ThanksGaming: A Thoughtful Reflection on 2017

ThanksGaming: A Thoughtful Reflection on 2017

Holy Shit, It’s been almost a month!

A whole month of procrastinating. A whole month of medical issues. A whole month of adjusting to new work schedules. A. Whole. MONTH.

I have had one hell of a time adjusting to a whole lot of bullshit during this past month. I can’t begin to apologize to everyone who has ever read my posts. I have been so close to writing.. well anything at all but something came up and I found myself either fast asleep, in horrible pain, or just to frustrated to write anything coherent.

In order to make up for the lack of content, I decided I would try to satiate some kind of reader interest by doing a Thanksgiving special of sorts, and also let you know what and when then next article will be up to read (psst it might been sooner than a month!).

What Being Thankful Means

The word ‘Thankful’ gets passed around a lot during this month and the month to come, with a holiday revolving solely around the idea of being thankful. But what does it mean to be thankful?

Is it just saying thank you for anything to anyone who does something remotely nice?

Or is it being appreciative towards the things you are given, the blessings in your life, and the people who you are close to?

I’ll go with all of the above, because in all honesty, it’s not only about respecting and appreciating things in your life, but also expressing thanks where it is due. Letting people know you appreciate them/ thank them for all they do is an important part of the process of growing and helping others keep act kind/helpful.

Video Games Deserve Thanks Too

As weird of a statement as that may be for some, there are plenty of reasons why we should be appreciative of what video games and their devs bring to our homes.

They give us the ability to go on adventures on far away worlds, without making us leave ours. They give us a sense of badassery that we may or may not be physically inclined to do normally. The can give hope, inspire others to do great and kind things, they can even help people cope with major illnesses.

The games and the creators behind them make all this possible for gamers in need or just those who want to relax after a hard day. Developers, voice actors, project coordinators, animators, audio masters, everyone involved deserves a huge thank you for helping you to experience all these amazing things.

Video games pretty much raised me in my early years and helped support me even now when I have a rough day at work or need a distraction from my messed up knee. I owe them a huge wave of Thanks and so much more.

To all developers and anyone associated with video games in any capacity, THANK YOU. I appreciate at it is that you do and have done for me!

What’s Next?

A continual run of background music with repeated “thank you”s should be playing in the background for all those people who deserve it.

Now that I’ve expressed my gratitude for those who deserve it in the gaming industry, in other facets of life there are plenty of people who deserve thanks as well, but right now is not the spot for that. What it is a spot for is the next article and when it will be coming out. I recently just finished The Order: 1886 about as quickly as everybody warned me I would. I’ve been tinkering with a new review system, a review system titled “A Look Back” where I obviously review older games (it can stretch back to retro games if I get the chance).

Usually I don’t get to afford these games when they come out, only able to get them on sale, or when income tax comes rolling in and even after that, it’s no guarantee I can play them to completion when I have zero time. Hence where my look back reviews will periodically come in. When I finally finish up a game and have taken enough notes, I can write up a LBR on the weekend after. Or on holidays, which will be the case with The Order. 

So keep an eye out for that later this weekend, after I roll over from the food coma from the coming festivities.

For now, I just want to say to all those reading, Happy Thanksgiving and hope you and your loved ones enjoy your holiday! 

 

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Vicarious Gaming: Life of the Poor Gamer

Vicarious Gaming: Life of the Poor Gamer

I know, I know… I’ve been absent for a while.

It has been one hell of a time finding any spare moment to sit down and write without feeling like crud, or being half asleep, or hell being in the right mindset to write. Dealing with kids, new job schedule, now as of this past week I’m also getting super sick. It’s all been kicking my ass in about 5 different directions.

Recently I started a new job and the good game fortune I was experiencing from my birthday has kinda peaked till probably well after Christmas, so I’m basically in a lull for new games. It would just happen to be right around the time when one of the most highly anticipated games for the Nintendo Switch dropped. You all know what I’m talking about, and if you don’t you really need to come up from that Underground Level and smell the Piranha Plants.

That’s right, Super Mario Odyssey dropped and everyone has been hitting my Twitter and YouTube feed’s like they were trying to sell drugs to an addict. Hell it, it’s working because I’m jonsin for the day I can afford a Switch and SMO (and a few other games but why get greedy?)

