February 25, 2015

Those Who Came Before: Transistor and Community

In a lot of ways, games are power fantasies. Okay, okay, not all games, but many of them hinge on that sort of power trip. It’s you, the player, who are the center, who the world revolves around. It’s you, by your own power, who solves the problem and saves the day. There’s a real joy in that, too. But it’s often losing sight of how these things really work. Behind every hero of any type, there is an almost indescribable amount of support and help. For every leader, there’s a script writer, or a team of advisors, for example. Games don’t often represent that very well. There’s often a network of other characters represented, whether in your party or in the world, and perhaps they give you quests, but in the end, it’s the character’s strength that gets them through. You get the feeling that even without them being around, this hero would succeed, and even if that wasn’t the case, if the boss wouldn’t be beaten without the other party members, it’s still the hero giving the orders and calling the shots. It’s their victory.

In Transistor, it’s the social connection to those who came before and those we know that forms the backbone of true power. Transistor represents this in its mechanics, art, and music the entire way through, and in doing so it creates a hero in Red that feels real. Or at least as real as a lady with a magic cybersword with her boyfriend in it can feel. And that means something, at least to me.

Transistor’s mechanics and combat are based upon functions. These functions are all tied to someone, some character from the past or present. Some of these characters Red knows, like her lover, but many of them she does not. It doesn’t matter. She gathers power from all of them, and it is because of these people, and what they represent, that she succeeds.

Alone, Red only has Crash(). Crash() is fine. A useful tool. But with just Crash(), battles would be much harder to downright impossible. So she gets help. Bounce() from her lover. Spark() from Lillian Platt. And so on and so forth. And as she learns the other ways their influence can help her, equipped in different slots, she learns more about them. What they did and why they are important open up to her, and she understands.

We’re all built up like this. I am the product of many influences. There is a strength that is uniquely my own, but many of my good qualities come from those around me and those who came before me. It’s easy to know how those people who are close to me, my family and friends, have affected me. It’s clear how they help me everyday and inspire me. But I am helped as well by those in the past, who fought for things I now take for granted. An author I never read touches an author I did, and my life enriched. Someone fighting against oppression before my time has influence that still makes my life better, whether I know it or not. It’s only as I learn about how much they’ve done for me that I even know they exist. And even those I don’t know have done so much for me, I can’t even say. If I have any power, it’s from them. And it’s this kind of structure that gives Red her power in the game.

The entire world of Transistor is built around this. Cloudbank is a city that is powered by the thoughts and actions of its citizens. Everything, from the structure of the city to the weather, is done, in theory, together. It’s an impressive power, this lineage. You see no other people in the game besides the villains, but Red is never alone. Red walks with this strength of those behind her. She doesn’t wield the Transistor. It drags behind her, doing the best impression of walking hand in hand with her that a sword can manage. It’s teamwork, through and through.

The Camerata, of course, figures they can control that power and that lineage, and use it for what they want. Royce doesn’t walk hand in hand with what the Transistor represents. He holds it like a sword. He uses it as a weapon. But the Camerata fail, even before Red is in the picture, and they fail because they trusted in their own power, and theirs alone. They were alone, and thus, they were powerless. Red, even with her voice gone, makes change happen because she is not alone. It’s really wonderful.

In the end, Red could take full control of Cloudbank. It would be easy. But she doesn’t, because it’s not her power. It belongs to everyone. And in the end, she joins everyone, and adds her power to the multitude of voices in the Transistor and in Cloudbank. She leaves the flaws and the problems just as they are, and it’s from those flaws that people will continue to grow.

Red is a hero who is not a chosen one. She doesn’t have some special thing about her that makes her the only person who can save Cloudbank. But what she does have is a trust in those who fought before her, and still fight, through the echos of their actions. That is a power way better than her own personal strength. “We All Become One,” the song goes. Our actions, our struggles, combine to create something greater than us. Transistor is about that, and that celebration of community is a welcome sight.

August 14, 2013

Amusement Park Polish

As someone who has a sticker of the EPCOT Center symbol on her car, and is slowly filling up her walls with more and more EPCOT stuff, I think we can agree that I am not unbiased in what I am about to write, so we’ll just get that out of the way. But I feel I am that way for a reason, and I want to talk about said reason.

