Saturday, April 25, 2015

Throwback... Saturday? Why I love the PS One

Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be talking about one of my favorite game systems: The PS One! I've enjoyed PS One games for a majority of my life, so I was thrilled when I found a store that sold PS Ones as well as other retro systems and games. Part of my excitement was that this meant I'd be able to recover all of my save files off of my dad's PS One instead of having to start all over on my favorite games, like Legend of Dragoon and Final Fantasy VII.

 So a lot of you are probably wondering why I love the PS One so much, especially since it's a very outdated system and has such blocky graphics. I'd say for sure a part of it is just nostalgia, but more than that, I honestly enjoy more of the older games made for this system than I do newer ones. Why is this? Well, before I get into the details, let me make a few comments on PS One gamplay in general. First of all: Graphics.

 PS One games have very crude graphics in comparison to current games, but this is almost completely due to technology. We didn't have the sort of processors, graphics cards, and such like back then and due to this, there were a lot of blocky shapes and somewhat rough graphics. Usually this doesn't affect gameplay since helpers like random ground or object sparkles, targetting systems, and in game tutorials usually would explain or point out that certain objects can be manipulated. However, one thing that I like the most about some of my favorite games (*cough* FFVII) is that they have varrying levels of graphics qualities. Normal gameplay is very blocky looking, but when you go into a battle (or "combat mode") the graphics become significantly better. Then there's the cutscenes. I'm still in awe over how good the cutscene graphics were in older games. Even going back and watching them nowadays, I'm still impressed.

 Now we get to controls. In a lot of the PS One games I've played there's usually some sort of tutorial or practice mode that explains how the controls for the game work and let you run around and get a feel for them. Usually the controls are explained a bit at a time with new abilities being worked into the gameplay after initial controls are learned and the player has time to practice them some. I like this a lot better than the gameplay tutorials in a lot of more modern games where a lot of times you just get thrown into the game without so much as a how do you move. While newer games do typically have some sort of tutorial at the beginning, often times the actions are poorly explained, or they expect you to have played the last twelve installments of the game and merely give you a quick refresher while throwing you into the game. An example of this is when I decided to try playing Assasin's Creed and couldn't even figure out what the heck was going on story wise much less control wise. The control intructions were little bubble-like things popping up in a most unobvious way and more often than not, I was running around like a fool having no idea what I was doing. Compare this to one of my newer PS One aquisitions: Legend of Kain: Soul Reaver. In Soul Reaver, you begin the game with a step by step tutorial, teaching you how to move, what each button does, and how to attack and heal as well as a few other things pertinent to gameplay. The tutorial taught one thing per room in a long tunnel environment and was easy to figure out as I went along. In addition to this, they introduced the character and story in bits and pieces as you went through the initial area.

 Now let's talk about cameras in PS One. Camera styles vary wildly in PS One games depending on gameplay style. In games like FFVII or Resident evil, the camera is static and allows you to view a room from only one angle. In games like Spyro or Soul Reaver, the camera usally follows you, but can still be adjusted if needed. And in some games, like Crash Bandicoot, the camera is at a set angle, but the world is more 2D in it's layout, much like Mario games of old, while still being a 3D environment. Then there's games like Gex and Harry Potter, the camera is annoying and refuses to show you what the heck is in front of you and instead decides that viewing the character is top priority. (Can you tell which games frustrate me? XD) Many games nowadays have automatic camera angles that follow your character from behind alowing you to see the environment around you as well as your character. This can have its frustrations though as you typically have to turn your character around in order to view the full environment, or oftentimes there is a secondary "looking" state you have to go in and out of to look around without moving your character. This can slow response times down a LOT and make gameplay frustrating at times when you can't look around an area while staying hidden unless there's room to move. This is also annoying for me when I'm trying to look around and suddenly get attacked, but am unable to fight back without having to punch a button to get out of the "looking" mode, slowing reaction time for counter attacking.

 While there are ups and downs to each generation of gaming system, I find that PS One games are in general better written than many of the newer games I've played. While buying a PS One might not be feasable or even possible for many, there are many emulators as well as downloadable copies of many more popular PS One games out there. If you haven't played a PS One game before, I would highly recommend giving one of the more popular games a try, be it FFVII, Tekken, Spyro, or some other game. Enjoy!

