December 31, 2012

My Top Games of 2012: Top 5

Okay, let’s keep this rolling with my top 5 games of 2012. Tomorrow I’ll give some honorable mentions that I couldn’t put on the top ten list for one reason or another, but I still think are pretty swell.

Number 5 – Binary Domain
Sega trying to do Gears of War sounds really terrible, but Binary Domain is something special. The voice commands just do not work. Don’t try them. But the smaller system of pressing buttons to respond to your allies’ comments is actually pretty cool. The combat is solid. The enemies are bullet sponges at times, but it’s still quite fun, and the upgrade system really does change you from a really weak character to a guy who can take a lot of abuse by the end of the game. The real spotlight here, though, is the story. All the characters seem like horrible caricatures, but end up being really well realized and endearing by the end of the game. There’s a crazy twist by the end of the game, but when you get there, you’re so engrossed in this weird world of French Robots and Cup Noodle that it makes perfect sense. Like Spec Ops, you’re probably best off just playing this one on easy and enjoying the story, but the story is super enjoyable, and you should really give it a try.

Number 4 – XCOM: Enemy Unknown
I must admit it’s kind of painful to put XCOM so low, but I couldn’t move my top three around to make room for it. So it goes here. In a different year, this could have been Number 1. But holy shit, XCOM. Obscenely addicting tactical combat that, unlike the original XCOM, clicked with me immediately. When I make mistakes, I know why, instead of just dying and being confused. There’s so much depth in setting up your team, determining what to fund when, balancing the needs of all the countries giving you money, and so on, that you can just play this game for HOURS. I don’t have much time for binge sessions of video games anymore. I tend to play in hour chunks, then quit. Even on my winter break here, that’s what I’ve been doing. I have only played XCOM in like 4-5 hour blocks. It is so good. SO GOOD. Play XCOM.

Number 3 – Cook, Serve, Delicious!
I e-mailed the guy who made this game, and I told him that it was one of my top games of the year. I meant it. Cook, Serve, Delicious! is some of the best fun I’ve had this year, hands down. This little restaurant simulator is so fast-paced and challenging, but in a way that slowly ramps up with you, so you never feel like you can’t do the crazy challenges it throws at you. The adrenaline I get when I play this game is insane. I cannot remember feeling so pumped and “in the zone” when playing a game since back when I was obsessed with Tetris Attack. Apparently this just came out on iPad as well, which seems like a good fit. You really need to give this game a try. Once it starts to click with you, it will not let go.

Number 2 – FTL: Faster Than Light
I played this game to death, but still, months later, I’d throw on a podcast and go, “I need something to play while I listen to this” and play a few more rounds. The game is so simple, but so deep. That feeling when I first beat the rebel flagship was AMAZING, even though it was on easy. I never thought I would! And still, I wanted more. I wanted to unlock more ships, which drastically change your playstyle. I wanted to try more weapon combinations and new types of crew. I wanted to see everything. The fact that you can pause this game at any time, and the combat still often feels overwhelmingly intense, says something about how awesome FTL is. The music is solid too. Fucking buy FTL right now.

Number 1 – The Walking Dead
The countdown to tears is over. Walking Dead made me cry at its ending, and I nearly teared up at several other points throughout the game. Few games have made me more attached to its characters, and the decision-making you do in this game feels so brutal constantly, even if I can realistically separate myself from the game and realize how much of it was smoke and mirrors. I have always supported Telltale Games, but with this game, they have really come into their own. I don’t give a shit about the comic, or the show, but I have constantly evangelized this game to everyone who would listen to me. The Walking Dead might not be the most game-like game, but it shows how the medium can be used to have a really, really affecting story that makes you feel like a game story might actually be able to stand up against a well-written TV show or movie. The Walking Dead is a triumph.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about some stuff that couldn’t make my list, unfortunately. Have a fun New Year’s Eve, everyone.