Yesterday, I went to Six Flags St. Louis. I hadn’t been there in years, and it was an interesting and fun time. I rode roller coasters and water slides. What more can you ask for, you know? But man, the whole time I was there, I just felt this feeling of desperation from the park. Like, it didn’t know what it was doing and was just throwing everything at the wall to try to make an extra buck. Ads were literally everywhere, and not for like… things happening in the park, but for candy, movies, hair products, electronic cigarettes… literally anything, posted all over the place. Every ride was plastered with advertisements for The Flash Pass, which was something else you could buy that was AS MUCH AS OR MORE THAN YOUR TICKET that could let you skip lines. It was just kind of gross. I mean, I rode a roller coaster in a coaster car covered in ads for hair gel. It was on the coaster “American Thunder.” I guess the ads are pretty American.

On top of that, the park was split into thematic areas. Well, it was in theory. Very few of the attractions had to do with the thematic areas at all. What does the previously-named “Tony Hawk’s Big Spin” and now “Pandemonium” have to do with Britannia, a Robin-Hood Themed Area? At least the big coaster in that area, The Boss, has some attempt to make it blend in to those surroundings, with a big archway that kinda fits the era it’s trying to put you in, but The Boss still doesn’t fit the theme as a title, and the coaster goes over a go-kart track. You know, like the go-karts Robin Hood and his merry men rode around on. The Studio Backlot area was all Tim Burton Batman themed (but nowhere near the DC Superhero area, starring Scooby Doo, your favorite DC Superhero, of course) except for The Ninja, and Panda Express, and things that have little to do with being a WB Studio Backlot. The music all over the park was this really crazy collection of hits a little out of date, really old songs, and strange selections from the 90’s.

The only area that really had a theme was Hurricane Harbor, which actually did a fairly good job. There were plaques telling the history of the harbor, and everything had fairly thematic names. But, of course, you could see Batman: The Ride from anywhere in Hurricane Harbor, looming over the whole thing, or the parking lot it was next to, so you could never really get too immersed.

Disney spoils me, I guess. Even when they go and build a “thrill ride” because something needs a thrill ride, they think hard about where it’s going to go and how it’s going to fit in there. They build an impressive mountain landscape and surrounding features for Expedition: Everest. They come up with the idea of teaching about aerodynamics and other vehicle-related science by letting you make your own car in Test Track. They build a gigantic mountain mine surrounded by all kinds of neat things in New Fantasyland. The most “just thrown in there” ride I experienced at Disney World during my last trip was the Primeval Whirl, but that was 100% by design, since it is placed inside of the thrown-together amusement park area of Dino-Rama. It was evoking that kind of feel.

Similarly, all the “ads” in Disney World are classy. They’re simply sponsorships. Sure, you exit Spaceship Earth into basically an advertisement for Siemens nowadays, but it’s done in a smart way, with games explaining how communication technology will continue to advance society in the future. It ties in to Spaceship Earth. It doesn’t feel out of place or gross.

It really just seems like Six Flags should stop half-assing it, I guess. If you aren’t going to go all the way to immerse me, it really just ends up being more terrible than if you hadn’t tried at all. Not trying to would be preferable. I went to Cedar Point a long time ago, and that is a place full of coasters. It has no themeing and no pretense. It’s just coasters. And it doesn’t invoke the same “this place is a mess” feelings because of it, you know? Six Flags should just tear down the rest of their themeing and just have a coaster park. Sure, still have the Looney Tunes and DC heroes and all that, but just get rid of the premise, you know? It would probably serve them well.

November 4, 2012

Let’s Do A Good Ol’ Fashioned Link Dump

Dang, yo, even though I don’t blog all that often any more, I still collect tabs with cool links. I have so many tabs open in Chrome right now I cannot see the little icons on the tabs! Let’s do a good ol’ fashioned link dump and clear them out, shall we?

This is me in my Halloween costume. Yep.

Life is hard for such people. It really is.

As much as I don’t like dressing up dogs, people often do awesome shit with it.

Poor Will Smith.

Sweet tricks on a four-wheeled device, Slender.

Cat Pokemon: Best thing.

Three Word Phrase is normally amazing, but this is one of the best comics he’s ever done, to be sure.

HOW I HOLD POPCORN?

They’re pretty sad.

They’re really going at it. (Who makes this shit?)

A thorough plan of action.

VAMPIRE DOG!

Let’s rock out!

The hottest new magazine for game developers!

Corgis rule.

This man knows how to enjoy a beverage.

Yes, this is another pony comic. Huzzah!

Yes, applause is appropriate.

Finally, the most excited puppy dog.

Whew! That was a lot of links! Thanks for helping me unload them!

