General Gaming

Gaming Like a Girl

I wrote a post about Overwatch the other day (when I say the other day I mean 2 weeks ago, oops, time flies when you’re addicted to Overwatch, bear with me it comes up a lot in this post too) and how I’ve been playing as Mei, Tracer, and (as a relatively new addition) Mercy most frequently. Thinking back to when I wrote that post I felt kind of guilty because I realised that I hadn’t mentioned any male characters, or even actually tried any myself yet and I’m supposed to be a gaming blogger! When I first started the game, and went to pick my hero I immediately looked at all the female heroes first, I did look at the male heroes but very briefly. I’ll do this in other games too, I will very rarely play as a male character when I have the choice and if I do it will be because I have completed the game as a female character and want to see if there are any subtle differences in playing a male character (this is usually in RPGs like Dragon Age and Neverwinter Nights where relationships with other characters can be affected subtlety by this).

I don’t know why I do this, I’ve thought of a few potential reasons and if you tend to always choose the same gender in video games (men too!) as well then I’d love to hear if any of my thoughts below resonate with you or if you have any thoughts of your own about it. Let me know in the comments!

Let me just say first of all that I have no problem at all playing as a male character, I play a male protagonist by default in most of the games I play: Legend of Zelda, Far Cry, Bioshock, God of War, Doom, The Witcher, Dying Light, Shadow of Mordor, the vast majority of Final Fantasy games… to name just a few, and I love those games! (OK so I’m struggling a little with Final Fantasy, playing as Tidus Daddy Issues McLeatherLeherhosen really drained me of JRPG enjoyment and I need to reset a little before I attempt another.) So maybe the reason I always choose a woman when I have the choice is because I’m sick of playing as a guy and when I can be a woman I leap at the chance? As annoying as it is to have to say this in the year 2017 it does feel refreshing to have a female protagonist sometimes.

On the other hand, maybe the answer is simple and it’s just that I am a woman, therefore I identify more with female protagonists so I enjoy playing as them more. Even if they don’t talk and I’m just identifying with them aesthetically. When I was playing Portal I didn’t really think about what gender my character was, they don’t make reference to it and I just assumed I was a floating gun, it was only when I saw Chell’s reflection (well not a reflection, herself through a portal… Can’t be bothered to try and explain but you know what I mean hopefully) that not only did I have a body but the body belonged to a woman! Just knowing that kind of shifted my attitude towards the game from what had already been incredibly positive to ‘Hell yeah, this game is incredible’.

Chell

Moving onto my more feministy part of this post, I can remember numerous times throughout my life where I’ve been at someone’s house and they’ve had a multiplayer game on, usually one that I haven’t played before (Injustice, FIFA and WWF spring to mind here) and they’ve asked if I want to play against them. I would always go with a female character because like I said before, I like playing as a woman, but more often than not I would lose. This was partly because I hadn’t played the games before so was not used to them and partly because I find that female characters in fighting/sporty games are usually underpowered, or they used to be anyway, this is a while ago that I’m talking about so I’m not sure about nowadays. My choice of character before the game even began though would usually be remarked on with a comment along the lines of “oh you don’t want to be them, they’re terrible”, I can remember someone laughing because I chose the female football team in FIFA (it may not have been FIFA it might have been a different football game, I don’t remember but I don’t know any other football games off the top of my head) once to play against them, they told me they were a terrible team and I asked why, were the stats different? What was it that made them bad? Had they tried to play them before? Did they actually do very badly IRL and that was reflected in the way they were played in the game? The answer I got was simply “they’re just shit”, that made me more determined to beat them and prove that the female team were not worthless. Unfortunately, having never played FIFA before and understanding nothing about the rules of football I lost anyway. Whether the female team genuinely was terrible in the game due to their given stats or if the person I asked just didn’t know because they’d never tried to play as them I don’t know. This sort of thing has happened a lot though over the years with those sorts of games and it always fuels my feminist side, makes me want to shout GIRL POWER and obliterate my opponent with the girliest character I can find. So, thinking about it like that maybe the reason I always pick a woman is a subconscious, feminist fuelled, girl power stance?

