hello there. I'm Zorine. I love video games.

Hello! I acknowledge it has been quite a while since I’ve updated this blog. So here’s an update to let you know that I have returned to the realm of posting regular content online on various channels.

The first, I’ll be live-streaming regularly on my Twitch channel. If you aren’t able to catch me live, I’ll be uploading highlights regularly on my YouTube channel. You can follow/subscribe to either to get a notification when I go live, or as soon as a new video has been posted! My most recent highlight was of a horror game titled Layers of Fear. It was unexpectedly a lot scarier than I thought it would be–you can watch the highlight below.

As usual, you can reach out to me on Twitter or leave a comment on this blog, on the YouTube video, or on Twitch to let me know what games you’d like to see played! I always love hearing from you all, so don’t be shy :]

 

What a year it’s been! Much has happened in the realm of my work life. I sincerely believe the AU team is one-of-a-kind and we have accomplished some grand feats over the course of the year.

Our dynamic is also amazing, and unlike any other I have ever had the privilege of working with. I figured it would be nice to reminisce about some of my more vivid work memories that have happened over the course of the year and share them. These are written to the best of my memory, so I’ve probably invented/paraphrased a few lines to make it all gel together more logically. But the general gist is the same.

I laugh too much

“Heroes of the Storm…” I started, and promptly burst into a fit of laughter. Standing behind the camera, Edmond looked like he was trying to refrain from rolling his eyes. I could barely breathe from laughing.

“I don’t know why I’m laughing, it’s not even that funny,” I gasped in between breaths. It was probably sparked by Edmond’s monotonous criticisms of the way I delivered my lines (totally founded and constructive, of course.)

“Why don’t you have some water?” he suggested. I nodded and grabbed the nearby glass, taking a few quick gulps.

“Okay. I’m ready. Let’s try again,” I said. He resumed his spot behind the camera, rolling.

“Heroes of the Storm-” I started.

“I’m sorry, I’m going to have to stop you,” Edmond interrupted, “Because I can see a wet patch on your shirt”

The laughter resumed, followed by five minutes of us sitting in silence while waiting for the wet patch on my shirt to dry.

dragonage_charactercreate_20140930a

Earlobes

I was elbow-deep in the fridge, gently rummaging through the frost for my breakfast. Our fridge has a crazy build up of frost. It’s as though Antarctica itself (which isn’t that far from Australia when you think about it) was trying to come through a special wormhole in there.

“Zorine!” Dan called out across the office. I could already discern from the tone of his voice that whatever followed next would be amusing/strange/stupid/all of the above.

“What?” I called back, still fixated on trying to find my yoghurt.

“I can change the size of my earlobes!”

He was, of course, talking about a game.

The best day ever

The taxi had dropped Jess and I off in the middle of the textile district, it seemed. Neither of us knew where we were, just that we were flanked on all sides by stores selling endless rows of cloth. Different textures, patterns, colours, the shops in this area had it all. I would’ve been quite excited at the prospect, had I not been in LA, with a single day to spare, and limited by what I could carry with me back home.

“That’s a lot of cloth,” Jess observed, “Where are we?”

“Let’s find out,” I whipped my phone out and begin searching maps. And thus began our amazing adventure in the LA fashion district.

tiez

Ties

“Do you know how to tie ties?” Dan asked.

I turned away from my desk to bestow him with the most incredulous look I could muster.

“Yes,” I replied at length. He already had them in hand, unwrapped from the packaging. I couldn’t help but smile as I retrieved one and began arranging it on my neck, making sure to tie them in a way so that he could easily pull them over his head later.

SFnight

Crawling at 3am

Edmond and I were hungry. It was 2am, and we had trawled the streets of San Francisco, desperate for food. Our search proved to be completely fruitless, and I was moments away from punching something with anger (the bond on the house we stayed at was under Edmond’s name.) Hangry is my middle name. It was too late for anything nearby to be open, so we trudged back to the house, defeated and still starving.

“I have some leftover pizza in the fridge,” Dan suggested after Edmond and I had barreled through the front door, probably looking like how we felt. It had been a big night. At his suggestion, I hastily retrieved the pizza and popped it into the oven. For whatever reason, this house lacked a microwave. On that note, what the hell? Who doesn’t own a microwave?!