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Wigs VS Hair

Hello everyone! Today I'll be talking about my experience with wigs versus natural hair. I'll be going over some of the pros and cons of natural hair and wigs in comparison to each other.

 First things first: Maintaining your hair or wig. Both need to be brushed or combed out to prevent tangle, from the bottom up so as to avoid damage as well as even more tangles, as well as cleaned. Wigs require different cleaning products compared to natural hair due to some main diferences in the fibers from natural hair. For example, you would most likely not use fabric softener on your natural hair, but oftentimes it's recommended for maintaining wigs. Likewise, you wouldn't want to use regular shampoo on a wig as it's formulated to clean natural hair as well as your scalp of dirt, oil, and other buildup. Another diference between natural hair and wig maintainance is that hair grows back, but wig fibers do not. This means that oftentimes one has to be a lot more gentle when combing a wig out than with natural hair. I've found that, timewise, wigs can take as long or longer than natural hair to maintain depending on how long it is and how long it takes to dry it.

 Like natural hair, wigs can also be dyed. Unlike natural hair though, wigs should not be bleached, don't need root touchups, and typically are sold in a variety of colors. While dying natural hair typically involves bleach (to ensure more even coverage), hair dyes which have to sit and saturate the hair, and lots of careful maintainance to make the color last as long as possible, wigs are comparitively easy to dye. While I haven't had the opportunity to try for myself, I've seen one method for dying wigs where you essentially mix ink from sharpies with alchohol (or water? I'd have to find the vidoe again and I'm not sure it's still up) and spray your wig down to color it. If done properly, your wig shouldn't need to be dyed again. However, for best results, you have to start with a white or other light colored wig to have the color show. Since wigs can't be bleached, you can't exactly take a dark wig and lighten it up (at least to my knowledge)

 Wig styling is VERY different from styling natural hair. The products can range from glue (which you should NEVER use on your natural hair) to regular styling products like hairspray or hair wax. One of the biggest diferences between wig and natural hair styling is that wig fibers tend to hold their shape. You can curl a wig and it'll stay curled unless you straighten it. While you can soften the curls by combing the wig to blend the curls, you can't take them out completely without using heat of some sort. Also, a lot of times a wig may be styled in such a way that it shouldn't be washed or gotten too wet unless a new style is wanted for it. With your natural hair, if you style it, it will likely lose shape over the course of a day and you'll need to redo it the next day unless you find a way to avoid having it mushed while you sleep.

 As a final note, one of the best things about wigs is that you can change your hair every day and not have to worry about damaging your natural hair by coloring it constantly or cutting it and waiting for it to grow out. I've got a nice collection of wigs that I like to wear randomly, as well as some extentions and clip-on ponytails that I'm using until my hair grows out more and it's really nice being able to see how I look with different hair styles and colors without having to commit to them as I'd have to with my natural hair.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: My Hair Dying Experiences

Hello everyone! Today I'll be writing about the second of three hair related topics: My experience dying my hair. Make sure to check out last weeks post, where I talk about my decision to cut my hair.

So, what if you;re thinking of dying your hair instead of cutting it? I've dyed my hair a total of twice in my life and only partially both times. I'm overall happy with my blonde hair color, so I've never really felt the need to dye it completely. The first time I dyed my hair, it was just the tips using a temporary Manic Panic color that a friend had left over from dying the ends of her own hair. It resulted in a very pretty, bright purple that faded over the course of the next few days, and eventually came out after a week or two (it's been long enough I can't remember exactly). Dying my tips was kind of a spur of the moment decision as I'd been planning on cutting it a bit shorter in order to make it easier to maintain for a while, so I wasn't worried about it staining my hair or anything as it was just going to be cut off anyways. My decision process was pretty much along the lines of
Friend: "You want me to dye your ends too?"
Me:"Hey, Mom, Dad, can she dye my tips?"
Parents: "Ehhh, it's your hair."
Me: "Schweet! Yes, dye my tips purple!"
Not much contemplating there since purple's kinda my favorite color...

