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PAX 2009! September 9, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in Alteil, Everything else.
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7 comments

…and I’m back from PAX!

I was working at Alteil (online card game I work for) at PAX, Penny Arcade Expo, in Seattle from 9/4-9/6. I was going to do a blog post about PAX from the hotel everyday, but I was pretty exhausted by the end of each day… So I’m gonna do a post about my three-day experience at PAX!

9/3 Thursday Pre-PAX
We got to Seattle around 3:00 pm on Thursday. After we dropped our stuff off at the hotel, we headed to the convention center to set up our booth. When we were done, we went to the market, which was a couple of blocks away from the hotel. The market had fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, etc… They all looked so shiny and yummy. I had grilled seafood for dinner and it was delicious. We went back to the hotel and decided to call it an early night for the long day on Friday.

We stayed at Sheraton. The hotel keys were sponcered by Dragon Age!

We stayed at Sheraton. The hotel keys were sponsored by EA's Dragon Age!

The lanyard was by the Behemoth!

The lanyard was by the Behemoth!

Beanbags were ready!

Beanbags were ready to be sat on!

9/4 Friday 1st day at PAX (8:30 am – 7:00 pm)
Friday was a press day for PAX so the main convention center opened at 8:30 AM! They opened early for press so that they could try out new games and have business meetings with the people at the booth. (It was open to the public at 10:00 am) We’re a lot smaller compare to other game companies like Blizzard, Nexon, Bungie, Upper Deck, etc… so we didn’t really have to worry about press people running to our booth. 😛 But it was nice to get there early to check out other booths before the place got too crowded.

I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and stopped by at the Behemoth booth with the Behemoth chicken plush I made. And there they were! Dan Paladin & Tom Fulp (creators of Alien Hominid & Castle Crashers), and John Baez (producer at the Behemoth), and Emil Ayoubkhan (project manager at the Behemoth) were all working hard to finish setting up their booth.
I gave the chicken to Dan. He was laid back and super awesome. I also got to talk to John for a bit. He was also amazingly nice. Tom (also mighty friendly) took a picture of me licking the chicken on his phone. I’m so not photogenic that I always make faces when someone’s taking a picture of me. Glad that I did, because they put it on their dev blog later. 😛 I brought two chicken so I could give them one, and have them sign the other one for me. They all gladly autographed my chicken. 🙂
They also gave me some free stuff! They were way too nice I don’t know how to describe it with my poor vocabulary. It’s so great to know that these very casual, warm, friendly people make such awesome games. I bought a couple of shirts and hats for my boyfriend and myself. They put the chicken I gave them on the display case with other wonderful “fan art” gifts! The chicken seemed very happy to be home. 🙂

My behemoth chicken on the right. Someone has made adorable Castle Crashers plush too!

Such an adorable booth!

Such an adorable booth

A hardcore Castle Crashers fan!

A hardcore Castle Crashers fan I met at the Behemoth booth.

The Blizzard booth was right in front of us at the convention center, and they had a couple of huuuge 25 feet tall 12 feet wide walls in their booth space. (which made me want to climb it very badly.) The lines to their Diablo 3 station always had at least 10 people so they’d check out our trailer while they waited or got bored waiting and decided to play our game. We actually got very good traffic from them. 😉 Next to our booth was “Omni Consumer Products,” who were giving away the promotional blood drink to promote “Tru Blood.” People also lined up to get their drinks, so we got nice traffic from them too. (Not to mention that the guys at Omni Consumer Products were really fun.)

Fuzzy (the mascot of our game) and two beautiful ladies at Tru Blood booth

Fuzzy (the mascot of our game) and two beautiful ladies at Tru Blood booth

Later that day, one guy came to our booth with his friends, and asked me “Are you AnnaTheRed?”, I said “Yes!” (thinking that he was an Alteil player), but it turned out that he was a fan of my bento! I was so surprised that someone actually came to visit me in person at the Alteil booth. I felt bad that I couldn’t give him anything. I could’ve brought cookies or something… I really should make business cards for my bento blog. 😦

The convention center had a big buffet for exhibitors that night. So we just stayed there, and had some meat and drinks for dinner. We got to talk to the people from other booths which was really nice. We also found out that Tru Blood drink tastes even more delicious when mixed with vodka.

HUGE meat. It was actually very jucy.

HUGE meat at the buffet. It was actually very juicy.

