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    Overwatch: First Impressions

    The Mommy Gamers Play- Overwatch

    On May 24th Blizzard released Overwatch, a multiplayer first person shooter.  If you’ve known me for more than a minute you’ll know that first person shooter games aren’t my thing.  I’ve never logged much time with them, and when I have tried I’ve gotten so frustrated that I flat out gave up.  So far I’ve logged more than fourty hours of Overwatch and have no plan to stop playing anytime soon.  With 21 different characters, there is one for pretty much every type of player…even self-proclaimed FPS haters such as myself.  Check out the video footage of my first Twitch stream with this game that I cannot seem to stop playing:

    So the big question many of my friends have had is what exactly is it about Overwatch that got me to check out the game.  For those who don’t know, I am a HUGE fan of Blizzard games.  I’ve logged more hours than I will ever admit on World of Warcraft, played through Diablo III once or twice, dabbled a bit with Heroes of the Storm, and attempted to get through the tutorial of Hearthstone.  Basically if it’s something Blizzard put out, I’m going to try it because they consistently put out games that I enjoy.  The release date also happened to align with summer break, and my fourteen year old son is a major FPS lover.  At the very least, I hoped Overwatch would be a game we could play together and have some fun with over the summer.

    What has kept me playing every single day is a little more difficult to explain.  I’m not GREAT at the game, but every time I play I feel like I’m getting a better grasp on the maps, my favorite characters abilites, and in all honesty…it’s just a fun game to play with friends.  I’ve logged the bulk of my playtime with Mei, a hero who uses ice walls, blizzards and frosty blasts to defeat the opposing team.  You can read her full story on the Blizzard site here.  While I’m sure that I could probably get better with some other characters after playing them for nearly forty hours, I like being able to hop in a game and feel confident and comfortable with one character for now.  Each of the characters have their own special abilites and stories and it’s fun even just listening to their interactions that hint at what seems to be a fairly vague and ever expanding story line.

    I’d love to talk more about Overwatch, but right now I’d really like to get back to playing.  The obsession is strong. Have you played Overwatch? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.  If you’d like to hop in and play sometime on XboxOne make sure to follow TheMommyGamers Twitch channel at www.Twitch.Tv/TheMommyGamers for when the stream goes live.

    You can also check out our other game content on our YouTube channel here: www.youtube.com/themommygamers 

    Echoes of The First Dreamer by Highwire Games

    EchoesOfTheFirstDreamer

    In The Mommy Gamers podcast episode 124, Marcia and I got the chance to chat with special guest, composer/audio director and founder of Highwire Games, Marty O’Donnell. He spoke to us about Golem, the Playstation VR game the studio is currently working on, in addition to the Echoes of The First Dreamer project currently on kickstarter.

    Echoes of The First Dreamer is a stand alone listening experience and a musical prequel to Golem. “It is a musical prequel; composed, arranged and recorded as an independent work. It will be released before the game and introduce you to the world and themes of Golem. (TheFirstDreamer.com)

    Some of the rewards available include a digital download, signed CDs, a t-shirt, personalized messages, and THE FULL MARTY which is described as “a once in a lifetime chance to ATTEND THE LIVE RECORDING SESSION of the album in Seattle!
    (includes Signed Vinyl Album, Backer-Edition Shirt, and Your Name in the liner notes, but not travel or accommodations)”

    The project will only be funded if at least $45,000 is pledged by Tue, Apr 12 2016 11:00 PM EDT, so if you haven’t already, hop on over to kickstarter to back the album while you still can. I enlisted myself as part of The Marty Army which includes Echoes of The First Dreamer on CD and an exclusive backer t-shirt. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go listen to the Halo soundtrack for the millionth time.

    Unboxing Loot Crate’s February 2016: Dead

    Desirai Labrada and husband John Henry unbox “Dead” the February 2016 Loot Crate. Loot Crate is a monthly subscription for fans of pop culture, and gamers alike. Included in each box are t-shirts, gadgets, collectibles and more. The February theme is “Dead” and includes exclusive items from AMC’s The Walking Dead, and Deadpool.

    Equilibrium Urban Survival Gear Review

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    Equilibrium USG – What Is It?

    I love bags. I have a nice collection of geek-themed stuff holders that I don’t use all that often because I’m afraid of staining them, or losing them, or wearing them out. At C2E2 in April of this year, though, I discovered Equilibrium USG. This company, based close to me in Skokie, Ill., creates functional, modular bags. They’re extremely durable, flexible, secure, padded, and customizable. So, naturally, I had to test one out. It took until late July for me to get my bag, as they’re made at a factory in the Philippines and then put together here, but this month I was finally able to take it on a trip with me and test the thing out.

