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1:17 PM on 03.16.2009

Happy Birthday Mr. Robot!



I haven't been able to post in a while, as I've been busy with work and making life altering choices on my career recently. However, that doesn't mean I can't take time out to wish this community and Niero a happy birthday.

So thank you everyone for making this site great, thanks for becoming my friend and colleague. This place has helped me personally and professionally. For the first time since college I feel like I connect with people.

Also, regardless of whatever bullshit and drama that may happen here, I ignore most of it and focus on the one thing that we are all passionate about here: video games. I know it can be hard sometimes, but I see big picture, and overall Niero has done some amazing things with this place. It's unlike any other gaming site I've visited on the interwebs.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Here's to more snarkiness!

See you all at PAX.   read


3:44 PM on 02.01.2009

10 things Naia shares on the internet [NVGR]



I got peer-pressured by the other students to share with the class, so here goes:

1. Ive always been into computers. My Dad brought home our first computer when I was three and apparently my parents said I thanked my Dad for buying me a computer.

2. I used to think the age of three was the normal age for people to learn how to read, since that was when I learned how to read. When I was in 8th grade my English teacher made a big deal about Michael London learning how to read when he was only five. I didnt know what the big deal was.

3. I was born with my ears sticking out, kind of like Dumbo or Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I chose to have the surgery when I was five to remove the excess cartilage. I still have scars behind my ears.

4. I have perfect pitch. That means I can identify any note without a reference. While it let me skip most of Ear Training I in college, I dont use it as a crutch. Its just helpful for me to hear things.

5. I was born in New Hampshire and lived there until I was 23. Then I moved to Minneapolis, MN and went to grad school there. I moved to Ann Arbor Michigan for six months and then to Los Angeles, CA. I like to call myself a New Englander who lives in Cali. I will never call myself a Californian. Needless to say, Im sick of moving, and I want to settle in SoCal. Winter is overrated.

6. A lot of my friends from high school grew up to become artists and musicians. Its one of my fantasies to do some sort of collaborative project with them for the fun of it. It will most likely never happen because they are scattered all over the United States, but its part of why I always like the idea of friends working together on projects. I want to extend that same love with other DToiders.

7. I worry a lot, about everything. Ive had problems with anxiety ever since I was a kid, in a medical sort of way. I got officially diagnosed when I was 22 after trying to ignore it. I have it under control now, but I still find myself getting nervous over the stupidest of things, like get-togethers with friends.

8. I get attached to things and people. If I call you a friend, I mean it. If its a hobby I enjoy, Im passionate about it. Its probably why I play so many video games.

9. I dont know why, but I feel like Im meant to make the world a better place. I dont mean becoming a famous person or anything like that, but I feel like my purpose in life is important, and when Im not contributing (like my current state of unemployment), I feel like Im not living up to my potential.

10. DToid has been one of the best things to happen to me in the last year. I didnt know anybody when I moved to Los Angeles, and I didnt get out much. When I discovered all the amazing people from the community lived so close by and started hanging out, it was the first time in years I felt like I had friends again. I think its been the constant moving but I havent been in one place long enough to get to know a lot of people. Then thanks to IRC and PAX I met more nice people. I love Zero with all my heart, but he knows how much I value friendship. I think some married people put too much stock in their spouses and forget that they need other people.

Alright, that was a bit schmoopy. Im going to go sit back at my desk now.   read


2:44 PM on 01.06.2009

Tyra Tuesday: Redefining Adorable [NVGR]

I woke up tired and sad thinking I lost my keys, but then I realized it was Tyra Tuesday. Magically Tyra found my keys and I was happy.

To thank her I want to show everyone how adorable she is:




Even evil Tyra-head is adorable



Thanks Tyra for finding my keys!



The End.   read


2:13 AM on 12.17.2008

Weddingtoid: How I Nerded Up my Wedding, without Frightening the Relatives



I first met ZeroAtma in the fall of 1999. I was beginning my sophomore year in college and he was starting his freshman year. We both moved in early, so we pretty much had only each other to talk to, as we lived in the same dorm. Im not sure if it was the huge dragon poster in my room or my SNES, but he knew I wasnt like most girls. We became best friends overnight, and shortly thereafter (I was oblivious back then) we started dating. We quickly discovered the love for video games we both had and it became a huge part of our relationship.

