bloodyrosemccoy: (N64)
WHY THE HELL AM I SURPRISED BY THIS

One quote from Scott Cawthon, the game maker: "The story really lends itself to being a movie ..."

It ... it does?

I dunno. I think it lent itself pretty well to being a video game, but I am really curious to see what they come up with.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I Learned Since The Winter Solstice

  • My preference for the Dome Theater comes largely from the fact that I can hang out alone in the booth. When new guys come to shadow me, it's less enjoyable--but still pretty fun.

  • Sometimes kittens happen to you out of nowhere.

  • Kids remember my Space Place lessons!

  • Main sequence blue stars also become red giants before snuffing out. I'd always been a little fuzzy about what happened to them.

  • Playing Musical Houses is stressful.

  • My tendency to research my stories as a teenager was apparently not a universal phenomenon among teenage fiction writers.

  • Sounds of 200 dB can rupture lungs.

  • At least when making sodas, there is such a thing as "just crazy enough to work."

  • Conures are a group of parrots that make good pets.

  • Livestreams can be pretty damn fun to watch.

  • It's possible to get emotionally invested in games that you thought were just supposed to be about jump scares.

  • The big difference between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is that people with the former think their obsessions and compulsions are a problem, whereas those with the latter think that everyone else is just a slob.

  • I still don't trust most Boy Scouts' ability to survive in their own living rooms, let alone in the wilderness.

  • The most well-known autism advocacy group is also terrible. Autism Speaks is mostly from the point of view of neurotypical people and addresses actual spectrum people as more a burden and a drain on society, which, surprisingly, does not endear them to said autistic people.

  • Trying to translate a lesson on astronomy from English to Spanish takes a while when you have to keep looking up terms.

  • The guy who sings the Guardians of the Galaxy version of "Hooked on a Feeling" was also the Arbiter in Chess.

  • Majora's Mask is a game rife with conspiracy theories.

  • The thing I did as a kid where I wondered if "red" looked the same to everyone was apparently a universal thing to do. The term for those experiences that can't be conveyed is qualia, and the inability to convey them is called the explanatory gap.

  • Cats' ability to land on their feet stems partly from visual and partly from kinetic orientation. When you take them into the Vomit Comet and they lose those cues, they sort of hula hoop around in circles trying to orient themselves.

  • If I'd had noise-cancelling headphones earlier in my life, things would've been SO much easier.

  • Okay, Smart Watches are AWESOME. This--THIS--is what I've been waiting for.

  • It is not too terrifying to start an Etsy store, but it takes a while to get it going once you do.

bloodyrosemccoy: (Cube Love)
So, Five Nights at Freddy's is over.



And you guys, it's kind of embarrassing to say this, but I feel a bit wrung out.

Seriously, I'm going to miss these characters. Last time I got Stockholm syndrome THIS bad about a video game bad guy, it was GLaDOS.

You get closure in the last one--good or bad, depending on how you play it--and I wouldn't have thought that I'd need closure on a game that started out seeming to be nothing but spooky jump scares. But that's the cool thing--the games had a simple enough mechanic on the surface: just stay alive. A lot of people who were unimpressed by it just saw this surface feature (see: the Honest Trailer for FNAF2), and yeah, that does get old fast.

But the REAL game--the thing that really pulled you in--was figuring out the story. Sure, you could just spend a few hours giving your limbic system a nice workout avoiding getting startled by monstrous robots. Or, if you dug deeper, you could piece together a whole sad, strange ghost story spanning decades. And while the jump scares are fun, the true excitement for me came from figuring out that story--even if I, specifically, was reduced to combing through YouTube videos to get it because actually playing it was TOO GODDAMN TERRIFYING. Such an experience of immersion, of emotional involvement, is rare, so we need to celebrate it when it comes along.*

And really, it's a brilliant way to show off what video games can do. You can become so involved in the mysteries behind the game that you got some real brain exercise--and that's a feeling that can't be beat. We love solving mysteries, and this was a good one.

Plus, watching YouTubers curling up into a ball when grinning haunted robots came screeching at them was, admittedly, pretty entertaining.


