Technology has truly come a long way in short time. In the 1990’s, many people did not know of the internet, and those that did had to deal with the frustration of dial-up. Just a decade ago, smartphones had just made its introduction to the world, revolutionizing information technology by placing the world in your hands. Many other gadgets have surfaced since the smartphone, including many wearables and other useful tools. The way we view electronics has changed greatly over time too. Touch screens started off as resistive, meaning it relied on physical pressure to measure taps and touches. Touch screens later evolved into capacitive, which senses the conductive capacity of an object that touches the screen, such as human skin. In addition to touch screens, 3D and virtual reality has existed for a long time too, but had not made it into the mainstream as much. Times have changed, and you can now possess virtual reality in your hands, which the VRLA Expo 2017 showcased many forms of VR.

The general public used to think of virtual reality as a luxury item, but in today’s economy, anyone can experience VR, and the VRLA Expo 2017 exhibited the many ways that one can experience VR. This all-ages electronics expo took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center’s west hall this past weekend, and contained dozens of vendors all showcasing their entry into the VR market. Within the expo hall, the convention center staff had the lights dimmed the entire time so that attendees can better witness the spectacle of virtual reality. Most of the demos involved a VR headset that you either hold up to your eyes or have them strapped around your eyes so that you get the full immersion of the video clip or game. Most commonly, attendees got to use the HTC Vive (a complete virtual reality headset that includes a viewer and controllers, but no headphones) or other similar VR headset such as the Samsung Gear VR or Oculus Rift. Other VR demos at this expo included mixed reality (MR), full body motion capture, physical/cardio machines (bikes, elliptical, etc), and a 360 dome that simulated perspective distortion, where you lie still in a room surrounded by a round screen, and that screen displayed a video that made you feel like you moved with the video.

The future has arrived, and the future includes virtual reality. We live in a future where we put clocks in our smartphones so that we do not need to wear a watch, yet we now have smartwatches so that we do not have to pull our phones out of our pockets. In this future, we now use a USB cord to charge books and cigarettes. Virtual reality does not have to cost you much – if you have a smartphone (I recommend at least a five inch screen), you can use a Google Cardboard with it, which should only cost a few dollars on third-party sites. If you missed out on the VRLA Expo 2017, fret not, as they normally run their expo twice a year. In the meantime, check out the VRLA Expo on Facebook and Twitter for more info about future expos and all the vendors that participated in this past weekend’s expo.

For most music fans, if their favorite band or artist rolls into town for a show or performance, they will make an effort to go see that show. Some music acts occur quite often, while others rarely occur in a given area. For example, Social Distortion used to play so many shows in Southern California that local fans started to attend those shows less often. On the other hand, artists not from the west coast would rarely perform in California, so whenever they came into town, fans immediately flocked to see them. In extreme cases, some bands break up or some artists take an indefinite hiatus. So when a band reunites for some more shows, you can bet that fans will want to catch this act one last time until they disappear for good. This sparked the reason for me attending Coachella in 2012 when both At The Drive-In and Refused reunited around the same time. This also sparked the reason for me to jump at the opportunity to see my favorite band back in action after many years of missing them, Thursday.

Legendary post-hardcore band Thursday announced late in 2011 that the band had disbanded, approximately a day after Thrice announced their hiatus on Twitter. Prior to this announcement, I had not seen Thursday live since 2006, so of course my heart sank upon hearing the news. Many years later at the start of 2017, the Thursday Twitter account started to bustle with activity, followed with the announcement of a reunion tour. I acquired my ticket to see them again in Los Angeles, and that show wrapped up last Tuesday night at The Wiltern in Koreatown. This tour will continue onward across the nation, culminating with the end of their tour in New York at the end of this month. What Thursday will do following this tour remains ambiguous, but personally I hope they have a few more tours or shows left until they retire the band for good.

As the banner above indicates, a couple of bands open for Thursday during the tour. From now until the end of the tour, Cities Aviv will open the show. For the show in Los Angeles, we had indie rock band Wax Idols opening, as they opened for shows during the first half of the Thursday tour. UK rock band Basement played second in the show, followed by LA’s own post-hardcore band Touché Amoré, both popular in their own right. While every band had its fair share of fans in the crowd, obviously everyone present awaited the arrival of Thursday to the stage. For that hour and a half, the entire room went ballistic as the nostalgia hit from a band prevalent during much of the teenage and young adult years of all the fans present. Despite an all-ages show, since Thursday had their primetime in the mid-2000’s, most of the audience consisted of fans from the mid-20’s to mid-40’s. Everyone got their hit of nostalgia and got to relive their youthful years during this show. Hopefully this paves the way for other legendary bands to reunite soon and play some shows.

