The Geeky Gimp Presents #3 – A podcast with Andhegames!

Transcript below!

Andrew is a blogger and gamer I met at our weekly #BoardGameHour chats. He was willing to come on the show, so here is our podcast! We talk about his interview series at Andhegames.com, our love for Matt Leacock’s games, and the pros of Kickstarter. You can find him at the aforementioned web address, or on Twitter at @andhegames.

Also, we are on iTunes! Just search for The Geeky Gimp under podcasts (or click here), and subscribe!

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Update #5 – Secret Santa, Pleasant Dreams, and Roland

There’s been a lot of great things going on here at The Geeky Gimp! And since I love making lists, let me just go right ahead and list what I’ve been working on:

Upcoming Reviews / Podcasts:

  • A review of The X-Files episode “Roland,” featuring a mentally disabled character and creepy frozen heads! I should get it done by the end of this upcoming week.
  • I have a podcast scheduled on Friday with Steve Way, a comedian and co-creator of the web series, Uplifting Dystrophy. If all goes as planned, that podcast will be uploaded here the next day!
  • There’s another podcast in the works with the creators of 64 oz. Games. They recently opened up a shop with braille accessibility kits for many popular tabletop games! You can check that out here: 64 oz. Games Store.
  • The lovely designer of Pleasant Dreams is sending me a review copy! It’s a tabletop card game with some unique mechanics and creepy artwork, so I can’t wait to give it a try.

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The Geeky Gimp Presents #2 – A Podcast with Zack!

Zack is an awesome guy I met through twitter, and we have a common interest in disability and gaming. In this second recording of The Geeky Gimp Presents, I interview Zack on what it’s like to be a blind gamer in an otherwise able-centric industry. He talks about his favorite console and tabletop games, a sense (or lack of) community, and what he thinks needs to be done to make gaming more accessible.

The games he mentioned in the podcast:

King of Dragon Pass by A-Sharp, www.a-sharp.com. @kingdragonpass on Twitter.
Hadean Lands is developed by Andrew Plotkin, www.hadeanlands.com. Andrew is @zarfeblong on Twitter.
64 oz. Games is a company run by Emily and Richard Gibbs, www.64ozgames.com. They are @64ozgames on Twitter.

This is my first actual podcast, so please bear that in mind as you listen to my awkwardness! I promise to get better as I go on. :)

The video is above, and is closed captioned. Visually, there is an opening title screen that names the episode, followed by a black screen with The Geeky Gimp’s contact info. There are a few annotations, and they just tell the listener/viewer to look below at the show notes for the games mentioned in the podcast.

You can also download the mp3 (above the YouTube video) for listening on the go!

The transcript is below.

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Tabletop Game Review #7 – Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories CoverLast night, I started thinking about what I was trying to do with my reviews. The obvious is that I want to promote accessibility in gaming and center the marginalized voice of disability, but what else do I want to accomplish? As passionate as I am about challenging and changing assumptions about disability, that isn’t the sole reason why I write this blog. I also write to express myself, in hopes that you’ll express yourself too. I love geeking out with other people, and blogging helps me connect to other people through the stuff that we love. The Geeky Gimp has fostered new friendships, and is a constant source of positivity in my life – especially when I need it the most.

A huge part of that positivity has come from the board game community, and that is why I am writing this review now. I’ve been dealing with some heartbreak, and so many of you have inadvertently helped me by either making podcasts/videos/reviews to keep me distracted, or offering me a virtual shoulder to cry on. Because of your awesomeness, I am inspired to share with you one of my favorite games, aptly brought to me by last year’s BGG Secret Santa. I hope you see why I adore this game, and maybe you’ll pick a copy up for yourself. So I guess this is less of a critical review and more an unabashed squee fest. Either way, enjoy, and let me know what you think in the comments section. … Read more

Tabletop Game Review #6 – Mint Tin Aliens, Mint Tin Pirates

Click to enlarge.

