A Status Update

Hello everyone!

I wanted to write a real quick status update for the blog here since it’s been relatively silent. I had a very weird April, starting off with coming back from PAX East and then ending on a week-long vacation where I wasn’t really in a position to concentrate on updating much.

I’ve also been having slightly more inspiration on the fictional creativity side of my writing and have been trying to explore that a little more. I’m currently trying to find the right balance of my novel/short story writing as well as my blog writing in addition to my podcast episodes. On top of that, I’m still looking to find the time for playing the games and consuming the content that gives me the inspiration for blogs and such.

Part of writing blogs and reviews is also remembering to have some fun and do things that aren’t tied immediately to content. April was up and down in terms of stress for me, so I ended up taking a lot of time to myself and not trying to push out content every day as I was close to burning myself out.

I’m hoping to get back to a regular schedule soon, but the next two months are going to be slightly crazy for me in terms of obligations and other life stuff that’s happening. Podcasts will still be happening on Tuesdays but the blog posts may be coming haphazardly for a few more weeks until I get a firm schedule down. The first thing on my agenda will be a review of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice which should be coming later this week, and then we’ll see!

Thanks for reading and I hope to be back to regularly scheduled content soon!

The Lawful Good Gamer

I’m Lawful Good. In the grand spectrum of the Dungeons & Dragons alignment chart, I’m the alignment that some people find the most boring, or the most annoying, and sometimes the most frustrating. Lawful Good is often attributed to the annoying paladin who insists on taking the bad guy in alive despite the rest of the party really, really wanting to kill him. One particularly frustrating Lawful Good character (to me) was Galad from the Wheel of Time series – a white knight in all senses of the phrase. But Lawful Good is also attributed to popular characters like Luke Skywalker and Superman – characters who uphold the law and believe in the good in people.

A Lawful Good person is not always strictly following every law. Luke, of course, joined the Rebellion and fought against The Empire – despite the Empire being the ones enforcing most of the laws in the galaxy. Here’s an excerpt from a handy-dandy reference website: “Lawful good beings will not want to lie or cheat anyone, good or evil. They will not stand for treachery and will not let obviously dishonorable people use their own honor against them, if they can help it. They will obey the laws and customs of the area that they are in, but will attempt to find legal loopholes to disobey a law which is clearly evil or unjust.”

It took a while for me to accept myself as a Lawful Good person. I, of course, would rather fancy myself as Chaotic Good with roguish charm like Mal Reynolds, or maybe the True Neutral genius of Gregory House. But I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket because I always follow the speed limit of the roads. I have an obsessive-compulsive problem of checking to make sure my car is parked within lines or close enough to the curb, and I will get back in my car to fix it. I get pits in my stomach when I have to lie for board games (like Avalon or Secret Hitler) and don’t ever consider cheating on anything. I find myself following the structure of the law to the best of my ability at all times – however when things like the recent possible government action regarding transgender people are brought up I want to make sure those laws don’t come to pass because I view them as evil.

I’m confident I’m a Lawful Good person and could probably list many more ways why I believe that. But because this is a gaming focused blog, I’d like to take a little time to talk about how being Lawful Good affects how I play video games.

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Pacifism in Video Games

A few weekends ago I was playing Fortnite while a friend of mine was visiting (the wonderful Harvey Z who frequently guest stars in my YouTube videos). He’d never played Fortnite before and after playing it myself for a bit I let him take the reins on my PS4 because Fortnite is very casual play friendly – there’s no ranking and no stats to skew, so turning my controller over to a completely new player was not going to be detrimental to me in the slightest (another point for the accessibility of the game).

His strategy was very specific – he tried to stay out of combat as much as possible. When he discovered that there was a bush item you could use to become even more stealthy, he was all about the Bush Victory. In one run, Harvey made it all the way to 3rd place in a solo royale without killing anybody. He stuck to his pacifist gameplay pretty regularly (partly because he didn’t trust himself to be good at the combat with a PS4 controller, but also because he was determined to get a pacifist victory) and usually was able to get fairly far into the tournament by simply avoiding the high encounter areas.

I myself got my first Victory Royale in Fortnite last week with the introduction of the Thanos solo mode. I succeeded in finishing Harvey’s strategy – when it was just me (as a bush) and Thanos left, I was able to hide and outwit Thanos and he ended up killing himself. I was awarded a victory without having killed a single person the entire match. It was pretty awesome – but it is also not what people want to see in Fortnite. They want to watch big plays and showmanship – like rocket rides into 360 sniper no scope headshots. Pacifists are the “boring” players – despite the fact that my Victory Royale counts the same as one who racks up 10 kills in a match.

