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Contents Under Pressure

adamwarrock:

ruckawriter:

I rarely use this to just blog. I’m going to just blog now, so you can all just ignore this if it’s not to your liking.

Warning. Contents under pressure.

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read this. Greg Rucka rules. 

I usually don’t talk about this sort if thing. In fact whenever I see people talk about it I’m taken aback, because I’m always amazed it exists.
It’s just not something I see. I suppose I should be grateful.
But sometimes I need to face the facts that I’m not living in a fantasy world where prejudice and hate don’t exist.

I’m pretty aware that I’ve had a sheltered life. I didn’t realize bullies where real until I was twelve or something. Sure, I heard about bullies, but always in a “don’t be a bully” preemptive strike kind of way, so I just assumed it was something that wasn’t around anymore, and all the talks were preventative.

Sorry, that was a bit of a tangent, but yeah, I’m always surprised when I see stuff that calls out hate. I look at those posts with confusion and “yeah, everyone already knows that that’s a dick thing to do” in my mind. And sometimes I need to take a step back and realize that that isn’t always the case.

This article does that. This article never had me question it’s legitimacy. This is how you make a good point about where we still are, and how we aren’t as far along as we like to think.

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"you know how people say that game of thrones is really good? I downloaded it, and like. apparently they are right?"

— My Older Brother

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Knytt Underground has been on my radar since it was announced. Finally got around to picking it up in a bundlestars deal.
In short the game is about exploring a vast landscape, picking up little quests, and overcoming action puzzles to get items and stuff.
Essentially, it’s one of those “the point of the game is to see everything in the game” games.
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So, straight gameplay is fantastic. Running around, beating little puzzles. You never even gain new powers as the game progresses. I really expected it to include a lot of “you can’t go here until you beat the quest that gives you the power to go here” stuff. And it doesn’t! You have everything you need at the beginning (ish) of the game, and it’s just about using them in the right ways.
Since the straight gameplay is pretty straightforward, let’s skip forward to story and stuff.
What this game does so well is it’s non-linear story. This is the least linear game I’ve ever seen, save for sandbox games that just don’t have a story to, solve this problem. Since the main focus is on exploration, you could go in any direction, at any given time, and encounter any quest in any order.
And yet whenever a quest triggers story dialogue people tend to talk about things that, I’m pretty sure I could have easily not done at the time. The flow of ideas from one part of the game to the next is masterfully done, and I’d love to see how it’s actually put into the game itself.
The game also offers a lot of, let’s call them inside-jokes. Most of Nifflas’ big games exist in a shared world. This game, of course, exists in the same world as Knytt, and Knytt Stories, but also Within a Deep Forest.
Personally, I haven’t played Knytt Stories, but am excited to tackle it next, to see the connections.
Within a Deep Forest is my main experience in his works, and every time I see something that ties the games together I just smile. This is good because, as I’ve mentioned quite a few times already, this game is about exploration. There could be no quests, just challenges in rooms, and it’d still be a very enjoyable game. Your reward would simply be overcoming challenges, and seeing the new areas. That’s one thing the game does really well, the settings never feel ‘same-y’.
So. Knytt is this great exploration game. Through this is weaves a very well done, non-linear narrative. Throughout it you discover more about the characters, and it’s generally well written. I love character driven narratives so that works very well for me. That said apart from simply discovering the characters’ histories there’s the overall plot.
The game is very transparent about the A Plot actually just being a macguffin. it’s pretty cool seeing the characters debate whether or not there’s any point to it. What it really does is give us a reason why the game is showing this day-in-the-life, opposed to any other.
I love how the game gives us a character to control who’s motivation is in line with ours. So often in games you have a character who is hell bent on saving the world in their dialogue, but whenever you have control over them, they dick around in the forest finding side quests. Why? Because as a player you want to see everything in the game, not just follow the A-plot to completion. You want to see everything, that’s the point of the game from the player’s standpoint.
So in Knytt Underground, the character you control is established, to very much just be an explorer. She spends, pretty much every day, exploring more, and more of the underground network of tunnels looking for sweet loot. Just like you! It makes sense in the established world, and works very well for our purposes. So the A-Plot just becomes something else to do, and no quest is too trivial, because ‘why not?’
One of the greatest lines was when we’re asked to look for a kid’s ‘invisible friend’ who fell down a well, Cilia says “Well, knowing Mi, she’ll want to go down there anyway.” which is of course true. You where always going to go there.
I guess now’s a good time to talk about the characters. That’s another interesting thing about the character being in line with the player. You play as Mi, who is mute, and early in the game gets two fairy companions to speak in her place, Cilia and Dora. What this does is make the player never feel like they said the wrong thing, because you associate with Mi’s actions, not the fairies. Mi, never says something you disagree with. Mi probably thinks the fairies are saying the wrong thing all the time, but she’s not the one saying it, so oh well.
So back to that well.
Yes, you would explore the well, even if you had no reason to. You want to fill the map to 100% completion, at least I know I did. Saying that I finished the game, really means, I finally gave up on there being any more secrets in it that I could find.
And here lies the issues. The game lacks closure. The story is actually pretty solid, you learn a lot of cool things about the world, you go on a macguffin quest, it’s all good. But since the game ends when you decide to finish and walk through the last section, it feels very anticlimactic.
I do like the vignettes at the end, where they talk about adventures after the story ends. It makes you feel like all those artifacts you found, means something in the end, because some stories obviously wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for what you did in the game. I’ve often said that one of the best rewards for a player in games, is simply story.
So that worked well, but it still made the main story a little dry, especially since they talk about it a lot. Sure, you shouldn’t get the closure of if it was actually worth doing, but at least something like, how the council reacts when you tell them that you did it.
But honestly, I just wanted to ring the final bell.
Having your macguffin be a series of giant bells, is a brilliant idea, because bells make a great metaphor. Having that final bell tone, bring about a fade to black would have felt really good. Somehow that simple act would have given me a lot of closure.
I’m not sure why.
I suppose I should talk about the real problem though.
Alright, so the game is split into three chapters. It’s more like Intro 1, Intro 2, and then the actual game. At the end of those chapters an accident happens that gives you some fancy new powers.
And it’s never mentioned.
Even just a single “whoa! how’d you do that? That’s weird” would have been enough, but nope.
Well, actually I lied, it’s mentioned a couple times, but so matter of factly, as if she could always do that.
And it’s not just the powers. It’s implied that you gain them by fusing with another person, so, that’s a bit of an issue that demands recognition. The weirdest thing though? Someone else involved in the accident is just never seen again. Never a mention of his absence, just gone.
Now I’m going to add the disclaimer that maybe I missed something, or maybe it comes up in some optional dialogue, But I don’t think that excuses it, because it’s kind of a big deal!
But other than that, really good game.
Technically I’m not done yet, I still have “Chapter 4” to finish, which seems like some bonus challenges, but maybe there will be a touch of plot, dunno. (probably not)

