Updates

Website Update

When I started this website I decided it would be a hub world for all my gaming thoughts: it both has and hasn’t been that. Currently gameonysus.com is schrödinger’s blog. I want to make the focus clearer so here’s what I have in mind going forward. 

Rather than trying to make this site both a portfolio and a blog in itself, I’m going to take the former route. This will officially be a hub world rather than its own world as well. Here’s what you can expect from here on out:

  • Updates featuring the work I’ve done in a give month.
  • Permanent links to all the places you can follow me and view my content.
  • As necessary, informal posts updating you on my gaming life & career in the games industry.

So what does that mean for the other series I’ve started here? 
Rest assured, I will be adding to my fuckboys in gaming history series. It’s what the world needs.

I don’t want to announce anything just yet but my plan is to create another blog (or two!) so that my content can be given a proper home and space to grow. This will help me be more organized because now my website will have a clear purpose. I also hope this will be helpful to all of you. Maybe some people like the writing I’ve done here but don’t care for updates on my other projects or vice versa. By separating everything and giving it all a clear mission statement, I can be more organized and you guys can get the content you actually want. Remember you can read my articles on NerdMuch.com, check out my YouTube content on Bit By Bit, like my Facebook page for gaming updates and some live videos, and follow me on Twitter.

Stay tuned!

–J

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Hiphop x Video Games: Super Mario World by Logic

This post is the first in a series called Hiphop x Video Games which highlights the overlap between the two. Both hiphop and games have been with me since early childhood and have made a huge impact on me. For this reason, I always got a kick out of the video game references made in hiphop songs; hopefully you do too. Here’s the first one up:


Super Mario World

Artist: Logic
Album: Bobby Tarantino

Logic’s Super Mario World has almost no direct video game references so why did he call this song Super Mario World? Personally, these are the video game references that I find most intriguing.

In the case of Logic, the answer to this question is two-fold.

1. Logic loves video games

One of the few video game references in this song are as follows:

[Hook/Interlude]

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness
Oh my goodness, oh my God
I’m like, oh my goodness
Oh my goodness, oh my goodness
Oh my goodness, oh my God
I just beat that Uncharted 4, lit

and similarly, at the end,:

Oh my goodness, oh my God
I’m like, oh my goodness
Oh my goodness, oh my goodness
Oh my goodness, oh my God
Fuck, Jurassic Park… lit

This guy is a video game nerd. So much so that he actually has his own YouTube channel for Let’s Plays, Walkthroughs, and random nerd stuff:

Thus the inclusion of Uncharted 4 and Jurassic Park was just Logic nerding out between verses/hooks.

2. The tone/mood of the song makes the Super Mario World title fitting.

This song’s beat is very “video game-y” due to the synth effect that’s used. There’s a straight forward, light hearted bounce to this track which fits the title.

But to me the grandiosity of the song is what speaks to Super Mario World the most.

Super Mario World is a classic game, a staple of the series, and arguably one of the greatest games of all time.

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On this track Logic presents himself as the Super Mario World of rap by boasting during the entire song, here’s an example from the final verse:

Yeah, it’s that Flexicution, I want retribution
Y’all gone fuck around and make me wake up Lucian
And I don’t think y’all ready for the revolution
Boy your shit is pollution, Logic got the solution
Motherfuckers used to hate us
Now they sayin’ that they made us
Everyone know I’m the greatest

Logic’s Super Mario World has the light hearted bravado that’s quintessentially part of the Mario IP. And with the fast, lyrical verses and catchy hook, I have to say it lives up to its name.

What the Nintendo Switch Needs to Do to Be Successful in 2017

I’ve had the Nintendo Switch since launch day and so far I’m very happy with the console. I’m surprised with how much I enjoy its portability and, so far, I’ve played Breath of the Wild, Binding of Issac, Shovel Knight, and the demo of Snipperclips. Still, despite my current enthusiasm, I have some concerns with the Switch. Below I’ve explained some key points for what the Switch need to do to have a successful 2017.