Five and a half years later, Zero surprised me in the middle of the night in my Minneapolis apartment (he lived in Michigan at the time) with an engagement ring, a serenade, and two of our friends to capture the whole thing on film. I was surprised, and a bit groggy. It was 1:30 in the morning, and he underestimated how long it would take to drive from Ann Arbor to Minneapolis. Our own careers put off the wedding itself until after we moved yet again to California, and thought it would be nice to get married on the day we started dating, October 11th.

So what does this have to do with video games?

Like I said before we both love video games, probably a bit too much. Its the subject of many of our conversations and our non-gaming friends know how much we love them. It was only expected that our wedding reflect that. Im not a huge fan of dancing and always joked that we needed video games to play at our reception, otherwise I would ditch it after an hour. The joke slowly became a reality. Im here to share the ways I geeked up my wedding, but at the same time, kept it affordable, classy, and gave the illusion that it was a normal wedding. I figured someone out there may be getting married soon and may want ideas. Either that or you can be entertained by all the geeky things we did.



The Invitations
I dont know how many of you are married out there, but invitations are expensive. When I saw Nintendos press release for Super Paper Mario back in 2007 I loved the idea that they sent wedding invitations. It became the inspiration for the invitations we used. I bought cardstock and made my own, putting a picture of Peach and Bowser at the altar to put in the center of the invitation. The invitations cost about of third of what they normally would, and everybody loved them. No one had to question whether this was for our wedding or not.



The Music
DJs are expensive and play a lot of terrible music at weddings. I opted to pick out everything and plug an ipod up to speakers at the reception hall instead. While the main part of the reception had fairly traditional rock and jazz music for a wedding, the dinner music and ceremony music is where the inner nerd came out. I wrote an original tune for the processional, but did an arrangement of the Final Fantasy prologue music for the recessional. This is the same tune heard at the end of Final Fantasy IV when Cecil and Rosa get married and so I thought it was appropriate. One friend of ours, who was familiar with the game, cried when she heard the music, which was sweet. It made me feel like I made the right choice. At dinner all of the music played came from Dragon Quest. The composer Koichi Sugiyama has conducted and performed arrangements of all of the tunes from his games, which was great to have as background music. People unfamiliar with the games thought I was playing traditional classical music. I also threw in a little bit of music from Bioshock, because Im in love with the soundtrack.



The Entertainment
I had music for people to dance to that wanted it, but off to the side I had a few TVs connected up to a couple of Wiis. I had Wii Sports for the non-gamers, and Smash Brothers for the gamers (we were supposed to have Boom Blox too but we forgot the game at the last minute. Weddings arent perfect). Many of Zeros older relatives enjoyed Wii Sports and it was great to have our old college friends, many with which we played Melee back in the day, to enjoy the successor.



The Cake
This is the one I know many of you readers want to see. Ive talked about my wedding cake on Retroforce Go! asking for ideas. We wanted it game themed, but wasnt sure which game at first. We debated everything from Mega Man, to Kingdom Hearts, to Dragon Quest. We decided on Final Fantasy IV because the game has a special place in both of our hearts, plus two of the characters get married at the end!



We went with a three layer traditional cake of which the top layer has blue crystals (which came out a bit large, but oh well), a middle layer with airships and chocobos and a bottom layer with the characters from the game. We brought in pictures of the airship, crystal and chocobo sprites for the baker. To make things look nicer, we got edible images of the characters, which we placed around the bottom layer of the cake. The crystals and ribbon around the cake were blue because it was our wedding color. Finally our cake topper was none other than our figures of Cecil and Rosa that Square Enix released in conjunction with Final Fantasy IV for the DS.



Our wedding was a fun day and unique for us. To the average stranger it looked like a typical wedding, but for those closest to us, it was nerdier than any other wedding they had attended ever. I wouldnt have wanted it any other way.   read


5:55 PM on 11.11.2008

Quick Blog: Dragon Quest V gets US Release Date



Thanks to Square Enix and Kotaku today, I received the good news that Dragon Quest V received a US release date for February 17, 2009. For those unfamiliar with the game, this Dragon Quest title (along with Dragon Quest VI) have NEVER been released in the US before. Those who like to NOT download ROMS can NOT find a fully translated version of the original title for the Super NES, but being someone who does NOT play games like that, vows to purchase games that I NOT download from foreign lands.

