sqbr: exploding train. This is fremantle station, this train terminates here. (train)
Saturday, July 29th, 2017 05:47 pm
A while ago I bought the hidden object game Alchemy Legends: Prague Legends on sale on Steam. The description is:
Follow orphan Eva on a trip to mystical Prague in Alchemy Mysteries: Prague Legends. After a relative's mysterious death, Eva inherits an ancient house in Prague. Knowing nothing about her past, she goes looking for answers. There she uncovers secrets about the house, her family and an insidious plan of the black alchemist. A wonderful and dangerous adventure is about to begin. Are you ready?


Sounds pretty run of the mill, right? And then today I got around to playing it.
Read more... )
sqbr: me cosplaying the bearded dwarf cheery longbottom, titled Expressing my femininity with an axe (femininity)
Sunday, July 24th, 2016 07:37 pm
What options do you want to see in games which allow the player to customise their character's gender and appearance? What existing games have impressed you?

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sqbr: (up and down)
Thursday, May 5th, 2016 05:36 pm
So, a question that's come up in a game I'm working on, and is likely to come up again in future: how do you combine allowing the player character (PC) of a dating sim having a spectrum of gender identities available with having love interests who aren't all bi/pan?
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sqbr: (up and down)
Thursday, November 26th, 2015 02:46 pm
For the Perth Gaming Festival this Saturday. I have a bunch of copanelists, so this is just points I want to hit, not a strict plan.

Description:
More people are playing and making games than ever before, and as the community has grown so too has the call for games that represent a wide range of human experience. This panel explores the importance of diversity in games, with discussion of ways developers can make more representative games, of how both players and game makers can be supportive of diverse voices, and will include examples of games featuring positive identity representations. Our panelists will speak from a wide range of perspectives, including disability, the LGBTIQ spectrum, and culturally diverse backgrounds.

My notes:
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sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
Saturday, January 31st, 2015 10:47 am
A sequence of thoughts I had just now:


  • Hey, a new indie visual novel! Looks pretty!
  • Hmm. "Asian mythological themes", huh?
  • A disabled protagonist!
  • ...who is magically cured at the start of the story(*)...
  • This is a demo and they are asking for feedback, oh god should I try playing it and offer suggestions?
  • Wait FROM THE WRITER OF CYANIDE TEA AHHHHH


*prepares self to try and ignore this game's existence for perpetuity despite the indie VN community hailing it as a Thoughtful Exploration Of Disability*

On the plus side this gives me extra motivation to work on my interactive Northanger Abbey where Henry Tilney is in a wheelchair and nobody mentions it.

(*)she's not only magically cured, she was happy and friendly pre disability but became withdrawn and cynical once she got sick, and it is only in the Magical ~Asian Themed~ Land Where She Can Walk that she learns to overcome her bitterness. Probably gets punished/mocked a bunch for her terrible flaws first, though, this is a Cyanide Tea game.
sqbr: me cosplaying the bearded dwarf cheery longbottom, titled Expressing my femininity with an axe (femininity)
Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 09:21 am
I've been paying more attention to video game criticism lately, and it feels like there's this growing backlash against the ubiquity of violence in video games. And to some extent I entirely agree: the idea that "real gamers play RPSs at the hardest difficulty"/"real games are FPSs with the latest graphics" is really restrictive and exclusionary, both of the variety of people who play games, and the variety of kinds of games we could be playing. One of the reasons violence is used so frequently as a core mechanic is that it's relatively easy to code and design, and that warps the narratives of games: Someone at Pax was talking about how if the only problem solving tool you have is "the protagonist kills someone" that really limits the kinds of stories you can tell, and warps the stories you do tell.

But there's a difference between 'we shouldn't default unthinkingly to using violence in video games" and "we should stop using violence in video games" and sometimes it feels like people are leaning towards the latter. I'm not some paranoid Gamergater thinking anyone's going to take my FPSs away, but I think dismissing genres like FPS out of hand lessens our ability to discuss and make games better.
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sqbr: exploding train. This is fremantle station, this train terminates here. (train)
Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 09:50 am
The bi guy's path can be just as romantically satisfying as the others, I was just playing it wrong /o\ I mean there are still other issues, but that was my main problem with the game and it was all the result of misunderstanding a walkthrough. OOPS.

