An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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Freebies: 2 free STEAM codes for Lost Orbit

Today is the official release date of PixelNauts‘ game Lost Orbit! And those friendly Canadian guys we met last year at a video game convention kindly offered me 2 STEAM codes to give away to my readers!

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I’m not going to pretend that I’ve played the game or that I even play video games but I can tell you about the game.

Description

Stranded after his ship is destroyed in deep space, Harrison, a lowly maintenance worker and our hero must struggle to find his way home through a perilous universe filled with colorful galaxies, deadly asteroids and the emptiness of black matter. 

LOST ORBIT is a fast paced and deadly dodge ’em up game that has players take control of a lone astronaut who embarks on a dangerous journey to rejoin his civilization. Armed with only an improvised set of equipment and a relentless spirit, Harrison will need to speed his way across four systems, survive more than 40 levels of intense challenges, and confront not only his mortality, but also what lurks in the darkness.

Set in a world rich with comedy and tragedy, LOST ORBIT is a game filled with risk, loneliness, wonder and death.

 

Key Features

  • Explore more than 40 levels across four unique solar systems on your perilous journey home

  • Each level features a detailed ranking system and time trial mode

  • Upgrade and customize Harrison’s abilities with a light RPG system

  • Boost, swim, bounce, leap and teleport through a myriad of obstacles

  • Simple and intuitive controls make the game easy to pick up, yet surprisingly deep

  • Die alone in space; where no one will know of your struggle

And I can direct you to some reviews of the game below by:

Sounds like something up your alley? Know someone who might like it? Here’s how to win it!

  1. Follow me on Instagram
  2. Comment on the Lost Orbit post by saying “Pppsst! Free code for me!”

Two winners will be randomly picked and announced by 14th May 2015, Thursday.

That’s all! This giveaway is open to all worldwide and the game retails for USD11.99!

For more information, check out these socials for the game:


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GDC Mix & PAX East 2015

There’s no turning back now! The game’s launching in a week! EEEKS! Exciting times… and to think it all started when I moved here in 2013. The first time T ever attended a conference or tradeshow for Axiom Verge was Indiecade (September 2013) in Culver City, California. It was something he’s never dared to do because he was afraid. I went with him to that very first one to pitch to different companies and we’ve never looked back since! 2 weeks ago, we returned from touring the game and have been quite exhausted till now. I think we’re picking up wind from the launch of the game being so close too.

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So we left our house in our Jeep – exhibition gear, clothes and our dog, Max. We drove almost 6 hours to Arizona where my FIL lived and spent the night there. From Phoenix airport, we flew out to San Francisco (and left Max with my in-laws). We spent a few days there and got some sight-seeing done on top of the multiple interviews and our showing at a press event called GDC Mix. We didn’t attend the main event – GDC (Game Developers’ Conference) but instead conserved most of our money and energy for the next event. I enjoyed seeing San Francisco. It’s like Seattle but less wet and beautifully green this time of year. Also, we got to hang out with T’s sister when we stayed at her guest cottage. His niece Sophia was the sweetest, most perfect child.

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After a few days in San Francisco, we flew to frigid Boston. There, T’s cousin Patty picked us up from the airport and we were really fortunate that they could house us because we couldn’t get a hotel except for 2 nights. Her son Drew gave up his room for us and bunked in with his sisters for the nights we were there.

T also had his very first 2 Uber experiences there! HAHA!

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PAX East was really well-attended. Because of budget constraints, we almost didn’t show there. T applied for the Indie Mega Booth but for some reason wasn’t selected (maybe they thought 1 guy making an entire game wasn’t indie enough *koffkoff*). At the very last minute though, Phedran tweeted T about the possibility of sharing a space with the Cooler Master guys and it turned out to be even better! We had lines almost all the time even though we had 3 different machines set up – we even went out to Walmart to buy a TV on set-up day to ensure we had enough stations. Very last minute but so necessary.  It was a great experience overall and money well spent, even if we all agree it shouldn’t be held in this frigid weather. Apparently last year’s event was held in April, so I don’t understand why they had to move it. It also overlapped with GDC (another reason why we didn’t do the main event there). But it’s over now and if we have to do another show in snow, I think we might skip the event. Hahaha…

Oh yes, Axiom Verge also won Destructoid’s Best of PAX Editor’s Choice! w00t!

