The YouTube team ExtraCredits creates short, thought-provoking videos about the craft of game design, story creation, the philosophy and psychology of building and playing video games, and other cool stuff.
One of their videos discusses Rust by Facepunch Studios, a multi-player survival game. In Rust, the physical appearance of every player’s character is randomly generated: specifically their skin color. The format doesn’t allow for re-rolling, so whatever your character looks like is what you’re stuck with – what you’re “born with,” as it were.
On a sand-swept wasteland, Horatio Nullbuilt, version 5, and his floating companion Crispin Horatiobuilt, v. 1, live in their broken rocket-ship of a home – until the day a big robot with laser-shooting claws steals their power core, leaving them with days or weeks to find a replacement before they and their home are left helpless and drained.
It’s MacGyver in the post-robot revolution-apocalypse, or Pajama Sam‘s more intellectual older brother, and a slow start didn’t prevent this point-and-click puzzle game from having a profound, slam-bang ending.
Plus, I and my “gameplay associate” completed it without consulting a walkthrough (ahem – personal achievement right there)! Continue reading →
In this episode of Dragnet, a military officer’s wife doesn’t see him for two years, and in her loneliness has a baby out of wedlock. To avoid hurting her husband, she decides to secretly give up the baby. It might not sound very profound explained like that, but the profound part is when her husband returns to the country, he not only forgives her, but takes the baby as his own. Now, that’s the kind of romance I can get behind!
2. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane — Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night, Busman’s Honeymoon, Dorothy L. Sayers
While irritating to the traditional romance lovers, I admire Peter and Harriet’s slow, cautious, intellectual courtship. They have emotional baggage and a rocky meeting to overcome, same as any classic lovers, but their relationship plumbs the integrity of their characters, without focusing on superficial aspects such as appearance or kissing. It may have taken three books to get to the engagement, but they did get to an engagement – which is of course the proper way to conduct a romantic relationship.
And when’s the last time a gentleman said it was the girl’s talent for telling the truth that attracted him to her? More, please.
3. Princess Irene and Curdie — The Princess and the Goblin & The Princess and Curdie, George MacDonald
Princess Irene (the young one, not the magically allegorical one) goes through a lot – from goblins attacking her mountainous childhood home, to the nobles of her father’s court conspiring against her family. One thing she can count on, though, is her good friend Curdie the miner coming to her aid. He does have his own struggles and faults, but his devotion to his princess (plus the help of her great-grandmother) carries them through.
Sure, the prince was smitten from the first moment they met, but as he says, “She wasn’t just a pretty girl…She was so much more than that.” One more reason the recent live-action movie was a positive improvement on the original animated film, in my opinion.
5. Jo March and Professor Bhaer— Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
I admit to having a soft spot in my heart for literary people and relationships, and I for one couldn’t be happier that Laurie recovered from Jo’s rejection and married Amy, and I think this arrangement of couples suits the participants best.
I always related with Jo, given our shared love of writing, and having her marry an intelligent, scholarly gentlemen who urged her to aspire to higher things in her writing just seemed most fitting.
(Same goes for Rose and Mac in Alcott’s Rose in Bloom. Bookish guys are the best.)
6. Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan — StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty & Heart of the Swarm
It’s hard to communicate the impact of this relationship in just a few words. When Sarah is taken by the alien swarm the Zerg and transformed into a genocidal monster, Jim chases to the ends of the galaxy to rescue her. Then, in Heart of the Swarm Kerrigan believes he’s been killed and takes back the power of the Zerg Swarm to avenge him. Even after seeing her undo his work – and embrace the power her hatred gives her – Jim, while knowing their chance at a relationship is done, still covers her back…’cause that’s what a gentleman does.
Writing for “lads”, G.A. Henty’s adventure stories didn’t usually dwell on a relationship with a female. There were exceptions; but for this example I’d like to mention Cyril in When London Burned, who early in the book met his landlord’s daughter, and even had an adventure rescuing her from a villainous suitor. Near the end of the book, they tell Cyril that she’s engaged. The young lady blushes heavily. Cyril smiles and asks who the lucky man is.
