We hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and happy Father’s day to all of you out there! While Father’s Day generally includes celebration and relaxation for dads and father figures, it’s also important to take some time to relax yourself.
June has been rather interesting with life. Nothing bad has happened, thankfully, we’ve just been very busy. Busy enough that our regular routine of writing up posts and scheduling them has been interrupted throughout the month, and this comes after last month of us just being tired — physically, mentally, and emotionally — for various reasons.
We haven’t really played any video games lately, not new ones, at any rate. While we would like to pick up something new — Cadence of Hyrule, Little Friends, for a couple of examples — we’ve been finding ourselves vegging out with Animal Crossing: New Leaf while old Twitch and YouTube streams play in the background instead. Game Dev Tycoon is both on our Steam account and on my phone, so I’ve come home from my day job just to plop on the sofa and drain my phone battery with the game. This past week, I’ve been booting up Arcade Spirits more often than not in the evening instead of, say, working on blog posts (hence why this post is being posted a touch late rather than having been scheduled and published already). We’ve been focusing on some comfort games lately than crashing into new things.
Everyone needs a creative break sometimes. Stretching your creative limits can be exhausting and you can fall into a self-depreciating hole for not creating enough or taking too long of a break. Rachel and I have tried to find other creative endeavors to make that faucet flow again — me with a new sketchbook and canvases, Rachel with bracelet weaves and magnets — and we were excited at the idea of starting something new.
Yet, at this time, my pack of canvases is still shrink-wrapped.
But that’s okay. I’ll have a weekend off soon and maybe that’s when I’ll start throwing paint around again. It’s difficult always being creative all the time, and it’s okay to step back and take a break. It’s okay if that break is only a couple of days, maybe a week, or even a month. There is no time limit on caring for yourself.
What do you do to give yourself a creative break? Any comfort games? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
Technically, this memory is only about three years old. This post is a bit more personal and it took me a little too long to write and decide to share it. However, I believe it’s an important topic and it is certainly something that has shaped who I am today.
I am passionate about representation in media, obviously including video games. Gender, race, and especially sexuality need to be represented so they are normalized as much in media as they are in the real world.
The success of movies like Wonder Woman, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel testify to the need of representation. The same goes for the later Pokemon and Harvest Moon games that allow female and darker skinned avatars. One of Stardew Valley’s biggest selling points was that your avatar could marry any love interest despite their gender.
It was due to a video game that I realized my sexuality.
Three years ago, a visual novel dating sim featuring the popular YouTubers from the groups Normal Boots and Hidden Block was released. Considering that the two groups were some of our favorite content creators — and the ones who inspired us to talk and share more of our love of gaming — we were excited about the game, and really enjoyed its the writing, art, and music.
One of the characters in the game is gay. He states it after the female avatar asks him to go to a festival with her. Literally, he says, “You do know that I’m gay, right?” complete with the music cutting out with a record scratch sound effect. The character is a fan favorite and was prominent in the fandom through art and stories.
It was through this fandom that I found out about asexuality, the absence of feeling sexual attraction.
I was in my mid-twenties and had never heard of this sexuality. Throughout high school, I’ve had friends and acquaintances who had come out as lesbian or bisexual, and we were always supportive of each other. I had believed I was completely straight, but as I got older, I realized I wasn’t looking at men the same way my friends were. They had… interesting stories from their college campuses about being with another and I couldn’t for the life of me see what the appeal was. I had fallen for a couple of men throughout my lifetime, ones that were easy on the eyes and made me laugh, but I had no interest in any more physical acts.
Then Asagao Academy came out, I met some fellow fans online, specifically Tumblr, and the representation of a positive LGBT+ character helped so many teenagers and young adults, people who had grown up without seeing much of anything other than the “default” straight way to be. Including me.
One day, someone I followed mentioned that she believed she was asexual. I was surprised at how relieved I was from the epiphany I had that the word asexuality fit me. It was closure that I never knew I needed.
I am a heteromantic asexual.
Asexuality is still a fairly new concept — rather, new in the sense that it is being talked more about — but it has gained rapid support within the past couple of decades. Despite this, asexuals still get flak both from the LGBT+ community — for wishing to be “special” or, especially in a heteromantic ace’s case, “basically straight” — and straights who are not allies. We’re only about one percent of the population, and it wasn’t until 2013 that asexuality was excluded as a mental illness in the DSM.
I spend my time advocating for representation in media and by being available and open to those who may need the support of a friend. I’ve connected with a handful of others online, ones who have reached out because they took a chance from seeing my LBGT+ positivity posts. I’ve spoken to fellow aces, transgender people trying to figure themselves out, and those who merely needed a stranger to listen as they navigated through their own labels. Most, if not all, of them are teens, and I hope that I can help just a little.
Because, while my memories of going through puberty consist of feeling like I was missing a puzzle piece, we should be moving forward with representation. There is no default hero, and all media — video games included — should showcase that. Strides are being taken, but it will still be a while before we’re all on equal footing. No one should have to grow up without being represented as the hero.
(Besides, think of all the years I spent unable to make asexual puns. All of those times I could have told people that I have an ace up my sleeve… because it’s me. I am the ace.)
