Archive | July 2015

Celebrate The Small Things: 31 July

Not much has really stood out to me about this week, I’ve been feeling kind of tired so I guess I didn’t get around to doing as much as I’d have liked. My friends and I did go to see Ant-Man however, and it turned out to be a lot better than I was expecting. The humour in it was brilliant and the concept didn’t come off as silly as I thought it would – even the ants were kind of cute. I also had some early birthday cake today – I’m a year older tomorrow. Got a few plans so I guess I’m just looking forward to the weekend right now.

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Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

It’s not unusual for different fan bases to clash. I remember when I was younger I was a massive Stargate fan, but this naturally led to a Gaters Vs Trekkies movement. If truth be told I love Star Trek, Star Wars and many other sci-fi franchises as well as Stargate (except for Dr. Who perhaps.) BiTrektual is a term that means one can be a fan of both Star Trek and Star Wars. I also like to think one can have a general love for sci-fi. There’s a humorous song about this from Aurelio Voltaire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LB0T4OeTxI.

Oh, come on let’s not fight, it’s so unintellectual.
How ’bout we join sides and be bi-trektual?
Wouldn’t it be nice, and so much more effectual?
To put our cares aside and be biTrektual!
BiTrektual by Aurelio Voltaire (feat. Jason Charles Miller)

This also makes me think about the number of clashes that have become a part of the gaming community: PC vs consoles. What console is better? What developer is better? RPGs vs FPSs. Which games are better? Which RPG is better? Hardcore vs Casual… etc… I remember a time when people were actually trying to make me feel bad for playing Star Wars The Old Republic instead of Guild Wars 2 (Although I’ve since played them both.) There have also been numerous comparisons made between games like Final Fantasy and Zelda, Skyrim and Dark Souls or Outlast and Amnesia (I’ve done it myself,) yet each game has something different to offer – why restrict ourselves to just one? Read More…

My Own Gaming Experiences Through The Bartle Types

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The Bartle Types have been around for a while, published in 1996 by co-creator Richard Bartle with the aim of identifying and describing different types of MUD (multi-user dungeon) players (See ‘Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDS.’) It is specifically focussed on people that play for fun. Games have changed a lot since its creation, but it can still relate to multi-user games and there have also been attempts to utilize it outside of this scope (to varying degrees of success.)

The types define players by whether their focus is on the world or others and if they have a preference for interacting or acting upon. There are four main types: Achievers, Socialisers, Explorers and Killers. Achievers enjoy a challenge and will act upon the world to reach certain goals. Explorers like to interact with the world and make discoveries about the lore or systems. Socialisers like to spend their time interacting with other players and forming fellowship. Killers like to act on other players and cause them grief. While these descriptions seem pretty clear, it’s easy to form misconceptions about each type. We could for instance, easily mistake explorers for being socialisers as they may spend a lot of time in the chat system sharing their knowledge. Killers are often associated with PVP, but other types may still enjoy this feature too. Killers may also prefer to take up roles such as guild leaders and can be mistaken for socialisers. In fact, all types can enjoy the same activity for different reasons; What’s more important is why a person does something as opposed to what they’re doing.

Achievers are Diamonds (they’re always seeking treasure); explorers are Spades (they dig around for information); socialisers are Hearts (they empathise with other players); killers are Clubs (they hit people with them). – Richard A. Bartle

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Celebrate The Small Things: 24 July

I’ve really been getting into my game development this week. I’m not as far progressed as I would have liked, but I love it when I can feel this enthusiastic about a project. It tends to fuel me forward so that I can’t wait to go back to it. I also daringly decided to make my first Battenberg cake, and while a bit wonky looking it wasn’t as challenging as I thought it’d be. Everyone told me it was really nice, so I think I’ll have to treat myself to a proper Battenberg tin and make some more.

It was my partner’s grandma’s birthday over the weekend so we all went out for a lovely meal at one of our favourite restaurants. We also had a catch up while enjoying the sun in the garden. I made friends with a ginger cat who came up to nuzzle my hand. My boyfriend seems to think I give off this vibe because cats always seem to approach me first, even if they seem a bit skittish. I think they know I’m gullible to a cute furry face. 😛

My friends and I also arranged a Civilization V game together with five of us in total. We usually have a lot of difficulty setting games up when we’re all available. We didn’t get the chance to finish it, but I was way ahead on research and having a lot of fun. My boyfriend and I enjoyed it so much that we decided to get a new laptop that can play the game so that we can hopefully enjoy these moments more often. We’re planning to have takeaway pizza and a long gaming session tonight, a prospect that I’m thoroughly looking forward to. 😀

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Dressing Up For Ourselves

I use to have really strong opinions about what it meant to dress up and use cosmetics. It all seemed like a waste of money and I felt that the other aspects of myself were more important. I use to feel embarrassed to show an interest in my appearance in favour of acting nonchalant. I even did an art project at college about the negative effects of image obsession. Since then I’ve grown up and my feelings on the subject have changed slightly. It’s not as clear cut as I originally thought. I even enjoy dressing up now.

Dressing up can be a form of creative expression. It was when I discovered my style and a love of alternate clothing that I began to enjoy it. I rarely base my decisions on what I think other people will like, but on what I like. I suppose because I’m a very creative person I realized I could extend that onto how I choose to present myself. I find it really fun working out what colours and styles will work well together and have a love for beautiful and intricate clothing.

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Competitive Games – Keep Them Close And Short

My friends and I have been playing some Sid Meier’s Civilization V recently. It’s a great game, but I do have a couple of qualms with it. For starters, even on a short game I feel that it’s a bit too long – 2 to 8 hours. Secondly, I find that once you get too far behind on a certain victory type it can be very difficult to catch up again (it may mean missing out on a lot of wonders too.) Mind, I’m still fairly inexperienced at the game so there might be ways around it that I’m not yet aware of.