Thanks to the anonymous commenter who let me know! I have the best anonymous commenters.
sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
Saturday, December 27th, 2014 12:07 am
Playing Date Warp, a little indie scifi visual novel/dating sim that was on special recently. It's overall been more fun than I was expecting, even if the science makes NO SENSE and the art is middling to awful.

The first LI I tried is basically a human version of Cole from Dragon Age Inquisition: a younger innocent blonde dude who defines himself entirely by wanting to help others. I was worried when the PC said "But he's younger and prettier than me, is that weird?" but in the end it was a sweet little romance. (nb I would not have dated the ACTUAL Cole. ...I think)

The second was a slightly sleazy poly bisexual mad scientist who's a sweetie deep down. You flirt and talk a lot about science and then he asks if you want to have meaningless sex.
Spoilers for what happens next )
sqbr: pretty purple pi (Default)
Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 01:41 pm
If my (flawed and shallow) understanding of the history of novels (specifically scifi and YA), comics, and films is any guide, in 20 years:

Video games will be taken more seriously as an art.
There will be room in the marketplace for lots of healthy subgenres appealing to people from all walks of life.
There will still be heaps of cheesy AAA shooters because people like that sort of thing, but there'll also be cross pollination between genres to the betterment of all.
There will specifically be a thriving Indie Game subculture, Indie Game Makers who are taken seriously in mainstream culture and can make a comfortable living etc.
People will remember Gamergate, if they do at all, as a bunch of regressive moustache twirling Luddites who were too hidebound to accept progress and True Art etc.

And the heroes of this new movement, and of the history as people remember it, will be white dudes. They'll make a movie starring John Scalzi as the Brave Male Feminist and Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkesian as the thankful oppressed victims. Brianna Wu will have a cameo played by Dakota Fanning.
There'll be Best MOGAI Games Of 2034 Humble Bundle or whatever, but the Indie Game Artform will for the most part still be a bunch of stories about grizzled white dudes, just...artistically written ones. Maybe some tragic lesbians every now and then, and the Great Classics as taught will include a careful tokenistic sprinkling of games about and by POC, disabled people etc.

Genres outside the Indie Game Artform will be looked down on as Not Real Art, and this condescension will as it happens fall most severely on any genres which just happen to be more popular with women (AAA action games will alosbe dismissed, and middle aged gamergaters will mutter about how they warned everyone this was going to happen and how AAA action games these days lack the masculine energy of the old days. Female fans of AAA action games will mutter someting quite different). Dating sims, for example, will continue to be as looked down on as romance novels.
Independent games which care more about representing neglected POVs and being entertaining than hitting the current Art buttons will be vaguely respected but not paid much attention.

And we'll all keep making and playing the games we like regardless.

(I do actually consider this to be a mostly much better situation than what we have now. But I had a Vision Of The Future and felt like sharing it. Also, yeah, massive generalisations etc, I hope my basic point comes across)
sqbr: Are you coming to bed? I can't, this is important. Why? Someone is wrong on the internet. (duty calls)
Sunday, May 5th, 2013 05:17 pm
Hacking at Education: TED, Technology Entrepreneurship, Uncollege, and the Hole in the Wall The anti-social libertarian intellectual emptiness underlying a lot of TED-esque ideas.

On political and value neutral Everything with any message at all has a political subtext.

Why I don't like the dragon argument Points out that "if you can have dragons why can't you have POC" has some unfortunate implications that work against it.

words against communication and Also you get things like... The way worrying about appropriation/stepping on disabled people's toes can stop some people from realising they are disabled themselves. (Not that able bodied people shouldn't worry, just that it's complicated!)

Refusing to have the “What You Did” conversation "1 The ‘what you did’ conversation implies the ‘what you are’ conversation. 2 The ’what you are’ conversation is uncivil and silencing. 3 Therefore, it’s uncivil and silencing to discuss ‘what you did.’"

