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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Site Update

Welcome back again.  As you can see, we are starting to populate the site with new content.  There are few new writers and contributors waiting in the wings with new content.  If you are interested

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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Site Update, GaMExpo, Nerdvana Con, Life Updates

What to Watch: You Tube

Top 5 YouTube video’s of the past week (with one blast from the past). Each week, on Tuesday, I am going to post 5 videos I think are worth watching on YouTube.  I’d love to hear what you

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What to Watch: You Tube

Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Welcome Bac

Welcome back to Killer Betties! It’s been over three years since I’ve made a post, but I am back. Before I get to what I’ve been doing for three years, I want to talk first about The

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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Welcome Back, TWD, The Bar, and Other Random Thoughts

Football Manager 2017 Review

Football Manager 2017 is a football management simulation video game for the PC developed by Sports Interactive and published by Sega. Gameplay: In terms of gameplay, it is really fun. You can create

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Football Manager 2017 Review

Volunteers Wanted

Killer Betties is going through some growing pains and we need more bodies (and pens) to keep up with it. If you have any interest in writing video game reviews, previews, interviews or editorials, p

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Volunteers Wanted

Weekly Quickfire – Board Games Played

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by on March 14, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Every Thursday night, I go to Gamelot in San Antonio and play board games with some of the coolest cats around. This article will give a quick update on the games I played and what I thought of them. They are ranked in the order of enjoyment with #1 being my favorite from that night.

2013-01-10 20.32.301. Among the Stars Among the Stars is a relatively new game that was released in 2012. It’s a ship building card game in which players earn victory points by placing cards in front of them. Each card does something different and some have requirements or victory point bonuses if certain conditions are met. All cards have a cost requirement and money is not unlimited, so there’s a strategy in how to spend and when to discard for extra money. It’s a very fun game and I’m not just saying that because I smoked everyone else. My strategy involved trying to get as many of the objective bonus cards as possible and taking very high point cards that gave immediate points. I also chose a character that allowed me to replace special cards with the unused special cards, in order to maximize my points or remove a card my hand if I thought it would benefit someone else too much. I didn’t go for many of the cards that gave points at the end. In fact, I only got 10 bonus points, where as the person who came in second had 22 at the end, and he still couldn’t catch me. Take the lead early and build on it as quickly as possible was my strategy and it paid off well. It was my favorite game of the night.

2013-01-10 18.58.152. Elder Sign Elder Sign is a cooperative dice rolling game in which players work together to defeat a big, bad, evil monster that is dead set on devouring the world. Players have to defeat the monster by collecting a certain number of Elder Signs, awarded as rewards for completing quests, before the monster reaches the end of their Doom Track. Each player chooses a character with a special ability. I chose Amanda Sharpe. Her ability involves being able to complete as many tasks as she wants without having to reroll the dice. This is a useful ability when quests come up that have a lot of separate tasks but not many dice are needed for each task. In our play through of the game, though, I didn’t get to use it that much. We played a three player game and drew Azazoth as our big baddie. Early on, he got a lot of doom tokens and we had very few Elder Signs, so it didn’t look good for us, but then we had Rlyeh come out (which is worth a lot of Elder signs), and we ended up defeating the beast. Elder Sign was released in 2011, so it has some age on it, but still feels fresh and new for anyone who hasn’t played it much. I really love this game and the only reason it wasn’t my favorite play of the night was because I have some familiarity with it and Among the Stars was brand new to me (and I won Among the Stars…)

2013-01-10 21.31.143. Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga Fire & Axe, released in 2004, allows players to become vikings in a quest for victory points. Players do this by trading, placing settlers, and raiding cities throughout Europe. The whole objective of the game is to complete Saga cards. These randomly come out of a Saga card deck (split into three eras) and have some kind of goal on them, such as settling certain groups of cities (or a lone distant city) or trading with a city. The game ends when all the Saga cards are drawn (after three rounds) or all the Saga cards are claimed (thus immediately ending the game.) The interesting thing with these goals is that only the last goal in a group counts, so a player can be working on a goal, such as settling three cities, and get two settled with their pieces only to have another player swoop in and settle the last city, claiming the Saga. Some of the Saga cards had bonus points, but most of the victory points come from points immediately earned for trading with a city, points gained by raiding towns (with tokens on them), and points accumulated for settling. There were some interesting bonus point rules that made the game more complicated and was often hard to keep track of. In the end, I came in third, and that was only because I managed to steal a couple of Sagas with high bonus points on them out from under the leader, who really killed the rest of us at the end. Of course, he was also the only one who had played before. I didn’t really enjoy this game as much as the other two and given the choice, there are a lot of other games I’d rather play.