FUN FACT: I actually own Five Nights at Freddy's on Steam, despite the fact that, when I bought it, I was pretty sure I was never actually going to play it. At that point I'd had so much fun just watching other people play it and studying the mystery that I felt like I still owed it to Scott Cawthon to toss some cash his way just for making something so enjoyable.


*Speaking of which, if you're sick of hype, enjoy the Nostalgia Critic's discussion of hype that gets out of hand, which explains a lot about backlash. I would add that the backlash also comes from the people who AREN'T completely enchanted by something who are tired of being left out and could respond with backlash. Hell, I was underwhelmed by The Dark Knight, and it was difficult not to be rude about it when people were gushing. So I guess what I'm saying is, if you're sick of hearing about Five Nights at Freddy's (or Frozen), um ... sorry? Hopefully time will settle them out as classics, but meanwhile I say let us have our excitement.

YEAH!

Mar. 4th, 2015 09:41 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (Weirdos)
AW YEAH WE'RE DOIN' THIS SOME MORE



I really like this series, y'all. Something about the mystery is really fascinating to piece together. And watching people scream at each other about their theories is entertaining, too.

Majora!

Feb. 15th, 2015 12:33 am
bloodyrosemccoy: (Icarina)
Aw, man, Majora's Mask 3D is great! I'm really liking the graphics--once again I'm just barging into people's houses to have a look at the new skins.

A lot of the changes are definitely for the better, too. It's way easier to Goron, too--his punch isn't so clumsy, and the steering seems better. You can skip to specific times, so you don't have to stand around waiting as much.

But what I'm really liking are the boss battles. They were always a bit of a weak spot in Majora's Mask, rather confusing and haphazard. To fix that they've installed GIANT OBVIOUS EYEBALLS on the two I've fought so far, so that you know what to stab at when you've knocked the boss over--and figuring out how to do that is far more straightforward, too.

I'm not sure how I feel about the somewhat micromanage-y way your notebook handles events and people now, though. I mean, I am finding it extremely annoying, but that's partly because I've got this game pretty much memorized.* And as a kid I hadn't learned to make a lot of those game logic leaps yet and thus relied extensively on the Player's Guide, so I really can't begrudge an in-game aid. I just wish it was optional, because it keeps interrupting the play.

But overall, loving it! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go battle aliens with the power of ARCHERY!


*Except I always forget to actually go back to the Great Fairies after I beat a temple. Which is another improvement--in the old game you'd go back to the first day and then be like FUUUUUCK when you realized you'd have to go collect those goddamn fairies again. Here, though, the Song of Time doesn't automatically save your game, so when I inevitably forgot to reassemble a Great Fairy before going back to the first day I could reset the game and I was back at an owl save point and I still had all my fairies! Sweet!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Adventure!)
Last night was some big schmooze deal at the Space Place, with local politicians and their families coming in to watch shows and be convinced that science is worth funding. I start to feel actively hostile if I have to schmooze, but fortunately my entire job for the evening was to show off the Sphere as people were walking by it on the way to the actual movies, and that was something I could handle.

I had the optiion of using any sort of things, just to catch people's interest. I could put on satellite composites of Earth, or other planets, or moons of other planets (fuck yeah, Io!), or panoramas taken by rovers or telescopes--the possibilities were endless.

And none of them really held anyone's attention for very long.

But there was one thing that absolutely did: GIANT EYEBALL MODE.

Yeah, I've mentioned the eyeball before. Basically I can turn the Sphere into Mr. I from Super Mario 64. From my vantage at an info desk, I use an iPad* to control its movement. Nobody notices the one employee carefully watching the crowd and dicking with a tablet--not when a giant fucking eyeball is pointed at them and following their every move.

This has the extremely entertaining dual effect of delighting the kids and SERIOUSLY creeping out the adults. The kids immediately start running around so the eye will follow them and then trying to trick it--it doesn't ever explode into coins, sadly, but it does get them exercising. Then they'll wave at it, and the eye sort of nods back.**

Adults, on the other hand, test its abilities for a bit, then nervously start trying to figure out how the hell it's doing that. Even if you know something's a trick, it's unsettling. Most of them guess some sort of motion tracker, which is pretty funny as I'm standing behind them the whole time, not even, like, behind a curtain or anything. Every so often one of them notices me and gets that "Ohhhhh" look. But usually, it stumps them.

