Events

London Comic Con 2017!

Photo heavy post here guys! Comic Con was amazing, I had such a great time. I’m not quite sure where to begin. There were so many people, some that had come down from places like Scotland for it which is insane, that’s so far! I only went for the Saturday as I was working Friday and I wasn’t sure about going both days.

I suppose I’ll start by talking about the cosplays as, for me, they are the best things about it.

I love fancy dress and dressing up so being able to go to a huge convention where loads of people have put so much effort into their costumes is brilliant. I went as Link from Legend of Zelda, originally it was meant to be Link from Twilight Princess, it ended up more being inspired by that version though and after I had the main elements of it down I went for a more ‘weathered’ look. My dad made me an AWESOME scabbard for my sword which made me think about looking a bit more rough (if anyone likes the look and fancies their own leather armor goods then he would appreciate the business, get in touch!), I jazzed myself up with some hair beads (I was NOT wearing a wig after my previous Zelda wig mistake in 2015 – live and learn I suppose) and had some darker make up, still wouldn’t call it ‘rough’ but I think I looked pretty good. What do you think?

Link Front2

Link behind

I’ll throw in an action shot too for fun!

Link action shot

There was even a Legend of Zelda meet up and we all had a photo shoot which was awesome but unfortunately I don’t have all the pictures from that yet.

As you can see from a couple of those pictures the weather was lovely and, for once unfortunately, very hot – it was about 28° (or if you’re American 82°ish) and for the UK that’s enough to convince us that the sun is falling. I was feeling rather toasty in my leggings and boots but nowhere near as hot as my boyfriend who went dressed as Deadpool, he was boiling.

That’s us done so here’s a little slideshow of some of the other great cosplays we saw:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

While there were a lot of games to try and big gaming industry names like Playstation, Nintendo and Rising Star games there were so many people and queues that we only got to try a few games out. I put a bottle of milk in a basket in Harvest Moon, then took it out again, then put it back in and clicked on some eggs. That was fun… No idea what I was supposed to be doing with that. In Cooking Mama I had to time my icing sugar sprinkling so that I didn’t sprinkle it while wind was blowing through my virtual kitchen window, there wasn’t an option to just shut the window. Then I absolutely whupped my boyfriend’s ass on the new Tekken game. Those are the only ones I got to play, I was fed up with queuing – I will explain why in a bit – so I was unprepared to queue to play Breath of the Wild or to have a go with the Playstation VR headset. Nevermind! You can tell I wasn’t too impressed by any of the games I mentioned above but on the other hand I didn’t know what I needed to do or how to do it so it’s not the game’s fault.

Finally, special guest time! The people I had been looking forward to seeing the most was Billie Piper and Catherine Tate, unfortunately Billie Piper cancelled but I still got to meet Catherine Tate and got her autograph on my newly purchased Tardis door front poster. My plan is to take that same poster with me when/if I meet other Doctor Who actors so it looks like they’ve all signed the front of the Tardis. I queued for about an hour and a half to meet her, it was horrible, I hate queuing but my commute into London had trained me for that moment. Normally you had to pay an extra £30 for a photo with her, a professional one, but she was letting everyone take a picture on their phones with her then and there which was absolutely lovely of her. I said something a bit awkwardly like “I really loved you as Donna, you were great”, obviously she’d heard that all before but what else do you say in such a short space of time? Then she asked me where I wanted her to sign my poster and I just said “the white bit” which in my head had sounded witty but when it came out just sounded a bit stupid and there was an awkward silence. Point is she was really nice and her Q&A was great too.

Catherine Tate Autograph

20170527_153209
Kind of wish I wasn’t all dressed up for this part, she probably had no idea who I was meant to be

I was going to queue to meet Summer Glau too but the queue for her was actually longer than Catherine Tate’s and my feet were hurting, then I saw Sean Maher had a really short queue and I was going to buy a ticket to get his autograph but when I said ‘Simon’ instead of ‘Sean’ I realised it probably wasn’t meant to be (does that make me a bad Firefly fan? He does play my least favourite character to be honest).

In case you were wondering about art work and comic books I am afraid that, while I appreciate both of those things, I am not hugely fussed about them so I didn’t spend a significant amount of time looking at them. Below though are a couple of links to some websites with artwork that I really liked:

Dragonfly Heels (These are totally art, I didn’t buy any of these but I will one day, I just need a good excuse)

Dragonfly Heels

 

The Zero Room (where I got my Tardis poster, I also got a Firefly one)

Spineless classics (they have a whole book written out on one poster and I really wanted the one of The Hobbit but I had no idea where I was going to hang it as it was quite big

 

That just about wraps up my Comic Con post. I’ll probably have a few more coming up in the near future so stay tuned!

 

General Gaming

Starting to Like Final Fantasy…

Firstly, I’d just like to make my excuses for not posting much at the moment, just in case you were missing me! I have been dedicating a lot of my free time to finishing my Comic Con costume, there seems to be an endless line of things I can do to improve it, it’s very nearly finished though which is just as well as the event is this Saturday! Brace yourselves for some Comic Con related posts next week.

