Game of Thrones Exhibit at the PNE

Hello all,

Yesterday I visited the Game of Thrones Exhibit at the PNE! It comes free with your park admission, and it’s right by the Renfew and Hastings entrance. 

My friends and I arrived at 10AM and waited for the gates to open at 10:30AM. We were 2nd in line outside the exhibit, since although the park opens at 10:30AM for its soft opening, everything else actually opens at 11AM. Once they let us in, I made my friends rush to the Oculus Rift bit of the exhibit. I tried the Oculus out at the Evolution of Gaming exhibit a few weeks ago, but this was a different experience altogether. They incorporated 4D aspects such as the floor rumbling below you, as well as wind blowing at your face. 

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The Ascend the Wall “ride” lets you take the creaky elevator up the wall. It’s windy up there, and you get a sense of unease as the elevator isn’t the sturdiest of things. Not going the spoil the ending for you, but they do warn you to maybe sit out the ride if you have a fear of heights. 

Seeing the costumes in real life was so surreal. They’re even more beautiful up close. For example, I never noticed that Margery’s wedding dress had small barbs amongst her roses, or that her train was completely covered in roses. 

Of course, everyone lined up for the throne. 

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Since it was the first day, Sibel Kekilli was there for a Q&A. For those of you who watch the show, you may know her better as Shae. My friends and I also managed to catch her before she left for a selfie :) She’s really nice and bypassed her security guards in order to sign stuff for fans and such. 

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No trip to the PNE is complete for me without checking out the BBQ section. I usually refuse to fill myself up on other fair food until I’ve had a pulled pork sandwich there. This year I got a ribs + meat combo. 


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Followed by a visit to the Safeway Farm Country. That probably wasn’t the best idea when you’ve stuffed your face with meat. 

If any of you guys are going, I highly recommend you also check out the Get Animated! exhibit! You can play some old school arcade games, look at the production process of several cartoons, and there are lots of interactive bits for you to explore. They also had some neat photo areas! 

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Leaving PNE at the end of the day reminded me as to why I am hesitant to visit every year. The transit home truly is the worst :( 

- Karen

“Guardians of the Galaxy”: A Movie Review

Hello all,

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Went to an advanced screening of Guardians of the Galaxy yesterday! Everyone was really excited, and I was told it was one of the most sought after movie screenings of the year! Luckily, my friends and I still managed to snag great seats!

Guardians revolves around a kid called Peter Quill, who had been separated from his family on Earth when he was young. He got abducted to another planet. He becomes a ravager (think space pirate), but amongst one of his missions to steal a mysterious metal sphere, he decides to sell it off to make a profit instead. Turns out there’s a lot more to the sphere than we all though. In order to save the universe from destruction, a group of unlikely heroes work together and form the Guardians of the Galaxy.

I had hopes for not crying in this film. Judging from the trailer and what I’ve heard about it, I expected it to be all laughs, but there were quite a few moments where it was (very) touching. In regards to this movie as opposed to the other recent ones set in the Marvel universe, be prepared to not have our own planet earth to ground yourself to the story. Very little of this movie happens on Terra, but instead we get introduced to different planets and zoom around space for a good part of it.

I thought this movie was quite good– looked really expensive to make! (Just googled out of curiosity. The budget was $170M.) Currently it has a 91% on Rottentomatoes and a 9/10 on IMDB. It opens tomorrow! A kid friendly movie, but also enjoyable for older audiences too :)

- Karen

Goodbye DayZ—Hello 7 Days!

Hey all,

During the Steam summer sales I finally got 7 Days to Die. I also made a bunch of my friends get it too so we’ve been playing every now and then. And I must say… it’s loads better than DayZ.

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Before getting DayZ, I was super excited and curious about it. A survival game that forces you to interact in a way that may come close to how you would in an actual apocalypse? Sounds fun! You must make sure you have food and water, and that you’re healthy and dry—all while fending of zombies.

Now both 7 Days and DayZ are in their alpha stages but here’s why I like 7 Days a million times better: for a game that’s charging people for their alpha, 7 Days is actually playable. Don’t get me wrong, they both have their bugs, but your experience with 7 Days is going to be a lot smoother.

In terms of the actual game, 7 Days also requires you to ensure your character is well fed, healthy, and there’s also a sprint bar. But food is a lot easier to consume (no need for the can opener in DayZ), and water is more common. Starting a fire to boil the water, crafting weapons to defend against zombies, creating locked doors—all these components work well in its alpha stages. When you die, you lose everything on your “belt”, but not in your backpack. 

DayZ frustrated me to no end because when you die, that’s it. You lose everything and start completely from scratch. While I first thought that was cool, I soon realized how overpowered the zombies in DayZ were, and alongside players who are all looking out for themselves, as well as the million other ways to die, you can see how starting from scratch is a real turn off. 

In 7 Days, if you die, you will be respawned in a random area of the map—much like DayZ. However, the map is smaller, making it less tedious to meet up with your friends. I remember when my friends and I would basically spend half (if not more) of our time trying to meet up in DayZ. Doesn’t really make for exciting gameplay. It felt like I bought Hiking Simulator for $30 instead. 

