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Mom's Minute 6-10-2013

In this special, live, simulcast  Mom's Minute episode coverage of Sony's E3, 2013 press conference,  Ms. H is joined by DerrickH and Oscar.  No stone is left unturned as Ms. H leads lively discussions  on the conference events,  ranging from the perceptions of the host, the late start of the conference as well as its extended duration --  to the m...

Mom's Minute 6-17-2013

Fresh from covering the Anime Mid-Atlantic event for Allgames.com, Ms. H welcomes everyone to the show with a promise to fill listeners in with more details of the event during her next show -- due to time constraints.  She also wishes everyone a happy "after Father's Day." She reviews Knytt Underground and Sonic the Hedgehog Tennis video games....

Author Baine Kelly on Mom's Minute 7/28/14

Ms. H welcomes critically acclaimed author, Baine Kelly to Mom's Minute on 7/28. Baine Kelly's latest novella, Splash, is set in the 'Sable World' she's created. Filled with vampires (without the sparkle) and the supernatural, Splash is the perfect entry point for readers into the intricate landscape that spans centuries.

Listen to the show live at 7pm est / 4pm pst at Allgames.com/live and hear how Ms. Kelly got her start, whats next, and maybe a few spoilers from the series. You can get interactive in the AllGames chat room and send questions directly to the host.  If you can't make the show live because you're too busy looking for a batch of O postive, you can still leave questions in the comments sections below.

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Retro VGS Interview with Mike Kennedy

retrovgs interview

Mom's Minute welcomed Mike Kennedy to talk about the new Retro VGS game system on the latest podcast episode. Mike gave Ms. H the rundown on the upcoming game system thats designed with retro style games in mind.  Mike lets a lot of information out, including price points and system configurations. We even attempt to pry out a few possible developer names. 

If you're hungry for info on the RetroVGS, then you'll want to hear the interview as Ms. H goes retro. You can listen to the entire show below. While it's playing, head over to http://ShopReadRetro.com  and use Promo Code 'GORETRO' to get $5 off purchase of $12 or more!

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Awesome Con 2015 Raises the Bar

 Awesome ConAwesome Con

Introduction

In light of how great Awesome Con fared, the bar was raised for this year's convention. Awesome Con was held at the Washington Convention Center in Washington DC May 29 - 31, 2015.  Notwithstanind the long treks between the different exhibits and events, including the photo and autograph ops sessions, you may walk away from the convention feeling elated to have been a part of such an entertaining event.

Size and Scope

The size and scope of Awesome Con rival that of others that I recently attended, namely the Tidewater Comic Con. This year Awesome Con took over not only the main convention center building but the building across from L Street as well.  If you have not been to the Washington Convention Center lately, as a side treat you could admire the artistic displays including modern hanging sculptures such as a cluster of hanging bicycles as well as tables arranged in a large circlular design.  

Awesome Con CosplayAwesome Con Cosplay

Cosplays

As probably expected, there appeared to be a bigger turnout of both shoppers, cosplayers and others on Saturday, the second day of the convention. There were signs posted to request a photograph before taking pictures of cosplayers.  The cosplayers, in my opinion were happy to have pictures taken, sometimes posing and doing double duty if someone else approached wanting a picture also.  In fact, even though I did not purposely seek out photographs for myself, I was happy when I was asked for a picture -- which I gladly obliged.

Awesome Con CosplayAwesome Con Cosplay 

Regarding the mix of cosplayers versus shoppers -- I noticed the majority of attendees seemed to be focused on shopping or even browsing rather than cosplays.  A visual survey of the attendees -- which was many -- showed quite a few were not dressed up as cosplayers.  However, the ones who took the time to cosplay as their favorite comic book, video game or other characters, did, in my opinion, an amazing job. Some were decked out in lots of clothing while cosplaying while others wore no more than a lion's cloth and briefs with body artfully decorated with yellow paint and black lined designs. Some cosplayers depicted characters in block buster franchises such as Star Trek, Stars Wars, Dr. Who and others.

Star Wars Storm Trooper at Awesome ConStar Wars Storm Trooper at Awesome Con

Make-up of Awesome Con

There was tables and booths set up gearing toward the comic book industry including comic books, graphic novels, with some sold at relative low prices. On Friday night, I made a mental note to return to the comic book table that had impressive large discounts on comic books and other items.  However, when I returned to the booth the next day, it was no where to be found.  Lesson learned is when at large conventions with schedules and exhibits sometimes changing constantly, it is best to purchase an item right then and there, unless you are absolutely sure the booth will be there on another day.

