Archive Page 3

05
Aug
19

This May Be Interesting… Or Not.

So, there isn’t much in the way of content for this post today. Sorry ’bout that. But that’s because we’re doing something a wee bit different.

Last night, I took some footage. I’ve mentioned before that I suspect this place may be haunted, and that my darling daughter Little Miss No Name occasionally moves – or seems to – on her own. So I left a spirit box app and my camera running while pointed at her. Just for funsies, I figured we’d review that footage together, over on YouTube.

If you’re of a mind, visit and subscribe to my channel – it’s kind of empty, I know – so you get the notifications and can join in when I go live (which should be around 10:45-11:00 AM on 8/5, Pacific Time? Trying to make OBS behave right now.) We can watch it together. And probably be bored to tears together, but hey, at least we can chat a bit and laugh at the stuff the spirit box spat out, right?

You can also stalk me over on Twitch if you like. I do game streams every once in a while, where you can watch me fail, and take requests for awful games you want to see someone struggle with, if that’s your thing.

Lastly, as everyone knows, health is not good and I could really use some help. If you can drop a dime in the bucket either on Patreon or GoFundMe, or even just share the links, it’d help a lot. If not, it’s okay and I understand. But thanks.

KA Spiral no signature

 

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04
Aug
19

How The Act of Sharing Your Not So Perfect Writing Life Helps Other Writers #writer — BlondeWriteMore

Writing isn’t easy. Probably isn’t supposed to be. There’s some inspiration to be had right here. (Comments are disabled here; please visit the original post.)

Writing is not easy. If you have ever found yourself forcing out a few words while listening to a crowd of negative voices in your head or staring miserably at 1567 words you wrote yesterday, which now sound like nonsense, you will understand. Social media doesn’t help. There are days when it feels like everyone […]

via How The Act of Sharing Your Not So Perfect Writing Life Helps Other Writers #writer — BlondeWriteMore

04
Aug
19

Let’s talk about mental illness — ontheedgeofeverything

Some good points are brought up here. Check it out. (Comments are disabled here; please visit the original post.)

When it comes to mental illness, one of the most effective ways to understand it is through conversation. I often say that unless you’re chatting with someone who has dealt with mental illness themselves, it’s difficult to convey what exactly it entails. Talking to someone about a mental illness you’ve both experienced can be one […]

via Let’s talk about mental illness — ontheedgeofeverything

04
Aug
19

She’s Watching

Little Miss No Name has a few things she wants to say. She’s discussed it, at length, with the appropriate sources, and has determined that she’ll be dropping by to say those things very soon.

Now, some of those things she’s told me before. There is, of course, the short story Little Miss No Name, which still resides in the cloud and that I hope one day to have a forum for… it’s the one story I’ve written that I still have real love for, that I think deserves better than I can give it, and that I still hope finds a home other than Wattpad, even if it seems unlikely. But occasionally she speaks more… directly.

She tells me she’ll be ready to talk this week, but asked that I tell you folks in advance… and to tell you that she’s watching.

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03
Aug
19

Trophy Watch: August

I talked a bit about being fixated on trophies and achievements yesterday. Continuing the theme – and for a lack of anything else to mention this morning but not wanting to give up my streak – I figured I’d share what I’m grinding on this month. It might become a weekly or monthly series… dunno yet.

My backlog is huge, but thanks to my extended convalescence, I have time to work my way through it. I’ve made quite a bit of progress of late, but the need is never fully satisfied. This month, we’re starting strong, already knocking a Platinum out (via Death end Re:Quest, which is possibly the most screwed up anime visual novel/JRPG you’ll ever play, and if you get the chance, I highly recommend it) and chipping away at some long-time low percentage lurkers, Doom (2016) and Dead Island: Riptide. Also of note is the newest in the Yakuza series, Judgment, which I admit I will never platinum (like all Yakuza games, there are just some things I cannot do, such as grasp the intricacies of koi koi, oichu-kabu, or mahjongg to the level required to win consistently. Given that every one of them has a trophy relating to 100% completion, which includes winning a virtual crapton of money in those games, it’s unlikely ever to occur.) but that I love nonetheless.

What’s next? Well, Far Cry 5 and its DLC have been eyeing me (though, given that I don’t have any PSN friends to do the co-op trophies with, it will probably never be 100%), and I really should go back and finish Darksiders 3 and Spider-Man‘s respective DLCs… but Atelier Sophie and Ace Combat 7 also want some love. We’ll see. If you’ve got a suggestion (or if there some other game you’d like to see me attempt, potentially on my stream over on Twitch), let me know via Twitter or in the comments.

Just going to drop my trophy card here, so folks can see where I’m at, if that’s of any interest to you. If you feel like it, shoot a friend request or a follow to me over on PSN; the PSN ID is Ashande. (Or, though I don’t play it as much, if you’re an Xbox fan, you can find me as Typo Monster on there.)