Female fooball.jpg
Came across this delightful piece of bullshit as I was trying to find pictures of female FIFA players https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C05irL2Q2pY. Apparently they just look like men in the game anyway because of the graphics so they may as well just not have women in the game at all. Idiot. It’s a huge step forward for women’s football which has far less viewers than men’s football despite them working so hard and having some brilliant players, it will make the game more accessible to women and you know what? If you don’t want to play as the female team then don’t play as the female team!!! I don’t even like football but I have a huge respect for female players… I won’t get into that now though. See this is why I have female character pride!!!

Following on from the ‘girliest character I can find’ comment above, I am very girly IRL and if there is a video game character that is wearing a pair of kick ass, neon pink heels, or a dress, or if they just look super girly  then I will go for that character (the only reason I haven’t played D.VA in Overwatch yet is because I don’t like playing as a tank but I really like her and would say she’s one of the girliest Overwatch characters). Women in video games are usually very pretty but this often means that they are also sexualised. When I was trying to find an image of Tracer from Overwatch to use on my blog some of the first pictures were just fan art of her arse, for example. Often this means that people tend to trivialise female characters (not to say Overwatch has trivialised Tracer, far from it, everyone in that game is well balanced, as it should be! Last time I mention Overwatch today, I promise!) they’re the eye candy not the character you play if you’re playing to win and, like in my previous point, that is another aspect that would make me determined to say “No, this girl is awesome and I will prove it to you. Just because she’s wearing mini shorts and a bikini top doesn’t mean she can’t kick ass”. I don’t have a problem with sexy looking characters though unless they fall into one of the following categories:

1. The ‘every woman in this game is hot’ games

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Dead or Alive, fighting game turned volleyball tournament… Somehow

2. The character who is wearing something super skimpy/revealing and they are obviously meant to be the eye candy but their personality or culture just doesn’t go with it

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Kimono/maxi skirt to hot pants and crop top… Bit of a jump

3. Skimpily dressed characters that are in a war/space/apocalypse/zombie/etc setting and they are in a chainmail bikini or something that would just make it impossible for them to survive in that environment dressed in that way

Rachel Ninja Gaiden.jpg
It’s truly incredible that she is able to fight monsters on a daily basis and survive wearing this. Not going to lie, really like those boots though

If a character looks sexy but there is a personality behind it then I think that’s fine, I don’t like to make judgements on anyone’s personality or skills based on what their gender is or what they’re wearing – be they real people or people in a video game – and if they are a bit slutty then that’s OK! Each to their own! When you’re playing as them in a game though that shouldn’t be the core aspect of their personality. I have been told that I have been brainwashed to think that it’s OK to have slutty looking characters (that was an interesting conversation) but I like to think that I am just open to everyone being able to look the way they want and that your abilities should not be judged on if you chose to wear a mini skirt or a pair of jeans today, maybe that’s just what I’ve been told to think though… Will I wake up soon from the fake feminist Matrix controlled by the Anti-woman corporation and escape into the real world? Tune in next time to find out.

 

I got a little side tracked there with my rant at the end but there you go. My reasoning for not playing male characters. Let me know in the comments which gender you usually go with, is it your own? Do you mix it up? Do you play as the opposite gender? Do you think that it even affects your choice at all? I’m very interested to know if this is just me or if it’s something that everyone does to an extent.

General Gaming

Could It Be? An Online Multiplayer Game That I… Like?

I have touched upon how I am not a big fan of online multiplayer games before, I don’t like how competitive and serious people get about it and I feel very self-conscious if I have to work in a team in case they don’t think I’m playing right.

A few months ago my other half got me to try Overwatch, I was launched straight into a battle playing as I-can’t-remember-who with no idea what I was doing and as a result I was of course terrible at it, and therefore hated it. Then, like an aura of multiplayer goodness tinged with my slight obsession with them, Game Grumps released some videos where they teach their least experienced player how to play Overwatch. They take him through each class explaining the role of them and taking him to the training zone to try a hero from each class out. (Cue me shouting “THERE’S A TRAINING ZONE?!!” at a shame-faced Dan who failed to mention that in his attempt at getting me to play.) I watched Dan play a couple of games then had a good look at characters I liked the look of, I ended up choosing Mei who is adorable in her snug little snow boots and glasses.