From their press release:

DRAGON QUEST V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride
Scenario & Game Design: Yuji Horii
Character Design: Akira Toriyama
Music Composer: Koichi Sugiyama
Publisher: Square Enix, Inc.
Developer: ArtePiazza
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: RPG
ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10 and older)
Ship Date: February 17, 2009

Never before released in North America, this entry in the Zenithia Trilogy follows a journey that transcends three generations. Travel alongside your father on his quest to see the world, grow to set forth on a journey of your own and face life-altering decisions as you continue your familys legacy. DRAGON QUEST V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride makes its way to Nintendo DS on February 17, 2009.

The official website can be found at http://na.square-enix.com/zenithia/.

Of course, there are other games, they have announced, but we know that my love is only for the slime.

Given how long it usually takes to localize Dragon Quest games, I'm STUNNED that we are getting this game as early as February.

As someone who has played this game from start to finish and love old school JRPGs I would HIGHLY recommend this game. It's different from DQIV, but does incorporate the world of Zenithia like DQIV does. You get to choose who to marry (which really only changes the hair color of your kids). This version adds a third option of ladies to choose. Who knows what the third lady may affect the outcome :O   read


7:44 PM on 09.29.2008

Why I <3 Destructoid: Naia's Birthday Edition

I had my birthday on friday as many found out when Hamza spilled the beans on my Monthly Musing. I had a feeling my fiance was up to something but wasn't sure what. I come from dinner and find not only a bunch of people in my apartment (all of which are DToiders), but to find out that these people put their money together to get me this:



Yes a 32gig iPod Touch. Like with Chad a few weeks ago, Destructoid shares the love. The engraving on the back of my iPod says "With love, from your friends at Destructoid." I tried to take a picture so others could see the engraving, but the reflection was too much. I hope you guys take my word for it. I'm still pretty speechless and I have to say you guys are awesome. Even if you had nothing to do with this, it's okay. You are still awesome. I know there were at least some people who pitched in that live far away, and you know who you are ;)

Ever since PAX it's been proven time and time again that many of the community members are so friendly and so generous and I really feel like it's a strong point of this community. This birthday surprise is frosting on the cake (no pun intended).

It's been a crazy month birthday-wise and I hope that everyone who did celebrate a birthday this month had a great one! I know I did :)

Chad is right. This community rules.   read


6:05 PM on 09.02.2008

Obligatory Post-Pax Fun Sexy Time Orgy-Fest Blog

I know the blogs are getting flooded with PAX merriment and I apologize for those of you who unfortunately didn’t attend. We wish you were there. Please be patient and put up with this for a few more days, and then it’ll calm down. I bet this will make you want to come next year huh?

First let’s talk about the swag. Money is a little tight so I couldn’t have a full blown shopping spree, but I did get a few fun toys.



Here is my collection of random figures we got. Of course I bought Dragon Quest figures. I had to restrain myself from buying more. I bought one from each of the series they had. Unfortunately the female Zenithian Knight doesn’t have a hole in her foot and it’s a little small to drill one in. CURSE YOU SQUENIX!! The other two figures are a healer from Disgaea and Cid from FFIV. The US set comes with only five of the six figures that Japan got. We saw Cid on the display at Pink Godzilla mentioned that was the one we wanted and they let us trade for the Rosa we got! Is that not awesome or what?



We also got Mega Man 3 and Rockman X 3



I have more of these Nintendo gum boxes than I know what to do with.



Also we got a Kingdom Hearts wall scroll (Zero is a KH fanboy. I like it too).

Next I want to talk about some fun facts I learned at PAX, many of which are game related:
1. Brian Crecente’s hair truly is luxurious.
2. PAX 10 games were some of the best stuff at the show for me. I wish they got more attention.
3. Major Nelson looks 10 years older in person.
4. Wario Land Shake It is awesome. Everyone who loves platformers should buy it.
5. While Wii Music is not quite the epic fail I thought it would be, it was pretty horrible.
6. Schizoid on XBLA is awesome.
7. Little Big Planet is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.
8. I’m not a fan of the new interface in Chrono Trigger DS and I will most likely play it old school.
9. Jeff Gertsmann isn’t as fat in person as I thought he would be (I mean that in the nicest way).
10. Tiff has a cool hat. :D



Finally, I’m not going to go list everyone, because I’m sure I will forget someone and I don’t want anyone to be offended or feel left out. Let me reiterate how nice it was to meet all of you. I found the notion of meeting people I met on the internet creepy at first, but once all the partying and rape hit at the LA NARP’s many of you guys have become actual “real life” friends. Who would have thunk it? So matching faces with user names was great this week.

