Play: A Gamer’s Blog

08 Dec

Bookmans Recommends: Nintendo Classics

Bookmans is obsessed with all things Nintendo. Classic games like Super Mario Bros., Legend of Zelda, and the ever loved Pokemon franchise… we could talk about those for hours! Since the release of the Nintendo Switch, we are all buzzing with excitement – and a bit of nostalgia too. Every time a new console is released, our minds go straight to the memories we made playing the Nintendo games that were such a big part of our childhoods. For most of us, Nintendo games were a comfort and a friend; an escape from the long days at school or how we made and grew friendships. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to geek out and reminisce about the best of Nintendo franchises.

Nintendo Switch console with Pokemon, Yoshi, and Mario Amiibo figures. A Zelda game is shown on the Switch screen.

08 Nov

Farewell, Vox Machina: Critical Role Season Finale

After 3 years on the air (and 2 years off-air), the Critical Role campaign of Vox Machina has finally come to a dramatic close as the intrepid adventurers face off against Vecna, a powerful lich who became a god. For fans of Critical Role that have followed Vox Machina’s journey, this ending is bittersweet. Over the months and years, we have come to love the characters of Vox Machina and share in their highs and lows, loves and loses, and look forward every week to be enthralled in how a completely improvised story can truly capture our hearts.

11 Aug

Bookmans Recommends | The Guild 10th Anniversary

By C’loni Bailey, Assistant Manager at Bookmans Mesa

Summer of 2017 marks the ten-year anniversary of the The Guild web series. It’s hard to believe that a decade has passed since I was first introduced to the adorable awkwardness of Codex and her wonderful gang of unruly weirdos. For the uninitiated, The Guild is a comedy web series created by geek goddess Felicia Day. The series follows a group of MMO gamers in an online guild called “The Knights of Good” as they try to awkwardly navigate real life with little understanding about how to manage relationships outside of the virtual world of The Game. The series stars Felicia Day as “Codex”, aka Cyd Sherman, an unemployed violinist who spends 8-9 hours a day playing The Game with her guildmates, whom she has never actually met in real life. The other members of the guild include Zaboo the love interest of Codex (sort of), Vork the neurotic guild leader, Clara the alarmingly neglectful mother of three, Tinkerballa the ascerbic ranger, and Bladezz the vulgar teenager. The Guild aired for six seasons and featured a slew of geeky guest stars like Wil Wheaton, Nathan Fillion, Erin Gray, Zachary Levi, Doug Jones, Neil Gaiman and even features a cameo by Stan Lee.

18 Jul

Bookmans Recommends | Our Favorite Video Game Movies

By C’loni Bailey, Assistant Manager at Bookmans Mesa

Video games are extremely difficult to translate into film. After all, how do you transfer something that is designed to be played by an active audience into something that is purely meant to be viewed? How do you handle a story that is designed to be shaped by the decisions of the player? As a result, video game movies are notoriously bad. But just because a movie isn’t great doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable. If you’re anything like us, you can get plenty of enjoyment out of some pretty terrible video game movies. The following is a list of some of our favorites.

16 May

Geeking Out | Mass Effect: Andromeda

Five years after the release of the final climatic installment of the original Mass Effect trilogy, Bioware is back with the much anticipated Mass Effect: Andromeda. The story of Andromeda begins around the same time as the first Mass Effect game, as tens of thousands of the diverse Milky Way races (human, asari, turians, salarians, and krogan) depart their home galaxy for a 600 year journey to the Andromeda galaxy.

 

06 May

Sony PlayStation Does Virtual Reality

It was the year of 2016 and virtual reality was becoming the next big thing. Once Sony PlayStation stepped into the VR (Virtual Reality) world, I became a pushover for it. I mean let’s be real, if you have a PS4, then you are pretty much halfway there.  The PSVR operates off of the PS4 console itself, then all you need is the VR component/headset and a PlayStation 4 Camera. The PSVR easily plugs right into the back of the PS4, while you slip on the lightweight headset. Now that I’ve been explained a little bit on how it gear up let’s expand more on the actual VR experience. 

virtual

27 Apr

Bookmans Recommends | Art Academy (Nintendo 3DS)

If you were born in the past 40 years, you’ve probably played video games at some point in your life.  You know how easy it is to get sucked into a long story driven game on your console at home and how rewarding using your phone to slingshot little birds at green pigs can be.  These days, video games come in all shapes and sizes.  Titles have become so diverse in both content and method of interaction. Video games have even been used in schools to teach children since the 80’s, The Oregon Trail likely being the most notable example. Since then, a plethora of titles attempting to teach basic cognitive skills like math, grammar, and reading through play have found their way into homes and schools. But what about art? For those looking to master the brush,  Art Academy is a pleasant surprise.  