Being super busy I haven’t had a lot of time to game much recently but over the weekend I took a little break and played some more Final Fantasy X. Yes, not given up on it! In fact, it is finally time for me to begrudgingly admit something that I didn’t think I would, mainly because it will give my other half an excuse to throw more of these types of games at me, *deep breath* I like Final Fantasy X. To the point where I am now playing it willingly rather than my boyfriend suggesting it as an activity, and am considering playing some of the side quest bits too (capturing all the monsters for the Monster Arena in particular). You may remember me talking about my bf introducing me to it before and me being a little on the fence about it, particularly because of my general aversion to turn-based games. Well apparently I’m nearly at the end of the game now! There are things that still annoy me about it though and if my bf was not going through it with me then I probably wouldn’t have continued with it, but now I’m too attached to the storyline and the characters to quit.

In my previous post I had said that Lulu and Kimahri were my favourites but I have to rescind half of that statement, particularly after realising just how shit Kimahri is. I still like him as a character but despite my best attempts to level him up he is just dead weight really. There was a point –SPOILERS- (when Seymour first comes back from the dead, or whatever it is that he is now, and Kimhari stays behind to hold him off while everyone runs) where my other half said “it’s a shame that when you run back to help he’ll be dead” and convinced me that he had been killed and that there’s a really sad scene coming up where all the other characters hold a funeral for him. If you have played this you know that this is of course not true, but it made so much sense for that to happen and explains why he’s such a dead weight in battle that I believed it and got prematurely upset – much to my other half’s amusement.

I’m going to indulge a little bit of ranting about Tidus as well (or Clut, as I have called him – best name ever, it suits him perfectly), he’s lucky he’s quick on his feet and can cast some white magic because there is literally no other reason to keep him around other than that. Over my weekend playthrough he died time and time again, “oh shit, the weird flan thing’s attacking… of course it’s attacking Clut… Oh and he’s dead… Again”. I am not keen on him as a character either, he makes me cringe when he says stuff because he’s trying to be the “cool” character and then there’s the “I hate my father” thing aka Daddy Issues: The Game.

Auron: “When I was on my previous pilgrimage with Lord Braska and Jecht-“

Tidus: *Bursts through the wall* “Did someone say Jecht?!”

Auron: “oh no…”

Tidus: “HE WAS NOT A GOOD FATHER, I HATE HIM, I HOPE HE DIES BUT NOT REALLY BECAUSE I DON’T REALLY HATE HIM, OR DO I? WHAT DO I EVEN KNOW ABOUT ANYTHING? YUNA, DO YOU FANCY ME YET????”

Tidus and Yuna
“Wow Yuna… That bird is far away…”

Anyway that’s my ranty bits out the way, let’s focus on the positive stuff…

  1. Rikku is awesome, even though she doesn’t hit very hard she’s really useful anyway, I’ve actually put her on Auron’s grid at the moment so while she’s still not doing over 1000 points of damage yet she will soon be hitting super hard. I have got her down as a potential future cosplay too. I have a thing for quirky, girly but tough characters.
  2. Auron looks like Jeff Goldblum. Enough said.

    auron-final-fantasy-x-jeff-goldblum
    Obviously I’m not the first person to think this
  3. The Aeon summoning was something I never really understood in other FF games because they don’t really do that much damage. There’s a huge, cinematic build up you have to sit through and then they take off a disappointing amount of HP, you might as well have just killed the thing yourself in the time it takes for the aeons to actually be summoned and do their visually impressive attacks. In X though their presence makes sense to me because you only have one character that can summon them, and that character is basically a white mage so it makes sense that she can summon something to help her out as she isn’t usually used to attack. Also they actually deal some pretty sweet damage in this one! Unfortunately I don’t think they kept this idea in any of the following games though.
  4. Finally, I actually know what’s going on! Before this the only one I properly finished was XIII and while I enjoyed it I would never be able to tell you what the hell was happening. There was a girl called Serah (or SERAAAAAAAAAAH!!! As her boyfriend pronounced it) who was imprisoned in a crystal and we were going to save her then some Australians appeared and… euuuh… Shit went down and they saved the world? No clue but it was super pretty. I have attempted to play some others as well and the plot always loses me pretty quickly. I would say that it’s a sign that I should pay more attention but I don’t really have this issue with other games.

So where am I now? (SPOILERS ahead FYI) Well I’ve just discovered that Clut/Tidus is actually a dream (why they would dream up that dude as their saviour I do not know, maybe that’s why he hates Jecht so much, Jecht actually looks capable of doing some badass shit where as Clut/Tidus forgot half his trouser leg and the front of his shirt) and Seymour is sort of drifting around being a pain in the arse. Apparently this means I’m quite close to the end. I was hoping the game would last a bit longer actually so that I could make Rikku fully badass before the end but I’m not sure that’s going to happen, although I’m sure that I can do it if I finish all the sidequests. I feel like other FF games lasted longer, not that I have a huge amount of experience with them but XIII seemed to go on for ages and I played through a lot of XII but didn’t get to the end. It’s probably because my other half has been telling me how to play and what to do so I got through it quicker rather than running around exploring and putting more time and effort into grinding, which is what I usually do.

Once X is over, my other half and I are going to play FF X-2 together, he’s not looking forward to it, looking just at the outfits alone on the cover (why is Rikku in a bikini thong thing?? And Yuna seems to have abandoned her lovely kimono outfit in favour of some booty shorts and a crop top, which I have no problem with but it seems a little out of character for her…) I’m a little bemused as well but you never know, it might be fun!

FF X2

What’s your favourite Final Fantasy game? Now that I’m open to suggestions on the JRPG front what would you recommend?

