Me and Pixel Dynamo

So I’m going to be writing for a gaming journalism website. I’m going to try for three posts a week up on this blog but it’ll be a squeeze outside of weekends given my priorities right now.

Which basically is: hunt fer some news and right about it twice a day. Honestly as “demoralizing” as some think it, I look forward to the challenge of writing and re-immersing myself into a world I only view from a consumer standpoint.

Honestly, the hold up on posts will settle come a week’s time when I’m assimilated into the world of reporting.

So we’ll see!

-A happily busy bard

Men’s Rights and Feminism

hessianwithteeth

I had a discussion earlier about feminism and the Men’s Rights Movement. I do not support MRA’s, because they are largely a hate group. Too many MRA’s are fine with threatening women with rape and violence and do nothing more productive than troll feminist groups. I don’t think they’ll ever do otherwise. For one, all of their legitimate grievances, such as the fact that women get custody of children more often than men when it comes to divorce, are also concerns to feminists. Feminists actually lobby to change these laws and practices, but MRA’s seem to be too busy blaming them on feminism to do anything. And for another, the best known MRA groups/representatives are all very extreme and make it difficult for moderate MRA’s to accomplish more than legitimizing a hate group. They don’t, likely because they aren’t able to, make the group more agreeable or more productive. As…

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The Christian ‘Victory’

(Video link above)

 

In many ways, I feel for the speaker in this youtube video. Here he stood, in a position where he’s being directly told not to mention god or his beliefs in his high school graduation speech. As a staunch believer, he defies these oppressive credences and proclaims his faith in triumph.

It’s a situation I don’t doubt has happened before. Was the administration right to deny this person the right to talk about religion in his speech? In some ways, yes. We don’t know where he goes to school, but I assume this was a public school. Addressing things as if that were the case, there doesn’t really need to be mention of religious views in the senior speech. He’s in a setting where you can’t just say that the majority believes what you believe, and in respect staying silent about things so close to the hearts of many is wise.

Of course, it was a little silly to try and censor any speech that even mentions the word god, though no one can say how stringent the rules were in reality. For all we know it might’ve been that the student in question was planning on saying as much about god or more in his speech than what he did say in actuality.

As a former believer, I understand how much of an opportunity to be the ideal christian seemed to be presented when it came down to the wire and he had to decide whether or not he was going to defy the administrations wishes. But how he ended up handling it was the very thing that even a very lenient speech editor couldn’t let slip by, as lightly religious as it still was. The speech starts off essentially talking about how there will be times when people will be told to do things against their own conscience and beliefs, and that his speech was a perfect example as he had three drafts rejected for the mention of god in them. But, as he points out, we should be acting in ways that we believe is morally good and not for others. Ending with a verse, he blessed the audience in the name of the god of the christian bible.

I wouldn’t have had much of a problem with the speech, though in the end it is still too religious in a moment where you just can’t assume the religion of your audience. The problem I do have is how it’s already becoming the staple example of fighting against religious oppression when the “oppression” was a general policy probably meant to respect the beliefs of everyone. Even in my old high school, where the percentage of christians in the school almost definitely match the amount of muslim and sheik beliefs, no mention of religion is ever made simply because outside of the passing reference, is it really a necessary part of the speech? Also, is the christian religion being oppressed? It’s like the time when an atheist fought to eliminate mandated prayer became the day “prayer was taken out of our schools” as if nobody was allowed to pray anymore. I definitely sympathize with the level of backlash christians have gotten for the rise in gay politics, if only because I can see how sincere most of the responses can be, as sincere a simply bigoted response can be at times. But this is nothing short of an illusion of oppression in many instances. Outside of peer pressure, at least. And even as a atheist I can say that while sex isn’t wrong, pressuring to have it is terrible. But again, outside of this, christian theology is probaly one of the most priveleged parts of the nation in a broad stroke.

At the end of the day, this wasn’t the huge levels of preaching I expected it to be, though it is honestly enough for any editor to say that it should be changed. One of the recurring points I lean on is the idea that this would be a different scenario if the speaker was a muslim or anything else. School graduation speeches are a place to tell parents and students about moving on and growing up, about setting goals and achieving them. Sure, a passing mention on religious beliefs are fine, but it’s hardly a victory against oppression to feel the need to break policy made not to oppress but to allow for respect.

-A nonbelieving bard with the completely “insane” ability to sit through speeches containing some religious perspective

Legend of Korra’s latest trailer

Holy Crap?

There’s already an entire trailer on LoK Book three out?

