Category Archives: @ Entertainment [Masquerade]

Catching up on a few busy weekends: Playing Go, and PAX-East

I typically find myself stymied by a financially motivated mental red-light in terms of doing things that aren’t critical. So it has been a bit of a relief lately to find myself getting more able to give myself the sometimes grudging or hesitant green-light to actually go DO things. Watching Anime tends to be free, which is why I seem to have a plethora of show’s I could talk about. I’ve rather strictly rationed things like buying books, Starbucks mocha’s, and video-game subscriptions, not to mention buying ‘new’ games. I did really good up to a point where I finally had to admit I needed to get out of my house once in awhile.

Gas, is hellishly expensive. Every time I pull up to a gas pump it’s easy to imagine I’m being chased by a horde of zombies, or I’m staring at the gas attendant/cashier wondering if they are hiding some leathery red wings under their corporate shirt. Doing the transaction via card in slot leaves me staring at the numbers wondering if someone’s hacked the system and is out to steal my entire bank account in the process.

Leathery Wings and financial conspiracies aside I’ve managed to do a few things…


I have made it out to Syracuse, NY to visit the Syracuse GO Club and play some “GO” [Baduk, WeiQi] in person. I discovered several things in the process.

1: I still really enjoy the game.

2: I’m not as good as I used to be.

3: Playing in person show’s me things about how I play that I wasn’t seeing on online-servers.

Which may be why I convinced myself that even though I wasn’t really prepared for the tournament and hadn’t gotten a lot of practice time in – it would be worth the experience.

So I played in my first official AGA Ranked Tournament the annual Salt City Go Tournament Syracuse, NY as a 22-Kyu which was the best estimate for my rank I could guess at given how long it’s been since I’ve gotten to play a lot.

In the process I became an official AGA member, and ultimately am ranked by them at 24.1-Kyu. I lost 3 out of my 4 games but I’m not upset by that in the least. The sheer fact that I played well – not to mention the fact that I got to play at all was a huge factor in my enjoyment of it. Along with further insight to how I’m playing.

If I had to say anything about it I’d say I personally enjoy playing people who are ranked in the mid-teen kyu levels. How they think, and play is closer to how I think/play. Considering the fact that I learned from and played primarily against a low-teen/single-digit kyu I got used to having my arse handed to me on a platter.

I got used to how they thought, and fumbled through responding to that style. So now I discover that people my own rank, and lower – people closer to my skill level have a different style of play. Leaving me struggling to understand what they are getting at, on top of finding how many holes I actually have in my defense.

Well there’s only one cure for that: Get Better.

[note: GO Ranks come in KYU, and DAN/PRO ranks. KYU ranks range from 30-kyu to 1-kyu. DAN ranks range from 1-Dan to 9-Dan. In many countries these are the professional ranks. In America we don’t have “PRO” players unless they’ve joined a international professional organization. International Pro’s are often seen with their ranks marked 3-P which actually means they are a 3-Dan Professional player. It’s also useful to note that countries have their own way of determining these ranks. KGS, and IGS online servers, Korea, China, Japan, and the American-Go-Association may all measure my strength by a different number.]


Yes, I made it. A very near thing that I manage to pull off by the skin of my teeth. 4 of us ladies drove out late Friday night and attended PAX on Saturday in Boston, MA. I was also able to see Scrump, and MistyMonster friends of mine from [OMG I’M DRUNK]. I do believe I was the only one of us who’d attended a PAX prior to this one.

For me this was my first-ever PAX-East. I have previously been to Seattle for PAX 2009, and I went to Seattle again in 2010. All three of which were enjoyable in various ways. The only thing I will say is trying to do a saturday-only PAX will never happen again.

There is entirely too much  to see and do, made more fun by visiting with friends, and chatting at booths. Trying to squish it all into one day was too much for my poor little brain. I feel like I should call this experience Blitz-PAX.

 Blitz-PAX. Yes, that feels right. Agggggh! No time! Oh look game! No wait, another game! Oh! One more over here… /turn, blink, turn, stumble, blink, turn, blink, end.

Yeah. I did not have the extra time to wait for stations at booths to be free to try out various games. Wait in the long lines for the more popular games. Nor did I even really talk with many of the game developers like I had in previous years. Instead I got a lot of little things with game-names on them so I could hopefully check them out later if I saw what I liked.

Much to my vast disappointing Guild Wars 2 did not have a booth again. I’d been hoping to see, and possibly even play it now that it’s getting so close to release.

Instead I saw more of how The Secret World is shaping up. This particular one I’d been following since well before the 2009 Pax where it’s booth was virtually empty, of both people and information. A Secret indeed. These day’s it looks like it is well on it’s way to becoming a fully fledged game complete with monsters to slay. The booth this time was full to capacity and then some, no chance to play for me.

I heard a bit about TERA from one of the booth attendants. What I’d heard made me note it down and come home to look it up. Ultimately I’ve lost some of my initial Ooooh over the game. While how they are doing things in most cases sounds nice, their description of how PVP works leaves me a bit meh. So it’s still a wait-and-see.

Firefall their booth was doing well, and with the NDA agreement released for PAX I had hoped to have some questions answered about my experience. Sadly I didn’t get that chance. I’m continuing to reserve my judgment on this game for various reasons~

I am also looking into a game called Novus Aetern for which I saw some spectacular art. I admit the artist in me drifted directly to the gentleman who was doing on the spot sketches for concept art. Rather than really finding out about the game itself, what I did see looked cool though. Complicated, but cool. The fruits of my rather intense watching of the artist resulted in one of these pieces of art, which he was giving out. I’m now the proud owner of what appears to be some kind of gruesome long-bodied 4-armed 2-legged scorpion-ish alien.

His sketches make me cringe when I compare them to what I call sketches. lol.

I was also shocked to see a title I knew well since I became addicted to it my first ever PAX and spent copious hours behind the massive controller required to play it. Steel Battalion origionally an X-BOX title, a old-X-Box mind you, had a 300-something button controller to play it. I’m still on the look-out for this. So now I see they are re-making it to work with the Kinect /serious-doubt.

PlanetSide2, Hawken, have been on my watch list. Sadly I missed the Friday Hakwen Event, and Saturday’s Curse Gaming after-party co-sponsored by PlanetSide2 only included a shirt… not much to go on there.

The Witcher 2, Max Payne, Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3 were the popular booths that had wait times of 2+ hours. Far Cry 3 was going as far as offering to shave your hair into a Mohawk like the main character in order to get a free-game mailed to you. What do you think would I look ok with a Mohawk shaved into my head? Think they’d have left the hair long? No, I did not.

One other room I didn’t get a chance to go to was the Bioware room where it appeared they had some games on display in addition to their panels.

 The End

This weekend nothing so spectacular has been happening. Well, I did get to go to the Zoo with my lovely niece and her mother. I also got to sit here and look through the massive back-log of RSS feeds I have. After the past few weeks and weekends though I feel very un-busy.

My hands twitch and my brain drools wanting to play a game. I’m burnt out on books and anime for sure! I won’t be able to hold out much more against the serious need I have to play something and may end up re-activating either EVE or RIFT until something else comes along. Playing something is quickly becoming the cost of my sanity. I’d play the alpha’s or beta’s I get invites for but they all seem to suddenly like scheduling test-times for when I’m busy! /scowl.

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