Wednesday, October 26, 2011

nerd alert : nancy drew alibi in ashes

So a few weekends ago - the newest Nancy Drew games hit the shelves... or rather the directly downloadable shelves and I spent an enjoyable Sunday playing Nancy Drew # 25 : Alibi in Ashes (for mac!).

Nancy Drew is being accused of burning down city hall in River Heights and it's up to George, Bess & Ned to help her find out who is responsible. Switch between characters to get the whole story from all the witnesses, stake out the local ice cream parlor, and try not to break anything at the antique shop.

01/ Magnifying Glass $79.00  //  02/ Matches $3.50  //  03/ Nancy Drew Handbook $17.95  //  04/ Nancy Books $30.50  //  
05/ Mic Magnet $8.00  //  06/ city hall (and togo?!) $4.00  //  07/ Fingerprint Kit $9.99  //  08/ Cell Phone Case $23.00  //  
09/ Fingerprint table $300.00  //  09/ handcuff necklace $44.00

Nancy is behind bars in river heights - but there are a lot of people willing to help her clear her name as the town arsonist. As Nancy, plug away at the case from inside the police station while Bess, George & Ned help your cause on the outside by questioning suspects and gathering clues. Most of this game was time spent switching between characters, it wasn't too terrible (but it would've been nice if you could go between all the characters instead of always having to return to Nancy)

Overall, this game was middle of the road for me. It wasnt great, but it wasn't bad. I really enjoyed the story, scenes and the town of River Heights - but it didn't 'wow' me the way some of the Herinteractive games do.

3/6 Toes // Overall

1 // Graphics 
The graphics in this game are on par with all the other Her interactive games. The illustrated pictures on the cellphone weren't my favorite (put I recognize some are a reference to 'Shadow at the Waters Edge, so I will let it go) Also Nancy's house was gorgeous.

0.5 // Storyline and Characters
Though you have been able to control Nancy's friends in previous games (Like George in Ransom of the Seven Ships, and Frank and Joe Hardy in Creature of Kapu Cave) This was fun since each character had a different relationship with the people you were questioning, so you got less (or more) information depending on who was doing the questioning.

0.5 // Soundtrack and Sound Effects  
The sound was good, the voices were realistic. There wasn't anything spectacular about the music - but I do appreciate consistency in voice actors.

0.5 // Length of Game and Price  
The game was $19.99 for the direct download (yay no shipping!), and I took approximately 6 hours to finish the game. all in all, not the longest game out there, but not terrible for the price.

0 // Replay Value  
This Nancy game didn't have mini games, which i secretly love. The mini games are the main reason I replay Nancy games, and was sad there were so few here. Now that I know how the mystery unfolds, there isnt' much to go back and discover. And I don't think special attention to detain on the second play-through would reveal anything new.

0.5 // Puzzle Difficulty   
the puzzles were more time consuming than difficult. the hardest section was the maze at the end, but even that had dictated rules. 
Am I glad i didn't have to drive the car like 'Secret of the Old Clock'? Yes. Am I sad I didn't have to play a card game with a mysterious man like in 'The Phantom of Venice'? Yes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

nerd alert : scott pilgrim vs. the world

Yes, this weeks review is a movie not a game.

One man. Seven evil exes. Infinite quarters.

So this past weekend I watched a movie on HBO... it was one of those moments of flipping through the channels in a blank stupor... BAM! POW! the animated elements in the early minutes of Scott Pilgram vs. The World jumped off the screen and instantly intrigued me. (animated GIF from here)

After about 20 minutes of wtf - i really started getting into the extremely game inspired worlds of Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers. Turns out Ramona has 7 evil exes, and in order to date her Scott has to defeat them all.

