Working on my entry for the Wadjet Eye games fanart contest!
The ladies of ChezApocalypse are (or were depending on when you’re reading this.) looking for freelance writers to help create their hilarious homage to Twilight, the currently unnamed project we have been calling 50 Shades of Green. I’m not a writer, and don’t intend on getting picked- however I woke up the other day and thought of a scene for the book. I don’t actually think it fits that well because it involves zero men and I never refer to anything as “glistening”. But I thought I’d share. It’s always fun when projects get your creative juices flowing. (ew, juices. Gross.)
In the Courtyard
“…Anastasia shook herself from her reverie. She would never get anything done again if she couldn’t stop thinking about him. She scanned the courtyard- trying not to look for him- as she was packing up her bag and stopped suddenly as her eyes fell on Kayleigh Macintosh. Ana stared in disbelief. Something was happening that had never happened in the past sixteen years. For starters, she was alone. Kayleigh was never alone. She was always surrounded by the buzz of popular life. She was not at her usual table with her usual friends. In fact, Anastasia couldn’t recall seeing any of the cheer leading team that day. Kayleigh was sitting in the grass, tucked behind a tree where no one could see her. Her shoulders slumped forward and long golden hair was covering her tan face. Since the beginning of middle school, Anastasia had known her. She was as beautiful and adored as Ana was plain and unnoticed. They had been in the same Math class together for 2 years, and she never said one word to her. And today, in the courtyard, Kayleigh Deanne Macintosh was staring straight at her…
Ana’s heart pounded in her chest. Something was wrong. Not just the oddity of seeing the captain of the cheer leading team looking at her. But it was the way she was looking. Kayleigh’s blue eyes were wide and unblinking. Her perfect mouth was tight and angry. Her manicured nails seemed to be digging into the Earth underneath her toned legs. There was a viciousness in her expression Anastasia had never seen. And yet… she felt something else. Fear. It was as if someone- or something -was using Kayleigh like a puppet. Looking through her at Anastasia. She fumbled with her book bag and quickly walked back inside. It was then that Ana realized two things: that she was somehow able to sense this new powerful force that has appeared; and that something was very, very wrong at Shady Brooke High.”
Getting ready for Christmas a bit early, I’ll be having a baby in a couple weeks and I heard a rumor that it effects your productivity.
Also, I’m having a Holiday Mailing Special through December 31st! All cards bought can be mailed to your address as normal, OR, they can be mailed to the recipient in an attractive holiday envelope (photos to come!). It may also include an optional message on the back if you like. This is a great option for people who are overwhelmed with Christmas plans and need a little extra help. Also free shipping on all orders!
Order one, or you can get 10 for $10 at the Jellyfish Station Etsy Shop.
Despite my sugar pink exterior I am actually a huge fan of horror. I don’t know, maybe I just like contrast. But as someone who grew up with a love horror movies, literature, and cinema, I have acquired the same general sense of disappointment as many fans. The unrelenting march toward mediocrity: torture porn, jumps scares, and well, the new Silent Hill 3D movie just about sums it up. A once subtle and nuanced series swallowed and then regurgitated by a company that understands about as much about horror as I do about quantum physics.
More and more fans are forced to turn to indie games made by small companies, or in this case, one person- Benjamin Rivers. He’s the creator of HOME and with a few minor complaints I would say it’s a huge success.
HOME: I almost forgot what subtlety looked like
The player starts the game as a man who wakes up in an unfamiliar house and it’s clear that something pretty terrible has gone down. He has no memory of how he got there. The player is then taken on the man’s journey as he tries to find his way back home (get it? hur hur) to his wife, Rachel. As you progress, you discover more about whats going on as he does.
The interface is extremely simple, which is great. When it comes to horror I will always prefer a game with a simple control scheme, having to memorize or fret over countless buttons can suck the atmosphere out of the room. The music is quiet and doesn’t get overly dramatic.
I feel like bigger companies have forgotten- or never hired anyone who knew- what is really genuinely scary. You can put 1,000 different filters on your stupid alien monster, I don’t fucking care. I’m not scared of your high poly zombie or your over designed boss battle. It’s. Not. Scary. And that is coming from someone who is scared of everything. No, seriously. I’m a big sissy, ask anyone.
