Pride Month Series: Can I Still Have Bi Pride if I’m Not Out?

The Ganymede's Girls bird logo, in rainbow colors, also known as Gaynemede.

I’m bisexual.

I always kind of knew this about myself, but never had the words for it until much later. The attraction I felt for girls was similar to what I felt for boys. But I would brush my feelings aside as a platonic “girl crush” or think that I just wanted to be as cool and amazing as that girl. I didn’t have a name for what I felt until my early 20s, while I was already in a committed relationship with a man. In fact, the only person in my real life who knows that I am bisexual  is my partner, and I’m incredibly lucky that he has never fetishized my orientation, been disgusted by it or felt insecure about it. But I have never been with or even dated another woman before this, and because I am still in the same committed relationship, I likely never will.

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Series: An Exploration of Fantasy in Video Games – Part 3

[Ed. note: This is the second part of a series exploring Fantasy in Video Games, originally written for the author’s university course, Fantasy in the Archive.]

Closeup of the main character from the game Gris, eyes closed, with black shadowy tendrils beginning to envelop her face.
Gris (2018)

The crossover of design elements throughout video games doesn’t stop there. Although video games are unique, they do not contain unique elements in their design. For example, some video games are cinematic, with cutscenes played out by actors in real time, often recorded by motion capture (like The Last of Us (2013) or God of War (2018)). Other games place a large amount of emphasis on their visual art elements, such as illustration and animation, and rely on them to bring the game together thematically (like Gris (2018) or Hollow Knight (2017)). But most games incorporate each of these different aspects, and more – art, animation, music, writing; some games even incorporate the sciences, like philosophy in Soma (2015) or psychology in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (2017). The different elements that games use are not unique in themselves; it is the way that video games bring together all of these aspects in one cohesive medium, while adding the final, essential component of a player’s agency, that makes them truly unique.

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Series: An Exploration of Fantasy in Video Games – Part 2

[Ed. note: This is the second part of a series exploring Fantasy in Video Games, originally written for the author’s university course, Fantasy in the Archive.]

The exclusion of video games from academic spaces didn’t stop people from talking about them, theorizing about them, and analyzing them. Many unofficial game news sites have established themselves on the forefront of video game journalism, such as GameSpot, Polygon, and The Verge. Websites such as Kotaku and IGN, tailored to game reviews and guides, have also become increasingly popular. This isn’t to mention the wealth of discussion that took place in areas like forums, blogs, or chat rooms. Since discourse about video games has been going on for such a long time, certain themes between discussions and analyses began popping up.

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Series: An Exploration of Fantasy in Video Games

Logo for the game "What Remains of Edith Finch"

Since their inception half a century ago, video games have become a worldwide cultural phenomena. They have ingrained themselves into popular culture extremely rapidly for such a young group of media. And since their ascension into the sphere of popular culture, video games have been the subject of immense amounts of discourse. There has long since been discussion about the subject of fantasy in video games, as it remains one of the most prolific genres in the industry. There is a distinct lack of discussion, however, of how video games are, by design, tailored to the act of storytelling, and how these storytelling elements can be utilized to further the exploration of the fantasy genre. This is unsurprising, as any academic conversation surrounding video games was nearly destitute because of the widespread negative and patronizing attitude towards video games in their early years of popularity. In recent years this has started to change, as more and more parts of academia have come to accept video games’ legitimacy and allow them space in more official discourses, as well as employing experts in the field to teach video game development in courses. But because of the long period in which video games were excluded from academia, there has been little but amateur discussion in the field of video games. Through what discussion there is, most have determined that video games have a unique physical and mental effect on their players that cannot be matched by any other form of media. This is specifically the type of immersion that makes video games both complex and extraordinarily good at storytelling. Over the course of their short existence, video games have developed into one of the best storytelling medias; specifically, they are the most suited to telling fantasy stories because of the immersive, narrative depth they offer players. What Remains of Edith Finch (2017) is one game that serves as a perfect example of this connection between player and game, and it’s one that utilizes Todorov’s definition of a fantastic story, a severely underexplored trope in video games, to accomplish this.

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Video Game Review: Overcooked 2

Screenshot of gameplay from Overcooked 2, with four chefs in a kitchen surrounded by several small fires.

Sarah and I needed a break from Overwatch. Licorice Whip just finished playing for Owlet Season 2, which was rewarding but also quite stressful. We wanted to play something not Overwatch together. Unfortunately, not many video games were easy-to-pick-up, fun and multiplayer at the same time. Overcooked 2 seemed like the best option, especially with its cute design and a harmless topic — cooking! It turned out to be a perfect game for us, although not necessarily as relaxing as we expected. Nevertheless, we were able to destress at one of the most stressful challenges of this cooperative game.

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Video Game Review: Dota 2 Auto Chess

Auto Chess logo

Day and again, I learn that every fad exists for a reason. I first read some of my friends talking about Dota 2 Auto Chess on Twitter. I was only vaguely interested at this point, mostly because I don’t really play MOBA other than occasional throwplay in League. But after playing a couple rounds, I see how the hype for Auto Chess is real – because it’s so fun! There was a reason this arcade game got the actual game itself to be on the top chart for Twitch streams and now has a separate category dedicated solely for Auto Chess. It will soon be available in mobile version as well. I highly recommend people to try it out!

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#RiseAboveGG Experiences

Sometimes, I am surprised that I am no longer constantly sad. I am surprised to realize that I feel neutral rather than be in a swamp of tears waiting to devour me. This is a short account of how I rose above depression and how gaming helped me navigate my way as I learned to see the world in a much varied perspective.

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My Experience With Video Gaymes

As with a lot of my generation, I grew up in an era that propagated a lot of technological advancements. Along with these innovations came new ways to experience stories. Most kids’ first video game consoles included something like a GameCube or, even older, a Nintendo 64. If you were me, you played Barbie: Secret Agent over and over on your parent’s computer whenever you could get the chance.

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