February 26, 2010

Anger toward Xbox Live

I just received an email from Xbox Live Support regarding my problem with attempting to merge or switch an Xbox Live subscription from one profile to another. This is the exact email I received:

"Hello Kimberly,
This is Kody, with Microsoft XBOX Support services.
           As I understand, you are very concerned to know if it is possible to merge two Xbox Live and or an offline and online accounts and transfer or credit points and achievements to the other.
 Unfortunately, we cannot merge two Xbox Live and or an offline and online accounts or profiles and transfer or credit points to one gamertag to the other.
 Thank you so much for your time and inquiry.
 If you need to reply to this e-mail, please reply 'with history' (include any previous e-mail) or reference to Service Request Number 1125944892 so we can expedite our service to you.
 Thank you for visiting Xbox.com. We hope that we were able to assist you, and that your experience with our customer service was positive - something we constantly strive to improve. If you should have future questions on Xbox products or services, please be sure to revisit our Web site as we are continually adding information to enhance our service.
Best Regards, 
Microsoft XBOX Support Services

Ummm...excuse me? You can't do anything to help me? You can't even give me an alternative? I'm another $40 in the hole because your system has a stupid account-setup process? Great...

So I went ahead and purchased another subscription to Gold...I apologize if you guys get another friend request from me on Live, as I'll be deleting the current "Kimmington" account when I get my new subscription code. 

On a happier note - I played on Live last night, and it was great. I'm not nearly as bad as I thought (although I'm certainly no where near as good as I want to be), and I really enjoy the multiplayer aspect of BioShock 2. My copy of Modern Warfare 2 is stuck in Philly somewhere...I fear it may never get to me. In any event, I hope to play more tonight, and even have a guest join me! We'll see how this works out...

February 24, 2010

I've emerged victorious, but not without some battle wounds...

I'm chronicling this as it happens, because it's just too ridiculous...

1. I received two packages in the mail today: one containing my new (although used from Amazon) Xbox 360 A/B/G & N Network Wireless Adapter, and the other containing the two xbox headsets I purchased from Overstock.com - Yay! But it turns out that the two headsets arrived in pristine packaging - COMPLETELY DESTROYED! Way to go Overstock, not only did you misroute my package to CA (earlier this week), but now I need to return two broken headsets. Good thing the wireless adapter looked complete...

2. I went over to my Xbox and read the instruction manual that was sent with my wireless adapter. It said, in a few words as possible, to insert the CD, then plug in the adapter and go! "Sweet," I think, "this'll be easy..." My xbox doesn't read the disc at all, and I spend the next 30 minutes looking over the support forums on xbox.com to help me. Little known fact that the instruction manual doesn't say - put the disc in, shut off the machine, then turn it back on and THEN the automatic instructions will start....thanks, instructional manual writers.

3. I set up my wireless adapter without a hitch after that (thankfully), and since it's working so well all of a sudden, I decide to try and have my xbox communicate with my laptop (brand new Asus gaming laptop running Windows 7 and Windows Media Center...why wouldn't this work?). After another half hour of trying to get them to communicate, I give up - my xbox claims it continues to have a connection failure, and my laptop just keeps trying to search for the xbox extender. Whatever.

4. Now, here's the kicker. So I set up the wireless adapter and have it connected properly, and I'm all set to redeem my pre-paid 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscription - peachy, right? For some reason, the xbox has two ways to sign into Xbox Live: the first (and more obvious) way is to select the BIG ICON/BOX that says "Join Xbox Live" - this is what I did. The second (and infinitely better) option is to select your gamer profile on your xbox and select "Sign THIS profile up for Xbox Live" - essentially, I accidentally redeemed my Xbox Live Gold code on an EMPTY profile. So now when I'm signed in, no one can see the 4852 gamer points I've collected over the years, or see the many achievements I've earned, or what games I've played. My profile on Xbox Live literally says "0" and "None" for everything. And I must ask...why does Xbox Live let you do this?! Why wouldn't it only prompt you to sign up on Xbox Live under a specific profile that you've already created? WHY?!

Well, I thought that perhaps if I called xbox live customer support they could help me solve this dilemma. Surely they can revoke my registration for that code and let me re-sign up for the correct profile? Or maybe just transfer all my stats over to the new, empty profile on Xbox Live? Nope - they practically told me I was S.O.L.

I'm pretty upset about the whole thing, but perhaps I shouldn't be. Technically it was my fault for redeeming the code and then creating a profile (I thought it was weird that they were asking me to create an Avatar when I already had one..) instead of selecting the profile I wanted to sign up for Xbox Live. But, like how someone very near and dear to me always says - "Console setups and interfaces, especially xbox, suck."


