What’s Up – Week 20: New Things, Old Things and Catching Up

20 weeks into 2019 already! Spring is finally showing its face and as I go out to do more things, some of these bits might get slowed down a little bit. Its still a little too early to know but I’ve been transitioning between different elements of life and somewhat swapping my routine a little. As some TV series also winds down, I’m thinning it out a little to try to get some extensive backlog out of the way. It won’t reflect here but gradually, as Montreal events start coming into play as well.

READING

crossline

Currently reading: Crossline by Russ Colchamiro

I’ve been getting hit with some spring fatigue so I’m still reading Crossline at a very turtle pace, which needs to be remedied because I have another book lined up that needs to get started by the end of next week. Crossline is pretty good but I’ve been also watching movies with similar themes that I’m not sure if I’m getting an overdose of sci-fi. Keeping an open mind and I’m only slightly past the quarter mark in the book so its just the set-up phase done and things are started to unravel.

PLAYING

The Witness

Currently playing: The Witness

For a moment, I honestly thought this week would be no gaming at all except maybe some mobile game titles to fill up some space here. Those are going well but I like to keep it a little mysterious for the mobile games roundup segment. However, the husband started up The Witness last night and we played a few puzzles together, which was pretty cool. I’m probably going to start it up on my own also and play some of the puzzles also.

WATCHING

  • The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)
  • Europa Report (2013) – rewatch – Review

I’m not going to lie that this list kind of probably should add in rewatching Jaws 2, 3 and The Revenge to refresh my memory for the Triple feature HERE. However, I won’t because I honestly just played it in the background to remind of the story and dialogue and wasn’t actually looking at the screen. So we are left with two films. One is a rewatch for an upcoming podcast which is Europa Report, a little found footage-esque sci-fi film. Trying to get things done in advance is always a good thing. And as I’m still a tad behind on the double features, I’m also trying to save up some more movies gradually and moved onto the M selection. I’m using a general of movies in my list that are rated badly but still I would like to watch so I ended up checking out The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I love Shadowhunters, the TV series thats in its last season (if it hasn’t already ended) so seeing how the movie interpretation would be. I’ll share my thoughts on it in the double feature but lets just say, when the background world or lore is too heavy, its hard to just rally it all up in 2 hours and hope that its not convoluted.

BINGING

Put Your Head On My Shoulder

  • Dream Space (Season 1, 2019)
  • Put Your Head On My Shoulder (2019)

Currently binging: Le Coup de Foudre, Go Fridge (Season 5), Great Escape, Produce Camp 2019, Nailed It (Season 3)

Two TV series done this week. I’m feeling quite accomplished. One of them is a Chinese social variety show called Dream Space which is something like a matchmaking show which takes a look at romance and opening up a space for single women and men to focus solely on their romantic sides for a few days. I’ll write about this variety show even if I don’t for others because its worth it. I have a few thoughts on this one and they are having a season 2 already getting new candidates so I’m pretty excited to see how it changes. As for dramas, Put Your Head On My Shoulder wrapped up as well and its a nice little dose of cuteness along the line of the A Love So Beautiful universe and they make a point at the final episodes to address that to clear up some of the suspicion that people have been having. More on that in the TV binge at some point….

Most of the things currently binging is still very much the same. The only new addition is Nailed It which released its Season 3 on Friday. Because there were too many other stuff to take care of, its probably one of the first seasons that I didn’t finish it in the first weekend but we’re about 6 episodes in so its not a whole lot left to watch but its still very fun. The only other one I want to talk about is Great Escape which is heading into some more intense escape room experiences and its getting very intriguing to say the least.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
What have you been reading/playing/watching/binging?

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A Busy Day For Podcasts!

Last minute changes and something I should do more frequently is do a round-up of podcasts release!

Holiday hiatus is finally over and we’re getting back into the action of things on all projects and last week and specifically today, we just released three podcast episodes. Why not share it with all of you.

Let’s go project to project and at the same time, divert you all to their respective blogs so you can follow it if you are interested and haven’t already.