Online Service has to be worth it

Nintendo has had abysmal online service since the Wii. It’s always been hard to add friends, impossible to talk to people without using secondary devices, and the actual interface always looked more barren than clean. At least it was free. Not anymore, but that will hopefully be a good thing. It has to be a good thing. Nintendo has failed at online for so long that they can’t fail with this new online service that requires payment. I’m already concerned with the “you get free game(s) like with Microsoft and Sony, but then you have to pay” feature. And the vagueness of how easy it will be to communicate with friends (can I use a Bluetooth enabled headset? Can I use a headset? Will I need/ have to use the app to talk to people?) is usually is a bad sign. Also the price worries me. Xbox Live and PS Plus are $9.99 a month. Nintendo’s service is going to be $4.99 a month. Will they still have all the bells and whistles their competitors have or will it be half the service for half the price?

The app has to be worth it

Similar to the online service, this new app has to be good. I’m not too concerned about the app. I think they’ll get it right. Also since some people just won’t want to use it (I.e they won’t play online or won’t use voice chat) I don’t feel the success or failure of the Switch will be dramatically affected by the app. Still, I hope communicating with friends will be easy, and that the rollout of the app is clear to the consumer and comes out without any bugs.

Smooth release for major exclusives

We don’t know every major exclusive that the Switch will have, but with such a small amount of games (being released periodically) they can’t afford to have any issues with their exclusives. Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey: they have to hit on all of them.

No delays, no online issues, and of course great games. If these games flop it could be very damaging to sales, and with production of the Switch ramping up you don’t want Switches sitting on shelves with a lack of quality games.

Bundles

By holiday season the Switch has to have some bundle options. 1-2 Switch as a pack in game  would be good, Super Mario Odyssey or Breath of the Wild would be even better. Having a pack in game people actually want, with the console at a affordable price ($299 including the game), and great games will ensure a great holiday season.

Console availability

By the holiday season the Switch has to be available to all. No more low stock, no more refreshing Walmart’s website, no more notifications followed by strategic planning—the console must be available for everyone at all times. I believe the Switch can be a popular console, and bring the enthusiasm and popularity this company has had in the past. But if they have internet issues, problems with exclusives, bad apps, and low console availability, I genuinely believe this console can be a failure and perhaps the last Nintendo console we will ever see.

Why the Nintendo Switch is quickly becoming my favorite console.

“It doesn’t even have any games.” “What’s the online support going to be like?” “What about the connectivity issues?” “I hear the screen can get scratched or at least, like, the black edge part around the screen.” “Dead pixels.” “Frame rate issues of the wild.” “Name a good switch game you can’t get on Wii U.”

There are a lot of reasons people may recoil after reading this title. I hear you.  I acknowledge it. Believe me, I didn’t expect this to happen either. I’m the kind of gamer who is into games first, hardware second. The difference between Xbox One and PS4? I don’t care. All that matters to me is exclusives. I bought The Switch because I want its upcoming library.  And  I thought it’d be nice to (finally) get a console on its release day. NintendoSwitchLogo.svg

But The Switch hype is real and it continues on. Its been almost two weeks since the console came out and I’m still enamored. And no, it’s not just because of Breath of the Wild here so I’ll spare you the Zelda talk (but if you’d rather not be spared you can read my latest piece on Nerd Much?: More Loot, Less Direct Combat: My Breath of the Wild Play Style).

The Switch is becoming my favorite console because the machine itself is something to talk about. And it’s fascinating in a way that’s accessible to most people, unlike the Xbox One and PS4.

Intrigue and Accessibility

I own a Xbox One and a PS4. Both are great consoles that are more powerful than The Switch and, with the PS4 Pro out and Xbox Scorpio on its way, that gap is only getting bigger. I appreciate what the Xbox One and PS4 can do but, like most gamers, I can’t talk about it at length. I’ve been playing video games since 1999; While this technology is a big part of my life, I don’t “get” how it works.

For this reason, I can’t tell you much either machines. Outside of UI differences, controller differences, etc  all I can tell you is they play games. They have some exclusives but outside of that they’re just boxes to me. Boxes I love and have fond memories with, boxes you couldn’t pay me to enough to ever trade in, but boxes nevertheless. The Switch is different.