Mei

Aesthetics aside I thought that defensive DPS would be a good place to start as I generally play a DPS character in other games anyway and as Defensive DPS I would be less of a glass cannon so I wouldn’t get killed quite so much, and therefore disheartened. It worked and I found playing as Mei really fun. Then I tried just plain old DPS as Tracer, who is also super fun to play but I died a lot more with her as her health is 100 points lower than Mei’s. I still like her though, she’s my second go-to. I have become almost dependent on Mei though now, I am pretty good at playing as her and even got play of the game at one point! I was very proud of that. This means that I am very uncomfortable if I have to play as anybody else though, other than Tracer who I have the hang of, even if it’s a slightly shaky hang. When I get the game for myself (more on that later though) I will find a character I like in each class to play so that I can play anything if need be, I have a feeling Mei will always be my main though.

Tracer_portrait

So what’s different about this online multiplayer game to others that I have really struggled with in the past, mainly because of other players (*cough* World of Warcraft *cough*)? I suppose it’s the randomness of it. Unless you seek a friend out for a team you are thrown in with random people each time, all of varying levels and Dan’s not a hugely high level compared to some other players but no one’s left the group because they think they’re going to be hindered by a lower level player (and I don’t think that’s an option anyway even if they wanted to). It’s also insanely fast-paced so it’s difficult to strategise and really think something out, if you can at all. That kind of plays into my comments about Starwhal in a post I did many moons ago, I really liked that for the reason that it was chaotic and you didn’t need to be good at it because no one really can be, therefore eliminating that competitive vibe. In Overwatch you have players that are really good at the game but even the most skilled players can fall in the most random, chaotic situations, there doesn’t ever appear to be a huge rivalry.

Another thing that I really like is that all the characters have back stories or shorts that show off their skills in Pixar-esque animated mini movies and if some characters have a history together then they will have little chats before each battle. This makes the characters a lot more interesting than in other fighting games where you don’t really have a story it’s just a character menu of random, tough looking people. I haven’t seen a lot of the stories yet but what I’ve seen so far is really cool. Here’s a short about Widowmaker below (featuring Tracer) it’s really good, if you have 6 minutes it’s well worth a watch even if you don’t play Overwatch.

Finally, the best bit for me: I don’t have to speak to people, the euphoric moment where I realised that I wasn’t expected to have a headset or type talk to people was amazing. I just want to get on with it, I’ll get Mei to wave at you and say ‘hello!’ but do not expect me to attempt to talk with you. This isn’t me being a dick by the way, if someone wants to mess about pre-battle kicking animated basketballs around or doing a stupid animation dance-off I am more than up for that, I just get very anxious if there is a social element added to a game that expects me to communicate with other players in order to play the game more effectively. I don’t know why but the thought fills me with dread. Although if I was in a situation where I knew everyone IRL that I was playing with then that would be different.

Unfortunately Overwatch is a bit pricey (when I looked on the PS4 store it was about £50) and having just moved I’m in a bit of a money-saving situation what with just moving. Plus it seems stupid to get it when Dan, who I am now living with, already has it but I want my own account on it and we want to play it together as well (now that he knows I’m a good defensive DPS player he wants me on his team =P)… First-world gamer problems!

What are your thoughts on multiplayer gaming? Do you play Overwatch? If so who is your go to character? Which class do you generally go for?

 

General Gaming

The Pixel Dependency

Right now I have a list of games I want to play and games that I already own but have not yet finished (Bloodborne, Doom, The Last of Us…) but sometimes I just want to chill and not think about how many times Vicar Ameila has killed me, the zombie apocalypse or demons invading Mars. So I sit there and look through my more “chill” games but everything involves killing in some way or another. So when all is said and done down the only game that constitutes as an Oasis of calm in my gaming library is Stardew Valley. Until I get addicted to it that is. I actually meant to write this post about Stardew ages ago but was, ironically, too addicted to Stardew to get time to write it.

Despite the constant need to be researching which vegetables I should be growing, how much wood I need to build a barn, which gifts will be best received by which characters, and what I need to make crab pots, Stardew Valley is so relaxing. I often find that this is the case with simulators, I’ll play them addictively for a while, then suddenly I’ll snap out of it and just stop. I don’t know how they make chopping wood for almost an entire Stardew day (about 20 minutes) so compelling but I need that barn, dammit! If you do actually know what it is that makes games like this so addictive please say so in the comments, I’ve been wondering about it for a while now! I imagine it has something to do with a built up rewards system (i.e. if you chop enough wood you’ll get a barn, which means you get cows, which means you get milk, cheese, better food, more money… and then you can afford to build this other thing!)