Awesome Con Comic Book DealsAwesome Con Comic Book Deals

In addition to special guests including authors, there were also comic book graphics artists displaying their wares as well.  While at Awesome Con on Friday and Saturday, I interviewed a few graphics artists including Josh Anderson and Sean Von Gorman. I did not attend Sunday's event; however, I'm sure those who did had lots of fun.

Photo and Autograph Ops

Even though there were both autograph as well as photo ops, I will focus on how photo ops were handled at Awesome Con.  There were lots of big names at the photo ops sessions where for a fee you could get your picture taken with a well-known celebrity such as William Shatner, George Takei and others as listed on the Awesome Con website and in the program book.  Because of the popularity of some celebrities, long lines were to be expected.  Based on my experience of leaving a line and returning just a few minutes later to find out my chosen celebrity had already leflt, here is my suggestion.  To ensure everyone there gets the photo ops they want and paid for -- there should be an announcement on the loudspeaker of when the last person or close to when the last person is in line to take photo ops.  That way, there would be less of a chance for a photo op to be missed. It was a nice touch to have someone using a bullhorn to welcome attendees to Awesome Con; however, I think announcing when a photo op is getting ready to end would be beneficial to the attendees as well.

The above being said, the swapping of my celebrity choice for a photo op to Star Trek's George Takei from William Shatner was handled smoothly, where I also received a digital picture as well due to the price differences of the photo ops.

Awesome Con CosplayAwesome Con Cosplay

Video Gaming

What would Awesome Con be like without video games? Glady, I did not have to find out because there were video gaming at Awesome Con 2015. On the first floor of the main convention area, large rooms were set aside dedicated to not only console gaming but other types of gaming as well.  I visited the 24 hour console video gaming room sessions which displayed two large video game screens, one showing a dancing video game, and the other showing a fighting video game.  On the tables were a myriad of video gaming consoles including of course the Play Station 4 and the Xbox One along with the video games.  This darkened room provided a respite from the hustle and bustle of the exhibit halls which were packed with people on Saturday.  Everyone was cordial and shared the use of the video gaming consoles. An added plus was there was adequate seating in the video gaming spaces, which seemed to be sparse in some other areas in the large, main convention area.

Wrap-Up

If Awesome Con sounds like one you would like to attend, it is never too early to plan ahead.  The next Awesome Con is scheduled for June 3-5, 2016 at the same location, Washington Convention Center.  Improvements were made from the previous Awesome Con which included a smoother process for the photo ops sessions and expanding to use another building for the convention.  If these improvements and raising the bar continues, the next convention will provide even more enjoyable experiences.  I for one, can't wait to see what other awesome experiences are in store when Awesome Con returns.  

The Little Pawn Shop That Could

Royal PawnRoyal Pawn

 When garbage collectors are called sanitation engineers, and used cars are referred to as certified pre-owned vehicles, it's refreshing to notice a place, though small in size, that goes simply by the name of Royal Pawn.  Why?  Because it is an actual pawn shop.  Unlike another establishment I visited during my video game field trip that was called "Cash Converters" when it was in essence a  pawn shop, the store I visited for my video game field trip was a bona fide pawn shop.  It's a place where you can pawn items it you want, or if you prefer, you can just shop around like I did, and find out what they have to offer in the way of video games.

Before visiting Royal Pawn, I went to their website and saw lots of pictures on the walls, as well as musical instruments and other merchandise displayed in glass cases.  I have visited similar looking places, and would more often than not be told that they do not sell or trade video games.  When I visited Royal Pawn and walked closer to the glass door opening of this store, I saw the sign  "We Buy Gold” -- which heightened my doubts that video games would be sold in this pawn shop.

When I walked in the store, I was greeted by a salesperson.  I was going to ask a leading question such as, "You all do not have video games or video game systems here, do you?" -- when I decided to take a more positive approach and just ask if they had any video games. I was surprised when the salesperson said that they not only sold video games but had video game consoles as well --  which were located in an area behind where I was standing.

Xbox 360's at Royal PawnXbox 360's at Royal Pawn

 I asked the salesperson if there were any PS4 or Xbox Ones in stock, and his reply was that it was too soon to have the new systems. However, he mentioned that about two weeks ago, this store had a PS4, which was bought within a few minutes after it was put on the shelf.  Of course, this could have been a fabrication; however, judging from the busyness of this store, this was a possible true story. When I asked about the prices of the video games, he said that most of their video games sold for $10.00, unlike the "Game Box" down the street that sells games for $50 and up.  When I questioned "Game Box," he said that he meant to say "GameStop."  Having visited GameStop the previous week, I can attest to the fact that the used video game prices at Royal Pawn were more reasonable. An added plus was, from what I saw -- the video games included some recent titles.

