Activity Stream

Blog Entries Activity Stream

  1. By Migaru,

    As I said in the description thing, It's been many a years since I disappeared for good. And now? I'm back until something majorly dramatic happens and I'm forced to leave again, haha. 

    Anyways, I figured out why I was so... Emotional half of the time. At 21 years of age, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which explains why I was so cranky in the past. It was my blood sugars effecting how I lived and the way I interacted with other people. It's a blessing and a curse at the same time. *sighs* You're all probably wondering what I'm doing with my life. Simple: Not very much, LOL! I start working 5 days a week starting next week, but before then I was working 3 days a week, which helped out a lot due to the fact I spent a lot of money on things that I do not need - only wants. Wants are bad. Needs are good. Don't do what I've done in the past, haha. (Seriously, don't. It's bad.) 

    Hmm... Uhm... Well, as of 2013, I've been living on my own. I lost my dad due to unknown health issues. My brother rarely speaks to me unless I talk to him first. And I have a feeling I'll be spending christmas by myself, which doesn't bother me, I'll just send him some money so he can distribute it into the 6 of them. (Yes, he has four kids. No, I don't see them very often. :U) 

    Yeah, so, a lot of things have happened to me in my 27 years of life, and I very much doubt that people wanna hear about my sad, dark little life. Yeah, I have some secrets that I'm not willing to share unless someone asks me about them. Sometimes. 

    Anyways, that's enough ranting for today. Good night~
  2. When I was young I was told that, being of simple mind and dull wit, the status quo would decide my role in life. However, I doubted her credibility, considering how foolish she appeared, using her finger and her thumb to form the shape of an L on her forehead.

    Time moves on at it's own pace; and, dropped into adulthood, I took to independence excitedly. I committed myself to living by my own philosophy that life is best spent having fun, and that, while academic pursuits are worthwhile, a strong character is more valuable.

    There is so much to take in and so many possibilities in the world; and so it doesn't seem unfitting to me to live outside of traditional values. Without first experiencing something, you can get no measure of it's worth. Without expressing the beauty of your soul, you can't expect others to appreciate it.

    Have faith in your passions, and express them by having fun and enjoying your life in whatever way you see fit. Take what you love, and find a compromise whereby you can live your own way, despite the constraints of society. Jump at every opportunity and follow your instincts, because to be something unique you have to push the boundaries.

  3. As mentioned in an earlier thread today (, I knew there was a few people here who streamed and I wanted to help them hopefully get some new viewers.
    You'll now find that there is a new widget in the sidebar that shows current live streamers, the game they are playing and their channel status.

    Clicking their picture or name will take you immediately to their twitch channel page. The little bubble on the right is the current viewer count. You then have the game they are playing as well as their channel status.
    If you are a frequent contributor to this community and you stream, feel free to post your twitch channel in and I will add you.
  4. By Michael,

    Sixteen years ago, today, came to life and sixteen years later is still around. While people have come and gone has been a big part of a lot of our lives for the better or the worst, however in the end it has created a tight knit community who some may call their second family.

    Happy Birthday!
  5. By Teto,

    Nobody here has heard my voice in a long time. This is because, as of June 20th 2014, I have been held vocal hostage by a technospider. Not many people are aware of technospiders, or how many people are effected by them. Some even don't know that they are living with this parasite. My intention today is to spread awareness.

    On June 20th 2014, I briefly visited the social media site, and it was from there the technospider came, and crawled in my mouth. It made a technoweb in in vocal chords and connected to the internet. I no longer have the will of my own to speak, and whenever I try, I only speak in memes. I cannot stop the memes, and now the memes control my life. No matter where I am; the church, the morgue, the room full of grannies, the spider will find a subreddit full of relevant memes, and control what I say. I have lost many friends, and am no longer allowed near primary schools. This is troublesome because when I need medical care I cannot tell doctors my symptoms, and must communicate through writing.

    So this is the only medium left to me. I can't go through this hell any more. Until they find a fix for the technospider controlling my life, all I can do is ask this: Stop the bad memes. Everybody must stop doing memes as soon as possible. Rid the spider of his ammunition, and I will take back control. The memes must end. Please.

    I want my life back.

    Thank you.
  6. I tend to be a bit philosophical and deep sometimes, so today I will share my words of wisdom with you. My words are a bit modern, so please bear with me.

    Today I have for you the following.

    "If you are bad, get good. If your good is not good enough, get gooder."

    What do you think?
  7. By Teto,

    Short story. Warsaw is the capital of Poland, and through it runs a major river of Poland; the Vistula. We call them Warsaw and the Vistula, but in Poland they're, phonetically "Varshava" and the "Veeswa". That's what they call them. We don't, though; we anglicised it and made it our own. As far as we're concerned the Polish can call them whatever the hell they like, but we call them Warsaw and the Vistula, and that isn't changing.

    The founder of Warsaw stood on a hill somewhere near a trade village next to a large river, and said "This town will henceforth take on the name Varshava, until the end of days."
    But we call it Warsaw.
  8. So, to kind of give an idea of what I have to do I will summarize a few things. A query is generally the term used when you send an inquiry via email or snailmail to an agent in hopes of representing your book. These can consist of several different things based on the requirements of the agent in question. Most will include the following:
    -Query Letter
    A query letter is usually a one page long summary of what's going on with you and your novel. It's formatted so the first part is the one line hooker you would find on the back of a book, a paragraph summary like on the back of a book, a very brief bio of yourself, and contact information.
    -One to Two page summary of plot
    Self explanatory. This is a one or two page summary of your book, omitting no spoilers, so that they can have an idea of what your entire story is. This one isn't as common a requirement.
    -A sample.
    Each agent requires different lengths. Most will ask you to send the first ten pages of your document while some will ask for three pages and I've even had some ask for the first fifty pages. They will never have you send out your full novel without requesting it because they are interested.

    Most times I will have to edit the query letter depending on the agent. So each inquiry usually takes something about ten to twenty minutes once I find their site. I had a website that gave off a little over a hundred names, but after time about a fourth were not able to be submitted to anymore due to leaving or being full. So since I started submitting in april I have sent at least one hundred letters. I understand the process is long and hard, even JK rowling had hundreds upon hundreds of query letters she had to send out for harry potter but it's kind of frustrating when I don't know how to really find more agents. Not to mention I have been told several times that my work is promising but they don't want to deal with any unpublished authors because of the high risk. Currently I'm just sitting on writers digest and whenever they post about a new agent I will submit to them(assuming they deal with fantasy). This is slow though since only one comes up about every week. It's kind of frustrating, but oh well. I just keep pushing onward.
  9. I've been thinking about posting some of the stuff I write. Heres a thing, more or less unedited. All feedback welcome

    A storm of dead leaves and sticks shot up, illuminated by the fitful gleam of a flashlight. Legs, tired from nearly an hour of this frantic chase still fired like pistons carrying Eric Grier through a dead forest. What was chasing him he could not see, but most definitely could hear, and smell, the awful stench of sulphur filled his nostrils threatening to send him into a coughing fit at any moment. But that would be death. Eric did not intend to die. Being a lifelong runner, and one of the most enthusiastic cross country athletes at his school had certain benefits. All the same, every moment he could feel whatever was behind him gaining, could hear the beat of its hooves against the damp, matted leaf floor of the woods.

    A scratching sound, that he would decide later to be a horrible laugh or chortle nipped at his heels. He looked at his watch, glow in the dark, raising his flashlight, and then immediately realized the folly of this. Without his main source of light, the detritus of the forest took its toll at last on Eric’s progress. A vine, a stick, it didn’t really matter what it was. What did matter was his footing slipped and his long run came to an abrupt halt, sending him tumbling, tumbling down. His flashlight left his hand and rolled a few feet away from him. Luckily, or in the current case, unluckily, the light granted him illumination of the thing that pursued him. He crawled backwards, sprawled out on his back, never letting his eyes wander from the slowly approaching...thing that had finally caught up.