My pixel dependency aside I’ve wanted to give this game some love for a while now, even though it’s been out for over a year, because it really deserves it and I think that if you haven’t tried it yet you should give it a go, even if it’s not the sort of game you usually play! At first everything is simply adorable and perfect in the Stardew community and you’re focused on getting your farm built up and all the little missions you get. Shane Storyline Spoilers Ahead! On my first farm I accidentally made Shane my bestie by giving him 2 beers, one as a normal gift and one on what I did not realise was his birthday then I was treated to a cut-scene where he opens up to you about his depression and my idyllic view of Stardew came crashing down, I started paying more attention to the characters’ stories – particularly Shane’s as I was emotionally invested – and all these characters have different problems and well thought out personalities. Shane’s story delves into his drinking problems, his depression and finally his attempt to kill himself. It’s so surprising to find that content in a game that appears to be a simple simulator/RPG at first glance and the fact that it addresses the current, real life issue of suicide in men is brilliant. Other stories range from dealing with PTSD to self-doubt to just discovering unexpected quirks and aspects of a character’s personality that you wouldn’t have expected them to have…

Shane Stardew Valley

On to a happier topic now though: Freedooooom!!! I have addressed this somewhat before in my post about different gaming styles where I compared my farm to my other half’s farm. Dan enjoys focusing on making as much money as he can, as quickly as he can but I found that a little too stressful, I didn’t enjoy having a military like schedule for growing my plants and only getting the things that I knew would make me the most money (I only knew this in the first place because almost every day he texted me tips about how to make more money on the farm, if you think my obsession is bad you should have seen what he was like). I gave in to the money making a bit on my first farm and eventually stopped playing but now I have started a new farm with no particular aim, I just want to have fun with it. If I want to build something I’m going to build it, profits be damned! Due to my current marathoning of Ru Paul’s Drag Race I’ve also made that the theme for my farm and character (just because I can), allow me to introduce you to Farmer Fishy Queen of Slaaaaay Farm and the proud owner of a cat named Mew Pawl (Sharon Sheeples, Jinx Moosoon, and Shantneigh to follow as soon as I have a barn and stable).

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Also I have a dinosaur, no big deal

I like that while you may think the overall aim is to get as much money as possible and build your farm up (because after 3 years your Grandfather appears and judges the success of your farm) that’s by no means what you have to do, you can focus on whatever you want. So as an example of 3 different play styles there’s Dan getting as much money as he can, I just want my farm to look super pretty and see what everything does, and my sister (who also plays it) focuses on building relationships with all the villagers, and that’s just us! I chose the fishing farm and each island has a different theme, so far there’s Animal island and Fishing island, soon I’ll be making Craft island where I’ll make jam, cheese and all that. I think that this kind of freedom is what makes the game so relaxing, there’s no pressure to do any missions you don’t want to do, there’s no need to play it in any certain way, it’s just a nice, chill time for everyone.

Stardew Valley_20170729190623Stardew Valley_20170729190546

Have you played Stardew Valley? What do you think it is about games like this that makes them so addictive? Which games do you play to relax?

General Gaming

Confession: I Miss Gary Oak…

Who remembers when you were a novice, young Pokémon trainer just starting out? Remember your neighbour Gary Oak and how he would antagonise and bully you? So much so that it would make you even more determined to beat the game to prove him wrong? We would give him names like ‘Butthead’ and ‘Arseface’ just to make ourselves feel better but you know what… When all is said and done I miss Buttface.