December 30, 2012

My Top Games of 2012: Numbers 6-10

Well, it’s been awhile since I blogged! Fuck, I’ve been busy. Then, when I wasn’t busy, I was doing things like playing video games and reading. I thought that was pretty fun! But the year is about over, so hey, let’s take a look at what my top 10 games of the year were. I didn’t review every game I played like previous years, because I was so busy, but still, this should give you a little idea of what I found particularly awesome this year. 6-10 today, top 5 tomorrow, honorable mentions the day after. Okay? Let’s do this.

Number 10 – Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line is not a perfect game by any means. The combat is completely fine, but there’s little to make it pop, perse. However, it is willing to have a strong story, and try to get that across. I’ve heard complaints that it is a bit heavy handed in its delivery of said story, and removes choice from you in parts. Maybe that’s the case, but I never felt that way. The story was moving and made me think, and the cleverness of using things like load screen tooltips to really set the paranoid, strange mood they were going for was really genius. If you haven’t played Spec Ops, pick the game up for cheap, set it to easy, and try the story. You won’t be disappointed.

Number 9 – Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode 3
I had thought that, other than the occasional Shin Megami Tensei game, I was pretty well done with Japanese-style RPGs. The combat felt so boring and I always felt like I was going through the motions. Somehow, Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode 3 managed to fix that. Classes like the Apocalyptor and Gardenar really change up the normal RPG combat. Trying to juggle prophecies with the Apocalyptor and setting up recurring buffs you don’t have to babysit with the Gardenar was really fun. The other classes were solid too: I really enjoyed the Crabomancer and it’s crazy defense. The way MP builds over time and makes you have to choose between waiting for a big attack, or using a skill now, was brilliant. And even though I don’t really follow Penny Arcade any more (they’ve just kind of rubbed me the wrong way one too many times) the writing was still fucking hilarious most of the way through. Plus, there’s furry mode DLC. This is a great little game to blaze through in an afternoon.

Number 8 – Mass Effect 3
It kind of makes me sad that this game is so low on my list. I LOVE Mass Effect as a series. However, the game really did have tons of problems, storywise and otherwise, that really hampered this offering. Still, I’m not sad that I took the journey. The combat in this game was top notch. My Engineer was more fun to play than ever, and there were some really great character moments in there, I must admit. Plus, the surprise of the century was that the multiplayer was really goddamn awesome, and I played it for quite some time with friends from work and just randoms. Being able to be an Engineer and sling spells instead of shooting made the standard horde mode game play way, way more fun for me. You should play Mass Effect 3, if you haven’t. Just don’t expect a masterpiece like the game that preceded it.

Number 7 – Paper Mario: Sticker Star
I love Paper Mario, and this game is no exception. Nintendo proves that it knows how to be damn funny when it wants to be, with dry humor all the way through the game that made me constantly grin. People were down on the combat system, but it never bothered me: I enjoyed the combat all the way through. The game does have some huge problems though, as it’s very obtuse, and requires you to basically lose boss battles a few times to figure out the trick if you aren’t just using a walkthrough. It’s kind of bullshit. Similarly, like so many Mario RPGs, the lass boss is obscenely hard and even more obtuse than the rest for no reason whatsoever, causing me to get to the last boss and stop. Still, it was one of the more enjoyable experiences I had on my 3DS so far, and I do recommend it.

Number 6 – Dragon’s Dogma
Dragon’s Dogma is a mess, but it’s such an endearing and fun mess, that you can’t really fault it that much. Capcom’s attempt at making Skyrim was clearly a failure, but they made a weird RPG where you raise and share NPCs and engage in an obscenely fun combat system. You have to repeat some fights as you wander around the huge world, but these fights never feel like a chore. They’re always action packed and fun. Similarly, your pawns, which you’d think would get annoying with all their repeated phrases and whatnot, actually get extremely endearing. They feel like your dumb little kids, and I personally enjoyed their company. You can look at all the parts of Dragon’s Dogma, and say that each part of it is weak, but somehow it adds up to an extremely fun whole. And I mean, that title screen song, goodness. Stick with it until the drop.