6th Annual Taste of South Pasadena
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, April 19
Canoe House, South Pasadena
http://www.southpasadenarotary.org/

Sample the local flavor of South Pasadena this Wednesday evening. This tasting consists of two events: a wine tasting portion, and a restaurant crawl. The wine tasting costs $20 to attend and takes place at the Canoe House from 5pm to 7pm. The restaurant crawl takes place from 6pm to 9pm, and costs $35 for adults or $15 for those under 21, and provides unlimited food samples while supplies last.

2017 Taste of Point Loma
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm, April 19
Portuguese Club, Point Loma, San Diego
http://www.facebook.com/TasteofPointLoma

Sample specialties from local Point Loma restaurants this Wednesday night. For $25, guests gain access to free shuttles that will take them from various places around Point Loma so that guests can reach all the restaurants in time.

Women’s Beer Forum
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, April 19
Eagle Rock Brewery, Eagle Rock
http://www.eaglerockbrewery.com/womens-beer-forum/

$23 gets you a flight of four beers from various breweries. Judging by historical posts about this event, it appears that men may not participate in this.

5th Annual Orange County Improv Festival
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 19-22
STAGEStheatre, Fullerton
http://ocimprovfest.com/

Enjoy up to four nights of improv comedy in Orange County this weekend. Tickets cost $10 per day or $40 for an all-access pass for all four days. The venue has a small parking lot, and the surrounding neighborhood only allows parking for up to two hours, so plan your commute accordingly. The website does not specify an age minimum, though you can expect adult humor, so consider leaving the little ones at home.

Newport Beach Film Festival
April 20-27
Multiple venues, Newport Beach
http://www.newportbeachfilmfest.com/

Dozens of independent films will air this week in Newport Beach. Check out the website for a schedule of all the films that you may watch, as well as the prices for each.

24th Annual Wild & Crazy Taco Night
4:30 pm – 7:30 pm, April 20
Share Our Selves, Costa Mesa
http://www.shareourselves.org/events/

25 of Orange County’s finest chefs will gather to prepare their most unusual and unique taco. Come witness history in the making, as chefs strive to reinvent the wheel by crafting the new generation of tacos. VIP hour starts at 4:30pm and costs $150, while general admission starts at 5:30pm and costs $80. Admission does not guarantee food for attendees.

The Muckenthaler’s 5th Annual Speakeasy
7:30 pm – 10:00 pm, April 20
The Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Fullerton
http://themuck.org/programing/2017/4/20/the-muckenthalers-5th-annual-speakeasy

Enjoy fashion, drinks, dancing, and music this Thursday night in Fullerton. Admission costs $25 and comes with a complimentary glass of champagne. No one under 21 may attend.

38th Annual OC Fair Imaginology
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, April 21
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 22-23
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa
http://www.ocfair.com/steam

Bring out the family to this free and all-ages event this weekend in Costa Mesa featuring activities, games, and other arts & crafts surrounding science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Parking at the venue costs $8 per vehicle.

2017 South Bay Home & Garden Show
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, April 21
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, April 22
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 23
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach
http://www.homeshowconsultants.com/

This free and all-ages expo will showcase the latest in home improvement, remodeling, interior-design, decorating, landscaping, and more. Parking starts at $5, but parking the neighborhood east of Alamitos can bypass any parking fees.

Cerritos Spring Festival
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 21
1:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 22
1:00 pm – 9:00 pm, April 23
Cerritos Sports Complex, Cerritos
http://www.cerritos.us/RESIDENTS/recreation/events/program_highlights.php

Enjoy a local spring carnival this weekend, free to attend for all ages. Visitors will find rides, games, live entertainment, food, drinks, treats, and more.

San Diego Magazine’s Best of North County Party
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm, April 21
The Paddock, Del Mar
http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Diego-Magazine/January-2017/Best-of-North-County-Party-2017/

Samples food from North San Diego County’s top restaurants and chefs, and sip on wines and beers from the area’s breweries and wineries at this tasting gala this Friday night. Admission to this event costs $80 per person.

Purple Rain Peepshow
8:00 pm – 11:00 pm, April 21
Harvelle’s, Downtown Long Beach
http://www.dirtylittlesecretsburlesque.com/

Enjoy a sultry burlesque show dedicated to the late Prince this Friday night in Downtown Long Beach. Admission to this show costs $12. No one under 21 may attend.

Extreme Midget Wrestling
9:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 21
Club 80s Bar & Grill, Corona
http://extrememidgetwrestling.com/

You have not witnessed anything unlike midget wrestling. Come watch this unbelievable spectacle this Friday night for a good drunken night. Admission starts at $20. No one under 21 may enter.

Angels 5k & Fun Run
6:00 am – 9:00 am, April 22
Angel Stadium, Anaheim
http://www.race-angels.com/

Take part in a 5k and/or fun run at Angel Stadium this Saturday morning. Registration costs $45 for the 5k or $30 for the fun run.