Do you agree or disagree with my opinions of these games? Please leave comments and let me know your thoughts! Do you have a game you would like me to play and give my thoughts on? Please let me know that as well. Thanks for reading!

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‘Guitar Hero 2’ Review (Xbox 360)

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by on April 10, 2007 at 2:41 pm

The PackageShenanigans! Shenanigans I cry! How do you have a game about playing the guitar and you don’t even have Detroit Rock City by KISS from the Alive III album! Sure, it wasn’t the Star Man himself Ace Frehley rocking out on that blasting solo, but Bruce Kulick rocked! But in all honesty, I just wanted to throw out a negative out there, because there isn’t going to be much other than praise from here on out. Yes, Guitar Hero 2 is just that good. So let us pound this review out – I got a whammy bar calling my name!

THE STORY SO FAR
You want story! You ain’t getting no story. You want a story then here is a story for you. You want to play guitar, you can’t, so the next best thing is you run down to your local gaming store, pick up Guitar Hero 2, and live the dream you aren’t good enough to succeed at in the real world. Hey, if you want, go ahead and practice those cords and licks for hours upon hours during the week. Me? Well, I’m going to be rocking out at Stonehenge while the audience cries out “Freebird” and an alien spaceship comes down to get me because I just rocked so dang hard! You think I’m joking don’t you? Think again my friend.

Okay, so the game has given me illusions of grandeur, but I wasn’t kidding about the “Freebird” yelling and aliens.

Truth be told, there isn’t a story mode, but rather a Career mode, which has you starting out at a school battle of the bands competition and then moving to bigger and better venues as you complete songs on the required set list. But then again, you didn’t come for the story, you came to rock…and for those about to rock we salute you! Yes, that was an obligatory AC/DC reference.

SINGLE PLAYER: GAMEPLAY
The bulk of Guitar Hero 2 is built around the single player experience, as most of the time you’ll be playing simply to unlock all the songs and content, and then you’ll go back to try and master the entire game and get the best scores possible for each song; this need and drive to continue forward and be the best is what drives the gameplay of Guitar Hero 2.

As said, the Career mode is the driving force of the game, in which you’ll go to different venues, play different songs, and try to advance through the entire list of songs. You’ll start things out by naming your band, picking your guitarist (male and female choices are available), picking your guitar, and then off you go to rock and roll. But first, you’ll also need to pick which of the difficulties you are going to start with, and if you are a noob, please, please, please hear me when I say do the tutorials and play on Easy first – cause even on Easy, you will probably suck some.

To break the difficulties down and tell you what you can expect from each one: Easy (you’ll only use the first three buttons – green, red, yellow); Medium (you’ll only use the first four buttons – green, red, yellow, and blue); Hard (you’ll use all the buttons and the song moves faster); and finally Expert (you’ll use all buttons, more complicated notes, and the song is at its fastest). You’ll also find yourself playing more notes and more of the riffs the higher up in the difficulty you go up. Trust me in that if you can rock out on Expert without breaking a sweat, thou truly are a Guitar Hero – nay – God!

GuitarThe idea of the gameplay is as simple as could be, as all you have to do is watch the telegraphed guitar notes slide down the neck of your guitar in the game, press whatever the colored keys are when they get to your strum line, and then when they do flick the strum bar on your guitar to play the note. Tadda – simple as pie. But single notes aren’t the sole notes, as you’ll also have power chords that require you to push more than one key down at a time. You’ve also got long notes that require you to keep the keys held down until the complete note has finished (however, these longs notes are your chance to break out the whammy and make the song your own).