As I sit here and watch as others show off the costumes, brag about 100% of the coins, talking about when they will be dropping reviews, I sit here and feel a bit out of the loop. I get to live vicariously through everyone who plays it, and it feels just like watching other people play a game in front of you, yet in slow motion. Basically infuriating because you see how to get what they need to do, but you can’t grab the controller and try yourself. Just imagine trying to show your younger sibling to play an Uncharted game, and noticing every time they don’t explore for the treasure. UGH!

Writing this gives me a sense of closure and feels nice to have something or someone to talk to about just how crappy it feels watching all the other “kids” get name brand shoes while I’m stuck with Nikdidas that your mom got from your  neighbor.

Sure I’m playing Destiny 2 at the moment, but I’ve burned out of new things to do. I can go back and catch up on my backlog, but I feel I limit myself on reviewing older titles because everyone seems to have already played them, or at least formed an opinion. Why would they want to hear mine on something a year or more older?

That’s thinking I should probably get away from, but can’t seem to stop myself when I get to this point so for now, I’ll sit here and watch from afar your awesome discoveries in Super Mario Odyssey, heck if I see something that can be shopped into a good meme that no one else has already come up with, I’ll share it on Twitter or something.

But just remember, if you see someone on the outside of your window, it might be me watching you play. At least give me a 10 to 15 second head start before calling the cops, I just want to see some new Mario folks.

-ProdigiousJ

PS.

I know it’s a bit shorter this week, but like I said, I’ve been so out of it I can’t come up with good topics to really hunker down and write about. Maybe pitch me some suggestions over on my twitter @ReedicusRex and let me know what you might want me to look into, or maybe even tell me that older reviews aren’t as bad as I seem to think they are.

For now, take care, game well, and always Rise Above. (Phoenix Overdrive has taught me well)

PPS

Also, I’m currently raising money, and trying to see if I have the chance to stream on game day this year for Extra Life. Life might get in the way but I still want to try to help out the kids who are in need of medical treatment and the hospitals/hospital staff that help them every single day. Just follow the link to my Extra Life Page and learn more and maybe help out some kids who deserve a 1Up on life.

 

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

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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

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

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

How Pokemon Go Got Me Re Addicted

How Pokemon Go Got Me Re Addicted

The game that flubbed horribly on release has once again sunk its claws into me

While I just platinumed Horizon: Zero Dawn and have a lot to discuss (still considering if I should do a full review or not), I decided to sit down and write my thoughts on the recent changes and the hooks launched from Niantic to drag poor unsuspecting sods back into the walkathon known as Pokemon Go.

Almost a year ago today, the supposed global phenom was released to the world to about as much hype as one game could have when the hype train was set to maximum overdrive. Everybody was going nuts about what this game meant, based off a release trailer and some words from the developer. The fact that the Pokemon Company had put enough faith in a company other than Nintendo was enough to get a lot of people on board. Little did they know that the second they dropped the game, they dropped the damn ball. All the items in the trailer, co-op battles, trading, battling friends/enemies, and distance tracking. All promised, and all missing on release.

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Yeah sure, we got gyms, and some flawed distance tracking which was quickly removed, as was the support from community sites showing pokemon locations were banned, but that’s it. Nothing we were promised was in the initial release, not a fucking thing, which was a major letdown for those expecting great things from Niantic. Granted it became one of the most popular way to get exercise, one of the coolest reasons to get outside and socialize with people from your neighborhood. Old and young players alike began to make the Pokemon phenom just as big as it was in the 90’s, some who had followed from before, while bringing their children and our younger friends into the fold. It managed to get me to go to events in crowded parks just because it involved Pokemon, and I’m one of the most antisocial beings I know.

After a while, the craze died down and you’d see less and less people playing, to the point that many players were the ones who had something to prove (mostly to themselves). It wasn’t too long ago that I quit playing for real and only opened the app to do the 7 day streak for my wife, and just because I felt compelled, my own. I was all but clean of the drug known as Pokemon Go, and then everything changed once the Raid Battles came.

With A Simple Change, Everything Is Different (But Not)

When the Raid Battles were introduced, it changed how the gym system worked and opened a new avenue for catching certain Pokemon at higher levels and getting together with people to take them down. It brought one of the features that were supposed to be set for release, co-op battles making social interaction a higher priority when it comes to tackling some of the bigger raid bosses. As well as changing the Gym setup to make it a little easier on people looking to actually keep a leg up in gym battles, adding a berry mechanic to boosting morale for the pokemon stationed at your Gyms.