My wireless adapter for the xbox should be arriving either today or tomorrow, which means that I need YOUR gamertags! Please leave comments (or contact me personally) with your tags here, and I'll be sure to add you via the xbox live website before the adapter gets here. I only have 2 friends as of now - and I'd like more! Also, I'd appreciate any Playstation Network IDs as well....and can you add friends to the Wii? I rarely play that system, but I'll add you on there as well!

In addition to this, please leave me comments with any recommendations of games I should get for xbox live playing/training. I have all the Halo games, Modern Warfare 2 should be arriving in the mail today, and I'm already scoping out prices for Left 4 Dead 2...any other big ones I'm missing for sweet, sweet multiplayer action?

Side note - I finished Dragon Age Origins last night...and I'm a little disappointed in the ending I got. Sure, BioWare is known for throwing "curve-balls," but good grief. Also, the very end was pretty predictable. I guess what I'm getting at is if I'm playing a good character and I'm making sure I choose all the "good" options when decision making....I should at least have a chance at a good ending. Oh well, maybe I'll pick it up again within the year and see if I get a different ending. But as of tonight I'll be attempting to finish Uncharted 2, start Mass Effect 2...or perhaps play with some of you guys on Xbox Live! :-)

February 22, 2010

Video Interview

Well, I was reluctant to post this video, especially after seeing a couple other Cadette application videos...but I figure it won't hurt anything (except perhaps my reputation as being a lean, mean, fighting machine) :-) So, here it is! Seriously, I look super nervous throughout the entire video. But again, thanks to my fantastic editor, the video looks much better than anything I could have put together on my own.

Women posting on the Frag Doll forums are speculating as to how many applications were submitted for this class of Cadettes...I honestly believe that anything below 100 is far too liberal. And, in order to not get my hopes up too high, I'd like to believe that there were perhaps 300 applications sent in....so my chances of getting one of the 12 spots out of 300 + applicants is very small. Oh random selection...I honestly don't know if this is better or worse than being chosen based on the application itself. Also, we're planning to do a Skype-conference type thing with some of the applicants - which I'm really excited for! It'd be great to talk to these girls "face-to-face" in a sense, instead of just talking through the forums.

Ok, aside from all the Frag Doll Cadette craziness - I ordered the final piece to my Xbox Live puzzle: the wireless adapter. I even ended up buying the A/B/G & N network one, which is apparently better and cooler and nicer and all that jazz. I'm very excited to set it all up and start playing online!

As for weekend game playing, I completed a few levels of Halo 3 in the campaign and played a bunch of games of Command & Conquer. I suppose I'll have to start playing against real people soon, and not just hard computers...but, I'll let you know how that goes when I get to that point ;-)

February 18, 2010

Just a few more weeks...

Late last night I received my confirmation email from Phoenix of the Frag Dolls, saying they received all the parts of my application, they are complete, and that my name has been entered into the random drawing - YAY! I know I shouldn't get my hopes up....but WOW do I want to be accepted into this program. Dream come true - hell yes.

Fun side note - Barbie's new career is Computer Engineer! I definitely voted for this, and I'm glad it turned out! I like that she looks like she's straight out of the 80's in this link too.

Another fun fact - I'm officially getting Xbox Live! I've decided to suck it up and pay for Live, as well as a Wireless Adapter for my 360. I'm still looking for a cheap one, but I did go ahead and buy two headsets, a year subscription to Xbox Live Gold, and three new games: BioShock 2, Modern Warfare 2, and Mass Effect 2. I'm super excited...now if only I could not break the bank with this wireless adapter... :-) I'll post my Xbox Live name on here as soon as I'm set up and ready to game!

February 17, 2010

Frag Doll Cadette Application...DONE!

As of 11:46 pm on February 16, 2010 - my Frag Doll Cadette application is complete and submitted! YAY! Now if only I could actually make it into the program... :-)

Overall, I'm pleased with my application. I wasn't too thrilled about my video interview at first, since I don't particularly like watching myself talk on tape, but my editor did an amazing job in putting it all together - THANK YOU! And more than anything, I'm happy that the application is in, if only a few days before the deadline. I'll be posting the video after the deadline - probably sometime this weekend (and you can totally tell how nervous I am in it!).

On a side note - a good friend of mine sent me this link, which I found extremely interesting. I really like this woman, and I think she's doing great work. Not only is she attempting to help bridge video games from being just a fun "pastime" into something that can help people in the real world, but she also seems to have a real keen grasp of how video games affect people psychologically - a topic that is near and dear to my heart. And so, if you have the time, please watch the short clip about her - she's fascinating!

