September 14th – September 20th

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The Valley Nerd Watch!


Wow, the Boston Festival of Indie Games was a great time! We’re going to go ahead and go down our favorite bits from the event, although wow were there like… many many more things to take a look at. We cannot possibly give you the whole scope of the event. Heck, we missed most of the Tabletop area! So, what we will do is describe to you several cool things to keep an eye on if you are interested in fine digital games and related media made by small groups of dedicated people!

So first of all, big winner of the show: Ultimate Chicken Horse. It’s brilliant, it’s fun, it’s totally probably going to be worth your while. Particularly if you have 3 friends to play with. You and three other plays work together to construct a little platformer level. Then you all hop through it. Fun! But the twist is to win you need to make sure your friends can’t complete the level! How? You get to use new construction elements each turn to make the level harder. Make it just hard enough and you can get through while watching your pals get impaled on spikes! It’s tough to emphasize how impressive it is in action. Just a delight.

Cryptark was an interesting one. Focusing on short, rogue-like action shooting through a series of spaceships. It seems nice and concrete and it’s very nice to look at. The developers talked about how it’s designed to be completed in a few hours… if you play perfectly.

Desolus was a beautiful puzzler with a very interesting mechanic that proves itself early. Just walking around looking at things is a good time, and the puzzles we got to play were challenging enough to be interesting. Another interesting puzzle game was Electric Shocktopus.  A bit more of an action platformer, the positive/negative charge mechanic which allows you to sort of fly around levels is a real joy.

We were also really, really big fans of Thumper. A sort of horror rhythm game in which you play a silver scarab that fights cthonian monsters on an endless track. The way the music ramps up over time from a low sinister drone to a terrifying cacophony is really interesting. Another wonderful horror game we got a look at was Albino Lullaby. It’s a strange journey set in a strange house full of strange people. It’s oppressive and it’s beautiful and it’s very unsettling. They spent a lot of time assuring us that they would not use jump scares, just a good danged spooky story. Also, we got to brag about beating The Void to the developer!

Finally, No Pineapple Left Behind is a thought-provoking management sim about trying to deal with meeting the demands of running a profitable school. The way you do that is primarily magic turning children from complete individuals into passionless pineapples. It’s clear the developer we spoke with respects and admires the profession of teaching as a former teacher himself enough to offer a clear and effective critique of modern methodology.

Boston FIG was a great time that was an opportunity to see a huge number of creative works in quick succession, many from around Massachusetts! We highly recommend you check it out next year.

As always, be sure to check out the Weekly Events page! There are a lot of fun things happening this and every week! And don’t forget to check out the updated Book Clubs List!

THIS WEEK


 Board Games:

Saturday, September 19th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 11:00pm
Women’s Game Night 2
A special event at Modern Myths for women! Welcoming all women, including trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary women! It’s a safe space to play games, learn, and meet other female gamers in the area. Also, they feature games designed by women. It sounds like a pretty cool place to be, everyone! You’ll need a $5 day pass, which is immediately turned into store credit!
Sunday, September 20th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Sunday Heroclix
Kindly and intelligent Jaimie hosts this entertaining miniatures combat game! Collect all your favorite characters from a truly staggering collection of comics and literature and make them all beat each other up! It’s like playing action figures with rules, and if that tugs some deep leyline in your soul you should check this out!
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at Mystery Time?
Star Trek Attack Wing: Dominion War
Can you retake DS9 for your space-empire? This exciting event will include DS9, a self-replicating minefield, and a wormhole! Also, phasers. You’ll need to get a 120-point faction pure build with only dominion war races, $5 to enter, and if you’ve got a DS9 bring the model! Also some terrain. And snacks. Bring chips.

Books:

Tuesday, September 15th
Greenfield Games [228 Main St Greenfield, MA 01301] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Children’s Book Writers Group
Adults who write for children are invited to attend a critique group! Facilitated by Nell Wright, this group will allow participants to discuss skills, share tips and opportunities, and read and discuss their stories! For more info, call Jane at the library at 413-772-1544 x 5120!
Wednesday, September 16th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00pm
Rachel Glaser: Paulina and Fran, Lauren Goodman: A Heart Beating Hard
Paulina and Fran is a story friendship, art, sex, and curly hair. Art students, love, uncertainty, wit, it has all of those elements and a school trip to Norway! A Heart Beating Hard is a story about people, and it seems interesting. It has a Lot of Words that are Significantly capitalized in the description Text.
Thursday, September 17th
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 7:00pm
Ben Kimball: Trail Running Western Massachusetts
But do we absolutely have to? Can we not instead amble toward vistas and then just contemplate for several long hours during which we do not sweat and feel as though we are dying? For real though this seems like a guy who you definitely want to speak to if you’re at all into outdoors running. Pick up a few nice trails for that fall weather where you don’t get so overheated!
Saturday, September 19th
Holyoke Public Library [250 Chestnut St, Holyoke MA 01040] at 4:00pm
Nelson Antonio Denis: War Against All Puerto Ricans
In 1950, the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico staged an unsuccessful insurrection against the US. Violence swept the island. Gunfights roared in eight towns, police stations and post offices were burned down. The US deployed thousands of troops and bombed its own citizens. Denis tells this powerful story through the life of Pedro Albizu Campos, who was president of the Nationalist Party.
Odyssey Bookshop [Mount Holyoke College, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075] at 10:30am
Tanya Lee Stone and Kathryn Brown: The House That Jane Built
It’s 1889 and a wealthy woman named Jane Addams has house fever. But the house she just bought is in the middle a cruddy bit of town? Why would she do this? No, not to burn it down, but we like your energy. She helped out! Learn how she did so, and the way the Hull House neighborhood she cultivated in Chicago changed the city and set an example for the nation!