Knives: Hi. What do you play? (referring to music)
Young Neil: Wow, uhm… Zelda, Tetris… that’s kind of a big question.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World [2010]

01/ red bass $169.99  //  02/ POW! necklace $30.00  //  03/ Ramona's bag $120.00  //  04/ love you pin $1.14  //  05/ scott poster $15.00  //  06/ ramona poster $15.00  //  07/ ramona portrait tee $19.99  //  08/ sex bob-ombs tee $19.99  //  09/ scott and ramona soap $5.00  //  10/ x-men patch $7.00  //  11/ WHAM! headband $23.00  //  12/ knives scarf $40.00  //  13/ roller blades $19.95  //  14/ the movie $13.49  //  15/ sweat band $2.95  //  16/ ramonas goggles $23.49  //  17/ pink hair dye $12.99  //  18/ Scott Pilgrims heart decal $5.00

After a little research, I discovered the huge fan base behind the Scott Pilgrim story. Initially a 6 volume graphic novel by Bryan Lee O'Malley and now also sports a Movie starring Michael Cera and (appropriately) a video game.

The game has jumped to the top of my 'need to buy' list, and the fact that it is 8bit inspired, i am stoked.

Sooooo since this isn't a game i have changed the toe definitions a bit....

6/6 Toes // Overall

1 // Graphics 
The integration of comic book and game art makes this movie awesome. You almost forget that you are watching a move, and not watching someone play a game.

1 // Storyline
The characters are cute, and each have a little personality for you to enjoy. The storyline, well there really isn't any- its more exploratory than plot driven - which doesn't matter if you are a kid.

1 // Soundtrack and Sound Effects  
What would this game inspired world be without all the midi chip inspired sound bites. $ka-ching$ you will be reliving all your atari, sega and nintendo memories. Also the song 'Black Sheep' by metric from this soundtrack is my new favorite song.

1 // Characters 
Not only did I kind of love all of Ramona's Exes, I also loved all Scotts friends; Kim, knives, and especially Wallace.

1 // Replay (rewatch) Value  
I think there were several things I missed. hints to meanings that I may understand better after reading the books, or playing the game.

1 // Environments and Costumes  
Ramona's hair was awesome. her corresponding outfits were even better. love sweat bands? hats? villains in costumes? check, check, check. Also they really kept the illustrated novel alive throughout filming - if you couldn't tell from the above animated gif.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

someone's watching

don't look too close.... you just might see something spooky! 14 days til halloween

// all images via TheDesignerPad

Friday, October 14, 2011

fancy flapjacks

why yes, i do fancy a nap with my favorite breakfast food .... but that might just be the most expensive breakfast ever at $600.00 a flapjack

Thursday, October 13, 2011

totem tea

LOVE these. Thinking about getting the Totem Pole Teacups and using them as Jewelry storage.
$50.43 from amazon

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

nerd alert : the manhole

// download black and white version here
 So, last week in my Steve Jobs post i referenced the first pixels in my possession... and here they are.

Though this review covers the Masterpiece edition (which i did play later) - I played the original black and white version on my dads mac when I was 3. It was a long time ago - but I remember the lines, characters, music and sound effects like it was yesterday.

01/ manhole $12.00  //  02/  animal in your teacup $21.95  //  03/ anchors away $15.95  //  04/ walrus' hat $19.95  //  05/ dragons sneakers $85.00  //  06/ sailor tank $52.00  //  07/ mister elephant $89.00  //  08/ book of manhole covers $25.22  //  09/ teacups $10.00

Should I comment on how ironic it is that the game is now available as an iphone app? It is truly amazing to me that I can literally travel through time, back to the memory my dads old office in Arlington Texas, and play a game that I haven't been able to run on a computer in over 15 years.

// download the App
So let me preface this review with one important thing - this is a kids game (and I highly recommend it for children). As an adult, while it is clever and entertaining, unless you have a highly nostalgic association with this game you will not find it very mentally demanding.

You are confronted with a manhole, and a fire hydrant... click your way through the underground world and meet an array of characters including a dragon, rabbit, alien, penguin, rhino, elephant and walrus. figure out the shortcuts through the world and make sure to check all the drawers and corners for little extras.

I think the App was great - but if you want to experience this game in all its computer screen glory - it's available for PC over at for $5.99

5/6 Toes // Overall

1 // Graphics 
The original in 1988 was available originally in black and white, then color - and then the remastered edition. the fact this games graphics were addressed 3 times and each time they were extremely high quality for the time period i give this a high rating.

0.5 // Storyline and Characters
The characters are cute, and each have a little personality for you to enjoy. The storyline, well there really isn't any- its more exploratory than plot driven - which doesn't matter if you are a kid.

