Category Archives: Geek things

Story Game Corner- Oxenfree

Oxenfree is the game of my childhood. No, neither of my parents died nor divorced. I was not a rebellious teen who went to beach parties for some underage drinking shenanigans. I did not even dye my hair blue though not for lack of wanting.

But Oxenfree is about friendship and it’s the sort of adventure my friends and I craved growing up. We consumed every episode of X-files the moment they aired and quoted them much to the annoyance of our peers. We loved the idea of secluded islands with rich and tragic histories, big, mysterious houses holding dark secrets from the past, caves full of whispers and supernatural phenomena and a group of quirky friends who must discover the key to solving the mystery. Read the rest of this entry

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My Name is Manda and I Can’t Play Crafting Games

I hate crafting games. Or rather, I hate crafting games because I suck at them. Yes. I am one of those people.

It’s not limited to digital games either. I was never a lego kid. We had legos. We built little lego towns around our pool during the summers. But my job was never to build the actual houses. It was to build the story of what went on in those houses.

I preferred it that way. Anything I ever built usually took the form of basic boxes. If I was feeling particularly creative I would make room for the hole in the box that would serve as a window/door. It was not an option to make the effort to put in an actual window that the Lego set provided.

lego

These blocks were a means to an end.

The stories my siblings and I made up though were the stuff of soap operas. There were epic and tragic storylines involving orphans and tidal waves (they lived next to the sea/pool after all). I loved it and was even happier I could depend on my other siblings to do the actual building for me.

Whenever we could get our hands on overpriced playmobil I would opt for that instead. Everything was already built and perfect looking. It meant that it was less time for me tediously attempting to build some dilapidated hut.

When the Sims came out it was much the same. My friend Kelsey had amazing houses. She made fun of me because I had square boxes with walls inside.

firework_launcher_and_rugs

And yet we never thought to comment on the fact that we would regularly do things like this…

So when the likes of Minecraft came out, I had no interest whatsoever in it. My friends would beam and expound the virtues of the game. They would tell me that anything was possible, that anything could be crafted, that you could experiment with materials to make anything.

I tried it myself once. I chopped a tree. I hopped around. I made a tool when my friend told me how. I dug a hole. Some monsters came. I stayed in my hole. I never left. I got bored.

I suck at crafting games.

minecraft

I don’t even know HOW you would begin to get to something like this.

I saw Youtube videos of grand digital cities being built and recreations of famous movies/tv shows. In all cases I was thoroughly impressed and agreed it was a great tool for creativity but remained resolute that this was not the game for me.

 

Errol got Terraria a couple of years later. Errol loves crafting games. He lives for them. Give him a crafting game and he will become its master within days. Terraria was no exception. When I asked him what it was like he told me it was basically Minecraft in 2D.

“Pass.” I thought but ended up reneging because while I hate crafting games I do love playing with my friends. So I bought it for myself to play online with him and his daughter. I tried single player mode first.

I walked around. I hit some slimy things. I built a hut out of dirt. It stayed up long enough to grow grass. I built a tool when Errol told me how to use it. I mined some stone. I got bored but instead of leaving I joined Errol to see his progress.

He had a castle. It was grand and complex and lit by torches. It had banners on the wall. It had a room full of chests to store the many treasures Errol had crafted or found. He now had a lightsaber as a weapon. I was still holding the default wooden sword.

I suck at crafting games.

terraria-ng-752x430

Though admittedly getting to see all this stuff was awesome.

I don’t want to suck at them. I feel as though I have somehow failed at being a good member of society because of my inability to picture and experiment with buildings and materials.

I see many of my friends venturing out into the world of crafting games and flourish having never done anything like it before. I see them laughing and exchanging their favourite crafting stories. I see them proudly displaying their designs and am astounded by their technique.

minecraftmario

Like this…I just…how do you even…

I tried once again to attempt crafting, this time in a Minecraft clone in which we had cheat codes which would allow us unlimited access to all resources and the ability to fly. How could I go wrong with that?