So it might not be educational, but it sure is fun for the kids. That always surprises me--I think if I were a kid that thing would scare the hell out of me--but hey, as long as they're enjoying it, I like being a part of it.


*Or eyePad.

**One kid figured out that the eye could "nod" and, for lack of a better term, shake its head, and started asking it yes/no questions. I couldn't quite hear all the questions, but I got the gist. "Do you like popcorn?" No "Do you like cookies?" Yes "Do you like Coke?" Yes I wanted that conversation to keep going, but his parents called him away.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Venus By Air)
Amazon's been trying to get me to buy "Tales from Deep Space," because Amazon makes video games now.

... It's kind of awesome.

I mean, for crying out loud, you play as basically a space hobbit on a raygun gothic space station! How is that not awesome?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Change)
Playing through Starfox 64 3D (I love that title) again. I swear this game makes me SO HAPPY. You could just play the audio track of those darn kibitzing wingmen for me forever and it would probably kill any stress in my life.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: more than a little of my sense of science fiction comes from this damn game. If you haven't played it, I highly recommend it. If you don't believe me, check out the trailer:



Poor Slippy. My brother liked the idea of him as the guy who wasn't innately talented but worked damn hard to get there. But that was the SNES version. The N64 version ... yeah, I can see where Honest Trailer Guy is coming from.
bloodyrosemccoy: (TYRANNOSAURS IN F14S!)
Well, the bad news is that I had to leave before the Space Place Staff party tonight on account of the snow coming down on the mountain. But the good news is that even though I'm missing one of the main attractions, which was the video games on the IMAX, I actually got to try it last week. So even though I was looking forward to the rumored Five Nights At Freddy's on IMAX,* I did get to play it. So that's pretty fun.


*Srsly, TWO-STORY SHRIEKING BONNIE BUNNY.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Hey!  Listen!)
OH JEEZ, GUYS, I just had a thought.

So I'm playin' through Ocarina of Time again, like ya do, and I get to the point where Link wakes up after seven years asleep.

I always thought Link seemed remarkably psychologically prepared for Sudden Teenager Syndrome. "Maybe," I thought this time, "Rauru planned for that. He's magic, for crying out loud. Maybe he and ZeldaSheik gave Link some kind of dream-prep, like a realm where he could practice heroing. And it's subconscious but it still helps fortify his mind. Link spends the seven years having crazy vision quest dream adventures."

And then I thought, "Damn, that'd be a great game. I'd play that."

And THEN I thought "HEY WAITAMINUTE. What if I already have?"

Yes, I know there's an Official Timeline, but you can't tell me it wasn't probably a particularly inspired retcon. So who's to say Majora's Mask--the weirdest, dreamlikeiest of the Zelda games, which takes place in an alternate universe, wasn't Link's hero practice after all?

Well, okay, the flashback to Zelda in it is inconsistent, but not by much--it could be how Link dreams it. IT COULD STILL WORK.

Then I got into it. What if this Link is sort of THE Link? What if, while he slept, his consciousness went reverberating through time and space to link up to the consciousness of other potential heroes, learning from them and guiding them? Or, hell, what if ALL the other games are just his dream preps? It'd be a good way to handwave away any inconsistencies as Just A Dream.

Or maybe it's just Majora's Mask. Or none of it and Link just has some serious mental fortitude. He IS the Hero of Time, after all.

Eh, no matter what, I like playing with theories. Anyone who says you can't do literary analysis of games is totally missing out. I LOVE this stuff.
bloodyrosemccoy: (N64)
Thanks, y'all, for the nice pretend hugs last night. I'm feeling a lot better today. Better blood sugar, better outlook, and hey--a great bit of news! Majora's Mask is coming to the Nintendo 3DS!