That's all for now - I'm tired and work will start only too soon for me. Good night!

[Edit update: in reference to the link and Jane McGonigal...]
So...I re-watched the short clip of Jane McGonigal speaking on the cnn.com page - when a few of her phrases stuck out to me:
  1. "Video Games are teaching people how to stick with problems longer." & "People who are more accustomed to failing in the game world are less 'put-off' by failures in the real world...they are more likely to stick with tough problems until they find a satisfactory solution." - Now, I'm not sure if she made this up from personal experience or in speaking with industry associates and friends...but this makes perfect sense in my mind. If there is no research backing a statement like this...then I'd like to put my name in the drawing to conduct it! How fascinating would that be? If true, how great would that be?? I really like this idea, and I plan on looking into this statement further.
  2. Interaction through online gaming leads to an increase in social stamina, and therefore gamers are more likely to talk to someone face to face. - Now, I don't necessarily agree with this statement...I can believe that yes, gamers will easily talk with anyone online, since there is little to no accountability in some cases, thus making it easier to talk and speak your mind. However...face to face? If anyone has any insight to share on this fact, please feel free to comment. 
  3. Classifying difficult situations in life to "sub-boss" and "boss" battles. - Guilty. I've easily done this more than a dozen times. I agree that it makes things seem more interesting and has helped me get through some trying times. I also like to think that I "gain experience" when I engage in different activities, like working out, studying, completing work assignments...anyone else?

February 16, 2010

Katsucon 16

I've been staffing Katsucon for the entire weekend, and I've finally found enough time (and free wi-fi) to post an update. Let me just say...it has been ridiculous. We've had a drug bust, some very drunk Navy personnel (from the Navy formal going on in the same building), some very drunk adults who were claiming someone tried to sell them pills, a lot of "pick-up" lines and "hit-on's", a sh*t-ton of coats, a few GP patrons....and most importantly, a very special visit from my very special Valentine :-D

I'll update this post later with pictures from the con...but I've had a tough time getting pictures since I've been working almost 24/7. But, the attendees seem to be having a good time, and I suppose that's important.  But man....there are some crazy, crazy people here.

[Update: Pictures from Katsucon...]
(The Gaylord Resort & Convention Center - where Katsucon was held) - Photo taken by K. Wick

(Looking at the Lobby of the Gaylord - beautiful!) - Photo taken by K. Wick

(Ninja Power Ranger...chillin) - Photo taken by K. Wick

(Con-attendees waiting in line for the Formal Dance)

(More attendees waiting for the Formal to begin)


(Fallout 3, anyone?)

(I don't know anime well enough to know where these two are from...)

(Same with this one - neat outfits, no idea where they're from)

(Storm Troopers!)

(Valentine's Day attendees)

(More attendees)

(From the left: Ken, Me, Christine, Matt - all behind the Volunteers booth) - Photo taken by K. Wick

I apologize for some of the photos - the ones in the middle were taken by me as I was behind the Volunteers booth. Also - check out K. Wick's blog HERE! He's a very good friend of mine, and very into video games :D

My only thought coming away from this Con is - "I just wanna dance. Forget anime tonight guys, I just wanna dance."

New York, New York

Hello all!

So...how about this snow on the East Cost, huh? Thankfully, I spent the last four days in New York where not a single snowflake touched the city. Although this post doesn't particularly talk about games or gaming, I would like to recap my experiences in the Big Apple, as some of it is nerdy, and dorky, and downright awesome.

Left work early on Friday and spent the entire afternoon driving to NYC, where we stashed my car in a parking lot, checked into the Hotel (DoubleTree Metropolitan Hotel on 51st and Lexington), and spent the rest of the evening looking around Grand Central Station and Times Square. [Nerd alert #1] - Spent ALL Saturday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Why, you ask? They have an entire wing dedicated to "Arms and Armor" - filled with weapons (swords, guns, glaives, halberds, you name it!) and armor. I had been there once before a few years back, and it was just as amazing as I had remembered it.

[Update: Pictures from the Met...]