October 27, 2012

The Illusion of Greener Grass I Can’t Prove Doesn’t Exist Lingers Endlessly In My Head, Making Me Feel Like A Shitty Girlfriend And Write Long Blog Titles

So here’s a blog about some really potentially awkward stuff relating to, you know, sex. Not that I’m going to get all graphic or whatever. But if that’s not something you want to know about me, this isn’t the blog for you. But this is a thing I’m trying to think out, so I write about it, so… uh, anyway…

You alright with everything? Sure? Alright, cool.

For awhile now, basically all my sexual fantasies have been about women.

Now, I mean, sure, that’s not weird. I mean, you know, I like ladies. Ladies are a thing I like. And there’s nothing wrong with having a sexy daydream now and again. But it’s just kind of getting to the point where it’s bothering me. I find myself wandering off in these thought processes when I have a lovely jackal like 3 feet away who would throw me onto the bed and do so many nice things with me if I even vaguely mentioned it. If I’m horny, I have a fantastic solution. But my head never seems to click into that. It clicks into ladies. And this frustrates me because, again, nice boyfriend jackal I would like to be intimate with more often, but my head isn’t cooperating.

I wouldn’t normally be writing about all that, but recently I came up with a theory as to why, so I thought I’d run it by you.

I want to do the sexy times with ladies instead of my man because some subconscious part of me thinks it is safer.

When I do things with my boyfriend, there are a lot of things I cannot do that I desperately want to do. I am physically incapable as I am now. Hopefully someday that will not be the case, but for now, it’s just a fact. He’s lovely, and he’s sweet, and he makes me melt and get into this quite subby mode most of the time. And I sit there, squirming and making happy noises and stuff. And my brain… starts thinking about what I want to do. Which are things I cannot do. But I want them. I want them so bad. But I can’t do them. And this works me into a sort of panic. When the time comes to do the things I can do, often this will set me off and I’ll start crying and generally be fucking lame. Overall, this stuff is worth it. I am so lucky I have a partner who will take it slow and understands my issues here. I am so fucking lucky, for serious. But it’s disappointing every time I break down like that, and it keeps happening. I don’t want that disappointment. Preferably this would happen with me getting over my stupid self and just, you know, enjoying myself. But I’m so wrapped up in mental bullshit, that’s hard to do.

I feel like my body is trying to keep me away from that. Generally, with women, I am much more dom. I am in control. When I am in control, anything I don’t want to happen or I’m worried about clearly won’t happen. And so, my subconscious goes, if you were having sex with a lady, you wouldn’t be having these issues.

I don’t really believe I wouldn’t be having similar problems. I know I would, in fact. Hell, I do take a more dommy role at times with my jackal too, and while I do tend to keep myself under control more, I still freak out. If that’s all it is that’s supposed to protect me, I can do that now, if I wanted to, and do, from time to time. Still, problems are there. Since I’m not in a “sex with a lady is possible” situation right now, I can’t PROVE that I would have similar problems to the little voices in my head, you know? So they say I wouldn’t. And I fantasize about that. And here we are.

Basically, my mind and my body are the lamest goddamn things. Maybe now that I’ve rationalized why I’m thinking the way I am, I can move past it and get back to enjoying myself. I hope so.

October 23, 2012

Pills Are Scary.

Yesterday, I felt horrible. I was so constantly nervous I was sick to my stomach. I didn’t feel like I could interact with anyone. I felt useless and awful and wanted to no longer exist.

This morning I feel perfectly fine. Not happy, perse. I mean, I’m up early to work and I have to get going to work soon. Hard to be super pumped about that. But I’m functional. I don’t feel like garbage. I’m fine.

Hormones are scary shit.

The theory on why yesterday was such a horrible situation for me revolved around me forgetting to take a pill the day before. See, most of my pills I take in the morning. I never forget those. I take them when I get up with a little breakfast. But one particular pill I have to take twice a day. I’m supposed to take them with food, so I always try to wait until dinner, but often I’m out of the house, or doing this or that, and I totally forget. Most of the time I end up taking them late, but I still take them, and it’s not a huge deal. (Mostly, because that pill is a diuretic, I have to get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break if I take them late, but that’s the only bad side effect.) The day before yesterday, though, I was so tired and burnt out, I just went straight to bed and didn’t take them at all.

Then yesterday happened. I didn’t put two and two together. The pill in question is a testosterone suppressant. Testosterone is supposed to make you angry, not depressed, right? Plus, most of the rare times when I miss those pills, I do feel a little down, but nothing near this bad. Then again, that night before was kind of a shitty night, and that morning I broke my cell phone, so those things probably compounded to set off a depression attack.