9/5 2nd day at PAX (10:00 am – 6:00 pm)
The second day started out a little later than Friday, so we had the time to go down to the market to have breakfast. After the breakfast, Lupos (he’s my friend I made the plush of Master Chief from Halo for his birthday) and I headed to the convention center while Logress and GaoGaiGirl (co-workers/friends) shopped around the market.

I walked around and got some free shirts, free inflatable sword, free posters, free bags and such. Later, I took the Behemoth chicken to the Behemoth booth again to have Dan draw the chicken on the chicken. There were always a lot of fans hanging out at the Behemoth booth, trying to play their new game “Game #3” (title not finalized, will be released in 2010) and trying to buy their products. I was so sad that I couldn’t play the “Game #3.” 😦 I just couldn’t find the time to play. Hopefully a demo will be out soon.

There were No More Heroes toilet papers in the bathroom.

There were "No More Heroes" toilet papers in the bathroom.

Saturday is usually the party night. Every major company has a really big party. The line to the Resident Evil 5 party was wrapped around a block. White Wolf had a party but it was kinda far away from the hotel. I was still feeling a little under the weather and I didn’t want to spread germs around so I decided to stay at the hotel room with Logress and GaoGaiGirl for the night. =< (I know, I can’t believe I blew this chance.) My friend Lupos went to hang out with Destructoid people near the hotel, but he didn’t stay out that late either. I heard the Bungie party was PACKED. I mean it’s Bungie, so I wasn’t surprised, but damn I wish I could’ve been there…

I didnt go to parties, but I did have a glass of Triple Ale AVB. 9.00%

I didn't go to parties, but I did have a glass of Triple Ale AVB. 9.00%

9/5 3rd day at PAX (10:00 am – 6:00 pm)
Same as Saturday, we went to the market to have breakfast in the morning, went to the convention center, and started the day. We actually had three volunteers helping us at the booth this day, and it was a huuuge help for us. We have four stations, and there are four of us, so just going to the bathroom or getting lunch can be difficult if there are only four people working. After the convention was over we took down our booth and headed to the airport. Our flight left at 10:00 pm from Seattle and arrived at JFK at 6:00 am on 9/8 Monday. (w00t for redeye!)

Castle Crashers cosplayers!

Castle Crashers cosplayers I spotted the last day.

PAX was the last convention for Alteil this year.  Every convention is hard but so much fun. I appreciate anyone who stopped by at our booth and tried out our game. You get to eat different foods, meet different people, see different things, but I was soooo relieved and happy (and sleepy) to see my kitty and my boyfriend when I got home. 🙂

Anyway, PAX was fun! The Behemoth people were awesome! Tru Blood drinks were bloody delicious! (with or without alcohol) Beanbag pillows looked very comfy! Coffee and food are absolutely yummy in Seattle!

Autographed with awesomeness

Autographed with awesomeness

Things I bought at the Behemoth booth

Things I bought at the Behemoth booth

Metal Castle Crashers keychain

Metal Castle Crashers keychain

Oh I do.

Oh I do.

Free poster from BioShock 2 booth

Free poster from BioShock 2 booth

PAX will split into two conventions, PAX East (Boston) and PAX Prime (in Seattle), from next year. Hopefully, PAX East will be as crazy as PAX Prime!

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bento#45 pink castle crasher and tom fulp April 25, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - video game.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

After I made the Castle Crashers bento, the image was posted in the forum on Newgrounds.com. Newgrounds is a flash game/animation site which was created and is owned by Tom Fulp, who is also one of the creators of Castle Crashers.
The members of Newgrounds saw the bento, and were greatly upset (in a good nerdy way) by the fact that I left out the Pink Castle Crasher. The Pink Castle Crasher only shows up in a very short flash game called “Castle Crashing: The Beard.” The game is “all about Tom Fulp’s commitment to not shave his face until his next console game, Castle Crashers, is completed.” (from the description of the game at Newsgrounds.com) It’s more like a parody game, and when you level up with all regular Castle Crashers, you turn into the Pink Castle Crasher! This smiling Pink Castle Crasher’s got a big lollipop weapon that makes rainbow streaks. Anyway, long story short, people decided to have a contest for an edible Pink Castle Crasher on the forum at Newgrounds. You can see the entries here. (People’s entries can be seen from page 2 and later) I’ve been enjoying everyone’s entry, but since I caused the mess (in their kitchen), I decided to make one too.