Knytt Underground has been on my radar since it was announced. Finally got around to picking it up in a bundlestars deal.

In short the game is about exploring a vast landscape, picking up little quests, and overcoming action puzzles to get items and stuff.

Essentially, it’s one of those “the point of the game is to see everything in the game” games.

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Blog idea: out of context quotes from stand up comedy.

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Let’s just set one thing straight. Jesus wasn’t a zombie.

He’s a ghost.

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I’ve been meaning to pick up Knytt Underground for a long time.(Like, before it was greenlit)
Full review when I finish it.

In short, it’s an exploration focused game with a non-linear told story. I’d love to look into how the story segments are written into the game, because they emerge really naturally.

Full of references to Nifflas’ older works, so that’s tons of fun. Never played Knytt Stories though, so I have a few gaps.

I’ve been meaning to pick up Knytt Underground for a long time.(Like, before it was greenlit)
Full review when I finish it.

In short, it’s an exploration focused game with a non-linear told story. I’d love to look into how the story segments are written into the game, because they emerge really naturally.

Full of references to Nifflas’ older works, so that’s tons of fun. Never played Knytt Stories though, so I have a few gaps.

(Source: )

Link

geekmehard:

unwinona:

When I was in Ninth Grade, I won a thing.

That thing, in particular, was a thirty dollar Barnes & Noble gift certificate. I was still too young for a part-time job, so I didn’t have this kind of spending cash on me, ever. I felt like a god.

Drunk with power,…

I made a post a little while back about “the Importance of fanfiction” I equated it to a toolbox to start with and develop ones skills as a writer. The linked article talks about it’s importance from an emotional viewpoint. Well worth the read.
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dyemelikeasunset:

HELLO, THIS WAS MY WEEKEND.

I’ve been wanting to design each assassin’s mask for a while now, inspired by a mix of the wearable sculptures of Rein Vollenga and planetary symbols.
The symbols were actually the hardest part of the whole process and took me several months to solidify SOB. When I finally figured all of them out, I kinda went crazy with these bust shots.

In order:

Sun - Kajur, Mercury - Kye, Venus - Hiu, Moon - Chandra, Mars - Kou, Jupiter - Marduk, Saturn - Shani, Uranus - Yozu, Neptune - Sei’zin, Pluto - Yama.

Kajur doesn’t have a mask since she’s the head of the Solaris organization and doesn’t do assassinations. The rest are all in order of her favoritism.

More of this project can be found here
And you can also check this out on dA!

This is fascinating and gorgeous. Time to check out this artists archives.

(via infinitemachine)

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I can’t believe I haven’t looked at Alan Tudyk’s (Firefly’s Wash) IMDB before. This guy is prolific.
Voice actors are crazy that way, and you rarely even realize they’re the same person.