General Gaming · Rants

The Waiting Game

I got myself hyped up for the new God of War game the other day by watching the 10-minute gameplay trailer, and it looks amazing. God of War is one of my favourite game series. Thing is though, I had actually watched this same trailer almost a year ago when it was first released and had completely forgotten I’d already seen it. After realising this I Googled when the release date for the game was and my heart sank as ‘Could be December 2017’ appeared on my screen, almost mocking me. First of all –could be??? Secondly, why do I have to wait so long? I’m not saying that in an ‘I’m so excited I can’t wait’ kind of way (well I can’t wait really but that’s not the point) I’m saying it in a ‘just release the bloody game and stop creating this unnecessary build up’ way.

God of War 4

I swear that (sounding a little old here) back in the day games weren’t announced years before they were released. Studios might announce they were making a new game a few years in advance, eventually a trailer would be released, and the game would follow a few short months later. That trailer for God of War 4 came out in June 2016, and still there is nothing other than “Ooh the voice actor mistakenly said ‘2017’ in his IMDB profile, are we getting a 2017 release?” A 2017 release? How about a NOW release? Why hold back? The last God of War game came out in 2010!

god-of-war-3-remastered
It’s been a while since Kratos killed literally every mythological Greek being ever mentioned (except Aphrodite of course, wink wink)

This happens with a lot of games, I am still waiting for Dead Island 2, the creators seem to be pretending they never released a trailer for it waaaaaaay back in 2014 (the trailer is SO COOL by the way which makes the delay even more antagonising, watch it below). By the time that comes out the PlayStation 5 will be released and they’ll have to remaster it immediately. Same with South Park: The Fractured but Whole which was announced in 2015 with trailers and images sporadically appearing throughout the years but the release constantly being pushed back. Then of course there’s the infamous Final Fantasy VII remake, getting repeatedly delayed every six months or so, I’ve almost given up caring about it.

I am no video game design expert by any means, I know that games take a long time to make and that some of the aforementioned games might have hit some technical flaws which have taken a while to be ironed out. But if that’s the case, then why release these impressive trailers only to release it years later when the hype has died down and people have forgotten about it? If the game isn’t finished yet (or very nearly finished), and there is potential that issues will be coming up with it, don’t release a big trailer! If you have to release anything maybe just share some of the new character art (“Check out Kratos’s new Norse-inspired look!”) or set up a Dev Blog to keep fans in the loop (“Hey, here’re some of the weapons we’re thinking of making available in Dead Island 2!”).

This might just be me but I like having a teaser and then a couple of months later a big trailer with a release date that I can put in my calendar and get more and more hyped up about the game as it gets closer to the date, then a few months from then the game actually comes out on the expected date and I can play it. Right now my process is more like: “ooh this game looks good” *a year later* “ooh this game looks good, can’t believe I haven’t heard about it before” *another year later* “wow where did this game everyone’s playing suddenly appear from? I can’t believe I’m only just hearing about this now”. This probably means that I have the memory of a goldfish more than anything else but you get my point.

There are of course some games that the long-term announcement approach works very well on. Look at Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. That was announced in 2013 and throughout the years they consistently released images, trailers, and other information about the game that kept it top of mind. What they did at the same time though was release new Zelda games (A Link Between Worlds, Triforce Heroes) and remaster old ones (Majora’s Mask, some were still enjoying the remastered Ocarina of Time too at this point). Obviously most companies don’t have such a long legacy of games to do this with but the point is that they managed to keep Zelda fans satisfied by releasing more content as they worked on ‘the big one’ and it didn’t matter so much if it was delayed (if it was at all) because we were busy playing Majora’s Mask on our 3DS. Another good example is Overwatch, announced in 2014 and releasing images, storylines, the works along with it. Blizzard released World of Warcraft expansion pack Warlords of Draenor a few months after Overwatch was announced and then they released Legion a few months after Overwatch was released (probably knowing that it wasn’t going to be as popular as previous expansions, hence the close release dates) so they had lots of content and something going on consistently, keeping Blizzard fans hyped about something either way.

So there’s my latest rant, I feel a bit lighter now. I hope you lovely readers enjoy my ranting posts as they seem to be recurring.

Is there a game that you’re looking forward to being released but has a long wait time? Any fellow God of War fans out there waiting for 4?

General Gaming

Cleavopatra: The Return (Boss Battles Galore)

It’s been a while since I introduced my Bloodborne character Cleavopatra and I thought I’d post an update on my gameplay. Cleav’ is doing pretty well.  You can see her hair now! (I made it pink so that there would be some bubble gum happiness in the dark and gothic Yarnham) Guess my 45 minutes of character design wasn’t wasted after all.

Bloodborne™_20170511212502
She has a sweet top hat too

Bloodborne™_20170511212517

My biggest achievement so far, and possibly the most intense boss battle of my life, was defeating Father Gascoigne. It took me a while but I finally did it. I saved a video clip of my battle because there is a part at the end where we’re both at very low health and that shit is intense, plus I was just very proud, I like to watch it to cheer me up when I die too much in the game. I really wish I had been able to record my voice over it somehow because my Dad was watching me play (he’s playing through it too – go gamer Dad!) and we were both SCREAMING at the TV. Here’s a small, insightful sample of dialogue which really shows off my extensive vocabulary, and eloquently demonstrates my general reactions to this game:

“GET TO FUCK, GASCOIGNE… No… NO… NOOOOOO. ROLL BITCH ROLL. YES!!! … HE’S NEARLY DEAD AAAAAH… AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!! NO! LEAVE ME ALONE! … OH MY GOD I DID IT AAAAAAAH!”