    The company likes to call its gear “the LEGOs of bags.” For the P.A.C. system (Portable All-Purpose Containment), there are two available types of base, or harness – a basic one, and one with more storage called the Vertex harness. There are four types of “payload” – your basic storage component, including the Recon Prime, shown above. “Ordnance” refers to smaller accessory-style bags that can be attached to the payload or harness or SKYN. Then you have the SKYNs themselves. These come in many different designs, or you can design your own, as long as there’s no copyright infringement.

    The durability and water-resistance of the bags comes  from high-grade material – 840 and 1680 denier Ballistic and Cordura nylon (the same sort of thing used for making bulletproof vests) and YKK zippers with reverse tape. The insides are lined with polyethalene sheets for rigidity and protection. Each Recon features more than 250 assembled parts, sewn together.

    By the time I received mine, I had pretty much forgotten how to operate it, so this past weekend I stopped by Equilibrium’s booth at Wizard World Comic-Con in Chicago. (I also picked up an ORDN-50 Heat while I was there.) But I’m so glad I stopped by. Company representatives showed me how to attach my new Heat to the front and sides of my base, to my harness, even to my SKYN. I can attach all kinds of things to my harness. I can turn my SKYN inside out and put things on the front of my bag, too. I am clearly deficient in imagination, because none of things had occurred to me on my own.

    Do Equilibrium Bags Perform As Advertised?

    2015-08-24 08.48.21

    My Assault Panzer with two SKYNs.

    I’ll be honest. I have an awesome Lo & Sons bag that I usually prefer to travel with, because it’s got this handy pocket that allows me to slip it over the handle of my carry-on luggage, and it’s so roomy. I took a look at my new slash-proof Assault Panzer, and thought it looked small and too rigid. I wanted something that would be able to handle a bit of a bulge, in case I brought back lots of souvenirs. I switched all my belongings to my Lo & Sons O.M.G., and then I changed my mind. What the heck. I was traveling light, and I really wanted to test my Equilibrium bag out. So I switched everything back and stuck my sunglasses into one of the outside mounting straps. My USG felt really balanced on my back, once the harness/base (basically, a vest that attaches to the “payload”) was on. Then I had a brilliant idea. I realized that because the harness is separate from the actual bag, it also does fit over the carry-on handle. This made me very happy, as it was the main reason I’d been thinking of leaving my USG behind.

    The verdict: I’m sold. This is actually the first backpack I’ve owned that I actually prefer to wear on my back. It’s comfortable, not too bulky, and doesn’t look huge on me (I’m a rather small person). I could have put it on my luggage handle so that it was supported by my suitcase, but mostly I didn’t.

    I don’t have that many accessories yet, and I feel like my Panzer doesn’t have enough pockets, but it does have a “secret” pocket behind the SKYN where I store my ID and cash. There’s also one on top perfect for all my chargers. I admit I have not tested the slashproof capabilities of my USG, and I hope not to ever have to do that. Also, I haven’t yet tested out the bag’s messenger-like and cross-body capabilities, but it’s designed with a very slight curve, so it fits snugly into your body as a messenger or cross-body bag.

    Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?

    When I returned from my trip, my kid and I stopped at Culver’s for dinner on the way home from the airport. Almost instantly an employee behind the counter asked about my bag and where I got it and wrote down the company information so she could get one, too. And this isn’t a one-time occurrence. The cool factor of Equilibrium USG bags cannot be denied.

    The main downside is that these bags can be pricey. The Recon Prime that I covet runs between $100-$140 based upon size (S, M, L). But it has so many pockets! And a separate laptop compartment that will fit items larger than my 11.5″ MacBook Air! And lots of mounting straps! A custom SKYN runs $50, and the tricked-out Vertex harness can cost $105. The problem with the prices is that I keep wanting to buy more. Just like LEGOs. I think I see what they mean now.

    Also, my kid keeps begging me to let him take my USG to school because it’s so cool. He doesn’t even want to use it with a SKYN, because the black and orange look of my USG is apparently cooler than my Totoro SKYN. I’ve promised him that when I upgrade to the Recon Prime, he can have my Assault Panzer.