The Switch is something I can talk about and enjoy. When it comes to the technical side, I can’t explain how The Switch works any more than I can explain the PS4 or Xbox One; however, the Switch gives me more “surface level” things to talk about. I can be amazed at the seamless transition between docked TV mode and handheld mode. I can show off and (on a basic level) explain table top mode. I can discuss the merits of the joy-con grip vs the pro controller.

slack-imgs-1.com.0

The Switch is fun AS a console. At its worst its a novelty and at its best it changes my entire gaming experience.

This is what I mean when I say The Switch is intriguing in a way that’s more obvious (and thus accessible) than the other consoles of this gen.

Usually when a game is available on all the platforms I default to Xbox One because I love   that controller; now my default is The Switch because I can go from TV to handheld and because table top mode is surprisingly comfortable. It’s cute, it’s fun, it’s different. While other consoles go for sleeker and more powerful versions of what came before, Nintendo goes experimental. The results always vary but The Switch gets it right. The enjoyment I get from my Xbox One and my PS4 comes from the games they offer; but my love of  The Switch is most firmly rooted in the variety the console offers. Call it a gimmick if you want but I love going from exploring Hyrule on the big screen in my living room to playing some Shovel Knight, in handheld mode, right before bed.

shovel-knight-switch-review

It’s a piece of tech I can geek out about even if I can’t explain the intricacies of HD Rumble.

White in the Woods: Why Night in the Woods is the whitest game I’ve ever played.

Night in the Woods is an indie adventure game, about Mae—a college dropout who has returned home. Mae has to navigate the changes her friends and the town itself has undergone while an ominous, potentially paranormal, mystery looms in the background.


 

Quick, but important, aside: I just realized this premise makes no sense. Mae comes home and learns about where her friends work and seems surprised. But if she dropped out near the start of sophomore year wouldn’t she have JUST been home due to summer vacation. She acts like she’s legitimately been gone for over a year but if this is a traditional college set-up then she’s visited during winter break, summer break, and perhaps even some holidays so what does she have to be surprised about?

 


I’ve talked in detail about why I don’t think this is a good game, but for this post I want to focus on an aspect I haven’t discussed yet: the overwhelming whiteness of Night in the Woods. I’ve played some pretty white games before, Life is Strange is pretty damn white (and quite literally considering the demographics of Arcadia Bay). But Night in the Woods stands out because all the characters are animals. There are no visual indicators of race and none of the characters come off as a depiction or embodiment of any race. Except for Mae, the protagonist and unfortunate focal point of the game. Mae is white enough to to make this whole gaming experience the whitest one I’ve ever had.

Before listing off reasons let me first clarify what I mean by “white” and “whiteness” before I get the “you can be poor and white” comments. I mean “white/whiteness” as a system and construct i.e what whiteness embodies and represents on a societal level. If you’re still unclear think of (or google) white feminism. White feminism isn’t about rejecting all white people who are feminists. Rather, it’s a rejection of privileged and exclusionary approaches to women’s rights. 

In this case, when I say whiteness I (mainly) mean privilege. Here’s my laundry list on why, in that sense, Night in the Woods is very white (all of which is related to Mae):

nitw_feature

  • Mae has the privilege of going to college on her parent’s dime and then drops out without getting a job (for months) while living at home…

Mae’s parents paid for her to go to college. First of all, having your parents give you any money for college, or during college, is a privilege not everyone has. Then Mae drops out and doesn’t make any financial moves for MONTHS. Mae’s parents are in a really tight spot financially, something that comes out when Mae’s mother is feeling agitated and stressed. Mae knows this but does nothing about it. You’re really just going to let your parents struggle and not help them pay for anything. Like you’re just going to wake up at noon, go outside every day to bother your high school friends, and then come home and eat the tacos your mom made.

reo7p

  • …and it’s not like Mae’s parents aren’t supportive (helping her after she beat up that kid, both with the legal side and by paying for her to see a therapist).

Sure, Mae’s therapist is whack. Sure, her parents don’t fully understand what Mae is going through. But you’re too old for this. I’m only 23, but I realized that once you reach a certain age its no longer about your parents not connecting with you or reaching out on a deeper level. Once you’re an adult you have to take some of the blame. If you want a good relationship with your parents you need to make an effort. But all I’m really saying is can you at least get some more paper towels from the store while you’re out or what?