Anyway, come back tomorrow for my top 5! Or not. But it would be cool if you would.

October 19, 2012

A Fantastic Show About Ladies Kissing And Wanting To Kiss Each Other.

I don’t really know why I’m back in the groove of blogging more often, but I guess I won’t complain.

I do some really annoying shit sometimes. Like, I’m in a fucking fantastic relationship, one I hope lasts for as long as I can imagine existing. I’m so happy. But I’m stupid. I’m bisexual. I like ladies. I often want to hug on them and smooch them. So I get into these moments when I’m just kind of obsessed with doing so. It makes me feel very ungrateful for what I have, which is shitty. I don’t think CJ minds too much, though, seeing as he sneaks me dirty pictures of ladies he thinks I’ll like on a regular basis.

The point is, I was in one of those moods, and I decided I was going to try to deal with it for once by watching a show about ladies smooching. I asked twitter, and an expert on romantic anime and things of that nature got back to me (thanks, tungwene!) and suggested I watch a show called Aoi Hana. I sought it out, tried it, and it was exactly what I was wanting. So awesome. I mean, it has that thing where they’re making a short series from a long-running manga, which means everything is not wrapped up completely at the end? That’s kind of frustrating. But what’s there is very well done and very engaging. It’s awesome.

Seriously, you look at anime, and you just despair in general, but shows like this kind of make you regain faith in humanity. The main character, Fumi, being gay isn’t like… a thing for fanservice, or a thing just thrown in there. It’s as complicated as it is at that age, especially in Japan, which is kind of accepting of such things but kind of not. Add to that that she’s friends with a bunch of people going to a Catholic school, or at least what looks like one to me, and it really gets tense. There’s this great scene where she feels like she has to come out to her good friend Aachan, and she’s sobbing and saying “Please don’t think I’m disgusting…” and it’s just heartbreaking. I mean, you kind of know it’s not going to be a problem? The two of them are in the opening sequence running about, hand in hand, and even naked at one point. But it’s just… realistic, I feel. I certainly freaked out similarly coming out to people close to me.

At the same time, it’s not like “I’m a lesbian” is her complete character. She’s a person, and while the relationship concerns of a teenager are aimed at girls and not boys, she still acts like a teenager and an actual human being would at most points. Near the end of the series, there was a situation set up where Fumi saw Aachan shopping with a boy, and freaked out about it. I said to myself, “Oh no, not a WACKY MISUNDERSTANDING that’s going to set off fights for a long while! How stupid.” But it wasn’t like that at all. She moped about it for awhile, then almost instantly sought an explanation for what happened, and moved on. You know, like a person would, and not a sitcom character. I breathed a sigh of relief there.

It’s a good show, is what I’m saying.

Anyway, it got me thinking about why I can watch this sort of thing. I enjoy this kind of character and romance driven drama quite a bit, when I find one that works for me. It often leaves me a bit depressed, or worked up, in the way that something dramatic and sad can move you, though. This is a feeling I tend to avoid, thanks to years of being depressed and not wanting to set off an episode. Avoiding that feeling is something that keeps me from watching all these dramas that CJ likes with him, because I just don’t want to deal with that. Yet when the plot is romance-based, I dive right in. I feel like such a girl. Heh. I don’t know. I’ve always been more interested in character interaction than plot, and when the plot is based almost solely on romance, that’s what you get. Lots and lots of character interaction. Maybe it’s as simple as that. I don’t know.

Whatever reason I can watch it, though, I’m glad I did. If you like that sort of thing, you should check it out too, okay?

October 9, 2012

Be sure you Dubai this game. (BAM! Hilarious pun.)