Here are some of the video games displayed in the locked glass case.Here are some of the video games displayed in the locked glass case.

 When I asked to look at a game in the glass case that caught my attention, he went to another area in the store and brought a key back with him to open the case.  The video game that caught my eye was Gears of War for the Xbox 360, which  was in a new-looking metal case.  When he opened the metal case, the game along with the external and internal packaging were intact.  I was expecting this game to sell higher than $10.00 -- but when I asked, he told me the price was $10.00.  I was tempted to purchase this game; however, I did not particularly like that there was a red skull on the front of the packaging, similar to the skull that's on Call of Duty Ghosts. The salesperson jokingly said that he would remove the skull if I liked, and I knew obviously,  he was just kidding.

To make a long story short, after much contemplation, I passed on the Gears of War game and did not purchase it.

I would describe this video game field trip as an enjoyable one.  Not only was I looking around for video games in a pawn shop that was also known as a pawn shop,  but I was being assisted by a salesperson who was very helpful as well.

If you want to look for your favorite older video games in a place that seems like it's not out to take your money, I recommend you visit a similar type establishment  in your area. If there are no video games in the pawn shop that you are interested in, there may be other type merchandise that you may want to check out.  It is likely that should you decide to look for video games, consoles, or other merchandise,  there is a pawn shop waiting for you to frequent.  Hopefully the salespeople are just as friendly as the merchandise is inexpensive.

 

Controller Wars: PS 4 vs. Xbox One Video Game Controllers

 

PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One controller

ps4 xboxone controllersIs it just me, or did you notice that both Sony and Microsoft did not spend much time, if any, talking about their video game system's controllers during their respective E3 press conferences on June 10, 2013?  Maybe they did not want to repeat themselves since the controllers were mentioned at their previous press conferences.  However, I, for one, would have liked to hear more indepth details about the new controllers and why they are (or are not)  considered to be an improvement over the current ones.

 

The Xbox One and PS4 battle continues with the video game controllers

Of course, the meat of the new gaming systems is the consoles themselves; however, is it  possible that a controller could sway you more toward buying either the PS4 or the Xbox One?.

ps4 xboxoneHere's information to help you choose between the PS4 or the Xbox One controllers. 

The PS4 controller is referred to as Dual Shock 4.  Unfortunately, the current PS3 (Dual Shock 3) controller is not compatible with the PS4. The PS4 controller will have a touchpad, a headphone jack and a built in speaker.  The controller will support motion detection via gyroscope sensors.

Additionally, the PS4 controller will feature a light bar that will display different colors to alert you regarding your status while playing a video game, i.e. low health, etc.  The controller will have a motion sensor similar to the PS move.  The existing PS move for the PS3 will be supported on the PS4.

The Xbox One's controller basically keeps it current design.  The battery compartment is slimmer and the directional pad on the controller has a four way design.  Each trigger will have independent rumble motors, called impulse triggers where the trigger will vibrate when performiing an action -- for example firing a weapon.

The best way to find out if you like either the PS4 or the Xbox One controller is to actually hold it and better yet -- to play your favorite video game with it.

nextgen

Is a video game more enjoyable if you like the controller?

In just a few months you will be able to do just that with either the Xbox One or the PS4 controller when the next generation systems, Xbox One and the PS4 launch during the 2013 holiday season.

Microsoft Xbox One Conference May 21, 2013 Read More

Sony PS4 Press Conference February 20, 2013 Read More 

 

Tidewater Comic Con: A Blast From Any View

tidewatercomicon2015 title

Tidewater Comic Con held its second annual convention on May 16 - 17, 2015 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia Beach, VA at 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m on Sunday. The convention center was selected as Tidewater Comic Con’s location to accommodate the large crowd expected to attend.

And a large crowd, in deed, attended this event. Tidewater Comic Con on Sunday May 17, 2015, the second day of the event seemed just as crowded as if it was the first day.

These highlights of Tidewater Comic Con is from Sunday’s showing which I attended, even though I’m sure the events on Saturday were just as newsworthy as well.

tidewatercomicon2015 IMG 2142

First Impressions

There’s a saying that you have only one chance to make a good impression. Well, Tidewater Comic Con did itself justice in presenting an overall fun impression at first glance. Before even entering the actual exhibit hall, there were cosplay participants smiling and seemingly happy to have their pictures taken, sometimes, taking the time to pose with their props in full costume.

Set Up

When one first enters the Convention Center, there were of course uniformed law enforcement officers throughout, possibly due to the large crowd. Additionally, signs were prominently displayed for all props to be inspected. In keeping with the look of some cosplay characters, sometimes the participants used fabricated weapons or other objects that went with their costume.