Fireworks went off, world peace was achieved, I was knighted… Here are some screenshots to help you experience the moment with me.

Gascoigne.png
Visceral shot, check out that pink ponytail swing
Gascoigne fight flying
This was the tensest moment EVER, just look at those health bars! (Also I know it’s unclear but that’s Cleavopatra flying through the air)
Gascoigne Prey Slaughtered
FINALLY

So if you are a Bloodborne player you’re probably thinking “lol wait until you get to *future boss* if you think Gascoigne was bad” and yeah, to be honest I’m not expecting to finish this game. I’ve seen some of what awaits me from my boyfriend’s and the Game Grumps’ playthroughs (one of my favourite playthroughs of theirs FYI) and it looks a bit tricky, but I will try! My other half is currently getting his arse kicked by Ludwig over and over, and is stubbornly refusing to summon other Hunters to help him because he wants to do it all by himself, which I totally get – but unlike him I will get to the point of throwing my pride and independence out the window very quickly with zero fucks given and summoning an army to help me out.

Right now I have just gotten rid of Djura, the hunter on top of a tower with a gatling gun turret, and his little dodge-happy hunter buddy at the bottom of the tower. So this Djura dickhead was shooting away with the most annoying precision shooting ever. At one point I was inside a building, thinking I was safe, and suddenly no. Dead. He shot me through some microscopic crack in the wall. I finally managed to climb up the tower and confront him, I barely made a dent. I tried a few more times and it was just impossible so my Dad let me in on the secret of how he had killed him, even though I was slightly loath to know as I haven’t used any guides or glitches yet in this playthrough. If you’re interested you get the hunter’s pistol (I found my blunderbuss too slow) and as soon as you get to the top of the ladder you target him and just shoot him over and over until he falls off the edge of the building, then you quit the game and reload it so that his remains are on the top of the tower and you can get the Powder Keg Hunter badge. I feel a bit guilty about killing him this way but he was so difficult and I didn’t want to have to go through the area worrying about being shot at on top of everything else.

So this brings us to where I currently am: The Blood Starved Beast.

Blood starved beast

He doesn’t look that blood starved, he’s covered in the stuff.

About 20 seconds of rolling around desperately I was killed. Any tips to get me through it are welcome! I’ve been told there’s a super easy way to beat this boss for an easy kill, but I’ve told my other half not to share it with me – I don’t want to resort to that unless I have absolutely no choice!

General Gaming

Preparing for London Comic Con 2017

Exciting event coming up soon… London MCM Comic Con 2017! I’m very excited, I’ve been once before (in 2015) and it was really fun. Last time I went I was dressed as Princess Zelda. I was very proud of my costume, it was all handmade, with me taking care of the fabric part and my friend – who was Hilda, the sort of anti-Zelda – making the golden armor. I would share a picture of me in it, but unfortunately I cringe so much when I look back at pictures because I think that I ruined it by wearing a really bad wig (I’m not blonde and my hair wasn’t long enough to go for a more natural look) so instead here’s a picture of the version of Zelda that I went as.

Princess Zelda.jpg

My overall verdict of the experience was that if I hadn’t been in costume, I wouldn’t have had such a good time. There wasn’t quite as much to do as I had hoped, there were a lot of stalls with overpriced geeky merchandise, and the special guests were not as impressive as other conventions (I hear the San Diego one has some amazing guests and that it’s huge – if I ever go to America I would love to make that a stop). I still had a great time though!

We had lots of people stopping us and asking for photos, despite my bad wig, which I was so pleased about, and we got to try out some games. Other people’s cosplays were amazing as well; I saw some incredible costumes. We also had a lot of creepy people taking pictures of us without asking permission though, which was super weird. I am in a costume, obviously I’m happy for you to take a picture of me, but when you pretend to be texting or casually walking past with your iPad camera aimed straight at me while I’m eating lunch, it’s super obvious and freaky, just ask!!!

Anyway, this year I am particularly excited because there are three special guests I want to get some autographs from: Billie Piper from Doctor Who (VERY excited about this, hoping they’ll announce David Tennant or Matt Smith at the last minute), and Summer Glau and Simon Maher from Firefly (if you haven’t seen Firefly please watch it, it’s such a good show!)

If I had known there was Doctor-Who-special-guest potential, I would have gone with a Doctor Who cosplay I’ve beenn planning. But the idea that I have for it would take a lot of work, and I’m too invested in (and excited about) my costume to change my mind now…

So with that let’s take a peek at my costume in the making…

Bracer

Ok that one was a bit subtle… How about now?

Top

Potentially still a bit tricky… Now?

Sword shield

It is of course Link from The Legend of Zelda! I had actually wanted to do this the first time I went in 2015, but then my friend wanted to be Hilda and I had another friend who wanted to be Link, so it made more sense for me to be Zelda. I really wanted to go all out with my costume this year, because while it’s technically a very simple costume (you just need the tunic, a belt and a hat and everyone would know who you are) there are lots of little details that can make the costume go from budget basics to super epic cosplay time. I often make my own clothes so I am confident in my sewing abilities for the costume. I was going to give craft foam a go but then my Dad, who has taken up leather work (everyone thinks that sounds a bit odd when I say that, I suppose it’s not a very common hobby), offered to make my bracer, gloves, belts and other little bits (the bracer and gloves in the pictures are his handiwork!) My family have become very crafty in recent years – my Mum makes quilts, crafty things, and clothes too (she has a blog about it if you like that sort of thing) so I am very fortunate to have that extra boost for my cosplay projects!