I stood up, ready to blast the oven to full in order to get our pizza heated quickly. Except, well…

“How the hell does this thing work?!” I exclaimed. Edmond examined the buttons, of which there were way too many to have any place on an oven. “What the fuck?” he mumbled. I collapsed into a nearby chair, feeling too hungry to stand.

Dan sauntered over in his pyjamas and leaned in next to Edmond to examine the appliance. I watched them apprehensively from where I sat, laughing from the absurdity of it all. Both men pressed many buttons and debated the order of things before Dan eventually stood up.

“This is too much. I can’t handle this right now,” he declared dramatically, and left. I looked hopelessly at Edmond, my expression probably that of a child about to cry.

“Cold pizza?” he suggested.

Please to the Kwality Assurance

“Daaaaaan!” I whined, “Didn’t you read my QA?!”

“Look, you sent yours through when I was halfway through mine. I’m not going to go up and hit backspace a few times just because you got in before I did. That’s just too much.”

He picked up his chair and tried to squeeze it past me. Our workspace is a little cramped, but I have grown accustomed to it and love the space we have claimed as our own. It is almost a natural action now, to flatten my stomach and pull myself against my desk as he pushes his chair past me.

GOATY

It’s that wonderful time of year again, in which the team gets locked inside a meeting room for an indefinite period of time in a test of physical endurance and patience.

I refer to the meeting in which we debated for the recipients of the Game of the Year awards, of course.

We had been in the room for an hour, and by then I could see the telltale signs of waning patience. Of course, those signs had sprouted as soon as we entered the meeting room in the first place. Ed had brought his 3DS, Dan had tried to bring the Wii U gamepad with him (but failed due to the distance), and Jess brought her notepad for what I could only assume was drawing animals. I took to alternating between standing up and attempting impossible stretches, waving around the boomerang-spear thing that had somehow made its home in the meeting room, and taking snaps of my colleagues in various states of disarray.

At some point I snuck out to the bathroom and returned to Edmond restlessly pacing the room, Jess at the whiteboard drawing a cat, and Dan… well, Dan doing that thing he did to help his back injury, which consisted of lying flat on the carpet. Of course, we all listened intently to the heated discussion being put forward over the phone, and participated when we were called upon or had something to share. But for the most part I was highly entertained by observing my colleagues. It was like trying to identify the quirks and oddities of the team when put to the test.

“Observe as the male attempts to alleviate the physical tension held by all members of the herd by showcasing displays of suffering,” David Attenborough narrated in my mind as I watched Dan boot up Spelunky and manage to die five times in quick succession.

“The female tries to assist, but ultimately fails as she is not given a chance to do so,” the narration continued as I attempted to wrestle the laptop from Dan.

“This physical test of patience will ultimately decide the fate of the herd by nightfall.” Attenborough finished. Oh, how right that was.

Heaps social

“What’s this office Christmas decorating thing?” Dan asked. I suddenly pictured he and Edmond prancing around our office in an overjoyed fashion, sporting Santa hats and trailing tinsel behind them. Apocalypse now.

“Oh, exactly what it sounds like,” I replied calmly. His sigh wasn’t audible, but I knew it was there.

“Our area is too small to do anything with,” Jess said sadly. She gestured to the large pole in the middle of said space, “Unless we can turn this pole into a Christmas tree”

“Yeah well, we can’t do that… or can we?” I mused aloud. Perhaps we could salvage our space and turn it into something festive.

At the end of the day, Jess and I brought back a strange tinsel lantern thing, and a reindeer’s head on a pole (not as morbid as it sounds.) I climbed the couch to shove the tinsel lantern into a gap in the ceiling while Jess watched with trepidation. It wasn’t much, but I liked the little bit of cheer it added to the place. That, and the reindeer’s head stuck out from the couch beneath it. It would be the best team Christmas yet!

Hearthstone event

I had been making preparations for the Hearthstone event being hosted by Blizzard, one which involved our local media facing off against one another in a bid for bragging rights. Edmond saw me going through my decks as he walked past my desk. What he didn’t see was the string of losses I had faced earlier that day. I had yet to claim a single victory, and it wasn’t particularly morale-boosting.

“You gonna win tonight, Zorine?” he asked, in a tone that said ‘you better’.

I sulked in my chair. “No.”

He stopped in his tracks, “Aw, c’mon.”

I continued to sulk in silence.

“I thought you were esports” he chided, trying to get a rise out of me.