I must say another big Thank You to Dan who made sure there was lots of press coverage and his tireless energy for 3 back to back promotional events (he even went to SXSW Interactive in Austin for us a few days after PAX East ended).

I’m sure I’m missing out on a lot of details from the 12 days we were away from home and moving from state to state but it’s all good, right? With each event, I learn to up my logistical game so T really just has to concentrate on making the game and showing it. I not only pack t-shirts for sale (we accept cash and credit/debit cards using SQUARE) and stickers or buttons for giveaway but we now also have 4 different printed banners as well as an acrylic sign. I also pack extra business cards, 2 extension cables, disinfectant wipes and extra headphones. My key learning lesson from this trip is to pack a chair (and I went out to buy a foldable camping chair when I got home). There weren’t enough chairs to go around so Tom and Dan ended up sitting on the floor whenever they got tired.

But that’s it for now and our next adventure is going to be in Los Angeles, mid-June. We’re planning to head to E3! Hopefully it all works out!


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Support my husband’s game – Axiom Verge

It’s official! Details of the first release of T’s much-awaited game Axiom Verge was announced a few days ago via the Playstation blog. The PS4 version will be out 31st March 2015 for the Americas and 1st April 2015 for Europe.

And just today, they also announced that PS PLUS members get a discount during launch week!

If you know anyone who owns a PS4 or loves metroidvanias or retro-style video games, please alert them to it! It will also be coming out at a later date for PS VITA. T is currently working on a PC release so anyone with a PC around the world can purchase a download from Steam very soon!

As I’ve previously mentioned, video games hold no weight in my life – perhaps a little unfortunate for someone who is married to a game developer. I am happy watching from the sidelines.

In the last few days, I have been following comments on both the US blog post as well as the one for Europe. I then made the mistake of going to NeoGAF to read more. While there are many who are genuinely stoked for the game, there are also countless who argue that USD20 is too much for an indie game. Some assumed indie equated to poor quality when compared with games produced by big studios, some mentioned investment value, some others are just too cheap to pay anything more than a pittance. I don’t know about video games but I have never seen people argue the price down for an album from an indie band. How weird is that?

If you like the game, buy it. If you can’t afford it, don’t.

It made me sad to see people questioning the production value of something I’ve seen being slaved over by one extremely lonesome man for 5 years. If he wasn’t spending all his free time working on it while holding down a full-time job, he worked 12hr days for 7 days a week when he finally went indie full-time.

T is precise and meticulous while at work. He is friendly and considerate to those around him though incredibly shy and introverted. He never set out to create a game just for profit. He really truly loves what he does.

On many a night, he would bring his sketch book to bed – yes, he hand draws the scary stuff you see in the game. On others, he would get up at 2am (hours after we’ve gone to bed) and excuse himself (yes, he’s very gentlemanly that way) to go back up to his office to work, often till daybreak.

The game was the centre of his life – until I moved in and we got married. As a singleton, he worked on Axiom Verge every day after work and on weekends. I was determined to entertain myself despite having no friends here, just so he would still have lots of time to do that. If you know me, that required all the self-control I could muster.

About 6 months ago, he left his day job and dived into the development of the game full time – thankfully, with the aid of Sony’s Pub Fund. But without the security of a regular income or health insurance, we had to be more aware financially. I think we have done pretty decently by being thrifty. My grocery budget for food has been about USD35 a week for the both of us. I cook almost every meal we eat except for the occasional meal out with friends or family. And as you know, I’m now a super bargain hunter – despite how much I love clothes, shoes, accessories and cosmetics I haven’t bought anything full priced since I left my job. I obviously can’t afford it anymore. Also, for the first few months after he left his job, we actually went without health insurance and even had to ration the remaining bit of our medications as well as rescheduled appointments until early this year.

I’ve been poorly of late and I’m breaking the small kitty we have with all my medical bills. My dizzy spells and hypoglycemia induced delirium keeps T on his toes.  On top of that, he had to take me to my countless doctors’ appointments and lab work several times a week while trying to finish the last leg of his game so he could launch it. But life is an on-going challenge for everyone – some unpredictable things happen, some as a result of the choices we make. I’m sure we’re not the only ones struggling and it definitely could be alot worse.