Link

Right now it’s only two and a half weeks until Comic Con, so I need to knuckle down and get everything sorted! I will make a post about the event and show off my costume when it’s all finished. Hopefully it will look as epic as I’m hoping! Now I just need to figure out how I can take my Doctor Who poster with me for Billie Piper to sign without ruining the effect of my costume.

My wonderful UK readers – Are you going to London Comic Con this year? If so are you dressing up? Maybe I’ll see you there!

Equally-wonderful American readers – Have you ever been to San Diego Comic Con? What’s it like?

General Gaming · Rants

Rant time: My Issue With Harley Quinn

First and foremost if you don’t like feminist rants then this post is not for you.

jess day

 As you may have seen in one of my previous posts I have been playing through Arkham Asylum. I like this game, nowhere near as much as I liked Arkham Knight (it’s obvious why this is the least popular of the Arkham series) but it’s ok. There is something that keeps recurring in these games though, that (just when I’m ready to start praising them) holds me back and makes me angry. The portrayal of Harley Quinn.

 

Before I get started, there are a couple of points I want to clarify before I begin: firstly, I am not a massive die-hard Harley Quinn fan. I think she is a cool character and I like her story line, and thanks to a friend of mine (who is a super fan) I know a lot about her. This post is not a fan-girl screaming for more Harley Quinn it’s a comment on her existing presence in the games. Secondly, I do not read comic books so the majority of my post is based on what I have seen in movies and games but, again thanks to my friend, I know a lot about Harley’s story in the comic books. As a result, if I were to start reading them, I would probably choose one where she was a main character.

The main thing I like about Harley is that she is a funny, complex, strong female character who can kick ass, take names, and sass anyone and everyone. This is a welcome break from other female characters (who seem to be few and far between in the male-dominated world of comic books as it is) who tend to be more reserved and just not as engaging. Compared to her female counterparts in DC (Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Wonder Woman, etc) she is more interesting to watch and is – in a kind of weird way – more relatable.

I was never a big fan of any female superheroes growing up, other than some of the women in X-Men, and even then I use the word ‘fan’ very loosely. It’s pretty common knowledge now that there’s a lot of pressure on comic books and movies to start including more interesting, relatable, female characters. So enter Harley Quinn who fills a huge gap in the market simply by being an interesting female character. I know I said I’m not a die-hard fan but if I had to pick a female superhero/villain as my favourite it would be her.

 Harley moustache

DC have obviously acknowledged that Harley is a popular character, how could you not? She’s one of, if not THE, most popular female cosplays at conventions, she has featured in numerous comic books, not to mention her own series (New 52) and with her as one of the main characters of Suicide Squad (arguably THE main character) she’s making a lot of headway. Unfortunately this just does not come through in the games. Yes, they are quite old now – Arkham Asylum was released back in 2009, and Arkham City in 2011, so the hype that built up around Harley was nowhere near as pronounced as it is now. But Arkham Knight was released in 2015, just a year before Suicide Squad – so they knew what sort of role she would be playing in the movie, and despite that, she played the same part in Knight as in the previous games: annoying and disappointing.

To be honest her being annoying wouldn’t be a problem if there had been a suitable resolution to her story arc – she’s meant to be annoying. For comparison, there is a part in God of War 3 where you encounter Hermes who is super annoying, not unlike Harley actually. That game did it right, there is a long, irritating chase while Hermes calls you names and takes the piss out of you. It just makes you want to kill him, and that is exactly what you get to do, very slowly and very painfully. That is the Kratos way of course. I don’t want to torture Harley, not at all. What I’m saying is that there should be a satisfying resolution when you can finally get your hands on her after she spends almost half the game tormenting you. Instead what you get is a battle with a few extra henchman than you’re used to and then you hit her on the head, knock her out, sling her over your shoulder like a child and carry her to the Batmobile. (here are some videos that demonstrate my point, skip to 6.45 for the first one, also sort of spoiler warning for the second!)

How demeaning and patronising is that?! She finally comes to confront you and you just knock her down like she’s an annoying child!!! It’s not just these cutscenes either – right at the beginning of the game Arkham Asylum, in the tutorial area, Batman gets trapped in a room by Harley. He says “Harley thinks she has me trapped. She never was very bright.” The fact that Batman dismisses her as ‘not very bright’ almost as soon as her character is introduced immediately detracts from her threat, reducing her to a mere annoyance from the get go. Harley Quinn is a psychologist who was so good at her job that they put her in charge of THE JOKER, GOTHAM’S MOST NOTORIOUSLY TWISTED, AND PSYCHOTIC CRIMINAL. So we have to assume she was pretty good at her job and therefore the opposite of stupid. Yes, Joker broke her, but he didn’t kill her and she’s one of the only characters for who the Joker has genuine affection (albeit it horrible, psychotic, abusive affection, but that makes her a threat to him hence his numerous attempts to kill her when they get too close). She might have her head in the clouds but she is also extremely smart. The head in the clouds thing is really put forward in games, but the Brainiac thing… not so much.

harleenquinzel

This brings me to my demand for the next Batman game: I want a Harley Quinn boss battle. I’m not talking some “ooh Harley’s going to shoot stuff at me from a distance while her henchmen attack me then I knock her out”. WHAT IS THAT? THAT IS NOT A BOSS BATTLE. I want a REAL boss battle. I want Harley to be somersaulting across the screen as I try to hit her, she’s supposed to have inhuman acrobatic abilities but all I’ve seen her do are cartwheels so far, if she was so agile she’d be a pain in the arse to manage to hit and have you seen that hammer she lugs around? Don’t tell me she hasn’t built up some muscle from that.