“Hearthstone isn’t esports,” I scoffed.

“That’s not what Blizzard said,” He said.

“You gonna listen to what Blizzard says now?” I challenged.

I don’t remember where our dumb discussion went from there, but I always appreciate the little push Ed gives to get me back to my fighting self.

Gladiator

Dan was trying to explain shutter speeds to me, and how the effect was being mimicked in a game we were currently playing for preview. To do this, he linked me a YouTube video. I sat there and watched the video intently. When it concluded, my face remained blank.

“I don’t see it,” I stated, nonplussed.

“What?!” Dan exclaimed. I reached for my mouse.
“Hang on, let me watch it again,” I said. So I did. Once again, the shutter speed changing failed to visually register in my eyes.

“It looks the same to me.” I stated flatly.

“Oh my god. You can’t see shutter speeds? This is like you not being able to see the colour blue!” he exclaimed with a horrified look at his face. Like this inability of mine was some great tragedy. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. He took to twitter to ask for a good example to show me. The internet, as always, provided him with a clip from Gladiator to educate me.

And that is how we ended the afternoon with discussions about shutter speeds and Russel Crowe in Gladiator.

 

Positivity

Dan: How was the movie last night?

Me: It was great! Sort of. Some parts sucked. I liked it!

Dan: I appreciate the occasional burst of pessimism from you, Zorine.

Our team certainly has its quirks. Like the fact that we can’t eat out anywhere that doesn’t serve chicken schnitzel, because some of us won’t eat anything else (*cough*). Or that a beer/cider at midday is okay and totally helps us work better. But I love them all very much and feel like we’re more than just colleagues—we’re family. Merry Christmas everyone!

lolzzz3

Just one look at the title tells me how late I am on this one! Apologies. Without further adieu, let’s look at last week’s content.

Wow I published way more than I thought I did. Ed and I are working on a new video feature coming soon, which I’m pretty excited about! I get to talk to the camera and share my thoughts about this game I’m sinking way too much time into right now, WORLD OF WARCRAFT.

WRITTEN

AU New Releases: Dragon Age: Inquisition and Far Cry 4 Launch

I am all about the dragons. I love this game.

New Killer Instinct Character Kan-Ra is a 2500-year-old Sorcerer

Rah rah rah, KI fighting game.

Destiny’s Iron Banner Reforged Event Launches November 18

I wish I had a PS4 to play this game!

GameSpot AU Dragon Age: Inquisition Pre-Launch Event

Quite a fun event! Thank you to everyone who joined in the live stream, Jess and I laughed so hard throughout (I was crying from laughter at my running from bears.)

Blizzard Apologizes For Warlords of Draenor Launch Issues With Free Subscription Time

Thanks Blizzard, you rock and I’m totally not mad about queuing for six hours anymore!

World of Warcraft Exceeds 10 Million Subscribers With Warlords of Draenor Launch

Wow, I never thought Draenor would be so successful in getting people back.

New Telltale Game of Thrones Trailer and Exclusive Character Reveal

I’ve read the Song of Ice and Fire books and do not remember this house. At all.

For those wondering where the above GIF is from, it’s taken from this video. My part didn’t make the final cut, probably as punishment for my bombing of Dan’s shot.

I was at the OzHadou Nationals 12 all weekend (and then some) so I didn’t have time to put up a wrap of last week. My apologies! Here it is, a few days late. Monday was a public holiday in AU so content slowed down for us a little. Getting into the swing of things before PAX Aus hits, so expect more interviews and such over the coming 2 weeks.

VIDEO

TRI is a Portal-Like First-Person Puzzler

GameSpot / Youtube

EB EXPO: Assassin’s Creed Unity’s Co-op and Parkour Explained

GameSpot / Youtube

WRITTEN

EB Expo 2014 Photo Gallery

Everyone likes photos!

Be Even More Terrified in Alien: Isolation As Modders Unlock Virtual Reality Support

Sounds like fun. No, really.

Evolve Alpha Launches on Oct 30 Starting With Xbox One

Too bad I’ll be at PAX Aus for the majority of the Alpha.

Pick Up Free Tickets for the Warlords of Draenor Sydney Pre-Launch Party

Free tickets are awesome, kudos to BlizzANZ for throwing a free party for the fans. Really nice to see.

