Is Minecraft Killing Lego? The Building Blocks Decline

Is Minecraft Killing Lego? The Building Blocks Decline

We All Had a Favorite Toy Growing Up

For many my age and those ages proceeding mine, the one name synonymous with creativity and mental growth just so happens to be Lego. The Lego company has always had a place in my heart during my formative years, every year for Christmas I would ask for sets like the underwater sets “The Stingrays”, the Space explorers set, and even a pirate ship or two. Almost every year, I’d get them, and spend the next day or so putting them together, allowing time for mixing set pieces together just for shits and giggles.

I’d be hard pressed to find a better toy to define my childhood better than Legos before video game consoles. That and the cassette playing robot from Tiger called 2XL. That robot was fantastic, can’t deny that.

However, with kids being born in the generation where technology reigns supreme, the idea that Legos would be the top pick for kids under the age of 8 seems to be fading. At least that’s how things seem to stack up, while companies in the gaming/digital industry might just be on the rise of catching the attention and hearts of kids around the world.

The Signs of Decline for Lego

Recently reported by Lego Chairman and former CEO Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, The Lego company will be cutting 1,400 jobs by the end of 2017. 8% of their workforce being cut because of the 5% profit drop in their established markets (mostly Europe and America). Knudstrop stated it was a “one-off” move in order to switch things back to normal and focus on the small company they’ve been used to operating. While their Asia market seems to be flourishing lately, it hasn’t offset the loss back in the established markets.

Sure, every company has highs and lows in terms of sales, like Apple back in 2016 had the same percentage dip in profit because poor iPhone sales. Seems the removal of the headphone jack was a poor decision. Both these companies experienced at least a decade of ever increasing profit but suddenly dropped in the blink of the eye.

So why is this as a sign of Lego’s soon to be downward spiral? Why am I hating on Lego so much even though I have such fond memories of the building block giant?

Well it’s like reading the writing on the wall, or on the tablet screen rather. Kids under the age of 10 (sometimes even 19 and older) have rallied behind the open world builder Minecraft. Everything from building replica castles of their favorite video games, to just building homes or shelters to see what they can do or how much havoc they can cause. Even just watching Youtubers playing through their own Minecraft adventures is a pastime for kids these days.

Let that last one sink in… the current generation is complacent just watching other people play Minecraft. In the small group I could speak to while researching, a 5 year old was content just watching videos all day and as they get to use the game themselves, they can replicate everything they saw the Youtuber do.  Their older sister (19) said she’d pick Minecraft over Lego, and she grew up with Lego! I even proposed the hypothetical situation if someone walked up and offered 6 sets of Legos or a fully paid for copy of Minecraft what would they pick and they still chose MC. Sure my survey was on a smaller scale and I wished I had more people to talk to but I’ve been limited in my time lately so I pulled what I could together.

I also polled those older than 20, closer to my age, and it was an obvious shoe in for Legos. I was not surprised by this, as my generation and the ones prior grew up long before computer games were as advanced as they are now, or even existed at all. The idea that those raised with toys like Lincoln Logs and Legos just didn’t seem the type to jump ship and hype over the video game equivalent. That’s a discussion for later on down the line though.

Minecraft: Developing The Future

As of 2017, developer of Minecraft  Mojang reported selling 122 Million copies of the game, and at the price of $29.65 (at least for PCs) would total around $592,900,000 in total sales since it was released in 2009. That’s not factoring in the free editions for Windows 10 they’ve given out and the discounted price for the full game here and there, so the figure is probably a little bit lower but still that’s a hell of a lot of money in just 8 years.

The popularity of Minecraft is undeniable, hell I found out doing laundry the other day that my son owns a shirt for them and I’m not even sure he knows what MC is. Honestly the reach of the open world builder has gotten to a point that Lego might have reached back it’s release years. Yes Lego has years of sales and activity under their belt than Minecraft has now but that doesn’t mean they can’t be rivals in the market.

Minecraft has their own merch, as mentioned from my son’s shirt, but also the foam swords and pickaxes, the glowing blocks, and so much more. Factor in the merch, the 122 million copies sold, the speed at which videos about it go viral, Minecraft has the staying power to take over the top spot from Lego.

The coincidental timing between Mojang’s success and Lego’s recent, but minor, decline shows that this might be the perfect time for Lego to be knocked out of number 1.

What Could Be and What Once Was

From what I found out from this adventure into which builder was better was slightly surprising. Going in, I thought that the generation after mine was going to call for Minecraft as the clear winner and I wasn’t wrong, even some of those that were just outside my generations door were rooting for it. The real surprise came from my Twitter poll, which while writing this  was still going on, I saw the majority of the votes went to Lego as the leader. Granted it was 5 out of 6 people but hey there are people out there who still feel Lego is on top and who can blame them when they’ve been number 1 for so long.

I personally love Legos, always have and I think I always will, which seems weird I’d be writing up a piece about how Legos might be going out of style but I like seeing things on both sides. Minecraft I can’t fully get my bearings on, I see some people crafting such amazing landscapes like castles and so on and yet the times I’ve sat down to play, I can hardly craft a house due to my perspective of it. Maybe if I can’t see the whole building while trying to construct it I just can’t wrap my head around it. Then again it’s been years since I’ve even picked up Minecraft, maybe I’m not remembering it properly. Also noted that I’ve been building houses in 7 Days To Die so my experience might differ if I picked up a copy now.

I honestly didn’t think anyone would be interested in reading about this, but after a few people convinced me and another helped me by voting for it out of a few other topics. Hopefully there is someone who finds my thoughts on the subject titillating to some extent, maybe enough to point out holes in my theory.

All in all, I am glad I took the time to look into this, was nice to get other people’s opinions on the subject for a change, rather than just Googling it and seeing what some guy in Boston said 4 years ago. I liked the fresh conversation, and it brought me out of my shell a little bit.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, or just follow me on Twitter or Facebook and spill your guts there.