Academy

05 Jan

Bookmans Recommends: Critical Role by C’loni Bailey

The creeping crud has been going around and I spent the last week bedridden with little to do but watch videos on my phone. Fortunately for me, a week in bed is the perfect amount of time to catch up on my current geeky addiction, “Critical Role”.

critical role

For the uninitiated, Critical Role is a show on Geek and Sundry that features famous voice actors playing Dungeons & Dragons. Dungeon Mastered by Matthew Mercer, the voice of McCree in Overwatch and huge D&D enthusiast, he and a group of his voice actor friends play through his original campaign every Thursday. The main cast features Liam O’Brien (Illidan Stormrage in World of Warcraft), Laura Bailey (Jaina Proudmoore in World of Warcraft), Travis Willingham (Thor in Avengers Assemble animated series), Sam Reigel (Donatello in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series), Taliesin Jaffe (Blanka in Street Fighter IV), Ashley Johnson (Patterson in Blindspot), and Marisha Ray (Batgirl in Batgirl: Spoiled). In addition to the regular cast, the show also often features many famous guest players such as The Name of the Wind author Patrick Rothfuss, Wil Wheaton, Chris Hardwick, and many more.

13 Dec

Bookmans Recommends: Elder Scrolls Online: One Tamriel

If you’re anything like me you’ve had an ongoing obsession with The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim for the past five years and with good reason. Skyrim was a fantastic open world game with plenty of lore to engulf even the most staunch lore hound and a world massive enough to capture your attention for years to come. I played a bit of Oblivion before getting sucked into Skyrim, so I had great expectations when Bethesda and Zenimax teamed up to make The Elder Scrolls universe into an MMORPG. I have a weakness for online RPGs and the idea that one of my favorite game worlds was going multiplayer got me really excited!

elder scrolls

Unfortunately, upon participating in the beta just before the game’s launch in April 2014, I found myself feeling anything but thrilled. The world of Tamriel felt strangely small and restrictive, with favorite zones out of reach until much higher levels. The questing felt too linear for an Elder Scrolls game and the crafting was confusing. All in all, it felt like much of what made Skyrim and the other Elder Scrolls games feel so special, that go-anywhere-do-anything style of gameplay, was sorely missing from The Elder Scrolls Online. Upon release, I decided not the purchase the game after all and promptly forgot about it.

09 Dec

Geek Out Christmas

You want to buy your person an awesome gift, but you would prefer to get them something really really cool for not a lot of cash money. No mugs (unless it’s a Doctor Who mug), no ties (OK, maybe a Darth Vader tie), no ‘As Seen on TV’ gadget (they never work anyway). What is a proper Geek with properly Geeky friends supposed to do?? Go to Bookmans of course!! Not only can you purchase your gifts with Trade Credit (so put away that credit card – the interest rate is waaay too high). You can find the most unique gifts in our Geek Zone. You might want to cry “but they are used!!”. Well, yes they are but this isn’t Manhattan my friend and we do things different in these parts and we only purchase items that are in the best quality. Also, you might be surprised to discover that the items you find in our Geek Zone (and all over our vast spectacular Showrooms of Quirkiness) LOOK NEW. Most of the time we have to tell folks that our merchandise is used, and they are amazed. Your friends and family will be so shocked with awe and gratitude for the truly cool gift you gave them that it will never occur to think past their amazement that they actually received a gift that they wanted. Yeah, that could be YOU giving those gifts. So lets have a quick look at some of the fabulous fabulousness you can achieve by giving your peeps gifts from Bookmans!

geek

12 Oct

DragonCon 2016 (My First Experience) – Bookmans

DragonCon review, from our one and only C’Loni Bailey.