2017 Cambodian New Year Celebration
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 22
El Dorado Park, Long Beach
http://www.cam-cc.org/

Celebrate Cambodian New Year this Saturday in Long Beach with traditional & modern performances, live music, arts & crafts, games, food, vendors, and more. Tickets plus parking to this all-ages festival cost $30 presale or $40 at the gate.

International Tiki Market Place
10:00 am – 3:00 pm, April 22
Don The Beachcomber, Sunset Beach
http://www.donthebeachcomber.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/319731998441902/

For $10 admission gain access to a plethora of tiki-themed vendors in Sunset Beach this Saturday afternoon. Admission comes with a $10 voucher for food & drink, so technically you get in for free!

Earth Day 2017, Uptown Whittier
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 22
Greenleaf Grassy Area, Uptown Whitter
http://whittieruptown.org/earthday

Bring out the family for some activities, arts & crafts, and more at this free and all-ages event this Saturday late morning in Whittier.

Green Scene Plant & Garden Expo
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 22-23
Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton
http://fullertonarboretum.org/event_green.php

Check out a diverse range of plants, arts & crafts, and more this weekend at the Fullerton Arboretum at Cal State Fullerton. Admission costs $8 for this all-ages event.

22nd Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 22-23
University of Southern California, Los Angeles
http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/

Immerse yourself in a world of literature this weekend on the USC campus, completely free to attend. In addition to finding thousands of books here, visitors can expect live bands, poetry readings, chef demos, cultural entertainment, artists creating their work on-site, a photography exhibit, film screenings, discussion panels on some of today’s hottest topics, and so much more. Parking on campus costs $10, while the indoor seminars cost between $10 to $15 to attend.

26th Annual Poppy Festival
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 22-23
Lancaster City Park, Lancaster
http://www.poppyfestival.com/

Bring out the family to this all-ages family-fun festival this weekend in Lancaster. This festival will have plenty of activities for everyone to get involved with, along with food, drinks, multiple vendors, music, dance, art, games, rides, and more. Admission for regular adults costs $8, while children, seniors, and military can enter for $5.

5th Annual Riverside Tamale Festival
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, April 22
White Park, Riverside
http://rivtamalefest.com/

Enjoy Hispanic food and culture this Saturday afternoon in Riverside. Admission costs only $10, but all guests must pay for tamales at cost, so bring cash for that.

College Area Business District’s ART Street
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, April 22
Social Tap, College Area, San Diego
http://collegeareabid.com/?page_id=2831

Check out dozens of artists booths at this free and all-ages street fair this Saturday afternoon in San Diego. This event will also have live entertainment and a food & beer garden.

2017 Wild West Steam Fest
10:00 am – 8:00 pm, April 22
Heritage Museum of Orange County, Santa Ana
http://www.wildweststeamfest.com/

Steampunk meets the wild west at this all-ages festival this Saturday in Santa Ana. Dress to impress, and enjoy activities such as live music, costume contests, reenactments, arts & crafts, seminars, museum tours, and more. The festival runs until 6pm, and a concert starts at 7pm. Admission costs $30 for the festival, $10 for the concert, $35 for both, or $10 less for children/youth.

9th Annual Hippy Killer Hoedown
10:00 am – 8:00 pm, April 22
Farmers Fairgrounds, Perris
http://hippykillersgarage.blogspot.com/

At this all-ages kustom kulture festival, see all sorts of cars, hot rods, customs, motorcycles, vans, live music, and more. Admission to this event costs $10.

Green Prize Festival
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 22
Houghton Park, Long Beach
http://www.greenprizefestival.com/

Celebrate Earth Day this Saturday in Long Beach. At this free all-ages community festival down by the beach, visitors will find demos by local farms & chefs, live entertainment, local artists, green & eco-friendly services, speakers, arts & crafts, food from local restaurants, delis, food trucks, and more.

Santa Barbara Earth Day 2017
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, April 22-23
Alameda Park, Santa Barbara
http://www.sbearthday.org/

Free to attend for all ages, Santa Barbara will host an Earth Day fair this weekend. Guests will find lots of activities, arts & crafts, live entertainment, food & drinks, and more.

Meat Street Food Festival
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, April 22
Main Place Mall, Santa Ana
http://eatmeatstreet.com/

Foodbeast returns with another food festival this Saturday dedicated to meat. It operates much like their previous festivals – you can either pay for an entry admission to gain access to vendors where you will have to pay for food again, or you can pay for an all-you-can-eat experience that lasts only three hours. Basic admission costs $10, but then you still need cash to pay for anything else once inside. The all-you-can-eat experience costs $50 to attend, and runs from 1pm to 4pm, or 5pm to 8pm. These sessions will include some exclusive food vendors that the basic admission cannot get, which you can see on the website.

2017 California Wine Festival – Dana Point
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, April 22
Lantern Bay Park, Dana Point
http://californiawinefestival.com/events/orange-county

Enjoy food and wine at this wine tasting event this Saturday afternoon in Dana Point. General admission costs $69 and starts at 1pm, early admission costs $89 and starts at 12pm, and VIP admission costs $109, starts at 12pm, and includes a few extra VIP perks.

