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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
— Your MC, Todd - The Leviathan Session 6
Welp, I just discovered that Quark, and Principal Snyder are portrayed by the same actor.
I can’t believe I never saw it before.
This makes me happy.
Adam WarRock “Marvelous” (download)
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!
April 16 - Columbus, OH – Packrat Comics
April 17 - Cleveland, OH – Cleveland Comics
April 19 – AwesomeCon – Washington, DC (link) Opening 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
“Bells indicate additions and string plucks indicate subtractions. Pitch changes according to the size of the edit; the larger the edit, the deeper the note.” String swells indicate a new user signing up.
Very relaxing, actually!
This is my jam.
Saw the Lego Movie last night so I guess it’s time to review it, ‘cause y’know.
I’d heard a lot of great things about the movie since it came out. So I eventually tried it out. I don’t think I was ever really skeptical, I had no reason to be down on the concept, I grew up with Lego like anyone else.
I think my biggest concern was, what makes this the “Lego Movie”, and not just, a movie using the Lego IP as a gimmick. And I’d say they delivered.
As a whole the movie is fantastic on a pure entertainment level.
I commonly think that that’s the most important thing. Just that you can say you thoroughly enjoyed yourself. But that said, it tends to not be enough to make it into a Best-of style list.
A movie needs more than just high action, solid humour, and compelling characters (wow I’m sounding hard to please) it needs something deeper than that. A lasting message or feeling that goes beyond simply entertainment.
I think depending on the viewer this movie actually does deliver, but that won’t be everyone. I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone could enjoy it as pure entertainment though.
For me, I thought it was a thoroughly entertaining watch, but didn’t have that special something that would make me watch it over and over again.
..until I woke up today and couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’m finding myself wanting to rewatch it immediately. See it again with different eyes, watch it with different people.
It’s got that something that I can’t explain. Is it going to make it to my top whatever? No ..well not likely. It still has to much, gimmick to do that I think.
Ah what do I know? Clue is on that list and it’s based on a Board Game!
Here’s a topic I’ve been meaning to make a post on for a while.
Fanfiction is incredibly useful for aspiring, and developed writers.
While commonly looked down upon due to not being ‘original work’ and because so much of it, is arguably poor quality, writing fanfiction is a great place to develop one’s creative writing skills.
First of all it gives you a toolbox to start with. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you simply grab some existing characters, or scenery and start writing. This is great for learning the fundamentals of creative writing itself, without getting bogged down in the details. While developing original characters is an important skill to have, it is unrelated to developing strong skills writing prose.
When you do add original characters, a fanfiction story is great for having a world populated by pre-made round characters, allowing you to focus solely on creating one great character, instead of having to split your effort among many, or have the rest of your characters suffer, and become flat.
More specifically fanfiction can teach you to use techniques that are not obviously good practice.
Fanfiction involves a lot of short hand, because the audience is expected to know certain details about the world already. When writing original fiction, these shorthands are still useful, as most writing improves with less information.
New writers will often produce uncomfortably long descriptions the first time a character or location is encountered, which break up the flow of the narrative. When a writer expects the audience to already know the information it is generally cut, and the writer ends up only describing things when actually necessary, whether that’s from plot relevance or requiring additional flavour.
Writing fanfiction teaches through doing. It shapes prose, it gives established settings to explore new characters in, and established characters to explore new settings. Whatever you want to focus on, using fanfiction as a framework is great practice.
I never bother searching for ffviii’s Fujin on tumblr, because I assume any content would be drowned out by the many other Fujin’s.
Turns out she makes a pretty good showing.
I shouldn’t have looked up ffviii on tumblr tonight.
I’ve become a squeeing mess.