with "Still Alive." There are other types of music represented too... MC Frontalot does what he calls "Nerdcore" rap, which is more likely to mention rolling a natural 20 than popping a cap in some fool. There are covers and remixes of old NES game tunes, performed by bands like the Minibosses and the Oneups. There are movies and stuff at night... they show "The Wizard" every year. I think people are gonna start making up lines to yell back at the screen soon, like for the Rocky Horror movie.

"I love The Wizard... it's so bad."

The movies and concerts can run until the small hours of the morning, but that's no reason to stop having fun. There are frequently after-hours parties in the hotel itself (one's connected to the convention center, and there are several more in the vicinity, crammed with avid gamers). As long as you can keep from passing out, there'll be something for you to do.

Apart from the convention itself, Seattle is a wonderful city with lots to see and do. The friends I was with and I spent most of a day at the amazing Science Fiction museum beneath the Space Needle, and had lunch in the Needle's rotating restaurant. (That was expensive, but delicious. The view was indescribable-- it was totally worth it.) We also did a tour of the Seattle "catacombs," a hilarious look at the city's history that I'd highly recommend.

Going to PAX last year was one of the best vacations I've ever taken. I'll be going back again this year and intend to keep going for years to come. I hope to see some of you there!

Q   read

4:11 PM on 06.16.2008

What's going on here?

Can someone explain this to me please? I'm flattered, obviously, but I wrote this almost two months ago.


7:19 PM on 05.18.2008

RFGO! supplemental: Castlevania YTMNDs

In a previous installment I mentioned that I might do this again, so I figure that's fair warning. Here then are several YTMNDs related to tonight's RetroforceGO! topic, the Castlevania series.

I'm aware that Dracula's castle utilizes non-Euclidean design, but this is ridiculous.

In the movie version of Castlevania, Alucard will be played by Nic Cage.

Welll... maybe he'd rather just watch.

Bet you thought you'd never see another Transylvanian dance club after the one that appeared in Night of the Raving Dead. At least this one doesn't have Jimmy Fallon.

The Castlevania rap. Simmon is coming, indeed.

Adding liberal amounts of Cosby to anything can make it better.

In a similar vein (hur hur) the addition of Katamari almost always equals improvement.

What would YTMND be without dramatic fanfiction readings?

Why bother with whips or swords?

The XP fad was always one of my favorites... and it's how I came to be involved with Destructoid in the first place.

Soma Cruz seems to like the Bee Gees. Nothin' wrong with that.

Anyone who played one of Soma's games to 100% completion will understand the frustration behind this YTMND.

This is about as random as it gets. I like it for some reason though. Probably the music.

Speaking of music, this version of "Lost Painting" is just lovely.

Where there's a whip...

A good mash up. Doc Louis really shouldn't have stolen Simon's bike.

This is one of my favorite YTMND's ever. The timing is just flawless. Poor Simon.

Little known fact: Alucard got busted for possession of "Laurels" and was forced to make this Public Service Announcement as part of his plea deal. (On the original SotN disc, this segued into a techno song they didn't end up using in the game. That was a great easter egg.)

I'm not sure how to describe this other than to say it features Jean-Luc Picard whipping a man in the face.

Was there ever a Castlevania JRPG? It seems like a natural.

Juste Belmont could buy pretty much anything in Harmony of Dissonance.

And we'll close things up with a dance party.

That's all for this edition, hope folks enjoyed it.   read

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