Still Alive

Oh, hello there. It’s been quiet around here lately, hasn’t it. Sadly, my focus seems to be on videos now. Well, not sadly. I like doing videos, and the feedback I’ve been getting is great, but I am sad I don’t write as much anymore.

While it’s been quiet on the blog, I myself have not been quiet. In fact, I can’t seem to shut the hell up. I’ve been a guest on a number of podcasts lately, 3 of which are out for your listening pleasure.

First, I was on the Rocket Pants Podcast. I talked to Alex, Chris and Jon about what I’ve been playing, tried to answer some really tough trivia questions and we had a discussion about whether retro or modern gaming is superior.

I was also on The GameEnthus podcast, for the second time. I talked to Aaron, Mike, and Tiny about a ton of things. Deadpool, XCOM2, MAGfest, the X-Files, the list goes on.

Last, but not least, I was on the RF Generation Collectorcast. My boyfriend Will and I were both invited on to talk about the SegaCD with Duke Togo and WildBil. This was cool, as it was really the first time Will and I have collaborated on any content creation. Also, I got to talk about my love of FMV games.

I also recorded two other podcasts which should be coming out shortly. I’ll let you know when those are out.

Video-wise, I’ve put out a few things. A couple highlights are my top 5 games on the PS1. It was hard to not just pick 5 JRPGs.

Also, I also just put out a funny/sad video where I read a bunch of mean comments people have left on my channel. It seems to be pretty popular so far, because who can look away from a car crash?

Also, I’m working on a secret mystery thing, but that’s not ready to be revealed yet. (Oooh, mysterious)

That’s it for now. Hopefully the writing bug bites me again at some point.

 

XCOM2 Tips and a Strategy Game Question

XCOM2 is out! I basically play this 12 hours a day now, I’m having so much fun with it. I thought I’d parlay all that time played into a video with 10 tips to get you started with the game. Here it is:

I got a comment on the video, which I haven’t responded to yet, that asks what it is about XCOM that appeals to me. They go on to say that in their experience women aren’t very in to the strategy genre but have a seen a ton playing and talking about XCOM2 and they wonder what about it appeals to women moreso than other strategy games.

First, I obviously am not a fan of sweeping generalizations about what genres appeal to each genre. Second, women are not a monolith so aside from the fact that XCOM features just as many women as men, which I think is a draw, I can’t really say why anyone else is attracted to the game. Third, my experience is contrary to the commenters. I know lot of women who play and talk about strategy games like Civ, Crusader Kings, Banished, Cities: Skylines, Warcraft, Starcraft, but when I fangirl out about XCOM it’s mostly men who respond in kind.

Lastly, I tried to think of some common denominator shared between the strategy games I love. I like the alien and sci-fi aspect of XCOM – but also like high fantasy strategy games and the semi-realistic nature of Civilization. I love that I can micromanage the tactical combat in XCOM, as opposed to just building and placing units and letting them do their thing – but not being able to do that doesn’t turn me off the others. I like that in Civ I can get cultural and technological victories rather than fight – but I’m also good with the all military, all the time nature of XCOM.

Which brings me to my questions for you. Do you like strategy games? What draws you to the ones you like? Alternatively, if you don’t like Strategy games, why not?

The X-Files Game

The X-Files is coming back to television in less than a week! That means it’s time to review The X-Files Game on PlayStation 1. Check out the video if you want my thoughts on the game or want to learn some embarrassing stories about me from when I first started watching the show.

 

Mourning Rant

David Bowie has died. It hit me pretty hard, harder than any other celebrity death. He always seemed so ethereal, whether he was playing Jareth the Goblin King, Ziggy Stardust, or Phillip Jeffries. He’s an artist who was always evolving, always re-inventing, and the world is poorer for having lost him. Luckily, the influence he has had on music, popular culture and ideas about gender and sexuality aren’t going anywhere.

Content warning for the next part: discussion of underage sex/statutory rape

Yesterday, amidst bouts of crying over the Bowie’s death, and reading other people’s thoughts and memories of him on social media, something infuriating kept popping up. A few people kept bringing up a tumblr post, referencing a VH1 special that mentions Bowie had sex with a very young girl (13 or 14) while he was 23. Like, “hey everyone, I know you’re sad that an artist who means a lot to you has died, but check out this bad thing he did 45 years ago.” I saw a couple people tweet out this post and I just wondered…why? Why is it important to share this right now? Is it to tell people their heroes aren’t perfect? That they make bad decisions and are problematic like every single other person on the planet? Is it to detract from his career or his death? To say don’t feel so bad, he wasn’t that great a guy? I just don’t understand the motivation here.