7th Annual San Clemente Micro-Brew Fest
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, April 22
Left Coast Brewing Company, San Clemente
http://www.scchamber.com/

Enjoy an afternoon of beer and food in San Clemente this Saturday afternoon. This beer festival will contain 17 local breweries all serving their wonderful brews, and food from local non-profit groups. General admission costs $35 presale or $40 at the door, and starts at 1pm. Early entry costs $45, and starts at 12pm. All attendees will receive 12 4oz beer pours.

Spring 2017 Dapper Day
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, April 22
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, April 23
Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim
http://dapperday.com/spring-2017-disneyland-ca

Dress to impress at this FREE and all-ages style expo this weekend at the Disneyland Resort. A plethora of activities will take place between the hotel and the amusement park throughout the weekend, so check the website to see what will occur. Some activities may require a fee. Visitors may park for free for up to two hours at the Downtown Disney parking lot.

10th Annual CityBeat Festival of Beers
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, April 22
Lafayette Hotel, San Diego
http://citybeatbeerfest.com/

Looking to get your beer on this weekend? Head to the San Diego CityBeat Festival of Beers, where guests receive UNLIMITED pours from over 50 breweries plus the souvenir taster cup. Guests may purchase food at an additional cost. General admission costs $45 and starts at 2pm, while VIP admission costs $55 and starts at 1pm. No one under 21 may enter.

3rd Annual STEAM Carnival
2:00 pm – 7:00 pm, April 22
Great Park, Irvine
http://ipsf.net/steam-carnival.html

Bring out the family to this free and all-ages event this Saturday afternoon in Irvine featuring activities, games, and other arts & crafts surrounding science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

Watermelon Blonde Party
2:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 22
Hamilton Family Brewery, Rancho Cucamonga
http://www.hamiltonfamilybrewery.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/178089952707794/

Rancho Cucamonga’s Hamilton Family Brewery will release a spring seasonal beer this Saturday, and they will also have a watermelon eating contest and other fun watermelon inspired games and activities throughout the day. This event has no admission fee – simpy show up, and enjoy a cold one or two.

Playhouse District Wine Walk
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, April 22
Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena
http://www.playhousedistrict.org/calendar-of-events/wine-walk

For $25, you get six wine tastings at this small wine tasting event in Pasadena this Saturday evening.

South Coast Roller Derby Double Header
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 22
Laguna Hills Community Center, Laguna Hills
http://www.southcoastrollerderby.com/

Watch intense & brutal girl-on-girl action at this roller derby bout this Saturday night in Laguna Hills. Tickets to this roller derby bout cost $8 presale or $10 at the door.

Half Past Two’s 10th Anniversary
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 22
House of Blues, Anaheim
http://www.halfpasttwoska.com/

Get your skanking on at this all-ages ska show this Saturday night in Anaheim. The cover for this show costs $10.

Life In Color San Diego 2017
9:00 pm – 3:00 am, April 22
Valley View Casino Center, San Diego
http://lifeincolor.com/

Some genius decided to take a nighttime color glow run and do away with the running. Now we have this nighttime color glow music fest. General admission to this concert costs $70. No one under 18 may attend.

Pomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show
5:00 am – 2:00 pm, April 23
Fairplex, Pomona
http://www.pomonaswapmeet.com/

See thousands of original and restored classic cars at the Fairplex this Sunday morning. Many of the vendors will also sell automotive accessories, parts, and more as well. This all-ages show cost $10 to enter, while children 10 and under get in free with a paid adult admission. Parking costs $10 per vehicle – guests must enter via gate 17 on Fairplex Drive, directly off the 10 freeway.

6th Annual Long Beach Walk for Kids
7:00 am – 10:00 am, April 23
Shoreline Aquatic Park, Long Beach
http://www.walkforkids.org/longbeach

Go on a walk to raise money for awareness this Sunday morning in Long Beach. Registration for this walk costs $25.

2017 La Jolla Half Marathon & Shores 5k
7:30 am – 10:30 am, April 23
Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar
http://www.lajollahalfmarathon.com/

A half marathon will take place in San Diego County this Sunday morning that stretches from Del Mar to La Jolla. Registration for the half marathon costs $120, while registration for the 5k costs $45.

EPIC Series Los Angeles
8:00 am – 3:00 pm, April 23
Los Angeles Police Academy, Elysian Park
http://www.epicseriesocr.com/upcoming-events/epic-series-los-angeles/

Test your might at this all-ages obstacle course this Sunday morning in Los Angeles. Registration costs $65 for the open course or $70 for the competitive course. The kids course costs $10 to participate in.