GAME WARP PODCAST

Game Warp Podcast kicked off the year pretty much in style.  This month, we had quite a few shows go up already. After ending the year with our Top 10 Games Reviewed in 2018 and our Year in Review 2018 (for gaming, of course), we started the year in a great way by doing a review for a new free Steam game called What Never Was which is only about an hour long so, the show itself is only 10 minutes long to avoid spoilers.

Fast forward back to today where we release our latest feature piece. Last year, we did our Top Anticipated Games as a written post, we’ve decided to change it to podcast format and combined it with the look forward to 2019 that we usually do. In today’s episode, we take turns to discuss our Top 15 Anticipated Games of 2019.

If you like gaming and haven’t followed us yet, you can find us over at our blog HERE.

MOVIES & TEA

Its been over a month since our last podcast for the second season. A lot of reasons for this but we finally did get around to recording and editing and it finally was released today. The next movie in our second season Guillermo Del Toro journey is The Devil’s Backbone, his third directed feature film. Its a movie that I’ve personally heard a lot of great things and have been recommended to me over and over again. Finally, I have ticked off my list and I’ll be getting the written review up there soon.

However, today is about the podcast and we had our first guest on Movies and Tea join us and that’s Greg from The Debatable Podcast/Action A Go Go. You can listen to it below.

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You can also find our podcast on a ton of avenues including Podomatic, etc. If you haven’t followed us over at Movies and Tea, head over there via HERE.

We have our individual takes on each of the films we’ve done podcasts on and some other random features that matches with the director that we’re highlighting that season. 🙂

That’s it for this Podcast recap!
Things get back to normal programming soon!
I just wanted to give some love to my other projects today. 🙂

My Weekly Adventures: The Wrong Side of the Fence…

Following the last Weekly Adventures, I was on the fence about something. And well..seeing as its the title of this Weekly Adventures, suffice to say I made a decision on it. If you didn’t see the last post, don’t worry, you will know soon enough when we get there. These two weeks was a lot of eating… that’s all I got honestly. Something crazy happened at work that stressed me out so very much but really gave me the kick in the pants to motivate myself to get back into the groove of things. Find back some of the focus that I’ve seem to be missing.

MTL a Table 2018: Nom Nom Cantine

This year’s MTL a Table in place of the November Battle of Ingredients is at Nom Nom Cantine. We had a pretty good time there, eating delicious food with great company.

You can check out the post HERE.

NaNoWriMo 2018

The wrong side of the fence is refering to this. Which can only mean one thing…that I decided to start NaNoWriMo this year. I started on Day 7 and the late start and my recent cold has impacted a lot of progress. To be honest, with all the projects right now, I don’t plan to finish but I have an idea that I kept wanting to write about so I just couldn’t resist. Of course, I wasn’t going to do this madness by myself so my awesome podcast co-host graciously joined me in working on his own thing.

My progress leaves a lot to be desired right now so I’m going to try to push myself over the next half of the month to really catch up. Next Weekly Adventures, I’ll share the final result.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Like last year, as an end of season marathon thank you for all my early mornings and such, my friend took me out for a fancy dinner at the Casino de Montreal at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. This restaurant definitely is expensive and fine cuisine but the one place that never disappoints me because of how well they adapt to making everyone feel important especially when it comes to my lactose intolerance and having French cuisine.

You can see the full recap of this restaurant experience HERE.

MEGA MTL

This past weekend marks one of the last gaming festivals that I will be going to (since there was also the summit earlier this week which I don’t go to because its on weekdays). MEGA MTL was morphed from the Montreal Independent Games Festival which used to be free and held at Dawson College. Now, it occupies the Marché Bonsecours in Old Montreal and it always shows off a lot of indie games to try out and showcase. Its a lot of games to write about so currently the post is still in the works for That Moment In but should be up soon.

My game of the festival is hands-down a game that has already been released called 39 Days to Mars, which is a coop puzzle adventure game developed by It’s Anecdotal.

Cute Kitty Pic

Thats it for this Weekly Adventures recap!
A quick and easy one this time. We had a few busy weekends so probably the next one will be even more quiet.