Frustrations of being a black gamer playing BIOSHOCK INFINITE

Sweatshops still make your clothes

Meet the 28-Year-Old Grad Student Who Just Shook the Global Austerity Movement

Vilification and 'just having a laugh' About the racist jokes in my old Uni's satirical newspaper

Righteous Wroth Rarely Is OMG a criticism of excessive social justice where the group making the criticisms (in this case, women) are the victims of the oppression ostensibly being attacked with too much zeal (eg sexism) I have Thoughts about the very complicated way mental illness (which often creates an inability to behave in the way society demands) interacts with the somewhat narrow sets of behaviours expected of a Good Ally/Activist but am not quite up to articulating them.

$300 for Julia Gillard's NDIS scheme? Please, my wheelchair costs $22,000 Apparently some Australians are ok paying taxes and levies for roads and schools but draw the line at helping disabled people.

And from the hahaha what department...
Worse than global warming??? #followateen )
sqbr: And yet all I can think is, this will make for a great Dreamwidth entry... (dw)
Sunday, September 18th, 2011 09:50 pm
Jon Stewart and the Burden of History A flawed but still interesting critique of John Stewart. This came up on my dash shortly after a discussion of how not-that-feminist Jane Austen was, and I think in both cases there's that ambiguity between satire for it's own sake and political statement. Critiquing hypocrisy and ridiculousness does not always extend to critiquing the system that allows such hypocrisy and ridiculousness to flourish, or those who are sensible and honest but harmful.

Mass Effect: Conviction Comic about the new crew member James Vega. And oh look, after the recent DLC where you had no choice but to destroy a planet of unfriendly aliens(*) we have yet another scene of a privileged guy berating thuggish aliens for being so belligerent about his complicity in the mass murder of their people. YAY.

A nice collection of links about this #yesgayya thing.

Also, I have no link to hand, but Australia now allows for a third gender on passports, and has removed the surgery requirement for trans people, huzzah!

(*)Making this the fourth time the player has to decide if (or in what way) they want to be complicit in genocide/mass murder. I would like a new moral dilemma please.
sqbr: Dagna from Dragon Age reaching for a book (dagna)
Thursday, August 11th, 2011 12:36 pm
This is less an attempt at a coherent post and more a continuation of a discussion that got too long for twitter. Overall this is a lesson in why asking me "my thoughts" is a bad idea, I'm tl;dr enough when asked to answer a specific question :D

So: Tim asked me what I thought of the article Leave FemShep Alone: An Open Letter to BioWare.

EDIT: Why the Mass Effect 3 FemShep vote was the wrong move makes some good points I feel a bit embarrassed for not thinking of.
Read more... )
sqbr: Alien city skyline (atlantis)
Friday, September 24th, 2010 11:52 am
So, last week I played Mass Effect and loved it, modulo a few niggles (see these posts). I've been playing Mass Effect 2, and while in a lot of ways it's a better game it's gone for Darker and Edgier and has taken some of the problematic aspects of the old game and crossed the line into creepy badness. I'm still definitely going to finish it, but there's that element of "Why can't I quit you/how long until you upset me again" fear that is, for example, familiar to many fans of Supernatural.

Warning: contains sexual assault triggers (though very vague ones) and also spoilers (though the first section isn't spoilery, and the spoilery section is marked)

EDIT: I played it some more and the next few hours of gameplay were pretty much solid awesome. Stupid Bioware.
Read more... )
sqbr: me cosplaying the bearded dwarf cheery longbottom, titled Expressing my femininity with an axe (femininity)
Thursday, March 25th, 2010 08:11 pm
While we were buying the Dragon Age: Origins expansion "Awakenings" (Which I have heard is kind of crap but I had to buy it anyway) Cam saw a magazine ("GameInformer") with a cover story about Portal 2 and had to buy that.

