Author Archives: Chip

Sponsor Spotlight: Total Wine & More

For our very first World Water Day Game-a-thon, the U-Pick Crew received a generous donation from Total Wine & More for our Prize Giveaways!

As America’s largest independent retailer of fine wine, Total Wine & More stands out as an amazing source for quality spirits.  They have over 130 superstores located across 18 states, with a typical store carrying over 8,000 different wines, 2,500 different beers, and more than 3,000 different spirits in every style and price range.  Their knowledgeable and polite staff are eager to assist customers find great prices on old favorites, or to help discover new and delicious beverages from their wide variety.

Total Wine & More

As the resident beer geek of the U-Pick Crew, I can attest that Total Wine & More has an amazing selection of craft and import beers, many of which are offered in a handy make-your-own-six-pack variety.  On every visit to their stores, I have encountered excellent customer service from their kind associates, who regularly recommend tasty and novel brews for me to try.

In addition to their retail philosophy, Total Wine & More is committed to supporting the communities in which we work and live.  The company gives to a number of diverse charities and local non-profits, focusing on contributions to organizations that foster humanities, health services, and education.  In 2015, Total Wine & More donated over $6 million through in-kind and monetary contributions to 7,000+ local charities in 18 states, which in turn helped them raise over $36 million to support their programs.

Whether you are a wine aficionado or a fledgling craft beer explorer, be sure to check out Total Wine & More’s stores and their website for a great variety and knowledgeable staff!

Hyrule Historia Prize for #WorldWaterDay

[Update]: Congrats to our winner, JohnLockeCole!

On Monday March 21st starting at 8:30pm and ending at 9:30pm ET, we will be giving away a hardcover copy of Hyrule Historia from our generous hosts, Comics and Gaming Fairfax!


This beautiful 280-page book features tons of never-before-seen information and artwork from the Legend of Zelda series.  Hyrule Historia includes concept art, the full history of Hyrule, the official chronology of the series, and much more!


Fans of the Legend of Zelda will find all sorts of treasures in this tome, while newcomers to the series will have a vast wealth of knowledge at their fingertips.

The U-Pick Crew is very grateful to Comics and Gaming Fairfax for their donation to our first World Water Day event, and we look forward to giving this awesome bundle away to one of our viewers!

Portal Gun Replica Prize for #WorldWaterDay

[Update]: Congrats to our winner, green_b!

On Tuesday March 22nd starting at 8:30pm and ending at 9:30pm ET, we will be giving away a Limited Edition Portal Gun Replica.  This Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device is an officially licensed Portal/Portal 2 collectible made by NECA.

Custom Portal Gun donated by ThinkGeek


The device is a life-size 1:1 scale replica of Chell’s fantastic contraption, limited to only 5000 pieces worldwide.  It features adjustable blue and orange lights, along with unique sounds that correspond to each color (requires three C-batteries, not included).  It’s a perfect item for cosplay, or sit on your mantle for all to bask in its glory.


The U-Pick Crew is very grateful to ThinkGeek for their donation to our first World Water Day event, and we look forward to giving this rare collectible away to one of our viewers!

Announcement Incoming: Giveaways at the World Water Day Game-a-thon

For our very first World Water Day Game-a-thon, the U-Pick Crew has something special in store for our viewers: Prize Giveaways!

Over the course of our 28-hour marathon, we will have four scheduled giveaway hours, each with its own awesome prize!  How do you win such fabulous prizes?  Tune in during the scheduled giveaways and exchange your Karma Points for raffle tickets.  The best way to earn Karma Points is through donations, however you can earn small amounts by simply tuning in and watching the stream.

At the end of each giveaway hour, the raffle will be closed and our dedicated MechaGengarBot will randomly select a ticket and announce the winner in chat!  Please note that the winner must be present in chat to send us a private message via MechaGengarBot’s announcement.