When it comes to competitive games I prefer a faster turn order and shorter length. This allows me to learn quicker as I can make more choices and fit in more games. It’s also nice to get several chances at besting my opponent, or in turn to give them a chance at beating me. Usually by the end of a session everybody has had a chance at winning so there’s less hard feelings. With a longer game you tend to only be able to fit in one or sometimes you even have to arrange it over several days. If you end up in a situation where you’re behind and know you can’t catch up then it can start to feel tedious and the game becomes less engaging. I’m not the type to quit out early as this isn’t fair, but I may not be enjoying it either. On the other side of that, even if you are winning you may not get the chance to enjoy your victory because people could lose interest and quit out before the game concludes. I enjoy Civilization as a casual/social game more than something I want to be competitive at.

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Celebrate The Small Things: 17 July

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The main thing for me to celebrate this week is my cousin getting married – one of the first in our next generation to do it. The wedding was situated at a lovely old building, surrounded by beautiful gardens. We got lucky with the weather – it was dry and warm – allowing us to enjoy our drinks and catch up outside. I got some really nice photos.

I also decided to finally get a move on with the game prototype I’m building; I’m just about finished with it now. It took me longer than it should have to be honest, but up until this point I was only dabbling with the idea. Now I’m feeling a lot more enthusiastic about it and looking forward to getting stuck into the final version. Taking a bit more time at the start is definitely helping me to make decisions on the mechanics though.

As for gaming this week, I haven’t had so much time, but I did finish off my Republic knight on Star Wars The Old Republic. I have to admit, the story wasn’t as good as I was hoping for after the build up from reading the Drew Karpyshyn book Revan, but it feels good to have finally concluded it. I would definitely recommend reading the book first to get the most out of it.

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What Made You A Gamer?

I came across a post on ‘The Iron Dagger‘ called ‘What Made You A Gamer?‘ and then I realized this was something I’ve never written about myself; Why did I start playing games in the first place?

Well I can’t actually remember the exact time that I started to play, its been for as long as I can remember – some of it is a bit hazy. Apparently I started on the Commodore 64, but we later sold that to replace it with the Commodore Amiga. It was my mum that originally influenced my interest in games. Apparently she was a Breakout champion at the pub, and so my dad treated her to a home system. I remember watching my mum and dad play games together and was drawn to have a go myself. I was hooked right away.

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Memories Of Video Games

A while back I wrote a post called ‘Games Are Real‘ in which I tried to explain that an experience can still hold value to us even if it wasn’t real. I recently came across a video on PBS Game/Show about how real our memories of playing games are. The video concludes that playing a game can create memories in the same way that dreams do, they might be fake, but recalling them may still invoke a real emotional response. When my friends and I talk about games we often speak as if we were actually there – ‘Remember the time I went and slayed that dragon?’ or I’ll use my avatar’s names as if they are real people.

I have had a fair few experiences that I continue to recall even to this day as if they were real events. One such game that has given me many memories is Tibia on an open PVP world. There was this one time that I got attacked within the bank – before they joined them with the depots – while I was still holding the amount of gold I needed for a promotion and had been saving for quite a while. I had to make a mad dash to a safe zone and only just made it in time. Then there was a massive explosion off the edge of the screen, later followed by the bodies of my attackers being dragged down the street; it left me feeling terrified, relieved and then elated. Another time – despite being the knight – I got cold feet after being hit by two dragons at once and so ran back up the stairs. I didn’t realize my friend who was relying on my protection had headed down so soon after I had and they weren’t able to make it out again. In fact that has happened a couple of times and the guilt I felt for it was pretty real. There’s a high death penalty in this game, a fact that I know all too well after accidentally wandering too far into the Plains of Havoc; I’d never been there before or knew where it was exactly; I expected it to look darker in all honesty.

While films have us watching as passive observers and books have us observing through the perspective of the narrator, games actually have us stepping right into the shoes of the character and taking control. There are many beautiful things already in the real world to be experienced, but I think there is something rather magical about how we’re able to extend the world we know to include our imagination too (as explained in the Extra Credits episode ‘The Magic Circle – How Games Transport Us to New Worlds.’

Celebrate The Small Things: 10 July

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I spent most of this week thinking about the game I’m working on. I had some A.I. bugs to sort out, but managed to find the solution eventually. I also found some time to do some baking and made my first ever batch of muffins, coconut and cherry. I’d bought some from a cafe that turned out to have very little flavour and was disappointing, so I took up the challenge to make some myself.

As I’m attending a wedding this weekend I attempted to create my own art work for the card as I wanted to do something special for them. I’ve been making final preparations for going such as getting my eyebrows threaded – ouch -, dying my hair and working out how to do it up – I love having an excuse to dress up. I’d ordered a fascinator a few weeks back to compliment my outfit, but due to postal strikes in Germany it didn’t seem like it was going to arrive on time. Luckily it arrived yesterday and it looks amazing.

There’s also a shop closing down near where I live. It’s a bit of a shame because it’s a really cool shop, but it did mean they were taking 75% off everything on top of other deals. I had a fun time looking around and managed to pick up 10 DVDs for a fiver – most of which are horror films. Speaking of horror, we spontaneously went to a late night showing of Insidious 3. That’s a bit of a treat for me because my partner and friends don’t like horror and so I can’t always convince somebody to come see these films at the cinema. I usually miss out and have to wait until they get released. It was very jumpy and a lot scarier than the 2nd film, but made me laugh at times too.

My partner had to go away for work this week and I’ve been missing him very much – as silly as that sounds, I mean it’s only a few days really. He came back last night and so I’m really looking forward to spending some time together and of course attending the wedding to come.

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