  • Mae shoplifts for fun and encourages others to do the same because she doesn’t have to worry about legal consequences, I guess.

What really bothers me about this is the fact that Mae is so public about it. She encourages Bea to shoplift as well. Maybe this is more immature than privileged but either way its an eye roll. Speaking of which…

  • Mae says “fuck the police” even though they’ve done nothing to her because she lives in a small town, there is only one cop in the game, and for some reason I doubt you’re saying “fuck the police” on behalf of large scale injustices in regards to policing.

When Mae says this it feels cheap and trendy. Mae strikes me as the kind of person that listens to trap music ironically because it’s “so bad, it’s funny.”

For these reasons, and so many more, by the time I got to the end of Night in the Woods I mentally walked up to Mae like:

tenor


For more of my thoughts on Night in the Woods check out:
Night in the Woods: a problematic cliche disguised as a quirky indie: where I discuss my issues with the game and my issues with Mae being the focal point (specifically in regards to mental health).
and
Indie Games and Craft Beer Pairing #19: where I discuss the game in a very general sense (mechanics, gameplay, art, etc) and give my input. I also pair it with a beer and discuss said beer.

What were your thoughts on Night in the Woods? Let me know in the comments below and/or via social media (all of which is at the bottom of the home page).

 

Somehow I Didn’t Know: Those controllers with the built in fans were Nyko, not Mad Catz.

The controllers I’m referencing are the Nyko Air Flo controllers. I had one for my PS2, this exact model, and loved it:

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Sure it was another janky 3rd party controller, but it had character to it. Plus, I loved the fan option. My palms often get sweaty during long gaming sessions so the fan was exactly what I needed. I’m sure as a kid I knew this was a Nyko Controller, I mean it says Nyko ON the controller. But somewhere along the line I thought it was a Mad Catz controller, thus creating a false memory for myself. For the past 8+ years I had always thought of the above controller as Mad Catz.

This controller was the one I’d always bring up when people talked shit about Mad Catz. I’d tell them “I had this one Mad Catz controller with a fan built into it and I loved it.” This article was originally going to be me defending Mad Catz by praising this controller. But today, while doing some google searches for the article, I realized those Air Flo controllers I remember so fondly  were made by Nyko. Not Mad Catz. Even as I type this part of me is still in disbelief. My entire life is a lie. What else am I wrong about?

My sincerest apologies to anyone who has had to listen to me defend Mad Catz by citing false information, I guess they’re just garbage. Now I’m not sure I even used a Mad Catz controller… maybe for the GameCube?


The “Somehow I Didn’t Know” series is all about revelations I’ve had that (basically) everyone else already knew. I look forward to sharing more of my errors, flubs, oversights, and cultural gaps with all of you. Comment below with your “Somehow I didn’t know” moments.

“The Secret Loves of Geek Girls” validates and encourages, all at once.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, love talk is done to death… but bear with me.  The Secret Loves of Geek Girls may be about love but its a refreshing and comforting take on the topic. 30508

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls is an anthology about love, edited by Hope Nicholson. With a foreword by Kelly Sue DeConnick and comics by Margaret Atwood there are a lot of literary heavy hitters within these 279 pages of stories and illustration. I related to some parts of this book more than other (I don’t know anything about fan-fiction, for instance). And I think that will be the case for most geek girls who pick this book up. It’s relatability  is a result of diversity:

  • diversity in geekiness: literature, video games, fan-fiction, comics, movies, etc.
  • diversity in style: from writing to comics to a combination of the two.
  • diversity in people: mainly in regards to sexuality, and at times age/race.

Each of these stories presents honest vulnerability that allows the reader to be comforted and entertained all at once. But most of all this book gave me perspective. And served to normalized my romantic life in unexpected ways.  Gita Jackson’s “URL > IRL” was a mirror into my own romantic desires: to be loved for my entire self, diverse interests and all. The frustrations she voices here are all too relatable:

“Whenever I talk about my interests people are usually only into half the things I’m really about. People in the comic book store don’t want to hear about artist run galleries or basement shows. People at those basements shows politely let me run my mouth when I get on a tangent about video games. And that’s fine. That’s how people are. The last guy I dated (briefly) really wanted to hear my stance on workers’ rights and racism but fell asleep halfway through an episode of Steven Universe. In whatever relationship I get into, i have to keep some parts of myself tucked away.”