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The New At Games Experience

Recently with my Nintendo Switch I’ve been showing a few games here and there to my girlfriend and teaching her how to play them. Now I’ve played video games since I was about six years old, while my girlfriend has not played many video games at all. Outside of a few tries at games here and there and some mobile games she plays on her phone, her experiences with video games were non existent. She enjoys playing games like the Jackbox Games (Drawful, Quiplash, etc.) and other party-style games but hadn’t ever played anything else on consoles.

I figured I would get a few different kinds of games that might be of interest to her and start slow to try and find some things that she liked and go from there. The games I’ve downloaded so far are Stardew Valley, Snake Pass, and The Bridge from the Nintendo Switch e-shop. Stardew Valley is a Harvest Moon-esque farming simulator, Snake Pass is a 3D physics-based puzzle game where you control a snake and he collects…things, and The Bridge is a 2D physics-based puzzle game where you have to guide a little dude through some weird, MC Escher-esque levels. And after showing her each of these games, I started to observe something I hadn’t really thought about before.

Video games are not designed for people who have never played video games before.

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Apology Not Accepted: The Internet’s Judgment is Final

Last Thursday night, the Dallas Fuel played the Houston Outlaws in the Overwatch League. Going into the match, it was expected that the Dallas Fuel would destroy the Houston Outlaws because the Fuel was considered to be one of the better Western teams in the league and near the top in talent. The Outlaws then ended up crushing the Fuel 4-0 and it looked really, really bad for Fuel. There was no communication, a lot of bad playing, and just in general they did not look like a top tier team.

That night after the match Felix Lengyel aka xQc – a tank player for Dallas who didn’t even play in this particular match – got on his Twitch stream (which he has thousand of follower for and is one of the more notorious and/or popular Overwatch streamers) and insulted the main tank player for the Houston Outlaws, Austin Wilmot aka Muma. Muma is openly gay, and xQc’s insult was homophobic in nature. You can see the clip of xQc’s comment here. (Warning: Graphic language in this clip.)

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A Direct Descent Into Memetic Madness

The internet is a weird place which is a given to most people. It’s by design all-inclusive – which means you only have to take a little bit of time to look for something your interested in and then you’ll be able to find other people who are also interested in the same thing. Because of this aspect, all sorts of groups spawn both good and bad. It also results in a weird groupthink that ends up generating movements that can sometimes be weird, but sometimes be powerful.

These movements take life almost by themselves due to the repetitive nature of the internet – especially in the age of social media. The like and share and retweet culture enables ideas and oddities to spread at a pace that’s almost too fast to keep up with. A week-long break from the internet could result in you missing the rise and fall of an entire fad. The #MeToo movement that spawned out of women sharing their stories about sexual harassers is an example of a powerful one. Doge, Grumpy Cat, and Leroy Jenkins are examples of the sillier and weirder ones.

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Help! I’m Playing XCOM 2 Again…

I have a love-hate relationship with XCOM 2. When it was first announced Firaxis gave the pretty strong impression that the game would not be coming to consoles. And that made sense. Despite XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Enemy Within both being released on consoles, the game was a much, much bigger seller on PC. Most of their sales and profit had come from PC, while the console release was a dud.

So me being a huge fan of the first game, looked into if my PC could handle it. It turned out that my computer met the bare minimum requirements except for the graphics card. So I upgraded my graphics card so it could also handle the minimum requirements, and then waited patiently for release. And in February 2016 I got to play XCOM 2 on my computer!

And it was a mess.

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Reference Player One

A little bit ago a full trailer for the Ready Player One movie was released and let me tell you, the resulting discussion from everyone made a whole bunch of old feelings resurface. Namely just how much the book sucked and how awful a thing it is despite its popularity. If you don’t know what Ready Player One is or haven’t heard of it, here’s a quick summary: it’s the future and the actual world sucks, but there’s a virtual world called Oasis where everyone can go and be different people. The creator of Oasis hid an Easter Egg in the virtual world somewhere and whoever finds it inherits control of all of Oasis, so there are people who dedicate their lives to finding this Easter Egg so they can become the world’s most powerful person.

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