It has been just a day shy of two weeks since the video game world was shown the latest happenings and future releases that we should all be waiting with bated breath for. But are we…

I have been slowly processing all that I saw and heard over the several days of press conferences, demo’s, trailers, and interviews that normally leave me every year literally counting the days until said games will grace store’s shelves but what happened this year?

I have watched many an E3 throughout the years and there have been good and bad times as with all things there are ebbs and flows, but even two weeks later I am still wondering what did I really think of what was shown to us. In some cases leaving people wondering is a good thing but Im not really sure that in this case it is…

For a long time there has been alot of talk about how long the video game industry can sustain its epic growth and amazing ability to generate dollars, but for me its always about whether or not it can sustain its relevance. A lot of people find themselves gaming on other devices that are not dedicated to gaming and although I genuinely believe there should be a place for all gamers I am still of the mind that one can only experience the true heart, ingenuity, and world that video games open up on machines that have been designed from the ground up as just that, a portal to a new world.

This E3 left me wondering though if the companies that hold sway in the industry still have the passion and heart that existed when this industry was still in its infancy. Do they genuinely care about bringing good content and vast universes to their droves of fans or has the powerhouse of the financial dollars begun to tarnish their hearts and all they see is dollar signs…

As I continue to ask myself these questions there are a few things that I have come away with as far as the Big 3 is concerned…

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Overall Sony’s press event was a pretty good showing, awkward moments and all. I enjoyed the fact that they created an App that you could access directly from your console to keep you connected to all their goings on, however the execution could have been better as it would simply launch the browser for you instead of working itself out smoothly through the app. They kept the flashy lights and in your face arm flexing to a minimum which I appreciate as I think sometimes we loose what its really about which is ultimately the worlds that these developers have slaved over to bring to our greedy little eyes. That being said here is what I am most excited about from Sony…

Destiny- Although this is not exclusive to the PS4, I am very excited about the partnership that seems to have been cultivated behind the scenes between Sony and Bungie. They offered an opportunity for players to sign up for the Alpha and as a good little gamer I did and have succeeded in making myself impatiently await the Beta as well. With lots of still unanswered questions about the specifics of the game I have almost convinced myself that I will also be needing the Limited Edition Destiny White PS4 bundle that was announced releasing in September this year. Even though I am disappointed that an actual collector’s edition was not announced.

The Order 1886- This title is an exclusive and looks great. I love the spin on the Arthurian legend (I have a slight obsession and have watched, read, played everything that has to do with it) and I love the gritty, dirty world the game lives in. I am skeptical of a few things but am still looking forward to its release in February 2015.

DW Gundam Reborn and Ebzu also piqued my curiosity and I thoroughly enjoyed Journey and Flower so I am most looking forward to Ebzu! Entwined was a surprise as it reminds me alot of the concept of Journey and Flower so I am looking forward to checking this one out but have not found the time just yet as it was availible immediately after its announcement.

I like the fact that Sony is also looking for ways to expand the worlds created within games to movies and shows so I was excited to hear about The Ratchet and Clank movie as well as the Powers series that was announced especially the fact that PS Plus members will be able to watch the Powers episodes for free. And although Playstation TV was not necessarily a surprise announcement I am looking forward to its release as I feel it will work similarly to an Apple Tv and I feel is a good addition to the household.

Overall maybe not the most epic year for Sony but they do have my interest piqued and will acquire a nice chunk of money from me over the next six months or so. Mainly in my perception they seem to have started to remember what most important to us gamers… Games!

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Some people might call me a fan girl and thats ok but for me the bottom line is that I feel Nintendo speaks to my heart, what I mean is they keep it simple, uncomplicated, and just good fun!
This year their decision to forego the usual big flashy lights press conference to me was a good one.
Their digital event I felt was focused on what is the most important thing and thats games, I felt they also showed that they know there is opportunity and that they are not above poking fun at themselves in the form of the skits they had the peeps from Robot Chicken do for them and they kept it more real than I believe some of the other companies did with they’re talking head performances.
The Nintendo Treehouse was another example of keeping it about the games and I felt gave us a good opportunity to see how hard some of these developers work on their games and the passion that is behind every employee that works with or for The Big N!

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Bill Trinen

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Shigeru Miyamoto

Those are just two of the people that spent time in the Treehouse talking to you about all the upcoming games from Nintendo. There are so many more that were on during the three day event that kept me coming back time and time again!