Gary cheerleaders
Now I get what these cheerleaders were all about

Nowadays your ‘rival’ – if you can even call them that – is a goody two shoes friend that helps you throughout your adventure. You’ll fight them and when you win rather than say something like “Whatever. My granddad is going to give me a super rare Pokémon I can beat you up with, I don’t care” and swagger away, they’ll congratulate you on your victory and will probably give you a cool item to help you in your quest, how dare they?! At first I thought it was a nice change but now I want them to go on about how they’re going to be the champion and that they will crush my dreams. Stop being so nice to me Brendan from Sapphire/Ruby, I don’t want your stupid Go-goggles or your help defeating Team Aqua, and I’m not your best friend! I’ve never even actually spoken to you, you don’t know what my voice sounds like because you’re always the one talking! Tell me you’re going to ask your dad for a rare Pokémon to beat me up with, I want to hate you!!! “Hey, let me heal your Pokémon for you!” Leave them alone! I don’t trust you! We are sworn enemies and I will crush you! Then there’s Wally as well who actually asks if he can be your rival. HE ASKS YOU.

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Look at his annoying eager to be friends face

I can’t say exactly why I miss the actual rivalry so much, maybe it’s the thrill you get from beating Gary up after he’s so mean to you, there’s get that wonderful ‘mwahaha’ moment when you defeat him in a battle. Right now even the bad guys are nice to you, Team Aqua/Magma see the error of their ways and now there’s Team Skull who are not even a serious gang, even Nintendo has realised no one takes the Teams seriously anymore. There’s no nasty character pushing me to finish the game to prove to them that I can beat them once and for all, it’s all some larger threat which is not directly associated with your character, it’s just something you end up involved in somehow halfway through the game.

Gary battle

Aside from all that Gary Oak’s own story was, let’s face it, kind of sad when you thought about it. His own granddad forgets his name and is always reprimanding him no matter what he does, his Raticate actually dies (allegedly) which, as a Pokémon trainer just starting out must have been devastating and would have probably knocked anyone else’s confidence out of the park leaving them to retire their Pokédex, but despite that he does actually become the Champion only to be defeated almost instantly by some kid his own grandfather decided to favour and is then told by said grandfather, the person he has being trying to impress all this time, that he is disappointed in him, even though he managed to beat the Elite Four and become the champion first! That’s not to mention a theory I came across in one of my many voyages down an internet rabbit hole, it was a horrible game theory that said Gary kills himself after you become the champion… I choose not to believe that one though. I did try to find it to link it in case you’re into that sort of thing but I can’t find it.

 

Nintendo are probably trying to teach us that everyone can be good and that there is no need for anyone to be mean. Even people you consider to be a rival should be treated with love and respect, etc, etc. Maybe my early Pokémon days have scarred my psyche for life and I will forever be a bitter winner/loser when confronted with competition because my first ever rivalry with Gary Oak was so intense. Maybe the kids starting out with the Pokémon games of today will grow up to be peaceful and respectful, the word ‘rival’ will eventually be phased out of the English language and the time of Gary Oak (and that red haired dude from Gold/Silver) will be looked back on with horror and the tale of Pokémon Yellow will be used as a campfire horror story – “and then he said… Smell ya later” *gasps* *fainting * *screams*.

Gary Oak

General Gaming

Mind Over Metal Holiday Pokémon Challenge

Another challenge, I know! Don’t worry though, this one isn’t like my 30 Day Video Game Challenge though, this is a challenge I thought I’d try while I was on holiday and I thought I’d share it with you!

I don’t know why but playing Pokémon while I’m on holiday is one of my favourite things to do (second favourite next to reading a good book), I’ll happily lie by the sea/swimming pool with a cocktail and play through a Pokémon game. This holiday my boyfriend came with me and we went to France to my parents’ house to dog-sit for them while they were away. Dan suggested a challenge where we assign numbers to the 17 different Pokémon types (excluding fairy) and then we are randomly assigned a number, he got Steel and I got Psychic (I originally got Ice but in the version we’re going to play there’s only like 6 ice Pokémon and they’re all quite far into the game).

The versions we are playing are both Sapphire, however he has downloaded the original Sapphire on his phone to play through while I have my Alpha Sapphire game on my 3DS. We were going to race to see who finished first but what with the phone vs 3DS way of playing it seems like that might not be fair. As he is playing on his phone he was able to do some sort of cheat to get all of his Steel Pokémon straight away as, like with me being unable to get ice type Pokémon early in the game, he couldn’t get them at the beginning. They all started at level 2.