Whats up #9

I am so behind in What’s Up right now. It all has to get down to procrastination and plain old busy times getting the best of me. Motivation was lacking, energy was not there and this is what happens. At this point, I did one trial run of doing two videos and dropping it in the same week but just one of them alone was half an hour so I’ve decided to get things back to a little fun mix.

For the entire October What’s Up, I’m going to have it in written format just like old times and then, for the new and latest stuff, you will have a video to watch (later on). With that, we’ll be right back on track.

Let’s get started with an October recap!

October 2018

READING

nightlight tales 2

  • Annie’s 1st Break (review)
  • The Finest Supermarket in Kabul (review)
  • Nightlight Tales 2 (review)

One novel for fun, the second for blog tour and the last for Halloween marathon brings us right up to date. All reviews are already up. The only one not so good in this batch was Annie’s 1st Break. The other two are pretty great depending on whether you are in the mood for a drama or a  horror short story compilation.

GAMES

  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Super Lucky’s Tale
  • Abzu

October included a lot of fun times. For one, Game Warp reviewed our first Xbox exclusive game review and an arcade racer as well. There’s a lot to love about Forza Horizon 4 but you can watch/listen to it all in the video above. We also did get around to playing Abzu and I managed to finish up the playthrough for Super Lucky’s Tale as per a request from a mom for her toddler who likes to watch it, sprouting a newfound love to say “Come on!” just like Lucky does in the game. You can decide for yourself whether its a good or bad thing 😉

MOVIES

three billboards outside ebbing missouri

Finally, there is a lot of films. I decided to not list it all in detail mostly because I already recapped both Halloween marathon and Festival du Nouveau Cinema (FNC 2018) before in another post and you can find them all under their own page or the movies tab. I’m actually quite surprised that this entire list has also been reviewed. I have some older films that haven’t yet made it into the double feature pairings yet but that is coming up.

My recommendation in this list goes to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as well probably a few films from FNC 2018 like Ash is Purest White, Sticks and Stones and Firecrackers.

TV SERIES

  • Meteor Garden (2018)
  • The Chamber of Secrets Escape (review)
  • A Love so Beautiful (2017)
  • Rush to the Dead Summer (2017)
  • The Haunting of Hill House (Season 1, 2018) (review)
  • The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell (Season 1, 2018) (review)

TV series was a pretty awesome time. The last two along with The Chamber of Secrets Escape was for Halloween marathon. As for the other three, they were either on Netflix or available on Youtube for free and Chinese TV series which is what I’ve been watching a lot of lately. Its a bit of a daunting task to look at Meteor Garden so I’m working on that post as well as getting a video or something for it since it holds a really special place in my heart. While I have a huge love for A Love So Beautiful which is just really fun to watch, lighthearted and comedic. Rush to the Dead Summer is one that shifts tone from the first half and the second half and I wasn’t too happy with the way it ended bu then I read the way the actual novel ends and its even worse so…I guess I’ll settle with this one.

My recommendation for TV series would go to Meteor Garden if you want a long series or A Love so Beautiful for something short and sweet.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
Back to how it used to be, right? October is finally out of the way.
We can move on to what’s going on in the first half of November very soon and what is currently happening!

My Weekly Adventures: DreamHack and Family Time!

My Weekly Adventures

Its been a fairly quiet two weeks. Not a ton has happened. Well, one big event happened as you will see unless you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, I did do a quick share over there and here since I was working on Game Warp coverage mostly and vanished last weekend except for Game Warp Instagram and Facebook. Either way, its been fairly uneventful in some ways but that isn’t a bad thing since we’ll be heading into some gardening stuff soon and will be busy with that once the weather cools down.

Let’s go ahead!

