Tales of Berseria

When I mentioned to Jennifer in passing that I missed Gamervescent [ed. note: prompting Jenn to suddenly decide “Hey let’s do Gamervescent again for the holiday season!] I was absolutely sincere, but I also didn’t take into consideration that I only played one game in all of 2017, besides solo rounds of You Don’t Know Jack (The Ride edition) and attempting Mass Effect: Andromeda and not liking it (I’ll need to retry this again sometime). I haven’t had energy to do much since restarting therapy—I’ve abandoned my wigs, my makeup collection grows and stays relatively untouched—but I did take three weeks out of my moping to play Tales of Berseria. The Tales Series has always been my favorite and Berseria looked exciting and promising with a story surrounding a female protagonist.

Meet Velvet, a small-town girl who rocks the long braid and messy bangs.

Berseria starts out like all Tales games: filled with hope and whimsy, meeting your main character and getting an introduction into their life. Velvet lives a quiet existence with her sick brother Laphi and their dead sister’s fiancee. They have humble beginnings and love each other very much. Velvet spends her time doting over her family and doing her damned best to please everyone around her. I started the game thinking it was beautiful visually, as most Tales games are, wondering what they had in mind for this sweet innocent girl, and also somewhat annoyed they had pigeonholed her into  a cooking, cleaning, caring stereotype. You know, until Arthur, her dead sister’s lover, decides to murder her baby brother Laphicet before her eyes, for the good of the people. Continue reading Tales of Berseria


Last year I had a religious experience. Like a lot of Biblical encounters, it happened unexpectedly one night while minding my own business. I never thought such a thing would happen to me, but now here I am: I am in love with Doom after playing it for the first time last year.

Doom is definitely a hypermasculine power fantasy. The Marine you play as is ripped and vascular, his face grimacing at you from the bottom of the screen at all times. You shoot demons with an increasingly powerful array of guns, blowing them into bloody chunks while a soundtrack heavily influenced by thrash metal plays. On paper, it does sound like something I’d hate (except for that soundtrack), but I couldn’t have been more wrong about that, because it’s so…pure? Am I really wanting to use that word to describe this game? Yes. Doom is pure. Continue reading DOOM DOOM DOOM

“We Ended the Blight, Y’all”: Kaylan’s Dragon Age Epic Part 9

Previously: Kaylan’s Dragon Age Epic Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7, Part 8


Told the nobles the truth about Loghain and asked them to support me.

LOGHAIN THE MONSTER IS DEAD! My family, friends, and comrades are avenged and I allowed Alistair to do the honors. FOR DUNCAN! FOR THE ALIENAGE!!!

Long live Queen Anora!

Checked my codex; learned I need to do my side quests like whoa before I head out. It’s almost the final battle!

The Wynne/Aneirin reunion is so damn sweet. Making Wynne happy makes me happy. Us silver-haired ladies need to stick together. [Ed. note: “silver-haired ladies” being Käylæn and Wynne, not irl Kaylan and Wynne]

off to try and murder Flemeth

OH GOOD GODS SHE IS A DRAGON Continue reading “We Ended the Blight, Y’all”: Kaylan’s Dragon Age Epic Part 9

Dragon Con and Disability

dragon con

As I sit here suffering from con crud and thinking about my weekend at Dragon Con, a few things stand out. I had an amazing, wonderful, better-than-even-Christmas experience, just like every con. I managed to stop by briefly to see my father for his 60th birthday on my way home, and he said it was the happiest he had ever seen me. Keeping in mind he saw me get married less than six months ago…that’s a big statement.

He wasn’t wrong. I was still basking in the post-con glow. I shook hands with my favorite Star Trek actress, I made instant friends with people in line, I had too many “only at Dragon Con” moments to count. I fucking love conventions, and Dragon Con does it like no other. It certainly wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but it’s easy to feel that way looking back at the high points.

I have a hard time winging it, especially when it comes to travel. Dragon Con forces me to go with the flow. And it isn’t so bad! Twice we started a game in the gaming  dungeon  basement, and before we had even assembled the game, others came along to join us and made the games that much better. We made friends with a Floridian cop who tried to help us defend Camelot from evil until the wee hours (unfortunately for him, I was a wildly successful traitor). You can’t plan for that.