Ha, ha! It’s some young man we haven’t heard of before! You didn’t think Cyril would marry her, did you? He ends up marrying a girl who was at least mentioned in passing; while her character was not really explored, he did rescue her from the Great Fire of 1666, so they at least have that…
It’s hard to call this one a romance, since he’s a human super-soldier and she’s an artificial intelligence (AKA computer program), but they do have some neat chemistry (when she’s not being annoying) and their professional relationship of mutual respect, trust, and care just sends shivers down the spine.
One of the disappointments in this book was the way it didn’t tie off its romance-string-art. The upside of this, though, is that every reader can pair off their own personal favorites with no canon to nay-say them. If I had my way, I’d marry off the tech wizard and the sniper chick.
11. Eris Morn and Cayde-6 — Destiny, Bungie
Eris herself has a tragic back-story. The sole surviver of a six-Guardian team that invaded the fortress of the evil Hive, Eris’s melancholy is matched only by her penchant for dire warnings about the Hive…and her disdain for Cayde.
In contrast, Cayde-6 is upbeat, energetic, and determined to get Eris to smile again. Of course, he did have her ship blown up – accidentally – while fighting the Hive…which led to an “awkward conversation.”
It could just be one professional – one soldier of the Light – trying to encourage another and goad her out of her despondency…or it could be Cayde teases Eris – and she loathes him – because of some other connection. Hey, a fan-girl can dream, right?
Kimia Wood has been writing stories since she was little. Join the mailing list to learn more about her upcoming cheerful post-apocalyptic series!
Ex-assassin Azriel Odin – who has been working with the police to counter organized crime – lands on the mafia-controled planet of Barracus to meet a friend from ten years ago – and his own brother – who now hope to defect to the police.
Meanwhile, a young man called Delta-Six wakes in a forbidding facility with no memory. He’s told that his memory was wiped after an escape attempt, and that if he cooperates with certain “tests” he’ll be released.
What can I say? This game’s premise grabbed me from the start, and with the gameplay, puzzles, characters, story, and ending, it delivered an experience that still has me in “game-hang-over.” Continue reading →
The Top Ten Tuesday subject for today is “Ten Characters I’d Name A Child/Dog/Cat/Car/Etc. After”. Fictional characters frequently have cool or memorable names, don’t you think? I’ve only been able to think of five examples of fictional namesakes – and yet it’s curious how many names we’ve snitched over the years.
I don’t know about you, but I like to listen to music while I write, and frequently the words or mood of a song will inspire a story or connect to one of my stories in a special way.
For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post I’ve chosen to share ten examples of the music that has spoken to me the most.
1. “Glory to God” – Matthew Ward, Armed and Dangerous This song begins with a lilting descent that ends on a trill, a fascinating draft that repeats (with musical variation) for the opening chorus — this sequence is one of White Mesa’s recognition signals 😉.
Paired with this energetic yet flowery melody, the lyrics are a beautiful prayer for praising God. Continue reading →
In Loom, we take on the role of Bobbin Threadbare, an inexperienced member of the Guild of Weavers, who must quickly master the magical arts of the Weavers to travel the lands of the Guilds and battle Chaos.
While the gameplay is pretty simplistic and the humor child-friendly, Loom provides genuine entertainment for the undemanding fantasy fan. Continue reading →
There are different ways of “telling” someone something, and there are different ways of “showing” someone something. Don’t think that just because video games are largely visual experiences – rather than text – doesn’t mean they’re not “telling” (or, violently shoving information on the audience). Continue reading →
“Show, don’t tell.” We’ve all heard it. But applying it is something else, especially when there are different ways of showing and different ways of telling. I’d like to focus on one example of some first-rate “experience-giving” vs. “info-dumping”: Half-life 2. Continue reading →