PAX was a great weekend and I couldn’t get over how friendly and polite everyone was. I’m also amazed that so many of you pay enough attention to know who I was. I didn’t even get to meet all of you! Sorry if I didn’t. Hopefully there will be other events when that can happen. Otherwise you should all fly out to LA and party with us. :D Since I know some of you now I will make it a point to try to find people to share a room with to cut costs down for next year. It’s nice to see not everyone on the Internet is an asshole. :)

EDIT: I have more PAX pictures in my photo gallery: http://gallery.me.com/naia28/100148 I didn't take as many candid shots as I wanted to. Oh well.   read


5:44 PM on 08.30.2008

PAX Panel Liveblog

[embed]101795:14148[/embed]   read


12:56 AM on 08.11.2008

Fun Retro Findings

I was out not too long ago visiting some local retro video game stores in my neighborhood. Yes I am very fortunate that within walking distance of my apartment in Los Angeles, I live near two stores that sell retro games. My fiance and I frequent the closer one, however he had never been to A & J games, which was a little bit farther away. We took a nice walk one sunday evening, just 45 minutes before they closed to see their wares.

A & J games has a huge collection of retro consoles. Never have I seen so many Atari machines in one room. I'm not talking merely of the 2600 either. I saw an Atari 400 and 5200 among the pile. The store also some very obscure relics like the 32X and the Virtual Boy. As much I love the retro stuff, I do have to draw a line and hold myself back from buying lemons.

What was exciting about this trip was the Nintendo games buried in the vast sea of mostly mediocre cartridges. My fiance decided he wanted to buy something when he saw this:



He makes it no secret that he is a Mega Man fanboy, and even seeing Mega Man 2 I couldn't resist (it's my second favorite Mega Man next to Mega Man 3). I was hesitant at first as we are trying to save money, but then he found this game in the pile:



Yes, that is Dragon Warrior 2. Now at this point the super fans in both of us squeeed over to the register and put down $30 for the two of them (after taxes, even). If there is one thing I regret as a gamer, it's trading in all my NES, SNES and Sega Genesis games. Now I'm on a mission to get them back for as little money as possible, one game at a time.

These two were too great to pass up.   read


12:58 PM on 08.04.2008

Boo! Braid really is 1200 MS Points

http://gamerscoreblog.com/team/archive/2008/08/04/560402.aspx

Microsoft decided that it will test the consumers to see how much money they will be willing to pony up by announcing Braid will indeed cost 1200 MS points (that's $15 in real people money). It seems like a big middle finger to deny the pricing a week ago, only to confirm it now.

What has bothered me the most since day one with downloadable games is that Microsoft indirectly controlled the entire market. Since their console came out first, they got to be the first to decide on pricing. Frankly I think with a lot of the titles that hit XBLA even 800 points is too much, let alone 1200 (although it WAS totally worth it with Puzzle Quest, since the stand-alone game was $30). Since they were able to get away with it for year, it made it easy for Nintendo and Sony to use similar pricing models, also making their titles in some cases worth more than they are.

Now they are pushing it again. I want to support a game like Braid or Castle Crashers, because they look like amazing titles, but I don't want to support Microsoft seeing how far they can gouge the consumer.

The whole thing has been a slippery slope since day one, and now it's really starting to show.

Or maybe I'm just whining because I'm poor.   read


11:31 PM on 07.19.2008

Awesomely Underrated: E3 Edition

I’ve decided to bring back the Awesomely Underrated, but this time the rules are slightly different. This time I want to talk about games that caught my eye from all the E3 coverage that may not have received the attention they deserved. Since I haven’t played and thus have not completed any of these games, this is based completely on impressions I’ve read from this site along with others.
Without further ado, here are my picks of neat games that need more love, and thus are some of my picks from E3:

Avalon Code (DS)


I’ve talked about Avalon Code in a previous blog, and I’m still just as excited for this game. This action RPG is being developed by Matrix, the same people who worked on the DS remakes of FFIII and FFIV. As I’ve said before, I think they’ve done a great job with those games and it’s nice to see them be able to create some original content. It’s an action RPG where the character changes the events of a world that has been through destruction thanks to a Book of Prophecies. It’s an interesting premise, and given their track record with the DS it looks like a game that will be a lot of fun.

Fat Princess (PSN)


Despite the absolutely ridiculous name, Fat Princess has a great art style and a surprisingly interesting premise. Find the princess and kill those who stand in your way. The princess is a bit too heavy for one character to carry, so the player relies on different character classes, each with their own unique skills. The multiplayer aspects look like they could be a lot of fun and give the kind of craziness and laughs that come with a game like a Super Smash Brothers game. I’ve also never seen a game that looked so cute and yet so bloody.