31st Annual Fallbrook Avocado Festival
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 23
Main Street, Downtown Fallbrook
http://www.fallbrookchamberofcommerce.org/events-v2/avocado-festival.html

This annual local treat returns to Fallbrook this Sunday to celebrate the legacy of the California avocado. Free to attend for all ages, visitors will find hundreds of vendors booths, arts & crafts, live entertainment, food & drinks, activities, and more.

28th Annual San Diego Earth Fair
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 23
Balboa Park, San Diego
http://earthdayweb.org/

This FREE and all-ages Earth Day celebration takes place this Sunday at Balboa Park in San Diego. Bring the family out to enjoy this fair with art galleries, “green” food, arts & crafts, vendors, a parade, and more.

Tiger Army with T.S.O.L. & Gamblers Mark
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 23
Majestic Ventura Theater, Ventura
http://www.tigerarmy.com/

Legendary psychobilly band Tiger Army currently tours across the world, and that tour swings through Southern California this week. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $30.

Video games have undergone some substantial changes over the past few years. Those who grew up in the 1990’s era of video games desire nostalgia, and a lot of old-school style games have made a comeback. With all the new programs, software, and technology available today, virtually anyone can now develop their own video games and get it distributed to the public via the internet. Today’s video games ranged from classic 8-bit or 16-bit style games to rich, beautiful games with tons of graphics and objects. Beyond the standard video games, we now have virtual reality games to further immerse players into the games that they play. With all of the big games and new technology out, sometimes the lesser known games get filtered out fast. Check out these five games of PC that I recommend taking a look at this season.

5. Senran Kagura: Estival Versus (Steam link)

We start off the list with a game not suitable for children. The hack & slash genre usually employs ridiculous mechanics of one versus the world, where a sole person takes out hundreds of foes in one battle. Dynasty Warriors perfected that formula, but that series lacked something. When you take hack & slash and combine it with fanservice, you get the Senran Kagura series. The Senran Kagura series revolves around dozens of high school girls with shinobi powers. Armed with a variety of weapons, these girls can beat up hordes of baddies, and when the going gets tough, like in many anime series, they can transform into one of two more powerful forms. As for the fanservice part, when the girls take too much damage, their clothes rip off. The series has a handful of games, but this post focuses on Senran Kagura: Estival Versus. Essentially part two of the second timeline (the first timeline started on the Nintendo 3DS), Estival improves a lot of gameplay from the first game and adds new characters and modes. The base game released for the PC in mid March and costs $39.99 with additional DLC sold separately, which includes new characters and extra costumes. Keep in mind that this game will spoil some of the story from the first game, so if you want to learn more about the lore of Senran Kagura, I highly suggest looking at the first game, Shinovi Versus.

4. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Those who have played the Ace Attorney (Phoenix Wright) games will not want to miss out on the Danganronpa series. While both games have an anime art style, Ace Attorney focus on courtrooms and attorneys, while Danganronpa focuses on high school teenagers. However, gameplay in the Danganronpa series remains similar to the Ace Attorney games – you spend time investigating for clues and evidence to solve murder cases, then you go to trial with your found evidence to solve the case while disputing lies and inconsistencies told by the others. These games really test your mental capacity to spot even the minor details where something does not match up or someone said one word wrong. The first game in the series, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, comes to you for $29.99. The first game does not have as many mechanics as the later games, but serves as a backdrop for the setting of the Danganronpa universe, explaining why things work the way they do in their world. By completing the first game, you avoid spoilers if you decide to play the later games.

3. Master X Master

Out of the most popular video games across the globe today, League of Legends remains one of the top games. Consistently in the top 5 watched games, League of Legends has set a benchmark for the MOBA genre for others to compete with. Other MOBA games such as DOTA 2, Heroes of the Storm, Smite, and Vain Glory still have a decent audience, but simply cannot compete with the juggernaut known as League of Legends. However, a new challenger appears with the hopes of gaining as much popularity as the aforementioned games. Enter Master X Master (MXM), a different approach to the standard MOBA game. Developed by NCSoft, MXM represents an Action MOBA, a step in a different direction than the rest. The game plays in a top-down isometric view similar to League of Legends, but uses WASD to move instead of click-to-move that the other games have. Players uses the mouse to aim and attack, not move (unless a skill causes movement). This provides a unique spin to the genre, and sits in a nice medium between a MOBA and an ARPG (Diablo, Path of Exlie, etc). MXM currently operates in Beta this month, and as such will close their servers on April 27th. Check out their website to register to play right now, and keep an eye out for its official release, which should occur later this year.