Basically, it honestly just kind of scares me that such things can fuck me up so much. Like, I know, on an intellectual level, that these hormones and things run this stuff in my body. I do get that. But it’s still really disturbing to look back at myself, a mess, and realize that it was a stupid little pill so small that I could fit like 3 of them on a penny that was the culprit. I mean, I know my body SHOULD be taking care of this stuff without help, but it doesn’t, so here I am. And I’m silly. And I forget. And then horrible hide in bed suicidal day occurs. So shitty.

I’m going to do my best not to let that happen again.

October 8, 2012

Some Venting About How Shitty I’ve Been Feeling

Okay, blog, I’m going to vent a bit for now. Sorry.

I wish I knew what was up with me.

For like, forever, when I was younger, I was miserable. I basically spent all my free time thinking about how to kill myself, and had to force myself to do things like have fun with my friends, go to class, or whatever. It really fucking sucked. So I got me some therapy and transitioned and then I felt no less than tons better? Seriously, it was like “Oh, this is what being happy is.” It was pretty great!

But seriously, the last few weeks, I’ve been falling back to where I was. I’ve started thinking about killing myself again on a fairly regular basis. (I never will. I’m not an idiot and I’m not about to hurt my loved ones with something so selfish, but goddamn, do I have some specific fantasies about it.) I’ve started mumbling to myself again constantly about what a waste of space I am and how much of a disappointment I’ve become. I constantly wake up in the middle of the night in panic states. It’s been pretty shitty!

I’m really not sure what has changed. Granted, I do have a lot of classes on my plate, and I am doing quite a bit of work. But it’s not like I haven’t taken breaks when I needed them, and it’s not like I’m not keeping up with everything I need to do. (I could be BETTER, certainly. I could be grading all my papers the night I get them or something insane. Overall, though, I haven’t done anything that I would even remotely consider a problem or something to worry about yet.) I’ve still got an awesome boyfriend and a super cool puppy dog who loves me. I get to do cool shit. While I worry a bit about money, I know that, overall, I’m not anywhere near screwed.

Yet it’s just oppressing. I know I used to get things done while feeling like this, but I’ve been WITHOUT these feelings for so long, I feel like I’ve kind of forgotten how to function when I feel like this, too.

Last night, we all went out to eat for my mom’s birthday, and my Grandma, as I was hugging her before she left, said “You’re a good man.” As soon as I was out of the family zone, I lost it. I cried. I’ve felt like a lot of shit ever since. Like sick to my stomach worked up. It just… bleh. My psychologist and I had a talk recently about how big things take a long time to percolate. Basically, she was saying it wasn’t dumb that I was still freaking out about this stuff, even though I felt frustrated to be having these sorts of feelings again. This is probably the biggest goddamn thing in my life. It’s not just going to disappear. That dysphoria is going to come back. It’s natural for it to.

It just really fucking sucks.

Anyway, there, some venting. I’m done.

September 7, 2012

Oh, hi. I didn’t see you there.

Hi, blog. How’s it going? Pretty good? Yeah, I’ve been doing okay.

It’s kind of nice having enough going on in your life, and having enough awesome in your life, that I don’t have to update you daily to feel like I’m not a complete failure. I think that’s pretty cool, to be honest. But I do look at you, blog, and I’m kind of sad that there’s no new content on you. It’s kind of creepy, to be honest.

Yeah.

But seriously, life’s been going pretty good, I think. I’ve been teaching quite a lot, and man, did I take on a big course load! But it’ll be worth it, and my classes, for the most part, have really cool people. I’m working on some neat projects with some of my online friends that I’m going to be posting about here when they’re released on the general public. I’ve been crying during sex still. Um… the dog has been all jealous that I’ve been leaving the house more and I’ve been dealing with that. I’ve played a lot of video games. Been playing some Dungeons and Dragons, and been being excited about 13th Age coming out, because man, that looks sweet, doesn’t it?

Yeah.

Seriously, though, it’s a complete relief not to have to update you. I love being able to get home and be exhausted and not go “oh fuck, I have to go type a blog, goddammit,” like I did for so many years. That’s really kind of nice. I’m going to keep taking advantage of that. I hope that’s okay.

Yeah.

August 13, 2012

Too Many Tabs!

I’m tired of all these tabs! Tired of them! Tabs! Have some links!

