Category Archives: Life

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

Adorable_Al

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

Lifeless Planet: Not Even a Little Bit Funny

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Lifeless is a funny word.

Obviously not in the context of a loved one floating facedown in a swimming pool.

Or crumpled at the bottom of a mansion staircase.

Or lying  in a hospital bed wearing a vacant expression as the beeps of the heart monitor grow more….and more…… f a r  a p a r t …until finally…BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP….and the doctor enters the room and says, “I’m calling it. Time of death: 4:53 PM. I’m really sorry, Mr. Johnson, but he’s gone.”

Continue reading Lifeless Planet: Not Even a Little Bit Funny

the couple that games together…STAY AWAY FROM MY STUFF

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Let’s start this out with a disclaimer:  I am super bad at sharing. Like, I once cried because my family tried to make me share my can of Pringles with my stepsister. So, I’m bad at sharing with anyone, and I like to play video games, and so does my husband. So we pretty much have two of every system now, except for the PS4, since that’s too expensive…right now.  (Not forever though. I will have my own!! *cue evil laughter*)

For a while, we were pretty broke and shared a PS2. I remember a lot of timing each other playing games and going, “No, it’s my turn now,” and spending plenty of time switching between whose turn it was to play Final Fantasy XII.  Eventually we got more hours at our jobs, and we ended up buying ourselves two PS3s, so we have separate setups for playing our games. His stuff is in the living room, and I have the Pink Room, which is dedicated to my stuff.  Continue reading the couple that games together…STAY AWAY FROM MY STUFF

Love and Portraits

Please forgive the mushiness, dudes, and pass this one up if you’re not in the mood for some extremely self-indulgent gooeyness, ’cause I’m about to dive in headfirst.

Today is my seven-year anniversary of togetherness with this guy:

no country for old spiderman

No, not Spiderman, but the dude who’s wearing the suit. This guy:

dance magic dance

He doesn’t always wear such tight pants, but when he doesn’t, he gives me lap dances to make up for it.

lap daaaaaance, hey

He’s great and I love him a lot. The most, actually.

The thing about double artsy-fartsy people relationships, if you’re us, anyway, is that you make a lot of images/objects/stuff influenced by or directly about each other. When we first got together, he used to make drawings and paintings of me, or on me, all the time. Here are a couple of ’em: Continue reading Love and Portraits

We Feel Groove!

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If I wasn’t playing videogames or watching cartoons as a kid, I was outside playing. I’d sink a lot of time into Pokémon, then go out and pretend I was my trainer from the game, going on adventures and meeting cute girls. Or I’d make up my own character who’d fight alongside Cloud, Barrett, and Tifa in Final Fantasy VII. I think most kids with active imaginations did this sort of thing, right?

Using the last of my Club Nintendo coins before they shut the whole thing down this summer, I downloaded EarthBound on the Wii U Virtual Console. I’ve tried playing it a couple times before on an emulator in high school, but could never get into it. Now, as an older, hopefully smarter person, fumbling my way through my late twenties and waxing nostalgic all too frequently, the game is a delight. It’s very much along the lines of how I’d play pretend when I was little, leaving the house to go on a big adventure to save the world, wielding a plastic baseball bat pretending it’s a sword—that kind of thing. Continue reading We Feel Groove!

It’s OK if You Don’t Play Games on Hard

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I dated this guy once who refused to play video games on anything less than the hardest difficulty. He would play through the same part of the game over and over and over again (I’m talking 50+ times), getting increasingly frustrated. When it got to be too much, he would throw down his controller and stomp off in a huff, like the game had set out to destroy him, and it was working.

“Why don’t you change the difficulty?” I would ask. Back then, I insisted that I was fine just watching, when really I wanted him to go out somewhere for several hours and let me have the controller for once.

“Becaaaaause,” he would reply huffily, “I want an actual challenge.”

And so, I would continue watching this cycle for hours, waiting for the inevitable aneurism.

People play video games for a variety of reasons. Some people play because it’s a fun activity with friends or family members. Others just like to immerse themselves into a different world for a while. Some people like the challenge and the bragging rights of finishing. And others use video games to fight the stress of their own lives.

Your reason might be a combination of these things or something else entirely. And here’s the thing: All of those reasons are of equal importance. You’re a video game consumer. You paid money, and you get to have the experience you want with it. Playing at the highest challenge level isn’t right for everyone because not everybody is looking for a game to melt their eyeballs and make their brains explode. Some people just want to stare at a screen and do a thing and not have to think that hard. AND THAT’S FINE.

I play most games on Normal (when applicable) because, quite frankly, I want to see what’s next. I don’t enjoy performing the same challenges again and again WITH A FEW EXCEPTIONS.

This because I could ride around on the Spinner ALL DAY.

And that’s it. Never mind. I meant ONE EXCEPTION.

Full disclosure: I played Dragon Age Inquisition on the easiest setting because I wanted to know how it ended, and it wasn’t moving fast enough for me on Normal. Eventually, I might go back and turn up the difficulty level and enjoy a bigger challenge, but for now, I know how DAI ended, and I’m fine with myself.

Bottom line? There’s no shame in being all, “FUCK THIS SHIT” and giving yourself a break. This has been a public service announcement from years of therapy. <3

Travis Touchdown: Sartorial Role Model

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I’m a fan of Suda51 and his crew at Grasshopper Manufacture. They make weird, crazy, unpolished, problematic games that are unlike anything else and I love them for it. I’ve mentioned before how Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes is not only a favorite videogame protagonist of mine, but also that I sort of base my clothing choices off of what he wears, which led one of the Gamervescent Overlords to tag that article with “Travis Touchdown: Sartorial Role Model.” I wake up laughing over that sometimes.

After going crazy with Bayonetta 2 and glasses porn, Jennifer asked me to write about Travis and fashion, so here I am. Continue reading Travis Touchdown: Sartorial Role Model

Kaylan Makes Time for Mass Effect

So I finally decided to take Bethany and Jenn’s advice and get all up in some Mass Effect. Using my super nice gift card from Uncle R and Aunt J the trilogy for 2$ and confused a gamestop employee when he asked if it was a gift for the boyfriend by saying “ hell no he is going to be so mad I’ll be ignoring him again for vidjeo games”. His response “uhm…wow… well… that’s new” than I pranced out of the store happily to share the news of my purchase with the ladies.

If you ever receive a yes with that many S-es (S-s?! I dunno) you’re doing something right. Just sayin’.

Continue reading Kaylan Makes Time for Mass Effect

Witchy Spectacles

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I spent Sunday night/all day Monday marathoning Bayonetta 2 with my friends Lauren and Hannah. I had a wonderful time, and have a lot to say about it once my brain finally recovers from the BARRAGE of SPECTACLE (my right thumb is mostly recovered from the ordeal, after four days). I thought it was incredibly fitting that we were rewarded with unlocked concept art upon defeating the final boss and completing the game, because the style on display in this game…well, let’s just say I’ve been a wee bit obsessed this week. And lo and behold! Yesterday, Gita Jackson published a killer article on Bayonetta style for Paste. It is excellent, and I’d highly recommend checking it out, HOWEVER: Continue reading Witchy Spectacles