Dan team

I am playing through on my 3DS though as I just find that it’s better, I love my 3DS! I played through with a starter until I got to the first Psychic type (Ralts) and then I released the starter Pokémon (that always makes me sad) and just continued as if Ralts was the starter, I forgot how long you have to wait until you get the next Psychic type so I just had a Ralts for ages and it got very over-levelled. I did have to temporarily catch a Zigzagoon to get past Team Aqua as well because Mightyena is immune to Psychic moves, and if I get stuck fighting a dark type Pokémon, as it’s really effective against Ralts, I’m done for and I’ve actually died a couple of times to my shame! I have never found Team Aqua to be a challenge until now.

So as Dan is playing it on his phone he can play the game sped up, and at first I thought that that may let him get through a lot faster than me but then I only have one Pokémon and it’s really over-levelled, plus they introduced bits in Alpha Sapphire where once you have finished certain quests someone will say “would you like to return to Slateport with me?” and then rather than have to make your way back on foot you just warp there. We keep overtaking each other, right now he’s in the lead. I don’t know which of us has the best way to do it, I guess only time will tell but on our track record so far Dan always gets through the Elite Four while I’m still on like the 5th gym or something in a normal playthrough. I like to take my time in my defence but maybe having less Pokémon will speed me up a bit. Also, I have a history of being terrible at Nuzlocke challenges, usually wiping out halfway through the game.

Game comparison
A comparison of new vs old

As it stands right now, he’s just finished the Team Aqua hideout and I am about to start it. We both have full teams of Pokémon now and I have suddenly found myself being showered with Psychic types, mainly thanks to the Safari zone and Mount Pyre which means that I have some really overpowered Pokémon and some normal level Pokémon. I don’t like it, I usually try and have them all be about the same level.

Megan team levelled
My unevenly leveled team as they are now. Can’t figure out how to do 3DS screenshots so apologies for the quality

Dan team levelled

Would you rather play on your phone using an emulator or on a DS? Have you ever done a Pokémon challenge? Do you know of any Pokémon challenges other than a type challenge or a Nuzlocke? I’m always interested to try new ones!

General Gaming · Cosplay

A Very Geeky Wedding

I haven’t been to a lot of weddings in my time, but damn, I would not hesitate to say that I recently attended the best wedding ever. I wouldn’t usually do a post about something like this but it had a geeky theme to it so I thought why not! There’s so much to show and tell, keeping with the gaming/geeky theme of the blog I’ll start off with that part of the wedding and then on to the circus element, THERE’S FIRE BREATHING, JUGGLING AND BULL WHIPS. Finally I’ll put on a little slideshow of the beautiful venue (aka the brides’ parents’ garden) so that you can have some Alice in Wonderland style British countryside porn.

So first off the invitation arrived, and it definitely set the tone for the rest of the wedding… However as I’m currently on holiday (in a very rainy France) and can’t take a photo of it at the moment, you’ll have to take my word for it until I get home.

They had Pokémon cupcakes…

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The cake was cut with Kirito’s sword from Sword Art Online and Thorin Oakenshield’s sword, Orcrist, made an appearance as well (although it doesn’t look that impressive next to Kirito’s).

The cake itself was My Neighbour Totoro themed (not going to lie, only know that because I googled “big grey rabbit thing Japanese” – I’m not a big Anime person) and it tasted amazing.

cake.jpg

The vows themselves were mostly huge collections of pop culture references, which was funny. Particularly the bride doing Yoda’s voice to say “meant to be, we are”.

On to the circus/entertainment element. The bride is a part-time teacher in a circus school, teaching fire breathing and bullwhip, so she had a lot of friends that showed up – including a ring master in a splendid waistcoat acting as the officiant and sort of all-round compère – who did a few little shows themselves. One of the more intense bits was when the groom had to hold spaghetti in his mouth and between his legs as the most stereotypical British man in the world sliced it to ribbons with a bullwhip (never thought that was a sentence that would need to be said…). He also whipped a piece of paper in half as it was held aloft by a small child, while the audience yelled “MORE DANGER!”

It’s good to see that the old English tradition of sacrificing small children in a creative, eccentric way at your wedding is still around. He made balloon animals too, that was nice. I tried to get a picture of the whip bit but it was too fast and I can’t put videos on my blog yet… You’ll have to take my word for it that it was awesome.