2. Hollow Knight

Independent game developers often face troubles getting their game up and running. Obstacles include marketing, funding development, programming, and much more. Often times, it makes sense to crowdsource, or ask for small donations from the public in order to get going. Some crowdsourcing can fall flat, while others can garner lots of attention. Luckily in the case of Hollow Knight, their crowdsourcing efforts paid off, and Hollow Knight represents one of the highest crowdsourced games in existence, if not the highest. Also luckily, the developers followed through on their promise to deliver a rich, immersive, fun, and difficult game all at the same time. Released in late February, this 2D action-platformer game carries elements of traditional Metroid and Castlevania games, where the protagonist explores a large world to obtain upgrades to further explore the world. Players have fallen in love with Hollow Knight’s art style and high difficulty that tests a player’s true gaming skill. $14.99 gets you a great experience that will provide countless hours of entertainment.

1. Giga Wrecker (Steam link)

Sometimes a company makes one product so popular that the general public recognizes that company for one product, even if that company has many other products. For example, in the beer world, when one mentions Hangar 24, most people will immediately think of their Orange Wheat beer. In video games, this occurs quite often, especially with a little company called Game Freak. When people hear Game Freak, they immediately think of Pokémon. However, Game Freak makes many more video games than just Pokémon. They make a lot of singular games without a series, which kind of sets Game Freak as an indie developer. One of their games includes Giga Wrecker, a charming throwback to 16-bit era games. Those who have played Mega Man, Metroid, or Castlevania games will know what to do in Giga Wrecker, a puzzle-platformer with some action elements. Many of the maps have puzzles that make use of gravity and physics in order to reach an item, switch, or door. Some of these puzzles can greatly frustrate players, but the satisfaction of finally solving a room means so much. Players will also encounter eight boss fights throughout the game that take place in a single room similar to Mega Man. Giga Wrecker released in mid-February, costs $19.99, and includes a level builder/creator that you can share online for others to try.

The age of the domestic beer monopoly in the United States shrinks with each passing day. The beer industry around the world dominates the alcoholic beverage industry, as consumers drink 3,500 bottles of beer for every one glass of wine – that makes 8,000 times more beer consumed by the liter. Annually, consumers worldwide drink 189 billion liters of beer, but only 24 million liters of wine. While drinking habits may peak during certain times of the year such as holidays, the consumption of beverages remains fairly consistent and rarely makes huge changes in consumption from one day to the next. The changing seasons do have a great effect on the types and styles of beers consumed, as more people start to prefer beers not as rich as some of the winter-style brews. In this transitional season between winter and summer, the unpredictable weather means that we can still enjoy the richer beers typically consumed during colder weather while starting to explore the refreshment of summer-style beers. For the right kind of beer to enjoy until summer kicks in after Memorial Day, check out these five beers each with a unique flavor profile of its own.

5. Surf Brewery‘s Blueberry Wahine Wheat

With the arrival of spring comes the rebirth of many natural objects. Flowers start to bloom, animals start to bustle with activity, and fresh fruits start to appear. The arrival of spring also brings about a change in the weather, which starts to heat up and bring about more daylight hours. This makes the beach a great place to start visiting more often, and this makes more refreshing drinks more desirable. Enter Surf Brewery, who knows that both of the aforementioned go great together when springtime rolls around annually. The beach and alcoholic drinks go well together, albeit one cannot legally drink in public. However, if you get the chance to, make sure you enjoy the Blueberry Wahine Wheat at the beach. At a sessionable 5.0%, blueberries give this witbier a refreshingly slightly fruity flavor and aroma. The light tartness and light body does not attack the palate, so you can enjoy this on its own or with light foods such as fish tacos.

4. Belching Beaver Brewery‘s Horchata Imperial Stout

Almost every brewery has some flagship beer that people everywhere recognize the brewery for. For example, Sam Adams has their Boston Lager, New Belgium has their Fat Tire, Stone Brewing has their IPA, and Hangar 24 has their Orange Wheat. If you ask any craft beer enthusiast about Belching Beaver Brewery, they will rave about the brewery’s Peanut Butter Milk Stout, partially because it tastes more like a dessert than a beer. Like the aforementioned breweries, Belching Beaver delivers a lot more than just their most popular beer. Sometimes, they even make a slight variation of it where the end product tastes completely different, such as their Horchata Imperial Stout. Fans of the Peanut Butter Milk Stout would love this horchata-flavored brew, as it basically tastes like a roasted version of horchata. This 9.0% abv imperial stout contains vanilla, cinnamon, and rice malt just like horchata, only now it has alcohol in it. For a fancy treat, serve this beer with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it. With Cinco de Mayo coming up, your friends and family would love you for serving this to them to celebrate in style.

3. The Pike Brewing Company‘s Octopus Ink Black IPA

Many breweries have some sort of theme to not only their beers, but their entire lifestyle. For example, Unsung Brewing has a comic book theme, and Florida Keys Brewing has a fishing theme. Sometimes these themes get them more popularity from unrelated industries, sometimes these themes can get you in legal trouble. For those who stick with their theme, it makes for a more interesting experience to indulge in and share, plus it also gives people something to talk about. If you visit the famous Pike Place Market in Seattle, no doubt one will encounter The Pike Brewing Company. This local legend started as the local watering hole, and has since turned into a known name across the country. Pike Brewing gives back to the local community that has supported them for many years in the form of their Octopus Ink Black IPA. A deep, dark brown ale with a dense tan head, this 8.3% American black ale contains bold aromas of citrus, pine, and floral notes with coffee and cocoa in the background. It tastes of a sweet dark malt with a creamy, roasty finish. A portion of every Pike Octopus Ink Black IPA sale benefits Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, so drink up!

