Tag Archives: video games

Perfect Organism

by Brett Marcus Cook

I can only play Alien: Isolation for an hour or two at a time, once every couple of days usually. And when I do play it, I have a hard time sleeping at night. It isn’t necessarily because of how scary and stressful the game can get, although that is part of it given that I now jolt at every little sound I hear. It’s just that, once I’ve played it a little bit, I spend the rest of the day being unable to think about anything else. Not even Taylor Swift’s brilliant new music video can stop it. It may be a bit of a problem.

For one thing, it’s impossible for me to predict what’s going to happen in this game. First, there are the other people stranded on the Sevastopol with you. Some of them will shoot you on sight without a moment’s notice. Others will yell at you to back off and, if you listen and do so, will leave you alone after that. I hid under an operating table as a man whose partners I’d witnessed the Alien murder came into the room, gun drawn, shouting “I know you’re in here, I just want to talk!” I had no idea if he really wanted to talk or if he was going to kill me for letting his friends die. I didn’t have much time to think about it either, as a big problem with shouting is that you give away your position to the Alien, and, well, the Alien is obsessed with killing. Continue reading

The World I Dream For


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.

Late to the Game [Trailer] Once Again…

I pride myself on keeping up with the latest news, being on top of the stories, and showing up where the action is to get the scoop. But sometimes I miss things, like hilarious fake trailers for video game movies. I discovered this one this morning, only a year and several months after it was posted on YouTube. A trailer for a fake Candy Crush movie. It’s too good.

Bonus. After that, I watched this fake trailer for the BioShock movie that never was, and I was surprised by how good it is.

The History of Gamervescent

Chinese Checkers board back, 1935, J.F. Friedel, Syracuse, NY; board + parts box; large wood pieces

We don’t take kindly to foreign checkers ’round these parts.

A lot of people ask us how Gamervescent got started, and as the official Gamervescent historian, it’s my duty to tell you the story. The whole story.

Gamervescent has been around for longer than you think. It was started by Jennifer Culp’s great-great-grandmother Bernice Culp. A game enthusiast from an early age, Bernice started Gamervescent when she wasn’t tending to the family bee hive (the Culps were bee ranchers who dabbled in gaming).

Of course, video games didn’t exist back then, so she wrote about games like backgammon, cribbage, checkers, and competitive marbles. Every week, readers raced to their mailboxes to read up on the latest gaming news. Here’s an example:

Pals, have you seen the latest new thing? It’s called Lincoln Logs, and it’s the cat’s pajamas. 

And then she ran out of room because Bernice wrote kind of big and post cards are little bitty and required room for a stamp and a proper address.

Bernice loved what she did. Once a week, she handed her stack of handwritten post cards to the mailman who carried them off for delivery as near as next door and as far away as the edge of town. Back then , Gamervescent had a healthy readership of 27 people, including the schoolteacher and the town’s mayor. Each fall, Bernice held a “Game Con” at the general store, and the townspeople gathered around the cracker barrel for a few friendly rounds of Cat’s Cradle and tiddlywinks before heading home to supper. Some creative game fans even dabbled in early cosplay, showing up as Henry O. Pinocle and the cop from Stop Thief.


Everything was going great for Bernice.

And then…Eula May moved to town.

Eula May Bryan, Bethany Bryan’s great-great-grandmother, was also a game enthusiast. But rather than sending out postcards to her fans, she wrote long, angry letters to her nephew in Branson about how games could be improved. Some of her suggestions included the loser being electrocuted at the end of a game of checkers and Cat’s Cradle played using live garter snakes as string. Back then, people referred to her type as a “firecracker.” Nowadays, she’d be called “mentally unstable.”

It wasn’t too long after Eula May moved to a house down the block from Bernice before she caught wind of all of the Gamervescent goings on about town. And Eula May wanted in. She was new in town, she was lonesome, and worst of all, letters to her nephew in Branson had begun to be returned to her unopened (because her nephew had been killed in the war back in 1916, and nobody told poor Eula May).

One morning Eula May showed up at Bernice’s door with a freshly baked huckleberry pie. She laid out her intention to help Bernice by submitting her ideas in a weekly column. Bernice, polite as ever, told her thank you but no thank you and sent her on home. But Eula May would not be dissuaded.