I didn't think a gaming magazine would interest me, but while I try to keep myself busy waiting for Cam to go to work so I can use the PC(*) I flipped through it and was reminded how many computer games I like or am at least interested in: Dragon Age, FF XIII, Bejeweled, the Sims, Miles Edgeworth Investigations etc plus of course Portal. The tone of the magazine wasn't too Macho gamery which was nice, though it defaulted to a male POV here and there.

There was an article about female protagonists of games which was moderately interesting, though I had to laugh at this quote (from one of the creators if "Borderlands", a game I hadn't actually heard of):

It turns out women are shaped differently, they move differently and they sound differently. It's kind of a pain.


How inconvenient of us to be so weird!

Also, Portal 2 looks cool. Maybe I'll be able to get further through this one before my fight-or-flight response kills my ability to solve puzzles. Sometimes I feel a little embarrassed at how much I fit the stereotype of the casual girly game player. (Only with a degree in computer science :D)

(*) What with me having inadvertently destroyed his other computer...
sqbr: A happy dragon on a pile of books (happy dragon)
Saturday, February 20th, 2010 07:38 pm
I was going to try and do an indepth thinky post about Dragon Age:Origins(*) but then I'd feel obliged to research it and I think I'd rather not learn so much about the setting that I can see all the cracks. So here's just lots of misc non-spoilery thoughts (I can't think about anything as solidly as I have this game and not poke it wrt bias etc).

On the whole I think it's pretty awesome as a game, but some aspects are problematic to a greater and lesser extent.
Read more... )
sqbr: And yet all I can think is this will make for a great livejournal entry. (livejournal)
Friday, January 2nd, 2009 07:53 pm
We went to the video store yesterday and I got out:

Wii Music: This is LOTS of fun. Not a game so much as a music making program (though it does have minigames like what is basically "Handbell Hero"). Very silly and I'm kind of bored it already but worth a rent and probably fun at parties. I would have LOVED this as a kid, and I get the feeling it's more fun in co-op mode (Cam isn't interested :/) This ad shows the sort of thing you can do, there are some actual rock songs and stuff in there too :)

Bones disk 1: Not gobsmakcingly brilliant, but the first crime show I've seen in a long time that doesn't have a thick, nasty undercurrent of Bad People Must Be Punished (where bad people includes single mothers, transexuals, uppity foreigners...) The main characters are more interested in intellectual one-upmanship and flirting than tut-tutting. Also, as [livejournal.com profile] kadeton and [livejournal.com profile] greteldragon said, the lead is a sciencey lady, kind of like a less offensive McKay (she thinks she's smarter than everyone and logic >> emotions, but isn't actively cruel)
sqbr: A happy dragon on a pile of books (bookdragon)
Thursday, January 1st, 2009 02:08 pm
I get into certain moods where I feel like playing a video game, but unfortunately 99% of the games I've tried don't suit me. The final fantasy games are the best fit I've found(*) but I've run out for the moment, and I was wondering if there were any others people could recommend which do what I want.
Read more... )
sqbr: pretty purple pi (I like pi!)
Thursday, December 11th, 2008 09:44 pm
I just finished Guitar Hero (the original, from the video store) on medium setting. In like 3 days!

To put this in perspective: I don't think I have ever finished any computer game that involved manual dexterity/hand eye coordination on a non-easy setting before. And even the ones that have an easy setting tend to challenge me a fair bit. Heck, about the only genre of game that I can get through without cheats/walkthroughs/excessive leveling etc is word games.

I still haven't finished "Portal". I'm fine right up until they introduce things that shoot at you, and then the puzzle solving part of my brain curls into the foetal position wailing "Can't think! Robots will shoot me!"

Anyway, if it turns out this version of the game is actually really easy? Don't tell me. I am happier in my blissful ignorance, at least for the moment :)
sqbr: pretty purple pi (Default)
Sunday, February 18th, 2007 03:01 pm
Some spoilers for the end of Final Fantasy X. (Woot!) Also, I am home sick today so don't excect this to be at my usual impeccable level of goodliness. Times are very very approximate.

This shouldn't take long... )