What’s truly terrifying is the unknown. Losing your mind, accidentally making the wrong choice and getting yourself killed, or the slow and terrible realization that things aren’t what they seem. HOME takes a swing at this and for the most part succeeds. With a few minor slip ups, that is.
It’s not all rainbows and teddy bear smiles
Home isn’t perfect, one issue I found being that there is no save function. In fact there is no inventory, map, menu, or status screen on any kind. This was intention as the game is short and intended to be played in a single play through. But the problem is that this game has multiple diverging paths, and your actions effect what ending you get. When I got to the end I really wanted to go back to a previous save and try a different option, but I couldn’t. You need to replay the entire game from start to finish in order to make different choices. I was also wishing I had some way to re-read notes, letters, or scraps of evidence I picked up. For a game so focused on story and plot, it’s sorely lacking in any way to review the evidence you’ve found. The mechanics are sometimes iffy as well, the game does not always recognize when you’ve triggered an event, and sometimes that leads to some confused dialogue.
And I think the biggest complaint for those who have played it is how ambiguous it is. The ending, depending on your choices, can be nebulous and leave the player confused and disappointed. HOME regards itself as a game that doesn’t hold your hand, and requires the player to meet you half way in order to fully enjoy the story. That attitude is extremely refreshing in an industry hellbent on believing we are all drooling idiots who are incapable of connecting plot points, and would prefer it spoon fed to use- bib and all. Whether it succeeds at that is somewhat debatable. I would say it does- mostly. Because even though the ending I got was lacking, I found myself in bed later that night going over it again and again with my boyfriend.
“Maybe it was like THIS. Or considering this evidence, like THIS!” This went on for about two hours, and despite any mechanical issues or fuzziness of direction- there are few games today that are capable of triggering such an in depth analysis. We had as much fun after the game was over trying to work out different scenarios as we did playing the game itself. And shit, that’s worth a measly 2.99 on Steam.
Yes. If you like horror, you will at the very least appreciate the valiant effort of HOME. If you roll your eyes at the latest movie trailers, if you think Resident Evil stopped being scary years ago, and that Silent Hill was better before the damn sexy nurse thing became a thing. Then yes, give Benjamin Rivers 3 dollars and play his game. If not, stop reading because we’re not friends anymore.
XOXO – Maggie
Residents! Beware the terrifying Tanuki Gang! You’re garbage cans aren’t safe! Hehehe…
Get the T-shirt here.
It’s no secret to anyone who runs in the communities I do (nerds, gamers, reviewers) that something is indeed amiss. Social changes are often sparked by one large, public event that sparks an outrage- that seems to trigger a host of other events. Enter Anita Sarkeesian. If you don’t yet know about Anita and the controversy surrounding her kickstarter project. Feel free to fill yourself in:
• Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games Vs. The Internet – Rock Paper Shotgun
• This Week In Harassment – The Borderhouse Blog
• Kickstarter Video Project Attracts Misogynist Horde – The Escapist
• Tropes vs Movie Bob – The Big Picture, The Escapist [VIDEO]
• Feminist Frequency Kickstarter project smashes target – Games Industry
• Awful Things Happen When You Try to Make a Video About Video Game Stereotypes – Kotaku
Now that we’re all caught up, I think we all sort of know – on some level, anyway- that video games have sexist representations of women. That’s not really debatable. And for those of you who will invariably choose the “men are objectified too” route. No… just, no. Get your facts straight, and then rejoin the conversation. We’ve all debunked this argument more times than is necessary and we’re moving on. But I think many were legitimately shocked at the harassment, death/rape threats and so on. I wasn’t really shocked- it’s that kind of retarded behavior that keeps me from bothering with XBOX Live. And I mean “retarded“ in the most literal of terms- as in “completely stunted“. I’ve never known a person with developmental disabilities to use the phrase “uppity Jew cunt”.