    From the light he could see its legs, a goats, and as they went up the fur was replaced by flesh, and towards its belly it looked all the more human. It sauntered, clearly enjoying the thick radiation of fear from Eric, and its hands, each finger tipped with razor sharp talons dripping the blood of a fresh kill popped one at a time. Eric understood then that each sickening snap was the sound of his life ticking away.

    And then there was a beeping. At first Eric did not register it, didn’t even really hear it. as the beeps became more frequent he understood what it was. The victory bell. He looked at the creature, flexing the legs of its muscles to pounce, and with disgust spat at it.

    Then, a storm of things all happened at once. The creature sprung forward, a rictus grin on its bizarre hybrid features, and the screaming tones of “Thriller” blared from Eric’s pocket. Eric’s eyes shut in abject terror hoping he made his deadline. It wasn’t until Vincent Price began guffawing that he realized the loud thump thump he heard was actually his heart, threatening to crash through his ribcage. He reached his hand to his chest and took a deep breath and felt in his grasp, a card.

    Eric grabbed his phone from his pocket and, noting the missed call, used the backlight to look at the card. It was one of the Tarot, it read The Devil, but the picture on the card was strange. It showed a man, wearing the skin of an animal, half his body reflecting that animal, and half a twisted caricature of a man. It was the very image of the thing that pursued him, and even looking at it made him shudder.

    His phone rang again. Breathing heavily still, he answered, “Yeah….Its uh, its done. I made it. It was a skinwalker. Guess it makes sense given the card. You..wait what? Oh christ. Okay. I’ll be right over.”

    Eric was not the only one who ran for his life that night, just the only one who got away.
  10. I had a dream. Long ago I dreamed of making a video game. Many of you remember if you were around when Pokefan and I tried making a few games. In 2008 we started a conjoined project called "Project Tundra" which fell through. After the frustrations and realization I have no talent at games I gave up making games directly, but often day dreamed of stories for games. In 2010 I was often criticized by my language arts teacher that I had no talent in writing and had poor understanding of the english language. One day while stuck in study hall I got bored and decided to try writing out a story to practice. I decided I sucked and gave up.
    A bit later that year I picked it up again and tried writing it out on my computer. The story in question was a modified version of one of my stories I had day dreamed up in school instead of paying attention and several of my ideas from the scrapped project tundra. After showing an early version to one of my friends he said it was all confusing and I again gave up. In about February of 2011 I was again bored the crap out of my mind in a study hall and decided to give it one last try. I started writing out the story as well as other guide line scripts to help the story flow and thus my project was born. Having two friends reading it to make sure things moved along fine as well as constantly having pokefan help me to make sure things were fine in terms of story and writing I managed by late spring to get going on a fairly decent script. I worked hard on it as I waited for skyward sword. I would spend about 4 hours a day writing with two hours of just planning and working on a general script of events to follow.
    Finally in November 2011, I finished my first manuscript of my book. Unsure of what to do with it I pretty much sat on it and worked on the sequel until I could figure out what to do. After a while I went back and rewrote huge chunks of the manuscript until I came up with what I have today. Now I have an idea of what to do and I am currently writing several agents a day with query letters hoping someone is dumb optimistic enough to pick it up.
    So what is my book? Allow me to introduce it to you all. Ceatera is an urban fantasy book set in a world of magic, demons, technology, and I really don't know how else to describe it easily. The general setting of modern fantasy was drawn by Final Fantasy VII, but quite frankly it has taken many, many sources to inspire my works. The current first book is about 140,000 words long, with the second book being halfway done. I am so tired I don't know what else to put, so here is the 'catcher' one paragraph thing on the back of books I was supposed to write for one agent. Understand I can't talk too much about Ceatera in terms of plot and details until some point in the future.

    Meir Lorne is a mercenary working for the Desrua Guild in the city of Ceatera, genetically altered to be stronger, faster, and superior than others. Tensions rise fast when entire cities disappear and prisons become overrun. Facing down a war that could bring down an entire country, ancient wizards and demons with grudges of their own, and even other guilds of his comrades Meir must make decisions and experience things that boggle the imagination

    Also in the somehow chance this book publishes and takes off well, I will laugh and laugh, probably puke from anxiety since I hate being the center of attention, and laugh.
  11. By Necropolis,

    I like this little writing thing. Lemme know what you think, its nice to put these things somewhere, even nicer to talk about them.

    We walked alongside the shore. Which shore I could not tell you, nor what waters went up and down in rhythmic motion along it. Each of us was young, younger than I am now at least. 12 or 13, just at the age where the world is changing for you but while your still powerless to do anything about it. There were probably 10 of us, and each one of us in the procession carried a large hiking bag. Naturally I was at the front.

    Leading our little group was a woman of about 55. Her face was long and there was something wicked about it. As I think about it now she was familiar. She was every teacher who ever found fun in cruelty to her students. Every crooked nosed, wicked librarian who takes a certain glee in SHUSHING those that visited her. Every witch who, perched in her legged home, threw spite through crooked teeth like acid. I knew that she was nothing less than pure evil, and that whatever her designs for us followed suit. I knew all this, and I suspect my compatriots did also, and yet we all followed her with nary the complaint.

    She commanded us without speaking to drop our packs as we walked, and we did, every one of us in the same place. Then a short while later, she told us all to sit. And we did. Every one of us were sitting with our legs crossed as she had them, and she spoke.

    “Close your eyes children. We’re going to tell scary stories.” She said.

    “This is the story of The Black Mansion, and Judgement day” she said. My eyes were closed, but I knew somehow that she was looking at me. She poked me in the stomach. “Have you heard that one?” She poked me again, harder “Huh?” She poked me again and again, each time it was harder, and it was punctuated by a “Huh?”

    A slow horror dawned on me. The pokes were starting to hurt, and I knew somehow that it would only stop when I opened my eyes. I also knew that when I opened my eyes, there would be something horrible to greet me. But despite this, I couldn’t stop myself. Trying as hard as I could to keep them shut my eyes slowly, painstakingly opened

    The woman, eyes wide open staring with evil glee sat 15 feet away from me, the waves lapping around her.
    And then I woke up. That was this morning. Its strange how much fear this dream provoked in me while it was going, when nothing to terribly frightening happened until the end, and the bit at the end was more subtle than nightmares tend to be.
  12. I've been wanting to start writing stuff, seriously or not, and Necro is inspiring me to just write stuff and blog it. Here's the first part of a mostly unplanned story. The first line will do as a working title.


    My dreams were filled with wonders. It was as if, in sleep, I entered a world running parallel to my own. The responsibilities were more demanding, the toil less satisfying, but my life I lived in dreams was far richer than the reality. My waking hours I spent wondering what was happening on the other side. There were roads that stretched for miles, like fingers knotted together, holding in its palm the world it connected. The forests there were old; a great history of nature rooted toward the centre of the earth that we all shared. People took on more variety, embodying aspects of nature I thought only a shadow image never seen in full light, opposing my views of how people should be. New dimensions, new colour, new life.

    I spent more time asleep than ever before. Some days I would spend a mere hour out of doors before escaping back to the dream, and before I became aware of it, I was spending whole days in bed. Days then turned to weeks, until I stopped taking note of my absence, and resigned myself to escapism.

    If my own world had been that much wider, perhaps I wouldn't have let it fall apart.

    An indeterminate length of time passed. My world pulsed back into view along with a low thumping on the door to my house. “Come out!” a voice called, “You've been holed up far too long! Everybody’s worried, and we need to know you’re okay!” The voice was frantic. Frantic? Fear and anxiety were never prevalent here before. It’s part of what made reality that bit more boring; that it lacked these features of human nature.