-ProdigiousJ

P.S..

As with last my article, I’m still listening to and supporting my buddy’s music, Planet Revolver and it’s really getting me through the writers block so I want to give him a shout out.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hope/id1274304272

https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Planet_Revolver_Hope?id=B2o4riocnjsxcxmxvxn4pmlfhxq&hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/PlanetRevolver/

Please do go give him a listen and maybe pick up the album.

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YouTubers Needing Accountability? The Wake of the Pewdiepie Racial Slur

YouTubers Needing Accountability? The Wake of the Pewdiepie Racial Slur

Unless you have been living under a rock, and that rock doesn’t have a good wifi signal, you will most likely know the incident involving the Swedish YouTuber.

A few days ago, in the middle of a live-stream of PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds, Felix aka Pewdiepie blurted out the N word when insulting someone else in the match. Quickly he then tried to cover it up and briefly apologized in the same video. This is the second controversy that Pewds has been through in the past year. Earlier this year, he used the website Fiverr and paid two men 5 bucks to hold a s sign that said “Death To All Jews”.

So needless to say, the YouTube star has been on a fucking roll in 2017. Honestly people are vastly divided in how they want to react to the recent slip up, the clear path through this whole situation is unknown and murky at best. A majority of people, the knee jerk reacting folks, are quick to bash him, call him a racist and worst of all, some game developers (Campo Santo of Firewatch) are calling for copyright strikes. As of this writing Campo Santo have in fact pushed it through and removed Pewds Firewatch play through from his channel.

camposantwet

The Other half are those who defend him, long term fans of the Let’s Player and just some random writers online all believe that it was a ‘heat of the moment’ slip up and that he shouldn’t be demonized for what he may or may not have said. Others have defended him by simply saying “It’s just Pewdiepie being Pewdiepie, which is kind of the worst way to defend someone in a situation like this, but hell who am I to judge.

Where Do I Stand?

To be clear, I do not condone the use of racial slurs by anyone, no matter race, gender, nationality. I generally shy the hell away from people who use these words of hatred in everyday life. I wont say it and I don’t intend to be caught slipping up saying it because I can’t bring my self to say any of them without feeling horrible.

That said, I understand heat of the moment slip ups, I know everyone has an “Oh Shit!” word, and in fact I know someone else who has the N word as her OS word and she’s white as porcelain. The difference between her and Pewds is that she is unapologetic about the whole thing, she doesn’t care who hears her and doesn’t care if it offends people, Pewds on the other hand felt some kind of instant remorse when it slipped.

Trick of the Tongue, he messed up and said it. There is no going back from that but getting better or just fading out of the spotlight. Yeah it was in the heat of the moment, I’ll concede that argument, but having that word in your vocabulary at all is a little bit frightening and says something deeper is going on with you and the relationship to said word. Maybe Pewds is a “Closeted Racist” as some people are speculating, even though Campo Santo Dev said he might just be worse. The Anti Semitic video from earlier this year where he “joked” by paying those men to hold the sign, was enough to make you think he just might be.

To break it down, he had time after he came up with the idea, before he started shooting the video, before he wrote out the request to the men, and so on that maybe, just maybe this whole thing is a bad idea, that insulting a race of people like that might just be a bit racist. He had time and he failed to utilize that time to bring himself to a halt when doing the bit.

My takeaway is that he might just be closeted in his racist beliefs and if that’s the case I feel sad for Pewdiepie, but hey who knows, maybe he has just be fueled by the darker side of the internet and gaming where that word is tossed around like a hacky sack during lunch hour and subconsciously he has been ingrained with these words and ideas that he feels he just pushing the envelope and nothing more till the backlash ensues.

Honestly I can’t tell you what it is, and like most people, I can only speculate what he has going on in his head. I can say that maybe, closest racist or not, he and other Youtubers need to be held accountable.

Keeping Them Honest

The wake of both events, the one earlier this year and the one a few days ago, resulted in some pretty big losses to the Pewdiepie channel. After the “Death To All Jews” incident, Disney cut it’s support for him as well as YouTube dropped his show off the premium service, with his N bomb incident Firewatch dev took down his video of their game, as I mentioned above and more possibly looming on the horizon.

But is that really a Bad thing?

I mean, yeah however this ends up turning, it could have been a slip up and Pewds could be a decent human being corrupted by the dark side of things, or he could be as the other half see him and just be an absolute monster, so why don’t we take both roads as far as punishment?

In school, when kids would get into fist fights, no matter who was defending or who attacked first, both kids got in trouble, and worst case scenario they were suspended or expelled. At least that’s how it was in my school, could have been way different in some of yours.

fist-fight

The idea isn’t lost on me though, whether he is a racist or a nitwit, he should get slapped on the wrist, so to say, no matter what. It was a live-stream, he knew the consequences when he was going on, because he’s probably played off camera hundreds of times and if he messed up then he knew he would mess up live. So punish accordingly, in fact all Youtubers should be held accountable for what they do. Sure there are laws and rules of YouTube that I don’t dare dream to understand, and some people are perfectly fine with saying and doing things like this and no one bats an eye.

That’s the problem though, no one gets concerned until someone with more Subscribers than most get involved and people can find a way to spin the story. It’s always worst case scenario when the most popular, and oldest, channels get involved.

The problem is that no one starts reprimanding people from the bottom to the top, they let the low hanging channels get away with stuff because the media isn’t all over it (yet) or they just don’t see them do the ridiculous things they’ve been doing because they aren’t people like Pewdiepie or Markiplier, two of the bigger names in gaming on YouTube. So why don’t we start treating everyone equally and start spanking all of our kids, not just when the oldest acts up.