You can also check out all of the prizes and their scheduled giveaway hours over on our aptly named Prizes page. We will also be previewing each prize on our blog leading up to the marathon, starting with a generous gift from Total Wine & More!

[Update]: Congrats to our winner, SuperChloe!

On Tuesday March 22nd starting at 12:30pm and ending at 1:30pm ET, we will be giving away a $25 gift card from Total Wine & More.  This gift card can be used at any of the over 130 Total Wine & More retail locations across 18 states.  Please note that only those who are at least 21 years of age can use this gift card at Total Wine & More.


Since opening their doors in 1991, Total Wine & More has been committed to enriching the lives of wine lovers, as well as supporting the communities in which we work and live. In 2015, Total Wine & More donated over $6 million through in-kind and monetary contributions to 7,000+ local charities in 18 states, which in turn helped them raise over $36 million to support their programs.

The U-Pick Crew is very grateful to Total Wine & More for their donation to our first World Water Day event, and we look forward to giving this fabulous prize away to one of our viewers!

A Foodie’s Guide to Deadly Premonition

Zach, I’m heading to the town of Greenvale to investigate the bizarre murder of Anna Graham.  During my time trying to solve this case, I will be sure to keep you posted on all of the delicious dishes (and gallons of coffee) I encounter along the way.

Deadly Premonition - York is very particular about his coffee

Please don’t misunderstand, Zach- the gravity of this situation is not lost on me.  But I think it is just as important to investigate the culinary delights this sleepy mountain town has to offer. It’s just like you always say Zach, “the secret to happiness is to give yourself a present every day, once a day.”

Deadly Premonition - A "bagel sandwich"

When I arrived at the station, I was presented with a homemade bagel sandwich by Deputy Emily Wyatt.  At least, I think it was a bagel sandwich.  That’s what she said it was.  Sweet girl.  I think she has a crush on me, which is a shame because she seems to have no idea how food works.

Deadly Premonition - Pickle Can

After washing away the simultaneously burnt and undercooked bagel abomination with my 20th cup of coffee, I was provided a day’s rations from Sheriff George Woodman.  These rations came in the form of various canned goods, including that American classic, canned pickles.  There’s nothing more nourishing and patriotic than pickles in a can.

Deadly Premonition - Delicious, delicious buscuit

As we headed off to the crime scene, I was surprised to hear the sheriff’s assistant Thomas MacLaine would not be joining us.  Apparently, he cannot stand the sight of blood.  Or dead bodies.  Or trees and the outdoors.  Strange guy, but he makes one hell of a biscuit.  Zach, remind me to ask him for the recipe.

Deadly Premonition - Really, really rare beef

Once we finished our survey of the crime scene, Sheriff Woodman offered to take us out for lunch at the local A&G Diner.  He ordered a plate of locally sourced high quality beef for the table to share, although the meat seemed a little rare for my tastes.

Deadly Premonition - WHY IS THAT MEAT PURPLE?!?

While the sheriff was wolfing down four steaks at once, I saw local eccentric Harry Stewart roll up to the counter and order THAT sandwich.  You know what I’m talking about, Zach.  That meal of self-inflicted punishment to atone for past sins: turkey piled high on a bed of jam and crushed cereal.  That, pardon my language Zach, damned Sinner’s Sandwich.


When the hideously purple grub came out, I am ashamed to admit that I was drawn to it.  Zach, the abyss of terrible flavor yawned before me, and in my weakness, I took a bite. In consuming, I was consumed.

Deadly Premonition - Detective York just can't believe this sandwich

Overall, not too bad.  I’d give it an 8/10.


[What other great and terrible foods will Special Agent Francis York Morgan put in his face? Donate to see Deadly Premonition to find out!]

How to Unlock the Secret Ending in Battletoads

Hey there, gamers!  Chip Chasterson here with the top secret tricks to master your Nintendo Entertainment System.  This week, I got the inside scoop from Rare on how to unlock the secret ending in their latest brawler bash, Battletoads.  Check it out!