When I threw this idea at a couple of friends they all brought up the same issue: Batman doesn’t hit women. Obviously that’s a good thing but you know what? If someone IS TRYING TO KILL YOU, you are allowed to defend yourself. If it’s really scaring off the developers then they could just have you play as Catwoman while you fight her, I would be happy with that. It should be a challenging fight that establishes her as a character who is not going to take any shit and will require a couple of attempts to finish off. Let’s see a game where she plays the bimbo card and Batman keeps up his dismissive “she’s just a dim-witted lackey” attitude and tries and knock her out as per usual but she backflips out of his way, kicking him in the face as she goes, grabs her massive hammer, or cricket bat, or gun, whatever. There are no henchmen, just her, and she lays into Batman somersaulting away, being annoyingly fast on her feet and giving Batman a really difficult time of it. That is what I want.

3506954-harley+quinn+01.jpg

Rant over! *Mic drop*

 

General Gaming

Gaming With Style

As you may or may not know I have been playing through Final Fantasy X with my boyfriend (if you don’t know then read about it here!), and in our most recent session, he told me how much it frustrates him to watch me play. This is because, while we have both agreed that we are equally skilled at gaming (when I say “equally skilled” I of course mean that I am way better than he is), we have very different ways of playing: I like to explore, have some fun with it, not take it too seriously, use every character equally, and try things out for myself without always knowing what’ll happen. Once I have finished the game and know what is effective, and if I liked the game enough, I’ll play through it again in a more power-centred, effective manner. He prefers to immediately identify the optimal build for his chosen characters, stick to a solid plan throughout the game, and turn that team into an efficient powerhouse (to the neglect of all other characters).

In the case of FFX, I recently recruited Rikku (who is fast becoming my favourite character by the way) and I was changing the party formation round a lot so that she could get a hit in at the beginning of the battle (to gain some experience before being swapped out for someone stronger). This was apparently frustrating at times because I could make the game go faster by simply focusing on three already-powerful core characters (i.e. Yuna, Auron and Tidus, in his opinion). I get that my way makes the grinding go on for longer, but I think it’s worth it to see what the less powerful ones can do later in the game, although my other half insists it’s not worth it. In FFXIII though, I really stuck with the weaker characters like Vanille and Hope, and they were hugely powerful at the end of my game so I think that my theory stands.

Final Fantasy X_D.jpg
My other half’s FF X team. This makes me angry.

Similar to our FF playing styles is Pokémon. He will focus on a couple of main Pokémon throughout the main quest, only working on filling his Pokédex once the Elite Four lie broken at his feet. On the other hand, I will try to level up my whole team equally and if I catch a Pokémon that I think sounds interesting I’ll try it out for a while and see what they’re like. This means that in PvP situations, I’m usually at a huge disadvantage over other players, which I do find a little frustrating, but I don’t play PvP that often and I get emotionally attached to my team so I don’t want to put them in the PC prison. It would be like a Pokémon Breeder taking on a Cool Trainer if I were to battle my boyfriend. You can tell that we’re a cool couple by how we’ve assigned ourselves Pokémon trainer types – actually, he wants it known that I designated him Cool Trainer. I may never hear the end of that.

pokemon team
Here’s my Pokémon team (all nicknamed for the Nuzlocke challenge) you can see that they are all just about the same level, except for Binch who is levelling

For a nice visual comparison to really demonstrate my point, we both played Stardew Valley recently. He’s a little ahead of me but not by that much so it’s a pretty accurate comparison. Here is my farm (aka Awesomeness Farm):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And here is his farm:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So as you can see I didn’t focus that much on the money making, or optimal farm spacing. I wasn’t too fussed, I was busy cooing over my animals and experimenting with hats (there’s a mouse that sells hats! Why not?!), and I’m never actually left needing money desperately at this point anyway. I do plan on starting a new game soon where I will focus more on optimising my farm (not to the pixel perfect degree of his farm; I am too impatient to do that) because now I know what to do and how to do it, and which parts of the game I enjoy the most, I can jump straight to it. I know that there is a sort of endgame ‘finale’ after three in-game years which varies depending on how well your farm has done, but that doesn’t affect your playthrough in any meaningful way, just your pride if you take it to heart. You can carry on with the game afterwards just like before, so personally I don’t see a reason to get so mad over tactics.

When I first realised what type of gamer he was, I thought that this might be him obsessing over the game for bragging rights – i.e. being able to say things like “I have over a million gold in Stardew Valley!” or “I took out the final boss in FFX in two hits!” etc, and not actually enjoying playing the game. But talking with him about it, he assured me that that’s just the way he has fun, and he was struggling just as hard to understand how I found it fun taking the long way round and being so underpowered (until the end of the game at least).

So at the end of the day I suppose it doesn’t matter how you play a game as long as you enjoy it! Bit of an obvious moral, but sometimes it’s difficult not to be blindsided by your own playstyle.

We are actually thinking about recording a debate on this subject – voicing both sides of the issue for you all to read or listen to! – in what would surely start out as a light-hearted conversation, before almost certainly turning entertainingly heated as we become more and more passionate regarding the topic at hand. Let me know if you’d be interested in our bickering on gaming attitudes and play styles!