However, though things start off simple, then you add more keys in and suddenly it is a different game as you struggle to remember what finger represents what color and catching up if you fall behind. Everything doesn’t come in a slow and steady beat either, as you’ll have notes come in all sorts of measure in time, meaning you really need to be paying attention to the screen and not your fingering (fingering needs to come naturally). You’ll also need to learn more complicated finger moves as well, such as hammer-ons and pull-downs which allows you to play closely positioned notes without having to strum for each one.

Should you fall behind on the Rock Meter (green is you’re doing good, yellow is okay, red is bad, and flashing red means you are about to lose) you can always use your built up Star Power, which you get from successfully playing all the star notes that come along as you are playing the song; to activate Star Power all you need to do is crank the guitar upwards and then get playing (Star Power will auto stop after you’ve expended your meter).

You’ve also got an excellent Practice Mode, which you’ll probably need to utilize sometime through your Guitar Hero 2 experience, as you can play songs that are kicking your butt, slow them down, see how you need to move your hands and hit the notes, and you can choose to only practice certain sections if you want instead of just the whole song. You can even practice the bass of the song, which comes into play later on the multiplayer side of things.

As for a few of my favorite songs to play in the game (to give you a taste of what you can expect): Surrender, Possum Kingdom, Heart-Shaped Box, Strutter, Mother, Life Wasted, Cherry Pie, Woman, Carry on Wayward Son, Message in a Bottle, Billion Dollar Babies, War Pigs, Monkey Wrench, Sweet Child O’Mine, Crazy on You, Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart, The Trooper, and of course Freebird!

The game also has a bunch of unlockables, which you buy from the store using money you get from doing good in the top three difficulty modes. With the money you’ll be able to buy new characters, new costumes, new guitars, new finishes, and new songs.

The game is also going to feature downloadable content, where you can download new songs so you never have to stop rocking!

MULTIPLAYER: GAMEPLAY
Though the single player game is where the heart is, there is also a pretty sweet multiplayer as well, which seems to be where the foundation of the new Rock Band game came from.

In the multiplayer portion of the game, you can choose to head out to Xbox Live if you want, and either play Face-Off (compete against another player while you alternately play the same song – each player can adjust their skill); Pro Face-Off (like Face-Off only you have same difficulty and play at same time); and Cooperation (you play with another person with one of you playing Lead Guitar and the other player either doing Rhythm Guitar or either Bass Guitar. Now, I’m usually all for battling it out with someone else, but when it comes to music, I’m all into the making love and not war, because the Cooperative mode is just more fun, as it sounds like you are really in another band with another person, making mistakes or rocking out together (depending on how good or bad you both are).

Also, online Leaderboards means you’ll always be heading out to see who is the best at any given song in the game. You think you can play “Thunderhorse” better than anyone else…now you can look it up and see who really is the best.

Rock A BillyGRAPHICS
I’ll cut the game some leeway in that it doesn’t have to look amazing, because you’ll be so focused on those notes coming down the guitar you won’t care if the game looks pretty or not outside that. However, what is there does indeed look pretty nice, with large crowds jumping up and down, cute yet cool cartoonish looking characters, and the environments feature some cool animations, like paper airplanes flying around in the school battle of the bands or beer bottles being thrown at the stage in the bar.

SOUND
Umm…can I just say awesome here? Okay, it’s awesome. There is bound to be a song you’ll like here (as long as you love the history of rock) and it’ll sound great coming from your television speakers.

IN CONCLUSION
At $90 bucks, yeah, Guitar Hero 2 for the Xbox 360 is a steep price and one that might have you dancing like you are waiting in line for the bathroom, because you just don’t know if you should buy it or not. Listen up – buy it! Of course, this is coming from the raving mouth of someone already addicted to the game in only a short time, because I’ve spent so much time playing this game as of recent that I don’t really want to do work. You know what I want to do? If you said “rock” congratulations, you’ve learned well young grasshopper. Now, throw those horns in the air, bob your head up and down, and then go out and pick this game up.