This personal connection happened with several stories in this book. I read Erin Cossar’s “Anne Of Linux Pine”  and was reminded of my own weird “non-relationship” relationships. I read “Read: 1:19 a.m” by Jen Aprahamian and laughed at my own neuroticism over text messages over why he isn’t texting back:

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The Secret Loves of Geek Girls reminded me that love is more than getting alone well (“There’s nothing wrong, it must be love”), that relationships aren’t just based on liking the same things (Lungerella), and that dating is a mess online and in real life (multiple stories in this book).

But most of all, I love that this book’s exploration of love is more than just romantic/sexual relationships. It’s also a love of fictional characters, work, life, friends, and oneself. If you’re a geek girl who enjoys some good nonfiction this is an must read. Awkward, funny, and heartwarming, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls is sure to have a story you swear you wrote yourself.

 

What Remeshed Meant to Me

At the end of last month, Remeshed (a gaming site by women, for women) announced the end of its site. Even if you hadn’t heard of this site until now, this announcement matters. Not just because Remeshed produced good content but because of what it stood for: women in the gaming industry. Remeshed looked at the lack of female representation and inclusion in games journalism and made its own seat at the table. This isn’t to say women aren’t writing, let’s playing, e-sports announcing, podcasting, and so on. Rather, it’s to say there aren’t enough of us out there or (perhaps more accurately) there aren’t enough of us who make it to the professional level.

I know plenty of sites, podcasts, and YouTube channels comprised of almost all men; it feels completely normal. Remeshed flipped the script and it was refreshing. Remeshed‘s end got me thinking about my place in the gaming community and hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll reflect on yours as well.
Continue reading “What Remeshed Meant to Me”

Collection Envii: this complete Wii set is inspiring.

Thanks to Chris Carter’s Destructoid article, I found out about one man’s complete Wii collection.

“Somehow, user NintendoTwizer managed to fully complete a Wii collection — yes, I mean he has every game ever made on the Wii, which is 1262 games in all.”

I half-heartedly checked out NintendoTwizer’s post for the details (but mainly the pictures). Because, full disclosure, I hate the Wii. It’s the only Nintendo home console, of my lifetime, that I didn’t buy (or want). I even resented the good games the Wii had to offer for being on such an idiotic console.

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Will I ever be able to play Super Mario Galaxy with a pro controller? I don’t know.

And I resented my Wii U for assuming I had those controllers… that means you Mario Party 10, which was also trash for completely separate reasons.

To me, the Wii’s controller design is absurd and, although my experiences are limited, the motion control can be a chore. I mention all of this because, despite my distaste, I really loved reading about this collection. In general, I have a soft spot for anyone attempting to get a complete collection for any console. There’s something so beautiful and satisfying about having it all on the shelf. But, superficialness aside, I love that people can love something that much. I hate the Wii. Yet, I find myself moved by this man’s passion for the Wii.  Continue reading “Collection Envii: this complete Wii set is inspiring.”

Cold Hard Facts: If You Haven’t Been Doing Local Multiplayer The Nintendo Switch isn’t Going to Change That.

Lately, I’ve been seeing articles and comment threads praising the Nintendo Switch for potentially resurrecting local multiplayer. There’s no denying that the marketing is there to highlight this idea: the joy-con controllers can be played by 2 people and it’s not a rooftop party until Karen comes over.

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The Nintendo Switch is all about gaming everywhere with everyone (in whatever set-up you prefer, from table top style to a traditional home console set up).

The “resurrection of local multiplayer” is a narrative that’s being constructed for several valid reasons but it’s one that, ultimately, doesn’t hold up.

Continue reading “Cold Hard Facts: If You Haven’t Been Doing Local Multiplayer The Nintendo Switch isn’t Going to Change That.”