Bento #45: Pink Castle Crasher
Created and eaten on: 4/23/2009

Since the game only had the regular four Castle Crashers, tombstones, and Tom Fulp as the big boss, I decided to just recreate a scene from the game, the showdown between the Pink Castle Crasher and Tom Fulp.

I was out of renkon (lotus root), so I got daikon (Asian radish) from a market by my house, sliced it, sauteed it and seasoned with soy sauce, and put it on the bottom of a bento box. For the background, I mixed rice with “Chirashi-zushi mix”, and put it on top of the daikon. Chirasi-zushi is a type of non-fish sushi made with vinegar, carrot, bamboo shoot, shiitake mushroom, and renkon. (“Sushi” means a dish with rice mixed with vinegar and sugar, and it doesn’t have to contain fish.) Why did I use sushi mix? Because I wanted to use beef soboro (seasoned ground meat. See “how to make soboro“) I had it frozen as the ground, and Chirashi-zushi goes very well with soboro. I also knew I was going to use “sakura denbu” (pink seasoned shredded cod fish mixed with sugar) for the Pink Castle Crasher, and because it’s sweet, it’s often used to neutralize the vinegar taste in sushi rice. (It takes time to prepare Chirashi-zushi from scratch, so I used already-made one. :P) After putting the Chirashi-zushi rice, I put soboro for the ground, boiled broccoli for the bushes, and asparagus wrapped with bacon I had cooked the night before for the trees in the background.

If you’ve been following my blog, you probably know that I usually avoid making human characters for my bento. I’ve made several human characters before, that’s because they were cartoony enough that you wouldn’t feel too weird eating them, but Tom Fulp in the game looked more human than any other human character I’ve ever made.

After playing the game for a while, I realized that half of his face would be covered when he was shooting a laser beams from his eyes, so I decided to make him from the scene. I beat an egg and put a little bit of soy sauce in it to make it brown, and made an egg sheet. (see “how to make an egg sheet“) I traced the outline of his hair and beard on wax paper, put it on the egg sheet, and cut the egg sheet tracing with an exacto knife. I was very happy how well it came out!

He and his evil beard.

I put the egg sheet on ham and put it in the bento. I peeled the red part of a couple of fake crab meat, put it on a sheet of seaweed, and trimmed it to make it look like a laser beam. I put it on his face, made his eyes and teeth with kamaboko and seaweed. Then I made tombstones with konnyaku (yam cake).

For the Pink Castle Crasher, I made a barrel shape rice ball and made the body with plain rice. Then I rolled the barrel shaped rice ball in “sakura denbu” to make it pink. I made the white part of the face with kamaboko and fake crab meat. The fake crab meat across the face refused to stay down, and the both sides wouldn’t stay stuck to the side of the face. This was very frustrating. I should’ve probably carved kamaboko for that part, but I didn’t have enough time to make a new piece.  =/ I cut out seaweed using a seaweed puncher and put it on for the eyes and mouth.

See the left side is not stuck to the side of the head? arrrgh

See the left side is not stuck to the side of the head? arrrgh!

I made the body with plain rice, cut the pink part of kamaboko (fish cake) for the belt, and used a heart shaped cutter to cut out for the heard mark on the chest. I cut out seaweed for the boots and hands, put them on cheese, and cut the cheese around the seaweed for the arms and legs. I made the lollipop with naruto (fish cake that has a spiral patter on it) and kamaboko. I wish I could’ve spent a little bit more time on this. I wanted to make sparkles around the lollipop. =/

This bento seemed pretty simple when I did the sketch, and most foods were pre-made, but I that’s why I underestimated how long it’d actually take to make this. (again) The color palette of this bento was very washed out and orangey, and I could’ve done something to spice it up if I had more time. It looked unfinished. 😦  Even though I was happy with Tom Fulp’s hair, it came out lighter brown that I wanted. I recently purchased light soy sauce, and the color is a lot lighter than the one I was using before. So just a little bit of soy sauce didn’t change the color of egg that much. If I had put it too much to get the color I wanted, egg would’ve been runny… I think I’d have to purchase *”Tamari soy sauce” next time.