With the ever increasing popularity of geek culture, conventions are popping up all over the place but only a few well established conventions have gained “bucket list” status, including but not limited to the famous San Diego Comic Con International, New York Comic Con, and my personal bucket list convention, DragonCon. After four years of trying and failing to make the trip, I finally was able to cross it off my bucket list earlier this month when I hopped aboard a plane to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the 30th year anniversary of Dragon Con.

DragonCon
Taking place annually over Labor Day weekend in downtown Atlanta, DragonCon is one of the biggest science fiction and fantasy conventions in the U.S. My DragonCon adventure began a year ago when I booked my hotel room at the Hilton Downtown Atlanta, one of five host hotels where the convention takes place. A year later, I found myself in landing in downtown Atlanta and randomly sharing a Super Shuttle with two other DragonCon attendees, one from Manchester, England, the other from Helsinki, Finland. Over the course of six days in Atlanta I met other attendees from England, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand, as well as all over the United States. This attests to the international appeal of DragonCon as a destination for geeks worldwide.

24 Aug

World of Warcraft Demon Hunter Preview

World of Warcraft is about to release their latest expansion, Legion, that officially drops August 30. However the new Demon Hunter class went live on August 9th allowing any players who pre-ordered the World of Warcraft Legion expansion through Battle.net to play the new class. I had the opportunity to give Demon Hunter a test run and here’s what Legion players can expect.

World of Warcraft

26 Jul

Bookmans Summer Video Game News Wrap-Up

By C’loni Bailey (Asst Manager Bookmans Mesa)

This summer saw the release of many new games that took the gamer population by storm, including Overwatch and Pokémon Go. Taking the competition by storm, sweeping through schools, parking lots and locking people into their screens, games from Blizzard Entertainment and the world-loved Pokemon Go have people buzzing about. Here are some of the latest updates:

Overwatch

Released in May, the Blizzard Entertainment team-based shooter game was an immediate best seller, drawing in a ton of new players and devastating their competition (sorry Battleborn!). Shortly after launch, Blizzard introduced Competitive Play mode to Overwatch, allowing skilled players to fight in ranked matches throughout a competitive season (approximately 2 1/2 months long) and test their skills against their peers.

gamer

In most recent news, Overwatch has revealed their newest character: Ana. Ana Amari is a support sniper with the ability to heal her allies by shooting them with Biotic Darts and throwing Biotic Grenades. She can also put enemies to sleep with Sleep Darts and boost her allies’ speed and damage with a Nano Boost.

15 Jul

BOOKMANS POKEMON GO GIVEAWAY!

Pokemon GO Giveaway 7-16-2

Geeking out is half the fun at Bookmans Entertainment Exchange! Which is why we are celebrating the pure geeky awesomeness that is POKEMON GO with a giveaway like no other. If you are not currently hunting pocket monsters in your neighborhood then we behoove you to officially jump on this band wagon and download this fun game on your iOS and android devices.

Each of our six Bookmans locations  will be giving away a geektastic prize pack to one lucky individual. To enter simply follow the rules below.

  1. Take a screenshot catching Pokemon at your fave Bookmans store.
  2. Share that pic on the social media platform of your choosing and tag yours truly.
  3. Tag the Bookmans local where said pocket monster was caught. #BookmansFlag  #BookmansMesa  #BookmansPhoenix  #BookmansSpeedway #BookmansGrant #BookmansIna
  4. Follow Bookmans to see if you are one of six winners taking home some sweet swag.

@Bookmansaz  @Bookmans Bookmans facebook

@BookmansFlag  @BookmansMesa  @BookmansPhoenix  @BookmansSpeedway @BookmansGrant @BookmansIna

Trainers can only enter once. Winners will be selected using Random.org and will be notified via Social Media direct message on Monday by 5pm. Prizes can be picked up any time after 5pm on Monday at the Bookmans location where the Pokemon was caught. Contest closes on Sunday, July 17th at 10pm. 

Happy Hunting!