Maybe if a racial slur is uttered a suspension on their channel for a few days. It may not seem like a lot but for people who monetize their work, a few days can mean losing plenty of money. I’m not saying I’m ok with taking some Youtuber’s livelihood away from them, but there has to be some sort of accountability where things don’t get this out of hand when a bigger channel goofs up.

I don’t have a clear solution, nor do I think anyone else out there might, but maybe it’s time we start thinking about it. Because whether he meant to or not, Pewdiepie has insulted two races now within one year, and has had huge failings with other companies because of it. Maybe it’s time it stop being news because it only gets noticed once in a while. Maybe it’s time to start holding Youtubers to a certain level decency from the get go.

Now I’ll probably get hate from tons of YouTube stars, and I can understand why. I don’t want you to stop making content or stop making your living off of it but I also don’t feel like we should give people any more fuel to bash on not only the YouTube scene but the gaming industry. All I’m asking is holding yourself accountable for what you say and do. You do have tons of influence over your fans, hence the Pewds fans protecting him saying “Pewds gonna Pewds” basically. Just be mindful, maybe someday we wont have to wake up and see another Youtuber in a slam piece by the Wall Street Journal.

-ProdigiousJ

P.S.: A friend of mine just released his first (I think) album, it’s House music, but I seem to love it and it helped me break my writers block so I want to support it here. So I’ll post some links to it below!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hope/id1274304272

https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Planet_Revolver_Hope?id=B2o4riocnjsxcxmxvxn4pmlfhxq&hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/PlanetRevolver/

Please do go give him a listen and maybe pick up the album. I love his work

My Top 5 Video Game Creepypasta

My Top 5 Video Game Creepypasta

Horror/Paranormal Media Has Always Had A Deep Impact On People

Sometimes the effect is more prominent in some rather than others. I was recently scrolling through my Facebook feed, trying to do my best to find some scrap of video game news to write an article on this weekend, when I stumbled across a weird report about a horror movie, Annabelle: Creation. Apparently a woman in Brazil, while watching the horror flick, starting to act weird around what is apparently the scariest part of the movie. (I wouldn’t know, and never will as I am not planning on watching this movie about a haunted doll. Me and paranormal stuff is iffy at best). Her friends said around that scene, she began acting ‘strange’ and then after the movie, she started screaming and punching herself while throwing herself on the ground. A bystander filmed her screaming on the ground and coughing uncontrollably, but no punching is seen.

While my wife thinks she is doing anything for attention, but I don’t concur, at least I don’t think the 20 year old woman is just seeking attention by beating the shit out of herself. Some people might do self abuse to gain attention, I’ve met a few in my life and have subsequently wondered aloud “Why the hell would you do that?!” That aside, I know from experience that psychological horror, the terrifying levels of fear layered in most games seeking to make gamers wished they’d worn their brown paints is truly effective. Even VR games right now are borderline heart attack inducing, the Resident Evil VII demo had me losing my shit, but I also got freaked out by my own virtual shoulders but that’s a story for another time.

That’s the powerful effect of media these days, it cause people to experience super heightened states of terror, causing fits, screaming, at base levels, and even at more historical levels, the merging of reality and fiction by seeing or hearing things from the game in your everyday life. Many articles have been written about how horror games effect the brain, both for the good and the bad, and I can’t find a official word or diagnosis for what I experience when I continually get cold chills and get super paranoid about what lye in wait for me. Maybe just increased paranoia for me. Who knows.

Regardless this sparked within me the idea to post up a list of some video game creepypasta, you know that weirdly colored noodle dish that your mom makes, and you’re almost certain she isn’t using Ragu but human blood for the sauce but never want to call her on it? Yeah I would have liked to do a more thought out topic this week but I’m the process of moving and dealing with a whole hell of a lot of personal issues so in depth research on any of the topics I want to touch is super difficult to do with NOOOO time to spare. So I’ll list behind my Top 5 more interesting Creepypastas about video games while giving briefest descriptions about them. Some of these get creepier at night, but most we know are just fiction. Still has a weird effect on my brain but I can’t figure out why that is. Maybe I’m fear intolerant, if that is indeed a thing. Anyway Let’s move on!

Polybius

5. Polybius

While this is one of the oldest and more commonly covered story of the Arcade cabinet that was implemented by the government, and caused psychological effects like insomnia, the need to play it over and over again (addiction), and in many worst case scenarios, suicide. The story was always said to be placed in a local arcade in Portland, everyday men in black (not Will Smith unfortunately) came in, collected a data read out from the machine and leave. Players who experienced the night terrors, the headaches, and so on would, as mentioned, either commit suicide, or, as the creepypasta wiki states, quit playing video games all together. That part doesn’t make sense to me and is rather new information to me. But the really interesting thing is that about 5 years ago, YouTuber MatPat of The Game Theorists posted a theory video talking about it and many shady government activities that could have feasibly been tied to the idea of this “mind controlling” video game. I’ll post the video below for a reference if you’d like to get your collective conspiracy theories in order on this one.

You can read the basics on this here and see the weird but strangely horrifying extension of it here

4. Fallout 3: Numbers Station

This one is new to me, but has some pings of deja vu, in a way that maybe I’ve heard it before but I for some reason or another blocked it in my mind. I wouldn’t know why, it’s not even that terrifying.

So the idea is that in Fallout 3 (one of my all time favorite games btw) has an area, basically have to be in a very specific spot to pick up this radio signal. This radio signal is hosted by Three Dog, or what some people speculate is his voice actor Erik Dellums not in character repeating a set of numbers, always a string of different and seemingly random number followed by sets of Morse code. After years of speculating, people translated the code and found relationships to the numbers corresponding in dates, some or most being in our future.

Some of the decoded messages were:

“The Queen has died today. The world mourns, as on days like these, we are all Brits.” 4:2 March 19th, 2014.