I sent the pictures of my Castle Crashers themed bento to Dan Paladin and Tom Fulp, the creators of Castle Crashers. I thought that it’d be cool if they’d check them out. So I was pleasantly surprised that they both sent me a thank you email almost right away! It’s nice to know that nice people are making your favorite game. I’ll definitely making more bento of their work in the future. 🙂

*”Tamari soy sauce” is a lot darker, not as watery, not as salty as regular soy sauce. It has a very smooth flavor and contains a lot more soybeans than regular soy sauce. In my hometown in Kyuushuu, you eat sashimi and sushi with Tamari and not with soy sauce, but I heard it’s not that common in other part of Japan. (Tamari is often used for Teriyaki dishes) I didn’t realize Tamari was anything special until I came to the U.S., and ate sushi with regular soy sauce, and was complaining to my friends how salty it was. Tamari is usually pretty expensive, so I wouldn’t use it for everything, but I think it’s worth to use it for sashimi, sushi, and coloring egg.

Anyway, the contest ends 4/26, tomorrow, so if you’re interested in winning a figure of a very rare Pink Castle Crasher, go for it!

Pink Castle Crasher:
– rice, sakura denbu, fish cake, fake crab meat, seaweed and cheese

Tom Fulp:
– ham, egg, fish cake and seaweed
– fake crab meat on seaweed

Tombstone:
– konnyaku (yam cake)

Other food:
– daikon
– chirashi-zushi
– soboro
– broccoli
– asparagus wrapped with bacon

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.

bento#44 animal orbs bento April 23, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - video game.
Tags: , , , ,
5 comments

After I made the Castle Crashers bento, I was pleasantly surprised by an email from Dan Paladin, the developer at the Behemoth (the studio that created Castle Crashers). He liked my bento, and told me that he was posting the picture of it on the Behomoth’s dev blog. (See here) I wrote in my reply to him that I wasn’t completely satisfied with the bento because I could make only one Animal Orb…

Bento #44: Animal orbs bento!
Created and eaten on: 4/22/2009

Animal Orbs are tiny animals that float around you and help you in the game by picking up items, attacking enemies, or gaining exp faster, etc… If you aren’t familiar with the game, Castle Crashers, all you have to know is that they are just painfully adorable. I’m not just saying this because the people at the Behemoth seem very cool, but those googly eyes and huge head are the key features of cuteness. I just had to make them out of food so my boyfriend could eat them.

First, I found images of all the animal orbs, I put a piece of paper on my laptop monitor, and traced each of them. Then I cut them out, and wrote down ones that I could make with rice, ones with meat, ones with lettuce. I know I should’ve picked which one to make first THEN traced them… But having all paper cutouts of Animal Orbs is pretty fun actually.

Anyway, as usual, I placed lettuce at the bottom of the bento box, and laid sauteed renkon on top of it. (I know I put renkon all the time,
but it’s really nutritious and yummy!)

There are total of 14 Animal Orbs in this bento, and I worked on all of them simultaneously, so writing exactly how I made this bento might be a little confusing, so I’m going to explain how each animal was made, each row, starting from the top left.

– Troll
I actually made this guy last. I made a small plain rice ball, cut seaweed into thin strips, and rolled the rice ball in it. Anytime when there’s small piece of seaweed is involved, it has to be done last. Because seaweed loves/hates moisture and it easily absorbs moisture
and gets wrinkly when it’s wet. I sliced kamaboko (fish cake) and cut out two circles with a plastic cap for the eyes, cut out seaweed eyes with a hole punch and put them on the kamaboko eyes. Then I sliced the pink part of kamaboko into a long rectangular shape, and cut tiny triangles and put them on the pink piece to make his mouth. But I found out later that the inside the mouth of Troll wasn’t pink…

Troll

Troll

– Scratchpaw
I mixed rice with curry powder and ketchup, and made a small rice ball. I also made ears with the same rice using a plastic sheet. For the stripes, nose, mouth and whiskers I cut out seaweed. I made the eyes with seaweed on cheese and put them on the head. For the pink part of the ears I cut a small piece of fake sausage (fish cake).

scratchpaw

Scratchpaw

– Bitey Bat
I made a small rice ball and wrapped it with seaweed, then made ears also with rice and seaweed. I peeled the skin of a red pepper, and cut out circles using a small plastic cap for his eyes. For his fangs I cut the pink part of kamaboko into a square, and cut out the white part. I added the “sparkles” in his eyes by applying mayonnaise with a toothpick. I realized later that I forgot his wings…

bitey bat

Bitey Bat

– Frogglet
I made a small ball with potato salad, and wrapped it with a microwaved lettuce leaf. Then I cut a circle out of the lighter green part of lettuce, put it on cheese, and cut cheese around it for Frogglet’s stomach. For his eyes I cut out cheese using a straw, and cut seaweed for the eyes and mouth. Then I sliced potato and cut it into the shape of the horns, fried them, and stuck them on his head.