    I pushed myself out of bed in interest. I shambled down the stairs, a little disoriented from the shock of waking life. Peeking out the window, I saw naught but the ocean, and silence in between. The lawn and path were overgrown with tall reaching grasses and weeds, bent by the ocean breeze such that they seemed to reach toward my house.

    I pushed out the door, and a cold smoky air washed over me, sucked into my front room as if keen to escape inside. The air settled until it was unnervingly still. I’d never felt so uncomfortable stepping outside of my home. The world was quiet around me, but a sense lingered that I wasn't alone. The air in all its eerie stillness buzzed with a latent energy, ready to burst out.

    But it didn't. Nobody was there. In all my tiredness it hadn't registered who it was that called me, and now nobody stood in front of my house to answer the question. Still I felt tense, as familiarity met with a new unwelcoming atmosphere, putting me at unease. There was definitely something wrong, in a world that had always been right before.

    I struck out to fix my mind, wading through the heavy overgrowth, long left out of check by myself and, as it appeared, everybody else. It seemed the thick grasses covered everything, and the once youthful trees seemed greyer, older, though not too much time should have passed. How long can someone possibly sleep?
  13. By Steam.Core,

    So I'v been doing alot of looking around the internet for OoT texture packs and havent found many at all so my fiance and myself have decided to make a few of our own and we will also custom make a texture pack based on your style for intense my favorite game other then zelda is Skyrim so i decided to make a wolf based skyrim theme for my OoT ROM I'v been up for about 16 hours working on the main title screen and yound and adult link. However I could always use help if any one would like to be included in this project. Thank you and hope to hear from some one soon.
  14. By Teto,

    It's going okay. When I was about 13 or 14 years old we met a Polish couple who lived in Scotland for work. They were expecting their first child and they lived in a small flat in the nearest town. We met them through my brother, who worked at a hotel with the soon-to-be mother. My parents were fast friends with them; and remained friends as they raised their first boy, and then their second child, a girl. We've known them for 7 years. When their first child was 6 and their second child was about 3, they decided to move back to Poland. They stayed with us for two weeks while they readied themselves for the journey back home.

    That was last year. This year I and my parents have come to visit them, in their two-room house in the country 3 hours south-ish of Warsaw. The first two thunderstorms of the year occurred on the first two days we were here. The time at the house I've spent reading or talking to the older 7 year old boy, who is insistent on playing LEGO, and built me an army for which he hasn't stated a purpose. He just likes putting together different people I suppose.

    Back at home in the UK, bigots complain about the Polish taking their jobs, while scratching their asses and playing candy crush. In Poland the economy is such that it's four times more difficult to pay for anything, and if that was the case where I lived, I'd give a go at making money abroad as well, even if it did mean moving to a country where I didn't speak the language and couldn't locate a pharmacy.

    However, despite the economic troubles, it doesn't appear to be as poor as it is. Driving through the countryside the roads are lined with new-looking houses of eclectic variety. Houses of varying colour and size sitting comfortably next to one another. This old two-room house doesn't seem so out of place across from a large two-storey house built orange and white with balconies and elaborate iron fence. Each house is different, and so none are out of place.

    The thing is, in Scotland we have a wealth of council housing estates. Large areas occupied by identical houses attached to one another to fit as many people as humanly possible. Grey houses with grey roofs with small corner shops dispersed throughout to keep people from starving to death or running out of cigarettes. Whereas in Poland it's all private property, which has it's downfalls too, despite how much more interesting it is to look at.

    The family we stay with have two children, and they don't expect to have any more. There is some kind of population problem in Poland, and the government insists on families having more children without actively encouraging them. Financial assistance for families raising children can be about the equivalent of £50 a month, and that doesn't make much difference for the raising of a child. People just can't justify many children.

    There's a heavy religious presence here, and shrines for prayer are built what seems like every mile or so through small villages along single-track roads in the country. I can see one from the house. Abortion isn't legal here, yet when we stopped at a gas station on the way from the airport, I noticed they sell condoms at the counter where in Scotland they would probably have chewing gum or chocolate.

    The countryside is mostly forest, with wild berries and such like. There are plenty flies and mosquitos, but nothing worse that I've encountered yet. Curiously, the mosquitos don't even bite me. Plenty days out without any kind of repellent and I'm unscathed while others swell up from minor allergies and scratch legs dotted with bite marks. Maybe I'm too sweet.

    The family we're staying with keep chickens, ducks, a dog, and two alpacas. Alpacas are pretty gentle creatures that shy away from most contact with people or other animals, besides each other. They don't spit like llamas or camels are said to. They're incredibly gentle, timid animals. Good to have around.

    Over the past couple days before now, the chickens' eggs have been hatching. So far there are three chicks hatched, and they're being kept in a box in the house where they're being fed, to save the mother the dilemma of whether to feed her chicks or keep warming her eggs. They were quite alright in their shallow cardboard box for the first few days, but the largest one with black feathers took to hopping up and out of the box. Thanks to him, all of them have been put in stricter confinement to keep them from running off. If a chicken can jump twice it's height at 3 days old, I shudder to think what incredible power a chicken of 100 years would possess.

    Out here in the country most people make their own food and fields are divided into strips for individual people. People sell berries and local produce out of wooden boxes, sitting in overtaking lanes on the main road. For all the talk of crops without pesticides and chemical enhancers, it all tastes about the same, including the meat. Some things are the same though, like the presence of Tesco and Lidl stores. Lidl is much the same here as anywhere else; cheap, cold, uninviting. If the signage wasn't in another language, I wouldn't know the difference from Lidl in Scotland.

    On the first day, before the thunder started, we escaped out for a drive around the nearby countryside with the kids, to escape the neighbour who didn't warn that he was planning to kill a pig very noisily that day. Besides that, nothing particularly shocking has happened, though I wouldn't call the pig slaughter particularly shocking either, unless you're 7 years old. We relaxed a few days and lost track of time, as you should when you're on holiday. It could be 2pm or 6pm and it would make no difference to how we spent the day.

    So far we've visited Warsaw, Radom, and a small town dedicated to art galleries and medieval-themed touristry. We went for the art galleries. Warsaw was a nice enough city. We visited the Copernicus Science Centre, which was so much better than any science event or centre I've ever been to before, full of interactive exhibits. If only it was in Scotland so I could visit it again. Radom was just a smaller city, barely a city when compared with Warsaw or Krakow, but it was nice to visit and walk around in. We met the family of our friends there, and while I kept quiet and didn't make myself much for conversation, I memorised all the names I could. There were a lot of them, and most of them knew a little English to either understand or speak it.

    Interestingly, when going over the many names of the family, I noticed that all the women had names ending in the letter A. Dominica, Veronika, Victoria, Asha, Basha, Anna, Paulina, Maya. I brought up the observation to Veronika; the one we met in Scotland all those years ago, and she told us that this was in fact a general rule. I'm not sure if it's heavily enforced, but she also told us that, when they have children, they must chose names from within a range of generally accepted names, You couldn't just pick up any old noun like Raindrop or Helicopter and give it to your child. I'm not sure how great a custom this is, but it's interesting. I can't imagine it being any real problem. There is no such naming rule for men as there is with the A ending of womens' names, unless perhaps mens' names never end in A, but I've never asked about that.

    The 7 year old boy, Macek, who periodically pursues my attention, is a nice sort. As he grew to the age of 6 in Scotland, he learned English as well as any Scottish child might have. He lost some of it over the year living back in Poland, but he can still communicate with me well enough, and served as translator briefly when I met his friends from the village. One, a stocky lad who stood grinning with a large snail he found, proudly told me in full English "My name is David!", though I'm sure that's all he knew, and he had to ask Macek how to say it first. The second was Kuba, crouching and quietly watching as he was introduced, his left arm in a sling from some accident. I didn't ask about it. The more time I spent with Macek, the less English I spoke out loud. I found my internal monologue changing to the same subtly fragmented English spoken around me by our Polish friends. Of course they spoke it well, but there were some grammatical slips which, while noticeable, were hardly noteworthy.