“Have you watched my YouTube video yet, I uploaded myself kicking bums in the nuts.” 24:16 December 24th, 2012.

“I can’t believe Britney’s actually won an Oscar!” 21:33 February 27th, 2023.

“I can’t believe they’ve actually done it. Not long left. They were warned, but they just had to keep pushing the boundaries of science. The noise. I can’t take the noise anymore. And the light, dear God! The Universe is slowly unraveling around us. I’m not going to wait for death. I have a pistol in the attic.”

The only one that got me feeling terrified was the last one, but I get the sense I’ve heard this before. Again I feel this weird sense of deja vu but I included this one because of the weird prophecies that were listed and coming from the Fallout Universe. Better than the creepypasta about Novocaine in air vents playing out the events of the beginning of Fallout 3, where they claim it’s just a hallucination. I also couldn’t find a good, clear auido recording of this GNR Number station, so if anyone can find it where I can actually tell it’s Three Dog. Let me know. Read the story here

Jvk1166.jpg

3.  Jvk1166z.esp

This Morrowind mod seems to be popular and generally the overall popular stuff I tend to avoid because… well is my nature to hate what is popular. Sue me. Regardless while reading this one, I was pretty well creeped out. I always have this weird feeling when the games can actually bring the real world into the virtual, in this case where the game brings the real world skyline in. This story is basically this mod prevents you from finishing the games original main story as all quest givers are dead. Most the time the NPCs will look up into the nights sky and repeat “Watch the Skies”. A new main quest is added in, which also added in a new character not seen in the game before. Basic stuff of creepypastas, right?

Well as the players go on this new quest, heading to a place called the Citadel, this new enemy is constantly following you, dubbed The Assassin, you will constantly lose health, and if you sit around to long, you’ll catch glimpses of this guy, before he screams loudly at you and disappears. As you progress, the game grows visibly darker, the NPCs will move from the towns to the caves causing you to not be able to fast travel their locations. Most of them will stop talking at all, and eventually you’ll see skittering NPCs in the corners of you vision but the more you move towards them, they move away. The kicker is the skyline, as I mentioned, some how took the mapping of the night sky from our world from 2004, and would progress in in game time.

This pasta mentions that their is some door and the writers friend said he still hadn’t seen the door open but had some vivid dream within a dream about the game. They were told they were soon to see the door open. Then, as all creepypasta stories end, the friend was never heard from again! And the call came from inside the house! And He had a hook for a hand!!!

Check out the full story here!!!

WARNING: These next 2 hold sensitive material, even for just being creepypastas. You’ve been Warned.

merrywood

2. Escape from Merrywood

I was scrolling through the titles of these pastas and I was drawn to this one, because it seemed like this random sunshiney rainbow experience that would maybe suck people inside the game.

That was not the case. By god was I wrong. This one revolved around a game experiment that big company Konami released in a limited market with no marketing campaign, just to test people’s reactions. Escape From Merrywood stars this chalk drawing monster that looked like a 5 year old drew, within the first scene chases and can attack and kill you in an instant. You have to run away and are greeted by a village, which apparently you reside in. You then get told that the beast is named Merry, who only attacked you because you broke curfew (he will also attack if you basically try to escape the village forest). As the game progresses the NPCs inform you that Merry is friendly and he is the “happiest thing alive”. Then you realize soon that your objective is to kill Merry in order to beat the game, but there is a twist!

Merry can’t be killed by you. He can only be killed by…. himself.

So the goal of the game is to get the happy go lucky beast to kill himself. Let that sink in because that is dark as fuck. Basically you go around and find “happy shrines” and destroy or defile them. Then you also find out what animals he likes to talk to and communicate with and then manage to not be seen killing them while he watches.

I told you this was dark as shit…. I… I can’t describe how horrified I was to finish this one but I pushed on through.

So once you reached a certain point, you find a teddy bear (belonging to Merry) an old photo, and a lighter. You then exit the town, which normally results in a cutscene where you die instantly, you are met with a quicktime event. You hold the bear up and he stops in his tracks. He says he knew it had to be you and didn’t understand why you had to make him so miserable. You then get the attack prompt, which makes you rip apart the bear and then light the photo on fire and set both items ablaze. You’ve broken the beast, he has no will to live so you get the option to hand him whatever weapon you have and then he offs himself.

This whole story just… it’s terrifying to think that if there was any trace of truth, the implications that someone designed a game so horrible that instead of tackling depression and suicide in a positive way, someone wanted to see how someone felt making someone reach those depths.  It’s disturbing and hits me personally as I suffer from depression, it hurts people and it has caused issues in my life. Reading this destroyed me for a little bit, but felt this needed to be mentioned. I don’t approve of it but it warranted people hearing about it.

Read it in length here

1. Akarui Mirai

This one that I found interesting and the most plausible because of it’s subject matter.

The basic story is about this kid who was programming in RPG Maker, wanting to make a game with him and his friends. He was about halfway done, when one day he loaded up the file to work on it and yet it was completed. 100% Done, and the kid had no idea how that was even possible. So just like any smart people do when they find something already finished for themselves, he played the game instead of trying to find answers.

The game looked great, the exact way he and his friends had envisioned it. Though as he kept exploring, he found more and more NPCs repeating a line about how they were sorry for what happened to someone named Mirai. Having no clue what that was a bout and being disturbed about just how perfect this game looked, he searched around and found an area he never planned for. Heading to this area, he investigates this Mirai, and is basically directed toward a graveyard. Among the graveyard was a small crypt, which he just so decided to investigate.

I’m cliff noting the story, leaving out major details, but click here to read it in length.