Who is YOUR favourite Naruto? p.s. DB rulez

Who is YOUR favourite Naruto? p.s. DB rulez

With news announced that the Naruto manga will finally draw to a close soon, I thought it was a good time to pause and reflect on the anime series which has run for nearly 10 years of my life. I mean, I practically grew up with this show. And what better way to celebrate by naming my favourite characters in the series and why I liked them so much? So, in ascending order, I present my top five picks for my favourite Naruto characters.

Sakura

  1. Sakura Haruno

I have a strange hate/love relationship with Sakura. As in, I hate her about 90% of the time in the series but in that remaining 10% of moments she redeems herself I really, really like her. It’s not her fault; I attribute most of it to Kishimoto’s seeming inability to write female characters who aren’t incredibly annoying and/or fall to pieces at inopportune moments.

Still, Sakura serves as an anchor in the show and her presence adds to what would otherwise be an anime dominated by two teenage boys who have some yaoi moments going on. I just wish she wasn’t annoying Sakura who pines after a total asshole most of the time, and was instead kick-ass Sakura all the time. It’s illogical why she would continue to chase after Sasuke when he

a) Betrayed her village

b) Is an asshole to everyone, including her

c) Has absolutely zero redeeming qualities about him

I mean, seriously. It makes no sense. Anyway, I liked her serious side much better. She’s super smart, well-prepared, super strong, and medics/healers are generally invaluable imo. Also, her fight versus Sasori ranks as one of my top 3 favourite fights in the series.

  1. Anko Mitarashi

Slightly-crazy, sweets-loving, over-the-top kunoichi Anko Mitarashi was an instant “like” for me the moment she made her series debut. Especially when she was ready to blow herself up to kill her former-instructor turned traitor, Orochimaru. That takes guts.

My only qualm was that she didn’t have enough screentime for her character to be really fleshed out. Which is a shame, because I thought she was super interesting and had some cool techniques up her sleeve, given her history with Orochimaru. That, and I really enjoyed listening to her voice in the Japanese dub.

  1. Sasori

GRAB SOME TISSUES, TRAGIC WAR ORPHAN BACK STORY INCOMING.

I don’t know why I liked Sasori so much. In the grand scheme of the Naruto anime, he had such little screen time but left quite an impression. Maybe because when he first appeared, it was under the guise of the gruff, “I’m ugly but tough” anime trope type dude. And then during his fight we see his true face (see above picture), gain insight into the tragedy of his parents being killed in the war, how he took up puppetry and tried to rebuild them, and his finding peace in death at the hands of the puppets he himself crafted to resemble his folks. *sniff*

Man, that was a turnaround. His lengthy fight with Sakura and Chiyo is still one of my favourites in the series, and I couldn’t get enough of it. Or Sasori and his twisted ways.

Pain

My favourite path of Pain.

  1. Pain/Nagato

Ahh, Pain. The man who knew what it meant to be angry in the face of tragic loss, and went on to try and teach the world how to endure suffering by inflicting pain upon it. You know, I felt some of Pain’s life philosophies were pretty thought-provoking. I wouldn’t say they were outright wrong (or right, for that matter), but he had the right idea about hardship building character. That’s what he was ultimately trying to say, right? Also, he had the most amazing theme song.

The seven paths of pain technique that he used I found to be absolutely fascinating, although it was at this point in the series I figured that ninjas were gods or whatever. Unfortunately even one of the greatest ninjas alive was susceptible to Naruto’s ultimate bullcrap ability to talk-an-enemy-down-no-jutsu. Sigh. Pain should’ve won that fight, but I guess we can’t have the main character in the series dying. Or can we?

Itachi

What a badass.

  1. Itachi Uchiha

Itachi is so far high up this list that’s it’s almost no contest that he was going to be my number one. In fact, I should’ve made all five points on this list Itachi. Itachi places one to five. If this were a point-based system, he would be twice that of the second place on my list. He would score higher than all the other characters put together. The gap is that huge. Can you tell I might be a little bit in love with Itachi?

To me, his character was the true embodiment of self-sacrifice. He killed his entire family line and gave up everything for his village and little brother. He went on to live the harsh life of a missing nin, earning the hatred of his former village and his brother, the only person left in the world he cared for.

But he endured it all, for the sake of peace in the countries. And then he dies so young, at the hands of the unknowing little brother whom he loved so much. He was even planning to carry the secret with him to the grave. THE GRAVE, MAN! That’s intense bro. That’s honour.