I'm really pleased! I quite like the 3DS port of Ocarina of Time--the graphics are nicely updated, and I had this tendency to barge into every house and room just to check out the new set designs. And the gameplay was nicely put together, with the Ocarina no longer an item (I always kept it in an item slot anyway because I'm a little compulsive, doncha know) and some nice gyro stuff. I'm really hoping they do as well with this one, since--yes--it is my favorite Zelda title.

Also, people whose hands are so big they can't actually grip the N64 controller comfortably anymore (hi, brother!) can still play it! Hooray!

Act Casual

Sep. 30th, 2014 10:05 pm
bloodyrosemccoy: (Beastly)
Recently a conflation of many disparate events--specifically, watching that Five Nights At Freddy's LP and subsequently a bunch of others, waking up my long-dormant Steam account to play with Universe Sandbox, and my brother and me trying to explain video game logic to Mom using examples from Day of the Tentacle puzzles--has made me come to a realization: I miss point-and-click games. Suddenly I've been fondly looking back on the good times I had as a tiny little game nerd floundering my way through Myst with the help of the weirdly novelish player's guide, since I lacked the cognitive development necessary to really figure out what the hell I was doing.

So I've been tooling around Steam and my Kindle's app store trying to satisfy my dopamine needs,* sampling various games based on important factors like user reviews and, importantly, what's on sale. And it's working--I'm having a fine old time playing casual and more in-depth adventure games. So far I've enjoyed The Book of Unwritten Tales (fun puzzles, humor like Bad Discworld), its prequel the Critter Chronicles (where, to their credit, the humor got less annoying), and a stack of Artifex Mundi and similar casual games (which offer about a million layers of sociological analysis fodder, what with way they seem to market to females and are less "hardcore" but more story-driven with tragic romance and so forth, but fuck you they're PRETTY and the stories aren't bad). I have a few others queued up (Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People has been on my list for a while) but am always looking for more. If you give me a good space-themed casual adventure puzzle game, I will ... well, probably I'll just be very happy, but if we turn "make Amelia happy" into an achievement, your brain will think it's a real reward, and that'll be great!

Probably I'm overdoing it at the moment because I'm excited about this, and it could easily become a money pit if I'm not careful,** but it's really nice to return to some absurd problem-solving adventure.

By the way, I'm Polmelia on Steam, if anyone's interested, too!


*I wonder why something like managing to make a cup of tea comes with such a feeling of triumph in video games when in reality locating a kettle, tea bags, teapot, mug, and tea leaves filling the kettle with water, turning on the stove, boiling the water, pouring the tea leaves and the boiling water into the teapot, letting it steep for fourish minutes, and pouring the tea through the strainer into the mug is just a thing you do to get tea. It's almost as if game design has tapped into a collection of terrifyingly effective psychological hacks. I hope they use this awesome power responsibly.

**I have a complicated thing going right now where I OWN Portal 2 but can't actually PLAY it because [pointless boring computer fuckery]. I could easily re-buy it on Steam, but dammit I already own it so I'll just save it for when I fix my computer fuckery. Money, dangit!
bloodyrosemccoy: (Sisters)
My sister is here! Hooray!

Dang, I love it when she visits. Who else can I go from discussing the publishing industry to gleefully squealing at a Let's Play of Five Nights at Freddy's* to contemplating the attributes of fairy jail in the Disney Fairyverse** with?

It's good to have people who get me.


*If you haven't seen it, I warn you that even with Markiplier's delightful self-comfort chatter in that video, that video and the game itself is fucking TERRIFYING. I haven't had so much fun watching most actual horror MOVIES as I have watching that LP.

**Have I mentioned that I LOVE the Disney Fairies? Especially the movie versions. For one thing, Peter Pan has been thoroughly bussed from the movies (I think it's technically before Tinker Bell meets him, which I'm fine with), and Tink has a much more likable personality. More importantly, though, they're girly as unicorns in a meadow full of rainbow glitter, and yet Tinker Bell is also an ENGINEER. You can totally be a girly mechanical engineer! The Fairies say so, god dammit! (And the latest movie, The Pirate Fairy, has a SCIENCE FAIRY who does experiments and alchemy and stuff! IT'S GREAT.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Old Spice Onna Horse)
There are some bottles of experimental Earl Grey cream soda settling up in the fridge. I'll let y'all know how it tastes. If it goes well, I may try some Pride of the Port soda next.