By far though, my greatest surprise this year stemmed from hanging out with a disabled con-goer. I first met Victor as a friend of a childhood friend. We happened to live in the same neighborhood. I noticed he was using crutches at the time, but didn’t think anything more of it. The next time I saw him he was hurtling down a hallway at GMX. My husband pointed him out, so I ran over to say hello. He made it most of the way down the long hallway (including stairs!) before I caught up. He was dressed as Iron Man, and still had crutches—his idea of a joke. He had just frantically started speaking to a volunteer when I burst out my enthusiastic greeting and sort of surprised both of them. I started to chat when he told me he was absurdly drunk and had been ejected from his informal crash space with nowhere to sleep and no way to get home. (This is when I learned the term “sexiled.”) I didn’t even think twice before offering him a ride home at the end of the night. We were neighbors, it wasn’t even inconvenient! But for Victor, that act truly cemented our friendship. When he asked to share a room at Dragon Con a few years later, I (again) didn’t even think twice. At the time, I didn’t realize how much Victor’s disability—or rather, people’s lack of consideration for Victor’s mobility—would impact our shared con experience. Continue reading Dragon Con and Disability

Video Games and Me: A Personal Gaming/DA:O Retrospective


Video games have pretty much always been a part of my life. My father was a computer programmer and we have had a computer in my house for as long as I can remember. I started out playing some of those “edutainment” games, learning as few DOS commands as necessary to start them up. I have hazy memories of time spent with the Sesame Street characters of Letter-Go-Round, which was originally published before I was even born.

At some point in early grade school my brother and I got a Super Nintendo for Christmas, and I promptly forgot all that DOS knowledge I’d acquired. While my parents said it was for us to share (always a great idea with kids who don’t particularly get along, amirite?), even then I knew it was really for my brother. And sometimes for my parents. I remember them staying up until all hours of the night with their friends and family playing Hal’s Hole in One Golf. It puzzled me then and puzzles me now, but man, they loved that game.

But how could the systems and games we had be for me? All the characters you controlled in the games we had on that SNES, and the many more to come, were men: Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong & Diddy Kong, Link, Mega Man, Cloud, Banjo, and even Kirby, who manages to be male even while existing as an anthropomorphized balloon thing. Girls were in the games as objects to be rescued, to scream and be pretty prizes. Perhaps you could occasionally play them as side characters, and sometimes they even showed up as bad ass NPCs in their own right, but they were never the player character in my experience. Continue reading Video Games and Me: A Personal Gaming/DA:O Retrospective

“ARL, LET IT GO,” Kaylan’s Dragon Age Epic Part 8

Previously: Kaylan’s Dragon Age Epic Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6, Part 7

An Interlude:

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And now, we proceed with Käylæn’s journey:

I like the idea that when you dream it’s spirits looking out for you. Wynne is so eloquent. Is it just me or as the game progresses and she gets sicker cause the spirit is fading her eyes become darker?

SOOOOOOOOOOO everything is easier when you use those rune things and use the codex to find out where to go. I got so sucked into side questing that I forgot where to go to continue the plot.

I know this is wrong, but I am really going to enjoy killing Loghain. Hopefully it’s soon after the Landsmeet AND THEN MAYBE I CAN VISIT MY DAD IN THE ELF SLUMS. Ugh, hiring those bigoted murderous rapists, rewarding them for their vile actions.

Whoa, walked in on some guard getting a Blowie. Legit: so far while I’m trying to save the king, the guy getting a blowjob is the only guard to notice me.

Found a charming Grey Warden! (I already forgot his name…I just watched that scene.) He is freeee and said he would seek us out later after medical treatment. Than I went in his cell AND FOUND TORTURE TOOLS AND BLOOD. I AM GONNA MURDER THIS FAMILY

This place is an absolute horror show.

Oh what the hell I hope you got me thrown in jail, because you’re a triple crosser.

Oghren and Wynne saving me was purdy funny. (Also Alistair in underwear is A-OK with me!

Oh, it’s my fault for not being subtle enough? Sorry.

Uh… Should I make her the Queen? SO MANY TOUGH CHOICES.

LOL okay thanks Alistair; you won’t be king. Between the moment in ME2 when Mordin gave me the “don’t ingest” speech and my stating Alistair knows nothing of being a king and his response, “No, I don’t and I have been telling you both that this whole time,” I’ve not laughed so loudly or so hard at video games. I also had no idea he was in the room listening, so I was startled. Thanks bear; glad you weren’t offended


Oh great Warden dungeon dude, your name is Riordan! Thanks, I was feeling bad for immediately forgetting.

So…..what you’re telling me is that Duncan was always a gorgeous sexy-voiced dude. I figured that. YOU DIDNT TELL ME ANYTHING NEW, RIORDAN.

I truly do believe that A was the real ruler, not her moron hubby. (WE DO NOT SPEAK HIS NAME, IT SOUNDS TOO MUCH LIKE MINE OUT LOUD.)

But srsly that guy… So self-involved and dumb.

Okay, once again I am going to back her as Queen. I HOPE I DON’T REGRET THIS.

Also I think Arl E is trying to rule through Alistair. Using my boo like that is not okay.

I am not EVER picking the option for Alistair to marry that lady. HRRRRRUUUUUMMMMPPPPHHH. I am selfish on this.

WORST HOMECOMING EVER! Somehow everyone is poorer and they all have some plague, the dogs are feral… I mean WE WEREN’T ALL THAT WELL OFF BEFORE WHAT THE FUCK. I. Will. Kill. Loghain!