Thanks, everyone, for reading. Hope your month is going well. I’d also like to give a shoutout to OhNoTuxedoMask for being the top Patreon! Give her a follow, because she’s awesome. If you’d like to join her, you can always check out my Patreon right here; or if you want to help me keep breathing, the GoFundMe for my surgery can also be found. Support is always appreciated but never required.

Until next time…

KA Spiral no signature

02
Aug
19

Gatekeeping “Gamers”

“Git gud!”

“Piss off, casual!”

“Is that even a game?”

“Ugh, console plebs.”

Those are the sorts of things one might hear if you were to browse the forums of a gaming website. There’s a fascinating amount of bickering to be found on what constitutes a “real” game these days, and quite a few individuals will spend more time arguing about that – and mocking those they consider to be “inferior” or “fake” gamers – than they will just enjoying the hobby. It’s bizarre.

I’ve heard it myself in a few variations; I’m supposedly not a real Silent Hill fan because I actually enjoyed Downpour and thought The Room was a less-than-stellar product. (I do toe the company line in saying that Silent Hill 2 is the best, though; in fact, it’s my second favorite game of all time.) I’m not a real gamer because I think games like JourneyBraidAbzu or other games that claim to be about “emergent gameplay and storytelling” are frequently so much pompous trash, and I don’t enjoy them. I’ve been informed I’m not a real gamer because The Last of Us bores me to tears, because I can’t stand Kingdom Hearts, and there’s quite a few of those old LJN games that I actually had fun with. I’m not a real Metal Gear fan because I didn’t think The Phantom Pain was awful. And so on and so on.

But the main thing I’m going to discuss today has to do with the artificial reward system found in most games today. Call them Trophies, Achievements, Benchmarks, whatever, there’s a magic list to show that you spent way too much time doing something in a game, typically alongside a percentage to show you how rare that thing is and make you feel better about yourself. This has changed the way some people play games; no longer does one enjoy the story and decide the game is done when they say it’s done. Now it’s about doing bizarre (and often counter-intuitive) things at just the right time, or grinding some tedious (and often overinflated) number of repetitive tasks out, or hunting for collectibles that ultimately do nothing except prove you spent too much time worrying about minutia (and following video walkthroughs, in a lot of cases.) Because you’ve gotta get that 1000 points or Platinum Trophy, or else you’re not a real gamer.

Don’t get me wrong. I love this reward system. It gets me to play things I might otherwise not have, or stick with a game longer. Sometimes it leads me to explore areas I would otherwise have ignored, or to push myself for the 100% or beating the game on the highest difficulty. Far too much of my own self-worth is wrapped up in my PSN Profiles ranking. But there’s some bad sides.

During the 360 era, I was obsessed with achievements; I would play games specifically for them, even if it was garbage that I hated. There were some games on my card that I was proud of – Fallout 3Fight Night Round 3Crackdown – but a large percentage of the list was made up of games I couldn’t stand, that were done solely for the achievements. Avatar: The Burning EarthTeenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesMadden ’06 and dozens of other “easy peasy” sports titles for games I couldn’t care less about. (My interest in sports games has always been low. Give me something arcadey and over the top, like Blitz, or give me a good boxing or hockey game, I’m in. Anything else? Nope.) It was stupid, and pointless, and just filling GameStop’s coffers for an inflated sense of self. I got over it.

These days, I’m still a hunter. Mostly Trophies, as there isn’t much for Xbox One that really grabs my interest, but when I play a game (for either system) I do my best to clear the list as best I can. But I don’t buy or rent games just for trophies anymore. I play what I feel like playing, and do my best to complete it. But because I like laughing my ass off at how bad something can be, and frequently stream the results, there’s also a lot of crap on my trophy card. Things like Little Adventure on the Prairie or My Name Is Mayo. I get those on my ticket for the lulz, as it were. But in some trophy hunter’s minds, that makes me “not a real gamer.”

My 100% in Borderlands or Darksiders 3 doesn’t wash away the stains of Mr. Massagy, even though all of them were played for the same reason: To have fun. And I did. Isn’t that the point?

Of course, there’s also those folks (the ones who have the top rankings on PSN Profiles), who only seem to play quick-and-dirty games. The ones you can swipe a Platinum from in an hour or two, and even better if they have multiple region stacks and save compatibility. They’ll have the same game from 8 different countries, a Platinum in all of them, in the course of an hour, and somehow think they’ve accomplished something. You typically have to scroll quite a ways down their list before you find a game that’s not at 100%, and typically that will be the first thing most folks would call a “real” game. A lot of folks despise these individuals – and I can’t say there isn’t a twinge of anger at them from me, as well, since climbing the ranking is almost impossible with these people at the top – but those same folks will then decide who is and isn’t such an individual based on certain games. If they find Doodle God in your backlog, you’re not a real gamer and that’s the end of it, no matter how many Uncharteds you’ve finished.

It’s kind of silly, really. Why spend so much time arguing over who’s a “real” gamer based on a bunch of imaginary rewards that are literally there for no reason other than e-peen (and so easily manipulated that it doesn’t even really mean that much) when you could be off enjoying the hobby?

Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know. But what about you folks? Am I right in thinking arguing over who’s a “real” gamer and what constitutes a “real” game is a waste of time? Do you think the Achievement system in games needs to go away, or become a bigger thing? Is there a Trophy or Achievement that you have that makes you ridiculously proud? (For me, it’s “1000000%” from Binding of Isaac: Rebirth) Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

As you all know, health problems have been beating me down quite badly of late, and I could use some help. If you like the stuff I do and want to help me keep doing it, if you could drop a dime in the bucket either through Patreon or GoFundMe, or even just like/share/comment/etc my stuff, it’d help a lot. Not a requirement, and if you think I’m not worth it, it’s okay… no hard feelings. But it does help. Thanks.

 

01
Aug
19

Recurring and Returning Characters

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels a little prickle of excitement when a familiar name turns up in a bit of media I’ve been following. Whether it’s a callback to a random character in an earlier game, or the full fledged arrival of a beloved character thought long lost, I enjoy greeting my old fictional friends again after some time away.

But there’s two ways to do that, and I’m kind of curious about how folks think about them. There’s the recurring character, who keeps popping up and is either implied or explicitly stated to be the same individual; Stephen King’s Randall Flagg/Walter O’Dim would be a good example of this, even though he himself is not always aware of it (his incarnation in The Stand, for example, is lacking much of his memory.) Flagg is Flagg is Flagg, and most devoted readers are happy to see the Walkin’ Dude whenever his boots start clocking down the deserted halls of whatever haunted locale King has thrust him into. Well, maybe not happy, precisely, given that his appearance usually foretells gloom and doom for our heroes, but at least we know and love to hate him.

The other way is when a base concept and handful of character traits accompany a name, but it’s not intended to be the same individual and there may be drastic differences and contradictions between assorted portrayals. I can’t think of a good famous example off the top of my head – blame the meds, they’re always mucking with the memory – so I’ll use one of my own.

The Reverend Deuteronomy Jones, also known as Rev’rend Dewey, Reverend Billy Joe Bob James Deuteronomy Jones (with the first four names being shuffled about randomly for comedic effect) or just “The Rev,” has been a character lurking in my mind for literal decades.

What’s always the same about him? He’s a religious sort, obviously. Larger-than-life personality. A bit of an extremist, for whatever time and place he’s dropped into. His rough appearance – thick dark hair, white suit jacket over all black clothing, too much jewelry, obnoxious and oversized crucifix somewhere on his person, somehow able to turn nearly any conversation into proof that an individual is an evil, evil sinner. Sometimes his belief is genuine, sometimes it’s part of the show, but he’s always well steeped and educated in religious matters, regardless of the flavor, and willing to twist them for his own purposes.

Dewey has been used as a character in a Vampire: The Masquerade game (as a Panders pack priest and Infernalist), in a Vampire: The Dark Ages game that evolved into a Dark Ages Vampire game (as a Setite itinerant monk), in a Demon: The Fallen game (as a Lammasu huckster and tent revivalist), in a Beast: The Primordial game (as a monster of pride and desire, “educating” humans on the dangers of belief and how important the phrase “be careful what you wish for” can be), a television personality (his original incarnation, where he was a comedic character poking fun at television evangelists and faith healers), the antagonist of a short story (where a demonic variant rounds up people who should have died and puts them to work in his traveling tent show to find either damnation or redemption), the protagonist of another short story (essentially the same as the previous, except from Dewey’s perspective, which plays it as though this is his divinely ordained task, and is ultimately for the greater good) and back to television personality (sort of; working on a YouTube series with him, that’s somewhere between his original television self and his Beast: The Primordial version.)

They’re all separate people – except for the two short story incarnations, which may be the same one, though its not explicitly stated – but all of them are still Dewey.

Is that okay? Is it weird to ask if that’s okay? Is it a lack of imagination, an overabundance of imagination, or just the creative process at work as one keeps hammering at something until it’s what you actually want? I have no bloody idea, but I’m interested to hear your opinions.

If any of you out there would like to weigh in, I’d love to hear it. Do you prefer recurring characters, or repeating ones? Are you happy to see a familiar face, or prefer to see only new ones? Why? Let us know down below!

As a reminder, as most of you know, my health isn’t great. I’m doing what I can, trying to keep as active as possible, and slowly forcing myself back to the keyboard when I can. I’m hoping to manage at least posting something every day for the month of August. We’ll see how that goes. But to keep up, I can use some help; medical bills are unpleasant, surgery is apparently necessary, and the landlord doesn’t worry about the lung tissue in their carpet when the money isn’t in their account. I have a couple of places you can help out, if you’re of a mind; if you like my stuff and want to help keep me doing it, you can either pledge to my Patreon, or drop a dime in the bucket over at GoFundMe. If you can help, it’s greatly appreciated and helpful. If you can’t, that’s okay, too. No worries, no pressure. If you can drop a like, a share, or a follow, that helps, too. And if you don’t think I’m worth any of that, I don’t blame you; no hard feelings. But please consider it.

Until next time, folks.

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