My husband is a man who is not motivated by money. He sold his Corvette in a heartbeat to raise funds to treat our dog when he had cancer. Everyone thought he was crazy and told me to talk him out of it. But that’s the man I married. When he loves something or someone, he does it with everything he’s got. We actually talked about selling our house and moving into an apartment if it needs be. I even took pictures of our furniture for online listing! And you know, I’ve told him that if this game doesn’t sell well and takes him to the poor house, I’m going along for the ride.

The game will do whatever it will do. I haven’t a clue on the gaming industry and have absolutely no insight to this genre at all. The fact that it’s completed and he did it entirely by himself is already a feather in his cap. His education, experience and skills shines through the final product. If it doesn’t translate to real dollars, so be it. I married a man who dared to dream and has put everything on the line to see it materialize. And I would like to reaffirm that his conviction to his craft is not for nought.

There is something super attractive about a man so passionate for his work. I love seeing the joy in his eyes when he is drawing, animating and programming. And I want him to be able to do it for as long as he can. We can always go back to Singapore and I will return to work so that he can stay home to work on his next game while helping to raise our offspring. *Koffkoff*

Anyway, what I understand of the game is that, while reminiscent of the art style in Metroid (also didn’t know what this was until he showed me a few months ago), it controls like Contra (this I know) and is influenced by a whole slew of features in other retro games – ultimately boyhood fantasies from the 80s almagamated.

So anyway, long rambly post over. Please support my husband’s game – Axiom Verge because

  1. This is a game that will entertain you for hours – days and days if you are super thorough.
  2. It is at most only USD20.
  3. T is a sweetie pie.
  4. We’re crowdfunding for diapers!
  5. You are curious to see what I have given up my wonderful life in Singapore for.


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My husband’s video game on the Playstation Network in 2015

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This is a post about how the world of frivolous living (aka me) collides with my geeky husband’s video game career. If you haven’t already read on my Facebook fanpage, my husband has recently signed a publishing contract with Sony Playstation for a game he’s been working on since 4 years ago. He’s still a small-time indie game developer so to be recognised by a major player is a huge deal. I’m so proud of him and his multiple talents!

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I love reading the comments from his fans on the Axiom Verge Facebook fanpage and sometimes on the blog entries itself. But since Sony’s announcement, I’ve been hooked on the comments and frenzy by gamers who’ve been following the progress as well as those who’ve just discovered it. There are of course cynics and critics but among the commenters, there are also those genuinely stoked about Axiom Verge.

Here are some of my favourites:

This game promises to be a true masterpiece, pray together my brothers so that it comes out on PC. Amen! – Zhn Nico

NOOOO, “coming out in early 2015″…… I wanna play this right now! – vstarwow

@AxiomVerge was easily the standout star of yesterday’s @PlayStation indie blowout. That soundtrack is killer and the game looks incredible – @NOLAnerdcast

SWEET JESUS @AxiomVerge JUST TAKE MY MONEY NOW!!! – Logan Via

Holy crap, this looks amazing! Super Metroid is one of my favorite games ever, and I just had some serious deja vu watching this trailer. Thanks for supporting vita too. I’m torn, I want you to take your time and make it perfect, but I NEED to play it now! – rabidninjamonky

This is going to be one hell of a game that I’ll most likely play for days on end w/o ever stopping to do anything, I repeat, ANYTHING. I wanna play this NOW!!:D:D – Daniel Brydson

And then there’s me – I shamelessly gush about T’s work and I think he’s really talented for doing everything on his own – animation, coding and music. I know I’m biased because he’s my husband. But he truly deserves all his success because when he works at Petroglyph Games in the day, he still comes home every night and work on Axiom Verge for 3 to 4 hours (most days till midnight), and when he works from home, he’s in his office for 10 to 12 hours daily (leaving me to my own devices while we’re in the same house). Even when we’re on holiday, he works on it for hours on the plane AND in hotel rooms! Luckily for the both of us, I don’t need constant supervision and can entertain myself independently. Hahahahha!!

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Other than that, I don’t know video games – don’t play, don’t follow. Those comments are a huge kick in my butt for not understanding the extent of what Axiom Verge is and why people are so psyched for its release – that there are unrelated strangers around the world hanging onto every update. My mind is BLOWN!