    There's plenty to be learned from the conversations of others. On long drives between destinations I've learned plenty about Poland and the people here. Most of what I've learned and presented here was gleaned from the discussions had by my mother and Veronika. With all that Veronika chats and translates, you'd think she spoke the most English out of the two of us, as I stand in the background smiling sympathetically at everybody and everything, pretending I'm not foreign.

    Despite all the romantic hopes and dreams I have for my future self, on this holiday I find a reminder of my lack of confidence. I worry terribly about how to communicate with people in shops or on the street, and instead take a back seat while others guide the tour of my day. Though it's not so bad and powerless as that.

    I'm sure there are other observations and whatnot I could bring up, but this is all there is for now. It's another week until I arrive home on the 28th, in the comfort of a country which shares my language. I'm killing flies in one of two rooms in this two-room house, while my mum sleeps with a book on her chest; and my dad walks through the village taking pictures of the houses and their many colours. The alpacas are grazing in the back garden with Nero, the 14 year old dog, looking on from the shade, his lead fastened to a tree. It might rain later, it might not. I think it's Monday, but I'm not sure.
  15. I've had a lot of things floating around in my head lately. I say lately, I actually mean in the last few months. this blog, as an example, I wrote about a month ago. I suppose I've just been floating a few things around in my head, letting them percolate until I thought I could express them in a way that accurately represents how I feel about something. First came clarifying in my head how in fact I do feel about it. And I think I know, or at least I know how to get the ball rolling

    The title of this first blog entry is The Protoculture. Besides being a Macross reference, I think its a solid term for the kind of things I'm talking about. Just to warn anyone off from this topic before I get rolling, this is about politics, feminism, and a lot of topics that are pretty divisive, especially on this website.

    I have trouble with my political identity these days. In high school I liked to tell myself I was fairly moderate, but after a fashion I realized I was on the liberal side of things on almost every hot button issue, so I identified, and still for the most part identify, as a left leaning individual. At the same time I try to play devil's advocate when I can, try to see debates from both sides. I do this because, if all you ever see or read are things from the same perspective as yourself its easy to get stuck in your beliefs. At that point all you're doing is participating in a big circlejerk. I don't want that. I don't ever want that, I want to be able to see things clearly, to cut to the truth of the matter, if such a black and white thing can be found. I get the feeling, and this is just a feeling, if I'm wrong please call me out on it, that LL is much the same on that. Like, he shows up and plays the devil's advocate on all of the political threads that pop up, but If I remember correctly, he's even more liberal than I am, just going by those tests a bunch of us took before. So I say all of that, I guess as a guidepost for what I'm going to talk about next

    For a long time, it was my point of view that feminism was an artifact of the past. That people like Susan B Anthony and other suffragette’s succeeded, women having the right to vote, Title IX being enacted. In school they teach feminism as something like that, or at least they did when I went to school. So, when confronted with the reality, that De Jure, there is Gender equality, but De facto, there are still a lot of problems. And I agree with that. There are. Culturally, there are still a lot of rigidly enforced gender roles, I don’t want to get into ALL of that, people have spent their entire lives talking about it, and I don’t have that long, its 1:00 in the morning and I have a trip tomorrow. Whenever I think about Gender inequalities, all I ever get back to is that in order to effect any change you would have to change culture in a lot of fundamental ways, and you can’t make people nice. You can’t force civility on people, or you wouldn’t be civil yourself. Its so easy to get lost in anger about these things, but when that happens you so often become worse than what you fight.

    A big scapegoat on the internet is lumping a lot of people and things into Tumblr, this new “Protoculture” and blaming it for everything. Maybe its not scapegoating, maybe Tumblr is the stereotype, but I generally try to assume the best of things. And I have it on good authority that Tumblr is 90% porn, and I can get behind that. Thought i’d throw a bit of humor into this rambling wall of text. Regardless, what i’m getting at is that there is a movement that I am witnessing and I don’t know where I stand anymore. A new kind of Liberalism I guess, and I can’t just chalk it up to radicals shouting loudly because I know reasonable people, some on this very site, that are as much a part of it. I keep looking at myself and my political identity and I always ask questions, I constantly question myself, check myself, to make sure i’m standing in the right place. I think I am, but I know people, have seen people, who KNOW that they are right. Sometimes that gives me pause. So, any civil discourse on where we sit in the pages of history is most welcome. This wasn’t nearly as solid as I thought it was when it was sitting in the percolator, but I think I needed to exorcise it, get it out there. Please feel free to engage in civil discourse in the comments, if anyone feels like getting through this wall of nonsense.
  16. Hey folks, thought I'd give another go at writing some more blogs on my non-Internet life. That sounds like I'm about to tell you about where my life's been in the past 6+ months, but that's a long story for another day and another time. To be honest, I was rereading my review on Super Mario Galaxy 2, and was inspired to write again on more vidya. I feel like I wrote a decent review and (some) of you enjoyed it, so here goes.

    As I mentioned in the "What Game Are You Playing Currently?" thread, I just purchased the Metroid Prime Trilogy from my local GameStop the other day. Considering it's three full-length games, I wasn't too worried about the price tag of $50. Additionally, because I am planning on playing all three of them in succession while I finish up summer classes, I have deemed this the summer of Metroid.

    Like I did before with SMG/SMG2, I'm gonna go into some background with my experiences with the Metroid series. Which, considering my fondness for the character of Samus Aran, is surprisingly little. I think I'll also go into some gender stuff too - what it means for me, personally, to be a female playing a kickass female character - but not overly so. But, I think you guys will find it interesting at least.

    My first Metroid game was on the GameBoy Color, Metroid Fusion. I've actually never completed this game, though I do remember enjoying it when I was younger. It is a sidescroller, as all classic Metroid games are, and I remember not really understanding how to use the map to my advantage to beat the game. Obviously, this is an obstacle that one overcomes with maturity, and I'm sure I'd have no problem going back now and finishing it. However, I remember loving the different suits that Samus would upgrade to, and this is something I'm even fangirling about in Prime. Why? Because I like the swag. It means I'm a badass. You don't want to know how much time I've spent changing different skins in Borderlands 2.

    Before I even played Fusion, though, I had my experience with Super Smash Bros, where of course, Samus was one of the original 8 smashers. Yes, this is where I'm gonna get into the whole girl thing. Because I didn't know, when I was a kid, that Samus was a gal. So you can imagine my surprise when I was going through that random character bio portion of SSB one day, and I see that the game refers to her as a "she." And that was it. This character, although her jump kind of sucks and she's sluggish as hell, is super cool. Don't get me wrong, though. Kirby was my main in SSB and will forever be.

    So let's talk about the girl gamer thing, because it's inevitable at this point and I've already talked about with some of you guys at different points, on IRC, skype, whatever. I'll go ahead and put out the idea that if you'd ever met me in real life, after talking to me for a few minutes, you might get that I'm a bit of a geek but not a gamer, per se. We all know the girl gamer stereotype. I do not match this description physically, whether you're thinking about girls who dress in nerdy t-shirts or the gamer grills on Twitch. I used to be subscribed to the r/girlgamers subreddit, but those girls are so entitled while being simultaneously offended that I seriously could not handle it. Like, games are not worth getting so caught up over, unless it's a huge freakin' deal to your identity. You guys know me, and you know that I am a generally positive, chill person. I could be one of those gamer grrrls and I could embrace that stereotype, with all its prejudice and negative connotations, but I really don't want to because I have more interests than that. The problem is, with the stereotype, is that female gamers are polarized. They're either extremely into it and viewed as, I don't know, unlikeable? Unattractive? Awkward? Or they're airheads "pretending" to fit in. So when it comes down to me, someone who's kind of in the middle, I don't get the credit for being genuinely knowledgeable and skilled, while being treated like an airhead (even if jokingly). I don't think I can ever play online with a headset, or even broadcast my playing out of ridicule. To be honest, it sucks sometimes, because even after four years at college, I have yet to meet someone else that is like me. This is how I feel, and I'm not looking to argue with anyone on the point. It's just how it is for me.