What’s your play style? Is there something about the way other gamers play that makes you angry?

 

General Gaming

My Struggle to Enjoy Final Fantasy

Here’s something about my gaming life which will horrify Final Fantasy fans. The only Final Fantasy games I have ever finished are FFIII on Nintendo DS and FFXIII (including part 2) on PS3. I have also played FFXII but never finished it. This post is by no means a dig at the FF series by the way – I think they are wonderful games, just not for me. This is more about my attempts to play them. I think the reason I never got into them was because the early games are turn-based and I find that very disruptive to the gameplay flow that I’m used to. The only turn-based games I ever play usually are Pokémon games. Also, I appreciate that they are heavily story based but I have no idea what is going on half the time and there are so many cinematic breaks it sometimes gets to the point where I feel like I’m watching a movie rather than playing a game.

Ff12cast
Despite being able to play as a sky pirate and an awesome rabbit lady I couldn’t get hooked

I don’t remember exactly how I came to have FFXIII. I played it during my first year of University and to be honest probably wouldn’t have continued with it but my flatmate was very keen on watching me play. We had some long-standing banter going on (to this day we will still yell “SERAAAAAAAH” at each other) and I would usually wait for her to be there to watch me play. It ended up being like watching a TV show together and we both got emotionally invested in it. I’m not really defending the game. I can recognise its faults, for example: I had absolutely no clue what was happening most of the time, the end was super disappointing, and in part 2 there was a really difficult battle with a giant tomato and that was just weird. It was a beautiful game though – the characters (particularly Fang, who was my favourite) were cool and at the end of the day I enjoyed it, and that’s the main thing, right?

When I told my boyfriend, who is a big FF fan, that the only game in the series that I’d ever finished was XIII (and its sequel, too no less), and that – the worst crime of all – I had ENJOYED it (*gasp*), he was horrified and couldn’t understand how I had made it through that but hadn’t played any better ones. Disgusted and appalled at my life choices, he tried to get me to play FFVIII which is his joint favourite of the series (tied with VII). To his dismay I was not a big fan, and got bored pretty quickly. I put this down to several factors. He was telling me what to do rather than let me run around and enjoy myself (I totally get this though in his defence, it is so hard not to tell people what to do when you’re watching them play a game you love so much); I was immediately marched to the beach where I spent about 2 hours killing floating fish at an alarmingly slow pace, then I went to a cave and ploughed my way through it and the boss at the end with a cocky “Is that it?” attitude.

FF8

Another reason is that turn-based battling is so slow and unnatural to me. You stand there waiting for your stamina bar to finally charge so that your character can lunge forward then they have to stand there and just take whatever the enemy throws at them. There were times where it would just be the fish and Squall making uncomfortable eye contact for what seemed like hours before someone’s stamina bar finally filled up.

I was also not a fan of the complicated menu sorting, I’m sure this gets better as you get more used to the game but I found it hard to understand what it was I needed to do and what meant what.

I was dealing with all this by supplying running commentary and taking the piss out of the game. I figured that if I did that then it would help me to enjoy it more, like I had done with XIII, but my other half was not a fan of me laughing at the sometimes awkwardly-translated dialogue and taking the piss out of everything – apparently doing that sort of thing to beloved, nostalgic games is not funny (it totally is). This made stuff a bit awkward when he told me I was rapidly changing his mind about playing FFVIII together and we continued playing in silence. We abandoned the playthrough shortly after completing the Fire Cavern, the silence was getting a bit uncomfortable. Sometimes being a gamer couple is hard.

FFVIII_0769

All was not lost though! We found a compromise in FFX (the remastered version). The battling system changed to active time battle, so while still not quite what I’m used to I found it to be more realistic, the story was more engaging, and the menu was better explained. Also my commentary and making fun of it did not cause offence, as it wasn’t as dear to my BF as FFVIII was. So far I have got as far as finishing the manic laughter scene, which was a bit bemusing but if that’s what you want to do to relieve some stress that’s fair enough. As with most protagonists Tidus (or Clut, as I called him) is a bit annoying but I like Kimahri and Lulu (he’s a Unicorn Lion and she’s down to earth with an epic cloak – that may seem shallow but I haven’t seen much of their personalities yet.)

FFX

Doubtless I’ll have more to say about FFX when I’ve played some more of it and gotten hooked on the story. To be continued!

Finally, question for FF fans: which fantasy is the final one?

Awards

Mystery Blogger Award

Good news! I’ve been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by The Shameful Narcissist. Thank you very much! When I first started blogging I didn’t realise how much of a community existed between bloggers and I was a little nervous about starting out but the amount of feedback and encouragement I’ve received since I joined has been wonderful and these awards that go around are a great way to find out about new blogs and encourage everyone to keep writing.

Mystery blogger award.jpg

The Shameful Narcissist is a great blog with fanfiction, gaming and lots of other geeky things that I enjoy reading about, take a look at her blog if you haven’t already!

So let’s get started!

The Rules

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • You nominate 10 – 20 people (I don’t really know that many yet so I’ll go with 5)
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

So what is the Mystery Blogger Award?

The award was created by blogger Okoto Enigma and in her words : “Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.

3 things about me

  1. I am a market researcher by day (any video game companies out there that need a market researcher, please get in touch!) blogger by night and weekends.
  2. I was sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore. I am proud of this and think it’s very accurate. Hufflepuff pride!
  3. I am a firm believer in putting pineapple on pizza, and will fight anyone who says otherwise

Hufflepuff_crest.png

 

The Shameful Narcissist’s question

1. The Doctor shows up in the Tardis.  Are you going to the future or the past?  How far would you go in either direction?

