Fallout 4: Automatron Trailer and Release Date!

Bethesda just announced the trailer and release date for their first Fallout 4 dlc, and we couldn’t be more excited!  “Automatron” will be available for download on Tuesday, March 22 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.  Evil robots have been released all across the Commonwealth by the mysterious Mechanist.  Hunt them down, and collect their parts to create your own robot companion!

It’ll be a busy few months for Bethesda as two more dlc’s have been confirmed to be released in April and May along with the promise of exciting new content throughout the year.  In the meantime, check out the trailer below!  Next Tuesday couldn’t come fast enough!


How Long Will You Survive in a Viral Apocalypse? – Ubisoft Releases Online Simulator

In the wake of Ubisoft’s upcoming release of The Division, they’ve cleverly designed an online simulation to help promote this role-playing, open world, third person shooter game.

Collapse is a really cool simulation game that “scientifically” calculates how long it would take you to survive a viral apocalypse based on your location.  You are patient zero and, after you enter your address into the scenario, you will be tasked to choose which locations to go to in order to find medicine, food…or just to simply leave your city altogether.  Although the scenario remains the same each time you play, it’s fun to play around with the locations and seeing how long you can survive based on your decisions.  The general average number of days I survived was 26, and my starting locations included work, home, and a few out of city and state places where I figured I’d fare poorly because of higher populations.

The Division takes place in Manhattan, and your mission is to investigate the source of the fictional smallpox virus that’s spreading quickly.  With a pandemic on their hands, the U.S. government collapses within days of exposure, descending the country into chaos.  It’s up to you to restore order and figure out the source of the virus – who’s spreading it and why.  Check out the exciting launch trailer below, and don’t forget to click on Collapse‘s link above to find out how long it will take you to survive!


March Video Game Releases!

I can’t believe it’s March already!  Time flies when you’re having fun, and it looks like this month we’ll have plenty to keep us busy to make that time go by even faster.  While there are a lot of new releases this month (probably the most I’ve ever seen in one month), here are a few we’re looking forward to!

March 1

Far Cry Primal – PC

Heavy Rain – re-release for PS4

Mortal Kombat XL – Xbox One, PS4

March 4

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD – Wii U

March 8

The Division – Xbox One, PS4, PC

March 11

Hitman – Xbox One, PS4, PC

March 15

Marvel Battlegrounds – Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, Wii U, PC

Need for Speed – PC

March 29

Killer Instinct Season 3 -Xbox One, PC

Resident Evil 6 – re-release Xbox One, PS4


Fallout 4 Announcements!

I’ve been playing a lot of Fallout 4 lately, but I’m at a point in the game where I’m just at a stand-still.  I’m on good terms with all the factions, which means that I get to explore comfortably without having to worry about getting attacked by the Brotherhood or the Institute synths.  And so that’s all I’ve been doing.  Exploring.  Getting to know the Commonwealth and making it a point to find every marked location before I finally make the decision to advance the main storyline.

But while I enjoy surveying the land and getting to know my companions, it does tend to get monotonous after a while.  There’s only so much traveling I can take (especially when it looks like I’ve found pretty much everything) before I set the controller down and wish for something new to happen.

Just my luck, though!  Last week, Bethesda announced three upcoming add-ons.  And sooner than we thought, too!

“Automatron” (March 2016; $9.99): Evil robots have been unleashed into the Commonwealth by the mysterious Mechanist.  Hunt them down and collect parts to make your own robot companion!

“Wasteland Workshop” (April 2016; $4.99):  Geared more toward settlement building, this nifty add-on includes new design options for your settlements and the ability to design and set cages to catch wasteland creatures.  The creatures you capture can be pitted against each other while your settlers cheer on.  So don’t forget to build a fight pit…or, you know, just release the creatures into your settlement and watch them wreck havoc on everyone!

“Far Harbor”: (May 2016; $24.99):  I’m a sucker for ol’ timey, noir style detective mysteries, and it was a pleasant surprise to find that I could walk into Valentine’s Detective Agency and pick up a couple of cases to help solve.  Get ready to put your trench coat and fedora back on ’cause a new case has come to the agency.  The search for a young woman leads you to the mysterious island of Far Harbor.  Resolve issues between the fighting factions with new quests, new settlements, and higher-level armor and weapons!