Comics:

Thursday, September 17th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Queers in Comics & Games
A great monthly discussion about exactly what’s on the tin! Nice folks with insightful opinions about a variety of topics. Plus, great source for recommendations about new stuff to read. You’ll need a $5 day pass to participate in these wide-ranging discussions, which immediately becomes store credit!

Computers:

Thursday, September 17th
Amherst Media [246 College St, Amherst, MA 01002] at 6:00pm
Western MA Drupal Meetup
Drupal! It’s a great way to put together a website, and with Last Call Media in town, it’s kind of a thing in Western Mass. They love it. Meet other people and hang out and talk about Drupal! Maybe even just see if you like the cut of everyone’s jib before you learn it, so you know you’ve got a supportive community!
Friday, September 18th
Packard’s [14 Masonic St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 8:00pm
Northampton Webdive – After Dark
Sultry, dangerous, just a little bit sexy, saxaphonic. None of these adjectives have been used to describe this regular webdive. Helpful, enjoyable, decent beer. Nooooow we’re talking! Speak with other coders and web developers at a friendly bar!

Entertainment:

Tuesday, September 15th
Divas [492 Pleasant St #3, Northampton, MA 01060] at 10:00pm – Late
Games, Geeks, and Cosplay Night: Star Trek Vs. Star Wars
Come to dance! Come to purchase cool things from vendors! Come to show off your cool Star Trek/Wars costume and maybe win a contest, including some cool toys from the upcoming Episode VII! Also, FamilyJules7X? Seven of … a guitar man? That guitar man named FamilyJules will play seven times that night.
Thursday, September 17th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Anime Club
Anime! In some circles, the mere mention of the forbidden word can get you banned for life! This mysterious and powerful artwork must be shared with a select and trusted few. Join their ranks… if you dare! Teens and young adults, 14 and up.
Friday, September 18th
The Platinum Pony [0 Cottage St, Easthampton, Massachusetts 01027] 10:00pm – Late
Mia E Z’Lay and the Sorcerer’s Bone(r)
Join a beautiful, witchy woman as she welcomes back all the good wizards back to school and teaches some magic tricks! Featuring the titular Mia E Z’Lay, as well as a host of other drag performers! Dance the night away after the show! It’s 21+ and there’s a $10 cover! 

 RPGs:

Monday, September 14th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Public RPG: Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons and Dragons is one of the most influential RPGs of all time! It’s still going strong today, allowing scores of people to share their imaginative storytelling with friends. Learn how to play or continue a lifelong hobby with friendly host Neal Robinson!
Thursday, September 17th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 4:00pm – 6:00pm
RPG Club
Create a character, inhabit their adventures, and interact with other fanciful folks in a mystical land! This fantastic shared hallucination can be yours with the power of *imagination*! All ages are welcome, no experience necessary! Might we suggest Dread for a good intro RPG?
Saturday, September 19th
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Pathfinder Society
The official Pathfinder Society! Get together with a bunch of pleasant folks and play out one gigantic epic adventure across the world of Pathfinder! Band together while representing your own special interests and secret goals as an entrepreneurial Pathfinder, playing across the course of months!
Comics n’ More [31 Union Street, Easthampton MA 01027] at 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Public RPG: Edge of the Empire
Come play around in the fantastical Star Wars universe! Except like, the Worst Possible Timeline of the Star Wars Universe, in which Luke is dead and the Empire ascendant. Everything’s terrible and you’re a mercenary working for a Hutt. Make things right! Force GM Tim Shields to come up with a happy ending! New players welcome, pre-made characters and dice provided.
Sunday, September 20th
Modern Myths [34 Bridge Street #4, Northampton, MA 01060] 1:00pm – 5:00pm
13th Age RPG
Okay the focus of this RPG seems to be immediately centering an adventure around the One Cool Thing about your player characters BUT more important than that is a single line from the description: “Owlbears will rip PC’s limbs off to feed their young.” Yeah. Owlbears are no joke.

Science:

Monday, September 14th
Union Station [125A Pleasant St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Nerd Nite Northampton
Nerd Nite! It’s a big one this month, and it’ll be a lot of fun. There’s a lecture about implicit bias and racism in the modern era with local UMass professor Linda Tropp. Then, there’s a lecture about awesome looking backyard art by psychologist Mark Karpel!
Tuesday, September 15th
Palmer Public Library [1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069] at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
History Lecture: Lincoln Assassination
Do you know the whole story of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln? Probably not, right? It’s sort of passed into myth and legend for the most part, we all tend to learn the broad strokes. Learn and honor the legacy of the 16th American president at this talk with Donal Blais! Open to the public, free of charge.
Wednesday, September 16th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 7:00pm – 8:30
Latino Americans Episode 1: Foreigners in Their Own Land
Presented by the Pioneer Valley History Network and Casa Latino, the kickoff to the project Herencia Latina begins at the Forbes Library with this screening! Scholar Raul Gutierrez will be on hand to head up some discussion!

Video Games:

Friday, September 18th
Forbes Library [20 West St, Northampton, MA 01060] at 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Minecraft Club
Minecraft! The game that not only made one person a billionaire, but has made people playing it and putting themselves on Youtube millionaires. For real, everyone, this is not a thing we foresaw when we were playing the alpha, it’s real odd. Bring a device and/or a log-in and come hang out and play Minecraft with other kids at Forbes!

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