I really do enjoy 7 Days’ land claim block system, as well as the ability for your progress to be saved on a server so your locked chests and houses can be returned to. I also like the crafting system in the game. DayZ had pre-generated structures that you could not add or subtract from (also the zombies phased through the walls and floors…but I mean, it is still in alpha, so not going to judge them too harshly on this).

Our shelter for the night :)

Our shelter for the night :)

Maybe the “hardcore” zombie survival game that is DayZ just isn’t for me, but I honestly found 7 Days to Die a lot more enjoyable and fun to play with friends. At one point we had taken shelter in an abandoned house and started to set up base there. Suddenly some dude’s head popped into view through the window. It took us about 5 seconds to realize this was not one of us (you can’t actually see the names above people’s heads until you’re sufficiently close, and characters currently look a lot like each other), but by then the guy had opened fire on everyone in the room. Since we had about six people to his one, we took him out but were quick to fortify our temporary base with land mines.

Trying to break into some dude's locked house with a staircase made of furniture. Professional burglars here.

Trying to break into some dude’s locked house with a staircase made of furniture. Professional burglars here.

If I had to recommend one or the other, I would definitely suggest you get 7 Days to Die. It’s slightly cheaper too! :) 

- Karen

Friday at The Narrow Lounge

Hey Vancouverites,

If you don’t live in Vancouver, this post may not be very useful to you. But I mean, if you’re going to come by for a visit, keep reading!

Yesterday my friend and I met for dinner at this wonderful little place.

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There are no signs hinting at the fact that this isn’t an abandoned, sketchy alley of some sort. As you can see, I was quite hesitant to go down the stairs since I still couldn’t actually see the restaurant itself at this point.

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Adjusting to the darkness inside from the gorgeous sunny day I had just ditched in favour of this this place, I was blind. I heard someone say “Hello there!” to me inside, and I responded with “Hi… I have a friend at the patio?” She told me to go straight then turn left. I did that, following the light from the back of the dark bar area I was in. Turning left, I realized I had entered an abandoned parking lot. Very confused.

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But then I saw that to my right there was a little closed off area! And then I finally found my friend.

The Narrow Lounge is a neat little secret. Their decor is very unique, and their indoors and outdoors space gives off very different vibes. You can order beer by the buckets, or have they whip up a nice cocktail for you! Their food was also very good. I was starving by the time I got here and I ordered the pulled pork sandwich with potato wedges. My friend had the chicken taco (“Everything about these tacos tastes so right.”). If you’re looking for a new, neat place to eat, I’d definitely recommend at least going to The Narrow Lounge at least once!

Later on, maybe due to my complaints of being very full, my friend suggested we walked to the cinemas instead. Since the lounge was located near Main and Terminal, it meant we could have a lovely walk around False Creek to get downtown. I think it was that walk that suddenly made me think about how gorgeous Vancouver is. Walking by Science World also brought back memories to when my parents got a family pass for us when I was about 7 years old. I want to go back so bad. I don’t care that most of the things in there are designed for younger kids. I want to play with all the neat sciencey contraptions!

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- Karen

Dead Island: Epidemic— MOBA with a zombie twist

Hey guys,

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My friend got into the closed beta for Dead Island Epidemic and he had several keys he could pass on to friends! Thanks Riz for sending me one of them :)

I had no idea they were releasing a Dead Island MOBA so when my friend said that he got a key for it I thought it was another standalone game like its past titles. I had played Dead Island before but not its sequel. I really liked the original game mostly because I could play as a Chinese lady whose father was from Hong Kong. It’s a bit silly but I felt somehow connected to her.

Let’s move on to Epidemic. Thinking about it I’m surprised that a zombie MOBA hasn’t been created yet! Zombie games are all the rage. In Epidemic we get to choose from several survivors (right now there are five to choose from). They each have different attack ranges and take on roles much like other MOBA games. There’s a guy who is better at close range and can tank, a girl who acts as a healer, and the rest can dish out damage but must stay at a comfortable distance away from the zombie mobs.

The workbench from the franchise that lets players craft their own weapons!

The workbench from the franchise that lets players craft their own weapons!

My thoughts? I think that it has got many elements that are reminiscent of the Dead Island franchise. You still get to craft your own weapons from blueprints and the art is quite similar, but you now get a bird’s eye view of everything. It’s interesting to get to always have a choice between a melee weapon and a gun since other MOBAs don’t give you that. It’s also a little different from other MOBAs since it’s not all about destroying the enemy’s base. Instead your team has to work together to complete objectives and get supplies. To compare it with something, I’d have to say its like a dominion game in League of Legends where you have to capture points. However you also have to fill up your truck with supplies and such while doing so.

Boomer? Is that you?

Boomer? Is that you?