Nintendo also hosted a Smash Tournanment which although I don’t agree with the guy that won (I think Kirby deserved it more) I truly enjoyed watching and was excited to see two girls make it pretty far through the tournament (I liked the Villager best), and I was most excited to see who stopped by for a few to chat!

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Masahiro Sakurai

If it wasn’t for the Limited Edition Destiny PS4 Bundle Nintendo would have won the “Who will take all my money contest” but here is the list of games that I am impatiently awaiting from Nintendo.

Hyrule Warriors – September 26
Fantasy Life – October 24 (This was a surprise for me as I hadnt really heard anything about it before and is the one I am literally jumping up and down for!
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker – Holiday 2014
Bayonetta 2 – Holiday 2014 (I am excited it comes with the original and was honeslty rather indifferent about this title until I watched the Treehouse interview with some of the devs.)
Xenoblade Chronicles X – 2015
Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Saphire – November 21
Yoshi’s Whooly World – 2015
SSB 3DS and WiiU – October and November
Zelda U – 2015 (of course this is just obvious!)

As for the third in the Big 3 I have to say I am very disappointed and I know some people might not agree with me but Microsoft did nothing to impress me (except this exclusive title called Ori and The Blind Forest) in fact I was really hoping that I would see something that would convince me to run out and buy an XBOX One and aside from Halo which will inevitably force me to go buy one I got nothing! All I saw was a bunch of talking heads and flashing lights screaming that it was all about the games and players. I saw them awkwardly roll out some of the devs and peeps behind the scenes (which I am glad they finally did) but it didn’t feel genuine, it felt like a sales tactic, a pitch to convince you that they really have had the players in their main thoughts all this time. Which for me it just seems that they have seen their profits impacted so they are gonna tell you what they know you want to hear, like I said alot of people might not agree with me but that was the impression I got, I just hope one day they actually start believing the things they are saying…

Overall I thouroughly enjoyed all the aspects of E3 2014, good and bad.

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Aside from my TV and Consoles, this is what my E3 setup looked like (for some reason my cat loves electronics).
I am sure we all spent E3 differently and we all have equally different opinions on what and who we thought was the best but no matter whose side we have chosen for me what will always be most important is the games and the developers that have worked, sweat, and sometimes bled to bring them to us!

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One year ago today I landed in “The Land of the Rising Sun” and there is not a moment that goes by that I do not wish that I was back there again. To this day, one year to the day later I am still amazed at how completely welcome and at home I felt in what is to me a foreign land, how at peace and soul-fulfilled I was the moment my feet hit the ground. Its hard to describe the sensation of feeling like you have finally found your home when everything around you is so completely different than anything you have ever known and yet at the same time there is a little voice inside of you that sighs and says, your here, your home.

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There were so many moments for me that made the breath catch in my throat and on a few occasions even made me cry. The sights, smells, sounds (sometimes the silence) and the people have forever changed my life and I am counting the days until I can return again!

This past Friday the 23rd, Disney hosted an all night event that lasted from 6am on Friday to 6am on Saturday and I was one of those crazy people that stayed up all night to Rock my Disney side!

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This is what greeted you as you walked up to The Magic Kingdom (we arrived at around 2am after awaking from our late night nap)

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Not sure if it was the middle of the night delirium but I swear the castle looked better than I’ve ever seen it!

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In honor of the Malificent movie about to be released I acquired an amazing headpiece on Mainstreet I had to put on right away, the dress was another must have purchase from Hot Topic (forgive the sleepy face but it was after 3am). Behind me is a sea of people at the base of the castle with a DJ pumping out some crowd pleasing tunes.

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Funny, I have been to The Magic Kingdom a ton of times but I have never noticed this statue… Adorable!

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So many places that I swear looked better than ever, possibly sleep depervation as it was around 4am at this point.

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Entrance to Be our Guest Restaurant in Fantasyland

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So many times I looked up at Cinderella’s Castle as if I had never seen it before!

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One of my favorite parts of the night was getting to ride the yet to officially open ride in Fantasyland!

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Several adorable games to keep you occupied during long wait times (only showed you one so as to not ruin the surprise). Although the ride was cute and there is a part that I truly loved there were so many times I was upset that the breaks seemed to be put on so as to not give the kiddies a jump. I guess it is Disney afterall…

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They even thought of setting up areas where exhausted Disney goers could take a nap.

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At about 5am we made a much needed pit stop in the Starbucks on Mainstreet and acquired a delicious Cinammon Dolce Latte that is available nowhere else but there, and came across these naughty looking cupcakes too!