ItachiSOB.gif

Sob.

Some honourable mentions

I think he would be an awesome dad/teacher: Minato Namikaze

Who I’d like to grab a drink at the pub with: Naruto Uzumaki

I think we’d have highly entertaining conversations: Deidara

I’d like to party with this person: Tsunade

I would’ve liked to see more fights from them: Konan

This is my new favourite mug.

HOLY EB EXPO! This week was all about Australia’s biggest game convention, EB Expo. It’s run by EB Games, our main retailer for video games here. It’s a franchise owned by GameStop, and is pretty much the only game retailer remaining in Australia, although we have alternatives like Target, Kmart, Big W, JB Hi-Fi etc.

Anyway this past week was all about our coverage of EB Expo. Considering our tiny team of four I was pretty proud of how much damn content the AU GameSpot team rolled out. YEA! FIGHTING!

EB Expo was also a great chance for me to meet lots of GameSpot readers! Definitely the highlight for me. Meeting and chatting to so many cool people was awesome, and made pulling 12-hour days at the GameSpot booth totally worth it! I always have a good time at shows ^_^

VIDEO

The Division is a Social Shooter that Wants You to Play Endlessly

GameSpot / YouTube

How Driveclub Is Utilising The Social Power Of Next Gen

GameSpot / YouTube

The Crew is Where Racing Meets Role-Playing

GameSpot / YouTube

Sunset Overdrive Embraces Chaos, Silliness, And The Meta Game!

GameSpot / YouTube

How Does Battlefield: Hardline’s Hotwire Mode Play?

GameSpot / YouTube

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is Frantic, Co-op Fun

GameSpot

Until Dawn’s Cheesy Horror, Choices, and Motion Controls Are Terrifying

GameSpot

 

WRITTEN

AU New Releases: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS Launches This Week

IT’S NOT A FIGHTING GAME

GameSpot at EB Expo 2014

Where you could’ve found us, had you gone to EB Expo!

GameSpot World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor ANZ Beta Key Giveaway

You wouldn’t believe how fast these keys went out.

Xbox 360 Price Drops By A$100 in Australia

As a consumer, I always welcome news of RRP price drops. Especially given how much we Australians pay for consoles here.

Bloodborne, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Far Cry 4 to be Playable at EB Expo 2014

EB Expo hype! I should’ve included Battlefield Hardline in the headline too, do’h!

The Division Director Talks Class Roles and Multiplayer Story Progression

Interviewing Ryan Barnard was pretty cool, although I had to stifle a snicker when he asked ME if I knew what the holy trinity in RPG’s was.

Edmond’s back this week! YAY! And he delivered with heaps of Japanese treats from Tokyo too. They always make me very happy.

The return of our video director means I’m on full steam ahead working on a couple of videos which will hopefully be published within the new few weeks, but with EB Expo 2014 next week I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to work on those.

If you’re swinging by the expo please drop by the GameSpot booth and say hello! I will really need it to get through 3 days of non-stop expo madness!

VIDEO

TEWz

The Evil Within AU Community Event

This was a really fun event to organise and participate in. The ghost tour was incredibly scary. Our competition winners looked like they really enjoyed the game too! On a side note, Jess held my hand so tightly through the whole tour ^_^

WRITTEN

AU New Releases: FIFA 15 Kicks Off for Multiple Platforms

FIFA 15 launched this week. The ad-ops/IT/engineering guys often borrow our PS4 to play this game, and although I don’t watch soccer often, watching them play is always a hoot.

Dota 2 Hit With Substantial Changes in Latest Update

THIS WAS HUGE NEWS IN THE DOTA COMMUNITY. I was very excited for this. Been playing Dota 2 recently and the new changes are pretty rad.

New Nintendo 3DS Confirmed to Launch in Australia This November, Before Europe and America

THIS WAS ALSO HUGE NEWS IN AU. This must be what it feels like to receive things before the rest of the world. I could get used to this feeling.

Square Enix Launches ANZ Servers For Multiplayer Vampire Game Nosgoth

Any love for the countries down under is always appreciated.

Soon You Can “Undelete” World of Warcraft Characters

I honestly think Blizzard are a really “customer-first” kind of company. They cop a lot bad talk online but I really do think they put fans first.

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