Fez

Pixellated white character wearing a fez, leaping ecstatically at a 3-D golden cube

Late last week, I got the latest Humble Bundle (this one was another Indie-games Bundle, so of course I had to get on board). Humble Bundles are a pack of cross-platform games where you get to choose how much to pay. By default, most goes to the devs, some goes to Humble, and some goes to charity — but you also get to choose how to split the proceeds, so you could give it all to the devs, all to Humble, or all to charity. And if you give more than the average, you get extra games. One of those extra games was something I was particularly interested in — a little indie game called Fez.

This post will be EXTREMELY spoiler-heavy, so if you are looking to enjoy puzzle games with clever twists, go get it now and close this browser window. I’m serious. Then come back when you think you’re done, once you’ve collected your measley 32 cubes and “finished” the game, because you’re just getting started.
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Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games: Damsel In Distress, part 3

Hey look, it’s that video series that never existed because Anita Sarkeesian took the money and ran! Funny that it keeps existing, despite the trolls’ narratives.

If you want to play a game where the Princess rescues herself, there’s always Zelda Starring Zelda. And various other rom hacks. Sad that you need to hack the existing media to give an underrepresented demographic them-shaped heroes — and sadder that the responses to such efforts are not always positive. Some demographics really, REALLY hate it when their representation in a medium goes from 99% to 98%, and they can get pretty damned vicious about it. (See some of the earliest comments on the Pauline Donkey Kong rom hack Youtube video, for instance.)

Check out Feminist Frequency for more of Anita Sarkeesian’s videos, and her Tumblr for other assorted gaming and feminist goodness.

#FtBCon: Video Games, Religion and Morality

Thanks to the tight timing between the Atheist Music panel and our panel, where we had many of the same participants, we ended up turning into a pretty raucous and jovial crowd at the top of the panel while killing time waiting for Ashley and Brianne to join in. That translated into a much looser panel than I was expecting, but I really enjoy those sorts of panels so I encouraged it gladly.

Best single moment for me: Ashley humming the Katamari Damacy theme.

CONvergence – Gods of Geekdom panel audio

I absolutely enjoyed this panel. It was thorough, informative, and hilarious. We discussed gods and god-concepts in various sci fi and fantasy fandoms, including comic books, novels and even video games.

Panelists were Nick Glover, Ryan Consell, Jason Thibeault and Fionnuala Murphy.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

cvg2013-skepchickcon-godsofgeekdom.mp3

Erock does Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger is probably my favorite RPG of all time.

I bought it on the day it came out, having to sell half my SNES collection to afford it, and I sucked the marrow out of that game. I played through to all 14 endings, I got probably every secret, I did every side quest. My characters were all level 100 (Star Star). I could beat Lavos in one round, by the time I finally bored of it.

I still pick it up now and again, and grind through the opening Festival, doing everything I can to get Chrono acquitted at the later trial. I was convinced by the urban legends as a kid that it was possible to avoid the whole prison portion of the game. Of course, no, it isn’t possible, but urban legends in video games are still fascinating in their grip even decades later.

Pat Robertson’s take on youth suicide

He starts out unusually level-headed, concerned about something that is actually true and actually a very big problem — kids committing suicide. He correctly identifies pressure as one of the reasons. But then he goes off the rails on a spectacular fashion. Never mind that most of the pressure causing suicide is the stigma that forces them into the closet because they’re different from everyone else in one way, shape or form — no, Pat thinks it’s something else causing their premature self-inflicted deaths.

Is Uncle Pat just a motivated reasoner, trying to avoid any sort of blame for this “pressure” put on kids after all the damnation and hellfire he’s called down on gays (and feminists and atheists and liberals et cetera et cetera), or has a long life steeped in Jesus Juice actually pickled his brain?

Objectification vs idealization in video games

Escapist’s Jimquisition explains the difference.

I love that he caps it off with an exhortation to thank God for him. If I didn’t like the guy, I’d be tempted to say something like “you’ve just handed us undeniable proof of a lack of gods.”

And don’t forget that any suggestion that we have strong female protagonists in the gaming world will be met with a torrent of entitled bullshit.

Tropes Vs Women in Video Games: Damsel in Distress (part 2)

Anita Sarkeesian’s completely nonexistent series continues with a completely nonexistent part-2 for her completely nonexistent first topic, the Damsel in Distress. In this one, she specifically takes on the trope called Stuffed Into the Fridge. This trope almost always takes the form of a WOMAN stuffed into the fridge. Watch, to find out why.

But that’s not the biggest news about this. Apparently, it went up today, and within the first hour it was up, it was immediately taken down by Youtube because it had been flagged as containing objectionable content.

Think about that for a moment. People are so desperate to attack Sarkeesian and any attempt at injecting feminist commentary into video games, that they’re willing to silence her by marking it as objectionable. Not because the content is incorrect, or because the content is damning of the industry, but because how daaaaaare this mere woman criticize this immature art form that we love so much?

Sigh.

Mock the Movie: Super Mario Bros transcript

Taking a short break from OmegaCon — a tiny gathering of nerds playing board and video games for a weekend in Wisconsin — to post this nerdy video-game-related Mock The Movie transcript. Oh, and also sleep.

This movie did not hold up as well as I thought it would. Then again, I was like, what, 15? At the time I thought it was totally cool and exciting. And now… I could have done without, you know, all the millions of ways that it was nothing like the video games.
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