    Back to Metroid, you can see why I think Samus is a pretty cool chick. She was a badass before she was ever put in a categorical gender, which is something that nobody gets, ever. For the record, that one Metroid game that didn't come out in 2010 doesn't exist. But other than just being female, this is why she's top ten in my book.

    I'm a person that appreciates and admires physical prowess. Samus wear this Power Suit, right, in all its varieties. Has anyone else ever actually looked at this thing? Because I gloss over it all the time. This thing is a work of art. It makes her look athletic (Those shoulders?!) strong, not to be puppyed with. As well as her helmet, which stares into your soul. Again, I'm fangirling, if it's not obvious.

    She's a bounty hunter. Please, insert "independent female character" trope here. While I (admittedly) buy into the whole "puppy yeah, independent women!" thing, that's not really the reason why the bounty hunter thing is likable. Being a bounty hunter allows Samus to be a silent protagonist (2010 Samus doesn't exist, remember). She's the Link of the Metroid world. Silent, deadly, and curious. And that's something I'm coming to terms with in Prime. a difficult game, but a beautiful one. I am often surprised that it is a 12 year old game, because it works so fluidly (though I guess perhaps the port to the Wii in 2009 helped a bit). The Tallon IV world is haunting and silent, for the most part. Though the game does offer music, it is merely repetitive and ambient, which is appropriate for an exploration game. I wouldn't want something like music to overpower the experience. The game is also strangely lonely; I forget that as a bounty hunter, Samus rarely has allies. Another thing that adds to the solitude is the storytelling device, which is mainly scanning and very short cutscenes with no dialogue. The scanning tells of the Chozo who once lived in Tallon IV, and the logs of the Space Pirates. While I admire the effort that the writers put into both types of dialogue, the Space Pirate logs tend to be very technically termed, with a lot of jargon that I tend to glaze over. But it's always fun to see the Pirates refer to Samus as "the Hunter" and acknowledge their inferior technology to hers. Gosh, I love space stuff. Sci fi is so great.

    I honestly was not expecting so much backtracking and lack of direction in a game. I mentioned this is in the thread, but I suppose I've been playing linear games for so long, that finding my way around this mammoth of an overworld is confusing and time consuming. I don't want to know how many times I've made unnecessary loops in the Magmoor Caverns to the Phendrana Drifts. But the exploring is enjoyable for me, as are the puzzles. One thing I don't like, however, is how easily the enemies respawn. Like, holy shit. Can we please just chill out a bit. Though I am getting closer to the end of the game, I'm pretty sick of fighting Space Pirates, with the puppying thermal visor on. That shit is cray.

    I am enjoying it so far, and I'm glad it's a lot different than I was expecting it to be. I have played a bit of Corruption (Prime 3) back in the dat, but I know virtually nothing of Prime 2: Echoes, so I'm excited to see where the trilogy is going. But first, gotta finish the rest of this game and get good at the wonky controls.

    Might come back and edit this later to add more thoughts, like when I'm at the end of the game. Or even when I've played some of the other two. But, this is it for now. Hope you enjoyed the read.
  17. So i saw Amazing Spider-Man 2 tonight. This entry is going to be about me, not the movie, but I must caution you for spoilers up ahead. Don't care or have already seen the movie? Then lets jump in!

    So there is a scene fairly early into the movie when Electro (Jamie Foxx) first discovers his new powers. He stumbles into Time Square where he eventually confronts Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). Now Electro is how you say.... bat shit insane. He's obsessed with Spider-Man and is a man of great paranoia and nearly crippling depression. A man occasionally I find myself like. So basically, Spider-Man and Electro are in Time Square with police and civilians at the sides. Spider-Man, being the hero that he is, tries to calm Electro down to talk about his problems, and help him with his new powers. The police have backed away and things are working out. But suddenly, a sniper (squat teamer?) shots at Electro and freaks him out. Spider-Man reacts accordingly. The civilian crowd, now watching from the side-lines, starts cheering. "Get that freak, Spidey!" stuff like that. That's it. Electro full on freaks out and as he does i am reminded of past panic attacks that I've had myself.

    Okay so the scene was probably really cheesy to anyone who cant relate, but to me? It was definitely the most accurate representation of a panic attack i've ever witnessed. At least how I experience them. Electro's heart starts racing, filling him with rage and angst. Voices start chiming in, saying stuff like "They betrayed me" "they think your'e worthless" "they need to pay" etc. all while playing to the beat of the music. It's like a song, actually, a song i knew all too well.

    When i freak out like this, as I have recently on new year's eve. My heart starts racing. I start thinking these awful thoughts and they come at intervals that match my heart beat. Its really like my body is singing evil intentions to me. Looking back on it, it's actually quite fascinating, but in the moment its absolutely terrifying. Where Electro and I are similar end here, obviously, because he can shoot electricity at people and i just ran into the employee restroom and broke down crying. But yeah, Im sure I was the only one in the theater crying at that scene. Not full on tears but you know, a little jerk in the heart, a drop of water in the eye.

    The moral of the story is, despite not being a perfect movie, the Amazing Spider-Man 2 was really fun! I recommend it.
    PS- I actually cry at almost every Marvel Flick i see in theaters. When the Avengers all lined up for the final battle. When Cap fought the Winter Soldier. puppy even when Tony summoned all of his Iron Man suits. It just gets me right here!
  18. So FEZ is a game that's gotten a lot of controversy due to it's creator, Phil Fish. But we arent gonna talk about that. Instead, lets look at the game he's created.

    FEZ is a platforming game about a 2D being discovering that he lives in a 3D world. It's simple enough, collect 32 hyper-cubes (and an extra 32 anti-cubes) to restore order to his universe and keep it from imploding.... or something. The story is more of a charming prompt. Not too important, but satisfying non the less. The game play is also very simple. You always see the world in 2D, but as you rotate your perspective, the world rotates with it. Platforms that were unreachable from one view becoming easy stepping stones in the next. There is probably a metaphor in that as well, haha.

    But here is where the game gets really interesting, for me at least. It doesnt hold your hand. The game is very easy to play, but super difficult to master. Not because the game gets harder, but rather because it gets "deeper." Youll come across a room and have no idea what secrets it holds, you may find some weird scribbles on the wall. but what does it mean? Well, all the "codes" in the game can be found within the game. Ill give it away, there is a room that acts as a Rosetta stone, but even realizing that it is indeed a Rosetta is a puzzle in itself. Even without learning the new language, the game has so many secrets, its honestly amazing! Truly a work of art in its own right.

    And the game encourages you to figure it all out yourself! sure, there will be a few times when youll just HAVE to google it, but the game doesnt require you to at all. Its really a throw back to the golden age of gaming when there was no internet. You'd play a game, get stuck, and then ask your friend for advice. This game is complete homage to that. Im literally watching my friend play as I type this and he just asked me for paper and pen so he could figure out this puzzle.

    This game is not only beautiful, with it's minimalist pixel graphics and hauntingly ambient soundtrack, but its such a challenge! My first play session lasted 2 hours, but genuinely felt like 15 mins. I cant recommend this game enough! Please, despite all the controversy surrounding it's creator, look into this game for yourself. You owe yourself that much ;-)
  19. Thinking about character creation and conception. I’ve never really made many characters outside of roleplaying games (including making up personalities and moral codes for games like Skyrim and Morrowind). I’ve been thinking lately about personality, characters, and understanding other people.