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As the sun rose I found myself making my way back to Cinderella’s Castle again…

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I have seen many a sunset but never a sunrise over The Magic Kingdom

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This was the last shot of the castle I took that day.

Overall the night/morning was a blast, my only compaint is the lack of rare Villian’s that were to be featured throughout the part for your picture pleasures. They might have been more visible earlier in the day but I absolutely enjoyed the time that we went, afterall how often do you get to see the sunrise at The Magic Kingdom!

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Good morning world!

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This is the beauty that greeted us as we made our way across Discovery Lake on the Ferryboat

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Alas it was time to leave the magic that is The Magic Kingdom…

I am sure that all Star Wars fans all over the world are celebrating in many different ways. So I decided that in honor of today, along with an all day Star Wars movie marathon I would make a deliciously naughty late brunch.

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Starting it all of with fresh strawberries…

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Whole grain silver dollar panckakes (in honor of the Death star, of course) and dont forget about the side of naturally smoked bacon too!

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And for desert, more Star Wars movie marathon please!!!

May the 4ce be with you all!

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Earlier today I spent a few hours swimming through the nostalgia of a game I played in my earlier years. Recently PSN gave out a free game called “Castle of Illusion” on PS3 to its Plus Members (if you dont have PS Plus it is a must, the cost is definitely returned in the numerous amazing free games you are given, some AAA titles even!) For those of you that remember this game, it originally came out for the Sega Genesis and was a source of hours upon hours of fun and at times frustration for me (if you have played, you know the level I speak of) and today I found myself smiling and shrieking in the same way I did when I played through the original version. I don’t know if it was the nostalgia of playing a game that brought me a great deal of happiness when I was younger or the fact that it is truly just good and simple fun I don’t know but sometimes I wonder if things aren’t just to overcomplicated when it comes to gaming. Don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan of a robust story, eye popping graphics and am currently awaiting with baited breath for all things Destiny but sometimes I just want to have fun! I think that is always why I have continuously found myself sticking with Nintendo throughout the years, not that there are not amazing games that have come out for other consoles too (and I own them all, except XBOX One) but there is just something to be said about pure and honest fun that you have from an old game and with the technology now when they remake these great classic games and make them visually look amazing I find myself sitting down as I did today and loosing myself for hours and the whole time with a huge smile on my face!Thanks Sony!

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They gave me the original version too!

As we continue along on my journey through the “Land of the Rising Sun” today we finds ourselves revisiting Asakusa and one of the places that I found myself having the breath being taken right out of me. This is the core of the historic Shitamachi District and one of the places in Tokyo where you can truly capture moments of the old Edo that thrived so long ago. This area mainly centers around the beautiful Senso-ji Temple which was founded in the 7th Century, although many structures were rebuilt after the 1923 Earthquake and then again after ariel bombings in the end of WW2 it is still an impressive site to behold and one I will revisit again!

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Beautiful mural I found as we arrived at our destination station! (Ginza Line)

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Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) gaurded by two Dieties, Fujin God of wind (right), and Raijin God of Thunder (left)

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One of the most recognizable sights at Senso-ji

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Beautifully carved underside of lantern

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Nakamise-dori, Pretty little stalls filled with all kinds of goodies from food treats to various types of souvenirs

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To ensure you are worthy there is a second gate Hozo-mon you must pass before you can reach the main temple

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Back side of Hozo-mon gate these 4.5m tall sandles were made by about 800 villagers from the Yamagata Prefecture

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Five story pagoda, a 1973 reconstruction of a pagoda built by Tokugowa Iemitsu

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Hondo (Main Hall)

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Incense cauldron to bring good health

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One of my favorites pictures I took this day!

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I didnt want to offend anyone but I felt moved to participate…

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Gorgeously crafted cleansing fountain

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Wood Painting above fountain

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View from top steps of the main hall

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Sight of Tokyo Skytree peeking in from above

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Some of my favorite shots taken on the surrounding grounds of the Temple

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“Bell of time”

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Just a rustle is all I heard and for a brief moment in time I forgot to breathe!

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Deliscious bowl of ramen to refill our exhausted selves!

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Quick pit-stop on the way back to the hotel in Odaiba

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Must have all of it!

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Night view of Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower

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Just in time to catch our friend’s night time show, at the end of another amazing day in Tokyo. Even now almost a year later I am still awestruck and am truly counting the days until we return!

Phew… I did it! I actually spent some time on this April Fool’s 2014 catching all 150 Pokemon. Google was kind enough to provide us with a great way to kill time on a day off, now if I could just answer why I spent my day off enjoying an April Fool’s joke I just might be ok!

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