I don’t care that I didn’t marry a fancy-pantsy $$$ corporate, I no longer live in a fast-paced cosmopolitan city, and the days of fortnightly spa treatments and new clothes are long gone (until I start making my own money again). Life is far from perfect – especially having to deal with unexpected grief in our new family recently. But hey, the universe does what it needs to keep things balanced, right? As we cope with the trials and tribulations that is life, I want us to be able to unabashedly celebrate T’s success while working through our loss.

These days, my narcissism has taken a backseat and I’m enjoying the scenery while riding T’s wave. It’s been months since I’ve posted outfit pictures or anything else. There hasn’t been much to shout about and I don’t really want to bother T with taking my frivolous photos. Honestly, I don’t think he does a very good job. He does what he does well BUT he takes ugly photos of me and doesn’t seem to see it. I guess it’s also a good thing he thinks I look beautiful when I’m not, right? Hahahahahaha!

My world has changed so much since taking a huge leap of faith leaving Singapore and moving across the globe after a whirlwind romance to marry T. I traded in championing indie music to be a housewife and it’s opened up so many new experiences! Far from losing myself, I consider this a privileged opportunity to rediscover forgotten possibilities and reconnect with what is important to me. It took me 10 years longer than my peers have on average to find their partners and I’m not afraid to say that I savour being married! I have a great husband!! I am still my own person but for now I want to dedicate my time to play the wifely unit of the creator of Axiom Verge and put everything in cruise control.

Anyway, what is this Axiom Verge I keep talking about? Here’s the trailer to show you more

AND here are some links to T’s world – please like, share, follow!


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My first time at IndieCade

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Technically T and I only attended IndieXchange Summit, which is an off-site (20 min walk) event that was held last Thursday 3rd October 2013. T didn’t have enough time off from work to attend the entire IndieCade event but made this one day really count. I went along because he didn’t want to leave me behind, it’s nicer to have someone on the 4 1/2hr drive to LA and I’m apparently “the one with the people skills” . Hahaha… I am really just a nosey parker and I do enjoy meeting new people.

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We arrived in Culver City, California close to midnight on Wednesday and spent the night at a TravelLodge. While it cost us more than twice what we paid for a room in Motel6 in Carlsbad, it is also slightly cleaner and much bigger (2 king-sized bed was all they had).

IndieXchange was an eye-opener because video games aren’t my thing to begin with. We got there early because T was unfamiliar with this place and wanted to be sure he got there ahead of time just in case we got lost. I spent a lot of time people-watching and it was quite cool. All you had to do was make eye-contact, say hello and people would tell you all about the game they were making. There were your FarmVille types, your Neopets types, there were some crazy RTS games but I realised most people worked with a team or had at least one other partner. I spend virtually everyday waiting for T to finish his time with his coding – he goes to work to code, he comes home from work and codes some more. He is a one-man show who makes the artwork, creates the narrative, composes the music and… uhm, writes lines upon lines of code.

At the summit, T had several talks that he wanted to attend, questions that had to be answered, he also had one-on-one meetings with publishers and also demo-ed his game. On top of that, T was interviewed for GameLoading, a feature length documentary on indie game makers.

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At some point in the afternoon, T set up his laptop and played his game. While people came by to ask questions, I gave out namecards. Some strangers played his game and gave him feedback, others asked if he was interested to collaborate – like musicians who were there to find a game to make music for.

The people in attendance also included those who work freelance on different game projects to make a living, those who work on their own games in their spare time while working in a completely different field for their day jobs and fresh graduates who are aspiring game developers but don’t know where to start.

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Anyway, among the many interesting gamemakers we spoke to were:

  1. Christine Love whose game (inspired by ancient Korea) T has recently started playing and was really excited to meet
  2. Henry Fernandez who just spent 3 weeks in Japan for TGS and will return to Venezuela in about a week
  3. Spencer & Trish Yip who make educational games and has invited T to a press mixer in LA sometime in November
  4. Ryan Leonski who showed us this really cute “reverse Mario” game and is also working on 3 others right now
  5. Mathew Crooks and his brother who’re making a game set in the Gaul

And there was this one French guy whose PC game just got green-lit. I forgot his name and the name of his game, I just remembered that when I asked what kind of game it was he said it was a type of RTS but his partner said it was F.A.R.T.S.

T is one of the lucky ones with a full-time job as a GameDev in a company he enjoys working at and returns home to derive more pleasure from programming in his free time making Axiom Verge. It was interesting to have met so many other types at this conference and I certainly learnt a lot.

So that was my first IndieCade. Yup!