Tags: Alan Tudyk
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Parenthood in Gaming

Gaming is a great way to explore something you can’t, or won’t, experience in your day to day life. A topic rarely used is parenthood.

There’s got to be a handful that hits this topic well, but I’m just going to talk about one. Because, y’know, it’s the one I played.

Now I don’t just mean a game where your character happens to be a Dad, or Cooking Momma, or something. I mean games that actually make you feel unconditional love for your children and the desire to protect them at all costs!

Enter, Shelter.

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Holy crap this game.

Now, I’ve never had any intention of having children, still don’t, but I I love the way this game really delivers the feeling of overprotective parenting.

Course it doesn’t feel overprotective when an eagle is eating your pups does it!?

Maybe I should back up.

Shelter is a game where you play a mother badger caring for her young over the course of one year.

I haven’t looked into if you can ‘win’ the game. I don’t really care if you can. Play it raw man. Just see what happends and how it makes you feel.

Right out the gate, without having any time to really even really adjust to the concept that I’m playing a mother badger, I’m struck by my dead child. Just lying there on the ground as my other pups yip at me. We’re only a few seconds in and I’m already terrified that my child is dead.

Now it turns out he was just super weak, and some food will get him back on his feet, but I was amazed how much I cared about the little guy.

And all the game really had to do was tell me I was his mother. How weird is that?

Maybe I’m just overly emotional.

Anyway the game carries on, through different little challenges, and daily life. Moslty keeping all your children fed, without one getting neglected, and splitting up the food as required.

Your pups get pale, and go from brown to grey as they get weaker, so you have a little to go on, but what was so great was that all of them actually were given different markings. They easily could have just used the same skin for all of them, but they didn’t.

So, of course you end up naming them to keep track, and make sure none have wandered off and gotten eaten.

Seriously, counting your children and realizing one’s gone is terrifying.

You want to make a real horror game? Make it star a Mother.

So bottom line, Shelter is fantastic, and next time I’m playing in a roleplaying game I want to play a Mom.

Course I’d need a game that wouldn’t fight me, and a GM wiling to have a significant NPC be a PC’s child.

If you’re interested in Shelter, first check to see if you already bought it during the Humble Weekly Sale: Amanita & Friends bundle.

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Planet Stronghold

So here’s a pretty cool game that you might very well already own and not even know it.

If you’re like me you buy a lot of Humble Bundles. Yeah they’re great, I’ll make a rambling post about specifically whats so great some other time.

But what I do is redeem my steam keys and leave the page without reading any further. Sometimes I’ll come back and scoop up the occasional soundtrack, but for the most part, it’s easy to miss something.

So when a non steam game was included in the last Humble Weekly Sale of March, I didn’t notice for quite sometime.

Which brings me to Planet Stronghold.

In short, this is a tactical RPG, built upon the Ren’Py engine. It’s interesting because it’s commonly referred to as a Visual Novel, which I would strongly disagree with.
The engine is typically used to make visual novels, so anything built using it is labeled as such, but the RPG aspects strongly outweigh the visual novel aspects, to the point where they’re simply cutscenes like any other in an RPG.

What you end up with is a very well made tactical game which utilizes the interface of a visual novel to make for very streamlined gameplay.

The gameplay is mainly equipment and damage type management, as well as skill prioritizations, which span weapon proficiency, general accuracy and evasion, psionic disciplines, and a number of non-combat skills that are tested in different plot situations depending on how you tackle various obstacles.

Overall I just really like how everything is presented. You can quickly switch between weapons, and armour and items without using a turn to do that or something stupid along those lines. It’s all just point and click to navigate the world, and travel between points of interest. There’s a small ‘world map’ style exploration of certain areas using a grid which - this is getting rambley, you know what, how about you just take my word for it?

This game is presented beautifully, the visual novel interface takes out a lot of the dressed up superfluous stuff in most RPG’s that slow down the gameplay. The Combat is very well done and extremely rewarding when you juggle different damage types. The visual novel aspects shine through with navigating conversations to discover side quests, choose various tactical options for dealing with obstacles.

Now I need to talk about the romance plots don’t I?

They unfortunately feel contrived. I really liked the ‘talk to people enough to get their sidequests’ hooplah, but then occasionally at the end there’d essentially just be the additional reward of they fall in love with you. And that’s the weird thing. It felt like the game threw the world love around a Lot! Everything was love. I understand that the game probably takes place over multiple months, but it did feel like these loves came up really fast, why does everyone suddenly jump to love? And why is everyone in love with you specifically? (yeah okay, not Everyone)

The romance angle as a whole makes the game a little misleading. You have a relationship bar for everyone, and the way it’s so pronounced as it appears, it makes it feel like it’s the end all be all of the game. I’m pretty sure (?) it affects more than just the romance plots, but as a whole I think it’s played up more than it deserves. maybe I should play the game again being a jackass and see how it affects the rest of the game.