    Final Thoughts

    Aside from the fact that I can’t ever remember the names of any of the parts I’m purchasing – “Assault Riot” and “Recon Prime” evoke nothing descriptive to me at all – I do like this system. And until, well, today, I was still mixing up harnesses and bases (I felt like the “base” should be your main bag, not the thing with the straps on it). Also, there are just so many straps and attachers sometimes I’m not sure what to do with them all. But Equilibrium makes a durable, well-designed bag, and I’m looking forward to adding to it, figuring out configurations, and getting more geeky SKYNs. I’m grown up, but I still like toys, and this is one I can both play with and utilize in an adult manner.

    For more information on Equilibrium USG, visit www.equint.com.

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    Lays Flavored Chips: Southern Biscuits and Gravy + West Coast Truffle Fries

    Lays Flavored Chips

    If you haven’t heard yet, Lays potato chips does this crazy thing called “Do Us a Flavor” where they ask people to come up with outrageous flavors which are later voted on by the community. In podcast Episode 98: One Armed Ninja we briefly discuss some of these peculiar flavors. In an effort to take things one step further (and gross Marcia out at the same time), John and I decided to make a tasting video of the two flavors we purchased. Said video is featured below. The review itself is about 4 minutes long and the rest is… well, you’ll see. Enjoy!

    Cute Valentine’s Deal from Artifex Mundi

     

    mainsite_imageIt’s nearly Valentine’s Day, love is in the air and nothing makes my heart flutter quite like a great deal on games.  If you don’t already have a relationship with Artifex Mundi, now is a great time to start up a fling with this casual gamer creator and publisher.  Their “Cute Valentine’s Deal” has three of their games priced up to 85 percent off now through February 19th.

    Artifex Mundi is best known for their stunning hidden object games with compelling stories. As an added bonus their games are available on multiple platforms, which is something I appreciate.

    For Valentine’s Day, they are running sale promotions in the Mac App Store, Google Play, BlackBerry World, the Windows Store, and the Windows Phone store. There are 2 games in each store, discounted at different levels at least through the weekend. Here’s the breakdown:

    Mac App Store:
    Clockwork Tales:Of Glass and Ink, $2.99 (normally $6.99)
    Time Mysteries 3:The Final Enigma, $1.99 (normally $6.99)

    Google Play:
    Grim Legends:The Forsaken Bride, $1.99 (normally $4.99)
    Time Mysteries 3:The Final Enigma, $0.99 (normally $4.99)

    BlackBerry World:
    Grim Legends:The Forsaken Bride, $1.99 (normally $4.99)
    Time Mysteries 3:The Final Enigma, $0.99 (normally $4.99)

    The Windows Store:
    Clockwork Tales:Of Glass and Ink, $2.99 (normally $6.99)
    Time Mysteries 3:The Final Enigma, $0.99 (normally $6.99)

    The Windows Phone Store:
    Clockwork Tales:Of Glass and Ink, $0.99 (normally $2.99)
    Time Mysteries 3:The Final Enigma, $0.99 (normally $2.99)

    Visit the Artifex Mundi site for more information and links to purchase any of these games. I really enjoy their games and I hope that you will too.

    Get Cash Back For Shopping Online

    Shop For Cashback

    I don’t know about you, but I do quite a bit of shopping, both online and offline. When my friend told me that I could get cashback for shopping online, I was stoked. However, I recently missed an opportunity to get $10 cash back while shopping at Home Depot. I was under the impression that I could only earn cashback if I purchased online and had my items delivered. That’s not the case anymore! More and more stores are allowing people to purchase online and pick up their items in store.

    I actually just earned over $9 when buying Dragon Age Inquisition Deluxe Edition and the accompanying strategy guide from GameStop. I’ll be picking it up on November 18th in store on release day! $10 here, $5 there… it really starts to add up! I could never keep up with the extreme couponing thing, but THIS I can do!

    Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas… They’re all right around the corner. I’m hoping you’re not tempted to leave your family to stand in long lines or fight for discounted deals. As a matter of fact, I’m going to give you an even better reason not to. I’ll be picking ONE WINNER to receive a FREE one year subscription to one of the most powerful tools I personally use that will help you get CASH BACK every time you shop online!

    DubLi is a consumer-focused company, where the customer’s needs always come first. At DubLi, consumers shop at the same stores they shop normally, find the deals and then earn Cashback with each purchase. DubLi features thousands of brand name stores and travel companies worldwide.