I think it is worth pointing out how siked I am for the upcoming season Avatar: Legend of Korra. The idea of change at such a fundamental level leaves so much open for this new season of Legend of Korra and while I still think there is a lot of possible story to animate in the Pre-Korra side of things, opening up this whole new paradigm is going to be exciting. I can’t say much of what I can expect from the trailer, outside of Zuko and Tenzin’s brother, Boomey, learning how to airbend. But the new enemy, or what I suspect will be the enemy, seems to be coming from the same line of work that Sparky Sparky Boom Man the assassin comes from. From that short clip around the two minute mark I almost thought he was earthbending AND firebending. I have no clue if he was and what I should have seen from the clip but the interesting theory I have will be elaborated in a new blog post about a cool new plot device idea: mixing elements. They certainly the freedom to work with this anyway, but I have no clue if this was truly suggested.

Either way, the trailer did what it was supposed to do: pique the shit out of my interest. Unlike E3, I KNOW I won’t be disappointed with more Korra. Now that the writers seem like they have a better idea on pacing, coupled possibly with less of a constraint on length, I think potential for an adventure on the scale of the first series is not just feasible, but needed to really set the ground work for how this new cross between spirit world natural world comes to life.

Check out the trailer and let me know what you think it was about, the youtube link unfortunately lacks in a comment section for kid friendly reasons I’d guess.

-An excited self proclaim Bard hoping for some awesome Korra and maybe element blending

I’ll leave a space here for an edit linking to future articles about my theories and general feeling on the path of the Avatar universe and series as a whole.

Assassin’s Creed Unity: Skeptics Checklist

I don’t want to act like the be all end all of Ubisoft’s newest Assassin’s Creed game with the making of this post. Hell if I’ll be even close, let’s be entirely clear here. I’m fucking small-time. Flea in in the pea soup on a raft in the ocean on a speck in the galaxy.  This is just a small disclaimer: Just because I’m acting cynical doesn’t mean I’m not excited for this game. But I want to try my best to give a sort of realist position on the looks of the game to start a conversation about the potential pitfalls of this game before hype makes such a thing impossible.

Everything I type is just my own personal opinions and precautions I’m taking to stay as as safe a buyer as I can be while still appreciating E3 content and trailers. With a little spin to give a sort of prediction of this new title in the grand series.

So, I’ve seen every trailer to date and I think that it goes beyond saying that the gameplay and graphics of the newest installment of the Assassin’s Creed series look like the answer to many of the problems that permeated literally every game to date. The problem is, we were showcased only a handful of the new.  I got to see some snazzy graphics and super tight cooperative play in one trailer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62QxAJegws8), which I enjoyed a lot. But it’s hard not to notice how much more smoothly every movement was, from a purely gameplay aesthetic. The female narrator’s presumed character was graceful for the most part, making me think this whole thing was scripted or practiced a shit ton. Fine, that’s the most obvious conclusion ever. It’s worth pointing it out, though, since cooperative play could easily have been shown in it’s most optimal visage: four skilled assassin’s leaping through and coordinating their attacks. I’ve played AC3’s wolf pack: it’s indeed awesome and while admittedly small scale, we should all remember or look up gameplay of this match mode. While ideally it’d be a badass mode to play, not only are most of the players incompetent but Assassin Creed’s modus operandi has been creating the godliest assassination game ever created. This leads to a show offy narcissistic feel in multiplayer modes, and more often than not people act in ways to show off to their coop players who’s the man in stead of discretion and utmost concentration. My prediction is that Coop without friends is going to be Wolfpack all over again if not to slightly less worse degree. Sure, the mode itself isn’t flawed but Assassin’s Creed’s style is almost too narcissistic to work with others. Hopefully I’m wrong, but yeah.

Coop still looks awesome but hopefully the parameters for enjoyment doesn’t crash in response to how many stupid noobs are going to accompany you in a mission. Another trailer was totally single player in experience. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izoa3d3rMYs) In this one we get to see one of ACU’s most proudly claimed improvements: making descent as free flowing and precise as ascent has been. I’m just going to reserve judgement on how well functionally this works until we play, but we’ll see eh? It looks very nice though. The other two things mentioned here that got me smiling was disguises and stealth, but it’s about fucking time that any semblance of stealth makes into a game about killing people as a way of life! It’s like if Call of Duty finally announced that grenades and explosives have found their way into the game as if it’s innovative and not just improving the feel of a realistic shooter. So while I’m psyched to see these things finally find their spot in a console Assassin’s Creed game, I’m pissed it took so long. Also, given how game changing these two modes are I wish we’d have seen more of it. Hell, disguises was only vaguely mentioned so for all I know it might be far more contrived than it should be, becoming some sort of disguise QTE instead actually allowing your character to feel the brunt of being human by not dressing like a bloody mass murderer and having limited equipment within certain disguises. This is my biggest gripe about the series I love so much, after all. For all it could have been from the start, Ubisoft sold and traded off to make your assassin feel as unkillable and godly as ever. Fighting was easy as all hell, climbing was shown to comprise of nothing more than a few button presses, and you were allowed to just be fully loaded at all times as if non discreet weaponry and badass hooded clothing was just the norm. I feel like the quicker Ubisoft abandons catering to the power fantasy demographic, the better the games can be. We’ll see if the two sneaky features become integrated enough to feel like anything more than a short aside from the usual power thirsty feel of the game.