Infinite Undiscovery (Xbox 360)


JRPG’s are starting to become the norm on the 360, although most mainstream sites still ignore them in favor of giving coverage to something like Gears of War 2. I’ve been following this game since it was nothing other than “Untitled Tri-Ace RPG.” The “connect actions” concept sounds interesting and the art style looks pretty good. The plot seems a bit generic, at least on the surface, but I’ll give Square Enix the benefit of the doubt for the moment.

Patapon 2 (PSP)


How I love Patapon. The quirky PSP game was a pleasant surprise earlier this year and it’s wonderful to hear that a sequel is already in development. The additions of multiplayer and new Patapons (it looks like there’s some flying ones!) will probably be enough to keep me entertained. As long as I have a quiet area to hear the music I’ll be able to keep a good beat. For those who haven’t had a chance to play Patapon, it’s quite worth it. It combines the music, RTS and RPG genres really well and has a great artstyle. The PSP needs more love anyway, and for $20 who would be without it? I hope Patapon 2 continues the same trend in affordability.

Retro Game Challenge (DS)


I first read about this game in Gamasutra and thought the idea was brilliant: play as a gamer trying to compete eight retro style video games. The games themselves are modeled after existing titles like Galaga and Dragon Quest. I’m sure most people born 1990 won’t be able to appreciate a game like this, but this is a retro fan’s wet dream. I also feel like the video game industry hasn’t tapped into the potential of parody enough, and it looks like this game could do it.

There you have it. These are some of the titles that look great to me, despite not being doted on by mainstream video game press. There are other games like Mega Man 9, Chrono Trigger DS and Mirror’s Edge that also caught my attention but have been getting pretty decent love from everyone else. Smaller titles have just as much creativity and deserve the same love as the bigger AAA titles.

What hidden gems did some of you see amidst the E3 coverage?   read


4:16 PM on 07.14.2008

Microsoft Press Conference Impressions: Naia is on her Soapbox Edition

I know I have been scarce on the blogs lately. I’ve had some personal stuff that has distracted me from coming up with interesting things to talk about, but in light of E3, I’m feeling compelled to get on my soap box once more.



I think in my “older” (but not old) age my interests have obviously changed. Something that’s pretty and in HD isn’t going to wow me, but needs more substance. I found myself overall bored by Microsoft’s press conference in that they showed a lot of games with little enthusiasm that was present in previous E3’s. I’m not a big shooter fan, so games like Gears of War 2 and Fallout 3 do nothing for me. When the right shooter comes along (Bioshock) then I’m willing to try it and enjoy it, but it’s not my thing per se. What didn’t help is that when Microsoft showed their “hardcore” games in the first portion of the conference they couldn’t have looked less excited to show their wares. This is still E3, right?



One thing that bothered me was Microsoft’s unabashed attempt to emulate the Wii. I’m surprised the rumored motion controller didn’t debut on stage. The use of avatars doesn’t do anything more for me than Mii’s do and it seems like nothing more than a “mii-too” gesture. Even the trailer for Scene It was a page from Nintendo’s marketing department. What Microsoft doesn’t seem to realize is that the reason why Nintendo has done well this generation is more than just the features that appeal to everyone, but that the GAMES themselves are good. Say what you want about Nintendogs, but it’s a great puppy sim. It’s well made and intuitive. The other ones don’t compare. I feel like Microsoft is in that same boat. Maybe one day they will prove me wrong and make compelling software that rivals Wii Sports, but until then this was painful to watch.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the Microsoft press conference was a failure. In fact it was far from it. I’m excited for Portal on XBLA, netflix, the incredible Rock Band 2 list, the and the bevy of RPG’s coming. I may even try Banjo 1 when it comes out on arcade (I know I fail for having never played any of the games). What’s happened is the dissipation of the spark of E3. The focus is much more reserved and on the mainstream market. This is both a good thing and a bad thing depending on how well they still continue to cater to the hardcore market as well as the casual. The software lineup shows that they do, but everything about their attempts in the casual market have seemed forced and contrived.

I don’t want to have this be a downer. E3 has changed a lot in the last two years and the conferences perhaps reflect that change. I worry that E3 is losing the spark it once had for the gaming public. It’s no longer that “Christmas for gamers” we once had. The surprises are more spread out.

And the internet exploding over FFXIII is incredibly entertaining.   read





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