    To start with, here’s a story about my dog. He’s a nice enough dog, and I love him a lot, but when he gets around other dogs he acts aggressively defensive. At first I just thought it was okay, and put it out of my mind or excused it somehow, but the last time he got aggressive with another dog, it made me take it more seriously. He’s aggressive because he’s pent-up. He’s more energetic than we have time to exercise out of him, and so he gets frustrated and acts out. Just because I understand him, doesn’t mean that I can let him off. I’ve reformed and decided not to let him off his lead when I’m uncertain of whether I’m approaching other walkers (on a woodland trail), because he’s a big scary thing and he can sometimes be not that nice. I used to only tell myself “he’s a good dog but he can appear scary, so I’ll be careful about other people” but now I’m more aware that not only does he look scary, but he acts scary as well, under certain circumstances. People he’s okay with. Unfamiliar dogs less so.

    I started to more level-headedly consider his personality, and as I did so it dawned on me that I can’t rightly say what he’s thinking, nor predict what’s best for him. Like, I know he just needs more exercise, but as a philosophical thing the thought interests me.

    Moving on, I started to think about the fact that I had begun to build a personality for a dog. I had started to imagine the connections and meanings behind his actions, as you would with people. We get to know people directly through experiencing their actions; their words.

    And so I thought to myself, what about this as a possible method of character creation?

    Rather than fussing yourself over what their key aspects are and then using those aspects to predict their actions, do it the way you would with people: Predict their actions by knowing their personality, and know their personality by analysing their actions.

    Start with a blank slate character. A nothing. Then imagine what actions you want them to make, and then, from your own personal philosophy, explain their actions, and begin to build a framework of their personality. That’s the idea.

    It had me thinking also about how people understand fictional characters differently. People have their own philosophies about life and themselves, and from this they understand other people, by using their own knowledge of themselves and their own motivations. People who share your interpretation of characters will probably also share parts your personal philosophy, and so they’ll probably be the people you’d befriend, because they get that part of you and you share it.

    People often disagree with either the author’s decisions for the characters, or with other people’s interpretations and fan-made representations. I’d put that down to personal philosophy, and how people choose to relate to characters, thus shaping their understanding of them, leading to different predictions of the characters’ future actions. So don’t hate peoples’ interpretations, because it’s just them expressing a piece of themselves. Your interpretation is just as personal as theirs.
  20. By Sahaqiel,

    So I've got problems and drama as I'm prone to have. Problems, things to update you guys on, and so forth; it's going to be long, but I'd appreciate it if I felt someone related to my experiences. This might be a multiple-trip read for you, I'm not sure how long I'm going to keep this going. I hope it's at least interesting for you. This is mostly stuff I've talked in chat about, but not here. There's a lot of stuff I'm leaving out.

    It's really late at night and I wanted to sleep a few hours ago, but I started messing around trying to polish up a track before I finally, but it ended up making it worse, Mediafire distorted the audio or something, so I posted the version I made last November?, it looks like. Five months then? Yeah. I didn't feel too mad about the lost time, because I guess I always found that version about as satisfactory as I felt I could make it at higher volumes or through better sound systems and I didn't add anything significant to the appended version.

    A lot of things have happened, some I'm too ashamed to detail to a general public, but I've been on a rollercoaster of emotions, ranging through existential dread to writhing anger. I can start with the more trivial aspects and detail my actual problems if it'll make it easier on you. But each of my stories contributes or detracts a little from my stress, and it's all coming together into something I can't control very well, which is why I made this for you. I'll summarize before the problem part, but if you'll oblige, I'm offering a deeper understanding of my misery.

    Trip to U of I

    My Remaining Friend

    Parental Stress

    Potential, Shortcomings, and Inability to Take Action

    Associate's Degree

    The Head of the Problem


  21. I found this (I assume) Russian site that has all the books available to read, in English. Norton Safe Web says it's OK, so no obvious danger of viruses. Cascade started on A Game of Thrones, and hasn't reported any foul play, in that it look like it's going to charge you money after you read to a certain point in a book.

    The site it self is here:
    It has plenty other books, if you search for them. I gave a go and found the Earthsea novels, and a couple Philip K. Dick books there as well.

    So yeah, the Game of Thrones books. Here they are:
    A Game of Thrones
    A Clash of Kings
    A Storm of Swords
    A Feast for Crows
    A Dance with Dragons
    If you fancy knowing how I found it, I just typed a random unimportant line from the page I had open in A Feast for Crows and it gave me the same page on the site. Magic.
  22. Before this year, I've not been much for reading books. Several years ago I read the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman, which consisted of The Northern Lights (aka The Golden Compass), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. I must have read those in 2008, having got three copies of The Northern Lights for Christmas in 2007, following the movie adaptation, and since then I've forgotten what happened. I have brought one or two things home from them, but basically just the idea of a knife so sharp that it could cut through any material with great ease (the subtle knife itself). Besides that, I've forgotten the books for the most part.

    At some point I read through all the Harry Potter novels as well, though evidently I must have read them pretty carelessly, since I didn't realise Snape was a good guy after all at the end. But I did read them all, maybe sometime between the Order of the Pheonix movie and the first Deathly Hallows movie. I must have enjoyed them to get through them all, though I don't distinctly remember any parts I enjoyed.

    I also chose to read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë for an essay at school, though I only read the first half. I later read Animal Farm by George Orwell from Septemberish of 2011 to sometime in the early summer/late spring of 2012. I read Wuthering Heights for the fact my mother could help me analysing it, and Animal Farm just for the fact that it was a school book that I'd never read in class before, and wanted to say that I had read it.

    That's a brief history of what I consider ancient history, before the point where I really enjoyed books. A history of half-experienced books that I either wasn't invested in, or didn't pay the proper attention to in order to get the most out of them.

    The next book I read was one I'd considered reading for a while, and chose out of a long-standing interest rather than any other shallow reasons like 'bragging rights' (in the case of Animal Farm alone, really). That book was A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, inspired by the fact that Tales from Earthsea was such a mediocre movie compared to any other Studio Ghibli movie I'd watched. I'd heard that the author was unimpressed by the movie, and that fans considered the books to be much better (as book-readers unfailingly do). So I read that, from October 2012 until January of this year, and enjoyed it a lot.

    If you've ever seen Tales from Earthsea, or indeed if you're a fan of fantasy novels at all, I recommend reading the Earthsea novels a lot. Maybe I'm inexperienced as a reader, but they're very well written and easy to love, as well as quite short. If you've ever seen the Tales from Earthsea movie, then you'll known the character Sparrowhawk. The Earthsea novles are all connected to him in some way. The first, A Wizard of Earthsea, follows Sparrowhawk from childhood to young-adulthood, as he finds his magical ability, goes to wizarding school, which serve as an introduction to the greater part of the book where he embarks on his brief work as a wizard, and then onto his journey to fight a curse he brought on himself during his time at the wizarding school. The second book, The Tombs of Atuan follow not Sparrowhawk, but a girl who meets him, and how he involves himself in her own story. The Farthest Shore serves as the basis of the movie Tales from Earthsea, but I haven't read this one yet.

    So yes, I highly recommend these books. They're a quick read, and accessible too. And it has magic (Knuckle).

    I read A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan one after the other, the latter being read much faster than the other, but still at quite a slow pace, taking me about a month or so. At some point, there was an episode of Psycho-Pass, in which Makishima Shogo remarked that the world of the show was similar to that of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Since I was thinking on what to read next at this point, I took note of the title, and ordered it shortly before I finished reading The Tombs of Atuan. So continuing with the habit of only finding books through anime, I got it and read it over the course of two weeks. Another good book, though it didn't resonate with me as the Earthsea novels had. I recommend it as well, though less enthusiastically.

