Saturday, January 4, 2014

Nerdy Adventures: Catch Up

It's time for a Nerdy Adventures catch up! It's almost been two months since I last blogged here (I've been a bit better at keeping my Tumblr blog up-to-date, but not a lot). Now that the new year is upon us, I plan to be a lot more dedicated to my blog. So here's what's been happening over the last two months:

In November the awesome hosted a design competition. This site has a great collection of patterns from loads of designers and I love their Zoomigurumi pattern books. The theme of the competition was "animals at work" and I couldn't resist entering because animals wearing clothes are the cutest. I decided to adapt my mini pug pattern into a bigger version which I could "dress up". I made my pug into a detective (I'm not really sure why...I originally wanted to make a roller-derby octopus or a bureaucrat bunny).

He's supposed to be a modern private investigator rather than a Sherlock Holmes type, hence the police tape which reads "crime scene - do not cross". I called him Dresden after Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. I'm so happy with him. I'm still amazed that I manged to get him finished in time for the competition deadline as I spent most of my free time in November on Nanowrimo

December was all about crocheting penguins. Sadly I didn't take enough photos of my penguins as all but one of them were gifts. I had lots of other Christmas projects planned but they were all taken over by penguins! This is the first one I made.

The pattern is available for free from Pierrott Yarns. I liked this guy so much I made a load more. As usual with crochet gifts, I finished them last minute and didn't have a chance to take pictures of them in the light box.

I also made a larger penguin for a Christmas present using this pattern, which I adapted to have the same face as the smaller penguins. This guy turned out really well - it's a shame I don't have proper photos of him. He has adorable webbed feet which can't be seen in the one photo. Maybe I'll try this pattern again sometime.  
Excuse the plastic bag is the background... 

I have so many games to play. So many. It's actually kind of crazy. The boyfriend gave me a PS3 for Christmas and I bought loads of PS3 exclusive games to play through. I've also got a few games for 3DS and PC to play as well. This post would end up being way too long if I talked about everything I'm playing at the moment, so I'll just focus on the two games that I actually managed to finish in December.

The first was The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on 3DS. The game received really great reviews which I think are justified. The game is set in the same world as the Super Nintendo Zelda A Link to the Past, which I didn't know until I was playing it and started to feel like "hey, I've been here before." The game feels like it's a return to the "old school" Zelda games that I used to play on Gameboy compared to the previous titles on DS. I was expecting just another Zelda handheld game with and was pleasantly surprised. Link's new ability to turn himself into a painting seemed really silly when I first read about it, but it's actually a clever mechanic and introduced some interesting puzzles. The best part about the game however is it's emphasis on freedom. It sounds like a simple thing, but this is the first Zelda game that lets you attempt dungeons (other than the first one) in any order, and it really improves the experience. Instead of finding equipment in each dungeon that allows you to open the next area to explore, you are able to rent all the items in the game practically from the start. Several of my friends were playing the game at the same time and we all did things in a different order. I hope future games will continue with this. I definitely recommend playing this is you haven't already!

The second game I finished was the indie game Gone Home which I got in the Steam Sale - yay! I've wanted to play this for a while but the price tag of $20 was way too high for a game that is about two hours long. This is one of those games that some people like to argue isn't a game because all you really do is wander around a house and examine objects and listen to diary entries. Even if this isn't a game it's a worth while experience if you can buy it on sale. I don't want to talk about the story too much because it is a narrative based game and a lot of the fun of playing comes from unraveling it's mystery. Basically you take the role of Katie who returns home from an overseas holiday on a dark and stormy night to find that no one is home. The house is filled with objects that can be picked up and examined including books, letters and tissue boxes. The writing feels genuine and the voice acting is well done. Although it wasn't exactly what I was expecting in terms of the story, I'm glad that I finally played it.

I didn't read a lot during November and December for two reasons; firstly I was using up all my normal reading time making sure that I wrote 1667 words a day for Nanowrimo in order to reach the 50,000 word count and secondly because the book I was reading at the time was really long! It's happened to me a few times now where I've bought a book on Kindle only to realise how long it is when I've been reading for an hour and haven't even advanced the book by 1% (it must be noted that I do read pretty slowly :P). The book was The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. The book is essentially the life story of a famous/infamous hero. It starts with a framing narrative which sets up the legend surrounding the main character Kvothe, who has changed his name and is working as an innkeeper in an obscure village, and then then allows him to tell his story in first person. The book was a little slow to begin with, but from the moment Kvothe begins telling his story I was hooked. It's long and detailed and the story doesn't have a great deal of focus in terms of plot, but it's also engrossing and I found myself really invested in the story because I spent so much time with the character. It also has great world building and lovely writing which is at times poetic and moving. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series as the story is far from over when the first book ends.

Now I am pretty much up-to-date! As a final note I have to post my Nanowrimo winners badge because - I finished my 50,000 words. Woooooooo!! Now I just have to start writing it again...


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