 My second time dying my hair, I was attempting to give myself copper red highlights (similar to dispersed ones I have naturally). I decided to do this while I was visiting home after playing Style Savvy and greatly enjoying the pretty red streaks I'd put in my character's hair. I quickly found out that it's a lot harder to do that sort of look in reality versus a game. I ended up buying a coppery red and a highlighting kit since I didn't know where to just get the highlighting cap and hook thingie seperate from bleach and stuff. Thinking it would result in highlighted chunks, I ended up pulling pretty much all of my hair through the little holes on the cap and ended up with strawberry blonde hair instead of the blonde with red highlights I was aiming for. If I ever do this again, I'll probably either  just use foil or something similarly non-pourus to seperate the strips of hair that I want to be dyed, or have a professional do it since previous attempts at hair styling and color have proven I have no idea what I'm doing.

 So what'll my next adventure in hair dying be, you ask? To be honest, I'm not sure. My current job requires me to have natural colored hair and I'd want to dye my hair purple, blue, or pink most likely, so it's probably not going to happen anytime soon since I'm planning on making a career out of this job. However, If I figure out a way to dye my natural hair and hide it under a natural looking wig that'll be acceptable at my workplace, I might just go all out and dye my hair crazy colors like Japanese Decora girl Kurebayashi! I wouldn't do the close shave that she tends to do though, since I wouldn't like that style on myself. It's taking long enough to grow my hair back from a bob!

Make sure to tune in next week as I talk about wigs!

Check me out on Twitter: @animlolicouture
I'm on Facebook too!

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Random Update Had Appeared...

...You use read. It's super effective!

Hello everyone! Pokemon references aside, I have some exciting news for you all! I just started my own Storenvy shop to sell some of my past and current creations on! Feel free to head on over to check it out and maybe buy something if anything there suits your fancy. I'll be adding some other items as time goes on, so be sure to check it out occasionaly or stalk it!

I'm also on Facebook:
And Twitter: @animlolicouture

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Cutting my Hair

Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be talking about the first topic in a three part article about hair: my decision to cut my hair. I'll be posting about my experience with hair dying and wigs over the next two weeks..

 So, late last year I found myself wearing wigs all the time outside of work. I was tired of managing my hair and wanted to change it. Unfortunately, my workplace doesn't allow unnatural hair colors, otherwise I'd have dyed the ends of my hair purple again or added some brightly colored highlights to my hair. Thinking I'd just been having some bad hair days, I decided to wait a while before making any decisions on what to do with my hair. However, after several months, I was still frustrated with my hair and decided to do something I'd never done: Get a bob cut. It took me months to finally go through with this because I've always had long hair and have dreampt of having super long hair like Rapunzel since I was a little girl. However, I'd never had short hair and was getting frustrated with the amount of time it was taking every morning to make my hair suitable for work. I decided to get my family and friend's opinions by posting a picture of me with my hair pinned up to look as short as I planned to cut my hair. I got a lot of positive remarks, other than my mom bemoaning my decision. So, I started looking into nearby salons, decided on one, called them, and made an appointment to have my hair cut. Before going in, I did some image searches looking for hairstyles similar to what I wanted on people with fine, curly hair like me. In addition to those pictures, I brought along pictures of Vanilla Mieux from Sugar Sugar Rune as well as a photo of the last time my hair was short: when I was four.

 I was a little nervous at the salon as I'd never been to a salon (Ima cheapskate and had my dad trim my hair) nor had I ever had such a dramatic change in hair length before. My stylist was very nice, taking the time to look through the reference pictures I'd brought before she got to work on my hair and making sure I was happy with where my style was going while she worked on it. The end result was a super cute, layered, poofy, bob cut that I was super happy with! After I got my hair cut, I got a LOT of compliments on it, both out and about and at work. Even now while I'm trying to grow it back out again, I don't regret cutting my hair in the slightest. If any of you are thinking of or know someone who is thinking of cutting their hair short after having it be long, I highly reccomend going to a salon and working with someone who takes time to make sure you get a style you like. It's well worth paying a bit more than to try and do it yourself and mess your hair up. (I say this after a rather failed attempt at cutting my own bangs and layering my hair. They didn't turn out well at all...)

Make sure to tune in next week for my hair dying experience!

Check me out on Twitter: @animlolicouture
I'm also on Facebook!