P-p-p-pony corner!
Can you walk?!
Picture perfect!
Perfect for Wallpapers of Telephones!
Slice of Life!

Animated Gif Corner!
Soccer One!
Soccer Romance!
Trampolines!
Sparing Your Enemy!
Cat Climb!
Boss.
Fox and Dog!
Ultimate Resourcefulness!

Finally, some randomness.
Feminists!
Pointing!
Lists!
Bond!

Okay, later!

August 4, 2012

Wants in the Way, An Emotional Stupidblog

Hi, blog. I don’t know why I’m not in bed, but that just feels wrong right now, and I feel like I’d just toss and turn and keep CJ up, so…

Anyway, we never talk any more, so let’s talk, huh, blog? Can we do that?

I told CJ earlier today that right now, the life I’m living now, is the happiest I have ever been. That’s factual, as far as I’m aware. I wasn’t trying to be hyperbolic. It just is so overwhelmingly frustrating when things break that. When I break, and it breaks that. I feel like such a fool, and a fuckup.

Look, okay, I’m going to talk about some personal sexytimes things here, so, you know, if that’s not cool with you, this is no longer the blog for you, and I understand.

I’m basically tired of sobbing uncontrollably every time I try to do something nice and sexy with my boyfriend. It’s, for whatever reason, become MORE constant instead of less, which I would have figured would have been the case. He loves me. He gets me. I have nothing to worry about. But… well… okay, so I got on this new pill… and all the sudden I’m like… super sensitive. Like seriously? And all over. And arousal is more like I had always heard it should be, more of an all-over experience instead of a centralized one. All that is fantastic, though a bit overwhelming (in a good way) at times. But I can’t enjoy it. Because CJ gets me all super-turned on, and then I know exactly what I want him to do and…! It’s physically impossible because I’m fucked up and incorrect. And this shakes me. And I try not to let it bother me, but then all my attention is on not crying instead of, you know, nice stuff, and then eventually CJ notices and asks me if I’m okay and if I try to actually speak a word I start crying. And crying. And crying.
There are so many nice things we could be doing together. So much I can do. So much I can still be involved in. But this breaks me every goddamn time.

I spent a long time trying to suppress things that I wanted, you know? And I found that that fucking sucked. That was terrible, and making me miserable. When I started recognizing that hey, I want things and hey, I deserve things, I felt a lot better. I want this. But I can’t have it. At best it’s thousands of dollars away, which I don’t have. It’s years away, realistically. Years of going to bed and failing to not be an idiot and breaking down and sobbing because my body is so fucked up. And I feel so much better now, overall, that that just feels like an impossible thing to endure. I used to be able to, because I have no choice. Now I feel like I do, and it’s hard. It’s really hard. But I don’t really have a choice. Not yet. And much like my ability to put up masks to hide my shitty emotional state, which completely broke down when I finally started feeling good most of the time, I continue to fail to find the ability to endure this and get on with my life and enjoy what I can do.

I can’t imagine what this must be like for CJ. He can’t really understand this stuff. I’m not really sure how he could help, and he doesn’t know either. He wants to show me he loves me, and he gets me sobbing for an hour for his trouble time and again for his trouble. He says he’s not frustrated as shit, but he must be, right? Fuck.

I don’t know if this actually makes any sense to anyone else, but if you did read it, thanks. I’m going to try to sleep now, I guess.
More blog soon, cause I’m sure as hell not leaving this the top blog post for long.

July 20, 2012

You Should Listen To These Podcasts.

Here are two podcasts you may not be listening to, and if you aren’t, you are a terrible person. Or at least don’t like listening to awesome podcasts.

Idle Thumbs is back. Kickstarted and back officially now. Not progresscasts. The real deal. That’s really all I need to say. But my goodness, it is like… the same show! The same show I always loved. It’s pretty well exactly the same. That is so fucking awesome. Famous does a great job being the third dude. He fits right in. Listen to Idle Thumbs, goddamn.

The other new podcast I’ve been adoring is Retsutalk. Now, if you don’t watch Retsupurae, you probably should be, because slowbeef and Diabetus are pretty awesome and funny dudes. I dunno, I really like them. When they decided to do a podcast, though, I thought that was weird. I wondered if they’d be as entertaining without something to play off of. But Retsutalk is funny and interesting thus far, and I am really, really enjoying it. I hope they keep up with it and keep doing it.

That’s it for now. I’m all lame and not providing you content, so go get some good content from them, yeah? I’ll try to get back in the groove sometime.