 15K Marathon Boucherville (as a spectator)

Marathon Boucherville

Labor Day weekend, also was the Boucherville 15km marathon. Last year, my friend also participated in it and lets just say, I spent most of the time sitting back at the car reading because it was pouring rain. Its good for the whole cooling down during running but not so good for admiring the area it is held in, which is what I do as my friend’s running support. This year was very different. They started the morning okay and it got fairly hot by the end of the 15km. The marathon starts at the side of a river so its quite scenic as well. If you all don’t know, I love being around water so after the run started, I actually walked a little along the waterway before heading back to do some reading in the park. Nice relaxing morning 🙂

Childhood Memories

You know I’m digging for material when I’m using Instagram posts. BUT…my mom has been renovating her kitchen and because of that we had to empty out all of her cupboards and well, we aren’t particularly tall ladies so there was some little nostalgic treasures that I never knew that my mom kept. Not sure why, since we both have a hoarder mentality at times. I’m working hard to not do that anymore but then I don’t throw things out, I just don’t buy new stuff as much. Either way, those things in the photo were all stuff I used when I was a kid. Maybe up to 10 years old or something I still used the Lion King cup. I think the surprising find was my sippy cup.

DreamHack Montreal 2018

The big event of this Weekly Adventures has to go to DreamHack Montreal. I was swamped at work and swamped with Game Warp work. You can guess which I enjoyed and had more fun doing even if it was a pretty tiring event since it is also set in a further venue and well, Montreal is like roadwork galore phase right now so its hard to commute anywhere without taking more time than usual. I managed to get there in the Day 1 Friday evening with my husband and his nephew.

Day 2 and 3 was solo coverage for myself. It was pretty much a 9 hour day or something where I went to finish up the indie game zone coverage by playing some more games there. Also went to watch some e-sports and caught the cosplay competition. There was also a gaming triathlon and all that good stuff. I’m putting together a post and a video for it soon. Its late but I actually took a lot of footage so I’m sorting it out. Almost done 🙂

In-Laws Anniversary Dinner

Les Enfants Terribles

My in-laws just celebrated (a week or so ago) their 45th wedding anniversary. A big deal for sure! My sister-in-law suggested and organized to have us all go downtown for a night out at Les Enfants Terribles on the top of the Place Ville Marie complex. It its just one floor (I think) under the observatory level so there is an outdoor terrace to see the Montreal night view. We had a fairly later dinner time so I had to eat before since I have stomach issues frequently, I don’t mess with eating time too much. So my mom and me ended up sharing a main meal together and we all had a cocktails. I’ll be doing a restaurant post here in a few days as well. So we’ll only touch on it briefly here.

Cute Kitty Pic

That’s it for this Adventures recap!
Its been a pretty quiet time. Family, gaming and calmer days..it feels good 🙂

What have you been up to? 

I’m at DreamHack Montreal!!

Hey everyone!

I’m just popping in before I head out again this morning to DreamHack to tell you that I’m aware of the lack of posts this week. Call it a little break or just taking it easy a little as I was getting a few personal issues (my mom’s home is doing some renovations) and some work stuff done (both my real life paying job and Game Warp and other stuff done). DreamHack preparation is included in that mix.

If you are interested, I’ve been updating over on the Game Warp Instagram of say some Day 1 stuff. We had some other personal stuff related to the husband’s health stuff I talked about in the last Weekly Adventures so he had the day off and came along with his nephew to DreamHack in the evening. Its great to go with people to these events because of the multiplayer focus. Here’s are two posts (while I sort out some other pictures to wrap up Day 1 coverage before I head out for Day 2 and also my final day but the event ends on Sunday).

Its been a new venue at Olympic Stadium and a whole new setup which I think works for the most part. Its pretty much bigger than previous year’s at the other venue or at least feels that way, plus I think for the venue itself, it has its practicalities and better security I would assume.

I’ll have a coverage post here tomorrow. Game-related posts will be over at That Moment In soon(ish) when I wrap up one more part for the first part of coverage. Well second since I did a pre-coverage. You can find what to see and do at DreamHack Montreal 2018 HERE.

Hope you all are having a great weekend!
I’m going solo today so if anyone happens to be at DreamHack Montreal, give me a shout!

Fantasia 2018: Playing Hard (2018)

Playing Hard (2018)

Playing Hard

Director (and writer): Jean-Simon Chartier

Playing Hard is a 2018 documentary that takes a look at the development journey of the core team involved with the 2016 Ubisoft game, For Honor.