The new weapon, the phantom blade, is basically a silenced range kill so it’s welcome but not so innovative, and Eagle Pulse’s necessity will only be revealed with gameplay from actual players. Honestly I could do without the Eagle sense entirely and go for more subtle indicators simply because it again adds to the wrong narrative I’ve wanted Assassin’s Creed to follow. Instead of being a quick witted assassin, you’re a god with the name of assassin. Odds are my narrative is a dream few care for or Ubisoft cares little for this far into the franchise. So honestly I suspect stealth and disguises to be minimal and eagle pulse to be a little crazy in scope and use. Coop is going to be a subjective experience given the sort of “power fantasy” play style Creed openly invites online, and I won’t go into graphics much.

We were all there to see what happened to Watch Dogs, I won’t hold my breath mainly because it isn’t a big deal to me in the first play though honesty is just fundamentally important.

Verdict? Well, no shitting around on this one. Wait for some gameplay footage and reviews like always, and form your own opinions on it. I personally would have done the same anyway but I’m questioning whether or not I should give in a little to my hype or justlet it ride out.

Again, this is all my own opinion and of course I know these are just on some silly trailers. But I think it’s worth noting that these trailers are for trying to sell us the idea of innovation whilst I’m not sure ACU or AC as a series can hold up to the sort of curse of iteration I feel they’re forced to go with.

-A skeptic self-proclaimed bard.

 

Sunday Sermon Talks: Firsts for everything?

Minister Giving Sermon to congregation in Church back view

I don’t really have a clue how much longer will I have the. . . ‘privilege’ of going to church with my parents. While I can’t complain too much, the moment I move out I’m going to enjoy sleeping in on Sundays. I’ve basically operated with the notion of a sort of 6 day week my whole life, with Sunday being a special time of the week reserved for church and family stuff.

So while I still go, I thought it’d be interesting to sort of use this as a writing opportunity to sort of shed my perspective on the sermons. I go to a Christian Alliance Church near home, and the sermons there have always been interesting to hear for the most part. My pastor speaks with a sort of gentle authority that I’m sure is entrancing to listen to for most like myself. He can tell a joke or two but for the most part, it’s short but deep. I used to be eager to take in every word and apply it to my life before I became an atheist, but now every sermon comes as a sort of personal challenge to seek the veracity in his words and challenge my own nonbelief. It’s not that challenging, though. For the most part his sermons are presented specifically to believer, so there’s not much for the nonbeliever like me to really nibble on. The last time I had something worth really thinking about was over a month or two ago. In that particular sermon, he started talking about faith. For those he said who challenge the need for faith, he said matter of factly “We have faith in things all the time, what do you mean you don’t need faith? I have faith the sun rises every day, faith that my phone operates well enough to do the job -god knows I’ve know clue how this contraption works- we all need faith!”

So let’s talk about faith for a moment.

This is of course  paraphrasing, though the phone and sun examples are accurate. I couldn’t possibly remember it word for word, but I digress. It made me think of my own objections to faith and why I felt that faith the way it’s described in the bible wasn’t necessary. For one, it sounded to me that the “faith” that the pastor talked about that day seemed a lot like trust, NOT the biblical version. The sun rose yesterday and the day before, spanning throughout your whole life. It’s not that hard to expect that, from experience, it would do so again. Same with the car and the phone. If the phone didn’t work yesterday, I wouldn’t be so trusting of that phone in my pocket. The faith that the pastor talked about was entirely based on prior evidence to warrant the faith. (Or trust, take your pick) The christian faith, though, has nothing to do with evidence. While people probably have their own sorts of evidences supporting their christian faith, it’s not at all necessary for belief.

 Faith, as biblically defined, means this: 1  Now faith is the 1aassurance of things 2bhoped for, the3conviction of cthings not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

William Lane Craig adheres to the Webster definition: “an unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence.”