While I agree that the trend of rockstars sleeping with young teenagers is gross, and something to be discouraged, it’s also important to take the thoughts and feelings of the girl in question into account. From the post:

at one point, Pamela Des Barres, the women who made the documentary, brings up Lori Mattix being young at 10:39 and that she may have gotten “overwhelmed” by the scene, but Lori gets very defensive and says she felt much older – it’s clear Lori Mattix doesn’t see what happened to her as rape or assault and as consensual…

My point here isn’t to defend the bad, most likely illegal, decision to have sex with a minor that the recently deceased made many years ago, but to question the decision of people who are still around to bring this up right now.

First of all, this is shitty timing. It’s just generally disrespectful to broadcast out to people who are in mourning that the person they’re grieving for did a bad thing once and try to undermine their feelings.

Second, I think it’s also shitty to the woman involved (Lori). Legalities aside, Lori didn’t see her sexual relationship with Bowie as a problem when she was a teenager, and still didn’t see it as a problem many years later during this interview as an older, and hopefully wiser, woman. It would be different if she looked back and said she felt taken advantage of or abused. There’s a huge problem in our culture of people not listening to women when it comes to sexual assault. Women are not believed or are blamed when they say they’ve been raped or assaulted and as a result, crimes go unreported and unpunished. The message, which is one I believe in, is that we should believe women. However, it also goes the other way. If Lori maintains the feeling that it was consensual, and doesn’t feel like she was taken advantage of, maybe we should believe her and not impose our own indignation on her experiences.

Pointing everyone to this extremely cursory post condemning a man who just died seems really cheap and opportunistic. And I honestly still don’t understand the motivation for doing it. Please don’t do this.

Early Access, Beta, and Information Overload

My latest vlog brings up the issue of how much pre-release information about a game is too much. I’ve written about this before, but have had some new thoughts on the matter. What raised this was the possibility of taking part in the beta for Torment: Tides of Numerera, one of the games I’m most looking forward to this year. There’s a small part of me that wants to see things first, but a bigger part of me that wants to wait for the final product.

How do you feel about this topic?

Best Games of 2015

Somehow I managed to play 30 games that were released in 2015. That made coming up with a top 5 list a bit difficult. But, I managed to to do it. Here’s my video about the best games of the year.

If you’re not one for videos, here’s the list.

  1. Pillars of Eternity
  2. Ori and the Blind Forest
  3. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  4. Until Dawn
  5. Tales from the Borderlands

And since 5 is so few, there are a couple honorable mentions

  1. Stasis
  2. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  3. Witcher 3

What were your favourite games of the year?

My 2015 in Blogging

It’s the end of the year! I hope everyone’s having a good holiday. Mine has been busier than I’d like, but I’m getting through. Also, I got some awesome Christmas gifts! It seems like a good time for a bit of a wrap up of my writing this year. The year has had its ups and downs as far as writing goes. Some months I published very little, but I also posted 31 times for Blaugust (though, none of those posts are ones I consider my best). Getting into videos has sort of disrupted my writing. But, here are the things I’m most proud of.

This first one is the post that nudged me into video creation. I started writing it long before I published it and thought it would make a cool video. So eventually, after much writing and many, many hours of editing, it turned into one of my first YouTube videos, but I also posted the transcript here for those who’d rather read than watch. It looks at the trope of the insufferable genius, which is one usually seen in male characters, but is also seen in Kinzie Kensington from Saints Row.

Kinzie Kensington and the Insufferable Genius

The next article was also inspired by Saints Row. This one is about how game marketing materials and box art are often very out of touch with the players experience of the game as far as their created character is concerned. I love that I can create my own woman protagonist in games like Saints Row, Mass Effect, or Sunset Overdrive, but why do I always see the same grizzled white dude on the game box and on loading screens?

Under the Covers

Next up deals with a problem I have with RPGs. How much lore is too much lore? How can games better present walls of text that give the player background information about the game world?

Lore and the Codex – How to do it Better

This next one’s really just a plea to people to pay writers and value their own work. While for myself writing and making videos about games is a hobby, it’s also a lot of work. I had to work out for myself to what extent I’m willing to to these things for other people and sites.

Saying No and Not Working for Free

I admit, this one is also a little preachy. I’ve been making an effort to only spend considerable amounts of time on games that I really enjoy. I don’t want to do boring grinding, I don’t want to play games that make me frustrated more than happy. This post asks some questions about how we spend our time in games, and whether we’re actually enjoying ourselves.

Things I Don’t Get About Gaming: Respect for One’s Time

This month I wrote a couple posts I really liked (they’re actually my last 2 posts). The first is a bit of history about “censorship” in video games. This is the post that got the most attention this year.

Censorship in Video Games

And lastly, my latest post, inspired by a kind of comment a get fairly frequently on my videos.

One Girl Gamer to Rule Them All

Also, not writing related, but I got to be on Justice Points again this year on one of their last episodes, along with my good friend Kal and we got to chat about Bioware for a bit.

Episode #119 – “I’ll Wait For You, Kaidan”

Well, that’s my year in game blogging! I’ve got a best games of 2015 video coming up soon, and I’ll make a blog post for that as well. I just need to find some time to record it.