    I'd been contemplating for a long while, ever since I fell out of touch with the TV series, that I might try reading Game of Thrones. Having read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? so much more quickly than the last books, I figured I can trust my commitment to reading enough by this point to take on as large a book as Game of Thrones. I read it in a month, loving it all but not being blown away, since I was mostly covering old ground that I'd seen in what I'd already watched of the TV series (episodes 1-8 + spoilers people had given away online already).

    Between that and Clash of Kings, I fitted in A Murder of Quality by John le Carré just to spread out the series. My dad is a great fan of John le Carré, and I figured it'd be nice to give these books a go to see if I can get into them. It was a good enough book, but not nearly enough whimsy for me. Still holding hope that I could get into this sort of stuff, I planned ahead to go back and read Call for the Dead (which I'm currently reading), and read all of the George Smiley novels, since I did enjoy his character, and he could serve as a bridge into this new ground.

    Back to Clash of Kings, which took me another month of reading, while I moved from Dundee back home. New unspoiled territory. At some point while I read it, the Red Wedding happened, and the great boom of internet chatter got the bare bones of the events to me, and spoiled the important details of 'who' and 'what'. Understandably irritated, this fueled me to finish Clash of Kings, and then read both parts of Storm of Swords one after the other in just over two weeks. I passed the spoiler about 130 pages into the second part and plowed through to the end.

    All through it, I thought how sweet it would be to be free from the threat of spoilers on the internet from the TV series, and instead have the advantage once I passed the point covered by the TV series. Instead, I've found that it's just instead frustrating not being on the same wavelength as other people. I'm behind most of the book-readers, and ahead of those watching the TV series. I'm not experiencing the book alongside other people, and I've realised that's something that puts me at a certain disadvantage. Everybody watching the series is on the same wavelength, while I'm somewhere between the two points of completion, with few people who I can relate to right now.

    So while I would say that the books are absolutely completely undeniably superior to the TV series, I have to say that if you're particularly invested in the social experience that comes with experiencing the TV series with other people, then don't bother reading the books. It's not very fun for anybody if one person watching the show knows what's going to happen next, hanging over the others' shoulder waiting for a reaction to something you're looking forward to. So if you're willing to take it on as an individual experience for a while, or if you aren't as picky as I am about it, then stick with the series. Nothing wrong with sitting waiting for next episodes year after year, having a huge number of people experiencing it alongside you. That's a good way to be as well, maybe better.

    So that's that, and now I'm here. I've been reading Call for the Dead by John le Carré since I finished Storm of Swords last week, and been enjoying it well enough, and slowly. Being a bit more moderate with how much I read again, but my casual reading is a lot better than it had been while I read Clash of Kings and those before it. I would read a bit every day or so with Game of Thrones, and The Tombs of Atuan was something I read at night before sleep, while A Wizard of Earthsea was only ever read under rare circumstances; train journeys mostly.

    I have a pile in my room for books I've finished, and another books I've yet to read. Sitting in the former are all the books I've mentioned here, and the latter, A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, which will come after Call for the Dead. That, and the two books I got today, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, and A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin.

    Which leads me to the reason I even started making this vanity post; this picture of those two books. Look at me, I read books now.

  23. So more or less spontaneously I decided that I owed myself a purchase of a video game, so I ordered one that I'd been itching to buy probably since the time of its release in 2010. Really what prompted me to make the purchase was my boyfriend making me realize that the last game I bought was SSBB, and that was jointly with my brother back in...what, 2009 when it came out? Then, as I thought harder about it, I honestly don't know the last game I've purchased alone, since new games are a rare thing for me and they've always been gifts. I also like borrowing games, and I'm not a scummy friend that keeps them forever. Anyway, this game, Super Mario Galaxy 2, was kind of a rare thing for me to find someone to borrow from since I don't know many people here in college that have Wiis...well, about none actually.

    I guess I'll preface it with the difficulty I faced in finding this game. A few months ago, while I was either in Target or Walmart (could have possibly been late last year), I was shopping for whatever reason and decided to see if the price of this game had dropped since it was a few years old now. The answer was no. It is still a $50 game, new, and I suppose that's due to the positive ratings it has garnered. Used, I could probably find a little less (like at GameStop) but still quite an expensive game, when you think that Super Mario Galaxy (1) can be found for $20 and it was fantastic and is even like, a collector's edition or whatever. When I finally made the decision that I was going to purchase SMG2, it was no longer in stores like Walmart or Target. I ended up going to Amazon and buying it for a little less than $40 for a very good quality used game. Given the prior information, I think I actually made a smart move here.

    Now I'm gong to gush why I love Super Mario Galaxy.

    In all honesty, I 100%'d the first game just last year - After being stuck at 116 stars for about 4 years, I got all 120 stars, with ones like "Luigi's Purple Coins" taking me probably about 60-70 tries, Melty Molten Galaxy's Daredevil Run taking me possibly even more tries to get...while there are a lot of easy parts of this game (some would complain too easy, while I'm a mediocre skilled player) there were certainly some stars that made me want to scream (which I did) and rip my hair out (which I did not). The satisfaction of earning each one, though, in a nostalgic SM64 manner, is what really me drew in though. Then I found out that after earning 120, you could use Luigi to earn 240, and I snorted and shut off the Wii and went on with my life. Yeah, puppy that.

    It's a pretty game. It's a very bright game. While a game like Skyward Sword could also fall under that category, SS tries to make a play on a different art style, with its impressionistic backdrops and whatever. SMG (and SMG2, to some degree) feels like an updated SM64. Mario is not a blocky polygon. Stars are not yellow, but truly golden and shiny like you wanted them to be. It's "glowy" too - there are several instances of "cosmic" influences showing through. It's definitely Mario in space.

    Mario in space to the extent of really playing with some game physics. I mean, the gravity in these games is unbelievable sometimes. You can find a small planet, do a long jump, and make 2-3 orbits around the planet before it finally pulls you back in. You can even orbit around, get caught in the gravity of another planet, and start orbiting that one, then return to the original planet. I probably spent 20 minutes laughing at this (might have been drunk and found it extremely amusing) on the first level on SMG2. It is seriously a lot of fun.

    I could gush about the music for probably a really long time, but I'll leave it at this. This soundtrack (other than the Zelda series) is probably the most memorable for me. It is also puppying orchestrated and it's brilliant, legendary, and really plays on your heart strings. It's nostalgic and just wonderful. Even SMG2 somehow managed to BUILD upon some of the tracks from SMG, like made them better. I don't know how. But it is fantastic and I am going to shamelessly download all of it.

    I'm going to point out some things that I did and did not like about SMG2. Or maybe some contrasting things that I had hoped would be better.

    SMG2 has a lot of puppying Galaxies. If you're not familiar, they use this word kind of weirdly - I feel like it should be Planets<Worlds/Solar Systems lol<Galaxies. But instead it's Planets<Galaxies<Worlds. While SMG used different parts of the Comet Observatory to access different galaxies (and made it rewarding when you "restored power" to them, very much resembling the Castle in SM64), SMG2 visually looks like a Super Mario game with the "World Map." So SMG2 has 7 "Worlds", each with about 7 Galaxies. I thought this was okay. It did make returning to past Worlds easier, but it also made the Galaxies so much more...meh. Like they all started blending together because of how indistinct they were.

    You even start typing a word a lot and it starts looking weird to you? That's what's happening to "galaxy" right now lol.

    Anyway, my main point with the Galaxy thing - that there being a lot of them in SMG2 - meant that there are less stars to disperse among the Galaxies. Therefore, by logic, less of the Galaxy needs to be explored, and so the Galaxies are smaller. They're less of the mini-universes that you step into. Maybe one, two regular stars, a comet star, and you're done. Or maybe a hidden star, if you're lucky. I personally enjoyed having to find 5-7 stars in each Galaxy in SMG, and suddenly to be cut short like that...I don't know. I recognized and appreciated each Galaxy more in SMG because I saw a lot of it. SMG2, I knocked out 50-60 stars in one day and I don't really remember the process of me getting there. It went by too quickly.