As he enters the crypt he is stopped three times, feeling an odd sense of deja vu, like he knew about this Mirai name and what it was trying to tell him about this part of the game. He is stopped by the wandering spirit of Mirai, she has black hair, red eyes, and burnt face. She keeps calling to him, asking why he wouldn’t play with her, why didn’t he save her, talked about how she was burning and couldn’t breathe, then refers to the player by his name. After exploring the crypt the guy goes outside and finds out the story.

It talked about how she was a kid who was dejected by the player and his friends for some reason, so she ran home in a huff, crying and not paying attention, she tripped and fell into her fire place. Her face was horribly burned and the town medic came in and examined her, then said not to move her that he’d be back. So what does every kid responsible do, instead of listening to the medic, the kids take the girls “body” and bury her to honor her. Once the medic finds out she was buried they rushed to the graveyard, dug her up and found she tried to claw her way out. She was still alive but died before they couldn’t reach her.

This story took it’s toll and the player, and the ultimate feelings of deja vu finally catch up to him and remember this all happened. In his world. That he had a friend named Mirai and how she had this same accident, that somehow he blocked it from his memory because he and his friends were to blame for these events. When he confronts his parents, they are at first shocked but realize he has remembered and take him to visit her grave.

The only reason this one sticks out to me and I saw it is plausible because people’s minds have a unique filter to block certain traumatic events from their mind, while subconsciously leaving clues so you can eventually reach the point where you can cope. The situation where he finds his game completed could have been the time in between when he just so happened to cause this accident, so between when he started and when he finished this took place. Hence the time skip. He coped by developing the game and leaving behind the memory so he would remember Mirai one day and realize just what he had caused, accident or not.

 

And With That A Palette Cleanser

After working on these, I realized I put more time than expected when writing, but I am glad I could get something fleshed out. I know my posts have been rather weird and all over the place, but with all the shit hitting the fan lately, I’m in a personal tail spin and looking to find my way out. I will put more time and research into larger topics that mean something.

Or maybe I’ll just post up more random bs when I get the chance. We’ll have to see but thanks to all of you who have stuck with me through these basic posts

-ProdigiousJ

Level Up! Another Year Another Lesson

Level Up! Another Year Another Lesson

Every Year Serves As A Long (Somtimes Painful) Learning Moment

Lately, life has pretty much been piling one thing atop me after another and yet I persist. Though this is the reason I haven’t been able to keep a structured posting schedule or done anything besides personal posts. I know you’re all probably tired of the personal talks but hey, it’s the only thing I can invest time in while I wait for 90% of these issues to pass, which hopefully will be done with by the time September rolls around

REGARDLESS! This past weekend was my birthday, I leveled up to level 28 and gained a bunch of irritating perks upon reaching it. Mostly +2 in headaches and +4 in crap decision revisiting.

As a kid, I can’t remember may of the birthdays till after 10 years old or so, but they were simple birthdays, I guess. I kinda grew tired of the concept over the years, then as I reached high school I realized birthdays were kinda all smoke and mirrors. The amount of friends who attended, the amount of gifts, and the truly sad part is you see just how many people actually give notice that it even is your birthday. You were fooled as a kid or at least since you were younger, things seemed different, possibly more pleasant than they seem as an adult.

So it’s safe to assume that I grow rather jaded over birthdays every year I manage to pull my body and sanity to the next level. However, the past few years have made me realize that I’m becoming more insightful or at least that borderline that. This year I start on my inevitable downhill slide to a midlife crisis at 30, but it also made me realize that I have to finally start bucklin down to aim towards a more structured future. Sure I should have been working on that from a long while ago, but I’m a slow learner and a bit stubborn.

I’ve also realized I’ve become more harden towards most people, stupid mostly, but I’m still willing to offer good advice then tell people to screw off when they admit they wont take my advice. In a sense, I feel like I’m becoming more like my Papa, who passed away earlier this year. He was quiet, worked hard, said what he thought, but was kind in his own way. I feel like maybe, in someway, with each level that passes, I become closure to someone I admired and respect when I was growing up.

Regardless, I’ve never truly noticed the growth I’ve gone through on each birthday. It should have been an obvious thing but just like with New Years Day, you reflect just a little too late on what’s important and what’s happening around you. But as I grow older, I feel like I’m nearing a spot I want to be in. In a career, in my hobbies, and in general, my life might just be nearing a place of comfort. Maybe I can finally stop looking to the past and look towards the future instead.

Like I said at the beginning I have a whole HELL of a lot going on right now, a bunch of issues that will hopefully be resolved by September. So for now a bunch of personal posts might litter this blog until I can finally sit down and do official research on actual subjects. When that times does come, you are more than welcome to comment suggestions on future articles or maybe for one concentrated article for the next few weeks so I can pump on out instead of a few minor posts, just let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

-ProdigiousJ

How I Wished Life Was A Video Game (Personal Discussion)

Remember a while back when I talked about Gaming while Adulting?

Hell it was one of the first things I wrote for this blog, not the first thing I’ve ever written but I digress. I talked about how I coped with the responsibilities of adulthood and playing video games. This time around, I want to hit on the subject opposite of what I talked about, the fantasy of what life would be like if video games were reality.

I’ve covered this a couple times, dialogue trees, instructions manuals, etc. but this time, due to the reality I’m dealing with and how much easier things would be. I know, fantasy, escapism, but when life gets hard, about as hard as it’s coming down on me, I just like to imagine things would be a bit better if I lived in a video game style world.

Getting the chance to input a cheat code to spawn a new car, get infinite money, gain super powers, any of these things could make the day to day grind so much easier when life keeps kicking you when you are down. Being in a realm where I could charm my way through situations, where save points exist so if I made a bad decision I could jump back to that save and choose to do another action.