And Bethesda has promised even more content!  However, this now means that the price of the season pass has been increased from $29.99 to $49.99.  But fear not!  For those who have already purchased the season pass, you’re set.  You still get everything at no additional cost.  Additionally, those who haven’t purchased the pass yet have until March 1 to get it at the original $29.99 price.  After that, the price will go up.

But that’s not all!  You can sign up here for a chance to participate in the closed betas for each of the add-ons!  The beta will include the full version!  And, perhaps even more exciting news (at least for me), Bethesda has been hard at work on the Creation Kit!  Finally a chance to be able to create and play with mods on console!  I can’t wait!


I Like My Keyboards QWERKY

I also like my puns to be terrible.

This post is a little different than our usual affair, but after finally getting my back-ordered Christmas present from husband this year I couldn’t resist. I’m a certifiable keyboard junkie and for two years in a row, I’ve received expensive keyboards as my Christmas present, and you know what? Those keyboards were at the top of my wishlist.

This year, I received the kickstarted Qwerkywriter keyboardAnd I love it.


  • Bluetooth connectivity – the USB cord does NOT connect the keyboard to a regular PC via UB port, though at one point that was a part of the design
  • Vintage typewriter keycaps and mechanical switches for that authentic, clicky feel
  • Macro programmable carriage return bar which I’ve already programmed to ‘ctrl+s’ for document saving ease
  • Tablet stand built into the back, though the keyboard is hefty enough I don’t know that’s ideal for light travel – though you’ll certainly draw attention if you take this out
  • A pretty long battery life of about three months, so you won’t have to worry about the battery charge often, which is a relief
  • Solid feel so if you close your eyes, you can almost imagine you’re holding an actual typewriter and not the modern equivalent

Those who know me well know I love things that click. There’s just something deeply satisfying about pressing a key and feeling the slight resistance right before it goes ‘click’ – and the vintage keycaps of the Qwerkywriter only serve to enhance that. It’s almost as good as a hot cup of coffee.

I collected thrift store typewriters when I was younger with my allowance. Or at least, as many as my parents would let me have. If I could connect a typewriter to my scrivener files, I would. The Qwerkywriter is the closest I’ll get to this childhood dream, short of learning electrical engineering and doing it myself. Before the Qwerkywriter, I’d actually considered buying typewriter keycaps for my Truly Ergonomic Keyboard

They keys are shaped like typewriter keys, which is about 70% of the experience. The last 30% is the mechanical key switches. They’re pretty satisfying to type on, though not as satisfying as my IBM keyboard of my childhood, or the SIIG mechanical keyboard which has the sound down to perfection. Even my Truly Ergonomic Keyboard has a better satisfying click sound. That’s in large part due to the Kailh switches versus Cherry MX switches, but considering Cherry MX switches are suffering something of a shortage, I’m not surprised Qwerkywriter made the change. The tactile sensation is a pretty good approximation, and you can hit the buttons harder if you really want to feel like you’re typing on a vintage typewriter. Though I don’t recommend that; at $349, you want your device to last a while.

The only downside to the keycaps, and it’s a finicky wish, so bear with me, is I wish they’d used a typewriter font rather than the sans serif font that graces the keys. While it’s not a terribly important feature, for a company that designed a keyboard to be both a blend of modern technology with vintage elegance, a tpyewriter style font would have provided that extra bit of nostalgic oomph I was looking for.

I have done a lot more typing with this new keyboard since I first got it a week ago than I have in the past month combined. Because it’s fun. And with the bluetooth connectivity rather than a cord, I’m not limited to typing only at my desk, either. (Hello chromecasting my PC to the living room TV and taking my keyboard with me!) While the keyboard is primarily designed with tablets in mind, with the built in tablet tray stand at the back of the keyboard lined with a foam pad to help with angling and slippage, I’ve connected this thing to my desktop instead. (Eventually I imagine some sort of conveyor system where I alternate between keyboards at the press of a button. All of them will be mechanical, of course. I’ve got my eye on a new Ducky keyboard already, though I haven’t decided which route to take with them quite yet.) It’s wonderful. There’s a heater next to my desk which in these cold winter months, I like to prop my feet up in front of while working to keep them warm. The Qwerkywriter has enabled me to do this without sacrificing my productivity or frustrating me with tangled cords.

