October 24, 2009

Tomb Raider: Legend & Anniversary Free On GameTap

As part of GameTap's 4th anniversary celebration, the PC game download service is offering a selection of games for free play this weekend (October 24-25), including Tomb Raider: Legend and Anniversary.

The free collection also features other 64-bit compatible Windows titles including Hitman: Contracts and Blood Money, Unreal Tournament 2004, and Project Snowblind.


October 15, 2009

Do 1 Thing to Help Homeless Teens

It snowed for the first time this fall today in Upstate New York. I bitched a bit as I scraped the slush off my car windows. Then it occurred to me how very lucky I am. I have a safe place to live and a loving family. I have warm clothes, my own computer and games to play. And I can't remember the last time I was truly hungry. Millions of kids are not so fortunate; they're homeless.

Andrew by Dan Dry
Andrew, 18, is homeless in Chicago.
Photo by Dan Dry courtesy of Do1Thing.org.

In America alone, where I live, there are currently an estimated 1.3 million homeless children and teenagers. Kids make up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. homeless population. Some have parents who are also homeless, many are by themselves, and some have kids of their own. Some crash with friends, some stay in shelters, some live rough on the streets. All have hopes and dreams—just like you and me—but having to focus on day-to-day survival can make those dreams seem unattainable.

Whatever the circumstances, no kid should have to be homeless. But what can just one person do to make a difference? Well, recently I learned about an organization called Do1Thing. They're a group of photojournalists, writers and other creative people whose mission is to "put a face" on homeless youth. Their hope is that by doing one thing to raise awareness, they'll encourage others to do one thing to help.

After seeing some of the stories on their site—like that of Lulu, a homeless girl in Portland, Maine, whose mom died when she was 12 and who just found out she's pregnant; and Russell, a talented singer, who left his drug-addicted parents to try and make it on his own in Minneapolis and one day dreams of becoming a lawyer—I knew I had to help.

So for the rest of the year, I've decided to do one thing and give all profits from tombraiders.net to help homeless teenagers. The money will be shared equally among Do1Thing, Covenant House, Stand Up For Kids and my local support network, Family of Woodstock. I also plan to donate some time to help out where I can.

I'd like to encourage all of you to do one thing—whether it's contributing here, donating directly to one of these worthy causes, volunteering with a local organization, helping out a homeless or at-risk kid you know or have seen in your neighborhood, or just spreading the word, like I'm trying to do here.

If we all do just one thing, imagine what we could achieve.


October 11, 2009

Creating Your Own Classic Lara Croft Halloween Costume

Guest blogger Sara from laracroftcosplay.com returns with help building the perfect Lara Croft costume. 

Halloween is upon us once again, and you're wondering what you will get dressed as. Or maybe you already have an idea. But whatever it is, it can't be as cool as the Tomb Raider herself: Lara Croft!

You might think that getting the outfit together is difficult but I assure you, it's not....

This is your list for the standard classic Lara croft costume, which according to our statistics is the most cosplayed costume of hers:
  • Green sleeveless shirt: Go to thrift stores and eBay.com to find that shirt. If it has sleeves, it's OK. Just cut them off. If you don't know how, ask mommy or someone who can do it.
  • Brown backpack: This is a bit tricky if you want to be accurate. Most first-time cosplayers just use any old backpack and it's enough, but if you want to be accurate, you can do what I'm doing. I am using a cardboard box that's 12 x 16 x 5 inches and covering it with brown leather, and making the rest of the accessories like the clasps. But that's not really necessary if it's just for Halloween.
  • Black round glasses (optional): Can be found at many local stores. If not don't bother. It is not mandatory, as Lara doesn't wear them the entire game.
  • Black gloves: These are extremely easy to find, just look at this eBay link.
  • Brown short shorts: If you find shorts great! if they're pants, cut them and hem them. You might even find an old pair of pants you don't really need anymore that would be perfect!
  • Metallic grey guns: Every country has its own rules about guns, so if you can have Airsoft guns and it's alright with local law go to speedytoys.com (highly recommended by laracroftcosplay.com). If not, do what I did when used to live in England: I spray painted toy guns and that was enough to do the trick.
  • Classic belt and holsters: There is a very detailed tutorial on how to make all Tomb Raider holsters on laracroftcosplay.com in the "how to make" section.
  • Brown boots with red laces: Use your own if you have brown lace-up boots and get red laces. If you don't have any brown boots, be resourceful, try to borrow them, if no luck you can go to local thrift stores where they are very cheap.
  • Thick white socks: Just regular socks will be fine, but make sure they are long enough to show above the boots.
  • Clip-on braid (if your hair is short): eBay, local wig shop, practically can be found anywhere.
Rhona Mitra as Lara Croft

Get started with a reference photo—like the picture of Lara model Rhona Mitra above—and have fun!

One last note: If you're just starting to assemble your costume and plan on shopping on the web, be sure to check delivery times before ordering to make sure everything will arrive in time. Most sellers offer expedited shipping for Halloween, but it may cost extra.

Hopefully this was helpful to all of you aspiring tomb raider cosplayers. If you need more detailed help and tutorials—or if you want help making another Lara Croft outfit, like the new 'Survivor' version—you can go to laracroftcosplay.com or tombraidercosplay.net. Have a very Happy Halloween!