I don’t hold regrets in my life, I dislike some of the bad things I have done in the past, I’ve done some pretty horrible things that I would like to take back, but everything that I’ve done has brought me to the man I am. I had only wished the man I was had planned for a future better so I wouldn’t be scrambling to fix thing. I do wish, however, that life was just a bit more forgiving or at least more enjoyable when stress is hitting you from every angle.

I Know Things Wont Change By Wishing

I just like to imagine how things could be, I know I need to change my situation on my own accord and not wait for the universe to hand something out to me. I just have a hard trying to reach a point of being a responsible adult without losing my sanity, my anxiety has a way of exacerbating everything to the Nth degree. Taking some time to wonder what I would do in a situation if I could play like the Sole Survivor from Fallout 4 keeps me sane and places me in a situation where I can assess my own issues from a more comedic position.

I have improved who I was from years ago, I’ve dragged myself up from a position of just all around crap, and became a better man for it. Problem is things pile up, mistakes are made, and life becomes an all around a pain from time to time. Many of you might understand this, hell I would expect many people I know to understand just how difficult life can be.

I’m not saying I have it the worst, I know people who deserve more support than me, but I also know my situation is the one I have to deal with on a daily basis so it’s the one I unfortunately focus on. I don’t think less of my friends and their plight, heck I wished I could do more to help those around me when they need it. I just know at the moment I could hardly keep my head above water.

Which is why I idly think of the world with video game elements. Hell if I could use cheat codes or access super powers, like super speed, I could save money on using my car and wasting gas, just run back and forth. I could also use it to finish all my daily tasks more effectively where the real world limits me to certain constraints. I could only imagine a good time being had if I decided to misuse a power like that, but in general just looking to imagine life just a tad be easier.

To End the Fantasy

I know, this entry hasn’t been the most informative or interesting to most people, I’ve been having some writers block and was looking to break it by writing my experiences lately and just musing of something more interesting in my life. I know it is sad for an adult my age to be wishing like a child for some sort of video game inspired miracle when I could be working to fix things as a whole, but it’s how I cope. I craft stories, ideas, something to ease the pain while trying to deal with the situation. As a writer, I’ve always found myself writing about reality and twisting it to be better because the world around us is sometimes shit.

I can’t lie and say things will be better as easily as snapping my fingers or rolling a 20 sided dice, but I can at least soften the blow. I like knowing that I’m creative enough to imagine a better world while I try to figure out how to make the one we have the same. I just don’t find comfort in tackling a problem while my body falls apart due to stress. Taking the time to craft some fantasy may not be such a bad thing.

Again sorry, this one may end up being a throwaway personal post, but I needed to express my issues, my wishes, break my writers block, and to keep good to my word about keeping posts up here.

To those that read this, thank you. I just hope it didn’t become mind numbing for you in the end.

-ProdigiousJ

Pokemon GO Fest: Should Have Seen This Coming?

Pokemon GO Fest: Should Have Seen This Coming?

Pokemon Go has always been kind of a… trainwreck.

I say this because I still play it and at times enjoy it. I am objective in my own way, since I love Pokemon as a whole and had high hopes for Niantic when they put this out. I also knew after a week or two, they dropped the pokeball as it were, and left us in a lurch.

That being said, today was the Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago, where Pokemon Go trainers from around the Chicago area, to try and catch pokemon, do raid battles, and spin Stops in order to build bonuses for Trainers all around the world after the event. This would all lead up to the “Mystery” event, which we all knew it was going to be a Legendary Raid (don’t lie).

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Or at least that was supposed to be the case, but players poured in complaints about connectivity issues, unable to log on and do what the entire event was all about. Things got so heated that when the CEO of Niantic, John Hanke, took the stage to address the issues, he was only booed off by the crowd of angry players. A little while later, those same players began to chant “We Can’t Play!” in frustration in while at the event.

Who can blame them?

People flew in from outta state and out of the country to participate only to show up at the event where they couldn’t do a damn thing. Thinking on the plane ride over, “Man I can’t wait to see what rare pokemon they have for us that I don’t have at home?” only to show up and start admiring the load screen because they aren’t getting past that any time soon. “I could have a gym in another country/state!” then the only thing they get to do is sweat in a crowd of people in another country/state. pokemongocrwd.jpg

Some players even wasted money to travel there, some spending money in game for items to help them for the event. This dawned on the Niantic team and they recently offered a refunds to ticket holders, and added on the bonus of a $100 in coins in game. This also doesn’t mention the lines to get inside the event still going on, who also can’t connect due to cell networks being congested.

To say this event was not well planned is an understatement but we shouldn’t be surprised. This kind of event bombing as hard as the infamous Dash Con ballpit (yeah pulling out an oldie) is expected from the company who didn’t plan ahead on the games release. Announced many features that have just recently been released, a year later, many of which were said to be either on release or close to it. Like I talked about in my other article about my re-addiction to the game, features being removed and “fixed” returned months later, removing fan made services on the pokemon locator systems and etc. I wont dive into it again, but just circling back to say I’m not surprised.

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The Good Coming From This

Not much, besides an awesome display of chanting by Pokemon fans, but the two important things are the first two Legendaries were announced, Lugia (Yes!) and Articuno (Meh), and that the players hit the goals they were shooting for, which is rumored to give us bonuses after the event.

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Will these bonuses happen, maybe who the heck knows if they will be able to deliver but I will be hopeful indeed.

Other than that, nothing much came from the event, that I was partially excited for. Other than the acknowledgement that Niantic will continue its trend of not thinking ahead, letting down people’s expectations because of poor planning, but the most important thing, bringing people together.

That’s right, what is looking to be close to 20,000 players gathered from all around, were brought together by the love of Pokemon and the desire to play the game they made. The idea that some say Pokemon Go is dead doesn’t seem so accurate. I was surprised when the app first came out, I was hesitant to go out to local parks because I have horrible social anxiety, that so many people showed up to catch Gen 1 pokemon, kids, adults, and even some in their late 50s or 60s.