The multi-level layout of the Virginia Beach Convention Center provided the opportunity to take pictures or view the cosplay participants from a different vantage point. I even took pictures of cosplay characters as they ascended or descending the escalators.

After noticing the wide array of cosplay participants in the large lobby area of the convention center, some may think they are already at the heart of Tidewater Comic Con. In other words, to be a part of Tidewater Comic Con, one could have just as much fun, in my opinion, merely walking around and being among the crowd if one did not want to pay to get into the exhibit hall. This way, one can experience some parts of the convention free including attending events set up in meeting rooms involving comic book topics as well as view live videos being taken.

tidewatercomicon2015 IMG 2171

The negative is one would be missing out on other parts of the convention that required an admittance fee. The center or pulse of Tidewater Comic con is the exhibit areas which required a blue band on one’s wrist to enter -- showing that admission has been paid. VIP attendees wore orange bands. In my opinion, the admittance fee is worth the price to experience all that Tidewater Comic Con had to offer.

Exhibit Areas

Once inside the large exhibit areas, there were rows of tables and displays set up with vendors hawking their wares, including comic books, action figures, and other comic book related items and services. Batman’s batmobile was roped off at the back of the exhibit area, and some special guests were seated for photo-ops or an autograph sessions for a fee.

Some guests were easily accessible, including graphic artists, writers and others. For example, I interviewed one of the special guests, Witchblade writer, Ron Marz as well as received an autographed copy of one of his works, Shinku, a graphic novel of a female monster hunter.

tidewatercomicon2015 IMG 2504

If you wanted to spend some of your hard-earned cash, there were lots of deals to be had regarding not only comic books and action figures but other items as well. In fact, some items sold at Tidewater Comic Con were literally a collector’s delight. For instance, I witnessed a RoboCop fan obtaining a collection of RoboCop figures, with the dealer throwing in an accompanying RoboCop vehicle for free.

Regarding eating areas, there were a limited number at Tidewater Comic Con; however, the eating facilities appeared to be adequate and provided sufficient seating areas.

Cosplay Contest

The highlight of Sunday’s Tidewater Comic Con, in my opinion, was the myriad of cosplay participants, some simply wearing a plain suit of their favorite character’s costume, others having their face immersed in red plastic and other wearing face masks while some went the extra mile to rival the actual characters they were dressed as.

The two cosplay characters who stood out in my opinion during Sunday’s event was Hawkgirl who wore a magnificent spread of wings and the 9 - 10 feet tall Guardians of the Galaxy Groot where people practically stood in line to take a photo with. Groot came in as a runner up in the comic book character cosplay contest, with Iron Man winning; however given the extensive detail and artistry of Groot’s cosplay tree costume -- it is likely he would have won, if Iron Man was not a first-time cosplay contestant. This reason was given by the judges for Iron Man winning over Groot, who in my opinion, was the clear winner.

tidewatercomicon2015 IMG 2298

Unsurprising, Hawkgirl won in the female comic book cosplay area along with other cosplay winners in other categories.

Pros

Not only was Tidewater Comic Con a fun event to attend, but it was well organized as well. Sunday’s event was scheduled to end at 5:00 p.m. and it ended promptly at 4:57 p.m.

Relative to the long lines -- sure, there were a long line going into the auditorium for the cosplay contest; however, this is to be expected with such a large crowd. Once the line started moving, it took only a few minutes to get into the auditorium and find a seat. While waiting in line, I used the time to take more pictures of cosplay attendees as they walked past, including, believe it or not, a human green plant who came complete with a black flower pot that he or she obliged by sitting in for pictures.

Additionally, Tidewater Comic Con is geared to all ages ranging from the very mature to the very young. Two of the youngest cosplay participants I saw included a little girl dressed as Wonder Woman, one dressed as a princess, and a toddler dressed as Hans Solo. Included in the older category was a character dressed as Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, who won in the cosplay contest as the best male non-comic book character.

Con

A negative, in my opinion was the display of weapons, including guns and rifles, used as props with the costumes, some that not only looked realistic but were held in such a way that would cause one to take a second look, if one was not at a comic con convention.

tidewatercomicon2015 IMG 2501

Wrap-up

I believe the positives of Tidewater Comic Con far outweighed any negatives. Sunday, May 17, 2015 was an excellent day to be out and about to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather and if you like -- as I did -- attend Tidewater Comic Con. Attending both days of the event would probably have been an even more enjoyable comic con experience.

Given the enthusiasm as well as the friendliness of those attending, Tidewater Comic Con can be described as nothing short of being a blast from any view.

tidewatercomicon2015 IMG 2530

View Images in the Tidewater Comicon Gallery

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