Making games is hard. It is a fact. The shiny new AAA game that we pick up (that perhaps at times feels slightly overpriced) on the shelf goes through years upon years of development from the first pitch, finding the right person with the right passion and ideas to build a convincing concept to having a small team that will get them greenlit to get the bigger team for a full development. Then of course, there is the deal of meeting the deadlines and see reactions and the final crunch to the big finish line.

Playing Hard could have taken the route of just looking at the fundamentals and the journey, which it does to a certain extent. It delivers the viable information and follows every step of the journey. However, its main focus is on its core team: Creative Director Jason Vandenberghe, Producer Stéphane Cardin, Brand Director Luc Duchaine and in smaller parts, Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat. This 4 year journey is long and arduous filled with its victories and its hardships. Just like the battles they are building, the development process especially in a big company has its own do or die moments and a lot of the final decisions are not in their hands. As Cardin says in the documentary, “The clients are their bosses.” There are sacrifices and critical decision that they  have to be made and it affects each of them personally as they strive to fight for their resources and meeting the deadlines.

Playing Hard

One of the first things that makes Playing Hard good is that it aims to educate its audience. It gives us facts on the gaming industry and the market like how the profits are concentrated on only a small percentage of games and how game sequels are the main focus of many AAA markets because of its low risk factor especially with the tens of millions of dollars put into each project. It also combines with some information on Ubisoft as well and its structure. Its this information that places the importance of why putting together For Honor, an original idea from Jason Vandenberghe, which he had pitched numerous times before over ten years and starts very much like many games on the market, particularly independent games developers, to fill a void in the market that they believe should exist but haven’t been made and in this case, a game about warfare that aims to revolutionize the combat system.

On the surface, Playing Hard is about a literal and emotional journey of creating For Honor and the key people involved. However, this gives the audience a look at the inner workings at what goes into a AAA game. Some elements may be specific to Ubisoft but the people involved are artists and businessmen and they have to find a way to balance it all out. It gives an overview of how many of their challenges are the similar to the many indie game developers except a lot of those decisions may gradually be less and less in their hands as the team slowly moves into full development. It is a bittersweet journey for the people involves as disagreements and different degrees of passion and the stress turns each of them into their own worst enemy and breaks them apart. The struggle goes much deeper than just in their work as the four years grows into more stress and intensity as a gaming project the closer it gets to the release date takes over their own personal lives and in some cases, tears them apart mentally.

Playing Hard

On a deeper level, this documentary also talks about the negative views behind gaming. It looks at how this idea of goes deeper. It touches on the strength of building these games in a world full of war and violence already. The discussion mildly touches on reversing the assumption that violent games are a bad influence. Perhaps something to think about as Jason Vanderberghe explains “Anyone interested in how the world works will be interested in violence because violence is a natural consequence of conflict. Be fascinated and not need to express it.” This is just an example of some of the lessons of this documentary. It takes gaming into being more than just a simple entertainment but one that can deliver another way to express and fight back against the negativity. As Jason Vanderberghe mentions in the final bits, ending this documentary in a great way, “Entertainment is philosophy in motion.”

Playing Hard

There is no doubt that Playing Hard touches on delivering this game development journey effectively. It touches on many topics whether on the creative level and the decisions required as well as the stress of being the creative lead, the administrative and resources management as well as branding and marketing of an original project. The roles and point of views from Vanderberghe, Cardin and Duchaine gives a full picture of this process packed with their struggles and the side that no one ever sees.

The detail of the progress while intricate does sometimes feel like it drags on a little bit too long or lingers too long in one phase at some moments. Regardless of that, Playing Hard delivers quite well on educating about the inner workings of game development and the gaming industry and the behind the scene struggles that no one sees while seeing how nothing is quite as easy as it seems, whether its AAA or not, the creative process only changes in terms of scale but the journey might be more similar than some would imagine. It does leave us with something to think about especially if you are involved in this specific industry.

This review is also posted on That Moment In.