This game maybe a train-wreck sometimes, but it is always keeping people on board no matter how bad things fall apart. Not many gaming franchises can have their CEO booed off stage at a failed event, while maintaining such a huge fanbase. I continually find myself bashing Pokemon Go, going to the point of weening myself off, only to come back when some subtle features, or some larger ones with the Raids, show up and then I’m jumping right back in. I’ve even started a second account just so I can help with gyms or raids if I can actually figure out how to use it separately. If only I could find my spare older phones.

Either way, I’m not surprised by the failure of the games devs when something fails or bombs miserably. Yeah it’s harsh but every bad thing has a silver lining. Niantic’s is that they can still manage to reel people in and keep them playing. Meeting new people, building teams for the new raids, joining/creating social media groups to keep contact, the devs have picked the one property that even if they mess things up, people stick with them.

Kudos to Niantic for trying, I guess. Though as of me writing this, they have done a bit more than just refund the ticket and $100 coins for players who went to the event. Legendary Pokemon Lugia gets added to the trainers who participated in the event (or tried to) and extended the pokestop events for the players in Chicago around the park by 2 miles. So hey quick response to the problem, good on you. Maybe next time have a plan to avoid this, work with the cell companies or something along those lines.

Either way, the event was a success of some kind ways and people who could get in to play actually came out on top, maybe stocking up on balls, or just getting the chance to get a Legendary for free.

Can’t lose for losing it seems.

-ProdigiousJ

Women In The Nerdspace: The Roles They Play

Women In The Nerdspace: The Roles They Play

To Start, I know I’m going to get a lot of flack for this topic and some of the things I say, and frankly I don’t give a damn. You’ve been warned.

Ever since there have been men, women have existed along beside them. From cavemen and cavewomen, Adam and Eve (if your biblical), and even Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. The trails we’ve walked, they have followed suit or even blazed their own trails ahead of us. They support us when we need it, can be strong, independent beings in comparison to some of the men I’ve met in my life, and yet one question keeps coming to mind when I think of the state of things.

Why The Hell Do Men Mot Give Women The Respect They Deserve?

Seriously though, why is it so hard to give women credit they deserve when it comes to, well, anything they do? In the workplace, they make less annually than we do, they had to be allowed the right to vote where men just got handed it instantly. Women have worked their assess off to get to the same level as men in many situations, professions, rights, and yet many men still can’t do the decent thing and treat them as equals.

My Opinion: I am all for equality, women deserve to be treated better and in many ways they have us beat. Yeah people, men or women, can judge me, put labels on me because I want to say women are better in many ways and deserve to be respected.

Before I go any further with my personal thoughts, let me go ahead and tell you why I’m willing to dip my toes into internet hate comments water, to talk about the women, in video games mostly but I will rant about equality in general at some point.

Last weekend, Sunday, one of my all time favorite shows, Doctor Who, announced the next person to take the title of The Doctor. To a lot of people’s shock (and whiny hate) the 13th Doctor was announced to be a women. Jodie Whittaker, has a handful of acting credits, the most notable would be her role on Broadchurch, where oddly enough former 10th Doctor David Tennant stars in it as well. We only received a couple minute clip, at that, showing her walking and receiving the TARDIS key, but I can only have high hopes.

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The Rest Of The Internet However

So many man tears were shed, so many man squeals echoed in the Nerdspace as there always male hero was now a women. Because, you know, women can’t be as heroic because… you know… their female… and stuff.

Why? WHY?! Why on Earth or even in the vast Universe we have around our planet do men or even some upset women think a woman playing the Doctor means the show is dying? Such little respect for a woman who has devoted her life to acting, someone who was chosen by show runners, and even many of the former cast, keeping in mind that the 5th Doctor was a bit off when he commented against a Female Doctor, they have spoken IN FAVOR of the change. I can still not wrap my head around why people have such a hard time giving women they deserve, in or out of media.

There was a video that mocked the haters for it, which touched upon the stupidity of Female Ghostbusters and some other jokes about the series. It was so on point, I will embed it below so you all can enjoy in the insanity that is butt hurt fans.

Video Game Women And Their Impact

Since I am in the habit of writing about video games and the beauty and sometimes ignorance I see in them, I figured I tap into the various ladies who have starred in their own series, the success of them, and even the early, demeaning depictions of them as characters.

Since this topic would have me on a tare for at least a couple of hours, I’m going to highlight some of the biggest roles (Top 5) and a handful of demeaning roles/depictions in both the past and the present. If this post gets away from me, it may run longer than Top 5 but hey, icing on the cake for those who find this interesting.

My Top 5 Women Protagonist

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  • 5: The OG female protagonist, to my knowledge, who started the trend of women in gaming, Ms. Pac-Man. Yeah it was just a reskin of Pac-Man, but it was the simple addition of a hair bow, a mole, and lipstick, Ms. showed up on the scene to show “Hey, eating power pellets isn’t just for guys”. Yeah This sounds like a cop out, but being the first women in video games at the time has to count for something. It also shows that stereotypes have been deeply ingrained from the very early days of gaming.

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  • 4: Samus Aran, Bounty Hunter, Part Alien, Part Hero. She was always a silent protagonist, then again nobody knew she was a she. Samus was such a badass, people just thought she was a man because of how awesome she was. When the endings (fair, good, best only) in the original Metroid revealed that the cannon wielding beast was actually a woman, people lost their shit. At the time it was because the developers put her in a skimpy leotard, but over time she became a little less sexualized… ah who am I kidding they still portray her in a skin tight “Zero Suit” but that doesn’t mean she isn’t any less of a positive role model, she goes out, kicks ass, and hunts down Space Pirates.

