MIMICS

As it is almost Halloween, I feel it necessary to talk about one of the most evil and surprisingly scary creatures of the video game world. Imagine you are traveling in a dungeon, minding your own business, when you stumble upon a chest. “Hooray, treasure!” you may even exclaim. What could it be? …a potion? A helpful amulet? Equipment upgrade? Perhaps it’s just a bit of currency.

NOPE, IT’S A MIMIC. My favorite of the monster jerks. Lurking in plain sight, I mean, who can pass up a chest? It holds so many possibilities, including sharp teeth!

That one eye and lolled tongue and comically long arms. You’re Silly-Scary.

That one eye and lolled tongue and comically long arms. You’re Silly-Scary.

I JUST WANTED PRESENTS!! I’M SORRY I DISTURBED YOU.

I JUST WANTED PRESENTS!! I’M SORRY I DISTURBED YOU.

Oh, you’re not so bad. ...kinda cute actually.

Oh, you’re not so bad. …kinda cute actually.

Oh god! I AM SO SORRY; I DIDN’T MEAN IT.

Oh god! I AM SO SORRY; I DIDN’T MEAN IT.

WHYYYYYYYYYY……

WHYYYYYYYYYY……

So be wary, fellow adventurers. Not everything is as it seems!

 

Kaylan likes getting loot, not getting her face eaten off.

Your Words Echo Inside Me

It’s almost Halloween! Holy crap! What have you been doing to get in the spirit? Watch anything good, play anything awesome? I normally binge on horror movies, usually cheap and ridiculous things from the 60s and 70s, Hammer Studios and Vincent Price movies, but this year I took a different approach and have been playing various survival horror games.

I also put together a playlist that I’ve been listening to a lot, comprising entirely of Akira Yamaoka’s music to the Silent Hill series and Shadows of the Damned. More specifically, the playlist is honed down largely to his collaborations with Joe Romersa and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. The songs they make together are what really stand out in the Silent Hill games, and I’ve been trying to figure out why and put it in words in a remotely satisfying manner. This is maybe…my fourth attempt? Bear with me. Their songs give a real sense of melancholy and heartbreak that add so much to the atmosphere of the series, and yet the way they’re catchy, almost radio friendly, is not at all what you’d expect to hear in a horror video game. Think about the song “You’re Not Here” playing when you first load up Silent Hill 3, the first game I played in the series. That’s a damn catchy song, I love singing along to it, but it’s such a different tone from the game’s imagery, isn’t it? How does it work when it seems like it shouldn’t?

Continue reading

“Women, horror, and video games”

Great interview with Shinji Mikami, creator of Resident Evil, on the Guardian today in support of his upcoming game The Evil Within.

Aside from gothic architecture, lumbering monsters, sparse resources and jump shock, Mikami’s games have always been known for something else: strong female characters. The likes of Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield fought alongside their male counterparts in the Resident Evil games, dressed in similar combat fatigues, rarely succumbing to the usual overtly sexualised stereotypes.

It’s something Mikami is clearly passionate about. ‘I don’t know if I’ve put more emphasis on women characters, but when I do introduce them, it is never as objects,’ he says. ‘In some games, they will be peripheral characters with ridiculous breast physics. I avoid that sort of obvious eroticism. I also don’t like female characters who are submissive to male characters, or to the situation they’re in. I won’t portray women in that way. I write women characters who discover their interdependence as the game progresses, or who already know they are independent but have that tested against a series of challenges.’

Jill Valentine

The World I Dream For

Link-meets-Ganondorf-in-game1

Hello, friends. I write you with a heavy heart. I know you are tired of reading about this subject, but it needs to be repeated until it is actually heard. There is a world I want to be a part of and that place is one where I am accepted because of me and not judged because of my gender. Bear with me please. I am one of those women who was afraid for a while to call herself a feminist based on the stigma that is (unjustly) associated with it. I tried out other terms such as “humanist.” Until I realized that wasn’t helping anything I was appeasing people and hiding behind a name out of an irrational fear that that tricky “FEM” would cause such unbearable trouble. One day I woke up and was like “FUCK IT.” It was like a weight was lifted. Until I was approached and asked if I was a lesbian or if I hated men. Of course not. When  I dislike people it is not based on gender, skin color, sexuality, or religion. Most of the time it’s because that person is an asshole. I know you are wondering why is she rambling about this. Well, due to the fact I was born with a vagina, I have encountered some disturbing things when it comes to my hobbies. Particularly in the gaming world.

Let me give you a few examples of what I mean based on my own personal experiences:

  1. More times than I can count, when I have told people of my passion towards gaming, the responses have been off-putting.  “Is this because you are trying to find a new way to get closer to men?” “ What games do you EVEN play?! Farmville? Candy Crush?” “OOOOOhhhh that makes sense. RPGs are for girls” “So was your favorite Final Fantasy the one with all the girls? You know where they had multiple costumes?” This is only a fragment of what was thought to be appropriate to say to my face. Never have I thought to ask someone “Oh, because you have a penis that means you are really into racing games, sports, or cars? Right? Because those are your only interests?”

  2. Online I have joined discussions on games in public forums and been dismissed because of being born a woman. I have had people send me personal messages finding it appropriate to degrade or sexually harass me. Luckily, I haven’t been violently threatened (as many women have) with rape or physical harm. My opinions have been dismissed with “What do you know? You’re a girl!”