11 Jul

Pokémon GO: Gotta Catch ‘Em All Over Town! (Plus Do’s and Do Not’s)

You may have noticed more people than usual wandering aimlessly around town staring at their phones these past few days. This is because of the new phenomenon, Pokémon GO – a new Pokémon game for iOs and Android devices. It just came out and is already encouraging gamers to spend more time outside finding creatures to capture, than they have in a decade.

The new mobile game requires aspiring Pokémon trainers to roam the world (or their immediate neighborhood) in search of Pokémon in the wild. The game uses your phone’s GPS to pinpoint the trainer’s (your) location and shows a map of where wild Pokémon may be found as you roam about Arizona. When you get close enough to a Pokémon, you can capture it with a Pokéball by aiming and swiping your screen. The best part? You can take screenshots of the Pokémon you find, especially if they wind up in odd places like a toilet or an office chair. #selfieop

Pokemon GO

05 Jul

Mariah Recommends: Five Board Games Guaranteed to Score!

It’s clear that board games are not as common for entertainment as they use to be. For some, it’s difficult for board games to grip their attention over the newest PS4 game. Now don’t get me wrong, I love an afternoon playing final fantasy as much as the next nerd but my nerd card would be revoked if I couldn’t get down on some Settlers of Catan. With so much of our time being spent with our eyes glued on screens of various sizes- phone, tablet laptop and TV, it’s refreshing to be able to engage in playing a game face-to-face. Nowadays there are all kinds board games that everyone can enjoy. Gone are the days Shoots and Ladders and Monopoly being your only tabletop option. To give you an idea, here is an epic list of board games that appeal more to an adult audience. 

Board Games

30 Jun

Bookmans Recommends : Overwatch From Blizzard Entertainment

By C’loni Bailey (Asst. Manager at Bookmans Mesa)

It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to sit down and really play a video game. I spent the past few months prepping for Phoenix Comicon, so when Overwatch came out in mid-May, despite the hype I overlooked it. After Phoenix Comicon, I finally had time to relax and decided to see what all the fuss was about, so I picked it up on PC and boy am I glad I did!

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14 Jun

ComicCon 2016 Cosplayers Brave The Heat And Have A Blast

By C’loni Bailey  (Asst Manager Bookmans Mesa)

Phoenix Comicon 2016 was the busiest one to date, with record-breaking attendee numbers as well as record high temperatures. Even being blasted with a heat wave that cranked the temperatures up to 115° didn’t stop the masses from converging on Phoenix Convention Center for the largest Phoenix Comicon ever. Attendance was estimated a to be nearly 100,000 – a dramatic leap from the 75,000 that attended the convention last year. Fortunately, although the crowds were visibly larger, they remained orderly and the volunteers did a wonderful job at keeping everything organized. Comicon 2016 registration was moved into the North Ballroom and was a well organized affair. There was a minor hiccup with one of the day’s lines winding up outside in the heat, but con organizers quickly realized their mistake and made the necessary adjustments to make sure the rest of the days lines were kept indoors.

Phoenix_Comicon_logo

26 May

Retrogaming with Bookmans

If you never peeked into other worlds with a View Master, you missed a magical experience. Those who enjoyed such an experience know the thrill of transporting to mysterious places and the infinite fun of playtime. The resurgence of retro gaming systems provide a similar joy. The video game world advances in technology but fans still love the retro feel and look of original games. Rather than viewing the games and systems as outdated or hackneyed, they feel nostalgic and fresh. They maintain their authenticity. Not only do these games take players back to their own childhoods, they re-ignite the wonder and excitement felt when we first played them. In a world that strains forward to the newest or latest thing, we find ourselves looking through jaded eyes. We are never satisfied with the lightening fast advancements of technology and we find fresh wonder in what came before. Take one step forward and two steps back from the endless cycle of of changing technology to discover vintage cool.

Retrogaming with Bookmans

07 Apr

The Sims 3 Retail Therapy

By C’Loni Bailey, Assistant Manager at Bookmans Mesa

It began with a sudden, intense need to have my own castle. Perhaps it was because I am in the process of house hunting and my modest means are not conducive to owning an actual castle, so I did the next best thing. I got myself a virtual castle. Five of them, actually. So it was that I found myself falling back in love with The Sims games again.

The Sims 3 Retail Therapy

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