    SMG2 does have redeeming qualities, though. For one, motherpuppying Yoshi being around on some levels. Luigi as well from the get-go, and eventually unlockable at the end of the game. There are some cute-as-shit characters in the game too - Jibberjays, adorable and excitable parrots; pink Bob-omb Buddies from SM64; and Whittles, cute wooden things that make very primitive but amusing statements. The new powerups are also surprisingly not half-assed - Cloud Mario is very fun, while Rock Mario can get a little irritating. I kind of missed Ice Mario (making ice platforms by jumping on water spouts was a super creative idea in the last game) and Flying Mario, but that's probably just more SM64 nostalgia talking. Speaking of which, my discovery of Throwback Galaxy (basically an updated Whomp's Fortress from SM64) got me so excited I spent quite some time examining every inch of the level.

    Furthermore, the utility of Coins - instead of Star Bits taking the role of the main currency, Coins are used for Luma-transforming instead of a "high score" for an individual star that no one cares about. Comet Medals are also a neat idea - in the previous game, Comet stars only appeared after the arrival of the Comet Luma, but now Comets will appear given if you find and collect and complete a Galaxy's star with the Comet Medal. Some of them are tricky to find and collect and it is very easy to go through a level normally without even seeing it.

    From what I've seen so far, and I'm at 104/120 stars for the moment, the Comet stars aren't nearly as difficult as the previous game. For example, there have been several instances where you need the 100 Purple Coins - but not every single one, as there are 110 total. It gives the player a little slack on those more unforgivable circumstances. Even the fact that the Co-Star Luma (aka Player 2) can pick up Purple Coins makes the Comet Stars significantly easier. Then again, I haven't raged over this game's version of Luigi's Purple Coins, so we'll see how I feel in a week.

    Since this review is getting kind of long lol, I'll sum it up a bit. SMG2 is sort of like the Majora's Mask to Ocarina of Time. Same game engine, sort of the same goal, but quite different on a lot of things. I've been enjoying myself so far and from what it looks like, I might be getting the 242 stars in this game (since it seems like part 2 isn't entirely a repeat of the first half). SMG/SMG2 are really really great games, if you're truly a Nintendo fan at heart - so much so that I don't think I can enjoy a sidescrolling Mario game again because it's not 3D. Not to say those game aren't good, but one you get used to the liberty of exploration of these games, it's hard to go back to that. I'm happy to say that SMG2 surprised me in ways that I wasn't expecting, and I'm glad it didn't turn out to be an extended version of its predecessor.
  24. So I started typing this out in response to Cirt's about buying a new mouse in the Post Yourself thread, but it became more of a blog.

    I have been conditioned to do everything in my power to make my computer operations efficient by owning crappy computers. First, I couldn't right click things because doing so froze my computer. So I mastered a slew keyboard shortcuts and features. Then, I was frustrated at navigating menus in order to find things, so I mastered navigation techniques. Eventually I was just fed up with having to move my hands to my mouse, so I learned various text editing skills. In other words, keyboard shortcuts at all times. I also have made sure I have efficient computing by closing all my processes. At first manually, by going through my list of processes, hitting the Delete key, then hitting Enter, and then down arrow before it reset my cursor position to the top of the list, and rapid-firing this motion until all the processes I could close, closed. Then by the monument to convenience that is GameBooster. I use Windows Classic theme and my taskbar collapses to maximize screen space. This mentality pervades any routine that I do. Efficiency is important.

    One fateful day, my mouse fell out of my backpack while running to catch a train. It was promptly run over by cars, and I discovered its remains the next day. I didn't really use it all that much because of the keyboard shortcuts, but sometimes mice are good for something. So I've learned that having a trackpad is actually very useful when your hands are so close to it all the time, and I've trained myself to use it with brief thumbstrokes, as if it were a set of joysticks. Tapping is your friend in a case like this.

    This is my battle stance.

    My computer's G, H, ', Backspace, Print Screen, many of my function keys, Escape, and rarely, my O key, all malfunction. My Windows key flickers constantly between pressable and not pressable, so if I hold it down, the Start Menu flickers on and off, and it wrecks all my Win key shortcuts. It is living hell to type anything of length (most of what I type), and it's because my computer is in bad shape. Why, you ask? It fell to the ground once when my backpack's arm strap actually snapped, causing my backpack + laptop to fall. That splintered the guard on one of my hinges, but it didn't do too much damage. Later, it took a separate fall from about chair height onto my carpeted floor, and now it looks like this:

    The screen's hinges are mostly broken, so I have to lean my screen against something in order to keep it upright and angled. Another peeve I've always had about the screen is that it's not indented in at all, so there are many permanent scratches where the screen has come into contact with the other half of the laptop. But the keys malfunctioning is easily the most horrible thing about its degeneration. In order to combat the problem, I bought keyboards. The first was frustratingly hard to type on, the second is perfect in concept.

    It's a lightweight, waterproof, flexible silicone keyboard that rolls up and fits in a compact tube that I bought for cheap at Monoprice. This keyboard, in concept, is the best keyboard ever. It's supremely portable, its keys have good tactile feedback despite being easy on the fingers, it's probably the most silent keyboard in existence, and it's stupidly easy to clean. Monoprice sells top-notch stuff, mind you, but this thing has a few fatal flaws:

    1) It is too hard to type on; you need perfect accuracy and just the right force to get a keystroke across.
    2) Its key placement is atrocious.
    3) It absolutely needs a surface under it that is at least as flat and sturdy as a keyboard.

    What's one of the least desirable things to happen while backspacing? Hitting the Home key, probably. Where most keyboards have at least a sliver of difference in between Home and Backspace, this thing has Home right up next to it.

    Since the keys require force to press, and since the keys are flexible, I bump into other keys a lot. What's annoying is that I have to type relatively harder to get the keys to work normally, but a light bump when backspacing will activate the Home key, bringing my cursor back to the beginning of my line. Where there isn't anything to backspace. I thought my keyboard was malfunctioning at times, because I wasn't deleting anything when attempting to backspace, but no, it was because my cursor had left me after I bumped into the Home key. It's the same for most keys, actually. If I try to use the Arrow keys at all, I bump into EVERYTHING. Also, the Function keys (F1, F2, etc.) don't have any space in between either, and they're not particularly aligned, so I can't tell which function key I'm hitting unless I'm looking right at it. They're all so tiny, even for Function keys.

    Also, the Space Key. Not Space Bar. The Space Key. Where Alt should be. Right next to the Space Bar.

    Sigh... I keep hitting this thing trying to Alt + Tab. The only reasoning I've heard for why this even remotely makes sense is for gameplay that requires rapid Space pressing, but in order for the actual Space Bar to work, there are multiple buttons underneath it all arranged in a strip right next to each other anyway, so what the hell?

    So I use my laptop keyboard much more frequently, because when it works, it works well. But when it's being particularly horrible I break out my floppy keyboard. If you're wondering how I'm getting all this information to you with constantly malfunctioning keys that only work 20% of the time, it's because of the aforementioned efficiency-sticklerism. This is what my screen has looked like the whole time I typed this:

    So every time I need a certain character, I thumbstroke what I need with the trackpad, making sure to keep the cursor close to the keys I need on the on-screen keyboard. It's a tough life. I also don't Backspace much anymore. I have to Shift + Left Arrow to highlight over the last thing I typed that I need to erase, or if I decide that it's too far back, I just Ctrl + Shift + Left Arrow to highlight the whole thing to take it out and start over, because it's slightly faster than pinpointing the mistake.

    It's a good thing programming is mostly making tiny corrections and searching through lines of code for tiny mistakes, or my current practices would be totally awful.