In terms of enemies, if you’re playing the “horde mode” you’re facing hordes of zombies with special infected here and there. The special infected took a page from those in Left 4 Dead. I’m pretty sure I saw a boomer, a hunter and a smoker (though no smoke and coughing, just a tongue monster I suppose). I thought horde mode gets repetitive and boring. “Scavenger mode” is where you work together with your team against two other teams. The dynamics of making the game a 3 team versus is quite interesting. I’m used to just playing against one other team. What ends up happening is that you may be fighting at a capture point and you may team up momentarily with a third team to fight against one team. Then once that team is all dead it’s down to the two of you. Also, you’ve got to pay attention to your capture points. If two teams constantly fight against one another, the third team will be free to roam around and capture points. I thought this was quite an interesting twist to the usual MOBA.

Dead Island: Epidemic will be free to play on Steam but has yet to announce a release date. Since it still has to go through open beta, I wonder how long that will take. If you opt to buy one of its packages on Steam you get to play it right away (in its beta form). Overall I think the game was a little bland but it’s not done yet. They definitely need to spice things up a bit and I hope in the future there’s a few changes to address that.

- Karen

 

Our all. Our honour.

“We are all committed to giving our all.

This is your team, and it’s our honour to represent you.”

Yesterday I went to my first MLS game and it was amazing. I honestly didn’t think I would like it that much, but I did. How much do I know about football? Almost nothing, other than my dad’s incessant explanations every time he’s watching soccer on TV. He’s a huge fan and I never got into it. But he gave me a quick run-down on how the sport worked before the game yesterday and I headed off to experience the Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders game. He covered quite a lot in very little time and that was impressive.

The game was all sold out and my friend and I had been trying to get tickets for weeks. It wasn’t until 2 days before the game that we finally managed to snag a pair of tickets—and really good ones at that! Look at our sweet view!

2nd row! And this angle was pretty sweet.

2nd row! And this angle was really good imo.

What made the game for me? Firstly, we realized that the Whitecaps are actually pretty good. I guess that would explain why the game that we went to was the 7th sold out game they had this season. Secondly, the Southsiders. For those of you who don’t know, the Southsiders are a group of Whitecaps fans. Honestly if I had to describe them I’d call them a group that jumped straight out of Tumblr (where crazy dedicated fans live). They have a whole section to themselves during games and I can see why.

Southsiders whipping out Vision Vancouver's rainbow flag at the beginning of the game.

Southsiders whipping out Vision Vancouver’s rainbow flag at the beginning of the game.

 

They have synchronized cheering and dancing, as well as lots of props (flags etc.) that they whip out to applaud on the Whitecaps. Watching the Southsiders was half the fun! We got seats that were pretty close to them and would constantly peek over to see what new antics they had going on. They kept spirits and the mood up the entire game. That’s two hours of jumping, cheering, and shouting!

This was how close we were to the Southsiders!

This was how close we were to the Southsiders!

If you’re going I’d definitely recommending finding a spot where you can see them. But if you’re a new fan I’d recommend you take some time before you get tickets to seat in the Southsider’s section. You won’t be able to add to their cheering and will look out of place. Also sitting in the Southsiders section means that you’re not sitting at all. You’re standing the whole game. Families with small children will have to beware!

The game itself was lots of fun. It was a match for the Cascadia Cup, which is fought between Seattle, Portland and Vancouver. There were so many intense moments I was literally on the edge of my seat with my fingers tugging at my hair. It was great fun to shout at the referees with the rest of the crowd (the refs basically gave the Sounders a point…) and people were friendly overall. The game ended in a tie 2-2. Now my friend and I are hoping to get tickets for upcoming games… decent pairs of seats for the July 5th game are already sold out. So if anyone has price-friendly tickets in a good spot give me a shout!

- Karen

 

 

Working away… and it’s actually not bad!

Hey guys,

So summer has started for everyone and that means I’ve started my co-op position. And you know what? Working ain’t half bad! Well mainly because I had set myself up for the worse and then realized it’s actually a really cool place to work. I’m currently working as an assistant coordinator for consumer engagement at TrojanOne– and before you ask because everyone else does, no, it’s not the condom company. It’s a marketing agency that focuses on brand activation in unique ways.

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Several reasons why I really like about my job/company:

1) They let me write a blog post on the Oculus Rift, gaming, and Game of Thrones 

2) You want a coffee break? You got a coffee break.

3) Random outings to the nearby Farmer’s Market!

4) Working in Yaletown <3

5) Potluck Fridays!

6) Also boozy Fridays.

In which drinking on the job is actually okay :')

In which drinking on the job is actually okay :’)

7) Our CEO Mark Harrison’s blog (one of the main reasons why I applied to the company in the first place. I found his blog so funny and real.)

All that being said, TrojanOne is honestly a great place for me to officially start off in the world of marketing. Although our Vancouver office is nestled in Yaletown among lots of start-up companies (and eateries), TrojanOne is not a start up. In fact, this year it’s our 20th anniversary! The company started off doing marketing for sports related initiatives but have since branched off. Under my managers, I’m currently working on projects for BMO and ParticipACTION! Of course, the head office is in Toronto and that is where the bulk of the employees are. It has been quite an experience getting training though conference calls and Skype and I could not help but realize that I finally understand what this video is all about:

Awkward…

Anyway, sure of course I miss having summers to do nothing. But really, this ain’t half bad :)

- Karen