I accidently set a digital house on fire in my attempt at making a fireplace. My friend’s nine year old daughter had to put it out for me and then wonder what on earth was wrong with her mom’s friends.

legofalcon

I’m just putting this here because Star Wars.

The closest I came to being somewhat competent at a crafting game was Don’t Starve if for nothing else than the fact that dirt hut is a luxury in that game. Even then, it was rare I would survive alone. We always waited for a server to play with each other.

I can write scripts. I can craft a narrative with a beginning, middle and end. I have comedic timing. I can cook a soup and experiment with the recipe. I can build a jigsaw in a day.

But ask me to make a pretend building and I am stumped. Ask me to make something out of the resources around me and I will be weeping in a corner when you come back to check on me.

I keep seeing ads about Lego and creativity. I see articles calling Minecraft the pinnacle of creativity. And then I wonder if something is wrong with me that I am completely unable to ever go further than dirt huts.

If this were an evolutionary issue, I would have been wiped out by now.

legomovie

This stupid movie made me feel guilt for not being good at Lego (okay, it’s awesome, yes, but still!)

Perhaps someday I will get better at them. Perhaps I will not be left behind by those with so much more talent and/or time. Perhaps whatever is blocking my ability to visualize anything other than simple hollowed out box will dissipate and I can join the ranks of those who love crafting and resource management.

But for now I suck at crafting games and will depend on my friends to carry me through them. At least these franchises have managed to stay separate. There’s too many to keep track of.

minecraftlego

OH COME ON!

 

10 Soundtracks to get you in the Halloween Mood

I love Halloween. More than love it. Lurve it. I love watching scary movies involving hauntings or exorcisms. I playing spooky games. I love candy. Sure, it all leaves me in a fetal position of terror. But I still love it to bits.

Naturally, when October rolls around my playlist becomes populated with spooky instrumental soundtracks to help get me in the mood even more. My original plan was to post a song every day on Facebook, but then I thought…why not just do it all in one post?!

I’m lazy.

So I am sharing them here in no particular order! Because most of these come from video games and movies, I am going to post a mild spoiler warning here as I might discuss the context in which the song appears. Enjoy! And comment with your favourite Halloween soundtracks as well! Read the rest of this entry

How to Survive a Murder Mystery

Admit it, you all at one point or another wanted to be in an Agatha Christie murder mystery, complete with intrigue, quirkly/tortured characters and a denoument in a drawing room of some sort. ADMIT IT!

…Okay, maybe that’s only a desire of mine. I may have been binging a lot of Miss Marple, Midsommer Murders and Shetland lately and I have yet to stop jonesing for more.

And yet watching these murder mysteries, I can’t help but notice…many, many patterns. So I feel compelled to write down some basic rules should you find yourself in a murder mystery situation. But I am not talking about the murderer or detectives. I am talking about the poor innocent suspects who often find themselves dead halfway through. And so I present:

The Top 10 Rules to Surviving a Murdery Mystery (feel free to add more!)

  1. Never utter the words “Oh it’s you” upon turning around and seeing someone you recognize. Death always follows.
  2. If you get information about a dangerous murderer, do not make a vague phone call to the the police detective and say “Listen, I need to talk to you! It’s incredibly important! But I can’t explain here!”. Death is assured. Instead, rush straight to the police station the first moment you get and announce it out loud to all who can hear.
  3. Never sleep secretly with anyone. Death will be almost instantaneous.
  4. Be an obvious suspect. It almost always means you are never the actual killer and guarantees you getting arrested halfway through the murder investigation and safe away from the actual murderer. At the same time…
  5. Be an obvious suspect, but not TOO obvious. Remember, the more obviously evil you are, the more likely you are to be murdered halfway through, causing the detective to have to rethink his strategy.
  6. Don’t be too well loved. Being a well known and beloved figure in the community almost guarantees that you are either harbouring a deep dark secret, that someone has it in for you or both.
  7. Don’t hold any important local events. It doesn’t matter how many years Beet Fest has been going on. These things tend to be murder magnets.
  8. Dinner parties. Enough said.
  9. Never utter the words “You’ll have to kill me if you want (blank)”. It does not matter if the thing in question is the last slice of pie, stating this type of foreshadowing will doom you as the next victim.
  10. Finally, do not rely on the detectives. They may seem like they are making progress, but they are actually just putting in time before a second or even third murder occurs. Instead, invest in a good security system. Secretly.