I can’t accept that notion as anything more than belief without justification. If this is what faith means, what use does it have? Even Craig goes so far as to say in his website that even though this is what faith means, Christians still have evidence. And I’ve heard most, if not all, of the arguments, from refined to emotional. Let alone the fact that it’s never been sufficient, this is in direct conflict with the biblical calling for Christians to have faith. I think it impossible to sincerely believe in something without evidence.  Let’s be honest, we’re insecure beings. We just don’t take what’s handed to us. I’m willing to bet that everyone who comes to the Christian faith already had prior belief in a god. As evidence motivated creatures, I find it hard to think that anyone actually had a complete lack of evidence before just going forward and believing in god. Sure, their evidences may be false arguments or years of being raised in a religious family. But no matter the quality of evidence, it’s evidence nonetheless.Though, the faith Christians talk about has a catch. If at any point the evidence fails, it doesn’t matter because there was never a need for it! The sting of this is that when the evidence falters in a believer, their belief will still be warranted unlike before they believed, and now they will continue to blindly believe sans justification. Is this any way to operate in real life? Do I just keep believing in things in face or in absence of evidence, or embrace the fact that I have no justification for my beliefs?

Unjustified beliefs are dangerous in many ways, and holding them as highly as the religious does runs risk of many things, like self delusion. There’s no questioning that we are our worst enemies when it comes to finding the truth. Confirmation bias, compartmentalization, and emotions fog our perception of reality all the time. People claim to see ghosts, spirits and a list of nonsense as a result. Why would religion risk going into this category if they cared about being a truth based belief system? I have a theory about why but that’s a post for another day. Until then, let’s conclude with this:

I have absolutely no problem with faith as long as there is evidence for it. Hell, we can hope for things without evidence in the same vein with no problem. But the moment we try and find truth by disregarding evidence, we might as well have handed our eyes over to that which we blindly believe in.

We aren’ t about using them anymore, that’s for sure.

So this is my intro to a weekly sort of ramble I’ll be writing about my thoughts on sermons I have to listen to.  I might make a small post about today’s sermon but it’s really nothing huge. They’re talking about the book of Joshua.

-A slightly bored self proclaimed Bard in the back of the room listening to the sermon

 

 

Small time blogger woes

So my base of operations is a harddriveless macbook pro ’08 edition running off of ubuntu 14.14 LTS’s live cd on a usb. The CD Drive is broken too, bear with me. Needless to say I’m struggling right now.

Either way, this situation has forced me to run on a sort of temporary desktop where I must save my files on a usb so that my files aren’t lost between boots and all of my lovely writings don’t evaporate into the void.  (it’s definitely worth figuring out where these files even go everytime I need to shut down)

Why am I saying all this? For the past few days, I’ve been noticing that I’ve gotten at least one view daily. Considering how long ago I started posting, I’m cool with this. In fact, I’m happy that someone actually wants to hear what I have to say (read what I have to write blah blah)

But I think I know who’s been on my profile every day. See, given my situation, I always have to log in daily because of the hard reset my computer goes through. And every day, I access my blog page first and sign in through the link there. My site has been logging everytime I do this as a bloody view.

I feel like Jon from Garfield right now. In a particular comic strip, Jon finds a dollar on the floor. And another. And another. By the time he’s announcing his “luck” off panel, Garfield smirks at the readers and goes “There’s a hole in his pocket”

Fuck.

-A lonely self-proclaimed bard

P.s. If anyone comes across this and knows the strip I’m talking about, lemme know where to find it for viewer reference!

Why Web Games?

I’m going to be spending at least equal or greater time on web games when I do my reviews, simply because it’s been the kinds of games I grew up on. And frankly, I’m surprised I don’t hear about it when you get interviews from gamers about what they grew up on.

As if flash games on newgrounds isn’t hardcore gamer enough. Pfft.

Web games, be it flash games on newgrounds or MMO’s like Runescape, all have one thing in common: they are (typically) free, and they are played on the computer. This was all it took for me at a wee age of 11 years old to hop on the internet, a place pretty much the same age as I was, and get into the world of web games. While most gamers grew up on consoles, I was a mix between a console and computer gamer and I can’t help but scratch my head at the stories of gamers who got to go home right after class, pop in a cartridge, and play games for hours on end until supper.

 

Didn’t these kids have curfews? Or parents, at the very least?

 

Sure, I’d have done the same thing if I could. I grew up on a clear-green Nintendo 64 that I got for some random forgotten occasion when I was a child and it literally took me years to beat Donkey Kong 64. The game was tough, sure, and jesus christ did I take a while to figure out that I’d already collected the medal in the Jetpack minigame and didn’t need to beat the whole sodding arcade game to get into Hideout Helm. But the main reason that the bane of my childhood took me until the age of 10 to beat, a whole three years after I got the N64, was that playing it was a weekend affair. My parents were strict: No games during school days except for fridays.