2. Anderson Valley Brewing Company‘s Horse Tongue Wheat

Sour ales have risen in popularity alongside standard ales, and they have grown so much that sour ales have their own categories by now. In fact, some breweries grow their sour line of ales so much that they need to open a separate facility in order to increase their production of sour ales. Some of these “blenderies” exist in Southern California, such as Beachwood Blendery or Bruery Terreux. Lots of other breweries out there that do not specialize in sour ales do in fact produce a sour ale, such as Anderson Valley Brewing Company. I always underestimate Anderson Valley because, like another known brewery, they tend to stay in the middle of the fray instead of trying to stand out. Perhaps they do this on purpose to avoid controversy by making good beers without getting the attention of the big companies. This means that Anderson Valley can continue to churn out beers such as Horse Tongue Wheat. Coined as a 5.3% American wild ale, Anderson Valley takes a Belgian wheat beer and ages it in white wine barrels to give it a very slightly sour taste. Although not totally tart, this represents a good gateway beer to segway into the more tart sour ales.

1. High Water Brewing‘s Boom Boom Out Gose The Lights

With all the hype over craft beer in the past few years, some millenials want something different to stay ahead of the trends. Some may think that they enjoyed craft beer before it became popular, and thus they seek something else to try. Perhaps craft cider can come into the limelight? How about lesser known styles of beer? If you want a type of beer not often touched on, High Water Brewing has just the answer. Based in California’s Bay Area, High Water Brewing has made lots of waves up in Northern California, from San Jose to Chico to Sacramento to Alameda and more. Though one cannot easily pinpoint their exact location, High Water Brewing has their beers pretty much everywhere by now, including their Boom Boom Out Gose The Lights. Brewed as a gose-inspired style ale, this 7.30% brew primarily contains apple juice, galangal root, and pink Himalayan sea salt. This brew represents a traditional sour mash with less-than traditional ingredients. This refreshing champagne-like beer gose great with any celebratory purposes for its similarity to other toasting beverages.

Perception never falls into the simple categorization of black versus white. Perception falls anywhere within a boundless spectrum of antipodes. The problem lies with people’s ability to conceive perceptions beyond their scope. You can ask a person what type of music they love the most, while the next person may loathe that type of music. Most people claim to not like country music, yet the truth reveals that they simply have no preference for it; however, few people actually get adamant about the music. Going beyond preferences commonly exists in food and beverages. Where one person may call something “the best,” another will claim something else as better. For example, my father swears by the $2 wine from Trader Joe’s, unable to accept that pricier fine wines taste better. Some people say that no other burger can top a common burger from corporate fast food or corporate restaurants. People truly get attached to their fast food burgers and refuse to believe that better burgers exist out there. Whether or not you claim to know about the best burger in the world, I encourage you to seek out these five burgers in the greater Los Angeles area this season and give them a try. Who knows – maybe you will alter your opinions after one bite!

5. Eat Chow‘s Chow BBQ Burger

Portion size means a lot to the typical person who goes out to eat. Fine-dining restaurants focus on quality over quantity, so while fine-dining entrées appear small, it makes up for it with outstanding flavor. Generally, people want that happy medium between fine-dining and fast food, a restaurant that serves high-quality yet affordable food, something that Eat Chow specializes in. Now with three locations in Orange County, Eat Chow does not boast too much, perhaps because their foods speaks for itself. Eat Chow takes common foods and makes them well, from their burgers to the sandwiches to the entrées and more. Clearly a lot of care has gone into the dishes, evident by how much of the food’s natural flavor one can taste. In addition to the heightened food quality, Eat Chow doles up generous portion sizes too, such as in their Chow BBQ Burger. This grass-fed chuck patty comes topped with housemade barbecue sauce, smoked gouda cheese, crispy onion strings, bacon, mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, and tomatoes on a brioche bun. You can take on this huge burger for just $13.

4. Ocean Diner‘s Kiss Me Kate Burger

Different ingredients yield different flavors to the palate. Some ingredients have mild flavors, while some ingredients have extreme flavors. Some of the extreme-flavored ingredients may come with inauspicious side effects, such as spicy foods attacking the taste buds or foods invoking halitosis, or bad breath. Some of the latter ingredients taste so good that people often endure the side effects, such as garlic. For a calamity of ingredients that can cause bad breath, Ocean Diner has found just the combination. From the outside, Ocean Diner looks like your typical small-town American diner. However, Ocean Diner truly has some amazing things going on in here, such as their Kiss Me Kate Burger. This specialty burger comes with bacon-roasted garlic puree, grilled onions, and goat cheese. This $11.95 comes served with French fries, mashed potatoes, brown rice, coleslaw, or cottage cheese. As a special menu item, it will not last forever, so head over to Ocean Diner fast before this burger leaves their menu!