---

Have been taking up jewelry-making again. Taking chainmaille a bit more seriously this time around. It's always difficult to get started with something, but this place has a few great starter kits. Plus, it's got colorful jump rings, and I am a sucker for colors. So far I'm trying a simple Box Chain rainbow necklace. I'm idiotically proud of how closely I'm managing to get the jump rings closed.

---

In the meantime, I've come across some pretty nifty-looking images of handmade LED Zelda-style Fairy-Inna-Bottle necklaces, but none of them are for sale. So I went with the next logical course of action and decided to make it myself.

Problem is, my knowlege of electricity is roughly that of a fifth-grader working through Fifty Fun Science Projects You Can Do At Home: something something battery something zinc copper something something circuit something LIGHT! And, y'know, for some reason I've picked up the impression that a potato is involved somehow. So I called my brother, what with him being an electrical engineer and all,* and he offered me some tips. The rest has been trial, error, and a lot of Googling. Oh, and gathering components. Once I get that done, the rest should be easy.

---

Mom got herself some roller skates, too. Now we just have to find a place to skate--outdoors, possibly, as spring gets moving.

---

I have mastered the art of Fish'n'Chips. I'd make myself a medal, but I'm already making a few other necklaces, and that would just be redundant.


*On the one hand, this a running joke along the lines of asking a linguist how many languages they speak. "Can you program my TV? I mean, you ARE an electrician!" No, he's an electrical engineer. On the other hand, though, I figured he probably knew a LITTLE more about practical circuitry than me and my potato.

Geeky Chef

Jan. 24th, 2014 02:20 am
bloodyrosemccoy: (Hobbit Hole)
Tried to make some of Grandma's Fairy Soup* tonight. Not bad stuff, but I have got to learn how to cook squash longer. (It didn't help that Mom was hungry and kept demanding to know if it was soup yet every few minutes.) It always comes out a little too crunchy, which isn't how you want your squash.

---

Also, it occurs to me that now that Mom's got a soda charger, I can try to bust out some pretty excellent Chateau Romani. I still think that fermentation is more fun than using the soda charger, but fermenting is a bad idea whe milk is involved, so in this case we'll just roll with it.

---

Speaking of geeky chefs, [livejournal.com profile] acrossthelake came by tonight to politely try some of my soup, and then we traded TV shows! I'm evangelizing Fringe to her--aw, man, watching the first season is a lot like hanging out with my old buddies--and she showed me the pilot of American Horror Story, which appears to be a show rooted firmly in the Unlikable People Making Bad Decisions genre.** I may have to keep going on it just to see what the hell kind of genre it's actually going for. But hey, no matter what it's good to be watching Fringe again. And even better to be hanging out with my friend again!


*So-called by myself and my siblings because in the Wind Waker game your Grandma makes the soup for you after you give her a fairy. I'm sure they didn't mean that she made the soup out of the fairy, but well ...

**Also it seems that its opening title music is played largely by those springy things on the bottom corners of doors that are supposed to keep the door from banging into the wall. An interesting choice.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Science!)
Batch #3 worked! I have brewed a passable ginger ale. I made soda!

Okay, it was just from an extract, but hey! I got the bubbles into the bottle. That's a pretty entertaining achievement. (I have to say, using yeast feels a little bit like raising sea monkeys. You get the same sense of having a mass of tiny pets. Except then I freeze and drink these. I am a capricious god.)

Anyway, I have discovered that there are drawbacks to using half-liter plastic bottles. For one thing, I can taste plastic. This has been my curse since I was a kid: I always feel soda (or, in fact, any beverage) is better in cans or glass bottles. And for another, there is no way I am going to drink even half a liter of soda at a time, and once I open one the flatness begins to creep in.