1 // Soundtrack and Sound Effects  
There is a definite soundtrack to this game - that changes with your location and the character personalities. There are also very nostalgic early computer sound effects such as "bonks" and "drips" that might take you back to your AfterDark years (if you remember that...)

1 // Length of Game and Price  
Since the game has no plot, you could argue it is infinitely playable. But you will probably run out of things to do after an hour or so. but for $1.99 i don't think I'll complain.

1 // Replay Value  
As the first game I ever played, this replay was priceless. If you remember this classic you won't be disappointed with another run through. I might just keep it on my phone for those moments when i need something to do, or a mood elevator.

0.5 // Puzzle Difficulty   
Um - there aren't any puzzles so I will base this purely on the little wormholes in the game - for a kid it will be challenging to figure out how to get where they want to go!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs : 1955 - 2011

// from here

This is very sad for me. I sit on my macbook and I read that Steve Jobs has died. I dont think I can sum up in a post how much he has impacted me, not only through the years of being a mac user, but also a designer, and ultimately - a huge nerd.

I remember the first pixels in my possession. a mac.

I can't tell you the model number because I couldn't read - but I could interact, and click, and play. and thats pretty phenominal isnt it? Thats what technology is about - subconscious understanding.
Every time I see a mother hand her toddler an iphone, i think about my first mac. And hopefully thats enough to keep his passion and energy for innovation alive.

Its unfortunate we lost such an entrepreneur and inspiration - But I will always appreciate what he did for artists, designers, computer graphics & the field industrial design. I will always appreciate the impact his ideas had on my personal life.

I know apple will continue to be great, but I also know it just won't be the same without him.

"We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today. Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts." - Apple

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

nerd alert : polly toes

This week I am excited to roll out my new game rating system. if you read the wednesday game posts, you probably know i rate the games out of 6. I chose 6 because that's the number of toes miss polly has on each of her paws. (she's a polydactyl cat - pictures here)

As I reviewed more and more games, it became clear that I needed a rating system, not just a gut feeling of how many points a game should get.

Now the games will be evaluated based on the following 6 elements of game play:

1// Graphics 
game play vs cut scenes / compared to other games of the same genre

2// Storyline and Characters 
originality of story and complexity of plot / character relationships and depth

3// Soundtrack and Sound Effects 
in game soundtrack originality / sound effects and timing during play

4// Length of Game and Price 
overall time to complete game / how much game is available for retail

5// Replay Value 
multiple endings or complex plot merits a replay / genuinely enjoyable game that is easy to play again

6// Puzzle Difficulty
how much the puzzles impacted play / time to complete puzzles

each element will be worth a point toward the overall game rating. black claws indicate that a game is scary, psychologically or otherwise.

From now on I will be using this rating system for all game reviews, additionally I will be going through the games I have already reviewed and re-rate them based on the new system.

Check out my Gray Matter post HERE for the first review using the new Toe System! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

DIY kitty bed

I've been a little out of control with the fabric leftover from making my curtains. i think every pillow in the apartment has been recovered, and i've made a chair cushion....

So when it came down to my last remnant, i wanted to do something a little more interesting.

I'd seen planters turned into cat beds on the internet before - but the DIYs didnt really give me much of an idea of how to actually construct the thing... so I kind of made this up as I went.

What you need:

1 planter - works best with something larger than 11" (the planter i used was 12" at its widest)  //  FREE
1 plastic dog water dish (10" wide, or however big your planter base is)  //  $1.50 at Ace hardware
1 round cushion the diameter of your planter, covered in a fabric of your choice  //  FREE
miscellaneous cat toys. // Miscellaneous prices.

What you do:

1. Clean the planter out
2. place the dog dish upside down in the bottom of the planter
3. fill the excess area with kitty toys
4. place the round cushion on top of the water dish. done!

I might try to find a cooler planter, but not too bad for under $2.00... and polly seems to like it too

Monday, October 3, 2011


heard about wanelo? I cant believe it took me so long to find this amazing site! Its a lot like pinterest, but instead of linking cool pictures, you link cool things to buy.

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