Then the bride did some fire breathing and her friend juggled an axe, a bear trap (he had me throw a stick at it and it was not a fake bear trap) and a scythe. Shame I had the toilets in the background of my pics but the side where they wouldn’t have been in shot was taken up by “real” photographers.

The kids were treated to a Punch and Judy show. American/not English readers, I don’t think you have Punch and Judy so let me just explain the concept. Two puppets made from nightmare fuel bash each other in the face with sticks potentially crippling you with a fear of puppetry and then haunting your British dreams for the rest of your days. It’s great fun. Needless to say I was a much bigger fan of puppets such as Basil Brush or Sooty and Sweep in my youth.

Punch and judy

There was giant Jenga nearly as tall as me, as well as space hoppers and random circus style toys like diablos and plate spinners.

Jenga.jpg

As promised here is a slideshow of the beautiful garden with the Alice in Wonderland theme worked into it (bonus game of Where’s Wally – or Waldo, for my American friends – here, courtesy of our friend Matt who kindly provided our transport to and from the event.)

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Finally, it was also a fancy dress wedding and I loooooove fancy dress. Every party would be fancy dress if I had my way (I know I’ve put this post under my ‘cosplay’ category but it’s that too, right?) Dan was asked to dress as Deadpool by the bride so naturally I decided to go as Deadpool’s one true love: a fluffy Unicorn (wink wink if you’ve seen the movie). I made my dress as well which was fun but now my entire flat is covered in sequins. They are literally everywhere, I can’t get rid of them.

When it comes to planning my wedding sometime in the future, how am I supposed to not copy them in some way? I can’t not have something like a sword cutting the cake, tea cups full of candy on the tables, or an eccentric bearded man terrorising children. I had such an incredible day it was so much fun.

General Gaming

Nostalgia Moment: The Urbz, Sims in the City

I’m at my parents’ house at the moment and I uncovered my old GameCube while I was digging around some of my old stuff. I loved that GameCube so much, in fact, to get us going let’s just have a listen to that start up bit…

Aaaaaaaah… That, dear readers, is the sound of my childhood.

Anyway so we uncovered a game which, when we were young, impressionable, and tasteless, my sister and I thought was brilliant. My other half, who is with me while I’m at my parents’, took one look at the cover and was unsure what to think so we decided to give it a go… I don’t know how many of you are familiar with The Urbz: Sims in the City but it’s… Interesting. To explain to you the concept of this game please enjoy the intro video for the game. Do watch it, it’s amazing.

Confused? Yeah. So was Dan, I believe his words were “The right drugs have not been invented yet to make this make sense”. You may also have recognised the song in the background was ‘Let’s Get It Started’ by The Black Eyed Peas… In simlish. Yup. In case that didn’t blow your mind enough let me tell you the best thing about this game: The soundtrack is mostly music by The Black Eyed Peas but sung in simlish. It’s hilarious. As you heard in that video the words ‘Let’s Get it Started’ sound more like ‘Let’s go rattata’ and I just can’t get enough. The band are also characters in the game with Will. I. Am. as your bestie who gets you set up in the city.

So what’s the aim of the game? Basically you need to build up enough reputation in the city to get into loads of clubs and get a penthouse, don’t stop that party though because if you do your rep goes down and you start to become a nobody again. You start off in a shitty flat with a small amount of money and super convenient subway access, you also choose a zone to start building your rep up in and each zone has a different style, so for example Central Station is full of punks, Kicktail Park is skaters, Neon East is sort of Asian themed with eye assaulting colours… That sort of thing. You have to learn social gestures and moves (I don’t really know how to describe it) that are specific to each zone and you also have to dress like everyone in there to get in to the local club and have the time of your life. When you get into the club in each zone the current city big shot will teach you a Power Social move (the weird break dance thing they did in the video is one of these) and you can use them to become super popular, complete missions for other sims or awe bullies so much that they can’t compete with how sociable you are and leave the district forever (seriously). We tried out the Power Social ‘Blastikiss’ on a punk that our sim barely knew where our sim confidently swaggered up to him, grabbed him and kissed him. They soared into the air, fireworks went off,  Rather than report our sim for sexual assault the punk seemed to enjoy it and boom boom pow, we got put on the guest list for the local club.