So for my next experiment, I have gotten myself a couple dozen 12-ounce glass bottles* and a bottle capper. This way I can open a smaller bottle each time I want a cream soda--my next extract attempt. Plus, it is super fun to put the caps on the bottles.

I'll probably try to calibrate my skills with a few more extract sodas, on account of I have all these extracts lying around. But I'm getting interested in trying some of the recipes in my books. Got me some various barks and roots and things. I think there's even a recipe in one of them that uses garden roots, like carrots and parsnips and beets and whatnot.

That's right, you heard me.

DEEPER'N'EVER SODA.

BWAHAHAHAHA *lightning crash*

I may be having too much fun with this.


*Every time I have to buy something that comes in a bottle I'm gonna use once and throw away, I think about how much bullshit I have to go through to get just ONE DAMN BOTTLE in a Zelda game. An Empty Bottle is the ULTIMATE treasure. I will battle ghosts and race beavers and break into houses and chase burglars, all for the chance to get a FUCK YEAH EMPTY BOTTLE. Oh, you say you've got some Gold Dust for me so that I can upgrade my sword to its ultimate stabbiness? That's nice--HOLY SHIT IS THAT A BOTTLE AROUND THE GOLD DUST? OH, HELL YES. I can put all KINDS of shit in there!

... It's enough to make one feel like an ungrateful slob when tossing out a bottle after a single use without a second thought..
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I Learned Since The Summer Solstice

  • It was totally the gallbladder, y'all.

  • Doctors are totally just making up estimated recovery times for surgeries.

  • The worst part about recovering from surgery is how it fucks up your brain.

  • When your iPod breaks down and forces you to back up its entire library, it may be foreshadowing.

  • Edgar Rice Burroughs didn't just write about Mars; he also wrote about all the other planets. Guy was MANIC.

  • The ghost in Mama, who gets a bad rap for its unconvincing CG, is in fact for the most part played by Javier Botet, an actual guy with a terrible debilitating congenital disease called Marfan Syndrome. I have to hand it to Botet for making a miserable situation work for him. "Disease," he says, "It is not you who owns me; it is I who own you."

  • Paul Verhoeven's entire commentary track for Starship Troopers consists of him and Edward Neumeier exasperatedly pointing out that the message of the film is "Nazis are bad"--something Verhoeven, growing up in the Netherlands during WWII, was personally aware of. But apparently the only part of that thesis critics heard was "NAZIS!" * At least it made for an entertaining commentary.

  • Boötes is supposed to represent a herdsman. It always looked like a kite to me.

  • My name, "Amelia," was the #1 name for baby girls in the UK in 2011. I strongly suspect that this fresh crop of little Amelias is a direct result of Doctor Who.

  • You can collect tokens at national parks and historic sites and things! HOLY SHIT Y'ALL ROAD TRIP VIDEO GAME.

  • Ebay purchases can be supremely entertaining.

  • Too much enthusiasm for CrossFit can make your muscles melt and your kidneys explode and then you die. The irony is palpable.

  • Before Super Mario Bros. 2 was famously not a Super Mario title, it was actually being developed as ... a Super Mario Bros. title. I guess it didn't pan out. And then it did.

  • That baffling -ject morpheme that shows up in so many words and that I've always meant to look up is from the Latin word iaciō, meaning "throw" or "cast."

  • "Augie's Great Municipal Band," that fun song during the parade at the end of The Phantom Menace, is a bouncy, upbeat version of the Emperor's terrifying theme song. Which is actually kind of awesome.

  • Anesthesia, man. It's WHACK.

  • French cliticizes its pronouns, which is both far less dirty and far more interesting to me than it might sound.

  • For weird legal reasons, Idaho owns the top 39 feet of Jackson Lake, which is apparently a thing you can do.

  • Fishing vests are the way to go, man.

  • Book lice are not actually lice, nor do they feed exclusively on books, which I found out when a few of them showed up to chew on a secretly moldy basket in my bathroom. Little creeps.

  • The main character in H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy is a bit more Sam Elliott than his reboot counterpart, and that is also pretty awesome.