Overall, it’s a wonderful keyboard. My only complaint is more on Windows’s side of things and how it handles Bluetooth. If you want to connect the Qwerkywriter to your desktop, you have to have a Bluetooth adapter if you don’t already have Bluetooth built in. And since Windows likes to power down things when they’re not in use, it’s wise to disable those power saving settings if you don’t want to experience interruptions, especially if you’re using a USB adapter like I am.

Overall though? I love the Qwerywriter. If you’re a keyboard junkie, you’ll probably love the Qwerkywriter, too. It’s expensive, but it’s built to last. This is probably not the keyboard to get if you’re simply looking for a functional on-the-go keyboard; there are a variety of bluetooth keyboards on the market that will get the job done. No, the Qwerkywriter is as much an aesthetic choice as it is functional.

It’s also just gorgeous.


The Walking Dead: An Explosive Premiere

If you read my last post concerning The Walking Dead, you’d know I was a bit hesitant to watch the mid-season premiere.  As much as my excitement over the show has waned within the past couple of seasons, I’m still a fan and continue to watch week after week.  I won’t go into too much detail or give you a play-by-play of the episode, but there are a few things I’d like to point out in this first episode back.

**Spoilers ahead!**

I…have mixed feelings about this episode.  Overall, I enjoyed the episode mainly because there was one particular moment from the comics that I was looking forward to and, boy, did the show deliver on that one.  But it still wasn’t enough to convince me that the show is still worth watching.

The show has a way of building something up over the course of a few episodes (or, in this case, the whole first half of the season), and then hastily tying up the loose ends in one episode or less.  This is actually one of my biggest peeves because it keeps happening more and more over the course of the series.  This season (and episode, to be more specific) was no different.

They made it a point, time and time again, that the quarry zombies were a dangerous horde that was inevitably heading to Alexandria.  And they were.  Breaking through an already weakened wall (thanks to the Wolves), the horde quickly and ruthlessly mowed down everyone that got in their way.  There was no way the Alexandrians were gonna get out of this one, and even Rick seemed at a loss coming up with an escape plan.  But I guess rage is a helluva drug because after Carl gets hurt, Rick just goes out there and kills like fifty walkers.  On his own.  If that doesn’t seem so surprising (after all, Rick is a trained officer and his zombie killing skills have never been lacking), then think about the handful of Alexandrians that joined him in the fray who have maybe only picked up a weapon once in their lives.  The few weapons classes that Rosita taught could have in no way prepared them for a “real life” event like that.  Someone should have died.  Apparently, an unrelenting swarm of walkers is no match for some inexperienced citizens who just gained their courage.

Negan’s biker group also made their grand entrance at the end of the last episode by stopping Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham in the middle of the road and politely explaining to them that their stuff now belonged to Negan.  There was an intense moment between the two groups where I was more than sure that was the end of either Sasha or Abraham.  Now, as much as I love these characters, the macabre side of me was excited that a main character was going to bite the dust.  And then BAM.  Daryl saves the day by blowing up the biker gang.  I know that this little act of violence will have repercussions later, but I’m disappointed that the build up to this was easily discarded with the press of a rocket launcher.

The moment I’d been waiting for happened later in the show than I thought it would.  I thought that right off the bat we’d see all the gory details of Rick’s group first making their way through the zombie horde.  The moment that kid called out to his mom, I figured that was it.  And then…nothing happened.  Why did they wait so long to bring us to that scene?  To me, it made much more sense for that to happen in the beginning (where it was clear that kid was alerting the horde to their presence) as opposed to later where they get attacked by just standing around.  Don’t get me wrong…I like how the scene played out (and hat’s off to the special effects people), but that should’ve been the first “shocker” of the show.

Here’s a review from The Verge that sums up exactly how I feel: “The show has morphed into more of a bag of tricks than TV with an actual plot viewers care about.  It’s bittersweet too, because TWD is so good at high-octane action scenes, but that’s just dressing up a fumbled narrative that’s gone off the rails over the years”.