Spec Ops: The Line is kind of boring as shit until it’s not, and then you’re glad that the rest is boring as shit because it all kind of makes a clear statement, and fuck, games don’t do that enough.

The reason to play this game is the plot, and so I am going to spoil the shit out of it because I want to talk about it and dammit, I will. Don’t read this if you haven’t played it. Just go play it. Seriously. It’s already pretty cheap. I bought a copy for CJ for 6 bucks. Play it and enjoy it. If you can enjoy a 3rd Person Cover Shooter, and like games that try new things, it is clearly worth your time, okay?

Anyway, spoilers ahoy from here on in, alright? Seriously, don’t read all this until you’ve beat the game.

I’m serious.

We good now?


The opening of this game could not be more generic. It’s like… painfully generic. Like, if you imagined what some movie person who doesn’t understand video games would imagine as a video game, it would kind of be that. It just has so little going on, besides sandstorms, I guess? You shoot guys, and you move on, and you do “good” stuff. It’s very mindless.

Slowly, though, it starts to become less so. Your character and team get really fucked up and injured. They look bad. It’s clear this mission has had lasting effects on them. There’s inter-squad fights about really serious things. The game, slowly, starts asking you to make choices that really do affect how encounters play out and how you feel about yourself. Very quickly, the simple plot starts seeming much less white, and a lot more grey. Even what the characters say in the game gets all broken up and messed up. They go from calm, cool “Tango Downs” and whatnot to screaming obscenities when they’re hit and yelling in frustration “Tango Finally Fucking Goddamn Down!” as they face more and more dudes. It’s really quite effective in showing that hey, what’s going on is not cool.

The real genius of the game, I think, are the loading screen messages. They get so goddamn awesome. Most of the loading screen messages are your normal stuff. “Hit A to get in cover” and so on. You know, tooltips. But some of them are comments on the plot. “You need to get to the Nest to find out what’s happening.” However, as you get deeper into the story, those messages get really fucked up. The first one I saw was “You are still a good person.” I laughed, to be honest, but I was wowed. From there, they just kept coming. “If Ludo were still alive, he would probably be facing PTSD for the rest of his life so, you know, he got off easy.” “The rules of the US Military state that you are not allowed to shoot unarmed combatants, but this is a game, so who fucking cares.” They so reflect how crazy the game is getting, and also give you a kind of strange insight into where your character’s mindspace is. It breaks the fourth wall very clearly, but it does so very well.

In the end, the game is very much a critique of military shooter games. It makes a clear statement on how little they actually show the horrors of war, and how incredibly abstracted a game is from the reality of being in a warzone and having to do awful things to survive. For example, the sequence when you’re firing the mortar that is a clear critique of the sequence in CoD4 where you shoot the airplane gun at the little blips is one of the clearest callouts of this. The minigame you play shooting it is so abstract, but then it makes you walk through the devestation and see that, no, you weren’t shooting little blips. You were shooting people. War is not a fun game.

That message stuck with me. It’s not about to make me stop playing silly fantasy shoot dudes games, perse. But it really brought their inherent ridiculousness to light, and said, “Realize what this is trivializing.” I really appreciated that. It said something. Games really don’t do that enough.

July 19, 2012

Business Suits and Anime Ladies

Hi, blog! Let’s just pretend it hasn’t been like a week, yeah?

Last night I started watching this anime called Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne on Netflix on a whim. I don’t know what I think of it yet. There’s so much sex it in, naked breasts every two seconds, and the whole thing often devolves into fairly graphic (to the point I have to look away) torture porn quite often, with the main character being maimed and injured in really horrific ways. At the same time, it’s kind of mystery-oriented, and the main character SEEMS like a good female character I can get behind? Though I’m still holding out judgement. Maybe I just like her because she wears her sexuality in a not bullshit way, even when she’s fucking guys and girls all the time. Maybe I’m being pandered to. It’s also an hour long anime show, which is weird, but I’m liking the longer format. It’s also a period piece set in the 90’s for no reason, so everyone has pagers and stuff. I want to know why they made that decision. I’m drawn to watch more, so I will. We’ll see what I think in the end.