  • There is an actual linguistic term for Talking Like Donald Duck.  It is called buccal speech, on account of the air is in your cheeks, not your larynx, when you do it.**

  • I now know how to identify a barn swallow!

  • Bookstores categorically hate self-published writers.

  • Colorful umbrellas are apparently an intolerable challenge to the masculinity of male pheasants. Female pheasants, of course, could not care less about the umbrellas.

  • Those individual servings of cake-inna-mug you can make with standard cake mix and a microwave are DELICIOUS.

  • Breaded fish is better than battered when you are making fish and chips.


*Which is ridiculous. Well, the whole movie is ridiculous, but I can't believe anyone would miss the sarcasm dripping off its propaganda reels.

**Assuming you can do it.  I sure as hell can't get any phonemes out except for some kind of lateral fricative.  Clarence Nash was a goddamn genius.
bloodyrosemccoy: (N64)
So today George Takei shared this photo on Facebook, and it got me laughing because I totally used to do that to my little sister when she wanted to play, because when you're little you're a right bastard. (She caught on pretty quickly, though. Damn you, swiftness of child development!)

But then I got kind of fascinated by the sheer number of sanctimonious people pitching a fit about Spending Quality Time With Kids in the comments. Normally I try to avoid comments sections, but sometimes I just can't help but look because you think, "There is no WAY someone is going to get angry about ... oh, my bad." I have a whole lot of opinions about well-rounded child development and parents who terrorize their kids with the Quality Time ideal and the values and drawbacks of video games ... but better folks than I have commented on those things.

Right now I want to address one aspect of video games that doesn't get mentioned very often. I'm not sure if that's because it's an experience unique to me (because I'm guessing it's not), but here's something you never see pointed out in these arguments: video games are an avenue for imaginative play.

Sure, they're no substitute for being outside--but neither is reading a book. You've got to just balance your interests. And when we were in front of video games, my siblings and I treated them a lot like we treated, say, playing with Ponies or Legos or Transformers or any of our other toys. We invented elaborate scenarios and dialogues for the characters--Mario's trek over Dinosaur Land was filled with arguments with Luigi, chats with Yoshi,* football games, food fights, random phobias, and all-around silliness, projected by our imaginations onto levels where the goal was SUPPOSED to be just getting from the left side of the screen to the right side. We would make up explanations for some of the weirder in-game phenomena. We'd abuse the hell out of our onscreen avatars as they acted out something that was only funny because our added narrative made it so.

As for the idea that video games can't possibly allow for interaction with other people--PLEASE. All of us--me, my brother, and my sister, plus any friends sitting in that bare room with us watching the action--were actively engaged. One of us might be playing, but all of us were involved in the invention, character development, song composition (yes, really), and resulting entertainment centered around the screen.

And later on I wrote sweeping epics set in Super Mario World and Hyrule (which were in the same world, actually, so Mario and Link had crossover adventures, as they did with Donkey Kong and Star Fox and Megaman and the Pokémon). I got a lot of writing practice from video games. Hell, my breakthrough into writing conlangs came when I decided to write a sentence in "Yoshese" and realized that I'd have to give it a real structure and thought "... this is fun."

I think people who never grew up with video games don't see that. And that's understandable--from the outside, a kid reading a book doesn't look very engaged, either; they're just sitting there staring at a chunk of paper. You have to look at it from the kid's point of view. Anything--rag dolls, Lego bricks, ponies, aquarium beads, paper dolls, yarn, toy trains, American Girl dolls, the sticks and rocks those self-righteous people are so enamored of--ANYTHING can help foster imaginative play, if the kid knows how to use them right. And believe me, if there's one thing kids know, it's how to use their imaginations.

So shut up about the damn video games, already.


*I think this is specifically why I don't like full voice acting in video games--the most I prefer is the incidental Charles Martinet-type noises, because I am supplying my own dialogue.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Midna)
Gotta say, one of the best bits of playing through Twilight Princess is watching Zant totally decompensate at the end. His descent into full-on batshit is a thing of beauty.

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bloodyrosemccoy

July 2016

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