Are there any video games that caused you have a revelation about yourself? Anything in particular that you would like to collect? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
Despite the backlog of games that we have, we’re always on the lookout for new (to us) and interesting games. One such game that we’ve recently found was a bit confusing with its rating…
There’s a newer game available on the Nintendo Switch called Cinders, a visual novel that was originally published in 2012, then put on Steam in 2014. It’s a retelling of the popular Cinderella fairy tale, one that was rated M on the Nintendo eShop.
I’ve never heard of this game before. We enjoy point-and-click visual novel games, especially ones with multiple endings such as Cinders, but we generally are not interested in games rated M, mostly due to gore and sensitive topics. I’m interested in this game, but wasn’t able to find the reason as to why it’s rated M.
Since I started this post, apparently Nintendo corrected the rating of the game to T, which makes more sense to me.
Due to trying to figure out the game’s rating, I have spoiled a little bit of the story and possible choices for myself. It’s pretty much on par for whenever Rachel and I get our curiosities piqued by a game that’s rated higher than what we usually go for. Generally, our games are rated for everyone or teen, and we don’t have too many games rated higher than that.
It reminds me of a time that Rachel and I started watching a play through of Doki Doki Literature Club from one of our favorite YouTubers, ProJared. Like the game itself, the play through started out lighthearted enough, and Rachel and I figured that the game couldn’t be too bad. However, on the third or so episode of the play through series, ProJared took the time to reiterate that the game was supposed to have some strange, possibly disturbing themes — he was doing a blind play through, so he wasn’t positive what the exact themes would be — which prompted us to pause the video and spoil it for ourselves.
We’re glad we did, as the themes were disturbing and potentially triggering. While we’re not fond of too much gore when it comes to rated M games, we do our research to ensure that any other content wouldn’t bother us as well. It’s something that we want to be conscious of when we do games for reviews and on our Twitch channel.
I can admire horror games and psychological thrillers for their writing and setting the scene, if you will, but with how important mental health is nowadays, having the correct ratings and content warnings is a must.
How important are game ratings and content warnings to you? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
On a fairly recent post, I mentioned how a comic app was coming to the Nintendo Switch. Then I heard about a mini comic series based on a game that we played and enjoyed almost a year ago…
Way back in November 2017 Rachel and I did a review for a visual novel/dating simulation game produced by the Game Grumps, a popular YouTube channel, called Dream Daddy. It was a fun game, one with fantastic characters, writing, and graphics, as well as celebrating gender and sexuality diversity.
Recently I heard that the Dream Daddy game is going to have comics based off of them. There will be five issues, with one available now and the rest being released within the next couple of months. Each issue will feature one to two of the dads that your character can romance in the game, and they’ll be available on quite a few digital platforms — Steam, Google Play, iTunes, Comixology — as well as a print version through Oni Press online shop, the folks who are publishing the series.
Considering Rachel and I enjoyed the game, I figured if we have a little extra money on our Steam account we’ll get an issue or two. Depending on the writing and the artwork, maybe we’ll splurge on all of the issues to see how the comics expand on the game lore.
Did you play Dream Daddy? What kind of comics based off of video games, or vice versa, have you read?
The Cold Case of Noella Bejerot is a comedic murder mystery visual novel game for PC and Mac. It was created by Marty Duff and Caty Herndon. The demo was released in December 2017 and, after talking with the developer, Kris and I were eager to try the game out.
We enjoy mystery video games, especially those that have a comedic twist to them, like the Ace Attorney franchise and the Professor Layton series, and visual novels seem to be the perfect medium for these kinds of games. The demo of Cold Case seems to include the first case, a trial both for the player and the main character.
It was quick, taking us about an hour, and everything was laid out for us to explore and learn the mechanics of the game. I knew what it was going in, but the game turned out to be much more than I expected. Not only do you have to pick what to do next and where to go, like most visual novels, you can interact with the background in search for clues and evidence. You can also talk to your partner and she’ll show you statements of the suspects as well as brief information on each of them.
It is up to you to click through what you believe to be important evidence in the crime scenes as well as picking through the suspect and witness statements to determine who is the likely culprit. After searching the crime scene, you bring the evidence you collected to forensics, where another character gives further details about the clues to help you connect the pieces of the case. Sounds pretty standard in a mystery visual novel, but there is one catch — Grace faints at the sight of blood.
This adds a little intensity to the game. You have five chances to look at bloody items in the room before Grace passes out. This means you have to pick and choose what you think may be important before you even look at it. That’s what I enjoyed the most, I think. The characters were all very quirky and the dialogue was witty and funny at some points.
Each character is fairly distinct with their voices, mannerisms, and looks. The graphics were cute, giving way to a few character tropes that are found in mystery games and books, such as the hardened, deadpan head detective and the brightly colored main character. The music was well done, too, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the rest of the game comes out!
The Cold Case of Noella Bejerot will officially release on April 21, 2018. In the meantime, you can download the free demo HERE. Enjoy! We’re looking forward to April.
Have you heard of this game? Have you played the demo? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!