—okay there is a small chance my dad isn’t dead, just a sick prisoner. STILL HORRID.

Oh, and they abducted my cousin Soris’s wifey. Nope…not making me like y’all more, Denerim humans.

WHAT, SLAVERS?? OH HELL NO. My people are being sold as slaves… WHY IS MY STORY SO SAD AND INFURIATING?!

AWWW I FOUND MY DAD!!! He is okay!!!

Helping Ser Otto out before I continue on. Clues point to an evil deranged 27-year-old looking orphan (seriously, once you grow up no one should refer to you as an “orphan.” Maybe let you be an adult? Make your own family. Or just refer to you by your name!) who hears voices and a pool of blood that won’t congeal. I bet it’s a demon.

—was that a baby spirit running away…

—oh god I hate singing ghost kids… It’s so creepy

—yup demons… And I cured the crazy out of the orphan beggar.

Off to the Landsmeet or whatever

I’m gonna kill Loghain.


Kaylan Kennedy played this entire game over a period of days in March 2015. Jennifer is still trying to catch up on posting all of the messages Kaylan sent recounting her progress during that time period.

Let’s Design (a Helmet)

I am in search of a helmet design for a guard character in a comic book I am working on. My personal design process for doing a character is to rough in some panels with a general action silhouette. This way we can get a feel for the spirit of a character in the story, which serves as the initial inspiration for the costume.


As you can see, we get a view of the front and the back of the guard’s head with these panels. This is useful, because I know I’ll need to understand the helmet’s structure in the round. Already I can see that he has some sort of face mask with big bunny ears or horns, his costume is dark and robe-like, and he is looking around alertly.  I’m imagining some sort of visored animal mask.

Let’s take this as an opportunity to learn from the classic famous master examples of visored animal helmets:


Continue reading Let’s Design (a Helmet)

Lousy, Shoddy Fun


Being a Godzilla fan for virtually my entire life has shaped me in a way that I’m only starting to become aware of in recent years. I prefer practical effects over CG. I don’t trust movie and videogame reviews all too much. While a lot of fans—especially in comics—obsess over continuity and timelines, Toho Studios never gave much of a damn about such things for most of the Godzilla movies, so I’ve learned not to care much either. Playing a perfectly designed videogame, reading a perfect comic, listening to a perfect album—all of that is awesome, when everything falls into place and works so well, looks and sounds slick, but…I don’t know. For some reason, that isn’t as appealing to me as something that isn’t quite so perfectly put together. I like seeing when mistakes are made. I like awkward translations, weird cuts, proportions that are somehow off. It feels more human to me. I can relate to it better as an imperfect artist and imperfect person myself. I like it when things get occasionally sloppy. Continue reading Lousy, Shoddy Fun

NaNoRenO 2015 Review

It’s been way too long since I’ve had a major love affair with a quality visual novel, so to whet my appetite while I wait for the next major release, I decided to have a few flings from the array available from this year’s NaNoRenO. My plan is to just sample a few from this appetizing buffet of games, instead of gorging myself on everything that’s available, and here are my thoughts on the first two little morsels that caught my eye.


Speed Dating on the Citadel

Speed Dating on the Citadel

SPEED DATING on the CITADEL??!?!?!?!? Ermahgerd! Sputter! I am nearly incoherent with joy at the prospect!

(Time passes)



It’s over already? I played through that in less than 15 minutes. I mean, I read quickly but that was *short.* Continue reading NaNoRenO 2015 Review


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Ed.: In accordance with Hannah’s wishes, we have refrained from copy editing her review of Thief.

thief 2014

Thief the game

With my short lived life as a gamer girl, I have not heard of the Thief (2014) before, until it was available for free for Xbox live gold members for 360 a few weeks ago. (I have to admit, even with my constant Elder Scrolls Online playing on Xbox One I still check back with good ol’ 360 for free games bi-monthly. Besides, there are way better free games for 360 than One, which is relatively new system and there aren’t as many “good” games that are out of season yet.) The almost monochromatic, mysterious cover art where the guy looks like the merchant from RE4 in his golden days. I knew I would be all in for this game. And who doesn’t secretly adore a shady pale guy covered in black eyeshadow that competes with your favorite raccoon of the backyard? As I’ve stated earlier, my gamer life is pretty new. I’ve never played any games seriously (watching my brother play Nintendo 64 and Sega back in the 90’s doesn’t count, unless it ever did) until the release of Skyrim (2011). I could go on about my first experience playing a console game seriously now and it would be funny to you but I am gonna save that for later where the story is more relative to what I’m writing. Back to our Thief talk, knowing my background, I did not know of the earlier games. All I knew was that I was going to enjoy this game VERY MUCH. Continue reading Theif

games. life. occasional giddiness.