Battletoads: Level 1 - Ragnarok's Canyon

By now, you’ve wrecked the robot in Ragnarok’s Canyon and crushed the crows in the Wookie Hole.  Now it’s time to tackle the tricky Turbo Tunnel.  While a lot of other websites will tell ya that this is only the third level in Battletoads, we’ve gotten the official word from Rare that the Turbo Tunnel is actually the secret final level!  How do you get the real ending?  Clean out your ears and listen up!

First things first, ya gotta take care of those slimy Scuzz.  Just give ‘em the Big Bad Boot or the Jawbuster and these rats will kick the bucket.  After a few well-placed punches, you’re ready to hop on your Speed Bike to freedom!

Battletoads Turbo Tunnel

Once you’re sitting pretty on the Speed Bike, you will notice some pink walls showing up on the right side of the screen.  While every part of your Gamer Skillz(™) is telling ya to dodge the walls, you wanna run into these rose-colored rocks to unlock the true ending.  I know it sounds crazy, and the instruction manual says to watch out, but that thing is full of lies!  Drive into the walls and save the day!

After you crash into those walls enough times, you will be treated to the real ending for Battletoads- Game Over, You Win!

Battletoads Secret Ending

Want to see us try for the “secret ending?” Battletoads is one of over 40 games you can make us play for your enjoyment, by donating money to clean water projects in UPickVG IV! Donate now for Battletoads!

Sponsor Spotlight – Component Magazine

Component Magazine - Issue 1 CoverIf you’ve been following U-Pick on Twitter (which you should, we’re great) , you may have noticed a big announcement about a gaming magazine called Component. This shiny, new publication comes from one of our very own U-Pick Crew members, and features a collection of essays and artwork on the subject of video games. Component is available as a print-on-demand magazine through Blurb and as an instant PDF, sold directly through the Component website.

Just like the U-Pick Crew, the editor and contributors of Component thoroughly believe in gaming for good causes. As a result, 100% of the profits from Component will be donated to the fundraisers of the U-Pick Video Game Marathon for Charity.

The first issue is filled with stories about the contributors’ most cherished games. Some are first encounters where a lasting bond was established. Others are tales of transition, where these beloved games have stood by their side as a supportive medium. All of them reflect the wonder that can be found in moments of play and through them we share the happiness of a cherished hobby.

Games highlighted in the articles and artwork of Issue One include: Mega Man 2, Super Mario 64, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Metal Gear: Solid, Spyro the Dragon, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Pokémon: Yellow Version, Halo: Combat Evolved, and Okami.

Component will be released semi-annually, and the second issue has a tentative release of December 2015. Please be sure to follow Chip, the editor of Component, on Twitter (@gimmgp) for news about the magazine and related video game musings. You can also check out the Component Blog page for updates and other works from the brilliant and creative contributors.

Achievement Unlocked: Weekly Broadcasts

2015 is upon us, fellow humans! Time to tighten our belts, focus our minds, and make a list of goals for the new year. Our resolution: more video game broadcasts!Cheevo: Weekly Broadcasts

That’s right, friends: the U-Pick Team has leveled-up and we will be streaming fresh batches of games every week. These shorter broadcasts will be more casual, sort of like rehearsals for the bigger charity events later in the year.

Some weeks we will be playing games based around a central theme, like “Oddball SquareSoft Titles” or “Girls’ Night In.” Other weeks will be a random assortment of awesome, like last week’s broadcast of the original Legend of Zelda, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, Bayonetta 2, and some bonus Donkey Kong Country Returns.

Speaking of last week’s broadcast, the archive footage is uploaded and available for your viewing pleasure for the next two weeks. Just hop on over to our page and enjoy the first of many weekly broadcasts!

Be sure to tune in every Sunday around 4pm EST (9pm UTC) for a fresh line-up of great games and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on the next batch of titles. Here’s a hint for next week: car crashes, dopey dinosaurs, and cheerleaders with chainsaws.