Anyway, the main character, Rin, is an anime lady, so she has gigantic boobs, but most of the time she wears a suit, vest, tie setup that’s very masculine and binds her chest (Not like, to the point of her looking flat-chested, because gigantic anime boobs, but making her much more androgynous). She’s got like cufflinks, the whole works.

I like that look. I like it quite a bit. I think it’s incredibly sexy. I mean, I’ve always had relationships with more feminine ladies, probably because I’m pretty masculine, and those sorts of girls are lovely, but I’ve always been attracted to a more masculine, powerful woman too… I guess because that’s what I wanted to be. I kind of love anything that blends or breaks those kind of boundaries because of my past.

The point is, I wish I could be that badass sexy lady in a suit like that, but I’d probably just look like a guy, instead of a badass lady in a suit. Even if I found one cut in such a way that that didn’t happen, it’s likely it wouldn’t fit me: it’s impossible to find shit with long sleeves that actually can deal with my long arms. It’s probably a lost cause.

I don’t know. It’s weird that now that I am me I kind of want to embrace my most masculine aspects more. Now that I’m outwardly correct, I guess I no longer feel that constant pressure to hide that stuff so I don’t come off too manly or whatever. Or maybe I’m just more comfortable in general.

I really don’t know. Anyway, that’s a rant. Later, everyone.

July 12, 2012


Hi, blog! Man, it’s cool I update you so often, isn’t it?

I have been playing a ton of Blacklight: Retribution.

I don’t really know why. I mean, it’s a really well-made game. Pretty polished, besides them not being ready for their servers to be slammed when they added the game to Steam. You’ve got lots of weapon options and weird little gadgets you can equip if you’re into that, but the basic setup you start with it really all you need to have a good time, at least at the lower levels. It’s one of the best Free to Play games I’ve played since, I dunno, League of Legends? Actually, maybe Super Monday Night Combat.

But I’m just like… addicted to it. The moment to moment gameplay is pretty well just straight from Call of Duty, though there are big robots you can summon sometimes. It’s polished, but it is nothing special. But I guess it’s just been a long time since I played a straight-up shooter like this? I keep feeling cravings to listen to podcasts and play a few rounds, and I keep trying to figure out if I’m doing it just because it’s there, or because I actually think it’s really good.

I certainly have some issues with it. Unlocking ANYTHING takes an insane amount of time. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me. I’m happy to put money into Free to Play games I enjoy to say “Keep doing what you’re doing.” I mean, Steam says I’ve played this game for 7 goddamn hours so far, longer than many single player console games. But the costs associated with unlocking items permanently with real money is insane too. For 10 dollars I should get a full, complete gun, not just a fucking scope I can equip on some weapons. For 10 dollars, I should have most if not all of a particular build, you know? That’s the kind of pricing I’m used to, you know? Even when I played Super Monday Night Combat, I got the build I wanted, Combat Girl, for like 4 real world dollars. If I could put 10 bucks into the game and buy a neat gun I know I’d use every time, I probably would. Hell, if I want the little medic gun to revive people, that’s 10 bucks on its own, and I still wouldn’t have a real weapon. Plus, that’s the “level 1” medic injector thing. Later I’m sure I’d have to buy an upgraded one that would be even more money. I am not down with that.

However, man, the game is just real fun, even if you don’t pay for that stuff. I want to heal people, I want to have a burst fire rifle that’s more my style, but I’m playing with what they give me and renting weapons now and again and I am having a ton of fun, so I guess it’s hard to totally complain. I’d totally suggest it to anybody who wants to shoot a dude. Just play Domination, okay? Or at least another objective mode. Deathmatch is boring and frustrating. Everyone knows this.