Like many board game reviewers, I have a twitter account for engaging with my followers and to keep tabs on what’s happening in the gaming community. One of my followers, David, posted about these new games he was creating that fit entirely in Altoid-like mint tins. I was intrigued, and found his obvious love of the hobby and enthusiasm refreshing. Over the course of a few months, we exchanged ideas, gave each other feedback on our respective projects, and grew to be friends. As the Kickstarter for David’s games revved up, he kindly sent me a copy of both Mint Tin Aliens and Mint Tin Pirates, knowing I would give an honest review of his games.

So here we are, a few days before his Kickstarter ends, and I’m finally ready to show you these (spoiler alert!) awesome games. I’m going to review each separately, since they both give you a completely different gaming experience. Also, many thanks to Ing for the fantastic piece of art he created just for this review! You can purchase a print of his work here.

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Comic Review #2 – The Batman Chronicles #5 “Oracle: Year One”

Batman Chronicles #5 cover

I’m a huge fan of Gail Simone’s Batgirl, a series in DC Comic’s New 52 reboot; I was heartbroken when I learned she was stepping down as writer. She breathed life into the character, giving her a nuanced personality, with hopes, fears, relationship problems, family issues (to put it mildly) – and she wasn’t perfect. In other words, Gail Simone made Barbara Gordon relatable, a very average person doing extraordinary things, and that is something I treasure in comics. While I’m not a new fan of Batman, and have read some Batgirl comics in the past, Simone’s New 52 run is the first time I really delved into the character.

Simone started writing for the hero in Birds of Prey, where Barbara was known as Oracle – a persona she embodied after being shot and paralyzed by The Joker in the last comic I reviewed, The Killing Joke. That review was the start of my journey in exploring this character, and I’ve grown to love what she stands for. Oracle is disabled, but she’s not a trope. She is everything she was as Batgirl – smart, powerful, and resilient – but she had to redefine herself because of her disability. She couldn’t go out and fight criminals like she once did, but by using the skills she already had, she created a new, fulfilling life for herself.

When the New 52 reboot was announced, readers learned that Barbara Gordon would be “cured”; she would be back to her spandex and crime-fighting ways. Oracle, a character many had grown to love, was gone; she was once again Batgirl, stripped of her disability. This upset many readers, and Gail Simone was initially against the change herself. Then why was this icon for disabled comic fans taken from us? There is an interview with Gail you can read by clicking here that explains the decision, but I understand why fans continue to be upset over this. However, I think it’s important to remember that the decision was ultimately in DC’s hands, and Ms. Simone continues to create diverse characters (including other disabled individuals) that grace the pages of mainstream comics. That last fact is one reason why I remain an ardent fan of her work.

Since my obsession with Batgirl and Oracle has grown over time, and considering the focus of this blog, I thought it would be important for me to review crucial moments in the hero’s story. I want to make this a regular thing for The Geeky Gimp – a series, if you will. Sure, I’ll review other comic titles as well, but my passion lies here, with Barbara and Oracle and Batgirl. I suppose you could say I started the series already, with my review of The Killing Joke, but I feel icky beginning there. That comic was well done, from a purely artistic level, but it’s a painful read for me. It disturbed me. That isn’t how I want to introduce this character I love. … Read more

Lift Off! Interview with Eduardo Baraf

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Greetings, earthlings!

I’m excited to present to you my new YouTube channel, titled The Geeky Gimp Presents! I’ll still be blogging here, but this is just a way for me to branch out, challenge myself with a new creative outlet, and engage my subscribers. For my very first video, I interviewed designer Eduardo Baraf. We discuss he new game, Lift Off, which is quickly becoming a hit on Kickstarter. We also talk about accessibility in gaming, his design process, and his previous game, Murder of Crows.

Transcript is available here in PDF, or below the video. PDF: LiftOffTranscript

The video also has subtitles.

You can watch the video below, or click on this link. Subscribe to the channel and receive updates on new videos! I will still be writing here, of course, but I’m just branching out into vlogging!

I hope you enjoy.