I also have no idea why your skills can go up to 200, I never needed them to go higher than 100. It was weird. But that’s not really an issue.

Point is I really liked it, even though I feel the romance subplots where a little dry. And it’s weird because it’s not like it really needed them, but because it had them I feel they should have been better?

I dunno man, I’m going to sleep.

Video

adamwarrock:

Adam WarRock “Attorney-at-Law” (Download)

He finally did it. He wrote a song about lawyering.

Y’know, the only problem with She-Hulk, is her name is She-Hulk. It gives off the wrong impression and seriously undermines her appeal.

Makes you think she’s one of those female versions of ‘real heroes’, but she’s nothing like the Hulk at all. Let’s compare:

The Hulk: Brilliant Scientist, turns into giant uncontrollable monster.

She-Hulk: Brilliant Lawyer, turns into giant badass lawyer.

See?
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"He dips you, and kisses you, like World War II just ended twice."

— Your MC, Todd - The Leviathan Session 6

(Source: jankcast.com)

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Welp, I just discovered that Quark, and Principal Snyder are portrayed by the same actor.

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I can’t believe I never saw it before.

This makes me happy.

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adamwarrock:

Adam WarRock “Marvelous” (download)

MARVELNOW

Mon“Norrin Radd”
Tues“The Fist of Khonshu”

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Check out All-New Ms. Marvel #1

There’s been a lot of talk about diversity in comics, whether that means race/ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, or whatever other identity categorization you care to frame that word around. “Diversity” has become sort of a buzz word in most media, from the multiracial Benetton-like ads that corporations plaster everywhere, to forced-but-necessary debates on certain topics of varying levels of controversy and import. As the personal blueprint of the world continues to become more varied, more delineated, more diverse, it runs the danger of becoming a means to an end of appearing more aware of these issues than actually giving a damn about any of it.

A part of me asks: so? Not to say that any means justifies any good end, but speaking as someone of a minority community, I kinda…don’t care if it’s all for the appearances of diversity. That is, so long as the media being created is…y’know, GOOD. And take it from an Asian American person who grew up loving Jubilee as his favorite X-Man, these things matter. Seeing a representation of yourself, mirrored in your favorite pop cultural media – more importantly, seeing it presented in a way that’s not insulting, demeaning, degrading, belittling — not just lip service. It means something. It’s deeply affecting, and in a lot of ways life changing.

This is all to say that having the new Ms. Marvel be a Pakistani Muslim American can be accused by many as reading like a ploy, to tick off a bunch of boxes in any corporate diversity training program. And…well, I don’t care. Because the book is good; and if the book’s good, then it becomes less about Ms. Marvel being Muslim, and more about the fact that “it doesn’t matter that Ms. Marvel is Muslim.” or the fact that she’s Pakistani. And that, as much as a book that focuses on the fact that Kamala Khan is a kid, who deals with kid stuff, and gets these superpowers and tries her best to do good with them. Like any other superhero. And isn’t that a bit weird to say, that she’s “just like any other superhero,” being that superheroes are fantastical and amazing in their own right.

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you any of this. You can read about the reaction to G. Willow Wilson’s new book here, and here, and in almost every other news outlet taking their swing at why it’s important. Other than the fact that the comic itself, at the core of Wilson and Amanat’s creation is good, and that Alphona’s art is great in and of itself.

It’s just another example of what comics are capable of doing: starting a conversation. Being a hero can’t be easy. See: every superhero story of all time. We ask these heroes to do what’s hard, because we know they can. It only seems natural we can ask them to help some people show that whatever religion, sexuality, gender, race or ethnicity you are, whether you’re an alien or a mutant or a robot or whatever: we’re all not that different.

See? It sort of sounds like an after-school special. There’s really no way around it. So just listen to the song, and I hope you dig it. Go read Ms. Marvel. I think it (and what Marvel has been doing lately) is everything that’s right about Big Two comics right now.

Tomorrow: Ghost Rider…IN A CAR!

TOUR DATES: 

April 16 - Columbus, OH – Packrat Comics
April 17 
- Cleveland, OH – Cleveland Comics
April 19
– AwesomeCon – Washington, DC (linkOpening for Andrew WK
April 23 – Greensboro, NC – Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema

May 3 – FREE COMIC BOOK DAY - Hattiesburg, MS
Hub City Music & Southern Fried Comics

May 9 – Baltimore – Live Band Concert! - The Sidebar Lounge 
May 10
– Orlando, FL – Ongaku Overdrive – The Haven Lounge
May 13 – Pittsburgh, PA – Pittsburgh Comics
May 15 – Northampton, MA – Modern Myths