 

Apparently, no one else had to suffer through this misery. Not many others got to feel the pain I felt when the clock struck 9 on sunday nights and I was just too into Rayman 2: The Great Escape to admit that I had to stop before I got yelled at. It’d a whole week before I’d get to start a new game and play again.

 

Thankfully, Mum and Dad allowed me to use the computer at anytime. I’m positive that they were none the wiser to the fact that there was a world of free games on the internet out there for me to play, but i jumped on that bandwagon the moment i discovered Nick.com

 

Web gaming became a part of my life quickly because of that. Especially with that draconian rule in place all throughout my life until college, I learned to love the online web gaming world.

 

And my parents must have been none the wiser, because I got away with this shit for a while.

The Bard

 

On Casual Sex

“At work watching Valerie Hubert give a presentation on the physical and emotional dangers of our sexual culture while thinking about personal stories I have heard. What a multi-task.

Inside of [omitted]’s Head:

Casual sex..including any sex outside of a commitment, does not give freedom. Instead it enslaves one to insecurities, guilt, false expectancy and a broken heart

My conclusion:

The danger of lust is the imaginary world it creates.

The consequence of lust is that world crashing in.

 

I don’t usually feel like responding to posts like this but I have a lot to say about how false the idea of casual sex being inherently bad is. In today’s culture, I agree that casual sex carries with it a lot of shame. It’s certainly not inherent, as many people who care little for what society thinks can have casual sex without feelings of heartache and loss. Hell, I’ve never felt guilt or shame when I have casual sex.

 

How does casual sex give way to insecurities? Guilt? A broken heart? In a culture that shames sex in general, it’s easy to see how the first two are cultivated within some people. Especially with the fact that the idea brings forth images of half drunk, half high on godknowswhat and barely conscious romps through the night, it’s no wonder that people are ashamed of casual sex. How is this a way to live, let alone enjoy the sex? Casual sex has become so taboo that it gets paired up with the second most taboo activity adolescents and young adults enjoy: partying. Given all the underage drinking that goes on in most parties, this taboo at least isn’t all too surprising. How in the world has something so simple and enjoyable gotten pair up with the loud ruckus that parties engender?

 

The answer isn’t all that surprising. Religion has had a firm grip around the balls of sex almost since inception. Anything outside the very strict parameters of sex from a religious context has been toted as shameful for so long that even if the practice isn’t inherently bad, shame, guilt, and insecurity is inevitable. There are many verses that I could point to that elaborate on this fact, but pastors hold a true monopoly on sex shaming. Most people don’t read the bible enough to understand the need for sex shaming anyway. Sex outside of marriage isn’t the problem. The lack of proper sex ed in schools and the shame game toted with it has made casual sex so unfortunate for many participants. People who have sex while holding this kind of shame are more likely to get STD’s and get pregnant because of ignorance and shame towards contraception, thus perpetuating the shame cycle. It’s an almost ingenious system if it weren’t for that fact that I doubt that this was the intended result.

Also, a quick point about the whole broken heart business: if you have sex and you and your partner consensually agree to a purely sexual relationship, no one is going to feel heartbroken. Period.

 

The ending quote made by my dear family member could be reworded for similar effect:

 

My conclusion:

The danger of sex shaming is the imaginary world it creates.

The consequence of sex shaming is that world crashing in.

 

-A self proclaimed Bard

Closet Atheist, Frugal Gamer, Media Binging Procrastinator who calls himself Bard

Let’s be serious, though. Urban Dictionary, the place where all commonplace wordage goes to die and be reborn anew from the ashes, says this about bards:

From the Gaelic “bàrd”. A poetmusician, and entertainer. Also called a “minstrel” in some circles. Known through Latinas a “troubadour“.

And even then I don’t quite come close. Yeah, yeah. I draw some. I guess it’s entertaining, now especially given my skill. (lack there of)

But the term comes near and dear to my heart, and even though the days of my word weaving has past me by, on the B train where soon our paths may once more cross, I still love the term. So screw you, Oxford. Screw you, Merriam and you as well, Webster. I’ll use the word as I see fit. And lookie here, an electronic type writer to officiate the moment!

Bard: Anyone and everyone who chooses to express themselves through the art of music, the art of writing, or the art of visuals and drawings.

Fresh of the pages. New definitions in the making.

And the keys go tick.