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Computer/Video Game Review #4 – Sherlock Holmes: Murder at the Diogenes Club

titleSherlock

Title: Sherlock Holmes Solo Mysteries

Game Publisher: AppEndix LLC

Platform: iOS 7.1 or later, iPhone or iPad

Release Date: May 26th, 2014

Buy this on: iTunes for $1.99

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When I was a young girl, I loved choose-your-own-adventure books; my favorites were the Give Yourself Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. They were immersive and exhilarating for me, as I could go on these journeys without ever leaving my room. They also combined two of my favorite things – games and reading. When I was offered the chance to review Sherlock Holmes Solo Mysteries, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to jump back into an adventure.character creation page

This game is just like those choose-your-own adventure books I poured over as a kid. It is an interactive adaptation of the original “game book” published in 1987 by Iron Crown Enterprises. You play as Watson’s cousin, James G. Hurley, though you can change the name of your character if you wish. In your inventory, you have a notebook, pencil, penknife, and some money. There’s a place to keep notes, as well as a map of the area in which your mystery is set. Using these tools, you must join Sherlock and Watson to solve the murder at the Diogenes Club!

As a digital version of a game book, the story is crucial to the overall success of the experience. My judgments here are not geared toward AppEndix LLC, as they did not write the main text. You start the game off with a smaller mystery – the poisoning of a prized race horse favored to win the big race. This was my favorite part of this game, as more snooping around is involved. The story was fast-paced and fun to work through. After solving this mystery successfully, you move on to the main story of the murder at the Diogenes Club. This one was much slower, as a huge chunk of your investigation is interviewing the many suspects. It didn’t engage me nearly as much as the previous mystery because it relied too heavily on dialogue and bland exposition. The writing is decent, though, and fits in nicely with Arthur C. Doyle’s world.

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Update #4: Twitch Streaming and Upcoming Reviews

You can now follow me on Twitch, an online community for live game streaming. Watch me play World of Warcraft, Star Trek Online, and a slew of other games! I have my webcam and microphone on the ready, and I’d love to chat with my fellow geeky gamers. I’ll even invite some of you to play along.

I plan to stream regularly on Thursday and Sunday evenings, around 9 p.m. EST. I’ll also be streaming intermittently in between, so “favorite” my channel on Twitch for updates on when I go live. Just click on the image below to visit the channel!

The Geeky Gimp Twitch ChannelI’m currently working on some reviews for The Geeky Gimp. I’m not exact on scheduling, but you can expect these in the next few months:

  • Comics: Batman Chronicles #5 – Oracle Year One, Batgirl Annual #2 (Did you know I love Batgirl? Because I love Batgirl)
  •  Tabletop Gaming: Ticket to Ride 10th Anniversary Edition, Splendor, Dungeon Roll
  • Video Gaming: Sherlock Holmes: Murder at Diogenes Club, Tomb Raider
  • TV: The X-Files “All Souls”
  • Movie: The Amazing Spider-Man

As always, comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome! Thanks for reading – I really appreciate all of the feedback I’ve received so far.

 

Computer/Video Game Review #3 – Nancy Drew #30: The Shattered Medallion

Nancy Drew Shattered Medallion logo
Game Rating: E (Everyone), with mild violence
Game Publisher: HerInteractive
Platform: Mac/PC, digital download or physical copy
Release Date: May 20th, 2014
Buy this at: Amazon.com, HerInteractive.com, or your local game shop for $19.99

I’ve been playing the Nancy Drew PC game series since their introduction in 1998. I’m a huge fan of literature and point-and-click adventures, so I knew this series would scratch that itch. I remember how the first game, Secrets Can Kill, came with two CDs you needed to switch out during gameplay. Now, some of HerInteractive’s award-winning titles can fit on an iPad! The technology behind these games (and, well, I guess technology in general) has advanced greatly. Gone are the days of multiple CDs, choppy graphics, and long load times; now we can enjoy our games with crisp animation, quality audio, small file sizes, and almost no load times. The Nancy Drew computer games have transitioned smoothly along with the technological advancements, and The Shattered Medallion showcases that exquisitely. … Read more