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The game made it interesting again, at least made me sit here and start planning stats of my pokemon to make sure I have the strongest of each type. I all but quit messing with CP and appraisal system, and let my evolution stats be what they will, that was until the update dropped just about a week ago. The introduction of Raid Boss Pokemon and the bonuses they offer (Golden Rasp Berries, Rare Candy, etc), has given me some pretty interesting incentives to keep my strongest guys on the field, as always prepping for the rumored Legendary Raids, the Three Legendary Birds or Mewtwo, which they teased in the trailer so long ago.

I’ve only participated in three raids, two solos and one group, and it hasn’t been all that bad. A group of 5 raided against a Rhydon at 4 stars, and we got close to winning when the time cut out. Which was kinda bullshit because we drained it’s health and then the timer, at 3 seconds, kicked us out saying time was up. Rather shitty but it was my first go, so it didn’t matter much. I was hooked after that, the other players telling me stories of ones they soloed and of the high lvl Pokemon they caught. I spent the next day restocking on healing items, I never used them before when I stopped Gym battles, I just needed space for my 600+ Pokeballs and the other assorted balls as well. I also spent that day searching out one and two star raids, only finding one close by, just to test my strongest guys. Turns out I won easily but I couldn’t manage to catch the Quilava with the special pokeballs after winning. This past weekend I ran through another 2 star Raid on a Muk, and managed to thrash it and catch it.

The kicker of the whole update was that nothing else was affected. Gyms received the only update, an aesthetic change (which looks badass) and them hosting the Raid Battles within them. Everything else stayed the same. Maybe the capture rates on some Pokemon changed, but that’s hard for me to really say because I only tried to catch what I didn’t already have registered or I didn’t have the evolve form of. Looking at the game as a whole, you can’t really tell the difference between pre-update to post-update, at least on any truly substantial level, and yet people like me have probably come in droves back to the Pokemon Trainer Simulator.

It’s a bit sad to say I have become a more avid player since the update, but it’d true. Powering up Pokemon, trying to get stronger evolutions, checking appraisal stats, and placing guys back in Gyms, all this has become a regular thing for me again and all because I want park next to some stranger in a parking lot and possibly not talk. But hey, we might catch a Charizard if there is enough of us. For now, I am suckered back in, yet this may give way to another wave of clarity before walking away completely. Or the Legendaries will get announced and I’ll be all to excited.

It really is a toss up at this point.

-ProdigiousJ

My First Experience With D&D: Goblins Screams and Flames

My First Experience With D&D: Goblins Screams and Flames

Tabletop games have never been my strong suit.

I have always wanted to try my hand at Dungeons and Dragons, but as a kid, I was embarrassed what people would think of me. People’s opinions always ruled what I shared with in public, or reached out to others to learn, so I decided asking about learning what was considered “nerdy” was something to keep off my to do list. Little did I know that being nerdy or geeky was awesome and to be celebrated.

Years would pass, and as most people know the habits and insecurities get so embedded in your mind that you can’t truly shake the notion of mockery or scorn by people who you know wouldn’t judge you anyway. It’s safe to say I’ve put off many, many things that culture once didn’t accept that seemed to be especially interesting and just today I started down the probably long path of checking off one of my goals. I started my journey on a D&D campaign.

The Rise of Reedicus Feedicus

Now part of the name is wasn’t exactly my choice, but it was either that or Moun Ton Doo, and besides the lung busting laughter that ensued, I preferred Reedicus Feedicus. Before my best friend and I started working on my stats and background, I pulled up an old video made from character models from the game Summoner acting out a skit written by Rick and Morty’s Dan Harmon. I’ve known about it for years and I’m sure so many other people know it, I just couldn’t help having “I wanna cast magic missile” playing in the background.

Finding out that the father of all rpgs was far different than what I’m used to playing threw me off a bit, I was expecting to play only by the set amount of points to each character and that I would gain more as I leveled up. When told that I was stuck with the amount I have and that I could roll for the stats I would have forever, only skills adding up as you level. So much I knew about tabletop games.

