How I Spent My Winter Break - GIMike Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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How I Spent My Winter Break

If you are a regular Game Informer reader, you may have noticed my name appearing less frequently in the first two weeks of the year. Thanks to those who reached out with concern. All is well, and I’m back from my break (delayed just a bit since I helmed the ship during the holidays).

I took the time to relax, perfect a recipe, play some games, and watch some television. I also wrote a little bit, because I very much needed a fix (much to the chagrin of executive editor Andrew Reiner).

So, while you were all getting started with 2014, here’s what I was up to.

Television
A good friend has been urging me to watch the television series Scandal, and the past two weeks have given me the opportunity to do so. It’s set in Washington D.C. and stars Kerry Washington as fixer for the rich and powerful Olivia Pope. It’s a smartly written ensemble show that features political intrigue, with just enough sex and violence that you don’t want your children watching it. The first two seasons are currently available on Netflix.

Most of my viewing has been during workouts. Yes! I am working out again. It’s been a month, and I’m feeling better, starting to lose weight, and getting back into the habit of healthy eating. Here’s hoping that the next time you see me on camera that I’ll look entirely different.

Cooking
It’s playoff football season, which means chicken wings (bone-in, of course). I lived in western New York for a while, which means that I’ve been spoiled by real buffalo wings. Anchor Bar is good, but Duff’s wings are where it’s at.

I’ve been working on figuring out the right preparation and the right sauces, having finally come up with a few things that work. Boiling the wings for eight minutes before baking for twenty minutes at five hundred degrees (turning once at the ten-minute mark) seems to work great.

For sauce, I prefer Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce (can be made more mild by mixing in melted butter) and Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle BBQ. Make sure you buy wings that are first and second sections so you don’t have to separate or cut off the tips.

Gaming
During my weeks off, I played through the entirety of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. I love the changes to the formula and the heavy dose of nostalgia. Link to the Past is one of my favorite games of all time, and it was great to return to that version of Hyrule.

I also started learning how to play League of Legends. I have a much greater appreciation for MOBAs now, and I’ll be carving out some time to watch competitive play.

My big project was modding Skyrim. Rather than cherry pick mods from the Steam Workshop, I followed something called the Skyrim Total Enhancement Project (STEP). This is a curated set of mods that are installed in precise order to maximize Skyrim’s aesthetics, tweak usability, and make the experience more immersive. It took about two days of reading, learning, and installing. It was entirely worth it, though.

I spent last Saturday playing through Broken Age, and I was extremely pleased with it. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity, I recommend playing as Shay first (through to the end of his story). I’ve read thoughts from others who suggest that starting as Vella provides more clues to how the stories are intertwined. I prefer being surprised. 

Finally, I spent last night playing FTL. I’ve still not beaten the game on the easy mode. This time I made it up to the final battle, but entered the fight too damaged to survive long. One of my goals for 2014 is to finally survive through to the end.

As much as I enjoyed my time off, it’s great to be back to work. As always, feel free to reach out in the comments, our private messaging system, or email. I try to respond to everything (though it may take me a couple of days, as I get back into my routine).

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