RATING: 5star
Our Scoring System

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The “Be a Guitar Hero” II Competition Kicks Off

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by on April 27, 2006 at 2:47 pm

Music game publisher RedOctane today launched their worldwide search for the next guitar hero! The “Be a Guitar Hero” II competition offers independent musicians the opportunity to have their song featured in game play for the upcoming title “Guitar Hero II” for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system. “Guitar Hero II” is the follow-up title to 2005’s award-winning release, “Guitar Hero, which rocked the game industry and garnered a stack of awards.

Independent artists are eligible to submit original music for inclusion in the sequel “Guitar Hero” videogame, scheduled for North American release in November 2006. Considered songs must fall in the ‘hard rock’ or ‘heavy metal’ genre with a featured lead guitar. RedOctane will accept music entries through their community website www.beaguitarhero.com and submissions must be completed by 11:59 p.m. PST on June 30, 2006. This newly launched website features an easy submission process so contestants can directly upload mp3’s for contest entry.

The grand prize winner will have their song featured in the top-secret track list for “Guitar Hero II” and is eligible for additional publicity through game launch promotions. Graveyard BBQ, the winner of the first “Be a Guitar Hero” competition, will rock live at the RedOctane booth (Kentia Hall #6521) during the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles next month. Their song “Cheat on the Church” is featured as an unlock song in “Guitar Hero”, currently on retail shelves nationwide.

The game that has inspired a nation of wannabe rock stars to achieve videogame greatness is scheduled for a new US tour on the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system in November 2006. Musical giant Gibson Guitar is also expected to be on board. Like the original “Guitar Hero”, a selection of famous Gibson electric guitars will be available for characters to play.

To learn more about the “Be a Guitar Hero” II competition and to read contest rules.

The grand prize winner will receive the following prizes:

– Epiphone G-400 Electric Guitar
– EMG Zakk Wylde pickup set
– Krank Distortus Maximus distortion pedal
– Pacific Drums and Percussion CX Drumset
– Morley Pedal Steve Vai Bad Horsie Wah pedal
– Copy of “Guitar Hero” and “Guitar Hero II” videogame
– Winner’s music track to be included in “Guitar Hero II”

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For Those About to Rock With ‘Guitar Hero II,’ We Salute You!

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by on April 18, 2006 at 3:38 pm

Get ready for a rock encore! RedOctane announced today that Johnny Napalm and friends will begin touring the US again this Fall in the new videogame “Guitar Hero II”. Picking up where Guitar Hero left off, Guitar Hero II arrives with a new track list, new venues and additional play modes – including the ability to transform the original Guitar Hero SG Controller into a rhythm, lead or bass guitar.

“Guitar Hero has proved phenomenally successful! Guitar Hero veterans will be able to plug in their Guitar Hero SG Controllers and rock GH II straight out of the box,” said Kelly Sumner, CEO of RedOctane. “We will really push the envelope with Guitar Hero II. Despite the fact there are many months until release, we’re already implementing exciting features and innovations. This fall we’re going to rock everyone’s world all over again.”

The top-secret sequel song list remains firmly in the rock domain, pulling from a mix of classic rock, ‘hair’ metal, heavy metal, modern rock, and alternative titles. More than 55 songs will be featured in the next installment.

Veteran music videogame developer Harmonix Music Systems has been busy in-studio, enriching this rockstar experience with more features and multiplayer modes. In addition to the traditional head-to-head competition, Multiplayer Co-op Mode allows players to collaborate in order to beat songs, with each guitarist playing a separate guitar track. Available guitar tracks include lead, rhythm or bass tracks, depending upon the song. The Guitar Hero SG Controller used in the first installment will also be compatible with the new game.

Guitar Hero II is the follow-up to 2005’s award-winning release, “Guitar Hero,” which rocked the game industry and garnered a stack of awards including: “Best Offline Multiplayer Game 2005” and “Music Game of the Year 2005” from IGN.com, and “Best Soundtrack 2005” at the Spike TV Videogames Awards. Recently, it picked up five awards at the D.I.C.E. Summit’s Interactive Achievement Awards including Outstanding Innovation in Gaming and Family Game of the Year.

RedOctane has confirmed an early glimpse of the upcoming game will be available during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles next month.

The game that has inspired a nation of wannabe rock stars to achieve video game greatness is scheduled for a new US tour on the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system in November 2006.

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