That’s it.  That’s exactly it.  The narrative is just a mess.  There are too many characters to keep track of – or even care about.  Storylines are introduced more as a ploy to keep the audience’s interest and then quickly abandoned when something, or someone, new comes along.  At this point, I’m too invested in the show that I feel almost obligated to continue watching.  I keep hoping that the show will change for the better.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Film & TV

Firewatch: A Mystery in the Wilderness

Running away from the past is hard.  Running away from the present is even harder.  For Henry, a man in his 40’s going through some personal issues, taking a job as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness is the solution to all his problems.  Or so he thinks…

**Spoilers ahead!**

The adventure begins the moment Henry arrives at his watchtower.  Delilah, Henry’s supervisor and fellow fire lookout who’s stationed in her own tower miles away, radioes in to wish him a good morning only to be interrupted when they notice fireworks lighting up the sky.  From there, we’re immersed in a good ol’ mystery adventure that works to build up the paranoia of man alone in the middle of nowhere with only a radio as his lifeline.


Home sweet home…

The gameplay is fairly easy to get used to.  There’s a lot of walking around and exploring, with the occasional reading of notes or grabbing things.  Though the latter is rather pointless sometimes…especially when it comes to examining things.  Sure, the important stuff, you can take and keep, but there are other objects strewn about that really serve no purpose other than to add detail.

Which actually leads me to the inventory screen – there isn’t any.  The notes and clues you come across can be viewed with the press of a button if you saved them.  But, other than a disposable camera that you can bring up to take pictures, the only other usable objects you carry automatically get equipped only when you need them.  Sadly, the excitement I got when I found an axe (er, sorry, I mean pulaski) was quickly marred when I found I couldn’t wield it any time I wanted.

You’re also supplied with a map, that can be updated at the supply caches, and a compass.  The compass, especially, comes in handy when you have no idea where to go or what to do (which happened to me in the beginning).  Handy tip?  Pay attention to Delilah.  That map will make no sense to you at first – I may or may not have gotten lost a time or two ’cause there are no quest markers (or quest screen for that matter), only a vague “find the campers” type of notation at the top of the map.  Obviously, the more you play, the more you get to know the area, but at the start of the game, it’s a good idea to listen to Delilah when she’s telling you how to get somewhere.


Beautiful scenery

Additionally, don’t forget to enjoy the view.  Campo Santo did an amazing job of capturing the hauntingly beautiful wilderness landscape.  The lighting is incredible and serves to set the ambiance.  Warm, neutral colors surround you in the early morning and late afternoon, while more pastel-y, bright hues highlight the daytime hours.  

But while the environment you explore is certainly a stunning and prominent feature of the game, I think Firewatch‘s forte lies in the narrative.  And I’m not talking about the mystery that you’re trying to solve (which I’ll get into in a bit).  The writing is really top-notch.  Henry and Delilah are two complicated characters who forge a friendship over a walkie-talkie radio.  I seriously can’t stop singing the praises of these two voice actors who did an unbelievable job of voicing their characters.  We never physically see Henry or Delilah (it’s first person point of view and the closest we get to seeing what Henry looks like is a drawing and a photograph), nor do they ever actually meet in person.  The story is driven by the conversations they have as Henry treks around the region he’s assigned to and investigates the strange incidents that began as soon as he arrived.  The dialogue tree is not very varied (which works since it’s a timed response) and you can also choose to say nothing at all, but this only leads to clipped replies or even silence from Delilah.  I often chose the quippy, sarcastic dialogue and found that to be the most engaging and probably preferred dialogue as it opens up funny retorts between the two.

The mystery, however, is arbitrary at best and, in my opinion, often misleading.  It plays up to the paranoia of a man living in essential isolation.  But…it works.  And I think that’s what the developers were playing at.  They give you just enough information to pique your interest and then discreetly throw curveballs at you so that you start to doubt not only yourself but also Delilah.

Although the storyline is very linear with a predetermined ending, I found Firewatch to be very enjoyable and the search for clues, coupled with the pleasant conversations between our two characters, was very entertaining.  This is a relatively short game that’s definitely worth a second playthrough…especially if, like me, you missed some stuff the first time around.