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  • 3. Fem Shepard is an odd choice I know, because it sounds a bit degrading being called Fem anything, since it means that it isn’t the original, but honestly I can see the two characters as separate beings. While I can’t comment on specific details that the character does, you know being a bad ass in any form and can be the kindest person or the evil warlord type. It’s the voice, Jennifer Hale, who makes this character it’s own person. I don’t associate Male Shep and Fem Shep as just a skin swap, the person portraying the Spectre brings out a whole new perspective. The emotion, the delivery, this brings out this character. As the playthroughs of both male and female are two separate timelines/universes, because I firmly believe Fem Shepard is her own character.

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  • 2. This one is strange to be sure, but just bear with me. You’ll get the pun in just a minute by the way… So, I never am one to keep it just strictly human when it comes to my Top Whatever lists, (keep that in mind for future filler articles). In this case I’m including a chick with attitude, Kazooie from Banjo-Kazooie. Now let the two puns sink in, groan, roll eyes, and get over it. The reason she makes my list is; 1. Not many people know she is a female, and I’m not sure if it was scripted into the games dialogue, at least as far as I know, and doing a search hasn’t turned up too much on how it was revealed just that it was. 2. She is honest, upfront, a bit harsh, and a needed ally to make it through many areas of the game. She is needed, she doesn’t hold back and can hold her own (in most situations). Bird Brain Kazooie gets this spot. And look, one devs didn’t sexualize!

I debated on a few people for this spot because there were plenty of women who fit, but I made my final decision based off one thing: Does her role replicate what happens in real life? It was an easy answer, and you’ll be skeptical at first but hear me out.

  • 1. My number one spot goes to *drum roll*

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Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn. Think about this for just one second, especially if you played the game through the first hour or so, you’ll see parallels that show how our society works when it comes to women, to some degree (there are variations of course). Shunned as a baby, her whole life people are told not to talk to her, ignore her, or look down upon her. Not because she was a woman, but because of something story related that I wont reveal. But her whole life she was looked down upon, not thought much of, and even as she grew up and proved herself as a skilled hunter, people still looked down upon her, underestimated her. Most people felt there was no way she could be the person to take down the threat looming ahead, and it isn’t until she worked her ass off and took down some of the biggest robots did people start buying into the idea she was worth making the time of day for. Make sense? See parallels? I at least do and I maybe wrong. But she was portrayed as the underdog and I always love underdog characters. Intelligent, skilled, and the underdog, with some real world parallels, I couldn’t have asked for a more well rounded character. Yes she has her flaws, yes she is too stubborn for her own good, sure she has a temper, but who doesn’t have flaws.

Getting To The (Respawn) Point

The point I was making about this is that women deserve respect, deserve to be treated equally, and these women stood out as video game characters who received that respect. They were given there own game or shared the billing as the Main character not just a supporting character.

While looking up other games that started women as the protagonist I found that stretching back as far as the older PC games, and a big market in japan on the older consoles, all women main characters were super sexualized. Scantly clad, dim, big chests, etc. It’s not surprising, it still happens to this day, in fact the over sexualization of certain women characters made it where I wouldn’t place them on the list. I would have put Jill Valentine as a runner up but she steadily turns from police uniform, a skirt outfit, and then finally a skin tight looking body suit. Her personality has changed over the years too, so slowly kicking her off my top 5.

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I couldn’t have found a better show of Jill’s costume changes. DLC for Revelations 2 (Supposedly)

Before I get the comment about how I feel about scantily clad ladies, I know that is sexy, I’m a guy and to deny it would be just lying to myself. Female characters are designed the way they are because most devs know sex sells and so they embrace it. I’m not blind but I can appreciate beauty, sexy, and all that but I can also know when appreciating the women and what she does, or what she is capable is more important than thinking only of their beauty.

The Whovian Finish

Time to come full circle and wrap this up. The bottom line is, when people, mostly men, degrade women to less they what they are worth, it really, really, pisses me off. I’ve always been one to respect women, some I can joke around with and act like an ass but I never think they are worth any less. Some women don’t live up to the level of respect I hold them to but that’s only because they don’t respect themselves.

To the men out there reading this, if you didn’t gleam anything from this, I understand, I can’t change the world nor your mind, but I can tell you that if you ever disrespect women, I don’t respect you. Period. I know that’s harsh, but I’ve had so many female friends who have been in abusive relationships, both mental and physical, and I can’t stand to watch as the people in their lives treat as less than they are. The toll disrespect takes on a person shows and it’s terrifyingly shocking.

To those upset about the female 13th Doctor, get over it. Watch it or don’t, because in the end the show will go on because the huge following it has will not be diminished by a handful of you left. Plus that just means you really aren’t a fan because one change you hate made you run away, true fandom means standing by your group. Just ask sports fan, the ones who get off and on a team are called bandwagon fans, since they just want to be around when the team plays well. True fans stick around even in the hard times.

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I just made a sports reference and it hurts a little since I have no clue about sports. I’m proud of myself a little.

Final Thoughts:

Respect Women, they are our equals and sometimes they have skills or personalities that are better than ours. To not respect women is to basically just live a life inside a sausage fest, since that’s the only people in which you seem to respect or treat fairly.

Get over women being in a leading role/position. Women have just as much right to be the one who saves the day as any man. It’s going to happen, threatening to leave a franchise because your main character doesn’t have a dong, then maybe you should just find a new hobby.

You disrespect women and I don’t respect you. Sure I’ll have some people who hate me for it but those are the people I might just not care to get along with.

I apologize for the length and maybe the preachiness of it all. I just get ranty and angry when I’m particularly passionate about a specific and like I said at the beginning I could go on for hours about this, but for now I’ll leave you all with this.

Can’t we all just appreciate one another and grow to be a better world. Because you never know when aliens look down and are just like “Wow, no intelligent life here, keep fucking moving.”

-ProdigiousJ