    Game Distractions: Kathy Rain

    I love the wonderful experimentation that’s been going on in video game narratives in the last few years. But every once in a while I crave a good nostalgic classic adventure game of ages past. Kathy Rain turned out to be the perfect way to spend my downtime.

    Taking place in my beloved 1990’s, Kathy is a hardened, sarcastic and witty journalism student who visits her hometown after finding out that her grandfather whom she lost touch with has passed away. Naturally, not all is as it seems and Kathy soon finds herself elbow deep in government cover-ups, cults and good old fashioned super natural entities. Read the rest of this entry

    Doctor Who: Face the Raven

    Warning, the following contains extreme spoilers. It also is a very raw unedited piece of writing that probably could be better organized. But ah well.

    So….let’s talk about that last episode of Doctor Who.

    Read the rest of this entry

    Top 5: Awesome Soundtracks to Bad Franchises

    Hallo all! So I recently started writing for a site called Geekpr0n. It’s an awesome site. And I was going to make another Top 5 list of music but then figured it would be a good thing to put on a geeky site. So I’m just going to link to it here. Take a look! 😀

    THUNDERCLAP

    Halloooooo! This week has gotten a bit busy, so there’s not really a proper blog post, BUT there is something to talk about! For those of you who don’t know, Errol is in a band called Debs and Errol.

    They are geeky and they are awesome and they have a new EP coming out very soon called CTRL+ALT+Duets! It’s a series of awesome parody songs and promises to be extremely entertaining.

    But they need your help! They have signed up with this app called Thunderclap, which will automatically update your facebook/twitter with a post about the EP on the day that it is released. It doesn’t require any money, just your facebook/twitter information. That’s it!

    BUT they need at least 100 people to sign up for it in order to work. So please! Take a look see and sign up! You don’t even need to like the EP! Just be satisfied that you helped spread the word. Thanks guys!

    The Doubleclicks- Nothing to Prove

    So a couple of months ago I saw a concert in our local comic shop by a band called The Doubleclicks. I sort of instantly fell in love and became a fangirl. For those that don’t know them, I recommend you check out their website.

    Anyway, one of the songs they played was called Nothing to Prove, which was their own unique response to the whole “fake geek girl tests” that have been cropping up around the internet and conventions. The song is lovely and awesome and, I feel at least, is a great heartfelt personal message as well as a message for all geek girls out there who get harassed for “not being geeky enough” .

    After the song was done, the Doubleclicks mentioned they would be making a music video for it and, if we were interested, would be taking video of various geek girls and their geek girl story. So I volunteered! And I’m in the video! And this is the result, and it’s awesome.

    Read the rest of this entry

    Geek and Sundry

    Hey guys! Funny story. I submitted a video to Geek and Sundry to become a vlogger. It was my Whitless Letter to Kerrigan. I actually submitted it twice. Once because I had the incorrect youtube link formatting.

    Then I was sent a letter saying it couldn’t be accepted because it was a webseries, not a vlog, and because it was an already established series as opposed to a video I made specifically as an entry.

    Fair enough.

    Then I get a comment on the video from someone saying they loved it and found it through the Geek and Sundry submission page and hoped I would get voted in.

    Huh.

    So it seems I am…undisqualified. Which is exciting! I have missed out on five days of voting because I thought my video wasn’t there. But hey! Can’t hurt to try! So vote for my video. Share it around. And let’s see if I can get into Geek and Sundry at the eleventh hour! Here’s where you can vote.

    Thanks!