From that day onward, every week Bernice would drop her post cards into the hands of the postman. He would head down the block to Eula May’s to pick up her mail. She would invite him in for pie, and when he wasn’t looking, she would take the post cards from the mail bag. Eula May would spend the afternoon adding her own game ideas in the margins. Things like “RUSSIAN ROULETTE MEETS HOPSCOTCH” and “WINNER TAKES CUSTODY OF LOSER’S CHILDREN.” The next morning, she’d hand him the post cards “he’d dropped by accident” with another slice of pie and an innocent smile. The postman would then deliver the cards, none the wiser.

By the time Bernice realized what was going on, her readership had gone up to 50, and she had readers as far away as the county seat. Eventually, she just gave up and invited Eula May over every week to discuss games and the week’s content. Gamervescent has been going ever since, now run by Jenn and Bethany, having forgotten the “feud that almost was” almost 100 years ago.

Now you know the whole story.

“What the cocks?!”

“She isn’t weak, but she isn’t a trained operative, a killer to the core, or experienced in violence. When something disgusting and shocking happens, Moira shouts, “What the C**K is going on?” Like a teenager trying to discover what makes her cool, Moira’s awkward profanity points to the kind of person she is. Moira is afraid, young, and immature. If she doesn’t grow up, she’s going to die.”


I am already in love with Resident Evil Revelations 2’s Moira Burton.

Also! The Resident Evil series has given us a lot of fantastic lady characters over the years, but (I think!) this is the first time we’ll see a RE title featuring two women protagonists minus any heroic dudely presence at all. “A few years ago, I don’t know that it would have turned out this way,” [Producer Michiteru Okabe] said, “that we’d have a game with two female leads.” How badass is that?? Eat a sloppy fuck-bucket of moist cocks, haters.

Kaylan’s Big Debt Adventure with Tales of Xillia 2

xilla kaylan 1

Hello, errrrrybody! What have I been up to lately, you may ask? Virtually paying off my debt would be my simple answer. Student loans? Shopping addiction? Loan sharks?

That last one is close… I’m playing Tales of Xillia 2, and early into the game, the protagonist, Ludger Kresnik, is forced to take a loan from a very shady bank with unbelievable interest rate, causing a 20,000,000 gald burden.

xilla kaylan 2

See that dude throwing me major shade? Yeah, I’m paying off his debt too…

The game is designed for chapters in which you have to pay off a certain amount of your debt to continue on. To do so you must take jobs, defeat monsters, and gather the moola any way you can. Eventually, towards the final chapters, it becomes more relaxed, and Vera, your financier, will slack off on calling and badgering you for money.

xilla kaylan 3

She winks an awful lot… I think she has a crush on me.

Technically, you could continue on from this point not spending another dime. Not me! As soon as the dude heads off to sleep, I kick back and slave away to finish paying off what I owe. Unlike real life creditors, the more I pay back, the more present I collect from my mailbox. The only problem is I cannot relay the storyline because I am desperately trying to rid myself of this massive burden. I’m responsible (in game)! That and there is a side quest in which I am asked to retrieve 100 cats from across the world who are hiding from the crazy cat lady who lives in my apartment building.

xilla kaylan 4

Anything else? No, Ludger, that’s it 20,000,000 debt and 100 cats.

Must. Find. The. Cats. After I do pay off what I owe (and find all the rogue kitties), I fully intend to replay the game and pay attention during my gameplay too. Tales of Xillia, besides the debt, is a direct sequel to the first, with returning characters traveling with you through a new adventure. You can discov””er more about them through side quests. The game is like a “choose your own adventure” book adapting to your responses at key moments.

But who cares about all of that? I only have 9,000,000 more gald until freedom… Excuse me. I have monsters to slay and money to earn.

Kaylan is very responsible about her finances in real life.

Finally, a New Boyfriend for Barbie


Here’s the Booker DeWitt action figure. If you’re like me, you went right out and bought it and then took it home to totally make out with Barbie. She’s been so lonely since Ken’s head fell off.

He looks like a member of a steampunk boy band (he would be the serious one). It’s adorable.

Better [Com]stock up on these before they sell out.

Get it?