Now...if you're not from NYC, or you're not used to the travel pattern there, let me inform you - there is a TON of walking. Or subway-ing, if you prefer. So, by the time Sunday came around, I was dead tired. Forget watching the SuperBowl (congrats Saints) - we went out to eat lunch/breakfast (FYI - it is nearly impossible to find breakfast served after 11 am in the city) and then came back for a loooong nap....only in preparation for [Nerd alert #2] - NINJA NEW YORK! This place is amazing - from ninja magic to surprise attacks to great food, the place really had everything a (nerd)girl could ask for :D

[Update: Pictures from NINJA New York...]
(One of the walls in our "Ninja Room")

(The drink and dinner menus...and my drink :D)

(My first course - Ceaser Salad in Ninja bowl)

(My second course - Shrimp Tempura, Ninja style)

(My third course - Chicken Terriyaki - delicious!)

Monday was a packed day of walking around to all sorts of places in NYC - first with lunch in Grand Central Station, then onto Crumbs, a bakery that sells giant, delicious cupcakes (yummmmm). Afterwards, we traveled to the [Nerd alert #3] - Nintendo store in Rockefeller Center. What a neat place with all sorts of Nintendo games, gamers, and Nintendo history - they even had a Game Boy that was damaged in the Gulf War...that still works! Impressive :D After a quick stop for some lunch, we headed back Uptown to visit the famed "Serendipity 3" restaurant - home of the famous Frozen Hot Chocolate AND the $1,000.00 Golden Opulence Sundae...

[Update: Pictures from the Nintendo Store and Serendipity...]

(The Nintendo World storefront)

(More of the storefront)

(Chandelier in Serendipity)

(Menu cover with the story of the founding of Serendipity)

(Frozen Hot Chocolate)

(The two of us :D)

After checking this place out, we headed to our final destination...[Nerd alert #4] - the Utada Hikaru "In The Flesh" concert!!!!!!! Aside from waiting for two hours in line in the freezing cold of New York, and then finally getting into the venue and through coat check only to be forced to the back of a huge crowd of people (where someone tiny like me can't see a thing), the concert was fantastic. I didn't get to see Utada Hikaru as much as I would have liked, but her music was great and the crowd was totally digging it. I've waited for years to see her in person - Yay Utada!!!

[Update: Pictures from the Utada Hikaru concert...]

(The Fillmore)

(Me, waiting in line excitedly)

Now I am back at home, finishing up some work, and will then proceed to play Dragon Age in the hopes of finishing it tonight. In the back of my mind I realize that BioShock 2 was released today, and it's taking all my ninja-mental-training not to run out and get it now. 

As soon as I get my SD card back for my camera, I'll post pictures of my trip on Facebook and perhaps here. If you're interested in seeing NINJA-AWESOMENESS, check back here for picture updates ;-) [PICTURES UPLOADED!!!]

February 3, 2010

Words cannot express my love for this game {series}

Hotness!!! - That link sealed the deal - not that I wasn't going to get the game anyway, but now I may have to pick up my copy the day it comes out.

I love BioShock - I followed the game for a year before it came out. It intrigued me so much, I read every article I could in all the gaming magazines and online sites, and it looks like I may have to catch up on reading about this sequel :-) But wow, that launch trailer totally had me hooked. I like the concept of the Little Sisters and the moral choice you have to make with them...I love the Big Daddy's, and how totally creepy it is to hear their footsteps when you play...and now the Big Sisters (I think that's what they're calling that last baddie in the trailer) - how totally neat. I'm super excited to go back to Rapture, and I hope you all are too!

February 2, 2010

So many games, so little time...

At this point, I'm rushing through Dragon Age - I have so little time to get personal things done after work, and my list of games grows a little longer each day... and so I must hurry. I dislike this, since I really enjoy playing the game. I love to explore everything, visit every place, see what every item does, and talk to every person available. But I suppose this is mostly in RPG's, as I act like a speed-demon in FPS's. Perhaps I'm also feeling confined because I've never had such a rigid work schedule before. Sure, college classes were set in stone and I kept myself busy while there, and my past occupation at GP was (and still is...kinda) a 24/7 job, but nothing has been quite as taxing as this. I love it, but oh, what I wouldn't give for a "winter" or "summer" break.

Fidget, one of the Frag Dolls, posted on the Frag Doll site today about her views on the trash-talking she's encountered during her online gaming sessions. This meshes almost perfectly with my honors theory, and has had me thinking about re-starting my research all day. I'm hesitant to go into more detail about it yet, since I really want to have the survey complete and online before I try to explain it. On the surface, however, my theory deals with a potential reason as to why there aren't more women playing games online* - this reason being the negative behaviors that women experience from men during online game play...one of which being trash-talking. It's nice (and sad) to know that other women have experienced these things as well.

What types of behaviors do you all experience in multiplayer games?

* Yes, I know there are lots of women that play video games now. But there is still a number gap, and this is just a theory.