I am so glad there is a Doctor Who question in here, I’m a massive fan. I think I would go to the past because I would be a bit worried that if I went to the future I might see something about the fate of the world I don’t like and wouldn’t be able to go back the present knowing that it was going to happen. I would love to go back to ancient Greece, I really like Greek mythology and going back to the time they were set would be amazing although I’m aware that they didn’t actually happen (or did they? Maybe Pegasus was an alien and the Doctor took him back to his home planet, I guess we’ll never know…).

tardis.png

 2. Barring black or white, if you had to wear one color for the rest of your life, what color would that be?

I kind of change my go to colour every so often but at the moment it’s probably blue. I made a blue dress with foxes on it and I always get complimented on it so it’s my current favourite.

 3. Tea or coffee?

Definitely tea. I am a huge tea fan and I can’t stand the taste of coffee, I wish I could drink it though because the different flavours always sound so good.

4. Do you prefer urban, rural, or suburban?

Suburban. I like to be somewhere which is built up enough to have some nightlife and things to do, places to go, etc but can also be quite quiet and isn’t far from some nice countryside. At the moment I’m living in London and I go to visit my boyfriend in Dorset every other weekend, if it wasn’t for those little breaks in the countryside I’d probably go mad from cement, pollution and just so many people everywhere.

5. What do you think there should be a wiki for that there isn’t already (I guess this is the weird question)?

This is tough as there’s a wiki for pretty much everything isn’t there? I’m not sure… Maybe pizza wiki? It would tell you about different bases and sauce types, lists of potential toppings with recommendations for other ingredients that would complement your favourite ones and introduce you to some new ones that are especially weird and wonderful.

ham and pineapple pizza

 My Best Post

I’m not sure if this means by views or personal. In terms of views it would be my post about Rezzed, but my favourite post to write so far has been my Bat Rant post, I just really like making lists and I got a carried away going off on a complaining tangent.

 And the nominees are…

  1. Nerd Thoughts Blog
  2. The Casual Gamer
  3. Pugs and Dinosaurs
  4. Halsdoll
  5. NinjaFox

 My questions

  1. Which house would you belong to in Harry Potter?
  2. If you could only watch one TV series for the rest of your life which would it be?
  3. Do you have a plan for the zombie apocalypse? If so, what is it? (this is the weird question)
  4. What inspired you to start your blog?
  5. What is the last book you read?

 

I had great fun answering these questions! Thanks again!

General Gaming

That Sinking Feeling

I thought I would share a video gaming confession today as I’ve brought this up in a previous post briefly and thought it would be potentially interesting to expand on it: My fear of underwater levels in video games.
I know it’s weird, I have no reason for it. I love swimming IRL and if I could be a fictional being mermaid would be my first choice.
When I was younger this would stop me from actually finishing some games but I can get through it now just on sheer determination.
My earliest memory of getting scared of this is waaaaay back in the 90s when Tomb Raider 1 was still a thing, I was 3 when that came out and my dad had it so I must have been playing it a few years afterwards, I was an early gamer but 3 is pushing it a bit. In the mansion Lara had a swimming pool where I would get her to spend hours diving in and swimming around but I had a little nagging thought which was something like “if they are getting you to swim now then you’ll have to swim later in scarier, non-chlorine filled water” so I never left the mansion.
Lara pool.jpg
Skipping ahead to 2002 (when I was 9) my fear prevented me from finishing one of my favourite games ever: Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I love this game so much it is adorable and beautiful and just nice to play but I couldn’t handle falling out of the boat and into the water so I would avoid octoroks and the boats with the cannons as much as possible, if I ever fell in the water I would panic paddle back to the boat and get out as quickly as possible. Eventually I would start longing for when times were simpler for Link, chasing pigs on the beach and learning how to sword fight and I would give up. I do intend to play this and finish it one day, especially now that it’s been remastered.
link drowning.jpg
The first time I managed to fight my fear was when I played Spyro: Enter The Dragonfly and I was swimming around Luau Island. I had to kill stuff underwater but it was just such a nice place. From then on I can remember other big moments, notably in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess which, to my memory, was my first underwater boss battle that I managed. You have to jump down a hole in the ground into some pitch black water and I can remember the horrifying feeling of realising that I had to equip the iron boots and let Link sink to the bottom of this black, watery hell. This was straight up nightmare fuel for me and were it not for my sister, who is a lot braver than I am, cheering me on and actually pushing the button to equip the boots for me, I probably would have given up right there and then. What then ensued was one of the most memorable boss battles of my life. There were tentacles, teeth and terror attached to a long eel thing. Eurgh.
Zelda swimming
Another part that unnerves me is in God of War 3 where Kratos goes through one of his many existential crises, and ends up in a black pool of blood (but it looks a bit like water so I’m counting it as the same thing) where he has to swim around reliving all the terrible things he’s done. You don’t get attacked in here, and you can’t fight underwater in God of War, but I felt very uneasy and kept expecting something to grab Kratos and pull him under water.
God of war swimming.png
Reading back over what I’ve written I’ve realised that the fear may actually stem from opaque water, so when I can’t see anything under my character. Having said that I do get nervous about water in general in games but not being able to see what may potentially be in the water with me is worse.
Do you have something a bit odd that freaks you out in video games? It would be nice to hear I’m not alone!