I waited about 15 years to learn about this game, and what certain video game franchises that toted D&D mechanics had taught me differently than what the game appeared to be. Not that I’m saying I was led astray, but that I what I was expecting and what I got were marginally different things. Taking the time to learn these new old rules takes a toll on someone who apparently knows absolutely nothing about rpgs, even if the differences weren’t all that major, but it does put things into question for me.

Was basic point allotment apart of the game before or was it added in later on in favor for those who didn’t like the “fuckin’ deal with what you roll” mentality? Or did video game and future table top games just adapt because those who were ok with it were tired of hearing those who weren’t complain? I can’t say for certain, though I’m sure the more I research, I’ll find out eventually but for now I’m taking things one dice roll at a time.

Tiefling Rouges Have More Fun

I always struggle in games when it lets me choose classes. I feel this urge building up deep inside of me that screams at me. Sometimes a wild cry of “I would love to shoot a motherfucker from a long ways away”, while another screams “Hell, let me charm my way through life while stealing people’s priceless objects.” So many voices cry out to be heard, to be given a chance to live outside the bounds of our laws, and sometimes our morals. I just love the rush of all the possibilities of games like that but I know, in the end, I can’t choose them all. So I whittle down the most interesting of the characters and what skills I would rather utilize, if I could do so myself.

Not always an easy task, but I end up being a Rouge about 90% of the time, as long as I have sleight of hand, a high charisma stat so I can charm the pants off people or talk myself out of any situation, and the use of a bow is always a must. I’ll take the shadowy path anytime, but I have some standards. Either being Chaotic Good or Neutral keeps me in line with my own moral compass to some regard, I mean Reedicus still steals and usually lies to NPCs but he isn’t cold hearted.

This go round, I decided on Tiefling, for those who don’t know, it’s basically a devil. In my case, after rolling for height and weight, I’m 5’4″ and weigh 125, so not all that intimidating looking. Heck, we even found a profile image for it as if Reedicus drew it. The DM in training, the aforementioned friend, and I spent the next 15 minutes or more just working out simple stats, me asking questions because I had no idea what I was doing or what some of the more unfamiliar aspects of character development were. In the end, I liked how things turned out, even the dice rolls were in my favor for the stats.

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One of my favorite race abilities just so happened to make my character act like a total dick if he wanted to. Making sounds come from pinpoint locations, making my voice booming, making unlocked doors and windows fly open or close at a whim, and even flickering candles. I could just be a total ass while staying in the shadows if I wanted to! As well as one of the, I can’t remember the actual word, but I’ll call it a skill, was to be proficient in an horned instrument just so I could use the horn and the booming voice all in one go if I wanted to. Yeah, I will have fun with this when an actual campaign goes down.

The Mock Battle To End All Mock Battles

To end the day, once Reedicus was brought to life, he wanted to run a mock battle between me, 5 NPC characters in which he created before I arrived, including a Warforged golem named Sir Kills Alot, and 7 goblins. Within the course of 20 minutes, I think I lost track of time between all the laughing and commenting on all the events transpiring within the cave. The battle was simple, but as my first run at it started with me moving the dwarf bard into the line of fire as a meat-shield, and even this didn’t end with him being downed till the last moves of the match ending with him and Goblin #1 impaled on each others swords, the bard trying to shout insults to damage him to no avail.

In other words, the battle was a huge success, only having two of my characters downed and having learned some awesome things about each character class that I never thought was possible. I mean insults damaging people? I never knew bards could be so interesting. I’d never be one, but now I have a newfound respect for the song singers, not that it means I wont make them meat-shields in the future, just that I wont take them for granted if I go against them.

All in all, this experience was great, I can’t believe I waited so long to even try to learn the game. Out of fear of being judge or even the fear of not being as knowledgeable about tabletop games as other people and being judged for it, I stopped myself from enjoying something like this that could breed such humor and imagination. It’s weird discovering things so late in life, because it makes me sound like a child but I’ll live with sounding like a child if I get to enjoy this game as much as I did today.

So I guess a lesson for anyone reading this is, don’t let fear stop you from doing something that could be exciting, or just something you are interested in, just do it! You can’t just hold off on what could be a great experience, doing that just leaves you with “what ifs” while everyone else is off having an awesome time doing what you’re afraid to. Keeping an open mind and not letting the stress bother you enough to halt fun, you live a life half lived.

A lesson I learned a little late in life apparently.

-ProdigiousJ