July 2, 2012

Thoughts About The Prologue To The Witcher 2

Note that I never played The Witcher so I’m mostly coming into this knowing only what other people have randomly said about that game and this one.
Good stuff:

1. I like that the game does not come up with a really really stupid reason that Geralt does not have his skills from the end of Witcher 1. We get it. You have to have a level up system to make the game interesting. I appreciate them not trying to come up with some stupid thought process behind that.

2. I like that it feels like Geralt and Triss have an actual relationship, and aren’t just fuckbuddies. When I first saw her all naked and shit I’m like “Damn, there’s all that sex and collecting sex cards this game is about!” But by the end of the Prologue, I really felt like they were a couple with an active sex life, which is something I can 100% get behind.

3. I like that the game doesn’t beat you over the head with recap and instead expects you to be a smart person who can put two and two together. For all I know, the whole flashback at the beginning of the game was from the last game. I dunno if that’s new stuff or not. But I didn’t feel like the game took a ton of time rehashing things Geralt should already know, and I feel like I have a decent grasp of the world already. That’s how you do it right.

The Weird Stuff:

1. The sound in this game is fucked up. The voice acting is good, but when I walk into a building with a small candle, and it sounds like a roaring inferno in there, something is wrong. It was also weird when I was using a wooden club and it was making sword sounds.

2. Geralt loses his silver sword in the flashback, but suddenly has it back. The Witcher’s Silver Sword has to be something pretty rare or at least uncommon. It’s not like people would normally make a sword out of silver. How does he fucking just have a new one like… immediately? Did he have a spare somewhere stashed that Triss brought him? How did that happen? I highly doubt he got his sword back from that dragon.

Anyway, I’m impressed with the game so far. I’m going to keep playing. I mean, I dunno. Color me a horrible doubter, but even though Brian has told me how great this series is constantly, I assumed it was one of those “great” things that only he would like. It’s pretty darn accessible and interesting so far. I hope it keeps up.

June 29, 2012

I Want Animal Crossing 3DS To Not Be Shit.

So here’s a thing I was going to write about back when it was relevant but didn’t. I’m going to do it anyway, though. Neat.

Nintendo kinda went “Yeah, okay, we’re making Animal Crossing on 3DS, and it’s going to use Streetpasses!”

Man, I hope they don’t fuck this up.

Look, I enjoy Animal Crossing. I am pointlessly entertaining writing letters to fake people. I played the Gamecube version so much! But like so many Nintendo properties, they never change it. If they want me to buy this, it’s got to change, and just adding Street Passing isn’t going to do it. I mean, I love Street Passes, even though I can never pull them off. The game should totally have cool Street Pass functionality. But that’s lame, if that’s the only thing. Seriously, look at how lame the online functionality of, say, City Folk was. It was PRETTY LAME. (Or so I heard. Nothing about that game vaguely made me want to buy it!) I need more if they want my money. Swapnote is neat, and proves Nintendo could make some COOL SHIT. Animal Crossing should be full of that.

Animal Crossing needs to go INSANE with Spotpass. I need to be able to write letters to my friends, AND to my friend’s town’s citizens. I need to be able to draw pictures to send to people. (Maybe on different stationary?) I need to be able to hang it on my walls. I need to have citizens from other towns come on vacation to my town and talk to me, and then they go back and tell my friend all about meeting me. I need to be able to make a photo album or something in my town that I can share with people or leave there like a little storybook for visitors. I know, probably, letting people visit my town while I’m away is impossible, but there are so many other things they could put in here. Maybe some group project for the “National” museum that you and all your friends work towards?

I mean, I’m just throwing stuff out here. I know it’s all easier said than done. But the thing is, Nintendo is smart enough to do all this stuff, or stuff that’s even better. They should make it happen. All this, and maybe the ability to digitally download the game and have it always on my 3DS to check in on every once and awhile, would make it a fantastic experience that I would WANT to get back into. I want to be excited about Animal Crossing. But the way Nintendo just rehashes shit and won’t take risks just… well, it’s kept me from playing Pokemon for a long time, and goddamn do I love me some Pokemon. But I can’t handle a Pokemon or a Zelda anymore because they are just too much the same fucking thing. I kind of don’t want that to happen to Animal Crossing for some reason. It has such potential.