  3. I avoid cosplay because I have a fear that if I dressed as some of my favorite characters people would take that as an invitation to cat call or, WORSE, touch me. Only because I dared to show my cleavage, legs, or stomach. Let me be clear IT IS NEVER OKAY TO TOUCH ANYONE OF ANY GENDER BASED ON HOW THEY ARE DRESSED. I have a male friend who was harassed based on a how he chose to cosplay. No deserves to be groped because you have the hots for the character they are portraying. Nor is it okay to slut shame anyone because they altered the costume to what made them feel was more to their taste. It isn’t Slutty Whatever, it is a personal twist on a favorite character.

I could continue on for pages… but no one needs that either. So what I yearn for more playable heroines. How is this harmful? Women gamers take up 48%  of our culture that’s a lot of ladies “pretending to attract men.” Shouldn’t we be heard? Why is it so easy to dismiss us?

I’ve also been so lucky. I have friends who support my hobbies never judging me based on how I look. I have a father who never held me back because of being a daughter. I have a partner who encourages me to be myself. I am truly blessed in this aspect. As well thank every one of them for seeing me as a human. I love you.  Is it so much to wish and hope for a world full of more men like them? I don’t think so.

The Future of the Culture Wars is Here, and it’s a Goddamn Nightmare

Gamergate is a sustained and terrifyingly effective terrorist campaign. I doubt that’s a particularly revelatory statement to anybody who regularly reads this site, as Gamervescent fans do not tend to be massively bigoted, entitled douchelords with a bizarre immunity to cognitive dissonance.

This was the impossibly stupid beginning of an impossibly stupid and literally unbelievable sequence of events,” and it’s real fucking life. We are living in an unlikely sci-fi dystopia in which women—real breathing thinking feeling human people—are bombarded with rape and murder threats, driven from their homes, forced to cancel public appearances due to threat of massacre, because they talked about video games. It is astonishing. It is impossibly stupid.

It’s reality.

I highly recommend Kyle Wagner’s piece on the entire ugly series of events at Deadspin. The future of the culture wars is indeed here, and it’s not going away. It won’t disappear if we ignore it. It is escalating, it is unacceptable, it’s hard to know how best to fight it—and by “it” I mean “them,” the people who are throwing a massive temper tantrum of unprecedented proportions over the mere idea that their self-perceived dominion over a form of entertainment media might be threatened. And the implication for the future, given the success of their harassment campaign against individuals and the unwillingness of the gaming industry to even acknowledge their actions, let alone attempt to stop them, is terrifying:

What we’re seeing now is a rehearsal, where the mechanisms of a toxic and inhumane politics are being tested and improved. Tomorrow’s Lee Atwater will work through sock puppets on IRC. Tomorrow’s Sister Souljah will get shouted down with rape threats. Tomorrow’s Tipper Gore will make an inexplicably popular YouTube video. Tomorrow’s Willie Horton ad will be an image macro, tomorrow’s Borking a doxing, tomorrow’s Moral Majority a loose coalition of DoSers and robo-petitioners and scat-GIF trolls—all of them working feverishly in service of the old idea that nothing should ever really change.

VGHS Season 3

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.10.39 PM

VGHS! Final season!! First episode free here!!! Buy the whole season for $15 here!!!!

If you have never watched VGHS before, do yourself a favor and start with Season 1. Also! I just discovered that you can actually play Ki’s VGHS game from Season 2.

  • man I love Ki Swan so freakin’ much
  • omg that scene from Season 2 where Ki and The Law trash Ted and Brian’s room
  • Brian D looks like he’s grown up to be a surprisingly good kisser
  • DRIFT KING!!
  • okay I’m gonna go watch the new ep now

This show makes me laugh harder than anything else I’ve ever seen, save Top Secret.

ace

Refugees Taking Up Too Much Space on the Citadel

If you’re a fan of Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train and Mass Effect 3, you’ll love my new blog idea called “Refugees Taking Up Too Much Space on the Citadel.” I know! Aliens are so rude.

Let’s check out some of the latest culprits, shall we?

Just look at this Batarian. What has four eyes and doesn’t give up seats for pregnant ladies? THIS GUY.

batarian jerk

Total jerk.

And how about these asari? They’re taking up five seats all by themselves! Oh, your home planet is overrun by Reapers? Poor you. Maybe think about somebody besides yourselves next time. Your moms didn’t raise you to force the elderly to stand during their entire visit to the Citadel holding area for refugees.

asari jerks

Shepard gives the side-eye to some jerks.

And this Turian! Are you saving that other seat for someone or can a lady carrying all these shopping bags sit down already?

turian jerk

What’s in those suitcases anyway? All your dead relatives from Palaven?

Inktober Sketches

I’ve been undergoing a somewhat masochistic artistic exercise this month known as Inktober. The goal is to do a finished ink drawing every day of the month of October. It’s not so bad, really. I’ve done a similar, yet more stressful and soul-crushing, thing for the past two years. This is a walk in the park compared to doing a complete comic page a day. And to make it more fun, I’ve decided to do nothing but fan art, which is something I almost never do!

So, uh, because Jennifer suggested I do some stuff for Gamervescent, here are four video game Inktober sketches I’ve done so far:

Continue reading

games. life. occasional giddiness.