Something that I never really noticed when I was younger was how deformed the sims are, the girl has a waist so small you could just hold it in your hand and the male sim has shoulders so big they look like 80’s shoulder pads on steroids. It’s hard to rock that body when you look like a Barbie doll/deformed rugby player. All ladies of course have rather generous humps (what does that even mean? I guess no one knows what it means but it’s provocative) and no matter what body shape you make a man, from your limited choice as it is, they will always have abs and weird arm muscles.

Sims

I did always find it a bit weird that once you have loads of rep you can’t dress the way you want to by mixing clothes from different districts and everything, I would have thought being individual was a good thing but no you must conform, where is the love guys?

If you were hoping I would shut up with my Black Eyed Peas puns throughout this post (if you spotted them, and I hope you did otherwise you may have just thought I have a weird writing style) then sorry not sorry, I love bad puns. Imma be playing through some more GameCube games while I’m here so I gotta feeling I’ll put some nostalgia moment posts up. Stay Tuned!

Are there any games from your childhood that you would find weird to play now? Have you played this game before?

 

30 Day Video Game Challenge · General Gaming

30 Day Video Game Challenge! Day 4: Your Guilty Pleasure Game

While I don’t actually consider this a guilty pleasure… In fact I don’t really consider many games at all guilty pleasures … I suppose The Sims is quite a guilty pleasure? I’ll get hooked on it occasionally after a long break and I’ll usually go with the following sort of structure: Making a couple where one sim will work their way up honestly (very little cheating for money) from the ground up and the other sim is a total dick to them, not working, cheating on them and just generally being super mean to everyone. Then I either kill off or move out (depending on future levels of drama wanted) the nasty sim when the good sim starts to flourish and make loads of money. THEN the good sim meets another good sim and they start dating but then oh, hell no, nasty sim is back and they have a huge fight. Then the two good sims get married and live happily ever after and I try to make their family tree go on for as long as I can until I get bored and stop playing again.

Re-reading all that, yeah maybe it is a bit of a guilty pleasure!

What’s you guilty pleasure game? If you play The Sims, what drama do you unleash on them? I love hearing other people’s funny Sim stories.

The-Sims-2

30 Day Video Game Challenge · General Gaming

30 Day Video Game Challenge! Day 3: A Game That is Underrated

A few years ago I got full-on addicted to Dead Island, it got really bad. I actually started having dreams about being attacked by zombies with the viewpoint as if I was playing the game, although weirdly I was never scared in those dreams because I was always so confident I’d either beat them up or if I died in my dream I knew I wasn’t really dead and would sort of ‘reload’. Super weird. Anyway, point is that game didn’t seem to get a huge amount of love, not enough to warrant my addiction anyway, and I know it had its faults and that it was “just another zombie game” but it was so much fun, plus I really liked running around that beautiful hotel resort and island. Still waiting on the second one though…

dead island

Who else has played this? Have you ever been addicted to a game like that? What games do you think are underrated?

30 Day Video Game Challenge · General Gaming

30 Day Video Game Challenge! Day 2: Your Favourite Character

This is really difficult… I’m honestly really struggling with this as I have lots of characters I like but a core favourite doesn’t really spring to mind – it’s easier to think of characters from TV or movies. I suppose Kratos from God of War, if I had to choose. God of War 4 is the only game that I am actively following the progress of this year. This sounds kind of bad but I really enjoy Kratos’ brutal, aggressive tactics which are different from most other games I play, it gives you a cool alternative “you know what? What if you did just kill everyone and get it over with rather than try and do the ‘good’ thing?” it’s even brought into puzzles sometimes where you’ll be trying to solve something and then it gradually dawns on you that you have to do THAT nasty thing that you feel bad doing and it’s not a choice, it’s required to make you complete the game. It’s different having a hero that does not give a shit at all, literally not one, about what others think of him and his actions, well until 3 anyway when he meets Pandora and then there’s some nice character development which I liked. Also while he can talk, unlike some protagonists, often the expression on his face speaks for itself and he just doesn’t need to, he’s basically a super buff, human Grumpy Cat.

Kratos

A few honourable mentions: Imoen from Baldur’s Gate, GlaDOS from Portal, Midna from Twilight Princess

Who’s your favourite? Any other Kratos fans out there?