June 16, 2012

Appropriately, CJ Cleaned Up The House For The Game, Gaining Favor.

We finally got to play Maid. Like, finally. Well, okay, I finally got to play Maid, and I dragged CJ, Brian, Jonathan, and Kenny with me.

Damn, we had a good time.

I basically created a scenario, like one does when they GM. A crazy inventor lady has a house with maids. Because her company is running out of money, they desperately need an influx of investor capital, so she’s asked to show off the new invention she’s made… which she hasn’t started on yet by the time the game starts. So the maids had to prepare for the inventors coming, but also keep her on track and working.

Brian didn’t want to play, and then I strong-armed him a little, and the played, and had a great time. His maid was a zombie lady who was in a metallic “maid uniform.” Brian called her Dreadnaught-chan. Because, you know. Warhammer. CJ’s maid was a religious fanatic who got his way by being more annoying than people could stand and waiting patiently until they gave in as he tried to change the subject to the word of God. Kenny’s maid was a neat freak who was about the worst at making small talk. Jonathan’s maid was the Princess of Cheese apparently? Also, she could teleport.

Anyway, they didn’t really backstab or anything, but they sure did love to make some crazy schemes! They did all kinds of dumb things to try to cover for their Mistress’… flaws, shall we say? They ordered tons of stuff on the company credit card, fabricated “impressive” crates, and did their best to keep their Mistress from getting back on the MMO she’s been playing recently and keep working.

I think it went quite well, overall. They were mostly basically successful, everyone seemed to have a good time, and nobody really thought it was too creepy! Only mostly creepy. Then again, nobody really tried to seduce anyone, and that’s where it gets creepy. But oh well. Who needs creepy, amirite? Probably?

I don’t know if/when I’ll get to get them to try it again, but it was a pretty great night.

June 12, 2012

No, That’s Perfect. I Just Never Realized John Wayne Walks Like That.

CJ hadn’t seen The Birdcage (I know, right?) so we watched it together a few days ago. The movie is still lovely, but I just found the experience really interesting. The last time I watched The Birdcage was many years ago, when I was still kind of in the closet, hiding, and scared. Now I’m where I am now, and I totally felt differently about the characters.

I distinctly remember not thinking that Val, the son who wants his dads to hide how gay they are to impress his fiancee’s parents, was a huge asshole originally. When I watched the movie now, I was overwhelmed by how much of a dick he was. Sure, in the end, he gets caught and does the right thing once there would be serious, overwhelming consequences not to. But he literally waits until the last possible moment to claim his dads for who they are. He does it because he’s backed into a corner, not because he’s proud of them. He really comes off like a terrible person.

I didn’t used to think that. I understood the incredible fear that coming out of the closet involves. I was hiding, and scared to actually get out and be myself because I expected to be shot down and smacked down for being who I was. Going to such lengths to “tone myself down” and “not rock the boat” made sense to me, even if they sucked.

Now, that’s no longer the case. I associated myself with Armand and Albert so much more than I used to this time around. When Armand told his son “Fuck them, I worked hard to be able to be myself, and I’m not giving that up,” I was like “FUCK YES! Damn right you did!” Because I’ve done that too. When Albert gets really, really hurt about everyone trying to sneakily keep him away from the party so they wouldn’t be embarrassed, I felt that hurt a ton more than I did before, because my mother has done that same exact thing to me. I couldn’t believe their son would hurt them so much, even in the name of love.

I guess things really have changed a lot. I don’t always realize it, but my life is so much different, and so much better. Sometimes it takes something like that, an old experience revisited, to make me see it.