I think as nerds/gamers we think we live in a futuristic community that is somehow above this kind of behavior. Like misogyny is regulated to Bro culture and frat parties. Clearly we’re far too smart to participate in this kind of Neanderthal shit, right? That was our bubble, and it got burst. And then it got better.
Crystal Dynamics walks onto the scene with quite possibly the worst timing in gaming history. They had redesigned Lara Croft to be less sexualized and had been given a pat on the back from modern society. Then unfortunately took two steps back, fell down the stairs and promptly shit their pants. After Sarkeesian showed us that some gamers are extremely sexist, Crystal Dynamics proved that even those who are trying are fucking up due to a complete lack of understanding. At least that’s how I see it. The Tomb Raider thing doesn’t come off as malicious to me, just ignorant. Which is almost worse because it’s easier to defend. Ya dun fucked up, C.D. It’ll be okay, but maybe you should like… talk to women before you try to flesh out female characters.
By the time the new Hitman trailer waltz in to the party- 2 hours late and wearing only a sign that says “MAKE ME A SAMMICH”- everyone was ready to fucking kill. I don’t even need to break down whats wrong with it. You either get it or you don’t. And really, it’s not any worse than most games that have been coming out for years, it just came out at the best time to be a perfect example of the level of sexist bullshit in gaming. No worse, just the status quo.
And if you’re extra local to this neck of the internet, you’ll know all about the uproar that happened at TGWTG. If you are a fan, then you already know. If you aren’t- you probably don’t care. moving on)
We’re collectively discovering something about ourselves. It’s difficult- for nerds especially -to accept that something about the status quo is fucked. That a facet of our community is really destructive. Not just to the outside world, but to us personally. Over the last couple weeks I’ve seen all manner of reactions. Some completely agree that it’s an issue and are standing with female gamers. Others are striving to find any tiny crack in the argument. This is frustrating, but at least these guys are being coherent. Pro tip, gentlemen: you’re not right. Just let it go. It’s not like anyone is blaming you directly, no one is calling you a misogynist pig. We were all raised in a culture that created this mindset, we’re all at fault, so do yourselves a favor and don’t take the criticism so personally.
The last group was inevitable: unabashed, juvenile temper tantrums. This is the sub group of nerds/gamers who just have no coping skills- they cannot tolerate any form of criticism. Mostly dispensing the same “FUCK YOU BITCH, GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN” joke that hasn’t been funny “BAREFOOT AND PREGNANT” was funny and that was never funny. These are the true man children of our community. I’m actually reminded Tom Green in “Freddy Got Fingered”** screaming “Look Daddy, I’m a farmer!” as he jacks off a horse. It’s the knee jerk reaction of someone who simply cannot cope and has to react by simply becoming what they are accused of being. “Oh so I’m an asshole? Well I guess I’ll just be an asshole then!” he shrieks as he throws his toys around the playground.
I really hate the modern idea of “It’s the internet, what do you expect?” that’s such a cop out. It gives a free pass for real people to participate in hate speech, death threats, and insane misogyny without any social consequences. What do I expect? I expect a little more out of those who consider themselves superior to Bro culture. I expect you to grow the fuck up and stop acting like a little bitch. There’s a problem, so why don’t you put on your big boy pants and do something about it? Or you can sit here in the sandbox and whine. The rest of the nerds are going to join the 21st century.
** Don’t watch Freddy Got Fingered, just watch the review by Nostalgia Chick, Nella and Oancitizen. I’m not a monster, people.
Yeah, I should probably explain that title. Recently I was in Seattle and I walked into a store. I immediately spotted a t-shirt with a very similar design on it, and promptly freaked out. I wanted it- bad. Only to discover that it was not in my size, in fact it was nowhere near my size and in fact the shirt itself was very thin and had that stupid hems on the outside which is fashionable right now. Because… wearing your clothes inside out is…cool? Whatever. And it was almost $40. “FUCK. THAT.” I stated and I stormed my wobbling pregnant ass out of the store. Fuck that, indeed. So although I don’t intend to sell these shirts at all, because it’s probably illegal, I am going to make one for myself. Suck it, overpriced T-shirt store.