Frogglet

– Owlet
I cut out cheese with a heart-shaped cutter and put it on a meat ball I had made. Then I cut a carrot for his beak, made eyes with seaweed on cheese and put them on the face.

Owlet

Owlet

– Snailburt
Originally, I was only going to make 13 animals, and wasn’t planning on making this guy. But I realized that I needed to fill some space, so I cut a sausage in half, cooked it, rolled it, and pinned it with a toothpick. Then I cut a small piece of fake sausage and stuck it on
the toothpick. For his face and mouth I put seaweed. For something that I made on the spot, I think this one came out pretty good. 😀 The only thing was the color of his neck.(?) It’s actually light brown/orange. Maybe I should’ve used potato.

Snailburt

Snailburt

– Cardinal
I carefully cut the skin of a cherry tomato and peeled it for the feathers on his head. For his face I cut seaweed and put cheese for his beak. Then I made his eyes with seaweed on cheese.

Cardinal

Cardinal

– Giraffey
I mixed rice with curry powder and ketchup, and made a small rice ball. Then I cut a meatball in half, and put it under the rice ball to make his nose. For his spots I cut seaweed, and made eyes with seaweed on cheese. Then I sliced potato and cut it into the shape of the horns, fried them, and stuck them on his head. I added the “sparkles” in his eyes by applying mayonnaise with a toothpick.

Giraffey

Giraffey

– Monkeyface
I cut cheese using a plastic cap, trimmed it for his face, and put it on a meatball. Then I cut seaweed for his mouth, and made eyes with seaweed on cheese. For his ears I cut a meatball in half, placed it next to his head, and put cheese on top of them. Then I cut a piece of meatball for the darker inside part of the ears.

Pazzo

Monkeyface

– Pazzo
I mixed rice with curry powder and ketchup, and made a small rice ball, and I also made ears with the same rice using a plastic sheet. Then for his face I cut out cheese with a big heart-shaped cutter. For his mouth and nose I cut seaweed for his, then made eyes with seaweed on cheese. I cut a small piece of fake sausage (fish cake) for the pink part of the ears, and cut the pink part of kamaboko for his tongue.

Pazzo

Pazzo

– Seahorse
I made potato salad into the shape of Seahorse, and wrapped it with a microwaved lettuce leaf. I cut snow pea for his hand (?) and things on his head, stuck them on, and put seaweed for his eyes and mouth. When I saw the pictures later, I realized that this poor guy was almost invisible in the bento. I think because I put lettuce all around the bento, and made Seahorse with lettuce. Also, for some reason, I didn’t put cheese under his eyes, and made his surface too flat. =/

Seahorse

Seahorse

– Hawkster
I cut cheese for his beak on a meatball, and made eyes with seaweed on cheese.

Hawkster

Hawkster

– Meowburt
I made a small rice ball and wrapped it with seaweed, then made ears also with rice and seaweed. Then I cut out cheese and seaweed for the eyes and mouth. For his nose I cut a small piece of carrot, and cut fake sausage (fish cake) for the pink part of the ears.

Meowburt

Meowburt

– Chicken
I cut red pepper skin for his crown, wattles (the red skin thing under beak, it’s called wattles! I googled it!) and tail. For his beak I cut cheese, and seaweed for his eyes.

Chicken

Chicken

Animal Orbs!

I think the mayonnaise sparkle on the eyes made a big difference. I only put them on Bitey Bat and Giraffey because their eyes were bigger than the others, but I think other animals looked fine the way they were. Each animal was pretty easy, but making 14 of them was a completely different story. I made 80 % of the bento the first day, but I couldn’t finish it… So I tried again the second day. I finished this bento 20 minutes earlier than the time I usually finish the bento the second day, but my boyfriend was sooo happy with it and there were so many details he spent 20 minutes longer to take pictures! So many characters and tons of work, but it was so very worth it. A very satisfying bento. 🙂

My boyfriend and I beat Castle Crashers, but we still haven’t unlocked a lot of characters, so we’ll be playing it for a while, hopefully unlock everything before the Behemoth’s new game comes out. (this fall-ish?) 😀

There are so much details for this bento, so please visit my flickr to see what food each character is made of!

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.