3. green2Go‘s Grass-Fed Bison Burger

A simple human truth states that people desire control in their lives. When someone lacks control over a situation, they may start to feel stress or panic. Give someone control, and they feel a lot more comfortable over their situation. This applies to all walks of life, including food, and green2Go gives you that control over your food. green2Go uses only the freshest all-natural ingredients to ensure pure flavor and nutrition. While you may certainly order any of their items as the menu describes, green2Go proudly offers a Build-Your-Own section where you get to dress up your favorite menu items, such as their Grass-Fed Bison Burger. This bison patty comes on your choice of brioche or squaw bread, or a lettuce-wrap, organic lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a dill pickle. From there, you can select up to four add-ons to accompany your plate, which you can pick by walking up to the BYO bar to the left of the front counter. For $16, this burger comes to you with your choice of a side salad or roasted mini potatoes.

2. Abricott‘s Lemongrass Chicken Burger

Who says that a burger must contain a ground beef patty? Not all burgers must contain beef.  We have seen multiple different types of burgers, such as turkey burgers, salmon burgers, and even vegetarian patty burgers. We rarely ever see a chicken burger, much less a chicken burger done right. Abricott would like to turn that perception around. Known for their French-Asian cuisine, Abricott remains a staple in local Pasadena food, and has attracted the attention of locals and travelers alike. Pasadena brings in huge amounts of travelers between the convention center and the Rose Bowl, and travelers often want to savor the local flavor. Abricott’s menu covers multiple forms of food, including their Lemongrass Chicken Burger. Not just any old burger, this burger contains a ground chicken patty seasoned with lemongrass, topped with tomato, onions, lettuce, and mayonnaise served on a bun with coconut tamarind sauce. At $10.95, you can taste this unique burger that few other places can match in flavor.

1. Gus’s Barbecue‘s Brisket Burnt End Burger

When one orders a burger, one can typically expect a ground beef patty supported by various toppings, correct? The beef patty usually stars as the protagonist in the story known as the burger, but once in a while a burger may feature more than one co-protagonist. For a story featuring more than one star, we turn to Gus’s Barbecue in South Pasadena. A local barbecue legend, Gus’s Barbecue has done barbecue right for such a long time that they know exactly how to apply their prized meats to other forms of food. For example, take their Brisket Burnt End Burger. This beef burger comes topped with beef brisket burnt ends, cheese sauce, pickled jalapeños, and mustard on a toasted pretzel bun. All burgers come with your choice of French fries, sweet potato fries, potato salad, cole slaw, or BBQ baked beans. You can pound this mound of meat at Gus’s Barbecue for $13.95.

Craft beer has certainly evolved a lot over the past few years. It appears that simply five years ago, many of today’s top microbreweries had either just started to emerge, or began their planning phases to open their doors to the public. Who would have expected to now see as many breweries around as we had originally thought years ago? Like the gourmet food truck fad that rose to fame in 2010, many entrepreneurs wanted to get in on the craft beer fad, which led to the saturation of breweries that large metropolitan areas now face. Many of the less popular breweries have since closed up shop, and some of the very popular breweries got bought out by corporate big beer. These days, one must do much more than simply open up a microbrewery, as they would face stiff competition. How does one accomplish that? Well it appears that Dutch’s Brewhouse has already done just that.

Nestled in the quaint Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach, Dutch’s Brewhouse brings a local craft beer presence to North Long Beach. As part of the 2017 influx of craft beer into Long Beach, Dutch’s Brewhouse hopes to deliver a different kind of craft beer experience to their area, especially since Bixby Knolls’ last major gastropub closed at the end of 2015. At the moment, Dutch’s Brewhouse actually does not have any house beers – if you walk in to Dutch’s Brewhouse today, you walk into a place that serves pizza and other breweries’ beers. In the near future, this will change once they get everything set up – not only will they start to serve their own house beers, but they will have a guest pilot system that allows customers to come in and brew their own beer. At the front of their shop lies a small pilot system, and once Dutch’s Brewhouse gets everything put into place, customers can book appointments and come in to brew. Very few places offer this service, so this marks a triumphant entry into the local craft beer market, especially for Long Beach since they have lacked local breweries for quite some time.

If you have interest in brewing your own beer but do not want to acquire all the equipment necessary to do so, check out Dutch’s Brewhouse in Long Beach when they can finally start going. Make sure you follow up with Dutch’s Brewhouse on Facebook and Twitter for updates on when they will start allowing brewing.