    Here are just a few things that can earn you cashback:

    • Laptop from Apple
    • Video games from GameStop and Best Buy
    • Already discounted items on Groupon and Living Social
    • Cosmetics from Sephora, Ulta, E.L.F, and Too-Faced
    • Back to school shopping from Target and Walmart
    • Flights, hotel stays, and car rentals from Travelocity, Orbitz and Expedia

    You can get CASH BACK on ALL of it! I wish I could list all the participating stores but there’s honestly too many to name.

    Seriously, what could be better than getting cashback from the places you ALREADY shop at? Enter below using our Rafflecoptor widget for your chance to win an annual VIP membership on DubLi to earn the maximum percentage of cashback.

    *** I may do this giveaway monthly depending on interest.

    Congrats to our winners!

    1. MADkillzOG (November 2014)

    [box type=”info”] DISCLOSURE: Desirai Labrada is an active DubLi VIP Member and has purchased the VIP membership for this giveaway with her own money. This post contains a referral link. You can read more about our Official Disclosure Policy here. [/box]

    Espionage Cosmetics Nailed It! Claw Covers Review

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    Nailed It! Claw Covers — What Are They?

    I saw a lot of great things at C2E2, and being a girl, some of my favorites were cosmetics-based. And in terms of femme-inspired geekery, Espionage Cosmetics stood out because of its nail wraps. I am, after all, attracted to shiny things.

    Let’s first get this straight. I like makeup and nail art as much as anyone, but I am fairly clumsy at applying such things to my face and hands. I usually let experts take care of most of my beautifying. These nail wraps were the first items in a long time that even tempted me to do my nails myself. They’ve got beautiful colors, fun designs, and lots of choice for the nerdgirl extreme. And they are the first nail wraps I have ever used, so this should be interesting.

    Do They Really Perform As Advertised?

    The directions recommend wiping nails with rubbing alcohol before sticking them on. Just align the edges of the nail stickers with the base of the fingernail, press it on from base to tip, and use a nail file or nail trimmer to take off the extra. In theory, easy-peasy. The instructions say that you can use an opposite thumbnail to cut off the remainder as well, but that doesn’t result in a smooth-looking nail.

    Espionage gives you seven different sizes of wrap to fit to your nail, and I’ve discovered my nails are quite small. I found it easiest to try and trim the sides of each sticker down with scissors before I ever put it on, then use the nail file on top (corners were hardest).

    These nail stickers are fortunately quite forgiving, you can take them off and put them on again with no problem. Once I figured out my best method, I found this process to be relatively simple, and by the time I got to my thumb I had the process down. My other nails look fine as long as you don’t get too close. I’m sure I just need some practice to get it right next time.

    P1130208Removing the wraps is fairly easy; they leave a bit of gummy residue but it’s not hard to get rid of. I’d say definitely follow the instructions regarding rubbing alcohol (or nail polish remover), because I didn’t, and a day after I put the things on a couple of them started coming off while I was sleeping and were stuck to themselves. I was able to fix one and just removed the other.

    Several days later, my nails still look nice, although the stickers are starting to appear a bit worn at the tip. Nevertheless, they ought to last a week or two if I’m not a perfectionist. After the fact I discovered that the nail wraps last longer if you put a topcoat on once you’ve got them in place. I’ll have to try that next time.

    Is There Anything Else I Need To Know?

    With my small nails I do have to be careful which Claw Covers I choose, so that I don’t pick a design that will have to be trimmed off too much to be recognizable. Espionage does make sure that the designs are placed close to the nail bed rather than the nail tip so maybe most of you with bigger nails won’t have to deal with this.

    I did find that if I didn’t trim the sides well enough, the nail wrap was likely to come off sooner. For all I know, this is usual of all such products and those of you who use them on a regular basis can school me with ease.

    Nailed It! Claw Covers are the result of a Kickstarter campaign that I apparently missed. For the record, Espionage Cosmetics also features lines of eye shadow and lip serum that also seem yummy.

    Final Thoughts

    I think I love these. They’re just so beautiful and the colors are nice and bright – they even look better in real life than in the pictures. Once I master the trimming part, I may just keep some around all the time. Nailed It! Claw Covers cost about $12 each via the website. I really want the Doctor Who-inspired ones (currently out of stock as of press time) but the glittery tentacles (currently priced at $575!), the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” pips, the glittery blue and red superhero masks, and the Lego brick nail wraps are among my favorites as well.

    Get your own at espionagecosmetics.com. Here’s the how-to video I should have watched before I attempted to put them on!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3mfdxiDHH8

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    Geekery, We Bought It
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